I’ve seen a ton of gift guides the past few weeks so I think you’re covered. To be quite honest, you wouldn’t want one from me anyway; I’m a terrible gift giver.

Instead, I’m giving you three holiday must-haves that you should Amazon Prime ASAP. They’re essentials, BUT they’ll be great for the holiday traveler and the person who is looking to enjoy the holiday food, but not go over board.

The Brunette Blend-Not Another Gift Guide 3 Holiday Must-Haves from Amazon

Rose Hip Oil
Yes, I am still very much into my facial oils! This is perfect for those who traveling during the holidays. Instead of juggling a makeup remover, moisturizer and primers, you can take your oil. It can be used to remove makeup (especially under eyes) and can be used a moisturizer and makeup primer. The anti-aging properties don’t hurt either.

Facial Oil 101 – Your Burning Questions Answered

GG Crackers
OK, I could talk all day about these crackers. If you haven’t listened to The Skinny Confidential Him & Her podcast with F-Factor founder, Tanya Zuckerbrot (episode #90), GET ON IT NOW. Tanya talks all about the power and health benefits of having enough fiber in your diet. This brings me to the crackers. GG crackers are loaded with fiber and have approx. 2 grams of net carbs. When you pair fiber with protein, you’re left feeling fuller for a longer period of time (which will help you make better choices! I’ve lost 3lbs already with the F-Factor method.) I plan on incorporating these during the holidays so I’m not hanging by the cookie trays all night.

P.S. I made a killer chicken parm with these crackers. Should I share the recipe?

itCosmetics CC+ Illumination Cream
Its the holidays, we want to look our best BUT the reason for the season is family and friends. Since a lot of us have limited vacation time, we want to take advantage of being all together. Simplifying your makeup routine over the holiday break is a sure way to free up sometime (I know I’m not the only one that can take over an hour to get ready!) This CC cream provides great coverage AND has anti-aging (win) serums within. No need for extra foundation with this one. Two pumps, some bronzer, blush, and mascara and you’re done in under 10.

3 Must Have Beauty Products That Really Bring It

What are you putting in your Amazon cart lately? What are your holiday must-haves? I’m still in awe by what all lives on Amazon. Help me explore!

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

The Brunette Blend-PINEAPPLING- How To Preserve Hairstyle + Add Volume-Pineapples
PINEAPPLING. Have you ‘pineappled’ your hair yet? If not, start TONIGHT. Its SO easy (it’ll make your head spin). I was introduced to the technique after reading Brit + Co’s article on the subject. I put it to the test and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done this sooner. (Also, why was I reading this Feb. 2016 article last week for the first time?)

Pineappling is a beyond easy way to style your hair before bed to create next day volume and PRESERVE your hair style.

Too many mornings I wake up and have to (or should) completely redo my hair. It becomes a time suck in my morning routine, plus I try to limit the amount of heat used on my hair (I prefer 2-3x MAX). Thanks to the EASIEST hair hack ever, little to no touch up is needed.

All you need to ‘pineapple’ your hair is an old-school scrunchie. THESE have been my tried and true since I can remember. One is never far from me at night.

Pineappling Your Hair: How To

1. With your head down, gather hair toward your hairline/forehead (the closer, the better.)
2. Lightly secure a loose bun (AKA your pineapple)
3. Sleep.

Just to prove it really works, I blew dry my hair straight the night before. This is quite the test, as my hair ALWAYS curls at night.

Documenting my process: night before, morning, and the immediate reveal.
PINEAPPLING- How To Preserve Hairstyle + Add Volume-Process

With the majority of your hair (and style) away from your pillow, the style is undisturbed. The bonus of the hair having to be up so high is that it creates volume in your hair. Below is my final product. All I did was comb through with a wide-tooth comb and lightly curl the ends to fake a blow out. I was early to work.

The Brunette Blend-PINEAPPLING- How To Preserve Hairstyle + Add Volume-Process-Finished Hair

Chat soon,
The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Like most people, I’m no stranger to face masks. I’m all too familiar with opening up a package and placing a slimy, face shaped cloth on my face. While its cool and refreshing, I never really felt like it did anything for my skin.

Blackheads live on my nose, my chin is prone to some pimples, and my cheeks can get dry and bumpy. One wet paper mask isn’t going to cut it. Different parts of the face have different needs. We can’t expect a mask to be a one-size-fits-all.

