Beauty Q&A: Bitter Pills

1. I used to have nicely groomed and arched brows, but I just came back from the WORST brow job ever and don’t know what to do! I actually started sobbing at the register of the salon after multiple staff told me the aesthetician did a terrible job with the wax. We’re talking tiny, spindly, uneven eyebrows with large patches of hair missing.

I have my university graduation AND am maid of honor at my best friend’s wedding this week. How on Earth do I fix this? What can I do to make them look even and give them some shape until they grow back? She ripped the ends of one of the brows clean off, so do I try to fill that in? How can I do this without looking really tacky? Should I just run out and get heavy bangs that cover the eyebrows completely? Please help, I’m really stressed and totally panicking and walking out of the salon sobbing was such a low point for me.

I am not a religious person (surprised?) but lemons/lemonade situations sometimes make me wonder if there’s a plan. Terrible things are constantly happening, you know? And they get more frequent and much shittier as time goes on. Life. You should cry and freak out — that is the natural first step after someone ruins your face. The second step could either be worrying that your eyebrows might look tacky OR it could be pretending there is such a thing as *destiny*.

The fact that you even came up with the idea of bangs means they’ve been knocking around in your head. Let them out! Onto your face. Setting the brows aside, literally and figuratively, I think you should definitely get some bangs right now. If not now, when?

And yes, you should fill your brows in too, even if they’re covered by hair. (Wind: the natural enemy of bangs.) If you’re nervous about where the pencil goes because you’re essentially working from a blank slate, Anastasia makes forms to follow and powder that’s a little subtler and easier to work with and than pencil. This kit contains everything you need.

You could also embrace them: go half-retro — that’s just hollering back 10 years — cut baby bangs, draw your eyebrows on like tiny apostrophes, and pretend you’re a poor bartender living in Chicago in the year 2002. →

The bright side: excluding the possibility that the universe did this to prepare you for sudden hereditary hair loss, your brows will be back in about two months if you leave them to their own devices.

2. I got these dope sneaker wedges. I was obsessed with the Mark Jacobs ones, until I found these Nike ones that in addition to being cheaper, I think have some more curb appeal. I have one great outfit idea in mind, that includes a mini, chambray and lots of gold video girl jewelry. But, I could use some inspiration to make sure they get more action than that. These are pretty on-trend, maybe I am not the only one?

No, you’re not the only one. Look what is in this week’s US Weekly. I picked it up at the airport yesterday and when I got to this page I was like “hm” and then I turned to the next page which had a story about Julianne Hough and then I closed the magazine and took a Valium. Later during the flight, the woman behind me kept using the seat-back pocket as a foot rest and when I asked her to “please stop kicking me” she said that it wasn’t her fault and that I had “reclined back too far” so that the seat was touching her knees and she is “only five-foot-two!” She got a lot of eye rolls from the crowd for that one. I caught her in the lie about four more times when I’d whip around really fast and see her putting her feet back down. Then they played an hour-long cute animal clips show on the overhead TVs (what an old airplane!) and she cackled at the top of her lungs and yelled out every single thing the animals did. “HE THINKS HIS REFLECTION IS ANOTHER CAT!!! HAHAHAHAH!!!!” The entire plane wanted her dead, but her husband didn’t even notice. He just kept loving her and being married to her, all the way through the whole flight.

I guess what I’m saying is, just go for it. Glean what you can from these two photos of impossibly thin, beautiful, young women wearing them correctly and incorrectly according to the fashion editors at US Weekly. Try navy leggings and a tank and a hoodie that covers your butt? A sporty white cotton dress? I don’t know. They are kind of not my favorite for grown women. “Don’t wear them unless you’re a teenager or Amber Rose” is my real opinion. If you are a teenager or Amber Rose though, you shouldn’t have to buy your own sneakers. I’d look into that.

3. I have a question about beauty. So, I am going to this wedding pretty soon where there will be an evil ex as well as some other people who are horrible to me. Well, I might not go, for the purpose of avoiding said horror people, but I might. Should I? Who knows! (A Lady?) BUT in the event that I go, I think it will help me have more confidence if I have an awesome dress. Something pretty casual… but sexy… but appropriate… and beaaauuu-tee-ful… but not super expensive… and definitely cool. And also, what about shoes? I rarely wear heels but I would like to have a little height for the purpose of feeling powerful, while not falling over and ruining my hopefully awesome dress. AH. I give up.

