Happy Saturday!


Hello friends!  

My talented best friend created a custom illustration for The Style Verdict and I just couldn’t wait to share until next week!  She is the artist behind Melsy’s Illustrations and I think you’re going to love her work.  Check out this beauty below! 

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For more info on her products visit her Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Melsys

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Have a wonderful weekend – I have some good stuff planned for next week so stay tuned! 

XO 

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90s Revival, DWTS, and 3 Must-Have Pieces for Fall…


Good afternoon, friends! I’m proud to report that there were no crazy makeup mishaps this morning and all the product went where it was supposed to…Mondays can really throw you for a loop.  It did, however, redeem itself in the form of Dancing with the Stars.  Now, I never actually watched this show for more than 4 consecutive minutes before last night, but there was something about the cast that really intrigued me – hello, if Bill Nye The Science Guy was going to be dancing, you know I’d be watching! Also, my inner Disney teen was probably far too excited to see Corbin Bleu, and that trashy-reality TV version of myself was definitely looking out for Snooki (er, Nicole…) – who, by the way, actually looked gorgeous and incredibly fit, which is obviously a far cry from her days on the Shore. I have to say, I was pretty impressed with the dancing and definitely touched by the underlying message of determination and strength as exhibited by the two contestants struggling with debilitating diseases: Jack Osbourne and the lovely Valerie Harper.  Did I just find my new guilty pleasure?

DWTS Cast

Image Cred: CBS

In other news, apparently Timberland boots are being revived from the 90s grave they were buried in and are fashionable again.  I’m sorry, but,… what?  I get it, they are considered to be a little piece of Americana, a little glimpse into urban street style, but to be fair, they. are. work. boots.  So, unless you plan on doing some carpentry or want to get busy rewiring some faulty electrical work, please, take them off.  It kind of baffles me that some of the world’s most noteworthy fashion designers are all about this trend.  Take the glorious designer of BCBG and Herve Leger, Max Azria, for example.  In an interview by Yahoo, he states: “It could be very stylish if you do a contradiction with a very feminine dress with these tough shoes. The balance is fantastic and very sexy.” I understand the whole androgynous, mixed sexuality, artistic angle you’re advocating, but Max, but if I’m going to be feminine, I’m going to wear pumps, not work. boots.  My girl, Rebecca Minkoff came to the rescue with a resounding “no” when asked if it were in style.  She gets me. And, now you know.

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Finally, these 3 fab runway trends are totally do-able for Fall: leopard/animal print, leather, and emerald green.

Burberry Fall 2013 Runway Show

Image Cred: Burberry

Oh Burberry, how pretty are you.  I’ve never been a big animal print lover; however, I’ve learned over time that moderation with (mostly) anything, including prints, is A-okay.  Since the New York Fall Fashion Week in the Spring, I’ve been on a mad hunt for a good pair of leopard pumps or flats.  Because trends change in an instant, I’ll probably settle on something more affordable, but, how cute are these, Loubs?!

Christian Louboutin

Image Cred: Christian Louboutin

As I sit here and type in my leather moto jacket by Zara, I can wholeheartedly say, I’ve bought into this craze.  There’s something special about leather that adds instant glam to even the most casual outfits.  Dressed up or dressed down, a touch of this versatile fabric can really pump up your chic factor. My next must-have? Leather leggins.

Leather

Image Cred: inaworldofbees.com

Lauren Conrad

Image Cred: Lauren Conrad

Move over burgundy, there’s a new deep hue in town: emerald green.  This color hit the runways (thanks, Pantone) in full force and I’m not mad about it.  What a beautiful color. Why haven’t we been this obsessed with it before!? Let’s all go get some emerald anything and be the gems that we are…(I was well overdue for a pun…)

Pantone

Image Cred: fashionista.com

What are you working into your Fall wardrobe!?

XO 

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Beauty on a Budget: Five Fab Finds Under $10…


It’s Monday, again and it couldn’t have been more apparent than when I put black, liquid liner on my eyebrows instead of my eyelids this morning. That was fun. But, what a Monday it’s been already! Miley and Liam have called it quits (Thank, God), we have a new Miss America, Nina Davuluri, Britney Spears released a new single affirmatively titled: Work B*tch, Burberry took the runway by storm at London Fashion Week, and sadly, 12 lives were taken at the DC Navy Yard (my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected). It’s definitely been an emotional roller coaster of a day, but aren’t Monday’s supposed to be “manic”?

Anyway, mid-eyeliner mistake, I was thinking about how many great drugstore products that I incorporate into my everyday routine. Not every item you put on your body needs to break the bank to be effective. In fact, there are a number of products that are under $10 that are every bit as good as those in the $50+ range. Lets get started!

1. Freeman Face Masks

Image Cred: shescribes.com

Don’t have enough time or money for a facial? I feel ya, sister. Meet a few of your new best friends. Freeman masks are so cheap ($2-$5) and so good. I honestly don’t know how I hadn’t come across these sooner in life. It’s borderline depressing. There are at least 7 different formulas to help target different problem areas such as dryness, dullness, acne, and inflammation. Bonus: They smell amazing AND you can purchase individual one-time use pouches to test them out before committing to a large tube – win! Go out and buy these now.

2. Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express Mascara

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If you’re anything like me, you could live off of food, water, and a good mascara. If volume is what you’re after, this baby definitely has it. I can’t substantiate any of Maybelline’s claims that it increases lash volume by 9x (…because who measures that), but I can tell you, that my lashes are certainly full and flirty. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice designer mascara as much as the next beauty blogger, but for $7.99, you really can’t go wrong! Purchase the blackest black for the most dramatic, glam look, and you’ll be well on your way to handing out dishes of lash envy.

3. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick

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Let’s face it, lip color can really make or break a look. It can be the difference between looking frumpy and looking fab, so why not experiment with different hues to see what looks best with your complexion. Obviously, this isn’t always feasible when we’re talking $35+ “splurge-sticks,” so here’s where these little gems come in handy. I personally think Revlon did a great job on these. They go on smooth, the color pay-off is great, they have decent packaging, and they are only $8.99. Bonus: They are moisturizing and have a bit of a sheen so if you’ve forgotten lipstick’s favorite friends, lip balm and lip gloss, you’re in luck!

4. Wet ‘n Wild Eyeliner/Eyebrow Pencil

Image Cred: vampyvarnish.com

I kid you not, these are a saving grace if you suddenly run out of your favorite pencil. For only $1, you really can’t beat ’em. I actually was surprised at the ease of application and the “smudge-ability” of the product. Definitely worth it if you aren’t up for spending a small fortune on the Dior and Lancome’s of the makeup world. Bonus: They actually last – how many $1 things can you say that about!?

5. Essie Nail Polish

Image Cred: style.com

I have an unhealthy small obsession with this $8 polish. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ve heard about the production that is painting my nails. So, for me, all the more reason to find a great brand, with beautiful colors, fun names (they do matter…), and staying power. Also, the vibrancy of the hues is readily apparent in the bottle – in other words, the what you see is what you get. Bonus: The colors are “creamy” and you don’t need more than 2 coats (sometimes even 1!) for your nails to look like you just stepped out of the salon.

What is your favorite go-to bargain beauty product!?

XO

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6 Everyday Items You Never Knew Your Beauty Routine Needed…


I know, I know… it’s technically “Worth-It Wednesday” and I was going to review a new foundation I’ve been using, but I think I need a little more time to test it out.  Soooo, instead, I’ve put together a list of 6 items found around your home that you may have never thought to use when getting ready.  I didn’t invent these genius ideas, but I have used them! Here it goes!

1. Q-Tips 

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Image Cred: catchwordbranding.com

No surprise, here.  This little double-sided cotton swab is just the tool you need to correct any makeup application flub.  Extend that cat-eye liner a little too far? Get a case of the “shakey hands” when applying lipstick and liner? No problem, this little guy is here to save the day.  I like to dampen one end just enough for it to be able to glide across my skin, but not wet enough that it will ruin the rest of my makeup – can’t fix one problem and create another… that’s just silly!  Can’t get enough?  Well, you can also use Q-Tips to correct any mistakes during those at-home manicures.  Simply dip one end into nail polish remover, squeeze out the excess, and run it along any color creeping onto your skin.  Bonus: They are also great eyeliner “smudgers” for that seductive, smokey-eye!

