17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

From the Tales Inbox: Don't Cry For Me Argentina

I just received my mission call to the Argentina Resistencia Mission! Despite the wet, swampy, densely forested terrain, I am determined not to be a frumpy sister. I don't want to look so hideous that I bring the Argentines to tears.

While I'm not planning on being obsessive about my looks while serving a mission, I think it is important to look nice as a representative of the Lord. So how does a sister pull off getting ready in 30 minutes when she has legs to shave, eyebrows to pluck, thick hair to dry, make-up to apply, and an outfit to put together? Any tips from you moms-on-the-run? What products have saved your life? What have you learned to let go of? What's more important, hair or make-up? I'm used to a caboodle full of beauty products, how do I downsize to something more compact? Help!

-A Sister in Zion


  • I don't ever feel like I looked frumpy. Lucky for me the Indiana humidity and heat brought out extra natural curl so most days my hair took only a few minutes. I would suggest down playing the makeup, investing in some great clothing pieces and some good shoes (they will make a world of difference)and let the spirit shine through. Also there is time between 9:30 pm and 10:30 pm to keep up on all the extra little things a girl is required to do. I think that when a sister looks frumpy and unmade it affects the spirit she carries with her so play a little with what you have and your time constraints and all will work for your good.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7/22/2008 06:28:00 PM  

  • I have to look my best in no time OFTEN....so I have a lot of tricks. I have not however, EVER been to Argentina OR been a missionary.

    I have a makeup post on here of makeup in 5 minutes you should look into.

    Can you get around the 30-minute thing? Take a shower at night for eg? Maybe you could treat yourself to a long shower on P-DAY and get all your shaving done! You could maybe only shave below the knee....?

    I pluck my brows right after I brush my teeth. Brush teeth, pluck the 5 or so tiny sprouts....it's REALLY easy to up-keep.

    Hair: I highly suggest short hair. Could you get your hair cut there? If you get a decent cut, you could even let it air dry... Even if it's short, it will take only 5 minutes to blow dry, so after shower and blow dry, you have 15 minutes left to get dressed and do makeup...you're fine.

    If you keep your hair long, do not wash it every day...just take a little extra time every other day or at night to blow it out.

    sunscreen lotion
    powder blush
    one eye shadow
    lip gloss

    If you want it more involved:
    add base
    eye liner
    second shadow
    eyebrow makeup
    lash curler
    lip liner
    second shade of lips...matte then gloss
    posted by Blogger Kage at 7/22/2008 07:12:00 PM  

  • I have no beauty tips whatsoever. But, I do want to say congrats on your mission call. My brother and dad served in Argentina and I went there a few years ago and fell in love with the country. It's gorgeous. It's the prefect mix of European and South American. The food is to die for. The people were wonderful. It's one of my favorite countries - you will love it!

    I know Kage is the expert on this sort of thing, but I think hair that is long enough to fit into a ponytail is the easiest. As long as you can pull it back if you need to, you should be fine.
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 7/22/2008 11:23:00 PM  

  • I'm pretty sure you don't want to take beauty tips from me...but I have to agree with Melissa, Argentina is wonderful! I spent two weeks in BA and surrounding areas during college and loved every minute! It is definitely Europe with a twist (and much cheaper, too!) I have been wanting to go back so much...DH had a promising opportunity to work in a newspaper bureau in BA but it doesn't look like it will happen now. I'm sure you will have all the usual challenges of a mission...but at least you'll be in a beautiful place! Best of luck!
    posted by Blogger Jen at 7/23/2008 06:17:00 AM  

  • I like how kage mentioned only shaving below the knee; I think most endowed women only shave below the knee (unless they are swimming on a regular basis), because it just makes sense, you know? Why shave what will never be seen, eh?

    I would definitely die down the make-up. A good coat of mascara, some foundation and blush, and you're good to go. Your hair? Well, with the short hair (sorry, not admitting that I know the Sister in Zion happens to have short hair, even though that's exactly what I am doing -doh!), it won't take to long to just blow dry it fast --right? Of course, this does depend on how your hair will react to the humidity.

