natalie alcala

Lightweight Beauty Essentials Just In Time for Spring

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.

(Floral Background: Fashion Gone Rogue)

Spring is finally here! Time for picnics, pastels and lots of gingham. In addition to sprucing up my lip looks this season, I’ll also be reaching for lightweight products that allow my skin to breath in heat. And with Earth Month right around the corner, clean and natural beautifiers are on my radar, too. Here are five current favorites.

1. Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter ($38): I seriously can’t talk about this cream without getting giddy. After showering and drying off, I immediately lather this heavenly-scented, air-whipped butter all over my body. Free of parabens glycols and silicones, this is pretty much a one-way ticket to Hydration Nation.

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4 Places to Score Enviable Eyebrows in Los Angeles

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.

We’ve been lusting after Camilla Belle’s eye-catching brows for years. (Photo: Getty Images)

Besides brilliant braids, the hottest trend on the West Coast these days is a bold brow. From Camilla Belle’s flawless arches on the red carpet (pictured) to Demi Lovato’s ever-evolving shape on X-Factor, Hollywood has totally gone Brooke Shields—and I like it.

If you find yourself in L.A., here’s a roundup of the best brow bars for every budget.

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6 LOL Beauty Products From the '90s

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.

Photos: eBay, Definitely Beauty, Beauty High

Since Birchbox is always on the cutting edge of beauty, I thought it would be fun (and funny) to switch it up and go back, way back, to salute some of the beauty products that we’re all guilty of experimenting with during the Saved by the Bell era.

I may be dating myself here, but these products were absolutely essential to my tween and teen days in the ‘90s. Here are my personal (yes, cringe-worthy) memories with each; drop me a line in the comments if you have a story, too!

Herbal Essences in Rose Hips: Ah…I can still smell the magical fragrance of this conditioner and shampoo. I remember when Herbal Essences were all the rage and that “Yes! Yes! Yes!” commercial would play before TGIF on ABC (talk about a throwback). I was so sad to learn that this scent was discontinued a few years later—and it looks like I’m not alone, because the product is going for a pretty penny on eBay right now.

Bonne Bell Lip Smackers: Okay, who doesn’t remember these? The watermelon, raspberry, and Dr. Pepper-flavored Lip Smackers were my absolute jam. I remember slathering this on when I was around my crush in school, convinced that the scent of my soda-flavored lips would surely reel him in. As if!

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Beauty Inspiration: Spring 2013's Most Striking Fashion Campaigns

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.

Kurt Reiger’s spring campaign. (Photo: Elle)

Besides it being awards season, there’s another reason why this is my favorite time of year: It’s the release of spring ad campaigns! Although I love the bundled up looks for fall, spring collections are always fresh, fun and bursting with brilliance. Plus, I get particularly hyped for the latest ads since the beauty is more experimental as well. From the slick hair and dark lip at Kurt Reiger to the peach lid and nude pout at Max Mara, here are the looks that I’m really feeling for spring.

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Guest Blogger: Fashion Insiders' Best Beauty Tips (Part 2)

This week’s guest blogger is Natalie Alcala, a Cali girl with a penchant for all things style and fashion. When she’s not soaking up the sun or rocking dangerously high heels, you can catch her feeding her insatiable sartorial appetite on her blog, Natalie’s Menagerie. She also pens a daily fashion column for BlackBook Magazine and is an assistant editor at FashionStake.

Danielle and Jodie Snyder, Designers of DANNIJO; Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, Giorgio Armani Face Fabric Second Skin, Eyelash curler

Jessica Moss and Lisa Guajardo, Designers of Leyendecker

Yesterday I posted the first installment of beauty secrets from talented tastemakers and today I’m excited to share part two.

Danielle and Jodi Snyder, designers of DANNIJO: “I carry chapstick on me at all times—I’m so Napoleon Dynamite! There’s nothing unsexier than chapped lips. I’m addicted to Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. In the summer when my skin color looks a bit uneven from the sun, I use Giorgio Armani Face Fabric Second Skin on top of my SPF face lotion to give it an even glow. And dry shampoo is the best-kept secret ever. When my hair looks flat, I give my roots a spray, flip my head over, and voilà—instant volume!"  —Danielle

"I was told that lining my entire eye would make my eyes look small, so I always begin at the middle of my eye and line to the outer corner. I also always use a blow dryer to heat my eyelash curler before using it on my eyelashes— it’s the best trick ever! My mom also taught me to dab a bright lipstick on my cheekbones when I need a pick-me-up at the end of the day.” —Jodie

Jessica Moss and Lisa Guajardo, designers of Leyendecker: “I swear by glycolic toners (my favorite is by Mario Badescu) to wipe away any dead skin and to maintain a fresh, bright look. Laura Mercier makes the most amazing brightening powder, which I brush under my eyes through to the apple of the cheek and temple every morning to disguise any dark circles or puffiness. And here’s my biggest secret: I’m a natural redhead, but to punch up my color between salon visits, I use Tressa WaterColors Liquid Copper Shampoo. It prevents my red from looking dull.” —Jessica

“In desperate times, Preparation H is magical for under-eye puffiness. I also swear by dry shampoo. Rene Furterer is my go-to brand, but if you’re on a budget, I recommend Psssssst Instant Spray Shampoo. Even after three days, my bangs look fresh and clean! Also, every morning I apply moisturizer to my face, neck, décolleté, and chest—it keeps everything looking youthful and perky!” —Lisa

To find some new favorites of your own, check out our Birchbox Shop.

4 Fierce LA Nail Art Instagrams to Follow Now

We’ve got contributing editor Natalie Alcala on speed-dial. Not only does the LA-based writer and blogger know the best places to score an unforgettable braid, she’s also discovered the secret to perfect skin from Hollywood’s elite. Every week, she’ll be cluing us in to the latest in West Coast fashion, beauty, and fun.

(Image via NCLA/Instagram)

Here in Los Angeles, we’re still obsessed with nail art. Everyone from Jaime King to Zooey Deschanel is hooked on decorating their digits at our city’s slew of creative salons, and the trend has trickled down to their many fans, too. To keep us all inspired and remind us that summer is the season for experimental beauty, here’s a roundup of four Instagram accounts that really nail it.

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4 DIY Beauty Treatments for Foodies

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.


Photo: Stylo Girl

Although there are a host of fantastic beauty products on the market today, sometimes it’s nice to go back to basics and utilize the foods that contain natural beauty benefits. After you’ve graduated from the good old cucumber slice as a natural eye de-puffer trick, there are tons of other earth-friendly recipes out there that can be executed using yummy products from your fridge. Who knew that playing with your food could be a good thing? Here are four fun treatments to whip up at home:

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Loving The Ombré Nail Polish Sets From The New Black

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun. 

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending The Makeup Show L.A., also known as a beauty aficionado’s dream. While I had tons of fun fawning over the latest offerings from brands like Anastasia and stila, there was one booth in particular that caught my eye: The New Black

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The 3 Best Braids to Rock at Coachella

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun. 

Photos: The Fashion Spot

Erica Davidson is a star in L.A. for both her makeup wizardry and hair innovations. I knew she was a true innovator when she created this awesome pink root look for cult-favorite jewelry line Luv AJ’s latest lookbook. And talent runs in her blood: not only is Luv AJ designer Amanda Thomas her cousin, but Birchbox’s current guest-blogger Claire Thomas of The Kitchy Kitchen is her cousin, too!

Now that the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is fast approaching (what weekend are you going?), I thought it was the perfect time to ask Davidson which hairstyles she recommends sporting at the fest.

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V-Shaped Girl Power Tips at Prabal Gurung

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.

For their sixth season collaborating with Prabal Gurung, the nail gurus at Sally Hansen created a set of custom hues to complement the Nepalese designer’s tough-but-feminine range for fall. Although the exclusive collection of military-inspired colors—Loden Green (olive), Night Watch (navy), and Coat of Arms (gold)—won’t hit stores until September, fans got a sneak peek at the stellar shades at yesterday’s show.

“Prabal is inspired by female empowerment this season, so I designed a nail that showcases both strength and style,” explained Sally Hansen artist Jin Soon. “Loden Green salutes women in the military and Coat of Arms represents femininity. I went with a natural nail because you don’t want to pair anything too severe with a V-shape.”

To get this look without using a nail art brush or stencil, the artist first applied the gold Coat of Arms and then freehanded the V with Loden Green on top. During her surprisingly easy-to-follow tutorial (applying the gold base before the darker shade really helps), Soon predicted that “the V-shape is the moon shape of 2013.” You heard it here first!

- Natalie

Here’s How to Follow All The Fashion Week Fun At Birchbox

Happy Fashion Week! The Fall 2013 shows have begun and—come hell or crazy blizzard—our editors and photographers will be bopping around town covering the backstage beauty scene. And that’s not all! In addition to our own Birchbox staffers, we have some amazing guest contributors. Our regular columnist Natalie Alcala, Taryn Multack of Miss Ladyfinger, and model extraordinaire Alana Zimmer will all be posting to the Birchbox Blog.

The best part? We want YOU to come along for the ride. Our brand new Birchbox NYFW site will feature original photos of models, manis, and more. Check back frequently (in fact, you may want to bookmark it) to stay up to date on all the latest trends.

Introducing Assembly Salon: LA's Premiere Braid and Pony Bar

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.

Los Angeles is swiftly becoming the epicenter of intricately styled coifs. In addition to a whopping five places to score brilliant braids in this sunny city, a new, game-changing hair haven has just hit the scene.

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Natural Summer Beauty Tips from Celeb Makeup Guru Katey Denno

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala two years ago, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.

(Photo: Katey Denno/Instagram)

New York-based makeup artist Katey Denno’s client roster reads like a who’s who of Hollywood. From Amanda Seyfried and Isla Fisher to Olivia Wilde and Gwyneth Paltrow, her beautifying hands have graced just about every top starlet’s face—and she shows no signs of slowing down.

