All Posts By:  beautybanter


Weekly Must-Have: Connect by Phylia de M.

By | weekly must-have | 3 Comments

While genetics play a significant role in our mane DNA, science can pick up where nature left off. That means starting at the root of the problem: the scalp.  “By caring for the scalp, we optimize the underlying nerve circuit, closely connected to our face, to draw more keratin to the area, actually keeping our face younger(!) and relieving our kidneys and liver of excess toxins that are allowed out of our bodies through our growing hair,” says Phylia de M. co-owner, Kazu Namise. Pyhlia de M. is the brainchild of Kidada Jones (daughter of music legend, Quincy) and Kazu. The newly launched, 3-product hair care line is based on the research of Dr. Miyayama, Kazu’s godfather, a Japanese oncologist with an affinity for herbal and natural remedies. Hypothesizing that hair damage is an effect of a lack of keratin, Dr. Miyayama concocted a recipe of aloe, tannic and fulvic acids to remedy the problem. That recipe has become the proprietary blend in all Phylia products. Connect, the leave-in scalp and hair treatment spray, renews keratin function giving you a healthier, happier scalp (and face!).

I’m an avid fan of any hair product that comes with a spray applicator (love) and an even bigger advocate of a product that treats the actual problem instead of sticking a bandaid on the issue – be it split ends, dry follicles or thinning hair. Connect not only treats the problem of a loss of keratin, it works to solve it. And it does all of this with a spray (bonus).

A word (or several..) from the company:
Connect is our 100% organic keratin renewal treatment that transforms your hair to its very best by detoxifying, repairing, and renewing cell life and keratin function in your follicles, scalp and hair. We make CONNECT using our highly concentrated core proprietary blend of pure humic-free fulvic acid, aloe, and tannic acids to restore your body’s inherent ability to grow healthy hair and stop excess shedding and thinning.

While Phylia de M. suggests using all 3 products in conjunction with one another – Cleanse, Condition and Connect – if you have to choose only one, you can’t go wrong with Connect. It’s the product that really sets the brand apart from the plethora of hair care lines on the market.

PRICE TAG: $60.00



HOW TO: Big Lips

By | makeup | One Comment

Create the illusion of bigger lips with these 6 simple steps. Psst – anyone can do it, guaranteed!:

Products I Used:
Concealer – Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer No.04 Medium
Lip Liner – Make Up For Ever Aqua Lipliner #1C
Beige Lipstick – MAC High Def
Sparkle Gloss – NARS Lip Gloss Luminous Glow in Albatross
Shimmer Highlighter – Topshop Glow Highlighter in Polished

Step 1 – With a sponge, dab concealer on lips and mouth area until fully blended (this will act as a primer and fill in cracks and fine lines around the mouth area).

Step 2 – Line lips with a nude lip pencil, starting from the middle of your lip drawing out.

Step 3 – Fill in lips with the lip pencil, starting from the corners of mouth to just before the middle.

Step 4 – With a lip brush, fill in lips with a beige lip color. Make sure to keep the color lighter in the middle.

Step 5 – Apply clear gloss to the lips. Gloss with sparkle is a bonus.

Step 6 – Dab a shimmering highlighter cream on the cupid’s bow (the V above your top lip), and in the center of your bottom lip. This will focus light to the center of lips giving them the illusion of appearing bigger.


*all images by Beauty Banter

red lips

Trends: Golden Globes 2012

By | trends | 7 Comments

Hair took three looks: the classic updo, throwback to era’s past, and effortless fun hair.

A classic updo would be something like a low chignon like Claire Danes, or a mid-level bun like Angelina Jolie (P.S. how skinny did Angie look? She needs to eat a double, double. STAT.). Other buns-of-note included Kate Beckinsale, Mila Kunis and Jessica Alba.

Throwback would be Jessica Chastain’s volumized 1960’s bouffant  Zooey Dechenal’s 60’s volumized, slight lift on the crown, and Nicole Richie’s volunized half-up.

