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    Everything You Need to Know Before Getting Bangs—Plus, How to Style Them

    Maybe it was my teenage obsession with the movie 500 Days of Summer or how I’ve always romanced anything and everything French. But for whatever reason, I’ve had a long-term, love-hate relationship with bangs. I’ve saved one too many Instagram photos of flawless models with perfectly-imperfect fringe to understand the disappointment of a haircut that over-promises and under-delivers. Sigh.After scrolling too long on Instagram yourself, you might feel the urge to call your hairstylist. “I could pull this off!” you say, only to be reminded of how high maintenance, unpredictable, and often unruly bangs really are. If this sounds familiar, take heart in knowing we’ve all been there. The on-again-off-again relationship with bangs is universal. But I’m here to tell you there is hope. Perfectly-imperfect fringe, despite what the naysayers say, is attainable. 
    The wonderful thing about bangs is that there are endless styles to choose from. Baby bangs, curtain bangs, side-swept bangs, the inimitable Zooey Deschanel bangs–if you’re brave enough, try them all on for size. Experiment and have fun; it’s just hair, after all. But if you’re the indecisive type, hear me out. For bangs that are not only tolerable but adorable, here’s what’s worked for me. 

    1. Blunt bangs aren’t (always) your friend
    Of course, lots of people rock this bold look, and face shapes should be taken into account. But from personal experience, I’ve found that subtly choppy bangs with edges that blend into the rest of your hair are a game-changer. Those slightly longer pieces do a wonderful job of framing your face, making your morning routine that much easier. 

    2. Master the delicate balance between too thick and too thin
    This is both an art and a science, and sometimes it’s a matter of trial and error. But before you make your way into the hot seat at your next appointment, consider not just the length but the thickness you prefer. Ask your hairdresser to slowly cut into your bangs so you can get a sense of how wispy or heavy they should be. Somewhere right in the middle is what I recommend aiming for. This will make a world of difference in how manageable they are.

    3. Be prepared for frequent trips to the salon
    To have bangs is to accept the major upkeep that comes with them. Your stylist may offer complimentary bang trims, and if so, be sure to take advantage of this perk (just don’t forget to tip!). I beg of you, resist reaching for the scissors. I’ve learned the hard way over and over again.

    4. Collect all the mini hair tools
    Instead of the usual paddle brush, I love using a tiny round brush for some extra oomph. Blow-dry the ends of your bangs in opposite directions, and softly curl the middle section for a bit of volume and movement. Although my hair is naturally wavy and sometimes just straight out of control, this technique never fails. 
    A tiny flat iron is another must and can give your bangs a polished, sleek look. It’s also known for saving the day when they’re just a little out of whack. To spruce them up, apply heat protectant spray and repeat the same curling method you used with the round brush. I’ve found I can even skip the awkward bang wash if they’re in disarray just by using a flat iron.

    source: @scunci

    5. Utilize hair clips and dry shampoo
    Lately, I’ve been trying to limit how often I wash my hair to avoid stripping it of its natural oils. But bangs are another story. Too much dry shampoo is a no-go, but I’ve found that it can be extra helpful when used proactively. Sometimes after I’ve washed and styled my bangs, I like to lightly spray some dry shampoo on the roots to keep them lively and fresh all day long. And although not the cutest look, I make a habit at night of pinning them away from my forehead with some clips.

    6. Let your bangs live
    With so many types of bangs to consider, along with various styling techniques, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Bangs are a commitment. But the one trick that might be the most important has nothing to do with your hair itself, but your mindset. Embrace the occasional chaos. Learn to love your bangs, even when they’re out of place, and you might find they’re actually effortless after all.

