How to Fix Damaged Hair in 5 Easy Steps

5 Steps to Fix Damaged Hair

Could your hair use a little love? If so, today I’m going to share how to fix damaged hair, at home, in five easy steps.

The day PA started stay-at-home orders, I was scheduled to get a cut and full highlights, which obviously, was canceled. That means it’s been over four months since I’ve had anything done to my hair. 

That may not seem like a long time, but when you’re an unnatural blonde – it’s an eternity.

I go back and forth with the idea of coloring my hair at home, something I haven’t done since I was in my early twenties. For now, I’m holding out hope that we are just a few weeks away from our salons safely reopening and I decided, instead, to focus on getting it healthy. 

My hair takes a beating, between the color and all the hot tools I use, this is probably a needed break. 

If you’re in the same boat, I thought I would share what I’m doing to help repair the damage from decades of abuse that’s making a big difference. 

* My heart breaks for small business owners and entrepreneurs right now who are unable to work. You are the backbone of our country. Unless you’ve put everything you have into a dream to be a business owner, you have no idea the stress, strain, and devastation they are facing. If you are a salon owner or stylist, we are all praying you to get to go back to work safely as soon as possible. Hang in there, friends. 

How to Fix Damaged Hair in 5 Easy Steps

How to Fix Damage Hair in 5 Easy Steps

I do this every Monday morning in the shower and it takes no time at all. This process is really easy to incorporate into your morning or evening shower routine. 

How to Fix Damaged Hair in 5 Easy Steps

Scalp Scrub, $42 

It’s well documented that I love this salt scrub. Taking care of your scalp is the first step in healthy hair. Aside from this feeling like a spa treatment (it’s especially glorious after a sweaty workout) it removes all the residue, dead skin cells, and excess oil on your scalp. 

Use this in the shower instead of your regular shampoo. It’s a bit expensive but a little goes a long way. 

Hair Towel, $30 

Hair Towel

Finish up in the shower, jump out and wrap your head in a towel. Get your hair to just damp before you apply the hair mask below. 

I love this towel because it absorbs quickly, and doesn’t damage or leave it frizzy. I have straight hair but all my girls have very curly hair and this is wonderful for both of us. 

Hair Mask, $38 

amika the kure hair mask

This hair mask is incredible. INCREDIBLE! My hair was so fried the ends were breaking. A stylist friend recommended this to me and after the first time I used it I saw a remarkable difference. 

Once you have your hair damp, put this on, covering from your roots to the ends. Work it through with a wide-tooth comb (below) and then let it sit for 5 minutes.

It’s only 5 minutes – so it takes no time at all! I always put on my Caudalie Instant Detox Facial face mask, too, since that takes the same amount of time.

Make your bed and hop back in the shower to quickly rinse it out.

 

Wide Tooth Comb, $37 

I am a big fan of Mason Pearson hair brushes and tools. They are more expensive then something you would pick up at the drugstore, but they are high quality and last forever.

We have a few of their brushes (in various sizes) that I bought almost a decade ago and they still look and work like new. 

This wide tooth comb I use for my hair and on my kids to help get all the knots out without breaking their hair. 

Hair Oil, $15 

moroccanoil hair treatment

Finally, style your hair. Most days, I let it air dry (with the help of the towel above) OR I’ll quickly hit it with my hairdryer. Either way, when it’s almost dry, I add some of this Moroccanoil to my ends to keep them smooth and protect from split ends.

Done! 


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist View Postand wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


Easy Steps for a Flawless At Home Self Tan

Loving Tan Self Tanner

Since it’s getting to be that time of year, I thought it would be fun to walk you through how I get a natural-looking, streak-free, self-tan at home.

My skin does not tan at all. If I look at the sun the wrong way, I burn and freckle instantly.

Ever since I was 14 and saw supermodel Niki Taylor on the cover of Seventeen Magazine, I’ve been chasing a healthy-looking tan. From drug store-brand formulas that left me the color of baseball dirt, to the modern formulas that actually work, I have tried every product ever on the market, which makes me a bit of an expert.

Over the last few years, in the spirit of saving time, I’ve gone to my neighborhood salon for a bi-weekly spray tan starting right before Memorial Day. This year, unfortunately, our area salons are closed (and may not reopen this summer – insert sobbing emoji), so it’s time to go back to doing it myself.

Luckily, I have loads of experience. 😉

I’m not trying to look like a bronzed goddess, nor am I saying that fair skin isn’t beautiful.

