Monday, November 30, 2009

Revlon ColorStay Mineral Finishing Powder & Travel Set Giveaway Contest Winner

We have a winner! Lisa has been notified by e-mail that she won the Revlon highlighting powder and travel set. Congratulations, Lisa!

Lisa plans to take a trip next month, so the travel set will be a real help.

We had an amazing number of entries. Given the holiday weekend, I thought it might be a "sleeper" contest. I'm happy that you were "out there" reading Best Things in Beauty. Thanks for your notes!

We will start our next giveaway contest tomorrow, so stay tuned. For now, remember to check out the Cyber Monday deals before they expire at midnight. I saved some serious money today!

Photo courtesy of Revlon

This Just In: BeautyTicket 25% Discount

Today only, take an extra 25% off everything at BeautyTicket, the best discount beauty site I know.

Use code CYBER25 at checkout. I'm headed over - despite the fact that I just got last week's BeautyTicket order.

Photo courtesy of BeautyTicket

Cyber Monday Beauty Shopping - Updated

The beauty offers are still rolling in (I got 57 messages overnight)! Here are some of the best for Cyber Monday. Many of the discounts published last Wednesday at Best Things in Beauty are still active, so check that post too. I will add to this list as my inbox jumps.

Bobbi Brown has Friends & Family Monday through Wednesday. The 20% discount will be applied at checkout. No code is needed.

Giorgio Armani Beauty is having a Friends & Family sale from now through November 30. Just enter code FAMILY at checkout for a 20% discount and complimentary standard shipping.

KORRES is offering 20% off everything and free shipping. They have special gifts too. Check out all the offers at this link.

MAC Cosmetics has free shipping on all purchases through December 13.

Perricone MD is offering the High Potency Kit at a $135 savings.

At Beautyhabit, a $65 purchase will bring you a 10-piece deluxe sampler with the code MYGOODIES - until December 7 or supplies are exhausted.

Ulta is offering 20% off one item with code 21597 at checkout (see fine print on their ad - the highlighted code doesn't work). Online only through December 5. Some restrictions apply.

Bliss has specials today and tomorrow, with Monday's specials to be announced. Check out this link.

QVC has free shipping on thousands of items all day Monday. You can see their ad at this link. No mininum purchase is required.

eBubbles has 20% off store-wide and a free robe with a $75 purchase. Head over if you have never checked out the brands they carry.

Benefit Cosmetics is offering free shipping on any order with code CYBERMON at checkout. Code GALSGIFTS will bring you 20% off Annie and Maggie's picks.

Sally Beauty Supply is offering 20% off your entire online order, plus free shipping. Just enter code 555945 at checkout. You may have to register.

Tarte has a 40% discount! Use code CYBERMON9 through Monday. Today's orders will be packed with a free Paul and Holly double-ended lip gloss.

Today only, receive a Darphin Beauty Bag (silver makeup bag and four deluxe samples) and standard shipping with any $125 purchase. Use code LESYEUX at checkout.

At Clarins, you will receive the Ultimate Body Kit, five deluxe travel samples and free shipping with any $75 order. Use code CYBERM at Step 1 of checkout.

Prescriptives is offering four free samples and free shipping with code CYBER9 at checkout. Today only.

At Laura Geller today only, you will receive a 20% discount and a free Lip Parfait (I should have waited!) with code TURKEY2.

DECLÉOR is offering a 20% discount. Use code DECDIR2 at checkout. The offer is valid until December 5.

Today only, is offering 15% off any order. Use code CYMN9 at checkout.

Laura Mercier has a "super secret" sale today from 10:00 to 2:00 Central Time (or while supplies last). With any $65 purchase, you will get a fabulous gift bag with four cool products. Free ground shipping with any purchase too. I don't know if you have to click through the e-mail.

Today only, Beautysak has a $20 off $100 deal.

Today only, the Body Shop online is offering a 20% discount. And, you can select your free gift.

At, you can select two free gifts and free shipping with a $50 purchase. Click on this link. The sample gifts are very nice.

Bliss is offering a full-sized Super Slough Scrub with any purchase. Check this link for other deals.

Bath & Body Works is offering a 25% discount today only. Use code CYBERMONDAY at checkout.

Kinerase is also offering a 25% discount today only. Use code CYBER at checkout.

What would the holidays be without a little wine? Today, is offering one cent shipping with any order of $49 or more. Use code CYBERMON at checkout.

Make sure to check out your favorite online sites for special offers. They are popping into my inbox every few minutes! I have not included all of them. This post was last updated at 1:00 pm Monday.

Photo courtesy of

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Prescriptives Baked Eye Color Quad

This limited-edition Lustre Baked Eye Color Quad from Prescriptives ($40) is hot! Seriously in demand. Sold out at many stores.

The warm quad is shown to the left, and with its neutral, brown-toned shades, it's more popular than the cool quad shown below. You can find cool at many stores where warm is sold out.

It's really too bad that Prescriptives is about to be kaput. The company line at sales counters is that the brand's products will be "redistributed" across the many Estee Lauder brands. Sure. I know that you will be able to continue to purchase your custom-blend foundation, but how does one "redistribute" a color-based line that doesn't "fit" the model of the other brands? Does that simply mean that other Estee Lauder companies will continue to sell cosmetics? I listened politely, with a mental image of a phoenix, as a sales rep at Macy's gave me his optimistic account.

Back to the shadows. Each eye shade is “baked” on a terracotta plate for a creamier texture and pure pearl finish. You can wear the shades alone or blended together for a multidimensional jewel-toned eye look. I will be a witness to how nice the warm shades look - all of them!

You can still purchase these at Prescriptives online. The Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor stores I visited were wiped out of warm, but Lord & Taylor had cool. Macy's at Tysons Corner Center had both, but I bought the next to last warm one.

Go to this link to see the entire Prescriptives Lustre Holiday Color Collection. Both Lustre Shimmer Cheek Colors ($24) are nice. Actually, the whole collection is superb! I guess they are going out with a bang.

Photo courtesy of Prescriptives

Sneak Peek at Giorgio Armani Beauty's Spring 2010 Collection

Both and Beauty Anonymous have published our first Web looks at Armani Beauty's spring 2010 collection, filled with soft colors and plenty of pinks and corals, as promised by Tim Quinn and Fran Zacarias.

Take a look at these palettes. The photos, published by Beauty Anonymous, came from, a Japanese site. They look very pretty. You can see more of the collection at Beauty Anonymous. Visit there first.

Then head over to, The Irish Beauty Blog, where you can see looks created with these colors. The new collection was developed by Linda Cantello - and, of course, approved by Mr. Armani.

As soon as I can get my "United States" hands on the English language promotional materials for the new colors, I will post more information. In the meantime, you can whet your appetites at these two excellent beauty blogs.

You can also see the hair and makeup modeled at Armani's Spring 2010 Runway Show at soft smoky grey eyes, pink lips, and upswept, golden hair.

