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Because “Classic” is Just Another Word for “Reruns”

By Amalah

Amalah is traveling to New York City this week on a top-secret anti-leggings guerrilla mission. Or possibly she is just drinking a lot of wine. Either way, this week’s column features some of her favorite questions from past Smackdowns.
Dear Amalah,
I don’t know if I’m the only fingers-applying-foundation person to think this after reading your post, but? apply foundation with a brush? I suppose I knew in the back of my mind that it was done, but I honestly have never given a lot of thought to the advantages. I just thought it was another option…now I’m not so sure, since you seem to know a lot more about makeup and various beauty products than I do. Is there a special kind of foundation that you have to use, in order to apply it with a brush? (I currently use foundation from Mary Kay, that comes in a little tube, and *horror!* pat on with my fingers.)

Ok, let’s think about this for a minute:
Fingers = dirt + germs = oil = zits = unpopularity + dying alone
My mother was an extremely wise woman (even though she let me go off to college without ever telling me to pluck my eyebrows). The day I entered puberty she came to me with a tub of Noxzema and this advice: “Keep your damn hands away from your face.”
Touching your face causes blemishes, people. Do you not know how dirty your hands are? Everything they’ve touched? Everywhere they’ve been? The amount of fecal matter found in even the most spotless bathroom? (Sorry, there are Krispy Kremes in the office kitchen and I’m trying to resist.)
If you rub makeup into your skin with your fingers, you are piling on the oil and dirt and basically sealing it into your pores with a protective layer of flesh-colored cream. Now: I don’t have great skin. It’s tempermental and likes to respond to high-pressure situations by breaking out. But switching from my fingers (or even worse, one of those makeup sponge things that are the equivalent of rubbing your face with a toilet brush) to a foundation brush CHANGED MAH LIFE.
So allow me to walk you through the process. (WARNING: AMALAH WITHOUT MAKEUP ON AHEAD. AAAEEEIIIII!!!)
After you’ve washed your pretty little face, get out your moisturizers. Ideally you should use one for your face and one for your eyes and neck. I use Ahava, who really need to send me money. Also more facial moisturizer, as I am almost out.
Use the tip of your ring finger to apply moisturizer around the eyes. Tap lightly, don’t rub, don’t shoot your eye out with your Red Ryder BB gun, etc.
Obviously you’ll need to use your hands to apply the facial moisturizer. Apply a thin layer and rub in lightly. LIGHTLY. (I believe this may seriously be the worst picture ever taken of me. But I share for the good of complexions everywhere, because I’m good like that.)
This is a foundation brush. Also a toilet, but that’s a whole other photo essay. You want a solid brush with synthetic bristles, as they are easier to clean and retain less germs. A good brush will cost about $20 to $40, but it wlll last a couple years, AND it will save you money on foundation in the long run as you’ll waste less product. (Fingers, sponges and natural bristles will absorb your makeup.)
Squirt/pour/pump your foundation onto the back of your hand.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Welcome to the most boring photo essay ever, boys. Perhaps next week you can submit some questions about sex? Or beer? I like beer.
Img_1597 Img_1598
Apply the foundation in wide semi-circles starting at your nose. Gently use the top of the brush to conceal those nasty eye bags. Also, those are not blemishes on my forehead–those are scars from the time I donated precious life-saving forehead cells to starving children in Africa. Totally.
Wash your brush out with warm soapy water — your facial cleanser or baby shampoo work the best.
Ta-da! You are a now a movie star. Time to go grocery shopping.
Dearest Amalah,
I know male quandaries are not normally included in The Smackdown, but I think this issue is of a suitably unisex nature. The subject: shoes.
Two weeks ago I bought a fancy shmancy new pair of Nike basketball shoes and they are, to coin a phrase, the cat’s ass. They’re white leather with those cool Nike shocks under the heel and little metal things on the tips of the laces. One of the reasons I bought them is that they are so purty and stylish that they seem to distract people from the fact that I am among the worst basketball players ever to have double-dribbled his way into the gym.
I love these shoes. They’re who I am.
Sadly, I am developing a nasty blister on the outside of my left big toe because the shoes are a little too narrow at the top. It’s causing my game to suffer a bit, but because my game was so crummy to begin with, the difference is practically imperceptible. I really don’t want to have to give up my new shoes just because they’re hurting me, but I’ve never before been confronted with a scenario that would require me to be a slave to fashion. What do I do? Do I keep the shoes and deal with the pain? What’s a desperate nerd with no jump shot to do?

Help me, Amalah. You’re my only hope.
Shooting an airball especially for you,
Dr. Johnny Fever
Size 13

First, a counter-question: When was the last time I was actually aware of the comfort level of my own feet?
Answer: 1994.
Washington, D.C. is not a super-high-fashion town. Very few women dash around in Manolo Blahniks — we’re more of a tennis-shoes-and-pantry-hose-with-some-pumps-tossed-in-a-knock-off-duffle kind of city. So whenever I show up to work in my pointy stilettos, I’m kind of the oddball.
People ask, “How can you walk in those? Don’t they hurt?”
And I say, “Hurt? That would imply I still have functional nerve endings in my toes, which I don’t, and I can walk in these because they are pretty and they make things in life worth walking to.”
So basically, you suffer for your fashion, girly-man, and we women don’t want to hear you bitching about your blister. Try walking around on four-inch heels until your calves ache and your toes swell through the metallic strappy straps that are the only things keeping you attached to your shoes besides your own sheer will.
Anyway, if you insist on being wussy about it, or are worried about corns and bunions, there are a couple things you could try.
1) Wear tighter socks. If possible, wear socks that feel about a size too small. (Like for skiing or snowboarding — you wear socks that are as thin and as tight as possible to prevent killer blisters from your boots.) Thicker and looser socks will rub and shift and actually aggravate your feet. Check out Smartwool’s line of athletic socks.
2) Buy an expandable shoe tree. If your sneakers are leather, they will naturally break in and feel better after time. You can speed this process up by using an shoe tree like this one.
3) Buy a half-size bigger. Shoe sizes? Are crazy. I own everything from a size 6.5 to an 8. You may have misjudged this pair and actually require a size up. Your left foot might be a 13 and your right foot might be a 13.5. Or somebody just could have had a bad day at the sweatshop. But if you love these shoes, it’s worth a trip back to the store and trying the next size up.
Or, you know, you could just quit your damn bitching.
Dear Amalah,
Is it at all possible, in your opinion, to find the perfect purse that would be suitable for a lifetime? If not, then how long could the perfect purse last? (my husband thinks my new purse every month habit is a bit

Although I have one purse that is very nearly close to perfect. It was the very first Coach bag I ever got the symbol for how far Jason and I have come since the days where the cat ate first and whatever money was left over went to some tuna fish for us.
It’s close to perfect because it has brown leather trim, but was the dark red and black signature C fabric. See? Brown AND black. AND red. You can carry that with everything. Plus it was Coach and therefore classic and always in style and blah de freaking blah.
I carried it without complaint for over a year straight. Then I started messing with perfection by adding a brown suede hobo. Then a Soho tote with blue and green stripes. Then another suede one (it had FRINGE!) and seventy bazillion wristlets and clutches and crusher hats and scarves and now I am totally Coach’s bitch as I enjoy buying the $350 limited edition Most Beautiful Bag Ever That Will Only Go With This Season’s Colors.
(Once? After I organized all my purses on the rack in my closet all pretty? When no one was looking? I totally put my arms around the rack and gave them all a big hug.)

If you would like to submit a question, email Amalah at [email protected]. By submitting a question, you agree to allow us to post your question here on

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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