Layering skin care products
Did you know that you should be regularly shampooing your hair brushes? Product buildup on your brushes can make your hair dull and dirty up your freshly washed hair!
Check out this handy tutorial by The Beauty Department!
Want a fun manicure that doesn’t require perfection? Check out this mani I did on myself this week.
The base color is Alpine Snow (OPI), and the stripes are Manicurist of Seville (OPI), Watermelon (Essie), and Merino Cool (Essie). All three of those stripe colors are gorgeous and huge favorites of mine, by the way!
The cool thing about this manicure is that perfection is absolutely not the goal. I’m an ace at polishing my nails, but I’m no nail artist— and I still think this mani is pretty fab. So let’s get down to it.
All you need is nail polish… and floss! I used single-use flossers (these ones).
- Choose your colors. Ideally, your base coat and your stripe colors will be high contrast so you can see the stripes. You need one base color and three colors for the stripes.
- Polish your nails with your base color, and really wait for it to dry. I didn’t wait long enough on one of my hands, and the floss dug in and left some ridges. Not the end of the world, but I won’t do it again.
- Start with the darkest color of your stripes, and coat the floss with the polish. Lift the top off of the bottle, stroke the floss along the brush, and stamp the polish onto your nails. To get longer stripes, you might have to rock the floss a little bit.
- The amount of polish on the floss directly affects the look of the stripes. For opaque stripes, be generous with the polish, but don’t let it be drippy. For more irregular and transparent stripes, feel free to go easy on the polish.
- Work your way from the darkest stripes to the lightest ones, letting the layers dry well between applications. Replace your floss as the polish builds up— I used three mini flossers for both hands.
Again, this is a super easy manicure that’s great for a night in with Netflix. Feel free to send in your completed manicures; I would love to see them!
(Photo from my Instagram)
Ever since I was born, I’ve had a head full of hair. As such, I’ve spent my life mastering the art of keeping it healthy. You can know all the tips and tricks in the world, but if your hair isn’t healthy, nothing is going to look right.
- Wet hair is delicate, so stop ripping a brush through your fresh-out-of-the-shower hair. Instead, brush your hair before you get in the shower. This will make your hair easier to shampoo and less prone to breakage. If you want to detangle after your shower, get a good wide-tooth comb and pull it through gently. If you’re tugging or hear snapping, work the comb through more slowly.
- Trimming your hair doesn’t make it grow faster; it keeps it from breaking. Either way, the result is ultimately longer, healthier hair. When you have split ends, they work their way up the shaft of your hair, weakening each strand and making the ends more likely to break off when, for example, you pull your hair out of the bun at the end of the day or brush your hair. The longer you wait, the more hair needs to be snipped off to keep only the healthy hair. This is why a lot of people go in for “just a trim” and end up angry that a lot had to be taken off. Getting your hair trimmed regularly keeps it from breaking and allows it to remain long and strong.
- Hair oils are awesome, but not before heat treating your hair. Right now, hair oils are having a big moment (and with good reason— they’re great). But if you put oils on your wet hair and then use a straightener, you’re literally frying your hair. It’s the same concept as putting oil in a hot pan to cook your food.
- Your shampoo doesn’t need to be a salon brand. There’s a lot of talk right now about how most shampoos to the same thing— cleanse— at pretty much the same capacity. Unless you need a special shampoo for a scalp condition, most shampoos will do the job. In fact, most of them have pretty much the same ingredients. Personally, I prefer to look for products that are paraben- and phthalate-free, because I prefer to keep those chemicals off my body. And if you color treat your hair, you’ll want to look for a product that’s sulfate-free. There are good and bad products in every price range; spending more isn’t a guarantee that your hair will behave better.
- Use conditioner! I can’t even count how many girls I know have told me that they stopped using conditioner because it made their hair oily. The usual culprit? They’re conditioning all their hair, which is completely unnecessary. Because he oils from your scalp keep your roots and several inches of your hair properly taken care of, you should really only condition your ends. A good rule of thumb is to only condition hair that’s below a low pony. (Side note: you also only really need to shampoo your scalp and roots; washing the suds out will clean the rest of it— unless you’ve gotten your hair really dirty somehow.)
So you overslept but don’t want to wear sweats today? Check out this video. I’ve actually done a few of these hairstyles on days I’m running late, and I loved them! Plus, I got lots of compliments.
