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The Wardrobe Architect Week 8: Hair, Makeup, & Beauty


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The Wardrobe Architect is a popular series that ran in early 2014. It’s currently being expanded (with help and feedback from you) into a comprehensive toolkit. You can read all the posts here. If you want to give feedback and get first access when the toolkit is finished, enter your email:

I got my hair cut on Monday.

After months of letting my hair grow longish and shaggy, I knew it was time to return to my tried and true friend, the bob.


[selfie via instagram]

I’ve had bobbed hair off and on since I was 18 years old. That was the time, after months of waffling, I finally had my waist-length hair chopped off into a chin-length angled bob. It was the best hair cut of my life, and the moment I realized that I’m pretty much a short hair person.

Where I live, long hair is in. Cool ladies are rocking the messy 70s Jane Birkin thing. Elaborate and fun braided hairstyles are all over pinterest. There’s so much you can do with long hair.

But every time I get lazy and just let it grow, I feel trapped under the weight of all that hair. I feel like my face is hidden. It’s just not really me.

Beauty Signatures

Hair and makeup are so transformative and powerful. Few other things can completely change the way you look the way hairstyle and beauty products can.

That’s why I love the idea of having a few aspects of my look that I really don’t change. Finding just a few things I love and sticking with them gives me a feeling of continuity, that I look and feel like myself no matter what else I change or wear.

I also don’t waste as much time and money trying different products. I still play around with makeup once in a while or try a new lip color, but I have a pretty good idea of what fits my life, style, skin, hair, and facial features.

If I were to list mine, they’d be: coral lipstick (all shades, from peach to bright orangey-pinky-reds), natural skin and hair oils, short to medium length dark hair, amber and/or rose scents, and black liquid eyeliner.

I might change other things around, but I know I can always come back to these things and feel like myself in them.


[image above: Keira Knightley’s beautiful bob, Stila liquid liner, Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin which is my favorite perfume right now, MAC lipstick in vegas volt, and Herbivore hair oil]

Questions to ask yourself:

After thinking about it for a while, I came up with a list of 9 questions to help me narrow down my choices and think about other things that really work for me, and how I might adjust what I do and what I buy.

They might be helpful for you too:

  1. What hair style has been most flattering and comfortable for you? How did it make you feel about yourself? Did it invoke any of the words you came up with in our core style exercise?
  2. How much makeup are you comfortable with? It could be no makeup, or a full face with contouring (and all that jazz I could never figure out). Or it could vary day to day.
  3. How does your makeup and hair reflect your personal style? What do you feel they say about you and your aesthetics?
  4. How much product do you want to own? Do you like collecting products, or would you rather just have a few essentials? How much bathroom clutter are you ok with?
  5. What requirements do you have for the products you buy? Do you stick with all natural products? Are there ingredients you avoid?
  6. What colors feel best near your face? How do they relate to the color palette you created?
  7. What colors never look right near your face? What colors have you tried and given up on before?
  8. How much time do you realistically want to spend getting ready in the morning?
  9. What types of scents do you gravitate towards? Do you wear perfume? Other scented products? What do you feel the scents you like communicate about your personality?


  • After going through the questions above, add 3-5 images to your style board that reflect your own beauty signatures, or ones you’d like to incorporate.


Out of curiosity, what’s your morning beauty routine and how long does it take? Are you a minimalist, or do you enjoy the ritual of spending time on yourself in the morning?

I’d say I’m a little of both. I really do enjoy getting ready in the morning, sitting at my vanity with a little lavender tea candle lit (yes, really) and getting ready for the day. But I don’t usually spend more than 5-10 minutes on my hair (mostly drying it), and maybe 5 minutes on makeup unless I’m feeling fancy.

However, my vanity is completely cluttered with makeup I never wear, bottles with just a teensy bit of product left in them, perfume samples, and hair products I’m not sure I even know how to use. I definitely have a ways to go in learning to get rid of things like this.

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 95


I just had my hair re-bobbed too. Concave under the chin and dark is my go to.
My morning routine is just trying to find time to have a shower and brushing my hair … I have a toddler and I am preggers.
Still I do love products but really since having kids I have more mutitasker products and I enjoy having less bathroom clutter.


Wow, your new hair cut looks fantastic. It really suits you! I am also a bob person; I love the idea of having long hair, but when I grow it, I just tie it back in a ponytail every day.

Thank you for reminding me that my bathroom is looking cluttered and needs a clear out – I’m in the essentials only camp with hair and beauty products.


this is really interesting for me as i feel like my hair is the part of how i look that i struggle to get to fit any sort of personal style. it’s very thick, coarse and naturally curly and i have neither the time or the inclination to style it straight on a daily basis. it would take over an hour when it is washed – probably 1.5 hours and probably 30 mins each day. this is time i’d rather spend with my family or sewing to be honest! so i just leave it to dry naturally and it is long as i really have no ideas what to do with it.

i got fed up and cropped it really short about 10 years ago and it was so easy to manage but i hated it and so did hubby. i actually just booked a hair appointment this morning for saturday with a new hairdresser so i’ll need to have a think about what to do – maybe i’ll get some ideas rather than just getting it trimmed.


I would make sure your stylist is an expert in curly texture! I also have thick, curly hair and spent way too many years of my life straightening it. I finally discovered an awesome stylist who has curly hair herself and is trained in all kinds of curly-hair-cutting techniques. Seriously, the right cut for curls makes ALL the difference. Instead of ending up with frizzy curls that just hang, the right cut will make your curls bouncier, shinier, and perfectly formed.


Sounds like I have similar hair to yours and I find that just below the shoulders (or when wet, almost to my bra line) is the best length. It’s long enough that I don’t have to fuss with styling it if I don’t want to – just pull it back. But, if I do leave it down it’s long enough that it will hang rather than poofing out every which way. Finding a stylist that is familiar with curly hair is so helpful. I had one cut where she used a razor to texture just a little around the crown and it added a lot of (good) lift and made my curls looks so much more organized and “perfect” instead of messy.


