Style

Your Top 10 Beauty Questions, Answered

caroline donofrio

In the past few weeks, I’ve gotten lots of beauty questions, especially when it comes to at-home tips and treatments. Since there are few things I love chatting about more than beauty recs, today I’m answering the 10 things I’ve heard the most…

Q. What do you currently use on your skin?
A. These days, I’m loyal to Jordan Samuel The After Show treatment cleanser. It’s a thick, oil-based gel. You rub it on a dry face, and it removes any traces of dirt and makeup. It smells amazing — like standing in the middle of an orange grove while someone nearby makes freshly squeezed orange juice. I love how it doesn’t strip my skin and leaves it feeling soft.

When it comes to other skincare products, I’ve tried absolutely everything over the years — toners, serums, eye cream, night creams, overnight masks, you name it — but I find that the simpler my routine, the better my skin. Right now, my everyday arsenal is down to ONE product: Monastery Attar Floral Repair Concentrate. It’s a rich balm, and I scoop out a teeny blob and use it all over my face, including near my eyes and down onto my neck. It smells like you just stuck your face into someone’s lush, organic garden. (Does anyone remember the opening credits of the Martha Stewart Show, when she walked through her gardens in Connecticut? That’s what I think of when I smell this.) It’s a splurge for sure, but it makes my skin look and feel better than a multi-step skincare routine, with just this one jar.

caroline donofrio

Q. How do you groom your eyebrows at home? I can’t get them waxed right now, and tweezing hurts so much! I look like Bigfoot.
A. I always do my own eyebrows, so that actually hasn’t changed! I find that the tweezer you use makes a huge difference, in terms of both pain and performance. I ONLY use Tweezerman. Their tweezers are sharper than any others I’ve tried, and make it easy to grip the hairs. The key is to slide — not pull — the hairs out, in the direction they are already growing.

When it comes to getting the right shape, my trick is that I brush them upward and pencil them in first, so I can see the overall shape I want — otherwise it’s easy to take too much or tweeze from the wrong spots. Once the area is filled in, I pluck any hairs that fall outside the lines. My rule is if a hair does not connect to anything else, it goes.

Q. I am always terrible at remembering to drink water, and since I’ve been home, it’s gotten worse. Do you have any tips for staying hydrated?
A. When I get up in the morning, I don’t let myself have coffee (or anything else, for that matter) until I’ve had a full glass of water, so the day starts off on the right foot. For the rest of the day, I keep my water in a refillable bottle (vs a glass) because it helps me keep track of how much I’ve had and encourages me to drink more. When I feel like I’m in a rut, I’ll try to jazz it up by adding a squeeze of lemon or a splash of juice.

Beauty Q&A

Q. How do you choose a lipstick color that’s right for you?
A. In regular times, I would tell you to get thee to a store and try the color in person, on your face. Colors look different on every person, and a lipstick will look different on your face than it will on your hand or on a model. Now, going to a germy, germy store would be both impossible and unwise. So, the best we can do, when ordering online or shopping at a drug store without testers, is to do your research.

When you find a color you like, do a quick google search for the brand and shade name, as there’s a pretty good chance you can find a beauty vlogger (or 12) who has swatched it on different skin tones or on their own face. It can help give you a better sense of how the color wears outside the tube.

If that fails, look at the undertones and compare them to other colors that work well for you. Is the color warm or cool? Do you like wearing warm orange or yellow clothing? Then a red lipstick with warm, orange undertones will probably look great on you. Do you gravitate toward wearing cool tones, like icy blues and pinks? Then that bright fuchsia or plum nude sounds like a good bet. If you have no idea, that’s okay, too. Many stores (including Nordstrom and Sephora) allow you to return cosmetics, even if you’ve tried them, so you needn’t worry about getting stuck with some disastrous shade.

My final trick is to remember that no one says you must wear a color straight out of the tube. Try mixing it with another shade you already own to make it a little lighter, darker, warmer, cooler — whatever you need. My favorite everyday lip color is actually created by layering a light brown shade with a classic red, smooshing my lips together, and then blotting. It takes three extra seconds and makes a world of difference!

Q. How can I make my eyelashes look better without mascara? I used to wear it, but it was constantly smudging and I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I just stopped.
A. I hear you. I HATE mascara. I wear it, but I do not like it. I used to be one of those people who could wear mascara all day with no problem, but now, within a few hours, I’ll glance into the bathroom mirror to discover it’s migrated all over my face and I look like I got into a prize fight. So now, I’m using Blinc mascara, which washes off in little rubbery tubes. It’s the only thing I’ve found that never smears. You can also try a clear mascara, which helps lashes look glossy and separated, without any threat of smudging. If you’re really over mascara, there is always an eyelash curler (this one is the gold standard). A quick squeeze makes lashes appear longer and eyes look more awake.

caroline donofrio

Q. My hands are really dry from washing them 8,497 times a day. What’s the best hand cream?
A. Look no further than the incredible, multi-purpose Skin Food. While a dab on your cheekbones makes for an excellent, sparkle-free luminizer, its real mission in life is to moisturize and it does so like a champ. It goes on greasy, but be patient for a few minutes and allow your skin to drink it up. I also like to slather it on before bed, so it can work its magic overnight, putting a little extra on my cuticles.

Q. What are your go-to nail colors? Have you been doing your own nails at home?
A. I’m a reformed nail biter, so I always keep them groomed, otherwise I feel the need to “fix” them and wind up relapsing. I keep them pretty short and file them often. When it comes to my feet, I always opt for red — Geranium for orange-red and Russian Roulette for a classic red. But I’m bad at painting my own fingernails. So, on my hands, I’ll usually do a coat of Sally Hansen Hard as Nails with the pink tint. My mom always kept a bottle in the fridge when I was growing up (apparently that makes it last longer, though the jury is still out), and I feel like a “real” adult when I apply it. It makes nails super shiny and gives them a subtle pink gleam, like Dior Nail Glow, but half the price!

Q. I recently stayed in a hotel with one of those magnifying mirrors and noticed I have a few whiskers above my upper lip. I’ve never noticed them before. Is it fine if I just leave them there? How do you remove unwanted facial hair?
A. How to deal with upper lip hair is the question I’ve heard the most, so YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Now, as far as I’m concerned, anything that requires magnification to be seen does not require action. But you do you! Lots of friends get their lips waxed, or use at-home waxing strips. As for me, I tend to avoid magnifying mirrors (no good ever came from one!) and only tackle what is plain to see. For any random, stand-alone hairs (lonely chin hair, I’m looking at you), I’ll tweeze. But for groupings of hairs (like nose hairs, longer upper lip hairs, or a fuzzy not-quite-sideburn situation), my tiny shaver is my weapon of choice. It’s instant, painless and foolproof.

caroline donofrio

Q. Are you loyal to a certain shampoo and conditioner?
A. Nope! However, years ago, I read that sulfates make your hair frizzy, and that one piece of knowledge made a huge difference for me. Sulfate-free is my one big rule when it comes to hair care, otherwise I’m not particularly brand loyal and will switch things up every so often. Lately, I’ve been using the Ethique shampoo bar to cut back on packaging, along with my regular conditioner on the ends. I’ve also had great results with shampoos from the natural brands Acure and (the fancier) Rahua.

Q. How has your overall approach to beauty changed in the last few years? I’ve never been into products and the whole industry makes me feel insecure. Have you gained any wisdom or have any advice to share?
A. In recent years, beauty has become more about how I feel than how I look. (And now that I’ve been inside my apartment for 64 days and counting, this is more true than ever!) I’ve spent years fixating over various aspects of my appearance, but in the end, it’s like the goose that laid the golden egg. As soon as one thing is “fixed,” something else will pop up, and the whole cycle brings me zero joy. But I can have an effect over how I feel, and that is everything. So practically, beauty means trying to move my body every day, getting a glimpse of the daylight, staying hydrated, connecting with people I care about, kissing my dog’s head, remembering to eat a vegetable, and reading things that make me feel enriched. My routine works for me, but you could just as easily find joy in using zero products or using 20. My approach to beauty is welcoming each new layer of experience and learning how to feel comfortable in my skin, one day at a time.

Do you have any other questions? (Or tips you’d like to share?) Leave them in the comments! And please stay tuned for more beauty Q&As, on all different topics, in the future.

P.S. Five great eyebrow products and the makeup Joanna wears every single day.

(Top photo by Christine Han. All other photos via Caroline’s Instagram.)

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

  1. Rachel says...

    I know I’m really late on this, but regarding finding the right lipstick shade: go to the blog Truth is Beauty. Figure out what color season you are. (It’s so much better than the bad 80’s color me beautiful fad.) Buy the makeup list for your color season. Be blown away by how good all the colors look on you!
    I did it for myself and my 13 year old daughter. We have very different complexions but every product we’ve tried from the list is an absolute winner.

  2. Sherri says...

    For anyone who’s overwhelmed by all the beauty products out there, the podcast “Beauty Brains,” hosted by cosmetic scientists, does an excellent job of explaining what works and how, and exposing ingredients that are just hype/a waste of money. Super helpful!

  3. If anyone is looking for clean beauty and makeup alternatives, you should really try some products from Beautycounter! I made the switch about 2 years ago and LOVE everything!

  4. Olivia says...

    I would love some recommendations for dry shampoos that are not super drying for your scalp (does such a thing exist??). I hate to wash my hair every day (fine, curly, color-treated, dark brown), but my scalp gets dry and itchy if I use too much or too strong a dry shampoo – which then defeats the whole purpose. Thank you!!

    • Peony says...

      Klorane oat (the tinted version) is a good one. The tinted version says it is for dark hair but works fine for light hair as it is very light and avoids the risk of the white powdery look.

  5. Mindi says...

    Wow – this community is wonderful. Thank you all so much! Ordering some new products today. And J – I have not fully been down the elimination diet path, and this is a good reminder. I know that, in addition to stress, sugar can be a culprit for me – when I did an 8 week no sugar program, my face felt great! I think it’s time to revisit that. :)

  6. Mindi says...

    I’m hoping maybe someone here has a skin care recommendation for rosacea. I’ve been feeling more stressed and anxious, which generally causes flare-ups, and wearing a mask every day makes my skin (particularly on my right cheek, where it’s worst) feel like it’s on fire. The texture of my skin is even changing, and that one cheek feels like it has scales. Ugh! I’ve tried everything form sulfer-smelling stuff from Walgreens (it worked sometimes? Mostly burned) to cold chamomile tea bags. Any calming lotions, potions, or balms you have, I’d love to hear!

    • Alexandra says...

      Hi! I don’t have rosacea so I don’t know how helpful this will be, but the most soothing lotion I’ve ever used (on my body and my face) is La Roche Posay Lipikar eczema cream (in the big tube). I’ve used it for irritated acne breakouts, super dried out, scaly winter skin, and sunburns – and it has always helped me! Again – have not tried it on rosacea so definitely make sure none of the ingredients will bother you! LRP in general has wonderful, soothing products.

    • Danielle says...

      The Dr. Jart Cicapair line is amazing! I use it for just regular redness but I’m in a beauty facebook group and it’s very popular among rosacea sufferers.

    • J says...

      Please excuse me if you’ve already been down this path, but I have found that my diet is everything for rosacea. A couple years ago I did an elimination diet and found that gluten was particularly bothersome, but do some reading on anti-inflammatory diets. And when I say “diet” it sounds terrible but it’s really a lifestyle change. If you haven’t already, I’d start with a 30 day elimination of gluten, soy, and dairy, and then add them back in one at a time, 3-4 days apart, to see if anything changes. Then I’d do the same thing with alcohol, sugar, and caffeine (all good things to kick if your skin is screaming). Good luck!

    • M says...

      I’ve dealt with some major skin issues so I feel you. I find that a holistic approach is necessary. Basically stress management (whatever that means to you, meditation, intense cardio, sports, dancing) and sleep are the most important. A mostly clean diet too, with lots of fruits and veggies and no snacking after dinner. Sounds like boring advice but I find that one of those things are lacking whenever I have a flare up.

    • J says...

      Seconding M’s comment on stress and sleep. Also, if you’re taking hormonal birth control it can mess with your whole balance. I started having eczema, rosacea, and melasma that largely cleared up when I quit taking the pill and switched to a copper IUD. Alisa Vitti’s books are good resources on hormonal balance.

    • Peony says...

      I highly recommend following @rosegallagher and @talontedlex, both are super knowledgeable and very helpful and have an archive of informative posts and product recommendations. You can also check out an interview they did in Sali Hughes’ The Beauty Podcast last year for her.

  7. Sarah says...

    In the last couple of years I’ve had the worst issues with mascara/eye makeup/eyeliner smudging and it drives me crazy!! I’ve tried tube mascara which helps, but now what about my eyeliner?! Ahhhh.

    That mascara you linked to has gotten recent reviews that said the formula has changed and it doesn’t work the same now! Have you found that to be true?

    • Rachel N says...

      I’ve been super happy with Thrive mascara, it has the same tube finish that Blinc does. Zero smearing or flaking – plus I’ve noticed my eyelashes don’t come out when I wash it off which was starting to happen before I switched (which could be blamed on pregnancy-related hormone swings).

      For eyeliner I swear by Stila Stay All Day liquid eyeliner. It’s in a pen form so it applies like eyeliner, super easy to fix in the moment but otherwise doesn’t budge. They sell a normal and skinny pen tip and I have both. If you’re looking for organic, I’ve heard good things about the Ilia liquid eyeliner too.

    • Elizabeth says...

      Thrive liquid lash extension stays put – I’ve never had the mascara smudge. And it really does make your lashes longer!

    • Peony says...

      Clinique has a tubing mascara that is really good.

  8. Nicole says...

    Love this article and learned some nice tips. I do have to say though that the skincare products all contain irritating ingredients, first and foremost being fragrance. Fragrance is HORRIBLE for your skin and can do damage even if you can’t see it.

  9. Lisa says...

    I started getting very gross scaly hands from all the washing, and with the skin food it cleared up in a couple of days. That stuff is incredible

    • Peony says...

      The Skin Food body butter is also amazing (whipped texture) as is the Skin Food Light.

  10. Marnie says...

    Try Flow flavoured water. It’s so subtle and has amazing natural flavour combos like watermelon/mint, lemon/ginger. Or diy with adding in fruits and herbs at home

  11. JP says...

    I bought one of those magnified hotel mirrors after being shocked in a hotel once. It’s actually pretty great, especially during quarantine!

    • I love mine too! It’s a 10x magnifying mirror and works even better with my light that gives off natural “daylight” (Ott Lite). I figure that if I can get ready with that, then however I look to people in normal conditions should be better, even if their eyesight is better than mine without the mirror. :) In recent years, I’ve discovered also that I floss a lot better when using the magnifying mirror while doing so.

  12. Chiara says...

    I was a reformed nail biter/picker, but since the pandemic I’ve totally relapsed. Caroline or anyone else – do you have any secret strategies for this?

    I’ve tried a lot of the usual tactics – gross-tasting polish, mindfulness meditation, etc. but I’m really struggling at the moment.

    • Rusty says...

      I mentor a teen and her mother had tried it all.
      I went over to their house, gave her a manicure and let her choose a radical sparkly bright red (think Christmas party) polish.
      Yes, her nails were down to skin, but with all the preening, exfoliation and creams, she wouldn’t bite or pick them or mess them up. I did touch up filing a few times after school so she wouldn’t be tempted. As soon as her nails grew so there was a little nail on the end instead of just skin, her mum took her for a professional mani as a reward! It. Worked.

    • Sam says...

      Chaira, I totally feel you! I don’t have a total fix (my go-to pre-quarantine was getting manicures so they’d look nice and I didn’t want to ruin them), but something I’ve been trying is to put lotion on my hands immediately after I wash them so they taste bad if I bite them. For picking, it usually happens when I’m bored or anxious, so if I notice I’m starting to pick, I start stretching out my hands – putting them into fists then expanding them, individually bending each finger, anything to keep them moving.

    • Lizzie says...

      Cuticle oil. When you get the urge to bite it can be soothing to rub in cuticle oil instead. I swear it works! I chew my nails for stress relief so needed a replacement. I always did it while trying to write/think.

    • Chiara says...

      Thank you so much for the responses, Rusty, Sam, & Lizzie! I really appreciate it, & I’m going to try these. <3

  13. Ashleigh says...

    Thank you, CoJ, for the way you handle beauty and bodies. I used to have a tenuous relationship with my body which I worked hard through my 20s to wrangle. Somehow though, now in my late 30s, I still have a very tenuous relationship with body care and beauty products. A lot of insecurity that I was “doing it wrong”, but also a desire not to use them out of shame or trying to “fix” myself. For the first year of reading your articles, I always skipped “My Beauty Uniform” because I was worried it would amplify these insecurities.
    BUT…
    Eventually I got bold and dove in (probably because I noticed the range of bodies and women you were inviting), and it turns out that CoJ has been very healing for me. I have been laughing about Samin Nosrat’s “smile care” routine (sleep and antidepressants) for 18 months :), and am relieved that so many women I admire are using basic/inexpensive products. These columns are the big sister I never had, giving me a boost of knowledge and the freedom of confidence. Thank you!!

  14. Bridget says...

    What lipstick is Caroline wearing here? LOVE.

  15. Madeleine says...

    My fellow blonde ladies, how are you maintaining your golden locks in quarantine? My roots are so bad. I’m so close to cracking and trying home hair dye. I’d also like to save money and am squeamish about salons right now. Does anyone dye their hair at home successfully/have any tips about making it not look brassy and horrible? I was blonde as a child, now have dark blonde hair that “lifts” easily with bleach, I usually get balyage but it’s half grown out now. Thanks a million.

    • allie says...

      I’ve been using olaplex, purple conditioner, and a little bit of the john frieda lightening spray. I also only get highlights/balayage once or twice a year, last time was 6 months ago! The purple is key to NO BRASS!

    • Kristy says...

      Hi Madeleine! I’ve been dying my hair at home for years. I have hair similar to yours – dark blonde (with plenty of grey and white sprinkled in now :)) and I prefer a lighter blonde. The two best tips I have are:
      1) Get a hair dye tool kit. This is really just a brush, plastic bowl, and large hair clips – but the color application is so much better than using the squeeze bottle that comes with box dye. (Ulta Beauty has one similar to what I use: https://www.ulta.com/ultimate-pro-color-tool-kit?productId=pimprod2009491)
      2) This is specific to lightening dark blonde hair. I kept having issues with my hair getting too brassy (or orange) until I switched my color to Ash Blonde (somewhere in the 8 (light) to 9 (very light) range), and the color is soooo much better. I tend to use Loreal, but I think most of the brands you can find at your pharmacy or grocery store are fairly similar. I guess this could be considering 2.a, but I also use a purple toning shampoo about once a week to help with brassiness (I haven’t found the toning conditioners to be necessary). Unite makes a great shampoo that smells like “grape”: https://www.unitehair.com/products/blonda-toning-shampoo/ But there are plenty of grocery store options that work as well.
      Hopefully this helps! It takes a little time to get comfortable with dying your own hair – but its worked well for me :)

    • Marnie says...

      Joico color endure violet shampoo is great to tone blond hair. I leave it on for about 20 mins

    • Madeleine says...

      Thanks all, this is so helpful!

  16. Jenny says...

    I’ve decided that some colour on my lashes makes me look more human on videoconferences, and when I finally finish up my beloved Chanel aubergine mascara I’m going to go back to getting my lashes dyed. I’m lucky that mine are thick and have a natural curl, and the home dye kits were really easy to use. Dye gives me at least a month of not needing mascara, with no concerns around smudging, removals or environmental impact. Might be worth investigating?

  17. B says...

    Love all this! Curious if anyone has recs for hyperpigmentation? I used to have bad breakouts and my skin has now cleared up significantly, but I still have the residual marks of old blemishes. Feels like I have the kind of skin where it takes yeeears for them to go away entirely. Thanks for any tips!

    • Madeleine says...

      I feel you here! I used meladerm (https://meladermcivant.com/order-form) as a moisturizer on very fresh acne marks a few years ago and it worked well. I’m not sure how it would work on older scars.

    • Nadia says...

      Have you tried glycolic acid pads? Peter Thomas Roth makes ones that are for acne, but that I’ve had great luck using to get rid of scar pigmentation– they’re strong, so be careful!

    • Sophia F. says...

      Hi B., I’ve dealt with hyperpigmentation in various forms for years (I’m fair and prone to sunspots and melasma), and saw a dermatologist and got a compounded Rx for it. I ran out of my moderately helpful Rx a while back and thought I’d try Musely, since I can’t see my doc, and I have been BLOWN AWAY. I’ve been using it for a week now and my skin is clearer and less blotchy than it’s ever been (way better than my Rx results) and my under eye hyperpigmentation is even getting better. 100% unsponsored, just really impressed. Also, vitamin C in the morning under your sunblock, mild retinoids at night. Good luck!

    • B says...

      Thanks, all! <3

    • Emily says...

      Two things:

      Make sure you’re wearing at LEAST SPF 30 on your face every day – that made the biggest difference in fading my acne scars.

      And before you put on SPF, use vitamin C! I use Skinceuticals Phloretin CF (it’s better for my oily skin than their CE Ferulic.)

      Both those really helped me! But the key was sunscreen.

  18. MK says...

    Re: water, I invested in a hydroflask with a straw lid bc I’m pregnant and fluids are v important, and it’s been a game changer. No idea what it is about drinking from a straw that helps me drink more water. (Also my 4 yo has knocked it over many times and it has never spilled!)
    Also, Glossier makes a very good mascara that’s pretty natural and subtle, stays put, and then washes off easily with warm water. And costs $16 for a tube, not all that much more than drugstore mascara, which does not tend to be cruelty free like this one is. A true gem, IMO!

  19. Emily H says...

    I’ve recently found the Saint Jane beauty serum (it’s actually an oil, don’t let the ‘serum’ word fool you) and it has calmed my skin waaaaaay down. I had stress hives all over my body which finally went away, but the residual itching is there. I was also breaking out in random spots on my face, so I bought the small size of the face oil and the full size of the body oil during the recent Sephora sale. Both smell great (natural/herbal) and have calmed everything down. I already purchased the full size of the face oil because I absolutely love it. I look forward to my nightly showers as my self care ritual – doing various conditioning masks, exfoliating, and then slathering myself from head to toe in oil. It’s so relaxing and so nice that I can see my skin getting into better shape than it was. I’m going to go through my cabinet of beauty products and toss a bunch – my problem is always getting bored and trying the next new thing so I don’t have a consistent beauty routine, when I know in the back of my mind that if I just stick with a few quality products my skin always does so much better.

  20. Eva says...

    I have a hair question! On Reagan’s recent hair post, her tip about not touching your hair after washing it has been a game-changer for me. I have wavy hair! So pretty! So soft! So easy! Who knew??

    BUT: sleep is like a game of roulette for my hair. One morning I wake up and it’s still a decent wave I can work with, other mornings I look like I’ve been in a catfight. (My hair is fine/thin but I have a lot of it.) I wash my hair only twice-ish a week, so this means I sometimes only get two days of nice hair.

