Posts Tagged POPSUGAR Voices

Why I Gladly Spent $800 on the Most Perfect Hair Extensions

Something magical happened to me the month before my wedding , and it wasn’t just the idea that I was going to marry my soul mate. I discovered hair extensions , and for better or worse, they changed my life forever. (Apologies if that sounds melodramatic, but it’s true!)

To put it bluntly, hair extensions are the nose job my mane always needed. I was born with fine, flat locks that return to their natural state <a href="

“>the second I leave Drybar. Until that glorious day at Bumble and Bumble, one month before my wedding , when a talented stylist painstakingly bonded Great Lengths extensions into my hair. Great Lengths extensions are made from gorgeous, human hair, and they are fused to small sections of one’s real hair with pure keratin.

The process takes about three hours and costs around $1,200. At the time, I thought it was worth every penny. I left the salon with the hair I always wanted and never thought I could have. It was long, lustrous, and it held blowouts for multiple days. It was perfect. And as a lifestyle blogger and stylist , I quickly realized flawless hair was the one accessory I never knew I needed. Something about my new, cascading waves made everything brighter: my outfits looked better, I was more photogenic, and my extra hair seemed to give me extra confidence, too.

But unfortunately, some love stories must come to an end. (And luckily, in this case I’m not referring to my marriage!) In my opinion, Great Lengths has one major flaw: it can fall out. And it can fall out at inopportune times. Like that time I was meeting a co-worker at the Plaza Food Hall for lunch, and I had to discretely tuck a long strand of hair into my purse. How does that happen? Well, since everyone’s hair naturally sheds, sometimes the extensions come along for the ride.

Taking out hair extensions is also time-consuming. A removal gel is applied to each of the bonds and rubbed into your hair until the bond breaks down and slides off. This process could take over an hour if you have a full head of extensions. But I was willing to look past these flaws until I decided to get pregnant and go au natural. (And by au natural, I mean I went to Ricky’s, bought some clip-ins, and had a stylist cut and color them to match my hair to get me through nine salon-free months.)

I used the clip-ins throughout my pregnancy and for three more months after my beautiful baby girl was born. But I missed the ease of waking up with a full head of perfect hair that I could refresh with a quick spritz of dry shampoo . So back to Bumble I went, and my stylist, Carrie Hill, introduced me to a new tape extension that the salon launched last Fall. To be honest, I had my doubts about sticking tape onto my hair. But after several applications and removals, I’m officially hooked. Keep reading to learn more about this salon process and discover if it’s right for you!

100 Crush-Worthy Valentine's Day Nail Art Ideas

It’s no secret that holidays produce the most festive fingertips. While we’ve seen some jaw-dropping designs for Christmas and Halloween , the whimsical creations that come out of Valentine’s Day hold a special place in our chocolate-and-rose-loving souls. And just because filling out Valentine’s Day cards for classmates may be a thing of the distant past doesn’t mean you can’t show your spirit for the holiday of love. So we combed Instagram to find cute and crafty manicures to inspire your next look – no matter your relationship status.

– Additional reporting by Maria Del Russo

The One Thing You Should Never Say to a Women Over 30

Image Source: Giafrese

Last week, I struck up a conversation with my Uber driver. As the conversation continued around politics, he made an assumption that we were close in age, saying as someone in her late twenties/early thirties, surely I could relate. I pointed out that I’m actually in my mid-forties (I’ll be 45 in June), at which the driver abruptly adjusted the rearview mirror with shock and said, “There is NO WAY you’re that old! You don’t look your age!”

This situation happens to me often. I know he meant it as a sincere compliment, but I’m troubled by the concept that somehow I’m winning at life because I don’t have more visible, external signs of aging. It seems after a certain age, “You don’t look your age!” is supposed to be the Mother of All Compliments, feathered in a soft nest of “I would never have guessed!” and “OMG, are you serious?” While I appreciate the flattery, I’m always left with a very uneasy feeling: what does that say about how we feel about women and aging ?

What makes this well-meaning compliment so unsettling is it implies there’s something wrong with looking middle-aged or older. We live in a youth-obsessed culture. It’s almost as if we have invisible expiration dates on our skin, and any sign of wear and tear sets off an alarm. The catalyst makes us feel suddenly shamed and expendable.