2. Coffee Grinds 

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Image Cred: yellowblissroad.com

Now your morning coffee can pack a double punch.  If you’re anything like me, a nice hot cup of joe is vital in order to even think about having a productive day.  Caffeine, in general, gives your body that boost of energy it needs to get off the couch be a functioning member of society.  Now, you can use those same grinds to give your face and body a rejuvenated look.  Just mix the grinds with moisturizing lotion or olive oil and rub vigorously over face, neck, and body if you’re feeling adventurous (just keep in mind that this can be pretty messy…).  Wash off your scrub and revel in your smooth, supple skin! Sidenote: There is also talk about this being a cellulite fighter…I can’t attest to any claims, but how great would that be!?

3. Eggs

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Image Cred: thekitchn.com

Again, our mornings can seriously have a big impact on the rest of our day, so while you’re digesting from that delicious omelet, take a couple more eggs (2 should do, 3 if you have longer hair), beat them together in a small bowl and then apply this liquid to your hair in the shower.  Leave in for 3-5 minutes and rinse using luke warm water. Don’t take that last part lightly, unless of course you’re looking for seconds and want pieces of cooked egg in your hair.  That’s cool, too. This should leave your hair feeling soft and looking shiny – breakfast really is the most important meal of the day!

4. Toothpaste 

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Image Cred: wikipedia.com

You brush your teeth because you’re a fresh-breathed, good hygiened-person.  Congrats. Anddd, you may have also used it from time to time to spot treat some stubborn pimples. But, have you ever used it on your nails?  Sometimes our nails yellow for a variety of reasons – health, diet, old green nail polish that you’ve been too lazy to remove for 3 months – these are the usual culprits.  Toothpaste can be a saving grace for these folks – it’s cheap and easy to do.  Brush a small amount onto your nails and watch the stains diminish.  You can also add a few drops of lemon juice (which has intense lightening power all on its own) for an extra boost.  This may be self-explainitory, but please don’t use the same toothbrush you’re using in your mouth on your nails. That’s…wrong.

5. Scotch Tape 

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Image Cred: sheknows.com

This one is going to seem a little weird.  But, it works. So, I guess it’s just awesome.  Dry skin on your lips?  Place a piece of scotch tape on those babies and press.  Then gently pull the piece off and look at all that pesky dead skin with pride – flakey lips can be an ugly battle, but you’ve won! Bonus: You can also use it to make some pretty spectacular nail art.

6. Pam Cooking Spray – Original 

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This is just ingenious.  Painting my nails is legitimately a process for me.  I have to find the perfect block of time to do them so it’s not interfering with 1. dish washing, 2. dog walking, feeding, playing… really anything to do with my dog, and 3. bed time (there is seriously nothing worse than waking up with bed sheet imprints and lint on your freshly painted nails).  Solution? Pam Cooking Spray can act as a quick drying agent so that you can get back living a smudge-free life!

Do you have any must-use beauty tips and secrets?

XO

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Kim K’s Kinda Krazy…


So in my “sickness” haze last week, I apparently uploaded a post incorrectly (not, sure how that even happens, by the way) and as a result, nothing new graced the front page of my blog.   Now I know that it’s old news, but instead of trashing the post completely, I am going to throw it up here – it’s just too bizarre not to!

Enjoy!

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Well, this is weird.  New pictures surfaced today of the normally glam Kim Kardashian and they are…umm, interesting.  Generally expectant mothers join forces with a photographer and create some really breathtaking images capturing the beauty of pregnancy.  We’ve seen the heart on the bump, the silhouette, the baby blocks… but we definitely haven’t seen whatever it is that Kimye did.  Apparently, she was going for that disturbing, horror-movie chic look.  The jam? The outfits? The fact that Kim, herself looks like a giant child?  I’m all sorts of confused.

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I guess the only redeeming quality of this “high-fashion” shoot is that it was done by Karl Lagerfeld and honestly, the guy can do no wrong…and I know what you’re thinking… no, not even his hair is wrong.  And, now you know.

