Sunday, January 31, 2010

Urban Decay 24/7 Super Stash Giveaway Contest

Want to win some of the best eye pencils on earth? This is your chance. I'll be giving away one Urban Decay 24/7 Super Stash collection.

This set includes nine mini-sized 24/7 Eye Pencils, including four shades exclusive to the set: Corrupt (brown sparkle), Binge (navy), Eldorado (a new gold), and Oil Slick (black sparkle). Also included are fan favorites Zero, Graffiti, Ransom, Rockstar, and Stash (my personal favorite).

This rainbow of shades is the ultimate kit: the right balance of neutrals and brights for any look. Need to modernize your little black dress? Try bold strokes of gold, green, or blue shades for some exotic flair. Wearing that bold-printed tunic? Try smoldering layers of neutral shades to add depth and gleam without competing with your outfit. Use them in combination, use them alone, or give a few away if you win the whole set.

Small enough to fit in a wallet or the slimmest of evening bags, these mini-sized pencils feature the fabulous formula we love in the full-sized 24/7 pencils: extra creamy, easy-glide, and waterproof.

How can you enter? Just e-mail and put Urban Decay in the subject line. It's that easy! If you want a second entry, just follow BTiBeauty on Twitter. All existing Twitter followers who e-mail will automatically receive a second entry. New entrants who e-mail and follow on Twitter will get two entries (if you use a different name on Twitter, make sure to tell me in your e-mail).

The contest deadline will be Friday, February 5, at midnight. I'll select the winner using a random number generator. I'll even send these eye liners anywhere in the world, so you can enter no matter where you live!

I'll be posting this contest at Free!Grechen, a giveaway site you should get to know.

Good Luck!

Photo courtesy of Urban Decay

Sisley Paris Comfort Extrême Mains

Sisley's Comfort Extrême Mains ($100) is a new beauty product for dry and dehydrated hands. The Sisley Comfort Extrême products are fabulous for "traumatized" or dry, dehydrated skin. I love the Day Cream and Night Skin Care! Now we have a specialized Comfort Extrême for our hands.

This luxurious new hand cream is lightweight, rich, and quickly absorbed. It penetrates instantly without leaving an oily or sticky film and immediately smoothes, softens, repairs, and protects your hands. Our hands are probably the most neglected part of our bodies these days; we wash them so frequently to avoid the transmission of viruses that we dry them out - even in warm weather. Now that it's cold and dry, my hands are suffering! Sisley's new product is designed to pamper our hard-working hands.

Comfort Extrême Mains, like all Sisley products, is laden with natural plant extracts that have proven efficacy. The following ingredients will nourish and moisturize your hands and help return their elasticity.
  • Shea butter
  • Sunflower oil
  • Guava, carrot, and vegetal glycerin extracts
  • Harpagophytum extract
Harpagophytum is a member of the sesame family. Its large, tuberous roots have been used medicinally to reduce pain and fever. It has also been used to treat arthritis and improve the vitality of joints. It's perfect for anyone whose hands are starting to show knobby spurs from arthritis or whose hands are so dry they hurt!

Good for you skin, and good for your nails and cuticles, this hand cream is a welcome addition to the Sisley skin care line. Love it! I also like the container. Turn the cap to open the central dispenser and squeeze out just the right amount. No waste, no contamination! You can throw this cream in your purse without fear that it will leak. That way, you can use it throughout the day whenever your hands feel dry.

Today, I had a very special treat. The wonderful Sisley Beauty Team at Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria gave me a complimentary PerfectSense Paraffin and Aromatherapy (lavender) Hand Treatment. The PerfectSense Paraffin System uses all-natural mineral heating technology to provide the ultimate hydrating and deep-heat treatment. After a massage with hand cream, they put heated PerfectSense treatment gloves on my hands and then covered them with white terrycloth mitts. I relaxed for 10 minutes and then got a second hand massage. It was divine. My hands were so soft after the treatment, and they are still soft, a few hours later. I could get used to that kind of indulgence! My thanks to Sisley for taking such good care of me!

You can purchase Comfort Extrême Mains at Neiman Marcus, Saks, and at select Nordstrom stores. If you live anywhere near Tysons, though, I would head over soon for a deep-heat hand treatment! There's also an upcoming event that may interest you local gals. The Neiman Marcus Sisley team at Tysons is having a facial event on February 18, 19, and 20. If you want to make an appointment to be pampered, give them a call at (703) 761-1600, extension 3230.

Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Winterize Your Skin Event at Norstrom Tysons Corner

Yesterday was an eventful day. We had an unanticipated amount of snow, there was a farewell party for Tai Shan (our beloved "baby" panda), and there was an 8:30 am Winterize Your Skin event at Nordstrom.

I think the snow dampened attendance at Nordstrom. I toyed with staying home, but figured I could get in and out before much snow accumulated. The drive home was a bit "interesting." Even with less than an inch of snow (at that point) on the untreated roads, it was really slick (packed to ice). With fishtailing cars and a four-car accident close to my house, I was very happy to get home.

That said, I enjoyed the show. It was participatory, and because the group was small, there were plenty of opportunities to ask questions. Jennifer Drake introduced our mistress of ceremonies, Nordstrom's beauty guru Julianne De’Chaump - a bundle of energy as always. She asked more questions than we did, making sure that the presenters told us what women want to know.

Julianne started the program with some advice. If you want to make one change in your skin, brighten! She was careful to say that she didn't mean bleach, she meant brighten, and she followed that with a three-step recommendation: Repair, Serum, Moisturize!

Regional representatives from skin care and cosmetics companies, as well as Nordstrom experts, were there to make short presentations on a featured product (or two) from each line and take questions. I liked this format so much more than the loud, flashy beauty trends show!

Jason Frasher from Kinerase started us off. Jason introduced us to the new C8 Peptide Intensive Treatment, a powerful treatment that's gentle enough for sensitive skin. The ingredients offer a cocktail for you skin!
  • Snap-8, the newest neuropeptide, reduces the depth and appearance of wrinkles caused by repetitive facial expressions up to 34.9%
  • Stabilized vitamin C, a natural brightener and collagen booster, evens skin tone as it fills in the look of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Kinetin (0.1% N6 Furfuryladenine), a powerful plant growth factor, improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and increases the skin’s ability to retain moisture
  • Beta-Glucan stimulates skin’s natural immune response while promoting skin regeneration, and helps protect skin from losing moisture by improving the skin's barrier function
  • Green tea and vitamin E, powerful antioxidants that ward off free radicals
Jason recommended that we wear the C8 serum during the day and said we would immediately notice a brighter, more clear complexion. Because Beta-Glucan has antibacterial properties, he said it's even good for those with acne or oily skin.

Found out that I've been mispronouncing one of my favorite product lines for years. Oh well, I guess it doesn't matter if I called the line "Kin-er-ase" or "Kine-rase" or "Darling." The products are still great!

What followed for show and tell? We learned about Freeze 24/7, a line that promises instant gratification. Maxine, who introduced us to the products, started as an impressed customer and became a representative for the GABA-laden line in no time. GABA is a muscle relaxant that produces immediate results. There's a value box, the Daily Essentials Skincare System, available with a cleanser, exfoliator, and moisturizer. The company has reported that 100% of its study participants reported a 50%-90% reduction in the visible appearance of fine lines and wrinkles within 10 minutes of product application.

An old friend of mine, skin care expert Rene Marshall, introduced us to Perricone MD. We talked about the new Deep Wrinkle Serum (the five-minute miracle with neuropeptides) and Dr. Perricone's supplements. The supplements promise to work from the inside to nourish your skin and make you feel good. I heard about flatter abs, stronger nails, great skin, and energy. I'm there! I wish it hadn't been snowing. Had I been able to stay Saturday, I would have taken advantage of a 25% discount on the supplements.

Naturally, we learned that everyone on earth needs a Clarisonic cleansing device. This is a common message in the beauty industry. There were unsolicited audience testimonials on the difference the Clarisonic made for them, and I am sure it's worth the investment to try one.

I can't tell you about everything we learned - this post is already long - but I will mention a few highlights. We heard about some great products from Phyto, a hair care line with legions of famous fans. Want volume without weighing down your hair? Try the Phytovolume products!

We heard about Bobbi Brown's Intensive Skin Supplement, a serum that will make your skin look firmer, smoother, more even-toned, and radiant (brighter!) no matter what your age. Jules shared a tip that I have tried on occasion. After you finish your makeup application, if you feel you look a bit drab, put a very small amount of serum on your fingertips, warm it, and pat it over your face. You will look lively in no time!

One last note about beauty! Timber Gooding introduced some Smashbox cosmetics designed to treat your skin while making you look great. His one-liner about the Perfect Complexion Kits, "Spanx for the face," was the laugh of the day! The Smashbox product I want to try as soon as possible is Photo Finish Lid Primer. I always use a primer. This vitamin-packed formula glides on and instantly smoothes and perfects lids. Wear it alone for a flawless natural eye or under any shadow to give it staying power. The formula contains a plant-based hyaluronic acid for ultimate moisture plus skin-perfecting amino acids. Soft-focus pearls help diminish the appearance of fine lines and discoloration on the lids, while a patented delivery system ensures effective results. Yikes - I need this! I'd also like to give the High Definition Liquid Concealer a test drive. These products are affordable, so look out Nordstrom - here I come!

As for Tai Shan, our hearts are breaking. We knew he might eventually leave us, but we were in denial. It's real now. Our baby will be headed for China this week in a FedEx plane with a panda logo. They better take good care of him and introduce him to a girl panda he loves! Tai Shan's own babies would give us new joy. No more earthquakes in panda land! Too many tears have already been shed.

Photos courtesy of Amazon, AP, Sephora, and Perricone MD

Darphin Free Shipping Love Note

Now that's an offer! Darphin announced free shipping - any order of any size, all year, no code required! "Because we love you."

This was too good to "hide" in The Friday Forum comments. Head over to Darphin to shop. You can treat yourself and thank a beauty company for offering something we all love.

Photo courtesy of Darphin

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rethink Your Environment

What's this week's topic for the Rethink What Matters campaign from Bare Escentuals? Rethink Your Environment!

Every week, 500 women who enter are receiving free bareMinerals goodies for being part of the conversation. This week, you could win a bareMinerals Blush.

Just take the quick quiz at Rethink What Matters. It's fun, so tell your friends. I love the video at the site.

Remember to check back every Friday for a new theme! And stay tuned for more on the campaign at Best Things in Beauty.

Photo courtesy of Bare Escentuals

Lancome L'Absolu Rouge Chris & Tell

First impression...

This year's Lancome Pout-a-Porter lipstick, a very limited-edition wonder, is Chris & Tell ($29), the L'Absolu Rouge lipstick that was developed in collaboration with the New York-based fashion designer Chris Benz.

Slated for February introduction, it is already sold out at It has arrived at Saks Fifth Avenue. If you want one, hurry! Call your local Saks to get on the waiting list. I did that about a week ago, and I picked up Chris & Tell yesterday.

Described by many as a peach or pinky-peach shade, it looks creamy orange on me. It's bright and pigmented. I had on a flashy pink jacket when I applied it for the first time, and my trusted makeup advisor Loyd Cassler grabbed a tissue for me to get it off quickly - proof that it looked hideous on me (a cool-toned, fair-skinned blond). Drat! I'll try it again when it won't clash with my clothing, and I'm in a summer mood. With a gloss on top to add some pink or brown it down, I may like it. Doubtful, but possible.

If you can wear orange-toned lips, you will want this lipstick. It has already been spotted on some pretty influential women, including Rachel Zoe, Eva Mendes, and Anne Hathaway. You will note that they have different coloring. There's a big audience for this lip color, and it will look fresh for spring and summer on the right women.

If you don't have a Saks near you, the Chevy Chase Lancome counter would be happy to charge and send. You can call them at (301) 657-9000. Make sure to press "0" when the automated operator picks up. Ask for the Lancome counter.

As for mine? One lucky dark-skinned friend will probably inherit it.

Photo courtesy of Lancome

Bobbi Brown Cabana Corals Collection - Part 2

At last, the Cabana Corals Collection for Spring 2010 has arrived in stores (I have seen it at Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom)! It's also front and center on Bobbi Brown's Web site. I'll be writing about the collection in several posts, starting with the two Shimmer Bricks this morning.

The collection gives us a beautiful selection of coral shades perfect for eyes, lips, and cheeks. The shades range from fresh new pink corals to universal nude corals and on to true coral shades. Almost every woman will find one or more shades right for her.

This collection enticed me, even though I'm not a "coral" natural. Many makeup artists try to lure me out of my comfort zone with peaches and corals, and they insist I look good in them. When I finally got my hands on the collection yesterday at Bloomindale's, I found that some of the colors have a pink tone and are great for women with cool-toned skin. The true corals (warm and with an orange tone) are better for women with warm skin. There are also nude corals that will work for everyone.

Let's start with the two Shimmer Bricks. If I could give awards for all-time makeup bests, Shimmer Bricks would get an award. There are two new ones, Pink Quartz (I will need two of these) and Nectar. Each is $38.00 - so reasonable! You may remember that Nectar was one of the colors introduced as a Mini Shimmer Brick Metal Compact at Neiman Marcus in December.

Nectar creates a soft, coral-peach glow. It works well with neutral and peach blush shades, or can be used alone as a blusher. It's pigmented, so I will use it as a blusher, with a light hand and a fluffy brush, when I want to warm my skin tone.

Pink Quartz was made for me! The shimmering, brush-on powder creates a soft, warm pink glow and works well with neutral and pink blush shades - or can be used alone, like the other, as your blusher.

I sweep through all five shades of Shimmer Brick Compacts with Bobbi's Face Blender Brush ($45) or a fluffy blush brush and dust lightly on my cheekbones as a blush or after blush, depending on the shade. If you focus on applying shimmer on the top of cheekbones - where light naturally hits the face - you will get a very flattering look. You can also selectively use the colors with a small brush.

The great news is that these Shimmer Bricks are not limited editions. If you fall in love with one, you will be able to find a second!

Look for them at Bobbi Brown's Web site or your favorite Bobbi Brown counter. They are gorgeous.

Photos courtesy of Bobbi Brown

NARS Orgasm Illuminator Giveaway Contest Winner

We have a winner! Wow! This was the most popular contest Best Things in Beauty has ever run. I know there will be many disappointed entrants. I wish I could have selected all of you. Given the number of entries, your chances of having select you were smaller than usual.

