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My most recent empties… It’s been real, it’s been fun, it’s been real fun. @glytone @colleenrothschild @jouercosmetics @makeupforeverofficial

My most recent empties… It’s been real, it’s been fun, it’s been real fun. @glytone @colleenrothschild @jouercosmetics @makeupforeverofficial

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Aveda wants to save your summer-stressed strands

We still have a month of summer left, when means there’s plenty of time for sun, salt and chlorine to do a number on your hair. Although I hope you’ve been shielding your tresses from the elements as diligently as you’ve been protecting your skin, odds are you’ve had a fair share of fun in the sun without a hat or taking other measures to offset color fading and damage. Enter Aveda’s new-for-2014 Sun Care hair products, which help summer-proof your hair both before and after you step outside.

Whether you’re swimming in the ocean or the pool, it’s essential to wash your hair immediately after you’re back on dry land. The Hair and Body Cleanser gently yet effectively removes every last trace of chlorine, salt and product buildup while rehydrating your hair. The After-Sun Hair Masque is an intense treatment that replenishes lost moisture, and you can even go from the beach to the street by slicking hair back after you slather it on. And last (or first, rather), the Protective Hair Veil offers lightweight, water-resistant protection against sun-induced color fading, damage and dryness for up to 16 hours so you’re covered with just one spritz session before heading out for the day.

Here’s to a weekend of happy, healthy hair!

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I clearly have too much time on my hands. #fragrance #allmyfavesallthetime #perfume @artofperfume @smellbent @tomford @chanelofficial @hermes

I clearly have too much time on my hands. #fragrance #allmyfavesallthetime #perfume @artofperfume @smellbent @tomford @chanelofficial @hermes

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IBB Smackdown: Clarifying mask edition

What are the chances of running out of product halfway through application TWICE in one week? The first was a self-tanning session that afforded me the opportunity to compare two products side by side, and the second was a clarifying mask treatment since my face was getting all wonky (and I couldn’t identify the source of my minor breakout). I managed to cover half my face with Colleen Rothchild Clarifying Detox Mask (seen on the right in the picture below) before I had to bust out a cult classic, Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque (left) when I ran out.

 

Now these two masks are very different on many levels. Colleen Rothschild is all about using top-shelf ingredients and high-tech delivery systems. This Queen Helene mask has been around for eons, and I’m going to assume the formulation hasn’t changed much over the years. This major difference is responsible for the major disparity in price… Colleen’s mask will set you back $48 for 1.7 ounces, while you can pick up the Queen Helene at just about any drugstore for less than $5—for 8 ounces.

In terms of results, both reveal the oil that’s being purged from your pores as they dry. Colleen Rothschild’s mask leaves skin feeling soft and refreshed, while the Queen Helene leaves my face a bit on the tight side. (My husband prefers the Queen Helene, but I tend not to listen to him when it comes to beauty).

The verdict: These are both great options, depending on how discerning you are when it comes to your skincare. You don’t have to spend a bundle on specialty products, but you just might want to.

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Mix your way to better makeup

I’m generally too lazy to start playing makeup artist in the morning, and I much prefer one formula that meets all of my needs as opposed to mixing products to achieve my beauty goals. When I finally went to go check out Eve Lom’s newish Radiance Perfected Tinted Moisturiser SPF 15 at Space NK last week, I was woefully underwhelmed with the too-matte-for-my-taste finish, which I shared with my bestie in New York—who swears by this stuff. She told me that she mixes in a little illuminator to get a little more glow, but I poo-pooed this idea at the time and ordered a new tube of my beloved Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint.

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Then yesterday, I had a little time on my hands, and decided to play makeup mixologist. I took a bit of the Eve Lom (the lovely lady at Space NK sent me home with a nice-sized sample), and added some of St. Tropez’s Gold Skin Illuminator. After smoothing the concoction on my face, I was floored. The coverage was perfect, the glow was amazing, and my skin looked insane.

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Now I’m seriously considering returning the Jouer, going back to Space NK for the Eve Lom, and taking the few extra seconds each morning, because the payoff is so worth it… 

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IBB Smackdown: Self-tanner edition

Full disclosure: This battle of the bronzers was not planned. In the midst of a bathroom-cleaning binge, I pulled out Vita Liberata’s pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan because it seemed to have about 1 application left. Later that evening, I discovered I only had enough mousse for 1 leg, so I did what any self-respecting beauty junkie would do… I made it a fake tan face-off! So I pulled out the St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse and slathered it on my left limb.

Let’s keep in mind this was not a completely controlled experiment, but I did try to use the same amount on each leg. With different formulations, it’s not exactly comparing apples to apples, but let’s try not to bogged down in the little details.

 So below are the pictures of immediately after. Both of these tanners are tinted, and the St. Tropez on the left and the Vita Liberata is on the right. No major difference, right?

Here’s what I woke up to the next morning. Again, no big difference…

Later in the day, I DID notice a difference…

Is it just me, or does my left (St. Tropez) foot look better than the right? It’s definitely more even, but that could have totally been application related. At the end of this little competition, I don’t think there’s a clear winner, and both of these are great self-tanners. What do you think?

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My ode to salicylic acid

My skin is far from perfect, but I rely on (and religiously use) myriad lotions and potions to keep a variety of beauty concerns under control. And after taking a closer look at the products I use every day, something dawned on me… One ingredient keeps popping up over and over again, and this omnipresent skin-saver is salicylic acid.

Derived from willow bark, this beta-hydroxy acid is actually closely related to aspirin (which is why you can make a zit-zapping paste simply by crushing up a tablet and adding a bit of little water). But, alas, I’m not a huge DIYer, so here’s a round-up of the SA products that are currently in the rotation.

Morning cleanser: Without fail, I start my AM routine with an SA cleanser to help clear away the excess oil, dirt and debris that leads to the clogged pores. I use it along with my Clarisonic, which I prefer the morning because my skin is free of makeup, and it gives circulation a boost. I’m not picky about brand, and frankly, I usually go for a drugstore generic to save a little money. But you can’t go wrong with Neutrogena.

Back spray: I live in Florida, so I don’t need to explain how hot and humid it is. Every. Day. I have a tendency to break out on my back, which doesn’t help when the weather dictates strappy tank tops. I keep back blemishes at bay with Glytone’s Back Acne Spray after the shower. Packed with SA that exfoliates the uppermost levels of skin to prevent dead cells from clogging pores, it sprays from any angle so I know my entire upper back is covered.

Ingrown treatment: I’m not that big into rules of any kind, but I never, ever shave above my knees—and my standing every-three-week wax appointment with Marta is proof. But no matter how long I’ve been waxing, I still get ingrowns on the backs of my legs and on my bikini line, which is why I’ve been using Tend Skin for years. Similar to how SA prevents pimples, this solution eliminates the top few layers of dead skin so hairs don’t get trapped beneath. I like the refillable bottle with the rollerball.

Spot treatment: Despite my preventative measures, pimples still pop up from time to time—and once again, SA comes to the rescue. My absolute favorite spot treatment isn’t a cream or a gel… It’s Missha’s Speedy Solution Anti Trouble Patch Set. They’re little clear stickers that are so discreet, you can wear them during the day—and they come is various sizes to accommodate eruptions of different magnitudes. In addition to SA, they also contain tea tree oil, hyaluronic acid (to prevent a big dry spot once the zit is gone) and grape seed oil to soothe.

So are you a salicylic acid junkie, too? What are your go-to products?

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Getting a natural makeup look has never been easier—no brushes required

I made a little trip to Space NK at Bloomingdale’s yesterday with a little list in tow… First, I wanted to try Eve Lom’s newish Tinted Moisturizer (alas, too matte for my taste but the Flawless Radiance Primer is pretty awesome) and check out Nudestix, which recently hit store shelves.

This line is super-simple, which is a major plus for those of us who barely have 5 minutes to primp in the morning. In a nutshell, all of the products (eyeshadow/liner, lip/cheek, and concealer) come in handy stick form, with a sharpener built right into the cap. They’ve also thrown in a mascara to cover all the bases, but is not a stick, in case you were wondering.

Seriously, all you have to do is swipe them on, blend a bit with your fingers and you’re out the door. The eyeshadow/liner pencils come in 2 formulas, the Eye Pencil that also has a soft blending tip, and the Magnetic Eye Color (which is positioned as a longer-lasting option although the woman who helped me said she hasn’t noticed a real difference between the two). The Lip/Cheek pencils serve up a soft wash of color, and the Concealer Pencil is creamy and ideal for under the eyes, blemishes, or anything else you’re looking to hide. 

I fell for a few of the eye pencils, but decided to hold off since I have way too many shimmery neutral eye options in my drawer right now. But when it’s time to restock, Nudestix will be first in line!

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Quench your hair’s thirst once and for all!

I’ve been talking a lot about my newly-platinum-hair’s endless need for hydration lately, but the fact is that most everyone’s hair could use some extra moisture. And with not that much summer left, odds are salt, chlorine and extra sun have taken a toll, making your strands more stressed than usual. I’m a proponent of proper hair care all year round, but I’m willing to bet you could use a little help from Ecru New York’s Acacia Protein Masque and Protein BB Cream right about now.

Packed with proteins derived from the acacia plant, this dynamic duo replenishes and repairs dry hair with nourishing proteins derived from the acacia plant. I’ve been using the masque for a few weeks now, and as far as texture goes, you’d never know that I bleached all of the color out of my hair (before putting a buttery-blonde hue back) thanks to the sunflower seed and grape seed oils, shea butter and marine extracts.

The BB Cream has come in particularly handy, especially since I’ve basically stopped blowdrying my hair altogether. Now I can shower before bed and put some of this styling/hydrating lotion in my hair come morning to help coax it into good-messy (not bed-heady) place. In addition to the aforementioned proteins, this lightweight yet effective product also contains silk amino acids along with jojoba and monoi oils to soften, smooth and even protect hair from further damage. Used on wet or dry hair, it’s a surefire way to treat and tame your mane at the same time!

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Get dirty in the same of smooth, soft skin

I don’t expect my five-year-old son to understand exactly what I do (he told his Pre-K class that I sell sponges), and he was quite surprised when he caught me in the act of product testing last weekend. I was trying Frank Coffee Scrub, and he certainly wasn’t expecting to find me covered in what looked like mud when he walked into the bathroom while I was showering. Upon seeing me he said, “Mommy, how did you get so dirty?” and my honest response was, “I’m actually getting clean.” Then, with a bewildered look on his feet, he told me he was going inside to play the iPad and that was that.

So yes, Frank Coffee Scrub looks like dirt, but it’s packed with roasted and ground Arabica coffee beans, brown sugar, sea salt, cold-pressed almond oil plus tons of antioxidants. Sure the oil leaves skin feeling silky smooth, but the caffeine works wonders for boosting circulation and minimizing the appearance of cellulite. The gritty texture of the scrub makes it an amazing exfoliator—and so long as you’re a fan of coffee, you’ll love how delicious you smell afterwards.

You know your sink looks after you clean out your coffee machine’s filter? That’s how your shower looks after treating yourself to this amazing experience, so plan accordingly. (Personally, I save this product for the day or night before my housekeeper comes so I don’t have to deal with it.) But if you’re a fan of smoothing body products that are a treat for most of the senses, getting dirty with this scrub is totally worth it!