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True Beauty Confessions

By Amalah

So it’s 9 am on Wednesday morning and I’ve wiped my kid’s snotty nose three dozen times already. I’ve got balled-up tissues in my bathrobe pockets. I haven’t showered or brushed my teeth and I spent most of last night on the couch because my husband’s hacking cough was driving me crazy.
And now I’m supposed to…what? Write an advice column? About…beauty? Fashion?
Oh har. HAR HAR I SAY.
So since I’m feeling down and low and greasy, let’s just talk today. Okay?
In fact, let’s tell secrets! Here’s mine:
I have a single wispy blond hair that grows on my cheek. It looks like peach fuzz, but it will grow INDEFINITELY if I don’t pluck it occasionally. So I have been plucking this damn hair ever since I first discovered it in high school. Or should I say, ever since my BOYFRIEND discovered it in high school. He went to push a hair away from my face and was all. “Hey! You have a whisker!”
Do you have any weird beauty/grooming secrets like that? Come on, share with the class. We’re all friendly freaks here, I promise.
If you don’t have anything to confess, how about tossing out some ideas of things you’d like to see covered here?
A lot of the questions I get now are variations on something I already answered. Possibly multiple times. And while I’m happy to stay within my narrow realm of knowledge week after week, I don’t want to bore everybody else with repetitive topics, but sometimes it’s tough to find a question that’s different, but not too different. Something that will still be helpful and interesting to a lot of people, but not another post about the Philosophy face wash.
Any beauty challenges you have yet to master? The proper blowdry technique? The perfect home pedicure? Or do you have some candiates for a Price Tag Cage Match?
Basically, let’s just spend today talking about how gross we all are. Ha. Regular Q&A programming will resume on Friday. I promise to shower at least once before then.

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

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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  • Foodie Kristy

    April 18, 2007 at 11:06 am

    Hairspray! I have not mastered using hairspray, so I tend to NOT use it out of fear. I just bought some Pantene Texturizing Spray, and it seems to come out violently. But I think it works for my chin length choppy hair, which needs texturizing. But this could be a good Price Cage Match topic.
    Personal Beauty Secrets: I will never use an eyeliner pencil again. I use the angled eyeliner brush, and use my darkest eye shadow to line my eyes. I use the MAC brush. But I have bought brushes from ELF (shadow brush) and Target (foundation brush) and they are just as good.
    Also I am a big fan of hair conditioner for shaving “cream”. And I use it for all shaving needs (wink wink nod nod).

  • nicshtik

    April 18, 2007 at 11:23 am

    I have a similar hair that grows just below my belly button, its dark and curly like certain other hairs, but several inches away…ERGH! I pluck it once a week…oh and I have a really bad cowlick that I have to work way too hard in the morning to cover up, and thats why I always wear my hair up! (and if anyone tells anyone else that…I swear…I will probably go have another beer)
    Need Advice: this whole fashion belt thing that is going on because I was totally raised thinking that belts were to hold pants up and not to float freely around my waist….help?

  • Lori

    April 18, 2007 at 11:32 am

    At least your whisker is on your cheek!! My boyfriend found mine years ago on the spot under your chin but not quite your neck. I still rely on him to advise me when to pluck it- and in most cases he has to do it for me because I can’t even see it. Love must know no bounds…
    And if you need a question- here is one…
    Is it just me or does everyone that shaves their armpits get those annoying ingrown hairs? I have actually begun thinking about waxing my pits… is this done?

  • michelle

    April 18, 2007 at 11:45 am

    hmm – since everyone seems to have a true whisker confession I’ll share mine – I have a whisker on one of my boobs that I have to pluck about once a month or so – ew –

  • heels

    April 18, 2007 at 11:48 am

    I have a little hair, too. It is white and whispy and grows from my cheek. I used to have one that grew from my earlobe, but I haven’t seen it since I had my son.
    Beauty question: I am a pedicure virgin. I’m kind of scared to go. I also don’t really know why one would need to have a pedicure, but with summer coming, I’ve been getting a funny urge to go. What are the benefits? And, for the uninitiated, what should one look for in a good pedicure? Are there “procedures” to avoid? How embarrassed do I have to be about my never-pedicured feet? I am obviously just plain clueless here…

  • mavislee

    April 18, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    I have a dark hair that grows(dun dun dun) from the end of my nose. Apparently, I am a witch.
    Also, can you do a nail polish cage match? I like to paint my toes as rarely as possible, but I’m too lazy to ever figure out what really lasts.

  • linda

    April 18, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    I hate the dark hair that grows profusely on my arms, so I use an epilator (Emjoi Optima) on them once a week. I really love the results. Bonus is that the hairs seem to be getting finer, and they don’t grow back “prickly”, so if I miss getting to it by a couple of days, it’s no big deal.

  • Tone

    April 18, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    I have a whisker confession as well. I have a former mole (I say former because it no longer has mole characteristics like color or shape) on my cheek and multiple black hairs grow out of it. Ew!
    Beauty advice needed: eyelash curling, is it really necessary? I’ll admit I’ve never tried it, but do it really make that much of a difference?

  • Liz

    April 18, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    I’m so pregnant I can’t see my vagina anymore so I broke down and got a bikini wax. not just any bikini wax – but a brazilian. Yes, I’m crazy. Now I can’t see if I’m getting in grown hairs -so really I’m in the same spot I was before. How’s that for TMI!
    Lori – I got my armpits waxed before my wedding. Hurts like hell but the hairs come in SO MUCH finer and you don’t have those dark shadows either. It relieved the in grown hairs for me, but I think if you just shaved and used TendSkin you’d be good on that front.

  • Heather Barmore

    April 18, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Chin hairs. Lots of them. So many in fact that I had to start waxing but that completely clogged up my pores. And so my mother, feeling sad and possibly embarrassed by her hairy daughter (it’s genetic by the way) has offered to pay for electrolysis.

  • procrastamom

    April 18, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Oh God! After you mentioned that whisker thing, I actually sat here at my desk and felt around my cheek until I found mine and plucked it out. Secret #1? It was at least an inch long! Blech.
    Secret #2: I turn 35 in 9 days and I haven’t ever had a skincare routine that I’ve stuck to for more than a month. Thanks to this column (and I know you don’t want to talk about Philosophy today, but it’s my keyboard and I’ll type if I want to) I finally ordered a Philosophy kit for congested skin and I cannot wait for it to get here so I can try it. I hope it’s so good that it becomes a habit.
    Secret #3: I’m overly proud that I haven’t had one single grey hair yet. So proud in fact that the day one sprouts I’m likely to be found perched atop the highest bridge in the city, alternating between threatening to jump and singing that ditty from the old Miss Clairol commercials.
    …gonna wash that grey right outta my hair!

  • Audrey

    April 18, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    I’d love to know about the proper blowdry technique. And also if there’s any way to break my most awful habit of picking at hangnails to the point where my cuticles are all raw and painful. You’d think the pain would break me of the habit, but it doesn’t. It’s the kind of thing that I don’t even realize I’m doing until it’s too late. Is there any way to break myself of this bad, bad habit?
    All these whisker tales remind me of this one eyebrow hair my husband has that’s the same wiry thickness as his beard hairs. And it grows straight out of his eyebrow, longer than any other eyebrow hairs he has. I have to pluck it for him from time to time because I can’t stand to look at it, but of course he’s a boy and could care less.

