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Smackdown Updates II: Preemptive SPF, Smudgy Mascara & Pre-Motherhood Jitters

By Amalah

Another batch of great updates on past columns! Links to the original questions are in the bolded headers, and my responses are in italics.

UPDATE ON: Using Anti-Aging Products in Your 20s


I wrote in asking what kind of products I should begin to think about using to shield my face from sun damage and age spots. I read over your suggestions and haven’t really made any major purchases, but I’ve definitely been paying more attention to what I buy and when to toss things. Since I’d just bought the bottle of SPF 15 moisturizer, and I really don’t spend a whole lot of time outside on an average day, I’ve kept using it but when it’s gone I’m definitely going to buy something with SPF 30. I also splurged a little bit and bought a SPF 45 stick for my face (for days that I know I’ll be spending all day out in the hot Texas sun), and I’m trying to make sure I use it in the mornings that I run outside. I also splurged and bought some halfway decent makeup (Maybelline Mineral Power foundation and powder) which has an SPF 15 and makes my skin look pretty. In a few years, I’ll probably start buying more anti-aging products and refer back to your article for suggestions on what to buy.

Thanks for answering my question! I’m also glad that it seemed to spark the SPF talk that lasted quite a few columns. 🙂


I will say it again and again and again: Start the SPF habit early and often, and you and your skin are so totally money. Most of the anti-aging products make pretty unrealistic promises and deliver dubious results, but protecting your face against sun damage is THE single most effective and important thing you can do.
When I worked in financial publishing there was a little anecdote we used all the time for retirement planning advice. There were two women, one who maxxed out her 401(k) contribution every year during her 20s, and then stopped at age 30 and never contributed another dollar. The other woman waited until she was 35 to start her 401(k), and contributed the maximum percentage every year until she retired at age 65. But her account STILL wouldn’t be worth as much as the woman who put the money away in her 20s, because the 10 or so extra years of compounding did more for her money than the second woman’s 30 years of regular contributions to the account. She could save and save, but she couldn’t go back and make up for that lost time and big head start she could have gotten.

I’m sure my old bosses would be so proud of me for busting that example out in regards to sunscreen and early preventive skincare.


UPDATE ON: Smudgy, Won’t-Stay-Put Mascara

Hi Amy,

I was lucky enough to have my question answered by you a while ago.

My question was regarding mascara and you recommended Urban Decay’s “Lingerie and Galoshes” for my actual lashes, and the “Primer Potion” for the surrounding eye area.

I was full of hope (and rather chuffed having my question answered!) and set about finding myself some Urban Decay. Only to find that it’s near-impossible to find in Australia. If there is even a distributor in Australia they are hiding it well. I was a little disheartened and ended up switching to a clear mascara for day time, and just toughing it out with my regular mascara at night and attempting a sort of smoky-rock&roll look.

But then! Last year I went on an adventure overseas and while walking around wide eyed and speechless in Sephora in Paris, I picked myself up some “Lingerie and Galoshes”. I was quite pleased with the results. It definately helped with the smudging but I found the application a little tricky. The “Galoshes” brush is quite small with short bristles and it tends to clump your lashes together if you’re not careful and vigilant with the eyelash comb.

So there I was thinking I was doomed to a lifetime of either black smudged eyes or clumped-spidery lashes. Until! While perusing my beloved Benefit counter I noticed the She-Laq and decided to give it a try. And cross my heart I swear I heard a choir of angels singing when I opened the box. This stuff is a godsend. It’s a nice thin liquid that applies easily with the thick mascara brush included. It doesn’t clump my lashes and my mascara stays put all day.

The only minor downside is that you need quite a good make-up solvent to remove it, but I think it’s definately worth it. Together with Benefit’s F.Y.Eye primer I can do my eye make up in the morning and not worry about it for the rest of the day. Even my often-allergy-affected watery eyes aren’t a problem. Hooray!

So thank you again for answering my question the first time around because it set me on the path to find my ideal product. I just thought I needed to find some magic-super-waterproof mascara, I never would have thought a product like either “Lingerie & Galoshes” or ” She-Laq” was what I needed.


No, thank YOU. Between this and the makeup-after-crying post, I have so many recommendations for stay-put-through-anything mascaras that I don’t even know where to start. I’ve been using Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes! but am definitely due to invest in a new tube, and…well, DON’T LAUGH, but you know how I am pregnant right now? And will be having a baby sometime in October? I didn’t wear ANY makeup to the hospital when I was in labor with Noah and oooooh, this was not a good choice. Now I knew I was just not gonna be one of those women who can pose all flawless and supermodel-like with their minutes-old newborns, but no undereye concealer? No foundation? Not even a smidgen of color for my drained, pallid and oddly yellow-looking-in-photos face?

Since this time I will most likely be showing up at the hospital NOT in labor, at a pre-appointed time, I plan to take full advantage of this and get a manicure and a haircut and wear some makeup, and a mascara that can withstand tears and surgery and yet another gigantic life-changing event MUST be in my possession by that time.


UPDATE ON: Pregnant & Happy & Yet Completely Terrified


Back in October of ’06 you answered this crazy then-pregnant lady’s quandary. I was scared and feeling alone (although I was not), and your response gave me validation for those feelings. My husband was still in college, our financial future was unsure, and I was generally freaked out about everything. Well, much like you said, things just sort of fell into place. My husband secured a great job, one that has allowed me to work part-time and spend my afternoons doing what I love, being a mommy. And the best thing of all is our amazing little man, who is turning 1 next week. Nothing could have prepared me for being a mother, but your help let me just sit back and realize that, even if things don’t go exactly as planned, you can get through it, learn from it, and be a better person because of it. Sure, motherhood has it’s own challenges, and in many ways I’m even more of a neurotic mess now, but being greeted each morning by my son’s smile makes it all better. Heck, I’m even ready to have more, and your pregnancy updates are DEFINITELY fueling that (congrats by the way!)

Thank you, your advice really does help.


So I just went back to track your question down, and I reread it, and all the stuff I wrote, and wow, I really needed to read that right now. (Exhibit One of These Fears Are Not Confined To First Pregnancies Only.) My own stupid words and I completely forgot ever writing them, even though I’m currently in the thick of pregnancy anxiety and fears and worries (money. it’s ALWAYS the stupid, stupid money.) and even though I KNOW I love this mothering gig more than anything I’ve ever done and I KNOW a second baby is exactly what we all want more than anything, I still get hit with the “what have we DONE?” thoughts and worries about how I’ll possibly cope with an infant and a toddler.

There’s added pressure and guilt this time, at least for me, since I’m 99.9999% sure this will be my last pregnancy ever, so I’ve been very hard on myself for not enjoying every precious moment. I’m going to try to take my own damn advice now and chill out a little, I think.


Don’t forget to read Amalah’s Weekly Pregnancy Calendar

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


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 Ama...

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 [email protected].

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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