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5 Up-and-Coming Beauty Brands You Need to Try: 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.


I’m all about the “humble brag” when I’ve discovered something before it gets big. That’s probably why I like to shop at vintage stores, frequent small, hidden restaurants, and watch independent films. But discovering smaller beauty brands isn’t always as easy. My indie beauty needs finally met their match at the HBA Global Expo, a beauty conference where editors handpicked 31 emerging beauty companies to be featured in a special exhibition called Splash Pavilion. Here are five of the up-and-coming beauty brands that you should be on the lookout for:

1. Karuna Skincare: I see better results for at home spa nights in your future. Karuna offers a collection of affordable yet luxurious cloth masks that trap serum deep in your pores. The newest product in their lineup is the Karuna Luxe Skin Restoring Mask, which hydrates and brightens skin.

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Spa-Worthy Bath Products from Italy: Today’s Obsession

When I think “luxury at home,” the one thing that comes immediately to mind is a long soak in the tub. Like Birchbox’s DIY face mask expert, I have certain demands for my self-administered spa treatments. A quality bath has to be piping hot, smell good, soothe my achy muscles, and if it’s really worth its salt, leave me feeling relaxed after I step out and dry off.

Ok, so it might be a tall order. But for the longest time, I thought it was nothing a drugstore lineup of Vitabath and Epsom Salts couldn’t handle. Little did I know that once I entered the Birchbox world, I would crave a bathtime upgrade. And let’s just say there was no going back once I gave luxe Italian brand Borghese's bath products a shot.

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A Skin-Perfecting SPF Moisturizer: Today’s Obsession

A few weeks ago, I flew to Austin, Texas to visit my parents. Over the course of my three-day trip, I was so busy hunting down food trucks, browsing vintage store racks, hiking, and swimming that I neglected to follow my number one beauty rule: always wear sunscreen. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but my punishment awaited me back home in Brooklyn when I found a scattering of unsightly sun spots on my face and hands. It was a brutal reality check that made me wish I could go back 72 hours to berate my forgetful self, or that I could wear a ski mask and gloves in public without being ostracized.

Now that I’m feeling particularly sun-conscious, I’m making it a point to slather on SPF every morning, even if I’m just going to be sitting in the office. My favorite formula of the moment? Likewise Facial Moisturizer + Sun Protectant. Depending on how you look at it, it’s a SPF-filled moisturizer or a moisturizing sunscreen. But either way, the creamy unscented lotion is great for those who fear goopy, smelly formulas.

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My Skincare Essentials: Guest Blogger

This week’s guest blogger, Vida Lee, hits close to home for us—literally! She’s a beauty guru based in our hometown: New York City. Aside from being a product addict, she’s also a medical school student (whoa!) who makes time on the side for her pretty blog, P.S. It’s Vida. Over the next few days, the smarty savant will be sharing her greatest tips and tricks for staying prepped and primed for summer.

Skincare is one of my absolute favorite things. I love experimenting and trying new things, but there are a few products I’ve found that will probably never leave my routine. These are some of the skincare items I use on a daily basis.

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Dollars & Sense: Why This SPF Moisturizer Beats Ten Fancy Cocktails

Our pick of the week: Birchboxers are an adventurous bunch. And now that summer is officially underway, we have plans to flee the city each Friday and spend our weekends hiking, swimming, and (let’s be real) beach-bumming. Though we’ll be scattered across the Eastern seaboard, you’ll find one product in many of our bags: Scalisi Skincare’s  Anti-Aging Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30.

This two-in-one moisturizer and sunscreen is pretty much the only thing you need to withstand the summer sun (our other essential: a good deodorant). It’s a great alternative for those who hate piling on goopy sunscreen, since the non-sticky formula is a silky fluid instead of a heavy lotion. And for those who are skeptical that a moisturizer can pack a sufficient SPF factor, rest assured: it meets FDA standards for skin cancer prevention. 

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Emu Oil: Cate Blanchett’s Favorite Skin Remedy


I just found out that Cate Blanchett uses emu oil as a treatment for scars, burns, and even to smooth her elbows. While I had heard of it before, I had never done any research. But if Cate Blanchett, with her gorgeous complexion, says that it can save my skin, well, then I definitely had to do some digging. Here’s what I found out: 

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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,; Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar, $11.99 for 8,; Kiehls Scented Lip Balm #1, $9,; philosophy Hope in a Jar, $60,; Rezamid, $19.99,

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

Time To Rejoice: Kiehl’s Oil-Free Is Back In Stock!

It was an overnight sensation: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Lotion flew out of our shop faster than you could say ‘Birchbox.’ In hindsight, we should have known that it was going to be such a colossal hit because A) Kiehl’s products are generally awesome and B) this hydrating moisturizer is super lightweight and keeps your oil levels in check.

For all of you who were patiently anticipating the return of this popular product, the wait is finally over: We’re re-stocked and ready to go. But just in case, it never hurts to buy more than one at a time.


This product pairs perfectly with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser.

June Jacobs SPF Moisturizer Prevents and Reverses Sun Damage

No matter the season, I am always wearing more that one moisturizer on my face during the day. My routine includes first applying Fresh’s Crème Ancienne to properly hydrate my super dry skin, but then I absolutely must layer on some sort of moisturizer with SPF—I am a stickler about sun protection. Sometimes that means adding my Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint with SPF 20, but for years if I didn’t want any coverage, I’d reach for Aveeno’s Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15.

But I’ve found a new non-makeup-y hydrator: June Jacobs’ Skin Amour Daily Shield SPF 15. Not only does it block the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays with SPF 15, but it’s also formulated with shea butter and milk protein to energize skin and reverse any damage already done. What’s more, it utilizes a unique antioxidant blend of white, red, and green tea extracts combined with goji berry, pomegranate, and grape seed extracts to neutralize free radicals and protect skin against premature aging and environmental toxins. But I’ll tell you the real reason I fell in love with it: the smell. It’s divine and not sunblock-y at all, making it very easy to slather it on with abandon (which, with my pale skin, is definitely what I should be doing anyway).


The best way to get a healthy summer glow without the UV damage? Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads!