How to Get Fabulous Eyebrows (Again)
One thing I sincerely regret from my high school and college years was overplucking my eyebrows. Back then, the trend was to have thinner brows, so I obligingly followed suit. Much to my dismay, years later, my eyebrows look sparse and sad. So fair warning – if you have beautiful, thick eyebrows, no matter the trend, simply keep them clean!
Thicker eyebrows help us look younger and give us a more defined frame around our eyes. They look great even when you don’t have makeup. Plus you can tweak them as you wish in more than one way since you don’t have to commit to just one look.
If you want a thicker eyebrow look, the quickest way to accomplish this is to use an eyebrow pencil. Professional makeup lines found at specialty cosmetic stores have created their own fabulous products that produce natural lines from a hard-tipped pencils, for example, that need to be sharpened but deliver great color. Eyebrow shaping and defining kits are another fabulous option that include all the tools and product to create natural, beautiful eyebrows. These kits even have a brow guide and template to help you shape them the way you want. You can also mix a combination of the palette options to create everyday to dramatic night looks.
A new trend, started in New York, is brow extension bars! Following the popularity of eyelash extensions, these professional salons dye human hair to match our brows then attach to your own brows. The cost at almost $200 is somewhat steep but lasts two weeks.
Right now, I’m experimenting with an over-the-counter eyelash serum that is supposed to also work on eyebrows. At just a little over $100, it produces thicker, longer hair while stimulating dominant follicle growth at the roots. Prescription products, which I have used years ago for my lashes and successfully, I might add, have been proven to also work great for brows but are quite pricey.
With a little experimentation, you can make your brows stand out once again in healthy and even cost-effective ways. Don’t forget to maintain those strays between brows and right on the lid as you patiently grow them out. After a month or two, you’ll have your second chance at fabulous framed eyes and never look back.
Oily Skin Tips
If you have oily skin like I do, you know what a pain it is to de-shine but not irritate. Larger sebaceous glands just beneath the skin’s surface have been found to be the culprit for oily skin. Hormones also play a role, as when it’s that time of the month and you notice a little oil slick on your face. By taking daily care of your skin and using the right products, you can take control of a shiny face and keep it healthy at the same time.
First off are the everyday products you use. Be sure the cleanser you are using does not contain added ingredients to moisturize the skin. Opt for cleansers that are clean, simple and free of a lot of unnatural ingredients. Remember to use lukewarm water instead of hot water so you don’t over-dry and shock your skin. Just because you have oil doesn’t mean you have to treat your skin harshly!
Exfoliating is a fabulous way to slough off extra oil and dead skin cells, which can also trap oil on your skin. A favorite of mine that gently does the trick and has very natural ingredients can be found at any local drugstore or discount store. Plus, at just under $4, it’s affordable for any college student budget!
Deep cleansing clay masks once a week help soften skin and remove excess oil. Other ingredients such as honey and shea butter naturally absorb oil without drying out your skin. Popular skin care lines have a fabulous line of masks that also help with acne.
Make sure you look for water-based and non-comedogenic makeup to avoid clogging pores and adding more unnecessary oil. Carry oil-absorbing wipes with you (just $6 from the drugstore in brands – no need for expensive department store cosmetic brands) to gently pat off oily skin throughout the day. This is a whole lot better than caking on powder that just mixes with oil and can clog pores.
Good habits are also helpful. Make sure you don’t scrub your face to hard so as not to irritate your skin. Wash your face once in the morning and once before you go to bed. Make sure you wash your face after you workout and to always remove your makeup at night.
Don’t despair if you have had to live with oily skin your whole life. A little oil helps your skin appear younger and suppler while also preventing most of the wrinkles that people with drier skin usually develop. With some scheduled maintenance, you can take control of oily skin and still enjoy its benefits.
Fighting Humidity for Frizzy Hair
If you attend school in a humid part of the country like Houston or Miami, you probably experience year-round frizz. Nothing compares to having spent ten to twenty minutes fixing your hair only to have it ruined within minutes of stepping outside. Here are a few tips to help you combat the moist air and bring your hair back to a tamer state in your own dorm room.
If you don’t have the time or money to do a professional straightening treatment at the salon (which can cost upwards of $300), try keratin products. These at-home sprays and serums give you soft, shiny hair for up to three days. They seal in moisture while repelling humidity, so your hair stays supple and doesn’t dry out. Many keratin products fill in hair with keratin protein, making it smoother and easier to blow dry. After three days and washing it out, you can still see the benefits from the initial application. For wavy hair and a more affordable cost, try products that tout straighter, frizz-free hair in just three days. After applying the serum to damp hair and combing it through, blow dry and straighten with a flat iron and enjoy a few days of humid weather without the humid effects.
