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Why you should add mineral makeup to your beauty routine


More: Understanding the hair dye and cancer risk connection

Calms and soothes the skin

Zinc oxide and titanium oxide are non-irritating and non-allergenic — ideal for sensitive skin. Since they have a high refractive index, meaning they bend the sunlight that hits the skin, and have UV protective properties, they can be used as a sunscreen to prevent premature aging. Zinc oxide, also a main compound in ointments, is also anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, preventing skin infections. These properties help mineral makeup feel comfortable on your skin.

Provides a natural look — if you find the right color

The combination of titanium oxide and mica can provide the skin with a flattering shimmer. Mica enhances the effect of the concealer. The minerals’ particle size determines how visible the makeup will be when worn. The bigger it is, the more visible the makeup’s color will be. All types of makeup are categorized depending on their shades. Since mineral makeup doesn't contain synthetic colors, it can be difficult for people to pick the shade that suits their skin tone. You can find a match for your individual skin tone by consulting with a makeup artist or sampling a variety of hues at a makeup counter. When you find the right shade, mineral makeup truly provides a natural look.

More: How to get silky soft skin despite the dry winter air


Since mineral makeup is generally formulated as a loose powder, it enables the skin to breathe. It's free from the things that make other makeup feel heavy on your skin — parabens, synthetic dyes, alcohols and oils, all of which can clog and irritate pores.

Safe for the skin and overall health

Traditional makeup can contain additives that harm more than your skin. Certain cosmetics can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms because of the ingredients used.

The fewer chemicals that are on the label, the better it is for the skin, so you should be diligent about checking the ingredients. As with traditional makeup, mineral makeup shouldn't be slept in to enable the skin to breathe.

The skin is the largest part of your body. It protects you from bacteria, fungi and other disease-causing microorganisms, so it deserves to be taken care of. Oil in the skin is favorable for bacterial growth, especially when a pore is clogged, so choosing a makeup that is safe is important.

Regardless of what your skin type is, you can enjoy the advantages of mineral makeup. Beauty can be achieved without doing harm to your skin and to the environment. The shift of consumers to organic and natural products also means an increase in awareness about what is safe and beneficial. You deserve a safer alternative in enhancing your beauty.

More: 9 Beauty products that will make you Instagram ready

5 ways to keep your skin healthy during long winter months


More: 5 Simple tips for getting better skin — no matter what your skin type

1. Banish Grandpa Simpson skin

Do scaly legs and overall dehydrated skin all over your body have you down? Slathering on moisturizer sometimes doesn’t help your already dry skin. You need to exfoliate all that dead skin away to reveal the newer, fresher skin underneath, then hydrate with a double punch of a body oil and a thicker cream on top to seal in the moisture. Coconut oil is a great body moisturizer, because it’s packed with saturated fats that give the skin a healthy glow. Generally, body oils that are good try to contain argan oil, grapeseed oil and olive oil.

2. How to beat Eloise Midgen acne

Poor Eloise Midgen tried witchcraft to banish her acne, but you must work with skin-care products. You'd think that during the less sweaty winter months, acne would cease to be such a big problem, but it can feel like the opposite. Wearing heavy clothing, like a hat along the hairline, and layers can cause acne problems on the face or body. You might want to turn to high-end acne products to fix the issue, but those don’t always do the trick, and there are many less expensive options in the drugstore. Look for a combination of salicylic acid (at least 2 percent) and benzoyl peroxide. Neutrogena and Clean & Clear both make inexpensive products for acne with the exact same active ingredients as the more expensive skin-care lines.

More: 5 Egg beauty treatments that will have you breaking up with store-bought skin care

3. Save yourself from nails like Allison's in The Breakfast Club

Ally Sheedy's Allison just couldn’t stop chewing her nails in The Breakfast Club. But winter can ruin your nails even if you don't bite them by drying out your cuticles. If you aren't wearing gloves, your hands will really feel the effects of cold, dry air. Make putting on gloves a habit whenever you step out into the cold. You’ll be amazed at just how much this one step can save you from a winter’s worth of dried-out, ragged cuticles. Protect your hands even more by slathering on a rich hand cream before you go to bed.

4. Soften Napoleon Dynamite “Can you bring me my Chapstick?” lips

You would think lip balm alone would solve dry-lip problems, but really you're just putting a temporary fix on troublesome lips. You have to get rid of the chapped flakes first with a good lip scrub. Many companies make them, or you can easily concoct your own at home with equal parts sugar and extra virgin olive oil. Rub on your lips for a full minute to get rid of excessive flakiness. Then hydrate with a lip product that contains beeswax and shea butter to hydrate your perfect pout.

5. Don't blow your way to a nose Like Rudolph

Your nasal passages can get dried out due to all the indoor irritants spread around by your heating system. Plus, if you get a cold and have to blow your nose multiple times a day, that area can get red and raw. No one wants to look like Bozo the Clown, so take care of that area by first using the softest facial tissue you can find. Keep some in your handbag for when you are out and about. Then hydrate the area with a face balm that is thick enough to soothe the sensitive area. (A great one to try is basic Aquaphor, which you can find in any drugstore.)

With a little know-how, care and prevention, winter doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your entire body. Taking a little extra time with the right steps and products will get you through the chilly months in great shape.

More: The do's and don'ts of hair treatments during pregnancy

A 'Will you accept this rose' nail design inspired by The Bachelor



  • Essie's Blanco
  • China Glaze's Liquid Leather
  • OPI's Color So Hot It Berns
  • The New Black's Green
  • Dotting tool
  • Small brush

“Will you accept this rose” nail design
Image: Kara Endres/SheKnows


Step 1: Base

“Will you accept this rose” nail design
Image: Kara Endres/SheKnows

Begin with a black base coat.

Step 2: The rose

“Will you accept this rose” nail design
Image: Kara Endres/SheKnows

Using the small brush, paint some various strokes in the shape of a flower on the middle of your ring finger. Then add some green leaves.

Step 3: Dots

“Will you accept this rose” nail design
Image: Kara Endres/SheKnows

Using the dotting tool and white polish, make a dotted pattern on the rest of your nails. Let dry and finish with a top coat.

More: Check out our nail design photo gallery here

More fashion inspired nail art

Fashion-inspired nail art Click here >>

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How eating right helps me keep my hair and skin healthy


More: 6 simple ways to get more veggies in your diet

I know you are dying to know what these awesome foods are, so I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 that help keep our hair and skin healthy.

For healthy hair

1. Lentils

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved different kinds of lentil soup. Little did I know these tiny beans are actually excellent for hair health! Perhaps that’s why even through all the dye jobs and stress I’ve put my hair through, it has stayed vibrant and luscious. How do I fit them into my diet? There are loads of soups that call for the use of lentils, but my two favorites are this classic lentil stew with ham and greens, as well as this delicious vegetarian lentil soup. Both are perfect for either lunch or dinner on a cold winter day.

I’m sure your next question is how and why do lentils help your hair? Lentils help your hair grow because they are very high in amino acids, compounds that can combine to produce protein, which is necessary for hair growth. That's also why they're such a great option for vegetarians! If you don't have enough protein in your diet, your body has trouble making keratin, the protein that makes up your hair. Without enough keratin, hair grows much more slowly, and when it does grow, the strands will be weaker. Everyone knows that can lead to thinning and even hair loss.

