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Smackdown Updates: Sunscreen, Teeth Whiteners, Field Trips & Handbag Dilemmas

May15

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Thank you SO MUCH to everybody who sent in updates to past questions! These were all really great to read. If you’ve got an update to a past question and would like to share what worked (or what didn’t work), please drop me a line at amyadvice AT gmail.com, with UPDATE or something similar in the subject line.
And now, on with…well, YOUR show. The original question is linked in each header, and any additional thoughts from me are italicized. (Because I always have additional thoughts. My brain is like a popcorn maker sometimes.)
UPDATE ON: Sunscreen That Won’t Sting Your Eyes
Hi Amy:
After your answer to my question about sunscreen that won’t make my eyes sting, I purchased a mineral sunscreen from Paula’s Choice. I like Paula’s Choice products because they are always fragrance free, and Paula is a real “no BS” person when it comes to telling which ingredients do what they say and which ingredients are just cosmetics companies putting their hands in your pocket. In fact, I sent a question about my stinging eyes to her too, after purchasing a foundation with SPF in it from her that stung the crap out of my eyes, but never got an answer. The Paula’s mineral sunscreen is only SPF 15, so it will only be good for wearing when I’m inside at the office, but it’s a start. I was concerned about using something not really formulated for the face because I don’t want to clog up my pores (I have enough of that already) but I’ll be testing higher SPF products before summer hits. I’m in the Pacific Northwest and we had snow two weeks ago (seriously!), so I’ve got time!
Thanks for taking the time to answer my question!
Chellebelle
Awesome! I’m so glad you found something that works. The Paula’s Choice definitely fits the bill I suspected would work: a physical sunscreen with just titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, and NO avobenzone. So now you just need to find a similar formula in a higher SPF for summer, but at least you know you’ve successfully tracked down the eye-burning culprit. Let us know if you find some other recommendation-worthy options.
UPDATE ON: Teeth Whiteners
Hey Amy:
I saw your call out to people who had used your advice and wanted to report back!
HOORAY…I love to help you out.
Okay, so I submitted a question to you about teeth whitening almost a year go. I was getting ready to go to BlogHer and I needed help with my ugly yellow teeth.
You were kind enough to answer my question mere days after I submitted it.
I took before/after pictures and blogged about the results on my own site. You can find that post HERE.
(Looking at the pictures I posted reminds me that I really should try the whitestrips again!)
Anyway…I hope this helps. And I hope you feel better soon.
xoxo,
Isabel
Thanks, Isabel! That’s actually a good reminder for me as well, because DANG, those are some great, visible, cannot-be-denied results in those photos. As for some of the downsides you and your readers mentioned: Crest almost always has coupons on their website, or will mail you one if you’re willing to fork over some personal information. (Which: Ew, Crest. Just let me print out a coupon and buy your stinking product already, okay?) And for those who notice an increase in tooth sensitivity while using the strips (I don’t, but my husband does), try swapping out your toothpaste with some Sensodyne for the weeks you use the strips.
UPDATE ON: The Smackdown Field Trip
Hi Amy —
You and I took a field trip about a year ago to Ulta, to pick out makeup in colors that actually work for me.
You should feel good — I still use the colors you picked, and Smashbox stuff is quickly becoming my go-to makeup. It took a little while to get into the habit of actually putting makeup on, and there are still a lot of days when it’s foundation and lip gloss for me, but people definitely notice a difference between when I have the makeup, and when I don’t. Including my 5-year-old daughter, and kids can be painfully blunt sometimes.
I’ve added to the eye shadows I’ve got at this point, but all are still in the same range of colors you and I selected. And Smashbox stopped making the color of lip gloss we picked out, but I found another in a color very close.
All in all, the trip was a success for me, because I was finally able to figure out what colors I should be wearing. I’ve had some professional photos taken by a close friend, and it gave me a confidence boost to know I had appropriate makeup. And I’ve gone with one friend to Ulta and let the saleswoman try all kinds of colors on her. My friend asked if I wanted to ask her about colors, and the woman looked at me and said “her colors are just fine.”
So, you know, thanks.
Shannon
Oh God, I cannot even tell you how awesome this is to hear. I’m kvelling! Picking out makeup colors — even for myself — can still be a little daunting, so I’m glad to hear your five-year-old didn’t like, mistake you for Ronald McDonald or something when you got home.
UPDATE ON: The Gifts That Keep On Giving You an Insecurity Complex
Hi Amy,
I’ve been meaning to write and thank you for responding to my letter about the purse/earrings gift problem I had (May 5th), and your call for follow-ups made me get off my lazy ass and actually do it. I have definitely been wearing the earrings more often (especially when I am sure my roommates will see them, and they are actually growing on me.) I have been slacking on the purse, though – those 30 seconds it takes to transfer things (I know, I don’t have that many things) is just so, um, taxing on my poor, overworked soul.
Anyway, the best thing about your response was that it helped me take the socially awkward, neurotic side of myself by the shoulders and say, “Self! Chill out and suck it up! There are cyclones in Burma and earthquakes in China and yeah, just CHILL OUT. IT IS A PURSE.”
Thanks!
Pursed Lips
Eh, so you save the purse for when your current one wears out. Or not. The important thing is that you are chilling out, which is by far my most favorite state of being. The Advice Smackdown: Now 43% More Zen!