  • Shawnee

    April 18, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Confession – about 2 years ago, I discovered a black hair growing out of my chin. The horror! Now I am ultra-vigilant & pluck the damn thing practically before it has the chance to break the surface.
    Suggestion – how about a Cage Match for sunless tanners, specifically the gradual ones sold @ drugstores. (Jergens, Olay, etc.) I hate to be pasty but refuse to sacrifice my skin & health to look sunkissed anymore. However, I also don’t want to be streaky &/or orange. I’m so demanding.
    Oh, and for mavislee – OPI nail polish is the absolute BEST polish EVER, mani or pedi.
    Hope everyone is well again in the Casa de Amalah very soon!

  • Susan

    April 18, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    Procrastamom, I found one (ONE) gray hair on my head and actually went to the store and bought a 28-day hair color. I’m glad I’m not the only one. But, here’s the thing: it has never returned, and it’s way past 28 days! I scared the damn thing into hiding.
    Confession: I always forget to get hair cuts. I’m going on three months now with no trim. By the time I am ready for one, that’s when my friends start complimenting me on how pretty my hair looks. Grr.

  • Ellen

    April 18, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    Thank goodness I’m not the only one in the world with whiskers! Every month or so I find a black hair growing in the same spot on… my boob. I pluck it out, because GEEZ, EWW, but it keeps growing back.
    I wish I could be Zen about it.

  • Alice

    April 18, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    I always want to comment, and have been too lazy to register. Now, I finally did. Yay!
    I agree that I’d like a Price Tag Cage Match for sunless tanners. I’m a very pale redhead with legs so white they literally look like they’re glowing in pictures, and I’m about to go on a vacation to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. So, uh, YEAH. I need some help!
    I’m also a pedicure virgin, and am about to go get one before said trip. I’m very ticklish, and not sure what to expect. I’m sort of afraid I’m going to reflexively kick the person touching my feet.
    Also, VOLUMIZERS. I have really fine, thin hair that is in need of extra oomph every now and then… I know about the whole ‘turn head upside down and use the cool shot button’ thing, but I’ve never found a product that works without making my hair sticky, crunchy, greasy looking, or a combination of all three.

  • Kimmy

    April 18, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    Are we allowed to answer people’s questions in the comments? (Will you beat me about the head and ban me from your site? Ack!) I just feel the need to share.
    Tone: Nobody *has* to curl their eyelashes, it just depends on the effect you want. It definitely opens up the eyes and can help to make your lashes look longer and fuller (when used along with a good mascara, of course!) You just have to be careful when you curl or you’ll end up with sort of a “shelf” thing going on, that that looks really bad. It’s worth learning how, though… I’d ask someone at your local MAC counter or other cosmetics stop to show you how. Once you see it done, you may even not feel the need to bother. Depending on your type of lashes, it might not make a really noticible difference.
    Heels: There are multiple reasons to get a pedicure… for me, I just think it looks a lot cleaner, prettier, and classier to have nicely trimmed and polished nails. That’s as opposed to plain old toenails with nothing on. (Nothing makes a sexy pair of shoes look… well… less nice, than plain toenails sticking out!) My one girlfriend goes for them monthly because she has really bad dry skin on her feet; the pedi makes them feel like a baby’s bottom. SO nice. But again, for me, it’s about the look. Much classier. Don’t be embarassed about never having gone; they see just about everything, so a bit of extra dry skin won’t be anything new.
    Audrey: I would suggest getting a professional manicure to start. They’ll get rid of the dry, dead skin, which should start to help you right off the bat. When you’re there, you should buy some cuticle oil. It’s usually about the same price as a good bottle of nail polish. Take that with you to work, and rub some on your cuticles a few times a day while you’re sitting at your desk. The oil will soften the skin and make your cuticles a LOT healthier, and you should notice a dramatic decrease in the hang-nails. Plus, they’ll look so much nicer once they start to heal up.

  • Alaina

    April 18, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    shampoo? conditioner?
    why should I spend $20 a bottle on the fancy stuff? Why? If someone could explain that to me, that would be nice.
    And! I got my first gray hair in the 7th grade. At 24, I see my stylist more than I see most of my friends. The onslaught of graying seemed to subside about a year ago and I have a mainly pepper, lightly salted look all over my head (not concentrated like some have). What causes premature graying?

  • umi

    April 18, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    My secret is that I used to have a single THICK coarse hair that grew on one spot on my arm. I would pluck it and it kept coming back. It was dark, coarse, and mean… I think it gave me edge. I named it Fred. Then, one day, Fred left without saying goodbye. I kinda miss him.

  • Meghan

    April 18, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    I have an eyelash on my left eyelid that grows upside down. As in it curls under while the rest curl up. At first I thought It was just twisted, but no, it was actually growing down and poking me in the eye. I pluck it out every time I notice it’s back, which is about every 2-3 months.
    I also have about four hairs on my chin/neck that sprout up in hormonally intense times. As others have said, it was a boyfriend who first noticed, and now I find myself lightly touching my neck and chin every few days just to check.
    I’ve got a lighted magnifying mirror and a pair of Tweezerman tweezers on standby at all times.
    Also, when people ask if my pretty strawberry blonde haircolor is real I lie and say yes. I’m fair skinned and Irish, so they buy it. I just hate to admit that my actual color is a blah dishwater blonde.

  • Arwen

    April 18, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    I’d definitely like to hear about the at-home pedicures.
    A nail polish cage match would be awesome. I’ve always just used the standard Revlon but I know a lot of people swear by OPI, and I’d be interested in knowing if it actually works better. I’d like to know it’s worth it before I spend the money on it.
    Oh, and does your nail polish actually stay on better and not chip if you use basecoat and topcoat and all that stuff? You should find out!

  • Betheed

    April 18, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    Chin hair = bain of my existence.
    And my biggest beauty “How do I do this” thing is dealing with all those salespeople. Like when you get “invited” to have a free facial at a department store, what do you do? Do you tip your facialist? Is it like a car saleman, are you supposed to ask for “your” girl every time you go? Is it just about pushing you to buy more of thier products?

  • amieable

    April 18, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    I would like a…
    Cage match: a drugstore eyelash curler versus the Shu Uemura at Sephora!
    Advice on how to apply eye-shadow to bring out the best in my eyes. Light where? Dark where?
    As for a beauty secret: I have a tendendy to accidentally pluck a hole in my eyebrows. I tend to twirl my eyebrows when I’m bored and at the computer only to go to the bathroom and see a gap in my brow. Humiliating that it has happened more than once.

  • jaggedraven

    April 18, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    The blow-dry technique article would be great. I need all the help I can get in that area. At home pedicures, too!
    I am fair skinned with light brown hair, but for some reason I have one black hair that grows on the side of my chin. Aggravating as hell. But it gets plucked pretty fast.

  • BaltimoreGal

    April 18, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    I too have the wispy blonde hair- in my cleavage. HARD to find- I usually only see it when it’s LONG. Also hard to get rid of blonde eyebrow hairs, I might add.
    I do get dark hairs that grow around my bellybutton (thanks, mom’s genes) that look way out of place on a blonde, white-skinned girl. I haven’t exposed my stomach since the 7th grade, I think.
    Also, I have noticed some grey hairs BUT ONLY IN ONE PLACE ifyouknowwhatimean. I don’t believe in waxing THAT area with my sensitive skin and am a natural blonde, therefore I’ve even really never had to shave above the knee. even for a bathing suit. I’ve been spoiled I guess.
    Since I apparently signed up for celibacy without knowing it a year ago (Or was it two? GOD!) it hasn’t come up but sooner or later this could be a problem.

  • Ali

    April 18, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    I am the (un)proud owner of two roque eyelashes. They sit above the rest of the eyelashes as if they are better than them. I pluck them with a vengeance, because, really, we can’t have eyelash snobs now can we?

