Beauty Q&A: Plane Face, Glasses, and the Home Pedicure

I am heading toward 30 and so are my eyes — I’m starting to have issues with long-distance vision. I’m also going to grad school in the fall and will need to take a lot of notes from Powerpoint slides that are more than 2 feet away from my face, while also being impoverished.

So, I need to get myself some stylish frames which will look classic enough to last me a few years. The question is, what kind? I have kind of a big face with prominent cheekbones, full lips and a strong chin, and I could probably carry off the larger, squarish types of frames that people have been wearing for the past few years. BUT I’m afraid that they are too trendy to take me through the next two or three years! Do you have any suggestions? Please show me some pictures of pretty glasses and motivate me to go shopping for them!

My pleasure! Did you know I wear glasses for the exact same reasons? Lecture halls, movies, driving (which luckily I never have to do in NYC) and Super Bowl parties. I’ve purchased a few cute nerdy-looking affordable pairs from Pearle Vision and the like and found that if a trendy pair is carried in a chain store, they’re usually too trendy. You know what I mean? Like, they stand out among the crowd of boring stuff but maybe a little too much. A safe bet, albeit a tidge pricey so think of them as an investment, are Moscot’s Spirit line (pictured). Or really anything from Moscot, though many of their signature frames take some bravery to pull off. This line deals mostly in bold, edgy and timeless looks. I’ve had the Lynnie model in red (though it looks like they’re out of that color on the wesbite at the moment) for almost three years now and they still read “Very stylish and new!” Plus everyone will ask you if they can try them on. Versatile! Work a week of doubles or win a wet t-shirt contest if you have to?

I have two unrelated problems bedeviling my eye-makeup routine, and I wondered if you had any suggestions.

First, my eyelashes started falling out in big clumps about 15 years ago. I’ve asked various doctors what it might be, but nobody knew; as a result I tend to have big bald patches and/or stubbly regrowth going on most of the time.

Second, I was briefly on Lyrica a few years back and had extreme loss of motor control as a side effect; this improved vastly after I went off it, but I still have hand tremors. They vary in intensity, but are sometimes bad enough that I can’t use the keyboard of my iPhone, for example. Not the best situation for, say, liquid eyelining.

I’ve been avoiding mascara because I feel like making the existing lashes bold and black would draw more attention to the missing ones. I could never get false lashes on straight even when my hands were somewhat reliable, so that doesn’t seem like an option (although I’m not an expert on that subject). Mostly I just brush on some neutral eyeshadow, and maybe line the top lid with dark brown or black eyeshadow if I’m feeling steady that day — but I don’t really feel like me without some glam happening. Any thoughts? Thank you!

Ahh! Poor honey. I hope you win the lotto soon. And you’re gonna have to because I have three suggestions for you that will totally work, but unfortunately they all cost cash money. The first is for you to try Latisse. Well, no, the first first is for you to get yet another opinion from a doctor; seems strange to me that no one knows why you’re losing your lashes? Once you find someone with a clue, maybe ask them for Latisse. It’s Rogaine for eyelashes.

Second, have you ever had eyelash extensions? OK, when I first heard of them I was like “Yikes!” but then my friend Emma got them and I was like “Bitch?” They are so pretty and you don’t even put mascara on them or curl them. They just … ARE.

Lastly, have you considered permanent makeup, a.k.a. “tattooing,” liner on? Yes, it sounds drastic, but I know women for whom this has been a miracle solution to makeup-application troubles such as deteriorating vision or motor function. Freal. Do some research in your area (Yelp has reviews) and find someone reputable who will use a light touch to just barely line your upper lash line. Then, on good days when it works out you can use liquid liner and mascara all to hell, and if it ain’t happening, you’re still ahead of the game.

I’ve recently stopped dyeing my hair after 10 years of devotion to super dark locks. I now have some mousy shit going on, but it’s not too bad. I’ve also got some lingering and sort of lovely blond bits from a period of time when I went a little lighter.

