“Plan a wedding,” they said. “It will be fun,” they said. Like many others, I do not have a single clue what I am doing when it comes to wedding planning. I’ve relied heavily on friends who know the ins and outs, and what I thought would be the most enjoyable part of the process has turned out to be the least. I’m talking venue hunting.
Seeing venues is fun, so I don’t mean to hint otherwise. The problems lie less in what you see, and more in what you don’t. While the limit does not exist for questions you should be asking when touring venues, here are some must-ask queries with answers that may surprise you.
1. Do You Have A Designated Ceremony Area?
If you plan on hosting your ceremony at a different location than your reception, you can skip this question. If you plan on hosting onsite, do a little digging about the venue offerings for a ceremony. For starters, can they host the ceremony? If they can, is there a designated area for the ceremony? I recently toured a venue, and when asking if I could host a ceremony on site the host replied “yes”. I asked to see the ceremonial site and they then pointed to a small patch of makeshift grass between two parking lots. While it took physical restraint to not gasp and/or laugh, it was seriously eye-opening that even the most beautiful venues aren’t always what they seem. The other kicker is the ceremonial fee, which is a self-explanatory fee for hosting your ceremony on site. According to WeddingWire, the average cost in the US is $600, but for big cities like NY and LA, expect something closer to $2,000.
2. Do You Have A Bridal And Groom Suite On Site?
I’ll be the first to say the bride is the *most* important on the wedding day (bridezilla in the making here), but I want my groom to be treated like a king as well. I was shocked to see how many venues only had one wedding suite, which meant only one of us could get ready on site. My fiancé is irrationally laid-back and would get ready in the parking lot if he had to, but not all couples are comfortable with a single-suite venue. While it may seem minor right now, it’s important to think about what getting ready offsite day-of means for the person who chooses to do so (renting a hotel suite, renting a large car or limo for wedding party, etc.).
3. Can I Bring A Hair And Makeup Team To The Bridal Suite?
THIS is a question I can’t believe I had to ask at venues. To me, a bridal suite was an obvious getting ready location for myself and my bridesmaids. However, I quickly learned this is not always the case. Some venues do NOT allow you to physically get ready in the suite. They must arrive with hair and makeup done, with no outside vendors allowed in to help prepare the wedding party. Personally, I am really looking forward to getting ready with my bridesmaids all together in the bridal suite, and then waltzing out the door and into the ceremony, so this was an important ask in my book.
4. What Are The Different Rates?
I semi knew this was a “thing” going into venue touring, but I was honestly shook at how drastic the price differences were between “on” and “off-peak” months, Friday/Saturday/Sunday, and time of day. Most venues break down their pricing first by month, with May, June, August, September, and October being the most popular (and therefore, the most expensive) months. From there, choosing your day of the week also dictates the price, with Saturday being the most expensive. AND FROM THERE, the time of day further influences the pricing. A daylight wedding (typically 12pm to 5pm) is often discounted, whereas an evening wedding tends to be more expensive (typically 6 or 7pm to 12 or 1am). So, be warned that Saturday night wedding at sunset in summer WILL impact your budget more than you want it to (I’m talking double the price of a Sunday daytime wedding in April).
5. Where Do The Extra Fees Go?
Venues with in-house catering will charge a per plate fee which covers the guests’ attendance and dinner/open bar. Venues who allow you to bring outside vendors will often charge a flat venue rate. But one thing common across the board is the added 20-25% “service charge”. What is this, you may ask? No, it’s not to compensate the waitstaff, the bartenders, or the cleanup crew. It actually typically goes towards any collateral damage (broken plates, carpet stains, etc.), and the rest goes into the owners’ pockets. If, on a venue tour, you ask what the fee goes to and you hear “it goes back into venue upkeep”, be aware of what this *really* means. It may bother you, or you may be fine with it. If you ask about the service fee going toward service and you’re told that the waitstaff makes “regular minimum wage” instead of “servers minimum wage”, just note that you will be tipping another 20% on top of your 20% service fee and 8.875% tax fee (and a potential cleaning fee). Just to put this in perspective, if your wedding is $50,000, with the fees, cleaning, and gratuity, you’ll actually be spending about $75,000. I know, I was just as shocked as you are rn!!
6. Do You Require Chair Rentals?
Add this to the list of questions I didn’t know I had to ask. For reasons unknown, I assumed with a wedding venue came chairs and tables and normal seating arrangements. For many venues (especially those with in-house catering) this is true, but not for all. Some venues require chair rentals for the space, and this is what I call annoying. Add it to the category of “fees I never thought I’d have to pay.”
7. Do You Require Preferred Vendor Use?
If you have specific vendors in mind ahead of time, this question is an important one for you. Most, if not all, venues have a list of preferred vendors—vendors they work with often, trust to work in their space, and recommend to their clients. Choosing these vendors often come with perks such as no plate fee for the vendors working the wedding, no insurance cost, and the obvious (and best) perk, discounts. That being said, some venues require you choose a vendor from their lists (this is especially true for flowers and DJs) and is something to confirm before falling in love with a venue or outside vendor.
8. How Many Hours Are Included In Rental Space?
This question is semi self-explanatory, but an important ask. How many hours are “included” is a polite way of asking can I come in early? Can I stay late? Will there be more fees for those extended hours outside of my actual party? How long is my actual party? Get those answers and avoid those fees!
9. Is Parking Available And Included?
Oh hey there, another fee. Parking on premises isn’t always included, but when it is, you can guarantee it comes with a fee. There are often different “levels” to this parking fee. Typically, couples can choose to play a lot flat fee which allows their guests to park for free, but park themselves. There’s also the option to have the guests pay for parking, which feels really reasonable to some and really jarring to others. But, if you’re feeling fancy, there’s also the option to have a valet service for all guests driving in, and this is where it gets pricy. Worth it? Only you reading this can be the judge of that.
10. Do You Offer A Planner?
While some people choose to go the route of planning their own wedding in full (me), others (people smarter than me) go the route of hiring a planner. Planners have pros and cons—pros being the fact that they know what they are doing, cons being that they often work with specific vendors and venues and may be biased with their recommendations. But, the most ideal situation (in my eyes) is finding a venue you love that assigns you a planner to help handle the rest of the arrangements. This person works specifically for your venue, so they know every single issue you may run into, and therefore are perhaps the most powerful point of contact throughout the entire process. It’s good to know if your venue offers a person to help, how far out they begin helping you, and if they are included in your package.
While there are an infinite amount of obvious questions to be asked, these are the questions you don’t want to forget about. Happy planning!
My freshman year of college can be summed up with one word: cringe. It’s the year I thought it was a #lewk to wear a bra, leggings, and combat boots to dorm parties; the year I really mastered the art of the peace sign, duck face selfie; and it’s the year I tried my hand at filming my own makeup tutorials. Now, please don’t get me wrong—there is nothing cringeworthy about makeup tutorials in and of themselves. In fact, there have been many a morning when I’ve woken up with “the grumpies” (as my free therapist calls them) and have been seconds from giving up, ordering chicken parm for breakfast, and going back to sleep, only to be saved by my favorite makeup artist, Katie Jane Hughes, and her divine ability to film perfect winged eyeliner tutorials while dancing to ABBA. Makeup tutorials have never been the problem; it was me doing makeup tutorials that were the problem. Me—sitting at a bulky wooden desk, filming on a used MacBook Pro, my twin extra long bed as a backdrop, and the casual cameo from my roommate who did not speak to me—filming makeup tutorials. That was the cringe factor. Needless to say, I took a quick look at the footage from my first 55-minute video, made the Jay-Z yikes face, and decided to permanently retire from the makeup tutorial filming profession. (Okay, you got me—I had every intention of posting that 55-minute video, but my laptop crashed, making the difficult but necessary decision to end my beauty blogger career for me.)
Although my YouTube influencer dreams never came to fruition, my passion for makeup and beauty never stopped. But then again, how could it? Long before I could even spell “going viral,” I had a well-established, indelible, even, relationship to beauty that ran deep. Some of my earliest memories include my mother scrubbing my face every night with Ivory soap and my dad laying down my eyebrows with a thick, nourishing pomade. My parents agreed on very little, but thankfully, they were able to come together on the essentials: skin care. As a teen, I technically was not allowed to wear makeup, so I joined the cheer team to bypass the system, as a glitter eyeshadow was a mandatory part of our getup. But what really solidified my affinity to beauty was my first trip to Sephora. I was a senior in high school touring colleges in New York, and my mother and I had some time to kill (how every great Sephora tale begins). We spent far too many hours and far too many dollars in that black and white striped oasis than I’d care to admit publicly.
All this to say, if there is one thing I know well, it’s makeup and beauty. I’ve always received much joy, confidence, and even peace in discovering new products and new beauty routines. You have your healing crystals, I have my Bobbi Brown shimmer brick (we both should see health care professionals). But as a Black woman, specifically, my passion for beauty discovery has had to be far more intentional than your average (okay, white) consumer. Let’s face it, despite Black women being a majority demographic for beauty brand consumption, very few products are actually made with us in mind. I can’t tell you how many eyeshadow palettes I’ve opened that disappear entirely on my skin; how many skin care products that seek to fight “redness” when very few dark-skinned people encounter that issue. So, after years of being makeup and beauty obsessed, and even more years of being a Black woman, here are some of the beauty products that I swear by.
Every girl has a moment in her life that she’ll remember forever. For some, it’s her engagement day, for others, it’s the birth of her first born. For me, it was the day my roommate asked me if I was wearing makeup when all I’d done was wash my face. What can I say? There is glory in proper skin care! In the last few years, models, influencers, and makeup artists alike have been raving about one universal craze: glow. That sunkissed, radiant bronze that screams “I spent the entire summer on a nude beach in Brazil.” Now, amateurs will try to achieve this look with bronzing powders or shimmering highlights or booking an illegal (COVID, etc.) flight to Brazil, but real radiance experts know: the perfect glow starts with the right skin care.
Shea Moisture African Black Soap Facial Wash & Scrub
In all honesty, I first started using this product accidentally. My family lives in California, and whenever I went home to visit, I hated lugging around my entire beauty cabinet. So, I decided to go to Target and randomly select a travel-sized tube of this African Black Soap Facial Scrub and keep it in California. While I was home, I would use this product every day, and would also start saying things like: “Wow, my skin is so much better in California—must be the water!” It took me a couple of trips home to realize that it wasn’t the California tap water that was revitalizing my skin, it was this Shea Moisture Facial Scrub. I then started incorporating this product into my daily routine (the right way, I must add—this is an exfoliant and shouldn’t be used daily, but rather 2-3 times a week max). And, at the humiliating risk of sounding like an infomercial, after using this scrub, my skin feels like legit silk. Not only does my skin feel softer, it is so much clearer. This facial scrub leaves your skin looking clear, feeling soft, and providing you with the perfect canvas for the rest of your skin care routine.
First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads
I discovered this product recently, during the height of COVID quarantine. I was depressed and had a promo code that was “expiring soon”—a lethal combination. I’d been looking for a better alternative to the toner I was using at the time and will be forever grateful that this impulse buy was just that. These radiance pads are unique because they are 3-in-1: they tone, but they also exfoliate and illuminate the skin. I use these pads after I cleanse my face, so they also help remove any excess makeup, oils, dirt, etc. And I can honestly say that within days, I noticed my skin became brighter and more radiant. I also love First Aid Beauty products because they’re conducive to all skin types. My skin is very dry and very sensitive, but I’ve been using this product regularly for about four months now, and haven’t had any negative reactions. Who knew that glow could start with your toner? This product is definitely a must.
Tatcha Violet-C Vitamin C Brightening Serum
Full transparency: the first thing you’ll notice when you look up this product is that it is disgustingly expensive. And to address your questions now: no, I do not have a trust fund, I just have a credit card with no real sense of the word “debt.” And that, I get, is a “me” thing. But I do also sincerely believe that if there is one thing to splurge on, it’s your skin. You only get one face, unless you are a Real Housewife, so I choose to take care of mine at all costs. You’ll also notice that this product is a serum. Honestly, I did not start using serums until about a year ago because I “didn’t find them necessary,” but really because I didn’t know what they were or how to use them. After some research, however, I found that serums are attractive skin care aids because they target specific skin care concerns. Truly whatever concern you may have, there is probably a serum for it. My major issue has always been hyperpigmentation, which is a multisyllabic word for dark spots on your skin. I love this Tatcha Serum, in particular, because not only does it eliminate dark spots, but it also, you guessed it, radiates the skin! I’m looking for glow anywhere I can, babe. Pro tip: this was the product I started using when my roommate asked me if I was wearing makeup. Needless to say, it is worth its weight in gold—and is probably a similar price!
While deeply humbling, it’s important that I admit: it has taken me a while to master the “no-makeup makeup” look. If you unearth any of my Instagram photos circa 2012, you might have trouble identifying me, as in most of the pictures I look like a woman in her 50s going through a nasty divorce, painting on blush and eyebrows to mask her pain and be strong for the children. It’s been… a journey. But after much trial and error and watching Rihanna’s 10-Minute Beauty Routine sincerely once a month, I finally have a makeup routine that’s comprised with products that make me look natural and youthful. So now when I look like a woman in turmoil, it’s because my life is in disarray, not my makeup!
Believe me, I tried to narrow this list down to one Fenty product. But asking me to choose only one product from this brand is like asking me to choose between cheese and sauce on a pizza—it’s simply not done. A few years ago, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line garnered critical acclaim and traction when it launched foundations and concealers that were inclusive to, dare I say, all skin tones. From the palest to the darkest coverage seekers, Fenty formulated a hue just for you. As such, I simply cannot mention makeup must-haves without highlighting the Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer. This is a full coverage soft matte concealer that can be used on its own or combined with your favorite foundation. I often find that some matte concealers can be chalky and overpowering, but this one provides the perfect amount of coverage while still offering a dewy, natural look. I bought this concealer a year and a half ago, and it has remained in my makeup bag ever since.
Fenty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer
While we’re talking Fenty, I also have to shout out their Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer. Bronzers have always been sort of an enigma to me. I loved how they looked on other people, but I, myself, was unsure of how to use them, especially as someone with darker skin. But, after watching the aforementioned Rihanna video, I learned that bronzers are used to warm the face. After applying your foundations, concealers, and powders, chances are you’ve eliminated blemishes, but you’ve also probably eliminated any warmth in your skin along with it. Bronzers bring that warmth back, and this bronzer, in particular, brings it back effortlessly by bringing out the undertones within your skin. I can’t recommend this product enough.
MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream
Earlier this year, I was on the hunt for a great highlighter. I researched powder formulas, cream formulas, and finally came across the MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream. This product is unique because it’s not a typical highlighter, meaning you don’t apply this product to the high points of the skin toward the end of your beauty, like most highlighters. Instead, this product can be combined with your favorite foundation at the very beginning of your routine, providing for a more natural, radiant glow. This is because the deceptively lucent white cream has iridescent undertones. I wear it every day, either on its own for a natural radiance, or combined with a finishing highlight, for even more drama. This product is one of my most prized (and top-secret) products in my toolbox. You’re welcome.
