Beauty and the Beach: what I wore on holidays…

So, for the longest time, I heard that one’s not supposed to wear make-up on the beach, because it slides, it cakes, it runs, and it’s the opposite of the beach image ideal; which is to have a no make-up, but have a fresh tanned face…but I disagree. On my first trip ever to the Caribbean this holiday season, I did wear a full face make-up and am soooo glad I did. Nobody wants to have a puffy face, blemishes, and undefined eyes. In photos, these are expensive memories, and I wanted to look my best. Here are my top tips for wearing make-up for the beach, including water proof make-ups that can be worn during dips in the sea/pool!

Tips on makeup for the beach:

  1. Foundation? yes please! Don’t be afraid of wearing heavy foundations…the reason being that it can be mixed with sunscreen for more translucent coverage and it won’t look too “done up”. I used my Revlon Youth FX foundation mixed with cream concealer (for extra coverage) since I was cutting it with a sunscreen too. After mixing the three products in my hand I rubbed it generously, but evenly on my face, being sure to smooth streaks. Then a good dusting of face powder to set the base. It looked natural and was protecting me from the sun! I didn’t reapply sunscreen to my face during the day, so I banked all my protection on a thicker, more water resistant application in the morning.
  2. Eye shadow…waterproof is hard to find! I always like a bit of colour on my eyelids because it’s just a nice accent for a beachy, but fashionable look. I couldn’t find waterproof eyeshadow, so I used an aqua colored soft pencil all over the lid and set it with aqua power shadow. This lasted me through several dunks in the sea! Just powder shadow works too, but is less long lasting,..
  3. Eye liner! Waterproof is necessary since it will run and smear everywhere if not, especially black eyeliner. I found a 24 hour water proof gel liner by Benefit that did the job nicely. I got to wear a cat eye look everyday, which made all the difference in photos by helping my eyes pop.

    After a dip in the ocean, my liner, blue shadow and mascara seem to still be entact. Score one for make-up!
  4. Mascara: Waterproof formulas are easy enough to find…I used a Revlon make for lengthening, but volumizing would have worked great too. It looked nice, didn’t flake or run at all. Mascara is very essential make-up for the beach and not something to skip. I look more awake and my eyes look wider when I wear mascara, which will make vacation photos look better!
  5. Honorable beach make-up mentions:  blush and tinted lip balms with sunscreen; blush, if done in powder form will probably wash off with enough sea water and pool water, but is still flattering on skin when the sun is out. Tinted lip balms are also amazing in that they offer moisture, shine and color in a subtle low maintenance way! Just remember to reapply.

    Here I am without bright eye shadow…but still with foundation, liner and mascara. I like that I look natural in photos, but my features are accentuated!

At the end of the day, wear the amount of makeup that is comfortable for the beach. But I wanted to say that there are no rules when it comes to the amount and kind of make-up to wear…as long as there is sunscreen and waterproof versions of basic products, why not wear a bit of color to the beach to add to the beauty of the surf, with beauty of the face.

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The ins and outs of being a wedding guest!

After the ceremony; I was there with my son and opted for lavender colors for a summer wedding.

The wedding season is more than half done or at least the bulk of it is done, and while I love weddings–the romance and the special feeling one gets when seeing the bride walks down the isle, or the splendor of flowers and pretty place settings, and luxurious stationary paper…it’s actually kind of nice that the season is almost over. Weddings can be expensive and stressful, filled with obligations, awkward etiquette dilemnas, and seeing distant relatives that one only sees well, at weddings and funerals.

I was anticipating one event of the summer for me…My little sister’s wedding that was announced since the spring and last weekend was when she finally tied the knot with her boyfriend of many years… it was a small intimate event, simple and fun. And as a wedding guest, I didn’t have to do any intense bridesmaids duties, but as a guest there are still many rules to be observe to be a great guest. And to have a comfortable time there myself as a guest. Here are some notes I’ve made about attending weddings:

Ways to be a great wedding guest:

