Best of the Beauty Aisle: P&G / StyleList

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In Boston, spring usually arrives late (very late this year) and with little warning. When it hits in full force, I start adjusting my daily beauty routine to accommodate the sunny weather and my spring wardrobe. So in anticipation of the new season, today’s post with P&G and StyleList is all about little changes you can make to freshen up your routine – using products found in your drugstore’s beauty aisle. (See all the StyleList contributors/judges here.)

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First things first: spring style is all about light colors, pattern mixing (hello, florals and stripes) and flirty skirts or dresses. Living in Boston, where I spend all winter bundled up with no skin exposed, the biggest adjustment for me is making sure my legs (and underarms) are smooth and won’t scare anyone away. That means shaving and moisturizing more. In the morning, I like to exfoliate my legs (using a little olive oil mixed with sea salt) before shaving. I love the Venus & Olay razors – the multiple blades help to gently exfoliate without drying your skin (…plus the colors are pretty).

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Before summer hits, I also try to brighten up my smile – because nothing enhances a tan like super pearly whites (it’s all about the contrast, people). I recently revved up my whitening regime (thanks to P&G) with a new whitening toothpaste and an at-home whitening kit. I’ve tried professional whitening kits before and I honestly think Crest Whitestrips produce the same results. If you have sensitive teeth, whitening can be a horrible experience. But I’ve found that using toothpaste for sensitivity before whitening can help. When I tried the strips again for this review, I surprisingly didn’t have any issues with sensitivity.

In this theme of lightening up, the start of a new season can also be the perfect opportunity to lighten up your fragrance (think: fresh floral scents, hints of citrus). And maybe even to switch up (ahem) your deodorant. Seriously, when it starts getting hot out there, feeling sticky and/or stinky is the worst. I always keep an extra stick of Secret in my desk drawer or bag… you know, just in case.

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I’d love to hear about the new products you’re using recently. How do you switch things up in the spring?

disclosure

This is a collaboration between P&G and the AOL Lifestyle Contributor Network. Compensation was provided by P&G via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of P&G.

best beauty buys

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Honestly, I’m terrible at applying makeup — which is part of the reason I don’t mention the topic of beauty often on City Tonic. I wish I had skills in this area, but when I come across beauty tips and tricks online or in magazines, I tell myself: yeah, I’m gonna do that — but I rarely do. So I have been relying on the same “routine” for years.

Anyways, I’m always interested in seeing what products other people use daily and can’t live without. I love trying new makeup and get excited when I discover something that makes me feel just a bit prettier — so I thought I’d share some of my perennial favorites, and a few new discoveries.

Hair: Mine has been tortured for years. I think I was 14 or 15 when I started coloring my hair, and it hasn’t gotten a break since then (thus the reason for its breakage…). My stylist introduced me to Living Proof products, and I’m hooked (I use the shampoo/conditioner too). Perfect Hair Day is amazing and I use it before blowdrying to protect and prep my hair. I spritz my hair with a tiny bit of this Bumble and bumble finishing spray after it’s dry for extra shine.

Nails: I’m sure you’re no stranger to Essie nail polishes. I have tried every polish under the sun, but I keep coming back to Essie for the widest range of colors (and cutest polish names). Pictured here (clockwise from top left): Penny Talk, For the Twill of It, Turquoise and Caicos, Tart Deco and Fifth Avenue.

Eyes: I swore by Diorshow mascara for years until I tried LORAC pro. The tapered brush takes a little getting used to, but it’s great for those tiny corner lashes.

Face: Obsessed with Benefit’s Hoola bronzer and CORALista blush. The bronzer is matte and not at all orangey, while the blush is a perfect balance of shimmer and ultra-flattering color.

Lips:I love Smashbox’s matte red lipstick when I’m feeling adventurous, and Dior Addict lip polish for a soft pink anytime gloss.

Skin: Seriously, there’s no better investment you can make for your face than a Clarisonic Mia. I use mine every morning, and again before bed – it makes my face feel super clean and fresh, and has simply improved the look of my skin overall (I think).

Would love to hear your recommendations for any other beauty products! I’m always down to try new ones.

essie gel polish review

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When MiniLuxe – an amazing Boston-based nail salon – asked me if I’d like to try the Essie gel polish line, I jumped at the opportunity. Not only do I love a quality manicure (MiniLuxe is top notch), but I’m a huge fan of Essie products and have amassed quite the collection over the years. I used to paint my nails religiously (every two days), but I got my first gel manicure this summer and have been hooked ever since. I even bought an at-home gel kit. Anyways, a few months ago Essie released a collection of 36 gel polishes that are close matches to the brand’s most popular colors. Exciting news for fellow fans.

Overall, I am very happy with how the manicure has held up (I’m on day six now with no peeling), and the color I chose – called Fashion Crowd – is really similar to Mint Candy AppleI thought it would be fun to try something a little different, since I’ve been wearing mostly reds and corals this winter. Doesn’t the minty green look pretty with these Trader Joe’s roses?!

Now, the only downside I’ve found with frequent gel manicures is that they can really damage your nails (mine are definitely prone to splitting). Luckily, Essie gels are formulated with Keratin and vitamins B5 and E to help condition nails. I can’t comment yet on the health of my own nails post-removal, but it’s nice to know that the polish aims to protect and not destroy. As for the manicure experience, MiniLuxe never disappoints – and as a bit of a nail technique snob, I can really appreciate the technicians’ attention to detail. The salons (with eight locations around Boston) are also bright, clean and full of sparkly little items to buy (like bangles, hair accessories, etc.). Plus, the prices are good and they have the best selection of polish brands and colors.

You should probably go and book yourself a little Monday evening treat (you deserve it).

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(complimentary service provided, but all opinions are my own.)