A Mom’s Guide to Looking Effortlessly Chic

Whether you’re a brand-new mama who equates showering with insta-chic or a veteran parent who can’t so much as pee alone, it’s hard not to look at put-together moms like Gwyneth Paltrow and Michelle Obama and wonder how they find the time to look so amazing. Answer: an entourage of stylists and makeup artists. But even if your entourage only consists of little ones, these quick tips will help you look paparazzi-ready in a flash.

Set up a beauty station by the front door.
Ever dash out of the house only to catch your reflection later and wince? To the rescue: Set up a mommy beauty station by the door. Simply hang a mirror and fill a basket (ideally out of reach to your kiddos) with your get-ready-quick essentials. A few suggestions: a hairbrush and dry shampoo to instantly upgrade your locks, concealer to mask any under-eye circles, blush or bronzer for a sweep of color, mascara to open up your eyes, and a box of facial tissues for quick beauty touchups.

Add stylish accents to your go-to outfits.
Guess what? You can maintain a uniform of cotton shirts and jeans as long as you accessorize smartly. A colorful, patterned scarf can add interest to a V-neck and boyfriend jeans (not to mention mask any spit-up or food stains). Skinny jeans and a plain top are instantly date-night-ready with a touch of costume jewelry and glam heels or fun flats. Invest in easy statement pieces, like a bright blazer, you can throw on before a parent-teacher conference that will instantly elevate your ensemble.

Streamline your makeup routine.  
Ah, if only you had the time to labor over creating the perfect cat eye. But you’d be surprised how far a minimal look -- with minimal products -- can go toward boosting your confidence. Opt for multitasking makeup, like a BB cream, an above-and-beyond tinted moisturizer that also contains SPF, antioxidants and other antiaging components. Instead of stressing out about perfectly applying lipstick, opt for a simple tinted lip gloss or stain. If you’re constantly on the go, an eyelash curler can do wonders to instantly give eyes a lift without the mess of mascara.

Borrow from Baby.
If your beauty budget has given way to a college fund, take note: There’s a treasure trove of goodies already in your nursery. Use your little one’s lotion for the eau de bébé that everyone absolutely loves. Your baby’s chemical-free shampoo will leave your hair super-soft without stripping it of essential oils. Can’t find time to shower? Even if you don’t use baby powder at the changing table, dabbing it on your scalp and the shiniest areas of your hair can hold you over in between washings.

Have a signature style. One of Gwynnie’s biggest chic secrets? This mama has confidence. But if the baby drool on your shoulder has you feeling not-so self-assured, here’s a quick trick: Add something to your look that’s only yours. Tie a fun kerchief to your purse that you rotate every so often, and never leave the house without swiftly applying a bright lip color. Crumbs all over your clothes? Check. Signature statement necklace? Hey, you’ve got something going for

Photo by Nojan Namdar on Unsplash

Beauty Tips 101: How to Apply Self-Tanner

After a long winter, you’re ready to toss the extra layers. But while the spring brings longer days, you won’t get any color from the five-minute walk from your car to office. Besides, you know that spending too much time in the sun can expose you to harmful UV rays.

The solution? Self-tanners are a safer option, and you can apply them at home. Whether you’re a self-tanning pro or novice, our guide will help you achieve an even golden glow without the streaks. Get ready to transform your complexion from ghostly white to a sun-kissed glow.

Step 1: Get prepped.

For the self-tanner to set in evenly, your skin should be as fresh as possible. Shave your legs and exfoliate any area that you’re self-tanning, with a liquid exfoliating scrub.

Step 2: Apply self-tanner from bottom to top.
Wearing latex gloves, gently apply self-tanner onto your skin. Start at your feet and slowly move up your body to avoid awkward positions, and make sure everything goes on smoothly and evenly. Keep a box of facial tissues on hand to wipe away any excess.

Step 3: Smooth out streaks.
Areas with thinner skin -- your feet, knees, elbows, wrists and ankles -- are susceptible to streaking. Go over these areas carefully to ensure the tan doesn’t look patchy. To avoid streaks on your palms, wipe them down with a tissue after you’re finished.

Step 4: Wait and see.
You need to give the self-tanner the chance to seep in and do its thing, so avoid showering or sleeping (unless you want streaked sheets) for at least six hours afterward. To avoid getting the product on your clothes, wear a loose, old T-shirt. Once your tanner has set, be sure to moisturize each day. Keeping your skin hydrated will extend the length of that gorgeous glow. 

6 Pro Beauty Products

Most of us have our favorite beauty staples: foundation, blush, and mascara. But it’s time to introduce a few new items into your repertoire. As a makeup artist, I deal with hundreds of different cosmetic products -- but I always find myself relying on a few surprising ones.

Consider adding the following products to your beauty regimen. They may seem simple, but they’ll make a huge difference!

1. Exfoliating products.
Large, clogged pores are my beauty arch-nemesis. For a smooth complexion, I use a micro-exfoliation wash, mask or cloth to strip away excess dirt and oil. Choose a gentle product that isn’t too harsh on your complexion. My rule of thumb: If the product feels like it’s scratching your skin, toss it.

2. Antiaging serum with vitamin C.
Known in its pure form as ascorbic acid, vitamin C lightens dark spots and softens fine lines. I prefer serums with rose hips, which are high in the vitamin. To apply it, put a reasonable amount in your palm, rub your hands together and pat your face, neck and décolletage. Then softly drape an unfolded on your skin to absorb the excess. Tip: If your product turns a different color, like yellow, that means it’s lost some of its benefits -- and it’s time to buy a new bottle.

3. Primer.
Several of my clients complain of having red splotches or sallow complexions. Tinted primer is the remedy to these problems. Remember the color wheel from art class? Opposing colors can neutralize one another: Green balances out red, and violet counteracts yellow.

Choose your tinted primer and prep your skin with moisturizer. Using a flat foundation brush, paint the primer on your face, focusing on the areas that need color correction. Dab off any streaks with a and apply your foundation as usual.

4. Nude eyeliner.
When all the concealer in the world is not enough to make me look awake, I brighten my eyes with a flesh-toned eyeliner. Choose a waterproof pencil one or two shades lighter than your skin. (Even if you’re pale, stay away from stark white liner. They can create a chalky look.) Sketch the color across your waterline -- the innermost rim of your lower eyelid -- brush on your mascara, and your eyes no longer look like they’re begging for an espresso.

5. Paintbrushes.
Mixed in with my pricey top-of-the-line makeup brushes, you’ll find several art store paintbrushes. Great for lipstick, eyeliner and under-eye correction, many of these brushes are made from the same synthetic fibers as their more expensive makeup counterparts. Some of my finest and most precise eyeliner brushes are actually meant for oil or acrylic paints and cost half as much as the less effective ones sold by beauty suppliers!

As with all brushes, washing is essential. Use a mild shampoo to scrub off any residue and makeup and rinse. Then press the brush into a folded to remove as much water as possible. Shape the brushes and lay them out to dry.

6. Cream shadows.
For years, cream shadows have been my No. 1 necessity. These products provide long-lasting coverage, so there’s no need for a specific eye primer. Plus, they have pigment that blends well with powder shadows.

How to apply it? Spread a light peach-pink cream shadow over your lid, V area and crease. Before the product dries, dust your lid with a lighter matching shadow. You can keep it simple or go more dramatic by highlighting the center of your lid with a pearl shimmer, then add a darker shadow to your V area and crease. Wipe away any smudges or excess.

Photo by Alexandra Tran on Unsplash

Get Gorgeous on the Go

Taking a vacation should be relaxing. But it’s all too easy to get stressed out about what to pack -- especially when it comes to your cosmetics. We asked makeup artist Elisa Tallerico, celebrity makeup artist and MTV hairstylist, for her tips for packing a beauty bag. Read on to find out what to bring to look flawless without weighing down your luggage.

Makeup Tip No. 1: Pack makeup palettes.  
Instead of hauling around every blush, bronzer and eye shadow that you might want to use on your trip, find your favorite shades in a quad or duo compact. "Many makeup brands offer palettes that you can build yourself," says Tallerico. "This allows you to swap out which shades you want to bring with you, and which you want to leave at home."

Makeup Tip No. 2: Simplify your brush set.  
“When traveling, pack one powder brush, one blush brush and a flat concealer brush," says Tallerico. Your blush brush can be used for contouring, and a concealer brush easily doubles as an eye shadow brush. Some makeup brands also offer travel-sized brushes, which are smaller and easier to pack. Instead of bringing sponges, you can use Puffs facial tissues to blend in your make-up.

Makeup Tip No. 3: Use multitaskers.
"Makeup doesn't have to be used for only one thing," says Tallerico. A pink, shimmery lipstick can double as a cream blush: Dab a small amount onto the apples of your cheeks and blend. To use a light, shimmery eye shadow as a highlighter, sweep it onto your cheekbones to brighten your look. Bronzer can also be used as a contouring powder for your face.

Makeup Tip No. 4: Avoid unnecessary tools.
Instead of toting your eyeliner and a sharpener, Tallerico recommends seeking out self-sharpening eyeliner, which has a sharpener built right into the cap of the liner. The right mascara will lift and curl your lashes, allowing you to leave your eyelash curler at home.

Makeup Tip No. 5: Bring travel-sized items.
One of the best ways to lighten your makeup bag is to bring your beauty products down to size. "Most brands make a travel-sized version of their products," says Tallerico. For example, instead of toting along a whole box of tissues for makeup touchups, just tuck a pack of Puffs to Go in your bag. Can’t find your favorite product in miniature? Invest in small reusable containers to fill up.

Photo by Apostolos Vamvouras on Unsplash

Pretty Summer Date Night Looks

After a long winter, it’s time to come out of hibernation. Summer is the perfect excuse for a date night. Whether you’re planning on outdoor cocktails or a backyard barbecue, you can look fresh-faced, sun-kissed and on-trend in a breeze. Celebrity makeup artist Amanda Shackleton shares her favorite beauty looks for an evening on the town in this easy-to-follow guide.

1. Go (nearly) bare.
Ditch the heavy, dark colors along with your thick sweaters, and think light. To get an instant healthy glow, Shackleton suggests applying a shimmer powder to the raised areas of your face, such as your cheekbones, brows and temples. (Steer clear of your T-zone, which can create an oily appearance.) Finish off with a swipe of waterproof mascara, and you’re ready to wow.


2. Get cheeky.
If there’s one feature you should focus on this summer, it’s your cheeks. To achieve a pretty pop of color without baking in the sun, use a Puffs facial tissue to blend in cream blush on the apples of your cheeks. Bonus: You can use a dab of this multitasking product on your lips too.

3. Celebrate your skin.
Summer is for eating lobster, not looking like one. To steer clear of a ruddy complexion, be vigilant about wearing sunscreen every time you step out. Shackleton suggests trying a sunscreen powder, which goes on like a face powder and feels lighter than greasy lotions. For a gorgeous glimmer without baking in the sun, try rubbing coconut oil on your legs, chest and arms. You’ll get a healthy shine while smelling like a tropical vacation.

 
4. Don’t sweat it.
Don’t want to bother meticulously applying makeup if you’re just going to “glisten” it all away? Shackleton swears by waterproof, silicone-based foundations, which stay perfectly intact beneath your facial powder. For eyes? In addition to waterproof mascara, try a gel eyeliner. “Unlike pencils, they won’t smudge at all -- even if you go swimming!” says Shackleton.

5. Say bye-bye to black.
Chances are, dark colors will be pushed to the back of your closet for the next few months, so why shouldn’t the same go for your makeup? One of Shackleton’s favorite trends from the ’80s, colorful mascara, is back. “Thankfully, it’s a little more muted this time around,” she says. Trade in your usual black lashes for a subtle pop of dark blue or purple.