2014 Fall Beauty Trends

Straight from the beauty peeps at Allure magazine, here’s three of their top beauty trends of Fall 2014.

1. Berry lips – Berry seems to be all the rage this fall, with pinkish-purple hues topping the list. Swipe it on, blot a bit off, and apply just a bit of gloss for a sophisticated and elegant look.

2. Glittering green (yes, green) eyes – When used correctly (aka, not caked on…unless that’s the look you’re going for, of course) a color such as a light, golden green (think lime…but in a good way!) can look pretty darn sophisticated. Just make sure that it’s brushed on very lightly (or gently patted on with a finger) and keep the rest of your face neutral…you know what they say about too much of a good thing and all!

3. Daytime smoke – Using grey-brown eye makeup to create a smoky eye that’s not only gorgeous but also appropriate for daytime hours seems to be the thing for this fall. A sultry yet muted look can be achieved by blending a dusty brown shadow over the lid and up to the eyebrows, and then lining the eye with the same shade. Soften it up by gently swiping a medium-size powder brush over the shadow, and then top it all off with a thin line of black liner along the upper and lower lashes. It’s both simple and stunning.

Not sure you can pull it off? Trust us, you can!


source: allure.com

Wide Awake and Ready to Go!

Have you ever wondered how some people are able to get out of the house in {seemingly} no time flat? Well, never fear – we’ve got six tips and tricks to get you prettied up in no time flat!

Tinted moisturizer with sunscreen – It’s awesome, trust us. Plus, it’s sheer, so you can put it on without a mirror if you need to.

Concealer – You probably already know {and have} the one you like. To save time, dab it on with your finger, which is less precise but blends it into the skin more quickly than a brush does.

Cream blush – Cream blush is, quite possibly, the easiest makeup product ever invented. Look for sheer formulas, and use a neutral shade, like a peachy bronze, so you can swipe it over your eyelids, too.

Uber soft eyeliner – Seriously, we’re talking about the softest, finest eyeliner pencil you can find. The beauty is that it goes on easily and almost does the blending for you.

Mascara – Application takes only 30 seconds and has a major impact, especially if you’ve got naturally pale lashes. Make sure to choose a no-clump formula, so you can just swipe and go.

A sharpened eyebrow pencil – They’re faster than powder. For a more most natural effect, just make sure there’s a soft, mascara wand-like brush on the other end to feather out the color.

There! That’s it! Pretty, easy, and done!


Source: allure.com


OK…we’ve finally reached the third and final installment of our sunscreen mistakes series.  Here’s the last few!

11. You chose an SPF that’s too low – Yes, tanning oil with SPF 8 technically is sunscreen, but it’s just not enough protection.  The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.  But should you go higher?  Some say the often-pricier high-SPF sunscreens are a waste of money, since they don’t provide much more protection—SPF 30 blocks 97% of rays, while SPF 50 blocks just 1% more. However, they do have some benefit in the sense that they absorb more free radical producing energy.  However, before you reach for the SPF 100 consider this – the super-high SPFs can provide a false sense of security, like you’re protected for longer but, remember, you need to reapply just as often as you would an SPF 30.

12. You don’t reapply often enough – It may feel like you did your due diligence by applying sunscreen once, but it’s not a day-long cloak of immunity. Reapplying it just as important as putting it on in the first place. So, how often should it be reapplied?  Every 80 minutes, even if it’s water-resistant – no exceptions.

13. You use an old bottle – If you’re using enough sunscreen when applying—remember that shot glass-worth, or those two coats of spray?—then having bottles leftover from years past shouldn’t be much of an issue. But if you happen to have sunscreen that’s been lingering for two years or more, chuck it – it can lose its effectiveness over time.

