Archive for the ‘Makeup’ Category

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Buh-Bye Dark Circles: 2 Products You Need for Instantly Brighter Eyes

Oh, dark circles… Over the years, you’ve never failed to miss an opportunity to broadcast my shitty sleep or hangover by making me look like I got caught in a bar fight. I’ve had enough of you and your purplish-blue bullshit and it’s time to say… “buh-bye.”

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STEP 1: tarte Maracuja C-Brighter™ Eye Treatment  ($38) 

Yeah, that’s right. My favorite brightening eye cream is under $40. And, I can assure you this little cream will run circles around its insanely expensive competition. This is one of the only eye creams I’ve ever tested that gave me instant brightening results. Packed full of antioxidants and hydrators, this little eye cream will be your new best friend.

The key to concealing dark circles is to use a pink or peach-based concealer directly on the dark areas. With 16 color options, Bobbi Brown definitely has the best line of these correcting concealers. Use either your ring finger or a concealer brush to lightly tap the corrector on the offending areas. Lightly blend with a  beauty blender.

Because I’m also plagued with puffy eyes, I follow up with  the Nudestix pencil in the shadow of my under-eye bag. If you feel like you need powder to set the under eye area (I tend to skip this step though I know many makeup artists swear by it) opt for an soft-focus, light-reflecting finishing powder like Laura Mercier Invisible Pressed Setting Powder.

That’s it! You’re done!

So, let’s give one more “buh-bye” to the dark circles for good measure…

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Um, You Need This: Nudestix Concealer Pencil

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I’ll be the first to admit I was dubious when I first saw the NUDESTIX Concealer Pencil. How could a pencil possibly be gentle enough for the delicate under eye area? What if it tugs at the skin? What if it’s drying? What if it doesn’t blend??

But come on, what kind of beauty writer would I be if I didn’t take some chances for the sake of research? I bought two of them. That’s my level of dedication.

Each pencil comes in a cute little mirrored tin with a sharpener that fits on the end of the pencil so you don’t lose it. I bought Light 3  for concealing under-eye darkness and puffiness and Medium 4 to cover up blemishes and redness around my nose and chin.

Starting with the Light 3 pencil, I created a dotted line right along the shadow of my eye bag and used my ring finger to lightly blend. The concealer is creamier than you would expect from a pencil so there’s zero drag. I also love that the formula manages to be matte (no powder required) without being drying (miracle!).

I hate to be dramatic but the results were, well, dramatic. I looked at myself in the car mirror (always the true test) and my bags looked deflated. I feel like the precision of the pencil tip combined with the hydrating, long-wear formula makes the Nudestix Concealer Pencil so effective under the eyes.

Next, I used the Medium 4 to draw lines around my nostrils and made little dashes on my chin. Again, the concealer blended seamlessly with the tip of my finger. Wondering how the pencil performed on pimples? Two words:  pure genius. The fine tip and matte finish make it ideal for hiding little imperfections.

The pencils are slim enough to fit into the smallest of evening bags so obviously they are my lipstick’s new constant companions. I’ll be honest… I’m in love.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Mad About Marsala: How to Wear Pantone’s Color of the Year!

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Finally! Pantone chose a color that’s actually practical for makeup! Sure, 2014’s Radiant Orchid was a pretty purple but not everyone can rock purple eye shadow. (Especially those of us who are over 40 and should finally surrender vibrant-colored eye makeup to our younger friends; Yes, I’m talking to myself) Never fear lovelies of all ages… This year, Pantone chose Marsala – an earthy reddish brown that looks, dare I say, amazing on almost everyone!

