All posts by Kristin Bassett

7 Tips for Perfect Summer Hair

In case you missed the memo, Summer is in full swing. Here in Boston, the temps have been soaring and the humidity has been wreaking havoc on our hairstyles. Top knots are a girl’s best friend this time of year.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a hair style other than “fizz ball” this time of year? Yes, yes it would. That’s why I’m teaming up with Joanne Starkman, co-owner of Innersense Beauty, to bring you seven heat-beating hair tips for the rest of the summer. I hope you enjoy!

  1. Care for Your Hair Before the Pool: We all love a dip in the pool, but dry hair is a drag. “The #1 hair complaint I hear is dryness; chlorine is a cause. Before plunging in, make sure your hair is saturated with water,” urges Starkman. She loves to smooth Innersense Color Radiance Daily Conditioner over wet hair before diving in. Once you’re finished swimming, rinse hair thoroughly and shampoo. Starkman shampoos with Color Awakening Hairbath, “Containing sunflower seed extract, the Hairbath adds natural color protection so hair color stays fresh longer.”
  2. Give Your Hair a Break: Consider taking a break from the blow dryer and curling or flat irons. As an alternative, set hair with rollers or braid when damp to beat the heat and help create “beachy” waves.
  3. Embrace Oils: Even with hats and umbrellas, your hair will see a lot of sun. “Additional moisture and protection is vital to the health of your hair in the summer. I love Tamanu Oil for its rich nourishing benefits,” adds Starkman. Tamanu Oil is used inHarmonic Healing Oil, which is a moisturizer and sun protectant. Simply emulsify a few drops in hands and smooth over hair.
  4. Pack a Wide-Tooth Comb: “Brushing wet hair promotes split ends. Instead, the best way to detangle hair is to start at the ends and work toward the scalp using a wide-tooth comb,” explains Starkman. For extra slip and hydration, spray on Sweet Spirit Leave-In Conditioner before using the wide-tooth comb.
  5. Dress up Your Tresses: Break out bright-colored scarves and large floppy hats!  Consider a loose ponytail or a side braid for a new look that beats the heat. Decorative bobby pins and fabric hair ties add a fun touch.
  6. Go Short: Is there a short cut you have always wanted to try? Why not change it up? Summer is a great time to test a chic style or get a few highlights.
  7. Eat Summer Fresh: Diet plays a part in hair health, so shop at farmers markets and take advantage of in-season produce. Starkman suggests, “Avocados and nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that add extra moisture and hydration in the body and hair. And, watch your intake of excessive sugars. They can contribute to the overgrowth of yeast, which may lead to dandruff and dry scalp.”

What are your go-to tricks for mastering the perfect summer hairstyle?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

About Joanne Starkman – Starkman is the co-founder of Innersense™ Organic Beauty, which is a leader in the green beauty industry. Carried at more than 4,000 salons & spas and at www.InnersenseBeauty.com, Innersense products are free of toxins, silicones, resins, phthalates & parabens.

About Innersense™ Organic Beauty – More than ten years ago, Greg and Joanne Starkman were struck with a realization that their professional paths were not in alignment with their values. They turned inward and a new journey began with Innersense. Handcrafted using Certified Organic and Bio Dynamic plant extracts, Innersense products are free of toxins, silicones, resins, phthalates and parabens. Innersense is a Certified Green Business. The products are available at more than 4,000 salons and spas and on www.innersensebeauty.com.

european vacation

Europe 2015: The Highlights

I just got back from the most amazing trip of my life. And by “just” I mean about a week ago, I’ve just been too busy pretending I’m still on vacation to get back to my normal routine and update you all. My boyfriend and I spent two weeks in Europe and it could not have been more perfect. We were gone from June 25th to July 11th and hit seven cities and 5 countries during that time:

  • Croatia (Dubrovnik, Split, Rovinj)
  • Italy (Venice)
  • Germany (Munich and the surrounding area)
  • Denmark (Copenhagen)
  • The Netherlands (Amsterdam)

The trip started because my dear friend from high school was getting married in her village outside of Munich. Knowing that we’d be traveling that far to begin with, we decided to make a full vacation out of it. What started as just a week somehow turned into two weeks, and I’m so glad it did. Our first week was in Croatia and Italy, which was a nice beach-style vacation allowing us to relax together and enjoy to sun and beach.

Then my younger sister joined us for the wedding in Germany and stayed until the bitter end in Amsterdam. Well technically she had to leave a day before us, but we’ll pretend she stayed to the bitter end. The second week after the wedding was much cooler and more urban, filled with racing around the respective cities and fitting in as many sites (and desserts) as possible. I fully intend to do a dedicated post on each stop during our trip, but I figured I’d start out with the highlights. It’s a good way to give you an overview of our trip without overloading you on pictures … that part is sure to follow in the next few weeks. I will only be posting photos cause they’re worth 1,000 words … so here’s bunches of thousands of words in photo form:

1. The View from our Balcony in Dubrovnik

european vacation

2. Swimming on Lokrum in Dubrovnik

european vacation

3. The square outside of Luxor in Split

european vacation

4. Plitvice Lakes Park 

european vacation european vacation

5. The Sunset in Rovinj

european vacation european vacation

6. The Glass Factory in Murano (Venice)

european vacation

7. My Friend’s Wedding Outside of Munich

european vacation

8. Eating like a local in Copenhagen 

european vacation

9. Eating like a local in Amsterdam

european vacation

10. Skins Cosmetics in Amsterdam 

european vacation

I hope you enjoyed the highlights and I can’t wait to tell you more about each city we visited! Also, I would like to be back on my European vacation, if anyone could make that happen. Ok, thanks!

What’s your favorite trip you’ve ever taken?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

Three Steps to Sexy Skin

I might be a creep, but I love routine. It helps me get everything I need done during the day and helps me from getting overwhelmed. When it comes to skin care, this is no exception. I stick to a strict skin care routine to make sure I don’t let things slack and I don’t damage my skin.

But don’t take it from me. The lovely Celeste is back to talk about three keys to a strong skin care routine.

A skin care routine is similar to an exercise routine. Lifting a weight once won’t create muscle definition; wearing sunscreen only when on vacation is not the path to achieving a clear, healthy complexion. Lifestyle changes take time and commitment. When creating a routine, it’s just as important to know what not to do as it is to know what to do. Here are three things to avoid when you set out to live a healthy skin lifestyle:

  1. Inconsistency. Consistency is key for addressing skin concerns and maintaining a healthy skin routine. Again, you are unlikely to see any results by using products just once or twice. If it takes you six months to use a bottle that is intended to be used in two, you are not benefiting from the active ingredients in the product. Once you find what works for you, stick with it!
  2. Not cleansing before bed. Imagine not brushing your teeth at the end of the day and that is what it’s like to skip a nightly skin care routine. Even if you don’t wear make-up, you still need to cleanse. Sweat, oil and dirt sit on your skin all day. By skipping your nightly routine, you allow your skin to absorb pollutants. You also need an evening skin care routine to address any concerns and/or maintain your current skin health. Before going to bed, use resurfacing ingredients such as AHAs and retinols, in addition to restorative peptides. Tip: Make-up wipes cannot replace a complete cleanse, they are best used to remove heavy make-up before cleansing.
  3. Overdoing it. I’ll say it again, it is crucial to maintain a consistent, thorough, skin care routine twice a day. However, as the saying goes, “Too much of a good thing is too much.” If you are repeating your routine more than twice daily, it is too much. By over-cleansing/toning/astringing, you are stripping your skin of healthy oils and causing it to produce extra oil. Oil production can be balanced with a healthy and consistent skin care routine. If you are using your prescription skin care products more than as directed, it’s too much. You will not see results faster by doubling up on your topical (or ingested) prescription. This applies to acne, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, freckling, etc. Prescription skin care products are prescribed for a reason and can have serious and damaging effects if used incorrectly.

For more do’s and don’ts, I urge you to talk with a Skin Coach. We’ve made it super simple to connect with a Skin Coach through the new app – My Skin Authority. It’s the first interactive lifestyle app that connects people with a live esthetics expert for coaching and guidance. My Skin Authority is a free download at the Apple App Store and on Google play.

And while you’re at it, check out the rest of Celeste’s skin care advice from this year: skin care resolutions, the skin care basics, face oils for acne-prone skin, skin care for eyesdifferences between men’s and women’s skin care and the deal with Vitamin C serums.

What does your daily skin care routine look like?

About the author: With two decades in the beauty and skin care industries, Celeste Hilling is the Founder, CEO and Product Formulator for Skin Authority. Skin Authority is respected for developing pure and powerful products without the use of parabens, added fragrance, dyes or animal testing. More on www.skinauthority.com, Facebook at Skin Authority, Twitter @SkinAuthority and @MissSkin.

june favorites

May and June Favorites 2015

Things have been a bit crazy lately with all the travel for my “real” job, so May slipped through my fingers before I could find the time to write up a favorites post. And considering I’m about to depart on yet another trip (an actual vacation this time) for the next two trips, I won’t have time to do a June favorites before July rolls around. The solution here? A really late May favorites and an early June favorites all rolled in to one. Woop, woop!

