How to Groom Your Eyebrows by Stephanie

Hi, I’m Stephanie, a hairstylist and makeup artist working out of Utah. I primarily work doing hair and makeup for brides, photographers, and in the salon, but I also spend a lot of time blogging about all things hair and makeup. If you need inspiration (or a stylist) or are just looking for hair and makeup tips, tutorials, and trends, come check out my blog!

If you know anyone in your life who does makeup, one thing they will always attest to is the importance of good brows. It’s easy to overlook your brows and only focus on your eyes, but your brows will only take away from your eyes if they aren’t groomed and shaped properly. I, myself, have problem brows. I used to fight and fight with my brows trying to make them have more of an arch until one day, I realized my brows look terrible with a fake, forced arch. It seems pretty obvious, but a lot of women tend to think that the more arched and the higher their brows are, the better they will look. The truth is your brows will look their absolute best when they follow their natural shape. The key isn’t forcing your brows into a new and unnatural shape:  it’s maintaining and grooming the shape you have, even if that shape has no arch.

To help you on your journey to great brows, I’ve put together this step-by-step for maintaining and grooming them. Remember that everyone’s natural brow shape is different, so yours might look a little different than mine.

Here is what you will need:

  1. Eyeshadow
    I prefer to use eyeshadow rather than an eyebrow pencil when I fill in my brows, but you can use either one. When picking a brow color, a good rule of thumb is to stay within two shades of your natural color and around two shades darker than your hair color. If you’re wanting your brows lighter than they are, talk to your stylist about lightening them a few shades (good for platinum blondes with black brows).
  2. Eyebrow brush
    I use this to brush my brows in shape so I can see where I need to tweeze and to avoid tweezing where I shouldn’t.
  3. Tweezers
    When it comes to tweezers, you get what you pay for. If you fork out the extra $10 on a nice pair of tweezers, you’ll save yourself a lot of time trying to tweeze those tiny hairs.
  4. Short angle brush
    You can get these brushes anywhere, really. Just look for something similar to the one above.
  5. Eyebrow gel
    Most makeup brands make an eyebrow gel. They come in different colors or in clear. My favorite is the MAC Brow Set, but if you want something cheaper there are a few different brands available at Target.
  6. Razor
    This small, straight razor is a great tool to have in your makeup kit. They sell them at Sally’s for less than $5.
  7. Scissors
    Preferably eyebrow scissors so you don’t end up cutting off half your eyebrow.

This is what my brows look like before I do anything to them:

See? Problem brows.

Use your brow brush to gently brush your brows slightly upwards and out following the natural shape of your brow. Don’t force them too much – just guide them and let them lie where they naturally do.

Once your brows are brushed, tweeze any hair that isn’t in the natural brow shape. Avoid pulling and stretching your brows while you tweeze so you don’t end up over tweezing. Another good rule of thumb is to avoid getting too close to the mirror. The closer you are, the more imperfections you’ll see, and before you know it, you’ve over tweezed!

If your brows are already sparse from over tweezing and they don’t ever seem to grow back in, you may want to consider using this.

Tip:  Tweeze your brows right after you get out of the shower. The steam will soften the hair follicle, making tweezing a lot less painful.

Use the razor to remove peach fuzz above your brows. (I also use the razor in between my brows since waxing makes me break out). A lot of people neglect the hair above their brows. Removing extra peach fuzz can add a lot more definition to your brows – just be careful not to cut down into your actual brow.

Use your brow brush to gently brush your brows directly upwards. Carefully trim anything that sticks up too high. You don’t need to comb them too tightly. If you comb them up and nothing sticks out, they probably don’t need to be trimmed.

Using a short angle brush (or your brow pencil), fill in your brow, applying in short, light strokes. The key to making it look natural is to apply the color in the direction the hair grows, almost like you are just drawing in new hair.

Use your brow gel to set your brows in place. Brush your brows slightly upwards and out like you did with the brow brush.

Ta-da!

No Shampoo? No Shower? No Problem. by Monica

Hello! My name is Monica, but you can call me your newest e-roommate. My best friend/ex-roommate and I blog over at Ask the Duplex, a blog where we ask all of the questions that we used to be able to ask our roommates any hour of the day.

Disclaimer:  This post may or may not gross you out. You may also lose all respect for me as your surrogate roommate. If you are one who believes in personal hygiene, bathing, or have a fear of lice, please exit this post at your earliest convenience.

People often wonder how I can go so long without washing my hair. I mentioned in a recent post that I have a toolkit full of dirty (literally) little secrets. I have a lifetime supply of secrets, and I actually studied trichology for 2,000 hours. Okay, I just went to cosmetology school, but trichology just sounds a lot cooler. And, my goal in life is to sound cool.

So, let’s delve in, shall we? Take the picture below for example:

Looks clean, right? It’s not. In fact, it’s not clean at all and it’s actually healthier than it would be if I washed my hair every day or even every other day.

So, let’s discuss how to fool people into believing you’re clean…

 

Wash your hair two times. Yeah, you heard me. Scrub that little noggin of yours twice. It goes a little something like this… You get in the shower, wet your hair down, put shampoo in your hair, scrub it a lot, rinse it out. Then, do this all over again:  get more shampoo, scrub, and rinse. You are washing and rinsing your hair two times — one time to get all the gunk out (e.g., baby powder, hairspray) and one time to get the hair nice and clean.

Get scrubbin’. When I say scrub that noggin, I’m not joking. Get those little fingernails ready and scrub like you mean it.

Condition from the earlobes down. After you have scrubbed your scalp nice and clean, you need to condition the ENDS of your hair. Ends, being the key word here, folks. Your roots don’t need conditioning.

Get your hands outta there. Remember when it was cool to run your fingers through your hair? You would start at the bangs and push the hair back, but then two seconds later it would fall back to a middle part, so then you’d have to run your fingers through it again. Anyone remember that? Or was that just cool at my Junior High? Anyways, it’s not cool anymore. Don’t do it.

Get some baby powder. Baby powder will change your life. Blonde hair, red hair, brown hair, black hair. It doesn’t matter. Baby powder soaks up oils and let’s you go longer between washes. All you do is put some baby powder in your hands (preferably a scented kind – you smell less like a baby that way), whip your head upside down and put the baby powder straight in the roots. Then brush it out. Then avoid giving your husband a hug while he is wearing a black suit. Also, avoid going straight to the gym — you may or may not come home with white all over your face.

Put hairspray in your roots. A little teasing never did anyone any harm. Well, maybe it harmed Hillary Duff just a little bit. But, if your bangs are looking a little greasy, backcomb it (tease it), and spray it with hairspray. Let it sit for a bit, then slightly brush it out.

Lay off the products. Hairdressers sometimes encourage you to buy a bunch of crap to put in your hair. You really don’t need a ton of products, especially at your roots. Try to avoid putting products at your roots for a while and see if you can tell a difference. If you’re putting something like gloss drops or Biosilk in your hair, make sure it is only going on the ends.

And, now for two dirty hair pics..

That is all for now. Enjoy the extra hours in the day now that you aren’t showering, blow drying, and flat-ironing your life away.

 

Adult Acne is REAL

Warning! This post will feature unflattering pictures of me. Try not to gag.. Seriously.
I’m sitting here trying to sum up my feelings in one post on my journey, problems, and dealings with adult acne. This has been a sensitive subject for me for the past year and one that has resulted in me sobbing and asking God, “WHY?” on the floor of my bathroom way too many times for me to keep track. I am this close to deleting it and taking down these raw, makeup-less, acne pictures of me off the internet. But, because this is a sensitive subject, I want to share it with you. DEEP BREATH, ELAINE. Okay, here goes..

Left: with make up on but before my acne break-out 1/11/11Right: makeup-less during the break-out 5/19/11

I’ve never had a huge problem with acne. I had sensitive, oily skin and some pimples here and there but, overall, I had pretty clear skin. Early last year, I noticed my skin was becoming more and more susceptible to pimples. I would get 10 overnight. Treat them for a week. Watch them slowly fade. Then get 10 more over the next week. Little did I know that this would continue for another year. The problem was I was getting pimples faster than they were healing. I would get a pimple on TOP of a previous pimple. It was an absolute bumpy nightmare. No matter how much makeup I applied would disguise these hideous bumps.

I did some research a few months prior and was getting in the habit of using Paula’s Choice so I started using their severe acne line. Looking back now, it didn’t help but I kept thinking it was going to work soon, that my skin needed to get used to it. (NO. Wrong idea.) Crying hasn’t started yet. I think I was too shocked and/or unaware that this would become a recurring nightmare.

A few months pass and I realize Paula isn’t helping. Now I’m starting to panic. Nightly muffled sobs in my bathroom so Chase won’t hear me. I’m angry at God for letting this happen to me. What did I do wrong? Why do I have to go through this? Why can’t You make it go away? And then I feel guilty about my vanity, for caring so much about my looks. Rinse and repeat…

I went to several dermatologists and doctors about it. Was there something wrong with me inside? Was I sick? No. They all told me I was stressed (I was.) and prescribed me topical medications that also didn’t work… By this time, it’s been about 4-5 months and my face hadn’t changed a bit:  it didn’t get worse and it didn’t get better.

During this time, my prayers to God have been limited to pleasepleaseplease make this go away, please make my stress go away, please help me to feel pretty again. Every time I looked in the mirror without makeup on just led to another sobfest in which Chase had to coax me out of. Finally, I asked him to give me a priesthood blessing. I couldn’t do it by myself anymore. I needed divine inspiration. In this blessing, I was told that this was something I needed to go through so that I would realize my self-worth and self-confidence detached from my physical appearance and that this would all go away soon.. (and other things unrelated to my skin.) When I heard this, all I could do was cry. Soon? I’m pretty sure God and I had different senses of time. Soon to Him could be 10 years. Soon to me was 5 minutes. Okay, maybe a week. I was still comforted in knowing this wasn’t permanent, that my face would get better some.day. But, still..

I did more research online. What the best medications were, what the best skin care products were. I started researching Proactiv. I had used it before but it never made an impression on me – probably because I never really needed it. I’ve been using it for a month now and I can already tell the difference. It is working wonders on my acne and I only have 2 pimples that are in the healing stages right now compared to 27 (I counted once..) What you see below is scars. No more bumps under my makeup! It actually looks redder than it usually does because I had just gotten out of the shower.

2/21/12

So what caused my acne?

Around that time, my mom had given me new Korean skin care products that made me break out a little. I also started a new job with an hour commute one way. (I HATE L.A. TRAFFIC.) I also made a change to my birth control. Stress. These were all things I was able to piece together. I don’t know if these factors are for certain or not but I have a hunch it was a combination of multiple things that took a toll on me physically.

While doing research, I learned diet and fitness can affect your skin as well, which is why I’ve been working out and trying to eat right. I recently omitted milk from my diet. I was never a fan of milk except in my cereal, but when Chase and I lived with his parents a couple summers ago, I got in the habit of drinking milk regularly because that’s all his family drinks. I read that cow milk has hormones that could affect you – not everyone – a select few perhaps. I decided to test it and started drinking almond milk. I still eat regular ice cream, yogurt, cheese and use milk when I cook for Chase and me or guests, but I don’t eat those dairy products as often as I drink milk. I made this milk shift the same time I started using Proactiv so I can’t vouch for its effectiveness. All I know is I’m definitely not going to risk it and switch back to cow milk now.

What products am I using now?

For my skin, I use Proactiv cleanser, toner, advanced blemish treatment (stronger than their regular formula), dark spot correcter (for scars), and green tea moisturizer.

For my makeup, I use Revlon ColorStay in Sand Beige and then Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Foundation Compact in Nude after with a stipling brush over my acne scars. I usually use about a layer each. Then I spritz some NuSkin moisture mist to tackle the dryness that usually follows later in the day when I have makeup on. For some cheek color, I swipe some Bare Escentuals Glee.

I also allow myself one makeup-free day a week for my skin to breathe, as well as washing my brushes weekly.

This works for me right now but I’m sure I’ll adopt new products and/or ways later to accommodate my changing skin and body.

What should you do about your own acne?

Do your research! We’re all different. What may work for me may not work for you and vice versa. For me it was trial-and-error with skin care products so it may help to keep track of all products you’ve tried, even the ones that have failed, as well as the date range. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take pictures of your skin to see progress or lack of too. And go see a dermatologist! Keep in mind that not all products they prescribe will work. Most of all, be patient. I’m the most impatient person, says everyone who’s met me…ever. Know you are beautiful and you are not defined by your skin.

This post was inspired by this video. I was looking for makeup tips on Youtube on how to cover my acne and I loved how brave this vlogger was. You should also check out her additional tips video. My favorite tips were contouring and highlighting, doing up your eyes, and wearing lipstick.

Whew. I did it. Guess it wasn’t that bad.. Now it’s your turn.. I would love to know your tips and stories about acne.

UPDATE:  A sum of your advice and suggestions. Please do your research and consult your doctor/dermatologist before deciding on anything!!! We are all different so what may work for someone may not work for you.