Being a Boss, Part 2: Making It Happen

The face of an entrepreneur who didn't expect her company to grow so fast.
The face of an entrepreneur who didn’t expect her company to grow so fast.

You might not think it by looking at me, but I get giddy. And when that happens, it’s best that I am by myself because it’s a ridiculous reaction. When a thought about something I’m really happy about first comes into my mind (or an old school jam I haven’t heard in a while is on the radio), I get so overwhelmed with how good it is that I break out into a giant smile and I squeal. Yes, squeal. Picture a 6 year old on Christmas morning, but make them a few inches taller and wearing a Biggie shirt and red lipstick.

This giddy feeling hit me on the daily mid-winter of 2011 when I became a full-time business owner. I felt a freedom that I had never felt before and I was elated. But I was also terrified, because my entire income came from my business and I had to actively bring it in. I had always put my all into every job I ever had, but part of me knew I could have put in less effort and I still would have gotten a paycheck. That’s not the way I do–my genetic code won’t allow me to half-ass anything–but I think I would have had to really mess up or consistently do small, crappy things to get fired. I knew that when I opened my business, I would have to work hard to earn every penny someone paid me. That was a less scary thought when I had a regular source of income from a day job, as I did for my first two and a half years in business. But in winter of 2011, shit got real.

When I left you last, I jumped from my decision to open my own business to the fact that it took 2+ years to do it full time. That gap of time, although somewhat financially stable, was tough for me because I knew what I wanted to do full time but couldn’t do it yet. That’s a frustrating feeling for someone with an ambition addiction. I had opened my business without taking out loans, receiving seed money or grants and I as mentioned in Part 1, no sugar daddy (or sugar mama, unless you count my friend Julie who used to cook me delicious meals and let me use her washer and dryer because I couldn’t afford the laundromat). I had no savings because the “extra” income I made went towards college and Esthetics school loans and the credit card debt I wracked up as I built my business. I had no roommates because I don’t play well with others, so no one to split living costs with. I also had no business partner with whom I could divide responsibilities and startup costs. I was running my business nights and weekends when I was not at my day job, but I was making only a supplemental income from it. It would have been financially foolish to quit my day job and go full time with my business during the first 2.5 years. So I (impatiently, and with much bitching to my family and close friends) waited until the time was right.

In 2011, I started hiring Independent Contractor hair stylists and makeup artists because my company was growing too much to be a one woman show. This was a huge turning point for me. I actually didn’t start out intending to build a company. I wanted to work in film and do wedding makeup on the weekends (which I now realize is an absurd plan). I thought 5 or 6 years into it, I could bring on another makeup artist and maybe a hair stylist. I now have 11 rockstar artists and stylists and am hiring. The Weddings component of my business grew so quickly that it demanded too much of my time to be on a film set for 12+ hours a day. Without purposely intending to, I pulled away from building a career in film (something I only did on a small level) and went full force into running my company. Around 2013, I stopped feeling like a freelancer and starting feeling like a business owner (both are boss status in my book though, as I mentioned in Part 1).

When I got enough work that I could go full time in 2011, I was beyond excited to be out on my own. But it was a struggle to exist financially. I never defaulted on my bills or paid my rent two months late, but I lived what Oregon Trail would call a barebones lifestyle. I rarely went out to eat, never bought clothes, didn’t go on any trips (unless I had miles and a free place to stay) and freaked out when it came to Christmas gift buying time. There were times when money was so tight that I felt paralyzed. I remember once getting towards the end of a tube of toothpaste, looking at my bank account and thinking, Shit. If I had lived with someone or didn’t have even half of the debt I had, it would have been a completely different story. But I made choices that put me in that situation, so I dealt with it the best I could. Sometimes that meant getting in my bed and crying, but it mostly meant working harder to bring in more business. By 2014, I started pulling in the income I needed to make me feel like a real adult. Fast forward to current day, where I am completely debt-free and will be living in a warmer location for the winter because I can. And I can buy as many tubes of toothpaste as I want without even glancing at my bank account. Straight out ballin’. Although I struggled hard for a few years, I am now in the best financial position of my life. I’m no millionaire–that was never my goal–but I don’t have the financial stress that weighed heavily on me for so long. It’s an amazing feeling.

But yo, the workload! To this day, some people assume I have the day off if I don’t have a wedding or a shoot. WRONG. The majority of my time is spent running my company. Emails, contracts, schedules, invoices, advertising, accounting, managing my team–that’s me. From the smallest errand to the biggest decision, it’s all my responsibility. Out of printer ink? Staples run. Need a new logo designed? I have to find the right person, hire them, come up with ideas, look through proofs, approve and then pay for the work.  A bridal trial with one of my hair stylists and makeup artists? I coordinate everything. That’s a location, date and time that works for all three parties. I now coordinate 100+ trials per wedding season. Plus the logistics of every wedding, photoshoot, corporate shoot and event we do. As the owner, I’m also responsible for coming up with the big ideas, which I’m not even going to hint at because I’ve got so many things in the infancy/prep work stage. I am growing a beauty empire here, my friends. If all of that is your version of taking a day off, then you’re a weirdo.

Luckily, my passion for makeup and my desire for the type of life I personally can only get through entrepreneurship keeps me going. I still love the transformative power of makeup. When someone looks in the mirror after I do their makeup and says “I love it!,” I have to keep my giddyness under control. And the lifestyle entrepreneurship has given me–control over my schedule, which allows me more time to see my family and friends and financial freedom, which makes everything a little bit easier–is something I wouldn’t change for the world.

When I started my company, I knew my freedom and business success would bring me the confidence I needed in life. Confidence was not something I had in my teens or most of my 20s, but my intuition told me my business would change that for me. And it did. I realize part of that could be just growing up, getting infinitely wiser by the day. But I believe the confidence and self awareness I have now comes from opening and successfully running a company. I have learned a lot about myself–both good and bad things–since opening AB Beauty.

I am a goal-oriented person. You know what tastes as good as a Three Olives Cherry Vodka, club soda and a splash of cran on a hot summer day? Accomplishment. I love reaching–nah, crushing–goals. I revel in it, I celebrate, then I move on to attack the next one. There is always a next one (or 50) and they are on my To Do list, waiting for the sweet sound of pen hitting paper, crossing a line through something I slayed. I’m guessing most successful entrepreneurs feel the same way. (And by “successful,” I mean an established business that grows each year. I don’t think you have to own a Fortune 500 Company to be considered successful.)

I didn’t start my company to be well-known or filthy rich. Those things don’t motivate me. What motivates me is efficiently running, constantly improving and growing a company. I strive to provide my team with as much work as they want, give my clients the kind of service that makes them hug me and create a career that I not only enjoy, but one that allows me to spend time with the people I love. I’m not the perfect business owner by any stretch, but I do my best and I’m happy with what I have. I am very thankful for my team, my clients, people who refer my company and my family and friends who have supported me. I recognize that I have something really good here and for that, I am immensely grateful.

