Beauty Closet: Eyebrow Confessions

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{Somehow my mom doesn’t freak out when I send her photos like this to show off my new discovery, and luckily she loves me.}

Eyebrows are getting a lot of attention these days. They’ve really always had the same impact, but thanks to some noticeably famous arches, pretty suddenly big is back in. I have a love hate relationships with my eyebrows, and luckily we’ve recently gotten on better terms. While I’ve always been a regular eyebrow waxer who even enjoys the slight pain (am I crazy?) I recently converted…

My right eyebrow is a perfectly arched dream. It has the soft slightly upward curved hairs that rarely fall out of place and a plush texture. My left eyebrow is a grossly out of line second cousin. The hairs are longer and slinkier. There is a strange cowlick, runaway growth, and a slow extended arch. In 7th grade I asked my mom if I could get my eyebrows waxed like she did. It was before my first school dance and all of my friends in Australia were into some eyebrow grooming. My mom rarely turned down a request like this, but did saying it would make me look too mature. Not a fan of this answer, I attempted to wax my own eyebrows with duct tape in my room. It was a sticky failure. Instead I sneakily borrowed a pair of tweezers and did some very minor pruning of my own.

Fast forward a few years and my mom introduced my sister and me to her waxing expert Kim at the Macy’s salon. Kim was a super perky woman in towering heels who coaxed these brows into submission. In the early 2000s thin brows were in, and she worked her magic with wax, tweezers, and the occasional trim. When I moved to New York I was absolutely shocked¬†to find how inexpensive one of my now favorite pick-me-ups was. I could slip into a salon and for $7 leave feeling primped and refreshed. What I quickly realized was nobody was getting these arches quite in-line the way Kim did, and with a few burns. I tried a few more expensive spots including Benefit and even Boom Boom Brow Bar before my wedding. While they were an improvement, $25-$30 seemed like a stiff price when I would have to do a little finishing work at home.

Then one day it all changed when I stumbled into Thread Salon. The woman quickly told me I should do threading instead. I had always been a little disgusted by threading since it appears the thread is in the esthetician’s mouth (gross!) but I was drained and just nodded. While I actually enjoyed the quick rip of waxing,¬†the incessant pain of threading made my eyes water uncontrollably. I pulled my skin taut as the woman instructed, and felt slightly nauseous and light headed when I opened my eyes, complete with a rush of tears. However, all of this became void when she handed me a tiny hand mirror. With minimal redness I had perfectly coiffed arches. Even the left second cousin swept beautifully in- line, with no stragglers near the temples. I happily handed over my $8 (!!), picked up a frequent visitor card, and strutted on home. Consider me converted.


How to: Create a Big Bun

I’ll admit, when it comes to hair I am a bit challenged. I can do a basic ponytail and translate it into the ‘messy chignon’ (i.e twisted, tangled knot), blow my hair out with a bit of mousse for the “big hair” I love, and mastered the mini braid that was popular a few years ago (and I still happily wear!). Beyond that I never mastered how to “do” hair, and frankly didn’t have the patience. However, recently when I noticed these huge buns showing up, I was completely intrigued. I tried wrapping and pinning my own hair but never got the major volume of the stars. Then I heard about the sock bun.

Step 1. Spray your hair and brush back into a high ponytail (be sure to brush out all of tangles on your head for a full pony).
Step 2. Take a large sock with the toe cut out, or a leg warmer, and roll it into a sock ring. Starting at the base of your pony roll the sock upwards collecting hair.
Step 3. Take the excess hair and wrap it around the sock.
Step 4. Pin to secure and spray with hairspray.

I am completely amazed at how easy it to create this massive bun, and it stayed in place all day. I suggest using a neutral colored and super long sock (mine was a knee high) for the biggest bun. I’ve heard some people wrap all of the hair around the sock first, or secure with a second elastic. I like the above method because it’s easy and ends up a bit wispy and disheveled, like the examples above. Check out my bun here, then try it out and let me know if you have success!

P.S I’m super excited to be contributing fashion and style articles to the teen lifestyle site, PopCosmo. I just did my first article, so tell your sister’s nieces, and hey your inner tween to check it out!

