Ask Ellbee

Dear Ellbee,

What are the must-have pieces for Spring and Summer?


Hi, Jennifer.

Hot styles for the warmer months include a myriad of options ~ everything from bra tops and lace dresses, to head-to-toe prints and scuba-inspired separates.

How you wear them is as important as what you’re wearing:  Color blocking, layering and creative pattern-mixing are back with a vengeance.

For those of us living life off the runway, some of the most wearable trends include tangerine-colored clothing, pleated tops and bottoms, and the day clutch.

Break out your lightweight denim skirts, cotton capris, chambray button-downs and white linen tunics ~ and mix in fabulous pieces like these:

To instantly update your Summer wardrobe, add a pop of cheery tangerine!

Afraid of adding bulk? Choose lightweight fabrics ~ or feature your pleats on shoes and bags.

The day clutch is oh, so easy to "pick up" this Summer.

Got a beauty question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.

Dear Ellbee,

I have super-skinny lips.  Is there a certain shade of lipstick I can wear to make them look bigger?


Hi, Shelby.

To make thin lips appear plump, choose neutral shades in glossy, lip-plumping formulas.

Stark, contrasting colors can minimize lips.  So look for beiges and barely-there pinks.

Also, avoid matte color, which can make lips look dry and flat.  The shinier and more reflective the formula, the bigger your lips will seem.

If you’re going to use lipliner, match it to your own lip color and apply along the true edge of your lip, avoiding the corners.  Then carefully smudge it just beyond your lip line before filling in with lipstick.

Use a highlighter to accent the curves of your upper lip ~ lightly tracing along your Cupid’s bow. A daub of shiny gloss right in the middle of your lower lip will make your lips look positively bee-stung.

For great pigments and moisturizing formulas, Ellbee recommends Maybelline’s ColorSensational High Shine in Nude Glow, L’Oreal Colour Riche Lipcolour in Peach Fuzz and Revlon Super Lustrous Lipcolor in Luminous Pink.

For a “perfectly polished pout,” try BareEscentuals’ Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Polish in Princess.

Maybelline ColorSensational High Shine (Nude Glow); L’Oreal Colour Riche Lipcolour (Peach Fuzz); Revlon Super Lustrous Lipcolor (Luminous Pink); Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Polish (Princess)

Got a beauty question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.

Dear Ellbee,

OMG!  OMG!  I over-trimmed my bangs.  What do I do now?


Hi, Kyra.

No need to panic.  Your fringe will grow back.  In the meantime, here are a few easy tricks you can use to camouflage the situation:

Take bangs completely out of the equation. But skip the hat.  Try a pretty headband instead.  Simply use the band to corral the long and short of it.

Channel Emma Watson and give your hair a piecey look. Place a small amount of sculpting gel or styling mousse into the palms of your hands and work into bangs.  Twist hair into small sections, pulling out and down.  Play with ends until you get a shape that works.

Go girlie. Divide bangs into four or five sections.  Twist and secure with fun, decorative bobbies.

Try plaiting. Part your hair on the side and begin a French braid with the longest hair just past your bangs.  Bring the braid up over your forehead, working in the shorter bangs.  A little pomade will help tame any fly-away pieces.

Think “comely combover.” Since bangs will naturally be longest close to the side of your face, part your hair on the side.  Brush bangs across your forehead for a casual side-swept look.  If you have short hair, pull strands from behind and include them in the lineup.

Have fun and play with your new situation.  You never know….  You may just discover you prefer the shorter style.

Got a beauty question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.

Dear Ellbee,

I am of Asian descent. I really love the shape of my eyes, but wish they were bigger. Can you give me any tips or recommendations?


(PS I really enjoy your column!)

Thank you, Leigh!

Though Asian eyes come in assorted sizes, the flat lid can make them seem small.

You can make them appear bigger by creating depth.  Simply define the crease.

First, apply a light shadow over your entire eyelid.  Using a deeper but complimentary hue, brush color across the fold, about a quarter of an inch above your lash line.  Blend only minimally.

For additional impact, place the tiniest daub of Vaseline™ in the middle of your lid, just under the crease line you created.  Reflected light will visually “raise” your lid.

