Ask the Edit: Short Beauty Questions

Feb 20, 2020

From skincare to makeup, the beauty world is populated by products both wonderful and disappointing.  Navigating it can be a challenge, especially for beginners.  So today’s questions come from readers who need guidance getting started or tackling a new issue.

Abra:

I’ve never used a face mask before. Can you suggest a good starter mask? I have oily skin, mild adult acne (yay me), a few crows feet, and pores on my nose that I wish were smaller. Any thoughts?

Thank you!! BN

The first question when you’re searching for a mask is what problem do I want to solve?  Am I looking for exfoliation, acne-treatment, wrinkle-treatment, brightening, tightening, or all of the above?

The second question is what application works best for my lifestyle.  Do you want to slather on a clay that hardens before washing it away?  Do you want to apply a light layer of product and wipe it off 20-minutes later?  Do you want something that sits overnight?   Or do you want a simple sheet mask that you apply to your face and then peel off and discard when finished?

I know, it’s a lot to take in.  So let me recommend a few masks for common skin concerns.

Acne. My favorite acne treatment mask is this Clearing Solution sheet mask from Dr. Jart.  It delivers a powerful dose of medicine that shrinks blemishes, reduces redness, and clears pores.  I also like this Origins clay mask if I need exfoliation with my acne treatment.

Wrinkles. While no mask can eliminate wrinkles, they can minimize them and firm skin.  The best skin firming mask is the pricey Fresh Black Tea Overnight Mask.  It brightens and tightens so well, you’ll think you had a spa vacation.

One of the hottest things in skincare right now is silicone patches.  These SiO Beauty Brow Lift patches are reusable sheets of silicone that you apply overnight with your favorite serum to lift and diminish wrinkles.  They make them for many areas of the body, including crow’s feet and smile lines.

Just need a quick fix?  If I have a photoshoot or an event, I wear one of these Masqueology 24k Gold Masks the night before.  It hydrates, moisturizes, and smooths out fine lines.  It also helps with acne inflammation.  Grace & Stella sell smaller patches just  for the eye area, but you can put them anywhere.

Hydrating. Skin looking tired?  Everyone I know swears by this Summer Fridays Jet Lag mask for boosting hydration and brightening skin.  Apparently it takes your skin from dull to luminous and plump in the length of a plane ride.

Belle:

Lash extensions have ruined my natural lashes, and I need to grow them back.  Have you tried Latisse or something similar?    Does it actually work?  

LP

I have not tried Latisse, because it is only available by prescription.  Instead, I buy BabeLash.  I used it when I needed to re-grow and thicken my eyebrows after years of over plucking.  It worked well for that application.  And my friend Jayne uses it on her lashes, and you’d swear she has extensions.

Hi Belle,

What’s your favorite nail polish color?  I want to start getting weekly manicures as a treat.  I work for a judge, so black and blue and brights are out of the question.  Suggestions?

A Color-Challenged Clerk

My favorite work-appropriate color is Deborah Lippmann Modern Love.  It’s a mauve-beige mix that  looks pretty, but feels professional.  If you want something darker, Essie Angora Cardi is a deep, dusty rose that looks great on a lot of skin tones.

Or you can try one of the big runway trends this year, French manicure-style tips in different colors.  Instead of the curved white tops, they replaced the white with rose gold and other colors.  It’s a trendy, fun look, but in a subtle hue, it’s still office appropriate.

Abra,

How do you find the right foundation?  I don’t even know where to begin looking.

Please guide me, Kay

The best place to go for a foundation consult is Sephora.  They have a machine that “reads” your skin color  and suggests foundations that will match it.  Then, the consultant tries those on your skin to see if you like the feel of them, if the match is right, and helps you pick the best one.

If you don’t have a Sephora in your area, the best place to go instead is the counter at any department store.   Take some time, go when the store isn’t busy, and ask all of your questions.

I recommend that foundation newbies start with a tinted moisturizer.  It’s lighter and will provide some coverage, while serving as a first step on the road to wearing a full face of makeup.  Laura Mercier is the gold standard, and she offers a lot more colors than she once did, so there are matches for most skin tones.

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  1. rra says:

    I have some additional mask suggestions – For acne I highly recommend the Beauty Counter charcoal mask (you can buy from corporate) and the Origins charcoal mask. For wrinkles/exfoliation, the drunk elephant babyfacial and goop exfoliating instant facial are both amazing. And for hydration, I think I am one of the very few who had no luck with Summer Fridays (in fact it made me break out), but the Laneige overnight sleeping mask is also amazing! The Glossier cloud mask is also great!

  2. Anne says:

    Belle, have you tried the SiO silicone patches? I’m very curious about them, but also highly skeptical. Maybe time for a Saw it on Social post?

    • Belle says:

      I just bought some for my Mom. I’ll get back to you with her thoughts. I did use a small silicone patch on a scar, and it helped smooth it out.

  3. BN says:

    First of all, THANK YOU for answering my question! Secondly, wow – thank you – very helpful, detailed, and much appreciated! I look forward to trying some of your suggestions soon.

  4. Tiffany says:

    I just wanted to comment to say that Latisse is actually now available without a prescription, and while it is very pricey (I think I bought it for like $189) it DEFINITELY works! I can’t speak to any of the other less expensive brands in comparison though, and have heard from friends and the internet that others are great too!

    • Summer says:

      Latisse devotee here! It’s definitely more effective than Grande Lash and Revitalash, both of which I’ve tried. I justify the cost by making a Latisse bottle last for 3-3.5 months. The trick is to buy the thinnest makeup brush you can find — I have a Sephora eyeliner brush that is slimmer than the disposable brushes provided with Latisse. I use my Sephora brush each evening, and rinse it well after. The disposable brushes soak up a lot of the Latisse, so you end up throwing more than half the product away on the used brushes. But I can get most of the liquid off my Sephora brush and onto my lash line. Another trick to make a bottle last longer is once your lashes have maxed out (which is after 3-4 months), use Latisse 5 times per week. I’ve found that to be often enough for maintenance.

  5. MCF says:

    I wanted to make a plug for Differin gel for adult acne. It used to be prescription only, but now you can buy it over the counter. It works wonders on acne and my dermatologist also recommended I use that instead of a prescription Retin A because it is great for aging as well.

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