It’s summer time, and as far as beauty routines go, warm weather seems to call for lighter, more natural makeup and lots of outdoor activities that often involve water. A fully made up face can (unfortunately) look really out of place when you’re in a swimsuit.
I have always admired those girls who look so pretty (or let’s face it, even kind of pretty) in their natural states. At the beach, lake or pool, they have a girl-next-door look that is youthful and fresh. I have never been that girl who looks natural and lovely with a bare face and air-dried hair. The first time I fully realized this was when I went to the beach with my friend’s family in high school. I was 17, pasty white (and after the first day, lobster red in blotches where I missed with the sunscreen), blond lashes and eyebrows, fine, limp, stringy, just-wavy-enough-to- be-obnoxious hair after making contact with water. My friends, on the other hand, were quickly tanning. The salt in the ocean brought out perfect waves and extra texture in their hair that made them look like mermaids. Also, I looked like an 11-year-old boy with my curve-free bod, so I had nothing going for me. They all had guys flirting them the whole week while I was just…there, occupying a towel. (Forgive the quality of the pictures below. These are from cheap film cameras that took 110 film – remember those?, scanned and cropped to protect the innocent, but you get the idea, I wasn’t winning any beauty contests at the beach).
Somehow, I’ve always had the optimism – or the faulty memory – to make me think that the next time I would suddenly become a vision of natural loveliness, but the truth is, when I go to the beach, the pool, camping, or anywhere else that one would expect to forgo makeup and not be perfectly coiffed, I look like a totally different person, and not in a good way. All of my college roommates have said something along the lines of, “You don’t wear a lot of makeup, but what you do wear makes a BIG difference.” Truth. *Sigh*. I am grateful to live in a time when makeup is acceptable. I feel ridiculous in a fully made up face at the beach or pool, but not ridiculous enough to go without anything! Until recently, I did the minimum of eyebrows, mascara, foundation (for the SPF), and lips because I just hated feeling so invisible.
It’s not that I think I’m unattractive. It’s that without makeup you can’t see me; I look like a blank sheet of paper. All of my features disappear for two reasons: I have naturally blond eyebrows and eyelashes, and my lips are the same color as my face. Contrast is what makes features stand out. That is what we are always trying to achieve with makeup, and what I lack without. I’ve always hated washing my face at night because it felt like I was erasing my face. It’s terrible for my skin to sleep in makeup, but it was devastating to my heart to go to bed without a face. Now I don’t have that problem. The last year or so I’ve been investigating ways to enhance my natural beauty because I’ve always longed to be one of those girls. Some of the options I’m sharing are fairly inexpensive, easy and non-invasive, and some are more so, but there are a variety of options that will work for anyone.
This is me at the lake house, 9 weeks postpartum with our 6th child. I only let my mother-in-law take my picture bare-faced because she really wanted it for…something. I don’t remember. But here you can see my blank face. A rare thing to capture on film.
NATURALLY LONGER LASHES
I’ve had lash envy for as long as I can remember. I was gifted with unextraordinary eyelashes (unlike my brother, so I KNOW it was genetically possible, I just got skipped). They weren’t super stubby, but they certainly weren’t noticeable. A few years ago an epidemic of lash extensions hit my area, and I’ve been surrounded by walking, talking kewpie dolls ever since. It just made me that much more aware of my lackluster lashes. I looked into lash extensions, and decided I wasn’t willing to invest the time or money into something that had to be redone every 2-3 weeks. Plus, they trim your real lashes down, so once you get into them, it’s really hard to stop! I also didn’t want to be walking around with chunks of the extensions missing if I didn’t have time to get in for a refill.
A few years ago I tried using Latisse for a year. I got a little growth, but nothing spectacular, and definitely not worth the money. You also have to have a doctor’s prescription for Latisse since it’s actually glaucoma medication, so add the copay and an appointment once a year for an updated prescription. I was really disappointed with my results, so I quit using it.
