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Because I Was Just Feeling Particularly Talky

By Amalah

Dear Amalah,

Recently you said that one of the best ways to look like you have it all together, is to get your eyebrows done. I gulped when I read that, for while I spend hundreds of dollars on my hair, I have the worst eyebrows ever. I have naturally dark hair and I bleach it (don’t judge me) so my eyebrows are about a million shades darker than my hair. I pluck them quite thinly because of that, but the hairs grow back at different times and my eyebrows seem to be completely uneven and about 6 months ago I went and got them waxed PROFESSIONALLY, and it was all good for about 3 seconds, but then a couple of weeks later I had the same problem.

So I guess what I am asking is this – how do you maintain your eyebrows so they are always looking perfect? Mine always have little tiny dark regrowth hairs growing underneath them that I can see and it makes them look messy. They hard incredibly hard to pluck when they are that short. And even when I pluck them, there are more little hairs the next day. Is this normal? Help!


Let me pause here and insert a request: when submitting a question about your hair/eyebrows/skintone/makeup-color-choices/god-knows-what-else, perhaps consider attaching a photo? Your photo will not appear on the site, but sometimes these questions go beyond vague, general beauty tips and get into what looks good on specific people (see also: eyeliner, black, a.k.a. topics I am never touching again with a 10-foot mascara wand). And I can’t do that without photos, because sometimes stuff that sounds really bad in an email actually works really well for some people.

This question could be a prime example of that, or, it might not! I don’t know!

My first reaction is that your problem is not really your eyebrows as much as your hair color — a shade that’s too far off from your natural color — and your eyebrows are just the collateral damage. So ask yourself this: is the bleached blond color really worth it? The noticeable roots? The shaft damage? The bad eyebrows?

Because while there’s no easy solution to fast-growing eyebrows (except to make plucking part of your morning routine or have standing waxing appointments every two weeks or so), I can tell you that your re-growth will be MUCH LESS NOTICEABLE if you go with a darker hair color. Because it will all, balance better, if you know what I mean. I’m not saying you have to go back to your natural color. But maybe a light brunette or chesnut color — with some blonde highlights, even. Then your eyebrow color won’t stand out so much, which means you won’t have to pluck or wax them so thinly (not a fan of the over-plucked eyebrow look either, by the way).

Bonus: your eyebrows won’t immediately scream “BOTTLE BLOND!” at people, and your whole look (hair AND brows) will be infinitely less high-maintainance.

(However, without a photo, I reserve the right to say I could be totally wrong, and your bleached hair might look awesome. I reserve the right to flip-flop! All hail the wishy-washy! Hail!)


I just purchased the most gorgeous pair of strappy red leather wedges while on a business trip in Chicago. They are so wonderful that I want to wear them most days of the week. If my outfit is in neutral colors, I have no problem, but I want to look even sassier. For example, today I’m wearing a cream pantsuit with a lavender t-shirt underneath. Are you cringing on my behalf (oh crap, I’m presenting to the Board tonight!) or is lavender ok with red shoes? What are some colors that would look great with red shoes and what colors should I totally avoid? It’s days like these that I could kick myself for throwing out my InStyle’s while decluttering.


Again, without seeing a picture of the outfit, I can only give you my reaction to what my MIND is imagining, and my mind is, yeah, it’s cringing a little. Red and lavender are not two colors I wear together, ever.

While I applaud your red shoe daring and your quest to jazz up your working wardrobe with them, but they ARE red shoes. (Did I just say jazz?) They are fabulous and sexy and every woman should own a pair of them, but, they are red. Not brown or black and they are just not going to go with everything. They are spicy! Spicy is good, but not at every single meal.

Red shoes obviously look awesome with neutrals, including pretty much any earth tone, or white or black. And then things get sticky, as every shade of red is different so it’s hard to make those grand sweeping fashion “rules” about your specific shoes. Are they a very orangey red? Then wear them with that lovely goldenish-brown-orange color that is so hot this season. Or olive green, even. If they are more of a pinky-red, try salmon or ruby or grapefruit pinks. Some reds are so deep they almost seem brown, and these go well with plum or very dark navy.

Note that these colors are all pretty bold on their own (no pansy pastels here), so they’ll naturally pair well with a strong color like red. And I really like the idea of the red shoes with a cream suit and a splash of color in the shirt.
Although I’m imagining your shoes and suit paired with my chocolate brown tank and this awesome necklace from Barney’s I have and you know what? I am thinking that instead of asking for photos I should be asking that people send me their shoes. For you know, research.
My dog wants your shoes.

Dear Amy,
I would love your advice and think you’ll give it to me straight.

I just turned 35. I’ve been turning gray since I was 25 and coloring and or highlighting for awhile. I’m only about 15%-20% gray in the crown area. When is highlighting too much? (at what age does it look foolish?) Should I just color it brown again and be done? How long can I wear my hair without looking like I’m trying too hard to look young? Going natural doesn’t seem to be an option as my hair rebels when not abused by chemicals of some sort. And I just look older with my grays and even whites poking through. Any help you can give me would be appreciated.

Thank You,

You highlight as long as highlights are enough. If highlights are covering your grays the way you want them, keep highlighting! Is very simple.

I don’t think there’s any age when highlights become “too much” or “inappropriate,” because I’ve certainly never looked at anyone and thought, “Oh my God, just buy some Clairol and be done with it.” Highlights (when they’re well-done) look way more natural than an all-over dye-job, and at 35 (you’re a spring chicken!) with 15%-20% gray (phsaw! is nothing!), it sounds like you’re doing exactly the right thing.

Hi Amy,

My hair is in pretty good shape, thanks, and I have been enjoying my many Sephora purchases AND the Coach bags I have accumulated. I don’t want your blogging gig, not that you don’t make it look attractive.

I need a tiny bit of career advice. I have taught English as a Second Language for more than 20 years and have done a lot of other “incidental” stuff for my students beyond language instruction. I write great letters to government agencies and have supplied many people, American and foreign-born with references that have gotten them jobs and into college. I am also inordinately proud that I have had letters to the editor published in our local newspapers and even one in People, excoriating the parenting skills of Lionel Richie, but still!

I have been offered the opportunity to vet the business correspondence of an Indian national who wants to reestablish his import/export business in the US. I shudder at discussing the compensation for this work (asking people for money or charging for tutoring always makes me squirm), but where and/or how can I find out a reasonable rate of remuneration? What DOES a freelancer get? The web hasn’t been much help and I am afraid I would just like a “quick and dirty answer.”


Eeeeeeck. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a “quick and dirty answer” to a hideously sticky question like this one. As I’m obviously not going to broadcast my own personal freelancing rates (which vary so much from venue to venue and project to project I’m STILL not exactly sure what I’m charging), the best I can do is direct you to the Writer’s Market website, which lists the standard rate ranges for copywriting . (I’m guessing copyediting/proofreading falls the closest to describing what you’d be doing? Eh?) I found this site to be the most useful when trying to give potential clients a solid hourly rate (or lump fee) for their project.

(If you’ve already come across this site in your own Web research, then congratulations! You’ve received no help from me WHATSOEVER.)

So I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now (which I love), yet the Advice Smackdown has never addressed two of my pet peeves: thigh rubbing and armpits.

First: I see all sorts of advertisements for “silkening” lotion and what-all to prevent the uncomfortable-summer-is-here-but-I-can’t-wear-dresses-without-hose- because-my-thighs-create-enough-friction-to-win-me-immunity-on-Survivor. Any ideas what would work, for I am not lucky enough to have the Sarah Jessica Parker thigh gap?

Second: No matter how frequently I shave, I always seem to have armpit stubble/shadow (and ingrown hairs). Should I be using a depilatory? Waxing? Or am I doomed to shaving and bumps? I am currently using the Schick Intuition razor.

Now that I sound so very unattractive, I will hide my face in the corner until I get some advice.


(OH MY GOD. Y’ALL. I was just doing my customary Googling to make my own firmly-held opinions about armpit care weren’t considered completely wrong or like, cancer-causing, and the “sponsored link” was for an ARMPIT FETISH SITE, with the description “Smooth, Hairy, Sweat, Licking all free.” And I know I totally didn’t need to share that, but I felt so alone in my gross-out-fest and wanted company.)

(You are welcome!)

First: I don’t have that much experience with any of the “silkening” creams, because my mama taught me to just use good old fashioned talcum powder or baby oil. So in the summer I use a little talc on any area with, ahem, rubbing issues. HOWEVER, I have heard very, very good things about Monistat’s Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel (although jeez, I think that product needs a FEW MORE WORDS in its name, don’t you?). It’s only about $8 and by all accounts, a godsend for those with the serious thigh-chafing issues.
Second: A few weeks ago, the awesome commenters at this very site pointed me towards Tend Skin, a product I’d never heard of before. It’s some kind of miracle cure for ingrown hairs and razor bumps, and I think I’m going to order some myself, because I too have been pretty unhappy with the state of my armpits. My skin gets VERY ANGRY, VERY EASILY there, and frequent shaving (we aren’t even going to talk about waxing) only makes the irritation (which manifests itself as ingrown hairs and bumpy, visible follicles) worse.