Sephora was kind enough to send me their exclusive Sephora + Pantone Universe Marsala collection, and after testing all the products I quickly discovered Marsala had found a permanent home in the Beauty Binge lineup. My two favorites from the collection:

SEPHORA+PANTONE UNIVERSE Pure Marsala Matte Lip Creme Marsala ($18): I’ve been fighting the big nude lip trend since it began a couple years ago. It just never made sense to me to wear a color that makes your lips disappear from your face.  (Obviously this sentiment does not apply when wearing dramatic eye makeup) Think of this lipstick as the next generation of nude — minimalist, yet still draws attention to your lips. It’s darker than a traditional nude and the slight reddish brown warms my complexion. Its creamy, semi-matte formula feels like a lip treatment and lasts like a long-wear lipstick.

SEPHORA+PANTONE UNIVERSE Marsala Metalshine Liquid Liner Marsala ($18) – I was a little dubious when I first tested this metallic reddish bronzy liquid liner on the back of my hand. I thought it might be too metallic and bold for my age, but when I swiped the wand across my lash line I noticed right away that my eye looked bluer and brighter. I gave one to my young, brown-eyed friend Emily and her eyes looked richer and brighter too. Everybody wins.

The collection also includes Bold Marsala Mascara & Brow Highlighter ($20), Cooling Marsala Multi Stick Marsala ($25), Facets of Marsala Multi-Finish Eye Palette ($39), and Marsala Layering Lip Collection ($28). 

Available at Sephora stores and Sephora. com.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Tale of Two Primers…

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It was the most inflamed of times, it was the shiniest of times, it was the age of visible redness, it was the age of large pores, it was the epoch of angry skin, it was the epoch of visible shine, it was the season of dryness, it was the season of t-zone troubles….

Ok, you get it.

What I’m trying to say (aside from my poor attempt to Dickens up my post) is my skin is going through two very ugly phases right now:

1. Tons of redness and irritation that tends to flame up from stress (good luck avoiding that), a glass of wine (I have a better chance avoiding the stress), and coffee (I would rather pull my eyelashes out one by one than give up coffee)

2. My pores are huge and I seem to get shiny in my t-zone regardless of the weather or situation

Luckily, I found two primers that are helping me through these woeful times. Yes, it sucks that I have to apply two separate primers but it’s better than the unsightly alternative. First, banishing the redness…

I tried CLINIQUE Redness Solutions Daily Protective Base SPF 15 without expecting much. I’d heard it all before — soothing, redness-reducing, blah blah blah. I’ve tried almost every green-tinted skin product out there, all of them made big promises to correct my angry red skin.  So, I wasn’t expecting much when I slathered the creamy, green dill-scented primer all over my face.  It felt cool and comforting upon application. Then I looked in the mirror and noticed my skin looked borderline normal! Sure, there was still some visible pink but it wasn’t the usual “I just walked through a chemical fire” face.


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Clinique’s Description:

Protects skin from the UVA/UVB exposure that can aggravate skins with Rosacea or reactive redness. Does it without chemical sunscreens. Comforting, oil-free makeup primer with a sheer green tint visually corrects redness, evens skin tone.

Overall, my skin looked healthy and dewy. This definitely isn’t the type of primer to give you that flawless airbrushed finish. My pores were still large and in charge and obviously the dewy finish wasn’t doing my shine any favors.

Enter primer #2…

Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer is a blurring primer to help fill in fine lines and enlarged pores, and put the kibosh on shine. If you have oily skin, this primer is your new best friend. It literally melts into the skin giving you an airbrushed, “blurred” finish.

blurTarte’s Description:

A melt-in smoothing primer with innovative blurring and filling technology for a youthful appearance perfectly primed for makeup application. 

Product Performance: Turn back the hands of time with tarte’s new timeless smoothing and filling primer formulated to fade out your biggest beauty boundaries such as large pores, fine lines and wrinkles. The antioxidant-rich formula infused with vitamins C & E and green bean extract gently melts into the skin delivering a surge of moisture, peptides and other naturally-derived elixirs for a firmer, smoother appearance. You’ll love the lightweight texture and fresh powder scent as it provides the perfect blank canvas to enhance the look and wear time of makeup. It can also be worn alone as part of your skincare regimen, blurring out skin imperfections and signs of aging for a flawless, soft-focus finish. 

