Archive for December, 2013

Two different takes on the timeless top knot

       
Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Two different takes on the timeless top knot

Hair style trends come and go, but the top knot appears to be here to stay. Some of the hottest celebrities from Emily Blunt to Rachel McAdams embraced this look in 2013, rocking it on the red carpet or just in everyday life. That’s the beauty of the top knot: It’s effortless enough to look casual but can also appear impossibly elegant. It works year round, and for a variety of occasions, making it a chic and easy option when you just can’t deal with having your hair down.

So if you haven’t already, it’s time to try this trend in 2014. Take some inspiration from your favorite stars and follow these steps:

Bedhead beautiful
A top knot can come in and save the day when you just don’t have time to shower. In fact, this messy version looks best on a ‘do that’s one or two days old.

Start by applying dry shampoo on your scalp and combing through to soak up any excess oil and give your strands some texture. After fluffing your hair to enhance its natural body, sweep it back with your fingers into a ponytail. To ensure the pony isn’t too tight, tug at the top and sides a little. If you’re going for maximum volume, back-comb your hair with a fine-toothed comb and mist with hairspray. Begin twisting your tresses about halfway down the pony and then coil onto your head into a half ballerina bun.

While holding the half bun, grab the rest of the hair that’s hanging loose and spread it out over the bun to create a mussed up, tousled look. Secure an elastic around the entire bun, twist it and pull it over the top a second time. For bigger impact, tug some strands out of the bun.

Sleek and sophisticated
The key to a polished top knot, like the one seen on countless runway models this year, is first getting the perfect neat ponytail. Apply a shine serum to your strands and brush them back, securing with an elastic near the crown of the head.

Next, divide your hair into two sections and start twisting them around each other to create a rope braid. After you’ve reached the ends, twirl the braid around the elastic at the base of your ponytail. If there are any wild pieces sticking out, carefully tuck them into the braid and under the elastic. Finish with a generous application of strong-hold hairspray to keep your ‘do locked into place and flyaway-free.

How to have healthier hair in 2014

       
Monday, December 30th, 2013

How to have healthier hair in 2014

As 2013 draws to a close, it’s time to make a few New Year’s beauty resolutions. Hopefully you learned some lessons this year, and now you can apply your wisdom toward better habits, starting with your hair. If you’ve always wanted healthier, softer and shinier strands, there are certain tools and tactics that can help.

Follow these tips and you’ll bring out the best in your tresses:

  1. Be gentle – Don’t rub at your locks too vigorously when shampooing or drying your hair – they’re in their most vulnerable state when wet. When you step out of the shower, squeeze excess water out by blotting with a towel. Not only will you experience less breakage, but you’ll also see reduced frizz.
  2. Shampoo sparingly - Lathering up too often strips your strands of their essential oils, which will leave them dried out. Gwyneth Paltrow’s stylist Peter Gray told The Daily Express that he recommends only shampooing once a week if possible, but if your hair is especially oily, opt for twice or three times at most. A dry shampoo is a lifesaver for those times when your locks start to look greasy in between showers, as these powders can soak up any excess grime and leave your hair smelling cleaner. Also, you can always simply dampen your hair with a spray bottle of water to refresh your hairstyle.
  3. Blowdry with caution - Instead of immediately reaching for a hairdryer after stepping out of the shower, give your tresses a chance to air dry. Kristina Barricelli, a celebrity hairstylist and a co-owner of the Gemini 14 Salon, in New York City, explained to Real Simple magazine that not only do you add on extra minutes to the process by blowdrying soaked hair, but you also put your strands at a higher risk of breakage because they’re in a weakened state when wet. So try to wait until it’s about 80 percent dry before you start blasting it with heat. Also, be sure to apply a heat protectant product prior to styling.
  4. Take your vitamins – You are what you eat, and so is your hair. Make sure you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids so your strands have a healthy shine. If you aren’t eating natural sources like salmon, mackerel, walnuts and avocado, consider taking a supplement. Dr. Roopal Kundu, MD and Associate Professor of Dermatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, advised in The Huffington Post taking vitamin D, fish oil and a general multivitamin with the daily recommended value of iron. Additionally, she noted that biotin is an ideal supplement for strengthening the hair so it’s less prone to breakage.

