Seasonal Beauty Favorites

beauty favorites glossier kiel's bois de balincourt

Whenever the season changes, I try to update my “beauty regimen”, which is really just basic hygiene but it makes me feel fancy to call it a regimen. Here are a few of the things I’ve added to my high-end arsenal of soap and water:

PCA Skin A&C Synergy serum //  If my skin is looking dull, I pat this on after washing for a few nights and immediately notice a difference.

Maison Louis Marie Bois de Balincourt fragrance //  I’m not coordinated enough to spray on perfume without drenching myself in the eye, so I love that this comes in a roll-on. Plus, I just can’t resist a sandalwood and vetiver blend.

Glossier Boy Brow //  I’d been dying to get my hands on some Glossier products forever, and finally made the plunge when they had a rare free shipping offer. This gel slightly darkens my brows and sets them in place so they DO NOT move.

Kiehl’s Mango Lip Balm // I’ve been using Kiehl’s Lip Balm since college, and for some reason, a hint of mango scent makes it feel extra special.

What are you using now that the weather has turned?

My Must-Have Makeup Faves

I love the idea of makeup–transformation, enhancement, etc.–but am usually pretty lazy about actually using it. My daily routine is pretty simple: I make sure my skin looks good, my lashes are curled, and hurriedly swipe on a lip stain as I’m rushing out the door. Sometimes I’ll do a red lip or a basic cat eye, but these are the products I manage to use regularly:

fashion stylist blog makeup must haves

1 > YSL Touch Eclat in 6.5 | I have ridiculously dark under-eye circles, and I’ve convinced myself that this makes a difference. Mostly I like that the pretty gold tube makes me feel fancy.

2 > Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream in Deep | Honestly, I use this because Maybelline was one of the ONLY brands to make a BB cream for brown skin when they first became popular in the US. Even MAC didn’t make one at the time! Sometimes I mix in a little aloe vera gel for a dewy finish.

3 > Sephora powder brush | I use this to apply bronzer–it fits nicely in the spot just underneath my cheekbones.

4 > NYX cream blush in Orange CB09 | I’ve gotten into cream blush lately, as it blends more seamlessly with my BB cream. I use this when I want a modern coral-y flush.

5 > NYX eyebrow pencil in Medium Brown | I am 100% against Instagram brows, but I do like my arches to look groomed. I use the pencil to fill in the tail and any bald patches.

6 > L’Oreal Voluminous Smoldering eyeliner in Brown | I’m terribly imprecise when it comes to liner, and this was literally made for smudging.

7 > Love My Eyes sharpener | A sharp point is key, especially for brow pencils.

8 > Shu Uemura eyelash curler | It’s supposed to be the best, and I drank the Kool Aid. To be fair, it does do a better job than the drugstore curler I keep in my gym bag.

9 > Clinique Mascara brush | I use this to brush and shape my eyebrows, and I have several. Real talk: Clinique’s disposable brushes are DA BEST, so when you go to Sephora or Ulta be sure to grab a few.

10 > DiorShow Blackout Waterproof | It costs a grip, but this is the mascara that makes the most difference.

11 > Guerlain Terracotta bronzing powder in 07 | I bought my first Guerlain bronzer when I was in middle school, after reading that the editor of Essence Magazine recommended it. I use it as a combination contour/bronzer to add color and definition.

12 > Sonia Kashuk Duofibre brush #115 | Blending is key to natural-looking makeup, so I do a final buff with this brush once everything is on and poppin’.

13 > Clinique Chubby Stick in Roly Poly Rosy | One of my favorite makeup artists gave this to me after a shoot, and I love it. I use this in place of the NYX cream blush when I want a pink-y romantic flush.


What are your favorites? Are there any magical life-changing products I should know about?

Beauty // Red Lips are Easy with NYX Liquid Suede

NYX lip suede swatch

I’ve always loved the idea of red lipstick. A bright red pout has been the signature of classy broads for the better part of the last century, but my aversion to re-applying (seriously, who has time?) meant that it just wasn’t realistic for me. I stuck to lip stains and minded my own business.

But one day, when I stopped by Ulta to buy beauty products I don’t need, the crew at the counter excitedly pulled out a new box of NYX Liquid Suede. I’d heard good things about NYX lip colors, so I picked out a warm yellow-based red called Kitten Heels (only $7!) figuring I’d try it and see what happened.

I like to exfoliate my lips by smearing on Kiehl's lip balm then rubbing it off with a cotton swab.

I like to exfoliate my lips by smearing on Kiehl’s lip balm then rubbing it off with a cotton swab before applying lipstick.

What a boon! While I can never get the hang of swiping on lipstick straight out of a tube, this  liquid formulation comes with a wand for more control. Thicker and more opaque than gloss, it dries to a matte, velvety finish, right in line with the ‘90s makeup trend.

Once it dries it’s mostly in place, lasting through my usual fruit-and-yogurt breakfast and afternoon granola bar snack. It does require re-application after lunch (does anything stand up to alfredo sauce?) but I figure I can deal with twice-a-day touch ups in exchange for being the type of boss babe who can rock red suede lips.

NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick, $6.99 at Ulta

Tried It: Smith & Cult Nail Polish

My manicure game is confusingly, disappointingly inconsistent. My nails are either long and curved like a prowling cat’s claws, or they’re a keratin graveyard of cracked and broken nubs. My solution for what is likely an easily addressed problem is not regular upkeep or professional manicures or anything that would involve personal responsibility on my part. No, my solution is to cover up the mess with a slapdash coat of polish and pray that no one looks too closely.

Enter Smith & Cult, another addition to the world of luxury nail brands. Touted as a 5-Free formula developed by the founder of Hard Candy, it’s supposed to be the high performance version of vernis à ongles.

I stopped by Mitchell’s to pick up a bottle of Nailed Lacquer in Lo-Fi, hoping that the espresso shade would distract from my mangled cuticles. Once I got to work with the relatively short brush (the gold top comes off for easier maneuvering), it took the usual three coats + topcoat to get the desired opaque finish.

Dark and handsome Lo-Fi

Dark and handsome Lo-Fi

After a week of typing, cleaning, and an embarrassing run-in between me, my bike, and a parking meter that I swear came out of nowhere, it held up as expected, with just a few small chips. Interestingly, the minor chips turned into a major eyesore during a most mundane task: washing my hair.

Smith & Cult’s polish is (unnecessarily?) expensive compared to my usual two-dollar NYX from Walgreens, but the names alone make it worth a browse. Who wouldn’t want shades like Check the Rhyme, Tenderoni, and Gay Ponies Dancing in the Snow at their fingertips?

Smith & Cult nail polish, $18, Mitchell’s Salon and Spa and

The Style Sample | Cincinnati Fashion Stylist & Shopping Expert

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