All posts by BX Staff

Ask BX: Facial Mists Edition

Dear BX,

I was flipping through the last issue of Domino magazine and saw a facial mist that is supposed to be a great soother for your skin. Since I’m heading to the beach a lot right now and tend to burn, I thought I would try to get it until I saw how much it cost — over $100. I can’t remember the brand, but do you think any soothing mist is worth that much?

-Alex

Dear Alex,

Unless the facial mist is made up of unicorn tears and angel spit, then I can never imagine a scenario in which I’d spend more than $35 on any “soothing mist” product. Most of the product is made up of water, and the additional ingredients don’t cost a ton, so even your drugstore brands do the trick.

Look for products that contain any of these ingredients as a start:

  • Witch Hazel (astringent)
  • Vitamin E
  • Aloe
  • Calendula

Witch Hazel helps contract the skin tissues and is used in many toners, but it also has a nice refreshing feel. Vitamin E, aloe and calendula are all used in products to help soothe and heal skin.

Here are a few mists I’ve used and loved that certainly won’t break your bank:

Dr. Hauschka Facial Toner ($34.95)

Dr.Hauschka Gesichtswaschcreme USA

 

 

Body Shop Vitamin E Face Mist ($16)

vitamin-e-face-mist_z

 

 

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herb and Rosewater ($7)

mario badescu

And while all these mists are great at soothing sun-tired skin, remember to wear plenty of SPF 30 so you can prevent burning in the first place!

-Anne

 

Double Take: Anne and Kristin Review Bareskin Pre Brightening Serum Foundation

There’s a buzz in the beauty world that I’m sure many of you have heard about by now – bareMinerals’ first/new liquid foundation Bareskin. As beauty addicts and part time detectives, yours truly had to get to the bottom of this case and find out what all the hype is about. And as if there needed to be proof that we are basically soul sisters, we both started to review Bareskin before realizing the other was as well.

bareskin

Bareskin

Anne’s Reaction: 

I’m super picky about my foundation, so when bareMinerals announced its new liquid Bareskin foundation, I was a tad skeptical it would meet my high expectations right off the bat.  I’ve found that a lot of foundations just look too heavy and cakey on my skin, so I’ve pretty much banished all foundations in favor of a good BB cream paired with concealer for trouble spots. But after trying out bareMinerals Bareskin Pre Brightening Serum Foundation, I am reconsidering my position altogether.

bareskin

bareskin

As you might imagine, the point of Bareskin is that it’s supposed to look very natural and blend with your skin to perfect the tones. The delivery system is the new gimmick here. Instead of the typical “swirl, tap, buff” application for bareminerals mineral powder foundations, you instead “shake, drop and buff,” using the Perfecting Face Brush to swirl it on to your face. And I have to admit, gimmick or not, this brush is amazing. It really blends in the product well so your skin looks super smooth.
bareMinerals Bareskin is really BB cream for all intents and purposes. After all, it is a brightening serum with SPF 20 mixed with color correcting coverage. You can build your coverage from very light with just a couple of drops to full coverage using about four to six drops. In my “after” picture here, I have full coverage so you can see how well it hides skin discolorations and sun spots while still showcasing a natural finish.
I’m surprised to admit how much I love this new foundation, and I’m going to be adding it to my regular routine.
Kristin’s Reaction:

Like Anne, I tend to reach for BB creams (or tinted moisturizers) rather than full-on foundations. Something about foundations seems so dated and unnecessary to me. I’ve been #blessed with fairly normal, healthy skin and I don’t feel the need to perfect it with full-coverage products. And while I know foundations come in all sorts of formulation and coverage ranges, I’m just a creature of habit and don’t often venture out past my tried-and-true face products. But I’m also a creature of jumping on the bandwagon and impulse purchases … which is how I ended up the proud owner of Bareskin. The lovely Gouldylox posted about Bareskin a bit ago and I was #feelingspendy when I read her post, so I zipped over to my local Sephora and snagged my own bottle.

