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Drugstore Find: Essence Of Beauty Brushes Won’t Shed All Over Your Face

In every CVS, Essence of Beauty brushes are there. But, as with all bargain beauty brands (okay, as with all beauty brands, period), not every brush gives you bang for your buck. So, which should you buy and which should you skip? This handy primer will help you unearth the gems. Buy: Crease Brush Duo ($5) Why: The larger brush’s soft hairs give your shadow a smudgy, blended, and natural look in the crease. It’s also a perfect shape for use along the outer V. Use the smaller brush for more precise application around the inner corner of the eye. Buy: Kabuki Brush ($10) Why: This soft brush applies mineral makeup and all kinds of powder in a smooth, even fashion, and at $10 a pop, it’s much more affordable than its higher-end counterparts. Skip: Synthetic Foundation & Powder Brush ($10) Why: Although the bristles are good for applying liquid foundation, they shed. And there’s unfortunately nothing like brush hairs in your makeup for ruining your look. And don’t forget to check circulars for your local drugstores – Essence of Beauty is a brand that’s often put on sale. Good news for your brush collection and good news for your wallet – what could be better?

Drugstore Find: Wet ‘N’ Wild Eyeshadow Trio Is Amazing (We Promise No Glitter)

Three dollars can buy you coffee. Three dollars can buy you a doughnut. Or three dollars can buy you a fabulous eyeshadow trio from the drugstore. What: MegaEyes from Wet ‘N’ Wild, $3Why:  I remember Wet ‘N’ Wild from high school, mostly for its sparkly purple nail polish, which is still all over the floor in the bathroom I grew up sharing with my brother. However, somewhere along the way, the brand has morphed into an underrated line with products worth way more than their price tags. I’ve raved about the #666 lipliner in the past (the only one you’ll never need), and these trios are just as spectacular.There are six trios in the line, each with coordinating light-to-dark colors: Belgian Chocolates, Amazon Greens (an especial favorite), Mojave Mauves, Venetian Violets, Island Blues, and Egyptian Sands.They’re perfect for weekdays – rock the lighter shades at work, and use the darkest color to amp up the look for a night out.Get Yours: drugstore.com

Repair The Damage: Dry, Gross Hands Can Be Salvaged With Cucina

I’m hard on my hands. As a combination swimmer/amateur chef/rubber glove forgetter while doing dishes, I’ve had every problem in the book: cracking, peeling, and some things too unpleasant to be mentioned.Since not swimming and not cooking are not options, and I’ll never remember those stupid gloves to save my life, I’m always on the lookout for products that are thick and moisturizing enough to restore softness, yet gentle enough on my sensitive skin to leave my hands rash-free.I never thought I’d discover what I needed in a line whose name means “kitchen.” But Cucina's a lifesaver. Inspired by the open, airy nature of a Mediterranean abode, the line specializes in handcare products for cooks, wannabe cooks, and anyone who could use a little smooth-me-out.  For damaged digits, the Repairing Action Hand Cream ($18), made with olive oil and olive butter, works hard to regenerate the natural lipids that keep hands soft. After a week of use, I noticed that the (admittedly, peeling and terribly disgusting) dry patches around my knuckles had evened out into normal-feeling and normal-looking skin. I’m partial to the earthy Zucchini Flower and Truffle scent. If you’re looking for more of an upkeep type of hand cream, the Nourishing Hand Butter ($15) will keep hands smooth and damage-free. I keep a tin on my desk at work, and love both the zingy Ginger and Sicilian Lemon and sweetly tart Lime Zest and Cypress – they’re lovely pick-me-ups on a dreary Monday morning.And for those of you who want to take it even further, try slathering on a treatment and leaving cotton gloves on overnight. 

Origins (Naturally) Solves Your Skin Problems, Complete With Goodie Bags

Natural beauty buffs (and anyone who likes products that smell fantastic and work), take note: Origins is doing something to make the summer-to-fall skin transition easier. For a limited time in August and September, Origins stores are offering free two-minute skin consultations. The consultant will recommend a skincare regime, and if you want to try before you buy, they’ll thoughtfully provide you with one of three goodie bag starter kits (and yes, you get to pick).  Kit #1 consists of skincare products from the A Perfect World line, which guards against pollutants in the air and the dullness and irritations caused by stress. Scented with white tea (and smelling good enough to eat), these products might not be the Fountain of Youth, but they will make your skin look firmer, glowier, and softer.  Kit #2 is made up of products from the Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Plantidote Mega-Mushroom Skin Care line, which soothes such troubles as redness, dryness, wrinkles, and puffiness. This line is a great choice for those of you with sensitive skin, as it’s gentle and healing. Kit #3 contains products from the new Origins Organics line, which bears a unique badge of approval: it’s the first line of prestige skincare products to be certified by the USDA (Department of Agriculture). No Origins store? No problem. Shop online through September 3rd and get free shipping, plus your choice of sample kits. And don’t forget to check out the brand’s haircare line, which sets the standard for gentle, effective, and fantastic-smelling (notice a trend, by any chance?) conditioners. If you have fine-to-medium hair that gets weighed down by normal cream conditioners, try the Clear Head Mint Conditioning Rinse ($13). Its gel-like consistency gives hair more movement and shine. The Knot Free Finishing Rinse ($13) leaves thick, hard-to-comb hair soft and tangle free, and smells like fresh, ripe peaches, lemons and peppermint – perfect for the end of summer.   

