Can You Wear Smoky Eyes To Work? Yes, If You’re Kalinda Sharma

Kalinda's eyes during last night's season finale of The Good Wife.

If you don’t know, Kalinda Sharma, played by Archie Panjabi, is the crafty, mysterious investigator on The Good Wife. I’ve been addicted to the show since season one and I’ve watched Kalinda get away with all kinds of lying and trickery for three years now. It’s obvious why she’s so good at pumping people for the information she wants. Kalinda is very smart and very persuasive, especially when she uses her feminine wiles. Which is pretty darn often. But what I want to know is: How the heck does she get away with wearing smoky eyes to a conservative Chicago law firm?

I know she’s not an attorney, but still. She does go to important client meetings and to court regularly. I would think she would want to tone down her lids a bit for work, no? Or maybe those dramatic eyes come in handy. Like when she’s sidling up to someone all seductively to get key details that will help the firm. Like I said, the woman is not afraid to work it. That could be why nobody has given her a talking to about office appropriate makeup–they know her sexiness is an asset.

At least her eye makeup looks good. She’s always wearing black liner on her top and bottom lash lines with a charcoal, gray or dark taupe shadow smudged all over her lids. And black mascara. Nothing about dark, smudgy eyes screams nine-to-five to me, but I realize we’re talking about television and TV land is a magical place. In the real world, Kalinda’s look would be great for a night out when you’re getting all dolled up.  Here’s what you could use to recreate it:


NYX Trio Eyeshadow in Ceramic ($7)

(1) Gray eye shadow. Smudge it from your lash lines up to the creases of your eyes.


Tarte EmphasEYES Aqua-Gel Liner in Black ($18)

(2) Jet black eye liner. If your eyes are big like Kalinda’s, apply the pencil onto the insides of your lash lines as well for more definition. If not, just line the outsides to avoid making your eyes look smaller.


Guerlain Noir G Mascara ($49)

(3) Tons of black mascara. De-clump in between coats with a lash comb. And that should do it. Date night, here you come!

How do you feel about Kalinda’s daytime smoky eyes? Do you think a real life law firm employee could pull off the look at work? 









The Best Thing About The Most Beautiful Issue Of ‘People’ Isn’t The Cover–It’s The Naked Pictures Inside!


Don’t worry. They’re the kind of nude pics that are safe for work–I’m talking about photos of celebrities with completely bare faces.

Not that I wasn’t excited to see Beyoncé looking all flawless on the cover of People’s Most Beautiful issue, but when I got my copy of the magazine, I only skimmed her Q&A. Instead I flipped right to the section featuring close-up shots of stars like Paula Patton, Zooey Deschanel and Rose Byrne wearing “nothing but moisturizer” on their skin. I just can’t resist a good celebrity-without-makeup photo. I click those links all the time on the internet. I even confessed my fascination on Twitter.

Paula Patton: Beautiful and brave.

It’s not that I want to see stars looking bad. I just want to see the side of them that looks more real. You know, the side that reminds me that underneath it all, celebs are just regular human beings with little flaws and insecurities like everyone else. It puts everything in perspective.

Even though the People photos are probably airbrushed–at least a little bit–I think it takes a lot of courage for famous people to go nude. We’re living in a world where people are getting chin implants to look better on Skype, for crying out loud, so going makeup-free in a major magazine is a kind of a big deal. I wonder if there are certain stars who would NEVER do it. Jennifer Lopez comes to mind. Can you think of anyone else? Do you post pictures of yourself on Facebook or elsewhere without makeup? Own up to your vanity or lack thereof in the comments section below.

P.S. You know who else looks really pretty without makeup? Olivia Wilde.



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A Complete Stranger Bought My Friend An Upgrade For A Flight (Because Of Her Hair!)

Behold Kristi's hair. I wish I had a shot that wasn't cropped, but you get the idea.

Here’s the deal: My friend Kristi has a weave. It’s a straight, bra-strap length weave that one of her PR clients, a celebrity hairstylist, hooked her up with just for fun. Kristi isn’t afraid to experiment—she’s had all kinds of hairstyles in the past. For example, when I met her in 2007, she had gorgeous locs. She eventually wanted a change so a few years ago she chopped them off and got a short asymmetrical cut, kind of like the one Rihanna used to have. Then about a year ago she got the weave. I had drinks with Kristi recently and we were talking about what it’s like to make dramatic hair changes. I know a little something about that myself because I wore my hair in an Afro for about seven years before I started relaxing it again four years ago. When you go from one look to something completely different, it makes you realize just how much your image effects the way people treat you. Especially men.