To the beholders that I thought mattered, I was still unbeautiful. And my mother again would say to me, “You can’t eat beauty. It doesn’t feed you.” And these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.
What my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul
I love this nail art tutorial from Birchbox. Most nail art comes off as a little bit overdone and overcomplicated to me, but this look is simple and easy to achieve. Plus, it gets me excited for spring!
I might have to scoop up some of those OPI Sheer Tints, which, as far as I can tell, are currently only available at Birchbox.
Most of us will deal with acne at some point in our life, and I’m convinced that it’s one of the most damaging things to self-esteem and confidence. When I was in high school, I refused to go anywhere without a layer of makeup, and I wouldn’t wear a swim suit or tank tops in public, because I had what I thought was the worst-ever case of back-acne. I even put make-up on my back before my freshman homecoming.
Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of good and bad advice concerning acne, and I’ve checked in with my dermatologist many times to see what’s real and what’s myth. Not everyone has a derm, so I’m passing my knowledge on to you.
- Oil is not (necessarily) your enemy. Natural, plant based oils are great for skin; they nourish, help reduce inflammation and provide a natural barrier from the elements. Stripping your skin of oils through over-washing is a bad thing; you’re not extra-clean, just taking away your skin’s protection. Stay away from foaming cleansers; bubbles are for dishes, not skin. But not all oils are good. Cheap, mineral oil used in heavy formulations may break you out when you are cleansing. Check labels, and always avoid paraffin, paraffin liquidum, and mineral oil in ingredient listings.
- Avoid products with lots of alcohol in them. A little bit of a tingle can be a good thing, but a burning sensation means something is wrong. When mixed with something like glycolic acid, alcohol isn’t the worst, but as a general rule, it dries skin and removes that natural barrier of oil.
- Beware of antibiotics. A lot of times, a dermatologist’s first suggestion is a round of oral antibiotics for acne. If you can, avoid that. Antibiotics do a number on your GI tract, and they can cause lots of lady troubles (read: yeast infections) in addition to making you more susceptible to bacterial infections in the future. If you are going to be on antibiotics, make sure to counter their affects with lots of probiotics, which can be found in foods like greek yogurt. (Side note: if you have really terrible acne, talk to your derm about Acutane. It’s not an antibiotic, and it works for most people, me included. It comes with a lot of side effects, though, and you need to consider those.
- You can’t actually “dry out” a pimple. A spot of acne is dead skin cells, built-up oils, inflammation, and bacteria. No water involved. Most spot treatments are meant to kill the bacteria that’s causing the inflammation, but get too heavy-handed, and you’ll just end up with a patch of dry and peeling skin that actually draws attention to that annoying little blemish.
- When treating acne, you’ll often see two ingredients: Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide. They both target acne-causing bacteria, and everyone has a different reaction to them. I personally prefer salicylic acid, as it’s less likely to cause peeling, and it’s found naturally in willow bark. Benzoyl peroxide also bleaches— I don’t even know how many of my mom’s towels were ruined as my sister and I figured out our skin care routines. (Teen Vogue did a pretty good write up about them here.)
- Work with your skin; don’t battle it. It seems like my skin is out to get me sometimes (If I’m going home for the holidays and lots of pictures, of course I’ve got a giant pimple on my cheek). But your skin is your protection, and it’s always to your benefit to nourish your skin and treat it well. So enough with the aggressive scrubbing and the picking and the popping until you bleed. It needs you to be gentle and do research. You’ll thank me later.
- Consider a diet change. It sounded totally bogus to me when my chiropractor suggested that I cut dairy out for 2 months, but I did it anyway. And it’s made the biggest difference in my skin. I never get those tiny little whiteheads anymore unless I’ve been over-indulging in milk. I’ve found that if I keep my dairy intake to 1 serving or less a day, I’m fine. I also know people who have reduced sugar, red meat, and white foods (mostly processed grains) and had their skin thank them for it. Your skin is your largest organ; what you put in your body does affect how your skin reacts.
- Find a great exfoliator. Like I said before, a spot of acne is dead skin cells, built-up oils, inflammation, and bacteria. Find a way to treat those causes, and you’re likely to be well on the way to better skin. One great way is to get a good scrub and use it 3-4 times a week (I shower every other day, and the scrub comes in with me). Your skin will be smoother, and if you find a formula that’s not too abrasive, you don’t have to worry about increasing inflammation.