Beauty trends to toss and try in 2014

       
Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Beauty trends to toss and try in 2014

As the year draws to a close and 2014 rapidly approaches, we’re all looking forward to new makeup and hair looks to try out. However, there are some trends that simply aren’t worth embracing – or have had their time in the spotlight and no longer look as eye-catching. Just because something becomes a fad for a brief period doesn’t mean you should stick with it. In fact, some of the most popular crazes in the beauty realm aren’t universally flattering.

Aiming to update your appearance for the new year? Here’s a guide to which tired trends you should avoid, and which new looks you should adopt:

Hair
One thing’s for sure – you saw a lot of ombre in 2013, from hair to manicures and even on lips. While there’s definitely a convenience factor when it comes to this trend as it allows you to grow out those highlights without worrying about your roots, there’s a slightly different twist that’s emerging for 2014. Glamour magazine called this new technique “Ecaille,” or “Tortoiseshell coloring.” The method was developed by the London-based colorist Jo Hansford, and has been seen on both Jessica Alba and Scarlett Johansson. It’s a slightly softer look than the high contrast two-tone ombre. The finished effect is multi-tonal, meaning darker shades fade more naturally into lighter hues on the ends.

Those with wavy or curly hair will rejoice in the fact that it’s time to put down the straightening iron – the pin-straight look is getting a rest this year. 2014 will be all about volume as opposed to flat ‘dos, which can tend to look a bit boring. Embrace your naturally tousled texture with the right hair products and you’ll look effortlessly beautiful.

As far as hair colors go, you can say goodbye to rainbow hues. Kyle White, the lead colorist at the Oscar Blandi Salon, told StyleList that he is seeing fewer clients ask for pinks, blues and other bright hair colors – which is probably a good thing as these pigments tend to fade after just a few washes and look less than stunning. Instead, he noted that more women will be opting for platinum hair. As Miley Cyrus, Elle Fanning and even the traditionally brunette Kim Kardashian are going for a cooler blonde, White expects more women to try this trend.

Makeup
Not all pink lipsticks are created equal. While bubblegum may have had a major moment in 2013, a new shade will be taking its place this year: fuchsia. As The Huffington Post pointed out, bubblegum is not flattering on many skin tones, but fuchsia can complement any complexion.

While dark lips were everywhere this year, Glamour noted that in 2014, more women will be reaching for rich berry shades in a sheer tinted formula. The advantage of these products is that they provide slightly less pigment so the final look isn’t quite as intense. Still, you can layer them if you want more drama. This is a subtler approach to the trend that is far more wearable than the grungy effect we saw in 2013.

Also, 2014 will be the year to lay off the bronzer a bit. This doesn’t mean you’ll be ditching your glow, it’s just that everyone is stepping away from the overly tanned look. For a natural radiance, try a light-reflecting tinted moisturizer and only use a bronzer that’s one to two shades deeper than your skin tone.

Although nail art isn’t completely out this year, it will be going through a major transformation. Instead of over-the-top graphics, try out some simpler designs like stripes, color blocking and a half-moon take on the French manicure in neutral lacquer hues.

Shine at all of your holiday parties

       
Friday, December 20th, 2013

Shine at all of your holiday parties

Your social calendar is looking stuffed – and while you couldn’t be more excited about all the upcoming soirées, you’re also already strategizing your look. After all, with the twinkling holiday lights, festive decor and glitzy party dresses, it’s not easy to stand out. However, with a touch of the right makeup, you’re bound to light up the room.

Every bash has a different mood, so they require varied makeup products, tricks and tactics. Here’s how to create a flawless look for all your upcoming affairs:

The family party
As you gather around the fireplace with loved ones, singing carols and exchanging memories from years past, you’ll surely be all aglow, and your makeup should reflect the same warmth. For a bright-eyed look, dab some highlighter with light-reflecting particles just at the inner corners of your eyes. Your look wouldn’t be complete without that just-in-from-the-cold fresh-faced flush, so sweep a light layer of rosy pigment onto the apples of your cheeks. Go for a sheer lip color that simply enhances the natural color of your pout.

The office party
The key at the company party is to look sophisticated and polished but still approachable, meaning a bold red lip and elegant golden eyes. If you have cool undertones in your skin, reach for a blue-based red like a rich berry. Warmer complexions can rock a brick red or a shade that errs on the orangey side. Next, rub a gold cream eyeshadow onto your lids and use a blending brush to distribute the pigment until your eyes are glimmering just the right gilded hue. You can also apply a warm medium brown shadow in the crease for some added allure.

The girlfriends party
Girls just want to have fun, so why not embrace some seasonally festive shimmer for a shindig at your BFF’s? Whether or not it’s snowing outside, sparkling silver eyeshadow promises a winter wonderland appeal. Dust a pale slate gray loose powder onto your lids and then to further illuminate your eyes, apply highlighter along the brow-bone. Lining your upper lash line with a charcoal pencil will give you subtle definition, while a layer of sleek black liquid liner will make your eyes pop more dramatically. To finish the look, sweep two layers of volumizing mascara onto your upper lashes and apply a neutral lip gloss, which will give your pout a glossy sheen but won’t compete with your glittery eyes.

All about brows: Your guide to bold styles

       
Friday, December 20th, 2013

All about brows: Your guide to bold styles

2013 could very well go down as the year of the eyebrow. Of course, not just any style of eyebrows was making a splash – it was the bold look that seemed to be everywhere. With starlets, singers and other celebrities sporting this trend and fashion models strutting down the runway with it as well, one thing became clear: Over-plucking is out. In fact, women began to pay more attention to their eyebrows in their beauty routine, reaching for pencils and stencils to achieve the right shape. Meanwhile “brow bars” opened up across the country, helping fashion-forward patrons to groom theirs to perfection.

While fuller brows may look easier to achieve and maintain than slender ones, there is still some work that goes into this look.

Follow these three simple steps and you’ll be rocking a striking shape in no time:

Step 1: Trim and tidy
Whether you have brazen brows that tend to look overgrown quickly or only have to deal with eliminating a few strays, you need to tidy up the shape before you go bold.

Start by sweeping a brow brush upward through the hairs. Look for any hairs that poke out above the arch, and then carefully trim the very ends. Then repeat the same process but brush the hairs downward this time. Don’t get scissor happy, either. Remember that you can always go back and trim more off – but if you overdo it, it’ll be hard to get the full look you’re going for.

Don’t put the brow brush down just yet. Comb it through your hairs upward and across once again to create some lift at the arch. This will help you to see the natural shape, which you’ll enhance in the next step.

Step 2: Fill in the gaps
You may see some sparse areas in your brows, or perhaps the hairs are so light that they almost seem to blend in with your skin. Either way, there are plenty of ways to boost your brows so that they stand out.

First, you need to prep them for the pigment. Founder of The Beauty Bar and brow expert to the stars Kristie Streicher revealed her signature feathered technique for tinting and shaping to Refinery 29. She recommended swiping a tinted brow mousse or gel through the hairs in an upward motion. Then, she suggested applying a second coat going in the opposite direction. The key is to press the tip of the applicator to each individual hair to make sure they all get coated. Afterward, it’s important to brush the hairs back to smooth them out.

Step 3: Color contrast
Now it’s time to reach for an eyebrow pencil that matches your natural hair color. Make light, short strikes in an upward motion to ensure that the look mimics the direction of your hair growth and the pigment doesn’t go on too heavy. One of the biggest mistakes that women make is applying the pencil to the skin, when actually you want to focus on the hairs themselves. It’s best to concentrate on the outer two thirds of your brows. Your brow brush comes in handy once again to blend and soften the color.

If the look you get with a pencil is too dramatic, you might opt for a brow powder, which creates a softer, feathered effect. If you can’t find the perfect color to match your hair, you can always blend several shades. Brush it along your hairs from the arch outward, avoiding the inner third of your brows. Then go back and gently blend the pigment toward the inner corners.

The lowdown on the low pony

       
Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

The lowdown on the low pony

Sometimes you just don’t feel like going through the effort of creating an elaborate ‘do. You’re tired of flattening your hair into submission with your straightening iron, but you know that leaving it alone just won’t cut it. That’s where the hottest hairstyle of the moment comes in: the low ponytail. It looks stunning, but it’s surprisingly simple to achieve.

Ready to rock this effortlessly elegant hairstyle? Follow these steps:

  1. Start by making a middle part down your head with a comb. One way to make sure your part is perfectly centered is to place the comb at the tip of your nose and glide it up toward your hairline.
  2. If your hair has some unruly pieces around the hairline, use a flat iron to quickly smooth them down.
  3. Next, apply a shine serum to give your locks a glossy, lustrous look.
  4. Pull your hair back into the low ponytail, making sure that you can tie it right at the nape of your neck.
  5. After securing the pony with an elastic, use a pomade to slick down any flyaways.
  6. A mist of medium hold hairspray is an essential final step for making sure your pony looks polished all day long.

Hair how to: Brunette with red highlights

       
Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Hair how to: Brunette with red highlights

Blondes aren’t the only ones who can have a little fun. If you have darker strands and have been bored with your hair color, the problem may be that your color is one dimensional. Highlights aren’t just for those with golden locks, and can give brunettes the added intrigue they’ve been looking for. One of the hottest trends going into 2014 is red highlights, and they look especially striking in hair that is colored a deep, rich hue. When the light hits your locks, it will seem aglow – even on fire.

Eager to get this effect? Here are a few ideas to consider before you hit the salon chair:

For light brunettes
Whether you have a light chestnut or amber brown, you can still rock red highlights. The key is to choose the right shade that won’t clash with your current color, and only enhance it. Look to Jessica Alba, who has sported a warm brunette for years. In an interview with InStyle magazine, Jennifer Aniston’s colorist Michael Canale explained that her highlights provide subtle hints of a wine hue, which bring light and radiance to her natural color without overwhelming it. He noted that you’ll see the truest and brightest color on virgin hair. However, even if you’ve already color treated your hair, you can still achieve this look. It’s best to see a professional as highlighting over already-colored hair will rarely result in the color you saw on the box.

For medium brunettes
If your hair is a slightly deeper shade of chocolate or coffee bean brown, you can go for something more striking. You might consider getting just a few thicker “peekaboo highlights” for a playful but still bold look. Essentially, this requires highlighting the under layer of your hair around your face so that when you pull pieces back, the red pieces peek out from beneath. The best thing about this effect is that you can opt for a brighter, richer shade of red because you’re only coloring small sections of your hair. Plus, it gives you the option of flaunting the fiery highlights or hiding them depending on your mood or the occasion.

For dark brunettes
Lucky you – with such dark, nearly black tresses, you have the freedom to go for a dramatic look with your red highlights. Marie Robinson, whose clients include brunette beauties like Natalie Portman and Anne Hathaway, told Allure magazine that vibrant red ombré highlights are an edgy option that even Salma Hayek has experimented with. She suggested asking your colorist to lift the color on your mid length and ends several shades lighter than your natural color first, and also adding in a few warm brown highlights along with the red ones.

Slicked back: How to get Hollywood’s hottest hairdo

       
Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Slicked back: How to get Hollywood's hottest hairdo

There’s one hairstyle that’s sweeping Hollywood, and it’s not your typical ‘do. From Lea Michele and Khloe Kardashian to Miley Cyrus, fashion-forward celebs in every industry seem to want in on this trend. All of them have proved that this look is stunning on the red carpet and surprisingly wearable for everyday occasions, too. Not only that, but designers like Catherine Malandrino, Alexander Wang and Donna Karan had their models strutting down the catwalk with ultra slick hairstyles. The best part about this trend? It works on hair of any length or texture, from tumbling long curls to a cropped pixie cut.

Ready to take the plunge? This look is surprisingly simple to achieve. Just follow these steps to get the dramatic ‘do yourself:

For high intensity
If you want the wet look that Miley has been rocking, you need to start with wet hair. Celebrity stylist Aubrey Loots told HollywoodLife.com that after combing through your locks, you should reach for a styling cream or gel. Smooth it throughout all of your strands, combing through to ensure the product is evenly distributed.

Next, pick up a large barrel round brush and use it to pull back the top section of your hair. Turn on your blowdryer and blast the air in a backward direction, holding the round brush in place. This will give you the amped up volume you want while making sure that your ‘do stays polished. Finish with a mist of high shine hairspray to ensure your look is flyaway free.

For a subtler effect
Lea Michelle went for a decidedly less intense look. Her style was still slicked back, but had a certain understated elegance that works just as well for a formal affair as it does for a casual event.

To get the same effect, start with hair that has already been blow-dried or air-dried straight. Then, Loots recommended rubbing some styling cream into the palms of your hands and applying it only to the top and sides of your hair. Then spread the product using a fine-toothed comb, but make sure that you leave the ends dry. To make the hairstyle more laid-back, you can always secure your locks into a slick ponytail, too. Of course, a spritz of strong hairspray is crucial for ensuring your look stays locked in.

The most important thing to keep in mind with this ‘do, though, is that you need to be confident to pull it off.

