Category:  how to

How To: Get Socialite Hair

By | hair, how to | 4 Comments

We recently received the following hair question from Jenna, a devout beauty banter reader:

I am always so so jealous of all these socialites’ thick healthy shiny hair! A lot of the LA implants to the NY scene have more scruffy laid back hair…but the ny girls, it seems they all have some secret vitamin I don’t know about! Any clue what they’re up to? I know you’ve spent PLENTY of time in NY so I thought you might know their secret. (for ex: Zani Gugelmann, Byrdie Bell, Lauren Bush, Amanda Hearst whom I adore…)

Well, Jenna, you’re in luck! We tracked down two of our favorite NYC hair mavens and asked them to dish on their hair secrets. Here’s what they had to say:

Zani Gugelmann (jewelry designer)- “The funny thing is that I’m convinced my hair is falling out! So that’s why I just started taking all these pills. I use the 2 products below to strengthen and nourish the hair.
Natures Bounty: “Hair, Skin and Nails” … The active ingredient is Biotin.
Natures Bounty: Omega-3 fish oil capsules (odorless.)”

Byrdie Bell (model, actress and documentarian)- “After over processing my hair and watching it all fall out just a week before my high school graduation I have become obsessed with keeping it long. For color I am supremely thankful to Reyad at Frederic Fekkai as well as Fabrice for the occasional trim. I use Frederic Fekkai Technician Shampoo and Conditioner For Dry, Damaged, Color-Treated Hair. Sometimes, I use his Protein Rx Reparative Treatment Mask.”

I also asked my go-to stylist, Jen Atkin of the Andy Lecompte Salon for her professional tips: “To get thick luscious hair like the girls in NYC, take the PHYTOPHANERE hair pills to make your hair thick and healthy. For shine, take Fish Oil pills from the Vitamin Store.”

What are YOUR tips for healthy hair?

How To Wear Red… A Crash Course Refresher

By | how to | 4 Comments

Red is bold. Sultry. Smoking hot. A red mouth says, “come hither” without having to use words. Red is also the color of Santa’s onesie suit! So, in the holiday spirit (and with festive soirees in our very near future), Beauty Banter wants to offer a refresher course on how to wear a red lip right! (For last years how to wear red guide, click here).

Step 1: Exfoliate the lips – You can use a toothbrush and some paste to get the job done, or you can turn to an actual lip exfoliator (PTR makes a great one – click here for the rave review), to make your pucker smooth.

Step 2: Primer – I like to use foundation over my lips (trick of the trade, ladies). Yes, it looks a tad frightening at first, but once blended it acts as a lip primer, actually filling in the tiny lines around your mouth. It also helps to combat the dreaded “bleeding lip” syndrome (you’ll thank me later!). Just a dollop applied with a sponge (you can use your everyday foundation) and you’re good to go.

Step 3: Choose your color – There is no “perfect red.” If you want something fire engine, you have a gazillion hues to choose from. Prefer a more berry red and you’ve got another gazillion options. Then it’s whether or not to use a matte lippy or a gloss… or both! I like to mix different reds together to create a stunning concoction of color. Depending on my mood, I’ll go with bold (more fire engine), sultry (more deep, blood red), or even muted (just a hint of berry red). Some of my favorite Holiday Reds are: MAC’s Classic Dame Mattene Lipstick, Cover Girl’s 968 Ruby Rush, Stilla’s Poppy, MAC’s Red Romp Lip Glass, Chanel’s Ruby Slipper, MAC’s Party Line, Sephora’s Limited-Edition Holiday Red with the Swarovski Crystal Case. Blend away!

**For a more precise application, use a lip brush and try lining your lips with the color, then blend inwards.**

Step 4:
Blot – I have this trick that I do to remove excess lipstick from the inside of my lips. It may be a bit phallic, but I assure you, it works. Stick your finger into your mouth, suck, and pull it out. The excess red transfers from your lips to your finger (and to think, that could have been lipstick that stained your pearly whites… oh the embarrassment!)

Step 5:
Vaseline – Yes, good old fashioned Vaseline! And no, not for your lips — but for your teeth! Take a finger-full of Vaseline and smear it on your teeth. This will guarantee that any misguided red will not end up or or near your pearly whites. The petroleum jelly acts as a barrier and the red lipstick literally slides right off! It’s an old red-carpet trick.

I’m wearing Cover Girl’s 968 Ruby Red mixed with Sephora’s Holiday Red. Good bling finishes the look – Ring by Skinny ($70.00).

And that’s it. Now, remember, when wearing a red lip, there’s really no need for a full face of makeup, maybe just some defined lashes. You want the focal point to be on your lips, and if you’re lucky, you may just find yourself kissing that sexy certain someone (underneath the mistletoe)!


Eco-Friendly Money Savers!

By | how to | 2 Comments

Rachel Hayes (not to be confused with Rachel Ray) of has just compiled a fabulous list of ways to cut costs while still remaining eco-friendly! Money is tight, but that doesn’t mean we should forget about the environment!

  • 1. Save water by turning it off while you are waiting for your hair conditioner or mask to sink in. This could also be a great time to do a body scrub because the water won’t rinse it immediately off your body. Saves money on the water bill!
  • 2. Use sea salts to exfoliate. They’re inexpensive and natural. Synthetic beads may not be biodegradable and are not the kind of fish food we want our marine life consuming.
  • 3. Use bar hand soap instead of liquid hand soap. Not only does it last longer (which saves money), but it also has a smaller carbon footprint because there is less packaging and plastic.
  • 4. Whip up your own beauty treatments instead of buying prepackaged ones. No need to buy expensive treatments – use what’s in the house! Olive oil makes a great all around moisturizer – rub it on cuticles while you’re cooking! It’s also great for dry ends of hair.
  • 5. Don’t be over-served! Making your products last as long as possible will reduce your overall consumption of packaging, materials, and the carbon footprint that comes along with it. Use only a dime-size of shampoo, a quarter size of conditioner, a pea size of face cream, and a shot-glass size of body lotion. And this way, you consolidate what you already have (which you would have chucked in the trash out and spent cash to buy more).
Have an eco-friendly, money saving tip? Let us know!

5 Simple Steps to Beautifying For A Special Evening

By | how to | 4 Comments

Here are the 5 easy steps I took to get ready for my birthday soiree… you too, can simplify your “special evening” beauty routine to these 5 steps:

1. Pick a dress… Luckily, I have an amazing friend (Kimberly Stewart) with a fabulous closet who was kind enough to lend me her “haute” Herve Leger… I figured black is back (has it ever really gone out of style?) and always sophisticated. After all, I was going for “cocktail sexy” sans the super slutty. And the look of the evening: tres chic with a healthy does of glam!

2. Spray Tan… Actor Nick Spano opened the first solar-powered tanning salon, Sun Lounge, and let me tell you, it’s fantastic! Sleek, chic, and green! I’m not a fake tan sort of gal, but before a big event, a little color is key. Of course, it’s vital to find a GOOD spray tan, and by good I mean, absolutely zero orange. I stepped into the Versus Spa by Magic Tan and after 3 easy breezy steps (and only 4 minutes), I was transformed into a golden goddess! More on this incredible, innovative solar-powered tanning salon to come later in the week – so check back!

3. Nails… My friend, Sarah Jane, recommended a fabulous little nail shop hidden on the corner of Fairfax and 3rd Street – Lena’s Nail Shop – it’s clean, chic and all about the nails! Best part, $22.00 for hands and feet! (More to come about my fab experience with Lena in a later post… cooling sea salt foot scrub, need I say more?). Color of choice – black (obvi)!

4. Hair… Obviously my favorite hair maven, Jen Atkin of the Andy Lecompte Salon, tended to my tresses. It was ALL about the flat iron curls. Long, whispy, hippy-chic curls to accentuate the mood of the evening – tres chic!

P.S. When attending a special event or party, I always find it best to go with hair that you a) compliments your face AND outfit, and b) is indicative of you. Don’t go for trendy unless you’re certain the look suits your style. For me, flat-iron curls are my default do – they never seem to fail me!

5. Make-up… I opted for a smokey eye and a light lip. Simple, yet elegant. On a special evening, you never want to get overly creative with your look. Stick to what you know works well – again, stay away from trends (i.e. Fall’s black lip….), you’ll regret the photos, guaranteed!

