necessary nothings

by corinne iaia

A few years ago, a basic blow-dry (without a brush!!) was just about as much of a "hairstyle" that I could wrap my head around. I hated the thought of spending time on my hair, and the shorter shoulder-sweeping style I had was swishy enough to handle a simpler 'do. Flash forward three years, and probably ten more inches of hair, and here I am: that girl who "does" her hair every time she washes it. I have to say, those years of dreading styling were really for nothing. I now give myself loose waves on most days, and let me tell you: after you've learned a few tricks it's really not so bad. Here is what I recommend to make your hair routine as enjoyable as possible...

1) Wait it Out: Seriously, just wait a minute! Letting your hair air dry for as long as possible before heat-styling it makes the whole process seem much less daunting. Arm yourself with that hair dryer when your hair is only half wet, and the seven-or-so minutes that it will take is not that bad. It's also nice to think that you're not harming your hair as much when you do it this way. 

2) Use the Right Products For Your Hair Type: I used to want to use any and every hair product possible. With my thick, fine hair, I'd reach for the heavy oils and volumizers that only aided in weighing things down even more. I'd use conditioners that were near impossible to fully remove from my hair in an effort to get "shinier" locks; trust me, I tried it all. What I've realized over the years, though, is that it's best to stick with what works for you. Now I don't waste precious time or money over-applying product only to end up worse off that I had started. 

3) Invest in Proper Styling Tools: I avoided purchasing "grown-up" hot tools for so long because of their hefty price tags. In reality, though, over the course of ten years, I probably purchased 8 straighteners (at $100 a piece - ouch!) and 5 hair dryers...when I could have invested in higher quality tools that would last. I now use (and love) my GHD tools so much. Not only do they cut down on styling time, but they have already lasted me two years of near-daily use and kept my hair in better condition.

4) Learn a Few Techniques and Master Them: Don't focus on all the hairstyles that you can't do. Find a few great styles that suit your hair type and style and really take the time to master them. You will end up having a "signature" look that you can get done in about 20 minutes flat every time. Trust me - you'll thank me later!

What are your tips for styling your hair? 
Not that I'm a fan in any season; but especially during summertime, thick makeup just feels...wrong. That being said, I'm all about finding ways to look as though I'm not wearing any makeup (and really, I barely am) at all. I am the first to admit that I do need a bit of sprucing, so going completely bare isn't an option either; but I promise you that the following five products will get you as close as possible. 

Faking natural skin is easy with the right base. I love textures that mesh with the skin and provide a light coverage that stays put, which is why RMS Un Coverup is one of my all time favorites. The coconut oil base makes this natural pick dewy and fresh, while the pigments blend seamlessly with the skin for a complexion pick-me-up. I use this as both a concealer and foundation, and the result will have anyone fooled. 

The base is so good on its own, but I am one to abide by the "healthy dose of color" law. I need a bit of a boost for lips and cheeks and for that I am all about liquid blush and colored balms. Right now, I love the Nars Liquid Blush in Orgasm, which is a more natural version of the cult-classic peachy golden hue. For lips, the perky Lipstick Queen Mornin' Sunshine is favorite, as it adapts from a balmy yellow to a peachy coral hue on the lips. It's great because it can be worn very sheer, for a barely-there look, or it can be built up for a more full-on bright lip. Did I mention...it's also moisturizing? 

And, of course, I can't forget brows and lashes - two beauty categories I almost never skip. I do like opting for a more natural brow in the hot weather, so I groom them and give them a bit of a color and shape boost with the Glossier Boy Brow - a classic! Finding a smudge-free mascara that looks natural is probably summer's biggest beauty conundrum, but I have to say the Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara is pretty close to being perfect. Once it dries, the rubbery consistency doesn't budge until you wash it off. I'm obsessed.

You can also shop my Glossier rep page to get 20% off your first order. 
Everyone has always told us that bold lips are a major statement. Sure, they can be. But they definitely don't have to be. As I've lightened up on my overall makeup, I've started looking toward bold lips as a way to brighten up my face and add a bit of color...especially during the warmer months. Follow these few simple tips and you too can wear bold lips without looking overdone.

1) Lighten Up That Base - A caked on base with a bold, intense lipstick never looks *casual*. Try a light, fresh foundation that mimics your skin's natural texture, but evens out your complexion. You don't want ruddy skin with a colored lip, but you don't want to overdo it. I recommend mixing your serum and foundation for an undetectable, comfortable, and slightly sheeny base.

