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Beauty, Body

Lush Launches A Campaign to Champion Trans Rights


Lush might be best known for its eco-friendly approach to the beauty and body care, not to mention its array of eye-catching bath bombs. But the brand has a long histroy of using its platform to advocate for social change. And its latest campaign is lending a hand in the fight to secure trans rights.


As part of its 14-day #TransRightsAreHumanRights initiative, Lush has released an exclusive bath melt called Inner Truth that comes in the shape of a blue and pink heart, meant to evoke the complexities of gender, that swirl together in the bathwater into a beautiful shade of purple that has come to represent LGBT+ equality. The bath buy retails for $5.95 with 100% of the proceeds (save for taxes, of course) benefitting the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity in the hopes of raising $450,000 for the organizations. And according to Bustle, the funds will be used to support high school-based race and gender justice training for teens in the U.S. while the donations in Canada will fund resiliency training and community-building camps for trans youth.

The brand, which was recently named one of Forbes’s  Best Employers for Diversity, saw the campaign as an opportunity to amplify the voices of employees and colleagues who shared the discrimination they face. “We are a diverse group of people with one thing in common — advocating for human rights,” Carleen Pickard, Ethical Campaigns Specialist at Lush Cosmetics North America, told Teen Vogue“As an inclusive employer that champions equality, we simply couldn’t stand by. We needed to shed light on these daily discriminations and work to advance and secure their basic rights.”

And they’re not stopping there! Lush is also looking raise awareness by swapping out the vibrant bath and body buys in their stores’ windows for quotes and stories about gender identity, which come courtesy of its staff’s own experiences. Some of those stories are included in a recently released video about the campaign, which is part of a series of documentaries that feature trans allies discussing how to build a more accepting society. Plus, it plans to hand out 75,000 “How to Be an Ally” manuals to cisgender shoppers, host community events at 16 select shops in the United States and Canada, and use its Snapchat to share tips and resources for trans and questioning youth throughout the campaign though it will also mainatain a Trans Rights hub on its site an additional resource.

“What’s really special about this campaign is that our transgender and non-binary colleagues have genuinely impacted every aspect of it, from providing guidance and sharing personal experiences to educating us on how to become better allies to the community, ultimately creating a safer and more inclusive environment for all, ” Pickard said.

And that includes securing some of the most basic elements of life: freedom from harassment and violence, a safe place to live, and a secure job. One of the problems is that many trans people are faced with privacy violations, harassment, and even physical and sexual violence on the job — if they’re even able to get one, as some are refused employment because of their gender identity, which lead many to turn to sex and drug work to make ends meet.According to United States Transgender Survey (USTS), one in three trans people become homeless at some point in their lives because of violence, discrimination, and even rejection by their own family. One in four trans people have dealt with housing instability or discrimination, like getting being evicted from their homes or denied housing altogether. Worst of all, the survey found 300 reported cases of transgender people were killed by violent means, including at least 26 in North America. And the thing is these rates are much higher for trans people of color!

So if a bath melt can help open up eyes and educate others to join the fight for equality, all I can say is power to the purple and to the people!

Beauty, Body

The Sexiest Scents to Spritz for Your Valentine’s Day Date

A post shared by Val’s Vanity (@valsvanity) on

While most would consider either sight or touch as the sexiest sense, I say it’s all about smell. Afterall, as humans, we naturally secrete pheromones through our sweat that on a subliminal level can attract potential partners via scent. In fact, Bustle discovered one famous study that found participants rated the smell of the sweat of people ovulating to be sweeter and more attractive than those who weren’t ovulating. Hell, I once caught a whiff of a guy walking by who smelled so good that I had to ask what he was wearing — it was John Varvatos’ eponymous cologne, btw. So with scent and sex going hand in hand, especially around Valentine’s Day, it makes sense to spice up your perfume wardrobe if you have a hot date tonight!

And when it comes to sultry scents, I’m not talking about bouquets of fresh florals. When I’m in the mood for love, I tend to reach for notes that blend a bit of the masculine, like spicy and warm notes of cardamom, pepper, oud, and leather, with the feminine, like oriental notes of jasmine, honeysuckle, and citrus, to get the best of both worlds. But I’m always pleasantly surprised to find notes that blend together to make something mysterious, intriguing, and utterly irresistible. As such, I wanted to share a few of my favorite sultry scents that are sure to set the mood with just a spritz. And don’t worry if you can’t add to cart immediately, either. If you can’t get your hands on one of the bottles before your big date, swing by your local beauty counter on your way over for a sample spritz-down.

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Beauty, Body

Chloé Crafts a Scent for the Curious Globe Trotter

Via Vogue Runway

Chloé’s got a thirst for adventure thanks to its newest scent, Nomade.

Hitting shelves in February, the scent taps into the more audacious side of the brand with a focus on openness, empowerment, and traveling the world (and its different cultures) as a way to explore the self and gain perspective.

“With Nomade, we want to answer to a very strong insight, which is a newfound desire for openness, encounters, surprises and the unknown — a reaction to the lack of [in-person] interaction,” Simona Cattaneo, chief marketing officer for Coty Luxury, told WWD.

To evoke the fragrance’s idea of adventure and movement, Givaudan perfumer Quentin Bisch offered a chypre take on the brand’s penchant for purely floral fragrances, blending notes of oak moss, Mirabelle plum, and freesia. As for the bottle (which I’ve only spotted on Now Smell This), it’s shaped like Chloé’s signature Drew bag and will be available in 30-, 50- and 75-ml for $75, $105 and $132, respectively.

Ariane Labed, who you might’ve seen in The Lobster, Assasin’s Creed, or the “Men Against Fire” episode of Black Mirror, will be featured on screens big and small as the face of the new perfume. In the clips to come, she’ll be shown venturing into different landscapes and learning about other cultures, connecting with new people along the way.

The scent’s concept is a pretty fitting idea for 2018, where that understanding of different viewpoints has been instrumental in the start of a slew of important conversations on gender, race, and more. Though we won’t have to wait long to get a sniff ourselves, I’m curious to see how the ad campaign plays out!



Beauty, Body

#OnMyVanity: KKW’s Crystal Gardenia Perfume

I receive a slew of samples, and when I find something I like, I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Let’s face it: In the past 10 years, the Kardashians have gone from just a reality TV show family to a veritable empire, with the sisters banning together for a flurry of early collaborations — remember their Nicole by OPI polish range? — and eventually branching out into each of their own brands. While Kylie has a huge hold on beauty in recent years, she definitely scored her business acumen from big sister Kim, who’s been in the beauty biz for longer than many might remember.

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Beauty, Body, Makeup, Skin

Soap & Glory’s Ups It Spa-Worthy Supply of Beauty Buys

When it comes to self-care (which I think we all need more of), sometimes all it takes to soothe yourself is a spa-worthy shower or a super indulgent soak in the tub. Soap & Glory is enhancing the experience with a stockpile of bubbling bath and beauty buys — complete with punny names you won’t get enough of — that won’t break the bank. In fact, the bubbles kept popping up Wednesday night as editors were treated to a first look at all of the upcoming products with a fresh array of fizzy cocktails, a shower outfitted with a bubble machine, a few faucets that dispensed a mix of seltzer and champagne (really refreshing!), and a cute clawfoot tub that I couldn’t help but slip into myself.

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Beauty, Body

#ManiMonday: 4 Tough-As-Nails Top Coats

A photo posted by Val’s Vanity (@valsvanity) on

Most manis never last long on me. Having soft nails that easily bend and break, most top coats don’t stand a chance of lasting more than a day before I’ve either chipped or ripped off half of my nail. While I am a fan of gel manicures, my wallet doesn’t share my affections unless there’s an occasion that calls for a long-lasting look. Thankfully, the industry gets my — and many other’s— predicament and has answered the call with a series of top coats designed to mimic the lustrous look and long wear of the salon service, no lamps necessary. These are the top coats that ensure my nails stay in tip top shape!

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Beauty, Body

#ManiMonday: Butter London Links Up with Shoes of Prey


Courtesy of Butter London

Butter London‘s looking to perfect your pedicure with the perfect partnership with none other than Shoes of Prey.

The collaboration includes six shades inspired by the shoe line’s fall array of lush fabric options paired with names of the shoe styles available for customization on the site. The colors include

“We feel the partnership is directly in tune with our brands’ mutual mission to inspire women to embrace their individual style, authentic selves and have some fun,” Butter London President, Sarina Godin shared in a press release. Jodie Fox, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of Shoes of Prey shared the same sentiment, stating, “We’re so excited to give our customers the unique opportunity to add another dimension to their fall outfits by colour coordinating their shoes and manicures and pedicures with our curated trend colours for the season.”

Aside from the fact these chic shades are on trend to be a big sensation this fall, according to Pantone — earthy tones of taupe, dusty cedar, potter’s clay, and lush meadows will be everywhere in a variety of textures and finishes, customization (albeit on the fashion side this time) has become a big driver of the beauty market. It began appearing a few years ago in the form of palettes that allowed you to pick the shadow shades housed within from the likes of Buxom, Urban Decay, and more and have evolved to incorporate other parts of the beauty counter, like Cover FX and Dr. Dennis Gross offering skincare boosters that could be combined with your established skincare routine. And it shows no signs of slowing down, as custom complexion products may lead to higher profiles for companies who can customize nail shades to suit any swatch you serve up and more.

The collection will be available exclusively on Nordstrom beauty counters and online during the retailer’s annual Anniversary Sale where mani mavens can snap up the shades in a set for $39 as early as July 14th for those with early access. Those not part of Nordstrom’s inner circle won’t have to worry, as it will be ready for purchase for everyone else on the 22nd. Mark your calendars now, so you can avoid the mani madness later!

