How to look well groomed (and maintain your modesty)

In my last post, how NOT to look hot, I wrote about what you can do to keep a low profile as a Muslim girl. The natural follow-up question was how a girl can still look good while maintaining her modesty. I have to say it saddens me that some girls neglect their appearance with the excuse that they don’t want to attract men. Islam doesn’t tell us to look disheveled. There is a difference between looking sexy and looking decent. My last post was about the former and today I’m going to talk about the latter!

Here are 5 tips to look good, the modest way 😉

  1. Good hygiene

Let’s start very basic. If you want to look well-groomed you need to be well-groomed of course. I’m going to keep it short.

  • There is a difference between strong perfume and smelling nice and clean. Using soap was never a problem.
  • Deodorant and perfume are not interchangeable with a shower.
  • Wear clean clothes. I realized that the reason why some people have such bad odor is because they wear unwashed clothes.
  • Wash your hair and shave/wax/depilate even if nobody will see it; it’s hygiene.
  • Brush your teeth, keep drinking and you may want to keep Smints within reach.
  • And of course, cut your nails and keep them clean. You know this! 🙂
  1. Get rid of excess facial hair

Some girls are hairier than others, but that doesn’t mean it should be visible. Waxing is painful yes, but I don’t think it’s more painful than the sight of a female moustache.

Mind you, I am not implying you should pluck your eyebrows (although I hear removing hairs between the brows is ok). If you wish to give them more shape or restrain them, then use some eyebrow powder/pencil and eyebrow gel. Plucking isn’t worth the curse.

  1. Good skincare

When you have beautiful, soft skin you can easily look great without makeup. Drinking enough water and having a healthy diet are of course the basis of beautiful skin, but skin care definitely matters a lot also. The big problem here is that good skin care products are rare. Big brands respond to the preferences of their clients, but most clients, of course, have no clue what’s good for their skin. People prefer scented products, foaming cleansers and creams in a jar, and they believe that natural ingredients are always good. Little do they know they are wasting money on products that are ineffective, causing skin problems or just overpriced.

I have a lot to say about skincare, but I don’t want to post a 2500 words blog, so I have decided to leave that for a separate blog post. For now here are some short tips:

  • Wash your face every day with a rinse-off cleanser that doesn’t make your skin feel tight afterwards.
  • Ditch moisturizers that come in a jar and go for a container that minimizes exposure to air and light, like a container with a pump.
  • Avoid perfume, alcohol denat, citrus and peppermint.
  • Don’t scrub or steam your face; it does harm.
  • Use sunscreen when you go out in the sun.
  • Drink enough water.
  1. Wear complimenting colors and nice fabrics

You know those rough textured, very cheap abayas with sloppy sewing? They’re usually accompanied with 1$ slippers and a woman with a penetrating body odor. Yeah, modesty is no excuse for that. There is nothing immodest about wearing nice, soft fabrics and colors that suit your complexion. Wearing the right colors for your skin tone makes such a difference.

Here’s what wrong colors do:

  • They emphasize dark circles.
  • They emphasize impurities.
  • They make your eyes and skin look dull.
  • They make you look pale.

The right colors on the other hand make you look healthy and radiant. Has someone ever told you a color looked great on you? Of course someone has. Well what made this color look great on you is the undertone of this color matching the undertone of your skin. Everybody has a warm, cool or neutral undertone.

How to find out what your undertone is? First of all, think of what color you know looks great on you. Does it have a warm, more yellow kind of base? Or does it have a cool, more blue/purple kind of base?

If you don’t know then consider trying a drape test. Wrap different colors fabric around your makeup-free face and try to determine which colors make you look radiant.

Which color looks better on you:

      • Gold or silver? (you can try this with jewelry)
      • Ivory or bright white?
      • Camel brown or black?
      • Mustard or lavender?
      • Orange or fuchsia?
      • Olive green or mint green?

The first colors are examples of warm colors and the second ones are examples of cool colors. The trick is to stick to colors that match your undertone. If you think both colors look good on you then you might have a neutral undertone. Lucky you 🙂

If you Google more about cool and warm undertones you might stumble upon something like light skins having blue (cool) undertones and medium to dark skins having yellow (warm) undertones. That’s rubbish. Every skin tone can be warm or cool.

Also rubbish: checking if the veins in your underarm look blue or green. Blue would mean you’re cool and green would mean you’re warm. The idea behind it is that skin tones with a yellow undertone will make the veins (which are originally blue-purple) look green. It sounds legit, but experience teaches us that it’s not a reliable method to determine undertone. The fairest skin tones have blue veins but they can still have a warm undertone, and deeper skin tones have green veins but they can still have a cool undertone.

Bottom line: just look at which colors suit you best.

      1. Light makeup

Aah, the controversial stuff. I’m going to be straightforward here: this is my personal opinion and don’t claim my opinion is correct.

I think makeup, when kept subtle, can truly help make you look well groomed. Does that mean a makeupless face isn’t well-groomed? No, makeup isn’t as crucial as good hygiene and your outfit, but it can definitely help because it has the ability to freshen up the face. You can still look the same, only less tired. This ‘look well groomed makeup’ deals with things that make you look run-down. I think these problem areas are:

      • Tired eyes. A bit of liquid concealer and mascara are enough to remove that zombie look. About concealer, ‘go brighter and not lighter’ to keep it natural. It’s easy to overdo it, so that’s why it’s better to go for a highlighting concealer (like YSL touche éclat and its dupes) than a lighter shade concealer, like Kim Kardashian made popular.
      • Pale skin. With pale skin I don’t mean fair skin. I’m talking about the ill-looking kind of pale. The solution for this is simple: blush! A little bit of blush (repeat: little bit) brings life to the face and a little highlight is optional for some radiance. That’s what vivid skin is about, right? Color on the cheeks and a healthy glow. Stick to your undertone for a healthier look. Bronzer is optional, but I don’t find it necessary to look groomed and neither thick, ultra matt foundation.

If you have the opposite issue, namely a lot of redness because of irritated skin, and if you wish to bring more calmness to the face, then you could use a thin layer of foundation to even out your skin tone. Apply with the Beautyblender and use translucent powder instead of tinted powder for a natural look.

      • Messy eyebrows. I said it above and I will say it again: plucking your eyebrows is not worth the sin. Don’t feel desperate because of that though! Eyebrow products can make a huge difference and it’s ok to remove any hairs in between the brows. If you feel like your eyebrows are too brushy and wild, then tame them with some eyebrow gel. If you wish to see more shape, then simply use eyebrow powder or an eyebrow pencil. You can also fill in empty spots with that. For some reason that really adds to looking groomed. Bottom line: you don’t need to pluck to look groomed!
      • Dry, cracked lips. All you need here is Vaseline before bedtime and during the day you can use a lipbalm (tinted if you like) for hydrated lips.

You can basically use a ton of products and still look natural, as long as you use a light hand and keep things simple. No seductive eye looks, no deceptive contouring and no bold lipstick. I think this way you can use makeup but still look modest. But hey, my personal opinion.

 

Do you think makeup is acceptable?

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