In theory, beauty academies seem like a great idea: you offer up your hair or skin for educational purposes and in turn get services at bargain basement prices. But in reality, you’re at the mercy of the teachers and what they want to demonstrate. No so at Dermalogica's recently opened Chelsea training center. The skincare brand is known for its exacting standards for both products and treatments, and their new Dermalogica Academy is an extension of that philosophy. All the students are undergoing the rigorous Dermalogica curriculum, which covers everything from bacteriology to chemistry, as well as lessons in the brand’s microZone targeted skin treatments and Face Mapping skin analysis.
As part of their training, students also perform treatments on real people — which is great for you, since these treatments are incredibly affordable. They’re all administered in a large communal room (sleek and chic) so you won’t get spa-style pampering, but it’s worth it for a completely customized facial for just $50. If you want a quick fix, the microZone treatments zero in on your particular skin woe (tired eyes, cracked lips, breakouts) and give you results in just 20 minutes. Or simply pop in for a Face Mapping session at the Skin Bar - their staff can examine your skin and help you pick products that will work for you. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Oh how we love Nam Vo. She breezed into our office today, all bouncy hair and glowing skin, for a combination catch-up and technical help session (check out her new blog!). In return, she showed us her new obsessions: Kre-at False Lashes, which are incredibly high quality. She tested them out on me (lucky, I know!) and I was amazed at how natural they look. The difference, she says, is that the lashes are individual clusters that you carefully insert in between your lashes using tweezers. Applying false lashes this way looks more subtle than simply plopping on a band of false fringe because a real lashline is uneven anyway. “It’s like a wig versus extensions,” she says. Nam made it look incredibly easy, simply dipping each clump into a tiny bit of glue and then placing them on my lashline — in reality, it’s a little trickier. I’ll report back once I try it myself!
We’re giving away these adorable Rachel Nasvik mini bags to the first three people to spend $75 or more in full-size products!
At Birchbox, we’re all about rewards. Refer friends and fill out surveys, earn points. Spend $50, get free shipping. Buy a year-long subscription, get a month gratis. (I’ve even been lobbying for a contest where the prize is a delivery of fresh-baked cookies.)
Now we’re giving members extra incentive to trade up to full-size versions of their favorite samples. We’ve partnered with super cute designer Rachel Nasvik to give away three of her adorably mini handbags (in plum, naturally). We’ve been Nasvik fans for years, and love her stylish but practical bags. We’re psyched to share her latest gem with three of our members. The giveaway begins today, October 20th, at 3 p.m. EST. What are you waiting for? Get shopping!
I associate the fragrance world with, in no particular order, handsome Frenchmen named Francois, fields of flowers, and department store staffers prowling the beauty floor with atomizers. But after chatting with scent world veteran Raymond Matts yesterday, I have a wider view of the industry. Matts has worked everywhere from IFF to Estee Lauder (where he developed Clinique’s Happy), and recently left to start his own company designing fragrances and consulting. (He’ll launch his own line in early 2011.). I was interviewing him for an upcoming story on choosing scents and learned fascinating tidbits, from common myths (that you bruise a scent when you rub your wrists together) to useful tips on the best way to test a scent. Stay tuned for more!
I’ve never been accused of being a minimalist — why pack one lipgloss when you could pack four? — so I tend to stay away from all-in-one kits. But I am completely smitten with Jouer’s four-piece Weekender collection. The products are all interlocking (think Legos meets compacts) so that they click together in a tidy, easy-to-pack way. They’ve got everything covered: a trio of matte shadows in pretty neutrals; a versatile translucent powder and natural-looking bronzer; a creamy cheek tint and highlighter; and a warm copper gloss. At $58, it’s a pretty amazing value. Throw it in your bag with some tinted moisturizer and mascara and you’re set for a short trip. (Or, if you’re me, it’s handy for transitioning from the office ‘hot mess’ look to a more presentable nighttime look.)
Our office is not quite the polished center of commerce and innovation that you would expect. There are a pink boxes and tissue strewn about, overturned boxes and open beauty products scattered on every surface, and a white board covered in business-y jargon. Not to mention the ginormous tree. After all, we’re a startup. A startup that specializes in gorgeous boxes filled with bite-sized beauty products, but a startup nonetheless.
This is all to say that we don’t have time to organize our office, and we don’t have nearly enough time to take a step back and a) have fun with each other and b) have fun with our customers. Which is why last night’s event, a pop-up shopping party thrown by Fashism and MyNines, was so good for us. Katia, Hayley, and I, along with our awesome intern Shaila, set up a table with our current October box, a bunch of our full-size products, and other Birchbox treats. We had a great time chatting up all the bloggers, editors, and startup peeps, and it was a good reminder of why we’re doing this. Plus, we got to hang out in a non-office environment. We even got burgers afterward. Viva la startup!
Hayley and I decided it’s only polaroid pics from now on.
Shaila shows off her Square reader in front of our Birchbox display. Not bad mechandising, eh?
Glycolic acid is one of the most powerful and most misused ingredients in the skincare world. An alpha-hydroxy acid, it dissolves the top layer of dead skin cells to give you clear, even, smooth skin. But use too much and you’re destined for Ouchy Redville. A new skincare line, founded by dermatologist Craig Austin, aims to give you all the good glycolic benefits without any of the bad. Cane + Austin launched with two products, both of which use pharmaceutical-grade glycolic acid to give you the at-home equivalent of a trip to the dermatologist. The Retexturizing Treatment Pads has 10% glycolic acid, while the Acne Treatment pads combine a lower dose of glycolic acid and salicylic acid to exfoliate the skin and treat existing acne. Both products have vitamins A, C, and E, as well as anti-oxidents to help moisturize and repair skin. Because they come in pads, you aren’t tempted to leave them on for longer (the way you would a mask) and it’s harder to overdo it. They can be used every day, morning and night, but I found that a bit much. But even used every other day, they still make a huge difference - brighter, smoother skin. And much less expensive than a professional visit.
Katia glows. She is a newlywed after all (Greece, fairytale) but still. She’s also the co-founder of a scrappy startup and running on a diet of coffee and dumplings. The girl should be haggard and droopy, not perky and peachy. What gives?
Besides good genes, she has a few secrets that everyone can use:
Clarisonic Mia: We got a sample Mia in the office a couple weeks ago and I selflessly let Katia try it first. (You can bet I am asking for it back asap.) She’s been using it religiously, as has her husband, and swears it makes a huge difference. “It’s incredibly gentle but it feels like it’s gently dislodging anything gross on my face. I feel amazing.”
Perricone MD Cold Plasma: Now Katia does not have wrinkles. She doesn’t have particularly saggy or blotchy skin. But somehow Cold Plasma, Perricone’s latest wonder cream, has turned her previously good skin into *amazing* skin. She’s been using it since this summer and we’ve all seen the difference. At $150 a jar, the cream is a big investment but…she’s glowing. (It should also be said that it smells, in Katia’s words, “effective.” Take that as you will.)
Masks: We have a saying around the office: Katia will try anything twice. (We’re talking about beauty products, of course.) When it comes to masks this is extra true. She is a mask fanatic. She’ll set her alarm ten minutes early so she can put a face mask on in the morning and she’s been known to put a Face Shop Face Sheet on midday (ok, just that one time). Her current faves: Naturopathica’s Pear Fig Enzyme Peel and Jurlique’s Purifying Mask.
Obpliphica. We’re in love with it and we can barely pronounce it. The tongue-twisty ingredient (also known by the more prosaic sounding Sea Buckthorn berry oil), is the star of Amika, a line of haircare products and styling tools. Obpliphica is native to Europe and Asia and has high concentrations of carotene, vitamin C, and Omega 3, 6, 9, and 7 — which means it’s like superfood for your hair. The products also have natural ingredients like Argan oil and olive oil, which sleeken and protect without making strands greasy.
