beauty elixir
30's, Skin


Part of me wanted to title this article “my new favorite beauty product.” But I didn’t want to risk sounding deceptive, or to make it seem as though I’ve been commissioned by Caudalie to tout their product. (I never intend to be, and haven’t.)

However, after finally getting around to giving their cult-status Beauty Elixir a whirl, I’ve added another product to my heavily edited list of everyday musts. I love it so much I’ve even gotten my husband into it, and believe me, I could never sell him on an extra skin care step unless a) I’m really passionate about it and b) there’s some sort of immediate payoff. Which explains how he’s both an eye cream snob (YonKa Phyto Contour or bust) and a sunscreen-phobe. A sip of wine, a sip of water, am I right?

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The latest beauty weather report shows a chance of light (very light) showers in your bathroom. For the sake of skin, hold the umbrellas. Beauty brands want you to wet your way to wonderful by spritzing, spraying, misting and watering your face. At the eye of this product storm is Smashbox’s Primer Water, a liquid update to Smashbox’s iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer. Lori Taylor Davis, global pro lead makeup artist at Smashbox, uses Primer Water as a sheer base upon which to apply makeup, a setting spray to keep makeup in place and a refreshing pick-me-up throughout the day. “I don’t know how I lived without this primer. It’s a triple threat,” she exclaims.

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thil glitter
20's, 30's, Makeup


We here at BBTA aren’t usually inclined to wear makeup looks ripped straight off the runway. We don’t like to shock our bosses, boos and supermarket baggers too much. But, when glitter became a major beauty trend during the recent fashion weeks in New York and Paris, our sparkle-loving hearts went pitter-patter. Bling is an eyelid accent we can embrace as long as it’s not too extreme or too girly. Unless we end up face down in glitter, chances are we’ll avoid dousing our eyebrows with it à la the arch glitz at Giambattista Valli. With apologies to Emanuel Ungaro, we generally reserve glistening hot pink for our lips or cheeks. However, the chic gild makeup artist extraordinaire Pat McGrath placed above the lashes at Tommy Hilfiger is a refined take on shimmer we’d be delighted to test drive. Part of an undone/done vibe the makeup was cultivating, McGrath said, “The play with gold palettes [a.k.a. glitter] over the eyelids (starting in the corner of the eye) persists with the idea of the woman who wants to embellish herself and dress up.” Although the inspiration was a free-spirited downtown girl, we think the illuminating flecks were quite adult. To help us conquer sparkle in a similarly elegant manner, we turned to Galit Strugano-Wigdor, founder of Girlactik, a beauty brand that started offering subtle shine in 2000 when going big with glitter was de rigueur, to fill us in on a five commandments to follow to keep our glimmer grown-up.

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20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, Skin


When beauty brands sense a trend is rising, they can really pounce. Two years ago, we might have thought sheet masks were parts of ghostly Halloween costumes. Today, we can’t browse a beauty store without crossing them. There are no fewer than 20 varieties at Sephora, Ulta and Glow Recipe, an online destination bursting with thin beauty gauzes from Korean brands. And more American brands everyday are riding the sheet mask tsunami that started abroad: Estee Lauder, Colbert MD and Peter Thomas Roth are among the latest to release versions of the skin care sheaths. Not that we’re protesting. We’re fans of the instantaneous tautness sheet masks deliver as well as their promises of long-term radiance. But the proliferation of sheet masks has left us confused about how to best distinguish between them and apply them appropriately. To unmask sheet masks, we sought guidance from the sheet mask intelligentsia in the form of Glow Recipe founders Christine Chang and Sarah Lee. Here are four of their top sheet mask suggestions:

