How to Avoid Becoming Bored With Your Own Face

First of all, I must apologize to my friend and loyal reader Danielle, who asked me to write about this issue months ago. It turns out, even a perfectly pretty, confident girl can find herself in a beauty rut, bored with her day-to-day makeup routine. Here, a few suggestions to switch things up and keep yourself looking – and feeling – sassy.

1. Wing it. Anybody who has read more than a couple of my posts knows that my number one piece of beauty advice is to curl your eyelashes. Whether you’re a dedicated lash-curler or a lash-curling virgin, winging out just your outer lashes is an easy way to change your look and add a little glamour to your day. You can use a regular eyelash curler and just crimp the very outside lashes, but a mini curler works better, and allows you to do more detail work. I like Vincent Longo’s mini lash curler. Follow with a coat of mascara and maybe a swipe of black liner along your upper lash line, and you’ll feel like a sexy old-time move starlet.

2. Add and Subtract. One of the most obvious ways to change your look is to stop doing something you always do and start doing something new. If you never leave the house without eyeliner, skip it. If you aren’t much of a blush-wearer, dust one on. Moving the focus from one part of your face to another will make you feel like a new woman, if only for a day.

3. Play with Textures. If you want to try something new but aren’t comfortable making a big change, try switching up your textures. If you always wear a matte lipstick, try a shiny gloss in the same shade. Swap your favorite eyeliner for a metallic version in the same color family. Little tweaks like this are subtle, and might just help you find a new favorite everyday item!

4. Try a Kiss of Color. A little color can go a long way. Adding a shot of brightness to your look can really jazz up the way you look and feel. Try a neon pink or orange lip gloss (I like Make Up For Ever Glossy Full Couleur Extreme Shine Lip Gloss) – it’s fun and surprisingly wearable. Or swipe on a bright blue or purple mascara and see how your eyes sparkle. The trick is to not try too many colors at once – you want to look sassy, not clownish.

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White Lies

Confess. You’ve done it. You’ve stayed up late on a school night. You only got a few hours of shut-eye before an early day at the office. Maybe you drank too much at karaoke night. Or perhaps you were just way too into Twilight to put it down and go to bed. Either way, there’s been a time or two when you woke up looking, well, tired.

Lately I’ve been noticing how pronounced the dark circles under my eyes have become. Overly tired is certainly not a youthful look. No matter how cute an outfit may be, it is definitely overshadowed by purple smudges below bloodshot eyes. So, my mission as of late has been to find a way to look well rested.

Just a little white lie.

Turns out, the trick to this white lie is white liner. Flipping through January magazines, all the beauty looks I liked had one thing in common – bright-eyed models, sporting white liner. It is surprisingly subtle, and instantly makes eyes look brighter and more awake. I bought a cheap Wet N Wild pencil last weekend, and am now officially hooked.

To give yourself some extra help in the no-I’m-not-hungover-and-sleep-deprived department, use your white liner in conjunction with these other eye-brightening tricks, and you’ll be looking more lively in no time.

1. Curl your lashes, curl your lashes, curl your lashes. I know I say it all the time, but it makes a huge difference. Your eyes will look twice as wide, I swear.

2. Dab on some concealer. A little on the yellow side is good for under eyes, as it helps counteract the blue tones. I like L’Oreal True Match Concealer. And be careful not to apply too much – nobody wants that streaky concealer ring around their eyes.

3. Use a highlighter. A light reflecting highlighter on your cheek and brow bones brightens your complexion and makes your eyes look about 1000 times more awake. Right now I can’t get enough of Benefit High Beam. Try the travel size for $10 (available at sephora.com).

Where There’s Smoke…

There are few looks as timeless and coveted as the smokey eye. When done properly, it’s a smoldering, sophisticated look that makes your eyes pop and puts a swagger in your step. When done poorly, it can look like you are in desperate need of sleep, you’ve been punched in both eyes, or, worse, you simply just don’t know how to apply makeup. None of these is good.

My go-to eye look is sort of a smokey cat eye. It’s subtle enough to be appropriate in just about every situation, but steamy enough to make me feel HOT during those times when I really want to be able to stop people dead in their tracks with nothing more than a glance. I’m not sure I ever have, but feeling like I could is the real power that comes from the smokey eye.

First things first: I start by curling my lashes and applying concealer below the eyes. As mentioned above, this look can run the risk of making you look sleepy or bruised; try to avoid that by hiding any real signs of sleep deprivation. I always curl my lashes first so that I don’t get any makeup on my lash curler, and because it slightly changes the look of the eye and I want to make sure I apply makeup accordingly.

Next, I sweep on a light beige or shimmery nude eyeshadow. Apply it all over lids, from lashes to brow bone. Two of my favorite shadows for this are Lancome Color Design Eyeshadow in Nutmeg and Stila Eyeshadow in Kitten. Kitten is a little sparklier, so Nutmeg is my pick when subtlety is key.

Now for the fun part: liner. I have used regular pencil liner and gel liner (never liquid – I’m just not that brave), and both can be good tools, but my favorite way to line my eyes is with powder eye shadow and a sponge-tip applicator. I’ve used dark purples, greens, and blacks, and really depending on your eye color, what you’re wearing, and how brave you feel, any dark shadow can work. The color I use most frequently is Make Up For Ever Diamond Shadow in Diamond Black. Carefully tap the edge of the sponge-tip applicator in the shadow. Use it to deposit the color right into the lash line, all along the bottom lashes. Do the same on the top, starting between a third and half of the way across the lashes and moving out towards the outer corner of the eye. Where the two lines meet, I like to wing the shadow slightly upward, creating the subtle cat eye look.

Using either my finger or the applicator, I smudge the lines a little, making the look more or less smokey depending on the event or situation.

Finally, I add a coat of black mascara to open up my eyes and tie the look together.

Voila! A subtle smokey eye.

Shop for the Cause

As I’m sure everyone knows by now, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To show support for the cause, virtually every designer and cosmetics company has created a special, limited edition pink product, the proceeds from which go to various breast cancer awareness and research organizations.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this week I’m urging readers to do two things. First of all, flip through all your October magazines, do a little online browsing, and find a pink product you just can’t live without. Some of my picks this year? Sonia Kashuk’s target line is featuring adorable pink makeup brushes, as well as a pink eyelash curler. Lacoste has several pink items available this month, including an alligator emblazoned towel. OPI has a pale pink lacquer called Pink Of Hearts that would make any girl’s feet look lovely. And my personal favorite, and the item I purchased for myself this week, a set of mini pink lip glosses from Clinique. They are the perfect way to perk up a pallid October face.

Secondly, do what you know you should and give yourself a self exam. Yes, you may feel a little silly feeling yourself up, but we should all be doing it monthly, so get used to it. I found a lump while I was still in college, and though it thankfully turned out to be a false alarm, it was a scary time and I’m diligent about doing my self exams. A few years ago, a close friend of mine found a lump that did have to be removed, but her early detection of it kept it from getting out of hand. All women, young and old, can benefit from doing regular exams. As my doctor has often pointed out to me, simply knowing what your breasts normally feel like will make it easy for you to detect any abnormalities.

So please, in honor of all of the aunts, mothers, grandmothers, sisters and friends who have battled or are battling breast cancer, remember to check yourself for any unusual lumps. Then go buy yourself a little something pretty.

Five Steps to Pretty

On America’s Next Top Model last week, the would-be models were given a makeup lesson. They were told that all they needed to enhance their natural beauty and finish with a pretty face were four essentials: concealer, bronzer, mascara, and gloss.

While I agree that these are all great tools in creating a pretty, natural look, I’d like to add something to the list, if I may.

Ladies, don’t forget your eyelash curler.

In college my very un-makeup-y roommate would watch in horror as I curled my lashes every day before class.

“That looks like a medieval torture device,” she’d say.

In all honesty, lash curlers do look a little intimidating, but they don’t hurt at all, and they make a world of difference. Even when I’m too lazy to put on anything other than moisturizer and lip balm, I still curl my lashes. It opens the eyes, and your mascara will pack a more powerful punch when applied to curled lashes.

My favorite trick for bright eyes/big lashes? After curling lashes and applying mascara, I blink my lashes against the side of the mascara tube. This not only gets rid of clumps, it helps reinforce your curl.

Eyelash curlers range in price from really cheap (I’ve seen 99 cent versions) to pretty pricey (my favorite, Shu Uemura’s lash curler, is between 19 and 24 dollars). In my experience the high-end ones are worth the money; they curl instead of crimp, and the curl tends to be longer lasting.

So ladies, conceal your blemishes, gloss your lips, bronze your cheeks, and do your lashes. You’ll look naturally pretty. I promise.