Beauty Fix: A mud mask to try now, how to get rid of a stubborn pimple and more answers to your beauty questions

Beauty Fix
Beauty Fix

Every week our Beauty Fix columnist takes on your questions about makeup, skincare, hair and more. Have a beauty question we haven’t answered? Email us at [email protected].

I like to give my nails a break from polish every so often, but they look so dull. How can I make them look their best?
While we can all be slaves to the polish bottle, bare nails can be quite modern and, right now, are remarkably on-trend. If your nails have taken a bit of battering after multiple polish changes with minimal breaks in between, using a nail buffer, such as Quo’s Ergo Buffer ($6, at Shoppers Drug Mart), can actually help stimulate circulation to your nail beds. Buffing encourages nails to grow while smoothing out the nail surface, thus making them look and feel healthier. Use the black nail file side of the Ergo Buffer to shape nails, moving on to the blue side to buff nails lightly, and finally use the purple interior side of the buffing tool to bring nails to a smooth, glossy shine.

My breakouts are extremely persistent when they crop up. Can I use anything to shorten their lifespan?
Who hasn’t been on the unfortunate receiving end of a zit that just won’t quit!? And it’s even worse when you’re trying all your usual products and still can’t seem to shrink it. That’s where a gadget like Tanda Zap Power ($80, can come in handy. This little rechargeable gizmo’s sole mission is to eradicate the bacteria that cause those wildly unpleasant blemishes. It uses a three-pronged approach to bacteria elimination—LED light, heat and sonic vibrations—in effort to reduce redness, size and inflammation. The best part is that it can be used up to three times per day for timely results and it doesn’t cause the dryness that most acne topical treatments are prone to.

I love the shine of a gel manicure, but committing to one nail colour for weeks on end bores me. Is there a happy medium?
I hear you on this one! As much as I love a good Shellac manicure to get me through a vacation chip-free or through a stretch of busy weeks, I adore polish way too much to hold back from frequently trying different shades and nail designs. If you enjoy changing your nail colour every week, consider giving the new CND Vinylux system ($12 each, at Trade Secrets) a whirl. CND, makers of the much-loved Shellac system, have created a long-lasting polish formula that is applied directly to your nails (no base coat underneath). The trick is in the top coat, which is strengthened by natural UV light as you wear it, leading to increased protection against chipping. The shade range is expansive (62 shades and counting), so the likelihood of finding something to appeal to you week after week is quite high!

Are mud masks really that beneficial? They seem like a lot of hype.
Well, not all mud masks are created equally. If you’re curious about the efficacy of a mud mask, consider looking into the type of mud being used and research the benefits of that particular mud. One mud mask I recently tried—after hearing much hype—was Glam Glow Super-Mud Clearing Treatment ($69, And I must say: with this little jar, the hype is real. When a thin layer is applied to the skin, the mask actually dries down in a manner that allows you to see all the areas where you had congestion in your skin (akin to looking at a pore strip after you’ve removed it). It contains charcoal, which effectively extracts any unwanted debris from your pores, as well a blend of alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids to balance the skin’s pH level. Advanced ingredients in a mud mask are helpful for a positive experience, and in this case, skin is left feeling clean, refreshed and refined!

I don’t normally have issues with body odour, but I’ve noticed that times of stress lead to more perspiration than usual—and the thought of smelling just makes me more stressed! How do I address this?
This is increasingly common, so you’re not alone in this often-frustrating scenario. Stress can cause several different reactions within people that vary from person to person. If sweating is your particular reaction to stress, it’s important to know that the adrenaline spike caused by stress leads to a different type of perspiration than the sweat that’s created when we’re in hot weather or doing physical activity. This stress sweat also causes a different odour, so an ideal way to counteract it is with an antiperspirant that’s designed with this problem in mind. For instance, Nivea Stress Protect Antiperspirant ($5, at drugstores) will provide protection against odour and wetness for 48 hours, and contains avocado oil in order to prevent your underarm skin from drying out the way many clinical-grade antiperspirants often do.