What was that? You wanted to go to beauty school, but it just didn’t work out? You just HAD TO become a doctor? Don’t worry. I’ve got your back! I recently travelled to Paris by train for a press launch and had no WiFi (which happens, when you’re to cheap to spring for an international phone plan) and, therefore, had LOADS OF TIME on my hands for writing.

I’ve been wanting to write a feature on all the super-important (and surprising) beauty lessons that I’ve learned since I launched Hey Pretty in German nearly four years ago.

Not surprisingly, I could have easily gone up to a 20-point-plan here, and you might have guessed by now: Getting straight to the point is definitively not my forte. So let’s jump right into it!

  1. You don’t have to follow EVERY make-up trend

Just because everybody’s talking about strobing doesn’t mean that you have to wear a giant reflector on your cheekbone every day! AND I AM TALKING FROM EXPERIENCE HERE, I’ll have you know. Here’s some sound advice: If you want to give strobing, draping, graphic eyeliner, nail art, contouring or dark, matte goth lips a try, definitely do it. Just go for the less expensive brands to do so!

NYXWet’n’WildCatrice or even e.l.f. are great brands with a good selection of on-trend products that will be cheap enough to give nearly every newfangled hype a try, even if that hype’ll probably be over before it even began. But dang, they can be so much fun to try out. Neon-blue Eyeliner was a clear WIN!

Beauty Lessons: Trends are a CAN, not a MUST

  1. Yes, you need a face serum

Compared to me, the majority of my friends have a very pared-down beauty routine: cleanse, moisturize, done. If there was just one more step they could add, it would be a high-impact serum! 

The serum can and actually should adapt to your skin’s current needs. Personally, I use a repair serum at night, but change to either a brightening or moisture-boosting serum in the mornings, depending on what my skin looks like and whether I had Prosecco the night before or not.

Most serums contain more active ingredients than a regular day or night cream moisturizer. And layering – tapping the serum on your clean, dry skin and then adding your AM facial cream – just adds that little, but super-visible plus to your skin.  JUST GET ONE ALREADY!

Beauty Lesson 2: Get a Face Serum, Already!
Some serum-faves for every skin type by Biotherm, Clarins, Radical, Estée Lauder and Lancôme
  1. If a beauty treatment doesn’t feel good, say so

Even if you always want to please everyone: Doing it during a treatment makes no sense. So for once, don’t go with “silence is golden”.

If your beauty therapist is going to town on your pores and hurting you in the process, tell her so. And if your hairdresser pulls on your hair like you’re a doll… you guessed it.. TELL HIM OR HER SO!

Especially when you’re getting a massage, let your therapist know right from the start what you like, what you don’t like, where you’re feeling tender (usually they go through a detailed list to best suit your needs, but even if they do, tell them). Believe me, it’s so much more satisfying for both of you if you feedback sooner, rather than later, when it’s too gentle or too intense. They’ll be very glad for your input, and it won’t make you sound demanding. But having said that… you’re paying for your treatment, so you should enjoy it. Nobody can read your mind!

Beauty Lesson 3: Speak Up in Beauty Treatments
Do you want the hard, or soft option? I’m getting pretty good at getting my (spa) needs met!
  1. When in doubt, go for the more expensive moisturizer

And if you’re still reluctant, just run through the ingredients list and you will soon notice the difference between a cheaper and more expensive face cream. I don’t want to start a sermon on the ingredients themselves, but in general: Potent, active ingredients such as antioxidants or AHA acids are worth their price, whereas mineral oil or silicone are not.

Truth: The cheaper the care, the higher the amount of «fillers» such as glycerine or even water is. It’s not that they’re bad for your skin, they’re just not as effective. Since laws require the industry to list the ingredients from the highest to the lowest percentage, this serves at the time as an indicator on what and how many “working” ingredients a product contains.

But don’t get me wrong here: I’m not saying a 5$ moisturizer doesn’t work. If you love your NIVEA cream, go for it. It contains plenty of good ingredients, and certainly also takes good care of your skin. It’s just that my personal comfort zone lies somewhere in the middle and upper price range, anywhere from 30$ to $200.

Lesson 4: Moisturizers are worth investing in
These super-hydrators range from budget to luxe… and I liked ’em all: Dr. Kitzinger, Biotherm, Garnier, Swissline and Filorga.
  1. Use UV protection every. single. day.