Have a beautiful day🙂

 

 

Being a Boss, Part 1: The Inception

Me at age 24, pictured here not having a panic attack.
Me at age 24, pictured here not having a panic attack.

I believe life is too short to wish time away. We get a limited amount of time here and it’s a damn shame to hope all of the days until the weekend/a vacation/a move fly by. I mean, it’s natural to look forward to something you’re excited for, but I don’t like the idea of consistently living life like that. Yet that’s what I found myself doing before I owned my company. When I worked at other jobs–no matter how flexible my boss was or how awesome my coworkers were–I always found myself hating Mondays and living for the weekends. I wanted to hit fast forward on the hours between 9-5, Monday through Friday, and I wanted my nights and weekends (except for time spent at the gym or running) to slowwwwwly pass. Unfortunately, this is not how time works. I knew if I wanted to be happy, I had to find a way to take back my time, but also make an income because Daddy doesn’t fund my life and I’m not cut out to be a sugar baby. (I would rather wear rags that I paid for than a Versace dress that someone else bought for me.) So I opened my own business, which means not only do I no longer wish away days of the week, but I seldom even know what day it is. That’s the short story.

This is the longer story, which you’ll need to know to understand what I’m going to throw down in this series of posts. I moved from New England to south Florida solo after graduating college. I spent two years there, mostly getting tan and avoiding palmetto bugs. I worked as an office manager at two companies, something my 7 years working for the small business my father owns had prepared me for. While I made some fantastic lifelong friends in some of my coworkers, the jobs I was doing were not making me happy. I did, however, learn some valuable customer service skills and admin systems that I use now. I also saw examples of how to be a bad business owner–screaming at your employees, writing angry emails to clients, jetting off to Miami for three days and neglecting your business–which I subconsciously filed away and remembered when I opened my business.

The summer I moved back to New England was a tough one. I luckily found work as a full-time school secretary and a part-time admin at my father’s company, but neither job was what I wanted to do. The problem was, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I could only pinpoint the fact that if I was going to spend the majority of my hours working, it needed to be something I enjoyed. What did I enjoy? Writing always came to mind. I had harbored fantasies of being an author since I was young. That summer, I signed up for the equivalent of an online writing course (this was actually done via the mail, because I’m old), but it was more as a hobby than in preparation for a career. I knew making a living from writing was a rough path and I was still at the point where I needed stability and consistent income. So what should I do?????? This question was the cause of my daily freakouts. (Other causes: stupid boys, gaining one pound, having debt, stupid boys, thinking a friend was mad at me, bad hair days and stupid boys.)

This big question was eventually answered by my close friend and bombshell Italian actress lookalike, Caroline. You would think I would clearly remember this defining moment of my life, but what I have instead is a vague memory of what I think happened. I believe we were sitting in her driveway on lawn chairs, having a wine party. (She lives on a dead end and her husband is too nice to run us over, so we were safe.) I was hardcore venting to Ca–as I still do–gearing up for another freakout about what I was going to do with my 24 year old life. She reminded me how much I loved makeup– something I had been into since I was 5–and suggested becoming a makeup artist. We talked about Cosmetology school, but I wasn’t interested in doing hair. She then mentioned that our friend Lauren was looking into Esthetics school, something I had only first heard of earlier that summer when a psychic told me I would be going to Esthetics school. (Did you just get the chills?) I didn’t make a definitive decision then, but this is the first memory I have of thinking, I could do that and like it. I may be wrong about the details (Paesana, please correct me) but when I think of how this whole career of mine started, this is what I go back to. The moral is if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, have a driveway wine party and let one of your best friends figure it out for you.

So I jumped into action the next morning, right? Nope. Because first, I had some serious shit to address. I had been feeling sick and exhausted for a while and when it got to the point where walking from one desk to another in my father’s office was taxing, I knew I had to do something. But doing anything was so hard, because I had zero energy. Luckily my parents stepped in and got me an appointment with Dr. Qutab, a naturopath and MD who approaches health issues from an Eastern medicine and ayurvedic perspective. I had been to plenty of Western medicine doctors who would run a few tests and say that I was fine. After extensive testing with Dr. Qutab, it turned out I was in no way “fine.” I had several health problems–from hormonal to un-diagnosed allergies to pre-cancerous issues–and we immediately began to correct those with diet changes and supplements. To say that he changed my life is a giant understatement. I am telling this part of my story because I know that if I hadn’t gotten help with my health issues, I wouldn’t have had the energy to take the steps to start my career. I firmly believe that if you don’t physically feel well every day, you won’t have the emotional and mental energy and the motivation to make big changes in your life.

Even though I was feeling a million times better and shedding that weight I had been struggling with for years–turns out some of the issues I had were keeping that from happening–I wasn’t a complete Suzy Sunshine ball of energy. I had struggled with depression in college and I was, at this point of my life, much more of a pessimist than an optimist. Not feeling horrible every day certainly helped, but I still had intense worrying sessions. How would I pay for Esthetics school? (Sallie Mae.) Would I like it? (At times.) What if I failed the state licensing exams? (Oh, please. No math is involved.). What would I do after I got licensed? Work at a spa? Makeup counter? For a cosmetics company? (It’s going take you a bit to figure that out, but “no” to all of those.) I don’t know if it was that I was in my mid-20s and everything feels hard then, or if my Type A personality made it that way, but I certainly was not carefree and confident in my decision.

Because I had, at some point, made my decision. I would move back to Newport, RI–the town I had fallen in love with when I went to college there–and enroll in the closest Esthetics school. I would work an office day job and go to school on nights and Saturdays. I did move to Newport, but I ended up going to school 8:00am-4:00pm Monday-Friday and waitressing nights and weekends. I graduated and got licensed in July of 2008 and embarked on my new career. A few years before, I had been adamant about never owning my own business, as I had worked in several and seen how hard it was and how much responsibility fell on the owner. But I realized that because of my stubborn,  independent nature and my desire to not be stifled creatively if I wanted to enjoy my work–the whole reason I went down this road–I would have to go out on my own.

It would take me two years of working at full-time jobs not in the industry to do that, but I got there. That’s for Part 2, which I’m sure you are dying to read.  That will explain my early years in business, because this post is already too long. Part 3 will be a comparison between entrepreneurship and working for someone, as I see it. So if you are considering making the jump into entrepreneurship and are more of the analytical type, you may want to wait for Part 3.

I want to be clear about one last thing before you leave me for Snapchat. When I use the word “boss,” I mean because I am my own boss. I am technically not the boss of anyone who works for me, as they are all independent contractors. I’m more of their agent, procuring work and setting it up so they can do the magic they do. In my view, one person doing freelance is as much of a boss as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. If you are making all of the decisions for your career–the jobs you take, the hours you work, the way you market, etc.–and the responsibility of it all ultimately falls on you, you’re a boss. So go on with your bad self.

Have a beautiful day🙂

1990s Beauty

Ah, sweet victory. It was late August of 1994 and I had won the biggest battle of my life so far: my parents had finally allowed me to wear makeup to school. And wear it I did. I did not go with a “no makeup-makeup” look. I had been stocking up at CVS for years and I was ready to show the world that I was someone who could and would wear makeup (and lots of it). The 1990s was my new favorite decade.

This Beauty Decades post is the first one I can write about from experience. I was born in the 80s but as a child, I didn’t really know what was going on with hair and makeup trends. (Which is fine, because I wouldn’t have wanted my formative beauty years to be based in 80s looks.) But my teenage years–aka when you try all the makeup and make all the mistakes–were in the 90s, a decade that my brain still thinks was about 8 years ago.

In the early 90s, matte makeup was the thing. Brown and wine colored lipsticks were in (I’m looking at you, Revlon Coffee Bean and Blackberry), and lipliner was a must. I’m talking two-shades-darker-than-your-lipstick lipliner. There was also a trend of wearing dark lipliner with a light beige lipstick and I was definitely feelin’ that one. By the late 90s, lipsticks were frostier and lip glosses were everywhere.

Foundations had improved since the 80s, but the majority of them still had a pink undertone. Although more and more formulations hit the market every day, they were usually matte and medium or full coverage in the early and mid 90s. Tinted moisturizer become popular in the late 90s, finally giving an option to women who wanted some coverage but not a full face of foundation.

Blush didn’t get much love in the 90s. It was probably because most of it had been striped on people’s cheekbones in the 80s, or maybe snorted up by accident.

Early 90s eyeshadows were primarily warm matte browns. Black eyeliner was the go-to color. In the mid to late 90s, shimmery white and opalescent shadows were popular, particularly with teens and young women. And if you went to high school between 1996-2000 and claim that you never wore white eyeliner on your top lashline, you’re lying.

Colored mascara had its moment, but other than that, there wasn’t a huge emphasis on lashes. False lashes were not popular and although lash extensions were invented in 1916, they didn’t hit the mainstream market until after the 90s.

Thin eyebrows were the bomb in the 90s. Sure, you saw the occasional Cindy Crawford full and arched brow, but most were tweezed into thin little lines. It personally was too much work for me to get my brows that thin, as they are robust, Italian brows, but looking back at my photos from middle school and high school, I see that many of my friends were tweezer-happy. Brows got thicker and more stylized in the late 90s but were still on the thin side, at least compared to today.

Bronzer of the Oompa Lompa variety was popular in the mid to late 90s. A rise in the popularity of tanning booths soon followed. Those evil machines have been the cause of so much skin cancer and skin damage and are surely one of the most deadly and damaging beauty trends of the 20th and 21st centuries. I understand the desire to look tan and I definitely went in tanning booths before proms and spring breaks. But I didn’t know how bad they were, and I cringe at the thought of them now. On the positive side, this obsession with looking tan forced the market to create better self tanning products, bronzers and the spray tan. Jergens Natural Glow was created in the 90s and it’s still a popular product today.

The grunge scene had a huge impact on makeup, particularly in the early 90s. It was all about dark, thick, smudgy eyeliner rimming the eyes and in the waterline and greasy or bedhead hair. Mascara was swiped on like the wearer was in a rush to go to a Pearl Jam concert. If foundation was used it was the same color or slightly lighter than skintone. Blush and bronzer did not exist in this world. Lips were either bare or dark and matte.

The hip hop culture of the 90s heavily influenced the beauty and fashion worlds (at least in my life). Dark lipliner around the lips filled in with light lipstick was a big look, as Kim Mathers can attest to. The black pencil eyeliner at the lower lashline was about the same thickness as the popular over-tweezed brows. High, tight ponytails gave an instant facelift. Curls were gelled to within a crunchy inch of their life.  Baggy jeans and a tight top or an oversized Fila or Looney Toons t-shirt really brought the look home, in case you want the full picture.

Skincare became more important in the mid to late 90s. Facials and spa treatments–once reserved for wealthy women only–became more accessible. Estheticians and dermatologists were frequently interviewed for magazine beauty articles and the general realization that good skincare was key emerged.

Nail polish was big in the 90s. Hard Candy and Essie were crazy popular and the Chanel Vamp shade was often sold out. Deep, dark colors were in but really any matte color had its moment. Acrylic nails and French manicures were for the classy ladies. And you want to put some rhinestones on those claws? Do it to it, homegirl.

Streaky highlights were so 90s. The Rachel, the cut Jennifer Aniston had on Friends, was everywhere. Frosted tips on short hair–for women and men–were in. Zig zag parts were super popular, as were plastic accordion headbands and blingy (I hate that word) barrettes. In the early to mid 90s, there were a lot of scrunchies and baby barrettes being sold.

I think the 1990s is when our culture became truly celebrity-obsessed, which had a major impact on the beauty industry. Between magazines and the new Internet thing, people were seeing more celebrity faces outside of film and television. Celebrity endorsements of beauty products became commonplace and instead of models on magazine covers, you saw actresses. In interviews in women’s magazines, it was pretty standard that an actress would be asked about her beauty routine. Whether she answered honestly or not was one thing, but you better believe if Jennifer Lopez said she used a certain bronzer, that company’s sales were about to go through the roof.

As cheesy as some of the looks were, 90s beauty was in my opinion–which is correct–a lot better than 80s beauty. It was more flattering and less-in-your-face than the previous decade and product technology improved in a huge way over those 10 years. There was a marked difference between the foundation choices available in 1999 versus 1990.  And the beginning of the shift towards taking care of your skin instead of just using makeup to (try to) hide imperfections and damage was a game changer.

I hold a special place in my heart for the 90s, my coming-of-age years. This was when my childhood love for beauty products blossomed, as I finally had a small income and was allowed to wear makeup to school. Most importantly, I was able to experiment with different looks. The past few decades had made this possible. If I was a teen in the 40s, I would have had pretty strict rules about which colors to wear, which haircut was best for my face shape, how much makeup a “classy” girl wore, etc. But the country changed in the 60s (read about it here http://wp.me/pZuuY-v1), allowing women to have some choice over a lot of things, including how they looked. That continued into the 70s (http://wp.me/pZuuY-vB), where the free-spirited hippy and later disco cultures encouraged people to play around with their looks. That brought us into the 80s (http://wp.me/pZuuY-AJ), where self expression and an anything-goes take on colors was the norm. I’m grateful that I grew up in a decade where I had the freedom to try different looks and figure out what worked for me. (Frosted blue lipstick and shimmery lilac eyeshadow does not.) So thank you 90s for this and for what I consider the Golden Age of Hip Hop.

