Beauty Q&A: Chemical Peels, Jumpsuits, and WLHWT?

I’m sort of pale and got on the sunscreen-every-day train by my early 20s, but that wasn’t early enough to undo a childhood of California summers. I covet girls who have skin tone that looks so even it’s also kind of transparent? I’ve gotten a little benefit from salsylic acid scrubs and that Neutrogena “microdermabrasion” stuff, but I’m pretty sure the answer here is lasers or some other professional treatment. But like, what lasers? And is there any intermediate solution that’s more effective than drugstore stuff but not a laser?

A TCA PEEL! RUN! GET ONE RIGHT THIS SECOND! This is the intermediate solution you’re looking for: affordable, easy, and totally effective. There is really no overstating how impressed I was with the TCA peel I got about five years ago (and am planning to get again this month). TCA stands for trichloroacetic acid, and that is as far as my brain took me into the science of it. Experience-wise? Mindblowing. You know how sometimes you’re like “I wish I could just take a handheld electric sander to my cheek and scrape off these dark spots and scars and start over”? That’s what this peel is like. I’ve tried glycolic peels too, even bought the “series of six” or whatever they’re always pushing, and nothing has come close to the result I got from the TCA in just one treatment.

Nitty gritty: It costs a few hundred bucks and you have to go to a doctor’s office. Don’t try one at home and don’t get a weak-ass version from some spa or salon. Go to a real dermatologist or “med spa” where actual doctors and nurses work. Your skin will tighten up afterward for about two days. Take lots of pictures during this time; it’s the best your skin will ever look! Around days three through five you’ll peel. Like, sheets of skin will start to fall off of you. They look sort of like when you put Elmer’s Glue on your hand and let it dry and peel it off, so obviously you might want to plan for those days to be spent in your room. Also, do NOT pick at the skin or peel it yourself like that crazy lady in the picture over there. Just let it fall off on its own, or something terrible might happen. The only possible side effect is weird because it’s exactly the opposite of what you’d want and that is hyperpigmentation. I didn’t have this problem, but you never know? And finally, I will keep saying this forever: Go get Retin-A and eventually you will Benjamin Button yourself to death.

I’ve been invited to a December wedding. I’ve never been to a winter wedding, have you? Also, it’s in the afternoon (formal, but not super formal), in Manhattan (cold), and some of it may take place outside (really cold). So what should I wear? I want to look cool, funky, but nice, since I will most likely be in photos with the family which, you know, obviously will be looked at and reminisced over for generations to come. I’m usually a dress size four. I have a small bosom, larger hips, 5’3″. Let me know if you have any ideas!

Get a jumpsuit! Not only will you stay warm, but you’ll look super hip and “downtown” but also dressed up. I wore this navy one to a wedding last winter paired with a giant, clunky gold necklace and people went kind of bananas over it. Jumpsuits are unusual and fun and very “in,” so seize the chance to wear one while you can. Halston Heritage is making a few right now that can be found on sale. Here’s a very affordable one that you could pair with a glittery belt. If you’re rich, you should buy this one today and then never wear anything else ever again because you are too rich to care about trends! And this one is not wedding-appropriate but OHMYGOD I just found it while shopping for you and I love it and had to show it to someone. Look at the back! Oh, and do not for one second worry about those everlasting photos; I can pretty much guarantee you won’t be the center of attention in that album.

I get lots of split ends. Just get them trimmed, right? Well, the problem is that my hair grows very very slowly, and I would like my hair to be about 2 or 3 inches longer than it is now. So if I keep trimming my split ends, my hair basically stays at the exact same length, and this is very frustrating. How do I prevent split ends and get my hair to grow past my shoulders? Please don’t stay stop heat styling, because while that may be true, I’m never going to stop with the blow dryer and the flat iron. Do those heat styling sprays that are supposed to protect your hair really help?

So this might sound like a lie, which is what I thought it was when a hairdresser once said it to me: Everyone’s hair has a natural length and we’re all different. I was told that my hair, no matter what I do, will never be longer than a few inches past my shoulders simply due to how fine or coarse it is or some other secret knowledge hairdressers have that we aren’t allowed to know about. And guess waht? He was pretty much exactly right. Every time I grow my hair that long I start having insane split ends and breakage; I’m talking the bottom inch or two just breaking clean off all around my head. It’s like my hair is regulating its own length. Edith, on the other hand, has the Crystal Gayle gene. So, biology may be to blame for your woes.

As for your threat to never stop with the blow dryer and flat iron? Fine, but you will have damaged hair and you will not always be in fashion. How do you like THAT for a counter argument? Patti Stanger may recommend this look to everyone forever, but current styles tend to allow for some natural texture. That’s not to say you shouldn’t bust out the iron for date night, but you’re the only person who thinks you need to do that on the daily. Have you ever tried just letting your hair air dry while you brush or comb it and then doing the straightening only with an iron? What about straightening only with a blow dryer and round brush and skipping the iron a few days a week? Just throw it in a bun? Cutting out one of these super-harsh processes every so often is the most surefire way to see some real change in your hair’s health and length.

Am I too old to be rocking the Converse All-Stars? I’m 28. No, right? RIGHT???

You are never too old for the right Cons, right. Off white or white Chucks that have been worn all-to-hell and are kind of f’ed up and all floppy is what you want to aim for. Check out Ms. Portman over here, she gets it. I’d even say that should be the rule for everyone: if you must wear Converse All-Stars at all, only wear those exact Converse All-Stars, period. Also, 28 is nowhere near “old,” but here’s a pro tip for the future: When you’re thinking something might not be age-appropriate, just ask yourself “Would Lauren Hutton wear this?” WLHWCAS? Yep, and she would look awesome in them.

Previously: Hair Inspiration, Dancewear, and Big Boots.

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Photo by Shots Studio, via Shutterstock