Monthly Archives: December 2011

Cheers to the New Year with Essie Cocktail Bling

Have you given any thought to what nail polish you’ll ring in the New Year with? I think I’ll be wearing my very best Cocktail Bling, ala Essie. It’s the namesake of her winter collection that has been a major home run (see here, here and here!)  This icy lavender gray goes well with baubles, don’t you think? Cocktail Bling is a refreshing twist on all of the greige and gray shades out there. Don’t miss this one! It is one of those shades that just works all year.

Let us know your New Year’s Eve mani plans!

Expert Beauty Tips to Kick 2012 Off in Style

One of our favorite “what’s in her bag” moments this past year was definitely when we got to take a look into Nordstrom Beauty Director Cheri Botiz’s makeup bag. She’s a stunning beauty and has fabulous taste. We always pay attention when she offers her expert advice.  Obviously, we took notes as Cheri outlined some top-notch tips and tricks to help us prepare for New Year’s Eve and kick 2012 off beautifully.

 We know that Cheri loves eyeshadow, as evidenced by her purple moment this spring. Her secret for keeping eyeshadow in place all night? “Pair it with NARS Larger than Life eyeliner,” she says. We have her assurance that it will stay put, no matter what. And we agree completely! These liners are amazingly long-wearing.

And how better to immortalize a memorable night than by spritzing on a brand new fragrance? “Try the new Prada Candy,” Cheri advises. “It’s the perfect scent for a special night, and you’re never fully dressed without your fragrance.” Cheri is not the first to recommend this scent — think I need to try.

Cheri recommends a gutsy red lip for the midnight countdown (and the first kiss of the New Year that follows!) “Don’t be afraid to put a pop of color on that pout,” Cheri says. She recommends Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Fascinate for a statement look.

Finally, if there’s any night to try out an over-the-top manicure, New Year’s Eve takes the cake. “Nails really are a girl’s best accessory,” Cheri says. Try THE NEW BLACK’s Ombre Nail Shades Sets – each kit includes five polishes in graduated colors that make mimicking a dip-dye manicure a snap.

Thanks to Cheri for offering her advice. Have a happy and beautiful New Year’s Eve!

Get Prepped for NYE with the St. Tropez Golden Glow Kit

Pale and proud. That’s my motto in the winter. But even I admit, a winter tan is such a special treat (and a way to fight SAD!) I can think of no more convenient time to break out the St. Tropez than for New Year’s Eve. Consider the new St. Tropez Golden Glow Kit your go-to for tan-worthy events. For me, this kit will be a winter essential. 

For $35 (with a value of $58.50!), the Golden Glow Kit includes radiance in the form of:

  •  Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, 4 fl oz
  • Gold Skin Illuminator, 1.6 fl oz (full size!)
  • Applicator Mitt, for even application (this is ALWAYS a must with the Mousse…trust. Or your hands will reveal your secrets!)

Let’s talk about Gold Skin Illuminator. This is where the “golden glow” comes from.  It creates a transluscent shimmer to accentuate cheekbones, add dimension to the décolleté and legs, giving your skin a 3-D finish. Just be careful not to overindulge. St. Tropez offers the following advice on using the illuminator to accentuate your best features:

On the body: Use sparingly on the legs, from the mid shin down onto the top of the foot and from the mid of the thigh to the upper outer hip and thigh area to give the appearance of longer limbs. Sweep the top of the collarbone and the sides of the décolletage to accentuate your natural glow. If your skin is extra dry, mix with a bit of moisturizer for a luminous every day glow.

For the face: Use a touch on the upper cheek bone to add definition and luminosity and add a hint to the lips to create a dewy glow.

And before you even get started using the self tanner, make sure you exfoliate well in the shower.

Find out more on the Golden Glow Kit at Sephora.

Product Girl's Top 11 of 2011

Narrowing down the best beauty releases of the year can be a daunting task. But when it comes down to choosing the best of the best, all we really had to do was look in our makeup bags and on our bathroom counters. From there, it was pretty clear what products we can’t live without and will happily  carry into the New Year. Without further ado, we present to you the Product Girl Top 11 of 2011.  

While this list is officially in no particularly order, NARS Velvet Gloss Pencil is definitely our favorite lip product of the year. We can’t get enough of these. Frivolous and New Lover are my top two, but the deep raspberry of Baroque is a close third.We absolutely love how these look and feel on the lips – the subtle gloss, burst of color and moisturizing properties make them a major winner.

We purchased countless tubes of Burts’s Bees Tinted Lip Balms this year. For ourselves and for others. The Rose is the perfect tint of sheer red, and Honeysuckle is a lovely peachy nude. The formula is 100% natural and the price, at $7, is just right. These are a standout drugstore buy of 2011.

We continue to be mesmerized by this seafoam green tub of youth! Kiehl’s Rosa Arctica is such an  interesting moisturizier. It’s thick in texture, very balm-like, but doesn’t feel like it on the skin, and seems to instantly make our skin look brighter and healthier. Plus, we love the way Rosa Arctica looks on our bathroom counter!

