Making waves with minimal effort

October 11th, 2013 | Contributed by:

Making waves with minimal effort

Just because summer is long gone doesn’t mean you have to abandon those carefree waves.

Wavy hair is just as appropriate for cozying up to the fireplace as it is for basking on the beach. Plus, it’s simultaneously laid-back and romantic, meaning it works for nearly any occasion, from a casual coffee date to an elegant affair. Creating the perfect style doesn’t have to take a lot of effort, either – after all, the idea is to look effortlessly stunning. Ditch the styling tools and use these tips to achieve flawless, fuss-free waves overnight:

Braids
You may already know that braids are big this fall, but were you aware that un-doing this technique can also make instant waves? After washing your hair and combing it out, pat it dry and part down the center. Then begin weaving it into two braids while it’s damp. Looser braids will make for gentler waves, while tightly wound braids will produce a more crimped effect. You can also change the look with the number of braids: One will produce a subtler curvature, and three or four of them will make high-intensity waves. Secure the ends with an elastic and leave them alone until dry. Doing this a couple hours before bedtime is ideal, as you can wake up and quickly finish styling them.

Once your hair is dry, unbraid it and use your fingers to comb through your strands, which will help to create a natural look. A spritz of strong hairspray will provide the hold you need to lock your waves into place.

Buns
Another supremely simple way to get whimsical waves is by twirling your hair into multiple buns. While it’s still damp, smooth some shaping cream over your strands and twist it into coils on top of your head, securing with bobby pins. As with the braid method, more buns will make for a drastic finished look. Unpin them once your hair is dry and shake your tresses out to get a tousled effect.

Headband
There are endless possibilities when it comes to wearing a headband, and one of them can create perfectly sculpted waves. Using a soft elastic headband, wrap your hair section by section around it, using pins to secure the ends. Once all of your strands have been wound around the headband, leave it to dry, ideally overnight. After unpinning every section, scrunch them with some texturizing mousse for extra oomph.

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Common Makeup Mistakes

October 4th, 2013 | Contributed by:

Common Makeup Mistakes

Common makeup mistakes

There are a few common makeup mistakes that could seriously sabotage a successful look. Fortunately, there are ways to correct your errors to ensure you put your best face forward. Ready to refresh on some basic beauty lessons?

Foundation
While it might seem tempting to build layer upon layer of foundation to hide your flaws, that can result in a caked-on effect that’s highly unflattering. The product will inevitably begin to settle into any wrinkles and lines, thus drawing extra attention to them, especially in harsh lighting. Sometimes it’s best to be a minimalist with face makeup. A mineral foundation evens out your skin tone, hides any pores and subtly conceals blemishes for a radiant complexion. Try the ultra-lightweight Youngblood’s Natural Mineral Foundation, which comes in 16 shades and gives you optimal coverage without the cakiness.

Blush
A little blush goes a long way, so be mindful when applying pigment to your cheeks. If you’re getting a more garish look than a subtle glow, you might simply be using the wrong shade for your coloring. A soft neutral rose, like GloMinerals gloBlush, can complement any skin tone. Keep in mind that blush shouldn’t be applied all over, either. To find the apples of your cheeks, try smiling as you’re putting it on.

Eyebrows
Skinny brows are out, and bolder brows are in. Instead of over-plucking them into a slender shape, opt for a fuller one, which actually defines your eyes more effectively and frames your face. After you’ve achieved the arch you want, use use short, upward strokes to fill in your brows with a pencil that’s just one shade lighter than your natural hair color. BABOR’s Maxi Definition Eye Brow Pencil comes with a handy brush on one end to help you blend the pigment.

Lips
You have to color inside the lines when it comes to your lips. While liner will make your lip color last longer, it looks sloppy if you’re not precise with your technique. The key is first to choose the right shade – which should be close to your natural lips if you’re sporting a sheer gloss or balm, or similar to your lipstick hue if you’re rocking a deeper color. Youngblood’s Lip Liner Pencil not only defines your lips and extends the life of your color, but also moisturizes your pout to prevent dryness and unsightly cracks

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How stress is sabotaging your beauty

October 1st, 2013 | Contributed by:

How stress is sabotaging your beauty

There are obvious reasons to avoid stress, as it can do some serious damage to your body. Did you know that it affects your appearance as well?