As an aside, I have visions of a UPS truck driving up to deliver boxes of illuminators, unpacking them, packing each one up individually, addressing all the packages, and taking them to the post office (with help). Too funny how our minds wander!

Alexis was our winner, and she has been notified by e-mail. Congratulations, Alexis! You are going to love NARS Orgasm Illuminator. I wore mine under blusher this week to give my cheekbones a little definition.

Most of the contest entrants fell into two groups. There are a lot of you who use NARS Orgasm Blush and love it. There are just as many who have never used a NARS product. I wonder whether availability is an issue. In my area, the only stores where I can actually see the products are Bloomingdale's at Chevy Chase (Tysons doesn't carry NARS), Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria, and Sephora. Sephora didn't have the spring collection on display when I went there last weekend. So, it's not easy to find around here.

Thanks to all of you who wrote notes! I love reading your e-mails!

We will start another giveaway contest tomorrow. Come back!

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Friday Forum - January 29

It's that time again. The Friday Forum is devoted to what you have to say about anything related to beauty. Let's chat!

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? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game!

You can even share a darling pet story! I though this photo of a cat with his mouse was pretty cute. My boy catches mice on our screened porch and them brings them inside to play with them! You should see me trying to catch the mice to free them. I'm not as adept as he is.

Normally, I don't provide a Friday Forum topic or ask you a question to kick off the conversation. Today I will. I've written about a lot of Spring 2010 cosmetics collections. Have any of them given you the "I-wants"?

As usual, I will share beauty bits with you over the weekend. I'll put them in the comments, so check for free shipping offers and other treats from beauty companies. Who knows? I may be writing a lot this weekend, depending on how much snow we get Saturday. We will use the comments for what I always hope will be a fun and helpful exchange of information.

The microphone is yours!

Photo courtesy of swapmeetdave

Thursday, January 28, 2010

YSL Beauty Spring 2010 Eyeshadow Duos

YSL Beauty is featuring two Eyeshadow Duos ($41) in their Spring 2010 collection. My choice, shown at left, was #27 - Golden Pink and Precious Bronze. The other duo is #25, Turquise Blue and Hazy Violet (shown below right). It's pretty, but a little too "colorful" for my tastes.

The new colors are both luminous and radiant. Both duos play with contrasts that work together really well. Want subtle? Go with #27. If you want flashy, #25 is your duo!

YSL's extremely soft powder shadow glides on evenly - always appreciated - and adds an optical smoothing effect. These shadows are pricey, but I think they are worth every penny for their flawless application and long wear. One thing I really dislike about eye shadows is uneven application, which I then have to work to fix. I never have that problem with YSL's eye shadows.

Right now, YSL Beauty is offering free shipping on all orders. You can also find the Spring 2010 Collection at Saks, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale's. There are a lot of pieces to love.

Photos courtesy of YSL Beauty

Royal Apothic Interior Perfume

Royal Apothic's Interior Perfumes ($25) are a model of elegance. Everything about the spray fragrance is classy - the packaging, the label, the atomizer, the bottle, the fragrance itself. Even the edited descriptions below are enticing.

Not too long ago, I ordered two of these from b~glowing, A Cutting Garden and Venetian Grove. Since they came, I have been spraying with abandon!

A Cutting Garden has notes of tuberose, gardenia, star jasmine, lily, iris, and rose. Behind the walls of Windsor lies a botanical masterpiece whose fruits have graced the vases of royalty for centuries. The magical garden is home to white flowers of an indeterminable number of varieties. Planted originally for the monarchy, the blooms yield their scents year-round, delicately perfuming the air with a court full of scent.

Venetian Grove has notes of currant, orange root, orange blossom, and orange fruit. This one's an orange grove the minute you spray it. Behind a palatial Villa in Santorini, Italy, lies a grove where royalty has been known to frolic for centuries. It is in this magical place where the vines of sweet currant intertwine the roots of orange trees, the fragrance of the blossoms blending with the ripe fruit at its base. If you close your eyes, you can almost see the twinkle of lights and flicker of candles as the masked court takes the floor to dance under the stars.

It is said that if you spray these home fragrances liberally throughout your space (home or office), you will adorn your rooms in heady fragrance and evoke the feeling of passed times. It's true! I spray my office, and the first person who walks in says something like, "Your office smells like a garden!" They think the orchids on my desk are providing the heavenly fragrance. They don't realize that the gorgeous orchids have no scent.

I need to order Topiary too! It must have been made for me, with its notes of ivy, hydrangea, and rose. I have to admit that I have always regarded room sprays as too ephemeral, preferring diffusers or candles. These sprays have converted me. I'm hooked now.

You can purchase Royal Apothic Interior Perfumes at b~glowing. There are candles too. What great gifts they will make - if you can stand to give them away! The presentation is as nice as the blissful product.

Photo courtesy of b~glowing

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Shu Uemura Égérie Satin Radiant Sticks for Spring 2010

Égérie..."a rebellious and daring spirit who never loses her sense of elegance and sophistication." Shu Uemura's Spring 2010 collection is inspired by rock 'n roll. Flashy, glimmering shine is complemented with delicate satin-sheen finishes to transport you to the spotlight of the captivating rock stage.

I would have gladly jumped onstage with the Beatles at their first U.S. live appearance at the old Uline Arena in Washington, D.C. I was so starstruck that night! John, Paul, George, and Ringo stole my heart and kept it. Who hasn't imagined themselves onstage with their idols?

Did the rock 'n roll theme attract me to the Shu Uemura makeup? Not really - maybe I'm too old! I'm not much of a rebel, and I'm more interested in cool makeup than rock music! The makeup reeled me in.

When I first saw the new Shu Uemura collection online, I was immediately attracted to the Égérie Satin Radiant Sticks ($40), two stick-style blusher-highlighters with a soft, creamy texture for the cheeks. Shu Uemura promised a delicate satin veil for my face. Sold! Then I read about the tiny particles of pearls that would add a satin-shimmery finish. I ordered them sight unseen - Translucent for highlighting and Blush, a peachy-pink blusher.

When my Shu Uemura order arrived, I tore into the box with glee! There's something about stick products that I can't resist - maybe because I have so many great ones, like Ramy's Multiples! for Eyes, Cheeks, and Lips; NARS The Multiple; or Bobbi Brown's Sheer Color Cheek Tints.

Do I love the new Satin Radiant Sticks too? Yep! Like most stick products, you do have to blend them after application. It's not really swipe and go. You can blend with your fingers or a foundation brush - they both work. I use my fingers with the Satin Radiant Sticks. The Translucent one is truly colorless. It leaves a sheer, subtle shine wherever you use it. This is a really versatile product. I may even throw it in my overburdened makeup bag. Blush is a fabulous peachy-pink color. It's a shade that's going to appeal to a lot of you. Even the containers are attractive, with their silver, pink, and white design.

The ingredients are fascinating! The first ingredient, always the most highly concentrated, is dimethicone, a silicone-based polymer that gives a soft, velvety glide to skin products. Because it stays on the surface of the skin, dimethicone provides a protective barrier. It's an excellent ingredient for someone whose skin barrier is challenged, such as someone with rosacea whose epidermis is thin and needs added protection or someone with dry skin. Dimethicone helps prevent transdermal water loss. Another ingredient is canola oil, which is moisturizing. In short, the sticks have good slip, and they are protective and moisturizing. They rock!

You can see the collection and the rock 'n roll looks created for it at Shu Uemura's Web site or wherever you normally check out the line. Today (literally), you can receive free shipping with the purchase of any Égérie product at Shu Uemura. Registered members always get free shipping and a deluxe sample with a purchase of $50 or more.

Photos courtesy of Shu Uemura

YSL Beauty's Spring 2010 Collection for Face and Cheeks

YSL's Spring 2010 Look is very pretty! I've lost count of how many times I've called a spring 2010 makeup collection pretty. There's a clear pink and peach trend for spring, and I'm delighted by the feminine appeal of all the new colors.

I remember talking to Armani's Celebrity Face Designer, Tim Quinn, last fall about the colors for spring, and he told me it would be all about pink and peach. Tim, you were absolutely right!

YSL Beauty joins its cosmetics colleagues in offering us a pretty-in-pink season. While I'm not into bright blue eyelids, that's irrelevant. The artistic photos aren't about reality anyhow. There are many pieces to love in the new collection, so I'll break up my impressions into multiple posts.

I'm a pushover for highlighters and blushers, and my first two picks from the YSL collection that I purchased at Nordstrom were the two new Y-Mail Complexion Palettes.

Y-Mail Complexion Palette #1 Face Highlighter ($65 and shown at right) is a limited-edition palette that highlights the face with three light pearly shades that add a pink glow to the skin when swirled together on a powder or blush brush. The colors are very sheer and have a subtle sparkle that works for day.

Y-Mail Complexion Palette #2 Blush Highlighter ($65) is a limited-edition blusher. Three shades, shown at left - nude, peach, and pink - combine to add a luminous glow to the cheeks.

Both palettes provide sheer, light color. They are fabulous on my fair skin. On darker skin, they might add more "highlight" than color.

Each palette comes packaged in a YSL "handbag" of its very own, a little black tote that has the Yves Saint Laurent name and address, with a stamp and postmark on one side (see photo below). It's a gimmick to me, but I'm sure there are collectors out there who will like the packaging more than the makeup. It is darling, but what am I going to do with the little tote? I'm into the makeup!

Right now, YSL Beauty is offering free shipping on all orders. The collection is also available at Saks and Nordstrom.

Photos courtesy of Saks and YSL Beauty

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

LIERAC Will Be at Crystal Couture!

LIERAC Paris will be at Crystal Couture in Crystal City (Arlington, Virginia) on Thursday, February 4, from 6:00 to 10:00 pm. Our Mid-Atlantic representative from LIERAC and her knowledgeable helpers will be there providing mini-facials, product information, samples, and tips on how and where to purchase LIERAC products. It will be a great time for you DC-area gals to try the brand, so stop by their booth!

I am a big LIERAC fan. I use Gentle Cleansing Milk, Hydra-Chrono, and Creme Mesolift regularly. I love them for their rich moisturizing properties! I also love the fact that I can pop up to my CVS to get them.

Crystal Couture will be about "Wild, Sexy, Fashionable Fun" - with at least three runway shows each hour and free hair styling and makeovers next week (February 1 through 6). Don't miss out on this free event if you live in our area!

To find updates about Crystal Couture, follow the Crystal City Business Improvement District on Twitter @ccbid or become a friend on Facebook.

Photo courtesy of LIERAC

Kinerase Friends & Family Sale

Kinerase is having a Friends & Family sale! Through January 31, you can save 20% on your entire purchase by using the code FF110 at checkout. This is the perfect time to try the new Restructure Firming Cream ($98 before discount) or Restructure Firming Eye Cream ($55 before discount). Both are loaded with peptides, "LOXL Stimulator," and Kinetin to firm, moisturize, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Of course, you could stick with the tried-and-true Under Eye Rescue ($78 before discount), one of my all-time favorites.

Just go to the Kinerase Web site. You might want to look at their special offers too (the special offers are excluded from the sale because they are already on sale, but use code FSHIP110 for free shipping on purchases over $50).

Photo courtesy of Kinerase

Lisa Hoffman Spa Bath Collection

I spent Sunday with Lisa Hoffman - sort of. I think it would be great fun to hang out with Lisa, but I got the next best thing - a Lisa Hoffman Spa Bath treatment.

I love my weekend baths. They are my relaxing retreat from the work week and my way to banish anxiety. It was with great anticipation that I used Lisa Hoffman's Spa Bath Treatment Packette ($9.95), a set of five numbered, resealable ampules - a complete bath-care regimen - as easy as one through five.

Lisa Hoffman Beauty had sent me this set to try. I wish I had had such a luxurious spa experience when I was traveling twice a week for work. Those nights in the hotel could have been a lot more pleasant. The packette set is as perfect for travel as it gets! It's light in weight and small in footprint, so you can tuck it away in your luggage with no fear that the securely sealed packettes will leak.

The Lisa Hoffman Spa Bath Soak ($37 for the full-sized Spa Bath product) turned my bath water into an oasis. As I poured the contents of the ampule into my running bath water, I was instantly refreshed by a clean, fresh fragrance that I later learned has notes of jasmine, orange, and bergamot. I love anything orange and jasmine! As I immersed myself in the warm water, I was wowed by how deliciously scented and perfectly frothy the Bath Soak had made it. Within seconds, I realized my bath water was softening too.

There must a lot of other Bath Soak fans because Allure awarded it a Best of Beauty Award in 2008 and 2009. I relaxed in my bath for about 10 minutes before I got motivated to move on to the next treatment! My furry friend, who likes to sit on the edge of the tub when I bathe, left during my long soak. I guess he decided he couldn't guard me for the duration!

Next up in my personal spa bath treatment was Lisa Hoffman Spa Body Wash ($27.50). Scented with the same revitalizing fragrance, the Body Wash is a creamy, thick, and highly moisturizing cleanser that leaves skin clean, smooth, and hydrated. The Body Wash is created with natural ingredients that are harvested from rain forests in a sustainable manner - which made me feel good in two ways. The ingredients nourished and moisturized my skin, leaving it super-soft and smelling great. The idea of a sustainable harvest appealed to my desire to save the earth!

As if it couldn't get better, it did! I scrubbed off my dry, flaky winter skin with Lisa Hoffman Spa Body
Polisher ($40). The crushed bamboo actually felt good, which is more than you can say for many scrubs. When I finished scrubbing my legs, arms, feet, and chest, I had noticeably smoother skin. Impressive!

After lingering in my divine bath for just a few more minutes, I climbed out and slathered my body with Lisa Hoffman Spa Body Cream ($52). Once again, I was treated to the lush fragrance of jasmine, orange, and bergamot. The lightweight cream, rich with botanicals such as orchid flower extract, honey extract, and star fruit extract, made me soft and comfy. The Body Cream is nourishing, protective, and moisturizing. While my body felt smooth after using the Body Polisher during my bath, it felt like baby's skin after I applied the Body Cream.

My last spa bath treatment may have been the most surprising. I massaged Lisa Hoffman Spa Hand and Foot Butter ($35.50)
into my poor, extremely dry feet. The self-massage with the rich, shea butter-based cream made my feet feel loved. Shea butter and other botanicals moisturize and soften, while acai and grape seed oil supply antioxidant protection to feet and hands. The Hand and Foot Butter is ideal for banishing callouses and flaky skin. The butter was so rich, I didn't want to lose a second of its healing effects, so I put on a pair of white cotton socks to hold the cream onto my feet. I wore them until bed (about eight hours), and when I removed the socks, my feet were more hydrated than they had been since summer. They were soft and happy feet! So I massaged more Hand and Foot Butter into my feet (and hands too) before I tucked in for the night.

