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.

Teddy Coats and Sequins

First off I can’t believe it’s February and I’m torn between wearing teddy coats and crop tops — or in this case both. But alas Global Warming… Here’s a fun transitional outfit I wore during fashion week that can easily go from winter for spring (just remove the jacket).

Outfit details: Ann Taylor Teddy Coat, Eliza J Sequin Floral Skirt, Susanna Chow Sasha bag, Yali Couture custom top + SKIMS Body Tape and Maristella Bianco Sequin ballet flats.

As a closet 34D to 34DD I’ve turned over a new leaf of going for fitted zipper in the back crop tops that double as a bra. I had a few made while in Vietnam from Yaly Couture and it’s been a game changer. I also discovered body tape after my friend Makeda from Glamazon Diaries raved about them. And as someone always on the hunt for tapes and hacks for busty women, I gave it a go with this look for an extra lift.

SKIMS Body Tape

Being recently engaged, I want to try any type of shapewear, corsets, body tapes and beyond before my wedding day. So many wedding dresses have a low back that I want to start experimenting now with what can lift me and work with my future gown.

Have any good shapewear suggestions for me? Drop me a comment or message me on Instagram @prettyconnected.

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/