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Beauty, Hairstyles, Fashion Trends & More | SheKnows
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    Ask anyone what their favorite oil is and we can guarantee the answer will probably be coconut, argan, jojoba or any of the other “essentials” toted by wellness experts. There’s much to love about all of them; they’re inexpensive, multitasking and all-natural. While they’re not always the best choice for everyone, their popularity never seems to cease.

    I am one of the few who actually enjoys a more lightweight formula simply because I recognize that something labeled “all-natural” isn’t necessarily natural to my body. This month, I discovered squalane oil and am convinced it will become one of those “must-have” ingredients in 2018.

    Here’s what you should know about it according to Teresa Lo, senior director of marketing at Biossance, a brand that uses plant-derived squalane in each and every one of its products.

    More: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Always Use Coconut Oil

    It’s not squalene

    For starters, squalane shouldn’t be confused with squalene, which you’ve probably heard of before. Squalene is a key component and naturally occurring part of the skin’s lipid barrier. Lipids are essentially the building blocks that make up our skin. The squalene inside our lipid barrier protects us against environmental stressors and also acts as an emollient (softener). In short, we were born with it.

    But according to Lo, “The amount you make and retain decreases over time — reaching peak levels in your teens and starting to decline in your 20s, leaving your skin rough, dry and vulnerable.”

    So, for as long as we can remember, beauty brands have combatted this by putting squalene in their products since it’s an effective moisturizer and mimics the chemistry inside our skin. The problem is that historically, most squalene was and in some cases still is harvested from shark livers — which has a devastating environmental impact.

    “Since squalene is naturally present in high concentrations in mature shark livers, especially deep-sea sharks, they are killed in order to harvest the liver,” says Lo. “The hunting and overfishing puts these species in danger of extinction and negatively impacts the marine ecosystem, as it takes a long time for sharks to reproduce and reach maturity.”

    More: The Best Plant-Based Brands for Sensitive Skin

    It’s safe for the environment

    Thankfully, industry pros have since switched to squalane, which is both a highly versatile emollient and more stable version of squalene. A lot of squalane is derived from olives, an obvious step up from the shark-derived kind, but you just never know what you’ll get in terms of quality.

    That’s why brands like Biossance opt for plant-derived versions instead. They’ve proven to be more sustainable, highly pure and actually effective.

    “Plant-derived means the starting material is a plant source as opposed to animal or petrochemical source,” says Lo. “Our squalane is plant-derived through our proprietary biotechnology, which involves a fermentation process using sugar from sugarcane that is sustainably grown in Brazil.”

    More: Why Your Skin Care Routine Doesn’t Need Extra Steps

    It’s an all-in-one product

    All of that chemistry aside, squalane is simply good for the body. “Because your body already produces squalene, it instantly recognizes squalane once applied to the skin, so it absorbs quickly and easily, unlike other oils that might sit on top of the skin’s barrier. It’s almost like a lock and key — it fits perfectly,” says Lo.

    It’s also weightless, scentless and suitable for the hair and skin, so you don’t have to worry about it causing any irritation. And you can use it in a myriad of ways: hair hydrator, skin moisturizer, cuticle oil, post-sun skin treatment, post-shave treatment… seriously, take your pick. What I love most about squalane is its ability to absorb quickly into the skin without leaving greasy residue behind.

    Lo also says, “Squalane helps preserve and maintain essential moisture, leaves skin exceptionally soft and smooth, accelerates cell turnover and helps reduce signs of redness and irritation.”

    If you still need a little more convincing to trade in your coconut oil for some plant-derived goodness, take a chance on one of my favorite Biossance products below.

    Squalane Oil is the Ultimate Multi-tasker | Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer
    Image: Amazon

    Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer

    A squalane-infused gel moisturizer that you can apply every morning for healthy-looking skin.

    Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer, $90 at Amazon

    Squalane Oil is the Ultimate Multi-tasker | Biossance 100% Squalane Oil
    Image: Amazon

    Biossance 100% Squalane Oil

    The weightless multitasking stuff we’ve been talking about in a bottle.

    Biossance 100% Squalane Oil, $97 at Amazon

    Squalane Oil is the Ultimate Multi-tasker | Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil
    Image: Amazon

    Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

    A lightweight face oil that brightens, moisturizes and firms the skin.

    Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil, $144 at Amazon

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.


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    I’ve been thinking about my beauty goals for 2018 (more deep conditioning, less sleeping in makeup) and realized there’s one thing I’m thoroughly sick of seeing and doing: “taming” my hair. When did we become so obsessed with anything labeled “anti-frizz"? I’m amazed at how much we’re willing to do for the sake of smooth-looking hair, even if we preach all that “I love myself unapologetically” stuff.

    As a beauty editor, I’m bombarded with frizz-taming products on a weekly basis. But even outside of my work, I’ve started to realize the whole anti-frizz mentality has plagued me since I was a kid — and if it affected me, it must have affected plenty of other girls and women.

    My earliest hair memories involve three very specific products: a soft-bristle brush, Luster’s Pink Lotion and L.A. Looks Gel (extreme hold), probably because that’s all I ever used. My mother, who grew up in a traditional Italian household, was hardly a natural hair expert. But with limited skills and the help of black women in our neighborhood, she mastered the braid and bangs combo my sisters and I wore until we could manage on our own.

    "I’m amazed at how much we’re willing to do for the sake of smooth-looking hair."

    More: Zendaya’s Curly Hair Tutorial Includes This $16 Drugstore Gel

    Every day, my sisters and I lined up in front of our bedroom vanity and stood there as one by one, our mom slicked our hair back and brushed the front over and over and over until it was straight and shiny. Outside school picture days and Easter, this was our tried-and-true routine. It worked, and I never complained because my mother prided herself on making sure we were well-groomed for school every day. It’s something I’ll always be thankful for, especially when I remember the childhood friends who came from homes where their most basic needs went unmet.

    Now, in hindsight, I realize this idea of my hair “needing” to be tamed every day is sort of messed up and hard to escape. It’s common knowledge that advertising and other product-driven images can have a major effect on how we see ourselves, especially as it pertains to appearance, so this is not me saying my mother is to blame for the sometimes unhealthy relationship I have with my hair, but I do believe she absorbed some not-so-healthy hair beliefs and habits that trickled down to me.

    Healthy skin. Poppin curls. Can't lose. (CC: @topwildchild )

    A post shared by Nikkiiii (@missnikkibrown) on

    More: 6 Product-Free Hair Tricks Every Curly Girl Should Master

    On one hand, my mom was influenced by the Eurocentric beauty standards she grew up adhering to — ones that told her straight, smooth hair and lighter skin were best. On the other hand, she was exposed to a whole other set of ideals — black beauty standards — that were different in terms of day-to-day care but still overshadowed and shaped by the idea that long, straight hair was better than the big and curly kind. Back in the ’90s, it seemed all the little girls on my block had a Just For Me relaxer or a fresh doobie (straightened hair) from the salon.

    It’s no wonder it took me most of my 20s to be OK with something as simple and natural as frizz; I rejected it in every way possible for most of my life. And it certainly doesn’t help that a large chunk of the hair industry is dedicated to getting rid of it too.

    Search for the term “frizz” on Sephora’s website, and over 250 products pop up, all promising to tame, get rid of or prevent your hair from doing its own thing. Google “anti-frizz,” and you’ll find countless expert articles about how to fight it or why it’s the absolute worst beauty disaster a woman could ever face. Oh, the drama! Perhaps this is easy for someone with naturally straight hair to accept, but what about women like me whose strands have texture and a lot more volume?

    “Search for ‘frizz’ on Sephora and over 250 products pop up, all promising to prevent it."

    More: The Beauty Trends That Will Dominate 2018

    According to celebrity hairstylist and brand founder Vernon François, this widely accepted assumption that frizz is bad goes completely against the natural biology of our strands, but for some reason, we’ve done everything to assimilate.

    “The reality is so many people for so long have been told that their hair’s true texture isn’t good enough and that they need to suppress or get rid of frizz to have a better relationship with it,” he says. “‘Frizz’ is often used as a negative word, but it’s the makeup of most hair textures; it can give your hair personality, movement, body and volume.”

    There’s really nothing else to say. The truth is simple — frizz is OK, but how exactly do we go against the flow and learn to see it as a natural part of our hair? Besides a little correction and a lot of patience, there are three things you can do to feel more confident about letting your flyaways flourish in the new year.

    "Frizz is hardly a barrier to great hairstyles — in fact, it may just enhance them."

    Find inspiration

    I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling insecure about anything, I tend to isolate and trick myself into thinking I’m the only person going through the feels. I can recall plenty of times when I’d literally go through an entire jar of Ampro gel trying to slick my hair into a “perfect style” and even cancel plans if I didn’t feel presentable enough. Yes, it’s as sad as it sounds.

    What’s really made a difference in my personal hair journey is seeking out images of women who have my texture instead of putting unnecessary pressure on myself to “fix” my hair. I’m constantly scrolling through the Instagram feeds of frizz-friendly stylists like @vernonfrancois and others like the @thecutlife and @protectivestyles for inspiration. Spend a few minutes perusing their photos, and you’ll see that frizz is hardly a barrier to great hairstyles. In fact, it may just enhance them.

    In the context of societal beauty standards, there’s nothing normal about “liking” frizzy hair, so it may take time for you (and me) to see it as beautiful or no big deal. But the truth is it really isn’t a big deal! We’ve been leaning in the opposite direction for too long, and according to François, “The idea of a clean, finished look is not everyone’s reality.”

    “All hair types can create beautiful movement, textures and shapes. It’s part of your true identity. I think having the power to recognize your hair’s versatility and your identity is a much better goal for humans, versus suppressing it to fit an ideal or someone else’s validation.”

    I couldn’t agree more. This resolution may seem small, but learning to value our frizz and all that comes with it might make your 2018 a little less stressful and a lot more authentically beautiful. Give it a try.

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.


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    The first sequence of questions I typically get asked when people find out I have a blog are, “Do you get free stuff sent to you?” Answer: Yes! I get several packages a day and I believe the people who live in my building think I have an online shopping problem. Second question: “Do you get paid to wear clothes?” Yes! How freaking cool is that? And the third, and my personal favorite: “But like, do you even work?” Oh yes. Let me explain.

    Hi there, my name is Audree, or as my close-knit follower crew would say, Simply Audree Kate or “SAK.” I’ve been blogging for more than five years total and doing it full-time for about a year and a half; but I’m also a freelance fashion stylist and fashion editor on the side.

    A Day in the Life of a Full-Time Fashion Blogger | SheKnows
    Image: Simply Audree Kate

    I started SimplyAudreeKate.com the summer after my freshman year of college at Arizona State University as a way to showcase my fashion work. There was not a fashion program at my university at the time, so I wanted to still appear relevant and competitive when applying to internships and jobs down the road.

    I showcased sewing tutorials, thrifting hauls, styling tips, fashion week recaps and industry interviews. Over the next three years of college, I slowly gained a local following and also started posting my own outfits and personal stories. I always assumed the blog would dissolve once I entered the “real world,” but when I graduated in 2015, the blogging industry started to boom.

