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Salon’s are opening back up. What you need to know/ask before going in.

carlos west vibe
Before and After. Hair by Carlos Lopez at West Vibe, NYC

It’s the moment most of us have been waiting for. After 3+ months, we can finally say goodbye to our gray hairs, our split ends and remember what we looked like in the old normal. For us in NYC, this was the week! I went to see Carlos Lopez at West Vibe, a gem in Hell’s Kitchen in NYC. He took me from Quarantine Lara to pre-Quarantine Lara in a few hours. Just look at that before and after, I’m literally a new woman. I will not miss my DIY hair cuts.

For anyone looking to book an appointment here are a few tips.

  1. Do a virtual consultation, less is more when it comes to the amount of time you spend in salon.
  2. Ask if they accept Venmo for tips.
  3. Make sure a full PPE staff uniform will be worn at the salon you go to.
  4. Try to get the first appointment of the day, less bodies before you = less risk. That’s one of my general hacks, but you can also ask for a less busy time but it’s good to have an understanding of what you’re walking into — how many active stations does the salon have, how many booking they are taking at a time…
  5. Make sure the salon is offering plexiglass dividers or some type of separation policy.
  6. Make sure to read/ask their policies in advance of going in and what you need to know.
  7. I don’t recommend considering any salon that isn’t requiring/enforcing masks and taking all guests temperatures upon arrival.
  8. Make sure each station and tools will be sterilized in between each and every client.
  9. Lastly, wear a disposable or mask you don’t mind ruining a bit if you’re doing color. It’s inevitable you might get a little dye on it if you’re getting your hair colored.

For anyone wanting to visit my colorist, ask for Carlos Lopez at West Vibe, 451 West 46th Street btw 9th and 10th ave. Set up a virtual consultation in advance!

NewBeauty TestTube: The Must Have Beauty Subscription Box – July Edition

The NewBeauty July TestTube box is here and I’m so excited to share it with you! As some of you know I recently joined the NewBeauty team as a Guest Editor, and have been helping curate their beauty subscription service, TestTube. TestTube is the original, editor curated beauty box and features 8 full + travel size beauty products valued at $180+ for $29.95! The July box is epic and valued at $267!!!!!!!!!!!

Here’s what’s in the July TestTube:

  1. Commodity EDP 10ml (deluxe size) – $26
  2. Grande Cosmetics GrandeGLOW Plumping Liquid Highlighter (full size) – $25
  3. Hanhoo Beauty Fix Collagen + Vitamin C Dietary Supplement (2 packs) – $3/each
  4. Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (full size) – $20
  5. Luminess Crème Confession Lipstick (full size) – $24
  6. Neuma reNeu Scalp Therapy (full size) – $26
  7. Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment (full size) – $122
  8. 10 Free Chemistry Prep with Peptides Clear Base Coat (full size) – $18 + BONUS: Free $18 Top Coat or Nail Color

Total Value$267

20% of all proceeds from the July TestTube for new orders will be donated to The Loveland Foundation.

TestTube comes out every other month (6 tubes/year). Each box is $29.95 + shipping (or you can subscribe for 1 year for $149.75).

NewBeauty TestTube: The Must Have Beauty Subscription Box

NewBeauty TestTube May/June box

Okay beauty lovers, as some of you know I recently joined the NewBeauty team and have been helping curate their beauty subscription service, TestTube. TestTube is the original beauty box and features 8 full size beauty products for $29.95.

The May TestTube includes:

  1. Dr. Brandt pores no more® Luminizer Primer (full size) – $38
  2. Le Mieux Hyaluronic Serum (full size) – $60
  3. Naisture 3-Step Skincare Kit (4 masks: 2 Energizing + 2 Regenerating) $16
  4. NeoCell Collagen Protein Peptides – 2020 NewBeauty Award Winner (full size) $39.95
  5. ORLY Breathable Treatment + Color (full size) $9.99
  6. RUSK PUREMIX Native Fig Replenishing 3-in-1 Leave-In (full size) – $18
  7. ScarAway 100% Silicone Scar Gel – 2020 NewBeauty Award Winner (full size) $24.90
  8. Terra & Co. Brilliant Black Toothpaste (full size) – $25

Total Value of the Tube: $232 for $29.95!

TestTube comes out every other month (6 tubes/year). Each box is $29.95 (or you can subscribe for 1 year for $149.75). It features 8 full and travel size beauty products and has a minimum value of $180+. The May Tube is valued at $232!

Fornasetti Launches Star Lina Candle

Fornasetti Star Lina candle, 300g size available at Olivela

I’ve been a long time Fornasetti admirer. That signature face, the black and white with a pop of red lips always caught my eye. The brand launched their latest candle as part of the Fornasetti Star Lina collection (300g size, $215). The range of candles are available on Olivela.com with 20% off all proceeds going to Save the Children.

Bearing the enigmatic face of Piero Fornasettie’s muse Lina Cavalieri, She was an internationally recognized artist who lived at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, who was known as ‘the most beautiful woman in the world.’ While Piero never met Lina, he considered her face the quintessential image of classical beauty and her face has since become a signature Fornasetti centerpiece.

Bella Magazine Influencer Issue

During quarantine, my final shoot came out with Bella Magazine for their Influencer Issue. To be included online and in their print issue with such an incredible roster of entrepreneurs, designers and influencers and get to work with my friends at Caravan Stylist Studio at The Gregory Hotel feels like a dream now. The Bella glam team Lauren Vena (@makeupartist_lv) for makeup) and Jennifer Capella (@i_am_jennmichelle for hair) made me feel so on point. I loved my one sided braided hair and incredible makeup job that made me feel glam but still like myself. Photographed by Jessica Cirz (@jessicacirzphotography) outside the Gregory Hotel.

Outfit: C/MEO Collective top, Rag & Bone pants, Lagos Caviar Apple Watch, Chanel bag belt c/o What Goes Around, Roxanne Assoulin bracelets.

Thank you Bella for the feature! And the Caravan Stylist Studio for your constant collaboration and support.

We’re Hosting a Virtual Beauty Sale for Covid Relief Funds

Who wants to play in my beauty closet? Virtually of course, I’m going to do a beauty sale with all the net proceeds going to various causes starting with this fundraiser for emergency food for families living in Queens!

The sale will feature 50 new items from my beauty closet that goes live Thursday, May 14 at 9am HERE (the sale will not be active before this date/time).

For anyone that would like to be notified of the sale in advance and be added to the mailing list for future sales, sign up HERE.

BACKGROUND:

Sending Beauty Gifts + Positivity with Loop & Tie

Today, I’m launching a new program with Loop & Tie to help spread some cheer. I have donated 100 beauty and skincare products from my beauty closet to play fairy beauty godmother and gift my followers in need of a little positivity and joy.

Loop & Tie is an engagement platform allowing the recipient to choose the product or experience they actually want. Commonly used for corporate gifting, I’m the first beauty blogger they are partnering and non-brand to do a test program where they have collected my unused, new beauty items and created a limited number of exclusive kits 25+ gifts (each gift has 2-3 surprise products in it) that I will be giving out.

Having been in the beauty industry for over 15 years I’m no stranger to the joy of giving away beauty product to my friends, family and followers. It always astounds me the reaction I get, no matter how “not into beauty” someone is. Anyone I’ve every surprised has lit up! If you’d like to nominate someone feel free to DM me @prettyconnected. Especially for anyone in the front lines and teachers. I am allocating a number of gifts to these heroes. I also want to reward anyone doing awesome Earth Day initiatives or committing to make changes or helping their community. 

My Thoughts on Beauty Mailers, Gifting and Sustainable Packaging.

Am I laughing over how many beauty mailers I get in a month or crying for the environment? What you’re seeing in the above photo is a ‘normal’ amount of unsolicited mailers arriving from beauty brands I get in a month. Some of them are from events I attended but the majority comes from brands having me on their automatic new product mailing list. It’s a very conflicting dilemma. On one hand when you judge as many beauty awards as I do, get regularly asked for quotes by magazines, do trend reports, consult in beauty, on-air segments and are on NewBeauty’s council it’s important to stay current and see all the new launches. On the other hand the amount of guilt over my carbon footprint and when I take out my trash from all the packaging is enough to make anyone sick. I still favor going to events over getting mailers. It’s my chance to learn about the product in a way a press release doesn’t offer, ask questions, try the product before taking it home and meeting brand founders to get more unique insight into the launch but alas there’s only so many hours in the day and realistically I have limited free time.

My brilliant friend Daniela Ciocan, founder of Unfiltered Experience recently interviewed me for Beauty Packaging to talk all things beauty mailers, packaging and sustainable packaging. “Insta Factor” refers to what brands are doing to get influencers/editors to post their products to Instagram, which often includes excessive packaging and gifting. A few things I didn’t get to elaborate on and some points I want to make is this…

  1. Editor/Influencer Gifting vs extra packaging – maybe creative gifts were always a thing, maybe it became big because of unboxings (the term used when individuals open a box of product, generally on Instagram to show their audience what’s inside). Whatever the reason brands started to allocate budget to them. For example three brands launch an SPF and they all have $50 – $100 in gifting to send the product with. Brand A might include a portable phone charger, beach bag, towel… and do a cute mailer with ‘beach essentials’ and include their SPF product. Brand B does an extravagant laser cut box holding the product with some sand inside. Brand C donates $50 – 100 to cancer research in your name with the product to educate audiences further on SPF being a must to protect against skin cancer. All three brands spent the exact same on the mailer, but which was the best use of their budget? In my opinion everyone loves a gift (something they’d reuse, nothing junkie or promotional) or a charity tie in making Brand A and C creative mailers in my opinion. Personally, I think were all over custom packaging that just gets trashed after you open it. If you can make it pretty or fun in a non-wasteful way, that’s lovely, but what editors are complaining about is the volume of products they receive where the packaging isn’t eco-friendly or reusable. Everyone loves a gift, everyone loves creativity, but we’re all over the large amounts of trash. I’m always asked what gifts I loved. And I’ve received everything from Frette towels, MZ Wallace bag, portable phone chargers, jewelry, gift cards, (all my favorite things and beyond). I’ve also received a lot of weird things, like fish bowls, inflatable rafts (which might have been interesting if I had a pool or came with a pool pass), and an obscene amount of yoga mats and water bottles — the marriage of fitness and skincare is real. One of my favorite, on brand gifts though was for Chirstmas, Caudalie gifted small, planted trees with their products and also planted one in every guests names. As a sustainable brand that has planted over 4+ million trees and is committed to giving back to the Earth this stood out and was very inspiring AND on brand for them. And in case you don’t know, trees cleanse the earth by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Wonderful messaging. I implore brands to look at their product and get creative with their ingredients, and brand messaging when doing mailers.
  2. Eco-packaging and creative packaging – I recognize a lot of consumers are confused with the packaging controversy editors talk about, and to clarify it pertains to press mailings. Not the actual brand and their packaging which you buy at the store or online which is a completely different conversation. I was asked which brand had innovative packaging, I think new comer Victoria Beckham Beauty (although it’s a little heavy) did a gorgeous job. And Pat McGrath and the new Hermes lipsticks stand out for their packaging/branding. It’s not Eco-friendly but original. And in the eco-friendly space I love that brands like Kevin Murphy switched over to 100% ocean waste plastic. More brands need to look at what they are doing for the environment and follow suit. All of Burt’s Bees packaging can all be recycled (even their lipsticks, which most brands use magnets making them non-recyclable). You’d be shocked by how many beauty products you can’t recycle because of the packaging or pumps, hidden magnet and beyond. Burt’s is also experimenting with excess cotton salve from tshirts for their face wipes, which is super cool. I’m also all on board with brands examining their current products and figuring out how to update the packaging for more sustainable practices. Erno Laszlo is also making strides this year and exploring a more sustainable supply chain and now use parchment paper instead of plastic wrap for their best-selling Cleansing Bars. Other brands that are very environmentally conscious that have great packaging is Youth to the People and also Kiehl’s. I’m not big on jars because they require you to put your (sometimes dirty) hands inside the jar and also have air exposure getting who know what into the formula. I gave my sister the Kiehl’s Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream which is in a jar and I promptly took it back as soon as she opened the lid and it has a pump attachment as part of the jar sealing it that is GENIUS! I’m all for innovation in this space and brands learning from each other to up the game when it comes to the environment.

I personally feel like the world is falling apart and we need to look to brands to help solve this issue. As consumers we can only do so much but if we use our voices to get brands to change the impact can be huge! Read my interview with Beauty Packaging HERE.

Women’s March 2020 Invite: Hear Me Raw

2017 Inaugural Women’s March in NYC

I’m so excited to announce I’ve joined the Women’s March Artist Council. I marched in 2017 at the inaugural Women’s March, which inspired hundreds of women to run, millions more to vote, and dozens to win elected office. That’s why I’m proud to partner with the Women’s March 2020 and to be hosting some events in NYC and put together a team so we can #RiseUp together!

SIGN MAKING EVENT will be Thursday, January 16th, from 5-8pm at Wildfang, 252 Lafayette Street, NYC. I’ll be there with my girls @khrystyana + @glamazondiaries helping make signs. All supplies + refreshments will be donated/supported by Hear Me Raw skincare that’s all about sustainability and women’s empowerment. Come, sample the Hear Me Raw clean/sustainable skincare products, bring a friend, have a drink and craft with us! [email protected].

1/18, WOMEN’S MARCH at Foley Square is Saturday, January 18th, we can meet at Think Coffee in Tribeca (350 Broadway) between 10:30 – 11am (leave promptly at 11am to march). We’ll be marching with the Hear Me Raw (@hearmerawbeauty) team will get us coffee and have extra supplies, hats for anyone that needs. [email protected] for more info.

The Women’s March focuses on everything from equal pay to climate action, reproductive health rights, immigration justice, and freedom for everyone.

We’ll be live from NYC but if you’re in the DC area, here’s a comprehensive list of events and activities: http://womensmarch.com/2020-march-info

Follow along @prettyconnected @womensmarch #WomensMarch2020 #WomenRising #WomenRiseUp

The Must Have Beauty Gift: NewBeauty Gold Tube

NewBeauty Gold Tube featuring $525 valued beauty box for $99! Use code: Lara10 for $10 off!

We all know NewBeauty as the authority in beauty. It’s the Vogue of beauty magazines but what many don’t know is that they were the first to do subscription beauty boxes aka TestTube as well. Just in time for the holidays, NewBeauty has released a Gold Tube filled with their editor picks, which is a $525 value for $99 and free shipping (plus an additional $10 off with code LARA10) and some of my favorite products ahem Foreo ($49) and Grandelash ($120)!!

I mean it’s a 6 month supply of GrandeLash MD which is one of my favorite lash growers and the entire box is cheaper than that one product. I’ve also been dying to try like Knesko but I haven’t been ready to shell out $45 for a sheet mask, so I’m so excited to have it in the box. I’ve also been curious about the StriVectin SD Advanced Plus Intensive Moisturizing Concentrate ($79), which is an updated formula of their cult favorite stretch mark cream that turned anti-wrinkle phenomenon that is now more concentrated than ever. Plus there’s additional gifts from Dr. Rogers, Amika, Mimi Luzon and Juice Beauty making this an incredible steal.

Here’s what’s in the box: 7 full size products, plus a $100 gift card + sample from Mimi Luzon, $99 ($525 VALUE). Use code: Lara10 for $10 off ($89 total).

  1. amika Nice Cream Cleansing Conditioner, 8.45 oz, Retail Price: $22
  2. Doctor Rogers RESTORE Healing Balm, 4 oz, Retail Price: $66
  3. FOREO LUNA play plus, device, Retail Price: $49
  4. Grande Cosmetics GrandeLASH-MD Lash Enhancing Serum, 4 ml, Retail Price: $120 (six-month supply)
  5. Juice Beauty PHYTO-PIGMENTS Satin Lip Cream, .11 oz, Retail Price: $24
  6. KNESKO Skin Nanogold Repair Natural Collagen Face Mask, 1-time use mask, Retail Price: $45
  7. Mimi Luzon 24K Pure Gold Hyaluronic Super Serum Sample + $100 Gift Card, Includes: $20 sample, Full size retail price: $299 full size
  8. StriVectin SD Advanced™ PLUS Intensive Moisturizing Concentrate, 2 oz, Retail Price: $79

Shop it at https://goldtube.newbeauty.com/