Category:  favorites


Face Mists: The Other Toner

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Remember Evian spray? The glamorous, overly expensive facial mist of the ’80s and ’90s. It contained water… that’s it. But the idea of spraying purified water onto our face was so…luxe…that we’d shell out over $10 for the high-end hydrator.

Cut to a few decades later and, while Evian Facial Water ($13) still exists, mists that act as toners, serums, and vitamin activators have completed upended the market on luxury hydrating sprays. Being both refreshing and moisturizing, these face mists 2.0 are multitasking, prepping the skin for deeper absorption of products, plumping the complexion with vitamins, minerals, and anti-aging ingredients like hyaluronic acid, protecting and purifying the face from environmental pollutants, and, of course, toning, calming, and beautifying. These mists should be used post-wash and prior to serums and creams. Because of the convenience of a spray applicator, face mists 2.0 are perfect for on-the-go touchups… anywhere (like the gym or post-work).

Application tips:
1. Spray onto a cotton pad and gently swipe across face, neck, and chest for a deeper clean.
2. Spray post makeup to “set” the look and to add a healthy dose of dew (in other words, to un-matte your skin).
3. Spray into the palm of your hand and combine with your favorite moisturizer to a) dilute a heavier cream or b) inject some additional ingredients into the cream.
4. Spray onto hair, chest, neck, even arms to hydrate and refresh.
5. Feel free to mix and match mists for optimal results, and spritz onto your face every few hours for an infusion of healthy ingredients.

Shop a few of our favorite face mists:

Farmaesthetics Cool Aloe Mist ($26) – This award-winning mist contains a simple combination of aloe, lavender, and bergamot for healing inflamed tissue from sun-exposure, burns, or exposure to radiation like lasers. Suitable for all skin types but ideal for sensitive complexions.

Skin Inc. Pure Serum-Mist ($55) – Use on normal, combination, and dry skin types to hydrate, soothe, and calm angry skin due to sensitivity and acne. This product is like a serum in a mist applicator – seriously healing and effective.

Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist ($48) – This celeb-favorite formula leaves the complexion gorgeously glowing. Great to use to “set” makeup as well. Just spritz after makeup application is complete for an all-over healthy, dewy effect. Formulated with 20 percent botanical oils and humectants and infused with a Hadasei-3 Anti-Aging Complex that supports antiaging. Suitable for normal, combination, and dry skin types.

Derma E Purifying Toner Mist ($14) – Ideal for oily, active, or urban skin types, this formula of marine algae and green tea protects against environmental pollutants and rebalances skin for a healthy, youthful glow from the first mist.

Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System ($35) – Based on traditional Korean skincare, this mist contains bamboo sap to improve product absorption, 5-Hydra complex™ to protect against daily environmental aggressors, and lotus and green tea extract to tone and hydrate. Leaves a healthy glow to the skin pre or post makeup. Can be used on all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone.

Fresh Rose Floral Toner ($40) – Rosewater, one of nature’s most decadent anti-aging ingredients calms, moisturizes, and clarifies. The aromatic floral water will leave skin healthy, hydrated, and pleasantly scented. Can be used on all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone. (Learn how to create a DIY rosewater mist here).

First Aid Beauty Vitamin Hydrating Mist ($16) – Vitamins to feed your face. Contains B5 to moisturize, vitamin E to nurture and protect, and vitamin C to brighten. This alcohol-free mist does it all: replenishes, hydrates, soothes, and restores. Good for all skin types, even the most sensitive and reactive.


Favorites: Giving Good Blush

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blush for fall

It’s official. Fall is here (and you can finally feel a chill in the air). Besides subbing out your open-toed stilettos for ankle booties, it’s time to change up your beauty routine. Today we’re starting with blush, a single product that can totally rehabilitate your sallow, fall complexion.

A bold cheek is on-trend this season so stick with colors that give good hue: berry, bordeaux, and brick shades.

Here are a few of our favorite cream and powder blushes for fall:

1 – Sunday Riley Blush in Dimples ($30)- Theses powder blushes are bold yet incredibly wearable. Dimples is a light berry/ pink hue that looks sensational layered over a similar berry cream blush. I use this almost daily.

2 – Becca Beach Tint in Raspberry ($25) – I wear these flawless cheek and lip stains year round. Guava and Watermelon were my summer picks, Raspberry, a deep berry pink, is my fall go-to. This stain provides a more sheer color but is ideal for layering under powder blushes for high intensity pigment.

3 – Nars Blush in Seduction ($29) – Itching for a deep bordeaux in powder form? Then Seduction is your shade. It’s bold, provocative, and moody. A fall favorite.

4. Tom Ford Beauty Cheek Color in Savage ($56) – A brick mauve powder blush that offers unsurpassing pigment. A rich shade such as this is also ideal for creating a contoured cheek.

5. Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Radiance Blush in Wild Berry ($26) – High pigment, long lasting yet natural color. This shade is a pinky berry that can be layered for a darker effect.

6. Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow in Patrice ($26) – Definitely one of my favorite cream blush brands, Kevyn Aucoin creamy glow imparts color with a hint of dewiness. Patrice is a brick red shade that is perfect for fall’s bold cheek.


Fashion Friday: The Denim Diaries

By | fashion, favorites | No Comments

As fall quickly approaches, denim – specifically jeans – become a basic in our everyday wardrobe. Gone are the days of slinky slip dresses and short shorts. Here to stay — until at least May — is the perfect denim jean. This fall ,we’re seeing a myriad of new(ish) styles reemerge – like the cropped flare, distressed denim (i.e. you ran over your jeans with a truck, then put them through a shredder), frayed hems, and, yes, even mom jeans are back in style (although we’re going to opt out of this trend for now). (Almost) anything goes — so get creative with your denim desires.

Here, our favorite dreamy denim designs for fall.

From a cropped straight leg to a flare, distressed to frayed, ankle-grazing (capris) to just below-the-knee, here are the best of cropped denim.

A return the nineties, the more holes, the more hipster the jean. And lest use not forget patchwork denim in this distressed category.

Undone hems are all the rage. Add a few holes, a flare, or a cropped cut, and you’ve got yourself this season’s hottest jean.


Favorites: Post-Sun Skin Products

By | body, favorites, hair, skin | No Comments

After a long weekend of sun and fun, chances are, your complexion, body, and hair are in desperate need of some TLC. Worry not, we’ve got the quick fixes for all of your post-sun needs. From DIY recipes to product picks, here’s how to enjoy these last dog days of summer while keeping hair and skin on the healthy tip.

Boost The Hydration
Summer is usually hot and balmy, but the sun can also severely dehydrate your precious skin. After a long weekend frolicking in the sun, sea, and sand, turn to an added boost of hydration to get everything back in check.
TRY: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum ($36), a universal serum that gives skin a gentle boost of hydration and plumping, thanks to its hyaluronic acid formulation. Safe for all skin types. Root Science Youth Face Serum ($50), our love for this magical hydrator knows no bounds; suitable for all skin types, this serum targets signs of aging, protects skin from environmental aggressors, and clears skin of congestion and blemishes. It literally does everything!

DIY Face Mask
Follow celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas’ masterful post-sun DIY face mask for a spa-like treatment in the comfort of your own home:

2 tbsp almond oil
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp warmed honey
1/4 organic yogurt

“The almond and olive oils are anti-inflammatory and will soften any damage from summer.” explains Joanna. “The honey hydrates the skin and the yogurt calms and exfoliates the skin. Mix together and leave on the face for 20 mins. Your glow will be amazing when you are done.”

Care For Your Post-Sun Hair
Sun, salt water, and chlorine can leave tresses in a hot mess. After a long weekend of summer sun, your mane needs some much needed hydration, too. Opt for a deep conditioning mask or leave-in conditioner two to three times this week, and forgo the heat styling products (a.k.a. air dry your strands to perfection with these tips here) until hair recovers.
TRY: Shu Uemura Art Of Hair Ultimate Remedy Extreme Restoration Masque ($68), restores hair to its healthy state. Can be used on all hair types. Sun Bum 3 In 1 Leave In Hair Conditioning Treatments ($15) protects, detangles, and conditions hair while enhancing and restoring its natural luster. People swear by this treatment…

Lotion Up
The most important step in a post-sun beauty routine, is using a post-sun lotion to soothe your skin.
TRY: Jurlique Sun Specialist After Sun Replenishing Moisturizing Lotion ($36), a creamy, nourishing treatment for face and body to help restore that healthy-looking glow. Delish! Alba Organics Hawaiian Kona Coffee After-Sun Lotion ($9), an all-natural wake-up call for skin. Caffeine helps neutralize free-radical damage due to sun overexposure. Macadamia oil and shea butter nourish and replenish.

Too Much Sun
Regardless of how much SPF you use (and we know you’re using it… right?!), sometimes, a sunburn is just pure bad luck. To combat raw, red, burned skin, make this simple DIY treatment, great for face and body.

1-2 tbsp organic yogurt (use skim yogurt if you have oily skin)

Slather the yogurt over sunburnt area. Yogurt’s lactic acid is ideal for all skin types, and its hydrating and healing property will breathe new life into your epidermis. Leave on for 10-20 minutes, and towel off. Follow with a moisturize of your choosing. That’s it!

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The Last Days Of Summer: Products To Move You Into Fall

By | favorites, makeup, skin | No Comments

As we approach the final days of summer (sigh), our skin — and wardrobes — become all about fall. Darker colors, thicker fabrics, close-toed shoes, drier skin. Blah, blah, blah.

Luckily, we still have just over a month of summer’s fine weather to keep us warm and happy. And there are a plethora of summer products that you can buy and wear now and bring right into fall.

Let that natural glow last longer than September with an illuminating foundation like Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation ($48), which comes in 24 shades ranging from the fairest of fair to deep, creating that coveted soft glow on the complexion. Another quick trick: Use an on-trend glossing product like Nudestix Skin Glossing Pencil ($24) to add a hint of sheen sans the oil. Apply like you would a highlighter — to high points, like cheek and brow bones, bridge of nose, and cupid’s bow. Glossy eyes are a thing this fall — we’ll get into the how to of this trend in another post, but keep this stick handy!

Skin can go spastic in summer, thanks to chlorine, salt water, air conditioning, and sun. But transitional weather (aka summer-to-fall’s hot and cold climate), can really confuse your complexion. While there are a host of products you can use to ease your skin into a new season, start today with a hydrating mask. All skin types — including sensitive and oily — will be forever grateful. We love Rodial’s Pink Diamond Lifting Face Mask ($90) with its diamond powder to brighten and its serum-soaked sheet mask application to hydrate. If you prefer a sleep mask, try Luzern’s Hydra-Enzyme Masque Nuit ($75) or Darphin’s Stimulskin Plus Serum Mask ($180). Both power products inject major moisture into the skin as you slumber.

As noted, darker shades of browns and berries will become fall’s coveted hues. Start the trend early by opting for a deep berry lip, instead of summer’s staple nude, but keep it summer-approved by choosing a sheen or gloss formula, not matte (yet). The Estée Edit by Estée Lauder Cocobalm in Coco Berry ($22) is lightweight, creamy, and shiny, so it still feels summery. But the bright berry shade will transition all skin tones into fall seamlessly. For a deeper berry, look for sheer, buildable finishes so that your pout standouts but still has a summer vibe. Try Nars Lipstick in Fast Ride ($28), a sheer mulberry with a stain finish, or Dolce & Gabbana Passion Duo Gloss Fusion Lipstick in Satin 100 ($37) , for a sheer, shimmery finish (the center is infused with hydrating gloss!).

