Summer has officially arrived, and with it, the need (and the urge) to get some new beauty booty to deal with Summer’s specific issues. But not everyone has pots of money (I know there are a lot of readers really watching the bottom line of their budgets, before buying beauty products). The Advice Sisters understand, and want to share some really good news (can’t we all use more of that, these days?): you can get a big bunch of beautifying products, easily and afford-ably, without sacrificing quality. Just take a look around your local drugstore or mass market retailer. You’ll see many brands offering good beauty items, for less. In fact, your local food, drug or mass market retailer has so many good things to choose from, it might be a bit overwhelming. So I’ve picked out a big, beautiful bunch of products for you to consider, (other than Sun Blocks, which I am featuring in other articles, all Summer long), that won’t break the bank, but pack a big beauty punch! Which of these are your “must-haves?”
A change of seasons is always a good time to get a new mascara. And, when it comes to mascara, Maybelline is Queen! Every new mascara has something unique to commend it. The newest Maybelline mascara magic, comes from Mega Plush by Volum’ Express Mascara (srp. $7.77). This is Maybelline’s first with a gel-mousse formula. Why would this matter? The formula contains 40% less hard waxes that can make lashes look brittle and stiff. This new creamy formula stays supple, like a great styling gel/mousse for hair, so your lashes look more natural and soft, but still nicely colored. The second thing to note about this new mascara is the delivery system. The lovely, turquoise mascara tube with hot pink accents has the same outer shape as the other chubby mascara tubes from Maybelline, but the brush inside flexes below the large brush head, so it gets every part of your lash, without skipping over tiny bits and pieces. You can build thickness, but it’s more of a natural look. The key is how beautifully it coats! Those who want very thick, long, lush, heavy lashes, quickly, may choose another Maybelline formula, but I love this lightweight gel that is particularly nice in the warmer months. This newbie gives you insane length, and intense color with just a few strokes. The colors are Very Black, Brownish Black, or Blackest Black, in a washable formula that is remove-able with soap and water, or makeup remover. There is a waterproof version (which does seem to stay put even when you’re seriously hot), in Blackest Black or Very Black. I don’t honestly see that much difference in the Very Black and Blackest Black color, but the Brownish Black should appeal to those who like a softer look, or who have very light lashes. Get this at your favorite drugstore or mass market retailer, and you can also visit www.maybelline.com
The Advice Sisters have always been a fan of Burts Bees. This line of natural products has been a staple for anyone who wants natural products. I used to think of the line as being good quality, but not terribly glamorous, but I’ve changed my view. Burts Bees continues to cater to those who want all natural products, but they’ve also started including a lot more fashion-forward colors. So much so, in fact, that at a recent event hosted by Burts Bees and Marie Claire Magazine, the amazing makeup artist Tina Turnbow, was showing editors how to pick their best looks, and layer colors of Lip Shimmers (4.99 for a .09 oz. tube). These Lip Shimmers are so slim you can fit it into the back pocket of skinny jeans, and so affordable, you can afford to “layer” (I like Cherry with Fig). The 100% natural formula feels really luxurious, pampering lips with with antioxidant-rich Fruit Seed Oils, and moisturizing Shea Butter, plus a refreshing, cool hint of Peppermint. There three new shades: Cherry, Plum and Strawberry, and nine other favorites: Radiance, Champagne, Peony, Caramel, Guava, Strawberry, Watermelon, Rhubarb, Cherry, Fig, Raisin, and Plum. While these are definitely great for travel, they’re good anytime. Everyone can benefit from the fashion forward colors, and the fact that you’re not eating petrochemicals, phthalates, parabens or sodium lauryl sulfate off your lips while you’re coloring them. And these are also not tested on animals. Visit www.burtsbees.com or your favorite food, drug or mass market retailer.
