Thursday, February 9, 2012

And Now, a Few Words From Prof. Higgins and Col. Pickering

I had a commercial audition earlier this week. As of right now, I haven't heard anything on it, but it went well, so if I don't get it, I won't blame myself. It will just be because they needed someone taller/shorter, blonder/darker, thinner/heavier, or, possibly, male. You never know, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

That, however, is not what this post is about. See, I had very little notice for this audition, which left me in a bit of a panic. I mean, I try to keep myself up--and I think I do pretty good job of it, too--but it seems like the only times I get called in for interviews, photo shoots, or auditions are the times when I'm inbetween hair colorings, desperately need a tan (so I don't glow in the dark), and have a zit the size of East Texas somewhere prominent on my face. Oh, and I'm extra bloated. I can't forget that. Can't have an audition unless I'm feeling super-duper super-sized. It's not allowed.

At first, I moaned for a while about choosing such a superficial profession, but the thing is, once I thought about it, I realized that we all go through this stuff. Maybe it's not an audition; maybe it's a corporate function you didn't plan to attend. Maybe it's a date with that someone you've been crushing on for...well, ever. Maybe you just got up one morning, looked in the mirror, and thought, "Good morning, Corpse Bride. I am totally worth more than this..." Whatever the reason, I thought I'd share some of the products I keep around for quick fixes on a tight budget*. At the end, I'll list everything discussed, with links.

Tell-Tale Roots and Grays
I can't stress enough the importance of having a trustworthy, professional colorist. That said, sometimes schedules, finances, and good old procrastination get in the way of making that hair appointment, and we have to make do as best we can. I keep a box of L'Oreal Root Rescue in my bathroom for emergencies. That way, if something important comes up and there is absolutely no way of getting to the salon, I can do a quick touch-up without adding hours to my prep time...and then I call Miss Jessica for a real coloring!

Puffy Eyes
I know our moms all told us to lay cucumbers over our eyes to get rid of puffiness, but who has time for that? My go-to for puffy eyes is the Ganier Nutrioniste Eye Roller. The metal ball cools while the caffeine-infused liquid de-puffs your under-eye baggage. One will run you less than $15 and last several months. Have a couple of days notice? Pat on a good eye cream before you go to bed (which we should all be doing anyway, and I am appalled that any of you could think that I would go even one night--yeah, I can't get through that sentence. I'm HORRIBLE about remembering). I'd recommend mine, but it's discontinued, and would have been insanely expensive had I not found it for $6 on sale. Instead, try Biore SkinPreservation See the Future Eye Cream. It's $13.99 at, and while I haven't personally tested this, it's gotten fantastic reviews.

Coffee-Drinker Teeth
Now, I know there are a bajillion whitening systems out there, with some only taking a couple of hours for full effect. Unfortunately, they are freaking expensive, and, quite frankly, I can't afford to keep something like that in my cabinet "just in case". Instead, I keep Colgate Optic White, an exceptionally good whitening toothpaste, and a whitening mouth rinse. They may not work as quickly, but I noticed an improvement right away, and better results with continued use. Got something special going on? Brush and rinse in the morning and after each meal, with one more good scrubbing right before you walk out the door. Best of all, the two together will only cost about ten dollars.

Dry, Flaky Skin
The last thing you want to do right before an event is a facial because they can cause breakouts. So, how are you supposed to exfoliate and moisturize? exfoliating and moisturizing, simple as that. When you wash your face, use either a facial scrub brush (like this one from Sephora. It's $18, but less expensive ones are also available), or you can carefully scrub with a coarse washcloth. I like to use circular motions, alternating directions. After washing, slather on a gentle moisturizer, like Philosophy Hope In a Jar, which is only $15 for a travel size.

Pimples and Blemishes and Zits, Oh, My!
So, you're already broken out. Welcome to my world. Above all, do not pick at your face! First, apply a towel-wrapped ice cube to the affected area to help bring down redness and swelling. Next, dab on a spot treatment (available at most drugstores for about $5). Once that dries, you can continue with your usual makeup routine, adding concealer to that area. Oh, you already popped it? Yeah, I probably would have, too. In that case, I hope you have overnight to deal with it. Use a drying paste formulated for popped pimples. Again, it'll run about five bucks. Now, don't do that again!

On short notice, there are a few little things you can do to de-puff. First of all, can the soft drinks and super salty foods for a day and drink as much water as you can stand. This will help flush out your system. Secondly (and, boy, does this sound ridiculous), before you get dressed, do as many crunches as you can without breaking a sweat. That's probably 20-50. Believe it or not, just that little bit will make your abs temporarily appear more toned. Not enough? Might I suggest a fun, effective shaper?

Snow White Legs
If you're day-glo, like me, and find yourself in the position of having to show off your legs with zero notice, you might want to try a quick-drying airbrush tanner. If you have a day or so to get ready, a tinted self-tanner might be more up your alley. In either case, make sure you shave and moisturize beforehand. An easy way to keep down streaks is to apply moisturizer to each section immediately before applying the tanner. If you're only doing your legs, keep the application light, so it just knocks the chill off of your skin, and wash your hands thoroughly after.

Five Minute Manicure
One of the easiest ways to look polished and put-together is a manicure. Now, I know I don't have the time or extra cash for a pro mani-pedi at the salon, but I can usually find about five minutes to file and slap on a coat of paint. Sally Hansen may not be my favorite line, but they have a fantastic collection of quick-dry, one coat polishes. Try one in a pale neutral to look effortlessly chic (and camoflauge any chips!), in about five minutes. Back when we filmed The Night Shift, I used Rapid Red, and could refresh my manicure standing up, oustide, balancing on my car door, and be ready to roll camera within minutes. A-mazing.

Droopy Locks
This is probably the easiest fix of all. When you wash your hair, make your final rinse a cold water rinse. It seals the cuticle and cuts down on frizz. Do the same thing when you blow dry--finish by blasting your hair with cool air, in a downward motion. If you're dealing with dull or lifeless hair, try adding a volumizing mousse to towel-dried hair before blow drying, then spritzing with a shine-enhancing finishing spray (this Bumble & Bumble is a little pricey at $26, but it will last a very long time, since you have to use it sparingly).

Alright, here's the list of direct links to my personal recommendations, but you could definitely use your own finds. Heck, if you find something that works really well, send it to me and I'll happily share it with the rest of the class!

The Bare Necessities
Root Touch-Up
Eye Roller
Eye Cream
Whitening Toothpaste
Whitening Mouth Rinse
Facial Brush or Coarse Washcloth
Acne Spot Treatment
Popped Pimple Drying Paste
Airbrush Tanner or Self Tanner
Quick-Dry, Neutral Nail Polish
Volumizing Mousse
Shine Spray

*Disclaimer: I am not an esthetician, cosmetologist, or in any way qualified to give expert advice. These are tricks and products that I, a normal, average person, use myself on a regular basis, with positive results.

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