I finally gave into my want need for Gisou, a bee-based haircare line by Negin Mirsalehi. Not only is Negin a mega-babe and mega-influencer with impossibly good hair, she’s got a freaking master’s degree in marketing and experience beekeeping (which has been in her family for generations). All this makes Gisou one of the most unique–and sought-after–haircare companies out there.

In a (slightly desperate) search for products to restore the fullness and overall health my hair once had, I picked up Gisou’s Honey Infused Hair Oil, Propolis Infused Heat Protectant and Texture Comb last month.

Yes, these products are super boujee, but in my experience when it comes to haircare, you truly get what you pay for. That’s why I’m doing my best to limit drugstore purchases and to instead invest in high-end and luxury products for my locks. (Plus, I’m a sucker for packaging this pretty.)

For the first time in over half a decade, I picked up a new hair tool. (Let’s put it in perspective: I was a freshman in college when I last got a new hair brush…I’m 24 now.) Especially after seeing no improvement in my hair in the years after picking up The Wet Brush, it was time I tried something else. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that may be the key the healthier hair sooner…

While The Wet Brush did make brushing through my hair post-shower a quicker process, it didn’t do anything for my hair’s appearance or texture; if anything, it made it worse. Gisou’s comb, on the other hand, makes the process a little longer, but, hey–good things take time. (Rumor has it, it takes only 30 minutes to make a Michael Kors bag, versus 20 hours to make a Birkin.)

Not only does this comb evenly disperse any product through my tresses, it doesn’t rip or pull at my strands the way The Wet Brush did. I definitely notice significantly less hair loss when using Gisou’s comb versus The Wet Brush. To me, that’s worth the extra time it takes. I’ve since thrown my Wet Brush in the trash.

Honey Infused Hair Oil is what drew me into Gisou in the first place. I mean, how gorgeous does this product look on everyone’s top shelf? It’s like liquid gold in a gorgeous glass bottle. YouTuber Lauren Elizabeth also has gorgeous, envy-inducing hair, and after seeing her rave about this product both on her channel and on Instagram, I knew I’d eventually being trying it.

After all, I’m a sucker for oils. Coconut oil is great, but let’s be honest: it’s messy and time-consuming. I need an oil I can use every day without making a mess of my bathroom and myself.

During Sephora’s VIB sale, I picked up OUAI‘s Hair Oil. And while I really, really like it, it’s a relatively thin oil, so I found myself going through it really quickly. Gisou’s is a little thicker because it’s loaded with a ton of key ingredients, and you need much less of it to reap the benefits.

Honey, which is naturally full of minerals, vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants, makes up the base. In addition to providing tons essential nutrients, this super food has the power to retain moisture, resulting in deeply conditioned, stronger locks. The sulfate-, paraben- and cruelty-free formula also contains almond and coconut oils, two of my go-to’s

I looove this product–and not just because it smells amazing and looks amazing on my countertop. This formula is weightless; it nourishes and conditions my hair without weighing it down or making it look greasy. It absorbs into my locks almost instantly, unlike other oils that sit on top, leave a sticky/waxy film or an overall gross look and feel to the hair.

Because my hair actually absorbs this oil, I know it will provide long-term strengthening and conditioning benefits when other products have just given me a temporary fix that instantly washes out.

After using Honey Infused Hair Oil for a week or so, I noticed a huge difference in my hair; it’s so much more manageable. It’s way smoother to the touch and a lot easier to style. Plus, it’s loaded with nutrients, so Gisou’s luxurious hair oil is strengthening my hair, helping to thicken it over time.

As the website states, this multi-tasking product can be used on wet or dry hair as a pre-styler, a finisher and/or an overnight treatment. It also suggests adding a few drops to your fav hair mask. I’ve doing all of the above; it’s perfect for smoothing hair on a day-to-day basis, while it strengthens long-term. And, when I do have time for a coconut oil hair mask, I mix in Gisou’s Hair Oil for extra benefits.

And because it’s so good at smoothing my hair down, it’s drastically reduced my need for heat tools. I can simply run this product through the fly-aways near my face and run out the door. Like any good hair product, it has a really light, pleasant scent.

I didn’t know a thing about Propolis until I started exploring Gisou’s range. The website states that bees use this ingredient to strengthen the walls of their hives; it contains numerous oils, vitamins, minerals and flavonoids, making it a richly fortifying ingredient for the hair.

What really caught my attention was Propolis Infused Heat Protectant’s ability to protect hair from heat tools *and* the sun. We so often forget that our hair, in addition to our skin, needs a filter to keep out harmful UV rays.

Much like Gisou’s hair oil, the Heat Protectant can be used on wet or dry tresses, making it an extremely versatile product. It also helps detangle hair, making the whole haircare and styling processes a little easier; less products equals less stress.

After using this product while straightening my hair, I noticed some *huge* results! I have naturally wavy, kinky hair that I like to straighten often, but I could never seem to achieve those sleek, fresh-from-the-salon results at home–until I tried Gisou’s Heat Protectant.

When used with a flat iron, this product leaves my hair frizz-free, polished and pin-straight. Plus, the results actually last.

There’s been countless times I’ve gotten so frustrated because I spent an hour straightening and re-straightening my locks, only to be left with strands that recoil–even when I’ve used straightening sprays and hair oils! The bottom layer of my hair near my neck is especially guilty of this. But with Gisou, everything stays smooth, just like a professional blowout.

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This year I celebrated New Year’s Eve in LA at Unici Casa. I attended a Day Of The Dead event at this venue in November, and was so happy to be invited back by the EC twins, two of my favorite DJs.

I’ve never done anything besides lie on my couch for NYE–after all, the East Coast is freezing this time of year, so I’m never really in the mood to go out. After an invite from the EC twins, I decided to book a flight to LA for a few days; I couldn’t resist getting out of the cold.

Unici Casa is a super glam spot, and it has a fun red carpet entrance, so I love playing up whatever theme the hosts pick.

Sunday night’s theme was Casino Royale (i.e., black ties and Bond girls). Like I said, I’ve never gone full-glam for NYE before, so I went all-out in a hot pink mini dress with sequins and a bronze smoky eye.

I accessorized with a faux fur coat, sheer black stockings and velvety black heels. My favorite thing about fall/winter dressing is getting to mix different prints and textures, and the sequin-faux fur combo felt extra luxe. For a little more sparkle, I wore my nameplate earrings from The M.

Because I can’t get enough of this hot pink glitter lipstick from MAC Cosmetics, I went for neutral eyeshadow. The bronze smoky look I created gave my eyes just the right amount of drama to balance the bold lip, and I’m so happy with how it came out.

What I wore:

Coat, Free People, similar here

Dress, Free People

Shoes, by the way., purchased from Revolve

Bag, Pop & Suki

Earrings, The M Jewelers

Of course I also had to do some exploring while in town. Thanks to a two-week free trial from Class Pass, I got to visit a few exercise studios in the LA area. My fav was a cycling class at FlyWheel’s Santa Monica location, but I also tried barre and pilates, which were great, too.

It’s not a trip to LaLa land without a hike! LA is home to some of the best hiking in the world, so I always try to squeeze one (or two!) in while I’m here. Thanks to the holiday, I had a little extra time, so I met up with a friend and we decided to take a trip to Malibu’s Point Dume for a sunset hike.

Because you access the trails directly from the beach, this spot combines the best of both worlds: bluffs with gorgeous views that are perfect for hiking, as well as miles of Malibu’s famous shoreline. The pictures hardly do Point Dume any justice; I can’t wait to visit during the spring and summer when it’s beach weather.

Before heading home, I hit up some new and old favs on Melrose. I stopped at Wasteland, one of LA’s best vintage retailers, for the first time, as well as Reformation Vintage and House Of Intuition.

