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As Miss Truvy Once Said: “There Is No Such Thing As Natural Beauty”

By Amalah

Hi Amy,
I love your column! Here is my question: I have strong features (read, big Jewish nose) and fairly big green eyes (also dark brown hair and significant brows–MUCH better since I have re-committed to the 10th time to regular waxing). It seems to me that in order not to look too totally freaky or overly made-up (especially since my daily life involves 2 young kids and a business-casual part-time job), I need to keep my eye makeup very simple. Which I have been translating into meaning I should use just one product: mascara, eye liner (love the Clinique Quickliner), or eye shadow. Which of those three should be my one product…or is this whole concept faulty to begin with??

Can I start with an allegory? I would like to start with an allegory.
I had a friend in high school who fell deeply in love with the “natural” look. You know, the whole touseled bedhead waif look thing. Anyway, her interpretation of “natural” meant wearing no makeup whatsoever, and not combing her hair.
This was…not a good look. Think oily skin, visible blemishes and dark circles. Her hair just looked stringy and messy all the time. She did this for almost a year, I’d say, before she finally clued in on the fact that those models? In the magazines? That don’t look like they are wearing any makeup and just rolled out of bed? ARE ACTUALLY WEARING A LOT OF MAKEUP AND DID NOT JUST ROLL OUT OF BED.
What can I say? We were young, and listening to a lot of that grunge music. (Also, I promise you it really WAS my friend, because Sweet Lord, this face hasn’t left the house without at least a decent coat of Cover Girl on it since 1989. Because I was brought up right.)
Anyway, the point of this story is to say that yes, your whole concept of Simple = One Product is extremely faulty.
You want understated, not unfinished, you know?
Your eyes sound gorgeous, you lucky thing, so you ARE right about keeping things simple. Big green eyes don’t need a whole lot of help to stand out. I’d go for a single shade of matte eyeshadow — something neutral that compliments your skin tone. And then I’d maybe set it off with a touch of a neutral shimmer, but you might not even need that. What you DON’T need is a ton of color and complicated shading. NARS makes great neutrals, by the way, and also have the best and most idiot-proof two-color compacts for those of us who have problems picking coordinating shades.
Weirdly enough, when I DON’T wear shadow? My eyelids stand out more than my actual eyeballs. Probably because they’re so pale, or something. They also get kind of shiny by mid-day. So I use the All About Eve duo shadow from NARS — I brush the flesh tone on my entire eye area, up to my brows, and then put the darker shimmery brown on the outer edge of my lid. It’s an EXTREMELY subtle difference, but it works.
I also wear eyeliner almost every day, since again — my eyes just look unfinished without it. I use a soft brown-black color and I don’t line my entire lid. Just the outer corners. Soften the line with a brush and then apply mascara. And done. Simple, understated eyes that don’t look made up, using exactly three products.
miss truvy.jpg
“Allegory, my ass.”

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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God, but I love that movie.
Good advice, and advice I need to follow. Since the baby was born, I’ve been going more and more without any makeup on. Yeah, not a good look. I need to chase down a good sort of “brush on powder foundation” that I can put on quickly and easily and go. But I definitely agree, I *always* put some eyeliner and mascara on. Always.


I know that’s right!
That’s all.


Steel Magnolias taught many of us so much about life.


“Looks lihke two pihgs in a blahnket.”


Calista, I love the Neutrogena Mineral Sheer Powder–it’s hard to describe, but it comes in this container with the brush attached, you pull the brush up and shake it and the powder gets distributed in the brush, and there you go. And it has a cap so it can get tossed in a purse or travel bag easily. Love it.