We received samples of the products and styling tools at the office this morning and, despite very lengthy to do lists, immediately set about testing them. The darling Go-Go travel kit, with giraffe printed mini straightener and dryer, is a no-brainer gift for your favorite jetsetter. The serum was an all-around winner, and works on both dry and wet hair (perfect for office!), and the shine spray made hair instantly glossier (just careful not to use too much).
Here’s the mini giraffe dryer in action (it even matches my shoes!):
Judging by the number of you who sent us self portraits of yourselves in your masks, Birchbox members really love the Face Shop Mask Sheets they received in their September box. (In fact, we’ve already sold out and are currently restocking.) We love introducing you to fun products that you might never try otherwise. We also love that you are willing to give them a shot - even if they do (in this case) make you look like a serial killer?
I have a friend whose boyfriend makes her warmed milk when she can’t sleep. When Jonathon Bunt’s fiance started suffering from chronic sleeplessness, he went ahead and invented the cure. Now that’s love. reBloom, Bunt’s creation, is a liquid sleep aid that combines proven ingredients like valerian, melatonin, and chamomile.
I’ve used valerian and melatonin on their own but they’ve never been that effective for me (and Tylenol PM knocks me out but gives me a woozy hangover). I was skeptical that reBloom would work for me until I came back from Greece wretchedly jetlagged and downed a bottle of reBloom before bed. I was asleep before you could say ‘Opa!’ Now I keep a stash in my apartment for times when I’m anxious, jetlagged, or just plain restless. Just one bottle keeps me snug in REM cycle-land all night.
On Friday we had a great video shoot about retro makeup with Pamela Castillo, co-founder of Market Publique, at her Williamsburg showroom. The immensely talented Sokphalla Ban did makeup, and we had the dynamic duo of Greg Beauchamp and Eric Anderson manning the cameras. City Bakery pastries and coffee kept us going, and I even had time to rifle through the racks…scored a pair of silver 80s oxfords. Fun day!
Apologies for the lack of substantive blog posts lately. We’ve been busy! We’ve moved offices and we’re shipping our second box any day now. We have interns - two of them! We’ve gotten some media and blog love, with much more on the way, and we’ve partnered with great brands like SpaWeek for giveaways. Perhaps a status check is in order.
Birchbox, October 2010
Headcount: Six! We’ve gained two immensely talented interns (for lack of a better word), Patrick and Shaila, who are contributing their considerable web, tech, marketing, and consumer research skills.
Geography: Despite our love for Dropio and Dewey’s Candy, we traded Dumbo for the screeching horns of Chelsea.
New digs: Our brand-new office has a ten-foot tall tree and several closets filled with beauty products. Our next door neighbors, Elephant Props, are pretty awesome.
Soundtrack: Cannot stop listening to Ellie Goulding, Britain’s latest export.
Startups we heart: We recently partnered with Market Publique for an awesome retro makeup video; we have gotten great advice from the super-smart founders of Pact eco-conscious undies; and we are scheming to create custom Birchbox cookies with Baking for Good.
Milestones: We have enough customers that Hayley’s arms are sore from pushups. Mollie has dipped her toes in the world of coding (or at least copy-pasting code). Katia is a deskside expert. Thanh has metrics!
Korean skincare company AmorePacific has long been an insider fave for their ultra-luxe creams and serums that combine science and tradition. This month’s Birchbox Crush, Kim Phan, swears their Time Response Skin Renewal Cream works miracles on travel-wrecked skin. Now AmorePacific has brought their sister line, Sulwhasoo, to the United States.
If AmorePacific is the rigidly chic older sister, all tailored black dresses and Louboutins, then Sulwhasoo is the hippie gorgeous younger sister who teaches yoga and designs her own organic cotton fashions. The company’s skincare philosophy is that there are yin and yang ingredients and for effective products, you have to balance both types. All their products are made from traditional Asian herbs and ingredients, such as Korean red ginseng, white lily, and Chinese lotus.
