5 Ways to Add Coconut Oil Into Your Beauty Routine

I hopped on the coconut oil craze a while back, but then, like many things, kind of forgot about it. Recently though I’ve come back to coconut oil and have been using it throughout my beauty routine and loving how simple, easy and effective it is. Here are five ways that I’ve been using coconut oil outside of the kitchen.

One of the great things about coconut oil is that it is very shelf-stable so it doesn’t break down and go rancid like many other oils, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and it’s a solid at room temperature making it easy to work with. I love that it is also antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral. Here are five ways I’ve been using coconut oil in my beauty routine.

1. Mascara Remover

After bitterly making my way through two bottles of different eye makeup remover that left me unsatisfied, I pulled out my trusty coconut oil one night and rubbed it all over my eyes. I ended up looking like a racoon, but after two swipes of a cotton square, my mascara was all removed! And my skin softened! And my lashes conditioned! All without any tugging, excessive rubbing and bitter grumbling. It’s now my go-to method for eye makeup removal.

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2. Face Wash

Since it worked so well for my mascara, I thought, why not my face? Now while there are many fans of the oil cleaning method, I’ve heard that coconut oil doesn’t work for all people. Some people prefer jojoba, almond or even olive oil. But for me, it’s worked like a charm. I take a small handful of coconut oil and massage it all over my face, wiping off the excesses and my makeup with a cotton square. It not only easily dissolves my makeup, but it moisturizes and protects my skin too. And no, you don’t end up with a face full of oil. Just soft, supple, makeup free skin.

3. Body Scrub

I’ve posted about this one before, but I make one of my favorite body scrubs with sugar and coconut oil. I’ve given it as holiday gifts to my girlfriends and always keep a jar of it in the shower. It’s so simple to make and both exfoliates and moisturizes your skin when you use it. You can even personalize the scent by adding your own combination of essential oils.

Coconut body scrub

4. Body lotion

Have you ever looked at the ingredients in lotion? For most, the first ingredient is water. And do you know what happens when water is on your skin and evaporates? You get drier! Instead, I keep a jar of pure coconut oil in my shower and slather some on right before I get out. It locks in the moisture, isn’t greasy and moisturizes my skin so much better than regular lotion. I have a pebble-bottom shower, but if you have a smooth shower base, do be careful about slipping!

5. Hair Mask

Finally, I’ve also been using coconut oil as a hair mask in the shower. I’ll put a handful of the oil on my ends and then let it sit for 2-3 minutes while the heat of the shower causes the oil to melt and my tresses to be moisturized. My split end solution!

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Be sure to look for coconut oil that is organic and either cold-pressed or expeller-pressed. While you may want to start slowly with a small jar, once you’re using it widely in your beauty routine AND kitchen, you may want to upgrade to a larger container. I buy in a gallon bucket!

WAYS TO USE COCONUT OIL

Do you use coconut oil in your beauty routine?

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BanaBean: Subscription Hair Accessory Box for Girls

bowsLittle girls love accessories: bows and headbands to name a few. But they are also notorious for losing them. I remember buying my friend’s daughter a gorgeous handmade hairband (pretty pricey one, too) that she loved—but also lost about 2 hours later. Lesson learned.

pinkbowforgirlsAs part of our subscription obsession, we tested out the latest in fashion delivery with Banabean. Each month, your mini fashionista can receive a box of the most coveted assortment of headbands, clips, bows, hair ties, and other stylish accessories from carefully sourced brands. They also come in a canvas pouch to prevent loss and promote organization. 

headbandsforbabiesdenim bow for girlsWe had our little testers run, jump, and play while wearing the bows and headbands and sure enough, they stayed in place. Perfect for practically any age (I *might* have worn that denim bow in my ponytail over the weekend), these boxes, at $25 with free shipping, are sure to delight and inspire.

best boxes for girls

Check out our video for the full review:

Momtrends was not paid for this post. We did receive a sample box. 

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Wine For Your Face

Well almost. We know you love wine as much as we do here at Momtrends, and now we can get even more of the good stuff by putting it on our faces in the form of resveratrol.

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A natural antioxidant found in red wine (along with cocoa, blueberries, pomegranate, blackberries, raspberries), resveratrol has been shown to slow down the aging process of skin and provide important antioxidants to help the skin battle free radicals in the environment. While drinking wine is one way to get your resveratrol from the inside out, you’d have to drink A LOT of wine to see any benefit. Instead, we’ll savor our wine and get our resversatrol fix through one of these skincare products.

IMG_8878100% Pure – This skincare line is perfect for you ladies who love all natural products. 100% Pure’s entire collection of organic skincare, body, and baby products are free from artificial colors, fragrances, synthetic chemical preservatives and all other toxins. Their resversatrol line includes a Scrub + Mask made with jojoba beads that gently buff your skin smooth, an eye cream designed to hydrate and protect and an antioxidant serum that includes pomegranate seed oil and green tea extract along with the resveratrol for an extra dose of anti-aging antioxidants. My favorite is the scrub/mask – it smells divine, gives me baby soft skin and I love that it’s a multitasker.

IMG_8880SkinCeuticals – SkinCeuticals is one of my go-tos for serious anti-aging products and their Resveratrol B E serum does not disappoint. In addition to resveratrol, this serum also contains baicalin which helps prevent UV damage and and vitamin E that neutralizes free radicals and replenishes your skin skin. The serum feels fabulous on my face and makes my skin brighter and plumper by morning. IMG_8879Arcona – I wasn’t familiar with Arcona before this review, but I’ve been very impressed with the products I’ve tried so far. Arcona products don’t contain petrochemicals, binders or fillers, chemical stabilizers, parabens, sodium lauryl sulphates, perfumes, dyes, or any other toxic ingredients. Instead of making resveratrol the sole star, Arcona carefully blends complimentary ingredients to pack a major anti-aging punch with their products. You can find resveratrol in their Overnight Cellular Repair Complex, Youth Serum and Booster Defense Serum. My favorite was the Youth Serum that has 20% Vitamin C for added brightening power – much-needed to boost my winter skin for the springtime.

So tonight while you sip that pinot, slather on a layer of a resveratrol-filled serum and – fingers crossed – we’ll all wake up looking like the gorgeous Robin Wright.

via GIPHY

(Anyone else obsessed with the new House of Cards season?!)

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Game Day Ready With Forever 21 and Ribbon Braids

FullSizeRenderI’m a big sports fan, but never at the expense of looking cute. Sometimes it’s hard to find flattering women’s sportswear that won’t break the bank. Luckily for us sporty girls, Forever 21 has come to the rescue with adorable NBA shirts, hoodies, and even fitted dresses with your favorite teams (Go Knicks!). We also made this super cute bracket for March Madness that you can print for free!

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This sweatshirt is so cozy. It has a super-soft lining and I love the striped details on the sleeves.

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I also really love braids. I see gorgeous braids all over Instagram and while I have the hair long enough to do them, I don’t really have all the skills to do them myself. But this ribbon braid tutorial is so easy, anyone (yes anyone) can accomplish it in under 5 minutes.

Be sure to check out all the Forever 21 sporty-chic pieces which are now available in stores and online.

 Momtrends was not paid for this post. We did receive samples for review. 

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What is Skin Laundry?

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Lasers are the hottest and most effective trend in skin care. That’s what Skin Laundry is all about–making high-tech skincare affordable, convenient and even a little fun.

The business is run along the same model as Dry Bar–make beauty treatments easy and relatively affordable and women will flock to them. Here’s the business plan–pick a certain segment of the beauty biz and hyper focus so you can bring down costs and wait time. Dry Bar has done it beautifully. Blow-outs are $45 and take less than an hour. The appointments can be booked from an app and are easy to fit into a packed schedule.

Enter Skin Laundry. Imagine a convenient and fast dermatologist appointment with access to the best-performing lasers. Skin Laundry was started in California to help affluent, busy women look their best. When the company made their way to NYC I knew I had to try it. I went to visit the Flatiron, NY location (3 West 16th Street) to experience it for myself.

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Let me walk you through the process. Check in at the ipad up front and run through all the usual questions involving skin care. Skin Laundry and lasers are not recommend for certain pigmentations and skin types, and you need to fully disclose the other treatments you’re doing. Now is NOT the time to keep secrets ladies!

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From there, head over to the vanity and remove your makeup with special cleansing wipe. The good news is you can leave on your eye makeup and lip gloss. Everything else has to go to make sure the laser can get good contact with your skin.

prepping skin

Once your skin is prepped, you will step into the treatment room. It looks like any good NYC derm office, clean, sparse and bright. Mood lighting is NOT a good idea when you are getting a skin treatment.

skin laundry treatment room

Once again, your therapist will run through counter indications and your health history. Then it’s time to get started. Put on your safety goggles and relax!

skin laundry prep

First the therapist applies a gel to your face to allow the laser to glide over your skin. Now it’s time for the YAG laser. For a couple minutes you’ll hear a bit of pulsing and zapping. You’ll smell something acrid–I’m told that’s the dirt and impurities being burned off. The literature says the laser “instantly deep cleans the skin by vaporizing dirt, make-up, bacteria and impurities.” And you’ll feel a tingling sensation.

