Category: Pro Tips

How to Turn Your Smartphone into Your Personal Fashion Consultant

Today’s guest post is by the ever-lovely Gwen Eve Lewis. Gwen is a beauty and health writer for several publications, and something of a confirmed resource for all things gorgeous. We are excited to have her! Be sure to check out her other beautiful musings by following her Twitter feed:

As smartphone technology kicks up yet another gear, it seems that there is little left that the phones of 2015 can’t do. They’re our organizers, gameboys, calculators, fitness trackers–and now even our fashion consultants. If your smartphone has yet to start fulfilling the role of fashion consultant, then have no fear: here are tips on how to turn your handy sidekick into the ultimate fashionista.

Makeup Genius by L’Oréal Paris 

Makeup Genius by L’Oréal Paris is a neat little app that allows you to test makeup styles and color palettes through your smartphone camera. Instead of adding makeup to a still picture of you, it applies the palette to your live face, giving you a working idea of what your makeup choices will actually look like in real life. If you find a selection that you like, you can order the makeup that contributed to your look directly through the app.

Hair Color by ModiFace

The ModiFace Hair Color app is a handy tool if you’re thinking about taking the plunge and getting your hair colored. After uploading a picture of yourself to the app, you can test different hair colors on yourself. Some colors are only available if you upgrade to the premium version of ModiFace for $1.99, but you can get a pretty good idea from the free version of whether a color palette is right for you. To narrow it down to the perfect shade, you’ll have to upgrade.


Beautified is a super useful beauty app for the fashion-conscious procrastinator. The app allows you to find and book same-day beauty services, and  is available in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Francisco, and Washington DC.


Using an uploaded picture of you, Visada offers handy beauty hacks to help you improve your skin and select makeups that flatter your complexion. As well as offering some great skin care tips and tricks, Visada analyzes your face shape, using your results to give you hairstyle recommendations.


A great deal-finding beauty tool, Lifebooker finds the best salon and spa deals in your area. Find coupons, compare prices, and even book appointments on this useful little app. Not sure if a salon or spa is right for you? Lifebooker shows you recent reviews and ratings as well as available appointment times.


If you’re tired of paying high dermatologist fees for skin analysis, then SkinBetter is the perfect tool for you. Through the app, you can upload a picture of your skin and complete a skin analysis profile. Using this information, the app identifies your skin problem areas, and then makes skincare product recommendations based upon your results.


If you’re concerned about the ingredients of your beauty products (and you should be, many popular products contain known carcinogens), then ThinkDirty is a great tool for you. The app is easy to use, and analyzes and ranks the toxicity of the ingredients in the beauty products that you own.

With these and any other apps you may find at your disposal, you can add personal beauty consultant to your smartphone’s list of roles it plays in your life!

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Beauty Advice to my 16- Year Old Self

Every day I put on my eyebrows. Every day, with a very steady hand and a light cosmetic mirror, I have to carefully reconstruct the eyebrows I destroyed as a teenager. I used to have the most beautiful, glorious eyebrows. And now, I just have pathetic and uneven commas. Had I only known…

Sometimes I day dream of the kind of high-school reunion that teen movies are made of. I was such a dork in high school. Growing up in foster care, I never had any money to look cool and definitely lacked social skills. I lived with a family during my teen years that was nothing but trauma and drama, so in addition to all the normal strangeness of being a teenager, I was also coping with very out-of-the-ordinary home life situations. Simply put, my teen years sucked way more than most.

Now my skin has cleared up, I grew into my own kind of beauty as a woman, and I’m thankful to be pretty successful. A couple years ago I fully planned on arriving to our 10 year reunion- fit, tan, bigger boobs (thanks to a great bra, no surgery!), and very pretty. I was going to pull out all the tricks in my makeup bag to make sure that I turned heads. Every girl who sneered at me, every boy who made fun of me, every teacher who felt sorry for me… I was going to show them! And then, the reunion fell apart because most of our “class” still doesn’t have any class, and rather than waste a perfectly good weekend trying to impress people who didn’t care about me 10 years ago, I skipped it.

Never have I given much this thought to what I would do differently if I knew when I was 16 what I know now about being beautiful.  But I was reminded about my youthful mistakes when I noticed one of my eyebrows had smeared slightly after a very long day. If I could sit my socially awkward, very poor, acne ridden self down and have a chat with her, this is what I’d say.

beauty advice 16 years old

from 16 and awkward to 30 and slightly less awkward

Wear as much purple and blue mascara as you can. Eventually, you’ll be regulated to browns and beige’s and warm tones and things that a grown woman is expected to wear to look natural and flawless. (Just so ya know, there’s nothing natural about being flawless.) Sure, no one is going to stop you if you really want to wear purple or blue mascara as a grown up, but people will judge you differently. And judgement doesn’t end when the cliques break up at graduation. It just turns into something different, less obvious, and actually effects you more when you’re grown up. So pile on the color while you can, love your vivid lashes and have as much fun as you can with color in your makeup. Live it up!!