If you want to use something that just helps de-frizz in a jiff, a number of products help do that every time you style. Many salon brands, for example, fight frizz and tame flyaways. All you need are a few drops smoothed through hair to de-frizz or to smooth flyawas on top. You can use it on damp or dry hair, making it a versatile compound. For extra humidity-proofing, they suggest mixing with other products, such as creams, in their line. To protect your hair from styling heat, which aggravates the effects of humidity on your hair, use a leave-in cream that has the words “protectant” or “heat-styling”. It acts as more of a protectant that also fills in hair with mostly acai extract and silk protein to help smooth hair and keep it smooth in humid weather long until the next washing.
Shampoos can help reduce frizz, too, in conjunction with hair straightening or styling products. Brands that come straight from straightening treatment lines have a great option that you use every few days to maintain smooth, straight hair. Look for products, available at any drugstore or discount store, that specifically cater to smoothing down hair.
You can always style your hair as usual using these products so your waves or even curls come out bouncier, shinier and smoother. Be sure to follow instructions to make sure you don’t over do it on your hair. If you can afford a salon treatment, make sure you read reviews, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and follow their advice to a “T”. It’s a great experience to be able to take half the time to dry and style your hair and walk out of the house with gorgeous locks, ready for any weather.
Enhancing Your Look with Fake Eyelashes
If you can’t wait that long for long gorgeous lashes to grow in with the latest formulas out there (which can take up to 8 weeks to help eyelashes grow thicker and longer), fake it! You can visit your local salon for more expensive lash extensions or, with a little practice, apply store-bought lashes on your own.
Visit any makeup store or even your local drugstore, and you will find a plethora of quality fake lashes. In addition, you can choose from a variety of different styles. Thicker lashes, longer lashes, different sized lashes, even colored lashes are available to fit your look and occasion. First, make sure you have all the tools you need: a pair of tweezers, eyelash glue, eyelash curler and black mascara.
Next, choose the type of lashes you’d like to use. The most natural look arecriss-crossed, medium-length lashes. The appearance of extra thickness provides a glamorous look without going overboard. For a doll-like, eye-widening effect, try long and unrealistic styles from popular brands that you can find online. Darkness has a pair of shorter lashes that are more spread apart and, therefore, better for everyday use. Bonus: Most come two in a box. Finally, a spiky pair, one that has a mix of long and short lashes, can also add drama and could also be good for everyday use.
So, how do you apply these gorgeous new lashes? First, make sure the lashes aren’t too long for your eye. Make sure the longer lashes are on the outside of your eye. Place the lashes against your lid until you have them from just where your natural eyelashes are growing from the inside to the outside of your eye. Take a little pair of cosmetic scissors and trim off the individual hairs at the spine, a couple at a time to make sure you don’t snip off too much.
Next, take an eyelash curler and gently but firmly curl up your lashes. This helps your natural and fake lashes blend better together from the get-go. Then, apply eyelash glue to the spine of your fake lashes. A simple way is to put some glue on the back of your dominant hand, lightly dip the spine into the glue and let dry for a minute. In order to make sure you get right onto the lash line, apply the lashes downward instead of straight on. If you need a little help adjusting, use your tweezers. Allow the lashes to dry for a few minutes. Avoid pressing on it hard so you don’t crush your natural lashes nor move the fake lashes. Blend your natural and fake lashes by applying a couple coats of mascara.
Make sure you clean your lashes before reusing them and avoid sleeping in them so you don’t crush or lose them. Some lashes can be reused a few times but be sure you ask or read about the brand you choose for more information.
Workout Hair that Doesn’t Try Too Hard
Going to the gym can sometimes be as much a social endeavor as it is a health-related one. Besides picking out the right workout clothes that don’t sacrifice comfort, many of us worry about our hair. It may seem like a trifle thing to focus on, but you never know who you’ll run into (and how much more motivated you might be to run that extra 10 minutes knowing you look good).
Take braids to a whole new level with double French braids. Simply part your hair in the middle and French braid each side to just above the nape of your neck. Then gather the braids into either a ponytail or a messy bun and – voila! – a chic new style for the gym.
A chignon is another fabulous style that you can quickly pull together. Simply take your hair and secure into a ponytail with a hair tie. Split into two sections, one in each hand. Twist one side around the other then around to your head and secure with bobby pins. Take the other end, loosely hanging down and wrap around the first half of your chignon and pin to your head with bobby pins as well. You should end up with a twisted bun, low on your head, that looks great and works especially well with unwashed hair.
Bring a retro vibe to your ponytail with hair ties. Simple pull straight hair into a high ponytail then secure hair ties around it every two inches or so. For an extra long ponytail, employ a little trick of the eye. Make a semi-high half ponytail and secure with a ponytail holder. Then gather the smaller group of hair underneath and secure that with a ponytail holder. Adjust to make sure the top ponytail hides the lower ponytail for a ponytail that looks long and lean.
If you need to keep hair out of your face or have short hair, tap into the variety of unique and cool hair accessories out there to help. A popular look is the double headband. Two thin straps push hair back and actually create a little bit of poof for extra panache to an otherwise boring hairstyle. Lots of popular brands online have them in a ton of colors and patterns. Contour clips, the snappy kinds that remind us of grade school, from common drugstore brands now come in cool patterns and colors to help keep your hair out of your face or make flyaways go away with more flair. Most fashion brands these days have a fabulous array of colored and patterned sport headbands that let you wear your hair up or down while keeping them in place with silicone grips.
When you focus less on your hair or the way you look, the more you can focus on your workout and getting into shape!
Hottest Lipstick Colors for Summer
If you need a quick color lift, look no further than trying a new fabulous lip shade! Spring and summer, especially, are the best times of the year to experiment as the bright colors complement the many prints of the season and the sunny weather.
It’s important to make sure you choose a color that complements your skin tone. The beauty in today’s selection is that you everyone has a choice of any color, you just have to find the right hue for your skin. Everyone, for example, can enjoy red lipstick, you just need to find the right shade of red.
If you have fair skin, orange-based shades look great. Colors that remind one of fruit fall into this category. If they are bright without being intense, then you’ve found the right shade! For deeper, more beige skin, try lipstick colors known to have a “clear” or “clean” quality to them. I like to think of popsicle shades, for example, to round out this group of colors. Warmer skin tones look great with corals and richer, warmer tones. Avoid shades with a cool, bluish hue to them. Olive skin is intensified with deeper shades in berry colors with a blue undertone to them. Deeper tans can go super bold with fuchsia, deep berries and even on the other end of the scale with fresh nudes. And finally, dark skin is illuminated with clear colors that don’t get ashy.
So what are the hottest shades? Bright colors have made a big comeback in full-on lipsticks, not just glosses. If you want to make a slight change, try a coral color that fits your skin tone. These tend to be a bright orangey-pink that brightens your face and complements pretty much any skin tone. For a bigger impact, fuchsia is the way to go. A bright salmon pink or an all out deep color can brighten your look and help you keep your makeup routine to a minimum (i.e. less time needed on eye and skin makeup!). Orange has a cool retro feel, too. We’re not talking bright, neon orange but a juicy color that has more of a golden undertone to it. It’s like summer’s answer to fall’s red.
For extra staying power, apply a neutral pencil shade then apply your lipstick on top. Many beauty enthusiasts suggest applying that first lipstick of the day with a lip brush for even, more controlled coverage. Then you can simply apply from the tube throughout the day.
If you have trouble picking a shade, many specialty cosmetics stores or department store makeup counters are excellent at providing advice and have the best selection of the season’s hottest brightest colors for you to play with. Try something different this summer and have a little fun!
How to Put on the Best Makeover Dorm Party
Relive those high school days by hosting your own makeover dorm party! A girls night in can be a great stress relief from the week (or semester) and help you and your friends maintain your beauty routines in a fun and social way. With a few key ingredients and preparation, you can be on your way to an alternative night of fun that will be memorable, too.
First things first, make sure everyone comes with the tools and products they use every day. Depending on the makeup, you can always share and help each other – and learn something new or find something you never knew you needed in the process. Make a list of things to suggest to your friends to bring: makeup brushes, cosmetic wedges, tools, cleansers, makeup wipes, moisturizers, masks, exfoliating scrubs, nose strips, wax strips, towels, etc. Anything that you know you all will need to cleanse and prep your face and then what you will need to complete your makeovers.
Then set up the area where you and your friends will get to work! Make sure the space is clean and free of items. If you need a chair or two for your friends to sit in while others apply masks, wax or strips, then grab some or have a few nearby friends bring their own. Of course, make sure you have mirrors around, both hand mirrors and wall mirrors for easy access to check yourselves out during and after. Have a few drinks or snacks set up, too. Beauty takes some work sometimes, so a little treat helps add to the fun.
As your friends arrive, have everyone show up with a clean face. Have everyone label their makeup and tools with little label stickers you can buy at the drugstore or with little pieces of paper taped to them. If everyone’s okay with it, you can even have black markers and silver markers available to initial everything directly. Then let the fun begin!
Spread out makeup in piles and ensure that everyone knows to put back the makeup or tools they use. Have your laptop or tablet ready to watch videos showing you new and fun ways to apply makeup and help each other follow along. Experiment with colored liner, smoky eyes, eyebrow-enhancing techniques or using a new lip color routine. Be sure to take photos before and after to keep a log or looks for future reference. Keep the fun going by gently wiping off makeup with facial wipes and start again.
An important final step is to make sure everyone leaves with a fresh face after all the experimentation. Encourage everyone to wash her face, exfoliate, moisturize and, if needed, apply a masque. This will help freshen your skin and open up your pores. Nose pore strips, which take about 15 minutes, loosen and remove white and black heads on the nose while wax strips take unwanted hair from your upper lip. For a quick maintenance, pluck each other’s eyebrows for strays or to reshape.
Preventing and Treating Dry Skin
Dry facial skin is always a big downer. Not only does it look scaly, it makes applying makeup a heck of a lot harder! As with any beauty problem, prevention and maintenance are key. So here are some tips to help keep your skin from drying out and flaking and treating it when it occurs.
Take a look at the products you are using on your skin. Harsh soaps or cleanser can strip your skin of its natural oils, making your skin dry and flaky. Look for products that specialize in moisturizing skin and are specially formulated for the face. If you have a chronic problem with dry skin, find cleansers with lanolin, cocoa butter or coconut oil in the ingredients. Find moisturizers that also focus on dry skin. These products typically seal in the moisture in your skin to keep the natural oils in.
The air in your dorm room can also dry out your skin. A simple humidifier can help moisturize the air while you study and sleep, especially if you live in an area with a dry climate. You can find affordable humidifiers at your favorite drugstores or even online.
What if you find you have dry skin for the first time? First off, wash your face with a mild cleanser with warm instead of hot water. Hot water tends to strip your face of those natural oils we keep talking about, so lukewarm won’t shock your skin and keeps the moisture in. Heat causes your skin to try to cool off, and your skin cools off by evaporating the moisture from your skin. Next, use an exfoliating scrub like found at any drugstore to slough off the dead skin cells and flakes from your skin. The best way to use it is when your face is damp but not completely wet. The less wet (but not completely dry!) your skin, the more effective the scrub will be. Using gentle but firm circular motions, rub the scrub all over your face and rinse. Pat your skin dry then immediately follow up with a good, hydrating, natural moisturizer.
If you need some extra help, steam your face prior to exfoliating. Boil water and pour in a large bowl. Place your face about 8 inches above the bowl, just enough for the steam to reach your face. Open up a towel and tent over your head and the bowl in order trap the steam and concentrate it on your face. After about 10 minutes, follow up with the exfoliating scrub and moisturizer.
If you suspect your skin might be the result of something deeper or continues to stay dry and flaky after a week or two, consider visiting your dermatologist.
Sleep – The Best Remedy for Your Mind and Body
Sleep is truly the best remedy for your skin and body. In fact, college students should be getting about 6 – 8 hours of sleep for optimal function during the day. Being well-rested helps you concentrate better, helps regulate your metabolism and helps your skin look its best every day. Are you getting enough sleep?
First of all, sleep helps improve memory, which is a fantastic benefit for all those tests and quizzes you take during college. It’s been proven that whatever you’ve been practicing – whether it’s a language or an instrument, for example – will be greatly retained and performed after consistently good and long sleep.
Fatigue from a lack of sleep is definitely a hindrance to any mental or physical activity. Athletes, for example, have been shown to do better on the field or court after a couple months of consistent 8 to 10 hours of sleep nightly. It’s worth a try to get some good sleep for a few weeks and see how much better you every day. Academically, sleep improves grades, no question about it. If you usually pull all nighters, try sleeping early once you start to feel your eyes closing shut then wake up early and continue your study session.
Want to lose weight? Sleep earlier, and watch the weight go down. Doctors have found that the hormones that go up when you are sleepy also drive appetite, so curbing the sleepiness and giving in to your bed will lower the cravings and help keep you from packing on more pounds with late-night snacks.
My boyfriend knows that if I lack sleep, I tend to get a little crankier and, as a result, more stressed out. With more sleep, you can ease the tensions of stress and help yourself react more positively than with less sleep. And the less stress you have, the better off you are heart-wise, another great benefit (and a good time to start your heart health focus early!).
And finally, your skin. I can’t tell you how many zits I’ve woken up with after having had only a few hours of sleep in addition to dark circles under the eyes and sallow-looking skin. Sleep is a time for your skin to renew and repair itself, so the more time you sleep, the more time you allow for that recovery. Lack of sleep tends to also disrupt the balance of hormones and metabolism, as mentioned before, which causes blood vessels to dilate (hence dark circles) and the occasional deep pimple.
Are you having trouble falling asleep? Try to do it as naturally as possible. Teas made specifically to calm the body and lull it to sleep are a huge help and have other health benefits like hydration and essential nutrients. Two of my favorites that work like a charm in just 20 to 30 minutes have the word sleep, chamomile or some other restful herbs on the packaging.
Spring/Summer Break Prep: Self-Tanners
Before breaking out of school for spring or summer break, many college students love to show off a tan to prep for vacation (or to have “base tan” off which to work). A great tan can show off a healthy glow and give you the confidence to wear those short shorts, swimsuits and mini-dresses you’ve been dying to show off all season.
