Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How Much Fragrance is Too Much at Work?

With a nod to Dear Abby

Did you know that fragrance in the workplace can be a contentious issue? Fragrance, intended to entice, unite, and delight us, can often divide us instead.

Some people have fragrance allergies, and others have fragrance aversions. I fall into that fragrance aversion set. There are certain fragrances that make me gag. My eyes water, I cough – it’s not pretty. There is something about the scent of cinnamon that makes me run for cover. When I have to pass the Cinnabon sites in malls, I hold my breath and walk as quickly as possible to get out of “smell range.”

Does anyone remember when Red was the “perfume of the year”? Red could clear an elevator. Seriously! I had to jump out of one once and wait for another. A woman wearing Red had overdosed on what I found to be a pungent, disgusting perfume, and it was hard to breathe in a confined space next to her. I was one happy camper when Red faded into oblivion.

At the most extreme, there are people with multiple chemical sensitivities who suffer serious reactions when exposed to certain scents. I know someone who worked in a “sick building” and became distressingly sick every time she set foot in her workplace. Worse than that, though, she had to move out of her house into a custom-built home with all offending chemicals banished. I learned that she is not alone in her angst over chemicals.

Where I work, the issue of fragrances has come up fairly often. How do you deal with the individual who wears a lot of fragrance and you can’t get away? Today’s cubicle environments have exacerbated this problem. What if amber disgusts you, and your cube neighbor loves her new Ambre Sultan perfume? What if your neighbor just wears too much fragrance? Two squirts would have been fine, but you’re sure he bathed in it?

Here’s what we tell people.

Explain to your co-worker that the fragrance is a “bit strong” and ask politely if he or she would wear “just a little less.” Sometimes, people are happy to oblige to contribute to peace in the workplace! If that doesn’t work, and the issue is truly serious for you, go to the individual’s manager, explain the issue (calmly and logically), and ask for help. A good manager will try to resolve the issue to everyone’s satisfaction. If that doesn’t work, then it’s best to talk to your own manager, inquire about workplace policies, and ask what you should expect in terms of your own work environment. Many companies address fragrance in the same way they address other “dress code” rules and regulations. Too much fragrance might be treated the same way as eye-popping cleavage. If you are a valued employee, your company should work to make you as comfortable as possible.

This issue just came up again where I work. We are looking for ways to “sensitize” our employees to the issue. Meanwhile, I hope to continue to get compliments on my fragrances – not complaints. If I do bother someone, though, I would want them to tell me – nicely. "Hey blogger girl, that rose is overwhelming - makes me sneeze!”

Are there fragrances - or specific perfumes - that send you running for cover?

Photo courtesy of

Happy Hour Specials from Skin Care Logic

I'd like to introduce you to a great opportunity to save money: Happy Hour Specials from Skin Care Logic! I will take advantage of their special offers because I'm always looking for a discount or free shipping. Read on for a special offer for blog readers.

Skin Care Logic is a health and beauty site dedicated to helping their customers achieve the healthiest skin possible. How do they do that? Skin Care Logic keeps it simple by selling what they deem to be the best in the industry: Dermalogica skin care and Jane Iredale mineral makeup. Their education center is full of articles and videos to help answer beauty questions. They offer virtual Face Mapping to help determine each customer's ideal skin routine, and they are always available via phone or e-mail to help! Orders typically ship the same day, and I like that since I'm into instant gratification. They include lots of goodies and free samples in every shipment - another plus.

Skin Care Logic knows the cost of beauty can add up. They know that we want gorgeous skin, but we can't necessarily spend a small fortune on it. So they came up with a way for us to achieve healthy, gorgeous skin without guilt (I am so into guilt-free shopping). Their home page features a Happy Hour banner. Every Monday, they post a new special that runs the entire week (Monday through Sunday). Happy Hour specials could be free shipping, a store-wide discount code, an awesome free gift with purchase - you never know. Fans can check in weekly for savings or follow them on Twitter or Facebook to see new deals as they are posted.


They sell Dermalogica because it's know to work. Dermalogica is the #1 most-used line by professional skin therapists worldwide. InStyle, O Magazine, Lucky, Allure, Marie Claire, and Us Weekly continously praise Dermalogica for the effectiveness of its products. I use the UltraCalming Cleanser ($33) and love it. It's a great cleanser for anyone experiencing skin sensitivity, which can be caused by pollution, stress, hormonal imbalances, irritating cosmetics, harsh climates, and all kinds of other factors. Right now, there is a 10% discount available on all Dermatologica products. You can see the March specials at this link. Within a day or so, the April specials will post.

Jane Iredale

Known as "the skin care makeup," Jane Iredale mineral makeup is a highly respected line. The Jane Iredale products are talc- and paraben-free. They are also anti-inflammatory and provide broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. In fact, many Jane Iredale products have received a "Seal of Recommendation" from the Skin Cancer Foundation! I have, use, and love Jane Iredale makeup. That reminds me...I need to review some of my favorites for you.

Special for Best Things in Beauty Readers

Skin Care Logic has generously offered Best Things in Beauty readers an extra 15% discount on their Happy Hour Specials. Just enter code BEST15 during checkout to get 15% off in addition to whatever Happy Hour Special is running at that time. It's a generous offer to introduce BTiB readers to Skin Care Logic.

Check out the site! I think you will like what you see. I'm always comparison shopping, and I'm impressed.

Photo courtesy of Skin Care Logic

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bobbi Brown Brightening Skin Care

Bobbi Brown has introduced a new Brightening Skin Care set of products designed to make you fresh, radiant, and "lit-from-within." The line brightens skin instantly and over time with vitamin C, natural extracts, and licorice; retexturizes skin with glucosamine to gently remove dead skin cells; and hydrates with sodium hyaluronate and other ingredients to plump the skin and give it an instant glow.

Bobbi easily summed up her philosophy this way. "I believe beauty starts with healthy, glowing skin. Traveling through Asia, I’ve discovered that many brightening skin-care lines do not address women’s immediate need to cover dark spots. I used my makeup artist’s perspective to create this simple five-step regimen. It includes skin care to give you brighter, smoother, and clearer skin over time - and treatment makeup to give you a beautiful, even complexion instantly.”

When I saw the new line on Bobbi Brown's Web site, I immediately ordered the Brightening SPF 50 UV Protective Face Base ($38). I'm always on the lookout for good high-SPF sunsceens that I can wear under makeup, and I recognized the brightening benefits as an extra-added bonus! This soothing lotion helps shield your skin from the harmful effects of the sun with a high level of broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. It's extremely lightweight and quick-absorbing. It can be layered over your moisturizer to help prevent sun damage and help maintain a radiant, even skin tone. It contains Bobbi's unique blend of grape, mulberry, and scutellaria to even skin tone and provide radiance and caffeine to help calm and soothe the skin.

The first time I used this new protective face base, I was concerned that it might be just a bit too much, layered over my daily dose of heavy serum and moisturizer. I needn't have worried! It soaked right in, and my makeup applied perfectly over three layers of product. That's pretty cool. Some sunscreens can be gloppy. This one's perfect.

The other new products?

Brightening Hydrating Lotion ($50) to prepare your skin to accept the products you apply after you have cleansed morning and night. This lotion is loaded with ingredients to refresh, hydrate, reduce irritation, and brighten.

Brightening Intensive Serum ($95), the star of the line according to Bobbi, is a highly concentrated serum packed with a vitamin C complex and a unique blend of grape, mulberry, and scutellaria to help to diminish the appearance of dark spots and add clarity, luminosity, and radiance. Glucosamine exfoliates; licorice extract helps reduce irritation; caffeine and gentian root extract soothe and calm skin; sodium hyaluronate and sucrose draw and hold moisture into the skin; and macadamia extract, linoleic acid, and cholesterol help to strengthen the skin's natural barrier.

Brightening Moisture Cream ($70), a deeply hydrating yet lightweight cream, is enriched with sodium hyaluronate to quench skin as well as linoleic acid and cholesterol to strengthen your skin’s natural barrier, improve its ability to lock in moisture, and resist future damage. The cream has many of the same ingredients in the serum. I really want this one! I never met a great moisturizer I didn't want to try. I'm plotting my next purchase.

Brightening Spot Treatment Corrector SPF 25 ($35), available in six shades, is an opaque, full-coverage concealer. Bobbi calls this her secret to an instantly beautiful, radiant complexion. This unique, double-action treatment makeup product covers dark spots and discoloration immediately - and evens out skin tone over time. You are supposed to dab Brightening Spot Treatment Corrector SPF 25 onto dark spots and imperfections with its precision applicator and blend gently for targeted, all-day coverage.

The new line is getting great press from beauty editors. It has already been featured in Harper's Bazaar and InStyle. Generally, Asian women have been faster to pick up on the benefits of brightening products than U.S. women. Bobbi is going to show us the way!

The new Brightening Skin Care is available at Bobbi Brown's Web site and Bobbi Brown counters in the major department stores. I have seen it at Saks, Nordstorm, and Bloomingdale's.

Photos courtesy of Bobbi Brown

Coming Attraction: Sephora Beauty Insider Makeup Sale

Get ready! Sephora will be having a makeup sale from April 12-19 for Beauty Insiders. Sephora tells me that you will need to be a Beauty Insider to use the discount code. They are e-mailing the codes out in "waves" of a couple hundred thousand at a time. Clearly, there are a lot of Beauty Insiders!

Head over to Sephora and join the Beauty Insider Program. Anyone interested in makeup is probably already a member, but if you haven't joined, now's the time. Once you join, you should receive an e-mail before the sale with your own personal bar-coded coupon for use in the store.

There is an online promo code of BI15, and as long as Sephora's Web site recognizes you as a Beauty Insider, that code will give you the 15% discount. In the store, they tell me they are going to be looking for your personal bar code and/or proof that you are a Beauty Insider. All the more reason to go sign up now! Once you join, you will be eligible for perks like the fabulous 500-point perk, the Tarte Insider Collection. Who doesn't like lagniappe?

I am compiling my wish list now!

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Dior Addict Ultra Gloss

I was just passing through Nordstom last weekend when I stumbled upon a new display of Dior glosses. That got my attention! Since one of my most favorite (ever) glosses is Dior Addict Ultra Gloss Reflect in #877 Lurex Plum, I had to check out the new Dior Addict Ultra Gloss lip gloss ($26.50), which was on display side-by-side with eight new High Impact Weightless Lip Colors.

Straight from the runway, Dior Addict Ultra Gloss features a featherweight formula with a flash-plumping, "spotlight shine" effect. Hyaluronic acid spheres keep lips smooth and moisturized, while mirror-like micro-pearls reflect light in all directions for a dazzling finish!

The lip glosses come in three finishes: Flash, Pearl, and Glow. As you might imagine, Flash has the most shine, Pearl a bit less, and Glow is pretty basic.

Wouldn't you know...the one I wanted was already sold out at Nordstrom! I went over to Bloomindale's to look for it, but they hadn't even received the new glosses. These glosses are not limited editions, so I will pick up #756 Evening Rose soon enough. It's a gorgeous Flash shade that's perfect for me. I love shine, and the color has the same intensity #877 has.

Apparently, the new glosses are replacing my old stand-by Ultra Gloss Reflect glosses, including Lurex Plum (bummer)! I ran into a regional Dior rep who confirmed that #877 was history. I was able to buy a few extras at Bloomingdale's. When I came home, I tried to buy more at Sephora (it's the hoarding instinct). None to be had! You can see that they are selling down the remaining stock of Ultra Gloss Reflect, with only a few shades left at

Very soon, all of the Dior counters will have the new Dior Addict Ultra Glosses. Today, I can tell you that I am sure you can see them at Nordstrom.

Update 3/30: I went to Saks Chevy Chase today. They don't have the new colors in yet, but I was able to clean them out of #877. I think I now have a lifetime supply.

Photos courtesy of Nordstrom

Monday, March 29, 2010

Balenciaga Paris Eau De Parfum

Balenciaga Paris Eau de Parfum ($95 for 1.7 oz) is the brand's first fragrance in 12 years. It is described as a "demure violet with airy blossom and delicate peppery notes - a fragrance that is mysterious and fragile, yet leaves a lasting trail."

I find the scent familiar, pretty, and old fashioned. It reminds me of something from long ago. Maybe a fragrance someone wore while I was growing up? I was "gifted" with a bunch of samples, and I have been wearing the fragrance to work. It's a safe scent - it won't offend your coworkers or elevator mates. It's powdery and floral with green notes and a touch of woodiness. It's lovely - really - it's just not noteworthy. There is nothing about this new fragrance that shouts, "Wear me today instead of one of the others!" I'm not sure I would buy it, but I wouldn't turn it down. Does that sound crazy? It's comfortable, like a favorite sweater. I like it, but I don't love it.

I sprayed it on a colleague who is in her 20s. She thought it was "pretty," but she couldn't come up with another adjective to describe it - and she's a smart gal. She also turned down a second spray after the first wore off - about six hours later. It didn't move her. Her ho-hum reaction reinforced my impression that the fragrance has an old-fashioned air about it. That's not necessarily bad. After I wrote up my impressions, I read Gaia's review at The Non-Blonde and chuckled at her remark that Balenciaga Paris was "thoughtfully conceived and doesn't smell like another perfume for a focus group of 19 year-olds who never bought a perfume outside of a BBW body spray." I agree.

The new fragrance is Balenciaga's first under artistic director Nicolas Ghesquière, and it was developed by Olivier Polge. Ghesquière's muse, Charlotte Gainsbourg, is the "face" of Balenciaga. Now that's the crazy part! In the advertising photo above, she looks demure and sexy all at once - and very French. But the adjectives that come to mind when I think about her are "gritty," "edgy," and "confident." She doesn't match Balenciaga Paris. My problem - not hers.

The notes include bergamot, violet, carnation, cedar wood, vetiver, patchouli, moss, and labdanum. That doesn't tell its story. Go take a whiff when you are Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman. Let me know what you think!

Photo courtesy of Balenciaga

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Laura Geller Kiss and Bake Up Collection

Laura Geller had a sale last week, and I jumped right in to save 30%. Am I glad! I might not have ordered the Kiss and Bake Up Collection ($60) at full price because I wasn't sure the lip colors would work for me. They were intriguing, though, with their strips of color in one compact. When you're on the fence and undecided, a discount of 30% can push you right over into the order form!

The collection, which arrived quickly, is a great value - even at full price. Here is how Laura Geller describes Kiss and Bake Up.

My theory about all makeup is that you can wear any color as long as you’re balanced. That’s why, when I created my new Kiss and Bake Up Collection, I placed Dream Creams Lip Palette as the centerpiece. My Dream Creams Lip Palette was created to coordinate perfectly with each swirl of pigment in the new Blush-n-Brighten. Use the lip colors individually or blend two or more together. The combinations are endless, and your lips will always be in harmony with your cheeks. Due to the unique "chameleon" effect of my exclusive baked colors, this entire collection is like having customized makeup - with face, cheek, eye, and especially lip color designed especially for you.

The following products are included in this collection. I love the way the shades work together.
  • Spackle Under Makeup Primer
  • Balance-n-Bronze (available in Fair or Regular)
  • Bronze-n-Brighten
  • Blush-n-Brighten in Apricot Berry
  • Eye Rimz in Bewitching Bronze, along with an Eye Rimz Brush
  • Dream Creams Lip Palette in Apricot Berry, along with a Retractable Lip Brush
  • Double-Ended Face and Cheek Brush
While I love the whole collection, I'll focus on a few favorites. Let's start with the Apricot Berry Lip Palette ($25). It has the most interesting spongy feel. It's creamy, but it's not a pot of cream. Does that make any sense? Instead, it's like four sponge cushions loaded with lip color. The colors range from sheer to pigmented and combine the coverage of lipstick with the shine of gloss. You can choose to wear each shade individually, wear several in layers, or sweep your fingertip or lip brush across all four colors to create whatever look you want. Nice! Now I want the palette in Berry. I need another sale - stat!

The Apricot Berry Blush-n-Brighten ($35), a shade created especially for this collection, is a softly shimmering blend of gilded beige, corals, and berry. The color-correcting pigments will blend beautifully with most skin tones, leaving a flushed radiance that's very flattering. Newly reformulated, this blush is free of mineral oil and parabens. It's loaded with anti-aging and antioxidant protection courtesy of white tea and Centella Asiatica (an interesting ingredient that has been found to heal wounds, stimulate collagen production, and have anti-inflammatory properties).

The Eye Rimz ($26) in Bewitching Bronze is a rich, deep brown that can be worn sheer or layered for a more intense eye. Laura Geller calls it a safe color because it looks right with whatever you wear. I'd have to agree. The swirl of copper warms up the eye, giving it a fresh brightness and sparkle, while relating perfectly to the coral undertones of the blusher and lip colors. The shadow can be worn wet or dry. I like it applied dry in one layer as a shadow and wet as a liner. Easy color coordination!

The collection includes Laura's famous Spackle ($25), the under makeup primer that contains aloe vera and other botanicals, along with the white tea and Centella Asiatica in the blush; some great, usable brushes; and Balance-n-Bronze ($35) in your choice of Fair or Regular. I ordered Fair, and I find it's a great finishing touch. Powder foundation (one half of the compact) isn't "my thing," but that side of the compact adds a pretty finish to my creamy foundation. When I swirl the colors together, the Balance-n-Bronze adds the perfect touch of warmth to my overly pale face.

Were you doing the math when you read about all the great products that come in this one $60 collection? The Spackle comes in a little jar and is not full-sized, but otherwise, you are getting over $120 worth of products before you count the brushes (I can't figure out why Laura says it's only a $100 value). This collection is a deal. What I got on sale was a steal!

Laura Geller has other great gift and value sets on her Web site and in her New York boutique. Check them out! She has a blog too. Her products are also sold on QVC, but I still haven't figured out how to get free shipping from QVC, and I'm spoiled. I would rather spend the money on makeup!

Photo courtesy of Laura Geller

Armani Beauty Maestro Mascara Giveaway Contest Winners

We have four lucky winners, and all (well almost all) have been notified by e-mail.

Congratulations to Kathy (brown mascara), Bunny B (black), Mim (brown), and Liz (black)! You'll have Armani lashes soon - and a few samples too. I have sent each of you an e-mail requesting your address. Except - Kathy, do I have your e-mail? It may be the early morning "thing," but I can't find it. Would you open your Blogger profile to me?

All the entries were interesting! As usual, I wish I could send a mascara to everyone who entered. Some of you are such faithful readers - thank you. selected the four winners. I would never be able to choose.

Here are a few eyelash tips. Anyone who wants longer or fuller lashes should try Lash Allure MD, a new prostaglandin-free lash-enhancing product. Watch their Web site for sales. You can even win one there. There are other new products, such as RapidLash, in this exciting new category. Want a great mascara at a drugstore price? I still think Maybelline Define-A-Lash is the best on the market. It comes in several different formulations, and all are noteworthy. And there are so many Maybellilne BOGOs that you will be able to buy two for about $8! Have straight lashes? Eyelash curlers really work! Make sure to buy a good one, keep it clean, and be careful when using it. Apply your mascara after you curl your lashes. Finally, always - without fail - remove your mascara before you go to bed. Sleeping in mascara can damage your lashes.