And I had to stop by Little Tokyo in DTLA to stock up on some of my must-have beauty essentials at Make Asobi. I discovered this gem filled with sheet masks and other unique skincare items while visiting LA in June, so I always make it a priority to stop by and pick up some things not easily available on the East Coast. I leave plenty of extra room in my suitcase 😉

I hope 2018 is treating everyone well so far! I cannot thank my readers enough for your support throughout 2017 and into this new year. Although party season may be over, I very much look forward to continuing to create a ton of quality content for you guys in 2018. I also hope to interact with everyone more, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below, or get in touch with me on any of my social media platforms (links to the right if you’re on a desktop, or down below if you’re on a mobile device).

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This year I’ve discovered some pretty killer beauty products that really made me wonder how I went so long without them. While some products were new to the market in 2017, others have been around for a while and were only new to me.

There have been so many awesome developments in beauty this year–both high-end and affordable–that I can’t wait to see what the industry in store (literally!) for 2018.

It was so hard to narrow down my top picks for the year, but I was able to round up 20 of my go-to skincare and makeup products to share with you guys. Some are obvious; I’ve talked about them on Haute Mess nearly all year long. Others have floated below the radar, but that doesn’t make them any less important to my beauty routine.

[source: Glossier]

Glossier Balm Dotcom: If I had to choose one product I couldn’t live without, it would without a doubt be Balm Dotcom. Thankfully, I don’t have to choose–I can have all six flavors in my life!

My favs this year were Original (unscented, un-tinted), Coconut (un-tinted), Cherry (juicy red tint) and Birthday (un-tinted with a subtle holographic shimmer).

A little really goes a long way with BDC’s lasting hydration–even through tough workouts. Additionally, now that weather is chilly here on the East Coast, I love using Original on my cuticles, elbows and those pesky dry patches around my nose and eyebrows. It’s the only salve I see myself using for the rest of, well, forever.

[source: Essence]

Glossier Invisible Shield SPF+: Every. Single. Day. Glossier’s SPF+ provides sun, pollution and free radical production without stickiness, a white cast, irritation or breakouts. The non-drying, alcohol-free formula sinks into skin almost instantly, leaving your face, neck and décolleté with, as the name suggests, an invisible shield. It works flawlessly under makeup, but it’s great on its own, too.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion: Mario Badescu created the spot treatment of my dreams! I don’t have acne per se, but I’m definitely not immune to the more-than-occasional spot (especially just before “that time” or when my diet’s been shit).

This product really dries out whiteheads over night when other spot treatments have failed to do so in the past. It dramatically shortens the lifespan of a breakout, leaving dry, flaky skin that’s easily buffed away in its place. I make sure to always keep a backup bottle in my medicine cabinet because Drying Lotion never fails to save the day!

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber & Green Tea: While I’m still loving Lush’s Tea Tree Water toner that I discovered back in 2015, I discovered another great facial spray this year. Mario Badescu’s aloe, cucumber and green tea is instantly refreshing, but I’ve also noticed longterm improvements in my skin’s tone and texture.

I love all the natural ingredients in this formula. My skin reacts so well to aloe, and green tea’s antioxidants help protect my skin from harmful pollutants that are nearly impossible to avoid.

Boscia White Charcoal Mattifying Makeup Setting Spray: Setting spray is a completely new product to me this year, and I really don’t know what I did without it all these years!

I love a dewy look, but on my oily skin, dewy makeup tends to slip right off. Thankfully, Boscia’s Setting Spray is always there to keep them in place. It also helps “melt” powder products into the skin so they never look caky.

The magic of charcoal controls excess oil and detoxes the pores, while vitamin- and antioxidant-rich black tea visibly minimizes pores and protects skin from harmful free radicals.

[source: Glossier]

Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack: An effective-yet-gentle detox mask is hard to come by, but Glossier’s goes above and beyond. So, it’s no surprise that this is the one mask I found myself reaching for time after time since picking it up in April. From breakouts to full-body detoxes, Mega Greens definitely had my back this year.

[source: Amazon]

Bioderma Sensibo H2O Wipes: I’ve tried a ton of different makeup wipes from high-end to drugstore, and Bioderma’s are without a doubt my favorite.

These wipes are so incredibly saturated–especially for the price. They are affordable, and it only takes one wipe to get the job done. Bioderma is hands-down the most trusted name in micellar water, so their wipes care for and refresh my skin in addition to removing makeup.

[source: Glossier]

Glossier Wowder in Light/Medium (and matching brush): Powder is a must for my normal-to-oily skin! That’s why I was so thankful when Glossier debuted Wowder earlier this year. It’s a powder unlike any other, and it instantly became a favorite!

Even under bright flash (think: passport and driver’s license photos), Wowder is undetectable on the skin, so you’ll never have to worry about it affecting your skin tone or settling into any fine lines.

While most setting powders leave the skin looking 2-dimensional, Wowder is full of diamond powder and vitamin E, which give it a glow-y, silky finish. It is the perfect complement to Glossier’s Stretch Concealer, one of my absolute favorites.

Wowder serves as both a blotting *and* a setting powder. Thanks to the precise-yet-fluffy blush, I am able to concentrate Wowder in my t-zone, where I tend to get the most oily. This is known as blotting. However, I also use the pointed tip to set concealer under my eyes, a process called setting. It controls shine and keeps makeup in place while reducing the overall appearance of pores.

As Glossier states, the brush is suspiciously soft, and the unique shape makes it perfect for targeting small areas (think: under the eyes) AND large areas (like the t-zone).

Tarte Shape Tape concealer in Light Neutral: When I’m going for a high-impact eyeshadow look, Shape Tape concealer is the only product I trust to conceal my under eye area and keep it looking neat.

The full-coverage formula covers the pigmentation under my eyes flawlessly so that it doesn’t distract from any killer eyeshadow look (like hot pink lids or sultry, smoky eyes). It’s long-lasting, too, so I trust it to do its job all day or all night.

Glossier Stretch Concealer in Medium: On the other hand, Glossier’s Stretch concealer is ideal for those no-makeup makeup days. The build-able formula melts into the skin and *actually* stretches over spots to conceal them while maintaining a bright, real-skin finish.

Mocha [source: Temptalia]

Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha: Fenty Beauty’s Matte Skinstick is hands-down the best product for contouring! The shade Mocha is perfect for my skin tone, and the formula is so creamy and blend-able; it glides on without disturbing any makeup underneath, making the contour process a breeze.

I also love using this guy (as well as other Fenty Skinsticks in the shades Chili Mango and Rum) as eyeshadow when I’m in a rush and need some quick glamour.

[source: Glossier]

Glossier Boy Brow in Brown: As the only brow product I’ve ever used, Boy Brow makes it so easy to achieve fluffier, groomed arches. All it takes is a couple swipes of this mascara-like waxy pomade for the natural, boyish brow look I love. The formula also ensures hairs stay in place without looking or feeling crunchy, unlike other similar products on the market. One little tube usually lasts me more six months, too!

[source: glambot.com]

Buxom eyeshadow in Gimme Gorgeous: If you couldn’t tell from my many tutorials this year, Buxom’s eyeshadow in Gimme Gorgeous is the foundation of pretty much all my eye looks.

Paired with MAC’s Saddle in the crease for an everyday bronze eye, or in the crease to help blend bolder shades, I truly don’t know how I lived so long without this shadow. Not only is it the perfect neutral–not too cool, not too warm–the velvety-matte formula is so creamy and blends like a dream.

[source: MIK]

TONYMOLY LIPTONE Get It Tint Water Bar in Orange In Red: 2017 was definitely the year I jumped on the Korean beauty bandwagon. In addition to the hundreds of sheet masks K-beauty has to offer, I fell in love with their lip stains that give you that just-ate-a-popsicle pout.

