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Six Makeup and Beauty Tips From Someone Who Knows Nothing About Makeup

I’m gonna cut to the chase: I know nothing about makeup. I’ve never purchased bronzer, don’t understand how to contour, and couldn’t use liquid eyeliner if my life depended on it. I am no authority on makeup or beauty. Seriously, most days when I do my makeup, I’m doing it on the back of the 31 bus ten minutes before class starts. Don’t get me wrong, I have a ton of respect for people who are amazing at makeup. And even though I love watching professional beauty gurus and youtubers do their thing, I personally don’t learn very much from them. They’re too intimidating. Honestly, the most I’ve learned about makeup has been from other people in my life who are just as clueless as I am.

So, after spending my adolescence and young adulthood watching literally hundreds of makeup videos and getting hundreds more tips from people in my life, I’ve developed a small-but-strong repertoire of makeup tips that work well for me. Here are five of them that I think are worth sharing.

1. Experiment with not washing your hair everyday

If you don’t do this already, I know what you’re thinking: No. No, no, no. If I don’t wash my hair everyday it will become a giant, disgusting vat of oil. And trust me, I felt that way too. For the past couple years, I’ve heard a lot of conflicting things from beauty magazines and websites: Some swear that you shouldn’t wash your hair everyday, others say that it’s really important to do so. I’ve come to my own conclusion that everyone’s hair is different and the best thing you can do is experiment.

About a year ago I started not washing my hair everyday, and I’m not gonna lie, at first, it left my hair feeling and looking super oily. However, after a few weeks, I noticed that my hair started producing less oil, and now it’s actually softer, shiner, and less frizzy than when I washed it everyday. Some people wash their hair only once or twice a week, but for me I found it worked out well to wash it 3-4 times a week. It’s gonna take a little time to figure out what wash schedule will work best for you, but I promise it’s worth it. While you’re experimenting, here are ways to deal with second/third/even fourth days of unwashed hair:

  • Invest in a good dry shampoo. (I highly recommend this one from Lush) and use it before bed and in the morning.
  • Wear a beanie or baseball hat on the days your hair is feeling especially greasy.
  • If you have long hair, put it in a topknot, bun, or braid; it’s a cute way to keep oily hair out of your face.

2. Old socks and cocnut oil make great makeup remover pads

Okay, yes, this one is a little weird, but stick with me for a second. A lot of makeup removers are expensive and irritate my skin. After reading online that some people use coconut oil to remove their makeup, I tried it and loved it. To be fair, I only use it on my eyelids and lips (because I don’t really wear foundation or blush), but it’s extremely moisturizing, gentle, and effective when removing makeup. I used to take off my makeup with coconut oil and cotton pads or toilet paper, but I realized just how much waste that was producing. So, that’s where the socks come in.

I remembered that in middle school, a friend of mine used old socks to remove her nail polish, so I decided to try that with my eye makeup and lipstick. I took a bunch of my old socks that were ripped or didn’t have matches, washed them, and cut them up into little squares, discarding any parts that looked worn out or dirty.  Now, I put a little coconut oil on those and use it to remove my makeup. It’s super cost effective and way better for the environment. Whenever I do my laundry, I toss the reusable makeup pads into a mesh laundry bra bag and wash them with the rest of my clothes. Seriously, I really recommend trying this!

3. Actually, just use coconut oil for everything

Alright, I pretty much use coconut oil in every aspect of my beauty routine and I can’t get enough of it. You’ve probably seen about a thousand posts on Pinterest and Facebook about how wonderful and versatile it is, and in my experience, most of those articles are super accurate. I’ve used coconut oil as shaving cream, eye cream, deep-conditioning hair mask, chapstick, and base for homemade deodorant. Using coconut oil has become almost as essential to my daily routine as drinking coffee has.

Also, if you’re interested, coconut oil has a ton of uses other than for makeup/beauty routines. Here’s 107 of them!

4. Wear lipstick to instantly look more dressed up

If you want to look dressed up but don’t want to spend hours getting ready, applying a bold lipstick color can make it look like you put a lot more effort into your appearance than you actually did. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but I always feel way more sophisticated and confident after I apply a coat of dark lipstick, even if the dress I’m wearing is dirty and I just spent all day eating peanut butter out of the jar and watching Bob’s Burgers. This might be because every lipstick tube carries some kind of voodoo magic, but I’m cool with that. You can save wearing bold lipsticks just for special events, or rock them every single day: do whatever works best for you!

5. Try using an eyelash curler

Look, I know, eyelash curlers look like medieval torture devices made by Lucifer himself, but once you use them a couple of times, they aren’t that scary. Plus, I definitely prefer curling my lashes over applying fake ones. (Let’s be honest, fake lashes look awesome but the eyelash glue always gets in my eye and they remind me of little spiders.) Curling your eyelashes makes your eyes appear bigger and enhances the look of your mascara. And yeah, a few people have told me before that no one really notices the difference between curled and not-curled lashes, which is probably true, but who cares? I put on makeup for myself, so if I notice it, I’m happy.

6. Do whatever you want

Seriously, when it comes to makeup and beauty, do whatever you want. Want to wear a lot of makeup? Go for it. Want to never wear makeup again? Go for it. Makeup is a beautiful form of self expression, but it should never be used to shame people into doing something they don’t want to do or enforce unrealistic, heteronormative beauty standards. Don’t let anyone tell you that your gender identity, race, sexual orientation, or body type means you can’t wear the kind of makeup you want. So, spend an hour contouring. Wear electric blue lipstick. Go out on Friday without any makeup on. There are no rules. If you do whatever makes you feel happy and comfortable with yourself, you will be #flawless. I promise.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

All other images courtesy of the author.

Rachel is an English major and a Senior at UMass Amherst, a student assistant at W.E.B. Dubois Library, an expert at procrastinating and tripping over stuff, and likes dinosaurs, tea, video games, and all things sparkly.
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