Today, we have SO many face mask options that offer a variety of benefits. So why not use them all at once in designated areas? This is called multi masking. Since I have a thing for multitasking, it was time to multi mask.

The Brunette Blend-A Multi Mask with Zoetic's New Clay Masks-Zoetic Mask Flaylay

My absolute FAVORITE skincare line, Zoetic, has introduced a line of clay masks. I am on Oprah-loves-bread status excited for these babies. There are masks for brightening, tightening, cleansing and smoothing. I put three to the test: Clean Slate, Mermaid Mask, and Matcha Love.

The Brunette Blend-The Brunette Blend-A Multi Mask with Zoetic's New Clay Masks-Multi Mask

Zoetic’s clay masks are 100% natural and do not contain any fillers. This means you’re getting an extremely pure product.

For my nose, I used Clean Slate which has activated charcoal to deeply cleanse and detoxify (because I’m not playing with these blackheads + clogged pores). Mermaid Mask laid on my cheeks to tone and tighten, while I put Matcha Love on my forehead and chin to refresh and firm. After applying, all I had to do was let it dry. You could feel the masks start working immediately. Great start.

I didn’t know this, but clay actually draws out impurities and toxins from your pores. It also increases blood circulation. The more you know.

The Brunette Blend-A MULTI MASK WITH ZOETIC’S NEW CLAY MASKS-Matcha Love Clay mask

Zoetic’s powdered masks really catered to the areas I wanted to focus on. A few drops of water and I had the freshest mask. I know I shouldn’t, but I CANNOT STOP TOUCHING MY FACE. It hasn’t been this smooth and soft for a long time. This is the first time I feel like a mask truly did something for my skin.

The multi mask combined with these quality products gave me a brighter, more even complexion in specific areas, while others extracted dirt and oil…after just one use.

I give both multimasking and Zoetic’s clay masks a 11/10.

… or as Usher would say, ‘on a 1 to 10, [they’re] a certified 20.’

I’m thinking of making a girls night out of it. Girlfriends, masks that actually work and some rosé.

The Brunette Blend-A Multi Mask with Zoetic's New Clay Masks-Zoetic Clay Mask

Learn more about Zoetic and their AMAZING products HERE.

Chat soon,
The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature
Special thanks to Zoetic for sharing their masks with us and helping make multimasking a success!

The importance of removing makeup at the end of the day is SO important, but how clean in your face? Sharing the three areas to focus on for clean skin.
How clean is your face really?

If you aren’t completely removing your makeup (EVERY nook and cranky) before cleaninsing, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? You may not realize that your #MOTD is still hanging around and waiting to plant pimples.

The Brunette Blend-How Clean Is Your Face Three Commonly Missed Areas When Removing Makeup

I thought my skin was makeup free after washing with my cream cleanser in the evenings, but sadly, I was mistaken. While using makeup wipes after a shower to remove mascara, I found my foundation and bronzer were being picked up. Instead of my skin being cleansed, I was removing only a layer of makeup.

You know what that equals? Clogged pores and surprise guests (PIMPLES).

After this horrific realization and making myself a semi-guinea pig, I found that adding an extra step to a nighttime skin routine AND focusing on three frequently missed areas can make all the difference.

Three Commonly Missed Areas When Removing Makeup

1. Hairline. We’re all about having our makeup look natural, so we pull and dab it into our hairline to get a seamless look. While this a good makeup trick, you NEED to make sure you’re removing the makeup at the end of the day. Its easy to wash your face and stay clear of your hair if you don’t want to wash it that day. Over time, this leftover makeup can build up and cause breakouts.

2. Nose. The sides and bridge of your nose need a little extra love when it comes to washing your makeup off. Foundations and creams can get caked around the nose and cause dryness and blemishes if not removed. I was washing my face so quickly that I wasn’t giving this area enough attention. This resulted in dead skin, flakes and uneven makeup. Plus, IT WAS SO ITCHY.

3. Neck. This is definitely an area that is overlooked when washing. If you’re pulling your makeup down to your neck (if not, you should) to create a more natural, seamless look, that leftover makeup can cause some damage, too. Think wrinkles and you guessed it, pimples.

For your cleanest skin, use a makeup wipe (I’m using THIS) or use a cotton round with oil to remove makeup from all areas of your skin. Then, your regular cleanser can take a deeper dive into pores and work on your skin on how its intended.

Chat soon,
The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

I am very low maintenance when it comes to my hair. So low maintenance, I’m writing you in a dirty ponytail that hasn’t been washed since Saturday. Effortless hair is what I go for …and I’ll hold onto it for days, until I reach, well, this point (dirty ponytail).

The Brunette Blend-Effortless Hair Three Products One Tool

Recently, I read an article that was written about the hairstylist who invented “The Rachel” from Friends. Michael Canalé shared the next big thing is to “embrace your natural hair.” According to well+good, he believes the next hair trend is working with your natural texture and hair pattern. COUNT ME IN.

Three hair products + one tool helped me achieve this mega easy, effortless look.

Our hairstylist turned me onto three amazing Aveda hair products that are lightweight, yet provide hold. A heat protectant, styling mousse and a hairspray. BTW: nothing is sponsored, I’m genuinely loving these products and all they have done for my hair + scalp.


Step by Step: Effortless Hair

O N E | apply small amount of damage remedy™ daily hair repair focusing on the ends.
This is a leave-in treatment that protects against heat and breakage.

T W O | apply 3-4 pumps of phomollient™ styling foam focusing on the roots. With a wide-tooth comb, comb through hair to distribute product.

T H R E E | blow dry while running fingers through your hair to achieve the most natural curves of your hair.

F O U R | using a curling wand pointed down, wrap sections of hair outward (away from your face). I like to alternate to create a less than perfect curls.

F I V E | spritz air control™ light hold hair spray in short spurts. This will make the hairspray come out more concentrated and provide a better hold (thanks for the tip, Monica!) This hairspray doesn’t make hair sticky or crunchy and allows you to build without creating helmet hair.

It never hurts to shake hair + lightly comb through to loosen curls.

The Brunette Blend-Effortless Hair Three Products One Tool-2

Chat soon,
The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

We are now entering fall wedding season. For me that meant bye baby pink dress and BYE SHAVING MY LEGS. I wanted something different, yet classic. So I opted for a jumpsuit. To be more specific, a $14.99 jumpsuit. A ruffled, off the shoulder, straight black jumpsuit. It was a blank canvas.

The Brunette Blend-GRWM Wedding-Samantha Boots

For this look, I wanted sleek with subtle pops.

First things first… the smile.

The Brunette Blend-GRWM Wedding-Smile Brillaint

You know I’m pretty psycho when it comes to my teeth. Before hair and makeup for an event, I pop in my custom teeth whitening trays from Smile Brilliant for a little touch up. If you remember an earlier blog post, you know Smile Brilliant helped cut through the coffee stains on my teeth. Today its a perfect tool to amp up the smile wattage while I do my hair and makeup. You can find more of my whitening tips HERE.


I don’t know about you, but anytime I need my hair to look good, it turns into a frizzed mess. Taking this into consideration, I opted to do straight hair with a little lift. This would bring in the sleek style element as well as look good behind my shoulders so you could see the jumpsuit in its entirety.

The Brunette Blend-GRWM Wedding-Aveda Hair Products

I only used three products on my hair: Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair (heat protectant), Phomollient Styling Foam (hold + volume) and Air Control Hairspray. I’ll do a separate post on these products, until then, our hair stylist made my a convert. LOVE!

I blew dry my hair with a round brush and went over with a straightener. Then finished with a few spitz of hairspray. Done.


Here is where the pops come in. Bright red lip and long lashes. I didn’t switch up my makeup routine here. The only difference was add a little more mascara. My only rule I implement: if I wear a bold lip color, I don’t wear eyeliner. Natural and effortless is what I wanted.

The final look with my husband accessory (don’t forget to take out your whitening trays!)…
The Brunette Blend-GRWM Wedding-S and G

This was hands down one of my favorite wedding looks. It was super minimal and easy to execute. Bonus, I felt like it blended in nicely, but still has some uniqueness. Once again, you know I love a classic with a twist. This twist had pants.

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature
This post was sponsored by friends at Smile Brilliant. As always, all opinions and love for products are those of The Brunette Blend.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation is providing color matches for unique coloring. No makeup-makeup has never looked so good.