In addition to her celebrity work, she also maintains an awesome blog called The Beauty of It Is. An earth-friendly beauty advocate, Denno is a big fan of Burt’s Bees products, too.

To ring in the Summer Solstice, Denno shared some of her fuss-free tips for looking naturally gorgeous while taking in the season’s welcomed rays.

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Inside a Fashion and Beauty Writer's Very California Wedding

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.

It happened! Last Saturday I got married, and it was as a dreamy as I hoped it would be. Everyone was spot-on when they told me that the day goes by ridiculously fast, so I’m glad that I savored every second of it. As previously mentioned, I went for a bohemian luxe look that matched my Pacific Palisades venue’s picture-perfect setting. Take a peek at some snaps, along with fashion and beauty credits, below!

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Beauty Throwback: Double Hair Buns

We’ve got contributing editor Natalie Alcala on speed-dial. Not only does the LA-based writer and blogger know the best places to score an unforgettable braid, she’s also discovered the secret to perfect skin from Hollywood’s elite. Every week, she’ll be cluing us in to the latest in West Coast fashion, beauty, and fun.

(Photo: © David Bergman/Corbis)

As demonstrated in this post, I love a good throwback. My latest obsession is the resurgence of double buns—a statement hairstyle championed by edgy fashion forces like Gwen Stefani (above) and Bjork in the ‘90s. I’m glad to see that the look has parlayed it’s way back onto the scene, thanks to gals like Vanessa Hudgens and Rita Ora—two girls who know a thing or two about having fun with fashion.

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Color Club’s Killer Claws at Katie Gallagher

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.

NY-based designer Katie Gallagher is known for her avant-garde sartorial style. In a rather timely move, her fall 2013 collection, “The Winter Froze You Away,” was inspired by snowfall and featured a set of textured, three-dimensional threads fit for this week’s frosty weather.

To the match the range’s icy vibe, Color Club’s Simcha Whitehill created a rough and tough nail that featured the pointed shape that stars like Adele and Beyonce can’t get enough of. Whitehill created the witchy look using four fierce shades: Where’s the Soiree (black), Muse-ical (charcoal), Sheer Disguise (medium grey), and a custom dove grey.

“This is a great design for anyone who’s enthusiastic about nail art but can’t paint with their non-dominant hand,” Whitehill said. “All you need is a dotter tool—which can be purchased at any beauty supply store—or anything found around the house, such as a tailor pin stuck at the end of a pen, a bobby pin or even a toothpick.” To get the look, layer paints in an ombre style (check out a handy how-to here). Next, dip your tool in the paint and press down on the nail to create dots that cascade from dark to light. Add a basecoat and you’re good to go!

—Natalie

Find more exclusive backstage pics on the Birchbox NYFW site.

Peek Inside 3FLOZ's Awesome New Airport Kiosks

We’ve got contributing editor Natalie Alcala on speed-dial. Not only does the LA-based writer and blogger know the best places to score an unforgettable braid, she’s also discovered the secret to perfect skin from Hollywood’s elite. Every week, she’ll be cluing us in to the latest in West Coast fashion, beauty, and fun.

(Photo: Air Repair)

When news spread that 3FLOZ, the genius purveyor of TSA-friendly beauty products, was readying to launch kiosks at airports this year, I instantly did a happy dance. After all, the company is a favorite of many, including Birchbox. While I thought that we’d have to wait until the end of the year before the self-service machines were unveiled, my friends at Air Repair have revealed that they’re coming out in just a few weeks!

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This Airbrushed Mani Is Ready for Miami Swim Week

We’ve got contributing editor Natalie Alcala on speed-dial. Not only does the LA-based writer and blogger know the best places to score an unforgettable braid, she’s also discovered the secret to perfect skin from Hollywood’s elite. Every week, she’ll be cluing us in to the latest in West Coast fashion, beauty, and fun.

This week I’m back in Miami to report on the scantily clad scene that is Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim. But before I left LA, I stopped by my secret spot for airbrushed manicures: CT Nails #9 by David. Known as the man for intricately printed tips (girls come from all over the world to see him), David can whip up just about any design you’re dreaming of.

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Coachella Packing List: 5 Beauty Essentials to Beat the Heat

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala two years ago, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.

Happy first day of Coachella! Here’s a roundup of tried and true beauty products that I’ve packed for 72 hours in the desert.

1. NCLA Nail Wraps in Stephanie’s Galaxy ($16): I’m utterly obsessed with this LA-based nail art company. Not only do these intergalactic wraps satisfy my ongoing passion for all things galaxy-inspired, but they also guarantee chip-free tips for the entire trip.

2. Jouer Matte Moisture Tint ($38): I can’t sing the praises of this tinted moisturizer enough. Not only does it keep my combination oily skin from looking embarrassingly glowy, it also provides ample, SPF-powered coverage throughout the day. (To be extra safe, though, don’t forget to touch up with another SPF during the day!)

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