I invested in a bright orange shade from TONYMOLY because it’s just so different from mainstream lip colors; it looks fun, youthful and unique. And you really can’t beat the staying power of a lip stain.

This one-of-a-kind product is *so* easy to use; it has a cooling, wet feel to it that glides on weightlessly (then dries down quickly). One or two coats will give the lips a sheer wash of color, while additional layers will build up the pigmentation for a more vibrant look.

[source: MakeupAlley]

MAC Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in Persistence: This year I definitely gave up my signature bold lip colors in favor of more neutral looks. Still, I wanted something more unique than a basic, Kardashian-esque nude, so I picked up Persistence from MAC.

While its part of the company’s Matte Lipstick line, Persistence definitely doesn’t have that dry appearance that liquid mattes tend to have; it’s comfortable, creamy and looks healthy on the lips.

This warm, peachy cinnamon shade is what I like to call a “bold nude.” I picked it up in September as an everyday fall lip, but I love it so much I for-sure see myself wearing it into spring.

[source: Glossier]

[source: @sarahjordanstyle]

Glossier Generation G in Leo and Buxom Full-On Lipstick in Sydney: I grouped these two lippies together because they’re both a part of my “everyday” makeup look. Leo, a cocoa brown, warms up the face in 2-3 quick swipes. The diffused formula is perfect for casual, no-makeup makeup days.

Sydney is a feminine pinky-nude. Its applicator makes it easy to line lips neatly before filling them in with color, while the tingly formula gives your pout a subtle plump.

I love both these products the same because neither of them require any babysitting throughout the day; they both give you those natural-looking, “your lips but better” vibes.

[source: ColourPop]

ColourPop Lippie Stix in Oh Snap: Oh Snap is a great lip color to pair with bold eye looks. The muted pinky-nude shade isn’t overpowering, but it doesn’t leave the lips looking bare, either. Plus, I can’t get enough of this formula; it’s comfortable and super long-lasting. Unlike other matte lipsticks, it doesn’t look crusty or messy overtime. And when it does begin to fade, it does so evenly.

[source: ColourPop]

ColourPop Lippie Pencil in Contempo: When in doubt I reach for Contempo to prep my lips for a huge variety of different lipstick shades. This neutral dusty rose pencil works under both warm and cool tones, and the creamy formula is so easy to work with.

[source: colourpop.lk]

ColourPop Tapered Blending Brush: This brush is my go-to for any and every eyeshadow look. I love it so much I ordered a second one and even have a third one in my cart as I type. The tapered shape allows me to target the crease, but it’s also full and fluffy, so I can blend endlessly (or dust shadow all over the lid and beyond).

[source: Glossier]

Glossier Body Hero Cleansing Oil Wash: Is it me, or does drugstore body wash leave an unpleasant film on the skin? I was using Dove’s for a little over a year before Glossier debuted Cleansing Oil Wash, and I immediately noticed a huge difference.

Not only does the neroli-orange blend smell amazing, the combination of oils works together to purify, brighten, protect and moisturize the skin. It’s face-quality skincare for the other 90 percent of you.

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Into The Gloss’ Top 25 in beauty. While I know little to nothing about most of the products before I read about them on ITG’s list, there is usually a handful that I already love.

This year I was happy to see two of my go-to’s on the Top 25: Glossier Haloscope highlighter and Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche lipstick.

Haloscope in Topaz was the first product I ever purchased from Glossier nearly two years ago. I was instantly drawn to the warm, sun-kissed hue and one-of-a-kind formula. If you’re half the glossier fan that I am, you already know Haloscope is so different from any other highlighters on the market–even other cream highlighters that come in similar packaging.

Its outer halo is infused with tiny particles from real crystals, while the vitamin-rich inner core is solid oil. This dew-effect, dual-delivery formula gives your skin an out-of-this-world hydrated finish that’s never glittery.

