Reader’s Week Spring 2007: Shana Tells Us How to Look Beautiful on a Staffer’s Salary

It’s easy enough to be all polished and gorgeous when you’re a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi. But what’s the average, underpaid aide to do?

Savvy Beltway-area babes (and most of them are) know that they can create fabulous looks that fly both in and out of the office without forking over huge chunks of their salaries. Read on for some always-gorgeous drugstore staples that are sure to help you up the congressional ladder, and a couple of splurges from other stores to make you feel like the most powerful woman in the room:

* A fantastically dewy moisturizer: Logging lots of hours in even the nicest senatorial office can leave skin feeling dry and looking ashen. Glow around town with Eucerin Extra-Protective Moisture Lotion. It’s oil free, recommended by dermatologists, and low in price ($10).
* A barely-there (yet camouflaging) foundation: Mineral makeup lovers will want to check out Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Mineral Powder Foundation. The flow-through brush and portable size make it easy to slip into your pocket for a mid-afternoon touch-up on the House floor. Liquid lovers will line up for Almay Line Smoothing Foundation’s excellent coverage and easy applicability.
* A secret-keeping concealer:  You wouldn’t spill political secrets, and your skin shouldn’t rat on you. Cover up circles and spots with Almay Nearly Naked Coverup or Revlon ColorStay.
* A naturally glowy blush (and bronzer, if you’re so inclined): Look fresh-faced and optimistic about the political climate no matter what your true feelings are with a natural glow. I love the Stila Convertible Color compacts ($20, available at Sephora) for foolproof sheer blush. For days when you’re feeling more Caspar than confident, try the new Milani Sunset Duos ($6*), which have just the right combination of blush and bronzer to brighten up your skin and your sense of self.
A hint of color: To find the perfect shades of eyeshadow, eyeliner, lip liner, lipstick, and lip gloss, check out the goods by Wet N Wild, Revlon, and L’Oreal (just stay away from the super-bright HiP line). I especially love the suitable-for-most-skin-types Wet N Wild 666 Lip Liner ($1, and no, it’s not named after that Republican/Democratic congressman you don’t like), the highly pigmented Milani eyeshadows ($3), and the Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Glosses ($11) for a subtle-but-perfect glow. On the splurgier side, check out the mind-boggling array of colors at the MAC store ($14 for eyeshadows and lipsticks) on M Street in Georgetown.
* Skyscraper lashes: Lengthen and thicken with Revlon Fabulash ($11) for truly fabulous lashes.
* The perfect perfume: Jo Malone Orange Blossom is pricey ($50 for the smaller-sized bottle, at Neiman Marcus and Saks), but its sweet citrus scent will attract contacts at every networking event. Equally enticing, yet mild and wearable and more cost effective, are the scents by Demeter. This brand’s scent library is enormous (it has everything from Tomato to Angel Food Cake), so make sure to do some spray testing ($24, at Sephora).

Shana’s Charity: Help children with cancer and other diseases have a home to come to while they undergo treatment at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The Children’s Inn, on the campus of NIH, provides fun and games for these children in a supportive, home-like environment. Visit the Inn online at http://www.childrensinn.org
* Price estimated based on prices of similar products.