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Current Drugstore Favorites

By | the five, under $10 | No Comments

Who doesn’t love a good budget beauty buy?  So often drugstore products are carelessly overlooked by beauty aficionados.  In reality, most of these products are produced by enormous corporations with acclaimed scientists and researchers in product development – this often leads to seriously noticeable results.

Here are five of our current drugstore favorites:

1. L’Oreal Paris Elvive 8 Second Wonder Water ($9): To be honest, when this product first came on the radar it was a bit hard to understand.  Is it a deep conditioner or a styling product?  The truth is that it’s really just a treatment.  Sub your conditioner with this a few times a week for seriously silky and shiny locks.  Pro tip: double the application amount if you have thick or super long hair.

2. Pixi DetoxifEYE Depuffing Eye Patches ($24):  One of the easiest ways to prep for a Zoom or FaceTime call is a quick round of depuffing and brightening eye patches.  This version from Pixi  rivals some of the very expensive counterparts that we’ve tried.  Even better, they don’t slide from the under-eye area like so many patches, which means you can actually be productive while wearing them.  At less than a buck per wear, this purchase is a no brainer!

3. L’Oreal Paris Double Extend Mascara ($9):  Tubing mascara is not only a foolproof way to prevent raccoon eyes, but also incredibly easy remove seeing as it only requires water and some friction from your fingers or a washcloth.  As devotees of tubing mascara, we’ve truly tried every single one available.  This one is (so far!) impossible to beat.

4. Mustela No-Rinse Cleansing Water ($15): There are plenty of wonderful micellar cleansing waters on the market, but this version designed for babies is a constant winner.  Since it’s designed for infants, it is safe to use on even the most sensitive or compromised of skins.

5. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer ($8):  Finding the perfect product to cover dark under eye circles is no east feat.  Lucky for us, this $8 pen brightens and conceals with zero caking and settling into fine lines.  And at this price, you can afford to keep one in multiple bags.

– Written by Casey Sharbaugh

*photo courtesy of @theglossarray

Doing the Most: 10 Beauty Treatments to Try at Home

By | list, treatments | No Comments

Since everyone has a lot more free time in the comfort of their homes these days, it’s the perfect time to try out some more intensive beauty treatments that were previously tossed aside.  While certainly a bit extra and perhaps even slightly over the top, all ten of these suggestions deliver in a major way.  You may even find yourself liking the results so much that they stay a part of your routine post-quarantine.

1. Exfoliating Foot Mask: Since normal pedicure appointments are a thing of the past, this is the perfect time to try out Baby Foot ($25).  This potent formula will remove all calluses and dry skin for ridiculously smooth feet.

2. LED Face Mask:  Sitting around with an LED mask on during normal times?  No way.  Sitting on the couch or working from home while wearing a mask during quarantine? Why not! The Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare SpectraLite FaceWare Pro ($435) has 162 LED lights (both red and blue) to destroy acne-causing bacteria while also boosting collagen production.

3. Chemical Peel: Is anyone else wishing they got a more intensive dermal treatment that requires some downtime before isolating?  The next best thing is a gentle yet powerful chemical peel like the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance AHA Intensive Peel ($32) to smooth, tighten, and clarify your visage.  And since we’re barely going outside, we don’t have to worry about the possible sun sensitivity directly after using it.

4. Lip Mask:  The changing of the seasons hasn’t been doing any favors for our puckers, so an intensive mask like the KNC Beauty Lip Mask ($25) has been a welcome reprieve.  An added perk is that it’s one of the few things that can keep us from mindlessly eating these days since you can’t move your mouth while it’s on!

5. Scalp Mask: Our scalps are often seriously neglecting TLC, but we are remiss to ignore the source of healthy locks.  The Philip Kingsley Trichotherapy Stimulating Scalp Mask ($29) is filled with essential vitamins and minerals to balance your scalp and promote healthy re-growth.

6. Underarm Mask:  By this point you’re definitely thinking, “a mask…for my armpits?”  Hear us out.  If you’re a natural deodorant user, you may be familiar with the dreaded “detox” period to rid your underarms of the toxins that have been building up there for years.  megababe Happy Pits Detoxifying Underarm Mask ($16) speeds up this process  to draw out impurities, while also making the area smoother and brighter overall.

7. Body Peel:  Summer will be here…eventually.  And when we finally feel the sweet light of day again, it would be nice to have a smooth body.  Stacked Skincare TCA Multi-Acid Body Peel ($125) has five different powerful acids to address everything from dark spots to body acne, yet is gentle enough for even sensitive skin.

8. Self-Tan:  Speaking of getting our bodies ready for summer…is anyone else’s skin looking a bit sallow these days?  After just one use, Isle of Paradise Glow Clear Self-Tanning Mousse ($29) imparts a natural glow from head to toe.  Even better, it doesn’t transfer to clothes or have an offensive smell.

9. Gua-Sha: If staying at home has you looking a bit puffier than normal thanks to stress eating or having an extra glass of wine, there is no time like the present to try Gua-Sha.  The Odacite Crystal Contour Gua Sha Beauty Tool ($45) will lift and smooth your skin, and you’ll find the extra few minutes you spend doing it to be blissfuly serene and relaxing.