Don’t let the herbal ingredients fool you — the serums and signature cream are just as pricey as the fanciest European tincture. But the products we’ve loved, namely the Cleansing Oil that breaks up makeup and leaves skin soft and the peel-off Skin Clarifying Mask, pack a huge punch for the price. Here’s hoping they bring their famed facials to NY soon!
Need some extra incentive to sign up? Curious about what you’re missing? Or are you a member just looking to relive the glory of your September Birchbox Discovery Moment? Look no further than our Birchbox.com shop, where you see the September box samples and stock up on full-size versions. October’s treats are just around the corner!
I know I’m only supposed to wash my hair every other day. Every hair stylist I’ve gone to (not to mention Katia, Hayley, and Thanh) lecture me on the values of letting your hair generate its natural oils in between shampoos. But I just can’t get on board with it - that is, unless I’m at the beach, in which case I’m happy to be a salt-crusted mermaid for days on end.
Despite my daily wash addiction, I love the look of second-day hair: piecey, slightly textured, and smooth. During my last hair cut, my fab stylist told me how I can get the dirty hair look without skipping suds: Jonathan’s Dirt Texturizing Paste, a water-based product that you can work through damp or dry hair to give it that slightly lived in feel. Perfect for that messy updo that I’ve been meaning to try…
Yesterday, Hayley received a little surprise in the mail. It was a Birchbox from our beta trial, postmarked March 26, 2010. It only took six months for it to leave Cambridge, not find its intended recipient, and return itself to Manhattan. (Don’t worry - we sent the poor Birchbox member a new box back in March!) Despite being a very (very) young company it was fun to compare our early efforts with our latest product - and we’re sure there will be many iterations to come!
Some people remember playing with their grandmother’s cold cream or spritzing their mother’s Chanel No. 5. But my earliest product memories are of tingly peppermint Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. We always packed an economy-sized bottle of the Dr. Bronner’s when we went on overnight sailing trips or vacations because it was the ultimate do-it-all: shampoo, body wash, hand sudser, and more.
Recently, I discovered what might be my new vacation staple: Davine’s Authentic Cleansing Nectar. Unlike Dr. Bronner’s, which, truth be told, could be a little harsh, this wash has essential oils to moisturize. It left my hair slippery and shiny, and has a fresh, unisex scent. And, since it’s a two-in-one, it qualifies as a practical - definitely a win-win purchase.
Fashion’s Night Out is just an excuse to do two of our favorite things: drink delicious cocktails and look (buy) at pretty fashions. In honor of this year’s festivities, we threw a happy hour party in Bobo’s magical garden. Chef Patrick Connolly, a longtime FBB (Friend of Birchbox), created a menu of delicious snacks (mini mangalista ham and pickle sandwiches, oatmeal ice cream sandwiches) as well as our own special cocktail. We (ahem, I) requested nothing fruity or pink and Patrick came through with a boozy, sophisticated drink. Cheers!
.5 oz combier
.5 oz aperol
.25 oz lemon
1 oz gin
Shake, top w prosecco, serve in coupe with lemon wheel
8,000 feet of elevation is no joke. Obvi, but true. I was in Colorado this weekend for a wedding and in addition to wheezing up every set of stairs, I also got a serious case of high-altitude skin. Desiccated, flaky, wind-burned, and sensitive — not so pretty. Luckily, I had the chance to visit the lovely Allegria Spa at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, where I landed in the exceedingly capable hands of esthetician Victoria Mastrogiovanni. Not only did the 11-year spa veteran revive my skin with a mix of SkinCeuticals and Epicuren hydrating products, she also gave me her high-altitude skincare secrets.
Brush, don’t scrub: Instead of sloughing away dry skin, Mastrogiovanni uses a Clarisonic face brush to cleanse every other evening. She says it’s much better at removing makeup and keeps skin fresh.
Layer on the moisture: Don’t just slather on the thickest cream you can find. Mastrogiovanni says it’s more effective to apply layers of hydration, even though “it’s annoying because it’s more steps.” Our go-to choice? Caldrea’s nourishing body lotion.The lightweight formula comes in three signature scents, while plant-based botanical increase elasticity and hydration.
Invest in a superhero gel: Hyaluronic gels boost your skincare products and helps the moisture bind with cells instead of sitting right on top of the skin.
This past weekend Hayley and Katia presented at New York City Startup Weekend. The event assembles budding entrepreneurs in one space and gives them the resources (and deadline) to come up with an idea for a company, flesh it out, and make it happen - all over the course of one weekend.
Birchbox teamed up with Market Publique, an innovative online marketplace for vintage clothing, for a presentation on Saturday. Hayley says, “It was the perfect pairing because of the similarities between the two companies: emphasis on design, curation and editing, plus the fact we both built products we would use ourselves.”
In addition to the presentation, there was a Q&A where it was clear that the male audience members wanted their own Birchboxes (Manboxes?). One techie even stopped Hayley and Katia in the stairway to get skincare advice. (If you’re curious boys, we especially love Peter Thomas Roth, Anthony Logistics, and Malin & Goetz.)
It was an exciting and inspiring experience. Katia walked away feeling like she had actually learned from the audience members’ questions: “It is always great to hear the questions, even when you think you know the answers- helps put things in perspective.”
Let’s start with the bottle, shall we? Marc Jacobs Lola comes in a shapely vial that is topped by a twist of gold a riot of emerald, cobalt, violet, and red petals. It’s excellent decoration for your vanity, and nearly as lovely as the scent itself. As with Marc Jacobs’s previous scents, Lola is both playful and sophisticated. Here’s a fruity floral that knows it’s sweet but has enough wit to cut that sweetness with layers of rich musk and spicy pepper. The result? A cheerful, sophisticated scent that I can – and will – wear year-round. Coupled with that stunner of a bottle, I’m smitten.
I owe Katia an apology. When we received Deborah Lippman’s sparkletastic nail lacquers in the office I took one look at the glitter party and shook my head. Uh uh. Too many bad memories of ill-conceived 7th grade manicures. But this morning, “Bad Romance” (a Lady Gag inspired aubergine with thick flakes of fuchsia) caught the corner of my eye. I idly opened the bottle and applied a coat to my thumb. And another coat. I was hooked. The color looks like a deep dark purple from afar; it’s only when you look closely that you see the tiny pink sparkles. It’s a nice update on the ubiquitous dark fall nail and, well, I’m in love. As for Katia, she happily put on two coats of the silvery “Today Was a Fairytale” and couldn’t stop waving her shimmery nails at us. Touché.
We know our friends and relatives think Birchbox is awesome (Hi Mom!) but it’s nice to know that the greater public thinks so too. We’ve had some great press this week, which we hope will only continue as we launch full-scale. We hear it’s gauche to brag so we’ll leave things at this…
In honor of Fashion’s Night Out, Brooklyn artist Andrew Yang created these limited edition rag dolls of Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington for Barney’s. The sweetly old-fashioned dolls have a wide-eyed Coraline aesthetic but a tailored uptown polish. Anna Wintour is infinitely more appealing in rag doll form - perhaps because Yang left off her trademark withering stare. As for Grace, she’s just as wonderful as she was when she stole the show in the September Issue. The dolls will be auctioned off for charity, the New York City AIDS Fund, starting today.
If there was a theme to this weekend’s Montauk getaway, it was SPF. (With biking and ice cream running a close second and third.) Friends had rented a big house, complete with kitschy nautical paraphernalia, just steps from the beach, and we hunkered down with plenty of books and board games. Makeup was forbidden but that doesn’t mean we came beauty empty-handed. Essentials:
Kate Somerville SPF 30: Celeb favorite Kate Somerville knows how to create lovely feeling products that really work. This lotion is fairly thick but rubs in easily, smells great, and keeps my face burn-free.
1. We almost have a website. The folks at Copious have been working their tushes off on a new & improved Birchbox.com. In the process, we’ve been learning all about what goes in to creating a website. It’s not quite sausage but there are fun words that fly around: cookies, crumbs, and the like. Get excited - we are.
2. We have videos! We spent an action-packed day shooting hair and makeup how-tos with the fab Nam Vo and Jeff Chastain. Lots of Team Birchbox cameos in this one - we’ll be looking for volunteer models the next go around!
3. We have boxes. And stuff to put in them. Everything is currently safe in a warehouse in NJ, patiently awaiting time when it’ll get put in the mail and whisked to Birchbox members across the country.
4. We have press! Marie Claire, InStyle, and NY Mag gave us shout outs this week. We hope it’s only the start.
My friend Kim, the fabulously talented designer behind the Yumi Kim clothing line, is always perfectly pulled together. I’ve never seen her without immaculate eyeliner and blush, even on days when she’s dashing between showrooms, fabric shops, and the office. And so, when she has a beauty tip, I grab it and run. Her latest obsession is The Face Shop, a Korean beauty brand with a few US outposts.
I took a trip to the Korea Town shop yesterday and spent an hour exploring the shimmery shadows (everything is sparkly), high-quality moisturizers and, best of all, the huge selection of face sheets. Face sheets, an Asian phenomenon, are one-time use masks. Each sheet is designed to fit over your face and soaked in a specialized elixir - there are clarifying ones, anti-aging ones, brightening ones, and more. At $2-$6, they’re a weekly facial that I can afford.
Weeks ago, when it was too hot to even contemplate cold weather clothes, my most fashionable friend was already raving about J.Crew’s fall collection. The brand’s creative director, Jenna Lyons, has a loyal (nay, obsessive) fan club that covets her girly but chic mashups. The fall collection has Lyon’s trademark soft meets hard, tailored meets sparkly aesthetic but what we really - and I mean really - love is the hot pink lipstick that the models are wearing. The color is NARS “Funny Face” and it may be the most perfect, wearable fuchsia out there. It’s slightly matte so you won’t look like Grandma Edna, and and gives you fun pop of color, even if its the only makeup you wear.
Cake Liner Press Wiggle. That’s what Katia calls her favorite eyeliner application technique. I simply call it genius. You’ll need a flat, stiff brush and dry cake liner (Katia has a super special one from India but I like Laura Mercier). Dampen the brush with a little water and swipe it through the liner to pick up color. Now comes the exciting part: lifting up your top eyelid, carefully press and gently wiggle the brush along the inside lashline to place the color. Yes, you’re putting the color on the inside of the lid (as long as you use a clean brush and don’t paint your eye, this is perfectly safe). This darkens the lashline and adds definition without looking made up; plus I find that it lasts longer than regular liner.
During our shoot this week, Jeff Chastain demystified back combing for us (video to come). The technique is so easy (and the results so cute) that we were all inspired us all to buy teasing brushes. Available for less than $10, this boar bristle brush is the key to successfully backcombing hair for buxom ponytails and buns. Jeff says it’s possible to tease with regular fine-tooth combs but you won’t be able to smooth over the top (read: you’ll look raggedy). Best to get thee to Ricky’s and pick up one of these cheap-o gems.
Voiceover magic! Ben Spell and our improvised soundbooth
You may have noticed that our videos are of a much (much) higher quality than the average scrappy startup. The reason? Katia’s husband Greg and his company, Red Productions, have been bending over backward to help us. They’re the rock stars behind our snappy Master Highlighter video and sexy animation.
