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5 Styles of shoes you need to complete your spring wardrobe (INFOGRAPHIC)


And just as you switch out the heavy fabrics in your closet for lighter, breezier versions when the seasons shift to warmer weather, it's also time to swap your shoes to suit the season.

More: 5 Shoe trends you never thought you could pull off

This spring, ditch those well-worn winter boots for these five types of shoes, sure to compliment any warm-weather outfit you put together.

Image: Tiffany Egbert/SheKnows

So now that you know what shoes you need, let's talk about when you should wear them — because as versatile as these shoes are, they all have their own time and place.

Easy espadrilles

Espadrilles are a fantastic way to look stylish while still being super comfortable. Wear these for a lunch date, shopping trip or a day you know you're going to be on your feet, but still want to look great.

More: 6 Classic types of shoes and what they say about you

Day-to-night wedge

Day-to-night wedges are the perfect shoe for a busy gal with a packed-tight schedule. They're simple enough to not look overdone for a day at the office, but they also look fab when paired with skinny jeans or a simple dress for a night on the town.

City sandal

When the weather heats up and you just can't bear to stuff your feet into those hot boots for one more day, you'll find that the city sandal is new BFF in footwear. They're cool and airy, while still giving you the support you need.

More: How to fix your high heels

Sexy wedge

So it's date night. You're going to a casual place, so there's no need to go all out — but you still want to look hot, of course. Time to pull out the sexy wedge!


You know when it's time to pull out all the stops and dig your pumps out of the closet. The big date, the fancy dinner, the wedding you RSVP'd to six months ago. When you need to look your very best, these shoes have always got your back.

This post was sponsored by Nordstrom.

5 beauty products you may not know about but should be using


1. For natural hair growth

Image: Amazon

Wanting to grow out those lashes after wearing lash extensions, or fill in those pesky brow gaps? Try a natural alternative like 100% Organic Castor Oil for filling in lashes, brows and even adding fullness to your head of hair. Having experienced some recent hair loss, I began researching more natural alternatives for hair growth and ran into this well-reviewed organic brand by Cammile. Use castor oil on your brows, lashes and massage droplets into your scalp (especially around the hair line) before showering. Within a short amount of time, you’ll start to experience new hair growth. Cammile’s castor oil is organic and is packaged in a glass bottle with dropper. Application is best used with a mascara brush or Q-tip. Castor oil is also ideal for giving hair luster and taming scalp issues. (Amazon, $15)

More: Probiotic beauty products — What's behind the hype?

2. For restoring hair

restorative cleansing conditioner
Image: KevinMurphy

I recently came across Kevin Murphy’s RE.STORE, a repairing cleansing treatment that I immediately fell in love with. After having my second child, my hair’s texture changed and I began to wake up with loads of knots in my hair. Compounded with the dry, cold air of winter, my hair needed some serious TLC. RE.STORE is a truly original cleansing and conditioning treatment, combining superfood proteins to naturally bind moisture to reconstruct damaged hair and gently cleanse it in one step. Designed for use one to two times per week, RE.STORE is the perfect substitute for shampoo and conditioner! You’ll find it addicting the first time you apply it to your scalp. This spa-like product is nourishing, restorative and sulphate-paraben free. Not to mention the smell is intoxicating. (Kevin Murphy, $30)

3. For minimizing fine lines

glycolic acid toner
Image: Amazon

Following the general advice of a well-respect beauty vlogger, I searched Amazon for a toner that offers nighttime repair for fine lines around the eyes. Enter Derma E’s Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Toner with Papaya to refine the look of pores and fine lines. This pH balanced, alcohol-free toner helps remove impurities, rebalance skin and soften the look of wrinkles in a non-irritating way. With skin-renewing vitamin A, glycolic acid and papaya, plus invigorating sea kelp, this transformative toner leaves the skin smooth, refreshed and healthy looking. Vitamin A helps with wrinkles and complexion correction and the papaya (aside from smelling great) helps with brightening and clarifying your skin. Add it to your nighttime ritual and be amazed. (Amazon, $11)

More: Kim Kardashian shares her secret to gravity-defying cleavage

4. For soothing and brightening skin

k beauty mask
Image: FaceStory

Face Story offers affordable and delicious fruit face masks made 100 percent in Korea. With all the expensive face masks out there, it’s hard to find affordable, life-changing masks that transform and soothe the face at home, in a disposable and easy to use fashion. The masks come in avocado, pomegranate, cucumber, lemon, honey, green tea, aloe, blueberry and more (there’s even a collagen mask). I sampled the fresh fruit avocado mask and it was beyond moisturizing and relaxing. The avocado mask improves brightening and leaves the skin feeling refreshed and nourished for winter. At just a couple of dollars each, I suggest giving a few of these game-changing masks a try. (Face Story, $2)

5. For pretty, clean, dry nails

vegan nail polish
Image: Smith + Cult

If you’re obsessed with vegan nail polish, then wrap your hands immediately around Smith + Cult. You may have heard of or seen the fashion-fused lacquers by now, but were wondering what all the hype was about. Yes the packaging is glammed-out gorgeous, but that’s just the beginning. Each lacquer is truly clean beauty perfection — delivering safe, flawlessly smooth color and radiant shine. Completely Five-Free, each custom color is formulated without dibutyl, phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and camphor. I tried the line for the first time this Valentine's Day and instantly fell in love. Not to mention the line’s 5-free base and topcoat are high performing wonders — guaranteed to become a regular part of your everyday beauty routine. Oh and the colors dry ultra fast, too — ideal for busy hands! The price is a little on the high end when it comes to polish, but you get what you pay for here. (smithandcult.com, $18)

My blood was injected into my face for a cosmetic procedure – and I loved it


More: What to consider before getting Botox

Skin care products have also advanced and are now using pure gold, sheep placenta, leeches and even sperm to smooth, tighten and repair skin. Personally, I'm not sure which sounds more frightening — the leeches or some random man's sperm being placed on my skin. As far as in-office procedures go, they are sounding more and more like a science fiction movie — pills that repair the frayed ends of your DNA, IV drips filled with ingredients to rejuvenate your entire body by boosting your HGH, Botox for a non-invasive breast lift and an injectable fat melter that takes away double chins

So, I wasn't surprised when I heard about using your own blood to rejuvenate your skin — heck, vampires have been doing it for centuries (if you believe in that sort of stuff). OK, it's not really the blood that improves the skin, but rather the growth factors that are located in our platelets — and this is not new news. The sports world has been using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) filled with growth factors for years to speed the recovery of injuries. What good is your $25-million-dollar star pitcher if he can't pitch?