Pat McGrath Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner
I couldn’t honestly tell the story of my makeup journey without mentioning my personal never-ending plight: trying to find a liquid eyeliner that is very black and easy to use. In my quest, I’ve found tons of eyeliners that have been extremely pigmented, but also extremely hard to use, or a liner that glides on effortlessly, but doesn’t show up on my skin at all. Which is why we simply must give thanks to Pat McGrath and her precision liquid eyeliner. If you don’t know Pat McGrath, she is a prominent makeup artist, and she is a Black woman. If there’s one thing she knows, it’s how to formulate beauty products that are bold, pigmented, and inclusive. And she’s done just that with her perfect liquid eyeliner. Admittedly, I can’t take full credit for discovering this product because I first learned about it from watching Naomi Campell’s 10-Minute Beauty Routine (I watch these videos like most people watch the news). It was good enough for top model Naomi Campbell, and it has been more than good enough for me. When it comes to liquid eyeliners, this product is top-tier.
Beauty products are an integral part of most of our daily lives. At the very basis, they are preventive maintenance agents that work to provide us with healthy and youthful-looking skin for years to come. But beyond that, they’re simply fun—offering so much to play with, discover and explore. Which is why some of us (@ing myself here) decide to throw caution to the wind, foregoing contributions to a retirement plan, and invest in rejuvenating eye serums instead. But believe me, beauty products are far less enjoyable to play with when you don’t feel represented by most of them, when only select products are accessible to your skin concerns and hue. The discussion of beauty inclusivity is a big one and shouldn’t stop here, as there is much work to be done in this arena. And while some brands are making strides to better diversify their products, the work isn’t done until this mindset is adopted widely across all brands. I hope that this list is helpful to you in the meantime.
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
Images: Alex Sorto / Unsplash; Giphy; Shea Moisture; First Aid Beauty; Tatcha; Fenty Cosmetics; Mac Cosmetics; Pat McGrath
I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this summer definitely hasn’t gone according to plan. With travel plans, romantic entanglements, and social lives mostly on pause for the foreseeable future, it can be hard to feel like you have control of anything. But amid this miserable roller coaster of a year, one small thing we can stay on top of is our skin care. Instead of focusing on how lame this summer is compared to years past, put that time and energy into getting your summer skin care routine on lock.
If you don’t normally put much thought into your skin care regimen, switching up your products every season might seem extra, but it makes a lot of sense. While you might spend the winter fighting dry skin with heavy creams and moisturizers, summer is a whole different ballgame. Of course, each person’s skin care needs differ based on location, climate, and skin type, but generally speaking, summer skin care is all about keeping it light and breezy. Here are some must-have products that will keep you glowing (not from sweat) all summer long.
Laneige Cream Skin Mist
If you know about Laneige’s Cream Skin line, you KNOW how exciting this launch is. I admittedly was never a huge mist person until my friends coerced me into keeping a spray in my bag at all times, and now I’m actually unsure how I survived without one. The Cream Skin Mist is great because it gives your skin a natural glow, with or without makeup. A product like this is particularly important in summer, especially during quarantine, when the chances of me wearing makeup are about the same as the odds of me shaving my legs in the winter. This final step makes any routine feel complete, and the mist itself is super hydrating, long lasting, and perfect to bring on the go. The formula is lightweight, and enriched with amino acids from White Leaf Tea water.
Caudalíe Pink Limited Edition Beauty Elixir
If you’re looking for a clean, natural mist, look no further. When I heard the Limited Edition of the cult-favorite Beauty Elixir is back in stock, I had ~a moment~. There is something about this pretty pink bottle that makes this already great product even better. If you can’t relate to my passion for packaging, that’s fine. This product is filled with natural plant extracts that help visibly smooth the skin and tighten the pores. As someone with pores the size of planet Earth itself, this is quite important to me. This product preps and sets makeup, which is extra important in the summer months, because as you can imagine, sweat + makeup = a dangerous combo.
Kiehl’s Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream
I once won a giveaway for a year’s supply of Kiehl’s, and have since considered myself an expert on each and every one of their products. In winter months, my skin literally feels like sandpaper, so a heavy moisturizer is a MUST. But come summer, the Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream is my number one. I’ll be honest, this little guy is on the pricier side. That being said, if you know me (or if you’ve read any of my articles) you know I am cheap AF and that me splurging on a product means it is the real deal. The water cream claims to boost radiance (I see this claim from all brands, IDK what it actually means, but I do know that my skin is dewier using this product), reduces redness (can confirm this is true) and helps improve dry skin by softening and hydrating (also can confirm this is true). This is the kind of product that makes me want to skip foundation because my skin is actually glowing, and despite being ultra-hydrating, it’s lightweight and breathable. As I reread this *passionate* rant, I hope Kiehl’s sponsors me. My DMs are open.
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench® Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer
I’ve got to say, this name is very overwhelming to type, but this Hyaluronic Cloud Cream is my other go-to in summer. Even if you’re into skin care at all, you still know hyaluronic acid is ~all~ the buzz right now, and for good reason. It’s hydrating, it’s not heavy, and it’s most definitely summer-approved. I love using this moisturizer after a beach day, because it’s cooling to the skin and helps calm any burning or peeling I may have obtained. It’s lightweight, super moisturizing, and wears well under makeup. This, like the previous cream, is worth the splurge.
Supergoop! Glowscreen (SPF 40)
If you don’t already know this, SPF is the most important thing in your skin care routine. As someone with textured skin (again, pores the size of planet Earth), I am very picky about my sunscreen. If sunscreen has any sort of white cast, it’s an instant horror show. If the sunscreen doesn’t agree with my skin type, my texture is exaggerated and it’s not a good look. And with that, I find myself reaching for my Supergoop! Glowscreen on the regular. It’s dewy and pearly (great for my dry skin pals) and allows for the true no-makeup makeup look (because you literally don’t need makeup). It’s hydrating, too, which is not always true for sunscreen.
TULA Protect + Glow (Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30)
Something that is not spoken about enough is the fact that SPF should be worn inside. Yes. Groundbreaking, I know. bUt ThE sUn DoEsN’t ShInE iNsIdE! Correct. However, now more than ever, our skin is exposed to harmful blue light. From scrolling for hours, to being glued to our computer screens on work days, and of course binging Netflix, I am excited and impressed to see that TULA has launched Protect + Glow to protect you from damaging pollution and blue light. If you’ve purchased blue light glasses, add this to your list of must-haves. Even if you haven’t, still add this to your list of must-haves.
Peachy Prescription Retinoids
Retinoids are the industry’s best kept secret if you ask me. Summer is fun, but sun exposure leads to skin damage and wrinkles, and I for one want neither of those. I never knew (or cared) what Retinoids were until I was introduced to a local NYC business, Peachy (support local!). Retinoids are the prescription version of Retinol—and clinical studies show that they both increase collagen production and prevent collagen degradation. Increasing collagen results in plumper, stronger skin and the minimization of fine lines and wrinkles. So, in less science-y words, Retinoids are the botox of skin care (without the needles). It’s important that you get the right prescription from a trusted dermatologist and still take care of your skin in the sun (USE SPF), but this product is my secret weapon.