It’s just that I look radioactive on the beach. The tanner helps to tone it down, even out my skin, hide my veins and cellulite and help me feel more confident in shorts and swimsuits.

I mapped out my process below, and shared a step-by-step video over in my Instagram highlights

View this post on Instagram

☀️Anyone else craving sunshine and normalcy right about now? . 🤚🏼 . This time of year I usually start up my bi-weekly spray tans in anticipation for warmer weather and shorter hemlines. . But since my local salons are nowhere near opening 😭I have to go back to my roots and do it myself. . Luckily, I’ve been self-tanning since I was 14, which pretty much makes me an expert. . So today I’m breaking down my easy at home steps for a flawless at home tan. . Including how to get a natural, streak free application and my favorite products that make the process a breeze. . ☝🏼For the step-by-step guide follow the link in my profile and click “New on the Blog” or head to my highlights to watch the tutorial in full 💕

A post shared by The Well Dressed Life (@thewelldressedlife) on


 

Easy Steps to a Perfect Self Tan

Loving Tan Self TannerSelf Tanner, $40 In Medium | In Dark

Skin Prep

The night before you apply your self-tanner, shower, shave and exfoliate, paying extra attention to your elbow, knees, heels and hands and feet. Areas with dry or rough skin will absorb the tanner in a way that will leave it looking dirty. 

After you get out of the shower, dry off and slather your favorite moisturizer all over. 

Nails

Be sure you remove any nail polish and push back your cuticles. I also apply some cuticle oil so they do not dry out. Much like rough, dry skin, if your cuticles are dry or overgrown, and come in contact with your tanner, they will quickly turn yellow. 

Do not skip prepping your skin, it makes all the difference in how your tan comes out. 

Application

These days, there are a ton of effective products on the market. It just depends on the results you are looking for and how much time you have. 

The St. Tropez line is terrific, though it will give you a much darker tan. I use it if we are going on vacation, so I start darker than usual, but then it fades throughout the week, extending the life of the tan. 

NDK is another option, with a traditional application process. It goes on like a moisturizer and develops over 7 – 8 hours. 

Lately, I’ve been using Loving Tan’s 2-hour express. I use the medium, which is great for skin that doesn’t naturally tan. They also have dark – ideal if you tan easily.

Loving tan is currently my favorite if you want a subtle, low maintenance tan.

It doesn’t smell, streak, or stain fabrics at- so wins all around.

Because it goes on dark, you can see exactly where you are putting it to make sure it goes on evenly.

Important! Be sure to use an applicator mitt – this will save your hands from getting stained AND help you cover more surface quickly and easily.

Best Practice

I’ve been doing this process on Saturday mornings. Which means I start to prep on Friday night.

In the morning, remove your clothes and put your mitt on your left hand.

With the mitt on your left hand, work from your left leg up your body and apply on your right arm, chest, and neck.

Then switch hands and with the mitt on your right hand, start at the top of your right foot, and apply moving up your body, finishing on your left arm, chest, and neck.

You want to work with two-three pumps at a time.

As you work up your leg and arms, avoid your knee and elbow until there is very little product left on the mitt, then apply to those areas. This helps make sure they blend evenly. 

Finally, be careful applying to your face. You don’t need as much product as you may think. Start with one pump, and go from there, paying close attention to your hairline and ears. 

When you’re done, throw on a loose fitting dress – and skip a bra for a few hours. I keep an old tank dress from when I was pregnant on hand just for this.

With the Loving Tan formula, you let it sit for 2 hours (it drys almost right away) and then hop in the shower to rinse it off. The tan continues to build over the next few hours.

Products:

Loving Tan, Two Hour Express Tanning Mouse: In Medium | In Dark

Applicator Mittfor Body and Face

Video How-To: Instagram


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist View Post and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


 

What to Buy at Sephora’s Spring Sale

What to Buy At Sephora's Spring Sale

If I could walk into one store right now, it would be Sephora. It’s the only retailer I prefer to shop in person. I am an online shopping connoisseur, but I love the in-store experience at Sephora.

I can spend hours getting lost walking up and down the aisles. And don’t get me started on the pure joy that is their checkout line, that snakes around, wrapping you in sample sizes of everything you never knew you needed.

When I leave, with my glossy black bag filled with goodies, I’m convinced for a brief moment that when I use these new products, I will emerge as a better, more beautiful version of myself. lol.

Right now is their Spring Savings Event. It’s marketed as a sale for “Insiders.” 

What does that mean? 

