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Every year, Nordstrom holds their amazing anniversary sale with beauty exclusives that are so incredible, we can’t help but splurge a little. This is the final week of the sale, so if you haven’t already taken advantage of it, here’s our list of must-haves that you may want to have for yourself.


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Philosophy Unconditional Love Set

A first smell, we felt unconditional love for this fragrance— fresh and light, yet sultry and oh-so gorgeous. The set includes a perfumed shampoo, bath and shower gel (8 oz.), perfumed firming body emulsion (8 oz.) and spray fragrance (1.7 oz.). Layer them for a scent that will last you all day or use one at a time. Nordstrom exclusive. $59.50,



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M·A·C ‘Eyeshadow x 6’ Palette

When it comes to eyeshadow, MAC makes the best. From the Nordstrom-exclusive Graphic Garden collection are two palettes is available in two 6-color combinations (Graphic Garden and Fresh Cut, pictured). These eyeshadow palettes offer not only vibrant, gorgeous shades to make those peepers pop this season, but are housed in a metal compact with a holographic black and white floral poppy pattern to give you something fun to look at on your vanity. $35,



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Beauty Society Enormous Lash Eyelash Enhancing Serum (Set of 2)

When we first used Enormous Lash, it gave us gorgeous, visibly longer lashes within a couple of months. Now that the formula itself has been enhanced, and is being offered through a buy-one-get-one-free deal, we can’t stress enough how amazing this is. The patent-pending formula is non-irritating, paraben- and prostaglandin-free. Use it morning and night for look-at me lashes. $95,



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Cover FX ‘The Big Cover Up’ Set

If there is one line of makeup to turn to when we really need coverage, it’s Cover FX. This line of products works hard to cover up imperfections yet feels like you have nothing on. It won;t clog pores and is even safe for sensitive skin. This set includes everything you’ll need to create a flawless complexion: Skinprep FX Nourishing Foundation Primer and Anti-Aging Serum, Cover FX Total Coverage Cream Foundation, Setting FX Translucent Setting Powder, Professional Foundation Brush #130 and How-to Instructional DVD. Nordstrom exclusive. $75,



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Clinique ‘Best of Clinique’ Lip Gloss Set

How convenient is this? We are loving these three mini Long Last Glosswear SPF 15 tubes. Our favorite colors, Air Kiss, Sunset and Fireberry, can go anywhere you do on its take-with-you key ring— even comes with a mirror! $18.50,




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Juice Beauty ‘Organics to Glow’ Set

Organic beauty products offer us the peace of mind that our skin is receiving the best nature has to offer. This Juice Beauty set will give your skin the antioxidant protection your skin needs to fight off harmful, aging elements so it can keep its youthful, radiant glow, naturally. Includes three SPF 8 lip moisturizers in Natural, Joyful and Playful, Hydrating Mist, Mineral Light Moisturizer SPF 30, Mineral Medium Moisturizer SPF 20 and Green Apple Full Strength Peel. $29,




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Clarins ‘Wonder Perfect’ Mascara

Mascara is always a must-have. This one from Clarins will give lashes that lush, voluminous look we all crave. Rich, pigmented color will saturate lashes for a dramatic eye-opening effect. Available in 3 shades. $23.50,

Worried about what sunscreen to choose? Want to make sure it will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays? Last week we exposed the ugly truth behind suncreens and the manufacturing practices of brands’ suncreens. It left us with disappointment, but we’re determined to find the best sun protection for ourselves and those we love. The following is a list of products highly recommended based on the EWG research study, and we are loving too.


TRUKID SUNNY DAYS FACESTICK.jpgBest Sunscreen for Your Face: TruKid Sunny Days Sunscreen Facestick

Some sunscreens don’t work so well on the face— they’re opaque and may leave an unattractive white film behind. This facetick from TruKid smells great and goes on sheer, but still protects from the sun. We don’t recommend this for use under makeup— this is strictly for those days when you need specific protection for your face by the pool or on the beach when you’re wearing no makeup. $20.52



jane iredale lipdrink.jpgBest Lip Treatment with SPF: Jane Iredale LipDrink SPF 15

While most people are slathering their shoulders and noses, the lips are frequently forgotten. In fact, lower lips are highly susceptible to skin cancer since it is exposed the most. Let Jane Iredale’s LipDrink moisturize dry lips and protect them at the same time. We love the fresh lemon scent that keeps our spirits up in the heat of the season. $11.60



MARIE VERONIQUE ORGANICS CREME DE SOLEIL.jpgBest Facial Moisturizer SPF: Marie Verionique Organics Creme De Soleil, SPF 30+

This mineral-based formula, made with zinc oxide, offers complete protection against UVA/UVB rays. Using jojoba, red raspberry seed, and sea buckthorn oils in a green tea base to provide additional natural sun protection and anti-aging support, Creme De Soliel is non-comedogenic and recommended for all skin types. $44.99,



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Best Everyday Sunscreen: UV Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+

