Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Beauty Q&A: Mystifying Dress Codes & The Great Bra Hunt

1. I have been invited to a charity party that I will be attending with coworkers, my boss, my boss's boss, and my boss's boss's boss. It's at a fancy restaurant with cocktails, a great DJ, the whole nine yards. BUT! The invitation says "Cocktail Chic" attire. What does this mean? I do own a couple of cocktail dresses, but now I worry that they are too short/not "chic"/hideous. Are there basic rules for length/color/cut that I just completely missed in the Working Girls' Guide to Doing Things? How can I select a cocktail dress that is appropriate for the many levels of bosses to see, but that I still look fantastic and polished in? I work in cosmetics, meaning this event will be all women so it is less about looking hot for an office cutie and more about looking fantastic in front of my fabulous couture-wearing coworkers. Is it possible to do this on a budget (less than $75) or should I just cut some holes in a garbage bag and bring back the Derelicte look?

First of all, whoever came up with "cocktail chic" watched too much Sex and the City (as if there's such a thing as "too much," RIGHT, LADIES?). They're not only requesting a level of formality, which could be described simply as "cocktail attire," but also a level of style not everyone possesses or is interested in, and quite frankly I find it rude. Maybe you're not a fashionista! That should be fine and they shouldn't put a word on their invite that makes you feel excluded, or wrong for not caring what's on the runway right now. Not that you don't, for all I know you're the most fashionable one in the office. Ugh, I kind of hate them. Sorry, that's too strong. I'm sure they're lovely. [Shut up, Jane!] Anyway, you're on the right track with a cocktail dress that isn't too sexy or short-short. Here's where it pays to have a perfect little black dress in your closet — almost knee length, 3/4 length sleeves, not too much cleave — and some fun accessories to distract from how boring your outfit is to them. Go find one at Banana or something? Red is also hot right now. And then pick up a cheapo necklace at Forever 21 and enjoy those cocktails. Orrr...

Put a spell on them by wearing something unexpected! "Cocktail chic" should green light any of the following: a jumpsuit, palazzo pants, a wacky muu muu like you're an art gallery owner, this outfit Leatitia Casta wore in Arbitrage that is TO DIE FOR (it's a tank with this skirt and a belt – don't forget the pair of matching gold cuffs), a whole mess of lace, vintage anything, something borrowed from mom. In other words, sure, Derelicte works. Go nuts. Mostly, just have fun and know that probably no one is even looking at you because they're all more concerned with their own chicness.

2. I have medium brown hair that I REALLY want to change to an ashy blonde, but I don't know anything about dyeing or bleaching or how to go about finding a good colorist. I usually go for the $15 cuts at the Aveda training salon, but I'm not sure that I trust students to attempt something this... risky. 

So, my questions fall along two lines:

Is this a terrible idea, and is brown-to-blonde just too complicated? (For the record, I don't really want to do highlights. I feel like if I'm going to do this I want to go for a big, dramatic change.) And how do I find a good salon and colorist? I've asked friends and women in my office but still don't have any good leads. I'm in Chicago (Wicker Park), in case you have any personal recommendations! Once I find a colorist, what should I be doing or saying to make sure I am doing a good job of communicating what I'm looking for with my new color?

Brown-to-blonde, or any-color-to-blonde, is the service keeping 99% of hair salons in business, so you shouldn't have a problem finding someone skilled to do this. A few things to note: though you say you don't want highlights, the process may look and feel the same, so don't be startled when they start talking about foils or bleach. You'll end up unnaturally blonde if they just smear a bunch of monochromotic dye all over your head, and I doubt a skilled colorist will suggest that. Instead, they'll probably do something like this:

Since you're in a big city, check out Allure magazine's lists of the Best Colorists or Best Salons in major U.S. cities. If you're not in a metro area and/or don't have a lot of cash to blow, I don't see why this isn't something you could ask either of Yelp (type in "colorist" and your zip code) or the trusty students at the training salon. The cool thing about trainees is that they are being judged by not only you, but by their teachers. Sometimes these are the most careful, thoughtful hairdressers. Just be sure to "SCREAM AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS IF THINGS BEGIN TO GO AWRY!!!" That's always a possibility when trying to save money with beauty stuff. Don't be ashamed to walk out halfway into an appointment if something doesn't feel quite right. You tried! You tried to get a deal and now you're gonna have to pay the big bucks to fix it. Life.

3. My skin has gotten drier over the years, but I'm still very acne-prone and use Retin-A Micro. My face is generally fine unless I'm breaking out, and then it's all red zits and flakes. How the hell do you go about covering up acne effectively when your skin is flaky and no amount of exfoliation or moisturization gets rid of it? I'll use my knockoff Clarisonic followed by coconut oil followed by a layer or two of a daily moisturizer and I still look like hell.

The horror! What are you doing!? You cannot, I repeat, YOU CANNOT use Retin-A and exfoliate manually like crazy with something like a Clarisonic. (You, specifically cannot. I'm sure there's someone out there who does without any ill effects. "Congratulations, how wonderful!," we say to them.) First of all, those knockoff Clarisonics are, for the most part, pieces of shit that ruin or do nothing at all for your skin. They are brushes that go around in a circle. You might as well use your toothbrush — BUT DON'T! Your skin needs a break and time to heal itself. Retin-A is drying, as are the topical zit medicines you didn't mention but are most likely using, and when you try to deal with their effects by removing the skin that's trying to heal itself, your face freaks out in more ways than one.

So, when you're experiencing troubling dryness, please stop with the face brush, cut your Retin-A down to every-other-day or every-third-day, and get some heavy-duty night cream. For some reason, we acne prone folks were told as youngsters that moisturizers and creams add to our zit problems, but this isn't necessarily true. If I were you, I'd stop putting straight-up oil on my face and look for a nice soothing, sensitive night cream like this one. You should also grab a highly moisturizing daily tinted moisturizer with SPF like this one. Even incidental sun exposure can wreak havoc on Retin A-treated skin. Treat your face like the delicate flower it is for a little while and see if you can get it to calm down. That means no astringents, no harsh face wash (try this one), pat it dry gently, only spot-treat a zit if you must with something like this, wash your pillowcases every few nights, and no more scrubbing the hell out of your skin.

And step away from the mirror. I want you to deal with breakouts not by obsessing over them and piling on products and hurting yoursellf, but by going back to the doctor who gave you the Retin-A and explaining this problem. They'll likely recommend pills that you can swap out for the Retin-A when you begin to breakout. It's what I do and it works.

One last directive: drink a ton more water. And then write me back and we'll actually talk about how to wear foundation and concealer, if you even still need it.

4. I have pretty large boobs. I'm a size 36 F. I recently attended a bra party (like Mary Kay, but less makeup and more flashing) and was measured. I tried on a bunch of bras and found "The One." I spent close to $80 on The One and I'm trying to find some more moderately priced alternatives so The One doesn't become The Only One. Also, while it feels amazing, this company makes fairly simple, smooth cup, plain bras. They're kind of boring. I want prettier bras, you know? Not under everything, but now and then.

I've been rotating in my older bras, but they really don't compare. I look and feel so much better when I'm wearing the right size. 

After I throw a few brands at you, we're gonna crowdsource this in the comments and before you know it, you will have an entire drawer full of 36F beauties to choose from each morning. I can personally vouch for two brands that make pretty bras in larger cup sizes: Parfait by Affinitas – they'll run you about $30-60 a pop — and  Freya, which are in the $50-$80 range, but frequently go on sale if you scour the web.

I know you want $15 bras like you used to buy at Target, but you have million dollars boobs now. It's time to rethink that aim: if you take care of these higher quality bras and get enough of them that you're not forced to wear the same one for two weeks straight — which kills the bra — these will last you for years. Years! Give your bras at least a few days to rest between sweaty, heavy load-bearing, and wash them by hand — NEVER IN THE WASHING MACHINE — every month or so. A year of doing that and seeing that you still have all your pretty bras might allow you to feel more comfortable splurging on The Other One. And The Other One.

 Previously: Hair Products 101.

Do you have a question for Jane?

287 Comments / Post A Comment


somehow I just needed a good beauty Q&A today!

dumb question, you know how if you wash your hair too often, it actually makes your hair more greasy? does the same thing happen if you wash your face too often? I switched to using dove soap to wash my face recently (and using it every day as opposed to uh, every other day ...) but my face is feeling oilier and it's driving me up the wall. but my skin is so much softer than it was before! actually! but greasier. ARGH.

Jane Marie

@redheaded&crazie yes! clinique products do this to me. they dry my out and then i wake up in the morning with whiteheads.


@redheaded&crazie Yes! My face calmed way down when I switched from "anti-acne" strong cleansers twice a day to a very mild cleanser once a day plus lots of moisturizer. Although, "calmed down" for my face means that instead of having to reapply powder several times a day, the first application gets me through most of a day.


@redheaded&crazie Anecdotally, yes. I switched from clean and clear oil absorbing sheets to the gentler (and actually cheaper) Boscia green tea ones, and I go through WAY fewer sheets now- my face is much less oily. I think it was overreacting to the harsher sheets before. It's like I was removing too much oil and taking away its happiness.

Beatrix Kiddo

@redheaded&crazie Yes, that definitely happens if you wash your face too often!


@redheaded&crazie Also bar soap is usually too harsh and drying for the face!
I have oily skin and I only wash it once in the morning, and then I'll maybe use a makeup remover at night, but that's only if I've been wearing a lot of makeup.


@redheaded&crazie If your face wash is too harsh, your skin will absolutely get greasier. And bar soap is not great for your face. Try a gentler face wash, like Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash--it's pretty great.


@aubrey! I like the "LEAVE YOUR SKIN ALONE" advice! I just use a mild moisturiser as a cleanser (rather than soap which can dry the skin out), and tinted moisturiser rather than foundation, and it's all good. My skin got bad when I didn't get enough sleep, obsessed over spots and piled concealer and foundation on top. I wish teenage me had understood this.


@redheaded&crazie Seventh-ed! My skin cleared up SO MUCH when I stopped washing it so often. Also - Boscia products. Especially their cleansing oil. They're pricey but I splurge on them because they make my skin so much calmer.


@ArcherLady oh my gosh I can't really afford it, but if you can I heartily endorse Boscia products also. THEY ARE GOOD. (it's at Sephora)


@Megano! Admittedly my Boscia habit is a bit beyond my means, but I take enormous advantage of Sephora's willingness to hand out samples (they either don't notice or don't care that I sample the same face scrub over and over). Plus I use my debit card's reward points to get Sephora gift cards, which I then put towards face products.

Written out like this, it seems a bit sad. But my skin looks nice(r)!


@ArcherLady No, it is definitely worth it. And I wish I could get points for Sephora giftcards! I just bought new cleanser with my Glymm points, so I am never gonna be against that sort of thing!


@ArcherLady I think that's a very smart way to go about it! :D


@Megano! I find bar soap way too harsh for my body too! I've shifted from SCRUB EVERYTHING EVERY DAY to "soap on pits! Soap on groin! Soap on feet! Aaaaaand rinse everything THE END." My dry skin is so, so happy with me.


@redheaded&crazie @Megano! I have been feeding my Sephora addiction by using Viggle to earn their gift cards. Try it if you have a smart phone (not paid by Viggle to say this, swearsies).


@ArcherLady I share your Boscia love. I cleanse every night with their Makeup Breakup cleansing oil and now I can't use anything else. If it wasn't so spendy, I'd buy allllll the Boscia. Also, they have a rewards program, but you have to order through their site.


@redheaded&crazie aaaaaaah! please please please take a break! Take like two or three weeks and just use something really mild like Cetaphil (or, if you're me, the Cetaphil knockoff from Target). My skin is SO MUCH BETTER since I stopped using acne face wash every day. I really think we just need to give our skin a break, especially if we're post-adolescence.


Although this is only tangentially related, I figure that this thread would be a good place to ask- does anyone know of a (light) foundation that keeps oily skin from being oily for at least half a day? Right now I use the Bare Minerals Matte formula, and even then, my skin is oily 2 hours after I apply. I tried Dr. Jart's oil free BB Cream, and it made my face even greasier! I am fortunate to have almost completely blemish free skin, so coverage isn't really an issue- it's more about evening out skin tone. I'm about to try Jouer's Matte tinted moisturizer, but has anyone else had any success with any other products?


@Elleohelle I have fairly oily skin, and I liked using my mineral powder (I use Mary Kay because it matched my skin tone better, and I felt like it didn't shift into creases as much-but that's just me). I've had good luck with a mattefying (sp?) primer. I like the one by Too Faced. It's pricier than most things I use (around $30 for a small tube), but it keeps me from being a disco ball by noon. Sometimes I just use it over my moisturizer without any foundation, and it does a good job by itself.

Just my personal experience.


@Elleohelle The only foundation that works for my oily skin is Almay TLC (Truly Lasting Color). I only have to blot once about mid-afternoon. Also, after I squirt a blob onto my hand, I mix a little moisturizer into it to thin it out before applying.

Disco Sheets

@Elleohelle What about just using a powder since you don't really need the coverage? I use Benefit's Hello Flawless (sometimes over my tinted moisturizer or foundation, sometimes on its own depending on how much coverage I want), and I like that it's thicker than a transculent powder and it seems to keep the oily bits of my combination skin at bay.


sooo what I'm hearing you all say is the bar soap is doing wonders for my face and I should be using it even more!

seriously though, went back to my regular cleanser last night and my face is already feeling less oily. I think that's what we scientists (hah) would call a strong correlation indicating causation. (???)


@ElleoHelle I use Smashbox BB cream, which has mattifying ingredients, and I find it works pretty well! It is SUPER EXPENSIVE though...


@Elleohelle My only advice is don't try the Boscia BB cream! I normally like their products but the BB cream was bad bad bad news for me. In fact I haven't had the courage to try any other brands since that experience.


Did the stylist have to bleach her hair first to strip the brunette color out of her hair?@l

Emma Peel

on the bras, from a 32E:


"The One" bra for me is also $80 (Chantelle and Wacoal, holler!) and I routinely find it there for under $30.

Also, I don't use Retin-A but I do use a treatment with a retinoid in it, and my derm has me alternate it with a combo chemical/physical exfoliant (I use http://www.viviteskincare.com/Products/Default.aspx?categoryid=1&productid=1) twice a week, which gets rid of the flakies from the retinol. It's effective, but if I used it more than twice a week I'm pretty sure my skin would lose it totally.


@Emma Peel also, figleaves.com. They carry really great brands for small band/big boobs that are also pretty. Think Freya and Elle McPherson. They're are always some on sale. Always.

Erica Geissman@facebook

@Emma Peel I totally concur with Nordstrom Rack. I wear a 32D and there are racks and racks of them! I'm in bra heaven! At department stores I'm lucky to find two on the clearance rack.


@Emma Peel I have DDs, and I have an exploding drawer of wacoal bras, mostly bought on a grad student stipend, thanks to nordstrom rack, tjmaxx/marshall's and stein mart (this one is the real gem, if you have one near by. i can't recommend stein mart highly enough)


@Emma Peel also: brastop.com! Yes, it is terrifying to order bras online, but they're also about $30 bucks and have a great return policy. Just make sure you're ordering your UK size - they can be VERY DIFFERENT.

Mohawk Chick

@iffie They're SO PRETTY! Oooh I might have to buy one now.


@iffie FIGLEAVES! i don't know how i would survive without that store. they also have a decent return policy, and though it's in the UK, you only have to pay to ship back to someplace in NY, and then they ship it to the UK. if you sign up for their emails, you get 20% off site wide a couple times a year!

@crisisalert second on the checking sizes. in the higher letters things get out of whack (i'm a 32G US, 32F UK).


@Emma Peel Also, yes, Freya, but also Fantasie and Fauve, which are all basically the same company but with slightly different aesthetics. But the same fit, as far as I can tell. So if you know your size in one, then buy the others with confidence!

Samantha Chew@facebook

@Emma Peel Fig leaves is awesome! Also Empreinte is amazing. Literally the best bra I have ever owned. Beautiful and comfortable! Huit, Chantille, Freya are great also and for sports bras Moving comfort!

ayo nicole

@Emma Peel This is fantastic news. I'm a DD and I always leave TJ Maxx/Marshall's with nothing/sadness.


@Emma Peel Also! Make sure you click the "outlet" link on Figleaves to see their extra-on-sale stuff that doesn't show up in the regular search. Also! Brastop.com and eBay (search for NWT) are wonderful after you have found a style you want to stick with.


@Emma Peel 36H reporting in. Again with figleaves. BUT A NOTE OF CAUTION: you may have to pay customs if you aren't paying attention, and all of a sudden 3 amazing bras (for $200, which, yep, that's how it goes) comes with, like, $50 extra in taxes.


@Heidi FWIW, I think the limit for this is $200 - so if you stay under $200 (which, yes, is a huge pain in the ass when you aren't sure *exactly* what size/style fits you and want to order a few) you don't get the taxes


@Emma Peel - Yes on the exfoliant alternated with the Retin-A or retinoids! I use Oil of Olay Night Cream with Beta Hydroxy. Before I started swapping it out every other night with the Retin-A, I had that evil flaxy awful scrubland all over my face LW3 is talking about.

It's only about 10 bucks, available at CVS or Walgreens, and is super nourishing and wonderful. I started using that alternated with the prescription Retin-A, and goodbye zits! I wasn't even trying to get rid of the acne. It just happened. Like magic. Wish I'd known all that time when I was trying to fight acne with special acne products. Or getting preyed upon by the acne infomercials. Bah. Beta Hydroxy all the way. My skin has never glowed or been so soft and clear. I hardly ever have whiteheads anymore.

And yes to everyone on the sunscreen. If you're using retins, you have to use suncreen, they're not joking about that. I mix a face quality 30 spf sunscreen in with my foundation on a wedge sponge to make a tinted moisturizer. Never had such flawless skin. And I'm in my late 30's. Wish I knew this at 25!


@Emma Peel Fellow F-cup chiming in to agree with the wonders of Nordstrom and their Rack! (They do put stuff on clearance at the regular store, and whenever their semi-annual sales I happen me and my rack go crazy. Or rather, I go crazy and my rack gets supported.)


@Emma Peel Snicker. Rack. Snicker.


@slutberry Also, I just got measured to buy a wedding bra and discovered i am actually a 34F. Thanks to The Lady Of Shalott, however, i have a great lingerie source to find bras at!


"If you take care of these higher quality bras and get enough of them that you're not forced to wear the same one for two weeks straight — which kills the bra — these will last you for years. "

Sadly, not true, in my experience. I baby my good, well-fitted, expensive bras, and they do not last but a year or perhaps more. Maybe that's because I can't afford enough of them to let them rest that much (I usually have two great ones and a few older ones that I keep in rotation). But then, where is the logic anyway in saying that they last a long time if you have a lot of them and don't wear them all the time? Of course they last longer if you don't wear them that much!

Emma Peel, I thank you for the Nordstrom Rack suggestion, and my new buddy, Hunter Green Chantelle, thanks you, too, for the rest she's about to get.

Emma Peel

@Lu2 Ha, isn't it always Chantelle? I also bought 3 Chantelle bras on ebay, new with tags, so if that doesn't skeeve you out (I was on an intern salary at the time and couldn't afford to be skeeved out) that is an option, and a good one, I found!


@Emma Peel --Oooh! No, it doesn't skeeve me! NWT is the way to go. I used to think that all these goods were being sold from Canada's Northwest Territories until I caught on.

What's going on with the bra sizing these days, though? Is it just me? Every time I get fitted (every few years) I go up at least one cup size. Now (after shocking my friends with just the idea of DD), I'm into letters that I've never known anyone else to wear before, and I don't think I really look it. Are they doing, like, vanity sizes for bras now, except the opposite of the "you wear a dress size 8 but we're calling it a 2 for your ego" thing? (note: none of that preceding sentence applies to me personally, including the numbers or, indeed, the dress-wearing.)

katie s.@twitter

@Lu2 I think it's actually the opposite of vanity sizing. For years everyone was told to do the the underbust measurement plus 4 or 5 inches, and then subtract that from your bust measurement to get your cup size. The result is that everyone fits into cups A-C or maybe D or DD if we're getting CRAAAZEEEE. We've all vanity sized ourselves into *smaller* boobs for decades and are just now being more realistic about what's going on down there.

baked bean

@katie s.@twitter That's the way I thought it was supposed to be done... How is the better way done? Enlighten me.

(even though I'm pretty sure I've got it right... 34A, but just for friends/future references)

Miss Maszkerádi

@Lu2 I've been wondering the exact same thing about bra sizing!! I'm a very "petite" person in general
(short, skinny, thin-boned, everything i'm supposed to feel an embarrassment of riches for but really just makes it hard to shop out of the juniors department) and so I always assumed I wore an A cup. (Memories of the time my embarrassed mother dragged mortified, 13-year-old but fully developed me to the mall for my first bra, and the saleslady took one look at me and announced loudly in the middle of the floor that no one made bras small enough for me. I am not THAT tiny, rude saleslady!) But anyway last year I went and got properly fitted and i'm
a 32C. C!!! There must be vanity sizing going on, because all I remember from the last time I thought this much about bra sizes was A for little boobs, B for normal ones and C for giant country singer ones.....


@CountessMaritza --He-hee. I've always been rather busty, but when I got fitted and went to 36DD, no one could believe it. Then the next time, they said I was 34DDD, and I couldn't believe it. Now I'm up to 34DDDD, a/k/a G, and I assure you that I am not all that eye-popping. Very curvaceous up top, sure, but I don't think in a way that screams "special sizes." And there are so many women out there wearing an F or G, too, which makes me think sizes have changed. On the other hand, yesterday I tried on a bra that supposedly fit a year or so ago, and it didn't fit right anymore, so maybe I changed, too.

katie s.@twitter

@baked bean that method works for some folks (usually smaller boobs or broader backs) but not well at all for most people. i mean, it assumes the idea that basically everyone has boobs that extend no more than 3 inches from their rib cage. it's also based on when there was less stretch in bra bands and you needed the extra room to breath. there are a bazillion blogs around anymore about bra sizing that can go into even more detail. but i mean, logically, that system breaks down at a certain point. say my underbust measurement is 36". if i add 4-5", i get up to a 40"+ band size. and then say my bust measurement is 41" inches. that puts me in a 40A bra. but using a tape measure and measuring from my rib cage to my nipple, i guarantee you there's more than 1" of boob that needs to fit into a cup. what you end up with is a super loose band that does absolutely nothing to support or stabilize your boobs.

baked bean

@katie s.@twitter Yeah, I always thought the way of measuring didn't make sense. That adding a few specified inches to a different measurement would have to assume some kind of "proportion" that you are "supposed" to be. When clearly, no one is made the same.

What's the correct way to find out what size you are, then? I'll google it, but if you have a really good reference I'd love to see it.

Sea Ermine

@CountessMaritza It's because for so long the method of sizing bras was incorrect, and involved putting people in bras that didn't fit them by using too loose bands and going by the idea that A is extra small B is small C is medium D is big and everything above that is a freakshow. In reality, bra cup size depends on the band size (so you can find A cup bras with bigger cups than a B cup, for example 36A and 30B) and most people are fitted into bras with too loose bands that don't offer support. For years I wore a 34B, my bras were never that comfortable but that's what the salespeople put me in and it fit my idea of what a B cup was. Then I did some research online, got out a tape measurer and resized myself. Now I wear a 30D. My boobs are the same size, the 34B bras have been the same size as when I bought them a year ago vs 5 years ago, and the 30D bras I buy are the same as all other 30D bras. The difference is that unlike the 34B bra I actually fit into the 30D bras and more people are coming to similar conclusions as me now that there is better information online on how bras should fit and more and more salespeople are becoming educated on fitting customers into bras.

Sea Ermine

@baked bean This, IMHO is the best website for finding out your correct bra size. THere is tons of info on how bras should it, troubleshooting tips for getting a comfortable bra, and a really great calculator (and size chart) that works for US, UK, and EU sizes. They also explain how to make adjustments to fit your specific body (for example, I have tear shaped boobs and so I need a lower cut bra. Or how people with compressible skin/fat on their back want a slightly tighter bra than someone with a bony/muscular back that doesn't compress under the band).

baked bean

@Sea Ermine THANKS. I'm following the instructions and seeing if I have it right.


@Sea Ermine Whatttt your fat can migrate out of your breast around your armpits and back? Eurgh. No more bad bras for me.

Sea Ermine

@FickleMoon Yes! Part of what prompted me to resize my bras is because my boob fat was turning into armpit fat. And would stay like that even when I went braless After a couple months of new bras it's back in place.

RK Fire

I would like to use this space to thank the Pintariat for the useful tip of keeping some laundry detergent in the shower and handwashing a bra or two with me each day. I thank you all, as do my bras.


@RK Fire I keep meaning to do this, but I never do! I'm going to get an hand soap container and put detergent in it when I get home. That way it's just there in the shower already.


@RK Fire LIKE THIS SO HARD. Seriously, you are changing my life right now. Off to take a half hour shower with every bra I own.

RK Fire

@meganmaria: I filled an old shampoo contianer with laundry detergent, but I think moving forward I should just get a bar of castile soap or something and go to town.

@iwannabekate: Just pay it forward! It is one of many great pieces of advice I've gotten from the Hairpin and Pinners in general.


@RK Fire It's this kind of stuff and the AACP stuff that make me love The Hairpin so so much.


@RK Fire Hmm! I've got the reused pump hand soap bottle with detergent-on my bathroom sink, where plop plop into the bubbles goes stuff into the sink, on the way to the shower. Deep thinking now on which is better?

AJ Sparkles

@RK Fire I am so insanely excited about this, I maybe should be worried. Also, right here, this is the reason that I'll never skip the comments- procrastination be damned- y'all are just too wise/awesome to miss!

baked bean

@all I imagine y'all could use a foaming soap pump and put a little detergent and a lot of water in there to save $$$$$.


@RK Fire I love this idea, BUT! Don't use detergent on your expensive bras, instead use a gentle shampoo. When I first invested money in grown lady bras, the staff all urged me to stop using detergent on them, since it is far too harsh and can make your bras lose elasticity faster. Ever since I have been using shampoo (sulfate-free) on my bras, they have been lasting much longer. And I totally wash them in the shower. Thanks, wise bra fitter ladies!

lavender gooms

@RK Fire Oh my god, life changing idea. I never think to wash my bras until I'm already in the shower.

RK Fire

A few things!
-I have a former giant bottle of shampoo that has hand pump at the top (it used to hold hippie shea butter shampoo) that I filled with some heavily diluted laundry detergent.. think about 1 parts detergent to 3 parts of water. I used to think that maybe I diluted it too much, but I am starting to think from this thread that maybe I don't.
-In order to not forget about washing them, I actually hang up the bra I want to wash in the shower as soon as I get home or remember. But mostly because I am kind of oddly small/medium chested (32C) and I freeboob a lot at home. Or wear sports bras since I can't be bothered to change out of gym clothes when I get home.
-Since I go to the gym a lot, I also handwash my sports bras, especially the fancy UA ones with all of the moisture wicking goodness. This is mostly so I don't have to do all of the laundry just to wear a sports bra. (Sports bras are my limiting reagent when it comes to gym clothes.)

All credit goes to the Pinner horde!


Bra thought: Try Nordstrom Rack. Many great, high quality bras in non-standard sizes at a price you can afford. My 32D daughter ADORES them.


Chantelle bras are the best bras ever, hands down. Triumph bras are pretty good too, often very pretty, and not too expensive as far as decent bras go. However, I still can't get my expensive or cheap bras to last more than a year and a half, no matter how much I baby them.


@MilesofMountains - Agreed, I usually have about 6 in regular rotation and each of them lasts about a year or a little more. If you only have a couple, or if your bras are doing some serious lifting, "YEARS" just isn't going to happen IME.


I have kind of a similar skin problem. I finally got prescribed Erythromycin which has improved my skin a lot but I have REALLY dry skin and putting it on means I can't put lotion on my face at night (or ever). My skin is simultaneously kind of blotchy and scratchy but I still have some breakout-type stuff going on (often in the same spots). So I will try alternating it with that kind of cream. Also after a few weeks I feel like the Erythromycin doesn't work as well anymore but that's a different problem I guess.


What up 36F I'm a 36H if you find a great online store you like - I'm a big fan of Bare Necessities, but there are others like Her Room - and join their email list you can usually score a good coupon every few months, plus they're good about returns. Also check out Elomi and Panache - Brit brands that tend to fit us better endowed ladies really well (and are really pretty).


@PetuniaOaktown I just feel motivated to reply and say "hey! I'm a 36H too!" And, yeah, those are the right sites and brands.


I know Jane said stop with the straight up oil, but JOJOBA OIL. It's not really oil, it's bottled face magic. I mix a few drops in my hand with my normal moisturizer. I have the lovely dry and flaky/oily and zitty mix too, and it really really helps counteract the drying effects of my acne products.


@heyhaley This shit is amazing. Jojoba oil combined with burt's bee's face cleansers/moisturizers/under eye creams have totally turned my skin around.

I've read that jojoba oil has a similar texture to the natural oils in our skin, so that's why it works so well.


@TheRisottoRacket Actually I just remembered that I heard it really isn't an oil at all, but a type of liquid wax. All I know is that my face adores it.


@heyhaley Yeah, jojoba oil or rosehip oil. I find jojoba oil is really moisturizing, and rosehip oil is more... healing? I use it every couple weeks when my skin is feeling/looking rough, and it usually helps. Expensive though :(


@heyhaley I've never tried it on my face so I can't speak to that, but I love jojoba oil too! I use it on my body and hair, sometimes alone and sometimes mixed with lotion or conditioner, and it does wonders. I've has this weird patch of dry skin on my lower back for ages that normal lotion never fixed, and even a prescription cream didn't really help. But jojoba oil on it every night as I go to bed plus occasional exfoliation has actually made it go away! It's also great for dry/split ends, and giving your hair a nice shine and softness without being heavy -- just add a couple of drops to your conditioner and let it sit on your hair for a minute before rinsing.

I do feel the acne/oily/flaky/Retin-A pain, as I sometimes have the same situation. Similar to what Jane said, I would advise cutting back on the exfoliation to twice a week or so, having at least one night a week where you use regular moisturizer instead of the Retin-A, and not using a harsh/stripping cleanser. Aveeno makes some "calming" products that aim to soothe your skin and reduce redness and are also non-comedogenic (i.e. won't clog your pores). I remember when I used the cleanser and moisturizer it served the purpose pretty well, and wasn't too expensive.

Seasons might affect things too... regardless of my products, my skin always gets drier in the winter.

Also, as Jane said, if the Retin-A isn't working for your acne, go back to your doctor and try something else... sometimes it takes a few tries to figure out the best treatment for your individual skin. Good luck!

jane lane

@tee Trader Joes has a pretty big bottle of jojoba oil for only about $8. I've been using it for MONTHS and it's still at least 3/4 full.


@jane lane That's what I get!


@jane lane Trader joe's actually has really sweet bath/beauty products. I used to struggle with dry skin/breakouts way more when I was using acne wash and moisturizer to try and handle them - now I use their tea tree oil face wash every day (or two!) and moisturizer when i get out of the shower, and my skin has leveled out and stopped breaking out.


LW here and been there, done that. Jojoba breaks me out but coconut does not, which is the exact opposite of what everything tells you is supposed to happen.
I did switch to using Purpose or Cetaphil a while back, and only wash my face at night, so over washing isn't a problem. And I don't use anything topical besides the Retin A Micro.
I will however cut back on it's use as well as the exfoliation. I'm hesitant, but I trust Jane. And I'm always looking for an excuse to pick up something new so I'm all over that Burt's Bees stuff.
Really what it boils down to is that I need to get my shit together and be better about washing my face before bed. I'm a lot better than I used to be, but there have been too many over-tired and/or drunken late nights lately, and if I do it even once - BAM - Break out city. Face wipes don't even help. I have to wash or my face hates me.


Ugh, skin. How is it so mystifying? You would think that we all would have figured out what works by now, but apparently LITERALLY EVERYONE is completely different and needs to find their own magical mystery blend of ingredients. And even that can change from month to month, year to year. WTF skin.

Anyway, good luck with your fight against WTF skin. I'm there with ya.


Thanks! The timing just so happened that right now I could give a shit less about flakiness, because now my lips are covered in tiny, tiny cold sores. Usually they just stay on my lips, but this time they're spreading around my mouth too. My upper lip is all swollen so on top of it I look like Lindsay Lohan after those ridiculous injections.
I'm Abreva-ing all over the place, but I still want to rip my face off.


When I went blonde my stylist did highlights, except she "highlighted" literally my entire head of hair. It was all foils. It's gentler and better (I think) then just doing one all-over colour as Jane said.

Now I colour my hair darker which is much easier!


I'm pretty sure that I have read here on the Hairpin before that coconut oil is comedogenic, which means it can make you break out. I may have misremembered that, but if not, it could be that the LW who is using it to moisturize is probably caught in a vicious cycle of zits that is perpetuated by the coconut oil.


@olivebee No, it's the opposite - it has antibacterial properties.


@Ellie That's what I thought at first because I know a lot of people use it on their faces, but I found this chart of different types of oils and how comedogenic they are: http://www.beneficialbotanicals.com/facts-figures/comedogenic-rating.html. So, according to that, coconut oil does clog pores. But, hey, who knows how scientific any of this is anyway.


@Ellie it can have antibacterial properties and still clog pores though...


@olivebee for some reason, coconut oil dries me out. as in, i tried using it on my hands one winter, and ended up with totally chapped and miserable hands. it's very astringent. never really got into using it my face.

Beatrix Kiddo

@olivebee Yes, it's very comedogenic-- I tried using it on my face for a while, but it made me break out way too much, so I had to switch it up and save the coconut oil for my hair.


@olivebee This is such a convenient chart!


I just replied above, but I'm the LW and it really doesn't break me out at all. Jojoba does, however. It's weird.


I've been using Clarke's Marine cream on my grumpy, acne-and-eczema prone skin. It was expensive but worth it-- it heals the eczema before it really gets started, but it also sinks right in and doesn't break me out. AND it's organic and it smells good. Props to birchbox for that sample!


@sparrow303 Can you use it all over the body? This is my prime eczema break out time and I'm hesitant to always use hydrocortisone but everything else that I used to use doesn't work anymore.

Ed-I just looked it up. You aren't kidding. Very expensive. But probably worth it just for spot treating.


@Who's that pill? I mostly get my eczema on my face and NOTHING else heals it, which is why I'm willing to spend a little more. For body, I have good luck with Aveeno skin relief overnight cream, which isn't super greasy and is relatively cheap ($9 for a huge tube). It holds up against Chicago winters and doesn't make me break out, either (isn't skin delightful?).


@Who's that pill? My mom uses Jason 80% Aloe Cream for her eczema skin and seems to believe it's magic. I dont get eczema, but it's a really nice "calming" moisturizer and is dirt cheap from health food stores.


@sparrow303 acne + eczema = the worst ever. I finally went to the derm and she gave me a hormonal scrip for the acne which has helped a lot. I get less eczema on my face too because i'm using fewer acne topicals. I find that hydrocortisone is best for eczema (though it really causes breakouts and my derm isn't crazy about me putting a steroid on my face) and the aveeno for eczema with colloidal oatmeal is second best.


@megj HOW can it be so oily and yet so dry at the same time? Skin, how does it work.


LW#2! I'm also in Wicker Park in Chicago! I have super light brown hair that I dye dark brown (it looks better on me, trust) and Jessica from Strange Beauty Show on Ashland is AMAZING! I can't talk her up enough. She listens to exactly what you want and actually DOES IT (I don't know about the rest of you ladies but I feel like a lot of stylists just don't listen to what you want).

Plus you can drink complimentary PBR's while you get your hair done.


@TheRisottoRacket This is great. I was looking for a Chicago stylist!!


@TheRisottoRacket Another place with lots of amazing stylists and free PBR and reasonable prices not too far from Wicker Park is Twisted Scissors near Armitage and Western. I live in Edgewater, but I make the trek allll the way over there regularly, because I love that place.


@SuperGogo Oh my gosh, that name is so cute!


@SuperGogo I went to Twisted Scissors twice, had a mediocre first experience (stylist was nice, haircut was...boring), and a terrible second time! I was just going in for a bang trim, and the stylist was convinced I was trying to trick her into a full haircut (I wasn't; I was trying to ask her advice). She was incredibly rude and smug and it kiiind of turned me off to the place.

I feel like I get really stodgy haircuts whenever I go into somewhere with my work clothes on, because they size me up and put me into a category that is definitely NOT representative of who I am when I leave my workplace. Twisted Scissors seemed to do that times ten; it was such a bummer :(

Who do you see at Twisted Scissors, though? Maybe I've just had a few bad apples? I really wanted to give them another try because I like their aesthetic and their prices are ON POINT.


@TheRisottoRacket I am so bummed to hear that because I LOOOOOVE Twisted Scissors. I have a really boring office job and only ever come in my work clothes, but Tiffany there gives me really fun (and yet still office-appropriate) haircuts. She actually talked me into doing a pixie after a long time of waffling on it, and it was super cute. I will never see anyone else as long as she's cutting hair and we live in the same city. I don't have my hair colored, so I can't speak to that, but count me in as another vote for TS.


Two ideas for good colorists in Chicago.
LOVE Weronika Bobula at Salon Soca. She is amazing and such a great human.

I found Weronika while I was using Salon Apprentice. This is a great service for those of us with great style and little means. It's for high end salon apprentice programs. They already have their cosmetology license, they're basically going to grad school. I had my hair cut and colored at Vidal Sassoon, Mario Tricoci and a good dozen or so other amazing salons. I once got in on a color masterclass and got the coolest foils. If I parted my hair in the middle, I'd get this red aura. If I parted it on the side, I got a honey sort of aura. Something I could never get duplicated, but boy was it fun.


@TheRisottoRacket I love Strange Beauty Show!


@TheRisottoRacket Agreed with @emilymoesewco, Salon Apprentice is an awesome website.

I've had my hair cut and colored by apprentices at both Art & Science and Robert Jeffrey in Wicker Park, and have had great experiences. Bringing pictures (woo Pinterest!) with color ideas was better than me trying to explain the hue I wanted. The one thing is that appointments can run long-- I always try to do it on a day I don't have to be anywhere for a long time.


@TheRisottoRacket LW#2 try Barbara and Barbara, Poe (yes, that's her name) is amazing, before my wedding I freaked out went red, freaked out again and went back to dark brown, and each time she is so careful and cheap cheap cheap! Highly recommend!!!!!!!


One more rec for Chicago- the Circle Salon on Division (near Oakley) is really nice and I feel like they don't do that thing where they act like you're lame if you come in in your work clothes, which I feel like I got at ton of places in Wicker Park. Everyone is very friendly and it's cool without seeming pretentious. I don't get my hair colored, but I was just there yesterday and the girl cutting my hair just gave someone else some really amazing pink highlights (on really dark hair) so it seems like she is pretty good at color.


@TheRisottoRacket I've had good cuts at Strange Beauty Show, but never color, so I dunno about that. Buuuut the best cut AND color I've ever had done was at Charm Boutique (also in Chicago). It's an adorable little place filled with perky goths and tattooed nerds. I super love just hanging out there, let alone getting my hair did. And they really do work magic with color--oh lord.

Clarisse McClellan

I would also recommend Tiffany, especially for short haircuts. But I've never had my hair dyed at Twisted Scissors.


@hotdog Ugh, crap haircuts are the worst, and if you have pretentions to deal with on top of it....that sucks. To be fair, I once had a bad experience with a substitute stylist at TS when I couldn't get in with my regular stylist (Robin). The sub was super young and cut it dry and it was...not great. It wasn't so bad that I needed to go back and demand it be fixed lest I have to wear a bag over my head. But it did illustrate the fact that all the sylists there are unilaterally good.


@Clarisse McClellan Robin at TS gave me highlights once (mostly I color it myself now) and it was fab.


@TheRisottoRacket Thanks so much! I'm LW2 and now I have a TON of ideas. And whoever suggested looking on Pinterest for color inspiration - so smart!

Elizabeth Austin@facebook


Rachel at Prink Salon is a coloring genius. I get compliments on my color all the time. She also did an extraordinary save when a friend of mind self-colored with henna and wound up with what can most kindly be called a big freaking mess. Her hair looked beautiful after Rachel came to the rescue. She has recently downsized her salon (long story involving breakup) and is working in a small space downtown. Don't let it freak you out --she is an artist. http://www.insiderpages.com/b/15245795366/prink-salon-chicago -- good luck!


Chantelle, here, also at 34F and they have a good variety of styles. While you can get stuff on sale, it's also plain worth the money - think of what you're willing to spend on - say, cable, your wireless bill, a decent pair of shoes, jeans, that dress you wore to one party one time - and remember that you're wearing a bra every day and it's the foundation of your garment.

My dirty secret is that I don't wash them much at all, and I'm not afraid to wear the damn things every day.

When I finally got properly fitted, I bought 4. 2 of these are on their last legs now, 18 months later, 2 are still going strong, so I really need to get 2 more.

I figure, it's cheaper than new tires.


LW1 -- you're in cosmetics, so you can get away with playing fast and loose with the "cocktail attire" stipulation. However, if you're in a more corporate/conservative environment, I wouldn't recommend doing this. Stick to the classic sheath in these cases!


@Megano! I zoomed down here for LW#1 as well. To me this party sounds like a Coven of Snark and I was thinking it calls for advanced tactics. They'll know any new label you wear so you need to go stealth and that means Vintage. I know, who's got the time, etc, but call a couple stores, give them an idea of size color and have them pull some stuff for you to try on. Or borrow something from a non-work friend.


@Myrtle She could also go the rental route, like http://www.renttherunway.com/


@katekatekateyeah I agree, but with this particular party, this crowd may have seen (or worn!) a suitable rental, themselves.


I need a new bra. It feels stupid that I even need to get measured or fitted by someone else, because I have teeny little boobs, but (I have probably complained about this before) the top of the cup gaps on my non-racerback bra, so I have to wear a camisole under my shirts unless I want that cup line to show (know what I'm talking about?). And it's uncomfortable but I have to wear it if I wear anything even slightly scoop-necked! And I probably shouldn't have gone bra-shopping at Target but it seems like it should be a breeze to find an all-purpose tiny-boobs bra, so what gives, world. I know this has been talked about a hundred thousand times before, but I don't know where to start, and going bra-shopping by myself sounds like a drag since I don't really have any friends who could come along.


@frigwiggin This guide is helpful: http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/comments/rh26h/is_getting_fitted_for_a_bra_as_humiliating_as_it/c469bi0 And don't be worried about going bra shopping by yourself! I treat it like a me day. It takes like 2 hours to find a good bra anyway, and I want all the time to try on every single bra, take pictures, jump around, etc. Big time commitment but totally worth it.


@frigwiggin you're wearing the wrong size. I had my fitting at Nordstrom. Ask around among your friends if you need moral support - I bet at least one other has been putting off this task.


@frigwiggin I know a lot of people hate on Victoria's Secret, but if you have smallish boobs, might be worth a check? I find their bras comfy and long-lasting (like, upwards of 5 years of very frequent wear).


@frigwiggin Shopping for bras is a drag, but I actually prefer to do it by myself because I have to try on allll the bras and it takes forever. So I make a personal day of it. Like, I buy myself a pastry or a chocolate or two and go bra shopping and then I sit in a cafe and read a book and feel all bra'd up and relaxed, basically.

But also what helps is making a (mental or actual) list of what you'd like in a bra. Like, underwire or no? Unlined (this may help with the gaping cups, but runs the risk of getting nippy) or thinly lined or molded or pushup? Racerback or front closure or heavy duty 3-hooked back? Colors? Lace? Et cetera. Don't listen to anyone who makes you feel like your dream bra does not exist because it does.

Then research and budget. Getting fitted is not just for ladies with ample breasts. If you're unsure about your fitter, get multiple opinions (I've had fitters say, "We don't carry 32DDD...but you could try a 34C" as if that wasn't giving me terrible backaches and the dreaded quadra-boob in the first place, ughhh). Look online at figleaves and herroom and freshpair and google your size and Yelp local lingerie boutiques to get an idea of what's out there...

And then go shopping and feel fabulous in your new bras. You can do it!


@vunder That's the thing, though. I've measured myself several times and by all accounts the size I bought matches my measurements. I'm planning on going to Nordstrom on the weekend, anyway, so I'll check it out. I have no friends who live in the area, though, which is too bad.

up cubed

@frigwiggin It might also be the shape- I find my boobs have most of their size in the bottom and not much on top (teardrop??), so sizes that should fit end up too big on the outer/upper part near the arm pit while simultaneously spilling out of the lower cup near the middle. Some options would be balcony bras, because there is less material on top or ones that have a higher rise in the middle, to support the area where there is more boob. The Target Gillian & O'Malley bras don't work as well as they did a few years ago. I have a good Wacoal one and other fancy brands from Nord Rack and other discount places.


@frigwiggin Just logging in to say what upupandaway essentially said -- it probably has more to do with your specific shape. Venusian*Glow has a lot to say about the subject -- try http://www.venusianglow.com/2010/02/reader-question-tops-of-bra-cups-are-to.html or some of her other "Bra Matrix" posts.


@frigwiggin After getting a professional fitting a few months ago, I totally endorse them, whether you wear an uncommon size or not. I had done the self-measurement thing multiple times as well and didn't think there was anything that wrong with my bras, but boy is there a world of (wonderful!) difference between my old 34Bs and my current 32Cs!Do a bit of research to find a good place in your city, one that specializes in bras and will spend as much time as necessary with you to get the right fit. For what it's worth, the fitters at my place all concurred that Calvin Klein bras are generally cut for somewhat smaller women. The ones I got were about $45 each, and I'm very happy.


@crisisalert That guide is seriously great! It spurred me to go get fitted at Intimacy and I went from 40D to 38E. Support feels awesome.

sceps yarx

@frigwiggin I have the gapping problem, too! I have to buy all my bras at lulalu petites' online store. Their bras are actually designed for the way small boobs fit onto a human body! I'm totes 32AA, and life is too short for bra gaps. Plus, looking at all the sexy models with tiny, tiny boobs will make you feel good about your own tiny boobs. Yay!


@yeah-elle Where is it possible to get non-underwire bras? I just can't wear underwire and I'm wearing the same four Gap lace non-underwire bras I have had since 2004, which I know is terrible. I finally brought myself to throw one out today. I don't really know what bra size I am (34A or 34B ish?).

sceps yarx

@Ellie Get 'em at Lulalu Petites! I'm a broken record... But seriously, they have great non-underwire styles.


@Ellie This is going to sound crazy, but Urban Outfitters is a good place to bra-shop for the smaller-boobed and non-underwire-inclined.

Hot Doom

@frigwiggin I am in the same boat. I am a 34 AA and am finding it next to impossible to find that size in Britain, except for the usual full coverage white bra with thick straps. I recently bought from Figleaves though, which does stock a few AAs and even more As. I got an Elle MacPhereson underwire, with no padding and it does not gap. Also, since I am also an old-bra wearer, I got a 3-pack of Calvin Klein bras in 2006 (I KNOW) at Costco which are still in actual great shape and do not leave that weird gap line. So, check out Costco? I would not be surprised if they had a similar deal still.


@chelsaurus Haha, I edited out of my previously overlong comment that I don't like the UO bras because they are too string-like if that makes sense? Like I want an actual band, not just triangles attached to this strip circling my rib cage. I don't like the way it looks. I do have a strapless bandeau type bra from there I love.


@sceps yarx Holy shit those are so cute! Thanks for the link.


@Ellie Sounds crazy, but I get some awesome non-underwire Hanes brand bras from Target. I'm a 36C but I get them because I hate how most bras are pushup or have really thick lining because I feel like my boobs are already big enough without all of the extra padding. They're like $11.99 so they're practically disposable, and they have one that's a little stiffer with super thin lining that I wear under sheer tshirts or whatever.


@Elleohelle I'll check that out too!

I just want a bra that is barely anything like wearing a bra. I don't wear one often enough anyway (and given mine are 8 years old I might as well not be) but I don't necessarily want to do that every day.


Whew! I seriously love me some Jane Marie beauty advice. Zit talkin' time: has anybody ever tried taking zinc supplements for breakouts? I read about it last night a little and I'm thinking about trying it because my skin's been sort of disastrous lately. I'm about thiiiiis close to going to the dermatologist for a Retin-A prescription but my skin's super sensitive and I wanted to try something a little gentler first. Zinc? Anybody?


@jesslyn Omega 3 oil capsules. Lots of them. They are working like nothing else has ever worked in my life.


@jesslyn OOh, this! I was breaking out on my back, and I started using a zinc and cocoa butter soap (Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/Noble-Formula-Pyrithione-Zinc-Soap/dp/B004R3TBEC) because it's a different kind of break-out (more yeast based, gross). I finish up with a little salicylic acid a la CVS generic body clear wash, and I have noticed a DRAMATIC difference vs. with just the body clear.


@jesslyn Zinc works for me. Granted, I don't have awful skin, just your standard hormonal breakout once a month, but it has reduced the severity of my breakouts and they heal more quickly. I take 2 x 35mg chelated zinc tablets per day. I've heard that some people experience side effects like nausea, but I take it with a glass of milk or with food and haven't had any ill effects.

Note: My doctor told me one shouldn't take more zinc than this because it reduces iron absorption and can lead to anemia in high doses.


@jesslyn Zinc is the best!! My derm put me on nicotinamide, which is this combination of folic acid, copper, zinc and niacin, which has done wonders. Unfortunately, the drug manufacturer has decided to stop making it, so I'm heading in tomorrow to ask for different script. I will say, though, the absolute best option is always go see a derm - they don't always have to prescribe things, but I avoided it for so long last year, and it was such a good decision to finally go.


@hoolie Seconded on the derm, if you can afford it. They can also prescribe you antibiotics and topicals that will seriously help curb any lasting damage from a breakout.


Any suggestions of good moisturisers for break out prone skin that include SPF?


@shadowkitty ALL, 100%, of SPF moisturizers make me break out LIKE WHOA (which, I'm not a fan anyway -- avoid cancer by putting this CARCINOGENIC CHEMICAL on your face!). So I use normal non-SPF-containing moisturizer and throw a mineral powder on top. Natural SPF and nothing that freaks me the hell out.

Teeth and Claws

@shadowkitty I'm a big fan of Trader Joe's Enrich moisturizer. (If you don't have a TJ's around you, try Amazon.) It's unscented, SPF 15, and won't clog pores--plus it's cheap as all hell. Not super-moisturizing, but for a basic workhorse sunscreen, it's fantastic. My skin haaaates most sunscreens, but it likes this one.


@shadowkitty All the ones with avobenzone are terrible, something about the stabilizers they use, blah blah blah. Try ones with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in them-physical sunscreen vs chemical. I use the Say Yes to Carrots one, and the Maybelline tinted moisturizer if you go that route.

sceps yarx

@shadowkitty I swear by eucerine sensitive skin daily moisturizer. It's SPF 30 and it's the only thing that doesn't give me crazy acne. And it's neither greasy nor weirdly sticky, or "powdery". I usually end up using it as my body sunscreen, too!

social theory

@sceps yarx i have a neutrogena physical blocker (zinc oxide) that is the first SPF moisturizer to not totally wreck my skin. takes a little getting used to, since it can accentuate flakes, but it is worth a try. it comes in a little tube and is made with helioplex, whatever that is. but i seriously love it.

Gracefully and Grandly

@shadowkitty I've just switched a few months ago to Clinique's City Defense Spf 25. It's slightly tinted to counter act the white cast that a lot of high spf's have. I have very sensitive skin and this sunscreen has been amazing so far. It feels really light weight when you put it on. No break outs, no adverse reactions. Just wonderfulness.


@shadowkitty It all depends on your skin though. I absolutely cannot use mineral sunscreens (titanium or zinc). They make me breakout like crazy. I tried a BB cream with titanium dioxide in it three weeks ago, and one of the huge cystic zits that erupted all over my face STILL hasn't gone away. Chemical sunscreens for me forever. They never bother me. So you really have to test some things out to see what works for you. (I love Paula's Choice brand, personally. And she has lots of bullshit-free information/advice on her site.)

Gracefully and Grandly

@muralgirl I just wanted to second paula's choice. I basically pick all of my products based on her reviews and have never gone wrong with her information. Her cleansers/salycic acid lotion are also amazing.


@Emma Peel @iffie Chantelle is definitely "The One" and they are frequently on sale at figleaves.com, found my favorite style for $45! Those French folks know their shit. Also, Fig Leaves has great swimsuits, I'm a 32F and found a super cute one, first time a swimsuit has actually fit my top. Check them out!

ALSO, hand wash hand wash hand wash! DO NOT use Tide or Woolite. I use a product called Forever New specifically designed to preserve the elasticity of your delicates!


If you're an American that has large breasts and doesn't want to pay your $60-$80 "big boob tax" on expensive, usually-ugly bras, those same bras (and actually gorgeous ones) can be imported from England for, like, half the price at Brastop. Even with shipping. I am not kidding you. Seriously, one of the bras I just paid something like $30 for costs $65 at HerRoom. PLUS, 99% of their bras are the pretty kind you've been lusting over. Get on their mailing list because they do weekly deals and occasional half-off international shipping, use the size calculator at SophisticatedPair.com to get your UK size, and go to town.


@meditatinglemur Seriously, British brands & websites are THE SHIT for ladies with big boobs. I wear a 34G, and there is maybe one place in my entire (reasonably large, west Texas) town where I can buy bras in my size. One cannot live on basic department store bras alone!

Ashmead's kernel

As dry-flaky-skin-with-extra-bonus-forehead-acne person, what I've found really works is exfoliation but GENTLE exfoliation. Stay away from rotating brushes! Gah! The routine I swear by is washing twice a day with the Boot's No. 7 hot cloth cleanser from Target (it has some stupid name like 'radiance enhancer', but it's just a nice-smelling, mild but totally effective cleanser, and it's not crazy expensive) that I gently rub off with a nice hot terry washcloth. And then once a week I use Dermalogica's Gentle Cream Exfoliant. That stuff is pure unadulterated magic. It leaves my skin insanely soft, smooth and flake-free for the rest of the week. It's far and away the best thing I've ever done for my skin. It's kind of expensive in the stores, but it's cheaper on Amazon.

Also, I third the Nordstrom Rack recommendation for bras. Those super-comfy 32DD Natori bras that I used to pay $90 for at Nordstrom are ALWAYS less than $30 at the Rack.


Ok, I've been sort of waiting to plug this in a skin care comment, but...I was having the worst breakouts until I found my new (outrageously expensive) love, Fresh Umbrian Clay mask.


Tightened up my pores, is clearing up my breakouts...didn't make me too dry, but I recommend a toner/moisturizer afterwards anyway. Seriously, a miracle product; my skin got SO sensitive recently, and this is the only thing that didn't make it go insane.


Can someone tell me about Retin-A? I feel like the only dum dum in the world who hasn't tried it. I have weird skin that is oily in places and dry in places and I break out if I use anything on my face that has perfume or silicones in it. I know Retin-A is supposed to speed up the regeneration of your skin cells? Also if it helps, I'm in my late 20s and starting to think about how to keep my skin all nice and glowy if possible.


@cageybee Retin-A is basically a topical application of vitamin A. It increases skin cell turn-over, basically an skin exfoliator in a tube. You skin can/will be really sensitive, dry out, maybe even peel, use sunscreen, don't wax anything, be gentle. It can be amaze-balls combined with other initial therapy to stop a cycle of acne breakouts, then Retin-A to maintain.

(I might have done this annoying drug cycling too many times.)