I recently started seeing friends post on Instagram about the amazing results they were getting with Rodan and Fields Lash Boost. I remained skeptical for a while, but decided to give it a try. I’ve been using it for 3 months and am ecstatic with the results! I started seeing growth after two weeks. Full results are achieved after four months, and I’m really excited to see where I end up. To be honest, I’m beyond thrilled with what I’ve gotten so far. The length comes first, and then the thickness. My eyelashes now touch my eyebrows if I open my eyes all the way, you know, Muppet style. They’ve also become curlier. I have actually been accused of getting lash extensions or wearing false lashes by my friends and family. That’s a serious compliment in my book. I’ve also started getting compliments on my eyes for the first time in my life. Seriously, that has never happened before, and now it happens at least a few times a week. I love it. Lash boost is pricey, but less expensive and less time-consuming than extensions. I just swipe it on after I wash and moisturize my face. Done. If you want to order, contact me directly and I can get you 10% off and free shipping.
For the record, I’m not saying lash extensions are bad. I’m saying they aren’t the right choice for me. They are high maintenance and expensive, and I don’t have time for that. If you love them, do them. They look great when done right. When choosing length, my preference is to stay within the realm of possibility that they could be natural.
I love Lashboost so much I’m giving away a tube, so we sure to register below!! In these pictures you can seen before I started, a few weeks into it, a couple of months into it, and the full results of eyelashes and eyebrows. You can click on each picture to see up close. These are the lashes of my dreams!
This extra length is AMAZING and all, and when I wear mascara (and especially if I use primer), they look fantastic. Since my lashes are blond, this does me no good whatsoever when I’m barefaced. So, the day before we left on our Costa Rica vacation I went and got my eyelashes tinted. It’s something I had wanted to do for a long time, but hadn’t gotten around to it.
I went to a lash bar where they do lash extensions (your salon may do them. That’s where I asked first, but no). I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was quick and easy. It took about 15 minutes. My lashes don’t look like I have mascara on, but they are visible now, and provide definition around my eyes. That is a big improvement. There is an outline to my eyes now. I put on my foundation and lipstick before I went to the appointment, but your eyes have to be makeup-free to get it done. I was so pleased with the results that I didn’t go home and put on my eye makeup. I ran a few errands and went about my day.
This isn’t to say that I’m abandoning mascara or eye makeup in general, because I’m not. It is a great option for a more natural makeup look, though. Well-defined brows, bare eyes and bold lips is a very Parisienne look, but with blond lashes I never felt like I could pull it off. Now I can. I didn’t wear any eye makeup at all on our trip to Costa Rica, and it was such a blessing not to have mascara melting down my face. Now when we head to the pool I don’t have to dig out my waterproof mascara. This is enough.
I am going to try a few different lash studios to see if there is a difference. I’m not 100% convinced this girl gave me the best results possible. She seemed a little…scattered, but she was able to get me in last-minute. Still, it’s a definite improvement. Results last 4-6 weeks, based on growth, just like with getting your hair dyed. In the pictures below it’s before (with a little leftover mascara), after and after at home. You can click on each picture to see up close.
If you wanted to give it a little more oomph, or if your eyelashes are already dark, there is clear mascara, and that won’t leave raccoon rings around your eyes if you get them wet. It will give more definitions to your eyelashes without being all mascara-y.
For years I’ve considered having a very fine, thin line tattooed along my upper lash line to give some definition. Nothing anyone would actually be able to see. I’m not talking getting winged liner or anything that looks like I have actual makeup on, just a very fine line in my lash line to make my lash line look fuller. I haven’t gotten brave enough for that. Also, my eyeballs are right underneath that needle, so that concerns me. If I do it, I will definitely report back.
In my post about how I regrew my eyebrows, I shared what had caused my eyebrows to become so sparse and how I resolved that. Once I addressed the root cause of my thinning eyebrows and got all the regrowth I could from that, I started using Rodan and Fields Lash Boost on my eyebrows after I put it on my lashes. It has made my eyebrows fill in even more! I tried the same thing with Latisse, and didn’t have any improvement. If you over plucked in your youth, this could be the road to redemption. See the eyelash pictures above to see the eyebrow results as well.