The Brunette Blend-No Makeup-Makeup Look Has Never Looked Better feat. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD-R210 Foundation

Foundation is relatively new for me. I never saw my mom use foundation, I used it incorrectly all throughout college (probably because my mom never wore it) and then I’d pick an incorrect shade for my fair skin (in my mind I had an olive/tan tone- ha!)

Our skin colors are so unique. There isn’t just light, medium and dark anymore. I can’t tell you how many times my “light” foundation was just a little too warm. Colors have undertones that give us all our beautiful + individualized shade. I didn’t actually put the two together until I was introduced to Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD foundation.

The Brunette Blend-No Makeup-Makeup Look Has Never Looked Better feat. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD-MUFE Line Up


When a stubborn blemish was hidden without concealer, I knew the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD worked its magic.

With 40 shades to choose from, you can choose your perfect shade. I have some pink undertones in my coloring, so I went with R210 and let me tell you, it is quite the match. So much of a match, it looked like I wasn’t wearing makeup- a stubborn blemish was hidden without concealer, so I knew it worked it’s witchcraft.

When it comes to makeup, I like to make it as naturally looking as possible with a bold lip (reaaaallly red) usually. This requires minimal product + some trial and error techniques. The techniques make ALLLLL the difference.

The Brunette Blend-No Makeup-Makeup Look Has Never Looked Better feat. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD-R210 Foundation Look

The Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation is $43 dollars, which is pricy in my book, but I truly think the quality + size your getting is worth it. PLUS, 1-2 pumps goes a long way paired with one little trick I’ve picked up.

Put the foundation directly on your face: obviously it’s going on your face, but instead of picking it up on your makeup sponge, take your finger + dot the foundation your face. Then you can take your damp (water or facial oil) makeup sponge + dab and blend. You’re no longer soaking up so much product on your sponge, you’re instead dabbing it directly onto the surface you want it to be on.

I’ve been pairing this foundation + technique for a few weeks and could not be happier with how my makeup has been looking. As of right now, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD is my first choice for foundations for naturally looking and build-able coverage. The chances of me getting another bottle when this one is out is HIGH x36636382.

Chat soon,
The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

This complimentary product was provided by Influenster + Make Up For Ever. All opinions + thoughts are those of The Brunette Blend.

If you haven’t noticed yet, the blog has taken the slightest of creative turns.

Instead of hosting a lifestyle blog, The Brunette Blend has become officially a hub for beauty + personal style (from clothing to your mantel)! For the most part, this is what I regularly blog about. Its also the two topics I receive questions on the most, so this feels like a natural spot for The Brunette Blend to be in. This blog and the people that are kind of enough to read it (thank you!) drove us here. I’m excited for this and hope you are, too! If you want to learn a little bit more about what to expect, check out the updated About Me page HERE. Bear with me while I do some redecorating with the tabs on the site 🙂

Now on to the post!

The Brunette Blend-New Direction + the Latest in My Makeup Bag

There are a few new members in the makeup bag that I’m loving already! Two face based + two LASH MASTERS.

Hoola Matte Bronzer
I’ve tried this in the past when I was 5 shades too orange from a spray tan, but just recently found out how much punch it packs! In my opinion, a matte bronzer allows for a more natural, sun kissed look opposed to one with shimmer. This bronzer provides a great, natural looking color. Since this bronzer is highly pigmented, you want to apply with a light-hand and build onto the color to get the shade you’re going for.

Hoola Quickie Contour Stick
I AM LOVING THIS LITTLE THING! Its a cream to powder formula that adds color and sculpts. I usually do a light contour to add color to my face and it forces to me to not fall back into old habits and go over board on bronzer. This contour stick makes it easy to sculpt and bronze, its also super mess-free. Just apply and blend with a brush. I’ve been using this solo for a few days and its really warmed my face and lasted throughout the day. I think I’ll get a full size when I’m finished with the mini.

I LOVE getting travel sizes of product to try before spending money on a full-size. Snag a mini Hoola Bronzer + Quickie Contour Stick in the Bronze n’ Sculpted kit. It also comes with my favorite highlighter.

Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara
This mascara is really impressive at only $9. I saw dramatically longer + fuller lashes when using this. If you saw my Instagram story, you saw the difference after a few coats. No primer, just the mascara. This mascara is definitely a repeat purchase and can be found everywhere from makeup stores to Target.

Superhero Mascara
You’ve seen in other posts that I REALLY like it Cosmetics. Their mascara did not disappoint. Once again, if you saw Insta stories, you saw the difference! It did a great job of lengthening and making my lashes appear fuller, which I loved! Bonus is that it comes in a travel size so you can try before you commit, however, you won’t be disappointed if you get the full tube.

P.S. The Mascara Master List has been updated! Check it out HERE for the scoop on more mascaras.

What is the latest in your makeup bag?

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Red lipstick is currently my jam, MY JAM, I tell ya! I’m in LOVE. I love how bold it is, the pop it brings to a natural look and how it can transition from day to night. Its like the bow on your beautifully wrapped package.

I’ve rounded up my top 5 favorites for the summer. Number one has been on SERIOUS repeat.

The Brunette Blend-This Summer's 5 Best Red Lipsticks-Red Lip Classic

Wearing ‘Love That Red’ by Revlon

The Brunette Blend-This Summer's 5 Best Red Lipsticks-Red Lipstick Lineup
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Top 5 Favorite Red Lipsticks

Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipstick in Love That Red

NYX’s Matte Lipstick in Eden

Sonia Kashuk’s Moisture Luxe Tinted Lip Balm in a Tint of Red

Neutragena’s Moisture Smooth Lipstick in Classic Red

Covergirl’s Colorlicious Lipstick in Hot

The Brunette Blend-This Summer's 5 Best Red Lipsticks-Jean Jackets + Red Lips

Since red lipsticks can be so bold and rich, a few tips are needed:
1. Always remember to line your lips to prevent the lipstick from bleeding and to define lips. My favorite is the Sonia Kashuk Lip Definer in True Red. I use it with all the red lipsticks I own.

2. Fill your lips in with the liner before applying your lipstick. Lipstick tends to run off throughout the day and in between eating and drinking. The liner will hold the color and make sure you’re not walking around with patchy colored lips.

3. Be sure to blot your lips to prevent smearing or lipstick on your teeth (yikes!) Plus, I think it looks a lot better.

4. FINALLY. If you ever find yourself with red stained lips from your lipstick, turn to your trusty…TOOTHPASTE. Toothpaste is a great weapon for removing stubborn stains. With some warm water and a washcloth, you can have fresh + clean lips.

What shade are you rocking this summer?

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Eyebrows. These are big one in my book and I feel like if my brows are off, my whole look + feel is off. We’ve now entered a world where tinting + filling your brows is normal. I have a spot on my left brow that has scarce hair thanks to a tragic waxing incident. Its not horrible, but I’m not always feeling it.

I’ll be the first to tell you, I had NO idea how to fill in my eyebrows. Instead of a pencil, I used…

A few years ago I started filling in my eyebrows. Let me be the first to tell you, I had no idea what I was doing. It was scary. They were awful. I USED BROWN EYE SHADOW. That’s right, forget a brow pencil or any makeup tool DESIGNED for brows, let me take a tiny brush + block my brows. I’d show you a picture, but I’m almost positive I’ve digitally burned them AKA deleted them. I’m sure one will creep up soon.

Anyway, lets move off of the tragedy that graced my face. On a positive note, I learn a few tips and found an AMAZING brow pencil. The Goof Proof brow pencil by Benefit will 100% change your eyebrow life. Note, this isn’t sponsored in the slightest. I just feel the need to spread the eyebrow filling love.


I originally picked up a travel size of it back in March and only last month did I upgrade to the full size. It was being used pretty much everyday and still lasted 3 months. WIN. It provides a natural fill and with a pointed edge, you can create a great shape. This pencil is a good choice due to its shape, its user friendly and it enhances your natural brow opposed to completely reconstructing it.

It comes in a variety of colors so you can get the perfect shade. I use shade number 3, which is a medium brown.

The Brunette Blend-Your Eyebrow Filling Sidekick-Benefit Goof Proof

Have you tried Benefit’s Goof Proof pencil yet? If you haven’t, go grab a travel size STAT. I promise you’ll be snagging the full size soon enough 🙂

Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature