ask toni & josh

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 March, 2009, 12:00am

Dear Toni

I'm 13 and my friends are all beginning to wear makeup. I want to start doing so too, but my mum says I have very sensitive skin, so makeup is likely to cause allergies and breakouts. But I'm afraid of looking ordinary.

Au naturelle

Dear Lucky

I remember when I didn't need makeup. I could just leave the house, fresh-faced and glowing, rather than needing help from concealer and a blush brush.

Like you, my mum wasn't keen on me wearing makeup when I was at school and like you, I thought that would make me stand out.

But now I'm glad I didn't dive into wearing makeup.

First off, makeup is expensive. There are so many different products, and the more you buy, the more you seem to need.

And on top of the products, you need applicators and brushes - and they don't come cheap.

And yes, there are cheaper options. If you're just trying them for the odd evening out, all well and good, but regular use, especially if you have sensitive skin, is almost certain to leave you covered in a hugely unattractive rash.

Maybe most important to remember (and I know I'll probably sound like your mother, but I'm beginning to learn that sometimes mums know best) is that you have your whole adult life ahead of you to wear makeup. There's no need to hurry. While you're young, why not ask your mum if you can wear a little makeup - maybe some lipgloss and some fun-coloured eyeshadow - on special occasions?

Trust me, you'll find out soon enough that needing to wear makeup to cover flaws and retain something of your former youthful glow is less fun than it sounds.

Dear Josh

I'm a really keen soccer player. I go to training three times a week, and attend every match. The only problem is, I'm clearly not very good - I'm almost always on the subs' bench, and when I do get to play, it's only in the last few minutes or in extra time.

This is really destroying my self-confidence, and not just in soccer. I'm worried my girlfriend is getting bored of me - I've asked her if she thinks we should stay together if I'm such loser. And my grades are slipping because I spend more time trying to improve than doing homework. I'm going crazy!


Hey Becks

Stop being so hard on yourself! We can't all be Ronaldinho. Some people are born with an amazing talent for their chosen craft, but they're rubbish at other things. Don't feel bad if you don't always make the team.

But your non-inclusion is clearly bothering you, so you really have to speak to your coach. Maybe there's something you could work on to increase the number of matches you play. Maybe you just need to hone a particular skill to become a better player.

Maybe it's just bad luck that you seem to be the one who has to sit out.

Or maybe soccer isn't your strength - and there's nothing wrong with that. Have you tried other sports? I'm not saying give up your first love, but simply diversify.

You might find out that you're an amazing swimmer or golfer, or maybe rock climbing or cycling will prove to be your forte.

As for your self-confidence, remember all the other qualities that make you who you are - you must be doing something right to have a girlfriend, after all. I'm sure she isn't going out with you purely on the off-chance you might be the Next Big Thing at the World Cup. If she cares about you, she'll understand you need a bit of a boost, and she'll be happy to support you while you're feeling down.

As for your schoolwork, remember an education is handy if you want a job. Try to set aside enough time off the field (or green or pool) to get on top of your studies. Even if you are the next Michael Phelps, it means you have something to fall back on when you're too old to compete.

Dear Toni

Spring is here, which means my curly hair is going mad - and so am I!

Frizz frenzied

Hey curlfriend

I sympathise - Hong Kong humidity plays havoc with my locks, too. But there are solutions, so don't panic (or think about shaving your head, which I nearly did one particularly humid summer).

The first rule of curl-keeping is never, ever brush it. Use a wide-toothed comb when your hair is wet, and then leave it alone. Don't play with it. Don't touch it.

Then learn how to work with your hair. For me, this means wetting it in the morning, adding a little normal conditioner, wrapping it in a towel until it's just damp, then adding a curl enhancer and leaving it to dry. This works - most of the time.

And finally, learn to love your curls. They'll learn to love you back.