Beauty Wednesday: What’s Overrated?

Overrated (But Classic) Beauty Products -- and What's Worth It | CorporetteIn the wake of all the makeup sales lately, I’ve been perusing the “best seller” lists, and am continually surprised to see some of the listed products because I’ve tried them and been underwhelmed. I thought today it might be fun to discuss classic beauty products — what’s worth the hype, and which beauty products are overrated? For your review, Sephora has a list of best sellers as well as a list from Allure’s Best Beauty Products of 2014, Beauty.com has another list of Award Winning Beauty; and Ulta has a list of their fan favorites.

My list of the overrated beauty products includes:

  • Diorshow — Meh. I briefly liked Benefit’s They’re Real!, but am still on the hunt for a good mascara.  I’m keeping my eyes peeled for a mascara gift set for the season so I can try a bunch.
  • NARS Lip Pencil – I have this in a dark mauve and I hate the way it wears.  I’m ok with Clinique’s Chubby Sticks, but I’m always baffled when I see this one on best-of lists. (Note that Sephora has a limited edition Chubby Colour lip set for $25 with four shades.)
  • Naked Palette.  I WANT TO LIKE THIS SO BADLY!  It just seems like a lot of blah to me.  Even for daily, low-key makeup, I reach for a million other things first.
  • Benefit’s High Beam – meh.  I do really like the eyebrow highlighter pencil in a very similar shade, though.  In general, I prefer Nars the Multiple to add a bit of shimmer to my cheeks before I head out for the evening.  I had a gold highlighter from Josie Maran (which they don’t seem to make anymore) that I loved, and was excited to see Benefit come out with a similar gold highlighter, but after watching the video it looks like it isn’t intended for my pale skin at all.  I’ll still try it the next time I’m in a store, though…
  • Benefit’s Benetint – I feel like I’ve been trying to like this one for 20+ years.  Meh.
  • Tarte cheek stains — in fairness, I’ve never owned one of these, but I’ve tried them on in the store a zillion times.  They just don’t look like anything on me.

My list of classic beauty products worth the hype:

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How to Be Taken Seriously When You Look Young

looking young - body languageWhat should you do if you look young for your age, and you do all the basic things you’re supposed to in order to seem older (dress professionally, wear heels, etc.), but you still get mistaken for a college student? What more can you try to get your colleagues to take you seriously?

Reader E wonders…

I’m a college professor (outside your normal demographic, but I really enjoy the conversations here). I often am told that I look like an undergrad. I have two questions. First, how do I respond to this in a workplace setting? With a frosty “Nope, I’m actually in my mid-thirties”? With “I’m told that I’ll be grateful for it one day”? Why do people think this is an acceptable thing to say to someone? Second, how can I actually look older so that I avoid these comments and am taken more seriously? I’m short (5′), which is part of the issue, but I already wear 1-3″ heels/wedges (more would look out of place here and are not my style). I use basic makeup (tinted moisturizer/blush/mascara), wear professional and structured clothing, have nice-looking but understated jewelry (including my engagement/wedding rings), keep my wavy hair shoulder-length and mostly under control, and make an effort to speak in a lower voice. This all feels like Looking Older 101–I need the upper-level class!

Hmmmmn. Hmmmn. We’ve talked about a lot of this before — how to avoid acting young, how to lower your voice, and whether long hair makes you look younger — but it sounds like Reader E has already taken a lot of these tips. What else can be done? I’m curious to hear what the readers say, but I did come up with a few tips. I don’t think everyone needs to take these steps, but for people like Reader E, who have tried everything else and are still frustrated by people telling them they “look young,” these may be the tweaks you need to consider:

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Growing Out a Pixie Cut — and Looking Professional

growing out pixie cutHow can you grow out a pixie cut — without looking unprofessional?  Reader L wonders:

Last fall I cut my hair in a pixie cut and although I love the low maintenance cut I’d like to have longer hair again. As you know growing out this cut can be painful. Do you have any suggestions for keeping hair professional during a grow out? Are hair scarves ever Ok? Is it acceptable to get extensions?

This is a really interesting question, and one I don’t have a lot of experience with — the shortest my hair ever was was after I did the post-wedding chop and donated to Locks of Love.  I can see how growing out a pixie would be a challenge in a professional setting, though.  I poked around Google a bit and found some great tutorials from the bloggers at at Unspeakable Visions, Maybe Matilda, and Hair Romance (studying Carey Mulligan’s pixie cut growout)– these ladies did it right and looked great while growing out their pixie cuts! That said, here’s my $.02 for a corporate setting or other conservative office: [Read more…]

Beauty Wednesday: Hair Masks

The Best Hair Masks | CorporetteAs the weather is getting cooler and the air is getting dryer, I thought now might be a great time to talk about hair masks. I really got into them while pregnant with Harry — my skin was super dry, and my hair seemed to be too — so these are all ones that I’ve bought and tried myself.  (In case it matters, I tend to have fairly fine hair, but a ton of it — and it’s getting curlier each year.  It also gets more dry each year, also — handy for making a blowout last for days.)

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Beauty Wednesday: Laser Hair Removal

Laser Hair Removal Experiences | CorporetteLaser hair removal | CorporetteI’ve shared my experiences with laser hair removal — let’s hear from you guys! Those of you who had your hair removed more recently than I did, what was the experience like? How much did you pay? Has anyone tried the newer devices for removing hair at home? Reader C wonders:

I would love to see an updated blog about laser hair removal. I’ve had my underarms and bikini done with great success at a salon, and am now considering lower legs.

I’ve received two quotes from different sales: one for $1600 (8 sessions with a Lightsheer diode laser) where she notes her machine costs more than $100k and is top quality and another for $500 (3 sessions with an IPL machine – Ultra VPL) where she thinks three would get me far into the process.

I could buy a Tria Laser system for $500 and do any/all surfaces myself at home… if, of course, I get results. Has anyone had good/bad experience with the Tria? It seems to be the most popular at-home system, but I’m open to other recommendations too.

Great question, C. For my $.02, I’m THRILLED I had my underarms and lower legs done about six or seven years ago at Beam Laser Spa in NYC — even though I’ve missed laser hair removal touchups over the years because I’ve been nursing or pregnant, my lower legs and underarms are pretty much a non-issue for me in terms of maintenance. As I mentioned in my original post, though, in a very un-Kat-like move I did zero research on the procedure, the laser spa, the equipment, etc. (I decided to buy a package on a whim after a beauty blogger I read recommended Beam and noted that they were having a sale.) So for those of you who DID do research and make more educated decisions, what did you discover and decide — and how did that work out?

(Pictured: Happy legs, originally uploaded to Flickr by Shawn Rossi.)

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Gray Hair: An Open Thread

Gray Hair Care: An Open Thread | CorporetteWe’ve talked about gray hair before (as well as aging gracefully in general), but not in a long while, so I thought we’d revisit — ladies, do you dye your hair?  (One friend told me she went blonder to help hide the grays!)  Do you rock the gray — and if so, do you care for it with special products?  I’ve noticed Amazon has a ton of products to brighten gray hair and keep the yellow out, which I’ve been told is important.

For my $.02, I haven’t ever dyed my hair (not counting some experiments as a teenager with “wash out red dye” (it was a thing) and, briefly in college, experimenting with blue hair dye), but I’m starting to wonder whether I should!  I first started seeing gray hair at age 26 (thank you, bar exam!) and it’s definitely growing.  If I had darker hair I would LOVE to rock the salt and pepper look — one of my old editors had hair like that, and I always thought it was so chic and cool.  If I were to go all gray I would equally love to rock the silver hair look — one of the partners I used to work for had a super stylish silver bob.  (I even like the silver streak look, like Stacy London!) But now, where it’s brown hair mixed with about 1-2% gray hairs throughout… I’m less of a fan, and have been trying to make an effort to tweeze about 5 silver strands each night.  (Which apparently is the worst thing to do, whoops!) I suspect I’ll hold off dyeing it until the percentage of gray grows to 5-10%, but that’s me.

(And just in case this is in question: I don’t think there’s anything professional or unprofessional about gray hair — I think it’s totally a matter of personal choice.  In my situation I have noticed that my gray hair tends to be a different consistency than the rest of my hair, which sometimes requires extra attention to smoothing so I don’t get a frizzy, frazzled look — the halo of gray! — but maybe that’s me.)

So let’s hear it ladies — do you have gray hair(s)? How do you feel about them? How do you care (or cover) them? 

Further reading:

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