Girlie and effortless hair would be Reese Witherspoon and her slightly messy relaxed curls (she looked better than I’ve seen in a long time), Madonna and her slight side-parted curls and Jessica Biel and that effortless beach-chic, simple yet sexy loose curl.

Makeup was all about the light lip. From barely-there nudes like Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain and Salma Hayek…

To mauves like Nicole Kidman, Michelle Williams and Rooney Mara, very few wore red (usually a red carpet staple).

Angelina Jolie, Claire Daines and Dianne Agron stole the show when it came to the red lip.


Spring Collection: Nars

By | makeup | 8 Comments

Collection: Nars Spring 2012

Products Used:
Gaiety Blush
Douce France Eyeshadow Trio
Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in St. Mark’s Place $23.00 (from Holiday 2011 Collection)
Bilbao Lipstick

How To: I started by applying the Gaiety Blush – a poppy pink – to my cheeks to create  a light, bright pop of color. This same shade was seen all over the Spring runway (Thakoon had the pink cheek). I love a good trio for the eyes – it takes the guessing out of application. The lightest shade – in this case, a fleshy pink – goes from lash line to brow bone. The middle – or medium shade – in this case, a pale pink – goes over the entire lid. The crease shade is always the darkest shadow. In this trio, it’s a deep pink/ berry hue. I applied to the crease and brushed it down over the outer part of my eyelid for a cleaner eye (not as smoky or dramatic). I used the Eyeliner in a vibrant purple shade on the outer corners of my eyes – top lash line and lower lash line, from the outer corner to about 1/3 of the way in – to create a a colorful juxtaposition. The purple really pops against the pinkish/ berry shadows. On lips, I used Bilbao lipstick, a flesh-hued matte with subtle shimmer. The color was too  pale so I gently (very gently) brushed the eye liner back and forth on my lips for a hint of purple. To see how Mandy Koon Spring FW used the shadow trio and lipstick, click here.

Did You Know: To make the eyeliner softer and easier to apply, rub the tip between your hands. This will heat it up so that the pencil glides on lash line effortlessly. For extra drama, apply the darkest shade from the trio under your lower lash line. This will define the eyes and give a more smoky feel. If your lips feel too matte, use something like Aquaphor (my fav!) over the lipstick (not under as the color slides off too quickly if you use a moisture humectant before the lipstick).

*Unless otherwise noted, face makeup is: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in #6; RMS Beauty “Un”Cover-Up in #22. Brows are Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in Espresso. Mascara is Lancome Definicils High Definition Mascara in Deep Black.

Picture 018-edit3

Bathing Beauty: Bryn Kenny of Dior

By | bathing beauties | 3 Comments

For a beauty enthusiast, a career in the beauty industry is a dream come true. Free beauty products, access to A-list makeup artists and the first to play with new beauty discoveries, is all part of the job. As the current  public relations director for Dior Beauty (swoon!), Bryn Kenny is living the dream. Prior to the highly coveted Dior gig, Bryn was a beauty writer for W Magazine (another swoon-worthy job). Besides being an infinite trove of beauty wisdom (she offers up some sage beauty tips in her interview below), Bryn is also a stylish girl-about-town (you’ll frequently find her photos on such sites as New York Social Diary and Guest of a Guest). With her beach-chic good looks and her comprehensive beauty knowledge, Bryn embodies the best of both worlds: beauty and brains.

Here, Bryn divulges on the secret to “eyes that pop,” an alternate use for perfume, and the trick to applying moisturizer post makeup:

What are your top 5, can’t-live-without products?
1. Bright lipstick. There’s something very bold—and yet classic—about a colorful lip. Makes me feel French.
2. Dior Addict Lip Glow – Pretty much the opposite of bright lipstick; It’s a natural balm with a bit of color that adjusts to your skin’s chemistry. It creates this perfect flushed pink—like you’ve just been kissed.
3. Hand Wash by Molton Brown – Does that count as a beauty product? It’s like fragrance for your hands, so I’m going to say yes.
4. Dior Capture Totale Resurfacing Peel – Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! I use this product probably more often than I should.
5. Essie nail polish in Fifth Avenue – It’s the perfect happy red and perks up my somewhat dour black and grey wardrobe.

What is your all-time favorite product?
That’s impossible to answer (ha!) but if I must, Diorissimo Eau de Parfum. I love the fact that it’s been around forever and is absolutely timeless. It’s this very simple, fresh blend of Lily of the Valley. I even spray it on my sheets.

What product do you buy in bulk?
This is an easy one: Carmex. They say it’s addictive and I’m okay with that. Every time I’m in Duane Reade I buy one because I’m always losing it. I find little pots of Carmex in my couch cushions like loose change.

Favorite hair product?
Sigh, hairspray. I’ll pretty much use any kind, drugstore, salon, whatever, but I love L’Oreal Ellnet. I have baby fine hair and hairspray adds a bit of body and texture. Also, Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo, the powder kind. It’s a godsend when I’m going from day to night, which is often.

You moisturize your face with…
I’m more of a beauty skeptic than a beauty junkie, but I’ve always been fascinated by skincare. Either way, it takes a lot to convince me to use a product at all, let alone religiously, and I’m addicted to Dior Capture Totale One Essential. It’s a serum that boosts the efficacy of basically any skin product you use. Alicia Keys’ makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff taught me an amazing trick with One Essential: after you’re finished with your makeup, rub a little on your palms and pat your face—it creates this really natural, healthy glow. I also use Dior L’Or de Vie La Crème and L’Extrait day and night. I have dry skin and it works miracles.

Favorite body product?
Pretty much anything Fresh makes. My new favorite is the Seaberry Body Cream—it just smells really good and is super moisturizing without being greasy. Plus, Fresh products are so pretty to look at. They have such a nice aesthetic.

Favorite beauty secret you’ve picked up along the way?
Lining the upper inner lid with black liner… I think a Shu Uemura artist taught me this back when I was a beauty writer at W Magazine. It makes your eyes pop but no one is quite sure why.

Beauty icon you admire?
Ooh, there are a few. I grew up emulating strong-willed women like Madonna, Stevie Nicks, Debbie Harry and Kate Moss. Love a rebellious blonde. I guess I’ve always been drawn to beauty that’s a bit dark, rough-around-the-edges and complicated.Smudged liner, a crooked nose, a little rock ‘n’ roll.


Dedicated Giveaway: BeautyMint Skin Collection

By | skin | 23 Comments

Not all skin is created equal. However, all skin needs TLC. BeautyMint to the rescue. The personalized skincare line is the brainchild of Jessica Simpson and skin expert, Nerida Joy. Together, they have devised a collection of products that target specific skin issues and concerns. The philosophy is simple: everyone deserves great products – and the products you use are the building blocks to the skin you’re stuck with. Whether your problem is uneven skin tone, acne breakouts, fine lines and wrinkles, dry and dehydrated skin or all of the above, BeautyMint has the proper regimen for you. Their simple beauty questionnaire asks the important questions like “how important is evening out your skin tone,” and “how important is reducing pore size” and then spits out a regimen that caters to these concerns (they call it your Beauty Sign).

Beauty Banter tried out the program: after answering the beauty questions, we were given a beauty sign of 6-0-6. My 5-piece system included ESSENTIAL CLEANSER WITH ALOE, ULTRA REPLENISHING SERUM WITH MARINE COLLAGEN, RENEWING MOISTURIZER WITH ELASTIN, SCULPTING TREATMENT WITH PEPTIDES, and RESURFACING TREATMENT WITH RETINOL. My main concern was uneven skin tone followed by the effects of that pesky little thing called gravity (aging issues).

GIVEAWAY DETAILS: Today, BeautyMint is giving away a month’s worth of free products to 1 lucky winner. Enter to win a 5-piece, customized product collection (a $145.00 value).

TO ENTER: Click here  and fill out the quick questionnaire. Leave your beauty sign (the BeautyMint team will give you one) – with the email you used to sign up for the regimen – in the comment section below.

Again, the link to enter: click here.

Good luck! **Giveaway is open to US residents only and will run for 48 hours. One winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email.**

As an extra gesture of happy skin for all, BeautyMint is offering $20 off your first month’s kit, first time buyers only, valid until 1/31. Click here.