Powered By: vitamin E: natural preservative that also acts as an anti-inflammatory emollient and antioxidant

vitamin C: antioxidant that fights free radical damage and premature signs of aging while brightening skin

green bean extract: known for anti-wrinkle and pore minimizing properties

mineral pigments: soothe and soften skin

A word to the wise… If you have combination skin like me you only want to put this mattifying primer on your trouble spots or your skin will end up looking flat.  And as Dickens may have said himself, had a been a beauty blogger…

“It is a far, far better primer that I wear, than I have ever worn; it is a far, far better skin that I have, than I have ever known.”

 

 

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Revealing All My Secrets from Being Backstage at Fashion Week…

Backstage at NYFW - Photo by Janna Mandell

Photo by Janna Mandell

Oh, my loves… I hope you don’t think I abandoned you! I needed a little time to recuperate after a very exhausting fashion week.  I’ve also been a busy little bee, writing a follow-up piece for this coming week’s San Francisco Chronicle Style section (so if you’re in the Bay Area pick up a paper on Sunday!) and a fun piece on Huffington Post 5 Things I Learned from Being Backstage at Fashion Week.

You should definitely check out my Huff Po piece for a little dose of fun and honesty  (and the rest of my NYFW photo diary). But, I thought I would add a couple bonus backstage secrets for my beautiful Beauty Bingers:

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1) Kell on Earth? Not so much.  The reality show, starring Kelly Cutrone (above), the founder of the public relations, branding and marketing firm People’s Revolution, may have only aired for one season on Bravo back in 2010 but I can assure you I’ve watched all eight episodes multiple times. As a devoted fan, you can imagine I was a bit intimidated when requesting show invites from People’s Revolution since, well, the name of the show should say it all. Sure enough, at 11:30 the night before Day 1 of fashion week I got an email from a People’s Revolution intern, cc’ing Ms. Cutrone, asking which media outlet I would be covering the shows for. Totally valid since I’m a freelance writer. When I told them I would be covering beauty for the San Francisco Chronicle’s style blog I didn’t hear back. I frantically kept refreshing my inbox, terrified that I would get to my first show of fashion week, Nicholas K, and find that my invite had been rescinded.

The next morning I timidly walked up to the check in desk to get my seat assignment. Of course I wasn’t expecting an actual seat rather I expected to be standing behind the seats in gen pop. You can imagine my surprise and elation when I found out that not only would I be attending the show but I even had a front row seat! Throughout fashion week, People’s Revolution was amazing to me – giving me seats at all their shows, obliging plus one’s, party invites etc.  And, of course I loved seeing Ms. Cutrone in her element – working the crowd, kicking seat poachers back to gen pop and directing the show from the production box.

2) This isn’t so much a backstage secret more a fashion week revelation… I can’t handle heat. NYC was boiling hot and humid as it was, then you get under the lights at the shows and backstage and it feels like the temperature goes up about 50 more degrees. No bueno. In fact, sweat-related drama…

On the first morning, after emerging from the criminally hot subway station I tried blotting away my practically dripping face with blotting sheets. What a joke. My face was way past shine and trying to fix the problems with blotting sheets was like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound.

Once I got inside I was still shvitzing because of my Kelly Cutrone-related anxiety. I fervently dabbed my face with a tissue as I waited for to check in. Once I found out my seat, I practically skipped inside to the Nicholas K show waving my first row seat assignment.  I entered the dimly lit room, trying not to gape at the celebrities and fashion editors.  I hurried to my seat and first pulled the biggest fashion week rookie move ever — I looked at the black tote bag on the empty seat and asked the guy sitting next to it if the seat was open. He looked at me, looked at the bag and looked back at me like I had to be joking. “Sweetie, that’s your gift bag.” Whoops. I moved my gift bag and happily settle into my seat, drinking in my glamorous surroundings.

