For the majority of my life, I was The Girl With The Grubby Nails. Nothing was more satisfying than sitting on my bed, lost in a book, gnawing in a distracted fashion on my tiny nail stubs. Save an ill-advised love affair with acrylic French tips in high school, my nails were largely ignored, left to languish while I concentrated my efforts on mastering liquid eyeliner and figuring out a flatiron.
Enter the $10 manicure, the ultimate lifesaver. For the price of two magazines, three street tacos, an iced tea and a big cookie, my nail game was on point, effectively transitioning me from Not Grown to Almost There. However, my lifestyle often belied my appearance, and I’d ruin manicures regularly, digging in my bag for keys, rustling around for chapstick, and once, just by walking up a flight of stairs. My $10 mani obsession had reached its peak, and it was a waste of money. After hours of internet research, I perfected an at-home mani situation that is fun, and dare I say, relaxing. Let me show you the way. Keep reading »
Skin woes: I am intimately familiar with them. I enjoyed the first two decades of my life with a face as smooth, pale, and unblemished as an egg shell. I fielded endless compliments about the condition and clarity of my perfect skin, as well as many an elderly person croaking in my general direction that I “SHOULD NEVER GO OUT IN THE SUN.” And when old people tell you things, you listen. Then, about a year ago, everything changed. (I would appreciate if somebody could please hold my hand while I talk about this.) While in the past I hadn’t weathered much more than a whitehead or two every so often, I started developing swollen, excruciatingly painful cystic acnes (not a scientific term) that would never come out from underneath my skin. They would just linger there, taunting me, until I hauled ass to the dermatologist and got them injected with cortisone for the small price of an insurance copay.
The story does not end here. I guess my previously perfect skin had just had it with me, or the fact that all I ever seemed to be doing was eating Chinese food and chain-smoking (ugh, I know, I was sick of me too), because it hasn’t been the same since, even despite my having made some significant Lifestyle Changes. I definitely don’t get as many terrible cysts as I used to, praise god, but my face is full of texture and other stuff that I don’t like. Because my number one priority is always, without fail, presenting what I like to refer to as “a united front,” I got really, really good at concealer instead of sitting around looking in the mirror and crying about it. Just kidding, I sat in front of the mirror and cried about it first, then I got really good at concealer. Keep reading »
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I am Pale. Like, really pale, so pale it warrants a capital P for emphasis. I glow under black lights; practically all of my veins and arteries are peeking through my flesh braying for you to notice them; when I go out in public without makeup on perfect strangers ask me if I am okay. (I am fine.) However, I will melt in direct sunlight, and the fake bronze look of artificial tanning just does not appeal to me, so I long ago fully embraced my fairness with open (white) arms. In fact, I quite like it, and I quietly resent anyone, friend or foe, who tells me off-handedly that I “need a tan.” No, I don’t — I just need a little bit of bronzer, and then I’m back to looking human again.
I’m a dope hand at contouring because I’m obsessssssed with cheekbones, but my full-face bronzing technique leaves something to be desired (I stick a huge, fluffy brush in the pan and just slap it all over my face, whatever). Consider this remedial how-to my effort at learning with you.
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There are a few things that every makeup-lovin’ lady needs to have in her arsenal. It’s sort of like the difference between romantic prospects and friends: bold lipsticks and punchy eyeshadows come and go, but your Holy Grail products are forever. The perfect foundation that matches your complexion exactly and makes it look flawless; the perfect concealer that magically causes every blemish or imperfection you might have to vanish on the spot; the perfect neutral shadow that makes your eyes look bigger and brighter… and of course, the perfect go-to lip color.
Generally referred to as “my lips but better” (or MLBB), the ideal go-to lip color does just that — it suits your skin tone and flatters your face better than a brighter, trendier shade, and it imparts color and impact in a way that a clear lip balm just doesn’t. You could also refer to this type of lip color as “nude,” but it definitely isn’t the generic pale, corpse-y beige that comes to mind. It’s your nude, and it’s different for everyone. So let’s get to finding yours! Keep reading »
What is this “contouring” that makeup artists and celebrities speak of? I see it all the time — that subtle shadow right under their cheekbones, lifting their faces, enhancing their features, and overall making them look more beautiful than they already are. How in the world do you do it, and what products do you use? — Clueless About Contouring
Contouring done properly is one of the most important makeup lessons to be learned out of the entire lexicon. Every celebrity makeup artist does it on every celebrity. We never see our favorite stars hit the red carpet without it. You may recognize it from this classic image, forever imprinted in our hearts and minds… Keep reading »
“I’m in love with Kate Mara’s look from the ‘House of Cards’ premiere. How can a mere mortal like me score her otherworldly glowy skin and gorgeous eyes?” – Jennifer
Oh, a Mara looking freakishly flawless; what else is new? No matter how far I zoom in on this photo, I cannot find a single blemish. It must be in the DNA… or not. Dun dun dun. Let’s be honest — the key to looking this high-quality picture-perfect is tons and tons of makeup… and a little bit more for good measure. Because you’re not going to be photographed by hi-def cameras with flashbulbs under already-bright lights on a red carpet (I assume), you’ll be able to get a similar perfect finish without layers and layers of product. Good news, right? Keep reading »