My 101

101: Educated Consumerism

Now that we’re through all the holiday sales that test our resolve, it seems like a great time to talk about educated consumerism and how we can all be a little bit better in the new year. I’ve got some quick beginner “rules,” some background info on the types of brands I like to support and those that I choose not to, and then a more in-depth guide with some resources for choosing the best products for your personal needs. I’m writing this specifically with makeup in mind, but you can definitely apply some of these ideas to shopping in general. Learning to think more critically about the items we purchase and consume is never a bad thing.

First, a few quick tips to get you started on the path of smarter and better purchases:

1. Don’t buy anything limited edition, period. Items produced in a limited run are often not at the same level of quality as the brand’s permanent line, and these products are typically so hyped up that the “must buy ASAP” drive often wins out over logic since you don’t really “have the time” to wait for reviews or even do your own research. As a general statement, I don’t buy limited edition products and I am still alive and well.

2. If you wouldn’t buy it anyway, don’t buy it just because it’s on sale. If a $45 item is on sale, you’re not “saving 20%,” you’re spending $36, so if it wasn’t on your radar to begin with, take a minute to really consider why you want this item.

3. If it’s a “weird” or unconventional color that isn’t really appropriate for your every day life, look for a “dupe” or cheaper alternative. I’ll go a bit more in-depth with this one when we discuss cost per use.

4. Do your research! Obviously not every product will work for every skin type or tone, but even beyond that, our wallets have much louder voices than we often care to think about and where you choose to spend your money speaks volumes. (Don’t believe me? Whole Foods got so big they’re now owned by Amazon. If you keep supporting the things you believe in, they may become more readily available. Your shopping decisions do matter!)

Personally, I choose not to support brands who exploit or appropriate from marginalized groups, use sweat shops, are owned by known and unrepentant racists, or manufacture in China. I also try not to support anything owned by L’Oreal due to their violent and antisemitic past. You don’t necessarily need to have these same values, but figure out what you care about and stick to it.

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My 101

101: A Place in the Sun

This one’s been in the making for a very long time, but I really wanted to make sure I understood what I was talking about before I shared it with you. I’m talking about sun protection, for both face and body, and there is way more to it than just SPF. You can find sun protection in creams, sprays, oils, and even cosmetics these days, but not all sunscreens are created equal. I’ve spent so much time researching this topic and I’m finally ready to let you guys know what’s good (and what’s not) to help protect your body’s largest organ.


Skin cancer now affects one in five people, including my grandfather, my neighbor, and probably someone you know too. Anyone can get it, no matter how fair or deep your skin may be. That’s not to say certain people aren’t particularly susceptible, and I’ll talk more about who needs to be especially careful further on in the post. It’s painful, it’s deadly, and it looks pretty nasty too. Just take the two minutes/day and protect yourself – especially if you live in an area where the sun’s always out or it’s extra strong (Oregon and New Zealand come to mind).

Let’s start with some basic terminology, so you can identify what’s happening in your products and if they’re the right choice for you. I’m not a science teacher, so I’ll keep the explanations to a minimum, but I’ve linked all my sources below if you want to read further.

There are two types of radiation from the sun – UVA and UVB. UVA rays are less intense than UVB, but they actually penetrate the skin more deeply which leads to aging, wrinkles, and sun spots. From “UVA is the dominant tanning ray, and we now know that tanning, whether outdoors or in a salon, causes cumulative damage over time. A tan results from injury to the skin’s DNA; the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent further DNA damage. These imperfections, or mutations, can lead to skin cancer.” UVB is less prevalent than UVA, but much stronger, and this is what leads to redness and sunburn as it damages the skin’s outermost layer (epidermis). Too much exposure to UVA or UVB can contribute to the growth and development of skin cancer. Ideally you’d use a product that protects against both – these are usually labeled as broad spectrum. You can also refer to the UV Index to help you make the best decisions for your daily sun protection.

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My 101

101: Tips for Glasses

So the thing with makeup & glasses is that it’s not really about the frames – it’s about the lenses. The lenses are what alter the look of your eyes: prescriptions for nearsightedness or astigmatism can make your eyes seem smaller, while those for farsightedness can often make the eyes appear much larger. The goal then is to tweak your makeup in a way that provides a balance – if your eyes look smaller behind your frames, you should take steps to help them look bigger/more open and vice versa. I’m focusing on nearsightedness and astigmatism here because that is what I have the most personal experience with, but there will be tips for those of you who are farsighted throughout the post as well!

Makeup is of course very personal and you should do what you want, but you should know this by now and I’m not going to take any more time for disclaimers or preemptive apologies.



Brighter/Wider: One of the best ways to make your eyes appear larger and brighter is by applying a nude or flesh-toned eyeliner to the waterline. Alternatively, if your lenses magnify your eyes, reach for deeper shades like black, brown, or even navy to pull everything back into proportion.

I use: Anastasia Beverly Hills Pro Pencil / ColourPop “Cry Baby” Creme Gel Liner

Neons & Drama: Some sources may discourage this, but I definitely do not. One of my favorite things about wearing glasses is that they kind of “minimize” any look you decide to go for. For me, that means I can raise hell with neons, brights, and otherwise dramatic eyeshadows that might otherwise be “too much” without the frames. If you have particularly “loud” frames, it helps to use shades that complement rather than clash, but with a color wheel as your guide you can go as bright or dark as you like. Glasses do not relegate you to neutrals-only eyeshadows!

I use: Melt Cosmetics Radioactive eyeshadow stack

Under Eye Correcting: Now this is a concern regardless of the types of lenses you wear. Glasses can often cast a shadow onto the lower part of your eyes, exaggerating any kind of darkness or discoloration in the under eye area. Concealer alone may not be enough to resolve this, but I’ve been really happy with the results of a peach toned color corrector. Don’t forget to set your under eye with a powder that prevents light reflection, this can bring more attention to the area.

I use: Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish powder / Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Bisque Neutralizer

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My 101, My Routine

Travel Beauty: Skin Savers

flight path

It doesn’t matter if your skin is super oily or dry as a desert, a day of travel wreaks havoc on your face. While you can’t completely prevent this from happening, there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage. As a West Coast transplant with tons of family and friends back east, I’m practically a pro at safeguarding my skin through a full day of flying. Here are a few of the things I do to prevent total annihilation of my skin, from the day before to the night after.

The Day Before:

This is going to come up a lot, but: water water water! Being well-hydrated is arguably the number one most important skincare rule in the universe. Drink lots of water. It’s basically like moisturizing your whole body, from the inside out. If you hate drinking water, or you just forget to do it, and all the things you know about drinking water aren’t enough – just think of your skin! Water helps keep your skin looking youthful and plump, and reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Please note, water alone cannot cure or prevent the natural signs of aging, but it may help slow down the process and look less obvious. The usual recommendation is eight glasses per day, but I prefer to just use a big water bottle or mason jar. If you’ve got quart-sized mason jars at home, try to drink two or three every day – but especially when preparing for travel.

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My 101

Product Highlight: Facial Oils

Facial oils! No not like the kind you battle with mattifying powders or blotting papers, but the kind you put on your face on purpose! Oil as a part of my skincare routine may have been my best discovery of 2015, and I just can’t get enough. Argan, passion fruit, marula, almond… you name it – they all serve a purpose (and feel so nice).

I use oils for my face, my hair, even my nails to help hydrate, smooth, and repair. If this all sounds like a complete mystery to you, just keep reading for a full breakdown on oils as skincare and a few of my favorite products.

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