The Tricks of the Trade

Over the years, I’ve learned things that have changed the way I function day to day. True “beauty hacks” that make each day easier, more affordable, and tremendously more sensible. Whether my family and friends have shared this knowledge, or whether I’ve learned it from a book, magazine, or online – I have incorporated many of these habits in my day to day life.

BeautyHacks

  1. Starbucks napkins make fantastic oil-blotting sheets. I once read their composition is similar to those of name-brand blotting sheets.
  2. A silver spoon in the freezer makes for a nice mini-facial. I hold the spoon underneath my eyes every morning to wake me up, and give me a jolt!
  3. Your eye cream in the freezer also adds to the luxuriousness of the spoon facial. Before you climb into bed, run to the freezer, and rub the cream on your under eyes. The tingling feels amazing! Like a facial!
  4. Hairspray can easily replace “Static-Guard”. Dust it lightly on the garment and your legs. Viola! No more stick.
  5. Rub deep moisturizing cream on your elbows, knees, and ankles before applying self-tanner. This dramatically reduces streaking, and overly-orange ‘bows.
  6. Before bed, drench your feet in Vaseline then slide them into your comfiest cotton socks. The next morning, your calloused heels and toes will be no more!
  7. To relax aching muscles, run a warm bath and add one cup of Epsom Salts. The magnesium and sulfate restore the body, and if you add a book and a few candles to the mix, it will restore your mind, too!
  8. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have time to really get your jewels glistening, a quick hand wash in a few drops of baby shampoo will surprisingly do the trick.
  9. Coconut oil does wonders for your locks. Soak your hair in the “precious” oil, concentrating on the ends. Leave in for a few hours, then wash your hair as usual. You will see immediate results!
  10. Now, the best for last. Throwing it WAY back to my Shirley Temple curly-q years, my mom recommends using sponge rollers all over your head, then daintily placing silk panties over the rollers. It doesn’t look foolish at all. You will surely get all the boys.

Have any beauty hacks of your own? Share them in the comment box below. I would LOVE to know!

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Your questions.. ANSWERED

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. NOTHING makes me happier than receiving a call, text, a Facebook message, or an email from a reader sharing their support for Lillian & Dot. However, there is ONE thing better than fan mail (*hair flip*), and that is when I receive an email from a reader asking for advice. (Like, that means you think I know what I’m talking about. Cue excited squeal.)

CallMe

So yesterday, I received an email from a reader who was inquiring my opinions on skincare – moisturizers to be exact. She said she was interested in a moisturizer offered from a large company and wanted to know my opinions on: 1) the company, and 2) moisturizers in general.

I won’t disclose my opinions on the company, but I tried to answer her question on moisturizers to the best of my ability, and I realized that if she had this question, then perhaps others may, too!

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To adequately find a solution to this question it is important that you start your search by being extremely familiar with your skin type. Some may scoff, and say ‘duh’. But others may not have ever really thought about what it is that their skin actually needs. Do you have dry skin? Oily? Combination? Sensitive? The first step is to IDENTIFY your skin type. This is crucial because all skin types vary and all skin types have a product that is designed specifically for them.

Next, you need to do your research. Know what it is that your skincare regimen should contain and what it SHOULDN’T. Clearly I’m here to help you skip this step. So let’s make this simple. The ONE word you NEED to know while commencing the skincare search is non-comedogenic. My dermatologist shared this magic word with me last year and it has made a world of difference when choosing not just skincare products, but makeup products as well. Non-comedogenic simply means that the product does not contain additives, oils, fragrances, or any other junk that will cause your pores to clog. Seriously, magic word. If a product claims to be non-comedogenic it is claiming to work, people.

So when trying to answer my reader’s question, I discovered that the company that she was interested in purchasing a moisturizer from offered a non-comedogenic moisturizer (hoorah!). However, the price was pretty steep for only 4.5 ounces. So my advice to her? The advice my dermatologist gave me. Save your money and don’t funnel so much into department store skincare products that are oftentimes filled with fragrances and additives. Instead, head to your local drugstore to purchase these guys:

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Yep, that’s right. The classic Cetaphil and the popular CeraVe. Both are non-comedogenic, offer a variety of options for every skin type, and are significantly less-expensive. Kinda hard to beat wouldn’t you agree?

