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ALEX’S HOLIDAY BEAUTY BAG

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You know what I love about December in Los Angeles? First, it’s finally cold enough for the sweaters and coats that disappear 11 months out of the year. Second, between Chanukah, Christmas, New Years and an insane number of Sagittarius friends and family, there’s always a party to attend. Here are my picks for getting made up quickly and out the door without sacrificing eco-savvy….

As soon as the temps drop so do the color of my nails. Zoya ($7) has dozens of deep reds and browns, and I’m loving a vampy shade called Norra on short, squared nails. For toes I opt for Eve, a fabulous red with a hint of sparkle. In a pinch, Sally Hansen’s new Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color ($4.99) is fabulous in Mochachino or Rapid Red. One coat coverage dries in about a minute.

For face, I always start with Eris Collection’s Foundation Primer ($25). It’s oil and paraben free, evens out my skin and fills in any pores or fine lines. To conceal blemishes or undereye circles I grab MAC Mineralize Satinfinish Foundation ($29.50) and apply where needed. While the tarte treasure chest ($52) is perfect for eyes, cheeks and lips, sadly I can’t throw it in my bag and go. But at home it offers enough combinations for a year’s worth of party looks. For beauty at home or away, I’m layering apricot-hued cushion and sparkly brilliant from tarte’s Three Carats Mini Cheek Stain Set ($25) on my cheeks. The result is sunkissed with a bit of glimmer (not glitter).

I love the versatility of KORRES eye pencils to create sleek lines or smudgy, smoky effects. My favorites are the basic black and metallic grey. For brows I use tarte’s The Toolbox ($18) which includes pencil, gel, powder, wax…everything to define, tame and create the perfect brow. I love tarte lashhugger mascara for a great basic black. Normally $18, tarte currently offers two lash huggers for $20 in this limited edition set. If you want more color, KORRES Abyssian Oil Volumizing Mascara ($20) comes in purple, blue ad brown as well.

I finish off with a neutral lip, with KORRES Cherry Oil gloss in Light Pink or Nude. If I’m going bare legged, I love Michael Kors Leg Shine in Classic ($32). The moisturizing bar offers a bit of shimmer and shine to my pale winter legs (for $10 you can get a smaller version of Leg Shine exclusively at Sephora).

I keep a canister of Physician’s Formula Organic wear® 100% Natural Origin Facial Makeup Remover Towelettes ($9.95) on my nightstand. As , they’re gentle on the earth and your skin. No matter how exhausted I am, they’re incredibly effective for removing eye makeup quickly and easily. After a night of merriment…to all a good night! xo alex.

QUICK ON YOUR FEET

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Sometimes I wish there were 30 hours in a day. There are times that even with the best intentions the things I need to get done simply don’t. In just such a bind I found myself rushing though CVS last Friday. I was looking for a quick dry nail polish because I didn’t have time for a pedicure but needed a polish change before a party. I saw a display for Insta-Dri, a new line by Sally Hansen. They had over a dozen shades and a quick check of the label showed that the worst offenders in the polish biz were not to be found. In fact, the Sally Hansen website acknowledges concern about toluene, DBP and formaldehyde and, “As part of its Sally Cares initiative, Sally Hansen has proactively responded to these potential concerns by reformulating our products to remove these ingredients from all nail care products.”

I found a great coral shade, Sonic Bloom, very much like the Zoya color I’d been wearing (and great with a tan…real or faux). The color was bright and glossy and dried in time for me to slip into sandals and get out the door. The genius feature is the contoured Perfectionist Brush, shaped to allow for maximum coverage and no need to go over areas twice. As with most quick dries the color doesn’t last like traditional polishes but it’s perfect in a pinch. I recommend adding a topcoat for a bit more shine and staying power (I love Barielle No-Chip Speed Dry With Silk Protein). Then it’s back to the rat race. xo a.

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