It’s that time of year where we get into the warmer months and look to lighten our hair for the summer. Having just gotten balayage to my nearly-black hair for the first time in ages, I’ve been on the hunt for the best products to make sure that my color lasts and is protected from turning brassy. My stylist coached me on ditching my store-bought shampoos and conditioners and giving them a serious upgrade to make my color last. The key was to look for products that are Sulfate-free. I wound up trying Nexxus’s Color Assure line following my balayage and have been so pleased with the results. The range has shampoos, conditioners, primer and a glossing tonic, and it’s the perfect system of sorts to protect my newly lighter locks.
I absolutely adore the consistency of the shampoo and conditioner and was impressed by how much of a lather I was able to build. One of the common knocks against sulfate-free products is that they don’t bubble up as well as regular shampoos, but this wasn’t the case at all with this range. I also like that it is infused with white orchid extract.
The range is also much more affordable than many competing products I looked at. The 13.5 ounce shampoo and conditioner is just $17.99. The primers and tonics are less than $20. This has become part of my weekly routine to keep my hair glossy and hydrated and looking true to the color my stylist intended for me and would whole-heartedly recommend it to readers!
We recently went on a two week vacation around Europe, and leaving in late February, I was feeling majorly pasty. It’s easy to forget how much better you look with a tan until you peruse photos of yourself in the summer. It makes you look thinner and more toned and just overall prettier, so I decided to fix the problem pre vacation.
I’ve warded off tanning beds a decade ago because of cancer risk and wrinkles and I’ve found I’m not the best at applying my own sunless tanner, so I turned to the professionals at Sugared + Bronzed, a national upscale airbrush tanning boutique, for help.
First off, I loved the vibe of the shop, which is in Union Square. It is clean and chic and sets the tone of your appointment. I walked into a room, stripped down and anxiously awaited my custom tan. I rubbed lotion around my hands and ankles to prevent staining. An employee walked in and we decided which level of tan I wanted (long weekend in Miami? A week in Barbados? Just a bit of a glow?). I chose to look like I had just been away for a long weekend. Next, the process began. The employee methodically sprayed each part of my body and even spent some time on my cheeks to create contoured cheek bones (totally recommend!). In ten minutes it was over. I sprayed myself with an air hose to completely dry off before putting on my clothes and soon after I was on my way.
The whole process was quick and easy and I looked great in all my vacation photos. I also loved that the tan was perfectly even and lasted a really long time (Nearly my entire vacation). The customization of the tan and the way the staff is really invested in giving you the outcome you want goes a really long way.
Interested in experiencing Sugared + Bronzed yourself? An airbrush tan costs $39 or $49 depending on whether you get the standard or express tan. They also offer sugar waxing which is a less abrasive form of hair removal. I haven’t tried it yet, but will report back once I do!
This last weekend I was out of town and between eating a lot of sugar I normally wouldn’t touch, to not drinking water and not using my Clarisonic daily, my skin is showing the abuse.
I bought the Clarisonic back in 2008 and it’s still one of top go-tos in terms of my beauty regime. This rotating brush, which costs around $150, rotates on your skin, removing dirt, oil and dead skin cells all while being gentle. It has an exfoliating quality, and when I use it regularly because I’m not traveling, the results are visible.
If you haven’t used one, it’s a great way to keep your skin really clean and prevent breakouts. It also adds a glow, because of the exfoliation and pulsing of the brush. I’ve noticed that when I use it, my moisturizers absorb better, as do my eye creams. I use mine in the shower before bed before applying all of my night creams and serums.
If you’re a beauty junkie, it’s worth adding to your daily routine and the whole process is just one minute long. I change the brush head every three to four months, and that’s pretty much all the maintenance it needs. Also, they suggest you use their line of cleansers, but I pair it with my favorite face wash.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and it’s traditionally the time of year where I change my scent to something sweeter. What better time of year to indulge in yourself (or point your significant other in the right direction of the perfume aisle?)
I’ve chosen three feminine and flirty scents that are just perfect this time of year, and also make a great gift. Britney Spears’s newest scent “Fantasy in Bloom,” starting at $32, has notes of cherry orchards, jasmine and tuberose.
Juicy Couture’s new “Viva La Juicy Sucre” perfume, $96 for 3.4 fluid ounces, is just delightful. I’m living for the bottle’s design, presented in a golden cupcake wrapper with what looks like frosting dripping down the top of the bottle. The perfume has notes of red currant, orange flower and almond cream. It has this wonderful, whimsical cupcake shop, dessert-quality to it that I really love. Editor’s Note: I’m wearing it now as I type.
Last but not least is Estee Lauder’s new launch Giorgio Beverly Hills Glam. It starts at $42. It is very floral (think peony) and earthy, with hints of sandalwood and amber, making it smell warm and inviting.
I love gifting perfume to friends and significant others because it captures memories that last for months at a time and remind that person of you whenever they apply the perfume.
For the better part of two years, face highlighting and contouring has taken over the cosmetics industry. And, it raised the question with us at BellaVitaStyle: Why stop there? Contouring and highlighting your face play up all of your best features while minimalizing the flaws, and shouldn’t the same principles apply to your legs?
On our recent trip to Cuba, we tried out Say Hello to Sexy Legs’s range of leg glow gel and contouring sticks. The brand is great, and gives you glowing legs that instantly make you look more toned and tan. I love that their glow gel, $38, goes on smoothly and hides the appearance of any cellulite and imperfections. I paired this up with flouncy dresses in Cuba before a night out and got lots of compliments.
Their illuminating fluid, $34, gets applied down the center of your leg, from the thigh down towards your feet, to add an extra flash that also makes your legs look more toned and thin. Lastly, there is the piece de resistance, the contour stick $21, which really pulls the entire look together. You use this to accentuate the lines of your muscles and create shadows. Don’t tell my friends, but I used this on our beach day in Cuba, because it made my legs really look great in photos. So, it’s perfect for everything from a day at the beach to a night out on the town.
We all have that one friend in the group that would rather watch Youtube tutorials on mastering the smokey eye than get a glass of wine. Here’s how to shop for her and ensure her perfectly-lined lips burst into a big smile once she unwraps your present:
We love Stowaway Cosmetics for two reasons: you pick a cohesive color palette based on your skin tone, and the products are delightfully sized for girls on the go, whether it means your gym bag, work purse or clutch. Their Essentials Kit has everything you need for a complete look. You choose a bb cream foundation, lipstick, concealer, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow palette and cheek and lip rouge and as you choose each one, you are prompted about your skin tone. The whole set costs just $100, which is great value. Their products are highly-pigmented and long wearing, which is an added bonus!
This time of year we spend our time flitting in and out of holiday parties, sipping on copious amounts of champagne and not drinking nearly enough water. That unfortunately takes its toll on our skin, which is why I was so excited to find these Decorté Slim and Firm Concentrate face masks ($180). This three-piece mask plumps and firms the upper part of your face while helping to reinstate the contouring of the lower part of your face. It’s exactly what you need after a few back-to-back nights out. We tried it after being over served, and it brightens your skin while firming it, making you look well rested and hydrated. You really can’t put a price on that.
Anyone obsessed with beauty knows that what you use to apply your products with is just as important as the quality of the products you use. Artis makes luxury, ergonomic makeup brush sets that are shaped like your fingers and apply everything from your foundation to eyeshadow and even moisturizer like a pro. Their The Digit Five Brush Set with Luxury Case ($185) has five essential brushes (for brows, lip products, foundation, concealer, etc.) and it comes in a great case, that makes it easy to travel with. You won’t believe how soft the bristles are and how evenly it applies product, without absorbing all of your foundation, which means fuller coverage.
I love giving the gift of healthy, clean skin, and have always been a big fan of Ren Skincare. Their Evercalm gift set ($49) comes with cleansing milk, a day cream that has SPF and and anti redness serum. I’ve been using their cleansing milk which is super gentle and their day cream for ages, and have little bottles that I take on my travels.
We also adore Ursa Major’s Traveler’s Skin Care Set ($41), which has everything you need for your vacations and business trips. It comes with face wash, face tonic, 4-in-1 face wipes and face balm. The packaging is super cute, and all of the products are bite-sized, meaning you can pack them in your carry ons. Added bonus: Ursa Major uses natural ingredients, eliminating synthetic chemicals and toxins, meaning you can feel good while making yourself look great. Also, we loved that when we opened up the box, the packaging had an adorable festive ski lift scene on it.
As someone who is obsessed with running and Soul Cycle, I spend a lot of time at the gym and in fitness classes. I’ve also noticed it’s become more social — instead of grabbing dinner or a drink after work, sometimes my girlfriends and I will opt to take a barre class or spin class together and catch up. That’s why I’m so excited about Sweat Cosmetics.
Sweat is made with natural ingredients and is designed for women on the go and workout lovers. 83% of women tested reported Sweat performance powder stayed on through an hour-long workout.
I’ve been using their mineral foundation for the last month and have been really impressed by the results. The foundation comes in a capsule that you insert and twist into the bottom of a kabuki brush. When you shake down and tilt it, the perfect amount of foundation comes out of the brush. The brush is extremely full and does a great job applying the foundation and what I really love about it is that the foundation is extremely long lasting. I apply in the morning before a day full of meetings and then I hit up a workout class in the evening. After the class I can shower and leave my face alone and still be fine to meet up with friends for a dinner.
The foundation also is packed with SPF and is light and breathable. Get this — it’s water and sweat resistant up to 80 minutes. The foundation, with the brush (which is refillable) is $42.
So, like many of you I wear foundation every day and work out, meaning that my skin has lots of debris, dirt, makeup and bacteria lurking in its pores. So, when I came across Skin Laundry, I was psyched to give it a try. This boutique chain of facials has its own laser technology that in less than 15 minutes will penetrate your pores and obliterate all of the debris clogging them. I went to the one in New York’s Flatiron District, but there are several in New York City and there are also locations in other big cities, such as Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, etc. The first facial is free, which is an added incentive to give it a try.
I arrived at Skin Laundry and immediately loved the ambiance. It is bright and clean and filled with their own products that you can browse as you wait your appointment. You sign in on an iPad and then clean your face to get off all of your makeup. Then you are led to a treatment room where the practitioner will walk you through the entire process and answer any questions. They then deep clean your face again, apply protective eye coverings and start the treatment.
A laser passes over your face twice, and during it you feel slight pin pricks, but they are not painful. You hear some zaps and can smell the debris being burned, as a slight smoky smell will release. After two passes with the laser, a cooling gel is applied to your face and then a separate device scrolls over your face that shines a bright light over it. They then remove the cooling gel and you’re good to go.
I immediately scanned my skin when I got home and noticed that I had fewer blackheads. I think in order to shrink my pores, I’d have to buy a package of treatments (which I a considering). The prices are pretty steep, but I think it’s worth a shot. Also, I like that there wasn’t any redness or puffiness on my skin like there would be during a normal extraction.
Autumn is my favorite season in New York City, and this fall I had even more to be excited about as I opened my FabFitFun seasonal box.
I opened my package and the typical colorful box was now black and white, to correspond with one of the adult coloring books and colored pencils inside. Opening the wrapping, there were a ton of great goodies. The contents included: A Modcloth tartan print shall, a travel coffee cup emblazoned with “Good Morning Gorgeous!”, a nude eye palette, Toe socks, body oil, Skin Laundry face serum, brow gel, a spongelle bath sponge, a coloring book with colored pencils and some gifts from their sponsors. Overall, it’s really great value and the products are all full-sized.
Want to get in on the fun? FabFitFun delivers a box of goodies four times a year and you receive full-sized products. What I like is that the boxes are a mix of products geared toward people into fitness and beauty and everything in between. They cost $49.99 each, or if you order all four upfront, the cost is $179.99.
Having olive skin, applying foundation with my trusted Beauty Blender leaves a sheen that is more than dewey and I’ve always envied how evenly and matte my friends’ foundation always looks.
After toying with a few different foundations and applicators, I realized that I would need an additional product to eliminate the shine. On a recent visit to Sephora, I stumbled upon their Matte perfection powder foundation, and it has been a true game changer. For $20, a few swipes of this powder will leave your foundation looking matte for hours. It comes in a really wide range of colors and is easy to use.
If you have oily skin or some problem areas, this is a great product to try. The reviews call for using it in place of a foundation, but I love a few brushes over my normal foundation.