Then, I felt a gentle tap on my arm from the nice fashion blogger next to me. “Sweetie, you should know you have what looks like tissue stuck all over your face.” Wow. It took me a few seconds to register the ramifications of what he just told me. I had checked into a show, roamed the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week main lobby and sat down at a hot fashion show with tissue stuck all over my face. I didn’t have a choice but to ask the fashion blogger to help me pick the pieces of tissue off my face.  Luckily we got all the offending pieces off before the first model hit the runway.

Of course once the first model hit the runway, huge hot spotlights illuminated the front row. I basically sat there melting like a Dali painting.

Okay one more quick sweat-related drama… The next day I felt I had learned my lesson and judiciously applied Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Agent Zero Shine  to my t-zone. Now, I’m not a powder girl but I am prone to shine and this powder has totally worked in the past to keep me shine-free without looking powdery or cakey.  I had cursed myself for not thinking of it the first day! Needless to say, to make a long story short, I walked a few blocks in ungodly heat to get to the Kate Spade show. I checked in backstage and was totally swept away by the flawless models and the whole scene.

After I had gotten my interviews and photos I jumped into a cab, jubilant and ready for my next show. I grabbed my compact and found that I had three-dimensional droplets of sweat all over my face. They were just sitting there like boils. It was horrifying. I later divulged my mishap to good friend and makeup artist Maria Luxen and she said matter-of-factly, “the powder probably has silicone.”

Ahhh…  she was right. Lesson learned. Had I simply blotted my face (not with a tissue!), the powder would have kept my skin matte while paper towels or blotting paper would have absorbed the droplets. I end with one question… Why the hell didn’t ANYONE at that show say, “hey, you’ve got something going on” and handed me a tissue?? Perhaps they saw me at Nicholas K and felt I was better off with the droplets.

The good news? Next NYFW is in February so I can’t bitch about the heat!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Sephora Class Revelation: Evidently I Don’t Know Everything

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I was invited to a press event at Sephora this past week to experience one of their complimentary classes at their San Francisco flagship store on Powell Street.  I sauntered in (late of course) to a small group of style writers and makeup artists discussing the “if you were stranded on a desert island, which beauty product would you bring?” conundrum. The makeup artists went first. Of course they were pragmatic, naming multi-use makeup palettes like Smashbox Master Class Palette III Color & Contour and other multi-use products and palettes. Then, the style writers went around the room choosing generic makeup items like mascara, lipgloss, etc. When it was my turn, I chose AMOREPACIFIC ‘Color Control’ Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50  because if I’m going to be stranded on an island, you better believe I’m not leaving my grass hut without a flattering, buildable CC Cream packed with high sunscreen. (Leave it to me to choose something not offered at Sephora. Whatever.)

After we had gone around the room divulging our most beloved products, Makeup Artist Kenya Garrett gave an interactive  tutorial on how to contour and highlight. Now, I’m no stranger to contouring and highlighting. Meaning, I know how to do it, but I don’t aspire to look like Kim Kardashian in any shape or form. Occasionally, I’ll lightly contour the hollows of my cheeks with a matte bronzer and slap a cream highlighter on my cheekbones. But, I usually end up blending away the contour powder because it just never looks natural.

Well, Kenya must have been reading my mind because she declared the Kim Kardashian way “wrong” and gave us a thorough tutorial on how to make contouring and highlighting actually look flattering and natural.  She also gave some pro tips I hadn’t heard before:

1) Wear a foundation with more coverage when contouring and highlighting so that redness and other discolorations do not show through.

2) Apply highlighter first so that your face tells you where to contour. Meaning, once you’ve applied your highlighter and you tilt your face down in front of the mirror, you will more clearly see the hollows of your cheeks (where the contour powder goes)

3) Do NOT use a matte bronzer when contouring. Use a taupe with grey in it so that it more resembles your natural face shadows. BRILLIANT! MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE!

After Kenya’s demonstration, we were teamed up with makeup artists for one-on-one sessions. I was paired with the knowledgable Elisia Huck, who showed me how to color correct my puffy eyes to make them look flattened and brighter. Then, when I told Elisia I already had the coveted Anastasia Contour Kit  but I was only using it as eyeshadow, she showed me the right shade (you guessed it grayish taupe) to use as a contouring powder and how to apply it.

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Okay, so I’m the first to admit this class showed me that in fact I don’t know everything. (Yes, it was shocking for me as well) The classes range from “Contouring and Highlighting” to “Day-to-Night Smoky Eye” and you can make a reservation online here. Added bonus: every class attendee gets a little goody bag with fun samples! Classes are complimentary to Beauty Insiders. If you’re not a Beauty Insider yet, well quite frankly, I’m shocked you read my blog. It’s free to join the Beauty Insider program and as beauty addicts like myself can attest to, membership (and spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora) has its privileges.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

The Hands-Down Best Eyeliner EVER for Blue and Green Eyes

There is nothing I love more than recommending a makeup item that instantly flatters the masses (Cle de Peau Beaute ConcealerCLINIQUE Almost Lipstick in Black HoneyTarte Cheek Stain in Blissful )… Granted, these magical beauty products obviously don’t work on everyone, but they make enough women look in the mirror and say “wow” to be called iconic.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in (Plum)Age 60 is the newest product to achieve icon status in my world. I tried this gel pencil on my cornflower blue-eyed friend Melissa on her wedding day and her eyes literally twinkled in every photo. The eyeliner made my friend Shana’s dark green eyes nearly jump off her face.

Even though I own eyeliner in every color, form, and brand I always reach for this one. It makes my dark blue eyes look bigger, bluer, and the subtle shimmer give my eyes a sparkle. The gel pencil easily glides along your lash line, leaving behind smooth, vibrant color.  The eyeliner lasts all day and doesn’t leave the dreaded ring above your crease.

When you wear it, you should keep the rest of your eye makeup subdued. I cover my entire upper eye area with Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in Ivory  using a flat eye shadow brush. Then I apply a matte brown eye shadow like Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Buck  in my creases in a back and forth windshield wiper motion.  Matte brown eye shadow in the creases makes eyes appear instantly larger! Then I blend to soften any lines with a loose eye brush in small circles.

Now, don’t be turned off by the plum hue. I know, I know… you’re probably married to your faithful brown or black eyeliner you’ve been using for years. Trust me when I say that once you try this one, you will banish your boring black and brown eyeliner to the beauty graveyard forever.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Ultimate Summer Beauty Survival Guide: Tips and Tricks to Make the Heat Your B*tch This Summer

Well my lovelies, it’s that time of year again… You may call it the middle of summer — I call it my Vietnam. What once looked like perfect applied makeup and a sleek blowout can morph into your worst nightmare within a few minutes of being exposed to the ungodly head and humidity. You don’t have to suffer! Read my Ultimate Summer Beauty Survival Guide on Huffington Post to find out how to beat the heat into submission this summer.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Two Products That Will Get You the Best Face Faux Glow EVER!

For those of you longtime readers, you know I’m  a complete disaster when it comes to sunless tanning.  No matter what brand of self-tanner I tried, either I ended up looking like an Oompa Loompa (that was the best case scenario) or I would have enough streaks and white spots (I tended to consistently miss entire areas of my face and body) to make me look like I was suffering from a rare skin condition. And quite frankly, I felt like most self-tanners would piss off my sensitive skin and make me breakout.  So at some point I simply just gave up and resigned to the fact that a pale face is better than a wrinkled one.

But that was before I started testing new products for my upcoming summer story for Huffington Post… 

I couldn’t resist trying the Tarte Maracuja Bronzing Serum  because A) Tarte is one of my favorite brands B) I love slathering on the Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil  every night for a dose of hydration and essential fatty acids C) Tarte calls it a “gradual bronzing serum” — “gradual” being the operative word for someone like myself who is self-tanner challenged.

