What beauty related advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time?

Wear sunscreen, wee one! Oh, and try to learn something about hair so you’re not totally incompetent with it when you’re in your 30s. The whole hair styling is like walking uphill in both directions for me now.

— Christine


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Carol Avatar

Laying out in general and particularly with baby oil on is a terrible idea. Ditto for tanning beds. I don’t care how many times they tell you it’s safe for your skin. Looking ghostly white is not ugly. Wear sunscreen everyday. SPF 15 is not adequate.

Mariella Avatar

Even though Erno Laszlo’s instructions were to use water as hot as your hands can stand (they’ve since modified), DON’T use really hot water on your face! And don’t steam it either! I love Laszlo’s original products but I have broken capillaries on my cheeks which I’m fairly sure are due to him!

Krista Sweetleaf Avatar

Blend foundation onto your neck! I can embarrassingly admit I didn’t start this until well into my teens( like around 17). Don’t overpluck because those eyebrow hairs die and refuse to come back, pale is beautiful so don’t self tan( and exfoliate well before doing so because those streaks are horrible), use transition shades with eyelooks and blend well, and use Olaplex after every hair lightning.

SSM Avatar

Mine MOSTLY grew back in except I wish they’d come together a wee bit more in the center. But I’ve been plucking that part since I was in the 3rd grade–I kid you not. I started plucking my browbone in the 5th grade. (I’m now 47.)

I can barely stand to look at pictures of myself from the mid-late 90s, because of my awful overplucked eyebrows. I was also really skinny so I basically looked like a methhead!

kjh Avatar

1. Sunscreen: find what works best for you,with and w/o m/u.
2. ITLR, skincare IS more important than m/u.
3. Learn your ingredients: how they are derived, what they (purport to) do, the safety level, environmental impact, interactions with drugs, sun, other ingredients, etc. Know their families and relatives: you will be able to predict pretty effectively what will be good/bad for you.
4. If you can, go nerdy. Develop protocols, spreadsheets, data bases to track. If you cannot, keep a journal of observations.
5. On the color front: do you really need a sixth greige lipstick, a twentieth brown red? (Mmmm, possibly!) Aim for moderation in all things.
6. Aim for more use and fewer purchases! Really guilty here. I used to finish stuff, and buy far less, but that might as well have been the Elizabethan era, compared to what is out there now.
7. Try to really on your trusted online sources; try not to be deceived, or seduced by IGs, hype.

Sam Avatar

Don’t be afraid of color! All that vitriol people spill in grade school falls by the wayside once you’re an adult.

Also, for the love of everything, do not go on the appointment your mother made to get your brows done. It’s going to take you years to get rid of that high arch they made, and you’re going to look perpetually surprised until you’re 28.

Nancy T Avatar

1.) Leave your eyebrows ALONE. Like seriously, somebody hide the tweezers from this 14 year old child for the next 5 years!
2.) Get your mom to bring your butt to a dermatologist for your acne issues instead of trying to deal with it on your own, because those scars and hyperpigmentation will be a major B to get rid of in your 50’s!
3.) You do NOT look hot as a blonde, so quit trying to one with those cheap boxed dyes that never lift your hair to the proper level, leaving your hair looking like an orangey bunch of dried out straw.
4.) No one can even see that stripe of eyeshadow you just applied to your mobile lid, you silly child! Gotta bring that color UP and OUT. And please, learn to blend that mess, mkay?

Rachel R. Avatar

1. Washing your face with hot water and using astringents all the time will only make the oily skin problem worse.

2. Skin care is more important than you think.

3. Don’t try to go blonde.

4. Listen to your gut, and don’t buy that light pink lipstick for your wedding. The counter lady just wants to make commission. Your mother just wants control and for you not to look your best. Neither has your best interests at heart.

AB Avatar

Sunscreen, and all over the body — absolutely. Skin cancer is no fun.

Be kinder to skin in general; for instance, just lately I’ve come to realize that some of my skin problems were because I was using products that were too harsh.

Makeup: take your time, work to find products you love versus ‘ok for now’; you’ll end up with less stash, more cash, and more enjoyment from what you do own.

CeeBee Avatar

Sort out and invest in your skincare before you try and cover it with makeup.

Having bad skin (acne, pigmentation, etc) is not a moral failure on your part. Also, having fine lines and wrinkles is something that will happen, you can spend a lot of energy worrying about it and money trying to fight it but honestly, just learning to accept it and to keep loving yourself is much better for your psyche. It’s better to have crows feet and smile lines than a permanent scowl or frowny wrinkled forehead!

