You Asked It

Oh! You Pretty Things

Advice on sparse brows, boring makeup, and not screwing up your nail polish.

During the day, I use BB cream, mascara, cream blush, and concealer. Now that I’ve mastered the basics, I’d also like to mix up what I wear without spending too much extra time on my face. Any tips for a lazy person looking to try something new? —Hannah, 22, Madrid

I ask myself this question every week! The thing about experimenting with new beauty stuff is that if you go way far outside of what you’re used to, you risk not loving it, getting frustrated, and reverting back to your old, boring (to you) ways. So instead of making a giant leap to the other side of the makeup aisle and then being like, “I LOOK LIKE A CLOWN! GIMME BACK MY TWO-MINUTE FACE,” try making small but exciting (to you) adjustments to the makeup you’re comfortable with.

Here are some non-scary alternatives to the stuff you’re already using that won’t take up any more time or require you to learn any complicated techniques, but WILL reinvigorate your morning routine:

Instead of BB cream, try a tinted moisturizer with SPF. NARS makes my favorite one of all: It’s actually moisturizing and actually coverage-providing, neither of which I’ve found to be true of the other BB creams I’ve tried. Some tinted moisturizers also contain “illuminators,” which are light-reflecting ingredients that give you a subtle glow. Check out the ones on offer from Neutrogena, Stila, and Laura Mercier if this sounds like something you’d be into.

Have you thought about using a colored mascara? My friend Sarah has this cobalt blue one from By Terry, and even when her face is otherwise bare, she looks like a beautiful butterfly (if butterflies had blue eyelashes). It also comes purple, green, and red, if you’re feeling extra-adventurous. That brand IS expensive, though, so if you’re not sure about this idea, test out this way cheaper version from Almay. Here’s an example of just how rad colored mascara can look:

This broad is VERY FOCUSED on Technicoloring her face. Photo via

This broad is VERY FOCUSED on Technicoloring up her lashes. Photo via

If you’re going to stick to a cream blush, why not try a convertible one that you can also use on your lips for a change—this one from Stila is my fave—or a powder formulation like this one from L’Oreal? And how about skipping the concealer? Whoa, did I just shave time from your routine? Holler at my PayPal, girl. —Jane Marie

My cheeks are constantly red, but not in a healthy sort of way—it’s more of an “Oh god, is that a rash?” look. I’m not sure if this is because I have sensitive skin or some other factor. What do I do?

It sounds like rosacea to me, but *I AM NOT A DOCTOR.* I was, however, diagnosed with rosacea two years ago, so I know at least a little something about it. My skin has always flushed like crazy under certain conditions. I never knew how to deal with it until I saw a dermatologist, and it’s not a problem for me anymore! Phewsh.

Rosacea, simply put, is a swelling of the blood vessels in your skin. It’s usually harmless, but sometimes it goes hand-in-hand with more-serious eye or skin conditions. So before we go on, I recommend that you get yourself to a dermatologist and have a chat with them, stat. Or, not stat, because this isn’t a MEGA emergency, but just make an appointment so you’ll have your answer for sure. I also suggest perusing this website about rosacea. It has a list of common triggers (sun! heat! wine!) and some interesting research, if you, like me, are into nerding out about your body’s very special weirdnesses.

Whether or not you have rosacea, there are ways to conceal redness if you’re feeling self-conscious about it (although, of course, if you aren’t, go ahead with your barefaced self). On the cheaper end of things, Physician’s Formula makes lots of color-correcting products, like this green-tinted concealer. It’ll take some practice to figure out the right amount to apply without looking Kermit-esque, but here’s the basic idea: Clean and moisturize your skin, then use your fingertips or a sponge to apply a very light layer of the concealer to the red areas on your face. Use a dab-dab-dab motion and start out light—you can add more later if you want. There will be a sweet spot where the color will seem to cancel out the red before actually turning you green. Stop there! Allow it to dry for a few minutes. Then apply your normal foundation, if you use that, not just over the green concealer, but to the rest of your face, too, so there’s no line of demarcation. For a little more money, Graftobian has an excellent color-correcting palette, and M.A.C. recently got into the anti-redness game, too. The choice is yours! —Jane Marie ♦

If you’re like, “Ugh, why does makeup have to be so IMPOSSIBLE,” it sounds like you could use the help of Jane Marie and friends! Email your beauty queries to, and sign your email with your name/nickname/initials, age, and city. Thank you!


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  • kendallakwia March 26th, 2014 1:08 AM

    I happen to have very red cheeks (not due to rosacea, just rosy) and they are like my 5th most complemented feature. I used to hate it, but now I embrace it. Sometimes what you see as your flaws are what other people love about you <3

  • Berries March 26th, 2014 7:13 AM

    Oh dear, the combination of pastels and gold. THEY MAKE ME HAPPY. I will try these at home.

  • erikastrada March 26th, 2014 12:31 PM

    Instead of preventing nail polish on my skin, I mastered the art of the clean up: fill the cap of the nail polish remover bottle with the acetone, dip a small paintbrush or makeup brush in it and carefully clean up around the nail. Then I dab the brush on a paper towel to remove color before dipping in the acetone again. Works every time, just make sure to use hand lotion once your nails are dry since acetone is very drying!

  • Flossy Mae March 26th, 2014 1:37 PM

    My own nail varnish trick: paint your right hand first (or left hand, if you are left handed). Basically, start off with your less confident hand painting your confident hand and then you won’t have to wait a year and a half for them to dry, you can get just get straight on with painting your less confident hand with your confident hand, as hopefully your confident hand will be steadier and easier!x

  • the_smartorialist March 26th, 2014 3:58 PM

    That just totally changed my opinion on coloured mascara and possibly my life.
    I might be the only Brit rookie currently seeking it online, but eh this is helpful anyway:

  • emayhaha March 26th, 2014 4:37 PM

    The girl from Chicago asked a great question! Thanks will do!

  • 3LL3NH March 26th, 2014 11:35 PM

    I loved this article, makeup routine question especially- wanted to point out though that in that one there was a typo of “face” to “fact”.

  • Berries March 27th, 2014 9:34 AM

    It is also a good idea to put vaseline or something like that around your nails when you are putting on nailpolish.

  • lydiamerida March 27th, 2014 9:31 PM

    Agh great advice as usual :)

  • takethreestepsback March 28th, 2014 1:00 AM

    My success with nail polish is due to Q tips but also toothpicks!

    Toothpicks are terrific for pushing down individual bits of glitter that have edges sticking up and for removing any dark polish right in the crevices around your nails. Best of luck with your nail polish! Practise away my friends! :)

  • tortu12 March 28th, 2014 2:56 AM

    Ahh! I love physician’s formula!

  • painting_the_roses_pink March 28th, 2014 5:52 PM


    (Idunno if anyone else has mentioned this) But, if you’d like to actually **grow** fuller brows, try using coconut oil! My friend used to have very thin very sparse eyebrows and she started using coconut oil on them and now they’re awesome and full and lovely!

    I sound like an infomercial but idk its always something to try out.

  • Mia Wallace March 28th, 2014 6:08 PM

    Another nail polish tip:
    Start by painting the nails on your dominant hand! That way, it ‘s much easier to paint with your non-dominant hand because you don’t have to worry about bumping it into something and ruining your polish.

  • razmactaz March 28th, 2014 11:37 PM

    Ooh, lovely nails! What color of nail polish is that? And I must check out the brow gel!

  • pansycakes March 31st, 2014 11:55 AM

    my eyebrows will forever be my curse, not because of the shape but because of the colour ! gingerproblems<3