GETTING AT THE JE NE SAIS QUOI OF FRENCH GIRL SKIN CARE

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What’s in our Beauty Cabinet? Well for starters, a lot of good stuff from cult-fave label French Girl. These small-batch, handmade products have a signature French je ne sais quoi that’s hard to resist. Eager to learn more about the woman behind it all, we chatted with founder Kristeen Griffin-Grimes about her beauty go-tos, how looking good starts with feeling good and a life-changing trip to the south of France.

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TALK BEAUTY TO ME: TEAM MADEWELL’S LATEST FAVES

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We’re superexcited to introduce our Beauty Cabinet—a selection of tried-and-true products, curated by us, that fall in the sweet spot between low maintenance and treat yourself. To celebrate the launch, we had Team Madewell test out some essentials from the collection—oh, and they modeled for us too, NBD.

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Madewell’s 10 Best: Ways to Simplify Your Beauty Routine

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No topic gets people talking like beauty tips (maybe because there’s an instant camaraderie in sharing them), but your beauty routine is also one of the most personal parts of your day-to-day life. That’s why we pulled together our favorite everyday, everyone pieces of advice. You know, those little upgrades that make the most basic things—like showering, sleeping and hydrating—just a bit better. (A brand that shares our “less is more” sentiment? Glossier. Its cult-favorite Balm Dotcom really nails #8 on our list below, which is why we’re giving it away this weekend when you spend $125+ in stores.) Read on…

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Good Stuff: 4 Natural Beauty Products We’re Loving

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Vitamin D deficiencies aside, there’s really something about this time of year that makes us want to give our skin some extra TLC. And in the spirit of spring cleaning, we’re caring for ourselves with clean products (translation: no weird ingredients we can’t pronounce). Here are a few we’d happily give a gold (or, you know, green) star.

Province Apothecary™ Parfum Botanique No. 7: From holistic health practitioner Julie Clark, this small-batch organic perfume oil features a mix of bergamot, sandalwood, juniper berry and bay laurel—which means it smells like the best vacation ever.

Province Apothecary Lip Balm: Healing and soothing, this all-natural balm glides over lips without leaving any stickiness behind (plus, the peppermint gives it an amazingly fresh tingle). We can feel good about using it too: Clark grows some of the ingredients herself and buys the rest from local farmers.

Jao® Brand Hand Refresher: Yes, this kills germs—but this hydrating, fresh-smelling gel has none of the alcohol-y notes of typical antibacterials. We love it so much, we’ve been known to apply it very liberally—not a bad thing, considering picnic season is right around the corner.

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Jao Brand Goe Oil: Works on, well, everything and looks lovely on the bathroom sink (and we believe that matters just a bit). This one-size-fixes-all balm, when warmed between hands, melts into a liquid that does everything from soothing dry feet and hands to smoothing flyaways. Plus, the 28 natural oils have calming, healing properties.

Find them all at madewell.com and grab some beauty rest while you wait for them to arrive.

Beauty How-To: Holiday Makeup, Fast And Easy

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While it certainly is the season for sparkle, our simple approach to makeup is pretty much the same all year—in fact, nothing we do requires makeup brushes. Given all the holiday bustle, we’ve noticed our barely-there beauty routine is serving us better than ever, so we thought we’d share. Here’s how we’re getting ready in no time flat.

20 Seconds For Your Face. Chalk it up to a general distaste for feeling and looking, well, overly made up; we prefer our skin naturally luminous. One way to mimic that dewy summertime glow in the colder months is to pat a few drops of face essential oil directly onto the skin. (We like Rodin’s Olio Lusso for its hint of jasmine scent and remarkably sheer—not heavy—feel.) On days we want to keep things lighter, we’ll mix a drop of oil with a dollop of our everyday moisturizer.

30 Seconds For Your Cheeks and Lips. Yes, this has become a two-in-one step. Because the color of your natural blush is so close to the color of your lips, the same shade looks great on both. A water-based lip stain goes on sheer for a buildable, can’t-overdo-it hue (we like Josie Maran’s Magic Marker Lip and Cheek Stain in Mambo, a supersheer toasted beige). The trick to faking a fresh-off-the-slopes flush is to dab the color onto your lips and cheeks with fingers instead of applying it directly—you’ll get a blurred wash effect instead of a doll-like puncher of pink. If we’re having a truly minimalist morning, a simple swipe of lip balm (like Smith’s Rosebud Salve or French cult favorite Caudalíe’s Grape-seed Lip Conditioner) will leave lips with a healthy pink tinge.

30 Seconds For Your Brows. The simplest way to define eyes without using much makeup (or time) is to define your brows. An eyebrow tint in a pencil or a mascara-like applicator (like Blinc’s Eyebrow Mousse, which comes in eight shades) leaves brows looking subtly shaped. For very special occasions and those parties where friends will be Instagramming the night away, a swipe of highlighter (like ILIA’s Beauty Illuminator) over the brow bone and cheekbones is like a full night of beauty sleep in a stick.

Finishing touch. Want an even faster trick? For an instant pick-me-up or to add dewiness after a few hours of staring at a computer screen, mist a botanical spray over the face. (We stash Mario Badescu’s Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater in our desk drawers and stock Caudalíe’s Beauty Elixir in nightstands and cabinets.)

Shh: Our Bay Area Beauty Secret

by Emily Hsieh (S.F.)

San Francisco facialist Sarah Becker has mastered the art of indulgence. The pampering begins the minute you enter her impeccably decorated studio, where a spread of organic treats awaits, accompanied by lace-trimmed linen napkins and handmade ceramic dishes. When it’s facial time, you cozy up under a soft down-filled comforter while Becker melts away all your troubles (and clogged pores) with a fully customized blend of all-natural products and cutting-edge technology (like LED light therapy and microdermabrasion). And the soothing playlist in the background—with tracks from bands like Portishead, Mazzy Star and The xx—makes the experience all the more relaxing. You’ll walk away feeling lighter, radiant and refreshed—guaranteed.

5 insider beauty tips for fall

Heads up! Time is running out to enter for a chance to win a $1,500 shopping spree and a year’s worth of Birchbox beauty products. Click here for the full scoop.

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And since we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to rack the Birchbox ladies’ brains about all things beauty, here are their top five tips for a seamless transition from summer to fall:

1. Dramatic Manis: “Ditch the neutrals of summer and switch to statement-making polishes. Not sure what the trend is? Take a gander at our Color Club collection, directly inspired by the fall runway.”

2. Matte’s Where It’s At: “From lips to eyes, here’s how to go matte without looking flat.”

3. Bold Brows: “Full-figured arches are big for fall. If you’re not sure what to do with yours, try a soup-to-nuts kit like Benefit’s Brow Zings.”

4. Sleek Hair: “Low-maintenance styles are back in for fall (thank goodness). But to get smooth strands, you’ll need to rely on your hair dryer more than ever. Keep hair damage free with a heat-protecting spray like this one from Nexxus.”

5. Stain Power: “Long-lasting lip and cheek stains are poised to become your new BFF this season. Learn the best way to apply them here, then pick some up in our shop.”

5 ways to nail it: Tips from an expert manicurist

by Brittany Weinstein (LA)

I’m very particular when it comes to my nails (to say the least). And lately, those high standards have meant a more environmentally conscious approach to nail care—an approach that Jenna Hipp, the beauty industry’s foremost “green” manicurist, definitely abides by. In fact, Jenna recently released a (totally genius) line of polishes with eco-friendly brand RGB called HIPPxRGB that’s like foundation and blush for nails: four nude hues and several glossy tints that help nails look happier and healthier. Below, she shares some of her nail wisdom.

 

5 HIPP TIPS

1. Mismatch your fingers and toes: “One of my favorite color combinations is nude fingernails and a matte navy polish on toes: it’s chic, slick and classic. Or try a fun color like bright neon orange on toes and a neutral tone on fingers (it gives the illusion of being super tan!).”

 

2. Keep it green: “The more attention we can bring to toxic chemicals in beauty products, the better. (I switched over to all-green products after experiencing nosebleeds, headaches and dizziness!) What you can do is know your ingredients: Don’t just trust a label that claims to be organic or green. (Safecosmetics.org is a good place to start).

 

3. Banish yellow nails: “Yellowing is very common and can come from something as minor as not using a base coat (since polish can stain). An at-home remedy I like to use is to mix baking soda with lemon juice, scrub it on with a toothbrush, then dip nails in hydrogen peroxide diluted with water.”

 

4. Prevent dullness: “The best way to prevent your color from dulling is to use a UV topcoat over your manicure. If you don’t have one, try a metallic or glitter polish instead: It’ll reflect light and make a week-old manicure look brand new.”

 

5. Moisturize from the inside out: “Healthy, moisturized hands and cuticles make the best canvas for nails. If you notice you have extra-dry or chapped hands, (besides getting your daily eight glasses of water) try incorporating fish oil and vitamin E into your daily regimen.”