14. You skip it if you’re going to be in the shade – Seeking solace under a beach umbrella or an awning near the pool doesn’t mean you’re getting adequate protection from the sun.  Why?  Because sand and water both reflect damaging rays, and 34% of UV radiation gets through when you’re under a beach umbrella, which means that you’ll still have to apply sunscreen if you’re sitting under cover because, even if you don’t get a sunburn, you’re still getting UV exposure.

15. You don’t protect your eyes – Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion statement—they’re critical to keeping your eyes safe from UV rays. Make sure your sunglasses offer UV protection, because some inexpensive styles don’t have the protective coating.  Without it, the dark lenses actually allow your pupils to dilate, allowing even more UV rays in, which can play a big role in cataract development.  The upside here is this…now you got a GREAT health reason to buy a pair of nice shades!

source: healthyliving.msn.com


Are YOU making any of these VERY common sunscreen mistakes?  See for yourself – here’s mistakes 6-10  (See mistakes 1-5 here), as well as some pointers on how to do it right!

6. You use a body formula on your face – It’s not just a marketing gimmick: There is a difference between face- and body-specific sunscreens.  Facial skin is generally more sensitive to irritation than body skin, so face formulations have been tested to cause less irritation and not trigger acne.  So, if you’re acne-prone or sensitive, avoid the body versions for your face, especially the dry-touch sprays—they’re absolutely full of alcohol, which is very drying and irritating for facial skin.

7. You only use it when it’s nice out – No, no no!!! It may seem counterintuitive to slather on sunscreen on a gray or drizzly day, but you can get UV exposure without ever seeing the sun in the sky.  In fact, eighty percent of UV rays still come through on cloudy days, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, so don’t let the weather dictate your sunscreen use.

8. You don’t use enough – Have you ever heard that old rule about using a “shot glass worth of sunscreen” (approx 1.5 ounces) every time you apply?  Well, turns out that’s pretty much right on the mark!  However, now that more of us are opting for continuous spray formulas, it can be hard to tell if we’re really getting enough coverage. To make sure you’re using sprays correctly, hold the can six inches from skin and spray nonstop until you can see the moisture covering the entire area.  Then rub it in—even if the bottle says you don’t have to—so you don’t miss spots, and then repeat the spray a second time.

9. You think you’re safe indoors or in cars – Unless you choose to spend your time in a windowless bunker, you’re not protected from UV rays when you’re inside.  Driving can be a major source of incidental exposure – the windows and windshield block UVB rays so you don’t see a sunburn, but those sneaky UVA seeps right on in, and that’s the spectrum that causes most skin aging and skin cancer.  Your best bet is to apply sunscreen every morning, then feel free to sit by a window or take a drive! At the very least, try a moisturizer with SPF so you’re not adding a step to your daily routine.

10. You don’t use a broad-spectrum formula – It used to be that many sunscreens only blocked UVB rays, which are the high-energy kind responsible for sunburns. But shielding against UVA rays is just as important because they penetrate the skin more deeply, are constant throughout the year, and cause premature aging.  Umm, yeah…no thanks! To be fully covered, look for sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum,” which means they thwart both types of rays. And, good news: these formulas are increasingly becoming the norm.

Make sure to be on the lookout for part 3 – it’ll contain mistakes 11-15 along with – you guessed it – more ways on how to do it right!


source: healthyliving.msn.com

The 15 Biggest Sunscreen Mistakes – Part 1

We all know that wearing sunscreen is what we’re supposed to do but…


In case you weren’t aware, there is more to it – that being the science of sunscreen application – than gracefully avoiding the spraying of it into your mouth and/or eyes…again.

We’ve got 15 tips and tricks for you – here’s the first five!

1. You wait until you’re outside to apply sunscreen – How many people have you seen get to the beach, spread out their blankets, strip down to their swimsuits, and then start slathering away?  What should they/you be doing instead?  Applying your sunscreen 30 minutes prior to exposure – that way, it has time to get absorbed and start working…and so you don’t get UV exposure for those first few minutes when your skin is vulnerable.

2. You apply sunscreen around your clothes – Skin cancer can strike anywhere, so it’s best to apply sunscreen when you’re buck naked. Otherwise, if you already have a swimsuit or clothing on, you’ll be much more likely to apply it gingerly so you don’t get it on your clothes which, in turn, makes it all that much easier to miss a spot or not apply liberally enough.  So, strip down in front of a full-length mirror and slather away – this will help ensure that you get all those tricky sports, like the middle of your back and the backs of your legs.

3. You don’t protect your lips – Just like the rest of your skin, your lips are vulnerable to UV rays, too, so it’s extremely important to use sunscreen on your mouth. But, don’t use the same stuff you use on the rest of your body – it tastes weird and won’t last that long on your lips anyway.  Instead, try a lip balm with SPF, which is thicker and stays on longer.  Reapply often, since talking, eating, and drinking removes the balm.

4. You miss other key spots – Think you can smear sunscreen on your nose like a 1950’s lifeguard and be covered? Unfortunately, there are lot of less-obvious areas people tend to forget – and they’re just as important to protect.  The most commonly missed areas are toes and feet, including the bottoms of your feet; underarms; back of the neck under the hairline; ears, especially the tops and back of your ears; eyelids; and inner upper arms.  Put that stuff everywhere.

5. You sweat (or rinse) it all off – The small print on your sunscreen label matters, so make sure you’re choosing the right sunscreen for your activity, especially if that activity involves sweat, a pool, or the ocean.  A water-resistant formulation for swimming or activities where you’ll perspire is a must, because non-water-resistant formulas will just slide right off.  Plus, non-water-resistant formulas tend to migrate into eyes and sting, whereas water-resistant ones won’t.

Stay tuned for our next post – we’ll have five more of the most common sunscreen mistakes, as well as how to make it right!


 source: healthyliving.msn.com

Get Your Skin Ready for Summer!

After being covered up ALL.WINTER.LONG. our skin sometimes needs a little “boost” to get whipped into shape for the summer months.  Here’s a few of people’s biggest woes, along with some quick tips on how to get your summer glow on.


Dull, Scaly Skin – If you neglected to moisturize and exfoliate regularly over the course of the cold, dry winter, you may find yourself with parched, lackluster skin come spring.  To tackle this problem, use a sugar scrub two to three times a week to gently exfoliate.  Then, lightly towel dry and apply a moisturizing lotion or cream, which will penetrate your skin better after you’ve sloughed off that flaky, dead layer.

Wondering what to do about breakouts on your chest and back? Well, first know that it happens when your clothing traps sweat and oil — because you were working out or bundled up in layers — it can mix with dead skin and bacteria in your pores to form pimples. Use a body wash with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to kill bacteria and unclog pores and consider applying an alphahydroxy peel three nights a week, which helps get rid of any lingering redness once the pimples are gone.

To wrap things up for today, let’s tackle rough feet and cracked heels.  After a season of stomping around in boots and skimping on pedicures, your soles may be a little worse for wear, with dry, dead layers of skin that not only look bad but can be quite painful as well.  To rid yourself of this woe, apply a lightweight foot lotion in the morning to soften the skin, and then soak feet in Epsom salts for 10 minutes in the evening. Then rub them with a grainy scrub, slather with a thick cream, and cover with socks.

Now that you know the tricks, you’ll have summer ready skin and feet all year long!


source: lhj.com

Not Sure What to Wear to That Wedding on Saturday? Read This First!

When it comes to dressing for a wedding, don’t be afraid to show your personal style, just be mindful that in addition to the wedding being a party, it is a significant ceremony and right of passage. So, keep these simple tips below in mind, and you will have no problem dressing to impress!

1. Avoid wearing white: Unless you are invited to a white-themed wedding, don’t take attention away from the bride by showing up in a white gown. Trust us, people will talk!