How To Look Rested When The Party Went On Way Past Your Bedtime

We’ve all been there, especially in the summer. It’s a beautiful night, the party (okay, parties) are phenomenal, the music’s pounding, and suddenly, it’s 5 a.m. And of course, there’s a performance review at work/a big wedding/a date with Bachelor No. 3 coming up that same day. So, how’s a girl to have her fun and look rested? It’s in the eyes, or rather, in this step-by-step guide to looking rested, no matter what.It’s imperative to work from the inside out. So no matter how tempting it is just to crash, make sure you take your contact lenses out immediately after getting home. All the Visine in the world won’t help you if you sleep in them. (Trust me. I got sent home from work once because I slept in my contacts and looked like I had pink eye.)    Put something cool on your eye area to stave off as much puffiness as possible. I’m a huge fan of Eye Slices ($20). These disposable pads are amazing – put them in the fridge after you buy them, and then pop them out, press gently into your eye sockets, sit or recline (but don’t lie down), and leave them on for 10 minutes. The aloe and other active ingredients will seep out, moisturize your eye area, and calm any signs of puffiness. Best of all, they’re reusable – five times in a two-week period. Visine ($7.29), that tried-and-true drugstore staple, will get the residual redness out of your eyes.  Banish undereye circles by mixing some foundation with your moisturizer and applying to the eye area with a flat foundation brush, such as the MAC 191 ($32). Blend luminizer -- I’m crazy about the ones from Stila ($22) -- along the tops of your cheekbones to reflect light up towards your eyes.However, the best trick is to use a light pink pencil at the corners of your eyes (inside and outer V) to banish sideways shadows. Try Benefit’s Eye Bright pencil ($20) and watch your face take on that bright, doe-eyed look. How do you look refreshed after a long summer’s night? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Beauty Buzz: It’s The Fish Pedicure Sensation That’s Sweeping The Nation … And We Tried It!

How far would you go for baby-smooth feet? My quest took me straight to the fish tanks of Alexandria, Virginia.    Recently, SheFinds told you about the “Dr. Fish” pedicure – and coincidentally, the place in the USA to try it is close to my hometown. So I loaded up my courage (I am not a wildlife person – if it’s not furry and waggy, it’s not for me) and two of my friends, and drove to the Yvonne Hair, Nails & Tanning Salon for standard pedicures with 15-minute stints in the fish tanks ($45).The place was packed with people ready to take the plunge, but this didn’t stop the salon attendants from making sure we felt taken care of. We were quickly shown to a group of chairs and given lower-leg massages with hot towels, after which we surrendered our Havaianas for thicker-soled flip flops (a good idea for navigating the wet floor).The “fish” section of the salon was dim and relaxing, with a soothing landscape painted on the wall behind the fish tanks and the benches, but the three of us only had eyes for the tanks, which were filled with ankle-deep water and miniature nibbly carp. Much to my friends’ amusement, my courage almost deserted me when the submersion time came, but the sensation wasn’t unpleasant – think of someone gently tapping and tugging, and you’ll have the idea. It doesn’t tickle, like a rasp, which is a major plus for those of you (like me) who squirm through every pedicure. The fish concentrated on different spots for each of us: one friend had a congregation on her right ankle, and the other had them spread evenly around her feet. I had them fighting to get in between my toes. The 15 minutes (timed on a digital timer) passed all too quickly.Afterwards, the three of us came out of the tanks and had amazing pedicures. If you’re in the area, it’s worth it to check out Yvonne’s just for this, even if you have no interest in the fish. The final buffing, the foot and leg massage, the friendly pedicurists, the excellent massage chairs – I’m definitely going back for more. It was … I have to say (and I’m sorry, I can’t resist), carp-tastic.Best of all? My feet are smoother than they’ve been in forever, especially on the sides, where I’m prone to calluses.  But next time I go, I’m feeding the fish for half an hour. Count on it.Would you trust your feet to the fish, or are you more likely to stick to your standard pedi and foot-smoothing products?

Face It, You Don’t Have Perfect Skin. So Fake It Already

While it might seem creepy to pine over the porcelain skin of Disney cartoon princesses (wow, that sounds insane actually saying it out loud), you have to admit, those fictitious ladies' complexions have no awkward tonal variances, redness, sallowness, undereye circles, or blemishes. Sadly, no one has this kind of skin ... in the real world that is.However, there are ways to fake it. The beauty industry’s gaining ground on those fairyland vixens, and these products are true standouts. Benefit’s Galactic Shield! ($20) - and yes, the exclamation point is part of the name - gives your blemishes the evil witch treatment with its concealing wand. The salicylic acid provides an extra pimple-shrinking punch.  Here’s a tip I never knew until recently – undereye circles vanish much more easily if you use pink concealer, and Everyday Minerals Pick-Me-Up Pink Concealer Powder ($2.50) makes circles sink back into the skin. Use a lighter hand with the application – a little goes a long way. Green is red’s opposite on the color wheel, and Physicians Formula Powder Finish Concealer Stick covers localized redness better than Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak ($5.39).  Sallow (yellow) undertones transform magically into an alabaster-looking complexion with the lavender version of Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer ($38). (Yellow and lavender are color wheel opposites, so, like green with red, lavender cancels out yellow.)

Busted: British Company Decides Bigger Bras Mean Extra Cash

If you’re a bigger-busted gal like me, you know that bra shopping can be a major pain. The cutest bras don’t always come in D+ cup sizes. Finding a strapless bra can invoke the needle/haystack proverb.And now Catwalk Queen is rightfully up in arms at British retail denizen Marks & Spencer, who conducted some spurious research and decided that bigger bras will come with a 2 pound (nearly 4 dollar) increase in price. It’s unthinkable – as unthinkable as charging more for larger sizes in any piece of clothing.Read the original editorial here - Catwalk Queen – Busts 4 Justice (And trust me, it’s worth the read.)If this trend comes to the USA, you can bet I’ll be boycotting any store that dares to charge me more – including Nordstrom, my favorite source of all. It would be a catastrophe, though, because Nordstrom, with its expert fitters and wide selection of bras, is home to some of my all-time lingerie favorites: Wacoal Halo 65449 Strapless Convertible Underwire Bra: This is hands down the best strapless bra I’ve ever had. It provides amazing support without digging into the back. It is perfect for under a summer cami. ($42.00, sizes up to 38DD) Chantelle Intimates Classy Underwire Bra,: In sizes up to 42DD, this bra looks smooth and seamless under thin T-shirts, cashmere sweaters, and sleeveless shells. It’s invaluable, whether you’re a 32B or a 40D. ($55.90 during the Anniversary Sale, $84.00 regular price) Wacoal 85154 Seamless Minimizing Underwire Bra: A minimizer is a girl’s best friend under button downs, and this will hold you in without giving you bra bulge. ($65.00, sizes 34C to 40DDD)And shop our Guide to Bras for Big Busts for other great options.

Design For All? Target Misses The Mark (Again) With Botkier

Once upon a time, someone at Target hit on a brilliant idea: bring in mid-range accessories designers and have them design a bag (or bag and shoe) line for the people. But this story doesn't have a happy ending.It would be unrealistic to expect a $50 handbag or $30 shoes to be on par with their $600 and $300 counterparts from the designers' regular lines, but Target’s proven that cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean ugly. eBay buyers are still hunting down Devi Kroell’s oversized Target totes (famously carried by Anne Hathaway, above). As the owner of the structurally perfect Trigger bag from the designer’s regular line – which, by the way, was bought after massive scrimping and saving – I had hopes that Monica Botkier’s collaboration would be more like Kroell’s and less like the sad-sack offerings from Loeffler Randall and Hollywould. Sadly, she goes where the latter designers have gone before. The gold and silver crackle bags look dull, and the crackle from the handle immediately came off on my shoulder. The PVC shells of the fuschia hobo and black satchel feel unbreathable, as if carrying one while wearing a cami will result in a blister. The python embossing looks like shiny, happy plastic (come on, Target, we know you can do better).  One accidental flick of my nail, and the embossing started to peel off.  And in real life, the goldtone clutch has clashing, plasticky gold accents.Target should give its customers something affordable, revelant, and attractive – these bags fail on all three levels. And while I can’t speak to their durability, I can tell you that my Loeffler Randall for Target clutch lasted one outing before the attached rosette started to unravel.Now we're all about finding a chic handbag for less -  but we think sites like Urban Outfitters and Nine West usually offer better quality goods than the latest crop from Target.  Have you seen the new Botkier bags for Target? Have you bought one? Tell us what you think of them in the comments section below.  

Great Nail Polish Finds That Won’t Break The Bank

In this day of exploding gas prices and struggling investments, you might not have the inclination to blow $20 on that bottle of Chanel Rose Tourbillion (although it is completely stunning). However, this doesn’t mean that your nails have to be anything less than amazing. And if you’re a classic red-and-pink lover, there’s a huge range of choices.E.L.F., a.k.a. “That Brand Where Everything Costs a Dollar,” has a line of polish that includes two standout shades: Light Pink, a gold-shimmer-infused petal pink, and Light Red, a true, blue-based red. These colors take a bit of work to get opaque – the pink took three coats, while the red took four, and it didn’t take to every basecoat (although Orly Bonder worked really well). Wear is average. (Side note: E.L.F.'s offering a code until July 15th -- 10% off purchases of $20 or more with code EGANNIVDS.)   If you’re looking for something from a line you’re more familiar with, check out Essie’s Who’s She Red (a retro lipstick red) and Sugar Daddy (a clear, cool pink). And at $8 a pop, neither of them will break the bank.Get both Essie colors at amazon.com for just $4.75. Or online beauty supply store Head 2 Toe Beauty offers Essie for $3.50. It's reliable and ships quickly – making these offers ones you might not be able to refuse.

Spinlash Gives You Record-Setting Lashes: If It Doesn’t Poke Your Eye Out First

Metal lash combs, beware – there’s a new tool in town. It’s called Spinlash, and it looks absolutely terrifying. A spinning mascara wand? Would I poke my eye out?The product, though, is foolproof ... and ingenious. It's similar to the wand that comes with my never-changing-from-it mascara, Cover Girl Lash Blast. The two buttons on the outside of the wand control its motion – you can spin it clockwise or counterclockwise. (I trade off for each eye – it's easier to control the mascara application that way.) As it spins through the lashes, it separates them effortlessly, making them look longer and ridding them of clumps better than any lash comb I've ever tried.The Spinlash wand can be used with either the mascara that’s included in the package or with your favorite brand. My method is to dash on a coat of my beloved Cover Girl Lash Blast with its normal brush, and then go over it with a coat of Spinlash for added separating and lengthening. Do this, and you’ll be batting your eyes at everyone you know. Trust me on this. Order your own (available in brownish black and black for $14.95) on the Spinlash website.