We owe this contest to the incredibly generous Armani Beauty Team at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland. If you live anywhere near DC, please swing by and say tell Loyd and the gang that you "know all about them." If you want to try Armani products but need help, feel free to give them a call at (240) 497-5206. Tell them Best Things in Beauty sent you. You'll get an expert consultation by phone.

We jump-started a new giveaway contest on Friday. One lucky winner will receive a whole set of Gillette Venus products to help her go bare for summer. Have you entered yet? So far, I only see four entries. I'm amazed. I'll be reviewing these fab Gillette products early this week. A set for the winner and a set for me arrived via FedEx. Think about it: A moisturizer you can use in the shower and no slathering needed after you finish!

To all of you, my love and thanks for reading Best Things in Beauty - and subscribing! I really appreciate all of your kind e-mail messages. I started this "labor of passion" last summer, and now I'm hooked. You make the difference!

Photo courtesy of Armani Beauty

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weekend Roundup - March 27


See what's happening in the world of beauty this week with these lovely beauty mavens!

Gaia at The Non-Blonde introduces us to new palettes from Le Metier de Beaute - small enough to fit into your evening clutch.

Is there a serum that will help even your skin tone? Jennifer from Beauty In Real Life has a Clinique serum that works for her - check it out!

Are you considering a facial peel? See the amazing results that Kelly from Gouldylox Reviews had from her Rejuvenize Peel!

Potions, Lotions, and Serums, oh my! Blogdorf Goodman continues her 40 Days and 40 Nights of reviews of these "magical" powers.

Alice In Wonderland might be a childhood favorite or the latest movie craze. Felicia from This That Beauty shares with us all the makeup that has been inspired by the popular story.

Amber from Beauty Junkies Unite reviews the latest in mascara from CoverGirl with LashBlast Fusion.

Take a look at the gorgeous gloss shades that KarlaSugar from The Next Best Thing to Going Shopping Yourself swatched from Lipstick Queen Fame Glosses.

Kari from Fabulous Over Forty found a soothing solution to her eczema in Josie Maran's Argan Oil. Read how effective it was for her.

If you missed it and you are over 40, make sure to check out my tips for avoiding the #1 eye shadow mistake here at Best Things in Beauty.

Happy reading!

Chantecaille Rose Gold Iridescent Eye Shade

Rose Gold ($28) has to be Chantecaille's most popular Iridescent Eye Shade. When I first tried to purchase it at Neiman Marcus, it was sold out. I noticed this week that it's sold out on Chantecaille's Web site. It's a beauty, so I'm not surprised.

The Iridescent Eye Shades have a soft, creamy texture. They glide on effortlessly and adhere perfectly to create an all-day glow. You won't find flecks from this eye shadow littering your cheeks! The "pearlescent" finish is flattering. It shimmers, but it's not sparkly or metallic, so don't let the "iridescent" name stop you from trying it.

This is one eye shadow I like best without a primer! Its beautiful sheer finish applies best on my skin without help. It's about as dark a shade as I can wear during the day on the lid under the crease, but those with darker skin may have a different take. The color is a mix between gold and rose, which translates into light bronze on my skin. The shade/finish combination is unique. I have so many eye shadows, and I really don't think there's another shadow in my collection that's a Rose Gold twin.

If Rose Gold isn't your shade, check out Sel - another must-have Iridescent Eye Shade from Chantecaille. These shadows are a luxurious treat.

You can purchase Chantecaille makeup and skin care at the Chantecaille Web site and Neiman Marcus. At Chantecaille right now, you will receive a sample of Nano Gold Firming Treatment with any purchase of $50 or more. I like the Nano Gold Energizing Cream so much, I think I'll have to place an order.

Photo courtesy of Chantecaille

Friday, March 26, 2010

Coming Attraction: Tom Ford Private Blend Lip Color

Tom Ford has to be one of the sexiest guys in the fashion and beauty business, although I think he looks better without the facial hair! Everything he touches is an instant success. Get ready, makeup lovers! WWD has reported that Tom Ford has designed new lip colors for the Estee Lauder Private Blend franchise.

The new lip color collection, which is launching in April in Europe and on June 1 in the United States, includes 12 shades priced at $45 - each intended to serve as a bold punctuation to a woman’s look. As Ford insists, there is “no more dramatic accessory than a perfect lip.” He said he believes a strong lip has the power to “define a woman’s whole look.”

I've been hiding under a rock, I guess, with my understated lip looks. What's a gal to do when she doesn't look good with bold lips? I'm distraught, but hoping there will be at least one shade for me. At $45, selecting only one shade would be the restrained thing to do - right?

Ford told WWD, “This is my take on 12 classic lip colors. I took the most universally flattering colors that a woman can wear, and then I re-imagined them in a modern and authoritative way. These are signature lip colors for the makeup connoisseur.”

The lipstick formula includes soja seed extract, Brazilian murumuru butter, and chamomilla flower oil, formulated to offer a creamy texture and smooth, easy application. Intense, treated color pigments will help keep the color true.

The "TF" initials are carved into the top of each lipstick, and each lipstick is housed in an elegant ivory case with gold accents - and, of course, the Tom Ford name.

The Private Blend Lip Color Collection will be available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Bergdorf Goodman, mirroring the Private Blend fragrance distribution. The new lipsticks are expected to bring in blockbuster sales. So when you get the chance, if you want one, buy it. The Tom Ford collections for Estee Lauder fly out of the stores.

Information and photos courtesy of WWD. If you follow fashion and beauty, you really need a subscription! Daily news online for only $99/year - not much more than two Tom Ford lipsticks.

Tom Ford photo courtesy of Getty Images

Gillette Venus Inner Goddess Giveaway Contest

Are you ready to reveal your inner goddess? Gillette Venus has generously offered to help one lucky giveaway contest winner!

You read Rebekah George's tips for a red carpet summer. She mentioned Venus Embrace, the most technologically advanced razor available today. The Venus Embrace has won prestigious beauty awards. If the editors of Allure, Shape, Cosmo, and love it, you will too.

Now, the advanced shaving technology of Venus Embrace's five blades surrounded by a Protective Ribbon of Moisture is available in disposables. I don't know about you, but I love to use razors as long as they work and then toss them. The Venus Embrace Disposable Razors are right up my alley.

Get ready for this summer's bare season with a set of four fabulous new products - all of which are available at mass market drugstores and retailers. You can even shop online at or

The four new or reformulated products?

Venus Embrace Disposables – The first and only five-bladed disposable razor for women and the most technologically advanced disposable on the market. Get an irresistibly close, smooth shave in just one stroke with a new SoftGrip handle for greater control.

