Tag Archives: beauty

August Beauty Routine Wrap-up

My beauty routine has been pretty simple to wrap up the summer: Focus on skin care, some Moroccan Oil in my hair for air drying, and a pop of pink-y color on lips or cheeks. Despite slathering sunscreen like it’s my job, I’m pretty tan so I’ve been skipping foundation and just smearing on this Josie Maran Argan Oil cheek tint stick, $22, alone or on top of a little of Benefit’s “Posie Tint,” $30. I do a little mascara (not pictured because I literally use anything; the trick of it is in the application technique and the curling, I swear) and head out the door. Easy!

As I approach 30, I’ve tried to be a little more vigilant about an anti-aging regimen. I’m convinced that the lack of deep forehead lines is due to tri-weekly Retin-A use for the past few years, but I’m always on the lookout for new goods.

During a Friends & Family sale in early July, I picked up Kiehl’s “Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate,” $77. I can happily report it works incredibly, applied nightly. If you try, heed this: A little goes a long way! Don’t pump the dispenser all the way down like I habitually do or you’ll find yourself spreading product onto your neck, chest, back of your hands, and occasionally — your partner! (If they don’t object to a little beautification, that is.)

Another goody my terribly oily, summer-distressed skin is loving is the Cinq Mondes Spa Phyto-Peeling Lotion (toner). The fruit acids (AHAs) and Glycolic Acid are key. My pored have never looked tighter or cleaner. Obsessed.

How To: Hair Cocktail

Long hair is a commitment. And anyone who blow dries or styles regularly knows it can be an extremely time-consuming one so I’m constantly looking for shortcuts. My simple “hair cocktail” trick is one of my favorites.

It’s so obvious I can’t believe I’m calling it a legit “tip” but it didn’t occur to me to try it like this for a long time. Once hair is detangled and towel dried, just squirt dime or nickle-sized blobs of your (squirtable) products into the palm of your hand, then rub hands together. Flip your entire head over, and scrunch products in, starting and focusing on the ends and avoiding the scalp.  Ta dah. Hair cocktail. In your palm. Products are distributed throughout the hair and you’re not left repeating motions 4 times.*

Common mistakes + extra tips

Professional Tip: *For ages I had a complicated multi-product routine involving a detangler, a gel, a leave-in conditioner and a heat styling or UV/color protection cream or spray. I’d been applying all of them and complained to my hairdresser that my hair was SO hard to detangle.

She explained that I needed to detangle first, then add products which were activating on application and making my hair extra difficult to comb out. Oops. To make detangling even easier, she suggested I try combing my hair out while still in the shower (before rinsing out conditioner). Life-changer!!

Practical Tip: To make detangling ever easier, I keep a wide-tooth comb hanging in my shower and swear by Biolage Fortethérapie line specifically. LOVE it.

Product Tip: Over time I’ve also learned to embrace product multi-taskers. My conditioner acts as a detangler while Moroccan Oil is both a leave-in and a heat-protector.

image source

Weekly Beauty To Do’s

Crappy, cold weather is so unmotivating. But spring is near, so it’s time to break out of this rut I’m in and start getting ready!

March 24

– Drink less coffee. More water
– Re-start the AM gym routine for peace of mind
– Spend more time outside getting some fresh air
– Bring back the self tan
– Find a new hand cream
– Get a shoe rack before the ballet flats take over
– Get the monthly push-up challenge re-started
– Try a ballerina bun
– Try out a new Essie spring polish

DIY Shower Facial

It’s hard to name any beauty treatments I don’t wholeheartedly support, but if I had to choose only one to justify spending on— it’s a facial.  Regular facials with a skilled esthetician can improve skin tone and texture making it literally “glow” with health. Unfortunately they’re not cheap. I was convinced it was impossible to do one at home when I stepped into the shower the other night.

As I stood in the steam and reached for my usual face cleanser, I realized the shower is an ideal environment for a quick and easy DIY facial if you have the right products. And the best part is how easy it is to customize yours based on your skin’s needs.
shower-facialFacials usually consist of the following steps: Exfoliate, Cleanse, Mask, Moisturize/Treat. Extractions may be part of the cleanse part for some facials and steam is usually involved for pore cleansing.
For my own DIY shower facial I used what I happened to have within reach—all products I use throughout a given week, but not necessarily all in one beauty session like this which is really the key. Not pictured is the fourth step (Moisturize/Treat) but I’ll get to that shortly. Here’s what I used:

MaryKay TimeWise Microdermabrasion Step 1: Refine
PanOxyl Foaming Face Wash
Rare Earth Pore Cleansing Masque
Steps I followed:

1. Exfoliate
Once you’re in a nice steamy shower for 5-10 minutes, you want to exfoliate. Go slowly and work your way from forehead out to temples, across your “T-Zone”, concentrating less on pressure and more on time. Don’t speed through this, you want to hit everything for 20-30 seconds to slough off dead skin. But gently. Rinse.
2. Cleanse
Next, cleanse. Same idea as above. I like to let my cleanser so on my face for a little bit to sink in after I’ve worked it in and around for a minute of two. Rinse thoroughly. (If skin feels tingly, you probably scrubbed too hard in step one or didn’t rinse all your cleanser off. To avoid further irritating skin, immediately rinse your face for 20-30 seconds with cool water and skip to step 4 and try again next time. Gentler.)
3. Mask
Once the shower is turned off, you’ll apply a mask. You want skin to still be damp. Let the mask dry before rinsing off with warm water. (Or if it’s a moisture mask, tissue cream off your face or gently work into skin.)
4. Moisturize
I didn’t recommend any products for step 4 because this is where a dermatologist can help. I apply prescription face creams at this point to manage my unfortunately acne-prone skin. But if you’d rather not visit a derm for product advice, a serum or moisturizer designed for your skin is usually the next step for most facials. Avene makes some of my favorites moisturizers and I love pretty much all the Estee Lauder serums while Rodin’s face oil is my favorite of all if you want to check those out.

Weekly Beauty To Do’s

I love lists, don’t you? And I love planning. Here’s what’s on my list for next week…

March 17

– Drink more green tea
– Eat your antioxidants throughout the day
– Try a “DIY Shower Facial”
– Put on eye cream nightly
– Use hand cream at night
– Play with hair accessories, like clips and headbands this week
– Focus on AM cardio for stress relief
– Meditate for 1 minute each morning

Tips for booking your wedding makeup artist

love the bridesmaids hair on far right - photo by sarah bastille
Tips for booking your wedding makeup artist
First off, congrats! It’s true what they say about the whole “blushing bride” bit. You will be SO happy on your wedding day that you really will look prettier than normal because you will be literally radiating joy and happiness, but just in case you wake up on the wrong side of the pre-nuptial bed, plan to have a kickass makeup artist there to whisk you away and primp you into shape.

Here are some tips based on my recent experience:

  • Take note of your makeup artists’ hair and makeup when you first meet to see if your styles match
  • Ask around. It is so much easier to get a referral from a friend who had a great experience. Yelp is a great resource for reviews too.
  • Book a trial 4-5 months prior to your wedding, but if you’re fake baking and plan to be a different skin tone or hair color for your wedding day, it might be a good idea to have a second consultation closer to the day to adjust foundation shades and eye tones
  • Book early. I started researching a year in advance because the best artists book fast
  • Share details. Bring photos of your wedding venue, jewelery, dress, etc. Your wedding “look” should reflect the tone of your event.
  • Likewise, share how you typically do your own makeup and what products you use, like an oil-free primer or mascara, and anything that you avoid or find irritating to skin. Makeup artists may be the pro’s, but you know your own skin and tastes best.
  • But be open to suggestions from your makeup artist, too. When in doubt, try it. You can always change your mind later.
  • Don’t be afraid to bring pictures of what you like, but it can be equally helpful to bring photos of what you don’t like.
  • Ask about airbrushing. I was a little skeptical, but it lasted alllll night long. It was nice to not have to worry about whether my makeup was still intact 10+ hours in.
  • Take lots of photos of the finished product and note exactly which products, fake eye lashes, and colors were used. Remember to print them out! Then you can easily reference them on your wedding day.

