Skin and makeup sit in the same saucer as style and demeanor. These are the pillars of personal presentation and individual style and fall under an umbrella called “branding”. Branding is a jazzy term that really means all the things that you do consistently, both behavior and appearance-wise, that tell people how to think about you. Essentially, you help people judge you by managing what you give them to talk about. There’s one additional caveat: the entire branding concept requires consistency.
Let me explain why consistency is important: have you ever known someone who was normally very chatty and then you encountered them one day, and they were kind of quiet? Did you wonder whether they okay or having a bad day? This is what branding does: IT TEACHES PEOPLE WHAT TO EXPECT. Like it or not, people need to know what to expect because it helps them think about which box to put you in. People need to know which box to put you in in their mind because they tells them two things. First, it helps them think about how they might help you. For example, with my makeup regular makeup clients who hire me for important business meetings, head shots and formal events, I pay attention to how they normally present themselves. I want the makeup that I do to be consistent with how they want to be seen, thought of, regarded. If someone wants to be known for fashion makeup (a dramatic look), I don’t want to give them a natural look…unless they ask for that for a specific purpose. Second, when you deliberately choose the box that you want to be in, that tells people that you are good at what you do…unless, you suck at what you do (and that’s a different blog post!). For example, most people who really know me know that my makeup style is very clean, soft and natural. They know that brides and special occasions are my thing. NOBODY ASKS ME TO DO BODY PAINTING because nothing about me says that’s what I do.
Pillars 1 and 2: Skin and Makeup….. These two pillars are important to manage because they affect your confidence. They affect how you see yourself. Personally, I NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT FILLING IN MY EYEBROWS. I always do my brows because I look unfinished and unpolished without them. My brows are naturally sparse and have no shape. I want to look like I care about my appearance. Besides, how can a makeup artist/esthetician look like she doesn’t care and attract clients?
Pillars 3 and 4: Style and Demeanor….. These pillars have to do with what you show the world and affect how people see you. I dress in a manner that is classic and elegant. On any given day, I can go from a studio doing makeup for headshots into a corporate office for a client who needs makeup for a dinner time business meeting. While I could probably get away with wearing whatever I want for the first obligation, discretion is more valuable in the second environment. Therefore, my clothes need to be versatile. No matter how great my brush work is, the corporate office (second client) isnt the setting where “turnt up” is okay. Because of this need to be versatile, I have to be what I call “comfortably elegant”. To work, I must be comfortable, and I need to be personable to make clients comfortable. I need to be elegant in my behavior because that allows me work with different types of clients in various settings without standing out in a negative way. Funny enough, I am not changing my personal style to fit my clients. My work and clients actually reflect who I am. I don’t feel stressed because I am not code-switching all day.
What do you do consistently? Whats your style?
Cleansers: Foams and gels are best.
Sunscreens: Even though you hate it because you think it makes you oilier, you must wear it!
Therapies: Products containing benzoyl peroxide & salicylic acid will work to help reduce oil.
Notes: Oily skin should not be washed excessively, nor should oily skin types avoid moisturizer. Either situation makes the skin produce even more oil. A consistent skincare routine that focuses on fighting oil at night is imperative to minimizing the potential for acne and clogged pores.
Cleansers: Creamy cleansers won’t aggravate dry skin as much.
Sunscreen: Creamy products that combine sunscreen and moisturizer are awesome for you!
Therapies: Although dry skin can be acneic and subject to clogged pores, dry skin types should approach keeping pores open and fighting acne by including low-dose alpha-hydroxy acids into the skincare routine on a regular basis, i.e., every other night depending on the skin’s ability to tolerate the product.
Notes: Dry skin tends to be more sensitive as well. In order to treat the skin’s dryness without appearing greasy during the day dry skin types should have a regular night routine that includes high moisture. Depending on how dry your skin is, you can skip morning cleansing in favor of a mild toner. Too much water is NOT your friend. DO NOT USE over-the-counter cortisone without the direction of your skincare professional or dermatologist.
Sunscreen: A light-weight product that introduces moisture to the skin, but isn’t extremely heavy
Therapies: Combination skin types should focus on “middle of the road products” when looking for items that need to go on the entire face, i.e., cleansers. It is important to avoid drying out the cheeks while attempting to control the t-zone oiliness.
Notes: Combination skin types want to pay attention to how extreme the variations are. The t-zone tends to be oily while the cheeks tend to be normal-to-dry. Spot treatments are the best approach to managing the different areas. Finally, controlling skincare issues will be easier when combination skin types have a regular night-time skincare routine that treats the different problems.
Cleansers: Gels and light-weight creamy cleansers during cooler months.
