Dear 18 year old me. Beauty advice to my younger self

Everyone has pictures that we keep hidden away in the depths of our deepest wardrobe, away from all eyes and judgement. Very often when we look back on pictures of our clothes and makeup in our late teens and early 20s and cringe. Recently a friend sent me on some pictures from when I was in college and to say I could not believe how I looked would be an understatement. As I looked on in horror at the picture, I wondered why did nobody take me aside and have a word with me about my appearance.

If you could go back in time and give your 18 year old self some advice, what advice would you give to your younger self? Having taken down the photo album from the attic, I have come up with my top 10 tips that not only apply to my 18 year old self, but also to many people today.

1.Stop plucking your eyebrows

Back in the late 90’s early 00’s the thin brow look was in! I mean everyone rocked it. It got to be such a trend, that girls in school used to shave their brows and pencil in the thinest line. Looking back now, this look, looked absolutely terrifying. In every picture from my youth, my brows were incredibly thin, and it looks like I have no brows. As a teen, I plucked my brows so much, that they stopped growing and I have since had to get embrowdery to make myself look normal again. Advice: Step away from the tweezers and let your brows grow.


2. Avoid foundations with SPF when getting photographed

IMG_9684Have you ever looked at a picture and wondered why your face was completely white, compared to your body and how it looks in real life? Well the culprit is SPF in your foundation. The SPF causes the flash to bounce back and the result is the very unflattering Casper look. All through my teens and very early 20’s I wore Elizabeth Arden Flawless finish foundation. While it actually looked half decent in real life, the SPF completely ghosted me out in pictures, resulting in the above look! Advice: If you are going to be photographed, avoid a foundation with an SPF

3. Stay away from blue and green eyeshadow

IMG_9127I think the statement above speaks for itself. Seriously I wore bright blue and green eyeshadow and nobody had the decency to pull me aside and tell me how bad I looked!! Yes I know blue and green shadows seem to be back in vogue, but these colours are not for everyone, and a splash of bright blue or green across your lid is not a look you want to try. Advice: Stick to more flattering colours for your eye colour and use bright blues and greens in moderation.

4. Blonde doesn’t suit everyone

IMG_9128For so long I thought, if you are dyeing your hair, you should only dye it blonde. For years I tried to keep my hair blonde, but ended up dyeing it every 6-8 weeks due to the horrendous black roots. It wasn’t until I was 23 and stone broke, that I went into a hair dressers and told them to dye it brown. Thank God I took the plunge, as the blonde is simply horrendous. I think everyone has had a bad dye job at some point, but mine lasted from the ages of 16-24. Advice: stick to a colour that suits your skin tone. blond is not for everyone

5. Step away from the brown lipstick

I know the 90’s lip is back on trend now, but seriously brown lipstick doesn’t suit anyone! All through my teens, heather shimmer from Rimmel was my go to lipstick. No matter what I was wearing, this horrific brown lipstick was on my lips. I blame my mother. Surely she should have said something to me? While browns can be nice, it is important to pick a colour that suits you and not a one colour suits all! Advice: Leave the brown alone and pick up a pink

6. Stop following trends and just be yourself.

In the late 90’s office wear, as party wear was a thing. I swear it was. Lately I see so many girls trying to keep up with a trend and a lot of the time it doesn’t suit them. I wish I listened to my Mammy and wore what suited me and not what everyone else was wearing. Advice: Don’t follow a trend, just be yourself


7. Don’t stop playing sport

Every time I exercise, I feel like a 90 year old one. To say I am unfit would be an understatement.

8. Step away from the black eyeliner

Black liner can look amazing. However, the key to black liner is moderation. when I was younger, I was extremely guilty of lashing on a huge amount of black liner under the eye, along with black shadow on my lids, so that I resembled a Panda. Advice: A little liner goes a long way

9. Ditch the pigtails

Nobody can rock pigtails well once they have left primary school. Pigtail plaits are a different kettle of fish, but unless it is a fancy dress pigtails should be left in the corridors of your old primary school. Advice: you are not 8. take out the pigtails

10. Wear shoes you can walk in

In secondary school, we had a teacher who would walk the corridors checking the height of the heel of our shoes. If your shoe was too high, you were sent to the office, were you would have to swap your shoes for a pair of slippers. I was a demon for the high shoes, and this particular teacher used to tell me I walked like a duck with the school bag on my back and the shoes that were too high for me. Even in my early 20’s I wore shoes that were far too high for me and ended up on flat on my face on many a night out. Advice: Leave the sky scrappers behind.


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  • Reply
    A Modern Mommy's WORLD
    October 22, 2014 at 10:46 am

    haha Love it, my advise to my younger self would be a stay away from the undercut, what was I thinking lol xx

  • Reply
    October 22, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Aw loved this post! I could never put up past photos of myself – yours are grand!!! My advice to myself would be also the eyebrows. Oh and “Hint of a Tint” colours that were out years ago. Everything in my bathroom was plum for months! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 23, 2014 at 1:35 am

    Ah Sinead, this is a brilliant article. I too used Flawless Finish and Heather Shimmer! Laughed so much when I saw them mentioned (and I’m a good few years older than you)

    But thanks a million for the tip about the white faces in photographs. Any photo I’ve had lately I look like a ghost & I couldn’t figure out why. I use Estee Lauder Double Wear and it def has SPF so maybe I need to find another brand to use at night

  • Reply
    November 4, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Im with you on the over plucking brows and blue/green eyeshadow!! Great post.
    Katie x
    @thebeautymind_ Instagram

  • Reply
    March 3, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Ah sinead loved this :). Can definitely relate to the heather shimmer and the office wear – thinking we looked only deadly in what can only be described as ‘a lovely business suit’ lol. Pan stick number 13 noveau beige was also another staple item and losing the marbles when the local pharmacy was sold out of that particular shade 🙂

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