Beauty in the military, like everything, is regulated—but that doesn't mean it's off limits. Women in the armed forces not only use makeup and do their hair because they want to, but they also use beauty as a form of defense. (SPF and hairties, you guys.)
Seeing as they battle the elements fighting for our country, we'll take any beauty tip they give us seriously. After all, they're kind of the experts. Here, a look at some of their tried-and-true favorites.
There's a cleanser that doesn't require water to wash off
Beauty brand iS CLINICAL is not only appreciative of the military, but they based an entire formulation off of the needs of female soldiers. When Chief Warrant Officer Linda Lee contacted the brand in 2009, she asked if the company offered products that would work where water is not easily accessible. (She was deployed in Iraq and wanted something that would wash away the effects of dust and dirt in the desert.) CEO Bryan Johns answered—and after two years of development, they came up with iS CLINICAL cream cleanser. Its gentle formulation means it can be used on any type of skin, and you can rinse with water *or* wipe it away when water isn't available. Genius. ($48, beautifiedyou.com)
Primer is basically a miracle
As YouTube vlogger and soldier Jackie Aina attests, monochromatic is the name of the game when it comes to wearing makeup in the armed forces. (The military restricts anything too flashy or trendy.) "I use a primer to make sure to control the oil and make my makeup last all day," she says. Her primer of choice? Benefit's the Pore Professional ($31, Sephora.com).
Buns smothered in gloss keep hair healthy
Military demands that hair is "neatly and inconspicuously fastened or pinned, so no free-hanging hair is visible." Translation? A lot of buns. Many military women coat their hair in glosses and creams so that when they can let their hair down (literally and figuratively) their look is super smooth. A few favorites? Biosilk Silk Therapy ($16) and Aveda's Brilliant Emollient Finishing Gloss ($26).
Shop their faves:
Moisturizer. It's all about moisturizer.
When chatting with TotalBeauty.com, Army Lieutenant Colonel Candice Frost says that keeping moisturizer on your skin helps it immensely—and not just in dry areas or when deployed. "When you are on a plane for 20 hours, a good moisturizer can go a long way in making you feel more comfortable." Many women also note that you'll need to adjust the amount of products (and moisturizer) you use based on where you are in the world. Different climates = different reactions.
When foundation's too much, BB and CC creams are the go-to
Jackie Aina notes that on her "Army days" she nixes foundation in favor of using a BB cream or CC cream with a built-in SPF. "I want to look professional, but I don't want to look overly done." Not to mention, it's better for running around all day. No cakey-ness here. (She loves: Black Up CC Cream.)
It's all about the brows
Since the regulations call for discretion, clean/sculpted brows and a fresh face are the hallmark of every woman in uniform. One vlogger and member of the Air Force uses Q-Tips to outline her brows with concealer for a super streamlined look.