Style + Ask the Edit

Ask the Editor: Makeup and Skincare Questions

Suffer from KP?  Winter hair blues got you down?  Need the best polish for an at home manicure?  These questions and more on this edition of Ask the Editor.

Hi Belle:

I’m an assistant professor and, in the next few months, I’ll be filming a lot of videos for new online courses. The university has a studio set up with intense lights and high def cameras. I’m terrified of doing my makeup for these videos! I keep my makeup pretty minimal most days, but I’m not sure what needs to change or be amped up. I know a good powder will be key, but I’m not sure what type of powder will look best under the studio lights. Can you help steer me in the right direction?

Thanks! Abby

I would recommend going to a local Ulta or Sephora, or even a department store makeup counter, for a consult.  In lieu of that, you might also look into having someone do your makeup.  Studio makeup is very different from regular makeup because the lights are so bright.

However, if you’re looking for a product made for this issue, I would try MAC Studio Fix.  It’s a powder foundation that’s heavy enough for TV.  But again, you’d be better off with a professional or at least a consult.


Loved your answer to the frizzy hair question last week.  Static is such a scourge.  Can you help me find a conditioner for dry winter hair?  Mine is parched.

Thank you, Sara

I like Davines Renaissance Circle Mask.  It revives hair that needs a deep condition.  It doesn’t take much, and the package reseals, so at $9, it’s a good value.

Hi Abra,

What are the best polishes for at-home manicures that last?  Mine are chipping on day two.  


I like to use gel polishes at home.  There are many on the market that don’t require UV to set or soaking in acetone to remove.

My favorite is Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro.  The primer and top coat system helps my nails last for a little more than a week.  If I remember to reapply the top coat on day four or five, I can push it to 10 days.  My favorite shade of hers is Modern Love, a mauve-beige.  Pretty, but work appropriate.

The second option is OPI ProStay Infinite Shine.  You need to buy the primer and the gloss.  They promise this will last 11 days.  I’ve had good luck making it to eight.  My favorite shade in OPI Shine is Mrs. O’Leary’s BBQ, a deep burgundy.

Last, Essie makes a gel polish as well.  Their Gel Couture Top Coat is to be used with their new gel polishes.  No base coat necessary.  Their Turn n’ Pose shade is a great dark plum color.

Also, for at home manicures, I recommend Cupcakes and Cashmere’s tutorial.  Really one of the best how-tos out there.

Hello, Abra:

How do you remove facial hair?  I stopped waxing after a bad chemical burn last year.  (I know, terrifying.)  And now, I’m one prenatal vitamin away from having a Groucho Marx ‘stasche.  Help me. Please.

Love the blog!  Averil

So I use the Finishing Touch hair removal device that they advertise on TV.  It’s painless, simple, and gentle enough to use often.  It’s a pretty handy little tool.  However, since my coarser chin hairs (ugh, so old) don’t respond as well to being cut, I tweeze those.


Can you recommend a face wash for acne-prone skin that doesn’t have those awful plastic beads in it?  They’re so bad for the environment.

Needs Spot Control

I like Body Shop’s Tea Tree Wash.  It’s effective, smells great, and non-drying.  (Though there is an adjustment period of three to four washes when you may be a little dry.)  It’s the only acne wash I use now, and only when my breakouts need more oomph.

If you want to try their entire suite of acne-control products, they make a great kit.

Hi Belle,

So excited you’re transitioning back to CHS!  Can you help me find a solution for my KP?  The prescription wash I use just rose in price to $137 for like a month supply.  I just need something cheaper, but effective.


This isn’t a problem I struggle with, but I did some research and found a few products that might be worth a look.

KP Duty is a body wash and lotion and combo developed just for dry, bumpy skin.  Mario Badescu makes a Keratoplast Cleansing Lotion and a Keratoplast Cream Soap, both are pretty affordable.

Also, this Self article suggested a lot of interesting products.  This MicroDerm Mitt seemed to be the most useful for exfoliating with any type of soap.  If you have KP, or have tips to share for this reader, please do so in the comments.

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  1. Dee says:

    For #1, since you are at a college or university, I wonder if a student or nearby student-friendly salon (read: cheaper) might have knowledge of how to do makeup in this situation? I’m thinking if there is an arts or film department, for example. Good luck! Sounds exciting.

    March 5, 2019/Reply
  2. Laura says:

    The $2 Sally Hansen “Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear” clear coat does WONDERS for at home manicures. My polish easily lasts longer than a week regardless of the polish brand used.

    March 5, 2019/Reply
  3. A says:

    For dry winter hair (for me, it’s really just dry postpartum hair for all seasons), after cycling through multiple different conditioners (Pantene, Matrix Biolage, Living Proof, Redken), the latest attempt – Pureology Smooth Perfection (pink bottle) – seems to be working much better than the others. I pair it with the pureology hydrate air drying cream to help tame flyaways (less successful than the conditioner, but still better than air drying without anything).

    March 5, 2019/Reply
  4. Emily says:

    For the KP question. About ten years ago, I was really into KP message boards and read about Sea Buckthorn as a treatment. The post had dramatic before and after pictures, so I tried it. I bought sea buckthorn soap, shampoo, oil, capsules, and juice. Just like the post said, after about a week of using these products, my KP flared up, and I had some sore, itchy bumps. Then those faded, as well as the rest of the bumps. It was a huge improvement.