Now, here’s my question: While I find the ombré thing to be a bit too drastic with the potential of future generations saying, “What the f*ck?” I do like the idea of having some naturally tinted blonde-y bits on my strands, enhancing those that exist and lightening those that aren’t acquainted. I don’t want to use a box of bleach. Lemon hasn’t worked, but maybe I did it wrong. In the end: have you any thoughts on blonde-ing my hair naturally (natural-looking and natural in procedure)?

Before I answer you, I just want to weigh in about what future generations have to say about our hair: They can fuck off. Seriously; we were here first.

OK, now to answer your question? SUN IN! Say it with me: Sun IN, Sun IN, Sun IN! Remember? That shit works and the ingredient list isn’t too scary. Order it online; it’s like five bucks and comes in many varieties including lemon.


I’m traveling back home to my man after having been apart for the past six months and I want to look hot — or at least not disgusting — when I step off the plane. It’s a 22 hour flight and spending so much time in the sky somehow leaves my skin simultaneously blotchy, flaky, and shiny. My hair mysteriously becomes both frizzy and oily. Is there any way to avoid this grossness? Any tips on products to de-grossify before getting off the plane? Perhaps ones that meet the 3-ounces rule for liquids and gels?

Where are you!? Twenty-two hours from anywhere sounds awesome, but yeah dude, Flying Face is the worst! I hear you. Luckily I travel a bananas amount, occasionally for love, and pretty much have this nailed. The most important thing? SLEEP AND WATER! Sleep the whole time and drink water every moment you gain consciousness. Get a giant bottle of water or five and one of those neck pillow/eye mask combos at the airport and just check out for as much of the flight as possible. Then, as a rule, as long as you’re not single and looking, try to stay makeup-free up until the last hour of the flight.

Aside from regular makeup which you’ll apply right before you begin your descent, here are some products that’ll help you look your freshest coming off a long jaunt:

– Visine, doy.

Caudalie Beauty Elixer To Go. I spray this on my face anytime I’m feeling gross or groggy during a flight. It’s like minty/eucalyptus-y refreshing thing yet also moisturizing somehow? Plus it lasts forever; I’ve had a bottle for over a year.

Boots Facial Cleansing Wipes. These are available online, but if you happen through Heathrow airport, go to Boots immediately! They have the most amazing travel skincare stuff there, like this beauty balm. If not, you can find facial cleansing wipes at most pharmacies, and in my experience they never count as a liquid in your carry-on items. I like to splash some water on my face when I’m done cleansing to feel super-duper fresh.

And finally, for your hair, this Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo is powder so it takes up none of your liquid space. Pure magic. Don’t be surprised if he proposes to you in the airport. Just be annoyed or creeped out maybe? Like “DUDE, RELAX.” Definitely say that.

Like a questionner this past week, I am also a Ph.D. student in the humanities and have zero dollars to spend on pretty-making stuff. And yet: I love/need pedicures more than life itself, mostly because I have hideous hammer-toes. I have tried doing them at home, but oh man, I suck. Can you give some instructions for those who like pretty toes but can’t afford $25 every other week?

Get it, girl! Feet are something else, aren’t they? An ex used to say I had either Flintstone feet or “juice box toes.” WHICH I CERTAINLY DO NOT! Ladies: Let’s all agree to go a little easier on our feet descriptions; everyone is special.

Here is my at-home pedicure routine.

– Lay a towel or two on the floor and have a paper towel handy to wipe stuff off on.

– Remove polish, trim nails with clippers, then file with this nail file.

– Buff tops of toenails, especially the big ones, with one of these buffing blocks.

– Soak feet in a dish tub full of warm soapy water (smidgen of Palmolive) for like 10 minutes while watching one segment of Chopped on Food Network. Dry off.

– Use an orangewood stick to remove dirt and grodiness from under nails. Trim icky white skin from mostly the big and pinky toes with a cuticle trimmer if need be.

PedEgg the crap out of heels and any other rough, callousy parts of feet.

– Moisturize with a nice foot cream like this one from Eucerin.

– Wipe toenails off with nail polish remover one last time and apply a good base coat, two coats of nailcolor, and top coat.


Previously: Mascara Dots, Cheap Makeup, and Chapped Lips.

Jane Feltes produces the radio program “This American Life,” and no one pays her to say any of this. Do you have a question for Jane?