Ask Me Anything: Questions Answered!

From skincare to makeup recommendations to shapewear, shopping online, blogging, and more, Hailey answers reader questions in today's blog post! - #makeup #eyebrows #psblogger #plussizefashion #beauty #skincare #shapewear

At the end of July, I asked all of you for questions you wanted me to answer in a future blog post.  I've been gathering the submissions this month and, boy, you guys had some great ones!  In today's post, I am answering some of the questions I received.

You all can continue sending in queries to your heart's content.  Shoot me an email, leave a question on social media, or look over in the sidebar.  There is a link that says "Ask Me Anything" (right below my photo and stats) that allows you to leave anonymous questions if you so desire.  As I collect more questions, I can answer them in future posts.

Anonymous asks:
Do you wear shapewear?  If so, what brands do you recommend?

I don't wear shapewear as much as I used to, but I do wear it.  I used to wear some thick, capri-length shapewear all day every day.  They were hot and annoying, but I thought I had to because I had a really bad self-image and my mom's voice in my head telling me how big and fat my thighs were.  Eventually, I said "eff it!" and stopped wearing them.

These days, shapewear is reserved for specific articles of clothing.  I wear stretchy shorts (not always considered shapewear because they don't provide control or slimming - like these from Lane Bryant) under dresses and skirts to keep chub rub at bay.  I have a Spanx-brand cami (similar) that is a good undergarment for smoothing, but it isn't  tight enough to provide any kind of "slimming".  Another Spanx-brand item I own is an open-bust bodysuit that goes from under the bust to mid-thigh (similar to this one.  The one I own has straps that attach to your bra instead of actual shoulder straps.).  It will definitely suck you in.  I wear it with tighter dresses to smooth out my tummy rolls and eliminate a panty line.  Lots of stores have similar styles (like this less expensive one from Lane Bryant), so it is important to note exactly what you want the item to do or cover and what kinds of garments you plan on wearing them with.  It is also important to note that they are not all made alike.  Sometimes it is best to splurge on the more expensive one that actually does what you need it to do, versus a less expensive item that doesn't perform.  What I love about my Spanx body suit is that the material is thick and durable and it does what I need it to do.

Also worth checking out is Yours Clothing's shapewear offerings.  I bought another open-bust body suit from Yours that is very comfortable.  I did order a size up.  It doesn't hold me in quite like the Spanx one does, but this also means it is more comfortable to wear while still providing some control and smoothing.  It is also very well made and a fraction of the cost of the $80 Spanx version.  I hope this helps!

Crissy asks:
How can I properly apply lipstick without it being uneven? Is there a good start point on your lips to start from and go from there? 

It depends on what type of lipstick you are applying.  If I am applying a normal lipstick, I tend to start at the corners of my mouth and drag the lipstick up or down from the corners and along the edges.  This helps ensure that the lines are straight.  Then I fill in the middle and majority of the lip last. 

If I am applying a liquid lipstick or gloss, I start in the middle of each lip to deposit most of the product.  From there you can start to drag the excess product into place and smooth it out.  With liquid long-wearing lipsticks, my friend Kelly recommends blotting and applying another coat, or coats, to keep the pesky "lip ring" at bay.

Christina asks:
I have bad circles under my eyes. What do you recommend to help with them and is there a certain concealer that works best?

To combat dark circles, you can start with a color corrector.  I feel like they are starting to become the next big thing because I see more and more on the market.  Urban Decay just introduced a line of color correctors in their Naked Skin collection.

As far as concealer, depending on your skin and coloring you may have to do some experimenting with different brands before you find what works best for you.  I have heard many people rave about concealers from Clinique, NARS, and Urban Decay.  I have been a long time fan of MAC's Pro Longwear concealer and also wear It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye.  Sephora has a concealer called Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer that isn't super full coverage but could be worth a try as well.  It comes in a lot of shades and is only $14.

Marie asks:
Have you used an eye brow razor to define your brows? The kind they sell just for that purpose.

I haven't used a traditional razor for my eyebrows, like a metal one.  I use tweezers and eyebrow scissors though.  I've also used the battery operated thing that I guess you could call an eyebrow razor.  As long as you keep a steady grip on it, I think it is a handy tool for eliminating some of your tweezing time.  I have dropped it once while working on my eyebrows and had a cool not-so-cool Vanilla Ice line through my eyebrow for a while.  Those kinds of razors are also great for getting rid of those upper lip hairs that get too close to your nose. Tweezing those bad boys hurts, makes my eyes water, and makes me sneeze!