Favorites: Things That Vibrate

By | favorites | 8 Comments

Ever since purchasing my first Clarisonic (I’m about ten years late on the trend), I am on a vibrating kick. Don’t read too far into this… I’m referring to vibrating tools for skin and body care (insert joke here). Let me try to explain myself better. I’m talking about beauty tools like a vibrating razor and, of course, the vibrating (or “oscillating” in beauty terms) mascaras that were the “it” thing a few seasons back. There’s something so soothing about a product that offers vibrations to your skin, teeth and lashes. It reminds me of a spa massage – but… not. More like a 10 dollar massage at the corner nail salon (where they pummel your shoulders and back with clenched fists). Either way, there’s no disputing that vibrations do lead to relaxation.

Here are my picks for beauty products and tools that vibrate:

1. Clarisonic $149.00 – Sure, the Clarisonic has been the clean-skin tool for years, but I was always a bit weary of using anything electrically charged on my skin. Well, I’ve changed my mind. It’s amazing how soft the Clarisonic can make my face – I think I’m actually seeing some of the sun spots fade, too (continuous cell turnover repairs skin). Love. Psst – I use the Mia 2 (2 speeds).

2. Venus Vibrance Razor $19.00 – I find shaving to be one of the most menial tasks on the planet. But the alternative (hairy legs) is simply not an option… so, I have to shave. The Vibrance actually made shaving (somewhat) entertaining as the vibrations gave me something to focus on. It gave me a very close shave, no nicks, and left my legs smoother than a leg wax. Sadly, the razor seems to be discontinued in the US of A, but you can still purchase from England here.

3. Lancome ÔSCILLATION Mascara $35.00 – I wasn’t a huge fan of the vibrating mascara wand when it was the must-have mascara on the market, and I’m still not sold on it. But if I had to choose my favorite oscillating mascara, I’d definitely go with Lancome. The mascara formula is one of the best on the market and, for some, the oscillations really do make their lashes longer and thicker. For others (like me), the vibration makes it more difficult to apply.

4. Crest SpinBrush Pro Clean Battery Power Toothbrush $9.99- Vibrating toothbrushes aren’t a new thing, but for those not willing to make the pricey investment on an electronic one (like this), the Crest battery-operated toothbrush is a great and affordable alternative. I like how you don’t have to be committed long-term – you can use it for a few months, then toss it when the bristles weaken. For some reason, vibrations on the teeth make for a better clean… period.

5. Lancome ÔSCILLATION Power Foundation ($48.00) – 7000 micro-vibrations per minute blend this mineral foundation powder into your skin for an airbrushed look. While the vibrating powder applicators never really took off, Lancome’s Power Foundation is a promising attempt. It’s a bit harder to apply then your average powder brush, but if you are able to manage, it gives the face a more even complexion.

*image – Orange Vibrations painting by Jacqueline Lorenzo ($900.00 here)


Makeup Bag: The Jungle

By | makeup bag | 5 Comments

Over the holiday, I spent a week in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica (I highly recommend a vaca to this amazing beach town) for a mini yoga and surf retreat. With plush scenery, 75 degree water and the clearest, blue skies, the place was paradise. Only one problem with my jungle retreat: Santa Teresa is a beach town and the roads reflect that – unpaved, dirt roads with giant potholes. Oh, and let me not forget to mention that you drive quads, not cars. A quad is like a 4-wheeler motorcycle that is ideal for off-loading. Needless-to-say, dirt roads + an open quad = soiled face. And makeup? Leave your glosses, shadows and mascara stateside. While driving on the quad, the wind in my face, dirt even stuck to my moisturized lips while dirt clouds dispersing on the quad  blinded vision. Without makeup, my toiletry bag was significantly lighter. That’s not to say that my bag wasn’t full (I am a serious product over-packer). An array of sunscreens and moisturizers took the place of tinted moisturizers and bronzers.

I did make every effort to travel light – mini and travel-sized products are ideal – and, I think, perhaps I actually succeeded.

Here are the products in my toiletry bag:

David Babaii for Wildaid Bohemian Beach Spray  ($12.00)- Just about my favorite vacation spray. When at the beach, hair should always look beachy. The ocean makes that happen, this spray ensures that it happens.
KeSARI Pore Minimizing Indian Clay Masque ($24.50) – Dirt-ridden pores are my worst enemy. This exceptional clay mask is actually moisturizing as it cleans out the pores. The clay isn’t your average “hardening clay,” it’s almost like a milky gel that dries but doesn’t pull your face tight.
REN mini Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash and Lotion ($28.00 for the set, including a bath oil)- Just because I was jungle-bound didn’t mean I had to smell it. In face, just the opposite – all the more reason to clean and moisturize with one of the best rose scents around.
La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid  ($29.95)- I used this every morning on my face and chest and reapplied multiple times a day. I wasn’t kidding around. This stuff absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave the filmy or greasy look.
Aubrey Organics Soothing Body Lotion, Evening Primrose  – You can never have too much lotion (hence the full-size bottle) and I like to slather on cream every chance I get. Salt from the ocean has a tendency to dry out skin on an obscene – even painful – level. Not to mention the sun can leave skin  dehydrated (even with SPF). This formula is thick enough to moisturize and thin enough to absorb quickly. A bonus is that this organic body lotion smells delish – think very mild floral and honey. FULL DISCLOSURE: Santa Teresa doesn’t have a problem with mosquitos so a scented cream is fine. If you are traveling to a mosquito-infested area, steer clear of ALL scents unless you want to get eaten alive.
Clinique Sun: SPF 30 Face Cream ($19.00), SPF 30 Body Cream ($21.00) SPF Targeted Protection Stick ($20.00) – More sun protection. I love this range because it’s gentle enough not to irritate my face and body (sunscreen has a tendency to make me break-out). I used the SPF 45 stick on lips and around eyes. It’s extra moisturizing while still giving me the protection that I wanted.
Dickensen’s Witch Hazel Cleansing Astringent Towelettes ($4.99) – One of the most important travel companions, especially with the unpaved roads. I don’t think that my face had ever been so piled with dirt. Individually wrapped is key – I carried the singles in my purse and freshened up after every quad ride.
SoPhyto mini Dual Action Exfoliating Treatment (from the pre-packaged Daily Skin Essentials Collection, $49.00) – I only used this twice on the trip. Once, the night before my first day in the water and the second time was the morning that I left. It really worked to rid my face of all of the soiled skin cells.
SoPhyto mini Balancing Daily Moisturizer (from the pre-packaged Daily Skin Essentials Collection, $49.00) – Combine sun and sea and my combination complexion was left looking like a raisin… dehydrated. A daily, light, moisturizer soothed and hydrated.
SoPhyto mini pH Optimizing Restorative Toner (from the pre-packaged Daily Skin Essentials Collection, $49.00) – I love anything in a spray. I used the toner drenched on cotton pads to swipe my face clean at the end of the day, and spritzed throughout the day as a nourishing refresher.
SoPhyto mini Natural Glycolic Foaming Cleanser (from the pre-packaged Daily Skin Rejuvenation Collection, $65.00) – I like this cleanser because it really cleans without being too harsh or stripping the skin. And when you’re in the sun and ocean all day, every day, it’s important to use gentle and soothing products on your face.
SoPhyto mini Multivitamin Facial Serum (from the pre-packaged Daily Skin Rejuvenation Collection, $65.00) & Anti Aging Antioxidant Serum (from the pre-packaged Daily Skin Essentials Collection, $49.00) – I would put a few drops of both in my palm, rub my hands together and pat onto my skin. The smell is a bit overwhelming (something close to egg batter), but the results are astonishing: healthy and glowing skin (even in the jungle!). I also felt like I was loading up on antioxidants and vitamins – always important post sun.
Tata Harper Restorative Eye Cream – Eye creams hold a soft spot in my heart and this one is no exception. Love this stuff. It’s gentle, soothing and moisturizing. I used it morning and night (and sometimes post-surf).
Sephora Instant Depuffing Roll-On Gel  ($15.00)- For those mornings when I woke up with the sun rise, this roller eye gel is a perfect way to soothe tired eyes and puffiness. I relished the feeling of  metal roller balls around my eyes – cool, yet massage-like.
Anastasia Tweezers ($28.00)- Yes, I’m in the jungle, but I don’t need my brows looking like a jungle. I take my tweezers everywhere. Stray hair? Pluck and it’s gone. I never shape my own brows, however. Just simple touch-ups.
Ojon Hair Restorative Hair Treatment  ($19.50 for 1.5 oz)- A great travel companion due to its small size, this hair elixir adds an infusion of moisture back into sun damaged ends. The all-natural, thick formula turns into an oil when rubbed between the palms.
Fresh Sugar Plum & Rose Tinted Lip ($22.50 each) – These are my staple lip tints for sun and swim. With SPF, hydration and a hint of color, I wear the rose tint every day for a sheer red hue. When dining out, I’d apply a few coats of the plum tint for a pretty berry-stained lip ((this was the only makeup I used the entire week).
Healthy Hair Eco-Friendly Bamboo Large Oval Brush ($9.89)- Eco-friendly hair brush that works great on wet and tangled hair. It’s also perfectly acceptable to get the brush wet – very important when on a beach trip.