Back in my day, tanning salons helped many gals get their tan on at a semi-low cost and conveniently posted by college campuses. The real cost, however, is to your skin’s health. Tanning beds give off dangerous levels of UV rays that, over time, simulate the damage that the sun can do to your skin such as accelerating aging, drying out skin and, worst of all, causing skin cancer. So, learn from college students before you and take tanning salons out of the equation!
Lucky for you modern-day co-eds, you have lots of alternatives to tanning beds that keep your color and do it in a healthy way. Self-tanners, for example are a great option if you are low on cash but want some glow on your face and body. The important thing to steer clear of is picking the wrong color. Choose a color that is as close to your natural tanning color as possible, not what you would like to be but could never reach. The more natural the glow, the better!
Tanning mousses have become more and more popular as their light texture and foamy nature make it easier to apply. Unlike lotions, mousses reduce streaks and are perfect for beginners. Many tanning mousses have high marks and have been shown to last through days and days of activity, sweat and showers, making it a great vacation prepper!
Lotion formulas have made major advancements that provide a streak-free choice and are actually lotions that keep you looking natural. In just an hour, you’ll have a greaseless, stink-free tan even the day of your event. For best results, though, make sure you apply at least the day before.
When I was in New York one cold January, I happened upon a daily moisturizer from a common lotion brand at a corner drugstore and loved it! Used every day, your face will acquire a healthy-looking glow within just a few days. The formula is also greaseless, has no typical tanner smell and is easy to apply. These lines may also have body lotion that comes in “Fair to Medium” and “Medium to Tan” formulas. Some fairer-skinned lovelies have used the medium-to-tan version and loved the results!
By using safer, at-home alternatives to tanning beds, your skin can benefit from a fantastic, natural-looking tan for anywhere from $10 – $30. Be sure to read packaging carefully and to follow instructions closely. Happy tanning!
Teeth Whitening Tricks
Hopefully you’re not neglecting your teeth while you’re in college. Between all the coffee, tea, sodas and candy you probably consume, your teeth probably do not have the relief it needs from these naturally teeth-staining products to maintain a white smile on its own. In order to give your smile a little help, there are a number of products out there to bring your teeth back to bright in no time.
First off, prevention is power. Try to limit the number of teeth-staining foods and drinks from your diet or eat and drink them less often. In addition, make sure you floss, brush and use whitening mouthwash like Listerine Whitening every night and brush at least three times a day. For on the go, purchase a travel-sized toothpaste and a battery-operated toothbrush. They are highly effective and come in great travel sizes that are just under $20 at our local drugstore.
Speaking of brushing, make sure you use a whitening toothbrush for daily maintenance of whiter teeth. Many drugstores carry popular whitening toothpastes that have shown results in just two days when used with other products in the same line. They can also fight cavities, freshen breath and remove up to 80% – yes, 80%! – of stains in a short period of time. Look for these keywords on the packaging for a great deal.
If you don’t feel like breaking out the brush and toothpaste in public, carry tooth-whitening gum. While you freshen your breath, why not whiten your teeth, too? According to an eight-week clinical trial, chewing two pieces of tooth-whitening gum after meals actually helped remove stains.
Another on-the-go whitening tool is the popular whitening pens. Many brands that claim to lighten your teeth up to three shades in less than a month. A few strokes of the pen, pumped with 12% stabilized hydrogen peroxide, anytime you need it will help you get your smile in great shape wherever you are. And at just around $12.99 for a set of two pens with 30 applications each, it won’t break that college budget!
Finally, whitening strips! They feel funny at first, but they sure do work. You can purchase them anywhere and increase in cost the shorter the period to whiten. Many famous brands that you can find online or at your local drugstorehave a whitening kit with personalized trays to apply the gel all the way to strips that are better for whitening just hours before a big event. Other fabulous whitening strip systems can whiten your teeth in seven days. For that upcoming event you have coming up later in the day and for which you had little time to prepare (go figure, you’re in college!), find a brand that offers whitening in just one hour!
Enjoy whiter teeth by employing any of these little whitening tricks and products for a better smile in no time flat. As with any product, make sure you follow the instructions on the package and stop using the product if you find that your teeth are in pain or over-sensitive.
Simple Relaxation Techniques
They say beauty comes from within, and when you’re stressed it from a week (or month) of tests, papers and projects, it can show on our skin and body. Life can get pretty busy when you’re in college, but it’s important to take time for yourself to make sure you reset your mind and body. Doing so will not only refresh you to go at it again but also ensure you maintain much-needed balance in the long run.
The perfect place to start, and what any yogi will tell you, is your breathing. It’s amazing how something we take for granted every day can make such an impact on our ability to relax when we correct it. Make sure you are in a quiet place – put a
“Studying – Please Do Not Disturb” sign on your door. Sit on the floor, either on your knees or cross-legged, and close your eyes. Take a deep breath in. Hold it for five seconds then slowly let it out. Continue this a few times until you start to feel more calm. You probably didn’t realize how your uneven breathing may have hyped up your stress. So whenever you find yourself overwhelmed, just practice your deep breathing to get back on track.