Venus Embrace – Venus’ most technologically advanced five-bladed refillable razor with a Protective Ribbon of Moisture and pivoting head is now available in pretty pink.

SatinCare In-Shower Moisturizer – SatinCare’s first ever In-Shower Moisturizer helps lock in moisture for up to 24 hours after five days of use and eliminates the need for a moisturizer after showering.

Reformulated SatinCare Shave Gel – SatinCare Shave Gel delivers up to 35% more glide than ever before.

The winner of this giveaway contest will win each of these four fabulous products just in time for tank top and bikini season!

How can you enter to win? Comment here telling us your favorite bare look for summer. It's that easy! How do you stay cool and look your best? Willing to share your secrets?

After you comment, feel free to e-mail and identify your comment. You can never be too careful about sharing your e-mail address on a blog, so I would follow this second step if I were you (the alternative is to code your e-mail, e.g., myname at gmail dot com, in your comment).

The deadline for entries will be midnight, April 5. I will use a random number generator to select the winner.

In the meantime, look for these new products at your favorite store. Why not use the best?

I will be posting this contest at Free!Grechen too. Good Luck!

Update 4/1: This is not an April Fools' joke! I have extended this contest deadline by three days to April 5 to give more of you a chance to enter. Check out my April 1 review of the Venus Embrace Disposables.

Photos courtesy of Gillette Venus

Cosmetic Executive Women: 2010 Beauty Awards Finalists

The CEW Beauty Awards recognize the most innovative beauty products of the year, as voted by CEW members, industry professionals, and experts in the field of beauty. Winners will be announced at the CEW Beauty Awards Luncheon on May 21st 2010.

Here are the finalists in each category. If they made the list of finalists, you know they have to be buzz-worthy! I have linked back to BTiB reviews for some of the nominated products.

Drumroll, please!