I don't want my feet to smell like Altoids - I want them to smell good! As the 20-somethings would say, "Lisa Hoffman's Hand and Foot Butter is the bomb!" When I went to sleep with my feet and hands wrapped in Lisa's fragrance, my mind wandered to flower-laden, warmer climes, and I relaxed.

My "Lisa Hoffman Day" was heavenly. We all deserve to be pampered, but we don't always take the time or spend the money to go to a spa. You can have your own spa treatment at home for only $9.95 with the Spa Bath Packette. Now that I've experienced the instant effectiveness of Lisa Hoffman's products, I'll be investing in the full sizes of each. I work hard; I deserve it!

Just one more thing: A portion of Lisa Hoffman's sales are donated to The Rainforest Foundation. I like that!

You can find Lisa Hoffman's Spa Collection at Lisa Hoffman's Web site and other online sources. Just Google Lisa Hoffman! You'll be happy you did.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Hoffman

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bobbi Brown Cabana Corals Collection

Bobbi Brown's Cabana Corals Collection for Spring 2010 is a beautiful selection of coral shades perfect for eyes, lips, and cheeks. The shades range from fresh new pink corals to universal nude corals and on to true coral shades. Almost every woman will find one or more shades right for her.

This photo (shown at left) of the collection's colors enticed me, even though I'm not a "coral" natural. Many makeup artists try to lure me out of my comfort zone with peaches and corals, and they insist I look good in them.

I went to Nordstorm, Bloomingdale's, and Neiman Marcus looking for the collection. It seems that this is inventory time, and some stores have the collection sitting in the warehouse, waiting for inventories to be taken (even though they offer all of the colors online). That doesn't help a makeup addict at all, although I'm sure it helps retail's bottom line. I was able to get my hands on the palette at Neiman Marcus, and I'm sure that I'll be able to play with (and buy) the rest of the collection in stores later this week.

When I saw the Cabana Corals Lip & Eye Palette ($60), I knew I had to have it. I adore the frisky, neutral eye shadows (especially the metallics), and I'm having fun playing with the lip colors. The neutral eye colors work beautifully with the brighter, juicy lip shades. Every single one of these colors - lip and eye - works for me. The lip colors are a bit more "subdued" than they appear in this photo. The eye colors are dynamite! They will add some zip to the nude shadows in your collection.

Eye shades:
Ivory Eye Shadow, Bermuda Pink Metallic Eye Shadow, Seashell Metallic Eye Shadow, Bonfire Metallic Eye Shadow, Tan Eye Shadow, and Burnt Sugar Metallic Eye Shadow

Lip shades:
Cabo Coral Lip Color, Salmon Lip Color, Shell Lip Color, and Coral Reef Metallic Lip Color

Two cute little brushes fit into the palette - a nice lip brush with a cap and an eye shadow brush. Handy!

If you shy away from corals, try these. If I can wear these colors, you can too! As we have grown to expect, Bobbi Brown has hit another home run with the Cabana Corals palette. I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the collection. Oh, and those makeup artists? They were right!

Look for the collection soon at Saks, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and, of course, on the Bobbi Brown Web site.

Update 1/26: Looks like this palette is exclusive to Neiman Marcus!

Photos courtesy of Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom

Chanel's Cristalle Eau Verte Spray

Chanel master perfumer Jacques Polge has "re-imagined" the beloved classic Cristalle with a lighter, fresher version, to reveal a sheer and luminous heart. Cristalle Eau Verte Spray ($105 for 3.4 ounces) has magnolia notes that are blended with fresh citrus and Neroli accents for a modern expression of the timeless floral bouquet.

I was able to get a generous sample of this new Chanel fragrance at Nordstrom. I like it even more than the original! To me, it's a different fragrance. I'm not sure Chanel needed the Cristalle name to promote this lovely Eau de Toilette Concentrée.

Cristalle Eau Verte Spray combines green, floral, and citrus notes to shine. Among them are magnolia, neroli, jasmine, bergamot, lemon, and what smells like a white flower blend - some of my favorites. This fragrance is refreshing. It's not complicated; it's wearable, light, and fresh. There's a prominent display of Cristalle Eau Verte Spray at Nordstrom at Tysons Corner Center - close to the Chanel counter. It's a perfect fragrance to feature with all of the spring makeup!

Allure named Cristalle Eau Verte Spray "Best Green Fragrance" in the October 1009 "Best of Beauty" feature. Now that I am wearing it, I can see why!

Cristalle Eau Verte Spray is available at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and, of course,

Photo courtesy of Nordstrom

Sunday, January 24, 2010

NARS Orgasm Illuminator Giveaway Contest

The new NARS Orgasm Illuminator is so cool, I decided to give one away. I really love this new addition to the NARS Orgasm "franchise." You can read the Best Things in Beauty write-up about Orgasm Illuminator at this link.

This new product really excites me. I can use it as a warm blusher, a bronzer, and to add a warm glow when applied to the "high points" of my face. I can mix it with moisturizer and use it all over my face and neck. It's versatility has quickly earned it a place in my everyday makeup stash. That's quite a compliment!

I have one Orgasm Illuminator to give away. To enter the giveaway contest, e-mail and put NARS in the subject line. Please also tell me in your e-mail if you currently use any NARS Orgasm products. Another little survey!

I will use, my go-to random number generator, to select a winner. The contest deadline will be Friday, January 29 at midnight. This contest is open to United States and Canadian residents (addresses).

I'll be posting this contest on Free!Grechen, a site you should check out for all kinds of fantastic giveaways.

Good Luck!

Givenchy Le Prisme Mono Eyeshadow

New at Sephora, Givenchy Le Prisme Mono Eyeshadows ($29) introduce a unique concept. Each little monochromatic compact features four finishes of one color!

Givenchy's Le Prisme Mono shadows can be used to create "made-to-measure results" that range from natural to couture and simple to sophisticated. The formula contains atomized pigments that provide vibrant, stay-true color. Blend the four domes together for a single refined shade, or use each one separately for the look you want. The differences in the finishes are subtle, but definitely detectable.

The shadows are available at Sephora in 11 stunning shades. I ordered #12, Casual Khaki (shown above at right), unseen, and I am thrilled with it. It's a khaki-toned neutral, darker than shown in the photo - extremely wearable for a fair-skinned blond, just as wearable for those with darker skin. The four shadows range from matte to mildly sparkly. I will wear all four.

Now I've got my eyes on Fancy Coffee, Elegant Taupe, and Couture Beige. Hip Grey looks pretty cool too! These shadows are unique, so I know I'm going to go on a binge. I can feel the magnetic forces of Sephora as I write this, and it's only 6:30 am! I may have to pop over there today to see my Sephora guy (he's a sweetie - about the only thing that would make me go to the Sephora store these days vs. order online - but that's another story).

Check them out at Sephora! They are really nice.

Update 1/24: I did go over to Sephora, but they are not in the store yet. Available online!

Photo courtesy of

Ulta's 20% Off Sale

The last time Ulta had a big sale, I got "beyond frustrated." There were so many exclusions, I found that only one item in my cart qualified. It was seriously misleading, so I bailed and ordered nothing.