    Want to try bangs? Here’s what to ask your stylist for: 

    Curtain Bangs

    Full Bangs

    Wispy Bangs

    Face-Framing Layers
    (Not to be confused with curtain bangs–face-framing layers are chin-length; bangs are eye-to-cheekbone-length)

    Side-Swept Bangs

    Baby Bangs More

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    The Coolest Nail Trends to Try This Spring 💐

    My favorite thing about the start of spring is the optimism. Although we’ll be experiencing winter weather through mid-April, there’s an excitement for warmth and sunshine in the air. The first sunny days, no matter the temperature (usually high 30s in the Midwest), the streets are bustling with people. Even in the midst of COVID, people are excited to take long walks and bask in the sunshine, even if it means grabbing your warmest puffer and a hot coffee. We drop all the deep, warm tones for pastels and brights, likely in the form of sweaters, jackets, and long pants. And we can’t forget the historic swap from hot to iced beverages–even if touching an iced coffee practically freezes your fingers. 💞 🧚‍♀️ 💐Spring is in the air, and what better way to celebrate it than a fresh coat of polish? You can kiss all those dreary winter tones goodbye, and say hello to spring 2021’s full lineup of bright, pastel, and breezy tones. 

    1. Green Apple 

    source: @calpolish

    2. Lilac

    source: Beth Gillette for The Everygirl

    3. Bubblegum Pink

    source: @missluvleelocs

    4. Periwinkle 

    source: @lovelurii

    5. Barely-There

    source: @staticnailsofficial

    6. Press-Ons

    source: @marmaladenails

    7. Pistacio Green 

    source: Cirque Colors

    8. Sky Blue

    source: Beth Gillette for The Everygirl

    9. Pastel Yellow

    source: Hypnotic Polish

    10. Tangerine 

    source: Pear Nova More

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    Our 2021 Trend Edit: What We’re Wearing vs. What We’re Skipping

    In the midst of what has now been almost a year of quarantine, thinking about trends can seem… almost masochistic. What’s the point of investing in beautiful new trends if you aren’t really going anywhere to wear them? Thank you for asking.As we’ve learned this year, what we wear is so much more than an expression for other people to see; it’s who we are, even when we’re just going for walks around the block or to pick up contactless takeout. And with the hope of the new year still here, we’re officially over wearing sweats and ready to bring out our best selves this year—no matter what we’re doing. And if that means indulging in the trends 2021 has to offer, then damn it, so be it.
    As with all things in life, you win some and you lose some, and the same goes for what the fashion gods deem “in” every season. After analyzing the clothes that will define 2021, we can’t wait to wear some of them and are just as excited to be opting to skip it on a few. Want to know what’s going to be filling up your Instagram feeds and taking the front-and-center spots in our closet this year? Look no further.

    Wear: (Not) Your Boyfriend’s Button-Up
    A classic, white button-up is a staple you can never go wrong with, but this season, the closet staple is less “on my way to the office” and more “I grabbed this off my boyfriend’s floor and made it work.” Think: more oversized, less structured.

     

    Skip: Netting
    This year, you should expect to see woven, netted tops, and while we appreciate the summery sentiment, we’re politely saying pass and leaving it to others to pull off. 

    Wear: Bright Florals
    Yes, we know: florals, in some form or another, come to rear their springy vibes every year when the weather warms up. But this year, they’re less subtle and more colorful and bold, and after a year of quarantine dreariness, we couldn’t be more here for it.

     

    Skip: Cutouts
    One of the most-seen runway trends of the upcoming seasons were shirts and dresses with cutouts of all shapes and sizes. You bet it’ll look chic in the street style pictures of your favorite celebs, but it brings back a few too many memories of high school homecoming dresses for us to get on board with. 

    Wear: Statement-Making Coats
    After fantasizing about the coats in Emily in Paris since last October, we couldn’t be more mentally prepared to put our camel coats on the backburner in exchange for some that are more eye-catching. This year, outerwear will be all about bright colors, textured fabrics, and in-your-face patterns.

     

    Skip: Bras as Tops
    If you’re someone who can pull off a chic bra-top under a blazer or jacket, truly, more power to you, but we’re cutting our losses and leaving this one to the Hadid sisters.

    Wear: Waist-Cinching Belts
    Belted blazers have been on our radar for months now, but the waist-cinching effects are going beyond our blazers and on to anything we can throw a belt on this season. There’s hardly anything more flattering than a belt thrown on top of an oversized shirt (like those button-ups we talked about earlier) or a flowy dress, and we can’t wait to wear this one.