2. Lean Poultry

I don't want that vegetarian soup to fool you — while I do love veggies and beans, I am definitely a carnivore. Other than seafood, my favorite way to get protein in my diet is by eating some deliciously seasoned grilled chicken or roasted turkey. Don’t get me wrong. Of course you can still get vital nutrients from other meats such as beef or pork, but the reason I’ve suggested poultry — and why is it one of my favorites — is because it contains less saturated fat. I know when a lot of us think about poultry, the first thing that comes to mind is grilled chicken, and though that’s good every once in a while, eating it daily can get pretty boring. However, grilled chicken isn’t the only way to squeeze lean poultry into your diet! If you want, try this tasty crispy chicken cutlets with butter-chive pasta for dinner one night! If you’re feeling more adventurous, this Hawaiian turkey burger with pineapple-papaya sauce is great for a Sunday lunch!

So, how does it help? Much like lentils, lean poultry has all the essential amino acids and protein that help our bodies produce keratin. As we know, keratin is very important to healthy hair. Without it, your hair can become brittle, which leads to breakage and split ends.

3. Oysters

Mmmm, my favorite! My love of oysters first began back when I was 19 and took my first ever trip down to New Orleans. I know not everyone likes seafood, but in my opinion if you want to start broadening your food horizons into the shellfish realm, oysters are the best place to start! (Also, if you like other shellfish such as shrimp or clams but have never tried oysters, chances are you’ll like them.) If the Big Easy taught me one thing, it's that oysters are not only delicious but there are so many ways to prepare and enjoy them. They have been one of my go-to meals over the years — I eat them at least twice a week. So, what are some ways to enjoy oysters? One of my favorite dishes is oysters Rockefeller. You can find loads of other recipes all over the web. A good place to start would have to be Southern Living, where they have seven classic oyster recipes.

Why are oysters good for your hair? They contain high levels of zinc, which has been linked to helping hair growth as well as a deficiency in the element leading to hair loss. Low levels of zinc can cause dandruff, slow growth and hair loss — even in your eyelashes. Zinc helps keep the follicles that build your hair working properly. If you eat plenty of zinc-rich foods such as oysters, clams and crab, it’s a sure way to keep your tresses gorgeous. (Other good sources for those of you who do not like seafood are most nuts and seeds, yogurt and cheese.)

4. Sweet Potatoes

As a child, I never liked sweet potatoes. Any time my dad would make sweet-potato fries, I would turn up my nose and tell him they didn’t look like “real fries,” therefore I was not going to eat them. As I got older and realized McDonald’s fries were barely real fries, I broadened my palate and now can no longer resist saying a wholehearted, "Yes!" when my dad offers me anything made from a sweet potato. Whether you're just jonesing for some good old comfort food or are looking for a delectable side dish for a holiday dinner, sweet potatoes are probably one of your first choices. I mean you can serve them bakedin soup or as fries. They're delicious in every form — and nutritious. Sweet potatoes are filled with an antioxidant called beta carotene, which your body turns into Vitamin A, which in turn stops your hair from becoming dry and keeps it healthy and vibrant!

5. Bell peppers

Of all my childhood memories, one of my fondest is of helping my grandfather pick vegetables from his garden each harvest season. My favorites were always peppers. Even though I knew these veggies didn’t taste like much, I always enjoyed their crunch as well as just the hint of sweetness they have. One of my favorite ways to enjoy bell peppers is by sautéing a hefty helping and enjoying them as a side dish.

Bell peppers made this list because they are incredibly high in Vitamin C, an important antioxidant that promotes cell and tissue repair and enhances the immune system. Vitamin C supports circulation, which is very important for hair growth and keeping your its vibrant. If you have enough Vitamin C, you will have strong, healthy hair that doesn't split — as well as rockin’ color.

More: 5 food trends to look for in the grocery aisle

For supple skin

1. Blueberries

These are one of my favorite healthy snacks by far. Whether you make frozen yogurt, put them in a salad or just eat them raw, these tasty little berries are awesome.

You’re probably wondering how blueberries can possibly help your skin? The low-key berries are packed with antioxidants, which aid in preventing signs of aging. Many of the vitamins in them can reduce acne because they may help regulate or neutralize the oil levels in your skin. Pretty cool, right?

2. Raspberries

Another great memory I have from my childhood is visiting the stables to learn about horses and take riding lessons. But that’s not the only thing that was at the stables. While on a trail ride one day when I was 8 years old, I came across loads of raspberry bushes! This just gave me cause to pick and eat tons of these tart little fruits, and my love of raspberries was born! Little did I know I was actually helping my skin be healthy.

You see, raspberries actually help protect your skin from sun damage due to the oils they contain. They also have anti-inflammatory properties that keep your skin from becoming puffy and red.

3. Cantaloupe

My dad and I have always loved cantaloupes. These melons are about the only sweet thing I enjoy eating. I guess you can say they’re kind of like my version of candy — only healthier! My favorite way to enjoy cantaloupe is to simply cut it into chunks, throw on some salt, grab a fork and chow down! But you can enjoy it many ways, like in a smoothie!

Cantaloupe is also very good for your skin, because it contains Vitamin A, which helps all bodily tissues grow and stay properly hydrated. If you have dry skin, you are probably lacking Vitamin A in your diet.

4. Carrots

One of my favorite cartoon characters growing up was Bugs Bunny, so naturally that’s how my mum would get me to eat these tasty veggies — and they became a fast favorite! I find them to be very good dipped in Truvia or peanut butter! You can also step it up a notch and serve them as a side dish for your next dinner.

Not only are carrots good for your skin due to their high Vitamin A content but for tons of other reasons. They're full of beta-carotene, too, so due to carrot’s double whammy of Vitamin A and beta-carotene, they can help with some skin disorders, such as chronic eczema.

5. Avocado

What can adding avocados to your diet do for your skin? Avocado contains biotin, a complex-B vitamin necessary for skin health. Without complex-B vitamins — or more specifically biotin — your skin can become scaly and rashy. Avocados are also full of poly and monounsaturated fatty acids. Both are good for your skin: Monounsaturated fatty acids keep the top layer of your skin moist, so it will be soft and healthy looking; and polyunsaturated fats can protect skin from things such as inflammation. Avocados are packed with antioxidants, which help protect and fight against harmful free radicals that can damage your skin.

More: 7 essential outfits that are perfect for both work and play

What are some foods you eat to support your hair, skin and nails? Have any favorites on the list? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Ashley Graham becomes Sports Illustrated's first 'plus-size' cover girl


SI is best known for picking women who appeal to men because they look healthy and curvaceous. Kate Upton, for instance,  is gorgeous, but is she really some kind of waif? Sister has curves for days. And we love her for it. Graham is size 16, it's true. But she's also just stunning. I mean look at this:

Ashley Graham
Image: Sports Illustrated

Stunning, right?

Don't get me wrong. I get the politics here. So many women (myself included) are made to feel badly about our bodies by women who look like Kate Moss defining beauty for the rest of us. It's difficult and painful and as a very curvy girl who grew up in the 1990's, I get it. But the thing is, Ashley Graham is still impossibly beautiful. It is absolutely progress to have someone who isn't skinny on the cover of an iconic magazine, but she still looks better than 99.9 percent of the world's population.

