Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Can Make-up Actually Improve Your Skin? March 6, 2014

Filed under: beauty,make-up — askanesthetician @ 8:00 am
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The older I get the more I need make-up.  Though that doesn’t mean that I won’t leave the house without a full face of make-up it does mean that I have realized that a few strategically placed make-up products do make a big difference in my appearance.  Some days I have the time and the inclination to put on eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara along with my other essential make-up steps, and other days I just make sure that I fill in my brows with brow powder, use undereye concealer, face powder, face concealer, and a little lip tint.  It’s the little things that can make a big impact.  You don’t have to use a lot of make-up to look polished and put together even if all you are doing is going to the grocery store.  No one has flawless skin; everyone has a beauty feature or two that make-up can help look better.  For instance, my brows are sparse so filling them in with brow powder makes a big impact on my face.  I never seem to get enough sleep so using undereye concealer helps me look more rested.  And no matter how much skincare knowledge I amass my skin still has post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, blackheads, breakouts, and blotchiness so using a foundation (either powder or cream) and a concealer makes me feel like I am putting my best face forward to the world (even if that world is just the grocery store clerks and patrons).  Make-up gives you confidence.  Make-up is fun.

But some people still worry that wearing make-up on a daily basis, particularly foundation, is actually bad for their skin instead of good for it.  There is a persistent skincare myth that our skin needs to “breathe” and by wearing make-up we are preventing that important function from taking place.  I’ve already debunked this myth in a previous post: Does Your Skin Need to Detoxify/Breathe?, but I’ll revisit the topic here briefly. I quoted Discovery Health in that previous post and let me once again share what they had to say about this topic:

Every day, a barrage of advertisements for various cosmetics, oils and ointments assault our eyes and ears, all claiming to “let your skin breathe.” But does your skin actually “breathe”? Does it really take in enough oxygen to keep you alive?

Not unless you’re an amphibian, an earthworm or a Julia Creek dunnart. Although it can’t perform the functions of respiration, your skin can absorb fat-soluble substances, including vitamins A,D, E and K, along with steroid hormones such as estrogen. Many menopausal women, for example, have estrogen patches to thank for their relief from hot flashes, while nicotine patches have relieved cravings for many smokers trying to kick the habit. So, while the skin can’t breathe, it can take substances from the outside and bring them in, including a little oxygen.

The skin and its appendages, such as hair and nails, make up the integumentary system. The word integumentary comes from Latin, meaning “to cover,” and that is the skin’s main purpose — to keep the world out and our internal organs protected. By its very nature, skin does not help us breathe.   …

What does help us breathe is the respiratory system. The respiratory system is responsible for getting oxygen to our blood and removing carbon dioxide from the body. When we inhale, we take in oxygen through our mouth and nose and into the lungs. In the lungs, the oxygen flows into the blood through the arteries, while veins deliver carbon dioxide back to the lungs. From the lungs, we exhale the carbon dioxide back out into the atmosphere, and the process begins again.

So why might we be led to believe that oxygen can pass through the skin?

Misconceptions and Myths

Many people are convinced that we pull in oxygen through our pores, and cosmetic companies capitalize on this belief — at least through unspoken messages — by claiming that their products “let the skin breathe.” If pressed, the manufacturers would probably say what they really mean is that the cosmetics and creams are non-comedogenic, meaning they don’t block pores. This prevents acne from building up, not suffocation. Some companies take it a step further and claim that their products contain oxygen that your skin will absorb. Since your skin doesn’t have the capacity to absorb and use oxygen, dermatologists warn that this is totally bogus. The closest thing to pure oxygen in a skin care product is benzoyl peroxide, which kills acne-causing bacteria by oxidizing fatty acids.

Many people believe the urban legend that Buddy Ebsen, cast as the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz,” nearly died because the aluminum in the makeup that gave him his silvery sheen clogged his pores. In fact, Ebsen did wind up in the hospital and was replaced, but it was attributed to an allergic reaction or an infection in his lungs caused by the aluminum dust. Needless to say, the makeup was modified for new scarecrow Jack Haley, and he danced through the role without incident.

Another famous movie incident involves 1964′s “Goldfinger.” After discovering his secretary has betrayed him, the villain Goldfinger paints her entirely — hair and all — with gold paint. Looking at her lifeless body, James Bond explains that the paint closed the pores she needed for respiration. In 1964, it seems, this was a medically accepted belief. The filmmakers took no chances and were careful to leave a patch of actress’s Shirley Eaton’s skin unpainted when shooting the scene.