Between work deadlines, social obligations, paying bills and taking care of other responsibilities, sometimes it’s inevitable to feel overwhelmed. However, you might want to consider ways to keep your calm once you realize the potential impact on your complexion. Here are just a few ways that stress is sabotaging your skin, hair and nails:

Wrinkles
It’s no secret that stress can affect mood and energy levels, but it also makes you look olde. Daily Makeover explained that when you’re under a lot of pressure, your body continually churns out cortisol, a hormone that can break down collagen – not to mention also make you gain weight. When your cortisol levels are high, it’s more difficult for the skin to reproduce elastin and repair damage, leading to faster formation of wrinkles. Dr. Doris Day told Woman’s Day that it can be helpful during a particularly stressful day to stop and take a deep breath, thereby relaxing the muscles in your face to prevent fine lines.

Puffy eyes
One of the major negative effects of stress is that it can disrupt your sleep, and as a result, you end up with tired, puffy eyes. Daily Makeover noted that when you don’t get the deep sleep you need, your body is unable to rid itself of excess liquids. Therefore, that fluid ends up settling in the undereye tissue, causing dark circles and bags. It’s crucial to get an adequate amount of shuteye, but when you still need some extra help, use a moisturizing eye cream and a yellow-based concealer to fake an awake look.

Breakouts
Unfortunately, you’re also more likely to get pesky blemishes and breakouts when you’re tense, which can be frustrating and exacerbate the problem. According to She Knows, one of the other effects of a spike in cortisol is increased oil production and an inability to control inflammation. Therefore, you’re a lot more likely to see redness and clogged pores. Skincare expert Lavinia Borcau recommended looking for cleansers and toners that are formulated with green tea or chamomile, both natural anti-inflammatories.

Dry skin
If your skin is looking flaky and feeling dry, stress might be the cause. Borcau told She Knows that when you’re especially strained, your skin can’t hold moisture as effectively. She suggested using a rich cream that contains shea butter and avocado oil. Not only will your complexion feel softer, but these ingredients can also act as a barrier from irritants, free radicals and bacteria in the environment.

Damaged nails
Your digits are also dealing with negative impacts when you’re under pressure – and not just because you might be nervously biting your fingernails. Dr. Flor Mayoral, dermatologist and clinical instructor from University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine in Miami, Fla., said that many people make a habit of pressing their fingers over their thumb nail, leading to a raised ridge in the center. On top of that, your nails may become weaker, peel or even begin to show white horizontal lines. When they’re looking particularly brittle, nix the lacquer for a week and brush on a strengthening treatment.

Hair loss
Is your hair starting to shed? Daily makeover explained that hair loss is another issue that can be caused by anxiety. Your hair follicles immediately go from a growth phase to a resting one. Dr. Mayoral noted that the “fall-out” phase that follows typically lasts for up to three months after a stressful time, and it can take six to nine months for the hair to re-grow. In the meantime, switch to a shampoo that can energize your scalp and a nourishing, thickening conditioner.

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Fresh hairstyle ideas for fall

September 26th, 2013 | Contributed by:

Fresh hairstyle ideas for fall

Your beachy waves were just fine for summer, but you might be getting bored with your hair now that autumn is here.

Something about the changing leaves, cozy sweaters and richer colors in your wardrobe may have you itching for a change in your coif. If you don't have the funds – or the guts – for a dramatic transformation, don't fret. There are plenty of ways to shake up your hairstyle without a ton of time or effort. Here are a few ideas to consider for your new 'do:

Fetching fringe
Even if you've been too timid to try bangs, sideswept fringe is flattering on a variety of face shapes, and can be relatively easy to maintain. Feeling bold? Elle magazine noted that blunt bangs are a major trend this season. The source recommended using a heat protective spray on damp hair before blowdrying them. A shine serum can help to eliminate frizz, and a spritz of hairspray ensures they stay in place.