The serum itself is lightweight and absorbs quickly. I apply a few drops at night after I cleanse and then follow with my nightly moisturizer. If you have oily skin you can definitely use this serum alone since it has the same hydrating and brightening power as the original Maracuja Oil. When you wake up and rush to the mirror you will be greeted by a subtle natural glow.  It’s so natural-looking and streak-free I’ve applied it every night for the past seven nights and  I love the results.

Since the serum is so gradual I thought I would try the  By Terry Tea to Tan to give my color a little depth. Again, I’m usually not a fan of liquid or cream bronzers because they always look and feel too heavy and unnatural (especially the way I tend to apply them). What makes the  By Terry Tea to Tan so different is it’s literally a water consistency and provides two different looks — 1) Don’t shake the bottle and you get a subtle natural tan 2) Shake the bottle and you get a little glimmer to your tan. I tend to shake it every time since the glimmer is so slight.  The bronzing elixir is buildable and works beautifully on days when you don’t want to apply makeup and just want a healthy glow. The elixir is also tea-based (hence the name) so it’s chockfull of skin-loving antioxidants. It’s more like tinted skincare rather than a bronzer with beneficial ingredients.

So ladies, now I’ve given you a viable alternative to worshipping the sun. I don’t want to hear your sob stories this summer about premature wrinkles and unsightly uneven skin tone because you decided to ignore my sage advice.

If you insist on sunbathing, at least do me the courtesy of wearing a wide-brimmed hat. My sister Loni gets a gold star for picking up her first wide-brimmed hat this week. Good girl! Now wear it to the beach!!!

Disclosure: I was gifted these products with no editorial obligation.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Trip to the MAKE UP FOR EVER Boutique and My Top 3 Products

Okay, it didn’t hurt that I also got to sip pink champagne during my introduction to the MAKE UP FOR EVER Boutique in Santa Clara, CA (don’t worry there are more locations throughout the U.S. and Canada), but I would have made the trek anyway!  Experiencing one of my favorite makeup brands in boutique form rather than the confines of a Sephora kiosk… We’re talking 1600 products in the boutique vs. 300 – 600 at Sephora. BINGE ON!

Forget the products for a second (I know it’s tough…) but the main draw for these boutiques are the cute little makeup school stations in the back.  Every Monday, the boutiques host Make Up School ($25 a class) on how to achieve a certain look — smoky eye, contoured face, etc.  And don’t think for a second you’re just going to watch in the mirror and hope you remember how to achieve the look once you get home… Oh no! The makeup artist is only going to apply the makeup to half your face, then it’s your turn! If you don’t paying attention, expect to look more like a Picasso than a makeover after shot.

Some of the boutiques even have a Video Make Up Lesson Recording Studio so you can record your lesson with the makeup artist and take it home with you and watch it on loop. 😉

Getting back to the products…  My top 3 products  (which by the way if you can’t make it to a MUFE Boutique, you can find all these products in Sephora):

MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Blush 210   This cream blush literally melts into your skin, leaving no visible texture.  It’s really easy to blend and gives my cheeks a pretty “just pinched” look.

MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Microperfecting Primer 1 Green  Redness has really become an issue for me since my pregnancy.  I apply this green (yes green!) primer ONLY where I’m red and blend until the green hue goes away. Then I put my normal primer on over it.  It’s the only thing that works as far as covering my redness without looking heavy.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Eyes Black Purple 6L  I literally have these long-lasting, highly pigmented waterproof eyeliner pencils in almost every color. My new favorite hue is black purple, which brings out the blue in my eyes but is a subtle enough purple that it doesn’t look wild.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Boutiques are currently located in California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Jersey, and Canada. To find the nearest boutique  click here.

Disclosure: I was gifted these products with no editorial obligation.

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