Look Gorgeous During Allergy Season

Ah, spring. It’s a season filled with balmy weather, budding trees and -- for allergy sufferers -- a disheveled appearance. All too often, you’ll dress up for an outdoor concert or picnic only to return home with a red nose, under-eye circles and a pocket full of tissues.

If you’re one of the 35 million Americans who battles seasonal allergies, there’s no need to become a springtime recluse. The following tips will help you ease those symptoms, so you can look fantastic all season long.

1. Cover up.
Allergies can cause dark circles to form beneath your eyes. To look awake and fresh, use a concealer that matches your skin type. Dab it on with your finger and use a facial tissue to remove any excess product. Keep an extra concealer in your purse so you can apply touch-ups on the run.

2. Look like Jackie O.
Before you head out of the house, put on a pair of wraparound shades. Not only do they cover up the dark circles, but they’ll also block pollen from entering your eyes.

3. Minimize your makeup.
During allergy season, some tears are inevitable. Make sure you use waterproof makeup, or go for a minimal look: Stick with tinted moisturizer or BB cream, concealer, blush and lipstick -- and skip the heavy eye makeup, which can run. Also keep a pack of tissues in your purse to wipe away smears and tears.

4. Pick soft tissues.
Constantly wiping and blowing your nose irritates the skin, creating a red Rudolf-like effect. Look for a soft facial tissue with lotion that’s gentle on your nose. And dab lotion on your nose throughout the day.

5. Drink up.
Being dehydrated causes blood vessels to get bigger, which can lead to an even puffier face. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning and carry a reusable water bottle with you to make sure that you’re getting enough fluids.

Photo by Gabriel Silvério on Unsplash

Like this article? Get more by following us on Facebook at Beauty & Confidence.

Get a Fresh Face for Spring

Life doesn't stop when you're feeling under the weather. That's especially true for television: Even if an anchor or reporter is battling a cold or allergy symptoms, the show must go on. As a makeup artist for “Good Morning America,” it's my job to cover up those telltale red noses and blotchy spots.

So the next time you're sick or suffering from allergies and have to face the world, try using a few of my tried-and-true tricks that’ll make you look fabulous!

1. Brighten sallow skin.
For a fresh complexion, wash your face with an exfoliating scrub to slough off dead, tired-looking skin cells. Don't have any scrub on hand? Try making your own by mixing coffee grounds and full-fat milk. The caffeine (which has popped up in plenty of skin care products) acts as an anti-inflammatory, tightening your pores and shrinking visible blood vessels.

2. Disguise a red nose.
Continuously blowing your nose can leave your skin dry and chapped. Be gentle on your nose by using only soft tissues, like those with lotion, and applying moisturizer regularly. Skip the petroleum jelly on your nose, though, since it can clog pores and lead to breakouts.

To mask the redness, apply a layer of foundation. A cream-based kind will give you an even skin tone, without that caked-on appearance. Using your finger or a makeup sponge, dab some concealer to cover up any remaining ruddiness on your nose.

3. Clear up tired eyes.
When the anchors come in at the crack of dawn, I often reach for eye-whitening drops, which mask tired, bloodshot eyes. One warning: Since the drops I prefer to use are tinted blue, I always make sure to have a tissue on hand to wipe up the excess moisture after use.

For dark under-eye circles, use a concealer with orange undertones. Steer clear of violet or purple eye shadow when you're sick or exhausted; the shade will draw attention to those purplish under-eye circles, making you look even more tired.

4. Moisturize chapped lips.
Slough off dead skin with an exfoliating scrub formulated for lips, or make your own by mixing sugar with a dab of olive oil. Rub the concoction on your lips, wipe it off and dab on some lip gloss or balm for a healthy-looking smile.

5. Clear your voice.
If you're meeting with clients or presenting to a group, the last thing you want is to sound congested. So try an over-the-counter decongestant, which helps temporarily clear up the gunk in your nose. Also sip some hot tea with lemon and honey, which can help soothe your throat and ease that husky voice.

6. Brighten up.
For a finishing touch, brush a little pink blush on the apples of your cheeks. Being sick can drain your face of color -- the blush will add a natural rosy glow. So even if you feel like crawling into bed, you'll still look energized.

Photo by Dmitry Vechorko on Unsplash

Like this article? Get more by following us on Facebook at Beauty & Confidence.

Create an At-Home Spa: 4 Simple Spa Recipes

You’re in serious need of a pampering day at the spa, but you’re short on time and money. The solution? Transform your own bathroom into a sanctuary. At the Lake Austin Spa Resort, I teach classes on how to turn common kitchen and garden ingredients into luxurious skin scrubs, bath salts and more.

The key is using herbs and flowers. Certain aromas have a powerful effect on the nervous system, leaving you feeling relaxed or energized. I recommend using the following ingredients for their scents:

  • Lavender
    This soothing, antimicrobial herb has been shown to help you relax and get a good night’s sleep. Wesleyan University conducted a 31-person study and found that when people sniffed lavender before bedtime, they got more slow-wave (or deep) sleep and reported feeling more energetic in the morning.
  • Eucalyptus
  • Developing research suggests this woodsy scent may help break up mucus and stop coughs, according to the National Institutes of Health. And a study published in the journal Respiratory Medicine shows that eucalyptol, the active ingredient, has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Mint
  • Perfect for hot days, spearmint and peppermint are cooling and refreshing. And a recent study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy also found that applying menthol to the skin increases blood flow.
  • Ginger
  • When grated and added to a bath, the spicy root provides an invigorating sensory energy-boost. It can be mixed with coconut oil for a mildly exfoliating scrub.
  • Rosemary
  • This herb has a refreshing, stimulating effect.
  • Rose Petals
    Pluck them from your own garden to add a sweet fragrance to any bath or body treatment.

Once you’ve chosen your herb, mix them up with one of the following recipes. With a few household ingredients, you can go from stressed and tired to relaxed and glowing:

Basic Bath Infusion

  • 4 cups fresh herbs (or 2 cups dried)
  • 4 cups water
  • Boil water in a large pot; add herbs. Stir, cover and remove from heat. Steep for 10 minutes, strain and pour into a hot bath.

Soothing Bath Bag

  • 1/4 cup powdered milk
  • 1/4 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried herbs
  • 10 drops of essential oil

Stir together all ingredients and place in a muslin bag (or several layers of cheesecloth); secure with a rubber band. Add to hot bath and steep for several minutes. Open the bag and use the softened herbs as an exfoliating body scrub. You can also seal unused bags in a glass jar for several months.

Energizing Coffee Body Scrub

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 4-inch sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup coffee beans, finely ground
  • 2 tablespoons bentonite clay (found in health food stores)
  • 3 tablespoons oil, such as olive, grapeseed, coconut or avocado
  • 3 drops each of rosemary oil and grapefruit or peppermint oil

Combine sugar and rosemary in a spice grinder and process until finely ground. Pour into a medium-sized bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients. Use the scrub on skin; shower off. Moisturize with additional body oil.

Skin-softening Bath Blend

  • 1/4 cup rolled or instant oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup herbs of choice
  • 10 to 15 drops of essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons body oil

In a food processor, combine oatmeal, milk powder, sugar and herbs until coarsely ground. Pour in bowl and combine with essential oil, honey and body oil. Place in muslin bag and steep in a hot bath for a few minutes. Use cold tea bags (green tea or chamomile) over your eyes as you enjoy your bath.


Like this article? Get more by following on Facebook at Beauty & Confidence.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash


5 Hot New Makeup Trends to Try

When it comes to the high-drama makeup found in fashion magazines, most of us think: “That’s gorgeous, but there’s no way I could pull that off.” But the truth is -- you can rock those looks!

With the proper application, you can make those funky hair and makeup trends appropriate for your lifestyle. Here are my simple steps for making five of the hottest new looks work for you!

Makeup Trend No. 1: Fire-engine Lips
One of my favorite trends for the coming season is the bold red lip. It creates instant glamour, but unfortunately, it also often makes a mess.

How to wear it: To avoid smears, choose a matte lipstick. Apply a thin layer to your lips with a brush. (Don’t rub your lips together, which can smear the color.) Then roll a tissue into the shape of a cigar, place it in your mouth as if you’re smoking it, and slowly drag it out to catch any of the excess lipstick.

Makeup Trend No. 2: Big, Bold Brows
Bold, architectural brows are in. But what looks fierce on the runways can come off a little intense in real life.  

How to wear it: For fuller brows that won’t scare your coworkers, dab a damp-angled brow brush into an eye shadow that’s one shade darker then your hair color. Then, flick strokes of color in any sparse areas of your brows. Make sure to apply in the direction of your hair growth. Next, dip a damp spoolie brush into the shadow and brush the entire brow until it’s lightly coated in color.

Makeup Trend No. 3: Goth Polish
If you’re not careful, inky nails can read a bit Wednesday Adams.

How to wear it: Instead of a straight black, choose a dark, deep hue like charcoal, navy or deep plum. If that’s still too edgy for your day-to-day, get just the right amount of drama by embellishing your base with a lighter hue: Use a scrunched-up tissue to transfer a thin coat of translucent metallic polish. Kind of like sponge painting, dab the tissue over your dark polish until you reach the level of opacity that you want. The layered colors add dimension to your mani -- not to mention a unique look!

Makeup Trend No. 4: Slicked-back Hair
Several spring catwalks showcased shellacked manes, but taken too literally this do risks looking more helmet head then chic. 

How to wear it: To get this sleek hairdo without the theatrics, style your hair while it’s damp. Instead of a gel, use a creamy mousse or hair lotion that will provide hold without the slickness. Then blow-dry, making sure that the root direction faces back and away from your face. Pull back sections from your hairline and clip each section back. (Tip: Use a tissue between the clip and hair to prevent dents.) Once your hair has cooled, spritz hairspray all over, and remove the clips when it’s dry.

Makeup Trend No. 5: Neon Shadows
Dare to wear pops of vivid shadows with these real life application tricks. 

How to wear it: Make those DayGlo shadows more wearable by using them sparingly: Apply the product to the outer corner of your eyes (below the crease). Shake off any excess powder, and with a small, compact “pencil” brush, blend the remaining shadow back and forth into your crease. With a bigger shadow brush, blend a beige shimmer shade over the entire eye. If you want to go bolder, you can either add another layer of your neon shadow, or apply it with an angled brush.

Photo by Doğukan Şahin on Unsplash

5 Ideas for a Romantic Look

There’s no better time to get flirty than on Valentine’s Day -- especially when it comes to your hair and makeup. Soft waves, dewy skin and rosy cheeks create a dreamy, romantic look that’s perfect for the evening, whether you’re planning a big night out or intimate dinner at home. Try the following tips for makeup application to score a look you’re both sure to love.

1. Make some waves.
You can’t go wrong with loose, bohemian waves. Start by working volumizing mousse onto damp hair and blow-drying completely. (If you’re short on time, sprinkle dry shampoo, such as Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo, on your roots.) Wrap small sections of your hair around a curling iron, only using the middle part of your strands; keep the iron away from your roots and ends. Repeat until you’ve curled all of your hair, then gently brush out and set with hair spray.

Want to wear your hair up? Show off your neck and shoulders with with a romantically undone ‘do. First, curl dry, unwashed hair with a large-barrel curling iron. Then pull your hair into a loose ponytail at the nape of your neck or to one side, and secure with an elastic band. Twist hair around the band until it forms and bun and secure with bobby pins.  Run your fingers through your hair for some wispy face-framing pieces and finish off with hairspray. For an extra touch, add a pretty headband.

2. Go light.
To achieve a gorgeous glow, skip heavy cream-based foundations. Instead, lighten up your look with an illuminating sheer liquid foundation, such as Stila’s Illuminating Liquid Foundation. Then dab on the concealer only where needed, and set with a translucent powder. To remove excess product, blot with a facial tissue.

3. Try a twist on the smoky eye.
Trade in your usual black or charcoal eyeliner for a pop of color, like emerald green, deep plum or navy blue. To apply, smudge the eyeliner along the top and bottom of your lashes; you want an uneven, soft look. Wrap your forefinger in a facial tissue, and swipe away any excess beneath or in the inner corner of your eye.

For an extra pop, dab a little white eye shadow in the inner corner of your eye or add a subtle gold liner just above the top lash line (apply on top of the colored liner). Keep the rest of your makeup neutral -- and all eyes will be on you!

4. Look pretty in pink.
In the beauty world, going match-matchy is usually a don’t. But the romantic look is an exception to this rule: Soft pink lips and cheeks create a super-dreamy appearance.

To avoid going overboard, apply the blush only to the apples of your cheek. Then add a touch of bronzer along the edges of your face: On each side of your forehead, a sideways “W” motion from the edge of your forehead to the cheekbone, and then from your cheekbone to the side of your jawline.

5. Get soft, dewy skin.
A simple trick for come-hither skin: Apply moisturizer before and after you put on your makeup. (You heard me right -- after!) Like to a topcoat of nail polish, lotion sets your look and adds a little glow. Pat, don’t rub, a little drop of moisturizer on your cheekbones, T-zone and chin -- and you’ll look gorgeous all evening.

Photo by Jose Martinez on Unsplash

Get more by following us on Facebook at Beauty & Confidence.