Here’s how I created my look:

  • MAC Engaging Mineralize Eye Shadow as a base (I dusted the light side all over lid). I followed this with MAC’s Ungaro Eye Shadow in Mineral. This color is primarily brown with a very light plum after-hue. It belnds amazingly with the bit of sparkle from Engaging. I used Mineral in the upper crease and just under the lower lash line.
  • Next, I wanted a thin black line – not cat eyes, just lash line emphasis. I opted for Make Up For Ever’s Waterproof Eyeliner in Black. It’s a liquid and comes with a very thin bristled brush so creating an even, thin line can be a bit of a feet – but a steady hand does the trick!
  • For mascara, I chose my new fave – Cover Girl Lash Blast (read my rave review HERE). Enough said.
  • For face I primed with Smashbox Photo Finish Light (oil-free!… the best thing to happen to primer since the original Photo Finish), then continued with Make Up For Ever’s HD Foundation. I cannot stress how insanely incredible this product is – full coverage, never cakey, seemless application, and NO BREAK OUTS!!! I’m actually going to dedicate an entire post to my ravings! Finally, I dusted with Tarte’s Hotel Heiress Bronzer – very light application as I already had the spray tan, golden effect to boot.
  • On cheeks, I chose to go with the unviersal Smashbox shade, Crush, from the Blush Rush line. Just a dab on the apples of the cheeks creates a truly blushed look without being overly bright and exagerated.
  • I used Senna’s Lace highlighter (powder) on my cheek bone and brow bone, and created a V shape on my forehead to emphasize those areas. Shading is everything…
  • Lips were left simple. Just a gloss. I chose Prescriptives Colorscope Lip Gloss in Stylish which I layered over Stila’s Lip Glaze in Grapefruit (an old favorite pink staple lippy).

And then it was off to enjoy the evening…


A Natural Antiseptic: Products and Uses of Tea Tree Oil

By | how to | 2 Comments

For those not in the know, tea tree oil is an amazing natural antiseptic! Back in the day, Australians used the medicinal leaves from the Melaleuca Alternifolia plant for healing cuts, burns and infections. Nowadays, it’s still used to treat cuts, burns and infections (but we use the oil not the leaves!), as it stimulates and revives cell growth. AND it’s a great natural remedy for acne!

Besides being used for burns, cuts and acne, tea tree oil is also fabulous for:


But, get this: Tea tree oil is also SO amazing if you suffer from sinus congestion…. just add a cap full into boiling water and/ or a humidifier and you’ll have easy breathing all night (and day) long!

Editor’s Pick for Pure Tea Tree Oil:

Desert Essence Kinder to Skin Australian Tea Tree Oil (great for sensitive skin-types; can be used directly on the skin without diluting). $6.99 for

A few of our favorite products with tea tree oil:

Astara’s Blue Flame Purification Mask – Fab blue clay mask with antiseptic tea tree oil – amazing for problem skin. Also rocks as an overnight spot treatment. $41.00
Earth Therapeutics Clean + Cool Foot Wipes – Tea Tree oil and wild mint, clean, replenish and revive tired, dirty feet. They tingle ever so slightly giving feet a quick pick me up! $5.99
Desert Essence Blemish Stick – the name pretty much gives it away – great for daily blemish touch-ups, comes with a roller ball applicator – I never leave home without it! $9.00
Ole Henriksen New Beginning Scrub – A very gentle and emolliant face exfoliator that uses jojoba wax beads – great from sensitive skin or acne-prone skin as tea tree oil acts as antiseptic aiding in ceasing the spread of infection. $24.00
WEN by Chaz Dean Tea Tree Oil For Bath, Body and Hair – A dropper ads just the right amount of this medicinal oil into the bath for a relazing, healing experience. Can also be used to combat dry, flaky scalp by putting 4-8 full droppers into scalp, massage and leave on overnight! $20.00

We heart when one product can do SOOOO much!


