Based in Washington D.C., Ayren Jackson-Cannady is so savvy that we wished she lived closer to NYC so that we could swap products with her. This beauty writer knows what’s up (she’s written for Fitness, Glamour, and Gloss Daily) and we’re excited to have her sharing her know-how and multi-culti beauty expertise as a contributing editor.
All I could manage to do over the last couple of days—other than watch the weather channel and nervously eat Goldfish crackers—was pin pretty pictures on Pinterest. I’ve been finding a ton of quicklooks (think things you can do in 30 seconds or less) and I had to share them. Here are three of my favorite ‘dos plus an expert’s tips on getting the looks just right:
The Tousled Bun: For a messy (but chic!) look, Vanessa Fernandez of Butterfly Studio Salon in New York City suggests sticking with your natural texture and adding a texturizing spray (like Davines For Wizards No. 14 Sea Salt Primer) to create separation. “Flip your head upside down; spray, scrunch, and smooth your hair upwards toward the ends, twisting it until it’s in a bun shape and securing with a hair tie,” she says.
We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.
Now that we’re in the final weeks of summer, it’s time to squeeze in your last-minute beach jaunts and exotic getaways. I checked in with some of today’s most in-demand swimwear designers to see what trusty beauty products they never hit the waves without.
Daniella Sredni of Aquarius (above)
1. SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50: “Apply bronzing powder on top of this protective sunscreen to offset the white tint and you’re good to go!”
2. MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Bronzing Powder: “My shade is called Give Me Sun. It’s a mineral powder that leaves a sheer finish, which is the perfect look for direct sunlight.”
As much as I love the beachy waves look, I just can’t do it in the dead of winter. Getting my hair adequately wavy requires air drying, and in the colder months, that means frozen locks and an inevitable head cold. While some New York City women are celebrating today’s soaring temps (it’s 70 degrees here!) by busting out spring dresses and bare legs, I am reveling in the warmer weather with my fave post-surf hair style.
This week’s guest blogger, Janell Hickman, is a Brooklyn native. Formerly a fashion gal, the style-savvy Hickman is now officially going steady with her current love: beauty. In addition to her newly launched blog, Chipped Manicure, she has also written for Refinery29.com, BeautyEtc.com, ESSENCE.com, and contributed to monthly columns as the beauty and fashion assistant at ESSENCE Magazine.
Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Creme Body Wash, $36, lauramercier.com; Clarisonic Opal Sonic Infusion System with Anti-Aging Sea Serum, $185; Davines Authentic Nourishing Oil (Face/Body/Hair),$26; Thymes Kimono Rose Collection Candle, $26, Thymes.com.
My bathroom counter space is like prime New York City real estate: it’s hard to come by, incredible small, and in high demand! That being said, when I fall in love with a product, I fall hard (almost borderline obsessive). I’m a firm believer of out with the old and in with the new, but here are a few products that won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
A Luxe Wash
I gush about many things (the beach, red velvet cupcakes from Ms.Dahlia’s, Fresca…the list goes on), but Laura Mercier’s Almond Coconut Milk Creme Body Wash is the cherry on top of my daily beauty experience. It is heaven in a bottle, plus almonds, vanilla, and coconut milk. I could go on for paragraphs, but I’ll spare you and just say that this is a true luxury.
The Best Buzz
I will be honest, for a long time, my Clarisonic Opal sat happily in my products-to-test pile. One day, I ventured into my bag and took it out, since the little gadget had being getting major buzz (no pun intended). My mother made me an early convert of using under eye cream and this tiny device boosts absorption with sonic infusion. Simply squirt eye cream on the vibrating head and gently graze over your under eye area (but not too close to the lash line). My puffy under eye circles were no more after two uses and now I can’t imagine my nighttime routine without it.
Pour Some Oil On Me
My skin gets a little dry and most lotions don’t do the trick, so I always end up reapplying mid-day. I stumbled across Davines Authentic Nourishing Oil in the beauty closet at Essence Magazine a while ago and I immediately loved using it as an overnight conditioning treatment for my skin, hair, and cuticles. Made with a blend of essential oils, this 99% organic formula is a real lifesaver (and now I even hide my bottle because my boyfriend has joined the Davine’s fan club).
Burn Baby, Burn
Nothing is more relaxing than lighting a candle and letting the scent waft through your home. Thymes makes incredible candles that seem to last forever and almost bring you to tears when they’re done. I especially love their candle in Kimono Rose because it’s a sweetly feminine yet somewhat spicy. It’s the perfect accent when writing beauty stories on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Want to obsess over more great products? Check out our Birchbox Shop.
Depending on your age, you might have any number of bad associations with hair gel. In the ’80s and early ’90s, Dep provided us guys with all the crunchy, flakey, stiff hold we needed to keep our spikey ‘dos (or should I say don’ts!) in place. More recently, Pauly D and The Jersey Shore have revitalized interest in the goopy substance as a main ingredient in the now pervasive “blowout” style. You may be surprised to find that, thanks to innovations in technology from some great brands, gel can actually work well, even if you don’t find yourself fist-pumping on a Saturday night. Here are my two faves:
Bumble and Bumble Bb.Gel: This alcohol-free formula from the trusty labs of Bumble and Bumble provides great flexible hold with no stickiness, flakes, or mess. My favorite way to use this is to style and let the gel dry, then comb or brush through for a flexible and easy look. I will even confess that I’ve had some great hair days after sleeping with this gel in — all I had to do was wake up, run my hands through my hair, and then dash out the door!
Davines No 8 Quick Setting Hard Gel For Wizards: Made in Italy, this formula is super stiff, but never tacky (and very affordable). I use this one when I want lots of shine and hold without crunchiness. I’ve been loving juxtaposing a very styled, side-parted coif with a casual outfit and this gel has been the perfect way to do that. Another great attribute of this formula is that it’s resettable with water. So, just wet your hands or comb and style to rejuvenate the look.