10. Teeth Whitening: Eventually you will see the outside world, and when that happens you’ll want your smile in tip-top shape.  Since dentist visits these days should be reserved for emergencies, try out Crest 3D White Strips ($60).  The results are comparable to an in-office treatment, and for a fraction of the price.

– Written by Casey Sharbaugh
*photo courtesy of @chrissyteigen

Small Beauty Businesses to Support

By | list | No Comments

To shop or not shop during this isolation period is certainly a hot topic.  While there are compelling arguments for both sides of this debate, we’re in favor of supporting businesses we love (from home!!!) if you’re in a place financially to do so.  Beauty is a tough business, especially for small and upcoming brands.

Below are a list of ten of the best in the biz if you’re looking to add some new products into your rotation.  Having backups on hand is also never a bad idea!  Even better, all of the brands in this list are fully or partially owned by women.

1.  Rescue Spa:  While you certainly can’t visit Rescue to get one of their out of this world facials (although Lead Esthetician Diana Yerkes is providing digital consults!), you can support Danuta Mieloch and her amazing staff by purchasing some of the best beauty products the industry has to offer via their website. We’re eyeing the Valmont Clarifying Pack ($230) and the NuFace Mini ($199) for at home facials.

2.  HoliFrog: We wrote a love letter to all of HoliFrog’s cleansers a few months ago, and our feelings haven’t changed since.  Don’t miss their most recent launch, Como Popp-E Renewal Scrubby Wash ($40).

3.  Lord Jones: We love Lord Jones High CBD Formula Body Lotion ($60) for aches and pains (full review here), but are taking our CBD-game up a notch with the Lord Jones Old Fashioned Hemp-Derived CBD Gumdrops ($45) to help us sleep during this trying time.

4.  Lilah B: This brand’s Divine Duo Lip & Cheek ($46) provides the perfect natural wash of color.

5.  rms beauty: Rose-Marie Swift’s Living Luminizer ($38) has been a cult favorite for years for good reason.  You truly can’t go wrong with any shade, although Peach has been in high-rotation to give some life to our drab indoor skin.

6.  Soko Glam:  Look no further than this website for all of your favorite K-Beauty finds.  There is certainly no better time than the present to sheet mask everyday!

7.  Beauty Bio:  With all of your newly acquired time on your hands, there is no time like the present to finally begin microneedling at home.  Look no further than the GloPRO ($199).  For more info on how to use this tool, check out this post.

8.  Go-To: It’s impossible to have enough hand cream these days, and Go-To’s Super Handy Cream ($16) is filled with soothing and yummy ingredients.

9.  Dr. Barbara Sturm:  Although pricey, Dr. Sturm’s product line truly delivers.  Some of our favorites include her Glow Drops ($145) and Sun Drops ($145).

10.  SkinFix:  If you’re a skincare nerd obsessed with ingredients, look no further than this brand.  For times when we accidentally over-exfoliated, or we’re just feeling extra dry, their Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Hyaluronate Serum ($50) always does the trick.

Written by Casey Sharbaugh

5 Products to Work Out at Home

By | the five | No Comments

It may be harder than ever to find the motivation to exercise these days, but even moving for a few minutes will provide you with some much needed endorphins during this challenging time.  To quote the astute Elle Woods: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands, they just don’t.

While going to your favorite workout class or gym is certainly out of the question, these five items will help you break a sweat all from the comfort and safety of your home:

1) Power Loops ($20):  Affectionately known as “booty bands”, slip this loop around your ankles or above your knees to take your glute exercises up a notch.

2) Gliding Discs ($10):  If you are a pilates devotee, discs like these are the closest you can come to replicating reformer exercises at home.  Use them to do plank to pikes or lunges, and thank me later.

3) Ankle Weights ($17):  Adding a light amount of weight to barre class-esque exercises can have a major impact.  Even better, you can also tie these around your wrists for an arm routine.

4) Resistance Band ($15):  There are countless exercises you can do with a singular band.  Bicep curls, kickbacks, overhead press, etc.

5) Yoga Mat ($58):  Having a cute yoga mat helps motivate you to use all of the aforementioned equipment.  It’s the little things these days!

*photo courtesy of @victoriabeckham

Weekly Must-Have: Biopelle Dark Circle Relief Cream

By | weekly must-have | No Comments

My complex with my under eye circles is well documented on BeautyBanter.  I’m willing to try truly any brightening eye cream or concealer to improve the situation.  A few weeks ago I was lamenting my woes to my dermatologist, and Dr. Russak insisted I ditch my current eye cream for Biopelle Dark Circle Relief.  Considering the insomnia I’ve been dealing with recently thanks to Corona, I ordered it immediately from my phone on the way home. 

I’ve always reached for eye creams with active ingredients like Retinol or Vitamin C, but I have never considered a Vitamin K product.  Big mistake there! Because Vitamin K promotes proper blood flow, this cream is able to diminish puffiness and discoloration generally caused by fluid buildup in the delicate under eye.  It’s a true game changer. 