BATH AND BODY: Body Treatment Mass
  • AVEENO - Positively Ageless Firming Body Lotion
  • Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company - Baby Oil Gel with Shea & Cocoa Butter
  • LUBRIDERM - Intense Skin Repair Ointment
  • Olay - Body Quench Advanced Healing Body Lotion
  • Vaseline - Sheer Infusion with Stratys-3
BATH AND BODY: Body Treatment Prestige
  • Clarins USA - High Definition Body Lift
  • Fresh - Brown Sugar Body Cream
  • Laura Mercier Cosmetics - Crème de Pistache Body Soufflé
  • MAC Cosmetics - Mineralize All-Over Lotion
  • Origins - Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Night Health Bedtime Spray
BATH AND BODY: Bath/Shower Product Mass BATH AND BODY: Bath/Shower Product Prestige
  • Ahava North America - Mineral Botanic Velvet Cream Wash - Hibiscus & Fig
  • Body Conscience - 3-Minute Shower Body Polish Bar
  • Fresh - Sugar Açaí Body Scrub
  • Kate Somerville Skin Care - ExfoliKate Body
  • philosophy - Bubble Gum Blow Out High Foaming Shampoo, Shower Gel, and Bubble Bath
  • Avon Products, Inc. - Clearskin Professional Invisible Blemish Treatment
  • CLEAN & CLEAR - Advantage Mark Treatment
  • DDF Skincare - Acne Control Treatment
  • La Roche Posay - Effaclar AI Intensive Acne Spot Treatment
  • Proactiv - Clear Purifying Mask
  • Avon Products, Inc. - Anew Clinical Derma-Full X3 Facial Filling Serum
  • Garnier - Nutritioniste Ultra-Lift Pro Deep Wrinkle Roller
  • GoodSkin Labs - Sculptinex Instant ReSculpting Face Treatment with Tensine and Resveratrol
  • Olay - Professional Pro-X Deep Wrinkle Treatment
  • RoC - Multi Correxion Skin Perfecting System
FACIAL SKINCARE: Anti-Aging Prestige
  • Aveda - Enbrightenment Brightening Intensive Massage Masque
  • Estée Lauder - Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex
  • Lancôme - Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate
  • Shiseido - White Lucent Brightening Serum for Neck & Décolletage
  • SK-II - Skin Signature 3D Redefining Mask
FACIAL SKINCARE: Cleanser & Scrub Mass
  • AVEENO - Ultra-Calming Moisturizing Cream Cleanser
  • CLEAN & CLEAR - Morning Burst In-Shower Facial
  • Neutrogena - Oil-Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing Facial Cleanser
  • VISINE - Total Eye Soothing Wipes
  • Yes To, Inc. - Cucumbers Natural Glow Facial Towelettes
FACIAL SKINCARE: Cleanser & Scrub Prestige
  • Aveda - Green Science Perfecting Cleanser
  • Kiehl's Since 1851 - Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser
  • philosophy - When Hope Is Not Enough Hydrating Cleansing Balm
  • Shiseido - Future Solution LX Extra Rich Cleansing Foam
  • Skyn ICELAND - Glacial Cleansing Cloths
FACIAL SKINCARE: Eye Treatment Mass
  • Avon Products, Inc. - Anew Clinical Crow’s Feet Corrector
  • Garnier - Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Sun-Damage Daily Eye Cream SPF 15
  • Neutrogena - Instant Eye Reviver from Ageless Restoratives
  • Olay - Regenerist Anti-Aging Eye Roller
  • Vichy - LiftActiv Retinol HA Eyes
FACIAL SKINCARE: Eye Treatment Prestige
  • Estée Lauder - Time Zone Anti-Line/Wrinkle Eye Creme
  • Lancôme - Génifique Eye Youth Activating Eye Concentrate
  • Origins - GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream to Brighten and Depuff
  • Shiseido - Benefiance NutriPerfect Eye Serum
  • Skinceuticals - A.G.E. Eye Complex
FACIAL SKINCARE: Moisturizer Mass
  • AVEENO - Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 30
  • Avon Products, Inc. - Anew Reversalist Night Renewal Cream
  • Garnier - Nutritioniste Skin Renew Awakening Face Massager
  • Grassroots Research Labs - Vitamin C Power Brightening Cream SPF 25 with Vitamins E and B5
  • Olay - Professional Pro-X Age Repair Lotion SPF 30
FACIAL SKINCARE: Moisturizer Prestige
  • Clinique - Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer SPF 20
  • Kiehl's Since 1851 - Açaí Damage-Correcting Moisturizer
  • Lancôme - Absolue Precious Cells Advanced Regenerating and Reconstructing Cream SPF 15
  • MAC Cosmetics - Studio Moisture Tint SPF 15
  • Shiseido - Future Solution Total Regenerating Cream
HAIR: Hair Care Product Mass
  • AVEENO - Nourish + Condition Leave-In Treatment
  • Garnier - Fructis Triple Nutrition 3-Minute Undo: Dryness Reversal Treatment
  • L'Oréal Paris - EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care Moisture Shampoo
  • Pantene - Nature Fusion Smooth Vitality Shampoo
  • Zotos International - Diamond Shine Shine Boost Rinse-Out Glaze
HAIR: Hair Care Product Prestige HAIR: Hair Coloring Product Prestige
  • Beau Colour - Root Essentials
  • Clairol Professional - Premium Crème Demi Permanente
  • ColorMetrics - TouchBack by ColorMark
  • Kelly Van Gogh - Root Rehab
  • Oscar Blandi Haircare - Pronto Colore Root Touch-Up and Highlighting Pen
HAIR: Hair Styling Product Mass
  • Dove - Heat Defense Therapy Mist
  • Garnier - Fructis Style Volumizing Anti-Humidity Hairspray
  • John Frieda Collection - Frizz-Ease Heat Defeat Protective Styling Spray
  • Klorane - No Rinse Care with Papyrus Milk
  • TRESemmé - 24 Hour Body Finishing Spray
HAIR: Hair Styling Product Prestige
  • Bumble and Bumble - Bb.Gel
  • DevaCurl - Mirror Curls
  • Living Proof, Inc. - Full Thickening Cream
  • Moroccanoil - Glimmer Shine Spray
  • Sebastian Professional - Microweb Fiber
MAKEUP: Eye Product Mass
  • CoverGirl - Smoky ShadowBlast
  • FLIRT! - Lash-a-delic Fast Defining Mascara
  • Maybelline New York - Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara
  • Neutrogena - Nourishing Eyeliner
  • Sonia Kashuk for Target - Dramatically Defining Long Wear Gel Liner
MAKEUP: Eye Product Prestige
  • Clinique - High Impact Curling Mascara
  • Estée Lauder - Double Wear Stay-in-Place Eye Pencil
  • Lancôme - Ôscillation Powerbooster Vibrating. Amplifying. Primer
  • MAC Cosmetics - Mineralize Eye Shadow
  • YSL Beauté - Mascara Singulier - Exaggerated Lashes, Dramatic Styling
MAKEUP: Face Product Mass
  • Avon Products, Inc. - Anew Wrinkle Zone Line Smoothing Duo
  • CoverGirl - Simply Ageless Sculpting Blush
  • Maybelline New York - Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation
  • Neutrogena - Mineral Sheers Concealer Kit SPF 20
  • Sonia Kashuk for Target - Super Sheer Liquid Tint
MAKEUP: Face Product Prestige
  • Bare Escentuals - BareMinerals Matte SPF 15 Infused with RareMinerals ActiveSoil Complex
  • Clinique - Redness Solutions Instant Relief Mineral Powder
  • Giorgio Armani Beauty - Lasting Silk UV Foundation SPF 20
  • MAC Cosmetics - Studio Sculpt SPF 15 Foundation
  • Origins - Multi-Grain Makeup SPF 14
MAKEUP: Lip Product Mass MAKEUP: Lip Product Prestige MEN'S GROOMING: Men's Grooming
  • American Crew - Trichology Hair Recovery Patch
  • Avon Products, Inc. - Patrick Dempsey 2 Dual Action Face Wash
  • Gillette - Hydra-Scrub + Body Wash
  • Lab Series Skincare For Men - Active Hand Cream
  • NIVEA for Men - Active 3
SCENT: Men's Scent
  • Aramis and Designer Fragrances - DKNY Men Eau de Toilette Spray
  • Bond No. 9 New York - Brooklyn Eau de Parfum
  • Coach Beauty - Coach for Men Fragrance Spray
  • John Varvatos - Artisan
  • Tom Ford Beauty - Grey Vetiver
SCENT: Women's Scent Mass
  • Avon Products, Inc. - In Bloom by Reese Witherspoon
  • Coty Beauty - Halle by Halle Berry eau de parfum
  • FLIRT! - Flowerific Perfume Spray
  • mark - Sophistique Eau de Toilette Spray
  • P&G Prestige - Avril Lavigne Black Star
SCENT: Women's Scent Prestige SUN: Sun Product Mass SUN: Sun Product Prestige
  • Bare Escentuals - BareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen
  • Chanel Inc. - UV Essentiel Protective UV Care - Anti-Pollution SPF 30+
  • Kate Somerville Skin Care - Somer360° Tanning Towelettes
  • St. Tropez - Everyday Perfect Legs
  • VMV Hypoallergenics - Armada Post Procedure Barrier Cream 50+
Next time you are looking for a new beauty product to try, you may want to consider one of these! If you have tried any of them, we would love to read your review in the comments.

The Friday Forum - March 26

TGIF! This week has been long enough, thank you!

Last night, I went through the rather long list of people I was following on Twitter and "unfollowed" some of them. It was just one of those days when I couldn't read everything I wanted to read (and my ribs still hurt!). Then, after unfollowing, I realized I might have unfollowed some of you - my readers, some of the best people in my world! If I did that, I will blame it on the beer and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish I ate for dinner (that's another story). So please e-mail me and let me know. I'll follow again "in the light of day." I don't want to miss your news, joy, announcements, and must-haves.

Twitter continues to interest me - from many standpoints. From a sociological perspective, it's an interesting community, marketplace, and alternative universe. There are even cliques, which may simply be an indicator that many tweetie birds are very young or high school never ends. From a beauty lover's perspective, it's a great way to find out about new products, special offers, contests, and "what's happening." I really enjoy it. If I didn't have to go to my "real universe" every day to work, I could stay home with the kitties, read, and write.

Don't forget that our Armani Beauty Maestro Mascara Giveaway Contest ends tomorrow night. I have more great contests to announce - the next one later today. Next week, we have a dynamite flat iron giveaway coming up, along with more new makeup. My thanks to everyone who enters!

You know The Friday Forum by now. The forum is devoted to what you have to say about anything related to beauty - or anything else you want/need to talk about. 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! Just use the comments. We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. Either way, I always enjoy hearing from you.

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.

I do have a question for you. Do you like the Weekend Roundups Kari at Fabulous Over Forty and I have been publishing? Do you get the chance to go off and read the beauty blogs we enjoyed during the week? We want to make the roundup a permanent feature, and I would love to have your feedback.

The microphone is yours!