Don't forget! Giorgio Armani Beauty is having a Friends & Family sale from now through November 30. Just enter code FAMILY at checkout for a 20% discount. You will get free standard shipping too.

Photos courtesy of Beauty Anonymous,, and

Michelle Obama at the State Dinner

What an exquisite dress! Michelle Obama was stunning in this special gown designed by Naeem Khan, a perfect choice for the occasion.

Fabulous in its own right, the gown's beauty was magnified by Mrs. Obama's dark gleaming skin, toned body, and simple accessories (I suppose one could argue that multiple gold and diamond bangles aren't all that simple, but they worked).

Her look was elegant, sophisticated, and glamorous, befitting of the red carpet beneath her feet and the occasion!

Her choice of an Indian-American designer was thoughtful too.

Isn't it unfortunate that two shameless social climbers seem to have stolen the moment?

Photo By NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Beauty Gifts and Santa

Buying beauty gifts for friends and family can be tricky. What I think is delightful might end up in a drawer, never used, or be regifted by the recipient. I always try to buy something I think the recipient will love - but it's hard to know for sure. Good friends have bought me tea (I don't drink it), plants that are poisonous to my cats (they go straight from the car to a pet-free house), and other gifts that were just not me. "It's the thought that counts" only goes so far!

The hardest gift of all is fragrance! Unless you know what someone likes or wears, there is a good chance the expensive perfume you bought will never be worn. I'm a great example. I hate patchouli, and it's in so many fragrances. If something comes in the door with patchouli I can detect, it leaves just as quickly. I'll give it away as fast as possible.

Unless you know someone well, skin care can also be perilous. Your recipient may wonder, "Is there a message here?" On the other hand, I jumped for joy when I received a jar of Crème de la Mer one Christmas.

That said, there are beauty gifts that can delight. I know that the blockbuster color sets sold by Sephora, Ulta, and Nordstrom are a young lady's dream come true (not that adults don't love them too). My mother has always appreciated a fragrance she wears. If you know a friend likes a certain line, NARS for example, she will probably like a NARS gift set. Gift cards are always a good bet if you know someone loves beauty products, but want them to have the opportunity to select what they like. I don't think that kind of gift card is a cop out.

If I were making a list, here are just a few things I would love to receive. People who know me well could guess these.
  • Chanel N°5 Eau Premiere, a lighter, softer version of the legendary fragrance
  • Any Armani Beauty cosmetics or skin care Loyd Cassler picked out, knowing it was a gift for me
  • Home and body fragrances and soaps that are purely floral or fruity (particularly white flowers)
  • Organic anything - so many new things to try!
What's on you list? Any beauty gifts that would make you leap for joy? Let us know in the comments. You might give someone a good idea!

Over the next few weeks, I'll select one reader to receive a gift he or she identified (let's keep the price under $100, please). My holiday gift to one of you! When you leave your comment, you will also have to send me an e-mail at identifying your comment. That way, I will know how to find you.

Really stuck on what to to give the person who has everything? Check out Network for Good. Your gift allows your recipient to donate to the charity of his or her choice, and there are more than 1.8 million charities from which to choose. This is a tough time for so many people, many of whom never thought they would be in a position to need help from a charitable organization. Charities are stretched thin, with returns on their endowments at an all-time low, but there are more unmet needs than ever. An opportunity to help is a heartwarming gift. You could help save a homeless family, rescue a horse, or stock a food bank - just by giving to a friend.

Update 12/6: Anna has a holiday gift winging her way. So, the promo mentioned above is closed.

Photo courtesy of

Beware of Meaningful Beauty

I don't know why Cindy Crawford would want her name and reputation associated with this company. They sell a line of skin care products from their Web site and infomercials. Regardless of what you think about the products (I found nothing remarkable), there is a serious downside to ordering.

I made the mistake early this year of ordering the 30-day Introductory Kit ($29.95 plus shipping and handling) from the Meaningful Beauty Web site. I wanted to see what the hype was about.

Here is exactly what the order form says ...

After 30 days, you’ll receive our regular 3 month supply of Meaningful Beauty every 90 days at the guaranteed low price of just $29.95 a month plus $7.95 s&h per shipment, which will automatically be billed to the same credit card you provide today. You can cancel at any time.

I can't say I wasn't fully informed that automatic shipments would result if I didn't cancel, but I knew I had time to cancel. It turns out that "cancellation" is a relevant term to this company. Read on.

Note the lack of clarity in the wording above? That's a three-month supply at $29.95 per month plus $7.95 for shipping. That comes to $89.85 before shipping. If you like the products, I guess that's not exorbitant for a three-month supply.

Here's what's worse. Even though I canceled my "relationship" with this company, Meaningful Beauty started calling me recently from an 800 number - two to three times a day - letting the phone ring four or five times and then hanging up. I Googled the number and found the source. Although I terminated my "business relationship" with Meaningful Beauty, federal law allows them to call me for 18 months after my purchase! So, theoretically, Meaningful Beauty could make multiple calls a day to my house until September of 2010! It doesn't matter to them that I might be trying to rest when they call, or that I want nothing to do with them.

I wrote and asked to be taken off their call list. I received a very pleasant e-mail telling me I would be removed from the call list - in three months! That's around March 1, 2010! Until then, I have to suffer for my mistake of ordering a 30-day trial?

I'm telling you this to save you from the same hassle. There are far better skin care products on the market, and if you purchase the best, you can rest assured that you will not be harassed.

Update 11/30: This morning I received a very nice e-mail saying my phone would be removed from the company's call list within three days. It was apologetic, so I hope this means the ordeal is over.

Photo courtesy of

Home Fragrance Diffusers

As I spend more time indoors over the winter, I turn to home fragrance diffusers to make indoor time more pleasant. There's nothing like walking in the front door to the fragrance of blooming jasmine or entering a kitchen filled with the scent of fruit.

While they used to be "exotic" and hard to find, fragrance diffusers are widely available today. I have so many favorites, I will only mention a few in this post. I have bought many at Art with Flowers at Tysons Galleria, but they are available in department stores, boutiques, and gift shops; at Amazon; and on company Web sites. They have become mainstream.

How does Tuberose, Hyacinth & Lily of the Valley ($62 to $92, depending on size) sound? Antica Farmacista makes a heavenly floral diffuser in these scents. It's the scent of spring, but I love it year round.

You may remember that I wrote up the Art with Flowers star of the show, Rosse Nobile, in July. Elegant and expensive, the fragrance fills my home with an indescribably enticing and voluptuous fragrance. I have never smelled anything quite like it! The top notes are dominated by strawberry and blackberry, but mixed in are tannins from red wine, citrus, violets, and roses. This short description doesn't really do it justice. It's just heavenly. It wraps you in luxury. Men and women find it intoxicating - we keep sniffing at the bottle!

