Long, Pretty Lashes in Three Steps

Beauty trends come and go, but long, pretty lashes are pretty much always in. Here are my three best tips for making the most of your lashes:

1. Take your vitamins. I’ve been taking hair, skin and nail supplements for ages to help strengthen my nails and keep my hair looking healthy. A couple of months ago I switched to Nature Made Hair Skin Nails Adult Gummies (I can’t resist a BOGO sale) and didn’t think much about it until, a few weeks later, I noticed that my eyelashes looked significantly longer. Soon after that my sister asked me why my lashes were so long. Naturally, these fruity little vitamins are now officially on my must-have list.

2. Curl with a classic. You may not be comfortable with eyelash curlers – a good friend has confessed that she’s terrified of sneezing mid-curl and tearing all her lashes out – but you’d be surprised at how much of a difference a good curler makes. And by “a good curler,” I mean the curler: the iconic Shu Uemera Eyelash Curler. It is hands down the best one on the market. It gives lashes a gentle curve (not a harsh crimp) that will last all day, making your lashes appear longer and your eyes brighter. You’ve got to love a gadget that can make you look polished and well rested in under a minute.

3. Join the mile high club. No, not that mile high club. I’m talking about Wander Beauty Mile High Club Volume and Length Mascara, AKA the best new mascara I’ve tried in years. I love its sleek gold packaging, but that’s nothing compared to how much I adore the formula – a lengthening, lash-lifting black mascara that isn’t clumpy, even if you apply several coats. It stays put throughout the day without flaking or smearing and really does give lashes a noticeable lift. The best part? After months of daily use, this mascara hasn’t bothered my extra sensitive eyeballs, not even when I’ve forgotten to wash it off before bed. It’s the lash-lengthening mascara of my dreams!

Advertisements
Out of This World: NCLA Mercury Retrograde Jelly Balm

Out of This World: NCLA Mercury Retrograde Jelly Balm

I’m a sucker for a clever marketing campaign, so when I opened up an NCLA order last month and found a postcard reading “PSA: Mercury Retrograde starts March 4,” featuring a picture of the brand’s newest Jelly Balm lipstick, I knew I’d be purchasing it.

NCLA Jelly Balms come in all kinds of brightly colored shades. They all go on clear and then react with your skin’s PH levels to create a custom shade for you. I’ve always loved products like this and I was drawn in by the sheer neon tomato look of the Mercury Retrograde Jelly Balm. The balm has a silky smooth texture and upon application turns a beautiful shade of pink that I would describe as bubblegum raspberry. I’m completely obsessed.

I find the balm doesn’t last all that long (probably due to the excessive amount of coffee I drink on the average day) so you may want to take it with you for on-the-go touch ups. Or better yet, buy an extra one for your purse. If you’re like me, you’ll be wearing this long after Mercury retrograde is over.

Secret Weapon: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

Over the course of the last six months or so, I’ve noticed that my under eye area seems angrier than usual. Darker. Crinklier. Certainly more tired.

I’ve tried various serums and eye creams in hopes of improving the situation, but so far the only measurable results have been irritated eye balls. I haven’t given up hope, and I have a few new contenders to try out, but I know I need a little help while I wait for conditions to improve.

Enter NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. I picked up a mini tube in Vanilla Light 2 during a recent Sephora trip. It turns out this shade is perfect for masking dark circles and works with my fair complexion. This creamy concealer blends easily and provides a surprising amount of coverage with just a tiny dab of product. It’s long lasting and doesn’t crease or draw attention to those extra crinkles I mentioned. And the mini size I purchased for $13 six weeks ago still has plenty of product left in the tube. Which means I can afford to keep using this secret weapon until I find a more permanent under eye solution.

What’s your secret weapon product?

Color Me Impressed: NCLA Nail Lacquer

In theory, I’d love to be a person who always has her nails done. Nothing makes me feel more, well, polished. But in reality, getting regular salon manicures can be expensive and finding the time to do it at home can be nearly impossible, especially when you take into consideration all the touch ups you’ll likely have to do to keep your nails looking halfway decent.

This is why, on those rare occasions when I find that I won’t need to use my hands for anything for a while and decide to paint my nails, I prefer a nail color that delivers a lot of pigment and shine in one coat. Enter NCLA Nail Lacquer. I received a GORGEOUS bottle of Call My Agent in my January Allure Beauty Box and I couldn’t wait to put it on. I hastily painted on one coat – no base or top coat – and let it dry. I cleaned up my cuticles with a remover-soaked cotton swab (the lacquer brush is just a little bigger than I’d prefer, so clean up was definitely necessary) and went on my way.

The results? I love the color. It goes on true to what you see in the bottle and stays shiny until you take it off. And I cannot say enough how impressed I am with this product’s staying power. I painted my nails Monday evening and the polish didn’t chip at all until Friday morning. I received compliments all week on both the color and quality of my manicure. With a single coat lasting this long, NCLA lacquer makes regular manicures seem possible and worth the effort. Even for a lazy nail painter like me.