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gillette Venus Red Carpet Summer

This year's red carpet season showed us fabulous fashion, hair, and makeup looks. From the People's Choice Awards to the Oscars, the red carpet was filled with glamorous women at their sexy best. A few showed some leg; others bared their backs or shoulders. The most admired looks screamed confidence, elegance, and beauty.

Taking a cue from this season's red carpet goddesses, Gillette Venus has partnered with beauty and fashion expert Rebekah George to highlight a few of the trends they loved and want to see again. You have probably seen Rebekah on the Today Show, Good Morning America, or The Early Show. She held fashion and beauty editor titles for magazines like Redbook, Prevention, Lifetime, Natural Health, and Grace, producing and styling stories that cover every trend from the runway to the real way, helping women across the country achieve their most coveted looks.

Here's some advice from Rebekah, who was kind enough to share her thoughts with Best Things in Beauty readers.

Say it with a shoulder!

Almost every celebrity took her turn stepping into a one-shoulder dress this year. This look sizzles! Baring a subtle amount of skin is sexy no matter what your body shape. To make a peek-a-boo look shimmer, try a shimmering body lotion to add a touch of flair.

Create a sophisticated bare look by showing off your legs and arms!

Start by shaving your legs and underarms really well. A five-bladed razor like Venus Embrace gets virtually every hair and will leave your skin feeling touchably smooth and looking beautiful all night long. After shaving your legs, layer on a lightweight lotion like Olay Quench Touch of Sun Plus, which moisturizes and gives you a hint of tint. Don't forget that the skin on your arms and legs is like an accessory to your outfit - like a great clutch or earrings - so go ahead and put makeup on it. I love body shimmer gels and powders like Benefit Bathina, a silky, glimmery balm that you apply with a puff. It helps your skin shine in a really subtle natural way.

If you are going all-out glam with a bright evening gown, keep your makeup simple!

Since your gown is making the statement, keep your makeup simple. Go with a bare skin look by really focusing on good coverage with your concealer and foundation. Pat on a peachy blush and a nude skin-toned gloss, black eyeliner and mascara, and you're set!

The best and worst of the red carpet looks this year?

Sandra Bullock was definitely a hit. I hate to say it, but Sarah Jessica Parker had a definite miss. Luckily, she's earned a pass throughout the years.

The fashion trends we will see for fall/winter 2010!

You will see four major looks: Urban Warrior, Conservative Glamour, Bohemian Babes, and Rocker Chic.

No matter whether you will be walking a red carpet, hanging out at the local swim club, or dressing bare this summer, you'll want to have smooth skin. No stubbly legs for us, right? You will find that the Venus Embrace is just the thing to achieve that smooth skin. Now, Venus Embrace is available in disposables! I'm on-board with that!

This post is a bit of a teaser. Tomorrow, I'll tell you all about the Gillette Venus products that will help you bring out your "inner goddess." We'll start a new Venus Embrace giveaway contest too. So, y'all come back, hear?

Photo courtesy of Gillette Venus

Chantecaille Nano Gold Energizing Cream

Recently, I was given the gift of gold - samples of Chantecaille's Nano Gold Energizing Cream. I have used up my samples, and I love it! Unfortunately, I am going to have to wait for a Friends & Family sale to purchase it. It costs $420.

Chantecaille says that Nano Gold Energizing Cream is a breakthrough product that helps the skin cope with stress. Infinitely small nano-particles of pure gold join forces with silk and botanicals to recharge, re-energize, and rebuild every skin type at the cellular level. The botanicals in the ingredient list make up a who's who of the garden.

Chantecaille explains that gold has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and detoxifying properties. Silk, a natural protein, is highly moisturizing and also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Together, they act as a regenerative and preserving force, helping skin maximize its energies to fight the aging effects of stress. They work to stimulate cell metabolism, boost collagen production, and create an effective UVA/UVB block. A potent formula of lactic acid and hydrolyzed wheat protein, a natural anti-fatigue agent, actually increases skin’s "natural intelligence" so it can better manage its rsources, especially during times of stress.

The active cell protector, a compound of pineapple juice, rosemary leaf extract, and fermented protein, helps stimulate cell regeneration and inhibit stress factors. Plantago extract, organically cultivated in the Swiss Alps, stimulates collagen synthesis and contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and healing properties. Algae extract immediately tightens skin and increases the formation of collagen over the long term.

Alpha-arbutin and vitamin C work together to lighten and even skin tone. Butcher’s broom, marigold, and horse chestnut soothe inflammation. Tocotrienols and vitamin E fight free radical and ultraviolet damage. Borage seed oil, evening primrose oil and shea butter nourish and moisturize.

Chantecaille says that if you use Nano Gold Energizing Cream, your skin will function with greater efficiency, replenishing depleted resources and retaining maximum health and radiant vitality. It gets better. The botanical fragrance is heavenly. Rose soothes and uplifts, helping to promote a sense of well-being. Geranium has wonderful balancing properties, promotes healing, and stimulates the lymphatic system.

This cream feels luxurious, provides uber-moisture, and has a divine "presence" on the skin. Its fragrance, while fleeting, is an aromatherapy treat. I just love it! I haven't figured out how to add it to my already expensive daily skin-care routine, but give me time. There must be some expense I can cut!

Chantecaille products are available at the Chantecaille Web site and Neiman Marcus. Maybe you can score a sample!

Photo courtesy of Chantecaille

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Maybelline Shine Sensational Lip Gloss

When I saw the new Maybelline display at CVS, I was attracted to the pretty colors - like a moth to light. So many of the Shine Sensational Lip Gloss ($5.99) colors looked luscious.

There was a hint on the display that the glosses might be flavored, and I don't like flavored glosses. But I rolled the dice and bought one - the darkest color, #60 Berry Dazzle. Not all flavored glosses are alike, I reasoned, and perhaps this one had a subtle flavor. The Berry Dazzle color in the tube looked gorgeous - a deep berry that appeared to have a lot of pigment. My thinking was that I could keep the gloss in my purse or car and use it for quick color touch-ups.

Here's what Maybelline has to say about Shine Sensational.

More Shine. More Luscious. More Yum.
  • Luscious shine, delectable feel
  • Comfortable, non-sticky, moisturizing high-shine formula.
  • Comes in 18 different enticing flavors and fragrances.
Here's my description of this gloss.
  • The flavor is overpowering. It's not a simple side note or a transitory annoyance. It's like having bubble gum stuck to your lips.
  • It's sticky. Heavy and sticky. Speaking of that moth, if he flew by, he might stick.
  • There is almost no pigment in it. Remember, I bought the darkest color. It looks clear on my lips. Why have 18 colors when they all look clear? See the model in this ad? There is no way she is wearing only Shine Sensational on her lips.
  • It is very shiny, but so are a bazillion other glosses.
I had hoped this new gloss might be a Best Drugstore Beauty candidate. It's not. I don't usually bother to write about slam-worthy products, but I feel it's my civic duty to warn you. Don't waste your money.

