As we grow, we come to learn grooming is a must and eventually we all find ourselves, not so accidentally, strolling down the beauty aisle of Target for a little experimentation. So, to make the process a little less traumatic and a little gentler on your wallet, here are some tips for at home cosmetology:
1) Best phrased in an urgent, nonnegotiable manner: ALWAYS AVOID AMMONIA. The metal in permanent dyes will chip away at the protein in each strand and cause your hair to become frizzier, fragile, and less manageable. Try Revlon’s Colorsilk line ($3-4), which is ammonia-free.
2) If you decide to embark in self-procured highlights or ombre, use a kit and be subtle. If you have dark hair, try to use a honey or ashy light/medium brown kit, rather than blonde, to produce a more natural, sunny effect. Try Revlon’s Frost & Glow Highlighting Kits ($7), which are also ammonia-free.
3) If you want to play with balayage, from personal experience/trauma, save up and go to a salon.
4) Invest in a good deep-conditioner and use it as a mask for twenty minutes in the shower, 1-2 times a week, to soften the damage the dye may have done. Recommended: Matrix Biolage Hydratherapie Conditioning Balm ($24). For a more affordable option, try Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser Strength Reconstructing Butter ($5).
5) Find a color that looks good with your complexion. One of the best-kept hair-coloring secrets: go to Sally’s Beauty Supply and consult with someone who works there. Most often, they’ll find you the color you’re actually looking for, which reduces the guess-and-fail game, and their products are generally the cheapest and less damaging towards your hair. Overall, a win. Warning: If you choose to go toward red tints, remember once it’s there, it will never leave. Ever.
Despite what you may have heard, nails are all about the topcoat. Don’t worry about globs or dents or weird textures, the topcoat will take care of everything. Sure, you can use a good base coat and polish too, but if you’re an avid, yet money-shy nail painter invest in a good, quick-drying top coat. Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat is amazing and only about $5 at any drugstore. If you want to spring an extra $4, Essie’s No Chips Ahead Top Coat is also really great.
Seeing as we are young women prone to having swollen visitors take refuge on our faces, makeup tends to hop from an accessory to a necessity.
1) Remember less is ALWAYS more. Makeup was created to enhance our features, not mask them. After all, nobody wants to leave the house looking like a box of Funfetti exploded all over their face because of how much concealer they caked on. Try using a BB Cream or tinted-moisturizer as a base to cover some redness and apply either a multi-toned powder or loose skin-toned powder on top to set it. Then, just apply a touch of concealer on your spots to finish. Recommended: Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream ($10), Almay’s Smart Shade Smart Balance Powder ($8-11) or Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Loose Powder Foundation ($11), and Almay Clear Complexion Concealer ($7). If money is no object, Laura Mercier’s Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen is by the far the best product around ($40 at any department store/Sephora).
2) Look for/use an “oil-free” or “noncomedogenic” moisturizer and use it after every time you wash your face. Not only will it prevent future wrinkles on your face and neck, but it will also provide a barrier between your makeup and pores to prevent acne from spreading or becoming worse. Try any of Neutrogena’s products, if you have acne prone skin, or Boots Expert Shine Control Lotion ($6 at Target), if you have oily skin.
3) Use concealer under your eyes to hide dark bags. Then, lightly sweep a loose skin-toned powder over them to help blend the concealer. Recommended: Almay Wake up Undereye Concealer ($6)
4) Use bronzer to contour your face and create a naturally sun-kissed appearance. If you’re going to “brush up” on your winter tan, make sure you apply bronzer to your neck, under your chin, your collarbone, and even your shoulders. Please, for the sake of all mankind, blend your neck! No one wants to look at an Oompa Loompa all night when they hit the bars.
5) Unless you’re trying to look like a seductive vampire for Halloween (or raccoon), never pair a red lip with a smoky-eye. Pick one or the other. The more you put on, the more obvious it becomes to the public that you have something to hide.
6) Never forget a touch of blush, going outwards from the apple of your cheekbones, to bring your face back to life each morning.
Waxing and tweezing can be a pain, no pun intended.
1) When grooming your lip or eyebrows, make sure you follow your hairline and grab strays only. Once the wrong hair is pulled, more dark hairs will sprout and invade.
2) Be careful not to go overboard and delve into the actual shape of your eyebrow. Keep in mind, Lily Collins has thick eyebrows and she is beautiful.
3) Never attempt to wax or tweeze your lip before you leave the house. The possibility of being very red is very high, so attempt to groom before bed. If you must, try using a creamy, yet solid foundation to cover up the red and then powder over it with a skin-toned loose powder. Recommended: Covergirl Smoothers AquaSmooth Foundation Compact ($8)
4) Make sure to moisturize well after you wax to soothe irritated skin.
Now, go take the world by storm with your beautiful, affordable, and seemingly effortless style.