I know what you want to know: Did it hurt?

It didn’t hurt AT ALL. Nothing like laser hair removal which can be likened to labor pains when you’ve got olive skin and dark hair as I do! It’s almost relaxing!

Why the YAG? This laser is meant to clear up the blockages that cause acne–the before and after acne treatment photos were amazing. I would guess this treatment would be ideal right after travel to get all the plane gunk off your skin. A side benefit is that the laser plumps up collagen which is the key to looking young and fresh.  Skin Laundry is all about delivering these benefits.

skin laundry

After the YAG, it’s time for the IPL. The IPL light spectrum provides “photo rejuvenation” this is meant to reduce redness and inflammation. This is quick and completely painless. Next you’ll get a bit of cooling toner and then your therapist will finish up by applying a moisturizer with sunscreen. I was reminded REPEATEDLY to be very careful about sun exposure after my treatment and to reapply sunscreen frequently.

While I can’t say I saw massive improvements in on visit, I was hooked on the idea. I loved the setting–it’s really close to a subway stop on the F train and I felt like I could smell the NYC grime getting zapped off my face. I live in an amazing city. So vibrant, so engaging, but so, so filthy. This could be my secret weapon to fighting my environment!

I will say my complexion looked bright and even after the treatment. There were no splotches and there wasn’t any redness. No down-time is huge when it comes to skincare. I don’t want to look like my face is a piece of bacon at the end of a treatment. Slow and steady wins the race!

Now I bet you want to know how often you need to know and what it’s going to cost. They say “more frequent treatments result in more dramatic improvements” in the areas of acne, redness, unevenness, dullness, hyper-pigmentation, photo aging. Which makes sense. Like any at-home laser treatment, effectiveness depends on the consistency.

Book your treatment http://www.skinlaundry.com/the-treatment/ I recommend the “New Client Special” to get you started. This package gives you three laser and light treatments for $150.  It’s a good way to test if this works for your life and your skin without having to spend a bundle. If you are ready to dive in to a larger skincare program there are additional packages like the “Laundry Club” 1 facial per month for $65 or 4 facials per month for $200. Considering at-home lasers like the Tria sell for hundreds and doctors visits can get even more expensive, this is a powerful alternative to women who want to improve and maintain the look and health of their skin.

This is not a sponsored post. I was given a complementary treatment in order to facilitate a review.

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At-Home Microdermabrasion Devices

Winter can be cruel to our skin. Between icy cold winds, blasting heaters, and dry winter air, these months can leave our skin dry, itchy, flaky and red. The fix? Exfoliation and hydration. While scrubs are good for gentle exfoliation, occasionally you need to pull out the big guns to give your skin a fresh start. Luckily, you don’t need to make a derm appointment for microdermabrasion any more. At-home devices that rival in-office treatments let you reveal brighter, fresher skin while softening lines and wrinkles, eliminating sunspots and discoloration, and helping your serums and lotions sink in better – all from the comfort of your own bathroom.

At-Home Microdermabrasion

What is Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive exfoliation technique that gently removes the outer layers of skin. It provides more exfoliation than a scrub or wash cloth, but not as much as a laser or chemical peel. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, microdermabrasion is gentle, requires little if any downtime, and is safe for all skin types. One of my favorite things about microdermabrasion is that is treats a wide range of skin concerns – from sunspots and fine lines to dullness and uneven texture.

Plus it can even improve the effectiveness of your anti-aging products since once you get off all the gunk and dead skin off your face, your anti-aging creams, serums and lotions can all penetrate your skin more easily.

Benefits of Microdermabrasion

Microderm treatments are one of the top five non-surgical procedures in the U.S. with a single treatment at a dermatologist’s office costing usually between $100-$150, but potentially up to $500 depending on where you live!

So instead of paying $150 for a one-time treatment, why not spend that money on an at-home microderm device that will gives you dozens and dozens of treatments? I’ve been adding a microderm treatment once a week into my beauty routine and have definitely noticed a difference in my skin’s texture, brightness, and how my makeup goes on.

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Here are four at-home microderm devices I’ve given a try.

