When I think of movers and shakers, the six women below come to mind. Whether they’re writing for magazines or appearing on TV shows, they all prove that beauty and brains aren’t mutually exclusive. As a fellow writer and spokesperson myself, I love hearing how other busy women manage to stay put together amid all the hectic demands of career and family. I asked these ladies to share their secret weapons when faced with common wardrobe and beauty woes, and this is what they told me.
Meet: Emma Johnson
Not only is Emma (pictured above) an award-winning journalist who writes for the The Real Deal, but she’s also an AM radio host for the nationally syndicated Emma Johnson Show and the blogger behind WealthySingleMommy.com.
Problem: Finding affordable, eco-friendly cosmetics that fit her lifestyle
Solution: “I’m not very interested in beauty products,” Emma says, “in part because I hate bottles and jars cluttering my home, and I don’t like the environmental impact of most of these items. But I like to look cute! Last year, I got turned on to raw, organic coconut oil ($12.89 at Amazon). It is an amazing facial cleanser. I rub a blob of it onto my face and neck each night, let it sit for a few minutes then wipe it off with a hot, wet washcloth. I’ve suffered acne-prone skin all of my life, and this natural blemish fighter initially surprised me in its ability to keep my pores clean and feeling cleaner than any other product.
“The extra bonus is that coconut oil can also be used as a full-body moisturizer, hair softener, and I have used it to remove fake tattoos from my kids’ skin. (A friend said it is also handy as intimate lube, FYI!) All this comes in a single, recyclable glass jar found at my local supermarket and lasts six months. No clutter!”
Meet: Kelli B. Grant
Kelli is a personal-finance expert and works as a consumer reporter for CNBC.com. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and more.
Problem: Tough stains
Solution: “Seltzer is a go-to drink for me, and it’s a cheap stain fighter, too!” Kelli says. “I’ve had luck removing fresh stains like marinara and soy sauce post-lunch, and—sorry, gross—even helped a friend after a nosebleed stained her jacket. At home, I’ve used seltzer with salt to get red wine stains out of the carpet.”
Problem: Expensive—and frequent—trips to the dry cleaner
Solution: “I’m a big fan of the Dryel at-home dry-cleaning kits ($6.97 at Walmart), which let you freshen up dry-clean-only garments like dresses and cashmere sweaters in your dryer at home,” Kelli says. “You take them in for professional cleanings less often, which saves you cash. A label reading “dry clean only” is pretty clear, where just “dry clean” means you can often carefully wash it yourself at home.”
Meet: Kelly Kovack
With 20 years of experience in the beauty industry, Kelly is a principal atBrand Growth Management and co-founder of Odin New York Fragrances. She also does color forecasting for the Color Association of the United States.
Problem: Looking polished
Solution: “I always have the staples with me to be able to take a business meeting on the fly or go from office to an evening event at a moment’s notice,” Kelly says. “I keep just the basics with me at all times and have a backup set at the office: Peter Thomas Roth CC Cream($43.64 at QVC), black mascara, Shu Uemura Seal Brown Hard Formula Brow Pencil ($23 at Shu Uemura) and NARS Lip Pencil in Hyde Park ($26 at Bloomingdale’s). Being an entrepreneur, you never know when an opportunity will cross your path, and first impressions are everything.”
Problem: Making a bold lip last
Solution: “I don’t wear a lot of makeup, so I’m a big fan of a dramatic lip,” Kelly says. “But there’s nothing worse than constant touch-ups or worrying about bleeding or fading. Make Up For Ever Lip Liner Raspberry ($19 at Make Up For Ever) is my secret weapon. You can create the perfectly lined lip, and if you use it to fill in the lip, it provides lasting color all day or night with minimal attention. Use it alone or layer a lipstick on top. This color is the perfect ‘neutral’ base for any red-toned lipstick. The best part is it’s not a stain, so it comes off easily with makeup remover or cleanser.”
Problem: Sore feet from stilettos
Solution: “I love heels just as much as the next girl,” Kelly says, “and the higher, the better. But I always have a pair of ballerina flats in my bag just in case. The Corso Como Ballasox Stretch Flats ($29.99–$75 at Corso Como) fold in half and easily fit into a purse. Better safe than sorry. Hobbling around in shoes that hurt is never an attractive look.”
Meet: Andrea Panico
Andrea is an industrial designer and the founder of Pico Means Little, a collection of modern heirloom jewelry—and a brand that I am obsessed with. Pico is short for the Italian word piccolo, which means little or small. That’s why it should come as no surprise that Andrea believes that the little things in design are crucial.
Problem: Deodorant marks on clothes
Solution: “Many years ago, my mother-in-law gave me this sponge($5.99 at Ulta) that removed deodorant from clothing,” Andrea says. “I used it for so long, and then one day it went missing, and I was lost! I happened to have one of those foam paintbrushes (40 cents at Dick Blick) in my basement, and I used it as a replacement. It worked like a charm! I’ve since replaced it with another ‘official’ sponge, but now I know if I ever lose it again, I can just pop into the hardware store and fix the issue quickly.”
Problem: Pet hair and lint on clothing
Solution: “If you have any of those UPS or FedEx label pouches($5.50 for 50 at eBay), they work great to remove animal hair and pilling or fuzz from sweaters,” Andrea says. “Just peel off the sticky backing, and put your hand inside the pouch. Then use this ‘sticky glove’ to pat yourself down. Instant fuzz remover!”
Problem: Tarnished silver jewelry
Solution: “At work, we typically use commercial cleaners to remove tarnish from our jewelry,” Andrea says. “But if I’m at home and want to wear a piece to an important meeting, but I don’t have silver polish on hand, I use ketchup (yes, ketchup) to remove light tarnish. Put a bit in a small bowl, dunk the jewelry in it, and rub it in with a toothbrush (soft-bristled only!). Then rinse under cold water and dab with a soft cloth. Tarnish gone.”
Meet: Tess Paras
As an actress-writer extraordinaire, Tess recently guest-starred on NBC’s Grimm and has appeared on FOX’s Mulaney. Stay tuned because she will be on this season of Switched At Birth and Girl Meets World.
Problem: Flyaways, chapped lips, dry skin, smudged makeup, you name it
Solution: “I carry a 1-ounce bottle of coconut oil in my purse for last-minute beauty fixes,” Tess says. “I use it for chapped lips, as a hand moisturizer and to remove minor makeup smudges, especially since my eye makeup tends to migrate under my eyes after a long day, no matter what I do! It’s also great to use on your hair for taming flyaways!”
Meet: Jennifer Walsh
Jennifer has been working in the beauty-retail scene for 17 years. In 1998, she founded The Beauty Bar, a fabulous beauty boutique that stocked the best indie beauty brands,, and most recently, she’s launched Pride & Glory, the country’s first collegiate beauty brand that gives back to each school it works with.
Problem: Unkempt eyebrows
Solution: “Between groomings, eyebrows can get a bit unruly,” Jennifer says. “To prevent this, spray a bit of hair spray (my favorite is Oribe Superfine Hair Spray) on a brow brush, and brush through your brows. Voilà! Perfectly groomed brows that really stay put.”
Problem: Frizzy hair
Solution: “So many women complain about not being able to tame frizzy hair when they are blow-drying or styling after the shower,” Jennifer says. “An easy fix is to get away from the humid environment of the bathroom and blow-dry and style your hair in your bedroom.”
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