Have a beautiful day🙂

 

 

 

1980s Beauty

I was born in the 80s but I’m not an 80s Girl. The music, the clothes, the hair, the makeup–not my thing. I like some movies from that era, but if you send me a Facebook invite for an 80s party, I have to Ignore.

So, have I been excited to write this post? What do you think?

The one thing I have to give the 80s beauty props for is the try-anything philosophy. Neon green eyeshadow and electric blue eyeliner with fuschia lipstick? Sprayed-until-crunchy permed hair? Boy George? People were playing with their looks and into self expression and for that, I can not fault them. But esthetically, the 80s were not a pretty place. So many unflattering looks and styles on so many people. The term “cringe-worthy” comes to mind.

Which color eyeshadows were popular in the 1980s? All of them. Often at the same time. Purple, pink, green, blue and make them frosted. Orange? That’s cool too. If you want to do an 80s makeup look, make sure to apply your eyeshadow up to the browbone and throw some color blocking in to keep it interesting.

Heavy bottom lash eyeliner in navy and hunter green were work appropriate in the 80s. Thick brows, a la Brooke Shields, were also in. These brows were soft but thick, different than the heavy and defined Instagram brow trending (for better or worse) now. Blush was bright, heavy and striped onto the cheekbones. Foundations were full coverage and often lighter than the person’s skintone, with the goal of creating a blank canvas.  Lipliner liner was a girl’s best friend in the 80s and overlining the lips was totally rad. Fuschia and hot pink lipsticks were popular, as were orange reds.  The 70s punk makeup–lots of black liner and light foundation–continued into the 80s and got heavier than the previous decade.

Nails were long, squoval and often fake (what up, Lee Press On’s?). Neon polish colors were popular with the younger crowd, while frosted raspberries and mauves spoke to the more mature ladies.

80s hair was sprayed with AquaNet and bangs were tall. Perms were popular, as was crimped hair and side ponytails. On women with short hair, the slicked back with gel look was en vogue.  Hair bows, headbands, banana clips and scrunchies were all the rage. Things were a little better in the punk scene, with asymmetrical cuts. Mohawks were also very punk.

“Natural” was not the keyword of the 1980s. I think “cocaine” was. The idea seemed to be to play up every feature at once, but not in a flattering way. I think 80s hair and makeup looks are helpful because they show us what not to do.

Have a beautiful day🙂

20 Things About Me

“Things About Me” lists are a popular blogger thing to do, so although I can’t imagine many people would be interested, I’ll jump on board. I’m going to include personal things that I don’t think I’ve mentioned much or at all on this blog before. A lot of people do a list of 25 or 50 but I won’t put you through that eye strain.

So if you want to know a little more about this blogger/entrepreneur/makeup artist/Biggie fan, read on.

  1. I swear I lived a past life in the 1920s. When I see a show or movie from or based in the 20s, it seems so familiar. I felt something close to nostalgia when I watched Boardwalk Empire, and the party guests in The Shining always looked familiar to me. Even my company logo was inspired by a 1920s Art Deco ring. If I had to guess, I would say I owned a speakeasy or was the madam of a brothel (but a high class one).  1920s
  2. I have a weird obsession with the South. The accents, the weather, the music, the big hair. I’m really into it.
  3. I am super close to my family. I communicate with my mother, my father and/or my brother almost every day. I lived in Florida for two years after college and talked to my parents nightly. I couldn’t have asked for a better family and I’m grateful for them every day. I am very aware that I more than lucked out in this area.
  4. I can not drive with a coat on. I feel constricted in layers.  I am my best self in a dress and sandals (or bare feet if I can). Layers weigh me down physically, which makes me feel sluggish and bummed out. I feel happier and lighter when I can dress for warm weather.
  5. I think birthdays are a big deal. Saying “Happy Birthday!” is really saying “Hey! I’m happy you were born!” If the existence of someone you love or like is not a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.  Go Shawty
  6. I believe if you combined Lesley Knope and Amy Schumer and added a pinch of Liz Lemon, you would get me. I won’t pinpoint the traits I share with each, because I like to cultivate an air of mystery.
  7. I have a bad habit of not closing drawers completely. Writing this, I see two partially open dresser drawers in my room. I don’t do it on purpose, but I guess I have bad follow-through in some areas. Or, maybe I’m making things a little easier for Future Allison Who Needs Something Out of a Drawer.
  8. I chew gum or brush my teeth after I eat anything. Those Trident commercials in the 90s really affected me. 
  9. The only people I am judgmental of are judgmental people. If someone walks into a room and your first impulse is to comment on how they look, my first impulse is to consider you an asshole. If you think people should or shouldn’t live a certain way, even though it’s not hurting anyone, I don’t have much respect for you. So that’s how that works. Don't Judge
  10. I’m a huge bookworm. I haven’t owned a TV for 13 years, but I read every night before bed. I would like a home library some day, although my family and friends won’t see me much if that happens.
  11. 112 is my lucky number. I see it almost every day in different ways. 112 likes on a post, 112 word count in a Microsoft Word doc, 112 on a license plate, etc. A psychic once told me 112 is the number of manifestation so if I see it a lot, it means I am manifesting the things I want. I like that theory.
  12. My go to cocktail is vodka (preferably Three Olives Cherry Vodka), club soda, splash of cran. But I will very rarely turn down champagne.

    Three Olives Cherry
    My go to cocktail
  13. I can remember the year many Golden Era hip hop songs came out but often can not remember where my car is parked in a big lot. I am okay with this trade-off. 
  14. I hate when people are  late. I’m not talking about 5 minutes late, or the person who got stuck in traffic because of an accident.  I’m talking about when someone texts 5 minutes before they were supposed to arrive to say “Just leaving now,” and they live 30+ minutes away. Or doesn’t let you know at all until you check in. I find it extremely rude and inconsiderate. Being chronically late tells me someone is either horrible at prioritizing or time management—not qualities that I admire. Or, they think their time is more important than other people’s, a thought that enrages me so much I need to end this section.
  15. Sometimes my dreams literally come true.  I’ve dreamt of friend’s engagements, pregnancies, car accidents, moves and other big things, only to hear the next day that they have happened.  I don’t have premonition dreams often, but enough that I’ve been requested to tell my friends when they appear in my dreams, even when it’s some crazy shit like “You and I were in a jungle, but it was your house or something. Anyway, Joshua Jackson was there and he was going to do a concert…”
  16. My wrists are 5 inches around. Most bracelets look stupid on me but that doesn’t stop me from wearing them. It’s amazing that I can do a push up without immediately collapsing.
  17. My one true regret in life is that I sold my ticket to see Eminem at the Worcester Palladium in 1999 so I could buy my Junior Prom dress. It was a small venue at the beginning of his career and I missed it. My only consolation is that not only do I still fit into that dress, but it’s now big on me. (That’s me in the red.) Jr Prom
  18. I am an overcommunicator.  Whether it’s with my friends, family, clients or team, I normally give more information than is needed. It’s because I like to be prepared and would rather have too much than not enough information, but I’m sure some of these people could do without my novel-length texts and emails. I’m like the human version of Mapquest, telling you how to get out of your own driveway.
  19. I graduated from college magna cum laude. But make no mistake–I was equal parts geek and partier. I think it was the one time in my life I had balance.
  20. If I wasn’t a makeup artist and entrepreneur, I would be a writer. I write to communicate, to clear my head, to figure out how I feel and because I love to. There is something that takes over when I write and it focuses me in a way that only one other thing can. The other thing is doing makeup. This blog allows me to combine my two passions, and it’s a damn shame I can’t get to it more often.

Now you know everything you need to know about me! I’m sure you feel fulfilled and have a renewed sense of purpose as you go through your life. (#21 would have been “My second language is Sarcasm,” but it I wanted to keep the list to 20.)

Have a beautiful day🙂

 

 

Slough It Off

Exfoliators

Regular dental cleanings. Oil changes every 3,000 miles. Monitoring my bank accounts and credit card statements for fraud. These are a few of the things I do consistently to keep my body, my car and my financial life in good shape. Are they fun or exciting? Nope. But they are part of what I do to keep my life running as smoothly as possible. I figure that if I can stay on top of the routine stuff, I’ll be much better equipped to handle the inevitable unexpected challenges that will be thrown my way. I’m a big proponent of having your shit together so you can better weather life’s storms.

If you want your skin to have its shit together, you have to consistently take care of it, as I discussed in The Basics https://allisonbarberamakeup.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/shes-so-basic/. I said then that I would elaborate on exfoliation, since it’s a key player in good skincare. And I never make a promise I can’t keep.

Exfoliation is the removal of the oldest dead skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin. When those dead skin cells are left on the skin, they can make skin feel rough, cause makeup to cake and prevent skincare products from absorbing properly. If buy good quality moisturizers or serums but don’t exfoliate, you are wasting money. That’s real talk. I don’t sugarcoat things on this blog, my friend.  Products can’t penetrate the layers of the skin like they need to if they are being blocked by dead skin cells. Also, unexfoliated skin often looks dull and makes it harder to blend makeup. Makeup looks considerably better on regularly exfoliated skin–that’s a fact. Unless exfoliation is contraindicated for you–which I will get to–you should be doing it 2-3 times a week.

There are two types of exfoliation–physical (or mechanical) or chemical (or enzyme). Depending on your skin type and preferences, one type may be better for you.

Physical exfoliation involves using an abrasive product or tool to manually remove the dead skin cells off that top layer of skin. You apply product, rub it in, then rinse off (or use the tool as directed) to shed the dead skin cells. Physical exfoliants include microfiber cloths, scrubs made with sugar, salt crystals or other granules, microdermabrasion and tools like the Clarisonic. Microbead exfoliants were popular for several years but have been banned because the beads pass through sewage treatments without being filtered out. There are some scrubs that contain crushed apricot kernels or almond shells, but I recommend avoiding using those on the face, next, chest and hands as they can cause microtears on the delicate skin of those areas. (I’m looking at you, St. Ives Apricot Scrub). Repeated microtears make the skin’s texture rougher and uneven looking. It’s fine to use a more abrasive scrub like that on the rest of the body where the skin is thicker, so don’t go throwing all of your products away. Physical exfoliation may sound harsh, but it’s not when done correctly. However, any type of rubbing the skin–even in a gentle way–can be irritating to truly sensitive skin. If that’s what you have, chemical exfoliation might be a better choice.

Chemical exfoliants break down the “glue” that binds dead skin cells to the outermost layer of the skin. Once that glue is dissolved, the dead skin cells fall off. I consider chemical exfoliants to be the passive exfoliant because typically you apply them to the skin, wait for a specified amount of time, then rinse off. Chemical exfoliants usually contain some type of acid or combination of acids (like alpha hydoxy, beta, lactic, glycolic and malic acids) or fruit enzymes (papaya and pineapple are two of the most effective). As mentioned above, chemical exfoliants are generally a better choice for sensitive skin (just do a patch test first). They are also better for acneic skin because rubbing or massaging the skin can spread oils from acne, causing more breakouts.

Oh, you want me to shut up and give you my pro recommendations? I see how it is. I’ll do it, not because I am a pushover but because I want to help you get your skin in better shape.

For physical exfoliants, I recommend Dermalogica Skin Prep Scrub http://www.dermalogica.com/skin-prep-scrub/10,default,pd.html?cgid=exfoliants&start=5&cgid=exfoliants

For chemical exfoliants, I like Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant http://www.dermalogica.com/gentle-cream-exfoliant/9,default,pd.html?cgid=exfoliants&start=3&cgid=exfoliants. It’s technically a mask but it is an exfoliating mask, so it still counts.

For the indecisive types, I recommend Kate Somerville ExfoliKate. It is a scrub that contains fruit enzymes so you can use it as a physical or chemical exfoliant. http://www.sephora.com/exfolikate-gentle-exfoliating-treatment-P232925?skuId=1201763&icid2=search_search_p232925_image

There are some contraindications to exfoliation, so take note.

  1. Waxing. On its journey to eliminate hair, waxing also removes the dead skin cells from that outermost layer of skin. If you exfoliate prior to waxing, you are exposing the equivalent of a fresh layer of skin, which is more sensitive. Using hot wax on that area can cause burns. If you exfoliate right after a wax, you will likely cause irritation to that sensitive layer. I recommend doing any exfoliation 48-72 hours before waxing or 48 hours after to avoid burns, irritation and redness.
  2. Retinoids. Products containing retinoids naturally exfoliate the skin. As a regular prescription Retinol user, I do not exfoliate my face. Doing so can cause irritation and redness.
  3. Accutane*. This anti-acne prescription makes the skin thinner so exfoliation can be especially irritating.
  4. Double Exfoliation. I don’t know if this is technically a contraindication, but I’m including it here. Don’t use a physical exfoliant followed by a chemical exfoliant or vice versa to get extra exfoliated. It’s not going to make your skin glow or feel softer any quicker and is likely to have the opposite effect. There is no “get rich quick” equivalent in skincare. Exfoliation works best when it’s done consistently but with enough time in between exfoliation treatments to prevent irritation.

I hope that I’ve convinced you that exfoliation should be an integral part of your skincare routine. It really makes a huge difference in the look and feel of skin, and it is not especially time consuming or expensive. Any dermatologist, esthetician or makeup artist would agree with me on this. So listen to us, okay?

Have a beautiful day🙂

*Accutane now only exists in generic versions, but this is the name most familiar to people.

 

Celebrity Makeup Looks: A How To Guide

It’s helpful when a client shows pictures of celebrity or model makeup they want for their wedding or an event. The pictures are sometimes all over the board in terms of similarities, but with a proper breakdown, I can always pinpoint what they have in common (i.e. glowy skin, black winged liner, berry stained lips, etc.) In this way, inspiration pictures are great because a client may not know how to explain what they want in makeupese but I can figure it out from the pictures and a thorough consult.