    More: What’s the Difference Between a Fashion Blogger and an Influencer?

    A Day in the Life of a Full-Time Fashion Blogger | SheKnows
    Image: Simply Audree Kate

    I moved to New York after graduation and freelanced at several fashion and women’s print magazines, including GlamourRedbookO, The Oprah Magazine and Editorialist. After a year of working in print, I made the hard decision to say goodbye and pursue styling and my blog. That summer, I sat down and figured out a business plan and finances and hired an intern and dove into Simply Audree Kate 110 percent.

    Today, I blog full time; manage a small team of four interns; freelance style for various brands, magazines, modeling agencies and personal clients; and I’m also super-excited to be the freelance fashion editor here at StyleCaster. So, to circle back to my most common third question I get asked, yes I do work — three jobs, actually; and I’m here to tell you what a day in the life of a full-time blogger is like. And first thing’s first, it’s a lot more than cute OOTD (outfit of the day) Instagram pics (even though that is scheduled into my daily to-do list.)

    My schedule is never the same: Each week and day varies depending on whether I’m styling, traveling or working on a sponsored blog project, but I do try to maintain a semi-routine schedule to stay on track and have a productive week. All that said, here’s a general idea of what my average workday looks like.

    "It involves a lot more than cute OOTD Instagram pics."

    A Day in the Life of a Full-Time Fashion Blogger | SheKnows
    Image: Simply Audree Kate

    A Day in the Life of a Full-Time Fashion Blogger | SheKnows
    Image: Simply Audree Kate

    6:30 a.m.: Wake up

    I’m not a morning person, but since my days are always packed to the brim, I have to maximize my time. I make breakfast and coffee and get ready for my shoot with my photographer, Sam. Before I leave my apartment, I publish the daily blog post, share it on social and prepare my first Instagram.

    A Day in the Life of a Full-Time Fashion Blogger | SheKnows
    Image: Simply Audree Kate

    8:00 a.m.: Photo shoot

    I shoot with my photographer about two to three times a month for outfit pictures, and each shoot contains about three outfits. I’ve learned that shooting in bulk and in advance is the easiest for my schedule. I plan out which items are sponsored and need detail shots, the theme or subject of the blog post and the multiple shoot locations.

    Sam and I have been working together for over three years now and manage to shoot all three looks in less than an hour. When leaving the shoot, I post the first Instagram for the day and head to the subway for my meetings. (In real life, I’m not hailing cabs in Manolos like Carrie Bradshaw — I’m trekking to the subway with multiple bags in walkable shoes and mapping out my next location.)

    "In real life, I’m not hailing cabs in Manolos like Carrie Bradshaw."

    More: 7 Bloggers on Their Favorite Winter Skin Care Products

    A Day in the Life of a Full-Time Fashion Blogger | SheKnows
    Image: Simply Audree Kate

    9:00 a.m.: Press previews & meetings

    I try to schedule any meetings, brand previews or events first thing in the morning so I can have a solid chunk of time at my computer later in the day. During busy seasons when new collections come out, I typically have three to five previews each morning.

    I go see the new collections, chat with the publicists and brands and take pictures of product. This is the best way to network and meet people in the industry. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to see any new upcoming products I can pull for styling, the blog or StyleCaster articles.

    A Day in the Life of a Full-Time Fashion Blogger | SheKnows
    Image: Simply Audree Kate

    11:00 a.m.: Team SAK meeting

    After my morning meetings with brands and publicists, I meet with my interns and we shoot my OOTD look on my personal camera or phone. I photograph all my own lifestyle, beauty or detail content, so my interns also help me with that. Once we’re done shooting, we head to a coffee shop and work.

    12:00 p.m.: Coffee shop & work time

    I don’t go into an office, so I mainly work from my apartment or coffee shops with my team. My interns are all college students, and I see them each a couple of times a week. We go over their tasks for the day, talk about analytics and the editorial calendar for the month, discuss upcoming blog sponsorships and brainstorm content.

    I publish about five blog posts a week, so there’s always something to be done. Some days I’ll have a couple of conference calls or lunch meetings, but I try to carve out solid team time for writing post drafts, editing photos, sending article drafts to sponsors, going over contracts with brands, answering a million emails and always drinking a large iced coffee.

    I like working in coffee shops because I can get a little stir-crazy in my apartment each day. My team picks new coffee shops to try each week depending on the neighborhood we have meetings or events in, and it’s a great way to switch up the “office scenery.”

    "Each night typically contains a mix of product launches, networking, cocktail hours or dinners."

    A Day in the Life of a Full-Time Fashion Blogger | SheKnows
    Image: Simply Audree Kate

    6:00 p.m.: Events

    I have press events three or four times a week, and each night typically contains two or three events. They’re typically a mix of product launches, networking, cocktail hours or dinners. I hop between events with industry and blogger friends and end my night around 9 p.m. The events are a great way to network and see new product, and it’s one of the only ways I really get to see all my friends throughout the week. On nights when I don’t have events, I’ll go to the gym or hang out with friends.

    A Day in the Life of a Full-Time Fashion Blogger | SheKnows
    Image: Simply Audree Kate

    9:00 p.m.: Work part 2

    Once I get home, I shower, make dinner (if the event didn’t have food), catch up with my roommates and open all my new mail. Then I’ll post another Instagram and dive back into work. I write my StyleCaster articles, pull product from brands for upcoming photo shoots, answer emails, edit photos, etc.

    I’m a night owl, and this time is productive for me since new emails aren’t coming in to distract me. I’m by myself in my bedroom “office” area and can zone in on work. During this time, I also call my family, who all live in Arizona, listen to podcasts or watch Netflix. I don’t normally set a bedtime since my to-do list is never-ending, but I’ll work until I feel like I’ve hit my max or realize I have to wake up earlier than usual the next morning.

    Before I go to bed, I plan out my outfit for the next day (it seriously saves so much time), do my skin care routine, pack my bag and write a to-do list for the following day.

    2:00 a.m.: Bedtime

    I’ll be the first to admit I don’t sleep enough. I envy those who manage at least eight hours a night, don’t need coffee and wake up for yoga or spinning. I normally have to force myself to turn in around this time so I’m not extremely exhausted the next day.

    "My to-do list is never-ending."

    A Day in the Life of a Full-Time Fashion Blogger | SheKnows
    Image: Simply Audree Kate

    Even though my days are packed, I love every second of it and wouldn’t change it to go back to an office job. Each day is different, and some days I’ll be on set for a photo shoot from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., then head to events or home to work — or on the very rare day I have no meetings, interns or events, I won’t leave my couch or put on makeup. Being able to blog and work for myself full time has given me the flexibility to travel, work on multiple projects at once and be completely in charge of my to-do list and schedule. It’s a lot of hard work, and I can guarantee that each blogger — whether they’re full time, part time or brand new — will agree with me.

    "I work over 90 hours a week and still go to bed with a smile on my face."

    I do consider my blog a company, and with that, I am every single department. I am the boss, editor, writer, social media, finance, legal, creative, art, photo, marketing/PR and human resources. I work over 90 hours a week, have an interminable to-do list and still go to bed with a smile on my face. Blogging or freelance is definitely not for everyone, but it works for me. In the end, it’s more than social media numbers or free product; Simply Audree Kate is a business, and five and half years ago, I never imagined I would be able to do it full time, support myself and meet some of the most incredible people along the way.

    Follow along on SimplyAudreeKate.com and Instagram (@simplyaudreekate) for more behind-the-scenes details of my very busy day-to-day life as a blogger, stylist and editor!

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.


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    Our 2018 beauty goal is to have radiant, glowing, smooth skin. As we finish out the year with busy holiday plans, travel and work, we’re exhausted. More important, though, our skin is tired. Was it just us or did you also neglect your beauty rituals one too many times this year? We’re ready for a new year with fresh skin, and we have a few beauty secrets up our sleeves.

    So, how do we achieve the perfect radiant glow? While daily cleansing and moisturizing is needed to maintain great skin, the not-so-hidden beauty secret to glowing skin is through exfoliation. Exfoliation treatments can help with skin rejuvenation, elasticity and collagen and removes dead skin cells from the surface. It will help tired, scarred or old skin look fresh, soft and ready to take on whatever. You can exfoliate your face and body, and you can either do professional treatments or DIY at-home treatments.

    Below we have listed out six different exfoliation treatments to try. We have three professional treatments that will dive into the nitty-gritty and help diminish acne scars, fine lines and dead skin and two easy, budget-friendly at-home treatments you can do yourself. Tired skin was so 2017 — say hello to a fresher, more radiant you!

    Professional treatments

    Not a DIY beauty buff? No worries. We have four professional exfoliation treatments that are noninvasive, have multiple results and can work with any type of skin.

    Dermaplaning/epidermal leveling

    Dermaplaning, also known as epidermal leveling, is one of the more trendy exfoliation treatments right now. The process includes a tiny scalpel that scrapes off one layer of dead skin. This process removes facial hair and helps with acne scars or any old skin.

    Microdermabrasion

    Microdermabrasion is very similar to dermaplaning, except instead of a scalpel, a crystal or diamond tip or sandpaperlike tip is used. It does not take off facial hair, but it will go a little deeper into your layer of skin since it’s a pointed edge, not a blade, and have better outcome with removing scarring.

    Chemical peels

    In conjunction with either of the above processes, chemical peels are a great way to take off more layers of dead skin; it also helps diminish fine lines, wrinkles and scars. After the treatment, clients can expect for their skin to peel for up to seven to 14 days. Once the skin has peeled, the result is amazing, and you will see a nice, fresher-looking layer of skin. You can do chemical peels once a month during the fall and winter and every other month in spring. Avoid doing chemical peels during the summer because sun exposure can cause additional damage to your skin. Make sure to consult with your aesthetician to see what is best for your skin — results and how often you can get peels will be determined during a skin consultation.

    Body scrubs

    You can schedule a full-body body scrub at your local salon, and it is a great starting point if you haven’t done many exfoliation treatments before. It feels like a facial for your body and is more effective than using a loofah or body brush.

    At-home remedies

    Are you on a beauty budget or need some girls’ night treatment ideas? At-home exfoliation treatments are super-affordable and easy to make, and you can mostly use ingredients from your pantry. There are some at-home exfoliation tools and kits that are sold online, but we suggest consulting with your aesthetician before using one on your skin to make sure you know how to use it and if it will be beneficial to your skin type or any skin problems you have.

    Over-the-counter scrubs

    Almost every beauty line (from drugstores to specialty stores) offers an exfoliation scrub. These are pretty straight-forward and easy to store for multiple uses. Pro tip: Make sure to look for a scrub with fine granules (the stuff that scrubs and exfoliates your face) because sometimes the generic brands or cheaper products have scrubs with large granules that scrape your skin and can do more damage. A harsher scrub doesn’t necessarily mean better exfoliation.

    DIY scrubs

    Need a scrub in a pinch? We can guarantee your pantry has all the products to whip up a scrub in no time. Most of the DIY scrubs include ingredients such as sugar, salt, coconut oil, essential oils, honey, oats — most of which you probably have sitting in your kitchen. Mix up the ingredients in a bowl, do your scrub and store the rest in a Mason jar for later. You can also use loofahs and body brushes to help exfoliate your body with the scrubs.

    These are my three favorite DIY scrubs:

    Sugar

    • 1/2 cup sugar (white or brown)
    • 1/2 cup oil (olive oil or liquid coconut oil)
    • 5 drops essential oil of your choice (we suggest mint, lemon or vanilla), optional

    Salt

    • 1 cup Epsom salt
    • 1/2 cup liquid coconut oil
    • 5 drops essential oil of your choice (we suggest grapefruit or lavender), optional

    Oatmeal*

    • 2 tablespoons ground oatmeal
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1 tablespoon warm water

    *Great for sensitive facial skin!

    Whether you’re scheduling a professional treatment with your local aesthetician or making some delicious scrubs at home, exfoliation is the best way to achieve rejuvenated and youthful-looking skin. Taking the extra step to self-pamper your skin every few weeks is a great way to maintain a good skin care routine and address any problems head on; plus your skin will thank you for spoiling it.

    A version of this article was published in March 2011.


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    I turned 30 last summer, and as the milestone approached, I started to notice some changes in myself. It now takes me way longer to get over a hangover, and I’d rather stay in than go out most nights. I also find comfortable looks much more appealing than I ever did before.

    More specifically, I find myself reaching more often for what our mothers (or grandmothers) might call sensible shoes. For the majority of my life, I’ve always felt my most fashionable when wearing a great pair of heels, so I started to wonder if I’ve become lazier or just given up on caring how I look.

    But thankfully, just before I had a full-blown midlife crisis, the spring 2018 shows began, and I noticed flat shoes popping up on practically every runway. There were jewel-encrusted flat slingbacks at Badgley Mischka, New Balance sneakers at Zimmermann and rainbow slides at Tory Burch. At each show, I spotted silhouette after silhouette of chic yet practical shoes traipsing by.

    Why I Quit Wearing High Heels When I Turned 30 | Street Style white boots
    Image: Getty Images

    More: How Fashion Helped Me Figure Out Who I Am as a Trans Woman

    That’s when I realized I no longer have to choose between style and comfort while shoe shopping. After decades of women teetering around in sky-high stilettos, designers are finally producing chic options that can be worn for hours without inducing pain or misery.

    The fact that flats are now officially on trend and not something you should feel obligated to change out of once you arrive at your destination gave me the idea to try going a month without wearing heels. After putting my feet through more than 15 years of what can basically be described as abuse, they definitely deserve a rest.

    In fact, the last time I can remember not wearing heels for at least a few days out of the week was thanks to two stress fractures in my right foot in college. I hadn’t realized I hurt it that badly because I’d grown so used to having foot pain. I actually continued to wear heels on nights out for two weeks before I went to the podiatrist, who informed me it was broken (oops). I had to wear a boot for the entire summer of 2008 — not cute.

    Why I Quit Wearing High Heels When I Turned 30 | Street Style Sneakers
    Image: Getty Images

    More: How I Learned to Embrace My Frizzy Hair — & Why You Should Too

    But now, I actually look forward to ditching my heels because it’s my choice and not something that was forced upon me. Soon, Gucci loafers, Repetto ballerinas and Jenni Kayne mules made their way into my daily rotation; meanwhile, my Stuart Weitzman Nudist heels and Schutz pointed pumps were banished to the back of my closet. I’ve even embraced the athleisure trend and started wearing sporty Nikes and crisp white Adidas with my fanciest outfits — something I would never have dared to try before.

    While I used to feel powerful with added height, I find myself feeling more confident in the comfortable looks than I ever did even in my most towering heels, perhaps because I’m more at ease with myself now that I’m older and more mature or maybe because I’m no longer feeling the blinding pain and numbness platforms and pumps often brought to my soles.

    Either way, I also realized I’ve become much more efficient thanks to my new kicks. I get to meetings early, have more energy and no longer dread having to get up from my desk. (Sound familiar?)

    Why I Quit Wearing High Heels When I Turned 30 | Street Style Loafers
    Image: Getty Images

    More: 7 Ways to Find Your Fashion Uniform

    Since making the change, not only have my feet been thanking me for saving them from pain, but my back has too. I stand 5 feet, 9 inches barefoot, while the majority of my friends hover under the 5-foot, 4-inch mark. Now that I’ve ditched heels, I no longer find myself hunched over at bars trying to hear what they’re saying.

    I easily made it to my goal of a heel-free month, so I decided to do it again for another 30 days, and then another. It’s been almost five months since I’ve slipped into my favorite pair of heels, and I don’t have even the faintest urge to put them on anytime soon.

    Will I ever wear heels again? Probably. I’m sure there will be a special occasion that will make me want to pull a pair out of retirement. But for right now, I’m happy staying grounded in my flats.

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.


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    Google searches have become a regular part of life for many — so much so the search engine releases a trends report every year to see what questions people can’t stop asking. The 2017 list was just released, and per usual, the beauty-themed trends are a mixed bag of the expected and fascinating surprises.

    More: The Fiercest Celebrity Hair Transformations of 2017

    For starters, “how to get rid of pimples” and “how to get rid of back acne” took the top two spots of most-asked beauty questions. That’s not very surprising, and yet another reminder that our search for the ultimate zit zapper might just be never-ending. We’re also still confused about “how to do eye shadow” (No. 4 on the list) and highlighter (No. 10).

    Crack open a new blender for festive flawless makeup!

    A post shared by beautyblender (@beautyblender) on

    The makeup trends list includes a slew of looks you’re probably familiar with — like nude makeup and feather eyebrows — but it was a product that actually topped the list. Beautyblenders, the mini sponges used to apply makeup, are more popular than ever, especially now that bloggers and experts are finding new and inventive ways to utilize them. It will be interesting to see if another beauty tool takes over in 2018.

    Most Googled Beauty Questions | Katy Perry
    Image: Getty Images

    More: The Most-Googled Beauty Question of 2016 Has Stumped You for Years

    Much to our surprise, Rihanna‘s Fenty Beauty did not top the list of most-searched beauty brands. Instead, it came in at the No. 8 spot, while Ulta Beauty came out on top. As for celebrity hair, I was initially confused by the No. 1 spot:

    So...about my hair! Link in bio!! @chap #dreaded

    A post shared by Jeremy Lin (@jlin7) on

    However, a quick Google search (see how they get you?!) reminded me that the NBA baller caused a bit of controversy earlier this year when he decided to wear locs… so there’s that. He was followed by Steph Curry (seriously?) and Katy Perry, who traded in her signature raven-black hair for a blond pixie.

    All in all, these lists leave you with a lot to Google before year’s end. Check out every single one here and get started before 2018 sneaks up on you.

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.


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    From the time we get our first pimple as preteens, zits cause a strange amount of fascination for us: how to prevent them, treat them, hide them when they appear. Some people even spend hours online watching graphic pimple-popping videos (which we won't show you here, because yikes) to satisfy their curiosity.

    More: 5 Bad habits you need to break if you want clear skin

    While that first landmark zit is often considered an unpleasant rite of passage that occurs right alongside teenage puberty, some dermatologists estimate that kids can start getting acne as early as 7 or 8 years old with puberty also starting at an earlier age.

    Once you become a full-fledged adult, the outlook isn’t much better — the American Academy of Dermatology deems adult acne both frustrating and common. It’s perfectly normal for adults to continue getting pimples well into their 30s, 40s and 50s. This adult acne may also appear even if you never experienced acne as a teen. And because of fluctuating hormone levels, women are more susceptible to adult breakouts than men (thank you, Mother Nature).

    More: The best essential oils for acne-prone skin

    I’ve asked skin care experts to share exactly what happens underneath your skin the moment you squeeze that zit.

    Before the pop

    The blemish that just appeared in the mirror has actually been brewing under the surface for quite some time — about two months according to Dr. David E. Bank, board-certified dermatologist, author of Beautiful Skin: Every Woman's Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age and founder and director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York. “What many people don't know is that it can take about eight weeks from the time a pore gets blocked to the time it erupts on the skin in the form of a pimple. In effect, by the time you are painstakingly applying topical products to a pimple that has broken out on your skin, you are about eight weeks too late,” he says.

    Bank advises, “If you do see a pimple and need quick relief, start by picking up some 10 percent benzoyl peroxide — as long as you're not one of the 5 percent of the population who is allergic to it — and apply it two to three times a day. No other product can beat the potent drying, exfoliating and antibacterial effects of it, often found in Clearasil and Oxy-10. Save your money and avoid buying expensive ‘designer’ brands, which have less than 10 percent of this active ingredient.”

    The pop

    Dr. Margarita Lolis, board-certified and fellowship-trained dermatologist and Mohs surgeon, explains that the act of popping a pimple by applying pressure to force the pus out through the skin essentially tears the skin to cause trauma and inflammation. She says, “You are basically tearing open the top layer of your skin to expel out all the pus and debris that was trapped under the skin.”

    More: What to do when your skin still thinks your a teen

    It’s going to be a cold day in hell before you get a dermatologist to sign off on pimple-popping at home, but Bank admits there is one workaround. While Bank, like all other reputable skin care professionals, advises against squeezing blemishes at home, he does recommend using the right tools if you are hell-bent on doing it. “If you feel the urge and can't resist squeezing your pimple only do it in the most hygienic way possible. Go to your local pharmacy and pick up a comedone extractor (translation: pimple popper or zit extractor). This usually isn't more than $5 to $15 — they are small metal devices with a small cup on one end and a hole in the bottom. To begin, disinfect both the pimple and the extractor by cleaning them with rubbing alcohol. Gently place the extractor over the pimple and discharge the pus without scarring or driving the infection deeper into the skin.”

    “Also, an effective and quick zit-zapper is to use an ice cube. Simply press an ice cube on a pimple for one full minute to reduce swelling and inflammation. The cold ice cube shouldn’t touch your skin directly, so be sure to wrap it in a soft tissue or cloth. You will notice immediately that the pimple is smaller as the ice helps to diminish the size of the pores by constricting the blood vessels underneath the skin,” Bank adds.

    The post-pop & potential for scarring

    If your hands have a mind of their own and the pimple has already been popped, all hope isn’t lost yet. Lolis recommends placing a Band-Aid over the popped pimple to limit the amount of bacteria exposure and to keep yourself from picking. To help a pimple heal faster, she advises, “Applying an antibiotic cream is helpful. Some pimples respond well to injections.”

    While popping and picking may be human nature, Schultz reminds us once again to take it easy. Scarring the skin by popping a pimple too aggressively is rare, but it can happen. He explains, “To cause an actual scar, you need to damage the dermis, aka the second layer of skin, and most people don’t pick deep enough (ouch!) to cause a scar. One exception is when you squeeze a cyst, and it bursts under the skin (instead of on the top, in which case the pus just comes out). When the pus (oil, dead cells, bacteria) goes into the dermis or fat layer from bursting under the skin, the inflammation from the cyst contents, i.e., pus, can cause enough destruction of skin, resulting in an ice pick scar or crater-shaped scar.”

