Sally Hansen Gel Manicure Starter Kit – Review

I splurged this weekend and bought myself the Sally Hansen gel manicure starter kit in Shell We Dance. It was literally like unwrapping a new toy. I had done some research on this kit and found that most everyone liked it and Sally Hansen offers a range of other gel colors that are compatible with this kit. Though part of me wants to see if I can buy the OPI and Essie gel colors and test them out in this thing. Has anyone tried this?

This kit comes with all the essentials to get started with your at-home gel kit: base coat, color, and top coat, the LED lamp, cleanser pads, acetone remover and a small nail file and cuticle stick. I read the instructions and got to work, and it was actually pretty simple. Prep your nails, make sure to use the alcohol pads on them to get your nails super dry. Then apply base coat and cure, then color and cure, color again and cure, top coat and cure x 2 (I cured twice at the end). The lamp stays on for 30 second increments. FYI: my nails were still “wet” after curing the base coat, and only the base coat. Not sure if that’s normal for this kit because I’m pretty sure the base coat always dries at the nail salon. Maybe I should have cured them twice, oh well, learnings for next time. I love the nail color “Shell We Dance” it’s very light and resembles my favorite Essie Sugar Daddy. This kit comes in two other colors a red and a fuchsia. I can’t wait to get other colors (of course!) and try out some nail art + the LED lamp. I’m interested to see what works!


Pretty kit with all the essentials included


Curing my first hand


Closer look at curing


All done!

P.S. This kit retails for $40. Don’t pay any higher. In NYC, they sell for $60 at Duane Reade and that’s very high. I purchased my kit at Bed Bath & Beyond and used a 20% off coupon. Amazon also has it for less than $40.

Clinique launches The Wink

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Content Strategy is one of the new buzzed about positions that has now become a necessary part of the marketing team. Much like the addition of the Social Media Manager was a few years ago, the Content Strategist is quickly becoming a role in high demand.  And Clinique is doing just  that, offering a new way to use content to target a new customer: The Millennial woman.

Clinique is a popular and familiar brand, best known for being hypoallergenic and dermatologist approved. Clinique is, for many women, their first exposure to prestige skincare and even beauty products!

Clinique recently launched The Wink, a new online destination for beauty and lifestyle content. This was a smart move by Clinique —probably due to the success of it’s sister brand, Estée Lauder’s The Estée Edit. The platform definitely attracts a younger audience —through whimsical posts and lots of  lovely pastels— a demographic that like Clinique’s other sister brand, Origins, also aimed to target. Clinique and Origins are two somewhat similar brands in the customer they attract. Origins has a great case study in Fast Company on, among many things, led to the co-creation of a product with millennial women that helped them gain access to this target demographic. I think Clinique might have seen the success in both The Estée Edit and Origin’s and developed their own way to connect with a younger audience.

The Wink is their own Pinterest-like boards and How-To guides, all in one. They even have a beauty index which lists popular beauty terms with definitions and related content. In another strategic move to garner user-generated content (UGC), The Wink offers a place for customers to upload and share their favorite products. Optimizing UGC is done expertly well by “L’Oréal brands, and it seems that Estée is catching up.


4 Cult Beauty Brands – And the Products You Need to Know About

After going on a beauty following-spree on Instagram, I found a few cult beauty brands that seem to be popular across many accounts. Here’s what I’ve gathered so far:front-logo

1. Dose of Colors

Most coveted item: Terra Collection trio in “Brick, Sand, Stone”


2. Jeffree Star Cosmetics

Most coveted item: “Celebrity Skin” matte lipstick


3. Colour Pop

Most coveted item: any of their matte lipsticks and eyeshadows (this brand is very affordable too, think E.L.F.)


4. Lime Crime

Most coveted item: Venus palette and Velvetine lip stick in “Cashmere”

Beauty PSA: You Need a Loyalty Program

Dear MAC,
I love all your products, but you don’t have a loyalty program and therefore I feel no incentive to purchase from you. I’d rather go to Sephora where I can earn points towards rewards and even take advantage of their semi-annual sales. A product recycling program isn’t enough.

Call me when you get a loyalty program,

I know I can’t be the only one who wishes MAC had a loyalty program and I find it strange they haven’t created one. They’re missing out on a huge opportunity: consumer data. Sephora is at their level of digital excellence because they create immersive and highly personal omnichannel experiences for their customers. Ulta is the same — I love shopping there because I know they have sales, rewards and more that I can take advantage of just by purchasing. There is a reciprocal relationship that comes with a loyalty program; one where you give the consumer incentive to shop with rewards and exclusive offers and in return you get tracking and data capture, as this insightful L2 video explains. I am calling MAC out in this post, but there are tons of other brands who haven’t taken advantage of this opportunity and I’m not sure why.

PSA to beauty brands: You want your customers data in order to better cater to their wants and needs. Loyalty programs are an easy way to do this. You can analyze and track purchase behaviors and in return for their data, give them rewards for being a loyal customer.

Dupe Sites

As a part of my beauty and tech series, I thought I’d share two of my favorite dupe sites. After all, what’s the internet for, if not dissemination of information? Arguably one of the best parts of beauty and digital is the creation of dupe sites. It’s information sharing at its finest.

Temptalia is the holy grail of dupe sites. It’s extremely thorough. Any brand and any type of cosmetic you could want a dupe for can be found on Temptalia. They even take it as far as showing you the percentage of how close it comes to the actual color and lists other colors that also may be similar. I’ve found the answer to many beauty problems here! And it’s a great way to save money but not sacrifice your color intention.

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Dupe That is a site I found via Instagram (they’re definitely worth following). Their website isn’t as sophisticated as Temptalia, but I like Dupe That mostly for their side-by-side comparisons. Their instagram account will make you want to go out and buy everything.

Pretty Well…Connected



What does it mean to be a digital beauty brand? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the cross-section of beauty and tech. I think tech is such a huge part of our lives and it seems like there are new products, advancements and experiences coming out every day. But what’s up with the beauty industry and why is it taking them longer to catch on to this movement? Well, there are a lot of reasons and I hope to explore some of them in future posts. On flip-side, brands like Sephora and L’Oreal are pioneering in digital and innovation—not just for the industry—but overall, they are setting standards for other brands to follow. According to a 2014 Beauty study by L2, “mass and prestige brands alike are innovating across the Site & E-Commerce, Digital Marketing, Social Media, and Mobile dimensions.” It’s great to see advancement, and L2 also notes that the digital investment is increasing throughout the industry.