In that post I also shared 3 tips to make your eyebrows look fuller. One of those tips is I started dying my eyebrows about a year ago. When I colored my own hair, I took a cotton swab and put a little hair color on it and wiped it on in a thin layer. Don’t put it on so thick that it could drip into your eyes. That could damage your eyes. I rub it into the brows gently to make sure it is worked in so it gets all the hairs and not just the top layer.
Hair color will stain your skin for a day or two, so keep it on the hairs only. If you are worried about being a little sloppy, put a thin layer of coconut oil or something like that on the skin around your eyebrows, but don’t rub it in. I keep a little tub of old school Ponds Cold Cream for this purpose. Don’t get the cold cream ON your eyebrows or it will block the color. When the timer goes off, wipe off with tissues before you wash your face (again, you don’t want this running into your eyes). This is so easy to do, and ensures your brows match your hair. One more benefit to dying your brows is it gives them a little more fullness.
My stylist colors my hair now, so he just does my brows for me. If you don’t want your stylist to do it, or if you want darker brows and color your hair blond or red, buy a box of Just for Men Beard and Mustache. It’s men’s hair color that processes in 5 minutes. I forgot to have my stylist do it one month, and this is what I used. It was so quick and easy. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS ON YOUR EYELASHES. Hair color has ammonia in it, and getting the fumes that close to your eyes would be really painful. I can’t even imagine if you got it into your eyes, which would be inevitable. Just don’t do it. If you see the pictures below you can see how blond my eyebrows naturally are, as opposed to now when I dye them.
CLEAR BROW GEL
Clear brow gel/mascara can be used to groom and tame your eyebrows, as well as give them some natural definition, especially if you dye them a darker color. One more tip is to brush them UP instead of across as you apply the mascara. I noticed this look on the J. Crew models last year and started trying it myself. At first it looked weird to me, but they look so much fuller. I even found an article about it here.
If you want even more maintenance free eyebrow help, there is the option of microblading, which I have very seriously considered. It’s sort of like a tattoo, but not as deep into the skin, and not as long lasting. They draw on little strokes like individual hairs. It takes 2-3 applications/appointments to get full results, and it is not pleasant. I would definitely do some major research before letting someone do this to your face because you can’t undo it.
EYEBROW ENHANCING OPTIONS:
Of course taking good care of your skin is key. A great skincare regimen will bring out the best in your skin. For me the biggest change in my skin has had to do with some health problems I’ve been working to improve. I couldn’t say exactly what changed my skin, but it probably had to do with the fact that my liver wasn’t functioning or detoxing properly, and toxins and other nasty things were trapped in my body because my filter wasn’t working. Getting my liver working better was probably number one. I was suffering from adult acne because the toxins were trying to come out through my skin since the other pathways (my liver) were blocked.
I also exfoliate my face a few times a week, and this is my favorite. It is easy to use, non-abrasive, and it works great! I grew up using the popular apricot pit exfoliator, and that leaves micro tears in your skin. As smooth as silky as your skin feels in the short term, it’s being damaged. This one is awesome, and I love it.
When we moved from the humid South to the arid desert, the dryness took a big toll on my skin. I swear I lose ten years from my face when I go home for a visit, and put it right back on when we return. Choosing the right moisturizer for your climate and skin is important. Dry skin ages us faster than anything else. I’ve been using this one from Eminence, which is a good one, and I love that it’s organic, but when I recently ran out I decided to try something new because I never felt fully hydrated. I stuck with it because it’s organic. I’m currently using this hydration serum, and I love it. I also started using this moisturizer, and I love both so much that I started using the whole product line. I really need a lot of moisture where I live, and I can see and feel a difference in my skin already. Moisturizing includes hydrating. I drink up to a gallon of water every day. My goal is to be able to have the kind of skin that doesn’t need any foundation, and that starts with skin care.