    What do I do? Bun(s)? Some kind of braid? Product? Thank you!

    • Erin says...

      Eva we have the same hair. I feel you! Usually if I bun my hair on the top of my head in a soft scrunchie I am more waves and less cavewoman when I unbun the next morning.

    • Ellen says...

      YESS, i also need sleep-hair tips! if i move around too much in my sleep, the back of my head looks like an absolute rat’s nest in the morning. i’ve heard wearing any kind of elastic in your hair while you sleep causes breakage and fly-aways though? HALP.

    • Cooper says...

      Seconding your comment about Regan’s hair post on air-drying your hair! What a revelation it’s been!

    • Abbey says...

      I have wavy/curly hair that can surprise me in the morning too. I find a bun can add extra unwanted kinks to my curls. SO… Try a silk scrunchie in a high loose-ish ponytail at night (tight enough to hold it together, but not so tight to leave a crease by morning). My mom taught me this trick as a kid and it was a game-changer. The silk scrunchie is really kind to hair and won’t cause any breakage. Also if your hair is a little dirty you will get some extra volume from the gentle pull upwards all night :)

    • Rusty says...

      I use a spray mist bottle of water on the top layer, turn my head upside down and scrunch ONCE. Let it dry without touching it which doesn’t take long coz I’ve only done the top layer of hair and … it works!

    • Lauren says...

      Silk/satin pillow cases, bonnet, scarf and/or hair in a pineapple!

    • Eva says...

      Ah! I’ve heard the silk pillow tips. There are silk scrunchies?? I’ll investigate. Thanks everyone!

  21. Elizabeth says...

    I have to put in a shout-out for Paula’s Choice products. I discovered them in my late forties and wish I had made the discovery earlier. My skin is the best it has ever been! They are reasonably priced and the people there are so helpful at helping you create a skincare regimen that meets your needs and budget.

    • Anna says...

      Omg, Paula’s Choice is so underrated. I love their products so much. Their toners have improved my skin more than anything else has.

    • Kelly says...

      I totally agree! I love Paula’s choice products.

  22. NN says...

    Lovely. :)

    Where is your striped shirt from? I love it.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! It’s by Pam & Gela, found on sale at Nordstrom Rack.

  23. em says...

    curious about the Monastery Attar Floral Repair Concentrate, could you please share how long a jar lasts? (roughly).
    Thanks!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      So, I use an egregious amount ALL over my face and neck both morning and night, and a jar lasts me about three months. But I think I use more than the normal amount because a) I’m a person that likes my face to be a little greasy and b) the last six months have been spent in dry radiator season. That being said, it’s very rich, and a tiny bit goes a long way, so I imagine you could stretch it further if you aren’t quite so enthusiastic a moisturizer.

  24. Katie says...

    Thanks for the great post. I’m going to try your eyebrow trick and also your nail polish recs.

  25. MJ says...

    As I’m aging, I’ve developed a mild case rosacea and I’m self-conscious about my ruddy cheeks. Any suggestions on way as to reduce or hide redness?

    I was lined up for a laser treatment to reduce redness pre-pandemic and the appointment was cancelled. I am not in a rush to reschedule.

    Two game changers for me:
    1. Laser hair removal for my upper lip. Reduced the hair to almost none and I no longer obsess or think about it. Once in a blue moon I tweeze it’s shave random hairs if I notice.

    2. Revitlash. My lashes are longer and I just curl them. It takes about 6 weeks to kick in.

    • Hilary says...

      Hi MJ!

      I have rosacea, and I will say that the laser treatments helped a ton. For your safety, I do hope you hold off, though. I find super gentle products are really essential for my rosacea. Nothing with fragrance or anything like that. You would be amazed at how many products use things like citrus in them. I like using Beautypedia to tell me about ingredients and what might be aggravating my skin. Look for products that are good for “reactive” skin.

      I have dry skin, so I use Glossier’s milky jelly cleanser and a few products from The Ordinary. Paula’s Choice products might be good for you as well! She has a lot of information about reactive skin.

  26. Deb says...

    Can I plug a company here? I’m not affliated with them in any way, but in terms of buying make up that suits you online, there’s a company called Trinny London and they have images of MANY women on their website, wearing their make up, and the idea is that you find the woman who looks most like you, they tell you what shades suit that woman, and that way you can be confident those shades will suit you.

    I haven’t bought anything yet because I’m going to use up what I have before I get anything new, but as a person who doesn’t fit into a box colour-wise (do any of us?! Nars Orgasm actually doesn’t suit everyone… ;-)), I wish every beauty company would do this. So helpful.

  27. molly says...

    Caroline, I love the photo of you leaning back against the pillow, looking across your shoulder at the camera! SO beautiful!! xo

  28. Ramya says...

    I love beauty products as much as the next gal, but it was the last paragraph on how your overall approach to beauty has changed in the last few years that resonated most with me. I’ve definitely felt this as well since turning 40 a couple of years ago, and quarantine life has really made me lean into it even more. I’ve spent most of the last couple of months without a lick of makeup on my face (eyeliner excepted…as I commented last week, an Indian woman needs her eyeliner ;-)), with my gray roots sorely visible and sporting a nice little ‘stache. But I’ve been exercising, getting more physically fit and spending time outside every day. Cooking healthy and delicious food for my son and I. Spending more time than ever before with him. Connecting (virtually) with good friends regularly. Reading inspiring things. Feeling more engaged in terms of work (on some days, anyway). Getting my finances and adulting in order. So I may not be using any fancy new beauty products, but I generally FEEL great which means I see beauty when I look in the mirror. That all said, I can’t wait to reunite with my colorist, waxer and Sephora whenever it’s safe to do so lol!

  29. Julie says...

    Great post! Thanks
    Huge fan of skin food, will never stop using.
    For hair, alterna caviar anti aging shampoo and conditioner are magical.
    And I’ve recently discovered Wonder Water by L’Oréal. It’s inexpensive and a total game changer !
    I work for a dermatologist and she’s says it’s all about water water water and sunscreen !

  30. Rachel says...

    I love reading all these comments! It’s like all your best girlfriends giving you great advice. :)
    I spent sooo many years using very cheap cleanser and moisturiser for my face, and I always struggled with acne – especially around my chin. Then I found the Boots botanical range and started using their micellar water and toner every night, followed by a night moisturiser, and my skin cleared up immediately and really for the last 4 years I have had hardly any problems, it’s been great! Since moving to the US I haven’t been able to find those exact products, but I think I’ve found my thing. Micellar water and toner. Super kind to my skin and prevents breakouts. Would recommend!

  31. Elizabeth says...

    I’m a funeral director intern who juuuust came out of quarantine (2wks ago to start my position after school closing down in March). It’s been a STRUGGLE to do something with my hair, which is really all I can control in terms of appearance; makeup + sweat + full PPE made otherwise impossible.

    I’ve been extra focused on skincare, and I’m actually happy with my results. Because of my activity, I drink a ton of water. And my favourite miracle product, Leo Oil. It’s basically a luxurious serum oil that feels like…idk, like I did self care “right” today. (Obviously, right for *myself*)

    I also need recommendations for a good SPF with kind of a glowy element to it. Along the lines of the supergoop glow stick, but…available in Canada :)

  32. Katie says...

    I love reading the comment section on Cup of Jo. I enjoy the comments/recommendations/information almost as much as I do the articles they pertain to. I think your website has the best readers/fan base. Thanks for being awesome!!!

  33. Cynthia says...

    Caroline, what is that lovely top you’re wearing in the first photo? I need a hi contrast black and white top for Zoom meetings. Please dish!

  34. Mims says...

    apropos to nothing related to beauty……my husband’s sneeze yell is driving me crazy!

    I LOVE him, but spending 24/7 in our home with him during allergy season…is a bit much. He doesn’t even sneeze that often….only a few times a day.
    But I’m starting to fray at the edges dear readers.

    • Anonymom says...

      Same. Same. Same. My son and I are taking a dance break every time he sneezes.

    • MK says...

      I feel like this has come up on CoJ before!! Like Joanna has this thing with sneezes or something?? Search the archives, you are not a lone!

    • Helen says...

      Oh, Mims, I feel you on this one. My colleague does that and it drives me crazy. I don’t have to deal with it now that I’m WFH but I do have to deal with my upstairs neighbor doing some sort of jumping workout every single day!

  35. Milou says...

    I am newly 50 and until last year I was regularly carded. I think genes, and microdermabrasion monthly through my 40’s helped. Now, I use the Cerave Hydrating Cleanser, BR P50, mix the light and regular Skin Food, Pai eye cream and just discovered The Ordinary mask! It’s fantastic!

  36. Carol says...

    Your skin and eyebrows are amazing! Thank you for the tips. These are tough times for my skin, nails and hair for sure.

  37. Meghan says...

    I am a dermatology nurse practitioner and LOVE talking about skin care with my patients. I try to make sure my advice is tailored to each person and their underlying goals/product preferences (anti aging, clean products, sun protection, acne prone skin). I am often surprised by how many myths are out there and how much money people spend on products that aren’t especially helpful.

    Anyway, as I approach 40 I’ve started caring more about anti-aging than I ever thought I would…20 year old me would probably be disappointed in this shift to what I’ve previously considered “not significant in the grand scheme of things” but, ah well. I appreciate feeling confident in my skin and find that dedicating a few moments to a skin care routine is, as others have stated, a form of self-care. I thought I’d pass along some basic recommendations for people. The gist of it is – sunscreen, Vitamin C serum, and a retinol or retinoid. Anything else is extra.

    Morning:
    Daily sunscreen every morning (at least 30 SPF). It can be a stand alone sunscreen or a moisturizer with SPF in it. (COJ – I think a post all about sunscreen would help fabulous!). I think La Roche-Posay’s line of mineral and chemical sunscreens are really wonderful and would recommend people check them out.

    Daily Vitamin C Serum – evens skin tone, protects from damage
    and helps it look more youthful (For examples at three different price points look at MaeLove The Glow Maker ($28) Drunk Elephant C-Firma ($80) or Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($166) – very expensive. I hesitate to even list it because of the cost but some people have dramatic results with it.)

    Evening:
    A retinol (OTC) or retinoid (mostly are only by RX) for anti-aging purposes (also used for acne). There is a science to getting your skin to tolerate these products but it’s key for anti-aging. I’ve seen women in their 60s who started using a retinoid when they were young for acne and never stopped because they realized it helped with fine lines/wrinkles – and these women have PHENOMENAL skin now. For those considering adding it to your regimen, I’d recommend doing research before purchasing an OTC one or talking with your PCP or dermatologist for an RX. (BTW, these aren’t to be used in pregnancy or when nursing).

    Extra – A hyaluronic acid serum for hydration and to help with younger looking skin (La Roche-Posay’s Hylu B5 has a great feel $30).

    • Hayley says...

      This is such a helpful and generous comment! Thank you, Meghan!

    • Sarah says...

      This is my skincare routine exactly and has been since I saw a fabulous dematologist at 27 who prescribed my a retinoid cream for my acne and to improve my skin clarity (in Australia you need a prescription for the good stuff – not sure if that is the same everywhere). I am now 42 and regularly have people guess my age as early 30s. My skin is extremely sensitive and it took time to build up my tolerance to the retinoid cream but totally worth it.
      Sunscreen, Vitamin C and retinoids people!

    • Calla says...

      thanks so much for the great advice! I’ve been on and off retinoids (for acne) for years and wearing sunscreen since college, but I’ve never been able to get on the vitamin C train. I’ve tried a lot of different ones and most burn or irritate my skin and I’ve never seen a difference in appearance. I even got a sample vial of the SkinCeuticals one and went through the whole thing. My skin looks exactly the same. I don’t really understand what it is supposed to be doing. I have very fair, often red, skin with no dark spots so maybe that has to do with it? What does “brightening” mean? Sorry if this sounds naive, its just the one skin care thing I’ve never figured out!

    • Erika says...

      Thanks so much Meghan! Quick question, do you find Glycolic acid to be as effective as a Retinol? Been pregnant or nursing for a while and have read to not use a Retinol yet, but my skin could use the help!

    • A says...

      For what it’s worth, my dermatologist endorsed this exact same routine. I put my money toward the Drunk Elephant Vitamin C Serum and sunscreen that works well under makeup (Supergoop, Elta, and Drunk Elephant are my favs), and the rest is CeraVe.

    • Kate says...

      Thank you so much for this thorough rundown, Meghan! My dermatologist gave me similar info, but it was piecemeal and confusing. I practically needed to create a PPT to make sense of how/where/when to use different products. You rock!

    • NN says...

      This is so helpful !

      Do you have any thoughts on The Ordinary as a brand? Their vitamin C and skin abrasions are so affordable… .

    • Molly says...

      Helpful stuff Meghan. CofJ team, it’d be great to get a post from Meghan/and other Derms on skin care basics, just like Meghans’s rundown above. One question: Does the Vit C go on before the sunscreen? It seems like putting sunscreen on first might deter absorption of the Vit C, but as you can tell, I don’t know the first thing about any of this. I’m 42 and have always firmly believed that the beauty industry is a scam; that great skin is all in your genes (and sun protection) and that no magic combination of lotions and potions will amount to much of a difference in the long run (exceptions made for truly problematic skin that can be improved by Rx). But now that I’ve got a sun spot or two developing, I’m beginning to rethink my stance!

    • SGH says...

      This is my favorite thread of this post!! I am about to turn 25 and I just started using retinoids to help with acne that just won’t go away after trying everything. Since we’re in quarantine and I couldn’t go see a derm, I used DearBrightly which has been incredible! You get a consultation, send in pics of your face, and then they send you rx retinoids. Super easy and already seeing a huge difference after two weeks!

    • Molly says...

      Thought of another couple questions (the first feels dumb): For washing, will any old soap/cleanser/oil do? That’s been my attitude, and I just wash my face in the shower or just splash my face with water at night or skip it altogether – I work from home (regularly), so a lot of days I just don’t feel like my skin is dirty. Or maybe I’m just lazy? But folks preach that cleansing is the MOST important step. Also, I’m fair skinned, so I know to re-apply sunscreen every 2 hrs or more when I’m in the sun, so I’m confused by the notion of applying a daily SPF in the morning and expecting it to last all day….?

    • Meghan says...

      Calla – it sounds like your fair skin tone without any pigmentation issues may not have anything for the C serum to “even out” or “brighten”. How lovely! My interpretation of the use of “brightening” as applied to these type of products is that it helps lighten/fade the changes in pigment of the skin that happen to many of us subtly over time as a result of sun damage – small little freckle-like brown spots “sun spots”. Vitamin C serums over time can also subtly reduce fine lines and help skin appear more youthful (a little plumper) but if you didn’t find one that was a good fit, I wouldn’t work hard to make it fit into your routine.

      On a side note – in general, I think of retinoids/retinol as a 401k for my skin as it ages (ie the results are most significant over the long term).

      Erika – Glycolic acid works differently than retinoids but can help achieve some similar results.

      It is a “chemical exfoliant” versus the “physical exfoliants” like apricot scrubs that physically irritate the surface of the skin. Glycolic acid will help remove dead skin cells and can improve pigment issues too. There are a variety of strengths and vehicles (cleansers, toners, masks) so you should do some research to see what would be best for your skin sensitivity level/schedule/budget and you may need to slowly incorporate the product into your routine so as to avoid excessive irritation or redness.

      NN – I have no personal experience with “The Ordinary” brand but I do recommend a trial of their azelaic acid 10% suspension to my rosacea patients whose insurance doesn’t cover Finacea (which is a RX medication with a higher concentration of azelaic acid)and who haven’t had luck with other rosacea products.

      However, a few of the dermatologists I work with are skeptical of the company as they feel their price points in general are too cheap to actually reflect a quality product. Meaning, the company must be cutting corners with quality or manufacturing in order to sell the products at such a low cost and that will translate into less effective products that don’t “work” as well. My feeling is that they are fine to experiment with and if you like the results – how wonderful. However, if you find that their specific product didn’t do anything for your skin try another brand before writing off that specific ingredient.

      Molly – As a general rule, vitamin C serum goes on before sunscreen. Let the serum dry before you add the sunscreen.

    • Calla says...

      wow Meghan thanks so much for all the generous advice and explanations!

    • Marie says...

      Meghan, this is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much!

    • Claire says...

      Hi Megan,

      I have a burning question about retinol. I have done my research about it, but here is something I cannot find out!: In your opinion, if someone has been using it regularly starting in her 40s, then stops using it in her 60s, would her skin at 60 look younger than if she had not used it at all? I have read that the skin will start aging again after stopping usage, but still, in the end, would this person that was using it for 20 years, then stopped, look younger?

      Thanks for your advice!

    • Audrey says...

      Meghan, thanks so much for this very comprehensive advice!! I wonder if you know the answer– I’ve been using .025% retinol for a while (prescription) and wondering if I should ask my dermatologist for a stronger dose as I’m starting to see fine lines pop up my forehead. Not sure if you’re checking back, but I would for sure read a derm column if you wrote one. :)

  38. Kim says...

    Grace Atwood of The Stripe just posted a thing about how to dye and shape your brows at home.

  39. Greta says...

    How should you use an eyelash curler? Squeeze and hold for 15 seconds or squeeze many times but briefly?

    • Laura says...

      many times briefly!

    • Kim says...

      Squeeze and hold.

    • Calla says...

      I just squeeze briefly once, am I doing it wrong? I’m worried about damaging my lashes whenever I use it I guess

    • Kate says...

      Start about 1/3 of the way up your lashes then squeeze (firmly but gently) and hold. Repeat about 2/3 up — and “set” with clear or regular mascara, if you want — and you’re good to go.

      And I used to be loyal to the Shisheido curler but recently switched to this one — it’s a little more expensive but an elegant design and less “pinch-y”: https://www.sephora.com/product/relevee-lash-curler-P394163

  40. Mo says...

    Struggling-to-stay-hydrated people, I feel you, and I have the solution.

    Straws. Get yourself a big insulated tumbler with a reusable straw. Restaurant and bar experts know we drink more (and faster) with straws. (Ever wondered why you sometimes get a drink with two straws? They want you to drink faster). It works at home too, especially when you can keep your drink of choice the right temperature for longer.

    I used to forget to drink water. With my tumbler-straw combo, I’m refilling a gazillion times a day. Try it!

    • Laura says...

      100% straws! Also, if you like things cold/ are an ice freak like me, you must get an insulated water bottle like a hydroflask or yeti tumblr. I have a giant 40 oz hydroflask with a straw top and it keeps my water super cold and is so easy to drink out of.

  41. Ann says...

    I have super sensitive, combination skin and have been searching for the right skincare regime for years. In the past three years, I’ve switched to washing my face with a washcloth and natural bar soap, moisturizing with aloe vera then olive oil, and finishing with sunscreen. My skin looks better now than ever before!

  42. Grace says...

    I also love Jordan Samuel products! I’m excited to try his new eye serum.

    I wax my own bikini line at home and tint my eyebrows with Just for Men beard dye. I rub a spoolie on wet soap and brush up my brows, and they hold all day.

  43. R.S. says...

    I was always told to wear sunscreen and always rolled my eyes at the person giving me that information, like “yes, yes, I KNOW, sunscreen, ok.” BUT. I started wearing Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen daily 3 years ago and it has changed my skin. The tone is much more even, and the redness has gone way down. I’m only 34, and feel like… think how nice my skin would be if I’d started this sooner! XD
    Anyway, if you hate regular sunscreen as much as I do, try Unseen Sunscreen. It’s a clear gel that leaves no white cast, isn’t sticky or oily… it’s just magic. It also protects you from the blue light of your screen(s). I swear I don’t get commission or anything – I just love it that much!

  44. Courtney says...

    Okay, who can suggest something to tame frizzy hair? I’ve got long thick medium brown hair that’s a tad wavy, and i just want a product that can go on both wet AND dry hair, that’s not too sticky or heavy and just helps it stay smooth. I’d love great budget options but would splurge if it’s a game changer. For shampoo I use the Ethique Heali Kiwi bar which has done wonders for dandruff and makes my hair nice and soft but hasn’t helped with frizz. Please HELP! xox

    • Liz says...

      Hi Courtney!!

      I have thick medium length wavy hair too with LOTS of frizz, and I’ve found that using Moroccan oil after I shower has been super helpful! I use the Argan Oil of Morocco from OGX, but I’m sure any kind will work! I put a quarter-ish size blob in my hands, rub together, and work through my hair (avoiding the scalp) first, and then I comb through my hair with my dry brush or wide tooth comb. Then I separate my hair into 8-ish sections and twist them, similar to the random picture I am linking here (make sure you’re twisting away from your face).

      https://i.pinimg.com/originals/ba/f7/57/baf7572f5bd266c059c9d7d448390088.jpg

      I keep re-twirling the hair sections until it’s eventually all the way dry.

      Bit of a disclaimer, the first few times I tried this it didn’t seem to make much of a difference, but I kept at it since I am self isolating and can’t be bothered to do my hair, and it seems that after a few weeks my hair was “trained” a bit and now when I do it, it looks much better than the first few times! It’s definitely not a cure-all but it has cut down on my frizz quite a bit! Hope this helps :)

    • Tina says...

      Courtney, I was frizzy for decades. Bad news, the only thing that has ever helped my frizz is Living Proof No frizz nourishing styling cream. Bad news because it is not cheap. But it’s really a game-changer. I wasn’t looking for it, but I got a sample and tried it a few times. What sold me is that it also seems to keep your hair looking good through missed shampoos. I started noticing that my hair looked good on day three sometimes. I realized the good day three hair corresponded with using the Living Proof cream sample. That’s when I caved :). I use it on wet or almost dry hair.

    • Lyse says...

      Kendi oil ($18ish on amazon or Sephora and lasts for about a year with daily use) goes on wet but touches up dry— acts as a heat protectant and totally totally totally calms fizz down! The only product I use on my fluffy hair. (Other anti frizz stuff has alcohol which over time dries your hair out; this oil is just bamboo oil so it’s more nourishing but not greasy). <3

    • Emma says...

      I absolutely love love love HASK Coconut hair oil! I am full Italian with relatively thick hair, and find it works great.

    • Calla says...

      I love the ordinary squalane oil. It’s great at taming frizz and flyaways without being too greasy or heavy. It I want something to add a little more moisture, I use a mix of fractionated coconut oil and sesame seed oil.

      I did a deep dive into hair oil research awhile back and learned that despite masks and such imploring you to leave product on for a certain amount of time, most oils and conditioning agents penetrate as far as they are going to right away. The only known exceptions are coconut oil and possibly sesame seed oil (juries still out on that one). They will actually penetrate further into the hair shaft the longer they are on.

    • CB says...

      I have fine, curly hair and have found that the more moisturized my hair is, the less frizz I have. The leave-in conditioner from Mixed Chicks has been helpful, as well as a super-hydrating regular conditioner. I would focus on fixing the root cause of the frizz!

