My December Beauty Favorites

December is the best month. It’s all about Christmas, cheesy Hallmark movies, my birthday, shopping, and hoping for snow. You may love December, but your skin usually doesn’t. If you live on the East Coast, your skin is screaming for moisturizer. Make sure to moisturize, especially if your lips will be velvety red come Christmas.

Here are my December beauty favorites:

  1. Tarte Lip Sculptor Lipstick & Lipgloss
    If you’re all about full, glossy lips, this is the lipstick for you! I have this is VIP (cool nude), but I want them all. It’s a combo stick with moisturizing lipstick on one end and a shiny gloss on the other. You can layer them or wear them separately. I always layer them for full effect. This is my go-to daily lipstick, unless I’m feeling casual. Then, I swipe on Tarte Lippie Lingerie in Exposed.
    Lip Sculptor Lipstick   Lipgloss   Tarte Cosmetics.png
  2. Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara789
    I am loving this thick mascara that dramatizes my lashes with one layer! This is not for a dainty lash. This is thick, bold, but not spidery. You only need to apply one or two coats to your lashes to give them extreme volume.
  3. Jamberry Nourish Moisturizing Hand Creme
    This biotin infused hand cream is super luxurious and heals dry skin quickly. I keep a big bottle of this on my desk at work, so I remember to keep my hands moisturized. Nothing is worse than dry, cracked skin in the winter! This is the good stuff. Don’t buy the coconut hand lotion from Victoria’s Secret and expect it to work like Nourish. BONUS: It will help your nail grow back really strong, so you can have nice nails for a Jamberry or regular mani.
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  4. Clinique Perfectly Real Compact Makeup
    This is my fixer upper tool that I use to retouch my face during the workday. If your skin gets oily during the day, or if you missed a spot during your morning routine, this green compact will save you. Always keep it nearby.
  5. Vaseline Lip Therapy in Cocoa ButterUS-VSL-0p25oz-Original_tcm2858-777559.png
    Yes, I know Vaseline sounds gross. I still remember the smell of those big jars of Vaseline from my childhood, but this is different! It’s Vaseline’s Lip Therapy and it comes in the tiniest, cutest little jar you’ve ever seen– and that’s half the reason you’ll buy it. I keep this in my purse, because it’s a lifesaver for dry lips. I use it under lipstick, or even on top once my lip color has faded. It really is therapy for my lips, and I like it much better than chap stick.
  6. Skincando Combat-Ready Balm
    This is miracle cream. This jar of natural salve was originally used by soldiers in the war zone. According to their website, combat-ready calm heals “severe dryness, eczema, minor abrasions, post-shaving burn, chafing, scars, jock itch, bug bites, and sun/wind burn are no match for this powerful balm.” You’ve gotta have it!

The Beauty of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Ted Wright, founder of word-of-mouth marketing agency Fizz, said in a recent Social Media Marketing podcast, “I do not believe this is the age of social media. I believe this is the age of conversation. I believe social media tools are a very important part of that conversation.”

Ted offers a bigger perspective that often gets lost in our digital-obsessed world. We think social media is the key to more sales and customers, but it really comes down to the fact that the internet has given people a way to find commonalities between each other and connect in a way that wasn’t possible before.

Ingredients for WOM Marketing

In the podcast, Ted discusses two WOM marketing successes he’s had with his clients Pabst Blue Ribbon and Bissel. He says that in order to do WOM marketing, you need to have a story. Your story has to be three things:

Interesting, relevant, and authentic

Once you have your story ready, you need to identify your influencers. Your influencers are people who have an interest in you, and who are willing to share your story with their followers. Their followers see them as credible experts on a given topic. So, the next step is to give your influencers as many opportunities as you can for them to share your story!

Word of Mouth MarketingIn the podcast, Ted talks about how Bissel knew that their vacuums cleaned up small lego pieces really well. Who cleans up small lego pieces? Parents! So he identified an opportunity for Bissel to be where the parents were: a giant lego-building event for kids. He sent people in Bissel t-shirts to vacuum up lego pieces that had flown outside of the play area. Then, they would empty the vacuum pieces back into the play area right in front of the parents. Boom. The influencer parents made the connection: Bissel vacuums are great for cleaning up legos. That’s the story they share! Out of 30,000 parents that attended, about 3,000 were likely to be influencers. What a great way to reach the influencers where they are!

So, how do beauty brands use word-of-mouth marketing? You already know.

Social Media Stars (YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Pinterest)

Michelle Phan and L'OrealCosmetic brands seek our their influencers (people who are beauty experts and who have a large social media following). Examples of advertiser-influencer relationships:

  • L’Oreal & Michelle Phan (YouTube)
  • Maybelline & Zoe Sugg (YouTube)
  • Clean & Clear & Meghan Hughes (Snapchat)

Brands who connect with influencers are smart. They are using the influencers to gain the trust of consumers, and making more money doing it! According to a McKinsey Study, marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, and these customers have a 37% higher retention rate.

Why It Works

Here are two important statistics that explain why influencer and social media marketing works with consumers:

  • 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions.

This stat comes from the ODM group, and is a telltale sign of how significantly technology is impacting consumer behavior through unlimited information to product data and fellow customers’ experiences. How can a brand have a voice in all the user content and feedback that surrounds their products? I’ll give you three guesses but you only need one: influencer marketing.  

  • 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 33% trust ads. 

As per Nielsen, this stat clearly shows that, for brands to reach consumers in the current reality, they need the help of influencers. Consumers have begun to tune out traditional ads, and increasingly connect to their social networks to guide buying decisions.

Source: Simply Measured

Influencer marketing has proven so successful that there are companies that will provide influencers for your business. These include: Brand Backer, Socialyte, and Style Coalition.

WOM/Influencer marketing is powerful, but Ted explained one pitfall that brands should avoid:

…thinking that the speed of word-of-mouth or social media will be the same as broadcast. Broadcast’s ability to actually move markets is not what it used to be. For some media, it’s not working at all, which is why newspapers are either going out of business or are much smaller. Ads don’t work anymore.

Marketers need to be up front with client leadership, and let them know how much time word-of-mouth marketing takes and why.

Ted says word-of-mouth marketing campaigns will see movement in the first 10 weeks and significant movement in the first 30 weeks. Plus, an entire year’s worth of word-of-mouth marketing covering the whole country costs less than one flight of television ad buying time for one network show.

Source: Social Media Examiner

The beauty industry has taken advantage of influencers, but I think there is still so much word-of-mouth marketing that can be done offline.

Like Ted Wright said, this is the age of conversation. I think it would be really cool if a beauty brand decided to do WOM marketing IRL like PBR did with Fizz. Listen to the podcast. You’ll be inspired to start your own WOM campaign.


P.S. If you like infographics, here’s a great one:

The State of Influencer Marketing #infographic

LOVE IS ON at Revlon

My first reaction to the Revlon “Love Is On” TV spot was admiration for Revlon’s marketing team and a 10-second karaoke performance. “Addicted to Love” by Florence + The Machine is the perfect song for Revlon’s romantic campaign. You might as well face it, you’re addicted to love. I mean, aren’t you?

It’s the simplest pairing: Lipstick and love. Rouge and romance. Classic Hollywood romance stuff… like Revlon’s Fire and Ice campaign in the 1950s. The ad message was that women could be as stunning as Hollywood starlets in real life with Revlon’s lipstick and nail lacquer (in colors other than red!).

Fast forward to 2015. The competition is fierce in the beauty industry, and Revlon is in need of some consumer lovin’. According to the NY Times, “Revlon was ranked 10th out of 12 cosmetics brands on the 2014 list, ahead of only Almay, another Revlon Inc. brand, and Coty.” Yikes.

To keep itself from falling further down the powdered & lacquered ranks, CEO Lorenzo Delpani decided on a theme for a new campaign that he discovered while scrambling the letters of the company name.


“From now on, we intend to be on a mission,” Mr. Delpani said, “inspiring all the shades of love.”

His revelation culminated in a print, tv, digital & social media campaign to romance consumers back to an iconic cosmetic brand. What better way to get the consumer’s attention than with emotion!

Here’s what I’ve observed:

Print Ads – features one of America’s sweehearts, shows off the product in all its glossy colors, and includes a sweet quote about kisses. Sigh. Now, mail me one of those HD lipsticks, Revlon!

Revlon Love Is On Print Ad

Digital – This digital billboard in NYC is interactive. A picture of me & my man on the big screen? I’d share it. The board also turns into a kiss cam! This is a great form of advertising to reach lots of people & lure consumers into generating content for you. These photos are also shared on

Revlon Digital Ad for Love is On Campaign

Facebook – Beautifully branded to match the campaign. Revlon’s posts all tie in #LOVEISON. Revlon shares all kinds of posts, from giveaways to how-to’s.

Revlon Facebook Page

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TV – I love it. Those lyrics will get stuck in your head!

Crowdfunding Contest – This campaign also doubles as an effort to “inspire compassion and ignite the spirit of giving to important women’s health causes.” Revlon will give the charity who raises the most money, a one million dollar donation this Fall 2015. I didn’t know about this until I visited and clicked around.

Revlon's crowdfunding contest on its website for campaign LOVE IS ON

Web Design CommentsThe one thing I would change about this campaign is the website design. I like the simplicity, BUT I do not like the white and red text on black. It is not easy on the eyes, and we’re taught to avoid this color combo in web design classes. I’d rather shop online for products on a white background. It’s cleaner, and it makes the products look newer and fresher. I know that black is sophisticated and sexy, but it just bothers me.

Revlon love is on website

The product I want to try: COLORBURST Lip Butter

Revlon Lipstick

I enjoy this campaign because takes a simple connection between makeup and romance, pairs it with a popular brand ambassador- the spunky & beautiful Emma Stone, and uses it to connect with the everyday cosmetic consumer. I’m looking forward to what Revlon will do in the next year. Will the campaign continue? I think it could. How about some guerilla marketing?


Hollywood’s Most Exclusive Beauty Authority Launches Online Shop

… and Jack Nicholson was at the launch celebration dinner. What! Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 10.11.23 PM Friends of VIOLET GREY’s founder, Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey, attended a dinner to celebrate the start of her online beauty editorial and e-commerce website, which complements her retail location on Melrose Place. Cassandra is married to the CEO of Paramount Pictures, Brad Grey, which explains the Hollywood guest list and sponsorship by Dom Perignon.

Elizabeth Taylor, Photo courtesy of Violet Grey Instagram

Elizabeth Taylor, Photo courtesy of Violet Grey Instagram

Why is the shop named Violet GreyBecause “violet grey” is how Cassandra describes the color of famous Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor’s eyes. The dinner celebrated the life of Ms. Taylor in lieu of the recent launch.

Why is Violet Grey trying to be “Old Hollywood Glam?”  It isn’t trying. Violet Grey used to be an exclusive dressing studio where Old Hollywood stars, stylists, and artists were inspired by vintage photographs and shelves lined with the best beauty products on the market. Cassandra wants to bring Old Hollywood glamour back to life by selling the most amazing products and celebrating talented and beloved Hollywood women with lovely dinner parties. Mrs. Grey was explains the mission of Violet Grey in a Wall Street Journal article:

“It’s dedicated to restoring the lost glamour of Hollywood. It’s about the best in beauty, curated by the makeup artists to the stars.”

The store offers something that other beauty retail shops do not: Violet Grey sells only the top beauty products produced in the 66 billion dollar industry. Cassandra Grey says:

“out of the 15,000 black mascaras on the market, we sell six. That’s how many good ones there are.”

For a beauty-loving girl like me, this store sounds like heaven. A heaven that is located on Melrose Place in California, thousands of miles away from good ol’ Virginia.

courtesy of Violey Grey Instagram

Cassandra Grey, Courtesy of Violet Grey Instagram

Luckily for all of us beauty mavens, Mrs. Grey launched The Violet Files and The Shelves to offer consumers the opportunity to read articles and tutorials and purchase products that are deemed incredible enough to make the cut. Is the mascara you’re wearing right now incredible enough for Violet Grey? There is a code all beauty products must pass: THE VIOLET CODE.  1. Authentic: the products must be discovered in artists’ kits 2. Validated: tested for performance and packaging by Violet Grey and its community 3. Coveted: declared necessary by influential names in the beauty and film industries. As you can tell, the products sold by Violet Grey are top-notch. No exceptions made.

Violet Grey’s The Shelves is an e-commerce feature that lets consumers buy Hollywood’s most coveted beauty products. The first thing you’ll see is an article called “18 Boss Beauty Musts” which lists 18 products and supporting quotes from makeup artists and nail artists. You can click on the product photo to “Shop Now” and buy the product from Violet Grey. Viewers can also tweet, pin, or share the product to Facebook. Violet Grey’s digital magazine The Violet Files offer a perspective on beauty through the eyes of artists in fashion and film. The current cover story is an interview with Mad Men actress, January Jones. Read it to get January’s take on beauty and her own life. By joining social media platforms, Cassandra expands her potential customers base…

Tweets feature Violet Grey events, articles, links to other platforms, and quotes.

Violet Grey’s Facebook page is all its social platform posts together in one feed!

With 34 boards, there is plenty to look at! Violet Grey is able to portray Old Hollywood glamour through photos on Pinterest. Check out this photograph of Elizabeth Taylor on the Awards Season board!

Violet Grey’s Instagram filled with photos of past actresses and models to admire. VG portrays the lifestyles and beauty of these women as part of its identity as a authority on authentic, validated, and coveted beauty.

I am a huge fan of Old Hollywood glamour and makeup products.Violet Grey gives me the chance to swoon over products by brands I have never heard of, learn how to use them, and buy the products that won’t cost me an arm and a leg. I’ve already found something I really, really want: the beautyblender! I think I’ll go tweet about that now…

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