Dear Answer Angel: My daughter, a bride-to-be, has found the gown of her dreams: scoop neck, off the shoulder and gorgeous. She looks like a million dollars in it and wants no other. The big problem: She has a very large — and, I have to say, somewhat grotesque — tattoo that covers one shoulder and goes down her arm. She's not all that crazy about it and would definitely like to hide it on her wedding day (and in all the photos). But how? Is there makeup for this sort of thing? She doesn't want to wear a jacket or shawl with the dress — it spoils the lines. What to do?
— Inked Up's Ma
Dear Ma: I guess this isn't the time for you (or me) to lecture your daughter on how she will regret getting a tattoo. That train has already roared out of the station. But for all you young people out there contemplating getting one, here's my suggestion: Take a look at senior citizens who've had their tats for three or four decades. On aging, droopy skin, body art loses some of the "art" part.
Back to the wedding day. There are plenty of online videos that show how to cover a tattoo with makeup. I've watched good ones on ehow.com, about.com and youtube.com. For such a big day, I'd get a professional makeup artist to do the job, perhaps using airbrush makeup. Call around or search online for experts in your locale. If she wants to do it herself, she'll need two concealers, one lighter than her skin tone and one that matches her skin, plus translucent powder to set it. Makeup setting spray also is useful. Dermablend (dermablend.com) is well known for products with good coverage. Celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D has, ironically, her own line of tattoo concealer products. And an online search turns up many other options. Despite what some sites tell you, you really don't need to spend on brushes. Makeup sponges or your fingers will do the job.
One more thing: No matter what you're told, the concealing makeup rubs off on clothing, so your daughter might want to consult a tailor about special lining for the areas of the gown that will touch the covered tattoo.
Dear Answer Angel: Help, please! Ever since my first daughter was born 20 years ago, I cannot stand the smell of nail polish. It makes me kind of nauseous. I tried some polish that claims to be "nontoxic" with lack of some chemical, but it still smells bad. Any ideas?
Your grateful reader,
— Kathi K.
Dear Kathi: For clear, shiny nails without polish, try buffing. Numerous online sites sell a chamois nail buffer and buffing cream separately for less than $10 total. Amazon.com is just one of many.
Dear Answer Angel: What's your favorite drugstore mascara?
— Carol L.
Dear Carol: Maybelline Great Lash in the cotton candy pink tube with a bright green top is my definite favorite. That's the classic, but if you prefer a smaller brush, choose the Great Lash Lots of Lashes version. Great Lash Big has a — duh — bigger brush. I've seen them all on sale for less than $4.
Dear Answer Angel: I'm a size 8 and wear skirts at or just below my knee. I have a couple of colored denim skirts from summer that I hate to put away quite yet. However, I have no idea if I should continue to wear these skirts (one is red and one is blue) into the fall and if so with what to cover my legs now that the air is chillier? Tights? Match the skirt or no? Flesh-toned pantyhose? Calf-high or just below the knee-high boots? Or just put those skirts away until next summer? Thanks for any info you might provide.
— Peggy S.
Dear Peggy: Colored denim is all over stores and fashion magazines, and it's a year-round fabric. So don't put those skirts away! Wear 'em for fall and even winter. Nude hosiery would not be a good choice. Right now you'll want to wear them with opaque tights in a contrasting bright or a neutral. Think gray, cream, navy or black. Boots from ankle to knee high would be great. Then, when the temperature warrants, choose heavier tights in a sweatery fabric (with cables, argyle or herringbone) to wear with your boots.
Readers help out
Thanks to the many readers who offered suggestions on a recent question about how to combat excess underarm perspiration. I suggested Botox, but here are some other ideas:
•My doctor prescribed Hypercare. You dab it on your underarms two to three times per week at night and you sweat less. I find that it works well enough for me to be confident in wearing light-colored shirts again! My insurance covered this, so I only had my co-pay to pay. Also, clinical strength Secret, Dove and Suave antiperspirants all work well. You can buy them at the drugstore. It says "clinical strength" on the package. It's about twice the price of regular antiperspirant, but it works a lot better. No pain of Botox injections either!
•A prescription liquid called Drysol is cheap and works quite well. Just follow the instructions, and it is much cheaper than Botox. (Answer Angel says: I've also seen it sold online without a prescription.)