Beauty Suggestions

I am a huge non-fan of “beauty rules.” I remember my young teenage self pouring over Seventeen Magazine before the start of the new school year realizing I had (gasp!) been using black mascara when as a blonde this was a “Beauty No-No.” Besides the fact that my meager allowance did not permit me to purchase more than one mascara at a time, I also decided that black mascara looked positively fabulous on me and that any hard and fast beauty rule was not to be believed. And yes, I still wear black mascara AND eyeliner. And I feel no shame. However, my obsession with all things beauty has been unwavering since my mom and step-mom finally accepted that I would continue stealing their Bobbi Brown, Clinique and Laura Mercier products until I had a set of my own. My best friend from childhood babysat for Bobbi Brown’s children and the amount of samples we were blessed to experiment with only added to my growing passion. I am equally known amongst my friends to go bare faced as I am to do a bold, matte hot pink lip and I have become somewhat of an all-knowing reference for friends, friends of friends, acquaintances, new ladies room buddies – I have even taught the Sephora employees some of my tricks! So while I will never claim to espouse “rules” when it comes to beauty, I do have some strongly held beliefs that have served others and myself well. Without further ado, I present you my first 7 beauty suggestions.

{1} Leave your eyebrows alone. Clean up stray hairs, but that is all. NEVER touch the top of the brow with wax, tweezer or thread. This rule is more and more important as we grow older, eyebrow hair simply does not always grow back.

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{2} If you are going to lighten your hair, as Thich Nhat Hahn said: “Smile, breathe and go slowly.” I believe this quote refers to more of an overall life philosophy, but it is equally as applicable to your hair. So you want to go platinum? Lovely. I won’t discourage you, I’ve been there – the blonder you go, the more fun you have. It’s a fact. However, going lighter changes your hair’s texture and not always for the better. Go slowly, and if you like the new texture, feel free to lighten further. However, if you go lighter, then realize your hair is breaking and impossible to shampoo without losing more than you are comfortable with – you’ll be happy you didn’t go full Marilyn. While on the topic of hair color, always bring a picture to your stylist.

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{3} Exfoliate. No anti-blackhead, pore minimizing, skin clearing product can substitute exfoliation. There are two different types. Manual, where the little beads physically remove dead skin such as this one or microdermabrasion and chemical, where a product such as an alpha hydroxy or lactic acid removes dead skin. I like to do a bit of both because my skin can tolerate it. Start slowly and see what your skin can handle. If your skin handles chemical well, I highly recommend using a face wash with glycol in it, such as this one. I also like to use glycolic pads as a toner. Exfoliation is also key for body breakouts.

{4} Moisturize. Full disclosure: I have been breaking out since I was in 6th grade and my skin shows no signs of stopping. When I was younger, I equated breakouts with oil and therefore avoided moisturizer at all costs. And it sure did cost me. No matter what is going on with your skin, you must moisturize. Moisturizing after skin is wet is the best way to go. Moisturizer can only lock in moisture that is already there, not create it. I like to use a Vitamin C moisturizer on my face because it has the dual powers of evening skin tone and preventing environmental damage. I also use a moisturizer with targeted anti-aging day and night. Yes, that’s TWO whole moisturizers and I have about 6 more in the rotation including Aveeno for when I am breaking out, Skinceuticals for persistent dry patches (I love to put this under my eyes, too) and this Kiehl’s for summer. I also moisturize my body religiously after the shower. I don’t believe in spending a lot of money on body moisturizers since they get used up so quickly but I favor ones with cocoa butter, shea butter, oatmeal and lavender.

{5} Embrace a bold lip. There are two categories of things I put on my face and body – things my fiancé loves and things he does not love. This falls into the latter. Do I look like I care? Nope. I love a bold lip. I think it photographs exceptionally well, makes me feel like a 1980s soap opera vixen, and classes up the simplest of looks. I recommend a bare face look with very minimal eye makeup (a light shimmer at most). I love a matte lip and I think Nars dominates in this arena. My favorites for casual glamour (think a chambray shirt and a ponytail) are Heat Wave and Schiap. The velvet pencils are also divine.

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{6} Bronzer. I don’t care how pale or tan you are. Sweep bronzer on the parts of your face the sun hits. There are so many out there and I think I have tried them all (seriously). Here are my picks: Nars Laguna, Benefit Hoola, Bobbi Brown and Tarte Amazonian Clay.

{7} Highlight. Use highlighter on your cupid’s bow, the tip of your nose, and the backward “C” around your outer eye. I favor this one or this one.

Now go forth and be beautiful my belle amies!

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