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Category Archives: Tips

Hi Beauties,

Hope you had a fabulous first weekend of 2014!

Every Sunday, I set aside some time to deep-clean my makeup brushes. I just thought to share this tip with you all that has helped my brushes last as long as they have (some of my brushes are over 1o years old!)

After rinsing your brushes clean and squeezing out any remaining water, roll up one side of a terry-cloth towel to help “lift” your brush handles at an angle. Lay them with the brush ends facing down, like so. IMG_4531

This will prevent the water from seeping into the ferrule (the metal handle) of the brush, where it will weaken the glue that holds everything together. Small brushes will dry within a couple of hours, but I would leave any big fluffy brushes out to dry overnight.

If you haven’t seen my video on how to properly clean your makeup brushes, watch below.

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Hi beauties! Contouring the face has made a huge comeback on the runways and the red carpet. Everyone from models to celebrities are chiseled to perfection using matte bronzers and darker-toned powders. But the key to making this look work for you is in the tools: brushes. We are going to go over the three different kinds of contouring brushes below. And of course all of them are from cruelty-free brands– why use animal hair when synthetic works just as well?

Contouring Diagram

Contour & Highlight Diagram

Illamasqua Blush Up Brush

This is a great brush for people with oval, narrow, elongated face shapes or those of you with very tiny features.

Illamasqua’s brand-new addition to their brush collection is the Blush Up Blush. This brush has a genius ellipse-shaped head, designed to tuck directly under the cheekbone. The special shape creates a soft diffusion of color up onto the cheekbone and it’s still small enough to drag down the side of your nose (a slimming trick!).

Illamasqua

Illamasqua Blush-Up Brush: Sold online and at Sephora stores nationwide.

Bdellium Tools Precision Airbrushed Effect #957

This flat-top Kabuki-style brush is fantastic for contouring wider or round -shaped faces.

1) Dip the flat edge of the brush into your bronzer/dark powder and pull down on your cheekbone, starting from next to your ear. It may seem strange to put bronzer by your ear, but it actually looks much more natural starting from there. Bring the edge of the brush down the sides of your neck so you look even.

2)Blend everything in with the top of the brush.

Bdellium

Cozzette S120 The Diamond Blender

This tapered blending brush is ideal for all face shapes.

The Diamond is a soft couture blending brush that was designed as a foundation brush, but also performs beautifully as a contour brush. The unique tapered shape creates seamless blending. Dip the tip of the Diamond into your bronzer/dark powder and buff this under your cheekbones starting from the ear and down. The tip of the brush will map out your contour and the fluffy texture is great for blending.

Cozzette


Hi Beauties,

Summer has already reared her unforgivably hot head in some parts of the United States, and that means a major increase in face grease. If you live in super humid areas or suffer from an oily T-zone, there is help. There are a ton of products out there made specifically for this problem and can help control your oil and keep your foundation from dripping down your chin.

Philosophy Total Matteness Oil-free Pore Eraser: $40

Total

This natural product is made with bamboo extract, which absorbs 200% of its weight in oil. Lentil seed minimizes the appearance of large pores and salicylic acid helps remove build-up of dead cells around the pore wall, brightening its darkened appearance. Since this is a serum,  all you have to do is pat in a small amount just in the areas you are oily- normally the T-zone (forehead and nose, possibly the chin and upper lip area too). Do this first, then apply your primer and foundation. You can also wear this on bare skin!

MAC Cosmetics Matte Creme: $20

MATTE

This clear silicone-based product is a matte-ifying cream that acts like a powder, M·A·C Matte can be used on bare or made-up skin. I’m a huge fan of this stuff. It literally changes the texture of your skin, making it velvety soft while also soaking up all the oil. Apply this after your moisturizer, and before primer and foundation. It can also be used on bare or made-up skin.

Urban Decay De-Slick Oil Control Makeup Setting Spray: $29

De Slick

De-Slick is a makeup setting spray that mists on to control oil and deflect surface shine. This stuff will also help keep foundation, shadow and blush from smudging, sliding or fading. Developed in an exclusive partnership with SKINDINÄVIA, this formula features a patented Temperature Control Technology that actually lowers the temperature of your makeup to help it stay put while also keeping your skin oil-free!


Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to put up with eczema, or any other unsightly skin rash that has left you feeling ugly.

IMG_3550

It’s so frustrating. Every time it goes away, it comes back with a vengeance. Well, I’m here to tell you you’re not alone. Chronic skin conditions are common for people of all ages, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There isn’t anything you could have done to prevent it, but luckily, there are ways to treat it. There are a variety of chronic skin conditions like Psoriasis and Rosacea, but the most “popular” (and by popular I mean most suffered-from!) is Eczema.

I have had patches of Eczema set up shop on my body for the last 15 years. They usually show up around my elbows and on the back of my thighs (yuck), but about a year ago, it reared it’s ugly head on two fingers on my right hand. I took the photo above after not treating it for about a week, just to show you what it looks like (dedication, I know.)

What Is Eczema?

Eczema shows up as very dry, rough and thick red scales and scaly patches. It’s often associated with allergies and asthma, so if you got either of those, chances are you are susceptible to Eczema too. Many newborns are born with Eczema but will outgrow it by their tenth birthday, while it still affects 3% of children and adults.Eczema patch

What Causes Eczema?

Dermatologists I have spoken to say that eczema can be caused by factors such as stress, environment and even allergies. My eczema flared up in my teens when I lived in Las Vegas, a dry desert. And probably because I was taking all honors-level classes and was at school with student council duties from the crack of dawn to midnight. When I moved back to humid Los Angeles in my twenties, my skin cleared up for a while. Oh, the joy of soft, clear skin! But last year, between being laid off from my full time job and planning a wedding, my stress levels went through the roof. And being a long-time allergy- sufferer didn’t help.

Treatments

1) See Your Doctor: If you think you may have patches of Eczema, make an appointment with your dermatologist first to go over your options. There are many topical creams ranging from steroid to immunomodulators that your doctor can prescribe to fight the condition. Another reason to see your doctor first- you may think you have Eczema but it could be another type of skin condition, like Psoriasis. Your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic treatment to fight off infection-causing bacteria caused at the scene of the crime (the scales).

Hyrdrocortisone1

2) Over The Counter Relief: Hydrocortisone 1% is often prescribed over the counter by dermatologists to treat your eczema during and in-between flare-ups. If my eczema shows any signs of returning, I immediately start a hydrocortisone treatment to shut that thing down. If your Eczema is like mine and on your fingers, apply your ointment then cover the affected area with a vinyl glove. Do NOT use latex-it eats away the medication and many people are allergic to the material.  I wear disposable vinyl gloves I got from Rite Aid every night with my hydrocortisone 1% cream.

Latex-Free Vinyl Gloves

Latex-Free Vinyl Gloves

Neosporin also carries a special hydrocortisone version of their ointment specifically for Eczema that works well.

Neosporin

Neosporin Eczema Essentials Anti-Itch Hydrocortisone Cream

Last but not least, Aquaphor is every Eczema patients’ best friend. I blend the hydrocortisone cream with the Aquaphor then wear the vinyl glove. If your Eczema is somewhere other than your hands you can cover the affected area with plastic wrap or even a tissue to keep the ointments in place. Aquaphor does have a greasy texture, but you will wake up with the softest hands/skin ever! So worth it.

Aquaphor

Aquaphor Healing Ointment- Mix in with your Hydrocortisone cream and cover the affected area with a glove or clothing.

Extra Tips

1) Moisturize Often- I’m talking 3-4 times a day on the affected area. Keeping the skin hydrated with fragrance-free and unscented lotions. Aveeno Eczema Therapy is my favorite- it’s steroid and fragrance-free and made with colloidal oatmeal- a skin protectant. I carry this around in my purse all day.

Aveeno

Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream

2) Wash New Clothes Before Wearing Them- to get rid of chemicals that can irritate your skin. I use Tide Free and Gentle– it’s dermatologist- tested and free of any dyes and scents.

Tide Free & Gentle

3) Keep the showers short and warm (not hot) Use a gentle body wash instead of harsh soap and avoid any abrasive scrubbers. Pat your skin dry with a towel, don’t rub. And apply moisturizer all over within three minutes to help lock in water. I’ve been switching between this one by Aveeno and Dove’s Sensitive Skin Body Wash.