Boys don’t know sh*t about makeup, so don’t wear it for them. (disclaimer: I mean boys in general that I hung out with in my life retrospectively – I am thrilled to see many more young men embracing cosmetics and developing their own personal style and showing off their artistry. Insta wasn’t a thing when I was a teenager or in my 20’s! I fully support men wearing makeup and inclusivity and representation in beauty :-))

Just because something looks amazing on someone else, doesn’t mean it will look the same on you. Again, this is not a failure – you just need to learn what works for you.

And I’m totally with Christine on the hairstyling thing – I had short hair as a kid, shaved my head at 16 and only grew my hair long in my mid 20’s. I can’t even put my hair in a bun, ferchrissakes!

EAdele Avatar

You hate your mother’s skin and hair products because of your neurodivergency and sensory processing disorder. Not all lotion is greasy, and not all hair styling products make you all crunchy. Do some research online and ask your friends what they use. Your poor, cracking skin will thank you.

Also, cut your hair short. Your aversion to ponytails won’t go away, and your hair is always in your face. Just chop it off.

Genevieve Avatar

That’s a valuable comment about sunscreen Christine, because it would be something that I would say too. When I was starting out wearing makeup, in my teens, there was hardly any sunscreen available to use safely on your face, let alone with makeup. However now there absolutely no excuse not to use this most essential product in protecting your skin.
Another piece of advice would be to ensure that your foundation is correctly colour matched with the relevant undertones.
Don’t pluck your eyebrows
If you have skin issues, like acne, get it properly treated – I did and my skin is fine; my twin sister didn’t and her skin is ravaged by acne scars.
Learn how to apply eye makeup that suits the shape of your eyes and blend it well.

CK Avatar

1. Relax, you’ll look better as you get older.
2. Wear sunscreen more often.
3. Drink more water and get more sleep.
4. Exfoliate! But not too harshly or too often.
5. Take better care of your hands.
6. Use night cream.

Krista Sweetleaf Avatar

Blend foundation onto your neck! I can embarrassingly admit I didn’t start this until well into my teens( like around 17). Don’t overpluck because those eyebrow hairs die and refuse to come back, pale is beautiful so don’t self tan( and exfoliate well before doing so because those streaks are horrible), use transition shades with eyelooks and blend well, and use Olaplex after every hair lightning.

Alicia Morris Avatar

Oh, my advice to my younger self would be: You will NEVER get a tan, so stop wearing baby oil to the beach and put on some damn sunscreen! Getting major sunburns over and over and over is something you will regret. Your pale skin is beautiful, so embrace it.

Priscilla Avatar

Don’t pick your blemishes!!! It only causes scarring and prolongs the agony.

Please don’t overpluck your eyebrows-you will regret it.

Wear sunscreen. Burning and peeling is the closest you will ever get to a “suntan”. Better yet, wear sunscreen AND a hat.

Wash your face every night before bed no matter how tired you are. You really can’t get by with last night’s makeup the next morning no matter how late you may be. ?‍♀️ (High school).

Pay attention to your skincare! Never use deodorant soap on your face in the shower. Yikes. Shudder. Never use straight alcohol on your pimples!

Enjoy yourself once you can invest in good products! It will be a lifetime love. Learn better techniques every chance you get.

Matilda Avatar

Great advice from everyone! Also,

Don’t rely on magazine ads when choosing colors. Those models are air-brushed and are not wearing the actual product but, instead, a mix of products that took three hours to apply. Even they don’t really look like themselves.

Use a light touch and apply less than you think you need.

Keep your makeup and tools clean and don’t share.

Experiment with the cheap stuff (e.g., Wet n Wild) to learn which colors work best for you.

Debbie Avatar

Twelve is too young to wear a full face of makeup—Wait a few years. Just keep up with the skincare, you are doing the right thing.
And see those tweezers? They are the enemy. Leave your brows alone. Just brush them and pluck the stragglers on your brow.
And get out of the sun…you do not need to be roasted like a chicken. And tell your mom the same thing.
And whatever you do, do not worry so much about your appearance, you look fine.

bibi Avatar

1) Wear 50spf sunblock. Every. Single. Day. None of that tanning bed stuff either. Sun damaged skin is $$$ to fix.
2) Moisturize- dry skin will crank out more oil, get irritated & break out.
3) Do go blonde (as long as there is Olaplex), platinum is my color.
4) Skincare guide: Treat at nite, protect during the day.
5) False lashes are not for every day IF you want to keep your natural lashes (thank you latisse for restoring my natural lashes & then some)
6) Do not buy anything from those lame tv ads like Gunthy Renker- garbage

Alecto Avatar

“Hey! Be kinder to your skin! It’s just as frustrated as you are, and all that abuse will just compound your problems. Step away from the stripping, scrubbing, and oil-free products; up your moisture game; and protect that barrier like the fate of the free world depends on it! Also … drink water dammit!!!

V Avatar

Mine has more to do with self esteem and how terrible I always believed I looked. I felt so bad that by 15 I began covering my skin in full coverage foundations obsessively and couldn’t be seen without black liquid eyeliner, lots of it. For many years I’d slam very pale drying powder foundations on frequently which looked silly in bright lighting and in pictures. A stranger once asked me what was that white stuff on my face… Humiliated but rightfully so. I’d love to tell younger me to throw away that silly Manic Panic white powder and all of those drying foundations, take a pill or drink some herbal tea, try to chill out and embrace who you are. Wear lashes everyday if ya want. No one else has to be you so why not do whatever makes you feel most comfortable in your own skin?

If any responsable adults were around when I was growing up I might have learned that organization helps immensely when getting ready and fairly regular bedtimes are good for just about anything. These are both still constant battles / goals.

Deborah S. Avatar

This is such a great question but in general, I try not to look back critically at myself. For me personally, it is too easy to fall into regret and what I did or didn’t do is in the past and I can’t change it now. I know that isn’t what the question was implying but those are my feelings. Having said that, I pretty much agree with everything that has been commented. I slathered myself in cocoa butter and iodine and laid on a beach towel pretty much from May to October in S. Cal and would have done it daily if I didn’t have to go to school. Sunscreen, what is that? I hated the feeling of it on my body and would never have put it on my face. I would not only wear sunscreen now but I would avoid the sun most of the time.
I was horribly guilty of sleeping with my makeup on and picking at blemishes. I don’t know why I thought taking a couple of minutes to remove my makeup would be such a terrible thing.
I really didn’t pluck my brows but might as well have since they didn’t grow back in places post-chemotherapy. It now looks like I have a high arch that I didn’t actually pluck to achieve.
I would tell myself to get off of graveyards before 25 years had passed and try and lead a more normal life schedule. There have been so many studies done about shift work and its impact on chronic illness. Too bad it wasn’t done a long time ago.
When I was about 19 I read an article by Caroline Jones, the movie actress, and she recommended washing your face in the hottest water you could stand and then using actual alcohol to tone with. I did that for several years and pay for it now.
I grew up knowing Cheryl Tiegs cousin and we would talk about the modeling business and how beautiful the models were and the wonderful lives they led. I wish I had realized that they only look like that for literally a few seconds while the picture is taken and then an MUA, hairdresser and stylist step in and touch up for the next shot. I wish I had all the money I spent on beauty magazines, teen magazines, Cosmo etc. I would be a millionaire.
I wish I had known to spend more time and money on skin care although compared to most of my friends, I did at the time.
I think given our knowledge at the time, I probably did try to do things correctly but a lot of what we know today was not common knowledge or was not shared with the general public. I know products had a lot of ingredients that would not pass muster today and with the internet there is so much more information available to the average consumer. The last thing I would tell myself would be to start using Retin A as soon as it was available or a strong retinol.

Natalia Avatar

1. Get to know your skin. What it is in terms of skincare needs, etc. Prep your skin before makeup.
2. Brushes are you best friends.
3. Some colors are flattering for your compextion, some are not. Always pay attention to it and know what suits you. That said, experiment!
4. DO NOT economize on the base products. You will look more groomed and your skin will thank you for it.
5. Learn what makeup applying technics are good for your face shape and BLEND! BLEND! BLEND!

Gamze Avatar

“Wear makeup every day while you have young skin, you won’t look this good in makeup in your 50s. Don’t let people around you to discourage you from wearing makeup, this is your face, your life.”

Belle Avatar

Wear sunscreen, don’t tan!

Stop scrubbing and steaming your face. You’re going to end up with so many broken capillaries on your cheeks, everyone mistakenly thinks you have rosacea!

Another one of mine would be don’t try to go black with your hair at home. When you’re 14 and you have naturally blonde hair and try to go black at home, it turns a lovely olive green, and costs your mom a fortune to have fixed. AND I was dumb enough to try it TWICE in my teens (the 80’s).

Amy Avatar

You’re beautiful, kid. Take care of yourself and play with your appearance. You don’t have to fit into a mould, and you’re never going to. Worry less about the magazines and more about being true to yourself, which you can do with all this stuff. You’ll understand/ not thank me later, but haters gonna hate.
And don’t listen to your family.

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