When an Instagram notification pops up on my phone, the first thing I feel is anxiety. I don't see a preview of what the notification is until the face recognition security lock is opened, so if I'm too busy to bring my face to my phone, I'm left nervously wondering if my current crush liked my selfie or if another one of my mom's friends just followed me. In no way will that ever compare to what celebrities like actress Lucy Hale get on a daily basis.
With her close to 20 million followers, it's hard to imagine the mass amount of notifications Hale gets—not to mention what kind. While she is able to connect with her fans, it also leaves her open to vile comments from those who like to critique every aspect of her life. But she can't really tell me what that feels like, because she doesn't see it. The secret to dealing with that type of negativity? Turn those notifications off.
"I don't have my notifications on. I truly don't read comments," she says. "I don't read everything people say [on my Instagram] because I'm still a human being with feelings." It's all about protecting yourself and creating boundaries, she explains. She also believes that you can't take it too seriously. To really deal with any sort of hater, you have to learn how to be comfortable in your own skin.
"That comes with age and experience. I wasn't always comfortable with who I was when I was younger, especially being more public than the average teenager," she says. "But now I know who I am. I'm happy with what I do. I'm happy with the life I have and the choices I'm making. That makes me stay positive."
And Instagram isn't all terrible for her. "For every rude person, there are a hundred nice people," she says.
Growing up has changed the way Hale looks at a lot of things, especially when it comes to defining beauty. "When I was younger, it was all about me wanting people to like the way I look," she says. "Of course we want people to like the way we look, but I think what's in the inside makes us the prettiest. When we're pretty inside, we shine brighter outside."
While it's always nice to hear that I look nice, there are still other traits I, like many, want others to notice first. Hale feels the exact same way. "I love when people say 'Lucy is kind,' 'She is funny,' or 'Lucy is smart,'" she says. "As I've gotten older, those things are more important to me."
Being beautiful is also a holistic thing for her; it's about making sure every aspect of her life is healthy. "I feel my most beautiful when I'm taking the best care of myself possible emotionally, spiritually, and physically," she says, "just when I know I'm making really good decisions and surrounding myself with good people. It's all about making the healthiest choices that I can."
But that doesn't mean she's anti-makeup. As a big fan of playing with products and beauty in general, she sees makeup as a tool of empowerment. "How we do our makeup is reflective of who we are and our personalities," she says. "Just like with clothes, I think it's another way we can express how we feel."
Speaking of makeup, she is a pro at applying false lashes—a skill I, as I'm sure many others, am very envious of. "I can apply false lashes pretty well because on Pretty Little Liars we wore a lot them," she says. "It's all about the steady hands." Her trick: putting individual lashes in the outer corner of her eye. "I feel like it looks more natural that way," she says. "It also makes your eyes pop."
She describes her everyday makeup routine as clean and natural. Special occasions such as events and premieres are when she experiments with trends and go a little bit bolder. "I'm lucky that I get to go to events and premieres where I can pretty much try whatever I want to try," she says. "I'm the type of person who will try anything; I don't shy away from anything. It's fun to get to play dress-up."
As for the one makeup product she cannot live without? Avon's newest highlighter is her top pick.
"It's a cream highlighter stick, and it's amazing; it's really blendable and light," she says. "Some highlighters are so over-the-top, but this one is really natural. It's easy for me because I don't spend a lot of time doing my makeup, so I can pop it in my purse and do it anywhere." She uses her fingers to apply it on the bridge of her nose, the inner corners her eyes, under the arch of each brow, and on her Cupid's bow.
So while I follow her lead and rotate a new killer highlighter into my makeup routine, I'll think about turning off those pesky notifications. If it's one tiny step to living a more positive life, I'm all for it.