Our school days are long behind us, but we still get nostalgic around this time of year. That was the impetus behind Head of the Class, our latest limited edition box, and our Back to School shop category. And with the start of classes right around the corner, we asked a real teen—Birchbox Blog star Becca Zimmerman—to clue us in to how the kids are prepping for school these days.
The week before school starts can be a little bit stressful: finishing up summer reading, buying school supplies, and, of course, making sure that you come in to classes looking and feeling amazing. Here are a couple ways I’m kickstarting my routine before the first day:
One of the most important things about first day prep is having clear, healthy skin. An exfoliator is great because it gets rid of dead skin cells and buildup on top of your skin, and makes it feel smooth and refreshed. You can use a daily exfoliator in the shower, like Yes To Grapefruit Daily Facial Scrub, or you can use a more powerful exfoliator once or twice a week. My favorite exfoliator of all time is WEI’s Pomegranate Buffing Beads, which feel kind of like sand from the beach, but make your skin so soft afterwards. If you are new to exfoliators or have sensitive skin, I suggest using a daily scrub every two or three days and then build your way up to something more powerful so that you don’t hurt or dry out your skin.
I love New York City. But once the oppressive summer heat descends upon the city I’m more than happy to get the heck out of dodge. This weekend, I’m freeing my Boston Red Sox hat from its hiding place, proudly repping it on the bus (in your face Yankee’s fans!), and heading to my favorite place: Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
I plan on spending as much time on the beach as possible (with a backlog of trashy tabloid magazines by my side, of course) and spending some quality time with family.
Here’s what I’m packing for a week of carefree beach vacationing:
6 Eye-Brightening Tricks to Try This Weekend
Your eyes are the windows to your soul. And tired, puffy peepers can reveal your age, sleep depravation, or last night’s over indulgence in one too many cocktails. Even if your social calendar is jam-packed, this President’s Day Weekend is the perfect time to offload some serious undereye baggage. Use these brightening tricks to help you look fully rested come Tuesday morning:
Another tip to keep tired-looking eyes at bay? Remove your eye makeup every night. We love Lancôme’s BI-FACIL, which effectively removes liner, eyeshadow, and mascara.
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.
As a beauty writer—especially one with darker skin—I’ve been warned many, many times by dermatologists about the risks associated with squeezing pimples (i.e. you’ll cause trauma to your skin! you’ll scar! you’ll break out even more!). Then I go in for my seasonal facial and the esthetician is pinching clogged pores all over my face. Can you say mixed messages? Whose lead should I follow? Who should I listen to?
Turns out my dermatologists and estheticians are both right. Popping zits is bad and can wreak havoc on your face, but manually extracting blackheads (THE RIGHT WAY) is good. If you’re tempted to poke and prod, don’t! At least not until after you’ve read these tips from celebrity facialist Renee Rouleau.
If you’re a frequent traveler like me, then you need to get familiar with powder cleansers and exfoliators. Unlike traditional washes, these won’t incur TSA scrutiny and have no danger of spilling all over your purse. Beyond the convenience, dry skincare products also have serious functional benefits (not to mention their cool factor, of course). Click through for my favorites.
I turned 24 a week ago and experienced a minor freakout moment. Before you roll your eyes, let me explain. While 24 is still young, I’m now officially in my mid-twenties, which means it’s time to start being a real adult. One requirement of adulthood: a skincare routine that goes beyond splashing my face with cold water. As I realized from looking at old Facebook photos, my skin just doesn’t look as fresh as it once did. My solution? Products infused with hyaluronic acid.
In case you haven’t heard the buzz, this ingredient is famed for its holding up to a thousand times its weight in water. But what does that mean? Brief chemistry lesson: hyaluronic acid may sound like a lab scientist’s invention, but it actually occurs naturally inside your skin. Located beneath the dermis (translation: outer layer), it helps your tissues stay hydrated. When you apply the ingredient to your skin’s surface, it plumps up your face by forming an elastic film of moisture and instantly smoothes rough surfaces.
In addition to giving skin a dewy glow, hyaluronic acid is a lifesaver for those with super dry skin because it boosts the hydrating properties of your moisturizer. Try layering it under your favorite face cream in the winter months. Product picks after the jump!
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.
I think a holiday weekend is a perfect opportunity to take a little extra time and indulge in some of the beauty and grooming practices that we might otherwise skip under busier circumstances. Even if you’re in a crowded house or entertaining guests, take a moment to shut the door and relax. Here are my August picks for pampering — they will definitely all be coming with me to the Hamptons this weekend!
June Jacobs Papaya Purifying Enzyme Masque: Using a purifying mask is essential to keeping pores small and clear. This June Jacobs treatment is one of the most soothing masks I have ever used. It smells lovely and leaves skin feeling clean and smooth, but not stripped. Put a thin layer all over your face and leave on for ten minutes. You’ll be glad you did!
WEI Tibetan Chrysanthemum Correcting Eye Treatment Pads: I called out these gems in my video about de-puffing your eye area. The ultimate in eye pampering, they take the cucumber trick to the next level. Place these over your eyes for ten minutes while lying back in bed and be amazed at how quickly they take down swelling and darkness.
Number 4 Lumiere d’hiver Reconstructing Masque: Your hair needs the same love that your skin does when it comes to deep cleansing, moisturizing, and conditioning. Using a hair mask is a great way to provide your strands with some extra TLC. This formula is amazing. It restores shine, moisture, and overall health to your hair. Perfect for the end of summer after all of that sun, salt, and chlorine.
While you’re pampering, don’t forget to light a candle to take your Zen experience to the next level.
As Rachel pointed earlier this week, it’s summer wedding season. Accordingly, I’m currently headed to the North Fork to celebrate the nuptials of a dear friend. I’m pretty excited to sneak out of the city and spend some time in the land of wineries and fried oysters — and to do some terrible dancing, of course. Here’s what I’m bringing along.
Wei Tibetan Crysanthemum Correcting Eye Treatment Pads: Like cucumber slices only waaay better. These pre-soaked pads take down any puffiness and darkness—a must since I’m chronically sleep-deprived. I’m planning on doing them tomorrow night before the event.
Zoya Polish in Dove: We sampled this perfect grey polish in our April Birchbox and I’ve been wearing it ever since (I get on color kicks…). Since I’m planning on wearing a dark charcoal dress and chartreuse necklace, I need semi-subdued nails.
Jouer Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Wind: We don’t sell this color, but we’re definitely going to have to add it to our Shop soon. It’s a step up from neutral and gives lips a pretty fullness.
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner: Beauty genius Jenn Falik told me that this was the best liquid liner ever—and she was right. It’s completely goof-proof and will stay on all night.
Becca Nail Polish in Tangerine Dream: OK, fingernails have to be subdued but toes can be bright, right? We got this brand-new shade in the office yesterday and I adore it—it’s like the color of apricot sherbert.
RMS Beauty Cream Eyeshadow in Magnetic: We’re adding RMS to the Birchbox Shop and I’m incredibly excited. All the products are made with organic, pure ingredients, and look amazing. This richly pigmented shadow is a gorgeous slate-meets-violet shade. (Check the Birchbox Shop next week to get your RMS fix!)
Stila Prime Pot in Caramel: Weddings call for long-lasting makeup. This eyeshadow primer is my new favorite weapon against fading and creasing. Dab it on with fingers and watch your shadow stay on all night.
Nu Bra: The salesgirl at Barney’s promised me that this is the ultimate strapless bra. Despite its space age look, I’m going to give it a shot. I’ll report back.
Get more packing tips in our Survival Kit: Summer Travel guide. You’ll thank us later!