Fashion & Beauty

Both Sides Now

February 5, 2023


Wakey, wakey! Sephira proposes Fake Awake, a universal nude gel eyeliner, on the lower lash line (look hard). It can make your eyes look shiny and bright even after a sleepless night.

By Valerie Monroe

For nearly 16 years Valerie Monroe was the beauty director at O, The Oprah Magazine, where she wrote the popular “Ask Val” column.

If you’re interested in feeling happier about your appearance—especially as you age—you might like reading what she has to say about it. For more of her philosophical and practical advice, subscribe for free to How Not to F*ck Up Your Face at

Can’t get enough Valerie Monroe? There’s more at


At this moment—as war still rages in Ukraine and we warily (and eagerly) emerge from extended isolation, blinking our way, soon, into the dawn of another spring—there seems to be a plethora of observations about the juxtaposition of grief and joy.

From my friend Margaret Renkl in the New York Times (if you’re looking for some psychic relief from the dark, read Margaret’s two dazzling essay collections):

. . . It’s entirely possible to understand what human beings are doing to the woods—and to one another in this moment of dread and grief and terrible struggle—and still exult in birdsong and tiny blooming flowers peeking out from the dead leaves of autumn. In this troubled world, it would be a crime to snuff out any flicker of happiness that somehow leaps into life.

It would be a crime—but isn’t it also a responsibility to recognize, honor, and celebrate beauty in the midst of tragedy? To bear witness to the pain while also being present for the rebirth that blooms with every spring? Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield suggests we think of remembering joy as a moral obligation. Because why fight a war at all if there’s nothing beautiful to return to?


I know many (if not all) of you read HNTFUYF for practical beauty advice and I hate to disappoint. In a post last year, I focused on sleeplessness; so here I’m offering five very simple ways to look and feel more awake if you haven’t had your fair quota of Zzzz’s.

Ease into a deep or vibrant lip color with a sheer formula or jump right into a more pigmented shade, such as the ones from Dior Addict, above.

Trace a nude eyeliner along the inner rim of your lower lash line; it can create the illusion of having bigger, wider eyes. My old pal (creative director @oprahdaily) Adam Glassman swears by these Lumify eyedrops for a super-white sclera (though he would never say it that way).

A wash of rosy color with a sheer cream blush emphasizes cheekbones and gives the skin a healthier look, as if it’s actually benefiting from a blood supply.

When even your hair looks tired, falling flat along your natural part line, flip your part to the other side to add instant fullness.

A favorite scent can boost your spirits, as the sense of smell links directly to the mood-ruling limbic system. Two of my favorites: This one and this one.

And finally, a coda to both sides: Treat yourself or someone you love to this cute beanie. A portion of proceeds will be donated to @unicef_ukraine.

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