Some great tension-reducing things you can make from items in your dorm room include a massager and a heating pad. For the massager, take a long, clean sock and full with two to three tennis balls. Tie off the end and, holding both loose ends of the sock in each hand, rub on you back and neck in the same motion you would a towel.
A little heat goes a long way, and you can create your own soothing heating pad in a snap. Simply fill a sock or tiny cloth sack that you can easily close or tie off, fill with rice, tie the end off and heat in the microwave for no more than 30 seconds. Be sure to test your heating pad to make sure it’s not too hot! Place where you need hear relief for sore muscles. Reheat as needed.
Speaking of heat, a simple remedy for tired feet is a bowl of hot water and some lavender bath salts. Simply pour a quarter cup in a quart of hot water, then soak your feet and enjoy. If you don’t have a bowl, just take a hot, wet towel with some lavender bath salts in it and wrap around your feet.
The best remedy of all is a good night’s rest! Make sure you get plenty of sleep (about 6 – 8 hours) to keep your body feeling good every day. If you have trouble falling asleep, try sleep-inducing tea that specifically mentions sleep in the name or even chamomile herbs. Without fail, whenever I drink these herbal teas, I drift into fabulous sleep in just 20 – 30 minutes.
Beauty Tool Must-Haves
For many of us, makeup is an artform. You know the type, palettes and palettes of eyeshadows, the latest formulas, lipsticks that they find before everyone else. You can expect that those mavens have the beauty tools that actual makeup artists have -and so should you!
The right tools for your makeup and beauty applications benefit your routine in so many ways. They make it easier to glide on foundation, clean up missed spots, make just the perfect line and heighten the effects of your makeup. Check out this checklist of must-have beauty tools every girl should have in their bathroom.
• Eyelash curler – They look painful, don’t they? But done slowly and carefully, this fabulous tool will help you prep your lashes for even more gorgeous glory. They curl your lashes prior to applying mascara, waking up your eyes a ton more.
• Angled brush – The versatility of this brush cannot be overemphasized! Instead of the little brush you get with your waxy eyebrow color, dip this brush in and create the feathered lines that make your look more natural. You can also use it to apply creamy eyeliner. A little practice, and you’ll be creating swooping lines of perfection every day.
• Makeup sponge wedges with Vitamin E – These are the perfect way to apply your foundation. The resilient quality of the sponge, in addition to the Vitamin E, helps gently but effectively apply your makeup. They clean up rogue makeup, too! Just take the edge of the wedge and pat and swipe gently on the part of your makeup you need to clean up. Be sure to pat gently either way as you don’t have to actually rub your skin to use these wedges, which makes them super fantastic. You can buy these wedges at corner drugstores for under $3 for 30 wedges.
• Tweezers- Stop borrowing your roommate’s and get one for yourself! Although it’s not such a new idea, tweezers help do the job for so many things, and many people forget to buy them. For plucking stray hairs, applying fake lashes or any job that requires a small pinch – you’ll be so happy you have it!
• Pedi egg/pumice stone – Especially during the summer, use these handy helpers to soften rough feet in between pedicures. The best time to use a pumice stone is while you are in the shower. Just add some soap to your feet after you’ve been in the shower for a few minutes and scrub, gently but firmly, under your feet, on your heels and on your toes. Pedi eggs are better used when your feet are dry. Be sure to have a trash can nearby so you can easily dump the sloughed off skin into the bucket after use.
Beauty Maintenance Must-Dos for the College Girl
Like anything in life, beauty requires proper maintenance to keep you looking great daily and in the long run (read: life after college!). It might seem like a lot of work, but with all the makeup, pollution and stress we encounter every day, it’s easy for life to build up on our face and in our skin. In addition, a little beauty maintenance helps us look our best even when we don’t have a chance to wear makeup. It happens! Here are seven tips to make sure you take care of those little things every week or every month:
1. Pore strips – Ever since they came out with these little strips, I’ve been obsessed. Maybe it’s the forest-like haul of blackheads and whiteheads that come off the strip, but all in all, the skin on my nose looks fresh, clean and tighter whenever I use them. I use pore strips about once a week. Make sure you follow the directions. The best part: I wait fifteen to twenty minutes with it on while I do other things around the house. Super cheap at drugstores for about $7!
2. Cuticle cream – I can’t stand looking down at my hands only to notice that my cuticles have grown in and the skin around my nails are cracked! In order to keep your finger tips soft, supple and to stave off one more manicure, be sure you have cuticle cream handy. It’s not like regular lotion. Cuticle cream has certain vitamins and qualities that penetrate the skin deeply and stays in your skin longer. You can find the best types at cosmetic supply stores – just ask them what they recommend! Use it daily for fabulous nail beds!
