Archive | Beauty Tips RSS feed for this section

The Simple Makeup Rule: Wear It!

2 Mar


Yves Saint Laurent 'Rouge Volupte' Lipstick, Sephora, $34

One rule for the chic, professional woman is (repeat after me) always wear makeup in the office.  I know, I know…Some of you may hate makeup and, if you have the glowing, flawless, blemish-free skin of a newborn babe, then perhaps you can get away with wearing no makeup (and if you are so blessed, please, please, please share your invaluable beauty secrets with us, the less fortunate beings that we are).  Most of us, however, were realistically (whether we want to face it or not) just not blessed with the ageless appearance of a goddess, so we must do a little extra to get that polished look that’s office-ready.   Also, keep in mind:  even if you are enjoying refreshment from a seemingly-eternal fountain of youth, younger-looking women often look intern-young when they go bare-faced to the office; makeup can add sophistication to your look.

Many women suffer from serious fatigue because we juggle so much – we’re not only professionals, but we take on countless other roles including volunteer, mom, wife/partner, community activist, faithful friend, and the list goes on.  Nevertheless, to remain successful in our careers, we have to summon up enough energy to drag our rear ends out of our beds and to our desks each morning (with the help of strong, caffeinated beverages, of course). 

While many of you definitely have legitimate reasons for being utterly exhausted (we know we do), appearances still matter in the workplace.  You do not want to bump into your boss first thing in the morning, looking like you just got hit by a freakin’ Mack truck; rather, you want to look excited to be arriving at the office (even if you’re not) and ready to take on the next high-profile  assignment (even if you’re not).  Thank goodness, makeup can help you in the looking-excited-and-ready-to-work department even on days when your mind has checked out and your body is longing to be lounging in Maui.

Now, ladies, don’t get us wrong.  We are by no means telling you to cake layer upon layer of brightly-hued makeup onto your faces; showing up at work looking like a clown is right up there with looking like you got hit by a Mack truck.  In our opinion, the best office look is a natural look (however, Forbes Woman says bold makeup can be office-appropriate if you know how to work it; we just don’t trust ourselves with the bold look for the office). 

If you’re not sure how to achieve the best natural look for you, get thee to your nearest department store where you can seek counsel from a consultant at your preferred makeup counter.  Also, once you’ve got the right makeup in your bag, please try to find time in your hectic day to touch up; smudged eyeliner, smeared lipstick and greasy skin do not convey energy and enthusiasm, my friends.

We are interested in knowing our readers’ and friends’ top five office makeup essentials.  Our top five office makeup must-haves are (1) a good concealer to hide those dark circles from getting five hours or less of sleep; (2) a foundation to give our skin a smooth, flawless finish; (3) a colorless blot powder to control shine throughout the day; (4) a lipstick that is not necessarily nude but that complements our skin tone without looking goth, vampish, or punk-rockish; and (5) mascara to give our eyelashes a lift and eyes a pop.

While taking inventory of our bulging makeup bags, we realized that we have contributed way too much of our income to MAC Cosmetics and need to broaden our horizons a little (while we’ve never actually tried the YSL lipstick pictured above, we feel compelled to because its packaging is oh-so-pretty).  Below, in order of preference, are the five pieces of makeup we’d choose (knowing what we know today) if we were stranded on an island with no other makeup (thank goodness we’re not because we’re major PJs (product junkies)):

MAC Select Sheer SPF15 Foundation,, $26

MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer,, $16.50

MAC Lipstick,, $14

Our favorite shade of MAC lipstick is ‘Fetish’ (a brown with a hint of shimmer) (not the color shown – we’re not bold enough to wear this red to the office). 

MAC Zoom Lash,, $13

 While we must admit that we also adore DiorShow Iconic Mascara, at $27 a pop, we’ve scaled down our taste to the $13 MAC Zoom Lash since, in our view, they give about the same effect (we tried one product on one set of lashes and one on the other and could hardly tell the difference, but we may need glasses). 

MAC Blot Pressed Powder,, $22

 We would love to hear about your office makeup essentials; perhaps you can provide a more diverse selection of product brands and convince us to venture away from MAC! 

And, last but not least, thanks to our dear friend Terri for inspiring us to write this post about office makeup!


Chipped Nails are Sooo Anti-Chic!

