A veteran magazine beauty editor/writer (and a member of the 40+ club), Genevieve Monsma created MediumBlonde to help Gen Xers and Baby Boomers age the way they want.


Bring It

Bring It

I believe in the confidence-boosting power of beauty products. I'm talking about the way wearing Chanel's black-red Vamp Nail Colour made you (okay, me) feel current/cooler/chicer in the mid-1990s.

Fragrances can also up swagger: Over the years, Dior Poison, Anais Anais, Prescriptives Calyx, Angel by Thierry Mugler, and Le Labo Santal 33 have been (or still are) for many, mood buoyancy in a bottle. Same goes for rocking something edgy to feel daring on an otherwise ordinary day: dark eyeliner spiked with shimmer, such as Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon in Black Diamonds ($27;; temporary, not-found-in-nature hair color (Kelly Ripa, Helen Mirren); or even a bolder-than-you-usually-wear lip color like NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in 414 BLKR ($26;

You can also score a mojo boost by using products that instantly camouflage what you'd prefer the world not note, e.g. highlighting creams such as NARS The Multiple in Copacabana ($39; to make tired skin glow; Sally Hansen's Airbrush Legs ($13; to hide bruises or veins and warm up pasty color below the neck; or even a generous drop of Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil ($20; to smooth out and add shine to raggedy cuticles and dry, ridgey nails, respectively.

And of course, the ability of noninvasive treatments like Botox, fillers, lasers or peels to erase frown lines, sunspots and craggy skin is a game changer, as it's allowed many of us to put our best faces forward (literally)–helping many women feel more confident competing against fresh-faced Millennials in the workplace.

Thus, when people tell me that caring about and spending money and time on your skin, hair or makeup is frivolous and vain (and then roll their eyes at my longtime profession), I respect their opinion but also respectfully disagree. If a product or treatment makes you feel better about yourself (and thus more apt to put yourself out there), why in the world is that not a worthy investment? In fact, I've created my own confidence-boosting arsenal; employing any of the following makes me feel like I've got my game face on.

A good blowout

The term "good hair day' could just be shortened to "good day" for me. If my hair is swingy and shiny, I could be wearing gym clothes and feel pulled together. When we lived in New York, I relied on the blow-dry bars Dry Bar and Dream Dry for a quick fix. Here in Michigan, I toggle between Nina at Gerald's in Plymouth and Sarah at the One One Nine salon in Ann Arbor. 

Daring (but not too) eyeliner

Bobbi Brown's Longwear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink ($26; gives me thick Angelina Jolie-worthy, liquid-liner-like results, but is far easier to apply than traditional liquids. I use a small, firm brush like this to wiggle the gel into my top lash line, then wing it upward just slightly at my eye's outer corners. 

Note-worthy nails

Jin Soon gold glittery polish topcoat in Bijou ($18; adds subtle glint to a mani or pedi—and looks good over polished or bare nails. It's probably most appropriate from now until the holidays, and I plan to apply it over Essie's new deep-plum Kimono-Over ($9;

A sophisticated scent

Balenciaga Paris Eau de Parfum ($149; is a slightly spicy floral that smells like elegance and makes me feel Grace Kelly-esque.

Bring it, Bold Lipcolor

As I wrote here, most days you will find me in Fresh Tinted Treatment in Petal. But, for an evening event, I love a red, plum or deep pink mouth. Right now, my favorite is Urban Decay Vice Cream Lipstick in Rock Steady ($17;, which I blot down to a cabernet-tinted stain.

So, which products or treatments boost your confidence? I'd love to know. Email me at—or share your favorites in the comments section, below!




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