2. Don’t wear anything too short or too low-cut: Even worse, don’t wear something that is both too short and too low-cut. We’ve all seen those guests who spend the entire night tugging their dresses down and then adjusting them back up only to have to repeat the process over and over again. Again, trust us…other guests will notice.

3. Ladies, wear appropriate undergarments: In other words, please wear underwear, or Spanx, or something under your dress. This is especially important if you decide to wear something short. (see item number two above). There’s been too many ladies out on the dance floor showing off WAAAAYYYY more than they intended. Or at least we hope that’s the case.

4. Take cues from the wedding invitation about the formality of the event: Is the invitation itself formal or casual? Does the wedding take place after six o’clock or during the day? Is the ceremony in a house of worship or an outdoor setting? These are all indicators of how you should dress. Formal invitation equals formal attire. After six usually means to dress more formally than during the day. Churches, synagogues and even hotel ballrooms tend to be more formal than a park, garden or a beach. If you absolutely cannot figure out how to dress by looking at the invitation, don’t be shy. It’s better to ask the bride, groom or their families than show up in something that sticks out like a sore thumb.

5. Don’t wear casual clothes to a formal wedding: It’s so awkward to be dressed for a sporting event while everyone else is dressed in cocktail attire. End of discussion.

6. Don’t wear formal clothes to a casual wedding: Being overdressed for a wedding is just as uncomfortable as being underdressed. You may also inadvertently detract from the wedding party if you are dressier than they are.

7. Wear appropriate shoes: It never fails that many ladies will show up at beach or garden weddings in stiletto-heeled shoes. Walking through the sand or sinking into the lawn is horribly uncomfortable and makes you look like a fool. If you want to wear those stylish heels, bring an extra pair of flats to make sure that you can glide through the grass.

Have fun at the wedding…and have a slice of cake for us!


source: huffingtonpost.com

Mother’s Day Is On Its Way!!!

What’s even better than getting this…

…inked on your body in an attempt to show “MOM” just how much you love her???



Well, because she can use for SO.MANY.THINGS!!!

From mani’s and pedi’s to facials, massages, and all day “Spa Days”, Utopia gift cards are the PERFECT solution to your Mother’s Day gifting woes.

So, stop in TODAY to pick up your gift certificate…and make your mom the happiest mom in the whole world!

Keep Your Color Rich and Vibrant

Want to keep your fresh-from-the-salon-color looking ah-mazing? Here’s a few quick tips to keep that color looking rich and vibrant!

1. Sulfate-free shampoo is a great way to deal with fading hair color without having to give up your habits so go through your favorite brands and choose a sulfate-free shampoo to replace your regular one with. These shampoos can be used on daily basis and will remove excess sebum and impurities without removing the color as well although you might want to throw in a clarifying shampoo once in a while, just to make sure the product build-up is removed as well.

2. Alcohol based products can speed up the fading process as well so it’s best not to use them in summer when you know that your hair will be exposed to direct sunlight. The upside to this is that there are many wonderful alcohol-free products available nowadays which means that you won’t have to give up your favorite up-dos and hairstyles.

3. Color depositing products such as shampoos and conditioners are also one of many good ways to keep your hair color from fading and make sure it stays vibrant until the next coloring. Many tests conducted in this area have proved these products quite effective and the best thing is that you don’t have to spend big bucks to own a color depositing shampoo, conditioner or both!

4. Protecting your hair while you’re chilling on the beach, getting your tan on in a tanning bed or chilling by the pool is a must-do in case you want to avoid fading hair color! Use a high SPF conditioner to protect your strands against those dangerous, harmful UV rays when on the beach or tanning salon and prevent them from soaking up a lot of chlorine (when taking a dip in the pool) by saturating your hair with a conditioner and clean water before you jump in.

5. Damaged and dry hair won’t be able to retain added hair color and if you’ve ever tried to go from bleached blonde to pretty much any other color you know how hard that is! Yup, if your hair is a mess, the color will simply bleed out! The solution? Hair care! Meticulous, constant, aggressive hair care! Why? Because healthy hair retains more of the original color enabling you to look great with less touch-ups!

