Fashion & Beauty

Pink hair, don’t care.

I realize I’ve been delinquent in my duties here. Like, really bad. Maybe worse than ever before. So it’s probably not the best time to congratulate myself on the fact that this blog came into existence almost exactly two years ago! Despite the fact that I’ve done a less-than-stellar job in recent months, my malformed brainchild maintains a pulse.

So on that note, I’ll get down to business. A few months ago, my lovely stylist Lauren updated my ombre with some vibrant pink and red. The result was beautiful, as expected, but as soon as I left the salon I was hit with the melancholy realization that I’d be unable to maintain the color on my own. I’d fly back to San Francisco and it would likely fade in a matter of weeks, even with the most delicate care and attention. I’d watch the fruits of her labor (and my time and money) circle the drain while crying into my loofah. The world would end and everything would be terrible, etc.

We all know that color-treated hair demands a little extra finesse– more time between washes (cold water only), extra hydration, touch-ups and more frequent trims… You know, the basics.

Well, it turns out there are some things that even Cosmo (or Harvard Law) can’t teach you. Enter oVertone Haircare, a relatively newish line of color-depositing conditioners that help to preserve your existing color or tint your hair gradually with consistent usage. The conditioners don’t bleach or lighten hair, they simply infuse it with a dose of semi-permanent dye each time you condition.

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Miserable face, messy desk, sub-par under-eye concealer.

If you’re a true Cosmo Girl, you know that color-depositing conditioners aren’t novel. What makes the oVertone line different is the fact that it’s actually good for your hair. Their conditioners lack the heavy alcohol content of regular dyes, so they won’t dry things out. They’re made of all plant-based ingredients and are gentle enough to use every time you condition. And, you can even use HOT WATER to rinse. Anyone with color-treated hair knows the pains of hunching over the bathroom sink to avoid a frigid shower.

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Another thing that I love about the line is the ability it gives you to customize your color. Each hue comes in different tones– pastel, vibrant or “extreme,” (the deepest of the three). You can also mix colors or use more than one conditioner at a time on different pieces of hair. Sounds like a lot of effort to me, personally, but if you’re an overachiever, be my guest.

Ultimately, I feel like the fact that I’ve used this stuff for the past three months with highly favorable results is a testament to its staying power. My hair feels as healthy as it ever had before dyeing, which is equal parts shocking and awesome. (I hate Halloween wig syndrome.) (You know what I mean.) And if you’re looking for a gradual, low-risk, semi-permanent way to try out a new look, this is it. So try out that lavender hair I know you’ve been coveting, y’all. Life is too short.

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Fashion & Beauty

Say Happy Valentine’s Day to yourself with awesome nail charms.

Oh, hey! How’s your Valentine’s Day going? Are you sick with a bacterial infection, alternately sweating and shivering under four layers of blankets? Are you out with your beau right now drinking a nice Merlot or at home with a tall, refreshing glass of Emergen-C? (I wonder if Emergen-C mixes well with vodka. Will report back.) Do your eyeballs burn so badly that you’ve had to turn your Kindle’s brightness setting down to the lowest level to read that escape from the FLDS cult memoir you’ve been meaning to finish?

That’s been my evening thus far. But you know what, I’m far from bitter. I spent a lovely day working from home, then took a nice little jaunt to CVS for some more cold medicine, and now I’m settling in to watch the highly anticipated second season of House of Cards. Not all bad. And the cherry on top? Doing my nails, of course!

Ok, I love the look of nail art as much as the next girl, so it might surprise you to learn that I also find it to be a pain in the ass. While I routinely gawk at the Pinterest tutorials on how to turn your nails into tiny Mondrian paintings, I do so more as an observer than someone who actually cares to learn. I’ll leave the works of art to the masters.

There’s a recent development that has managed to sway me, though, and that’s nail jewelry. Yeah. HEX’s nail charms are gold-plated and reusable, and come in a variety of designs ranging from words to symbols and animals. They range from $.75 to $1.75 each, depending on style. Application is simple: just stick them on your nails after applying your topcoat and let dry! You can also use nail glue after drying (which is great if you usually go the gel-manicure route). To remove, simply pop them off and clean them up, and they’re ready to go again.

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China Glaze in “Seduce Me.” Appropriate.

Who needs a Valentine when you can have a gold-plated serpent stuck to your finger? Psh, not this girl. Nope.

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Fashion & Beauty

Five pick-me-ups for days when you feel like this:

There’s a phrase I’ve coined for my own occasional bout of crippling insecurity: “having a moment.” Like my personal heroine above, we all experience this phenomenon at one point or another. It’s natural. But here’s the thing: these feelings should last only a moment. They should be only temporary; nothing but a blip in your day. Acknowledge them– indulge them, even. But then pick yourself up, slap some spackle on your face and go to happy hour. Here are five fool-proof ways to make yourself feel at least 50% better in a time of need.

1. Fresh Coat of Mascara
This might be obvious, but it doesn’t make it any less true. There are days when I slum it at work– throw on leggings and a long sweater and call it a day. There are days when I don’t even accessorize. But I don’t ever go anywhere without mascara. If you’re drooping and find yourself looking haggard in the fluorescently lit ladies’ room mirror, throw on another coat. Mascara instantly brightens your eyes and makes your whole look appear more polished. I recommend Eyeko London’s Black Magic Mascara. It layers well and doesn’t clump, smudge or flake.

