MY NEW MUST-HAVE MAKEUP-REMOVER OBSESSION
Wear This Wednesdays: The Boho Look
Like my daughter, Honor aged 6, I love a good sheet mask. My awful dry and dehydrated winter skin is desperate for some TLC and masks are just the ticket! They brighten, tighten and moisturise and the best part is they deliver visible results immediately. They also force you to sit back and relax. So if like Honor, you've had a long hard week of school, snow days and play dates, pop a face mask on and sit back and chillax - cucumbers optional.
Elle's Edit: Top 5 Sheet Masks
2. SKII Facial Treatment Mask $17
One of Japans best selling products, this mask, I can assure you, is worth the hype (and the price tag). This 100 percent cotton mask drenches the skin with pitera’s fusion of vitamin, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids, while working to revitalize, comfort, and provide intense hydration. It immediately replenishes dehydrated skin, leaving it refreshed and cool. In a word amazing.
I love this mask especially for a big night out (not that I've been out for about 2 years with a baby in tow but a girl can dream). So whether it's a hot date or just because, I can firmly testify to this sheet mask leaving your skin smooth, hydrated, primed and ready for a layer of foundation. My skin felt plump and my makeup went on flawlessly and at $7 it's a total bargain.
Facialist fairy godmother to Hollywood starlets such as Jessica Alba, Naomi Watts, Dakota Johnson to name a few! Joanna Vargas is a name to know when it comes to facialists in NYC. But there's no need to worry if getting an appointment isn't an option as she has a wonderful line of insanely gorgeous and glow-y face making products available to all. Her face masks I can personally endorse and a favourite is The Eden Instant Lift Mask - I actually did this one this morning and I can confirm my skin feels firm smooth and amazing. Applied to freshly dried skin, you then squeeze the remaining serum out of the packet and use on your neck, décolletage and hands, which I have to say feels rather good too. An advanced hydration treatment mask that diminishes wrinkles and promotes the youthful vitality of the skin it contains yummy organic ingredients such as Cherry Blossom Extract - A powerful anti-inflammatory. Cabbage Rose Extract - Improves circulation & strengthen capillary walls, Stem Cell Extract - From the rare green swiss apple.
So full disclosure you have to be completely topless when applying this mask, as there is a lot of sticky serum thats obviously not great for clothing. Also this is not the mask for you, if you intend to multi task and say vacuum the living room No, you have to sit, or preferably lie, down to avoid the mask falling off (as I discovered) and RELAX as this mask is just glorious. Covering, yes you've guessed it, your neck and chest. This hydrating and soothing mask truly leaves your skin visibly brighter and softer.
Ways to Wear Stripes · Elle Strauss
Buying and wearing make-up can undoubtedly feel overwhelming when it comes to the amount of choice we have today (or in my case the contents of my own bulging make-up bag! #Beautyjunkie ). So remove the stress (and add more time to your day) by just sticking to these 5 multi tasking beauty basics and let your skin shine.
I've written about the magical qualities of a highlighter before and it's still remains an integral part of my beauty routine. My unchallenged favourite is Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, a liquid highlighter that instantly imparts that effortless, dewy natural glow that we all want. Simply blend with your daily moisturiser or add to cheekbones and down the bridge of your nose.
Concealer is basically my BFF when it comes to covering up my never-ending under eye dark circles, lurking zits and any red bits (particularly around my nose and on my chin). I can forgo foundation but I don't know what I'd do without concealer. I recently discovered my new favourite by Nars. This wonderful little pot contains an easy to use concealer that feels like melted butter and does exactly what it says on tin - conceals.
3. Lip balm tint
So you probably already own both a lip balm and a lipstick but how genius is a multi tasking lip balm tint! A quick swipe and you have a hit of refreshing colour but your lips are also moisturised. AND it also doubles up as blush by simply rubbing it into the apples of you cheeks. I believe it's best to opt for something organic, especially as you end up licking it off. Tata Harper's Volumizing Lip and Cheek TInt is a makeup bag must have and is formulated without synthetics or chemical ingredients.
4. Dual mascara
Mascara, as we all know, works wonders on the lashes but you mustn't forget your eyebrows. I firmly believe that bushier brows (mine are naturally quite thin - so I need all the help I can get) can help you look a few years younger. Step in MAC Haute & Naughty, a dual-ended mascara with both a fine and a thick wand that makes it great for eyebrows, too. I like to use the fine to beef up my brows.
5. Liquid eyeliner
So you can totally leave this off your list if you're opting for a 'no makeup, makeup look' but when you have a 15 mth old that doesn't like to sleep, more is definitely MORE. What's wonderful about Stila Liquid Eyeliner - is that you only have to apply it ONCE, so although its not a multi tasker it is a time saver. Having literally road tested every eyeliner on the market I can tell you with 100% certainty that it doesn't shift and the pigment is super rich so your eyes totally pop.
My lips, in an NYC winter, are a mess - constantly dry and flaky and it doesn't matter how much I smother on the moisturizers and chapstick they still feel like shriveled up raisins. Enter the new M.A.C. Lip Scrubtious! This sugar based exfoliator whisks away dry flaky patches and then hydrates and conditions with ingredients like grape seed oil, shea butter, jojoba oil and vitamin E, leaving your lips feeling super soft and smooth. I tried Candied Fruit (the orange pot) and honestly girls it seriously worked - it's now a staple in my handbag and as soon as there's even a hint of roughness on my lips, a quick buff and my pout is perfection.
Available in five flavours including Candied Nectar, Fruit of Passion, Summer Berry, Sweet Brown Sugar and Sweet Vanilla.
I'm in La and of course its raining! Which has nothing to do with anything except that OF COURSE it's bloody raining! But that aside I caught the 6am flight from NYC to LAX yesterday which not only felt ridiculously early (baring in mind I'm already sleep deprived enough with a 15 mth old) but my winter skin, felt so dry and tight at the high altitude that I thought it was going to drop off. That was until I remembered I'd popped Eau Thermale Avène' Soothing moisture mask (conveniently travel sized at 1.69 fl.oz) in my carry-on bag. Countless celebs and models have endorsed the travel sheet mask over instagram; But I can never quite bring myself to put one on whilst sitting in aisle 32, so this is why Avene's discreet mask - which goes on transparently like a moisturiser - is so great. A lovely refreshing layer (with clean hands) swipped on every 4 hours and my skin instantly felt revived and hydrated. I also made sure to pop a layer on an hour before landing - prime masking time to ensure my Hollywood ready glow!
Last Sunday, whilst my little girl Honor was at a 7 yr old birthday party (yes a drop off birthday party! woohoo!) I had two hours to roam Brooklyn, with just myself, and not forgetting, my 15 month old toddler, Imogen in tow. Where did we head? Well we headed straight to a lovely new shop called Regular Visitors or R.V. that I've been meaning to check out for a while. Situated in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn on 149 Smith Street (nearest subways F/G) the area already includes some lovely shops such as the wonderful handbag designer Clare V, French perfumer and candle maker Diptyque and beauty must-have line Aesop and R.V. fits right in with it's neighbours. R.V is a beautiful general store that has everything from delicious coffee and a lovely selection of magazines (including international titles!) to a wonderfully curated selection of home goods, beauty and grooming essentials, stationary and fab baby bits - all at gift worthy prices - definitely worth a look for Valentines day. Imogen and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as we poured over Australian Vogue Living and sipped on a cappuccino (me not Imogen) as we took in the wonderful energy of this beautiful store with it's super friendly staff. We will be back. Have you paid it a visit yet?
Right now, thanks to chilly winds and overly dry apartments, it’s undoubtedly the time to be taking extra care of that lovely body of yours and MOISTURISING! But are you doing it properly? Check out my easy winter body skin tips to help you maximize that moisturizer.
1. Buff away those Dead Skin Cells
I like to use a dry body brush all over, not only to get rid of those pesky dead skin cells, (enabling my moisturiser to fuller absorb into my skin), but to greatly improve my circulation. It also helps provide an invigorating wake-up call- if my kids haven’t already achieved that. Tip: It’s important not go crazy with exfoliation as you don't want to damage your sensitive winter skin, so a light buff is perfect - and always brush towards your heart.
2. Protect Your Skin in the Shower
Keep your shower or bath, short and not too hot. I like to use an oil on extra dry parts of my body (my elbows, lips, knees) before I get into the shower. Applying oil before helps to prevent my skin from excessively drying out under that hot tap (my favourite is drugstore brand Cetaphil baby moisturizing oil). If that’s one step too far, Bioderma’s Atoderm Body Oil, for in the shower is fantastic.
3. Set the Timer
Rub your body lotion into damp skin – no I know this isn’t new! But did you know you only have a 3 minute window to fully lock that lotion into your bod’? Make sure your skin is also lightly dried as being too wet will dilute your lotion. Shop my tried and tested favourites below.
4. Close the Door
Moisturize with the bathroom door closed will lock in that lovely humidity, which your cream will then pull into your skin.
5. Pop some socks on
If I have time – normally on the weekends – I load up on the moisturizer around the drier parts of my feet (aka everywhere!). Then I pop on a pair of socks and let the cream fully repair and soothe my tootsies whilst I clean teeth, feed children etc.
6. Don’t neglect your lips
I always try to include lip care as part of my morning routine by spreading a liberal layer of Aquaphor or Elizabeth Arden’s Intensive Lip Repair Balm, into all the cracks of my overly dry lips. It’s also a great thing to do just before bed.
Whether you're obsessed with red lipstick (me!!!) or you're just too scared to try it, we can all agree on one thing: The hunt for the perfect red lip is REAL. But honestly girls I truly believe I've found the shade of red that suits every skin tone: Nars Velvet Matte Lipstick in Dragon Girl - even the name is cool! This award winning red combines the convenience of a pencil with the application of a lipstick in a crayon-line design and delivers a velvety smooth and rich pigment that stays. SERIOUSLY stays but miraculously doesn't dry out your lips as it also contains vitamin E. And the secret as to why it suits everyone? Colour versatility. I swear this lipstick has magic colour changing powers. Worn lightly it has almost a pink-y red tone but a couple more swipes and the colour becomes a deeper more intense red. I suggest playing with the intensity according to your skin tone. I personally like to wear it lightly for the day time and often mix in a little lip balm so it creates a stain. For a more impactful pout I like to seriously layer it up by lining my lips first in MAC Follow your heart (also great for multiple skin tones) and then following with layers of Dragon Girl. Every girl friend I've recommended it to - with dramatically different skin tones, has remarked how well it suited them. And with Valentines' Day around the corner there's no better time to perfect your pout!
Who doesn't love to play the stranded on a desert island game? You know the one where you're only allowed one makeup product to keep you 'alive'? I have devoted way too much time to this game and although SPF would obviously be a far more practical choice (because this is clearly a tropical island) my product would have to be MASCARA. Because well mascara makes you feel really good and you can't argue with that, can you? And this wouldn't be any old mascara, on no! This mascara would have to do many, many things: Volumise, thicken, not flake or smudge, be water resistant, easy to remove AND CURL! Because, well I'm not allowed an eyelash curler am I?! (see I've spent WAY too much time thinking about this). But as luck, and obviously my survival, has it, such a mascara actually exists and can be mine AND yours for only $24 : Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara
I pretty much wear liquid eyeliner every day. I feel like I look tired without some sort of eye definition (to be clear with a 14 month old baby girl I'm ALWAYS tired) and liquid eyeliner always delivers. As a result of this minor obsession, I appear to have owned and obsessively tested way too many eyeliners and consider myself quite the expert at this point - if I do say so myself! Therefore it is with some authority that I can share with you my holy grail of liquid lovelies: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof eyeliner
This eyeliner really does what it says it on the pen and "stays all day". But it also ticks lots of other boxes.
1. It's super easy to use and apply - whether you want a think or thick line it glides on smoothly to create the perfect cat eye.
2. The black pigment is rich, intense and lasts all day.
3. It doesn't budge. I have very deep set eyes so it can be challenge to find a liner that doesn't transfer onto my eyelids but seriously this one stays put from morning 'til night.
5. Definite value for money! The price at $22 it's definitely not super expensive but neither is it cheap BUT it LASTS and LASTS and doesn't dry out after two weeks like a lot of them.
Confession: I try to avoid washing my hair at all costs for 3 reasons:
1. I am lazy. 2. I hate blow-drying my hair (also see reason 1.) 3. To stop my blonde hair colour from fading.
But I can no longer cite Reason 3. as an excuse, thanks to the miraculous Blonde Angel by Kevin Murphy. Paraben- and sulfate free, this colour enhancing wonder treatment is applied on freshly washed hair for ONE MINUTE!!! That's right girls not 10, not 5, but 1!!!!!!! Because lets face it who has the time, or the inclination, for really deep conditioning ones hair for over 60 sweet seconds! Anyway, I swear this is the most exciting hair product that has EVER come into contact with my bleached blonde locks! It was INSTANTLY amazing, a friend even commented on how new my hair colour looked. And it gets better, my blonde hair was not only brightened but revived as the treatment also deep conditions and repairs!! I realise that at $45 the price seems a little steep but it has lasted for months and months (a little goes a long way), I can't even remember when I bought it. Seriously, the only way to improve upon this unicorn hair of my dreams treatment would be for Kevin Murphy to pop out of the bottle to come blow out my hair on a Monday morning!
For all you non-blondes out there (please don't think I've forgotten you!) Kevin Murphy also does an equally wonderful Angel. MASQUE which revives colour, protects and promotes growth - sometimes I mix it into my Blonde Angel for an even more intense condition.
Check out all of his fantastic products
The French have undeniable great style but it’s not just restricted to their closets. Peek into the bathroom cabinet of any French girl, or any girl that ever went to France for that matter, and you will find a bottle of this magical cleansing water - Bioderma Sensibio H2O. A couple of swipes of a cotton pad soaked in the misceller water and these tiny oil particles (suspended in soft water), act like a magnet to dirt, oil and make-up (including waterproof mascara) and poof you have instantly clean but not dry or irritated skin. Thanks to the formulas being so mild and gentle, it’s great for almost any skin type but it’s especially good for dry (me!!) or sensitive (me!) skin. Bonus: There is no need to wash it off as it leaves behind no residue. Awesome when you have no time (me!) However, when I do have time I prefer to treat it as a first step to removing make-up before beginning my nightly regime. I also use it in the morning to prep my skin so my makeup goes on more smoothly including my 'oh so French' red lippy!