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Sweatpants & Beauty | Ask a Beautician | August 2017

By Charlotte Smith

August brings the end of simmer and start of fall, and with it, we experience a whole myriad of beauty woes, here are the all the answers to your questions this month!

1. I would love to know where to find some good turquoise or perhaps other unusually colored lipsticks. 

When it comes to fun colored lipsticks that won’t totally tear up your lips, I really like Too Faced, Urban Decay, and Anastasia Beverly Hills. Sometimes Colourpop will have some unique colors, but those sell out pretty quickly so you have to check the site often.

2. Wavy hair. Help?

Me too, girl. Me too. Wavy hair is tricky since it comes in a variety of textures, thicknesses, and densities. I break a few cardinal rules in taking care of my wavy hair, and what works for me might not for you. That being said…

I wash my hair every night or every other night, only because my scalp gets dandruff and itches if I don’t. I alternate between a volumizing shampoo & conditioner and a blonding shampoo & conditioner. Once a week I’ll use a clarifying shampoo & deep conditioner. Once I get out of the shower & I’ve squeezed the excess moisture out of my hair, I spritz a leave in conditioner, scrunch in some mousse, and spritz in a sea salt spray. That gives me a nice mix of looser and defined curls. At some point I’ll master the art of the diffuser, but that hasn’t been a staple in my routine in a while.

3. What can I do about peach fuzz?

You’ve got some options! I used to be a fan of facial waxing using hard wax, which I recommend seeing an esthetician for. Otherwise, you can use a facial grade razor, which is what I’ve been doing lately using this: http://www.sallybeauty.com/Ladyn-Razor/SBS-199588,default,pd.html?cm_mmc=bing-_-SHO-_-cpc-_-keyword&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=BS%3A%20All%20Products&utm_term=1100507260798&utm_content=All%20Products . I’ll alternate between a daily grade exfoliant and these razors, depending on how much hair has grown.

4. Does hair turn gray (like the strand was previously a color) or grow gray?

Your hairs shed roughly every three years. As each hair is shed and grows back, the pigment cells decrease in amount each time, eventually meaning that they’ll grow in gray.

5. Is this a blackhead? No way is this a blackhead, right? Blackheads don’t act like that. I mean, do they?

That is indeed a blackhead, in the sense that a 1969 Aston Martin that Sean Connery drove in a James Bond movie is a car. It’s a super mega ultra blackhead.

6. Do you mean that the leetle ittle bitty blackhead I might get on my cheek, or the fleshy part of the nose, or places like that – you mean that kind of blackhead could develop into a situation like the one in the video??

In theory, over the course of many years, it could. Cases like these don’t happen a ton, but it’s a good chunk of why I recommend seeing an esthetician regularly so those bad boys can be extracted. Did I mention that I’m super jealous of the person in this video who got to extract all that? Because that would be AMAZING to do.

7. I was taking a bubble bath, and as I was drying off my skin was flaking like I had a sun burn. WHY DID MY BATH FORSAKE ME?!

It actually did exactly as you asked!! When you soak in a bath, the outer layer of unexfoliated dead skin will soften up. Depending on how much is there when you go to dry off, your towel can actually exfoliate that top layer of softened skin when you dry off. You see this often in Korean spas when people go in for a full body scrub. It’s just some physical exfoliation. 👍🏼

8. I just want to know what order you’re supposed to use all these products in! I have cleansers and exfoliates and serums and concentrates and moisturizers and toners and probably another 5 things people have sold me.

The Great Routine Question! Not a problem, friend.
– Cleanse: use any makeup removers first, then your regular cleansers. Cleanse twice a day, though!
– Exfoliate: look at the instructions on the package, but it’s safe to say start at once a week and gradually build up from there. Never exceed the amount of times a week listed on the package!
– Mask: some masks are gentle enough for everyday use, like the majority of sheet masks on the market, while some are best used only once a week.
– Tone: do this twice a day.
– Serums/Ampoules/Concentrates/Boosters/Oils: apply these in order from thinnest to thickest. Easy, right?!
– Moisturizer: use this to lock everything in. Be sure your daytime moisturizer has SPF, or you’ll need a second sunscreen step after this in the form of a dedicated sunscreen, primer, or makeup.
– Eye & lip: I like to use lip balms and eye creams after my moisturizer.
See? Much easier now!

9. How bad is it to sleep in mascara? Or to pull it/ pick it off? #askingforafriend

Stahp! Staaaaaaahp!! Mascara breaks down eyelashes, so getting it all off is crucial. If your mascara is too hard to remove, try googling what people are using to remove your particular brand of mascara. I personally like to use a dedicated eye makeup remover followed by an oil based cleanser massaged into the lashes.

10. If you put a u-haul trailer in a u-haul truck, do they become a we-haul?

No, it becomes a we-haul when two people are in the u-haul for longer than an hour and a half. The phenomenon you’re describing is a u-heft.

11. Or, conversely, if you put Beef Jerky into food dehydrator, does it turn into bones?

No, it becomes the off brand dog treats that no dog ever actually wants.

12. Are there any products that can clear existing closed comedones, or is an extraction the only way to deal with them? I’ve tried almost everything available OTC–various AHAs, BHAs, retinoids, physical exfoliation–and nothing touches them!

Are you *sure* they’re closed comedones (aka whiteheads)? If none of those methods are working, it sounds like you might have something bigger on your hands, like enlarged sebaceous glands or milia. That requires a dermatologist to diagnose. However, if your dermatologist says they’re indeed closed comedones and none of those methods are working, a consultation with an esthetician about your routine is definitely needed. Ensure you’re getting enough probiotics in your diet, too! Probiotics are now being recognized as one of the best anti-acne ingredients on the market.

13. Dandruff? Head and shoulders twice a week doesn’t work.

Ensure that you aren’t using shampoo or other hair products you’re allergic to, and schedule a consult with your hairstylist. They’ll be able to look and make some more tailored recommendations based on your individual hair type.

14. Bug bites!!!

As someone who’s allergic to mosquitos, I feel you HARD. I take nightly baths with two drops each tea tree, lavender, lemon, peppermint, and frankincense oils, and after I shower I tape pennies to the bug bites. The copper in the penny helps draw out the venom and keep a protective layer over the bite so you don’t scratch. Sounds weird, but it really works!

15. I’m over 50 and have embraced my natural grey. My eyebrows have thinned and are very light. How do I fill them properly so I don’t end up looking like Mimi from the Drew Carey Show?

Powder & pencil together! If you have a warmer grey, going for ash blondes will be a great option. If you’re a cooler grey, however, that’s harder to find. I like the Universal Grey eyebrow pencil from IT Cosmetics paired with a matte grey shadow to fill in.

16. Asking for a friend, and maybe it’s in your wheelhouse, maybe not. Do ingrown toenails need medical attention, or can you take care of them yourself?

If you feel like you’re having to do surgery or you wouldn’t want your nail tech to see it, go to a podiatrist. Any signs of swelling, red striations, pungent smells, or possible infection means a possible ER visit. If it’s just a simple situation where the nail needs some trimming and a bandaid to protect a teensy corner of nail bed, then you should be okay. When in doubt, call the doctor.

17. Can KP cause leg hair to grow in under the skin in addition to the chicken-skin-effect?

Absolutely! The keratinized cells that cause KP can easily block hair from growing up and out of the follicle properly, causing it to grow under the skin. It’s basically a variation of an ingrown hair.

18. But how about skin tags? Sterilize them and nip them off, or medical attention?

I’ve done both, as well as an old school method of using frankincense essential oil. All three have worked. The frankincense took the most time, but it also left behind no scarring. I’ve definitely cut off a skin tag and I still have problems with the hair follicle in the scar. I don’t recommend at-home surgery unless you have medical training, however, just to be safe.

19. Do I really need an anti-aging skin cream anyway or can I just drink lots of water and stay out of the sun to get the same effect? If I’m buying an anti-aging cream what should I look for?

You need a skin cream suited for both your skin type and skin goals. Maybe that is an anti-aging cream, or maybe it’s just something that boosts hydration (which can, in turn, make one look younger). Lots of water and staying out of the sun certainly help, but it’s no substitute for a moisturizer. It’s like vitamins versus meals – no multivitamin should be replacing a proper dinner. Schedule a consult with an esthetician to find the best moisturizer for your skin, your goals for your skin, and your budget.

20. What is the difference between a lipstick/gloss/stain?

Lip stains are meant to be a long lasting lip tint. Some are fully opaque while some are more sheer, but they stain the actual lip skin itself making for longer lasting color. They usually go on watery or glossy and dry down to a matte finish. I like to layer a stain under a brighter colored lipstick.

A lipstick is either in liquid or stick form and gives color to the lips. It doesn’t stain the lips, but adds a layer of color on top of the lip itself. Some lipsticks can inherently stain lips, but that’s not the intention. These come in a wide variety of finishes from matte to glossy and sheer to opaque.

Lip glosses are meant to add shine and boost hydration. Traditionally they were clear (and had LOTS OF GLITTER), but now glosses are tinted or even opaque in bright and dark colors. They also help keep your color where you put it.

21. This is an embarrassing one: how do you avoid the bumps on your skin that you can get after removing chin and facial hairs? Not quite ingrown hairs, but before they sprout forth, if that makes sense.

I haaaaate those bumps! Exfoliation is key. Wait 24-48 hours after removal, then use a gentle exfoliant. I like daily exfoliating toning pads for this since it’s gentle but effective at keeping the “texture” gone.

22. How do you use a cream blush? I’ve heard they work well but I am afraid to try them as I don’t want anything too strong or caked on.

I like using a cream blush on top of my foundation but under my setting powder. I’ll use a teensy bit on the apples of my cheeks and use a sponge to blend out. Always start off with less. You can always add more, but it’s hard to take off!

23. Do products like shampoo or deodorant get “tired” and not work after a while?

They do, and we have no idea why! I tend to believe the theory that the bacteria that live on our skin adapt to the products we use, and much like an antibiotic they can become resistant with continued use with no variation over long periods of time. It’s why I rotate between two or three shampoos & conditioners at a time, and why I tend to switch deodorant once every year or so.

24. Is there anything that will really make my eyelashes or hair grow, or is it all just snake oil?!?

Yes, but it depends on the reason the hair isn’t growing. Have you had chemo? If so, your options will be a bit more limited both because the follicles themselves aren’t likely to grow hair and because your skin is much more sensitive. Castor oil is a big help for lashes and brows, and scalp scrubs are a huge help for hair. First, try a multivitamin or supplement that will help with hair, skin, and nail health. It takes more than just biotin to make it work!

25. How can you draw upper lid liner if you have shaky hands? Or is it just me who goes without because of that?

Shaky hands club! I prop both my elbows up on my dressing table, prop my chin on my hand, and slowwwwly outline my lid. It takes patience, but you’ll get there.

26. How do you minimize pregnant lady skin problems? Because I suddenly have them ALL. Pregnancy mask (random dark spots), random dry spots, huge pimples (I never used to break out), blackheads (I don’t usually get them on my face), etc. I haven’t changed my face routine – it’s a gentle foaming face wash in the morning followed by SPF moisturizer with salicylic acid in it to prevent breakouts, I don’t wear makeup on my skin, and at night, I just wash with lukewarm water. I have started to use a blackhead scrub a couple of times a week in the mornings instead of the face wash, but it doesn’t seem to be helping or hurting either way.

You need to focus less on the breakouts with your routine and more on soothing sensitivity. While reaching for the breakout scrubs and salicylic seems wonderful for any other skin, pregnant skin is a huge conundrum that needs to be treated super gently. You also need more than just lukewarm water at night, or you aren’t washing off the pollutants you come across on a daily basis! Belli is a skincare brand that’s entirely pregnancy safe, so it’s gentle but effective, and it’s one I recommend often to my pregnant clients. Also, the Ultra Calming Kit from Dermalogica gives you a gentle reset for your skin to help calm the inflammation. First and foremost, though, I’d schedule an in depth consult with an esthetician to help get your skin soothed and happy so you’re a glowing mama!

Charlotte Smith is an esthetician licensed in Tennessee and Georgia. She’s married to a lumberjack version of Deadpool, is obsessed with huskies, is straight up in quarter-life crisis mode, and loves pretty much anything that could be considered creepy.

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