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My Favorite Nail Products: Guest Blogger

If you’re into nail art, then you’re probably familiar with Chelsea King’s designs. As the artist behind Chelsea’s Get Nailed, this nail-addict-turned-blogger somehow finds time between classes at UC Irvine to produce nail art tutorials, sell her own press-on nails, and post her intricate and inspiring manicures. This week, Chelsea is offering up her best nail tips and a few exclusive (and pretty awesome) nail art how-tos for beginners and experts alike.

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One of the most important ways to make your manicure look beautiful is taking care of your hands, cuticles, and nails. Using great products can improve how your nails look and can get your polish to last longer. Over time, I have used many different products, and here are some of my favorites!

1. CND SolarOil: I love this cuticle oil because it doesn’t make my cuticles greasy—and it smells great.

2. Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream: Just recently I started using this product and it’s amazing. I really have noticed a difference in my skin. It goes on very thick (almost like Vaseline), but instantly replenishes moisture.

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How to Find the Right Concealer for You

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Last week my aunt shot me a semi-despairing email that plaintively asked, “Candice, what’s a concealer that really covers dark circles?” She had unsuccessfully tried several formulas that wouldn’t even last through a normal workday, and was in need of some serious help. Her note reminded me that in the wide world of concealers, it’s important to know which formulas are best suited to your particular concerns so you choose the best product.

Since I’ve suffered from every face malady requiring a concealer—acne, scars, blemishes, undereye circles, the list goes on—and my combination skin poses its own set of challengesI decided to come up with a mini-guide on how to find the perfect concealer for you.

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4 Swimwear Designers’ Beach-Ready Beauty Must-Haves

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.”

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Wonderland’s Summer Hair Guide: Guest Blogger

Our latest guest blogger, Ally of Allyson in Wonderland, is an oil and gas professional with a serious eye for great finds. We can’t get enough of her gorgeously crafted blog, where she shares her love for style, travel, and photography. This week she’s giving us a peek into her personal beauty treasure chest—and we’re taking notes.

Summer is not the best time for hair. It’s hot, humid, and for a fine-haired lady like me it’s almost impossible to have a good hair day! I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to do my hair, then I step outside and poof: it falls flat, frizzes, or curls up. I’m always looking for a wonder product to give me the world’s most perfect hair. Until I find that miracle potion though, I have three excellent products on standby.

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My Pre-Beach Prep: 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.

As a beauty blogger, I take my products almost everywhere I go, even to the beach for some minor primping. Here are a few things I like to use to keep it simple when going on beach trips:

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Pretty For a Penny With Drugstore Skincare: Guest Blogger

A self-proclaimed beauty addict and over-the-top girly girl, Lara Ramos has been dedicated to living a pretty lifestyle since birth. Her blog, The Glossarie, highlights ground-breaking beauty products and little laid-back luxuries. This week, in Lara’s second appearance as a guest blogger, she shares the newest items that have caught her eye and her personal must-haves.

I test dozens of skincare products monthly, but falling in love with the really expensive ones can be heaven for my skin and hell for my wallet. Luckily, I found a few drugstore favorites that keep my skin woes in check while doing minimal damage to my bank account.

I use Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser morning and evening to break up oil, detoxify, and remove makeup. It’s gentle yet highly effective on my acne-prone skin.

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5 Makeup-Free Beauty Essentials for Your Next Island Escape

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.

Greetings from Curaçao! I’m here covering the island’s first-ever fashion week, which features the innovative work of over 20 designers from 13 countries. All shows start around 7pm every night, so I’ve been using my daytime freedom to explore this Caribbean gem’s ridiculously stunning beaches and towns. And since the country is located in the tropics, just 12° north of the Equator, it’s humid all year round (a clever local explained that Curaçao’s seasons are “hot” and “inferno”). This means that makeup should be kept to a minimum since you’ll want to spontaneously jump in the water to cool off. Save for some water-resistant mascara at night, I’ve decided to go makeup-free on this trip and  focus on keeping my skin hydrated and protected from the sun.

Here’s a roundup of winning products that are keeping me looking fresh-faced and stress-free:

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Drugstore vs. Designer Cosmetics: Guest Blogger

The dynamic duo behind Beauty Bender, Kathryn Romeyn and Alexis Johnson, have an impeccable eye for deciphering up-and-coming cosmetics trends and finding experts to give the lowdown on how to wear them. (It must be the decade’s worth of magazine curating experience they have between them.) We can’t get enough of their gorgeous site, and happily, for a whole week they’re sharing all of their beauty insight on our blog!

    

1. Lip Balm

Still produced with the same formula as in 1899, when the company started, Bag Balm is our hands-down secret weapon. The emollient, antiseptic ointment is unparalleled for softening hands, feet, and most especially lips.

It’s hard to find a lip product that doesn’t just moisturize and plump, but adds the perfect tinge of color, includes SPF, and smells incredible—but doesn’t taste like anything. This balm contains technology that tints everyone’s lips differently, in concert with their distinct chemistry. Turns out, it’s addictive.

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Packing List: Hong Kong

Matt Field, our customer acquisition and strategy manager, is heading off this weekend to Hong Kong to visit his dad. From there he will head south to Indonesia to spend a couple of days exploring the jungles, beaches, and beautiful scenery that the country has to offer. The weather will be hot and sticky (a welcome change from summer in New York, oh wait, just kidding). Here is a sneak peak at what’s in his duffel bag.


Havianas Brasil, Ray-Ban Original Wayfarers, Neutrogena Sports Face, Jack Black All-Over Wash, Marmot PreCip Jacket, Marvis Classic Mint Toothpaste

Havaianas flip flops: Havaianas are an essential for any warm weather vacation. Easy to pack, comfortable, and pretty much indestructible, I have a pair in green and black.  

Marmot rain jacket: Making the trip in monsoon season means that you have to bring a rain jacket. I’ve had my Marmot shell for three years now and it’s never let me down. It’s light, very water resistant, and being bright red, it’s easy to find if I ever lose it.

Neutrogena sunscreen: I have fairly pale skin and so it’s either heavy doses of sunscreen or an extremely burnt me. Neutrogena makes a really good sport sunscreen. It’s water and sweat resistant, so you don’t have to reapply it every five minutes.

Jack Black face and body wash: I hate over-packing, especially toiletries. The All-Over Wash from Jack Black is perfect for me, as it does everything I need. It washes my face, hair, and body all in one and the product smells awesome, too.

Ray-Ban sunglasses: No summer trip would be complete without a trusted pair of sunglasses. A few years ago, I got hooked on Ray-Bans and have been wearing them ever since. The Original Wayfarers are the ones that I have—some say boring, I say classic.

Marvis toothpaste: Toothpaste is never a good thing to forget. I had always been a loyal Colgate user, but ever since Birchbox sampled Marvis toothpaste, I have become a convert. It comes in a bunch of different flavors, but my favorite is the tried and true Classic Mint. They have a perfect size for travel, too.

—Matt F

Check out some other travel must-haves in our Birchbox Shop.

Guest Blogger: 4 Foolproof Self-Tanners

Certainly not all style blogs are worth reading, but we’re absolutely smitten with Sonia Evers’ Runway Hippie and we think it should be on your radar. Aside from her daily dose of inspiration, great finds, or personal pics, Evers also finds time to contribute to Refinery29.com, Modelina.com, and Glamour.com. Check back here all week as she muses on all things summer fun, from self-tanner to beachy waves.

St. Tropez Self-Tan Bronzing Mousse, $30, sttropeztan.com; Neutrogena Micromist, $13, amazon.com; DuWop Clear Revolution Shimmering Self-Tanner, $30, cosmetics-deals.com; TanTowels, $22, amazon.com

Nothing says summer like a good healthy tan, but nothing ages you faster than sun exposure. Thank goodness for self-tanner! You may as well call me the head honcho of faux-tans as I’ve literally tried about every product out there. I’ve walked out of many Mystic Tanning Salons resembling an Oompa Loompa and have stained at least six sets of pristine white sheets with self-tanning lotion. But, after much trial and error, I’ve finally found these four self-tanners that don’t leave so much as a smudge on my pillowcase. To top it all off, I don’t walk around all day smelling like self-tanner, which is easily one of the worst scents out there.

For more great self-tanning options, check out our Birchbox Shop