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We all start somewhere on our beauty journeys and sometimes the challenge to gain traction can leave us a bit weary. With so much competing information, and so many imprecise approaches to disseminating it, its no wonder women flock to those with more experience or visual credibility. But there are key tenets of basic beauty which all women, no matter their ethnicity, means or aspirations, should and can implement in order to simplify their trajectory upward toward the most beautiful version of themselves! Whether you’ve just tried (and failed) to execute your first ever makeup tutorial, you’ years into researched skincare experiments, or you learned volumes about beauty from real women face to face, these steps should provide a powerful foundation for your beauty aims!

vitamin c

1. Incorporate Vitamin C and SPF into your skincare routine ASAP!

Regardless of how deep your complexion or muted your natural coloring, all women benefit from topical Vitamin C. Feminine beauty is centered around visual indicators of fertility, which women of all ethnicities, body types, and visual brands can exude. One of these fertility indicators is color contrast, such as when the eyes and lips visually “pop” against the skin. Natural flushing to the cheeks is also a strong visual fertility indicator. An effective Vitamin C product will brighten the skin by evening and eliminating discoloration, a benefit that will need to be maintained with proper application of sun protection! While many effective Vitamin C products will brighten your complexion, one that is more efficacious or better suited to your skin in particular will also have added smoothing benefits. The chemical exfoliation will even out skin texture over time!

There are countless Vitamin C products available on the market, but as you select yours you should keep in mind the product value first and foremost. Price tag is not always an apt indicator of how effective the product is! Here are a few things to consider when purchasing your Vitamin C:

  • Contains ascorbic acid, the most potent and bioavailable form of Vitamin C
  • Minimal, if any, water content in the product since Viamin C is water soluble
  • Clear expiration date
  • The product comes in an air free, dark container (or you can simply decant it into your own container!)

As for sunscreen, consider the ingredients lists carefully and leverage the existing power of forums like Reddit’s Skincare Addiction community where you can find reviews and analyses of many of the popular and obscure products in the market.

comfortable bra

2. Get yourself a real bra.

Many women associate comfort with sports bras or bralettes, which makes sense. No wires, less restriction, and plenty of room for activities! However the comfort, support and improved silhouette that come from a comfortable yet properly fitted underwire bra should not be underestimated! The reason so many women consider underwire bras uncomfortable is that the fit is actually insufficient. Most retailers only carry bras with band sizes up to 40 inches, and limit cup sizes to DDD. Theoretically there are infinite bra sizes, but according to my very specific calculations, there are 306 bras that don’t exist where many women are shopping. I’m not here to discuss the social implications of inadequate size range (at least not today!). The more pressing issue is that many of us are hard pressed to find a comfortable bra that honors our figure.

To address this issue, check out this bra size calculator and measuring guide and the Reddit forum responsible for creating it! The subreddit is brimming (much like your overfull bra cups, I presume?) with excellent reviews and resources for finding bras not only according to your size but also your breast type. Here are some additional notes about bra fit to get you started:

  • The gore is the front and center part of the bra where the two underwires meet. It should rest flat against your sternum.
  • Breast support should firstly come from band size and then the cup itself, the latter of which is based upon the fabric tension created from a properly sized and placed underwire. If the support comes primarily from the straps, you’re likely in the wrong size.
  • Custom bras do exist, and they even can make them to address asymmetry in your bust! If this isn’t an option, size to the larger breast and carefully pad the other.
  • If the breast isn’t smooth, you’re in the wrong size. This is due to the underwire sitting too high or the breast “quadding” (i.e. bulging out of the top of the cup with a visible volume-oriented demarcation).
  • Your cup size naturally fluctuates a bit based upon your hormones. I recommend having bras for the top and bottom range of these fluctuations!
beauty routines

3. Reshape your lashes.

Many women struggle with lashes that are too short or straight to be visible above the eyeline. Many women similarly search and search for the perfect mascara and lash curler that will add a touch of doe eyed femininity to their visual arsenal. Lash reshaping is the easiest solution to these problems! Here is the lash kit I recommend using!

For some reason the beauty industry and beauty fanatics have not yet specified the distinctions between lash perms and lash lifts. Both of these processes fit nicely under the umbrella I call “lash reshaping.” Lash lifts and lash perms are definitely similar in practice but the end results are rather different. Both of these processes reshape each individual eyelash, if done correctly. Both of these processes involve some of the same steps. However! I find this imprecise correlation between lash lifts and perms to be quite misleading! For the sake of specificity, and because I like making charts, here are some key differences between the two!

LASH LIFTLASH PERM
Lash lifts change the angle at which the lashes come out of the lashline. This is done by adhering the lashes to a silicone shield and focusing the application of perm solution and setting lotion on the lash root. Alternatively, adhesive cotton rolls can be used for lash lifts!Lash perms involve adding a curl to the natural lash. This is done by using a curved silicone shield and applying the perm solution and setting lotion along as much of the lash shaft as possible, root to tip!
A  thinner lash shield will result in more lifting action from the lash root, pressing the lashes up closer to the eyelid for a more opened-eye look.The more drastic the shield’s curve, the greater the curl! A thinner lash shield will result in more lifting action from the lash root as well. You should consider how convex as well as how thin the lash shield is to get better results from your lash perm!
I recommend lash lifts for women who consider their lashes to be short, as this maximizes the visible length of the lashes.Women with more texture to their skin and hair, regardless of ethnicity, suit lash perms quite well, given the greater degree of perceived texture achieved with a lash perm.
On average, higher yang women with narrower, sharper, or more blunt features  (Dramatics, Flamboyant Naturals, Dramatic Classics, Flamboyant Gamines) suit lash lifts rather than curls due to the angularity and sleekness characterizing their other features. There obviously may be exceptions to this consideration!On average, higher yin women with wider, more lush features (Romantics, Theatrical Romantics, Soft Gamines, Soft Classics, Soft Naturals, Soft Dramatics) suit lash curls as well. Classics, Gamines, and Naturals should select lifts/perms according to other factors! I do think there is merit in Classics, Gamines, and Naturals using lash perms to add just a touch of yin. It won’t be enough to shift the yin/Yang balance of course, but the eye naturally seeks out yin on an otherwise blended woman, and adding yin to the eye in this way will contribute positively to the overall appearance.

4. Concealer, mascara, blush, lip color, and brows are the bare minimum for a pulled together face.

While you owe it to no one to put your most beautiful self forward, these color balancing makeup steps will help others to focus on your face during interactions. The added confidence boost of knowing you are presenting a fresh, feminine face will prevent you from getting distracted by concerns about your appearance. In turn, this will enable you to focus entirely on your daily interactions and activities, ensuring a feminine aura of charm and radiance.

NARS radiant creamy concealer

CONCEALER

Select a concealer that perfectly matches the skintone on your face. Apply it under the eyes and anywhere you experience discoloration (e.g. around the nose, the corners of the mouth, anywhere you have discoloration) and press it into the skin with clean fingertips.

blusher

BLUSH

For a natural look, your blush should match your own coloring in hue (how warm or cool) and contrast (how saturated or muted). Sweep it along the upper edge of your cheekbones, lightly at the upper edge of the hairline, and even in the crease of the eyelid to add feminine warmth to the face.

Mascara Wand and Tube

MASCARA

Mascara serves multiple purposes. Deepening the color of the lashes increases contrast between the eyes and face, which is an indicator of sexual maturity. Based upon your lashes and the mascara you select, you’ll also benefit from added perceived lash volume and length. Swipe mascara on in 2-3 layers on your upper lash line, letting each layer dry before the next.

YSL Lipstick

LIP COLOR

Ensure your lips contrast from the face by selecting, once again, a shade that suits your level of contrast and the natural hue of your skin. Whether its a bold red, a medium-depth pink or a “my lips but better” shade, your features will be much more balanced once you bring the lips into focus.

makeup for eyebrows

BROWS

Use a brow product colored slightly lighter than your brow hairs. Gently line the underside of the inner half of the brow, and then apply through the center of the brow tail, sweeping gradually more product at the top and bottom border of the brow arch to create definition. The most depth of pigment and product should be in the arch.

5. Create hair volume at the crown of your head.

While each woman uniquely suits a different type of hair style, all women suit volume at the crown of the head! It makes the hair appear thicker while balancing the face and skull. Do this by training your hair part to extend no further back than the center of the skull. Next, section the hair off in horizontal layers from ear to ear. Tease each section three inches from the root, working from the crown of the head forward. Apply hairspray atop each section to ensure hold. Gently lay down the final layer of hair and apply hairspray to ensure the teased hair does not show. Before you go seeking out a bump it… don’t go seeking out a bump it. I promise, my friends and I all tried! Bump its create a very unnatural looking shape and are also difficult to install properly. Teasing the hair, and gently detangling it, is far superior in every way that counts!

beauty

6. Dermaplane your skin.

Hair removal has innumerable benefits! Dermaplaning is superior to other facial hair removal processes. It’s an excellent and gentle form of physical exfoliation. I would also recommend this practice for women who depilate the face as it will ensure that as the hair follicles grow, they’ll have no trouble penetrating the top layer of skin. (If hair follicles cannot penetrate the top layer of skin as they grow, they will become ingrown hairs.) The physical exfoliation will cause your skincare products to penetrate more deeply, allowing you to use less product while enjoying more powerful results! Check out my post about dermaplaning for more information!

