I was happy for the big Colette announcement last week, but I’m glad to have another Wardrobe Architect post this week! My Thursday seemed a little incomplete without it. This week’s post was all about hair and beauty. I had a bit of a hard time finding a good picture to throw in here that typified my beauty “routine”, such as it is, and couldn’t find a recent one that was just me. (Except for a few of me modeling recent winter hats, and the best one of those had sunglasses marks on my nose. So here’s a throwback to last summer when I was in Jamaica. Partly because I look pretty good in this closeup, and partly because yesterday was warmish, and today is 30 degrees colder, and I’m missing it already.)
Anyway. For this one, I figured I’d just go through Sarai’s questions a little more interview-style.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What hair style has been most flattering and comfortable for you? How did it make you feel about yourself? Did it invoke any of the words you came up with in our core style exercise?
I’m definitely a long hair person. Aside from when I was a bald baby, I have never, ever had short hair in my life. The shortest cut I’ve ever had was shoulder-length when I was in third grade, and it’s been pretty long since then. I also had bangs until I was about 15, when I grew them out and never looked back. I also started dyeing my hair red when I was a teenager–it started with the dyes that would wash out after so many shampoos, because I didn’t want to commit to touching up roots. When I was in my 20s, it naturally went more red, so I’d just boost the color from time to time. Then in my later 20s, I discovered henna dye. I experimented with the powder and the blocks from Lush, but now I love these henna dyes that I get off of Amazon–the application is just like what you’d get in the drugstores, but without all of the chemicals. (And no more leaving mud on my hair overnight. Which is great, since I live with a guy now and our dogs would probably eat whatever flaked off.) I’ll probably have to go back to the chemical dyes at some point, when my hair goes more grey, but for now I’m quite happy with this system. If left to its own devices, my hair has gone back to what would naturally be that awful shade of mousy brown that it was when I was a kid, and I just feel better about myself when it’s red.
As a refresher, my core style words were Casual, Colorful, Artsy, Geeky, Cozy. I guess this would fall under casual and colorful. Maybe cozy, too, since long hair means my neck and ears stay warmer when it’s cold!
- How much makeup are you comfortable with? It could be no makeup, or a full face with contouring (and all that jazz I could never figure out). Or it could vary day to day.
It does vary slightly from day to day, but for the most part, I keep my makeup minimalistic. I have a mild but persistent case of rosacea, and I tend to sunburn easily. So my daily must-haves are a moisturizer with sunscreen, under-eye concealer, mineral powder foundation, and some kind of lip balm (usually Burt’s Bees). Most days, that’s it. I’ll sometimes add in a lip gloss, if I know I won’t be playing my flute until later in the day, or if I want to dress it up a little, I’ll add a little bit of eyeshadow and mascara.
Two side notes:
1. Except for my wedding day, I haven’t worn an actual lipstick in years. I experimented with it as a teenager, but discovered that lipstick and woodwind instruments don’t mix. Since I still pull out my flute on an almost daily basis for teaching, it’s just easier not to deal with it. And it actually feels really heavy to me now. If I want a hint of color, I always go with a gloss.
2. Confession time: the other trademark thing I always did as a teenager was glitter gel, which I’d wear on my eyelids every single day. It was much faster than eyeshadow, and I liked the sparkle. I drifted away from that in college when I was busy dragging myself out of the house to catch the bus for 8 AM classes, but I do still find that I like eyeshadows that have a bit of shimmer to them.
- How does your makeup and hair reflect your personal style? What do you feel they say about you and your aesthetics?
I think the keyword to both is “casual”. I just don’t want to spend a lot of time putting my face together, so to speak, and like my hair to be as low-maintenance as possible. My hair is just wavy enough that if it were much shorter, I would have to style it every single day, and most days, I can’t even be bothered to blow-dry it. So I like that I can just brush it out and leave it mostly straight, or pull it into a ponytail or braid, or play around with it in other ways. I do still wish I was better at styling my own hair, and occasionally play around with ideas I find on Pinterest to find some new ways that I can actually manage to style it. I have accepted my limits on my makeup skills by this point, though, and would rather put the effort into clothes and accessories.