Nothing special, you just have to sign up for their rewards program. If you’re not an insider, sign up on their site before you start shopping. It’s easy, it’s free and they don’t bug you about anything. 

This sale is different in that the discounts vary based off  your Insider level, and your Insider level is determined by your annual spend. 

If you’re just getting started you’re called an Insider and get 10% off, if you’re VIP  you get 15% off, and if you’re what they call Rouge you get 20% off. The more you spend annually, the great the discount you’ll receive. 

Regardless of which level you are, use the code SPRINGSAVE at check out. 

My Favorites 

For today’s post, I literally stood in my bathroom and looked up all of my favorite products to see if you can grab them on sale. Most of these you’ve heard me talk about countless times, others I started using a few months ago and am happy to recommend. 

Please note, unlike all of my other posts, I am not including the price of these because the sale price will vary based on your discount and part of our regulation as bloggers is that if I post the price, it has to be as accurate as possible. 

Also, I hope this goes without saying, while I do spend on better beauty products, I don’t buy all of these at once. Some products I have to replenish every month, most require only once or twice a year.

Below, I broke this down into Skincare, and then Makeup, Fragrance and Tools.

Skincare

What to Buy At Sephora's Spring Sale

If you’ve been following for any amount of time, you know I spend a lot of time focusing on healthy skin. I’m 40 years old, with sensitive skin, and dealt with terrible cystic acne – as an adult – for many years.

Skin issues profoundly impacted my self-confidence. It wasn’t until I got my skin issues under control that I felt confident enough to put my face on the blog, so I am more than happy to spend here and save in other areas.

Now, my skin has never looked better. (Another reason why I’m so loyal to these products.)

Sephora’s Spring Savings: Skincare 

Drunk Elephant Jelly Cleanser  – I’ve been using this for two months, and it’s fantastic. You only use it at night as a way to deep clean your skin from daily pollutants and grim. Right now, I’m using it every few nights because we’re staying home. It’s also great after a sweaty workout. I imagine, as we get back to normal this summer, it will feel wonderful rinsing off sunscreen and grim from the day. 

Tatcha Oil Cleanser  – By far my favorite gentle cleanser. It quickly removes makeup, and cleanses skin without stripping it of moisture. For sensitive skin, it’s a dream. I’ve been using this for years. 

Drunk Elephant Waterfacial Mask – I was looking for a new night cream when I discovered this  “Waterfacial Mask.” It’s not a mask at all, rather, it’s a thick (but not too thick) ultra hydrating cream you put on right before bed. It’s not sticky, it doesn’t clog pores, it just leaves my skin looking and feeling soft and smooth. Search is over. 

Drunk Elephant Night Serum – When I ordered the above cream, it came with a sample size of this “Night Serum.” Not one to ever let a product go untested, I followed the directions and applied it to my skin before bed, layered right under the “mask.” It has helped even out my skin tone and softens some acne scarring. My skin looked noticeably brighter the very first morning after I used it.

Drunk Elephant Sunscreen – A simple sunscreen for your face with SPF 30 that absorbs quickly and doesn’t mess with your makeup. 

Dr. Barbara Sturm Eye Cream – The upfront price of this is steep, BUT, it lasts almost a year which is just about when it would expire. This is another long time favorite of mine. After consistent use, the lines around my eyes are minimal, and what is there has softened. 

Goop Morning Skin Super Powder – I put two of these packets in my water every, single morning. It’s filled with vitamin C and E, CoQ10, and a bunch of other ingredients that are good for your skin and general health. I actually buy them from the Goop website and have them on auto delivery. I know, I feel you rolling your eyes, it’s okay, I know. 

Beautyblender -Beautyblenders are expensive (usually $20 for a little sponge), so if you use them, or are hanging onto one that you know you should replace, pick a few up now.

Caudalie Detox Mask – This is the one mask I go back to time and time again. It’s affordable, gentle and effective. I use it a few times a week because it only takes 5 minutes to do, so you feel like you indulged but you didn’t waste any time. 

Makeup, Fragrance and Brushes

What to Buy At Sephora's Spring Sale

One of the many benefits of focusing on skin health is you don’t require much in terms of make up. You’ll never see me “baking” or conturing to an inch of my life. I like to see my skin come through, freckles and all.

You have seen all of these on here before. These are my everyday, go-to, 5 minute face essentials. 

Sephora’s Spring Savings: Makeup, Fragrance and Tools 

Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick – I use this foundation stick every day. What’s great about it is that it isn’t heavy, or cakey. You can build for the kind of coverage you want (use a BeautyBlender for easy application). The best thing about Bobbi Brown is the array of skin tones. It’s truly inclusive. You can be pale as a ghost like me, or have deep and dark skin and get precisely what you need.

