Monday, October 28, 2013

National Magic Week: How to Make Signs of Aging Disappear in the Blink of an Eye

I performed my first magic trick at the age of 8 when I made water disappear from a drinking glass. Truth be told, while my family closed their eyes, I recited an impromptu incantation and then sucked up the water with a straw as quickly as possible. When they reopened their eyes, it appeared as though the liquid had vanished into thin air. And, poof--faster than you can say "the wizarding world of Harry Potter"--I became an aspiring Hermione Granger.

Now, as a beauty blogger, I get to show women how to perform their own vanishing acts. By selecting products with the right ingredients for their skin type, they can make crows feet, wrinkles and expression lines disappear--and that's no hocus pocus. 

In honor of National Magic Week, which began last Friday and ends on Halloween, we've assembled some of the best anti-aging moisturizers, serums and night creams on the market. Their bag of tricks includes healing and hydrating hyaluronic acid, peptides, vitamins and green tea extract, which help transform sagging skin into a silky smooth complexion. 

You'll feel like you're on a magic carpet ride!

SHINE: CellCeuticals CellGenesis. BEAUTY: Peptides and vitamin E will hold you spellbound, as they promote cellular regeneration and renew skin's smoothness. BEACON: No animal testing and vegan. Contains no artificial colorants or fragrances, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates or parabens.

SHINE: Dionis Goat Milk Skincare Green Conscience Wrinkle Cream. BEAUTY: Create your own disappearing act, as marine extracts, vitamin E, coconut oil and hyaluronic acid help make signs of premature aging vanish. BEACON: No animal testing. Free of parabens.

SHINE: Hydroxatone Anti-Aging BB Cream, AM/PM Anti-Wrinkle Complex and Intensive Overnight Repair. BEAUTY: Vitamins C and E, peptides and hyaluronic acid work their magic to firm and lift the appearance of skin, and improve overall strength, resiliency and volume. BEACON: Contains no parabens.

SHINE: Kate Somerville Deep Tissue Repair. BEAUTY: You don't need any smoke or mirrors with this high-performance hydrator, as it reduces the visible depth and density of fine lines and wrinkles with macadamia and jojoba seed oils, vitamin E, peptides and hyaluronic acid. BEACON: No animal testing.

SHINE: Refineé Line Stop. BEAUTY: Abracadabra! Green tea extract and peptides help you dramatically diminish the look of expression lines, crows feet and furrows. BEACON: No animal testing.

SHINE: Skin Authority Wrinkle Reversing Serum. BEAUTY: This serum will cast a spell over you, as it maximizes moisture retention, and plumps and fills folds and wrinkles with lactic acid, vitamin C, and orange and lemon peel oils. BEACONNo animal testing. Free of parabens, dyes and added fragrances. Supports Look Good...Feel Better.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween Nail Art: To-Die-For Day of the Dead Digits

Photo by Cody Garcia

Make no bones about it! Gravity star Sandra Bullock recently got into the Halloween spirit with an otherworldy outfit. She and her 3-year-old son Louis wore matching macabre skeleton costumes to his school party. Bullock also completely covered her face with Day of the Dead makeup using white paint accented by black eyes, nose, lips and cheek stitches, and a red flower chin and petal socket eyes. 

Sandra Bullock: Superstar sugar skull look.

This type of face paint honors a holiday celebration in Central and South America called Day of the Dead. Dia de los Muertos, as it's known, takes place on November 1 and 2, and actually brings about joyful rather scary feelings. The tradition remembers deceased friends and family members with special altars that have been lovingly adorned with edible sugar skulls, flowers and other gifts that the departed enjoyed during their lifetime.

Sugar skulls inspire festive nail art designs in a scary good way. Whimsical elements that can be applied with polish include petal socket eyes, cobwebs, stitches and flowers. So, in honor of Halloween and Day of the Dead, my niece, Natalie J. Wilson, and I created several easy patterns using glue-on thumb nails as our canvas. They're drop-dead gorgeous!

Please feel free to share your own Halloween or Day of the Dead nail art ideas. We'd love to hear about them!  


Nail art by Natalie J. Wilson

SHINE: Karma Organic Nail Polish San Gennaro in September (red), Velvet Night (purple) and Cobblestone Matte (gray). BEAUTY: Start with two coats of gray polish. Then, using purple lacquer, paint two large eye sockets, a triangle nose and a mouth with a long, straight line and several small vertical stitches. Use the tip of your brush or a nail art dotting tool to finish the skull with red flower-like petals around the eyes. BEACON: No animal testing. Free of toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate. 


Nail art by Natalie J. Wilson

SHINE: Ruby Wing Color Changing Nail Polish Green Peace (bright to dark green), Summer Love (bright to burnt orange) and Horizon (bright to deep red). BEAUTY: Sugar skull art often features flowers, stitches and geometric shapes. To create a sophisticated stitch-'em-up look, apply two coats of orange polish. Next, paint two layers of green lacquer over the upper half of your nail bed. Where the two colors meet, draw a red line across the entire nail. After it dries, paint small uneven vertical stitches to complete the look. BEACON: Vegan and no animal testing. Supports GLAAD, Autism Speaks and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.


Nail art by Rhonda J. Wilson

SHINE: Dazzle Dry Nail Lacquer Portia's Wit (white), Midnight Express (black) and Oh My! (bright orange). BEAUTY: A spider web design playfully presents a gothic graphic look on a sugar skull--and your nails. Start with two coats of white polish, and then paint fan-shaped straight black lines from the bottom of the nail to the top. To complete the cobweb-like effect, draw arches in between the lines to connect them. Finish by painting orange polish over some of the black lines to create more depth. BEACON: Vegan, and contains no formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, camphor or nitrocellulose. 


Nail art by Natalie J. Wilson

SHINE: Dazzle Dry Nail Lacquer Morning Dew (bright green), Oh My! (bright orange), Rapid Red (crimson), Midnight Express (black) and Strawberry Macaron (pink). BEAUTY: Sugar skulls often get crowned with paper or fresh flowers, such as gladiolas. To recreate one, layer two coats of pink polish over the entire nail. Next, use a nail art brush or the edge of the polish brush to draw a large star-like outline with four pointed corners in black lacquer. Then, begin coloring in the look with green leaves and orange petal polish. Complete the flower by placing a large red dot in the center. BEACON: Vegan, and contains no formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, camphor or nitrocellulose. 

Photo by Shabnam Mogharabi
My Halloween version of Day of the Dead.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Kim Kardashian at 33: How To Get Her Gotta-Have-It, Glam Squad Look

Happy birthday to Kim Kardashian. The reality TV star places 33 candles on her cake today. 

The new mom celebrates the occasion with an elaborate marriage proposal from baby-daddy Kanye West, which involved a flawless, 15-carat engagement ring, and a head-to-toe makeover. She lightened her locks with heavy blonde highlights following the birth of her daughter North West and recently lost about 40 el-bees. She attributes her slimmed down figure to following the Atkins diet and participating in regular pilates workouts, which burn up to 500 calories per session.

Light hair, camera, action!

Motherhood has also forced Kardashian to step up her cool quotient when it comes to hair and makeup. Although Kardashian gets more attention for her fashion sense (and sultry selfies), she spends a lot of time with her glam squad. They focus on lashes, lips and liner, and mostly gravitate toward a smoky eye/heavy liner/light lip look. However, she often sports a pop of red pout when she minimizes her eyeshadow. Plus, her long, flowing locks always look camera-ready with cascading curls or silky straightness--depending on her mood. 

Photo by Tim Lundin/   
The glam squad works its magic during her pre-platinum days.

You don't need a private glam squad to achieve Kardashian's hair and makeup look. In honor of her birthday, we've compiled the latest tools, treatments, liners, mascaras, shadows, foundations and blushes. They're designed to bring out your inner reality TV star, so get ready for your close-up.


SHINE: Belson Products Gold 'N Hot 3/4" Professional Ceramic Curved Plate Straightening Iron. BEAUTY: Straighten, curl and flip your hair for versatile styling without leaving crease marks. BEACON: The parent company, Helen of Troy, supports American Cancer SocietyBig Brothers Big Sisters and Cookies for Kids' Cancer.

SHINE: Maijan Deep Conditioning Boost Argan Hair Oil Treatment. BEAUTY: Jojoba, lavender and argan oils, and vitamin E help restore silkiness and softness to dry/damaged hair. BEACONContains no alcohol, parabens or sulfates. Vegan and no animal testing.

SHINE: Sally Hershberger Hyper Hydration Super Keratin Shampoo. BEAUTY: Color-treated and damaged strands can breathe a sigh of relief with ingredients such as shea butter, sunflower seed extract, and argan and coconut oils. BEACON: Free of sulfates. No animal testing and vegan.