A light shimmer highlighter dotted on under the outer half of your brow will open up the eye just a bit more.

Curl eyelashes before applying mascara to add even more dimension.  Then go bat those beautiful eyes at someone special!

Nice eyeshadow palettes to try: L’Oreal Eyeshadow Duo (Classic Khakis), Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow Duo (Pink Suede), Laura Mercier Eyeshadow (Book of Nudes) and Too Faced Shadow Collection (Natural at Night Sexy and Sultry Natural Eye)

Got a beauty question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.

Dear Ellbee,

I recently lost 22 pounds. I’m loving my new body, but bummed that cellulite is still an issue. How can I get rid of it?


Hi, Natalie.

You can’t completely eliminate cellulite. Nobody can.

But as you’ve no doubt discovered, a healthy diet and regular exercise improve overall condition and tone, and result in general fat reduction. Beyond that, all treatments are temporary.

For stubborn cellulite, dermatologists recommend lotions containing caffeinated ingredients to shrink fat cells. Again, the results are temporary ~ and not terribly impressive.

Expensive spa treatments may diminish and minimize cellulite to a greater degree. But those treatments are, once again, only temporary.

For similar short-term results (without the big price tag) consume less salt, stay regularly hydrated and try massage.

Use a dry, natural bristle brush to stimulate circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage. Start at the ankle and move upward, working the brush in gentle, circular motions.

Above all else, revel in the knowledge that you are healthy and beautiful with or without the bonus dimples!

Got a beauty question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.

Dear Ellbee,

I break out with a few ginormous zits every three or four weeks. I use a liquid concealer (Maybelline Mineral Powder), but it still looks caky. What’s the deal?


Hi, Colleen.

It may not be the product, but the process. If you’re working with the correct shade, that concealer should do fine. Let’s focus on the prep and application:

Make sure your face is clean and dry. Use a cotton swab to treat your blemish with basic toner.

Cool and flatten the outbreak with an ice cube. Simply wrap ice in a thin flannel and hold it on the blemish for a minute.

Next, use a spot treatment product containing 10% benzoyl peroxide or 2% salicylic acid to help the healing process.

To cover the blemish, use a fingertip to apply liquid concealer ~ sparingly. Just a dot or two should do it. Don’t rub it into the spot, but pat it on and gently blend outward, away from the blemish. Do NOT apply powder.

Finish with your regular makeup routine ~ and don’t forget to wear a confident smile.

Got a beauty question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.

Dear Ellbee,

Can you recommend a good moisturizer for dry, sensitive skin ~ that won’t cost me half of my paycheck?


Hi, Tressa.

For normal to dry skin, I recommend Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion.

A light moisturizer designed to hydrate and protect skin, it’s dye free, fragrance free, lanolin free ~ and easily qualifies as hypoallergenic (perfect for your sensitive skin).

Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion is perfect for dry, sensitive skin.

Lubriderm is non-greasy and ideal for both face and body.  Apply it right after you shower and after you wash your face.  Allow a minimum of five minutes for absorption before applying makeup, though.

If your skin is extra dry, try Lubriderm’s Intense Skin Repair Lotion.  Just a few applications should relieve any itching or tightness and leave your skin feeling nice and smooth.

You can find Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion in drugstores, grocers or big box stores.  The big 24 oz bottle retails for about $9.  Lubriderm’s Intense Skin Repair Lotion is priced at $8 per 16 oz.

Got a beauty question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.

Dear Ellbee,

I <3 my sweaters, but they’re looking rough.  Any tips on how I can save last Winter’s faves?  How do I get rid of the little balls?


Hi, Michelle.

Sounds like it’s time for a little sweater refresher….

Have a peek at the label for washing instructions.  Follow them using a gentle detergent for fine washables or delicates.  And, unless the label lists drier specifics, DO lay the garment flat to dry.

Once your sweater is clean and dry, slip a sturdy piece of cardboard inside and pull the sweater around it until just slightly taut.

Take a moment to examine your sweater for snags or pulls.  Use scissors to cut away independent snags.  A crochet hook, thick sewing needle or even a toothpick can be used to move loose yarn back into place (work from the underside and pull though).

For an optimum sweater refresher, Ellbee recommends this handy $5 d-fuzz-it tool.

