.keep calm and moisturize on.

Photo by author. Lone Cypress at Pebble Beach, CA

Photo by author. Lone Cypress at Pebble Beach, CA

Even though sunny California (creepily sunny California, as explained here) is not experiencing the Polar Vortex, our equally frightening, albeit more pleasant, drought is still wreaking havoc through the state. I strongly believe in everyone doing their part to conserve water, no matter how small: turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth; recycling boiling water to give your lawn a drink; washing your dishes with a lower-pressure stream. All of these changes add up to something big.

I love you, California, and hope to see you hydrated to a proper level soon. While we all work on conserving water for our precious state, let me turn our attention to another victim of the drought: our poor, desert-dry skin. This year I’ve experienced a flaky, sensitive face more than ever before. It was a tough job sifting through all Sephora’s moisturizers in sake of finding the best, but someone had to do it.** Read through for my top moisturizing recommendations for the rest of Winter 2014. May hydration be with you.

Image via Bergdorf Goodman

Image via Bergdorf Goodman

AmorePacific Future Response Age Defense Creme
The absolute Rolls Royce of facial moisturizers. The hefty price tag is enough to make your balk, but with 6 months supply in each jar I assure you it’s worth every penny.  Containing a crazy amount of green tea and algae extracts (hey, antioxidants!) and Asian botanicals, this cream is #1 by leaps and bounds.

embryolisse

Image via Amazon

Embryolisse Filaderme Émulsion Sèche
I’ve never been shy about my mad love for Embryolisse (seriously, even my mother is hooked on it). This winter I began using their product for severely dry, aging skin – oh the horror at being in that category! I love the way this product sits on top of the skin and slow, deeply penetrates each layer – dehydrated pores just soak it up. This cream is my staple, and most used, moisturizer.

Image via Musings of a Muse

Image via Musings of a Muse

Bliss Triple Oxygen ex-glow-sion
This cream provides the instant glow it promises. Between the triple dose of oxygen and brightening Vitamins C + E, skin truly exudes radiance. The micro-vitabeads throw me off a bit, as I instantly think of them as exfoliators that need to be rinsed off (this is NOT the case), but this product absolutely delivers. Highly recommended.

Image via GlamGlow

Image via GlamGlow

GlamGlow THIRSTYMUD Hydrating Treatment
A newbie to the beauty market, I tried this GlamGlow mask a few days ago and it inspired this complete post. I am in *love* with this treatment. Recommended for 2-3 x week use, this product can be rinsed off with water, patted off dry skin, or simply left on overnight. Given my penchant for saving water (and hydrating my skin) I left this little diddy on overnight only to awake to perfectly smooth, supple skin. Seriously amazing. You can practically watch it absorb into the driest areas of your skin (for me: chin and nose!). I fell hard for this product, and don’t know if I can ever let my bathroom exist without it.

biteBite Agave Lip Mask
This moisturizer is strictly for your lips, and despite the fact it’s labeled as a mask this product is meant to be left on. Essentially, it’s a super strong lip balm (oh, clever marketing!) but I will be the first to admit this product works. Leave it on overnight for a super soft kisser. Pucker up!

**This sentence is a fabrication, as everyone knows I am a moisturizing junkie who gladly gives every hydrator an equal opportunity.

.made with love in san francisco – be.spoke apothecary.

bespoke2Last week was the launch party for the new be.spoke modern apothecary sold exclusively at Beauty Company. Made with love in San Francisco, this paraben-free bath & body line boasts amazing fragrances (lemongrass is my absolute favorite), stellar results (silky smooth skin) and customizable labels –  which are simply beyond.

bespoke3Pick your potion – hand soap, body wash, bath salts or body lotion – and choose from three fragrances. The friendly staff will whip together your customized label. Perfect for “Happy Birthday!,” “Congratulations!” or simply, “Thinking of you, so-and-so,” these hand-written touches are such to please.

20130616-211039.jpgAs we all know, no party is complete without handmade, gourmet, fresh delicious waffles, right? Chrissy concocts the best batter in town, and his fresh waffle with whipped cream and apricot jam melts in your mouth.  Follow him here (seriously, you will want to know where he’s popping up next).

bespoke4Have you swung by Beauty Company for a sample of be.spoke yet? I”d love to hear your thoughts! Tell me in the comments below. In the meantime, I’ll be soaking with these new bath salts….

.guest post: nail art tutorial.

Today’s post is a special piece from guest blogger Chetana, who is the founder of India’s largest beauty network, StyleCraze. Read below for her tutorial describing how to achieve a popular Indian beauty trend – nail art (which we personally can never get tired of)!

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Nail art with accent fingers are certainly still in vogue. You can create these looks by highlighting any of your fingers with contrasting colors, or by adding different embellishments. You can get creative with your design, or start by following he steps below for this elegant but trendy look:

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Things you will need:

  • Dark red nail paint (I am using Inglot 652)
  • Light pink nail enamel (I am using China Glaze “Inner Beauty”)
  • 2 sizes of rhinestone (big and small)
  • Top coat and base coat.

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Steps:

1. Apply your basecoat, then use deep red polish on your thumb, ring and pinkie fingers. Paint your index and middle fingers with a light pink shade.

2. Add big rhinestones in the center of your nails, and two small rhinestones on the sides of the bigger ones (as shown above). Use a nail adhesive to secure the embellishments, and add them when your polish is tacky to the touch.

3. Repeat on all your nails. Apply a top coat to seal in your new design, and you’re done!

Hope you enjoy this nail art, please visit stylecraze.com for many more wonderful manicure designs.

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.forests are beautiful, and so are you.

Pacific Forest Trust, an SF-based nonprofit dedicated to preserving our country’s forests, is having a fundraiser! There are so many fabulous prizes to be won, but this ah-mazing deal at Benefit on Chestnut Street deserves a special mention on my blog (given all the beauty buffs who I know are reading).

Bid here on this beauty bash party, complete with champagne, services (including their infamous brow shaping) and enough spots for 8-10 of your best friends. Not only are you scoring a major discount (typically a $500 value!), but you’re also donating to a phenomenal cause – sustaining our nation’s beautiful wooded areas. Click here for the entire auction page (along with this spa day there is also art, dining, sporting equipment, weekend adventures and so much more).

Benefit_Facebook

Click here to place your bid for this amazing deal!

.fake christmas tree.

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I’m fully absorbed into Yuletide spirit and ringing holiday cheer with my fake tree nails. In today’s snapshot mani I am showing off art once again created by the talented Amy of Beauty Company.

Recreate the look by painting your desired nail green, and after the polish dries cover sections of your nail with scotch tape. Paint your taped nails with gold, remove tape and voilá.

Click this link for the source of my inspiration, and leave your holiday beauty looks below!

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.colored pencil dreams.

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Immediately stepping out of the salon today I felt the need to share my darling manicure. The creative nails pictured above are the result of a profound pin I discovered last night, though they were brought to life by the magic touch of nail technician Amy at Beauty Company on Polk Street. Not only did I fall nearly comatose during my warm lotion/warm towel arm massage, but Amy did a fab job of studying the pins on my phone and recreating the delicate look on my fingers.

Though the original pin served as inspiration, I incorporated my personal favorite nail shades (including Where’s My Chauffeur and Cheeky Chops among others). The result in what I coin “colored pencil” nails. The retro-chic throwback makes me smile, and the trendy-but-tame style slips perfectly into the workplace. Explore the beauty of Pinterest and share comments on the looks you recreate!

.home beauty tips.

We’ve all been in a tight pinch before. Last minute hot date requires silky strands, asap – no time to run across town and buy a hair mask. Or perhaps at midnight, after a couple glasses of red wine, you begin inspecting your teeth and become paranoid they aren’t gleaming white anymore. Or maybe you splurged your month’s savings on a new designer for H&M launch and can’t afford your $30+ exfoliant this week. Whatever the reason, we’ve all needed quick beauty fixes.

Below are my at home beauty remedies for common ailments. Some take some getting used to (raw eggs are just always gross, period) but I promise – if you run out of firming mask and need smoothing before baring your clavicle, there is no better solution. Please keep in mind different skin types have different reactions, so listen to your body should it protest a new DIY treatment!

Aspirin Face Mask & Exfoliant Crush a few aspirin very finely. Mix with a few drops of aloe or honey. Smooth over face and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water, gently using the grains to exfoliate your skin. The anti-inflamatory will reduce redness, though it can be slightly drying. Moisturize well after.

Eggwhites Skin Firmer/Brightener Simply remove the whites from the yoke, smear over your face, let dry and rinse off. That’s it. I still struggle with egg whites on my face, but try on your neck/chest/shoulder area before wearing a strapless dress and see a world of difference!

Olive Oil Moisturize Great for any part of your body – hair, skin, nails, lips, feet. I love to dab on my legs when wearing a short dress or let it seep into my hair during a hot Bikram yoga session.

Peroxide Teeth Whitener Strengthen and whiten teeth by rinsing with straight peroxide twice a day. Your teeth will look and feel better, without the cost of mouthwash.

Honey Bath Soak Create a silky feel and fragrant aroma when adding half a cup of honey to a running warm bath.

Avocado, Olive Oil + Honey Deep Conditioning Hair Mask 2 ripe avocados and 1 tablespoon other ingredients. Apply to damp hair and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly then shampoo and lightly condition. Your hair will be soft, shiny and begging to be touched.

Lemon Nail Repair Brighten and moisturize dull nails by soaking in warm water and rubbing them individually with lemon wedges. Remove polish before soaking.