Thank you, Dr. Dennis Gross, for reviving our pale skin and helping me fight my Vitamin D deficiency with the Alpha Beta Glow Pads. Since these launched in February, they’ve been a constant in my beauty routine. I don’t let actual sun rays get near my face, so these were a godsend. Unlike self-tanner, these are skin care. They give you a legit bronze and unleash anti-aging + exfoliating properties into your skin.

Perhaps the most difficult category for us to choose the “best of” was nail polish. But, Chanel Black Pearl managed to take home the honors. This gunmetal green is like an edgy accessory that goes with everything. It looked good no matter the season, and on fingers or toes.

Benefit Cha Cha Tint was worth waiting until 2011 for. It is a delicious mango-colored stain that looks intimidating in the bottle but is like magic on the skin. If you think you can’t wear coral, Cha Cha Tint can prove you wrong. Plus, it’s a stain so it lasts forever.

Another cheek product that dominated our makeup bags the majority of 2011 was Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush. We can’t pick just one favorite, so consider ALL of them the best of 2011. (Although, we might be partial to Amused and Tipsy!) They are the longest wearing powder blush you’ll ever use and the color stays vibrant all day. And the colors are phenomenal and importantly, flattering on the skin.  

2011 will go down as the year the U.S. got a taste of the BB Cream. And we couldn’t be more smitten with Boscia’s B.B. Cream SPF 27 PA++, a skin perfecting “blemish balm” that is like a super-powered tinted moisturizer. It manages to blur out imperfections and moisturize our skin. In the summer, we could get away with using this for coverage, moisture and SPF!  

A serum that actually helps repair and heal damaged hair and split ends? Yes, it exists.  The exotic oils and silk peptides in Phyto Phytokératine Serum  helps strengthen strands and restore moisture to dry hair (and is silicone-free). I truly believe that by slathering the ends of my hair in this, I can go a lot longer without a trim.

The central weapon in our fight against aging is sunscreen. It may not be the most exciting part of our beauty routine, but it’s very necessary. Skinceuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense is the best facial SPF we’ve ever used. We like that it contains only physical blockers and a special extract that increases skin defenses and resistance to UV and heat stress. But the best part? It feels weightless on the skin.

Each month, we looked forward to the arrival of the pink Birchbox! What a treat – which is why this beauty delivery service deserves a spot in our best of 2011 list. We’ve been introduced to some great brands, like Sunday Riley and Oribe, and fabulous products, like Orofluido Elixir and Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee.

What beauty items topped your list this year? Let us know what you loved!

New for Spring! Laura Mercier Lingerie Collection

Spring (beauty) is in the air! And Laura Mercier is giving us soft and feminine with her Spring 2012 Lingerie Collection.

According to Matin Maulawizada, Laura Mercier Global Artistry Director, this collection is perfect for achieving a romantic look, while still maintaining a playful side. “The collection is inspired by Victorian era and lace with soft and feminine shades. These colors are beautifully warm to create glowing looks in the cold months and are spot on with the trend colors for spring.”

Here’s what you can expect to see on counters, beginning in January:

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A Super Glam Lipstick for Three Dollars

When you think of Carmex, your first thought is probably not glamourous. This is a brand that is so deeply rooted in my childhood — the iconic smell in that tub (or squeeze tube) of balm that got me through so many colds and winters. It’s definitely a comfort product for me. However, my view of the brand took a huge turn for glam with the expansion of the Carmex Moisture Plus tints in Sheer Plum and Sheer Berry.

Housed in a skinny tube with a very lipstick-like slant tip applicator, Carmex Moisture Plus is not the same Carmex you grew up with. It still has that familiar smell, but it also has vitamin E, shea butter and avocado butter. It’s nostalgia + major moisture AND glamorous color.

While these only cost $2.99, they look expensive on the lips. A satin finish and a healthy dose of color. I wore the Sheer Berry to my Christmas Eve festivities, and I felt like I was housing the world’s best kept secret on my lips. Spontaneously, I would just blurt to family members, “I’m wearing Carmex. Bet you’d never guess.” My mom was totally into it, and I had to double check my purse at the end of the night to make sure my tube didn’t end up in hers!

Sheer Berry is lovely, but I can’t wait to get a little more vampy with Sheer Plum. There’s no stress involved with these. No prepping the lips to make sure they’re moisturized —  this does the moisturizing for you! A++ Carmex!

Available at CVS for $2.99.

What to Pack for a Warm Weather Getaway

As much as I love living in the Midwest, the winters are harsh and I always look forward to spending the holidays with my family in Florida.  I can’t wait to trade-in my winter coat (which some have mistaken for an extreme-weather sleeping bag) for some flip-flops.  Since Thanksgiving I have been setting aside what I’ll be packing in excited anticipation of my trip.  Below is a list of what will be in my travel bag (while leaving room for some vacation shopping!) Are you heading someplace warm for the holidays?

 1. I’ve been wearing Toms shoes for years because I love how comfortable they are and it’s easy to justify buying a pair of shoes when your purchase helps someone in need!  I love the colors of this striped pair, which will look great with jean shorts and a tank or short sundress.

