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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Brand Crush: Buxom

Sometimes, like it or not, a brand is just plain good, and despite my best efforts to resist, I end up with a new brand crush.

My latest infatuation? Buxom.

I didn’t want to like this cosmetics line. Honestly, I just don’t like the word Buxom. But eventually I received a sample of Buxom lips, a sticky, sweet-smelling lip polish that plumps lips and looks AMAZING. It’s long-lasting, and I’ve been carrying a tube of the Sugar shade ever since.

But last week, my crush morphed into obsession when I decided to try Buxom Lash. This mascara is absolutely wonderful. It’s dark and makes lashes look long and thick. I’ve been using it for a week and have had no eye irritation, even after I forgot to wash it off one night before bed. It doesn’t flake, and lasted the full 15 hours I wore it before taking it off. It has also lasted through both sweat and tears. It just might be my favorite mascara of all time.

I think it’s love.

Hello, Blue Eyes!

If one frequently spends one’s weekends watching America’s Next Top Model marathons, one is likely to eventually fall for the not-so-subtle marketing of CoverGirl products. For quite some time now I’ve been curious about the brand’s Exact Eyelights products, due to the fact that the contestants on ANTM all have bright sparkly eyes whenever they wear the stuff. Nevermind the fact that they are all models who were probably selected for just such a feature.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a tube of CoverGirl Exact Eyelights mascara in Black Sapphire, the color specifically designed to make blue eyes pop. I can’t lie, I’m usually a bit of a mascara snob, happily laying down thirty bucks for a tube of high-end stuff. But I was pleasantly surprised by my purchase.

So far the mascara hasn’t clumped, hasn’t flaked, and hasn’t irritated my sensitive eyes. It doesn’t melt or fade, even after an 11 hour work day. And I think it does make my eyes look a little bluer and brighter. Last week one of my coworkers told me that my eyes looked super blue.

Not bad for a drugstore mascara.

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.

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.