26 Feb

Essie 'Sugar Daddy' polish,, $4

Sure, we are all busy and can barely find the time to shower, put on makeup and get dressed for our overscheduled, hectic days.  However, an overbooked calendar is no excuse, my dears, to have nails that look trashy and unprofessional.  Wearing a loud, unprofessional nail color to the office or to an interview can kill an otherwise chic look.  Just the same, wearing a classic color that has become chipped is a huge no-no! 

It is so distracting to watch someone who has disgusting nails share an idea in a meeting (or God forbid, an interview) using hand gestures.  If you are a person who loves to use your hands when you talk (you know who you are – we are in the same club with you), keep your digits in check!  Besides, manicured nails aren’t just about other people; they make you feel even more confident which is a major plus for performance.  When, on the other hand (no pun intended), you know your nails look bad, you start balling up your fingers or concentrating on hiding them instead of focusing on fully engaging with your colleagues or clients.  

So here are a few tips for keeping your hands looking manicure-fresh even when you’re short on time (and/or money):

1.  For emergency situations, keep nail essentials in your office drawer.  We keep nail polish remover, nail clippers, a file and hand moisturizer in our office drawers at all times.  (Preferably, you’ll want to use the instant nail polish remover that allows you to stick your finger inside for quick removal without making a mess.  And, remember, quick removal is key because you don’t want to scent up your entire office suite!)  This way, if we are in a mad-rush in the a.m. and realize, after getting to our desks, that our nails look horrible, we can close our doors, discreetly remove all traces of polish and tidy up any overgrown or uneven nails before a big meeting. 

2.    Wear neutral colors to the office to avoid the risks of (a) wearing an inappropriate color and (b) getting really noticeable chips.  As much as we love a short, classic red nail, we do not wear dark polish to work because, in this swine-flu era, everyone is washing their hands a gazillion times a day which inevitably leads to chips.  Beige and light pinks are very close to the natural color of your nail so generally won’t show chips.  To stay on the safe side, avoid high-maintenance, dark polishes in the office unless you work in a creative field (like fashion).  And for goodness’ sake, please do not wear one of these trendy, fluorescent colors to the office.  Blue, green, yellow – no, no, no!  Black – don’t even think about it (we don’t care if it’s a $23 bottle of Chanel, that doesn’t make it alright)!

While we prefer a French manicure, we often don’t have time.  Our favorite do-it-yourself sheer pink right now is Essie’s ‘Sugar Daddy’ (pictured above) which complements a lot of our wardrobe and looks oh-so-chic.  Another sheer pink which can be found in drugstores like CVS is Milani in Angel Pink.  (Oh, and we are a little addicted to nail colour, so we keep plenty of polishes for every occasion on hand.  To keep our nail colour budgets in check, we like to order our faves online at, a site that has premium polishes at very low prices (e.g., Essie which sells for $8 at Nordstrom for as low as $4 at Transdesign; OPI for as low as $4.99; China Glaze for as low as $2.60)).

3.  Wear a top coat.  A good top coat will help your manicure keep longer and look super-shiny.  We apply an extra layer of top coat when our polish starts looking a little drab to buy us an extra day or so of wear.  Our fave top coat right now is a drugstore-staple, Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat.  We can apply one coat of this over an old manicure and zip out the door 15 minutes later, looking like we just left our manicurist’s chair.  If we’re in a super-rush, we also submerge our nails in a bowl of ice cold water to seal the Sally Hansen.  Another great top coat we’ve tried is Healthy Hoof Nail Lacquer (it was made for horse’s hoofs, but works miracles on humans’ nails — is great for nail growth aid as well).

4.  Keep your nails fairly short and low-maintenance.  OK, I know some of you will not like this one, but it works for us.  Clipping our nails just as they grow over our nail beds keeps them looking professional and saves us the headache of needing to file and clip and primp them constantly.  We don’t have to deal with nightmarish breaks and we are able to type a gazillion words-per-minute on our keyboards without error.  If you do like a longer nail, please, please, please don’t go with the fang, vampire look (and avoid acrylics if possible – they’re an expense and time-killer you can probably live without).  Remember, we are dressing for the jobs we want and how often do we see executive women who are in partner, CEO or VP positions flaunting claw-like nails?  If you have the opposite problem and bite your nails down until your nail beds are swollen and inflamed, please try one of those anti-nail-biting polishes (readers, if you have overcome a nail-biting habit, feel free to offer your advice here because we haven’t tried any of the nail-biting products).

Well, ladies, there you have it!  Go treat yourselves to a manicure this weekend (or give yourselves one at home).  You deserve it!