We love this sunscreen for its simplistic, yet effective, blend of ingredients. Green tea, grapeseed oil and natural Vitamin E offer anti-oxidant benefits to strengthen skin to fight against free-radicals. Water-resistant. $37.99,




california baby spf 30.gifBest Sunscreen for Your Kids: California Baby No Fragrance SPF 30+

Our kids love to go out and play, and that means loads of exposure to the sun. This sunscreen offers non-chemical, fragrance-free protection that is safe even for our littlest ones. We also love it because if we’re running low on our own product, this sunscreen works great for us too. $18.09,




fallene cotz.jpgBest Water-Resistant Sunscreen: Fallene Cotz Water Resistant Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin, SPF 58

When it’s time to hit the beach or cool off in the pool, a water-resistant sunscreen is important. They also work great for when you play outdoor sports and will be working up a sweat. Fallene Cotz has created a formula that will stand up in the water and is suitable for sensitive skin. Plus, it has the highest UVB protection out of all our product picks. $22.99,




solar sense clear zinc.jpgBest Drugstore Sunscreen: Solar Sense Clear Zinc Sport Stick for Face, SPF 45

We have relied on drugstore sunscreens to protect us (and our kids) for years. When we discovered that practically none of them made the grade when it came to the EWG study, we were beyond disappointed. One of the two we found to be in the recommended range without oxybenzone was Solar Sense Sport Stick. Thankfully, it’s safe and offers a high level of SPF to protect skin with a great price and convenience to boot. $3.82,

You slather on your SPF everyday thinking you’re doing what Martha Stewart would classify as “A Good Thing”; you’re protecting your skin, right? Wrong. You may think your sunscreen is doing its job, but the bad news is, it might not be working as hard as you think - and could even be bad for your skin.

According to a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG,, 3 out of 5 name-brand sunscreens “either don’t protect skin from sun damage or contain hazardous chemicals — or both.”

It turns out the FDA doesn’t require UVA filters (to block the progression of skin cancer and aging) in sunscreens, and most manufacturers have never included them, or provided little protection from them, in their formulations. The alarming fact is most sunscreens only protect from UVB, or sunburn radiation, even though a growing number of studies show that UVA rays (which penetrate the skin more deeply) are more harmful.

Hazardous chemicals, such as oxybenzone, are also not recommended to protect skin from the sun as it has been known to lead to allergic reactions, cell damage, disruption of the hormone system, and allowing for other harmful chemicals to penetrate into the skin.

Based on this EWG study, here are three popular sunscreen you may reconsider using:

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Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, SPF 30

While this sunscreen provides a high UVB protection factor, the UVA protection is on the moderate side. In addition, this formula contains Oxybezone as one of its main skin-protecting ingredients, thus making it a possible health hazard.




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Coppertone ultraGuard Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 30

The higher SPF is appealing, as is the water-resistant formulation. This too, however, has a low UVA protection factor, contains oxybenzone and fragrance ingredients that my cause skin irritation or sever allergic reactions.




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Jason Naturals Cosmetics Sunbrellas: Complete Sunblock, SPF 26

Aside from its low SPF, this “natural” sunscreen contains oxybenzone and provides moderate protection from UVA and UVB radiation. On the positive side, it does contain zinc and titanium, two recommended ingredients for sun-protection.




EWG recommends the following three sunscreens based on their study:



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Soleo Organics Sunscreen Organic Chemical-Free Sunscreen, SPF 30+

This water-restiant formula contains 22% zinc-oxide and highly protects from UVA and UVB rays. It moisturizes skin with grapeseed and sunflower oils, and is suitable for babies, children and adults alike. $24,




Mexitan Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50

No need to worry when using this highly-rated sunscreen. Hypoallergenic and eco-friendly, you’ll find 22.5% zinc-oxide and 6% titanium dioxide as its main ingredients. $19.95,




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Badger Balm Sunscreen SPF 30

This sunscreen is highly recommended for providing a truly high UVA/UVB protection. You can enjoy it knowing that it also contains certified organic extra virgin olive and jojoba oil, cocoa butter, and wild African Shea butter. $15.99,





See the entire list of sunscreens here.


By the end of the year, it will be easier to know which sunscreens give you the most protection; the FDA will be requiring an additional “star rating system” to be added to the normal SPF number on packaging. Ranking sunscreens from 1 to 4 stars, these ratings will be based on two tests that determine the effectiveness of a sunscreen’s UVA protection. These tests are similar to the SPF test that is used to determine the effectiveness of UVB protection. 

source and source

Next: Find out our favorite sunscreens that made the grade

We know that there is a financial crisis going on. We know that we’re all on some sort of budget. We know that we should be looking for the best products that cost the least amount of money— but we can’t always do that. We have to splurge at least once and awhile. And it has been awhile! Read on to find out about our favorite products that are slightly more than budget-friendly.



la mer treatment powder foundation.jpgLa Mer The Treatment Powder Foundation SPF 15