Looking at my skin today, especially my chest and upper back, I could beat up myself for not having used UV protection before entering my mid-twenties. Even though I might be genetically predisposed for freckles, they were never meant to be as large as they are today… not to mention the fact that they seem to be joining forces and forming GROUPS, goddamnit!

With one single exception (a dermatologist who insisted that daily UV protection may actually do more harm than good), every single expert I’ve talked to in the past ten years agreed on ALWAYS applying UV protection. All my favourite beauty experts agree, and so do I. How about we meet up for coffee in, let’s say 15 years, just to have a look at what we were able to prevent? Grab your schedule, let’s pencil it in. And go get your SPF 50!

Lesson 5: Daily sunscreen!
Yep, the hat’s pretty fly. If only I had known that when I was twenty!
  1. Find your signature make-up style and really rock it

Even as a teenager, I read enough Cosmo to know that you focus either on your lips or your eyes… but not both. And this, I’ll have you know, was in California in the 1980s, which looked more like this:

Honestly, I sometimes just have to go for my signature, super-flicked cat-eye liner, combined with bright red lips (like the portrait below). But day-to-day, I tend to do just one of them.

Maybe it’s just me, but when I see a woman on the street (whether she’s young or old) with a complete face full of make-up; from perfect foundation, blush, contouring, brows, eye lids, eyeliner, mascara… AND intense lips, I respect her skill, but think: Who’s got time for that?* I personally think that it really looks so much better if you just stick to your red lips, work on your glow, add a bit of mascara.. Or combine smokey eyes with a nude lip.

*Um…. having said that.. I spend a minimum of 45 minutes a day on care, make-up and hairstyle. But I don’t necessarily want to advertise that, do I?

Lesson 6: Focus on one focal point and ROCK IT (Steffi Hidber of Hey Pretty)
This photo shoot was lame until I applied NARS’ «Dragon Girl» on my lips. MAGIC!
  1. Properly cleanse your face daily

One of my best beauty habits, at least for my skin? I never ever go to bed with make-up, and I wash my face twice a day with a facial cleanser. Of course, it depends on your skin type: Dry skin requires a different routine than oily skin. Skincare experts say that, if you cleanse properly the night before, you can also just rinse your face with water in the morning. Sleep won’t get you dirty!

My combination skin with the occasional breakout needs a complete restart every morning, and I feel that my skincare products work better on a clean, freshly cleansed skin (and don’t even get me started on exfoliating regularly!).

Lesson 7: Wash your face!
Cleansing for experts: Some great products by Aesop, Chanel, Clinique, Lush and my beloved Clarisonic
  1. Ease up on the foundation, already!

Your face is not a blank canvas. And upsets me, seeing all these beautiful young girls (and a couple of older ones) with layers of make-up on their faces.

We see it all the time, in magazines, but especially on social media with the Kim, Khloe and Ko: Not a freckle in sight, just matte, perfectly sculpted faces – highlighted and bronzed to perfection and usually paired with super-defined brows and heavy eye make-up.

Honey, I mean this lovingly: Even if you really have crazy make-up skills, you will never be able re-create the beautiful glow of healthy, natural skin. All those little imperfections actually make you look real and… alive. And hey, you don’t need to be airbrushed, that’s what concealer is for! It’s a fine line between «camouflage where necessary»  and «drag queen make–up artist».

Lesson 8: Ease up on the foundation!
As much as I love Patrick Starr… this isn’t my definition of beautiful skin!
  1. I will die before I find my perfect mascara

You won’t believe how many mascaras I’ve tried so far… it must have been HUNDREDS. But no matter how much they cost.. I still haven’t found my WOOHOO-THAT’S-IT mascara.

My favourites are these from CliniqueCovergirl and MAC. If that helps, and it might not, because my mascara love usually lasts for about two weeks. Until I fell in love with the next mascara.

Lesson 9: There's no such thing as the perfect mascara

  1. I am still no good with numbers

Did you notice? We only managed nine lessons, and not ten.. some things obviously never change!

SO THERE, children. School’s out for the day!

Now I’d love to know: What are your personal beauty lessons that you want to share? What are your personal beauty musts?

Let me know and leave a comment below. For us all!

Ten things I've learned (some the hard way) as a beauty blogger

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