Being on the go for the past few months has meant that my makeup routine has been trimmed down. I don’t feel the need to overload my carry-on with excess palettes or break the TSA 3-1-1 rule with multiple liquid foundations.

And when I have been home, I’ve been prepping for vacation with sunless tanner, bright polish  and burn-free skin. And now that I’ve rambled for long enough, let’s get to the main event … my current beauty faves.

june favorites

Smashbox Photo Filter Powder Foundation | Benefit Roller Lash | Michael Kors Gold

Skin Authority Sunless Tanner | IT Cosmetics Brow Power

Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy in Vegas, Baby | Aveeno Sunscreen

What beauty products are you loving lately?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

vitamin c serums

What’s so Super about Vitamin C Serums?

When I hear “Vitamin C” I think of citrus fruits and the inspirational “Graduation” song. Who doesn’t just shed a few tears while listening to this ballad? Oh yea, and I also think about skin care. What kind of beauty blogger would I be if I didn’t?

I feel like everyone and their mothers with fabulous skin is toting the benefits of vitamin C serums, and I was dying to learn more. So naturally, I turned to the lovely Celeste of Skin Authority who never steers me wrong.

Are you getting enough C? Vitamin C is one of the most vital nutrients. The benefits include those you are likely to have heard, including boosting immunity and overall health, but you may not know that C is super for skin. In fact, vitamin C serums should be a basic part of any skin care routine.

Many people take vitamin C orally to boost immunity. That is smart, but less than 1% of the vitamins we ingest actually make their way to our skin. The skin needs C as well, so it is very important to apply it topically.

Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for and using a vitamin C Serum:

  1. Look for a vitamin C that is paired with an antioxidant blend. Vitamin C boosts the effectiveness of your sunscreen, and when it is combined with a powerful antioxidant mixture, it is very effective in protecting the skin from free radicals. I urge you to apply C daily underneath your sunscreen moisturizer.
  2. Vitamin C Serums should contain a minimum of 20% L-ascorbic acid. L-ascorbic acid is a co-factor in collagen production; without this element, the body cannot create collagen for firmer and stronger skin. The minimum amount of L-ascorbic acid necessary for collagen production is 20%, so don’t buy a vitamin C serum it if contains less than that amount. My favorite: Skin Authority Super-C Serum.
  3. Vitamin C Serums are very active products and should be used within the recommended amount of time. Just like an apple oxidizes over time as it is exposed to air, vitamin C Serums also oxidize. If your serum turns a dark brown color, it is time to throw it out. The shelf life of a vitamin C Serum is typically about four months after opening, but shorter if left exposed to the air and heat for long periods of time. If you keep the container closed and store in the refrigerator, it can last a bit longer.

And while you’re at it, check out the rest of Celeste’s skin care advice from this year: skin care resolutions, the skin care basics, face oils for acne-prone skin, skin care for eyes, differences between men’s and women’s skin care.

Do you incorporate vitamin C serums into your skin care routine?

About the author: With two decades in the beauty and skin care industries, Celeste Hilling is the Founder, CEO and Product Formulator for Skin Authority. Skin Authority is respected for developing pure and powerful products without the use of parabens, added fragrance, dyes or animal testing. More on www.skinauthority.com, Facebook at Skin Authority, Twitter @SkinAuthority and @MissSkin.

june empties

June Empties 2015

This is titled “June Empties,” but I took these photos in May … so do with that what you will. Just like in my last empties post, most of these are hair and skin care products. Apparently I haven’t been smothering my face in enough makeup this year. Woopsies.

Anywho, let’s take a gander of the products I’ve used up since March and discuss whether or not I’ll be repurchasing.

june empties

Dove Daily Moisture Conditioner – Dove has been my favorite drugstore shampoo/conditioner for a while now. It leaves my hair feeling healthy and shiny smooth. It never weighs down my tresses while still keeping them soft and luxurious. Repurchase? Already did.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash – Aveeno is my go-to brand for body lotion. It seriously rocks my world, and now so does their body wash. It’s super affordable and leaves you feeling oh-so-touchable. Repurchase? Already did.

Meg 21 Moisturizing Toner – I loved that this toner contained Witch Hazel. Something about the smell and the way it feels on my skin is just lovely. Plus, I could feel this toner fighting any spots that would creep up on my skin. I didn’t repurchase yet cause I had another toner to use up, and that makes me sad.  Repurchase? When I run out of my other toner.

Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil – This stuff is my jam. I have been using it since March of 2014. It’s ultra moisturizing and I just love the scent. It’s perfect to apply before bed but also light enough on your skin for morning too. Moral of the story – I use it ALL. THE. TIME.  Repurchase? Already did.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer – I mean, what could I say about this that hasn’t already been said? It’s my staple concealer – perfect for any and all events/makeup needs and doesn’t cake in my under-eye lines.  Repurchase? Already did.

Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water – This cleansing water is an amazing dupe for Bioderma. I use it every night before washing my face, and it is a boss at removing all my makeup. Yes, even eye makeup. It goes with me everywhere … even to the airport bathroom when I obsessively remove makeup before my flights.  Repurchase? Already did.

What goodies have you used up lately?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclaimer

beauty haul

Recent Beauty Haul: Ulta, Sephora and Nordstrom

As you know, I’ve been traveling a lot for my “real” job lately. I was in Montreal and Chicago most recently, and I’m in Santa Clara as I write this. And somehow, I always seem to find the nearest beauty counter with what little downtime I have on these trips. It’s like the Sephoras and Ultas of the world just call to me. Or I just have an obsession. However you want to look at it.

But why I always seem to end up in beauty stores is neither here nor there. What’s really important is the goodies I scoop up while I’m there. I’ve trying to restrain my shopping habits lately as I save for a two-week European vacation this Summer, but sometimes I slip. Woopsies. The only way I convince myself my spending isn’t insane is by only buying things I “need” … like the beauties below.

beauty haul

Belif toner | Sephora lip pencil | Dior foundation | Biosilk serum | Smashbox primer Kérastase Oleo Curl | Stila eyeliner | Smashbox lip pencil in “Figgy” | Nars concealer

What beauty goodies have you picked up lately?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

Chicago

A Weekend in Chicago

Lovelies, we need to talk about Chicago. I visited for the first time earlier in the month for personal/work and I L-O-V-E-D this gorgeous midwestern city. I was going for work during the week, so my boyfriend decided to join me the weekend before for a fun getaway/birthday celebration. Plus, we got to spend all weekend with one of my dearest friends, which was just the icing on the cake!

We packed a lot into the weekend and it was well worth it. To start out – we knocked out all of the major tourist attractions. We did Willis Tower, an architectural boat tour, Navy Pier and Millennium Park. All of them were super cliche, but I would redo all of them in a heartbeat!

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

But we didn’t just stick to the well-known spots. Having a best friend in the city meant that we also got to live like locals. We laughed the night away at The Improvised Shakespeare Company, explored the Gold Coast and hung with the hippest of cool cats in Wicker Park.

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

And of course, we ate our little hearts out. Everything was mighty tasty, but some of my favorites were Chicago Q, Miss Ricky’s, RPM Italian, The Gage, Girl and The Goat and Big Star. And if those restaurants were any indication – there are so many other local gems left to unearth. Obviously I need to go again!

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

IMG_3376I can’t say enough wonderful things about Chicago. I had an amazing time and want to go back as soon as possible. It’s even been added to my “I’d move there” list. Who knows where the wind will take me!

Have you been to Chicago before? What is your favorite part of the city?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure   

tunic

Tunic Tales

There is something so easy about a cute tunic. It’s cozy and comfortable, but can easily be dressed up with heels and a few pretty accessories. My fabulous sister-in-law just happens to own an adorable online boutique – Mon Bon’s Boutique – and I snatched up this adorable tunic a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve worn it at least once a week. Sometimes multiple days in a row. Woops? I just can’t stop wearing it!

tunic

tunic

tunic

Tunic Mon Bon’s Boutique | Jeans Free People (similar)

Heels Franco Sparto (similar) | Scarf Mirana Bennett (similar)

What is your favorite way to style a tunic?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

april 2015 favorites

April Favorites: 2015

April has come and gone. It was a fabulous month; maybe the best so far in 2015. Seeing as it was my birthday month, that might be a slightly biased statement. Oh well.

Can you believe it took me 27 years to finally test out Make Up Forever HD Foundation? And I call myself a beauty blogger ….. *disappointed head shake.* While I normally reach for light coverage foundations and BB creams, I’ve been L-O-V-I-N-G this more heavy-duty number. I can’t put it down. And with that, let’s move onto the rest of my April favorites.

april 2015 favorites

Foundation | Rollerball Trio | Agave Lip Mask |  Foundation Brush | Floral Pants

And while we’re at it, let’s talk a walk down memory lane and look at my January, February and March favorites as well.

What were your favorites this month?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure