Ask the Editor: Volume IV, No. Nineteen

Apr 24, 2024

Inside the reader mail bag there are questions about summer beauty, hiring a personal shopper, navigating a sudden breakouts, and more. Let’s dig in!

Hello,

My acne flares every time I get my period.  You’d think after thirty years that I would have this figure out, but I otherwise have completely clear skin.  You’ve mentioned that you have acne.  How do you treat  a sudden breakout?

Katya-M

If you otherwise have no acne, except around your period, I would consult your physician.  There might be a solution to what appears to be hormonal acne that goes beyond a topical treatment.  

Beyond that, I love these penetrating zit-stickers for treating a deep, under the skin blemish.  I also use these hydrocolloid bandages to shrink surface pimples fast.  You can also cut your own from larger sheets if the small dots don’t work for you, or you want to save money.

Finally, I am a big believer in this sheet mask from Dr. Jart.  Whenever my skin isn’t looking its best, I apply one ASAP for overnight results (just make sure to rub the remaining serum into the skin).

Hi,

Thank you so much for all your work on the blog. I was curious if you have advice for hiring a personal stylist (or any recommendations). I’d be looking for someone to help curate my wardrobe, but also advise on hair style, finding a decent DC hair stylist (have been going to supercuts for awhile), maybe even makeup too. Your blog has been so helpful at teaching me style basics, but I realized I’m willing to pay an expert at this point to handle it for me! Thank you!

Francesca

First off, I think Nordstrom has the best personal styling department out there, so it’s a good place to start looking.  There are also a number of image consultants and stylists working in D.C..  This Washingtonian article provides some options.

Also, Instagram is a great tool for finding a stylist who lives in your area or elsewhere.  I find that having a stylist who has a personal style that 1) you like and 2) you think suits you is best.  Some stylists are great at styling others without making them look like carbon copies of their own style, but not everyone is.  I had a stylist for a while who was a really Bohemian woman and pretty soon she was showing me tiered peasant skirts and bangle stacks that just weren’t my look.

Start looking with the hashtags #personalstylist, #onlinestylist, and #personalstylingservices.  Also, many influencers now offer personal styling in addition to their social media pages.

When you find a stylist, the most important thing is to be able to describe your daily life with specificity.  Where do you go, what do you do, how much time do you have to put in, can you go to a dry cleaner, how often do you dress up, etc. are all questions you should be able to answer.  If the stylist just sees a photo of a style you like, she may not know how that style needs to fit into your lifestyle.

Abra,

Can you help me find a US-sold SPF?  I know you use European sunscreens but I can’t wait 4-6 weeks for delivery.  Help.

SFA

As discussed previously, European sunscreens are just better than US sunscreens, but the important thing is to wear sunscreen and enough of it (most women don’t use enough product).  

I like Ultra Violette sun products.  They are European based, but since you can get them at Harrod’s, they ship much, much faster.  I just bought their body sunscreen, and I like that it’s also hydrating.

If you need something you can just grab at Target, I like the Alba Botanica brand.  Their products are cruelty free and plant based.  For Sloane, I buy the ThinkBaby sunscreen for sensitive skin and apply it with a handle brush to make sure I get it everywhere.  We make it a game so she’ll sit still long enough to do it.

I’m going to the LA opening of a theater production in late May. I’m an investor so I’m expecting I’ll be in a decent amount of photos with the other producers (which include celebs). The red carpet will be in the sunlight and I’ll be seeing the show and going to the party afterward.

I’d planned to wear a cocktail dress (I’m from DC) but was told that was “too New York” and now I’m at a loss. I’d love to look cool. I’m a 12-on top, 14/16 on bottom pear shape with a long torso so finding jumpsuits is difficult for me but that was my first thought.

Any recommendations? DC

How very cool.  And I agree, for LA, a sheath dress will feel a bit fussy and staid.  And I agree that a jumpsuit is the right vibe, but not the right look.  

Instead, how about a relaxed maxi dress?  Something that feels effortless but is cool.  This printed jacquard dress feels very SoCal.  This one has a slightly more refined look.  For something under-$300, try this Anthro maxi.

For other suggestions, try hot brands like Rhode, Agua Bendita, and La Double J.  Another suggestion from a friend of mine is to go to the website of a magazine like WWD, and search for similar events and see what people are wearing.

Can’t totally set aside the DC aesthetic?  I would wear this crepe Me + Em dress.  With the right heels and bag, it would feel effortlessly chic.  Several of their current dresses would work for this occasion.

A-

Can you recommend a bronzer that doesn’t make me look orange?

KL

This Ciele stick or this Saie creme bronzer.  Both work well.  From the drugstore, try this Well People bronzer stick.

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  1. Cecilia says:

    If you are looking for a DC-based makeup artist, I recommend Leah Margosis. She does wedding makeup (that’s how I know her) but does private lessons and personal shopping too.

  2. Katelyn says:

    For hormonal acne, I use retin-A and Winlevi (you need a prescription for these). What finally cleared me totally was adding 500mg of niacinamide twice a day. You can get this on Amazon.

  3. strin012 says:

    My go-to sunscreen is Elta MD’s tinted sunscreen, which you can order on Amazon. It’s a little on the spendy side, but only barely. It’s also great if you have any skin allergies. https://www.amazon.com/EltaMD-Acne-Prone-Lightweight-Dermatologist-Recommended/dp/B00ZPWR0N8?

  4. katel says:

    I swear by Elta MD UV clear for sunscreen. Layers nicely under makeup without pilling. Runner up is Naturium (also sold at Target)

    Makeup by Mario bronzer is lovely for cool/neutral toned skin

  5. K says:

    Abra, do you find the Alba Botanica sunblock products hydrating? Neutrogena seems to no longer make their water gel sunblock that I’ve used daily for years on my arms, which has been a lifesaver living in the desert. Been having a rough time finding an alternative and equally affordable option for daily use.

  6. Jules says:

    If you live near Trader Joe’s the Daily Facial Sunscreen (orange tube) is really great! It has a smooth silicone-y texture and wears well under make up.

  7. Sammy says:

    Ultra Violette is actually made in Australia. It’s a great product!

  8. Kristin says:

    I order my European suncreen from Care to Beauty and it arrives in 2-4 days! UVMune is my favorite!

    • Ariel says:

      Thanks for this website rec! I found amazing sunscreen in Portugal last summer that security confiscated. Didn’t know a reputable site to order from until now!

  9. Lauren says:

    That crepe Me + Em dress is so chic! Looks very Meghan Markle-LA style. Great rec!

  10. K says:

    I’ve worked with two personal stylists, online only, and was happy with both of their services albeit at different price points and different services: 1 – Sam Hershman at Watson Style Group (watsonstylegroup.com) offers exactly what it sounds like you are looking for. I worked with her for several seasons where we discussed my needs, she and her team shopped for me and shipped the clothes to me, and then we did try-on sessions to assess fit and styling. I was really pleased with the clothing she chose for me, most of which I would never have thought to look at. I only moved on from her because their pricing model changed and it no longer made sense for my budget. 2- Camellia Jade of Style Finder (@camellia_jade on IG) does one-hour online style sessions where I was able to show her items I have and she suggested how to style them, pieces to add to flesh out my wardrobe, and generally give me ideas on style for my body size/shape, lifestyle, etc. She did not “shop for me” like Sam did, but she was brilliant at suggesting small tweaks to make an existing clothing item look great on my body, and she suggested items I could look for to finish an outfit for example. This option was more budget friendly as I only paid per the hour of her time and she was fine with just doing a one-hour session.

  11. ashley says:

    I just spent the last 1/2 hour in the rabbit hole of the Me+Em website. I had not heard of them before, and they speak to my East-Coast-fashion-loving-SoCal-living-self. Thank you!

  12. Pam says:

    A few thoughts. I love the elta MD sunscreen their mineral versions. Especially the tinted.
    Second. Those dresses on me+ em are swoon worthy!

    I need someone in DC area to come help me clean my closet. Help decide what to get rid of and what is great for me….

  13. Steph says:

    I had a great experience working with Kate Breen of Get Dressed Go. She has many services available, including personal shopping and a closet audit. She is based in Rockville but works virtually as well!

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