Girls weekend mini makeovers! Check out the “recipe” here!

While up in Jackson, NH for a girls weekend we spent Saturday afternoon on the couch snacking and chatting. Does it get better than that? Quality time with your girlfriends is a treat that is hard to compete with. No big party or lavish dinner could ever compare to just hanging out uninterrupted with some of your closest friends.

In addition to a lot of catching up there were also mini makeovers – which was super fun for yours truly!  We used the same set of skincare and makeup products for all the ladies (4 ladies in total!). With a couples tweaks, the colors were adjusted for the different complexions. Below is a list and description of what we did. AND some before & after pics

“Everyday makeup” recipe:

Started with a clean face, of course!

1. Moisturizer. A good daytime moisturizer. I used Bluemercury’s m-61 hydraboost moisturizer. It’s just the right texture – not too heavy/not too light. Paraben free. And serves as a silicone-free makeup base, score! I typically use 2 pumps but depending on the gal, I used more or less judging on their existing hydration level (in other words, if I found dry patches, we used some extra). Lots of gentle patting to blend it in all over the face and neck

2. Eye cream. I used Bluemercury’s m-61 hydraboost eye cream on all the ladies. Usually 1 pump is enough for both eyes. Dryness under the eyes is not a good canvas and it’s always good to use a designated ‘eye cream’ for that sensitive area. I love the m-61 brand because it’s hydrating without being greasy, paraben free, and the handy pump is travel friendly / hygienic

m-61 hydraboost eye cream and moisturizer, the perfect pair

m-61 hydraboost eye cream and moisturizer, the perfect pair

3. Foundation. Now that our canvas was prepped – time for the foundation. Depending on the lady, some hadn’t worn foundation before and some swear by it. This foundation was definitely not a match for everyone’s skin tone which was risky – but I used moisturizer to dilute it – and because we were applying bronzer and blush at the end, I could take some liberties with a slightly paler foundation. I like this new foundation by YSL – it’s their new FusionInk foundation that’s been getting a lot of good reviews. It does have good lasting power (24 hrs – is the claim. I think that’s a bit of a stretch!) – but it gives great coverage – they call it “soft matte” – without being heavy or cakey. It feels super light on the skin. I used a couple drips just to even off any discoloration and start with an “even canvas”

YSL's new Inkfusion foundation. Great coverage, not heavy

YSL’s new FusionInk foundation. Great coverage, not heavy

4. Spot treatmeant with Eye Brightener & Concealer. Since I’ve had dark circles since birth, I’m almost certain I’ve tried everything to mask them. I have many favorites in this dept. But my latest love is the Eye Brightener wand by Bobbi Brown. It has a flesh tone to it so blends really well and can double as an eyeshadow primer. This looked nice on all the girls. Next, we did a little spot treatment with NARS radiant creamy concealer in Vanilla. Side note, I forgot my all time favorite concealer Clea de Peau Beaute concealer which is superb for the under eye area. But this one by Nars is great, does the trick (and much more afforable). Again, was able to get away with a lighter shade because I made up for it with added bronzer. Only a couple of light dots needed under the eyes and on any blemishes – lightly pat with finger tips to blend

Bobbi Brown eye brightener wand, goes on first - wear under concealer

Bobbi Brown eye brightener wand, goes on first – wear under concealer

Nars concealer - great for undereye coverage and spot treatment to cover blemi

Nars concealer – great for undereye coverage and spot treatment to cover blemishes

5. Eyeshadow. This was the first time I tried this eyeshadow palette and I loved it. Microsmooth eyeshadow palette by Sephora. A great combo of colors – I combined the lighter shades for all over the lid. I used the dark shades towards the outer corner to help open the eye. Also, a nice sweep of the lighter colors on the brow bone. I used this lovely brush by Bobbi Brown called the “eye sweep” brush to apply

Bobbi Brown eye sweep shadow brush and Sephora brand eyeshadow palette

Bobbi Brown eye sweep shadow brush and Sephora brand eyeshadow palette

6. Eyeliner. I only had 1 on hand but this baby did the trick. Bobbi Brown’s long wear eye pencil in Smoke. Because it’s a pencil I was able to vary how dark it went on. In other words, I pressed a bit harder if I was going for a darker line (I did this for Ashley who was a more olive complexion and darker hair). I lined the upper lid and lighter on the bottom – used more of a light dotting motion under the lash line. I always brush my finger tip ever so lightly over the bottom line so it doesn’t look so dramatic…blending it helps make it more natural vs. a stark line