Kosas Tinted Face Oil
“Foundation, but make it skincare” are the first words that can be read under Kosas’ Tinted Face Oil description, and it sums this product up flawlessly. During summer months, a cakey foundation is awful, to put it simply, and this has been my personal solution. The product does a great job of giving your skin the “blur effect” but doesn’t overdo it. Think “is she wearing makeup or does she just have amazing skin???” type vibes. Overall as a brand, Kosas has multiple products that dabble in both the skin care + makeup category, but this stands out above the rest for me.
Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm
Summer Fridays is one of those brands that is actually worth the hype. Their products are great, their branding is great, their social media is great, their packaging is great, even their p-page images are great (few will understand, but those who do will appreciate this callout). Anyway, during summer months I often love replacing my lipstick with a clear balm and letting my lips go natural-ish. This Lip Butter Balm is actually considered a mask, and it’s created to soothe parched lips while sealing in moisture. I’m a big fan of this product because it’s not like other lip balms that feel amazing for the first 10 minutes and then leave your lips needing more soon after. This lasts what feels like hours, and it makes my lips look glowy like a gloss, but without the sticky feeling.
YSL Beauty Rouge Volupte Shine Oil-in-Stick
If you prefer a little color in your summer lip look, an oil lip color is a great way to go. YSL Beauty launched their new Milk Tea collection (I’m fittingly sipping on milk tea as I write this) and the colors are reaaalllyyy pretty. I feel like we’re all on the permanent hunt for the “perfect nude” and this just might be it. The hydrating formula drenches lips in moisture while leaving a high-shine finish. Think lipstick-meets-balm. All day color and comfort? Yes please.
SheaMoisture African Black Soap
Summer brings an excess of oil and enlarged pores (sorry, I know you’re sick of hearing about my pores). SheaMoisture African Black Soap is THAT product that will help you maintain your natural glow while conquering oil and sweat (we all have it, so don’t pretend you’re better than me). More importantly, the soap won’t dehydrate your skin, which for obvious reasons is important here. This face and body bar is super affordable ($4.99) and is specially formulated with organic Shea Butter, Oats and Aloe to cleanse, moisturize and comfort irritated skin.
Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Body Scrub
LAST BUT NOT LEAST. I used to think body scrubs were a myth, but then I tried one and realized it wasn’t. Thrilling, I know. I’m a big fan of Sol de Janeiro’s OG Bum Bum Cream because it smells like vacation—even after being trapped inside for 100 days. The Bum Bum Body Scrub texture is soft yet gritty, and literally leaves my skin glowing. I think it’s important to be careful with body scrubs, because while you do want to exfoliate the skin, you don’t want the product to be abrasive. I think that BBBS (I’ve made up this abbreviation because Bum Bum Body Scrub is a mouthful) is the perfect happy medium, and the scent alone is enough to keep me coming back for more. WOULD recommend for *summer smooth* skin.
And there you have it, summer skin care, head to toe. Check back in winter for my 100-step routine.
Images: Margot Pandone / Unsplash; Provided by Laneige; Caudalie; Kiehls; Peter Thomas Roth; Supergoop; TULA; Provided by Peachy; Provided by Kosas; Summer Fridays; Provided by YSL Beauty; Provided by SheaMoisture; Provided by Sol de Janeiro
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
We may not have a Pride Parade this year, but we can still celebrate in various ways, including donating to LGBTQ organizations and buying from LGBTQ-owned brands. There are also a number of brands out there that are supporting Pride and giving all or a significant portion of proceeds to organizations advocating for the LGBTQ community. From makeup to candles to cookie dough, justify your next online shopping trip with these brands and products that are supporting the LBGTQ community in a variety of ways.
Morphe launched their “Free to Be” Collection, and the colors are a rainbow DREAM. I have gotten almost too comfortable being a hermit in my home, but I swear this palette makes me want to go out, just so I have an excuse to put on R-E-S-P-E-C-T. The shade names will make you smile, and so will the brushes and lip gloss that complete this set. 100% of net proceeds from the sales of this collection (purchased through Morphe.com and Morphe Stores) during Pride will be donated to GLSEN to help create safe and supportive school environments for K-12 students.
Youth to the People
Youth to the People’s “With Pride” Kit is made up of three existing minis, formulated to cleanse, resurface, and hydrate your skin. As someone who uses this brand religiously, I can confirm the products are amazing, but what makes this kit even more worth purchasing is the fact that 100% of profits are being donated to GLSEN as well. (In case you forgot, they are the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ+ students). P.S. This kit works on dry, combo, and oily skin, so regardless of your type, this is worth the purchase.
If you’re covered in glitter and glam post-Pride celebrations, Bliss’ Makeup Melt Wipes will be your new best friend. Originally, Bliss pledged to donate 100% of net proceeds from the Limited Edition wipes with the rainbow design (pictured above) to The Trevor Project, but with Pride events being canceled nationwide, Bliss is now extending the donation to include 100% of net proceeds from its complete collection of Makeup Melt Wipes. The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth.
innisfree’s “Spill the Equali-tea” mini lip balm set is great, because we all know that lip balms go missing faster than anything else in the world (aside from maybe bobby pins) and backups are always necessary. innisfree has partnered with the It Gets Better Project for Pride month, and will be donating to help support and empower the LGBTQ+ youth in our global community.
NOTO is a natural, multi-use, gender fluid cosmetic line packed with high-performing organic ingredients. They focus on representation and celebrate those choosing to be their most authentic self. Every sale of NOTO’s Agender Oil (pictured above) goes to non-profits including LGBT Youth Center LA, Planned Parenthood, ACLU, the Audre Lorde Project, Black Mamas Matter, and more. Founded by Gloria Noto, a queer woman, the brand has raised $22,000 and counting in donations.
Marc Jacobs Beauty
Marc Jacobs Beauty sometimes goes under the radar, but I am actually obsessed with this product. The Enamored (With Pride) Hydrating Lip Gloss Stick is basically a dream come true, as someone who loves lip gloss but could do without the mess it makes. All of the colors are fairly neutral and wearable, and work with every skin tone. Marc Jacobs Beauty will be donating to two charities—SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ older adults, and Le Refuge, a French organization dedicated to preventing the isolation and suicide of LGBTQ+ youth by providing shelter and support.
Hi Wildflower was created and founded by queer Bangladeshi novelist, Tanaïs. Their muse was wildflowers, hence the name, and the brand is for the socially conscious consumer looking for luxury goods. Ranging from fragrance to candles and lipsticks too, Hi Wildflower’s well sought-after products are as good as they sound. The Dianthus Lipstick is the perfect universal red, and the Mojave Extrait de Parfum is the best thing you will ever smell, and is unisex!
I have a freakish obsession with candles, so I was thrilled to see that my favorites, Boy Smells, made a six-candle set titled Bundle of Pride to illuminate inclusivity. Founded by partners Matthew Herman and David Kien, you can feel the love when lighting any of these candles. The collection will support The Trevor Project, with all purchases contributing towards a $26,500 donation minimum. The smells vary from citrus to floral, woody and warm. They also make for a beautiful display!
I’ve been a long-time fan of (MALIN+GOETZ) because, you guessed it, candles. Founded by couple Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz, M+G brings you an “uncomplicated” regimen for body, hair, and personal/home fragrance. Their Bergamot Hand Wash and Grapefruit Face Cleanser are two fan favorites, but the candles are the bread and butter. Neroli is my personal go-to, but the Dark Rum is a rumored must-have.
As someone with a very intense sweet tooth, edible cookie dough is music to my ears. This year, dō launched their love is love pack, which, as you can see, is a rather intense but very delicious scoop of rainbow deliciousness. The pack comes with four flavors: signature chocolate chip, cake batter, sugar cookie, and rainbow dō (which is also sugar cookie flavor). 20% of every purchase of this pack will be donated to the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black LGBTQ and same-gender loving (SGL) people.
This year, Reebok launched an entire Pride collection. I can say with confidence that I would wear every single thing out of this collection, and it varies from the brightest of rainbows to the most simple of designs in the form of sneakers, athletic wear, and accessories. As part of their campaign, Reebok is donating $75K to the It Gets Better Project.
I feel like I must put a disclaimer here that I am 6 feet tall and even two inch heels makes me nervous, but I could not resist adding this collection in for obvious reasons. This Pride Pump screams “love” (literally), and Ruthie Davis is donating 20% of sales from the Pride Pump (pictured) and Pride Kick to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of New York City. Both styles are offered in extended gender fluid sizing up to 43.
I am thankful to see more and more brands using their platforms to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and donate to help organizations on the ground doing the work. Happy Pride, everyone!
Images: Isi Parente / Unsplash; Morphe.com; Youthtothepeople.com; Courtesy of Bliss; Innisfree.com; Marcjacobsbeauty.com; Cookiedonyc.com; Courtesy of Vivrelle; Reebok.com; Courtesy of Ruthie Davis; Boysmells.com; hiwildflower.com; notobotanics.com; malinandgoetz.com
In addition to reading books on racism, listening to podcasts on the history of white supremacy, following Black activists and educators, and holding those close to us accountable, one of the ways we can support Black people right now is by buying from Black-owned businesses. I’ve chosen 20 (of the many) incredible Black-owned beauty brands to purchase from that create amazing products for people of all skin tones. Your next makeup haul might just be sooner than you think.
1. Beauty Bakerie
If you haven’t heard of Beauty Bakerie, you’re missing out. This fun, creative brand has a food theme, and all products are vegan and cruelty-free. Founded by Cashmere Nicole, this brand is built off of strength. A young mom, breast cancer survivor, and entrepreneur, Nicole is your modern day superwoman. Personally, I’m a big fan of the Flour Setting Powder. The packaging is cute AF, and the product works wonders for setting your face and keeping it in place all day.
2. Juvia’s Place
I personally was introduced to Juvia’s Place from YouTube tutorials, and was instantly blown away by the colors in their eyeshadow palettes. It was created by Chichi Eburu to pay homage to the birthplace of beauty, Africa, and celebrate the rulers and queens whose techniques are still used today in makeup. It’s no surprise that Juvia’s Place is famous for their rich and vibrant palettes, perfect for any occasion. Patchy shadows are the enemy, but despite the bright colors, Juvia’s Place has you covered for a smooth, flawless application.
3. Mented Cosmetics
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Lipsticks worth capturing 😍😍. Our #CAPSULECOLLECTION allows you to get the best nudes out! 📷: @vanessaxcamille __ #mentedlipstick #lipstick #lippie #lippies #nudelippies #nudelip #nudelipstick #mentedcosmetics #makeupforwoc #brownskinpoppin #melaninmakeupdaily #brownskingirl #brownskingirls
Mented Cosmetics was founded with one goal in mind: find the perfect nude lip. Founders KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson came up with the idea over a glass of pinot (iconic), and have since produced makeup that actually works for women of every skin tone. That being said, the must-have product here is of course, the semi-matte nude lipsticks, which come in nine shades.
4. Fenty Beauty
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Mask OFF 🙅🏾♀️ #PROFILTRSOFTMATTEFOUNDATION is all bout dat undetectable, skin-like base so you always look like you! ✨💅🏻 Get flawlessly filtr’d skin in a bottle for 25% OFF 😱 during our Friends & Family sale this weekend only on fentybeauty.com! 🎉🎉 Also, available at @sephora, @bootsuk, @harveynichols, and #SephorainJCP.
Fenty Beauty needs no introduction, created by living icon Rihanna. I feel like I could write a short essay here about how every single thing Rihanna touches turns to gold, but if you don’t already know that by now, I can’t help you. Fenty Beauty made waves when they launched with 40 foundation shades, setting the new standard for the makeup industry (which was, quite honestly, long overdue) and encouraged brands to be more inclusive. My personal favorite is the Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, and given the 3,300 five-star reviews, I’d say I’m not alone.
5. Coloured Raine
Coloured Raine was founded with the promise of a line that encouraged self-expression and diversity, and included shades specifically made for people of color. Founder Loraine R. Dowdy left the financial industry to pursue her passion, and as beauty lovers know, it sure paid off. Whether you like to go bold and or subtle, the eyeshadow singles are must-haves, giving you the option to build your own color story without having to purchase a full-sized palette.
6. Pat McGrath
Pat McGrath’s namesake brand is one of the most famous in the industry, with good reason. She’s been said to be the most influential makeup artist in the world, and her products follow suit. If you haven’t tried a Pat McGrath lipstick, you ARE missing out. I can say with confidence I’ve never had a lipstick work as well as the MatteTrance™ line, and as someone who probably owns 200+ lipsticks, that is saying a lot. It operates almost like a liquid lip, in the sense that it allows for all day wear and no budging, but sits on the lip more comfortably, avoiding the dry feeling that liquid lips often cause. If you aren’t sure about color, the Mini Lipstick Trios give you the chance to test out the brand and retail for only $25.
7. Range Beauty
Range Beauty is “clean beauty for the forgotten shades” and right off the bat I can tell you that this message is simple yet powerful. The beauty industry has come a long way, but we still see a lack of makeup for people of color, and founder Alicia Scott decided to take matters into her own hands. From the “fairest of fair to the deepest of deep”, Range Beauty is known for their foundations, formulated with sensitive skin in mind. While makeup so often causes more irritation, these foundations have antibacterial properties to treat and prevent eczema and acne, control oil, soothe the skin, and prevent clogged pores. Consider this your skin care-friendly must-have foundation.
8. Nyakio™ Beauty
Nyakio Beauty is a clean and green skin care line, allowing you to never question your ingredients. Founded by Nyakio Grieco, who started her skin care business using lessons from her Kenyan family, Nyakio Beauty is best known for their Sweet Almond Cleansing Balm, which literally melts away all your troubles (and dirt, and impurities, and all of the other gross things that linger on our skin). The balm-to-oil texture feels like a spa experience in the comfort of your home.
9. Base Butter
I can’t even explain why, but something about the word “butter” in products and brand names gets me every time. Lip butter, face butter, body butter? Give me all the butter. I love seeing women come together to succeed, and that is exactly what Base Butter founders She’Neil Johnson and Nicolette Graves have done. With the mission to help women feel more comfortable in their skin (and literally make their skin feel more comfortable), Base Butter has products like the Aloe vera Face Jelly that revitalize and rejuvenate your skin. A healthy balance of aloe to protect the skin, evening primrose to boost elasticity, and lavender and tee tree to calm and disinfect, this moisturizer is one that keeps me coming back for more.
10. Epara Skincare
Luxury skin care that uses African botanicals? Yes please. Founded by Ozohu Adoh, Epara Skincare is a “brand born out of a need to provide luxury skin care products to women with dark skin tones.” Adoh, who received her MBA from Oxford University, made the decision to develop her own products after seeing a lack of products that could treat her own skin concerns. The Intense Hydrating Mask in particular is nourishing and creamy; the mask softens, cleanses and purifies the skin, leaving it hydrated, bright, and even in tone.
