Change Can Be Good
Mix it Up
By Melissa Gulden
For many of us, particularly those of us who are educators or parents of school-age kids, August represents the beginning of the year more than January. So why wait until the actual new year to change up your look?
Sure, there are advantages to a signature look, but experimenting with hair and makeup is often the first step toward finding yourself on a deeper level—not to mention a whole lot of fun. But what drives a transformation and how exactly does one pull that off? Steal a tip or two from a reinvention playbook.
Makeup: Some women are chameleons with their looks because they enjoy rebelling against the norm. Some people change things up for the rush they get. Some do it to find themselves or show creativity. Even if your most daring eyeshadow color is taupe, a small change can have big benefits.
So how to start? YouTube is a great place to pick up tips. Find someone who has facial features similar to your own and discover new ways to apply makeup and new colors to experiment with. Don’t expect to master a tutorial in one day—getting variety doesn’t mean conquering a video a day. And know your audience. If you have a more creative job, experiment with vibrant colors. More conservative? Try highlighting or contouring. A shadow palette is also an easy way to try multiple hues, but force yourself to try each square. Swipe more dramatic shades just around the corners of the eye versus the entire lid. Or reverse your course and darken outward instead of in the usual crease. Love neutrals? Switch your finish. Buy various textures such as shimmery and velvet for eyes, glossy and matte for lips.
Hair: Let’s start with the haircut chameleon and then move on to color.
Contrary to popular belief, the best time to reinvent yourself is during big life transitions, such as a new job or new city, or after a break up. And don’t consult friends before doing something drastic—just go for it! Their input could make you second-guess yourself.
Going under the scissors isn’t easy for everyone. To change your look without taking off a lot of length, ask your stylist for shoulder length with long layers. This creates a soft look, giving you the entry-level update you crave without sacrificing inches below, and it’s perfect for up-dos; if there’s a huge difference in between the length of the layers, pieces easily fall out of a style.
As for color, if you’re unsure, try using an app for the ultimate (and noncommittal) way to try on a look you’re mulling over. Clairol My Shade offers advice on how to go from your current color to your desired one, factoring in things like your hair texture as well as your own natural highlights and lowlights. There is also a QR code scanner in the app, so as you stroll the aisle in the drugstore, you can “try on” whichever Clairol box catches your eye.
Unnatural shades may be trendy, but they are also high maintenance. Those types of hues have the largest color molecules, meaning they fade the fastest, so that lilac shade may fade to gray in mere weeks. A low-maintenance way to try bolder hues is to add streaks to underneath hair, which the world sees only when hair is pulled back. To keep color healthy, update your base color no sooner than every four weeks, and wait at least 10 weeks to highlight—a process that is harsher on hair because the lighter the color, the more it strips your hair. When hair is damaged, the cuticle gets holes in it and color molecules slip out. Do a deep-conditioning treatment once a week. Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in the microwave for 15 seconds and sleep with it. Shampoo the excess out in the morning. The result? Ultrasoft locks.
As your hair color changes, give your makeup an update, too. Different hair colors bring out different tones in your skin. If you’re a natural blonde going brunette, you’ll need a lot more blush and darker eyebrows, for example. And where brown eyeliner might work for a redhead, black is better for blondes.
How confident you feel affects how you interact with others, so whatever you choose to do, be sure you feel stunning. Remember when you were 14 and experimenting with makeup was fun? Revisit that young, wide-eyed teen and live a little! Change is good.