I have long hair that I air dry, and wear no makeup. I’m a single mother, and our morning routine is rushed – I’m always looking for ways to simplify (not only my appearance). I really like the idea of having a consistent look, and for me, the easiest way to do that is doing nothing at all.

Isaboe Renoir

I really like your new ‘do; it really show off your eyes, nose and chin – you have the cutest nose!

I have very long hair; I’ve tried shorter lengths – shoulder and above – but they don’t feel like me. I’ve also spent most of my teenage and adult life with older women telling me “You’ll have to cut it of course when you’re older”. I’ve never really understood what they mean, and was always a little miffed; maybe women of a certain age used to always cut their hair very short? A few years ago at a conference on aging for women, one of the leaders I met had long, thick, flowing white hair – she was almost 80. I told her what an inspiration she was to me after hearing all my life I “couldn’t have” long hair after age whatever. So now I’m much more confident in keeping my long hair for life if that’s what I want.


It depends on the hair type you have. If you have thick hair, long will keep working for years (like my gramma with the ropes of braids in a swirl). If you’re me, it will keep breaking and breaking and cutting it will be a kindness. My collection of almost-empties is hair conditioner. With one bottle of 4711 way in the back.

Me, I love a brush cut. I’ve grown this stuff out, left it long for years, buzzed it, bobbed it, colored the #$#@@ out of it, and I’m back to 1 1/2″ on top. Like with clothes; if it fits you right, you feel beautiful.


Oops. My only advice for everyone: moisturize. I don’t care if your skin is oily (mine still is); moisturize. Nothing fancy, just put it on when you dry off your face. Your nose may be oily, but your cheeks aren’t. Neither is your neck. Boys too!

In 30 years, remember to thank me. At 55, the wrinkles are just settling in around my eyes. Thank God they’re laugh lines.


My nana also had the braids in a swirl for decades, beautiful thick, wavy hair that she could sit on. Then she chopped it off to right below her earlobes when she was 75, that was beautiful too because she loved it. Guess its all in what you love about yourself at any age…sounds like yours suits you for the same reason


I never really got into the habit of a beauty routine when I was younger. These days, I wake up, go downstairs and put on the kettle, and then come back up to put on moisturiser, plait or tie up my hair, and maybe fill in my eyebrows if I’m bothered. I don’t generally wear makeup unless it’s An Occasion or I’m going out, so that’s it. I get dressed, and then check my emails while I eat breakfast and drink a cup of tea – far more important to me to get some food into my system before I leave the house than to look perfect. And it’s nice to be up and out in 30 minutes, where if I did wear makeup and stuff, it’d take longer.


My morning routine really depends on my job situation. On days like today where my only work is teaching music, and I have a little more time, I can do things like exercise, wash my hair, give it plenty of time to air-dry, etc. On days like tomorrow, where I have my retail job, it’s going to be basically pull it into a ponytail, slap some stuff on my face, and run. I’m most definitely in the long hair club, and I like it that way! And I usually keep my makeup pretty minimalistic. When I do want to glam it up more, I’ll add a little eye stuff.


I wish I could air dry my hair! It’s so thick and the weather here is so cool and wet, it would basically stay damp all day.

Isaboe Renoir

Sorry, hit post accidentally… it’s early yet! I’m a minimalist for hair and make up; wash my hair before bed, and air dry overnight; brush it out in the a.m. and wear it in a bun or twist for working all day, or a braid for yard work (so I can wear a hat). I have it anywhere from all up to all down for going out, and once a year or so I play with hot rollers for grins and giggles.

No make up most days, just moisturizer, but when I got out for errands, dinner, etc. makeup for me is mascara and blush with moisturized skin; I have hypersensitive skin so things like foundation and heavy make up are a no, but it never feels like me anyway. I use a mineral base and lots of makeup for our ballroom dance recitals (the lights are bright and you get washed out on stage), but the first thing I do backstage is scrub my face clean!

So I have a three minute morning routine and usually have very few products on my vanity, I definitely like the “only what I use/ need” uncluttered approach.

Melissa S.

I could just wear foundation and mascara and feel happy, though I usually wear eyeshadow too. But my foundation has to be so light I forget I’m wearing it. Anything heavy or sticky is unbearable. It took me a long time to finally find a product I like.

I found it through Birchbox, which is that makeup/perfume/hair product sample you can get in the mail every month, but I’m still torn about it. I like experimenting with new products and finding things I like, but my collection of little samples is getting out of control, which is frustrating because I don’t like a lot of bathroom clutter.


What foundation is it, if you don’t mind my asking? I hate the feeling of having stuff on my face, but every so often I want to wear a little something to even out my skin tone.


i know you weren;t asking me, but if you like light, try a BB cream. it’s basically a tinted moisturiser but does wonders for evening out skin tone. if you want a bit more coverage mineral make up is great!


Love you’re new cut.!
I’ve always wore my hair long… since childhood… the ponytail was the most practical hairstyle for a child in my mother’s opinion … therefore I got used to it, I got conditioned to it; So ever now and then when I try and change my looks (and you are right … a haircut is the fastest way to changing ones looks) and get a hair cut, I love bobs, I am forced to remember that. I can’t stand having hair touching my face … I get all itchy and annoyed. I have to pin it all away and start praying it will grow back soon. And BTW the ponytail is not my most flattering style (generous forehead here …).
The only makeup product that I routinely buy is eyeshadow … but sometimes I like to play “dress up” and try something else, like lipstick, and then I have my fiancee saying to me: “wow … you look strange” !

Heather Lou

I have a drag queen amount of makeup but rarely touch it. I have a 5 minute makeup routine and used to wear a lot more lipstick, but then started dating a Parisian guy who wants to kiss all the time. My lipsticks have been getting lonely. Champagne problems.

What I REALLY wanted to tell you is that I have a rose perfume that will BLOW YOUR MIND. Do you have a Sephora in Portland? Go smell this:

I discovered it in NY and even though I’m not really a rose girl (more musk, amber, oriental) I almost started crying in a “OH MY GOD THIS SMELLS LIKE DREAMS AND THE PAST AND MY FUTURE” kind of way. So worth the pricetag.


Oh, I must try it out! I will look for it!