11. Hyper Skin
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Our Hyper Clear Vitamin C Serum is a gentle but hardworking formula packed with active and natural ingredients to heal skin, treat #hyperpigmentation and enhance glow like: ✔️Vitamin C (15%) ✔️Vitamin E ✔️Kojic Acid ✔️Arbutin from Bearberries ✔️Seabuckthorn Oil ✔️Licorice Root We’re all about results! #hyperresults
Goodbye dark spots, hello Hyper Skin! Founder Desiree Verdejo conceptualized Hyper Skin after dealing with aggressive breakouts during pregnancy. The brand launched with the popular Hyper Clean Vitamin C Serum, working to smooth fine lines and rough texture, and dramatically clear dark spots from hyper-pigmentation.
12. skin BUTTR
Hello I’m back for more butter brands. skin BUTTR, founded by my ANTM idol Tatiana Elizabeth Price (!!!), is made of natural body and skin care products. The body line consists of whipped shea-based body butters and scrubs, and the skincare line is an all-natural, step-by-step hydrating system. The scrubs and body butters are equally amazing, but if you’re stuck inside and dry at the moment, the Cocoa Vanilla will hydrate your life and leave your skin glowing. You’ll also smell delicious. You’re welcome in advance.
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Our clay-based masks are formulated to address a variety of skincare concerns, from improving skin texture and elasticity, to detoxification and moisture retention. Marshmallow is a hydrating mask to smooth and repair. For dry and sensitive skin, this healing mask stimulates blood circulation to repair, provides gentle cleansing and exfoliation, helps the skin to retain moisture. ✨ #pieceofkaike #skincare #selfcare #plantbasedbeauty #greenbeauty #cleanbeauty #veganbeauty #blackgirlbeauty #naturalbeauty #indiebeauty #naturalhair #blackowned #blackgirlmagic #melanin #shopblack #shopchicago #shopsmall #chicago
You had me at marshmallow. Kaike (pronounced like cake!) was founded by Keli Smith with a belief in celebrating your skin. Kaike is plant-based and made up of multi-purpose products for a more practical skin care routine. With yummy products like Frosting, you can moisturize your body and hair simultaneously. Plus, it literally smells like frosting, so you’ll smell amazing.
14. The Honey Pot Company
Designed for ~ down there ~, The Honey Pot Company is plant-based feminine care. They are the first complete feminine care system powered by herbs, and for that, we are thankful. The Honey Pot Company was founded by Bea Dixon, who is open with the fact that she made her own line simply because she was suffering and couldn’t find vaginal relief. The line varies from organic tampons to feminine wipes.
Briogeo. Where do I even begin? I so genuinely love this brand. Literally every single product is great, and my bathroom cabinets are flooding with favorites from the line. Founded by Nancy Twine, who casually formulated her first product at age five (yes, literally), Briogeo is my favorite clean hair brand on the market. It’s actually hard for me to select a favorite product (I’m being dramatic, but idc), but having naturally curly hair, I always opt for the Curl Charisma line, which helps tame my lion’s mane every morning.
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Y’all ever been so stressed out about trying out new deep conditioners? YA know……You check the ingredients, Start applying to your hair and start thinking, “I hope this moisture I’m feeling while applying will still be there when I wash it out!” ☁️Well have no fear ladies and gentlemen, because the moisture was STILL there and REMAINED there after using this deep conditioning mask from Girl + Hair! ☁️Not only was the moisture still there but this product also contains pimento oil! If your not familiar with the benefits of pimento oil keep watching! —————————————————————- Products available Online @sallybeauty and @target ☁️#curlcloud ☁️#girlandhair #underhaircare #teamnatural #naturallycurly #naturalhairtips #protectivestyles #sallybeauty #sallybeautysupply #curlyhair #boxbraids #twistout #hairextensions #naturalhaircare #naturalhairproducts #washday ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #skincareroutine #selfcare #acnescarring #darkspots #wellness #skincare #dermatology #womeninwellness #skincarejourney #selfcare #healthyhair #healthyskin #hairregimen #skincareregimen
GIRL+HAIR is dermatologist-designed, founded by Dr. Camille H-Verovic. Targeting growth, itch relief, and odor relief, this line was designed for the hair and scalp. You’ll absolutely want to get your hands on their newest product, Curl Cloud, a hydrating pimento and castor oil hair mask. Heavenly.
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Miracle Babe Spotlight: @kels4kurls rocking this adorable style with amazing curl definition! 🤩🤩 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ She achieved this look with our new Curls N’ Roses line! And the results are a dream!🌷 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Curls N’ Roses is exclusively sold at @ultabeauty (restocking in progress). Sign up for our newsletter to get updates on restocks, discounts, and other perks via our website!✨
If you haven’t noticed yet, I am a sucker for brand names, and TGIN may be in first place: Thank God It’s Natural. As someone who generally tries to keep my products clean, this name tells me off the bat we are good to go—love that. On top of running a successful business, founder Chris-Tia Donaldson is a successful author. Her book Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Natural Hair is a #1 Amazon bestseller—yes, big deal! TGIN has a full rose water line that includes leave-in conditioners, hair masks, and styling products, all to enhance your hair’s natural beauty.
18. Miss Jessie’s
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Happy #TextureTuesday, curlfriends! Tell us which Miss Jessie’s product makes your texture pop. 💖 📸: @naturalcurls.sa #missjessies #multiculturalcurls #harmmeknot #multiculturalclear #babybuttermilk #honeycurls #coilycustard #curlymeringue #jellysoftcurls #pillowsoftcurls #quickcurls
Miss Jessie’s was founded by sisters Miko and Titi Branch who wanted to give curly haired women a reason to look forward to trying new products. Too often, brands miss the mark when advertising the “perfect” hair, showing straight, thick, shiny hair that’s not the most inclusive. The line was inspired by their grandmother, Miss Jessie Mae Branch. When they were children, Miss Jessie would create all sorts of formulas at her kitchen table to help tame and style her granddaughter’s beautiful curly hair. Some winners include the Curly Buttercreme (which hydrates hair) and Curly Pudding (which relaxes natural curls).
Sheamoisture was founded on the belief that the best in personal care and beauty should not belong to the few, and their accessibility comes compromise-free. Built off the legacy of his grandmother, Sofi Tucker, Richelieu Dennis has created a line of natural, sustainably produced products. Their creamy, dreamy leave-in conditioner provides relief, and is a must for anyone who regularly destroys their hair with heat and color.
20. Camille Rose
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Tangled and unmanageable hair can turn wash day into an absolute nightmare! 😫⠀ ⠀ That’s why we’ve packed our Rose Cleansing Milk with powerhouse ingredients – Flaxseed and Rose Powder! 💐Naturally enriched with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B and E, our sweet and delicious cleanser seals in the hair’s cuticle to prevent tangled unmanageable hair while maintaining natural strength.🥛⠀ ⠀ What are the benefits?⠀ ⠀ ✨ Definition⠀ ✨ Volume⠀ ✨ Added Shine⠀ ✨ Moisture⠀ ⠀ Available now at @Target @CVS_Beauty @WholeFoods and @MeijerStores⠀ ⠀ #CamilleRose #StraightOutOfPlant #VeganMilkInfusions #premiumblends #HandcraftedWithLove
And for the grand finale, Camille Rose. Founded by Janell Stephens, who has been an iconic trendsetter within the beauty space, Camille Rose was too built on the foundation of inclusivity. Their “about me” section reads: “We seek to share the purest and warmest joy, happiness, trust and gratitude to each and every person who experiences our products,” and if that doesn’t make you a customer, IDK what will. With products to cleanse, define, and bring life to your hair, Camille Rose embraces the natural gift of curls. I recommend the Aloe Whipped Butter Gel (butter again!), crafted to provide moisture and light styling hold.
These 20 lines are in good company with 100s of other Black-owned brands, and I encourage you to purchase, support, and comment more brands below! Check out this Instagram post that highlights Black-owned brands that are also cruelty-free.
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Images: SofikoSShutterstock; Beauty Bakerie, Juvia’s Place, Mented Cosmetics, Fenty Beauty, Coloured Raine, Pat McGrath, Range Beauty, Nyakio Beauty, Base Butter, Epara Skincare, Hyper Skin, skin BUTTR, Kaike, The Honey Pot Company, Briogeo, GIRL+HAIR, TGIN, Miss Jessie’s, SheaMoisture, Camille Rose / Instagram
I’ve always said that being hot is really 75% just proper hygiene. Just looking clean and polished ups your hotness ratio by a lot. (I mean, except if you’re a guy living in LA, and then somehow you’re allowed to look filthy and still be considered hot because it’s “grunge”.) Celebrities have the means to push this further. Even without the plastic surgeons, they have access to the best hair stylists, very expensive extensions and wigs, the most skilled makeup artists, personal trainers, personal chefs, and the list goes on and on. Meanwhile, looking my best as a regular person means putting on makeup in 10 minutes and poorly curling my hair—maybe putting on jeans instead of leggings (but usually not, jeans are formal wear, everyone knows that). But really, if we all had Kardashian money and access, how much better looking would we be?
Well, I decided to put that question to the test. Not by somehow becoming an overnight billionaire, but by taking a look at what the Kardashians used to look like before all the money and the fame. The Kardashian-Jenner clan were always rich, let’s make that clear, but once they got in the public eye, they started really shelling out cash for their appearance. So what does being rich and having access to the the best of the beauty world do to your face? Let’s take a look.
Kim went from styling her makeup like Jafar to a “natural” look. (I put “natural” in quotes because it still probably takes her a ton of makeup to get there.) Kim talking about makeup was the first time I had even heard the word “contour,” and say what you will, but she heavily influenced the way all of us think about makeup. She really does look like an entirely different person from her past self, and for some reason, also stopped smiling in photos. Is that a rich person thing or from the Botox?
I really thought that Khloé would look the most different due to her dramatic weight loss, but really, she was actually pretty thin before she was mega-famous. Now she’s just super ripped and in shape. In addition to the obvious hair color change, Khloé got a tan, is no longer subject to normal human problems like oily skin, enhanced her lips, and is “contouring” her nose differently. I will say, the makeup is definitely better! Why did we all think having shiny lips was a good look?
I always felt like Kourtney had the least amount of work done of her entire family, but this photo makes her face seem pretty significantly different. One thing being that she looks super miserable in every single photo now. Is that part of being “high fashion”? Or is that just proving what they say about money not buying you happiness? IDK. What I do know is that years of the best makeup artists got Kourt to grow out her brows and stop with the heavy-handed black liner. I say, from my high horse, although this was my *exact* look in middle school, too. Complete with the hoop earrings! It was just of the times for a regular person. But the money definitely changed Kourt from being subjected to us regular people trends (and, from the looks of it, also changed her nose).
Kris was always cute, and now she’s still cute, but she kinda looks like an entirely different person. Since her early days, Kris grew out her hair, got lash extensions, a new nose, and thicker eyebrows. She also lightened up the makeup, which makes her look way younger, but somehow has less wrinkles in the recent photo than the before thanks to her documented facelift and Botox.
Kendall and Kylie are harder to show because they were literal children before they started their cyborg transformation. But I tried to find photos of them in their late teens. I always thought Kendall looked the most natural out of all of them, with most of her changes being to her makeup, nose, lips, and learning how to serve ~lewks~. Seriously, can Kendall teach me how to pose? I’m sick of looking awkward in every photo. I will say that her lips definitely look fuller, and not just from overlining them, but that’s neither here nor there.
In a correlation that is definitely related, Kylie has the most money and has changed the most. Aside from being a child in the original photo, clearly there is a lot going on for this total glow-up. Surgery/fillers aside, the biggest changes to Kylie’s face really look like they’re from just having the best of the best makeup and hair people. Before, she did her makeup like every other 14-year-old. Now she looks like a true celebrity, with perfectly filled brows, contour, super long lashes—the works.
This goes to show, with enough money, we could all look like these celebrities. It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: nobody’s ugly, just poor.
Images: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com; Jeff Vespa/WireImage; Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Sean Combs; ANDREAS BRANCH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images; Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for UCLA; Michael Caulfield/WireImage; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Dior Men; Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images; Erik Voake/Getty Images for ThinkBIG!, Nazarian Institute; Michael Tran/FilmMagic via Getty Images; Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images; Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic via Getty Images
Presented by Ulta Beauty
Spring means relief from ice, cold, snow, etc. Unless you live in LA, where weather is just a myth, and then spring just means new trends are upon us! No matter where you live or what your current level of skill is at applying makeup, you can try (and pull off) these spring beauty trends. And even better is that on March 15 (technically still winter for you people on the East Coast), Ulta Beauty is starting their 21 Days of Beauty event, just in time for you to put all these trends to use. The event features daily beauty steals, offering 50% off top makeup and skincare products for one day only. That means you can’t do your indecisive “add to cart and let it sit there collecting dust of a week” thing. If you want to take advantage of the amazing deals Ulta Beauty is offering, you have to act fast. If you want to be the most on top of the spring beauty trends this season, here’s what looks to try, and which products will help you achieve the looks.
Glassy But Classy
Since everything we loved in middle school is back in, glossy lips are back, but this time we’re elevating the look and doing it in a glassy, smooth way (aka no hair stuck in your lip gloss). To try this look out yourself (and make your 7th grade self super jealous), grab a Kylie Cosmetics High Gloss (an Ulta Beauty exclusive) that’s on sale on 3/28, or the Buxom Full On Plumping Lip Cream on 4/2. The key is hydration, not lip superglue, this time around. You can just swipe it on and go!
Kylie Cosmetics High Gloss
Buxom Full-On Plumping Lip Cream
Speaking of hydrating, this also applies to your skin. We want to look fresh-faced and glassy instead of the super matte looks we’ve done for the last 10 years. I’m extremely oily, so THANK GOD, my time has come! But even with my oily skin, serums somehow keep my natural oil under control and give me a glow, as opposed to my natural look which is “greasy pizza”. For life-changing serums, the Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum is on sale on 3/15 and the Peach & Lily Glass Skin Serum is on sale exclusively at Ulta Beauty 4/4. Serums are so easy—you just put them on after washing your face but under moisturizers or sunscreens. They make such a difference in your skin’s texture, trust me.
Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum
Peach & Lily Glass Skin Serum
Make People Think You Got Microblading & Eyelash Extensions
Lashes are always in, but this season, it’s more important than ever to have them big and bold. If you’re into falsies, select lashes go on sale on 3/19. Otherwise, a couple swipes of Tarte Maneater Mascara on 4/4 (also exclusive to Ulta Beauty), or Benefit Badgal Bang Mascara on 3/20 will finish off your look.
Benefit Badgal Bang Mascara
Tarte Maneater Mascara
But since your eyes are the window to your soul or whatever (wouldn’t know, I’ve been told I don’t have a soul), we can’t stop at lashes, and have to give brows some love too. Is there ANYTHING more important than brows right now? The answer is no. And since the razor-thin brows have been out since we all graduated high school, we can grow out our brows but still keep them neat and well-groomed. If you have sparse brows from the days of overplucking, pick up the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz pencil on 3/15. If you need to keep unruly brows tamed down, try the Benefit Gimme Brow eyebrow gel on 4/4.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz pencil
Benefit Gimme Brow eyebrow gel
Bold, Bright Eyes
The best part of spring is how everyone puts away their dark wardrobe in favor of fun, bright colors. Well, now we’re doing that with our makeup colors too. Instead of going dark with your going-out looks, neon is now the way to play. You can do bright eyeshadows (select Lime Crime palettes on sale on 3/24), or lips (select Kylie Cosmetics lipsticks and glosses on 3/28), but unless you’re a very skilled colorist or makeup artist, you probably should not do both at the same time. Think super hot pink lipstick or a bright blue eyeshadow (but not both, lest you look like a clown). Neon is a super fun and modern way to change your look and really easy to pull off well through summer.
Finish off your fun neon eyeshadow with a bold liner that’s a little easier to apply than the traditional cat-eye. Apply it along your top eyelashes and flick it out towards the ends to imply longer lashes. You still get the drama, but it doesn’t take quite the same level of hand-eye coordination. My holy grail favorite eyeliner of all time is Stila Stay All Day Eyeliner, which you can buy on sale on 3/26, or IT Cosmetics Superhero Eyeliner on 3/27.
Stila Stay All Day Eyeliner
IT Cosmetics Superhero Eyeliner
You guys are SO WELCOME for all the savings you’re about to get from Ulta Beauty. Get your credit card ready, because you do not want to miss the 21 Days of Beauty event before it ends on April 4th. Now is the time to spring clean all your old, out-of-style makeup and start fresh with this amazing sale.
Images: Ulta Beauty
Until about two years ago, whenever someone mentioned vitamin C, my mind automatically went to orange juice. Now, though, I am an adult who associates orange juice with hangovers and vitamin C with skincare. If you’re one of those people who just learned to moisturize like, two years ago, then I understand why you’d be skeptical of adding another ingredient to your skincare routine. After all, you’ve got cleansers, toners, serums, night cream—is vitamin C really necessary, or is it one of those things the beauty industry tries to push on us that we don’t really need? Well, like it or not, vitamin C falls into the “actually necessary” camp. But don’t just take my word for it—we spoke to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Marchbein on why incorporating vitamin C into your skincare routine is actually important, and how you should be doing it.
Dr. Marchbein says that “Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect from and repair free radical damage, can reduce the appearance of brown spots, and even out skin tone.” **buys 87 vitamin C-based serums** If you share my dream of perfect skin, keep reading for a few more benefits of vitamin C and why you should incorporate it into your skincare routine.
Why Should We Incorporate Vitamin C Into Our Routine?
As I mentioned, vitamin C is as preventative as it is reparative, so working it into your skincare routine immediately is a good call. Like Hannah Ann upon arrival to the Fantasy Suite, I was hesitant to introduce a new ingredient to my sensitive skin, especially one that’s associated with anti-aging, because tbh I’m only 26. Starting anti-aging processes too early can actually be bad for your face because certain ingredients (think retinol, hydroxy acids, and peptides) are too aggressive on your still-young skin, and will actually backfire by speeding up the aging process. Yikes, who knew?
However, vitamin C protects against free radicals, which, without going into too much science, are damaging to your skin and are found in everything you’d assume would be bad for your skin: pollution such as smog, dust, and cigarette smoke, as well as our frenemy, the sun. Vitamin C works both as a shield against free radicals and also to lighten dark spots on the skin. Basically, vitamin C is your new best friend. To drive my point home, Dr. Marchbein adds, “Vitamin C also plays a critical role in the formation of collagen (which is one of the many reasons dermatologists recommend the daily application of vitamin C to the skin each morning).”
Can Anyone Use Vitamin C?
Simple answer? Yes. However, for people who want to see a result rather than just practice preventative caution, vitamin C is especially good for you because it visibly lightens dark spots. If you have acne scars/marks that haven’t completely faded, sun spots, etc., vitamin C will help even out the skin and take the dark out of those areas of your face and neck. Dr. Marchbein says, “For those with acne, use vitamin C to help lighten and prevent further darkening of post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation.” Hyper-pigmentation is a fancy word for dark spots caused by an excess production of melanin, and can be caused by non-active acne, sun damage, or changing hormones during pregnancy. While hyper-pigmentation is usually harmless, vitamin C will help diffuse the darkness of those affected areas.
Are There Any Downsides To Using Vitamin C?
Like the worrywart that I am, I had to ask. Dr. Marchbein urgently stresses the importance of wearing SPF if you’re using vitamin C during the daytime. Obv, you should wear SPF anyway, but especially so if you’re trying to break down your dark spots. The sun naturally darkens your skin (duh), so asking your vitamin C to lighten a few spots while the sun goes to work is a little counterintuitive, right? She warns that while “Vitamin C serums do not inherently make you more sensitive to the sun,” it’s possible that some products “may be combined with other ingredients that might.” Regardless, she also advises, “since UV damage is the ultimate skin-ager, causes wrinkles, sunspots etc, wearing daily SPF 30+ is the most important step in any morning skincare routine.”
What Type Of Products Should You Be Using?
Personally, I use Image’s Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser because it leaves my skin feeling clean, but without the tight, stripped of all life feeling that other cleansers offer. After using it for nearly a year, I have definitely noticed a more radiant look and literally zero dark spots. However, if you want something a little more dramatic, Dr. Marchbein suggests using a serum because the active ingredients (namely, the vitamin C) will be more concentrated. “Remember that not all serums and ingredients are created equally,” she says. “A vitamin C serum from one brand may be vastly different from a vitamin C serum from another brand based on the strength, other ingredients it is formulated with, how it is packaged, and whether it is exposed to light which can oxidize it.” She tells us, “It’s important to pick products with active ingredients that have good science and research behind them.” Preach, doc. Generally, the products that oxidize aren’t worth your money because oxidized vitamin C is pretty ineffective.
She adds , “Skinceuticals Phloretin CF, Skinbetter Alto Defense serum, and Isdinceutics Flavo-C Ultraglican Antioxidant Ampoules are some of my favorite medical-grade antioxidant vitamin C serums.” But if you want something a little less intense, she recommends Ole Henriksen Truth serum, CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C serum, La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C, Olay Tone Perfection Serum Vitamin B3 + Vitamin C, and Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day serum.
Skinceuticals Phloretin CF
Skinbetter Alto Defense serum
Flavo-C Ultraglican Antioxidant Ampoules
Ole Henriksen Truth serum
CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum
La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C
Olay Tone Perfection Serum Vitamin B3 + Vitamin C
Well, there you have it. Your soon-to-be-flawless mug can only benefit from using vitamin C products regularly. After chatting with Dr. Marchbein, I picked myself up two serums, the Drunk Elephant one she recommended and a cheaper option from Glossier (Super Glow). It hasn’t been long enough to decide which is better, but my skin hasn’t revolted against me (yet) for introducing two new products into my routine, so I’m counting this experiment as a success in my book. One thing to remember, though: everyone’s skin is different, so if a product has rave reviews, but sets your skin on fire when you use it, that doesn’t mean it’s a sh*t product; it just means that you need something a little less concentrated (like a cleanser!).
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day serum
Glossier Super Glow vitamin C and magnesium serum
Images: Noah Buscher / Unsplash
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