Category Archives: beauty

A Pretty Penny | 6 Steps to the Perfect Home Manicure

6 Steps to the Perfect Home Manicure

I love a good salon pampering sesh as much as the next girl, but I usually don’t have time to sit down for a professional manicure.

{Sometime soon I’m going to make time for this cherry blossom mani.}

Over the years, I’ve mastered the DIY five-minutes-or-less version of a basic manicure. It’s worth splurging on a few good products to get salon-worthy results at home, over and over again.

1. PREP. I like to start with a natural sugar scrub to exfoliate my hands and remove any dead skin from the cuticles. I never trim my cuticles; I condition them with avocado oil a few times a week before bed to keep them moisturized and gently push them back with my fingertips.

2. CLEAN. Next, I remove any polish and oil from my nails with acetone polish remover. I like Butter London Scrubbers 2-in-1 nail prep and remover pads; they aren’t smelly, and one durable wipe cleans all ten nails. At most, you may need two wipes if you’re wearing a few coats or dark polish. They’re great for travel or to stash in your purse for the days all your nails start chipping at once (how does this happen?).

3. SHAPE. I shape my nails with a medium file; usually round or squoval since I keep my nails pretty short for work.

Nail Shape Guide
{source: Beautylish}

4. PRIME. Good manicures are made in the base coat. I love Butter London Nail Foundation. It creates a perfect silky foundation for even color application — especially light pinks that can go on streaky — and used alone it’s like a clean buffed mani in a bottle.

5. PAINT. After the base coat dries, I brush on 1-2 coats of color. Essie polishes are my favorite, and lately Ballet Slippers and Enuff is Enuff are on regular rotation.

6. DRY. Ain’t nobody got time for wet nails. I didn’t think I’d ever find anything I liked as much as Essie’s Good to Go rapid dry topcoat, but their Quick-E Drying Drops are pretty awesome. It doesn’t dry as fast, but it protects from nicks, smudges and peeling and has silicone that adds shine. The foolproof liquid formula is really easy to apply with the dropper, and it makes my manicures last well over a week. I don’t even use a topcoat anymore.

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Beauty on a Budget: My Summer Drugstore Picks

A Pretty Penny | My 2014 Summer Drugstore Picks

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Glow Sheers – If you’re looking for an inexpensive tinted moisturizer with SPF, this is an awesome option. It’s really sheer, and dries to a soft natural glow. Bonus: it has an antioxidant blend in the formula for an extra shot of skincare.

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm - These easy-to-apply lip crayons give lots of color payoff in bright, bold hues for summer; #210 Unapologetic is my favorite shade.

Flower Color Play Creme Eyeshadow  - I’ve been wearing Geranium every day for about two weeks. It’s the lazy girl’s answer to eyeshadow: swipe it on your lids with clean fingertips and you’re good to go. It holds up surprisingly well to heat and humidity with minimal creasing or slippage, but use an eyeshadow primer for extra “insurance.”

Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights Face Illuminator - I have this in Bronze Light and Peach Light, and I love that they’re illuminating without being sparkly. I use them as highlighters, or mix them with sunscreen for an easy all-over glow.

Maui Babe Browning Lotion - My girlfriend keeps a bottle of this stashed in her beach bag. This java-scented tanning accelerator oil is safe for use over sunscreen, promises a golden tan in less time, and moisturizes your skin with natural oils and aloe. I like that the built-in tint gives you a little extra glow while you’re soaking up rays.

Yes to Coconuts Ultra Light Spray Body Lotion - I love a light, quick-absorbing moisturizer after long days in the sun. This one gets extra points for coming in a mess-free spray bottle; just spritz it all over, rub it in, and go. Plus it smells like fresh coconut, which is quintessential summer.

Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Deodorant – I feel like I talk about armpits way too often on this blog; I just really want everyone to get on board with exploring aluminum-free deodorant options. I prefer the unscented version of this baking-soda-based deodorant because it gets the job done without interfering with any fragrance I’m wearing.

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Body Wash - If you’re prone to body acne, or get breakouts on your back and arms from sunscreen and tanning oils, this natural healing cleanser can help clear skin without dryness or irritation.

Sally Hershberger Glam Waves Texture Spray – This is a good wallet-friendly beach spray for fine hair that needs a little roughin’ up and grip to achieve those coveted “beach waves.” I went through an entire bottle last summer; I’d curl my hair all over with a 1.5″ curling iron, pull the curls out with my fingers, and spray this texturizing spray throughout.

Eco Tools Konjac Pure Complexion Facial Sponge – My husband, the first morning he spotted it drying on the bathroom counter: “Hey, what’s that rock thing that looks like it came from outer space?” I don’t know if the new konjac craze is all it’s hyped up to be, but I do know that I could use a little extra muscle when I’m cleansing my face in the summer; there’s a lot of SPF and makeup primer buildup to contend with. This handheld sponge is really gentle and gets my face squeaky clean with minimal effort.

I love reading recommendations for drugstore diamonds-in-the-rough. Share your summer favorites in the comments! 

 

Summer Beauty Looks That I Love

A Pretty Penny | Summer Beauty Bronzed Skin & Bold Lip

Bronzed Skin & Bold Lips: I think this is perfect for a weekend BBQ or pool party. The coverage is super sheer; pick a lightly tinted sunscreen, like COOLA Mineral Face SPF 30. I love Revlon’s COLORBURST Matte Balm lip crayons for bold lips that are easy to apply and stay put.

A Pretty Penny | Summer Beauty Glow

Glowing Skin: Illuminators can be tricky; I want to look fresh and dewy, not glitteryBenefit’s Watt’s Up is my favorite: the stick makes application really easy, and the cream-to-powder formula blends into your skin and leaves behind a luminous champagne glow.

A Pretty Penny | Summer Beauty Bright Eyeliner

Bright Eyeliner: This is really fun for a night out. You can create it with a bright eyeliner — Makeup Forever makes a great range of colors in their Aqua Eyes liner collection — or turn any bright eyeshadow into a long-lasting eyeliner by adding a couple drops of saline solution (the kind you use to clean your contact lenses) to a clean liner brush before dipping it in the shadow and applying.

A Pretty Penny | Summer Beauty Liquid Liner

Classic Cat Eye: A good swipe of black eyeliner is great year-round, but in the summer you can tone it down with sheer foundation, a hint of blush, and a light pink or peach lip. The trick is finding a liner that can survive the heat and humidity; my girlfriend who’s a professional makeup artist swears by Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner.

A Pretty Penny | Summer Beauty Golden Eyes

Barely There: This “no-makeup makeup” look is my favorite for every day: a simple golden eye paired with a nude lip and tinted moisturizer. I love Clinique Long Last Glosswear in Tenderheart and LORAC’s Little Black Eyeshadow Palette for recreating this easy natural face.