  • leslie

    April 18, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    I’m in my mid-40s and have lots of fine hair growing on my face. In order to save money for non-optional procedures (pedicures, eyebrow waxing, etc.), I shave my face (cheeks and along jawline) about once a week. But don’t tell anyone!

  • christin

    April 18, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    also got some chin hair over here.
    i have an idea for a column – i’m thinking of trying to get pregnant in a few months. having just gotten married last year, i was a giant fan of countdown lists (like at 4 months to go, you should be doing this). i think an amalah version of a countdown to getting pregnant/having the baby would rock. maybe that’s just me, though….

  • Stacitee

    April 18, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    I have a unibrow. If I didn’t pluck it would grow straight across my face. I’ve never had an eyebrow wax (chicken!). I’d like to know what the benefits are of getting brows professionally done vs. plucking them yourself.
    Also, I have a ton of gray hair that I hide by getting my hair colored pretty often. I have more gray hair than my sister who is 8 years older than me!
    I would like a cage match about OPI nail polish vs. Revlon (or whatever drugstore brand) too.

  • Lori

    April 18, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Ok. I am really going to test you on this one. I want rid of my dark circles. I have tried the eye creme, yellow tinted concealer, etc. What can I do?? If I hear, “you look tired” one more time (at 8 am and no I was not tired)- I will go insane…


    April 18, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    I get weird hairs/whiskers, too! Ugh! Which is why I now carry a pair of Tweezermans in my purse. Nothing like sitting in a meeting and touching your chin to find you need to pluck. No, I don’t whip out the tweezers in the meeting but I should considering the guys I work with clip their nails at their desks! Ewww!
    On the pedicures/nail polish issue – I have used pricey and cheap and find little difference as there is good and bad on both sides. I’m to a point where I only buy OPI clear or if it’s a shade I really, truly love, I’ll buy color (Waitress, Greek to Me, Java Mauve-a). I use the clear over cheaper polishes to help it stay (not 100% certain it makes a difference). For cheap I like Maybelline and Professional Nail Envy Sinful Colors (Walgreens $1.99 – decent colors and it lasts – good for toes).

  • Broad

    April 18, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    @ Michelle: ONE, rogue nipple hair!?? Only ONE!?? God, I wish I were you. Stupid Eastern European genes making me look and feel like a dude …
    @ Heather B: I’ve heard that electrolysis is super-painful, so you might see if laser has gone down in price. I saw a cable ad the other night about treatments starting at $30 a pop, so if that’s true, I’m SO there.

  • mdvelazquez

    April 18, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    I have the chin whiskers too. Drives me crazy.
    Weird beauty secret? I must always bathe, scrub, etc. from left to right. If I don’t, I have to start over.
    Request? I would really like to know where I can find a soft cup/wireless, seamless bra my size. I’m a 32DDD/F.

  • Amy Corbett Storch

    Amy Corbett Storch

    April 18, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    (These are the best! comments! ever!)
    And I am writing down every one of your questions and requests (okay, cutting and pasting) for future smacking down.

  • Kate

    April 18, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    I’d love to see more cage matches. I had a small list earlier in the week, but tooth whiteners are the only thing I can remember from it right now.

  • Kelly J

    April 18, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    My secret? I’m another with a rogue, dark, wirey chin hair. Gimme those Tweezerman tweezers once it’s broken the surface enough for me to grasp it!
    I would also love proper blow dry technique. I seem to be completely inept at the rolley-brush thing with the blow dryer.
    Oh, and BaltimoreGal? They make hair color for that problem. It’s called Colour Down Under. I heard about it on a t.v. show recently. They’d had an audience member test drive it (she seemed VERY modest), and she and her husband both LOVED the results…

  • psumommy

    April 18, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    was going to confess my chin hair(s!), but it seems that everyone has them…so I kinda feel better about that one! Um…well, the other thing is pretty darn gross. Ever since I was in high school, I’ve had eyebrow dandruff. I KNOW! Just on my eyebrows! My skin’s always been fine (hardly had acne, only dry because I was using soap- no ‘beauty routine’ here until last year…I’ll be 30 in August). I switched to Purity because of this site (THANK YOU!) but…the eyebrow dandruff is still there. YUCK.
    Column ideas…none from my corner. I’m learning everything I *should* have learned at puberty right here, so everything’s pretty new to me!

  • Rachel

    April 18, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    I also have a couple crazy eyelashes that grow in upside down and sit above the rest. What the heck is that?
    I would enjoy some bikini wax advice. I mean really detailed info. How long does the hair need to be before it can be waxed? How long are you hair-free before it starts growing back? How flexible do you need to be to get waxed? Anything you can do to make it less painful? Will I have red, irritated skin after? And how long will it stay red? Any bumpies?
    I am obviously a wax virgin but I am going to Hawaii with my boyfriend for a week in May and I’d like to be able to skip bikini line shaving while there.
    Any advice? Any?

  • Cindy

    April 18, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    I thought I was the only person who had stray boobage hairs. I’m so happy I want to cry!! I have to pluck those suckers about once a month — and it ain’t just one. It’s disguisting.
    Advice needed on: hairspays (ones that hold but don’t feel like glue — i.e., Bed Head’s Hard Head (good gawd it’s nasty)), blow dry techniques for fine hair.
    Cage Match: Conditioners for people like me who use too much heat on their hair; and teeth whiteners (props to whoever you are up there who suggested that — I’m too lazy to scroll up).
    Lastly — OPI is the best nail polish EVER.

  • Cindy

    April 18, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    And …
    I want all those questions answered about bikini waxing that Rachel asked!
    That is all.

  • thepaperdoll

    April 18, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    hi, my name is sara and i’m a face picker. if i have a zit i must pop it. there’s just something so satisfying about watching it squish out.
    i know i know. stop.
    i’ve tried. i can’t.
    now i have red blotchy scars. not raised or pockmarked. just reddish purplish dots where i’ve squeezed and mashed and destroyed my skin.
    anything i can do to erase the damage i’ve already done while trying to overcome my addiction?
    somewhere my mother is saying i told you so.

  • cindy

    April 18, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    I would love to see a price tag cage match on face blotters – you know, the little tissue things that those of us with oily skin have to use to keep from blinding the rest of you. I’ve tried 5 or 6 different brands, and I’d be curious to see what works the best for the money.

  • Laurie

    April 18, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    One chin hair? Once a month? I am sorry to admit I am a daily plucker. Chin, upper lip, lower lip, eyebrows, nipples, below the belly button… When I’m away for a few days and return home to my lighted magnifying mirror the horror that awaits me is gruesome.
    Any suggestions for ingrown hairs along the bikini line would be great.
    Oh, and I also use an epilator on my arms.

  • missbritt

    April 18, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    I have a question:
    I do not have under eye circles. I have permanent BAGS. I’m tired (well, I mean, I AM) – I’ve had them since I ws born, basically.
    Everyone is always giving me “circles” make up advice.
    What can I do about the damn bags?!?!

  • Corinne

    April 18, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    sara – I’m a zit picker too. But only on my chin.

  • Cathy

    April 18, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    yes, please answer Rachel’s questions about waxing!
    I’ve always wanted to do it because I have such sensitive skin (on both my legs and armpits) that if I shave more often than once every four days, I get an angry red rash and tons of nasty-looking ingrown hairs (on both my legs AND armpits!) so I’ve considered waxing, but I don’t know if it will help or hurt with my thin skin. Please enlighten me!