Sephora Collection Brush Set – They call this the “uncomplicated brush set.” How perfect is that? It’s under $50 and has everything you need to quickly get the most out of your application. 

Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer – I have been using this bronzer since I was in my twenties. For my skin tone, it looks natural. If you just want a healthy glow you seriously don’t need any other product. And it lasts forever. 

RMS Beauty Signature Set – I have two of these compacts, one lives in my bag and one lives in my bathroom. It has everything you need for a quick, natural face, and is ideal for touch ups on the go. 

Jo Malone Peony and Suede Blush – This has been my signature scent for several years. It’s just lovely and I am forever complimented on it. 

Benefit ka-Brow – Brows are EVERYTHING. They shape your face, and make you look youthful, happy and healthy.  As I’ve aged, my eyebrows have disappeared. This product helps you quickly define them, in a very natural way. I use it every single day. 

Wander Beauty Mascara – Get super natural looking, long lashes that don’t smudge or look ridiculous. 

Bobbi Brown Face Primer Moisturizer – I don’t use a primer every day, especially right now, but when you need your makeup to go on and stay in place, a layer of primer first will help.

Kosas Lipstick – I adore this non toxic, hight pigment lipstick from Kosas. “Electra” is my go to red, and “Rosewater” is a feminine pink based neutral I like for everyday. 

Other posts you may like: I broke down my nighttime skincare routine a while ago, you’ll see many of these products featured. The point, however, was to discuss the best order to apply your products – so use whatever works best for you. 


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You’ll Love

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll Love

Right now, we all need a little self-care. Something simple, inexpensive, and uncomplicated to take our mind off things.  A small indulgence to make us feel good. For me, when I do a little pampering, I feel better.

I’m a big believer in maintaining as much normalcy as possible when things feel uncertain.  And for many of us, we’re focusing on maintaining that normalcy for our families. 

Now, more than ever, it’s going to be really easy to forget about yourself. 

Carving out some time, even if it’s just a minute, for self-care will help you feel centered and allow you to take better care of yourself and everyone around you.

So, I thought it would be helpful to roundup my favorite beauty tools and products. These are some of my all-time favorite finds, that I use regularly, and are all under $40. 

You can incorporate these into your day without a lot of fuss, and seriously, since none of us will be hitting up a salon in the coming weeks, we’re going to need all the help we can get! 😉 

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You’ll Love

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll LoveClay Mask, $39  |  Ice Roller, $15  |  Derma Roller, $23  |  Dry Brush, $20  |  Hand Cream, $29  |   Hydrating Mask, $38

Clay Mask, $39

 

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll Love

This is my favorite face mask. It’s gentle, not drying, and effective. It’s a clay mask, so it gets tight on your skin. Keep on for ten minutes, and wipe off with a warm washcloth. Use once or twice a week to help remove dirt, oil, and pollutants from your face.

I like to use it as part of my nighttime skincare routine.

Ice Roller, $15

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll Love

I bought this ice face roller in 2019 while I was up in the middle of the night and pregnant with Vivi, unable to sleep. By the time it showed up, I had forgotten about it. I eventually used it, and it is surprisingly fantastic.

I keep it in my freezer drawer and use it first thing in the morning, while the house is still quiet and I’m getting my coffee ready. This helps reduce redness and puffiness and also tightens pores. It also just feels so good and helps wake me up.

Derma Roller, $23

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll Love

Of all the gizmo’s I use on my face, and there are many, it is by far the most impactful. A Microneedle, or Derma Roller is a small, handheld tool that rolls thousands of tiny needles across your face.

Doing so does a few things, first, it helps stimulate collagen – something we all need. Second, the small little holes the needle makes allows your products to absorb into your skin better, making them more effective. 

Does it hurt? No, but it might feel uncomfortable at first. You get use to it. 

Start once a week and work your way to two. When you use this, skip any other exfoliate you might use.  

 

 Dry Brush, $20

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll Love

Dry brushing is an excellent technique used to reduce cellulite, improve circulation, smooths skin, and help with lymphatic drainage – which in turn helps strengthen our immune system. I started using it simply to exfoliate before learning about all the other good-for-you benefits. 

Use it once to twice a week, before you shower. Work in sweeping movements up your body from your toes to your chest, and then in a downward motion from your neck to your chest. It feels weird but good, and your skin will feel great right away and start to glow a few weeks from now with regular use. This is the brush I use, from goop.

Hand Cream, $29 

6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll LoveWe’re washing our hands and wiping down every surface in our homes all day long. We need a good hand cream, and this one from L’Occitane is the best. I keep tubes of these all around the house: in drawers, in my bag, and the pocket of my robe. 

And as an extra little something, warm a wash cloth and wrap it around your hands – like when you get your nails done, and then apply this cream before bed. You’ll wake up with soft and supple skin, ready for the next round of cleaning. 

Note: this is not the family hand cream, this is just for me. 

Hydrating Mask, $38
6 Affordable Luxury Beauty Products and Tools You'll LoveEarlier this week, my hair stylist called me to confirm that my appointment for this week was canceled.

Breathe in, breathe out.

I am NOT a natural blonde, as you’ll soon see yourself.

Since we’re not using a lot of heavy chemicals and tools on our hair right now, spend a little time bringing it back to life. 

Because all those things do a number on our hair. This mask by Moroccan Oil will help infuse your strands with hydration and it takes only five minutes to use!

Simply wash your hair, towel dry it, work it through your hair in with a wide-tooth comb, wait for 5 minutes, and rinse it out. You’ll thank me later.


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist View Postand wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


 


 

How to Give Yourself a Manicure

How to give yourself a salon manicure at home
How to give yourself a salon manicure at home - The Well Dressed Life

Today, we’re walking step-by-step through the process of how to give yourself a manicure at home. With the right tools, products and about 30 minutes you’ll quickly elevate your look while saving time and money. 

We talk weekly about how to look more polished and pulled together. Obviously, our clothes play a huge role. Their quality, fit, and the general composition of an outfit all work together to create an elevated look. 

But what about that one friend we all have that’s wearing her workout clothes, or a simple pair of jeans and a tee shirt on the sidelines of her kid’s soccer game and looks impeccable? Why does she always look so great even when she’s not wearing anything particularly special?

It’s all in the details of how she’s groomed. And I would bet that her nails are manicured. Tiny details, like well-manicured nails, make a huge difference in our overall look.

How to Give Yourself a Manicure at Home 

So many of my friends religiously maintain their weekly manicure appointments, but I just can’t get myself together enough to stick to a schedule. Maybe I’m missing the “salon is fun” gene? 

I’m already over-scheduled as it is, so I find them to be a colossal drain on my time. While the idea of sitting for an hour or two sounds heavenly, like so many of you, there is little margin in my day.

Salon appointments also costs a pretty penny and that adds up. We all need to find places to save so we can spend in others. For me,  with the exception of special events and the occasional pedicure, I’ve been skipping the salon and giving myself manicures at home.

After a lot of trial and error, I’ve figured out how to give yourself a manicure quickly and simply and the tools we really need to get salon results at home. So if you feel like I do, and want an elevated look without draining  your resources, follow my steps below. 

How to Give Yourself a Manicure

How to Give Yourself a Manicure

Top Coat, $11.50  |  Nail Polish, $11.50  |  Hand Scrub, $10  |  Cuticle Oil, $20  |  Cuticle Pusher, $12.50  |  Nail File, $2

How to Give Yourself a Manicure Step by Step 

The secret to a shiny, and long-wearing manicure at home is using quality products and taking the time to prep your nails. It’s kind of like painting a room. The more time you spend getting ready, the easier it is to paint and the better the result.

Typically I do this on a Sunday night as part of my getting-ready -for-the-week-self-care-routine.  Honestly, its the only time I have to myself all week long, so I happily hand the baby over to my husband while the big girls get ready for their own busy week, and lock myself in my bathroom for an hour. 

Multitasking is the name of the game, so I pack a lot in that hour. 

Here’s how to give yourself a manicure at home in less then the time it takes to drive to the salon. 

Trim your nails

My nails grow fast, I’m always typing and I’m blessed with long nail beds so I keep mine as short as possible.  Plus, the shorter you keep your nails the less you’ll deal with chipping and the longer your manicure will last. 

Soak and scrub your nails

Depending on how much time I have, I might sit for a few minute and soak my nails. This is a helpful step in getting your nails clean and your cuticles soft. More often, though, I hop in the shower with a body scrub and use the steam of the shower instead. 

I found this scrub at Target last year and use it almost every day.  It’s great for your body pre self tan and on your hands and nails. It gently exfoliates while leaving your skin soft and smooth. 

After I trim my nails, I hop in the shower, scrub this on my hands and nails and gently push my cuticles back with a warm wash cloth.  It’s a great buy for under $10.

