Posts Tagged: makeup

People Have Pores

Time for a little reality check. Let us examine:


This is a typical makeup ad, of the kind usually found in the front sections of monthly fashion mags. People talk a lot about rampant Photoshopping of bodies in ads and editorials and this is, indeed, a practice that is both common and damaging. There has been a lively conversation around the industrial practice of making women’s bodies look impossibly tall, thin, and curvy and I want that conversation to continue until real changes are made. Interestingly, though, I feel like considerably less attention is paid to the Photoshopping of skin and faces. I mean, there will be some uproar when a 46-year-old celeb shows up on the cover of something-or-other with the complexion of a 20-year-old, but I actually find what’s shown in the image above to be slightly more insidious.

This is a very young woman, not an older woman made to look younger. AND SHE HAS NO PORES. There is not a single line on her lovely face, including in some key places where faces typically need lines, creases, or wrinkles in order to facilitate movement. This is not a celebrity or recognizable person (as far as I know), and I believe that the choice to use a non-celebrity is an intentional one, made to coax us into believing that she’s more “like us.” Closer to the everywoman than Gwyneth or Beyonce. We are supposed to look at her and think, “Holy cats, if I wore that foundation, I bet I could look just like her.”


But we cannot look just like her. She doesn’t even look just like her. This is not what a regular human being looks like, even with gobs of professionally applied makeup. No one’s face is entirely free of pores, creases, hairs, blemishes, freckles, discoloration, scars, warts, beauty marks, wrinkles, spots, acne, and all of the other decidedly human things that characterize human faces. Some cosmetics companies use celebrity spokeswomen in their ads and airbrush them beyond recognition, and others take extremely young models and retouch the very life out of them. Both are bad choices.

Think of a 13-year-old woman looking at this ad. She is already ravaged by hormones and, likely, acne. She sees the face of this other young woman staring back at her and thinks, “How will I ever look like that?” She may buy the makeup in question, apply it, and find that she STILL doesn’t look as smooth and poreless as the ad. She may blame herself, her skin, her genetics, her inability to apply the stuff correctly. In all likelihood, she will internalize this perceived failure.

Think of a 53-year-old woman looking at this ad. She is constantly fed messages about her fading beauty and unsightly signs of aging. She sees the face of this young woman staring back at her and thinks, “I want to look like that.” She may buy the makeup in question, apply it, and find that she STILL doesn’t look as smooth and poreless as the ad. Because the ad is offering an impossibility. She may blame herself, her skin, her genetics, her inability to apply the stuff correctly. In all likelihood, she will internalize this perceived failure.

Choose a woman of any age and watch her fall down the same rabbit hole.

Makeup can highlight and downplay, enhance and mask. Makeup can change how your skin looks, how your face looks, and how you feel about your complexion and looks. But makeup cannot truly and fundamentally change anything about our faces or skin. Photoshop, however, can.

The next time you see an ad like this and find yourself lamenting your “bad skin,” gently remind yourself that the vast majority of the “good skin” you’re being shown has been digitally improved. Beyond what is possible in nature. Open up conversations with young women about these ads so they don’t start longing for botox and microderm before graduating from high school. Open up conversations with older women about how lines, creases, and wrinkles needn’t be sources of shame. These messages about what a woman’s face should look like are insidious ones. But we can help defuse them.

This is a refreshed and revived post from the archive.

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5 Great Beauty Products Under $5

beauty products under 5

Words fail to express my undying affection for places like Sephora. I like quality, I like investing in myself, I’m even the particular flavor of fool that will buy something for it’s packaging. I’m hardly practical when it comes to my shopping habits, spending my life on the lower part of the economic spectrum has made everything a novelty. Sometimes I will even purchase something because – not in spite of – its impracticality. If I’m being honest, at least a part of every paycheck is spent chasing the elusive specter of “luxury.” The heart wants what it wants. The wallet, however, may have other plans.

Much as we would love unlimited funds to splurge on the latest and greatest, it isn’t always possible. Life gets in the way when you’re busy making plans to buy the new Naked Palette. But fear not, friends! Your lack of funds hardly means you have to go empty handed. Some of the greatest products I’ve encountered were surprisingly affordable, and yet effective enough to keep in permanent rotation.

