Hangover Beauty 101

HangoverHERO

Don’t worry; nobody saw your table dance.

I tell ya. The older I get, the harder it is to bounce back from a night of debauchery. The morning after a few glasses of wine? I basically look like I’ve never heard of water.

The headaches I can handle, but dull, dehydrated skin? This aggression will not stand, man!

(Dramatic reenactment)

(Dramatic reenactment)

Though my spooning-with-Tostitos days have subsided (thank god), these are the Fancy Party months (read: open bar season). And this advice is timeless, yo. It’ll save your ass when you went a little too hard during Happy Hour and have to pretend like you don’t need to quietly vomit in your trashcan. Don’t be that guy.

You don’t have to follow every single step, but if you can slap a few of these products on your face in some semblance of order, you’re on your way to making yourself look human again.

Step 1: The reckoning

Alcohol seeps through pores as overnight, so you’re basically marinating in a pungent film of sweat and tequila. Yay!

Showering is non-negotiable, Margaritaville. No matter how complicated it sounds.

Oh, that's where that went.

Oh, that’s where that went.

Got enough time to wash and style your hair? Awesome! Do that!

If not, spray a generous amount of dry shampoo into your roots to absorb the sweat, oil, and dirty-hair smell. Spritz the rest with a texturizing spray (love Oribe Après Beach) and twist hair into two little buns while you go about the rest of your routine. The steam from the shower (that you are absolutely, definitely taking) will help set your waves.

Crack open those eye drops for bright, white eyeballs that say “What open bar?”

Crack open those eye drops for bright, white eyeballs that say “What open bar?”

Step 2: The purification

If only your wicked soul were this easily cleansed

If only your wicked soul were this easily cleansed

These Eyeko Mascara Off remover wipes stay super-moist to gently remove even the smokiest of eye makeup from wherever it has migrated. For the rest of your face, Skyn Iceland’s Arctic Facial Wash is amazing for stressed-out skin: it instantly calms redness (and the tingle makes me feel like I’m in a Dentyne Ice commercial).

Lush Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub is a “cocktail” of lime, sea salt, and vodka–with coconut and avocado for moisture. Don’t worry; the scent is clean, fresh, and doesn’t smell like alcohol in the slightest.

Sorry I said “alcohol.”

Step 3: Skin rehab

The big guns

The big guns

Bliss Triple-Oxygen Energizing Mask is my go-to fix for dull skin. Vitamin C brightens and tones, while some sort of magic fizz pumps skin with oxygen (what? I’m not a doctor). Hey, when my skin looks this good after five minutes, you could tell me Voldemort himself mixed this batch and I’d still be like, yes put that on my face now, please and thank you.

For tired, bloated eyes, GLAMGLOW Brightmud Eye Treatment is another trick of the I-don’t-care-how-this-works-as-long-as-it-makes-me-pretty variety. Each pod contains two individually sealed scoops of product; the serving is generous enough that you can use one pod for both eyes to stretch each box twice as long. The tingly caffeine blend stimulates lymphatic drainage to tighten and diminish puffiness and dark circles, while brisk peppermint brightens and soothes.

Wear ‘em at the same time if you wanna look this cool (why am I putting these pictures on the internet, again?)

Step 4: Quench that thirst

Now that you’re bright and tight, let’s hydrate! …sorry about me

Now that you’re bright and tight, let’s hydrate! …sorry about me

Cucumber extract makes this Fresh Rose Hydrating Face Serum your hangover godsend: it instantly hydrates, cools, and soothes–the perfect targeted emollient under moisturizer. And Fresh’s new Hydrating Eye Gel Cream boasts the same dreamy scent and instant hydrating relief. Extra points if you’ve popped it in the fridge before heading out for the evening (pshyeah, like you’d remember when you got back). Then seal the hydration in with Skyn Iceland’s Arctic Hydrating Balm, which calms inflammation, repairs dryness, and protects against free radicals (eczema sufferers, take note!).

Step 5: Creating the illusion

Tricks are something a whore does for money.

ILLUSIONS, Michael. Tricks are something a whore does for money. (and drugs)

The Canvas

Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer contains coconut water, probiotics, and electrolytes to replenish moisture levels (just like the sports drinks and Whole Foods concoctions you should probably be drinking right about now). I’m obsessed with this primer–it smells like a tropical milkshake, makes skin look red-carpet-dewy, and creates a smooth, long-lasting surface for makeup.

Did I write the adorable copy for this? ... maybe.

Did I write the adorable copy for this? … maybe.