Having gotten that issue out of the way, let’s focus again on the actual topic of this post: can using make-up actually help or even improve the appearance of your skin?  Esthetician Renee Rouleau certainly thinks so:

The fact is, wearing makeup (appropriate for your skin type) offers a barrier of protection against harmful UV rays. UV rays from the sun is the #1 reason for skin aging. It’s not genetics, smoking, and believe it or not, even age. The sun is the skin’s WORST enemy. Most types of makeup contain sunscreen and even if they don’t indicate an SPF number, most have UV-protecting ingredients like Titanium Dioxide. Based on this benefit from wearing makeup, I never leave my skin bare and never suggest my clients to do so either. So do your skin a favor and start wearing makeup NOW, to prevent wrinkles in your future.

(From Is Wearing Foundation Makeup Daily Bad for Your Skin?)

And what of make-up that promises anti-aging or the like?  The New York Times explored this topic in the article Promises from the Powder Room:

Light-reflecting. Acne-fighting. Energizing. Face powder, long associated with grandmothers and a dusty, chalky look, has been remade. Some companies say the product is not only a cosmetic, but also a face treatment, and are loading it with SPF, antioxidants and vitamins. …

Marketing hype aside, some doctors agree that powders pack more of a punch these days. “People have seen the utility of BB creams; they like getting many effects from the same products,” said Dr. Neal Schultz, a cosmetic dermatologist in private practice in Manhattan and founder of “These are great for people who want fewer products to apply, and an oil absorber.”

But others say that the “poof — all gone” effects that these powders promise are basically stardust and mirrors. “I’m increasingly skeptical with products that over-promise,” said Ron Robinson, a Manhattan chemist specializing in the technology of cosmetic ingredients and the founder of, which reviews new products. “Where’s the clinical testing that validates their claims?”

“The blurring component is true,” he said, but “claims that it will reshape, sculpt and improve wrinkles are benefits few skin-care creams and serums designed to plump and firm the skin can offer.”  …

“There’s a real science to these products and to the ingredients in them, which help and maintain the skin,” said Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. But he pointed out that a powder’s visual effects vanish once the product is removed; its particles are too big to penetrate skin.

As for long-term benefits: “That has yet to be determined,” Dr. Zeichner said. “If you use products like this on a regular basis and take care of your skin, it’s possible these powders can help slow down the aging process.”  …

Dr. Francesca Fusco, a Manhattan dermatologist, says she is firmly pro-powder, at least when it comes to the new modern products. “A powder won’t replace your moisturizer, serum or retinol, but it’s a great added extra,” she said. “For not a lot of money you can get a flawless look. And that’s better than using nothing.”

So when it comes to your make-up should you trust it to transform your skin long after you remove it?  Personally I am still very skeptical that a few extra ingredients mixed into your cream or powder foundation will be your anti-aging or anti-acne answer, but the better you look the better you feel and that is truly transformative.

My Related Posts:

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How to Clean Your Make-up Brushes September 17, 2012

Filed under: make-up — askanesthetician @ 7:15 am
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I own both expensive and inexpensive make-up brushes.  I would be lost without my Urban Decay Good Karma Powder Brush, but I equally love my Eco Tools brushes which cost me much less.  With proper care your make-up brushes should last you a long, long time. Luckily, caring for your make-up brushes doesn’t have to be a burden.

Why Should You Clean Your Make-up Brushes?

Simply put your make-up brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria that will spread all over your face if you don’t keep your brushes clean.  Furthermore, as Makeup Geek explains in the post How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes Like a Pro:

Makeup brushes can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Think of how much bacteria is on your face daily.  Bacteria and natural oils transmit onto your brushes every time they come in contact with your skin. And if you are using them on clients, you may be picking up germs and transferring them onto other people including you.

Regular Cleaning Will Help Remove:

  • Old Makeup
  • Dirt and Debris
  • Dead Skin Cells
  • Bacteria
  • Oils

Another benefit of keeping your makeup brushes clean is softness. Makeup buildup on your brushes can make them feel scratchy. Cleaning your brushes on a regular basis will help keep them soft and supple. This is especially great for people with sensitive skin.

How Often Should You Clean Your Brushes?