2) Color-Free Lids - There's something to be said for the rule of only focusing on one feature at a time. Don't go bold on the lids and the lips...unless, of course, you're at a night club. But since we're talking about looking a little more nonchalant, try going nearly bare on the lids. I'm all about an über thin lick of dark brown or black liner and some mascara, and nothing else at all. 

3) Bushy Brows are Best - Natural, slightly defined brows that still look like they are made up of individual hairs are best with this look. Let's call it the cherry on top of this French-girl inspired look.

What are your tips for dressing down bold lips?
One look at this lineup will tell you that I'm a big fan of Darphin's skincare offerings. Their formulas are gentle, effective, innovative...and did I mention, French? Through years of exploring the best of the brand's lineup, I've found some products that I seriously swear by. From their unbeatably lightweight serums to dreamy oils that double as aromatherapy treatments I cannot recommend checking them out enough. "But Corinne, where do I start?" I hear you asking. Just keep reading; I may divulge my can't-live-without products from this cult Parisian favorite.

Darphin Intral Air Mousse Cleanser - A soft, mousse cleanser that removes all traces of makeup while toning and refreshing the skin. I love how soft and comforted my complexion is left after using this. 

Darphin L'Institut Youth Resurfacing Peel - It may be one of their newer releases, but it has quickly risen to the top of the ranks when it comes to my standbys. This small, but mighty jar of liquid contains a low level glycolic peel that polishes skin to perfection when used once a week. Best of all? It's super easy to use and never leaves my skin feeling irritated or looking red. I can't recommend this one enough.

Darphin Hydraskin Light Gel Cream - A classic for a reason. This pot of lightweight cream feels like a sorbet and hydrates the skin just as well as a richer cream without feeling like too much. It's my go-to warmer weather cream and I don't think I'll ever be without this one.

Darphin Ideal Resource Anti-Dark Circle Eye Illuminator - This eye cream does it all; brightens, de-puffs, and corrects. It also boasts illuminating properties that lessen the need for a ton of under-eye concealer, which I can appreciate, as someone who despises cakey makeup. 

Darphin Rose Aromatic Care - This delectably scented oil softens the skin and offers superior hydration and toning. I can't help but think that this also helps to calm stress when applied before bed; as the pure botanical scent soothes. You've also been warned - this beauty is addictive!

*pr samples included.
This month I've discovered quite a few new products in the skincare and haircare categories that I just can't get enough of. I absolutely love skincare and have really learned which products my skin responds best to over the past year or two, so it's easy to cherry-pick what will work. 

The Oribe skin and body care ranges are something that I've been loving lately, and after a longtime love affair with their haircare products, it's no surprise. The Cote D'Azur Restorative Body Crème is intensive and rich, but also smells heavenly. If you're a fan of the brand's Dry Texturizing Spray, you will think you've reached body lotion nirvana when you smell this cream. I've been relying on it to get my skin back into shape now that we've had nicer weather. For face, the Oribe Radiant Drops Golden Face Oil creates an envy-inducing glow that's perfect for days when you want to go light on makeup. I like that this one is deeply nourishing, and doesn't just disappear completely when you apply it; you can feel that it's truly doing its job. At nighttime, the Oribe Night Ceremony Ultra Rich Cream provides an overnight skin-boosting treatment that helps my skin to look more rested and smooth. I love the bouncy, fresh texture that it has, and how it doesn't leave my skin feeling like I'm wearing any heavy layers. 

There's also the Darphin Intral Air Mousse Cleanser, which is a new favorite product from a long-time favorite brand. This soft, airy cleanser wipes away all impurities and makeup with ease and leaves my skin feeling clean, hydrated and soothed. 

As for a product that I've been loving using as an instant fix, the Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer has fast become a staple in my everyday routine. I love that this blurs imperfections, but does so in a way that doesn't leave a thick film overtop the skin. Instead, it glides over blemishes and pores while hydrating lightly, providing the perfect canvas on which to apply makeup.

In the haircare department, the Aveda Shampure Thermal Dry Conditioner is a strange but amazing product that I've become completely addicted to as of late. At first I didn't quite understand how it worked, but it's really quite simple. It's designed to be used in conjunction with dry shampoo, or on its own to detangle and soften dry hair between washes. Just a light spray of this through the mid-lengths of the hair gives a just-washed clean feeling and a soft, swishy texture. I am obsessed

Have you tried any of these products yet?

