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Friday, April 25, 2014

Budding Beauty Hacker

"Never say never, dear. You never know what you can do, should circumstances dictate."~Ellen Hopkins

I decided to research quick, easy and cheap 'beauty hacks.' I seem to have stumbled onto a world unto itself on the net. I love stuff like this. If you really want to be a purist, you can use organic versions of the food items listed here. Keep in mind that what you put on your skin is absorbed into your system. I didn't have as much time as I'd have liked to add to this list, but here's some that I particularly like the look of...

Oldie but goodie- to relieve puffy eyes lay down and put 2 cooled, (caffeinated) tea bags on your eyes for a while- the caffeine increases circulation to your eye area and helps reduce puffiness.

Are your lips dry? Try an all natural lip scrub- coconut oil and sugar. Just put a small amount of sugar in your palm or a bowl, and add a couple of drops of coconut oil- start small with the oil as you can always add more. Make into a paste and gently buff your lips. 

For static electricity in your hair, simply run a dryer sheet over your hair.

Here's one I really want to try as I'm a bit of a slob with mani-pedi's; paint around your nail with Elmers Glue to prevent getting polish on your fingers, and peel off after you're done. No paint on the surrounding skin. 

If you have a powder compact- shadow, blush, face powder, whatever- and it shatters, no need to throw it out.  Crush the rest of the powder, carefully put it all back into the compact, drip some 70% alcohol in it, gently flatten and smooth the surface with a spoon or makeup palette knife, and when dry it'll be as good as new. (Almost.)

Another inexpensive, DIY exfoliation trick- add brown sugar and lemon juice to some honey to make a paste, and use to exfoliate the face or body. 

If you have a pimple, honey can help due to it's antimicrobial properties- dip a clean q-tip in some honey and apply to the pimple; you can either leave it on all night or wash off after 20 minutes.

I found lots more while rummaging around the internet, but some of them sound pretty crazy. Still, it's a fun thing to research…you never know- you may find a natural and inexpensive solution for something that's been bothering you :-)

Happy Dressing!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bright Eyes

“The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.”  ~Yves Saint-Laurent

I love eyeshadow. I also love some colors that technically are too bright for my coloring. But I'm not one to let that stop me. 

My eyes are a fairly soft, fairly pale green so as a general rule, if I wear a too bright color next to them all you see is the bright eye shadow. It wears me. This is often the case with women with medium coloring to soft coloring- sometimes they just give up on wearing a 'bright' eye color. But with a few simple tricks, it really is do-able. 

As always, you have to start with your color family- sometimes the color family for your makeup is different than the color family for your clothes, as it is with me. Whichever color family you are with makeup, you stay with the same intensity as you do with your clothes- if you wear muted clothing you'll wear muted makeup, if you wear bright clothing, you'll wear bright(er) makeup. So, if you look your best in muted colors, your 'bright' is going to be considerably softer than someone who looks their best in truly bright colors. Remember, this is about going with a color that YOU consider too bright for you- it's all relative to your coloring- and your taste and personality.

Whatever the coveted color is, put it on your lid. Then in the outer corner you'll put a darker color; this one should be very, very dull- either a very dull version of a color that relates to the 'bright,' and darker than the bright, or just a plain neutral, also darker than the bright. You can also use this same color right in the crease, or a lighter neutral. Whatever you use in the outer corner, be sure to keep the crease color neutral. You can also bring in a 'midtone' shadow above the crease. A mid tone should be just a couple of shades darker than your skin tone, and be very subtle. A mid tone is really about contouring, and also gives you the opportunity to sculpt the eye area and blend everything very nicely. 

The other part of this trick is to blend everything very carefully. You may have to blend more carefully than you normally do because that bright is really gonna stand out. Work those neutrals into the edges, and add more of the bright as you go, if needed. And be sure to use a clean brush to blend, or you might wind up with a mess on your hands. Don't forget that some eyeliner can always make your eye color look brighter, and the whites of your eyes clearer. 

You might be surprised at what works. And you might also be surprised at other directions it takes you in. Most of all, you may finally figure out a way to wear a color you've always wanted to..

Happy Dressing!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Young Enough to Know Better

"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you was?" ~Satchel Paige 

A friend of mine posted an article about age appropriate dressing on Facebook this week that sparked a bit of conversation. For me the problem with so many articles and books on the subject is that they make blanket statements; 'past the age of ___ one should never wear ________.'  It's more complicated than that for me. 

We all know that sometimes there's a fine line between looking good and looking just plain silly - but that's true no matter what the age. WIth youth it comes across as an excusable foible of youth - with an older person it seems somehow sad, or desperate. When you're young, they laugh with you, when you're older, they laugh at you. When you're young dignity isn't such an issue- when you're older, it is. There are things that I wore when I was 20 that I just can't pull off now- but there are also things I can wear now that I'd never have gotten away with then, either. Like I say, it's complex. So here's my thinking on how to get around the issue of 'mutton dressed as lamb.' 

First, like I always say, you have to know what colors look good on you. And this can change with age- often as we get older we need softer colors than when we were young. Next we have to know what design lines work for us- what styles balance out our proportions. Once you've got that down, the fun starts.

From there on out it becomes a matter of personal alchemy. 

This is where your personal style takes over, to start with. By this time you most likely know what you like aesthetically and what you enjoy wearing. So, after color, design lines and aesthetic preferences, how does age come into play? We've all seen the woman wearing something that's 'too young' on her; the question is, what makes it 'too young?' There are, IMO, 2 possible reasons.

First, it may be the very basic issue that she's trying to wear something that's not working on her body at this point in time- she's most likely showing too much skin. As far as I'm concerned, you're NEVER too old to look sexy. It's just that what reads as 'sexy' changes over time. With all that lovely experience and wisdom of the years comes the unfortunate fact of gravity's effect on us. What was once firm and lovely may not be quite so firm, and even though I'm sure it's still lovely, be prepared to just be a little more selective which bits of skin you show, how short your skirts are with bare legs, how low your cleavage goes, etc. Work with showing more sexy shape and less skin. Let the imagination work for you. :-)

Also another trick with a 'questionable' item in your ensemble- only wear that one questionable item. Keep all the other items low key, and 'ageless' and you'll have an easier time pulling it off.

The second part to me is where the magic comes in- it has nothing to do with logic or reason. It's more nebulous and conceptual. There's just no exact explanation for it. There's no apparent reason why one woman, no matter what age, can carry off a garment or accessory that on another woman looks downright silly, but still, there it is. Some of it is probably that she knows her colors and how much contrast she can wear, her best design lines and so on, so that whatever it is isn't 'wearing' her, which is an issue at any age, but probably stands out more as we get older. But it's more than that. This is something she loves, and it shows. It's part of her 'aesthetic lexicon,' if you will, and she OWNS it. Maybe even so much so that she may have broken a few rules- the color might be a bit too strong, or the design lines a little bit outside her best ones- but on her, it just doesn't matter. Maybe it shouldn't work on her, but nonetheless, she looks fabulous. And she knows it. 

That's the magic. If you can pull it off, you'll look great. If you can't, you might just be doing the 'mutton dressed as lamb' thing. And I think it's simply a matter of knowing yourself. 

As important as it is to make a good impression on others, I believe it's equally important to express yourself. And at any age, these two things are rarely mutually exclusive. So don't be afraid to work a little of your own magic and trust your inner voice. You know what you can carry off, and what makes you happy, so work it- no matter your age!

Happy Dressing!