Opinions vary on how often you should clean your brushes.  According to Bobbi Brown, make-up artist and mogul, the frequency you clean your brushes varies according to their function.  Brown explained to Allure:

How often should you clean makeup brushes? 
For concealer and foundation brushes, at least once a week to prevent a buildup of product. And because these brushes are used on your face, the cleaner, the better. Brushes that are used around the eyes should be cleaned at least twice a month, while all others can be washed once a month.

(From Bobbi Brown Explains How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes)

Though I love Bobbi Brown I have to say that I disagree with her here.  I think that ALL your make-up brushes should be cleaned once a week.  Cleaning your brushes will prolong their life, not reduce it.  Plus anything that comes in contact with your eye area should be very clean so why only clean those brushes twice a month?  Make cleaning your brushes part of your weekend ritual or whenever it would be most convenient for you to remember to do it.

Just How Do You Clean Your Make-up Brushes?

Now here comes the tricky part – there are a lot of different methods out there for cleaning make-up brushes.  I’ll give you a few different ideas to choose from (look for the list below).  No matter which method you choose keep a few things in mind:

  • Makeup Geek suggests washing your brushes at night so that they are dry and ready for use in the morning
  • Bobbi Brown cautions letting your brushes dry on a towel; this could lead to mildew.  Instead, after reshaping the bristles, let them hang over the edge of your counter

Personally I think that when it comes to cleaning your brushes simplicity is best.  I like the method I found in Good Housekeeping (it pretty much was what I was already doing):

I have several makeup brushes that I would like to clean. What method do you recommend?
— Rebecca Stewart, Brandon, MS


Makeup brushes can hold bacteria, so it’s a good idea to clean them regularly with shampoo or a commercial brush cleanser. First, run water over the bristles, then apply just a drop of shampoo and lather up. Rinse extremely well to get rid of the soap residue, then squeeze out all the water with a towel. Allow brushes to air-dry.

Read more: Cleaning Makeup Brushes — Heloise Hints – Good Housekeeping

One word of caution –  though both Good Housekeeping and Real Simple advocate using a commercial make-up brush cleaner I don’t recommend it.  Those products are mostly alcohol which is drying.  Having said that – these cleaners are good when you need to clean brushes quickly such as in-between use on a few different people in a short period of time.  When you have time and are washing your own brushes simply use shampoo or soap.  I use whatever hand soap I have in my bathroom at that moment.

More ideas on how to clean your make-up brushes:

If you have a favorite way to clean your make-up brushes please share below!

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Achieving the ‘No Make-up’ Make-up Look June 4, 2012

Filed under: make-up — askanesthetician @ 5:00 am
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A while back someone came into our office and wanted to know what few make-up products she could add to her routine so that she looked a bit more refreshed and put together on a daily basis.  After I launched into my lecture about how everyone should use a bit of blush, lip gloss, and mascara daily she asked me what make-up I had on since I looked naturally made-up.  So I had to stop and think about what make-up I wear on a daily basis; make-up that I hope makes me look like a better version of myself without looking overdone.

So here’s the list of make-up I use daily:

  • brow powder
  • clear brow gel
  • eyeliner
  • shadow primer
  • eye shadow
  • under eye concealer
  • mascara
  • pressed powder foundation (applied with a fluffy brush)
  • bronzer
  • blush
  • lip stain or lip gloss
Yes, I use all those products daily in order to achieve my natural looking make-up.  And of course this brings me to the point of this post – how do you achieve a ‘no make-up’ make-up look?
A ‘no-make-up’ make-up look is meant to enhance your best features and conceal your flaws while making you look like a better version of yourself, naturally, in the process.  Creating this make-up look doesn’t have to take a long time, but it does take a few steps.
In her post The ‘No Makeup’ Look  The UnTrendy Girl outlines nine steps to achieving this make-up look.  (The photo that illustrates this post comes from this blog)  I’ll outline the steps:
  • The first step to achieving a ‘no-make-up’ make-up look is to create flawless looking skin.  And let me be clear, I’ve said this in the past and I’ll say it again – NO ONE has perfect skin.  That is why they invented make-up – use it!  Prep your skin with moisturizer and/or primer and use your foundation of choice – liquid, mineral, powder, etc.
  • If you need concealer use that as well.  Some people need concealer on different spots on their face and other people just need it under their eyes.
  • Almost everyone needs blush but bronzer is an optional step.  Bronzer helps to warm up a pale face and give you a healthy glow.
  • For your eyes at the very least curl your lashes and use the mascara of your choice.
  • If you have more time and inclination use eyeliner and shadow as well.  You can use one color of shadow or two or three.  One color from lash line to just above the crease looks the most natural.
  • Now don’t forget your brows – our brows really do frame our face, and it is very important to keep them well-groomed.  My brows are sparse so that is why I fill them in with powder daily.  My brow hair is curly so that is why I set it everyday with clear brow gel.
  • Lastly, use a stain, gloss, or lipstick on your lips.  You can even use a tinted lip balm or chapstick.  Whatever floats your boat.
The queen of natural looking make-up is Bobbi Brown.  Her website has an excellent tutorial in order to teach you all the steps in order to achieve a natural looking make-up look.
So the next time you think that someone you saw or someone you know looks naturally flawless – think again.  Perhaps they have just mastered the ‘no make-up’ make-up look.
For more on Bobbi Brown you can read about her in Voguepedia.
Another article about achieving a natural make-up look from The New York Times T MagazineThe Naked Face.
Also have a look at Lisa Eldridge’s tutorial for a no make-up look.
My Related Posts:

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The Transformative Power of Make-up March 5, 2012

Filed under: beauty,make-up — askanesthetician @ 6:00 am
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If you like fashion then you are already keenly aware of the fact that Fashion Week has been going on all over the world for the last few weeks – New York, London, Milan, and now Paris.

During all these different fashion weeks The New York Times always has a fun feature called Model Morphsis that allows you to see simultaneously what models look like before and after they are made up for fashion shows. This tool allows the viewer to really understand just how transformative the application of make-up can be.

One more thing – if you are secretly hoping (I’ll admit I kinda was) that the models look terrible without make-up you’ll have no such luck.  But the before photos do make it clear that even models do not have perfect looking skin and show up for work with dark under eye circles.

Have fun looking through the different make-up looks!  Now if I could only have been born with those model cheekbones.


Truth in Beauty Advertising – There Isn’t Much Out There January 9, 2012

Filed under: beauty,make-up — askanesthetician @ 6:05 am
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Perhaps you have already heard that the above CoverGirl advertisement has been withdrawn from publications by CoverGirl’s parent company Procter and Gamble because the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus ruled that the ad was misleading.  I have to say that I applaud both this ruling and the fact that Procter and Gamble withdrew the ad from publications.  One of my pet peeves about the beauty industry is that ads for cosmetics and skincare are so air brushed and unrealistic looking that they set-up unattainable goals for real women about how they should look and can look.

Here’s the scoop on what happened with the CoverGirl ad:

There’s a certain Taylor Swift ad for CoverGirl mascara that you won’t be seeing in American magazines any time soon.

In the ad, for CoverGirl NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara, Ms. Swift’s eyelashes have been enhanced after the fact to look even fuller, and, as a result, the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus ruled this month that it was misleading.

In response, Procter & Gamble, the owner of the CoverGirl brand, “permanently discontinued all of the challenged claims and the photograph in its advertisement,” the ruling said.

In a statement, Procter & Gamble said: “Our scientists work very closely with our advertising teams to ensure that benefits are accurately portrayed, and P&G’s policy is to feature visuals and claims that accurately reflect these benefits. As soon as we were aware that the N.A.D. had concerns, we voluntarily discontinued the advertising — a move that the N.A.D. itself regarded as entirely proper.”

This is the first time the advertising division has brought a claim like this against a cosmetics company, said Linda Bean, a spokeswoman for the advertising group.  …

In the Procter & Gamble case, the advertising division looked at both the express claims made in the ad and what was being implied, Ms. Bean said. The express claims were that the mascara would give eyelashes “2x more volume” and that the product was “20 percent lighter” than the most expensive mascara.

But, she added: “The photograph stands as a product demonstration. Your eyelashes will look like this if you use this product.”

The fine print under a photo of Ms. Swift read that the lashes had been “enhanced in post production.”

Andrea C. Levine, a lawyer who worked on the case and who is the director of the National Advertising Division, said on Wednesday: “This isn’t a question of airbrushing. It’s a question of actually demonstrating what your lashes will look like when you use this product.”

Lawyers at the advertising division routinely scour print publications, broadcast, television and social media to find misleading advertisements. They also help settle claims of misleading advertising that competing companies bring against each other.

“The rule is that an advertising has to be truthful, accurate and not misleading,” Ms. Levine said. “What the picture says, the small type can’t take it away.”

(Source:  CoverGirl Withdraws ‘Enhanced’ Taylor Swift Ad – The New York Times)

The UK is well ahead of the US in cracking down on misleading photos and ads for make-up.  Back in July of 2011 ads from L’Oreal and Maybelline were banned in the UK for being overly airbrushed.  British ads are regulated by an independent body called the Advertising Standards Authority which works to make sure that the ads are truly presenting consumers with truthful, not misleading, information.  In the US the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) oversees advertising yet airbrushed ads are very rarely withdrawn or even commented upon by the authorities.  Let’s put it this way – cosmetic companies have a lot, and I mean a lot, of wiggle room when it comes to how they can promote their products both with the images and the words they use.  Buyer beware.

I do have to applaud the attitude and actions of one make-up company – Make Up For Ever.  This company has started running print ads that are not airbrushed.  Hooray!  I hope more companies follow suit.

Further Reading:

Photo from The New York Times


If You Can’t Fight Them, Join Them: Interesting Make-up Tip November 24, 2011

Filed under: beauty,make-up — askanesthetician @ 9:38 am
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I came across the following make-up tip in More magazine that  I found rather intriguing, not to mention ingenious.

Problem: Dark Circles Concealer Can’t Hide

Solution: Turn Your Shadows Into A Smokey Eye

Got chronic circles?  Try making them look deliberate by ringing your eyes with a soft, smoky liner.  Skip black, though: chocolate brown isn’t as harsh.  Then smudge with a clean cotton swab or one that’s been lightly dipped in a dove-gray shadow.

Now you can take or leave this advice, but you have to admit that it is a rather creative way of getting around a very common problem.

But if this tip isn’t for you then be sure to check out my solutions for undereye circles.


Make-Up for Acne Prone Skin October 3, 2011

Filed under: Acne,make-up — askanesthetician @ 5:46 am
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One of the most prevalent side effects of chronic acne is low esteem.  It is hard to feel confident about facing the outside world when you feel that you don’t look your best.  For that reason applying make-up to conceal breakouts is important in order for you to both look your best and feel your best.

In her book Feed Your Face Dr. Jessica Wu gives a few reasons to wear make-up if you are acne prone (page 29):

Breakouts are typically caused by bacteria, hormonal fluctuations, and the foods you eat – not by Laura Mercier.  In face, some makeup can even be good for you.  Certain cosmetics can provide SPF protection, which is great for those of us who sometimes forget to put on sunscreen.  (You know who you are.)  Wearing makeup may also remind you not to touch your face as often, cutting down on the transfer of germs from your hands.  And as long as you’re choosing the right makeup for your skin, it shouldn’t make you break out.  If you have oily skin, large pores, or acne-prone skin, look for a water-based makeup that is noncomedogenic.

I’ve had acne for a long time (20 plus years) and am continually finding myself in the position of having to cover up pimples and the red marks left on my face after a pimple has faded.  For these pimples and marks my best friend is a green concealer that helps counteract the redness.  Since red and green are opposite colors on the color wheel when green is applied to red it cancels it out.  Two products to try are Physicians Formula Conceal Rx in soft green (a little bit goes a long way) and GloMinerals Corrective Camouflage Kit.  After applying the green concealer apply a flesh toned concealer on top.  It usually works well to pat concealer on blemishes instead of rubbing or even using a concealer brush, but how you apply your concealer is really up to you.

Using a powder foundation that gives sheer, yet full coverage is a great option for acne prone skin.  Be sure that the make-up is labeled “oil free”, “non-comedogenic”, “ok for oily skin”,  “ok for acne skin”, or some combination of words like that.  Apply with a fluffy brush until you get the coverage that you want.  You could also use liquid foundation if that is what you prefer.

There are lots of make-up products out there that promise to not only conceal your blemishes but to heal them as well with the addition of ingredients like tea tree oil, salicylic acid, or sulfur.  It is best not to expect a huge change in how your acne looks when using make-up like this since the percentage of these ingredients in this type of make-up is negligible and will probably not do anything for your breakouts.  It is best to look for anti-acne ingredients in your skincare products as opposed to your make-up.  Buy make-up because of the lasting coverage, the ease of use, and color match instead of all the extras it promises.

For in-depth tips on using make-up for color correction see Beauty Etc.’s Come Color Correct.

More tips:


Make-Up for the Make-Up Phobic September 29, 2011

Filed under: beauty,make-up — askanesthetician @ 7:49 am
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I rarely, if ever, meet a woman who doesn’t need make-up.  But I do regularly meet women who either refuse to believe that they will look better with make-up or say that they do not have neither the time or inclination to apply make-up.  Make-up doesn’t need to be complicated to look good, and with so many make-up products out there even the most make-up phobic person can find some easy and quick products to use that will make them look great.

So if you are make-up phobic or a make-up hater consider how the following products are all easy to use and are all going to make you look much better, yet natural.  Just one note about natural looking make-up – these tips are not meant to help you achieve a “no make-up, make-up look”.  The “no make-up, make-up look” takes a lot of products and a real time committment to achieve.  These tips are meant for those people who currently leave the house with a bare face.

Everyone needs a good concealer:  Even if your skin generally looks smooth and even toned there is going to be a time when you’ll need to cover-up dark undereye circles, blemishes, redness, and hyperpigmentation.  For that reason I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a concealer at home in order to correct skin imperfections.  I refuse to leave the house without undereye concealer.  Sometimes you can use the same product under your eyes as you can on your face, other times you need separate products.

There is a foundation out there for everyone:  If you really feel like you don’t want to apply make-up in the morning consider this – a flawless looking complexion goes a long way in making you polished and put together.  You don’t even need foundation all over your face everyday.  You can place foundation (and blend well) in the spots where you feel you need it most.  No one truly has a flawless looking complexion – that is why foundation was invented.  Pressed powder foundation, applied quickly with a fluffy brush, is the perfect foundation for almost everyone in particular those people with acne or those with normal to oily skin.  Pressed mineral foundation powder goes on lightly and smoothly and gives you an airbrushed looked.  For those who skin is on the drier side try a tinted moisturizer which is a great 2 in 1 product – you get the moisture your skin needs while easily evening out your skin tone.  The result is very natural.

Make sure your Brows Look Great:  I cannot emphasize enough the power of a well-groomed brow enough.  Everyone has a different idea of how their brows should look – thin or thick, high arch or low arch – in the long run it matters less than making sure your brows look great.  This also means for many people filling in their brows with brow powder or brow pencil (or both).  Try it for a few days – you’ll notice that as soon as your brows look good you look more polished instantly.

Use Some Eye Make-Up:  Mastering eye make-up can be complicated.  I’ll admit that I am still working on mastering liquid eyeliner.  It’s my Achilles heel.  Great looking eye make-up doesn’t need to be complicated.  Consider just curling your eyelashes and applying some mascara.  Instantly you look better.  There is no need to apply three different shades of eye shadow everyday.  Find a shade of eyeshadow that is slightly lighter than your lid color.  Apply that eye shadow from your lash line all the way to your brows in order to brighten and highlight your eyes.  Or apply that shade from your lash line to just above your crease.  Use a little black or brown eyeliner on your top lash line.  The more you practice this quick eye make-up look the faster you’ll be able to apply it and get out the door.  To make your eye make-up last longer use a lid primer first or simply dab a very little bit of foundation on your lids to smooth and help the product last longer.

Apply a Little Blush:  For most people adding a little, subtle color to their cheeks makes them look healthy and vibrant.  No need to go crazy with the blush.  Simply smile at yourself in the mirror – start applying blush on the apples of your cheeks and sweep up toward your hairline.  Blend into your hairline.  The application of blush makes a positive difference in most people’s appearance especially for those people who are on the pale side.

When All Else Fails Apply Lipgloss:  Lip color is transformative and uplifting.  It is no surprise that as countries sink into economic or political crisis the sales of lipstick never suffer.  You can layer your lip products for longer lasting results – a lip balm to smooth, a lip pencil outline or all over your lips to help lip color adhere better and not feather, and then lipstick on top.  Or you can simply buy a tinted lip balm, preferably one with spf.  Another great thing about lip gloss is that you don’t need a mirror to reapply it.  Applying lip gloss is easy to do and gives you great results.

Consider Multipurpose Make-up:  Some make-up can do double duty – for instance products meant for both cheeks and lips like Nars The Multiple or GloMinerals Lip and Cheek Stains (to mention just two out of many available products).  Or get a primer (like this Smashbox one) that also corrects skin imperfections.

Once you are ready for more lessons and extra daily make-up steps be sure to check out Allure‘s online make-up video how-tos.

And check out Prevention’s tips for natural looking make-up.


How Make-up Savvy Are You? September 1, 2011

Filed under: make-up — askanesthetician @ 5:55 am
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Think you know everything there is to know about make-up?  It turns out that there is always something new to learn.  I learned some new things when I took the following WebMD quiz:  The Truth About Your Make-up.  For instance, who knew that the most common injury resulting from cosmetic use is scratching one’s eye with a mascara wand?

The quiz covers numerous topics including when to replace cosmetic products, the FDA’s jurisdiction over cosmetics, and if you should sleep with your eye make-up on.  So take a few minutes to do the quiz and let me know what you learned!


Over Tweezed Your Brows? Don’t Worry! August 29, 2011

Filed under: beauty,make-up — askanesthetician @ 6:15 am
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Simple Tricks for Perfect Looking Brows

I am slightly obsessed with eyebrows.  I am constantly looking at people’s eyebrows, and I can’t look at a model in an ad or a fashion magazine without examining her eyebrows.  I am not sure from where all this eyebrow obsession stems, but I don’t see if going away any time soon.

For me one of the more difficult things that I do as an esthetician is sculpt eyebrows.  While there are some people (Anastasia and Damone Roberts immediately come to mind) who have built their careers on eyebrow design I’m more of a skincare esthetician.  For me it comes down to this – brows are so personal.  What I may think is the right look for someone’s brows isn’t at all what they want.  People also can have expectations of how their brows should look that isn’t always possible to achieve.  But here’s the good thing about brows – even if you don’t like the way your brows look now they will grow and change, letting you create a new brow design.

I am in a constant battle with my own brows.  I stare at them every morning and evening and contemplate what I should do with them.  Now brows are rarely perfectly symmetrical, but I cause myself numerous problems by trying to make mine look the same.  I tweeze my brows rather regularly.  I need to clean up stray hairs on a twice daily basis and then every few weeks I have to do a major design overhaul of my brows.  But then the problem is this – once I take out my tweezers to do a major overhaul I usually go overboard.  Just two weeks ago I had to tell myself “do not take out your tweezers again – leave your brows alone”.  I had ended up over tweezing.  Now each morning I fill in my brows (I fill in my brows in general every day since my brow hair is sparse) so that my brows look even and fuller – aka not so over plucked.  Though some people swear by eyebrow pencils to fill in sparse brows I prefer brow powder (try bareMinerals or GloMinerals) that I apply with a very small slanted brush.  Using a small slanted brush gives me control over where and how much of the product I apply.  Since I have curly brows I then set everything with clear brow gel (I use e.l.f. – only a $1!).   I will leave the house without make-up, but I will not leave the house anymore without making sure my brows look tiptop (or at least trying to make them look good).

Never under-estimate how great a well-groomed brow can make you look great.  If you want to do only one thing in order to look good invest in how your brows look.  I wrote a long post called Change Your Eyebrows, Change Your Life that gave an exhaustive number of tips on how to take care of your brows, but I only briefed touched on filling in sparse or over plucked brows.  But prompted by an article I saw in Self magazine I wanted to right that wrong.

The article, Quick Eyebrow Makeovers, does a great job of both explaining and showing  how you can make your over plucked brows look fabulous with a few simple tricks.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If you are using a brow pencil to fill in sparse brows do not draw a straight line with the pencil.  Instead make small strokes with the eyebrow pencil that mimic the look of real hairs.
  • Use a slanted brow brush (or any small slanted brush) to apply your brow powder.  Tap the powder off the brush before applying to your eyebrows so that you don’t apply too much powder at once.  It is always best to be able to add brow powder instead of trying to subtract.
  • Try Latisse or Rogaine on your brows in order to speed up regrowing them.
  • If your brow hair is curly like mine trim your hair.  Take a spoolie brush and brush your brow hair below your brows.  Trim a little bit off the ends of the hairs that fall below the brow line.  Brush the hair back in place to see how it looks.  Then brush your brow hair up above the brow line to and trim again if necessary.
  • Hide your tweezers!  Put your tweezers down for a few days to see how your brows start growing in on their own.


For great, step by step instructions with illustrations on how to fill in over tweezed brows see the article Here and Brow from Beauty,etc.


Don’t give up!  A few minutes (or even less) in the morning filling your brows will make a huge and positive difference in your appearance.


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