Sebastian Signs Review and Giveaway

Prizes: 5 lucky winners will receive the Purusa Dream Extract (a $28 value) from Sebastian Signs.

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Getting a good night's rest is the most powerful and preventive medicine. Not only it is essential for one's health, but it also nature's best beauty treatment.

Here are some of the reasons why:

Your body produces the most human growth hormone during the first three hours, which is beneficial for skin and hair repair. Melatonin, a hormone that is also a skin-protecting antioxidant, increases during the middle of sleep. Your skin's temperature reaches its lowest point and your muscles relax, giving skin its deepest recovery during the last three hours of sleep.

Many of us have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, though. While prescription sleeping pills might lull you into a blissful slumber, using them regularly can cause death or develop certain types of cancer, research suggests. This is why more and more are turning to a natural alternative. The latest to hit the shelves are pillow sprays.

Purusa Dream Extract ($28) contains soothing ingredients that can whisk you away to dreamland - Sandalwood, organic Clary Sage, and Bergamot. The scent is strikingly reminiscent of lavender, which is another soothing ingredient that is ideal for insomnia.

Just mist your pillows and sheets and let the scent lull you into dreamland.

I received their Goat Milk Soap in No. 17 and No. 35 ($7 for each; also available in No. 44 Sage and Lavender), which are luxurious hand crafted soaps that are free of detergents and other harsh chemicals. I love both, but my favorite is the No. 17. It has hints of dark chocolate, sandalwood, and vanilla that makes this soap irresistible and unique. The No. 35 has more of a floral scent is gorgeous and earthy - bergamot, coriander, Bulgarian rose absolute, and French jasmine. Most importantly, these soaps leave the skin feeling well pampered and moisturized.

I also received their Perfume Oil in No. 17 and No. 35 ($50 for each; also available in No. 44), the same scents as the hand-crafted soaps. Again, I love both! Also, I wear both regularly. However, No. 17 remains as my top favorite.

No. 17 contains top notes of dark chocolate that will dissipate after 20 minutes, leaving you with an intoxicating veil of sandalwood and vanilla absolute. You might also be able to detect a hint of evocative of Nag Champa incense.

No. 35 has top notes of bergamot, coriander, and fresh green notes. A body with sensual florals such as Bulgarian rose absolute and French jasmine, with a beautiful dry down of white woods, ambers and a hint of vanilla bean.

Disclosure: The product(s) in this review was provided to the reviewer for keeps and the purpose of writing a review. This in no way effects the quality of the review provided. No monetary exchange occurred in exchange for the writing of the review. The views expressed in this review are strictly that of the reviewer. All reviews provided here are the work of the reviewer and remain completely unbiased.

The giveaway will conclude on March 15th.

Academy Worthy Style: 2012 Oscar Beauty Trends by Celebrity Hair & Makeup Artist

There are few fashion moments worthy of such attention as the Academy Awards. Every year, we wait with baited breath to see what our favorite celebrities will don on the red carpet, from dresses to hair and makeup. The trends that are seen on this very special awards night are most often the looks that prevail for the coming season. Here, owner of Gocha Salon and celebrity hairstylist and makeup artist Gocha Hawkins shares her favorite star styles of the night, and how to get the look for everyday wear.

Good Side

Stars like Busy Philipps, Maya Rudolph, and Stacy Keibler rocked the side-swept look, but how does a normal girl get the style to stay in place? Gocha explains, “The side-swept style was a big winner on the red carpet last night. With celebrities like Maya Rudolph stepping out with big, voluminous curls, many women will be coveting this look for prom and wedding season. This style works best for women with side parts, which provides a natural separation for hair. Create big, impactful waves with large hot rollers, and pull back the side with less thickness. Spritz with hairspray for hold. If you want to go with a more whimsical version of the look, you can secure with a hair pin that provides a little bit of a bling factor, and gives more of a guarantee that hair will stay in place.”

