My dermatologist told me that the skin on my face has become allergic to the sun! That’s right: I am, in fact, a vampire. I need to find a sunblock that I can wear underneath my makeup with ease, that won’t be greasy, clog my pores, or melt into my eyes throughout the day if I get hot. I’ve been told that nothing under SPF 30 is acceptable—the higher the SPF, the better. Can you help me out with some recommendations? —Rose, England
Please press play on this song before we continue:
Like yours and that of the person being addressed in these lyrics, my skin sees the sun as an adversary instead of the sole celestial sustainer of our entire planetary system. It is like, “Fuck you, thanks for nothing, sun.” Ungrateful jerk epidermis. The sun works so hard for you! The sun gave you life!
My skin is temperamental in other ways: dry, sensitive, etc., which gives me the authority to tell you that Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen is the mad note. It miraculously reconciles jerkpidermis and direct sunlight because it has an SPF of 100 (you don’t need this much—no one does—but it certainly makes you feel extra-protected). It dries on the spot, is noncomedogenic, and works well under whatever makeup you want to shellack over it. It’s under $10 at Target and £12.50 at Amazon in the UK. Suddenly: You are leaving your house in the daytime, and you are Rose in name alone.
If you want to throw $ome more, I sure do like this Smashbox BB cream, which comes in a non-frustrating range of shades. (A quick note here: No matter how deep your skin tone, everyone needs sunscreen—not just pale people. Melanoma affects people of all races! Check out Maggie’s thorough primer to SPF here.) It will keep your face not only protected and hydrated, but even-looking. No matter how fluidly a sunscreen applies, I sometimes am not into mixing products given how tough it can be to find ONE that works. BB and CC creams in general, and this one specifically, have a degree of breathable coverage that allows me to forgo adding foundation and, if I’m lucky, concealer over my skin protectant. The Smashbox variation is nicely mattifying, too, but slightly pricier than straight-up sunscreen: It’s $19.50 for a travel-sized one and $39 for a full tube at Sephora, and £27 for the latter at Boots.
Now: Go enjoy the daylight! You are not a vampire! Vampirez aren’t real! —Amy Rose
I work with food and have to wear disposable gloves my whole shift. It always makes my hands really dry, itchy, and red. Every cream I own is scented, which makes my hands burn, or is Vaseline and doesn’t absorb into my skin and feel nice. What are some really good, hardcore, fragrance-free hand creams for a WORKIN’ GIRL? -C
I’m sorry about your itchy paws! I’ve worked with food ’n’ gloves myself, and I know firsthand that constantly having to wash your hands and then wear disposable gloves can be a slow, dry-skin torture, especially in the winter months. First things first, though: Is it possible you are allergic to the gloves you have to wear at work? Lots of gloves are made of latex, and a latex allergy is a real thing. If you’re not sure if you have a latex allergy, ask your boss to supply you with plastic gloves instead—most businesses that ask employees to wear gloves have options on hand (ho ho ho) for workers with latex allergies. Give those plastic gloves a try for a week or so, and see if it makes a difference.
If it turns out you just have super dry hands, there’s a bunch of things you can do. Your instincts are right—ditch those wussy, thin, fragranced hand lotions! It’s time to bring out THE BIG GUNS. You want thick, gloopy, minimally scented or unscented hand creams—the kind that are so thick you could pile some in your palm, tip your palm upside down, and the cream wouldn’t move. I am very into three XTREME moisturizers: Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream, Udderly Smooth Udder Cream (made for cracked cow udders! and your udderly dry hands!), and Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream. Notice how I didn’t recommend any fancy expensive options here? It’s because drugstore brands really nail hand creams, and you don’t have to spend lots to have smooth, soft mitts.
Finally, there is an Extra Intense Step you can take to ensure your hands heal and remain smooth. My grandma taught me this, and it’s amazing! When you’re about to go to bed, go to the kitchen and get a small palmful of cornmeal or sugar. Drip a few drops of olive oil into the cornmeal or sugar and combine it until you have a thick paste, then rub the mixture briskly into your palms and the tops of your hands. Rinse off the paste, apply your special thick hand cream heavily, (I mean HEAVILY, put WAY too much on), and then…put cotton gloves on your hands and go to sleep. You will wake up with DREAM CLAWS. Enjoy your new hands! —Krista
My hair is a weird mix of straight, curly, and wavy. It doesn’t matter how I wash it or brush it or whatever—it’s just a weird jumble of kind of messy waves with rando locks that stick out in fully formed spirally curls, especially towards the front. Can I make it curly faster? Can I tame the curls without having to straighten my entire head? I suck at hair stuff! Help!! —Margaret, Seattle, WA
I also have a curly/wavy hair texture AND suck at hair stuff, but I think my hair looks cool on a daily basis, so lemme try and help you. There are a few things you can do to your hair, and all of it has to do with manipulating the curl. You make it straighter by blow-drying and then flat-ironing it, but I suspect that’s not your deal, judging from your question. (It’s not my deal either, though respect to the women that straighten their hair.) Or, you could make it curlier way faster by diffusing it: A diffuser is basically a circular, textured nozzle like this one that you put on any old blow dryer, in most cases. It spins the air in a more circular motion on your hair, therefore making your hair curlier, and your curls more pronounced.
I have a wavy hair texture that’s prone to irregular curls and general frizziness. Because I like the natural texture of 70 percent of my hair, except for some “random locks” and frizzy bits, I re-curl those pieces using a curling wand to a texture that matches the rest of my hair:
You could potentially do this to your hair by making the waves more spirally or make your spirals into looser waves. You can get a wand in the $20 price range—or spring for a more expensive one—at beauty supply places or drugstores, and there are plenty for $30 or less on Amazon. If you don’t want to use heat on your hair, you could play around with sleeping in wet braids. Depending on how tight and how many braids you use, your hair could be a totally different texture by morning when you unravel them.
Little changes in how you handle your hair can also work miracles! For example, I only brush my hair in the shower to get out knots, and then I barely touch it. Curly shampoos, serums, and mousses can really bring out the curl in the rest of your hair that isn’t super curly. I’m big on Garnier’s curly stuff, or if you want something more natural, WEN is like the Proactive for making your curls healthy. Try not shampooing at all, or shampooing less, to get rid of frizz. It sounds gross, but it works.
I’m a big fan of letting hair do its thing, and I’ve seen my hair change texture many times through puberty, dye jobs, seasons, etc. A lot of the time, with having curly hair, or wavy hair, or basically ANY hair that isn’t naturally straight is experimenting with it and figuring out what works for you! —Hazel ♦
Hey, good-lookin’, what insurmountable-seeming beauty issues you got cookin’? For makeup and other surface area–based advice, get at Amy Rose and co. by emailing [email protected]. Please sign your message with your name/nickname/initials, age, and city.