10 More Beauty Cheats Every Girl Should Know

10 More Beauty Cheats Every Girl Should Know

10 Beauty Cheats Every Girl Should Know is one of the all-time most popular posts on my blog. I love that I’m not the only one who appreciates a good beauty hack!

It’s been four years since I wrote that post (!!) and I’ve learned a lot of good tricks since then. Here are 10 more of my favorite beauty cheats:

1. Tightline your eyes. 

For subtle definition and fuller-looking lashes, run a waterproof black or dark brown eyeliner under your lashes on your upper waterline. I love this matte gel liner crayon for the job: it glides on easily without tugging at my eyes, lasts all day, and doesn’t smudge or transfer onto my lower waterline.

Check out this helpful how-to for details.

2. Match foundation to your body instead of your neck.

I’m diligent about exfoliating and SPF, so my face is always lighter than my body, especially in the spring and summer. My neck is even lighter than my face because it’s less exposed to the sun. If I matched my foundation to my neck, I’d look pale and washed out, so I match it to my chest and shoulders instead, and make sure to always blend the foundation down my jawline. Then I warm up my neck with a light bronzer to make it all seamless.

Here’s a super helpful video by Sona Gasparian about makeup mistakes to avoid that shows this foundation-matching rule in action.

3. Add a drop or two of your favorite beauty oil to your full-coverage liquid foundation.

I love this trick when I’m getting ready for an event. It gives your skin a luminous, airbrushed finish and adds boost of hydration for dry skin types.

Go for something like a light argan oil mixed with an oil-based, full-coverage foundation. (It won’t work with a water-based formula, because as we know, oil and water don’t mix.)

4. Short on time and need to look pulled-together in a pinch? Define your brows.

Shaping and filling in your eyebrows with a soft pencil and/or tinted brow gel goes a long way in defining your features and brightening up your face. I love this waterproof gel brow filler for everyday, one-step brow maintenance.

5. Customize your foundation coverage with moisturizer.

Turn any liquid foundation into a tinted moisturizer by mixing it with a moisturizer. This French pharmacy cream is a makeup artist favorite, and it’s the perfect blending medium for normal to dry skin types.

I squeeze a dollop of moisturizer onto the back of my hand, add 2-4 drops of foundation to it — the amount depends on how sheer I want the coverage to be — and mix it together before applying it to my face with a Beautyblender or brush.

6. Revive dried-out mascara with eye drops.

This tip is from thebeautydepartment.com. Although it’s ideal to toss your mascara after 3 months for sanitation purposes, some formulas seem to dry out after several weeks. (Lookin’ at you, Better Than Sex.) If you splurge on a mascara and find it’s dry and clumpy well before it’s time to throw it out: remove the wand, add about 10 drops of a lubricating contact lens re-wetting solution to the tube, shake, and replace the wand. You’re good to go! It re-hydrates the mascara and it’s safe for your eyes.

7. Stash an eye cream in the fridge for your AM skin care routine

It’s the best way to refresh and de-puff tired eyes in the morning, especially in hot and humid summer months.

8. Nail polish lid stuck? Wrap a rubber band around it.

It will give you extra grip to twist it open.

9. Apply a thin layer of powder under your liquid foundation.

This sounds crazy, but it really works. It locks your foundation in place all day and keeps the finish luminous and dewy. Use a powder brush to dust a light layer of a translucent setting powder over the last step of your skin care routine — which should be moisturizer and/or SPF — and use a Beautyblender to apply foundation on top of it. This Wayne Goss video lays it out step-by-step.

I love this trick because I personally don’t like a matte or powdery finish on my skin.

10. Spray your bobby pins with hairspray.

It makes them sticky so they won’t slide out of your hair! Also, make sure you insert them with the wavy side against your scalp for the best hold (I had this one wrong for years).

My #1 Drugstore Foundation

My #1 Drugstore Foundation

When summer rolls around, I push all my full-coverage foundations to the deep, dark depths of my makeup drawer. I love “less is more” summer beauty vibes — and the Florida heat and humidity literally melts heavy makeup right off yo’ face — so I reach for lightweight water-based foundations, sheer skin tints, and all-in-one CC creams that even out my complexion and give it a little glow, while letting my freckles peek through.

Continue reading “My #1 Drugstore Foundation”

The Best Bronzers For Light Skin

The Best Bronzers For Light Skin

Bronzers are a year-round staple in my daily minimal makeup routine; a good one instantly livens up my face, adds subtle definition to my features, and gives my skin a healthy glow.

In my quest for the best barely-there bronzers for my light complexion, I’ve tried dozens of brands and formulas at every price point, from powders to creams and serums. Through lots of trial and error, I discovered that my ideal bronzers have matte formulas with little to no shimmer, and are only 1-2 shades darker than my natural skin tone.

Continue reading “The Best Bronzers For Light Skin”

8 Big Skin Mistakes I Made In My 20s

8 Big Skin Mistakes I Made In My 20s

When I turned 32 last year, I panicked got serious about nailing down an effective anti-aging skin care routine. I did a lot of research, pored over tons of product reviews, and discovered a handful of really helpful resources online that helped me make sense of overwhelming beauty aisles and identify the holes in my daily routine.

In the process, I discovered that despite having some good established habits (like never forgetting sunscreen) I had plenty of bad ones, too. For years I thought my skin was sensitive and dry, but it turns out, it was just stressed, irritated and unbalanced. When I stopped committing these 10 skin care sins last year, it was exciting to see visible results and watch my skin improve; it’s much more even in texture and tone, it’s balanced and hydrated, and I have way fewer breakouts that heal more quickly than before.