Bobbi Brown long wear eye pencil - we used 'Smoke'

Bobbi Brown long wear eye pencil – we used ‘Smoke’ – it goes on nice and smooth

7. Mascara. I brought out 2 different  – I was disappointed to find that my Benefit’s “they’re real” mascara was chunking out a bit (might be because my sample is almost out) so I swapped to a tried & true Diorshow Iconic waterproof mascara. I put multiple coats on each girl. I’m big into mascara…a few coats per eye, it makes a big difference. Once applied, I typically dab lashes with a tissue to get off the excess

Two great mascaras for creating thick lashes - also anti-run, which is a must! Benefits "they're real" and Dior Show Iconic - both in black

Two great mascaras grfor creating thick lashes – also anti-run, which is a must! Benefits “they’re real” and Dior Show Iconic – both in black

8. Brow pencil. If anyone needed some brow fixing, I used this pencil liner by Chanel called the sculpting eyebrow pencil in blond clair which has a natural look. In other words, no harsh lines that scream ‘hey, I drew this on.’ I used it to buff in any bald or scarce brow areas. I’ve been hesitant with this step on myself in the past but have found if I do it right and use this pencil, it has a natural look and helps fill in my thin brows

Chanel eyebrow pencil - create for filling in bald spots in the brows, natural color and texture

Chanel eyebrow pencil – great for filling in bald spots in the brows, natural color and texture. Handy brush at end of stick to tame any wild brow hairs and blend in the color

9. Bronzer. I used this awesome, soft Bobbi Brown bronzer brush and Bobbi Brown bronzing powder in golden light. Thankfully, it was a good neutral color – not too dark or red and mixed well with each complexion

Bobbi brown bronzer and bronzer brush. Great combo

Bobbi brown bronzer in Golden Light and bronzer brush. Great combo

10. Blush. I love this one by Nars in the color Orgasm (thank you, Jilly Bean for making the introduction). Applied with a Bobbi Brown blush brush

Nars blush in Orgasm - used Bobbi Brown blush brush to apply (can you tell I love Bobbi brushes? so soft)

Nars blush in Orgasm – used Bobbi Brown blush brush to apply (can you tell I love Bobbi brushes? so soft)

11. Set it. We used Make Up Forever HD Finishing Powder to set everyone’s makeup using the sheer powder brush by Bobbi Brown. I’ve typically avoided this type of powder out of fear that it’ll be too heavy. But I love the lightness of this powder and have adopted into my routine to beat the excessive greasy glow I get on my forehead! I carry it in my purse because it tends to ramp up at the end of a work day

Make Up Forever HD finishing powder - swept on ever so lightly with Bobbi Brown's sheer powder brush

Make Up Forever HD finishing powder – swept on ever so lightly with Bobbi Brown’s sheer powder brush. Set make up and dull down unwanted shine

12. Lastly, lipgloss. I used a combination of this gloss by Sara Happ called The Lip Slip – The One Luxe color shine lip gloss in color ‘The Nude.’ Literally, the perfect nude gloss. On top of this, I put Nars lipgloss in Sweet Revenge. Nice POP of pink color. Looked good on everyone! This is a great combo for glossy lips with a pop of color without getting too dramatic

Great gloss combo - Sara Happ nude gloss and Nars lipgloss in xxx

Great gloss combo – Sara Happ nude gloss and Nars lipgloss in Sweet Revenge

Boom. done. Links to all products and brush accessories below.

The Before & After shots! Ashley, Whit, Jules, and Shannon <3

The Before & After shots! Shannon, Jules, Whit, Ashley  ❤

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It might seem like a lot of steps but this took all of 5 minutes per girl. It was an everyday look but everyone looked freshened up and ready to head out. We took our makeovers to a locally NH brewery – hooottties!!!

