I’m on the phone with Andrea Pomerantz Lustig, beauty editor at Glamour magazine.
She’s telling me all about her newish tome, “How to Look Expensive: A Beauty Editor’s Secrets to Getting Gorgeous Without Breaking the Bank” (Gotham, $25).
All I can think is how thankful I am she can’t see me. I’m working at home and I know I don’t look expensive in the get-up I’m wearing: smudged eyeliner (one of her least favorite things), an ancient sweatshirt and pajama pants.
Then she mentions one of my peeves — tattered and chipped manicures — and suddenly, we are kindred spirits.
“A bad manicure is often a good manicure that’s been on too long,” she says. “It’s much better to take off the polish and put a little moisture on your nails so they shine.”
Makes sense, right?
The problem is that lots of us don’t take the time to pay attention to the details of our appearance and — to be perfectly honest — that makes us look kind of cheap and trashy, and who wants to look like that?
“The value of looking expensive … I don’t mean to use L’Oreal’s phrase, ‘You’re worth it,’ ” Lustig begins.
“It’s a feeling that transcends what you look like into the confidence you put off into the world. When you feel like a million bucks, you present that image to the world. You have the confidence. …
“When you believe in yourself, you’re worth so much more.”
The best part, she says, is that looking expensive doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Lustig tells the secrets she’s gleaned over her 20 years in the beauty business.
To make a blow-out last longer, wrap your head in a dry towel when you get in the shower; moisture gets under a shower cap and can leave your hair flat.
If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on haircuts, wear your hair long because you won’t have to get it cut as often. Lustig, who wears her hair just below her shoulders, says in the book she can get away with twice-yearly haircuts.
Price point isn’t as important as good taste, and cheap is often too much of a good thing.
“People will say to me, ‘What’s worth spending on?’ I think that’s really a personal thing,” she says, though she recommends spending more on skin-care products and less on accessories such as lipstick. “Beauty is so tied into how you feel about yourself. You have a Dior compact that makes you feel like a million bucks. That is so worth it if every time you pull it out you feel expensive.”
In the book, she offers suggestions on splurge-worthy products and products that will save you money.
For example, when it comes to blushers, she lists the Multiple by NARS in Orgasm as one of her favorite splurges and Revlon Cream Blush in Berry Flirtatious as one of her favorite budget blushes.
The book focuses on hair and makeup (it should look natural and well-blended), though Lustig does offer some tidbits on clothing and accessories that look expensive.
• Stick to a basic color palette – whites, beiges, browns, navy, gray and black – and spice them up by adding a jewel-toned or print top or jacket.
• When it comes to jewelry, opt for statement pieces.
• Pay attention to undergarments, which means yearly bra fittings and Spanx.
• Spend money on accessories, not clothes. This means boots, scarves and the like.
• You’ll look flashy if you wear head-to-toe designer labels. And flashy equals trashy.
“When you look good, you feel good,” Lustig says. “It’s more than just skin deep. … Beauty is power.”