The best part? NCLA products are 7-free (meaning they don’t contain formaldehyde and all the other toxins commonly found in nail polishes), vegan and cruelty-free. NCLA also has gels and wraps for nails, and beautiful lipsticks, all in fun and lovely packaging. And as of right now, they are doing a buy one get one free sale on all lipsticks. I just took advantage of the deal. Click here to check it out for yourself. You’ll want to grab yourself a nail lacquer too.

Sheet Mask Sunday

I’m very drawn to sheet masks. They usually come in fun packaging and I like the idea of perfectly portioned beauty treatments that take very little effort. Most sheet masks consist of a concentrated treatment that sits on top of your skin. When your mask time is up, you simply remove the sheet and massage the remaining treatment into your skin. Easy peasy.

Because I’m so drawn to these treatments, and because they typically have an easy-to-justify price tag, I’ve amassed quite a collection of sheet masks. So in an effort to work my way through them, I have declared this my inaugural sheet mask Sunday.

Since it’s January and the combination of freezing cold winds and dry indoor heat has pretty much turned me into a scaly lizard, I decided to go for hydration. Today I tried not one but three masks. For my flaky face I used a Sephora Aloe Vera Face Mask that claims to hydrate, refresh, and plump the skin while leaving it supple and full of moisture. It was definitely refreshing and did plump up my skin a bit. My face still feels drier than it should but it no longer looks flaky, so that’s a win. With it’s aloe content, I could see this being a lovely post-beach day mask in the summer. If your skin is only moderately dry this would probably do the trick.

The other masks I used today were these fun Aveeno Repairing Cica hand and foot masks. With these, you slip your clean, dry hands and feet into disposable booties and gloves, chill out for 10 minutes, then remove and massage the leftover product into your skin. These masks contain shea butter and prebiotic oat, which is meant to soothe and nourish the skin. I really enjoyed these masks and can feel a definite increase in hydration in my hands and feet. If you have tough calluses this won’t eliminate them, but it will leave your skin feeling really comfortable and soft. As a bonus, these masks are fragrance-free and formulated for sensitive skin. I would recommend them for anyone looking for a quick and easy winter pampering session!

Pacifica Super Kale: Finally, a Kale I Enjoy

As much as I’m into health and wellness, I just never got on the kale bandwagon. I’m not wild about the flavor or texture. The only way I’ve had it that I liked it was in a kale chip, but they’re just not worth the effort. And as my best friend pointed out recently, any food you have to massage before you eat it is just too high maintenance. I’ll stick to spinach, thanks.

But while I’m not a fan of putting kale in my body, it turns out I have no problem putting it on my body, at least not when it’s in the form of Pacifica Super Kale Juiced-Up Shampoo and Conditioner. I ran out of conditioner a few weeks ago and stumbled upon these small green tubes while browsing the beauty section at T J Maxx. Their bright, pretty packaging called to me and since I’ve never met a Pacifica product that didn’t smell great, I picked them up.

Both claim to provide stress and pollution protection and contain detoxifying extracts. They are supposed to support volume and are especially good for fine or oily hair. Plus they’re vegan and cruelty free. I brought them home and gave them a try.

The shampoo is a nice purifying cleanser that completely eliminates product build up. Unlike many volumizing shampoos, it hasn’t left my scalp dry or itchy, just clean. The conditioner, while a terrible detangler (you’ve been warned), leaves my hair feeling soft, looking shiny and completely free from frizz or flyaways. Both products share a clean and extremely mild scent. Overall, my hair looks clean and healthy instead of dull and lifeless, which is how it tends to look this time of year.

I’m not sure if Pacifica is discontinuing this duo so I went back to T J Maxx and scooped up a couple more bottles. If you see these little beauties anywhere, do your hair a favor and buy them. And rest easy knowing they’ve finally found something useful to do with kale.

Pass it on: Rimmel Stay Glossy 3D Lip Gloss

At a business event a couple of months ago, I couldn’t help but admire a coworker’s lip color. Known for her bright smile and attention to detail, she looked perfectly polished and was sporting a pretty, slightly shimmery gloss.

When I told her how much I liked it, she happily confessed that she’s the queen of the bargain beauty find and that the gloss she was wearing could be found for a few dollars at any local drugstore.

The gloss was Rimmel London Stay Glossy 3D Lip Gloss. She raved about its smooth (not sticky) texture and staying power. I made a mental note to pick up a tube the next time I stumbled upon one. However, I was delighted and surprised when, a week or so later, she gifted me with one!

Rimmel Stay Glossy 3D Back Row SmoochIt was a tube of Back Row Smooch, a pretty and fairly neutral medium pink. It features a simple sponge-tip applicator that delivers just the right amount of gloss. As soon as I slicked it on I knew why she loved the texture; the gloss feels hydrating and silky smooth, not tacky or goopy. And while a 3D lipgloss might sound a little intense, it translates to a subtle iridescent effect that plays up your pout and is really quite flattering. I find that the initial shimmer wears off after about an hour, but the color lasts and my lips feel moisturized long after that. As an added bonus, my hair doesn’t instantly stick itself to my mouth when I’m wearing this stuff. It’s basically the holy grail of glosses.

Finding out about this little beauty gem definitely made my day and I just had to pass it on. If you’re in the market for a good gloss I highly recommend picking one up. Better yet, get two and share one with a friend.