Head Bangers

There was no stopping the head bangers on last night’s red carpet, and by that we mean the bold bang styles that we saw from such celebrities as Rooney Mara, Rose Byrne, and Anna Faris. However, for some women, bangs are not as wearable, says Gocha. “The bob with straight bangs is really making a comeback as a look for the spring. Rose Byrne and Anna Faris really nail the look with sleek, smooth hair turned inward to define the bob cut. For women with long, oval faces, or heart shaped faces, blunt, straight bangs are a very flattering look. For others, different variations of a bang are more flattering, such as side-swept or soft, featured looks. It’s important to know the shape of your face when getting this cut, and consult your hairstylist before making the request. The biggest thing to remember with this look is that you’ll need to schedule regular trims. Every four to six weeks is the general rule of thumb to keep bangs looking their absolute best.”

Beautiful Buns

Jennifer Lopez, Tina Fey, and Sandra Bullock led the pack in stunning, upswept styles. Gocha explains, “I really love the look of the top knot that Jennifer Lopez wore on the red carpet. Overall, her look for me was a winner. The hair style really allowed the dress to shine, which is what you want when you are going with such a high impact frock. To get the look at home, start by pulling your hair into a high, slicked back ponytail, using a product such as a hair wax or pomade to create a smooth finish. If your hair is super fine, you may need to do some teasing at the base of the ponytail for a little volume, which I always appreciate with a top knot. Next, section hair into two parts and loop and twist around the base, wrapping everything with a small, sleek hair elastic.” To create a messier look similar to Tina Fey’s, tease hair at the crown for volume and pull into a lower bun that starts at the top of the back of your head.

Bold Lip

There was certainly a winner in the makeup department last night, and that was the bold red lip. Stars embraced this look with confidence, and used it to enhance their overall look. Angelina Jolie to Michelle Williams both worked the bold lip with very different gowns. “Angelina Jolie went the simple yet stunning direction with her dress, and she adopted the same mentality when it came to her makeup and hair. Paired with an uncomplicated, messy hairstyle, Angelina’s soft makeup with a bold lip highlighted one of her best assets. Keeping the other makeup minimal really lets the red lip shine and become the focus of the face. Michelle Williams used a color on her lips that was similar to her dress, which worked to bring together all of the elements of her style, making a stunning statement.”

Sultry Eye

Milla Jovovich and Sarah Hyland were among the many stars that opted for a sultry, heavily lined eye that made their peepers pop. Says Gocha, “You will always see sexy, smoky eyes on the red carpet, as it is a classic go-to for most stars. The key is to create the perfect sultry look without going overboard and having a makeup meltdown throughout the night. I suggest using neutral tones to blend the right color for you, from browns to darker black. The best smoky eye is one that radiates warmth and goes well with the individual’s skin tone. If your skin is cool, go with grays to blacks; if it is warm, use browns to darker browns. Heavily line the top of the eye with black liner and do a small line underneath, setting with eye shadow. Add a couple coats of mascara for more of an impact. Besides an optional bold lip, which always pairs well, keep other makeup minimal so that your eye will really stand out.”

Baring It All

While the bold lip and eye were stunning at the Oscars, there were also a fair amount of stars that went with the minimalist look, like Gwyneth Paltrow and Judy Greer. As Gocha points out, “Stars really embraced their natural beauty last night, and I am always a big proponent of allowing your own stunning features to shine. The key is to create a face that looks fresh while still using makeup staples to make sure that the finish is flawless. It’s very important to moisturize with this look, as well as find a foundation that is perfect for your skin tone. Next, find a dual blush and lip product that works for you by choosing a color that is very close to your natural flush and lip color. Then, swipe some mascara over your eyelashes, and finish with a touch of liner if needed. You want to fool the world into thinking you barely needed any makeup to make yourself camera-ready.”

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Clairol Profession​al Colorist Kiyah Wright Reveals Hair Trends from Bronner Bros Internatio​nal Hair Show

Clairol Professional Celebrity Colorist Kiyah Wright took the stage by storm this weekend at the 65th bi-annual Bronner Bros International Hair Show. The Bronner Bros International Hair Show is attended by stylists, barbers and hair enthusiasts alike to learn about the industry’s hottest trends and newest hair techniques. Kiyah Wright, whose client roster includes A-listers such as Rihanna, Jennifer Hudson and Ciara, reports back on the biggest hair trends from the show!

Trend #1: Bright, Bold and Vibrant!

From color blocking to ombre to chunky highlights, there was not a plain hair in sight. Blondes and golds were the most popular hues and replaced last year’s reds and coppers. Several hair show attendees wore multiple color palettes- at one time!

Kiyah’s Tips:

· To obtain a funky, vibrant hue (or a multitude of them!) use Clairol Professional Jazzing which is a temporary, sheer haircolor. Available in 18 shades ranging from Jet Grape to Fuchsia Plum, it bestows a punch of color for the most vivid styles. Its ammonia- and peroxide-free formula is also damage-free.

· If you’re on a budget, opt for an ombre style. The upkeep is more affordable!

Trend #2: Au Naturale

Natural hair is the biggest hair trend of 2012! People are giving hair a break from relaxers and treatments and are going back to their roots. Instead, they’re experimenting with brilliant haircolors to keep their crowning glory interesting and vivacious.

Kiyah’s Tips:

· For healthy, natural hair, it’s all about maintenance. Find a good hydrating shampoo (especially if wearing haircolor), a leave-in conditioner and a curl cream to tame unruly curls. These tools with help to soften and detangle natural hair and to make it more manageable.

Trend #3: Extensions

Women who are gravitating towards natural hair in order to give their hair a break are also experimenting with extensions. Extensions are like replacement hair in that they bestow a quick change with minimal damage.

Kiyah’s Tips:

· Make sure the extensions are high quality and can withstand both heat and color. This will allow for unlimited experimentation sans damage!

Grammy Awards: Beauty Trends by Celebrity Hairstylis​t & Makeup Artist

It’s no surprise that for the biggest night in music,the industry’s top talent stepped out in some of the loveliest looks we’ve seen this awards season. Leading the pack in hair trends were everything from relaxed, carefree styles to severe, polished tresses, and the makeup that paired with each style worked to enhance the overall look. Here, owner of Gocha Salon, celebrity hairstylist and makeup artist Gocha Hawkins, who has worked with such musical talents as Christina Milian, Timberland, and Lil Wayne, weighs in on her favorite looks of the night, and provides insight as to how to get these styles at home.

Relaxed Waves

Performers Nicki Minaj and Rihanna both went with this decidedly low-maintenance choice for hair. The stars also kept their makeup low key, but flattering. As Gocha explains, “I really enjoyed this look on Reese Witherspoon at the SAG Awards, and was refreshed to see stars like Rihanna and Nicki Minaj choose this style. This look is one that doesn’t require any upkeep, so the performers were able to relax and enjoy the show without worrying about their hair throughout the night. Rihanna and Nicki also went with minimal makeup, letting their natural beauty shine and allowing their ensembles to speak for themselves. Rihanna’s smoky eye was just the right touch of sultriness.”

· The easiest way to get the look is to use a three-barrel curling iron, otherwise referred to as a “waving iron.” Keep in mind: the bigger the barrel, the looser the curl.

· Separate hair into sections, and begin curling. Use a heat protectant, spraying as you go. Start at the roots and clamp down with the iron, holding only for a few seconds. Move down that same section of hair and repeat. Once you have achieved your desired look, finish with a holding spray.

· For a smoky eye, create a palate of neutrals that work with your skin tone. From the lash line up, begin blending to the eyebrow line. Use eye kohl and smudge for the ultimate in bad girl chic.

Polished Chignon

A style as classic Hollywood as it gets, the polished chignon was also a winner last night. Stars like Lady Gaga and Paris Hilton wore variations of the look and hit on different notes with their fashion choices. “For two women who are so wildly different, I thought it was interesting that Lady Gaga toned down her normal bravado and went with a hairstyle that was more Paris Hilton than Bride of Frankenstein. Paris Hilton’s pulled back look was a bun-chignon, while Lady Gaga’s two-toned structure was reminiscent of the classic style,” says Gocha. “Both women chose to highlight different features in terms of makeup, with Paris focusing on a heavily lined eye and neutral face, and Lady Gaga going for a bold red lip.”