Don’t dye your hair black. EVER. Besides the fact that artificially true black hair looks good on only a very few people, it’s a nightmare to get rid of. Without your parents or you forking out hundreds of dollars for a professional hair dresser to fix it, you’re going to end up ruining your hair and probably having to chop it all off. Instead, head right on over to Hot Topic (you know you love that store anyways) and pick out every color of the rainbow and dye your hair that. Go pink, go green, go purple, go crazy! Put three or four or five in at once! It will wash out in a few weeks, so it’s all good.

Let the professionals handle your eyebrows and keep them thick. Just trust me on this one. You may not realize it, but the day will come when you won’t dive underwater when you’re swimming at the ocean for fear of your eyebrows coming off. If your brows do need to be waxed or tweezed, let a pro do it and save your future exotic vacation beach photo’s from eyebrow disaster.

Don’t share makeup with anyone you wouldn’t make out with. If you’re not willing to swap spit with your BFF, then don’t swap lipgloss or mascara. You can catch all kinds of  not-so-prettiness from shared makeup, and especially eye makeup. And I hate to break it to you, but teenage girls aren’t much cleaner than teenage boys.  But, if you’re kissing someone anyways, I suppose you’ve already got whatever they have. If you ain’t sharing saliva, don’t share makeup.

Sun damage lasts way longer than a tan. Sun damage is like an exam that’s really, really far away. You think you got this, you think it’s no big deal, and then bam! It’s exam day. Only, the exam you will have will be in a dermatologists office and the price you pay will be far more than a bad grade. A few years ago I did a series of three facial treatments that were $450 each. It was painful, expensive, and pretty bloody. You probably do better math than I do, so you already know how many prom and homecoming dresses that works out to be. Wear loads of 50 SPF sunscreen no matter what.

Don’t get facial piercings. Except maybe your nose, if you’re parents say it’s OK. But lip, eyebrow, snake bites? Believe me, you are going to regret having those holes in your face. Most employers won’t let you wear jewelry in them anyways. You’ll basically wander around 5 days a week with a saggy hole in your face and only wear jewelry on the weekends- which, at some point in your life, you’ll probably not think is so cool. Get those fake jewelry pieces and call it good. Oh! And while I’m at it, skip the tongue piercing. Your employer will make you take that out too, and the hole will close up, but that will be a good thing- it can damage your teeth, and nice teeth are important to being beautiful.

I know that you are growing up in a day and age where being unique is a big deal and you think that “judgement” is so not cool. You think that when you grow up, you’ll be able to do all this stuff that grown ups never let you do before. But, when you grow up, you’re going to be playing by a different set of rules, and if you break the rules, you’ll be a different kind of grounded. That’s not to say that being an adult is all boring and bad- you can make it pretty amazing! I love my life much more now than I did when I was 16. The best way to explain is this: If you play soccer, you wouldn’t show up to the game in skinny jeans. Sure, if you really want to “express yourself”, you could, but the referee is probably going to bench you. The trick with beauty is to play by the rules enough so that you don’t get benched and still can play the game. But, my sweet, awkward 16 year old self, you are not IN the game yet. So wear whatever you want! Wear it all, wear none of it, wear color! The only beauty rule you need to listen to right now is to keep everything you do temporary. As long as it disappears with a few washes, go for it. Don’t hold back. Be unique. Take beauty risks. Explore who you are and what you love. There’s plenty of time for all that other seriousness later. That’s why they let you have wine when you grow up- because you probably won’t be wearing blue mascara.

One thought on “Beauty Advice to my 16- Year Old Self

  1. Amelia…where was this when I was a teenager?!?! I did ALL of these things!! At least the piercings closed up and after years and years my hair got back to normal from the jet black dye i used when i was 17 but I was awkward for YEARS from trying to make myself less awkward! Love the read. thanks for sharing!

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8 Wedding Makeup Tips for the Modern Bride

wedding makeup tipsThis Spring, it will be 10 years since I started doing wedding hair and makeup in Las Vegas. Just saying that doesn’t even seem real to me- 10 years? WOW. It doesn’t seem like that long ago I did my first wedding, but yet when I think about how fast things change it seems like it was several decades ago, instead of just one. When I started doing wedding hair, it was all about the curly and high up-do complete with twisties and hosed down with glitter spray. I also had to print off all the inspiration images my brides sent- smart phones were just starting to be a thing, so I had to have the printed images on hand for the day of the wedding. My entire calendar was in a real-life paper day planner, and I do believe more than once I had to go back to a wedding to fetch it because I forgot it. At any rate- we’ve come a long way. There’s a lot that change, and a different set of rules when it comes to bridal hair and makeup. Here’s what I’ve learned, both old and new, wedding makeup tips for the modern bride.

1) Don’t count on Pinterest to show your wedding hair and makeup artist. This tip alone is what prompted me to write this article- Brides LOVE Pinterest. And I do too- it’s amazing. It’s pretty much the perfect way to collect ideas for your wedding day, and you should definitely use it! But, everything that you love, you need to take a screen shot of on your phone and save. Nearly every wedding now our brides try to pull up their Pinterest board, only to realize they either don’t have reception or the WiFi is crappy. You really can’t count on having access to the internet on your big day, even if your hotel or venue says that you do. Less than a second is all it takes to make sure your inspiration images for your wedding day hair and makeup are saved to your phone, keeping your stress level and timeline in order.

2) Let your mom do her thing. We love our moms and want them to look and feel beautiful! It’s their big day, too, and then there’s the photo’s to think of. But sometimes, mom really doesn’t want to wear lashes, and she probably does love her lipstick, and when you try to force her into a look she’s spent decades feeling comfortable with, it puts a damper on her day. Don’t try to change your mom unless she’s into it and wants to. If the feathered bangs she’s been rocking since 1984 are her thing, let her have them. We know you just want to photo’s to come out great and yes, her personal style may be dated to you, but it’s not worth it if she feels uncomfortable. And she’ll make us re-do it in a style or look she’s more comfortable with after, anyways.

3) Make friends with reality. I’m a big fan of Photoshop- I have convinced myself  more than once that I really AM 15 lbs lighter after not realizing how much work was done on an image. But, Photoshop has also really distorted our perception of reality. Those beautiful eye makeup tutorials? Yes, they look great on the person with the big eye shape who did them. And the smooth, flawless skin? You can have that in just a few clicks, but it may not be able to come from a makeup artist. We can only work with color, we can’t do anything about texture, so if your skin has some texture problems those will still be there after a professional makeup application. I have acne scars myself and trust me, if there was a way makeup could make my skin smooth, I would have figured it out already.

4) Your tattoo’s are part of you. Own it. We offer tattoo cover and are happy to take care of your 18 year old bright idea so Grandma doesn’t know, but understand that some tattoos can’t be covered without an understanding of what’s involved. You’re ex’s name is over your heart and you’re wearing a plunging neckline? If the fabric isn’t too snug, and that tattoo is fairly old, we can probably cover it with mild damage to your dress. But, if your dress rubs on the area where the makeup is applied, friction can make the makeup move. While most professional wedding makeup artists with use a water-proof, budge-proof formula, you have to understand that friction it’s a whole different story. That flower on your arm? Just leave it. If it’s not offensive, it’s not worth risking getting makeup all over your gown and your hugging guests. In fact, bedazzle it! Embrace it. We are starting to see brides bling out and dress up their tattoo’s to make them wedding glamorous.

5) Reign in your contour fantasies. In private groups and happy hours all over the country wedding makeup artists are talking about the contour trend and trying to find a nice way of saying “Yes, I’ll give you contour, but not Kim K style because you’ll look like a drag queen in person.” While I can’t speak for all the other makeup artists, I can tell you that I am a big fan of contour! I love how with just a few well-placed strokes I can define and sculpt a face. However, I don’t do it to the extreme that all these tutorials are showing you. It only looks good to you because it’s on camera- in real life, like your wedding day where guests will see you in person, too much and too harsh contouring can and will make you look like a contestant on Ru Pauls Drag Race. Understand that a skilled wedding makeup artist knows the perfect balance between making you look amazing in person, and flawless on camera.

6) Clip-In extensions. Own them and love them. All those amazing images of beautiful cascading waves you see? Yup, there’s a good chance a few extensions were popped into her hair to make it fuller, longer, lusher. If your hair isn’t very thick, layered, and long, we can’t create those big beautiful waves for you without adding some hair. Because most wedding hair and makeup artists work on location, it’s unrealistic for us to carry all the different kind of hair we would need to pop in extensions at a moments notice. You’ll need to do some advanced planning for that. So, if you plan on wearing your hair down, and you want that look, get yourself some beautiful clip-ins and we’d be happy to secure them in place for you. Also, be sure that your at-home stylist does NOT blunt-cut your ends, they have to be textured (beveled, shattered, razored) so that your hair and the extensions blend seamlessly.

