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July 4th Beauty Essentials

By | how to | 70 Comments

It’s finally here: July 4th. Parties, bbq’s, bonfires, and fireworks! Basically, it’s an entire weekend devoted to debauchery.

So, it’s sweltering hot, you’re two drinks deep and you’ve got another 9 hours of party time to go. The last thing you want to be worrying about is frizzy hair and blotchy skin.

Here are some tips for enjoying the long days (and fun-filled nights) while still maintaining your goddess status. Here are July 4th Beauty Essentials:

1 – Wear Sunscreen. That’s a given. But, like an pestering mother, I needed to remind you. July 4th will come and go, but sun damage and wrinkles will last a life time. Pick one of my natural sunscreen recommendations by clicking here.

2 – Try a braid or loose bun to keep hair in place and off of your face. It’s hot out there, no need to have a long, billowing mane of hair to make you hotter. Plus, braids are super trendy and always spice up a look. Click here to watch the video for a 2 minute chignon tutorial and here for the video of milkmaid braids, two great July 4th summer styles!

3 – Stain those lips and cheeks. I’ve been saying it all spring and summer. Stains are the way to go when outside for hours on end. They don’t melt, stay in place, and give a natural, no-makeup effect. Some favorites: CoverGirl Outlast Lip Stain ($8), Benefit Benetint, Vincent Longo Lip & Cheek Gel Stain ($23). Click here for a video on how to turn your favorite lipstick into a lip stain.

4 – Nails and toes should be manicured and painted with a bright color that doesn’t interfere with your clothing! I always go for red. It works with every outfit. Essie A-List ($9) is my go-to. Trendy colors are fun, but they can clash with your ensemble… take note!

5 – Waterproof mascara is a must. Anything else will flake or smear in the heat.

6 – Your skin is bound to get sweaty. Don’t stress about it. Carry around blotting papers and deal with it! Tatcha ($12)makes beautiful oil control blotters that won’t ruin your makeup, or try Boscia blotting linens ($12).

7 – Primer is key. I know, I’m repeating myself, but better safe than shiny. Use a primer prior to makeup application. It’ll keep the goods on your face longer and help to reduce the shine factor. I’m really loving Jouer Anti-Blemish Matte Primer ($38) with salicylic acid, perfect for acne-prone skin. You can also use a BB cream for coverage plus hydration and oil production control. Try the oldie-but-goodie, and my personal favorite, Dr. Jart BB Cream ($34).

8 – Highlighter – Accentuate the cheekbones, brow bones, decollete, and cupid’s bow with a cream or liquid illuminizer to increase your golden skin tone and that inner glow. Try RMS Living Luminizer ($38) or Jouer Highlighter in Champagne ($22), for a slight rose gold shimmer that pairs perfectly with a sun-kissed bronzed hue.

Have a very happy and safe Fourth of July…

Favorites: Rose-Inspired Beauty Products

By | favorites | 3 Comments

There’s something about roses that makes a girl get weak in the knees. A beautiful bouquet says so much without saying anything at all. It’s no wonder, really, that there are a bevy of products that bring us back to that special feeling that only a long stem rose can induce.

Rose oil doesn’t just smell gorgeous, it also happens to have several beauty benefits: it’s “anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bactericide and stimulating (source).” Rose Hip Oil keeps the “skin hydrated and nourished and helps reduce the appearance of scars… Rose hip oil contains a high amount of natural tretinoin, a form of Vitamin A. Tretinoin has been known to reduce and protect the skin from damage that may be caused by the sun. It also aids the skin in producing collagen and new skin cells. (source).

Combine a great scent with a powerful ingredient and you’ve got beauty magic. Here are 5 favorite rose-inspired products to try today:

Jurlique Rose Shower Gel ($22) – The entire bathroom will smell like a rose garden – and not in a perfumey, fake way – in a feel-good, fresh way. Plus, Jurlique gives serious suds, and leaves skin feeling fabulously soft, in that ready to be touched and caressed way. There’s a matching rose-scented lotion ($38), too. It’s equally as fantastic and pairs wonderfully with the shower gel for a well-rounded, rosey bathing experience.

Weleda Wild Rose Deodorant ($8)- This is literally the perfect smelling rose, like Weleda bottled an entire rose garden and offered it in the form of an all-natural deodorant. Really gives new meaning to sweating roses… and it’s not harmful for you, free of aluminum and such.

The Organic Pharmacy Double Rose Rejuvenating Face Cream ($88) – We dedicated an entire post to this incredibly light and brilliant face moisturizer (click here for a recap). Smells absolutely delicious, as would be expected, and it leaves skin with that coveted healthy glow. Also comes sans all those terrible chemicals. Just pure… roses!

Fresh Sugar Rosé Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 ($22) – The cult-favorite lip balm with a hint of rose hue is both moisturizing and colorful. It comes with a light SPF to protect your pucker in sun and swim season, but also gives your mouth a natural reddish tint, like you just ate a basket of strawberries.

REN Moroccan Rose Oil Sugar Body Polish ($62) – This could, quite possibly, be my favorite rose-inspired product that I’ve tried thus far in my life. It’s literally like bringing the spa to your bathtub. A sugar body polish, scented with the finest, freshest roses that leaves skin deliciously smooth and radiant. Your tub is not complete without a tub of REN’s body polish… seriously.

How To: Bed Head

By | hair | 7 Comments

Bed head is a trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So let’s take a closer look at the celebrity-favorite style.

The most important aspect of bed head is to look as though you have just rolled out of bed. You can never look “done up.” It’s all about the undone, messy, sexy feel. Therefore, bed head works best on second day hair. Period.

Washing my hair is such an inconvenience – don’t you agree? The drying time alone – styled or au naturel – is enough to drive you mad. I much prefer to spray in some dry shampoo and be done with it. Even a trip to the salon – two foreign hands doing the blowout – is boring and proves too much time and effort for me.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m a huge fan of just washing the bangs. This is really the only part of my hair that ever gets super greasy. And it takes no time at all to blow dry.

When I must wash my entire head (and yes, we all must wash our hair for hygienic purposes!), I do it at night, right before bed time. I find that it dries while I sleep so it’s not a bother and I don’t have to sit around and wait for it to dry. Also, for some reason, the natural movement of my head while sleeping makes my hair dry so much more volumized with a rather sexy, messy wave… it looks ten times better than if it dries during the day while I’m out and about!

Here are a few more tricks from people in-the-know for beautiful hair while you sleep:

“Want perfect second-day bed head? Sleep in braided pig tales and wake up with that envious wavy, just-rolled-out-of-bed hair.” — Harley Viera Newton, dj, model, Dior beauty ambassador

“Your old scrunchies have a hidden use: They can help you get big, bouncy waves. Right after blow-drying, while your hair is still warm, twirl the length around your finger, coil it into a bun, and secure with a soft, fabric-covered scrunchie. Once your hair is cool, take out the scrunchie and you’ll have full waves.” — Andrea Lavinthal,  Online Beauty Editor

“To create texture and volume with a beautiful natural effect that is perfect for vacation, first shampoo and condition your hair, then, while damp, apply the appropriate styling product for your hair type, tie your hair in a loose knot on the top of your head and sleep on it. In the morning simply undo and you will have volume and a great texture in your hair.” –Hairstylist Thomas Dunkin for Sebastian Professional

“Hair washed a day before is definitely easier to style in the sense that it holds curls and waves better. Freshly washed hair will take more styling product to control and nobody wants hair filled with tons of product. It ends up looking super stiff.” –Harry Josh, celebrity stylist for Gisele and Rose Byrne

What are your nighttime sleeping beautiful hair tricks?

Part of this article was published on

Holiday Makeup Tips With Sue Devitt

By | makeup | 6 Comments
holiday beauty products

Holiday parties aplenty! This Christmas, while you’re sipping eggnog, singing along to Mariah Carey’s Christmas album (a favorite, I must admit) and kissing under the mistletoe, try a festive spin on your traditional makeup look.

Below, international celebrity makeup artist and product formulator Sue Devitt offers her expert advice on how to create the iconic holiday face.

“The holiday party season is the perfect time of year to get creative with your look. Use these tips for inspiration on how to spice up your look for any special event. “– Sue Devitt

1. For smoldering eyes try jewel tones all over your eye lid for a subtle effect coupled with a swipe of sexy grey or black eyeliner. To add depth and dimension outline your top and bottom lash line with a deeper shade of black or grey eye shadow.
EDITOR’S PICK: Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad in Sahara Haze

2. The best way to amp up your look for a night out is with long, lush lashes. You can achieve this by using a lengthening mascara. Apply 2 – 3 coats for bold dramatic lashes that stand out!
EDITOR’S PICK: Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara (the curved brush is heaven to your lashes!)

3. Keep cheeks hydrated and healthy with a glowing cheek gel in soft subtle shades. Nude, pink, beige, or coral work best for light and medium-toned complexions and berry shades are best for olive or darker skin tones.
EDITOR’S PICK: Vincent Longo Pearlessence Lip & Cheek Gel Stain in Water Lily

4. Most women wear a neutral or pink lip everyday. To switch it up for a special occasion – a deeper berry tone lip is the perfect way to do it. Don’t forget to add a touch of sparkle with a clear gloss on the middle of your bottom lip. This trick says “holiday” in a subtle and sophisticated way.
EDITOR’S PICK: Tarte Lipsurgence in Moody (you can add to cheeks, too!)
EDITOR’S PICK: Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lip Gloss

5. To complete any look remember to highlight. Place a pale sheen eye shadow underneath the brow bone and blend well. Champagne or gold is lovely for light and medium skin tones and pale gold is great for olive or darker skin tones.
EDITOR’S PICK: Jouer Highlighter in Champagne

Merry Christmas To All!

WEEKLY MUST-HAVE: Oribe Signature Moisture Masque

By | hair, weekly must-have | 3 Comments

Temps are bitter and my entire body is feeling the chill — even my hair. Dehydrated and brittle strands are never cute. In fact, dead, dull hair can actually age you! That’s where Oribe Signature Moisture Masque enters the picture. It’s one of the most amazing hair masks I’ve used in ages.

This paraben-free, color-safe mask is just what you need for the frigid winter season. I apply once or twice a week but you can use it everyday too. The deep treatment is weightless and leaves hair fully hydrated, manageable and smooth.

Made from some of the best ingredients, Oribe’s Signature Moisture Masque will have your hair looking healthy and reinvigorated…. within the first use!

A word (or several…) from the company:

“• Lychee Extract defends hair from oxidative stress, photo-aging and the deterioration of keratin.
• Watermelon Extract, from the Kalahari Desert, provides natural protection against oxidative stress and deterioration of natural keratin.
• Kaempferia Galanga Root Extract delivers natural UV protection.
• Keratin-Derived Active penetrates the cortex and creates a shield on the surface of the hair to fortify and provide anti-aging protection.
• Amber Extract contains antioxidant, conditioning and strengthening properties.
• Sunflower Seed Extract delivers incredible shine.
• Macadamia Nut Seed Oil, from the Australian rain forest, provides smoothing and antioxidant properties.
• Wild Mango Butter increases shine and combability.”

Everyone’s hair deserves a little Rx.

PRICE TAG: $59.00 for 5.9 fl oz

Bathing Beauty: Lauren Remington Platt

By | bathing beauties | 7 Comments

For those not in the know, Lauren Remington Platt is a name you’ll want to remember. She’s that really tall, beautiful blond that can be seen at NYC events and in the party pages of swanky fashion rags. She’s got impeccable style and bone structure suited for a model, with the brains to boot. Lauren is the founder and CEO of Vênsette, an online, members only, hair and makeup booking system. Here’s how it works: Professional makeup artists and hair stylists come to your home (or office) and give you the VIP treatment for a very affordable price (roughly $325 for an evening look). Have a charity to attend? Not a problem. The MET ball? No worries. A hot date? Vênsette’s got you covered.

While Lauren has long been a staple on the social circuit, it’s Vênsette that is now the talk of the town.

Here, Lauren dishes on her favorite beauty products and why she’s full of awe for the fine folks of General Hospital

What are your top 5, can’t-live-without products?
1)  A great eye shadow brush. It is almost always about the application as opposed to the product.  You can never blend too much!

2)  Estée Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher.  I use it before I put on foundation if I am going out.  It smooths your complexion while also being translucent.  Also perfect for the morning after a big night.

3)  Nail Polish Remover. There is nothing more unprofessional or unattractive than chipped nail polish.

4)  Dry Shampoo. I have to make my Vênsette blow outs last!

5)  Lip Gloss, I love Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1.  I am a fan of a natural lip.
What is your all-time favorite product?
Armani Beauty Rouge d’Armani Lipstick – Rouge 400. There has yet to be another lipstick that can compare in its pigmentation. I named the Vênsette Look Grace Kelly in Wicked after the the perfect pout this product creates.
What product do you buy in bulk?
Individual false eyelashes.

You moisturize your face with…
Gunilla of Sweden.  Organic and a great price point

Favorite body product?  

Fresh Sugar Body Polish

Favorite hair product?

Shu Eumera Satin Milk
Favorite beauty secret you’ve picked up along the way?
Your hair and makeup will never look as stunning as when in the hands of a professional artist…no matter how good you are with a brush.
Beauty icon you admire?
Anyone on the soap opera General Hospital.  Though its not admiration so much as awe.  We all know a person couldn’t possibly look that perfect after a 24 shift in the ER or just giving birth but I can’t help but be stunned how media promotes the fantasy of perfect beauty so unscrupulously.

Bathing Beauty: Harley Viera Newton

By | bathing beauties | 3 Comments

In honor of Fashion Week, here is an exclusive interview with one of NYC’s most stylish “it” girls, Harley Viera Newton. Model. DJ. Dior Ambassador. The life of Newton is both exciting and exhausting. Between appearances and DJ gigs at some of the city’s hottest venues, Newton is a highly in-demand New York City It Girl. And when she’s not spinning tunes or showing face, this LA native is hanging with the other cool kids of NYC…

Despite her night owl hours, Harley has flawless skin. Naturally, we had to know her secrets. We asked her our favorite beauty questions… here are the answers:

What are your top 5, can’t-live-without products?
1. Cle de Peau Concealer: works so well on under eye dark circles which I have all the time thanks to working in nightlife
2. Dior Lip Glow Color Reviver Balm: It moisturizes like a chap stick but also brings out the natural hues in your lips, a great replacement for a lipstick or tint
3. Shu Uemura Eyelash curler: If I have no time to put makeup on I just curl my lashes with this curler and it makes a huge difference
4. Dior DiorSkin Poudre Shimmer 002: The best blush/bronzer ever. I use it to define my cheeks but also all over my face to add a bronzey-shimmer. Any of my friends who have tried it immediately go and buy it.
5. L’Oreal Infallible Never-Fail Black Eyeliner: A great dark eyeliner that has a little brush on its tip to help shape/ smudge eyes.

What is your all-time favorite product?
Egyptian Magic. It’s a balm that’s good for literally everything… nails, hair, chapped lips, dry skin, blemishes, everything!

What product do you buy in bulk?
Elgydium toothpaste

You moisturize your face with…
Dior Lor De Vie and Creme de La Mer

Favorite body product?
Hermes Eau D’ Orange Verte soap

Favorite beauty secret you’ve picked up along the way?
Dry hair shampoo for when you don’t have time to wash your hair! The Rene Furterer one is amaaaaazing.

Beauty icon you admire?
Brigette Bardot. Her eye makeup was always so killer.

*images courtesy of Harley Viera Newton.

Bathing Beauty: Kourtney Kardashian

By | bathing beauties | 12 Comments

Kourtney Kardashian is 1/3 of the sisters Kardashian from the hit reality tv shows, Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Kourtney and Kim Take Miami. She’s also owner and buyer for Dash, the hip LA, Miami and New York stop for every fashionista. Then there’s her seriously entertaining blog,

In between all of this, Kourt is also a great friend and mother of two. Kourt and I have known each other for half of our lives (don’t ask my age) and she’s one of my favorite people on the planet: kind, talented, smart, driven, witty and, of course, beautiful. And she always has been all of the above…

Kourt took time out from her hectic, overbooked day to answer our favorite beauty questions (see, told you she was nice):

What are your top 5, can’t-live-without products?

1. Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream – I use this as lip balm. I love the smell and the texture.
2. Lancome Definicils Mascara – Instantly makes me look alive.
3. Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler – It totally opens up my eyes!
4. Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer – It covers everything without looking caked on.
5. Nars Sin Blush and Casino Bronzer Duo – The best colors and they give me that glow!

What is your all-time favorite product?
Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer. I love that it’s lightweight so I don’t feel like anything is on my skin, and it has spf!

What product do you buy in bulk?
Johnson + Johnson Baby Lotion.

You moisturize your face with…
I rarely moisturize my face, but when I do, I usually need a good moisturizing so I use Creme de la Mer.

Favorite body product?
I have always used Johnson + Johnson Baby Lotion on my skin. The scent is comforting and clean. I moisturize my body morning and night!

Favorite beauty secret you’ve picked up along the way?
I love putting vitamin E oil on my eyelashes and around my eyes. I have done this since high school!

Beauty icon you admire?
Since the first time I watched Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I fell in love with her. I love how put together and beautiful she always looked whether in her famous little black dress or an over sized sleep shirt. She’s always naturally gorgeous.