Warning: the following cannot be unseen:

What are your thoughts – high fashion or just plain weird?

XO 

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Worth It Wednesday…


ImageSkin.  It’s the largest organ in the human body and yet, sometimes it’s forgotten about the most.  We tend to take extreme measures to protect our heart, lungs, and brain, but our poor skin, which is exposed to so much of the world, often gets taken for granted.  Not only should we be moisturizing daily, but we should also be applying sunscreen when we venture outdoors.  Now, I realize this isn’t always feasible, but we can at least try, right!?  Hey, when it comes to sunscreen application, I’m the biggest rule breaker, there’s just something wonderful about achieving the perfect sun-kissed glow.  But there is one thing that I definitely won’t sacrifice in my skin care routine:       a good facial cleanser.

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Side note: Washing my face is never this peaceful. Maybe I’m I doing it wrong.

Since I (sadly) wasn’t blessed with flawless skin, washing my face at least twice a day is a must if I want to avoid an oily, blemish ridden complexion.  After trying countless products – high-end, drugstore, prescription – I thought I’d never find my go-to beauty staple… until I got my hands on Cetaphil.  This gem lives up to its “gentle and effective” claim and even has a number of awards to prove it! (I’m a sucker for “awards”…) This brand has more than just a universal cleanser, too.  Cetaphil has multiple ones for multiple skin types – finally a company that recognizes the full gamut of skin issues and addresses them with products that actually work – what a novel idea! I’ve stuck to the originals for the cleanser and moisturizer, but I definitely plan on exploring their DermaControl line for those with blemish-prone skin.

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Cetaphil products are easily accessible at most drugstores and major retailers, such as Walmart and Target.  Though slightly more expensive than other cleansers ($8.99-$12.99), I definitely think this product is worth the price tag!

What is your favorite skin care product?

XO

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The VMAs: The Good, The Bad, & The Miley…


Like most of America last night, I tuned into the MTV Video Music Awards.  Just uttering the acronym “VMA” transports me back to high school where my girlfriends and I would hold countdowns, host viewing parties, fuel up on Surge, and eat some serious junk food, all while wearing our best boy-band apparel (cough, N*Sync…).   Back then, we knew 99% of the celebs in attendance, when they were born, their favorite color, and “the last time they cried” thanks to publications like Teen Beat Magazine (okay, so it sounds creepy, but in this Twitter-driven age I can tell you what people are having for lunch, where they are eating, and whether they enjoyed it… doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?)

What I’m trying to say is that the 14 year old me is very different from the me that watched it last night.  After only making it through the first hour – in part because I was sufficiently disturbed and part exhausted –  I can unequivocally say that I. am. old.  Where are the boy bands? the frosted tips? the denim tuxedos? Not only am I borderline lost with who some of these people are, I felt kind of violated by former Disney star, Miley Cyrus.  That girl just booked a one way ticket to Bynes-Spears-Lohan-ville – a lovely little town between “No One Gets Me” and “I’m Fine, I Swear.”

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Nothing to see here y’all, just grindin’ and twerkin’ with my foam finger.

It’s safe to say that the reaction of the Smith family was mutual…

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Moving on to perhaps the most glorious, and highly anticipated moment of national television: a (110 second) N*Sync reunion.  After Miley brought us to hell and back with her performance, the clouds parted as JT took the stage and single handedly restored our faith in entertainment.  For a minute, I thought I was watching the 20/20 Tour and everyone else were just fans and bizarre opening acts.  The “President of Pop” (as dubbed by one of my best friends) brought me home, so to speak.  He metaphorically built a bridge to my teeny-bopper past and I ran over it, put butterfly clips in my hair, and stayed there for a solid 15 minutes squealing with pure bliss. Thanks, JT and Co.

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Magic. 

One more thing – Taylor Swift.  Girl, you rocked it.  Could she have been more stunning last night? The answer is a huge no.  She captured old Hollywood glamour perfectly from shiny finger curls a la Marilyn, to that amazing navy blue Herve Leger by Max Azria gown, to her signature bright red, sassy lip.

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Exquisite!  

Honorable mention goes to Allison Williams of Girls and The Mindy Project.  She looked beautious in a creamy-white Valentino mini.  Her makeup was flawless and I loved how she swept her hair back to showcase that pretty face.  Fun fact: she also went to Yale – smart is sexy, right?  Ashton Kutcher would be proud.

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Who was your style crush on the red carpet?

XO 

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Ask Me What Day It Is…


That’s right, people… it’s hump day (“whoo whoo!”) and what better time to do a product review.  I thought that going forward I’d designate the mid-week mark as “Worth It Wednesdays” where I’d discuss and review certain products to determine whether buying them is…wait for it… worth it.

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Today, the product on the chopping block is: Too Faced Primed and Porelesss Skin Smoothing Face Primer ($30 at Sephora)

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So about 3 weeks ago I was in the market for a new primer.  As much as I like to stay faithful to my favorites, I try and mix it up as much as possible – it’s always nice to try something new and gain a broader makeup/beauty knowledge base.  For those of you who may not be privy to the benefits of a primer, let me explain.  These magical, little tubes generally carry moisturizers to hydrate, even out, and perfect our skin before makeup is applied.  This allows for our face to look its best and breathe even when being virtually suffocated by foundations, bronzers, and blush.

After doing extensive research (hey, a girl’s gotta be an informed consumer, right!?), I found that Primed and Poreless would be best suited to give me that enviable airbrushed look that we’re all constantly striving for while also providing a mattifying, lustrous finish.

The product is nude colored, but turns clear upon application.  I loved the velvety texture and the way my skin felt with it on.  With that being said, I noticed my face would get increasingly more oily throughout the day, ultimately canceling out any mattifying properties the product originally possessed.  To add insult to injury, my sensitive skin put up a good fight in the breakout department, but ultimately lost.  Since I was in complete denial that this top-rated primer could leave me with such an unfortunate reaction, I kept using it for another week (dumb move).  Surprise, surprise…P&P was the culprit.  After discontinuing its use, my skin has finally mellowed out and I no longer look like a pre-pubescent version of myself (Thank God!).

Overall, I would recommend  this product to those lucky people who do not have acne prone skin.  For us sensitive gals, either steer clear of this one or check out their new line made to alleviate this very problem – the oil-free Primed and Poreless Pure.

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Guess we can’t say Too Faced doesn’t listen to critiques!

What’s your favorite primer?

Happy shopping!

XO

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P.S.  I’m really hoping you all have seen the latest Geico commercial otherwise, the title of this post would really be falling on deaf ears (or eyes).  If you haven’t, check it out below – it gets me every time!

Princess Kate is Worth The Wait…


As much as I wasn’t anticipating writing a blog post today,  I just couldn’t let any more time pass without mentioning the arrival of the long-awaited (and non-professional, I might add) official Royal Family portrait.

Feast your eyes on these beautiful people: 

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All that perfection made you feel a little self-concious for a split second, didn’t it.  So, besides being royal and all, they totally look like people we could be friends with.  I mean they have a couple silly looking dogs, an angelic, little prince baby, lets face it, they just look welcoming.

Ever since their engagement, their perpetual spotlight has only grown more brilliant due to our ever-present fascination with real-life fairytales.  One of the most notable qualities about the Duke and Duchess is their down-to-earth nature that often leaves the rest of the world thinking “hey, they are just like me.”  Strip away all the regalia, the titles, the castle… basically anything “royal,” and you really have two athletic college sweethearts who both happen to have ridiculously natural good looks and enviable accents (sorry, but say whatever you want to me in a British accent and we’ll call it water under the bridge).

The point is: William and Kate are accessible.  I mean, Kate did her own wedding makeup and the girl still looked flawless.  Similarly, the above portrait was not done by a professional, instead it was a simple snapshot taken by Kate’s father in his backyard.  How much more “girl next door” can she get without actually being my neighbor (cue the dream sequence…how awesome would that be!?).

Anyway, let’s talk fashion.  Kate always exudes an air of confidence, grace, and elegance whether she is on the sidelines of a sporting event or at some posh gala.   This official family portrait, is no different.  Like we’ve seen throughout much of her pregnancy, the Duchess is sporting high street fashion brand, Seraphine.  This dress, in particular, which was chosen from her own closet, only costs approximately $79.  Just to recap, this is royalty in a $79 dress.  Talk about being sensible with your style.