 

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Trophy Skin MiniMD Microdermabrasion System – Looking for the most affordable at-home microderm options? Try the MiniMD device from Trophy Skin. At just under $100, it still offers a handful of features in a compact, portable, at-home microderm device. The MiniMD only offers two suction levels and does need to be plugged in while you use it, but these are small inconveniences for the price and effectiveness. You do need to use a new filter each time you use it and while the kit comes with 30, you may want to add on additional filters. I love how lightweight it is and how little counterspace you need to sacrifice. BUY: $99.99 on Amazon

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Riiviva  – This handheld microderm devices uses diamond tips and suction to exfoliate and polish your skin. The Riiviva has three levels of suction (low, medium, high) and varying levels of coarseness on their patent-pending, interchangeable “free rotation” diamond tips. One of my favorite things about the Riiviva is that you can use it plugged in or charge it up and use it cord-free. The variety of suction levels and tips lets you find a set up to match your skin sensitivity. You do need to insert a new filter disc each time you use the device that catches all the dead skin you’re removing. The Basic Face collection comes with the Riiviva device, a medium diamond tip, 50 filters and tweezers plus a travel bag, charger or serum. They also have other tips and serums designed for the body, acne-prone skin, cellulite and more. BUY: $179 on Amazon

 

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Trophy Skin MicrodermMD Home Microdermabrasion Machine – I admit, this is not an intro model if you’ve never tried microderm before. But if you’ve had a professional treatment or two or have tried another at-home device, you may want to invest in this bad boy: Trophy Skin’s Home Microderm Machine. In addition to the diamond tip, this kit also includes a pore extraction tip for getting rid of blackheads and an Infusion tip that is designed to help infuse creams and serums into the skin. This machine has 8 levels of suction, but my favorite feature is the Auto Mode that guides you through a whole face treatment, adjusting both the time and suction level appropriately to each section of the face. You simply follow along the guide and it makes sure that you don’t spend too long on one part of your face or use a suction level that is too hard. It does take up more counter space, but I can’t stop raving about it! Even my parents tried it out during a recent visit, and my dad was amazed to get a bothersome age spot off his the back of his hand with one treatment!  BUY: $299 on Amazon

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PMD Personal Microderm – Another popular at-home microderm option is the PMD Personal Microderm. Unlike the other devices which have diamond tips, the PMD uses “patented spinning disc technology” along with suction to smooth your skin. The basic device comes with a collection of discs of varying coarsenesses as well as two different sizes – small for face and large for the body. While the PMD seems to have lots of believers, I personally wasn’t a fan. I didn’t like that you have to replace the disc so often (each one only lasts for 3-4 treatments) and that you have to press the device fairly hard against your skin to get the suction to work. BUY: $159 on Amazon

 

For all of these at-home devices, it is vital to read the manual and watch any explanatory how-to videos before using them to ensure you don’t misuse the product and potentially injure your skin. But once you get it down, you will be rewarded with a glowing, brighter, flake-free face. What winter skin?

Have you tried microdermabrasion before?

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Retinol Game Changers from RoC

Once I hit my thirties, products containing Retinol definitely became a regular part of my beauty routine. Whether I liked it or not, fine lines started to pop up on my face, particularly in my under eye area. Being that I pose for photographs quite a bit, I can’t say I was excited about these new additions. Just sayin’.

Thank goodness for game changers like RoC Retinol Corexxion Eye Cream. I’ve been using it for momths and it’s really helped soften my crow’s feet and reduce puffiness. Like so many busy mamas, I tend to get less sleep than I should, so I truly appreciate products that can help me look less tired. You can relate right? Haha! I mean we can’t wear oversized sunnies ALL the time.

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I’m also loving Roc’s Retinol Corexxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream. If your skin is sensitive, you probably want to start out with a Retinol based night cream so your skin has time to calm down if there is any irritation. Don’t be fooled by the word deep by the way. I’m all about prevention…My lines might not qualify as deep yet, but I’m ok keeping that time away as long as possible. Who’s with me?

I shared even more reasons why I love these two Retinol products in our latest beauty video! Check it out!

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How to Refresh Your Blowout Instantly

When it comes to washing my hair…I’m lazy. I mean really lazy. My mane is not overly oily, so I can get away with putting several days in between my washings. And that definitely happens if I’ve had a professional blowout. Mama wants to make it last. Haha! Even though my hair doesn’t get particularly greasy, it just isn’t as fresh looking a day or two after my blow as it is the day I get it done obviously. And that’s why I’ve been on the hunt for a good dry shampoo for ages it seems…Alas, the perfect dry shampoo has eluded me. I’ve found a few that I like, but nothing compares to my newest find.

unite

I’v recently fallen in love with Unite 7 Seconds Refresher thanks to my favorite blowout hot spot Blo. (On a side note, you can see my collab with them on how to get Oscars ready curls here.) ot only does this powerhouse product make me look like I just stepped out of the salon, but it’s a root lifter too! Ever since I had my daughter, my hair has come in fine rather than course so I don’t have as much volume at the roots as I used to. A quick spritz of 7 Seconds and I don’t look like my style’s fallen flat.