I packed all of my products in my friend Shoshanna’s collab toiletry bag with  AHAVA ($35.00). The waterproof material and 2 giant zippered compartments makes this beauty bag both convenient and dependable.

*Santa Teresa, Costa Rica


10 Day Giveaway Winners

By | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

And the winners are…

Day 1
FB: Jayna Martin
Twitter: @lakuti

Day 2
FB: Tiffany Hearn
Twitter: @Mtlgrl4evr

Day 3
FB: steph.showalter
Twitter: @4_steph

Day 4
FB: Tabea Bruce
Twitter: @timandtabea

Day 5
FB: Barbara Ryan
Twitter: BarbaraAnnRyan

Day 6
FB: Sahara Rao
Twitter: @neeha323

Day 7
FB: Poli Moni
Twitter: BeanO_oo

Day 8
FB:Lauri Carter-Russell

Day 9
FB: April Fordyce
Twitter: @angelpumpkin1

Day 10
FB: Lori Beth Haynes
Twitter: loribeth89

Thanks to everyone for participating and Happy 2012!
Many, many more beauty tips, trends and interviews to come…

If you are one of the winners, please email your address to: – subject: WINNER (and the Day of your win).


Happy Holidays From Beauty Banter…

By | Uncategorized | 23 Comments

Remember to enter our massive 10 day beauty giveaway! Click here and enter all 10… You have until December 31, 2011.

Good Luck!

IMPORTANT! Click here for rules of entry (or scroll down)!

1. “Like” us on Facebook (click HERE)
2. Follow us on Twitter (click HERE)
3. Leave a comment below the post hosting the giveaway with your Facebook name and your Twitter handle. (ex: FB: / Twitter: @beautybanter). You can leave a comment under every post to increase your chances of winning!

**You MUST be a member of Beauty Banter to be eligible for the giveaway. Not a member? Sign up now! (Top right of the site where it says “become a member.” Enter your email and follow the brief directions.

And… That’s it! You’re entered! All contests will close on December 31, 2011 at 11:59 pm. This means that you have until December 31 to enter EVERY giveaway!
You must be 18 or older to participate. Open to US and Canadian applicants only. All winners will be chosen at random. Every winner must be a fan on Beauty Banter’s Facebook, following Beauty Banter on twitter, and subscribed to Beauty Banter’s membership (top right of site). All items will be shipped the first week in January.

xoxo, Sarah


About Beauty Banter
Beauty Banter was launched in July of 2006 as a comprehensive beauty blog covering trends, tips and tricks, insider secrets, and weekly must-haves. Beauty Banter has a reputation of being on the cutting edge of emerging trends and product launches so our readers are always the first to know what’s hot and what’s just not.