Ask a Beauty Editor

People are always asking former Marie Claire beauty director Jennifer G. Sullivan their beauty questions, which makes sense because (a) she has learned a few things in her years as a beauty journalist and host of Fat Mascara, a podcast that takes a closer look at beauty culture, and (b) the internet is a soup of conflicting advice and Google ads that feeds our worst insecurities without providing much assistance. If there are two things Jenn loves, they’re calling out b.s. and helping people feel better about themselves. So that’s what this biweekly column is for. No concern is too vain, trivial, obscure, or embarrassing — she’s here to help. Send your questions to


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More From 'Ask a Beauty Editor'

  1. Should I Be Concerned About the Long-term Effects of Face Filler?Concerned? Yes! I think people don’t take filler seriously enough. But scared? No, not if you go to a provider you trust.
  2. What Can I Do About Crepey Eyelids?The options range from absolutely nothing to plastic surgery — with stops at occlusive eye patches, topical products, and devices in between.
  3. Do I Need to Figure Out My Hair Type (1a–4c) to Buy Products?The hair-typing system tells you about your strand shape, but stylists think about many other factors when they’re caring for your hair.
  4. How Can I Tell If a New Product Is Causing My Breakout?Even if you stop using a product and your rash goes away, you still can’t be 100 percent sure of the cause. Here’s how to get to the bottom of it.
  5. Why Is Color Correcting Hyperpigmentation So Complicated?Green cancels red and orange cancels blue, but how do you hide the gray, taupe, purple, brown, and black shades of acne scars? We asked the pro MUAs.
  6. Are Essential Oils Bad for My Skin?Essential oils aren’t good or bad — they’re potent actives, just like acids and retinoids. Here are some guidelines for using them safely.
  7. Why Is My Concealer Always Creasing Under My Eyes?Makeup artists have been hearing this complaint a lot, and they think it’s because we’re using too much product. Here’s why — and what you can do.
  8. Is This Allergy Season Giving Me Under-Eye Wrinkles?It might be. Here’s how to head off the inflammation and irritation that may be prematurely aging your skin.
  9. What are The Best Body Oils for Fall?The body-oil girlies have spoken, and these are the best blends to repair your sun-parched skin and transition you into autumn.
  10. Can Drinking Electrolytes Make Your Skin More Hydrated?A new beauty beverage’s marketing implies there’s a connection between electrolytes and hydrated skin, but the link is tenuous at best.
  11. Are My Hair Ties Causing Breakage?A reader wonders if her telephone-cord-style elastics could be causing hair damage — and the experts I consulted think she may be onto something.
  12. How Can I Get Rid of Bug Bite Scars?Those spots are actually hyperpigmentation, and the trick is sun protection plus spot-fading ingredients.
  13. Will Getting Botox in My Traps Slim My Neck and Make Me Look Younger?Botox injections in your trapezius (a.k.a. trap tox or Barbie Botox) can elongate your neck but may also make you look older. Here, the pros explain.
  14. Liquid Exfoliants and Self-Tanner Don’t Go Together, Do They?They don’t. But if you want to exfoliate your face and make it look bronzed, there are other ways to do that.
  15. My Natural Red Hair Is Getting Duller. What Can I Do?Here’s how to prevent fading and enhance your color without changing the base shade too much.
  16. Should I Get a Semipermanent Tattoo?If you’ve been considering a made-to-fade tattoo, here’s what the experts have to say.
  17. Are Perms As Damaging As They Used to Be?It all depends on the type you get. Here’s a primer on the latest treatments, including the “boy perm” that’s still going strong.
  18. Should I Get a Tooth Gem?If it’s safe enough for 7-year-old Saint West, it’s safe enough for you … right? I asked dentists to weigh in on the risks.
  19. Should I Stop Waxing and Switch to Laser Hair Removal?In general, yes — but it all depends on where you go to get it done.
  20. Why Do My Nails Look So Unhealthy?The problem could be fungus, water exposure, a medical condition, or something that happens at basically every nail salon. Find out here.
  21. Can I Tighten My Saggy Neck Without Surgery?Neck creams and cosmetic procedures can definitely improve lax skin. Here are all the options — and some advice for deciding what’s right for you.
  22. Are Vaginal Supplements or Products Ever Necessary?Experts explain the right way to wash your vulva, which products are safe to use — and why other people’s choices shouldn’t be your concern.