Our societal thirst for youth is undeniable. Entire magazines dedicated to “The Age Issue.” Intense media scrutiny on the appearance of every woman in the public eye, as parodied by Amy Schumer, Tina Fey , Amy Poehler , and others in “Last F*ckable Day .” And the beauty business wages a full-scale war on time, complete with antiaging weaponry meant to eradicate, decimate, and bury all evidence that a woman might be getting older, like “age-defying lasers ” and “miracle worker ” eye creams. Every day, I watch women battling time with everything they’ve got, attempting to stay in the same jeans from high school while pushing foreign matter into their faces in order to literally freeze everything right where it is today, forever and ever more.

The fear of being seen as anything less than sexually viable, the palpable threat of being traded in for a younger model, the intense messaging that we’re going to die alone if we show a crack in the armor of our skin – all of it is crushing, pervasive, and punishing. We treat women like the newest release of the iPhone: just wait a minute, because we’ve got a hot newer model coming, and she’s so much sexier than your old one that we’ve made the old model obsolete.

I find this incredibly disturbing. The lines running across my forehead mimic those of my father’s. And I can’t imagine doing something to get rid of them. Recently, I discovered the magical power of rainbow-colored hair, and I defy someone telling me I’m too old to have it. My jawline and breasts are slowly descending, and outside of exercise, good bras, and products, I’m letting them continue on their path. I truly find softness truly sexy. But I am worried about the women my age (or older) and for the young impressionable girls who are imprinted with an unnecessary fear of aging.

My age is awesome . I know so much more than I have ever known before. The light that shines within my skin is knowledge of how amazing life can be if you just hang in there. I laugh more easily, and I’m so much better in bed because I know my body. My soul, wit, intelligence – the very spark of life within me makes for my vibrancy. I feel like I’ve done a pretty damned good job taking care of myself. I come from a long line of extraordinary black women who take incredible pride in appearance, and we all have daily rituals that reinforce that sentiment.

“The less you do to your face, the less you will ever have to do to you face,” is a mantra my mother once said. I swear by it. I don’t wear a lot of makeup, I cleanse, I treat, I moisturize; repeat daily. Outside of that, I’ve never had anything “done” (re: cosmetic dermatology). The only needles near my face have involved piercing my ears and dental work, and the only surgery has been wisdom teeth removal. No fillers, no nothing. It’s real, and it’s all mine.

That said, I did start using products at the young age of 9 years old, when my Olay -obsessed Aunt Bert used to slather my face with the legendary cream. I would stand on the stool in her bathroom as she performed her nightly beauty ritual.

Image Source: Courtesy of Kristin Booker

At first, I used moisturizers as a teenager to offset the drying effects of cleansers and astringents. And that routine has now evolved into a twice-daily regimen of cleansing, serums, and moisturizers. My regiment has guest-starring appearances from other products weekly, because I test so many things. But the mainstays remain SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser ($34), Simple Cleansing Micellar Water ($7), Kiehl’s Since 1851 Midnight Recovery Concentrate ($72), and, you guessed it, Olay Moisturizing Lotion For Sensitive Skin ($10).

I also admit to spending a ridiculous amount on night creams (my desert island products would be Erno Laszlo Luminous C10 Night Treatment ($135) and SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair ($102).

Since there’s no beauty cream or cosmetic procedure that can cure our obsession with youth, I’d like to propose a different solution: awareness. Instead of telling a woman she doesn’t look her age, just tell her she looks good. Really good. “Wow, you’re beautiful,” is something every single person on the planet recognizes as sincere currency, and we can live off that bank of positive energy for days.

Also, accomplishments, goals, dreams, and intelligence are incredibly beautiful. Women living unapologetically, like Angela Bassett, Halle Berry , Oprah Winfrey , Lauren Hutton, Meryl Streep , and Rita Moreno, are vibrant, exquisite beings. Smart brands are starting to recognize the sensuality that comes from a life of experience. Marc Jacobs embracing Jessica Lange, Joan Didion in a Céline campaign, NARS featuring Charlotte Rampling, and most recently Lancome signing on Isabella Rossellini are all steps in the right direction.

The childish fear of the inevitable end of our lives is forcing us to take extraordinary measures that don’t celebrate women. Ladies, if you’re with people who don’t see the sum of your beauty, ditch them and find your tribe of women who are as juicy and amazing as you. Same goes for the men in your life. Someone out there will love you right as you are . . . no further assembly required.

It’s time for a new standard of beauty. Let’s all look amazing, regardless of our age. The ultimate compliment is to recognize all of what’s in front of you, inside and out. Every single woman has something to bring to the party, and it’s time we celebrate that in all its glory.

5 Beauty Products That All Men Should Be Using (but Probably Aren't)

Gentlemen, listen: I know the world of guys’ grooming can be a hard one to navigate. There are so many products “made for men” that it can be hard to figure out which ones are the best. You think you’ve got it bad? Imagine how women feel! You wouldn’t stand a chance in their beauty aisle.

I sometimes worry about you guys, trying to figure out which products are essentials for you and your daily life. Using body lotion on your face. Not using an aftershave. Ugh, it makes me shudder. I often take a quick glance around a buddy’s bathroom and think, “This is it? A body wash and shampoo 2-in-1 and a toothbrush?”

You don’t need a lot, but there are a few beauty products you should be using every day, and I’m here to help you land the best ones.

Challenge Accepted: How 1 Dude Beautified Like a Woman

Countless evenings at my Chicago apartment tend to play out the same way: I take roughly 10 minutes to get ready to go out and then proceed to wait nearly an hour as my wife of 17 months, Johanna, makes herself look (even more) beautiful. Mine is not a unique story: it’s a long-known fact that women tend to spend far more time beautifying than men. And when Valentine’s Day date night rolls around, that divide only increases.

Since my wife and I planned a fancy dinner at a supertrendy Asian fusion restaurant for V-Day, I wanting to look extradapper for the occasion. So when POPSUGAR Beauty challenged me to, essentially, get ready like a woman, I eagerly accepted. Plus, I secretly wanted to know what women go through behind the closed doors of a spa. (And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t also believe that the whole ordeal might enhance my mental and physical well-being.) After 10-plus hours and more than $1,000 spent on facials, body scrubs, waxes (shudder!), and much more from some of the finest Chicago-area spas, I finally felt like I understood my wife, the other females in my life, and – perhaps – even myself better. But there’s only one real question: did I survive waxing my groin? Keep reading . . .

The Affordable Skin Care Products That Models Swear By

For models, it comes with the territory to take great care of their skin . So, when it comes to skin care products and a well-honed routine, they know what’s what . We talked to some of our favorite long-legged ladies backstage at Fashion Week during the Fall 2016 season to find out exactly which skin care products they swear by to keep their skin in check, even after a hectic day of shows (or let’s face it, months of them). They spilled on which products they love the most and why, so get that shopping list ready!

9 New Products You Are Going to Be Obsessed With This Year

One of the best things about going backstage at Fashion Week season after season is watching which products the makeup artists and hairstylists use to create their masterpieces. Many times, they are lipsticks, shadows and liners that haven’t even hit the shelves yet – which piques are interest even more. Plus, since we get a sneak peek to the latest and greatest in the hands of the pros , we also get to see exactly how they use it – not only making us want to add those products to our shopping carts immediately, but also actually giving us a great reason why.

Here are the hottest new products launching this year that were used for the Fall 2016 Fashion Week shows, so you can create your very own shopping list – plus, how each one was used on the runway.

The Advice You Need to Hear on Having Gorgeous Winter Skin

Chapped lips, raw and wind-ravaged hands, skin that’s begging for an extra hit of moisture – you know the drill. Winter always takes its toll on our skin . Some women, however, seem to stay in tip-top beauty shape all year long . Their secret is simple: they know who makes the good stuff, what skin care and body products stand up to cold-weather conditions , and when to make the switch to a more heavy-duty beauty arsenal that leaves them feeling protected, nourished, and pampered. Fortunately, these beauty bloggers are willing to share this wisdom by revealing what’s on their bathroom shelves when Winter hits. Ready to make a store run?

10 Beauty Gifts For the Best Galentine's Day Ever

Who says you need a significant other to make you feel special on Valentine’s Day (or on any day, really)? Celebrating you and your best friends is a fabulous, feel-good way to embrace the holiday of love. To help you get started, we rounded up the Galentine’s Day gifts your whole squad will heart. From rose-shaped soaps to cocoa-infused products, these sweet beauty grabs are worth treating yourself or the lovely ladies in your life to on Feb. 14.