Come see why else I’m in love with Unite’s 7 Seconds Refresher in our latest beauty video! And just in case you missed our review of Nyme Organics, you can find it here!

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5 Ways to Ward Off Chapped Winter Hands

I love winter for its hot tea and fires and scarves. However, I’m not so fond of the chapped, dry hands that it can also bring. Anyone else? This winter, I’ve been more trying to be more active in taking steps to prevent the painful cracks and chapped skin that often seems to arrive each January. Here are five ways you can ward off winter hands too.

WARD OFF WINTER HANDS

 

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Start in your shower. While I’m intrigued by some of these new spray-on-in-the-shower lotions, I have my own secret weapon: coconut oil. I keep a jar of this homemade sugar scrub made with coconut oil as well as a small container of straight coconut oil in my shower. Right before I turn off the water, I take a handful of either one and slather it all over my body. The scrub provides moisture and exfoliate while the straight coconut oil just gives me skin-saturating moisture. You know how they say you should put on moisturizer within 30 seconds of getting out of the shower to avoid evaporation from drying your skin? When you’ve slathered coconut oil on your skin IN the shower, you don’t need to worry about this countdown clock. Your skin is already supple with sealed-in moisture. I buy mine in bulk, but look for any coconut oil that is cold-pressed and unrefined. And no, you won’t end up smelling like a coconut.

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Embrace dishwashing gloves. I fully admit – I am actively counting down until my kids are tall enough to reach the sink to adequately complete the dishes, but in the meantime, it’s often me behind the bubbles. Beyond the fact that it’s not one of my favorite tasks, I’ve come to realize that it wrecks havoc on my poor hands! Hot water + soap + scrubbing = no good for my hands. I often have a pair of dishwashing gloves under the sink, but only recently have I been remembering to actually put them on and let me tell you – it’s made a HUGE difference. I use a cheap-o pair of gloves from Target, but these fancy red ones from Glovables might make it even easier to remember to put them on each night.

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Move the lotion out of the bathroom. I used to buy one bottle of lotion and keep it in my bathroom. But lately, I’ve come to realize I – not surprisingly – don’t spend most of my day in my own bathroom. So if I’m going to keep my hands moisturized, I need hand lotion in the places I spend the most time. So this winter, I picked up two additional bottles of my favorite lotion (I’ve been loving this one that provides deep moisture without greasiness) and stashed them around my house. This means I have lots more opportunities and reminders to re-moisturize during the day.

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Hit trouble spots hard. Have you ever had your skin get so chapped that it cracks? In the past, I used to put off dealing with a rough cuticle or one of these initial cracks until later. Now, I don’t delay. I know that a timely response to severely chapped areas of my hands will hopefully prevent a painful crack and weeks of trying to repair the damage. To do this, I keep heavy-duty Aquaphor’s Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment all over the house. The tube dispenser makes it easy to use on lips, cuticles, heels or knuckles, and the scent-less formula makes it suitable for both me and my house full of boys.

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Heal and repair while you sleep. Nighttime offers a double benefit for taking care of your winter hands: 1) you aren’t doing anything so your hands won’t get stripped of their natural moisture and 2) you have 5-8 hours to deeply treat and repair your hands. I like to keep a serious hand moisturizer like Eucerin’s Intensive Repair Enriched Hand Creme or Curel’s Ultra Healing Hand & Cuticle Therapy by my bed to throw on right before I pull up the covers. This is not the time to worry about greasiness or if a lotion is “too” moisturizing to prevent you from opening doors or checking your phone. Look for a rich, hydrating hand creme and slather on plenty of it. I’m also dying to try these awesome reusable paraffin gloves from GloveTreat. You throw them into your microwave for 90 seconds and then slip them on before your Netflix binge session, resting in the knowledge that you are giving your winter hands a spa-like treatment while you are catching up on your favorite show. I’d call that a winter win-win.

How to you deal with dry, winter hands?

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The Matte Lips Trend

If you’ve read my beauty columns a time or two, you know that I love trying out the latest beauty trends. That doesn’t always mean they become a part of my regular routine, but I like to give everything that interests me a whirl…And if it lands, great. And if not, at least I tried! On that note, I’ve been wanting to try out the matte lips trend for a while. I hadn’t gotten around to it because typically that requires precision…and precision requires time.

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Time isn’t something this baby mama has a ton of. I’m sure you fellow moms can relate. So, when I came across this genius product from NYX, I fell in love. I can literally apply it without looking. It’s the perfect lippie to stash in your bag for those on the go moments!

Come watch our latest beauty video to see how NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream can give you the perfect matte lip in mere seconds!

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