  45. Megan says...

    I need a clean tinted moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or above that glides on and looks dewy and fresh. Can you guys do a post with a few brands you can test and recommend? It’s hard to find something that isn’t greasy and oily or isn’t dry and cakes on. Halp!

    • Katue says...

      Hi! I would check out Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue.

    • Calla says...

      I second the Bare Minerals! I have oily skin and it’s a little too dewy for me but love it otherwise. Tarte amazonian clay tinted moisturizer is also great and a little less shiny on my skin

    • Judy says...

      Elta MD, make a tinted one I have used for two years now, worth every penny.

    • Kirsten says...

      I love Elta MDs tinted sunscreen (SPF 45)

    • wendy says...

      I absolutely love la Roche posey Anthelios Mineral Tinted Ultra-fluid face sunscreen lotion SPF 50. It goes on perfectly, not greasy and provides that dewy glow ( the tint is fine and I am pale ). Affordable too and lasts me all summer.

    • Mimi says...

      I love Supergoop’s! The CC Cream is slightly oiler but has more coverage, and their mineral screen is faintly tinted and has the loveliest silkiest feel whle it mattefies.

    • Gaby says...

      Megan, I love Suntegrity 5 in 1 natural moisturizing face sunscreen – tinted.

    • Nat says...

      Beautycounter’s dew skin tinted moisturizer is great! All clean/safe products.

  46. Sally says...

    A friend once told me how she gets rid of upper lip/chin hair (she prefaced this with, “I know it sounds crazy, but…”), and it absolutely worked for me. Instead of tweezing, waxing, or shaving, she uses her tiny eyebrow scissors and trims the hair right at the root. She swore to me that after the first time she did it, the hair grew back blonde instead of brown. I was skeptical, but tried it and the EXACT same thing happened for me. Hair that used to be brown is now blonde, making it much less noticeable. It’s been years since I got this advice and it’s stayed light. Maybe it’s just a fluke for both of us, but I’d love to know if anyone else does this!

  47. KJ says...

    When I moved to CO a couple years ago, I had to completely do over my routine! I’m bit into skincare so it took a while.

    I now use Aczone, CSI Vitamin C serum and Purito Centella Green Sunscreen every morning. The vitamin C serum and sunscreen both serve to prevent sun damage and protect my fair skin.

    I use a bland face wash and moisturizer (vanicream face wash and Elta Intense Moisturizer) and then rotate my actives on an every 3 night basis: tazarac (stronger than Retin-a), BR P1970, and Cosrx BHA. I have acne-prone, aging skin and this keeps everything looking good without too much irritation.

    From time to time, I will do a MUAC peel like TCA.

    I just got a mircroneedling pen and cannot wait to use it on myself. Proceed cautiously, however, I’ve had several professional mircroneedling services done and have used a roller for years.

  48. Jen says...

    It’s lovely that you’re down to one product Caroline, but that product should be SUNSCREEN. I know I know they all suck. Well that’s a lie. I’ve been using Paula’s Choice Renewing Skin Moisturizer with SPF 50 for many years. Your 46 year old face will thank you!

    • KJ says...

      I second this 10000%! I use PURITO Centella Green Level Safe Sun SPF50+ PA++++ every single day!

    • Candice says...

      I love a fushcia lip! Umm dumb question maybe but what is a plum nude?

    • Cait says...

      I’m partial to Dr. Jart sun fluid, but agree on the premise. I’m pale so I was never a person who really sunbathed, but I shake my fist at cocky 25 year old me running around daily with no SPF on my face. For shame, young me, for shame.

    • Jody says...

      YES to sunscreen, everyday, everyday, everyday even during SIP!
      Also, ALWAYS apply to the back of your hands – that nugget of wisdom is priceless.
      I am 100% loyal to Josie Maran’s Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 at Sephora, texture like Skin Food, absorbs completely clear and is a clean product.
      At 43 my dedication to sunscreen has paid off :)

    • Jessie says...

      YES to sunscreen *every day*! I have religiously worn sunscreen every day since I was 15. My mom brought me to a dermatologist because I was struggling with acne. He said “Before we talk about anything else, I am going to tell you the best thing you can do for your skin is wear sunscreen every day. Any brand, trust me, you will thank me”. And he was right! I am 43 & while of course I’ve aged, my skin looks good, hardly any sun damage (if I do say so myself!). So younger folx, take the advice of a 43 year old: sunscreen works!

    • Ada says...

      Sunscreen, yes.
      But aren’t people concerned with the EWG ratings of sunscreens effects?
      I have been searching for a great sunscreen that goes on smooth (no white residue) but is also natural and has a good EWG rating. It’s hard to find the right one.
      What is everyone using?

    • Bridget says...

      I use Farmacy green defense which does not have avobenzones etc. super happy with it.

    • Abesha1 says...

      Ada,

      Mineral Fusion is expensive but rubs in well, even on my brown kids. ThinkBaby does go on white, but rubs in with a little effort (around the hairline is harder, though). Both are mineral sunscreens, and oil based.

  49. Megan says...

    Blinc mascara!!!! I am a cult follower. I have terrible allergies and am always rubbing my eyes (this is fun during covid) and because of this mascara has always wronged me. Blinc is a game-changer. DO NOT BUY THE BUILDABLE KIND. It is a trick. Stick to the original and it will change your life. I’m not saying you will find love, get a new job, and become besties with Diane Keaton if you wear it but you definitely could. PSA over.

    • Amy says...

      Blinc didn’t work for me; I got a lot of flakes. I had better luck with L’Oreal’s Double Extend Beauty Tubes mascara and that’s what I use now when I want to wear mascara. I started using tubing mascara because my eyes would always get super dry when I was wearing regular mascara, and squinting my eyes all day kinda defeated the point of the nice eyelashes. Tubing mascara so far has way less of a drying effect for me.

      For a while there I was dying my pale-brown eyelashes at home (sounds sketchy AF but I’ve had it done professionally and I find I get better results and no burning feeling when I do it myself, one eye at a time). I use RefectoCil. I haven’t done it in a while because I procrastinate spending time in the bathroom on beauty stuff, but I love when I have dark eyelashes for three weeks, even if they weren’t plumper/longer from mascara.

    • BLINC RULES! Best mascara!

    • Gaby says...

      I agree 100%! Even waterproof mascara always ends up under my eyes, but mot this one! Also, I have found that if you want more volume, you can layer other mascaras over this one and it still doesn’t budge.

  50. Katie says...

    To help me remember to drink water I use the app called Drink Water Reminder N Tracker. You enter your height, weight, and hours you’re awake and your phone (or watch) alerts you when you need to drink water. I find it very helpful!

  51. My all-time FAVORITE mascara is L’Oreal Double Extend. It sounds similar to the mascara you recommended — it’s the only mascara I’ve ever tried that doesn’t give me raccoon eyes, it stays in place all day, and when you wash it off with water, it comes out as little tubes. AND it’s under $10! https://www.amazon.com/LOr%C3%A9al-Paris-Makeup-Lengthening-Mascara/dp/B001IAINFU/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=l%27oreal+mascara&qid=1589489394&sr=8-6

    • Amy says...

      +1 for L’Oreal Double Extend! I only use the black side, not the white side (I prefer the more natural-look).

  52. Kim says...

    I absolutely love how some products smell, but I am always reminded that any fragrance added to cosmetics/skin care is just there to smell good and isn’t helpful to your skin. In fact, much of it, especially citrus ingredients are irritating to skin. I’ll stick with wearing perfume and keep the frangrance off my face.

    An invaluable too is Beautypedia.com, which has thousands of reviews for beauty products based on ingredients and scientific research. Its been a life changer for me…that $100 moisturizer….yep, filled with irritating ingredients that will damage my skin, even if I don’t feel it.

    If I’ve learned anything its trust the scientists and not a marketing department for any product.

    • A says...

      Perhaps the fragrance of a product isn’t beneficial to your skin but it could be beneficial in other ways, like for your mental health. I love the moment of calm I’m able to enjoy whenever I wash my hands with lavender hand soap, or the feeling of warmth inside when I catch a whiff of my mom’s face cream.
      Of course you don’t want to expose your skin to fragrances that might be irritating, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that there are more dimensions to beauty products than just skin care.

  53. K says...

    I love my Ethique shampoo bar, but I do want to point out that their bars contains sulfates. They don’t tend to use the most commonly used one in liquid shampoos (SLS) but they use a different one (SCS). In both abbreviations, the final “s” stands for sulfate.

  54. Claire says...

    I love the Prose custom shampoo products. The scents are wonderful, and since I’ve been using the products my scalp is in much better shape (less dryness and flakiness).
    Also, weird random question: a friend who goes to Sweden a lot gave me a tube of hand cream by a company called Skandinavisk SKOG, and a scent called “Calm of the Borreal Forest” and it is the best hand cream I’ve ever used. I can’t stop inhaling the scent- it’s just wonderful. Has anyone come across it here in the US?

  55. Mullica Zudsiri says...

    Oohh as for Dior Nail Glow dupes. I also recommend Orly Sweet Serenity from their Breatheable line!

  56. Daniela says...

    I loved reading this. So fun and self care is so important!

    I love Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream. The one thing that keeps me not dry in Colorado! I use it on my hands, elbows, and lips and love it. I ordered the recommended cleanser and can’t wait! Also random tip – I love a splash of ACV in my water.

  57. Alexandra says...

    My top beauty product I’d recommend is Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum! I had acne in my teenage years that faded into discoloration/scars that I felt really self-conscious about as a young adult. I started using the serum and found that it really helped with the discoloration and made my skin look clearer and glowier! At $34 it’s not the cheapest drugstore buy but it also feels really worthwhile and not like *too* much of a splurge.

    Not sponsored by them (I wish!), but I love sharing the tip, I have several friends who now swear by Mad Hippie, too!

    https://madhippie.com/products/vitamin-c-serum

  58. Sheila says...

    Any recommendations on a dry shampoo? I tried the Living Proof one but found it left more white haze on black hair than the cheap one I’d tried previously. I wish I knew the name of it, had an animal print can, but I’ve not seen it again.

    I thought I was going to be swimming every day and co-washing…I’m finding it leaves a lot of buildup if I end up missing a couple of days of swimming.

    I’m over styling with heat for now.

    • A says...

      I like Drybar’s Detox Dry Shampoo! Works great on my brown hair.

    • Brianna says...

      Batiste, always and forever! Best one I’ve used.

    • Kelly says...

      BlowPro Faux Dry is great; I’ve tried a bunch and this one is not in an aerosol can, but a bottle that you squeeze and it poofs out. (I’ve tried shaker style bottles and they never worked for me.)

      The major tip with dry shampoo is to put it on *at bedtime* – then it absorbs evenly and throughly during the night and you wake up with non-greasy hair. Once I started doing this it was a game changer!

      I went on a trip last year when I needed to be up early each morning and I’m usually a person who must shower in the morning for my hair to be in any way presentable (it’s really oily). I flipped my routine – travelled all day, and then took a shower at the end of the day. Once my hair was dry (I usually blow dried quickly as I don’t like sitting with wet hair) – I poofed the dry shampoo into it and wiggle my fingers around the top to distribute it a bit. Then I put my hair in a bun on top of my head and went to sleep. In the morning I could just get up and go – zero greasy hair issues and super fast.

    • Beth says...

      I know Batiste makes one with an animal print can, and they also have a brown tinted version. Hope that helps!

  59. Eleanor frances says...

    Thanks for mentioning packaging, your shampoo bar, and your sensitivity to container waste. It is disturbing how the beauty and hair care industry has added to our landfills with the many different containers used for their products. Hair care products are particularly offensive. Whether recyclable or not, the manufacturing and added waste significantly hurts our planet.