Let us gaze upon them together:


elf Baked Highlighters: Perhaps you’ve heard about the “newest” trend called Strobing? It’s a fancy name for practically bathing in highlighter in place of contouring. I’ve been all about this life for many years now. It works just as well in winter as in summer, noticeable without being overbearing. While I’m a true believer in Nars Copacabana, I’ve fallen in love with the selection at elf. Actually, everything at elf is pretty top notch since they veer towards the shimmer at every opportunity (as do I). You can even use some of the baked eyeshadows as highlighters. Two for the price of…three bucks.

Freeman Feeling Beautiful: I’m big on masks. I’ve been known to frighten the Domino’s delivery guy with my vast array of face masks. No matter how much money I have to spend on something fancy, I am loathe to part with my Freedman masks. My skin is dry so my personal favorites are the Chamomile and Aloe Sleeping Mask, The Brightening Mask, and the Avocado and Oatmeal mask as a spot treatment, but friends who have tried the others had nothing but glowing reviews.

Sinful Colors Nail Polish: This drugstore staple has been with me since high school. They have a great variety of colors, and last longer than Essie or OPI.

NYC Eyelash Curler: Nothing works better for me than this eyelash curler. I’ve really tried to get rid of this one because well…it’s just not that pretty. It’s an eyesore in my bag and I get sick of looking at it. But damn it, the thing works. I think it has something to do with the spring because it curls my lashes much more forcefully than anything else and they don’t fall down again the rest of the day. I don’t know how to quit you.

Wet N’ Wild Fergie Velvet Matte Lip Color: I may have to forgive Fergie for the atrocious ear-worm that was “Let’s Get It Started,” because this make up line is super. I love a good balm/stain and these rival the Nars offerings in opacity and color selection. Not sticky, not drying, what’s not to love?

Treat yourself. And 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. Follow her on Instagram: @swansaredead and @_partoftheproblem_.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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How to Switch Handbags Quickly and Easily

Not so long ago, I owned one handbag. ONE. It was a black hobo with two external pockets, and I used it for everything. But when I began to want my bag to align more closely with my outfit, I realized that one slouchy black leather hobo didn’t actually feel right with everything I wore. And now, several years later, I’ve got a lovely collection of bags. I would say that I generally swap bags every day or every other day, even on the weekend. My bag choices are similar to my other accessory choices: I want them to feel harmonious with my chosen clothes. And that means the one-bag-fits-all philosophy no longer works for me.

I’ve gotten loads of questions over the years about how I swap bags so frequently without leaving items in various unused bags, wasting gobs of time in transferring items, or just getting frustrated and fed up with the process. I’ve tried to answer them individually, but now I’m going to answer them generally and visually. And the answer I’ll give? Compartmentalization.

how to switch handbags

This is what you’ll find inside any bag I carry every day of my life. OK, in the dead of winter there might be gloves/mittens and sometimes I’ll shove a book in there. But this is the bulk of it. Eight items: Sunglass case, wallet, makeup bag, checkbook (I’m old-fashioned) handkerchief (I’m allergic), phone, keys, miscellany pouch. All of them easy to grab and transfer. When switching, I’ll dump everything on the bed, put the previous bag away and pick my new one, pop everything inside and go. Usually takes three minutes or less.

makeup bag

The black bag is my LeSportsac makeup bag and there are probably five or six glosses and balms floating around in there, but I also keep a Tide pen, Band-Aids, fashion tape, a pill case, a foldable brush/comb combo, anti-shine powder, nail clippers (no lie), and lots of other stuff. I may not have kids, but I’m as prepared as many moms for everyday personal emergencies. This little makeup bag came with a larger handbag, and it is one of my most valuable possessions. I have had bottles of hand lotion and cheek stain burst in there dozens of times, and the inner coating has prevented any leakage. I LOVE YOU, INDESTRUCTIBLE MAKEUP BAG.

compartmentalized handbag

The polka-dotted pouch is my real secret weapon. Inside is my gum, tissues (sometimes you need something disposable for your nose issues, ya feel me?), business card holder (I didn’t mean to match my phone case and card holder, it just happened), and ANOTHER pouch that holds the various loyalty/rewards cards that would otherwise bulk up my wallet. Many items, one pouch. Mine is Cath Kidston and the smaller one hails from Etsy. I recommend oilcloth or other coated materials that are water repellent. Not that it’s wet inside most handbags, but just makes them less likely to get gunked up quickly.

And there you have it: My not-so-secret secret to swapping bags on a near-daily basis. Could this system work for you?

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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