You know how you get stuck on a daily makeup look? It’s just enough to look polished for work, school, or whatever and you can practically do it in your sleep, right? Yeah, me too. However simple or lavish your makeup routine, there’s an easy thing you can do to bring out your eyes and appear more polished and awake than you may actually feel. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Maybe you wear concealer or foundation under your eyes, maybe you don’t. I use it pretty conservatively, and I stopped blending it all the way up to my lower lash line because it tends to settle in fine lines right there. Trouble is, the skin closest to the lash line can often look red. Evening that area out can help you look more fresh-faced. So what do you do when concealer isn’t a great option but you’re not into red dragon eyes? I finally figured it out, thanks to Suzy Gerstein, makeup artist extraordinaire. She shared some tips with me a few months ago, and this one took my makeup game from daily grind to jump back, I wanna kiss myself. Plus, it’s so simple and takes zero skill.

Use a small, tapered smudge brush to line your lower eyelid with bronzer. Yes! Bronzer! Right underneath your lower lashes. Blend a little. It conceals any redness and defines your eyes in a soft-focus, smoky-daytime kind of way.

A tapered smudge brush makes application a cinch, but you can even use a cotton swab or your pinky. If I’m traveling and don’t have a bronzer on hand, I use a light brow powder or eye shadow. Mineral powders tend to have great tenacity, so the look lasts way longer than any application of concealer. This is really tough to screw up and never looks harsh. Even if I woke up tomorrow to find the most perfect concealer on earth waiting inside my makeup bag, I would still opt for this look. It just makes me feel a little more put together.

Do you have a favorite makeup trick that you return to over and over? Share!

I’m about to write a pretty girly how-to makeup post. It would almost warrant a YouTube video—if it weren’t simple enough for a monkey!

Two completely random events conspired last week for me to come up with a whole new makeup look (just when I thought I’d tried it all). 1) A 100-degree heat wave hit Los Angeles for two days putting the entire city in a sweat. And 2) I ran out of my favorite dirty mascara.

And so, the look that I’m calling “night-for-day face” was born. All you need are two products that you likely already have: bronzer (or blush if you don’t do bronzer) and a pencil eyeliner. It’s night-for-day because I like to wear eyeliner (with mascara) and bronzer for evenings out in the summer. But, while the eyeliner gives this look a touch of evening edge, it’s so light that it passes as polished without being too much for daytime wear.

The absolute best part about this face though? It’s 100% weather-and-activity-proof. There’s no leaks or smudges or runs. And it’s really really easy to reapply during the day. Also, it’s super liberating to not wear mascara but still have a little eye happening! Here’s what I do.

Prep: I’ve been using the Marie Veronique face oil, which smells and feels amazing. (Would I pay the $110 for it? Nope, probably not, but I got this bottle gifted.) The oil really helps the bronzer apply nicely though your usual moisturizer will likely do the trick. My skin has been pretty clear lately so (knock on wood), I’ve been using minimal concealer.

Apply: Bronzer with my finger (love the studio 78 one) under my cheekbones and slightly up around the contour of the bone. A tiny bit along the bridge of my nose as well as my eyebrow bone. Then I very lightly line the inside of my eye with a black pencil (Jane Iredale or HoneyBee Gardens). Very very lightly though, so that it’s more of a translucent gray than black if that makes sense. If you go too dark without mascara your eye will look small, but somehow that doesn’t happen if you do the line barely there.

That’s it! You can add some lip gloss or a touch of color on the lip, but the trick is light touch with everything or else you just look made up.

What have you been doing with your makeup these days??

Next week marks for the first day of spring, but last night the new season was alive and well in a suddenly balmy Los Angeles. Those who don’t live here tend to think that we’re all running around in tank tops in February—but it is so not so. These last few days however, have given us a taste of what’s to come—which means I’ve been thinking about spring makeovers.

It’s completely Pavlovian for me. The temperature rises a few degrees and I start dreaming of new hairstyles, clothes, makeup. I even had a fantasy about gel nails the other day. (Someone please remind me how that’s a horrible idea, k?)

I’m the sucker they write magazines for. Luckily, right now I have two newish products in my roster that are helping me refresh my look for spring—and that don’t involve me doing anything too silly.

Have you tried either of these products?

1. Studio 78 Paris, Bronzing Powder Me love a good bronzer, and this is the best one I’ve tried in a while. It does exactly what it should: enhance your natural skin tone, define your face structure, and give you a glow. It should not look like you stepped off one of the Housewives of somewhere sets. Siobhan reviewed this line a little while back, and was crushing hard on the under eye concealer and blush. I too tried three (different) products and the bronzer was the standout for me. (Note: The eye shadow is also really special, the eyeliner notsomuch. There’s something I don’t love about the way it applies.) It’s a bit too bad re the liner because I specifically like wearing bronzer when I’m doing more of an eye thing, but I have other ones.

