“I would like to do as French fashion editors do and stop wearing makeup to work. My hair and clothing are always polished. Good idea? Bad idea?” —Aurelie
Sounds like you’re ready for a big change. Make sure you ask yourself why. If you’re just looking to save a few minutes in the morning by doing away with your make-up routine, I wouldn’t say that it would be a good idea, because laziness never pays off in the fashion department. If you feel you want to simply want to start toning down your make-up for work, that might be a good idea, providing that you feel confident about dropping certain cosmetic products in your usual routine, and really softening up. I find it hard to imagine that you’re thinking of going to work totally bare faced. After all, even a bit of tinted moisturizer, mascara, and lip gloss would give you that natural look you crave, without feeling like you were just doing away with make-up completely. So much depends on the kind of job you have. If you’re in a position where you’re not meeting a lot of people, and staying in the office most of the time, you may not be that inspired to wear much make-up. But I do always think a little make-up is nice—it makes it look as though you’ve put an effort into your personal style. Of course, “polished hair and clothing” are a must for anybody in the work force. I’m not sure that all French fashion editors abandon make-up for work. I think that may be a bit of a myth. But I certainly have seen many of them go for a more natural look. And that’s lovely. But remember, even these “natural” looks often involve a subtle, but skilled make-up application. As one gets older, less is often more: Certainly no need to go for a fully made-up look every day. It also depends on what kind of overall personal style statement you want to make. I would say that after years of wearing make-up to work, abandoning the practice altogether could take some getting used to. It certainly could be liberating, but is truly the kind of message you want to send? While great style is a universal subject, culturally, there are some subtle differences that go on. For example, a stylish French woman can get away with having only two or three little black dresses in her wardrobe, and constantly turning to them for any and every occasion. Here in North America, stylish women usually entertain a much more diverse wardrobe, and crave many more options. I’m not saying one approach is better than the other. They’re just different. My best advice, as always, is “To thine own self be true”. If you think you’d be happier, and look better, not subscribing to a full-out make-up application for work every day, go for it. But you could appear as though you’ve stopped caring. And that could be a dicey signal to send to your employers and co-workers. Then again, you might not care. If you’re not sure what to do, why not try going to work with less make-up for a few days and see what people say—if they say anything at all. More importantly, keep checking yourself in the mirror. If the image that’s reflected back pleases you, then stick with the no-make up look. When all is said and done, you’ve got to make yourself happy first and foremost. There are no real “rules” when it comes to these matters.
“I’ve had four hairdressers in two years. I just can’t commit to a stylist. How do I find one I like and stick with them?” —Monique
Well aren’t you a little run-around! Of course, I’m joking, but I do sympathize with you for not being able to have found true love on the salon circuit. Obviously, you’re not happy with what any of these stylists have done for you. So all I can recommend is to keep “dating”! There are so many talented stylists around these days, with so many great personalities, that you should be able to eventually find one who makes you look—and feel—fabulous. Once you do, I’m quite sure you won’t be interested in bouncing around. It can be very disconcerting and daunting to constantly be going to different stylists. Not knowing how your hair will turn out can be downright scary. Our sense of personal style is something that’s so very precious to us. We certainly don’t want “just anyone” to be toying with it. The more a stylist gets to know his or her client, the more the dialogue will increase, and the stylist will be able to advise better. I believe our hairdo’s can be such signatures for us: It’s important to collaborate with a trusted hairstylist who really knows us in order to concoct a perfect look. Incredibly enough, I’ve been going to the same hairdresser since 1979! My talented and beloved hairstylist is Gregory Parvatan, at the Rapunzel salon in Toronto—a gem of a guy who’s outlasted all kinds of love affairs, and even a husband! (Boy oh boy, the stories he could tell!) The charming Gregory not only understands my hair, and the best way to treat and style it, but he really gets me, has untold patience, and is very sensitive towards the style statements I want to make. Surely, if you ask around, you too would be able to find just the right hairstylist who would click with you, and not only be able to execute a great cut or colour or ‘do on you, but who would help you get a better sense of yourself and your image. But honestly, it is a bit of an audition process. So I encourage you to shop around, but always with the intention of finding someone to really ride with, at least for a while. I’m not suggesting you commit to a stylist for over three decades, the way I have, but I do tell you that a long-term relationship with one hairdresser can be a very beautiful thing. Then again, I guess I’m just an old-fashioned romantic. Besides, the more you get to know your stylist, and visa versa, the more pleasurable your salon experience is bound to be. There won’t be any second-guessing on his or her part when it comes to giving you what you want, and you’ll be able to wholeheartedly trust your stylist to tell you when something is—or isn’t—working on you. So don’t give up: Get out there and find your dream hair guy or girl. Your locks will love you for it!