Written on August 8, 2014 at 9:00 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
This past Sunday, I competed in the New York City Triathlon (you can read all about it here) and though the race itself was awesome, it required a ton of preparation leading up to it. Aside from the weeks of training, I had to make sure I had all the right gear (because let’s be honest—when you look the part, you feel more confident). So in the final weeks, I grabbed some race day essentials: a Zoot wetsuit and Speedo goggles for the swim in the Hudson river, a Timex water-resistant watch to keep tabs on my pace, a cute and colorful Specialized #aeroiseverything tri kit for the bike and run legs, a bag of my favorite all-natural hydration mix from Skratch Labs along with four water bottles (I’m a salty sweater!) and—my favorite accessory of my race day look—a PaintBox gel manicure to match my kit! I know, I know, you don’t necessarily need a fresh mani before a big race but I’ve made it a personal tradition because it helps calm my nerves. I went to the high-design nail art studio here in New York City with some friends on a day I was feeling really anxious about the race. Doing something fun and pampering was just what I needed to get my mind off any triathlon-related worries. I opted for gel so it would stay intact through swimming, biking and running, and I brought a picture of my kit so the manicurist could match the colors. My friends and I nicknamed the design my “racing stripes” and honestly, it really pumped me up for the big day. I got a ton of compliments from a few girls in transition so it helped me make some friends, too (always a plus when you’re racing solo!). Just like an amazing hair day can give you the confidence to crush a job interview or land a hot date, a cool nail design can actually give you that little extra boost for a big athletic event. So next time you sign up for one, go ahead and treat yourself!
Written on July 25, 2014 at 9:17 am , by Heather Muir
My favorite part about being a beauty director is helping women feel better about themselves (playing with products is a close second). None of us are perfect but I’ve learned a few insider beauty tricks over the years that I love to share. Those of you who live in the tristate area can come get them first hand. On Thursday, August 7th, I’ll be at the Clarins’ counter at Saks Fifth Avenue from 12pm-7pm chatting with women just like you! For the past few years, I’ve participated in Beauty Editor Day and it’s always an amazing experience. Whether you want a new makeup look (I’m the master at smoky eyes!), need skin care advice (on zits to wrinkles) or just want to ask me your burning beauty questions, book a 20-minute appointment here. Participants get a cool free gift but even more exciting, the proceeds from your $30 session go toward Look Good Feel Better, a charity that helps cancer patients regain confidence during and after treatment. Post-consultation, you’ll look gorgeous and feel great, I promise. Hope to see you there!
Written on July 18, 2014 at 2:51 pm , by Molly Ritterbeck
The past few weeks, I’ve been training for the New York City Triathlon, which means a lot more time spent in the pool than I’m used to. And though training has reminded me that swimming is one of the best total body workouts, it’s also pretty tough on your hair and skin. Not only am I extra dry, I’ve been walking around smelling like a pool all day—ick. So I tested out SwimSpray ($15, swimspray.com), an 100% natural vitamin C spray that neutralizes the odor of chlorine on your hair, skin and suit. After swimming, simply rinse off, spritz the solution on the chlorine-smelling areas (I spray it in my hair and over my skin before jumping in the shower and on my bathing suit before washing it) and then shampoo or wash as usual. Since the formula is all natural (made up of just vitamin C and water) it’s great for kids and the convenient spray bottle packaging allows you to spritz the little ones even when they’re squirming all over in their suits. I would thank the makers for helping me deal with that unmistakable chlorine stank, but honestly—I think my cube neighbors are more grateful!
Written on July 15, 2014 at 9:25 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
We all know Dial as a classic hand soap brand, accompanying sinks for years. Personally, we love their body washes and lotions (like the Frozen Yogurt Body Wash and 7-Day Moisturizing Lotion), but now—they’re breaking into the acne business with three new products clinically proven to give you clearer-looking skin in just three days. The new Acne Control line features a dermatologist-developed formula with two-percent salicylic acid, which helps slough away excess oil and dead skin to prevent breakouts. It’s available in three forms: a face wash, body wash and body and face bar, so whether you’re seeing pimples pop up on your face or struggling with bacne, there’s an option for you. The best part–everything is under $7 and available at mass retailers so you can get your hands on it (and get clearer skin) fast! We’re going to toss one in our gym bag to help prevent breakouts from tough sweat-sessions at the gym!