But Jane! I am pregnant and have pregnancy-related hormonal acne so I can't take antibiotics or retin A or any more effective yet baby-killing remedies. I need to know how to cover it for the next two months because it won't go awaaaay even with a prescription cream. Currently I use Nars liquid foundation and hourglass powder and call it a day but it still looks like garbage. Help.

raised amongst catalogs

@JGro My pregnant nurse friend is using a combo of Lush products and Angel Face Botanicals products to keep her already-there-but-now-pregnancy-style acne in check. Maybe there would be something you could use in one or both of those lines?


@JGro Ok, so, I know Jane loves some Makeup Forever HD foundation with a good primer base, and I did too (the tones! They match so well!!) until my skin took a freak out turn recently. It started to make me super oily, and I broke out weirdly; I was also looking for something less chemical-y which you might like as a pregnant lady.

I found Tarte Amazonian Clay ( http://www.sephora.com/amazonian-clay-12-hour-full-coverage-foundation-spf-15-P302918), and it has been pretty great. It's a mousse consistency, and you use the tiniest bit EVER (I make sure to apply it with a foundation brush, mine is $1 Elf and it works just fine), and I have not broken out. This is crazy full coverage, and you don't need a primer; I'm pretty excited about it.

Also: I was introduced to Lush 'Grease lightening' just last night, and I am so pumped about it. Go get all the samples! Lush will hook you up, as will sephora...I've been using a sample of the aforementioned foundation for two weeks now.


@JGro Is benzoyl peroxide bad for pregnant ladies? I have been using panoxyl 10 recently.


@JGro You may want to:

1) Try jojoba oil, tamanu oil (smells like hell, works), or argan oil. All of these are pretty good at moisturizing lots of skin types and reducing acne. Plus, healthy! I get my oils (not jojoba...I don't think they carry) from Shea Terra Organics, super company.
2) Try the NARS tinted moisturizer. I know, I know--you want coverage. But it is better for your skin than straight foundation. Plus, it has pretty darn good coverage.
3) You may not be able to use medicines, but you CAN use African Black Soap. Again, Shea Terra. Go look it up. It is a freaking miracle. It smells funny, too. It is fan-fucking-tastic.


@JGro Try clay masks with sulfur? I've had okay-ish results with using them to try and dry up minor-ish acne.


@celeec4@twitter @catsuperhero @shadowkitty @hotdog I've tried sulfur masks, they don't help much. Neither did benzoyl peroxide (you can't use Salicylic acid tho, that's bad for preggos). But! I can try the various oils and Tarte/Nars/Makeup Forever products so thanks for the tips you guyssss


@JGro Also, a big one is to wash your makeup brushes.
Deep clean them once a week (antibacterial brush cleaner + water) and spot clean once a day (wipe on a makeup wipe + brush cleaner).
This alone might not make too huge of a difference, but acne can be caused by bacteria, and unclean brushes are massive bacteria hosts, so keep it clean and your new product trials will have a really good chance of working. :-)


@JGro i had HORRIBLE oily skin and hair/breakouts when i was pregnant last year, and my doctor just had me get this stuff at walgreens called Oxy. i got a kit that had 3 things in it, and its really cheap. cleared my skin right up! http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/oxy-advanced-face-wash-acne-treatment/ID=prod6022714-product


So I've been using a tube of expired Retin-A sporadically, because I filled a prescription ages ago then ignored it for a long time. Does anyone know, if it's expired does it still have any effectiveness? So far I'm not experiencing any ill effects but I also wonder if it could possibly be doing anything. (The label on the tube said it was good for about a year? It has now been a few months beyond that?)


@mbmargarita Can you ask a pharmacist, hopefully the same one who is filling scripts for anything else you may be taking? Because your lovely face + expired topical cream makes me feel worried.


@mbmargarita It does break down, so it might not be as effective.


@mbmargarita As Megano! said, it does break down and become less effective with exposure to oxygen (that's why it comes in those metal tubes instead of jars or pumps). As far as I know it won't hurt you, but probably won't help much either.


To the 36F girl: I'm a 34G and I discovered Elomi not long ago. They are pretty and quite roomy. I have 3 of the same model, different colors.

They are expensive in store, but only about 50$ on BareEssentials or other online lingerie retailers. Just try one at a store to get your size and buy cheaper online.

Judith Slutler

Hey, I have a wedding to go to next week and it's pretty damn chilly out there lately! My question is what do I do about my legs??? I am frantically shopping for a knee-length dress in an appropriate color (probably green or blue) and I want to wear it with either flats or low wedges. Usually I default to black or grey tights, but black tights seem un-wedding-y and grey might not go so well with whatever color I pick out. And there is no way I am going to a wedding bare legged in this weather. Sooooo, nude tights? Color blocking? I have super pale legs btw and would kind of like to cover up the paleness with something over 60 den.



@Emmanuelle Cunt Nude fishnets! Choose a pair with the smallest diamond pattern they have, though, to keep them from looking too Fredericks-of-Hollywood-ish. They are wayyy better than nude hose or tights and the small pattern adds an interesting texture... plus they are still warm. I wear them in winter with cute shift minidresses and they are awesome and do not look at all skanky.


@Emmanuelle Cunt People wear black dresses to weddings, so I don't see why black tights wouldn't be all right. And most grays look fine with blue or green (I say, because that is about 50% of my wardrobe. Another 30% is purple). But color-blocking would also be awesome and funky! A purple, maybe, or a contrasting shade of blue or teal?


@Emmanuelle Cunt
I'm going to a wedding this weekend, actually, in upstate NY, and I'm planning to wear sheer black hose with my (light grey) dress. Goes with everything, provides some warmth, and doesn't look too intense.

up cubed

@Emmanuelle Cunt I think fishnets + tights under might help with warmth. It is a situation where layering tights doesn't seem like a crazy joke (on us?? crazy tights post notwithstanding.


@jaimie I second the sheer blacks suggestion.

She was a retail whore

@Emmanuelle Cunt I wore a black dress and black tights to a chilly-part-of-autumn wedding, and looked kind of smashing, if I do say so myself. I wore sexy shoes, though, which I thought kind of made the outfit.

Beatrix Kiddo

@Emmanuelle Cunt Wear colored tights or nude fishnets.


@Emmanuelle Cunt I'm also going to a wedding this weekend and wearing a dark dark brown sheath dress and burgundy tights! I'm excited about it!


@Emmanuelle Cunt What about FADE TIGHTS? (Sorry, I still can't figure out how to hyperlink to things here!)


@Emmanuelle Cunt - What about backseam tights? I think that little detail takes nude tights (which, let's admit, are sometimes the most harmonious color) out of "old lady at church" territory and into "fashion" territory"






@anachronistique Is this because of the V-neck situation?


@anachronistique I can Dere-lick my own balls!


@LindsB It's a walk-off.


I have the lovely oily/dry combo skin as well, and am super prone to breakouts. I have also struggled with dermatillomaina (compulsive skin picking) my entire life, so for me, zits are especially problematic. I am also crazy fair skinned and finally realized that I need to wear sunscreen every day, but everything made me break out. Finally my dermatologist turned me on to Elta sunscreens- I use the 46 SPF one that's formulated for acne-prone skin. IT CHANGED MY LIFE. I wear it every day religiously, and I swear my skin's condition has improved one thousand percent. Instead of a harsh cleanser, I recommend Aveeno's Smart Essentials Daily Detoxifying Scrub. It's mild and exfoliates very lightly, which helps with my oily skin. Now that it's fall, also talk with your derm about a course of tetracycline (best to use in the fall/winter because it makes you sensitive to sunlight) or topical clindomycin to get all antibiotic on your zitty zits.


I will try your sunscreen because you're skin sounds a lot like mine and I love papayas.


@NeverOddOrEven Obviously I like everything about that. It's not cheap, but I can get it on Amazon for around $20/bottle. It's totally worth it.

She was a retail whore

Dear Bra-hunters:

Depending on where you live (or your comfort level with online bra-shopping), this may be good news for you. I just received an email from Intimacy, and they're having a big ass sale that starts tomorrow. I will warn you that they have some super spendy stuff, but you should definitely be able to find good quality, sub-$50 sale bras there. I once bought a $185 bra there, because I wasn't paying attention the price when I tried it on, and when it came time to pay, I was too embarrassed to put it back (I was feeling vulnerable that day). I've had it for a year, and it has held up like a dream, so I guess it was worth it, but pro-tip: look at the price tags (because the salespeople do not always listen to you when you say, "Only bring me bras that cost less than $50").

Also, if you belong to any of the online shopping clubs, such as Gilt, Rue La La, Ideeli, etc, they often have bras on sale. Sometimes only the A/B/C cups, but I've purchased 34F bras through them before. Those sites are pretty dangerous though, so I have their emails filtered before they get to my inbox, and I only see messages about sales on the things I love enough to make an exception for. Gmail filters ftw.


@She was a retail whore
Intimacy always, and forever. They will alter your bras -- for free -- if you need something special done! They turned a bunch of regular bras into nursing bras for me, and they've shortened straps for friends.
The flash sale sights have really pretty bras, but do yourself a favor and filter by size before starting to scroll. Because it's probably only 2% of the time that they'll have your size, but when they do GO FOR IT.


Bare Necessities is having a 25% off sale! -- Here's the fine print:

Enter promo code BNFRIEND2012 at checkout. Your 25% discount will be reflected in your shopping cart. Not applicable for purchases of Arlotta, Wolford, UGG® Australia and Under Armour. Offer cannot be combined with other promotional codes. Not applicable to prior purchases, shipping charges, or e-Gift Certificates. Offer ends 10/8/12.

Here's what's thrilling -- Simone Perele is not excluded (this never happens!), which means once I get home (no bra shopping at work) I can get their 'Andora 3D - 131343' Molded Underwire bra. I'm a 36 E and I love this bra. It sometimes comes in fun colors! (One called "clementine", and a brown with pink lace!) I will probably just buy different versions of this bra for the rest of my life forever (until my boobs change). It is the best (for me).


I hate that "cocktail chic" kind of shit. And a work thing is definitely not the time to get your freak on.

Once got an invitation with dress requested "Urban Casual." Had to call a gay guy. He said wear black. Dead on.

tea tray in the sky.

@noReally "Urban Casual" makes me think of wallet chains and jeans slung down below your butt.

baked bean

@noReally When you have no clue, wear black.


@tea tray in the sky. - Likewise. If we went to this party together, I think we would have been laughed out.

I think people are allowed to name the level of fanciness of their event (casual, cocktail, black tie, etc.) but they should not be allowed to specify a specific *style*. Presumably you like your guests because they all are *individuals* who you like and admire, so why make them dress all the same?

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@KeLynn Jane had it spot-on: "cocktail chic" sounds like the dress code for a party thrown by Shoshanna from Girls.


@noReally My dad owns this ridiculously loud, floral tie with big pink and orange flowers (think Hawaiian print done in watercolors) that he bought to wear to a "Fun & Festive Formal" party. He still talks about that one because as a dude, how do you make your black suit/tux "fun and festive"? Especially when you're a middle-aged dude whose fashion sense begins at "does it fit?" and ends at "does it feature the wrong team logo?"

Some of the non-standard attire requests make me think people should just bite the bullet and make it a costume party. I believe "masquerade ball" is code for "formal costume party."

Princess Gigglyfart

The three rules of facepicking:

1. Don't look in the mirror
2. If you look in the mirror, don't pick your face
3. If you pick your face, you're an idiot


@Princess Gigglyfart Not to be bitchy, but this has been mentioned before on the hairpin and once in this post specifically, and it's not always as simple as those 3 little rules. Dermatillomania is a real condition, and to call someone an "idiot" because of something they can't control is dismissive and harsh.

sceps yarx

@permanentbitchface Yarg, I totally had dermatillomania my whole life until I went on Zoloft for an unrelated problem (PTSD). I used to do it on purpose as a way of relieving tension by self-destructing. You just get this feeling like, "I am stressed out so I'm going to pick a bloody hole in my face, consequences be damned!" Now I'm a lot better and I spend my mirror time experimentally mixing lipstick shades.

:Cinnamon Girl:

@sceps yarx "Now I'm a lot better and I spend my mirror time experimentally mixing lipstick shades." <--- I LOVE THAT CONGRTULATIONS


@sceps yarx Isn't the Zoloft magical? I had the same experience... Zoloft + a good dermatologist has all but stopped my skin picking. Sometimes I'm still startled when I look in the mirror and there are no scabs on my face.


You guys...how would one go about finding a dermatologist?

I've never been to one before, but this last time my period came, I had six, count 'em, SIX painful, super pressurized(?) pimples on my face. The kind that are under enough layers of skin that you can't really pop them, but that make your face huuuuuuuuuurt all day. I think I need to go to a dermatologist, because it can get so painful that it's hard to think about other things. Is this something a dermatologist would help with, or would I need to see an endocrinologist? And how would I go about finding either?

As background information, I do have health insurance, but my primary physician is just someone I picked from a list of insured doctors and who I decidedly DO NOT like. Additionally, I'm not taking hormonal birth control and would prefer not to, since I want to get at the root cause of this acne and not just "cover it up" (heh) with the Pill. Does anyone have any advice on finding a dermatologist, or any experience with this kind of skin?


@wee_ramekin That sounds like cystic acne, which I suffered from for years and ended up taking Accutane as a last result (it worked). Yes, that cystic shit HURTS. A dermatologist can help you with this, probably by prescribing one of the things mentioned on previous comments (erythromicin, tetracycline, retina-a, etc). For big specific cysts that just won't die you can even get a fun injection directly into that baby, which is super painful and gross but does kill it off in a couple days. I think you'll need to ask your PP for a referral to a dermatologist, unless your insurance provides a list of dermatologists you can pick from.


@wee_ramekin Other than a Google search for "dermatologist [your city]" I have no specific recommendations, but I absolutely encourage you to do it. My mom took me in junior high and all I can say is thank goodness! There are various sets of non-hormonal pills they can recommend (Bactrim etc) and they helped me.

I know you said you would prefer not to take hormonal birth control because you want to get at the root cause, which is totally cool if that's how you want to do it, but I have to point out that sometimes the root cause IS hormones. That's what I finally figured out--fluctuations in my hormones related to my menstrual cycle would cause flare ups. Anecdotal evidence blah blah blah. :)


@wee_ramekin First, a derm can definitely help you with that. There are a lot of options, both pills and topical treatments, that don't involve hormonal birth control. Last summer I went through this terrible few months where I kept getting those, and what worked for me was a combination of a retinoid and a benzoyl peroxide gel - which I didn't think would, because I ran the gamut of terrible skin as a teenager (culminating in two rounds of Accutane!) But my point is, definitely go see a derm - worst thing that happens is you're in the same place you are now, right?

To find one, what you might be able to do is see if your health insurance has an online portal with a listing of doctors who are in-network. Most doctors take most insurance (at least where I live), but the copays, etc., vary widely, so it's important to be in-network. I honestly just picked the derm closest to my office when I did it, and she's been excellent. Otherwise, totally Yelp!

sceps yarx

@rosaline Birth control pills totally fixed my cystic acne. I had creepy-perfect doll skin! But they also made it impossible for me to orgasm, which in retrospect makes the cysctic acne seem like not such a bad problem to have. Zits, I chose you!

Beatrix Kiddo

@wee_ramekin I searched yelp for dermatologists, checked all the ones with high ratings to see who took my insurance, and ended up with one who I LOVE. (If you happen to be in New York, I'll give you her info!)

Faintly Macabre

@wee_ramekin Yes, that's part of a dermatologist's bread and butter! Though with my stupid cystic acne creeping back after a 2nd round of Accutane, I will probably end up going to a gyno to see about trying HBC to control it. (Hormone testing for PCOS came up negative, but I have very obviously period-linked flareups.) I've never found a dermatologist through online reviews, but in my experience, finding a good one can be tricky. I went to about 5 different dermatologists in high school and most were pretty meh (wanted to immediately put me on Accutane, suggested glycolic peels for a 14-year-old), but now I've been going to the same one for about 5 years and he's lovely. So you might have to shop around, but yes, go to a dermatologist!


@wee_ramekin Does your insurance require a referral for specialists? If not, I would either do a search through your insurance carrier's website or just a Google in your area. Luckily there are a number of websites now that rate doctors, so if you find one you might be interested in you can Google her name for reviews. I would suggest finding one that is convenient to your home or work, because they often want you to come in every few weeks when you're just starting a new treatment.

Also, a good derm will find other solutions for you besides going on the Pill, so don't worry about that.


@all Y'all, thank you so much for all the advice. I really appreciate it.

I definitely think I have cystic acne that is linked somehow to my hormones. For the past year or so, I've been getting cystic acne about a week before my period, and it's terrible. I have put off going to the dermatologist because I'm a procrastinator and because I didn't really know how to go about finding one, so thank you all again for pointing me in the right direction!


@wee_ramekin I took Roaccutane for two years before being weaned off it, and thank goodness it did the job. It was scary though, every time I got a zit, I thought it was coming back with a vengeance, but once I calmed down and realized that regular people DO get zits, I learned to deal with them. But back to the subject: when I did use Roaccutane my dermatologist had me on Avene products, which I'm pretty sure they sell at Duane Reade (all the new, revamped ones, I mean). I used this: http://www.aveneusa.com/cold-cream/ as a moisturizer and liked it. I basically wore no makeup while on the med, because I was afraid to block my pores. I wore sunscreen only, when outside, over the cold cream. It's not real cold cream, it's a moisturizer that they call cold cream for some reason. Anyway, I was also put on Vitex for hormone balance, as well as Evening Primrose Oil and Dong Quai (because I was also weaning off my birth control pills which I'd been taking hoping to regulate my skin, and which was thinning my insides out a little too much - my gyno liked to say, "micro pill leads to micro mucasoidal linings!" Yes, she was a gyno nerd, but I loved her. ;) I even did Ovarian Kung Fu, if you can believe it. But the thing that has done the most for me is taking three drops of Nascent Iodine a day. I'd been doing research, and found that it's a solution for many women. So I tried it, and my period was miraculously peaceful last month, and I'd only been on it for two days when I started it. Not only that, but my "warm flashes" stopped. I'm going to post about it after my next period (but since I'm perimenopausal, who knows when that'll be, could be tomorrow, could be in a few more weeks, so be patient). It may all be due to iodine deficiency. Someone please remind me to post about it, if I forget. I'm very optimistic. I'm also taking tons of flax seed oil, since the past week, convinced that it'll get everything else back on track, and feeling very very energetic. Haven't needed a nap in five days, and that's been my ritual for the last five years at least.


Haven't needed a nap in five days, and that's been my ritual for the last five years at least....Flat Fee Real Estate Broker


For everyone having skin issues -- OIL CLEANSE!!! Seriously. I tend to have dry skin and after college I started also having lots of random breakouts, and after doing it for about six months I don't have any problems anymore (though it didn't take this long to be effective, more like a couple weeks). Even with dryness, and I had ALWAYS had dry skin, to the point where I had to wear heavy moisturizer with Aquaphor over it at night to not have peeling patches in the morning. So, try it!

She was a retail whore

@jaimie I've heard of this before. My skin situation is kind of dire now, so I'm going to try it. I just bought castor and sunflower oil, fingers crossed.


@jaimie yes, oil cleanse. I am an oil cleansing evangelist, my skin has never been this balanced - no oily forehead halfway through day! no waking up with unhappy skin! beautifully moisturised, and washing it off with a flannel (terry facecloth) gives just the right amount of exfoliation. if my skin feels too dry afterwards, I just smooth a bit of my oil mix back into my clean face, and it absorbs beautifully. I have a bunch of expensive organic washes, toners and moisturisers sitting forgotten in my bathroom cabinet.

My current mix is: 1/2 coconut oil (yeah yeah comodogenic apparently, but I love it, and haven't found that it is), 1/4 castor oil, 1/4 olive oil, couple drops of tea tree oil. have used several variations on this, and just love it.


@jaimie the oil cleanse made me break out like a motherfucker, i don't know how - my skin had never been softer but i had spots in brand new places.


@jaimie I did it for several weeks, and it did nothing for me. It was extra work, and my skin was exactly the same. Not better, not worse. So like anything else, it works for some people but not everyone.


Yep, I'm that LW and I tried oil cleansing and my skin DID NOT LIKE IT. Took me months to recover.

acid burn

@NeverOddOrEven I feel like oil cleansing is like the menstrual cup of skincare.


@acid burn
Oh man, don't get me started. I wanted the Diva Cup to work so bad.
Damn you, tilted cervix!

acid burn



@jaimie And if you're feeling brave, I keep saying this, but no one seems to believe me, I saw a post somewhere here months ago about the Jane Iredale "magic mitt", which you need no soap or cleanser to use at all, and I'll be damned, but it works for me. My skin is less dry and less zitty since I started using it. And I'd tried everything, including oil cleanses. Now I use the mitt, and do a weekly or twice weekly (when I remember) scrub mask, and I'm really good, my skin doesn't feel tight anymore before moisturizer. And way less adult zits! Even under my bangs. I think it's allowed my skin to produce and maintain it's own oils at reasonable levels, now that it's not working overtime trying to replenish the oils I used to wash away every morning and night. I did have a couple of bumpy weeks while my skin got used to it, be forewarned. But totally worth it. It even removes my waterproof mascara. I do use my leftover oil cleanse on a q-tip to remove my liquid eyeliner which I whip out for special occasions. That stuff is super cakey and takes too long to wash out of the mitt.


@acid burn No, I think the Magic Mitt is the Diva Cup of skin care! :)


On the bras: Frederick's of Hollywood!!! I know they have those kind of sleezy catalogs...but I am a DD and they are fabulous. Super-sexy and good quality. I feel that they cater to big-busted women, so they have a big selection and you're not stuck with "grandma" bras. Also, you can get them for $15 sometimes.


LW #2 Brown to blonde: Ashton at Blueberry Moon on Armitage in Lincoln Park!!!! He is great! Spend the money $150? for single process the first time around, then ask for recommendations on self-maintenance. Ash-blonde should not be that hard to maintain BUT get it done right the first time.


Brown to blonde: go see Alyse at Strange Beauty Show at Division & Ashland. She's great! And it's a very affordable salon. I've been going there for years. I am always happy with her, have referred lots of friends to her (and the salon in general).

barefoot cuntessa

I use Lush's Ultra Bland to cleanse and remove makeup, then wash with a little bit of raw honey as a wash afterwards. In the AM I use honey mixed with Angels on Bare skin, also from Lush. I use Tanda Zap that I got from Sephora to clear up hormonal zits and blackheads. My skin is the best its ever been.


@barefoot cuntessa Ultra Bland is the best!


For the bra-hunting lady: If you're open to shopping online, I highly recommend herroom.com The woman who owns the site has a great section with fitting tips and their customer service people are really knowledgeable. When customers write in with their review, e.g., "The cups gapped at the top so this bra didn't really work the way I thought it would," the customer service reps can tell you what the problem is and suggest a different bra that might work better. In general, though, I've found their initial fitting advice pretty spot-on. They also have really good sales and a great variety of sizes and styles.

baked bean

Hey, this is late, but just in case, small boobs question:
I'm a 34A and I like lightly-padded (otherwise the nerps are pokey) non-underwire bras. Are there cute ones out there, like with lace or something, or are they all bleh tan and white?

Bob Loblaw

@baked bean On HerRoom.com there is this great lacy bra called the Timpa..something..(begins with a D I think). It isn't padded and it has an underwire but it is AWESOME! Also there are those Coobie bras that are kind of sportsbra-esque but they are cute w/ adjustable straps, light padding, no wires, and some have lace and they are soooooo comfy.

baked bean

@Bob Loblaw Hmm yeah the Coobie one looks great! Thanks!


@baked bean that is an amazing website. As a girl who is constantly seeking the non-existent "30A", I thank you.


For pretty bras, 36F friend - get into some Curvy Kate lingerie, they're often available on Asos, or on Brastop. I'm a 38FF in UK sizes (and a 40DD in Lane Bryant bras, go fig).

Also I haven't tried this site out but $35-45 polish pretty bras? http://www.ewa-michalak.pl/


I have heard many times that regular soap should never be used above the neck- it's just too harsh. I have somewhat dry skin on my face too & I find using too many products makes me break out. Since moving to France I've adopted the method of using cold cream as a cleanser (LaRoche Posay). It's a bit oily but i feel like my face absorbs it while I sleep. Also, try using a honey mask every now & then- it's a natural anti-bacterial & it also softens the skin (BEES!).

lavender gooms

@longwalks BEADS?


Oh how I weep every time Hairpin runs a bra-related article and yet again it's obvious just how bad you American ladies have it with bras!! As a 34G Brit, I have a failsafe system:
- At least once a year, get fitted at Bravissimo. They DO NOT MEASURE you, but look at you in your bra, evaluate whether your current size is working and bring you other sizes to try until you've got it right. It's always ended up with me feeling super comfortable. Don't bother with measuring tapes - it's a question of whether it's cutting into you; if all the flesh is actually within the bra; whether you can see it through clothes... Totally logical & easy.
- I might buy bras there if I'm feeling wealthy, but otherwise I trawl eBay for 'new with tags' bras in specific styles that I know fit and that I like. (Am a massive fan of the Tango Plunge by Panache, which I have in multiple colours & regularly find on eBay for £13 instead of £25.)

If you can't afford a holiday to the UK to get fitted, go bra shopping with friends who'll be honest about whether it fits. Take a note of the styles that work for you, and go find them on eBay.

Also - the comment above about taking laundry detergent into the shower so you can handwash bras there? Totally revolutionised my life!! Amazing.

Hot Doom

@Elizadoesverylittle Does Bravissimo stock small sizes? I was under the impression it was for larger-busted ladies, but I just posted upthread about how I'm having a hell of a time finding stockists of wee bras (like AA) in Britain and I might just have to go check it out!


@Hot Doom (formerly LolaLaBalc) It doesn't - it specialises in larger sizes that aren't stocked in regular stores. Hopefully somewhere else measures with the same effectiveness. Maybe check out RIgby & Pellor who fit the Queen's bras?
[I met someone who works there last year & found out that the Queen's bra size is effectively a state secret!]


About the hair color question: I live in Wicker Park too! I've been going to the same guy for 3 years, and I wouldn't have anyone else do my hair (color and cut) at this point. No discount or coupon could lure me away, I trust him so much. So, it's not cheap but not outrageous either. He's actually the salon owner. It's Salon Milano on North Ave. near Wood St. Btw, my hair's short in that picture, but he helped me grow it out!


@Juliegreenview Another recommendation for Q2: I go to Jen L at Robert Jeffrey in Wicker Park. She has been coloring my brown hair for years and I will not go anywhere else. I think she charges around $45 for a haircut and $60 for color.


@Juliegreenview Thanks so much!!! I have so many good salons to look at now.


Granted, I'm terrified of bleach/hair color in general, but I really want to tell the brown-haired girl DON'T DO IT DON'T DO IT. You seem like a low-maitenance girl (Aveeda training session haircuts) & blonde is a pain in the ass to upkeep. It grows in quicker than you'll imagine, it dries your hair out, it'll get brassy, you need special shampoo & conditioner. Also, the color you want (ashy) is going to be tough to acheive if you have "medium" brown hair. You probably have red undertones that will need to get processed out, which is murder on your hair. SoOo...just things to keep in mind.


@fabel Also, if you're naturally brown-haired, the blonde might wash you out, which could result in having to wear more makeup to counteract the washed-outness. Which is fine if you're already cool with wearing a certain amount of makeup, but if you like to keep things simple, it could be inconvenient.


@fabel Noted! I actually do have some red (which I HATE!) so I will have to think this through a little better. I am not exactly low maintenance but I have a really simple haircut so it makes sense for me to not spend to much money to get it trimmed.


@fabel - I kind of feel like....so what if it doesn't work out? She can always dye it darker again. I think it would be a shame to not get the hairdo you want because you're afraid of what the upkeep *might* be like. You won't know if it's a hassle/unflattering until you try it, and once you try it there's no rule you have to stick with it forever.


@beasley Thanks for responding! Not trying to freak you out, but these are some of things I wish I knew before going lighter :)

@KeLynn like I said, I've been burned before & am terrified of hair color, so I just want to provide her with some of the less-obvious downsides.

lavender gooms

Ugh, I am so late as usual, but I also have "million dollar boobs" and am a) on a budget and b) lazy. I spent a ton of money at a fancy bra store last year (which was great! Do it!) I got three bras, only one of which I really ended up wearing regularly. (I am just not comfortable unless I am in a bra with um... solid cups? Like, my bras stand up by themselves) But, the silver lining is that I can just search the style code that is on the tag and usually at least one seller on Amazon has it for way cheaper so I just get a new one every few months and add to the rotation.

As for pretty bras... I just can't seem to find them. Even if they are the same size and theoretically the same style as my day to day bra, they always seem to fit funny. Nude bras all day every day.

Miss B

@lavender gooms -- I know this is soooooo late you will probably not see it, however, as a 36 or 38 (depending on the style) H or HH (again, depending on the style) I have to say...Bravissimo! It's also a British site, but they have a stellar return policy, their shipping to the US is ridiculously cheap (like, cheaper than plenty of US companies) and they have pretty pretty bras in both stand-up-by-themselves and non-stand-up-by-themselves styles, in all kinds of cup-types (full, demi, plunge, &c.) Basically all of my bras now have come from either there or Herroom, and of the two, Bravissimo is the winner (Herrroom is good, too, but they don't sell specifically to small-to-average band sizes/giant cup sizes the way that Bravissimo does).

Gracefully and Grandly

@muralgirl I just wanted to second paula's choice. I basically pick all of my products based on her reviews and have never gone wrong with her information. Her cleansers/salycic acid lotion are also amazing.


Freya's Plunge bra is my absolute favorite bra ever for my ample knockers. I have about 5 in different colors and patterns that I rotate. So many bras in my size cover my whole entire boobs which doesn't work for most of what I wear. I've bought a few at Nordstrom but now that I know my size I can just google it and always find some on sale.


@crissywrong OMG the Deco? It's just about all I wear now. I had to force myself to buy a non-Deco-style bra recently because I do want to have a littttle variety in my life, but I had to try on/return a good handful of them before I found one I actually wanted to spend money on. Once you go Deco, it's like nothing else can even come close anymore.


I had this problem for about ten years. I'm about to change your life.ready? No more products.none. Wash vigorously with warm water, use a tiny bit of makeup remover around the eys (for those of us addicted to eyeliner), and use a tiny bit of neutrogenia sensitive skin (alcohol free is important) on the dry spots. Eye cream can be used sparingly but not so much that it melts into the t-zone. Wait three months.o haven't had a single pimple in over a year. Done.

Sea Ermine

@yermom This happened to me. I was breaking out from a ton of things and it was made worse by the fact that every drugstore product (aside from noxema, which I don't really like for other reasons) has alcohol in it which really really irritates my skin.

I switched to just using alcohol free witch hazel. I wash my face with water and a washcloth and then I put some of the witch hazel on a cotton round and rub it gently on my face. The water cleans and rinses off excess oil, the washcloth exfoliates, and this witch hazel both moisturizes and reduces any irritation or sensitivity. Now my skin is clear, except for the week before my period which is when I get hormonal breakouts (and then I use the tiniest bit of a water based benzoyl peroxide treatment and make sure it doesn't get on any of the non affected skin).

I use it as makeup remover too, I put a little olive oil on a cotton pad and rub around my eyes to loosen the makeup and then I rinse and remove the oil and the rest of the makeup with the witch hazel. At first I used a gentle moisturizer (something for sensitive skin by kiss my face, and then another by weleda) but after a while of using the witch hazel I never need moisturizer anymore (aside from in the middle of winter).

Plus, I can use the witch hazel after shaving to help with irritation, and it's decent on sunburns and rashes (not to cure, but just to make it feel better).


No likes? Nothing? I feel so alone.

Erin Thompson

LW3, I had the problem of acne and dryness at the same time (UNFAIR). I tried expensive crap from the dermatologist, and my solution ended up being super simple and cheap, and only came after I figured it out myself - just using any face wash that has at least 2% salicylic acid (like Neutrogena). Salicylic acid is a really good exfoliant, so it gets rid of the dead skin that causes acne in the first place. If you're at the Retin A stage, perhaps you've already tried all this, but my dermatologist didn't recommend it to me so I thought maybe it worth mentioning.


In other words, sure, Derelicte works. Go nuts. Mostly, just have fun and know that probably no one is even looking at you because they're all more concerned with their own chicness.Posted on February 25, 2013 at 6:19 am


don't forget the pair of matching gold cuffs), a whole mess of lace, vintage anything, something borrowed from mom. In other words, sure, Derelicte works. Go nuts. Mostly, just have fun and know that probably no one is even looking at you because they're all more concerned with their own chicness. Posted on February 25, 2013 at 6:20 am


don't forget the pair of matching gold cuffs), a whole mess of lace, vintage anything, something borrowed from mom. In other words, sure, Derelicte works. Go nuts. Mostly, just have fun and know that probably no one is even looking at you because they're all more concerned with their own chicness. Posted on February 25, 2013 at 6:20 am


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Brown-to-blonde, or any-color-to-blonde, is the service keeping 99% of hair salons in business, so you shouldn't have a problem finding someone skilled to do this. A few things to note: though you say you don't want highlights, the process may look and feel the same, so don't be startled when they start talking about foils or bleach. You'll end up unnaturally blonde if they just smear a bunch of monochromotic dye all over your head, and I doubt a skilled colorist will suggest that. Instead, they'll probably do something like this: ibcbet 168


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