Anthousa makes a wide variety of fragrances, and I have bought several over the last few years. I am anxious to get a whiff of a new limited-edition signature fragrance inspired by hand-painted wallpaper created by de Gournay of London in a creative alliance with distinguished artists in China. Touched by the elegance of one particular piece of original art, Jardinières and Citrus Trees ($114) is a blend of top notes of Italian mandarin, Sicilian tangerine and Valencia orange, with subtle hints of mountain fir, petitgrain, peppermint, and lemon leaves grounded with dry notes of cedarwood, woodland moss, and white musk. I can almost smell this in my kitchen! Shown to the right, doesn't it look gorgeous? Even the box is pretty.

One more that I have to mention is Agraria's Mediterranean Jasmine ($110). This exquisite bouquet of florals includes Mediterranean jasmine, blooming honeysuckle, gardenia buds, freesia, lily of the valley, and tuberose. The presentation in an Italian crystal perfume bottle with glass stopper is classy.

The concept is simple. There is a fragranced liquid in the container, and the porous wooden sticks soak up the liquid. You turn the sticks over every day (or every other day), and the fragrance spreads its luscious scent throughout the room.

Do you have to spend a hundred dollars or more to purchase fragrance diffusers? Absolutely not. They are available in a wide variety of price points, with scents to match your tastes. Try one!

You can find the diffusers described here at Art with Flowers at the Tysons Galleria, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Amazon, and other sources. Or, just try your local fragrance or home furnishing shops.

Photos courtesy of Saks, Nordstrom, and Anthousa

Friday, November 27, 2009

Revlon ColorStay Mineral Finishing Powder & Travel Set Giveaway Contest

In the spirit of Black Friday, I decided we would do a weekend giveaway contest.

I love this light pink highlighting powder! You can read about it at a Best Thing in Beauty July post.

I have one Brighten, a marbled soft pink, to give away. Since it costs only $13.99, I decided to sweeten the contest by adding in a terrific travel bag filled with containers that all meet FTA requirements. If you travel on airplanes, this kit is a necessity!

The kit has nine bottles, just right for lotions, creams, sprays, powders, and pills. The clear vinyl bag makes it easy to identify your toiletry products and has a zippered closure and rope handles. There is even a set of labels in the bag.

Those of you who have won BTiB giveaways know that I always throw in extras, usually samples I have been given by generous sales reps, but sometimes full-sized products. This contest winner will also receive some surprises.

To enter the contest, just e-mail Put Weekend Giveaway in the subject line. That's all there is to it! I will use a random number generator to select a winner. The deadline for entries is Monday, November 30, at 5:00 pm Eastern Time. The contest is limited to U.S. and Canadian residents. Good Luck!

ColorStay photo courtesy of Revlon

The Friday Forum - November 27

Fridays are still our day for chatting. I suspect, though, that today you will be shopping or relaxing like our little friend here (I will head out to Saks in a bit). If anyone is "out there" in beauty cyberspace, chime in this weekend!

You will remember that our Friday Forum is devoted to what you have to say about anything related to beauty. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? Ask! Want to talk about a celebrity miscue? Go for it! We will use the comments for what I hope will be a fun and helpful exchange of information.

Because this is totally open-ended, I don't provide a topic or ask you a question to kick off the conversation. It's your turn!

Photo courtesy of

The Weekend for Beauty Shopping Was Updated

As promised, I updated the Best Things in Beauty post on weekend shopping deals. Scroll down or click on this link for beauty shopping deals galore.

Some of these have started! The race for bargains is on.

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Eucaplyptus for What Ails You

Do you have a favorite herbal remedy? Mine's eucalyptus. Feel stuffy from sinus congestion? Eucalyptus! Muscles ache? Eucalyptus!

Kneipp makes some fabulous herbal bath oils, including the eucalyptus Cold & Flu Bath ($5 to $28, depending on size) - one of my favorites. I've been using it for years. This highly concentrated bath treatment with aroma-intensive, essential eucalyptus oil stimulates and helps relieve sinuses at any time of year, but especially during cold and flu season. I use eucalyptus if I feel an allergy attack, cold, or sinus infection coming. At the first sign of stuffy nose, head congestion, and general tiredness, I take a warm bath with eucalyptus.

I like the Kneipp Eucalyptus Sinus Relief Thermal Spring Salts ($18) almost as well. The salts are made with pure and natural thermal brine salt as well as valuable essential oils of eucalyptus. Both products make for a heavenly soak.

Bath & Body Works sells quite a few eucalyptus products, including those made by The Thymes. I love the Thymes Eucalyptus Body Lotion ($22) with vitamin E, aloe vera, jojoba oil, and shea butter. The fragrance blends the energizing scents of eucalyptus and crisp Italian lemon, lime, and petitgrain. It is popular with both men and women.

This morning, I used Bath & Body Works' own Stress Relief - Eucalyptus Spearmint Body Wash ($13) as a bubble bath. The eucalyptus essential oil smells great, opens my sinuses, and helps me relax. Spearmint essential oil is uplifting and is said to help focus the mind. This nourishing body wash contains green tea extract to help keep skin looking younger and healthier.

You can purchase Kneipp products at Kneipp's Web site or Amazon.

Bath & Body Works has a full range of eucalyptus products. Check out the darling Lounge Socks (two pairs for $10) infused with eucalyptus if you want to be good to your feet while you laze around the house.

Photos courtesy of Kneipp and Bath & Body Works

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you have a wonderful day and a safe weekend.

Today, I will give thanks for many things, and you, my readers, will be one of them! I'll be writing a post or two for you this morning, and this afternoon I'll cook Thanksgiving dinner for my mother and a few others. The only thing left to plan is what I will be drinking while I cook!

Photo courtesy of - click on it to enlarge and see that cat's gaze!

YSL's Beauty Essentials Luxury Holiday Gift Set

YSL has a great Beauty Essentials Luxury Holiday Gift Set ($135). I succumbed to the temptation yesterday and bought one at Nordstrom. (A shout out to Nordstrom for their custom of putting up holiday decorations only after we have celebrated Thanksgiving.)

What's in the luxurious vanity case?

Four of YSL’s must-have products: A full-sized Top Secrets Flash Radiance Skincare Brush, a full-sized Volume Effet Faux Cils Luxurious Mascara in #1 Black, a full- sized Touche Éclat in #1 (the "universal" shade, and who can't use an extra one for her handbag?), and a full size Gloss Volupté in #1 Iced Lychee (these are still selling out at YSL counters).

This has to be one of the top five holiday sets available. You save $15 (no great shakes, actually), but the items are all terrific. No give-aways here!

Photo courtesy of YSL Beauty

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Weekend for Beauty Shopping

Where to start? The discounts and deals being offered this weekend are unprecedented. Remember when there was no such thing as a discount on "department store cosmetics and fragrances"? If there has been any upside to this brutal recession, it has been retail's special offers.

If you are inclined to spend money on yourself or others this weekend (and beyond in some cases), here are some ways to save money while you spend money.