· Leaving out a portion for the swoop-away bang,use a de-frizz polish for control as you pull hair into a ponytail.

· Wrap remaining hair into the chignon shape and secure with hair pins. Spray with hairspray so that the style stays in place.Remove pieces of hair for a loose look, curling to create face-framing waves.

· With this old-time favorite, nothing is more glamorous than a red lip.

Top Heavy

The ponytail is still going strong as one of the tried-and-true styles for celebrities on the red carpet. With stars like Fergie and Katy Perry wearing drastically different versions, Gocha highlights how to achieve both looks. “Ponytails can be intimidating to stars on the red carpet as it puts the spotlight on the face. It was great to see celebrities such as Katy Perry and Fergie working this trend that is so easy to achieve at home. Both women highlighted their best assets in terms of makeup, with Katy matching her blue ‘do and Fergie wearing a defined eye, bringing the focus to one of her best features.”

· To get Fergie’s sleek ponytail, pull hair off face with hair pomade, which provides control and shine. Create a pony tail at the top of your head, and for extra length, add extensions. Add pieces to hair and wrap around the elastic, securing with bobby pins.

· For Katy’s volumized look, leave the hair at the crown out of the equation when creating the ponytail. Curl with a large barrel and tease for volume. To smooth the look, apply frizz polish or wax. Secure with hair pin.

· Since this look draws all the attention to the face, make sure to play up your best feature. A heavily lined eye with big lashes gives great impact, pulling the look together.

Beauty Box 5

Once a month, receive the beauty box from Beauty Box 5 ($12 - $100) with 4-5 samples delivered directly to your door. Your beauty box will contain products to include makeup, skin care, hair care, fragrances and a few other surprises!

Learn more about your samples directly on their site! How-to’s and beauty tips and tricks will be available right at your fingertips.

Iconic African American Hair

February is African American History Month. For generations of women, these African American legends helped pave the way to self-acceptance by wearing their hair with the swagger of true glamour icons. From Josephine Baker’s flapper ringlets to Diana Ross’s disco days afro, hair was not only a form of creative expression, but it captured the cultural zeitgeist of entire social eras.

Josephine Baker

Dorothy Dandridge

Grace Jones

Marsha Hunt

Billie Holiday

Diana Ross

Erykah Badu

Lisa Bonet


Donyale Luna

Hair Styles for Valentine's Day

Here are top date night styles hair tips from Nicholas Penna, Jr., owner and lead stylist at Salon Capri in Newton and Dedham.

Sock Bun (Also Known as the Ballerina Bun)

This styling trick plays up the volume of thin and fine hair types for ample up-dos.

· Start by blow-drying hair with a natural bristle brush.

· Once hair is dry, apply a dime-sized drop of smoothing serum to the shafts and ends of hair. Nick recommends Shu Uemura’s Silk Mesh for added shine and softness.

· Using a fine-tooth comb to smooth out bumps, slick hair back into a high ponytail at the crown of your head and secure it with an elastic.

· Cut off the end of a clean, unwanted sock (where your toes would be), and roll it up into a donut shape.

· Place the sock around the base of the ponytail so that it is tightly against your head.

· Tilt your head slightly forward and spread your ponytail evenly around the sock so that half of your hair is toward the top of the sock, pointing toward your forehead, and half is at the bottom, pointing toward your back.

· Use a second hair elastic to wrap and secure hair around the outside of the sock, creating a ballerina-bun at the crown of your head.

· Twist remaining hair in one direction and use bobby-pins to tuck and clip the ends underneath your bun.

· Finish with a light application of hairspray. Nick swears by Shu Uemura’s Sheer Lacquer.

Sleek, ‘Wet-Inspired’ Hair

This look relies on styling products to create a slicked-back, wet appearance.

· Start by combing through wet hair with a wide-tooth comb to remove tangles.

· Add a walnut-size dollop of styling balm to the top half of wet, tangle-free hair.

· Brush your hair towards the back of your head with a fine-tooth comb and secure it tightly with an elastic.

· Twist hair gently (Nick recommends one full turn for medium to long hair), and wrap it into around the base of the ponytail to create a round bun.

· Use bobby pins to secure the end of your ponytail and tame fly-aways.

· Run a fine-tooth comb through the top of your hair up to the bun to smooth over any bumps.

· Finish with a generous amount of an extra-hold hairspray. Nick loves Shu Uemura’s Sheer Laquer.

Bouncy, Volumized Hair

A modern take on “pageant hair”; full, voluminous hair is an easy way to add sex appeal to your style.

· Start with a classic blow-dry using a round, natural bristle brush and a palm-full of volumizing mousse.Nick recommends Shu Uemura’s Fiber Lift.

· Once hair is dry, add volume to the top of the head by teasing the hair using hairspray and a round brush.

· After desired volume is achieved, curl hair away from the face from end to root with a large barrel curling iron. Nick uses a two-inch barrel to achieve big, bouncy curls.

· Using a dime-sized drop of smoothing serum, rub your hands together and gently run your fingers through the curls to separate them. Shu Uemura’s Silk Mesh is Nick’s favorite. · Finish the look with light hair spray and you’re red carpet ready!

Smooth and Sleek Hair with a Center Part

While voluminous hair is hot this season, so is sleek and straight. Center parts are making a comeback!

· Start by parting wet hair directly in the center of your head using the edge of a fine-toothed comb.

· Dry hair with the nozzle attachment of your blow-dryer, and a natural bristle brush, pulling hair and the dryer downward to smooth out hair.

· Apply a pea-sized drop of smoothing serum from the shafts to the ends of your hair. Nick recommends Shu Uemura’s Silk Mesh.

· Run a straightening iron through your ends to straighten out any waves and voila, you have a classic look for day or night!

The Body Deli Dark Chocolate Scrub

Special batches made only once a year by their Cosmetic Chefs for the month of love! This decadent scrub smells delicious and feels devine. Get your Dark Chocolate Scrub ($36) while supplies last!

Experience the rare and pure treat of Real Chocolate. Made with Raw Certified Organic Ecuadorian Cacao beans, this decadent scrub polishes away dull skin while leaving a delicious aroma on the skin. This unique and very special body scrub is formulated with rich organic African Shea, organic Cocoa and organic Virgin Coconut Butter. These amazing butters soften and leave the skin feeling hydrated, soft and buttery. Extra fine grain sea salt is used to create a gentle exfoliating skin polish that refines and smoothes the skin. Nutrient rich precious oils further enhance this spa quality experience. Pure all natural therapeutic essential oils are used to impart the healing essence of true aromatherapy.

Lavanila’s Vanilla Passion Fruit Review

Lavanila’s Vanilla Passion Fruit scent is infused with natural aphrodisiacs! This fragrance is a crisp, tropical explosion of Passion Fruit, Guava and Peach Nectar steeped in warm base of Sandalwood and Madagascar vanilla. Created by master natural perfumers and backed by research, this love-attracting scent is uniquely infused with a romantic blend of powerful aphrodisiacs valued for their seductive properties. The collection includes The Healthy Fragrance ($39 - $58), Healthy Roller Ball ($19), 2-in-1 Shower and Shave ($14), and Body Butter ($20). Lavanila products can be purchased at Sephora retail stores,, and

The Healthy Fragrance - Vanilla Passion Fruit is a delightfully succulent fragrance that perfectly captures the essence of a tropical vacation without the expense and travel. It's coyly sexy, feminine, and sophisticated. It is perfect to wear on a romantic date or simply a scent that will get him to notice you without appearing overzealous.

Blue Lotus, Clary Sage, and Juniper Berry are included in the botanical fragrance blend. These ingredients are known to attract love and rekindle passion, and there are studies that even back this up! Blue Lotus is extracted from the Egyptian Blue Lotus Flower. It promotes balance between the mind, body, and soul. Clary Sage acts as an estrogen balancer for women. It can either imitate or stimulate a sexual hormone or mimic a human sexual odor. Juniper Berry is the sauciest of them all. The warm and feisty aroma creates a sensation of heat, which increases the chemicals that lead to sexual attraction.

The Healthy Body Wash 2-in-1 Shower & Shave Vanilla Passion Fruit doesn't only gently cleanses the skin, but it also provides a soft, silky shaving experience! I prefer using this over most shaving creams since they clog up razors easily. Plus, it doesn't contain the sulfates and other harsh ingredients that traditional washes and shaving products have. It provides a healthy dose of anti-oxidants and vitamins that will promote soft, touchable, and healthy skin.

The product(s) in this review was provided to the reviewer for keeps and the purpose of writing a review. This in no way effects the quality of the review provided. No monetary exchange occurred in exchange for the writing of the review. The views expressed in this review are strictly that of the reviewer. All reviews provided here are the work of the reviewer and remain completely unbiased.

The SAG Awards: Red Carpet Beauty Trends for Spring

Ah, awards season. Any beauty maven worth her salt waits all year to watch as the biggest stars in Hollywood do their part to predict the dominant trends for next season. This year’s Screen Actor’s Guild Awards were no different, featuring noticeable beauty trends that will surely be sought-after come next season. Here, makeup expert, Gail Sagel ,shares her favorite looks from the star-studded evening and offers insider tips for everyday wear.

Coral Clique

With many celebrities embracing the “less is more” philosophy when it comes to makeup, it was no surprise that understated beauty was the winner at the SAG Awards. As Gail puts it, “Coral is natural without being boring; it allows for color without anything overpowering your natural beauty. What we saw on Sunday night were celebrities embracing the minimalist look, but creating a dewier, softer version. The key here is to create a face that looks like it was sun-kissed.” · Start with an all-over foundation that allows natural shine to come through.

· When it comes to blush and lip color, make sure to consider skin tone. The lighter the skin, the softer the coral should be; think peachy. If skin is medium, a pinky-coral is the most flattering. Darker skin tones can play with the color and go with a more intense orange tone.

· Gail cautions that it’s easy to go overboard with coral, so women should choose just one feature to play up. For example, if the lip color of choice is a stark, bold coral, give the cheeks a rest, as it will detract from the overall look.

Bold Brows

Eyebrows are having a moment. With so many celebrities embracing the bold brows trend, beauty-conscious women everywhere are taking note that this look will continue on through spring. Gail offers her expert eyebrow shaping advice: “Eyebrows are one of my favorite facial features because they really change the entire look of a face. For that reason, you have to be extremely careful with the bold brow trend, because too much brow can be overwhelming, while not enough can actually look unflattering on most face shapes.”

· First, find the right eye shadow color to fill in the eyebrow. For light brows, the color should be one or two shades darker than the normal eyebrow color, but not too dark, as it won’t blend well. For dark brows, choose a shade lighter.

· Using an angled eye shadow brush, fill in from the base of the brow upward. Afterward, run an eyebrow spooly brush through, brushing upward and making sure that all spots are filled in.

· To set eyebrows in place, use a tinted brow gel like Bare Escentials I.D. Brow Finishing Gel to ensure that these new masterpieces say set throughout the day and into the night.

Pastel Pouts

Pastel colors were all over the runways for spring 2012, encouraging celebrities to wear bright lips with confidence at the SAG Awards. “It’s so fun that colors like coral and fuchsia are being embraced by Hollywood. Many women shy away from a bold lip because it’s difficult to find the perfect match, but don’t be discouraged. Take advantage of the test products at your local beauty store and invest in some pastel tones for spring,” says Gail.

· Fair skin tones are lucky, as pinks complement the tone well. Try a lighter pink that has a peachy undertone, but stay away from a dark, extremely bright pink. Those colors will wash out your overall look.

· For medium skin tones, berry shades are best. Rather than going with a wine-colored berry, try a soft version of fuchsia. Think deep pinks and corals over bright shades.

· This trend was made for dark skin tones. For maximum impact, choose a pink with blu eundertones. For show-stopping appeal, don an orange-hued coral.
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