We asked what intimidates you most about beauty, and you answered: wearing red lipstick, committing to a new hairstyle, waxing your legs, wearing false eyelashes and applying liquid eyeliner. But don’t fear: Follow our step-by-step guides, and you’ll learn how to get each look right.
1. Red Lipstick
“I shy away from red lipstick because I’m afraid it’s too flashy and will make me look like a clown.”—Kielin Greeley, 40, Tenafly, NJ
If you’re used to wearing muted colors, a rich, saturated red may seem too bold for anything but special occasions. But red lipstick is weekday-wearable, says Poppy King, founder of Lipstick Queen Cosmetics. The trick: pinpointing the shade that works best for you. (See King’s recommendations, below.)
Application Tip “Paint on color with a lipbrush,” suggests King. “This allows you to control the amount of color you’re using for a more subtle look.” Dab the brush onto the tip of your lipstick and lightly sweep it onto your lips, working from the center outward to the edges.
A handy guide to choosing the red that complements your skin tone:
Light Skin: Cool blue-based reds like Maybelline New York Color Sensational Lipcolor in Red Revival ($7.49; at drugstores) will enhance your rosy complexion.
Dark Skin: Pick a red with a touch of brown to highlight the warm hints of caramel in your skin. Try Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in Crimson ($8.99; at drugstores).
Medium Skin: Go for an orangey shade such as CoverGirl LipPerfection Lipcolor in Hot ($6.50; at drugstores), which will reflect the yellow undertones in your skin. Photo: Todd Huffman/Woman's Day
2. New Hairstyle
“I want to try a different look, but I don’t know how to explain to my stylist exactly what I want.”—Karen McCalla, 42, Wichita, KS
Avoid a hair “don’t” by speaking your stylist’s language. Luis Alvarez, stylist and cofounder of the Aquage hair care line, gives the real meaning behind commonly misused salon phrases.
“Thin it out." “This will prompt your stylist to remove large amounts of hair with thinning shears or a razor,” says Alvarez. The problem: If you have fine hair, thinning can make it look lifeless. Instead, discuss challenges you’re having (“My hair looks too thick and puffy!”) so your stylist can come up with a cut that solves your problem.
“Take a little off the ends.” “When a stylist hears this, she’ll evaluate your cut and chop off whatever she feels is necessary to reshape it,” Alvarez explains. Unless you’re specific, she may cut more than you had in mind.
“I want highlights.” These lighter streaks are meant to create a multidimensional color effect. But, Alvarez explains, “there are several options.” A half-head of highlights means your colorist will lighten select strands just beyond your crown to your forehead; a full head also includes the strands that rest against the nape of your neck. Face-framing highlights are concentrated along your crown and hairline.
“Hide my wrinkles.” Say this and your stylist may assume you want blunt-cut bangs that, literally, cover forehead wrinkles—when maybe all you need is a cut that softens your features. “Ask for face-framing layers instead,” says Alvarez. Photo: Todd Huffman/Woman's Day
“I know waxing lasts longer than shaving, but the process seems difficult and painful.”—Eileen Wharton, 48, Mesa, AZ
“Waxing can be simple and pain-free,” says Cindy Barshop, owner of hair removal spa Completely Bare.
Before You Wax • Exfoliate with a sugar-based scrub. This prevents breakouts by removing dead skin around your hair follicles. • Clean the area with a cotton ball soaked in witch hazel. “This astringent will remove excess oil so wax sticks properly,” Barshop explains. • Before applying wax, pull skin taut. “That makes it easier to remove the strip in one clean motion,” she says.
After You Wax • Remove leftover wax by dipping a cotton ball in baby oil and swiping it over the area. The oil lubricates your skin so residue will easily slip off. • “If you’ve waxed your lip, don’t use antiaging products for 24 hours,” warns Barshop. Freshly waxed skin is sensitive to the ingredients in these products. Photo: Todd Huffman/Woman's Day
4. False Lashes
“I see false eyelashes in all the stores, but won’t wearing them make me look, well, fake?”—Irene Ahlberg, 61, Woburn, MA
It may take a few tries, but once you master this easy application technique from Courtney Akai, founder of Courtney Akai Lash Boutique in New York City, you’ll have full, natural-looking lashes.
1. Curl lashes with Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Eye Lash Curler ($8.99; Target.com). Apply a coat of mascara (like L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara in Carbon Black, $8.95; at drugstores) to make existing lashes cling together so you can see sparse areas where you should apply falsies.
2. Pick up a box of individual false lashes (such as NP Set Eyelashes, Copenhagen, $10; Target.com). The package should include a tiny bottle of glue and several small groupings of individual lashes. Dab a small drop of the glue onto the back of your hand.
3. With slanted tweezers (like Sally Hansen Easy Tweezy Comfort Grip Slant Tip Tweezer, $9.49; at drugstores), grasp a single lash grouping, making sure the rounded ball base points away from you. Dip the base into the glue and wait 10 seconds for it to become tacky.
4. Starting at the outer corner of your eye, place a lash along your top lashline. Let dry for 10 seconds. Continue applying lashes (three to five more at most) inward until you’ve reached the center of your eye. Photo: Todd Huffman/Woman's Day
5. Liquid Eyeliner
“I like the idea of liquid eyeliner, but it seems hard to use.”—Maureen Diederich, 46, Shaker Heights, OH
Liquid liner lasts longer than pencil liner, dries on contact and has a fine tip that lets you draw a precise line, says Eve Pearl, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Eve Pearl Cosmetics. Her foolproof method for three liner looks:
Classic Eye: Starting in the center of your top lashline, dot liner between lashes, moving toward the outer corner. “The dots should be close together so it looks like a line, but you won’t have to keep your hand as steady,” says Pearl.
Cat Eye: Draw a thin line from the center of your upper lashline to the outer corner, curving it upward at the end toward your temple. Repeat with a line directly above, then fill in any gaps between the two lines.
Smoky Eye: Starting in the center of your top lashline, use the tip of the liner to draw a thin line toward the inner corner. Use the side of the tip to make a thicker line from the middle to the outer corner. Then use the tip to draw a thin line along your bottom lashes. Photos: Grant Cowan/Woman's Day