In addition to powerhouse Vitamin K, this cream includes Phospholipids to moisturize and mineral pigments to brighten.  While the packaging is fairly clinical and the branding isn’t exactly sexy, this stuff delivers.  I haven’t reached for any of the other eye creams in my arsenal since purchasing this one.  Even better, at $42, it is a fraction of the cost of some of other premier eye creams on the market. 

I like this product so much that I actually just purchased a backup in case online retailers stop shipping – I officially can’t be without it!


-Written by Casey Sharbaugh

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Social Distancing? Try an At-Home Facial

By | diy, how to | No Comments

Most of us are spending a lot more time inside these days, and if you’re not – you should be! While housebound or limiting exposure to others, beauty treatments such as facials don’t have to fall by the wayside.  While it is certainly hard to replicate the results from professional hands, an at home facial can yield some Instagram-brag worthy results if you follow the right steps.

Here is what we recommend for a major glow without leaving the safety of your own home:

1)  Double Cleanse:  Nothing removes dirt and grime like a good old double-cleanse.  Any oil or balm cleanser followed by a milk or gel cleanser works for this step, but you will be hard pressed to find a better combo than Banila Clean It Zero ($19) and Allies of Skin Molecular Silk Amino Hydrating Cleanser ($38).  Bonus points for this step if you use a washcloth to remove all residue is a quality washcloth.  These cheapies from Amazon get the job done perfectly. 

2) Exfoliate:  Physical exfoliators have a bad rap, but as long as you are using a gentle formula with extremely fine grains, there is truly no better way to remove dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin.  HoliFrog Como Popp-E Renewal Scrubby Wash ($40) does just that, with additional brightening thanks to Vitamin C and antioxidants. 

3)  Mask:  If you don’t have extremely sensitive skin, this step is a great time to further clarify and refine.  Try a non-drying clay mask such as the Biossance Squalane + Tea Tree Detox Mask ($39), or a gentle but effective peel such as Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Bi-Phase Peel ($85). 

4)  Soothing Mask: After multiple forms of exfoliation, your skin is going to crave some soothing and hydration.  First Aid Beauty Fab Pharma Arnica Relief & Rescue Mask ($32) is a nurturing mask that relieves redness and irritation thanks to superstar ingredient arnica.  If no at-home spa day would be complete without a sheet mask selfie, try the Farmacy Coconut Gel Sheet Mask ($6).  It’s a coconut-water-infused sheet mask that conforms to your face perfectly to deliver a major surge of antioxidants and hydration. 

5)  Facial Massage:  Like we said above, it’s unrealistic to expect salon-quality results at home.  However, the Skin Gym Face Sculptor ($69) will get you pretty damn close.  By rolling over the contours of your face, you skin will appear lifted and glowy.  Even better, it will hide the evidence of one too many glasses of wine from the night prior – no judgement when you’re homebound, especially if there are kiddos involved! 

Weekly Must-Have: HoliFrog Cleansers (All of them!)

By | review, weekly must-have | No Comments

Despite being a total skincare junkie, I confess that I often don’t give too much thought to how I’m cleansing my face.  My primary concern is to remove sunscreen and makeup, so a simple cleansing oil followed by whatever gel cleanser I found in my shower was my usual routine.  Since the product is on my face for such a short period of time, I erroneously wasn’t paying it much mind. That changed the minute that I was introduced to HoliFrog Cleansers. 

I think what hooked me most about these cleansers (all four of them!) is that each and every single one feels like it’s really doing something.  They’re chock full of nourishing and active ingredients to treat the skin.  Better yet, they leave out fragrant botanicals, drying alcohols, and other inflammatory ingredients.  Sign me up!

Tashmoo Water Lily Nourishing Milky Wash ($38) is arguably the most gentle yet effective cleansers that I’ve tried in recent memory.  It feels impossible to choose a favorite from this line since they’re all so impressive, but I’ve definitely found myself reaching for this one the most. 

Kissimmee Vitamin F Therapy Balmy Wash ($42) is a reparative salve that also cleanses.  It quickly dissolved my makeup and sunscreen, but instead of my skin feeling tight and stripped afterwards, it was nourished and happy.  Use this as your first step in a double cleanse when you want to take off a full face, or alone when your skin is feeling extra dry or angry. 

Shasta AHA Refining Acid Wash ($38) is designed for people wanting to address breakouts, congestion, large pores, and dullness.  I reach for this active cleanser after a super sweaty workout class, or around my time of the month.  Skin feels brighter and smoother, but not at all dry or overly cleansed.

Superior Omega Nutritive Gel Wash ($36) is an all-purpose wash for anyone who wants a deep clean.  Personally, I’ve been like this cleanse in the morning to wake my face up, or as as a second step when I double cleanse at the end of the day after wearing a full face of makeup. 

No matter what your cleansing needs may be, you can’t go wrong with this brand’s offerings.  Ta-ta, generic and basic cleansers of the past. I’m now convinced cleansing is just as important as the rest of my extensive routine! 

-Written by Casey Sharbaugh 


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.