photo source

Good Reads: Survival of the Prettiest

Survival of the Prettiest by Nancy Etcoff

The science of beauty? Umm, yes please. This provocative read by Harvard Medical School psychologist Nancy Etcoff sheds some well-researched wisdom on why we appreciate full, pouty lips and large eyes. And certainly explains why my list of “girl crushes” is a mile long.

Writing from the scope of Evolutionary Psychology, Etcoff persuasively posits that beauty is less a cultural construct than a biologically-driven instinct. Think about this (quoted from the book), “In the United States more money is spent on beauty than on education or social services.” Read this book to learn why.

Q + A: Makeup Purging and Brush Cleaning

The reality is that my makeup is taking over.  I won’t even open drawers to show you the palette overflow. Someday I’ll have a bathroom vanity with counters!

Q of the Day: “How often do you purge your makeup? It irritates me to throw stuff away that I didn’t even use all of- I wish they made make up in smaller quantities. The only thing i ever get to use all of is my foundation! do you wash your make up brushes or just replace them? how often?” – S.B., Florida

Beauty Check Answer: Admittedly, I need to be better about this, because I too, HATE wasting full, unused products! I purge my foundations every 3-4 months, moisturizers NOT in pumps, ever 3-4 months, and eye shadows and eye pencils ever 6 months of so. I am completely intolerant of dried out mascara so I feel like I’m endlessly tossing these. I mean, a fresh tube of Maybelline is like, $5! Splurge! There is nothing better than a fresh mascara!

But beyond the purge, I have found that buying “mini” versions, usually in kits or specialty gift packs (or at the front of the store Sephora) eliminates waste and has allowed me to discover really great new products I might never have tried. Birch Box is another great way to avoid waste and discover new stuff.

Over time, I have learned that I will never make it through a full size Stila luminizer liquid before it spoils, so I know now to look for the small “sample” bottle.  Or if I want to try a trendy something, I buy a cheapie version from the drugstore, and if I love the look (which I usually don’t), I’ll invest in something that is better quality.

I am religious about makeup brush cleaning, though!! I clean them bi-weekly. If you have investing in quality brushes, they should stand up to rigorous cleaning. I use a little baby shampoo, a blob of gentle face wash.. anything I have on hand that is cleansing and gentle. I’m not picky. Just cleaning them, period, is what matters. *Always dry them flat though! If you stand brushes fluffy side up, you risk damaging the glue holding all those precious hairs in, so be smart and lay them flat to dry

New September Gym Mix

You can’t look good if you’re not taking care of yourself. It’s simple. My lovely friend Michelle wrangled me into running a 5K with her this weekend which I’m SO grateful for; it was on the to-do list and she took care of it for me.

I cannot run without music though and my gym playlist is in desperate need of some love, so I posted on Facebook to ask for some recommendations which I thought I’d share. Thank you guys, there are great! Special thank you to Lauren for sending me some mp3s. I’ll add those to this list this afternoon.

I’ll post my old summer playlist here later in case anyone is interested. (Don’t judge. I am really into early 90’s rap and hip hop for my workouts!)

My Body – Young the Giant
Cheers (Drink to that) – Rihanna
Opposite of Adults – Chiddy Bang
Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People
Where Them Girls At – David Guetta (almost as good as Sexy Bitch)
Young Blood – The Naked and Famous
Hello – Martin Solveig and Dragonette
Around My Head – Cage the Elephant
Super Bass – Nicki Minaj
Party in the USA – Miley Cirus
Robym – Fembot (lyrics make me smile)
Little Boots – Remedy
Marry The Night – Lady Gaga