Hiya Beauties!  I’m sorry if it seems like I’ve left you in the lurch recently, it’s just that, I’m fippin’ exhausted.  The year is coming to a close, my brain isn’t functioning and I have an RSI/Carpel Tunnel/gammy wrist situation happening, which is messing with my Instagram and typing game.  Not to mention the fact I can’t do yoga – the one thing that I know will make all this shit better. 

A couple of weeks ago, I promised you a newsletter if you subscribed to it and sent me in your biggest beauty concerns of the moment.  Some of you did, and that’s awesome, but I totally get that the rest of you don’t want your inbox being overrun by every blogger you find the slightest bit amusing.  God knows I don’t.  So instead of just sharing this beauty and style gold with a select few, I’m sharing it with you all, ’cause I’m nice, but they get the prize, ’cause I’m a petty.  Also, I’ve got a major case of ‘Kate is easily distracted in class’, and still haven’t worked out how to send an actual newsletter yet.  I get so angry at computers when I’m tired (and not tired).

Anyway, back to the good stuff.  The questions I received were all fantastic and very interesting (Karen and Anna, I’ll have to get back to you two, as I need more information).  It was super hard choosing a winner, but I’m awarding the inaugural prize for Letter of the Month, to Beth for her concerns about dark circles.  She basically read my mind, as I’ve wanting to write a post about this for ages and I think it’s an issue that many of us deal with.

So here we go…

Q: Okay, I am IN! My question is about concealers. I want one to cover my dark circles (which I might add have only appeared since birthing my child) without it looking like I have smeared brown crayon on my face. I also don’t want to pay a million dollars because I am tight or buggarise around with 34 shade selections. Thanks in advance. – Beth @ Almost Posh

A: Bloody kids. Ok, concealers, crap. There are soooo many options for concealers out there, but not all of them, in my opinion, are appropriate for the eye area. Also, everyone has different stuff going on under their eyes, and there isn’t really a one size fits all solution. So here is my advice for possible under eye concerns and how to fix them.

Dark Circles: These can be a varying shade of (mostly) purple. If they are your typical, run of the mill, tired mother purple, my advice is this – try to conceal what you can with your foundation, provided it’s not mattifying or powdery. A medium coverage liquid foundation will usually hide most of the darkness, so you should only need a little bit of concealer. Use a creamy concealer that’s not too drying, but sort of melts into your foundation (basically you want a slightly thicker version of your foundation so that it blends seamlessly). I’m using the Nude By Nature one at the moment, which is beautiful. It doesn’t sink into fine lines, nor does it sit heavily on the skin. It’s important to remember to only conceal where you need it. There’s no need to take your concealer to the outer corners of your eyes, unless there is something to cover.

Puffiness:  You also can’t conceal puffiness or shadows cast by puffiness. If, like me, you get puffy under the eyes and this casts a little shadow that looks like dark circles, then you need a second product, sorry. Highlighting pens have been around forever, and work a treat if used correctly. These are not concealers, but light reflectors and need to be applied carefully. Do not use a highlighting product on puffy areas as this will only make them stand out more. Puffy eyes should only need foundation applied to them. The dark line underneath the puff, however, is the perfect place to use a highlighting pen. It is usually a shadow and if you pull your skin tight, it most likely disappears. You can’t walk around holding your face all day, so run a little highlighting pen under the puff to draw this part out. I use the Physicians Formula one on the inner corner of my eye, then run it down under my eye bags and the nasolabial creases. It’s also fantastic for running underneath the eyebrow to give definition, as opposed to using a shimmery product.

Ok, so once you’ve applied your liquids, you will need to set them. If you have too much dewiness on your bags, then they will look even heavier, but at the same time you don’t want to matte that shit down completely. Use the finest setting powder you can get your hands on and dust it on sparingly. You are only wanting to set your concealer, not add more coverage. I like to use the smallest amount of the Nude By Nature Finishing Veil, as it doesn’t contain talc or any colour, it just holds everything in place with a silky soft finish.

Q: Have you ever tried a sticky bra?  I really want to wear a backless dress for a Chrimbo party and i’m a little nervous they might fall off or something. Any ideas?  I have quite small boobs btw.  Thanks.  – RC

A: Ok, this is a good one. I have had a silicone bra for ages that needs replacing. It gives a lovely shape and allows for more natural movement of the breasts under clothes. I do however find that it’s quite heavy and can weigh my boobs down, making them look saggier than they are. For this reason, I only wear it with dresses or tops that have an inbuilt shelf bra. The rest of the time my boobs are small enough, and have enough perk, that I can go without a bra, or if necessary, I’ll wear nipple covers. I have a silicone pair that are great if the fabric is thick enough to disguise the edges. If your fabric is flimsy, thin or sheer, I would recommend trying the paper ones or alternatively cutting the sticky end off of a thin band aid or surgical tape and holding your high beams down with that. I was at my niece’s 3rd birthday party last year and almost had a heart attack when my pretend nipples ended up on my foot. So my advice is to steer clear if the weather is sweaty and humid. The bras on the site that you’ve shared look like they’d be worth a try. My only concern would be with the fabric of your dress around the boobage area. Make sure that it’s not so thin that it will show the edges of the bra. Stick on bras don’t fit as neatly or as flush against the skin, and might ruin the look of your special party frock.

Q: Post 50, post cancer, post menopause. Consequently, my face has evolved into a peach. Yes, that old woman fluffy face syndrome. Kate, what is the best way to tackle this, I don’t like the way the fuzz makes my makeup look and I refuse to look (and act) my age. – Suzie

A: This is a bugger of a beauty dilemma. If your skin isn’t prone to breaking out after hair removal treatments that pull hair from the root, then I would suggest trying threading. Unlike waxing, threading doesn’t take any of your skin off, so it’s just removing the hair, making it gentler for your skin. It can also get to very fine and soft hair, giving you a super smooth result. My advice would be to try it on your upper lip first. If you don’t break out, then move onto the rest of your face – threaders specialise in this. If you do break out, then you’ll need to steer clear of waxing too. A gentle hair removal cream would be the next best option, though your hair will grow back quicker. I have to admit that I went through a period of using an electric shaver on my face, and while it gave me beautifully smooth results, the hair grew back quickly and prickly. Not ideal for a spontaneous pash fest.

Q: What natural skin care do you recommend for a 42 year old with prominent pores. Also some lines around the eye and oily T zone. And beginning to sag! (The less said about the CFS induced bags under the eyes the better!). Painting such a great picture aren’t I? I’m using the Nu’trir (?) masque and serum at the moment. Xxxx – Danielle

A: Prominent pores as we mature, can be caused by a couple of things. If you’ve had them your whole life, then this is just your skin type, which is probably oily/combination. Using products with Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA), can help to exfoliate the inside of the pore, which keeps them clean and prevents blackheads. Willow Bark is a natural BHA, and very gentle on the skin. One of the easiest and gentlest ways to get this on your face is with a daily toner. The Clarifying Toning Lotion from Ren (available at Mecca) has both BHAs and AHAs to give you the best non-abrasive exfoliation and help to control oil and enlarged pores. To give yourself an extra pore deep cleanse and detox, I recommend my favourite clay mask from Moreish Skincare. It is the most effective product I’ve used for temporarily shrinking your pores, especially before applying makeup for a special event. Neither one of these products is going to strip or dry out your skin. This is important, as you need to maintain balance with your oil production. Drying out your skin will only make your sebaceous glands produce more oil to compensate. Your skin should always feel comfortable and soft after using a product, never dry.

If your pores have only begun to open up in recent years and are getting worse, then you can probably contribute that to loss of elasticity in the skin. You mention the dreaded ‘sag’, so this could possibly be the cause. As we get older, our estrogen levels decrease, taking our collagen with it (we need estrogen to produce collagen). Collagen is responsible for our skin’s firmness and bounciness. Just as the skin on our cheeks and around our eyes start to relax, so does the skin around our pores. As this skin relaxes, it opens the pores up making them more visible. What we need to do in this instance, is firm the skin and increase our collagen production. Vitamin C is excellent for doing this, both applied topically with skin care and taken as food and supplements. Another great skin care ingredient is DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol). It’s like a gym workout for the skin, making it firmer and stronger. If your Nu’trir one isn’t giving you the results you want, I have reviewed a beautiful natural firming serum from Bella Lucce on my blog, and strongly recommend it. It has everything your skin could possibly need for firming and anti-ageing and you can use it around the eye area too. Their products are absolutely stunning. Madara (available from I Am Natural Store), have a product called Ultimate Facelift that I want to try, so I’ll let you know how I go with that too. Don’t be afraid to mix brands, especially natural ones, as one brand probably isn’t going to have everything for your specific needs.

As for the eye area, I’m still searching for the perfect eye cream. Using your firming serum around this area might be enough and just add in a cooling gel or eye serum to give you the feeling of being more awake. I like the Puretopia one with the rollerball. Inexpensive, yet it feels amazing, especially if you keep it in the fridge.

A very big thank you to all of you who sent me questions and comments.  I know that you’re not the only ones who are struggling with these beauty and style dilemmas, which is why I think it’s important to share the solutions here.   I hope the information is new and enlightening for you, and if you need more or you’re unhappy with the answers, then please let me know.

I think I have one more post in me before Christmas rolls around, and then I’ll be taking a little break.  I’ll be back on Instagram soon too, to entertain you with my dickhead ways each day, as you seem to really like it.  You’re special like that.

LISTEN : JAY-Z  99 Problems