And what’s so cool is that that’s not just MY opinion, it’s my dermatologists expert advice. Don’t you just love the free tips? I don’t even charge a co-pay!

So let’s keep the questions rolling. Drop me a line at:

Email

 

Happy Wednesday!

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Save or Splurge: Hair Care Edition

Pinterest


When it comes to hair care I have learned that you never know what you’re going to get for the price. In some instances I have invested in brands that are supposed to be “the best out there” and to my dismay they hardly get the job done. In other instances I have invested in brands that cost as much as a cup of coffee, and I ended up pleasantly surprised. And vice versa, of course. So when it comes down to it-I’m not a hair care brand snob, or unusually particular. In fact, I like to keep a good mix of products as long as they are getting the job done. Because that is the goal in optimum haircare: find what works for YOU, YOUR budget, and YOUR hair.


In order to help you achieve this end goal, let’s try to answer the age old question.. Save OR splurge?

Save or Splurge
 Click on the image above to be sent to my Polyvore where you can check out links and prices to the featured products.

To give you the quick and dirty SAVE or SPLURGE: Hair Care Edition, we are going to cover 5 categories. Brushes, shampoo, texturizing spray, hairspray, and shine spray. The following products are super comparable in quality. And I can speak from either personal experience, OR extensive research.


SO, if you’re thinking “hmm.. I really need to save”. Go for these products:

1 – Brush: EcoTools

2 – Shampoo: L’Oréal EverCréme 

3 – Texturizing Spray: Organix Moroccan Sea Salt Spray

4 – Hairspray: L’Oréal Elnett Satin Hairspray

5 – Shine spray: Mark Hill Defrizz-ilicious Bedazzled Anti Humidity Shine Spray


If you’re thinking “hmm.. maybe I can afford to splurge.” Go for these products:

1 – Brush: Mason Pearson

2 – Shampoo: Living Proof Restore Shampoo

3 – Texturizing Spray: Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray

4 – Hairspray: Fekkai Sheer Hold Hairspray

5 – Shine spray: Unite Shina Mist Spray

So what are your theories on hair care? Does pricier lead to prettier? Does cheap work wonders? What are your favorite products that amaze regardless of price?

Share the wealth of knowledge, ladies! We need to know!

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Makeup Bag Essentials

Carrie Bradshaw kind of said it best when she was explaining to Big that she just doesn’t naturally wake up looking her most fabulous. In fact, looking fabulous requires a lot of products as most ladies can attest to. While we 100% KNOW that feeling comfortable in our own skin is the most important factor in looking and feeling our best.. we are women. And we NEED our creams, serums, gels, sprays, powders, and potions to polish things off!

But as women, we do like to (pretend we) lead a fuss-free lifestyle. However,we have so much on our plates that it often becomes daunting to juggle it all. From school to work to dates to impromptu meetings to play, it can really stress a girl.

So from here on out, (unless you’re sporting a stylishly tiny tote) these are the essentials you NEED in your makeup bag to keep your day running seamlessly.