Take care of your cuticles

Healthy cuticles are essential for youthful looking hands and nails. Depending on the state of your cuticles you might need a little more than just pushing them back with a wash cloth. 

Cuticle cutting is controversial, but if you need to trim them or remove a hangnail move with caution and use a pair of cuticle scissors. I also recently picked up this cuticle remover at Target for $3. It helps you easily trim them back with more control than the scissors.

Your skin should soft from your shower or soak. Never cut your cuticles when your hands are dry, it’s too easy to trim too much and cut yourself in the process.

Likely you’ll just need to clean up your nail bed and push back your cuticles. For this use a cuticle oil. I have a few I like. L’Occitane has a nice one, this one by Essie also works well and is affordable, and I recently started using OPI’s cuticle pen and I love it.

Apply the oil around the nail bed and gently push with with this cuticle pusher

To keep my cuticles in good shape, and make subsequent manicures easier, I brush a little of the oil on my nails at night before bed. It’s helpful to use it throughout the day too if you are constantly washing your hands in hot water. 

Related: How to Look Expensive Without Breaking the Bank 

Dry off

Take a dry towel and wipe any extra moisture off your nails before you file and polish. You want your nails bone dry. If you file wet nails they will break easily. 

File

Don’t go crazy with this step.  All you want to do is lightly file down any rough edges. You can use any nail file you have. I like this curved file by Butter London because it helps you easily create a “rounded square” shape. 

It’s important to file in one direction to create a smooth finish.  When you go back and forth you create a ragged tip which will make it easy for your nails to crack and chip. 

Wash and dry your hands again. 

Polish

How to Give Yourself a ManicureThe woman who used to do my nails regularly did an incredible traditional manicure. I could never figure out what she did that kept it looking so perfect for so many days. 

It turns out; she skipped the base coat step. “If you prep the right way, you don’t need it,” she told me. And boy, it makes a huge difference. 

Since then, I go right to polish. Use your favorite polish. I happen to love Essie Gel Polish.  The colors are pretty, and the formula is so smooth and easy to apply.  The brush is wide and flat, so you can cover your entire nail in three simple swipes. You don’t need to use a gel polish. Essie’s basic line is great, so is OPI. 

The trick is to place the brush on your nail bed a little above your cuticle line and then gently push down and pull up so the polish spreads evenly. Have patience and take your time. 

The Secret To a Perfect Manicure at Home 

Here’s the game changer. Once you have applied your color, add the Essie Gel Top Coat. It doesn’t matter what polish you use. Two coats of this gel top coat and you will have a shiny, long lasting, chip free manicure for days. 

Let your nails dry completely and enjoy looking down at your perfect fingers all week long. 

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Our content is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers in any way. 

Recommendations are based on personal experience and my time working with women as a stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram  and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

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5 Professional Headbands for Women

Headbands you can wear in the office

Over in our private Facebook group, we had a discussion about hair accessories. Specifically scrunchies and headbands for women. Can we wear them? What are the rules? Are they age-appropriate?

So let’s unpack this and start first with the easiest.

I’m not one to speak in absolutes, but I feel confident in saying that scrunchies on grown women are a “no.” We’ve been there, we’ve done it, arguably better than it’s being done now.

There’s nothing sophisticated about a scrunchie, and they do nothing to enhance your look. So let’s leave them to our tweens who think they are as awesome as we did back in the day.

Headbands, on the other hand, are not as straightforward

My Late 90s Idols

I grew up wearing them, just like Cher Horowitz, one of my first style icons. But now, I’m 40, with three daughters, and two of them (10 and 12) wear headbands all the time. 

Which leads to the question: On us, do they look dated? Immature? Try-hard?

My simple answer: you can wear them (you can wear whatever you want!) but to keep them chic and modern, and not teetering in tween territory, simple is the name off the game. 

Headbands for Work or Play

Professional Headbands for Women

For this post, I went out a bought this leopard print headband at Nordstrom. It’s the most expensive on the list ($26), but I wanted to make sure I was trying out a made-for-an-adult option. 

I’m surprised how much I like it. It’s a nice alternative to a ponytail, which has become a go-to style for so many of us. It made me look more polished, and elevated a simple outfit of a cashmere turtleneck and black pants.  It’s also comfortable – so it’s easy to wear all day long without getting pinched behind your ears. 

I feel strongly that, because headbands are inherently sweet, I wouldn’t wear them in a traditional business formal setting. 