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Skin, Technology


Who’s not busy these days? Between work, errands, kids, exercise, sleep and figuring out how to feed ourselves, we’re surprised we had a moment to write this post. Spas, dermatologists and even hotels understand their customers and patients are pressed for time, and are putting more accelerated skin care services – 30 minutes as compared to 60 to 90 minutes is popular for express options, but service durations are shrinking to as little as 10 minutes – on their menus to help squeeze sessions into crowded schedules. “Today, we live in a world that is fast-paced, yearns for instant gratification and strives for time efficiency. Offering quick, yet effective treatments allow clients to feel we are catering to their increasing daily demands, while still offering a brief moment of ‘me’ time,” says dermatologist Dennis Gross, whose New York office completes an Alpha Beta® Peel in under 30 minutes. Not every skin care service, however, should be done before you’ve finished watching the latest episode of “Younger.” We asked Gross and Angelina Umansky, a medical aesthetician and co-owner of San Francisco’s Spa Radiance, to advise us on which services to get over short stretches and setting our expectations for the truncated treatments.

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The Broncos may have been the Super Bowl victors last Sunday, but I was blown away by the power, stamina and grit of the players on both teams (not to mention Beyoncé). I can’t even imagine the amount of preparation and perspiration that went into achieving peak performance on the big day. I was totally inspired to put down the chips, get off the couch and raise my heart rate. While I’m far, far, far from being a professional athlete, I’m trying to squeeze in workouts in between job and parenting duties. I’ve committed to weekly yoga sessions and added a circuit class to my schedule. Increasing my activity level feels great with two caveats: bigger laundry loads and the occasional breakout. My fitness accomplishments will definitely be diminished if push-ups, burpies, bicep curls, downward dogs, steps and strides wreak havoc on my complexion. To make sure that doesn’t happen, I asked skin care experts Celeste Hilling, chief executive officer of the brand Skin Authority, and celebrity aestheticians Nerida Joy and Geri Giagnorio for some advice on how to sweat without sacrificing my skin. Their recommendations can help you stay healthy and save your face, too.

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40's, Makeup

Expert Makeup Tips From The Hit TV Show Younger

When the TV Land series “Younger” premiered last year, I found in Sutton Foster’s character Liza Miller my small-screen alter ego. Sure, I’m not as tall as her or as svelte and I’m thankfully not coping with a divorce, but her professional struggles resonated profoundly with me. Getting older in a media business increasingly dominated by Millennials, not to mention Generation Z up-and-comers, sometimes totally sucks. There’s continually another social-media platform to figure out, and there is the constant predicament of trying to appear fresh and young so as not too broadcast you’re too ancient to grasp modern-day digital realities while gray hairs are sprouting and wrinkles are forming. In the hands of makeup artist Eldo Ray Estes , Foster’s look deftly – and stunningly – negotiates the challenges of a woman in the contemporary corporate world with the unusual twist that Miller is living and laboring both as a feigned Twentysomething and as an actual Fortysomething. With the third season of “Younger” starting today, I decided to check in with Estes, whose enviable list of credits also includes “Orange Is the New Black,” “Broadwalk Empire” and “Blue Bloods,” to discuss his work on the show and makeup for those of us no longer entry-level.

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Anonymous Executive

The Truth About Skin Care No One Is Talking About

I’m about to reveal the skin care industry’s biggest secret.  Did you know that up to 99% of the skin care products you’re using aren’t being absorbed?  That means that up to 99% sits on the top of the skin (SkinPenetrationand is eventually wiped off, washed off, or evaporates and provides no benefit to your skin. The skin care industry knows this, but your skin is a very effective barrier.  One of your skin’s primary jobs is to keep germs and pollution out of your body, but it also keeps beneficial skincare ingredients out of your skin.

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Hair, Makeup, Skin


Total Beauty revealed the winners of their 2016 Beauty Awards yesterday. According to their website, they tried thousands of products to select their Editors’ Picks Winners. I’m not sure how true that is but nonetheless, with all the beauty products to choose from, this is a good way to start narrowing options down.  Here is my curated list of what I am planning to buy and try thanks to Total Beauty:

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