Birchbox: Shaking the Beauty Retail Table w/ its New Store

Last Friday I, along with other bloggers, got the opportunity to get a VIP sneak peek of Birchbox‘s new retail store and I was majorly impressed. I love a good beauty store and I visit Sephora on a weekly basis, however, the Birchbox retail experience is different. Remember when Sephora first launched, it created an alternative solution for beauty retail, as it wasn’t a department store or drugstore type of experience. It was set apart from the norm. I feel that Birchbox has done a great job in setting itself apart retail-wise.

The “.com experience” in person

Birchbox did a great job of ensuring the brand experience was continued offline. Whether you’re online or in-store it feels the same and the process is seamless. To top it off, you can use the points you earn from your monthly boxes to contribute towards full size products in store.

Categorical Shopping

Another differentiating factor is the layout of the store. Rather than separating products by brand, the store is separated by category. All the fragrances are together, as are the cheek products, as are the skin are products, and so on and so forth. With this model, the “discovery” theme continues offline. So typically I would go to Sephora for specific items, but now I may go to Birchbox to be more spontaneous.

Homage to “This Month’s Box” and Top Selling Products

If you want to know what’s new and hot, there is a dedicated section featuring what to expect in the latest monthly box beauty must-haves and the top selling products. A must for you beauty lovers who just can’t wait to get your Birchbox or who needs to grab a gift for another beauty addict.

BYOB: Build your own birchbox

I was excited to see that Birchbox kept the build your own birchbox section. Just as you can do online, you select samples from what is available (which changes periodically) in each category. Still, for only $15, you can get your “sample on” right away, no waiting for it to come via snail mail.

Try a Trend Stations

The “try a trend” stations are super cute. When you’re online, it’s easy to Google what the latest trend is and how to replicate it. Try the latest eyebrow arch or the hottest new lipcolor, Birchbox makes it easy with lots of products and visuals. In store, the incredibly helpful and knowledgeable staff are ready to share their expertise.

What’s Downstairs? Quick Styling Services and Birchbox Man/ lifestyle

The downstairs is awesome because you can get quick styling services such as makeup application, hair and nails. While on the VIP tour, I got to enjoy a nail service. The prices are $10.00 for a quick polish change and $30.00 for nail designs on every finger. Now, in my mind, an actual manicure to me requires water, cutting and nurturing the nail and for $30.00 you get none of that. With that said, I wouldn’t use the services part of the store. I would just go for new product discovery and to play!


Photos provided by Laura F. and Birchbox

***Thanks to our Beauty Contributor, Laura of Blush and Beakers for covering the Birchbox Store Opening for My Life on and off the Guest List. Make sure to check out her blog.

Hydropeptide Clarify Collection at The Setai Club & Spa

Just before NYFW, I had the extreme pleasure of receiving an abbreviated, Hydropeptide Facial at The Setai Club & Spa on Wall Street and a few product samples to take home, to learn more about the brand’s new Clarify collection. This facial couldn’t have come at a better time – the polar vortex had sucked all the moisture out of my skin and fashion week was just ahead.

All Hydropeptide’s products contain over 60 peptides with the number one mission of fighting aging; the Clarify Collection (pictured below) also deals with what my esthetician, Erin, called secondary concerns such as dehydration, redness, and acne.

If you’ve never heard of peptides used in your beauty products, think of them as tiny chains of amino acids that together make up the proteins in the skin. Important proteins to note are: Collagen, a structural protein that has huge connectivity properties, and Elastin, which, like its name suggests, helps with the elasticity of our skin. As we age, the collagen in our skin breaks down and our skin appears less smooth and wrinkle-laden because structurally, it’s not sound anymore.

My experience receiving a facial with the Hydropeptide Facial is as follows:

Erin was an amazing Esthetician. She was quite knowledgeable and broke down each product she used. The products were mild in scent,they smelled very clean and simple leaving you with a refreshing scent. The following Hydropeptide products were used in my facial in the following order:

1. Cleansing Gel: Cleanses, tones, and removes makeup. This cleansing gel felt as light as a serum and my esthetician used it to pre-cleanse the skin.
Here’s a protip: use a damp sponge to remove the product.

2. Clay-based Purifying Cleanser: this clay-based tea tree oil cleanser boasted lots of anti-bacterial properties, perfect to deep clean my skin.

3. Clarifying Toner: toners are absolutely perfect to balance the pH of skin, as well as brighten and fight acne. This one was chock full of ingredients such as: azelaic acid (sebum regulation), lactic acid (gentle, hydrating acid ) and aloe (hydrating properties). One of the many botanicals present is Canadian willow herb, which helps with oil production.

4. Peptide massage oil: a coconut oil base, that’s organic and non-comedogenic. This massage oil contains a peptide called Rejuage, which decreases oxygenation (slows loss of collagen and elastin of skin).

5. Clarify Redefining Serum: a wonderful and light treatment serum that contains salicylic acid and a growth factor that inhibits sebocytes, which help in controlling oil production.

6. Eye authority: an eye cream that addresses puffiness all in one cream

7. Power lift: this effective moisturizer was applied to my skin which contains emollients, humectants, ceramides, and occlusives, all to keep the moisture in the skin.

8. Solar Defence SPF: lastly, Hydropeptide’s spf with color adjusting spheres, with a BB cream-like feel was applied. All in all, I would highly recommend, the peaceful Setai Club & Spa Wall Street and most importantly, the Hydropeptide Facial, which can be customized to your skin concerns.

The products felt wonderful and do not leave your skin feeling stripped. as I continue to enjoy the benefits with the samples I got to take home.

***Thanks to our Beauty Contributor, Laura of Blush and Beakers for covering the Hydropeptide Clarity Collection for My Life on and off the Guest List. Make sure to check out her blog.

Edited by Glasgow Skinner
Photos by Glasgow Skinner

Backstage w/ Kevyn Aucoin at KaufmanFranco Fall 2014 Collection

I’m happy to share my backstage coverage of iconic beauty brand, Kevyn Aucoin, during New York Fashion Week at the KaufmanFranco Fall 2014 show. I stated that I’ve always loved the brand’s fashion week looks and when you see the stunning face chart, you will once again understand why I love it.

The makeup look backstage at Kaufman Franco was marked by beautiful skin. Lead makeup artist Kristi Matamoros primed the skin with The Prime Skin Developer. The complexion products used were The Sensual Skin Enhancer along with the Celestial Skin Liquid Lightning in candlelight. A new fall/winter product, a Cream Blush in Candlelight. The eyes were a soft brown look with a light red-berry lip.

***Thanks to our Backstage Beauty Contributor, Laura of Blush and Beakers for covering Backstage at the KaufmanFranco Fall 2014 Collection for My Life on and off the Guest List. Make sure to check out her blog.

Backstage w/ Kevyn Aucoin at Clover Canyon Fall 2014 Collection

I got the opportunity to go backstage with Kevyn Aucoin, an iconic beauty brand, during New York Fashion Week for two shows, Clover Canyon and KaufmanFranco (separate post coming soon). I always love the brand’s fashion week looks because they execute a “glam” face in a very effortless way.

The Face

Lead makeup artist Deanna Melluso created a look to accompany the green-grassy themes showcased in the collection. The eye was accomplished with an eyeshadow in Citrine and Essential Eye Palette #4. Rose lip balm was applied over the citrine eyeshadow to create a glossy eye.

For the skin, she used the liquid airbrush foundation over the primed skin developer. On the cheeks there is a mixture of two colors, The creamy Glow in Patrice and Duo/Bloodroses along with highlighter. The lips were also a mixture of two Kevyn Aucoin colors in Bloodroses and Dantrice to create a wine lip color.

The Hair

The hair was curled into pin curls for volume and then swept back into a wispy french braid-chignon hybrid.

The Nails

The nails executed beautifully by the Morgan Taylor Team are a custom blend of two of their colors Later Alligator and Little Black Dress.

***Thanks to our Backstage Beauty Contributor, Laura of Blush and Beakers for covering Backstage at the Clover Canyon Fall 2014 Collection for My Life on and off the Guest List. Make sure to check out her blog.

Zang Toi Fall 2014 Collection

I’ve always loved Zang Toi’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Shows because the clothes are very “old Hollywood,” in that they conjure up thoughts of the type of clothing high society women would wear and the Fall/Winter 2014 runway collection entitled Shanghai 1930’s “Paris Of The Orient” did not fail to do just that.

A collection sprinkled with beautiful furs, velvet fabrics and ornate patterns was a wintry delight for the eye. The color palette of gray, green, black and burgundy provided a very austere, but beautifully rich feel. Seeing is better than telling so I encourage you to see the final walk below.

***Thanks to our Contributor, Laura of Blush and Beakers for covering the Zang Toi Fall 2014 Collection Show for My Life on and off the Guest List. Make sure to check out her blog.

Per-fekt Beauty, CATWALK by TIGI, & China Glaze Backstage at Alon Livne Fall 2014

One of the most exciting and rewarding backstage experiences ever was backstage at Alon Livne’s Fall/Winter 2014 presentation at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Sponsored by three amazing beauty brands, Per-fekt Beauty, CATWALK by TIGI, and China Glaze, I was among the mix to get the details of the show’s overall beauty look.

The Face

Lead Makeup artist for Per-fekt Beauty, Suzana Hailli used the Mario Badescu line of products to clean and prep the model’s skin before makeup application (she’s a huge believer in the brand). She then used Per-fekt Beauty products to create a clean complexion. The products used were their Skin Perfection Gel with a beauty blender for natural looking skin, the Bronzed Cheek Perfection Gel as a slight contour on the face, and the Per-fekt CC Creme on the lips to create a nude lip for each model. Per-fekt Beauty is available at Sephora.

The Hair

The hair was slicked back in tight buns at the nape of the neck making this style work easily with the inclusion of 1920s flapper-style head pieces that were a part of the Livne’s show. CATWALK by TIGI Global Creative Director, Nick Irwin, sprayed small sections of hair with TIGI’s Your Highness Weightless Shine Spray before flat ironing each section bone straight. He then used TIGi Session Series Wet Look Gel to help smooth the hair down into the bun and then smoothed any flyaways with a small comb and set the hair with the Sessions Series Finishing Spray.

The Nails

Nails were led by Pattie Yankee for China Glaze, and they were just as fierce as the beautiful looks of the collection. Depending on the model the nails varied but the shades were: Queen B, Goldie But Goodie, Gossip over Gimlets- Coated with Swarovski crystals, and What Are You A-Freight Of? (A new color from the Fall 2014 collection). China Glaze is available at Sally Beauty supply for $6.79.

Overall each part of the look was amazing and really added fierceness to the presentation.

***Thanks to our Backstage Beauty Contributor, Laura of Blush and Beakers for covering Backstage at the Alon Livne Fall 2014 Collection for My Life on and off the Guest List. Make sure to check out her blog.

Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa Backstage at Angel Sanchez Fall 2014 Show

For backstage with Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas, I can always expect the beauty team to lead with clean, beautiful skin and they did just that for designer Angel Sanchez Fall 2014 collection show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

The Face:

The skin is “perfect and satin” with define brows and highlighted cheeks. Red Door Spa Professional Hyaluronic Serum combined with Red Door Spa Clarifying Vitamin D Serum to prep the skin. Neutral shadows were used on the eyes with darker shadows used to create depth in the corners of the eyes.

The Nails:

The nails were as porcelain and perfect as the face using Essie’s Sand’s Tropez nail color.

The Hair:

A very simple sleek ponytail bun was created by blowing the hair straight and adding a gloss for a slicked look.

***Thanks to our Backstage Beauty Contributor, Laura of Blush and Beakers for covering Backstage at the Angel Sanchez Fall 2014 Collection for My Life on and off the Guest List. Make sure to check out her blog.

Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa’s Clean & Healthy Glow Backstage at Brandon Sun Fall 2014

The Look:

Backstage makeup at Brandon Sun’s Fall/Winter 2014 at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week was very subtle and clean, allowing the rich leather and furs of the collection to take the forefront. Lead makeup artist Cesar Olivas for Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas used a mixture of Red Door Spa’s Professional Hyaluronic and Clarifying Vitamin D serums to create a base of plump and hydrated skin necessary for makeup application.

Highlighter and cream blushes were added to the cheeks for a healthy glow while the eyes and lips were toned down with natural matte colors.

The Hair:

Master stylist Zahir Ziani for Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas utilized dry shampoo on the roots of the hair to take away any shine but used a silky serum on the ends of the hair for a sleek look.

The Nails:

Iwona Opiola used shade of deep brown and red for the nails.

***Thanks to our Backstage Beauty Contributor, Laura of Blush and Beakers for covering Backstage at the Brandon Sun Fall 2014 Collection for My Life on and off the Guest List. Make sure to check out her blog.

– Fashion photo source: FashionGPS
– Beauty: Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa