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Beauty, Body, Skin

Volition Beauty Brings Product Power to the People

volition-beauty

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, Skin

#OnMyVanity: Ole Henriksen’s POWER Bright Kit

 

omv-ole-henriksen-powerbright-top

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

There are day trips to the beach, weekends in the Hamptons, a week down the shore, or a few hour spent sitting by a rooftop pool are just a few of the ways we’re all trying to soak up the sun. But even with sunscreen slathered on every two hours, skin can still be damaged, further darkening any spots on the skin, dulling the complexion, and causing pre-mature aging, so brightening is essential to maintaining a clear complexion. But while moisturizers and serums can up to four weeks to begin to see results, Ole Henriksen has just given me everything needed for a gorgeous glow in just half an hour!

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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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Beauty, Hair, Makeup, Skin

Show Your Stash: Misti Michelle’s Makeup Musts, Muses & More

Courtesy of Misti Michelle

Courtesy of Misti Michelle

I know I’m not the only one curious about celebs and influencers’ favorite beauty buys as well as  who and what shape their view of beauty in the biz. 

It’s a bit of a coincidence that it’s National Bestfriend Day, and I happen to be featuring one of my best beauty buds—and there are many more you’ll see soon. Misti of MistiMichelle.com (formerly Entertainista.com) has always had an eye for beauty whether it was rocking wildly colored tresses in high school or becoming a licensed esthetician herself, and like most of us, she got it from her mama! She’s channeled all of her know-how, her carefully curated closet, and appetite for entertainment into a beautiful blog where she regularly shares her favorite finds and media musts. After forming a strong bond, as well as her encouraging me to start my blog, I wanted to spread the love and get her take on all things beauty, including how her aesthetic has shifted, what’s her best beauty advice, and what products make her #BeautyLust list for 2016.

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Misti’s ultimate beauty look

On her approach to beauty: My approach to beauty has changed so much over the last few years. Now that I’m in my mid-30s, my approach is less about the flashy, crazy trends and more about finding something that works for me. These days my beauty style is simple and classic. Most days it’s just a 5-product routine, as I’m just too lazy to do anything more; however, even when I go ‘all out,’ I don’t go for the crazy eyeshadows or lip colors. I tend to keep it all neutral.

On the beauty idols she grew up with: I didn’t really grow up with any beauty idols other than my mother; however, I do remember loving Cindy Crawford on MTV’s House of Style.”

via MTV.com

via MTV.com

On her first beauty buy: My mom sold Mary Kay all through my teens so I never really had to buy makeup. It wasn’t till I came to New York for the first time in 2000 that I was introduced to MAC. I couldn’t afford much but I did score Ruby Woo lipstick and I treasured it.”

On the best beauty advice she’s received: “Blend. Everyone from key MUA’s to my mom drilled blending into my head from the start. To this day, I live in fear of the dreaded foundation line.”

On her favorite tip to share: When I was trying my hand at modeling, one of the MUA’s on set told me that if I’m ever in a bind lipstick can double as a blush and to use mascara as an eyeliner.”

Her picks for the best beauty buy of 2016 (so far): “I have to say it’s a toss-up between Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream and OUAI’s Hair Oil. Both have become staples in my daily beauty routine.”

Check out Misti’s musts below!

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Beauty, Body, Skin

My Sunscreen Selections for Summer & Beyond

Photo May 26, 5 44 12 PM

If today’s temperature is any indication, this summer is going to be sweltering and filled with beach days, festivals, barbecues, and any other excuse to get out and enjoy the sunshine. But while most know the dangers of UV rays, they only slather on suncare when they slip into their swimwear. It also doesn’t help as a recent Consumer Reports study found that many sunscreen formulas aren’t protecting us as efficiently as we think. The report noted that many of the factors include not using enough (remember, you’re supposed to use a shot-glass amount on the body and a nickel-sized dollop on the face), not rubbing it in properly (there shouldn’t be a gray cast on the skin), or just not reapplying at all (seriously, you should know better by now!). Regardless of the excuses, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Prevention comes from daily protection and every inch of skin counts. In honor of “Don’t Fry Day” and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, I scoured my stash of suncare solutions to serve up an easy regimen to ensure your skin’s health and safety is a priority, no matter what’s on your agenda.

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Beauty, Body, Hair, Makeup, Skin

Show Your Stash: Kat Graham Shares Her Beauty Secrets

via Kat Graham's Instagram

via Kat Graham’s Instagram

I know I’m not the only one curious about celebs and influencers’ favorite beauty buys as well as  who and what shape their view of beauty in the biz. 

Kat Graham has bewitched audiences since she was six with her moves, music, and magic on the big and small screens. Aside from being a well-rounded entertainer, she’s got serious beauty chops to boot. The Caress and Wet ‘n’ Wild ambassador regularly skips the glam squad in favor of doing it herself and considers fragrance to be the finishing touch to any ensemble. After meeting The Vampire Diaries star and learning more about her girl-powered attitude on beauty, I recently reached out to the multi-hyphenate maven to get her take on all things beauty, including how she channels her inner beauty, who she turns to for inspiration, and what her major must-have of the year is so far.

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Beauty, Skin

#OnMyVanity: H2O+ Beauty Oasis Moisture Lock Mask

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

Regardless of your type, hydration is key for healthy skin. I re-learned this lesson recently after handling a wacky winter and an unsettled spring with my skin completely going out of whack. We’re talking a tight forehead, oily cheeks, and dry skin around my nose. Even a humidifier didn’t do much to help my moisturizer do its job!

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Beauty, Skin

Angela Bassett Collaborates on Skincare for Darker Complexions

via Women's Wear Daily

via Women’s Wear Daily

While we know melanin makes a significant contribution to Angela Bassett’s gorgeous skin, the actress is sharing her secret: Dr. Barbara Sturm.

The German dermatologist and the American Horror Story actress have come together to create a line to tackle inflammation, dark spots, and acne—all geared to women with darker complexions. Aptly named Darker Skin Tones by Dr. Barbara Sturm, the range consists of an enzyme cleanser, a foam cleanser, a two face creams (one a thicker, richer formula than the other), and a hyaluronic serum that will hit Harrods exclusively in July for $58 for a cleanser to $335 for the serum. The price point might be explained by the line’s main ingredient, purslane. It contains a telomerase activator youth enzyme that Dr. Strum says has a multitude of properties to protect skin cells’ DNA from age-related damage. “The telomerase activates an enzyme to keep those ends of the chromosomes long, which actually works against natural programmed cell death and that’s the key,” she explained to Women’s Wear Daily. “So not only do we have anti-inflammation and the evening out of skin tone but also a big thing for anti-aging.”

The skincare collection saw its start when the pair first met and Bassett shared some of her skin woes like acne and irritation. “It’s not as if I would see bad acne. I wouldn’t characterize her as having acne, but over a course of years, there were always these spots that would never lighten. There is a difference between brown and black, and in the end it would never lighten,” Sturm said. “Since African-American, or skin of color, problems [revolve] mainly [around] inflammation that is why I especially took care in this range. It has real ingredients, which are scientifically shown to address inflammation.”

They spent two years on the spinoff line for Dr. Sturm’s anti-aging range that also uses purslane to bring out the best in brown skin. Bassett used those closest to her to test-drive the new line, even recruiting her assistant and her nanny to see how it would affect hyperpigmentation. Both Bassett and Sturm want to see people become more aware of their skin and how they treat it. “See what is good for it and ingredients that are helpful — and not invasive or irritating,” Bassett told the trade. “I like them to be pleased when they look in the mirror, to feel good about themselves and the condition of their complexion.”

It’s refreshing to see more companies catering to people of color who are often ignored on the shelves, given that many skincare brands skew towards the lighter end of the spectrum. And though the price point sounds scary now, the pair are already working on a more affordable iteration to ensure the younger generation can focus on prevention and not repair. Sturm said, “We have to find something just a little more affordable and start at an early age and give them something that they don’t even have to deal with the symptoms in later age.”

via Women's Wear Daily

via Women’s Wear Daily

Beauty, Skin

Holy Sheet! Fab Face Masks You Have to Try

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Face masks always offer instant gratification, but who wants to get your hands dirty with a mushy paste or gel to do so? The sheet mask has rapidly transformed from an Asian skincare sensation to the lazy girl’s go-to for good-looking skin. As we all wind down from the week, I searched through my stash of sheets to find five of my favorite formulas to take care of some of your biggest skin gripes. Simply apply one of these prior to your Netflix binge, and you’ll be glowing and gorgeous before you know it—no rinse required!

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