Capitol Hill Style

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 by Belle

SOS: Facial Cleanser



I have a confession: I am a collector of face wash.  A closeted goo hoarder.  My cupboards and cabinets are full of expensive cleansers, cheap cleansers, bar cleanser, liquid cleansers.  I should open a store.

One of the biggest arguments in the beauty biz is whether you should splurge on an expensive cleanser or if any old product from the bottom of the drugstore shelf will do.  Proponents of the cheap stuff will tell you that you’re just washing it down the drain anyway.  But I’m advocate for finding a cleanser that you feel treats your skin right, because everyone’s skin has different needs.


Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser ($75). When the fine ladies at TH sent me some samples a few months back, I never thought this would be the product that I would love enough to buy with my own money.   It’s $75 face soap for heaven’s sake.  But I did some shuffling in my beauty budget (adios morning serum!), and found the money.  Why?

This soap has a gentle exfoliation like nothing I’ve ever seen.  It doesn’t strip the skin.  It doesn’t leave you feeling dry.  If just lightly removes dead cells and makeup residue.  It also leaves my skin feeling bright and fresher.  So now, I’m the weird girl who eats PB&J but uses $75 face soap.  Sweet.

Ole Henriksen Melting Cleanser ($34). If you wear full-face makeup and waterproof mascara every day, this cleanser is worth a try.  I picked up a sample last week and it’s the most effective all-in-one cleanser that I have ever used.  It works a bit differently because it’s a jelly, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll love it.  I also fall hard for any product loaded up on vitamin-C.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple ($23). This cleanser is the department store cleanser of choice for the sensitive skin set.  It’s gentle, but effective.  No dyes, no perfumes, no fancy extras.  Just a pure, pH-balanced, sudsy soap to take off most makeup.  (Never worked on my mascara, but few things do.)


Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser ($13). The current trend is toward cleansers that don’t lather, since the same ingredients that produce bubbles can also strip skin. But some women just need lather.  If you’re one of those ladies, you need this foaming cleanser from Cerave.

This is my travel cleanser and my fall back.  It converted me from Cetaphil because it’s just as gentle, but sudsy.  Plus, it has hyaluronic acid to keep skin moisturized.

Yes to Carrots Daily Cream Cleanser ($8). For every woman who loves lather, there is one who craves a creamy cleanser.  This Yes to Carrots formula is rich and luxurious, but not heavy.  Like most of the cleansers mentioned in this post, it’s paraben free.  It also has aloe vera and shea butter for ladies with dry, sensitive skin.

Body Shop Pomegranate Cleanser ($14). While I like this cleanser, it is not for ladies with oily skin.  I use it in the winter to give my skin a burst of antioxidants without depleting what little oil my combination skin can hold onto on a windy January day.  If you need something for combination or oily skin, try the Body Shop’s Tea Tree cleanser.  Both products are inexpensive alternatives to the pricier Origins or Boscia brands.

So do you splurge or save when it comes to cleanser?  And regardless of price point, if you have one that you love share it in the comments.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 by Belle

Under-$100 Transitional Multi-Taskers


Since moving out West, I’ve had to learn to dress down for occasions that I would have dressed up for in D.C..  And it’s weird.  I still relish any opportunity to break out a good dress or a tailored suit or cocktail attire, but they’re further and fewer between.  But I still want to look nice and dress well, so what’s a girl to do?

To make it through the early fall months, I’ve picked up a few pieces that bridge that fine line between dressy and casual.  The kind of pieces that can be dressed up or down by changing shoes, bags and separates.  Multi-taskers.  Here are a few of my favorite inexpensive, versatile pieces.


Pim + Larkin Knit Minidress ($89)

I can wear this dress today with colored flats and a simple tote.  I can wear it in September with bare legs and ankle boots.  And I can wear it after the snow flies with tights and knee-high boots.  It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s a must have.


BR Embossed Top ($69, petite and tall)

I bought this top in both ivory and black.  I loved the black, and returned the ivory.  Why?  The fabric is on the thin side, which is no problem in the darker color, but deeply annoying in the lighter one.