Hourglass’ tinted-moisturizer-like Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint harnesses Hyaluronic Acid’s water-binding molecules to plump skin and disguise fine lines, while “pearlescent pigments” impart the subtlest luminescence (in other words, no risk of blinding anyone in direct sunlight. UGH, direct sunlight).

Eve Lom Light Illusion Concealer pen: a lightweight brightening concealer similar to Touche Eclat

Eve Lom Light Illusion Concealer pen: a lightweight brightening concealer similar to Touche Eclat

Under Eye

Smashbox Photo Finish Under Eye Primer hydrates and keeps concealer from caking into fine lines. Photo Op Under Eye Brightener refracts light away from dark circles and can be used as a highlighter on the cupid’s bow, bridge of the nose, and cheekbones. Draw a long triangle with your concealer from the inner eye corner (the darkest part of the face) down to the redness-prone outer corner of the nose and back up under the middle of eye, then blend. If you like to set with powder, Smashbox Halo is an anti-aging mineral powder that actually hydrates and never looks cakey. I will buy Halo until they stop making it or I die, whichever comes first (hopefully the latter).

This Urban Decay Naked Basics palette is “well-loved”

This Urban Decay Naked Basics palette is “well-loved”

Eyes

Find a matte shadow that’s a few shades darker than your skin tone (brown shades like fawn, tawny, and espresso look most natural). With a short-bristled brush, smudge the shadow along your lower lash line; this will camouflage any remaining puffiness by making the area appear to recede.

Blend a light, slightly shimmery shade into the inner eye corners to neutralize dark shadows. Then fill in your lower waterline with a nude eyeliner (white can look too stark and obvious). This will make eyes appear wide awake and, more importantly, conceal those telltale red rims that scream “late night!”

Slooooowly and with great concentration

Slooooowly and with great concentration

Curl your lashes and apply a couple coats of mascara–the darkest black you can find will make your eyes look brighter (Too Faced Better Than Sex is “carbon-black”-dark, just sayin’).

Hair

Unclip your twists, shake ‘em out, and work any remaining dry shampoo into your roots. Your waves may need more texturizing spray, but don’t brush unless you want to look like Mia Thermopolis pre-makeover. Hey, you do you.

Glamour shots by Deb

Glamour shots by Deb

Your saviors

Pack these for midday emergencies: Sephora Blotting Films for inevitable afternoon sweatiness, Lush Eau Roma water to rehydrate, soothe, and perk you back up, and Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen to keep puffy, tired eyes from reemerging.

Pack these for midday emergencies: Sephora Blotting Films for inevitable afternoon sweatiness, Lush Eau Roma water to rehydrate, soothe, and perk you back up, and Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen to keep puffy, tired eyes from reemerging.

I know whereof I speak

What’s your hangover cure? I need it … for reasons.

*full disclosure: author has since been employed by Too Faced cosmetics as a copywriter. This post was written & scheduled prior to that, plus author knows her shit, so don’t even worry.

**also, author is not an alcoholic, but she did have some interesting college times.

I Literally Walked Into a Door and Now I Have a Black Eye

If you know me at all, you know I’m just about the world’s clumsiest idiot; I can fall over while just standing there, never mind what a disaster I am in heels or — god forbid — in motion. It’s no adorable rom-com Katherine Heigl spazzy-cute thing, though; no son, it’s full-on Three Stooges territory over here. So when I literally walked into a door a couple weeks ago (no domestic abuse here, just obliviousness and poor reaction skills — I’m here to tell you that it is possible), I was neither shocked nor particularly worried. I shrugged it off; I’m resilient, I’d be fine. It was, as they say, my ego that was bruised.

This is what happens when you try to date a dentist.

But that night when I removed my eye makeup, I did a Charlie Chaplin-style double take when I realized that all was not quiet on the home front. My eye socket was turning an angry, mottled purple, starting in the inner corner and spreading to the browbone. This was confusing, since it was the area above my eye that took the beating.

To The Google!

Wikipedia clarified that black eyes — or periorbital hematomas, if you’re fancy — commonly manifest due to trauma to areas around the eye, not necessarily the socket itself. “Despite the name, the eye itself is not affected. Blunt force or trauma to the eye socket results in burst capillaries and subsequent haemorrhaging (hematoma).[1] The fatty tissue along with the lack of muscle around the eye socket allows a potential space for blood accumulation. As this blood is reabsorbed, various pigments are released similar to a bruise lending itself to the extreme outward appearance.”

Fat deposits and blood accumulation? Gross!

By the second day I looked like I should be working in a flower shop and apologizing to Mr. Mushnik. The bruise seeped into my undereye skin, giving me that classic shiner look I sported in fourth grade after getting hit in the face with a baseball. Not so cute on a grown woman — and I had to appear in public without frightening small children or making people worry about my home life. Thank god for cosmetics. Should this misfortune ever befall you, learn from my (very painful) mistakes. These tips can also be used for severe dark circles.

Shorten your recovery time by pre-treating

Assuming your eye is in good shape, and the only pain you’re feeling is where you bonked your head (you might want to check with Web MD or your general practitioner; I’m no doctor), you can pre-treat to minimize the healing time. The classic advice is to grab a big ol’ fatty steak and slap it on there. The chill from refrigeration will help reduce the swelling, and the malleable shape makes it easy to wear. But if there’s broken skin, you won’t want to expose it to raw meat, which can harbor bacteria. Either put it in a ziplock bag or go with the frozen peas option. Pop a painkiller for the pain you’re probably feeling (avoid aspirin because it will inhibit clotting), and keep your head elevated to discourage pooling (shudder).

Start with a clean base

Make sure your canvas is as clean as possible; you don’t need any extra mascara darkening your socket. Then start with an eye shadow base. A good one will help neutralize along with creating a surface to grab the concealer. In painting myself back into normalcy, I used more Smashbox Eye Shadow Primer than anything else. It’s a nude/apricot color that really helped to neutralize the purple, and it’s creamier than other eye primers (I know a lot of people swear by Urban Decay, but I like Smashbox’s heavier texture better). Plus, the doe-foot applicator made it easy to pack the product in one spot. Blend the harsh edges with a concealer brush, being careful not to smudge the concentrated pigment in the center.

Color-correct and conceal

Kindergarten stuff, people.

You’re going to want to refer to color theory for color-correction. Laura Mercier has a great one in a rose/mauve for purple circles that you layer under concealer for a neutralizing effect. It looks silly and weird before your skin-matching concealer step, but it really does work magic. You can also mix with a creamy concealer in your shade for more subtle correction. Then, as the bruise turns increasingly Monet-esque (seriously, all the colors of the rainbow, y’all), you can reach for your trusty color wheel and just balance with the shade on the opposite end of the spectrum. Makeup For Ever has amazing skintone-based color-correcting palettes. As for concealer, Clé de Peu has a beautiful creamy-but-blendable formula.

Finishing touches

Set with a lightweight finishing powder. Then give yourself a sexy, smudgy smokey eye to camouflage discoloration and distract from your undereye area. The smokier the shadow and the bigger the cat-eye, the better.

Days 1, 3, 5. You can see how the bruise spreads from the upper eyelid to the undereye area.
Bottom: Same days, corrected. I got better at concealing it the more I practiced even though the problematic areas migrated, and near the end of the whole thing I just looked kinda tired.

Halp! Oil Control

Sometimes my friends ask me for help (halp! in internetspeak), even more so now that this blog has established me as The Universe’s Leading Cosmetics expert. From my friend Leela:

Alright, make up lady here are some Q’s for ya:

-what is a mattifying balm and which one should i get?
-transluscent powder – is that the ‘mineral veil’ in bare minerals (if not, please recommend)?
-blotting sheets – oil absorbing paper?

Okay, darlin. Mattifying balm/gel/lotion/etc. is just what it sounds like — stuff you put on your face to matte your complexion. I know a lot of people who swear by Benefit’s Dr. Feelgood ($29). It lasts a long time and comes in the most adorable retro tin. They’ve been making it as long as I’ve been in the Cult of Sephora (you bet I drink the Kool-Aid), so you know it’s a classic.

My favorite, though, is Smashbox Targeted Pore & Line Primer ($34). A Smashbox artist I used to work with often said, “It gives you Barbie skin!” and while that’s a tad hyperbolic, it’s as close as most of us are gonna get. This isn’t a primer like Smashbox’s other primers; it goes on much more smoothly over makeup as opposed to being a base. It’s a spot-fixer. Squeeze a pea-sized amount, warm it between your fingers, and pat onto the texturized areas you’d like to smooth out and oil-control (most likely that’ll be the T-zone area). Bonus: packed with skincare ingredients like peptides and antioxidants. I love it when my instant gratification promises long-term benefits. It’d be like if pizza were all, “Yeah, I taste good now and I’m negative calories tomorrow.”

Sigh. Sorry, where were we?

Translucent powder is powder without pigment. It has the function of setting your makeup in place and keeping it there (it’s so awkward when your makeup tries to make a run for it. We’ve all seen it). The best ones right now actually contain a magic pore-blurring ingredient called Silica. My favorites are Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder ($32), Smashbox Photo Set Finishing Powder ($28), and Too Faced Primed & Poreless Powder ($28). These will all minimize pores and fine lines while setting makeup and controlling oil. Bonus: they can be used in your hair for oil control! I kid you not.