This sale, offering 20% off your entire purchase, is a little better. They must have heard us! Some of the "prestige brands," including Urban Decay, Elizabeth Arden, Stila, Purminerals, StudioGear, and SriVectin, are included. Before you shop, though, the exclusions include fragrance, hair artistry (high-end) brands, Bare Escentuals, Demalogica, Philosophy, Clarisonic, Thermaclear, and T3. For a complete and long list of what's excluded from this sale, go to this link. Do you still want to shop?

I like to pass along great deals, but I'm not sure this is a great deal. I'll let you be the judge. You can often do better at the drugstore BOGO sales on Revlon, CoverGirl, Maybelline, and the like. I'm really not sure - of the products I use - what may be left to qualify for this discount.

I love the Ulta store; it's a wonderland for beauty lovers. I just wish these sales were more inclusive. To get this discount, use code 20680 online. The discount will be offered until January 30.

Photo courtesy of Ulta

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Crystal Couture - DC Area Fun and Fashion in February

Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia is poised to join the ranks of top fashion destinations for one week in February (February 1st through 6th) when it will be the center of fun, fashion, and festivities during the second annual Crystal Couture event.

The Natalia Sanz Collection will be participating in Crystal Couture. At 23rd Street and S. Crystal Drive (across from Jaleo), you'll find an exotic runway, boutique, and night club, featuring trunk shows, live theater, DJs, specialty drinks, food, comedians, dancing, and more - every evening from 6:00 to 10:00 pm. No tickets are required. The event is free and open to everyone.

Crystal Couture is designed to bring great retail and runway straight to attendees - whether seasoned fashionistas or eager newbies. For a list of fashion designers and boutiques participating in the event, check out this link. Looks like LIERAC (one of my favorite skin care lines) will have a presence. I'll let you know more about that soon.

The Natalia Sanz Collection will be featured all week in fashion shows and booth sales. Attendees will be able to view Natalia's sophisticated garments and jewelry up close, customize their orders, and purchase items. More on Natalia below.

Local non-profit groups will be onsite to collect donations of new or gently used clothing and footwear. The event will also celebrate National Wear Red Day on February 5. The American Heart Association's Go Red Campaign staff will be on hand to help you sign up for the campaign, win prizes, and find out how to keep your heart healthy.

Want to know more about Natalia Sanz?

Inspired by architecture, geometry, and texture, Natalia creates classic styles with a modern touch. All of her pieces are expertly crafted to fit the fashion-forward woman exquisitely. Her creations include elegant cocktail dresses and separates that are versatile enough to go from day to night. Silk, satin, cotton, and jersey are some of the fabrics she favors because of their beauty and elegance as well as their ability to accentuate a woman’s curves. Natalia also designs jewelry. Her jewelry, like her clothing, is elegant and sophisticated. She creates long stunning earrings, dramatic pendant necklaces, and gorgeous bracelets.

What a great time to see her collection and participate in what's billed as "Wild, Sexy, Fashionable Fun" - with at least three runway shows each hour and free hair styling and makeovers. There will be 30 or more boutiques featured every evening, and many will be selling their clothes at great event prices. Don't miss out on this free event!

To hear updates about Crystal Couture, follow the Crystal City Business Improvement District on Twitter @ccbid or become a friend on Facebook.

Photos courtesy of Crystal Couture and Natalia Sanz

Maybelline Color Pearls Mineralized Eyeshadow Duos Giveaway Contest Winners

We have five winners. Congratulations to Shopgurl, Kimberly B, Sarah S, Cassie L, and Angela K! All of them have been notified by e-mail.

The first three winning entries - the planned ones - were selected at random (by to receive a Maybelline Color Pearls Mineralized Eyeshadow Duo. Shopgurl will be wearing Bronze Blowout; Kimberly will be wearing Silver Starlet; and Sarah will be wearing Khaki Craze.

I liked Angela's and Cassie's entries so much, I added them as our fourth and fifth winners. They took a lot of time to write about their favorite drugstore products, so I'm going to send each of them a duo too! Just have to see if I can find their favorite colors this weekend.

I think you gals will love these shadows! As I always do for BTiB contest winners (formerly a little secret), I'll be throwing a few extras into their packages. Each of them will receive a sample of Armani's Fluid Sheer #3 and Crema Nera Obsidian Reviving Mineral Eye Cream, courtesy of the Armani Beauty Team at Saks!

I learned some interesting things about your favorite drugstore beauty products with the contest entries. I decided to share a few of the reader favorites with all of you (edited a bit), so that you can see what your fellow BTiB readers are loving. You might find a new favorite by taking a cue from your Web friends!

Sarah: I am a huge L'Oreal mascara fan--I love the Voluminous Carbon Black (with the curved brush). I am also in love with Revlon ColorStay liquid liner. What I love about it mainly is the stiff brush that makes it easy apply a thin line for those who are in a hurry, and it lasts at least 12 hrs.

Emily: My favorite drugstore item is CoverGirl Smoothers tinted moisturizer.

Mindy: My favorite drugstore product would be the Curel lotion; it is the only lotion I found that does not leave a residue and is not sticky.

Nina: My favorite drugstore drugstore beauty product is the Lumene Blueberry Curl Mascara. I love that its formula isn't thick and goopy. It gets the right amount of mascara to your lashes and I'm digging the plastic wand too!

Vickie: One of my favorite drugstore picks is Maybelline ColorSensational Lipcolor.

Cindi: A drugstore cosmetic that I like and wear is Boots No.7 Moisture Drench Lipstick in Divine.

Nicole: My fave drugstore beauty product would definitely have to be Rimmel's Lasting Finish Lipsticks! I love how creamy they are, and they glide on easily. They also don't dry out lips like most drugstore lipsticks. They're very moisturizing. I'm thinking about collecting them all. :)

Heather: I love so many drugstore makeup items. I suppose my favorite drugstore beauty product is Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner in black because it is absolute perfection! Stays on all day and super black :)

Angela: My favorite drugstore beauty product at the moment is Boots Botanics Smoothing Facial Serum. I'm only in my mid-twenties, but I have some areas of my skin where the skin is rougher than I'd like (mostly in the winter, when it gets really dry). This serum is a good primer for makeup - after cleansing and using Shiseido Pureness Balancing Softener, I apply the serum before applying moisturizer. It smooths out the unevenness caused by dry skin without clogging pores or stinging. I also like that it's organic.

Vittoria: My favorite drugstore beauty product is Milani's retractable eyeliner pencil. It's waterproof, so it stays put, and I love not having to sharpen the point!

Seth: My favorite drugstore product is Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner in Blackest Black.

Eve: My favorite drugstore buy is the CoverGirl Lash Blast, and Lash Blast Luxe! I also love nyx shadows!

Bonnie: I would have to say that my favorite drugstore item would have to be mascara. I just love the CoverGirl mascaras (especially Lash Blast and Lash Exact).

Erin: My favorite drugstore beauty product is Milani blushes.

Cassie: I am a hardcore bargainista, and love finding a good deal, and recently found a great clearance deal at CVS (did a haul video on YouTube: Cass1222) and have found Milani eyeshadows to have rich pigmentation. My all time favorite drugstore mascara is L'Oreal Voluminious in Carbon Black- gives the most darkest thick lashes! Wet 'n Wild products have also grown and gotten better in pigmentation and quality - their cream eyeliner in black is a great way to line my eyes, both the rims and along the lashes, and its at a GREAT price! Be sure to check those out!

