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Beauty

Skincare Secrets: Microneedling

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Lately, I’ve been poking teeny tiny holes in my face in the name of beauty. And before you think I’ve jumped the shark, hear me out. One of the biggest new trends in skincare and anti-aging is microneedling. While the concept of using a tool to poke holes in my face sounded intimidating to say the least when I first heard about it, the science behind it is pretty compelling, and I’ve seen some pretty great results in a short space of time.

Using my microneedle from Stacked Skincare, three to four times a week following my shower, I stand in front of my mirror and roll this tool all over my face. I start at my forehead and do three to four passes over it in different directions (Left to right, up to down and diagonal). I then move to each cheek and repeat the step and also do my chin, lip area and (gently) go around my eyes. After, I apply a serum and a moisturizer and go to sleep.

Now, to answer the why to all of this. The microneedle contains hundreds of tiny needles that will create really small punctures in the skin. When you puncture the skin, and it should be noted that the holes it creates are not visible to the eye and do not scab, it causes your skin to create collagen and elastin to repair those spots. The production of collagen and elastin is great for filling in wrinkles, plumping the skin and causing repair to scars and other imperfections.

The most common question I got from my girlfriends when I started dermarolling is whether it hurt. The answer is not really. Rolling results in little pricks of the skin, but it is totally bearable and way way less painful than Botox (plus, it’s natural). It’s also super cost effective. The Stacked Skincare microneedle is just $30, and you replace it every TK weeks. I pair it with my existing serums and moisturizers, but they also have their own range you can use.

I also like that it helps me get the most out of my expensive creams and moisturizers. Following a microneedle session, your skin absorbs product better, sending its agents into overdrive.

I’ve noticed some really great results below and around my eyes as a result of microneedling, even though I’ve only done it for about one month. It’s a quick and cost-effective way to take care of my skin and reduce the signs of aging.

I Tried The Sleep Styler & Here’s What Happened

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Let me preface this post by saying that I am NOT one to buy items from infomercials. I barely even watch infomercials, but I do watch a lot of CNBC. And, a result of this CNBC bingeing is that when I get home late from work and put my television on, it’s almost always playing rerun episodes of Shark Tank.

Well, one of these re-reuns featured a perfectly put-together mom with great victoria’s Secret angel waves. I was immediately hooked to her story. She was an eye doctor, mom and budding entrepreneur and her business set out to solve one of my biggest pain points of my entire adult life — styling my hair.

Since I’m 15 years old, i’ve worn my hair in VS angel waves. I have long, thick hair that is disgusting when it dries naturally, so this requires blow drying my hair, straightening it and then laboring over it with a curling iron. I’ve literally spent years of my life on my hair and my schedule is such that I just don’t have the bandwidth to go through with that hour-long routine every day anymore.

So, when this woman said that all I would need to do is wash my hair and insert her miracle cloth rollers into it and sleep (without applying any heat to it), I was hooked. I shelled out $40 for the rollers with visions of reclaiming all of my hair time and putting it toward other things — like working out or sleeping in. Also, reducing the heat I apply to my hair would likely allow my hair to grow longer, which is something I’ve wanted for a long time.

I scoured the net after placing my order to watch Youtube videos to see if this really worked. The videos had mixed results. Some women took out their curlers and transformed into Gisele Bundchen. Others took them out to reveal a frizzy mess.

The day that my Sleep Styler arrived, I hopped into the shower afterg the gym and washed my hair. Directions call for letting your hair air dry about 80% before putting the curlers in, so I ate dinner, did some work and an hour and a half later I popped the stylers in. Now, I cheated a little bit. Because my hair is a frizz ball, I quickly blasted my roots with a blow dryer (no more than 2 minutes) just to make sure that the base was straight.

Then, I set about putting the 6 rollers in. It was a little tricky at first to get into a rhythm with getting these in, but once I got into the hang of twisting the rollers away from my face and attaching the velcro, it was pretty much smooth sailing. The only thing I wish is that the set came with two to three more rollers, because my hair is really long and thick and I rather not put too much hair on each one, but alas, it worked.

I did a few more hours of work and went to bed. I should say that the rollers are crazy soft, so sleeping with them was not an issue at all. I woke up around 7am and ran to my mirror for the great unveiling. As I unraveled them, some had really great body waves and some weren’t really curled. The roots of my hair looked great.

So the result was that if I wanted to, I could walk out of my house without doing anything else to my hair (Which is WAY better than if I just let them dry naturally). I was really happy that my hair was not at all in the least bit frizzy and had body to it, but it did not look like VS angel waves of the waves I make with my own curling iron.

As with all new toys, practice makes perfect, so I tried the Sleep Styler three more times, and each time, I’ve had to straighten and then curl my hair with a hot iron to achieve the look I want. As much as I wanted to brand this invention a cure all for our hair needs, I give it a C-.

Latest Obsession: Rodan & Fields Lash Boost

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I’m obsessed with eyelashes. The longer and thicker, the better for me. And while I luckily have really long natural eyelashes, there was nothing I loved more than my eyelash extensions before I developed an allergic reaction to the glue they use to adhere it. So, alas, fakes aren’t an option.

That’s why I was so glad when friends turned me on to Rodan & Fields’ Lash Boost. I was pretty skeptical of this product at first because I never buy anything I see in my Facebook feed out of principle and because I couldn’t understand how a serum could trigger lash growth. But, after a few months of using it I can wholeheartedly call it a miracle worker.

The process is pretty simple. Before bed after you’ve washed your face, you apply a line of Lash Boost across your lash line and then sleep. Admittedly, I’m not the best about doing this every night, and I still have great results. Within a few weeks, my lashes began looking thicker and the outer edges saw a definite growth in terms of length. I haven’t had any adverse side effects at all. I’ve been getting tons of compliments on my lashes since using it.

Want in? Lash Boost is sold for $150 here.

Collaboration Alert: Balmain for L’Oreal

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French wunderkind Olivier Rousteing is unstoppable these days. His designs for Balmain have reinvigorated the French fashion house and he’s dressed nearly every major model, A-list celebrity and Kardashian under the sun. Now, he and Balmain are branching out into the cosmetics space with a line of lipsticks for L’Oreal.

The lipsticks are high-pigment and super saturated with bold lips and also a great collection of nudes featuring names like “Freedom” and “Rebellion.” The collection launches in a few short days on September 1st and each lipstick will include a medallion charm necklace. There will be 12 shades in total and they will be just $14 each!

The Best Shampoo & Conditioner For Color-Treated Hair

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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!

Getting a Glow With Sugared + Bronzed

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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!

Daily Essential: Clarisonic

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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.

The Perfect Valentine’s Day Scent

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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.

New Obsession: Leg Highlighter

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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.

Gift Guide for the Beauty Addict

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:
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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Read Our Other Gift Guides:

Gift Guide: For the Entertainer

Gift Guide for the Baby

Gift Guide: For The Guys

Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers