Cosmetically speaking…

In the last couple years I have become far more comfortable with cosmetics and the process of grooming myself. Here are a couple tricks I have picked up along the way.

1. Take care of your skin.

When I meet a person, I notice always the quality of their skin. With women, it always interests me to see them with makeup and without. I find that there are a number of women out there who need a lot of skin care products and strong foundations because they have not very nice skin. Now, there are skin conditions – impetigo, acne, psoriasis, eczema and a myriad of other afflictions can require extra attention, but the truth is, skin care can be quite inexpensive. First off, it is important to drink plenty of water. I drink over 3 L a day, and when I stop drinking that much, my skin immediately breaks out in blackheads. Second, morning and evening face washing is crucial. Oils and dirt build up over the course of the day, and if not cleaned, the pores in your skin will get clogged and your skin will become oily. If desired, a good basic moisturizer is always helpful. Like any machine, the human body needs to be lubricated to ensure it is working at it’s full potential. Just be careful that you do not start using a product that your skin will become dependent on. I use Lubri-derm body moisturizer, and only once a day.

When picking a foundation, try to find something that will do the following for you – smooth out your skin tone and provide a base for the rest of your makeup application. I prefer powder foundations, as I can either wear just a light powder coat during the day, or I can use a sponge and apply it wet for thicker coverage in the evening. For shade, try to anticipate not only what your skin tone is at the time of purchase, but what tone it will be in the winter. I tend to resemble a ghost by mid December, and so have to buy a lighter foundation. With foundation, spending a little more on a high quality foundation can be a good thing, as that is what will cover most of your face.

2. Take care of the basics.

I find that when I have spent a little time on the details, I can be more forgiving of myself when I do not quite make it up to par with what I want to look like. Once a week, I spend 30-45 minutes taking care of my nails and brows. Even if you are not wearing makeup, well-groomed brows can give a striking appearance to any young lady. And having a fresh coat of polish on smooth, shiny nails always makes me feel glamorous. Find something that works for you and make it a routine. A word of advice, with your brows, try not to overpluck; the hair there does not always grow back.

For your nails, I would recommend buying a six-sided file. I buy mine at Shopper’s Drug Mart. It is a basic nail file, with six different surfaces for shaping and polishing the nail. I usually have a french tip using Dream Maker, from Nicole with Pure Pearl from Revlon. The Nicole polish is a sparkly pinkish clear that puts a subtle sparkle on the nails, and Revlon has a pearly finish. A nice upgrade from using white-out during English class (which does not come off easily). There are also polish brushes that are super fine-tipped so you can design and draw on your nails. They are very fun to doodle with1

Everyone hair is different in lengths, colors and textures, so I will just point out a couple things I have observed. First, oily hair affects my skin, which causes me to break out, especially on my shoulders and upper back. I gave up on bangs long ago, partially for that reason. So keeping your hair healthy and moisturized is a suggestion. Hair dye, while nowhere near as harmful as it once was, is still something I use only judiciously. Remember, it is always easier to go darker than lighter, and if you want to go lighter, the dye will strip away at your hair. How much depends on the quality of the dye, but I suggest caution and professionals for any ladies who wish to become blonde. For those out there who have longer hair, as I do, do not worry too much about how much you are shedding. I believe that it is good to brush regularly, removing hairs that have loosened over the course of the day or during your sleep, but tying your hair back in tight pony tails and buns regularly can loosen hair excessively. A simple beauty tip – dampen your hair and french braid it before you go to bed. Use a scented hair product when you do this. In the morning you will have amazing waves that amp up the volume and bring out all the high and lowlights in your hair.

3. Less is more.

I am a fervent believer in this phrase. Makeup is not something that should be used to create beauty, but to enhance the beauty you already have. Try to find a simple makeup routine that will satisfy your day to day needs and help you feel confident when you face other people. How little make up should you wear? That depends a lot on your comfort zone. There are ladies who can go with only what was left over from the day before, and ladies who refuse to leave the house without their faces made up, and some who never wear any. I would take into consideration one fact, and that is heavy makeup constantly will affect the skin in the later years of life. Yes there are anti-wrinkle creams and laser surgeries and all sorts of things available for keeping the face well maintained, but consider this also. A person’s life is etched on their faces. Every laugh, every frown, Every moment of your life. Treasure it.

4. Keep your mouth clean.

Whatever your routine is, consistency is key. Be it just a quick brush to a full daily regime, dental hygiene is something that should not be ignored. I like to take care of my teeth, as tooth pain is the hardest to deal with, in my experience. I strongly recommend flossing before you go to sleep. When I first started flossing regularly, the smell of the food rotting between my teeth was enough to convince me to do it every night thereafter. I follow that with a quick rinse with mouthwash. Do not over do it with mouthwash, as not all the bacteria in your mouth is bad.

5. Pick your poison.

Every lady who has ever used a beauty product, from hand cream to eyebrow tweezers to rouge, has a preference for one brand or another. I use a variety of brands, from the cheap to the expensive. There are certain products I prefer to make sure are high quality, especially with makeup. Mascara, for example is one I like the higher-end products on. Where I live, there are not many L’ancome supplies wonderful clump-free mascaras and also flawless foundations. I also have a fondness for Covergirl. Shop around and try different brands. I went through a phase where I bought every single color pallette of Covergirl’s cream eyeshadows. Now I prefer powders, thanks to a brief affair with Lise Watier (they stopped supplying it in the Shopper’s Drug Mart). Play around and have fun!

6. Remember…

Confidence is the most attractive part of anyone’s personality. With or without grooming, what you feel on the inside will reflect on the outside. Carry yourself with pride and people will notice it, and you. Develop a routine that you do before you go to bed at night and when you get up. Even if it is only 10 minutes, the consistency will benefit you in the long run.

Until next time,

Z.

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