Exfoliation is a should-do all year round to slough off dead, dry skin cells and reveal softer, smoother skin. However, in the warmer months when you are showing more skin, or using self-tanners, or, perhaps, baking just a wee bit too much in the sun, exfoliation is an absolutely must-do Shea Moisture has a little tub of goodness for your skin: Organic Olive & Green Tea Body Scrub (with green tea and avocado) that is just $9.99 for 12 oz. It exfoliates and does more to nurture and pamper your skin than many, pricier brands. For starters, the entire Green Tea & Olive collection (lotion, scrub, body butter, body wash, bath & Body Oil, and Soap), contain extra virgin olive oil, omega oils, green tea extract, antioxidants, certified organic shea butter (with lots of fatty acid), and avocado with Vitamins A, B, D and E. Put all of these nourishing, moisturizing and soothing ingredients together, and you have intense goodness for dry, dull, weary skin. My personal favorite is the Body Scrub because of it’s anti-aging and super-moisturizing features, plus sugar for exfoliation, and essential oils and herbs that make a light, almost floral scent. The best part of this collection is that while feels like it should be from a boutique or spa, you can get it easily at Target and Walgreens. If you purchased the entire collection, you’d still pay less for all than you might for one fancy body scrub.
— and while we’re talking about affordable skincare products, a must-have for most women is shaving products. The Shea Moisture Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Shave for Women $8.99 6 oz. comes in a jar, rich and soft and creamy, with a light scent that’s slightly fruity, slightly floral. When you smooth this sinfully special shave cream onto your body, it makes a dull chore feel pampering. But the crème is also full of organic, healing coconut, Tamanu and Argan oils plus avocado and shea butters for super hydration, and African Black Soap. It actually helps to soften hair before you shave, so it makes it easier to shave, and afterwards, your skin will feel soothed and hydrated instead of dry and irritated. To use, simply lather crème in your hands and apply a thin layer to wet or dry skin. You won’t get loads of foam, but you will get a close, comfortable, nurturing shave, Be sure to rinse your razor often as this type of rich crème sticks around. Follow with Honey & Black Seed After Shave Regenerative Lotion $8.99 4 fl. oz. This product in a flip-top tube is an all-natural way to slow hair re-growth. Theoretically, it helps to soothe and regenerate skin, while helping to prevent things you don’t want (e.g razor bumps or burn), thanks to Gymnema Slyvestre Leaf that promotes finer, less coarse, hair. Apparently, along with reducing the speed of hair re-growth, it also helps condition skin and reduce dark spots. Apply it immediately after shaving your legs, and it will become a habit you’ll be happy to have. Visit www.sheamoisture.com for more information.
There’s nothing more convenient for travel, be it by car, train, bus or plane, than towelettes. Cleanser in packettes is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of skincare cleansing. But if you have sensitive skin, you have to be very careful about what you swipe on your face. Comodynes Urban Cosmetics has a new towelette that is made for extra sensitive skin ($7.50/20). It is a micellar cleanser that is paraben, colorant, allergen, and alcohol- free, and uses 100% natural fibres and emollient plant extracts, all tested under clinical, dermatological, and microbiological control. Micellar technology (too technical and complicated to explain here, but used to help disperse cleanser), apparently can effectively cleanse, remove makeup, dirt and grime without water, but still respect the fact that ultra sensitive skin needs extra-soothing care. Key ingredients include: Phytelene Complex (with calendula extract, hypericum perforatum extract, chamomile extract, tilia extract, and cornflower extract). It also has non-ionic surfactants that cleanse without messing up the skin’s hydrolipidic film and pH balance, and as a moisturizing agent, there’s glycerin. All you have to do is wipe these on your face, and that’s that (although I’ll be the first to admit that I have sacrificed a wet towelette or two to cleanse and refresh my hot, tired, dirty feet after wearing sandals)! The towelettes are nicely sized, and the scent is nearly imperceptible and fresh. The square, pink, re-sealable pouch is perfect for car, tote, pool, suitcase, etc. Comodynes claims that they are the originator of the popular makeup remover towelette, although wet naps and baby wipes have been around since the 1950’s. Regardless, these are A++ for super sensitive skin. When you can’t wash up, no-rinse clothes are a true life-saver. Get yours at comodynes.net and buycomodynes.com, and beauty supply stores.