Now, you might be wondering if a bronzer is worth $43 and I can’t answer that question for you. What I will say is that I’ve never in my life finished a bronzer—it is a product that lasts as long as you’re willing not to throw it out. I don’t worry a whole lot about germs and such, so I’m guessing I will be whipping this out every spring for the next several years unless I lose it.

2. Vapour’s Multi-Use Stain / 209 Impulse This product is killing it for me right now. It was actually part of our Quarterly package last time, so I’m curious to know if those who got it are loving it as much as I am. I’ve had several days now where I wear nothing else on my face. This long-lasting stain is the perfect color for lips and cheeks, and perfect too for most skin tones. You can control how intense it is by how much you use—it can look as subtle a post-romp flush (sorry! blame spring!), or as dramatic as a true red lip. The tube is huge, which thrills me for two reasons: 1. There’s lots of product in there. 2. It’s easy to find in my purse! And when you’re only using one product, that’s kind of a boon.

So, what spring makeover fantasies are you having? Have you tried any great new products for the season?

Last week we told you about the latest reports on DHA, the ingredient in sunless tanners that we have championed in the past (it’s natural! it’s a sugar!). Now the new science is saying that it may cause DNA damage. As always, more research is needed for anything conclusive, but we can no longer recommend that you use this stuff in good conscience.

I don’t know about you, but in recent summers I’ve loved using a little self-tanner on my face to up my glow. I’ve always enjoyed getting some sun on my arms and legs, but while I’m not a big sunscreen user, I still tend to be careful with exposure on my face. That’s where the lotion came in handy.

So what are the options for your face if, like me, you’re ditching the sunless stuff?

1. Stay pale, use blush.

Pale skin with a fresh pink cheek is never out of season. But if you want to mix it up for the summer go with something a little peachier. Peach says sun-kissed without looking garish on super fair skin.

2. Fake it carefully with some bronzer.

If you are very pale, bronzer does run the risk of looking a little silly. But if your skin’s not of the translucent variety—and bless you girls who needn’t worry about this at all—a nice clean bronzer may just do the trick. Here’s a good tip to avoid looking clownish, especially for daytime wear: mix a little bit into your moisturizer or favorite oil when you apply it instead of using a brush. It’ll be more subtle and dewy like that.

3. Get a little sun.

There’s not a dermatologist in the free world that will recommend you get any unprotected sun exposure on your face, but I’m a believer that anything in moderation can’t be that bad. Am I encouraging you to sit out and cook your mug? Heck no. Do I think ten minutes here and there is going to turn you into a leather-faced old hag. Neither.

At the end of the day, we all just need to work with the skin we have and find the subtle compliments that make us look (and feel) healthiest. So while I’m sad to see sunless tanners go, at least until more is known, I’m up for finding more great natural bronzers and blushes. So please post your favorites!

Did you use sunless tanners in the past, and will this new science deter you now? If so, what are your plans for getting your glow on this summer?

UPDATE!  I can’t believe I forgot this tip. Eat more veggies! They’re proven to give skin a tan-like glow. See?

There’s been a whole lot of confessing going on on the site lately—and I must say, I’m finding it both cathartic to share, and comforting to hear from everyone and remember just how alike we all are in our struggles. So here’s another one for the circle of trust: I’ve been in a total beauty funk lately! Don’t get me wrong, my skin’s been behaving (thank you Tammy Fender), and my hair is happy, but I just haven’t been, well, feeling my shizzle. And at this point in my life, I know too well how far a little self-love (or at least acceptance) goes in the looks department…

See, I’ve long ago stopped pining for things that I won’t have: wider cheekbones, a narrower nose, longer legs—I like to call that the gift of the thirties.

I fully embrace the very mantra we put forward in the book, which is that your outlook is your look. If I’m not feeling it, nobody is. So this Saturday I decided to switch up the energy, and I did something I haven’t really done for a while: I went shopping.

They don’t call it retail therapy for nothing! After several hours spent picking over a reliable vintage store in the valley—I emerged a different woman, with no less than three summer dresses in tow. I forgot how good a new dress can make a girl feel, even when it’s not technically new (and it only sets you back 10 bucks).

There are two other things that also always make me feel better when I’m not feeling my look: eyeliner (mine is black and from Jane Iredale) and bronzer (currently I’m using one from Living Nature). What do you do when you’re in need of a beauty boost?

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