Each week, we'll answer your beauty-related questions, even the dumb ones.

1. My biggest beauty question is: How in the world do I stop my lips from drying out and peeling all the damn time? It's not a seasonal thing, it's constant. I've tried various lip balms with no real success. I'd like to more regularly incorporate lipsticks/stains/tars etc into my makeup routine, but it's hard to wear lip stuff confidently when my lips are always dried out.

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Drink water. Drink water! Drink so much water. How much water are you drinking? Double it. Your'e going to get a nickname at work that references how often you pee, but it'll be worth it.

Also, do you bite your lips? You may not even notice you're doing it, but you could be making the problem worse by mindlessly gnawing at the flakes.

I'll give you a three part daily routine that works for me.

  1. Exfoliate. You can do this by rubbing a mixture of sugar and olive oil on your lips, or scrub them with your toothbrush. Don't go nuts, but about 30 seconds of rubbing should do it. Rinse.
  2. Moisturize. During the day, use a highly moisturizing lip balm. This is going to be something that is not petrolatum-based. Just slap it on whenever you think of it.
  3. Protect. At night, before bed, apply something that is petrolatum-based, like Vaseline or Smith's Rosebud Salve. This will keep your lips from losing moisture as you sleep.

Try this for a week or two before giving up. Eventually, you won't have to be quite so diligent and you can start wearing some of those fun lip products you covet.

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2. So I am 27 and finally starting to get a handle on grown woman beauty regimen (I think?). However, I'm starting to look critically at my face - oily in some places, visible pores spreading across my nose and cheeks, the start of fine lines around my mouth. Should I be implementing some kind of professional level care from time to time, like a facial or a peel or something? Is this a thing that regular people generally do?

To answer your first question, you can implement something, sure. I love getting facials but did you know they are kind of bullshit? I mean, ack, I mean, sorry to all aestheticians, but without adding some sort of medical-grade procedure on top like a peel, a facial is kind of weak. They are a nice way of relaxing and feeling exfoliated and getting your blackheads squeezed is fun, but for the money you're unlikely to see the kind of change you can get from something a bit more intense.

Ask a dermatologist or nurse at a med spa to tell you all about glycolic peels. They can be administered every few weeks and sold in sets of three or six, or more depending on the strength and your needs. With these, there's little to no downtime — you can get them and go back to work and probably no one will say shit — and they're not likely to cause side effects like discoloration. If you don't ever have to leave the house, a TCA peel is wonderful, too, but there's a longer healing time and your face basically falls off. If all this peel talk is scary, you might also look into microdermabrasion (though I've never personally felt the results were anything to blog about).

After you start trying procedures like these you MUST up your SPF game significantly. You're exposing precious new cells to the world and you want to protect them. You will get a sunburn or worse if you don't listen to me on that one.

As for your second question: no. It's not something that "regular" people generally do. Folks who request these services have disposable income. They might be vain. They might have a medical need. I do it because it's kind of my job but even I forget about my skin for months, sometimes years at a time. So, take a look at your face, your wallet, and your peers and decide if it's really important to you or if you'd rather spend that money on an all-inclusive vacation to CACUUUN, MEXICOOO!

3. I was wondering if you have any tips on how to wear a maxi dress for short curvy women. Spring is coming soon here in the south. I'm 5'2" and a 30HH.

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Don't you love maxi dresses? They're like pajamas you can wear to work. Know what I mean?

Do you have a tailor? You should get one. (Everyone should.) The best part about having a tailor is the peace of mind they provide. No longer will you roam around Target critiquing lengths and shoulder seam placement and waistbands — you have a magician on your team now! All you need to worry about is if you like something in theory. If you have to go up a size to fit your boobs but it means the skirt will be all too long and billowy, a tailor can remedy that. Sure, it adds to the cost, but in the long run it's cheaper than buying a bunch of stuff you don't feel comfortable wearing.

As far as what to look for in a maxi, if you're short and busty, try to find an empire surplice (sometimes called "wrap front") bodice. That's the kind that criss-crosses up top like a wrap dress but it's not a wrap dress. A surplice is very flattering and common on maxi dresses. Check out this one with short sleeves.

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Too much cleavage? You could also try a halter. I love this one (and it comes in petite!). Notice that halters draw the eye up to the face, visually lengthening your silhouette.

Most importantly: shop for a dress you really dig regardless of whether or not you like the fit. Enjoying the clothes you're in goes quite a long way in making them look good. I guarantee once you get a tailor who can mold clothes to your body, you'll start seeing possibilities everywhere.

4. I'm writing to ask if you think that "rule" about women not having long hair after 30 is total bullshit. I'm thinking of trying something new, but my lack of a strong/any jaw line makes me not so crazy about short hair. But I'm a mom of a seven month-old and I'm nearing 34 and wondering if it's time to give up the long locks?

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Wait, that's a rule? Everyone: is that a rule? I've never heard it before! I've heard that women do chop their hair off as they age, but not that they should, necessarily. Huh. Maybe I just assumed my grandmas liked having short hair and all this time they've actually been oppressed by The System.

Fuck that rule. You grew that shit and you're the one who has to smell it. Sure, some styles look out of place on people our age [fill in the blank here with whatever style came to mind] but no one is striking those women down with lightning, they're just tittering behind their backs and that's going to happen anyway no matter what you do. So do you whatever you want with your mane. If you think you won't look good in short hair, don't even worry about it. Banish the thought from your mind.

HOWEVS: I caution all new moms to wait until they are sane again (this takes at least a year) to make any big changes they might regret. I know how you're feeling — you're in a new body and you just want something to feel different and a haircut is a shortcut. But maybe hang on for a few months in case your changing hormones change your mind, too.


Do you have a beauty question? Send us an email.