Sunscreen: Your challenge is every person’s challenge: finding a sunscreen that you like! In general, unless you’re getting particular skin treatments like chemical peels or using Retin-A, you can use SPF 15 during cool months and SPF25+ during summer months.
Therapies: Although there are awesome scrubs available, many people tend to apply too much pressure to the skin with the hands which can make the skin tender and extra sensitive. Therefore, I recommend using serums and enzymes.
Notes: Normal skin types want to exfoliate, but not aggressively, on a consistent basis. As you mature, the body needs a little help keeping the pores open. There are tons of products that will gently exfoliate your skin on a daily basis like gentle scrubs and serums or at regular intervals like chemical peels. As long as the skin doesn’t experience consistent or acute painful acne, normal skin types are challenged with maintaining good habits like not sleeping in makeup and washing your face immediately after working out and adding regular exfoliation with age to maintain a bright and healthy appearance.
INGROWNS ARE TO BE DETESTED! Whether you get them on your neck or bikini line, they bring discomfort and mar your appearance. You might wonder why you get them. I’m going to try to explain in words. Generally, I talk with my hands and draw pictures when I explain this to clients; so, hold on tight!
First thing: your skin is always growing and shedding. This is where dead skin comes from. The process is call the “cell turnover process”. As you get older, that process slows down, particularly in terms of shedding the dead skin. Essentially, dead skin can sometimes get “stuck” on the surface. This is why exfoliants are such an awesome idea. Among other things, they fight the dead skin. They fight dead skin by literally scrubbing (i.e., scrubs, microbeads, face brushes, etc) it off or chemically. If you exfoliate chemically, you’re likely using a serum, a product that says either “acne-fighting” or “anti-aging” or something with some sort of acid, i.e., salicylic acid. Although they work in varying strengths (some are mild while others are strong), these products work to break down the skin so that your body can get rid of stuck dead skin.
Second thing: when people remove hair, regardless of their method, they usually do it in such a way that the shave is close because they want smooth skin. The issue is that the smoother the finish, the more likely it is that you’ve shaved the hair below the surface of the skin.
Third thing: ingrown hairs and acne have a common enemy; the clogged pore. A clogged pore occurs whenever the opening of the pore is blocked whether due to dirt, oil and bacteria (acne) or layers of dead skin that won’t naturally shed (slough) trapping a hair inside.
Question #1: How does the hair become trapped inside the pore? See “second thing”. When you shave/remove hair to the point where the end of the strand is below the surface, there’s a good chance that the skin, the dead skin we’re fighting will build up faster than the new hair can extend beyond the surface of the skin. Yes, it is a race between skin and hair to see which one can get to the opening of the pore first!
Question #2: How do you fight ingrown hairs? One of three simple ways. First, you can decide not to shave hair so closely which means having a little fuzz all the time. You have to decide whether you like that look, whether it is chin hair or hair somewhere else. For women who are prone to dark marks and who also experience facial hair, I usually recommend buying tiny sharp scissors and simply cutting the hair to avoid ingrowns and more dark marks. No, the skin isn’t as smooth; however, the more you pluck and shave, the darker the skin will become in that area and its texture will change over time as well. There’s no way to avoid the darkening and changes in texture. Second, depending on how much facial hair you get, see your doctor for a prescription called Vaniqa. For many people, Vaniqa stops facial hair growth; however, if you stop you using it, the hair comes back (Latisse and Minoxidil also stop working when you stop using them). Depending on your pharmacy, the price hovers close to $100. Third, you can include exfoliating products in your skincare routine. Depending on the condition of your skin (whether your ingrowns are often accompanied by infection and significant irritation), you can use either prescription products or over-the-counter products. Prescriptions for infected or inflamed ingrowns will be treated with a product that addresses both infection and exfoliates (fight dead stuck skin). Over-the-counter products, like the one in the image above, Vanish PFB, will work by gently exfoliating the skin in the area where it is applied. There are even some ingrown hair removal products that have products to help with dark marks simultaneously.
So, how did I do? Does this make sense?
Essentially, what happens is that teenagers’ hormones go bonkers and their bodies react in all manner of ways from acne to breasts to facial and pubic hair. The hormones are called androgens and can play a role. Androgens increase in both boys and girls during puberty. Androgens make the skin’s oil glands get larger and make more sebum. Androgens also can increase because of hormonal changes related to pregnancy or starting or stopping birth control pills.
