We Put Essie’s New Gel Couture Nail Polish Line to the Test!

EssieGel_FT

Raise your hand if you’re like me and spend way too much money on mani-pedis every other week! I was sick of spending so much time and money on getting my nails done just to have them start chipping off two days later, so I decided Essie’s new Gel Couture polish might be worth a shot! I have to admit that before I even bought the new line of polish I had pretty much already come to the conclusion that it wasn’t going to work and I would be back at the nail salon in three days. Thinking back on every other drugstore nail polish I’ve ever purchased that claimed to last more than 14 days, I couldn’t actually think of one that lasted a full day, never mind two whole weeks!

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Spice Up Your Summer Wardrobe With Our Summer Boot Guide

SummerBoots_FT

When you think summer footwear, you probably envision some nice toe-freeing sandals, maybe some wedges if you’re feeling fancy – but boots probably aren’t at the top of your list. Though boots are traditionally associated with the cooler fall and winter season, with the recent trend toward ankle boots and booties, it’s easier than ever to incorporate boots into a trendy summer look.

We partnered with JustFab to bring you some ideas how to match your boots with your warm weather wardrobe. Check out our favorite creative ideas, and if you like what you see, click through any image to purchase from JustFab.

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Stay Gorgeous on the Sand: How to Wear Makeup at the Beach

BeachM

Summer lends itself to a loosening of sorts…relaxed beauty routines…fewer pieces clothing…lowered inhibition. We all just feel a little sexier in the summer, no? (NO?! Have a few glasses of rosé and get back to me.)

While you’re drinking, let’s talk getting glam for the beach. As much as most of us enjoy going au natural, who doesn’t want to channel a little Brigitte Bardot every now and again, am I right? It’s just fun.

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Tips for Rocking a Non-Traditional Hair Color

(Image Credit: Hillary Boles)

(Image Credit: Hillary Boles)

Outrageous hair color is no longer only for the punk kids making a statement or the artist that nobody understands. Bright, non-traditional hair colors have been pouring into the mainstream steadily over the past few years. It is still a bit risky and intriguing to try out pink or blue hair, but it is definitely more acceptable now than it has ever been. If you’re thinking about taking the color plunge, whether with streaks or all over color, we have five tips below to help your color stay brighter longer.

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10 Summer Beach Bag Essentials

10 Summer Beach Bag Essentials

10 Summer Beach Bag Essentials

Summer is officially here and you know what that means – time to hit the beach, enjoy some fun in the sun, and travel on a vacation or two. There are few things quite as glorious as a day soaking up the sun with the waves crashing nearby, and the summer season is the perfect time to enjoy it. If you’re looking to make a full-day trip to the sand, it’s essential that you pack your beach bag accordingly. Forgetting sunblock or water can quickly turn your day from fab to drab. Check out our list of 10 summer bag essentials. Continue reading

5 Common Reasons Your Skin is Breaking Out

SBOAlright, you’re tired of it. You are way past puberty, you wash your face regularly and you even splurged on that overly expensive miracle acne face wash! So what gives?! Unfortunately no matter how many precautions you may think you’re taking, you may still be missing some everyday habits that are causing your vicious breakouts. Here are 5 of the most common reasons you’re still breaking out:

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How to Look Your Best in Pictures!

How to look your best in pictures!

There unfortunately is no step-by-step manual on how to be photogenic, but being “unphotogenic” does not mean that you are not physically attractive. The most gorgeous person in the world could look like an absolute toad in pictures. There is a certain art to taking a good picture. Sometimes it is random, someone just catches you at the right time in the right place. But there are some tricks of the trade that can help you to make every picture a good one. Continue reading

Is Your Sunburn Cause for Concern?

SCFCThe sun’s effects on our skin can range from some seemingly innocent freckles and a healthy glow to blisters and pain. It can be difficult to know when to let it go and when to freak out. Although all exposure to the sun is damaging and can cause skin cancer later in life, there are some warning signs to look out for when you get sunburn. Continue reading

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HydraFacial MD Review: This Facial is Worth It!

HF

When it comes to skincare, I’m a big believer in prevention: monthly facials for anti-aging, SPF to avoid sun damage, and lots of water to stay hydrated (and to possibly stave off wrinkles).  

