Kristen and I spent a fun Saturday together this week, getting full makeovers courtesy of our partners, JCPenney Salon and Sephora inside JCPenney. (Do you know how long we could stay there? Long, is all I will tell you.) It’s all part of their 10 Days of Nonstop New celebration of fashion and beauty which you have to check out through 9/24.

The deals are insane. And considering 574 stores have Sephora inside JCPenney, and there are 700 JCPenney Salons — well, get off the computer and go in person! It’s such a treat.

JCPenney Salon at Queens Plaza: Cool Mom Picks makeovers! | sponsor

The “before” shot…if you couldn’t tell

Thanks to our fab hair stylists Alis and Jenny at the JCPenney Salon, we got our hair prettified. (Psst…If you’re in the NYC area and go to the Queens Center location, ask for the manager, Lawrence, and drop our names. He’ll take great care of you!) Thanks to our fab makeup artists, Ebru and Melissa, we learned about some amazing new beauty products that we couldn’t wait to share here. Including Fenty Beauty.

And I know eeeeeveryone wants their hands on some Fenty these days.

The Color IQ test at Sephora Inside JCPenney helps identify your exact skin tone color so they can find the perfect cosmetic shades for you. Amazing! | sponsor
Yes, that’s a #nomakeupselfie under some VERY bright lights. Yes, I’m brave.
But how awesome is that hair?

The reason the consultants were able to really nail great colors and products for us — besides sheer talent — is the genius Color IQ system. Do you know about this? Kristen has raved about it before, but it’s the first time I got to try it.

They put this little doodad up to my forehead, cheek, and neck to determine my exact shade (kind of like a Pantone) color, then from there, see which shades of blush, eyeshadow, foundation, concealer, and lip color are best for you.

Ebru types in my Color IQ to find out the cosmetic shades that are perfect for me | Sephora inside JCPenney | sponsor
The survey says….

The Color IQ system at Sephora helps identify the right cosmetics colors for you based on your exact skintone | cool mom picks | sponsor
…berry lips!

After getting a wonderful makeover and hairstyling, I took a look at the myriad products chosen for me, and culled it down to seven of my favorite beauty products to share.

I picked them because they’re effective, they’re not through-the-roof spendy, and absolutely anyone can use them, no matter your skin color or age — because they’re all about maximizing beauty products you already own. Smart!


1. To make your lips pop:

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb : Amazing shade that looks good on everyone!

Surely you have heard of Fenty Beauty, Rihanna’s hugely popular new line that basically blew up the beauty world over the last few weeks. Well Sephora Inside JCPenney happens to carry the line because it’s a Sephora exclusive; and while Kristen and I were there, I’d say 90% of the shoppers were asking for it.

Like, women were swarming the sales staff! So I was so happy to get to try out what Rihanna called “the perfect gloss.”

(With 5 stars on the site, 942 reviews, and 30,000 likes, how could I not?)

I love the the rose nude shade which looks good on everyone. You’ll get the right amount of shine whether you want to amp up naked lips, glossify (I made that up) and moisturize a really matte long-wear lip color, or really make a lip color pop. And it happens to smell delicious and not waxy.

Great products for long wearing berry lips: Nars Powermatte lip color, and Kat Von D Everlasting Lip Liner

Fenty Gloss Bomb is amazing for moisturizing a matte color and adding shine | cool mom picks

Nice gloss and moisturizing, without that baby oil slickness.

I used it over Nars Powermatte Lip Pigment in God Save the Queen (which also ended up in my shopping bag) and the Kat Von D Everlasting Lip Liner in Lovecraft which are both extremely long-wearing, highly pigmented colors and honestly they look great, but my lips feel sooooo much better with Fenty Gloss Bomb over top.

Pro Tip: If you don’t want to go full-on look-at-my-lips gloss, just place a dab at the center of your bottom lip. You’ll get a spot of shine that looks like a more natural highlight.

2. To give your eyeshadow staying power

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion: One of our new beauty must-haves

I’m pretty low maintenance so I don’t wear shadow much. But when I do, I can’t stand when it creases (ew) or wears off too soon. This nude eyeshadow primer gives your shadow a smooth, even foundation and keeps the makeup crease free. And by nude, I really mean nude; it goes on with the teeniest tint of color but dries clear.

Urban Decay eye primer goes on totally invisible on any skin tone

Embarrassing Fact of Shame: I fell asleep with my eyeshadow on after my makeover, woke up, and it still looked pretty good. So I’m going to vouch for the 24-hour wear claim.

Pro Tip: They also offer an Anti-Aging version of the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer that promises to minimize wrinkles (well, the look of wrinkles I’d say) which may be more your speed.

3. To get your brows on fleek:

Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel

Gimme Brow by Benefit: Our new must-have product for thick, full, natural and perfectly tamed brows

I have written so many times about the importance of great brows — even if you wear no other makeup at all, just get your brows wrangled and you’ll look more polished. I was so happy to be introduced to Gimme Brow, which basically helps your brows look fuller, but not bushy.

