Posts Categorized: beauty

Why Taking Half an Hour to Wash My Face is a Form of Self-care

face washing routine

I believe I’ve spent some time carping about my nightly ablutions here on the blog. I have very, VERY sensitive, fussy, breakout-prone skin and over time I’ve learned that if I don’t take meticulous care of it, it will punish me. With large, painful zits. And for years, I resented the time it took me to prepare my face for sleeping. I resented my Clairsonic and the system of washcloths and the fancy cleansers and lotions I need to use to keep the infuriatingly delicate balance necessary to prevent breakouts. I dreaded the whole rigamarole.

And I would never have been able to predict that adding more steps and more time to my routine would be what turned this activity from a chore into a pleasure.

The fashion mags I read have been raving about Korean beauty products for a while now, and somewhere in my readings I came across the 10-step Korean skincare routine, and absolutely balked. It had to be expensive! It had to take forever! How could it possibly be effective?!? But many of the products listed in the magazines were cheaper than stuff I could buy at Walgreens, and claimed to be made with natural and naturally derived ingredients. Amazon has hundreds of them, including many expert and editor faves. But you know what really sent me over the edge? Snails. Lots of these products include snail slime, and I was just so amused by the idea of smearing that on my face that I bought a snail toner. And since I’d heard about bee venom for years, I bought a bee venom essence. I already had a serum I liked and was gifted this marvelous facial oil by the Kiehl’s folks, so I was shy of 10 steps but had at least six going for me.

And you know what? I love washing my face now. LOVE IT. It takes forever since you have to apply and wait for each product to dry before applying the next one, but it’s actually enjoyable now. Some of it is the scents – the bee venom mist is spicy and the face oil smells deliciously of ginger – and some of it is the ceremony. But I eventually realized it also has to do with self-care.

Before, I hated that my skin was so fussy. I felt like I had to slog through all of these annoying steps just to keep it from rebelling. But now – and bear with me here, because I know this may sound a little goofy – I feel like I’m honoring my skin. Stewarding it. I’m pampering myself each and every night by applying all of these cleansers and toners and moisturizers, and it makes me feel calm and happy and like I’m living an abundant life.

My acne is directly tied to my hormones and my hormones are STUBBORN AS HELL, so I still break out. I would say that this new, multi-step routine has made my skin less irritated, kept it moist and supple, and helped the zits that show up heal faster. But even if there was virtually no difference in my skin, there’s a strong possibility that I’d stick to this routine. Because it’s made the difference between feeling like I’m weeding the overgrown courtyard of my crappy rented apartment and tending the lush flowers in my own home’s backyard.

A long, multi-step face-washing routine isn’t for everyone. It’s not outrageously expensive, but it’s also not cheap. And if your life and your kids and your health mean that you don’t actually have a half hour to spare for skin care, it might not be possible. But if you can find one little self-care ritual to help you center yourself each day – applying hand lotion before bed, brushing your hair before leaving the house, anything no matter how small – I’d wager it’ll make you feel calmer and happier and more abundant, too.

Image courtesy Dan Watson/Unsplash

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Matching Jewelry to Make Up

By AP contributor Kristine Rose

Obsession doesn’t even begin to cover my relationship with jewelry. I currently own two hanging stands, and 5 boxes full of the stuff. Keep in mind that most of this has been accumulated in 10 years, but I still won’t pretend this is an acceptable level of jewelry for one person to own.

As I prepare to move from NYC first to Northampton MA for the summer, and then permanently to Philadelphia, the idea of transporting this cherished collection is daunting. A saner person with better priorities would take this as an opportunity to condense, letting go of anything that isn’t essential. For me it’s just an opportunity to lovingly catalog each and every piece, noting how glad I am that I consoled myself with that five dollar pair of hoops when the train was late. You see, I have something that goes with everything at this point. Literally everything. That goes not just for outfits, but also make up.

Like the dutiful neurotic that I am, every single piece of my ensemble must match, or at least “go” before I dare to leave the house. Though this is something that could easily get overlooked, I feel it gives a subtle sense of cohesion to the whole deal. A sense of continuity for the eye.

There are several “rules” I keep in mind while picking the best jewelry for my make up:



This is probably the most important component. If a lip color or shadow has a warm undertone, I’m more likely to pair it with gold or rose gold. If it has a cool undertone, I’m more likely to pair it with silver or gunmetal. If you’re feeling more adventurous as I occasionally am, you can mix cool and warm, but only if your outfit reflects different undertones. If there are at least two warm and two cool items (including shoes, clothes, makeup, jewelry, and handbag) this looks more intentional. For example when I wore oxblood jeans (warm) with a black and white printed leotard (cool) and a teal green sweater (warm) I accessorize with cool toned silver earrings and warm toned bronze lips.



I try to generally pair shinier accessories like bright silver with matte make up and jewelry with a flatter finish such as antiqued gold with dewy or glittery make up for contrast. I also tend to pair darker colors with brighter jewelry and lighter colors with darker or more matte jewelry.



If a piece of jewelry has a subtle detail that I want to highlight, I will accentuate that with make up. For instance if a pair of earrings has tiny rhinestones I will wear some white or silver glitter to echo that in my make up. If a necklace has a tiny bit of green in it, I will put a touch of the same green in the inner corner of my eyes. If a piece of jewelry is reflective or composed of many colors, I will pull one out and reflect that prominently in my make up that day.


There’s no one size fits all here, and I’ve been known to rock some door knocker earrings with a bright purple lip on occasion, but for the most part, if I am wearing very large or chunky jewelry I will compliment that with more subtle or lighter colored make up.



The color wheel is a great place to look for inspiration if you’re working with jeweled or colored jewelry. Contrasting colors are across from each other on the color wheel, and pairing them together will make your look “pop” For example, I like to pair green or blue toned jewelry with red or orange lips.

Experimentation is the easiest way to find balance. Try on several different necklaces with your face of the day and see which piece feels harmonious with your look, then ask yourself why. A pattern is sure to emerge.

Are any of you mindful of this jewelry/ make up equilibrium? Are there tips and tricks I’ve missed here? I would I love to hear them in the comments!

Kristine is wearing half a jewelry store on Instagram @glitter_or_death

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Kristine Rose is a make-up artist, esthetician, and writer. She strongly believes in each individual’s right to express themselves through style, make up, and body modification (or lack thereof). Beauty writing is her one true passion and she intends to revel in it until her untimely death, crushed under the weight of her own jewelry. Follow her on Instagram: @swansaredead and @_partoftheproblem_.

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How to Grow Out a Pixie Cut: You CAN Do This!

Today, I’m just thrilled to share a video interview I did with my stylist, Jaimie Stevenson (nee Juettner) who has been cutting and styling my hair for 4+ years now. In it, we talk about how to grow out a pixie cut, and making the process less painful!

If you’re interested in working with Jaimie, here’s how to find her:

AND. In case you can’t do the video right now, I forgot to ask Jaimie a question that I wanted her to address, so here’s a quick Q&A on a related topic.

Sally: I’ve brought in a photograph and said, “This is the haircut I want.” And I feel like I’m definitely guilty of assuming that whatever it is can happen on top of my head and I know now that’s not true. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Jaimie: Sure! When bringing in a photo, the first question you should ask your stylist should be, “Will this work with my face, my hair.” Things you have to take into consideration are your texture – how thin, how full, is your hair curly, is your hair super straight. So asking all the right questions before jumping into a cut is key.

Sally: And we had talked, too, about how sometimes when you love a picture of a haircut, it’s not really the haircut you love. You can be blindsided by someone’s awesome makeup or their facial structure.

Jaimie: When looking at photos, a good thing to do is cover up the person’s face with your hand and then actually look at just the hair. Is it something you really like? The other thing about photos that’s really tricky is maintenance: Are you gonna style it every single day? Because these girls in these photos are styled for that shot. Having worked doing styling for photography, I know that a simple shot takes a lot of work to perfect. You need to decide if this is a style you can manage to do every single day. Is it something you’re going to want to style? Because a lot of people think that short hair will be easier, and realistically it’s not. It’s more work. It can be quicker work, and you can get good at it. But at first it takes time.

Plus when you take that plunge into a new, short haircut, you need to be patient. A lot of times it takes a few versions to figure out how it will fall into place. So that first cut might not be what you want, but make sure you come back and work with your stylist because it’s gonna take a couple of sessions to tweak it and get it where you want it.

Sally: That’s really good to know. And I also wanted to ask you if you’d discourage people from bringing in photos.

Jaimie: Never – I absolutely love photos! I’ve trained my eye so I can generally tell what types of hair people have in the photos. But I love it because it gives me a visual of what’s in your head, and what you really want to look like.

Sally: And once you get there you can talk about what can really be done and managing expectations?

Jaimie: Exactly.

Thank you for your expertise, Jaimie! Here’s hoping you inspire a few folks to finally take the pixie plunge.

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