The problem comes in if the client expects me to make them look exactly like the celebrity/model in the picture. Sometimes the client has a completely different skintone, eye color, eye shape, bone structure and/or hair color, so even the exact same makeup used on that celebrity/model is not going to look the same on the client. And beyond that, that celebrity/model has access to or income for things the average person does not. Let me say that again–celebrities/models have access to or income for things the average person does not. It’s unfair and pretty ridiculous to compare yourself to someone when you are not starting out on a level playing field.

Still convinced you can look like Gigi Hadid? Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine. I’ll tell you how you can get there.

  1. The Basics. You have to do all of these things. https://allisonbarberamakeup.wordpress.com/          Consistently. These are do-able, but what follows probably isn’t for most people. You’ve been warned.
  2. Open Up Your Wallet. I don’t believe most celebrities are totally honest about their beauty regimens, but sometimes you get a peek into what they do. I recently read an article about a 16 part face and body anti-aging skincare treatment that Jennifer Aniston does. This is some of what it includes:
    • Pre-treatment skin evaluation
    • 45 minutes wrapped in a full-body heating pad to sweat out impurities
    • Cleansing and facial massage
    • Hydrotherapy tub treatment
    • Body massage
    • Wrinkle-reducing LED therapy
    • Skin-firming collagen mask
    • Body contouring treatment to smooth cellulite

    Each session takes about three hours, costs $900 and should be done once a week. That’s $3,600 a month.

    So when you see celebrity makeup/model you like in a picture, on TV or in a film, remember those many of those people have access to treatments like that as well as the Botox, fillers and cosmetic surgery they don’t talk about.

  3. Hire a Team. If you see an editorial photo, be it in an article or ad, know that the woman had her makeup done by a pro artist who might have taken 2-3 hours to do it–which is more time than most people want to budget for their wedding or event makeup. If she is an actress or model, she may have started out with genetically good skin (many models do) and/or have access to stupidly expensive beauty treatments like mentioned above. A makeup artist is there for constant touchups during the shoot. The lighting and film is used to further flatter the actress/model. Then, the picture is passed on to someone who retouches it. They might enlarge eyes, whiten teeth, make lips look fuller, make cheekbones more pronounced, make pores disappear, straighten a nose, etc. What many people think is makeup is actually Photoshop. The cost for this team will make your $3,600 monthly skin treatment budget look paltry.
  4. Maybe It’s Maybelline? Doubtful. The makeup that is used on celebrities and in advertisements is usually high end. If you want to look like Jennifer Lawrence did at the Oscars you are not going to get there with all CoverGirl makeup. I find that a lot of people want a celebrity makeup look but they want it on a budget. Here’s a secret–they often don’t use the makeup from that line in the ads that you see for drugstore makeup. And it gets edited like crazy anyway. I have a few drugstore products I like but overall, the color payoff, longevity, texture and packaging is not as good as higher end products.

So when you see celebrity makeup you like in a picture, on TV or in a film, remember they have access to high end skincare treatments, lighting (don’t underestimate the power of this one), frequent touchups from makeup artists and some serious retouching if it’s in print. Even if you are consistent with your own skincare routine, you can’t compare yourself to the Beyonces and Scarlett Johanssons of the world if you aren’t doing what they do. I’m not suggesting that you do, I’m just saying it’s an unfair comparison.

I understand wanting to have the clear skin or full eyelashes that you see on a celebrity/model, but remember that it took effort and money for them to look like that. If you can’t put in the same effort and money, then you don’t compare yourself. I know I am being repetitive, but that’s because I don’t think most people really understand these huge differences.

And can we as a society stop trying to look like certain celebrities or models? How about we applaud true talent and sure, appreciate beauty, but not try to look exactly like them. I think it’s much more interesting (and genuine) when someone has their own look and doesn’t follow trends. I say take care of your skin, play with makeup until you find what looks good on you and then be done with it. Be happy that you can walk outside with no makeup on and not end up on the cover of a magazine with the headline “Is She Dying Today? Sure Looks Like It*.”

Have a beautiful day🙂

*That would be me on less than 6 hours of sleep or the morning after I’ve had three drinks. 

 

Product Review: REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial

Flash Rinse
Ren Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial

It’s no secret that I’m a believer in good skincare. So when my cousin, Saint Maria, gave me a sample of the REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial, I was of course excited to try it. REN has a great reputation among legit pro makeup artists like Lisa Eldridge, so I considered it pre-approved.

Flash Rinse claims to rejuvenate, firm and smooth skin. You apply it to dry skin, massage it in, add water to activate the Vitamin C, and let it sit for one minute. The directions say to do this every three days. So another reminder to go in the Google Calendar…

Other than following the directions, I like to go into trying product samples blind, meaning I don’t read any reviews or do product research first. I’m afraid I can be an impressionable little makeup artist who is easily swayed by the written word. So I prefer to try a sample without really knowing what it’s supposed to do or what others thought of it.

The sample size allowed me to try the Flash Rinse three times. Here’s what I thought of it:

  1. It’s Got Grit. The formula is oily and gritty, which surprised me as I was expecting a cream. There’s nothing wrong with a little grit but if you have a spray tan, I would avoid this as grit = exfoliation, and you’ll lose color if you exfoliate.
  2. Hibachi Craving. I read reviews after I used the product and it’s described as having a metallic scent. I don’t know what the problem is with my sensory synapses, but I thought it smelled like soy sauce. I don’t mind the smell of soy sauce but my brain was having a tough time connecting that smell with a beauty product. It’s like if you went to eat some chocolate cake and it smelled like roses. Even if you like the smell of roses, that’s not what you are used to chocolate cake smelling like so it might throw you. There was also a vitamin scent to the Flash Rinse, which makes sense since it contains Vitamin C. Ah, something my brain can accept.
  3. Feel The Burn. After I rinsed off the Flash Rinse the first time I tried it, my skin felt like it was on fire. Oh, shit, I thought, I’ve had a bad reaction. I put a cold compress on and waited for some angry, red skin to show up, but I was fine. It was then that I realized how powerful this product is. The Vitamin C in higher end products is more concentrated and potent than what is in most Vitamin C containing drugstore products (10% Vitamin C in this one). The first night I used the Flash Rinse, I applied it within minutes of cleansing my face. The second and third times, I waited 20 minutes to apply it so my skin’s acid mantle (basically a ph balanced protectant layer over the skin) had time to come back. I had no issues with burning, at least at that level, when I waited for 20 minutes.
  4. Yo, That’s Tight. My skin felt super tight after rinsing off this product. I don’t like that feeling, but it’s nothing a little face oil didn’t fix. I have combination skin but I know many oily skin people like that tight feeling. It may be more bothersome to those with dry skin but again, a little face oil will solve the problem.
  5. Time Sensitive. You’re looking at about 90 seconds total for this product (30 to apply, 60 to let it do its thing). That is a perk for those of us who already have 8 million things to do every day and zero time left for anything else. I appreciate an efficient product the same way I appreciate a cashier who has my stuff wrung up before I even have my wallet out or an oil change that’s done in the time it takes me to answer three emails.