“The dudes in suits talk to me now. They didn’t when I had locs. The privileges you get with long, straight hair are endless,” Kristi told me. I asked her to elaborate and the example she gave me is a doozy.

About a month after Kristi got the weave, she was at the airport, waiting to board a Virgin Atlantic flight from New York to London for work. She was standing in line at the gate, hoping to change her seat. Kristi said she wasn’t used to her hair yet and it was bothering her. She kept playing with it and tossing it, trying to get comfortable and she noticed that she had caught the eye of the gentleman standing in line behind her—a white guy that looked like a frequent business traveler. When Kristi got to the front of the line, she asked the agent if there were any free upgrades available. The answer was no so she stepped to the side to organize her carry-on. Next thing she knows, she was told that the man behind her had paid for her to move up from premium economy class to the upper class section of the plane!

“I thought ‘What do I do next? Do I talk to him?’ I sat right next to him on the flight and we chatted for a few hours. He ended up giving me his number,” Kristi said. The man was nice and not overly flirtatious with her at all. After the trip, she never spoke to him again.

Now, obviously she didn’t ask the guy why he upgraded her, but it’s safe to assume it was simply because she’s a pretty girl. A pretty girl with long, straight hair. He wanted her company and he had the means to get it. Kristi felt pretty sure it had everything to do with the hair because she flies all the time and nothing like this had never happened to her before. I didn’t even challenge her on that because as crazy as it sounds, I know she’s right. I had a weave once too. It was about the same texture and length as Kim Kardashian’s hair. Wearing that weave was a real eye-opener–I’ve never been ogled so much in my life. And I definitely don’t get those kind of stares now with my shoulder-length cut. Not that I miss all the leering on the subway.

Me and Kristi in 2007

But it taught me that before the weave, I was invisible to some guys and didn’t even know it. As Kristi put it: “Ideally every woman’s hair would get attention and be considered beautiful, but men love long hair. They’re programmed to think that long hair equals beauty, sexiness and femininity. They don’t care if it’s real, fake, pony, donkey or ostrich—they love it!”

She went on to say that the upgrade experience shocked her and also made her wonder if the “looks don’t matter” speech she heard growing up was a bunch of B.S. “Is everything about how you look and how long your hair is? If so, my mom was way off. She always told me it was about being smart, not pretty,” said Kristi.

I don’t believe that every man on the planet is shallow or only interested in women with long hair–I met my boyfriend with my hair in a messy bun. But generally speaking, cascading hair is considered to be more desirable. Evidence of that is everywhere (magazines, Disney movies, Victoria’s Secret catalogues, music videos) and has been since who knows when. No woman is immune to that bias, not even A-list actresses. When discussing her pixie cut with Elle UK last year, Michelle Williams said that “Straight men across the board are not into this hair!”

Although the long hair beauty standard is nothing new, Kristi’s story floored me so much that I just had to share. If you have an outrageous tale of your own, feel free to blab in the comments section below. And check out what short-haired girls have to deal with on a regular basis–it’s funny/sad!

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Pretty In Print: Cute Collars And Hot Lips In ‘New York’ Magazine

I hate when I go out of town and get behind on my New York magazine reading–I miss so much good stuff! Like this adorable fashion spread featuring buttoned-up collars juxtaposed with seductive red lips. How can you not want to try these two looks together immediately after looking at this?




I love playing with contrasts, like wearing super-bright nail polish with an all black outfit or rocking a tight, classic bun with turquoise eyeliner. It keeps things interesting and shows the different layers of your personality. I don’t have a collared shirt quite as cool as the ones in the story, but I’m adding it to my Must-Buy list. As for the lipsticks, I’ve got that part covered. A fun orangey-shade like MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger would work with a whimsical printed collar shirt or I might go with something deeper, like Hourglass Cosmetics Femme Rouge in Icon, if the shirt had a more classic color scheme.

When is the last time you copied a look from a magazine? Think you’ll try this collar-lipstick combo? What shade of red would you use?



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Girls Gone White

Photo: HBO

I used to work at a mainstream women’s magazine that tried very hard to be inclusive. We used to take great pains to make sure that the pages (especially in the beauty section) had a mix of women with different skin tones, hair colors and textures—because that’s what America looks like. We used a lot of celebrity photos and sadly, it was often a struggle to find red carpet shots of young black, Latina or Asian women sporting the specific trends we were covering. The new HBO show Girls is the perfect example of why it was so difficult.