Shala asks:
I would like to know what outfit you wear that makes you feel like you are a rock star!  Like when you put it on, you don't care what anyone says, you know you look fabulous.

I thought this was going to take some time to think about, but suddenly a few outfits popped into my head.  Most of them involve Kiyonna, but that is just a testament to what great clothes they have.  The velvet maxi dress from Holiday 2014 made me feel so sexy and glamorous.  This Yours Clothing ensemble made me feel super cute and chic and sexy.  The black and bronze look I wore out to dinner made me feel very cool and sassy. And the most recent halter top looks I showed from Kiyonna made me feel amazing too.  My favorites were the skinny jeans and skirted looks.

Janeane asks:
I am always intrigued by your makeup skills and would love to hear your take on how a novice should build a makeup collection. What products should I invest in? What products are ok to go a little on the cheaper side? What brands do you favor for foundation, lip color, eye shadows? I am also looking for a matte eye shadow palette, which one do you recommend?

Oh lordy, Janeane!  I could probably (and maybe should have) written a whole post on this one question. lol  For starters, make sure you know your skin.  What issues do you have that you want to correct?  Is your skin oily, dry, combination?  Are you acne prone?  Do you have fine lines, dullness, etc.?  Are you warm or cool toned? Knowing your skin will help you whittle the products down as you come across them.

Now, everyone's skin and skin needs and lifestyle wants are different, so it may take some experimenting to find what works best for you.  For the record, I have oily/combo, mildly acne prone, warm-toned skin.  I have acne scars and some veins that I like to cover up.  Personally, I encourage you to invest in great basics - primers, foundation, concealer, eye liner, and some great brushes.  That doesn't mean these things have to be expensive, but find the best quality you can that works the best for you.

You can get away with cheaper lipsticks, eyeshadows, lip glosses.  Drugstore makeup has really stepped up its game in a lot of ways.  For instance, I swear by the Revlon Balm Stains.  I wear those more than anything in my arsenal.  Not all eyeshadows are created the same, but I think having a great primer can help a cheap eyeshadow hold up better.  Also, you have access to the internet, so you can check out brands like Colourpop and Makeup Geek that offer excellent quality and pigmentation at a very affordable price point.

Primers are imperative in helping your makeup go on smooth and blend beautifully and stay on ALL DAY.  I use Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer and Boots No.7 Photo Fix Primer for my face.  (In collecting the links for this post, I cannot find that Boots primer anywhere.  It may have been discontinued.  I am so sad!!Make Up For Ever's Smoothing and Mattifying Primers are excellent as well.  I also like the Becca and Pixi illuminating primers.  They add a really pretty glow to your skin.  I have no idea if you have oily skin or not, but I huge game changer for me has been the Skindinavia Primer and Finishing sprays, which I feel are also worth the splurge.  I use the Oil Control versions of each and they seriously keep me matte all day long.  They do have kits that include both and have great sales throughout the year. (For instance, this weekend they have 20% off, free shipping, and free minis of the regular primer and finishing spray.)

For eyes, I still love Urban Decay's Primer Potion.  I use the original, but they do have them in different shades for more coverage.  Nars Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base and Too Faced Shadow Insurance are probably my next best ones.

Foundation and concealer can really be hit-or-miss, even with expensive brands.  Drugstore-wise, I have been using the Revlon PhotoReady Airbrush Effect foundation for years.  Recently, I started using the It Cosmetics CC Cream as a foundation and really love it.  I have to mix the shades Light and Fair together to get something close to my skintone, but the coverage and feel is excellent.  I think you would like the whole It Cosmetics line.  I haven't tried a whole lot from the brand, but what I have tried have become go-to regular items for me.  The It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye is my go-to concealer.  The setting powder is amazing!  My pores are so much more airbrushed when I use it versus my other go-to setting powder, the Make Up For Ever HD Powder. And while I am on It Cosmetics, the eye liner is my go-to as well.  It stays put and doesn't smudge off throughout the day.
(By the way, I just got my Ulta mailer in the mail yesterday and September means their 21 Days of Beauty.  The It Cosmetics eyeliner will be 50% off on the 5th online and in-store, so this would be a great time to check it out! AND with any $45 It Cosmetics purchase, you can get a gift set of other It product samples to try.)

