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Makeup Makeover

Makeup works even better from the inside out. Besides fitness, to maximize your makeup, get a balanced diet with different nutrients.

Eyeshadow, concealer, lip kits, mascara, eyebrows…so many fun choices to enhance our “surface area”. My favorite lipstick was discontinued years ago. This video you see below is the last time I remember getting to use it before it was gone. I’m still hunting for my new favorite, even though you can see it was basically my lip color, just in lipstick. It’s funny how we are about our favorite products, isn’t it? Loved it. (BTW, the video is in English if you want to listen to what I was talking about.)

Now, my favorite eyeliner has been discontinued, too, and as I was putting on my eyeliner with the stump that is left the other day, I got to thinking about makeup in the context of how we take care of ourselves.

I’m actually not much of a makeup person. I don’t mark the calendar for when the latest lip kit is launched. But…like most of you, I like what I like, and really like it when someone who knows what they are doing does my makeup with my own stuff. It’s truly an art form.

…And then the dietitian brain kicks in…

How much do people spend on makeup versus health?

Isn’t makeup a way to enhance what we have?

Doesn’t eating well and exercising do this, too?

In 2017, Groupon did a survey to see how much money Americans spend on their appearance. I’d describe it as the “surface” stuff – you know, makeup, moisturizer, hair, etc.  Over a lifetime, women spend over $225,000 and men spend $175,000. …. with 25% of of the spend just on the face!

Monthly breakdown (from the same survey):

  • Makeup – $28
  • Haircuts – $34
  • Moisturizing skincare – $23
  • Anti-aging products – $17
  • Hair products – $15
  • Hair removal – $11

Now let’s consider the amount of investment one study found the average American spends over a lifetime on fitness: $112,000 (way less than this beauty list above). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does a breakdown of spending that is fascinating if you really want to get into this.

Here’s the scoop. If you don’t eat well and get some activity, putting all this effort and cash into decorating yourself is kind of like painting a house and buying new furniture but not making sure the plumbing and electricity work.

Besides fitness, to maximize your makeup budget, you need a balanced diet with loads of different nutrients. One vitamin or mineral or macronutrient (you know, protein, carbs, and fat) by itself isn’t going to cut it. It certainly won’t help much to rub vegetable or fruit inspired products onto yourself as much as it would if you were actually eating the fruits and vegetables (and the other food groups, but most people are shy in these two groups in particular).

I could honk on some more about following the (science-based) ease of picturing your plate filled with different foods to easily achieve this – but I won’t.

We live in a time where we are literally surrounded by food in most parts of this country. It’s at the lumber yard. The clothing store. The gas station. In the airplane. Places where high calorie snacks really aren’t necessary in most cases.

It makes it so we think about food and have to say no to the extras All. The. Time.

Can’t we just go buy socks without having snacks in our face while we wait to check out? Pretty sure we didn’t burn a load of calories bending over to pick out that sock. Sigh. It makes it more challenging to have to constantly say no when it’s always around. I get it.

Let’s rewind. The plate you see above replaced the pyramid about 8 years ago. If you nerd out and read the back story, the science, while it continues to evolve, is sort of saying the same thing:

If you are overeating calories in amounts that are more than you need, work on adjusting that.

If you are not moving, get moving.

Don’t eat the same thing all the time.

Eat foods that have nutrition and leave the party foods to the parties.

If you say, “Kim, this is silly. It’s way too simple to work. Plus, it sounds simple, but where do I even start?”

I say, “That’s the beauty of it. The simplicity of minding your portions, laying out your plate so if you Instagram-ed it you’d be able to see you were actually following the plate visual above. If you haven’t actually tried it, what have you got to lose?”

Here’s your starting point: Have more than one thing next time you eat, and I’m not talking about things you know aren’t loaded with nutrition. If it’s pizza, add veggie toppings or a crisp salad with a zesty salsa for dressing. If it’s pasta, add a vegetable, don’t just eat an entire box of noodles. If you have no protein, add dairy, chicken, fish, lean meat/pork, peanut butter, nuts/seeds, or maybe an egg. Something. I’m being overly simple here, but you get it. Go look at and look at all the options in each food group.

Do it.

Take pictures of your plates so you can see every meal and snack and determine if you got that plate looking like that plate above….and by the way? That cute little graphic of the plate? It’s not random. There is science behind it. You can read the executive summary. Have you ever had someone write an executive summary for you before? Well, now you know. The answer is yes, and you can get your copy by clicking here.

This is not about telling you what to eat.

This is about helping you get the nutrients you need.

Meanwhile, science. I could share gobs of it, and I do, sprinkled into these blogs and via my other social channels, usually with some context and/or highlighting the part(s) I like – like this little nugget below that focuses on skin.

“Prevention is the best and most effective way to work against extrinsic skin aging effects. The best prevention strategy against the harmful action of free radicals is a well regulated lifestyle (caloric restriction, body care and physical exercise for body), with low stress conditions and a balanced nutritional diet, including anti-oxidative rich food.”


Anti-oxidants help prevent or delay cell damage.  You can’t “just” exfoliate away poorly cared for skin, for example. The good news is, these helpful substances are deliciously packaged in brightly colored fruits and vegetables and many of your food choices that are fun to eat, especially if you swap them out each season – like peaches, nectarines, watermelon and cherries in summer, or sunny citrus (oranges, grapefruit) on a dreary winter day.  Plus, talk about cute on Insta. #nomnom #winwin

Vitamin B12. Lack of it could cause some super weird things to happen:

“a severe vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to deep depression, paranoia and delusions, memory loss, incontinence, loss of taste and smell, and more.”


Did you know that you can’t get B12 from plant sources? Foods like meat, dairy, eggs, poultry are key here. If you prefer a vegan or vegetarian plan, you’ll see that good plans actually address this to help you get this needed nutrient. Talk to a doctor/nutrition professional (a trained one) to help you navigate this further.  Also, be sure to click through on “B12” at the start of this paragraph to get some more detailed info from the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.  Like I said. This isn’t about telling you what or how to eat. It’s about finding your way to the nutrients you need.  That’s the job of a dietitian like me.

Protein. You can find it in many foods. In fact, that’s one “shady” detail I wanted to call out. Naming the food group “protein” is kind of an incomplete thought. Dairy and grains are sources of protein, too, as are veggies, although in varying amounts so you need to pay attention to portions and options. Look at the protein group and it’s sort of obvious that there are lots of options, but it’s not as obvious what “all” your choices are, or which amino acids are (or are not) in each option. This is not to try and trick us. In my opinion, it’s a side effect of oversimplifying the cool complexity of food and nutrition.

Each food group is like a matrix of goodness. These groups just help to wrangle food in similar clumps so we don’t spend all our time trying to organize our food and figuring out what we are doing, especially as science continues to evolve and we learn more.

This is a good example of why choosing different options from among and within food groups is so important.  Get yo’self “all” the good stuff.

This is one of the longest blogs I’ve written in a while. It would actually be super fun to keep going.  We will, later. For now, let’s not be scared, but instead, simplify our approach to meals and snacks.

Simple doesn’t mean boring or not important. It just means you get your food groove on and you’re trusting yourself to try something new that won’t feel like another full time job.

Have fun. Read the executive summary. Roll your eyes at silly food rules. Enjoy your favorite foods and don’t try to trick yourself. Take a walk, or move in any way you can.

Sometimes the simple thing is the best thing. Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes.

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.

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