Use fingers to loosen and remove larger debris; then use a standard fine-tooth comb to remove the bigger lint balls.  Simply run the comb down the length of the sweater, taking care not to pull or catch the knit.

If you don’t have a fabric comb or de-fuzzing tool, you can use a clean single-blade razor to detach the finer fuzz.  Run the razor down the garment, top to bottom, using even, gentle strokes. Carefully remove any clogs in the razor as you go.

When you’re finished, use a lint roller or masking tape to pick up any loose material. Swipe the surface with a dryer sheet for a final freshen-up ~ and it’s ready to wear!

Bonus tip: Always fold your sweaters for optimum shaping. To preserve fibers, never stack more that three or four sweaters on top of one another.

Got a beauty question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.

Dear Ellbee,

I’m a curvy girl and I’m looking for the perfect dress for a holiday party.  I’ve tried on a few sheath dresses in hopes of showing off my curves tastefully, but they just make me look like a big blob.  Help!


Hi, Maddie.

Sounds like you’re looking for a dress that’s both classic and form-fitting.

A half dozen Disney princesses can’t be wrong: For ultimate shaping, opt for a fit-and-flare dress.

If a sheath isn’t showing off your shape properly, you’ll need something with a more clearly defined waistline.  Look for dress styles that feature a banded waist or those that have a touch of elastic under the bust or at the back.

Details like decorative seaming, piping or contrasting color strips can accentuate the waist beautifully.  A simple skinny belt, a long scarf or a sash tied at the waist can also work wonders on a dress in need of shaping.

Consider styles that are truly form-fitting — like a fit-and-flare cut.  A fitted bodice, nipped-in waist and fun and flirty skirt work well on every silhouette.

Also, think about defining the waistline just a bit higher than its natural location.  An empire waist will allow you to show off your shape and breathe at the same time ~ especially helpful if you plan to do some dancing!

Just a few ideal dress shapes for the curvy girl.

Got a beauty question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.

Dear Ellbee,

I’m 5’3” and looking for ways to appear taller. Obviously, I have the heels thing covered. Any other suggestions?


Hi, Kelly.

I’m 6 feet tall. But I still strive to elongate myself through clothing and shoe options. Here’s how I do it:

As you mentioned, heels are an instant lift. Keep them streamlined and stay away from thick, heavy, clunky heels. Try a nude shoe, too, as they’ll make legs look even longer.

Wear your trousers and skirts a little higher than your natural waist. Likewise, cinch dresses and place belts above the waist. This will make you look extra-leggy.

Shrunken jackets and cardigans can help legs look a mile long, too. Pair them with sheath style dresses, dark-wash skinny jeans and other simple, unfussy options. Keep everything fitted and close to the body.

Try a monochromatic look. Dressing head-to-toe in one color creates a sleek line and adds visual height. Don’t forget basic colored tights, too.

Think vertical. Accessorize with long, thin necklaces that stop at your chest or skinny scarves that reach your waist. Resist going longer, which will make it seem like you’re playing dress-up.

Above all, own your look. Confidence is the one component that works on every single body.

Got a beauty or fashion question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.

Dear Ellbee,

Can you recommend a good red lipstick for me?


Hi, Lexi.

There are lots of wonderful reds out on the market. The key is selecting the right complement color for your skin tone ~ and then careful application!

Here’s the breakdown:

If you have fair skin, you’ll want to shop for reds with blue-based undertones. Good choices include: COVERGIRL LipPerfection in Hot and Maybelline’s Super Stay 24 Color in All Day Cherry.

For darker skin or olive complexions, orangey reds and maroons work beautifully. A few to try: MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger, NARS Lipstick in Heat Wave and COVERGIRL LipPerfection in Flame.

If you have a medium skin tone, you can wear any red well. Yves Saint Laurent’s “Red Temptation” is a gorgeous true-red choice.

For flawless application, make sure lips are well conditioned. Use a little baking soda and water to gently exfoliate, rinse well, then hydrate lips with a small amount of balm or oil.

For sharpest definition, outline lips with a nude pencil. Use a quality lip brush to fill in with color.