The Dirty (and Clean) on Dry Shampoos

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I have an oily scalp – blame it on genetics, my skin is oily too (at least I won’t be getting wrinkles anytime soon) – thus, I’m forced to wash my hair every day or every other. And as any great colorist or stylist will tell you, the worst thing you can do to your hair (besides jumping into a vat of chlorine – or using a flat iron or curling iron every single day) is shampoo it on a daily basis. Why? Because your hair needs to nurture its natural oils and because shampooing leads to stripping the hair (especially bad for us “faux colored” folks).

So, what’s a girl to do when her hair is secreting enough oil to fill the tank of an SUV (yes, I’m obviously exaggerating!)… DRY SHAMPOO!

Dry Shampoo is the most genius product since the invention of hand lotion!
What dry shampoo does: Cleans hair without the use of water, absorbs excess oils, makes the hair smell puuurty, adds volume!

Who should use it: Everyone can use dry shampoo!
While it’s great for people with oily scalps, it’s also great for people who:
a) don’t feel like getting their head all wet and lathered
b) don’t have time, say, after the gym before returning to the office
c) don’t want to wash their hair in between weekly or bi-weekly salon styling/ blowout visits (but hair is looking and smelling a bit dirty)
d) want to add volume to their roots (like for a special event, night out on the town, date with that certain someone).

I literally live for my dry shampoo – and I stock up big time! Those bottles go quickly in the house of Sarah Howard… but since my love affair with dry shampoo, I don’t have to wash my hair as much, giving it time to breathe and helping my color to last longer. Not to mention, everyone knows that day-old hair looks a thousand times better!

**Beauty Banter Tip**
If you run out of your dry shampoo – or don’t feel like shelling out the cash for a bottle, you can always use BABY POWDER! All you do is pour baby powder onto the palm of your hands, pat them together to ensure that excess powder doesn’t pollute your mane, and rub your hands into the roots and scalp (motion as if you were lathering your head with shampoo!). Yes, this even works on darker-colored hair – but make sure that you don’t use too much or you’ll end up looking like you’re going grey. AND, be sure to rub the powder into the scalp fully and completely, allowing it to effectively soak up excess oils (thus you won’t be left with specks of white that could be misinterpreted as dandruff!). An added bonus: your hair will smell like the bum of a baby – clean, refreshed and free of oil and ciggies (if you smoke – which you shouldn’t! But sadly, I do)! It’s a win-win.

Tons of companies are jumping on the dry shampoo wagon – while some are in spray cans, others come in pour-out nozzles. And even others come colored – made specifically for blondes, brunettes and redheads!

Check back tomorrow for Beauty Banter’s Dry Shampoo Picks and Pans!



By | celebrity looks, hair, how to | 7 Comments

In a recent magazine interview, Nicole Richie gushed about her favorite stylist tip: How to make curls with a flat iron.

Nicole sporting the do glammed up…
…And more casual.

My interest was immediately piqued. I raced over to The Andy Lecompte Salon where I asked my hair stylist guru, Jen Atkin, to explain (and do it on my mane, of course!).

Now, I’m sharing my new found knowledge with all of you!

Jen calls this look hippy chic, like what you see on Nicole Richie or Blake Lively (cool with me – I dig both of their styles). The curls are much more natural and effortless looking, not so volumized and oversized (or even tight and bouncy).

First, you’ll need a flat iron – 1 inch works the best. Jen suggest the Chi by Global Beauty. It’s ceramic so it doesn’t snag or severely damage the hair.

Next, split hair in half from the nape of your neck and separate into sections.

Grab big, long vertical chunks and, with the flat iron, start half-way down the shaft of your hair and curl the hair AROUND the iron and BACK away from your neck (Not to Self: this look does not, and is not meant to, create volume – so don’t even attempt curling from the roots!).

Continue with the rest of the sections.

It’s literally THAT easy – and it only took about 7 minutes to do my entire head (and I have long, thick hair!).

So, when pinched for time – or if you’re feeling adventurous and want to try a new do – perform the flat iron curl on your mane!

Let us know how it goes!!!


How To Maintain Hair Color… Tips From A Pro

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George Papanikolas of the Andy Lecompte Salon, and our new favorite baliage colorist (that’s George on the left!), dishes **exclusively** for Beauty Banter on how to keep colored hair lasting longer (so that you’re not spending so much time (and money) in the salon)!

Here are George’s tips, tricks and product suggestions:

– WAIT 2 DAYS to wash your hair so that the color can set in.

– Use shampoo specific for color-treated hair. George’s Pick: Joico’s re:nu Age Defying Shampoo and Conditioner. “I love this shampoo because it gently cleanses the hair, while restoring softness
and manageability. Strengthens hair, leaving it significantly more resistant to breakage. Prolongs the longevity and vibrancy of color-treated hair,” says George.
Remember, the more you wash your hair, the quicker it oxidizes (turns orange, red and brassy… NASTY!) So, try using a dry shampoo in between washes to clean hair without the harsh effects of a real shampoo, absorb excess oil and add volume (check back tomorrow for Dry Shampoo tips and benefits!).

– Avoid volumizing shampoos and conditioners as they tend to strip the color because of the ingredients that allow them to give you added volume (they are meant to be more clarifying, thus they are a very heavy, deep clean).

– Keep color hair healthy by using weekly treatments. ” I recommend Joico’s K-Pak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor. It leaves the hair shiny, strong and in a healthy, manageable state. The results are immediate. There is a difference in strength, texture and appearance,” explains George. “I follow this with Joico’s K-Pak Intense Hydrator which replenishes moisture and lipids to overly dry, damaged hair, rendering it manageable, soft, shiny and hydrated.”

– People who get a single process (straight up hair color) can use color depositing shampoos (the ones that add color – a NO NO for highlighted hair!). Use every other time you shampoo or dilute it with your normal everyday shampoo because too much of it can turn ends purple.

– If you must be in the sun, wear a hat!!! And try to stay out of the pool. If you are an avid swimmer, you may need a colored gloss in between a full head of color to freshen it up and give hair that nice shine and lustre.

– If you’re receiving a single process (full color – no highlights), you should return to the salon every 4 to 6 weeks (or when your roots have grown a half-an-inch).
For highlights and baliage, maintenance it’s every 10 to 12 weeks.

– And, lastly, just as a FYI – red color fades the fastest, blonde stays the longest (although you’ll need to touch-up roots more often, especially if you have naturally dark hair and roots).

Thanks to George for all of his fabulous, A-list hair-care secrets!!!


5 Unconventional Uses for Vaseline

By | how to | 24 Comments

Vaseline is a beauty staple. Every makeup kit (and every bathroom) should have a jar/ tube/ tube of Vaseline (a.k.a. petroleum jelly). It comes in all shapes and sizes and sells for anywhere from $2.00 (for the tub to the left) to about $8.00 (depending on size).

Obviously, conventional use of Vaseline is to cure chapped lips… and we love it for its ability to moisturize and soothe a dry pout. But Vaseline is SO MUCH MORE then merely an effective lip balm.

Here’s 5 other amazing uses for Vaseline:

1 – If you’re an avid reader of this blog then you’ll know that we also use Vaseline as a non-irritating and soothing eye makeup remover. A little dollop on a shut eye, a quick wipe with a cotton pad, and even the most irritating mascara comes right off (without ripping the lashes off too!).

2 – Every night before bed, I rub a pea-size amount of Vaseline on my eye brows. It’s the perfect emollient to help moisturize and course brows AND it also molds them into place without the harsh effects of hair spray or gel. My brows have a tendency to grow down and thus I use Vaseline to train them to grow up! I’ve been doing this for years… and it works!

3 – Vaseline is also great for shaving sensitive and “intimate” areas. I don’t like to use it on my entire leg (as it gets a tad greasy) but for the bikini area and underarms, it’s pretty phenomenal. Coat the area with a light layer (make sure not to use too much as it will plug up your razor) of Vaseline – DON’T USE WATER – and shave. It’s as easy as that. The shaved area is so soft, SO smooth and totally moisturized! It’s a genius shave.