Maybe that is what bothers so much. She is being celebrated, not for how gorgeous she is, but for how much progress this creates. It's true. But it's also true that she is just a beauty in her own right. Any curvy woman can tell you that while "waif" might be the name of the game in modelling, in real life men have always preferred a little booty and boob action.

More: The real message behind Ashley Graham's beach body ad

Of course, it's not all about what men want. But the truth is, we ladies base a lot of our sense of self worth on what men think of our bodies. It's silly and maybe shallow, too. But it's the truth. And men want Ashley Graham. She's like Cindy Crawford and Anna Nicole Smith had a child. She's luscious and beautiful and I don't say that in a pandering "isn't that special that they let a not-so-hot woman on the cover." I say that in a "wow, she's as smoking as any other cover girl they have ever had."

That's the bottom line. This isn't some special favor. This isn't some politically correct nod to bodies of all sizes. She is beautiful. She is stunning. There is no 'plus size' about it. Let's just be happy we are moving into an age where we recognize beauty comes in many different kind of packages.

More: Bloggers challenge Protein World ad by stripping down in London train station

Ashley Graham is a smokeshow no matter what you want to call her. End of story.

How a few clothing changes made me hate winter (a little) less


This means that for about four or five months every year, I am miserable. Is it seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? I don't know. What I do know is that my misery has grown exponentially, year after year. Part of what made winter worse all those years was my refusal to give in to the cold. I would wear a jean jacket until January and then switch into something very light (think a barn jacket or quilted coat) through March at which time I would insist, "It's March! That's spring!"

More: Best of Etsy: Winter fashion

Then I would stop wearing a coat altogether. It's no wonder I was miserable. And it's hardly like I am from Georgia, either. I am from Boston and Maine. We get serious winter there. But I was in denial.

Last year I decided to change all that. And while I can't say I love winter, buying appropriate winter clothing has helped to move me closer to that mindset than I have ever been before. So what does that mean? Here are the five things that get me through the cold snaps:

1.) A serious coat:

I am embarrassed to say that until last winter, I have never had a winter coat that cost me more than about $100. The coat I wore the last three seasons was a coat I got as part of a deal where if you bought five items of clothing at a trendy store, you got a faux down jacket for $5. Yes, $5. Is it any wonder the damn thing kept me freezing? So last year I decided to jump on the Canada Goose trend and buy a couple of parkas. I am now the proud owner of a Mystique Parka and a Kensington Parka. Yes, they are expensive. No, I have no regrets. These coats are the only reason I can still walk my kids to school every morning. Their warmth cannot be overstated. And I figure the cost is something I can divide over the many years I wore a $5 coat on 3-degree days. In other words, they are a bargain.

2.) Stylish boots:

I have a pretty serious shoe fetish. So when the winter comes and the sidewalks are covered in ice and slush and all my cute shoes are rendered impossible to don, I get a little down. Enter the winter fleet of shoes. I was lucky enough to receive a few pairs of Sorel boots this year and, like the aforementioned coats, they are worth every darn penny. The Tivoli II is stylish, warm and waterproof. I cannot say enough positive things about these boots. At $130, they might seem steep, but your dry feet and happy thoughts are worth every cent. Which brings me to the Medina III. These are rain boots, true. But they are rain boots with a kick. If you want to look good on a dreary day, look no further. And then, of course, there are the Tivolis. These are high boots and the warmest things I have ever had on my feet (sorry, Uggs). Even a winter-hating grinch like me can get behind these.

More: 5 Fashionable winter coats

3.) A hat:

I have become that woman who wears my hat inside, all the time. And thank God. This has been an amazing and eye-opening development for someone like me who always viewed the hat as an optional piece of outerwear. I now know it is for the inside, too. And the variety! Oh lord, the variety! So many hats to choose from. Pom-poms and beanies and berets and trapper hats. I love them all.

4.) Warm socks:

I always skipped socks inside and blew my budget on expensive running socks since I am a runner. The socks I wore with my clothing were embarrassingly threadbare and worn. Now, I wear heat holder socks. And these babies have changed my life. At $20 a pair, they are pricey, but they really do the trick, especially for people like me who can be in boots made entirely of fur and still shiver.

So that's it. You want to survive winter, this is the way to go. It's not ideal. I don't love winter. But at least I am somewhat warm now. And a lot less likely to cry the entire walk to school each morning.

When to see a dermatologist about your dry skin


Over time, people do become more susceptible to developing dry skin, says Dr. Delphine Lee, M.D. Ph.D., dermatologist at John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

More: 11 Causes of dry skin that prove you're your own worst enemy

People who have a history of certain skin diseases like eczema are more likely to have dry skin, says Dr. Nada Elbuluk, M.D., MSc, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center, and diplomate of the American Academy of Dermatology. People who spend a lot of time in water (swimmers, people who bathe or shower multiple times a day) and people who live in cold climates with frequent exposure to central heating are also more susceptible to dry skin, she says. So basically, it doesn’t matter whether you live in Florida or New York. Doesn’t that make you feel better?

Children and adults working outdoor jobs also fall in this category, says Dr. Tien Nguyen, M.D., dermatologist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. People with thin skin are also at risk.

In addition to these risk factors that cause dry skin, other causes include harsh soap, itchy clothing and several drugs, says the American Skin Association (ASA). Dry skin often worsens in winter, but constant exposure to air conditioning also results in similar effects. (There’s that Florida reference again!)

More: 9 Beauty benefits of apple cider vinegar you're missing out on

Usually, dry skin isn’t serious but it can be difficult to treat. It can also be related to other skin diseases or associated with conditions like diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Sjogren syndrome and malnutrition, the ASA says.

According to the AAD, extremely dry skin can be a warning sign of a skin condition called dermatitis or eczema, which means inflammation of the skin. It can look like an itchy rash or patches of dry, irritated skin. The earlier dermatitis is diagnosed and treated, the better, because otherwise it can get worse.

When dry skin cracks, germs can get in through the skin and cause infection, says the AAD. Red, sore spots on the skin may be early signs of infection.

“Usually dry skin improves with simple measures such as taking shorter showers, using warm and not hot water, and using thick moisturizing creams and emollients on a regular basis,” says Dr. Elbuluk. “If it does not improve after trying these measures, then one should see a board-certified dermatologist for further evaluation.” The general rule of thumb is to give these at-home treatments about two weeks to work.

More: Woman suffers from excessive skin touching (VIDEO)

If it’s especially severe, comes on suddenly, seems chronic or if you have another medical condition, all the more reason to make an appointment. Dermatologists are trained to make the distinction between dry skin or dry skin caused by another condition, and a diagnosis will exclude more serious conditions.

Luckily there are a lot of easy ways to prevent and treat dry skin, starting with applying moisturizer immediately after bathing. Use a very gentle soap only when necessary, since soap can wash away your skin’s natural oils, Dr. Lee adds.

Other suggestions from the ASA and AAD:

  • Choose short showers over baths
  • Apply moisturizing creams, emollients or ointments several times a day
  • Choose a non-alcohol-based moisturizer
  • Avoid antibacterial soaps
  • Place a humidifier in your home or add it to the central heating system
  • Avoid rubbing or scratching skin
  • Wear gloves, hats and scarves in winter
  • Moisturize right after baths and showers
  • Soften skin before you shave
  • Change razor blades after five to seven shaves
  • Apply cool cloths to itchy dry skin

Typically, the best treatment is a moisturized cream, but a steroid cream or ointment may be prescribed if it's more serious, the ASA says. Antihistamine pills can also be ordered.