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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8 Responses to “Smackdown Updates: Sunscreen, Teeth Whiteners, Field Trips & Handbag Dilemmas”

  1. Thora May 15 at 11:03 am Reply Reply

    I like the updates!

  2. molly May 15 at 11:12 am Reply Reply

    I love that story from the woman who went into Ulta and was told her colors were fine. I’ve been looking for the perfect warm weather eye colors, so I went into Ulta yesterday. Unsurprisingly (because it happens every time I ask advice in a beauty store), I got paired with the girl with bright green eyeshadow and eyeliner out to here, whose makeup was far more enthusiastic than her task of finding me something. All she did was ask me my eye color (LOOK FOR YOURSELF) and show me every single green-eyed palette they have in the store. If you’re ever in Boston, Amy, I call next field trip! Either that, or they’ve got to start hiring people who know how to do everyday makeup, because if I’m handed one more sparkly purple duo…

  3. Cassandra May 15 at 2:13 pm Reply Reply

    Oh! Oh! Amy should go around to major cities, and do Smackdown Field trips for a lucky reader in each one.
    I totally call Chicago.
    I like the update stories.

  4. Colleen May 15 at 2:53 pm Reply Reply

    besides using sensodyne, using a mouthwash with fluoride in it helps with the tooth sensitivity while whitening as well. ;)

  5. beth May 16 at 9:48 am Reply Reply

    Just thought I’d share a great find…. IQ eye makeup remover swabs. They are hollow q-tips pre-loaded with eye makeup remover… you snap one end and the remover flows down and wets up the other end. Genius!! Ulta carries them in the same section as Bare Minerals (which I also love). It’s $5 for about 20 I think. I don’t use them everyday, but they are super handy for travel and emergency clean-ups.
    :)

  6. Stephanie May 16 at 1:41 pm Reply Reply

    For an alternative teeth whitening product that is cheaper than the Crest Whitestrips AND easier to use, try the new Arm & Hammer Whitening Booster. It’s basically a booster for your toothpaste, but you can’t use it completely in place of your toothpaste because it doesn’t have fluoride and all that good junk. I’ve only been using it about a week and already have seen results. I can’t guarantee how long they last after you are done with the tube, but at only $5 a tube, it wouldn’t break the bank to just continually use it.

  7. glittergirley May 30 at 12:09 pm Reply Reply

    I loved how white the crest strips made my teeth but HATED how sensitive my teeth got afterwards (it was only for a few days but still, OUCH). So, fast foward two years later, I saw the pretty packaging for aquafresh white strips (wait, i think they are whitening “trays”) for the same price as the crest, I figured i would try it out (esp since I had a disneyland trip coming up with LOTS of photo ops, so I didnt wanna look yucky).
    OMG – i was IN LOVE with the aquafresh white trays. I didnt finish all the trays (i think i only used 60% of them) because I am SUPER lazy but the point is, my teeth were SO white already that i could see the drastic difference, even in person (for the crest ones, i had to see the diff in the pictures I took). MOST important – there was NO teeth pain or sensitivity at all!!!

  8. glittergirley May 30 at 12:57 pm Reply Reply

    I loved how white the crest strips made my teeth but HATED how sensitive my teeth got afterwards (it was only for a few days but still, OUCH). So, fast foward two years later, I saw the pretty packaging for aquafresh white strips (wait, i think they are whitening “trays”) for the same price as the crest, I figured i would try it out (esp since I had a disneyland trip coming up with LOTS of photo ops, so I didnt wanna look yucky).
    OMG – i was IN LOVE with the aquafresh white trays. I didnt finish all the trays (i think i only used 60% of them) because I am SUPER lazy but the point is, my teeth were SO white already that i could see the drastic difference, even in person (for the crest ones, i had to see the diff in the pictures I took). MOST important – there was NO teeth pain or sensitivity at all!!!

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