Beauty Refresh.

By: Jen Shoop

Um, I just noticed the other day that my neck is starting to look old.

When I first read Nora Ephron’s sparkling, hilarious set of essays titled I Feel Bad About My Neck, I chuckled to myself but don’t think I truly connected to the experience of seeing yourself age.  Now, at 32, I’m starting to get it, and it’s not…cute.

the fashion magpie beauty refresh

{Can I just have this lady’s skin?  K thanks, bye.}

This discovery led me to run a quick assessment of my beauty regimen and led to many hours of research on not only neck treatments but other ways to refresh my routine.  Below, my top 10 picks for early 2017.

I read a lot of reviews on neck creams and the verdict seems to be that none of them actually work wonders.  HA.  Basically, avoid the sun and moisturize well in your teens and twenties and that’s about it.  But for us ladies in our 30s and beyond, well, we can do our best to reduce the appearance of wrinkles by using a thick cream regularly.  I am going to give this Clarins stuff ($82) a whirl, mainly because I have been so impressed with their tonic body treatment ($65) — as mentioned here, I have been using it religiously throughout this pregnancy and have no stretch marks.

the fashion magpie clarins neck cream

There are few things I hate more in life than blow-drying my own hair.  It is so tedious.  I have fine hair but a LOT of it, and it takes like 40 minutes to truly get everything dried and organized, and ain’t nobody got time for that.  As a result, I tend to wash my hair at night, let it air dry overnight, and then use a straightening iron in the morning.  I have fairly straight hair, but when I let it air-dry, it gets these ugly bends and crimps.  I am intrigued by the idea of getting a keratin treatment — the idea of having my hair dry stick-straight and smooth is a lovely fantasy.  But, I’m not going to entertain the thought until after #minimagpie’s born (not sure about all those chemicals), and it’s pricey, and you apparently can’t do it if you intend to color your hair, and I’m currently thinking I might want to take my blondness up a notch, and…well, I’m curious if there are other options out there.  My first thought was to try a new blow-drying primer.  They all promise to miraculously “cut blow-drying time in half!!!!” — yah, right — but this one from Redken ($18) got good reviews in a few beauty glossies, and I’m willing to give it a whirl.  I also read about this anti-frizz smoothing blowout balm ($25) from a few different sources, including, most recently Julia of Gal Meets Glam (is she not the prettiest?) and was intrigued enough to snap it up at my last trip to Sephora.

BTW — I currently use this hair oil ($22) out-of-the-shower, on damp hair, and I love it for two reasons: 1. it truly does cut down on frizz and make your hair much shinier, even when you air dry it and sleep on it, and 2. it smells like a freaking dream.  I want to bathe myself in its scent.  I also use it on the ends of my hair after straight-ironing it to give my look a little polish/finish.

Has anyone tried a straightening brush?  I’m intrigued/curious.  I’ve heard a lot about the Amika ($120) and am contemplating giving it a whirl.

I’ve heard SO many people rave about Tata Harper — all organic stuff made in small batches in Vermont (I don’t know what it is about that sentence that just makes you feel better ordering it) — and want to give her products a try via this $70 “starter kit” of sorts.

the fashion magpie tata harper skin care set

I recently re-discovered a set of Tarte cheek stains ($30 each) I had stored in my “cosmetic overflow organizer” and am obsessed with them.  They’re perfect for these dry winter months, when applying powder blush to your cheeks just feels wrong.  I’m especially fond of the peachy “Tipsy” color.  On days where I’m particularly low-energy, I swipe a little bit on my cheeks and lips and call it a day (thanks to my eyelash extensions, I already feel semi-put-together when I wake up).

My very-in-the-know girlfriend W. turned me onto this beautifully-scented rose water spray from Chantecaille ($66) last year.  I love spritzing it on after applying my makeup–it sort of…blurs the edges?  I dunno, it just makes things look less cake-y and more dew-y.  Plus, it smells great and can be just the pick-me-up my skin needs in the afternoon.  BUT.  I’ve read amazing things about this $9 (!!) Avene thermal water spray and think I may swap this into the rotation when I’m done with my current bottle of Chantecaille.

I’ve used Oribe’s Bright Blond Shampoo ($44) and conditioner ($46) for the last year or so, and even turned my mom onto it.  It is the ultimate luxury product in hair care.  It leaves your hair so soft and shiny–I just love the texture it imparts.  And the bottle is so pretty, and it smells great, and all that jazz.  BUT.  I’ve moved away from highlights during these winter months, back towards my natural brunette color (but am already eager for summer, when I plan to turn it back to blond)–and it kind of burns my soul to spend $90 on my hair cleansing regimen.  I recently switched back to DryBar’s volumizing shampoo ($24) and conditioner ($24) –I love the scent, and I feel like it leaves my hair squeaky clean.  BUT, I will say that–per my rambling monologue above about wanting to try a keratin treatment–my favorite drugstore brand (I keep some at my parents’ home in D.C.) is Organix’s Keratin Therapy shampoo and conditioner set ($15 for both) — it smells great and really does straighten the old cheveux.

Not a refresh–and I know I’ve featured this stuff a ton–but I freaking love this Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial ($48).  I slather it on every night over cleansed skin and wake up feeling like my skin is hydrated and bright and ready for the day.  I think I’ll try their face oil ($58) next.

the fashion magpie korres rose oil

Still obsessing (obsessing, I tell you!) over Essie’s new line of Gel Couture polishes ($10150).  You apply the color directly to your nail (no base coat), and then use a special top coat and the color lasts for over a week.  I  And I normally chip my polish within the first few days, and this stuff lasts at least a week, sometimes longer.  And they have GREAT colors.  I’ve been into their pale pinks and whites lately.  (Also, my mom turned me onto cleaning and washing dishes with these Mr. Clean rubber gloves, which are lined with cotton and so comfortable and just the best damn things.)

the fashion magpie essie gel couture nail polish 3


I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I’ve been into Stila’s liquid lipsticks ($24) and have accrued quite the collection.  They have great colors, and they look awesome for the first few hours.  But, I must say that they are incredibly drying, especially during these winter months.  I’m always layering them over a thick balm, like Elizabeth Arden’s 8-Hour Cream, and I still struggle by about hour 4.  I usually carry a back up tube of lip balm to smooth things out.  For every day wear, I’m still a Nars Roman Holiday girl.  (Speaking of surviving the winter–one of the nail salons I frequent gifted me a tube of the hand lotion their technicians use for Christmas–SO SWEET OF THEM–and this stuff is REALLY fantastic for easing dry skin.  And it smells neutral enough that Mr. Magpie uses it, too.  Strongly recommend if you’re hoping to get rid of your husband/significant other’s alligator-like winter skin.  Plus, can’t beat the price!)

A few other obsessions/discoveries/go-tos:

+My Mom turned me on to Laura Mercier’s eye basics ($28).  They’re essentially eye shadow primers but I wear them without any eye shadow on top to just sort of even out skin tone most days.  I like the cream formula for winter, when the thought of putting something powdery on my face sounds terrible.

+Still hemming and hawing over a new perfume, I am truly torn between going back to my old standby, Narcisco Rodriguez for Her, and going with this heavenly-scented Olene by Diptyque.  I recently got a sample of the latter and haven’t been able to stop smelling my sleeve.

+My favorite bar soap ($15).  I use this every day in the shower, after this body scrub.

+Finally, I’m still in perpetual search of the best concealer out there.  My top picks are Cle de Peau (but holy $$$!  Why so much $$$?, $70), Nars’ Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30 — but I feel like it can be drying…), or Laura Mercier’s secret concealer ($27 — thick, like stage paint…needed for these dark under eye circles).  I rotate between these three, and they’re all pretty good, but I’m convinced there’s something better.  What do you think?  What do you use?

Any other suggestions for me, Magpies?!

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14 thoughts on “Beauty Refresh.

  1. Speaking of beauty needs…do you know a good/nice salon in DC? I moved from SF almost two years ago and haven’t had a good cut/color since!!

    1. Hi Jenny! I know a few well-heeled ladies who go to Ilo Salon in Georgetown (, including my mom, who has gone there for years and years. Very good spot. I used to go to Recep at Imaj Salon in Cleveland Park ( –he was AMAZING and gave me some of the best haircuts of my life (bangs! EEP!). I can’t speak to their coloring services since I hadn’t started highlighting my hair yet. Hope that helps! xoxoxo

  2. For even more intense coverage than LM- shape tape. I seemed to have quit sleep cold turkey…. and it’s the only thing to combat the bags. I used to use tarte undereye Cc cream (comes in a flat brown disc) when I lived in Boston as it was quite creamy.

  3. I read so many blogs that feature so many products, but there’s something about the way you write yours that makes me immediately want to go out and buy allthethings. Love your blog, best of luck with the little one.

  4. I was given a straightening brush for christmas…no dice. My hair is really thick and course though, so since your hair is a finer texture you might have better luck. It made my hair very static-y and didn’t even come close to getting my hair straight in the way that I prefer…it was sort of just, non-committed between straight and slightly wavy in a “didn’t she have time to do her hair this morning?” way.

    I LOVE the Korres Rose Oil. I accidently spilled it the other night and lost over half of it and I actually cried (it was so full! it’s $58! ahh!) but I will be replacing soon. It has a beautiful smell and really hydrates my skin!

    1. Arg! Nightmare. I would have cried, too. It reminds me of this one time I left a pair of Chanel (!!!!) sunglasses in a fitting room at Target while on vacation because I’d forgotten to pack a swimsuit and needed something cheap. Of course, those were long gone. I think I cried for a day. The worst feeling…I couldn’t stop beating myself up over it! But anyway, love that you are a devotee of Korres too (I agree, the scent is insane!) and thanks for sharing about the straightening brush!!! It seemed to good to be true??

  5. And the best part is you can buy it at Target now! So if you don’t love it can just red cart it right back 🙂 But it has been an absolute godsend for me, so you might just fall in love, too…

    1. Yah, this is happening. You are a gem. I love that mint green color the dryer comes in too! (The little things.) xx

    2. Agree that it is all about the dryer. I bought the Harry Josh one too. It is the STRONGEST of all, BUT i found it wasn’t hot enough. The air flow was so intense, I found it tangled my hair, but didn’t straighten it as well as less powerful dryers that are hotter. Ended up buying a Parlux for way less than Harry Josh and like it a lot.

  6. That Korres sleeping facial has been on my wish list for a while…definitely popping into Sephora this weekend for a sample!

    And I feel you on the hair situation. I moved from NYC to FL a few years ago and it has been fairly tragic for my hair. I have thick hair and a ton of it, and it is prone to frizzing. Lovely. What’s your blow dryer situation? I’ve never found much in the way of a magic product but I have found that the right blow dryer really makes a difference. I splurged on the Harry Josh one and I love it. It’s VERY powerful, which does cut down on drying time and also gets allll of the moisture out. 2.5 years of heavy use it’s still going strong, and love that it’s tiny enough to travel with easily.

    1. Oo, good call, Alison! I hadn’t heard about Harry Josh’s magical dryer but now I’m reading so many enthusiastic endorsements!

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