Aveeno Body Wash

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash

I know this seems like a lot of products and information, but the good news is ALL  of these items can be purchased with coupons from any drug store. And in my experience, the creams and antibiotics prescribed by dermatologists were all pretty affordable ($8-10 for a tube of ointment) but of course this also depends on your insurance coverage.

I hope that these tips help you find a way to live with and treat your Eczema. No one knows better than me how irritating it can be! If you have any Eczema-related questions, I’m always open to chat on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Let’s band together and be good to our skin!


It’s that time of year again, when the birds start chirping and your bum get burned sitting in your hot car. Everyone whips out their various products: TIME TO START TANNING. I don’t know if there’s an actual memo email that goes out to women all over the states, but it seems like we all know just about when, and join in.

The Options- There are several ways to achieve an Adrianna Lima-goddess-style tan.

1) Self-tanning at home with products

2) Mystic or Airbrush tanning at the salon

3) A tanning bed

4) and of course the old-fashioned way, but lounging around at the beach or pool.

The Products- There are two different kinds of products for faking a tan on the market. One “stains” the skin for about a week, the other is simply a colored lotion with bronzer that washes off at the end of the night.

My absolute fave, as posted above, is St. Tropez Mousse. The mousse comes out a deep dark brown and develops into a golden tan on the skin. The mousse texture makes it easy to fix if you make mistakes over the elbows and knees. Moisturize your arms legs. On days I don’t use St. Tropez, I touch up with the Neutrogena Micro Mist spray in Dark or Deep Dark. The reason I run out into the backyard when I’m using the Micro Mist is because I’m not a fan of the harmful stuff that comes out of an aerosol can. I don’t want my doggy breathing it in!

mystic-tan-core-club-durham-ct

I always recommend Mystic or Airbrush tanning for special occasions. What’s Mystic, you ask? You go into a machine naked with a bonnet over your hair and are blasted with micro-fine mist of tanner liquid. This process takes 2 minutes tops and develops throughout the day. Don’t shower for at least 8 hours to get the full effect. Most places offer a Groupon for it, keep your eyes peeled!

The other option is Airbrush Tanning. This is where you hire a professional at either the salon or someone who comes to you with their airbrush machine and compressor. They will spray you down individually with the same type of bronzer liquid. Just like Mystic, Airbrush Tanning will get darker throughout the day, so avoid showering for about 8 hours. Airbrush Tanning is preferred as it’s more of a “service.” Do whatever fits in your budget.

The last two options will expose you to harmful sun rays, leaving you susceptible to melanoma (skin cancer) and aging your skin (those tiny wrinkles around your eyes? Yup, that was the sun). Just avoid them at all costs! And at the beach and the pool, SPF 35 and above for your body. Reapply every two hours. Floppy hat? Check Dark sunglasses? CHECK.

The Steps For Self-Tanning At Home

For an even tan, use a body scrub with a loofah in the shower to slough off dead skin. Pat dry and apply a light lotion to your arms and legs. This will help your tanner go on smoother and avoids drying or cracking into the skin later. Here’s the tricky part: Apply your mousse or tanner lotion with the QUICKNESS. This stuff dries very quickly so you have to be fast. If you are using a Mist, you won’t need to rub it in, they are designed to melt right into your skin. Rub the bronzer mousse or lotion into the elbows and knees sparingly…these areas get dark and splotchy very quickly. Have a friend help you if you can’t reach your back.

Voila! Enjoy your glow for the next 3-4 days, then repeat this sunless and harm-free routine again and again.


This one’s for the men! It has recently come to my attention that most men do not know how to properly take care of their feet. While more men are going in for pedicures than every before (insert collective sigh of relief here), most are still lacking in the at-home maintenance department. And I don’t blame them- it’s not like they give a class in college on this stuff.

Men, stay with me on this post and I’ll walk you through some simple things you can do at home to get- and keep- your feet approachable.mens-grooming-hands--feet

1) Scrub a Dub-dub (Weekly)

I know it’s a pain to reach all the way down to your toes in that cramped shower stall, but I promise it will be worth it. Invest in an inexpensive foot brush like the one below from Eco Tools (any drugstore chain will carry this or similar items). Squirt a little shower gel on the wet brush and scrub the tops, bottoms and the “in-betweens” of your toes. This will not only ensure your feet’s cleanliness but will exfoliate and lift off any dead skin that’s been sitting on your tootsies for God knows-how-long. Get your heels too while you’re down there. Feels nice, doesn’t it?

Bamboo_FootBrush

Eco Tools Bamboo Foot Brush $3.99

Now use the pumice side of your brush (or purchase a pumice stone separately) and rub this back and forth against the balls and heels of your feet to remove tough calluses. If they don’t come off all the way you can try buffing them again after your shower with semi-dry feet.

2) The Scoop-N-Scrape (Bi-Monthly)

Immediately after your shower, pat your feet dry with a towel and get down to business. It’s important to do this right after you get out so your cuticles (a.k.a. the dry skin around your toe nails) are soft and easy to trim and remove. Use the spoon end of a Cuticle Remover (peep the photo below) to gently push down and back on each toenail to remove that dry crust that’s been sittinecg on top. Use the pointy end of the Cuticle Remover to scrape under each nail to remove what I call the “Sock Lint Bunnies.”

cuticle_pusher

Ulta Cuticle Pusher, $12

3) Clip & File (Bi-Monthly)

Everyone knows how to clip your toe nails. But don’t stop there. File those ragged edges down to avoid snaring your socks, your bed sheets or a possible sleepover buddy. You may laugh, but it happens!

You may want to get a pedicure kit, which includes all the tools you will need for presentable feet. This one from Amazon is going for $16.35!

Body Tools Deluxe Mani-Pedi Kit, $16.35

Body Tools Deluxe Mani-Pedi Kit, $16.35

4) Lotion (Daily)

Nothing beats a long day like taking a hot shower, slathering your barking dogs in lotion and hitting the sheets. Lotion will moisturize your feet and keep them in tip-top shape, helping your MAN-i-Pedi last longer. I always suggest doing the lotion routine at night right before bed. You’ll wake up with soft amazing feet! My favorite foot lotions include peppermint as an ingredient. Try this one from Lush, it will keep odors away!

Fair Trade Foot Lotion

Lush Fair Trade Foot Lotion


Hi beauties! Today we are discussing the ever-popular gel manicure. Gel manicures are fantastic for the girl on the go and women who are hard on their hands. Everyone from moms to executives are fans of gel mani’s for this reason: they last up to two weeks. The polish literally will not chip or budge until you take it off.

Gel Nails

My Wedding Gel Nails 🙂

And just like any other beauty fad, there are do’s and don’ts for this look. I want to walk you through how to properly rock and remove a gel manicure.

Do’s & Don’ts

Do apply a sunscreen on your hands before going under the LED light at the salon.

Alba SPF 45 Sunscreen

Alba SPF 45 Sunscreen

The lights that harden the gel polish contain UV rays and not only cause your skin to age, but also produce harmful carcinogens. Treat your hands as if you were going to spend the day at the beach and protect them with an SPF of 35 and above.

Don’t scrape off the polish—this is terrible for your nails and will strip them!

You can have it removed professionally at the salon OR do it yourself at home: it’s possible! I learned how to do it myself from this helpful video:

Do trim your nails as they grow.

File off the top, then apply a clear top coat to seal the edges. My nails grow like weeds so I file them at least once a week

My favorite top coat: Seche Vite

My favorite top coat: Seche Vite

Don’t keep the gel manicure on past two weeks.

PET PEEVE ALERT: Something that really bugs me is when I look at people’s gel mani’s and see half-an-inch of new nail growing out from the bottom. GROSS! Just because the polish hasn’t chipped doesn’t mean you should keep your gel polish going for a month. It’s tacky.

Yuck! Grown out nails

Yuck! Don’t let this be you.

Do get gel pedicures: they are especially amazing on the toes!

I cannot say that enough. Since toe nails grow slower than finger nails, gel pedicures are a great option. You actually CAN keep your gel pedicure going for a month!

Gel-Pedicure-460x250