  • rachel

    April 18, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    I bleach my arm hair every couple weeks or so. Once my boyfriend mentioned something about my arm hair not being dark, and I said, “Oh, that’s because I bleach.” That must have been TMI because he paused and said, “Right. Don’t ever tell me that again.” And yet he has no problem going to the bathroom right in front of me!
    I am curious about those women who said they use epilators. How do you think they measure up against bleaching?
    And I agree with Broad and others. No sympathy for those with one chin hair. I’m definitely on a daily plucking basis. Bleh! I’m thinking about starting a support group. Who’s with me?

  • elle

    April 18, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    I’m a long-time British lurker — love your site, even though I can’t get many of the products you mention over here (e.g., Philosophy).
    Chin hairs, nipple hairs: yep, ‘fraid so, despite being pale and blond. I should warn you all that they seem to have increased in number over the years (now late 30s). Partner doesn’t seem to notice or care, but it freaks me out, so out they come as soon as I can. I have tweezers EVERYWHERE: bathroom, bedroom, handbag, office…
    My question: I have keratosis pilaris on my legs — that is, my skin over-produces keratin, which makes for a lot of dryness and roughness, especially around hair follicles. If I don’t dry-brush for 5-10 mins every day I get endless ingrown hairs and skin texture like a crocodile. If I overdo it, though, I get tiny broken veins just under the surface — not a good look either. Aveeno etc. help a bit with the skin texture issue, but seem to work by gluing it all down, if you see what I mean, rather than getting rid of the dry skin, so that doesn’t exactly clear the hair follicle blockages. Any tips for managing this better, or is this as good as it gets?
    (It’s not the sort of thing that the National Health Service would consider bothering about, and I don’t have the money for a private dermatologist.)

  • cagey

    April 18, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    Hair? Great balls of fire, I am a hairy beast. The rare, elusive Sasquatch of the Great Plains. Pelt doesn’t even begin to cover it (ha! Catch my pun? )
    I would love to see a post about the perfect home pedicure, maybe some Cage Matches between nail polishes (quick dry vs. long-lasting). I would also love to see some stuff about detanglers. And what about baby/kid’s hair care? (is that allowed?) I’m starting to think that maybe plain old J&J isn’t cutting it anymore on my precious progeny’s hair.

  • AML

    April 18, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Ooh, definitely a Price Tag Cage Match for undereye concealers! I have been using Time Balm and it’s pretty good but there is probably something better out there that only the intrepid Amalah could find for us.
    How ’bout one for blemish concealers too, or can you use the same product as undereye?? Right now I am using Revlon something or other with salicylic acid. It’s not bad but I could really use some pointers. Switching to the Philosophy line has not cured the acne problem…yet. But at least it shows how loyal to Amy I am!
    Count me among the super-facially-hairy folks. Must tweeze eyebrows every 2 or so days and then there are the occasionally cheek and chin hairs. I highly recommend an eyebrow wax to get the right shape, then tweeze to maintain. I didn’t see anyone mention it so I am extra-embarrassed, but what about hair over the lip? Okay, I’ll say it, what about the ‘stache? I used to use Jolen bleach as a teenager but then had a big blonde brush, yuckkkkk!! Now I pluck and occasionally use depilatory cream and also occasionally wax. But I must be constantly vigilant! I would love to laser but it seems like I would have to grow it out first! ACK!!

  • Joceline

    April 18, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    I would like to know about bikini waxing–specifically, a Cage Match between home waxing and professional. I tend to get a lot of in grown hairs from home waxing (still better than shaving) and I don’t know if it is worth it to pay for professional or if I’m stuck with the in grown hairs.

  • mizburd

    April 18, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    My vote is definitely for volumizers. My hair is flat and baby-fine, and I definitely don’t want to perm it anymore. Too much trouble to keep up, even if you get a good one.

  • Melissa

    April 18, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    I also use an epilator for my legs / bikini area. It takes some getting used to and personal effort but in the long run has the same effects as waxing for less money. Plus, I never had to wait for the hair to grow out, if I had an important occassion worth shaving for, I could just shave and then epilate again in a couple of days. It’s been about 4 months since I started and I hardly touch-up but once every couple of weeks. And I have COARSE dark hair on WHITE WHITE skin. But I would love to know of a good body scrub because it seems that epilating and/or waxing require much stronger exfoliation. And I second (third??) the sunless tanner cage match.

  • Melissa

    April 18, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    For greasy girls from the Mediterranean belt: Which type of mattifying powder or blotting papers work best? One that won’t leave me looking like a not so well preserved drag queen.
    And what eyeshadow base works best? I have the oilest eyelids in the world. Shadow and liner either streak or disappear as the days goes on.

  • Stephanie

    April 18, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    Confession: I used to have very manly eyebrows… not a unibrow, but two big bushy eyebrows that were manlier than those of most guys I knew. So, back in high school when I first started caring about such things, I decided to try to make them prettier and more girl-ish using Nair. Not tweezers, not wax… Nair. I did this a few times and it actually worked so well that the hairs didn’t grow back. Even without regular upkeep, my right eyebrow is perfectly shaped with just a few regular strays here and there… my left one unfortunately is somewhat misshapen as it is missing some hair on the top of the eyebrow that would fill in my arch. I’ve somewhat mastered the brow powder/pomade technique to make it look almost normal, but without any makeup it looks somewhat freakish.
    And now (after that monstrously long confession), my request is fashion, not beauty, related. I know you are against the whole “sneakers with suit” look for commuters, but here’s my problem… I have to walk to work (the metro closest to work and the one closest to home are one and the same, and halfway between the two) and it’s about a mile away. In the summers, I walk in flip-flops, but I have only one pair of work shoes that are actually comfortable enough to walk there and back in (and wear all day) the rest of the year. Do you have any suggestions for either (a) cute, comfy work shoes that stand up to nearly 2 miles of pavement a day, or (b) cute comfy non-work shoes that I can wear just for the commute that don’t look totally ridiculous with a business clothes? Oh, and I’m on a budget, so around $50 or so is best.

  • Kathryn

    April 18, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    Regarding nail polish–yes, OPI is without a doubt the best EVAH. What takes it above and beyond for me, though, is adding a coat of Sally Hansen Mega Shine topcoat. It dries your nails to the touch instantly. They’re still smudgeable for about an hour or so if you push hard enough, but if you do smudge them, just put on another coat of the Mega Shine and it kind of “melts” them back into shiny prettiness again.
    Stephanie, I just bought a pair of Puma Criatura IIs for wearing on my commute…I feel like they’re less ridiculous-looking than most sneakers.
    As for the hairs (especially the under-the-chin, not-quite-neck ones), I’m hearing you. Ugh.
    But yes, I’d love to get some help on under-eye circles. Mine are genetic, permanent, and impossible to cover up.

  • Kelly J

    April 18, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Psumommy – I used to have the eyebrow dandruff too. I talked to my doctor, and she told me to go get a small (think trial-size) bottle of Head & Shoulders, and whenver I was in the shower to take just a tiny bit of it and “shampoo” my eyebrows. Cleared it up in a hurry! I think I had it flare up again once, several years later. Hit it with the Head & Shoulders again, and haven’t seen it since. Give it a try!

  • dlishtrish

    April 18, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    First off, I am not convinced that OPI is better than ESSIE, so perhaps a cage match with a comparison between the two in terms of how long they stay on as pedicures with no chips?
    I’d also like to know if the Philosophy eye brightener works for getting rid of dark under-eye circles? And I mean super-dark – punched in the face dark (only without actually being hit).
    How does one actually apply mascara? This is a product that I avoid at all costs because I have never had any skill or luck applying it without looking like a raccoon.
    For the wax virgins, make sure you take an Advil and some Tums ahead of time. The Advil for the pain and the Tums to avoid any potential redness. It works like a charm. Also, remember that the first time hurts the worst.
    My biggest secret – I didn’t know that my eyebrows were a horror until I went to a store for a makeover and the girl actually said, “make sure you come back after you get your eyebrows waxed and I’ll do eye makeup on you.” I had never in my life ever touched my eyebrows and this was the first time anyone had ever said anything about them. I was 30 years old at the time, so that basically means I had been walking around with unpleasant looking eyebrows for all of my life until then. Ugh!

  • Miranda

    April 18, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    Sounds like we could all use some facial hair removal advice (soooo glad to realize I’m not the only one with this problem!).
    I want a cage match for flip-flops — super cheap ones from Old Navy vs. more expensive fabric-ish ones from other stores like J. Crew or American Eagle.
    And maybe another between the toothpastes that claim to whiten your teeth. Do those work? Seriously? I’m so tempted but then I see the price tag and I cheap out.

  • Regan Parks

    April 18, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    hmm, I way way at the bottom so I doubt you’ll even see this comment, but I’m going to post anyway.
    I was JUST telling my friend I have no idea how to use eyeliner. Like, where are you lining? (obviously I know you line your eyes) How do you make it look good and not all smudged? Sometime I’m trying to use it and the dang thing skips and leaves blank spots that are impossible to fill in.
    I want sexy smoky eyes, can you help?

  • Kelly J

    April 18, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    Oh, I also want to know what the best oil control product is for under makeup (I don’t know if this is cage match worthy or not). I currently use ProActive’s Daily Oil Control because I have a few tubes of it left over from my recent history of ProActive ordering, and I really like it… But I want to know if there’s something just as good or better out there that I can get by going to Target, Ulta, or Sephora.

  • Alice

    April 18, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Damn, Amy, all these comments! You need your own SHOW! Like, ‘What Not to Wear’ style, only for beauty.
    And I wanted to add that I, too, would like some recommendations for oil blotting/oil control products.

  • Beeeee

    April 18, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    So I have probably read every entry on the Smackdown – and never commented – but now I actually have something to add!
    #1 on the pedicure thing – the most important thing is to make sure you shave your legs first – it can save some embarrassment…
    #2 – I have found what I believe to be the BEST beauty product ever. It’s a moisturizer called Autopalm -and I’ve only seen it at, but it is all magic-like…..It is right behind the magic of Curel – I LURVE it!

  • kalisah

    April 18, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    I don’t know what your bikini area looks like, Amy, but I do the Brazilian wax and would be glad to weigh in with details if you’re looking for input.

  • Meghan

    April 18, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    Wow, I seriously thought my upside down eyelash would leave me in my own little freak world, but I’m so glad to see I’m not the only one.
    I didn’t mention it before, but after seeing thepaperdoll’s comment, I will confess that I am a face picker as well. I cannot leave well enough alone. I even wrote about it this week on my site (Day 19 of makeup optional skin) because it is seriously hindering my effort to good skin care. But I’m working on it.

  • Suzy Q

    April 18, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    Chin hair? Check.
    Long, fine, blond mustache hair that grows to 6 inches long before I even notice it? Check.
    Dirty secret: I shave my eyebrows. I can’t stand the pain of plucking, don’t trust waxing, and my eyebrows are clear white blond, so pffffttt!
    I also think Alice and I might have been separated at birth, except she’s a pedicure virgin (not me!) and she’s going to the Amalfi Coast (which I’ve ALWAYS wanted to visit!). Other than that? Twins.
    Notes on bikini waxing for fair-haired, fair-skinned girlies:
    First off, I am a natural strawberry blond (kudos to Meghan for finding a non-natural version that rocks). I used to shave, but that gave me ingrown hairs which turned into big, infected BOILS. Yes, THERE. I cannot begin to decribe how unpleasant and painful that was. But sexy!
    So…on to waxing! Be very careful about which wax technique and product you choose. Forget doing it at home; you need a professional for this. I can only use the dark green kind of wax that hardens on my skin and comes off with a rip and a tiny shriek. No cloth strips required. I do get a bit reddened in places but it goes away in a day. No ingrowns, either.
    Other kinds I’ve tried which were totally unacceptable: bubble-gum pink wax with no cloth strips at a place called South Beach Waxing (conveniently NOT located on South Beach). Wax was WAY too hot, left burns. Also bruises.
    Also not at all acceptable: Pevonia sticky wax with cloth strips to remove. This seems to be the de rigeur wax technique in Miami, however, it leaves me with deep bruises and seems to be less effective at actually removing the hair. Plus, it’s way more expensive and more painful. Go figure.
    No, I don’t know what kind of dark green wax those vixens are applying to my nether regions. (Yes, it is a bit disturbing to have a complete stranger checking out the flower of your womanhood, but, whatever. You get over it. And, leave your panties on unless they give you paper ones.) I go to a place called Uni-K-Wax, which, hello! is the cheapest place around.
    Eyelash curlers! I can use the Shu Uemura one on my right eye, but not so much on my left eye anymore. Oh yes, I am a freak.
    Oh, and my beauty problem is my lips. The ones on my face. They are dry and chapped and peeling and bleeding all the freaking time. For no reason. Halp!

  • Alison

    April 18, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Heels: Don’t worry about being a pedicure virgin, they see them all the time (and probably won’t know unless you tell them). Really, go have one; it’s incredibly relaxing, sort of like having a massage for your feet and legs. I am addicted!
    Stacitee: Try brow waxing just once and see if you like it. That’s another thing I’ve grown addicted too. For me, when I get my brows waxed, the look is much cleaner and sharper than when I do it myself. Also it lasts a little bit longer than plucking.
    Eyeliner questions: The secret is that you don’t want to look like you’re wearing eyeliner, you want to look like you have thicker, fuller lashes. So you line right in there where the roots of your lashes are; it’s the hair growth line you’re trying to thicken.
    I am so relieved to discover how many other people get chin hairs and, oh it pains me to say it, nipple hairs. It’s always felt like my dirty secret; now I feel much more normal! And like others have mentioned, a boyfriend was the first one to point out the chin hairs. Trust me when I say they have been ruthlessly plucked out on a regular basis since. I actually keep a tweezers in my car and pluck at stop lights — the light in the car is ideal.
    Another confession: I have started getting chest acne in the breast area, which has at times interfered with my desire to wear a semi-slutty shirt. What the hell is this? I’ve recently started using Neutrogena clear body scrub and am hoping it will work.
    Here’s a brand new beauty secret I’ve just discovered: Nair. I’ve always gotten horrible red bumps when I shave or wax in the bikini area. Tend Skin hasn’t worked, nothing has worked. The other week I tried Nair. No bumps or ingrown hairs, no irritation, completely smooth skin for days!

  • Alison

    April 18, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    Oh, two more things (sorry, I am wild with advice for some reason):
    – I have never bought anything off QVC before but the other days I saw they were having a Philosophy products marathon and I got sucked in. They sell a special 32-ounce bottle of Philosophy Purity Made Simple that you can only get there (I think Sephora only carries up to 16 ounces). It’s $32 and this thing is enormous. Just arrived yesterday.
    – I’m a redhead and ghostly pale everywhere, including my lips. I used to always put on lipstick obsessively to cover up my practically white lips and then I discovered Max Factor Lipfinity lipstick. I have been wearing it almost daily since, and I only have to apply it once in the morning — it truly lasts all day! It lasts so long that I don’t even think about my lips anymore, which is a first. That said, it does dry the hell out of your lips so you have to be dedicated to lip balm.

  • Kelly J

    April 18, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    Alison –
    I recently battled a nasty bout of the chest acne (yes, I was the subject of a Smackdown a few weeks back). Using the Neutrogena All Clear Body Wash IN COMBINATION WITH Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Anti-Acne Moisturizer (comes in like a 1.7 oz tube at Target) kicked the snot out of the chest acne in a hurry (like 3-4 days), washing/moisturizing the area morning & evening). Since then, I’ve been able to keep it mostly at bay by just using the body wash once a day. If it starts to flare at all, I hit it with the moisturizer after bathing (and again with the moisturizer either morning or evening – whichever time I haven’t bathed), and that takes care of it in a day or so.

  • Alison

    April 18, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Kelly, you rock! I’m going to buy that product this weekend and see if it helps. Thanks!

  • Lindsey

    April 18, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    *A* cowlick? I have three cowlicks. T-H-R-E-E cowlicks. They go quite nicely with my incredibly impressionable, fine, blond hair. There’s also another spot that’s finnicky/wavy in my otherwise straight head of hair. Death and hatred. I always shower in the morning; trying to tame them without shampooing does not work and leaves me begging for mercy. And this includes ponytails- not even they can save the day.
    oh, and then there’s the nipple/chin/upper lip hairs… thank you Norwegian ancestors! and I cannot resist squishing a pimple to death. Usually I’d say woe is me, but I’m starting to feel better after discovering I’m not alone.

  • Meghan

    April 18, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    SuzyQ- It was a total freak of nature that I found a shade that is so awesome. I used to spend time and $$$ at an Aveda salon to get color and highlights (shades of honey blonde, which is my natural color with the summer sun, but in Chicago that means 9mos of dyejob if I want to keep the sunkissed color) but one weekend I decided to go for a big change and dye it all brown. I used L’Oreal Preference in “Lightest Golden Brown” (which I know, is a fancy way of saying dark blonde, so maybe I’m kidding myself thinking I was taking a huge leap) but with my natural blonde it had major red undertones to it. (Totally not what I was going for, but I loved it!) It’s been over a year now, and I’m using the same color with the same results as when I started.
    Also, I have never had my nether-region waxed. I’ve shaved a few times, but that led to very itchy regrowth, and horrible ingrown hairs, so I just use the Remington Trim & Shape to keep things “trimmed” and “shaped” (my sister calls it the bush wacker.) Both of my sisters have gone the way of the wax, but I’m just too chicken to 1.) be spread eagle in front of some random stranger that I am PAYING TO RIP HAIR OFF OF MY BODY and 2.) I’m a huge pain wuss. I just might pass out if it’s as bad as I’m imagining. But after reading the comments, I am definitely going to consider it.

  • Teeny225

    April 19, 2007 at 6:59 am

    Elle – you can get Philosophy stuff here in the UK. I believe Space NK stock it, but I order mine from

  • elle

    April 19, 2007 at 8:45 am

    @Teeny225: ooh, thanks! Ill check out your leads. I was so annoyed when Boots stopped stocking Philosophy.

  • Karen S

    April 19, 2007 at 8:55 am

    Unwanted facial/cleavage hair? Check! Thank heavens for Tweezerman!
    I must add to the bikini wax pleas for advice. My specific, embarrassing questions are:
    1) What is an acceptable area of waxing? My beauty therapist starts to peel off her gloves after using just two strips. I have to awkwardly ask if she could “just do this bit over here, and there, and, er, you missed a bit under there”. I invariably get home and set to with the home waxing strips and the tweezers.
    I don’t want to look like a porn star, but I don’t want hair anywhere outside the thong region either. Are my requests going too far? Or do I need to find a new waxer?
    2) What’s the best way of preventing ingrown hairs? Exfoliation helps, but isn’t quite enough.
    While I’m writing, I also wanted to express my long overdue, sincere gratitude for the Philosophy recommendations. I now have soft skin on my face for the first time in twenty-something years, and I’m pretty sure my pores, which have been blocked for those same twenty-odd years are very slowly starting to unblock and shrink. I’m using Purity face wash and Hope in a Bottle twice a day.
    As v.pale, freckled redhead, I find foundations and powder look un-natural on my skin, but Supernatural Poreless Flawless Tinted SPF? Amazing! And my pores are only noticeable at 5 feet, down from 50!
    Amy, you are being written into my will.

  • jomama

    April 19, 2007 at 9:33 am

    I have a problem with my lips constantly cracking and peeling. I have to rub all of the excess skin off before I can put anything on my lips. I can’t tell if gloss/vaseline is actually making them worse because I can’t stand to go a day without them.
    Also, someone mentioned to shave before a pedicure. I would recommend shaving at least 24 hours before the pedicure because if they use some type of scrub on your legs, it could burn. At least, that’s been my experience.
    And lastly, I never thanked you for the Curel recommendation. I never would have thought to buy the stuff, but it has worked miracles on my skin. I love this stuff. Thanks!

  • Cordelia

    April 19, 2007 at 9:51 am

    The feet-and-toe shaving, which people can totally tell I do because you still have the dark follicle roots, but it’s GOT to be better than hobbit feet, right?
    The inability to shave or wax my bikini line area without horrible pain (Tendskin, exfoliating, very expensive wax procedures, nothing works).

  • Tone

    April 19, 2007 at 10:06 am

    I want to second the request for a Flip Flop Cage Match. I see all these sneaker style ones, but wonder if the money is really worth it.

  • Meghan

    April 19, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Ooh, flip flop cage match!
    I wear my Chaco flip flops every single day, all year round. I peel off my socks and shoes and wear the chacos all evening around the house.
    The price tag ($50) seems steep, but they have the same vibram sole as their more substansial sandals, and if you’re an outdoor/camping nut like I am, you’ll know that Vibram soles are what you will find in the $300 hiking boots that people who hike Everest wear. Vibram=good stuff.
    They are light, and have fantastic arch support (the only sandals that don’t leave my fallen arches aching after a day’s worth of wear,) and will last you forever. In fact, they will replace the webbing on all of their sandals (not for free, but for cheep) so consider it an investment!
    Much love for the chacos. Try them. I’m a huge REI whore (I worked there while in med school, hence my addiction to Keen shoes and Chaco sandals) but I would recommend buying them from zappos, because then if you hate them, you can send them back and it won’t cost you anything.

  • alyce

    April 19, 2007 at 11:19 am

    I have PCOS (polycystic ovaries). One of the side effects is hirsutism (hairiness, basically). I have so many chin hairs that I have to shave. Daily. With an electric razor. There are too many for plucking.
    This is just one of my shameful “beauty” secrets.

  • Sif

    April 19, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Hi Amalah. I read all your blogs. I’m finally leaving a comment so I can stop feeling like a creepy cyberstalker.
    You know what I’d love to see advice on — MBT sneakers. Do they really work??? They claim to improve your posture, slim you legs and butt and reduce the appearance of cellulite. Now, please, that just sounds too good to be true. They’re funky looking sneakers that cost a pretty penny – about $200. I live in London (but am a former Washingtonian), and I see a lot of women around here wearing these shoes and a lot of them are moms. Most of these women would fall into the “yummy mummy” category and I’m trying to figure out if their legs look good because they walk around in MBTs or they look good because they already looked good prior to shelling out big bucks for funny looking sneakers.

  • Sif

    April 19, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Hi Amalah. I read all your blogs. I’m finally leaving a comment so I can stop feeling like a creepy cyberstalker.
    You know what I’d love to see advice on — MBT sneakers. Do they really work??? They claim to improve your posture, slim you legs and butt and reduce the appearance of cellulite. Now, please, that just sounds too good to be true. They’re funky looking sneakers that cost a pretty penny – about $200. I live in London (but am a former Washingtonian), and I see a lot of women around here wearing these shoes and a lot of them are moms. Most of these women would fall into the “yummy mummy” category and I’m trying to figure out if their legs look good because they walk around in MBTs or they look good because they already looked good prior to shelling out big bucks for funny looking sneakers.

  • linda

    April 19, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Amy said it – these are the *BEST* comments ever!! I am learning so much from y’all.
    Re: question about epilator vs. bleach on arm hair (looks really funny written out like that.). I used to bleach, but my hair is really dark and *really* thick. Even bleached, it wasn’t “invisible” and it started to re-darken at the roots within a few days. I don’t find epilating (is that a word?) particularly painful and I’m beyond pleased with the results. I like the look of smooth skin vs. hair, even when it’s lightened.
    For ingrown hair on bikini line – I haven’t tried Tend Skin but I am an absolute devotee of Paula’s Choice Skin Relief product. I used to get horrible red, itchy, infected bumps. The Skin Relief fixed all of that. I also use it after I pluck my brows. Very soothing and effective. YMMV, but I’m completely sold and don’t hesitate to recommend it. I wait until they’re having a shipping special and stock up.

  • JennyM

    April 19, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Oh, y’all. I’ve carried my chin and nipple hair shame alone for so long… BUT NO LONGER!
    I really like the pedicures, and I’m very ticklish. The only bad part is when they’re going at the soles of my feet with the scrapey-scrubby-buffer thing. I typically just clutch the armrests, screech a bit and act apologetic. Every single pedicurist (?) ever has just found it amusing.
    I’d like to see a lip gloss cage match. I just bought a tube of horribly, embarrassingly expensive lip gloss which I am actually finding to be quite fabulous. Maybe not fabulous enough to justify the exorbitant price, but still the best, longest lasting lip gloss I’ve ever tried. So, I’m kind of wondering if I’ve missed something and maybe there’s one out there that I wouldn’t have to take out a second mortgage to afford regularly.

  • heels

    April 19, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    I my experience, Reef flip-flops = wear-all-day comfort without the price tag of Chaco (which are awesome, but are more “sport” sandal than fashion flip-flop). I know people who run/hike in Reefs. Plus, they come in lots of colors/styles. I have two pair (I NEED MORE!!!) and I’m not even a big flip-flop wearer!

  • 2shews

    April 19, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Ready? Cuz it’s really grody. I have an eternal blackhead in the middle of my back that gets so big and lumpy that it turns a spot about the size of a dime grey. Every time I come home my mom pops it, because I can’t reach it and if you leave it is just grows and sort of calcifies. And it stinks when it pops. And the other day hubbie accidentally popped it during a back rub. Ewwwww.

  • Alison

    April 19, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Karen S.: Yes, you need a new waxer! Or you need to specifically tell her that you’re looking for a more thorough waxing job. But I’d probably be too embarassed to say that at this point, so instead I would search online for places that specifically say they do Brazilians — not that you’re looking for a Brazilian wax, but if they do those, you know they’ll do the more modest job you’re looking for. But if you don’t find anywhere in your area that does them, you could just call a salon you’re interested in and tell the receptionist that you’re looking for “less than a Brizilian but more than the traditional bikini wax” and ask if they do them. A good waxer will ask you at the start of the session exactly what you want to do, but if they don’t ask, don’t be shy about saying it. They’re doing this all day and they’re not as hung up on it as we probably are when we go in for it.

  • LizPres

    April 19, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    I wrote in a few months ago asking about nipple hairs, plucking, and the evil result: ingrown hairs. At least now I know I am not alone in my grossness …

  • mavislee

    April 19, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    One more thing:
    I’m going to Brazil for nine days at the end of the summer. It’s a long enough trip that I will need a lot of different looks (beach, dinner, shopping, etc.) but I don’t want to pack a lot, and I don’t want to take my whole beauty kit.
    Maybe you can do a summer vacation smackdown to recommend travel products that pull double (or triple) duty. And I mean luggage and clothes, too. I need all the help I can get.

  • Suzy Q

    April 19, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    Karen S, I agree with Alison. The acceptable area of waxing is what YOU want to have waxed! They should be asking you what you want at the beginning of the waxing session and asking you afterwards if you’re happy. I got over the stranger-viewing-my-crotch shyness way long ago and have no problem pointing out that little butt-y part that I want waxed that they sometimes overlook. Yeah, wax that too, betch!
    Sif: I don’t know from personal experience, but some reporter here did a 2-month long series of articles about trying out the MBTs. She loved ’em. LOVED.
    alyce: I feel your pain (literally) with the PC ovaries. I was lucky not to get the full-blown syndrome so never got too many extra hairies. Only have half an ovary left, though, after several chop sessions.
    Jenny M: Girlfriend, you may NOT go on about some fabulous product and not tell us what the brand, color and price are! Even if it IS lip gloss, which kinda grosses me out. Although, I suppose it might have improved a bit since 1982.
    Meghan, I was really hoping that you were just covering grays with some fabulous strawberry-blond hair color, because…um…someone I may know just might be getting a few grays. Which still sorta look like highlights, and that’s the story she’s stickin’ to.
    Does ANYONE know what to do about dry, cracked, peeling, bleeding lips? Jomama has them, too! So, TWO of us desperately need help!
    Amy, you have done an incredible public service in creating this forum through your laziness/sickness or whatever it was. Thanks! As always, you rock. But really, brush your damn teeth!

  • summer

    April 19, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    For dry lips: I like HEMPZ brand lip balm despite its annoying, grammatically heinous name. In addition to being wonderfully moisturizing with its shea butter and hemp oil and whatnot, it also has sunscreen.
    You can find it at Beauty Brands or online.

  • TasterSpoon

    April 19, 2007 at 11:57 pm

    A few mentions of waxing…I’d like to see a discussion on LASER HAIR REMOVAL.
    I have a couple of friends who’ve done it and are thrilled (despite $$$$), but tried to do my own research and it seems that there are many *types* of lasers[?], and that long term results vary among the types and haven’t been proven, blah de blah. So I’m afraid to roll the expensive dice, yet soooo enticed by the thought of never shaving, waxing, or picking at ingrowns again!
    A clearinghouse for all that info would be stellar.

  • Meramoo

    April 20, 2007 at 1:10 am

    I like Chapstick Natural better than the petroleum-based stuff.
    I would like to hear more about lasering and proper blowdrying technique. Somehow I missed all that girly stuff when I was growing up.

  • Princess

    April 20, 2007 at 8:40 am

    To all my fellow hairy women… I have found one really weird thing that works amazingly for me. It’s called Magic Cream and it’s actually designed for black men to use on beards. I was tipped off to it because you can use it everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. I had no burning or irritation from it, even on my bikini area, and I stayed smooth for about a week. It’s also really cheap but you have to mix it yourself with water. It does stink to high heaven though, that’s the only bad thing I have found. I go through about 1/2 a can a week or so but at around 2.00 I totally don’t mind. I normally get it at a drug store or like Target/Wal-Mart.
    I would try it on your legs or arms before using it on the bikini area first though. Also they sell a cream version but it is NOT THE SAME and doesn’t work like the powder version does.

  • JennyM

    April 20, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Now I must know more about these “MBT” shoes. I’ve never heard of them, but I’m off to google or wiki or something.
    Suzy Q: It’s really just embarassing, how much this stuff cost and I’ve never spent that much on a beauty product, unless maybe you count the Philosophy stuff but the sheer volume of product involved in a Philosophy kit kind of cancels out the cost…. I’m still trying to justify it.
    Okay, so, I was getting a pedicure a couple of weekends ago, and in between the shrieking and clutching the armrests during the tickly parts, I was flipping through some of the magazines they had by the chair. One of which was Town & Country, which I should never be allowed to read again, because there are clearly expensive brands of things out there that my plebeian, InStyle-reading ass has never even heard of.
    So anyway, this is La Prairie lip gloss ( and it’s about $40 a tube — over $50 if you count shipping, because I don’t think there’s anywhere here that actually carries it. They also have a $650 moisturizer that I declined to purchase.
    BUT, it turns out to be far and away the best lip gloss I’ve ever used, and I’ve tried a lot — Sephora-recommended brands, department store brands, and drugstore brands. This stuff is not thick or goopy or sticky, yet it is definitely a *gloss* and is freakishly long lasting. The color is subtle and kind of shimmery and I don’t know what kind of dark magic makes it keep its glossiness for so long, but it does. Unicorn placenta or something, maybe.
    So, there is my shame. I spent $53 on a tube of lip gloss, and I still feel guilty about it. (But it’s awesome. And it smells like rich people.)

  • Sorcha

    April 20, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    I can’t resist confessions. Okay, look away NOW if you’re easily gorssed out:
    1. I cannot stop picking at my lips. I know it looks horrid, I know it hurts, yet again and again my fingers are up there just touching and testing until I find dry skin then ouch! I’ve pulled it off. Does anybody have any fool-proof way to cure this habit?
    2. My feet are mostly okay, but one my of baby toenails is really thick and white, and I can never cut it or file it properly. I’ve broken at least one scissors. I wear sandals as long as that particular toe is always hidden.

  • Audrey

    April 20, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Kimmy: Thanks so much for your advice WAAYYYY up there! (I should have checked back sooner!) I wish I could afford regular manicures — that would be so wonderful! I will definitely try some cuticle oil. I think having it at work would help me remember to use it frequently. I tend to be really bad about remembering to do the things that are good for my skin. And as a result I am always embarassed about the way my hands look with the raw cuticles and all. It even makes me embarassed to get manicures because I’ve had manicurists yell at me before for not taking good care of my hands. I just wanted to yell back, “I know my hands are a mess! That’s why I’m here, so you can HELP me, not so you can make me feel awful!” So, Kimmy, thanks for the helpful advice! I really appreciate it.

  • jomama

    April 20, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    I have awful pinky toes too. They are microscopic and only take a dab of nail polish to cover. Everytime I get a pedi, the nail person always feels the need to point out how tiny those nails are like I wasn’t aware.

  • BaltimoreGal

    April 20, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    Melissa, you need Urban Decay Primer Potion.
    It is unmatchable!!! Peerless!! Awesome!
    You only need a tiny bit on the applicator for your whole lid and it works wonders.
    Also- makes shadow pop more so you need less. Bonus!
    Get thee to Sephora!

  • BaltimoreGal

    April 20, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    I have “boxers” (each pinky toe is short and shaped a bit like a boxing glove) with invisible nails. I have decided they’re ok, though. I cut the nail short so it barely shows. I also don’t paint it- why draw attention?
    My feet have little round toes that actually look cute, if you don’t know how much they hurt. So, I show them off. I’ve earned it.

  • sheilah

    April 20, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    …I have a mole on my face. I used to like it but it has gotten uglier as I got older. You inspired me to talk about my ‘imperfection’ on my blog. Take a look if you dare…
    Warning: picture of ugly mole posted…

  • heels

    April 20, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Maybe it’s too late to be helpful, but I had a nurse tell me once that bad hangnails can actually be a result of a type of yeast infection (I know- ew, right?). If your nails are really bad, you might want to try asking your Dr. for the Diflucan pill or something like that. It’s probably worth a try.

  • JenniferL

    April 20, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Amy, I’ve been enjoying your site(s) for awhile; thanks! Since you said it was OK to offer our .02 as well, I decided to chime in.
    This is for 2shews: I am a doctor, and what you are describing is almost certainly a sebaceous cyst (aka epidermal inclusion cyst). These are benign but they don’t go away on their own. Occasionally they get infected and can turn into really gross abscesses (not that I would tell anyone right in front of me that their abscess is gross). Squeezing it or picking it can make infection more likely (just like a blackhead). So, just like the ads on TV, I would advise you to Ask Your Doctor, b/c if I am right this could be removed in a simple office procedure, and your mom could stop squeezing it for you.

  • Suzy Q

    April 20, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    OMG, we have a doctor in the house! Um…Hi JenniferL!
    Jomama, that’s now TWO things you and I have in common: the horrible peely lips and weird pinky toenails. Get out of my body! Really, there are much better ones to inhabit.
    Cracky cuticles can also benefit from Burts Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. It also smells delicious, but don’t eat it, even though it’s probably organic or something.
    Oh, JennyM, didn’t that feel good? The silky confession of overpriced lip gloss? I, myself, have paid $40 for blush. Yes, blush. Of course, it’s Chanel, but still. It’s freaking BLUSH. I justify it by remembering that I used Clinique gift-with-purchase blush minis for years and after they ran out, I couldn’t find a good color for me in any other brand. Really! (See? We ALL have ridiculously overpriced beauty stuff.) And you know what? I LOVE my Chanel blush, and I shall continue to buy it as long as they make a color that works for me. I loved your post and it almost, ALMOST makes me want to buy lip gloss again. The next time I’m in Bloomie’s, I am definitely checking it out and if I end up buying it? Oh yes, I WILL blame you!

  • GeoDaisy

    April 20, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    I also have chin hairs!
    and eyebrow dandruff! but then have dandruff everywhere i have hair. Any good inexpensive products for this kind thing?
    My wierd thing: I get itchy underarms (may be related to the dandruff issue). I shave regularly, but not every day. I get what looks like acne occasionally too, yuck. I dont want to shave then, cause if I ‘pop’ it I dont want to put deoderant on “broken skin”. Any solutions?

  • Kelly J

    April 22, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    GeoDaisy –
    Seriously, on the eyebrow dandruff thing – get a small (trail size) bottle of Head & Shoulders, use a TEENSY bit on your eyebrows in the shower everday, and it’ll be gone in no time!

  • RebeccaB

    April 25, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    I also have that annoying whisker on the side of my chin, and also one a little higher. So annoying!
    I love how you go around thinking you are a freak and then read these comments and realize that you are normal!!
    I also have redish dry bumpy skin on the back of my arms, i’ve had it for forever and have tried almsot everything. It’s super annoying when someone points it out… seriously people, we scrutinize our bodies with magnifiying mirrors, we’ve seen it. I promise.

  • danagirl

    April 26, 2007 at 10:03 am

    eww, i have the black chin hair too! i thought i was the only one!
    my beauty secrets: not many as i’m way too lazy to be a product person. but i’m adamant about my neutrogena foaming face wash. i always had bad acne and was constanty using ‘acne’ washes/toners/moisturizers/etc. then i finally went to a derm. she recommended the neutrogena saying all those products are too harsh and make acne WORSE. switched and a month later my skin started clearing up. now a year later and i haven’t had a breakout – not even at that time of the month!!! and my skin is soft – i don’t even need concealer or foundation! and it’s cheap 🙂
    i’m also crazy in love with my lip gloss: any of the CO Bigelow’s glosses/balms (sold at bath and body works). the one sold in the little blue tin can also be used ANYWHERE
    and finally, the only other product i’m religious about is sebastians potion 9. my hair is oily at the roots yet DRY DRY DRY at the ends. even with deep conditioner, it doesn’t help. but put a dab of potion 9 on the tips every other day and it’s soft like baby hair 🙂