A step-by-step guide to pink ombré lips

       
Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

A step by step guide to pink ombré lips

The ombré effect made a big splash over the past few years, as many celebrities traded their perfect highlights and dye jobs for a grown-out, faded look. We all rejoiced because truth be told, it meant that we could wait a little longer in between salon trips and still look polished. Now, ombré is going beyond hair and becoming a major lip trend. While matte lipstick is no doubt still having a moment, an allover lip shade with consistent intensity can sometimes get boring. The best part about ombré lips is that with varying richness of pigment, you can dramatically boost the fullness of your pout.

Ready to draw attention to your lips? Here’s how to get this stunning two-tone look:

  1. You’ll need two shades of pink, one lighter and one that’s two to three shades deeper, for the ombré effect. The possibilities are endless, so feel free to play around with dusty rose, bubblegum pink and even electric fuchsia. However, it’s important that they are the same hue, so if you’re using an icy cool pale pink, make sure that your darker shade is in the same color family and also has cool undertones. Conversely, a golden or coral pink lipstick should be used in conjunction with a warmer dark color.
  2. Start by dabbing the deeper shade on the center of your lower lip. Press your lips together so that it smudges to the middle of your top lip as well.
  3. Now it’s time to apply the darker shade along the outer lined of your lips. Makeup artist Benjamin Puckey told InStyle magazine that he likes to use a firm flat lip brush, as this helps to ensure a precise line. This step is key because it provides definition to your pout.
  4. Next, it’s time to reach for the lighter color. Dab it into the middle of your top and bottom lips and blot them together one time. The paler tone will illuminate your pout, which gives you a plumping effect.
  5. Now that your ombré lips are complete, how do you finish the look? You want to make sure that your pout stays in the spotlight, so this isn’t the time for dramatic eyes or cheeks. Consider adding a light layer of pink blush to the apples of your cheeks for a fresh-faced flush. Then, create a subtle and sleek cat-eye with some liquid liner and you’re good to go.

Dazzle That New Year’s Party with These Beauty Products

       
Monday, December 16th, 2013

Do's and don't's for dramatic lashesArrive at end-of-the-year celebrations with New Year’s-worthy looks and super-glam style. Makeup, hair, clothes and accessories are key, but prepping with indulgent beauty treatments will make you feel luxurious and beautiful. What better way to walk in oozing confidence and glamour?

Early in the Day

Allow plenty of time to relax. There’s nothing less radiance-inducing than rushing around and stressing yourself out, so clear your schedule in advance. Set the stage for a fun-filled evening with a pre-party soak.

The Bod Squad by Bliss contains all the essentials. Soften and relax with citrus- and sage-scented Soapy Suds and Body Butter. Feel slinky in your holiday outfit by applying skin-firming Fatgirlslim. Get your digits ready for hugs and hand-holding with High Intensity Hand Cream.

Party Prep Basics

Today is not the time to try new products or intense treatments. Skin sensitivities could cause all eyes to be on you for the wrong reason. Test new products well in advance to prevent bad reactions. If your skin is prone to redness, scaliness and rashes, stick with hypoallergenic products made for sensitive skin. MD MOMS Baby Silk is a fragrance-free head-to-toe cleanser that gently cleans adult skin too.

Sloughing Off

Exfoliating gives you radiant, baby-soft skin. Glamglow Youthmud gently resurfaces skin and triggers collagen synthesis for a younger look. Apply this or another exfoliating product early in the day for best results. Moisturize within two minutes of exfoliating to provide a smooth, glowing canvas for your makeup palette. Follow with a rich, intense eye moisturizer like Babor’s HSR Lifting Extra Firming Eye Cream.

Making Up is Easy to Do

Keep under-eye circles and other imperfections at bay with concealer. New Year’s parties demand a flawless look. If you weren’t born with perfect skin, consider a full-coverage option like Dermablend Cover Creme. Even if you usually go au naturel — makeup-wise, that is — tonight calls for a foundation made for your skin type. Heavy powder ages almost anyone, but a little bit looks polished and pretty. Apply a light dusting of translucent powder, avoiding the under-eye area.

Tonight is the night to break out that smoky eye or vamp-y red lipstick. Just be sure to perfect the look well in advance by practicing and watching online video tutorials. Put on your holiday best, spritz on a chic fragrance, stash some oil-blotting tissues, and you’re ready to ring in the new year in style!