 SHINE: Afterglow Cosmetics Organic Infused Eye Liner (Gravity; classic black). BEAUTY: This creamy formula creates smooth, even lines with sesame and castor seed oils. BEACON: Contains no parabens, nanos, bismuth oxychloride, gluten or talc. Supports the Young Survival Coalition.

SHINE: Beauty Without Cruelty Full Volume Mascara (Cocoa). BEAUTY: Vitamin E and rice oil maximize lash length and thickness. BEACON: Vegan and no animal testing. Free of parabens, SLS/SLES and synthetic fragrances.

SHINE: Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Mascara (Black Magic). BEAUTY: Condition lashes from base to tip, and reduce flaking and clumping with aloe vera leaf and rosemary extracts, and hyaluronic acid. BEACON: No animal testing. Vegan, and paraben and gluten free.

SHINE: Milani Lipstick (Nude Créme and Red Velvet) and Eye Tech Extreme Liquid Eye Liner (Blackest Black). BEAUTY: Perk up your pout and peeps with these makeup bag must-haves. BEACON: Cruelty free.

SHINE: Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation (Olive 2), Eye Shadow Trio (Sultry) and Blush (Pale). BEAUTY: Brighten your eyes, complexion and cheeks, and create a flawless finish. BEACON: No animal testing. Free of gluten, parabens, SLS, phthalates, artificial colors and synthetic fragrances. Supports the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

SHINE: Pacifica Solar Complete Color Mineral Palette. BEAUTY: Transition from career woman to party girl with a full set of eyeshadows, blush, bronzer and highlighters for creaseless and creamy coverage. BEACON: Vegan and cruelty free. Free of parabens, petroleum and carmine FD&C color. Supports Clean Water

SHINE: Purely Pro Cosmetics Five Well Eyeshadow Palette (Diamonds Darling). BEAUTY: This chic black case with a handy built-in mirror allows you to create a captivating combination of colors. BEACON: No animal testing. Supports Dress for Success.

 SHINE: RapidLash Eyelash & Eyebrow Enhancing Serum. BEAUTY: A once a day application fills out your lashes for a fuller appearance in as little as four weeks. BEACON: No animal testing. Contains no parabens or fragrances.

SHINE: Sormé Treatment Cosmetics Extreme Volumizing Mascara (Black), Mineral Botanicals Eye Color (Caviar) and Lipstick (Glamour Red). BEAUTY: Liven up your lashes, lips and lids with this transformational trio. BEACON: No animal testing. Supports Look Good...Feel Better.

Monday, October 14, 2013

2013 Spa Week: Unmasking the Latest Treatments that Combat Common Skincare Concerns

Mask mania begins! Not only do they reach their full appeal during Halloween party season, but they gain even more popularity when fall Spa Week arrives. 

Starting today, hundreds of spas across the country offer discounted services for the entire week. Participating facilities reduce the price of two to three full-service treatments, such as facials, massages and scrubs, to $50 each. The promotion ends on Sunday, October 20. 

Spa Week also allows guests to address specific skincare concerns. If you've got dry or aging dermal issues, for example, a hydrating and healing facial that utilizes lots of vitamins and natural oils would work best for you. For oily or acne-prone skin, look for treatments that purge toxins while still regenerating new cells. In other words, they should say buh-bye to blemishes without causing excessive dryness or peeling. 

Check out the latest ingredients that help treat common conditions:

Acne--Salicylic acid, zinc oxide, alpha-hydroxy acid, benzyl peroxide, glycolic acid, aloe vera, green tea extract and licorice root.
Dry/aging skin--Shea butter, vitamins A, C and E, and avocado, coconut and sunflower oils. 
Sensitive skin--Oatmeal, cucumber extract, almond and jojoba oils, and chamomile.

Millions of Americans struggle with skincare problems on a daily basis. So, in honor of Spa Week, we've assembled the latest products designed to treat acne-prone, sensitive and dry/aging skin. We've also included revitalizing products for your body. Be prepared for spaaah-tacular results!


SHINE: Murad Acne Body Wash and Clarifying Body Spray. BEAUTY: Keep pores clean, clear and unclogged with salicylic and glycolic acids, green tea and licorice root extracts, and vitamin E. BEACON: No animal testing.

