An easy way to fake winged eyeliner

For some women — including me — winged eyeliner is one of the most difficult makeup tricks to master. It requires a steady hand and precision, and even then it’s easy to botch things up.  

After a lot of trial, error and smears, it’s easy to just give up.  After all, wings have to be done right or they’re just wrong. By right, I mean they need to be clean, crisp, even and sharp enough at the point to stab your man. (Not, of course, that you’d want to. Most days, anyway.) 

While you’re working to perfect your wing, there’s a simple way to give your eyes the lift they need to look younger. Because, yes, wings are sort of like a cosmetic eye lift. Droopy, sagging corners drag your eyes down and make you look older. 

Here’s the trick: 

  1.  Take a piece of wrapping tape and put it on the back of your hand. Stick and remove it a couple of times to get rid of some of the tackiness.
  2. Angle the tape from the corner of your bottom lid to the outer edge of your eyebrow. Don’t angle it out much further, because a general rule is that your shadow should never flare out too far beyond the tail of your eyebrow. I extend mine slightly because I have close-set eyes and doing so makes them appear further apart. 
  3. Apply your eyeshadow as usual, extending the color over the edge of the tape. You can be messy; there is no need for precision. 
  4. Gently remove the tape.  

Voila, a sharp edge to your eye makeup that gives your eyes a lift. You can make the “wing” appear more dramatic and winglike by using dark shadow at the corner of your eye. 

Five quick tips for taking a good selfie

They say that for every good selfie posted to Facebook and Instagram, there are dozens of nearly identical selfies that didn’t make the cut. That’s pretty much true, unless you learn the angles and lighting tricks needed to get it right the first, second or third time.

Because I do makeup looks of the day for my Instagram account, I take plenty of selfies. (Shameless plug: I’m Makeup_Plus_50 on Instagram.) But it doesn’t take me long to get the photo of the day because I’ve learned these five things:

1. When holding your phone or camera, make sure it’s slightly above eye level. If you have any kind of double chin at all, photos taken straight on or (God forbid) from below chin level will exaggerate the chin issue and also make your face look fatter.

2. Along the same lines, don’t “turtle” your neck by pulling it in. Extend your chin forward a bit to elongate your jawline. Again, this is especially important if you have a double chin or wattle.

3. Know your angles. Our faces aren’t symmetrical, so most of us really do have a better side. Most of my photos are angled toward the right side of my face, which is younger-looking and fuller than the left. However, when I’m going for chiseled and elegant, I shoot from the left side.

4. Find your light. When you get ready to take a photo, look at yourself on your camera screen from several different angles to find the most flattering light. I personally use my front porch for photos. Depending on the time of day, I get the best light while sitting on my front porch steps or by standing at the edge of the front porch, looking toward the sun from just under the edge of the porch roof. I also find that the light varies by time of day: Morning photos have a cooler tone and evening photos have a golden wash.

5. Beware photo touch-up apps.  There are plenty of apps on Android and ITunes that allow you to “clean up” your photos, but don’t go crazy with them. There is nothing wrong with zapping a pimple or an under-eye shadow, but don’t go wild with Photoshop. You want to look like yourself, not like a cartoon version of yourself. And for goodness sake, avoid the apps that allow you to add makeup to your photos. It may look fine in thumbnail-sized photos but it’s obvious and pixilated when the photos are enlarged!

The bottom line is that everyone can take a good selfie if they follow a few simple “rules.” It’s all about angles, light and composition.

Bonus tip: Want your eyes to look great in a selfie? Think about something that makes them come alive. I always pretend my eyes are sending a message to someone I love!

A frog worth kissing

imageSometimes the packaging and concept suck me in, and such was the case with Lipstick Queen’s Frog Prince lipstick and blush. After all, what girl hasn’t kissed a frog or two? And who doesn’t want to believe that our lives are touched by the transformative power of magic?

The Frog Prince lipstick and blush are shades of green that would do any hopping reptile proud, but once applied to the lips and cheeks, they turn to a pretty shade of pinky mauve. A bit kitschy? Well, yes. But fun nonetheless, and actually lovely in action. Warning: These shades are fairly light, so they’re probably best suited to fair-to-medium skin tones.

The bottom line? These two handsome princes have something magical going!

What’s in my shower?

imageI love my shower, not to mention my bath. I’m usually a two-per-day person, taking either two showers or a shower in the morning and a bath at night, simply because I like to feel clean.(One of my idiosyncrasies is that I don’t have breakfast until after I’ve showered because I like to feel fresh while eating.)

With that confession behind me, let’s talk about what’s in my shower right now:

Two facial cleansers: I’m alternating between Skyn Iceland’s Glacial Face Wash and Boscia’s Tsubaki Cleansing Oil Gel. It only takes a pea-sized amount of Skyn Iceland’s product to work itself into a luxurious, gentle, creamy not-quite-foam.  It includes willow bark for stressed skin and I haven’t had a blemish since I began using it. Prior to that, I’d been having stress-induced breakouts in my chin area. The Tsubaki oil is more moisturizing and I use it when I’m removing makeup. I love the way it slides on my skin — it feels like a lovely facial.

A deep-pore cleanser: I genuinely love Soap & Glory’s T-Zone Detox Scrub. It’s tingly and cooling and gets down into my pores, cleaning out all the sebum and debris that causes breakouts and dulls skin.

Body cleansers and scrubs: I love products that make my bathroom and me smell scrumptious. Right now, I’m alternating between Vitabath’s Cucumber & White Tea for a subdued scent and Pacifica’s Indian Coconut Nectar, a longtime favorite, for a stronger, exotic and sultry effect. When I feel the need to exfoliate, I reach for Bath & Body Work’s Sweet Magnolia & Clementine Body Scrub. 

Shampoo and conditioner: I keep brassiness out of my blond hair with AG Hair Care’s Sterling Silver Toning Shampoo and Conditioner, the most effective anti-brass products I’ve found. When I want some sassy bounce, I reach for Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Foam Wash and Surf Creme Rinse Conditioner. 

Cleansing tool: To make sure my face gets the deep cleaning treatment it needs and that my products work to the best of their abilities, I wash with the Foreo Luna Facial Cleansing T-Sonic Brush. I prefer it to Clarisonic-type brushes because the silicone “fingers” seem more sanitary and less damaging to my skin.

Shower puff: I never use a washcloth in my shower. I prefer to use the netting scrubbers I buy in bulk at Rite Aid. One side is netting and the other is a loofah.

Until next time, keep things clean!


Make it a double: Two-toned lips are a big deal

 Some guys are leg men, others are into breasts and some have a thing for perfect, pouty lips. Give the latter group a thrill with one of the latest lipstick crazes: ombré lips. 

What, exactly, are ombré lips? They’re two-toned lips, created by using two different but complementary shades of lipstick. Most commonly, the darker shade is used to line the lips and darken the corners, with a lighter shade applied to the center. Another option is creating “Popsicle” lips by applying the darker shade in the center. It looks like you’ve been sucking on a Popsicle that’s transferred color to the inner portion of your pout. 

Whichever way you go, remember to blend. There should be no harsh lines involved in this look, just a seamless merging of the two shades. Try it! An extra benefit is that it will make your lips look larger. And who doesn’t want larger, more luscious, more kissable lips? 

Pictured: NYX Ombré Lip Duos, from top, in Pink Bubbles & Caviar, Peaches & Cream, Poppy & Lily, and Bonnie & Clyde. 

Keeping a journal: Life is in the ‘dash’

At the end of everyone’s life, there’s a dash; one that links their year of birth and date of death. That simple little dash represents a lifetime of experiences, from first dates to last dances, from youthful optimism to middle-age crazy, from cradle to the grave.

I thought I knew my grandmother, my father’s mother. She was a constant in my life, particularly during my college years and beyond. What a character she was, by turns generous and selfish, kind and cruel. The only girl among six brothers, she was named Lady Iola because her mother wanted her to be addressed like royalty. Perhaps that went to her head, because she lived life her way, taking no prisoners and making no apologies.

