YStyle hit list — beauty
Regina Belmonte (The Philippine Star) - February 27, 2015 - 12:00am

High brow

MANILA, Philippines - I recently went on a social media deleting spree. It’s something I do every year or so: go through every single post on Instagram and erase all the especially poor photography decisions I made before VSCO and Afterlight came into my life. (Everything before the iPhone 6 looks ugly on the iPhone 6, but resist the urge to wipe out everything pre-2014.) Facebook goes back even further than Instagram, and culling my album of profile pictures made one thing very, very obvious: Eyebrows are everything.

It was really only in the last few years (or so) that the average girl — we who have decent brows but no access to glam squads — started caring about her brows, and the difference has been staggering. Pre-advent-of-brow-definition faces look so unfinished, like something crucial is missing. You could have a smoky eye worthy of Pat McGrath and without the defined brows to go with it, the look would fall flat. Great brows provide any face with instant polish.

Gone are the days (thankfully) when our mothers and grandmothers would use whatever eye pencil was lying around. There is a wide range of subtler eyebrow products available on the shelves; the trick is finding exactly what you need. Maybelline narrows it down with their FashionBrow line.

If your brows fall on the “lack thereof” end of the arch spectrum, the Sharp Pencil and its 1.6mm tip is the perfect tool for drawing in realistic-looking fake strands of brow hair.

If your brows are mostly okay, as in they have a definite shape and you actually have a reason to go to a brow salon to get them threaded on a monthly basis, except they need to be filled in, then the Duo Shaper — with its slightly thicker pencil tip on one end and filling powder on the other — are what you need to create a softer, denser look.

And if you just got your hair colored and need the brows to match — because nothing’s more ratchet than completely mismatching hair and eyebrows — the 24HR Coloring Mascara eliminates your need to get your arches chemically colored, even if you go blonde.

Or you could make like a hardened beauty girl and use all three for the truly masterful kind of arch that gets people commenting “How do you do your brows???” on your #FOTD Instagram posts.

Turn around, bright eyes

I have a confession to make: On the rare days when I was too lazy to work (we all have these, let’s not lie to each other now), I’d skip concealer and show up with my dark circles in all their bordering-undead glory. And without fail, I’d be asked throughout the day if I was feeling well, or if I’d like to go lie down and get some rest, and more often than not, I’d end up going home early. I was, of course, genuinely tired — who among us isn’t? — but my superhuman dark circles made me look utterly exhausted, bordering on terminally ill. Fantastic when you want to skive off work, not so fantastic when you want to imagine what the world would be like if you didn’t have to wear concealer on a daily basis. (You know, utopia.)

The skin on the under-eye area is typically thinner than that on the rest of the face, which is why it’s so obvious when blood or other fluids pool there. Aging is also a factor, because as time and UV damage go by, hyperpigmentation intensifies there.

I’m a sunscreen junkie because I intend to look 23 (I would say 20 but we’re trying for some humility, so 23) until I’m 50, but I’ve always been reluctant to apply my stronger sunscreens close to the eye area. Fortunately for me, and for those of you who are early sunscreen adopters like me, Kiehl’s has taken its Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution and its sunscreen — permanent staples of my vanity — and created their eye equivalent love child: Clearly Corrective Dark Circle Perfector SPF 30.

It’s a three-fold formula: The amino acid-treated mineral pigments reflect light, making the under-eye area look instantly brighter; the Activated C and licorice root extracts are antioxidants that help reduce pigmentation; and the broad spectrum SPF 30 helps prevent further ultraviolet damage and the resulting pigmentation. Apply it over your daytime eye cream and step out into the sunshine. (Or make like me and don’t. FYI, UV rays come in through windows, too, so you might want to stay away from those as well…)

With summer fast approaching, this is definitely something that needs to find its way straight into your kit. It’s already in mine.

Come clean

Once upon a time, I had an eight-step beauty regimen. I would use an eye makeup remover, then a cleansing oil, then a mild foaming cleanser, then a toner, then a serum (or two, depending on my skin’s needs at the time), then a moisturizer, then an eye cream, then in the daytime, I’d use a sunscreen. And once or twice a week, typically after wearing what I felt was a lot of makeup, I’d exfoliate. On the weekends, I’d throw in a mask. So it was essentially a 10-step system.

On most days, my skin’s lucky if I use a foaming cleanser after taking my eye makeup off and wiping off whatever foundation I have on with cleansing water or makeup cleansing wipes. Serums? Moisturizer? Nah. (I put them on the next morning to atone, apologizing to myself all the while.) I don’t know if it’s because I care less or I’m just lazy or I’m too tired after long nights out to dedicate myself to my regimen (maybe all of the above), but it’s starting to take a toll on my once-flawless face.

I’m hoping that the Clinique Sonic Cleansing System that just landed on my desk will jumpstart a change, a break from my freshly acquired bad skin habits.

I’m a huge fan of cleansing brushes. If your skin’s strong enough to handle using them on a daily or near-daily basis, they can spell all the difference when it comes to cleansing, and they eliminate all excuses. You can never be too tired to clean your face when all you have to do is wet it, apply a little cleanser, and then hold a moving brush to your face. (Plus the oscillations feel so invigorating on your skin.)

The Clinique Sonic Cleansing System is Swiss-designed: beautiful, practical, and convenient. The oval-shaped brush head already incorporates two different bristle types so you don’t need to switch them out if you want to target other issues; the green tip with shorter, firmer bristles for areas like the T-zone that require more work, the white parts with softer bristles for the more delicate rest of your face. It’s timed to stop after 30 seconds, which is the recommended amount of time if you’re a new user. (You can double that to one minute when your skin’s adjusted to it, but you don’t have to; the gentler you treat your face, the better.) One charge will last up to three hours — that’s 180 days of twice-daily cleansing — so you can easily take the very compact brush on vacation with you.

It lands on Clinique’s shelves in March — just two days away — but where it really needs to land is on your sink. Get on it.

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