Written on July 4, 2014 at 9:00 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
Independence day is a once-a-year opportunity to celebrate our freedom and enjoy time spent with family and friends. But we would never have that freedom if it weren’t for the brave men and women who serve in our military. When this holiday rolls around, I’m always looking for ways to sport some red, white and blue and I was excited when the Band-Aid Our Veteran Heroes Adhesive Bandages ($3, drugstore.com) came across my desk. These fun band-aids feature patriotic stars and stripes and military-inspired designs like camo (so fun for kids!). But the best part is: Band-Aid is partnering with Team Red, White & Blue, an organization that helps enrich the lives of American’s veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activities and will donate 5% of the purchase price to a charity supporting vets. When you pick up a box of these, you can feel good knowing you’re contributing to a great cause. So for any scratch, scrape or cut that happens over this holiday weekend, slap on one of these to show your support and have a safe July 4th!
Written on July 2, 2014 at 1:51 pm , by Molly Ritterbeck
Bold lip and eye looks can intimidate even us makeup junkies. How do you know if that fuchsia lipstick you saw your coworker applying in the bathroom will look as chic on you? L’Oréal Paris is finally putting an end to the makeup-purchasing guessing game! Introducing the first-ever virtual makeup tester app Makeup Genius (available to download for free here). This app allows you to test out L’Oréal Paris products before you buy them and experiment with full-faced beauty looks you’ve been dying to try. Makeup Genius transforms your smartphone’s front-facing camera into a virtual mirror that allows you to see what the products would look like on. But this is not like the virtual makeup tools of the past where things look wonky and don’t quite line up. This is a first-of-its-kind augmented reality tool that captures head movements, tracks facial points and examines skin texture for exact feature display in order to get a perfectly accurate read of your face. (Honestly, you have to see it to believe it!) The steps are simple: just scan your face, choose a product or a look offered in the catalogue (you can scan L’Oréal products while at the store, too!) and begin testing out your personalized makeup look. I was able to sit on my couch in sweats and try on dozens of lipsticks, eye shadow palettes and foundations without having to venture into the overwhelming beauty aisles at the drugstore or the somewhat terrifying makeup counters for some new finds. Amazingly, all of the makeup applied virtually moved with my face, in real time as if it had been expertly applied and I was looking in a mirror. I was able see how the colors looked with various facial expressions and in different lighting. After finding a look you love, you can buy your desired product directly through the app, making your beauty shopping hassle-free. So for all you crazy busy beauty addicts out there, your new look can now be tried, tested and purchased all from the comfort of your couch! Now that’s genius!
Check out these fun pics of me playing with the app:
- Julie Ricevuto, beauty intern
Written on June 20, 2014 at 9:00 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a huge fan of St. Tropez self-tanning products. This obsession started at a young age when I read about the amazing bronz-ability of their self-tanner in a magazine and begged my mom to buy me a starter kit on eBay (!). Ever since, I’ve been hooked. Their spray tan formula is one of the best, drying in just 60 seconds! (You can find salons that use it here). I often turn to the Self-Tan Bronzing Mousse ($32, ulta.com) for weddings. It’s so easy to apply and the color develops into a rich brown tone, never orange. But lately, I’ve fallen in love with the St. Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Body Lotion ($30, ulta.com). Usually, I apply this after I shower to give my naturally pale skin a healthy glow all summer. But I also use it to prolong the results of a spray tan. I usually get sprayed before a beach vacation but after several days of swimming, showering and shaving, my color starts to fade and I don’t want to bother with a full self-tanning routine (I’m on vacation, after all!). So I stash this in my bag and apply it everyday as my body lotion. Not only does it keep my color looking fresh and my skin radiant, it also hydrates for a baby soft feel. Forget the bronze, that’s gold medal level to me!
Written on June 13, 2014 at 9:00 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
I’ve been upfront about my love affair with full-coverage foundations and powders on the blog (see: here and here), so when the BB cream craze blew up, I really wasn’t that interested. BBs, which stand for beauty balms, are like a one-step, does-it-all miracle worker for your skin. While offering universally flattering sheer coverage and SPF protection, most also boast hydration, antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients. This all sounds amazing, except for the fact that they lack the full-coverage I prefer. I never found one I could make an exception for until I tried Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25 PA++ ($34, sephora.com). It’s like a huge glass of H2O for your skin in a tube. The moisturizing formula has a unique water bead technology that hydrates and maintains healthy moisture levels throughout the day, resulting in a dewy, fresh look. People have actually been asking me what I’m using on my skin! It glides on smooth (you can literally just swipe it on with your fingers!) and has SPF 25 for added protection from the sun. The coverage is sheer but I use it on the weekends when I just want to even out my complexion without piling on makeup. It’s made up of 50 percent water and actually has a cooling effect when applied so it’s great for neutralizing redness after a workout. I’m hooked!
Written on June 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm , by Molly Ritterbeck
Beauty—er, grooming—products probably aren’t the first things that come to mind when hunting down the perfect gift for your dad, but since men rarely buy these goods for themselves (after all, there’s no grooming aisle at Home Depot), they make amazing presents. So spoil him with these foolproof Father’s Day finds. No matter what type of guy he is, we have something he’ll totally gush over.
The Role Model: What little boy doesn’t want to be just like his dad? Create an Instagram-worthy moment for father and son to share by getting him Harry’s Father-Son Shave Set ($30, harrys.com). This kit contains a limited edition three-blade Winston razor for the big guy, a toy razor for the little guy and a how-to picture book so they can “shave” side by side. Too cute for words!
The Jetsetter: Whether he’s flying from one business meeting to the next or driving to see different clients, this on-the-go dad might run into some snags along the way. Keep him prepared for anything with the Pinch Minimergency Kit for Him ($13, pinchprovisions.com). So small, it can be stashed in a carry-on or glove compartment and includes 13 must-haves: lip balm, dental floss, breath freshener, stain remover, mending kit, safety pin, extra buttons, shoe shine towelette, nail clipper, hand-sanitizing towelette, deodorant towelette, adhesive bandage, and pain reliever.
The Classic: This guy is simple but he cares about his skin and he doesn’t like all the girly stuff his wife uses. Stock him up with a dopp kit—grab the new PC4MEN Complete Skincare Kit ($98, PC4MEN.com), which includes complexion-perfecting essentials (face wash, shave gel, after-shave, sunscreen and night cream) that are free of fragrance and irritating ingredients so he can always put his best face forward. Bonus: he gets to keep the preppy travel bag, too!
The Man’s Man: Beer, bacon and the great outdoors. Sound like your guy? Give him a little taste of his favorite things with a Yankee Candle Man Candle ($28 each, yankeecandle.com). Allow him to escape in his man cave with scents like On Tap (the cool, golden smell of a freshly poured draft) MMM Bacon! (the mouth-watering aroma of sizzling meat) and Camouflage (a natural woodsy fragrance that’ll transport him to the wilderness).
The Gym Warrior: This guy makes pancakes in the morning, reads bedtime stories at night and yet he still finds time to fit in a sweat session every dang day. Turn his quick locker room shower into a spa-like experience that invigorates the senses with Organix Citrus Mint 3 in 1 Shampoo + Conditioner + Body Wash ($7, drugstore.com). The three-in-one formula saves him space in his gym bag and has citrus extracts to stimulate his hair and skin and refreshing spearmint and peppermint oils to re-energize after a hard workout.
The Sophisticate: Sleek and suave, smart and stylish—what man doesn’t want to be just like Bond, James Bond? He’s every guy’s favorite spy and now you can help your favorite father unleash his sense of sly adventure with the James Bond Quantum 007 Fragrance ($40, kohls.com). The fiercely masculine scent has a mix of earthy moss and a touch of lavender while notes of British crisp apple and sandalwood give it a modern twist. Offer him a spritz and then follow it up with a martini—shaken not stirred, of course.
Written on June 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm , by Molly Ritterbeck
Photos Courtesy of Karina Smirnoff
As a pro dancer on ABC’s hit show, Dancing with the Stars, Karina Smirnoff is an expert on two of our favorite things: fitness and beauty. As she prances around the dance floor making a fast-paced foxtrot look easy, she’s glammed out in full hair, makeup and of course, bronzer from head-to-toe. We recently grabbed a few minutes with the Ukrainian stunner to chat about how she stays camera-ready through tough routines and how she likes to stay fit off the dance floor.
You have to keep your skin camera-ready through sweaty performances. What’s your skincare routine like?
