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TRANSITION TO THOUGHTFUL BEAUTY PRODUCTS

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In our transition to all things ‘thoughtful living,’ we are making an effort to ditch our normal beauty products that for a regime that is much more friendly. Out with the weird ingredients, in with natural ingredients, stuff we can pronounce, and things that help repair our skin. Ya dig?First up – charcoal…okay, okay, and a little bit of coffee.

I have been on the charcoal train for a few months now & I am obsessed with every single on of these products. The Clinique gel & scrub are a part of my daily routine and every Sunday, during my little me-time pamper session, I bust out the mask & coffee scrub. All totally affordable & products that don’t break me out..and I don’t say that lightly because we all know what shit skin I used to have. So, party people, pour that glass of wine and let’s get to at-home spa-ing!


FRANK BODY SCRUB – i.e. the most amazing scrub ever

This is, and I mean it, the best body scrub around. It’s totally affordable, lasts forever, and smells amazing. I use this every other day (I even pack a little pouch of it in my gym bag) and my skin is constantly baby’s butt smooth. Plus, it cuts down on cellulite and eczema and a bunch of other beneficial stuff. I use it because it smells amazing and does wonders for my sluffy Chicago skin. Get it, you won’t regret it!

BOSCIA CHARCOAL MASK – basically magic

Again, another product I can’t live without. While it does make you look like Darth Vader when it’s on, it’s amazing and leaves your skin feeling all silky smooth. For $8 a pop, these are a totally affordable treat once or twice a month. Boscia has a bunch of different treatments – like sake or green tea – but the charcoal is my favorite.

CLINIQUE CHARCOAL CLEANSING GEL 

This is a new addition to the bunch, but I am really liking it. It cleanses my skin without drying it out, gets rid of the makeup & city grim, and leaves my face feeling fresh and comfortable. Clinique is a brand I keep coming back to because their products are gentle and way less harmful then other cleansers.

CLINIQUE CHARCOAL CITY BLOCK MASK

Sister, if you are looking for a good mud mask, this is it. I love it, I love it, I love it. It’s a scrub and a mask and it’s so good. It is great for a weekly mask, won’t dry your skin out, and has a nice little scrub at the end. I use this puppy once a week and my skin has never felt better. Plus, the natural bamboo charcoal and kaolin clay help remove pollution and impurities, while natural silica beads gently refine texture. Pretty nifty!

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CLEAN UP YOUR BEAUTY ROUTINE 4 simple steps to a healthier you

Healthy living- we all strive to do it on the regular and for the most part, you’re getting pretty good at choosing whole foods and cutting the junk and you’ve got the yoga thing down, but if you’re still not feeling like a million bucks, you may be missing a piece of the puzzle. A big piece!

Healthy living is about far more than just nourishing your body with nutrients and movement – it’s about cultivating healthy relationships, joyful and mindful living, plenty of good sleep and in today’s world, creating a less toxic living environment.

clean up your beauty routine via lauren kelp

As woman, we may slather a handful or more pricey beauty products all over our bodies before we even leave the house in the morning, many of which may contain toxic ingredients that have been linked to serious health issues like hormonal imbalances, fertility issues, and even cancer. Yah, I went there.

Cleansing your beauty routine can be just as important as cleansing that beautiful bod. In fact, think about it this way- what’s the point of detoxing if you continue to put the junk in?

Here are a few simple ways to cleanse your beauty routine and really rock out the healthy life…

clean up your beauty routine via lauren kelp

READ THE LABEL:

Just like when you’re grocery shopping, reading the labels on your skin care products can tell you a lot about what’s inside. Watch out for pthalates, sodium laurel/laureth sulfate, fragrance, and parabens, to name a few. Primally Pure is a great example of label purity. Their Deodorant, Lavender + Sage Body Butter and Fancy Face Serum are the real deal. Let’s just say you could literally eat your deodorant if it came down to it.

clean up your beauty routine via lauren kelp

CHOOSE A SAFE SKIN CARE BRAND:

Choosing a non-toxic option doesn’t mean you can only use crushed rose petals and coconut oil. Beautycounter, one of my favs, has banned over 1,500 ingredients from their makeup and skin care line and are leading the safe skincare movement. The best part- their products actually perform. Their Lip Sheer, Charcoal Cleansing Bar and Balancing Face Oil are must-haves!

Clean up your beauty routine via lauren kelp

DIY IT:

A super simple and affordable way to cleanse your beauty routine is by making a few products on your own (think mouthwash, body butter and deodorant for the brave!). Adding pure essential oils like lavender, frankincense, and melaleuca can up your DIY beauty game big time! They have natural cleansing and beautifying properties and smell a-mazing! Hello home spa!

STOCK UP SLOWLY:

 Depending on your current beauty routine, switching over to safe skincare products can be pricey. An easy way to make the transition more affordable is to stock up on products as you run out, one by one. But if you’re ready to take the non-toxic plunge, dive right in girl!

One of my favorite ways to check out how my current products are ranking in terms of purity is through the Environmental Working Group. Plug your fav products into their new app, “Healthy Living”, to see their safety ratings

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Written by Justine Campbell, RD, NTP & Photography by Caroline Potter, NTP

AN ODE TO BARE-FACED BEAUTY

howtobeachhair_031Hey y’all! Courtney here. When it comes to makeup, I’m one of those gals who tends to think less is more, and adapts the “natural beauty is timeless and classic” sort of mentality. But besides that, and the fact that I’d much rather get a couple extra minutes of sleep or meditation in the morning than spend my time in front of a mirror, minimal makeup is – believe it or not – a fashion statement (if you want it to be). Think about it! The amount of makeup you wear is absolutely parallel to your sense of style, all you have to do is wear it with confidence. So – as an ode to bare-faced beauty – here’s three tips that are guaranteed to make your face both bold and beautiful without all the extra maquillage.

1) EXFOLIATE THE SKIN

Facial masks have been a cosmetic staple of mine for as long as I can remember. And it’s not just because I feel pampered and semi-compelled to cut up a cucumber and… well, you know the rest! It’s because they’re one of the easiest at-home solutions to achieving healthy and supple skin. Whether you use a cream, cotton sheet (my favorite! they’re portable, doused in a serum-based formula, and packed full of vitamins and amino acids) or clay mask, target one area over another, or need a deep cleanse for your whole face, one easy application provides an array of long-lasting benefits. They hydrate and detoxify the skin, remove excess oils, increase circulation, replenish nutrients, improve the appearance of your pores – the list goes on! Sit back, relax, and de-stress with a calming face mask after work or right before you go to bed, and sleep better knowing that you’re doing your skin a huge favor.

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2) MAINTAIN THOSE BROWS

Maintaining a strong brow shape is key to accentuating your eyes (also, if you don’t own an eyelash curler, get one!) and making your face stand out. Science has even proved it’s your most important facial feature! So give your brows a little extra TLC, and start by avoiding waxing as it destroys the sensitive skin. Try tweezing or threading instead, but don’t forget to embrace your natural shape if you’re doing it yourself! If your brows are thin or sparse, try using a daily serum to help them grow. Now, here’s the fun part! Use an eyebrow gel to add definition and create the perfect arch, apply the right color powder or pencil, and use a spoolie brush to blend the two for a natural and symmetrical final touch. Sculpting beautiful brows are essential to getting that natural, gorgeous look! And face it: they’re trendy as hell.

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3) DRINK WATER & EAT WELL

This may come off as obvious to some, but I know so many people who neglect the indispensable benefits of drinking water and eating healthy – and having great, glowing skin is one of them! After all, your appearance is a reflection of your health, right? Make sure your fridge is full of fruits and veggies, wholesome fats and proteins like seafood, eggs, and beans (to name a few), and don’t take water for granted! Buy a nalgene bottle, fill it up every day and make it a habit to never leave the house without it. They say drinking eight 8 oz glasses a day is best, but I believe the amount depends on the person, their activity level, etc. So my advice is to drink as much as you need to maintain clear urine! Leading a healthy lifestyle will get rid of toxins, emphasize your natural beauty, and make you feel more confident than ever!
Don’t get me wrong. Makeup is fun (I love bold lipsticks and enjoy playing around with different styles, colors and brands) but it shouldn’t be obligatory! Plus – the hot summer days approaching are as good an excuse as any to ditch the face paint. So if you’re thinking about cutting back, turn to these three tips for a little more organic guidance and enjoy the liberation! 

 

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ACNE, AT-HOME PEEL PADS, & MY SKIN WIZARD

IMG_4489Real talk, I used to have terrible (terrible) skin. Ask any roommate I had in college. I would lather layers and layers of cover-up on and try any peel, mask, or toner. Oh, you happened to be selling the latest skin regimen? Great, I’ll take 12 bottles. My skin was so bad that when I smiled it would crack and bleed. Which is really cool and totally not embarrassing at all. It got so bad that I developed this weird way to laugh so I didn’t have to smile – I would open my mouth slightly and make this really weird robot laugh sound. It was horrible & not to mention terrifying.

Anywho, I had atrocious skin for about five years in my late teens & early twenties until I found an actual skin wizard. It was a freak run in that it resulted in me crying in her chair, but she turned my skin around, removed the scars, and continues to keep my skin in fantastic shape. If you are a) looking for a new skin guru (don’t worry, she FaceTimes) b) need an at-home treatment you can count on or c) want to empathize with having shitty skin – this post is for you.

IMG_4481This skin wizard is named Alissa & runs an amazing studio – Porespective – based in Austin, Texas, but the best part is that she FACETIMES! It’s amazing. Plus, if you can’t get yourself down to Austin (although if you are struggling to clear up your skin, she is absolutely worth the trip) she just developed these insane Peel Pads that I can’t get enough of.

It’s a clinical grade peel that contains everything you need to brighten up that skin and get rid of acne from the comfort of your own bedroom. I use mine twice a month and it makes my skin look noticeably brighter and more clear. From the comfort of my sofa, I get an at-home medical treatment for literally a fraction of the price.

Not that the price (or ease) matters, because taking care of your skin is always worth it. It’s more the fact that great skin care is available without the flashy price tag, weird storm trooper light mask, or pain.

IMG_4473As someone who takes the care of their skin very seriously, I would not lead you astray on this front. If you are looking for someone to help turn your skin around, Alissa is your gal. If you are looking for an at-home treatment that won’t break the bank but that has legit results, these Peel Pads are the way to go.

Do you have an acne story and want to share? I am all ears. I know it can sound like such a vain thing, “I have such terrible skin!” But it really can keep you back from relationships, jobs, opportunities, and cripples your self-confidence. Girl, I’ve been there.
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lauren and sylvia

CLEAN UP YOUR MAKEUP ROUTINE

spring makeupHi friends! Joanna here & get excited – we are overhauling your beauty arsenal today. Spring cleaning isn’t just for your closet, ladies! I’m going to help you dig through your trusty makeup bag to help you swap out some of your tried-and-true products for new light and airy options that will help you transition into summer without total confusion.

FIRST & FOREMOST, LET’S TALK ABOUT SKIN

The winter can do some major damage to your skin, so be sure to continue exfoliating at least every other night. If you are in need of some heavier action, add a toner to your morning routine. Apply the toner after cleansing and before moisturizing.
Now that we have your skin clean and glowing, swap out your heavy creams for a lighter moisturizer. Try a product that will quickly absorb into your skin. These type of moisturizers will allow your skin to breath easier in warmer & more humid weather conditions.

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GET THAT HEALTHY GLOW

With the warmer temps and more sun exposure, we all want to let our skin shine, but not without a bit of coverage 😉  Switch out your full coverage foundation to a BB cream for a lighter application. Most of the BB creams I have found have SPF in them. You can mix the BB cream with a bronzer or highlighter to provide a more sun-kissed glow to ease your way into a bronzer summer.

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PRETTY UP THAT POUT

Given the fact that you will be sporting some new sunnies most of this season, skip the four-step eyeshadow palette and grab a cream eyeshadow stick. These are super quick and easy to apply. You can even just blend them in with your finger. Use it all over your lid or just around your lash line for slight definition.

PRO TIP:  grab a color that is complementary to your eye color, that way no matter what you are wearing it will be the most flattering color on you.

Time to brighten up that pout! Don’t be afraid of testing out some new bold lip colors. With fresh and soft makeup, a pop of color on your lips is such a beautiful spring look. Ditch the tubes of lipstick which may or may not melt in your purse while at the beach… and go try a lip pencil! These products are so easy to apply, they offer a lipliner and lipstick in one product and typically are very long wearing.

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image via j.crew

DOUBLE DUTCH BRAIDS from gym to the office

IMG_2742The argument for waking up a bit earlier to style and “do” my hair in the morning just has never been that compelling. Maybe because I prefer a bit for of a tousled look, or maybe just because I’ve never really known how to style my hair well, either way, I am always on the lookout for quick & easy hairstyles that will get me out the door on time and one that I don’t have to keep fixing all day.

We just started playing around with the Double Dutch Braids and I am obsessed. Remember that braided crown we did a while ago? Well, it’s the same braiding technique, but this time we are braiding straight down the back of your head instead of around. Basically, it’s half the work & you can do this on the train to work in the morning – yes, it really is that simple!

Perfect for the gym & adorable for work, we have a feeling this is going to be your favorite no muss, no fuss hairstyle this season. Still unsure about how to master the Double Dutch braids? We’ve called in one of our favorite stylists from StylistedChristina Gauthier – to show us how!

IMG_2639THE STEP BY STEP

1. Start with a clean part that extends all the way down your head. Cleanly separate the two sections and pigtail the left section on the side of your head.

2. On the right section, separate the top of your hair into three sections. Dutch braids are basically the inverse of a French braid, so instead of pulling the pieces of hair under one another, push them on top. Or, if it’s easier to think of it this way, start French braiding and then do the opposite. The right piece goes under the middle and then the left under the middle, while adding more hair from the root.

3. Work that pattern until you’ve reached the end of your hair & secure with an elastic tie. Un-pigtail the left section and repeat.

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Stylist: Christina Gauthier from Stylistedlauren and sylvia

RUNWAY TO REAL LIFE rachel zoe edition

IMG_6460Oh, hi! Lauren here & today’s post is something I have been looking forward to for a long time. Here is the thing, I am basically fashion illiterate. I have no idea what culottes are, get very confused by anything that claims to be ‘body-con’, and if it isn’t black or cream, I basically can’t see it. This doesn’t mean I don’t like fashion, it just means that I am not as gifted as others at putting trending outfits together.

In an effort to be a better dresser, we are launching a new series – Runway to Real Life – where we break down an ad, runway show, trend, etc. and help work it in to your normal attire. I mean, don’t get me wrong, as much as we would all love to wear gold eyeliner & flowers in our hair, I feel like your next strategy meeting might not be so open to your new found fashion savvy. Hence, this column!

We take something trendy or fashion forward, in this case Rachel Zoe’s latest Spring 2016 collection, and find ways to incorporate the look or feel into more real-life scenarios. Sound fun? We hope so!

IMG_6497Rachel Zoe’s Spring 2016 collection was all about cool ’70s & ’80s vibes – but in a chic, romantic way. Don’t think orange corduroy or denim skirts, but more a romantic Lauren Hutton goes to palm springs and brings all of her creams, whites, and fringe. Now, you get it!

We interpreted Rachel Zoe’s runway to mean lots of white & cream layers with relaxed makeup & a fun, kind of messy hair. How can you incorporate this in your everyday, office appropriate life? Pull out those white jeans (or even light denim), front tuck a loose white shirt and maybe pair with with a loose fringy jacket or something with a little flair. Still need some inspiration? We’ve got some fun starting points right here….

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IMG_6472THE TWISTED FISHTAIL

1. Fabulous stylist Andie Pierce from Stylisted helped us out with Isabella’s look, so to mimic it completely, take two sections above each ear & fishtail braid them back until they merge. For a bit of an easier start, take two sections above each ear and twist them backward & secure with a clear elastic.

2. Pull the two sections (twisted or fishtailed) back into a small ponytail. Divide the ponytail into two smaller, equal-sized ponytails & separate a small section of hair from the outside of the left ponytail.

3. Pull this piece across the top of the left ponytail over to the right ponytail. Don’t twist the hair as you bring it across, just a flat, straight pull over. Next, separate another small section of hair from the outside of the right ponytail. Pull this piece across the top of the right ponytail over to the left ponytail.

4. Repeat steps 3-6 until you run out of hair. If it get’s messy, that’s okay – it looks better that way! When you’re finished, secure the ends with a second elastic. If you used an elastic to secure your top two sections (that you twisted or fishtailed) together, snip it off so it all looks like one fluid style.

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lauren and sylvia

BLUE LAGOON BEAUTY

IMG_9580You’ve probably heard about the magic of Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon & you’ve probably got a whole tripped planned around visiting this particular spot (hello, dream trip to the spa!) If you have no idea what I am talking about, here is a cliff notes version: the Blue Lagoon is a spa based on unique geothermal seawater properties of the lagoon. The blue color comes from the silica and the way it reflects sunlight.

It’s basically a dream spa. It’s stunning, helps with a whole host of ails, and not to mention, it’s the namesake of a killer beauty product line – Blue Lagoon.
IMG_9616Since Taste of Iceland is here in Chicago (goes until Sunday – go, go, GO!) we decided to bring the Icelandic spa treatment to us as well. If you are in need of a little spa trip but maybe don’t have the time or are just looking for an indulgent at-home treatment to treat yourself to, this is it.

We sampled their Silica Body Scrub & it has basically transformed me into an Icelandic princess. You see that concentrated look on my face? It’s because I am a 1,000% in love with the scrub. Rub it on your neck, legs, arms, and upper body and prepare to be amazing. Goodbye winter skin, city sledge, and everyday woes, this scrub is kicking them all to the curb.

My skin is always left silky smooth & the fragrance of the scrub is ridiculously relaxing. After a nice long bath or an evening shower, it’s almost better than a trip to the spa….almost. 

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lauren and sylvia

SIMPLE SPRING MAKEUP so fresh & so dewy

IMG_1629Okay, so it might not be spring-time outside, but that doesn’t mean a girl can’t pretend. We are breaking down another super fun makeup look that is perfect for that dewy skin look that says, “I just spent a week at the spa and my skin is glowing form the inside.” Sadly, that isn’t my life right now, but a gal can dream, right?

Don’t worry, we aren’t talking about 50 shades of contouring or breaking down strobing (because who has time for that, really?) Just three simple steps and maybe a few new tricks to get gorgeous glowing skin in under 5 minutes. Now that is a makeup routine I can get behind!

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STEP ONE: The Base

Start with MAC’s Strobe Cream to add a dewiness to the skin and prep the skin for makeup. Just a little goes a long way, so don’t go overboard!

Next, apply foundation (we used Makeup Forever HD) and conceal where needed. Again, just spot treat.

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STEP TWO: Sassy Cheekbones

Next, it’s all about those fabulous cheekbones! Define your cheekbones by brushing Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder and a neutral berry blush (Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure) right under the cheekbone going upward.

To highlight, we used (and are obsessed with!) the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop on the cheekbones, brow bone, center of nose, cupid’s bow, center of forehead and center of chin. Highlighting sounds much more complicated than it really is. Don’t think contouring or strobing, just lightly dust the powder on the above areas and see play around with a look that works best!

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STEP THREE: The Finishing Touches

Last, but certainly not least, your eyes & lips!

For the eyes, we used the  Viseart Neutral Matte palette with some Champagne Pop in the center of the lids for added light. This is a soft enough color to wear during the day, but moody enough to transition to a fun afterwork activity.

For lips, Marc Jacobs New Nudes Sheer Gel Lipstick in Dusty Rose is the perfect match, as it’s sheer so it can never look too harsh on the lips!

Top it off with a simple three step Dutch braid crown & you are ready for just about anything!

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If you are like me & not very savvy with hair or makeup, I more than recommend my gal Mollie at Stylisted. It’s the most amazing service that allows stylists to come to your home & get your hair and makeup ready in no time, plus it’s insanely affordable! Trust me, you’ll love it.

So, think you’ll try it out? Let me know below!IMG_1487
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lauren and sylvia