I am also a total musk/amber lady, because I think they smell more natural and less perfumey. But this Serge Lutens perfume really turned my head. It’s just so gorgeous and rich. I’ll still wear wood/musk/amber in the Winter, but this is the perfect spring/summer perfume for me.


La Fille is gorgeous! Bought a bottle while on vacation (Milan! To see Aida at La Scala!!), so not only do I love love love it, but it has such beautiful memories connected with it – which is a huge part of the beauty of perfume.


Oh, that sounds so lovely.

Heather Lou

I always used to tell ladies at perfume counters: I would like to smell like what skin would smell like in heaven. An actual body that just smells really, really good. No floral chemical explosions, no sickly sweet slutty cupcakes, just like the best possible warm, fragrant skin you can imagine. They would look at me weird and point at the Serge Lutens or L’Artisan Parfumeur (of course the French get it). I haven’t smelled the one you mentioned but I have Ambre Sultan which is really incensey at first but mellows into a warm, spicy skin smell. I also have Vanille au Bois but I only like it when I mix it with something dirty like patchouli. Anyway, you’ll die when you smell that Rose Anonyme. It’s really unusual, sexy and kind of (and this may seem weird) intellectual, in the best possible way.


I have a sample of the Ambre Sultan too! It’s really lovely on me. The Serge Noir is really nice too, very dark and woodsy and spicy.

I’m going to order a sample of that perfume from luckyscent, thanks for the recommendation!


LOVE your hair cut. I always feel like I’ve lost 20 pounds after I cut off my hair into a bob because it feels so fun and airy and I can feel the wind on the back of my neck. I’ll be moving back to Portland soon, would it be weird if I asked you where you get your hair cut? They did a great job!


I currently get it cut at Windowwall salon, because they are wonderful and right down the hall from me. It’s perfect, because I am lazy about getting my hair cut.

I can also recommend Robin at Holiday Hair. She’s lovely and also does a great job, and we’ve worked together on photo shoots as well.


I am primarily an au natural girl but have recently added a little blush and sometimes eyeliner/mascara to my routine. My hair is always fuss free and rarely takes more than five minutes on the days I do more than finger brush.

I want to thank you for this series. I am focusing on the what and why behind my choice in fashion and sewing. I now know why those pieces lingering in the back of my closet are never worn and hope to have a near 100% success with picking patterns, styles, and colors from this point forward.

This week I am amazed to find that my choice hairstyles reflect my style words from the earlier weeks. I am able to see the connections between my feelings and my outward appearance. Many thanks for creating an awareness of things I had never thought too deeply about.


That’s awesome to hear, Ericka!


I love your new hair cut! I’ve just had mine cut in a similar style although a little shorter, and think it’s probably the most flattering cut I’ve had for a long time. I spent several years growing my hair out from a very short crop to a length where I could in theory put it up and do different things with it. In practice I didn’t, and discovered that although I love the idea of long hair, I don’t actually like it in practice.

I love to wear make-up and hardly ever go without any at all, because I look too young without any, but I hate the feel of being “made up”. Bare Minerals powder foundation has been a godsend to me as it makes my skin look amazing, but I can’t feel it at all. I wear glasses and often don’t know what to do with my eye makeup, but always define my eyes with at least mascara, and I’m a little bit addicted to buying lipsticks at the moment. I just bought a coraly-orange one that I’m loving so far.


For my beauty routine… I don’t have one. I don’t wear makeup, I wash my face with water. And I’m almost 44 but consistently look 10 years younger. People do not believe I’m a grandma.

For my hair, I stick to the same cut I’ve had for 20 years. It;s a short pixie type cut that still looks decent when it gets shaggy and long because I tend to go too long between cuts.

I’ve also been experimenting with color. I was blond in high school and eventually darkened down and then when I started going blonde again, experimented with color. I went from just doing my bangs funky colors to a full on head of pink hair. Now it’s blue just on the tips as it grows out again.

My hair is starting to be my “thing” and matches my youthful appearance and casual attire – with the odd vintage piece tossed in for dress up.


Nice! I love brightly colored hair. And oddly, it always looked really good with my skin tone, especially cool colors like indigo blue. It doesn’t feel like me anymore, but I do get a little envious when I see other women rocking it!


I wear my long hair pulled back into a twist. So my routine consists of a quick brush and then tying hair back. I’ve not used a blow dryer for several years and my hair is not dry at the ends as it used to be when I wore my hair in a bob and used a hair dryer. I wear no makeup and for the last month have used organic sesame oil as my facial moisturizer. I live in the desert and my 50something skin was so very dry. The oil seems to be making an incredible difference for the softness of my skin.


Ooh, I love the smell of sesame oil. I’ve been using a combination of jojoba, tamanu, and rosehip oil lately and I love it. Rosehip is great for inflammation and tamanu is really good for your skin and smells great.


Your haircut is great – it looks really you. I’ve still to figure out what my ideal hairstyle is. At the moment it is just long without much of any style (and needs cutting badly). The problem is I’m always too scared to try anything different. I did get a full on fringe cut a couple of years ago and had so many compliments on it – but it needed proper styling every single day so I grew it out.
On the other hand, I’ve recently edited my make up and products down to what I absolutely love and use every day and got rid of everything else. I have one moisturiser that I use every day, bare minerals make up that takes 2 minutes to put on and always the same perfume (Issy Miyake). I can then change my look with different coloured lip glosses. Makes the mornings way easier and I prefer to splash out on a few good products that I use rather than loads of cheaper stuff that gets binned in the end. This applies in the bathroom too – just one of everything I need and always my favorite. I avoided this in the past because I thought it would be boring but it just feels so good to get rid of the clutter :-)


Short (even sometimes very short) hair here (even if the trend is to long hair)! I have had long hair in the past and I look horrible. I have wavy and very thick hair and now that they are more on the “salt and pepper” side (I am 42 and my boss of 65 has less gray hair than I…), long hair would make me look like wearing a helmet. It took me years to find the right cut and the right hairdresser (which is crucial!) so I am keeping it :-)
As for makeup, I wear none but I take care of my skin and have a morning and an evening routine as far as lotions, serums and creams are concerned. It takes 5-10 mn as I do not have much time having a 4 1/2 year-old to get ready for school. So I usually get up 15mn before everybody else so that I can have some quiet time to myself. If I really have to wear make up, it is always natural, I really do not like flashy colours never wears lipstick (I hate the feel of it on my lips…)

And I love your new haircut, you look greater than ever!
As for the perfume, I like flowery scents (looooove the smell of frangipani flowers!).


My routine involves probably 15-20 minutes in the bathroom to shower and cleanse my skin – I have problematic skin so try to take a little time with it. I have been trying dry brushing with a facial brush lately. I moisturise with jojoba oil/rose hip seed oil and love it.

Hair is probably 5 minutes, either to blow-dry or to style it if I haven’t washed it that day.

Makeup and getting dressed is about 20 minutes, and I do enjoy it so try to ensure I have enough time not to rush. My goal with makeup is to have a natural daily look that makes me feel pretty and tidy but without looking ‘made up’. I use a mineral foundation which doubles as concealer, some mascara, blush, and homemade lip balm. If I feel like it, I might add a neutral eye shadow or a tinted balm for some lip colour – Burt’s Bees lip shimmers are the ones I enjoy right now. My lifestyle and the area I live don’t really suit a lot of makeup, so this feels like a good routine for me where I always feel appropriate but never overdone.

I’m not super minimalist with my skincare products, because of my problem skin, but try to keep my makeup limited to what I use and like, not having multiples of the same type of thing. I have a zip makeup bag and my rule is that all my daily makeup must fit in it. Everything else, like special occasion extra eye shadows or a waterproof mascara, must fit in one other bag. If it stops fitting, I need to stop buying and use things up!


I use jojoba and rose hip too! I didn’t know you could dry brush your face. I’ve done that with my legs, as they tend to be extremely dry and itchy in winter, and it really helped.


I only recently discovered it when I saw a little face brush in my local pharmacy. Obviously it needs to be a very soft brush! I found a YouTube video on how to do it, though. My skin does always feel very nice afterwards. I also like having a way to gently exfoliate that doesn’t require more ‘product’.


My morning routine is super simple too. I wash my hair, let it towel-dry for about 10 minutes, put in some product for curly hair (like Motion Lotion by Kevin Murphy), and then diffuse it (takes about 10 minutes). I use super-simple “Basis” face-wash in the shower, and when I get out, I moisturize with Osmosis Quench and then curl my eyelashes with Shu Uemura eyelash curler. Ta-da, that’s it!

Back in the day, I used to do the whole Bare Minerals kit…primers, foundations, bronzes, etc. and would not be caught dead without super-thick, super-black mascara. Now if I wear all that stuff, I just feel like my face is so heavy-feeling, and I feel like I look much older, actually. So glad I’ve finally discovered that I like minimal best.

Side note…It seems like a lot of people commenting here all have super simple beauty routines. I wonder if there’s a correlation between sewing and minimalist beauty regimes, and if so, why?


probably because we like to spend our creative energy on making clothes instead of make up :) I like to watch make up youtube tutorials, and some of those girls are real artists – i admire how they’re able to transform their faces, but i can’t sit in front of a mirror that long to do what they do. i prefer to spend my hours in front of my machine!


I know EXACTLY how you feel about short hair. All my life I wore long hair because of all the reasons you listed, and it made me feel “safe” somehow. I always loved short hair on other girls but never thought I could pull it off. Then a few years ago, I cut it shoulder length – a huge jump from having it halfway down my back – and ever since it’s been getting shorter and shorter (much to my boyfriend’s chagrin LOL). I feel SO MUCH better in short hair – it’s like a huge weight has been lifted off me, and I feel more “me” somehow.

I adore red lipstick and fragrances with vanilla and/or amber musk integrated into them. I totally know what you mean about trying other things (we’re gals, we have to! LOL) but always coming back to those elements that just feel like you. It’s good to have those touchstones :)


I’m sort of the same as you when it comes to mornings. I dont wear tons of make up, and my hair is usually worn messy or in a bun, so it doesn’t take me long to get ready – if I was in a hurry I could probably to it all in like 15 minutes. But I love my mornings routine, so I tend to drag it out. There’s something so peaceful about my quite time with myself in the morning getting ready, its almost meditative as I prepare for my day.

Lady ID

I like the cut. It suits you nicely.

Morning beauty routine: Shower, wash face (with or without clarisonic), clean with toner, apply sunscreen. Lip balm, apply lotion and perfume. Then makeup if I am wearing it that day. If not maybe just eye liner.

Makeup: concealer maybe, powder foundation, eye makeup ( and whatever lip colour I fancy that day ( rosy nude, pink, or red)

I can be 15 minutes or 45 minutes :)


Do you like the clarisonic?

Lady ID

I do like it. At first I was unimpressed but it improved when I got the deep pore brush.

Am I convinced it is doing anything extra? Not always but it does a good job cleaning. I got the Pro version which comes with a handle for using it on your body. I haven’t used that yet.


Because I work out in the mornings, I have whittled my routine down to a science so that I’m not late to work. I don’t know how I do it, but I somehow arrive looking pretty good considering the time it took me. On weekends, I like to dedicate more time to the things I didn’t get to do during the week (facials, nails, etc).


Same for me, except that I usually am late to work. My meditation and workout time is definitely the priority, though.


After years of resisting my childhood hair cut, I’ve gone back to . . . . a pixie cut! I have lots of fine hair, so anything too long lies so flat to my head that I look old and tired. I was afraid that at 5’11” a short hair cut would make me look like a q-tip, but no, I look elegant with a dash of fun (my style words). I am so happy with it.


Ha, my childhood haircut was a bowl cut. Won’t be returning there any time soon.


My routine varies, depending on where I’m going. Day-to-day, it’s shower at night and let my hair air dry. Sometimes I put my bangs into a curler. In the morning I bobby pin my hair back on either side of my head- do a pin curl with my bangs if I curled them the night before- and usually add a hair flower. Make-up is just powder, lip balm, and lip stain in either red or pink, depending on my outfit. If I’m going to a special event, I usually put my hair in curlers the night before and do a 40s style for the event. I also add full foundation, sometime contacts, and mascara to make-up for events.


