Stories by Amanda Montell

20 Harry Potter Spells Every Beauty Junkie Wishes Were Real

Though the credits have rolled on the final Harry Potter film, J.K. Rowling's world lives on forever in the hearts of true, ride-or-die Potterheads. The wizards and witches among us know the core Harry Potter spells better than we know our own country's state capitals: "Wingardium Leviosa" levitates; "Expelliarmus," disarms; "Expecto Patronum" defends against Dementors and Lethifolds. Come on, we speak fluent Hogwarts.   read more

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11 Best CC Creams for Flawless Skin

The best CC creams give you radiant and even-toned skin, and set the stage for the rest of your makeup -- making heavy foundation and layers of powder unnecessary. Over the past several years, the best CC creams have inspired many women to give up heavy foundation, thanks to the natural, skin-perfecting coverage they offer.   read more

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20 Best Soaps

HEALTH & BEAUTY

20 Best Soaps

Soap was probably the first beauty item you were ever introduced to. But what defines the soap of the new millennium? Considering its humble beginnings in the Roman bathhouses of 312 B.C. -- when soap was made out of goat's tallow, wood ashes and salt -- we've come a long way. Now we've got bars that massage, exfoliate, soothe, moisturize and make you smell heavenly (aka, nothing like wood ashes).   Get soap

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16 Best Lipsticks

We kiss with them, we sip with them, we angle them with finesse to create coy little smiles -- they're one of the sexiest parts of the body, and paired with the right gloss, balm, stick or stain, can make an onlooker weak at the knees.   See the products

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12 Best Sunscreens -- and the 2 Worst

Whether we like it or not, sunscreen is a must for all of us. And according to Heidi Waldorf, M.D., of Waldorf Dermatology & Laser Associates in Nanuet, NY, we need "an SPF of at least 15 daily." For prolonged sun exposure (anything more than the incidental exposure you might get from driving or working near a window), she recommends an SPF of 30 above with a water-resistant formula. She also suggests choosing a sunscreen containing titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone or mexoryl as its active ingredient.   See sunscreens

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24 Irresistible Summer Nail Colors You Need This Season

Nothing ushers us into summer like a bright and beaming manicure. And this summer, nail colors are more spirited than ever. Say goodbye to spring's gentle pastels and the dark, brooding colors of winter -- unlike your typical summertime palette, nail colors this year are taking on a newer, friskier personality.   read more

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13 Best Body Lotions Under $10

When it comes to what we put on our faces, we'll splurge on the latest anti-aging cream that promises to work miracles on those crow's feet, and tend to spend far too much time dutifully performing each of the six steps in our skin care regimens.   See lotions

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9 Best Drugstore Acne Products

The war against pimples can be ongoing, but some of the best acne products on the market can be found at the drugstore -- for as little as $1. But between the hundreds of acne treatments out there, how do you know which of these acne products really work? That's where our readers come in.   See products

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21 Best Drugstore Shampoos

There are hundreds of shampoos in the drugstore -- but how can you tell which one is the best drugstore shampoo? That's where these reviews from our readers come in. Hair products, shampoo in particular, are of the utmost importance to our TotalBeauty.com readers. This will become clear as you peruse these glowing reviews of the best drugstore shampoo picks.   See shampoos

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11 Best Deep Conditioners for Natural Hair

A quality deep conditioner can make all the difference for ladies with natural hair. Hitting your strands with a rich dose of moisture once a week or so can help nourish, strengthen and moisturize, repairing any damage from heat styling or the elements. The best deep conditioners for natural hair can also help enhance curls, increase shine and protect hair from future damage, keeping it healthier (and prettier) for longer.   read more

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