    A version of this article was originally published in January 2016.


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    I’ve always had a relatively low-lift beauty routine that basically consists of cleansing, moisturizing, applying makeup then repeating. A combination of laziness and genetic luck has generally allowed me to spend minimal time and money on things like facials, prescription acne treatments or high-end age-fighting products. But after turning 30 last summer, I realized it’s about time I started experimenting with and investing in the latter. Enter the ultimate age-defying treatment: the Botox facial.

    This procedure was pitched to me as an exclusive in-office treatment first invented in early 2017 by New York City-based plastic surgeon Dr. Norman Rowe. I was told it would “painlessly and effectively deliver bioactive compounds into the skin, including Botox, dermal fillers, Vitamins A and C, as well as a complex of anti-aging nutrients.” The liquid solution promised to be less invasive than traditional Botox or dermal filler treatments.

    This sounded great, but admittedly, I was a little freaked out by the word Botox simply because I was a newbie. Although I’ve interviewed women about their own plastic surgeries, I didn’t have much experience with anything like this myself (and yes, I know injectables aren’t the same as going under a knife). Still, I wondered: Would needles be involved? How would my face feel (and look) afterward? But I described the process to our beauty editor, who looked at me like I was bananas, and said, “Um, that sounds amazing—you should go for it!” So I decided to take the plunge.

    Would needles be involved? How would my face feel (and look) afterward?

    More: How I Learned to Fully Embrace My Frizzy Hair

    When I arrived at Rowe’s office, nurse practitioner Candice Mortimer gave me a full rundown of what I was about to experience as she prepped the concoction that would be injected into my skin. She explained that while there would be needles, they wouldn’t be the kind I was thinking of, but rather a much-scaled-down version. “The Botox facial involves cannulated microneedles, which puncture your skin to trigger a healing response and inject the ingredients in the canister.” After numbing my skin with a topical agent, they would manually “stamp” my entire face twice to make sure they got every little bit of skin.

    Mortimer said that because the “cocktail” is mixed specifically for each procedure, it can and should be customized for every patient receiving the facial. The basic ingredients are hyaluronic acid (an intense hydrator that plumps skin) and Botox (which shrinks pores and gives skin a smooth, even sheen), but if, for instance, your concern is acne, they can add in breakout-busting compounds like exfoliating green tea extract or antibacterial enzymes.

    I asked her if I would see an immediate difference. “You’ll see the results after about 24 hours, and I’d say it lasts about a month. Your skin will brighten up and your makeup and products will go on a lot smoother. It’s an overall rejuvenation.”

    "It was fast, easy and — as promised — painless."

    More: How to Cut Down Your Skin Care Routine to 90 Seconds

    When Rowe arrived, my face was numb from the topical agent, and he took over for Mortimer and began to stamp my face with the cannulated microneedles attached to the canister, starting with my forehead and migrating to my cheeks, nose, upper lip, chin, jaws and all along my hairline, under-eye area and brow bones. It was fast, easy and — as promised — painless. I went home with a slightly red face (which Rowe accurately compared to the look of a wind burn) that faded after about a day.

    When I saw my coworkers a few days later, I asked them if my skin looked any different. “Actually… you do look really well-rested!” said our ever-optimistic entertainment editor. I had to agree even though I hadn’t gotten any extra beauty sleep that weekend. My overall complexion looked healthy, kind of like I imagine it would after getting 10 hours of sleep and then doing a 90-minute workout (ha!). It’s not necessarily the kind of major transformation that would be evident in before and after photos, but I did notice a subtle rosy glow and less evidence of my typical dark circles.

    And though it’s a little hard to evaluate the changes in your own skin that you see in the mirror several times a day, considering this is the time of year I tend to be washed-out, dry and generally lackluster, I definitely feel the Botox facial made a difference. In fact, I also noticed I didn’t feel the need to wear quite as much makeup as I usually do since my skin already looked smooth, bright and even.

    It’s been about a month since I went to Rowe’s office, and I can certainly see how treatments like this become addictive. While I don’t have the means to get these kinds of facials regularly, I’m getting married next September, and I think getting a facial like this before a big event like that could do wonders, ensuring your skin looks its very best and most photogenic. Conclusion: My fears about the Botox facial were entirely unjustified, and I’d gladly go under the (cannulated) needle again anytime to get that rosy, refreshed glow.

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.


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    A pale pink base and bright white tips have come to characterize the ever-so-popular French manicure, which believe it or not is a common request at nail salons everywhere. Even in France, where it's considered an American invention, this kind of mani is called "la French." Too funny, huh?

    Now (luckily) with all the new nail advances, it's easy to score a salonworthy mani right in the comfort of your own home. Pick up a French manicure kit at your local beauty supply store (for longer-lasting color, try a gel nail one), or invest in some sheer pink and white polish to easily do it yourself.

    After you've got the necessary items, it's really not much more difficult than painting your nails. To make it super-simple, we've provided simple steps for everyone to follow.

    Step 1: Trim your nails

    Start by trimming your nails to the desired length. Make sure all of them are even. And remember: When it comes to the French manicure, the longer they are, the better.

    8 Step do-it-yourself French manicure: Step 1
    Image: Kara Endres/SheKnows

    More: How to Get So Cal Nails

    Step 2: Shape your nails

    Figure out the type of shape you’d like (either rounded or square). Then grab a nail file and get to work.

    8 Step do-it-yourself French manicure: Step 2
    Image: Kara Endres/SheKnows

    Step 3: Soak your cuticles

    If you really want to recreate the spa experience at home, dip your hands in a bowl of warm water and let them soak for a minute or two. Then take a cuticle pusher (or orangewood stick) and gently push your cuticles back. Use the opposite end of the cuticle pusher to remove any dirt and grime from underneath your nails.

    8 Step do-it-yourself French manicure: Step 3
    Image: Kara Endres/SheKnows

    Step 4: Buff and prep for polish

    Now, before you apply your first coat of polish, buff the top of your nails to prepare them for your nail polish. Then, simply massage cuticle oil onto your nails at this time.

    More: Carolina Panthers nail design for ultimate fans

    8 Step do-it-yourself French manicure: Step 4
    Image: Kara Endres/SheKnows

    A version of this article was originally published in April 2008.

    Next Up: Paint on your base coat

    Step 5: Paint on your base coat

    You’re all ready for your base coat now. Paint on a thin layer of sheer pink polish, and let your nails dry for a couple of minutes. For gels nails, cure them under the LED light for 45 seconds only, no longer. Repeat this step again with a second coat of polish, and allow your nails to dry (or cure) before moving on.

    8 Step do-it-yourself French manicure: Step 5
    Image: Kara Endres/SheKnows

    Step 6: Apply nail guides

    Once your mani's base coat is all dry, place the nail guides on them to snag the perfect white tip pain-free. Don’t have any? That’s alright. The next step will just require some concentration on your part. Or, use those office supply doilies to perfect your French tip.

    More: Opal nail trend will turn your nails into precious gems

    8 Step do-it-yourself French manicure: Step 6
    Image: Kara Endres/SheKnows

    Step 7: Paint on your white French tips

    With your white polish, lightly brush color onto the tip of your nails (as if you were creating an upside down smiley or a sad face). Let the polish dry for a few minutes. For gel nails, let it cure for 45 seconds. Repeat this step with a second coat, and wait for it to dry or cure.

    8 Step do-it-yourself French manicure: Step 7
    Image: Kara Endres/SheKnows

    Step 8: Remove your nail guides and seal in your manicure

    Remove your nail guide, and apply a top coat of polish. Allow this coat to dry for several minutes (or cure it under the light for 45 seconds). Voila, you’ve just completed your very own French mani!

    8 Step do-it-yourself French manicure: Final look
    Image: Kara Endres/SheKnows

    This procedure is best performed on a lazy morning or evening when no other pressing errands or tasks will get in the way. After painting your nails, avoid doing things with your hands while they dry.

    Manicure kits that make it even easier

    If you are feeling especially creative and ambitious, kick off your shoes and make your tootsie tips match your fingertips.

    For an easier painting technique, check the beauty section of a drug store or superstore for a French manicure kit. The set should contain, at the very least, nail polish in white and pink or beige and a clear topcoat. Some manicure sets — like the Sally Hansen French Manicure Kit and the Orly French Manicure Kit — contain tiny, sticky nail guides. These make the manicure process 10 times easier by allowing you to place the guides on each nail individually (like we did!), only leaving a small margin where the polish can spill outside the tip without tainting the rest of your nail. Trust us, it's worth the small price to buy.

    Try out colors

    Let your crazy side shine through by concocting a wildly modified French manicure — red and white for Valentine's Day, pastel shades for Easter or neon bright tips for summer. You can always add glitter for super sparkle anytime! If you feel really ambitious, try this fish tail french manicure tutorial.

    Have fun and remember, even if you do find the do-it-yourself French manicure difficult at first, practice makes perfect, and pretty soon you'll be well on your way to creating beautiful and perfect manicures all the time. We promise, it does get easier.

    A version of this article was originally published in April 2008.


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    Hot tools are an integral part of many people’s beauty arsenal, but when handled incorrectly, they can cause serious damage. And if you’re someone who prefers a blowout to wash-and-gos in the winter, you’re already privy to the amount of breakage and split ends that pop up this time of year.

    More: The All-Time Best Products for Keeping Your Edges Laid

    For those who need a refresher course on how not to completely fry their strands, celebrity hairstylist and GHD brand ambassador Justine Marjan is here to school you. She’s got years of experience under her stylish belt and a client list that includes A-listers such as Khloé Kardashian, Shay Mitchell and Kerry Washington. In short, she knows her stuff. Keep reading for her expert tips on pre-care, post-care and the tools that will safely straighten your strands. They’re foolproof and perfect for the hot-tool newbie.

    More: The Prettiest Protective Hairstyles to Try This Season

    Prepping your hair

    How you prepare your hair before grabbing a hot tool depends on a lot of things, including your hair texture, health and the desired result. Curly girls should start by applying moisturizing oils and serums that will keep frizz to a minimum.

    “I suggest applying a nourishing hair oil and hair-hydrating mist, then diffusing with the GHD air hair dryer with the GHD air diffuser attachment on a low-pressure, high-heat setting. Avoid touching your curls with your hands until hair is completely dry for the most bouncy-looking curls,” says Marjan.

    On the other hand, if your hair is already straight and you want to simply freshen up or add volume, always prep with a heat protectant throughout your hair and a volumizing foam at the roots. From there, you can blow-dry without a nozzle attachment to maximize life or with it to achieve a smoother finish.

    Naturalistas, or those with kinkier hair, should also utilize a heat-protectant spray if they’re blow-drying straight. And while you’re doing this, Marjan says to use a natural boar-bristle round brush “for a smooth finish that won’t compromise the integrity of the hair.”

    More: Can We All Stop Hating on Frizzy Hair, Already?

    Post-care tips

    One of the biggest concerns with heat styling is how to extend your look without compromising your hair’s health. For starters, Marjan highly recommends sleeping on a silk pillowcase to keep frizz at bay and prevent any awkward dents and creases from forming.