*pr samples included. 
Lip products are one of my favorite ways to have fun with makeup. It's easy to add a pop of color to the lips without overdoing it on the rest of your makeup, and I especially love bolder colors done in matte finishes. It can, however, be difficult to find a good matte lip color that lasts, but doesn't dry out your lips or look overdone in broad daylight. In my opinion, certain makeup trends are best kept to instagram selfies, but luckily, Burberry's new Liquid Lip Velvet isn't one of them.

These matte liquid lip colors pack a serious pigment punch, but still manage to glide over the lips feeling like plush velvet. The color can be worn more full on, or blended into the lips for a stain that lasts all day. I love using these for both purposes, and love how either way, they don't create a dry, tight, or overdone look that so many liquid lipsticks can. Think of these as next generation liquid lip colors.

If you're a fan of Burberry makeup, you already know how well they nail color ranges when it comes to their products; each shade is wearable and classic, yet still unique. The three shown here are Oxblood, Bright Plum and Fawn, all of which are stunning. I love Fawn for an everyday nude, as it looks gorgeous blended into the lips for a barely there finish, while Bright Plum and Oxblood create bolder statements, but also look amazing as brighter stains.

Have you tried these yet?

*pr samples included.
I know that with the amount of products on the market it can be quite (okay, very) difficult to decipher which will end up being the best for you. And, it's not exactly efficient to spend until we do discover the one. That's why when I come across a product makes me scratch my head and wonder, "where have you been all my life", I know I have to share.

Needless to say, that is exactly how I felt when I tried out the Artis brushes for the first time recently. I know you're thinking, she's awfully late to the party...but that only means if you haven't tried them yet so are you. 😬

I know that these look awfully intimidating (toothbrushes for your face, anyone?), but I swear, they are the exact opposite. These are absolutely amazing and blend every single type of product into the skin like for a silken effect. It's mind-boggling how you can dip them into powders, liquids, creams, and even glosses and then glide them across their respective application zones with ease.

The soft fibers are densely packed and don't eat up endless product (I'm looking at you Beauty Blender) and I actually enjoy applying my foundation again now that I am using these. My skin looks fresher, my makeup looks more natural and blended - I can't believe what a difference these make.

So, what are you waiting for? Invest in a few of these and you won't be sorry. My favorites are the Elite Mirror 3 Brush Set and the Palm Brush.

I am in love.
With the spring weather finally rolling in, we're all stuck wondering how on Earth we're going to get back our summer glow. It's been missing for what feels like ages (and probably was ages), but I must say that there are a few products that can get the job done in much less time than a whole summer. The best way to get glowing quickly is...

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad - I'll admit, it would usually be hard to convince me to use self-tanning products on my face. I'm not one who can pull off an overly bronzed look very easily; but these exfoliating wipes smooth the skin's surface while adding a light dose of healthy color. When I need to look alive and well rested - like I just got back from a quick trip to the tropics - I will use one of these. Trust me, all girls should keep these stocked for emergency situations.

Oribe Radiant Drops - This golden face oil gives the skin just what you'd expect it to - a quick hit of intensive moisture that is instantly absorbed into the skin but provides lasting effects. When I need my skin to glow, I use a healthy few drops of this oil before bed and wake up with plumper, healthier looking skin.

Tata Harper Illuminating Eye Cream - There's nothing that takes away a glow quite like tired eyes. This eye cream by Tata Harper is one of my absolute favorites, because, not only does it moisturize - it also gives a dewy luminous look to the area. Talk about an instant fix!

Pixi Vitamin Wakeup Mist - I'm always one who loves a face mist for revitalizing. This vitamin packed one from Pixi includes a bevy of brightening vitamins for a great pick-me-up mid day. I like to use it before and after makeup for an extra natural, awakened look.

