So, once you’re putting together fabulous outfits, the next step is hair and makeup. For this I reviewed books by Carmindy and Bobbi Brown, and can recommend both, though your average beauty magazine will probably tell you the same thing (except for the part about eyebrows--I hadn't seen that before). I actually think 90% of beauty is a healthy glow, the confidence that comes from being happy with ourselves, and a genuine smile. So you should spend most of your efforts on getting enough sleep, coping with and removing stress, eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables, and getting enough exercise. I know, easier said than done. The things that most help after that are clear, moisturized skin, white teeth, and an appropriate eyebrow shape/color. That means the most important part of your morning makeup routine is actually washing your face, putting on moisturizer with sunscreen, and brushing your teeth.
You should choose your skin care products based on your skin type. If you have oily skin, use foaming gel cleanser (like L’Oreal Ideal Balance) and an oil-free lotion with SPF 15 or higher. You must use lotion to keep your skin from compensating and producing more oil. Lotions with Alpha Hydroxy Acids will help exfoliate skin and keep pores clear. If you have normal skin, you probably actually have combination skin, and need to choose products from the “oily” and “dry” categories as they meet your needs. If you have dry skin, use a creamy cleanser (like Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser) and a moisturizing cream with SPF 15 or higher. If skin feels tight five minutes after applying moisturizer, your formula isn’t rich enough. Try using a humidifier in winter for extra moisture. Once you are consistently wearing a moisturizer with SPF, you will need a self-tanner. I hate extra steps, so I wanted a daily moisturizer with SPF and tanning lotion all-in-one. I found:
Jergens Natural Glow Face Moisturizer (which Carmindy recommends), Neutrogena Summer Glow,
Olay Regenerist Touch of Sun UV Regenerating Lotion, and
Olay Complete Touch of Sun.
If none of those is moisturizing enough, you can add some super-moisturizing cream and shake it up (try a small mix first to make sure they play well together).
The only other skin product that people are really insistent on at our age is eye cream. If you have puffiness, look for formulas that firm (like Neutrogena Healthy Skin Eye Cream). If, like me, you have dark circles under your eyes, you need to accept that concealer will probably do more for you than anything else. If you have allergies, sometimes getting allergy shots to reduce your reaction can help. When looking for dark circle products, find ones with vitamin K and that DO NOT address puffiness—they can thin the skin making circles appear darker. Shea butter and beeswax are ultra-hydrating at night, but in general, what works during the day should work during the night. Amazon reviewers see results from:
Neutrogena Radiance Boost Eye Cream, and
Skin-Ceuticals Eye Cream.
If you want more contoured and tanned limbs, body lotion is also a must. Olay makes a Body Touch of Sun without SPF that might be good for legs and arms in the winter. Otherwise, you can make your own. Buy unscented lotion from the drugstore, then mix in essential oils (like coconut, jasmine, or rose), and liquid shimmer (try Sephora Luminizer, Neutrogena Shimmer Sheer, LORAC TANtalizer, Stila All Over Shimmer, or Laura Geller Illuminizing Color Wash).
As for teeth, I think bleaching your teeth sounds scary, so either chat with your dentist or try a whitening toothpaste (such as Colgate Simply White Advanced Whitening). If you’re feeling adventurous, there are many varieties of whitening strips that can be used with strengthening toothpaste.
Carmindy gives the most concrete description I have ever seen of how to shape your brows, and it’s worth checking the book out of the library just to see the pictures.
1) She starts with brushing brows up and trimming any extra-long hairs.
2) Then, you must identify where the brow should begin—she says to rest a brow brush along the side of your nose, and where the brow brush crosses your brow is where your brow should start (or even a tiny bit closer to your nose, according to the picture). Pluck right after your shower for the least pain. Remove any stray hairs in between brows.
3) Your arch should be where the brush crosses your brow when lined up with the outside of your lip and the outer edge of the iris. Pluck hairs under the arch to make it taper more clearly.
4) Your endpoint should be where the brush crosses your brow and is lined up with your nostril and the outer corner of your eye. Pluck any that stray beyond.
In general, err on the side of fuller brows, since they look more youthful.
Interestingly, most models and celebrities dye their brows to both make their hair color more believable and to make their eyes pop. Darker eyebrows give eyes definition, lighter brows soften your look. You lighten them with plain drug-store hair bleach. Take it off in 5-minute intervals your first time until you have a sense of how long to leave it on.
Once you have all of those down, you should be able to do makeup in five quick minutes.