When we found out La Mer was making a powder foundation, we could hardly contain out excitement. We know the pice tag is steep, but beautiful results always come from La Mer. As always, the brand uses their own exclusive Radiant Ferment to add visible clarity and brightness to skin, making us look, for lack of a better word, amazing. Ideal for natural, long-lasting coverage or for touch-ups over your favorite, not-so-expensive foundation. $95,



exfolikate.jpgExfoliKate® Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

If treatments at Kate Somerville’s Melrose clinic are geographically inconvenient, we highly recommend investing in this exfoliating treatment. This signature formula works using the power of fruit enzymes to clarify skin, delivering visible results after just one enjoyable application. We love that it keeps our skin clear, removes the dead cells that make us look older, and lets us pamper ourselves a couple of times a week, like Hollywood royalty. Ideal for all skin types, except sensitive skin. from $85,



ysl rouge volupte lipstick.jpgYves Saint Laurent ‘Rouge Volupté’ Lipstick

Looking at the packaging alone, who wouldn’t want to pull this out of her purse? We love the light, dewy texture that treats our lips with nutrient-rich ingredients, while providing a vibrant color to suit our mood. The metallic tube is adorned with a very practical ring to reveal the shade house inside, and a mirror on the bottom for easy touch-ups any time of the day. $34,




chanel soleil tan.jpgChanel Soleil De Tan

We could easily get a comparable shades of this palette at a drugstore, but let’s face it, this splurge-worthy item is much more affordable than the brand’s handbags or any one item of clothing form the collection. This palette houses 4 gorgeous tones that we like to wear on our eyes for a more awake appearance, or on our cheeks to give our skin a “kissed by the sun” look. Blend them together or wear alone to create your own subtle luminance. Limited Edition. $65,



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Borghese Fango Brillante Mud

This luxurious treatment uses vitamin and mineral-rich extracts to even out skin’s tone, while soothing and refining skin to help remove dead skin cells and erase the effects of environmental damage. We love that it leaves both the skin on our body and on our face nourished and hydrated, leaving us with a beautiful, radiant glow. $61,

Looking to discover new brands, want smaller versions of your favorite products or need to give a great gift? We are loving these new, limited-edition Sephora Favorites Boxed Kits. With 10 kits to choose from, each comes packed with best-selling goodies in deluxe sample sizes— and all for under $40 a box.

We recommend you try them all, but the following kits are perfect for Summer:



sephora splashstash.jpgSephora Favorites Splashstash Waterproof Deluxe Sampler, $36. If you have any plans to hit the beach, pool or water park, this collection of 7 of Sephora’s most wanted waterproof eye essentials will keep you looking fab— bring on the H2O!

Set includes: 0.1 oz Tarte Lights Camera Splashes, 0.169 oz Too Faced Mini Lash Injection, 0.1 oz MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Smoky Lash, 0.85 oz MAKE UP FOR EVER Sens’Eyes Makeup Remover, 0.025 oz MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Eyes, 0.03 oz Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil in Electric and 0.26 oz Urban Decay Big Fatty Waterproof Mascara



sephora fix-it kit.jpgSephora Favorites The Fix-It Kit Skincare Deluxe Sampler, $40. Flawless skin is always in, and this set of 6 skin-perfecting secret weapons will bring your skin a more smooth, firm, and soft appearance.

Set includes: 0.19 oz Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Eye Mask, 0.5 oz Perricone MD Ceramic Skin Smoother, 0.02 oz Cosmedicine Wrinkle Write Off, 0.24 oz Kinerase Extreme Eye Lift, 0.253 oz Dr. Brandt Pores No More and 1.06 oz Clarins High Definition Body Lift



sephora fragrance set.jpgSephora Favorites Eau Girl Fragrance Deluxe Sampler, $40. Who says bigger is better? We find this set of 8 petite scents to be just the right size to take along on weekend get-aways, stashing in your desk drawer and even your favorite tote or clutch.

Set includes: 0.17 oz Dior Miss Dior Cherie Eau de Parfum, 0.17 oz Bvlgari Omnia Green Jade Eau de Toilette, 0.17 oz Versace Bright Crystal Eau de Toilette, 0.13 oz Vera Wang Princess Eau de Toilette, 0.3 oz Prada Infusion d’Iris Eau de Parfum, 0.13 oz Clean Eau de Parfum, 0.24 oz Ralph Lauren Ralph Eau de Toilette, 0.13 oz Givenchy Very Irresistible Givenchy Eau de Toilette



sephora skin saviors.jpgSephora Favorites Skin Saviors Moisturizers Deluxe Sampler, $24 Don’t let your skin dry out! Give it a much-needed drink with some of the most popular body moisturizers to nourish, protect, and hydrate.

Set includes: 1.69 oz Korres Guava Body Butter, 1 oz Philosophy When Hope Is Not Enough Body Lotion, 2.03 oz Fresh Sugar Lemon Body Lotion, 1.7 oz Bliss Blood Orange + White Pepper Body Butter and 2 oz Murad Body Firming Cream

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