03 .21 .14



I’ve been road-testing this top coat for the past few weeks and really love it. It provides incredible shine and much better durability than any other brand I’ve tried. I wouldn’t compare it’s wear to a gel manicure, exactly, though. It does chip, depending on how hard you are on your hands. That said, I baked a batch of brownies this weekend, went swimming, washed my girls’  hair multiple times and built sandcastles at the beach this weekend—in addition to my usual wear and tear—and my nails still look so shiny.

As with all of Essie’s polishes, this top coat is DBP, toluene and formaldehyde free.


P.S I’m also completely in love with Essie’s new  E-nuf is E-nuf for summer toes.

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I’ve discussed in the past how my sparse eyebrows are basically the bane of my existence. And I, admittedly, tend toward high end products from Tom Ford and Anastasia Beverly Hills.

But then my toddler got into my makeup bag and used my sacred Tom Ford to draw all over herself—and proceeded to chew on the spooly brush at the opposite end. So, it was an in immediate R.I.P. for my beloved Brow Sculptor in Chesnut, and there was no way I was making it to Bergdorf Goodman any time soon to buy another.

Sheer panic.

So I put on my largest pair of sunglasses and went to the drugstore in search of a substitute pencil. A pencil that could be both precise and blendable. A pencil with good pigment that was natural looking. A pencil that would wear well in heat and humidity. A pencil with staying power.

I found THIS pencil and it is my everything. For about $3, you get TWO and a sharpener! Please don’t judge them by their size or cost—their diminutive stature is actually pretty brilliant because you get more control. I apply the pencil in quick, short, light strokes in the direction the hair grows. Once I’ve built up the desired intensity of color, I go over the strokes with a small stiff brow brush to blend.

I’ve bought a bunch and given a few away to friends and family who all agree with me that these little babies are the bomb.

P.S. This eyebrow growth serum is working!

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I think I’m really beginning to age.

Technically, I mean. On the surface. Because lord knows deep down, despite my love for kale, I’m still a kid who sits criss-cross-applesauce and likes bubble gum flavored lip gloss.

This summer my normally oily skin is dry. Flakey, even. I’m completely flummoxed. I’ve battled a shiny t-zone ever since my hormones kicked in in 1987. 

Thankfully, Ole Henriksen’s Vitamin C Collagen Booster, my standby skin brightener, is really saving my face from looking utterly parched. This is one of those products I recommend to everyone. It benefits every skin type and contains important antioxidants (free radical fighters!) that should be a standard part of any skin care regime. The nourishing serum contains rose hip, green tea and fruit extracts, along with hyularonic acid, to diminish fine lines and protect skin. And, nothing brightens the skin like a powerful punch of vitamin C—and Henrksen’s vitamin C is a proprietary blend like no other.

I apply it under moisturizer and sunscreen. It dries in instantly.

As always, Ole Henriksen products are formulated without parabens, sulfates or phthalates.

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I am not a summer person.

I sweat too easily. I don’t enjoy swimming. And, as we’ve discussed, I sunburn in under six minutes flat.

This magical bronzer from YSL, however, has enabled to me to actually fake a summer glow so well that I look like the carefree, lawn-game-playing, beach-strolling, sun-happy mom that I SO am not.

The formula is unique—a powder in balm technology that vanishes like velvet into the skin, blurring imperfections and minimizing pores. (How cool is blur makeup technology??) And it wears so well in the heat and humidity. I’ve totally retired my powder bronzers until further notice. I’m a medium shade of fair and I use #3, which is just deep enough to use for subtle contouring or more broadly as an all-over bronzer. There is no shimmer, yet, there is radiance. How this is possible might be the eighth wonder of the world.

This gilded compact epitomizes one of the reasons why I love makeup so much—for creating illusions, for helping us create another version of ourselves, if only temporarily. (After all, who really needs to know that I wear giant brimmed hats all day and throw picnics for my girls in an SPF tent?)

P.S. The safest sunscreens for you and your kids

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So many friends have been asking me about contouring makeup lately. I think all the hype, the intimidating “before” and “after” photos (like these) and the deluge of contouring kits (my favorite one here) have made this age-old makeup technique illusive and intimidating.

Have we not been sucking in our cheeks forever to apply blush and bronzer?

Put simply, contouring is about light and dark: light pushes features forward, darkness sets them back. I think everyone can benefit from a little flattering light on the face, even if you don’t want to delve into the darkness.

This beautiful highlighting pen from Tom Ford is perfect for dotting the inside corners of eyes, cupids bow of the lip and lightly patting on apples of cheeks, tops of cheekbones and sides of eyes. It’s such an easy way to achieve that subtle, ever-so-pretty glow.

This is the shimmery version of Tom Ford’s iconic concealer pen—and it comes in many shades but only Lavender Voile and Citrine (the shade I use and is most universal) are sheer with shimmer.


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That’s my littlest one safely soaking in the sun. I just love that picture. She’s not even two there but doesn’t she have the calm of an 80 year-old on that raft? She kills me.

I take sun protection very seriously in my house. Both my girls know the routine: sunscreen stick on face, “sun lotion” all over body, SPF shirts and hats. Non-negotiable. Like me, my daughters are very fair and burn in a matter of minutes.

I know how confusing the safety of sunscreen can be these days. The difference between what is organic, green and non-toxic can make your head spin. That’s why I’m thrilled to introduce new BeautyMama contributor, Melissa Schweiger Kleinman. I met Melissa after I fell in love with her bookBelli Beautiful: The Essential Guide to the Safest Health and Beauty Products for Pregnancy, Mom and Baby. Melissa’s beauty expertise runs deep—she has written about beauty for national magazines and websites, including Marie Claire, Shape and Women’s Wear Daily to name a few, and was the beauty editor for Sephora.

I love Melissa because she names names—I just buy whatever she says. Her book is like an index of the best and safest makeup and skincare, head to toe. So much easier than shopping and searching the EWG!

So without further ado, here is Melissa’s golden sunscreen advice:

On the heels of a new report from the CDC that melanoma rates have tripled in the past three decades, sun protection has never been more important. I’ve been religious about using SPF 30 for over a decade now. But it was more for vanity back then than anything else. I realized my skin just looked better without all those brown spots. Plus my skin is on the paler side, so I always had to burn before I tanned, with the actual bronze lasting a matter of days before it peeled off.

My daily SPF in my late 20s and early 30s was a chemical sunblock. It wasn’t until I got pregnant that I rethought which type of sunblock to use—mineral or chemical. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are considered mineral or physical sunblocks. They basically act as a mirror and reflect the UV rays away from your skin. The skin does not absorb these types of sunblocks, as they just sit on the skin’s surface. Chemical sunblocks work by converting the UV light into safe red light, but they do get absorbed into the skin. The benefit of chemical sunscreen is that it cosmetically looks better, leaving no telltale white finish on the skin.

While there is no scientific data showing chemical sunscreens to pose any real danger to our health, I still opt to use mostly physical blocks. My skin is very sensitive and since chemical sunscreens do get absorbed, they can cause allergic reactions in the skin. In the end, you need to choose a formulation you can feel good about applying every day with no issue. As Dr. Darrell Rigel, one of the dermatologists I work with at Schweiger Dermatology Group, says: “The best sunscreen for you is the one you’re going to use.”

Here, my picks for the best performing and best feeling SPFs:

For Mama

Face: MD Solar Sciences Mineral Tinted Creme SPF 30 Broad Spectrum UVA-UVB and Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Defense.

Body: Beautycounter Protect All Over Sunscreen SPF 30 and Elta MD UV Pure Broad Spectrum SPF 47.

For Kids

 Babo Botanicals Sport Stick SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen.

Body: Honest Company Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30.

Melissa’s Sun-Safe Tips

• Seek shade whenever possible. Find playgrounds that have shade tents for the kids.
• Wear hats! I love this chlorine-resistant bucket hat from Coolibar.
• Invest in some chic UPF clothing. I would buy the whole collection from Mott50 if I could. I especially love their lightweight cardigans.
• If you’re applying a spray SPF, make sure to apply two coats. You never know how much is ending up in the air and not on your skin.
• Make slathering on the SPF a non-negotiable for your kids. It should be as automatic as brushing their teeth in the morning.
• If you let your kids apply their own SPF (highly recommend the stick kind), they’ll actually look forward to doing it.

Melissa Schweiger Kleinman is the director of content and communications at Schweiger Dermatology Group and the author of Belli Beautiful: The Essential Guide to the Safest Health and Beauty Products for Pregnancy, Mom and Baby.

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