Links below to all products:

1. m-61 hydraboost moisturizer 2. m-61 hydraboost eye cream 3. YSL fusionink foundation 4. Bobbi Brown eye brightenerNARS radiant creamy concealer; Cle de Peau Beaute concealer 5. Sephora eyeshadow palette; Bobbi Brown eye sweep brush 6. Bobbi Brown eyeliner 7. Benefits “they’re real” mascara; Dior Iconic waterproof mascara 8. Chanel eyebrow pencil 9. Bobbi Brown bronzing powder ; Bobbi Brown bronzer brush 10. Nars blush ; Bobbi Brown blush brush 11. Make Up Forever finishing powder; Bobbi Brown sheer powder brush 12. Sara Happ nude lipgloss; Nars lipgloss

Tools of tha’ trade…sharing some secrets here!

We all have a few beauty tools up our sleeve. Tools we’ve used for years and ‘swear by.’ Below I wanted to share a couple of mine with you. Some of them ain’t that sexy – but they do the trick. If it’s pesky hairs, dark circles, or greasy hair…we all have our gripes…so please feel free to share your beauty tool staples with us!

  • Sephora Targeted eye remover swabs – ($9 @ Sephora) I saw these in the check out line at Sephora. Those damn bins full of goodies always get me while I wait! This time however, I found something great AND functional. Ever have trouble getting the left over eyeliner or mascara off of your lash line? These babies will do the trick. They are also travel-friendly. No more spilling liquid eye remover! These swabs can fit easily and legally within a carry on or purse for seamless airline travel

    Uber convenient Sephora Eye Remover Swabs

    Uber convenient Sephora Eye Remover Swabs

  • Pssssst Dry Shampoo – ($7, available at most pharmacies but also @ Drugstore.com) yes, I’ve blogged about the wonders of dry shampoo before. I even have another favorite brand (Suave). But the other day when my husband was swinging by CVS, I asked him to pick me up a bottle since I was running out. Apparently, he couldn’t find the Sauve brand. So he brought home Psssst. I laughed out loud at the name. But then I tried it. It works! Perfectly. And smells nice too. They also re-designed the bottle so it’s a bit more modern 😉

    dang, look at that product re-design! Psssst Dry Shampoo is modernized and works great!

    dang, look at that product re-design! Psssst Dry Shampoo is modernized and works great!

  • Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller in Sheer Tint – ($12.99, available at most pharmacies but also @ Drugstore.com)  I’ll start by admitting that this isn’t a “natural” beauty product but I often exercise the saying ‘everything in moderation.’ Same thing with gummy frogs. I bought this roller off a recommendation from a friend. I was skeptical. But it has become an AM staple for me if I am running out of the house to do some errands or, even going for a work out. No, I don’t think I ‘need’ make up for these things but sometimes I need a little ‘spruce up’ so I can feel better. So I do one roll under each eye, a couple pats, and BOOM, I look less tired. Love this product. I’ve tried other ‘higher end’ alternatives…and still haven’t found one better than this

    bye bye raccoon eyes! Garnier's eye roller works MAGIC

    bye bye raccoon eyes! Garnier’s eye roller works MAGIC

  • Plackers Dental Flossers Gentle Fine – ($2.99, available at most pharmacies but also @ Drugstore.com) I hate flossing. I don’t do it everyday, eek. But when I do, I use Plackers. These little thingies get right in between my teeth. I find them quicker and easier to use than regular floss. I keep a bowl-full in the bathroom

    screw dental floss. Use these handy, quick Placker picks

    screw dental floss. Use these handy, quick Placker picks

  • Sally Hansen Microwaveable Eyebrow, Face, and Lip Wax – get the non-strips kind – ($6, available at most pharmacies) I always keep this on hand. I opt for the salon when it comes to my eyebrows because there is definitely a ‘design element’ to waxing the ‘brows. But, one area you can do on your own is the mustache. That’s right…the dreaded upper lip hair. And with Sally Hansen, there really is no excuse to let this grow in. I won’t lie…every once in awhile my husband nicely points out that I might want to ‘wax my mustache.’ And no, I don’t get mad…I freaking microwave this stuff and wax that stache off! It is super easy and comes with a small pot of wax in a microwaveable container, mini tweezers, and a Popsicle-type stick for application. The only caution I will mention – be sure to not overheat the wax. I typically microwave for 2 minutes, max. But to be sure, if you dip the Popsicle stick in and the wax runs off like water…it’s too hot. Wait until it has a slow, honey-like drip. You can always test on another area first (hand?) before applying to your face, just to be sure. This stuff is amazing and cheap. It picks up all those pesky hairs. Save yourself the money, do your ‘stache at home. Does it hurt? Um ya, it hurts a bit to pull ya hair out. But, I think it’s more bearable because YOU pull the wax yourself, you’re in control!

    pot of gold right here. Sally Hansen Wax Kit for face!

    pot of gold right here. Sally Hansen Wax Kit for face!

  • Philips Precision Perfect Trimmer – this isn’t for what you think. It’s for those pesky facial hairs. For me, it’s the peachy fuzz. My sister once told me I had a blond beard. What a sweetheart. Either way, I keep this handy tool nearby to quickly clean up pesky, long hair. Maybe I should keep this beauty tool to myself since I’m sure some people will think I’m a hairy polar bear. But no, I’m not that selfish. This thing works wonders. And I’d rather trim than wax my ENTIRE face. Oh and, I don’t think my hair is laser-removal appropriate. Even if it is, I’d rather spend my money elsewhere right now. You may (secretly) thank me later for this tool

    a handy tool to have. Philips Precision Trimmer set

    a handy tool to have. Philips Precision Trimmer set

Don’t forget the stocking stuffers! 10 unisex stocking stuffer ideas

ImageStocking stuffers are totally fine to leave until the last minute – at least I think so! Below is a list of 10 unisex stocking stuffers. Each quite different from the other! The below is an alternative to the typical candy canes and marshmallow Santas (which I love!)

All under $20

  1. Mario Badescu Dry Lotion – this stuff is magic. And although it goes on pink, it is meant to be worn at night…and will zap a pimple in no time. Especially those painful ones that seem to last weeks. Not to name-names, but my husband swears by this and I usually put a bottle in his stocking. Click the above link for more information. $17 / available @ Nordstrom

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    MB drying lotion – pimple zapper

  2. Tide To Go Pen(s) – I never think to buy these myself but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spilled something on myself and a friend has pulled a Tide pen out and saved the day. These things are clutch when you are out and about. They are purse/pocket friendly. This set of 3 is less than $10 / available at Target, CVS etc.

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    Tide To Go pen = shirt saver!

  3. Lip Balm Stick – this one by Avalon Organics is my favorite (approx. $3). It has a rosemary + vanilla scent which is guy-friendly. It conditions the lips really well without adding too much shine. It uses beeswax and organic oils to moisturize, lovely! Avalon Organics available at some specialty health foods stores and super markets (i.e. Stop & Shop) – I’d double check Avalon’s site first to confirm

    Avalon Organics Soothing Rosemary Vanilla lip balm

    Avalon Organics Soothing Rosemary Vanilla lip balm

  4. Weekly/Monthly Planner – I love this one by Blue Sky – available at Target. It is travel friendly. I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly double booking myself – and having a planner helps me track everything from social engagements to dentist appointments. This one is less than $10 – who couldn’t use a good planner?

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    A weekly planner can be a lifesaver – available in many colors. This one is durable!

  5. iTunes card – this might not seem that creative, but with all the apps you can download now and the fact that you can buy Apple products through the iTunes store as well, there is a lot someone can do with an iTunes card. And you can pick one up almost anywhere. You don’t have to worry about a big increment because even $10 will buy someone a bunch of songs or a couple movie rentals. Available in a variety of increments @ CVS, Best Buy etc.
  6. Vitamin C Gummies – these have been a lifesaver for me this winter. I try to take them everyday and since they’re tasty and in gummy form, it makes it much easier to remember. Available at supermarkets, Target, Trader Joes etc.

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    Yummi bears – available at Target

  7. Dark Chocolate – I consider this a healthy gift…I’m sure most of us have read about the benefits of DARK chocolate. Trader Joes has a great sampler right now – which includes a few different bars. The link above is to Godiva – a dark chocolate peppermint crunch bar, yum! Try for at least 70% cacao. This Godiva is 50%, I still think that’s good – hey, it’s the Holidays!
  8. Poo-Pourri – yup, you read that right. This little bottle can come in handy especially when you are visiting someone. Or, it’s a nice thing to leave out in your bathroom if you have guests. And hey, at the very least, it’ll make someone laugh! Available at specialty stores/boutiques, check the site for a location near you. Approx. $10

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    Poo-Pourri – how cute, right??

  9. Mini tweezers – a unibrow doesn’t look good on anyone. I think everyone should have a good pair of tweezers handy. I love this mini pair by Tweezerman – it comes in a little tube case for easy/clean storing. $15 / available @ Sephora

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    Tweezerman mini – in a manly blue!

  10. Comfortable pen(s) – might sound boring, but most people appreciate a good pen! One that writes smoothly! And this can be a good reminder to send thank-you notes for all the gifts you may receive. I love these Pilot G2 rollers, super easy to write with! 3 pack approx. $5 @ Target

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    Pilot G2 pens – smooth thank-you note writin’

10 tips/tricks to a healthier complexion

Work a couple (or all!) of these into your routine, stick with them, and you will see/feel a difference!

1) Drink MORE water/tea: Replace your afternoon soda with a sparkling mineral water or replace your 2nd cup of coffee with green tea (I ❤ MightyLeaf). Buy a portable, yet cute water bottle (CamelBak Groove Bottle; $19 on Amazon.com). Keeping this full and on hand will make it easier to sip throughout the day. Keeping yourself hydrated will flush your system and you will notice it in your skin.

2) Use a Humidifier in your Bedroom: This appliance increases the moisture in the air…which helps alleviate symptoms of dry skin, eyes etc. Especially during winter months when heat can really parch the skin.

3) Wash ya face every night: Washing off the day’s dirt each night will definitely pay off in your complexion. Get yourself into a nightly routine where you cleanse, tone, and moisturize before bed:

4) Use a Silk Pillowcase: Even if your cotton sheets have a high thread count, silk is still easier on the skin because it is woven closer together. Buy a silk pillowcase to snooze on (you don’t have to buy the whole sheet set!) – it will feel luxurious and be gentler on your delicate facial skin

5) Routine Facials: Schedule a facial every 6-8 weeks. An aesthetician will know how to properly cleanse and treat your skin. By going regularly they can address skin problems/concerns over time.

  • Spaweek.com offers spa gift cards that can be used at thousands of different spas throughout the US

6) Sweat (often): Beyond helping reduce stress – get in a good sweat at least a few times a week. Your body is your temple, treating it well will be felt inside and radiate outward.

  • Sweat for less by dialing up works-outs On-Demand through your cable box. From yoga to basic aerobics, On-Demand offers a variety of work-outs you can do at home.

7) Keep Moisturized:  Properly moisturized skin looks healthier and more even.

Try for day:

Try for night:

8) Get enough ZZzzzz’s: Stress and lack of sleep shows in your face… strive to get at least 6 hours a night. 2 ways to make it easier to fall & stay asleep:

  • TV sleep timer: although TV can lull some people to sleep it can often disrupt sleep during the night. Use your trusty TV sleep timer and set it for 30 minutes after you get into bed so it shuts off once you’re asleep
  • Noise Machine: be it breaking waves or whale cries, these repetitive sounds can help lull you to sleep

9) Get a fo-glow: The real deal is not a healthy avenue.  If you need to fake a little color to brighten up your complexion:

10) Eat (and drink) more Greens: Cut back on processed sugar and eat more fruits and vegetables. This will improve not only your general health but also your skin. Read this piece by Shape Magazine’s on juices for healthier skin

Purse essentials – don’t leave home without them

Most women have them – ‘purse essentials’ – those few beauty items we have to carry at all times. Unless of course we’re going totally minimalist and all we need is a debit card, license, and lip gloss…there are those nights. But for the nights when we want to be prepared…

I’ve thought long and hard about my essentials…and which ones have been the most handy and why. Below is the VIP list

1. You need a handy pouch to keep it all together in your purse. Without this everything flies loose and can’t be accessed easily…leaving you helpless in the ladies room

My favorite: Bloomingdales ‘Little Brown Cosmetic’ Case ($12 @ Bloomingdales.com)…just the right size, zip top, it’s vinyl so if you drop it it will wipe off easily

THE case

2. A good cover up. Since typically, I already have make-up on at the point in the day when I need my beauty essentials kit – I need something that’s good for touch ups and not super thick. It needs to be easy to apply. An open pot of concealer just won’t do it for me when I’m in a rush. I’d rather not stick my fingers into a pot of concealer and close it back up.

My favorite: Chanel’s Highlighter Face Pen ($40 @ select dept store – Bloomies, Nordstrom etc.) this product boasts: “In a single stroke, adds new radiance to makeup and dark areas of the face. It reduces the appearance of fine lines with an optical effect and lightens dark circles.” courtesy of Bloomingdales.com. Couple swipes under the eyes and on either side of the nose and I’m immediately more refreshed looking. I use the color ‘Light’

3. A blush to add some color to a ghastly complexion at the end of a long work day. Nothing like looking in the mirror and feeling drab – with a couple pats of this blush, you’ll literally look ready to head out to a dinner date

My favorite: Koh Gen Do Fresh Face Cheek Color ($41 @ Barney’s) I use the Pink Coral color. Why does this absolutely rule? You don’t need a brush…you just pop off the top and use the puff-top applicator to dot on your cheeks. Not sure about you…but I’ve broken multiple blush compacts in my purse, so sad. This is bust proof because the blush is already in powder form. Lasts forever too!

Koh Gen Do Fresh Face Blush

4. A lip gloss that doesn’t need your finger for application. If you know me, I love lipgloss and have many favorites – my current go-to’s:

For a natural hint of color and really good gloss/moisture: Mineral Fusion Liquid Lipgloss (~$5.24 @ Drugstore.com) I like the color ‘Enlighten’ – which is a light pinky nude

For a bit more color and some glitter: Chanel’s Levres Scintullantes Glossimer ($29.50 @ dept stores Macys, Bloomies etc.) – in layman’s terms, this is the lipgloss wand. I like the color ‘119’ which is a fun glimmery pink

5. A good MINI mascara…and frankly, I’m not too tied to a brand here. Recently, I’ve been alternating between a Bobbi Brown sample and a Laura Mercier sample. Either does the trick…I got them in free gift sets and they’re perfect purse size!

I like Bobbi’s mini ‘Party Extreme’ mascara in Black

Thanks for the free sample, Bobbi! Bobbi Brown Extreme Party Mascara mini

6. Travel size perfume this is another item you can get for free. Nordstrom is good about putting out free Joe Malone perfume samples. I like to carry a purse size of my favorite perfume which I splurged on for my wedding…

What: Byredo Gypsy Water ($110 @ Barneys for a set of 3 purse-size spray bottles)…why I like and why I splurged = I wanted a perfume ‘no one’ had for my wedding. I walked into Barney’s which is THE place to find unique/harder to find pefumes…I tried so many and landed on this scent. It’s light but it also has some deeper notes. I’ve never smelled anything like it and therefore, I knew it would always remind me of my wedding day. The pack includes 3 pretty good size bottles – one for my purse, one for home, and one for my gym bag…or, as back up for when one runs out. Most perfumes run you at least $50-$60 these days so I was willing to pay a little extra for something more unique. And the regular bottles are beautiful – the whole line is super creative and offers many different scents: Byredo website

Byredo Gypsy Water regular sized bottles – gorgeous

7. Last but not least an extra hair band…better known to me as a twistband ($5 for a 3 pack of solid hair ties @ Thetwistband.com)! This is clearly an essential – if you don’t need it, a friend will. Nothing sucks more than not having a hair elastic when things heat up and you feel your hair start to puff. I am a huge advocate of THE TWISTBAND – these elastics keep your hair back and don’t snag at strands. And they look cute on your wrist 😉

Details on the Twistband: http://wp.me/p1kq6s-bv

Twistbands! so many pretty colors

And that’s it…a few essentials…something to cover up blemishes and discoloration…something to give your cheeks a pop of color…something to lighten up the lips and freshen up the lashes, a scent to kick off the night…and a cute hair elastic in case the night ends with a wild dance party.

What are your purse BEAUTY essentials?