La Femme: Interview Series on Beauty

Walking down Armitage Avenue in Chicago with no particular aim in mind we step in rhythm with the steady fall of slight raindrops. Passing by little boutiques, trendy coffee shops, and over priced resale shops doing a bit of wishful thinking that we are not college students on a budget and can just splurge on a dreamy pair of Gucci loafers. Karina and I are walking as slow as molasses at this point just drawing out the fact that we have to get back to reality. She comes put together and also knows how to pull off the latest trends with a laid back ease. In Adidas pants, those black and white sneakers that you see on just about ever celebrity and a classy cotton tee, she could fit in right with the ladies walking out of the Soul Cycle and heading to brunch on 5th Avenue. It is one of my favorite memories to reminisce on. The times where she would lean against a street mural and the aesthetic is spot on are just moments you cannot plan.



Girl crush aside, she knows it, Karina Shumyatskaya is, if not the most, talented writer and guidance guru in my circle of boss babes. She can turn the most mundane news into a comical and insightful rendition of everything I must know to understand a particular topic. She is has the credibility of The New York Times and the candor of The NewYorker. Not only does Karina make news interesting, she also forms her opinions and shares them with everyone clicks on her snappy articles on Medium, aka click to become as obsessed and inspired as I am. She has also saved me several times from making a late night phone calls and sending searing texts, she knows exactly what to do when my red hair translates into my fiery temper. She keeps me sane, and reminds me to keep on being me, quirks, class, and all.

Karina is also my go to beauty guru, she can rock a bold lip, illuminate a room with her highlighting skills, and create the fiercest winged line I have ever seen. So, obviously, she is my number one pick when I want to focus an interview series on beauty. I keep things simple. A little concealer, light blush, brown mascara, and a neutral lip. This is my normal “glam.” Hence, I found the best to share more about beauty and how it influences women in our daily lives. What do we think when we start to fiddle with our eye-liners, a new lipstick, or when trying to find the newest trend? I think I do it all wrong. No worries, Karina is here to answer our questions and shed some light onto beauty expectations today:

Kelsey Hershenhouse: From your experience, what makes you feel most comfortable in regards to your own beauty routine, and where do you like to push some of your boundaries when it comes to trying new trends?

Karina Shumyatskaya: I’m one of those people that can’t leave the house without mascara. I also tend to stick to neutral colors when I do my makeup, because there’s not much people can say about someone with taupe eyelids, as opposed to green or something. But lately I’ve been pushing my boundaries when it comes to lip products. Liquid lipstick has become very popular, and people are even venturing into metallics, as well as holographic gloss. I used to be very self-conscious about my lips, so I always avoided drawing attention to them – wearing lipstick in an unusual shade or finish is how I push my boundaries. I really feel as though its built confidence!


KH: Confidence is key, do something that makes you feel good. Have you experienced a time where you felt too exposed or inauthentic from beauty expectations? How do you think you have learned from the experience and what could women keep in mind to show their authentic self while still having fun in their beauty routine?

KS: To be honest, I haven’t. I don’t tend to go against the grain much when it comes to aiming for mainstream beauty ideals. I don’t really like the whole Instagram baddie makeup look – it’s just not my style – but I’ve never felt pressured to imitate it to the point of inauthenticity. If you like to wear your makeup a certain way, do it, and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing right now, because trends are fleeting.

KH: Knowing you for quite the while, I know you have worked on your own self confidence and being more aware of yourself both physically and emotionally, what have you learned that you think it crucial for women to understand when they are experiencing a similar time in their life and how can we start having more conversations about “self-care” or even what does self-care really mean?

KS: So, to start, I think the term “self-care” is really overused nowadays (my article about it can be read here). For the reasons described in that article, which I won’t bore you with here, I refer to what you’re asking about as “treating yourself” or “loving yourself.” I think the latter is what really needs to be talked about. Like many women, I suffered from poor self-esteem for a long time. It’s still a struggle, and probably always will be, but it has been alleviated in the following ways; 1) I decided to be emotionally honest with myself, and stopped pretending that I was okay with things when I really wasn’t, 2) I distanced myself from people and situations that made me feel bad, 3) thanks to that, I was able to incorporate more things that brought me happiness into my life, 4) I went to therapy, which I recommend to everyone, because it can really help you figure out all of the preceding, and 5) I started going out of my way to do nice things for myself. I invested in good skincare, worked on keeping my environment neat, and cooked for myself more; all of the things I’d do for someone I loved, I did for myself. Act like you love yourself, and eventually you will, because we love that which we take care of.

KH: Exactly, as women we need to prioritize the essentials such a mental, physical, and emotional health and the rest should be seen as treating yourself because you deserve it. Getting into a bit more of what you enjoy in your beauty routine, what are some essentials that you think all women should have in their beauty stash?

KS: I think every woman should have a great mascara. I don’t care if you have the world’s thickest, darkest lashes – buy a clear formula if you have to – it just helps pull every look together. Also, a good moisturizer is essential. Even girls with oily skin, such as myself, stand to benefit. It helps prevent wrinkles, and makes makeup go on smoother. I also think a good blush is important, especially if you wear foundation regularly, because that can make your face look flat, and blush quickly adds color and dimension.

KH: Mascara is something I never leave the house with, so definitely second this! What are some key things to try if you want to go a bit out of your usual routine?

KS: Trying out a new shade or finish of lipstick is an easy way to step out of your regular routine, but that feels like a cop out, so here’s another tip; try switching up your brow routine. Try using a darker or lighted tinted gel than usual, fill them in thicker, thinner, sharper, softer, etc. Those of you who never fully got your brows back after the over plucking fiasco of the early 2000s and have to basically draw the entire things on can even try a whole new shape – higher arch, lower arch, shorter, longer, whatever. The brows essentially frame the face, so the smallest tweaks make a huge difference.

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KH: Winged eye-liner is your signature, give us your magic trick!

KS: Practice, practice, practice. After many arguments with my parents, who were against the whole idea, I started wearing eyeliner in eighth grade. I used the then-99 cent liquid liner from Wet n Wild. I was terrible at it, and it looked AWFUL. A boy in my homeroom even commented on it once, and I’m sure he was just saying what everyone else was thinking. But I thought it looked hot, so I kept doing it, and eventually I got the hang of it. But if you don’t have an entire adolescence to spare, it helps to have a good applicator; I like liner pens, like Stila’s. L’Oreal has a cheaper, comparable version.

Are you hooked yet? I know, she is fantastic. She exudes the classy and trendy ideas we all want to find. As we said, confidence is key. So go for that exciting new look that you have been wanting to try. If it makes you feel good then that’s all you need. To follow along with Karina and her ideas, looks, and product recommendations, visit her Instagram, her other Instagram, and her Medium page.


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