My favs are Topaz for a sultry golden glow and Moonstone for an everyday opal glaze. Sometimes, I’ll combine the two à la Kim Johnson; Topaz on the cheekbones right above my bronzer, and Moonstone on the brow bones, inner corners of the eyes and cupid’s bow for a sexy, sweaty sheen.

I really love how versatile these guys are. I’ll wear them on their own for a daytime look, or add a powder on top for a bold evening glow. The best part is that no amount of Haloscope is overkill.

This may be a zealous statement, but Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche is the best lipstick formula out there. So, it’s really no surprise it made ITG’s Top 25 of the year.

Even in neutral shades, this lipsticks isn’t for the faint of heart. The high-impact pigment delivers extreme moisture, soft texture and creamy wear, per sephora.com.

“Created and crafted by hand, Bite’s small batch, low-heat process preserves a balanced blend of lip-quenching nutrients, vitamins and omega oils that are essential for achieving healthy-looking lips,” Sephora continues.

Tons of ITG readers (including myself!) can verify that Amuse Bouche lives up to its online description.

It’s formulated without parabens, sulfates and phthalates. Instead, it’s made with “12 edible oils and triple milled pigments” to give lips “saturated lip color with weightless coverage and a citrus flavor made from fresh pressed fruit.”

Honeycomb is a gorgeous beige nude, and my beauty arsenal wouldn’t be complete without it. It’s great for muted, everyday makeup looks, but I also love pairing it with bold eyeshadow looks because it never overpowers them.

Quite possibly my favorite thing about Bite Beauty is that the company only makes lip products, so everything feels incredibly specialized and luxurious. Check out Bite’s Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look at how their products are made.

The Ordinary’s serums also made an appearance on ITG’s Top 25. While I’ve seen some of my fellow Glossier Reps gush about these guys on social media and on their blogs or YouTube channels, I’ve never tried any of them myself.

As the article states, the serums are “simple, well-priced, well-made, and they actually do their job without compromising anything else.”

“The brand is simultaneously championing transparency and efficacy in product sourcing and production,” so a handful of the serums quickly made their way to the top of my must-try list.

I love makeup, but I’m definitely a skincare junkie before anything else, so I really can’t resist any serum with a glowing (no pun intended) review from my most-trusted beauty blog. And now that they’re available at Sephora, I hope to stock up on them ASAP.

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Merry (belated) Christmas! I am slightly obsessed with the Christmas season, so I really hope everyone is enjoying all the holiday-related content on my social media and here on Haute Mess.

Because I’ve really been loving bold, sparkly makeup looks lately, I kept my outfit on the casual side. Still, I wanted to put a somewhat stylish look together, so I started with an edgy pair of jeans, then added a cozy chenille sweater. For a little height I picked a pair of fun floral booties–definitely party shoes!

Who else watches LOVE’s advent calendar semi-religiously this time of year? I’m still drooling over Romee Strijd’s clip (Day 23), so I decided to create my own version the sexy, smoky old-school glam look from the shoot.

I went with a grungy makeup look similar to the one I sported at a holiday party earlier this month–only I amped it up a notch. For the eyes, I combined ColourPop Super Shock Shadow in Bouncy and Pressed Powder Shadow in Tea Garden with a couple neutral matte shadows.

Tea Garden is one of the most unique eyeshadows I own. It’s a gold-ish green with a red duochrome flip–perfect for Christmas! I darkened it up by putting a deep chocolatey brown underneath and Bouncy, a cool-tone bronze with gold and violet duochrome in the crease.

On the cheeks I paired Benefit’s Rockateur blush (which has been my ride or die for years) with NARS Hot Sand Highlighting Blush, then polished everything off with Kylie Cosmetics matte liquid lipstick in Bunny (part of the In Love With The Koko set).

What I’m wearing:

Chenille sweater, thrifted, similar here

Zipper Jeans, Reformation

Booties, brand unknown, similar here

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