35 Standout Drugstore Launches of 2016 So Far

For beauty-lovers, the start of 2016 means switching up a beauty routine, cleaning out an overstuffed makeup bag, and, most importantly, keeping an eye out for the latest and greatest in skin care, makeup, and hair . Whether or not your resolution this year is to resist the urge to splurge, you’re going to want to head to the drugstore within the next few months. The new products hitting shelves are going to be quite the treat for beauty enthusiasts, and let’s be honest: the best part is that they’re available almost everywhere, and the price is right! We’re almost certain you’ll want to get your hands on most, if not all, of these new launches – from a new cosmetics line with LED lights embedded into its products to a powder that transforms into a face scrub.

These Will Be the 14 Most Talked-About Beauty Trends in 2016

The contouring craze. The coconut oil takeover. The power of makeup trend. Between the variety in artistic makeup expression, new products, and stereotype-breaking models, 2015 brought a new and improved version of modern beauty.

Some say all good things have to come to an end. But we don’t think this beauty upswing will phase out – even if last year did. We’re expecting 2016 to be another important year for beauty, and though we can’t predict exactly what we’ll see . . . we do have some guesses.

Get ready for new celebrity product lines, off-the-runway trends, and stylish cuts – there’s more to come, and it’s all happening in 2016.

8 Body-Toning Creams That Actually Make You Look Slimmer

The holidays (and all of the tempting goodies that typically accompany them) are behind us, bathing suit season is just a few months away (with Spring break trips on the horizon), and it’s time to commit to those healthy habits for 2016.

We love you just the way you are (really) and know there’s something serious to be said for fitness and nutritious eating . But we also know firsthand that the struggle is all too real, which is why we wasted no time looking to some of our favorite beauty brands that offer body-toning products. While a skin butter can’t dissolve cellulite, it can certainly help the area to appear firmer, brighter, and more even. So we put these products to the test to see which ones will help you fake it till you make it.

9 Videos That Show Endless Beauty Hacks For Using Coconut Oil

Yes, you’ve all heard the buzz about coconut oil  – but do you actually know how you should be using it in your beauty routine?

If 2015 was the year that this kitchen-cabinet product  became a powerhouse force for health and beauty, we want 2016 to be the year we all fully understand how to take advantage of its long list of benefits.

There are more common uses, including as a hair mask, for pulling, and to remove makeup. But there is also a range of more unusual uses, including as deodorant, allergy reliever, and lip gloss. To help you break down both the ways and reasons you can use this single ingredient , we’re turning to videos that can show, not tell, the hands-on ways you should be incorporating coconut oil into your repertoire.

Darren Criss Picked Out the Ultimate Grooming Gifts For Dapper Dudes

You may just know Darren Criss as a Broadway star or Blaine from Glee, but in real life, he’s actually an entrepreneurial beauty guru. When I sat down with him earlier this year to talk all things grooming, he blew me away with his knowledge about everything from essential oils to not overstripping his curls of moisture. When it comes to looking and smelling fine, Darren knows what’s up.

That’s why the triple threat is the perfect person to help you pick a present for the guys in your life – be it your brother, boyfriend, or boss. Here, Darren rounded up his favorite gifts from the dapper men’s ecommerce site The Motley . (Darren is actually an investor in the cool-guy grooming site, founded by siblings Matt and Madison Ruggieri). Keep reading to find out which lotions, fragrances, and candles Darren is loving this season. Plus, there are a few bonus stylish picks (Valentine’s Day is coming up sooner than you think . . . ).

Parisiennes Share Their Tried-and-True Hair, Makeup, and Skin Care Secrets

I’m not going to lie; I moved to Paris for all the cliché reasons – the sophistication, the culture, and the grandiosity that can make anyone feel just a little bit royal. Of course, there’s also Paris’s beauty – in its cityscape and in its people. So when I decided to explore global beauty standards for my docu-series, Pretty , Paris was the first place I started. In a nutshell, Pretty is a look at beauty everywhere. I’ve been traveling to cities across the globe, namely Paris, Milan, London, Tel Aviv, and Casablanca, speaking with women about their country’s and city’s beauty ideals and their own relationship with beauty.