    Alternatively — especially if you curled your hair — preserve your style by placing it into a bun before bed. According to Marjan’s method, you should “split the hair into two sections from the forehead to the nape of the neck, then twist each side away from the face into a bun and secure with French pins. When you wake up in the morning, simply remove the pins and shake out your curls.”

    She also suggests using a dry shampoo before bed and massaging it into the roots so it has time to soak into your strands while you sleep. You’ll wake up with a buildup-free scalp and won’t need to worry about shampooing it for a little longer.

    More: The Beauty Trends That Will Dominate 2018

    The best hot tools

    As for the best flat irons, curling wands and more to use, Marjan is obviously a little biased, but what makes brands like GHD so great is the fact that they don’t reach dangerous temperatures that will completely fry your strands. Whereas most traditional tools reach upward of 450 degrees F, GHD tools only reach a much safer 365 degrees F.

    “Three-hundred sixty-five is the glass transition phase, meaning it's the exact temperature that we can melt glass and remold it without it shattering. The same idea can be applied to hair,” says Marjan. “At 365, we can mold and shape the hair without blowing out the cuticle layer or causing frizz and breakage.”

    Heat Styled Hair according to Celeb Hairstylist| ghd air hairdryer
    Image: GHD

    Her favorite one is the GHD Platinum Styler because of the tri-zone technology that allows it to heat up evenly.

    “You can use it to style the hair multiple times throughout the day without worrying about damage.”

    The GHD air hair dryer also uses ionic technology that minimizes frizz and flyaways while drying the hair 2 times faster than the traditional blow-dryer. Marjan loves that “there is the option to add on different concentrator nozzles or a diffuser for both smooth styles and bouncy curls.”

    So next time you pick up a hot tool, remember three things: keep the heat low, prep your hair with extra moisture and keep a dry shampoo on hand for when that style starts to lose its freshness.

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.


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    A new year means a breath of fresh air, new beginnings and a chance to hit the restart button. We typically write out a list of resolutions we want to accomplish (or at least try to) for the year. These things include gym memberships, travel or any rollover goals that weren’t accomplished the year before. I’ve personally decided to take a different approach in 2018, and instead of setting myself up for a potential journey of resolution doom, I plan to simply hit the reset and refresh button.

    I declutter my life — everything, like emails, to-do lists, work, my apartment and certainly my closet. It’s the perfect opportunity to walk into the new year with a clear mindset, clean space and energy to take on the year ahead. To help you step into the new year, we’ve spelled out eight ways you can declutter your closet and your life for a complete fashion restart in 2018. We don’t necessarily follow the (slightly oversimplistic) “If you haven’t worn it in a year, toss it” rule, but instead focus on the overall process and seeing how these pieces fit into your life, personal style and if they bring you happiness and confidence.

    Decluttering your Closet | Assess the Problem
    Image: Design Sponge

    1. Assess the problem

    We all know organizing your closet is no easy task. A simple afternoon project can ultimately turn your room into a fashion crime scene. Before you start tearing apart your closet or throwing clothes everywhere, assess the problem and pin down your goals of decluttering. Are you doing this because you have too many clothes you don’t wear? Are you tight on space and have to heave your hangers side to side just to see a shirt? Or do you need to expand your work-wear options? Figure out your ultimate goal before even starting so you can stay on track, because it will help you make speedy, efficient decisions (and prevent consigning regret) later on.

    2. Make a game plan

    Since pretty much everyone has a short attention span when it comes to closet cleaning, knock out the big, intimidating things first — like clothing and especially items you need to try on. Have bins, trash bags and a good playlist ready, and dive in. Also realize it’s OK to come back to the project after a break later so you’re focusing on it 100 percent and not just shoving clothes back into drawers or onto shelves.

    3. Set aside “yes” pieces

    Our process is to reverse-engineer the closet. First, take out, analyze and sort, and then once the closet is empty, put back the items you’re keeping. Start the process off positively (and with the easiest part) and grab anything you wear all the time, your staple items, go-tos and must-haves. For me, curated vintage items are a must-have; graphic tees are my go-to; and jeans, a black dress and leather jackets are my staple items. Set these aside in a designated area and assess how many items are in this category. Are you already over your goal limit or do you need to add more to round out your wardrobe?

    Decluttering your Closet | Set Aside
    Image: Unfancy

    More: 12 Brands That Made a Major Fashion Comeback in 2017

    4. Bag up “no” pieces

    Bag up anything that’s stained, ripped beyond repair, you hate, doesn’t fit you, etc. These should be automatic pieces you’re not super-excited about or pieces that once you put them on, you don’t feel joy or confidence. We highly recommend you donate any wearable pieces to a local women's shelter or nonprofit or sell them at a local thrift or consignment store. Once your nos are bagged, take them out of the room and start a new bag for any future “no” pieces.

    4. Ditch duplicates, similar items, etc.

    Do you really need three of the same shirt or five dresses that all look super-similar? Probably not. Pick your favorite and get rid of the rest.

    Decluttering your Closet | Ditch Duplicates
    Image: Haute Off the Rack

    More: 6 Home Decor Trends We Can’t Wait to Try in 2018

    5. The maybe pile

    The rest of the items in your closet at this point are your maybe pile. They weren’t definite yeses and they were better than the nos. Now it’s time to ask yourself the following questions about each piece:

    1. Does this piece help me reach my goal (i.e., work attire) or reflect my personal style?
    2. Does this piece fit my body (and if not, can it be tailored)?
    3. Does this item bring me joy or make me feel confident when wearing it?

    If you answer no to at least two of these questions, it should go into your new no bag. You want to make sure you’re only keeping items that serve your purpose. Whether that’s work outfits, a cute date-night look or you just feel so happy when it’s on you — assess those feelings when going through your closet versus just staring at a mass of fabric on a hanger.

    Decluttering your Closet | Separate Your Final Pieces
    Image: Almocodesexta

    6. Separate your final piles

    Separate the rest of the clothes into the following piles: Yes items, pieces to donate or sell, items that need to be tailored or dry-cleaned and your trash bag of stained, ripped or unwearable pieces.

    7. Organize the closet

    Now’s the fun part! Put your final yes pile back into your closet, but make sure to organize. Categorize your tops, bottoms, outerwear, dresses, accessories, etc. We also recommend color-coordinating within each category so your dressing process is seamless and you can find what you’re looking for faster. If you’re putting things back into drawers, instead of stacking them on top of each other so you can only see what’s on top, fold them to the depth of the drawer and stack them vertically in the drawer, so when you open it, you can see all the folded shirts at once. See tutorial here.

    6. One for one

    Congrats — you’ve officially decluttered your closet! But you’re not quite done yet. In order to maintain the consistency and flow of your closet, make sure that whenever you add a new piece to your wardrobe you trade it out for an older one. Whether you’re updating a style, realize you never wore that maybe item or whatever it might be, practicing a one for one rule will help you maintain a decluttered and efficient closet so you don’t have to repeat the whole time-consuming process every year.

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.


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    You know when you walk into a store and instantly gravitate toward one area of the store (holla, sales rack), a specific color or 27 very similar oversize sweaters? Or when you open your closet and realize it eerily resembles that of Wednesday Addams and you’ve “color-coordinated” by shades of black? We all have fashion blind spots. These are categories we’ve pigeonholed ourselves into, bad fashion habits we’ve fallen into over time or less-than-flattering looks we may have gotten used to wearing, overlooking the ones that might be a better fit for our current lifestyle and aesthetic.

    Below, we’ve broken down five common fashion blind spots most of us are guilty of every once in awhile and I’ve seen countless times while styling clients and friends. These obstacles hinder our inner fashion goddesses, and we’re here to shed some serious sunshine on these blind spots and give you a few pointers to overcome them once and for all.

    How to Fix Your Fashion Blind Spots |
    Image: Getty Images

    You own five versions of the same item

    Just last week, I was attempting to organize my overflowing closet and counted eight denim jackets and six denim button-ups. The '80s called and wanted all their denim back, but I internally argued with myself that I needed them because they were all so different. Sure, the buttons, washes and silhouettes varied, but who do I think I am to take up my tiny New York City closet real estate with enough denim to partake in the Britney-Justin 2001 red carpet appearance?

    I came to terms with the fact that I have a problem, laid the pieces out on my bed and voted off the weakest denim links. Realistically, I only wear one or two denim jackets and one top, so I needed to eliminate the space-fillers that were in my closet “just in case.” No one needs that many denim tops, or any similar pieces, that much. You can replace the piece once it’s worn out or update it every year if it’s a key staple in your closet. Minimizing your closet to only hold the pieces you really wear will help you feel more creative and resourceful and allow you to put the pieces in your closet to good use.

    "The '80s called and wanted all their denim back."

    How to Fix Your Fashion Blind Spots |
    Image: Getty Images

    You don’t think you can pull it off

    Are you guilty of saying to friends, “You look good in it, but I could never pull it off”? It’s something I hear from every styling client I’ve ever encountered or when someone sees something outside their fashion comfort zone. Sure, clothes look way different on a runway model than they do an average woman, and you might think the girl on the subway wearing the colorful faux-fur coat and platform shoes has all the confidence in the world, but I can guarantee she probably gave herself a pep talk in the mirror before heading out that morning.

    Everyone looks different, and that’s the beauty of clothing — you can truly make it yours. Follow bloggers who look similar to you or have a look you admire (curves, no curves, height, location, personal style) and notice how they style items. Take notes from the well-dressed people you see throughout your day and use social media as a platform to curate inspiration that fits your body and personal style. I know there are some trends or styles that really don’t physically work with my curves or 5-foot, 3-inch frame, but that’s OK because I work around it and find inspiration from people with similar body types.

    Don’t rule out a style, item of clothing, color or silhouette because you don’t think you can pull it off. The more you start trying to break outside your comfort zone, the sooner the confidence and inspiration will come to you. Try to take at least one thing out of your comfort zone to the dressing room with you — it’s your safe space, and there’s no obligation to buy it or tell anyone you tried it on.

    "Everyone looks different, and that’s the beauty of clothing — you can truly make it yours."

    More: The Models & Brands We Can’t Wait to Watch in 2018

    How to Fix Your Fashion Blind Spots |
    Image: Getty Images

    You have clothing attachment issues

    Have you ever kept an unworn article of clothing in your closet for way longer than necessary just because you felt guilty getting rid of it? Or that “just in case” event when you really might need a tutu, bridesmaid dress or neon crop top? I can tell you from experience those “just in case” occasions rarely happen, or if they do, you’ll probably be so sick of seeing those pieces in your closet you’ll just want to wear something new, anyway.

    Never feel guilty for breaking up with clothes, because it means you can sell them or donate them to someone who needs or wants them more than you — and, of course, once you’ve made some space (and possibly gotten some cash back), you can buy new items that are more flattering or up-to-date or that you’re simply more excited about. If you still feel like you want to keep everything in your closet (despite it having holes, stains or not fitting) it is time to declutter your closet.