And finally, you press blotting sheets onto your skin for a touch-up when you start to feel oily. They won’t smudge your makeup, and they’re über-portable. The nice thing about these is that you’re not caking on more makeup on top of makeup (which can start looking heavy), but the downside is that they’re hardly eco-friendly. Boscia Blotting Linens ($10) are Sephora’s most popular brand, but I like MAC Blot Film ($15) because I feel like they pick up more oil (plus you can better see how much they’ve picked up — gross and satisfying!). Weird but true trick: paper toilet seat covers work in a pinch. You’re welcome.

Color Wars: Finding Your Shade

From Rose:

I would love to see a post about how to find the right shade of makeup- I swear I’ve bought eight red lipsticks that I thought would look good and when I got them home realized I looked terrible in it.

I don’t subscribe to any hard and fast rules about this, myself. Some people will tell you “Oh, you’re an autumn, only wear warm colors,” or “If silver looks best on you, you should only be looking for cool tones,” but I don’t buy that stuff. You may find that you’re drawn to one color family or another, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear whatever you want. There’s another theory that you should go with your natural lip tone, but a few shades darker (Bobbi Brown is a big proponent of this theory). That’ll rarely steer you wrong, and is a great rule of thumb for interview makeup, impress-a-guy-on-the-beach makeup, and omg-she’s-totally-born-with-it makeup, but who wants to look natural all the time? Red lipstick is a powerhouse makeup decision and a birthright. Every woman should have a go-to red lipstick in her makeup drawer that she can swipe on when she’s feeling blah or femme fatale. The one one-size-fits-all tip I’ll throw out on red lipstick? Try MAC Russian Red. I’ve yet to see it look bad on someone.

I’ll admit it: a great deal of my BtVS-watching involved silent praise of SMG’s makeup artist.

And side note: I will wear any lip color. I am a total undiscriminating cosmetics slut and have absolutely no shame — and I think a lot of makeup-obsessed women are like this. It’s as if pretty, natural shades are our gateway drug and we start only being able to get high by upping the craziness factor on our shadows and lipsticks from time to time. So yeah, give me a Barbie pink gloss and I’ll sport it for a while. Vampy dark purple? Shit, I’ll try it. The only color family I avoid like the plague is nudes. I think it makes pretty much everyone look dead. Seriously, if you ever see me wearing it, I probably am; and depending on my state of consciousness you should either call 911 or Buffy Summers.

So unfortunately, since there are no hard and fast rules, there is no magic equation that will work for all women. What I can give you are tips for finding it on your own.

As always, you can shop at drugstores or you can shop at more high-end stores like Sephora or a beauty counter. The benefit of a drugstore is that lipstick is cheap and you can buy a couple and not feel the sting quite as badly. The benefit of shopping at the latter is that you can try them on and take them back if you change your mind.

Start with the swatch test: pick out some colors that you’re drawn to. Nine times out of ten you’ll be drawn to the colors you look best in. If you’re not, you just need more practice (and like I keep saying, that’s what makeup is all about). Swipe ’em on your hand, pay attention to the undertones and what you like about each. When you find two or three you’d like to try on, you can ask the person behind the counter to disinfect them for you, or do it yourself (Sephora has stations on each end-cap for just this purpose). You’ll need to spray a generous amount of alcohol into a tissue and wipe — really get at that sucker — then shave a little bit off the top with a Q-tip before applying. Do NOT apply without doing this — it’s unhygienic and everyone will look at you like you were raised in a barn.

All these shades were in my purse. Sad or AWESOME?

If you’re unsure about the color you like, walk around the mall with it for a while. Get comfortable. See how it wears. See how you like the formula.

Finally, if you do get it home and you change your mind after wearing it for a few days, you have a couple of options. You can blend it with colors you already have to get the perfect shade (I always have a neutral lipstick, brownish lip-liner, and a few bright colors on hand for this reason). Jean Godfrey-June, beauty editor at Lucky Magazine, says that a universal beauty truth is that “Any two random lipsticks you’ve ever bought – any – when combined, will always be flattering, no matter what your skin tone.” Go ahead and try — it’s pretty much foolproof. I know you want to find your lipstick holy grail. We all do. But sometimes life isn’t perfect, and you have to work with the universe to get what you want (pretty deep for a makeup blog, huh?).

If you still can’t stomach it, take it back. Sephora and almost any department store will exchange your product for you, even if you’ve already used it — and if you’re feeling truly hopeless, their salespeople will help you find a better shade. I’ll be honest — helping someone pick out a lipstick shade is only slightly above watching paint dry for any salesperson (seriously, there’s only so much “I want a red, but not too red. Kind of brownish, but not like a woody color, something more, I don’t know, pink? No, not pink…” one person can take), so use this option as a last resort. You should be able to figure this one out on your own.

