Beauty Notebook

Dark Side PSA: Be Nice to Your Beauty Advisor!

Some of the happiest, proudest, and most fulfilling moments in my life happened when I was a Beauty Advisor (hereafter to be referred to as BA) for Clinique, Estee Lauder, and Lancôme. Unfortunately, some of my most stressful, exasperating, and frustrating moments have also occurred during this time. If you would indulge me for a moment ….please be nice to your BA. Here’s why.BA pics

  1. We’re not all mean girls. You know what I’m talking about. That preconceived notion that BA’s are nothing more than conceited, arrogant women or men. In some instances that be true. But if you get to know us, you’ll see that we are friendly, love what we do, and honestly want to provide you with top-notch skin care and cosmetics advice. If you get to know a particular BA, they will be your friend for life at that counter! They’ll throw some samples in your bag, give you advance notice of special sales and promotions, and let you know when company makeup artists are in town. And, believe me, you do not want to miss that day!
  2. We’re not airheads. A customer once referred to me as one. Not to my face, but as she was leaving my counter. I find your lack of faith disturbing. BA’s are highly trained professionals. Some are even licensed cosmetologists with years of school and training. Cosmetic companies require their BA’s to have multiple, off site trainings throughout the year, including role playing segments (UGH. Just UGH!!!). Regional managers also stop in frequently for additional on-site trainings and product updates. Our clients are the ones who benefit from the knowledge gained through this continuous training.
  3. We’re not just “perfume sprayers”. I also had that lovely little ditty thrown at me before. Do you know how many products some beauty lines have? Besides fragrance? Multiple skin care lines for different types of skin concerns; four or five mascaras that do completely different things; lip products in hundreds of shades, formulations, and finishes; twenty shades of foundations in various formulas; concealers and color correctors; waterproof formulas of multiple products; hair products; and deodorants for crying out loud. Not to mention all the limited edition, holiday promotions, and gifts with purchase. As stated previously in point #2, I am a highly trained professional and not just in perfume.
  4. Can you make me look like Rihanna? While I am completely confident in my skills as a makeup artist, no I cannot make you look like Rihanna. I can try to use similar colors and products on you, but here are the facts. You might be a 40 year old woman with completely different features. I may not have the fluorescent green eyeshadow she is wearing in that picture. And that picture is an advertisement for (insert company name here) that has most-likely been photo shopped and airbrushed. I also cannot make you look like the client that just left my counter. We all look different. Products that work well for one person may not work for you. Companies have different colors and collaborations with celebrities. If you have your heart set on using colors from an ad that you’ve seen in a copy of InStyle, it might be best to try that brand first. MAC will thank you and so will I. I will not be offended.
  5. Don’t let my look scare you away. Please don’t assume that because I look like Snow White’s spinster Aunt that I’m going to make you look the same way. Paler than snow skin, black eyeliner, completely matte face with blood red lips is just my signature look. BA’s have so many colors to choose from, and if you have an idea of what you want to try, say it loud and proud! One of our great joys is to play with different skin tones, face shapes, and individuals that love cosmetics as much as we do. If you want rose gold colors, that’s what we’re going to go for!

You may have noticed that I left out a few controversial BA topics:  sales, sales goals, and pushy BA’s. That may be a future post, if I have the strength. I prefer to keep my blog on the positive Dark Side. That’s not always possible but try I do. Being a BA is a glamorous, fun, sometimes difficult and stressful job but it is also very rewarding. I wouldn’t change 95% of it, except the few things I mentioned today.  Be nice and thank your BA today! Ask the cosmetic department if you can run to the food court and get them a drink! Send pictures and thank you notes after they do your makeup for an event! They will never forget you!

Beauty Q & A

JDJennifer asked:  What is the proper way to contour your face?

Much to learn, you still have!  A couple of years ago I would have said that this was an unnecessary step, but now I see the major difference it has made on my own face. It all depends on your face shape. This chart is one that I have referenced for years now. I absolutely must contour the sides of my wide nose, my huge forehead (lovingly referred to as my “fivehead”) and underneath my very round cheeks.  Contouring is meant to create a shadow to diminish problem areas, where as highlighting brings areas into prominence. contour (1)

Is it a necessary step?  Not really, unless those areas cause you stress.  I’m partial to two products right now, Benefit’s Hoola Bronzer and the Wet n Wild Dulce De Leche Duo.  Both are cult classics, and all you need is a good contouring brush.  With a little bit of practice and good blending you’ll eventually get the hang of it!  And you’ll see what a world of difference it makes!  IMG_3021


Thank you Jennifer for submitting your question, may the force be with you!


