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Violet Grey Answers Your Urgent Beauty Queries!

A team of cheeky experts weigh in on all of your cosmetic conundrums

Tucked away in a discreet penthouse on Melrose Place is Violet Grey, a beauty studio and inspiration lab where insiders gather to exchange ideas and create and test products. Together with editors Robin Black and Jessica Joffe, cofounders Cassandra Grey and Dany Levy have teamed with experts—on everything from makeup to nutrition—to answer your most pressing inquiries. Here, the collective minds behind Team Violet exclusively offer solutions to DuJour readers’ beauty quandaries. Email your questions to violet@dujour.com, and log on to violetgrey.com for additional intel. 

Dear Violet: 
I haven’t worn a fragrance other than Irish Spring bar soap in 20 years. A brief contretemps with Drakkar Noir in the late 80s left me scarred, but I am ready to approach the cologne counter with renewed vigor and élan. Show me the way. 

Johnny C. Lately

Dear Johnny,
Our favorite men’s grooming expert, Ian Jay Ginsberg of C.O. Bigelow, says unequivocally: “A fragrance is better than your body’s natural scent.” No matter which scent and strength you choose (in ascending order: eau de cologne, cologne or eau de toilette), use it sparingly. Spray—don’t rub—a dash on the back of your neck, on the inside of your wrist and on your chest. For your reentry, might we suggest Acqua di Parma? The classic citrus and lavender notes work on nearly everyone. It’s a stepping stone to more-sophisticated scents by brands like Le Labo, Byredo and the Parisian perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, which makes a scented leather bracelet—an unusually practical alternative. Remember: Scents smell different on the skin than on a cologne-counter blotter, and their layered notes emerge over time. Walk around in a scent before you choose it. Fragrances trigger emotions, so you want to wear one that makes you (and people within sniffing distance) feel good. 
Scent-sationally yours,
Team Violet

Dear Violet: 
I was born a towhead, and according to family lore, I’ll be as blonde as a bombshell long after I retire. At 70, my mother has only 12 gray hairs. But I’m ashamed of my golden mop; I want to be taken seriously. I want to have gravitas. My blonde hair is holding me back and I’m ready for a real life change now. 

Manic Marilyn 

Dear Marilyn,
Lana Del Rey and Lady Gaga led the brunette charge this fall, and they knew what they were up to long before the rest of us did. Are you ready to join their ranks? John Frieda colorist Alen Mehrabian suggests taking your color down two or three notches to start. If you insist on going darker still, do it slowly, and make sure your color has dimension; subtle highlights around the face can be helpful. The most important thing with brown hair is maintenance. “Use a moisturizing, sulfate-free shampoo,” says L.A.-based hair stylist Lea Journo. “It keeps the hair from fading and drying out.” As your namesake Ms. Monroe once said: “It takes a smart brunette to play a dumb blonde.”
Team Violet

Dear Violet: 
I’m sick and tired of looking sick and tired. Ever since I was a child, I’ve woken up with the same purple half-moons under my eyes, and my eyelids look like they’ve been dipped in soy sauce! 

Flustered Flora

Dear Flora,
Relax. Your under-eye circles and dark eyelids are most likely due to heredity and genetic happenstance. The key is finding exactly the right concealer, matched perfectly to your skin and not a shade lighter. For a blue under-eye, use a concealer with peach undertones. For gray under-eye, makeup artist Robin Black suggests adding a smidge of orange-red lipstick, like Nars’ Heat Wave. First, apply a coat of foundation or tinted moisturizer below the eye, blending it well. Then use a concealer brush (try Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage Brush) to dab on a small amount of concealer over the darkest area. Use your finger to gently press the product into the skin. No more vampire jokes, we promise. 
Got you covered,
Team Violet

Photo: Everett Collection; Grey: Robin Black