Until I reach my goal of naturally flawless (or less flawed) skin, I love my foundation because not only does it even out my skin tone, but it also has fantastic SPF coverage. If I get regular sunscreen anywhere near my eyes, it makes my eyes burn and water all day like I got soap in them. I definitely can’t put it on my eyelids or around my eyes. With foundation my whole face is protected, and that is critical not only for keeping your skin from looking like a tire (unless you are Jennifer Anniston. How does she bake in the sun and still have glorious skin at her age?), but it also protects you from skin cancer. That is HUGE. The morning moisturizer in the skincare product line I’ve started using has SPF 30, and I’m super excited about that.
When I go to the pool or beach, regular foundation can look like… a lot. Instead, I love to use a tinted moisturizer (or this one or this one) with SPF. It’s a 3 in 1 product that hydrates, gives you some color correction, and protects your skin. You apply moisturizer and sun screen anyway, why can’t it even out your color a bit? This isn’t full-coverage foundation that will hide your every flaw, but at the pool or beach, that’s not really the right look. We’re not going for perfect or for pageant makeup (and I’m from the South, so that’s hard to step away from). This can also be a great option for summer when you want a lighter makeup look anyway, especially if you have a tan (which I’m not advocating, but I know several of you do have skin that tans). I have a hard time finding a foundation that matches my summertimes skin, so the sheerer version is easier for me to match, especially since I have red undertones, and so many foundations have yellow undertones.
If a tinted moisturizer isn’t quite enough coverage for you, try a BB (Beauty Balm) cream. They offer the SPF, plus some anti-aging and a little more coverage without being full coverage. This is a drug store priced version, and this is a premium brand.
I wash and moisturize my face at night with a rich moisturizer</a >, and in the morning, I apply a daytime moisturizer with SPF, and then the tinted moisturizer without washing again. Washing clean skin just strips the oils from your skin, which is drying.
After the Spring Break trip mentioned above, I became the queen of the faux glow. I decided I was not coming back from the beach pasty white. I got really good at it, and did it off and on for years. The big cons to me were the prep work, all the extensive exfoliating. The second reason is it can be time-consuming and can require a helper to get your back (enter my mom or my sister, but never felt comfortable enough to let a roommate help. Too personal). There was always the surprise of where I found streaks, dark patches and missed spots, and then the follow-up maintenance of dealing with the streaks, dark patches and missed spots. It also stained clothes and sheets if it wasn’t completely 100% dry, but who has time to stand around nekkid for a few hours? No one. Finally, there was the leopard look when it started flaking off. Still, it was worth it to look better in those shorts.
In college, I was on the ballroom dance team and had to be tan for competitions and performances. Since I wasn’t about to ask a roommate to help me with my faux tanning, I started going to a spray tanning place, and it was great, I got even coverage, it was fast, but there are some problems. You can’t wash or come in contact with water for at least 8 hours, it makes you look speckley until you do, and it can stain your sheets if you haven’t showered before bed. It will also start to fleck away and you get that spotted leopard look as it comes off. Still it can be a great option. I know that episode where Ross gets a spray tan on Friends is classic, but fortunately that was never my experience.
Now I use Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizing Lotion in fair to medium. It’s regular body lotion that gradually adds a tan to your skin over the course of a week. Because it’s so gradual, the risk of streaks, dark spots and missed patches is much reduced. It’s one of those 2-in-1 products. I moisturize daily anyway, so why not add a healthy glow to it? Also, it doesn’t stink, which is a huge plus. All tanning products have/had a weird smell to them, and this one doesn’t. I love this stuff, and I use it every day. There is also a face version, because let’s face it, we don’t want to look like old tires from tanning our faces, do we?
That’s me in the middle in the picture on the left the morning after junior prom with my fabulous faux glow and no makeup, or possibly slept-in makeup, either way, where is my face? No amount of sun exposure could ever give me such a tan. I don’t have the skin for it. The second picture is in college at a ballroom dance competition with a spray on tan. The third picture is my light-reflecting whiteness at the end of a long winter. The last picture on the right is me with the Jergens Natural Glow. Not as dark, but I don’t need to be Coppertone-commercial dark. I haven’t tried the medium to dark version of the Jergens, so I don’t know how that would react to my skin tone. Maybe I’d end up like the two pictures on the left, but this is enough for me.
