Tag Archive | beauty

Stay Cute Mondays – Battle for Beauty

Last week, I decided to return to what I know. During last year’s Fashion Night Out, I went to Neiman Marcus as my original plans were waylaid by forgetfulness. The lovely lady at Bobbi Brown convinced me to purchase two gorgeous lipsticks: Hollywood and Orange to layer for a pop of color. I typically don’t do pops of colors and the champagne made me adventurous.

Here’s the truth. I actually don’t like lipstick. I only wear it to project maturity and authority. Lip gloss has a tendency to make women look frivolous in male-centric environments where I need to look commanding.  However, I was running to an engagement and I couldn’t find my lipsticks (turns out they were in my going out purse). I grabbed an almost gone M.A.C. lipstick I found in the drawer and dashed out. Something weird happened by the end of the day. My lips stay supple and soft. I realized my parched lips required moisturizer not just from my lip balm, but from lip stick as well. Therefore, I really should return to an old standby.

I often try to leave M.A.C. without success. Lipstick and lip liners only! The company offers a good combination of staying power and unique colors. I hate the cliché of the Black woman in red or burgundy lipstick. My problem isn’t the company but its consultants. One year, I left M.A.C. for Clinique. There I learned the valuable tonal lesson of applying a lip liner about two shades darker than your lipstick for the simple, pretty look. They paired a lovely plum liner with a soft grape lipstick. I received so many compliments. If only that darn lipstick lasted longer than an hour. I went to the consultant begging for a solution, maybe a primer, to give it some endurance. She had nothing for me. Back I went

Last week, my return to M.A.C after six months wasn’t pleasant. I started to make my return easy. Purchase some colors I always wear and just head out. However, I thought maybe I should try something new. I knew it was going wrong when the consultant pulled out the infamous Chestnut lip liner. They have this weird theory that women should wear a lip liner that matches their skin tone. There’s one problem. I am not Chestnut. After a previous battle with a consultant in the former Georgetown location, I discovered that I am a Cork. Chestnut-wielding consultant first suggested a red lipstick (no!) and second, a raspberry colored one (what am I, 15?). I didn’t realize that the 90’s were back. Dozens of colors and every time, I get the same useless recommendations.

I’ve had these battles with consultants before and made no headway into some narrow thought of make-up application. To combat this, my best strategy is to wait until the store/counter is jam-packed. Once no one is looking, I try out multiple lipsticks until I find one I like. Then I ask the consultant to suggest a non-brown lip liner similar to the Clinique color tone theory. This plan works wonderfully. However, for this trip the store was empty and I was becoming increasingly annoyed. I shook off everything she said and ended up with two old standards: Strength, a gorgeous ginger snap color with flecks of gold, and Media, a dark plum that actually replaces the one I found in my drawer. Strength was obtained through a previous seek and test mission. I honestly don’t think I would have found it if left up to a consultant. It looks amazing against my skin and I always get compliments. So this time, I made no new discoveries. However, my lips are soft and I only need to reapply once a work day. You win some, you lose some.


Stay Cute Mondays – Winterization

In Real Simple magazine, there is a cute section on what would you do with $100 windfall. I got to experience this firsthand because after a week of left hand itching I received a refund check from my graduate school alma mater for $100. I have no clue as to why I got it since I graduated eight years ago, but I chose not to worry. I decided to spend my extra dough on my skin winterization plan. I have extremely dry and very sensitive skin. In fact, most liquid cleansers, body washes and hand soaps break me out in the most unattractive hives, followed by peeling. I also have a very unique T-zone situation. My T-zone (forehead and nose) is extremely dry while my cheeks can get a little oily especially in the summer.

I first went to what was once the best deal ever—a luxurious 45-minute hot stone pedicure complete with glass of good enough wine for $35. However, in my two-month absence (vacation, Sandy and whatnot) something happened. The technician usually rubbed my calves, arches and heels with the hot stones to practically turned my feet into butter. No longer. I got a calf rub, a foot scrub and was sent on my merry way. I did complain and I was told it was because they thought I was a Groupon user. Umm…okay.  Granted I discovered the spot through a Groupon, but I subsequently became a regular. As a result of my displeasure and lack of wine I was given a discount with a price of $25.

Due to my sensitive skin, I am a Kiehls devotee. I received my annual Kiehls cash. The company is quite stingy with discounts, so I view these things like gold. They do have a nice recycling policy, which almost makes it fair. I switched my daily facial routine to their Ultra Moisturizer line (face wash, day moisturizer and night cream).

Here is the rest of my plan to keep my cold  parched skin as supple as possible:



One of my short-term life goals is to own a Clarisonic. However, my aunt got me a Neutrogena microdermabrasion tool that works phenomenally well in the interim. I used it twice a week to slough off the dry skin

I usually do a Lush Oatifix masque once a week for added moisture

Finally, I apply a little shea butter to my T-zone daily to prevent flakes. I foolishly used to buy the L’Occitane’s travel Pure Shea Butter for this purpose because I like the consistency. However, I realized that I could buy pure solid Shea Butter at the Beauty Supply for $7 and whip it myself

shea butter


I have the driest feet. My beloved Suave Cocoa Butter with Shea lotion does absolutely nothing to save them from the dreaded ash. I discovered Suave because I started buying Jergens with Shea Butter lotion. I truly believe Shea Butter is my savior. However, Suave, in its role as the Jean Nate of beauty products, soon came up with a similar product that to me is better than its pricier counterpart

I need to scrub them to death. This is where Lush’s Porridge soap scrub comes into play. As many have noted, it can be extremely messy, so remember to scrub in a confined area as the little flakes of oats can get everywhere

Finally I pile on the Burt’s Bees Coconut feet cream before bed. It was my first guess at a foot cream and the best burts beeschoice ever. They suggest wearing with socks, but I have a tendency to kick socks off.  If you apply any other time, it makes your feet way too slippery for shoes


I have gone through every product line, every formula, every price point. My hands actually crack and peel from dryness. It doesn’t help that I wash them constantly. I really wanted something that would only need goldbondapplication a few times a day. My best discovery was another accident—GoldBond Ultimate Intensive Healing Cream. It was on sale at CVS and I liked the 7 moisturizers tagline. I love it. I apply only thrice a day unlike other formulas, which seemed to require use after every washing

That’s my strategy. The less itching the better.