“Yes, the sweat is not only mine, it’s usually your partner’s too! It’s definitely not the most glamorous part of the show but in the very first season of DWTS, my skin actually started breaking out pretty badly because you have heavy makeup on for hours, especially on the day of the show. We get our makeup done at six, seven or eight in the morning and we don’t go live until five p.m. and then comes touch-ups, where they put more and more on you. So my skin was breaking out really badly. But you find a way to keep it healthy and clean and right now, I’m obsessed with the Apothederm Acne Clarifying Treatment ($33, apothederm.com). I use it two to three times a week during the season and it keeps the blemishes away. I always wash my skin when I’m off the air and try to take off all the makeup. I use an exfoliant or the Clarisonic brush (prices vary, clarisonic.com), which is amazing because all you do is hold it to your skin and it does the job. There are different types of cleansers that have some parabens in them but Apothederm doesn’t and it’s incredible. It lifts all of the makeup off of your skin. And if you use it with the Clarisonic, which you don’t have do it every day but maybe once or twice a week, it gets out everything from inside the pores as well. I love when you have time off and you can use a mask and sometimes, I even make my own mask when I go to a sauna. I mix salt with honey and use it as an exfoliant on my skin but its also very moisturizing because of the honey.”
You wear some pretty intricate hairstyles on the show. Do you have any tips for keeping them in place during such active performances?
“Yes, besides hairpins and bobby pins, they have these little metal clips with teeth (similar here: L. Erickson Mini Mini Metal Jaw 8-Pack, $18, franceluxe.com) and they are the size of your pinky nail and they hold onto your hair so well to keep it in place. And not to mention, the excessive amount of hairspray! I can’t go out to places that have live fire just for the sake of catching my hair on fire!”
Everyone on the show is so bronzed! What is the self-tanning routine like?
“We get spray tanned on Sundays for the show during the season with a great company called South Seas Tanning, which gets you darker but it doesn’t get you nearly as dark as what we actually look like on the show. So there are different bronzers that I mix to create my own concoction for the body and you put it on and it dries so it doesn’t get on your clothes. It gives you that shimmery, glowing skin. I mix Rimmel Sunshimmer Instant Tan (available in the UK, boots.com) with South Seas Beach Bling Shimmer Lotion ($18, southseas.com), that’s the one that keeps it dry and then I add LORAC TANtalizer Body Bronzing Luminizer ($32, loraccosmetics.com). I mix it all in my hands. I wear gloves because it’s easier and you don’t have to wash your hands after and then you just put it all over! I love to look tan. But the funny part is I never spray tan my face, I only spray tan my body so you kind of have the floating head when the face is pale against the rest of the body, but I don’t want to clog my pores.”
The show is so glamorous but on a day when you’re not feeling your best, what’s one beauty move you do to boost your confidence?
“Oh, well, I always believe that a great pair of heels and mascara is all a girl needs to feel sexy!”
What’s your favorite mascara?
“I really like the new Blinc Mascara ($26, sephora.com). It’s not like a normal mascara. This one has an ingredient [tube-technology] so when you wash it off, you don’t get raccoon eyes. It gets soft and just comes right off like gel. I also like Marc Jacobs Gel Definition Mascara ($26, sephora.com) and Stila mascaras ($22 each, stilacosmetics.com). L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Power Volume 24H Mascara ($8, lorealparisusa.com) is great, too. It makes your eyelashes look twice as long!”
So when you’re not dancing, how do you like to stay in shape? What are your favorite workouts?
“I do everything, from martial arts to Krav Maga, to yoga to jogging, running, hiking. I like to spice it up and keep it different every time because I get bored really fast. And the ADD doesn’t help that either! So I try to do different stuff every time but to me, the best workout is dancing. That’s why I have the DanceFIT-KS. It’s a dance-inspired workout because it’s moves that dancers use to keep in shape and no matter how often you do it, your body never gets used to it because you never use the same muscles twice. We do dance camps, too and we take it to different hotels in the summer. It’s a win-win situation, with the travel, the amazing vacations, you get to work out, stay in shape, meet new people.”
Do you have any favorite snacks that you like to fuel up with before a workout or performance?
“I do but when you perform and dance you don’t want to feel full. Me, personally, when I eat, all I want to do is sit on the couch with the remote control. I get into the couch potato mode. And when I dance I don’t want to feel hungry but I want to feel light and alert. So I try to snack on things like pineapple or watermelon because they’re diuretic and go right through your system. I eat nuts a lot, like walnuts because they are a brain food and we could all use a little brain food! Sometimes I even do dried cranberries because they are a great source of energy. And you can never go wrong with dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is a divine food.”