I guess this would fall under makeup–the one exception is that once it’s warm enough for sandals, I usually have my toenails polished. And I definitely gravitate towards greens, blues, purples, things like that, pretty much anything that’s not the standard red and pink shades. Colorful!! (Maybe I should spring for a coral, though….hmm.)
- How much product do you want to own? Do you like collecting products, or would you rather just have a few essentials? How much bathroom clutter are you ok with?
I’d say a few essentials, with a few added treats for when I want to amp it up. I do have things fairly consolidated, but I could probably go through and get rid of things like some of my older nail polishes and eyeshadows and things. The eyeshadows I’ve had have lasted me for years and aren’t even close to running out.
- What requirements do you have for the products you buy? Do you stick with all natural products? Are there ingredients you avoid?
I wear contacts, so I have to make sure the products I use are safe for them. Due to my rosacea, I also have to stick with things that are labeled oil-free and non-comedogenic. I’ve seen lots of things about how great oil cleansing is for your face, and am kind of jealous and afraid to try it, because I do like to keep things as natural as I can. (Thus the henna dyes.) Like I said earlier, sunscreen is also a non-negotiable for me. Thanks, pale northern European ancestors.
- What colors feel best near your face? How do they relate to the color palette you created?
As you can see in the picture above, my eyes are a pretty dark brown, with no flecks of other colors. My makeup colors tend to be more earth-toned, for the most part. A lot of shades of browns, and the occasional olive-toned green. I sometimes play with purple, too–I once bought an eyeshadow pack that was supposed to be specifically for brown eyes, and I thought it looked pretty good. All of those are very firmly in my palette. When I do use lip gloss, it’s usually either clear, or a coppery tint.
- What colors never look right near your face? What colors have you tried and given up on before?
I keep seeing that cobalt blue is supposed to look great for brown eyes, and I do have one pack of that. But only because I used it for my punk fairy costume. I guess if I were to be completely honest, the silver-toned eyeshadows that I’ve played with for a long time don’t look the best on me either–gold/copper tones seem to work better with my eyes and skin. (But I am NOT giving up my silver jewelry!) In real life, I guess I usually feel like I don’t really want to look like I’m wearing a lot of makeup, and try to keep it as non-obvious as possible.
- How much time do you realistically want to spend getting ready in the morning?
As little as possible, especially on days that I work my garden center job. For one thing, my commute to there is three times what it was before I moved last summer. For another thing, especially in the summer when I have to sit outside, there’s no point because I’m just going to sweat it all off. Also, I like having time to eat breakfast.
- What types of scents do you gravitate towards? Do you wear perfume? Other scented products? What do you feel the scents you like communicate about your personality?
I do not wear perfume. When I do wear scented products, it’s exclusively body wash and lotion, when I’m not completely forgetting to put lotion on in the first place. I really should, because I’d really like to use up all of the more commercial lotions that I have, like from Bath & Body Works, and then just buy some natural homemade stuff off of Etsy when I need it. But I’m too
cheapfrugal to just throw out nearly-full bottles of lotion in the meantime.
The scented products I do have usually end up being scented with vanilla or some kind of citrus. I like the playfulness of the fresher, fruity scents, and the vanilla is cozy. Also, I’ve learned that floral scents give me a headache! One of my all-time favorite scented products was this body wash they used to have at Bath & Body Works, called Red Currant Thyme Tea. Sadly, it was discontinued awhile back, and now you can only get it by spending ridiculous amounts of money on Amazon or eBay. (But I just looked on Etsy, and at least one shop has a similar thing….ooh.)
I wrote this post on Thursday, and just as an experiment, I decided to take the extra 2 minutes to add a little eye makeup to my usual minimal routine. It actually did make a difference in the way I felt– even though my outfit for the day was pretty casual (jeans and a sweater, since it was thirty degrees colder than the day before–UGH), I felt a little more put-together. Even while my hair was still wet. So maybe this is something I should make a little more effort on.