Makeup Bag Essentials
• On-the-go spot treatment. I use SHOUT wipes and they are tiny little miracle workers.
• Hair ties. You never know when humidity will strike. Keep frizz at bay by always keeping a few on hand. My favorites? Emi Jay.
• Floss. This is a no-brainer.
• Gum/breath mints. Interviews, dates, compact car rides. These babies could save lives.
• Bobby pins. I’m a bobby pin abuser often leaving them sprinkled here and there. (Somewhat similar to how Hansel and Gretel scattered breadcrumbs, I would imagine.) You never know when a messy bun will need adjustment, so keep these nearby.
• Pain reliever. A headache can change the best day to the worst. Don’t be the purse that sounds like a walking pharmacy, but definitely throw one bottle in just in case.
• Hair comb. A brush is cumbersome, but you definitely need something to tame your mane. A travel comb from Aerin gets the job done, and it’s beautiful!
• Lipstick. A little color on your lips changes your whole look. Throw some on around 2:00 pm when you need a pick-me-up that somehow coffee can’t even deliver.
• Hand lotion. During the winter, creams are in themselves essentials. However, regardless of the time of year, hands indicate the first signs of aging. Stay moisturized! I use L’Occitane’s Cherry Blossom Hand Cream. It smells wonderful and doesn’t leave a sticky residue.
• Lip gloss. For a pick-me-up that isn’t so shocking as lipstick. Bobbi Brown’s High Shimmer Lip Gloss in “Pink Tulle 2” is the perfect pink.
• Perfume. A full-blown body spray isn’t necessary. You’ll end up choking your cubicle mate. Instead, opt for a roll-on. I use L’Occitane’s Cherry Blossom Roll-on Eau de Toilette. It’s light, but it definitely freshens.
• Powder. “Your t-zone is a little.. shiny.” Don’t be that girl. Keep powder handy. A light dusting is all you need! Clinique is my go-to for powder. I’ve found that it provides the best coverage.
• Oil-blotting sheets. I think I said SHOUT wipes were miracle workers? I take it back. Oil-blotting sheets deserve that accolade. Say adios to brow, lip, and corners of the nose sweat and shine. Boscia is best.
“I need stuff to look like this.”

So there you have it. The essentials you NEED in your makeup bag. Oh wait.. You need a makeup bag, too? How’s this Sonia Kashuk Floral Print bag work for ya? It looks similar to the Tory Burch Brigitte bag. The best part? It’s LOADS cheaper.
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Happy Friday!

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You Get What You Pay For.. Right?

 Cosmetic Counter

“You get what you pay for.”

That’s how the saying goes. But I gotta ask, is that always the case? A former believer in that quote, I used to find myself often questioning the quality of many drugstore products (specifically cosmetics). Instead, I would find myself investing mostly in department store cosmetics, and attempting to stretch their wear until I was scraping the powder off the edges of the compact.

Not ideal.

With a college budget, that’s just not the wisest route to take. In fact, for any budget, wouldn’t you rather pay less for a product that is just as proficient as department store, high-end retailer quality?

So with this revelation, I began perusing the Harper’s Bazaar beauty columns, and I came across the most fitting article. The “10 Drugstore Must-Haves from Emma Stone’s Makeup Artist”. Intrigued, because WHO doesn’t want to (affordably) look like Emma Stone? I read the post only to find that the products featured were ones that I was familiar with! Some I had used, and some I had never actually tried. But that was about to change.

Although there will always be those department store products that I hold allegiance to, it’s good to know that affordable, high quality cosmetics do exist and are used by both your average Joes and the likes of Emma Stone.

To make you true believers, I’ve curated a list of products that I can firmly attest: really do work.

“Lillian & Dot’s Top 10 Fabulously Affordable Cosmetics”

Lillian & Dot's Top 10 Fabulously Affordable Cosmetics

 (click the image above to get instant links and prices to products)

1- e.l.f. Studio Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara. You’ll love it because it’s $3 and perfectly coats those hard to reach tiny lashes.

2 –  e.l.f. Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Clear Mascara. You’ll love it because it’s $3 and the gel keeps your brows in place for hours. An added bonus? It doesn’t take much! So you’ll get a lot of use out of this product.

3 – NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder. You’ll love it because it provides two shades of powder and a gel that glides on easily.

4 – Sonia Kashuk Perfecting Transparent Mattifier. You’ll love it because a little bit goes a long way! It leaves your skin feeling flawless and diminishes the look of those pesky pores.

5 – Sonia Kashuk Bare Minimum Pressed Powder Bronzer. You’ll love it first and foremost because its a beautiful palette, but the color is even better. It doesn’t leave your skin looking dirty, just sunkissed!