Beauty Basics: The Lipstick Diaries

Firstly, this post has nothing to do with four middle aged women searching for mid-life satisfaction in a post Sex and the City like saga. While it’s a great book, sorry to disappoint! Instead, we’re talking signature lipsticks.
I come from a long line of strong women with low maintenance beauty routines, plenty of chutzpah, and a signature lipstick. As long as I can remember, my maternal grandmother has had amazingly dewy skin and switches between a fuchsia, or magenta hued red lipstick- but always Clinique. My paternal grandmother has a signature low bun, and a constant subdued, but clearly hot pink, lip color. My own mom keeps a simple day to day routine of under eye concealer and some variation of a berry colored lip (basically whatever is in the bottom of her purse). In any case, for all these women their lips are the highlighted facial feature (perhaps because we’re big talkers?) and they often reapply in the rearview mirror before getting out of the car.

I had a serious obsession with Lip Smackers when I was in middle school, but once I discovered I could create rockstar eyes with eyeliner and layers upon layers of mascara, my lip colors took a backseat on the vanity. Recently I’ve been trying to switch it up, and try a bold color lip. My Sephora makeup kit has rows of selections (the whole rosy hued middle in the first picture). I like the glossy texture, but they quickly fade when eating or drinking. I love the J.Crew color, but it tends to be a bit drying so I top it with a lip gloss (or Vaseline). Do you have a signature lip color, or do you switch it up? Any favorite brands?

Have a great weekend!

Beauty Basics: A Skin Remedy for Swingy Weather

Happy leap year day, or February 29th. Leap years are such a weird calendar and solar phenomenon in my mind, and I am absolutely going to blame this catch up day for the bizarre weather that seems to be taking over this whole country. Within a week we are swinging between 35 and 65 degrees, and neither my ancient radiators or skin appreciate it.

This refrigerator skin remedy is a fool proof way to calm and moisturize your skin. I have outrageously sensitive skin and have had nothing but positive results from this unusual concoction. Just keep your dog away, while harmless, Charlie tries to lick my face.

Step 1: Wash your face with your normal nightly cleanser. For me this is Proactiv, but use whatever works.

Step 2: Slather an even layer of sour cream (yup the regular taco topper) over your entire face. You can also use Greek yogurt, but for the same effect, don’t waste the money. Then lay back and relax for 10 minutes. (Literally, lay down, or else this will drip down your shirt.)

Step 3: Rinse off the sour cream thoroughly and pat dry. My skin always feels unbelievably soft, smooth, and looks glowy without any redness or weather irritation. After a few minutes follow with your favorite moisturizer.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Beauty Basics: Beating the Under Eye Battle

My mom, her mom, and maybe her mom, provided me with some lovely beauty genes and traits.  However, one of the biggest curses blessings are prominent dark under eye circles. I recently learned, thanks to a Glamour article, that mine are likely pigmentation rather than veins i.e it’s genetics not aging (phew!) You can figure this out by pulling the under eye skin taut. If it gets darker or changes color it’s likely veins, if it stays the same it’s pigmentation. I could have told myself this seeing as I’ve been covering the up since sixth grade with fairly translucent eye shadow once I saw my mom slathering on the concealer every day.  On a day to day basis I am incredibly low maintenance in the beauty department, but this is one issue that I do not take lightly.

I had a fairly reliable concealer routine until the end of last year when I was fed up. My normal concealer was settling in the creases around my eyes, getting caked with mascara flecks, and my less than sun glistening skin was aggravating the purple hue. I made a trip to Sephora with my sister and mom for a serious intervention. With a few tweaks from their suggestions I have arrived at a routine that I can happily say makes me appear well rested and bright eyed…for now.

This  Benefit product is the new addition to the arsenal. On its own the product is very light colored, and can appear a bit chalky. However, underneath the concealer it provides a great base to hold coverage, and provide a smooth foundation against any creases.

This Cover Girl concealer is a drugstore bargain and provides plenty of coverage for me when layered with the above. I first apply the Cover Girl tinted moisturizer blended with my Clinique moisturizer all over for a very sheer layer of color and “glow.”  I find that having a nice dewy glow makes the purple circles more bearable from the start.

I have incredibly sensitive skin and so far this routine has caused zero irritation. What’s your biggest beauty concern?