    "Never feel guilty for breaking up with old, unflattering clothes."

    How to Fix Your Fashion Blind Spots |
    Image: Getty Images

    You’re missing the wardrobe hero piece

    There are about 16 key wardrobe essentials every woman needs in her closet. These items can be paired with anything you own or styled together and can ultimately make up an entire wardrobe. These items include:

    • A dressy winter outerwear piece, like a peacoat
    • A leather jacket
    • A denim jacket
    • White, black and striped cotton shirts
    • A white button-up
    • A silk or dressy blouse
    • A black suit
    • A neutral pencil skirt
    • An A-line casual skirt
    • A little black dress
    • A summer cotton or linen dress
    • Dark-wash denim jeans
    • Black denim jeans
    • A pair of denim or neutral fabric shorts

    None of these wardrobe essential items are trend pieces with embellishments, harsh colors or things you’ll possibly get sick of in one season. You can spend more on these items since they’re investments that are likely to last several years, won’t go out of style and a majority of them can be worn during any season.

    "Try on everything that catches your eye, even if it looks weird on the hanger — it’s always better on."

    More: A Day in the Life of a Full-Time Fashion Blogger

    How to Fix Your Fashion Blind Spots |
    Image: Getty Images

    You’re an overwhelmed shopper

    Do you ever walk into a store and feel completely overwhelmed by the number of options, stay to one area or shop strictly off mannequins? Don’t worry — shopping can be stressful, and we have a few easy tricks to try while shopping so you feel less anxious and don’t miss any potential great finds.

    1. Do a once-over in the store. Look at the mannequins and the main pieces that jump out at you, and take it all in without picking up anything.
    2. Start in drive-by zones. Go to the areas where you don’t think you’ll spend much time, but can get through their racks faster, and don’t miss anything potentially placed in there. This might be outerwear, accessories, basics, etc.
    3. Go back to the standout items you saw, and work your way around that area. You’ll find items nearby that will match that mannequin dress that popped out to you. You’ll find matching outerwear, accessories and various colorways. The stores are meant to be set up so you can find an outfit in one area without feeling like you have to run back and forth between merchandise.
    4. End with your go-to spot. I normally end at clearance or sale items because sometimes there are hidden gems or something very similar to a full-price item I picked up earlier.
    5. Try everything on that caught your eye and you picked up. Even if it looks a little weird on the hanger — it’s normally always better on and worth a try.
    6. If you’re really stuck or need help pairing something together, ask a store associate. They know the merchandise like the back of their hands and can direct you.
    7. Look up the brand on social media and see how they style pieces. It’s likely you’ll find different looks on J.Crew’s Instagram than on an in-store mannequin as well as any popular trending pieces they’re promoting to consumers.

    If you’re an easily overwhelmed shopper, try this theory out during a non-busy time. Don’t go during the weekend post-brunch rush or Friday after work — hit the store when it opens, a couple of hours before closing, on your lunch break or during a weekday. Once you create a non-stressful shopping environment and break it down into categories, you can really conquer the store and find its best hidden gems.

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.


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    Once the holiday hoopla has settled down, one of our favorite end-of-year pastimes is getting things in order… literally. Whether it’s donating clothes we’ve only worn once or scrubbing every inch of our apartment, there’s just something about clearing the space around us that makes ringing in the new year a little more Zen. However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t admit our beauty products drive us a little crazier than other cluttered spaces.

    Product junkies know that by December, our drawers and bathroom cabinets are filled to the brim with half-used samples, spilled palettes and other makeup finds we may or may not have forgotten about. The struggle is real, but decluttering is possible with a few foolproof tips. Ahead, Yuki Hayashi, makeup artist for Streeters, shares the easy hacks she uses to keep her own makeup kit in order, whether she’s on the go or on set. We have a feeling her tips will easily translate to whatever you’re dealing with at home.

    More: Collagen-Infused Products for Your Most Supple Skin Yet

    Consolidation is key

    First of all, less is more. Most beauty products are small or medium-size, which means things can be easily grouped together. Hayashi recommends dividing products and tools by how frequently you use them.

    “I put my most frequently used products together in my basic bag — such as moisturizer, foundation, concealer, eyebrows, mascara, blush,” she says. “I also put my most frequently used eye shadows in a single palette to avoid carrying too many individual eye shadow compacts.”

    After that, be sure to keep your most-used bags in an easily accessible place. For instance, if you live in a small space and need to stack things on top of each other, keep your everyday bag on top of the pile and special occasion products at the bottom. The concept is pretty basic, but a little reminder never hurts.

    Labels save time

    Take your consolidation game up a notch by investing in labels too. If you’re someone who uses multiple versions or brands of the same type of product, this will save you from playing the guessing game each morning. Remember those few seconds saved could prevent you from missing a train or running late to an important meeting. Besides, who wants the added stress of trying to figure out what’s what? Beauty is supposed to be fun!

    “I separate the products into labeled containers to make it easier to find what I need on set. This also stops products from spilling all over my kit in transit,” says Hayashi.

    If you want to stock up before 2018, she recommends any of the storage from Daiso, Muji and The Container Store.

    More: Expert Tips for Spray Tanning in the Winter

    Expiration dates matter

    Lastly, here’s yet another reminder that wearing old makeup is gross and completely unsanitary. I say this because most of us know it, but don’t actually stop doing it.

    “Wearing expired makeup can cause skin irritation, breakouts, eye infections and sties,” says Hayashi. “So I recommend replacing makeup regularly and keeping it away from your finger, direct sunlight, heat and humidity as much as possible to make it last longer.”

    There’s no better time than the present to throw. it. all. out. And before you come up with another excuse not to, note the life span of all your beauty products below:

    • Liquid skin makeup: 6 – 12 months
    • Powder face makeup: 24 months
    • Eyeliner: 12 months
    • Mascara: 3 months
    • Lipstick: 12 – 24 months
    • Skin cleansers: 12 – 24 months
    • Skin moisturizers (creams and gels): 12 – 24 months

    Now, get to work.

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.


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    Although we’re not fans of rigid beauty rules — like the one that says we can only wear vampy lipstick in the fall — there are certain guidelines we should prioritize for the sake of healthier skin. Sure, there are “bad” habits that are actually acceptable, like not washing your hair every other day, but others leave a little less wiggle room.

    We're skipping the biggies like biting your nails or using dirty makeup brushes and focusing on a host of under-the-radar habits you probably didn’t know were ruining your skin. With the help of a few experts, we’re here to help you kick them once and for all.

    Smoking

    OK, so we’re starting with an obvious one, but seriously; no other habit, regardless of how often you do it, causes worse damage. Plus, we could always use a reminder. According to Dr. Craig Kraffert, board-certified dermatologist and president of Amarte Skin Care, vaping is the easiest way to curb your nicotine habit and eventually quit altogether.

    “[Smoking] provides zero beauty benefit — only damage,” he says. “Vaping is not as damaging to the skin as smoking and there is not a great deal of data yet to quantify the relative level of damage that occurs with vaping vs. smoking.”

    More: In-Flight Masks That Worth a Little Embarassment

    Not using primer

    If you’re a makeup wearer and find that your face is always melting off by lunch, it could be because you’re not properly prepping your skin beforehand. According to Megan Luman, senior Mehron educator and celebrity makeup artist, one of the biggest mistakes she sees both men and women make is not hydrating before they apply foundation and other powder/cream products.

    “Most people don’t understand the importance of a primer because no one has ever educated them on it. The skin is the largest organ of your body — therefore, it needs water!,” she says. “So anything you put on your face that contains water, i.e., liquid/cream foundation, you can count on your skin drinking it up.”

    Luman recommends using a silicone-based primer, like Mehron’s Velvet Finish Primer, as it better controls oil, fills in lines and even helps products blend more easily. “Silicone is a larger molecule that our skin cannot absorb, so it creates a barrier between the skin and the makeup. So essentially, the two never actually touch.”

    More: The 15 Best Korean Beauty Products

    Using makeup wipes as a cleanser

    If you’re constantly on the go or simply too tired to remove your makeup before bed, know that a makeup wipe isn’t where your cleansing routine should end. In fact, they actually leave residue on the skin and leave it dirtier than it was before. According to Kraffert, a lot of them also contain potentially hazardous chemicals, such as formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, that ensure a long shelf life, but ultimately dry out the skin.

    “In Korea, makeup wipes are falling out of favor due to a general sense that they are not the best option for skin health and beauty,” he says. “I would recommend using a proper cleanser, such as Amarte Daily Wonder Cleansing Foam, for a deep cleanse without residual dryness or tightness.”

    More: In Your 20s? It’s Time to Start Using These Products

    Assuming makeup with SPF is enough

    You’re off to a great start if your makeup products include some level of UV protection, but the downside is that we forget to shield the rest of our body. According to Kraffert, “Although SPF is certainly an added benefit to makeup products such as foundations, the makeup isn’t applied thick[ly] enough and evenly enough in most cases… to key beauty zones — neck, décolleté, hands and arms — to be considered enough protection from the sun’s harmful rays.”

    The solution is simple: Invest in a body SPF, like the Amarte Ultra Veil Sunscreen.

    Sleeping on your side

    Ever wonder why celebrities like Kim Kardashian swear by sleeping on their backs? According to Dr. Jame Heskett, consultant for the antiaging brand HydroPeptide, having your face against a pillow, especially if it’s not silk or satin, actually speeds up the formation of lines and wrinkles.

    She says, “Practice just relaxing on the back when you’re awake. Once the body makes the connection between relaxation and body position, it will be easier to fall asleep in that position. If you can’t always sleep on your back, at least combat wrinkles with a powerful antiaging cream, like HydroPeptide’s Nimni Cream, so everything bounces back in the morning.”

    More: The Blogger-Approved Skin Savers You Need This Winter

    Exfoliating every day

    You’ll be hard-pressed to find a beauty junkie without his or her trusty facial-cleansing brush, which makes it easy to go overboard with exfoliation. Heskett says when we do this every or even every other day, it throws our skin’s natural bacteria balance out of whack. This, in turn, leads to random breakouts and other pesky skin issues.

    “The skin has a natural balance of good bacteria and oils that keep your skin healthy, glowing and youthful,” she says. “When you exfoliate too much, you run the risk of creating an imbalance in the skin, which can lead to redness, dryness and breakouts. Then, more products get thrown at the problem, which starts the vicious cycle all over.”

    Instead, keep your exfoliation to one day a week, and if you really want to curb this bad habit, consider shaving. “I know this sounds crazy, but the best exfoliation I’ve found is shaving,” says Heskett. “With a regular razor and shaving cream, shaving your face will remove dead skin cells like expensive spa treatments. And no, you won’t grow a beard.” (LOL, thanks.)

    More: Do All-Natural Skin Care Routines Actually Work?

    Cleansing with hot water

    At the end of a long day, nothing feels better than a steamy shower. Unfortunately, it’s kind of a nightmare for your skin. According to most dermatologists, including Kraffert, hot water “damages skin’s protective barrier and causes engorgement of tiny blood vessels, which may lead to permanently dilated skin blood vessels over time and result in skin ruddiness and uneven tone.”