In the past makeup artists and makeup enthusiasts had to have two types of brushes: a set with synthetic bristles to help smooth on powders, creams and liquids, and those with natural bristles (not sure what type of natural bristle they are, but the most common types of natural bristles are usually squirrel, badger, or pony —no animals killed for them), for blending and a flawless finish. But now Japonesque, a purveyor of good quality makeup brushes supplying the industry with makeup supplies since 1984, has designed clever, dual-sided, high definition makeup brushes that don’t force you to choose. They’re not bargain basement, but they’re a bargain, considering how they multi-task. One side of a makeup brush with this patent-pending design, has a synthetic set of fibers to apply products, and the other side has natural bristles to finish up the application. The price of these good brushes ranges from $14.00 for a dual-sided eye shadow brush and an all over shadow brush, to $17.00 for a dual sided foundation brush. I tried the dual sided brush #130 with the synthetic side to be used for concealer application, the side to buff the concealer into the foundation for a more flawless finish. The wide set of bristles seemed maybe a bit too large compared to most concealer brushes. I was dubious, especially since I admit that I would normally never take this step. But my concealer looked perfect, and I was hooked. You could also use this particular brush for crème eye shadow with similar, smooth seamless results. I also tried the foundation brush #120, to be used to apply and smooth on an entire face of foundation. I liked it best when applying tinted moisturizer, because the consistency of these types of beauty products tends to leave little patches of build-up. The synthetic side of the brush took care of that, and the natural bristles, dipped into a little bit of translucent SPF powder, reduced shine, to set a more serene finish to my face. Another thing I like about these brushes are the black, matte handles that are substantial enough to really grip. Whether for travel, home or for a pro, these multi-tasking brushes will offer a lot of versatility and great results. Also, for those who care, although the brushes have cello inserts, the outer box is touted as highly recyclable. Visit www.japonesque.com.Tip: to learn more about makeup brushes, you can read the Advice Sisters’ original makeup brush article http://www.advicesisters.net/wwarcbrushintro.html
Hands are exposed to all of the elements as the rest of your skin, and they have to work even harder in the Summer Time to ward off the drying and aging effects of sun, sand, chlorine, salt, and more. A new, St. Ives Naturally Smooth Hand Cream ($2.99 3 fl. oz.) can help deal with this, for just a couple of dollars. The pampering hand cream exfoliates, and improves the appearance of rough, uneven skin. If you use this inexpensive but effective hand cream regularly, you may actually see a visible improvement in just about 7 days (according to St. Ives). The products offers skin-loving ingredients such as: natural alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs); Sugar cane: (naturally contains glycolic acid, to help remove dead skin cells and smooth the skin); Lemon ( high in citric acid to exfoliate skin and protect against radical damage); and Bilberry (a conditioner that helps to nourish the skin). The product has no parabens or phthlates, and has 100% natural moisturizers. There’s a light, fruity floral scent. While the hand cream is emollient, it doesn’t leave a greasy film on your skin. A nice touch is the white tube with colorful graphics, and a clear, flip-top cap.
— Also from St, Ives is St. Ives Scrub-Free Exfoliating Pads ($4.99 for 60 pads), the very first exfoliating pads with AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) to enter the mass-market. The pads are housed in a plain, plastic jar with white lid, and are paraben free and safe for daily use. I can’t tell how much AHA is really in these, but if you have sensitive skin, you might want to try a patch test, or at least go easy until you see how you tolerate the product. On a personal note, I have sensitive skin, and these pads didn’t bother my skin, but yours may be different. Fruit extracts and moisturizing Vitamin E are great for keeping skin clear, smooth and bright, not to mention ready for “fake bakes.” The pads have a light, melon-y scent, feel refreshing, and are infused with 100% natural lactic acid. You can also try the St. Ives Naturally Clear Green Tea Cleanser ($5.69) that helps reduce redness, thanks to green tea. These help keep skin blemish-free, thanks to Salicylic Acid. St. Ives is bargain priced, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good! Get yours at select mass retailers, grocery and drugstores nationwide or visit www.stives.com
Two of the most romantic flowers for brides are lilies, and freesia. In May, Essence of Beauty, found in CVS/Pharmacies, decided to take the limited edition version of this Essence of Beauty scent, and create a budget-friendly, year-round collection. The outer packaging features a lovely, water-color style photograph of lilies and freesia on a white background. Inside is a simple, slim, rectangular column of clear glass with a brushed silver top that holds a light, fresh fragrance. Lilies and Freesia was “inspired by fresh green gardens and lush bouquets of handpicked freesia.” It does feel fresh and light, and of course, floral, but there are other notes such as a hint of sandalwood, to keep the fragrance more modern. While the fragrance doesn’t quite have the same complexity as fragrance costing $100 or more, it is still a very pleasant one. The collection includes: Body Mist ($5.99); Eau de Toilette ($9.99); Body and Hand Cream $5 .99) with Shea Butter, Aloe Vera and Vitamins E & C; Body Lotion ($5.99) with Shea Butter and Vitamins E & C; and a Shower Gel ($5.99) with Almond Oil, Honey and Aloe Vera. Essence of Beauty skincare products feature a proprietary blend of six moisturizers, including Aloe Vera, Shea Butter and Avocado Oil. They also have antioxidant Goji Berry and Cottonseed. This is a nice collection to put in a second bathroom for weekend guests, or to offer a weekend hostess (nestle all the items in a pretty basket, maybe with the actual (live) flowers to go with it). Essence of Beauty and this Lilies and Freesia collection is available now at CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide and on www.cvs.com
Garnier also has some very impressive and affordable skincare collections. One that’s particularly great for the Summer is the Garnier Moisture Rescue Collection. The products offer 24 hour oil-free moisturization, in an antioxidant-boosted formula made with natural fruit waters and vitamins B and E. The light, gel formula and light scent really makes you want to use the products regularly. The collection has a brand new product: Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream for Dry Skin. This pink powerhouse in a little clear jar with white cap smells and feels refreshing, even on a hot, humid day when regular moisturizers just bead up and get shiny. The Moisture Rescue formula has grape water extract (antioxidant); Apple Water extract (with naturally occurring Vitamin C to prevent dryness). It provides 2x the moisture as the original Moisture Rescue Gel-Cream, it yet, amazingly, it feels like it’s barely there. I can’t tell if it really hydrates for 24-hours, but it definitely felt that way. And at just $5.99 for a 1.7 oz. jar, there’s no way you can go wrong! The other items in the Moisture Rescue Collection are also just $5.99 each, and they include: the Original, Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream that also features an ultra-lightweight, oil-free, refreshing gel-cream formula. It instantly penetrates for long-lasting moisture and boosts skin’s natural defenses for 24 hours; Moisture Rescue Fresh Cleansing Foam to cleanse and detoxify skin, while helping to lock in moisture; Moisture Rescue Lightweight UV-Lotion SPF 15 to protect against the sun’s damaging rays, and also help to replenish moisture, but with a lightweight formula perfect for warmer months. You can use it as a makeup base (or under makeup) as well, so it’s a must have! Garnier products are readily available at mass market retailers and drug stores, and you can also visit Garnierusa.com
When it is hot and humid, and the sun’s damaging rays are beating down on your head (yes, hair can get fried, too), Summer-friendly styling products are essential. Finesse has some excellent, affordable hair styling products, including a line they call: Color Lock. The ingredients (according to Finesse), help seal in color pigments, while they do other, important duties (e.g. keep hair styles in place, and tame frizz). Who doesn’t love a multi-tasker?! The polymers have water-resistant, film-forming properties to set your style, while allowing hair to retain up to 75% more color through repeated shampooing. There are two new products: Color Lock Hairspray 7 oz. and Color Lock Mousse 7 oz., both in light lilac cans with white, hot pink and orange accents. The scents are light slightly floral, although there is a bit of a chemical smell (not unpleasant). The collection right now consists just of the mousse and the hair spray, but The Advice Sisters hopes Finesse will extend this fine collection. Find these at food, drug and mass market retailers. At a truly unbelievable suggested retail price of just $3.99 you can afford to pamper your hair. Also visit: www.finessehaircare.com
As a teen, Yardley London was the brand we coveted. It was affordable luxury for girls who wanted scented products, but weren’t quite ready to wear heavy duty fragrance. Of course, our moms liked the products too. Recently, Yardley London launched yet another ina long long line of lovely, affordable scented bath and body products: The Skin Indulgence Bath & Shower Collection. This new assortment of Bath & Shower Gels & Moisturizing Bath Bars have Skin Smoothing Sea and nourishing plant extracts to moisturize, rejuvenate and gently exfoliate in a refreshing bergamot lime scent.Skin Soothing Lavender & Rosemary combines lavender and rosemary extract to wash away stress & soothe your mind. The one I tried: Skin Softening Mango & Lily, contains real mango butter, calendula extracts and essential oils that hydrate & soften skin. It is scented with a light and tart, mango-with-a-hint-of-floral, fragrance. In addition, the new items have a gentle, paraben free, biodegradable formula and are packaged with 50% recycled materials in nice pump bottles. The solid, Skin Indulgence Bath Bars also feature green packaging including biodegradable, recyclable cartons. The soaps are made with 98% plant-derived ingredients in a pure vegetable base. I tried the Body Butter Mango Cream Cleansing Bar, which is very moisturizing with pure mango, avocado, and olive butter. The oval, peachy bar smells tart and delicious, making your ordinary chore of bathing, just a little bit more luxurious. Pampering products at an affordable price with great scents makes your day a little bit better! There is also a Scrub & Smooth Sea Minerals Bath Bar, with sea kelp and natural plant extracts. This exfoliates and smooths skin as it firms and tones. You can easily find Yardley London products in mass market, drugstores & food stores. Treat yourself and your weekend guests to Yardley, The bath bars are priced at around $2.99 each and the shower gels at just $4.99! Get yours at food, drug, and mass market retailers and visit www.yardley.com for more information,
Most people associate the name “Rembrandt” with the famous, Dutch painter. But I also associate it with a Mynah Bird that used to live in an art gallery. He was trained to screech just one phrase (at about 30-second intervals): “Hello! RemBrandt! Don’t forget to turn out the lights!” But when it comes to whiter teeth, Rembrandt is synonymous with a great line of dental care and whitening products. The brand was invinted in 1987 by a cosmetic dentist, and all of these products are designed to help you get whiter teeth, and keep them white. Rembrandt products contain the same enamel-safe ingredients that dentists use, but all of these are for at-home use, and also, amazingly affordable. If you’re looking for (nearly) instant gratification, try the Rembrandt 2-hour Whitening Kit ($24.99). Apply the whitening gel to the upper and lower ComfTray applicators, wear for 20 minutes, remove for 10 minutes, and repeat for four applications (for a total time of two hours). It’s not always fun to wear gel-filled trays in your mouth, but it’s an easy, affordable way to whiten your teeth. For those who prefer paper strips, Rembrandt Intense Stain Dissolving Strips ($24.99) get rid of surface stains in just 5-10 minutes. The enamel-safe strips can be used on the go, and will target stains from such sabateurs as coffee, red wine, smoking, and tea. They’re impressive if your teeth aren’t terribly stained. Used for two weeks, twice daily (for 14 consecutive days), you will get more brilliant results. For maintenance, Rembrandt offers a bunch of easy options. Their Deeply White + Peroxide Mouthwash ($6.99-$7.99) and Toothpaste ($6.99-$7.99) help whiten and contain flouride to restore and strengthen that all important tooth enamel. The toothpaste, in “fresh mint” works on the surface to polish away stains (without scratching the tooth enamel) but it also works below the surface to whiten below the enamel and remove deeper stain. There is also a Rembrandt Intense Stain toothpaste that removes surface stains, with a blend of “micro-polishers” and stain fighters in “mint.” The toothpastes will not give you a dazzling white smile on their own, but they are perfect for maintenance, and for those whose teeth are not severely stained. These . products are amazingly good, and user-friendly. Get yours at food, drug and mass market retailers and visit www.rembrandt.com for more information.
–and while we’re talking about teeth, a good looking toothbrush makes your daily dental hygiene routine, more fun! REACH® has collaborated with Fashion Designer Shoshanna Gruss and BRAVO TV’s “Flipping Out” star Jeff Lewis to create patterned toothbrushes that make brushing, so much more “chic.” Shoshanna was inspired for her brush designs from her 2012 Swim Collection and favorite cities around the world, while Jeff was inspired by his recent design projects and his favorite streets in L.A. I can’t really say which are my all time favorites (although I really do like the checkerboard one, and the white.red, light blue and yellow striped one), , because all the designs are colorful and fun, but I love the idea of giving weekend guests their pick, and if you have kids, these designs may make them actually want to brush more often. I have been wanting these these trendy toothbrushes ever since I spied them during Fashion Week in New York, at Robert Verdi’s Luxe Lab. Get yours at food, drug and mass market retailers for $3.99-$4.99. Visit http://www.reachbrand.com/reach-by-design for more information
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