  60. Mouse says...

    I’ll be 60 soon, and used to have to wear make-up for work. I always hated mascara, so have been happy to let that go. I have serious eye bags–a combo of allergies and ethnic background–and used to wear a lot of concealer as well. Now I just use a pale my-skin color powder eye-shadow on the outer upper corners of my eyes which seems to counteract the eye bags, and curl my lashes. Moisturizer with sunscreen, a tiny hit of Benetint on each cheek, Burt’s Bees in Red Dahlia for normal or Ilia in Europa for more color and I’m done. Your eye adjusts as you learn to be kind to yourself, and realistic about what women look like.

    • Susan says...

      Here’s another vote for Burt’s Bees Red Dahlia! I always have several around (in my purse, my car, various coats, etc.) so I’m never caught without.

    • Jeanne says...

      CoJ: This reminds me that I would love to see a beauty product rec post coming from someone who is 50 or 60+ please!!! Because of the condition of aging skin, when they say something really works, you know it does.

    • liz says...

      Is it weird that I want to know what work you did that required makeup? The eye adjusting as I am kind to myself is a point I hope never to forget.

    • Amy says...

      Yes – Burt’s Bees in Rose over here! I’ll have to give Red Dahlia a try next.

    • Mouse says...

      Liz: I was an opera singer. Stage make-up, make-up for auditions and concert performances, etc. I was never much of a make-up person before I went into my profession, and it was hard for my eye to adjust from the “perfection” of stage make-up to normal life. (Well, as normal as life gets for a singer…:)) Now I teach, I’m old, and no one but me cares what I look like!! I don’t always love the way I Iook now, but I’m grateful to have finally found a partner who loves me whatever I look like, with whom I’ve created a real, grounded, happy life. Hard-earned, so every time I see my wrinkles, bags, etc in the mirror I try to think: that was earned, and worth it to get here.

  61. Tina says...

    Count me in the tubing-only club for mascara. My skin is oily, my eyes are watery, and I rub them. Anything else is smudges and raccoon eyes. Blinc is good, but I love Glossier Lash Slick. Surprised no one has mentioned it, it’s basically a tubing mascara. With Blinc, I could never get that second coat to go on and give the look some oomph. But you can do it with Lash Slick. It’s also $10 or so $$ cheaper.

    • lisa says...

      Lash slick is the most natural looking mascara I’ve ever used. Blondie here, especially on the lashes, so I have to be very cautious with mascara or I’ll look like a crazy lady.

    • JeanneK says...

      An even cheaper tubing mascara that I love is No. 7 Stay Perfect mascara. I use it on my invisible blonde lashes.

    • Kate says...

      Lash Slick is the bomb! I have terrible allergies and inevitably rub my eyes. A lot. Lash Slick is the only mascara I can wear without looking like a sad panda. :D

    • MK says...

      I love lash slick from Glossier! I just discovered it- I love how it’s a natural look and goes on easily.

  62. Mollie Whalen says...

    Does anyone have a good, natural body lotion to recommend? I am not so obsessed with natural products but it does seem gross to put a bunch of chemicals all over your skin through a lotion which is definitely absorbed by your body. I have uber dry skin, but I also don’t like feeling greasy.

    • Nadia says...

      Fat & The Moon – All Cream. It’s the best.

    • jane says...

      Almond oil is the best for chemical free and I don’t find it to be greasy, but if you really want lotion try Alba Coconut Rescue.

    • Jess says...

      I love Jason’s cocoa butter lotion! It’s so moisturizing, uses natural ingredients and smells wonderful, and it’s pretty affordable. :) I’ve been wanting to try Fat & The Moon, too!

    • Kate says...

      Joa brand Goe oil (confusing name, amazing product) is my holy grail body “lotion.” It’s a thick gel that emulsifies when you rub it between your hands. It’s 100% plant-based, smells “green”/ amazing and is crazy-moisturizing but not at all greasy. It’s expensive, but a little goes a long way: https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/jao-brand-goe-oil

    • T says...

      I totally second the jao brand goe oil. Ok it is $48 but it’s so so good and if you mix a tiny dab with some jojoba oil it lasts forever.

  63. Dienesa says...

    I’ve found a simpler routine is better for my face too! I’ve been trying out different facial cleansers and lotions to find solid go-to products. My conundrum is: What do you do with the ones that don’t work? I feel like I should be able to do something with the $$ product I bought but doesn’t end up working for me . See also: Allergy medicine, ha!

    • eva says...

      the products that don’t work on your face could work elsewhere – last summer I had the smoothest feet ever coming from aesop face mask that made me break out, and some other products my dermatologist did dan from my routine. Try using these products on hands, elbows, legs, feet – wherever you think you could still make them work some magic.

    • hm says...

      My 2020 motto is “use it up, wear it out, make some room.” All face lotions make me break out (why do I even try?!), so I’ve been using them on my body to use them up… my legs and butt have never been smoother!

    • Kath says...

      I give them to friends who are usually very happy to have them!

    • Calla says...

      return them! still somewhat wasteful I suppose if you’re worried about it getting tossed. but for me a lot of skincare is a splurge and I really want it to work out. I usually buy stuff from dermstore and they have a great return policy. Skincare isn’t like a lot of other purchases, you really can’t know if it will work until you try it. I wish more brands sold small travel or trial sizes

  64. Rue says...

    – mascara: DHC, and any non-tubing mascara is basically dead to me now.

    -hand lotion: Neutrogena fragrance free Norwegian formula. Skin Food makes my sensitive skin go completely nuts.

    -shampoo: my stylist recommended Kevin Murphy Hydrate Me, and I’m loving it. the bottles are made from recycled ocean plastic, and the formula is moisturizing without making my very fine hair greasy or wilty, and the moisture really helps with my frizz problems.

    • Beth says...

      YES to the Neutrogena Norwegian formula, it is the best of the best.

  65. Sarz says...

    Caroline, thank you (and Joanna!) again for the Skin Food rec! I first heard about it on your site, and it changed my life. I feel as though that phrase is overused…but nah, really. 😍

  66. Erin says...

    My trick for more defined lashes without mascara is to use a waxy lip balm or salve on them and then curl them. It makes a big difference for me. I like Weleda’s Everon lip balm for this (it also works nicely as a nail/cuticle balm).

  67. Beth says...

    I desperately miss getting a pedicure. With summer coming, any tips/products for getting rid of my rough running feet?

    • Sarz says...

      Have you worked up the courage to try Baby Feet? It’s been on my mind since Kelsey’s review. Seems a little daunting, but certainly effective!

    • shelley says...

      I got a hardcore foot file off amazon (I am sure you can order one from lots of places) and also bought flexitol heel balm and have never had softer feet!!

    • Jeanne says...

      Gehwol Biosana Foot File is seriously the best thing I have ever used. Better than any cream, gel, pedi egg, pumice stone. A lady in the Nordstrom nail salon introduced it to me years ago. You look at it and think it doesn’t look like much but it’s insanely effective without being harmful in any way. I’ve used it dry and in the shower when I need to remove more calluses. You use the rough side first and finish with the finer side.
      https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/gehwol-biosana-swiss-foot-file/2791106?origin=category-personalizedsort&breadcrumb=Home%2FBrands%2FGehwol%C2%AE&color=none

    • Grace says...

      Lotion with AHA in it really helps. Walgreens in house beauty brand makes a great one! I use it on my face and my feet.

    • Calla says...

      i use a mild foot file ( the kind with sand paper, not a cheese grater) and use it after the shower then follow up with gold bond therapeutic foot cream, it’s the best one I’ve found. You can also buy callous remover gel that you let sit on the callous for a few minutes before using the file. I haven’t tried it but like that idea better than the baby feet mask. Something about the delay before it starts working kind of freaks me out

    • Anna says...

      I’ve leaned HARD into quarantine foot care. Here’s my rotation:
      – This is a cheaper and equally effective alternative to Baby Feet. I don’t want to be dramatic, but this product has made my feet lose calluses that I’ve had for YEARS. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071JW3JG4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
      – I have a pumice stone that I use after each shower for about 30 seconds. I got mine from Amazon.
      – I really love Lush’s line of foot products. I use their Volcano foot mask every week and I try to put the Peppermint foot lotion on before putting on socks and going out and about.

    • Gaby says...

      I second Flexitol! The bottoms of my feet have have never been softer. I put it in my parents’ xmas stockings!

  68. Hannah says...

    I love Blinc mascara! I will never go back to any other. It doesn’t have the impact I like for big events, but for everyday wear it’s so worth the money.

    As to the lipstick question, I’ve found Kosas to be incredibly user-friendly! They categorize their lipsticks by warm/cool/neutral and usually show them on a wide range of skintones. Stardust is the best thing I’ve ever put on my lips.

  69. Liz says...

    Re. upper lip hair, I read once about a woman who trims her peach fuzz with a small pair of cosmetic scissors. I’ve been doing it ever since. It causes the hair to be less noticeable, in my opinion, but doesn’t go as far as removing the hair. I cannot fathom removing that hair all together (either with waxing or shaving), it worries me too much with the growing in process. I also bleach my upper lip hair to keep it as light as possible.

  70. Heather says...

    Follow up mascara question!!!

    I used Blinc and really liked it – the skin around my eyes is extremely sensitive, so it was nice to not have to use make up remover (even though I know the holy grail is SW Basics olive oil remover, which I learned about here!). But with Blinc, I felt like I was using a body wash with plastic microbeads when I saw the tube-ies of mascara going down the drain and presumably (?) polluting our waterways and harming our fish friends.

    Then I switched to a Kevyn Aucoin The Volume mascara which I love even more – only to find it also comes off in tubes!

    Do you happen to know if such tubes magically disintegrate when they go down the drain….? I don’t want to go back to the mascaras that get all over my face! But hate the thought of using something akin to plastic microbeads.

    • Cynthia says...

      Of course these synthetics are going straight into the oceans and harming the ecology! It’s beyond mind-blowing that women would choose to harm the planet for the sake of pretending their lashes were longer and/or darker. Who do you think you’re fooling?

    • Sara says...

      This is a really good question. I use glossier mascara, which comes off in fibrous strands. Would love some insight into this.

    • Heather says...

      @Cynthia – I feel a little attacked here! If I may defend myself: I compost, eat a pescatarian diet, bike instead of driving when possible, have stopped coloring my hair, have replaced cloths for all paper towels, carry reusable utensils and straw, save every scrap of paper I can to not buy wrapping paper, and I’m sure do plenty else that I’m not thinking of at the moment to try to help the earth. And I work for an environmental non-profit. I feel like I’m doing at least OK here! But change is incremental, and I am continuing to seek ways to improve and mitigate my impact on the planet one product at a time – and I try not to shame those who aren’t as far along as I am.

    • Jeanne says...

      Heather: I’m so glad you posted that. I actually never even considered that effect. As a side note in hopes that it makes you feel less attacked, (and wow you do a lot of good stuff) I think Cynthia was using the word “You” as a generalization. I think she was addressing people as a whole and not you, Heather, personally. I’m saying that because I have a habit of using “you” in my rants when talking about people at large. (Note to myself to adjust that) There was nothing in your post that made me think you are not ecologically ignorant. Actually quite the opposite.

    • Heather says...

      Thank you Jeanne, I really appreciate that, and that is a great point. My nerves are a little raw this week – anyone else?! But beauty products are always a fun diversion :)

    • Jeanne says...

