Photo by Renata Raksha.

Photo by Renata Raksha.

I want to make my naturally curly hair into a voluminous halo like St. Vincent’s. How does she do that? Does it take a lot of teasing and hairspray? —Marge

We posed your question to Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, herself, and here is what she said:

Honestly, I don’t know. It’s sort of a byproduct of naturally curly hair that is very damaged from bleaching (hence the texture), ineptitude, and laziness (i.e., irregular washing), sometimes combined with the skills of professional hairstylists on photo shoots. In [the picture above], for example, my hair was done by Pamela Neal, who is AMAZING, and cooler than anyone ever. Do you want me to put you in touch with her?

“Yes, please,” we responded, and soon enough this additional info arrived in our inbox, from that very same Pamela Neal!

Annie just about nailed that! Bleaching, coloring, or even perming your hair will thicken and harden each strand, giving it more volume and encouraging it to kind of stand away from your head instead of lying flat. If you don’t want to inflict that kind of damage on your hair, getting it cut in layers, then teasing it and using a firm-hold hairspray, will get you close to Annie’s lovely mop.

So there you have it! Expert halo-making advice from those in the know.

I have a pretty masculine style and haven’t been comfortable with the idea of wearing makeup until recently. I want to start playing around with it, but I have no clue what or what not to buy, and what or what not to do with it! What are some good products for beginners? —Cara, 15, Kansas City

Ooh, a true makeup newbie! Keeping in mind that you’re not super femme, I’d steer you toward four things: a facial moisturizer with SPF, a lip tint, blush, and a subtle mascara. All of these products are easy to apply and fun to play with, and great versions of each can likely be found dirt cheap at your local drugstore!

Clockwise from top left: Bronzer & Blusher Combo, $9; NYX; Tinted Lip Balm, $7, Burt's Bees; Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen , $10. Neutrogena; Essential Lengthening & Defining Mascara, $1,  e.l.f.

Clockwise from top left: Bronzer & Blusher Combo, $9, NYX Cosmetics; Tinted Lip Balm, $7, Burt’s Bees; Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen, $10.50, Neutrogena; Essential Lengthening & Defining Mascara, $1, e.l.f.

A tiny guide on how to use this stuff: With clean hands, smooth the moisturizer all over your face. The Neutrogena one above is non-comedogenic, meaning it allows your skin to BREATHE and is less likely than other kinds of creams to cause pimples. Since you’ve been comfortable going bare, you probably aren’t too worried about covering blemishes or evening out your skin tone, but if you’re bored, you could try a tinted moisturizer (with SPF!) like this one from e.l.f., which comes in a wide variety of shades. It’s only three bucks, so if you don’t like it, give it to a friend!

Next, use a blush brush or your fingers to blend on a blush-and-highlighter combo. The blush will give the apples of your cheeks (i.e., the parts that get roundest when you smile, which is where you apply it) some color; the highlighter goes along the tops of your cheekbones, from about mid-cheek to temple, and will enhance your bone structure. CoverGirl makes a good powder blush that includes a highlighter and a contour color—you can lightly apply the contour shade just below your cheek-apples if you’re feeling fancy.

While you’re over at CoverGirl, take a look at their Lipslicks, which give you just a touch of color while moisturizing your smackers. You do have to apply moisturizing lip tints/glosses more often than, like, a long-wearing lipstick, but they feel great on your lips, so you probably won’t mind.

To put on your new mascara, touch the wand to the underside of your top lashes, close to the roots. Then kinda wiggle the wand back and forth while you slowly drag the comb up to the tips of your lashes. (Here’s a good demonstration.) The one in the collage abovecomes in a nice brown that won’t feel too dramatic for people who aren’t used to wearing makeup (YOU, for example). Almay also makes these affordable mascaras in fun colors, if brown sounds blah.

Here I am before and after applying these four products:


Check out how subtle (but still noticeable!) the transformation is! —Jane Marie