Beauty Blunders -- Solved!
Clumpy Lashes and Chapped Skin
Q: My lashes are very light, so I need to use mascara. But when I put it on, I'm left with clumps and stuck-together globs. Are there any application tricks that will give me a more natural effect?
A: When asked what cosmetic item they can't live without, most women say mascara. That's because it can make your eyes look wider, clearer, and prettier with just a flick of a wand. Here, some tips on getting a flawless -- not clumpy -- application:
- Keep mascara fresh. A good guideline is to use mascara for three months, then toss it. Not only will buying a new tube after three months minimize your chances of eye infections and irritation (which can occur if you use old mascara), it will also help nix clumps, since mascara can become thick and gloppy -- and transfer clumps onto your lashes -- when it's old.
- Wipe off excess. When you remove the mascara wand from the tube, use a clean tissue to gently wipe off any globs of product (there's usually one at the very tip of the brush). Cleaning away these clumps means that they won't wind up on your lashes.
- Allow the wand to "air dry" for a moment. Some makeup artists say that allowing the product on the brush to dry a bit before applying it helps the mascara go on smoother.
- Sweep from lash base to tip. Use one motion to move the wand from the base of your lashes to the tips.
- Allow coat one to dry before applying coat two. Applying another coat before the first coat has dried is likely to cause clumps. Instead, give each coat a minute to dry before adding another.
- Comb through lashes to finish. No matter how expertly you apply mascara, you can still end up with clumps sometimes. Use a plastic eyelash brush (found in drugstores, usually coupled with a brow brush) to separate lashes.
Q: Ever since the weather has gotten colder, my skin has been chapped and super-dry. What can I do to make my face healthy and supple again?
A: Changing seasons can wreak havoc on the skin, causing it to become greasier or drier depending on the temperature. Winter, in particular, presents specific problems: namely, dryness from heated indoor air, and chapping from windy, icy weather. That's why it's a great idea to modify your skincare routine when the weather gets colder. Begin by switching to a creamy, nonstripping cleanser; Prescriptives Comfort Cleanser ($21) and Cetaphil ($6.85) are good choices. Use your cleanser to remove makeup and wash away dirt at night; you can simply rinse skin with warm water in the morning. Avoid postcleansing toners, which can strip the skin of its natural protective oils. Next, add a richer moisturizer to your regimen. Look for an oil-free cream formula, which is a bit heavier -- and more hydrating -- than a lotion. If your skin is very oily, stick to a lotion. Finally, treat very dry or chapped areas with a healing balm, which is thicker and more occlusive (read: doesn't let out moisture) than a cream or lotion. Good choices: Weleda Everon Face Balm ($9.95) and Bobbi Brown Extra Moisturizing Balm ($75). If your skin is painfully chapped or begins to crack, see a dermatologist.