Beauty in Paris

Effortless. If you ask almost anyone in Paris what it means to be beautiful, the word effortless will surely come up, which was exactly the case when I spoke with natives Sonia, Carole, and Sarah. They each explained that French beauty is very natural and inconspicuous. Even if you spend a lot of time on your appearance, you have to look as though you didn’t. In terms of physical characteristics, Sonia explained that the ideal French woman is tall and thin with somewhat regular features.

Many Parisians sum up this archetype with a commonly used expression: “la petite Parisienne” – a woman who acts as though her appearance doesn’t matter but pays attention to every detail of it. She wears Adidas Stan Smith sneakers with oversize coats and drinks red wine. However, despite looking beautifully understated, locals know that she’s got a number of beauty secrets in her arsenal. Thankfully for us in the States, Sonia, Sarah, and Carole shared some of theirs.

The Ultimate Gift Guide For the Selfie Queen in Your Life

We all have a selfie-snapping BFF in our lives whose Instagram feed of self-portraits could rival Kim Kardashian ‘s. She’s the one in the group who is always camera-ready, has killer makeup skills , and knows how to strike a pose with total ease. Finding the right holiday gift for the selfie queen in your life means you’ll have to start shopping ASAP to score some of the latest and greatest beauty finds to hit shelves this season. From a contour kit that will require #NoFilter in her next snap to a light-up mirror for her vanity , here are 10 picture-perfect presents that will ensure she continues to look flawless.

1 Real Dude Reviewed 14 Beauty Gifts That Guys Actually Want

Every holiday, you experience the same dilemma: what gift should you get your man? And not only that, but does giving him a grooming-related present sending the signal that he isn’t taking proper care of himself? The answer is a definitive no. And I say this as a dude who hasn’t always exhibited the most refined hygienic tendencies over the years. That’s why I was psyched to get my hands on some of the best men’s grooming products on the market and take each for a spin before offering my recommendations.

So without further ado, keep reading my list of the best guy’s beauty buys for this season. From fragrances to, yes, soap, these gifts are sure to be major winners come gift-giving time. Or, at minimum, they’ll make your man look and smell a bit better.

Kate Middleton-Approved Beauty Buys That'll Make You Feel Like a Royal

That bouncy chestnut-brown hair, those lovely smoky eyes, the radiant skin . . . it’s no wonder we’re all smitten with Kate Middleton . The Duchess of Cambridge has made household names out of the fashion labels she favors, and we think it’s high time her go-to beauty brands get the same treatment. As such, we’ve tracked down the beauty buys you’ll find in the royal’s makeup bag, from cult favorites we all know and love to lesser-known staples we’re dying to try. Scooping her beauty swag isn’t quite the same as, say, marrying a prince and having access to the royal jewels, but we can live with that. Keep reading to discover the Kate-inspired gifts, perfect for yourself or your princess friends.

5 Mom-Approved Beauty Secrets You'll Want to Follow ASAP

Singer, actress, fashion designer, entrepreneur, writer, and mom of two Thalia shares her parenting, lifestyle, fashion, and beauty tips as a POPSUGAR Latina contributor.

My mom was my guide, my best friend, my confidant, and my biggest fan. I miss her every day, and I think of her constantly. I am very grateful for everything that she always did for me and for all of the support she gave me. I am also thankful for all of the knowledge she instilled in me. She made it a point to take great care of herself and strived to look good at all times. Among all of the amazing things I learned from my beloved mother, these are five of her beauty tips that I took to heart.


Skin Care Experts Reveal Their At-Home DIY Beauty Recipes

Sun. Stress. Sleep deprivation. The list of things wreaking havoc on your skin on the daily goes on – especially since cold weather and holiday season is here. Whether you’re in need of some brightening (lemon peels, anyone?), bronzing (bring on the henna!), or bump-soothing (eggs are wonderful in more than your morning omelette), many beauty experts suggest looking into your own pantry . There, you’ll discover healthy, convenient, and often cost-efficient solutions to some of your most common beauty gripes. Behold, some of their tried-and-true, tasty recipes that you can whip up to get gorgeous skin!