I like the texture and the puff sleeve.  I’ll wear this with skinny jeans, colored trousers and pencil skirts all fall long.  Come winter, I’ll layer it under white blazers and chunky cardigans.


Tinley Road Ava Blazer ($89)

Leather and leather trims are huge for fall.  I don’t want to splurge on them myself, because they’re not going to be staple pieces.  But a fun blazer like this with the notched collar and a rolled sleeve spices up basic tops and tees.  You can also layer it over dresses for warmth on a chilly fall night.


Halogen Seamed Pencil Skirt ($69, also in petites)

This is this skirt’s third appearance on the blog.  I love it that much.  The berry and teal hues are the perfect wear in multi-season colors.  Wear them now with lighter neutrals or pastels.  Wear them in the fall with charcoals, camels and navy.

The quality is excellent for a skirt twice this price, the fit is awesome and I’ve already worn mine a half-dozen times since I bought it last month.  Great purchase.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 by Belle

10th Commandment: August 20


It doesn’t seem possible that it’s time to start shopping for sweaters again, but it is.  My favorite last year was an ivory cable-knit from Zara that will need to be replaced.  Here are the top contenders.

Elected Officials


Alexander McQueen Cable Sweater ($1,085)

Hill Staffer


Barbour Ursula Sweater ($166)

*love the mix of textures on this sweater.

Paid Intern


Gap Cable Knit Sweater ($59)

*comes in 8 colors–love the teal.

Need a v-neck?  Try this $35 Asos sweater.

Petite and Tall: The Gap sweater comes in your size.  Plus-size: Land’s End has you covered.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 by Belle

Workday Hairstyles: Barrettes and Clips



France Luxe Rectangle Barrette ($18)

Barrettes are officially back in style.  So lift your half-up/half-down hairstyle with a modern, sophisticated clip.

I like the France Luxe rectangle barrette in the photo.  It also comes in tortoise, speckled resin and more.  I also love this oval-shaped clip in abalone.  J.Crew also makes this tortoise clip with a hint of metallic, and this simple, gold clip.

Need a tutorial on how to tease hair so you can get lift at the crown?  Try this one from The Small Things Blog.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 by Belle

Belle’s Workday Reading: August 19, 2014




1) For women working in politics, Dotty Lynch was a trailblazer.  She was wise, she was interesting, she was gracious and she loved to see other women succeed.  She will be missed, but her influence on the next generation of political operatives will be her professional legacy.

2) This ivory sheath from Ellen Tracy is to die for.  The waist details are fabulous.  And did I mention that it costs under-$100.  For something darker, this color block dress from Halogen is a great choice (also in petites).

3) I’m trying to learn more about managing money and building my retirement.  I’m really intrigued by this idea of motif investing.

4) I always check the Sole Society new arrivals for fashionable, affordable pieces.  This dark green Marlow satchel is stunning.  This grey-and-black haircalf pump is a sophisticated animal print.  I also like these Sidney ankle boots for casual Friday.

5) I’m terrible with names. How I have survived in politics without this important skill is anyone’s guess.  As for why I can’t remember, this article from The Atlantic has some interesting thoughts on why names are so easy to forget.

6) The Limited has some great pencil skirts.  This dot pencil skirt is nice. I also like this patterned jacquard skirt.  For fall, this faux-leather pencil skirt with a high waist is an amazing steal at $69.

7) Lifehacker explores the complex relationship between happiness and motivation.

8) Looking for some under-$25 work blouses?  Look no further than Forever21.  This sheer accordion-pleat blouse comes in three neutral colors.  I love the small print on this speckled blouse.  This sleeveless, tie-neck top comes in five colors (I love the orange!) and costs just $12.

9) We’ve all seen the iconic poster of Rosie the Riveter encouraging women to get into the workforce to support the war effort.  The Washington Post has the true stories of the real life Rosies.

10) This long, station necklace from Nordstrom is $28 and comes in rose, yellow and white tone metal.  I want them all.

Copyright © 2006, Capitol Hill Style. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed on Capitol Hill Style by Belle, a guest blogger or those providing comments are theirs alone. They do not reflect the opinions of Belle's current employer, Belle's previous employers or any groups or organizations with which she is affiliated.

Website design by Sarah Gerrity.

Updated for 2014