The Incredible Ped Egg: Summer Pedicures Never Looked So Good

Confession time: I'm a klutz. I've burned myself with my CHI straightener, accidentally dyed my hands purple while making ombre tights in my bathtub, and tripped over every crack that exists in my home county's sidewalks. So naturally, when I learned about the Ped Egg, I said, "It takes skin off my feet? I'm never using one. I'll hurt myself." Dumber words were never spoken. I was prevailed upon to try it, and let's just say, the Ped Egg is the best invention since ... well, since nail polish and hand creme. SheFinds has raved about it before, but not until I tried it out for myself was I utterly convinced.  This is how it works: the small, handheld (and dare I say, ergonomic) eggshell holds a grater-like metal plate. You run it lengthwise up and down your foot, removing calluses and smoothing away dead skin. It's that simple. An emery board is included for further buffing and polishing. Once you're done, pop out the metal file and empty out the egg's container. That's all there is to it. And take it from this klutz: the Ped Egg is absolutely foolproof. The file's made in such a way that it's almost imposssible to cut your foot. (Take care that you don't oversmooth your feet, though, or they could become irritated and sensitive. Spot check every few minutes.)The best part? This little slice of magic is $9.99 at target.com.

Beauty Buzz: Red Lipsticks For A Sizzling Night Out

You say you can't wear red lipstick? You're wrong: red lipstick comes in shapes and forms for everyone. And with the arrival of summer, there's no time like the present to brighten up your lip look.Here are two well-known, long-lasting, and flattering shades guaranteed to spice up your life:Clarins Joli Rouge in Cupid Red ($23): This complexion-brightening matte red has a gel-like formula that moisturizes lips – no joke. It’s lip balm and lipstick in one tube, and it stays put. Lancôme Le Rouge Absolu in Ruby Silk ($26): A dark rose-tinged red that will satisfy any lover of color. The color stays put with absolutely no feathering or bleeding, but if you’re scent sensitive, the smell of this lipstick could be offputting. And three others that are more off the beaten path, but definitely worth scoping out:Kryolan Professional LipStick in LF101 ($9.50): This fire-engine red comes from a German company that’s been working with theater, movie, and television professionals for over half a century. Check out the line at Ricky’s, if you’re in NYC, or online.  VMV Hypoallergenics Lipped Crème ($21) and Lip Bliss ($23): This line might be the best thing you’ve never heard of, especially if you have sensitive lips and skin. VMV has been around for almost 20 years and strives to create cosmetics that are both easy to wear and beneficial for the skin. Try the Lip Bliss in dramatic, pink-red Runway or the more sheer Lipped Crème in the  universally flattering Cranberry Cobbler, which goes cherry-juice pink on the lips. 

Blusher Saves My Face — Even On Bad Skin Days

Mineral blushes are the best thing ever invented. Seriously. For someone like me, who has dry skin and periodically breaks out on her cheeks, they give a lovely, natural pop of color without the cakiness of typical powders or the irritating oiliness of crèmes.Don’t get me wrong – on good skin days, I wear and love powders and crèmes. But on my tetchy skin days, only mineral blushes seem to do the trick.   One that I’ve just discovered is the Magic Mosaic Multi-Colored Custom Blush from Physicians Formula ($10.95). It’s hypoallergenic, fragrance and oil free, and best of all, it’s made up of little “petals” of color on a spectrum from light pink to berry rose. This means that I can mix the shades to my heart’s content, and adjust and deepen the color as summer approaches and my face tans (despite my SPF 50 sunscreen, of course).And don’t forget a good blush brush! The Flirt! Brush Kit ($9.60) and the M.A.C 129 Powder/Blush Brush ($34) are two can’t-miss picks.

The Eye (Tints) Have It: Get Ready For Summer With Shimmery Crèmes

Summer’s here, and for those of us with dry-in-the-winter, oily-in-the-summer combination skin, making eyeshadow stay put can be a real issue. There is a way to fight this, though: crème eyeshadow. As with crème blush, the color sinks into the eyelid and stays put more firmly throughout the day. Most shades are buildable – the first coat will go on relatively sheer, but additional coats will make it opaque. The one caveat is that crèmes crease more easily than powders – make sure to apply an eyeshadow base first. Some fabulous shades to try for summer: For the neutral naturalist: E.L.F.’s Duo Eye Shadow Creams ($1) have a lighter color for your lid and a darker shade for accentuating the color. Butter Pecan – a pink and chocolate duo will flatter any skin tone. For the drama queen: Becca’s Eye Tint is long lasting and surprisingly opaque. Like the brand’s famous Beach Tint, it gives your lids a rush of color that sinks into the skin. Try Gilt (a droolworthy ruddy brown) for a nighttime dramatic eye ($24).   For the lover of color: MAC Paint Pots come in a huge range of colors. Try Delft (a deep teal with gold pearl,$16.50). Clinique’s Quick Eyes Cream Shadow in Sunlit Palm gives lids a dash of sexy olive ($15).

The Hands-Down Best Makeup Brushes For Your Beauty Routine

The world of face brushes is mind boggling. So how do you know which one (or two, or three) would suit you best? I’ve found that the easiest thing is to shop for specific application needs. Is it for mineral foundation? A kabuki will fulfill that need (and it's one of Oprah's favorite summer things). Powder? Look for something big and fluffy. Still not sure? Consider this the ultimate shopping list cheat sheet:   For mineral foundation, try Everyday Minerals’s Long-Handled Kabuki ($10). This soft, synthetic brush features densely packed bristles and a longer-than-average handle, which gives you more control over makeup application.   For an all-purpose, do-anything powder brush, check out Eyes Lips Face (E.L.F.)’s Professional Total Face Brush ($1). I’m skeptical of anything labeled “ergonomic,” but the handle of this brush, which was designed by makeup artist Scott Vincent Borba, fits perfectly into the palm of my hand.   Bright blushes go on best with M.A.C.’s Duo Fibre Face brush #187 ($42). Check out the bristles – the white ones pick up the product, ensuring that your cheeks will get a pop of color without making you look like Bozo the Clown’s younger, hotter sister. And finally, cheekbones get contoured and highlighters get applied evenly with BECCA’s Fan Brush ($39). I’m not normally a fan of BECCA brushes – I find them stiff and unyielding – but this brush retains its evenness, making itself an indispensable contouring and finishing tool. Products get blended in just enough to give your face its desired shape.

How To Make Friends and Influence People (With Fabulous Breath)

 From last week's embarrassing question poll , we can now safely assume it’s almost everyone’s worst nightmare: You’re on a hot date … or at an interview … or just riding the subway, when suddenly, you notice your date/interviewer/seat neighbor shrinking away from you in horror when you open your mouth to answer a question.Halitosis: the ultimate way to lose friends and alienate strangers. This is why the breath-aids industry makes so much money every year. Minty Lifesavers, Listerine strips, Orbit gum, Sonicare toothbrushes … the list goes on and on. But now, there’s a product from Kimberly-Clark that claims to be the best at cleaning teeth and freshening breath on the go: DentaBurst.  It’s basically a mitt for your finger. You put it on and scrub it around your teeth until they feel “brushed” and your breath feels fresh. (Note: do not touch the underside of the mitt, which cleans your teeth, unless you want to get white powder everywhere.) Although I can’t be certain that it removed any lingering plaque, my teeth felt clean and my breath smelled amazingly minty – using the breathe-into-the-hand-and-smell test – for far longer than it usually does after a piece of gum.It’s less convenient than a breath mint – after all, you don’t want to be scrubbing your teeth in full view of the world – but totally worth a quick trip to the bathroom on those occasions when you don’t want to leave anything to chance. Check it out for yourself at your local drug store (find it in the dental aisle or by the cashier) or on the DentaBurst website.

Beauty Buzz: Turn Around, Brite Smile, And Add Some Lip Gloss

I admit it. I’m a Brite Smile junkie. I go every two years and get my teeth whitened, and every time, I gaze at the before-and-after pictures in total amazement: the treatment always manages to lift my teeth from Diet Coke—stained yellow into a world of glorious near-white.So I was doubly excited when Tarte, makers of the fabulous double-ended Supergloss, came out with the Enbrightenment lip gloss pen. It’s a dual-ended product with a Brite Smile Whitening Pen on one side and a pretty, cherry-colored gloss on the other side. I’ve been using Brite Smile’s Whitening Pen for years – it’s a great tool for maintaining bleaching treatments, and worth a tryout for anyone who wants to give their teeth a brightening boost. Just open it and use it to paint your teeth, and you should see results within a few applications. The lip gloss is chock full of natural ingredients, including extracts of goji berries, pomegranates, acai berries, acerola, and maracuja fruit, that claim to rejuvenate lips and erase signs of aging. The gloss doesn’t last long – you’ll find yourself reapplying it several times throughout the day – but it tingles on the lips, staining them a pretty, sheer red and making them look smooth and soft. Check it out for yourself at Sephora ($26). Enbrightenment is available in two shades: Radiant Red (which I tried) and Pearly Pink. 

Beauty Buzz: Spring Colors For Your Nails (And Grey Is One Of Them)

It’s transition time: the halfway point between spring and summer. It’s also time to bring out the peep-toe pumps.If you’re anything like me, baring your first pedicure of the season to the world is never the most fun thing. And let’s not discuss the state of my winter-white hands.So I always try to start off on the right foot (heh heh) with a fun, trendy nail polish color.  My favorite (but only for feet, I’m not brave enough to wear it on my hands) is China Glaze’s Celtic Sun ($2.68). A bright, sunny yellow, it reminds me of daffodils. The warmth of the color might be overpowering for those of you with cool-toned skin, but with the right shoes, anything is possible. Also high on the list are sweet pastels. Spring is the time of new beginnings, and what better way to celebrate than with baby pinks and sweet peaches? An oldie (but goodie) is Zoya Bailey ($6), a sheer, shimmery pink that’s flattering on a wide array of skin tones. Also check out Essie’s Tie the Knot ($8) for a gorgeous shade of buff. Now, we come to the two trends I just don’t understand (possibly because they’re corpse-like on my warm-toned skin) - dove grey and lavender. Grey is the hot color of the season. If you’re interested (and I totally was), check out Essie’s Great Expectations above. ($8)   For lavender, Zoya’s Miley ($6) is an understated, yet current shade.Find the perfect sandals to pair with your pedicure in our Guide to Spring Shoe Trends.  

Solution: Zakkerz Salvages Your Too-Long-For-Flats Pants

It rains in DC. A lot. Or what seems like a lot.I commute on the Metro, and it’s a long slog from home to the train and from the train to work. And it’s even worse when it rains, which always seems to happen when I want to pair flats with the pants I usually wear with high heels.Luckily, someone’s invented a solution: Zakkerz. A few of my friends swore by them, and SheFinds has raved about them before, but I never truly appreciated the genius behind these lifesavers. Until one particularly disgusting Monday morning (seriously, 40 degrees and rainy in late April?) had me digging them out and strapping them onto my Express editors.The result? I got to work, wet from being rained on, but minus the icky, muddy, dragged-on-the-ground pant cuffs I’d typically showcase. And just like that, I've become a believer.Here’s how Zakkerz work:Each set comes with four flexible, magnetized bands (you need to use two per pants leg). Roll your pants up to the desired length and then clip them slightly to the side of the seam. One side of the Zakkerz band goes on the inside of the cuff and the other side goes on the outside. The magnets hold the two ends together. Make sure you put the inside magnet in front of the seam and the outside magnet behind the seam.Even better, these are strong magnets: they stand up to oh-my-God-I’m-so-late sprinting to the office.So race on over to the Zakkerz website and check them out for yourself. ($24 for a regular set, $27 for the “longs,” which are perfect for jeans and other heavyweight-material pants.) 

Taste Test: Which Leaf Necklace Will Leave You Strapped For Cash?

It's spring, and all the trees are budding with new leaves. What better way to celebrate than with a leafy necklace? Both of these necklaces are stunning, but one costs twice as much as the other. Can you guess which is which? Test your Fashion IQ with other Taste Tests.

Beauty Find: Jurlique Makes Citrus Work For Your Skin

“Biodynamic” might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think about skin care. But it’s one you’ll want to get acquainted with, as it’s the driving force behind the dynamite skin care offerings from Jurlique.The brand uses high quality, organically grown ingredients (such as black elder and daisy) in its products, with the goal of improving clients’ skin in the most natural manner possible. Jurlique’s philosophy? “Nature trumps chemistry every time”, and it’s so true. I found this out for myself when I tried the company’s line of citrus products.I’ll admit to being a little apprehensive about trying the Citrus Purifying Mist ($21). My skin, while mostly clear, is super-sensitive. But one spray was all it took to get addicted. Its marshmallow, witch hazel, and aloe vera extracts work to tone, calm (yes, calm!), and clarify the skin. The scent (lemon and tangerine) is so energizing and delicious that it’s become a morning staple. Bookending my morning skin care ritual is the Citrus Silk Finishing Powder ($36). Designed to control oiliness and rebalance the skin, I can feel it tightening my face after I dust it on, and my skin feels smoother and more primed for makeup after I use it. (I prefer using a powder brush to the puff, and it’s translucent enough to use as a setting powder, too.) One caveat: I can’t speak to its oil control properties, as my skin tends to be drier.  Rounding out the collection is the Citrus Hand Cream ($25). It’s thick and rich – so thick and rich that, when I laced my fingers together and stretched my arms over my head a couple minutes after applying it, I couldn’t keep my hands from slipping apart. It’s sitting on my desk at work – I handle a lot of documents, and a good hand cream is essential for avoiding paper cuts. Plus, the signature citrus scent is the perfect sharp-smelling pick-me-up during midday slumps.  SpaFinder.com

Would You Fatten Your Hands In The Name Of Beauty?

Move over, liposuction. See you later, chin transplants. There’s a new procedure in town: fat transfer to the hands. Now we at SheFinds are no longer shocked by bizarre beauty treatments. Only recently did we discover that leech therapy was all the rage as a celeb detox treatment. And we knew that a bunch of stars were into de-veining their hands for fear of -gasp - looking their age, so this new treatment doesn't necessarily throw us for a loop. We consider it an organic lip plumper for the hands. And if shooting Botox into your face is now as fast and accessible as a quick run to the Duane Reade for some anti-wrinkle cream, then why not start hitting up mini-surgical procedures for other parts of the body? Small price to pay for beauty, right?  What happens is supposedly 'simple': fat is transferred into hands, giving them a plumper, more youthful appearance. Sounds brilliant, but, like many cosmetic surgical procedures, it’ll set you back more than a few pennies, and let's not forget - it is surgery. What do you think? Would you shell out the dough just to have your hands maintain that youthful, smooth appearance? Or are the only wrinkles that bother you on your face? If the hands are not your primary concern, but you'd still like to keep them looking youthful, here are fabulous options for anti-aging hand treatments. Clinique’s Stop Signs Hand Repair ($18.50) promises to repair the signs of aging and relieve dryness. If you’re a fan, there’s also a Stop Signs for the eye area ($32.50).  Fresh offers a Sugar Blossom Hand Treatment ($38), packed with such goodies as evening primrose extract and hibiscus flower acids to ease sun damage and fine wrinkles.  It also smells so good, you won’t be able to stop applying it. Finally, skincare great Clarins offers their Hand & Nail Treatment Cream ($29.50), which works to keep hands smooth and supple.

Taste Test: Which Black Swimsuit Suits You (And Your Budget)?

Bikinis are fun to wear, and the monokini is definitely having its day. But neither can hold a candle to the basic black suit in terms of elegance and sophistication -- throw on some Jackie O shades and a floppy straw hat, and you'll be the hottest, most alluring siren at the beach. Both of these suits have a sense of timeless sophistication, but one is merely a fraction as expensive as the other. Can you guess which is which? (Either way, you can't go wrong.)  Test your fashion IQ with other Taste Tests.

Taste Test: Which Trench Coat Will Drain Your Wallet?

April showers bring May flowers, but staying chic when it's pouring can be a real pain. However, the fashion solution is simple: a khaki trench coat will keep you dry and stylish, no matter what the weather.Each of these coats puts a new twist on this classic wardrobe standard, but one is more than twice as expensive as the other. Can you can which is which? Check your Fashion IQ with other Taste Tests. And for more fashionable raingear, take a peek at our Top 5 Rain Trenches for Nasty Weather.

Taste Test: Which Yellow Tank Needs More Greenbacks?