Consider dry skin another “perk” of getting older and heed the AAD, which says, “By our 40s many people need to use a good moisturizer every day.” If only we could moisturize those wrinkles away too!

Taylor Swift chopped her hair off for the Grammys (PHOTOS)


This isn't the effortless, tousled bob we've come to see on trendsetters at red carpet event after red carpet event. Taylor is taking it back to a straight, single-layer bob reminiscent of the '20s (and Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby for all my literary fans).

Taylor Swift hair
Image: Jeff Vespa/Wire Image/Getty Images

And here's Carey Mulligan as Daisy in The Great Gatsby:

Daisy Buchanan Bob
Image: Giphy

What did I say?

While you can't go wrong with a good messy bob, it's hard not to love this classic and elegant style Taylor is bringing back. It makes me wish she had showed up with a cigarette holder and a flapper dress.

Though, maybe Taylor's crop top and big skirt is the new picture of glamour. It has the perfect touch of tradition, her bob a nod to classic beauty, yet it makes a statement for modern style with the crop top, colorblocking and peek-a-boo legs.

Taylor Swift at the Grammys
Image: John Shearer/WireImage/Getty Images

Meghan Trainor rocked a bold new hair color at the 2016 Grammys (PHOTOS)


The "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" singer showed off her auburn hairstyle during a tribute performance to Lionel Richie, and it totally goes with her fiery vocals and bold personality.

More: All the can't-miss fashion from the 2016 Grammy Awards

Well, technically she first showed it off on Instagram over the weekend. The style comes courtesy of celebrity hairstylist and friend Lorien Meillon. Meillon, who works at the Ken Paves salon in Los Angeles, often shares photos of Trainor on Instagram.

Meghan Trainor red hair
Image: Jeff Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images

Though it totally suits her, it doesn't sound like it was totally her idea. Her record label said she should show off a different color for her upcoming second album.

"My hairstylist said, 'We're gonna cut it. And we're gonna dye it.' I cried, and now I love it. I just have to get used to it," she told Seventeen. "For 14 years I was blond. I haven't had brown hair since I was three years old."

More: 20 stunning looks from the BAFTAs red carpet

But she looks completely confident, something we chalk up to her awesome personality.

"I continue to choose what I feel most comfortable and confident in," she told Refinery29 of her personal style. "My stylists in NY and LA have really helped me define my style over the year. Every day I’m learning new fashion and makeup tricks."

Trainor wasn't the only celebrity to show off a new 'do at the Grammys: Taylor Swift also debuted a Great Gatsby-esque bob on the red carpet.

More: Black-tie lingerie is the new celebrity red carpet trend to watch

Pregnant Chrissy Teigen owns the Grammys red carpet in tight white dress


Teigen has been known to stand up for stretch marks, so by no means is she immune to those little beauty "imperfections" we all experience at some point. It's refreshing to see someone in the spotlight own those imperfections, but it's equally awesome that she doesn't fear a fitted dress when her body is changing drastically.

Chrissy Teigen baby bump at Grammys
Image: John Shearer/Wire Image/Getty Images

There was a time (before Demi Moore paved a new way by posing naked for Vanity Fair while she was nine months pregnant) that people would shun pregnant women for showing off their bodies like this. We should all be thankful we live in time and a country that appreciates this as sexy (or at least more than we used to).

More: Taylor Swift chopped her hair off for the Grammys (PHOTOS)

I am not a mom yet but when that day comes, I'll be grateful for a society that is more accepting of women's bodies no matter what stage or shape they are in. And for those people who don't, I'll be dammed if I let them stop me from wearing something they think I shouldn't (after all, it may be the only time in my life I have any kind of cleavage).

For too long, moms have been stereotyped as bland, the opposite of sexy or stylish, and you don't have to be a celebrity to prove that wrong. If you want to wear a fitted dress, do it. It you want to wear a mu mu, that's OK, too. Just make sure you're doing it for you, and not not doing because of someone else.

9 tax deductible beauty products for a bigger refund


If you’ve been adulting for a while now, you don’t need us to tell you that filing taxes can be a tricky business. In many cases, claiming excessive or unreasonable deductions can lead to an audit, a hellish nightmare that most people hope to avoid at all costs.

But this fear of the IRS has left many of us gun-shy. Rather than upsetting the delicate process that is filing a tax return, we opt to hide our heads in the sand — overlooking plenty of perfectly valid tax deductions that could be coming our way. Based on the most recent tax estimates from TurboTax, the IRS shells out $1.2 trillion in tax deductions, broken down into 45 million people who file itemized deductions, on the regular. If you’re not getting even a little sliver of the pie, you may be missing out.

Fortunately, plenty of fantastic tax deductions are right under your nose — and may be disguised as some of your favorite beauty expenses:

1. Body lotion

Depending on the biz you’re in, a standard body lotion could qualify as a tax deduction, says ZM Ishmurzina, MBA, CPA, partner at Artio Partners. “Body lotions can be deducted as a business expense by massage salons and body builders,” he explains.

2. Cosmetic surgery

Here’s a fun one if you happen to fall into the category of professional dancer — according to Ishmurzina, the cost of breast augmentation qualifies as a tax deduction for strippers and adult dancers since it is considered a stage prop. (Who knew?)

More: Does insurance actually cover cosmetic surgery?

3. Demo products

Mary Kay and Jamberry fanatics, all of your hard work is starting to pay off. Purchasing products to use as demos in an MLM or beauty business can also fall under the tax deductible umbrella. Sarah Nieschalk, EA, licensed tax professional at Tax Defense Network, explains, “Typically, products you purchase to present as a model or demo are tax deductible. This nice thing about this tax break is that it applies to virtually any item that you intend to showcase in this capacity.”

4. Eyewear

Eyeglasses are yet another personal care product that may be tax deductible — though most prescription glasses are written off as a medical expense, as an itemized deductible on form 104, Schedule A. Ishmurzina confirms, "Eyewear products are deductible as a medical expense on Sch. A if the total amount of medical expenses exceeds 10 percent of adjusted gross income."

5. Makeup

If you’re a licensed makeup artist with a drawer, box or even suitcase of makeup used for professional purposes within the past year, you’re in luck. “Makeup can be deducted by a makeup artist if s/he uses this makeup for his/her clients,” says Ishmurzina.

More: 8 Things your wedding makeup artist wants you to know

6. Hair care

Performers are just one more example of hard-working professionals who can expect to reap tax deductible beauty benefits. Ishmurzina explains that if you are a performing artist who requires hairstyling before a show, the cost of that hairstyle can be written off too.

7. Salon space

Working at or owning a salon isn’t an easy industry to break into, but it does have its benefits come tax time. Renting or owning your own salon space means you can deduct some or all of the costs, depending on the scenario, says Nieschalk. She adds, “Much like your inventory, virtually any furniture you use in your salon is tax deductible. This includes sofas or chairs for customers in your lobby, or the chairs they occupy when you’re reshaping their appearance. Any supporting furniture for equipment, such as racks or mobile counters, may also be deducted.”

More: Hair salon introduces a 'quiet chair' — just what we've been waiting for

8. Professional hair equipment

When working as a beauty professional, this one’s a given. Almost any tools, products or gear that you use to perform daily services on clients falls into that magical category of being tax deductible. Nieschalk explains, “These may include coloring agents, shampoos, gels, removal wax, scissors, curling irons — basically, anything that is essential inventory for operation of your business.”

9. Salon magazines

As the icing on the cake, there are plenty of little extras that can slide in under the wire. Nieschalk says that in a salon, this could mean that small purchases like magazines or entertainment publications for waiting clients can also be written off.

The fine print

The IRS is nothing if not meticulous, so it’s important to pay attention to detail before you file. Nieschalk reminds us that every beauty deduction will require a receipt, while Ravi Ramnarain, a licensed CPA in Florida, Massachusetts and Arkansas, explains that beauty write-offs are a type of deduction all their own. He says, “For individuals, the only way that beauty products could even begin to be considered deductible is if you are itemizing your deductions (instead of taking the standard deduction). However, one must be cognizant of the fact that beauty products do not count as ‘normal’ itemized deductions.”

According to Ramnarain, beauty products count as ‘miscellaneous’ itemized deductions that are subject to the following requirements:

  • A two percent "floor" (i.e., you can only deduct miscellaneous itemized deductions that exceed two percent of your Adjusted Gross Income, or AGI).
  • The total of all of your itemized deductions (normal and miscellaneous) must exceed the standard deduction for the year in question.
  • A requirement that you work in the beauty industry (or a closely related field).
  • Proof that you were not already reimbursed for the out-of-pocket beauty product expenses by your employer.

These qualifications may seem overwhelming at first glance, but don’t let the red tape deter you. When in doubt, Nieschalk says, “You may want to consult with a licensed tax professional before filing, just to make sure you’re on point. He or she can provide suggestions for how to reduce this year’s tax bill, as well as some best practices to make the most of your expenses and deductions in preparation for next tax season.”

I tried the bird poop facial that promises beautiful skin


Like many women, I have spent all of my post puberty life in search of the fountain of beauty. For a long time, I wanted pimple-free skin, but now that I am precariously close to my 40s, I still want pimple-free skin (thanks Mother Nature) as well as something to soften the wrinkles. It wouldn’t hurt if the products I used also brightened and exfoliated my ever-ruddy complexion.

I don’t feel like I’m asking for too much. While there’s an endless variety of skin care products on the market, most have been complete failures — rarely delivering on their promises of radiant, supple skin.

More: 5 ways to snag high-end skin care products for next to nothing

Thus, bird poop landed on my beauty regimen radar.

Uguisu no fun was introduced to Japan by way of the Koreans, who had been using the droppings to remove dye from fabric — creating unique patterned prints. Once geishas discovered the poop’s ability to cleanse and lighten their skin, it became a part of their beauty arsenal.

Nightingale poop facials, also known as “geisha facials” have been available for years at trendy spas around the world, but thanks to the Internet, you can now order the powdered, UV sterilized bird droppings at home for around $27.

With zero hesitation, I purchased the tiny bottle of uguisu no fun and waited anxiously for its arrival. I fantasized about how beautiful my face would be after slathering it with excrement and imagined conversations that went like: “Wow, your skin is so lovely, what do you use?” to which I would reply “Imported nightingale poop from Japan. It’s a thing.”

The poop came in the mail two days later and I read the tiny insert with English instructions. It told me to mix 1 teaspoon of powdered poo with water and use the mixture as a face mask for 10 minutes, or to wash my face with it instead.

A bottle of uguisu no fun
Image: ©Bryanne Salazar

It didn’t tell me how much water to add, so I went with a 50/50 ratio and ended up with (excuse the visual) what looked like baby diarrhea. For the first time, it occurred to me that I was actually rehydrating feces and about to put it on my face.

Thankfully, the poop has zero smell. If it even had the faintest aroma of a bowel movement, I don’t know if I would have been able to continue.

rehydrated uguisu no fun
Image: ©Bryanne Salazar

I added a tiny bit more uguisu no fun to the mixture until it had a light, glue consistency. Then, with my bare fingers, I smeared it all over my face. Only after I began this process did I realize how helpful it would have been to apply this stuff with a brush.

More: Pamella Roland's spring collection is inspired by Japanese gardens

It goes on thin and begins drying almost immediately. It felt exactly like a mud mask, with a little less pull on my pores as it dried.

I waited 10 minutes and rinsed it off. Before I did, I ran around my house and tried to kiss my husband and sons, who were thoroughly disgusted.

Bryanne wearing the bird poop mask
Image: ©Bryanne Salazar

At the sink, I became oddly paranoid about any run-off hitting my mouth so I kept turning my head at weird angles and got some bird poop stuck in my hair. Thankfully, it comes off quickly and as with the application, leaves no lingering smell.

My first reaction? My face did seem brighter, but the redness on my cheeks was still the same. Throughout the rest of the day I noticed my makeup seemed to stay put longer and my face felt a lot softer.

I waited a week and tried one more time, this time in the evening. I accidentally left the mask on for 30 minutes because the Super Bowl was on and I really like the commercials. As with the previous time, I was a bit weirded out while removing the mask, so this time I used a damp washcloth. The added exfoliation of the washcloth seemed to make the mask more effective. My skin again seemed brighter and definitely smoother. I followed with some drug-store moisturizer and went to bed.

After washing off the bird poop mask
Image: ©Bryanne Salazar

This morning, as I’m typing this, I’ve touched my face about 20 times and love how it feels baby soft. I still have some redness from acne on my cheeks and my pores are just as large and intrusive as they were before.

Did uguisu no fun change my life, or turn me into the supermodel I’ve always dreamed I could be? Not really, but it’s a solid product that, although a tiny bit gross, does seem to deliver on its promise of brighter, softer skin.

More: Ageless beauty zen makeover

While it hasn’t been a miracle product for me, I do think it has potential. For now, I’m still in search of the magic potion that will transform my aging, acne-prone skin into something that makes all the PTA moms jealous.

Would you try uguisu no fun? Let me know in the comments.

A DIY banana face mask your skin will love you for


Before the how, let’s start with the why. Wandering into your kitchen and putting a little fresh fruit on your face is not as crazy as it sounds, according to Dr. Kathryn A. Boling, M.D., a primary care provider of Family Medicine at Maryland’s Lutherville Personal Physicians. “Bananas contain many beneficial vitamins, including manganese, vitamin C, potassium, biotin and copper. Some of these vitamins are proven to be beneficial to skin,” says Dr. Boling.

But this still raises the question: Why the face mask versus eating your favorite fruit? Dr. Boling explains, “Most nutrients are delivered to the skin via the bloodstream, but some can be applied topically. However, the top layer of the skin — called the stratum corneum — is made up of dead skin cells (about 15 – 20 layers) and acts as a barrier to protect the underlying skin from infection and harmful chemicals. Also, it makes absorption of topical vitamins difficult. Therefore, exfoliation should be the first step prior to using a natural banana mask. Secondly, studies in animals show that vitamin C can be absorbed by the skin in an acidic environment. It may be beneficial to add in an acid (like lemon or citrus of some sort) to encourage vitamin C absorption.”