6 – Neutrogena Healthy Skin Smoothing Stick. You’ll love it because the stick allows for spot-on, easy application. It’s the best concealer I have ever used!

7 – MAYBELLINE Baby Lips Lip Balm. You’ll love it because it comes in a plethora of colors and finishes, it leaves your lips hydrated, and the packaging is super cute.

8 – CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. You’ll love it because it’s non-comedogenic, so it leaves those oils your skin desperately needs, but strips it of that dirty gunk!

9 – Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. You’ll love it because it smells great, feels amazing, and leaves your skin with a healthy glow on those days you’d rather just skip the bronzer and go as au naturale as possible.

10 – FLOWER Win Some, Rouge Some Créme Blush. I saved the BEST for last.

Always hesitant of créme blushes, it’s taken me until just a few days ago to make this purchase. However, anxious to try the new FLOWER Cosmetics by Drew Barrymore (that’s sold exclusively at Wal Mart and walmart.com), I figured their créme blush might be a good place to start. SO correct. 

I tried the shade “Forget-me-not” and used a wedge sponge applicator on the apples of my cheeks and brushed upwards towards my hair line. It went on smoothly, didn’t require a lot, and the color was perfect! The best part? It stayed perfectly placed on my typically oily skin. I highly recommend this product, and can’t wait to try the other items in the line.

Another reliable review on FLOWER that you don’t want to miss? Annalise Holmes of Miss Sherlock loves their Lip Butter in “Haute Honeysuckle”. Check out how she adorably pairs her bold lip with a boho vibe, here.

Beauty is only skin deep, but throwing some rouge on the cheeks and gloss on your lips always makes you look your very best. Plus, at the price of these products, you can afford to splurge elsewhere! (You know you need those shoes.) 

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Sunday Sentiments

 

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This is (me) today so I’m really appreciating the honesty coming from Leandra Medine of Man Repeller. (Disclaimer: it hasn’t been a week for me, but you can guarantee it has been a few days. Hashtag thick hair blessings.)

“Bathroom stall confession: I have not washed my hair since last Sunday.”

If you’re like me, you have such a thick head of hair that it causes horses to give your mane a double take. I went from hating the thickness, loving it, hating it, tolerating it, and now I just like to see how long I can stretch the “freshly washed and styled” look when really I’m teetering on the “four days unwashed because it’s such a daunting, time-consuming task” look.

May sound gross, but if it does, that makes you a “thin, fine head of hair”. Translated: your hair is thin and fine, washing is necessary daily, and you can’t fathom that there are girls out there walking around with hair three days unwashed.

For me, I’m past the point of being concerned whether the public thinks my hair is gross or not. Instead I have focused my energy on finding the perfect dry shampoo that will extend the life of my locks. I am dying to try these:

Dry Shampoo's We LOVE

Dry shampoos #’s 1-4 can be found at Sephora, and #5 at drugstores. The Sephora shampoos all received pretty spectacular ratings. I am particularly into trying the ‘Detox Dry Shampoo’ by drybar (#3).  (Cuz if it’s drybar, it’s good right?)

Here’s the details (ratings from sephora.com):

1 – ‘Pronto Dry Shampoo’ by Oscar Blandi, $11, 4 out of 5 stars

2 – ‘Cleanse Extend Translucent Dry Shampoo’ by Alterna, $22, 4 out of 5 stars

3 – ‘Detox Dry Shampoo’ by drybar, $20, 4 out of 5 stars

4 – ‘Express Dry Shampoo’ by Sephora Collection, $9.00, 3 out of 5 stars

5 – ‘Beautiful Clean Dry Shampoo’ by Suave Professionals, $3.99

Obviously, as you can see, #5 is a little out of place. Suave is the dry shampoo brand I use (ahem, college budget), but it really seems to get the job done. I like the fresh scent and it doesn’t create too much scalp-irritating build up. However, it takes a lot of massaging and blow drying to get the powder hidden. Pretty major downside.

I’m still on the search for the perfect dry shampoo, and I’ll pass it along once I find it. Do you have a favorite brand? I’d love to know!

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