It's not too early to start thinking about your spring/summer wardrobe, and yellow is the hot color of the moment. A floaty, sunshine-yellow tank top will see you through all the warm-weather months. Pair one with a structured blazer and dark wash jeans for a great laid-back office look. Both these tops radiate a casual, fun vibe, but only one will set you back less than $100. Can you guess which is which? Test your Fashion IQ with other Taste Tests .

Fashion Find: Picture Yourself In Lingerie Before You Buy It

What: HerRoom and its quest to help you envision what specific bras will look like under your clothesWhy: VBS (visible bra sighting). We’ve all been there. Maybe you were wearing a little black dress with a plunging neckline, and the bow on your demi-bra peeped out over the V. Or maybe the back of your tank top dipped a little too low. Whatever way you slice it, it's totally embarrassing. Luckily, help is at hand. The masterminds behind HerRoom.com are trying to eliminate VBS, one bra buyer at a time. They’ve come up with a concept that’s so simple, you’ll wonder why every lingerie company doesn’t do it: beside every bra they sell, they have pictures of how it will look under a standard button down, scoop neck, boat neck, square neck, deep V neck, and cutaway tank.For example, check out how this Hanky Panky bra -- a personal favorite -- would look under this button-down. (For maximum visibility, the bra is photographed over the garment.) Even better: HerRoom has something special for those of you looking for a new sports bra: “Bounce Test ” videos that show how much support you can expect from each of the high-impact sports bras sold on the site.Check it out: All of the info and videos are available on the HerRoom website.  For more great bra finds, check out the SheFinds Guide to the Best Bras. 

Beauty Bestsellers: A Wild, Wonderful Blast From The Past — For Pennies

What: Wet N Wild Crème Lipliner #666 (Brandy Wine) Why: For me, high school was a time of electric blue eyeshadow and fuschia nail polish. Looking at me now, in all my Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier glory, you’d never know I went through a white-eyeliner phase (and we’re talking full eyeliner, not just a little swipe for brightness in the corners of the eyelids). However, my makeup bag has one holdover from those not-so-glory days. This product is so spectacular, so versatile, and so inexpensive that I’ve never been able to give it up. It’s my trusty Wet N Wild Crème Lipliner #666 (Brandywine).The color is purely, simply “lip.” It melts into any berry, mauve, or rust-colored lipstick like it was specifically made for it. Lipstick stays firmly in place with this liner – in my 11 years of using it, I’ve never had a single smear or bleed. It also looks smashing as an all-over lip color – just use the liner to fill in your lips and top it off with clear gloss (such as MAC Clear Lipglass). The color is flattering on a huge range of skin tones because of its chameleon-like abilities. If you’re extremely pale and want to use it as an all-over lip color, consider topping it off with a light pink or coral tint to lessen the intensity of the color.Even better: It costs 99 cents. That’s it. One George Washington (or Sacagawea, if you’re dollar-coin inclined) for perfection. Just one more reason to hold on to the past, or at least a part of it.Get yours: Wet N Wild is available at most major drugstores nationwide, or check in at Amazon for limited availability.Check it out, along with other lipliner shades and more beauty products on the Wet N Wild Web site. 

Taste Test: Which Skirt Suits Your Budget?

Spring is mere days away, and what better way to celebrate it than with a cute printed skirt? Both these skirts will look sensational all season, but one is more than twice as expensive as the other.Can you guess which is which? Test your fashion IQ with other Taste Tests. 

Fashion Find: Hold The Girls High With Va Bien Lingerie

Spill it, Julia: we know you were wearing something under that gorgeous red dress in Pretty Woman (despite what you told Richard Gere). No one’s breasts are that naturally perky.Don’t want to share? That’s fine, because I have a secret weapon of my own: deliciously French lingerie from Va Bien.Now, I’m a busty girl (we’re talking DD/E) who’s always looking for a bit of a lift and shape. Recently, I tried out two of Va Bien’s pieces – the Ultra-Lift Seamless Bustier and the Ultra-Lift Low Plunge Body Briefer – and instantly became a believer. The bustier (item #1503, $75, sizes 34B to 40DDD) is a convertible dream come true. It has no visible boning, and thus no visible lines after you’re dressed. Its patented “Ultra-Lift” cups are basically magic: they lift and support, positioning your breasts in exactly the right spot. With the bustier on, I look perky and proportional without seeming fake. (Incidentally, the garters are detachable.)One word of caution: make sure you have someone to help you with the hooks – I could not get them done up by myself. The bustier runs true to bra size, but if you’re toward the small end of your band size (as I am), you can size down in the band and up in the cup. The Low Plunge Body Briefer (item #1500, $80, sizes 32C to 38D) lives up to its name. It is low – the V in front came down well below my cleavage, and the back had a shallower V whose point ended at the center of my back. The cups are made of the same magical stuff as those of the bustier, but the briefer's cups are cut in a demi-bra style (perfect for halters). The straps are detachable, but because of the demi cup, I’ll probably keep them on and wear it with non-strapless tops and dresses. The same sizing rules apply for the briefer: if you’re on the small end of your band size, you can probably size down in the band and up in the cup.Both garments – as well as many other goodies – are available on Va Bien’s Web site. Check them out, and you’ll be putting Julia to shame in no time.For other great lingerie finds, check our guides to the Best Bras and Lingerie to Release Your Inhibitions.

Taste Test: Which Domed Satchel Is The Worse Wallet Damager?

Finding the perfect work bag can seem like a never-ending quest, but a domed satchel looks polished and professional all year long. Both these bags will add panache to your professional wardrobe, but one costs seven times more than the other. Can you guess which is which? Test your fashion IQ with other Taste Tests.