More: I tried the bird poop facial that promises beautiful skin

If an official medical opinion isn’t convincing enough for you, plenty of celebrity skin care specialists endorse the practice too. Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection, agrees with Dr. Boling, saying, “Bananas are high in potassium, which is wonderful for your lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is what helps your skin clean itself, and it provides nutrients to every cell in your body.”

Whether you eat them or put them on your skin, you’re bound to see a big change in your complexion when you make bananas your new best friend. When used in a handy DIY mask, bananas can nourish the skin, along with the help of honey to absorb and retain moisture, to deeply hydrate and enhance your natural glow. And as Dr. Boling suggests, just a touch of lemon juice can help to exfoliate and improve vitamin C absorption.

Banana face mask
Image: Karen Cox/SheKnows

What you will need:

  • Small bowl
  • Measuring spoon
  • Metal spoon for mashing and mixing

Beauty ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 10 drops lemon juice


1. Cut or break a banana into small pieces, and place into a mixing bowl. Mash up the banana with a metal spoon.

Banana face mask step one
Image: Karen Cox/SheKnows

2. Add honey and lemon juice to the mashed banana. Mix well.

Banana face mask step two
Image: Karen Cox/SheKnows

3. Apply the mask to the entire face, and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse well using a warm washcloth.

Banana face mask step three
Image: Karen Cox/SheKnows

For those who don’t have time to whip up an entire DIY banana mask, a fresh banana against inflamed skin might do the trick. Dr. Boling reminds us that bananas have medicinal properties that can be used to soothe a number of inflammatory skin conditions, including acne. Dr. Boling says, “According to a 2012 article in the Journal of Pharmacology and Phytochemistry, bananas have been used to treat burns or wounds due to their soothing properties. Thus, using a banana peel against the skin to decrease inflammation could also be very beneficial.”  

More: 15 beautiful tattoos that look like watercolour paintings

The ponytail hairstyle trick that makes hair look 5 inches longer


Step 1:

The ponytail hairstyle trick
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

You'll want to begin with dry, tangle-free hair and apply a smoothing cream or serum if you prefer. You will just need 2 elastics, a large barrel curling iron and a light hold hairspray.

Step 2:

The ponytail hairstyle trick 2
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Now make another ponytail with the bottom section. Place this about 4 finger widths below the top ponytail.

The ponytail hairstyle trick 2b
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

More: How to make your own ponytail holders

Step 3:

The ponytail hairstyle trick 3
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

To add some more oomph, using a large barrel curling iron, such as a 1-1/4-inch as shown here, and curl 1- to 2-inch sections until both ponytails are curled. Rake your fingers through the curls to loosen them once they've cooled.

Step 4:

The ponytail hairstyle trick 4
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Finish with a light hold hairspray to set your style. Spray some on your palms and smooth back any baby hairs or fly-aways.

The ponytail hairstyle trick 5
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Now have fun swinging your hair around all night and make sure to incorporate hair flips into your routine as much as possible

More: 19 Celebrity ponytails that prove it's the ultimate hairstyle

Target Australia applauded for their new campaign featuring all body shapes


More: Why these body-positive ads were banned in Australia

The brand made the decision to create a campaign that features women of all shapes and sizes, and the diversity has been a welcome change for consumers who are tired of looking at a single-size typical "model" body shape.

Ahead of Valentine's Day, Target Australia took to Instagram to share their lingerie campaign with customers, which features styles for "every body." Also notable is the fact that the shots appear to have had little to no retouching, and all the "imperfections" that make these women real are on full display.

Target Australia new campaign 4

Target Australia new campaign 4

But it's not just different sizes that the brand is focused on; it's also different ages. It's a sad fact that in the fashion world, women past a certain age are often treated as second-class citizens, but no longer — Target Australia's campaign shots feature the stunning 53-year-old model Mel Brady and prove that beauty knows no age.

Target Australia new campaign 3

Target Australia new campaign 3

Unsurprisingly the inclusive direction of the campaign has been praised.

"How beautiful and refreshing!! Yay to this!!" rosiecarter1821 commented.

"Yayyyy real women with real curves we will be reposting this one!" weddedwonderland shared.

"Well done target for using real women with real body type as you models," commenter sabina_jones wrote, adding, "Hopefully this help many women with body issues to realize we are all beautiful in our own way..."

More: Writer posts nude selfie to send powerful body-positive message (PHOTO)

Two weeks ago the retail giant also posted images of their activewear.

Target Australia new campaign

Target Australia new campaign

Target Australia new campaign 2

Target Australia new campaign 2

Again, receiving an overwhelmingly positive response, as customers applauded them for representing diverse body shapes and "keeping it real."

Target Australia praised for diverse models in campaign
Image: Target Australia/Instagram
Target Australia promotes diversity with new campaign
Image: Target Australia/Instagram

In addition to their recent campaigns, last December Target Australia also made an effort to showcase more realistic bodies with their swimwear range. Even earlier in 2015, the brand also made the decision to feature plus-size mannequins in their stores.

Target Australia new campaign 5

Target Australia new campaign 5

More: Meet the gorgeous model who's the oldest to appear in Sports Illustrated

We're happy to see that Target Australia is focused on sharing images of women from all walks of life, to put an end to the archaic notion that only a size Small is beautiful.

Do you know how to spot a fake designer bag?


Familiarize yourself

The best way to spot a fake handbag is to know your bags. Take a look at the real deal at the department store or designer's website and take note of the logo placement, materials, hardware and other details.

"Designer handbags have neat, clear stamps of their name and logo. If the stamping looks pressed in, it is usually fake, or if the stamping is too far away from the stitching at the top, it is fake. Some fake bags also use different fonts," says Jules Greaves, founder of leading handbag retailer Susie in the Sky. She explains, "Counterfeiters usually work from photos when creating fakes, which distort colour so the lining is usually the wrong colour and sometimes the wrong material."

More: 8 Purses that double as briefcases

Shop at reputable retailers

Authentic designer handbags are not normally sold at flea markets or street stands, and they certainly aren't sold out of the trunk of the car (unless they are stolen). Visit the designer's website to find out exactly where you can purchase their goods. The price should be a tell-tale sign as well -- you can't get authentic handbags for pennies on the dollar compared to the regular retail price.

To cross-check your bag before making a big buy, Tynnetta Fatima Blush, designer and collector of designer handbags, recommends visiting Purse Forum to confer with other designer handbag sleuths, just like you. "Although it is only their personal opinion, I have to say they are very good at what they do. You can utilize their experience to help guide you, until you become more adept at recognizing a fake designer bag."

More: 13 Spring crossbody purses under $50

Inspect the bag before you buy

It's all about the details. Take a look at the stitching and the quality of leather. Be sure the logos, monograms and insignias are aligned properly and not odd-shaped. Take a good look at the label -- you might find a serial number stitched, embossed or stamped there. Keep in mind that generally when you buy a real designer handbag documentation is included, such as a certificate of authenticity.

Blush says there are three main aesthetic "tells" that can help you spot a fake a mile away: 

  1. The quality of the stitching.
  2. The clarity of the logo heat seal.
  3. The verification of the serial number that is usually strategically hidden within verifiable locations within the bag (most important).

Greaves adds, "The stitching should be even, with no loose threads or back-and-forth stitching at the end of a seam. Designer handbags work with master tailors and stitchers that are experts. Counterfeiters don't have this luxury."

More: 11 Funky clothing items that can reinvent your look

Why you shouldn't buy fake bags

There are times when it may be tempting to buy a fake instead of the real thing — like when money is tight — but there are a few important reasons why you shouldn't feed into the counterfeit industry:

  • Copyright infringement - Fake bags infringe on the copyright of the designer in terms of the design itself and the trademarks of the brand. If designers have to spend money in court protecting their original designs, the price of their bags will eventually rise too.
  • Child labor - Many counterfeit bags are produced by young kids in sweatshops. Organized crime and other illegal enterprises often back the production and distribution of these bags.
  • Poor quality - Fake bags look cheap and tacky. The leather is low quality or not leather at all. The stitching, dyes and hardware are often shoddy, and overall construction is poor. A knockoff bag won't last long. If you can't afford an authentic designer bag right now, shop from more affordable brands.

Updated by Bethany Ramos on 2/12/2016

Meet the gorgeous model who's the oldest to appear in Sports Illustrated


Fifty-six-year-old Nicola Griffin is one such model, although her story is somewhat more remarkable than some of the famous models who started out young and are now in their 50s. For one thing, Griffin decided to get into this incredibly competitive and judgmental business only three years ago, at the age of 53. However, she's already raised twin daughters as a single mom, so it's safe to say she can achieve just about anything to which she sets her mind.

More: Neon Moon's new lingerie ad celebrates all of our 'flaws'

Griffin model

Griffin model

And boy, has she. Now, at 56, you can find her in Sports Illustrated as part of the Swimsuits for All ad campaign. The campaign features models of all shapes, sizes and yes, ages, including famous models Ashley Graham and Philomena Kwao, showing off their hottest selves, and Griffin is definitely no slouch by comparison. But the kicker is that she's the oldest model to ever appear in the magazine.

Image: Swimsuitsforall

Including Griffin is a huge step forward for the magazine. It shows that it's jumping on board with body acceptance in more ways than one. While plus-size models have been receiving much more attention in recent years, older models are still somewhat on the back burner. The really unfortunate thing about this is that their presence in the modeling world is incredibly uplifting, especially to women who are not having the best time getting older. Having more women like Griffin out in the modeling world will help these women realize how beautiful they still are, despite the flaws that come with aging.

More: Ashley Graham becomes Sports Illustrated's first plus size cover girl

"I gave birth to two 7-pound babies. My stomach is flawed, but it's who I am. I'm fine with that. I don't need to look at a washboard stomach. This is me, as is. I'm happy with that. We've all got flaws, but so what? That's what makes us real women," Griffin told Cosmo. Now isn't that someone you'd want on the cover of your magazine?

More: Women rocking armpit hair is sexier than you think (WATCH)

Griffin is a shining example of a woman starting over again and feeling fabulous about it. She's in good health, her children are grown and out of the house, and she's newly single, so all she sees are open doors. Now she's got her dream career and looks amazing in a bikini. I don't know what else one could hope for!

I think there's a certain confidence that only comes with age. Griffin describes having been really hungry and competitive when she was younger, but now that she's in her 50s, she simply goes with the flow and doesn't sweat the small stuff. She told Cosmo, "I've embraced this new career and am getting more confident as it rolls along. If I can do it, absolutely anybody can do it!"

As far as competition with other models goes, Griffin says she is not affected by it at all. She's no longer 20, so she's just not fighting for those jobs fit for younger models. As such, those younger models treat her with love and respect, like an honorary mother. Sounds pretty nice, considering the horror stories we often hear about models vying for gigs!

griffin with models

griffin with models

Griffin hopes her presence in this spring's swimsuit edition will inspire women to throw on a swimsuit and enjoy life, no matter their shape, size or age. "Whatever size or shape you are, you too can go out and get yourself a bikini and look good and feel good. You don't have to stay home and think, 'My body's not ready this summer.' It's not about that. It's about showing off what you've got right now."

More: 10 models changing how we view women's bodies

Repeat that to yourself the next time you pass a "get ready for bikini season" advertisement. Bikini season is anytime you feel like wearing one.

Move over argan, there's a new facial nut oil on the skin-care scene


More: Catherine Zeta-Jones reveals her secret for wrinkle-free skin

Cacay oil comes from the cacay nut, which grows in South America, and it’s being touted as the new skin-boosting, anti-ageing skin-care ingredient set to knock argan oil off its pedestal.

In the U.S., skin-care product Cacay Naturals' oils are in high demand. (Mail Online reported that Amazon alone has seen an astounding 9,000 percent spike in sales of its 30ml bottles.) According to Cacay Naturals, the product contains three times more retinol than other popular oils, such as rose hip, and 50 percent more Vitamin E than plant-based argan oil, which comes from the Moroccan argan tree.

Here in the U.K., luxury beauty company Bamford uses cacay in its Restore Elixir (£75) and Olixia Skincare adds it to its Brilliance Facial Oil (£31.45).

Reviews of Brilliance are certainly positive.

"This is seriously the best facial oil I have ever used," posted Jade Taylor. "It leaves skin non greasy & doesn’t feel 'icky' on your hands either. My skin didn’t feel oily and I had no spots… it was perfect as a moisturiser before makeup and even when not wearing makeup it didn’t look greasy or have a sheen to it. This is the ONLY oil I will use now. Seriously."

"This beautifully scented face oil is so light and easy to apply, it's non greasy and left my skin feeling super soft. My complexion has been clear for months since using it ... A beauty product I would definitely recommend!" commented Jeanette Young.

More: The beauty benefits of honey will make it your skin's new saviour

As well as cacay oil, Brilliance Facial Oil contains 17 naturally sourced oils, including jojoba, apricot, camellia and patchouli, which also deserve some credit for the positive reviews.

The key ingredients of Restore Elixir, which are 79 percent organic, are rose hip and cacay oils. The company says the cacay is "sourced through a project to establish the cacay tree crop as an alternative for sustainable economic development in Colombia," which supports "communities in conflict zones" and has "facilitated the reforestation of 5,000 hectares in the Amazon."

As well as cacay oil's skin-care properties, it's sure to appeal to the health-conscious beauty consumer. BeautyMart’s Anna-Marie Solowij told the Sunday Times Style magazine, "It’s cold-pressed and doesn’t require a preservative."

Alas, for 100 percent natural and organic cacay oil, the only option so far is Cacay Naturals, which is currently unavailable on Amazon U.K. But if the buzz continues, the range of cacay products is sure to grow.

Do you use oils on your skin? Let us know your favourite product in the comments below.

More: 10 tips for radiant skin you barely have to work for

10 Secrets to applying bold lipstick, from a celeb makeup artist


Like me. There, I said it. My name is Julie Sprankles, and I cannot for the life of me master bold lipstick — which, as Hayman says, "Can be defined as any shade that is a true departure from your natural lip color."

So in an effort to claim 2016 as the year I finally leave the house wearing a punchy pink or a classic red on my lips as opposed to mainly on my teeth, I tapped Hayman for help. If you've ever wondered how celebrities' bold lips always seem to look so perfect, well, here's the 4-1-1 straight from the celeb makeup artist's mouth.

Meredith Hayman
Image: Meredith Hayman

1. Consider your personal sense of style and self

"Bold can meet darker or brighter, depending on your personal style and mood," explains Hayman. Accordingly, you'll want to take those things into consideration before picking the color to adorn your pucker. Of course, Hayman has a few expertly curated suggestions. "The most flattering tones and textures that are currently on trend are a blue-based creamy red or a glossy blackberry," she says.

More: 13 Victoria's Secret models share the beauty products they swear by

2. When in doubt, reach for this shade

One of the most beautiful things about women is how different we all are — what works on your skin tone might be a total disaster on mine. So if you are ever feeling particularly unsure of which hue to choose but you know you want to go bold, Hayman has this to say about a few fail-safe options: "The shade I find most universally flattering is fuchsia or magenta."

3. Tailor the trends

Believe you me, I've been just as excited as the next girl to see certain shades I adored in the '90s enjoy a revival lately. And, happily, Hayman has a secret for making one particularly tricky one to pull off more accessible. "A certain celebrity has brought matte dark brown back on the scene, but brown can often wash out your complexion," she explains. "Choose one that has an orange undertone so you have a slight warmth coming through."

4. Play up your tan with this tone

Nothing beats the winter blues like having a sun-kissed glow on your skin, and you can prolong that feeling of summer fun with a perfectly paired bold lip. Says Hayman, "A bold coral looks best with a golden complexion or a tan."

5. Pay attention to the formula

One of my main complaints about attempting a bold lip is that it never seems to last — within the first half hour, I manage to smear and otherwise diminish the look until my lips are a faded mess. To avoid such a fiasco, Hayman says, "When applying a bold lip color, you should look for a long-wearing formula to keep your color looking its best for the longest amount of time."

More: How to get silky soft skin despite the dry winter air

6. Put in the prep work

As with most things in life, proper prep work ensures the best results. "I recommend using a soft toothbrush and warm water to gently exfoliate the lips, and then priming them with a lip balm," says Hayman.

7. Don't skip this step

If you go into a bold lip without a thought in the world about anything other than shellacking that color on, well, odds are good your bold lip won't last long. "A precise application is necessary," says Hayman. "Your lip will look most polished with a lip pencil in a matching tone."

8. Center yourself

Where you begin your bold lip application matters. "Use a lip brush to apply your color, starting from the center of the lips and then outlining them with color. If the formula you are using is sheer, apply a second coat of color to the entire lip for the most opaque look," Hayman says.

9. You're not finished without this final step

At this point, you might already be patting yourself on the back and getting ready to walk out the door — but don't. You aren't done yet. "Finish the lip with a soft lip pencil, using short strokes to outline the shape of the lip," says Hayman. "This step will also prevent your bold lip color from bleeding into the fine lines you may have around your mouth."

More: 15 Drugstore beauty gems that you have to try

10. Smile!

Regardless of whether the look you love is scarlet, magenta or somewhere else on the spectrum, the most important way to accessorize bold lips is with confidence. So go on and check yourself out — everyone else will be, hot stuff. "Pucker up and take a selfie," insists Hayman. "You know you are rocking that bold lip like your favorite celeb."

For more top tips and pro secrets, follow Meredith on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media using the hashtag #meredithmakeup.

This post was brought to you by Abreva.

12 insider secrets I learned working at Sephora


Even though the uniform, er, costume, looked like something from Star Trek, I was so proud to wear that Prabal Gurung-designed tunic. I loved working at Sephora and though it was stressful at times, it played a hugely monumental role in my career as a beauty blogger and freelance makeup artist.

More: Sephora offers free makeup classes, who knew?

In my time there, I moved from Product Consultant to Operations Consultant to Senior Education Consultant. I soaked up every drop of knowledge that I could, just like a Boscia blotting sheet. I truly took advantage of my employee discount. I perfected and advanced my makeup skills tenfold. I learned the importance of skin care and graduated from Dove soap to Peter Thomas Roth. I learned how to make my eyebrows what they are today, thanks to a certain Anastasia of Beverly Hills. Sephora made me the woman I am today — a makeup monster — and I couldn’t be happier for it.

Now that I’ve experienced life on the red and black side, here are my ultimate rules for shopping at my first love, Sephora.

1. Try the custom makeover because it's a steal

If you’re going to spend $50 or more, not hard to do at Sephora, why not schedule a custom makeover? This 45-minute session is free with a $50 purchase or completely free to VIB (Sephora's version of VIP) members. You can grab your products, learn some tips and tricks and leave the store looking fab. Try scheduling this before a girls' night or dinner but probably not before a job interview or first date, just in case you aren’t in love with the results. You’ll leave with so much more than just the products you came for!

2. Ask for samples

Ask for samples of the products you are truly interested in. There is no sense in you trying the $125 serum, just to say you did, falling in love with it and never having the real budget to purchase the full size. That’s like trying on the $20,000 wedding dress. If it doesn’t fit into your budget, it won’t fit into your routine. I loved making samples for people when I knew they were genuinely undecided or I knew once they tried a product, they’d love it. I would always suggest foundation samples.

Warning: You may think the employees won’t remember you, but oh, we will. Please don’t take advantage of policies or kindness. In the end, everyone loses. Fragrances are particularly prone to “refills” and it’s just silly really.

3. Buy the gift sets

These are almost always a crazy good value. They come out seasonally and are a great buy (for yourself or as gifts).

4. Don't bother with travel sizes

They’re generally overpriced. Ask for a sample of the product you need, save the sample container and refill with your full size product at home when you need to travel.

5. Buy brushes in sets

You’ll save a lot by doing this vs. buying individually. The Sephora Pro brush line is of very high quality and any brush you pick up is sure to be a winner. I say this as a freelance makeup artist.

6. Don't turn down the Beauty Insider card

There is literally no reason for you to not have this. It’s free, first of all, earns you points for deluxe samples, a free birthday gift and a discount at least once a year! The perks only get better as you move up to VIB and then VIB Rouge, for people with real problems.

7. Don't sample products without asking an employee to sanitize it for you first

The things these eyes have seen. Just trust me on this.

8. Ask employees what they’re loving

As employees, we receive what is called gratis, a.k.a. “free stuff” and are permitted to take a set amount of samples on a weekly basis. This is specifically for us to become more versed in the products so we can share this information with clients. Every employee is likely trying a handful of products at any given moment and will be happy to share with you their personal faves!

9. About that return policy

If you don’t love a product, or the shade isn’t what you thought, by all means, return it and find the perfect pick. Employees don’t mind helping you find a product that you’ll love. But I’ve seen entire articles written about how to take advantage of Sephora’s generous return policy by returning half used products and shades when the trends change and you get tired of them. It infuriates me, to be honest, and is a very entitled attitude. When items are returned used, they are damaged out. They are destroyed. They go to complete waste.

More: 9 Best-selling lipsticks at Sephora

10. You can paint your nails at the nail bar

Look, it’s fine if you want to paint your nails at the nail bar, but please, for the love of all things holy, don't drop that bottle.

11. Sephora's generic brand is good quality

If you have to have a sample of Perricone’s $162 Cold Plasma but would never dream of spending that, fine, but do consider the Sephora skin care line. It’s affordable and has some really great options, particularly the Instant Moisturizer.

12. You can try products on with the "express service"

If you’ve always wondered what you’d look like in a bold lip, do just ask! An employee would love to show you, free of charge, as part of the 15-minute express services.

But please, whatever you do, please don't take handfuls of the mascara wands and sponges. The store has to pay for those!