    In fact, avoiding hot water is gospel in what we consider the skin care capital: Korea. So get into the habit of washing your face outside the shower and with a gentle exfoliant instead. “Washcloth exfoliation is hard to control and often misses the mark by creating too much exfoliation with irritation or not enough with suboptimal results,” says Kraffert. “Instead, I would recommend frequently exfoliating with Amarte Daily ExfoliPowder, a plant seed-based polishing cleanser that removes dry, dull skin.”

    Great expert tips, right? There’s no time like the present to kick bad-for-you habits and replace them with routines that’ll keep you glowy, healthy and happy.

    A version of this article was originally posted in November 2017. It was syndicated from StyleCaster.


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    Step boldly into 2018 knowing that this year, you will actually make some changes. Our resolutions typically start with our waistlines and pocketbooks, but what about our skin? Skimping on a healthy routine is so last year, so we’ve gathered a few expert-approved (and incredibly easy) habits that promote a healthy, glowing and — eventually — clear complexion.

    More: Karrueche Tran’s Go-To Face Mask Is Only $5

    Apply sunscreen properly

    Doctors and other skin pros have told us time and time again sunscreen is necessary and important, but are you applying it correctly? “Sunscreen can be applied before makeup or even as makeup,” says Dr. Mona Gohara, a Connecticut-based dermatologist. “Powder sunscreens have become a new favorite.” To keep steps to a minimum, try a foundation or moisturizer with sunscreen already built into the formula.

    Skin Care Goals 2018 | SPF Foundation: Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF Dry Mineral Powder
    Image: Jane Iredale

    SPF foundation: Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen

    Apply sunscreen in a breeze with this lightweight powder formula.

    Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen, $47 at Jane Iredale

    More: 9 Supplements That Can Transform Your Skin & Hair

    Dare to go makeup-free

    Whether you prefer tons of makeup or an au naturale face, it’s a treat for your skin to go sans makeup at least one day a week. After all, the key to flawless makeup is amazing skin as your foundation. To feel most confident going bare, invest in products that reduce the appearance of pores. “A powerhouse combo for reducing pore size is using retinol every other night to reduce irritation and a charcoal mask once a week,” Gohara says.

    Skin Care Goals 2018 | Retinol: Skinceuticals Retinol .05 This gentle retinol won’t irritate or cause redness during application. $64, at Skinceuticals
    Image: SkinCeuticals

    Retinol: SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5

    This gentle retinol won’t irritate or cause redness during application.

    Retinol 0.5, $64 at SkinCeuticals

    Skin Care Goals 2018 | Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask
    Image: Origins

    Charcoal: Origins Clear Improvement charcoal mask

    This mask with detoxifying charcoal rids skin of bacteria and impurities.

    Clear Improvement charcoal mask, $27 at Origins

    Add adventure to your routine

    From facials to chemical peels and everything in between, there are tons of beautifying treatments out there. If there’s one you’ve been dying to try, add some adventure to your skin care routine and try one. Not into daring treatments? A pampering facial will do the trick. “In addition to using topical treatments, getting a hydrating facial every few months will bring out the glow and soften skin,” says Gohara.

    More: How to Cut Your Routine Down to 90 Seconds or Less

    Narrow your focus

    There’s nothing more frustrating than purchasing new products that don’t work for you. It seems like there’s a new product launch promising to brighten, tighten and lift everywhere we look. “Try to avoid the hype in skin care ads,” shares Gohara. “It’s best to stick with a few solid products that you know work.”

    If you’re not sure where to start, try starting with brands you know agree with your skin type. Or if you prefer a more professional opinion, make an appointment to talk with a local dermatologist in your area.

    Stick to a routine

    Once you’ve found the products and begin a new routine, the most important part is to stick to it. Don’t let this resolution fall flat after a few weeks and especially not after a few days. It’s important to be consistent when taking care of your complexion. Most dermatologists recommend adopting a day routine and a night routine for best results. Also, remember it typically takes three to eight weeks to see proper results, so hold on for the ride and don’t give up!

    Here’s to healthy skin and a happy you in the new year!

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.


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    One thing’s for sure: A new year means ample opportunity for personal betterment and tons of ways to restart your beauty regimen. 2017 ushered in super-long hair, glitter everything, unicorn makeup and platinum hair. But 2018 is the year for simply mastering your personal style and finally getting things right. Ahead, kick off your new year with top beauty hacks from our favorite makeup artists.

    More: 10 Viral Beauty Trends We’d Happily Leave in 2017

    Apply foundation on your lips

    Having bold, pigmented lips (that last) is the always the goal, but especially in 2018, when bright lipstick will reign supreme. Megan Luman, Mehron Makeup artist and lead educator, suggests applying a thin layer of foundation over your lips to get the best color application from your lip pencil and lipstick. Using an angled brush for application can also be easier and save time.

    More: The Best Red Carpet Beauty Moments of 2017

    Best Under-the-Radar Beauty Hacks | Thicken Your Foundation for Concealer
    Image: ImaxTree

    Thicken your foundation for concealer

    If you run out of concealer, take your liquid foundation and add a few shakes of your translucent or loose powder to it. This will thicken it up and give you concealer in a pinch, says Hannah Hatcher, global educator for Jane Iredale Cosmetics.

    Line lips with a white pencil

    Lining your lips with a white pencil and then smoothing it out with your finger can create a more defined lip line — great for those with lip injections who have lost a bit of their outer lip line, says Luman. If you’re not completely sold on white pencils, try adding a dab of loose powder (Luman suggests Mehron Precious Gem Powder in Citrine or Opal) to your cupid’s bow to highlight and give added dimension.

    Best Under-the-Radar Beauty Hacks | Use Q-Tips to Apply Mascara
    Image: ImaxTree

    Use Q-tips to apply mascara

    2018 also marks a return to au naturale beauty. For a natural mascara look, use a lint-free Q-tip to apply it, says Luman.

    Best Under-the-Radar Beauty Hacks | Remove Nail Stains With Denture Whitening Tablets
    Image: ImaxTree

    Remove nail stains with denture-whitening tablets

    This may sound crazy, but according to makeup artist Kitiya Mischo King of Mischo Beauty, the best way to remove nail stains is to soak them in a mixture of water and denture-whitening tablets.

    Lollipop Lids Berry Glossed lids and glowing dimensional skin using Vision Cream Cover ,illuminating Veils and Colorfixall from the Danessa Myricks Beauty Collection. . . Special Holiday Sale Only 2 days left! Enjoy 30% of Colorfix Dec 1st - 25th using the code “COLORFIXMAS” Stock up on all your favorites. . Makeup: @Danessa_Myricks Photo: @Danessa_Myricks Model @anishaxx3 . Skin: Danessa Myricks Beauty Vision creme cover N6,N9 & W9 to cover and shape TY01 to brighten & TP01 to correct illuminating Veil in Radiance & Goddess @limelightalcone “must dew” . Eyes: @danessa_myricks beauty "Colorfix" in Rustic & Tribe Topped with Colorfix kelidescope Glaze . Lips: "Colorfix" in Rustic & kelidescope Glaze . Glow: Danessa Myricks Beauty "Enlight" illuminating powders in Gocha Glow & Sun . Tools: @cozzette brushes . Brows: @benefitcosmetics ready set brow & precisely my brow pencil . . Find it all at danessamyricksbeauty.com. free shipping in the U.S. For all orders over $60 Stop by one of our retail partners: @abracadabranyc. @Alconeco @nigelbeautyemporium @frendsbeauty @camerareadycosmetics @norcostcopromua @norcostcoatlantacostume @themakeupShack @makeupevolutionstore @irisjhadeny @lillysmakeupbar @nuestrosekreto @editkit.com.au. @gurumakeupemporium @visageshoppl @jeulynn @mirandamakeupart @scottys_makeup @beaudazzledbeauty . . . #danessamyricks #danessamyricksbeauty #glowingskin #glowing #glow #dewyskin #dewymakeup #glossylids #illuminatingveil #glossy #smokeyeyes #lookoftheday #makeupart #waterproofmakeup #makeupartist #photographer #holidaysale

    A post shared by Danessa Myricks Beauty (@danessa_myricks) on

    Look to serums for glossy lids

    If you want to try the glossy lid trend but aren’t into wearing clear (and rather sticky) lip gloss or balm on your eyelids, reach for your skin care. “Take a hydrating serum (nothing too active) and apply a few layers to your lid area. You will have a naturally glossy and hydrated effect,” says Hatcher.

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.


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    Although I’ve gotten over my deeply rooted frizzy hair complex, that doesn’t mean I’ve neglected my search for an easy way (key word: easy) to make my curls bounce and spiral. In fancier terms, I want definition and to enhance what’s already there. What I’ve learned is that sometimes gels and creams simply don’t cut it.

    When you factor in all of the processes we typically put our strands through — like coloring or heat-styling — it’s no wonder our natural curls start to fall flat over time. What we really need to do beyond investing in curling products is literally manipulate our hair back into its original pattern. Though it takes time and consistency, there are some tried-and-true techniques that make this a reality.

    Now, if you’ve got textured hair like me, the gamut is pretty wide, but the results and prep time slightly vary. Over the course of my natural-hair journey, I’ve grown to love a slew of black vloggers, like PrettyGirlsWithCurls and Mini Marley, whose curls seem to always flourish without effort. What they have in common are these five defining methods. Ahead, a refresher on what each of them is and what to expect as you try them.

    More: 30 Very Chic Ways to Slay in a Head Wrap

    Shingling method

    This tool-free method works best on detangled, damp hair, but requires a lot of product, such as an alcohol-free gel or moisturizing cream. Start by separating the hair into four sections. From there, take a smaller section from one of those sections and rake or smooth product through from roots to tips.

    If you’re feeling extra ambitious, define and elongate each curl within that smaller section by raking your fingers through. After that, try not to touch your hair as it dries overnight or otherwise. This process can feel tedious depending on your hair length, so maybe not the best option for those with a time crunch.

    More: 50 Beyond-Pretty Natural Hairstyles to Try This Winter

    Finger-coils method

    Like the shingling method, you can begin the finger-coiling technique by splitting your hair into four sections and split each of those into two subsections (eight total). Next, detangle each section (or detangle the entire head beforehand) and apply a curl activator of your choice. Take one of your subsections and grab a small piece of hair from it.

    Coat your index finger in a dab of curl activator and twist the strand around it, hold for a few seconds and loosen. It doesn’t matter how big or small the curl is; it’s simply a matter of personal preference, although the smaller the curl, the more definition you’ll see overall. After you’re done, you can allow your hair to air-dry. This method is also tedious, so save it for a lazy Sunday.

    More: 3 Things to Remember Before Choosing a Protective Style

    Two or three-strand twist-out method

    The twist-out is the most popular curl-defining method because it can be done on dry or wet hair. When done on wet hair, the results are smaller, spirally curls, and on heat-styled hair, you can expect to see bigger waves. Start by separating your hair into three or four sections. Take one section and spray it with water or a styler (best option for dry hair) to add moisture.

    Once you’ve detangled with a comb or your fingers, separate a small section within your subsection and split it into three strands. From there, take the strand furthest on the right, rotate it over to the left and repeat until you’ve gotten to the ends. Once your entire head is done, wear the twists overnight to really lock in the definition and remove them when you wake up.

    More: Smoothie Recipes That Directly Benefit Your Skin & Hair

    Braid-out method

    This method is nearly identical to the twist-out method, except you’re doing traditional braids throughout the hair instead. For best results, start with freshly shampooed and deep-conditioned hair. You should also begin your braids in the back of the head, so you can easily see that section while everything else is pinned away, giving you a clearer view. The number of braids you do will depend on the amount of time you have and how big you want your curls to be. Again, if you’re looking for skinny spirals, aim for smaller braids.

    More: The All-Time Best Products for Keeping Your Edges Laid

    Flexi-rod or perm rod set method

    If you prefer doing your hair right before bed so it has ample time to settle, a flexi-rod set will keep all of your hard work secure and in place as you sleep. You can pick up these Styrofoam sticks at your local beauty supply store.

    Lay the rod flat against your scalp and wrap the hair around the rod, working your way down. If you want a smoother look, stop every couple of seconds to brush through the curls. Once you’re done wrapping the hair, bend both ends of the rods into each other until you form a tight circle. Repeat this throughout the hair and hold your entire 'do in place with a silk or satin bonnet. After you’ve removed the rods in the morning, use a tail comb to gently style the curls without disturbing their newly defined shape.

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.


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    Ah, there's nothing better than feeling the freedom that comes with the lazy days of summer. And there's nothing worse than feeling the horrible sunburn that comes from getting a little too lazy about reapplying sunscreen.

    When summer rolls around, most of us are going to be spending long days in the sun as we celebrate. Of course, the best offense is always a good defense, and preventing a burn from happening in the first place is always ideal — but that's a lot easier said than done. If you get a gnarly sunburn, we've got some remedies that can help cool you off, stop the itch and keep you from being one big mess of flaky skin.

    Even if your burn isn't super-wicked, these aftercare ideas can help to soothe irritated skin when you've spent too long at the beach.

    More: How to Bounce Back From Dry, Peeling Skin on Your Face

    Dealing with sunburned peeling skin
    Image: SheKnows Design

    1. Cool it down

    If you notice your skin start to peel, the first thing you should do is take a cold shower or bath. The cold water will help your skin cool down and slow the peeling process. When you are drying your skin, be sure to pat it dry with a clean, soft towel and avoid rubbing. By rubbing your skin, you can actually speed up and spread the peeling of your skin — and you definitely don't want to do that.

    2. Stop the itch

    At all costs, you should avoid scratching your skin when it's peeling. You can actually do permanent damage to your skin in the form of scars. If you get the urge to scratch, the best thing to do is to use ice to dull the sensation. Put ice in a piece of soft cloth and gently place the cloth on top of the area of your skin that itches. The itch should subside once the ice begins to cool down the skin.

    3. Moisturize your skin

    Once you get out of the shower and dry your skin, apply a moisturizing lotion. Look for a moisturizer that is specifically designed to work on sunburned or peeling skin. Generally, the lotion should contain aloe vera, which will cool your skin, reduce inflammation and slow the peeling. Aloe vera is a natural cactus extract that has long been hailed for its soothing properties. You can actually buy pure aloe vera gel (or break open the plant, if you have it) and apply it directly to peeling skin to aid healing, fight pain and avoid infection.

    Next: Drink up

    A version of this article was originally published in June 2008.

    4. Drink up

    When you've been out in the sun, it's easy to get dehydrated. Be sure you're drinking plenty of water, and if you notice a headache, it might be a sign that you need to drink a little more.

    More: The 7 Best Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin

    5. Don't peel it

    Flaky, peeling skin is more than just irritating and unattractive — it can also lead to an infection. Peeling skin can become infected if you scratch or try to forcefully peel the skin. If there is a segment of dead skin that is hanging off and you want to remove it, don't pull on it, no matter how tempting it is. Instead, get a small pair of scissors and carefully cut away just that section of skin. Be sure you are only cutting away dead skin and you don't tear skin that is trying to heal. Once you cut away the dead skin, apply an antibacterial ointment like Neosporin to the area.

    6. Prevent scarring

    Reduce the itch associated with peeling (and moisturize your skin) by taking a cool bath containing colloidal oatmeal. You can find this fine oatmeal in most pharmacies. To help prevent scarring, promote healing and reduce long-term skin damage, take antioxidant supplements — vitamin C and vitamin E. Also apply a topical vitamin E cream to reduce the chances of scarring.

    Bonus: Be prepared

    Prevention is the best cure for peeling. Plan ahead and don't get sunburned in the first place. By the time your skin starts peeling, the damage has already been done. Before you go out into the sun, always wear sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. If you are going into the water, be sure to reapply sunscreen each time you get out. When applying sunscreen, don't forget about hidden areas, such as behind your ears, which are often forgotten and end up burned.


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    At one point or another, our beauty resolutions have included treating our hair more nicely with the hopes of encouraging it to grow. There are a handful of habits, like drinking water and using supplements, that can reportedly make this happen over time, but we’re all guilty of pining after anything that will give us instant results… or something close to it.

    YouTube and Reddit are constantly populated with what we can only describe as weirdly effective hacks you would probably have to think over before taking the plunge. Most involve products that you would use in other parts of your life, so in that lies some familiarity, but we’d still encourage researching each one if you’re interesting in trying it. Ahead are nine unusual hair growth methods the internet can’t seem to stop talking about.

    Vicks VapoRub as an edge stimulator

    This topical gel is our go-to for congestion or a bad cough, but according to thousands of YouTubers, it also stimulates hair follicles, thus leading to growth. It’s also recommended that you massage the scalp after applying it to promote further stimulation. Experts have yet to cosign this method, but word of mouth says the results are legit.

    Inversion method

    Many believe this method, which is basically a fancy way to say “hang your head upside down,” also promotes inches of hair growth. It is believed that positioning yourself in this manner a few times a day encourages an increased blood flow to the head, which in turn helps the hair follicle to reach its maximum potential for growth.

    More: Offbeat Beauty Hacks to Cop From Makeup Artists

    Shaving off edges

    Are you convinced your thinning edges are past the point of no return? If you’re completely fed up, start over and shave them. According to many beauty vloggers, this is a time-consuming but ultimately effective way to create a healthy environment where your strands can grow back longer and stronger than ever.

    Placenta

    It’s also believed that parts of placenta — the organ that connects a growing baby to its mother’s womb —can also help your hair grow longer. And if you don’t have direct access to it, brands are now infusing it directly into their products so you don’t have to jump through hoops to get it.

    More: 9 Supplements That Can Transform Your Skin & Hair

    Wearing a shower cap to bed

    If you’ve ever gotten a deep condition at the hair salon, then you’re already familiar with the benefits of heat on freshly washed strands. Well, if you don’t have time for an appointment with a professional, some bloggers recommend simply sleeping with your shower cap on to trap the heat inside your strands and ultimately leave you with stronger strands that can grow more quickly.

    Monistat 7

    According to Essence, many women say the antifungal cream’s active ingredient, miconazole nitrate, stimulates hair follicles so they can grow at a faster rate. Most women are mixing the cream with an oil and using it as a nightly treatment before bed.

    Cayenne pepper

    Although there are now products infused with this spicy kitchen ingredient, it is believed mixing it in its purest form with an oil is the secret to lengthening your strands. The tingling sensation you’ll feel is said to encourage increased blood flow to the roots of hair follicles. But if you have sensitive skin, this probably isn’t the best option.

    More: Smoothie Recipes That Directly Benefit Your Skin & Hair

    Scalp massages

    Although we rarely turn down a body massage, our scalp usually flies under the radar. Like all the products we’ve mentioned thus far, simply rubbing your head a couple of times a day also promotes blood circulation and ultimately more active hair follicles.

    Baking soda as shampoo

    Besides removing product buildup, it is also believed this cleanser’s antibacterial properties are so strong it promotes hair growth relatively quickly as compared to its all-natural counterparts. Keep in mind that it’s also been tied to hair loss, so even if you don’t have sensitive skin, consult with a dermatologist before switching out your go-to shampoo.

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.


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    Figuring out your body shape can seem like a daunting task. Also, categorizing yourself within a list of fruits and geometric shapes can seem a little outdated, limiting and, quite frankly, a little weird. But hear us out. Figuring out your body shape can ultimately help you save time shopping, getting dressed and asking yourself and everyone else, “Does this look good?”

    We love that everyone looks different, has different body shapes and different personal styles because it makes fashion and clothing more fun; and below, we’re breaking down the five most common body shapes to help you figure out which one you most closely relate to. Are your hips wider than your shoulders? Great! That probably means you are a pear body shape. We also list out a few key closet essentials you should look at incorporating into the closet. These essentials will help you show off your best feature, like your legs, shoulders or waist.

    1. Pear

    Image: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

    Description: Your hips are wider than your shoulders.

    What looks great on you: Fit-and-flare dresses because they perfectly show off your smaller top half and the extra flare on the bottom is great for accentuating your curves. It will naturally focus attention on your curviest and most beautiful parts. Spaghetti straps or decorative straps and necklines work great on you too.

    Other pear shapes: Beyoncé, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez

    More: 17 Fabulous fashionistas at Vogue 100: A Century of Style

    2. Inverted triangle

    Image: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

    Description: Your shoulders and bust are wider than your hips.

    What looks great on you: Fitted jackets, thicker straps/sleeves and voluminous skirts and pants work great because they will attract focus to your legs and slim down your shoulders.

    Other inverted triangle shapes: Angelina Jolie, Naomi Campbell, Pamela Anderson, Jessica Alba

    3. Rectangle

    Image: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

    Description: Your shoulders, waist and hips are roughly the same size.

    What looks great on you: Skirts with ruffles, bows or embellishment details. Creating extra volume on one half of your body will help create the illusion that you have lots of curves. You can also do this by adding waist belts over your dresses or wearing high-waisted jeans.

    Other rectangle shapes: Cameron Diaz, Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow

    Next: Apple

    4. Apple

    Image: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

    Description: You have broad shoulders, a full waist and thinner legs.

    What looks great on you: Full skirts, wide-leg pants and jackets that hit at your widest part. Look for tops without much extra volume so it doesn’t cause any imbalance against your legs. You can focus on playing up and showing off your legs too.

    Other rectangle shapes: Jennifer Hudson, Tyra Banks, Mindy Kaling, Elizabeth Hurley

    5. Hourglass

    Image: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

    Description: Your shoulders and hips are roughly the same size, and you have a smaller, more defined waist.

    What looks great on you: Anything that defines your waist. Look for belted dresses, wrap dresses and tops, body-con dresses and peplum styles because they keep all the focus on your narrow waist, curvy hips and full chest.

    Other rectangle shapes: Kim Kardashian West, Salma Hayek, Sofía Vergara, Marilyn Monroe

    Don't forget to pin this list so you can easily find it again.

    Image: Ashley Britton/SheKnows