Fun entries - and great information. Thanks to everyone who entered and shared their favorites. We had an amazing number of entries - it's clear we share our addiction to makeup!

Stay tuned for upcoming giveaway contests. We will start another one this weekend.

Photo courtesy of Maybelline

Bare Escentuals - Rethink What Matters

Bare Escentuals just started an entertaining new campaign. They are inviting women to shake up their "foundation" and sound off on topics that are more than just skin-deep - from "going bare in public to discussing what freedom really feels like."

The beauty brand knows that looking good is not all about using makeup to cover imperfections, but about enhancing what you’ve got. In keeping with their wink-wink approach to marketing, Bare Escentuals has unveiled thought-provoking taglines to help start conversations among girlfriends about what really matters. They will be asking us to rethink beauty, energize our minds, get creative, put aside age-old assumptions, and think differently about makeup. Want an example? “Rethink Going Bare in Public. BareMineral’s SPF15 Foundation feels completely weightless, but gives you all the flawless coverage you need. Like you are wearing nothing at all.”

Bare Escentuals invites you to give rethinking a try. Every week at RethinkWhatMatters, a new discussion topic will be featured with five questions for all of us to answer, share with our friends by e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter - and have the chance win hundreds of free products and other fantastic goodies. New topics and products will be featured weekly, posted each Friday. The first topic is “Rethinking going bare in public,” and Bare Escentuals will be giving away the Flawless Definition Mascara.

Feeling cheeky? Visit Rethink What Matters and take the fun quiz! Every week, we'll have more fun. In San Francisco, New York, or Chicago? Visit one of the Quickie Vans and get your very own make-under and lots of other goodies! On Twitter? Follow the van on Twitter @BareEscentuals or find out what others are thinking by searching #rethinking. You can even tweet your own ideas. Just use the tagline #rethinking.

We will even have a Rethink What Matters giveaway here at Best Things in Beauty. For now, head over to Rethink What Matters and join the fun!

Photo courtesy of Bare Escentuals

Friday, January 22, 2010

MEG 21 - Say Goodbye to Glycation

Diabetes research led to a skin-care breakthrough. It's all about glycation. Hang in there with me as we "talk science."

Glycation occurs when you eat sugars - not just refined sugar, but anything that turns into glucose in your body - and the glucose hits your bloodstream. These sugars latch on to proteins, and through a "binding" mechanism between sugar and protein, cause your skin to ultimately become stiff and brittle. Much of this results from large molecules generated from the glycation process, which are called advanced glycation end products, appropriately abbreviated as AGEs.

The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you produce. As they multiply, these molecules wreak havoc with proteins, including collagen and elastin, which keep our skin firm and elastic. The result is sagging, wrinkled skin. Yikes!

Obviously, limiting sugar in your diet is a way to fight glycation, but foods that contain sugars aren't always the obvious cookies, cake, and candy. Many foods, particularly the processed kinds like ketchup, sodas, salad dressing, pasta sauces, and cereal, contain high fructose corn syrup (a sugar). Even natural foods like orange juice and carbohydrates will cause glycation. There goes my diet!

An NIH-funded research team working on diabetes and cancer uncovered the link between 3DG (3-deoxyglucosone) and our skin. 3DG is present in skin and causes:

  • inflammation,
  • decreased production of collagen,
  • collagen and elastin cross-linking,
  • formation of advanced glycation end products, and
  • oxidative stress and free radicals.
These all contribute to skin aging.

The scientists then discovered how to control 3DG, a product of the body's breakdown of sugar and a key ingredient in skin aging. Further research led to the development of Supplamine, a combination of natural amino acids and a substitute sugar that does not cause toxic 3DG, oxidative stress, or free radicals. The MEG 21 moisturizing, anti-aging, and anti-wrinkle products developed by Dynamis Skin Science incorporate the discovery.

Since I'm a carb queen, I knew that the MEG 21 products might offer a refreshing treat for my skin. Dynamis Skin Science generously sent me samples of three of their four MEG 21 products: Face Treatment, Advanced Treatment, and Eye Treatment. After a three-week test, I can already see results!

The MEG 21 Face Treatment increases moisture, firmness, and smoothing as it provides an immediate glow and great dry skin relief. It has a nice consistency (it's specifically formulated for the face and for use under makeup), and I like the fact that I know it's there. My dry skin needs proof that a product is providing 12-hour moisture.
The MEG 21 Face Treatment is infused with soy-based liposomes and leaves my skin soft and supple.

The MEG 21 Advanced Formula fascinates me. Although it's marketed specifically for hard-to-treat areas of the neck, chest, and upper arms, I unwitting used it on my face and loved it. After telling my contact at Dynamis Skin Science about that, she recommended I use it around my eyes because of its high concentration of Supplamine. Almost immediately, the crepiness I hate over the "inside" upper lid started to firm.
That's because MEG 21 Advanced Formula has a higher amount of the active ingredients, with some of them not encased in liposomes, and it is enriched with shea butter and green tea extract.

The MEG 21 Bright & Firm Eye Treatment combines Supplamine with additional active ingredients, including three scientifically proven botanical extracts that brighten the skin, firm and strengthen the fragile eye area, and decrease puffiness and dark circles. The botanical ingredients are pfaffia, marapuama, and white lily. These ingredients help to gradually reduce the appearance of fat deposits under the eyes through local improvements in micro-circulation and a "lipolytic modulating effect," and they also reduce the appearance of dark circles.

There are clinical studies that show the effectiveness of MEG 21 products. All - that's 100% - of the participants had an increase in moisture, smoothness, and firmness after four weeks of use. Moisture levels were increased by 45%, and fine lines and wrinkles were reduced by 43% from baseline. That's pretty impressive!

I wondered whether younger women would appreciate MEG 21 as much as I do. I learned that MEG 21 products are great for all skin types, even for acne-prone skin. Also,
the telltale signs of glycation are evident in skin as early as age 23. Starting use early can help people "age gracefully."

I'm going to continue to use these products. They are sold by physicians and licensed skin care professionals. You can see a list of suppliers at this link. You may find that sources near your home are few and far between. The good news is that if you Google MEG 21, you will find some online sources.

Photo courtesy of Dynamis Skin Science

The Friday Forum - January 22

It's that time again. The Friday Forum is devoted to what you have to say about anything related to beauty. Let's chat! Last week we got going on argan oil. It was fun!

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 an eyeshadow that will make your eyes look this blue? (Hint: look at Baby Bengal's coloring!)

We will use the comments for what I always hope will be a fun and helpful exchange of information.

Normally, I don't provide a Friday Forum topic or ask you a question to kick off the conversation. I always have beauty bits to share. I'll put them in the comments this weekend, so check for free shipping offers and other treats from beauty companies.

The microphone is yours!

Baby Bengal photo courtesy of

Dior Lace for Spring 2010 - Dentelle Eyeshadow Palette in Coquette

More on the Dior Lace Collection for Spring 2010!

There are two new Five-Color Eyeshadow Palettes ($57). My choice (and Loyd Cassler's) was Coquette, shown here, a palette of pink, plum, and gray. The name of the compact comes from the very French "coquettish" wink of color.

