Ever since Ally became my best friend in AP English during those very pleasant high school years, I’ve been *literally* taking pictures of her to my hair stylist, the Sephora store, etc. Seriously. And this was back before I could casually pull up a picture of us on my iPhone. I would actually PRINT OUT A PICTURE of this young woman and carry it around with me. I got several haircuts based on pictures of her. It never worked out. Anyway, this is very creepy and weird and I’m only admitting it now because she knows all this and is still my best friend. THE POINT IS, I’ve been doing all this with one mission: to try and emulate even one-fifth of her ultimate cool-girl style.

While we still have pretty different styles overall, Ally is my go-to person for all things beauty and fashion. A typical day for me involves about 16 different text conversations with Ally about what lip liner I’m dying to try, hearing about her latest excursion to Sephora, or detailing my recent debacles with liquid highlighter (needless to say, it didn’t go well. I looked radioactive in, like, not a good way?). Not to mention, these texts are interspersed between discussions about her recent promotion, fancy work trips to NYC, and latest workout class obsessions. Did I mention she’s total #bossbabe goals, in addition to being the most fashionable person I know?

ANYWAY, what I’m saying is, I reject all things Kardashian, and then I found myself waiting in a queue six weeks in a row for a Kylie Jenner lip-kit. Because I want to look like Kylie? Certainly not. But because Ally has about 17 of these suckers (sorry, Al), and if she does it, that must mean it’s cool. Ally will try anything beauty-related, and she’ll do it with such confidence and swagger, she might as well be Kylie. SO, I decided to share my bestie with y’all. Just for A MINUTE.

The bottom line is: Ally and I are both busy, badass, and too busy hustling to spend too much time trying to find the perfect products. So we often divide and conquer, and share what we love, so we can simplify our beauty routines and find what actually works. I asked her to write a little something for the blog about the beauty products and trends she’s excited about rocking for summer. SO, without further ado, enjoy. And you’re welcome.


Thanks for that (very kind and generous) introduction, Al. You’re the best. I am elated to be sharing my summer beauty must-haves with your readers. Alex and I are both beauty buffs who love trying new products to help us feel our best day in and day out. One thing I have learned over the past year or so, is just how important it is to trust in the quality of the product you are using. Not only for the monetary aspect, but also that the product realistically achieves the results you are wanting to see. The quality of the seven products below are what make these fresh faves my summer musts!

Hair:

Davines LOVE Smoothing Conditioner: I received a sample of this in my May Birchbox, and it is hands-down one of the best conditioners I have ever used. It’s more than just a lavender-scented formula that instantly nourishes my hair – I noticed a significant difference in my frizz-factor after one use. Alex and I can attest to the fact that frizzy hair can become the norm in both Florida and Massachusetts with crazy humidity in the summer months. You can get the full size here! I certainly will be ordering more of this product to help protect from the imminent frizz!

Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray: As a cheaper alternative to the Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray – nothing against you, Bumble and Bumble, you do you. I’ve found that the “Beach Babe” line from Not Your Mother’s serves as a great option. I have continually used the “Beach Babe” shampoo and conditioner, but I want to highlight the Sea Salt Spray specifically, because it is a necessity in my beauty arsenal. I simply could not live without it. I love this spray – not only for the sweet coconut aroma I get from the first spritz, but for the way it gives me the beach waves I desire on a daily basis that look oh-so-natural.


Makeup:

Laura Geller New York Baked Blush-n-Brighten: Here is yet another great Birchbox sample that I have already ordered the full size of to give me that glowing pink lift. Have I convinced you to sign up for your monthly Birchbox yet? There is nothing better than a reliable blush and highlighter combo. I am currently rockin’ the “Tropic Hues” coloring for the summer months. I am anxious to try the “Golden Apricot” coloring for the fall, as I try my hardest to retain that after-summer tan glow. You can get this cheeky essential here! Bonus Points: for a bronze glow – try Laura Geller Bronze-n-Brighten.

BareMinerals Complexion Rescue: I have been a BareMinerals fangirl since they stepped onto the beauty scene all those years ago. The quality of their makeup is unmatched. I have mild eczema on my cheeks and you would never know with the coverage that these BareMinerals products give me. They can be pricey depending on the product, so I recommend finding a BareMinerals outlet close to you for stellar deals. Can you say 2 for $30 on Mineral Foundation? I am an everyday Mineral Foundation user, and while the foundation gives me solid coverage, recently I wanted something that would help with the underlying complexion of my skin. Instead of a primer, a lovely BareMinerals expert recommended Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, and man, I am happy I waltzed into the outlet that day. Complexion Rescue allows me to be even more comfortable in my own skin by adding that extra bottom layer of coverage. It is water-infused, which gives my skin intense hydration that lasts all day with an added vanilla tint.

Kylie Cosmetics Lip Gloss: As Alex mentioned above – I am definitely on the Kylie Cosmetics train. However, I am not going to highlight the lip-kit, which includes an (overpriced) matte lipstick and appropriately colored lip-liner. I want to highlight what I believe to be the trend for all summer ‘16, and that is GLOSS. Remember Lil Mama’s ‘08 hit “Lip Gloss”? Let’s bring it back – let your lip gloss be poppin’. The “So Cute” shade of Kylie’s gloss collection is a must-have. It’s the perfect nude gloss that shines and hydrates for daily use. I also recently snagged “Like” which looks great with the Dolce K lip-liner shaded on your lips underneath for a darker nude coloring. If you’re going to wait in a queue for a Kylie Cosmetics product this summer – let it be a gloss.

                                                                   Skin:

Dr. Jart + Liftra Contour Cream: While I have been on this year-long beauty quest, I came across several samples of Dr. Jart products through Sephora rewards and Birchbox. All of the products impressed, but my favorite of these products is the Liftra Contour Cream. The reviews speak for themselves – this cream instantly tightens and lifts skin while smoothing out your complexion for other makeup application. This cream provides skin contour definition without having to contour with makeup. This cream is admittedly on the pricier side, but worth the investment for the quality and result that the product delivers. I often use it for a base on those days that you just cannot be bothered to put on makeup. We’ve all been there.

The Body Shop Body Butter: I am a newbie to the wonders of the body butter world. As I mentioned before, I struggle with eczema on my cheeks, but also on my arms and the top of my thighs, so soft skin is hard for me to come by without the right product. The buttery texture is something I wasn’t sure would cooperate well with my sensitive skin, but I could not have been more wrong. This body butter lets me feel like I am on an exotic island soaking up the sun while I am knee-deep in planning events and creating new marketing material at my desk. My personal favorite body butter scent for summer is Coconut. While this is listed for a pricey $21.00 on The Body Shop website and in-store – you can find almost every scent imaginable at your local Marshalls or T.J.Maxx for a hot $7.99 or less.

            The most essential summer trend I want to promote and practice myself is confidence. Let your beauty arsenal reflect your confidence and best self year-round – not only in the summer months. I hope these seven products provide you with a launch pad to find your own must-haves, and I encourage you all to try the above if you get the chance. I know you’ll love them. I want to thank my fabulous best friend for giving me the opportunity to write this piece and share my product experience with you all. What are your summer must-haves? Let us know with a comment!