    I kept up with the soap and lotion after that for a couple of years, but had gotten out of the routine. I decided to try it again in this March. A lot of the products that I had used ten years ago are discontinued. But this is my list for this go round (mostly sourced from Amazon)

    Amika Sea Buckthorn Shampoo (I saw this at Sephora, but Walmart also sells it)
    (I have also tried Living Libations but it is very expensive)
    Sibu Soap (I prefer Aubrey Organics but Amazon
    Weleda Sea Buckthorn Lotion (very smelly)
    Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil from Leven Rose
    Genesis today Organic Sea Buckthorn Juice (best to just take this as a shot, its flavor takes over smoothies)

    YMMV, but as soon as I saw a post about KP I wanted to share because this was truly the only thing that ever helped. Plus, if you do get a flare up, it’s good to do this routine while long sleeves are still the norm. Good luck!

    March 5, 2019/Reply
  5. RR says:

    For exfoliating mitts (for KP on the body), I highly recommend an Asian Exfoliating Bath Washcloth. Start with the green, the red is more intense. Get wet in the shower. Scrub entire body (be grossed out by the skin coming off) and then rinse. These are inexpensive and wow do they ever work.

    March 5, 2019/Reply
  6. Mary G. says:

    I bought the Finishing Touch tool after you recommended it awhile ago – it’s amazing and for the first time in my life I don’t have to worry about upper lip hair in between waxes or threading.

    March 5, 2019/Reply
  7. Michelle says:

    I use Essie’s Gel Couture and it lasts a week without chipping and then I reapply the top coat. It’s super shiny too.

    Since I work in an office I normally do my nails in Take Me to Thread (a purple taupe), but I also love the Rock the Runway (a Red), Wrap Party (a dark green), and Spiked with Style (a dark burgundy).

    You can get a kit, the top coat and a color for under $20. The Take Me to Thread color and top coat kit is only $11.99 at target online right now if you want to try it.

    March 5, 2019/Reply
  8. k-t says:

    Alison of Wardrobe Oxygen has posted a bit about what has worked for her KP. Dry brushing before showering, and an asian washcloth are what I specifically remember. I think she also had some fairly easy to find, drugstore body washes and lotions to recommend, too.

    March 5, 2019/Reply
  9. KK says:

    RE; Hair removal, the best I have found so far is a man’s electric razor (I stole my ex’s Braun). I only shave my lip and chin, and they are baby smooth! I will NEVER go back to plucking, waxing or bleaching!

    March 5, 2019/Reply
  10. KK says:

    RE: Keratosis Pilaris, BHAs are especially helpful, sometimes AHAs work too. Check out the Paula’s Choice exfoliating lotions. The 2% BHA face lotion is the best thing ever for my arms.

    March 5, 2019/Reply
  11. Pam says:

    Have to second the recommendation for the finishing touch tool. It works vey well and I have found it to be completely painless!!!

    March 5, 2019/Reply
  12. Sierra says:

    For question #1, you should look into a foundation/powder without SPF. The ones with SPF in them can make you look a bit ghost-like or white on camera.

    March 5, 2019/Reply
    • wellfedfred says:

      SECOND THIS!! also keep in mind for passport photos.

      March 6, 2019/Reply
  13. Amanda says:

    I second the recommendation for Paula’s Choice lotion for KP. I use the Resist weightless body treatment 2% BHA and it really makes a difference. If my skin is really dry I’ll also use CeraVe renewing SA cream. Good luck!

    March 5, 2019/Reply
  14. julesinec says:

    I’ve been using OPI infinite shine for the past 2 years to do my manicures at home. It usually always lasts 10-12 days for me and I can sometimes push it to 14. I’m not often concerned with chipping but with the gap at the cuticle line because my nails grow fast and with dulling of the “shine” factor. But, you do have to use all 3 infinite shine products together (base coat, polish, top coat) and be very slow and detailed in the application to get the maximum effect. I’ve had it done at nail salons and when they rush during the application it only lasts 6 days at best. I’m not sure if it does anymore but the OPI website used to have instructions for the correct application method. I’ve also tried using the Infinite Shine base coat and top coat with regular OPI colors and it does the trick but lasts about 8 days and the shine dulls faster.

    March 5, 2019/Reply
  15. Jen says:

    I’m used to have horrible KP and highly recommend the KP Duty scrub and lotion. The scrub alone is a miracle product. It eliminated my KP in about 2 weeks. Coconut oil is a great cheap moisturizer for KP but clogs pipes, and Amlactin lotion (available online or behind the pharmacy counter at most large drugstores) also works really well.

    March 5, 2019/Reply
  16. Emily says:

    I have had problems with KP for a while and using AmLactin lotion has definitely helped!

    March 5, 2019/Reply
    • maria says:

      Seconding AmLactin for KP! It also smooths my elbows when they get rough and dry in the winter.

      March 6, 2019/Reply
  17. Jen says:

    I second the Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro! I love that I can get a whole week out of it without thinking.

    March 6, 2019/Reply
  18. EP says:

    I have KP on my arms. After trying the item from The Ordinary on my face (, I decided to try it on my arms. While the results on my face were a bit drying, it was great for my KP for my arms. After a week of use, my arms are almost totally clear of bumps and redness.

    March 6, 2019/Reply
  19. Mel says:

    For the face wash, I’d recommend CeraVe gentle cleanser and some products from The Ordinary such as niacinamide + zinc and a gentle chemical exfoliant like the lactic acid 5%. Tea tree oil is very harsh and likely just to exacerbate the issue.

    March 6, 2019/Reply
  20. Jill says:

    On the acne wash, you might try the Alba brand. Friction comes from walnut shells. Smells nice, works great, inexpensive. It’s at Whole Foods and maybe elsewhere.

    March 6, 2019/Reply
  21. Jess says:

    For KP on my arms, I use AmLactin:
    You can get it at the drugstore or Target. It has a bit of a clinical smell, so I use it at night before bed a few times a week. I’m 33 and have had KP my whole life, and no other remedies or exfoliators have ever helped before this.

    March 10, 2019/Reply