Tinted Lip Balms
I’ve not been allowed to leave the house without lipstick since I was 12, and I haven’t been without it since. I don’t know if I have to wear lipstick because I have no pigment in my lips, or if I have no pigment in my lips because I’m never without lipstick. They haven’t seen daylight since that first swipe. Without it I disappear, my whole face goes away. I’m awfully partial to bold colors, but at the pool or beach it can feel…much. Clear balm, tinted lip balms or lip stains all offer a little contrast that can look more like your natural lip color. The eye and lip suggestions are things you can wake up with. But just like most of us apply moisturizer every morning anyway, most of us also apply something to our lips throughout the day to keep them from drying out. Even a little shine from clear balm will make lips more noticeable, but using something with a hint of color ups the contrast factor without looking garish. This Burts Bees lip balm looks like a bold pink in the tube, but is actually a barely there lip tint. I happen to love Lipsense, and layering icicle, any of my favorite bold colors, and another layer of icicle is a great way to get some sheer color. My favorite is 1 layer of icicle, 1 or 2 layers of Kiss for a Cause, 1 layer of icicle and glossy gloss. Picture one is no lips and a fairly cranky face (I just woke up). Number two is the Burts bees and a somewhat surprised face, and number three is the kiss for a cause and icicle combo when I was digging in my yard last week. I love the color of the lip balm, but it needs to be reapplied fairly often. I love the staying power and the color of the Lipsense.
Once again, there is the option of permanent makeup and getting a more pigmented, yet natural-looking, color added to your lips, but I haven’t done that. Anything permanent like that scares me. Also, I don’t like pain. If you do something like that research to find the perfect person to do this.
- Tinted lip balm
- Permanent Makeup
Not all activities will sustain our best hairstyles. Curls, painstakingly pin-straight locks, and updos can all be undone by wind and water. I have a pixie, so a day on the boat leaves me looking like a troll, hair sticking straight up. If you have longer hair, the ever-so-popular top knot, braids, or a sleek ponytail are great options. For short hair like mine, I twist and pin my hair back to control it, especially because I have naturally curly hair. Figuring out a few pool-day hair options that get your hair off your face and neck is key.
Another great option is a hat. The ever-popular baseball cap or a chic beach hat are great options. It works perfectly when you’re poolside or on the beach, less so when you are in the water, unless you get the right hat. I love this one, this one and this one. I have this one (it’s much cuter on, perfectly crushable and won’t get ruined in the water). I have this one, but I never believe in the crushable straw hat, so I’ve never tried it. I’m tempted to get it in navy and white as well. I feel very glamorous in it. If you prefer a visor, this one comes in tons of great colors.
For camping, hiking and other outdoor activities that aren’t on the water, I prefer a baseball cap. This baseball cap is breathable and comes in white, light tan, and black, and looks like it would be fine if you got it wet. This one comes in lots of colors and has an opening for a high ponytail. This baseball cap is also breathable and can get wet, and comes in even more colors.
- Find water- and wind-worthy hairstyles
My natural beauty face
Below is a picture of me before with nothing. Next is a picture of me right when I wake up (this morning, actually). No makeup, in my nightgown, but with dyed eyebrows and lashes, longer lashes, and a faux glow (I finally figured out how to turn off the beauty filter on my phone – which was set at a 1, so this is as real as I can get with my phone). The last picture is with the addition of a BB cream on my face, and a tinted lip balm. I feel like these things make a huge difference, and I would feel good about myself at the pool or at a campsite looking like this. I have a face now. If you are wondering how I woke up without crazy pixie bedhead, see this post.
What are your best natural beauty tips? How do you enhance your features? Which one of these are you going to try?
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NOW! On to the giveaway! I love, love, love lashboost so much that I’m giving away a tube FOR FREE! You can have gorgeous, lush lashes too, and I’m certain you will love it as much as I do.