Monday, August 31, 2009

Judy Steinberg on Anti-Aging Proucts at Vibrant Nation

I'd like to draw your attention to another blog. Yep, I want you to have an opportunity to read an interesting article at Vibrant Nation, a general interest Web site for 50+ women (that's years, not girth). Sixty-seven-year-old Judy Steinberg shared her favorite products for looking young, and it's worth reading at this link.

I find it interesting that she's a proponent of CoffeeBerry, the ingredient in Revaleskin. I have used the Revaleskin products, find that they work, but still like my Prevage MD better. But then, everyone's skin is different!

Check it out. But come back, please!

Photo courtesy of Vibrant Nation.

Mary Kay's Resurgence, Fab Lip Balms & New Serum

During this recession, two factors are driving sales for Mary Kay - no longer "your dotty aunt's makeup company." Some women are looking for ways to work from home and make some extra money, and others are looking for less expensive, but effective beauty products. Those two factors, along with the introduction of some great new products, are converging to boost Mary Kay sales. Why not jump on the bandwagon?

A friend of mine, Suzanne Porter-Kuchay, sent me some samples of Mary Kay Tinted Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 15 ($13). I love them! I think I need every color, and at $13, I can afford every color.

The balm, in a slender lipstick tube, is an innovative product - enriched with botanical ingredients, such as shea butter and jojoba oil, and the antioxidant power of Vitamins A and C and green tea extract. It's like using three products in one: moisturizer, color, and UVA and UVB protection. This is my kind of lip balm!

I started with Blush, a nice natural pink-peach. It has no discernible fragrance or taste (great!), and it applies easily and evenly. The color is well-pigmented, so in addition to a balm, the product really does color the lips like a lipstick. That's really nice! I am so impressed. Rose is utterly gorgeous and is featured in one of the Makeup Artist Looks for Summer, Luminous Finish. Make sure to get a Mary Kay catalog. Curl up one evening and shop! I did, and it was surprisingly fun. Of course, there's certainly a Mary Kay party nearby for social gals who love to group-shop or those who need to see before they buy.

I'm very interested in trying a brand new anti-aging product, Timewise Replenishing Serum +C ($55). Mary Kay has test data to show that the serum lifts and firms the skin, and with the ingredients the company has used, this is probably true. The antioxidant-rich serum is formulated with botanicals known for high levels of Vitamin C and ingredients that enhance the production of new collagen and help keep existing collagen from breaking down. It also contains ingredients known to support the elasticity of the skin (anyone losing elasticity will know that if you sleep on a cotton pillowcase fold by accident, the fold in your skin will take hours to disappear).

Here's what's in the new serum.

Pomegranate – Often referred to as a “superfruit” because of the large number of vitamins it contains, this fruit has a high level of vitamin C, along with other vitamins and antioxidants. It has been used for centuries to help reduce the effects of oxidative stress. If you look, you'll see pomegranate being used in more and more products today.
Kakadu Plum extract – Derived from the Kakadu plum, a fruit reported to have one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C. For example, the amount of vitamin C in 3 ½ ounces of Kakadu plum is 3000 mg, while the same amount of orange contains just 50 mg.
Camu Camu extract – The fruit of the camu camu tree is known to have the second highest level of vitamin C of any fruit. The tree grows in the rainforests of South America.
Acerola Cherry extract – Especially rich in vitamins C and A, this fruit has been shown to have powerful antioxidant benefits.
Black Currant Berry extract – These berries contain high levels of vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals.
Argan seed extract – A botanical extract derived from the argan tree, which grows only in Africa. Groves of argan trees provide the last barrier against the desert. Argan is also showing up in new products, including Kiehl's.

After a two-week test, the majority of participants experienced lifted, more resilient, younger, and enhanced skin.

The serum comes in four weekly vials designed to keep the product fresh, important for a product with high levels of vitamin C. My advice? Keep the unused vials in a cool, dark place to keep the product stable. How to apply? Apply three pumps to face and throat in the morning and evening after cleansing, toning, and/or exfoliating and before moisturizer. Each vial should last one week. I haven't gotten my hands on this serum yet, but I will and report back.

In the meantime, I am loving my lip balm samples and can't wait to get my hands on a more permanent supply.

If you click on the links in this posting, you will go to Suzanne's Mary Kay site. You can also reach her at

Photos courtesy of Mary Kay.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Armani Beauty Eyes to Kill Palettes

Giorgio Armani Beauty has introduced the new Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow Palettes ($58). Developed by Linda Cantello, who joined Armani Beauty early this year to help develop color cosmetics, the palettes come in four "bold, intense, and seductive" tones.

Each circular palette has a "deadly deep" liner shade in the middle, a luminescent highlighter wrapped around the center, and a metallic shadow in the outside ring. The shades are: #1, Steel Black; #2, Brown Copper; #3, Gun Metal Grey; and #4, Rouge Iron. I think Rouge Iron makes a lovely blusher, but it's a weird duck for a eye shadow palette.

The highlighter and liner colors are great for day, but used all together, these may not be your everyday eye look. I think you will want to save the drama for night. Yes...I know the deep, smokey eye is one of this Fall's big beauty trends (I read this month's Allure), but I just can't imagine showing up for work that way. I'll be wearing my Armani Manta Ray shadows to work.

You can purchase the new palettes on Armani Beauty's Web site, at Saks, or anywhere Armani Beauty products are sold. Don't forget that Armani Beauty has great sample choices when you order online.

Photo courtesy of Armani Beauty.

AmLactin 12% Moisturizing Lotion

Want a "no-frills" body moisturizer that really works? Try AmLactin Moisturizing Lotion, recommended by many dermatologists. It's a 12% lactic acid lotion that is neutralized with ammonium hydroxide to provide a pH of 4.5-5.5. On average, skin has a pH of 5.5, which is slightly acidic and has benefits: 1) its acidic nature wards off pathogens that cause disease, and the acidity stabilizes the skin's barrier function, and 2) lipids within the skin's structure retain their ability to prevent moisture loss. As a result, lactic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid, is a natural humectant for the skin.

Trust me, AmLactin works! I use it or the much more expensive prescription 12% Lac-Hydrin (yeah, nutty) every night before I go to bed. I use it on my chest, arms, legs, hands, and feet. It absorbs quickly, so I don't feel all gooey. It has no fragrance, so I can always add on whatever aromatherapy I want to lull me to sleep.

The lotion sluffs off dead skin cells and keeps nice fresh skin at the surface, critical for preventing the symptoms of dry skin. What does it do for me? For one thing, my hands are so dry, they crack open! I get paper cuts with ease. The treatment really helps and is essential in the winter if I don't want my skin to crack open (I do want to keep washing my hands obsessively to ward off flu and other viruses). It keeps my feet from callusing, and that's a good thing because I am always barefoot in my house, and with a bunion (thank you, Mom and Dad, for that hereditary bone disorder), shoes can rub the wrong way. It keeps my arms and legs from looking like alligator skin.

It's not "natural," and does have the usual suspects in it (for example, parabens). I am willing to overlook that because it's so effective.

You can find it at Costco ($16.89 for 16.9 oz), CVS and other drugstores, and online. You can download coupons from the AmLactin Web site. Ounce for ounce, I think Costco has the best price.

If you decide to try it, do so on a small place for a few days to ensure that you are not sensitive to the lactic acid.

Photo courtesy of Costco.

Random Musings on the State of the Beauty and Fashion Industries

Oh my...Escada has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In the old days when I had plenty of money to spend on clothing, I lived in Escada. Then, Escada left me. I felt like a jilted lover. They forgot their bread and butter - career women who wanted to be stylish - and aimed for Hollywood starlets and a younger audience. They even raised their prices from "merely very expensive" to absurd. The younger audience couldn't afford the clothes, so it's no surprise to me that a recession has driven this company over the edge. I'm still wearing Escada's classic and timeless pieces (along with the lower-priced Laurel they discontinued), and I hope that this jolt of reality will lead them to reconsider their focus.

When they left me, I had no trouble finding replacement lovers. Armani started to rake in my dollars, and a few other lines, such as Michael Kors and Dolce & Gabanna, earned a chunk of my bank account. Even then, though, I mourned the loss of my old go-to brand. Every now and then, I would troll the Escada display at the stores. Never bought another piece, though, after they left me. That was years ago.

Now, the recession has the fashion and beauty industries in the doldrums. Every week, I read in WWD that another company has reported dismal profits or, worse, losses. L'Oreal's net profits declined almost 14% in the first half of this year (WWD, August 27), but the company is still expecting an annual sales growth. L'Oreal is the world's largest beauty manufacturer, and its brands include L'Oreal (of course), Shu Uemura, Armani Cosmetics, YSL, Vichy, Skinceuticals, Lancome, and Kiehl's - to name only a few.

What does all this mean? For one thing, we are all spending less, some out of caution and others out of necessity. We are looking for good value for our hard-earned dollars and for products that match the marketing hype. There are predictions that things may stay this way long after economists have declared the recession over.

What can companies do? Provide value, quality, and, in the case of beauty products, effectiveness, for a gag-free price. I am already seeing lower or steady prices on top-of-the-line skin care and cosmetics.

This is probably a good wake-up call for manufacturers and buyers. We want to try before we buy (so keep those samples coming). We want to know what's in the products we buy and how they work; fewer women with money to spend will be purchasing products simply because some gorgeous celebrity is purportedly wearing them under the retouched ad. We want to feel good about what we buy, long after the shopping rush is gone. That means our products have to produce results - from pretty faces to fewer wrinkles or softer skin.

That's why I will keep writing about products that meet their promises. I hope you will join me for the journey.

Photo courtesy of

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fabulous Hair Care Products from Nick Chavez - Part 2

Part 2 of the reality series starring Nick Chavez Beverly Hills hair care products. Ever wonder why hair professionals don't enter "America's Got Talent"? They would be so much better than some of the goofy acts we endure for the privilege of watching the truly talented. Let's imagine our own "America's Got Talent," with Nick Chavez showing us the way with shampoo and conditioner. Pull up your chairs...the feature begins.

As I mentioned in Part 1, I recently had the opportunity to sample a few of the Nick Chavez products. Since I started with styling, the end of the story, we'll now rerun the beginning act, shampoo and conditioner.

Nourishing Shampoo ($16) makes washing your hair a very pleasant experience. The bottle says, "Everyday Shine, Gentle Clean Nourishing." That has appeal since I am one of those obsessive gals who washes her hair every day she cares, which only excludes some weekend, veg-out days. The shampoo is Nick's "everyday solution to help hydrate and enhance your hair's shine and body." Nourishing Shampoo combines moisturizing ingredients, antioxidants, and botanicals (aloe, chamomile, henna, and jojoba) into one shampoo that cleanses and gently removes any product from the day before, oil (dirt, grime), and anything else you don't want in your hair.

Nourishing Shampoo smells heavenly upon use, and then the fragrance disappears. Perfect. I don't like shampoos and conditioners that leave a fragrance in my hair to compete with the perfume I select for the day. It's also pH balanced and will not strip hair. My stylist always warns about "volume" products that produce volume by stripping hair of everything, including carefully placed highlights.

I really love the wash with Nourishing - just the experience - and my hair is so shiny afterwards. Whether that is the result of the shampoo or Plump 'N Thick - or both - I love the combination.

Plump 'N Thick Leave-In Conditioning Creme Conditioner ($22) is versatile - three products in one. You can leave it in after shampooing or use it on dry hair; use it overnight for intensive conditioning; or simply use it as I do as your everyday post-shampoo conditioner, leaving it in for 3-4 minutes. The conditioner is said to maximize thickness and volume while conditioning and detangling (good because my fine hair mats after a vigorous shampoo), expanding the hair cuticle, and moisturizing to "replenish" hair without leaving any build-up. This conditioner has the following key ingredients, good for both hair and scalp.

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract to condition and moisturize while calming and refreshing
Carrot Root Extract to stimulate elasticity
Honey, a humectant for skin and hair, which helps hair retain moisture
Vitamins C, D, and E and some minerals to boot
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, a powerful moisturizer that helps smooth hair by adjusting its moisturizing action to humidity levels outside
Panthenol, which penetrates hair shafts to moisturize dry, damaged hair and helps to smooth split ends by smoothing the cuticle
Spirulina Maxima Extract, which contains 19 amino acids and 14 vitamins essential to skin and hair nutrition
Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract to smooth and moisturize the scalp

What a cocktail! How could this not be good for your hair? I find it extremely effective. Although it's lightweight in feel and texture, it leaves my hair moist and without tangles. It also smells good, and, like the shampoo, the fragrance makes a quick exit. So, you get some sensory pleasure with application, but then have a choice of how you want to smell after you finish the morning hair routine. Nice!

The show is over and votes have been tallied, and the winner is (drum roll)...Nick Chavez! I will be adding both products to my "rotation" (I love rotating hair products to keep my hair alert). I'll even be adding the Nourishing Conditioner ($18), which I haven't tried yet, but I like the shampoo so much, I'm sure I will love the conditioner.

There are so many more products in both the Nourishing and Thickening lines, and there are other lines as well, including Volumizing and Strengthening - a wardrobe for your hair and something for everyone.

If you are hooked and need to watch the next show, go to the Nick Chavez Web site, where you can read more and also watch how-to videos. You can purchase the products there, at, or from QVC.

Photo courtesy of

Friday, August 28, 2009

Weekly Beauty Blogger Roundup - August 28

Here we are again, summarizing another week of beauty blogs. How August has flown! Take a look at the best beauty blog postings I read this week!

Kari at Fabulous over Forty wrote up a great review of Chris McMillan's Hair Glossing Serum. She talked me into trying this serum.

Karen (and Tabs, of course) brought us a review of Tarte's Green Siren Cheek Stain on Karen's Makeup and Beauty Blog. Mine arrived this week, and I will let you know next week what I think.

Beautiful Makeup Search reviewed Clinique's Vitamin C Lip Smoothies. You'll remember that I loved them too! Also, you can find a 30% discount code for Korres on her site. I know we have some Korres lovers out there - this is a great deal.

Amber at Beauty Junkies Unite is loving Suki Pure Cream Stain for Lips and Cheeks.

Pursebuzz reviewed Prescriptives' Fall 2009 Color Collection. See my recent posting on the current Friends & Family discount, but hurry - it now expires on August 29.

The Beauty Alchemist liked Philosophy's Supernatural Cream Blush as much as I did!

Blogdorf Goodman gave us a list of Saks stores participating in the Fekkai shampoo swap on September 17. Can't wait for this!

Please check out the Best Things in Beauty postings for the week, and make sure to enter our Armani Fluid Sheer Giveaway Contest before midnight on Tuesday, September 1.

If you want to read a fun e-mail about Korres Fig, read the comment at this link.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. On Saturday, August 29, I added the buttons at the bottom of each posting, "Recommend" and "Want to Try." I thought it might be fun to give you a fast and easy way to comment. We'll see how it works!

Photo courtesy of The Weekly Cat. Check out the site for other great cat photos.

Bobbi Brown's New Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadow

Attention! Ring the bells! Bobbi Brown has introduced her new Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadows ($22), and they are fabulous. I love them - so much that I have already purchased five of them.

I've been a big fan of Bobbi Brown's cream shadows, and because I love shine on my eyelids, I have anxiously awaited the arrival of these shadows in the stores. As I mentioned in a posting Monday, I found them at Nordstrom. It was nirvana. Can you hear me saying, "I'll take this one...and this one...and, oh my, this one too...?"

I ended up with Antique Gold, a deep gold sparkle; Brown Metal, a warm brown sparkle; Chrome Patina, a golden pewter; Goldstone, gold sparkle; and Mercury, a silver sparkle. The only ones I left unpurchased were tones of purple and blue - not my colors, but they would be gorgeous on some of my friends.

Here's what Bobbi Brown's Web site has to say about them, and every word is true. "A touch of glistening sparkle. Sheer, lightweight formula goes on comfortably and leaves a soft, velvety finish. Stays color-true and crease-free all day."

I am wearing them to work. They do add sparkle, but it's not over-the-top heavy-metal sparkle. It's "elegant" sparkle. Would you expect anything else from Bobbi Brown?

They are very sheer. In fact, I find myself applying multiple layers to get the effect I like, which is unusual for me. I'm fairly conservative when it comes to eyelid color. I use Bobbi's Cream Shadow Brush ($28) and I find the application smooth and easy. These shadows have a very nice texture. They last all day, without fading, creasing, or moving. In a word, perfect!

You can see the new Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadows on Bobbi Brown's Web site or at a department store near you. Nordstrom has them in-store and online. These are definitely worth checking out.

Photo courtesy of Bobbi Brown.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

YSL FARD LUMIÈRE AQUARÉSISTANT - Water Resistant Cream Eyeshadow

YSL has introduced Fard Lumiere Aquaresistant Water Resistant Cream Eyeshadow ($28.50), and it's prominently featured on YSL's new displays in the department stores. This cream eye shadow is budge-proof!

It's available in four sheer colors, allowing you to control the intensity of color. I purchased #1, Pink Sands, which, to my eye, isn't pink at all. It's golden nude and totally gorgeous worn alone or when used as an eye shadow base. The other three colors are: #2, Amethyst Grey, a silver-blue; #3, Golden Fern, an olive green that is perfect for Fall; and #4, Copper Brown, a dark red-toned bronze-brown. Naturally, I wanted at least three of them, but decided to try #1 first.

The texture is mousse-like - very lightweight. It applies easily with a fingertip or cream shadow brush.

At Saks, I dragged Loyd Cassler from the Armani counter over to see these new shadows, and he was as taken with #1 as I was. It's unique; you won't find another cream shadow in this exact shade. I wear it alone for an understated, but bright, sheer golden-nude look.

Because these shadows are designed to be water resistant, they stay put. Let them dry on your eyelid, and you won't be able to wipe them off with your fingers. My #1 lasts all day on me and is as bright after work as it is when applied. It's a keeper!

You can purchase it from the YSL Web site or at Saks, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, or whether you buy YSL cosmetics.

Photo courtesy of YSL Cosmetics.

Armani Everything - Crema Nera and the New OMC3

Giorgio Armani Beauty has introduced a new Crema Nera OMC3 (that's cubed, but I have no idea how to do superscripts in Blogger). The new Crema Nera has an SPF of 15 (protecting against both UVA and UVB rays), so it's basically a day cream - lightweight in feel, but with heavy-duty effectiveness. It's priced at $185, which is less expensive than the first suite of Crema Nera products.

Before I get to the new OMC3, let me tell you just a little about Crema Nera, "created by nature using the secret of the volcano." From the island of Pantelleria, Italy, known as the Black Pearl of the Mediterranean, obsidian, the inspiration for Crema Nera, is a rock extracted from petrified lava that contains four concentrated minerals essential to life. The unique mineral combination helps to stimulate cell metabolism, leading to a fresher, plumper, denser, and brighter-looking you. I use several of the Crema Nera products, including the Regenerating Cream, the Obsidian Mineral Restoring Serum, and the Mineral Hydrating Lotion. I like them so much, I should probably review them on their own.

The new targeted anti-aging OMC3 treatment is designed to restructure, replenish, and re-plump the skin for women (and men) concerned with wrinkles, firmness, and sagging. Its active ingredients are the OMC3 complex, a combination of perlite solute, iron, and silicium - the latter two being anti-aging, cell-regenerating minerals; pro-xylane, which stimulates the production of glycosaminoglycans, important to the function of connective tissue; and hyaluronic acid (a must-use topical hydrator). I won't bore you with the biology lesson. This is "good stuff" for the skin!

Crema Nera OMC3 is said to add density, firmness, and structure to the skin by working at three levels: the epidermis, dermo-epidermal junction, and the dermis. Basically, the three essential ingredients in OMC3 are believed to repair the skin by acting on different types of collagen, increasing collagen production. The results? In a four-week test, 81% of the participants experienced increased firmness, 73% experienced a decrease in the appearance of wrinkles (imagine pushing them out from the inside), and 73% had improved density.

The Crema Nera OMC3 is available at the Armani Beauty Web site and will be at Saks Fifth Avenue, or wherever Armani Beauty products are sold, this month. I hear Saks will have deluxe samples so customers can try before making the commitment - a very smart (and self-confident) strategy!

Don't forget we have a Best Things in Beauty Armani Fluid Sheer Giveaway Contest underway. If you missed the posting, please see this link and make sure to enter!

Photo courtesy of Armani Beauty.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fabulous Jewelry by Firenze Gems

Today, we "divert" to another kind of beauty: jewelry - the beauty that lasts forever.

Firenze Gems of Los Angeles, California, specializes in one-of-a-kind pieces designed by Kiki Walker. Kiki uses precious and semi-precious gems, pearls, and yellow and white gold to create her stunning pieces. She shows her creations at International Gem and Jewelry shows, which traverse the country, landing in my area four times a year. You can find a show schedule at this link.

I will warn that my photos don't do Kiki's jewelry justice. It's hard to get good photos in a convention center without setting up lots of gear to mimic studio conditions. Nevertheless, I had to try so that I could share some of the jewelry with you. Just click on the photos to enlarge them.

Firenze Gems offers the quality of "designer jewelry" at a fraction of the price you will find in jewelry or department stores. How is this possible? Kiki is the designer, manufacturer, and marketer, and by cutting out the middlemen, she is able to pass the savings on to her customers. I have bought a "wardrobe" of Firenze Gems pieces, and each piece draws compliments wherever I go. Her designs, like the name of her company, are influenced by her time in Florence, Italy.

At the top left, you will see a picture of Kiki (yes, without her beautiful face) modeling aquamarine beads with 18K gold "spacers" between them and a beautiful 18K gold and diamond clasp. This necklace is now mine, I'm pleased to say. I helped her at the Northern Virginia show on the 14th-15th, and everyone who stopped at her display admired these fabulous gem-quality aqua beads. The "dangly" earrings Kiki is wearing are also aquamarines, mixed with 14K gold and pearls - stunning.

At the top right, you will see a strand of multicolored black Tahitian, white and cream South Sea, and golden Australian pearls with an eye-catching clasp that is best worn where others can see it. We should never hide beautiful clasps in the back!

The next photo is a beautiful tear-shaped black Tahitian pearl (18 mm long and 15 mm circumference) on a necklace of 18K white and yellow gold with diamonds interspersed in the chain.

Above is an especially catching design. The fancy gold necklace has earrings to match. The combination of 14K yellow gold, Tahitian black pearls, and appetite is truly gorgeous. Has I won the lottery last weekend, this set would have been mine too! I'm a blue and green gem addict.

Although Kiki works with all kinds of stones, she loves aquamarines and other blue and green gems, such as appetite, iolite, kyanite, tourmaline, and chalcedony. These are my kind of colors, and she uses them a lot. That doesn't stop her from working with other fabulous gems - and antique gaming counters. Pictured below is a fire opal necklace. The stone has gleaming life, fire, and color - qualities my photo just doesn't capture.

Kiki does lots of custom work, so if you see something you like, but want it done a bit differently, she can make it your way. Or, she can copy pieces you have seen and like - or may have lost. What's amazing is that she doesn't charge extra for custom pieces, just her relatively low markup over costs. She is actually rewarded by her customers' happiness.

I can't show you everything in this blog, so if you get a chance to attend an InterGem Show, look her up. Or, you can contact her by e-mailing

Philosophy's Supernatural Collection

Now that I have my hands on my new Philosophy Supernatural Collection pieces, I can tell you what I think. I ordered online from Philosophy or bought (from Nordstrom) two lip glosses, a cream blusher, and the Illuminating Mineral Powder.

The Supernaturals are advertised as skin-loving cosmetics. They are free of parabens, phthalates, mineral oils, talc, sulfates, propylene glycols, PEGS, and fragrance (but they do have "flavor" - see below). What they do have in the ingredients are minerals, plant and fruit extracts, vitamins, and antioxidants. Right off the bat, they get plus points.

The Supernatural Superglossy Lip Glosses with SPF15 are a nice addition to my lip gloss collection - and at this point, I do mean "collection." I love glosses! These are relatively sheer, subtly shiny, liquid glosses that are not at all sticky. It's wonderful that they have an SPF of 15, since my lips can burn in no time. There is a "minty fresh taste" that I could do without, but it's not strong, and it goes away pretty quickly. I still don't understand why cosmetics companies think we want our lips to taste like mint.

I purchased two colors: Smell the Roses, a glistening berry, and Live in the Moment, a glistening pink mocha. Both are great, and I saw other colors at Nordstrom I would buy. Every one of them looked nice. There are also two lip liners.

The Lit from Within Healthy Cream Blush ($22.50) is superb. It's very sheer, and now that I know that, I want all three of them. I have Bare Your Soul, a natural nude pink. It does produce a healthy, radiant, and natural-looking glow - as advertised. Although the directions say to apply with your fingertips, I used a cream foundation brush, and the application was flawless (if I can brag a bit). Feel Warm All Over is a peach/coral with a hint of shimmer, and Look on the Bright Side is a bright pink (but remember, transparent). The way they look in the pot or online in swatches is darker than the way they look on cheeks - even pale cheeks like mine.

There are also some very nice looking Powder Blush Duos ($25), and I may "need" one of these. I saw them in person, and they spoke to me.

Now I leave the party. I do not like the Supernatural Illuminating Mineral Powder in Moonlight ($28) at all. It was hyped as a highlighter that would produce radiant and luminous skin. Unfortunately, it's a glittery powder - such a downer for a line that is supposed to be natural. I just wasn't expecting obvious glitter from the Supernatural Collection. Since I unscrewed it when it came (mistake - that is not how to apply it!), I spilled some; otherwise, I would return it to Philosophy. It's going to my good friend's 17-year-old daughter, who will probably love it. This is not a highlighter I would recommend to anyone over 20.

So, mostly wins and one big miss. That's what I get, though, for my armchair buying habits. There's more to the collection, including a foundation available next month, powder, a bronzer, and a palette. They even offer Supernatural brushes. You can check out all the new products at Philosophy's Web site, Nordstrom, or wherever Philosophy products are sold. They are showing up in stores this month.

Photo courtesy of Philosophy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fabulous Hair Care Products from Nick Chavez - Part 1 - Flocker

I'm in love with a man I've never met. Yes, Nick Chavez, who lives on the West Coast, knows my hair. Fantasy realized!

Nick Chavez has been a stylist and innovator in hair care for over 25 years. He blends herbal and organic traditions with modern hair care technology, which he tested and refined in his Beverly Hills salon, to produce products we can use effectively on our own without professional help. I had an opportunity to sample some Nick Chavez products, and I am delighted with them. I can't start at the beginning; I have to start with a styling product. I'll back up to the shampoo, conditioner, and other products in Part 2, or maybe we'll even do a Part 3.

Flocker! Sounds like something you would use to herd pigeons, right? No, it's the most amazing styling product I've ever used. My blond, fine, and terribly limp/no-volume hair cries out for something to make its bounce last more than 10 minutes after I leave home. Particularly this time of year, when a step outside is like entering a steam bath, I have a very hard time keeping my bob bobbing. When I read the marketing information for Flocker, I was game. When I used the product the first time, I had won the game.

When I had my first look at Flocker ($20) in my palm, before I spread it through my wet hair, I was sure it wouldn't work. It was kind of thin and not at all mousse-like. How could something like that give my hair bounce or volume or really anything? I did my usual blow dry and was very pleased with the results. But the blow dry isn't what blew me away - the bounce a full eight hours later did! All day, my hair had incredible shine (I did use Nick Chavez shampoo and conditioner that day), no frizz, and a bouncy bob that lasted until I slept on it that night. Wow! Nothing has ever done that - seriously, nothing. And this time of year? Miraculous. Next day? Same results.

Billed as a "universal styling tool," Flocker can be used on wet or dry hair to add lift, dimension, volume, and style. It has almond glycerides in it - emollient, softening, and definitely smoothing (no frizz).

Please detour to his Web site and read about this remarkable man, his products, hair care and styling tips, and even the charities he is proud to support. Next up this week, I will tell you about his Nourishing Shampoo and Plump 'N Thick Conditioner. The love continues.

Photo courtesy of Nick Chavez Beverly Hills.

Dolce & Gabbana's New Fragrance Anthology

Jane Makowka started it all - Dolce love! Jane is the best personal shopper/designer guru I have ever met. She hooked me on Dolce & Gabbana clothing, leaving me with the credit card bill from hell and enormously happy. Jane works at Nordstrom at Tysons Corner in Virginia, and if you ever need help with your wardrobe, she's your one-stop source. Jane introduced me to Dolce & Gabbana jackets - those fabulously fitting and, yes, corporate jackets with the incredible signature leopard print lining.

Despite the naughty Dolce advertisements in the magazines, which I do find distasteful (I'm more of a Ralph Lauren ad gal), the clothing speaks for itself. The new fragrances are advertised by models - this time celebrity models - in the buff. Nothing about the ads in this month's magazines would have enticed me to try these fragrances.

If it weren't for Christopher Coles at Nordstrom, I would have passed by the new display. He stopped me and raved over #3 L'Imperatrice ($65), a fruity floral that we sprayed onto one of those white test strips. Divine! It was so good, I had to spritz it on myself - rare that I do that since there are so many scents used in today's perfumes that make me sneeze, gag, or run from the room. Sometimes the reaction takes a few minutes as the base notes reveal themselves. Instead, with #3 L'Imperatrice, my nose kept wandering to my arm - for hours! This Eau de Toilette is beautiful.

There are five new fragrances in the anthology, inspired by tarot cards and all very different. Since I prefer fruity and floral scents, #3 I'mperatrice was right up my alley. I've read online that it is composed of red currant, grapefruit, jasmine, nectarine, kiwi, rose, and lily of the valley, cyclamen, watermelon, musk - who knows what? Christopher showed me the fact sheet, and I should have copied down the top, middle, and base notes. I'm pretty sure about the grapefruit (the scent is unmistakable), red currant, watermelon, kiwi, and jasmine, along with a soft musk base.

You can read about this new fragrance on Nordstrom's Web site or get your own whiff at the store. At the moment, they are exclusive to Nordstrom. I won't try to describe the others since I didn't sample them. There may be one with your name on it!

Photo courtesy of Nordstrom.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Armani Beauty Giveaway Contest #1 - Fluid Sheer

The Armani Beauty Team at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland is talented and generous. They have donated three fabulous products for Best Things in Beauty's giveaway contests, and today we start our first contest with Fluid Sheer in #2, Shimmering Beige ($58). Please read my review of Fluid Sheers at this link to learn more about them. They are one of the best, most versatile makeup products I have ever used, and that's high praise. I use #2 frequently on my "pale face," and I have tried it on my dark-skinned friends - a different, but delightful, effect on all of us. The swatch above isn't true; the color is more golden.

Designed to add radiance, Fluid Sheers can be used alone, mixed with moisturizer, mixed with foundation, or placed under or over foundation (even used as a makeup primer to correct color or simply prepare the skin for foundation, for example, use pink to "correct" olive skin tones). They are, as the name suggests, translucent, adding a wash of subtle color when applied. They are suitable for all skin types.

You can win this InStyle 2009 Best Beauty Buy award winner by e-mailing and telling me what your favorite Best Things in Beauty posting has been. If you let me know in your e-mail that you have subscribed to Best Things in Beauty, you will get two chances to win.

The contest will close on Tuesday, September 1, at midnight. Good Luck!

I am posting this giveaway contest on Free!Grechen, a pretty cool site for contests and giveaways. Coming up? More fabulous Armani Beauty giveaways. We'll do one each week for the next few weeks.

P.S. There's a Tim Quinn event at Saks in Chevy Chase on September 25 and 26, and if you live anywhere near Washington, DC, you should make an appointment. He's the best national makeup artist who has ever touched my face!

Photos courtesy of Armani Beauty.

Chanel's Narcisse Powder Blush

Ever find a blusher that you keep going back to use, even if it's a couple of years old? That's Chanel's Narcisse Powder Blush ($42) for me. The color is a soft cool-toned pink that adds pretty, natural color with a bit of brightness. Remember "pretty in pink"?

Narcisse was introduced in 2007, and it continues to be a wildly popular shade. No wonder! It's the perfect pink for cool-toned skin, and it makes blue and green eyes pop. I don't think it would be the best blusher for someone with olive or dark skin, but if you have cool-toned skin, you will find it very pretty. Last week, a beauty adviser gushed over the blusher I was wearing. Who doesn't love getting compliments? [I know: someone will say, "Why was it so nice that she thought you looked good because of your blusher?" The answer is that she is a beauty pro, so she knows.]

The little brush that comes with it is useless - at least for blusher. Since most of us are now well-trained "real makeup brush" users, I don't know why Chanel doesn't stop putting those silly brushes into their compacts. I apply mine with a nice fluffy blusher brush, and I can layer it for just the right amount of color because it's sheer. The tiny brush is best saved for dusting your keyboard.

Check out the reviews on MakeupAlley. That tough bunch rated it a 4.4 out of 5. MakeupAlley is a good resource when you are considering a purchase and want to know how others liked it.

Other great colors of Chanel's remarkable powder blush (Joues Contraste) are Orchid Rose and Rose Bronze. As with all Chanel makeup, there's a shade for you, so check out their blushers if you want a treat. Available at Chanel online, Saks, Nordstrom, and other department stores.

Coming Attractions

I had the day off, so naturally I headed out for a beauty fix. Today's destination was Nordstrom at Tysons Corner, where Christopher Coles (my favorite Nordstrom beauty rep - love him) helped me pick out some marvelous new products. I'll start writing them up tonight.

What did I get? New Bobbi Brown Metallic Long-Wear Cream Eye Shadows (shown at left); Philosophy's new Supernatural Lit from Within cream blush; D&G's new fragrance in #3 (a grapefruit blend that is heavenly); The Un Matin d'Orage rollerball I have searched for high and low; and new MAC Fall colors.

It's such a beauty "high," I can't wait to put my fingers to the keyboard! Thanks to Christopher for pointing out the new Dolce fragrance to me! It still smells fabulous - hours after a spritz.

Photo courtesy of Bobbi Brown.

Creme de la Mer - The Radiant Concealer SPF 25

The new Creme de la Mer Radiant Concealer with SPF 25 ($65) was a must-have. La Mer makes most of my miracle products, and the idea of a new "radiant" concealer was too good to be true. So, I headed over to Saks as soon as I learned that it was in stock.

Advertised to instantly even the skin's appearance while adding radiance, the concealer promised a lot. Not only that, here's what added to its allure.

• Gemstones capture light energy to camouflage dark circles and blemishes, optically erasing imperfections to create a smooth, even finish
• Precious marine and plant extracts help reduce the appearance of undereye puffiness, lines, and wrinkles and minimize pores
• Redness and discoloration are diminished as skin is continuously calmed and soothed
• Fine layers provide buildable coverage
• Skin stays naturally flawless all day

A brush is included with the concealer. It is available in three shades: light, medium, and dark. I selected light with a bit of trepidation, given how dark it looked in the pan. However, it was indeed light and added a light, bright look to my undereye skin.

So, after a few days of use, I like it, but I'm not sure I love it. I found (at least on me) that it didn't apply well with a brush. Even with an eye cream under it, I found it hard to blend and ended up with a few teeny tiny balls of product that I had to brush off and a bit of "sinking" into fine lines. Switched to fingertips. Much better! It blended well and I was able to gently pat it into my skin with the warmth of my fingertips. So, that's the way I will use it going forward. I haven't tried it yet on my nose and surrounding skin, so I may get the hang of the brush application eventually.

Did it brighten my undereye area? Yes. Was the color good? Yes. Does it have buildable coverage? Yes. Does it offer coverage without an artificial look? Yes. Did it last all day? Yes. Did it diminish fine lines? No, and I really didn't expect it to do that. That's a tall order for a color product.

I'll report in again after a few more weeks of use. For now, I'd give it an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

You can purchase the Radiant Concealer at La Mer, Saks, Neiman Marcus, and other department stores.

Photo courtesy of La Mer.

Top Mass-Market Beauty Brands

WWD published an interesting article on the top beauty brands purchased by affluent customers. In the mass-market category (meaning drugstores, grocery stores, etc.), the clear leader is Olay. Maybelline is #2 (I've bought my fair share of Maybelline mascara, so I sure know why it has a following). It's an informative article, which you can read here.

What's really interesting to me is that Unity Marketing, which conducted the survey, studied the buying patterns of consumers with household incomes of $250,000 or higher. It shows that consumers are looking for quality at a fair price and are realizing that there are some great values to be found at drugstores. I'll have to admit that I shunned drugstore skin care products until a few years ago. Now, I read ingredients to make my buying decisions, rather than being influenced by the store or packaging.

The list of prestige market brands is topped by Clinique, an Estee Lauder company. You can read that article here. That's no surprise to me, given the price to value ratio of Clinique's products. is required reading for anyone with more than a passing interest in beauty and fashion. You can subscribe and get access to all their content for $99/year. I highly recommend it.

Photo courtesy of WWD.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Follow-up on Sisley Supremÿa Cream

A follow up on Sisley Supremya Cream, which I blogged last week...

I did get my hands on a "deluxe" sample at Saks, courtesy of Loyd. The sample has about three face and neck applications, and it lasts about three nights when used as directed. It's very hard to judge a product after only three nights, but I will tell you what I can below.

I wish I had talked to Marilyn Schubert before I used it. Marilyn is a beauty pro at Neiman Marcus at Tysons Corner. She works at the Chanel and Sisley counters, although she's in the know about everything. She's a perfect skin care adviser - has beautiful skin, is honest, and has great information. Marilyn said that the smart customers had used their samples on targeted areas, and they massaged the product into their skin. For example, one woman used it for a week on the areas around her mouth where she had pesky wrinkles. After that one-week test, the woman returned, and the beauty gals were amazed at the difference. Her skin was plumped, and the wrinkles were noticeably absent. Wow! Then a second woman came in with the same targeted results. Marilyn is a no-hype adviser, and if she saw the results, I believe her.

What can I tell you after three nights of wantonly wasting the product on areas of my face that didn't need $750 help? I liked the feel (it's light, so I added a hydrating cream over it, which I now understand I shouldn't have done); it smelled great (a very nice Sisley-type botanical and ever-so-slightly healthy medicinal scent); and my skin tone might have been more "even" by the third day (meaning that my "natural" redness was reduced). That's hard to evaluate because I have been using La Mer's The Radiant Facial, and I am not sure whether the Sisley product made a significant contribution after three nights. You just can't do an objective test when you are mixing products.

Now I need another sample so that I can use it Marilyn's way (targeted and without another product over top). It's going to take results to get me to pony up $750. Any Sisley reps out there?

Photo courtesy of Sisley.

St. Ives Olive Cleanser

Olive Oil is turning up everywhere! Yesterday, I spotted this Olive Cleanser by St. Ives on a special display at CVS. Because there are so many new high-end olive oil products, I had to try it. It even rang up on sale ($3.33). You can't beat that price!

St. Ives products are natural. Not only that, they encourage their customers to recycle the packaging. You can find St. Ives in large retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target, Meijer, Walgreens, CVS, Albertsons, Savon Drugs, Kroger, Winn Dixie, HEB, Publix, and Ulta Cosmetics - all of which carry a selection, but not all, of the products. Some online stores, such as have them too. I think we have the US covered with that list.

Here's what I liked about the product - even before I tried it.
  • With all natural anti-oxidants
  • Non-irritating
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • 100% natural extracts
  • Formulated without parabens and phthalates
  • Does not contain animal ingredients
  • Not tested on animals
You can read about the company's natural commitment at this link.

Right before bedtime, I used the cleanser as directed by wetting my face with water and massaging the cleanser into my skin. The rinse off was fairly quick - you can feel when you have removed it. The scent was very pleasant, and it was gone when I had completely rinsed. My skin felt nice and soft - not at all stripped. The verdict? Thumbs up! I like it and now have to figure out how I can fit yet another nice cleanser into my bathroom. Perhaps this one will find its way to the shower, where I will use it in the morning.

St. Ives makes lots of skin care products. You may be familiar with their well-regarded Apricot Scrub or their Mineral Therapy In-shower Exfoliating Body Polish. If you are looking for great drugstore beauty products, check out their Web site.

Photo courtesy of St. Ives.

Korres Giveaway Contest Winners

Yes, I said "winners." Here's the "team" of judges was akin to a deadlocked jury. We couldn't agree on a single winner, the entrant who wrote the most persuasive case for trying out the Korres Fig Body Butter.*

So, I decided to dig into my "storehouse" and provide three prizes because we had so many entertaining entries. The Fig Body Butter will go to Nicole, and a Quince Body Butter will go to Marci, who wrote a creative poem. A Fig Showergel will go to Cynthia because she's a subscriber, and I love my subscribers. Congratulations, my friends! That's three giveaways from what started as one. Can't afford to do that too often, but since Korres sent me a gift, I'm paying it forward.

Your e-mails were lovely, and, as usual, I wanted to give all of you a Korres product, particularly you fellow environmentalists who care about our planet. For my readers who feel they can't afford to try Korres, there are always family holiday lists! Don't your family members always say (you can substitute whatever holiday name applies here), "What do you want for Christmas?"

This coming week, we will launch our next giveaway contest for an Armani Beauty Fluid Sheer, donated to Best Things in Beauty by the Saks Fifth Avenue Armani Beauty Team. Stay tuned.

*We judged last night, assuming correctly that there wouldn't be any midnight entrants.

Photo courtesy of Korres.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Clinique's Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

Nicole's comment last week made me thing about another old favorite: Clinique's Black Honey Almost Lipstick ($14). I wonder how many slender tubes I have bought over time. This one has to have been invented by a woman!

Almost Lipstick has a unique formulation that gives it a sheer, glossy, lightweight, and moist look and feel. The shade Black Honey is like a chameleon. It looks a bit different on everyone, probably because we all have different natural lip coloration. Described by Clinique as "deep, blackened raisin," it's a grape color on me - the color of the beautiful red grapes I can't resist on the fruit bar. It's perfect for the season about to start.

Read the reviews on Clinique's Web site. We Black Honey wearers are a loyal bunch!

Sephora has an exclusive on a new Black Honey product - Clinique's Superbalm Moisturzing Gloss ($14). I flipped out when it was launched and ordered five (was it six?) of them. Clinique put Black Honey into a squeeze tube loaded with balm and antioxidants, while retaining that wonderful color. Fabulous!

The Black Honey Lipstick is available at or wherever Clinique products are sold. Black Honey Superbalm Moisiturizing Gloss is available at Sephora.

Photo courtesy of Clinique.

Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadow - An Old Favorite

Yesterday, I pulled out and wore an old favorite, Revlon's Illuminance Creme Shadow. I selected Not Just Nudes, shown here.

The Revlon cream eye shadows are available in 12 quads. They range from my neutral favorite, Not Just Nudes, to colorful and playful shades. They are available at a drugstore near you!

They blend beautifully. I use my fingers to apply them, but a cream eye shadow brush might work better. It's interesting that the container recommends the fingertip method.

The shadows are fairly sheer, allowing you to control the intensity by layering. I used two of the shades yesterday - the lightest one on my lid, and the darkest one for the outside lid and mid- to outside crease contouring. When I finished, I had a neutral look, but with some punch. I was pretty happy with myself! Not only that, the shadow was just as nice 10 hours later. It lasts and does not crease on me. Naturally, I wear a shadow primer.

What other colors do I like? Khaki Suede has two wearable green colors with two great taupe shades. Skinlights is a set of four light shades that are great alone or mixed with other shadows. Moonlit Jewels, hard to portray well on the Web, is gorgeous. It was quite the sensation when released. I had to search for it!

The prices are all over the place. If you look on Amazon, you will find two for what one might cost in the drugstore ($6.50). has a BOGO offer at the moment. These shadows are an inexpensive way to achieve a great seasonal look or experiment with color without breaking the bank.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Weekly Beauty Blogger Roundup - August 21

Those lazy, hazy days of summer are upon us. No matter, though, beauty bloggers are as active as usual. Since HyperLuxe Media Network is still on vacation, there is no official roundup. I know you need your fix of noteworthy beauty posts, so here are some good ones - listed in no particular order.

Kari at Fabulous over Forty gave us the scoop on Emmy nominees who are gorgeous and talented and happen to be over 40 years old.

Karen (and Tabs) reviewed the new MAC collection, with something for everyone, at Makeup and Beauty Blog.

At Beautiful Makeup Search, you can read about Julie Hewett's new Twilight Palette for eyes.

Indian Girl reviewed Milani's Infinite Liquid Eyeliner, which she says stays on forever. You can find Milani products at CVS. These eyeliners are metallic, except for the black one.

At Temptalia, you can see pictures of Bobbi Brown's Chrome Collection for the Holiday. I can't wait to get my hands on those little numbers! By the way, Bobbi Brown online has free shipping on any order and a free Mini Crystal Lip Gloss this weekend (through August 23). Use code ENJOY25 at checkout.

Gouldylox put the spotlight on Klorane's Conditioning Balm, and she liked it.

The "Muse" reviewed Korres' Wild Rose 24-Hour Moisturizer - check it out.

Pursebuzz provided swatches of Estee Lauder's new Double Wear Lip products. I tried one of these (a lipstick) on my hand at Saks and found them drying, as many long-lasting lipsticks are. The colors sure are pretty!

The Beauty Alchemist reviewed Cover Girl's new Lash Blast Length mascara.

Amber at Beauty Junkies Unite is currently loving Dove's Nutrium Moisture Body Wash.

Check out Blogdorf Goodman for "I'll Tell You in Another Life, When We Are Both Cats" for her latest obsession, Vanilla 44 by Le Labo.

Raging Rouge has been blogging about Best-Selling Beauty Products.

So, there you go! Some reading for your weekend. If you missed Best Things in Beauty this week, please explore. And please leave comments now and then - I know you are out there from your e-mails, which I love. Make sure to read about Clinique's All About Eyes Concealer. We have a Korres giveaway contest ending tomorrow - Saturday, August 22 - and unbelievable Armani giveaways lined up to start next week.

Photo courtesy of Mike S, a fellow Google Blogger. I found his hilarious cat photos while searching for this week's computer cat.

Anti-Aging Products - A Growth Industry

The population (that's all of us) is aging! We all know the dire warnings that social security will run out of money someday as those drawing from the fund outnumber those paying in. We also know that boomers are the youngest "older set" in history. We aren't giving in to the idea that we should head out to pasture. We want to keep lookin' good as candles multiply on our birthday cakes.

The beauty industry has taken note. I was reading in WWD BeautyBiz that in Japan, a beauty market second only to the United States, over a third of the population will be aged 65 and over by the year 2013. The magazine quoted Nicole Fall, the trend director at consumer research company Five by Fifty, as saying, "Kanebo broke new ground by using an aged woman with gray hair as a model in order to appeal to and create a sense of pride among women in their 50s and 60s." Funny what she considers "aged." Take a look at Helen Mirren here!

Given the many recent anti-aging product introductions in the United States, it appears to me that the US market is in lockstep with Japan. I read in the New York Times that by 2030 there will be more Americans over 65 than under 18. Not only is this a good thing for women over 40, it's going to be a great help to all women by drawing attention to the need to protect our skin. When we were in our early 20s, we thought nothing of sunning all day with no protection from the sun - just a baby oil slick, which we thought would help us tan. Most of us paid no attention to the need for daily skin care or moisturizers. We were young, invincible, and way too cavalier about our skin. I have no memory of skin cancer warnings (and I do have a good memory).

Today, as companies target skin care as aggressively as they market color launches, all women have options available to prevent or reverse the signs of aging. Few who follow "beauty" can claim that they didn't know or never heard about the effects of sun exposure or the need to moisturize. We are more health conscious than ever. There are even Web sites/blogs devoted to anti-aging. For an example, check out Simply Anti-Aging.

As new anti-aging products are introduced, I will continue to test them. There will always be something better coming along, and I, like others, want to use the latest "technology" to nurture my skin.

What can you do? Read and research ingredients before you buy! That's how I found the excellent and effective products I am using. What's right for me may not be what's right for you. So don't fall for the hype; do your homework!

If you have any products you would like to recommend, please comment. We all love first-hand testimonials!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Costco - A Makeup Source?

When considering places to browse makeup, how many of us think of Costco? Sure, we can get our staples, such as soap and dental floss, there - but makeup? During the last year, I have started to troll the aisles for just that. Here are some items I have purchased from the "$300 club" (for those who don't know, you have to exercise discipline to get out without spending $300).

Kirkland brush sets (really nice) - made by Borghese
Stila lip glazes
ck Calvin Klein lipsticks (a three pack)
Kirkland (Borghese) Mineral Lip Shine & Mineral Shimmer Balm SPF 15 - bought last weekend, with three glosses and the lip balm

What gives? I don't know, but I like it! Next time you go to bulk-buy groceries or other necessities, make sure to stop by the beauty aisles. You might find Shiseido, Sisley, Chanel, Prevage, or Kinerase - all of which are available at

Costco logo courtesy of Costco.

Benefit's New Lip Glosses

Benefit's new Lip Glosses ($18) are terrific. Because I love Benefit's Silky-Finish Lipsticks (see prior posting here), I wasted no time in ordering two of these glosses. Of course, now I covet the other six!

I purchased Fresh Squeezed, described well as pink grapefruit, and Zone Out, a light golden nude. Of the two, my favorite is Fresh Squeezed. Fresh Squeezed is such a pretty and summery color, it brightens my whole face. Zone Out is a great color for adding a golden glow to a darker lipstick.

The glosses are so nice and creamy they can be used as lipsticks. They add a perfect subtle shine - nothing over the top - and they are not sticky. They have a delicate apricot-lychee scent - fortunately delicate because I don't like heavily flavored lip glosses.

Now that I have two in hand, I can judge how the other colors will look. Sometimes, it's hard when all you have is an online color swatch. I could go to Sephora, but I am the ultimate armchair shopper.

If I can't have all six remaining, I have to order three more: I'm with the Band (golden pink shimmer), Friends in High Places (sparkling raspberry), and Who are You Wearing? (passion fruit pink). They look gorgeous. The glosses are available from Benefit and Sephora.

