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In the winter, our biggest problem area isn’t the dry skin on our body, or face. It’s our dry hands. And beyond that, our dry, brittle nails and cuticles. 

Luckily, a dear friend gifted us with a must-have basket of beauty goodies, and the All Season Naturals Cuticle Conditioning Stick was among them. If I hadn’t read the packaging, I would have immediately assumed it was lip balm because of the shape and color. The scent is deliciously fruity, but not too sweet. Oddly enough, it smells like a high-quality salon shampoo, which is one of our favorite scents! 

On first application, the soft stick melts quickly (almost as quickly as the amazing scent hits your nose). The shea butter, olive and Vitamin A and E and oils made our nails feel velvety smooth, hydrated and rich after rubbing a small amount of the product onto each cuticle. 

Plus (and probably one of my favorite features), if you retract the conditioning stick all the way down, the rounded tip is perfect for pushing back your cuticles! A tool and a beauty product in one! 

For just shy of $6, this is definitely a must-keep-in-purse for the long haul. Give it a try, and you’ll see what we mean. $5.99, sallybeauty.com
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We love mineral makeup, and above all, we love bareMinerals mineral makeup. Since their prime, their starter kits have been all over Ulta and Sephora. They are great, because they give you everything you need to, well, start. 

That kit hovered around the $60 mark, which was always a little steep (but well worth it). Well, just recently, bareMinerals reached out to the skeptical first-time shopper and released the Try. Believe. Love. kit for an incredible $20!

Though all the products are smaller, and it doesn’t come with their amazing kabuki brush (that’s what creates that airbrushed look), it does come with the following: Original and Matte SPF 15 foundation, Mineral Veil finishing powder, SPF 20 concealer, mini full flawless face brush and mini concealer brush. The $60 kit comes with two shades of foundation, the extra brush, and what they call “warmth” which is a transparent, bronzer-like powder. 

Overall, we think the Try. Believe. Love. kit is a fantastic pre-starter for the beauty maven who is interested in diving into mineral makeup, but wants to dip her toes in first. $20, sephora.com

MB-enzyme-cleanser.jpgSince we first discovered Mario Badescu’s drying lotion in college, MB has been our skincare mainstay. Visits to their small, yet official skincare store/spa in Manhattan only made us love the brand even more. 

We’ve tried most of their products - kiwi scrubs, seaweed cleansers, honey moisturizer - but the star of the Mario Badescu line, in our honest opinion, is the Enzyme Cleansing Gel

We first fell in love with it when it came as a sample with our first drying lotion purchase. It has a soft, clean scent unlike other cleansers we’ve tried, that makes you want to smell it over and over again. It’s non-drying and non-stripping formula is also non-foaming. It was a little strange at first to cleanse our face with no lather. Rubbing a green, pearlescent gel on t-zone wasn’t too convincing, but seven years later, it’s still our number one favorite cleanser of all time. 

The packaging is simple and not in the least fancy, but the costumer service is fantastic, you always get samples to try with your order, and the price just can’t be beat.

If you wear heavy foundation or eye makeup, you’ll need a makeup remover beforehand, but it’s the only cleansing product we have found to not leave our face feeling tight and in desperate need of moisturizer (though we always apply anyway…and so should you.) Paired with their Special Cucumber Lotion (it’s really a toner, and not a lotion, fyi), our face has never (and probably will never) looked so good. $12 for 8 oz; $20 for 16 oz; mariobadesu.com

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We love Burt’s Bees products. Natural beauty products that actually deliver, and at a low, drugstore price point? That’s what we like to see! So, much to our delight, Burt’s Bees recently released natural solid perfumes. [Insert a Yippee!! here]. If you’ve never used a solid perfume, let us educate you on a few points. If you have sensitive skin or sensitive senses, solid fragrances are great, because they are more subtle, and don’t have any alcohol in them like misting scents (which means they aren’t drying). They last longer, plus on cold winter mornings, you can warm the perfume between your finger tips before applying to your pulse points, reducing that little shiver we (and maybe you) get when spritzing our typical fragrance.

It comes in four varieties: Naturally Happy, Naturally Beautiful, Naturally Fresh and Naturally Sensual. Fresh is the…well, freshest and cleanest scent, Beautiful and Happy are sweeter, while Sensual is a little warmer. The product details says you can blend them to create your own scent, but we didn’t try that - not that we are opposed to it, though. So far, Naturally Happy and Fresh are our favorites, and we’re thrilled we can pack our silky, shea-butter infused solids for our holiday traveling without fearing spillage or shattered glass. $10, burtsbees.com

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When Benefit Cosmetics first released their new blush CORALista, we received a sample, as well as a little bottle of Posietint. We had previously owned Benefit’s Moon Beam, but weren’t head-over-heels for it necessarily, so we weren’t terribly excited about our new goodies. 

Boy, were we in for a delight! Ever since that first sample, we’ve been a repeat customer. Normally, blushes come off either too orange, or too light, or too matte for our tastes - not the case here! We can’t even begin to imagine our makeup routine without these two products. Benefit’s Posietint and CORALista are our go-tos. Never have we had so many compliments on our glow and makeup since we made these two part of our regimen. 

CORALista is a vibrant, but not clownish, pink rouge with a slight shimmer and a very subtle sweet scent. Posietint is a “poppy-pink” lip and cheek stain. We don’t really like it so much for our lips, but it’s a must-have for the apples of our cheeks. The integrated brush makes application super easy. 

For perfect, glowing carnation-pink cheeks (which, in our opinion, are a must have for looking gorgeous in those holiday photos), we applied 3-4 dots of the Posietint in a line on each of our cheeks and rubbed it in with our fingertips. We finish that up with a few sweeps of the CORALista blush (though we sometimes apply it in backwards order to wonderful results, as well.) Caution: these may be addicting! $28 each, benefitcosmetics.com

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