SHINE: Pevonia Problematic Skin Care Cream, Purifying Skin Mask, Problematic Skin Lotion and Clarigel Exfoliating Cleanser. BEAUTY: Salicylic and glycolic acids, aloe vera leaf gel and grapefruit peel oil help to purify and protect skin, as well as prevent breakouts and bacterial growth. BEACONNo animal testing. Free of parabens, mineral oil, artificial colors and sulfates. Supports the Beauty Bus Foundation.

SHINE: Prana SpaCeuticals Acne Complex. BEAUTY: This advanced liquid form of benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria and prevents future breakouts without drying your skin. BEACON: No animal testing. Free of parabens and SLS.

SHINE: Skin Authority Calming Mask. BEAUTY: Hydrate inflamed skin caused by acne with aloe vera leaf juice, algae extract, sea kelp extract, peptides and eucalyptus leaf oil. BEACON: No animal testing. Free of parabens, dyes and added fragrances. Supports Look Good...Feel Better.

SHINE: Nature Pure Labs Soy Doctor Acne Treatment Serum. BEAUTY: Salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera leaf juice, and cherry bark and green tea leaf extracts help to reduce sebaceous glands and decrease the amount of sebum secreted. BEACON: Free of parabens, mineral oil and petrolatum.


SHINE: Beauty Without Cruelty Daily Facial Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 18 Sunscreen. BEAUTY: Shield and smooth your skin for a more supple looking appearance with avobenzone, aloe vera leaf juice, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. BEACON: Vegan and no animal testing. Free of parabens, SLS/SLES and synthetic fragrances. 

SHINE: Coola Rose Essence Tint Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20. BEAUTY: Titanium dioxide, acai fruit oil, and cucumber fruit and sunflower seed extracts prevent sunburn and promote elasticity. BEACON: No animal testing. Free of paba, parabens, petroleum and phthalates. Supports Save Our Seas.

SHINE: NeemAura Naturals Concentrated Neem Cream. BEAUTY: Highly moisturizing, this face and body cream mends skin by replenishing and rejuvenating it with aloe vera leaf juice, cocoa seed butter, and neem and jojoba seed oils. BEACON: No animal testing and vegan.

SHINE: Refineé Firming Mineral Moisture Cream. BEAUTY: Hyaluronic acid, red marine algae, and vitamins A, C and E maximize moisture retention, and minimize fine lines and wrinkles. BEACON: No animal testing. Free of parabens.


SHINE: Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Lotion and Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion. BEAUTY: Calm redness and irritation, and soften and strengthen skin with sweet almond oil. BEACONContains no synthetic fragrances, colorants, preservatives or raw materials derived from mineral oils. Supports Conservation International.


SHINE: Eight Skincare Ginger Lime Créme Body Wash, Ginger Lime Body Moisture and Ginger Lime Sugar Body Scrub. BEAUTY: Sweet almond oil, vitamin E, and jojoba and avocado seed oils revitalize your skin to promote more smoothness and silkiness. BEACON: Contains no parabens.

SHINE: Sonoma Soap Company Citrus Medley Hand & Body Lotion and Citrus Medley Bath & Shower Gel. BEAUTY: Remove impurities and restore skin's natural moisture balance with vitamin E, aloe vera leaf juice, and orange and grapefruit fruit oils. BEACON: No animal testing and vegan. Contains no parabens, gluten or artificial colors. Supports Clean the World.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Pink Products Parade: A Procession of Inspirations & Donations Honors Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Photo by David Shankbone
Giuliana Rancic beat early stages of breast cancer with a lumpectomy followed by radiation, and then eventually a 
double mastectomy.

Cue the marching bands, floats and balloons--and join the pink parade! October marks National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which allows hope, healing and health to take top priority in the hearts and minds of people around the world. The observance also helps raise funds for research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and finding a cure. 

Nearly 250,000 women receive the diagnosis each year. However, thanks to early detection and better treatment options, breast cancer death rates have dropped by 34% in the United States since 1990, according to the American Cancer Society. In fact, almost 3 million survivors currently live and thrive in this country.  

Mammography continues to play a major role in the fight against breast cancer. Celebrities such as Giuliana Rancic, Christina Applegate, Cynthia Nixon and Sheryl Crow discovered the disease during routine mammograms. Others, such as Melissa Etheridge, found symptoms through self-examination--a screening tool which can detect small lumps, and changes in tissue or the size or shape of the breast.

The beauty industry stands strong each year to raise funds for and awareness of breast cancer. During the month of October, a variety of manufacturers donate a portion of their proceeds from skincare, hair, nail and lash products to worthy organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Huntsman Cancer Institute and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Take a look-see at our favorites below.

We also salute the survivors and supporters who keep hope alive during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Tell us how you plan to celebrate with the special women in your life. We'd love to hear your comments!


Photo by Ronald Kennedy
Cynthia Nixon

Photo by Georges Biard
Kylie Minogue

Sheryl Crow

Photo by Capital M
Christina Applegate

Photo by Craig O'Neal
Melissa Etheridge


SHINE: Conair The Power of Pink Ionic Styler. BEAUTY: Ionic technology helps fight frizz, and restore shine, manageability and styling ease. BEACON: During the month of October, a minimum of $100,000 will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation based on the sale of this product and others.  

SHINE: Dazzle Dry Nail Lacquer (Strawberry Macaron). BEAUTY: As one of the few vegan lacquers on the market, this light pink cream dries quickly and provides a sweet treat for your tips. BEACON: During the month of October, 10% of the proceeds from this polish will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

SHINE: Fleur's Rose-Jasmine Shower Gel. BEAUTY: Moroccan rose petal extract and jasmine floral water help turn your cleansing ritual into an aromatherapeutic adventure. BEACON: For every $100 spent on Rose-Jasmine products, you receive a complimentary mini sample of Rose-Jasmine Moisturizing Body Milk and a Susan G. Komen for the Cure "Steps to Breast Self-Examination" card. During the month of October, a portion of the proceeds will also be donated to the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

SHINE: Gingi Breast Firming Masks. BEAUTY: Lift your breasts and soften your skin with rose water and hyaluronic acid. BEACON: During the month of October, 10% of the sales from these masks will be donated to the Los Angeles chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

SHINE: Mama Mio Boob Tube Bust & Neck Firmer. BEAUTY: Shea butter, and avocado, olive and sweet almond oils help your chest, neck and bust resist the pull of gravity by heightening the tone and texture of your skin. BEACON: During the month of October, $1 of every bottle sold on the company's website will be donated to Look Good...Feel Better.

SHINE: Murad Hydrate for Hope Set (hot pink cosmetics bag and Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture). BEAUTY: Boost your skin's resilience and softness with shea butter, and sunflower seed, olive fruit and avocado oils. BEACON: During the month of October, 10% of the sales from this set sold to retailers will be donated to the City of Hope.

SHINE: NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Device (Petal Pink). BEAUTY: Known as the five-minute face-lift, this device from the Pink for a Cause collection utilizes soft wave microcurrent technology to firm skin tone, and smooth fine lines and wrinkles. BEACON: For the month of October, 10% of the sales from the Pink for a Cause collection sold on the company's website will be donated to Look Good...Feel Better.

SHINE: Phytoceane Sculpt'Intense. BEAUTY: Smooth cellulite and firm sagging skin with maritime pine bark and pink peppercorn extracts, red and brown algae, and sunflower seed oil. BEACON: For every $100 spent on Phytoceane body products, you receive a complimentary mini sample of Softening Moisturizing Body Lotion and a Susan G. Komen for the Cure "Steps to Breast Self-Examination" card. During the month of October, a portion of the proceeds will also be donated to the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

SHINE: Phytomer Rosée Visage. BEAUTY: This alcohol-free lotion removes makeup and tones skin without leaving a greasy feeling. BEACON: For every $100 spent on pink products, such as Rosée Visage (pictured above), Toning Bust and Decollete Parfait, you receive a complimentary mini sample of Moisturizing Body Milk and a Susan G. Komen for the Cure "Steps to Breast Self-Examination" card. During the month of October, a portion of the proceeds will also be donated to the Huntsman Cancer Institute.  

SHINE: RapidLash Eyelash & Eyebrow Enhancing Serum. BEAUTY: Apply this serum to the base of the upper eyelashes using the applicator brush once a day to create a more lush and youthful looking appearance. BEACON: During the month of October, 5% of the proceeds from this serum will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

SHINE: Sanitas Skincare Cleanse for the Cure Kit (Milk & Honey Cleanser and Rose Facial Scrub). BEAUTY: Refresh and replenish moisture-deprived skin with jojoba oil and hyaluronic acid. BEACON: During the month of October, 10% of the proceeds from this kit will be donated to Spa4ThePink.
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