“How the heck do I blend my eyeshadow?” and “Can kale make you as beautiful as Beyonce?” are two recent examples of headlines on XoVain, XoJane’s beauty-obsessed little sister site.
Behind their catchy, irreverent nature is editor-in-chief Anne-Marie Guarnieri, whose goal is to run a publication that brings beauty coverage down from its glossy pedestal and makes it fun, easy, and accessible to young women (in a way that Vogue’s endorsement of $500 cleansers never will be). “On XoVain, we tell you all of the secrets,” she says.
Since Guarnieri has years of experience covering beauty (she was previously a senior beauty editor at Allure), we figured we’d call her on that promise and get some of hers, starting with what makes her fall for a product.
“I’m not immune to the charms of delightful boxes and packaging, but at the end of the day, does it work? Does it do what it’s supposed to do?” she says.
But while efficacy is key, she still can’t resist circling back to having fun with her beauty bag. “It should solve problems, but I want to be excited to use it.” Here are some of the natural products that are bringing her some serious beauty joy right now. —Lisa Elaine Held
1. Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Use Dry Oil ($46) I’ve really been a champion of oils for hair and face. It’s a funny thing because the message was “Get it out of your hair and face!” and now we’re like “Put it on your face and hair!” For a person who has chemically processed fine hair that’s prone to frizziness—and I do get it colored really regularly—I love this for adding some softness back into my dried-out hair, the ends particularly. You just put a little on your palms. It’s very fancy and tropical. You feel like you’re on vacation when you use it.
2. Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex ($45) I’ve been following Tata’s career from the very start and have written about her several times. It was one of the first lines of this kind that I was really drawn to and interested in, because it has that it-feels-good factor. This is part of my regular routine. And if I do get a breakout, a red angry painful one, you put this on top and it helps reduce that redness. It absorbs quickly so concealer can go on top, too. It’s not an acne treatment, but it helps calm everything down.
3. RMS Beauty Volumizing Mascara ($28) I was surprised by this—I found that it had a lot more muscle than some of the other natural formulas I’ve tested. For me, it did well with lengthening, not so much thickening, but if you go in there and do a couple of coats, it’s pretty good, and it doesn’t clump. I’ve always always loved the RMS cream shadow, it’s a pale metallic, beautiful, shimmery bronze. And I love how you don’t need anything else than your finger to apply it.
4. Ilia Beauty Lip Gloss in Love Buzz ($24) I’m not really a pink lip gloss kind of girl—or at least I didn’t think I was and then a friend gave this to me to try and was like “It’s a cool pink!” as in the tone. And I liked it! A big problem with a lot of traditional glosses is that they’re sticky and gloppy, this just feels better. It’s a lovely, girly pink and I just love it.
5. Bkr Water Bottle ($32) I have tried every reusable water bottle on the market—the metal ones, the other glass ones, the Camelbacks, all of these things. This one is just delightful to use. Plus it just looks cooler. I have one for working out, one at home, one at the office—and anything that gets you to drink more water, to be honest, is important. That’s always something that’s made a huge difference in my overall well-being and feeling healthy, just staying hydrated. There’s a reason people tell you to stay hydrated, it’s the cheapest beauty secret out there. —Lisa Elaine Held
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