Photo courtesy of Benefit Cosmetics.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lierac Gentle Cleansing Milk

Here I go again - raving over a Lierac Paris product! I have been using Lierac's "Lait Demaquillant Douceur," or Gentle Cleansing Milk ($26), for four or five months. I use it most nights to remove my makeup and get ready for my bedtime skin care regimen. The cleanser is made for dry and sensitive skin, and I can testify that my dry, sensitive skin likes it. It cleans without stripping my skin of its natural moisture (and there isn't much of that left!).

The cleanser easily removes all makeup except for the tiny residue of mascara under my eyes, and no gentle cleanser I use removes that. I follow with a quick swipe of eye makeup remover. After cleansing, my skin feels soft and smooth. Of course, I love the convenient pump dispenser. Who really wants to fumble with a screw cap at the end of a tiring day?

The Gentle Cleansing Milk includes moisturizing agents, calming and softening poppy and calendula extracts, and hyaluronic acid (very good) - and it's alcohol-free (even better). The brochure that comes with it says that the cleanser is based on "ultra-gentle surfactants that respect the skin's hydro-lipidic film and pH level." Works for me!

I love the fact that I can pop up to my CVS Healthy Skincare Store to buy more when I run out. No time-consuming trips to the mall! Not that I don't love to get in a little shopping now and then, but if I need a daily necessity, I want to be able to get my hands on it quickly. You may find this product called Gentle Makeup Remover Lotion ( I'm not sure about that translation since I do remember from my school days that lait is milk.

If you have dry or sensitive skin, I think you'll like this Lierac cleanser.

Photo courtesy of CVS.

Korres Fig Body Butter Giveaway Contest

Before I tell you a nice little story, I'll announce that we are going to slip in a little Korres Giveaway Contest before we start "Armani Giveaway Month." The Prize? Korres Fig Body Butter! Read on.

Last month, I missed the special promotional offer celebrating the new Korres Web site. When I ordered, I didn't see the promotional item added to my shopping cart, so I e-mailed Korres customer service. I received a very nice reply, almost apologizing that I had missed the end date for the promotion. I totally understood and felt like an airhead for not noticing that in the first place.

Of course, Korres has no idea that I write a beauty blog, so what happened next was astounding. I suddenly received a shipment notice from them. I couldn't remember placing a second order, so that piqued my curiosity. Monday, the promotional gift I had wanted arrived via UPS. I am so impressed! Their customer service folks answered my inquiry promptly and caringly. Then, they far exceeded my expectations when they sent me the gift. What a gesture!

They earned a loyal customer. The best way I can thank them is by telling others. If you haven't tried Korres products, they are top-notch. Check out their environment-friendly ingredient "choices" here. I have already written about my beloved Guava and Jasmine products. Korres Yogurt Cooling Gel provides such relief to red, burned, or itchy skin! Because I have loved Guava Lip Butter for a long time, I am now trying the Lip Saver Roll ($19.50, shown above), a trio of lip butters in Pomegranate, Quince, and their newest Jasmine. So far, I'm loving them! They feel good and add a bit of shine and tint - perfect for that natural look - from a company that makes products with natural ingredients. Love them!

To celebrate the company, Best Things in Beauty will give away a full-sized Fig Body Butter. Fig is richly hydrating, with essential oils and vitamins, including Sweet Almond Oil and Vitamin E. If you want to win this fragrant body moisturizer, e-mail and tell us, in three sentences or less, why you would like to try a Korres product. The deadline for entries is midnight on Saturday, August 23. A team will select the most persuasive entry. Good Luck!

For this contest, only U.S. entrants, please. I have posted this giveaway on Free!Grechen, a pretty cool site for contests and giveaways.

Photos courtesy of Korres.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Boots Mediterranean Grape, Olive & Nectarine Moisturising Lip Butter

Have you ever stumbled across something you really like because you stopped, looked it over, thought, "What the heck, it's cheap," and bought it on a lark? This is how I discovered this nice little pot of lip balm at Target. I just bought my second, which is pretty amazing since pots are my least favorite containers for lip balms.

Boots, the British brand, is carried at Target ($6.99) and ($5.59), among other places. They make a full line of treatment and cosmetic products - all very reasonably priced. Want to learn more about Boots? Go to this link. They have a very nice Botanics Organic line, the Mediterranean products designed to "delight the senses," and a well-regarded No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum.

The Mediterranean Grape, Olive & Nectarine Moisturising Lip Butter (yes, they substitute "s" in England where we use a "z") tester smelled great, so a nicely sealed pot jumped into my shopping cart. It has lived on the bathroom vanity ever since, and I swipe a little onto my lips each time I pass by. It's extremely hydrating, and has virtually no taste, even though it's a tiny bit fragrant. Figure that out!

I'm hooked. Remember it next time you stop by Target or need just one little product to get free shipping at

Photo courtesy of

Belou's P Natural and Organic Oils for Body and Hair

How does this sound for heavenly? Created in Saint-Barth with rose hip oil from Chile and Vitamins A, E, and alcohol, no coloring, no artificial preservatives - just voluptuously natural and organic fragranced oils for the body and hair. Belou's P makes all-natural and organic fragrant oils, a mosquito repellent oil, and 100% vegetable soap.

Although it had been written up in Town & Country, W, and Bazaar, I stumbled upon the Colombier Fragrant Body Oil ($38) at Beautyhabit. Each fragrant oil is named for a different island beach. Colombier, enriched by lily, jasmine, and frangipani, sounded right up my alley. Used to moisturize, the body oil leaves a scent that is rich, floral, and tropical. I find it intoxicating. Not only that, the bottle is beautiful and recyclable.

Beautyhabit sells the body oil in two other scents. Chauvette radiates warm spices, santal wood, and lime. Lorient is a sensuous blend of tuberose, gardenia, narcissus, and iris. Pick your type and try one! Given the season, I'm thinking about trying the Mosquito Repellent Oil ($35). Advertised to keep mosquitoes away (they are everywhere and biting this year - I can't go to the mailbox without being attacked), the oil is also supposed to help with the itchy, unsightly red welts from bites.

Photo courtesy of Beautyhabit.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Clinique All About Eyes Concealer

Clinique's All About Eyes Concealer ($15.50) does its job well for a very reasonable price. I have been using this under-eye concealer for several years, and I can give it a definite thumbs up.

Described by Clinique as a liquid concealer, it's certainly a thick liquid. More like cream in a tube, the concealer provides great coverage and moisturizes as it provides camouflauge for dark circles and other annoyances. It also helps reduce puffiness. It lasts all day on me, and unless I put on too much, which is easily remedied with a brush, Q-tip, or my finger, it does not settle into any fine "smile lines."

I put a tiny amount into my palm and then pat it on with my fingertip, blending as I go. I use it over eye cream, but I make sure to apply the eye cream about an hour earlier than the concealer when I can. However, I have mixed it with eye cream with good results. When I put on my foundation after the concealer, I use the brush or sponge to blend them together so there is no line of demarcation.

I don't use this concealer over my eyes - just under. I use an eyeshadow primer over, so there's no need. I also think it may be a bit too moisturizing to use as a primer.

Available in seven shades from or at department stores, it suits all but the darkest skin. This is one of my favorite Clinique products, so I always buy two when I need one. It seems that everything I like gets a makeover at some point, and I want to be prepared in case it disappears. I like it that much!

Photo courtesy of Clinique.