- Pimples can be popped. I know, I know: it’s the number one “do not do”, and I’m going against it! Here’s the thing— it the world of dermatology, popping a pimple is called “extraction,” and it’s done on milia, stubborn blackheadsm and whiteheads with a tool like this. What you need to understand is that pimples with a “head”— that ugly white thing can be popped, but cystic acne (those big ones that feel like a marble is trapped under your skin) cannot. I REPEAT: you will never win a battle against a cyst; you will just end up with bruised skin and a scar. Another thing to remember is that if you’re bleeding or digging into your skin, you need to stop. Remember, we’re working with our skin. Removing that clump of dead skin and oils can reduce inflammation, pressure and healing time. But if you’re digging, then most likely that sucker isn’t ready, and you’re causing damage. So stop.
- Try going natural. About six months ago, I decided to switch from my derm office goods to a mostly organic, plant-based routine. My skin is quite a bit clearer, but mostly I’ve found that it seems to glow more. I know, it’s not quantifiable or testable, but I can tell. If I had a word for my skin now, it would be “happy”. Burt’s Bees, Alba Botanica, and Juice Beauty all make some great natural products.
How cute is this? Our UK Team created a fun GIF tutorial for the Nail Rock Textured Manicure sets featured in their December boxes. Check out all of the GIFs to see how to use the sparkly product and—DIY challenge—try to get the look at home.
If you cringe a little when you hear the word “acid” used in the same sentence as “your face,” we don’t blame you! Yet even though it might make you think of a high school lab experiment gone wrong, acids in skin care productsare actually pretty stellar ingredients. These complexion-boosting stars can unclog pores, minimize discoloration and hyperpigmentation, smooth fine lines and wrinkles and treat acne. Read on to see how the most common acids in our beauty products can get you one step closer to skin nirvana.
Glycolic Acid: An alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), glycolic acid is derived from sugarcane and grapes. It makes lackluster skin more luminous (in case you need a boost during the upcoming winter months), exfoliates, fights wrinkles and banishes acne and age spots.
Lactic Acid: Lactic acid is another popular alpha-hydroxy acid derived from fermented milk, fruit, veggies, and other plants, and can improve your skin’s texture and boost its hydration. Gentler than glycolic acid, it too exfoliates your skin, but also moisturizes, softens, smoothes wrinkles and can even help stimulate collagen production.
Salicylic Acid: Also called beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), salicylic acid exfoliates, removing dead, dull cells from the surface of your skin, and can clear up mild to moderate acne. Derived from the bark of a willow tree, it also helps improve skin texture and tone to leave your complexion even, smooth, and spot-free.
Kojic Acid: Kojic acid is extracted from mushrooms and is known for lightening and fading areas of hyperpigmentation. Though it can help get rid of those pesky dark spots, continuous use has been linked to developing contact dermatitis, an allergic skin reaction that causes a rash. Ditch it if you notice any splotches, itchiness or redness.
Hyaluronic Acid: A powerful age fighter, hyaluronic acid plumps and hydrates your skin by drawing moisture from the air—it may hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water!
L-Ascorbic Acid: A form of vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid is an antioxidant that can also help boost collagen production while diminishing the look of fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and even scars.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA): An antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid, absorbs easily and can help smooth your skin, fight inflammation and minimize redness after sun exposure. Plus, it helps repair past skin damage and is stronger than vitamins E and C combined!
Ferulic Acid: With its power to repair sun damage and fight the signs of aging, ferulic acid is another antioxidant that can give your complexion a serious boost. Found in food sources like brown rice, oats, and coffee (to name a few ), it can also help protect your skin against harmful UV rays when you smooth it on.
Curly hair can be tricky, but it can also be managed. Check out this article that showcases 4 different types of curly hair and the best hair cuts to rock those lovely curls.
- Most Popular Eyeshadow: Urban Decay Naked Palette. Whether the Naked, Naked 2 or Naked Basics, practically every city we polled noted this as their top-selling product for eyes. With its range of universally flattering colors and endless possibilities for makeup looks, we can’t say we’re shocked that this multi-use palette won its spot on the podium.
- Most Popular Mascara: Benefit They’re Real. Sweeping the nation (quite literally) by storm with its debut last year, Benefit’s best-selling mascara is a girl’s best friend when it comes to tricking people into thinking you’re wearing falsies. Available in regular and travel-size versions, we recommend buying in bulk to be prepared at home and on the go.
- Most Popular Eyeliner: Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner. Staying power that’s matched only by the array of colors offered, this option from Urban Decay doesn’t budge once it’s applied. Available in the traditional pencil or a liquid state, when you’re trying to get a cat eye, this liner is your go-to.
- Most Popular Blush: NARS Blush in Orgasm. From its coral-peach base to its subtle flecks of gold shimmer, Orgasm gives girls of every skin tone the perfect, just-flushed look. We have a hunch that the risquè name has a little something to do with the allure of the product, too, so snaps to NARS for brilliant branding.
- Most Popular Foundation: bareMinerals Foundation. The makeup for girls who hate wearing makeup, we can’t blame ladies around America for making this such a star product. Between the precise color matching, the various finish options and the barely-there feel, this one’s an all-around winner in our book.
- Most Popular Primer: Smashbox Primer. A range of more than five options for priming whatever kind of situation you’ve got on your skin, Smashbox’s product gives you a smooth base for the rest of your face. We’re especially fond of the Blemish Control and SPF 20 options, but to each her own.
- Most Popular Lip Product (It’s a Tie!): Lipstick Queen Lipcolor and bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lip Gloss. Lip products was the most varied category, proving that recession or otherwise, girls love their lipsticks, glosses and the like. The two most prominent products in this category were well-deserving, with Lipstick Queen’s lipcolor being among the best quality we’ve ever worn, and Benefit’s lip gloss giving that perfectly non-sticky, super saturated color that we all want in a gloss.
- Other Notable Front-Runners: Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation and Too Faced Bronzer. Both products worth their hype, these standouts may not have dominated the entire country, but they earned their stripes based on geographical region. Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Foundation was most popular in warmer climates (Atlanta, GA and Miami, FL), while Too Faced Bronzer went to the head of the class in drearier locations (Denver, CO, Seattle, WA and Salt Lake City, UT).
- Surprising Stand-Outs: CK One Lipstick, Diorshow Mascara, Buxom Tahiti Bronzer and Make Up For Ever HD Foundation. Making waves as the best-sellers in New York, NY, Seattle, WA, Phoenix, AR and Portland, OR respectively, these products are more than worthy of their titles.
Lip products are the easiest to tell when truly expired, because they take on the unmistakable scent of an old crayon. Lip glosses, lipsticks and tints alike, once the scent changes, it’s time to get that thing out of here. Texture changes are also easy to spot, with lipsticks drying up and noticeably dragging (could be hard to tell with those long-lasting ones, but still). Hot tip: if you’ve scored the most perfect lipstick in the land and find it’s been discontinued or something equally as tragic, keep it in the fridge to extend its life as long as possible.
Keep an eye on the color to tell when foundation’s reached its lifespan, as colors will oxidize after being exposed to air for too long. Most colors will start turning a little orange, so unless you’re going for the Snooki look, it’s time to restock. Also look out if you see layers separating; once some ingredients start stratifying, toss it. If you’re in love with your pricey foundation and short on funds, try keeping it in a dark area–some foundations and skin products come in dark bottles to minimize oxidation, but they’re obviously not the best for color matching.
If you’re anything like us, you’re constantly bouncing around from skin product to product, looking for the next best thing. But there’s a downside: If you come back to something and find the texture’s slightly off, may it rest in peace. It usually goes one of two ways, either getting much runnier or (ick) congealing. Fragrances are another helpful giveaway, especially because your nose is pretty good at picking up scents that smell a bit off. In self-tanning skincare, DHA doesn’t like to hide: When it’s time to go, the rancid smell will let you know.
It’s sometimes hard to tell with mascara because it only comes into contact with your lashes, but we’ve found that you can usually detect dryness by how many coats it takes you to get your normal level of impact. The logic: fresh mascara is ready to leap into action, while its dried-out comrades cling to the brush and transfer less easily. If you notice that it’s taking you four coats to reach what you used to get with two, it’s time for a new tube. Plus, mascara’s one of the worst places to risk bacteria (what with eye infections and all), so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
(adapted from this article at Beauty High)