  1. Let the bride get her way: I think that brides, with all the stress of getting hitched and planning a wedding, they get a bit crazy and it rubs off in weird ways, on the bridal party and guests. The best thing to do is unless it is something really important, I just let her have it her way.
  2. Look good, but not too good: Let’s be honest, the day is the bride’s day, not the guests’; wearing that red hot number or, a revealing bodycon dress is not the place to go. I rather go for innocence and friendship with pretty, simple dresses that are wedding appropriate and will not outdo the bride, but still have a sense of fashion.
  3. Wear neutral make-up. I really like expressing myself with make-up, but bold trendy make-up is just too much of a statement. As a wedding guest, I feel more comfortable blending in, and not standing out.
  4. Make polite cheerful conversation even if it’s hard: I find it very unnatural to be happy all the time and it’s always when I’m feeling a bit down that someone who would care about that approaches me. All it takes is one dour expression, and you’ll end up looking too stern and risk looking like a pouty party pooper.
  5. Fashion don’ts for girls: No black or white dresses, no mini skirts, nothing overly formal that would outdo the bridal dress…no bra straps or bralettes visible, cover up shoulders during ceremony, reception can bear shoulders. I also don’t thoughtlessly wear just any old dress. I want to show some effort was involved and that I care how I look to the bride, groom and other guests.
  6. I like to look like I’m having fun, even if I am not. Accept drinks when offered, and participate in toasts, dancing, and anything else that may be happening. And remember to congratulate the bride and groom! Be a gracious guest at all times!

Go dark brunette, without a regret!

I love playing with hair color as one can probably tell from all my posts about hair dying over the years…I feel nothing feels fresher than a change of color. Natural black hair is gorgeous, but after a year of playing with lightener, aka bleach/peroxide, I have rocked lighter hair color all summer in the way going“bronde”, which is a very light brown. Being a dark brunette, I could never go to light butter blonde without killing my hair, but in general I have been wearing much lighter colors than I was born with.

But a recent resurgence in the brunette hair color has come about…basically because of the royally babe-alicious Meghan Markle. I think she really showed the world how amazing dark brown hair can be since getting engaged and married to Prince Harry really put her in the spotlight.. She set the bar high for a representation of brunette beauty, and it has inspired me to let go of my beachy light locks, for a dark chocolatey brown; a refreshing look for my sister’s upcoming wedding.

The new Duchess always made dark hair so glamorous. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
No regrets

In the past I have gone darker with tons of regret, and I’ve learned a lot from the mistakes I’ve made. All the pitfalls of dying darker were results in hair color that was either too dark, too green, too inky, or too flat. Here are my tips from going lighter to darker and loving it:

  1. Go for drama: Going only one shade darker will not be noticeable and has no mystery or depth. I recommend aiming for 3-4 shades darker for the freshest change. Sometimes it’s scary getting a dark color because it’s so intense! But I have a tip to combat this (see tip #4).
  2. .Choose demi-permanents: When getting hair darker, pigment is being added to the hair shaft, and only needs to be on the surface, unlike lightening that has to go deeper to remove color.  A less harsh way of dying is by using demi permanent colors. Because they use less peroxide, they are gentler to hair than permanent color, and add deeper tones. It’s also easier to lighten hair back with a demi if not truly satisfied.  Demis, unfortunately, will fade faster, but at least the fade will be less brassy since less pigment is lifted with a low peroxide dye.
  3. Notice the hair tone you are starting with: Previously lightened hair has a certain base tone to it that is very visible. It can be neutral, golden, red, or ashy. The base color that a darker color will lay over, should be on the warmer side, since red and gold tones are what makes dark hair pretty. If the starting hair color is very translucent and pigment free, sometimes adding an redish auburn color first is needed to create depth before adding a darker color on top.
  4. A trick I use for not going too dark and inky: Buying two shades. Demi permanent color always processes darker than the sample swatch since it is adding color and not lifting anything. For example, starting with light brown hair and adding a light brown demi, the results will be dark brown because of layering. To keep hair from being too intense in darkness, I like to dilute my dark shade with a blonde or clear color by a ratio of 1:1 and use the right amount of activator accordingly. This makes sure you are getting the dark color you want, while the texture of each strand and subtle highlights are still visible…resulting in more faceted color.
My Own Results

To get my hair to Meghan Markle dark, I had to be careful or else I would get something too dark and flat. So I used an ashy brown mix of colors on my warm roots, (Wella Demi in 5N and 7A) and then a neutral brown mix on my midshaft and ends, since they had an ashy light tone (wella demi in 5N+8N). I diluted the brown color by adding some blonde shades to both mixes of color.

See how in the sun, it’s visible how the back and ends of my hair picked up the dark demi permanent differently. It was also ashier because of previous lightening.

The only thing I had to tweak after darkening was the different color on my midshaft and ends. The back of my hair was so light from previous dye jobs, it didn’t pick up the demi fully, and was also a cooler tone. I fixed this by doing another treatment, a rinse of auburn red in a semi permanent color. (Semi permanent is peroxide free and like a conditioner with dye, no activator needed). And now hopefully, I feel my hair is uniformly dark and mysterious!

After the rinse in an auburn red semi permanent to fill in my mid-shaft and ends. Nice and evenly dark. Yay!