Cecile Reinaud, the founder of Seraphine, told People: “We knew she really liked that dress, but to see her wearing it nearly a month after the birth – it’s so exciting! She looks so beautiful in those pictures but also so natural. I think it’s a huge compliment to her that she looks like that in a snapshot, without a top-notch photographer with retouching and everything.”  Amen, girlfriend.

Also, if you were looking to purchase some of these kate-tastic maternity styles, you mayyy want to consider them for your next pregnancy as they are already backordered until September 16th due to high volume during the hours of 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. this morning.

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Royal waving myself out of here…

XO 

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Lip Service – The Battle of the Balms…


Dry, flakey, cut, and chapped: four adjectives that should never be used to describe our lips. But hey, sometimes life happens and those babies aren’t quite as “soft” and “supple” as you may like. I’ve personally been having my own lip-battle as of late. Remember my really adventurous biking escapade I mentioned in an earlier post? Well, I have since been enduring a really bizarre battle wound from the wind (yes, I was pedaling that fast): awkward, spotty lip chapping. Sounds so pretty, right? That’s a definite wrong. As if that were my only issue, like so many others in my situation, chapped lips are often accompanied by pain.

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Obviously companies have capitalized on this issue and created some pretty great products. Over the last few days, I’ve turned this unfortunate beauty blunder into a learning experience and performed my own mini experiment to see which products actually work, and which just took advantage of my weakness for a nice package.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… I’m a marketer’s dream. Here’s what I found…

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Retire Me: ChapStick

The pros of this veteran product? Cheap ($2.88 for a 3 pack at Walmart), easy to find, works in a pinch.

The cons? I don’t know what it is about ChapStick, but I always go back to it thinking that I somehow messed up applying it before and that’s the reason it didn’t work. But, let’s be honest… how does one mess that up? The answer is, they don’t. So my conclusion is that this little stick just doesn’t work as well as they claim. Do I dare say that my lips actually appeared more chapped? Some people do swear by this product, though, anndd it has been around forever… so maybe it’s just my lips. Also, the packaging is boring. There I said it. Aside from a change in font, I think the look has been the same since they started. I guess that’s good brand recognition though, so… congrats?

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I’m Good…Sometimes: Nivea A Kiss of Rejuvenation Anti-Aging Lip Care

The pros? While it’s a bit more expensive than ChapStick, it is still pretty reasonable (around $3.29 at most drugstores). Also, I’m a fan of lip care tubes, so the packaging for me is a plus. This particular line has coenzyme Q10 that supposedly helps with anti-aging. I guess I haven’t really been caring noticing any changing in the youthfulness of my lips, but…sure, it’s possible. I do find that this guy works between 85-90% of the time. I’ll throw some on before bed and again first thing in the morning and usually, this stuff keeps my lips soft and healthy looking.

The cons? Yes, it usually works. Lately though, this was no match for my damaged lips. It has a milky white color, too. So if you put on as much as I have been, you can look slightly sickly without adding a pop of color into the mix. Perhaps, for the average dry lipped people of the world, this is a good option – but anything more severe, try something that’s more potent.

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Buy Me Now: EOS Lip Balms

The pros? Personally, this is the holy grail of lip balms. Relatively inexpensive ($2.79-$3.00 range), at least 6 different colors/flavors, and it actually WORKS. Like, so well. Thanks to this baby, I’m a proud owner of moisturized, pain-free lips! Don’t even get me started on the packaging. A small little pastel ball holding half-mooned balm inside? Um, yes. I need all of them. Right now. This lip product ALWAYS goes on super smooth and it’s never greasy. It leaves my lips hydrated with a slight sheen over my natural lip color. No milky white mess, here. Ah, I love it. One more thing, I love it a lot.

The cons? As much as I LOVE the packaging, unless you are carrying a purse, sticking a little ball in your jeans can be uncomfortable… and awkward.

What balm brands do your lips love? Let me know below!

XO

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