3. Wax – Any at-home depilatory or wax is a great option. These days, there are so many that work beautifully to take the hair from certain areas quickly. Specifically, I try to catch any extra upper lip hair by using removable wax strips. They come in just the perfect size, are easy to use, and come with a fabulous blue oil to soften, clean and soothe the waxed area. Do this every two to four weeks.
4. Eyebrows – Warm weather seems to aggravate hair growth, so be sure to check every two to three days for stray eyebrow hairs. Focus especially on the inner edge for in-between-the-eye strays and just above your upper lid. Visit your salon for threading, waxing or plucking for bigger jobs every three weeks or more.
5. Deep conditioning – Deep conditioning helps prevent breakage and can even keep your hair looking smoother, longer. A deep conditioner that you can leave in your hair for at least 30 minutes is perfect while you do some work. Pin up then later rinse out for soft, shiny hair.
6. Haircut – Make sure you go in for at least a regular trim every six to eight weeks, depending on your hairstyle and growth rate.
7. Face mask – For extra smooth skin, find a great face mask that will help deep cleanse your face and tighten your pores. When you wash it off, you’ll enjoy the amazing way your skin feels after. Every two weeks should do the trick!
Do Nail Stickers Really Work
Anything that can make life easier (and cheaper!) during college is a “yes, please!” situation for me. With so many ways to cut down time on your beauty routine, you’d think we’d be out of the door in five! Well, okay, so some things will still take some time, but enjoying the beauty journey is part of the fun. One of the greatest beauty inventions of our time, in that same vein, has to be nail stickers.
If you’re like me, polish is your enemy. After years of trying to perfect what my nail salon artists are able to do so flawlessly, I have finally given up on doing my own nails. Until now! Nail stickers, or nail appliques as they are called in other circles, are easy-to-apply stickers that you wear on your nails to create a virtually flawless manicure. No more dealing with bottles of color you’ll never use, cleaning up or smearing your polish before it’s dry!
So how does it work? First, as with any nail job, make sure you have clean nails. Take nail polish remover and eliminate all residue from your nails. Next, remove the protective film from the polish. Peel the strip form the backing paper, lay strip on your nail (the best part: doesn’t have to be perfect!), and smooth out any wrinkles. Fold the strip at the edge of your nail and file away what you don’t need with a gentle, downward motion. Voila! Insta-manicure.
Okay, but do they work? I have several friends who decided to put these to the test and found that they are absolutely a life saver, especially when you’re in a hurry. Certain brands don’t work as well (chipping early, hard to take off), but here are a few that my friends absolutely loved.
- Look for cute patterns and super easy application instructions. Not for professional jobs, but great for vacation or the weekend. About $15.
- Nail polish strips from the drugstore – Super easy to take off with nail polish remover and didn’t make my nails brittle. Love the regular colors they come in!
- Popular salon-brand polish strips – One of the best polish brands has their own nail stickers with designs that are chic and gorgeous.
It’s pretty easy to change up your look often with these nail stickers. They work well because most are actually made of real nail lacquer (read: actual nail polish!), so they look and feel just like the real thing. Which is great so you don’t end up looking like you glued paper to your nails. To vary it up, try versions that provide 3D bling, layer over a real manicure, mix up solids and patterns or do just the tips.
Color Your Hair Right in Your Dorm Room
One of the things that people remembered about me in college at our five-year reunion was my hair color freshman year. “Remember when you had purple hair?!” they would say. I wouldn’t quite call it purple. I prefer the term “aubergine” (eggplant for all you non-French majors out there). I think it actually turned out well, memorable for sure, and I did it all in the comfort of my dorm.
What I love about doing color while you’re at school is the opportunity to employ the help of your lovely dorm-mates. They can help you choose the color that works best, help you apply it so you don’t miss, and wash it out more easily than if you were to stick your head in the shower and potentially drench yourself. Plus, how much fun is it to pretend that you are at a hair salon with your besties?
If you want to play it somewhat safe but do something noticeable, add an ombre effect to your hair. Drugstore brands that have the best variety of lines have always been a favorite of mine and have lines that include a brush to apply highlights to your hair. You can customize your look by adding color from root to tip all over, starting light at the top then adding thicker layers towards the bottom or just highlighting thin sections all around. It’s a fun look that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and will definitely give you a style boost.
If your hair is on the light side, why not try going a shade or two darker? My friend decided to go this route, but before she did, we went to a wig shop and tried on every one until she found a color she liked. Then we went to the store and bought that same color! Sometimes those little faux hair samples at the store just don’t help when you’ve got a full head of hair to take care of! Her blue eyes seemed to pop when she dyed her hair a yummy chocolate brown, a far cry from her dishwater blonde hair she’d been sporting.