    That's all I have; I never served a mission, so I'm not good at giving advice on the time you may or may not have, etc.

    But congrats (again) on the mission call! You'll have an amazing experience, I'm sure of it. :)
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 7/23/2008 07:24:00 AM  

  • Congrats! That is awesome! I was gonna agree with Melissa about being able to pull your hair back but after Cheryl's comment I guess you have short hair :) Maybe bring some clips or bobby pins that will help pull it back a little in a pinch. I'm also a fan of having some mousse or gel, and after a shower putting that in and scrunching it to get some curl or waves. Then I forget about it the rest of the day. I say keep your make-up fresh and super simple. Tinted lip balm (or some gloss if you're feeling it), mascara, a foundation or powder that you like and a little blush. That sounds perfect to me. I don't know the weather in Argentina, but maybe you'll get some sun on your face from street contacting a bunch and you won't even have to worry about it. Good luck! You will be awesome.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 7/23/2008 08:55:00 AM  

  • I agree with Kage- just figure out what works for you- if your hair is straight I find that a good flat ironing job will last me several days (2-3)before I have to wash it. Being in an extremely hot climate might make that hard, though.. you'll have to see.

    I personally can't stand those big frumpy clunky black doc marten shoes many of them wear. Wear something comfortable but simpler, and less chunky.

    Good luck though, it will be one of the most cherished experiences of your life if you make the most of it!
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 7/23/2008 09:43:00 AM  

  • Thanks for the tips so far! My hair is short. I guess I'm just worried about upkeep. I will be serving in more rural areas. I guess I should just learn how to cut my own hair.
    posted by Anonymous A Sister in Zion at 7/23/2008 09:44:00 AM  

  • Have you tried posting on the mission website?

    While I agree with the others that Buenos Aires is like a European city deposited on American shores, Resistencia is a world away from BA. While there are pockets of European settlers and their descendants, the majority of the population in the north is mestizo.

    Living conditions are somewhat more primitive than Buenos Aires as well; you'll end up having more in common with missionaries who've served in Central America, Paraguay, rural Brazil, and the tropical regions of Bolivia and Ecuador than you will missionaries from Buenos Aires and points south.

    High humidity, no air conditioning, and possibly limited or no hot water can be expected in at least some of your areas.

    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7/23/2008 09:44:00 AM  

  • This picture from the website is a pretty good illustration of the different kinds of people in the north--a couple of little blonde kids, probably great or great-great grandkids of Poles, Ukranian, or German settlers; alongside are people who resemble what most people think of as 'typical' Latin Americans.


    If you read Spanish, I recommend the book by Martin Caparros called "El Interior".

    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7/23/2008 09:55:00 AM  

  • man, it's SO hard to give general advice when everyone is so different. the hair advice, for example, would totally not work for me. i would look insanely hideous with short hair. putting gel or mousse in my hair would be fruitless because it's straight as a stick. and not washing it every day just as a rule of thumb (as opposed to because we don't have good access to water) would be a disaster.

    as for the "frumpy" shoes, they may not be manolos, but they're very practical, which is really a priority when you're on a mission. you're not going to get far when you're walking the jungles of the amazon, for example, in a pair of chic heels.

    so, even though i'm totally helpless on this thread, CONGRATS! how exciting! i have a girlfriend who served in argentina and (as is usually the case) she loved it.
    posted by Anonymous makakona at 7/23/2008 10:20:00 AM  

  • Thanks Mari. You are so right. Everyone keeps telling me about how great Buenos Aires, which is great but it gives me no insight into the areas I really will be serving in. I will be teaching in areas that look more like this.
    posted by Anonymous A Sister in Zion at 7/23/2008 10:47:00 AM  

  • Thank you Mari. Everyone keeps telling me how great Buenos Aires is, which is great, but it gives me little insight into the northern areas up by Paraguay and Brazil where I will be serving. I will be tracking in areas that look more like this. Hence why I'm a little concerned about how I'm going to upkeep my short hair.