 2. I love being tan just as much as the next sun-worshipping gal, but is important to protect skin from damaging rays.  Clinique has great sunscreens for face and body that won’t clog pores or leave you feeling greasy.

 3. I’m glad the chambray shirt is making a comeback – it travels well and can be paired with anything. I’ll use it as a beach cover-up or tie it up over a maxi dress and add some bangles.

 4. I don’t like to wear a lot of make up when I’m on a vacation…skin needs a break too!  Korres Lip Butter in Jasmine is ultra-moisturizing and gives lips a natural-looking tint.

 5. I hate spending time blow-drying my hair – especially in hot climates when it’s just going to frizz up.  Bumble and Bumble’s Curl Conscious Reactivating Mist is a must-have for my travel case.  This spray works with hair’s natural wave to give soft curls. I just spritz it on damp ends and go, no heat or styling required!

 6. J. Crew knows what it’s doing when it comes to bikinis. Their shapes are classic and colors can easily be mixed and matched for a new look.  I love pairing their basic blues with printed styles I already own.

Let it Snow, Inside, With Bath & Body Works Sparkling Snow Anti-Bacterial Soap

I wanted a white Christmas this year. Instead, I got sunshine. Not so bad, when I put it that way. But I miss the snowflakes. When you spend Christmas in Wisconsin, you just expect snow. Know what I mean? I found some consolation at my parent’s house, though, with Bath & Body Works Sparkling Snow Anti-Bacterial Soap. This stuff is GOOD. I’m a committed Vanilla Bean Noel girl this time of year, but am sold on Sparkling Snow’s festive blend of snowberry (not real, right?), strawberry, jasmine and vanilla. It’s sweet, but the jasmine prevents it from being too sweet.  

And because my mom also stockpiles soap like her daughter, she had an extra bottle of Sparkling Snow for me to take home. This one will be stationed at my bathroom sink all winter long! It’s still available for a limited time at Bath & Body Works.

The Product Girl 2011 Holiday Letter

You know how you have those distant relatives that insist on sending holiday letters every year filling you in on all the mundane details of their children’s lives? I secretly love those. I find that with photo cards, and probably Facebook, the holiday letters are few and far between each year. To honor the great art of holiday letter-ing, we’ve developed our own at Product Girl. From us to you, our thoughts on 2011.

Dear Product Girl readers,

First, you are awesome. While most of this letter will be about us, it’s pretty important to note that without you, a lot of these things would not have happened.

The year kicked off on awesome note when we were named a finalist in the Readers Choice Skincare Awards for best beauty blog. That calls for a retrospective “woot woot!”

If I could, this photo of me and MARK RUFFALO would have been my actual holiday card. Except my husband vetoed the idea. So consider it the official image of this letter. I seized the day at the Independent Spirit Awards in February to say hello to the Mr. Ruffalo (wonderful actor and from my hometown!), and am forever thankful to Aveeno for the opportunity.

Speaking of Aveeno, Product Girl spent the year taking part in the Aveeno Ambassador program. We are huge fans of the brand, and enjoyed getting to know the products and the people that make them a little bit more. At the Independent Spirit Awards, Aveeno and RecycleBank kicked off their Be An Active Natural Program, and solicited pledges from people to be more environmental conscious. Throughout the life of the program this year, they collected more than 260,000 pledges. Not too shabby, Aveeno.

Being the makeup lovers we are, we were happy to attend a few industry events. Carla and I had a blast in New York at The Makeup Show in May, and Carla hit up CosmoProf in Vegas during the summer.

In October, we were thrilled to see that SHAPE Magazine nominated Product Girl as one of the Top 20 Beauty Blogs for Active Chicks. What an honor! We were definitely in great company, and so happy to be included.

And not to bury our lead, but Product Girl has been going through some changes. Carla accepted a new job with her favorite retailer in an industry she is so knowledgeable about and is specializing in her area of expertise [large corporation that begins with a “N” based in Seattle + beauty + social media]. She’s truly pursuing her dream, and we couldn’t be happier for her. (That last line was so holiday letter, right?!) For you as a reader, this means that you get a lot more of me, and a side of the people closest to Carla. Her best friend Autumn , and her sisters Vania and Kayla are contributing to Product Girl! And of course we have our new style contributor Emily, who is also all kinds of awesome. We think it’s going to be a great 2012!

From all of us at Product Girl, we wish you the happiest of holidays and a fabulous start to the New Year!


Photo credit (top): Flickr, Warrenski, Creative Commons

Coming Soon! MAC Naturally

Winter and neutral makeup go together like hot chocolate and marshmallows. Naturally, I want all of the above. Especially MAC Naturally, a collection filled with yummy neutrals. I’ve come to expect a neutral collection from MAC on December 26, but Naturally actually launches on January 5. Based on the press images, it appears to be worth the wait. Especially if you are a Mineralize Skin Finish fan — MAC is repromoting the Blonde and Redhead MSFs from the Blonde, Brunette and Redhead collection a few years ago.

Here’s the official rundown:

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