Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I’ve been trying to take better care of my skin so I’ve been seeing an “aesthetician” who works out of my doctor’s office. She told me I need to use sunscreen every day no matter what, sunny or cloudy, summer or winter, and I get that. Because my skin is really sensitive, she recommended that I use only those with active ingredients of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. I tried it but it makes me look like I’m wearing clown makeup. It makes my face look almost painted white. I don’t like wearing heavy foundation so I don’t want to layer that stuff on top of the sunscreen. What now? – Looking like Bozo
Dear Bozo: Don’t give up on the sunscreen! Your skin adviser is right: Sun causes wrinkles and much worse. And, if she didn’t tell you this, remember to put it on a half hour before you go outdoors, no matter what the weather. Since you wrote me, I’ve been testing a few sunscreens with the ingredients you mention and I’ve run into the same problem. I look like a cross between a ghost and a kabuki dancer. Not good.
But I have a solution that works for me. Blend the sunscreen with an inexpensive drugstore BB or CC cream a little darker than your skin tone. (BB and CC creams – just tinted moisturizer – are lightweight, not the heavy foundation you don’t like.) Sunscreens with the ingredients you mention can be crazy expensive for a tiny bottle. My current recommendation is the better-priced Neutrogena Pure & Free liquid SPF 50 (ulta.com, $12.99 for 1.4 ounces, drugstores). I use that on my face and neck and industrial size cheaper brands for other body parts.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Maybe I’m late to the party, but I am confused about mid-rise pants. I always bought regular size pants but now with mid-rise I have to buy short. That’s great with flats but not with a shoe with a heel. Also, short pants usually have to be purchased online. I find mid-rise pants uncomfortable as well. I am not a fashion diva, but still I don’t want to look like I’m wearing “mom pants.” Help! – Sue A.
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Dear Sue: Mid- and high-rise pants are great for younger fashionistas who wear them ironically as a kind of retro, vintage look. But for those of us who have been through that style once or twice already in our fashion lives, they can look dowdy or just plain weird and way too mom-ish. That is not to say we need to go back to those silly low-rise ones that give even the leanest women a muffin top and a plumber’s crack when we bend over.
Fortunately there are styles in stores now (it’s about time) that are a happy medium. As for the length issue, I’m not quite sure why you have to buy “short” pants now. But, in general, the sad fact is that pants that are the right length for heels are often too long for flats and vice versa. Stylists will tell you that you need an array of lengths for different shoe styles. I hate to say it but they’re right. I don’t try to wear the same pants with higher heels and flats. You can get away with it if you’re wearing little kitten heels but otherwise you’re stuck with making a pants/shoes choice and sticking with it.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: When I am looking for a coat I can never find a coat where the arms are long enough. Most of the arms will stop “short” of my wrist. I would then have to go a bigger size and then it doesn’t look good. Even with long-sleeve shirts. My height is 5 feet 9 inches. – Renee O.
Dear Renee: I get a lot of inquiries like yours from women whose dimensions are not exactly the same as manufacturers’ size charts. Sometimes the only solution is a tailor. In your case, if you find a coat you love, check that there is enough fabric to let the sleeves down the required amount, then have it altered. Lengthening sleeves is far cheaper than having a too-large coat taken in all over.