But, every now and again, I live my life a little too Patsy Stone. Speaking of, is anyone else as excited for the AbFab movie as I am? Anyways, because I graduated college in the last decade, as in before Britney Spears’ infamous 2007 breakdown, I just don’t have the kind of time that I once did to make such debaucherous rookie mistakes without taking action.

After one insane week in particular, I took a long, hard, squinty look at myself in the mirror, and I had to admit, I looked kind of like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Quelle horreur! And! To top it off, my skin was freaking out because I went off birth control.  Mind you, I never really broke out, even as a teenager.  Yet, here I was looking like a disaster.  And I, being fairly vain (not conceited or narcissistic, just vain), had to do something.  IMMEDIATELY!

After much frantic Googling, I stumbled upon the HydraFacial MD. According to the website, the HydraFacial is a multi-step treatment that “cleanses, evenly exfoliates and extracts to remove impurities and dead skin cells while at the same time replenishing vital nutrients including Antioxidants, Peptides and Hyaluronic Acid.”  Super! It works through some futuristic-y sounding process called the “Vortex technology system,” and involves a machine that looks just as futuristic.

Upon further research, it seemed the HydraFacial addressed all my skincare issues: fine lines, skin tone, and congested skin. Brilliant. I consulted the handy HydraFacial MD locator and I was in with a same-day appointment. Once I arrived, I had a brief consultation, where I moaned about my skincare woes to a very no-nonsense aesthetician. Who incidentally, and completely irrelevantly, looked very much like Red from Orange is the New Black.  She agreed that the HydraFacial was a good choice for me and gave me a few facts as she ushered me into the treatment room.  

First, a HydraFacial isn’t like a traditional facial. Meaning, there are no masks (boo!), but my face would not be poked and prodded by those painful extraction tools (yay!). Instead, the machine would do everything, from deep cleaning to diffusing serums into my skin. Also, HydraFacials aren’t meant to take the place of conventional facials, but rather they serve as a sort of supplement to them.

The procedure takes about a half-hour, so it can definitely be a lunchtime treatment. However, some clients may experience redness, so for your first treatment it’s better to come when you don’t have any post-facial obligations. Some people may also notice that their skin will be sensitive to the sun after the HydraFacial, so be sure to apply a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, which we should all really be doing anyway.  Lastly, for some clients to see full results, a series of three weekly HydraFacials is recommended, with monthly appointments thereafter.  But many people look glowy and have clearer skin after the first treatment, so they just opt for monthly appointments for maintenance.  The smoother, plumped-up effects can last up to a week.

Then we got down to business. I braced myself and asked whether the treatment would be painful. I was assured that no, I may only feel a little suction on my face or a sensation comparable to microdermabrasion, which I’ve also had. And that was exactly right. I felt virtually nothing, except the coolness of the tool, which looks like this, gently brushing across my face.  

The treatment consists of four steps, and an optional Vortex-Boost serum:  

Step 1: Exfoliation

The Activ-4 serum sweeps away dead skin cells and makeup debris, revealing healthy skin.

Step 2: Acid Peel

I was slightly intimidated, as I’ve had fairly strong peels and I know they can burn. But I was pleasantly surprised that this glycolic/salicylic acid peel barely even tingled. And I had no redness, peeling, or flakiness post-facial.

Step 3: Extraction

This was a welcome, pain free-change. Standard facial extractions leave me awkwardly mouth-breathing and teary-eyed as an aesthetician seems to endlessly stab at my nose. However, here, all I felt was a slight sucking sensation while my pores were de-clogged.  

Optional Step: Vortex-Boost Serum

After the extraction you can add a Vortex-Boost serum, which includes “DermaBuilder” (for fine lines, skin tone evenness and texture), “CTGF/Connective Tissue Growth Factor” (for fine lines and wrinkles), or “Britenol” (for brightness and to diminish the appearance of dark spots and discoloration).  I did the DermaBuilder because it sounded like the most inclusive option.

Step 4: Serum

The vortex-fusion tool infuses an “Antiox+ serum” into the skin. Rich with antioxidants, peptides, and hyaluronic acid, Antiox+ reduces the production of melanin, which prevents the appearance of brown spots and discoloration, instantly firms and tightens, deeply hydrates, and promotes collagen and elastin production.

And that’s it!  

So how did I look afterward? Well, I wasn’t red at all, which was obviously good. And while my skin was definitely more hydrated, it didn’t look vastly different than it normally does after a traditional facial… Until the next day. I don’t know what happened, but when I woke up the next morning, my face looked incredible. As in, my skin was brighter and glowing, and my breakouts were gone, and those spots of discoloration that I always get after breakouts go away had greatly faded. Honestly, I didn’t need to wear any makeup at all, and I almost always like to wear a little bit.  Bottom line: I’m a convert! Because anything that makes me feel beautiful when I’m completely natural is a must-do in my book.

Microblading: The permanent way to get fuller, sculpted brows!

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, so my name is Ashley Gebhardt, and I am an eyebrow overplucker. I lived through the super thin brow trend and it was a very self destructive time for me. I plucked so frequently and so many hairs that I can’t even remember what my life was like before I overplucked. But now with all the products on the market there’s hope for me and everyone like me who has plucked their eyebrows into oblivion.

From pencils and powders to gels and fibers, there are tons of temporary fixes for overplucked eyebrows, but they’re exactly that- temporary. Anyone who has ever enhanced their brows with these products knows the fear of losing a brow to sweat or smudging. You can use waterproof eyebrow fixes, but even those aren’t foolproof. So what’s an thin eyebrower to do? How about trying the newest permanent fix for fuller brows, Microblading?

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Steal Mila Kunis’ Braided Bun Look for Summer!

Steal Mila Kunis' Braided Bun Look for Summer!

Mila Kunis at the 2016 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS (Getty Images via ABC)

It’s officially summer and if you’re anything like me you’re super excited… Until your first official summer night out when humidity, heat and sweat turn that hairstyle you spent an hour perfecting into a gross, flat or frizzy mess. It’s enough to make anyone give up on glam and settle for a plain, slicked back pony or top-knot, but the rise in temperature doesn’t mean you have to lower your style standards.

Take for example Mila Kunis’ fabulous, braided bun look created by Celebrity Stylist Renato Campora. This bun style is the perfect way keep your hair looking chic despite the heat. Lucky for us, Campora has broken down how you can recreate the look he styled for Kunis using Infusium 23 products and PRO Beauty Tools. Check out Campora’s step-by-step instructions below!

Mila Kunis at the 2016 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS (Getty Images via ABC)

Mila Kunis at the 2016 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS (Getty Images via ABC)

First, I washed and conditioned her hair with the Infusium 23 Repair + Renew Shampoo and Conditioner to illuminate and brighten her strands.

I wanted a lot of texture for this look so I sprayed the Infusium 23 Repair + Renew Leave-In Treatment when her hair was damp to help build texture and volume.

Next, I dried her hair with the PRO Beauty Tools 1875W Ionic AC Motor and ran my hands through her hair – no brush.

I selected random pieces and curled them with the PRO Beauty Tools 1 ¼ Curling Iron to add more volume.

It’s all about the texture today! So I sprayed the Infusium 23 Repair + Renew Leave-In Treatment again which also helped tame fly-aways and create that sleek look.

I pulled a few pieces out on side of her face to create a soft, romantic feel. The rest of the hair was pulled into a high ponytail.

Then, I braided the ponytail very loosely, wrapped it around and finished the look by pinning the braid around the ponytail.

There you have it! With the right products and tools, and these simple instructions from Campora you too can take your summer hair from bland and unmanageable to this romantic and put together braided bun!

Your First Time: Getting a Bikini Wax

Your First Time... Getting a Bikini Wax

Ladies, let’s face it. We all hate taking the time to shave and still not being able to get every spot we wanted! If you’re looking to spend some extra time on the beach this summer and want to look fresh and clean, a bikini wax might just be the best option for you! I just got my first-ever bikini wax at the start of the summer, and I’ve got some tips to share with you about how to handle your first time!

Make sure you’re comfortable with whomever is doing the wax.

Being comfortable with the person makes the whole situation a little easier. My woman was super awesome and made me feel very comfortable with her so I didn’t have much of a problem baring it all. This is not to say that it wasn’t awkward, because anytime someone is heading toward your area with a pan of hot wax is by no means normal. But what is normal when it comes to our beauty routines anyway?

Test a spot first!

I had to turn to threading my eyebrows because I had such bad reactions to wax so I was nervous about waxing down there. I went about a week before my scheduled appointment and had her do a test patch. I felt way more comfortable with the process knowing that she had already tested a small area and I had no reaction!

Just to be clear: it will hurt.

It will f***ing hurt. The pain really sucks but goes away almost instantly and really doesn’t seem too bad in the grand scheme of things. I had no problems walking around, sitting, or using the bathroom immediately afterwards. If possible, wear loose clothing like a maxi dress or skirt so you don’t have tight pants to put on after.

RELAX.

The anticipation of the pain plus the awkwardness may be worse than the actual waxing itself. I know when someone is coming at your vajayjay with some hot wax the natural reaction is to tense up, but that will only make it worse! Breathe. You’ll get through it.

Baby oil is your savior!

Make sure you ask for baby oil before you get dressed! The oil gets rid of any residual wax that may be left over. Even if you don’t see wax there, rub it down with baby oil anyway because it hurts so much worse when your undies or pants get stuck to it when you’re trying to change later!

Moral of the story: if you are sick of shaving constantly and don’t want anymore hair down there, waxing is definitely a good choice. It hurts, but the pain subsides very quickly and it’s well worth the pain for weeks of being hair-free!

Finding the Right Bra for Your Summer Tops

Bras

It’s officially summer, and I’m officially hot. I’m not complaining – I’ll take 100 degrees over 40 any day. But summer weather comes with a summer wardrobe, and a summer wardrobe comes with unique challenges. Specifically: how in the world are you supposed to wear a bra with that see-through, giant arm-holed, weird-backed tank that happens to be the only thing that keeps you cool at high noon in the summer sun?

It is increasingly impossible to wear a good ol’ fashioned normal bra with trendy summer tops without it peeking out in a variety of unflattering or unattractive ways. In most cases, though, this problem can be solved with the right bralette or sports bra – something that’s both meant to be seen and doesn’t cut your body in weird places. As an added bonus, they’re usually more comfortable than a regular bra.

But you still have to be careful – the wrong bralette might not give enough support, and sports bras have a tendency to smush breasts into the dreaded uniboob. But fear not! There are bras out there that will actually look nice peeking out from under summer tops and give you some support and shape. Here are some of our favorites:

Victoria’s Secret Keyhole Mesh Sports Bra

(Image Credit: Victoria's Secret)

(Image Credit: Victoria’s Secret)

 

While technically a low support sports bra, this baby comes with removable padding for shape and the functional but cute design makes it perfect under racerback tanks or for yoga class. And for only $20, it’s a multitasking deal!

Aerie Lace Pushup Racerback Bralette

(Image Credit: Aerie)

(Image Credit: Aerie)

Lace bralettes are certainly pretty, but often they lack support. This lace bralette has a leg up on its friends due to soft foam padding, which makes it a viable option for even larger-chested ladies.

H&M Soft-Cup Microfiber Bra

(Image Credit: H&M)

(Image Credit: H&M)

This bra takes the form and function of a normal bra and meshes it with a soft, smoothing fabric. The result? A bra that gives you shape but doesn’t poke or squish in awkward places – and it  doesn’t look awkward peeking out of a shirt! (There’s a similar lace version if you’re looking for something prettier. )

Victoria’s Secret PINK Ultimate Racerback Push-Up Bra

(Image Credit: Victoria's Secret)

(Image Credit: Victoria’s Secret)

This unique bra looks like a sports bra but is built to be a comfy push-up. It has the lines of a sports bra, but is a more supportive option if you’re not entirely comfortable with a minimal support bralette.

 

Fabletics Lyra Bra

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If you have a lot of low back or backless tops, this bra offers a funky, strappy design in the back that would jazz up any outfit. It has removable cups and is available in handful of unique colors and patterns.

 

TopShop Microfiber Crop Top

(Image Credit: Topshop)

(Image Credit: Topshop)

Smooth on the front and sides but with fun lace flourishes in the back, this bralette is the perfect marriage of form and function. It would look great under a top with open sides or an open back; the only shame is that it’s not available in more colors.

Now you’re all set for a summer bra shopping spree – and don’t forget to pick out bold colors and patterns to make the most of it!

Bright Skin (Image Credit: Flickr User Eflon)

Tips for Brighter, Clearer Skin!

Bright Skin (Image Credit: Flickr User Eflon)

Bright Skin (Image Credit: Flickr User Eflon)

Few things can ruin a day like dull, dry or broken out skin. A majority of confidence comes from having clear skin, so it’s hard to feel 100% pretty when your skin isn’t up to par. Luckily, you can have some control over your skin! Read below for ways to get your skin bright and clear and keep it that way. Continue reading