If your hair is already dark, go the route I went and just intensify your color! The first thing I think of when I added a tint of color to my dark hair is a cool comic-book vixen. Don’t worry, you won’t look like a cartoon, but you can definitely had drama despite your dark locks without having to highlight or go light. Try a deep plum, a shimmering blue-black or a warmer red tint. You won’t feel like you changed much, but once you step out into the light, you’re going to love the more intense and rich color without totally sacrificing your natural color.
Make sure you prepare for your hair coloring session so clean up is easier. Read all the instructions before you get started and grab everything you need. You and your helper should wear clothes that you don’t care get any color splashed on them and use towels that you don’t care about. And don’t forget to clean up everything around you – after all, you aren’t the only diva who uses that restroom (though you’ll be the one with the best hair after you’re done!).
Your New Favorite Makeup: Multipurpose Cosmetics!
When you don’t have a lot of time in the morning to get ready for school but would really like to get some semblance of makeup and color on your face, look no further than multi-purpose makeup! I traveled heavily with mine and even took it camping, and it made a huge difference from wake-up to instant make-up.
Single products that do many jobs are perfect for so many reasons. Besides, of course, saving time, you can easily stash it into your bag for touch-ups. If you always have it handy in your bag, then you can easily jet into a restroom before your next class, and no one will ever know you weren’t ready for the day.
Basically, most of these products take care of eyes, lips and cheeks –the spots where you use color. To apply to eyes, you can use a little or a lot of color. If you dare to go a little bold, you can try a deeper shade of mauve and spread across your lids. Be careful to come just above your crease and to clean up lines to make both eyes look even. For a little less color, try a more peachy or coral shade.
Then take color and lightly press three dots on your cheekbone. Smile and blend up and out on the apples of your cheeks. Make sure you have good, natural lighting for this so you don’t go out into the world looking like a rodeo clown! Reapply if you feel you spread the color too thin.
Finally, apply on your lips as you would regular lipstick. Most sticks are creamy, so lip coverage is the easiest step. To make sure you don’t have any on your teeth (these are thick sticks and easy to over apply!), just stick your finger between your lips, wrap your lips around like a straw and pull. Color that might have later ended up on your teeth will now be, thankfully, on your finger.
Here are some of my favorite kinds to do the multi-duty job:
• Multi-use blush is more than a blush, you can use it on eyes and lips, too! The colors are especially delicious, like different rose petal hues, so they flatter pretty much any skin tone. Plus, it’s organic, so you’re doing something healthy for your face, too!
• Convertible color from your favorite cosmetic specialty store is actually in a compact, so you’ll feel like a finger-painting artist with this make-up! The colors are softer in this line and come off more translucent, so if you want just a hint of color, this is the product for you.
• Deparment store makeup counters are a bit pricier than most places to buy these products, but it’s like you bought three products in one, right? I’ve always found the most popular ones though a little more expensive have dependable shades that look great.
Easy Daily Skincare Regimen
If there is one thing that you should make sure you always do every day while you are in college, it should be taking proper care of your skin. It is easy to fall into bed after a long day (or night) at school and to skip your face washing and maintenance. To make it easier for you, check out these tips for an easy daily skincare regimen that will help you take care of that chore in a snap. Your skin will definitely thank you later!
First, make sure you have a good, clean, simple face wash. You don’t need anything fancy or expensive to rid your face of the remnants of the day. Places like Target and Walgreens carry a number of brands that will do the job and help your skin feeling clean. Simple Moisturizing Face Wash is an inexpensive but highly rated product, for example, that is also great for sensitive skin. If you have oily skin, choose a product like Clean and Clear that is made specifically for that unruly t-zone, especially in warmer, more humid weather. Is acne an issue for you? I have always relied on Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash. It’s available everywhere, comes at just around $6 and lasts for a couple of months.
Before you dry your face, follow up with a good scrub that you can find at any drugstore. I can’t tell you how smooth and amazing my skin feels after I use it. I try to use it just after I wash my face but make sure it’s moist but not completely wet, that way the water doesn’t dilute the scrub too much and helps it work a little harder to exfoliate better. A little bit goes a long way, so just take a small squeeze, about a quarter-sized amount, and move it all around your face. Rinse and then pat dry your skin.
Finally, the moisturizer! You’ll see how much easier and more amazing it feels to spread the lotion around your skin after you’ve exfoliated. Just take a small amount and pat a little bit all over your face so you have even coverage. Rub gently so as not to aggravate your skin. I usually start from just under my eyes, doing a light pat-and-smooth technique and then working my way around the face.
This routine should only take about five minutes and is well worth the investment, no matter how tired you are. The worst thing you can do to your skin is to leave old makeup along with the grime from the day to penetrate your skin further. You’ll feel refreshed waking up with fresh, clean skin, and long-term, your skin will maintain a healthier balance.