Taste Test: Which Pendant Is Pricier?

There's no harder working stone than smoky quartz. It's perfect in summer or winter, and graces jeans and cocktail dresses with equal aplomb. Consider it the jewelry equivalent of your favorite little black dress. One of these pendants will set you back a couple hundred dollars ... the other, several thousand. Can you guess which is which?   Test you fashion IQ with other Taste Tests. 

Get Naked, Get Famous: Agent Provocateur Wants Your Design For STRIP

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and there could be a lot of Londoners beholding your artistic interpretation of it. Agent Provocateur is looking for a few good pieces of art. This isn’t just any old painting contest – the lingerie powerhouse wants your interpretation of the theme 'naked' to celebrate the new edition of Strip, one of its signature perfumes. The winning masterpiece will be on display at the Oxford Street Selfridges in London. Artists are asked to submit copies, scans, or original artwork, and entries will be accepted through February 29th (Friday). Entries will be evaluated by Joe Corre, creative director and co-founder of Agent Provocateur, and his panel of judges. Work in any medium – living artwork excepted – is eligible for consideration. The winner will have his or her piece exhibited in Agent Provocateur’s beatnik Francis Baconesque window and will receive other scintillating goodies. Two runners up will get bottles of Strip for their very own. So get naked, and get cracking.For more details, check out the contest Web page.

Lohan Calms Down Thanks To Clarus Q Bling

What: Clarus Q-Link Necklace, $100 - $300 Why: Lindsay Lohan got her life back on track recently – and now she’s found something that could help her hang on to this newfound balance. Since leaving rehab, she’s been spotted out and about wearing a Clarus Q-Link necklace. On the outside, it looks like a pretty circular pendant, though its beveled shape and dual-toned color set it apart from the crowd. Its uniqueness lies on the inside: Q-Link says that each pendant contains a resonating cell that allows the wearer’s body to manage its stress levels. Fans of the necklace – including a man who wore one to climb Mt. Everest – say it can cure anything from jetlag to exhaustion to anxiety It helps the body return to homeostasis (a state of equilibrium) by reminding it to maintain healthy energy levels. Consider it the tuning fork to your body’s piano. Get Yours: Q-linkproducts.com Click here to reminisce about Lindsay's wilder days and eclectic style.. 

Do-It-Yourself Fashion: Patterned Tights

Tights are everywhere, especially in the winter. They’re warm, colorful, and a great camouflage for winter-pale legs. They’re available in every color of the rainbow and can rev up a basic skirt-and-top ensemble as much as a pricey handbag. But how can you be sure that the pair you’re wearing is unique? The answer is simple: enhance them yourself. Thanks to Buzzfeed, one click will take you to a whole slew of ideas. One post, courtesy of Fashionista.com, tells you how to make the ombre tights seen on the Christian Lacroix runway. If you're into crafty home projects, this could be right up your alley.  Another idea, from The Clothes Horse, requires only a pair of tights and a marker. While wearing the tights, use the marker to draw a design of your choosing. The blogger highly recommends that you wear a pair of black opaque tights under them to preserve your skin.  Not a fan of the crazy tights? Try a more subdued pattern in a darker color like on this Jonathan Aston pair ($18.25). Or for an alternative to black, opt for classic navy ($12.50).

Taste Test: Which Clutch Costs More?

Wedding season is still several months away, but that's no reason to delay planning a fabulous ensemble for all the events you'll be attending. Both of these black patent clutches will add a dash of allure to anything you wear, but one is $100 more expensive than the other. Can you guess which is which? Test your fashion IQ with other Taste Tests. 

Celeb Style: (Castle) Starrs Come Out at Night

What: Castle Starr Asymmetrical Black Taffeta Dress that Sophia Bush wore to the New Year, New Old Navy launch in NYC Why: The brand isn’t just a significant item on One Tree Hill hottie Bush’s list of must-haves - Young and Fabulous Hollywood has been snatching it up in droves. Castle Starr fans include Blake Lively, Hayden Panettiere, Kristen Bell, and Natasha Bedingfield, who favor its high-concept, to-the-moment design philosophy: structured shorts, eye-catching tops, and chic dresses.Price: $310 for Bush’s dress (originally $575) Get Yours: Bluefly.com. And check out the Castle Starr Website to see additional styles.  

Like, The Youngest Fashion Mogul Ever. Totally. And Paris Is Her BFF

Kira Plastinina has a multi-million dollar Russian fashion empire: more than 30 stores, supplementary lines of perfume and lollipops, and Paris Hilton (who inspires many of her designs) in the first row of her latest show. And now Plastinina, who's all of fifteen years old, is taking her show on the road to America, with plans to open 10 stores in NY and LA.Her garments run the gambit from sweet (a cute printed hoodie) to apoplexy inducing (high-waisted hot pants) to head scratching (a pink dress that looks like a zip-up ski parka?). She's the modern Russian equivalent of Contempo Casuals and 5-7-9.    Despite the temptation, it wouldn’t be fair to dismiss her because she’s a teenager (though the fact that her business was conceived, funded, and directed by her deep-pocketed father tells its own tale), or for designing according to her point of view — she hasn’t lived long enough to acquire the sense of elegance or whimsy that mark the top designers. It's possible that as Plastinina grows up, a maturing point of view will change her design philosophy. Until then, if you're old enough to drink legally, you're probably old enough to know better than to wear hot pants. You can find more of her designs on her Russian-language website. 

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