More: Why I'd do non-invasive fat removal all over again

Excited to learn about the treatment (and be subjected to it myself), I first watched someone have it done. I have to admit, it looked a bit painful. Don't get me wrong. I've lasered my hair, burnt off my skin and injected my own lips, all in the name of beauty. A little pain isn't going to stop me, but it did look like a bit of a bloody mess.

After going through rigorous training with my co-workers, it was finally my turn to have the procedure performed on myself — yay!

First, my skin was thoroughly cleansed and a numbing cream was applied (l'd be thankful for that numbing effect later). Next, my blood was drawn and the tubes containing it were placed in a centrifuge to separate the red cells from the PRP. Once completely separated, the PRP looks oddly similar to liquid gold, which I totally did not expect. It was a beautiful color and looked as if it possessed something important or powerful.

Rewashing my skin to remove the numbing cream, my treatment started by using a microneedling pen to 'open' the skin. Skin is our suit of armor, keeping the good stuff in and the bad stuff out, and I want as much plasma absorbed as possible. Once the skin is treated with a quick pass of the micropen, the PRP is placed on it and the micropen is used again to drive it deeper.

The treatment takes roughly 45 minutes to complete, and while it wasn't super painful (did I mention where I lasered my hair?), I was ready for it to end just about the time it did. Next, the remaining PRP was injected around my eyes and smile lines. Looking into the mirror, I looked an awful mess: red, bloody and slightly swollen. I was thrilled.

Proudly displaying my red face with the tiny marks left by the micropen to my husband that evening, I couldn't wait for my skin to start improving — and improve it did! My fine lines seemed to disappear in about a week with my moderate lines definitely improving within three weeks. The results just kept getting better, peaking at around three months. Don't get me wrong, I didn't look like I had had a face lift, but rather my skin was noticeably smoother with fewer lines. My jawline appeared tighter and those tiny 'laugh lines' around my eyes were softer!

Since my first experience, I've had an additional PRP treatment with the same results. If only we could figure out how to make it last longer, but then again, 15 years from now we might have discovered something even better!

More: 4 Steps to becoming a reformed germaphobe

Makeup artist covers her burns to absolute perfection (VIDEO)


Case in point: 20-year-old Shalom Nchom from Maryland. When she was only 9 years old, she sustained severe burns all over her face and upper torso in a frying pan accident. The burns altered her appearance in a way that was difficult to hide, at least at first. As a result, she became incredibly self-conscious of her appearance, and interacting with people was a daily struggle.

More: New chroming trend proves lipstick isn't just for lips (PHOTOS)

Ncom burned

Ncom burned

“I was stared at by kids and older people whenever I stepped out. I felt like a living statue that people came to see. It pushed me to be rude towards anyone who stared at me. I cursed people out and cried on many occasions," Nchom told BuzzFeed.

However, instead of letting hurtful words and stares defeat her, she came up with a plan to get her confidence back. She taught herself how to cover her scars with makeup.

Ncom makeup

Ncom makeup

Yes, that is the same girl from the photo above, except she's now 20 and an obvious grand master makeup artist. When I first saw this photo, I legitimately could not believe she had ever sustained any burns, much less the extremely traumatic ones pictured up top. I mean, I know makeup can work wonders, but this is downright sorcery!

makeup magic

makeup magic

After she started showing off her newly made-up skin, all her classmates wanted her to do their makeup too. She obliged for a small fee — $5 to $25 per person. She is a student, after all, and most people who study for a living could use some extra pocket cash.

But she didn't stop there. She began posting her before and after shots and short video tutorials on Instagram, and was quickly inundated with followers. Now she has over 42,600 avid fans who think she's gorgeous and supremely talented — how's that for pulling a 180 on the fates!

More: 10 makeup tricks to highlight your best features (INFOGRAPHIC)

beautiful Ncom

beautiful Ncom

Here's one of her many makeup tutorials, where she does just half her face to show you how different she looks before and after. Her work is astonishing, and what's even more astonishing is that it took her only six minutes to complete.

makeup tutorial

makeup tutorial

See? She's a certified makeup magician. Based on her current following and serious skills, I imagine she'll soon be getting a lot more than $25 to do makeup on folks.

But covering her scars is not the only reason she pushed herself to become a makeup star. It's simply her calling that came out of an unfortunate situation. As she says all over her social media feeds, she loves both sides of her face equally and hopes her work will help people value themselves as they are, whether they have perfect skin or not. She puts it succinctly in her video: "You should love yourself either way — makeup or no makeup. Makeup is not the reason I am happy — I'm happy because I love myself."

We love you too, Shalom Nchom. And your incredible makeup magic.

More: 7 beauty resolutions you should make, according to a pro makeup artist

7 struggles that all women who wear tight pants know


Say what you will about flares or wide-leg pants making a comeback but skinny jeans, crops, leggings and everything in between are still filling store shelves. We're going on more than a decade of this slim-legged trend. And honestly I'm not mad about it. Fashion's greatest gift for girls with athletic thighs like mine are jeggings! (True story: I have "hulked" through no less than three pairs of denim with my killer quads.) Plus they tuck so much better into riding boots. But sometimes this fashion trend comes with a (hilarious) price.

1. Doing the tight pants dance

Tight pants gif
Image: Giphy

Getting them on requires some special skills. Who hasn't done their own version of wiggling, lunging, squatting, kicking and yanking to get on a pair that's more denim than stretch? I call my personal move the Upside-Down Squid Being Electrocuted. Try it, you'll love it!

More: Skinny jeans land woman in hospital for four days

2. Boys steal your pants

Emo gif
Image: Giphy

I once faced down an emo teen boy at a thrift store over the perfect pair of black, destroyed women's skinnies. I won but only because he was temporarily disoriented by the bangs covering his eyes. Although my victory was tinged with sadness when I got home and had to confess they probably would have looked better on his skinny-thighed no-hips frame than my more womanly one. And I'm not the only girl to complain about a dude taking her pants. What does it say about us when women's jeans look better on some men?

3. You get panty lines

Ugh gif
Image: Giphy

Denim used to be the one fabric you never had to worry about panty lines with. Sadly those halcyon days of blissful granny panties are gone thanks to ultra-tight pants making sure your Victoria's Secrets aren't a secret. Now it's a thong or commando.

4. Getting tight pants on your kids is the worst

Mad toddler
Image: Giphy

Skinny jeans are one trend that doesn't translate well to small children. Not only is it painful to wrestle their little spaghetti limbs into what are essentially Barbie clothes but they hate wearing anything that restricts their movement, even in the name of fashion. I don't even know why they make toddler-sized skinny jeans. OK, yes I do: They're adorable...if you can get your kid to wear them. (Exception to the rule: Cotton leggings, which my daughter lives in.)

More: How to tuck non-skinny jeans into boots

5. Clown feet

Tina Fey gif
Image: Giphy

If flares and bellbottoms do one thing really well, it's make your feet look tiny. Not that I'm ashamed of my foot size or anything but when the ankle of your pants is super tight it does sometimes make your feet look giant. But worse than looks are when the ankles are so tight you need a shoe horn just to get your feet through the bottom of the pants! And heaven help you when it's time to take them off again. There was a reason that skinnies in the '80s had ankle zips, just saying.

6. Speaking of taking them off

Tight pants gif
Image: Giphy

If you thought the tight pants dance is entertaining to get them on then you'll love the aerobic workout you'll get taking them off again! I once had to have a friend come in the dressing room and yank the pants over my feet while I laid on my back. I bought the jeans anyhow. What? They make my butt look amazing! Besides, what are best friends for if not to save you from having to run into public half-naked?

7. Sheer... embarrassment

Embarrassed gif
Image: Giphy

As a girl who lives in her gym leggings, I can tell you I've had to learn by experience to do the "squat test" in front of the mirror before buying. When your pants are tight, they have to stretch when you bend — not a problem when the material is thick. But the stretchier the pants, the thinner the material, it seems. So instead of plumber's crack, now you have peek-a-boo yoga crack. (Why is "yoga crack" not a thing yet?!)

More: How to pick the right skinny jeans for your body type

So while we wait for the fashion trends to swing in a looser direction, the struggle is real.

The basic foolproof method to full, natural-looking eyebrows (VIDEO)


Faking full, natural brows can be a hard skill to master (along with trying to make your winged eyeliner even). One wrong move and your eyebrows could end up looking like they were drawn on with a Sharpie, or like they've suddenly doubled in size.

Avoid the "marker look" altogether by watching the video above for a basic method to mastering perfect full eyebrows that look totally natural.

Model makes history by being the first 'bearded woman' on the runway


Harnaam Kaur was the first woman to walk a major runway with a full beard. The British woman — who suffers from polycystic ovarian syndrome — started growing facial hair at age 11, thanks to a hormonal imbalance common with the illness. She kept up with hair removal until deciding to embrace her natural state at age 16.

More: Caitlyn Jenner is getting into the makeup game with new lipstick

She's faced plenty of criticism in the years since.

"I always wanted to be like the pretty models… I grew up being told that I was fat, ugly, and disgusting to even model. I was told I’d never walk the runway," she wrote on Instagram last week.

harnaam kaur 1

harnaam kaur 1

But jokes on them: Last week, she became the first bearded woman to walk in jewelry designer Marianna Harutunian's fashion show. "Walking the runway was incredibly liberating. I finally had my chance to show people my confidence and my ‘stick it to the norms of beauty’ attitude. I knew that people in the audience would either look at me in shock and surprise," Kaur told BuzzFeed.

More: Makeup guru creates the most beautiful Disney-inspired looks with her hijab

And she killed it. Her self-assured strut is one we can all learn from — but she admitted it took practice to get there.

harnaam kaur 3

harnaam kaur 3

"During my lowest points of walking in public, I used to mentally prepare myself to be and look confident. ‘Harnaam, walk every path as if it were your life’s runway,’ and that is exactly what I did," she told BuzzFeed of the criticism she's faced.

It might have been her first show, but it definitely won't be her last.

"It is just amazing that I actually had the opportunity to walk the runway as the first bearded lady," she said. "I will walk many more runways for designers."

More: Artist's adult coloring book celebrates body positivity

5 Ways to care for dry skin year-round, according to skin care pros


As such, we tapped experts in the skin care industry to give us the skinny on how they recommend caring for dry skin year-round. Here are their top tips.

1. Exfoliate

The first step to caring for dry skin, no matter what the season, is to slough off those dead cells, says Los Angeles-based aesthetician and makeup artist Krissy Portokalsky at C'est Tout Face & Skin Boutique. "Dryness is a layer of dead skin which needs to be removed. Start by exfoliating your skin extremely well — don't be too gentle when using exfoliates," she shared. "The rougher you are when cleansing, the more dead skin will come off."

More: The truth about how a vegan diet affects your skin

Jonny Sherwood, owner of Jonny Cosmetics and Studio M in Charleston, South Carolina, agrees, particularly during the winter when the harsh weather can wreak havoc on your skin. "Cold weather can make the skin dull and flaky," said the beauty guru. "Make sure you exfoliate with a fine exfoliant at least once a week."

2. Go natural

If your skin is typically normal to oily but all of a sudden becomes very dry, it's quite possible you're suffering through an arid fall or winter. Colder weather brings cooler temps, and those temps often come with especially dry air — unlike spring and summer, when humidity in the air (depending on where you live) helps skin maintain some of its moisture.

Portokalsky recommends using an organic product to soothe, hydrate and heal, no matter what the season. "Immediately after you exfoliate, follow up with an all-natural, 100-percent argan or rose oil," she said. "Both are super hydrating and will replenish the skin." Bonus? The fewer additives a product has, the less chance there is it will irk your already irritated dry skin.

3. Drink up

On this point, Sherwood is explicitly clear. "Stay hydrated!" he emphasized. "Start from the inside out." This should become a skin care mantra you abide by all year-round, but be particularly cognizant of it during warmer weather when the heat makes you perspire. Dehydration is detrimental in many ways, and contributing to parched skin is one of them.

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

4. Avoid gel cleansers

Whether it is winter, spring, summer or fall, any products that strip moisture are the cardinal sin of dry skin. You may have been using one all along and had no idea it was exacerbating your itchy, uncomfortable epidermis. "You want to stay away from gel cleansers and use a moisturizing cleanser with a pH that mimics your actual sebum production," explained Sherwood.

For that matter, you might want to consider limiting your shower frequency, too. Although this still seems to be a point of contention among some skin care experts, many feel that bathing or showering frequently is problematic because it strips skin of its natural oils.

5. Make moisturizing your number one habit

Both Portokalsky and Sherwood underscored the importance of moisturizing. Hydration may start on the inside, but the outside shouldn't be neglected. If you're prone to dry skin all year long, use a thick lotion or body butter every day. If your skin is combination and only seems to dry out in the cooler seasons, you can probably get away with a lighter product during warmer weather.

In addition to your arsenal of body butters and lotions, scan your pantry — oatmeal, honey and avocado are just a few of the items you might find there that have incredible moisturizing properties.

More: What skin care experts do when they get a breakout

This post was sponsored by Cetaphil.

4 Ways to repair winter skin


To help restore our not-so-silky skin back to its pre-winter state, we asked a skin care industry expert to weigh in with a few tried-and-true skin care repair tips.

More: 5 Face washes that can take on your dry winter skin

1. Switch it up

"After studying for the past year under one of Los Angeles' most knowledgeable and respected skin care analysts, I've realized how many mistakes I was making with my own skin!" reveals Krissy Portokalsky, aesthetician and makeup artist at C'est Tout Face & Skin Boutique in Los Angeles. "Knowing how to care for your skin properly is extremely important, and when seasons change, so should our regimens."

Which makes sense, right? We don't walk into a snowstorm wearing flip-flops — our skin needs a little assistance adjusting to the changing seasons, too.

2. Say hello to serums

So what should we be doing differently during the winter months to repair the damage being done by the harsh elements? For starters — and this might come as a shock — don't stock up on super heavy moisturizing formulas, says Portokalsky.

"Throw out any heavy moisturizers you may be using, and replace them with a serum," she says. "Serums penetrate into the skin faster than lotions and moisturizers and do not clog pores."

More: 3 More ingredients that should never be in your face moisturizer

3. Feed your skin

Additionally, start giving your skin the credit it is due — it is the largest organ of the body, with a total area of roughly 20 square feet. Not only does it protect us from the elements, but it also helps regulate our body temperature.

If yours is dry, it just means it needs even more TLC than normal (and it deserves it, by gosh).

"Our skin also needs vitamins, just like the rest of our body. Add a strengthening serum into your regimen — something with lots of Vitamins C, E and A. Kind of like a multivitamin, but for your skin!" suggests Portokalsky.

4. Three words: exfoliate and moisturize

To ensure your skin is smooth and absorbing as much of those vitamins as possible, adopt a weekly habit of exfoliating your skin. This will get rid of dead skin cells, clearing the way for you to slather on your favorite moisturizing formula.

Because when it comes to repairing dry winter skin, one thing remains a multi-season standard: moisturizing. Whether your product of choice is a serum, a lotion, a body butter or good ol' Vaseline, the bottom line is you need to be giving your skin the moisture it craves. As Portokalsky points out, "Hydration is the most important element to keeping skin healthy during winter."

More: How do hormones affect beauty?

This post was sponsored by Cetaphil.

5 Winter skin care tips for the whole family


More: Cold weather causes of dry skin

We asked two skin care experts to offer some insight into skin care tips for the entire family. Here's what they shared with us.

1. Start with a gentle cleanser

No matter what age you are, you want to avoid anything that will leach any more moisture out of your already dry skin. Skip gel cleansers and beeline for something more moisturizing, says beauty guru Jonny Sherwood, owner of Jonny Cosmetics and Studio M in Charleston, South Carolina. If your skin is extremely dry or irritated, you can look into cleansers labeled "sensitive" or "for dry skin."

Because washing in and of itself can dry skin further, take it easy. In general, cut tub time down for the kids to less than half an hour. Adults should streamline their showers to the tune of 10 minutes or less. Water should be lukewarm and, for those suffering from severely chapped or peeling skin, facial cleansing should be limited to once per day.

2. Quench your skin (then quench it again)

If there is one resounding sentiment echoed by all skin care experts we've ever polled, it is to keep your skin hydrated. Or, as Sherwood emphatically puts it, "Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!" He suggests going a natural route, recommending that you "moisturize with fractionated coconut oil in the morning, and use a heavier emollient like grape seed oil at night — preferably cold-pressed."

More: Get healthy-looking skin for every skin type

For kids, consider working moisturizer in immediately after they get out of the tub. To keep the lotion from getting all over their sheets instead of their skin, turn the ritual into a relaxing pre-bedtime massage. Not only will they sleep better, but their skin will stay hydrated, too! Another pro trick? Slather a heavy moisturizer on your family's feet at night, slip on a pair of socks and let the lotion do its thing while you sleep. Plus, it's super cozy.

3. Look for products that do double-duty

It can be tricky keeping up with different products for every member of your household, especially when you're part of a big family. For cosmetologist Robin Rast, the key has been in researching and pinpointing products that work for more than one member of her household. "As a mother of three — two with extremely dry skin, one with combination and myself with normal to dry — I have found the Philosophy brand a top choice for my girls and I," Rast explains, adding, "Their body washes and lotions are gentle enough for my girls' skin, so they don't irritate, but rich enough to hydrate."

4. But don't neglect specific needs

If you're lucky enough to find a skin line your entire family loves and that works with everyone in the household's unique skin chemistry, count your lucky stars (and pray they never discontinue the line — ha!). But don't overlook products that tailor to age-specific skin care needs, either as an add-on to the family-friendly product you found or as a stand-alone. For adults, Sherwood points out the anti-aging component of winter skin care for adults. "To help with fine lines," he suggests, "add a couple of drops of 100 percent pure grade frankincense."

5. Wear sunscreen

Yes, sunscreen. Too much exposure to UV rays can cause premature aging, sunspots and even skin cancer. And ever though it may not look like the sun is out, that's exactly why you are more susceptible to sun's damage in the winter — you don't expect it! However, snow can reflect up to 80 percent of UV rays and, even in non-snowy areas, up to 80 percent of UV rays reach the ground on a typical cloudy winter day. Kids should use formulas with a minimum of SPF 30 when they're playing outdoors. Since kids with dry skin need a daily moisturizer anyway, opt for one with SPF built in. Moms and Dads, you should be using a daily SPF 30, too.

More: Kids' winter skin: What to do about it

This post was sponsored by Cetaphil.

My thick brows taught me I don't need to change how I look for anyone


Growing up, my brows were thicker than most and I wanted to fit in, to look like the other girls with thin pencil-like arches above their lashes. Mine in contrast looked connected, like someone took a big brown Sharpie and drew a line across my forehead. I needed to take matters into my own hands. So, it was sometime in the fifth grade that I decided to separate them. I grabbed a pink Daisy razor and swiped it firmly down the middle of my forehead. I noticed there was little change so I tried again. And again. Finally leaving me with two small rectangles on top of my eyes, resembling a set of Charlie Chaplin’s moustache perched on my forehead.

I figured no one would notice at school, but I was wrong, I was teased mercilessly for my new eyebrow crew cut. On picture day I thought I was slick and grabbed some brown eyeliner to fill in the missing lines; the contrast only making my forehead more noticeable. Eventually my eyebrows grew back, but now they were on my radar more than ever.

As puberty struck, I discovered a pair of shiny silver tweezers resting on the top shelf in our bathroom’s medicine cabinet. I grabbed them and spent endless hours aiming the metal object at my loose hairs. I could not hold my hand steady enough at first, yet after a while got used to it. To add sheen, sometimes I would sleek Vaseline on them to keep them in place. They were finally starting to resemble my peers' eyebrows.

But no matter how slim and sleek my eyebrows appeared I still got comments. “You know who you look like? Brooke Shields!” While I knew she was envied for how good she looked in her Calvin’s, I took it as an insult. That was one pair of eyebrows I’d preferred not being compared to. She and I were just about the only two women at the time with thick eyebrows. One of us was faring better than the other.

Eventually I began to invest my income in a myriad of painful ways to remove the unwanted hairs. Waxing. Electrolysis and even threading at a popular store in Jackson Heights, Queens, where they displayed their procedure live on television sets for viewing on the street below the number 7 train. Glad I was only getting my eyebrows done. Threading seemed harmless enough, but those thin white strands felt like knives slicing off bits of your face; leaving remnants of my cilia resting like sheaves on the floor. How long would I have to keep this up?

Years went by and my tweezers became my crutch.

I used to carry them with me everywhere I went; like a trusty weapon against strayed tresses. Then one day, airport security took my trusty Tweezermans. I went through serious plucking withdrawal, reaching for my apparatus even when I knew it wasn’t there, but I got used to it. I survived a full week without a single removal. At first I was horrified, but ultimately I grew to like their thicker shape. I liked how they complemented my features, how they set me apart. I’d spent so much time trying to tame them that I never permitted myself to see how they would look au naturel. The verdict was surprising. People started to tell me they actually liked my eyebrows better now. “Your eyebrows were too thin before,” a friend commented. I’d never been accused of being too thin of anything so I took notice.

When you are younger, you want to look like everyone else, even if it means you stop looking like yourself. It took hijacking my tweezers to realize I was better off just the way I was. I wish I learned that lesson earlier. Now I have come to a happy compromise. My eyebrows are still a prominent feature, but I go to the salon for maintenance. Today strangers come up to me to and compliment them, which always makes me raise an eyebrow. Some even expressed envy — how they wished theirs could be so thick. Imagine that.

So when I notice other women with bold, thick eyebrows, I smile and wonder how long it took them to discover their beauty.

How sitting in a salon chair almost cost a woman her life


In December 2013, Elizabeth Smith went to the Blowbunny Salon in San Diego to get her hair shampooed and styled. The 48-year-old was fine when she left the salon, but eight days later she started feeling numbness in her left arm and leg. It eventually went away, but the next week she had a massive stroke.

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"I vomited, my head became hot and I couldn't stand. I had weakness in my arms and legs. They didn't think I was going to live," Smith told KGTV.

The cause? Her 10 minutes in the salon chair caused a "beauty parlor stroke," a condition that happens when the neck is overextended. Doctors who treated Smith said she hyperextended her neck, which caused her vertebrae to slice an artery that eventually created a blood clot and the resulting stroke.

"Several of Ms. Smith's neurologists confirmed with her that the stroke was caused by the vertebrae dissecting her artery during her hair wash," Smith's attorney Carree Nahama told the news station.

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Though it's rare, it has happened to other women. One case study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 1993 explored the cases of of five women between 54 and 84 who were hospitalized with similar neurological symptoms after receiving shampoos at salons.

"We believe the personnel didn't adequately support her neck or adjust the chair properly to compensate for the small frame of our client," Spencer Busby, another one of her attorneys, added.

Smith is hoping that her lawsuit will inspire change in the industry and cause salons to install reclining chairs and consult with their clients about any potential health problems.

"It's shocking to think such a benign activity can kill you," she said.

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The simple visit to the salon ended up costing her over $250,000 in medical bills, along with residual vision and balance problems. She's also still worried about her future since a blood clot is still in her brain — if it moves, she could die.

"So I do live with that every night. I go to sleep wondering, will I wake up tomorrow?"

4 top stylists weigh in on what they want to do to your hair for spring


We consulted with some of our favorite stylists to decide just how to mix up our hair this spring.

1. Layered mid-length cuts that are more manageable

For those of you who are done trying to imitate Julianne Hough's perfect messy blowout, we have good news: The lob has met its demise. Judy McGuinness, stylist at Mizu Salon in NYC, says mid-length hair is the way to go as more women start to grow out their lobs. Women are aiming for a "still fashion-forward mid-length cut, keeping it more blunt than super layered," she says. Rafe Hardy, Artistic Director for Sexy Hair, predicts we'll see more "shoulder-length textured perimeter bobs."

Khloe Kardashian hair
Image: Chris Weeks/Getty Images Entertainment

2. Extra texture to spice up your lob

If you're looking to leave your lob behind, Nate Rosenkranz, one of the Creative Team Stylists at Alterna Haircare suggests punching up your look with more texture. "For a while we've been seeing the softer beachy waves, and now it's been fun to do more of an unstructured, edgier spin on that look," he says. His go-tos for spring include short, shaggy rocker cuts inspired by Joan Jett.

Image: Gregg DeGuire/Wireimage/Getty Images

3. Long braids

On the styling front, this season's trends are all about comfort, ease and cool-girl appeal. According to Tara Smith, who has styled celebs from Demi Moore to Lindsay Lohan, we'll see the return of long braids.

Hailey Baldwin hair

Image: Michael Stewart/Getty Images/Entertainment

4. Unfixed buns

For Hardy, braids and buns — two styles that are only as complicated as you want them to be — will reign supreme. "Buns have taken on a much looser, unfixed, casual feel that can be adorned with barrettes, headbands and other accessories," he says. That means, depending on your mood, you can wear your "I woke up like this" look or follow a 20-step Pinterest tutorial to get the braid/bun you want, and you'll be on trend either way.

Kate Upton unfixed bun
Image: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment

5. Messy bangs

If you're looking for just a small change, our stylists suggest (don't be scared!) messy bangs. "I think the biggest impact with the least commitment is to change up your fringe. It doesn't have to be a full bang, but even shorter pieces framing your face can make a big difference," says McGuinness. Don't worry, if all else fails, you can always throw your hair up in a bun.

Dakota Johnson messy bangs
Image: Karwai Tang/Wireimage/Getty Images

Now we know what causes some to go gray earlier than others


But why are people (and several other species) afflicted with the graying experience? And more important, why do some people get gray hairs far younger than others? The simple answer is that your parents probably have something to do with it. No, not because they stress you out, although I'm sure that's responsible for making you look older in other ways, but rather because of their genes.

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According to a study conducted by University College in London and recently published in the journal Nature Communications, if you're prematurely going gray, you can throw your parents a big chunk of the blame. The researchers looked at the hair types of 6,300 Latin American people of European, Native American and African descent and compared them to the owners' genomes. What they discovered was that the Europeans who went gray sooner have the gene IRF4, which scientists believe is one of the genes responsible for taking the color out of hair follicles.

After analyzing all the data, the researchers came to the conclusion that 30 percent of graying is caused by genetics, while 70 percent is caused by environmental factors. So you can send at least about a third of the blame to your folks.

As for the environmental factors that are at work robbing you of your lustrous hair color, these are the biggest culprits:

More: Cutting out shampoo and conditioner could be the best thing for your hair

1. Smoking

Along with a slew of other terrible side effects, smoking has been linked to premature graying. According to a 2013 study, smokers are two and a half times more likely to develop gray hair early on (like, before 30). That's certainly the quickest way to stop getting carded at bars.

2. Stress

While there is no hard-and-fast evidence that says stress can cause those little gray hairs to show up faster, photos of Obama before and after his eight years in office have convinced many. According to a 2011 study conducted by Nobel Prize winner Robert Lefkowitz, the energy your body uses up in fight-or-flight scenarios could be damaging your DNA, which in turn can cause premature aging and graying.

3. Pollution

If you live in a bustling metropolis, chances are you'll go gray before your friends in the suburbs. There are harmful reactive oxygen radicals in pollution that can go to work on your hair follicles, damaging the hair cells as they form. That's one great reason we all should give up the busy life and move to the country!

So what can you do if you start to notice more and more of those silver strands taking up residence on your scalp? Well, you can either pluck them (because the idea that three will grow in its place is a myth) or wait for a cure from Europe, which, according to a long-standing study, is imminent.

More: Female hair loss: What's normal and what's not

The latest lip plumping trend requires surgery


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So what is a lip lift, exactly? Imagine pulling your Cupid's bow up slightly toward your nose. Just a few millimeters is enough to lift the top lip, giving it more surface area and making it look bigger overall. The surgical procedure is designed specifically to reduce the distance between the lips and the nose while essentially pulling the upper lip's pink tissue up from inside the mouth outward and increasing the size of the lip that is visible.

"Injectables are wonderful for their temporary results of up to six months for defining the upper and lower lips and creating a fuller look," explains plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Epstein, "but the lip lift permanently shortens the upper lip area, allowing for greater upper teeth show, with the added benefit being increased poutiness."

Typically performed under local anesthesia, the procedure involves the removal of a small strip of skin from immediately below the nose that results in a relaxed, mouth-slightly-open, model-looking-off-into-the-distance perma-smile.

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"The lip lift as a procedure has been in existence for decades," explains Dr. Josh Zuckerman, a plastic surgeon at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City, "but we have decidedly seen an increase in the popularity of lip lifts over the past six months to one year."

