Helpful Hints

DEAR HELOISE: I'm tired of all the promises cosmetic companies make that are never fulfilled. This product or that product will claim to "erase wrinkles," then show a young woman of about 19 who has yet to see any wrinkles on her skin. Most products are designed to moisturize the skin, but cannot and will not erase wrinkles.

I worked for a major cosmetic company, and women would try to find a moisturizer that would get rid of 20 or 30 years of smoking, sunbathing, and drinking alcohol. That product does not exist, and it never did. Of course, countergirls don't tell customers that their products are basically worthless, except in adding a little moisture to their skin.

Instead of making false promises, let's take pride in our skin just as it is. As women age, they gain experience, practical knowledge and usually a healthier view of themselves and their accomplishments. These qualities are far more important than crow's-feet around the eyes. Even Hollywood has started to embrace silver hair on many men and women.

In Europe, most women wear very little makeup, and they look radiant at all ages. They're well aware that a clean, healthy look is attractive. They also know that they can't get rid of sags, wrinkles or other imperfections with a cream.

So, I hope that one day, the manufacturers of cosmetics will encourage women to take care of their skin, but not expect unrealistic results.

-- Sharon B.,

Monessen, Pa.

DEAR READERS: Do you ever go on a trip and stay in a hotel with soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion that you end up taking home? Many of us do, but what if you get home and realize that you don't actually need them? Here are a few suggestions:

Donate them to a battered

women's shelter.

Hand out the items at homeless shelters.

Donate them to a children's home.

Donate them to a summer camp for children.

Keep them in the guest room of your home for visitors.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to

[email protected]

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