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Beauty, Body, Skin

Volition Beauty Brings Product Power to the People


via Volition Beauty

Have you ever searched the shelves for the right formula for you but end up empty-handed? Ever have a favorite product of your end up in the trash because of a formula change? Now you can skip the wishful thinking and do something about it—create your own with the help of Volition Beauty.

Inspired by the many gaps in the beauty market, founders Brandy Hoffman and Patricia Santos banded together to create a community of beauty buffs to craft the everyday essentials they couldn’t find at their local Sephora without waiting years for big brands to give them what they need. “I think when Brandy and I were coming up with the concept, we had an idea that this would work, and we thought, ‘We believe in democratizing beauty. We believe in empowering women. We believe women can solve their own problems. We believe they’re smart and creative.’ And that’s where all of the product ideas should start. But we had no idea what would happen when we built the platform,” Santos explained during the brand’s press event on Tuesday.

So what happened? It exploded! Not literally, but thousands of women signed up for the platform back in September to submit their ideas for cool and innovative products and shipped the first batch in November. Users can easily submit their ideas and, depending on the difficulty of the formula (and whether they have to patent new technologies), you could see your idea come to life in anywhere between three weeks to a year as a prototype that you and your friends can test-drive to ensure the formula is just right and safe to use. Next, the brand posts the product as a campaign on the website where it’s voted on by the community. If a campaign wins, it’s only 3 to 6 weeks to ship to you in small batches, instead of the two years it typically takes big brands to debut a new buy, always keeping the brand on the edge of the next discovery. “I think what’s key is that it’s not just trends, it’s innovation,” Santos said. “It’s not only an outlet for creative women. I think it’s been an outlet for the underserved in the beauty industry.”

It may be in its infancy, but the platform already boasts a dozen SKUs for skin and body with more coming down the pipeline soon. And you’ll be able to get your hands on them without leaving your couch, as the brand will debut on QVC in August, so keep a look out!

Though I got a preview of some of the skincare essentials that will hit shelves soon, the one item that blew me (and everyone else) away was the Pamona: Custom Gel Mask. It works like an Easy-Bake Oven but for your face. Simply add water with fruit juices that cater to your skin’s specific needs (like berries for added antioxidants, citrus for brightening, cucumber for hydration, etc.), drop in one of the gel tabs, push a button, and five minutes later you have a mask made fresh just for you. I know editors and beauty techies will snap this up super fast for their own use, but it could easily provide a bit of pampering with your pals (Hello, spa-worthy bachelorette weekend!). Needless to say, this is a brand I’ll be keeping a close eye on!

Beauty, Body

Star Wars: The Fragrance Awakens



When it comes to Star Wars, there is no such thing as too much merch if 2015 was any indication. And the train shows no slowing down with a collection of fragrances hitting beauty counters in a galaxy far, far away (actually, it’s Europe).

German fragrance house Lifestyle Perfumes has just released a series of three scents inspired by the iconic film franchise with two scents for men, modeled after the light and dark side of the force, and one for women—all housed in bottles shaped like lightsabers! This seems to be fleshing out the blockbuster’s hold on the beauty counter, as it previously partnered with CoverGirl for a collection of makeup musts to celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Jedi is light and bright with fresh notes of mandarin, water lily, and amber while Empire is a spicier affair with notes of cardamom, clove, and patchouli. While specific notes aren’t listed for Amidala, judging by the image the brand shared on Instagram, it appears to be very sweet thanks to tangerine, chocolate, and vanilla in the image and housed in a bottle that matches the color scheme of her Elizabethan-inspired ensemble the Queen wore on her picnic with Anakin on Naboo. There’s a lot of citrus throughout the collection, according to io9. But given its release in June (prime citrus season) and the recent installment, the company could’ve focused their setting on the more lush planets in the galaxy like Endor, D’Qar, and the aforementioned Naboo.

Well if I had known about this sooner, I would’ve just snapped this up for my dad for Father’s Day! Unfortunately, the collection is only available in Europe with no word on if/when it will hit shelves stateside. Now’s the time to get in touch with your forum friends across the pond and see if they can ship you the cool cosmetic collectibles.

Beauty, Body, Hair, Skin

The Father’s Day Grooming Gifts That Will Be Used Immediately

A photo posted by @valsvanity on

As a beauty editor, I’m blessed with a slew of products to test-drive on the daily. I’m happy to share the extra lippies, liners, and other beauty buys amongst family and friends, which means I can’t arrive at a party empty-handed. On the rare occassion a men’s grooming product come across my vanity, I immediately hand it over to my dad. He covets the samples I share, saving them for special occasions. But honestly, what’s the point? They’re meant to be used! So instead of searching for value sets he may hold onto for months, I decided to search for a slew of grooming goodies that I won’t be able to pry from his hands until they’re empty. The great thing is you can bundle a bunch of these buys and create a cute basket (or pack into a nice toiletries bag) to deliver to dear old dad on his big day. But be sure to order soon to ensure it arrives on time!

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