Lady Iola was daring, bold and vivacious. She was a flapper girl and a scandal in her small South Carolina hometown. She bobbed her hair, she went to wild parties, she rode down Main Street standing on the running board of handsome boys’ cars. She tinted her cheeks with red crepe paper when makeup was forbidden. And she married my handsome grandfather not once, but twice.

IMG_0389All of these stories she shared with me, and I thought I knew her well. She lived into her 90s, growing more tempestuous and demanding as the years went by. She had a tongue that could soothe in one moment, cut you to the quick in the next.

Not long before her death, Lady Iola gave me something special: her combination scrapbook and journal. In those pages, I discovered a woman I’d never known. Inside the book were vintage Valentine’s Day cards from boys she’d known and loved, well-read letters from friends and beaus, and photographs I’d never seen: my grandmother as a young bathing beauty, a flapper, a World War II single mother, a 40s glamour girl. There was even a card from my grandfather mourning the death of a premature baby, which was a sorrow she never shared. I read the pages and mementos time and again, discovering new secrets, new facets of the woman I thought I’d known so well. I was proud and honored that she’d shared such private memories with me. IMG_0387

Reading my grandmother’s journal prompted me to build a journal of my own. For me, it’s a record of my past — a way to go back in time to relive moments, some happy and some less so. It’s the story of triumphs and failures, of memories tender and terrible, of friendships won and lost, of good boyfriends and bad breakups. Like my grandmother, I’ve saved cards and letters, remembrances of people who wandered into my life for a short time as well as those who entered and stayed. There are trinkets too: a dried homecoming mum, ribbon still attached, from the first boy I ever dated; tickets to the Broadway play I attended with a college beau; tickets to my first college football game; playbills from shows attended with my husband.

What will happen to my journals? Perhaps they’ll go to an as-yet-to-be-born grandchild. Perhaps they’ll go to my daughter. I hope whoever reads them is as entranced as I was by my grandmother’s journal, for they’ll tell the story of a woman who was more complex, more unique and, yes, more interesting than she might have sometimes seemed — a woman who was loving but flawed and who lived a rich life during the dash.

Amazing in April: Monthly favorites in makeup, music and more

 All I can say is, “Thank goodness the first four months of 2016 ended on a high note!” I’ve just returned from a wonderful cruise that reset my attitude and snapped me out of a two-month funk (more on that later, because it had a definite impact on my music favorites for the month). But first, let’s talk about my beauty loves for April:

  • Josie Maran Vibrancy Foundation — The gorgeous pop-of-color packaging caught my eye. But as a foundation connoisseur, I have to say my first Josie Maran foundation is a winner. The Argan Oil-infused formula provides great medium to full coverage and leaves my skin feeling soft and moisturized. It also provides just the right amount of radiance without veering into greasy.
  • Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara — If you’re looking for inky-black lashes with major volume, give this a whirl. I prefer “dryer” mascaras, so I liked the formula better after using it for a few weeks.
  • Benefit Cosmetics Cheekathon Blush and Bronzer Palette — This value-packed bundle includes four full-sized pans of Benefit’s best-loved blushes, as well as the beloved Hoola bronzer. Although the packaging is somewhat bulky, it’s still a great take-along for extended vacations.
  • Giorgio Armani Maestro Liquid Summer — This is a cult favorite and I can see why. It truly is like summer in a bottle. I use it two ways: mixed with my regular foundation for an all-over bronze look or as a bronzy liquid contour. It is pricey, so if that’s a concern, Perricone MD’s No Bronzer Bronzer is a good alternative.
  • Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Primer with SPF 35 — A great combo product that did right by me on the beaches of the Caribbean. I remained burn-free and clear-skinned.
  • Givenchy Memoire De Forme Pop Up Jelly Blush in Rose Extravagent — A cream-verging-on-liquid blush in a cute little pot that provides a long-lasting, moisturized glow. Don’t let the color scare you — it’s intense! But on the cheeks, it provides a natural, rosy flush of color.
  • Surratt Beauty Prismatique Eyes in Style Eyes — These convenient pots include a matte cream shadow in one compartment and a shimmering topper in another. Style Eyes is described as an ambiguous heather. I’d say it’s a dusky purple-mauve that provides an air of elegance. It pairs well with Nars’ new Dominique Audacious Lipstick, which is a deep pink-lilac. img_0781
  • Lipstick favorites, pictured clockwise from top left: Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in Oh Miley!, a bright strawberry red; Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Dusty Pink, a muted nude rose; Tarte Lip Sculptor and Lip Gloss in Renegade, a rich, gleaming berry rose.

Movie favorites: “Joy,” starring Jennifer Lawrence as a struggling single mom working to bring her innovative invention to market (, Netflix); “The Witch,” a creepily enthralling film about witchery in the Puritan era (theaters); “Nothing Left Unsaid,” an engrossing documentary about the lives of Anderson Cooper and his fascinating mother, Gloria Vanderbilt (HBO On Demand).

Television favorites: “The Amazing Race,” always a favorite (CBS); “Mercy Street,” about the lives of nurses and doctors in Civil War hospitals (, “Game of Thrones,” which is back with a vengeance and a fast-moving plot (HBO).

Music: As I mentioned, it’s been a rocky year thus far. I lost two friends to cancer and a dear mentor two weeks ago to a freak head injury. My playlist, for those reasons, might have been a bit darker than usual. Album-wise, I’ve been listening to tried-and-true classics: “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” by Derek and the Dominoes, Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” and Carole King’s “Tapestry.” As for singles, I’ve been into Prince’s “Purple Rain” and “Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” Sam Smith’s “I Know I’m Not the Only One,” and “Take Me to Church” by Hozier.

Remember, strength is beauty. Hold your head up, smile and look to the future. – Ronda

Hello, it’s me: Answering your questions



Let’s talk makeup, skin care and more


Hello, friends! I’m just back from a cruise vacation and am easing my way back into the real world. My April favorites blog will go up soon, but I thought I’d take a few moments on a rainy Sunday to answer the questions I’ve received here and on Instagram. Some are about makeup and others are more personal, so this will be a mix of both. Diving in …

Q. How did you get into makeup and skin care?

A. Not to be a downer, but a lot of it was driven by my battle with cancer. I’d really never paid that much attention to skin care until chemotherapy, which was hard on my skin.  At first, I was on a skin resurrection journey. I made a New Year’s resolution to never go to bed without cleansing and moisturizing. When I saw what a difference it made, I added other products into the mix. By the way, I’ve kept that resolution. I’m even a little superstitious about it, so I do my routine every night without fail.

Q. Are you really over 50? Why don’t you have wrinkles?

A. Yes, I’m really over 50. I’m 56, in fact. And I’m not wrinkle-free! I do have a few fine lines, but nothing horrifying. Part of it is good genes; the rest I credit to being committed to good skin care. Morning and night after cleansing, I use a toner, a serum, a moisturizer, a neck- and chin-firming cream, an eye cream and a lip balm.  At night, I add a sleeping oil (Sunday Riley’s Luna). I also use targeted beauty masks several nights per week and always use sunscreen. About twice per year, I get some additional help in the form of Botox at the corners of my eyes, as well as a very tiny bit of filler to make my bottom lip symmetrical.

Q. What is your advice for women with aging skin?

A. Adopt and stick to a skin-care regimen.  Exfoliate. Have facials. Wear sunscreen every day and stay out of the sun when possible. Too much sun is incredibly aging. The same for smoking, so stop. And drink in moderation, because too much alcohol speeds up the aging process by causing wrinkles, loss of collagen and elasticity, dehydration, redness and puffiness. Oh, and wear sunglasses to keep from squinting.