The series is bugging the hell out of a lot of people because it features a group of all-white, privileged 20-something-year-old friends who live in New York City, but have somehow managed to avoid knowing any people of color. Even though I think most New Yorkers, myself included, have friends of all different backgrounds, there are people in NYC who roll in non-diverse circles. The writer and star of the show, Lena Dunham, must fit into that category because the story is based on herself and the people she knows. That’s why I’m OK with the cast the way it is. If Dunham’s never had a black girl in her crew in real life, the last thing she should do is write about one. It could be a disaster.

Despite the ethnic void on Girls, I’m sure there are plenty of viewers who will relate to the #whitehipstergirlproblems depicted on the series—HBO is banking on that. I just wish major networks would tell the stories of other just-as-interesting niche social groups, too. Say, for instance, black people that are part of what writer Ta-Nehisi Coates calls “the tribe that doesn’t get down with Tyler Perry, whose music choices tend to put us in places where there aren’t many black faces.”

More diversity on TV would not only be compelling, but it would cause a chain reaction throughout the media world. We would see a broader mix of TV stars in magazines, on talk shows and in advertisements. And those are all places that could use a lot more color. What do you think about Girls? Is all the criticism justified or overblown? 


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Where Are All Of The BBBs (Brown Beauty Balms)?

BB Creams should come in shades for all skin tones.

It’s been a while since a completely new skin care category has been introduced to the beauty world, hence all the fuss about BB Creams, which have hit stores en masse over the last few months. If you haven’t heard, “BB” is a nickname for beauty balm or blemish balm. The creams, which were a hit in Asia before they made their way to the states, are have become so popular because they’re extremely multifunctional. They’re primers, tinted moisturizers and sunscreens all in one tube. Sounds amazing, right? They are—unless you have dark skin. The thing is…

…most BB Creams only come in one or two shades–sometimes three–but that doesn’t leave many options for women with brown complexions like mine. Even if your skin tone is olive, you might have trouble finding a good match.  Yo, beauty industry—what’s up with that?

Since the BB Cream genre is new, I wondered if there is something about it—like the unique texture or the formulation—that would make it difficult to produce in deeper colors. I asked my friend Trae Bodge, Senior Beauty & Lifestyle Writer for and co-founder of Three Custom Color Specialists. But Trae told me dark BB Creams are totally doable. “From a product development standpoint, foundations for darker skin are very tricky because dark skin is infinitely more complex in tone than fair skin.  Where fair skin may have around eight different tones around the face, darker skin can have over 25, which is why it’s so hard to get right. That said, there is no excuse when it comes to BB’s or tinted moisturizers. Because they have a sheer payoff, there’s a lot more wiggle room with the shades.  You could easily have one or two darker shades and call it a day,” Trae explained.

Until the day comes when more brands decide to produce some good BBBs (brown beauty balms), there are a few products out now that are worth trying:


Photo: courtesy of Smashbox

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 in Dark: The color matches my complexion really well and I love the texture. My face tends to get shiny during the day, but when I wear this I don’t have to use my oil-blotting papers. It makes my skin look smooth and even, but real–not like it’s underneath a layer of heavy coverage. This cream also has one of the larger shade ranges (it comes in five colors!) so the medium shades could be a good option for South Asian women and Latinas as well.


Photo: courtesy of Sarah McNamara Beauty

Miracle Skin Transformer SPF 20 Face in Dark: This doesn’t say “BB Cream” on the label, but based on what it does (mattifies, primes, covers, hydrates) it’s pretty much the same thing. Trae suggested I try it, and I really like it. I think as I get more sun, I’m going to have to try the Deep Dark shade, but Dark is working well for me right now. It doesn’t feel as hydrating as I would like, but if I put on a serum or light moisturizer underneath, I’m good.

Dr. Brandt Flexitone BB Cream: The back of the tube says it adjusts to “most” skin tones, but it left my face with a slightly ashy cast. But I think this product is worth mentioning because it could work for those with light to medium-light complexions that are hard to match–like biracial or multiracial women. Trae fits into this category and chalkiness wasn’t an issue for her when she tried the Dr. Brandt cream.

I want to get your take on the trend–have you jumped on the BB Cream bandwagon yet? Which one(s) have you tried? 




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