In casual, creative, and workplaces that embrace a more low-key dress code, you’re good.

Outside of work, they can be a fun accessory to incorporate in your weekend wear.

For good measure, avoid overly embellished options, covered in lace and pearls, they’ll feel too costumey and formal.

I would also skip inexpensive ones from the drugstore. Not only will they break easily, but they will hurt your head after just a few minutes of wearing them. 

5 Professional Headbands for Women

Professional Headbands for Women

Leopard, $26  |  Tortoise, $16.50  |  Puffed Velvet, $19.50  |  Black and Gold Set, $22  |  Braided, $18

Leopard, $26: This has a wide band that sits flat on your head. The print has texture to it, so you’re getting a little bit of depth as well as pattern. I haven’t stopped wearing it since I bought it. 

Tortoise, $16.50: A classic neutral tortoise print is an excellent place to start since it will work within any personal style. 

Puffed Velvet, $19.50: The “puff” of this headband from LOFT will add some height to the top of your head, so it works best with long hair with lots of volume. 

Black and Gold Set, $22: For a chic and sophisticated look, pull your hair back into a styled pony and add one of these shiny bands, it tames flyaways and gives you a polished, finished look. 

Braided, $18: For something a little better than basic, take a look at this slim braided option, also from Nordstrom in black or gold. It will subtly pull your hair back and add a bit of texture but will also disappear into your look. 

Related: How to Dress Age Appropriate 

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Our content is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers in any way. Recommendations are based on personal experience and my time working with women as a stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram for even more free tips, and join our Private Facebook Group for access advice in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

My Best Beauty Buys of 2019

The Best Beauty Buys of 2019

Looking presentable is part of my job, but having a professional hair and makeup team on hand is not part of my budget. Whether I’m getting ready for an event, a photo shoot, or simply getting ready for the day, it’s me, in my bathroom, begging my children to leave me alone for just five minutes.

I’m not a beauty expert (and have no interest in becoming one), but I do try a TON of products and tools during the year. I buy everything with my own money and have never done a review or made a recommendation in exchange for any kind of compensation.

That means when I say I like something, you can trust that I do.

And my requirements are high. First and foremost, it has to work. It has to save me time, or in some way, make my life easier. Much like yesterday’s Best Buys of 2019 post, I have to be delighted that I bought it every time I use it.

The Best Beauty Buys of 2019

Things you should know: 

My skin is normal, but sensitive. I burn just looking at the sun. I used to deal with pretty severe acne in my early to mid thirties, but have cleared it up amazingly with proper skincare and drinking a ton of water every day. 

When it comes to products, I am incredibly loyal. That’s one of the reasons I don’t write regular beauty content. There’s not a lot to talk about, since once I like something, it stays in rotation for a long time. 

Over the years, my skincare philosophy has gone from focusing on makeup and covering things up, to taking the best care possible of my skin. I put the time and money into that, and the benefit (aside from glowy natural skin) is needing less makeup and spending less time getting ready.

I take my nighttime skin care routine most seriously, as you can see in the post from earlier this year. Some people loved it, some thought I was nuts. It actually doesn’t take long to do, and it’s a lovely way to get ready for bed. Most important, since my skin has healed from the acne I feel a million times more confident, and I don’t think you can put a price on that. 

Favorite Products

Vintners Daughter is still my most favorite product of all time. It transformed my skin. The Goop Exfoliating Instant Facial is a close second and I wouldn’t be able to pick between the two since I think using them together is the holy grail of skincare. 

I am also still obsessed with my dermaroller and recently upgraded to this one. I use it several times a week, depending on what else I’m doing to my skin.

This year I found some real winners, so let’s jump in. 

My Best Beauty Buys of 2019

The Best Beauty Buys of 2019RMS Signature Palette, $44  |  Ice Roller, $15  |  Juice Beauty Overnight Cream, $75  |  Wander Beauty Mascara, $26  |  Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede, $60  |  Almond Oil, $50  |  Hanacure Facial Set, $29  |  T-3 Curling Iron, $136  |  Tyme Iron, $165 

RMS Signature Palette

This pocket size palette is ideal for an on-the-go, five minute face. It includes a bronzer, highlighter, two lip and cheek stains and a balm.  I love it so much I bought two, so I always have one in my makeup drawer and one to float around in my handbags. The colors give just enough pigment, that you can layer, in hues (I use the palette called “Pop”) which is a classic color, for warmer tones go with Mod (pictured above).