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*Stay tuned for more of our summer-to-fall transition products and tips.


How To Get Better Skin: Vitamin C

By | favorites, skin | One Comment

Vitamin C is a favored beauty ingredient because it achieves three very important complexion goals: It lightens, tighten, and brightens the complexion. Ideal for a myriad of skincare issues including sun damage, acne scaring, collagen depletion, and aging concerns, vitamin C is like a cure-all for the face (just like it is for the immune system).

Even if you have been blessed with the genetic lottery and boast a flawless complexion, a vitamin C serum should still be a part of your daily skincare regimen because of its ant-aging and preventative abilities. After all, even the most porcelain of complexions can benefit from an extra bit of brightening – and tightening – right? In fact, vitamin C gives everyone better skin, seriously.

When using a vitamin C serum, apply post wash and pre moisturizer. Let it soak into the skin for a couple of minutes before moving on with your routine (brush your teeth or floss to kill time). While you can use vitamin C AM and PM, I recommend starting with a PM application to build a tolerance, as some skin types may feel a burning or stinging sensation, followed by some mild redness. Generally speaking, this reaction will go away after a few applications. I apply morning and night and I always make sure to wear SPF during the day, post vitamin C, as potent serums increase sun sensitivity. So, if you’re planning to spend the day baking in the sun, skip out on the vit C.

While Vitamin C is usually most potent in a serum or powder, it can also be found in brightening moisturizers, enzyme peels, and face washes.

Here are a few fabulous vitamin C serums and products to try today:

1. Obagi Professional-C Serum 10% ($82) – This deeply penetrating serum comes in three strengths – 10%, 15%, and 20% (definitely start with the 10%; it’s potent and results are practically instantaneous). One of my favorite vit C serums of late, this stuff does it all – lighten, tightens, and brightens – without irritating skin or depleting it of moisture. In fact, it leaves the complexion dewy and luminous.

2. Natura Bisse C+C Vitamin Cream ($115) – The end-all-be-all for drier skin types concerned with aging, this vitamin C-packed cream helps to restore skin elasticity, tone, and firmness while adding serious moisture.

3. Murad Intensive C Radiance Peel ($55) – One of my longtime favorite at-home peels, this stuff really cleans out clogged pores and sloughs away dead skin while leaving the complexion soft, smooth, and beautifully bright and radiant.

4. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum ($88) – Firms and brightens skin, and reverses photo aging, this potent serum is packed with antioxidants and nutrients to nourish, lighten, and brighten skin, while deeply hydrating.

5. Joanna Vargas Vitamin C Face Wash ($65) – Celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas has concocted an extremely gentle yet effective wash full of vitamin C to leave skin clean, smooth, and brightened, while hyaluronic acid offers lightweight moisture to plump and revitalize the complexion. Pure cleansing perfection.

*Make your own DIY Lightening and Brightening Lemon Toner here. Face-changing!

Models present creations by German designer Karl Lagerfeld as part of his Fall/Winter 2014-2015 women's ready-to-wear collection for French fashion house Chanel at the Grand Palais transformed into a "Chanel Shopping Center" during Paris Fashion Week March 4, 2014. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe (FRANCE - Tags: FASHION)

Drugstore Finds: 10 Natural Beauty Products To Buy Today

By | body, favorites, makeup, skin, under $10 | No Comments

Living a natural life can seem difficult, especially when it comes to affordable makeup and skincare. But that doesn’t mean impossible… and we love a good challenge! Brands are finally hearing our cries to create products that are good for our skin and body, without being toxic. We’ve rounded up 10 natural beauty products that need to be incorporated into your makeup and skincare routine today. Alas, healthy ingredients that won’t break the bank.

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm ($5) – A fan favorite, consider this the all-natural version of the Fresh cult classic Tinted Sugar Lip Treatments ($24). For the pout that enjoys hydration and a hint of hue, look no further.

