What Have You Learned About Your Hair and/or Makeup This Year?

Published in: Just For Fun

This year was an eye-opener for me in terms of hair and makeup. I learned many things, like to make my next appointment at the salon before I leave the salon (otherwise, I’ll just forget, and by the time I remember, my roots will be out-of-freaking control), and how a messy sock bun can help you make it through one more day without washing your hair.


I also realized that Laura Mercier’s Flawless Fluide is basically a makeup miracle in a bottle, and Smashbox’s Pore Minimizing Primer is capable of some seriously amazing skin-smoothing feats.

But the biggest hair/makeup lesson I learned was to push past the point in my eye makeup when everything looks like a hot mess.

I call it: the metaphorical makeup hump

It’s that moment in the eye makeup application process that I like to call (air quotes) “the metaphorical makeup hump,” when you feel like you’ve just jumped off a bridge, and you’re plummeting to the ground, and you start to freak out because you’re not sure if somebody remembered to tie your bungee cord to something solid.

I learned that at this point you have to press on and push through the doubt; the look will come together eventually, if you Just. Keep. Going.

For me, the feeling usually strikes when I’m trying something out of my comfort zone, or when I’m doing a look where there’s very specific placement of dark colors, and everything looks terribly janky when I get to the hump, like a “don’t picture” in a “dos and don’ts” column in a glossy magazine (“Don’t do this!” and then you see a picture of me with half-finished smokey eyes looking all confused, haha!), but if I see it through, things usually fall into place.

How about you? What have you learned about your hair and/or makeup this year?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Merry Christmas Eve!


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So far, 23 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Dee says:

    Thnx for sharing those widdle bits of wisdom Karen:) Merry CHristmas btw!!
    After experimenting with so many dry shampoos I think I like Oscar Blandi and Got2B’s dry shampoos the most and learnt that they really can make your hair go up to even 2 days longer without an actual shampoo! Makeup wise I got some GREAT tips about false lashes that helped me find them less intimidating especially a tip about applying the glue to the lash line was invaluable!! Hmmm…I guess I didnt learn ALL that much bahah
    Dee recently posted … TRIED AND TASTED Ep.01 : Black Bean Brownies

  2. Sarah says:

    Hi Karen,

    I agree with the Smash Box primer. Do you know a cheaper product with the same results?

    I learned two things about my hair and makeup this year.

    1) I do not need to draw in my brows. I thought because it was the new thing, I needed to make dramatic eyebrows. I realize that simply shading my brows in is a much better look and I shouldn’t always have to jump on the new beauty train because everyone else is doing it.

    2) I’ve learned to love my hair. I have ethnic, kinky hair and I’ve learned to embrace it and wear it natural. I get a lot of compliments now.

    Happy Holidays to you, el hubs, and Tabs!


  3. Mariam says:

    Hi Karen! I also learned a lot this year! Hair wise, I finally learned how to control my fine, frizzy and abundant hair. I realised I could not wash my hair for a week and learned that my hair was really, really thirsty. I’ve been using the Alterna dry bamboo oil in the fine mist and it has been a serious game changer.
    Makeup wise, I’ve figured out that mattes are my best friend, except for lips. I’ve got it down to a simple routine that takes me more or less 10 minutes a day. I also learned how to take care of my nails and that going to a salon can be seriously damaging.

    Merry Christmas to you and can’t wait to see what 2015 will have in store for you! xoxo

  4. Remi says:

    Makeup wise I learned about primer, and how it is amazing. I never really used it before, but now I can’t do without. I also got much better about my brows – since mine are sparse and blonde I found that coloring them in made a world of difference in how I looked.

    My hair.. well, I learned that I am happiest when I have funky hair. Purples, pinks, silvers.. I love my colorist for a very good reason.

    Happy hols Karen!

  5. Alison M says:

    I am right there with you on scheduling a hair appt. I learned this lesson, but somehow haven’t put it into practice yet. I’m calling my stylist after Christmas to see if she can squeeze me in before New Year’s since I am a month overdue for a trim. (runs to set a reminder on phone) My makeup lesson this year is to stop wasting time on things I don’t love. For the longest time I thought I should just love it because it’s HG to everyone else. Or I should use it up because I bought it. But if I really don’t like something, or more importantly it’s just not working for me, what’s the point? There is plenty of other makeup-fish in the sea. This keeps me in check when making purchases so I don’t just buy stuff because I like buying stuff (let’s face it…I really like buying stuff!).
    Alison M recently posted … Cover FX BB Gel Mattifying Anti-Blemish Treatment Review, Swatches, and Demo

  6. Kwmechelle says:

    Hmmm, where do I begin? Beauty blogs have been a game. Changer. In my makeup loving life. I’ve learned how to sculpt my brows, naturally, how to highlight my under eye area (also with a more natural looking flare), and I’ve broadened my skills/technique in applying my shadows. I love color and I’m a neutral eyes kinda gal for daily wear, but I’ve pushed myself to become better at trying different looks. I’ve “up’d” my blush game & just started wearing blush this year. And I’ve learned that I can rock any lippie- bold reds, fuschias, purples, & vampy hues like MAC Cyber. Can you tell I’ve had a ball makeup-wise this year?

    As for my hair, I’m learning to continue to incorporate new things in order to help it grow. And healthy hair is the best hair any day, despite the length. Merry Christmas, my makeup addicted, cyber friend. Looking forward to learning even more in ’15 ☺️

  7. Beautyjunkie2012 says:

    I learned that having the right tools can either make or break the look I’m trying to achieve as far as makeup goes. In regards to hair….I have waist length curly hair…I’ll always be learning something new. But I will say that Camille Rose Naturals hair line for curly locks is my HG.

  8. Christine says:

    I finally learned how to do winged liner and make it look good!
    I wear glasses… I think part of it was that in the past I’ve worn smaller/heavier frames and felt like I just couldn’t have fun with eye makeup, so I just didn’t try.
    I have larger frames now and it really makes a difference! I’ve perfected my cat eye and it doesn’t look too heavy or make me feel like a raccoon.

    And my hair? I’ve learned while I can pull off a lob, I’m not truly happy unless I have what my stylist calls my “mermaid hair” – very long, slightly wavy, and so much more fun.

  9. Icequeen81 says:

    It has been a change, for me, I started again with doing hair mask, and and also making my own hair treatments, My hair looks healthier.
    I started doing more with make up, doing my brows, felling them in,
    and recently colored eyeliners, It has a been a good year for trying more on my skin , hair and make up

  10. Erin says:

    What I learned:

    1. I need to fill in my brows. Looking back at some older photos showed me how much thinning I’ve had from thyroid disease. I didn’t think it was that much but it’s massive.

    2. Chanel has more than nail polish worth buying. Unfortunate but true as I suspected for many years.

    3. SA’s will tell you you look good in anything to make a sale!

    4. I need to up my hair game, even if just a little.

    5. The world needs more fair colored beauty bloggers. I mean like NW or NC 5 – 15 territory.

    Things on my list to find/do for 2013:

    1. Warmer colors I can wear or mix with cooler colors to break out of my makeup rut and vary my look some.

    2. Up my eye shadow and liner game!

    3. A non-clogging sunscreen I can wear daily.

    4. Drink more water.

    5. Work out more.

    6. Fix up my blog some and work smarter.

    7. Find some good foundation options.

    8. Find a good daily makeup routine that I can put on in 5 minutes or less. I have one now that takes about 10 – 15. I don’t need to look perfect but just a little more polished with very little time.

    9. Create a mask library of a least 3 types of masks(exfoliating, moisture, and an all in one miracle worker) and make use to use them.

    10. Get a freakin’ pedicure and a massage. I’ve been really financially strapped but I need both. It’s been about 4 years since I’ve had either!
    Erin recently posted … Review: RVTZ 2012 Meritage

  11. Anita says:

    Love your ideas about the hair and beauty! I have dreamed of a Treasure Chest of the best makeup! Hopefully, one day. I want to try SmashBox primer for the pores. I notice my skin is better when I use better makeup! Merry Christmas!

  12. Nicole says:

    Hah love this. I learned to have a professional salon dye my hair because I was killing it, to always wear lip balm and sunscreen consistently, to use Korean skincare instead of U.S. brands, and that, no matter how much I love Aveda products, if I use them on my hair too much I get a dry cranky scalp. Merry Christmas to you, El Hubbs, and your cat-boss. 😀

  13. Tulipthecat says:

    Hi Karen,
    After seeing your post on the sock bun, I remembered my love for that hair style. I used to do that style a lot before I cut my hair and now that I’m growing it out again it’s a great style but not on kickboxing days. Make up wise I would say I learned that brows are important and that I can use liquid liner to save my life. Gel liner application has gotten better. Next year will be false lashes and better eyeshadow looks. Thanks for all of the inspiration!!! Merry Christmas to you, El Hubs, and Tabs!

  14. Suzanne C says:

    Well, hair-wise I learned, the hardest way possible, that I DO NOT look good in a bob of any kind. Also, don’t use the same hair color every time; mix it up by just a shade or two, otherwise my hair will be either brassy or greenish.

    As for makeup, I learned that Amazonian clay is The Bomb. I started wearing Tarte’s BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer. I don’t know why they call it a primer, because it’s not at all. It’s light coverage, but buildable, and it feels like you’re wearing nothing, even with a heavier application. And my skin is noticibly softer after I take it off. They of course stopped making my favorite Tarte eyeliner.

  15. Katherine M says:

    Love this post! Happy holidays everyone! I’ve learned a lot this year about hair and makeup.

    1) UD All Nighter and Chill setting sprays are awesome for making my carefully applied makeup last. They work great in the summertime, when makeup tends to slide off more easily. And they don’t make me break out.

    2) Balaclavas and bandannas work wonders, along with French braids or warrior braids (braids with a lot of ponytail holders to keep layers from poking out), for riding on the motorcycle and avoiding helmet hair. In fact, when I wear my balaclavas in the winter under my helmet, I rarely have to fix or re-do my hair when I arrive at work or my location.

    3) Blending is key to seamless eyeshadow looks. I just recently used your tips for smokey eyes (using the darkest color at the lashes and doing basically an ombre offect with dark to light), and they made smokey eyes a lot easier and prettier for me. In fact, I use those tips for layering pretty much all of my shadows unless I am going for a different look. Thanks!

    4) For days where I want to look halfway put together but not spend longer than 2 to 5 minutes on makeup (due to being sleepy), a good CC cream and concealer that works for under the eyes and zits makes all the difference. I am currently loving Maybelline’s BB cream with salicylic acid for problem areas, and Cover Girl + Olay CC cream or Physician’s Formula Super CC cream.

  16. Rachel R. says:

    Makeup: I learned I can pull off darker and brighter blush shades than I previoiusly thought. I was so used to everything being too dark on my fair skin, that I didn’t keep trying products. This year, I’ve found formulas have made leaps and bounds. There are sheerer formulas, brushes and techniques that make many more colors wearable for me.

    I also discovered I like vampy lips on me.

    Hair: To never give up. Nothing curls my hair, but TIGI’s deep waver gives me awesome, long-lasting waves. I’m thrilled.

  17. Michaela says:

    Hi Karen, one thing that I realized about make up is that in order for it to look good on your face, you do need to invest money (as well as the time) in good skin care products. I’ve been trying to develop a “regimen” that will do well for my skin. I’ve been trying different skin products, and was for a time, trying to emulate the “10 Step Korean Care” regimen that most Korean women are supposedly doing. After seeing the flawless supple skin of two Korean sales women (well passed middle age) at a make up counter, I thought I could emulate it, but with my busy American schedule, don’t think I could do such thing. Dermologica (which I am surprised you haven’t reviewed yet?) seems to be working for me. As for hair, I’ve been using Ouidad for my curly hair.

  18. The one thing I learned about my hair was no matter how much products I put in it to nourish, I just can’t outweigh the damage done by my various color (read bleach) experiments.
    When I lost a lot of hair (post baby shedding), the truth was there for me to see, so right now I am pushing through a “roots turning into ombre” phase and give it a break, fighting the urge to chop it all off and start from scratch.

    Makeupwise I am still learning how much color and drama disappear when you take a picture, and how much I still have to learn.
    Another important lesson is that great lighting is a must on your vanity… My project for 2015.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Christmas Time

  19. fancie says:

    One thing I learned about my hair this year is that it loves water. I don’t know why but my hair performs SO much better when I wet it first and then go about styling. As far as makeup, I really perfected my highlight and contour technique. Practice definitely makes perfect! I learned that applying makeup for your face type and some fierce blending will get you very far
    fancie recently posted … On Wednesdays We Wear Pink!

  20. Hehe, I recognize that feeling 🙂 ‘Ooooh this is going to be BAD… oh wait, it kinda turned out okay, hah!’ 🙂

    I learned this year that my skin – as blemished as it is – usually looks better and more fresh with just some concealer than when I use 500 different products to try and make it look flawless.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Some last-minute Christmas inspiration to get you into the Christmas spirit

  21. Ditte K says:

    I am with Alison M on the makeup tip – I know it sounds wasteful not to use sth up, but why waste my time on products I don’t love? Especially if someone else can find it useful.

  22. tirurit says:

    I must say thank you for the Laura Mercier foundation review as I am asbolutely loving it!
    tirurit recently posted … New: Kiko Daring Game eyeshadow palette in 03 Elegant Ebony

  23. PixieWitch says:

    This year i decided to grow out my natural color and to love the strands of glitter (gray) i am actually hoping for lots of gray. Ive been coloring my hair forever and ive been red now for years. Red is hard to keep. Special shampoos, stepping out of sunny places on the street, and needing to color often to keep it vibrant. I feel so free now that i am done with color. I wear it very short so growing it out is easy.
    Makeup wise, i learned to buy brushes with specific jobs like a lid shader brush. Also, I really focused on eyebrows. With the red hair i was using mac brown script or texture when the red hair faded a bit. There are not a lot of eyebrow products for redheads. Now that i am growing it out i can use the amazing Anastasia dipbrow in blonde. Even the auburn in this line wasnt red enough but the blonde is perfect.

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