By Genevieve LeFranc
Tools Of The Trade…..
Let’s face it gals, it’s a tough world out there and who couldn’t benefit from a few tricks and tools that make our beauty routines (and lives) easier. We all want to look our best and be able to rely on tools that get the job done quickly and effectively. With a beauty arsenal of reliable weapons, you can face each day with confidence knowing you possess the must-haves to pull off any great look.
You may think there is little difference between the drug store tweezer you discovered in the back of a messy drawer and the precision options praised by beauty editors. But quality makes all the difference. Tweezerman is the Cadillac of tweezers and relatively inexpensive when you consider its unmatched performance and precision. Its sharp steel tips are hand-filed and grab the hair every time. It comes in different shapes, sizes and styles, some with fun patterns to complement your style. And here’s a bonus – Tweezerman will sharpen your tweezer when it becomes dulled from everyday use at no cost! This coveted favorite pays for itself, so invest! Nothing frames your face better than a set of neatly groomed, excellently manicured brows.
Short of a solid eight hours in dreamland, nothing makes you look more awake or bright-eyed than curled eyelashes. Even if you have absolutely no time to throw on makeup, curling your eyelashes takes seconds and gives you a flirtatious look that lasts all day. Don’t feel like swiping on the mascara? No problem—a pair of curled lashes makes your peepers pop. Invest in a quality tool to make your curl last. The brand adored by makeup artists and professionals is Shu Uemura. It yields a perfect curl with unmatched precision, accentuating even the smallest lashes. This top performer lifts lashes to new heights with exceptional results and curls your lashes quickly with little pressure or tugging. After all, who has successfully batted their eyelashes at the cute Starbucks guy without curling them first?
This one almost goes without saying. Your makeup is only as good as the tools with which you apply it, so this is not the place to cut corners. Good makeup brushes are expensive, but will outlast their cheap cousins by a long shot and yield a noticeable difference in the application of your makeup. Whether you collect them individually or buy a set, do some research about which type works best for you. Synthetic brushes are easy to clean and available in antibacterial versions, while animal brushes last but will cost you. The three brushes every woman should possess are eyeshadow, powder and blush. Add different brushes to your collection over time. Trust me, they’re worth it!
Good hair tools
The same goes for hair tools—your hair will only look as good as the tools you use to maintain and style it. Every woman should have a decent hair dryer and hairbrush. Whether you’re willing to break the bank or prefer to shop around for cheaper alternatives, every good hair dryer should have multiple heat and speed settings with 1800 watt power or higher. Diffusers and nozzle attachments are added bonuses. I use my hairdryer as much to dry my locks as for handy beauty tricks. When you don’t have the time to allow just-painted nails to fully dry, use your hairdryer to speed things along! Keep it on a low, cool setting so as not to distort the polish from the dryer’s heat or blast of air. If you curl or flat iron your hair, invest in a solid, ceramic iron.
As for hairbrushes, the champion of mane tamers is the Mason Pearson, originated in 1885. These rubber-cushioned brushes are handmade with the best materials to care for your tresses. Regular brushing conditions and cleans your hair and stimulates the scalp while imparting suppleness and healthy sheen. Mason Pearson’s quality simply cannot be matched and is available in boar hair and nylon bristles. Always use a wide-tooth comb on wet hair, never brush it!
If I could only have one “beauty tool” in my bag at all times, it would be the Q-Tip. It’s your cheap and versatile beauty workhorse. Stash them in your desk, purse and car—you’ll thank me! Q-Tips fix mascara smudges, correct makeup mistakes, function as an applicator for lipstick, gloss, and shadow, and are perfect for removing unsightly clumps of makeup buildup from the inner corners of your eyes. Correct polish slip-ups with Q-Tips while the color is still wet. Your hands and feet will look like they were done professionally. And here’s a bonus: run an oil-soaked Q-Tip along sticky, stubborn zippers. The oil acts as a lubricant making the teeth open and close with ease.
Mani/Pedi tool set
As much as I love indulging in a professional mani/pedi, I often kick myself for indulging in something that chips three days later! Manicures and pedicures are relatively simple to perform at home, so shop around for a tool set that will get the job done right. You can find professional quality, affordable sets with a full array of tools and most come with a step-by-step guide to ensure a perfect paint job. By deciding to DIY your mani/pedi, you can afford that new pair of sandals you’ve been dying to buy and show off your handiwork at the same time. Even if you’re not a nail polish kinda gal, keep a nail file on hand for unexpected breaks or tears. In a pinch, you can use a closed zipper as a file! A little crude, but it works!
Clear nail polish
Not only does slapping on a coat of the stuff instantly give dull, naked nails a shiny, sophisticated polish, this unassuming little bottle will wow you with its versatility. Everyone knows the helpless feeling when you spot the start of a run in your stockings. That little hole that, with your luck, you notice just as you’re walking into that all-important job interview. A dab of clear polish will stop the run dead in its tracks. Similarly, you can prevent frayed fabric from unraveling at cuffs and hems by brushing on a swipe of the clear goo. My favorite trick is applying it to inexpensive costume jewelry to keep it sparkling clean and free of tarnish. And remember, storing polish of any color in the fridge keeps it fresher longer!
It’s cheap, it’s versatile, it’s amazing! Buy a small jar and stash it in your bag. It will last forever and you’ll be surprised how often you pull it out for one reason or another. Vaseline is an excellent moisturizer, especially in winter months when dry skin is at its worst. Use it as hand cream, to sooth rough cuticles, as lip balm, or to tame unruly brows. Put a thin coat on eyelashes before bed. It promotes longer, thicker lashes over time. When applied at perfume points before spritzing, Vaseline maintains the scent longer. In a pinch, Vaseline will work as a makeup remover, too.