As the weather’s warming up, my go-to hairstyle these past few weeks has been the top knot (just like every other girl in New York City). It’s easy, and can transform dirty strands into a cute style. I’ve played around with nearly every “bun-stuffing” contraption that has come into our office and my favorite is the Sarah Potempa The Wrap Up ($12, sarahpotempa.com). You simply pull your hair into a ponytail and slide the pony through the opening in the middle. Then, roll it up to the base, fold the flexible ends into a round bun and voilá—an instantly chic updo. If you have layers and a few pieces poke out, just smooth them down with hairspray and pin into place. You can go for a formal look (I used it to style my hair smooth and polished for a recent wedding I attended), or try something a little more piecey and casual (my messy bun held up through a training session with The Biggest Loser trainer, Dolvett Quince!). The possibilities are endless. And it comes in a smaller size, The Half Up ($9, sarahpotempa.com) so girls with fine or shorter hair can get in on the fun too.
We go to the gym to put in work. But that’s not to say we don’t get giddy when we find an accessory that is both functional and cute to wear during our sweat sessions. Enter Emi-Jay Hair Ties and Headbands (prices vary, emi-jay.com). Not only do they keep hair and sweat out of our face, but they add a pop of color to basic workout clothes. What makes these ribbon-like accessories cool is that they can be used in multiple ways. Want to glam up a boring pony, bun or braid? Tie your hair with one of the lightweight, stretchy bands, or simply slide on a bright, patterned headband to keep flyaways tame. No matter how you wear them, they’re guaranteed to brighten your look and mood.
—Katelyn Blough, beauty intern
A not so fun fact: there are over 700 different species of bacteria that can grow in our mouths (ew, we know). Reading that number is alarming enough but the worst part is that brushing alone can’t kill them all so using a mouth rinse with antibacterial ingredients is key. One of my favorites: Colgate Total Advanced Pro-Shield Mouthwash ($5, drugstores). It’ll not only wipe out 99% of the bacteria, but it also protects your teeth and mouth from germs for up to twelve hours, even after eating and drinking. I felt like I had an invisible shield on my teeth all day after using it. Also good to note, it didn’t give me that harsh, burny feeling.
* Colgate Total Advanced Pro-Shield Mouthwash was given to us by Colgate-Palmolive for review purposes.
I’m a big fan of a filled-in brow. Even the densest of brows can benefit from a little shaping with a pencil or shadow. Personally, I find it easier to work with a pencil, but the unique shape of Sania’s Brow Bar Angled Brow Pencil ($25, saniasbrowbar.com) makes it totally foolproof. The wider edge of the pencil works perfectly for filling in the thicker part of your brow while the thinner side helps define the tail after the arch and offers more precision. Bonus: the other end holds a spoolie brush so you can just flip it around and comb through to blend the color for a more natural look. It has everything you need for amazing arches in one easy-to-use pencil, and it never needs to be sharpened (score!).
Next week, I’m traveling to Texas for the first time, and while preparing for my trip, I’ve been testing out hair products to use while I’m there. I love the look of voluminous hair, but I have naturally fine, straight strands that look flat and limp without any styling magic. The problem is, I hate spending more than a few minutes on my hair so I’m usually looking for a product that’ll do all the work for me. I found it with Göt2b’s 2sexy Voluptuous Volume Spray Mousse ($6, ulta.com). The unique spray formula makes it easy to target your roots. Here’s how I use it: I part my hair in several places along the top and crown of my head and spray it along my scalp. Then I mist it through the length of my hair for extra body. I flip my hair upside down to blow-dry, using my fingers to massage the product into my roots and a boar bristle brush to avoid tangles. When I’m done, you’d swear my hair was defying gravity. You get maximum lift that doesn’t feel dirty, as well as, workable hold and shine. I haven’t had to use my teasing comb in weeks. You know how they say, “Everything’s bigger in Texas?” Well, I’ll fit right in the Lone Star State thanks to this miracle mousse!
