For the past few years, my New Year’s resolution has been the same, and I made the same one this year too. NO FRUMPINESS.
After I had my second daughter, the baby weight didn’t slide off as it had with my first. I was 30 and trying to get used to life as a mother of two, and it was showing. My appearance, and therefore my self-confidence, was not high on my priority list. I didn’t buy any clothes, because I was waiting to “loose the baby weight,” I had dark circles from lack of sleep, my hair was falling out by the fist-full, and my hair was forever in a ratty pony tail. This was what greeted my husband upon returning home from work on any typical day towards the end of 2010: me, in my husband’s t-shirts and yoga pants (because that’s the only thing that fit), dark circles, and my hair in a limp pony tail…not pretty…and not exactly a role model for my girls either.
So… a few years ago I decided that I would try to change. Even though my husband says I’m beautiful no matter what, I wanted to be better for him and my girls. My New Year’s resolution has been to reduce my “frumpiness,” even if just by a little.
The first year of trying this, I always had my nails and toes perfectly manicured (I did them myself at home once the kids were asleep)…surely that’s a bit less frumpy, no? I have to say that such a small act made me feel better. I’d take advantage of the coupons at my local grocery store and bought nail polish in all different colors.
The next year, I stepped it up a bit, and tried to take care of my skin. I guess my hormones were trying to balance itself out, and my skin was going crazy, not to mention I was officially in my 30s.
Then I started getting into makeup. I don’t wear a full face of makeup on most days, but I at least have moisturizer, lip balm, under-eye concealer and usually eyebrow product on.
Since I have started my “no frumpiness” new year’s resolution, i feel like I have been getting better. I take care of my skin day and night, I get a haircut and my gray hairs dyed a few times a year by a friend, and I’ve bought a few wardrobe staples specifically for my size now, and not the size I’m waiting/wanting to be. I’m by no means a beauty queen, but I can volunteer at my daughter’s school without feeling embarrassed of my appearance.
With that said, here are some beauty-related tips for you and some of my favorite products of 2014.
Tip #1: Taking care of yourself can be EXPENSIVE! Take advantage of coupons, annual sales and promotions, and look for discount codes. At H-E-B, my local grocery store, there are always several different brand coupons. My favorite drugstore brand is Revlon, and at least once a month, there is a $1 or $2 off coupon. There is usually a $3.50 off $10 purchase coupon at Ulta, and both Sephora and Ulta have a 20% off entire purchase coupon every year during the holidays.
Tip #2: Know your skin type and your skin tone. Is your skin dry or oily? I have classic combination skin. I have an oily t-zone; my forehead, chin, and especially my nose is oily, while my cheeks are dry. I also have dehydrated sensitive skin. Knowing what type of skin you have will help you choose what skin care to use. Do you have neutral, warm, or cool undertones? I am Asian, and have yellow/warm undertones. Knowing your skin undertone can help you choose makeup colors that are flattering on you.
Tip #3: Perfect a 5-10 minute routine. When I’m in a rush or running late, I apply moisturizer, under eye concealer, brow product, and a pretty lip color.
Tip #4: What works for others may not work for you. Try different things out. Know your store’s return policy and keep your receipt. My local grocery store and ultra will let me return an item if it doesn’t work out, even used, with a receipt.
…and now onto my favorites of 2014. These are products that I loved last year, and will continue to repurchase.
Last year, I saved up all my sephora gift cards, and purchased a Clarisonic mia for my birthday. I love it! It’s a cleaning tool with a ultrasonic brush head that’s supposed to clean your skin 6x better than your hands alone. They have different brush heads for different skin types; I use the delicate brush head. I use my clarisonic in the shower 2-3 times a week and on days when I went heavier with my makeup, with my favorite cleanser fabulous foaming face wash by bliss.
In the morning, after using a gentle cleanser, I follow up with a good light weight moisturizer, Paula’s Choice hydra light moisture-infusing lotion, and eye cream, Tarte’s maraca c-brighter eye treatment. Then I use a lip balm, and I have been enjoying sweet mint EOS balm.
For my night routine, after cleansing, I use a gentle exfoliant, Paula’s Choice skin perfecting 8% AHA gel. I discovered chemical exfoliants this past year, as opposed to physical exfoliants, such as cleansers with little beads. Exfoliants get rid of dead skin cells on the top layer of skin. Then I reach for a heavier moisturizer, DERMAdoctor wrinkle revenge. I don’t know about the wrinkle reducer/prevention properties of this cream, but my skin loves it. This cream is pricey, but it shows up on hautelook (a flash sale site) every once in a while, and I can pick it up for a lot less. Then I use the same eye cream and lip balm.
For my 5-10 minute routine, I use my moisturizer, eye cream and lip balm. Then I go in with my NYX eye shadow base in skin tone. Even when I don’t use eye shadow, this will neutralize any redness and any veins showing on my lid. Then I have to conceal my under eye circles. In 2014, I used Revlon photo ready concealer in light medium all the time! I blend my concealer in with my beloved green beauty blender mini. It’s a sponge that you use wet (squeezing out all excess water), and it blends in makeup seamlessly. Next, comes my brows. I have pretty sparse brow hairs, so without brow products, I look like I have no eyebrows. I have tried out a lot of brow products over the years, but my favorite has been Too Faced bulletproof brows in universal brunette. Lastly, I’ll follow up with some lip color. My favorite lip products have been twistable lip crayons. They’re easy to use, come in a variety of finishes (matte or glossy), and the color payoff is great. Almost every brand has this type of lip product now. I love the minty freshness and color of Revlon’s kissable balm stain in cherish.
When I want to go a little further with my makeup, I use a little eyeshadow and liner. I have to use an eye primer on my oily lids to prevent creasing and to make eyeshadow last longer. I really like Urban Decay’s primer potion and NARS smudge proof eye shadow base. Next, I use the NYX eye shadow base, eye shadow, and then a little eye liner. Stila’s waterproof eyeliner in lionfish has been working out really good for me. Once it sets, it doesn’t smudge under my eyes. I also suffer from weepy allergy eyes, and this liner is pretty waterproof. Next is under eye concealer and eyebrows. I finish with a little face powder (I have been using MAC’s mineralize skinfinish natural in medium plus), and lip product.
For special occasions, I will add in foundation, bronzer, blush, highlighter, and mascara.
Also, I always keep Clean&Clear oil blotting sheets in my purse (or the drugstore version) to blot my oily t-zone during the day. I can use that to take away the shine instead of constantly powdering my nose.
This may all seem excessive to some people, and I’m by no means a beauty expert, but this works for me and I like it.
Here I am with my version of a full face of makeup on my birthday last year:
What about you? What are your resolutions? What are some of your favorite products? I’d love to know!