The Tomboy’s Guide to Cosmetics

Today’s post was inspired by the text message I woke up to this morning.

She knows me well: flattery will get you everywhere.

Anna is one of my dearest friends. She’s in her second year of med school and barely has time to brush her hair, so we’re gonna make this simple. It seems that for all her intellect and talents, nobody ever taught Anna how to be “a girl” (in the colloquial sense; leaving aside the fact that there are hundreds of ways to be a girl and no one way is better than another). She texted me the other day about sunscreen.

“What’s your skin type?” I asked. “Uh. Hapa [mixed race]?” she replied. Adorable. Finally something I can teach her.

So, this is for all the Annas out there (including the original one). Oh! And get ready, because another not-so-makeup-savvy friend of mine has requested that I take her shopping for a complete makeup wardrobe, and I’m roping my fantastic photographer friend into documenting the excursion. It’s going to be like Christmas. Stores will be pillaged. Faces will be painted. Wallets will be emptied. Coming soon to a web browser near you.

Your skin is your canvas

Okay, so the biggest beauty tip I can give you is TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN. Your skin is your canvas. A beautiful painting on a lumpy, discolored canvas will not be nearly as beautiful as one on a smooth, even-colored one. Obviously there are ways to cheat this system, and they involve primers, foundation, and concealer (I’m happy to do a post on these if the consensus is that one is necessary). But the best thing you can do for your appearance is as simple as taking care of your skin. You need a cleanser and a moisturizer. Don’t argue with me, you do. And Anna? Soap is not a cleanser.

As previously mentioned, I like Philosophy’s Purity because it’s gentle and is a good multitasker: it cleanses, tones, and removes eye makeup. You can get a small bottle for $10 at Sephora/Nordstrom/Bloomingdale’s etc. if you want to try it before you commit to a larger bottle. For those of you who are new to the cosmetics game, multitasking products are going to be your best friend: wallet-friendly, simple, and no-nonsense. If you’re shopping in Walgreens or Target, look for a product that does all of these things. It’s all about checking the labels.

It’s good to have some exfoliator on hand to slough off dead skin cells 2-3 times a week. St. Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub is a classic for a reason (and at $3, it doesn’t hurt to toss into your cart). Make sure you rub it into your skin very gently, as the grains are large. I’d recommend having both a cleanser and an exfoliator, but if you’re only going to buy one, make it the cleanser, and exfoliate in the shower with a washcloth.

Okay, next thing you need is a moisturizer. The mistake a lot of women make is thinking that because their skin is oily, they don’t need a moisturizer. WRONG. If you under-hydrate your skin, your glands will try to compensate by creating excess sebum, which means MORE OIL. Keep everything balanced by applying an oil-free moisturizer after cleansing in the morning and after cleansing right before bed (yes, you need to do both). If you’re on the dry side, you want your moisturizer to be hydrating (packages with anti-wrinkle claims will be heavier and more moisturizing).

Where should you find this moisturizer? The drugstore can be daunting — all that bright packaging, all those grandiose claims … just keep in mind what you want out of your product. Are you worried about wrinkles and fine lines? Spots? Balancing your complexion? Brightening? The package will tell you what the product is meant for (duh).

Honestly, though — and this is not me being a snob — you really should go to a department store or Sephora. The staff are trained in the products and in basic skincare knowledge, and they will be able to make sense of your babble — they decipher this stuff all day. As I mentioned, I have a post on how to deal with shopping at department store counters percolating, but here’s the gist: tell the salesperson up front that you’re new to this stuff and you need to try a few different samples to decide what you want to invest your money in. And make no mistake, moisturizer is an investment. If you find one that your skin loves, it’s absolutely worth it to shell out a few more bucks — after all, cheesy as it sounds, you’re investing in your future skin. And if you’re using it correctly, a jar or bottle should last you 3-6 months, depending on the quantity and the product.

She may have terrible taste in eyeshadow, but she knows what she’s talking about.

So make sure you impress upon the salesperson that you need to try a few different kinds before you buy. He or she will want you to buy something that day — they have a quota to fill, after all — but if you explain that you need to try a few kinds first, any good salesperson will understand and be happy to help you find something you love. If they’re not, find someone else. Sephora is especially great for this kind of thing, since “cast members” (that’s what they’re called, I kid you not) don’t take commission and aren’t shilling for any particular brand. Sephora employees get gratis (free stuff) after every training, so they’ve usually tried the products they’re recommending and know the science behind them.

3-6 samples should be plenty (don’t be greedy, it’s not cute), and you should try each sample for several days (as long as the sample lasts you) before switching to the next. Pay attention to how your skin feels immediately after putting it on as well as how it looks and feels when you wake up in the morning.

The fun stuff: Face

So you’re naturally pretty, but you want to look a bit more polished. Well, guuuuurl, you’re gonna love tinted moisturizer. Remember how I talked about multitasking products before? This is the mother of all multitaskers. Moisturizer, sunscreen, and a hint of tint to even out your complexion, all in one product. When you wear this during the day, you can skip that awesome moisturizer you bought earlier and save it for nighttime (cell turnover naturally occurs at night, which massively increases the effectiveness of whatever you put on your skin. Save the heavyweight repairing stuff for nighttime, and focus on protection during the day).

You might encounter a product called BB Cream, which purports to be all of those things plus various treatments. So far I haven’t found a BB Cream that I like — the one-size-fits-all (or -many) tends to look kind of grayish on many skin tones. I’d stick with tinted moisturizer.

Some great tinted moisturizers are Laura Mercier (cult favorite for a reason and comes in different formulas for different skin types — and by the way, it’s pronounced “MERSE-ee-ay”. Now you won’t sound stupid when you ask for it), Jouer (this what I use currently  — lightweight with the tiniest hint of illumination), Smashbox (packed with good-for-you skin ingredients like green tea and peptides). This is another product that department stores and Sephora will excel at helping you pick out, although the nice thing about tinted moisturizers is that picking out a shade is a lot easier — there isn’t as much pigment so you don’t have to worry about finding an exact match like you do with foundation. If you’re torn between shades, I always go with the lighter shade, because you can always brush on some bronzer, but it’s almost impossible to lighten a too-dark mask.

What’s bronzer, you ask? This stuff will give you some polish and glow without the potential for the made-up look that blush can sometimes have. Benefit Hoola is my favorite for its fine texture and natural (matte) look, but you don’t need to be too picky with bronzer- the drugstore kind will work just fine. Use a light hand and apply with a brush (fan brushes give a nice sheer coverage, but you can use pretty much any kind as long as you’re sparing) to the areas of your face that the sun would hit (forehead, nose, cheekbones, a tiny bit on the chin). You can also brush it over your collarbone and shoulders for a nice sun-kissed glow. For a natural look, use a matte powder. For more drama, you can experiment with shimmery shades. Make sure that it’s blended well before leaving the house (this goes for everything you put on your face, by the way).

Eyes

Something like this.

If you use only one eye product, make it mascara. Brown mascara is okay if you want a super super natural look, but most people look best in black. Now the deal with mascara is that it’s 30% formula and 70% wand style. I’ve found that the easiest, least clumpy wand style is a plastic wand with little nubby prickles all over it (Oh dear. Now this sounds like an entirely different type of blog).

My favorite mascara on the planet is Chanel Inimitable Intense ($30), because it has that clump-free wand and a thick formula that’s easy to build upon. Unfortunately, it’s also thirty freaking dollars, and mascara needs to be replaced every three months minimum (I’m serious about this, Anna). A similar, almost-as-good-but-more-natural drugstore version is Maybelline Define-a-Lash ($7).

It’s easiest to apply mascara in a hand-held mirror so you can really see what you’re doing. Hold it slightly low so you can look down at it while you’re applying. Make sure you get the brush right in close at the roots of your lashes and wiggle as you comb through to the ends (mouth open optional, but likely). Let it dry for a few seconds and then apply as many coats as you like until you get the drama you’re looking for. Don’t let it dry completely between coats. If it gets clumpy, you can comb through with a lash comb (I like the ones with metal prongs for more precision) or a clean mascara wand.

If you want a little more oomph, smudge a bit of liner into your lashline to make your lashes look thicker (brown, black, or gray will look the most natural). Pencil is easier and more forgiving, liquid liner is more dramatic and precise (you’ll need to practice). Again, all about blending. If you want it to look natural, don’t leave any hard lines. Blend with your finger, a short-bristled shadow brush, or a Q-tip.

This could happen to you!

Oh! And the easiest way to make your whole face look polished is to get your brows done. Use Yelp to find a good salon near you, or ask your friends with great brows (bonus: if they do their own, they might offer to do yours). It’s a simple, one-step way to frame your whole face. Trust me on this one. And be wary of doing it yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing— brows are easy to screw up, and while brow pencils and brow shadows can help disguise fuckups, they’re slightly more advanced as far as doing your own makeup goes. Don’t be a hero.

Lips

My longest-standing love affair.

Lips are really where you can let loose and get creative. It’s all about the type of look you want and the finish that feels best to you. Some people feel like gloss is too sticky (and if you’re a self-professed tomboy, this is probably you), and others feel like lipstick can be too dry. If you’re new to wearing stuff on your lips, a tinted lip balm is a nice place to start. Try a brown-based shade one or two tones darker than your lips for the most natural look. Some good ones: Burt’s Bees ($7), Tarte ($24), and the classic Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker($2 — I swear every makeup-obsessed girl either has this in her bag currently or started with it in junior high). If you want to play around with glosses or lipsticks, head into a Sephora or department store, tell them “Thanks, but I’m just checking out some shades,” when they ask if you need help, and draw all over your hand and hold it up to your face. It’s not a perfect way to find out what will look best, but you’ll get a feel for the texture, and it’s much more hygienic than putting it on your face. Bonus: Most department stores and Sephora will let you exchange any products you’re not stoked about (even if you’ve lost the receipt). Don’t abuse it, but don’t hang on to a product you paid good money for and don’t love.

In conclusion

This whole process from cleansing to finishing touches shouldn’t take you more than ten minutes once you get it down. And like I always say, makeup should be fun. There’s no need to be intimidated; it’s not rocket science. Utilize salespeople, they’re there to help you (and don’t be bullied into buying something you don’t want to buy — like I said before, a good salesperson wants to help you find something you love). Play around, make mistakes, have fun with it — it washes off. The sooner you stop thinking of makeup as something you “don’t know how to do” and start thinking of it as a fun tool you can mess around with and whip out when you feel like it, the better. Makeup is like any other skill: you won’t know how to do it until you dive in and get your hands dirty.

HALP! Up All Night

Did you have a little too much fun last night? Did you drink all the things? Or maybe you just stayed up late clicking through all of your ex-boyfriend’s Facebook photos and crying [author has never done either of these things]. Either way, your alarm just went off and you’re scared to look in the mirror, right? Well, you should be. You look like hell. But don’t worry! You can put things on your face to fool people into thinking you’re functional! [Note: I will be providing links to products so that you can buy them. They will probably mostly be to the same site, and that is because I am in an unhealthy one-sided relationship with Sephora. Seriously, baby, why don’t you return my calls?]

Skincare

First off, get in the shower. You smell like cheap champagne and regret.

While you’re in there, take off all your smudged eye makeup with some good eye-friendly cleanser. I like Philosophy’s Purity. I’ve had my $32 16 oz. for over a year now, probably because I only use it in the shower. Solid investment. It’ll getcha squeaky clean in a gentle (chamomile-infused!) fashion, and it wins Best of Sephora every time for a reason.

Now you need to give yourself a good exfoliation to brighten up your complexion, increase circulation, and get rid of all those dead skin cells. Just because I’m obsessed with Kate Somerville’s ridiculously expensive Exfolikate doesn’t mean you have to be (seriously, Kate, $85 for 2 oz.? And can we take a second to talk about how .5 goes for $19, but 2 oz. is $85? Is it possible that you’re worse at math than I am?). It’s undeniably fantastic, with small grains and fruit enzymes that exfoliate chemically as well as physically (it’s supposed to tingle, but if it’s burning, wash it off and try the gentle version). I use it in the shower 2-3x a week. If you can’t part with the cash, good old St. Ives Apricot Scrub ($3) will do you just fine.

After your shower, moisturize immediately. Since alcohol/lack of sleep are drying, you’ll probably want something with even more hydration than usual to plump up your skin. My go-to when I’m feeling parched is Caudalie Pulpe Vitaminée ($58). Immediately quenches, has great antioxidants and natural stress-relieving botanicals, and smells delicious. However, I just started using a sample of Sephora’s (relatively new) Instant Moisturizer, which at $20 for 1.7 is much more wallet-friendly, and you get that same instant “hey look now I’m moisturized” feeling. I’ll probably pick some up when I’m done toothpaste-squeezing my sample.

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your eyes are puffy. They just are. If you’re looking for a miracle worker, Dior Capture Totale Instant Eye Rescue Treatment ($95) is astonishing. I’ve seen this sucker take out the puffiest of eye bags in under a minute. You squeeze a bit of the magic energizing cream (Dior is pretty vague about product descriptions and ingredients, but I’m pretty sure it involves virgin blood) onto the perpetually-cool palladium tip and press/massage into your suborbital eye area. I swear this stuff is amazing. I’ve never owned it, personally, because I am not independently wealthy and nobody has ever seen fit to give me one for free (weird, right?). If you’re looking for a less expensive option, Clinique’s Depuffing Eye Serum ($28) has a nice little cooling rollerball, and you can even use it over makeup during the day to refresh (I’d say it’s “Like a 3 pm cup of coffee for your eyes!” but I am obviously above such things). Drugstore brands are always coming out with versions of these as well.

By the way, if you absolutely can’t wash your hair, dry shampoo is your best friend. I’m partial to the classic Pssssst!, which doesn’t leave a residue and smells delicious, and my friend Hilary — who has enviable hair and has tried ’em all — swears by Suave. Dry shampoo is also awesome for when you get a little overexcited with your styling lotion and end up being able to see your reflection in your hair.

Cosmetics

I’m not going to go through all the usual makeup steps. You already know about primers, foundation, etc. Here are just a couple of products and some tips that’ll perk you up and make you look more human.

Touche Éclat, YSL ($40). I resisted this one for a long time. “Yeah, yeah, cult product, blah blah,” I thought. “I have a million highlighters, I have a million concealers, what could possibly be so great about this one? Plus, $40? Ouch.” And then I got a sample. Slight digression: I’m going to do a post on sampling services like Birchbox and Beauty Army very soon, but while I’m on the subject, let me just say that samples are your friend. They’ll help you discover products you’d never dreamed of trying, or items that seemed too expensive to bother with but upon sampling are actually your holy grail. They’re also handy for travel. I am also planning a post on how to get the most out of your department store counter experience (and I’ll probably throw some Sephora know-how in there, since I’ve worked for both types of retailers), and it will definitely involve some real talk on samples. Aaaanyway. Touche Éclat, annoyingly, lives up to the hype. It’s creamy yet lightweight, with enough coverage to replace your undereye concealer but not enough weight to call attention to fine lines. Plus it has the added bonus of a bit of artificial light in there to brighten you up. There’s a great selection of shades based on skin tone and undertones (BTW, my biggest advice for concealer is don’t go too light. The reverse raccoon does no one any favors; you may as well hang a sign around your neck that says HAHA NOW YOU CAN’T SEE MY DARK CIRCLES).

Also, guess what. They have one for dudes now, too. Progressive!

Smashbox Eye Beam Double-Ended Brightener ($24) has saved me on a few occasions. One side of the pencil is a highlighter, great for under the brow or in the inner corners of the eyes, but the other side is what’s truly useful — it’s for your inner rim/waterline. Covers the inevitable lack-of-sleep redness while brightening and opening up the whole eye. I also use this if I’ve been having allergies. Just be very, very careful when applying. Don’t do this one in the car.

Right now I’m really into this Crimson Cream Rouge cream blush/lip tint by Besame Cosmetics ($22). Don’t be scared by the color, just tap a tiny bit onto the apple of your cheeks and blend, and do the same for your lips. It’ll brighten you up with a subtle I-just-ate-a-popsicle flush. Cream blush has good staying power, and won’t make you look all powdery. The trick is to find a shade that’s bright enough to give you some pop, and to use it subtly.

Finally, my eye makeup trick. Drag a concealer pencil in your shade (I like Shiseido The Makeup Correcter Pencil, $18, because it’s a small pencil, rare in the mostly-chunky concealer pencil world) right along the bottom of your eye bags where that dark line is. You know the basic rule of shading — put something dark on your face and it’ll cause that area to recede, put something light on your face and it’ll bring it forward, right? Same principle applies here. You want to fill in that dark line of demarcation at the end of the puffiness. In the same vein, grab a brown shadow (Smashbox Waterproof Shadow Liners, $22, are nice and chunky, and live up to their name- you’ll need a real makeup remover to get that shit off. Just make sure you smudge immediately after it touches your skin or you’re stuck with a hard line FOREVER) and smudge it on the area you want to recede: the puffy part (line & smudge along your lashes, too, for balance). This trick is like magic, I swear. Brown tends to look the most natural, but you can switch it up if you like. Match the depth of the shade to your coloring- if you’re really fair, go easy with the espresso shades. If you’re a spaz, powder shadows are much easier to manipulate and more forgiving; use with a small short-bristled shadow brush.

Cheap, easy trick to look dewy and luminous? Pat a tiny bit of Vaseline along the tops of your cheekbones. Don’t forget your eyeliner/mascara/whatever you like to use. Finally, blot away some of your t-zone shine with blotting papers (rather than using powder, which can build up and be drying). My favorite is MAC Blot Film ($15). Toss these in your bag for a quick and easy go-to shine remover. People will look at you funny while you’re blotting, but that’s only because they’re jealous of your foresight.

Now fill up your water bottle and go find the greasiest breakfast in town. Got hangover/perk-me-up tips? Leave ’em in the comments!