And on the note of hair, I’m dyeing mine pink tonight! We’ll see how this affects things…


I use a product in my hair to make it less frizzy, and I put on tinted lip gloss. That’s it. Part of this is because I spent years hating my face so much I could hardly look at myself, and now that I’m at peace with it, it feels silly to start covering it up (and if I can deal with it now, the rest of the world can too). A little of it is feminist rage (men don’t have to spend gobs of money and time on painting their faces and making them look perfect, why should I!)… But really, truly, most of it is that the time and effort don’t feel worth it on a daily basis. I’ll wear makeup and style my hair if I feel like it, but that’s… maybe once or twice a month. My “me” time in the morning is spent reading over breakfast.

On the other hand, I do spend money on keeping up a really great haircut that accents my face and makes my unruly hair look awesome.

Lisa G.

At my age (58), I’m a minimalist. In my twenties I had every color of lipstick, blusher, eyeshadow and liner, even mascara. At some point I analyzed my face and features and figured out what the minimum was that I needed. With contact lenses, powders seem to fall into my eyes and I also have asthma, so I avoid powders. The best thing on my eyes is pencil liner – no shadow. I also buy stick foundation, or a compact-type (not powder) which I use as cover-up; there are more shades than regular cover-ups have and many of them cover fine. No foundation otherwise because my skin isn’t too bad overall. And blush, and lipstick. It takes very little time.

My hair is long and as low maintenance as you can get.

A Morris

Fabulous bob, it’s my all time favourite. It really suits the shape of your face. I too got a very short bob and it has made such a difference! Now I am 43….there is no going back….to long hair…EVER.
Beauty regime, Clarins facial wash, light tinted moisturiser + light bronzed and mascara, et voila!


I love your haircut. It’s how I always imagined mine was going to look when I grew it out, but the truth is that I have very fine, very curly hair and any time I grew it out past my ears, it would get fluffy and dry. About 3 years ago I cut it short into a pixie with little texture-y bits and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I look less retro with this hair, but my face looks sharper and more focused. Anyone who thinks that a big girl can’t rock short hair is wrong!
I have two sons and a very active life, even though I am a writer and work from home. I don’t blow dry my hair and I have a set makeup routine that takes me 3 minutes tops – I hate fussing over myself. I do, however, have a thing for lipsticks and glosses in various shades of pink, which seem to suit me better at 44 than my old reds did.


I’m done in 15 minutes, I shower at night and I only wash up in the morning. That way I can let my hair dry to the air. And that way I get my nice long curley ‘ I spent a day at the beach’ blonde hair. I use special shampoo for my blonde hair, I’ve invested in special face care products because I still have acne, I use a light liquid face concealer. And then I can choose between two colourpalettes for my eyes: either natural gold and brown glitter tones, or a bright pink/ purple palette. Both palettes make my blue green eyes very sparkly. On my lips I only use chapstick with no colour because my lips are naturally rose. And I don’t need blusher because I have a light blush that also comes naturally. And i use black , very black waterproof mascara because I have white eyelashes.

I am a strong believer in natural beauty with a twist and I believe that your eyes are the way in to your soul.

Because I have this look for a long time already I’m very comfortable with it and apply it easily in the morning. But I rarely need more time before going out on a saturdynight. I would love to rock a bob but I just don’t have the face for it and my long wavy hair suits me. When I have a ponytail I always braid in a lot of braids or just one. Just for fun.


I love short hair, my hairdresser is a good friend so every time I pay her a visit (every 5 o 6 weeks at the most), I let her do whatever she wants to my hair but dyeing. At 36 I don’t have any white hair and I like my natural colour which is a light brown with copper natural highlights.
As for the makeup I prefer natural product, in the morning I use a day cream mixe with my mineral foundation, blush, eyeliner (or, if I have time also eye shadow ), brow highlighting and a lot of mascara. I love red lipstick but lately I’m enjoyng a nude look, I use a lip pencil and a lipstick which are basically my lip colour but better if you know what I mean! :)
I used to buy tons of product but not anymore, I’ve got a few mineral eyeshadow and blush samples for fun, my usual make up in standard size, one good all natural day cream and shea butter plus aloe vera gel for the night. I also love niche perfums, I particularly like vanilla ones but with a twist, not the sickening cheap stuff. Everything from makepup to hair and perfum are really ME!


Love your hair bobbed! It’s funny,,I had short (really short) hair for many years and loved it. When I decided to let the grey shine through (a decision brought on by a very nasty skin reaction to dyes!), I let it grow out to about chin length and was deciding what to do with it. Enter a life threatening medical crisis, and a 6 week hospital stay (5 weeks of which I don’t remember). When I woke up, my hair was long, and I loved it so much I can’t ever imagine cutting it short again. :-)
My morning routine is simply cleansing, moisturizing and a tinted moisturizer with SPF built in.


You look gorgeous with your new haircut! And I’m jealous because I’ve pretty much given up on my hair. It is totally unmanageable, dry, frizzy, no matter what I do.
My beauty routine is minimal. First my hair : I can’t brush it or puffs up, so I just try to fix it with my fingers as best I can.
As for makeup, I just dab a little concealer, a little powder because my sunscreen makes me shiny, blush because my face needs the color and dark brown mascara and that’s it!


I brush my teeth and apply some deordorant and maybe a little eyeliner. So, maybe three minutes for my routine. I can’t imagine spending an hour like some people do.

Just curious – how many shower everyday? I grew up only showering every other day, so was surprised to find out some people shower every single day.

I shower everyday just to help myself wake-up! Nothing to do with hygiene, just a wake-up call!!


Hah, same here! I’m not a coffee drinker, but I need a shower in the morning to wake me up. I wash my hair every other day: any more or less and it becomes a flat, greasy mess.


My hair is now shoulder length for the first time in 35 years – kept it rather short for most of my adult life – it is very wavy and thick so it curled nicely when short. We’re getting ready to retire & travel and I didn’t want the hassle of trying to find someone to cut it every 5 weeks. My husband has always wanted my hair longer so I’m trying. So far I’m happiest when I have time make two French braids (keeping my slightly off center part) and criss-cross & clip them together. It keeps it off my face and the streaks of gray look pretty neat but the brown from underneath keeps it from aging me so much.

I’m not much of a makeup person. For day-to-day I’m lucky to remember a little lip gloss. For special occasions I’ll add a bit of blush, navy eye pencil to line upper & lowers then mascara. Lips & blush stay in the rose or berry range. I really should wear mascara more often as my eye disappear behind my glasses but I can’t be bothered.

I never realized that I had a “signature style” but I really do – I haven’t much changed anything in 35 years – my hair (even though it is now long, the French braid keeps a similar overall look) and my makeup and cologne (Halston).

Now I’m working on remaking my wardrobe for retirement – this exercise has been so helpful!


From the moment I wake up, until I walk out the door spans 45 minutes. This includes eating breakfast and getting our youngest one ready and out the door for day care. My husband supervises getting our older kids ready for school/on the bus.

My routine is very basic. I get up wash my face with water, brush my teeth, take my allergy medicine. I get dressed, eat breakfast, put my contacts in and “do my face.” My hair is naturally curly, so I wash it at night. In the morning I will squirt a quarter sized blop of gel into my hand and water it down with water then smooth it over my hair and let it go.

I might be odd, I feel absolutely comfortable going out with absolutely no makeup on. I would say about half of the time I go to work like that. I will sometimes put on a brick red lipstick. On days I do a full face, I use bare minerals, neutral eye shadow, dark gray eyeliner, some mascara, blush and my red lipstick.

I have to thank my mother for teaching me that having healthy skin is beautiful and to be comfortable in that beauty.

Did the long hair thing back in the 70s but now I faithfully get a short cut every 5 weeks. The grey hairs starting coming in/out like crazy springs after a lifetime of ultra-fine but thick hair. Ten plus years of coloring to cover the grey and I went ‘natural’. Seems harder to find just the right color makeup now. I feel more comfortable without makeup, but there are so many ‘age’ spots to cover. Use the SPF everybody!

Leigh Ann

I use a Clarisonic also…sunscreen, sheer red lipstick, under eye concealer, eye pencil, mascara. I have my eyebrows dyed when I have them shaped. That, I love–my eyebrows are naturally rather light in color and now I don’t have to mess with eyebrow powder. I’m 53, and I’m less high maintenance than I used to be. I used to wear more makeup. I’ve always steadfastly refused to straighten my hair, though. It’s thick and curly ( though rather fine textured). I live in an arid part of the country, so humidity isn’t a problem. I put a little curly hair cream in it, then put some clips at the temples so it doesn’t flip up there (that, I confess, drives me nuts!). I have a 20 minute drive to work, and it’s dry by then and I remove the clips and fluff it a bit with my hands. I’ve never had it very long. Right now it’s about chin length, a bit shorter in the back. I’d say my curly hair and red lipstick make me feel most like “me.”

Leigh Ann

Oh, I meant to say how much I love your haircut. You look fantastic!


This was interesting to read because I can definitely relate to being a short hair person. In elementary school, I always had really long, thick hair, and I never thought that I would enjoy having short hair. When I was in grade 8 (the first year of high school where I live), I decided I would shave my head to donate my hair and raise money for cancer research. When it started to grow back, I realized that I really loved super short hair, and kept it that way for a while. Now, I’m growing it out a little, but it’s longer than a bob now, and it’s starting to bother me… I suppose I really am a short hair person.

My beauty routine is pretty minimalistic. I don’t style or even blow dry my hair, since it’s naturally curly, and the only makeup I wear is concealer under by eyes and a bit of mascara (although I do wear lipstick for special occasions). I’ve been trying to simplify my beauty routine lately and I’ve gotten rid of lots of old, almost-empty containers that were just cluttering my bathroom. I also haven’t bothered replacing old beauty products that have run out (eyeliner, toner and conditioner, to name a few), and I find that I don’t miss them at all!


I like this post. I’m a short hair gal – not quite pixie, but short. I grew my hair out, but found (like you said) I felt trapped under my mass of hair as well. Washing it, drying it , curling it was all such a PITA!!! Then I cut it short and felt chic again! My morning routine is pretty basic. I only wash my hair once every 3 days, and now that it’s short it’s pretty easy to run some product through it and VOILA! Make up is simply eyebrow pencil (I have none!), under eye concealer (thin skin) and a bit of blush. I would love to wear mascara more often, but it ends up under my eyes (not a great look for me), so if anyone has a good mascara that doesn’t do this, I’m all ears and eyes!


This is so funny! After the first couple of Wardrobe Architect posts, I decided that my hair didn’t suit my lifestyle or my “style”. So I went and got my just-below-the-shoulder blah hair cut into a pixie cut.

So much better!


We had a week of 40c plus (1103-110f) & I suddenly couldn’t cope & long hair ended up chin length! Long suits me & bobbed suits, but in between looks terrible.
I wear an eclectic mix of clothes, so tend to stick to vintage make up. Cat eyeliner, neutral tone eyes, bold red matt lips or alternatively a neutral peach or lip gloss for days when I’m not working.
In the morning I cleanse or scrub, serum/oil, BB cream(30 SPF). At night I religiously remove my make up, then oil my neck, night cream face, eye serum, hand cream, paw paw ointment for my lips. I’m 46 & people think I’m in my 30 all the time.


Hardly anything: I get up, pack lunches, get breakfast on the table for children, then I get ready. I might shower or wash my face, get dressed, brush my hair. I have long hair, so I often wear it up–which usually takes a few seconds as I am walking out of the room (ponytail, braid, bun). Some days I will spend a few minutes putting up my hair (French brain, two braids, etc.). On weekends or when I am going out, I will spend about 5 minutes putting on make up. I prefer a very natural look, so it does not take long.


I live in a pony tail… that is one thing that I know is really “me” and that has never really changed. My grandma had jet black hair and she used to put it up in a low bun every day of her life. Not a hair out of place. She is a classy old Cuban woman and I always wanted to be elegant the way she was. The bun is a little extreme for me, hence the pony tail.

It’s so funny how difficult the other weeks were for me compared to this one. I should have started with hair because it’s easy for me to think about why I choose my ‘do, whereas it took me forever and a day to come up with the words to describe how I wanted my clothes to look (which, not surprisingly, my wardrobe hardly matches!)

I got myself some fabric and it arrived in the mail yesterday. I always sew for my kids instead of me, but, entirely inspired by this series I have FINALLY begun sewing (not planning, actually sewing) for myself. I am really excited about the prospect of owning some clothes that actually fit in with what I want to look like, not just what I got on sale and what happens to fit at the time!

Sarah O

My day-to-day morning routine is super minimal. I usually just run a comb through my hair and put a little smoothing product in it on days when my hair is a bit unruly. I usually just clean and moisture my face daily with no make-up, but I’ll put on some BB cream foundation if I’m feeling self-concious.

If there’s a special event I’ll go through the whole make-up routine with foundation, eye shadow and liner, mascara, blush and lipstick, but I don’t have time for it in my day-to-day.


I have curly thick hair and have sported many styles over the years – pixie, short and curly, fringe/no fringe, bob, shoulder length, etc. The longest I ever had it was when I got married and had to have a cut the day after! I am growing it out again but wonder how long it will last – really want a short sharp fringe but do like to be able to tie it back. I do want to have long white hair when I am older! Or a pixie cut… see my problem?

Hair inspiration in my Pinterest Core Style board:

I love going to the hairdressers but my most radical cuts have been spur of the moment affairs or when I have a lot of emotional issues that I have resolved. It feels like weight lifted of my shoulders. Hair cuts as therapy!


Regarding makeup, well, not much to day, apart from when I can be bothered to pain my nails of for fancy dress I don’t really wear it. Would like to wear a red lippy every now and then but no can do with my job.

No routine as such, apart from washing my face with a good soap and moisturising in the winter. I also add a few drops of frizz control serum to my hair after washing it. That’s it really!


It’s interesting; I recently had my hair cut to an all-one-length long bob with bangs, and I’ve never had more people tell me they love my hair on me. I’ve had strangers stop me in the street to say this. It’s odd because I feel most myself with long hair (still with bangs, though). I do like this cut, though, and it may be that I still just need time to get used to it.

My morning beauty routine is tried and true. I wash my face and moisturize. My moisturizer has SPF in it, and that’s fine in the winter where I live (the South). In the summer if I’m going to be covering an outdoor event, I’ll put sunscreen on, too. I don’t wear foundation. I fill in my brows and put on eyeshadow primer; the latter is a must as I use loose eyeshadow, and it gets everywhere if I don’t. I usually wear and blend three to five colours of shadow. I curl my lashes and put on a coat of black mascara; if I don’t, my lashes are long enough to touch my glasses, which gets old. I use undereye concealer and set it with translucent powder. Cream blush or a stain — in the summer, a stain is a must for me, or I just sweat it off — then lipstick, and I’m off. I have three or four lipsticks I rotate depending on my mood, from a lovely bright read to a nude.

Jet Set Sewing

I’ve had various short hairstyles for 30 years and the great thing is that in a world of middle-aged blondes with shoulder-length tresses (I’m in the upscale northeast world) nobody confuses me with anyone else.
I’m a big believe in re-evaluating your look every five years and being honest with yourself about what you can pull off.
And letting go of youth but still making an effort to look great.
Life is a banquet, girls! (I know, I know, I sound like Auntie Mame…)


I like your attitude, Jet Set Sewing! After going gray really early, hair is short and naturally curly. Wash and go. I’ll never waste another minute with a dryer. As hair color changes, makeup (and clothes) need to change too. No more cinnamons, corals or browns. Loreal BB cream (drug store, thank you very much) is all the “foundation” needed – it smooths out all imperfections but is really light and doesn’t crease. Advice: when you’re young, wear plenty of mascara.When you’re older, wear even more.


I have a shortish bob. Sometimes it’s a bit longer. Over the years the bob is what I’ve come back to and what every hairdresser recommends for me even when I’ve been looking for a change. My hair is fine so minimal layers – if layers too short my hair becomes unmanageable. I have had grey hair for a long time and have decided, after some early experimentation, not to dye it. My children used to refer to it as ‘disco silver’ and my current and previous hairstylist love it. I think I would look younger with a colour but don’t fancy those roots growing in and the time in the chair. I use a shampoo for silver hair about half the time and always condition. I finger dry with a dryer. I guess that’s me.
I use skincare products for washing and also eye cream, skin serum and moisturiser. My lifestyle now means that often I don’t wear makeup, but prefer it minimal anyway. I tried eyelash serum to make my lashes longer and thicker – and it worked! So did brow serum but my brows became dark and I felt this looked too artificial with grey hair.
My favourite perfumes these days are Philosophy ‘Amazing Grace’ and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Enjoying the series.
I am definitely overdue a product cull, though.


Oh how I have had to let go of the feeling of hair defining me !!!! While my favorite hair do has been a soft curl bob, which makes me feel so pretty, I have had to cut my hair super short. You know like boy short lol. Because I find my hair has thinned so much as I get older. I am 40 now an always new I would go short when I was older. I guess that time is now. Thankfully I look ok with short hair. Just doesn’t give me that same feminine feeling though :( I do make up for it with feminine dresses:))))))
Love my philosophy face wash routine and clarisonic as well!!!!! Laura mercier tinted moisturizer I wouldn’t leave my house without it on, a dab of blush and mascara are my everyday look. My 16 year old daughter has a better makeup collection than me hahaha and she knows how to wear it. Not I.
My favorite scents are anything with tuberose, ahhhh love it. Also crystal noir its perfect in the summer with a hint of coconut!!!
Love your Blog and your style and thanks for helping me to define mine!!!!!!

julie d.

i just chopped my hair off from below the chin to a very short cut. the person who cuts my hair knows that i don’t blow dry my hair or really do anything to do it other than putting some product in it so it’s not too poofy.

other than that, i wear moisturizer w/ sunscreen and have for a very long time. just recently i bought some new makeup (i thought i needed something w/ the short hair cut). it has been sort of fun, i got a light m.a.c. foundation and i barely use any at all, just a little blush and mascara. it takes me less than 5 minutes. also, i heart ruby woo lipstick. i could wear that color all day, every day.

also, i don’t really wear a scent, but the other day i was listening to the rick steves show on npr and they were talking about morocco and it reminded me of this amber oil that my friend brought back for me a few years ago. it’s just in this little glass bottle w/ one of those roller tops, and smells amazing.


my routine takes me around 45-50 minutes to get ready every morning, including shower, brushing my teeth, drying my hair, straightening my hair (longer if I have to curl my hair), light makeup (mascara, foundation) and putting on clothes. (usually I pick my outfit the night before, that helps a lot).

:* Kate


I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments on hair and beauty. I have an unusual hair
issue. I lost all my hair 8 years ago to an immune illness. I am not a wig person. I make
batik scarves to match my clothing. I find I have to wear more makeup now. It’s a trick to
to draw on eyebrows that look natural. I use Everyday Minerals makeup because of my
sensitive skin. I would say to women everywhere: curly, straight, thick or thin, today take
a moment to celebrate your hair. There’s no such thing as a bad hair day!


In my early 60s, I’m having to re-think my hairstyle. Growing up it was wavy and I permed it a lot in my 20s and I got lots of compliments. In my 30s, I had a lot of ECT (ElectroConvulsive shock Treatment) that actually turned my hair curly! So I didn’t need a perm. Now in the last 10 yrs I’ve realized in hindsight that it has gradually gotten straighter. I’ve always loved a bob at any length but was always told I couldn’t wear one with curly hair (without a ton of work, which I can’t do). So I just got the last (?) curls off last week and it’s too short for a bob so I’m waiting for it to grow out. In the past, my hair would curl up short, but now it just hangs there. Sigh. So I’m waiting . . .

I stay home all day so I only wear makeup for special occasions–eyeshadow, mascara, blush/lipstick–it depends on how long I can hold my arms up as they’re painful in that position and I HAVE to wear earrings–love them. I make most of mine. I enjoy wearing makeup but I hate taking it off.

So minimalist without a doubt as a rule.

Christianne Bower

I have a simple makeup routine that takes me just 5 minutes. I use a BB cream [Bobbi Brown] around my eyes and down the center of my face, a light brush of blush, my eylash curler and mascara and always lipstick. Sometimes I use an eyeliner wear no makeup a few days a week, when I’m going to be home all day. I have to confess that I feel naked without my makeup on ! I also have a simple bangs, which is the best cut for my fine, straight hair. I also color my hair a darkish red…the natural color is mousy brown with yellowish gray here and there..dull and ageing. I like a quick routine that is very natural looking!


I have long, wavy/curly hair. I cut it up to shoulder length for a few years in middle school, but that was never really my thing and it’s been long ever since. I usually get some layers in it to add interest, but that’s about it. Most mornings, I wash my hair, comb, scrunch some gel in for the curls, and let it air-dry. On days I don’t wash my hair, I take a few minutes to braid it or put it up.

As for make-up, I’m a pretty low-maintenance person. Most days I just wash my face and use concealer under my eyes (for dark circles). Powder, blush, mascara, and lipstick come out if I want to look a little snazzier, but I think it’s important to be comfortable in your own skin. I’m in a play right now at a community theater, and I’m using so much more make-up than I would ever use in normal circumstances. It’s weird!


I think that wearing red lipstick always makes you look a bit glamorous, even without any other make-up, and it takes very little effort.

I also find that curling my eyelashes makes me look much more alive in the morning.


I’ve been following this whole series with interest–so many wonderful heuristic questions! It’s really easy to get stuck in an idealized wardrobe-self, and its been especially good to rethink all that in my 40s. I like this post in particular–I collect makeup and hair products like crazy and really need to clean out in favor of the things I actually use. (And for me it also all comes down to coral in all its shades–I love Vegas Volt!) And any product that smells like old roses.


A bob is my go to haircut too, but I decided to let it grow so I could try some of the braids and things I see on Pinterest. I’m really loving it at the moment, but I know I will cut it again. I feel like I need to keep it long for a while since it took me so long to get it to this length.


I am slowly separating for my stylists after a 20 year “relationship”. I’ve decided to let my natural hair color come through. My hair is all silvery/white and I love it. My stylist is doing a great job blending my hair to have that salt and pepper look, my salon visits are fewer (I can give her a bigger tip now) and enjoying life is now my number 1 appointment – not my next visit to the beauty shop.


I have very long hair – I can sit on it. It hasn’t always been this long, but I’ve never had a dramatic “haircut” and lost a lot of length, just trims to keep it in condition, and it’s gradually got longer. I’m coming up on 35 and have contemplated whether the very long hair still works for me… I think it does.

My routine’s actually very simple. My hair doesn’t get greasy quickly so washing it once or twice a week is enough, and it’s straight, so it doesn’t need much disentangling or take long to dry. I enjoy putting it up in different styles and I also like having it in a long plait. My go-to special hairstyle is a fake crown braid at the moment; a few years ago it was a hairstick bun, but my one-year-old likes to pull sticks out, so that’s not safe. Most of my styles take me less than five minutes to do (plaiting takes about 30 seconds). I pretty much never wear makeup and just use a moisturising facewash, as I don’t like the feel of creams on my skin.

I think part of the reason I have it like this is a disinclination to schedule haircuts and have someone else control what it looks like. If I did have it cut, I don’t know how I would begin to choose a style. Sometimes I feel a bit wistful about that. It would be nice to be able to have a whole new look sometimes… but I don’t like the idea of not being able to put it up in the way I know how, nor the idea of having bits of it in my face all the time. I like having my hair down, but I want it to stay behind my shoulders!

I also feel a bit wistful about never having played with colours when I was younger. It doesn’t seem like something I want to do now, though.

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