Good. Give up. Don’t go. If there’s one thing that surely makes a wedding suck it’s having it filled up with a bunch of assholes who are horrible to you. Also, you could accidentally end up sleeping with one of them. That happens at weddings. Stay home! Go to Miami for the weekend! Fly to your best friend’s boring house in the middle of nowhere for a surprise visit! Whatever you do, do NOT waste a perfectly cute dress and heels on some jerks. Send a card or a present to the couple though, as long as they’re not among the horror people. If they are, never talk to them again.

4. I have a question about the ethics of expensive shoes. I have my eye on a pair of shoes that cost so much that I can’t bring myself to buy them. We’re talking 370 big ones. My gut reaction is that it feels wrong to pay so much for something to put on my feet. It isn’t exactly about the money, but more about fearing that I will lose perspective on what is important in life if I spend that much on a pair of shoes. But I also feel conflicted, because from the looks of it I would be paying for quality craftsmanship (handmade in Spain), good materials, and design (Chie Mihara), and I’m pretty sure they would go with almost every dress I own.

First, regarding your fears, I will impart a few bits of wisdom from my therapist. Believe it or not, I used to fret terribly over almost every dollar I spent and now I just fret mediumly:

1. Are you really that hollow inside that a dang pair of shoes, which you need in order to walk these disgusting streets, will throw your entire moral center off balance? Give yourself some credit.

2. Why do you even make money? You personally, I mean. You could be a monk or a hunter in Alaska or a volunteer instead. Seriously! Or, you could do some money-generating activity, save enough for your retirement, give some away to people and organizations who could use it, and with the rest collect up some material possessions that bring you joy and take a vacation once in awhile. There’s probably a third, fourth, and fifth option too. Pick one and go for it.

Embarrassing, but true: the only pair of shoes I’ve ever literally cried over were the MOST PERFECT, MOST COMFORTABLE Chie Mihara pumps that I completely destroyed one night in a freak storm/mud/car oil accident. [UPDATE: I Googled them and there they are over on the left and I’m hyperventilating and want to cry again. These are, unfortunately, one Euro size too big for me, but one of you should get them RIGHT NOW. Size 10/40. Only $139! They make your legs look one million miles long and they go with everything. Okay, back to the question. My heart hurts.] Granted, I got them on sale in Montreal when the exchange rate was great. Can you stalk this pair online until the price drops somewhere? If not, just get them now and take care of them as you would a newborn baby. Do not lose the extra pair of heel tips that come in the box — you will wear these shoes for years and you’ll also maybe cry when you’ve worn through the two pairs of heel tips they came with and you have to switch to a weird light tan color because they didn’t have the dark carmel shade at any cobbler in the city.

5. How do I wear lipstick? I love the idea of it (Holly Golighty puts it on in the hospital to feel like herself again!) but the reality feels greasy and unpleasant, no matter how fancy/expensive the product. How much pre-moisturizing should I be doing? How do I keep it on, especially as I am a chronic lip-chewer? How do I stop it gathering in those yucky balls of residue at the corners of my mouth? Is lipstick, in fact, a giant con?

What are you even talking about! What are these “balls?” Are you by any chance only using Grandma Maxine’s stash of those tiny Avon lipstick samples from the 1970s? If so, stop it, but also send them all to me. I miss the smell.

First, lip-chewing and lipstick do not go together, but neither do lip-chewing and not having wrinkles around your mouth or lip-chewing and not looking like a nervous pre-teen. Stop chewing your lips! Chew gum. Chew a carrot. Chew on this: it sounds like you might need to get into the habit of conditioning your lips and possibly exfoliating as well. I’m genetically predisposed to lip-chewing and inside-of-my-cheek chewing, so I feel you. What works for me is using this Neosporin lip treatment every night before bed and brushing my lips a tiny bit with my toothbrush every morning before applying either some lip balm or lipstick. Give that a try for a few weeks and see if those bits you’re trying to chew off disappear. Also, rather than moisturizing under your lipstick, thus impeding the lipstick’s ability to stick, try getting either a lipstick with moisturizes in it or applying some balm over your lipstick every so often.

And then there’s the nasty truth about lipstick: you have to reapply pretty often it if you want it to look good, even the stuff that says it’ll stay on for 12 hours or whatever nonsense. See that picture of yours truly up there? Though I don’t remember that night, or year, I can guarantee you I put lipstick on IMMEDIATELY before that photo was taken for posterity. There’s no magic to it, just find a mirror and reapply. And then don’t chew it off!

6. This is not a question, but an announcement: I’ll be teaching a workshop on mid-60s hair and makeup — think Mad Men — this weekend in Montauk, NY (ooh, la la!) at Create & Cultivate. If you’d like to come, enter HAIRPIN at the checkout to get $40 off admission.

Previously: Caftans, Baby Gifts, and What Is Up With BB Creams?

Do you have a question for Jane?