The Verdict: I know some of these things sound negative, but none of them were enough to turn me off from the product (after I confirmed that I wasn’t having a reaction to it, anyway). My feeling was if my skin looked considerably better after the Flash Rinse, it would be a winner. So was it? You’ll have to read next week’s post to find out….

I’M PLAYIN.’ Although my skin looked good after the Flash Rinse, I wasn’t blown away. My skin is already in good shape, but my beauty intuition tells me that someone whose skin doesn’t get much attention and looks dull would benefit from this. I would not recommend this for anyone with sensitive skin (REN says the same thing in their product description) because of the potency, but if you are not sensitive and your skin needs a serious pick-me-up, this could be a great match for you. REN recommends doing a patch test on your inner arm before applying it to your face.

I suspect I would have seen more of a difference if I had a full-sized bottle of the Flash Rinse and used it every three days for a month. But I normally don’t buy a full sized product based off a sample unless that sample really impresses me. I would definitely consider buying a full sized bottle if my skin goes through a rough patch (or gets rough patches on it) in the future.

I am posting this review because I know that many people don’t have a consistent skincare routine, sometimes because they don’t have the time. But 90 seconds every three days? Everyone has time for that. If you go from doing nothing to regularly cleansing, moisturizing and using the Flash Rinse, I predict a noticeable improvement of your skin. You can get it at Sephora, $48 for 2.5 oz.

Have a beautiful day🙂

 

 

 

Product Review: Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base

My mother is a fantastic cook. People request her chicken parm, they eat six slices of her pizza and they know whatever meal she puts in front of them is going to be delicious. She is not, however, a baker. I thought things that happen in the kitchen are all part of the same category, but Mammamia says she doesn’t like baking because she has to follow recipes. (We’ve got rebel blood in our family.) Substitutions, she says, work fine in cooking if you know your stuff, but you can’t go rogue with baking. (Hence her recent banana bread fiasco–turns out whole wheat flour should not replace regular flour.)

So when I see a primarily makeup company create a skincare product or vice versa, I don’t have high hopes.  Many makeup companies excel in their products–eyeshadows, lipsticks, foundations, etc.–but that doesn’t mean they understand skincare. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by the Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base.

This product is meant to be both a primer and a moisturizer. It contains shea butter and vitamins C and E. Shea butter has become very popular the past few years due to its moisturizing properties, and vitamin E is known to have a healing effect on scars and marks. Vitamin C is a winner in the anti-aging category. So that trio is impressive, especially coming from a cosmetics company.

Face Base comes in a plastic black and white jar. I have a sample size (.24 fl oz) but the full size is 1.7 oz. The packaging is simple and classy, like every other Bobbi Brown product I have seen. The lid closes tightly and stays on. My only issue with jars is that if you use your fingers to retrieve the product, you are introducing bacteria into the product. When you seal the jar, you are basically throwing a bacteria party. You remember the “warm, dark and moist” breeding ground thing from Bio 101, right? Bacteria can cause breakouts and skin irritation so especially if you are acne-prone, use a clean tool of some sort (makeup spatula, scoop, even a cotton swab) to retrieve the product.

The formula itself is–say it with me–like buttahhhh. But it absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave an oily residue. To borrow a term from Lisa Eldridge, one of my makeup artist idols, this product is nourishing. It made my skin feel considerably softer. I am a combination skin gal and I tend to get more oily as we get into the warmer months, so I think this could be a little too heavy for me and others like me during the summer. It’s not the heaviest cream I’ve ever used, but anytime you see shea butter listed as an ingredient, you can assume the product is geared more towards a normal, normal-to-dry or dry skin. As a moisturizer, this product does a great job. I used it on my neck overnight several times and woke up with crazy smooth skin.

Face Base has a moderately strong grapefruit scent. That doesn’t bother me, and the scent disappears after you apply it, but if you are sensitive to scented products, this might be a turnoff. It’s not perfume-y though. It has more of a fresh scent, which I know many people like.

Primers are supposed to do one or two things. One is to prep the skin to allow for a smoother makeup application. A good primer in this sense will allow your makeup to glide on, and can give a little glow to your skin. The other priming factor is longevity. In that arena, a primer should extend the wear of your face makeup. It does that by forming a kind of protective layer between your skin and your face makeup so the oils from your skin–the culprits behind makeup fading–can’t sneak through as easily. Face Base excels in the skin prep area. My foundation sat beautifully on top of the Face Base and I did see an undeniable glow. (What’s up now, JLo?) As far as extending makeup longevity, I saw no difference. I prefer that my primers take care of both prepping the skin (although I often use moisturizer first) and extending the wear of face makeup, so this isn’t the right primer for me. Longevity is important to me because I do a lot of wedding makeup, which needs to last all damn day. Face Base might be fine as a primer for someone with dry skin, since they don’t have as much oil coming through, but I don’t consider this a good longevity primer for my oily or combination skin peeps.

There is no SPF in Face Base, so if you use it during the day, make sure to use a separate SPF. If you use it only at night, you don’t have to worry about that (unless you live in Alaska and sleep outside during the summer).

Overall, I do like this product. I think it’s great day cream and primer for anyone with dry skin (just make sure to use SPF too). For someone with combo or normal-to-oily skin, you might like this during the winter (still use SPF) or as a night cream.

Feelin’ it? You can get it at Sephora, Bobbi Brown or Bobbi Brown counters. It retails for $58. I realize that’s not cheap but I can see this being a game changer for people with normal-to-dry or dry skin who want a smoother foundation application and some glow.

Have a beautiful day🙂

 

 

 

 

She’s So Basic

Which one of these scenarios do you think is realistic?

  1. Your college roommate loses 20 pounds and 8 inches off her waist in one week by working out and eliminating gluten.
  2. A former coworker opens a new business on a Monday and is millionaire by Friday.
  3. Your funny neighbor does three open mic nights and has an HBO comedy special by month’s end.
  4. Your sister, who sporadically uses moisturizer and sometimes washes her face, takes 5 minutes to apply her makeup and has the dewy look Jennifer Lawrence had at the Oscars.

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight will admit that it takes a lot of time, discipline and effort. Entrepreneurs understand that you are lucky to turn a profit after a year in business, never mind a week. And if you’ve ever known an aspiring comedian or seen interviews with someone who made it big, you realize it’s often a decade before they have a solid career. I think most people would agree there are no overnight successes in these areas.