bareskin

bareskin

In the spirit of total transparency, it took me a couple of wears to get as onboard with this product as I am now. With all the hype I’d heard about the product, I was expecting to look like a whole new, supermodel woman after buffing on this foundation. I know that expectation is insane, but I sometimes fall in to the trap when trying out new, hyped products. I expect them to turn me in to Heidi Klum and then get all sad panda when they don’t. You’d think I’d lear my lesson one of these times … but I digress.
I love that this product (as Anne says) feels and wears more like a BB cream than a traditional foundation. The product goes on light and has a buildable coverage. I use three drops on a good skin day and four-five on a bad skin day. I even got a little wild and crazy once and did just one drop, but I think this is better suited for a beach vacation than an average day at work. Plus, I’m really impressed (also like Anne, #greatminds) with the buffing abilities of the brush. I’m not trendy and pro enough to use brushes or sponges when applying my face makeup like most beauty bloggers, so I was a bit weary of what I would think of the brush. I actually think it’s my favorite part of the product. It helps the foundation go on smoother and creates a seamless, more natural finish. No streaks of fingertip lines here; I’m so grown up!
The only thing I don’t love about Bareskin is the finish. I prefer a slightly dewier finish than Bareskin provides, as it’s a more matte/natural finish. With that in mind, Bareskin has taken the go-to foundation/BB cream spot in my day-to-day makeup routine for the moment, and I don’t see myself changing any time soon. I really do love it!
What is your favorite foundation?
Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

How to Throw a Monster Bash this Halloween

Guest post by Amy Genduso.

While she created this monsterpiece for a little boy’s birthday party, Amy shows you how to make a monster cake that’s perfect for any occasion, like your own Halloween monster bash!

This year, the eldest of the two boys I nanny requested a Monster & Boots themed party. Er…what? Monsters? And boots? Challenge accepted! His mother, Katie, effortlessly combined the two themes, and I announced she was not to purchase a store bought cake because I wanted a crack at it. One tends to have this reaction after spending countless hours perusing Pinterest masterpieces and building false confidence in artistic abilities. Damn you, Pinterest.
how to make a monster cake
My monsterpiece
The whole shebang
The whole shebang
In all reality, it was pretty easy for the average person (with an art degree) to make. First, I baked two separate 8-inch cakes using a basic store bought yellow cake mix. I stacked them on top of each other and frosted them (in between, on top, and on the sides) using the current Halloween orange frosting available at all supermarkets.
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The frosting came with a packet of black, white, and orange Halloween sprinkles for which I had no use. Throwing caution to the wind, I tossed them in with the cake batter thinking it would have the effect of Funfetti. Boy, did it! The black sprinkles immediately oozed their artificial hyperactive food dyes into the batter and turned it a crazy monster green. What can I say? I’m a rebel.
For the fur, I bought Wilton orange icing in a tube and attached a small piping tip.
pg_hlwrtuicingtubes_m
frosting tip set
Another option is to put your frosting in a baggie and cut a small piece off the corner. This is called the College Loan Debt option. Then I just piped long lines with the frosting. By starting at the bottom of the cake and working my way up, I created the nice layered bob my monster was looking for.
For the mouth, I bought a black sugar sheet and literally cut out the shape I wanted with a pair of scissors.
pg_solidcolorss_l
Note to self:  Remember to remove the plastic backing or an unsuspecting party guest will get a chewy surprise. Sorry Katie!
I also bought one red Starburst and rolled it flat with a rolling pin. Using a knife, I cut out the shape of a tongue. I secured both the tongue and the mouth using a dot of frosting. The teeth were not planned, but then I saw purple candy corn in the bulk foods section. Purple candy corn? That tastes like pure table sugar and artificial blueberry byproduct?! I must have these monstrosities!
The eyeballs were the fun part. Although Katie had the most practical solution for eyes (ping pong balls), I insisted they must be edible, and therefore found the most time consuming and difficult way to go about this. Yes, I realize many of you are thinking, “Hey, why not lollipops?” or, “Did you think about marshmallows on sticks?”, to which I respond, “Child’s play!” The white eyeballs are white chocolate Lindor Lindts.
41OrtW-hMoL
The eyeballs in wine glasses are various Ferrero Rochers. For each ball, I used a sharp wooden skewer to “drill” holes that would make my seventh grade woodshop teacher proud. Once the hole was big enough I slid in a cake pop stick. We found edible googly eyes in the Wilton section, and after gluing them onto the front of the ball with a dab of frosting, I piped orange hair in the back (using the same method as the frosting on the cake).
googly eyes
Using leftover googly eyes and Rocher’s, we decorated mini cupcakes and strategically placed them all around the main monster cake in order to put all other Pinterest monster cakes to shame. So there.
Making this cake took about two hours and was so much fun to use as a centerpiece for the party. I highly recommend trying one for your own little monster’s next birthday bash! (…and although you only see the monster portion of the party here, I can assure you there were plenty of boots represented as well.)