  23. How Do I Style My Hair While It’s Regrowing After COVID-19 Hair Loss?With products and patience. Here are a few products and styles that will help you manage your regrowth.
  24. Is Tap Water Bad for My Skin or Hair?Depends on where you live. Experts say hard water and certain chemical additives can cause dryness, alter your hair color, and even lead to acne.
  25. Should I Be Icing My Face?Freezing water and ice can cause more harm than good, but cold therapy has all sorts of skin benefits. Let’s talk about the difference.
  26. Are There Still Beauty Brands Testing on Animals?If you’ve read that most European and American companies don’t, that’s not true. Here’s how to find products that align with your standards.
  27. I Use Retinol on my Face. Should I Be Using it on My Body Too?Retinol isn’t a cure-all, but it helps with a few specific body concerns you may want to correct before summer.
  28. What’s a Low-Maintenance Way to Enhance My Brows?If you don’t want to fill in your brows every day, get them tinted by a pro. Or, better yet, do it yourself.
  29. Is At-Home Dermaplaning the Same As Shaving?Both processes remove hair, but there are some differences to be aware of before you take a traditional razor to your face.
  30. What’s the Best Site for Looking up Beauty Ingredients?I asked doctors, chemists, and aestheticians where they research ingredients. These are their go-to resources.
  31. What Products Treat Rosacea?The ones you use after you figure out your food triggers. Here’s how to do that — and which products help.
  32. I’m a Woman and My Hair Is Thinning. Is Rogaine for Me?Rogaine is an answer, but it’s not the only answer. Here are some other hair-loss treatments that may be easier to use consistently.
  33. Are Beauty Filters Actually That Bad for My Mental Health?TikTok users say Bold Glamour should be illegal, but they’re missing the point: We can control how technology makes us feel.
  34. ‘Does Clean Makeup Last As Long As Traditional Makeup Without Getting Moldy?’All water-based makeup has stabilizing ingredients, even if they’re not called preservatives.
  35. ‘Are There Any Healthier Alternatives to Gel Manicures?’Two not-quite-gel lacquer systems you might like. Plus: the reason your current gel manicure could be causing damage
  36. ‘Is Makeup With Skin-Care Benefits Actually Legit?’Souped-up foundations and primers might improve your complexion — but not as much as actual skin care does.
  37. Will Lash Extensions Ruin My Lashes?A semi-permanent set won’t destroy your eyelashes — but a bad lash artist might.
  38. Will I Ruin My Salon Bond-Repair Treatment if I Don’t Use the At-home Products?You can’t inactivate one hair product by using another. But knowing how bond-builders work will prevent you from spending unnecessary money.
  39. ‘I Love That Lipgloss Is Back, But Are There Any That Actually Last? ’These are the longest-lasting glosses, according to experts. Follow their application tips if you want better wear.
  40. Should I Worry About UV Damage While Getting a Gel Manicure?A recent study found that exposure to a UV nail-polish dryer led to cell deaths. We spoke to experts about how to protect yourself.
  41. Is There Any Way to Whiten Sensitive Teeth Without Pain?There are ways to minimize teeth-whitening sensitivity, but experts can’t promise they’ll work for you.
  42. ‘Is It Okay for Me to Use Black Hair Products If I’m Not Black?’Yes, but there are some guidelines on how to do it respectfully.
  43. ‘I Can’t Afford to See My Colorist As Frequently in 2023. What Do I Do?’Be honest and upfront. Your colorist doesn’t want to lose you, either.
  44. Is My $8 Vitamin-C Serum Doing Anything?Probably, but here are some ways to be sure — and what else to know before buying an antioxidant serum.
  45. ‘Do I Really Need Sunscreen in Winter?’On your face, yes. And there are many reasons you don’t want to skip it.
  46. ‘What’s the Best Regimen for Post-Pregnancy Dark Spots?’Consistency is key. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you even out your skin tone.
  47. ‘Why Does My Mascara Always Smudge?’Here’s how to set your formula up for success — and know when it’s time to move on and try another.
  48. ‘Is Dermarolling at Home a Good Idea?’The issues with DIY microneedling aren’t as obvious as you might think.
  49. ‘Do Light-Therapy Masks Work?’At-home LED devices can help with cystic acne and signs of aging — if you pick the right one and actually use it.
  50. ‘Do I Need Botox?’Just because everybody’s getting injections, doesn’t mean they’re right for you.
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