On Friday afternoon, I was honored to be a presenter on behalf of Better Homes and Gardens and Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) at the 20th annual Beauty Insiders’ Choice Awards. Industry experts recognized 39 products for innovation among the more than 750 entries. Head to cew.org for a full list of winners, but here are a few favorites that have already made it into my beauty regimen. Give them a try, and let me know what you think!
Category: Sun product
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra-Light Sunscreen Fluid ($29.99; laroche-posay.us)
This SPF feels light and liquid-y (not heavy and creamy), which makes it the perfect year-round protector to apply pre-makeup.
Category: Anti-Aging, Mass
L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Miracle Blur ($24.99; lorealparisusa.com)
This clear gel is like an Instagram filter for your face. To use, apply your moisturizer, let it sink in for at least a minute, then slather this on top—and watch pores, redness, and lines practically disappear.
Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer Total Moisture ($6.62; drugstore.com)
Sure, I know you’re supposed to apply a layer of body lotion daily, but who’s got the time? Application only take seconds with this first-ever aerosol version. Now I keep an extra at my desk just in case my legs look dry on dress days.
Sonia Kashuk for Target Chic Luminosity Bronzer/Blush Duo ($12.99; target.com)
To fake a sun-kissed glow, use a fluffy brush to dust bronzer in the shape of the number “3″ across your forehead, onto each cheekbone, and down your jawline. Finish with a pop of pink blush on the apples of your cheeks only. The luminizing particles in this formula look extra-pretty in photos.
Category: Face Product, Prestige
bareMinerals Ready To Go Complexion Perfection Palette ($49.99; bareescentuals.com)
Clutches, slim backpacks, and smaller cross-body bags are replacing giant, heavy totes as the purse du jour. I’ve streamlined my daily makeup bag with this product, which packs foundation, powder, bronzer, blush, and concealer into one tiny palette.
It’s true: Dark circles are a serious drag. These pesky imperfections are notoriously hard to treat, but (thankfully!) astonishingly easy to cover up. The secret, says Eric Holt, a makeup artist for NARS Cosmetics, is having two concealers in your makeup bag. The first—the concealer you’ll use on your dark circles—should be slightly peachy. “It’s basic color theory,” says Holt. “The orange-y tones will help counteract any blueness underneath the eyes.” The second should match your foundation or tinted moisturizer exactly. Dot this one on top of pimples, broken capillaries or any other blemishes you’d like to blend away. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers in Honey and Vanilla ($29 each; sephora.com) are my go-to formulas, but Holt’s advice holds true no matter what product range you pick.
Hi my name is Ellen, and I’m a terrible, awful, no good cook. (Don’t worry, I’m just the beauty guru here at Better Homes and Gardens and, for good reason, have absolutely nothing to do with the amazing recipes in the magazine.) I’m working on learning the basics, though, with the help of the new edition of the red plaid cookbook and Senior Deputy Editor Nancy Wall Hopkins, who is always super nice to me when I beg her to help me troubleshoot one of my (frequent!) kitchen mishaps. One of the very first things I learned from Nancy — though I’m sure it’s not news to all you experts out there — is that you must stock your pantry with high-quality basics like olive oil. A friend who knows about my quest to become semi-competent in the kitchen gifted me some herb-infused oils from Nudo ($13-15 each), which come in insanely attractive tins.
In the happiest of coincidences, the lovely olive oil-based soaps from the same company landed on my desk that week, and now I’m addicted to both. The generously sized sudsers ($9.49 each) make hands so soft you may not even need hand cream. And, they make the world’s prettiest display in a guest bathroom, a great hostess gift, or a nice treat for yourself. Check out Nudoadopt.com to score both products.
Sometimes you learn a hair trick so revolutionary that it would be a crime to keep it to yourself. Over the weekend I got a post-color blowout from Stephen Thomas at the Oscar Blandi salon (@OscarBlandi) in New York City. Stephen’s my go-to blow-out guru because he’s figured out how to give my seaweed-on-a-rock straight hair a bit of texture and volume—that actually lasts for a day or two! (And, as we reported on page 117 of the October issue, adding a bit of curl to straight hair can actually make you look younger!) Unfortunately, I’ve never ever been able to recreate his in-salon magic—until now!
The secret to effortlessly pretty waves, surprisingly, is a bit of imperfection. If curls look too uniform you’ll end up looking like you tried a little too hard. Holding a 1” inch curling iron vertically, curl the front pieces back and away from your face. As you go around the rest of your head—and here’s the real revelation—alternate the direction you twirl the hair around the iron. Curl one piece towards your face, then one piece away. Afterwards, instead of hairspray, spray your entire head with a texturizing spray like Oscar Blandi Pronto Texture & Volume Spray ($11; oscarblandi.com) and break up the curls with your fingers. See the finished look above—I got so many compliments (from other beauty editors!) that I had to share!
Want to try this look? Instagram a photo of the finished product, use the hashtag #BHGbeauty, and be sure to tag me @EllenMillerBty, so I can check it out. Run into problems or have any questions? Tweet me at @EllenMillerBty and I’ll ask Stephen myself and get you an answer pronto!
Being BHG’s beauty guru means that I get to test products before they even hit the market. I love writing about all of the latest and greatest, but I’ve learned that new doesn’t necessarily mean better. Here, a few of my tried-and-true favorites—they’re worth every single penny!
CoverGirl LipPerfection Lipcolor ($6.50; drugstores)
For the money, you really truly cannot beat these lipsticks. My favorite is a red-orange shade called Hot, but there are countless other colors to choose from. The hue stays true to what’s shown in the tube, the color wears evenly so you’re not stuck with a ring around your mouth, and the more you wear it, the softer your lips get.
Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo Spray ($23; sephora.com)
Skipping a day or two between washes makes a huge difference in the health of your hair—a spritz or two of dry shampoo at your roots will absorb oil, so hair looks as good as the day you styled it. I love this version because it sprays on clear—it won’t look white or powdery even on brunettes—and has a fresh, lemony scent.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Day SPF 30 ($21.99; drugstores)
Retinol, an ingredient that boosts collagen and elastin production, is the one anti-aging ingredient that nearly all dermatologists agree on. Using this retinol cream daily has made a more noticeable difference in my fine lines than far pricier products. Plus, this one boasts a broad-spectrum sunscreen, so you don’t have to apply something separate.
Gillette Venus & Olay Razor ($10.99; drugstores)
The real game-changer is the glycerin strip that surrounds the five blades. It altogether eliminates the need for shave cream! I’m grateful for the extra shelf space in my shower—and for no more tough-to-remove rings from metal cans!
Glamglow Youthmud ($69; sephora.com)
Have you ever looked in the mirror and just felt blah? A ten-minute session with this super-scrubby volcanic ash and green tea mask is the cure. It sloughs away that layer of dead cells that makes skin look dull and temporarily tightens. Let me put it this way: I always, always get compliments on mornings I use it.
What are your favorite beauty game-changers? Tweet me @EllenMillerBty!
We asked, Drew answered!
Drew Barrymore — actress, new mom, and creator of the makeup line Flower Beauty — is featured in our annual Stylemaker Issue! We called for beauty questions last week on Facebook, and today we’re excited to share a special video Drew’s made to answer a few of them. Drew was so impressed by your questions, she asked to hang on to them for future Tip Tuesday videos.
Many thanks to Drew and her team for letting us be a part of today’s video. If you love Drew’s style, be sure to pick up a copy of the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens to learn about her new makeup line and beauty tips.