Photos: Amy Genduso/beautyXposé; Pillsbury; Wilton; Lindt

Signs of a Well-Made Garment

Post brought to you by Kurtis fashion designs

When you’re purchasing items for your wardrobe, you need to make sure that you invest in high quality garments. A well-made garment will last significantly longer, and it will also look better on you. However, finding a well-made garment can be tricky. While certain brands are well known for their high quality materials, you may not be able to afford those. The good news is that you can find some less expensive brands that still make well-made garments. Here are some of the signs you will want to look for.

well made garment 3

One or More Inches of Folded Seam

When you find a garment, you should immediately turn it inside out and look at the seams. The better made the garment is, the more fabric will be on the other side of the seam. A poorly made garment will have only a quarter to three quarters of an inch. A well-made garment will generally have a full inch or two. In some cases, there may even be three inches above the seam and folded back. This inclusion makes it easier for the garment to be tailored and give you the precise fit you want. It’s also a sign that high quality fabric has been used. The designer intends for the garment to be worn for a long time and adapted to fit the wearer.

Examine the Lining

Another rule of thumb that both Fashion Guru and Glamour Magazine agree on is that a high quality or well-made garment will have a nice lining. You’ll see this in some of the higher end Kurtis fashion designs, as well as Chloe, White Seal, and others. The lining should be made of as high a quality material as the rest of the garment, and it should not have raw or exposed edges. In many cases, the lining of a well-made garment looks good enough to show. It should not pucker, and it should bulge out from the garment.

Firmly Secured Buttons

Well-made garments also have firmly secured buttons. One of the surest signs of a poor quality garment is a glued on button or a button secured with only a few threads. When you tug on the button, it should not give if the garment is good. It should pull the fabric along with it and fall back into place without creating any gaps or weaknesses in the fabric’s integrity.

It’s worth it to invest in well-made clothes. Price and brand alone are not necessarily guarantees of this. You need to examine the outfit thoroughly to determine whether or not it actually is a good one. Look first at the seams. A well-made garment typically has an inch or more above the folded seam, allowing for tailoring and alteration. You should then examine the lining, since a high quality lining typically accompanies a well-made outfit. Finally, you should check out the buttons. You should be able to tug on the button without it coming loose or altering the fabric’s integrity.

 

Photo: Kurtis

Giveaway Alert! See the KIA Hamsters Get a Makeover, Enter to Win a $25 iTunes Card

This giveaway is now closed.

Giveaway and post sponsored by KIA Motors

kia motors hamstersEven hamsters love a good makeover!  Remember those adorable, yet totally bad-ass, rap-loving rodents in the KIA ads? Well in the auto-maker’s latest commercial, both the hamsters and the 2014 KIA Soul get a sophisticated makeover.

In the video, set to Lady Gaga’s latest single, “Applause,” the hamsters decide it’s time for a change, so they work on their fitness, hit the gym and relax at the hair salon.

But did all their hard work pay off?  It certainly seems so.  The three hamsters step out on the red carpet and unveil their new Justin Timberlake-esque look, complete with sleek, suited physiques. And naturally, they rolled up in the newly-transformed 2014 Kia Soul, shown in a dapper lime green. Check them out for yourself:

Tweet, and Enter to Win a $25 iTunes Gift Card

What’s our favorite part of the new KIA Soul commercial? It’s hard to say, because you can’t really go wrong with banging beats by Lady Gaga, hugable-turned-hot hamsters and a cool new ride. But if you share your favorite part of the commercial, you have the chance to win a $25 iTunes gift card.

After watching the new KIA video, enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below (mandatory to enter: tweet about the ad including @Kia and #Hamsters). One winner will be selected at random on Monday, Sept. 2, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclaimer:  2014 Soul Shown. Expected Fall 2013.
Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Kia Motors

 

Why Go Natural?!

Post sponsored by Chamonix

We all know how tiresome and tedious washing our face and following our regular regime can become every night and every morning. One must vigorously search for the skin care products that work best for skin type and lifestyle, but are you looking for the right things? Do you really know what you are putting on your face? In the ongoing battle to get the glowing healthy skin you deserve, it is KEY to know your ingredients.

spaWhile you may be washing your face religiously every morning and night, you may actually be washing your face and applying products that contain toxins which can literally age your face much faster. In short, these so called new “it” products are causing harm to your skin.

What to do next?

Whether you are looking for products that focus on anti aging skin care, rejuvenating skin care, or correction skin care, what you want to focus on first is natural skin care. Finding the right product line (natural and/or organic based) can be a little tedious, but your skin will thank you. Try looking for products directed towards anti aging skin care that are full of antioxidants. If you’re asking yourself, why antioxidants? Just as they protect you from illness, antioxidants have the ability to slow down and actually reverse the aging process.

Over at http://www.betterskintoday.com, they carry lines of skin care that are full of natural and organic ingredients. In fact, they focus their ingredients on the pure and natural ideology.

What to look for:

Skin care products that are natural and organic based will not contain mineral oil, petroleum by-products, pharmaceutical preservatives and other harmful ingredients; nor will they ever test any of their products on animals. Be sure to thoroughly look at the ingredients in your favorite night cream or cleansing wash, you may find yourself looking for a new line sooner than you thought. This site here is a good place to start.

Photo: Dominik Gwarek

One Look 3 Ways: April Showers

It’s time for another instrumental of “One Look X Ways.” This time, we’re celebrating this (showery) month in style. We don’t want you to let the cloud and rain get in the way of your style. Read on to see three ways the BX ladies will keep you looking fabulous during the showers this April.

Anne – Stormy Eyes

Cloudy with a chance or stormy eyes
Cloudy with a chance of stormy eyes
I know that nothing says April showers more than a stormy eye. To make your own thunderstruck eye shadow look, you’ll need a metallic light silver eye shadow, a matte charcoal eye shadow and a shimmering white. I used  the silver shadow from Chanel’s Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eye Shadow in Variation and the charcoal and white eye shadows from bareMinerals READY 8.0 in The Cocktail Hour.
To get the look:
  • Sweep the silver shadow all over the lid, pulling up into the crease.
  • Apply the white shadow in the inner corner of the eye as well as directly under the brow bone.
  • Using a rounded blending brush, apply the charcoal shadow in a sideways “V” shape in the outer half of the eye crease, extending down to the outer corner of the eye. Blend well.
  • Using a small angled brush, rim the entire eye with the charcoal eye shadow.

Kristin – Cloudy Nails

The clouds are rolling in ... to my nails
The clouds are rolling in … to my nails

While I like to think of Spring as all flowers and sunshine, cloudy days are inevitable. Of course pastels are a Springtime polish given, but it’s time to turn your attention to another alternative: cloudy nails. My personal favorite is Revlon’s “Timeless.” It’s a beautiful match between Lilac and cloudy grey. Plus, the name suits it perfectly, as the color is timeless and goes with everything.