I hated the Schick Intuition, by the way, although I sense I’m about to get my girly-girl-club membership revoked for saying that. But my armpits look better after stealing Jason’s razors, shaving with and switching to a deodorant with a little moisturizer in it.

Hopefully the TendSkin will take care of the ingrowns, the last of my armpit problems, and I’ll be sure to report back as y’all will certainly be waiting with bated breath for an update on the State of Amy’s Armpits.

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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Re: eyebrows. So, Jen, I have the same problem, sort of. I don’t know how much you know about hair colors, but I’m told my hair color is around a level 7-8 (which is medium blond). That is actually my *natural* shade, and alas, my eyebrows black as night, and are something in the range of a level -2,000 (I think it goes darkest to lightest in terms of numbers. Go figure). Worse, when I was in college, I had naturally light blond hair, so I always looked like Madonna in the Prominent Eyebrow years. It was awful. I know… Read more »


Re: haircolor, I meant Goldwell’s shades, not to imply that you know nothing of hair colors. Amazing that despite previewing the comment 100 times, I still end up looking like the bossiest, longest commenter ever. Sorry, Jen! (and Amy!)


I totally hate any of the “girl” razors out there… and was totally hooked when I was in college, and borrowed my roomate’s (very gay guy) Mach 3 razor to shave my legs… and no, I never told him… and yes, I totally washed it out good and put it back… am SO bad!

Erica America

I just wanted to say that I have the same problem with the armpit hair, but I started using Dove deodorant which has moisturizers in it, along with shaving with a triple blade razor and moisturizing shaving cream and that seems to help. And also, EEEEWWW to the fetish site, but like I’ve always said, there’s a fetish for everything.


Too bad all of those armpit fetish people will now find this blog entry when they search for “Smooth, Hairy, Sweat, Licking all free”. I’m pretty sure they will be the ones waiting with bated breath.
In all seriousness, thanks for the armpit post!
All for now…I’ve got product to go purchase…..


the monistat powder gel stuff is nothing short of miraculous. I live in Memphis (95 degrees and 90 percent humidity today) and I wear skirts every day in the summer and that stuff works! It doesn’t sweat off either, as powder would.


RE: Brows, my hair is not colored, but I have the same fast growing brows. My waxer uses a lotion post-wax that slows hair re-growth which works for about 2 weeks, then I pluck the major regrowth for 1-2 weeks and get waxed again. The salon has a tier-system for their “pros” and I go to the lowest tier (i.e. cheapest) which is the newest hire since I’m there once a month. RE: razors – I’ve used mens three blade razors since they came out. Even the same brand’s womens 3-blade razor sucks. Plus, the “mens” are usually cheaper!


Tend Skin also works wonders on mosquito bites.


As a dear friend of mine used to say, “The older, the blonder.”
There is never an age when highlighting becomes “inappropriate” (IMHO).


Runner’s Lube and Body Glide also work for chafing…there are a lot of products for walkers/runners that can work for everyday use also.


There is a homegrown recipe for Skin-tend like substance, at a small fraction of the cost.
Mix 13 aspirins in 3 tbsp witch hazel. Then add 5 tbsp rubbing alcohol. Shake well and apply with washcloth. You can add aloe if you want to make it more lotion-like. All the aspirins may not dissolve, that’s okay.


Re: shaving — I’ve found that I need to make sure I’m changing the blade on my razor fairly often, more often than I thought. Also, I love “Nature’s Gate Creamy Shave Gel.” It sounds kind of hippy, but it’s really good stuff. My husband, who has sensitive skin, also likes it. The scents are nice (and good for chemically sensitive folks, too) and a bottle seems to last a bit longer than other products I’ve tried.


Re: eyebrows — What about bleaching them? I haven’t done this, but I know salons will bleach your eyebrows to match the hair (and “other” parts) for a fee. Some intrepid people do this with Jolene cream bleach. Re: armpits — That’s just a bad word in general. I digress. Keep in mind what body part this is. Do you have a job requiring you to expose your armpits for more than 15 seconds at a time (as you’re reaching for the wine bottle across the table) and people will be grossed out by the very natural shadowing of the… Read more »

Misplaced Mama

I just sent away for a free sample of the powder-gel for inner thigh chaffing. Cuz you know, us PLUS SIZE gals always need help in that area. One of the main reasons I don’t own pantyhose is because if I can hear the swish swish sound of my thighs rubbing together, then so can the whole damn world.