    If any of you have some time, read this blog article. I found the story about Dr.B's daughter's experience with an MTC clothing coordinator(which starts on the 3rd paragraph) to be a little disturbing. What do you think?
    posted by Anonymous A Sister in Zion at 7/23/2008 11:27:00 AM  

  • Ok, you already got some quick beauty advice, so here's a contrasting opinion :)

    Honestly, given the lack of free time, the impracticability of transporting much in the way of beauty supplies as you move, and the lack of modern amenities in your mission, this hair and makeup endeavor seems like a battle not worth fighting. I'd recommend getting a totally wash-and-go haircut, and just not wearing makeup. Don't worry, nobody cares if you're wearing any or not, and you'll get used to it.

    what else to let go of: shaving or plucking anywhere that won't be seen in public. Also, "an outfit to put together" ought to be very easy in the mission field, won't you just be rotating though very few possibilities?
    posted by Blogger cchrissyy at 7/23/2008 12:43:00 PM  

  • ccchrissy wants you to be frumpy! Don't let go of the makeup...you can do it....just make it super simple.....just 5 minutes of makeup makes a hug difference on most people.....and you want to feel good about yourself and people will have a different impression of you if you look your best, it's just the way the world works!!!!
    posted by Blogger Kage at 7/23/2008 03:22:00 PM  

  • My brother served (and we visited) some very rural areas. He did not serve in BA. All houses had dirt floors and most did not have any electricity. I stand by my statement that Argentina is an incredible country - BA or BFE.

    Now back to your real question - since you have short hair and pulling it back is not an option, do you have a trusted hair dresser that could give you a cut that would be easy/quick styling?
    Also, my friend that just went on a mission REALLY didn't want to look frumpy and she found some great stuff. She got some nice looking, very comfy Aeresole shoes. They have worked great for her.

    I say lipgloss, mascara and some blush should do the trick and it would take 5 mins or less.
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 7/23/2008 04:55:00 PM  

  • I'll second what cchrissyy said. Although everyone has a different level of comfort with beauty routines and a different concept of "essential," a mission is a great time to let go of some cultural requirements for beauty and focus on what really matters (for all its sexism, Isaiah 2 does come inevitably to mind).

    Mission life is physically and emotionally exhausting and ultimately trashes you anyway--clothes, hair, beauty supplies--and (apologies to anonymous) I quickly found that that short time between 9:30 and 10:30 is demanded by more essential activities than "all the extra little things a girl is required to do"--companionship communication, record-keeping, personal prayer, just a moment of peace and quiet to oneself all quickly take priority.

    The other thing is the enormous cultural variations in concepts of beauty. What looks perfectly stylish in the MTC can easily look perfectly impractical or downright ridiculous in another culture. All good reasons to go as simple, comfortable, and natural as possible in dress and grooming.

    I had a greenie who was always holding us up leaving the house because she had to get her makeup just right. I think one of the great things about a mission is that it can release young women from these kinds of concerns and help them focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ instead.
    posted by Blogger Eve at 7/23/2008 06:16:00 PM  

  • Having served in the hot and humid jungles of El Salvador - an area similar to where you'll be - I'll give a big 'ole AMEN to cchrissy's advice. You may keep up your beauty routine in the MTC, but once you hit the field I give you a two weeks, maybe a month, before you chuck your mascara and foundation out the window.

    Your hair - seriously, wash and go. If your style involves heat in any way (blow drying, flat ironing, curling irons) the humidity of the area will make a mockery of your efforts before you make it out the front door. Why bother?

    As to the rest of the routine: Your outfits should all cross coordinate. Time spent "putting an outfit together" should be pretty close to nil. Shaving - who's to say if you'll have water every day? I'm not talking hot water (which, honestly, in a hot an humid climate you won't have much use for anyway), I'm talking water at all. Plucking - your apartment just might not come furnished with a mirror or necessary lighting for such an activity.

    A good lip balm. You may want to stock up before leaving. I couldn't find a decent lip balm in El Salvador and had to have my mom send some from home. Buy a dozen tubes of your favorite brand, and you should be set.

    Facial moisturizer with an SPF of at least 15. You could go for the tinted kind if you just *can't* forgo makeup.

    Comfortable clothes - nothing that needs to be drycleaned - and shoes. Docs may not be pretty, but you'll be walking for 12 hours a day. You need comfort. If you can find something stylish and comfortable enough for that kind of wear, please let us all know.

    Having read the article about Dr. B's daughter's experience, I'm supremely grateful I served my mission ten years ago before the church got all heavy handed about the dress code for sisters. We did have a horribly offensive fireside the first week we were there in which we (just sisters) were told that we needed to brush our teeth and wear deodorant. Really? Nothing like that for the elders. In the field we wore jumpers with t-shirts and sandals - yes, sandals. Not a single sister in my mission wore nylons. I don't think I'd make it today.

    Good luck to you. I hope you can find balance.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7/23/2008 08:21:00 PM  

  • I got home from my mission 3 years ago to Brazil, so similar climate and everything to Argentina. My advice would be to start practicing these get-ready-quick techniques now so it isn't as weird when you start your mission. I used to take forever to get ready (pre-mission), but on the mission the most important time in the morning is spent doing study of the scriptures. Honestly, I would get ready faster knowing that any extra time gave me more time to read (both language study and normal personal study).
    Anyhow, as far as make-up goes, mascara and lipgloss are essential, blush if you use it. Don't bother with eye shadow. If you're in a hot area, powder is useless because you'll get sweaty/sticky in the heat from being out so much. Use lots of sunscreen throughout the day (don't forget your legs/feet...I was tan from midcalf down, pretty funny).
    I'd get in touch with recently returned sisters from your mission through the mission website to find out what they really wore on their mission. We actually got to wear sandals in my mission as well, but Sundays and mission conference, we had to wear our nice shoes. I had never heard of anyone having Dr B's daughter's experience as far as clothes go. I was in the MTC in Brazil and they didn't do anything like that, though if your clothes are immodest, I am sure they'd pull you aside.
    If you like them, use scarves like headbands for your hair since it is short. I never felt frumpy on my mission, now I'm a mother of 2 and being able to get ready and feel pulled together fast is the only way I can get ready.
    posted by Blogger Team Chilton at 7/23/2008 08:52:00 PM  

  • So some of you guys are saying that no makeup = frumpy? I don't see it that way.... Frumpy to me is underdressing (ie wearing sweats to a restaurant), wearing really wrinkled or bad-fitting clothes or your husband's teeshirts, not brushing your hair, etc. When did makeup become mandatory to avoid the frumpy label? I HATE makeup and wear bare minimum. This morning I am at sitting at work with moisturizer and some lip gloss...it is summertime in DC and everything else will dissolve off my face so what's the point. I don't feel frumpy.

    I always think of makeup as warpaint...women putting it on to go out as a symbol of trying to outdo each other.
    posted by Blogger Jen at 7/24/2008 06:11:00 AM  

  • Eve - Thanks for giving me a reality check. You are right! As I become a missionary I will be spending any extra time on missionary stuff and I definitely don't want to be holding up my companion. I understand what you mean about cultural differences in beauty. You make a good point. I am definitely going to keep things simple. But I'm hoping to serve them, not look like them. I'll probably stand out and look ridiculous in their eyes no matter what I do.

    Cchrissyy - I like the idea of wash and go but I don't think it will work for me. I have really blotchy skin and my very thick wavy hair kind of gets out of control if I just let it air dry. I'll have to see what I can do.

    Jen - I don't think it is fair to say that no make-up = frumpy BUT I also don't think it is fair to say that make-up = competition. I think that is so awesome that you feel confident and can pull off being non-frumpy with no make-up. For me, make-up gives me a little more confidence. Even though I'm on a mission, I still want to feel like a beautiful woman which for me may mean wearing a little make-up out in the jungle.
    posted by Anonymous A Sister in Zion at 7/24/2008 09:29:00 AM  

  • That article from Dr B had some good advice, but some of it was really strange. [If the daughter was showing some serious cleavage, it's possible that she had an interesting experience.] I would suggest contacting a recently returned sister from your mission and asking their advice and their MTC experience.

    I followed the church's list to the letter and ended up boxing up a lot of the stuff and sending it home from the MTC. Of course I was a missionary in the 1990s so things may have changed.

    I also dragged about half a suitcase-full around my mission of things that I could have left at home. Including those silly suits and a couple of dresses. I was in a European mission and after a number of comments from members about being too dressed up, I toned it down immediately to a skirt and blouse.

    Also: in the European country where I served, they really went for the natural look. The only women who wore much in the way of war-paint makeup were Jehovah's Witnesses. (I'm not kidding.) I don't know how they are in Argentina, but the Argentine women I've known in the United States have been extremely elegant and tended to be classically and simply dressed and made up.

    One of my college roommates was a missionary in Sicily and she said they would poke fun at the Temple Square missionaries who were perfectly coiffed, made up and dressed. That level of perfection is fine for such a place, but for a third world country (as she reported Sicily to be at the time), it was simply not possible to be made up, wear nylons (the use of which in a humid climate led to recurrent yeast infections), and wear perfectly matching clothes. They did not always have reliable water or electricity.

    You may need to shoot for respectable rather than perfect.

    And the most important thing...[drum roll]...comfortable clothes and shoes that will wear well. I wouldn't recommend Doc Martens because my husband's aunt (after her husband served as a mission president) said that after awhile, if the elders called with foot problems, her first question was "Are you wearing Doc Martens?" and the answer was usually, "Yes." But definitely something comfortable and durable.

    Best wishes! It's an exciting time for you!
    posted by Anonymous Researcher at 7/24/2008 10:27:00 AM  

  • I agree with Jen: no makeup doesn't mean frumpy. A little mascara goes a long way and takes about 30 seconds. And who knows what the climate change will do for your complexion; you might find you don't need much after all.
    But you definitely want to make sure your clothes look nice, ie. fit well, are modest and don't wrinkle easily. Your mission president should be sending you a letter soon on what kind of clothes and things to bring for your mission.
    As far as shoes go, comfortable and breathable are must-have features. But they don't have to be frumpy, either. A couple good brands are Born and Ecco, which you can usually find at the usual mall department stores (dillards, macy's, etc.) They're a bit pricier up front, but they'll last your whole mission and it's a lot cheaper than having someone send you new shoes if yours wear out.
    posted by Blogger Heathie at 7/24/2008 11:21:00 AM  

  • My parents serve at the MTC right now my mom tells me there is a big push for the sisters to go away from the "frumpy" look that unfortunately comes to mind when sister missionaries are brought up. The elders are all in dark suits and white shirts. They want the sisters in COLOR. Modern clothes. Looking your best. For some that means brush your teeth and pull your hair back, but for some that means a bit of makeup and blown dry hair. The point is, the church wants the sister missionaries to look nice and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. They want the elders to look sharp too. I can guarantee if an elder isn't keeping up on hygiene, they will talk to him.
    Maybe there is a product that can control your thick wavy hair (I am sitting here with stick straight thin here seething with jealousy) so that you don't have to blow dry. I agree if you are in hot and humid, even if you do blow dry, it won't do a bit of good. I don't know my products but I am sure there is something that could help your hair in humidity. What about head bands?
    I'm telling you the Aerosole shoes are great. They are a small wedge heel and my friend rides her bike in MN in them on her mission. She swears by their comfort.
    Good luck. I know you asked for quick getting ready tips and got a whole lot of what not to do and what to do and differing opinions and people who just want to talk about Argentina (oops). I would say ixnay on the leg shaving would be my best tip. That will save loads of time for things that are actually seen.
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 7/24/2008 11:52:00 AM  

  • Hair:
    I have chin length slightly wavy hair in Seattle (moist). I comb it with my fingers and let air dry.
    Makeup: I wash my face with water only with a washcloth. I put on base (most important). I put on eyeliner and mascara. No other eye makeup. Powder and lipstick. 2 minutes tops.
    Hair: after it is dry or mostly dry, I put on some pomade kind of stuff so it doesn't look frizzy.
    I have a lot of hair, but it is very layered and thinned out so it is easier.
    If you have longer thick hair, consider having bangs, because if you take "time" on the bangs it looks like you've taken time on the whole thing. If you use a straigtener iron on just the top layer of your hair, it looks more polished and like you took time with your hair.
    A good cut makes a big difference, but moving around means you can't go back to the same person who gave you a good cut.
    As for makeup, I always have the problem of eyeliner/mascara smudges under my eyes. You might consider taking those little eye makeup remover pads to clean up under your eyes if you have the same problem after a few hours.
    Congrats and good luck!
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7/24/2008 03:31:00 PM  

  • Nylons and yeast infections. You can cut out the crotch area and they will work fine.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7/24/2008 03:40:00 PM  

  • While conditions might not be quite what they are at home (I guess you'll see when you get there, and each apt. you live it might be very different), I agree that you should NOT look or dress like you are camping. You are representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7/24/2008 03:43:00 PM  

  • Wearing nylons--with or without crotches--in the summer, in northern Argentina, is ridiculous.

    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7/24/2008 04:35:00 PM  

  • Ex-misionera from El Salvador again here with another big ol' AMEN to Mari. Wearing nylons in extreme high heat and humidity is ridiculous. I sure hope your mission president has already straighted out that issue. The fact that sisters in my mission didn't wear nylons was not a decision we had to made. It was a rule. Nylons and that kind of heat don't work well together.

    I had a pair of Aerosoles on my mission. I wore through the soles in less than one month of walking the rocky dirt roads. YMMV.

    Finally, as one who served in a hot and humid climate I have a problem with this whole issue. I pity the poor sisters who must serve in the tropics while adhering to lofty standards of dress and appearance. Even the elders in my mission probably qualified as frumpy. It is pretty darn difficult to be comfortable (and by extension effective) when you're gussied up like a GA's wife in the field. Sure, those women look lovely and put together, but they're shuttled around in air conditioned cars from nice cool hotel rooms to nice cool offices. They're not walking the streets in the 113* weather with 90% humidity. It's really not possible to maintain any sort of "pulled together-ness" when you've got that to deal with. Then add to that the fact that your clothes are getting washed on a rock before being left to dry in the sun. Everything gets pretty washed out and worn at the edges pretty quickly. What was classy and sharp-looking in the MTC turns "frumpy" pretty quickly under those circumstances.

    I think the church is putting some pretty unrealistic expectations on some of the sisters out there.

    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7/24/2008 07:03:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.
    posted by Blogger the Rew Crew at 7/28/2008 11:44:00 AM  

  • My DH served in this mission and loved it!

    First, Res. is RURAL! Seriously. It is extremely hot and humid, and puts the humidity here in the South where I live, to shame. I'd bring makeup for zone meetings, and wear water proof mascara and lip gloss the rest of the days. Do more if you like, but trust me, it will melt away by the time you hit the pavement (or dirt).

    Second, I would stock up on tailored, short sleeve, button ups (oxford shirts), that have a little bit of stretch in them. Buy a bunch of white, and a few colors. They are cute and professional and go with anything.

    Third, stock up on anti-fungal powders, creams, etc. Ha ha-you know what this is for, and don't kid yourself into thinking it won't happen to you.

    Finally, my DH says he would walk into the bathroom in the morning and there would be a snake around the shampoo bottle with a frog sitting on top. I hope you like animals.

    Good luck!
    posted by Blogger the Rew Crew at 7/28/2008 11:47:00 AM  

  • BTW, I think the blog reference is a total joke, and I've never heard of such a thing happening (clothing coordinator). I served a mission, as have many friends and two siblings, and no one went through our suitcases.

    Give me a break.
    posted by Blogger the Rew Crew at 7/28/2008 11:51:00 AM  

  • I agree with keeping it simple: water-proof mascara, lip gloss, maybe a tinted moisturizer that has spf (dermalogica makes a brand).

    I think short sleeve button-ups sound nice, professional, and match with about anything. I'm sure you can find some that don't require much in the need of ironing. As far as your hair, I think you can probably bring one of those hair razer things to keep the bulk out. Maybe ask your current stylist to give you tips on how and where to trim it up.

    I also think scarves or head bands help hair look a little more "done" when you really don't have time to really style it.

    Good luck! It sounds so fun. Spiders and frogs!
    posted by Blogger tamrobot at 7/28/2008 11:57:00 AM  

  • I've spent several years living and working in DC...which means battling major heat and humidity during the summer while maintaining a pulled-together, professional look. Along the way, I've learned a few things.

    Makeup. You DO need this, so here’s how you can do it quickly and effectively: if you're going to be battling humidity, and out all day without the chance to re-touch, most powdered products won't hold up. In this case, you want to try and use as few products as possible, and as little of them as possible, since the more you layer on, the more likely it is that they will slide off, run, crease, etc. Laura Mercier makes a great, oil-free tinted moisturizer with spf 20. Follow that with Benefit’s BeneTint. It’s a cheek and lip stain that wears really light and stays put. Cover your eyelids, from lashes to brows, with MAC’s MAC Paint in a light color, such as Unlisted or Bare Canvas. Apply a darker Paint in the crease (I like Bamboom, and it’s pretty universal). This stuff is awesome…this 30-second eye makeup won’t go anywhere unless you want it to. Finish off with mascara and you’re good to go. Line your eyes if you have time. (Bobbi Brown’s gel eyeliner is the gold standard if you want it to stay put.) This all takes less than five minutes, tops.

    Hair. I actually recommend that you grow it out. The beauty of longer hair in sticky, steamy weather is that you can pull it back! A quick, neat pony tail, twist, or bun, and not only do you look pulled-together, it’s off your neck, and you don’t have stringy, sweaty hair flying all over the place. But if you must wear it down, you can prolong time between washes with a trick a friend of mine who served in Venezuela taught me: throw some baby powder on the roots, rub, brush, and go! I’ve found that a cheapo powder brush distributes it more evenly than fingertips, but whatever. Also, my sister has found that the humidity of her mission makes her hair curl up really nicely. It’s not something you can count on, but it’s a definite possibility!

    Clothes: Obviously, for a mission you want to get things that will coordinate, look nice, and last forever. Rew Crew’s advice about the button-ups is great. Short-sleeved, cotton sweaters are a nice option, too. Another tip: many major stores that do suiting offer their skirts in a “tall” online. (Banana, Gap, JCrew, Eddie Bauer, Land’s End…) I don’t know how tall you already are, but since even knee-length skirts are too short for sister missionaries, getting the tall option could work. And there are soooooo many more good-looking, comfortable shoe options for missionaries than 10 years ago when practically the only option was Docs. A visit to Zappos ought to take care of that.

    I’m sure you’ll do great! I’m so glad you’re remembering that a missionary’s appearance is an important tool in carrying the message forth. Just make sure you spend more time with the scriptures before you go, than at the mall! 
    posted by Anonymous Megan at 8/06/2008 11:36:00 AM  

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