Shop: Pop / Mod

Ice Roller 

I’ve mentioned this ice roller a few times this year. It was a middle of the night purchase made in between feeding the baby and trying to sleep. I still can’t believe how much I use it. It’s perfect for the morning after a late night, maybe you overindulged or watched a sad movie and had a good cry. If you’re puffy or red, roll this over your entire face, and it will wake you up and depuff instantly. 

I’ll even use it after my morning routine, before I put on makeup. The cold tightness your skin, and makes your products glide on flawlessly. 

Shop: Assorted Colors 

Juice Beauty Overnight Cream

For a while, I was using Goop’s night cream, and it was just okay – not worth the price. Then I used Estee Lauder’s Night cream and liked that very much. But when I read about Juice Beauty’s Cell Renewal Night Cream, I decided to give it a try.
It’s loaded with good-for-you ingredients, like Hyaluronic Acid, and helps cell turnover and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In the winter, I prefer a thick night cream since it’s cold outside, but my house is dry and I notice how the change of temperature almost immediately affects my skin. I can see a difference in my skin’s moisture and texture in the morning after I slather this on at night.

Shop: One jar last approx. 2 – 3 months with daily use 

Wander Beauty Mascara

Early this fall, my social feed was flooded with ads for Wander Beauty, and after a while, I couldn’t resist. (I am clearly their target market.) Admittedly, I have a drawer full of mascaras, yet still always on the hunt for the next great one. This one by Wander Beauty hits it out of the park. It lengthens, it’s smooth, doesn’t clump, and doesn’t leave a dusty residue on your face.

Shop: Mile High Volume Mascara

Jo Malone Fragrance

For the longest time, my go-to fragrance was Flowerbomb by Viktor&Rolf, and it remains an all time favorite. But Jo Malone has always been one of those aspirational brands, with their chic packaging and exotic fragrance combinations. So while I was in NYC a few months back, I splurged on Peony and Blush Suede, and it’s stunning. It’s a similar scent to Flowerbomb, less sweet, and a little more sophisticated. I get nonstop compliments on it, with everyone saying it smells uniquely fresh and feminine.

Shop: Travel size, currently 15% off

Almond Body Oil

Body oil absorbs into your skin better than lotion, so I went on the hunt for an effective, daily oil that didn’t leave a slick residue. After trying a few, I discovered this Almond Body Oil by L’Occitane. It’s expensive, but a little goes a long way. It dries quickly, doesn’t leave a mark on your clothes, and smells clean without being overpowering. The key is to put it on damp skin right after your shower, so you lock in as much moisture as possible.

Shop: Supple Skin Oil

Hanacure Facial Set

This all in one, at home facial, claims to fix everything with regular use – from dullness, and wrinkles, to fine lines and age spots. That’s such a tall order I almost didn’t buy it. But out of curiosity disguised as research, I bought the all-in-one set, which includes four treatments.

I used all of them, and I’m telling you, your skin does look amazing when you’re finished. Whether I see a long term, lasting difference is yet to be determined.

BUT! I used a treatment before a few parties and photoshoots, and my skin looked fantastic for those events, so I’m keeping a stock of them for that very reason, and if my skin improves over time, even better.

Shop: Starter Set (One Application) / Kit (Four Applications)

T3 Curling Iron

This is my second T3 Curling iron. I bought my first one several years ago and only replaced it because I left the first one in a hotel.

It’s fantastic. My hair is flat and straight, but I like to wear it with curl. This lets me get a gorgeous barrel curl, around my entire head, in less the five minutes. 

Be sure to use it on dry hair and spray on a heat protector, because this gets hot. To give the curl lasting hold, I let it cool completely in my hand once it comes off the barrel, and then I leave it. I don’t run a comb or brush through it. Eventually it falls and gives me the natural wave I’m looking for. 

Shop: T3 Curling Iron

Thyme Iron

Yes, I bought two rather expensive curling iron tools this year. I actually bought them within a few days of each other and I ended up loving them both equally. The Thyme Iron is different than the T3. You’ll get a lot more volume and a different kind of curl. I use the T3 to get my everyday style, parted to the side, with a soft curl.

The Thyme Iron can be used in several different ways, but I use it for a more dramatic look. It takes some time to get the hang of how to use it, but the company does a fantastic job creating how-to videos and tutorials. Once you get the hang of it, the process moves fast.

The real benefit is how long the curls last. If you do it the right way (and depending on how frequently you need to wash your hair), you can get a full day and then next out of one style.

Shop: The Thyme Iron (be sure to purchase from Thyme and not one of the knock offs.)