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My Obsession With Lip Balm

[This post was originally published on Beyond The Row.com. Photos by Tiffanie Graham for Beyond The Row. Words by me.]

My obsession with lip balm started early. I’ll never forget grade school when all of my classmates would volunteer to apply Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers to my cupid’s bow—a completely foreign thing to the Midwest Scandinavians I went to school with. Literal fights broke out over who would get the honors some days.

I spent my early years in Los Angeles in the 1980s when frosted lipstick and zinc was in every woman’s handbag. Especially the women in my life, who all worked in fashion, music, or beauty; my aforementioned lips were a huge hit with them as well. They frequently put red lipstick on me, urging me to pose for the camera. Photos from that time period are littered with crimped hair, perfectly coiffed outfits, and of course, red lips.

But then, as I grew older, and my attention strayed from what normal girls desired (popularity, fitting in, and boys), my beauty routine shifted. I was into books and art, and really nerdy stuff like science projects. I wanted to blend in—something hard for someone with my looks and outgoing, opinionated personality. And so, I adapted a simpler approach to how I looked. Carmex was my staple.

After high school, I started working as a makeup artist and was forced to sport unnatural colors. Black, bruised red, bright pink, and even blue and green. I covered my face with so much makeup, I was unrecognizable to even myself. But, it was Los Angeles and it was normal amongst the crowd I hung out with where shaving your eyebrows and painting them on was normal and not wearing makeup meant you were hungover or sick.

As I grew older, my skin’s appearance becomes more important to me. My idols shifted from Gwen Stefani’s rocker look to Alexa Chung’s natural beauty. Now that I work in fashion, I’m much more interested in that holistic approach to beauty like the French fashion posse always snapped up in street style photos. Now, my number one staple is a lip balm. It’s important that my lips don’t look dry and parched, but rather healthy and soft.

At any given time, my bag is plum full of balms. My bedside table is littered with them too. They are the one thing I cannot leave my house without. If I forget my wallet, no big deal, I’ll make due, but not having something to slather on my lips every fifteen minutes puts a serious damper on my day. In fact, I’ve almost gotten rid of nearly all my lipsticks, save for a tube or two of bright, cherry red.

Getting Even: The Right Serum For You

[This story originally ran on Beyond The Row.com. Photographed by Tyler Joe for Beyond The Row. Art and Creative Direction by me. Words by me.]

Serums are one of those products that plague even the savviest of beauty addicts when it comes to whether or not they’re necessary. The line seems to be cleanly drawn down the middle between those for it, and those unsure about it’s importance.

Either way, there’s no denying serums’ significance. Toted as a concentrated version of the ingredients found in moisturizers, serum does everything—brighten, even, tighten, prevent, and moisturize.  Applying serum is the step after cleansing, before moisturizing when your skin can absorb the ingredients at the optimum level.

Here are 14 new serums that are breaking barriers in ingredients delivery. From a spot specific serum revered for fading acne scars, to a skin tone evening serum fit for any skin hue, these ailment specific formulas are sure to take the guesswork out of choosing the best for your skin needs.