Yes To Tomatoes Clear Skin Deep Pore Scrub ($6) – When it comes to exfoliation, oily and acne-prone skin types can do no wrong with this salicylic acid-based scrub. Gentle yet effective, blackheads are obliterated while skin is left clean and clear. In fact, the entire line is an ideal choice for acneic skin, with an ideal price tag!

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap in Lavender ($11) – This natural body wash invigorates the senses with certified organic oils and essential oils that’ll leave your body clean and oh-so soft.

Avalon Organics Hand & Body Lotion, Revitalizing Peppermint ($8) – Our love for this organic body treat knows no bounds – it absorbs quickly into the skin, hydrates, and leaves a lingering peppermint scent. Plus, it’s great for super hot and balmy days and nights as the peppermint is a natural cooling agent to calm and cool off the body.

Yes To Carrots Super Rich Body Butter ($9) – If your skin requires a more intense hydration, the Yes To range offers this uniquely satisfying body butter. It’s thick, creamy, 98% natural, and the subtle scent is equal parts sweet and rich. Our bodies drinks this cream right up!

Desert Essence Natural Tea Tree Oil Facial Cleansing Pads ($8) – We heart a great on-the-go cleansing pad (like for after the gym!), and this one just so happens to effectively ward off dirt and grime while leaving skin clear and radiant. Tea tree oil is one of the best natural antiseptics, so it’s ideal for combination, oily, and acne-prone skin. Use on your chest and back, too.

Thayers Alcohol-Free Original Witch Hazel ($9) – In our humble opinion, this is the very best toner on the market (and it just so happens to be affordable, too). The non-alcohol formula means it’s safe for sensitive skin, and it’s a must for oily to combination skin types.

Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Eye Cream ($18) – This 99% all-natural eye cream delivers health and effective ingredients to hydrate the delicate eye area while working its magic on fine lines and wrinkles. Great for dry and sensitive skin types.

Acure Argan Oil with Rose ($13) – A serious treat for skin – and the senses – this luxurious oil can be used on face and body to aid in fine lines and wrinkles and reducing the appearance of scars and stretch marks. The intoxicating natural scent will make you want to skip your perfume.

Physician’s Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Mascara ($10) – Its tough finding a natural/ organic mascara, even tougher finding one with a price tag under $10… but Physician’s Formula is, by far, the best all-natural drugstore mascara on the market. It lengthens, volumizes, and defines lashes without harsh chemicals. Love your lashes and they’ll love you back.

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5 Useful Tips For Finding Your Glow

By | favorites, makeup, skin | One Comment

From primers to moisturizers, it seems that every other product promises some sort of illuminating effect. Yes, we all want that coveted glow, the one that looks as though a halo is blasting its ethereal shine onto our faces, but which products actually work to give off this all-over youthful vibe, and which product is right for you?

Take a look below at our 5 useful tips for finding your glow.

1. Limit your illuminating products to one per skincare regimen (note: this does not include your handy spot treatment highlighter). A great way to ease into this trend is with an illuminating primer that can be used pre-makeup as a base or on its own for subtle “everywhere” shimmer. Try the original luminizer base, aptly dubbed dew in a bottle, Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base ($48), Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Instant Soft-Focus Beauty Flash ($55), a favorite for plumping, priming, and delivering anti-aging benefits, or Honest Beauty Everything Primer ($27), which offers the most subtle golden glow, while it plumps and primes the complexion.

2. For less glow (a.k.a. illumination), use your shimmer product closest to the skin, like a shimmering moisturizer or serum. Make the skincare product give good glow, not the makeup. Try Tatcha Balanced Pore Perfecting Water Gel ($68), which gives off a subtle speckle of golden glow and works on all skin types, including oily (BB obsessed!) or GlamGlow GlowstarterMega Illuminating Moisturizer ($49), a face cream that plumps, hydrates, and adds a fair does of dew to an otherwise dull complexion.

3. If you’re a fan of BB and CC creams, opt for your illumination item to be an illuminating BB or CC cream – there are so many great ones on the market that’ll give you a moderate amount of all-over shimmer while still tackling skin issues like aging or dull complexion). We love It Cosmetics CC+ Illumination ($38) – with an added SPF of 50, Urban Decay Naked Skin Illuminating Beauty Balm ($34), and Lumene Vitamin C+ Illuminating Anti-Aging BB Cream SPF 20 ($15).

4. Illumination now comes in the form of sunscreens! So, if you’re looking for a little extra glow, say at the beach or pool, and you don’t want any coverage (except that of a SPF), then try Dior Diorsnow Brightening Illuminating UV Protection with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum Translucent SPF 50 ($55) or Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day UV Illuminating Sunscreen SPF 36 ($34). It’s pretty subtle and leaves skin with a healthy, happy dew.

5. For a serious statement-making glow, choose a basic liquid illuminator, which has the highest concentration of illumination, and combine it with your foundation of choice for an all-over dewy goddess look. You can also use these liquid illuminators to spot treat, meaning dab a small amount onto brow and cheek bones, bridge of nose, and cupid’s bow post-makeup to draw the light to your best assets. Try Nars Illuminator ($30), come in four shades but we’re keen on Hot Sand, or Nyx Cosmetics Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator ($7).

Remember to use an illuminator on your chest as well. It’s an epic way to hydrate, blur imperfections, and bask in a healthy décolletage dew.

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photo 2

Favorites: Dry Hair Helpers

By | favorites, hair | 6 Comments

True story: I moved to LA two and a half years ago to find refuge from the debilitating cold of NYC winter, only to have my skin and hair left more dehydrated and weak than ever before. LA’s climate is so painfully dry that the ends of my hair literally break off. There’s something awful in the water here, too, but we’ll save that for a different post. I trimmed the split ends yet still found no solace from the dry climate.

That’s when I decided to go on a hunt for the best dry hair helpers on the market. I need oils, masks, lotions, and potions. Anything that can salvage my lifeless, dead, split ends. Here are the products that I found – and use – to keep my hair in shiny, healthy, and happy shape.

Philip B Rejuvenating Oil ($30) – Meant for dry hair and scalp, this is a treatment oil that will take dead, dehydrated strands and give them a surge of moisture. I don’t use it on my scalp because I naturally produce a fair amount of oil, but I keep it on my ends once a week for at least an hour before washing out. Love, love, love how healthy my hair looks and feels after a treatment.

Phyto 7 Daily Hydrating Botanical Cream ($28) – Think of this as a moisturizer… for your hair. Daily use has breathed new life into my otherwise lifeless strands. It also makes combing and blow drying a much easier task. One of my favorite products on the market, seriously.

Neuma NeuSmooth Revitalizing Masque  ($40)- This hair mask is heavy stuff — and the results are soft, shiny, manageable, and rehydrated hair. I use it as a daily conditioner (that’s how dry my ends are!), applying to ends and leaving it on for 1-2 minutes, but as a weekly treatment product, give it a good ten minutes to penetrate through the hair shaft.

Arcona Essential Nutrients Silk Leave-In Conditioner ($20) – For those days when the tangles get the best of your hair, this leave-in conditioner will nourish, detangle and moisturize. The formula of vitamins, silk protein and Panthenol can be sprayed onto dry scalps too.

Sachajuan Intensive Hair Oil ($45) – A serum of moisturizing oils that tames frizzies and fly-aways without looking greasy. This formula of argan, buckthorn, and sunflower oils can also be used as a leave-in treatment to penetrate the hair cuticles for ultra soft, shiny, and manageable hair. Apply on wet or dry hair. Leave on or wash off. I reapply throughout the day for the occasional pick-me-up.

Alterna Caviar Repair Split Ends Mend ($35) – A daily restorative treatment that literally mends split ends by 93% from the first application. Apply to dry or damp ends and allow to air dry or use hot tools for healthier, glossier, smoother hair.


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.