     

    Skip: Tie-Dye
    Yep, tie-dye is still trying to make an appearance in 2021, and while we appreciated it at the beginning of quarantine, we’re hoping 2021 brings us on to bigger and better things—and that we can think of tie-dye as a quarantine-only trend.

    Wear: Updated Khakis
    Before you write this one off, hear us out: these aren’t the khakis that are part of Catholic school uniforms or that your mom bought you in middle school. They’re wider, baggier, and overall, chic as hell, and we’re saying yes to it.

     

    Skip: Corsets
    After binging Bridgerton, a corset doesn’t feel like that far-off of a fashion choice, but after a year of sweats, they feel a little too claustrophobic to deal with on a realistic level—we’ll be appreciating these from afar.

    Wear: Oversized Jeans
    It seems that every season, the denim gods are moving further and further away from skinny jeans, and this year is no exception. A step baggier than your go-to straight jeans, these are longer and looser, and the perfect adjustment back to jeans once we’re leaving our homes again.

     

    Wear: Pastels
    This year’s color trends came with a palette that’s a springy dream, and if anything can motivate us to get dressed, it’s throwing on a gorgeous shade of lilac, mint, or pastel yellow. Yes to more color and fun in our wardrobes this year.

      More

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    Our Favorite Black-Owned Accessory Brands to Shop This Month (and Forever)

    Friends, I think I have my mother to blame for the shopaholic that I am today. I know this because when I first started getting into fashion, I wasn’t really into the accessorizing of it all. I had, somehow, resolved that the most important pieces to have in my closest were graphic tees and Baby Phat jeans. Moreover, I imagined that if I had a healthy mix of the former, I could get away with wearing my Uggs, or flip flops, and a North Face backpack with everything. Can you tell how old I was? As I outgrew my Baby Phat Jeans phase, my mom’s closet became my happy place. It was so much bigger than my own and she had so many things: purses, shoes, accessories, you name it. I figured I could get through life without having to buy my own accessories because she had so many, but that hasn’t been the case. Turns out she’s not a fan of people shopping in (or as she calls it “stealing” from) her closet. So, I’ve had to build out my own accessory collection and I’m here to help you do the same. 
    As a proud Black Woman, I don’t go a single day without thinking about the inequities and injustices that Black people in America and worldwide face everyday. It can get immensely exhausting to shoulder that burden and work to fix it while Black. However, something that I am passionate about, and hope to inspire others to become regulars at, is uplifting my community by boosting our economic power. A great way to do that is to invest in Black-owned businesses and services. Below I’ve listed some of my favorite Black-owned accessory brands you can support this month and forevermore. 
    Happy Black History Month! 

    If you want to grab a Telfar bag you’re going to have to be quick and astute! These shopping bags sell out in 10 minutes or less on every single drop. They’re cute, high-quality, and luxuriously affordable (even AOC wears one).

    Cise bags are known for their social and political demands. Written on the bags that sell out regularly, you’ll find statements like Protect Black Women and Protect Black People. Make a difference, but make it fashion. 

    You know that bag in your closet that you keep in the dustbag when it’s not being used? That’s what you’re going to want to do with your Anima Iris. These bags are truly pieces of art.

    If you’re a leather-lover, these bags are for you. Self-taught designer, artisan, and founder of the brand, Valerie Blaise, describes these pieces as, “Passionately made, wearable leather accessories.”
     

    Meet your new favorite everyday bag. Designed to be minimalistic and long-lasting, Tree Fairfax bags are heralded for their timeless designs and quality craftsmanship. 

    If you can manage to snag one of these bags, grab me one too! Brandon Blackwood mixes expert craftsmanship with trendy styles to bring us bags that make a statement and are built to last. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for the restock of the End Systematic Racism Trunk Bags, but until then take a look at the other art he has in stock! 

    These luxury bags from Lagos, Nigeria, are a trendy pop of color that can spice up any and all outfits.

    Voni Los Angeles bags are heralded for being affordable and innovative in style. You’ll get your money’s worth with these purses because they can be worn in so many different ways.

    Every time The Wrap Life adds a new style to their website, I’m tempted to buy. From headwraps to bandies to turbanettes, they’re my go-to for hair accessory basics that are high-quality and don’t break the bank. 

    Aṣọ Dára was started by a group of siblings that wanted to create a lifestyle brand that reflected the genius and diversity of Pan-Africanism. Fans of Aṣọ Dára love the ability to make bold statements with the headwrap prints and chokers to match!

    Oprah and I agree that these beanies are revolutionary. With silk lining to keep your hair from being tugged at, Grace Eleyae has reinvented the beanie game, ladies! 

    It’s an umbrella for your hair and your face, need I say more? 

    CocoXRobyn has so many trendy accessories it’ll be hard to just pick one. You can also shop for tops, bottoms, and stickers on their trend-forward site. 

    Who knew an accessory could heal the soul?! B.serene hand-crafts crystal jewelry to raise your vibrations, promote self love, and make wellness wearable. I’m guilty of owning about six of these necklaces, because you can never have too much self-love.  

    Layering necklaces is the easy way to take your look from drab to fab. Filosophy makes the beautiful basics you need to elevate your look today and every day. 

    Personally, I’m a gold hoops every day kind of girl, but I do recognize that there are occasions when my hoops don’t cut it. That’s when I need fashion-forward statement jewelry like that of Zuri Perle. 

    I’ve fallen in love with the Pleasure Principle anklet and I absolutely must have it for spring. Wanna twin?

    Watches

    Could it be? A watch worth retiring my Apple Watch for? The elegance and femininity of these pieces are unmatched. 

    Talley & Twine is one of those brands that you’ll blink and own five different watches from. They boast quality, style, and professionalism. 

    Dreaming of a post-COVID getaway? Manifest it with a pair of these—if not because I love them, then because of all the potential Instagram photos.

    I’ve found your next Blue Light frames and they are fabulous. More

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    I Tried The Viral $25 Amazon Leggings—Here Are My Thoughts

    A few weeks ago, after trying to blindly shove a pan into one of my kitchen cabinets that could not possibly actually fit one more pan, I made a move that was decidedly out of character for my unorganized self: every day of the upcoming week, I was going to organize a different room in my apartment.Considering my apartment consists of approximately four and a half rooms, this wasn’t difficult. The fifth day was dedicated to my closets (which are in a hallway, and therefore did’t fall into my “room” categories). Once I got in a groove, I was like a bat out of hell, donating the things I didn’t use and tossing the things I’d been holding onto for way too long that weren’t salvageable. Obviously, the most challenging went last: my closets.
    I already had my momentum going for me, and in an out-of-body experience that I had little recollection of after the fact, I tossed almost all of my leggings. I went from probably 20 leggings down to three pairs. Don’t get me wrong, this couldn’t have been longer overdue—the pairs I got rid of were the ones I never reached for and that slipped and slid down me every time I wore them from either being overworn or just poor quality from the start. It was like a brand new beginning—but one that I wasn’t prepared for.
    I work out around five times a week, which, as someone who does her laundry maybe every 10 days, means that I need way more leggings in my closet than three—and thus began my hunt for affordable, amazing leggings that I could add back to my collection. 
    In what felt like a direct message from the legging gods, over the weekend, I saw our cofounder, Alaina, post about a $25 Amazon pair that she was raving over. They had my size in stock, so I ordered them as fast as I could in the dusty rose shade Alaina was wearing on her Instagram.

    I was already familiar with said leggings—they’ve been everywhere for a while now with people yelling from the rooftops that they’re a dupe for Lululemon’s famous Align leggings. I personally don’t own the Lululemon ones, so I can’t speak on the comparison, but holy cow, when I took them out of the package… I got it.

    In the middle of my kitchen, I ripped my sweatpants off to try them on and truly could not believe how amazing they felt on my body. Literally, the only way to describe the material is that they felt like butter. Prior to having them, I didn’t understand what that meant, but after trying them, I couldn’t imagine wearing other leggings again. But just because they felt good didn’t mean they passed my only test: whether or not they felt good to run in.

    Basically, my criteria for workout leggings involves: A. not sliding down (I don’t even want to have to pull them up once), and B. that they don’t feel weird in the crotch area as I run (as way too many do). I took them for a spin on a four-miler and forgot to even think about judging them, which was a huge pass considering that when I have bad leggings on, that’s all I can think about my entire run. I got back inside afterward and decided I didn’t even want to search for anything better and ordered them in three more colors (which was difficult because they have so many great ones). These check the rare box of being a pair that I both want to work out and lounge in because of their unique material; they aren’t just cotton like so many lounge leggings, and they also aren’t a dry-fit material like most workout leggings—they’re truly in a league of their own. 

    I never have gotten myself to spend three figures on leggings that people swear by, but I feel like now I don’t even have to wonder—I can’t imagine anything being better than these, and I was able to order four pairs (a full closet restock!) for $100. I’ll be living in these until further notice. More

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    Having 40 Foundation Shades Doesn’t Make a Brand Inclusive—Here’s What Does

    One of the many things I do in my day-to-day as a beauty editor is source images for articles, which has me following hundreds of beauty brands, influencers, and other people in the business on Instagram. In both my personal and work-time, I’m scrolling through new releases, product reviews, announcements, roundups, and more. Over time, you start to notice trends. Some brands always get it right (read: Fenty Beauty), pandemic life has basically ended the need for lip products beyond the usual lip balm, and drugstore skincare is really on the up-and-up. But one thing is glaring, even in 2021: product images still aren’t diverse, and I’m forced to scroll endlessly to find options that showcase Black and Brown bodies.This is especially difficult for nail polishes and any photos that involve hands. One look through a mainstream brands’ feed can take 40-or-so rows to see a different skin tone be represented. What if you’re searching for how a shade looks on your skin, or how a product performs with your skin type? But it’s beyond that; it’s about representation. So, Hannah Harris, student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, started Brown Girl Hands, an Instagram account and website dedicated to showcasing and reviewing beauty products through Black hands. We talked to Hannah about why she started her business and account, her favorite beauty products she’s tried along the way, and her product photography tips.

    What made you start your Instagram account?

    Brown Girl Hands was the culmination of many things crossing paths at the right time. My high school camera (in hindsight, I should’ve paid more attention in photography class), my unique fascination with hand photos (my Pinterest boards can vouch for me), and my love of reading (particularly, a Jessica Defino article titled Where are All the Brown Hands?). It was after reading that article that the idea for Brown Girl Hands came to be. I thought to myself, “Where are all the Brown Hands? I’m right here.” I wanted to show brands that Brown hands can be aesthetic and that they deserve to be represented.
     
    How did you start? Did you have any previous experience with reviewing products or photography?

    I took a photography class years ago in high school, but everything else I taught myself. It’s been quite a bit of trial and error, following the sun for good lighting and shooting in my driveway. Instagram was one of my biggest resources. I followed different photographers, watched their tutorials, and messaged them with questions. My approach for reviewing products is just talking like it’s a good friend [who is] asking me for a recommendation!

     
    The industry is pretty slow to show swatches and product images on Black and Brown people. How do you hope your Instagram will change this? What changes would you like to see in the beauty industry?

    I hope Brown Girl Hands’ account brings awareness to beauty brands that they need to include different skin tones in their product photography.  At Brown Girl Hands Studio, I work with beauty brands to offer more diverse product photography and have shot entire product line-ups. I would love to see different types of diversity in the beauty industry. I think we got stuck on the “40 shades!” for such a long time, but what about diversity in product photography, in age, in ability?
     
    What is your favorite aspect of your Instagram?

    The community. The Brown Girl Hands community is the reason why we exist. When women message us about how much it means to them for someone to acknowledge that you can be Black and Brown and enjoy minimalism, enjoy beauty, enjoy beautiful things—that means everything.
     
    You are also really passionate about age diversity in the beauty industry. Can you explain a little bit more about why and what you hope to see change in the future?

    I was recently a finalist for the Fashion Scholarship Fund for my project on age inclusion in haircare. This really stemmed from my mom and the lack of positive messaging I saw for her age. It was always about reversing their wrinkles but never about empowering them. So many women over 40 are our biggest inspirations: our moms, grandmothers, Michelle Obama, Brene Brown, Oprah, I could go on. Why do we continually leave them out in our advertising in a confident way? Currently at SCAD, I’m a junior in the Business of Beauty and Fragrance program where we learn the ins and outs of the industry from marketing to leadership and ethics and emerge well prepared for new opportunities. I’m excited for a few upcoming projects and positions, including interning at the Estee Lauder Companies this summer and being a part of the inaugural first-class of 20 Virgil Abloh Scholars to receive mentorship from Abloh.

     
    Now onto the fun stuff 🙂  What are your favorite beauty products you’ve featured on your Instagram?
    My top 3: Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm, Ranavat Kansa Wand, and Lesse Ritual Serum.

    Summer Fridays
    Lip Butter Balm

    “This is, hands down, the best lip gloss and balm I’ve ever tried … It gives me the super shiny look I want with zero stickiness. I wear it to bed at night to moisturize, and I wear it during the day over my favorite lip colors. The scent/flavor is a super mild vanilla,” Hannah said in her review of the product.

    Kansa Wand Facial Massage Tool

    “This facial massage tool from Indian owned brand Ranavat has been my favorite part of my skincare routine these past few weeks. After applying my face oil, I gently massage it in in circular, upward motions. Used for centuries in Ayurveda, it slowly detoxes the skin,” Hannah said in her review of the product.

    Ritual Serum Balancing Turmeric & Sea Minerals

    “I love that I can read everything on the label … I wish it came in a body version so I could douse myself in it. So balancing, calming, moisturizing, yet simple—I truly look forward to applying this oil and giving myself a little face massage every night,” Hannah said in her review of the product.

     

    Any tips on taking good product photos?

    Sunlight is your best friend; good light can make or break a photo. For hand photos specifically, I use Glossier Futuredew to add luminance to the hands and a hint of cuticle oil.
     
    Are there any products you’re excited to feature or try in the future?

    I would love to try the Dyson Hair Dryer–what a dream! I’m also excited to feature all Black-owned [brands] for the month of February. More

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    20 Shackets You Can Buy Now and Wear All Year

    Last year, while perusing the depths of online shopping from the comfort of my couch, I went to search for a new jacket for fall when something bizarre happened. Under the “jackets” category of the site I was on, there was a new subset: “shackets.”Sure, I had a few pieces hanging in my closet that could be deemed a shirt-jacket hybrid (heavier than a shirt, but not quite as heavy as a jacket), but little did I know this old-but-rebranded concept was going to become one of the most sought-after pieces of the next year. And of all the trends that have weaseled their way into our quarantine-dazed eyes, the shacket might deserve the spotlight the most because of one, simple factor: its versatility.
    The shacket is one piece of clothing that can quite literally be worn for all seasons. Winter? Layer it over a sweater. Spring? Throw it on over a T-shirt for the perfect addition of warmth on a 60-degree day. Summer? You know there’s going to be chilly nights where you reach for it instead of your usual sweatshirt. And next fall? You’ll be patting yourself on the back for already having invested in the perfect piece for a crisp day.
    Whether you want something neutral and classic or more out-of-the-box, buy one of these shackets now, and relish in it as the gift that keeps on giving all year long.

      More

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    I Spent a Week Doing My Beauty Routine Like a Celebrity—Here’s What Happened

    To manifest my best 2021, I recently fell into a very strange hole of Pinterest. The images are pretty standard (cute beauty flatlays, modern home decor, of-the-moment fashion), but it’s more about the way users engage with the content that makes it so interesting. Basically, these young people use these images to, in a way, manifest these beautiful lives and pretend that’s how they live. Forget yearly vision boards; they make daily vision boards. “Sundays are for self-care” is one I saw a lot, and it was literally a self-care mood board… for one singular random Sunday. I was baffled. Is this why I end up hungover, in bed all day, with a mere one glass of water under my belt by the time the clock strikes 5 p.m.? Perhaps I was doing it all wrong. So in the effort of getting my sh*t together, I tried it. I put together the most extensive mood board I could think of in order to manifest my dream life (or at least, just one really good week). And as it turned out, my entire dream week was filled with luxury beauty; self-care out the wazoo; many Diptyque candles; and fresh, natural looks. Sound like a Hollywood starlet to you?
    I watched dozens of celebrity beauty routine videos last summer, and I took away a lot of product recommendations. But what I didn’t embark on was the actual routines, which happened to look a lot like the mood boards I’d hoped to achieve. So, I commenced a journey to get in the minds of the rich and famous and copy their daily beauty routines… here’s how it went:

    The Routine: 
    When I first started this journey, I figured I’d set up a daily routine and follow it to a T. Celebrities follow routines, right? In actuality, I realized celebrities don’t have the time or attention to give to these drawn-out routines they might share in an Instagram post or YouTube video. Instead, they change up their routines daily based on what they have going on (besides the basics of brushing their teeth, washing their face, and drinking lots of water, of course). I tailored each day to what was happening in my life, instead of a blanket set of steps. However, there were a few things I really focused or honed-in on:

    What I Didn’t Do
    I didn’t go out and buy thousands of dollars worth of luxury items to make this challenge closer to the actual routines of people making eight times my salary. I used what I already had (which, to be quite fair, is a heck of a lot because it’s my hobby and my job) and made do without making a single purchase… which we’ll get into later. 

    What I Loved

    Morning baths
    I lived basically my entire life without a bathtub until my current apartment, and I make very good use of it. But I never thought of the idea of taking a bath in the morning. Normally, I’m using the bath to wind down and help myself get ready for bed, so it never made sense to try it in the morning. However, this is something I’ll be implementing into my routine weekly. There’s nothing like waking up knowing you get to soak in a warm bath. It made me want to get up early more than anything, so it was perfect after morning workouts. I hopped into a bath of muscle-relaxing bath salts for a quick reading session to start my day, and it was arguably the most lovely, relaxing moment of my entire week.

    Oil-cleansing
    I always do a double-cleanse if I’m wearing makeup, but in the morning, I typically go with a gentle, hydrating wash to get rid of any oil from sleeping or remove any retinol or actives from the night before. But I’ve seen so many celebrities use a cleansing oil in the morning to really boost their radiance and hydration first thing. I was a little nervous to try it with my combination skin, but it was lovely. I tried it with a few different oils, and you definitely have to make sure you use something that completely rinses off without leaving a film on your skin. My current favorite is the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm. 

    Morning Masking
    This is something I already do in my routine, but I have not kept up with it since quarantine began. I’ve had the “I’m wasting my masks” mentality because I’m not going anywhere, but one of the main experiments I tried with this process was actually using my expensive, “special” products instead of letting them sit in my apartment collecting more dust. Sheet masks are a recent favorite of mine because I use them essentially as an extra serum in the morning. I love really hydrating and soothing ones before I go in with my moisturizer and SPF, and it makes my skin so radiant before I apply makeup. 

    Facial Massage
    I always use my NuFACE Mini Toning Device in the mornings (about four to five times a week), but I almost always do facial massage at night. I find it really relaxing and a great way to make oils and moisturizers sink in better. But I’ve officially converted to the morning massage after this experiment. For one, your face looks amazing after a short massage, and while it’s temporary, I might as well have that glow and definition for my morning Zoom call than right before I plop my face on a pillow. But it’s also a very short, relaxing step I can add to my skincare routine. 
    While I was using an oil cleanser in the morning, I wasn’t doing my NuFACE regimen because it’s not recommended to wash with an oily cleanser because it can disrupt the microcurrent. So, this facial massage basically took place of my NuFACE routine. I think I’ll switch on and off between facial massages and NuFACE from now on.

    Foam rolling
    I am the perfect candidate for a massage (wouldn’t we all say that though?). I hunch my back at my desk all day; I don’t get enough sleep; I push my muscles a little too hard sometimes; and I’m a constant ball of stress who fears being deemed weak so I hide it and it manifests through physical things like a clenched jaw, tight shoulders, and hard fists. (As you can tell, I’m also a perfect candidate for therapy!) I can’t get a massage right now though, so I recently purchased a small foam roller I could use in the meantime. This challenge was the kick in the butt I needed to finally start doing it, and I noticed an immediate improvement in my posture, my muscles, and my stress levels, which is why it’s now a part of my beauty routine. I’ll do just about anything to help my stressed-out skin, and that includes anything I can do to alleviate the daily anxiety.

