You Asked It

Oh! You Pretty Things

Advice about makeup for glasses-wearers, keeping your nail game strong, and more.

I’m a full-time glasses wearer, and I’m DAMN PROUD of how I rock my frames. But in my decade or so of visual impairment, I have never learned how to apply foundation and/or powder to my nose in such a way that my glasses don’t smear/smudge it. (I would go au naturale, but I have pretty obvious pores on my nose.) Do I have to spend all day repowdering my nose, or give in and get contacts? —Caroline

Maybe and no. Thank you for reading, and goodnight!

No, I actually have three ideas for you, but first, this is one of those questions where I want to remind you that NO ONE EXAMINES YOUR FACE AS CLOSELY AS YOU DO. Think about how close you put your mug to the mirror while applying makeup, and how much you scrutinize every little detail. You’re the only one able to do that, because the rest of us are standing wayyyyy over here! I mean, we’re going to look at your nose at some point, but not that closely or critically, so cut your nose and its audience some slack!

That said, makeup is fun, and it’s satisfying to nail a technique or find a secret formula, so we will now talk about that junk, but I wanted to reassure you that it’s NBD to your beholders. Maybe you could avoid applying makeup where your glasses actually sit on your nose? Because your glasses will cover that skin, there’s really no need to have makeup under there. And I know glasses slide up and down and all around, but it’s not like they’re constantly repositioning themselves all the way from your forehead to the tip of your nose. What’s a few millimeters of exposed pores? So try applying your foundation and powder as normal everywhere but your nose. Then, with your glasses on, use a small concealer brush (like this one from M.A.C. Cosmetics) to apply foundation only to the parts of your nose that the glasses won’t come into contact with. Once you’re satisfyingly foundationed, take off your specs to keep them clean, apply powder to the carefully placed makeup on your nose, and pop your glasses back on. If your work or play requires you to look down a lot and causes your glasses to slip, talk to your optometrist about ways to keep them from moving around. A slight adjustment might be all you need, and that’s usually free.

If that doesn’t work for you, yeah, you might want to reapply your makeup throughout the day. I used to work with this flawless-looking woman named Judith in a large office. Every day around lunchtime, you could find her in the bathroom with all of her makeup spread out on paper towels—with another paper towel used as a bib over her cashmere turtleneck sweater—reapplying her entire face of makeup OVER her existing entire face of makeup. It was a sight to behold, but so was her immaculately made-up visage. Luckily, powdering one’s nose takes seconds and can be done just about anywhere other than at the dinner table (and maybe even there, depending on your personal views on etiquette), so you don’t have to do the whole Judith shebang.

You could also try a combo of primer and finishing spray or powder. I’m really liking Skindinavia’s INCREDIBLY FANCY line. They have a mattifying spray-on primer and a setting spray that, used in tandem, seal my makeup for the better part of the day. Make Up For Ever also makes a translucent finishing powder that works pretty well to prevent smudging and budging:

From right to left: prepping spray, $, Skindinavia; Make Up For Ever finishing powder, $, Sephora.

Prepping and sealing spray (left), $50, Skindinavia; Make Up For Ever finishing powder, $34, Sephora.

And no need to get contacts—then you’ll just be writing in asking about contact-friendly mascara and eyeliner. It’s always something! —Jane Marie

I’m a competitive swimmer and spend two to three hours in a chlorinated pool at least six days a week, which really dries out my hair and skin. Most blogs/websites I’ve read recommend anti-chlorine products, but those get expensive when you’re using them every single day. Do you know of anything else that might help? —Fish Out of Water

Ooh, I feel you, Fishie. I used to swim on my school’s varsity team, and daily practices in a heavily chlorinated pool tried to murder my hair and skin. I have blond hair, which turned a pale green hue, and my skin was always dry and itchy. I wish I had known then that there are definitely things you can do to fight all this turmoil!

For hair: Each strand of your hair is porous, like a little sponge, and if you get your head wet before you hit the pool, your hair will have less room to absorb chlorinated water (since it’ll already be full of the non-chlorinated kind). You probably have to take a quick shower before you hop in the pool anyway if your swim team is like mine was. Now, you for-sure have to wear a swim cap when you swim competitively, and that’s a good thing for your hair. After you get your hair wet, but before you put your swim cap on, you can block even more chlorine by coating your hair with something protective, like conditioner or even a little bit of olive oil, combed through it. Put the cap over this and you’re good to go!

Post-swim, wash your hair immediately with the shampoo of your choice, and then, a few times a week at home, get the chlorine out of the ends of your hair, where it concentrates (and where, for blondes, it turns it the greenest) by rinsing them in a small bowl of lemon juice. No fancy swimmers’ shampoo necessary—but if you want to go that route, here are some options.

For skin: I don’t know of any other solution to keep your skin soft and well-moisturized than drinking tons of water and…yep, moisturizer. Here’s a good, kinda-fancy one, and here’s an equally good one you can get at most drugstores. Apply it after every shower, at school or at home. You are going to go through tons of moisturizer as a competitive swimmer, and if the price is stressing you out, try rubbing coconut oil or olive oil on your skin instead. Lots of people swear by those, and they have the added advantage of being available at pretty much any grocery store for not a tone of money. Hope this helps! —Krista ♦

If you’re all like, “Beauty is an illusion…but I would really prefer it not to be,” please email all your questions about pedicures, androgynous makeup, lip plumper, and anything else to Jane Marie at Please sign your email with your name/nickname/initials, age, and city. Thank you!


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  • Simone H. June 18th, 2014 1:35 AM

    Wait, wait, wait. I might be wrong, but I would NOT suggest oil pastel on your hair. I actually use soft pastel, which is more like chalk. Apply it the same way as regular hairchalk, but jut FIY, it’s VERY drying and might smudge everywhere.
    Also, for the nails chick, if you can afford it, I highly recommend OPI Nail Envy. You can apply it like a cure/treatment or as a base or top coat. I swear by this stuff. <3
    And when I go swimming, since I have atopic skin, I apply Bariéderm by Uriage. It's water resistant. I don't know if you have it in your country but if do, you'll find it in pharmacies. :)

    Otherwise, great advice, thanks !

  • editha June 18th, 2014 6:00 AM

    @ Lena: I’m older and in Vienna now, but I once was a 17-year-old in an Austrian village too. I totally understand why you don’t want to stand out too much! If you’re still in school and don’t have to work, the upcoming summer break might be the perfect time to try out a new colour – at least you have some control over who sees you and time to adjust the color if you don’t like the first result.
    I also think you can buy L’oreal professional products like hairchalk at ROMA (or other Friseurbedarfs-Geschäfte) and they have shops in many smaller towns all over the country.
    And when in doubt: Scheiß da nix ;)! I now regret not being braver back then…

  • sissiLOL June 18th, 2014 10:03 AM

    Love this new column!
    Die erste Frage war doch von jemandem aus Österreich, oder? Hättest du vielleicht Lust Teil eins deutschsprachigen Rookiemags (zuminest ähnlich) zu werden? Wenn ja kommentiere doch dieses Kommentar oder etwas auf meinem Blog Ich würde mich SEHR freuen!

  • juliaDC June 18th, 2014 10:21 AM

    Fishie! I registered just to tell you this. I don’t swim as much as you but I do go 2x/week and let me spread to you the gospel of powdered vitamin C.

    Buy a spray bottle with 8 oz + capacity. Mix 1/2 tsp powdered vitamin C (available at Trader Joe’s or online or probably other grocery/drug stores) with 8 oz water. After swim, spray all over your body including hair, rub in a little, rinse, wash your hair and body as normal. Vitamin C neutralizes the chlorine – no pool smell, dramatically reduced skin drying. Infinitely cheaper than those tiny bottles of after swim spray.

  • Starzie June 18th, 2014 12:57 PM

    I bleached the tips of my hair recently, and have been loving the results! If you are looking for a more subtle change you could also use henna!
    My friend bleached and then dyed her whole head green and it turned blue after she went in the ocean.
    Anyone know how to remedy this?


  • sans.sheriff June 18th, 2014 5:24 PM

    Another option for dying your hair, if you have bob length or longer hair, is to dye a section of your hair in the back so that when you wear your hair down, your normal colored hair covers it. (I’m not sure if I’m explaining this well, but it’s the hair at the nape of your neck, so that if you flipped all of your hair over, you could see the color.)
    I used to color my hair like this, and now I have that part of my hair shaved (which is called a nape undercut). I like it because it lets me choose when my hair is going to stand out– when I wear it down, it looks 100% normal, & when I wear it up, BAM INSTANT PUNK LOOKS.

  • I W June 18th, 2014 7:31 PM

    For glasses- it sounds weird, but powder/talc on the bit of the glasses that touches your nose- stops them moving around so much because it soaks up oils and things :) also, just use powder foundation or don’t put any where your glasses actually sit.
    (some of these noticeable pores could be small blackheads? maybe try pore strips. Even if it turns out to not be blackheads, they’re really satisfying to rip off)

  • droppingdaisies June 18th, 2014 10:09 PM

    im literally ecstatic after reading that the hairchalk works on black hair – i just ordered the purple :-)))) BLESS UR SOUL FOR SHARING THIS VALUABLE INFO

  • Nadifa June 19th, 2014 2:59 AM

    Thank you for the glasses-wearer make up tips. Please give us more on what kind of make up suit us the best.
    I also decided to go to prom with my glasses on, and I’m not ashamed :)

  • greyhounds July 16th, 2014 5:06 PM

    Ohmygod, I’m so excited that you answered my question!!!! Thank you so much!! :) I totally forgot that I’d asked you about colouring my hair!! I saw the first picture beneath a post I read and thought: Hmmm.. interesting.. :). At first, I was like: Oh, cool, this girl is also called Lena. ;D Then I noticed, that it was ME :) I’m sorry, but I have to write in German now ;)

    @editha: Ja, bei mir daheim ist es auch noch eine ziemliche Besonderheit, wenn jemand blaue Haare hat.. Aber ich werd das von l’oreal echt bald ausprobieren!! In Linz werd ich es wohl schon finden (bei mir daheim eher nicht… ;D ) !! Voll lieb, dass du einen Kommentar geschrieben hast!!

    @sissiLOL: Ja voll, ich hab dir schon einen Kommentar geschrieben:D

    I think, in the next days, I’m gonna try the thing with the l’oreal-hair-chalk-for-longer-whatever-colour :)

    Thanks soooooooo very much for answering
    (The t-shirt is already bought ;D )