When I first looked at these shadows, I thought they might be too pink for my tastes. The pinks actually have a touch of peach in them, making them far more wearable on the eyes than true pinks would be. True pinks make me look like an albino bunny. The shades are all soft and sheer, which I like, and the two plum-toned shades (at the left) are tempered with taupe and gray - perfect to make your blue eyes blue!

There are so many combinations you can create with this palette - it's like having two new palettes! The ultra-smooth texture of Dior's Five-Color Eyeshadows allows flawless blending. With my super primer, the shadows last all day, and they don't crease.

There is a second Five-Color Eyeshadow Palette in Pearl Glow. It features shades of indigo, violet, and silver to dress eyes in soft, smoky luminosity. I haven't tried these yet - may have to pop back over to Saks or Nordstrom when I have time to stay and play.

Like most of the spring collections, Dior's is extraordinarily pretty! "Pretty" is the adjective of the season, and it's about time. The choices we have this season are staggering. I'm thinking of going without food so that I can keep buying. I would like to lose three pounds anyhow. (OK, those of you who know me will scoff, but even size 4s feel fat sometimes.)

If you have a Dior event coming up in your area (I hear from Kari at Fabulous Over Forty that Macy's is having a series of events), you should go! The collection is available at Saks, Nordstrom, and wherever Dior cosmetics sold. The Dior Lace Collection will delight you.

Photo courtesy of Saks

Thursday, January 21, 2010

88 Orange Body Butter

88 Orange Body Butter ($56) is new at b~glowing. It must be popular because it's on back order. Mine came earlier this week, even though I ordered it in December.

Want a trip to an orange grove to dispel the winter blues? This may be your ticket! Wearing 88 Orange Body Butter is like time travel to the untainted orange groves of Southern California or those of Florida in the "old days" before freezes and development decimated many of them.

This luscious body butter has top notes of bright citronella and sweet tangerine, heart notes of fresh-pressed organic orange blossoms and cool water lily, and base notes of bright neroli and clean lilac, the fragrant lilac from your grandmother's garden - not the recent hybrids bred for color rather than fragrance.

88 Orange products are organically grown in Orange County, California, and their headquarters is in Costa Mesa. The company, founded in 2007, makes T-shirts from organic yarn, offered in colors inspired by the beaches and groves of Orange County. Their T-shirts are laundered in their signature "blossom" scent - the fragrance in their body butter. "88" represents the ideal size of an orange picked from the tree to go to market.

I "stumbled" onto 88 Orange when I was browsing b~glowing. I love orange blossom fragrances, and as I read the fragrance notes, I was clicking on "Add to Cart." I'm glad I did! Opening the jar is like peeling an orange. The scent is juicy and delicious, and the moisturizer is rich with shea butter, cocoa butter, and sunflower seed oil. Slathering with 88 Orange before bed has already become a bedtime ritual - just like giving my furry friend his Pounce treats.

88 Orange Body Butter is a b~glowing exclusive. An Eau de Parfum, soy candle, and fabric softener are also available. I've been thinking...I need that fabric softener!

Photo courtesy of b~glowing

Dior's New Crème de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm

I went back to Saks for this! I was so tempted when I first saw the Crème de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm ($25). It's part of the new Dior Lace Collection for Spring 2010.

Although I don't usually like pot lip balms, and I don't usually like scented lip balms, this one was like a magnet. It drew me right back into the store.

Crème de Rose is described as a smoothing, plumping lip balm with an SPF 10. It promises to soothe, re-plump, hydrate, and protect your lips. This nourishing lip balm comes in one universal petal pink shade and features a heavenly rose scent - a divine fragrance that instantly transports you to an English garden.

Opening the pot is a sensory pleasure. The roses pop out! You smell roses on application, and then the scent fades. Perfect!

Crème de Rose balm leaves just a hint of enlivening pink on the lips, but major moisturizer, with shea butter and rose essential oils to hydrate your lips. It actually stays on me for a reasonable amount of time, which is fairly amazing given that my lips instantly absorb most lip balms.

Is there anything about it I can't gush about? It's pricey for a lip balm, so I fear many people won't try it. Also, a personal problem: it contains retinyl palmitate, which could make my lips peel continuously , given my sensitivity to Vitamin A products. The retinyl palmitate is pretty far down the ingredient list, so I'm hoping I won't have a reaction to it. The ingredient is there is keep the dead skin cells sloughed off the lips, making them moist and lush. Unfortunately, I'm terribly sensitive to it and try to avoid it whenever I can. It's a superstar skin care ingredient, so most of you should be happy it's included in the mix.

Dior provides secrets for use in the package insert. Dab a bit onto the center of your lips to add a touch of radiance. Apply the balm under lipstick or lip gloss to prepare your lips. Or apply a thick layer to your lips before going to bed to make your lips feel moisturized and comforted when you awaken.

Crème de Rose is available at Sephora, Saks, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and Neiman Marcus.

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

NARS Orgasm Illuminator

NARS Orgasm Illuminator ($29) is currently a Sephora exclusive. I love it! The color adds a beautiful sheen wherever you apply it (no glitter in this one).

It's described as a peachy pink with golden shimmer on the Sephora site. That's a pretty accurate description of the un-blended color. Once blended, though, it provides a gorgeous warm peach-toned glow that's slightly golden bronze - on my skin.

I think this illuminator will look a bit different on everyone. I also think it's going to delight you no matter what your skin tone.

Here's Sephora's description.

NARS Orgasm Illuminator lights your skin from within! Deceptively sheer and decidedly luminous, it magically transforms lackluster skin into a remember-me, luscious complexion. Flirt with foundation, go it alone, or go neck-and-neck with your décolleté. The effect is, well, orgasmic.

I don't know about "orgasmic," but this new product really excites me. I can use it as a warm blusher, a bronzer, and to add a warm glow when applied to the "high points" of my face. I can mix it with moisturizer and use it all over my face and neck. It's versatility has quickly earned it a place in my everyday makeup stash. That's quite a compliment! It may even be hoarding-worthy.

I'll go out on a limb and highly recommend Orgasm Illluminator. Make sure to look for it at Sephora!

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Dior Addict Lipcolor in Pink Embroidery for Spring 2010

Dior's Lace Color Collection for Spring 2010 is brimming with pretty new colors. My favorite lipstick is #663, Pink Embroidery ($26). It's the rightmost of the two lipsticks on the lower-left side of the photo here.

Dior Addict is a creamy lipstick with a new and improved formula that offers weightless, high-impact color. I love its smooth texture. It will make your lips look vibrant and feel nourished.

Pink Embroidery is a mauve-leaning pink - as pretty as any of the spring lipsticks I've seen so far. It was one of my four purchases from the Lace Color Collection, although I'm still lusting after the Crème de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm. I'm certain I'll go back to Saks for the lip balm - maybe today. It has a petal pink shade and features a delicate rose scent. So much for restraint!

Another new lipstick is Pink Bustier. It's gorgeous too. You have to see them to choose!

The new Dior spring collection is available at Saks, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and Neiman Marcus. It's available at Sephora too. This is a lovely collection. I'll be describing my new five-color eye shadow next!

I have to confess that Loyd Cassler, Armani makeup artist extraordinaire, knows my tastes so well that he selected my new Dior makeup for me before I even arrived at the store! The items were selling out or going fast, and he know I wouldn't want to miss some of them. Having a personal makeup shopper is luxurious! Every one of his selections was perfect!

Photo courtesy of Sephora