I’m working on posts about my complete AM and PM skin care routines with all my favorite products, but in the meantime, let’s go through the big skin mistakes I made in my 20s and learn together from the error of my ways.

1. Washing my face in the shower.

I washed my face in the shower for years in an attempt to shave some time off my AM routine. (We all know how I feel about mornings.) My face was always bright red and tight/itchy afterward, which should’ve been a sign to quit it, but I just threw on some moisturizer and called it good. It was not good.

What I didn’t know: hot water dehydrates skin and dilates blood vessels and capillaries, which can cause redness and aggravate conditions like sensitivity and rosacea. As if that wasn’t bad enough, harsh detergents in your shampoo can also slide down onto your face and cause more dryness and irritation.

Now I do what Caroline Hirons says: “Stand with your back to the shower and your chin raised – like the shower has greatly offended you,” and I save my face washing for after the shower, at my bathroom sink, as the good Lord intended.

2. Skipping cleanser in the morning.

Once upon a time, I read that Gwyneth Paltrow just splashes her face with water in the morning, so I figured anything good enough for Gwen had to be good enough for me.

Here’s what: we sweat and shed skin cells in our sleep, and that junk needs to be properly washed off in the morning before we pile makeup and other products on top of it. I am reformed, and now I stick to gentle milk and gel cleansers in the AM; this cleansing gel is my current favorite.

3. Not double-cleansing at night.

I talked a bit about double cleansing in this post, but here’s the gist: sunscreen, makeup primers, and long-wearing foundations are formulated to stay put on our skin, and a quick swipe with a makeup wipe is not enough to get your face clean. If you think you’re allergic to sunscreen because it’s causing breakouts, it may be that you’re not removing it properly and it’s taking up residence in your pores.

Double-cleansing ensures that every trace of SPF and makeup are gone, leaving your skin balanced, hydrated, and better able to absorb the next steps in your routine. Step 1: Use a good cleansing balm, cleansing oil or micellar water to break down SPF and makeup, and towel it off with a clean washcloth and warm water. Step 2: Follow up with a second [non-foaming!] cleanser to remove any remaining debris and get your skin balanced and prepped for your treatment products.

I love rich plant-based balms and cleansing oils for my second cleanse; they leave my face squeaky-clean and hydrated, and feel like a spa treatment at the end of a long day. I find that the more my skin care ritual feels like a luxurious pampering session, the more likely I am to stick to it every day.

4. Skipping chemical exfoliants.

Learning about chemical exfoliators was, by far, the biggest game-changer in my good skin game.  These are alpha-hydroxy (AHA) and beta-hydroxy (BHA) acid products that contain glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids, and are most often applied after cleansing in the form of a toner or serum that you don’t rinse off. They’re your glow-getting BFFs.

The most helpful explanation I read about exfoliating acids goes something like this: dead skin cells accumulate on the surface of the skin and mingle with sebum to form a cement-like layer that leaves the complexion dull, flaky and uneven; acids go in and break up the gluey dead skin cells and slough them away to reveal radiant skin and promote healthy cell regeneration. One of my favorite YouTubers, Stephanie Nicole, made a comprehensive video about exfoliating acids that explains the science behind AHAs and BHAs and how using them can give you better skin.

If you’re a beginner in your 20s or 30s, I think these glycolic pads from Target are a great place to start. But be warned: when you first start using acids, the pore purge is real.

5. Over-exfoliating with aggressive scrubs.

Since I didn’t know about chemical exfoliators, I relied on physical exfoliation in the form of scrubs. I shudder to think of all the mornings I spent in a scalding shower pummeling my face with a drugstore apricot scrub filled with walnut shells to try to improve my dry, dull skin. *Palm to forehead*

Harsh scrubs create micro-scratches on the surface of the skin that are vulnerable to bacteria, which can lead to breakouts. Newer iterations of exfoliating scrubs contain tiny plastic microbeads that are gentler on the skin but a nightmare for the environment, so I try to avoid them and let my AHA and BHA products do all the work.

The only scrubbing I do now is on my bod, and I stick to natural sugar scrubs and this skin-clarifying body wash with exfoliating jojoba beads for that job.

6. Using heavily-fragranced products.

See: Why fragrance-free products are best for everyone.

7. Missing an antioxidant-rich vitamin C serum.

Like sunscreen, vitamin C is a never-too-early-to-start skin care staple. Its antioxidant properties shield your skin from pollution and the elements, and a well-formulated ascorbic acid can also help brighten skin tone, diminish spots, and increase firmness.

This is a place in your daily routine that’s worthy of investment because the results are worth every penny; I’m on my second bottle of the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum and I recommend it to all my girlfriends IRL when they ask about my favorite skin care products.

Vitamin C gets an extra benefit boost when it’s paired with other antioxidants, so I like to follow up my C-Firma with a light moisturizer and an antioxidant-rich sunscreen.

8. Not knowing that packaging matters.

Most antioxidants and beneficial skin care ingredients are sensitive to heat, light and air; when exposed to these elements, they break down and lose their effectiveness. If you buy a $100 serum that’s housed in a clear glass bottle with a dropper, or a vitamin C moisturizer in a jar, it loses effectiveness every time you open it.

Now I look for products that are packaged in opaque tubes, air-restrictive bottles, or pump containers that help the ingredients remain stable; and as an extra precaution, I store all my skin care products in a drawer instead of leaving them out on the counter.