4 – One of my favorite things about Vaseline is that it is an incredible base for lip glosses, cream shadows and highlighters. This trick is like being a chemist, but it’s so much fun. To create your own, personalized colors (or to use the excess of last seasons colors), mix Vaseline and any other lip stick or eye shadow in a bowl (you can use both shadow and lip stick). For a lippy, use more Vaseline. For a cream shadow and/ or highlighter, mix a little bit of Vaseline with your favorite shimmery shadow. And then apply to eyes, brow bone and cheek bone for a glowing, luminous look!
**extra beauty secret** if you’re feeling (and looking) a little tired, you can use a very thin layer of Vaseline on the brow bone and the cheek bone (by itself, sans color) to make your eyes appear hydrated. They’ll literally “pop” without the need for a cat nap or some heavy duty concealer. I do this during the day if I’m in my car going from meeting to meeting. By the end of the afternoon, I’m exhausted and my eyes show the signs of fatigue. But with a little extra glow from the Vaseline, I automatically look rejuvenated!

5 – Vaseline is the greatest hand and feet moisturizer EVER! I use it when my paws and claws are extremely chapped. Coat your hands and feet with a decent amount of Vaseline, then apply socks and mittens (or you can do sock for the hands as well) to both the feet and hands and let them hibernate for 10 -15 minutes (enough time for the petroleum jelly to soak into the skin). The socks trap the moisture and combine it with heat to allow for full penetration (not sexual, you dirty minds!). The result – freshly hydrated and smooth hands and feet! It’s like your very own at-home paraffin treatment!

Do YOU have an unconventional use for Vaseline? Let us know! Share it in the comment box below!


On-Set Beauty Tips!

By | how to | 11 Comments

On Friday, I shot a little scene for my friend’s pilot, “Grean Teem” (yes, it’s meant to be misspelled).

I played one of two girls who spends the night in a “green” bus (I’ll leave the rest of the plot to your wild imaginations…).

Acting is always incredibly exciting and fulfilling, but there’s tons of downtime before and during shooting. I, of course, tend to find refuge in the hair and makeup trailer. With all of those amazing products, what beauty whore wouldn’t love herself some cosmetic therapy?!

The hair and makeup artist working on this shoot was the lovely and talented, Cheryl Calo. She gave me big, flowing, “bed head” curls and smokey eyes (we were going for a sexy, “just-rolled-out-of-bed” look).

Cheryl Calo and Sarah Howard

Here are some of my favorite products that were used:

Mac Strobe Cream ($29.50) on the corners of the eyes – Calo says the cream, “makes the eyes pop like a filter.” Eyes become brighter and more youthful (I immediately noticed a difference).

Prescriptives Beyond Long Mascara in Black ($19.50)- Lengthens without globbing (I’ve long been a fan of Prescriptives mascaras… their wands are brilliant!).

Mark Eye Shadow in Wings ($4.00)- It’s a gold shimmer that Calo applied on the inner corner of the eye and under the bottom lashes. She loves the Mark shadows because “they are affordable and long-lasting.”

Shu Uemura Blush in Red 14 ($21.00)- It’s a watermelon pink hue. Calo applied the blush with a fan brush (MAC’s 184($22.50)) because, “it is highly pigmented. The fan picks up a bit of color and disperses it evenly on the apples of the cheeks. It naturally blends instead of blobbing.” I never understood the importance of a fan brush, until now. It really does make a major difference in application… everyone should own this brush! Regarding the blush, Calo adds, “this color warms up everything.” This is my new Summer blush… I love it!

Amazing Cosmetics Concealer ($40.00)- “They’re mineral, which means, better for your skin. A little goes a long way. Coverage is like camouflage. Perfect for bags under your eyes or covering tattoos,” explains Calo. I am OBSESSED with this concealer… it’s full coverage, without being cakey. And it lasts all day long!

Sarah Howard and Allison Jacobs (primped and prodded)

As for my hair, Calo used a curling iron to define my already wavy hair. She then rolled the curls up toward my scalp, secured them with a pin (so that the curl wouldn’t “drop”… hence, why I look like Princess Leia in the picture below), and sprayed massive amounts of hair spray for added curl and hold.

Sarah Howard, Allison Jacobs, and Courtney Wagner (on-set downtime)

Right before shooting, she took out the pins, teased the crown of my head, and sprayed some more. The look: full-bodied curls!

Thanks to Cheryl for introducing me to some great new products…


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.