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Today’s Obsession: A Plumping Wonder Balm

I’m a big fan of bare lips, and not for the reason you might think. While some girls eschew bold lip colors as a general rule, I tend to avoid them because they interfere with my ability to drink mugs of coffee (hello, lipstick rings). That’s not to say I wear absolutely nothing on my lips. To keep my lips soft, I rely on every beauty addict’s first love: lip balm. My new fave? Fusion Beauty’s Lip Fusion Balm. This clear conditioning balm first attracted me with its sleek appearance. It comes in a shiny silver tube and looks like a lipstick minus the pigment, which makes it great for color-phobes like yours truly. Learn more about this balm’s multitasking powers after the jump! 

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5 Essentials That Are Always In My Purse: Guest Blogger

This week’s guest blogger, the lovely Alissa Kelly, offers up fun fashion and beauty advice on her blog, Feeling Good. (Our favorite feature? Kelly’s fun nail posts!) We love her optimistic attitude and useful tips. Today, she’s showing us the must-have items that she can’t leave home without.

There are just some things women cannot live without. I’m a purse fanatic so I’m always switching my bag to match the day’s outfit. Every time I do, there are 5 items that always make the switch with me.

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6 LOL Beauty Products From the ’90s

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.

Photos: eBay, Definitely Beauty, Beauty High

Since Birchbox is always on the cutting edge of beauty, I thought it would be fun (and funny) to switch it up and go back, way back, to salute some of the beauty products that we’re all guilty of experimenting with during the Saved by the Bell era.

I may be dating myself here, but these products were absolutely essential to my tween and teen days in the ’90s. Here are my personal (yes, cringe-worthy) memories with each; drop me a line in the comments if you have a story, too!

Herbal Essences in Rose Hips: Ah…I can still smell the magical fragrance of this conditioner and shampoo. I remember when Herbal Essences were all the rage and that “Yes! Yes! Yes!” commercial would play before TGIF on ABC (talk about a throwback). I was so sad to learn that this scent was discontinued a few years later—and it looks like I’m not alone, because the product is going for a pretty penny on eBay right now.

Bonne Bell Lip Smackers: Okay, who doesn’t remember these? The watermelon, raspberry, and Dr. Pepper-flavored Lip Smackers were my absolute jam. I remember slathering this on when I was around my crush in school, convinced that the scent of my soda-flavored lips would surely reel him in. As if!

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Can Lip Balm Be Addictive?

Photo: Drugstore.com

I apply lip balm at least ten times a day. My desk is filled with enough balms to last me until retirement, and I feel naked without at least one coat on my lips. I don’t care whether it’s tinted or clear, flavored or tasteless: if it comes in a tube or jar, I’m happy to smear it on my lips. But lately I learned that much like chocolate or reality TV, lip balm can be downright addictive. In fact, there’s a whole website devoted to the dangers of lip balm abuse along with a new book called Can You Get Hooked On Lip Balm?. After reading up on the warnings, I’m now trying to wean myself off the balm. Click through to learn why you should limit your lip balm use!

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Jurlique Rose Love Balm: Gift of the Day

‘Tis the season, which can mean only one thing: You are in search of great holiday gifts. Well, look no further. Whether you’re stumped about what to get a co-worker, your dad, or your bestie, we have something for everyone on your list. Check back every day this month for a new dose of gift-giving inspiration — and get ready to deck your halls with much more than holly.

Why this makes a great gift: The prettiest all-purpose balm on the market, this soothing salve does wonders for scaly skin — whether it’s dry elbows, cracked cuticles, or parched lips. While it’s perfect for your purse, we love keeping this on our bathroom counter because of its chic apothecary feel.

It’s perfect for: Any and every woman will love and appreciate this sophisticated salve. The stellar price point makes it the perfect stocking stuffer or add on to a larger gift.

Price: $6.50, available on birchbox.com

For more great gift ideas, visit our Holiday Gift Guide.

Guest Blogger: Music Festival Must-Haves

We love writers with fun personalities, which is why we’re ecstatic to welcome Carlye Wisel into the guest blogging fold this week. The savvy blogger has a multitude of interests, but can regularly be found talking about music and more on Vevo, Big Ugly Yellow Couch, and her personal Tumblr, Awkward City Population 1. This week, she’s sharing beauty wit and wisdom. Today: the products you should have in your arsenal for those hot summer days. 

No matter how many countless street style photos seem to prove otherwise, it takes some effort to not look like a sweaty disaster at a summer festival.

These music-loving ladies have seen the dust of Bonnaroo, the mud of Lollapalooza, and everything in between, all while getting a day’s work done under the hot, hot sun. Here are some of the tried-and-true products that they rely on to get them by:

"Makeup Forever HD Powder keeps foundation and concealer in place for hours. I usually use it in place of foundation or powder since it evens out my skin tone with a nice matte finish, meaning no more sweaty forehead.” —Nicole Wasilewicz, Senior Music Editor at Free Williamsburg

“I use deodorant like it’s my job. My go-to is Speedstick. Yes, only a man’s will work under the hot Coachella sun! I also love my Fresh Lip Balm, which goes on so smooth and smells like brown sugar. My lips get so chapped from the beer, the heat, and all the singing along.” —Julia Willinger, Label Coordinator at XL Recordings

"Maybelline’s Great Lash mascara is cheap, easy to stick in your bag, and always adds a brightened-up look. It also never runs.” —Jenna LoMonaco, Head of New Media at Glassnote Records

"TRESemmé Fresh Start Dry Shampoo is amazing. If I don’t have that, I will use any type of hair spray, apply it to my roots, let it dry, and then brush it out. This really helps keep my hair looking fresh, even through sweaty, disgusting weather.” —Rachel Stoewer, College Marketing Coordinator at Sony Music

“All of tarte’s products are natural, but their Natural Cheek Stain is my favorite. It’s blush that gives you a fresh pinched-cheeks look and it doesn’t melt in the hot sun during music festivals. For my skin, stila’s One Step Bronze is my go-to summer bronzing foundation. And I adore Revlon’s Grow Luscious waterproof mascara because, duh, you might see Bon Iver, and do you really want anyone to know that you cried tears of joy?” —Lindsay Brandt, Manager & Digital Media Director at Mick Management

Our never-leave-home-without product in the summer? Tatcha Aburatorigami Blotting Papers.

Guest Blogger: Foolproof Face

We love writers with fun personalities, which is why we’re ecstatic to welcome Carlye Wisel into the guest blogging fold this week. The savvy blogger has a multitude of interests, but can regularly be found talking about music and more on Vevo, Big Ugly Yellow Couch, and her personal Tumblr, Awkward City Population 1. This week, she’s sharing beauty wit and wisdom. Today: family skincare secrets and the trick to long-lasting makeup. 

Clockwise, from Left: smashbox Photo Finish Primer, $36, birchbox.com; Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar, $11.99 for 8, drugstore.com; Kiehls Scented Lip Balm #1, $9, kiehls.com; philosophy Hope in a Jar, $60, birchbox.com; Rezamid, $19.99, amazon.com

As a freelance writer, my beauty regime is often minimized to whatever I can slather on my face before running out the door. (Glamorous, right?) Having a clear complexion makes it easier to put on my face in the mere seconds I have before being late, and I’ve come to rely on a small set of products to make it possible. Before hitting the sack each night, I apply philosophy’s Hope In A Jar. I’m still new to the brand, but this thick, silky cream, which was suggested to me by the lady behind Cult of Pretty, does moisturizing wonders. My skin is pretty sensitive, so if I wash my face before (heavy on the “if,” since I typically just use water), I’ll only use Dove’s Beauty Bar, which is old school, but great for my skin.

I can’t believe I’m divulging this Wisel family secret, but Rezamid is a pimple cure-all that does miracles and the tube lasts for years. This ointment has saved me from being zit-tastic a thousand times over since I was a teen, and its customizable tint makes it more of a concealer than a treatment. Though I’m the zillionth person to swear by this, smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer is the only primer that hasn’t left me looking like a sweaty disaster 45 minutes into a hot afternoon. And, since I hate when makeup wears off, I never wear goopy lip glosses, but prefer to use Kiehls’ Scented Lip Balm to prevent lips from chapping.

Our favorite way to get flawless skin? smashbox’s Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation

Pucker Up: You’ve Got Male

Once a week, Birchbox’s resident yoga and men’s product expert, Eric, will gives us girls some insight into his world in You’ve Got Male. Whether he’s giving his expertise on skincare (boys need advice, too!) or highlighting his new favorite grooming trend, this guy has got taste—so we’re lucky he’s on staff and willing to share.

Photo: visualphoto.com

After two and a half years of working for the Lipstick Queen herself, Poppy King, I’d like to think I know a thing or two about lips and what keeps them moisturized and happy. I always like to have an arsenal of lip products at the ready. A lot of guys ask me what they should go for when upgrading from a basic Chapstick or Burt’s Bees. Below are a few of my faves. All are super moisturizing and totally guy friendly – no bubble gum scents or super shiny textures.

Pangea Oragnics Lip Balm: Egyptian Fennel Grapefruit & Sweet Orange If you like a solid lip balm that comes in a tube, this is a great one. It’s all natural, so no need to worry about chemicals, and it really perks your lips up. I love citrus fragrances – always clean and fresh, but still masculine.

Kiehl’s Scented Lip Balm #1- Mango: This balm is slippery and silky and feels great going on. The moisturizing effects of this formula are so long lasting that I rarely have to reapply. The mango scent is sweet, but not overbearing, and the balm has a mild SPF 4.

Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm: This gel has a bit of a creamier texture, which is really nice. It uses Fatty Acid Hydration Technology to keep lips feeling smooth and moisturized. Mojito is a very unique scent, but it’s subtle and also very fun! I am a big fan of anything from the guys at Malin + Goetz, so this lip balm is a fun splurge.

—Eric

Why stop at lip balm?  Pick up more guy friendly products in our Birchbox Shop.