Who's opting for permanent surgical intervention? Millennials made up 36 percent of the overall interest in 2015, according to RealSelf.

Epstein stresses patients need to understand the permanency of the results and the small risk of scarring and nostril distortion, which he notes is usually avoidable in an experienced surgeon’s hands. Doctors look for a distance between the nose and the upper lip of greater than 1.8 cm for best results. "If a patient is happy with fillers, I won't recommend the upper lip lift," he says.

While this may become a fan favorite for those looking to ditch fillers and lip-plumping cosmetics, not all surgeons are fans. Dr. Paul Nassif, of Botched fame and a RealSelf adviser, finds the scar unsightly and the look too surgical. But if you're willing to take the plunge, get ready to plunk down over $3,000 for the procedure. It is a permanent fix, so it might just be worth the investment, given it's roughly the equivalent to about four rounds of Juvederm!

More: My blood was injected into my face for a cosmetic procedure — and I loved it

Behold, the ultimate beauty packing list


Sometimes you're lucky and it's an item readily available at a local convenience store (hello, cheapo eyelash curler!), but other times, it's something you simply have to learn to live without for the duration of your travels.

And that's no fun, right? So before you haul your luggage out the door, feast your eyes on this ultimate beauty packing list.

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First and foremost, though, you'll need to check current travel regulations regarding liquid items if you're flying — no one likes being told they have to chuck a brand-new beauty product because the bottle is too big. Even if you're just taking a road trip, it's wise to consider transferring products to smaller size containers for maximum portability and to minimize product loss should you lose your luggage or suffer a spill.

Skin care

Once you've got your travel containers squared away, you'll want to make sure you bring the essentials needed to keep your skin healthy and dewy during your travels. Make sure to include any of these items you use on a regular basis:

  • Face wash
  • Face scrub
  • Toner
  • Anti-aging serum
  • Morning moisturizer
  • Makeup remover
  • Sunscreen
  • Cotton pads
  • Eye cream
  • Night cream


I'm a bit of a minimalist when it comes to makeup while I travel, largely because I somehow always manage to make a huge mess of the makeup I bring — which is precisely why I recommend packing makeup in smaller bags (Ziploc snack bags work wonders). That way, everything you own doesn't end up in shimmer when your eye shadow compact apparently explodes in your bag.

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I also recommend packing your makeup kit as you're applying it. This way, you won't mentally skip a step and leave behind the primer that makes your pores miraculously small. Of course, everyone's makeup bag will look a little bit different, but grab any of these products that you use even a little bit regularly:

  • Primer
  • Foundation or tinted sunscreen
  • Concealer
  • Powder
  • Bronzer
  • Blush
  • Lipstick
  • Lip balm
  • Eyeliner
  • Eye shadow
  • Mascara
  • Highlighter and/or a contouring kit
  • Brow pencil
  • Brow powder
  • Brow gel
  • Tweezers (if allowed)
  • Spoolie

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Especially if you are traveling by plane, you'll need to pack a beauty bag to help combat the dryness of stale cabin air. And, in general, everyone wants to glow on vacation, right? Include these items to make sure it happens:

  • Daily moisturizer
  • Body wash
  • Body scrub
  • Shaving gel or cream
  • Razor
  • Perfume


Are the odds good that if you forget to bring your hair products, the hotel you're visiting will have some handy? Sure, but there's no accounting for quality — those tiny bottles of off-brand shampoo and conditioner can turn the tamest hair into an unmanageable mess. Bring your own trusted brands of in-shower products, along with anything you use to style your hair after the shower. Consider these items:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair oil
  • Holding product like mousse or spray
  • Dry shampoo
  • Texturizing pomade
  • Bobby pins
  • Elastic bands

More: How shampoo can damage your hair and how to prevent it

Tools and accessories

Every woman knows that the right tools can make or break a beauty routine. Make sure you have these somewhere in your bag:

  • Eyelash curler
  • Hairbrush
  • Makeup brushes
  • Heated hair styling tools such as a dryer and flat iron


While there are several other helpful beauty items you could pack, there is at least one absolute that doesn't necessarily fit into the above categories: your toothbrush. Outside of that last essential, though, the rest of your ultimate beauty packing list is largely determined by personal preference. If your travels include logging lots of air time, toss in a rejuvenating serum or rosewater spritz so your skin doesn't look quite so parched upon arrival. For de-puffing eyes — and drinking, if you so desire — include a couple of chamomile tea bags. And it never hurts to have a fabulous bag so your beauty goods can travel in as much style as you do.

This post was sponsored by Vera Bradley.

'Trumping' is the new, totally hilarious way to do your face (VIDEO)


Ever wondered how to get a strange orange glow that contrasts so nicely with your white mouth and under-eye circles? Ever wanted to complement an insane flyaway comb-over? Well, now you can.

See below:



OK, so the video is somewhat political. But let's forget that part. Regardless of your political affiliation, we can all agree that the Donald's look is odd, indeed. He really is as orange as Willy Wonka's little friends back in the chocolate factory. Why would you look like that if you could avoid it?

More: Behold, the ultimate beauty packing list

The fact is, bronzer and fake tanning can be dangerous, indeed. You can look for a sun-kissed glow and end up with a carrot-in-the-sun appearance. It's not a good look. If you are going to try bronzer, it makes the most sense to do so with a professional makeup artist (whose look you like), who can guide you on the best way to get that beautiful glow without looking like a Cheeto.

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As for Trump, well, he's got bigger problems than looking like an unhealthy snack food. Let's just hope his policies — and his looks — stay where they belong: on him and him alone.

Dry brushing may be the answer to your dry skin woes


Dry brushing is beneficial, if done carefully

Running dry bristles all over your skin may feel a bit strange, but doing so for a few minutes each day can stimulate the body’s circulation and lymphatic systems, according to celebrity facialist Ildi Pekar.

“Since your skin is the largest organ, the stimulation helps increase the functions of detoxifying your body of excess water and toxins,” Pekar says. “And aside from exfoliating your skin, it can help improve digestion and kidney function.”

Natural and effective, body brushing works best with serious commitment. To dry brush correctly, holistic expert Elissa Goodman recommends brushing five minutes in the morning, using your brush on the body (arms, legs, etc.) in circular motions.

“Dry brushing clears dead skin cells and allows your cells to breathe, giving the toxins (you’re getting rid of) an escape path,” Goodman says. “I recommend spending five minutes in the morning brushing your skin in circular motions.”

Take caution when brushing

But as you brush, it’s important to do so with caution.

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“Be careful not to brush the skin too roughly or too frequently and don't go over the same area too many times,” cautions Tsippora Shainhouse. “Chronic rubbing of the skin can cause skin irritation, thickening and potential post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.”

And when brushing continuously, keep in mind that chronic stretching and scrubbing of the skin can really affect your pores over time. Harsh motions and pressure from your brush can only clog and enlarge pores, which can lead to scar tissue if you’re not careful.

So is it really worth the risk? While exfoliation can be achieved through continuous use of your favorite sugar scrubs and loofahs, dry brushing takes the concept to new levels. Regular brushing of the skin can keep it velvety smooth, while also helping your skin care essentials work better than before.

“Gently brushing the skin can help lightly exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells, leaving skin feeling softer, smoother, and prepping it for better absorption of moisturizers,” explains Tsippora Shainhouse, Beverly Hills dermatologist and clinical instructor at the University of Southern California.

And while the jury is still out on dry brushing’s other reported health benefits, adding this practice to your routine really can’t hurt if you proceed with caution.

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“When you squeeze, stretch and scrub skin, you’re contributing to the formation of fine lines, inflammation and irritation, all of which can affect pore size over time,” says dermatologist and RealSelf contributor Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “Harsh motions and pressure also make the transfer of oil, bacteria and other impurities from your hands more of a risk, which can lead to clogging. When you repeatedly and aggressively clean out all pores, whether they need to be cleared or not, they can become permanently stretched and even develop scar tissue and a deeper indentation.” 

So if you are interested in testing this trend out, remember that moderation is key. Be sure to brush with caution, and limit your brushings to under five minutes a day. This will help you avoid brushing too hard, or too long. For a gentle brush to add to your routine, try using the Bon-Skincare B.O.N. Dry Body Brush ($20) on your skin before you shower or take a bath.

9 Sephora Collection products just as good as the high-end, expensive brands


1. Eyeliner

Image: Sephora

These Contour 12hr Wear eye pencils are nearly identical to Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils. They are soft and creamy to apply and smudge out and have great staying power. One of my favorite shades is Tiramisu. (Sephora, $10)

2. Makeup remover

Makeup remover
Image: Sephora

Sephora sells tons of their Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover every day with good reason. Gentle but effective, safe for contact lens wearers and those with sensitive eyes, it removes even the toughest of waterproof eye makeup. For something you go through quickly and use every day, no need to spend more! (Sephora, $11)

More: Sephora's newest makeup collection is a must-have for Disney lovers

3. Lip liner

Lip liner
Image: Sephora

I’ve always loved these lip liners (Rouge Gel Lip Liner and Lip Liner to Go) which are completely comparable to the higher end brands. (Sephora, $12 and $6)

4. Night moisturizer

Night moisturizer
Image: Sephora

I love this rich night cream for packing great anti-aging ingredients into a budget-friendly product. It hydrates great and contains Sephora’s proprietary HydroSenn + and rice nutripeptides. (Sephora, $30)

5. Cream lip stain

Cream lip stain
Image: Sephora

These have been around since before the matte and liquid lipstick trends took over and have stood the test of time. They apply smoothly, have rich pigments and the wear time is great. Best of all, they have no drying feeling or look. Infinite Rose is one of my favorite nude shades. (Sephora, $14)

6. Concealer

Image: Sephora

When you need to cover a blemish, this high coverage concealer does it flawlessly. The texture melts into skin and the shade selection is great. (Sephora, $15)

More: 25 Sephora bestsellers ranked by women who've tried them

7. Powder blush

Powder blush
Image: Sephora

The Sephora blushes hit all the marks with their high pigment, smooth application and wear. The color selections are flattering and wide. (Sephora, $14)

8. Luminizer

Image: Sephora

This is a fantastic dupe for NARS Albatross highlighter. It applies even more smoothly and is much kinder to your wallet. Because it’s a baked product, a little bit goes a long way. (Sephora, $14)

8. Lip balm

Lip balm
Image: Sephora

This is one of my favorite lip balms ever. Its non-waxy texture leaves lips feeling super soft. It contains Shea Butter: Provides emollient properties and improves skin's texture. It’s enriched with shea, grapeseed oil, meadowfoam seed oil and vitamin E. (Sephora, $5)

More: 24 Amazing beauty products chosen by women like you

How to cut your own bangs in seconds with zero regret (VIDEO)


I'll admit I tried it once as a teen, and let's just say the results were so uneven that my extremely angry mom had to pay for someone to fix the damage. Since then, I've only trusted my super-curly hair to the professionals, but one makeup and beauty vlogger says it's entirely possible to successfully trim the trickiest thing of all: bangs.

More: 6 ways you're ruining your hair color and don't even know it (VIDEO)

Camila Bravo posted a short Instagram video demonstrating how she cuts her own bangs. "Before calling me crazy, I have been cutting my own side bangs since forever ago. I love how they come out just by doing what I am showing here," she captioned on the video.

how to cut your own bangs

how to cut your own bangs

First, she pulled together a section near the front of her hair. Then she dampened the hair and twisted the hair together before she cut through in one stroke.

"If you have curly hair like myself, cut them a little lower than the actual desired length because keep in mind the hair will shrink," she added.

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Bravo makes it look super easy, of course, because she's already a pro at it. But if you're still worried about messing it up, you can follow this step-by-step guide to getting the perfect bangs without accidentally shaving your head.

Spring is the perfect time to try out a new style, so show off that fringe — no matter if you DIY or enlist the help of a professional.

More: 6 ways you can make your hair grow faster