Still, you might not be ready to take the plunge. Fortunately, Harper's Bazaar reported that the side faux bang is an ideal alternative when you can't commit to the real thing. Redken creative consultant Guido told the magazine that all you have to do is part your hair farther to the side and sweep it across your forehead to give the illusion of bangs. You can use a bobby pin to secure the section in place.

Deconstructed bun
While a neat bun always looks elegant, a messier version is on trend this autumn. Fortunately, it not only looks chic but also takes considerably less time. Refinery 29 explained that the first step is spraying your strands with a thickening product that will boost the volume. The key is not to overbrush your hair to keep the tousled texture. After rough drying your hair, pull your tresses up the top of your head and tie in a ponytail with an elastic. Fold your hair through the band to create a loop, and then twist the ends that are sticking out around the base of the pony to build the bun. Keep playing around with it until you're happy with the undone look, then pin the ends in place.

Wet and wild strands
You might be surprised, but hair that looks soaking wet is actually a major trend this season. Harper's Bazaar explained that models for Prada, Oscar de La Renta and Roberto Cavalli all sported this sleek look on the runway. Don't leave the house just after showering, though, especially as the temperatures are starting to drop. Instead, get the same effect with hair oil, which creates a high shine finish.

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How to master minimal makeup

September 26th, 2013 | Contributed by:

How to master minimal makeup

There are a lot of benefits that come with minimizing your makeup routine. Not only will you have more time to snooze in the morning, but you'll give your skin a breather and also spend less on products.

If the idea of a naked face scares you, though, keep in mind that achieving a natural look still requires makeup. With the right technique, you can achieve a look that allows your best features to shine through while subtly concealing your flaws. Just follow this guide and you'll have a low-maintenance glow in no time:

A clear canvas
It's important that your skin has an even tone and smooth surface because minimal makeup means any little flaw is a lot more obvious. Vanessa Jarman​, of the Page One Management modeling agency, told Elle magazine that particularly as the seasons change, you might need to switch up your products to make sure that skin is properly nourished. She advised looking for an oil-based moisturizer as the temperatures drop and the air gets drier. Especially beneficial are products with avocado and primrose, which can create a barrier to lock in hydration. The Perfecting Serum by Murad contains both of these ingredients, and can infuse moisture while reducing flakes and fine lines.

After smoothing the rich solution over your face, use a lightweight cream foundation for an airbrushed finish. In InStyle magazine, makeup artist Kayleen McAdams recommended using a Beautyblender sponge to apply bronzer and contour on the cheekbones.

Nude lips
From the catwalk at the latest fashion shows to the red carpet, nude lips are everywhere this season. The key is finding one that complements your complexion. Makeup artist Nick Barose told InStyle that a formula with subtle sheen and peach or pink undertones can make your pout look natural while still offering a pop of color. He recommended wearing a touch of rosy blush on the apples of your cheeks so that you don't look washed out. 

Bold brows
Defined eyebrows can frame your face and offer a polished effect that isn't overdone. Don't be afraid to go for a bolder, shape, either – Elle reported that models at Alexander Wang's show were sporting this look. The Paula Dorf Brow Stencil Kit can help you to create the perfect shape. Use a brow pencil to fill them in, but don't be heavy-handed or they'll come out too dark. Jarman told Elle that it's crucial to make sure your brows match your hair color, so look for a pencil that's no more than one shade away from your strands. Finish with a bone-colored eyeshadow to highlight the browbone and create a lifting effect.

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Key steps for a clear complexion

September 24th, 2013 | Contributed by:

Key steps for a clear complexion

No matter your cosmetic preferences or style, clear skin is always a top priority – after all, your complexion is the base for the rest of your makeup.

Achieving a flawless face takes more than a little soap and water, however. While everyone is different, there are certain solutions and even beverages that can help prevent pesky blemishes and breakouts. With these strategies and an optimal combination of products, anyone can bring out the best in their skin:

Banish impurities
The obvious first step in any skincare regimen is a cleanser, but which formula is best? It's crucial to know your skin type - oily, combination, dry or sensitive - before choosing a product that will address your needs. Elle magazine noted that though it may seem like an oxymoron to clean your face with oil, cleansers with these ingredients are extremely effective at eliminating excess oil, as well as removing waterproof makeup. Plus, these formulas don't strip your skin of moisture, which can cause glands to overproduce oil to compensate. Being TRUE's Restoring Deep Cleanser contains seven different exotic oils that can banish impurities while still maintaining hydration.

The way you apply cleanser is just as important as the product itself.  Dermatologist Dendy Engelman told Daily Makeover that rubbing the product on in a circular, upward motion enables the active agents to absorb faster and better. 

Buff off dead cells
Exfoliation is key for a radiant complexion. However, those products with a gritty, sand-like texture can be rough on sensitive skin, causing visible irritation. Elle advised using an exfoliant that contains beta hydroxy acids or fruit enzymes, such as the Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant, which is fragrance-free and gentle enough for all skin types. By lifting off dead skin cells, you can prevent clogged pores, blemishes and blackheads.

Boost your skin overnight
It goes without saying that it's crucial to use a makeup remover before you go to bed, but you should also consider a treatment that can enhance your skin while your sleep. Elle noted that retinol can be helpful, as it has the ability to decrease oil production at the source by making oil glands smaller. The source recommended smoothing on Philosophy Help Me Nighttime Retinol Treatment, which not only shrinks and deep cleans pores, but also helps to accelerate cell turnover.

Beauty detoxing
While going au naturel may seem difficult, sometimes your skin just needs a breather. Engelman suggested wearing no makeup for 24 hours once a week. This is especially important if your skin is prone to flaring up, because it'll get a break from allergens, fragrances and other harsh ingredients.

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Surprising beauty secrets from the stars

September 23rd, 2013 | Contributed by:

Surprising beauty secrets from the stars

There are certain beauty tactics you already know are foolproof: Using lash primer before your mascara, moisturizing before bedtime and leaving your conditioner in for an extra few minutes, for example. Yet you still might be trying to figure out how celebrities look flawless all the time, whether they're stepping off an airplane or strolling down the red carpet.

Some of their go-to products and strategies may seem like common sense, but others might catch you by surprise. Regardless, they seem to be working, so they might be worth a try. Here's a few of their secrets for a stunning look:

Hair
Ever wondered why starlets never seem to have flat hair? The trick lies in the temperature of the blowdryer. Harper's Bazaar revealed that actresses like Jessica Alba and Jessica Biel maintain a voluminous mane because they switch back and forth between the hot and cold setting. Professional stylist Oscar Blandi noted that while it seems counter-intuitive to blast your strands with cold air, it helps promote lifted roots that last for up to nine hours, while also adding staying power to the style.

You might already be aware that avocado is good for your body, but did you know that it's excellent for your hair as well? According to Women's Health magazine, Denise Richards mashes the creamy fruit and smoothes it onto her strands with one tablespoon of olive oil for an ultra-rich conditioning masque. Stay away from rubbing the substance onto your scalp, though, to avoid greasiness.

If you're a product junkie, it's important to deep clean your hair to remove buildup once in a while. A clarifying shampoo will do that, but Catherine Zeta-Jones has another tactic: she washes it in beer. Women's Health explained that the alcohol gets rid of any substances that have accumulated on your tresses, which can make them look dull. After working in the solution, just cover your head with plastic wrap for five minutes and then rinse it out.

Skin
A-listers always appear to have clear, glowing complexions. According to Daily Makeover, Cate Blanchett concocts her own scrub with olive oil, macadamia oil, grapefruit juice and sea salt for a revitalized, radiant face. Meanwhile, Emma Stone, who has hyper-sensitive skin, swears by natural grapeseed oil as a moisturizer.