2. Under-Eye Concealer
My dark circles are probably the biggest culprits when it comes to having a bad face day. And, oh God, if anyone dares approach me and inform me that I “look a little tired,” forget it. Can we all just agree to never utter those words? In my mind, you’re basically telling me I look like a refugee of the Carnival Cruise disaster or something.

My favorite concealer is Maybelline’s Fit Me Concealer— it’s oil free, light, and doesn’t crease.

3. Add Some Color to Your Cheeks
This is one that my mom likes to advocate. Swiping some blush or bronzer on your cheeks will instantly make you look healthier, and you know, less pallid, sickly and/or near dead. I am absolutely addicted to Josie Maran’s Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee in Honeymoon Honey, a warm brownish tone that makes it look like you’ve been sitting out in the sun. (Ha! Fat chance.) Because it’s a gel, it gives you more of a natural glow than a powder would.

4. Dry Shampoo
If you haven’t yet discovered the wonders of dry shampoo, you need to do so, and quickly. Dry shampoo doesn’t just work on dirty hair– it’s a great tool for creating volume. If your hair is looking flat at the crown or dull after not having been washed for a day, you can easily resurrect it by flipping your head over and spraying away. One of my favorite tricks for the days when I’m too lazy to wash my hair: dry shampoo at the roots, and a spritz of water on the ends to tame any wonkiness. Then I pull all of my hair up in Princess Leia buns while I apply my face. When I’m on my way out the door, I pull out the buns and tousle my hair. Easy loose waves.

My fave, as I have mentioned before, is Klorane’s Extra Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Extract.

5. Add a Coat of Nail Polish
This may not be an option if you’re really on the go, but if you have ten minutes to spare, add a coat of sheer, shimmery polish like Butter London’s Knackered to that boring shade you’re already wearing. Earlier this week I had on some blah mauvey color for a meeting, because that’s what my imitation of professionalism looks like. I got sick of that pretty quickly. Now I feel much more like a unicorn/princess, which is always the objective.

If you’re worried about not having time to fix your nails, say, when you’re about to head out on a date after work, you’ve got to grab Seche Vite’s topcoat. Your nails will be hard as… nails… in less than five minutes. Real talk.

Happy Thursday!

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Fashion & Beauty

How to look like you’re wearing fake lashes, in a good way.

There are few things I hate more than waking up in the morning, bleary eyed and disoriented, and stumbling into the bathroom to stare down my naked, makeup-free face.

Now, I enjoy putting on makeup as much as anyone else who also happens to enjoy it. But one of my complaints about doing so during the work week, at such an early hour, is that it all seems for naught. I follow a pretty strict regimen, but an hour-long commute complete with train-switching and bus-catching can take its toll on all my hard work before I even set foot in the office.

One area that I never have issues with, however, is my eyelashes. I’ve been told since I was thirteen by everyone from dental assistants to bus drivers that I have good lashes. They’re long enough to almost touch my eyebrows, and they curve upward instead of sticking straight without the help of a curler. What all these fools don’t know is that without the help of mascara, my eyelashes are actually thin, sparse, and not very dark—albeit long enough to put in a ponytail.

I discovered Lancome Hypnose mascara when I was working in a Thai restaurant in the mall the summer before my freshman year of college. Virginia in the summer is humid and swampy, and combined with working eight-hour shifts running in and out of a hot kitchen, my eye-makeup routine wasn’t holding up. My mascara would often begin to flake midday, and reapplying to fill in the bare patches would create a spidery mess. I tried all kinds of different formulas, but found fault with each one. In my experience, mascaras are too thick and clumpy, too dry (also resulting in clumps when layered overzealously) or too liquidy—coating and separating the lashes, but not adding any volume.

One day as I gazed out over the parking lot contemplating what the staff meal might be, my manager approached me without introduction and demanded to know what kind of mascara I used. It was a weird question, but she was a very direct and weird person, so I promptly told her. (I can’t recall now what my answer was—most likely whatever was sitting in the bottom of my purse).  “You have nice lashes,” she said seriously, “but you should use different mascara. You know Lancome? Go buy the Hypnose. During your break.”

So I did. I walked to Macy’s during my lunch break and forked over $27 in wadded- up tips. I’m not really sure why I felt the need to heed this woman’s demands that I change what I put on my face, especially given the fact that I was skeptical of her own beauty habits (she wore purple contacts and a face-full of mask-like foundation). I guess it was because I was 18 and real adults could still tell me to do stuff back then.

My skepticism was immediately erased. I know we’re talking about mascara here, but I have been a convert since that fateful day. Hypnose’s formula is rich, creamy, and substantive, not unlike oil paint. The shape of the brush is kind of rectangular (weird, ok, but stick with me) so I use an edge to push mascara into the base of my eyelashes, and then fan it out using a flat side of the brush. Two coats and I’m set for the day, without clumps, flaking or smudging. I’m pretty sure this is the only absolute must-have item in my makeup bag, so I’m ordering you to go and buy it, as a wise restaurant manager once did to me.

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Lancome Hypnose Mascara and Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in “Lucky.”

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