Beauty Q & A

Several of my sweetest friends asked me their most pressing beauty questions.  Boy, did they try to stump me! I’m honored that they would want my advice on skin, hair and beauty issues.  So let’s get going!

LaneyLaney asked:  How do I keep my beautiful blonde hair frizz free in the Kansas humidity?




Dealt with this same issue I have.  My wavy, frizzy, coarse and color treated hair has been through it all!  My tried and true fixes are a good smoothing shampoo and conditioner, a frizz-fighting serum and a ceramic straightening iron.  Right now I am truly loving the Schwarzkopf Ultime Satin Frizz Control shampoo and conditioner that I get at WalMart.  It leaves my uncontrollable mane sleek and smooth and smelling wonderful.  Then I go totally old school with John Frieda’s Frizz Ease, which I apply to my soaking wet hair.  If I air dry, my waves are smooth and defined.  If I chose to blow it dry, I always use a ceramic iron.  They are safer and my hair stays straight until wash it again. That’s my easy recipe for frizz-free hair!  FB_IMG_1489688286189

Thank you Laney for trusting me with your beauty concerns, you have now crossed over to the Dark Side.  Until next we meet again…


Aging Gracefully into the Next Galaxy

This December I will turn 50.  There, I said it.  I didn’t mind turning 30 or 40, didn’t have a care in the world.  But 50 is like an obscene F word to me.  I hear someone talking about dropping an “F Bomb” and assume that they are also approaching 50.

The funny thing is, I’m constantly told that I don’t look anywhere near my age.  When I was 44, I took one of those high falutin’, fancy 3D skin analyzer tests.  I answered a bunch of questions, placed my face in this contraption and a couple minutes later had a print out that said I looked…..28!!!  Imagine my mid 40’s joy when I saw those results!


This is what 39 looks like

Let’s face it, the aging process is not fair to women.  When men age, they look like Sean Connery.  Unfortunately when women age, they also look like Sean Connery.  I’m doing my best to avoid that scenario!  Here are a couple very easy and effective age-prevention steps I’ve been doing for years, and have no intention of stopping!

Triple Cleansing — I know it sounds a bit much, but when you wear as much makeup on a daily basis as I do, it’s makes a world of difference.  I start with a makeup remover wipe, Neutrogena or any of the packs from Marshall’s that you get for $2.99 work quite well.  Wipes are a quick and easy way to remove that yucky first layer of foundation, powder, and eye makeup.  I follow with a makeup removing cream, oil, or balm.  These break down and gently remove all traces of cosmetics and sunscreens.  Clinique’s Take The Day Away Balm or Burt’s Bees Makeup Removing Oil are excellent products.  The third step is a face cleanser that will remove dirt, oil and environmental factors that accumulate on my face during the day.  I prefer Oil Free Cetaphil or Clinique’s Oily Skin Liquid Facial Soap.  I have a rotating facial brush that I use a couple times a week with this step.

Products Galore — I like to rotate and try new skin care products constantly, as I feel my skin does better this way.   And when I return to my favorites, they work even better.  This step may not work for you, but you know your skin better than anyone!  The one product I cannot and will not be without is Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair.  I wrote about this serum in my “Hall of Fame” post.  I use this twice a day without fail.  I believe in both chemical and manual exfoliation and love Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion #4.  It’s the highest strength, but my skin has built up to that level of exfoliation.  This is not the Sea Breeze or Ten O Six Lotion that we used in middle school!  Apologies to you Millennials who have no idea what those products are!   PSA!!!!!  I do NOT use my rotating brush on the nights I’ve used the Clarifying Lotion.  Much too strong and your face will pay for it!  Additional lotions and potions on the Dark Side vanity are Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, Lancome’s Renegie Lift, Lauder’s Resilience Lift, anything from the First Aid Beauty or Philosophy lines, and facial oils from Tarte, Farsali, and Josie Maran.  Stay tuned to the Dark Side blog for more detailed posts about these products!

SUNSCREEN –This is, HANDS DOWN, the most important anti-aging preventative.  A sun burn is a disaster for a fair-skinned brunette like me.  I stay out of direct sunlight and always, always make sure my skincare or cosmetics have an SPF in it.  And I reapply.  I simply do not forget.  I use SPF 50 or greater on my body, and at least 25 SPF on my face. This step truly is a no brainer.


49 and feelin’ fine

Following these steps has made this almost 50 year old look 34.  I would like to think that if I took another skin analysis test it would read the same, if not better!  So I’m going to continue with what got me here, aging gracefully, headed into the dreaded F Bomb Decade!

I’d love to know your tips, tricks and products!  Comment below and let me in on your secrets, I promise I won’t tell!