As I published yesterday, Giorgio Armani Beauty is having a Friends & Family sale from now through November 30. Just enter code FAMILY at checkout for a 20% discount and complimentary standard shipping.

Lancome is also having a Friends & Family sale online. Just enter code HOLIDAYJOY2 at checkout to receive a 20% discount and free shipping through November 30.

Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland has two beauty offers. Spend $200 or more and get a 10% discount through the weekend. On Friday morning from 8:00 to noon, you can get a $25 gift card if you spend $100. Saks has free shipping online too. Use code HOLIDAY9 at checkout.

Nordstrom promises to roll out some special offers on Black Friday. I'm waiting to find out what they are - it's still hush hush. Update 11/27: Go to this link for a look at the national specials.

Neiman Marcus is offering free shipping online with the code NMNOV.

KORRES is offering 20% off all products with code GIVEKORRES. They also have a gift for you with any purchase over $50. Enter code FREEGIFT at checkout, and you will receive a cherry oil lip gloss trio ($48 value) and free shipping with any purchase over $50.

Perricone MD has extended Friends & Family through November 28. Enter code FRIENDS at checkout.

Sephora has a free Kat Von D tote with any $25 purchase. Enter code TOTE09 at checkout. While supplies last. You may have to register as a Beauty Insider.

WestCoastSkin has announced that there will be a Black Friday sale. Keep checking their site for the announcement.

COVERGIRL is offering a $5 discount and free shipping online through December 5.

Beautyhabit has a nice In Fiore gift with any In Fiore purchase of $85 or more. You will receive a travel-sized jar of Creme de Fleur through December 4, or while supplies last. Use code LUXURYBH.

Urban Decay's Skull Shadow Box is only $19 with code NLDK.

The Body Shop has a BOGO offer on seasonal bath and body products and free shipping over $50.

Darphin is offering a free three-product deluxe sampler and free shipping with code HOLIDAY2.

La Mer is offering a free deluxe sample of Creme de la Mer, two samples of your choice, and complimentary shipping with code LMBEST at checkout through November 29.

LORAC has free shipping and a free three-piece gift with any purchase of $50 or more - while supplies last. There doesn't seem to be a code.

Ramy Beauty has free ground shipping on any order through December 1. They excluded Alaska and Hawaii. Makes me wonder if that has anything to do with Sarah Palin!

Malie Organics has free shipping with any $50 purchase through December 10. While supplies last, you will receive Malie's luxurious mango butter in-shower moisture treatment as a gift with purchase!

My "habit," BeautyTicket, has some great new arrivals. Use code DAILYMAKEOVER for a 15% discount on your total purchase (thanks to fellow bloggers for that offer!).

Ulta has a great offer for Thanksgiving Day only. You can get a free full-sized Cargo Blue-Ray High-Definition Lip Gloss quad with any $25 online purchase. Add it to your bag with this link. Free shipping on orders of $25 or more with code 33069.

Remember to join the sites that have member-only offers. Just click on this link to sign up at The Fairest. They have Juara and butter LONDON at steep discounts right now. To join The Skinny and get in on the current offer for 100% Pure, click here and register.

Arbonne has half-price offers on gift sets from November 23 through December 7. The best way to find out about them is to call Jaime at 301-490-5757 or 301-520-2425. Jaime has gifts for her first three Black Friday purchasers. Additionally, if you spend $125, you get $125 worth of product for free on Friday only. Through December 14, NutriminC RE9 sets are BOGO.

Kate Somerville Friends & Family starts November 27 and runs through November 30th. During this special event, you will save 30% when you shop online at and enter code KATE2009 at checkout.

Upurea has discounts galore in two-hour blocks starting Friday at 4:00 am. Check out this link.

Are you a BareEscentuals fan? This weekend only, enjoy $20 off a future purchase when you spend %50 or more. Use code MERRY at checkout.

From November 27 through December 1, Shu Uemura is offering free shipping and 20% off purchases of $50 or more with code WISH09 at checkout. On Monday, November 30, you can get seven deluxe samples if you spend $125 or more plus the free shipping and 20% discount.

SkinStore is offering 20% off store-wide through Monday - even on brands not normally discounted. Use code HOL20.

Bobbi Brown is having a three-day Friends & Family event with a 20% discount from Monday, November 30 through December 2. You will not need a code; the discount will be applied at checkout. Great deal!

Laura Mercier is offering a free full-sized blush lip glace with any $25 purchase Friday only - no code required. Free shipping with any purchase, and a secret four-hour sale Monday at 10:00 am (when everyone is back at work!).

Philosophy's Black Friday deal is a $24 Coconut Set for $10 while supplies last. Free shipping on all orders through November 29. There are other discounts too.

Jo Malone is offering a nice little fragrance combining collection and standard shipping free with a purchase of $150 or more. Enter code VANILLA09 at checkout through November 29.

Bath & Body Works is offering their $107 VIP Bag for $15 with any $40 purchase. You may have to go into the store because you have to click through the e-mail, and I already ordered. This is the Black Friday special in stores - possibly Saturday too.

Stila is offering free shipping (no minimum purchase) through November 30. Use code THANKS.

Laura Geller has a 20% discount through November 30. Use code TURKEY at checkout.

I'll throw a nice clothing offer in the mix here (of course there are fragrances too). Ralph Lauren is offering a 25% discount and free shipping during the Friends & Family event. Click on the link here to see the ad. This discount is good in Ralph Lauren stores!

That's not all! As more offers roll in, I will continue to add to this list. Make sure to check out your favorite online sites for special offers. They are popping into my inbox every few minutes!
I have not included all of them - only the best ones.

Photo courtesy of Gillum Insurance

Avène Cold Cream - Remedy for Dry or Sensitive Skin

I sure wish CVS still sold Avène products! I used to buy them at my CVS Healthy Skincare Store. Then, they went away. I and other customers have lamented CVS's decision to discontinue them. Avène makes some fabulous, gentle products for dry and sensitive skin.

Eau Thermale Avène Cold Cream is an ancient intensive nourishing and hydrating formula credited to Galen, a physician in second century Greece. Composed of water, certain fats, and usually including beeswax, the name of the cream derives from the cooling feeling that it leaves on the skin. It's not your grandmother's cold cream!

EAU THERMALE Avène offers a variety of products that contain their Cold Cream - all for dry, rough, flaky, and/or sensitive skin. Dermatologists recommend Cold Cream to restore the skin's natural protective barrier. Cold Cream ($17) provides intense hydration with an ultra-rich and creamy formula to help heal extremely dehydrated skin while protecting against moisture loss. The cream's soft texture penetrates quickly and soothes the skin with white beeswax and highly refined paraffin oil. It's hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic.