7) Simple is Chic for your ‘maids. Pretty much all our brides now are over the matchy-matchy concept, letting their bridesmaids wear what suits them within the look/color scheme of the wedding. Same goes for hair, too, with most brides OK letting the maids pick out their own style. Having witnessed too many unflattering yet matching ‘dos in my career, I’m pretty happy that fad is gone. At least now, when our bridesmaids have similar hair styles, the bride is OK with letting us customize the look so it works with each individual bridesmaids features. However, when thinking of bridesmaids hair and makeup, keep it simple. Simple is chic, and having one bridesmaid who chooses this super intricate up-do with braids and curls and twists and every element she can find crammed onto one head of hair looks like she’s stealing the brides thunder. And, remember, the back of her hair probably won’t be in most photos. Then there’s the fact that if her style has all that going on, she’s going to time-stamp herself and classic elegance just went out the window. Simple is always timeless, always beautiful, and can still have a modern twist. Think down, beautiful curls or waves, maybe some pieces softly pinned back. Think low swept up-do’s, either clean or soft, depending on your taste. Makeup too, should be simple and classic, and somewhat uniform. You don’t want one ‘maid with winged eyes and red lips and another with purple smokey shadow and a nude lip. Choose a flattering idea, keep it simple, and let your ‘maids make it their own.

8) Airbrush isn’t always the right answer. I left this last because the tip is short, you can read my thoughts on airbrush makeup here. 

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Beauty Spring Clean! 5 Tips to turn your spring cleaning into a spa day

If you’ve grown up in Vegas like most of the ‘Co has, you can appreciate the intense heat a whole lot more than visitors do. I’ve had some of our clients tell us that coming here in July is like sticking your head in the oven- it can definitely be unpleasant if you’re not used to it! But, for those of us who have spent many hot summer nights here, Spring is a sign of margaritas and pool time and planting tomatoes and opening the windows to let the stuffiness of winter breeze out.

The idea of spring cleaning may not sound that exciting to you- who wants to scrub the house when it’s so beautiful outside? But, if it’s gotta get done, you might as well make the most of it. If I’m going to be indoors and out of the public eye all day, it’s yoga pants and beauty treatments all the way. And it makes me feel super-decadent. Somewhere around 5 pm, my house smells amazing, my body feels amazing, and I’m sitting outside sipping wine and dreaming of hot summer nights. Here’s 5 spring beauty tips that you can totally do on your spring cleaning day, to lighten up both your body and your home.

1) Even the most intimidating scrub-downs can be a little more pleasant with a frilly, super girly rubber glove. Before you slip them on, coat your hands with an ultra-rich Shea butter or coconut 5 spring beauty tipsbutter. Really rub it in and thick, then pop your rubber gloves on and get to work. By the time you’re done, you’ve got your own home-made hand softening treatment. The heat from your body and the gloves will help the intense moisture really penetrate those dried out cuticles and the scaly patches between your fingers- which you probably have if you washed your hands plenty during cold and flu season.

2) I love all those hair treatment masks, but who has time for that? If you take a shower in the morning, you probably don’t have 30 minutes to sit around waiting for it’s magic to work. There’s a good chance your going to shower off all the grime from a day of cleaning anyways, and hopefully no one is going to stop by for a surprise visit, so now is the perfect time. Whip up a quick home-made hair treatment on dry hair (it’s OK if it’s dirty). Massage it into your scalp and down through your ends, then comb through with a wide-tooth comb. Pop a shower cap on (or a plastic grocery bag and clip will do!) and forget about it. When you shampoo it out, get ready for some seriously silky locks!

3) Boost your beach-body work outs with a watermelon detox. This isn’t the sexiest thing to talk about, but roll with it. We eat, and eat, and eat all winter long. Even if you’ve changed your diet and started your morning runs again, you’re body is still hanging onto all kinds of toxins from all that merry. Watermelon is a super hydrating way to detox your body and flush out your system. When I say flush, I mean flush. If you’re going to be toilet-bound for a whole day, I highly recommend you do it in the comfort of your own home. Detoxing clears up your skin, slims you down, and gives you a major energy boost. It won’t be pretty, but it will be worth it. Check out this recipe and guidance on how to do a watermelon detox. You’re going to be at home cleaning anyways, might as well clean out your body, too.

4) Pamper your feet and get your toes sandal-ready. It’s way too easy to skip those regular pedi’s during winter. No one is going to see your toes under those chic winter boots anyways. Although our feet don’t take winter that hard when they are bundled up, there’s a good chance that they could use a little pick-me-up too. Slather your Shea butter or coconut oil that you used on your hands onto your feet as well, and pay extra attention to the side of your big toe and heel. Slip on thick socks and your sneakers, then go about your housekeeping. At least you won’t be embarrassed when you make your first trip to the nail salon for summer!

5) Triple-treat your beautiful face. You don’t need to be in a spa to get the deluxe treatment action going on. Before you do all of the things listed above, before you start your cleaning, get your skin in order. Start your day with your normal face wash, taking a little more time than usual to really clean your skin. Your next step is to exfoliate- you always want to exfoliate before a mask to help with better penetration. My preferred exfoliant is 5-6 non-coated Aspirin tablets dissolved with a little water and mixed with a little cleaners. Scrub your face in small, circular motions, taking care not to press too hard. Rinse off your scrub and top with a mask that suits your own unique skin needs. If it needs to set for a while, get a jump start on your cleaning. Come back, rinse it off, and either follow up with a double pack (meaning, another mask for another treatment) or, if you’re all set, layer on a thick amount of moisturizer. You won’t be wearing makeup today, so here’s a chance to really hydrate your skin without too much moisturizer getting in the way of your foundation.


Happy Spring everyone! Looking forward to grill-outs, warm nights, all things coconut, and maxi dresses!

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10 Summer Fashion Tips 2014

If you’ve been a fan of the ‘Co for a while, you’ve probably seen us kickin’ it with our girl Iliki. She’s the fashionista we bring in when there’s a serious need for some swanky style. Iliki is the owner and fashion stylist for Las Vegas styling company, Style Lush. When we needed some 1930’s threads for our #30daysgorgeous sesh, The Seance, Iliki dressed our models. When we needed her to outfit some male models, she had our back. We checked in with her when the weather started to warm up to see what she has to say about summer style. Here are Iliki’s 10 Fashion Must-Haves for summer 2014. 

Written by Iliki Price of Style Lush

It’s officially spring! Time to store the boots and go bikini shopping! Spring break and Sumer vacation are just around the corner which means: figuring out to wear, out of a suitcase! Not to worry, I’ve been there and luckily I have the perfect list of vacation essentials. Weather a romantic weekend for two or a girls only trip, I’ve got you covered:

1. Bathing suit- it’s a given. But find one that you love — go for fashion and function so you are comfy and chic.

2. Cover up/ sarong- way more chic than wrapping a towel around you waist and a perfect way to enjoy lunch or a walk away from the beach without having to change!

3. Lightweight maxi dress- the styling possibilities are endless with a maxi — anything and everything goes: flip flops, heels, jackets, hats you name it!

4. Jean shorts – invest in a pair you really love. Because especially on vacation, they are a must.

5. Boyfriend jeans – I LOVE this jean trend– This baggy more comfortable style leaves room for breathing, eating, and all around moving. All of which I’m sure one plans on doing on a vacation!

6. Lightweight hoodie – because even in the most tropical setting, it can get s little chilly.

7. Carry all tote- perfect as a carry on for the plane and a beach bag / souvenir holder / etc. it’s the one bag you should bring on a trip.

8. The perfect sunnies- make sure you like the way they look in photos.

9. A versatile sandal- weather a flat gladiator or strappy wedges, pack a fun and comfortable choice that can work at the beach or at dinner. Alright, maybe two options. What women can only pack one pair?

10. Hat- floppy, fedora — whatever style floats your boat– it’s not only a fashion forward way to complete a look, but a sure way to protect yourself from the sun all day.

10 summer fashion tips 10 summer fashion tips 10 summer fashion tips

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The ‘Co Convo – Nighttime Skin Routine

The ‘Co Convo: Nighttime Skin Routine

Being a beauty professional puts a lot of pressure on us to look good… actually, great… ALL the time. The very first rule of being truly beautiful is great skin care. Night is an ideal time to really care for and pamper your skin. Once the makeup of the day is washed away, it’s time to give that tender face some lovin’ and rest. It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing! Here’s what a few of the ‘Co does at night to put their best face forward the next day:

Melissa F: I always wash my face to get the day off. Toner, Vitamin C and moisturizer. If it’s Thursday, I do a quick microdermabrasion stacked with a chemical peel. I like to try a lot of different lines, from drug store brands to high end. Or, I make it myself, like my eye cream. I use what I think works best for me. In beauty school, they drilled into our heads that it is not the brand of the product, but the ingredients. If you know your ingredients, you can always find a steal.

Bri T: I keep it pretty simple. If I’ve worn makeup that day i usually remove my eye makeup with Aquaphor and use Cetaphil face wash with my Clarsonic. Once a week I will use the Eminence Mud Mask or Peter Thomas Roth Resurfacer and follow with moisturizer. Aquaphor is gentle and gets it all without irritating my eyes or skin around my eyes. Helps with fine lines and wrinkles as well. I can’t live with my Clarsonic. Gets my face clean as possible. I can really tell on those lazy days when I decide to use my fingertips. Cetaphil face wash is gentle and get the job done. Eminence mud mask burns so good! It attacks my occasional breakouts and I can feel it working. Peter Thomas Roth pumpkin enzyme peel helps to Resurface and brighten my skin.

Bianca S: My most favorite skin care night routine is simple and inexpensive. Papaya is one of my most favorite skin regimens especially for concerns of acne. I use papaya on a daily basis to hydrate my skin and help reduce acne. I cut a small piece of the flesh of the papaya and apply it to my face including the under-eye area. This will help get rid of those dehydration lines. Papaya has many healthy agent that can improve the health and appearance of your skin. Papaya contains anti-oxidants and both vitamins A and E which help hydrate, even skin tone and create a youthful glow. These nutrients also reduce dullness and fine lines. Papaya also contains ”papain” this very helpful enzyme gets rid of dead skin cells and can cure the skin of impurities such as acne, acne scars and large pores. I love using papaya because its natural. There are no worries about its questionable ingredients or chemicals because it doesn’t have any! Its one of natures many gifts to natural beauty.


Hayley A: My nighttime skin routine starts with washing off all my makeup with a product from Lush Cosmetics 9-5. It cleanses my skin, but also hydrates it. I finish with Aveeno Positively Radiant. I’m guilty of tanning, so the freckles I already have got darker as I’ve tanned and the lotion helps correct it.

Kay H: So my night time routine starts with my PTR (Peter Thomas Roth) anti-aging cleanser or my PTR  glycolic cleanser. I switch my cleansers about every four to six months. I wash my face twice and the second time with my Clarisonic. After my face is nice and clean I use my PTR glycolic toner. Once my face is dry I use two serums. First Exlinea by PCA under my eyes, which is the best serum ever! It keeps those under eye wrinkles away. The other serum I use at night is a 2% hydroquinone by HTC. This serum helps with hyper pigmentation. Once the serums set in I finish off with my PTR night moisturizer and my Bobbi Brown extra repair eye cream. I’ve used many eye creams over the years and right now this is one of my favorites. This one is great for anti-aging.


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A Professional Opinion on Mineral Makeup for Your Wedding Day

Mineral makeup is wildly popular. Phrases coined “swirl, tap, buff” have taken on a cult following. Boutique stores and alluring kiosks all promise better skin, free from breakouts and allergic reactions. Even dermatologists, my own included, sell the popular Jane Iredale line in their offices as a better alternative to more conventional makeup formulas.  All this is well and good, but one thing I’ve learned over the thousands of brides our company has worked with is that:

1) Most women hate the feel or look of non-mineral makeup (poorly applied or of low quality) and usually tell us they have an allergy or sensitivity so that they can use their own mineral makeup for their wedding day. They usually are also terrified of breakouts or lack of sanitation.

2) Mineral makeup looks flat-out awful in photos.

While mineral makeup may be a viable option for day to day wear, it is not appropriate for any kind of photography medium and is unreliable for long term wear. The concerns about conventional makeup are not unfounded- it’s true, too many sub-par makeup artists have spackled faces with greasy, oily products that shimmy down sweaty cheeks and oily noses in a really unattractive way. However, in my (experienced) professional opinion, that is almost entirely the fault of the artist and rarely the fault of the makeup line.

The reasons why mineral makeup is not suitable for your wedding day are few and simple-

  • Mineral makeup is a dry powder. When the dry powder oxidizes and mixes with the skins own natural oils, the color of the foundation alters and usually turns darker than the original color intended. Depending on the skin type, this can happen within a few minutes or a few hours- but far sooner than your wedding day will come to a bittersweet close.
  • Most mineral makeup contains a handy little ingredient named bismuth oxychloride. This synthetic ingredient (wait, isn’t mineral makeup supposed to be natural?) give that pearlescent finish to the skin. It also makes an otherwise normal sized pore look like a hole in the galaxy of your skin.
  • Another regular party-goer to the mineral makeup rave is titanium dioxide. This one at least earns it’s keep- it acts as a sunscreen, reflecting harmful rays that could damage the skin. This is a great thing! Except, it also reflects the flash of a photographers camera. That’s when you get the whole floating-ghost head situation happening. Your face, no matter how it looks in person, will be highly reflective in any photo using artificial lighting. Unless you plan on taking photo’s only in natural lighting outside, you can see why this wouldn’t work out so well.

All this is not to say that ALL mineral makeup should be banned from wedding-day festivities. Mineral lipsticks, blushes, and some bronzers can be a sure thing. A little gentle highlight on the cheek or lips will not negatively effect the outcome of your wedding day photos.

For day-to-day wear, mineral makeup is definitely a boon to those who have skin concerns or sensitivities. In this regard, it get’s an enthusiastic blush brushes up, especially for the sun protection factor. Applied correctly and used sparingly (heavy powdered faces are reserved for the 18th century Lady of the House) then mineral makeup is an excellent daily regime. However, mineral makeup just not the right choice for your wedding day.

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Monthly Beauty Subscription Services

Monthly Beauty Subscription Services

How many of you have a drawer of beauty “rejects”? You know, those items that you had to get because they take away wrinkles, smooth your skin, make you look like Heidi Klum? You get them home, try them out, they don’t live up to the hype and you have to tell them – “Your Out – Auf Weidersen!” I have that drawer. Whenever I can, I would raid the beauty counter to try and scour a few samples, but after a few side-eyes from the Chanel girl at the counter, my luck ran out and I was cut off. Then I heard about the monthly beauty subscription box services and my problems were solved!


birch box- monthly beauty subscription services

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Birchbox is one of the original monthly beauty subscription box services and visits my mailbox every monthJ For $10 a month (shipping included) you get a box of approximately 5 items. Some of the samples are the standard sample sizes, however I have received some larger sample sizes and last month, I received a card for a free year subscription to Women’s Health magazine with my samples. In the past I have received various shampoo, skin care, perfume, cosmetic samples. Some of them were brand names like Juicy Couture, Redken and others were brands that I haven’t heard of. What I like about Birchbox is they award you points for giving reviews. So I am actually getting a benefit from giving feedback. Once you receive a certain amount of points, you can trade them in for free products. On their site, you can purchase the full size items if you decide you can’t live without them.



Glossy Box

glossy box- monthly beauty subscription services

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Another one of the original subscription boxes, Glossy Box is another one of my favorites. A little more expensive than Birchbox, their subscriptions start at $21/month. They also feature larger sample sizes. I love to try out products more than one time, so it’s important to me that I have at least a week’s worth of product to make sure that I am making the right decision. Glossy box also offers rewards to their members. For reviewing products or referring friends, you get awarded “glossy dots” which can be used toward your subscription. At Glossy Box, they don’t offer a shop with full sized beauty items, so you have to find them at the cosmetics counter, Sephora, or online.



Glam Bag

glam bag- monthly beauty subscription services

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Internet You Tube Beauty guru, Michelle Phan now has a beauty subscription service as well. For $10 per month, you get 5 deluxe samples (some even full size) with a cute collectible bag each month. Each month has a “theme” and the products are centered around it. There is also an interactive component, as there are you tube videos that show how other subscribers are using their boxes to make them look fabulous. You can also use discounts that are shared with you to purchase the full size product!

What do you love about beauty subscription boxes? Which is your favorite?



About Jen: Jen is a blogger, mom, and self-proclaimed fashion and beauty addict. Once a big city career girl working as a personal shopper, she has traded it in for a quiet laid back life in the south. Although she misses life in the city and shopping for a living, she now enjoys living vicariously through the fashion bloggers that she follows and keeping up with the latest fashion and beauty trends.

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Beauty and Fashion Deals- Pretty Apps!

Beauty and Fashion Deals – My obsession with Apps

Do you want to save money on makeup or beauty supplies? Who doesn’t! What you might not realize is that all of these coupon apps that you see on the market can be used to save money on your favorite beauty supplies as well. Here are a couple of my favorite coupon apps that can also help you save money on your beauty needs:

Snip Snap

Did you ever walk into the department store, head to the beauty counter, spend a small fortune, walk out and realize that you had a 20% off coupon that you were saving just for the occasion that you left at home? That would have been $20 in your pocket (or a fabulous lunch and Starbucks)! On my shopping trips, with ADD and a small child hanging on my leg, I can never remember to bring coupons. If I actually do remember to bring them, I forget to use them.  Or if I actually remember to use it, they are expired. That’s why Snip Snap is one of my favorite coupon apps. I can snap a picture of the coupons I want to use and the app will ping me when I walk into that store or send me a reminder when the coupon expires. Although Snip Snap isn’t a dedicated beauty app, you can use it for saving money on all your beauty needs.