Good brushes don't have to be expensive, but good brushes make a huge difference.  I love the Real Techniques and Royal & Langnickel Brush brands.  They are both very affordable and have great sale prices.

I use brands across the board, but I think I have hit on most of your questions.  Lipcolor wise, I use my Revlon Balm Stains and Colourpop lippies a lot.  I also love LOC (a Birchbox house brand), Bite Beauty, and Laura Geller's Love Me Dew lip crayons.  You may also like lip products from NYX and, well, It Cosmetics has a lot of really pretty shades, though I haven't tried their lip products yet.  I've been mostly wearing more balmy stains as of late, with some matte lipsticks here and there.

For a good matte eye shadow palette, Urban Decay's Naked Basics gets used a LOT by me.  They have a Naked Basics 2 with slightly softer colors.  UD is also introducing a Naked Ultimate Basics Palette on September 18th with a variety of colors.  I plan on buying that.  It Cosmetics has great matte palettes with more of a variety of colors (1, 2, 3),  as does Tarte and Lorac.  Not all the Tarte (1, 2, 3, 4) and Lorac shades are matte, but the shimmer is pretty and more subtle and satin-like.

If you are interested in new products or want to research reviews, Temptalia is a great resource for all things makeup!  I usually look up reviews and swatches of everything before I buy.  Likewise, a Google search can hit you with tons of swatches and blogger reviews for whatever items you are curious about. Of course, if you have any follow up questions for me, don't hesitate to ask!

Anonymous asks:
Where are you from?

I was born in Mississippi, but have moved around my entire life.  I've lived in western Washington State, Kansas, California, back to Mississippi, a couple cities in Texas, a couple cities in South Carolina, another couple cities in Georgia, then to southern Washington, Massachusetts, back to southern Washington, down to California, and then back to Washington.

My dad would get laid off from power plant jobs and we would move on to the next one.  After my parents divorced when I was 12, I ended up living with my dad and stepmom because they were willing to live in my school district.  At that point, we had already moved from Texas after five years - the longest I had ever lived anywhere at the time.  I started 5th grade in South Carolina and didn't want to move away from my friends in 7th grade, when my parents divorced.  I lived with my dad and stepmom until the end of 10th grade.  At that point, they were so emotionally and verbally abusive that I contemplated suicide.  At 15, I decided it was either going to end really bad or I needed to get out of there to save myself.  The last thing I wanted was to be away from my friends and start a new school in a new town right in the middle of high school.  My friends were my family at that point, and the only reason I was sane.  But there wasn't much of a choice.

I moved four hours away to live with my mom and stepdad in a small town on the coast of Georgia for my junior year.  Then my stepdad got a job up in Washington State to be closer to his family.  I started my senior year in an equally small town.  There are many reasons why all of this was difficult, which I won't  get into here or I would be writing a novel.  As soon as I could save up money and get out of there, I did.  But life is weird and annoying and curious sometimes, so no matter where I went to get away there were always reasons I had to move back.  Eventually, all of those circumstances - big and small - led me to my husband, so I can't be too mad about it all now.

Anonymous asks:
I want to do a makeup vanity like yours but the shelf is no longer available that I can tell.  Do you know of where I can get an alternative shelf?

For those of you wondering, my makeup vanity tutorial post is super popular, but Ikea no longer makes the type of table top I used.  To answer your question, I have seen the larger version of that table top at the store, though I haven't been in-store in a while. If you buy separate legs and a table top, you could even use a discarded door or cabinet door as your table top.  If you have an Ikea store near you, check their "As Is" section for random parts.  You can paint them, embellish them - the sky's the limit.  Of course, you are still going to be in need of that storage space.

Sticking with Ikea, if you want something that is similar, the Micke desk and Alex desk are similar in size and provide some storage space with the drawers.

Sara asks:
How do you get your eyebrows so freaking perfect?

Thank you for the compliment!  But my eyebrows are far from perfect.  I spent years/decades over-tweezing them, so it has taken them quite a while to grow back out.  Plus, with untreated hypothyroidism, eyebrows tend to thin out, specifically on the ends.  I have a few patches where hair just does not seem to want to grow, so I have to fill them in to make them look more even.