EAU THERMALE Avène also makes a terrific Cold Cream Lip Balm ($11) that is worth every penny. The balm facilitates the healing of dry, chapped lips while leaving a protective layer behind to maintain softness, smoothness, and hydration. Avène says the lip balm's long-lasting formula is "clinically proven" to remain on lips for up to eight hours. It contains sucralfate (used to heal peptic ulcers and shown to help heal skin too) to heal, restore, and protect and vitamins E and F to nourish and provide antioxidant protection.

You can also find a Cold Cream emollient cleansing gel, hand cream, body cream, soap-free cleansing bar, and oil-free cleanser too. A whole line of EAU THERMALE Avène Cold Cream!

Where can you find Avène Cold Creme and other products?,, and At, there's a 20% store-wide sale. Use code HOL20 at checkout.

Want to know more about Avène? Here's some information from the company.

The heritage of EAU THERMALE Avène dates back over 260 years to the discovery of the curative properties of thermal water. Originating as rain, the water filters through the Cévennes Mountains absorbing precious minerals and trace elements for 40 years until it reaches the mouth of the ancient Sainte-Odile spring. The modern age of Avène began in 1975 when Pierre Fabre, now the second-largest, independent pharmaceutical company in France, acquired the spring and its surrounding land. Since then, over 300 stringent biological, pharmacological, and clinical studies on the thermal water have been conducted by Pierre Fabre and independent researchers to substantiate the healing and soothing benefits of the water. Low in mineral content, rich in softening silica, and pure, it is ideal for the treatment of skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis. The Avène Dermatological Hydrotherapy Center, based on these properties and the legacy of the first thermal establishment built there in 1743, welcomes up to 4,000 patients a year to its state-of-the-art medical facility to treat skin conditions in adults and children. Launched in 1993, the EAU THERMALE Avène skin care brand was created to capture these same healing benefits to soothe sensitive skins worldwide. Avène is widely recognized as #1 in French pharmacies among skincare brands and is the most recommended line by European dermatologists.

Photo courtesy of Avène

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream

My CD came today courtesy of Amazon. It's everything I expected - and more! The recording of I Dreamed a Dream gave me chills.

Sheer beauty!

And she looks beautiful - that makeover was worth it.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Armani Sheer Lipstick Giveaway Contest Winner

We have a winner for the Armani Sheer Lipstick ($25). Congratulations, Rachael W. You have been notified by e-mail.

Rachael will be receiving shade #5, Brique (not the shade shown in the photo here). It's a beautiful nude-rose blend.

I love the sheers. I'm partial to sheer color, and they feel great on my lips. They combine a hydrating base with transparent lip color, making them the perfect everyday colors for me. I have to agree with Armani Beauty: "the lightweight, soothing formula creates a moisturizing veil of color and enhances all lip tones."

If you want to try an Armani Sheer Lipstick, now is the time to buy. These are fabulous lipsticks! Armani Beauty online is having Friends & Family, and Saks in Chevy Chase, Maryland has a Black Friday offer from 8:00 to noon this Friday (if you spend $100 in cosmetics and fragrances).

Once again, I send our thanks to the uber-generous Armani Beauty Team at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland for this giveaway contest. They have been so good to BTiB readers. Love them!

Stay tuned. We will start our next giveaway contest soon.

Photo courtesy of Armani Beauty

Giorgio Armani Beauty Friends & Family

Oh happy days! Giorgio Armani Beauty is having a Friends & Family sale from now through November 30. Just enter code FAMILY at checkout for a 20% discount. You will get free standard shipping too.

Now's the time to stock up on your favorites, buy the holiday value sets, or just try new things. Can't beat a discount!

Logo courtesy of Armani Beauty

Rheology - How Product Flow Can Cost You Money

Liz Crenshaw, consumer reporter for NBC4 in the Washington DC metropolitan area, showed us how we lose product each and every time we toss a container that no longer pumps, squeezes, or otherwise dispenses product. I have been known to cut open plastic containers to get the last drop of product out. She demonstrated that on TV last night.

She cut into plastic containers of Cetaphil and Aveeno. Working with a scientist at Marymount University, she demonstrated how more than 10% of the product can be left in the container, basically inaccessible unless you are willing to cut. Her findings match those of Consumer Reports.

It all has to do with the ease of flow, which is where rheology comes in. It's the science of flow. It should be no surprise that liquids flow more easily than creams and gels, so the thicker your product is, the more likely it is that some will be left behind - unless you take "drastic measures."

If I like a product and want to get every last drop, I cut into the container if possible. The last time I did this was with a Sisley Supremya sample. At $750 for the full-sized product, Supremya is costly. I wasn't going to leave a drop unused!

Is this a manufacturer's conspiracy? Liz thinks not. Simply science!

Photo courtesy of The Society of Rheology

Monday, November 23, 2009

Deborah Lippman - "The Voice of Nail Color"

Deborah Lippman made an appearance at Nordstrom at Tysons Corner a week ago at the Beauty Trends show. What a dynamo! Supported by her husband, she gave a brief, entertaining presentation as she described recent events in her life, shared a few celebrity stories, and told us about her newest nail colors. She also promised to look at any customer's hands and tell her the best nail shade to wear. I would have taken her up on her offer if it had not been for the hundreds of women who crowded her after the show.

Ruby Red Slippers, shown at the right in the picture here, is the hit of the season. Ruby Red Sippers is one of three shades in the limited-edition 10th Anniversary Set ($35). The other two are Superstar (copper-flecked fudge) and Funky Chunky (sequined sheer black). The sets are almost sold out at Lippman's Web site, so hurry over if you are interested. Who's wearing Ruby Red Slippers? Linda Evangelista and Megan Fox, to name just two famous "sets of hands." Lippman pointed out that red nails should be considered an accessory, so if you don't want to wade into "red" with shoes or a belt, nail color can be just as flashy.

Two gorgeous shades are featured in this month's InStyle. Don't Tell Mama ($16) is a dark, luscious blue-green shimmer, and Nefertiti ($16) is gold. I would love to wear either of them. Lippman told us that Dark Side of the Moon would also be featured in InStyle. Lest you think that dark colors will vanish with spring, Lippman said not so. The trend is anticipated to continue right into the "pastel months."

I found her description and demonstration of The Stripper ($16) fascinating. The Stripper will remove your nail lacquer - even dark and stubborn colors - quickly and easily. Just hold it on and press. No rubbing needed to wipe away the darkest colors. Not only that, The Stripper is enriched with aloe vera to prevent dehydration and lavender to provide anti-bacterial action while leaving a heavenly scent behind. The container is beyond practical. Its twist-lock pump will prevent spills, a real hazard if you have ever tried to remove nail lacquer while sitting on your couch. The Stripper is an Allure Best of Beauty winner. After watching her demo, I can see why! Her best selling product is The Material Girl Essentials Set ($49), which includes The Stripper.

Did you know she is also a singer? You can learn more about Lippman at her blog. If you visit, you can hear her sing! I listened as I wrote this post. She's good. You can find out more and check out her latest album, Vinyl, at her site.