Kenzie – Cloudy with a Chance of Fashionable

Don't let the rain damper your style
Don’t let the rain damper your style

When April comes around there are three things that every girl (and boy for that matter) should have in their closet, a trench coat, an umbrella and a good pair of rain boots. Just because the rain is coming down, doesn’t mean you can’t look good while it does. This stylish trench from Target is on trend with a ruffled collar and belt. The teal trimming on this bubble umbrella is perfect for spring and will keep you dry during those impromptu rain showers. Lastly, these Sperry Topsider rain boots are guaranteed to keep your feet dry on your commute into the office. So stay dry, but, more importantly, stay fabulous!

What looks will you be sporting in April?

Photos: beautyXposé

 

Fighting Acne throughout the Year

Sponsored content was created and provided by Tria Beauty.

You may notice that your acne is worse at different times of the year. Why is this, and what can you do each season to fight back? We’ve broken it down by each season, explaining the reasons for increased acne and how to reduce your flare ups.

beauty girl hend on headWinter

Your skin’s biggest enemy in the winter is the weather. Because of the colder conditions, you’re cooped up inside more frequently in the dry central heating air, in between bursts of cold as you travel briefly outdoors. Keeping your skin moisturized will help to fight acne break outs. That means investing in a humidifier or vaporizer for your bedroom. The winter is also a time when people drink less water and let their healthy eating and work out habits slip – which can also lead to more acne break outs. Continue your healthy habits throughout the year to keep your skin looking its best.

Spring

For some individuals, the spring may bring you relief from acne. Others may find that the pollen and other spring irritants can cause their acne to go haywire. If you find yourself suffering from spring time acne, it’s a good time to re-evaluate your acne fighting tactics. Start with your face wash. Is it actually causing more harm than good by drying out your face? You should also look at your diet and evaluate if you are eating balanced meals. Tweaking your eating habits may give you the relief you’ve been looking for.

Summer

The summer heat can often lead to clogged pores from excessive sweating, giving you unwanted acne. Your skin may also be dried out from the chlorine found in pools, or the salt water found in the ocean. Concentrate your efforts on removing dirt and oil from your pores with a gentle face wash. Make sure you are staying hydrated too. Dehydration will only encourage more acne. And, of course, be sure to keep your skin protected from the sun’s rays by wearing daily sunscreen to prevent damage and sun spots.

Fall

freeimage-6790597Acne in the fall can be frustrating, especially if you had relatively clear skin all summer long. Sometimes the summer sun can temporarily clear up your acne, but as the warm weather fades, your skin begins to shed dry and dead cells caused by increased summer sun exposure. As bacteria enter these freshly exposed pores, you’ll see an increase in acne. Fall acne can also be attributed to back-to-school stress and generally lower spirits as the nicer weather fades away. To fight acne in the fall, gently exfoliate away dead skin cells and clean your pores with acne face wash.

Have a year round plan

No matter what season, you should always try to eat right, drink plenty of water, exercise and stay dedicated to your daily skin care regimen. If these methods aren’t enough, you might consider scheduling an appointment with your dermatologist.

In addition to prescription medication, your doctor may suggest investing in blue light for acne. This light treatment eliminates the source of acne – the bacteria found in your skin. With regular blue light use, you’ll experience fewer break outs and blemishes. Blue light acne treatment can be done by a professional at a dermatologist office or a salon, or you can purchase an at-home device to use in the privacy of your own home. A blue light for acne device can be a great investment for year-round use to compliment other acne targeting tactics you are already employing.

Remember that most acne sufferers need to use a variety of techniques to keep their skin clear – and these may change throughout the year. So stock up on different skin products, including clay masks and pore strips, and keep topical cream in your cupboard for flair ups.

 

Photo credits: Woman with hands on head - © Krasphoto | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images; Woman with leaves: © Sunin | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images