Smart if your brows are thinning or you’re a victim of over-tweezing in your youth.

Tips for getting perfect brows from the pros at Sephora inside JCPenney | sponsor

After you’ve defined your brows with a pencil or shadow (she used the Anastasia Brow Definer pencil on me which was quite nice) just pull out the small Gimme Brow brush and gently press the tip along your brow, then brush it through gently with the direction of your hair to blend.

Pro Tip: One brush full of gel is plenty to cover each brow; don’t overdo it — it’s not mascara!

4. To get your lips baby soft:

Bite Beauty Agave Sugar Lip Scrub

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Scrub: A new beauty must have!

Again, as a low-maintenance makeup wearer, I was like, do I really need a lip scrub? But after schmuzzing (that’s a real word in my vocabulary) some of this exfoliating, petroleum-free scrub around my lips, they felt so soft that I was sold.

In fact, it may be a great beauty product even and especially when you don’t wear lip color all the time, because it keeps your lips naturally moisturized and conditioned, and evens out your skin tone. Smart as we get into chapped lip season.

5. To keep that lipstick on longer:

Bite Beauty Line & Define Lip Primer

Bite Beauty Lip Primer: A new must-have beauty product to help keep your lip color even and and lips moisturized | cool mom picks

The same way I hadn’t considered a shadow primer, I hadn’t considered a lip primer.  Now I’m obsessed with this product from Bite Beauty that’s new to me, but a cult-favorite with beauty junkies.

It feels amazing going on, kind of like a very moisturizing, non sticky, not greasy balm. You then layer color over it, so that it goes on smoothly and easily. If you’ve ever loved a color that deposits pigment unevenly or goes on a little streaky, this Line & Define Lip Primer takes care of those issues.

Pro Tip: After priming, line your lips with a neutral color liner then use that to fill in your lips before adding a shinier lipstick or gloss over top. You’ll get extra-extra staying power for your lip color.

6.To keep colored hair looking fresh:

Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo

Kristen had some major root issues going on, which she happily shared on the Cool Mom Picks Instagram feed that day. But wow. Alis at the JCPenney Salon at Queens Center totally care of her! She not only matched her color perfectly and got rid of those grey roots but she avoided Kristen’s awesome natural white stream in her bangs.

JCPenney Salon hair color: before and after. Doesn't she look amazing? | Cool Mom Picks | sponsor

If you color your hair — or color your hair and don’t want anyone to know, ha, you’ll want to grab Redken’s Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo and Conditioner because they’re gentle and sulfate-free, helping to maintain color and extend time between salon visits. (And save you some money in the process!)

Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo and Conditioner: Affordable, pro formulated haircare to extend your color and keep your hair looking healthy and conditioned

Plus, the line is way way way more affordable than a lot of professional haircare brands, so hooray for that.

Pro Tip: Don’t wash your hair every day. Really. No need, unless you’re a professional athlete, or have particularly fine hair or an oily scalp. In fact, hair usually looks better on the second or third day after washing — and it helps prolong your color.

7. To tame flyaways that spoil the selfie:

Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Finishing Spray

Bumble & Bumble Hairdressers Invisible Oil Finishing Spray

I’ll admit, I hear “hairspray” from a stylist, and if I’m not in a hair and makeup chair backstage at a morning show, I panic a bit. The only reason I have hairspray in my bathroom all is for my kids’ Halloween costumes or ballet recitals. But this? Is nothing of the sort.

It’s more like a really light finishing oil in spray form. You know, like those Moroccan style oils that are so big now. It doesn’t look greasy, and it definitely tamed all those little flyaways of mine that drive me nuts after a blowout. Just a little spray of Invisible Oil may solve a ton of your bad hair day problems.

Tip: Don’t spray it right on your hair; spray the teeniest bit into your palms them just tap your palms and fingertips along your hair where you need it.

So… the results:

the Cool Mom Picks team gets a makeover at Sephora inside JCP. Magic! | sponsor

Good hair day! Well, with pro help. Ahem. Thanks to Alis for Kristen’s perfect root touch-up, and to Jenny for my sleek blowout (and magical hands head massage), all at the JCPenney Salon at the Queens Center. How great to be able to get all that stuff done while you’re shopping anyway!

Do we look happy or what? (Answer: Yes, we are happy.)

Oh — and if you’re digging my rose gold sequined bomber jacket, you can find it at JCPenney too. It’s designed by Erin Robertson as part of the new Project Runway collab and the day I was there, it was on sale for 40% off. Whoo! Just uh…let’s not wear it to the same party at the same time, okay?

Thanks so much to our partner Sephora inside JCPenney for the amaaaazing makeovers and beauty product recos. And thanks to the JCPenney Salon, and especially Alis and Jenny for making our hair look so purdy and taking such wonderful care of us.  Be sure to visit the JCPenney near you.

You can follow them or share your own beauty experiences on social media using hashtags #SephoraInJCP and #SoWorthIt

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