Her nail products are available at Deborah Lippman online and at Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. Fun colors - they are worth a try!

Photos courtesy of Deborah Lippman

La Mer's Addictive The Concentrate

I have an expensive addiction. It's one I can't break. Like most addicts, though, I don't really want to break it. I want to savor it, every last drop of it.

La Mer's The Concentrate ($350) is my addiction. It's a part of my life now. I attribute many good things about my appearance to The Concentrate. And whether my younger-than-I-really-am skin is a result of La Mer, my genes, or the other products I use, I won't take the chance to find out.

Billed as "a revolutionary treatment that complements skin's natural healing process," The Concentrate is a serum that envelopes the skin in moisture. From everything I read, it's intended for skin that needs to heal - from something like cosmetic surgery, sunburn, scarring, or other assault. Read the directions from La Mer.

To complement skin's natural healing process and improve the appearance of scars, thoroughly massage onto affected area at least twice per day.

La Mer reps want me to use The Lifting Face Serum ($315), whether I need "lifting" or not. That's the much-loved La Mer serum, targeted at people over 40. I have friends (men and women who aren't sagging) who swear by it. I've tried the silky lifting elixir, and I like it. No complaints! But I don't need two serums each morning, and I'm addicted - so I stick with my first love.

The Concentrate is a thick liquid. It comes with an applicator that stays dipped into the bottle so that users can "withdraw" just the right amount for the face and neck. A little of the liquid goes a long way, spreading comfortably over my skin. Once I have applied The Concentrate, I need less Crème de la Mer ($230) or other moisturizer. My thirsty skin slurps the first product that goes on, so The Concentrate is its first drink of the morning after a light cleansing.

Many will say that La Mer isn't the most advanced, up-to-date product on the market. I've heard it all - no hyaluronic acid, no antioxidants, no peptides, and so on. Perhaps, but I use a multi-layered cocktail twice a day to get all the cosmeceuticals I need, while staying true to The Concentrate most mornings. I've tried to go without it, but after a few weeks, my skin shouts, "DRY!"

Right now, I am finishing up a bottle. The applicator no longer reaches the product. That's OK. I'm adept at reaching my finger into the bottle to get the last remaining product out before the bottle is recycled. I have my next full bottle ready to go. I try to purchase The Concentrate when Saks is having Friends & Family or at some other fabulous event with a discount. Every dollar saved allows me to continue my addiction!

You can purchase The Concentrate at La Mer's Web site, Saks, Neiman Marcus, and a few other sources. There is usually a freebie or two with purchase at La Mer online, and Saks often has gifts with purchase. You can usually talk a friendly La Mer rep out of a sample of something when you buy. They know how addictive their products are!

Photo courtesy of La Mer

Sunday, November 22, 2009

YSL's New Nude Rouge Volupté Colors

Three of the four, top to bottom:
#24 Praline Delight,
#26 Tender Peach, and #25 Soft Beige

I had written up this post; it was ready to go. It should be no surprise that beauty bloggers "write ahead." I like to have a few posts "in the can" so that if I come home from work tired, I can relax.

Then Friday, I read Gaia's excellent post on YSL's new Rouge Volupté shades at The Non-Blonde. You really should go over and read her review of our favorite shade from this new collection of four Rouge Volupté Lipsticks.

YSL tells us that there is nothing more "on trend" than a nude lip. They have created four new Rouge Volupté ($34) shades to help you achieve this look, and they are perfect foils for a smoky eye. You can select from from #23 Luscious Pink, #24 Praline Delight, #25 Soft Beige, and #26 Tender Peach.

I first saw the new Rouge Volupté display at Nordstrom. After trying all four shades, I selected #23, Luscious Pink (shown here), the same as Gaia's choice. This color is perfect with my fair skin tone and blond hair. Described as muted rose, Luscious Pink has enough color to perk up my appearance. I look blah with lips that are too light or beige. I'm not sure this shade qualifies as "nude," but I'll take "on trend" with a lipstick that looks this good.

The color is like my lips, only better. It's pink, but not loud - the perfect everyday color with a satin finish. I think this special color will work for many skin tones - and with different effects on all. Perhaps Luscious Pink would be nude for someone with darker skin. Praline Delight would look ghoulish on me, and the other two didn't appeal to me - probably because they were coral-toned shades.

My new lipstick is going to my office, where I'm sure I will wear it down to a nub while I keep my lips feeling moist and creamy. This one's a keeper!

You can purchase Rouge Volupté at YSL online, Saks, Nordstrom, Sephora, and Bloomingdale's.

Photos courtesy of Sephora

Hyaluronic Acid - Moisturizing Superstar

Do you know what's in the skin care products you are using? It's a good idea to learn about ingredients so that you can choose products wisely. I read every ingredient on the box before I purchase a skin care product. That way, I can judge whether the product is likely to work and, conversely, whether it has anything in it that I know will irritate my skin.

One of today's cosmeceutical superstars in skin care ingredients is hyaluronic acid (HA). You probably know about it, without knowing its name, because the dermal fillers Restylane and JUVÉDERM are made from synthetic HA.

HA exists naturally in our bodies. It's hydrophilic, meaning it loves water - actually binds to water in the skin. By its nature, HA retains water like a sponge. This helps to attract and maintain water within the extracellular space, hydrating your skin and increasing its volume and density. HA is also involved with the transport of essential nutrients to the skin's cells.

As we age and our skin is exposed to environmental pollutants and the sun's ultraviolet rays, the cells gradually lose their ability to produce HA. Studies have shown that older skin typically has lower levels of HA than younger skin. People who are 50 years of age have less than half the HA they had in their youth. Their skin tissue becomes dehydrated, and the collagen and elastin fibers lose their structure - both bad - resulting in a loss of skin volume and the formation of wrinkles.

Hyaluronic acid has been nicknamed by the press as the "key to the fountain of youth" because it has been noted that at least some people who ingest a lot of it in their diets tend to live to ripe old ages. ABC News had a show on a village in Japan, "The Village of Long Life: Could Hyaluronic Acid be an Anti-Aging Remedy?" Dr. Toyosuke Komori, the town doctor, believes that the key may be locally grown starches, which may help to stimulate the body's natural creation of HA. Dr. Komori was quoted by ABC as saying; "I have seen a woman in her 90's with spotless skin." Unfortunately, it's probably too late for most of us to turn back the clock on our habits and diets, so we are going to have to preserve or replace our HA another way.

It's all about water. Dr. Dennis Gross, founder of MD Skincare, wrote an excellent piece on HA, published at He says the key benefit (and added beauty) HA brings to skin is characterized by turgidity: the optimal plumpness of skin achieved by the retention of water. When skin is optimally turgid, it appears smoother and plumper. HA achieves this effect because it is one of the most important regulators of water metabolism in the skin. HA also provides another benefit by preventing the evaporation of water from the skin.

Because the HA molecule is large, it won't penetrate the skin to reach the deep dermal layers. While nanotechnology to break the molecule into a size that can be absorbed is promising, there is much work to do to ensure that topical HA can work below the surface of the skin. What you are buying in your moisturizer is effective at the surface, just not as effective as it might be if the HA could more deeply penetrate the skin. That's why HA injections are so effective - they put the HA right where it does its best work.

The use of HA in topical moisturizers is not without controversy - for more reasons than we can discuss here. Some sources recommend a more holistic approach to preserve the HA that's already in the skin. Free radicals (which are created in the skin thanks to ultraviolet radiation, pollution, and the natural aging process) decrease the skin's ability to produce HA naturally - and even speed up the process of its degradation. This is because free radicals trigger the activity of a bodily enzyme called hyaluronidase. This enzyme's main function is to break down HA in your skin cells. Supposedly potent antioxidants like Coenzyme Q10 and natural vitamin E can significantly decrease the amount of free radicals in your skin, allowing it to stay firmer, more supple, and youthful much longer. I agree with both points of view, so I use skin care cocktails, with complementary ingredients, to care for my skin.

Bottom line? HA is a highly effective humectant, an ingredient that holds moisture. HA can hold hundreds of times its weight in water and is used in many leading moisturizers. It can provide effective skin surface hydration, either alone or in combination with other moisturizing ingredients. You should be looking for it in your skin care products.

Dr. Audrey Kunin of DERMADoctor wrote a two-part series on HA in which she recommended four products containing HA.
  • Kinerase HydraBoost – intensive treatment to rehydrate stressed, dry skin. Over 25% HA combined with a patented Kinetin ingredient, working together to form a “moisture magnet.”
  • Peter Thomas Roth VIZ – 1000 – One of the most concentrated formulations of HA available on the market, VIZ 1000 contains a concentrated 75% HA that keeps skin hydrated all day and night. It is the ultimate topical application for dry, damaged skin. It's shown in the photo above.
  • Cellex – C Hydra 5 B-Complex – This oil-free clear gel combines the benefits of HA with the healing properties of vitamin B for maximum nourishment. Restore that youthful glow and nurture your skin in only three to six weeks. Great for all skin types and gentle enough for daily use.
  • Viscontour Topical Hyaluronic Acid Serum – An excellent choice for those with sensitive skin, Viscontour Serum contains no animal proteins, preservatives, or fragrances that can irritate skin. Oil-free and non-invasive, it is a simple, convenient way to rehydrate and nourish skin.
There are many other skin care products containing HA. Look for them! And when you find one you would like to try, look for the best price.

Photo courtesy of DERMADoctor

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise Cologne

Recently, I had an opportunity to do an extended test of Jo Malone's Vanilla & Anise Cologne ($55 or $100, depending on size). Diana Foerster, Jo Malone representative at Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria, kindly gave me some samples. The fragrance had surprised me in the store. Although spicy fragrances are not my cup of tea, I found this one really intriguing and more mellow than I had expected. Although I liked it, I got help with this review since I don't think I'm the best judge of spicy scents. Read on.

Here's what Jo Malone has to say about Vanilla & Anise.

Vanilla & Anise transports you to the floral landscape of Madagascar and captures the fleeting moment of the blossoming rare vanilla orchid. The fragile cream and white flowers found on the vanilla vine are a precious discovery: only one or two appear in the morning, and seemingly vanish by late afternoon.

I shared the samples with work friend and spicy fragrance lover, Anna B. I figured she would be a better judge of Vanilla & Anise than I could be. Here's what Anna B. had to say.

"I totally LOVE this fragrance. The simplicity of just two top notes means that it is clean and uncomplicated without necessarily smelling like laundry. The smell is subtle (read: won't offend your friends and coworkers), yet it lingers in a very pleasant way. It's not one that you spray on and then it disappears 10 minutes later, never to be smelled again for the remainder of the day." That's good, given Jo's description of fleeting orchid blooms!

"Some words I would use to describe the scent: comforting, cozy, sensual, toned-down spicy (thanks to the mellowing affect of the vanilla), dark floral (not spring flowers floral), feminine with a hint of masculine, mysterious, exotic, and sexy. The interesting part is, I'm not a big fan of vanilla and even less enthused about anise, yet I am so attracted to this smell. If I were not me, I'd want to hug me right now!"

Now that's an endorsement! Thank you, Anna B., for your help with Jo Malone's Vanilla & Anise Cologne. We are both grateful to Diana for the samples! I've been shopping with Diana for years - she is my Jo Malone stand-in. If you are a DC local and are interested in learning more about Jo Malone fragrances, she's your expert.

Vanilla & Anise is available wherever Jo Malone fragrances are sold, including Jo Malone's Web site, Neiman Marcus, Saks, and Nordstrom.

Armani Beauty Top Coat in Gold

Armani's little multipurpose charmer will surprise you! This Top Coat ($28), part of Giorgio Armani Beauty's Holiday Crystal Collection, is intended to be worn over mascara. Although it's called "Gold," it's really a bronze color and quite subtle for a top coat.

When it arrived at Saks in Chevy Chase, Loyd Cassler was raving about it. My first reaction was, "I don't need colored eyelashes." Silly me! The top coat, applied over my mascara, was gorgeous - something I would actually wear. It made my lashes shimmer. Then, the real surprise: Loyd showed me how to use it as a liner and a shadow. The color is gorgeous - bronze with just a bare hint or cast of olive in it (to my eye).

To use as a liner or shadow, he stuck a thin stick (the kind that has cotton on the other end that they use for testing) into the tube and applied a small amount of product to his palm. Then he went to work with a liner brush or shadow brush to apply the product where he wanted it. Loyd is a true artist! The results were fabulous.

This Holiday Crystal Collection was just announced on the Giorgio Armani Beauty Web site. It has been available at Saks since October, and one of the products that was selling out was the Top Coat. I'm glad I got mine.

Photo courtesy of Armani Beauty

Friday, November 20, 2009

KORRES 30% Discount

This is worth a quick note! From today, November 20, through Sunday, November 22, you can purchase KORRES products from their Web site and get a 30% discount. This offer is not valid with any other offers. Use code EMPLOYEE at checkout.

Have fun!

Photo courtesy of KORRES

Prevage "Improvements" Announced

I get anxious when something I love is about to be discontinued or "enhanced." When I learned that Armani's Hydra Glow foundation was disappearing, Loyd scoured the country for 10 of them, giving me about a two-year reprieve that I'm still enjoying. Now, I'm worried about Elizabeth Arden's announcement that the company is giving Prevage a "facelift."

Today, WWD ran a story on the plans for Prevage. They sound good, but... I'll never forget a certain improvement that was made to a face cream I had used for a few years. It was for seriously dry and sensitive skin, and it worked really well. The maker, who shall go unnamed, decided to put Retinol in it. I even called the company and complained. "Don't you, the experts, know that Retinol can do serious damage to sensitive skin?" The representative basically told me I was "misinformed." I guess that meant my dermatologist was misinformed about my skin too.

So, with both anticipation and trepidation, I await the new, improved Prevage. Here's the scoop from WWD.

In mid-December through February, the newly formulated products will hit the counters. Elizabeth Park, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing and General Manager of Elizabeth Arden U.S. told WWD, “This new formula represents a new generation of research, which allows the potent antioxidant idebenone to create enhanced protective, preventative, and corrective benefits. We’ve also discovered a way to buffer idebenone and deliver it in a way which is tolerated by even very sensitive skin. We are committed to staying in the forefront of technology of cosmeceuticals. We want to take it to the next level so we can always be the benchmark for the cosmeceutical field, which we pioneered with Prevage.” OK, I have to admit that sounds good. I know that other women with sensitive skin have had adverse reactions to Prevage.

“The new serum’s formula contains a blend of potent ingredients that can tackle the different types of free radicals to provide a higher level of protection,” added Vargas. “The specific antioxidants — thiotaine, bamboo isoflavones, Liprochroman 6, and a blend of green, yellow, and white tea — were chosen to support idebenone in the new formula, working as the first line of antioxidant defense and neutralizing different types of free radical activity. This allows idebenone to help prevent free radical activity and correct the visible effects of existing damage.” Hmm, multiple antioxidants; that sounds good too.

Also key is a new delivery system which pairs idebenone with a skin-compatible ester, providing a time-release reservoir of idebenone for the skin to use as needed, Vargas said. “This was inspired by studies showing how the body effectively stores vitamins and molecules by attaching them to a lipid. Our skin care researchers applied this research to the idebenone molecule found in the new serum to help create a reserve of idebenone to use when and where it’s is needed most. This allows for more efficient use of idebenone and has been shown to be more gentle and effective even on those with sensitive skin.”

In addition, WWD reported that Lys-lastine V was added to complement idebenone in an attempt to maintain skin’s look of elasticity. “The combination supports skin’s natural proteins, including elastin and collagen, to help skin look firmer, more toned and younger,” said Robin Mason, Vice President, Global Skin Care Marketing for Elizabeth Arden.

The serum is intended to treat fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and discolorations, as well as minimize redness and the appearance of sun damage. Prevage MD (1% idebenone rather than the .5% available in "regular" Prevage) and Prevage Eye (newer) have made a world of difference to my skin! I have been using Prevage MD for years, and I don't know if it will be reformulated along with the regular Prevage, which is more easily located. I suspect it will be. So, in the interests of being prepared, I'll be ordering a year's supply tonight.

Of course I'll enthusiastically try the new serum (face and eye), but I'll have my back-up plan in place.

Photo and interviews courtesy of WWD

The Friday Forum - November 20

It's hard to believe it's Friday again - time to kick back and relax. It's also time for The Friday Forum.

You will remember that our new Friday Forum is devoted to what you have to say about anything related to beauty. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? Ask! Want to talk about a celebrity miscue? Go for it! We will use the comments for what I hope will be a fun and helpful exchange of information.

I had fun last week, so on we go! Because this is totally open-ended, I won't provide a topic or ask you a question to kick off the conversation. I do have some "beauty bits" to share this weekend, but I'll put them in the comments.

The microphone is yours!

Photo courtesy of

Lancome Holiday Eye Shadow & Blush Palette

These darling little limited-edition Lancome Eye Shadow & Blush Palettes ($39.50) are a great value. Six coordinating shadows join a blusher and a mini shadow brush in a beautiful compact. What a nice way to try some new colors!

The palettes are available in four color families. I bought Alluringly Bronze, and I'm considering going back for Evening Splendor. Our friends in beauty at Saks in Chevy Chase, Maryland gave me the 411 on a discount offer that starts on Sunday the 22nd and rolls for a week. During that time, there are discounts tied to spending levels, and the lowest is easy to reach - $100.

The Plum Irresistible palette features Color Design Sensational Effect Eye Shadows in Rapturous, Seductive Gaze, Magnificent, Captivating, Diva Shimmer, and Entrancing, plus Blush Subtil Delicate Oil-Free Powder Blush in Violet Sunrise.

The Alluringly Bronze palette features Color Design Sensational Effect Eye Shadows in Fabric, Alluring Presence, The New Black, Enticing, Get It Now, and Daylight, plus Blush Subtil Delicate Oil-Free Powder Blush in Mocha Havana.

The Evening Splendor palette features Color Design Sensational Effect Eye Shadows in Honeymoon, Tempted, Impress, Mannequin, Model, and Lezard, plus Blush Subtil Delicate Oil-Free Powder Blush in Bronze Escapade.

The Nude Seduction palette features Color Design Sensational Effect Eye Shadows in Pink Zinc, Wear It Well, Erotique, Amorous, Kittenish, and Feline Strut, plus Blush Subtil Delicate Oil-Free Powder Blush in Aplum.

Essentially, there's a color family for everyone! These palettes are available online at (where there is free shipping on all gift sets) and at Saks, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and most Lancome counters. They will only be available for a limited time - until they sell out.

Want to see swatches? Visit The Next Best Thing to Going Shopping Yourself.

Update 11/24: Lancome is having a Friends & Family sale online. Just enter code HOLIDAYJOY2 at checkout to receive a 20% discount and free shipping through November 30.

Photo courtesy of Nordstrom

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dermatologists' Tips for Your Beauty Budget

Leading dermatologists Susan H. Weinkle, M.D. and Heidi A. Waldorf, M.D. have shared their expert tips on getting the most out of your beauty budget. The key is to invest wisely and know where you can compromise and where you can’t. The two said the three essential items to keep your skin in top shape now - in order to avoid expensive corrective procedures later - are sunscreen, an antioxidant moisturizer, and a product containing retinoic acid.

Here are their product tips, along with some notes from me.

Worth the Price
  • Prescription retinoids (tretinoin, tazarotene, adapalene) – Nothing else has been show to do as much for photoaged skin, and one tube should last several months. I sure wish I could use this stuff!
  • Certain cosmeceuticals, particularly idebenone (Prevage MD shown above) and coffeeberry (RevaleSkin products) – These are available online, and you just have to try them to know which ones will work best for you.
Where You Can Save Money
  • Cleansers – If you need to save, a gentle over-the-counter non-drying lotion cleanser will do the job (for example, Cetaphil).
  • Sunscreen – Drugstore options with appropriate ingredients are plentiful, and you need to use a lot of sunscreen to get maximum effectiveness. I like Anthelios from La Roche-Posay.
  • Eye cream – The doctors say if you’re trying to save, you can use your face cream for your eye area too. I say that depends! Some face creams will migrate into your eyes, so be careful!
If you have to make choices about where you spend your money, these are some good tips to remember!

Photo courtesy of Amazon
Press release courtesy of the Women's Dermatologic Society