But when it comes to beauty, many people expect results quickly and with little effort. In a world of celebrities who don’t disclose their actually beauty routines and Instagrammers who use filters and editing to achieve perfection, it’s not surprising that many people think it doesn’t take much to look flawless.

There is going to be a follow up to this post to help you understand what goes into red carpet makeup, the photos you see in magazines and all kinds of advertisements. But for now, I want to talk about what non-celebrities can do to get good skin.

If you want your makeup to look great, you have to start with The Basics. Amazing in-person makeup always starts with good skin. There is no way around this. A picture, as we all know, can be edited into perfection but I think most of the readers of this blog want skin and makeup that looks good during actual human interactions.

Unless you are someone who is genetically blessed with soft, even-toned skin and no undereye issues (aka the unicorns of the beauty world) you are going to have to put some effort in. I want you to re-read that sentence and let it sink in. If you are not willing to put some time and effort into your skincare routine, this is not the post for you. But before you leave, please know that your makeup will never look its best if you don’t take care of your skin. Okay, bye!

For those of you who know it takes work to get results in life, this is for you. It doesn’t even take that much time out of your day, so you can drop that excuse. Here is the bare minimum of what you need to do to keep your skin in good shape.

  1. Cleanse Your Sins. You absolutely have to remove your makeup and cleanse your skin every night. Sleeping in makeup–or even just the dirt, oil and other junk that makes its way onto your face every day–is a great way to cause breakouts. And sleeping with eye makeup on can contribute to undereye puffiness and cause eye infections. If you are not using an oil cleanser, I recommend using an oil makeup remover, like Dermalogica PreCleanse, first. Then use your cleanser. In my opinion, nothing breaks down makeup like oil. You can also save a step and do what I do–use an oil cleanser. My favorite is NUDE Perfect Cleanse Nourishing Cleansing Oil. Unless you have very oily skin, cleansing once a day before you go to bed is enough. Total Time Needed: 5 minutes.
  2. Be A Softie. Your skin needs moisture. Dry skin peeps often inherently understand this, but if your skin is oily or normal, that doesn’t mean you can skip this step. When oily skin is stripped of its oils (which can happen during cleansing, especially if you are using an oil-free cleanser), that sends a message to the skin to produce more oil, thus making the skin even more shiny. If you have oily skin, use an oil-free moisturizer like Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture with SPF 35 to make sure that you nourish that epidermis. That’s a great moisturizer for combination skin as well. Dry skin benefits from a thicker formula like Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre, and normal skin does well with a moisturizer like Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. In terms of makeup, a dewy look will never work on un-moisturized skin, nor will a matte look, as the foundation will cling to dry patches and not apply evenly. Apply moisturizer once a day and you can check it off your To Do list. Total Time Needed: 30 seconds. 
  3. Protect Ya Neck.  And your face. If your moisturizer does not contain SPF, you must must must apply it separately. Skin cancer is real–take it seriously. And in terms of beauty, nothing ages a face faster than sun exposure. UVA and UVB rays break down collagen, which is what keeps skin smooth and firm. When collagen diminishes, skin sags and fine lines and wrinkles form. The sun also causes hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation (that’s light spots and dark spots). Uneven skintone is just as aging as fine lines, so keep that in mind while you’re people watching at the beach. I live in an area of the country where we have seasons, so the sun is merely an acquaintance during the winter. Even so, I use a moisturizer with at least an SPF 15 to guard my skin during the three hours of daily sunlight we get in January. Come springtime (oh, joyous springtime) I bump it up to an SPF 35. In the summer, I sometimes use a separate sunscreen with SPF 30 (SPF 50 if I’m going to the beach). I currently use Aveeno Protect + Hydrate which absorbs nicely and does not cause me to breakout. Total Time Needed: 30 seconds. 
  4. Slough It Off. Skin cells die. It’s a fact of life. But unless you remove them from your skin, they hang around like that last party guest who just doesn’t get it. And when they hang around, they absorb your moisturizer, which is meant for your living skin cells (so rude!). They also grab onto makeup, causing it to be uneven. Dead skin cells give an overall dull look to your skin, which does you no favors whether you are barefaced or wearing makeup. Luckily, there is a super easy solution–exfoliation. This really deserves its own post, so I’ll put that on the list. Until then, please get yourself an exfoliant and use it twice a week. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate is bomb, as is Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant (that one is a mask but does the same thing). Disclaimer: If you use prescription retinol or any other product that is contraindicated with exfoliation, skip this step. Retinol exfoliates on its own so you’re not messing anything up by omitting this. Total Time Needed: Anywhere from 3-15 minutes, depending on the type of exfoliant you use. An enzyme exfoliant usually needs to sit on the skin for a bit to work, but the only active work you have to do is apply it and rinse it off.
  5. Oil Based. Unless you have truly acneic skin, you will benefit from using a face oil. The exact oil you use is going to depend on your skin type and needs, but I believe that like soulmates, there is one out there for everyone.* Check out this post for more info on face oils: https://allisonbarberamakeup.wordpress.com/2016/02/25/how-about-an-oil-change/   Total Time Needed: 1 minute.
  6. Treat Yo Self. I’m going to heavily generalize here and call everything that is not mentioned above a skin treatment. The treatments you use are to address your individual skin concerns. That could be rosacea, fine lines, dull skin, pigmentation, etc. I suggest finding a product that addresses that concern and use it consistently. Vitamin C is a great choice for someone who doesn’t have a specific concern but wants their skin to look its best. Total Time Needed: Varies by treatment. 
  7. Cut the Crap. Even if you do all of the things I mentioned, your skin will never look its best if you smoke, regularly overindulge in adult beverages, skimp on sleep or eat unhealthy foods. You may not want to hear that, but I speak the truth. Total Time Needed: N/A. This isn’t so much a time thing as an effort and lifestyle thing. 
  8. Pay Attention. Often times, the things not working as they should inside your body will show up on your skin. The skin is an organ that can outwardly show there is a problem on the inside. A breakout, for example, can indicate a hormonal issue or a food allergy. So if you notice changes, get your ass to a doctor. Skincare can address what I consider surface-level issues (i.e. dryness, dullness, some types of breakouts) but a systemic issue can not be resolved with salicylic acid or a good moisturizer. Total Time Needed: N/A. This is my way of sneaking in some information I wanted to relay.

If you do not fully remove your makeup and cleanse your face every night and you never use moisturizer with SPF (or moisturizer and a separate SPF), you should really lower your expectations for how your skin and therefore makeup will look. Consistently doing all of the steps I recommend doesn’t guarantee your skin will be in great shape, but it will give you a solid base. As you can see, none of these things take a huge amount of time but they do make an impact. Very few good things in life come with no effort and no time spent, and your skin is no different. (That one should be in fortune cookie.) But you can definitely do it. I have faith in you!

Have a beautiful day🙂

*Not sure I actually believe that. My personal jury is still out on soulmates, but I stand behind that theory for face oils.