Luckily, I haven’t spotted any grays just yet. Though there is this one wiry, white strand that pops up at the crown of my head when I get really stressed out, but I immediately pluck it out—no color correction needed (for now!). But I know many women who struggle with covering gray, especially because those hairs become brittle and less manageable when they lose their color. So when I heard about the new Redken Chromatics Beyond Cover (redken.com for salons), I brought in a special tester (my mom!) to try it out. The color gets delivered to the hair via nourishing Argan oil, so not only did my mom’s highlights look more vibrant and multi-dimensional, her hair was smoother and felt stronger than before coloring. Plus, the process covered all of her gray and stayed true-to-tone. Pretty amazing!
I have a serious sweet tooth but try to curb my cravings and only indulge once in a while (chocolate is my weakness!). Lucky for me, I recently stumbled upon Chapstick limited-edition Cupcake Creations ($2, drugstores) available in decadent Cake Batter and Velvet Cupcake flavors. They glide on lips like butter and instantly make any flakes disappear. But the best part, of course, is that they’re 100 percent guilt-free. And though they aren’t quite as satisfying as a cupcake, I’ll be reaching for these balms as a treat numerous times a day.
—Jessica Carter, beauty intern
April 1st marks the start of Earth month and each year when I turn the page of my calendar, it’s a subtle reminder to be a little friendlier to our planet and the world around us. For me, there’s no easier way to do that than with a sweet-smelling candle (I’m somewhat of a hoarder!) so when I heard about the Aveda Light The Way Candle ($12, aveda.com) it was a no brainer. Not only is it made with 100% reclaimed glass but the carton (which is 70% PCR paperboard) is decorated with artwork by students of the Association School in Ampasimanjeva, Madagascar, a village that has received two Global Greengrants Fund grants for water projects. The children, who previously drank from a dirty, crocodile-infested river, created drawings to show how their lives changed after the community built a safe water source close to home. Every time I light the candle, the Madagascar-inspired blend of vanilla, cinnamon, and ylang-ylang reminds me that I (along with Aveda) am helping those little kids and their community. Aveda will donate 100% of the purchase price to the Global Greengrants Fund, a non-profit organization that channels high-impact grants to grassroots groups working to solve pressing environmental problems. You can get yours starting March 24th or find out more information on the clean-water projects on aveda.com.
After spending a few days in the heat during a work trip in Palm Beach followed by a few days in the freezing temps in NYC, my skin was confused to say the least, going from oily to dry. But my facial skin wasn’t the only place that suffered from the quick climate change. During my weekly blowout, I noticed my scalp (yes, it’s skin, too) was freaking out (and by freaking out, I mean flaking—gross, I know), too. So I reached for Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy Deep Nourishing Treatment Mask ($6, drugstore.com) in hopes of nipping the flakes in the bud. I also called up the brand’s celebrity dermatologist, Francesca Fusco, for tips on fighting and preventing flakes. She said that when applying shampoo and conditioner, to lightly massage the product in with my fingertips—not nails, a mistake some women and stylists make. She also said that instead of skipping conditioner at my roots to increase volume (a trick I always do!), to slather it on my roots directly, assuring me that my scalp was craving moisture and that the conditioners were light enough that they wouldn’t weigh down my blowout. Guess what? A few days after taking the advice, my flakes were gone (such a relief) and my hair was bouncy despite applying the mask from roots to ends.
I’m one of those people who just dreads slathering on body lotion. I know, I know…it’s basically a sin in the beauty world but I hate feeling cold and sticky before getting dressed, especially in the winter. But when I first tried Dial 7-Day Moisturizing Skin Therapy Lotion for Extra Dry Skin ($5, drugstores) on my hands, it absorbed so quickly and didn’t leave behind an icky greasy feel, I decided it might just be exactly what I needed to add to my after-shower routine. Well, I was right! I quenched my flaky arms and legs with this lotion packed with super-hydrating shea butter and was ready to get dressed in just a few seconds. Plus, it moisturizes for up to seven days so even if I get a little lazy and skip a day, I don’t feel that bad.