Would you try these steps to bring back that healthy warm-weather look?
Something I know we can all agree on is that there's nothing quite like a good cocktail after a long week (or day). While I'm all for a good craft beer or a glass of wine (my favorite), there's just something about a slightly more complex drink recipe that makes you feel a bit more satisfied. From simple spritzers to more complex drinks, here are the links to some of my all-time favorite tried and true cocktail recipes from around the web. Get mixin'!
  1. Chambord Kir Royale - Simple, classic and refreshing. I've always been a fan of bubbly drinks and this one is a fan-favorite. If you're having company and strapped for time, try making a batch of these...nobody will know it took you just five minutes. 
  2. The French Gimlet - St. Germain is one of the most delicious liqueurs out there, and this fruity-floral martini is enough to get you going, but makes for easy sipping. This is one of my go-to martinis. 
  3. St-Rita - An elderflower margarita...what more do I need to say? Try this for a unique take on a St. Germain cocktail.
  4. Blue Moon - No, not the beer. This is a really delicious, almost candy-like drink that involves violet liqueur and gin. This liqueur seems to be making a comeback in the craft-cocktail world and I'm all about it. 
  5. Bailey's Chocolatini - OMG. This tastes just like dessert in a glass and should be drank as such. It's such a yummy treat, but be warned...they go down easy.
  6. Mango Peach Sangria - Light and easy, this sangria is perfect for summertime sippin'. I love making this for a group, as it's an easy large-batch cocktail that only tastes better the longer it sits throughout the day (and the more glasses you've consumed). 
  7. La Señorita - If you haven't read the blog Kitchy Kitchen, you're missing out on some seriously yummy recipes and crazy-good food inspo. But, it's not just her eats you'll want to check out. This girl whips up some seriously unique (and delicious) cocktails that I've come to love. This rose water-mezcal recipe is my current favorite.
  8. Rosemary Spiked Lemonade - This is reasonably easy to make and uses ingredients you most likely already have on hand in your liquor cabinet and fridge. It's yummy and refreshing...who doesn't love lemons and vodka?
  9. Berry Breeze - This berry-lime combo is to-die-for and a perfect year round cocktail. 
  10. Lychee Martini - I know, it seems as though I'm on a fruit kick, but I told you I liked it sweet and refreshing. This fruit has a unique, addictive flavor that pairs perfectly with vodka.
What's your favorite drink recipe? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
When it comes to new products, I'll admit I've become a bit of a creature of habit. What exactly do I mean by this? The more I have gotten to know certain brands, the more I have grown to love almost all of their new releases. I know well enough to ignore releases in certain product categories that I don't tend to use; but when they release something in a category that's up my street it heads straight to the "try right now" pile and into my current routine. After testing the above products for a few weeks, I can safely say that they have earned permanent spots in my routine. I am absolutely smitten with...

Sisley Phyto-Blush Twist - You know my love for Sisley's makeup is real, so I wasn't surprised that these were also incredible. Stick-like makeup always wins in my book, for obvious reasons, but it was the formula that won me over here. The consistency of these blush sticks is dreamy; they are creamy and apply impactful at first, but can be easily sheered out or built up, and the texture becomes powdery after it sets, but remains invisible. Yes, it's Sisley. So, yes, it's quite pricey - but these are worth it. I'd say...go for Fuschia, and if you're feeling extra ambitious, their highlighter shade, Glow, too. 

Hourglass Girl Lip Stylo - Hourglass can do no wrong in my book; I've yet to try something from this innovative brand that I don't like. I do, however, feel that they were lacking in variety of lip colors...but much to my delight they recently launched these creamy, smoothing twist up lipsticks. I love the way that the bullet is shaped, as it nixes the need for a matching liner, but also, the shade range is on point. Click that link and see for yourself 😉.

Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex - My skin is beginning to love products that are chock-full of naturally delicious ingredients. This silky oil is no exception. My skin drinks this stuff up the same way I finish my wine on a Friday evening after a long week. The morning after I use this, I notice a true different in the softness and radiance of my skin. It's all around brighter, smoother, and plumped...and it doesn't hurt that Tata promises 100% natural everything in her amazing line.

Darphin Hydraskin Eye Refresh Gel Cream - Darphin is hands-down one of my most trusted skincare brands. I go to them when my skin needs help, and this little tube of eye cream delivered what it promised, too. I love the lightweight, cooling gel texture of this eye cream, and that it helps to smooth and depuff the undereye area like nothing else. I am already addicted, I swear to you.

Colorescience Tint Du Soleil Protective Foundation - This creamy, almost-whipped sunscreen infused foundation formula manages to feel both lightweight and hydrating, yet provides some amazing coverage. I like that it can be worn more naturally - in a sheer, light layer - or built up - for more serious coverage. As I get older, I worry more and more about sun protection, and with an SPF 30 already in my makeup, that's one less thing to think about!

Y Et Beauté Lipstick in Tranquille - Looking at this ultra-luxe lipstick, would you ever guess that it was made with completely organic ingredients? I love its sleek, black packaging and the satisfying click it produces when closed...but I love what's inside even more. The scent is incredible and reminds me of vanilla frosting, and the texture is smooth and ultra-pigmented. I love the pink-rose hue of Tranquille, but I'm dying to try a few other shades as well. Check them out...these aren't to be missed!
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