Yesterday, we had an all-day shoot with Greg, Eric Ryan Anderson, and Ben Spell at our friend Jeff Chastain’s gorgeous Union Square salon. In addition to Jeff, we enlisted makeup artist Nam Vo to star in our short videos - they’re both naturals! The day started at 8am with Birdbath cookies and we went nearly nonstop from there. There were a few improvisations along the way: we jerry-rigged a sound booth with a closet, a yoga mat, and a strategically placed mike; and when we needed an extra model we snagged one of Jeff’s stylists. But by the time we wrapped, with beers at Rye House, we had shot not one, not two, but seven videos. Can’t wait to see the final product.
Last week, Thanh and I went to Union Square to meet with hair stylist Jeff Chastain, who is being kind enough to lend us his gorgeous penthouse salon for a video shoot. While we were waiting, we did what any self-respecting beauty peeps would do: headed to Sephora for market research. I hadn’t been in the beauty mega-store for awhile and had forgotten how intimidating it can be. I saw a wide-eyed girl being given the hard sell on the Temptu airbrush foundation (a devilishly tricky product), and another poor NYU student standing in front of the Givenchy display, looking baffled by the medieval club-like wand of the PhenomEyes mascara. I wanted to take her by the hand and help her, but in New York that tends to freak people out. And so, Thanh and I wandered around the store on our own, happily playing with products - I finally tested out Amazing concealer I have been hearing so much about (really thick, but goes on smoothly), and Thanh found the perfect Givenchy red. We decided to wait to buy, though, unlike the girls being shepherded to the registers with overflowing baskets. And, as we were leaving, I noticed that Sephora is selling samples of some of its best products for… $10.
My friend Julia (she of the Chanel red lips) is Castor & Pollux’s latest fashion muse. And she’s a worthy one: the girl mixes vintage and indie designers with ease, throwing in little tailored equestrian prep for fun. She’s also a lipstick expert - not a week goes by without her telling me about her latest crimson or fuchsia find.
I’m getting over a cold and have to look picture-ready this weekend. Any tips for hiding red and splotchy?
Colds are such a nuisance. Not only are you sneezy and snuffly, but your skin gets majorly irritated and flaky. We have just the thing for you. We’ve been testing Dermalogica’s latest line of results-oriented skincare products, UltraCalming. The five product collection is geared toward calming irritated, inflamed sensitive skin. As always, the products are no-nonsense (no fancy packaging or scents) and effective. The UltraCalming cleanser is a thick, non-sudsing gel that doesn’t leave a tight, dry feeling and the UltraCalming serum feels light but is a good way to keep skin extra hydrated. You can try the whole line with their special Treatment Kit, with minis (and you know how we feel about minis) of each of the products - at $40, it’s a great deal. Once your skin is under control, try Stila’s new One-Step Correct to counteract redness before you apply the rest of your makeup. And when all else fails, highlight highlight highlight. Peachy shimmer cures all.
I’m not usually one to go all spendy on bath products but I can’t resist Molton Brown. The UK company creates delicious scents with equally delicious brit-fab names (Blissful Templetree, anyone?). For years, my favorite has been the Re-Charge Black Pepper, their bestselling men’s scent that has a cult following among women too. It’s wonderfully spicy and clean without being masculine. Now, Molton Brown has finally created a feminine follow-up, the new Paradisiac Pink Pepperpod. Tongue-twisting properties aside, it’s an instant charmer, warm and delicate without being too sweet. The Pink Pepperpod bath gel, bath milk, and lotion all hit counters in Sept - start making space on your shelf for this new classic.
AquaFresh Look, Modern Tech: Stila's One-Step Correct
remind you of this
Maybe it’s just me. But I digress. Stila is known for fun, innovative products — witness the mindblowing Custom Color Blush. (Do they just have a cadre of mad beauty scientists running quirky experiments around the clock?) Their latest, One-Step Correct, is a multitasking primer that uses classic color theory to address three skin woes: green neutralizes redness, lavender perks up dullness, and peach adds overall brightness. It slides on easily and dries matte, which is great in this sticky weather. Even under tinted moisturizer and translucent powder, my skin feels clean and my makeup lasts longer. Magic!