Q. Are you married? Any children? Do they read your blog?

A. Yes, I’m married and we have two adult children. My husband is a newspaper editor. He’s much quieter and more private than I am. I never meet a stranger, which both horrifies and amuses him. Our daughter Elizabeth recently earned her PhD and decided to give back by working with Teach for America for two years. Our son James graduated from college several years ago and works for a pharmaceutical company. As for reading my blog: No way! Every once in awhile, my husband checks out the makeup looks on my Instagram page and tells me if he sees one he particularly likes or dislikes, but that’s about it. Elizabeth has perfect skin — even and poreless. Her makeup routine is limited to BB cream, blush and neutral eye looks. Every once in awhile she humors me by letting me do her makeup. James just thinks I’m his wacky mom.

Q. If you could only use one brand of makeup for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A. I started to say MAC because they have such a huge catalog of products, but I would have to go with Marc Jacobs. The quality is exceptional and I’d need my favorite Le Marc Lip Creme lipsticks at hand. Clara and Slow Burn are my current crushes.

Q. What product do you have the most of?

A. Definitely lipsticks. I have lots of them, ranging from the nudest nudes to fiery reds. I have very pigmented lips, so I didn’t start wearing lipstick regularly until I was in my 30s. Now, I see lipstick as a form of self-expression. Plus, I think my lips are one of my best features.

Q. What is your favorite lipstick?

A. That’s hard, because I have so many! I’ll cheat a little and give you one from each color family. Nude: Whisper by Nudestix. Light pink: Penelope Pink by Charlotte Tilbury. Bright pink: Clara by Marc Jacobs. Coral: MAC Vegas Volt. Purple: Dominique by Nars. Muted red: Lost Cherry by Charlotte Tilbury. Traditional red: MAC Red.

Q. If you could use just one makeup item, what would it be?

A. As much as I love lipstick, I’d have to choose mascara! It makes a huge difference.

Q. Your recent photos look different. Have you had work done?

A. No, and I’d tell you if I had. I’ve lost just over 20 pounds and it is evident in my chin and jaw line. I was worried that losing weight would leave me with sagging skin along my jaw and on my neck, but so far so good. I’ve been using Algenist’s Firming & Lifting Neck Cream.

Q. How have you lost the weight? Are you on a particular diet plan?

A. No plan, just healthy eating. I drink a fruit smoothie for breakfast; have a salad, soup or Lean Cuisine meal for lunch; and dinner is a small steak, chicken breast or fish with a vegetable. Ice cream — and particularly Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate — is my weakness, but I’ve replaced it with sherbet. I’m not on a diet. I’ve made a permanent lifestyle change.

Q. Where do you get the quotes you post on your Instagram page?

A. From friends, from random internet searches, from other people’s Instagram feeds. I love quotes and clearly others do too because they get a lot of likes and seem to inspire people. Sometimes they reflect the way I’m feeling and other times they don’t. I just choose quotes that appeal to me and that I think others will relate to.

Q. You review a lot of products. Are you paid for it, or do you get the products free?

A. No, not paid. And I wish! Nope, and I’ll tell you if I write a sponsored post.

Q. Do you have pets?

A. I do! Two cats live with me: rescue kitties named Otis and Bea. They are siblings but Mama Cat apparently slept around because I’m sure they have different dads. Otis is a black and white “moo” cat and Bea is a gray tabby. I love them to pieces! My husband works in another state and our old man is with him — Sparky is a 16-year-old orange cat.  I would love to have a dog, but I travel a lot and that would not be fair.

Q. Who is your favorite makeup artist?

A. I like Lisa Eldridge’s work and watch her YouTube videos for tips. Her looks are always clean and wearable. Also, Wayne Goss has great, practical advice and reviews.

Q. Do you have a YouTube channel?

A. Not yet. I plan to start one as soon as I learn to edit videos.

Q. Who are your beauty icons?

A. Marilyn Monroe, because she just had an incandescent glow. And Elizabeth Taylor was so beautiful. On a more contemporary note, Scarlett Johannson.

OK, that’s it for now. If you have any questions, send them to me here or on Instagram. I’m Makeup_Plus_50. -Ronda