Follow these steps and you’re sure to have amazing color all year long!


tips provided by allwomenstalk.com

Hair Brushes – More than Meets the Eye

Have you ever wondered why you can never seem to quite recreate the style that you walked out of the salon with once you’re at home? We all know that our stylists are artists who can often times coax our hair into doing things we would never dream possible. They have years of training and experience on their side and we have…well…for some of us, all we’ve got is a hair dryer and a Goody comb/pick combo that was purchased sometime back in the ‘90’s.

However, our hairstyling pros also have tools – and not just any tools, either…they have the right tools to make our hair do exactly what they want it to do and, sometimes (actually, LOTS of times), those tools boil down to nothing more than a brush or comb. But, let’s be clear – it’s not just any brush or comb…it’s the RIGHT one for YOUR hair.

That’s right, there’s more than one type out there. We’ll give you a minute to digest that little nugget of information.




Whether you have long, short, straight, curly, unruly, or flat hair, there’s a brush (yep, we’re just going to focus on brushes today) specifically designed to help you achieve the look you’re after. So, for the time being, step away from the curling irons and straighteners and see what you’re able to achieve with a new brush!

Here’s a handy “brush guide” to help you with the rest of this post!

Looking to flip your ends? Try out a brush like #1 in the photo, which has a ceramic, hourglass shaped barrel. The ceramic nature of the barrel traps heat in order to drastically cut down on drying time (thereby causing less damage to your hair) and the shape contours to your head to both add volume at the roots and curl the ends.

Got normal to thin hair? Try a brush like #2! The ventilated barrel distributes heat evenly and speeds up drying time, while the nylon bristles help create the much sought after volume that we crave.

If you’re dealing with uber thick hair, look for a brush like #3. It has a mixture of nylon and boar bristles to help tame your unruly strands. Also, we’re not going to lie – some of these brushes are extremely expensive, with price tags exceeding $150. However, your stylist should be able to help you find a pocketbook friendly solution.

For layers and bangs, try a boar bristle brush like #4. The flexibility of the boar hair allows for multiple styling techniques and, when drying, the brush will evenly distribute the moisture in your hair to prevent over drying. And, since this particular brush is smaller in size, it’s great for using on shorter layers and bangs.

Trying to go green in all aspects of your life? Opt for a brush made from bamboo, like #5.

If it’s a quick(er) blow dry that you’re in search of, a thermal round brush (#6) is what you need – the ceramic barrel and nylon bristles drastically cut down on dry time and also help to bring out your hair’s natural shine. It’s also wise to opt for a comfy, non-slip grip – there’s no reason your hands should suffer any more than they have to.

For those of you with medium to thick hair who are looking for a straight, smooth finish with just the right amount of volume, then brush #7 is for you! A brush like this with nylon bristles helps to get good hold of your hair AND control the shape as you dry. Using one with high quality boar bristles will also add shine and close the hair cuticle, yielding an amazingly straight finish.

If shine in your hair is as elusive as a three dollar bill, try a finishing brush like #8. The boar bristles in a finishing brush should easily brush through all hair types and will make those tresses shine!

Added life can be achieved via a brush similar to that of #9. The ceramic barrel traps heat to set your hair and add lift at the roots.

And, let’s not forget about static – there’s nothing worse than static-y, stand on hair during the cold winter months. So, when you need a quick brush through during the day, try a brush like #10, that comes with negatively charged ionic bristles that work to smooth without adding a bit of static.

So, there ‘ya have it – Brushes 101. However, be forewarned – if you haven’t noticed already, a lot of these brushes look quite similar but come complete with variances in shape, barrel type, and bristles so, once you read through the above and know what it is that you’re looking for, you can go brush shopping with the knowledge and confidence to get the job done right.

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