7. Embrace highlighter.

Its definitely easy to go overboard with this highlighter, especially if you select one that is extremely pigmented, shiny or sparkly! However, targeted application of shiny, shimmery, sparkly products draws the focus right where you want it like nothing else can! Highlight the inner half of your eyelid crease to play up your eyes. Add it in the inner corner to add interest. Use products with satin to glossy finishes on the cheekbones, center of the forehead and nose bridge. Use concealer a shade lighter than your natural skintone to make various parts of the face take up more visual space. Contouring is often a rather challenging makeup technique, but highlighting and strobing are far more beginner friendly and can be quite impactful!

8. Do the Strong Curves exercise program by Bret Contreras.

A hallmark of feminine beauty is a low waist hip ratio. This signifies fertility and physical fitness, and positively impacts every body type! The Strong Curves exercise program is developed specifically for women. It outlines the science and methodology behind a proven strategy for building the posterior chain (muscles in the back, glutes, hamstrings and calves). There are variations to the program for novice and experienced weight lifters, as well as those who have limited access to workout equipment. Check out Bret Contreras’s website for supplemental information and to access his various platforms!

9. Exfoliate your body.

Make your skin as soft as possible! Leverage the power of dry brushing, abrasive gloves, scrub products, and skincare that provides chemical exfoliation. Do this on a weekly, if not daily, basis to keep up with skin cell turnover. Apply lotion and body oil, in addition to targeted serums, in order to replenish the skin! The whole process is good for stimulating growth of new skin cells, improving circulation, and boosting the lymphatic system.

hydrate

10. Moisture is EVERYTHING!

From drinking copious amounts of water (your body weight in ounces) to using sheet masks on a daily basis, moisture is truly the essence of beauty! As you continue researching skincare and health, dive deeply into the principles of hydration to leverage ingredients and processes. If you can do nothing else for your health and beauty on a stressful, busy day, moisturizing and hydrating tasks are the ones to prioritize above all else! Lack of moisture quickly shows itself in our skin. Likewise, its one of the fastest and easiest improvements to make!

11. Determine your Kibbe Type and SciArt Color Season.

So much of the beauty recommendations we find are oriented around the “ideal” figure or commercially successful beauty traits. These, and other standards, are inspiring yet often entirely off base in relation to our own natural beauty. Determining your own Kibbe type will enable you to dress according to your body rather than to an irrelevant ideal. It provides an extremely comprehensive and accurate framework for wardrobe planning that will truly honor your natural figure while helping you to navigate style decisions!

Similarly, SciArt Seasonal Color Analysis helps to guide the color and texture choices you make with your wardrobe, accessories, and makeup. By determining your own coloration based on hue, value, and chroma, you will learn which colors are your most flattering. You’ll also learn how to combine them with various finishes and fabrics in order to let your beauty shine! The leading expert in seasonal color analysis is Christine Scaman, and her blog can be found here!

12. Dress yourself well, and if you’re unsure how to do so just wear more dresses.

Navigating our bodies and choosing clothing is definitely challenging. So much of what is available in stores is limited by current trends and common body types. On top of that, it’s difficult to see our bodies objectively enough to make excellent style choices. We’re often so entrenched in how we feel about our bodies that we can’t see them clearly. Without the ability to analyze our physical form objectively, we’re hard pressed to make accurate stylistic choices about which garments flatter us the most.

These challenges are exacerbated when we are combining different wardrobe elements together. Do the shoes match the pants? Do the pants match the shirt? Does the jacket match everything? What about accessories? All of these problems are simplified when we wear dresses! It’s one garment, and that eliminates steps. Fewer variables to consider is always a good thing when learning to improve! You will always look more cohesive in a dress than in separates. It’ll also be easier to ensure the rest of your outfit works together, and with your assets!

Elevating your style and beauty is a challenging process. It requires lots of research and experimentation, as well as courage to step outside of familiar boundaries. Not only that, but the acceptance of how much better you can look with intentional efforts can require some courage as well! As you strive to improve your appearance, always work from a positive standpoint centered around accentuating your most wonderful traits. In doing so, the process and the payoffs will be infinitely more rewarding!

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