I have big blue eyes, and I was wondering if you had any tips on how to make them pop without looking too overdone. Every time I try anything other than a little light brown shadow and mascara, it looks like I’m trying too hard. I want to do something new, but I don’t know what! —Ivy
I do! How about a little colored eyeliner? I was just harassing a M.A.C. makeup artist with the most mesmerizing magenta eyebrows the other day about what new makeup I should know about, and she brought up fun-colored eyeliner. First, we tested out a purple on me, which I didn’t like. But then she pulled out a green and bam, I spent $16.
The first thing you do when thinking about making a color “pop” is head directly across from it on the color wheel. This is called a complementary color scheme, and it is basically like taking two opposite colors and putting them right next to each other. Done subtly, the effect is vibrant and the colors really stand out. Your eyes are blue, so to show them off, we’re looking at pairing them with orange, or colors close to orange, which range from red to yellow. Another way to go is with a monochromatic color scheme by using the same color, or an analogous scheme in which you’d choose a color right next door to blue on the color wheel. This concept is the same as wearing a cobalt or teal shirt to bring out the blue in your eyes. Here is a set that will meet all of your needs from a makeup website I’m obsessed with called Style Nanda. There are enough hypnotic pictures on that page alone of orange eyeliner—winged, smudged, over-lined with black, you name it!—to keep you from ever leaving your computer again, so it might save you a bunch of time, money, and effort even if you never try the eyeliner! I mean, look at their tutorials. There’s even one showing how to use the built-in pencil sharpener. Swoon.
If you’re already feeling like you’re too made up with light brown shadow, this look might seem dramatic, but just tell yourself, “It is only one line per eye. It is only one line per eye!” Plus, it’s a fresh, young, springy look, aka a very appropriate one for someone who feels like traditional brown shadow really isn’t their thing. Just keep the rest of your makeup low-key: a tinted lip gloss, a hint of blush, and maybe some mascara.
My mom has some pretty strict rules about what I can put on my body/face: only all-natural, organic makeup, no heat-straightening treatments on my hair, and no buying from the mainstream makeup brands that my friends love. I know that there can be dangerous ingredients in cosmetics and that flat-ironing can damage hair. But when it comes to natural makeup, the options seem very limited and lots more expensive. And home straightening treatments don’t work for my thick, wavy hair. How can I ask her to loosen up while still showing her that I can be responsible about these choices? And can you recommend any organic/natural brands of makeup that actually stay on and offer a variety of types of makeup and colors? —K., 12, California
Did you know there are few things moms *claim* to want more than heart-to-heart conversations with their daughters? This is the perfect Big Question to tackle together! There’ll be lots of idea-sharing and general momding (that’s mom-bonding, an appropriately mommed-out term for this question), and the stakes are really low—the worst possible outcome is that nothing changes and you’re still allowed to wear makeup as long as you rise to some of the challenges she has set forth. I see luck in your future, though, because your mom sounds philosophically engaged and interested in this stuff. I mean, I don’t know, she could just as easily not care about makeup at all AND be hellbent on preventing you from caring at all. But it sounds like that’s not the case here and she just wants you to have fun responsibly. Ugh, MOMS!
The simplest way to get the conversation started is to show her this article and say, “Mom, I wrote this question about you. Can we set aside some time to talk?” Then have some arguments prepared as to why you can’t meet her demands, which I’m not sure I can answer for you—that’s gotta come from inside. Maybe you feel like she’s setting up a financial roadblock to something she claims you’re allowed to do. No fair! Or maybe you’d just like her to provide better access to the things she does allow, either by helping you track down products or by taking you to the nearest green beauty boutique. Hear out her side of things, too—that’s how momding works, and it’s only fair.
If she won’t change her rules right this second, ask her for a future time or circumstance when she might be willing to. You never know—she could be thinking, As soon as she turns 13, this particular rule won’t be so important to me. Some parental rules are kind of arbitrary—they exist to maintain the power balance in the relationship, but are ultimately fluid and negotiable. I, for example, wasn’t allowed to shave my legs until high school, but my parents did buy me bleach for the long black leg hairs that stuck through my white cheerleading tights. That made no sense, but they sure proved they were the bosses.
Even if she doesn’t budge and has no intention of doing so in the future, you’re gonna be fine. You still have lots of options! Regarding straightening your hair: I probably use a straightening iron once every four months because I’m trying to be careful not to damage my hair. Long hair is OLD hair, and old hair is, by virtue of hanging around on us for a long time, fragile hair, so if you want to keep it from breaking or looking dead and dull, your mom has the right idea. But you can achieve incredibly smooth, relatively straight hair another way. Are you allowed to use a blow dryer? That’ll help a lot, but it’s not required: This video on velcro rollers is the TRUTH. I have naturally wavy hair and often use this technique on it while it’s towel- and air-dried but still ever-so-slightly damp. After setting the rollers, I let it air-dry for a few more hours and, like the slowest magic imaginable, my hair turns out (kinda) straight! Yes, there’s a slight bounce to it and a curl at the end, but the larger the rollers you use, the less bouncy it’ll be, and you can always brush the extra volume out.
For makeup brands, have you shown your mom Josie Maran’s line? They have cool colors and products and are super-transparent about the ingredients they use and their business practices. They’re socially conscious, cruelty-free—all that jazz. Click around on their website to see what I mean. And, yeah, the products are a little pricier than drugstore brands, but there are combo items like the Magic Marker that can be used on lips and cheeks, so it’s a two-fer. And this eyeliner set is on sale for nine bucks! Tarte also has a vegan line that is formulated without parabens and triclosan and other scary stuff. (Here is a list of all the chemicals—like COAL TAR?!—I bet your mom is concerned about, and why she’s right to be.) I’m not sure if Tarte’s line is up to your mom’s standards, but ask her to check it out. They carry both at Sephora, if you want to try before you buy. Unless Sephora is a no-no according to mom:
You: But Mom, how is Josie supposed to keep making products for me, her exact target market, if I’m not allowed to purchase them?
Your mom: She should’ve thought of that before signing on with a major corporation!!!
In any case, you might also download the Skin Deep app from the Environmental Working Group. It allows you to search beauty products by name or scan their barcodes to find out how toxic they are on a scale from 1 to 10. Your mom will be so impressed when you whip it out and say, “How about we move this conversation to the makeup aisle at [whatever crunchy store she approves of]?” And if all of my genius ideas fail, this website will help you start your new hobby as a DIY organic makeup mad scientist, muahahaha! ♦
If you seek Jane Marie’s wisdoms about mascaras, moisturizers, milkmaid braids, and more, shoot her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and sign it with your name/nickname/initials, age, and where you live, ya beaut!