#Fashion Friday Beauty Edit: Get Glowing Skin in Time for Spring in Just Four Easy Steps

Photo Credit: Margaret Murphy

Photo Credit: Margaret Murphy

Unless you’re lucky enough to live in California or Florida, it’s been a very rough winter. The snow, the wind, the arctic temperatures; it was all enough to drive even the most sane person a little mad. I can’t speak for others, but I myself got extremely complacent this winter. Heading to the gym for a workout? Hah! Walking to work? Absolutely not. Hitting the bars over the weekend? Nope. There’s something about cold weather that turns me into a lethargic excuse for a human even when it comes to important practices, like taking proper care of my skin.

It’s such an easy thing to stop caring about when you’re piling a chunky wool sweater over a long sleeve shirt over a tank top and wearing the same thick pair of jeans every single day. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say.  But spring is just three weeks away now! Which means my arms and legs will finally, finally feel the warmth of the sun again soon. Obviously I want to make sure they both look fabulous for their first seasonal appearance, so I’ve started a little “Spring Skin” regimen that I think will work wonders for most.

EXFOLIATE

Dermatologists encourage clients to exfoliate their faces once a week to buff away dead skin cells and reveal the fresh, dewy skin hiding underneath them. So why wouldn’t you do the same for your body? Because it’s not as sensitive as the skin on your face, you can exfoliate your body 2-3 times a week. Also, contrary to what a lot of people believe, exfoliating frequently will NOT make a tan fade more quickly, it will actually prolong your glow. Look for scrubs made from natural plants and extracts that also have hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and vitamins A and B. Here are a couple I’ve tried and loved:

Sea Moss Black Sand Body Scrub by h2O

$20 at h20+

$20 at h20+

L’Occitane Verbena Body Salt Scrub by L’Occitane

$36 at L’Occitane

Brown Sugar Body Polish by Fresh

$65 at Sephora

$65 at Sephora

MOISTURIZE

As I noted very extensively in a post a few weeks ago: there’s nothing more important than moisturizing! You do it to your face, so treat your body with the same respect. Plus, seriously, nothing feels better than lathering yourself up in lotion when you’re fresh out of the shower. In case you didn’t know, that’s the best time to moisturize. Since your body is already hydrated from your bathing, you get a double dose of hydration if you moisturize right away. Look for products that contain ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and aloe. I’m a believer in these:

Body Butter by Au Lait

$18 on Amazon

$18 on Amazon

Vine Body Butter by Caudalie

$34 at Sephora

$34 at Sephora

Crème de Pistache Soufflé by Laura Mercier

$60 at Sephora

$60 at Sephora

REPLENISH

If your skin is seriously dehydrated, you might want to consider using body oil. Lotions and creams are great, but switching up your post-shower routine can sometimes be exactly what your skin needs. Oils lock in and protect moisture, similar to a lotion. Despite their name, these products are non-greasy, lightweight, and very hydrating. Start by using it once a week and see how you feel about it — you may end up swapping out your body lotion completely over time!

Almond Smoothing and Beautifying Supple Skin Oil by L’Occitane

$42 at L'Occitane

$42 at L’Occitane

Dry Body Oil by Moroccanoil

$48 at Nordstrom

$48 at Nordstrom

Divine Oil by Caudalie

$49 at Sephora

$49 at Sephora

HYDRATE

This kind of goes without saying, but if you want your skin to look great you need to drink a lot of water. Drinking excessive amounts of beverages heavy on caffeine and sugar will actually the dull the appearance of your skin; and alcoholic drinks actually dehydrate the body thus removing moisture your body needs. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day can help make your skin look more luminous. Your body is made up of 60% water, so you need to replenish it to keep your body looking and feeling healthy.

Happy Friday all! Here are two jams to get you through until the weekend.

This track is a month old now, but I’m still obsessed with the happy summer vibes it gives off. Can’t you picture yourself dancing on a beach as this blasts over massive speakers? Yup, me too.

New Floss. Enough said.

#FashionFriday: A Formal Affair, Winter Wedding Inspiration

Wedding ready! Photo cred: Anita Ferrer

Wedding ready! Photo cred: Anita Ferrer

It often surprises my friends to learn this about me, but I have a secret Peter Pan complex. I’m terrified of “growing up” in the traditional sense of the word — job, spouse, baby, burbs. And though it’s nice to know that the cookie-cutter version of that narrative doesn’t have to be the model anymore, the pressures of fitting into that mold are still embedded into movies and TV, fodder for conversation at family gatherings, and splattered aggressively across Facebook feeds.

Thankfully, there are plenty of small milestones along the way to help us ease into young adult life. Tonight, I’m taking a new step along that journey. I’m attending a friend’s wedding. That may sound uneventful and silly, but it feels like a significant step to me. Sure, I’ve attended weddings before — aunts, uncles, cousins, even distant older family acquaintances — but never the happy union of two close friends. It’s a reminder that things really are moving forward. No matter how much I’d like to freeze these days of total freedom, those around me are in motion, full-steam ahead.

My (probably unnecessary) deep analysis of the situation aside, I also had a bigger problem to deal with leading up to this wedding — dressing for a black tie affair in the midst of winter’s frigid grasp. When I think of wedding-appropriate dresses, I imagine gorgeous flowing chiffon gowns and delicate silk cocktail dresses, neither of which feels particularly appropriate when it’s 20 degrees outside. But there are ways to keep it chic and sexy without looking wacky and out of season.

