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Patricia Dates O'Brien
Ask Trish

Stop the make-up break out madness; Eyelash alternatives for the less than lush

by Patricia Dates O'Brien
March 1, 2002

Ask Trish - March 2002

Stop the make-up break out madness

Dear Trish—

Please help me deal with the ugly side of Dancesport competitions! I love dancing, but my makeup makes me break out. Then I put on more makeup, to cover up the breakouts, which makes me break out more…..ugh! What can I do to stop the madness???

    —Embarrassed in Edison, NJ

Dear Embarrassed—

Breakouts have a way of appearing at the worst times, don't they? (Come to think of it, is there any good time for a breakout? Maybe not!) Those ugly spots are caused by a number of reasons, one of which is stress—i.e, the stress of preparing for a dance competition, the stress of your new costume that doesn't fit…you get the picture!

The best way to deal with breakouts is to stop them before they happen. Choose a daily cleanser without a lot of gunk in it, like oils and fragrances. (I happen to love the daily cleanser by Awake cosmetics—no scent, no oils, no residue. Available at www.sephora.com.) And your mother was right—-wash your face before you go to bed! I can't stress how important this is to preventing clogged pores and pimples.

If you feel a pimple coming on, here's a trick I learned recently: dab a little essential oil of pure lavender on the spot. Lavender has a calming effect on the skin, and helps regulate the sebaceous glands of your skin. Tea tree oil has the same effect.

If you get stuck with a breakout, take action immediately by using one of the pimple creams on the market. Basically there are two kinds of creams that fight breakouts: ones that contain benzoyl peroxide, and ones that contain salicylic acid. Both are effective, but one may work better for you than the other. The most popular breakout busters are Oxy-10 (benzoyl peroxide), and Neutrogena (salicylic acid), both available at drugstores everywhere.

Lastly, you can prevent breakouts by cleaning your makeup brushes regularly, and not using old makeup past its prime. (See my Ask Trish column from December, 2001 on when good makeup goes bad.) Good luck cleaning up, Embarrassed, and here's to a cleaner, shinier you!

Eyelash alternatives for the less than lush

Hey, Trish—

I am very new to competing, and am very reluctant to start wearing those false eyelashes everyone says I "need." However, my lashes are less than lush….please don't tell me to cave in and use the glue! They're so uncomfortable!!

    —Newbie in Nebraska

Hi Newbie—

Congratulations on your Dancesport competition beginnings! If you're new to the competition scene, chances are you're a beginner dancer….which is good news for your dilemma. Nobody expects beginner dancers to look like the pros, which is why I'm not going to tell you that you absolutely need to wear false eyelashes (at least not yet!) When you get to an advanced level, you may need to toe the line and wear the falsies, but for now, there are plenty of options for you to accentuate your eyes.

The biggest news in eyewear lately is "underwear" for lashes! This white, slightly glue-y substance usually comes in a tube similar to mascara, and is applied to your lashes after curling them, and before the mascara. Sounds kind of icky, I know, but it really works! Your lashes will be thicker and longer after you put on your mascara. Just make sure to completely cover the white glue with your dark mascara! My favorite lash-lengthening companies are Origins (www.origins.com), Sally Beauty Supply (www.sallybeauty.com), and Bourjois—who does everyone else one better by combining the lengthener and mascara in one tube (www.sephora.com.)

Instead of the strip lashes, why not experiment with individual false lashes? Yes, they are a bit more difficult to manage at first, but once you get the hang of them, they're a lot more comfortable than strip lashes. Also, you can control where you place them: for instance, if you have a certain area of your lash line that's sparsely populated, add the individual lashes to this area only. I like to add individual lashes to the outer corners of my eyes for a big night out, for that "cat's eyes" look! Individual lashes are available in drugstores everywhere, right next to the strip lashes.

You could also go heavier on the eyeliner, instead of applying lashes. Draw a much thicker line along your top lash line, from the inner corner of your eye, to slightly longer than your outer corner, and "wing" the line upwards slightly at the end. Liquid eyeliner works best for this. Make sure you curl your lashes, too, before applying the mascara, and viola! Instant eye drama!

Patricia Dates O'Brien is a Dancesport competitor and teaches a dance-based exercise class called Fluidity (tm) in New York City. She is also a makeup artist for Dancesport competitions. E-mail any questions or comments to: TrishDatesOBrien@aol.com.

Ask Trish…to do your makeup at dance competitions! Trish's next makeup appearance will be May 1-5 at the Emerald Ball Dancesport competition, in Los Angeles, California. If you are going to the competition and would like to have your makeup professionally applied, please E-Mail Trish at TrishDatesOBrien@aol.com to set up an appointment.

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