Ask the Edit: Short Beauty & Makeup Queries

Jan 4, 2018

Questions about hot rollers, the best top coats, body lotion and hair tutorials for ladies with “normal hair.”  You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers.

Hi Belle,

I want to start using hot rollers to do my hair.  Any tips?  What kind do you use?  Hoping this is the solution to styling my hair when I’m getting my toddler ready in the morning.

Sincerely, Katherine

I use the Conair ceramic Big Curls rollers.  I prefer the metal pins to the clips, which you can only get with this set.  I’ve used three sets over the past decades, but I’ve been using the same pins.

My first tip is to start using them on weekends first.  You’ll need some practice to get good with them, and it takes a little time.  I’m so good with mine after 20 years (!!!) I can put them in without a mirror.

As for how to roll them and set them, this Oprah article covers the basics.  I also recommend a heat-protectant like Drybar Hot Toddy or Beat the Heat thermal spray.  Curlers will wreck the ends of your hair if you don’t protect them.

Abra,

I saw your Instagram story about painting your own nails.  You mentioned a base and top coat, but I can’t recall the name.  Help a girl out?  My new year goal is to spend less money and manis seem like an easy place to start.

Parker

For a long-lasting at-home manicure, I like Deborrah Lippmann’s Gel Lab Pro.  With a good polish job and a reload of top coat halfway through, I can get 10-12 days out of a manicure.  It’s a bit pricey, but it works.

Need something cheaper?  Essie makes a line of gel polishes meant to go on bare nails under a coat of their Platinum Gel Top Coat.  I tried it over the holiday.  It works well, but you will need to freshen the top coat.

Belle,

Can you suggest a drugstore body lotion?  I loved the Kiehl’s you talk about but I need something that I can buy on my Target runs.  

Been reading your blog for years.  So glad you kept it up. Sel

The only drugstore brand lotion I really like is Burt’s Bees Milk & Honey lotion.  It smells nice, moisturizes well, and isn’t greasy.  In the winter, when my skin is really dry, I just use coconut oil from Trader Joe’s.

Hi Abra,

I’m not very good with hair.  I’ve tried a couple of Instagrammers who teach you how to style your hair, but they all seem to have perfect hair.  Mine is finer and doesn’t look picture perfect every day, go figure.  Do you know of any tutorials made by women with normal hair?

thx, Libby

My experience is that most hair vloggers have great hair — long, thick, perfectly colored.  Just like most beauty bloggers have lust-worthy skin.  It’s a professional necessity.

I think Popsugar has the best collection of hair tutorials.  Kate at The Small Things Blog has good tutorials that are easy to follow.  Erin Elizabeth’s hair is on the finer side, so she has experience styling fine hair.

The trick is to search YouTube for your specific concern (frizz, curls, thick, etc.).  Look for a vlogger with that issue until you find one you like.

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  1. strin012 says:

    O’Keefe’s makes a body lotion now, and it is amazing. I have very dry, itchy skin in the winter, and that lotion makes the itching stop when nothing else will. I’ve found it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Target, and Amazon.

    • CP says:

      I have dry itchy skin and just tried this — it’a comparable to Kiehl’s for so much less! Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. Hastingskc says:

    I like Trader Joe’s lavender lotion – smells great and does a great job moisturizing. I supplement it with my Kiehl’s routine.

  3. Rachel says:

    I highly recommend Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Sheer Hydration lotion as a good drug store alternate to Keihl’s. I have horribly dry skin, and I love this. It’s all I use in warmer weather, and during the winter, I’m able to alternate it with the Keihls. My skin stays moisturized but I’m able to save a bit of money.

  4. Chandra says:

    Lotions: Have used both the Trader Joe’s and Aveeno that are mentioned here; recently switched to Costco’s Kirkland Body Lotion. It is far superior to both and is $10 for a massive two pack (of course). Extremely light scent, very smooth and greaseless texture yet covers well. I don’t care if Costco lotion or whatever makes me a cliche. It’s only available online so you don’t have to brave the stinky warehouse.

    • Sierra Delta says:

      I just went to the Costco website, Chandra, and nothing comes up when I type in “Kirkland Body Lotion.” Does it have a different name that I can search for? Thanks!

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