Stick to the Classic Color Palette

A really bright color in the middle of winter may seem like a novel and festive idea, but it’s inappropriate. During spring/summer the majority of lady guests will be sporting bright hues, but in the winter you’ll be seriously outnumbered, which draws attention to you and away from the lovely bride. If you don’t want to stick to standard winter colors like black, navy, or grey opt for a darker hue of a favorite color; a deep red, gorgeous burgundy, or forest green piece are super chic alternatives to their bright counterparts.

Experiment with Texture

I’m a big fan of mixing prints and textures, but that can be a little loud, especially if you’re attending a more traditional wedding. In the wintertime, I would lean more towards picking a dress with an interesting texture. As you can see from my photo, I decided to opt for a dress that is 100% beaded. In the spring or summer, it would feel way too heavy, but it’s perfect for winter and totally festive without being over the top. If heavy beading isn’t your thing, try a dress made of dark, intricate lace or crafted from an intriguing fabric — I’ve seen some beautiful plaid-patterned felt gowns that feel very modern yet maintain an aura of elegance, Michelle Obama totally pulled it off.

Ditch the Pumps

If you’re going to a stuffy, formal affair, this one may be a no-go. I personally hate pumps. I think they were sent by an evil force to destroy women’s ability to really get down on the dance floor, plus they’re super boring. Winter gives you the perfect opportunity to swap out your pumps for fabulous boots or sleek wedges. I don’t mean military boots and cork wedges. I’m talking about sexy Valentino rock stud booties and Theyskens’ Theory wedges (as seen in my photo!). They’re so much more unexpected than a standard stiletto, and much friendlier when it comes to navigating potentially dangerous, slippery winter streets.

Top it Off

What better excuse to bust out a statement coat or fur than a winter wedding? Or, better yet, what better excuse to buy one! Honestly, I would rather dig a dress out from the depths of my closet and put the money allowed for a new outfit towards a piece of ultra-luxurious outerwear. You’ll get way more use out of it going forward than you would from buying yet another dress, so at least some of the guilt associated with spending a small fortune will dissipate.

Perfect Your Pout

When all else fails, there’s nothing like a vampy dark lip to add drama during the winter months. Deep reds, purples, and browns may feel silly in the spring and summer season, but they’re gorgeous for winter months — especially when contrasted with a simple dress. I worship NARS and Christian Dior lip products and hardly ever use anything else. These colors would be splendid for any winter affair.

NARS lip pencil in 'Cruella'

NARS lip pencil in ‘Cruella’

Dior Addict Lipstick in 'Brown'

Dior Addict Lipstick in ‘Brown’

Rouge Dior Couture lipstick in Pied-De-Poule

Rouge Dior Couture lipstick in Pied-De-Poule

#FashionFriday: Skin Essentials for the Cold Days Ahead & Weekend Mini Mix

Photo by Margaret Murphy

Photo by Margaret Murphy – Click to See More of Her Amazing Work!

There are so many wonderful things about this time of year – bright lights strung high above busy streets, holiday sales well under way, and plenty of excuses to pull the most dapper looks from your closet. But in this Floridian’s opinion, one thing consistently proves itself to be a huge nuisance. I’m not talking snow, sleet, or polar vortex temps, but rather their harsh effects on skin.

As a kid I struggled with a lot of different skin issues. Cystic acne, stubborn blackheads, and awful scarring defined my teen years. Having tried every product imaginable, including prescription grade, my dermatologist finally suggested the controversial Accutane treatment. It was, for lack of a more creative description, a miracle drug. My face and back cleared up completely, and I set sail for Georgetown feeling good about my skin for the first time in my life. This triumphant feeling was very short lived.

From freezing wind blasting my face to itchy sweaters aggravating the mild psoriasis on my arms, I realized that winter weather was going to kick my fair-feathered booty. I was hesitant to change my skincare routine, which had been working so well up until the cold descended upon DC, and clung to my habits obsessively. It wasn’t until I went to get a facial at Hela Spa in Georgetown two years ago that I was made to see the error of my ways. Caitlin, now affectionately referred to as my Skin Savior, explained that no matter how oily I believed my skin to be, consistent hydration is a must. I was terrified of breaking out again, images of my pimpled teenage face re-traumatizing me, but it didn’t turn out to be the case at all.

Now I’m frequently on the hunt for the best moisturizers to use during this frigid season. If you’re having trouble figuring out which ones would work best for you, these are my current favorites. Some of them are a bit expensive, but when you’re putting something on your face it should always be high quality. Click on the images and you’ll be redirected to the sites where you can snag these necessities!

As always, scroll to the bottom of the page for the Friday mini mix!

SkinMedica Ultra Sheer Moisturizer

SkinMedica Ultra Sheer Moisturizer

Perfect for: sensitive skin, combination skin

Best quality: lightweight, non-greasy formula can be applied multiple times a day

Clinique Moisture Surge

Clinique Moisture Surge

Perfect for: all skin types

Best Quality: soothing gel-cream formula replenishes skin with 24 hours of hydration

Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil

Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil

Perfect for: dry skin

Best quality: fast-absorbing oil treatment is packed with restorative omegas and Vitamin E

Kiehl's Creme D'Elegance

Kiehl’s Creme D’Elegance

Perfect for: dry skin

Best quality: nourishing treatment penetrates deep below the surface of the skin

Caudalie Premier Cru La Creme Riche

Caudalie Premier Cru La Creme Riche

Perfect for: all skin types

Best quality: high-performance active ingredients correct signs of aging, ultra-rich formula leaves the skin radiant and hydrated