    Facial steaming
    I had never steamed by face on my own until recently, but it’s one of my favorite parts of a facial. After trying it, I will gladly be implementing it into my weekly routine. Again, it’s relaxing and alleviates stress, but I also noticed my skincare sank in better, and I was glowier than ever.

    What I Didn’t

    Body skincare routine
    I typically do my bodycare at night, but I wanted to try it out in the mornings after watching an absurd number of celebrity beauty routine videos. I followed my baths with an in-shower moisturizer, a body serum, and a body moisturizer. I enjoyed it, but I actually find this ritual much more relaxing in the evenings with my skincare routine. I also just simply don’t have time to do this every single day, but a few times a week, it’s a great treat. 

    Dry brushing
    I’m not new to dry brushing, but I’m new to being consistent about it. I always forget that I own it, and it never seems like the right time before I shower to take the time to do it. I made it a point to dry brush at least three times this week, and to be quite honest,  I noticed very little results. Was my skin softer? Yes, but I get the same results using my favorite in-shower scrub. I enjoyed it a lot the day I shaved, but other than that, this is something I’ll continue to keep in my shower and likely forget to use often. (However, I will say that my very good friend said dry brushing her legs daily basically saved her from ingrown hairs, so I’m going to try it on my bikini area this summer!)

    Low-maintenance makeup
    This was a new one for me. I enjoy the art of makeup. I love following eyeshadow trends and trying new shades and textures. I look at beauty as an accessory (TBH, sometimes clothes even act as an accessory to my beauty looks). Celebrities, on the other hand, are a lot more natural when they’re doing their own makeup. They do the bare minimum to look put-together and polished. So, I gave it a shot. I did a basic 5ish-minute makeup routine for glowy skin, complete with concealer all over the face, cream blush, a light dusting of powder, brow gel, mascara, and a little bronzer. 
    I can’t say I’ll never wear a natural look when I’m in a rush or just feeling like it that day ever again, but I missed my fun looks this week. A lot. 

    Doing an extra-long routine
    While I love the time I spend at the end of the night on my skincare, it’s not practical for me to keep up with this all the time. Plus, my skin doesn’t need that all the time. In fact, using too many products constantly overwhelms my skin, clogging my pores and causing breakouts. But once in a while, it’s a self-care step I enjoy. On the days I fully indulged in my skincare, I went full force ahead with double cleansing, multi-masking, peel pads or retin-A depending on the day, toner, serums galore, moisturizer, oil, and even a sleeping night mask if I really felt into it. But on a normal night, I’ll likely just go with double-cleansing, my retin-A (or my weekly AHA peel), toner, one serum, and moisturizer. 

    Takeaways

    I turned my beauty routine into self-care rituals
    I recognize that I often glide through my beauty routines, thinking of it as a chore instead of a time to slow down and enjoy myself. Most of the days this week, I lit candles, turned on music or an audiobook, drank a cup of tea or coffee, and used that time to really treat myself. Focusing on myself in those little moments is something I will gladly take into my daily life–regardless of my Hollywood star status. 

    I prefer to have fun with my makeup routine
    Every day I put on fun eye makeup or a bright lip or a new blush, I have a pep in my step. I’m giddy when I can sit down and play with my makeup. And in this routine, I didn’t really do that. Sure, celebrities get all dolled up for events, so I understand why they wouldn’t want to in their day-to-day lives. But as someone stuck in a tiny apartment during a pandemic, my “special event” is going to pick up the mail downstairs, and it warrants a look. 

    Beauty can feel luxurious regardless of how much you spend
    While I definitely have a few luxury and high-end products in my collection, I also have tons of inexpensive, drugstore options too, and using them felt just as nice as the ones I spent quadruple the price on. I love to splurge and invest in beauty products, but to feel like a celebrity, you don’t have to pay the price tag. Instead, I opt for products that give me those same feelings: nice packaging, lovely textures, pretty branding, ease-of-use, high-quality, and good results.  More