What I do have are the aforementioned tweezers, eyebrow scissors, and such to keep them shaped.  I also use the eyebrow pencils from Colourpop (I also recommend the Anastasia Beverly Hills brow pencils) and Benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel to fill them in and keep them in place.

Janeane asks:
Another topic I would love to hear about related to fashion would be your best tips for shopping online. How do you find the best fit? Do you order multiple sizes to try? Are shipping issues ever an issue?

I do a majority of my shopping online.  From necessities to clothing and makeup, it is my primary method of buying anything.  I have come by my knowledge through years of experience, but I still have things not work out for me.

For fit, I am usually shopping from a brand I know already so I know what size to wear.  But even then, some things will fit differently depending on fabric and style.  I try to keep that in mind when I shop online, just as some brands tend to cut their sizes more generously than others.  If there is a particular item I am looking to buy, I read the reviews (if there are any) and I google the item to see if I can find it on any bloggers.  Most bloggers these days seem to not have any information on their measurements, what size they are wearing, or any fit details, which is why I go out of my way to include that information in every one of my posts.  If you happen upon a blogger with information, that can help you judge how an item might fit you as well.  If none of this information is available, I tend to order my regular size unless the size chart measurements are way different than mine. If I can afford it, I order a couple sizes.  Make sure you only do this for companies that have awesome return policies though.

As far as returns go, I look up the exact return policy before I order.  If I have to pay for return shipping or cannot return something in store, I think a lot harder about whether or not I want to purchase the item.  For instance, I like the site 6pm for shoe and handbag deals.  They have awesome sale prices, but you have to pay for return shipping.  Shoes are kind of hit-or-miss for me to buy online because my size 11 foot is sometimes considered wide and sometimes not.  But if a sale price is good enough, I may go ahead and buy it.  That being said, I also would then search on Amazon and Zappos for the shoe in question to see if they had it for purchase at a similar price.  They offer free return shipping, which takes a little bt of the annoyance out of the deal. 

I also hate paying full price for ANYTHING.  I made a separate email account for store emails.  You can get first notice of sales or exclusive coupons through the brand newsletters.  If there is a brand you really love, you can also follow them on Facebook and/or Instagram for exclusive info on coupon codes or flash sales.  Another great tool for online shopping is Ebates.  You sign up for free and search whatever store you are purchasing from online.  They have TONS of stores listed, as well as coupon codes for those sites.  Click the through link to go to that store's website, shop like normal, and you will receive an allotted percentage of your purchase back just by using Ebates.  I've been a member since 2010 and have saved $450 as of today.  The money comes back to you every couple of months to your Paypal account or a check in the mail.  Also helpful is a Chrome Extension called Honey that compiles a list of active coupon codes for whatever site you are on.  This saves time so you don't have to keep googling coupon codes from various sites.

Kayleigh asks:
I would love to know more about how you started the blog. I have recently started blogging myself, here and there, but how did you really get it all set up and going? I have a wordpress account and i will eventually purchase a .com domain, but getting the blog out there and followed is hard to do.

When I first started the blog back in 2009, it was just a place for me to share my love of fashion and beauty products.  It was a bit of a creative outlet for me when I didn't really have space to do craft projects.  I mainly posted about items I liked or mentioned products I loved.  I was very anonymous and never posted photos of myself.

Then I came upon a couple plus size fashion bloggers and that changed everything.  I didn't think I could put myself out there like they did, but I knew that reading their blogs was helping me feel better about myself. I started to realize my own worth and beauty.  It really opened my mind to the concept of body positivity and embracing your body and accepting yourself.  So I wanted to join the crusade and be that for someone else, and maybe myself too.  I never expected things to get to where they are today (and I am by no means considered a popular blogger), but I love adding to that positive voice and connecting with all the awesome people that read my blog.

Things started taking off for me in 2010 when I bought a dress from Kiyonna for a Valentine's Day dinner date with my husband.  I never heard of Kiyonna before and had no idea how the dress would fit.  It was on sale for half price, so I figured I would go ahead and get it. I loved the dress!  It was probably the best fitting dress I had ever tried on up to that point.  I was impressed and enamored.  I wrote a post about it, followed by posting a photo of myself in the dress on Kiyonna's Facebook page.  I ended up receiving an email in which they asked me if they could share the photograph.  Of course, I said yes.  Shortly after, they asked me to join the Kiyonna Blogger Brigade and I have been working with them ever since. That was really the catalyst for me to start making the blog more of a priority and focusing my posts on my personal style.

As far as getting yourself out there, sometimes it can take a lot of effort for very little results.  It is an incredibly frustrating part of blogging.  Posting to social media, using relevant hashtags, tagging companies you are reviewing or wearing, posting photos on their FB pages, etc. is a great way to reach out and get seen more and more.  If you want to try to collaborate with a company, you can email them, or even email other bloggers to suggest collaborative ideas.  I get a lot of traffic from Pinterest, so I feel that a presence there is very helpful.  Make sure you use specific descriptions in the properties tags for your photos.  This will help them show up in search results if someone is looking up something in particular.

Just make sure that you know what you want your blog to be, how much time you want to spend on it, and don't get caught up comparing yourself to others.  I still have trouble with this last one from time to time.  If you have more specific questions or want to chat more in depth, you can email me any time.
Rachel asks:
What is your skin care regimen?

On my days at home, I use a toner in the morning, followed by a mist and an SPF moisturizer.  At night, I cleanse with a face wipe or toner, then apply an eye cream and moisturizer.  If I have a blemish, I apply tea tree oil day and night (and sometimes throughout the day since I work at home).

Days that I leave the house are a little more involved. I add a mattifying moisturizer and SPF eye cream in the AM.  At night, I use a combination of a cleanser, face wipe, or toner to get my makeup off.  I follow that with an eye makeup remover before I moisturize.  About every other night I use a face serum as well.  Usually these are samples I have through beauty boxes because a little goes a long way and they take a while to use up.

Occasionally, I apply a mask.  My biggest issues are oily skin and large pores, so I try to use masks directed at those issues. Also, I exfoliate a few times a week with a face scrub.

Jenny asks:
What are your favorite skincare products?
I've found some of my go-to products from samples. While I still love trying samples I receive through beauty boxes or purchases, I tend to keep buying the full-size products that I have come to love the most.  Below is a list of what I use regularly.  I've also included suggestions of other products I love that I have tried through multiple samples with great results. 

Product Type Product Names
Cleansers - First Aid Beauty Deep Cleanser with Red Clay
- Derma e Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Cleanser
Scrubs - Dollar Shave Club Dr. Carver's Prep Scrub
- Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion
- You can also mix baking soda into your favorite cleanser and use that as a scrub. I keep a plastic container of baking soda in my shower to mix into my cleanser.
Face Wipes - Yes To Coconuts Cleansing Wipes
(I also love the blueberry and cucumber wipes)
Eye Makeup Remover - Klorane Make-up Remover Water with Soothing Cornflower
Toners - Pixi Glow Tonic
- Botanics Cleansing Toner (Also available at Target)
Tea Tree Oil - Healing Tree Naturals Tea Tree Oil
(I found it at my local Whole Foods-like grocery store. It works SO MUCH FASTER than The Body Shop tea tree oil I was using. Way better quality)
Mist - First Aid Beauty Vitamin Hydrating Mist
Serums - InstaNatural Age-Defying & Skin Clearing Serum
- It Cosmetics No. 50 Serum Collagen Veil Anti-Aging Primer
- Also recommend KORRES Golden Krocus Ageless Saffron Elixir Serum
Moisturizers - Dr. Brandt Pores No More Anti-Aging Mattifying Lotion (day)
- Jack Black SPF 20 Face Moisturizer (day)
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream (night)
- Samples I am have tried and been really impressed by: Caudalie Vinosource and Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream*
Eye Creams - Mineral Fusion SPF 16 Brightening Eye Cream (day)
- Supergoop! Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Cream Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 37 (day)
- Derma e Hydrating Eye Creme (night)
* The Sunday Riley Cream is the first moisturizer I have used where I woke up without oily skin.  Usually I am very greasy in the morning.  This made my face so soft and smooth and oil-free.  Amazing!

Thank you to everyone who sent in a question!  Remember, you can continue sending in questions via email, social media, and that "Ask Me Anything" sidebar link.  I will continue to compile them and answer them in posts like this.

1 comment

  1. I like your white slip under your flowery dress do you always wear slips? What colors and styles do you have? Do you consider them modern or outdated? Thanks