Finally, place a single-ply tissue over your lips and lightly dust with loose powder. ~ Now smile. Because that color’s not going anywhere!

Got a beauty or fashion question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.

Dear Ellbee,

I’m looking to jack up my Fall wardrobe, but have limited funds.  How can I get the most bang for a hundred and fifty bucks?


Hi, Suze.

Buy one great pair of black boots. They’ll elevate every look in your closet!

Shop for quality leather.  Suedes are fine, but will not wear as long as basic tanned hide.  You’ll want something substantial, but not too heavy as that could compromise comfort.

For classic styling at its best, Ellbee recommends the clean lines of an Equestrian Boot.

Keep the style simple.  Look for a classic tall boot cut with a low- to mid-range heel.  Avoid stacked, wedge and stiletto heels, which can date a boot.  Keep hardware to a minimum.

Ensure a good fit.  Shop late in the day when feet are slightly swollen.  There should be enough room in the toe box to wiggle your toes.  When you walk, your heel should lift only slightly off the heel pad.  The vamp should not press down on the top of your foot, but sit a fraction of an inch above it.  And the shaft of the boot should rest comfortably against your calf without gapping.  If you intend to add insoles or wear socks, take them with you to check for fit.

Consider accessories.  Many manufacturers now offer add-ons for boots (like detachable fringe cuffs and decorative clips), allowing you to change the look and embrace a trend without breaking the bank.

Extend the life of your new boots:  Have a shoe repair specialist add heel taps.

Now pair them with everything!

Got a beauty question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.

Dear Ellbee,

It’s been so freaking hot this summer that I’m trading in the linen pants for capris! What’s the right length for someone who’s 5’2”?


Hi, Celia.

Buy capris that stop just a couple of inches above your ankle, accentuating the slimmest part of your leg. Keep the opening slightly loose — just wide enough to accommodate your leg without being clingy (too tight makes the ankle appear chunky; too loose makes the leg seem scrawny).

A couple of additional tips for you:  

As a petite woman, it’s important to pair your capris with shorter tops. In fact, this is a good general rule for everyone as longer tunics combined with short pants can ultimately make legs look stubby.

A heel can help elongate you; but avoid styles with lots of hardware, wide straps and other big details which may fragment the overall look.

Enjoy those cool ankle breezes!

Got a beauty question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.

Dear Ellbee,

I’ve tried a few different kinds of bronzers and am not happy with any of them.  They all make me look too orange.  Can you recommend a brand that will work for me — and my light skin?


Hi, Kim.

Bronzer can be tricky for people with fair skin.  Based on your experience, I’m betting you have pink undertones, too.  If so, you’ll need to mix a light-to-medium bronzer (avoid the deeper terra cotta and copper colors) with a bright pink blush to get a more natural look.

Use the bronzer sparingly; tap off any excess from your brush before sweeping it across your forehead, nose and cheeks.

Apply the blush to your cheekbones — right on top of the bronzer — and blend lightly.  That should eliminate any orangey afterglow.

Note:  Ellbee likes to take care of business with a great two-in-one product like Cargo’s Blush and Bronzer in One.  The”Sunset Beach” palette is perfect for fair-skinned beauties.

Got a beauty question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.

Dear Ellbee,

I do a pretty good job with my makeup, but am intimidated when there are more than two colors in the eyeshadow compact!  How do I apply multiple shades?


Hi, Pam.

No need to feel intimidated. In fact, have a little fun! Here’s how:

The darkest color will always be used to define the lash line. Think of it as an extension of your eyeliner. Lay down color 1/4 of the way out from the inner corner to just past the last lash on the outer edge of your eyelid.

The lightest color is the highlighter. That’s the one you’ll sweep under your eyebrow and maybe dot on at the inner corner of your eye.

The second lightest shade is the base color. Apply it all over the lid, stopping short of the brow bone.

The remaining color should be a medium tone. Place it in your crease (not above it) and blend well into the base color.

Bonus Tip:  To ensure your eyeshadow stays in place, use primer (Ellbee likes Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion). Don’t have any on hand? Dab a light application of foundation onto your lid before applying shadow.  — Bat your eyes all you want; that shadow’s not going anywhere now!

Got a beauty question for Ellbee? Use the contact form or simply click here.