Beauty Fix: A new twist on the traditional red lip, a natural way to soothe eczema and more

Beauty Fix
Beauty Fix

Every week our Beauty Fix columnist takes on your questions about makeup, skincare, hair and more. Have a beauty question we haven’t answered? Email us at [email protected].

How can I stand out in a sea of red lips this holiday season?
If there’s one thing that we know, it’s that there’s nothing more classically festive (and frankly, quite predictable) than a red lip during the holiday season. If you’re the type of person who is more comfortable going against the grain when it comes to beauty, try a reddish lip instead. Dior’s Diorific lipstick in “Winter” ($40, at Dior counters), which is a berry shade with a hint of metallic gold sheen that catches the light, really sings when paired with a violet shade. (Which, by the way, is another shade of lipstick I highly recommend as an alternate to red lips.) Try the two shades together for an ombré look, with the berry shade applied all over the lips with violet blended in from the perimetre of the lips towards the centre. The result is a stunning deep-fuschia, which will definitely set you apart from the red lips that will be everywhere this holiday season.

I like fibre mascaras, but removal is a nightmare when the fibrous bits get in my eyes. Help!
Fibre mascara formulas are a short- or fine-lashed girl’s best friend. The fibres are built up on lashes in order to extend length and amp up the volume, which is obviously a desirable effect but it can come with an element of discomfort. Fibre mascaras usually remove well with water or the standard eye makeup remover, but they definitely require more than a single, clean sweep to budge. Ditch your current tube and grab L’Oréal Voluminous Butterfly mascara ($12, at drugstores), which is a fibre mascara that coats lashes individually instead of collectively, resulting in super separated lashes (also due to the innovative brush that flares lashes out). Best of all, this fibre mascara removes like a regular formula with no fibre bits in sight (or in your eyes).

I have mild eczema and dry patches that flare up in cold weather, but I’m apprehensive about using a hydrocortisone cream. Is there anything more natural that I can use to treat the dryness?
Your apprehension is understandable. While hydrocortisone treatments are generally effective, they can affect the skin in a couple of less favourable ways. Skin can become thinner with hydrocortisone use, making it more susceptible to tearing and it can also discolour wherever it is applied. For a more natural remedy, consider treating the area with oil for a heavy dose of hydration. Kosmea Australia’s Certified Organic Rose Hip Oil ($16, is an all-natural solution to dry, itchy skin, as it’s rich in fatty acids and antioxidants and the oil is light and easily absorbed by the skin for maximum efficacy with no side effects. Tip: this oil can actually be used on damp skin anywhere on the body where you want to boost moisture—face included!

Is it safe to exfoliate acne-prone skin? I’m concerned about causing further irritation.
This is a completely understandable concern to have when your skin is already in a reactive state. Acne-prone skin can become quite congested and finding the right type of exfoliant is key to addressing this congestion effectively. Any large or rough physical exfoliators are often too aggressive for acne-prone skin and may actually exacerbate any preexisting breakouts you have. SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub ($35, is a safe bet for acne-prone skin because it uses a naturally occurring microbead exfoliator that gently encourages cell renewal without being too abrasive, while the base of this exfoliator is rich in glycerin and aloe, making it both hydrating and soothing for acne-prone skin. You’re left with refreshed skin that’s delightfully smooth and comfortable.

What should I use to achieve a professional look when applying eyeshadow?
The real difference between a makeup beginner’s application and a makeup pro’s application is all in the tools used to achieve the finished look. Very fine-tuned blending is a sign of professional makeup application, as it minimizes any harsh lines and ensures a seamless look. Sigma Beauty’s The Perfect Blend kit ($63, is an excellent brush set that will help you step up your blending skills. Each brush in this set of six serves a precise purpose, such as diffusing shadow applied to the crease, softening the edges of a highlighting shadow applied to the brow bone, or blending colour all over the entire lid for a cohesive look. And of course, practice always makes perfect—but with these brushes you won’t be able to resist blending every shadow in your makeup arsenal.

More Beauty & Grooming