I’m no style guru, nor am I a makeup artist or a hairdresser. I’m just a girl who’s interested in these things and has gone through a lot of trial and error when it comes to finding which clothes, beauty products, and hair styles work for her. Thankfully, I’ve crimped my hair and looked like I stuck my finger in an electric outlet so you don’t have to. Here are some general fashion and beauty tips I’ve amassed over the years.
In the workplace, take a cue from you co-workers. If they’re all dressed in business casual attire, then follow suit. But stay true to you, too. Maybe you love accent jewelry or maybe it’s high heels you adore. There are ways to sneak things in to make the outfits feel like “you” while still abiding by company guidelines.
Accessorize. Great accessories can completely change an outfit. They can make an old cardigan and jeans feel completely new. Accessories are what will help you dress an outfit up (heels, with some pearls or a statement necklace) or dress it down (Converse and a draped scarf).
Have an outfit that makes you feel confident. More than one if you can help it. Amy touched on the power of a perfect pair of jeans and a white top. I couldn’t agree more. But if that’s not for you, find something that is. In the cooler months, for me it’s some ballet flats, a great pair of dark skinnies, and some type of cardigan/tee/scarf combination. In the summer, I’m all about sundresses.
Experiment, or don’t. There will likely be some clothes that feel more “you” than others. But that doesn’t mean you can’t switch it up once in a while. If you’re mostly a jeans-and-a-T-Shirt kinda girl, there’s nothing wrong with trying out a skirt (except for those annoying people who will be all, “oooh, why are you all dressed up?!” and then you can just say you’re preparing for their upcoming funeral or something). Then again, if you never want to try anything new, you don’t have to. Screw the haters.
For curly-haired ladies like myself, use a diffuser if you’re blow drying your hair. And never towel dry – use a microfiber towel or a T-Shirt.
Always dry your hair on the lowest setting, with the coolest temperature. It helps minimize not only frizz, but damage to your hair.
Your hair stylist can always tell if you trim your own hair. You’re going to do it anyway, but I’m telling ya, they know.
Work with your natural texture. Whether it’s pin-straight or curly ringlets, your hair is totally fine the way it is. I spent years straightening my curls only to realize I like (maybe even love) my curly hair — even though it’s a total pain sometimes. I suggest doing a bit of Googling to figure out the best way to care for you specific type of hair. (Mine is considered a 2B.) There are so many resources out there; read up, and try some stuff out!
Play. You’re never too old to try a new hairstyle, even if it’s just as simple as learning a new braid. YouTube and Pinterest are perfect for hairstyle inspiration!
Go sulfate-free. Sulfate tends to cause frizzy hair and can be harmful for colored hair. You don’t need sulfates in your shampoo, so why not skip it? While you’re at it, alcohol-free hair gel, especially in curl-defining product, works well, too.
It doesn’t have to be expensive. I’m obsessed with E.L.F. products. They are cheap, but they work really well, especially their eye shadow and blush. They have great makeup brushes for cheap, too. If you tend to go through nail polishes quickly, or you like changing the color frequently, check out their nail polish. (But I wouldn’t recommend it as a long-lasting polish. It does chip somewhat easily.)
When painting your nails, start with a clear base coat. It helps keep your polish on longer. (Who knew?)
What works for “everyone else” may not work for you. I hate eyelash curlers, even though they are kind of a big deal in the beauty world. Just because your BFF swears by one thing doesn’t mean it will be the end-all, be-all for you, too.
Remove your makeup before bed. The magazines got at least one thing right. Your skin will thank you!
Try primers. I’ve invested in eyeshadow primer (and by “invested,” I mean, I spent, like, $2 from E.L.F.) and it’s totally changed my life. I have watery eyes, so primers helps keep my makeup in place.
Find a great moisturizer with SPF. The recommendation is to use a heavier moisturizer in the winter, a lighter one in the summer, but I use Aveeno Clear Complexion year-round and it works amaaaazingly for me. As fun as it is to play around with different colored lipsticks and eyeshadows, if a product is working well for you, why mess with it? As long as your moisturizer has some kind of SPF in it, I say don’t worry about it.
Do you have any beauty and fashion tips to share?
25 to Life is an ongoing column that chronicles Crystal’s life as she prepares to turn 25. See her previous columns here.