*originally published in part on

Makeup Bag: Alex Asher Sears

By | makeup | 6 Comments

“When I was little, my sister and I loved hanging around the makeup trailer wherever we were on location with my dad making a film. I loved playing with makeup then and still do. About seven years ago, I found out that of 1100 chemicals banned from beauty products by the European Union, eleven are banned in th US. Eleven. I didn’t like those statistics. With multiple food allergies, I’m a big label reader, and when I started to look into what was in my lipsticks and shampoos and moisturizers, I decided to make big changes.

Now, 90% of my skin, hair care and makeup is free of petro chemicals, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances and dyes. And I try to keep it gluten free, too. Not everything I use is organic, but it’s important to check labels because “organic” and “natural” aren’t the same as eco-friendly. Some things I use contain a few ingredients that aren’t as green as others, but I won’t use anything with parabens or phthalates, and I opt for eco-friendly wherever possible.

My Makeup bag:

I’ve always had a thing for stripes and Henri Bendel’s laminated fabric bags are indestructible. I have a few and this one is at least 10 years old. It looks small but holds a ton inside (as you can see):

I never leave the house without mascara. Ever. And I go back and forth between KORRES rich, rice bran mascara and tarte’s lights, cameras, lashes. I usually have this in brown and tarte in black.

Mascara is always a must and this lash curler from tarte is the only one I’ve ever used that doesn’t pull at lashes, plus it makes me look like I got a good night’s sleep even when I haven’t.

After mascara, primers are my next favorite thing. When I went to Sephora looking for something new, I told the sales guy I was frustrated because I tend to go green and a friend had shown me this amazing tinted primer she’d found that wasn’t. He handed me Miracle Skin Transformer and told me this would make me happy. It totally does. It’s made without talc or petro chemicals, synthetic dyes or fragrances. The 5-in-1 product is “designed to hydrate, prime, enhance, mattify & protect.” The tinted one has coverage like a like a BB cream, but most days I opt for the translucent. Both are fabulous.

Miracle Skin Transformer Treat & Conceal was sent to me by the company when I contacted them to find out more about the line. Like their primer it has a number of healing botanicals and minerals and it is the best thing I’ve found for undereye circles since I cut out old favorites that weren’t so green. It’s skin treatment and cover up all in on.

As fair as I may be, I actually do tan, but I opt for SPF and big sun hats. Still, I like to have a little color, and tarte’s park avenue princess bronzer is my favorite of them all. It works with all skin tones and I never find the color uneven.

I use self tanners in spring and summer but all year I use Michael Kors Leg Shine. It isn’t a bronzer but it moisturizes with a bit of sheen that makes legs look sleek. Perfect day or night. They have a larger sized stick, but these mini ones are the perfect size to throw in your bag.

I gave up blushes for a long time when tarte cheek stains came along. Then about a year ago they introduced their Amazonian clay blushes and I fell in love. I use blissful and dollface, and sometimes layer them with the matching stains. Blissful is a perfect pinky coral, the clay is super refined and I love the way it makes my skin feel.

I tend to wear glosses and lip balms over lipsticks, but tarte lip stains are the perfect hybrid. I have a number of these – they’re goof proof, long lasting color. Plus, in a pinch you can use one for cheek color, too.

I use both the green and the brown eyeliners from KORRES because they make my hazel eyes brighter. I use Sephora eyeliner in pearl beige instead of a nude pencil very, very lightly to line my lower eyelids in the evening. It gives a bit of glimmer when it hits the light.

My Tweezerman tweezers are ancient – the name has just about rubbed off the side – and they’re as sharp as they day I got them.

I wish tarte still made their eyebrow kit, and when they put them on sale a few years ago I bought a few. I’d hoped they were just repackaging, but they never brought it back. It’s perfect for travel and the powder is the perfect shade. I kept the spoolie that came with the brow gel (I always toss those things after 3-6 months). I often use a dab of Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour cream to set them.

I have several Z palettes, which I wrote about here a few years ago. You can take any pan and remove it from it’s container and using the magnetic tape strips, they adhere to these perfect little palettes. This one has a few smashbox cheek highlighters and some neutral shadows from philosophy. Each came from larger sets but half the colors I didn’t like or use. Z Palettes solve that and cut down on clutter.

When I grabbed the Miracle Skin Transformer last month, I got an added surprise at the register. It was just before my birthday and they threw in minis of my favorite Sugar Lip Treatment by Fresh. I told them I wished they sold them this size as they’re kind of adorable. I found out they do. I think I’ll only get these little ones now!”

– Alex Asher Sears,, @alexandrawrote

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.