Why some people get acne more than others is something that I can’t explain. In part, it is thought to be genetic as well as hormonal. On the other hand, what I do know is that all acne breakouts have three essential elements: oil, bacteria, debris and a clogged pore. Therefore, skincare treatments, whether they are over-the-counter or prescription aim to address one, if not all, of these causes. This is why some of your products make your skin dry or peel. The product is drying you out and trying to force the top layer of your skin to shed or become less rigid so that the pore is more malleable so that bacteria and debris are more easily removed during either extractions or general cleansing.
While there is nothing you can generally do to stop oil (and you don’t want to stop it completely), your daily skincare routine and treatments help with debris and clogged pores. The more acne you have and the older you get, the more you should consider adding an exfoliator to your regular routine. Here are a few other things to consider:
- Cosmetics that have a greasy consistency may also clog pores (aim for water-based products when possible);
- Friction caused by leaning on or rubbing the skin and harsh scrubbing can increase scarring and pigmentation issues;
- Picking or squeezing blemishes will usually make the blemishes tender and likely to leave permanent discoloration;
- Bike helmets, backpacks, or tight collars can contribute to acne;
- Changing hormone levels in adolescent girls and adult women two to seven days before the start of their period cause acne; and
- Stress causes acne (I can’t tell you how many brides break out right before the wedding!).
So, what can you do to help your kid? Here are seven simple recommendations:
- Remind them to take off sweaty athletic gear and wash as soon as possible.
- Encourage consistent skincare. No matter how many prescriptions you buy, they won’t help if your kid doesn’t use them REGULARLY!
- Get him to use a blue-tooth or headphones with his phone. Although teens are more likely to text than talk, you want them to keep their hands off of their faces as much as possible. Hands add more debris and bacteria to the surface of the skin.
- Take her to a dermatologist if they experience painful breakouts or breakouts that make her look like she has lumps in her face. Chemical peels and prescriptions might be the solution because they work on the clogged pores and can kill bacteria already on the skin and in the pores. Certain prescriptions can work on the bacteria inside the body.
- Don’t try to save money by getting your kid periodic facials. Facials are great to relax; however, for significant acne, they aren’t the answer. A better use of your money would be for quality skincare products or treatments. Think of it this way, facials are like taking an occasional kick boxing class. It is AWESOME; however, the fact that you don’t exercise everyday totally undermines that one-time experience.
When I was teen, my grandmother used to force me take showers at night during the winter. Her reasoning was that my pores would be open. To this day, I have no idea what that means! I partially wonder if she thought that wouldn’t dry off adequately and would get sick from being wet. BTW, being wet and cold doesn’t make you sick either.
How about this? YOUR PORES ARE ALWAYS OPEN! Think of warm and cold water like this in relation to your pores: warm water makes the walls of the pores more flexible which makes extractions easier whereas cold water stiffens them. That’s about it.
Your pores are always open because that’s how the body is designed. Your pores allow your body to sweat to maintain body temperature. Conversely, clogged pores on your face, chest and back can lead to acne and black heads.
Another thing about your pores: once your pores are enlarged, nothing can be done to shrink the (if anything has a chance of working, its a laser resurfacing procedure)! Seriously, nothing. There are certain chemical peels that can be used to make them appear smaller; however, an enlarged pore is just that. Think of them in the same family as stretch marks, not likely to go anywhere once they appear. The next time you go to the mall and you see a “pore product”, please know that it likely works by functioning like spackle to create a smooth surface. Any ingredient that ends in “-cone” like dimethicone is a silicone and will work that way. In any case, any results you see are temporary.
I love makeup and skincare! Let me say it again, “I LOVE MAKEUP AND SKINCARE!” From time to time, I encounter people who think working in the beauty profession is shallow. Whether I really respond to these voices depends on whether and how much coffee I’ve had.
My motto is “Pretty Faces & Beautiful Souls” because I believe you must cultivate both. Frankly, I just don’t agree that you can ignore your appearance. Point blank, period. I think people who say that how one looks doesn’t matter only kid themselves. IT MATTERS…A LOT! It does not matter, however, if you ignore who you are as a person. They go together. You cannot overly develop one and starve the other. If you focus on one, you become unbalanced. You can’t be outwardly beautiful, yet thoughtless and mean-spirited and come across as truly confident and fully beautiful. On the other hand, when you largely dismiss your appearance, you risk not being taken seriously by others and too seriously by yourself.
Whatever it takes for you to feel like a strong and confident person, do that! The trick is to know and accept that we all have parts of us that we tweak. Likewise, it is important to refrain from judging other’s efforts to feel good in the skin they’re in. I fill in my eyebrows, you may wear Spanx and another person may go to therapy. DO WHATEVER YOU NEED TO DO TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOU!
Whenever I get a makeup consultation request from a bride, this is what I think she is experiencing….LOL!
Originally posted on The Knot Blog:
Planning a wedding means facing a whole bunch of new situations that you never expected. If any of these scenarios sound familiar then you’re in deep.
1. Everyone is giving you wedding advice.
2. You’ve started speaking a whole new language that your fiancé doesn’t understand.
3. Wedding blogs are your new best friend.
4. Way too many hours of the day are spent saving photos to your inspiration board.
5. You obsess over your registry lists.
7. You have unfinished DIY projects all over your apartment.
8. You have a hard time keeping wedding planning off of Facebook.
10. You constantly question every decision, and your friends are there to reassure you.
11. You have had to talk yourself out of having…
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Okay, I’m being dramatic! Besides, my insurance company would kill me, and can you imagine what the Yelp comments would be? LOL!
Seriously, I live in a perpetual search for great sunscreens. Black people tell me how much they hate the sunscreens that leave that silver/gray tint on their skin because it makes them look dusty or ashy. Beyond that, regardless of ethnicity, nearly everybody complains about how greasy they can be and how it takes a lifetime to rub in some of them.
I like both of these to the right; but for different skins and different seasons. I like the Neova product because it has mattifying properties. It won’t make you greasy. However, depending on your skintype, you still may need a little moisture. This product is sun-protection only, not a moisturizer/sunscreen combo. Therefore, in some cases, I recommend an extra light moisturizer thinly applied underneath this sunscreen. On the other hand, if you apply it too heavily, it will take you a while to blend it.
The second product, Light Day Sunscreen, by Circadia is great for skin that needs a combination of sunscreen and moisture. This is also an awesome product with skin that needs a little moisture or who are slightly dry. Further, it is an awesome winter sunscreen for people who tend to be dry or drier during colder months.
Here are my other favorite sunscreens; however, I don’t sell these products! Yes, I sell the ones in the picture!
I’m always looking for awesome products for clients to use at home. When I visit clients for chemical peels and microderm abrasion treatments, the results are ALWAYS better if they take care of their skin between treatments. Additionally, when clients manage their skin well between appointments, I feel better when they need to prolong the gap between appointments. I worry less about major relapses and breakouts to fix. For example, some of my chemical peel clients go on hiatus during the summer. They know they’re going to the islands or plan to play down the shore. In such cases, it is better for them to be less aggressive with certain treatments because their risk of sunburn, sun damage, hypo and hyperpigmentation increases. On the other hand, the idea of fewer treatments is a scary notion for some clients, particularly those with persistent acne. Both of these products are awesome options to keep your skin on track while slowing down the pace a bit.
The product on the left, Neova Serious Glypeel (Peel-Off Mask), is an excellent choice for sensitive and/or dry skin. The product on the right, Neova Reveal Exfoliator (20% Glycolic), is somewhat stronger and an effective option oily and more acneic skin. Moreover, depending on your skincare needs and goals, both are good options to even out your skin tone, to fight mild melasma and keep your skin bright and radiant.
I wouldn’t use either of these products without a relationship with a skincare professional. While both products come complete instructions, you need an ally to answer questions if aspects of your skincare regimen, skin condition or overall health are unique.
The other day I was in the middle of running errands, and I knew needed to eat IMMEDIATELY! Once I decided that metabolic breakdown was imminent, I began driving toward Chick-Fil-A; however, as I drove in that direction, I noticed that a new teeny tiny Italian restaurant had popped up in the neighborhood. On an impulse, I decided to circle the block and return.
As I made the turn to come back, I panicked. I wondered if the new restaurant would accept my debit card. I worried that I might not find parking because I had to park on the street. I even worried that the food wouldn’t taste good. As I freaked out, I thought about two things. First, I own and operate a small business, and I, of all people, should be more flexible and open-minded. I smirked at myself! Now that I have regular customers who entrust me with their faces, makeup and skincare, dare I dismiss the struggles of the VERY fresh new business?! Then, I thought about how my friends and I complain about how customer service is forever declining and how the needs of the less than super-rich are being ignored (the potential impact of new FCC rules about Internet speed and the low wages and poorly made goods of certain retailers are but two examples). If our society is to be balanced, fair(er) and productive for everybody, it takes people like you and me. I’m not saying skip Chick-Fil-A everytime. Instead, I’m saying pull over and support the little guy or gal who had the courage to open up the tiny cafe in your neighborhood. Who knows if that’s going to become the next mega chain, your kid’s summer job or the neighborhood gathering place. Besides, wouldn’t it be awesome to know that you helped someone stay in business, that you help their dream prosper! Lend your support…