Coupon Cabin

I love buying my beauty products online. One of the big reasons is a lot of them offer specials like bonus samples, free shipping or money off with promotional coupon codes. Keeping up with all the coupon codes is difficult. That’s where my Coupon Cabin coupon app comes in. It searches coupon codes for me and allows me to use them when shopping online. Sometimes if I’m shopping on the go or want to see if there is an online coupon for my purchase in store, I will check Coupon Cabin app to see if there is a discount available. You can use this to find health and beauty coupon codes or whatever else you may be shopping for online.

Like the Coupon Cabin app, Coupon Sherpa is another app that offers in store as well as online coupons.

There are many coupon apps that are out there, but these should give you a great start on finding your makeup and beauty items on a budget. Don’t throw your money away. The only difference between a $50 Chanel foundation and the same Chanel foundation that you used a coupon on and bought for $35 is $15 that you can leave in your pocket. You can use it to buy something else you have had your eye on.

Do you use any of these coupon apps to save money on your beauty supplies?  What’s your favorite beauty coupon app?

About Jen: Jen is a blogger, mom, and self-proclaimed fashion and beauty addict. Once a big city career girl working as a personal shopper, she has traded it in for a quiet laid back life in the south. Although she misses life in the city and shopping for a living, she now enjoys living vicariously through the fashion bloggers that she follows and keeping up with the latest fashion and beauty trends.

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Safe Cosmetics Database

Authors Note: This article was written in 2010 and updated Sept 2013, and since then I’ve learned even more about the safety of our cosmetics. Specifically, the Safe Cosmetics Database. Something worth noting is that “hypoallergenic” makeup doesn’t mean much. It just means that the ingredients in the product do not generally cause a reaction in most people. Regarding the safety of mineral makeup because it’s “natural”… well, scorpions are natural, too. You going to rub one all over your face? The point is this: YOU, and only YOU, can determine what’s important to you in cosmetics. For me, I’m Vegan, so I recently switched most of my makeup brushes to synthetic fibers (in LOVE with Cozzette, if your interested). But, I despise mineral makeup. Use the information at hand to make your own choices about what cosmetics work for you.

A while ago, I was forwarded an email inquiring about lead-based lipsticks. You know how you get those chain emails where everyone is worried about a health or public safety concern and it’s the same email that’s been circulating for like, years? That’s what this was. Only, it was true.


The government, at best, loosely regulates the cosmetics and body care industry in Las Vegas. Loosely, at best.

Read that twice, girls and boys who want to be girls.

The stuff you shellac on your face and body every day really hasn’t been approved by a safety commission or regulatory group. Maybe some things kinda sorta get watched, maybe there’s some basic idea’s about what you can’t put in cosmetics, but it’s so loose and so unregulated that it really doesn’t matter. No one really cares if the emollient in your body lotion is a known carcinogen. I suppose you would, if you knew, but as most of us aren’t chemists we are none the wiser.

Cue hero music, enter the Environmental Working Group (EWG)

The EWG is a wonderful organization who has taken the liberty of collecting the very information that we are not privy to and putting in an accessible place so we as consumers can go and get an unpleasant education about our beauty products. By visiting their website Safe Cosmetics Database, you can look up the various goodies in your makeup bag and see how they rank on their comprehensive Hazard Scale. The scale rates cosmetics from 0, being the most benign  to 10, being toxic sludge. It also includes in their crafty little ranking why that particular cosmetic was ranked as such. Case in point: My new favorite mascara, Lash Hugger by Tarte. Let’s see how it looks to EWG: Not bad. Not bad at all. Get’s a 4, which is pretty low, so that’s a good start. I know that the tube itself is made from recycled aluminum, which is a bonus. Still has hazardous ingredients but on a scale going up to 10, it’s pretty mild.

I try to go through this process every time I make a new purchase. It doesn’t always happen. If I need a product and there are no other options, I won’t look it up in the database because if I’m going to have to buy it regardless, why torture myself. If there are multiple options available, I always compare products through the database. You should do the same. Do that with your cosmetics NOW so that you know what to refill and what to change next time you run out of something. While your there, make a donation. It doesn’t have to be crazy, five or ten bucks is plenty. But these people are going to save our asses if we let them so let’s fund our own education.

Another thing that fascinates me about all this is that there are some cosmetic lines that are actually banned in the UK for toxic ingredients. So, it’s OK for us American girls to slowly slaughter ourselves with our own vanity because ignorance it bliss? I don’t think so. I’m not going down without a fight.

And when you hear me pull out the soap box, just remember: There is no real government investment in regulating the cosmetic industry.

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