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How to Avoid a Wedding Makeup Meltdown: Guest Blogger

We love surfing Heather Walczuk’s blog, Beauty Unbiased, for her smart and on-point makeup reviews, pretty photos and her upbeat insight. The resident New Yorker always has great tips for making the most out of your products, which is why we’re excited that this week she’s sharing tips about her fave summer finds, makeup-artists must-haves, and how to get a gorgeous top knot.

Photo Credit: Photography by Tim at Ronca Productions, Marisa Nicole Weddings and Events

Ever wonder how stars manage to keep their makeup flawless on the red carpet? No one knows how to keep a look fresh in the hot weather better than celebrity makeup artists. Tina Turnbow, whose clientele includes stars like Claire Danes and Brooke Shields to name a few, chatted with me about the affordable beauty tricks she uses. It’ll help ensure you have a flawless face throughout your wedding day or your friends’ wedding day. (Hey, us serial bridesmaids have to be photographed, too!)

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5 Awesome Eco-Friendly Brands To Add Into Your Routine

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.

Did you know that Earth Day is this Sunday, April 22? In addition to contributing to one of the many green organizations taking part in this vital eco-friendly holiday, I’ll also incorporate more organic products into my beauty routine. Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite ecologically-inclined brands to date.

1. Josie Maran Cosmetics: Actress and model Josie Maran is ridiculously gorgeous, wildly talented, and cares deeply about her environment. (In other words, she’s perfect.) Her sophisticated range of beauty products contain pure and gentle formulas that are free of parabens, toxins, and animal testing. To remedy split ends, I’m loving her 100% Pure Argan Oil ($48) that is organically grown in Morrocco.

2. Pangea Organics: I’m obsessed with all things Pangea Organics. Not only has the brand’s arsenal of skincare savers made a major impact on my complexion, but they stay true to their formula mantra: “Always beneficial, never artificial.” All of their products are free of harmful ingredients like petrochemicals, paraben, and GMOs and are sourced using fair trade practices whenever possible. Their Facial Cleanser for Oily to Combination Skin ($28) is sublime.

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Limited Edition Josie Maran Argan Oils Benefit Charities

We’ve long been fans of model Josie Maran’s eco-chic skincare and makeup line, especially her pure argan oil products. I’m obsessed with the extra moisturizing oil, so I was thrilled when I had the chance to meet Maran last week and find out about her new limited edition argan oil set, which launched on Tuesday. The collection of three oils, called Model Citizen, features packaging designed by Maran and fellow models, Petra Nemcova and Angela Lindvall.

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Currently Obsessed With…Oils!

You may have noticed lots of your favorite brands coming out with oil-based products in the last year, and for good reason. These products are a far cry from the greasy, dirty kind of oil that clogs your pores and weighs down your hair. In fact, these oils are all about working with your skin and hair type to either cleanse or hydrate. My favorite cleansing oils fit the old adage “like attracts like” by pulling out the bad oils and leaving skin with plenty of moisture, not stripped. My must-have hydrating oils sink in immediately and are much longer-lasting than moisturizers. Check out a few of my all-time faves below.

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Pretty and Pure: Guest Blogger

Dedicated to “what’s in your closet and on your vanity,” Samantha Fodrowski’s blog, Closet Vanity, couldn’t be more perfectly suited to our interests. This week, the busy blogger is lending us her talents and musing on some of our favorite topics like the fashion-forward red lip and au naturel makeup.


1. Josie Maran argan oil
2. Tarte blush
3. Korres lip butter
4. Kiehl’s mascara
5. Bare Escentuals eye shadow
6. Kiehl’s makeup remover
7. Tarte tinted moisturizer
8. Josie Maran blush stick

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Ingredient Decoder: Argan Oil

Photo: Urban Bush Babes

Most girls identify their hair as straight, curly, thick, or thin, but I can only think of one word to describe my hair: hard. I was born with abundant black locks that feel like strands of al dente spaghetti to the touch. Even gallons of conditioner can only soften it so much — by day two, it’s back to its original resistant state. But I’ve finally found something that can tame my mane: Redken’s All Soft Argan-6 Oil. I’ve been rubbing it into my hair post-shower every night, and it makes my hair remarkably soft and pliable. The secret is right on the label: a high concentration of fair trade argan oil. 

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Our New BFF: Argan Oil

Josie Maran Argan Self-Tanning Cream, $32, josiemarancosmetics.com; Josie Maran Blemishes R Gone, $28, josiemaracosmetics.com; Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Repair Day Creme SPF 15, $95, lauramercier.com; L’Oreal Color Riche Star Secrets Lipcolour, $7, ulta.com; Josie Maran GOGO Instant Natural Volume Argan Mascara, $22, josiemaran.com 

We want to introduce you to our new best friend: Argan Oil. This miracle product can be found everywhere from moisturizer to hair products to makeup. And a huge plus? The oil helps to support fair wages for women. All the oil made today is produced by women’s cooperatives in Morocco to support their social and economic welfare. These cooperatives work within a UNESCO biosphere reserve that ensures the protection and reforestation of Argan trees.

Now let’s talk makeup. Argan Oil has the power to moisturize, reduce fine lines, get rid of acne, tame hair AND condition your lips — just to name a few of its magical powers. Although it’s been around forever, it’s recently been cropping up as an ingredient in tons of products, which is good news for me. I plan to incorporate one of the above products into my regimen sometime soon.

—Kara

For more miracle products, check out our Birchbox Shop.

Guest Blogger: These Lips Are Made For Color

There are some pretty big sports fans at Birchbox HQ — and not just the Matts! This week, we’re excited to have Amanda Balionis, a bonafide sports expert guest blogging for us. After working as an intern for the New York Jets and the New York Islanders while at Hofstra University, Balionis went on to become a sideline reporter for Verizon FiOs1 Sports and later a MSG Show host in New York. Incidentally, she spent years battling the elements (and her pride) trying to maintain a professional on-camera appearance in torrential rain, high winds, and 100 degree weather. Having suffered beauty blunders publicly, the Florida-based sports anchor is excited to share her best tips—hopefully you can avoid some of the embarrassment she’s endured.


Lips are good for so many things: sipping summer cocktails by the pool, rejecting pickup lines during happy hour after work, or just showing off with beautiful color and shine.

I’ve always been super conservative when it comes to gloss and lipstick. I had basically been wearing the same shade since high school, a subtle pink gloss, until a makeup artist introduced to me to her collection, which made me realize it was time to break out of my shell. I tried out reds, pinks, mattes, glosses, and found out that these colors are pretty much universally accepted whether it’s brunch or a night out.

Try out a lot of shades and see what you feel most comfortable wearing, or maybe take a chance on a bright red or purple that you’d never think to try. After all, playing with makeup should always be fun, right? Once you find a couple of shades you like, bring them with you everywhere and it can really take your daytime look to the next level. A good rule of thumb is to tone down the rest of your makeup if you plan on wearing a super-bright lip.

I really like Josie Maran’s Magic Marker lip stain and Aragon Color Stick. One side is a marker-like liner and the other side is a hydrating balm that also packs in a bold, beautiful color. I’m also obsessed with MAC’s Sheen Supreme. It’s a mix between a lipstick and a lip gloss so it glides on great, but has serious staying power.

I also always keep a lip conditioner in my bag. My addiction to Rosebud’s lip salve has been going on for years and the end is not in sight. So have fun with color because margaritas just taste better with sassy lips!

For more great lip products, visit our Birchbox shop

Guest Blogger: Accentuate Your Eyes

There are some pretty big sports fans at Birchbox HQ — and not just the Matts! This week, we’re excited to have Amanda Balionis, a bonafide sports expert guest blogging for us. After working as an intern for the New York Jets and the New York Islanders while at Hofstra University, Balionis went on to become a sideline reporter for Verizon FiOs1 Sports and later a MSG Show host in New York. Incidentally, she spent years battling the elements (and her pride) trying to maintain a professional on-camera appearance in torrential rain, high winds, and 100 degree weather. Having suffered beauty blunders publicly, the Florida-based sports anchor is excited to share her best tips—hopefully you can avoid some of the embarrassment she’s endured.


Yesterday I gave you some tips that work for me when it comes to keeping a fresh face when you’re working outdoors all-day and today I’m narrowing in on eye makeup in particular.

I’ve found that a light shimmery, eyeshadow works best and stays on the well throughout the whole day. Avoid sparkles, unless you’re under the age of 18. Also, a light, iridescent shade isn’t noticeable if it starts to wear off, but a smokey eye is near impossible to keep pristine in heat and humidity. Last week I was out covering an event for work and I fell in love with Josie Maran’s eye shadows. This eco-friendly brand just can’t go wrong and absolutely nails it when it comes to eye colors that aren’t over the top. Some shades to try are Beach, Embrace, and Parfait. Bare Minerals also has incredible hues and their pinks are perfect for the daytime.

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Guest Blogger: Beauty VIPs a Product Girl Can Count On

Founded in 2005 by beauty junkie Carla Maganinho, Product Girl is an outlet for her to discuss her favorite finds. Over the years, the site has gained a loyal following — and even another staffer, Laurie Leopold. Together the blogging duo cover everything from the latest launches to their recent splurges. This week, these ladies-in-the-know are guest blogging for us about all things summer!

At Product Girl, we’re constantly searching for stand-out beauty products. The ones that solve our skin woes, brighten up our faces, and permanently occupy space on our vanity. We call them the Beauty VIPs. With warm weather fast approaching, we’re carefully choosing the crème de la crème of summer beauty. All week, we’ll be sharing our VIPs to help beat the summer heat. Get ready for loads of SPF, bronzer, and colors galore.

First up: sun protection and sunless tanner. The yin and yang of our summer beauty world. One cannot be present without the other. We love the sun, but prefer our bronze to come from another source—one that doesn’t come with a high risk for skin cancer and wrinkles!

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads are one of those products we can’t imagine life without. For use on the face, neck, and décolletage, this tiny square sheet not only gives you a natural, believable tan it, but also has active Vitamin D and anti-aging skincare ingredients. This needs to be everyone’s VIP.

St. Tropez has corned the market on self-tanning, and for good reason—they have something for everyone. Commitment-phobes will love the Instant Wash-Off line, but we are huge fans of the Gradual Tan Everyday for face and body to build up our summer glow at a believable pace.

SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 is incredible. Not only does it contain Zinc Oxide—the only UV filter that spans the full UVA/B spectrum—it contains a light tint that melds to all skin tones. And it’s so lightweight that you won’t even know it’s there.

And remember the rest of your body! It’s easy to forget about SPF when you’re going about your everyday business, which is why we love Josie Maran’s Argan Sun Protection For Body SPF 30 so much. It’s scent-free and can also fill in as your body moisturizer.

For more summer must-haves, visit our Birchbox Shop.