Posts Categorized: beauty

Enhancing Appearances

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For most of my young life, I washed my face with Dial soap and walked out the door with nary a swipe of cosmetics. I’ve made a lot of changes since then. I don’t do much, but I like my face better with BB cream, blush, lip color, and defined brows. I feel like I look healthier, more polished, like an enhanced version of my regular self. But occasionally I come across diagrams like the one above – showing techniques for visually contouring the face using makeup of various colors and shades – and I realize that I’m only hitting the tip of the face-defining iceberg.

I wear padded bras. As I’ve mentioned more times than I ever expected to on a public website, I have perpetually erect nipples. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’m ashamed of this, but I acknowledge that it can be a distraction. So I pad. And I will admit to liking how a little bit of extra volume in my bust balances my figure. But in my bra shopping excursions, I always avoid  the super enhanced, gel insert, push-the-girls-sky-high models. The phrase “false advertising” floats through my head, unbidden and unwelcome.

I own shape wear. If I’m going out in a fitted dress and want a little jiggle-mitigation, I’ll slip it on. I have never believed nor seen evidence that shape wear can make anyone look five pounds lighter, but I know that wearing these undergarments changes how I look to the observing eye.

So much of what we do when we dress and groom is meant to amplify or enhance what we already have. Some of what we do is meant to alter how our natural figures and faces are seen and perceived. And what fascinates me is how each person, as an individual, feels about levels of enhancement and amplification. Some people would consider dying their hair to be an act of deception, and some would feel perfectly comfortable undergoing surgery to transform their body’s essential shape and consider it to be a welcome enhancement. It’s personal, variable, and totally fascinating.

I’d love to hear about the choices you make to enhance or subtly alter your appearance and how you landed upon them. Do you do padded bras? Contour your face with cosmetics? Wear shape wear? Color your hair? Have you had elective body-altering surgery? Have your experiences with these techniques and garments changed how you feel about your appearance overall? If so, how?

PLEASE NOTE:

  • If you feel strongly about this issue, express your views respectfully and civilly or they will not be published. I’m happy to participate in a discussion that includes contrary opinions, but will not tolerate cruelty.
  • Be courteous and kind to each other when responding to remarks from other readers.

Image via Batalash

This post and discussion have been refreshed and revived from the archive.

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Make Up for Sensitive Eyes

By Kristine
AP Contributor

Hello all!

A reader who wished to be kept anonymous recently emailed us with a beauty question:

Just wondering if you or your contributors have any advice on wearing eye makeup for those of us who have “dry eyes” and apply eyedrops throughout the day. I used to always wear mascara and now don’t because the eyedrops smear and run the mascara after application and give me “raccoon eyes.” I’m not sure I want to try waterproof mascara since it seems rather harsh and removing it might get problematic since my eyes are sensitive. I should tell you the eyedrops I use are over the counter and not prescription on the advice of my optometrist. 

What an interesting question. I don’t have dry eyes myself, but I do have terrible allergies in the spring and summer so I am familiar with the eye drop situation. Not only are my eyes watery, but they swell up and get really red.

After experimenting with many different mascara formulations, I threw in the towel and decided to start eyelash tinting. My brows and lashes are naturally blonde and if I leave them bare I look like I have none at all. Honestly, I do this at home with Henna. I’m not going to explain to you how to do that, because you shouldn’t be doing it. I shouldn’t even be doing it but I’m broke and…my safety just isn’t that important to me I guess? But you, being the responsible person I’m sure you are, can get this service done at a salon. There is no FDA approved eyelash or eyebrow dye currently, so it’s important to know what your salon uses before undergoing the service. Benefit is a good choice because they use a vegetable based tint so there is no danger of blindness. The service take around 20 mins and prices vary, but are usually in the $20-40 range. If you have sensitive eyes, this may be uncomfortable, but the results last 4 to 6 weeks and it might be worth it. I’ve never had a problem with it myself, and it’s wonderful not worrying about putting in eye make up everyday.

dyed eyelashes

If you want to stick to mascara, there are several options to consider. I even asked a few knowledgeable friends to weigh in with their advice. If you don’t want to try a waterproof mascara, I would suggest carrying a make up remover pen like the one from e.l.f. and just clean up any excess after applying your eye drops. You can also blot your mascara brush before applying, a thinner layer of mascara won’t smudge as easily.

If you would like to try a waterproof variety, just make sure you are using a very gentle make up remover. Some of the safest include Lush Ultrabland, Bioderma, and Make Up For Ever Sensitive Eyes. Using a thicker eye cream like Kiehl’s Rosa Artica Eye Cream will greatly reduce irritation as well.

I hope one of these solutions was helpful and I would love for you guys to let me know via email or in the comments. Any of your own tips would be a great addition as well.

Email me with any beauty questions.

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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.

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Youth, Body Image, Aging

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I’m working on a style and body image project that centers on teen girls, and it has been an amazing experience so far. I’ve interviewed about a dozen teens from all across the U.S. and it was incredibly eye-opening to get their input on these topics. Only a few had experiences with online bullying, most of them had very strong opinions about people and styles they viewed as “slutty,” nearly all of them post selfies on Instagram, and at least 75% of them think Taylor Swift has great fashion sense. I loved hearing from them and getting them to talk about their own levels of self-confidence, how they conceptualize their personal styles, and how they’re affected by the media.

I’ve talked to friends about this project, and they’ve all expressed excitement and optimism. Many have said something along the lines of, “If you get to them young, maybe the next generation of women won’t become quite so bogged down by weight worries and body image issues.” And I hope that’s true. I hope so hard that’s true, I can barely express it. If I can help even one teen girl feel better about herself and move through the world unencumbered by body dysmorphia or self-image hang-ups, I will be thrilled beyond words. Seriously. And there’s a very good chance that will happen.

But.

I hate to doubt something that hasn’t even come to fruition yet, but there is a but.

Based on my own experiences and the anecdotes I’ve been told by clients, readers, and friends, I’ve come to believe that adolescence can be a period of individually specific hazing that can’t be easily influenced or redirected. As an adult, you can step in, take a teen girl by the hand, tell her about media literacy and Health At Every Size and the power of style, and she still might have to battle her own inner body image demons for a few years. All the facts and tools and support in the world may prevent the onset of self-loathing and help her move toward a positive body image, or it may land on deaf ears until she has learned and grown a bit more. I had to live through my own body-centric worries for many years and come to understand things through personal experience. I can’t honestly say if a body image intervention at age 14 or 16 would’ve helped me. It might have, and I do wish I’d had more forums for discussion and supportive resources to consult. But it might have bounced right off of me because I needed to work through those lessons on my own.

Aging is quite the double-edged sword. As women age, we often feel devalued and ignored. Youth is so prized in our time and culture that an aging woman can feel unimportant to the point of invisibility. And yet as we age, many women also worry less about what people think and say about us. As my girlfriends and I get older, some of the issues that once plagued us fall away, diminish in importance, pale in comparison with the priorities we’ve set for ourselves and our families. And because we’ve lived through these decades had had these lives and accumulated this knowledge, we can let them fall away and feel lighter for the release of burden. But somehow, sadly, our younger selves just couldn’t. We needed to have experiences and learn things for ourselves, and those things could only happen with time, patience, aging.

Humans are stubborn and often need direct, personal experience to make a lesson sink in. Some things can be taught and influenced, some just have to be lived through. So I expect that this project won’t have the far-reaching impact that I dream it could. But I am in favor of offering tools and knowledge and support at all ages and stages of life. And if one teen girl feels better, that will be enough.

Image courtesy kris krüg.

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