      Heather: Glad you feel better. You even overlooked my typo at the very end. I’m totally feeling raw today. The teens are just rubbing salt in the wound. I will say or ask the most mundane sentence and get an eye roll, heavy sigh or a look that says “could you just jump off a cliff already?”. Good thing there are no cliffs in the house. Thanks for letting me type that. I didn’t know how much I needed to vent.

    • Katie says...

      It’s always hard to see women feel like they have to prove and defend themselves to total strangers. As if you owe Cynthia anything Heather. You asked a question, she had a particular point of view and while I would find it hard not to feel stung by her comment I feel like it’s so engrained in us as women to explain and justify everything we do. You sound like you’re doing an awesome job and even if you weren’t it’s your life. And yes all of our decisions have consequences and I actually totally see Cynthia’s outage I just truly find it so interesting the knee jerk reaction we have to justify our life decisions to perfect strangers. I’m sure I would be doing the same thing, but it’s easier to notice these things when they aren’t happening to you.

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      Oh no Cynthia I never even thought of that. Thanks for the question! Just looked up the ingredients of my own tubing mascara and yeah it contains polyurethane :(
      Before lockdown I used to wear it every day with no other makeup (just moisturizer) but now I’ve done a month without I wonder if I’ll just carry on not wearing it.

  71. Stef says...

    L’oreal Double Extend mascara NEVER smudges (and I am a frequent eye rubber). It also makes my lashes look great. I’ve tried a billion mascaras and this is the best!

  72. Kelly says...

    As someone who could never ever wear any brand of mascara until I tried Blinc – I will never go back!

    It’s amazing. And the MOST IMPORTANT tip to applying it correctly is to put the wand at the base of your lashes and then wiggle it vigorously back and forth as you swipe up; this avoids any clumps.

    (I’m a dark blonde/light brunette and I use the dark brown mascara on my top lashes only, Also – no curling required with the wiggle trick.)

    To remove: splash your face a few times with warm water and gently move your fingertips back and forth over your lashes and splash your face with more warm water – little tubes go down the drain. All clean!

  73. liz says...

    Prob a dumb question, but how do you get lipstick to not bleed/smear off of your lips? Do you have to use a lip pencil to keep it put? It always smudges for me!

    • Olga says...

      Look for a transparent wax lip crayon and then use it to contour your lips before applying lipstick.

    • Emma says...

      I use LipChic lipstick sealer. It probably has bad-for-you chemicals in it, but I love it. I apply my lipstick normally (I love MAC Russian Red + MAC lip liner), then apply LipChic. I can kiss, drink, eat, etc. and my lipstick stays in place until I forcefully rub and wash it off at the end of the evening. Maybe not necessary for a nude/neutral lip, but for a bold red lip I love a sealant.

  74. Molly says...

    I run a lot and hydration is key. Particularly in Memphis in the summertime. Like Caroline, I chug a bottle first thing before I coffee or anything else. I have a gallon jug that I fill up every morning and be sure that I have drunk the entire gallon by the end of the day. It makes a huge difference. That said, I am home most of the time so I can keep up with it and take the necessary and frequent bathroom breaks. I also put a Nuun tablet in it when it’s really hot out or if I’m running a lot that day.

  75. Jen says...

    Here’s my Skin Food story: Every morning for literally YEARS I would wake up sneezing. Like 10-20 enormous, loud, gross sneezes. I couldn’t figure out what was causing it. I bought hypoallergenic pillows, covers for my mattress and pillows, a humidifiers, nasal sprays, anything I could think of. I thought it might be a food sensitivity so I cut out, one by one, just about every common culprit to no avail. I thought maybe it could be a health problem other than allergies, acid reflux perhaps?

    The culprit: Skin Food. I would put it on every single night before bed. And a lot of it. I loved the way it made my skin feel, but aparently I an ALLERGIC to one of the scents in it 😭😭😭

    • Erin says...

      If you’re looking for an amazing, clean hand/body moisturizer (I use it on my face and neck, too!) Necessaire is so good. It’s unscented and a little goes a long way.

    • Morgan says...

      Yep, I found Skin Food to be super drying and left me with allergic, angry hands. I can, on the other hand (or foot), use it on callouses and within days the skin will slough off. I, too, think it’s the fragrance. I live in a super dry climate and Aveda Hand Relief is my favorite (no more angry hands).

    • Gaby says...

      I had the same problem with Skin Food. I now use Aveeno Eczema Therapy daily moisturizing cream on my hands after every wash and my hands and nails are amazing.

  76. Alex says...

    The last answer really hit the spot. Here’s what I have realized just recently: for so many years, I had felt as if the point of using creams and potions was to FIX something about my face (mostly acne in my case). As if something was basically wrong with me that needs improvement. During the quarantine I suddenly got this idea, that it’s completely wrong! My face and skin is perfect just the way it is. With acne, wrinkles and even moustache ;) and I am supposed to love it as it is. The skincare should be the expression of this love, gently caressing this precious and lovely surface which I call my face, being thankful for its perfection :). I’m not a native speaker so I’m probably expressing myself oddly, but I hope you get what I mean. It was a huge shift for me :).

    • Amanda says...

      You expressed yourself beautifully, not odd at all. Thank you for this reminder, and I loved this part the most: “the skincare should be the expression of this love.”

  77. Jane says...

    Seconding the L’Oreal Double Extend!! It’s all I use now and works as well as the pricer tubing mascaras I’ve tried.

  78. Bekky Harsha says...

    I think this is my favorite post of yours, Caroline! You’re getting finer and finer all the time.
    Xo from Arizona
    Bekky

  79. Olga says...

    Facial hair is such a taboo and self-confidence-related topic! I am a brunette myself, so it is only natural that my upper lip has a bit darker peach fuzz. Objectively, these tiny hair are visible only in certain light and under certain angle. BUT. When I was around 14yo a boy from my class told me I have a MOUSTACHE. Since then I started worrying that all people look at it when we are having a conversation, but at the same time I was afraid to do anything with it to not make it worse!
    Not to mention that one of my boyfriends told me “if I could do something with it”.
    I’ve tried Sally Hansen’s bleach for facial hair, but it only made it yellowish.
    Now I am 34yo and only recently went for the first time to get a professional facial treatment. Didn’t intend to do anything with my upper lip, but in the end I found the courage and I asked the lady who was taking care of me if she thinks the hair is really visible. Suprisingly, she opened herself and told me that she had similar experience (her brothers were mocking her and her sister) and it also influenced her self-confidence for years. She suggested to use cold wax and just see if not having peach fuzz makes me feel more comfortable.
    For me it was really a huge difference, because (unfortunately!) I can’t get out of my head what this boy said 20 years ago (insecurities are really irrational), so now, during lockdown, I was experimenting with these wax strips (https://www.superdrug.com/Toiletries/Female-Hair-Removal/Waxing/Veet-Natural-Inspirations-Face-Precision-Wax-Strips-x20/p/374503). It definitely needs a bit practice, but isn’t as scary as I always thought it would be and the redness disappears during night when you do it in the evening.

    • Olga says...

      My mistake – it wasn’t cold wax she used, it was something called Lycon(?), it was really gentle, after few minutes the redness was gone. She explained that it is because it sticks only to hair and not to skin.

    • J says...

      I tried cold wax strips and I ended up with a mustache-shaped SCAB after the wax strip ripped all the skin off my upper lip. Soooooo proceed with caution if you use retinol!!! Apparently it makes your skin thinner and more prone to ripping. Of course, the instructions on the box warned about this but I ignored them 🤦🏼‍♀️

    • l says...

      as a super hairy Greek lady, I can tell you you just need to get yourself comfortable waxing yourself. Sally Hanson (sp?) makes body wax you can buy at target/cvs and just microwave for a min. Takes less than 30 seconds to deal with, just make sure its not too hot before you put it on your face, of course! I bought bulk wooden sticks and muslin because they never give you enough in the box for the whole thing of wax. I do my eyebrows, armpits, upper lip, bikini area… etc. Way more affordable too to do it yourself

    • l says...

      regarding J’s comment: definitely do NOT wax if using retinol. It chemically removes all of the dead skin from the surface of your skin (which is normally what is pulled off while waxing). Without that layer of dead skin, waxing will attach to your actual living skin and rip it off, leaving a big scab. I’ve also learned this the hard way. If you use retinol, I recommend at minimum not using it for a few days before you wax.

    • Jen says...

      I highly recommend sugaring (an alternative to waxing). There are sugar wax at-home kits too (I’ve used Moom and Parissa with success). I believe it is sugar and lemon-based and the benefit is that it is much easier to work with and clean than wax.

  80. logan says...

    Really interested in the Monastery Attar Floral Repair Concentrate! It sounds divine and I’m always searching for a holy grail product. Can you tell us a little more about it? How long you’ve been using it/how you heard about it? Thanks so much!

    • Joyce says...

      Hi, Logan! Caroline did an amazing job describing it. It smells heavenly and is nice and thick. I think a little bit goes a long way and I use it about 2 to 3 times a week. I have had my jar since November and have only used about 1/3 of it. I do supplement my routine with the Rose oil (about 1/3 of the price and better for daily use for me).

      The owner and creator (Athena Ellen) is a local esthetician in my neighborhood in San Francisco. Her new studio looks like it belongs in a museum. She uses all of her products during her facials and it’s been so nice to continue the skin care routine at home! She does periodic sales which helps with the costs.

  81. E says...

    Petroleum jelly helps boost eyelashes without mascara! Not sure how or why, but I think it’s just hydrating the lashes/adding a little bulk.

  82. Becky says...

    I’ve been using vaseline intensive care moisturizer on my hands ( and post shower) since I was 13. I am now 35. I cant stand the thought of washing my hands without cream or lotion. My skin is so dry and so sensitive. The trick is to not dry your hands thoroughly, leave them slightly damp and rub the lotion in to your skin. The same for putting lotion on after a shower. Placing moisturizer on dry skin just sits on top. The Intensive care, the one in the white bottle, never feels greasy.

  83. margo says...

    What shade of lipstick are you wearing in the pic? Looks amaze.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thanks! That’s Kosas lipstick in Darkroom.

  84. Isabel says...

    Mascara is so tricky. Blinc did remedy the unavoidable smudge for a while, but then I discovered Trish McEvoy’s tubular mascara in Jet Black and found an instant and terrific upgrade. It never smudges and you just take it off with warm water and a cotton ball. So easy. Never going back to regular mascara.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Ooh! Will have to try this. Thanks for the tip!

    • Camilla Brewer says...

      I absolutely second the Trish McEvoy tubular mascara! Heaven sent and never smudges, not even on the sweatiest and most humid summer days! To add to that, it washes right off with any face wash!

  85. Hilary says...

    I loved this post! A few of my recent loves:

    – For Tubing mascara: NYX Doll Eye mascara. Want proof it never smudges? It survives afternoons outdoors in the south during the summer. I don’t like spending a lot on mascaras just to toss them every 3 months, so NYX is a great price point.

    – Trader Joe’s has excellent hand cream. I’m still using the seasonal ginger scent from the holidays, but their regular hand cream is unscented, thick, and absorbs easily.

    – Surprisingly good beauty choice: Flower Beauty. I have their blush bomb cream blush, and the color is a good dupe for one of Glossier’s cloud paints). I also have a Flower Beauty setting spray that I really like!

    • rezia says...

      +1 for Trader Joes hand cream! The regular one does have a scent but it is mild and I love it.

    • Calla says...

      Ahhh I have to try the ginger one. I tried the rose one and it was vile, I do not recommend it. Now I’m using the regular one but don’t love the powdery scent.

  86. florence says...

    love this holistic approach! i honestly feel most beautiful after a shower with a clean face… it’s probably because i feel so refreshed and peaceful inside.

  87. Jen says...

    I found that only way for me to drink water throughout the day is to have a water bottle that comes with a straw. My favorite is the Stanley Cup. It also keeps my drink ice cold for 24 hrs.

    • Kathleen says...

      LOL! Any other Canadians (or hockey fans) envisioning what I’m envisioning? hahaha

    • Erica says...

      Ha! I get it, Kathleen! Although King Stanley would be fairly gross to drink from.

    • AP says...

      Hahah @ Kathleen – quite the water cup indeed! One sure way to get > 8 glasses a day

  88. Julia says...

    My chin skin is taking a BEATING wearing masks (I think it’s the moisture?). Anyway, it’s a very gross combination of flakey and clogged, which has never been an issue before? Anyone have good skincare-while-masking tips?

    • zoë says...

      The Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum from the The Ordinary is really good at keeping skin unclogged while not drying it out further. It’s super liquid and light too. I put it on right after washing my face in the morning before regular moisturizer if I’m going to be wearing a mask. Also The Ordinary salicylic acid mask is so good for blocked pores without agitating skin or causing breakouts. I use it on forehead and chin a couple nights a week.

    • Kamaile says...

      I have the same problem with masks irritating my chin too plus I have eczema there anyway (FUN) and I use a thin layer of SKIN FOOD and it helps so much.

  89. Julie says...

    Years ago we stayed in a hotel that had a magnifying mirror. My son (about 6 then) asked what it was for and I was stumped…( I wasn’t thinking of makeup application, or plucking, where it might be useful). I said “well, some people are just reeaaalllly into their skin and like to look at it really up close to make sure there are no flaws, etc” and he said “If you need this mirror to see it though, why bother??”, and I was like “good point, kid”.

    I’m 47 now and one perk of my vision slowly degrading is I look better in the mirror all the time :D

  90. CS says...

    I am curious about shaving. Do you think shaving one’s upper lip would work if hair is courser to begin with (as opposed to the peach fuzz some people have) or will I get “stubble”? And I still worry about it growing back thicker!!! I know people say it won’t, but I grew up hearing that it does. You could say that the fear is deep-rooted (pun intended! 😂) Thanks for the post! I really enjoyed Your overall beauty philosophy.

    • Jen says...

      When I started shaving my upper lip it was an absolute game changer for me. I have sensitive skin, and any other type of hair removal would cause a reaction, even the more gentle/natural types like sugaring.

      I have coarser hair to start with – definitely have more than just “peach fuzz,” and it doesn’t seem go grow in any thicker or more quickly than when I used to get it waxed. The real benefit though is the money and time saved. Facial razors are really affordable, and the whole thing takes maybe 30 seconds. Highly recommended.

    • l says...

      but there’s no stubble feel? I can’t imagine.. haha

    • Elspeth says...

      I’ve always been afraid of using a razor on my upper lip…that as you say it might get coarse and stubbly. I have pretty sensitive skin but found hair removal cream that’s gentle and very easy to use. Lots of the brands designed for facial hair are really good, they usually come with an after care moisturiser too.

    • CR says...

      CS – I shave my whole face with a Tickle razor about once every two weeks (avoiding eyebrow area, of course). I don’t think it makes my face stubbly, but there is a little tingly sensation for a day or two afterward! It does a wonderful job of removing dead skin cells, too.

      Regarding the “growing back thicker” claim, hairs that are shaved can come back more blunt than if you waxed, since they were cut instead of pulled from the root. I don’t ever have a five-o-clock shadow, though, and the hairs that used to be blonde and fine are still blonde and fine, and the trouble hairs (upper lip) that used to be a little darker are still a little darker. I would say, give it a try and see what you think! You certainly won’t be any worse off than before. (Make sure you clean your razor with isopropyl alcohol before and after use!! Start with a clean face. I wash my face both before shaving and after, to make sure all those dead skin cells are gone gone!)

    • marcella says...

      my mom took me to get mine lasered in 7th grade (lol) and I’m 26 now and I shave it every once in a while since it’s still visible, but waaay thinner than before. I’m actually surprised it’s stayed this fine for this long since I thought lasering doesn’t work that well. but at least for me it doesn’t grow back super thick

  91. Tracey says...

    I ONLY wear tubing mascaras after discovering them in college. In addition to Blinc, Clinique Lash Power is good but equally pricy. I now use L’Oreal Double Extend which is only $8!

  92. Amy K says...

    I religiously use hand cream, but found my usual standbys weren’t cutting it once SAHM started. Finally got around to trying Swedish Dream Sea Salt Hand Creme, and it’s fixed all my cracks. Absorbs quickly, smells heavenly, and it’s vegan!

    • beta says...

      I love this, too!

  93. Suzette says...

    A very long time ago (easily 20+ years), I read a piece of advice about the colour of your tongue being a guide for your perfect lipstick. I’ve used that guide ever since, going darker, lighter, matchy-matchy and it never fails. Finding the perfect red was more challenging, but once I found it (Angel Red by Clinique) I’ve not strayed.

    • Melanie says...

      I read once you should use your nipple color as a guide for the best lipstick shade 😂😂😂 That makes for an exciting shopping experience !

  94. Carol says...

    Is the lip color you’re wearing in the top photo your custom concoction, or might I be lucky enough that it’s straight from a tube whose name you can share?!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      It’s Kosas lipstick in Darkroom — straight from the tube! (I did blot it a bit with a tissue so it wasn’t super intense. :)

  95. I’ve always heard it’s great to drink a cup of water first thing in the morning. Love tweezerman tweezers. Back when I used to work in restaurants, I would always get complimented on the shape of my eyebrows. I found it to be the most random compliment lol. Now, people ask me if I can do theirs too!

    Kaitlyn

  96. Calla says...

    I’ve never tried the Blinc mascara but have had a lot of luck with other tubing mascaras; DHC, Glossier, and Kevyn Aucoin all make great ones.

    Also if you are trying to find the right shade of drugstore lipstick, Target has a feature on their website that will virtually show them on you using your webcam. Not as good as trying on in person but still very helpful.

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      And I’d add , in the UK, no.7 (boots ownbrand) “stay perfect” mascara! Ideal.

    • Calla says...

      ooh awesome, thanks for the tip! stoked its available at Target!

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      Hmm following another readers comment pointing out that these tubing mascaras are sending plastic down the drain a la microbeads, I’m not sure I’ll recommend it any more as I checked and it contains polyurethane. Never even thought of it so glad it’s been brought to my attention!

  97. Robin says...

    I don’t wear mascara, but I will use Briogeo’s organic castor oil to the tips of my top and bottom lashes (a very, very light amount).

    My beauty question is about sunscreen: I have melasma and need a mineral sunscreen, but it has to be cruelty free. Any suggestions? I am currently using a sunscreen by First Aid, but it leaves my face chalky and the sunscreen seems to pill. Is this normal? What am I missing?

    • Tracey says...

      Sadly, I think all mineral sunscreens are chalky and tend to pill, so they are a little more work than a chemical sunscreen. I tried all the tinted versions I could find until I found one that didn’t leave my medium-toned skin ghost-like. I’m currently using Tarte BB Tinted Primer, which is vegan and cruelty-free. BareMinerals also has lots of options (foundation, tinted primer) in so many shades, and they are also cruelty-free. Good luck!

    • Catherine says...

      Alba botanicals has a great mineral sunscreen and they don’t test on animals. I’ve been using it for the last 3 or so years and am still a fan.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I have been using Acure’s Radically Rejuvenating Day Cream with SPF 30 for a few months and I love it! It wears like a moisturizer (because it is) and is cruelty free and free of all of the other currently buzzworthy yuck ingredients. I have tried a bunch and haven’t liked any as much as this one!

    • Alexis says...

      I also like the coola mineral sunscreen with tint. I think some of the tinted ones are less chalky. I’ve been using the one from beautycounter, it’s not tinted but as long as I don’t use too much and make sure to rub it in I don’t think it looks chalky on me.

    • ks says...

      robin – i have melasma, why a mineral sunscreen? I hadn’t heard that before & am asking because I’m curious to learn if I should be switching.

    • Lindsay says...

      Wanted to chime in and say as a very pale person I’ve had the best luck with Josie Maran and Supergoop for mineral sunscreens that don’t pill!

      Also- Katie Sturino of Megababe brand has melasma and created a really fun (beach) product for it. It’s colorful and it’s for folks who may get discoloration on their upper lip or other parts of the face at the beach and need something super strong for beach days. I am a huge fan of Katie and how hard she works to create products that women need but don’t often speak about.

    • Erin says...

      I really like Sundaze C-Shells mineral sunscreen. It isn’t too whitening, doesn’t pill at all (that may also depend on what kind of product you’re using it on top of, but this is super creamy), works well as a makeup primer, and contains a form of vitamin C that’s good for hyperpigmentation. It goes on a bit shiny but doesn’t feel heavy on my face at all (I hate that feeling) and by the time I apply my concealer and a light dusting of power, it’s not shiny at all and seems to help control oil in my t-zone.

    • Julia says...

      The new ILA serum thing is AMAZING and makes my face look like a baby angel and has 12% zinc. Pills a tiny bit if you layer on top of other products.

      I also swear by juice beauty tinted sunscreen but it’s definitely more shiny than ILA’s serum. But not chalky or pilly at all.

    • Robin says...

      My Derm told me that chemical sunscreens trap heat. Melasma is triggered by heat and light (all of sorts).

      Thank you for all of these great recommendations!

    • Melanie says...

      I use bareMinerals hydrating gel cream. It’s tinted but super lighweight and comes in a million shades. It has spf 30 and is mineral based. And it’s also vegan. Maybe it comes in a non-tinted version if you are not into that?

    • Nicole says...

      I love Paula’s Choice Essential Glow sunscreen. It’s mineral and has soothing ingredients like licorice root.

  98. Steph says...

    After trying other shampoo bars and not liking them, I ordered the Ethique Healy bar based on your recommendation. I’ve used it for a month now and really like it! My hair is super fine and wavy, with itchy but not flaky scalp, and the bar rinses out nicely without leaving build up, and my scalp feels good too! I rarely follow online product recs, but I’m glad I did this time. Thanks Caroline!

  99. Jill D says...

    The only mascara that I have used that does not migrate under my eyes is Glossier. It also washes off easily. Also Glossier will help with colors. They looked at my profile pic on Instagram and made recommendations for cheek color. It was spot on.

    Fun post!

  100. Annie K. says...

    I’m curious about the tiny shaver- have any of your hairs grown back coarser or spiky after using it? I’ve been holding off for this fear.

    Thanks for all this! It’s fun to focus on little things for a minute.

    • Calla says...

      I started using a similar small shaver on my upper lip about 6 months ago and have not had the hair grow back any different

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      A very valid concern! For me, personally, the hairs don’t grow back coarser or spiky. (It seems to make a more gentle cut than with a traditional straight razor, which I would be very afraid to use.)

      There are also a bunch of YouTube videos with people testing out different shavers on facial hair w/ different textures, so you can research a bit more before you try it, to help ease your fears.

    • Madi says...

      Hi! I held off for years because I was afraid of stubble but quarantine had me finally feeling fearless. It’s been about 2 weeks and I haven’t felt anything coarse or spiky on my face. My hairs are fairly light so I can’t see much, but any “stubble” has been pretty unnoticable. I’d very much recommend!

    • Erica says...

      I tried the tiny shaver on my upper lip and my husband commented that he felt like he was kissing a five o clock shadow as the hair was growing back in. I still use it on my chin where the hairs are softer, but went back to waxing the upper lip! Hope that’s helpful. I’m blond so I don’t have a ton of upper lip hair, just a few course ones I have to keep under control.