Other stars make their own skincare products at home. Us magazine reported that Kristin Cavallari's DIY solution requires tossing half a papaya in the blender and leaving it on your face for five minutes. She told the source, "It's really hydrating!"

According to the magazine, Olivia Wilde gets rid of puffiness around her peepers by steeping tea bags in warm water and laying them over her closed eyelids.

Makeup
You may have tried a multitude of lip products to get a plumped-up pucker, but you may be surprised to find that the secret is in your pantry. Women's Health noted that Lisa Rinna puts a few drops of cinnamon oil in her lipgloss for a plumping effect. Makeup artist Patrice Evangeline told the source that it's important to test the oil on your skin first to get the sought-after bee-stung look instead of a negative reaction.

If you can't seem to get glitter off your lids, take a cue from Lady Gaga, who's always rocking dramatic eye makeup. According to Women's Health, she uses fabric tape to remove any stubborn stray pieces. However, the source pointed out that it's best to resort to traditional makeup remover if your skin is at all sensitive.

Starlets always seem to look bright-eyed and alert, even if they've been on set shooting all night. Women's Health revealed that Miranda Kerr just uses shimmery lip balm as a highlighter on her browbone and around her eyes to perk them up. For ladies who are prone to breakouts, makeup artist Stefanie Syat advised using a natural product and avoiding gloss, which could clog pores.

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Hello, sunshine: Tips to brighten your eyes

September 17th, 2013 | Contributed by:

Hello, sunshine: Tips to brighten your eyes

If there's one thing that can drag down your entire look, it's eyes that seem dull and tired. Bright eyes are key because they make you appear younger, alert and refreshed.

While there is a multitude of factors that could contribute to this problem, with the right makeup in your bag and tricks up your sleeve, you can cover up any flaws – from puffy bags to dark circles. Ready to step into the light?

Face the shadows
Dark circles are often unavoidable – especially as skin thins with age or when you simply haven't gotten enough sleep. With a little concealer under your eyes and on your lids, though, you can completely camouflage them. Prevention magazine recommends choosing a concealer that's two shades lighter than your skin and yellow based. A golden hue counteracts both the bluish tint of dark shadows and the redness of blood vessels. After applying it underneath your eyes, on the lids and in the corners, brush on a layer of finishing powder to make the concealer stay put.

Draw the line
Eyeliner can work wonders for opening your peepers – but it has to be the right hue. Makeup artist Mally Roncal told Oprah magazine that a bone-colored eye pencil is ideal for all skin tones. She recommended lining the corner of your eyes to make the whites seem brighter. PopSugar explained that a bright white can work for fairer skin, and advised outlining the lower lashes for a doe-eyed look. The source also emphasized that an iridescent shadow helps to keep your eyes looking alert when you're rocking dramatic dark liner. Darker skin can get an eye-opening boost from a neutral shimmery shadow extending all the way up to the brows.

Raise a brow
Speaking of eyebrows, they can make a major difference in how bright your eyes look. Damone Roberts, a celebrity eyebrow artist, told Prevention magazine that over-plucked brows actually age you, while a bolder shape with a significant arch can give you a fresh faced, youthful appearance. She suggested using a specialized brush to apply brow powder in delicate strokes, working in the direction your hair naturally grows.

Another helpful tip is to dust a small amount of blush at the peak of your brows – the rosy tone will offer a radiant, alert effect and bring out the whites of your eyes.

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Makeup tips from the pros

September 16th, 2013 | Contributed by:

Makeup tips from the pros

When it comes to cosmetics, there are some lessons you simply have to learn by trial and error. However, some expert advice certainly never hurts, especially when it can save you time and frustration. With these tips under your belt, you'll nearly be a makeup pro yourself.

Contrast colors
You've heard opposites attract, and the same goes for eyeshadow shades. When you're trying to make eyes stand out, go for makeup in a hue that's on the opposite side of the color wheel. NBC Today Style suggested a shade with orange undertones to make blue eyes look vivid. Rebecca Prior, educator at Napoleon Peredis' Makeup Academy in Hollywood, told the news source that you don't need to choose a particularly garish or obvious orange – it could be peach with gold shimmer or a bronze with coppery orange flecks. The same goes for choosing a reddish tone to make green eyes pop: Look for shades that have a subtle tint, like a brownish burgundy or a dusty rose. While brown eyes can wear almost any color, Prior recommended a purple or blue hue.

Mix it up
Since everyone's skin is different, it can be nearly impossible to find a formula that will perfectly meet your unique needs, concerns and preferences. Thus, it might be time to mix your makeup for a custom formula. According to NBC Today, Makeup Academy instructor Gil Romero advised mixing primer with cream foundation for sheer coverage. The feel is lightweight on your face, but you'll still get optimal coverage. You could also try mixing moisturizer into your primer for extra hydration. In Cosmopolitan magazine, makeup artist Mally Roncal advised adding eye cream to your concealer to smooth fine lines while camouflaging dark circles.

Monochromatic
One foolproof look that works for every complexion is monochromatic makeup. In Cosmopolitan, celebrity makeup artist Troy Surratt suggested matching your cheeks to your lips by blending some moisturizer with a small amount of lipstick and creating a cream blush. You can also use a shimmery bronzer as an eyeshadow for a more consistent, all-over glow.

Bold brows
Move aside, skinny brows: Bold shapes are in style and utterly stunning, as long as they're groomed properly. A stencil can help you to achieve the ideal arch. After plucking to perfection, Surratt recommended spraying hairspray onto a toothbrush and grazing your brows with the bristles to keep them from looking unkempt. A dab of highlighter on the browbone can accent the arch and make your eyes look more awake.

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Hair report: How stars make a bang

September 4th, 2013 | Contributed by:

Hair report: How stars make a bang

Bangs are something of a beauty enigma. They look stunning when they're done right, but that task can seem nearly impossible. Styling them can be a major hassle, they fall into your eyes, and then there's the awkward growing out phase. Still, you've likely been eager to try them out yourself – after all, they frame your face, and can completely transform your hairstyle.

With the right hair products and a little inspiration from some of Hollywood's most fashion-forward starlets, you just may be able to bang it out.  Need some inspiration? Consider these celebs' hair-raising styles before you get some bangs yourself.

Sienna Miller
Sienna makes beautiful bangs look just too easy. With a swept-up bun, she keeps things casual by pulling out a few pieces of her around her face. That technique also helps to soften the harsh look of bold bangs.

Zooey Deschanel
Bangs have become somewhat of a signature look for this actress. Her blue eyes always pop from just underneath a thick layer of dark fringe, which she keeps both straight and voluminous. The resulting look, combined with her retro makeup, recalls a 1960s charm.

Reese Witherspoon
This blond's thin, fine locks wouldn't work with thick bangs, so she opts for piecey, delicate ones. Her fringe never looks too heavy, and is especially flattering with gleaming highlights that give them an airy effect.

Alexa Chung
The queen of mussed-up chic, Chung parts her bangs so that they don't get in her eyes, and also leaves them unstyled and unkempt.

Kim Kardashian
​Kim K's extra long bangs look alluring grazing the top of her eyelashes. The blunt cut has a striking effect, especially in contrast to the rest of her long locks, which are loose and wavy.

Jennifer Lawrence
If you've ever been curious to try bangs but are too afraid of a bold, bunt cut, take a cue from this actress. She opts for a subtle, sideswept look that's simultaneously understated and elegant.

Liv Tyler
Tyler has been sporting straight, thick bangs for most of her career, and for good reason: The mod look just works for her. Glamour magazine noted that the actress even has a secret technique to make them work for her face. By tucking longer strands around her face behind her ears, she emphasizes her cheeks and visually highlights her flawless bone structure.

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