Update 3/25: Kathy had a good idea. This gloss is perfect for pre-teens. Find a BOGO, and you have party favors for those little girls who beg to use makeup, but are really too young.

Photos courtesy of Maybelline, which makes some of the best mascara I use

Let's Help Avon Help the Environment!

Avon Products, Inc. has launched Hello Green Tomorrow, a unique global grassroots mobilization in over 65 countries worldwide. The first goal of this environmental movement is to plant trees in the Atlantic Rainforest, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. Avon started the campaign by donating $1 million to replant one million trees, which will restore nearly 2,500 acres in one of the world's most critically endangered ecosystems. I'm pretty excited by this cause. What could be more beautiful than saving the earth?

With just a $1 donation per tree, you can join this unique global movement and help save the Atlantic Rainforest today - for us and for generations to come.

The Atlantic Rainforest in South America, spanning the Atlantic coast of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil, helps serve as the "lungs of the earth." Due to dramatic deforestation, only seven percent of the original rainforest remains. Imagine breathing with only seven percent of your lungs!

This is important to all of us, wherever we live. The rainforest is one of the greatest repositories of biodiversity on earth, with 20,000 plant species, 1,000 bird species, and 23 primate species, many found nowhere else on earth.

How can you help? You can click on this Avon link to donate a dollar. I did! You can donate online or contact your Avon representative. If you donate online, you will receive a weird confirmation about processing your order and shipping, but just ignore that if you didn't order any products.

Remember: small actions add up to big changes. Initial efforts are focused on March through May 2010, and Avon will announce the first milestone of funds raised on June 5, 2010, to mark United Nations World Environment Day, so don’t delay. Don't you want to participate? Give up that extra cup of store-bought coffee today and spend the money to be green.

If you want to learn more, visit Hello Green Tomorrow or follow the conversation on Twitter using the #hellogreentomorrow hashtag.

While you are there, if you decide to shop, use code AVON2010 for free shipping on any $20 order through March 25. I don't think you need it, but the donation shipping code is HGTFREE.

Photo courtesy of Avon

One-Day 30% Sale at Laura Geller

Today only, Laura Geller is offering a storewide 30% discount! You still have time; the sale runs until midnight ET March 24. Shop online at the Web site, in the store on Lexington Avenue in New York, or by calling 1-800-MAKEUP4, and you will receive the discount without a promotion code.

I called the store last year to get expert advice on color selections, and I was thrilled with the service. Today would be a great day to try Pink Grapefruit Blush-N-Brighten or one of the other baked goodies you've been eying.

If you spend $50 or more, you will receive free standard shipping. It's shopping time!

Photo courtesy of Laura Geller

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

YSL's New Ombre Solo Smoothing Effect Eyeshadow

I was thrilled when I learned that there were 12 new YSL Beauty Ombre Solo Smoothing Effect Eyeshadows ($30). The news sent me right to my favorite YSL counter. The Ombre Solos did not disappoint.

Easy to apply, with a silky-soft and rich texture, YSL shadow color remains vibrant all day. Blending YSL shadows is effortless, and the color is easy to layer to the intensity you want. The shadows come with two tiny applicators; you will probably want to use your own brushes unless you are on the go. The shadows are intended to provide a smooth look to the lids, and I think YSL succeeded.

The colors are all shown below. My choices? Maybe I'm kind of boring. I selected #2, Cashmere Brown, a beautiful taupe. Some might say it's just another brown shadow, but I found the color to be very flattering. Then I decided to get racy and made a hard choice between #3, Persian Blue, and #5, Slate Green. I wanted them both, but went with the Persian Blue. I know I can wear it as a liner, and I will play around with the color for other uses.

Which one(s) would you select?You can purchase YSL Beauty products at their Web site, where shipping on eye product orders is free. Use the promo code EYES10 through March 28. You can also find YSL cosmetics at Saks, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, and other department store counters.

Photos courtesy of YSL Beauty


LIERAC Paris is on my short list of "most favorite" skin care product lines. I was recently given a new product, MICRO-ABRASION ($38), which I have been using for a couple of weeks. It has become my go-to exfoliator!

It's hard to wax poetic or find inspiring language to describe exfoliators. They are somewhat like utilities. You can't live without them. Exfoliators keep your skin clear and bright and banish the dead skin cells that gunk up your pores and make you look dry. If you don't use an exfoliator regularly, it's likely your skin isn't as radiant as it could be. You may even look older than you are!

Not all exfoliators are alike. There are chemical and physical exfoliators, and within each category, there are huge variations in formulation and effectiveness. Not only that, some are way more gentle on the skin than others. I have a "rough time" with many physical exfoliators, often called microdermabrasion products. Some contain large particles that tear up my sensitive skin, leaving my face looking like it had a collision with asphalt.

I'm happy to tell you that LIERAC's MICRO-ABRASION is nice and gentle. It has claimed an exclusive spot in my shower. Officially called MICRO-ABRASION Stimulating Smoothing Cream for the Face, this pro treatment contains a high concentration of tiny alumina crystals (25%) to polish the skin and urea (3%) to make the process comfortable. Both ingredients - tiny particles and lots of cream - make this a great exfoliator for all skin types, and particularly sensitive skin.

LIERAC says you will achieve instant smoothness when you use it. Naturally, it polishes off dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. Additionally, by massaging it in for two minutes, you will achieve deeper cleansing to encourage re-oxygenation of your skin and prepare your skin for the skin-care treatment products you use. The result will be better toned, ideally moisturized, and glowing skin. Your pores are likely to look tightened too. Four minutes a week, and you will look better! How hard is that?

The directions say to use it once or twice a week. I have been using it twice, as directed. Naturally, I keep it away from my eyelids. My sensitive skin is happy, and so am I!

You can find MICRO-ABRASION at the LIERAC Paris Web site, CVS Healthy Skincare Stores, and online sites. Check LIERAC's Store Locator for other sources.

Photo courtesy of LIERAC

Monday, March 22, 2010

How to Avoid the #1 Eye Shadow Mistake

Are you over 40? Are you less than satisfied when makeup artists apply eye shadow for you? The most common mistake they make - and they have done it to me over and over and over again - is to apply shadow over crepiness on the upper eye lid. Even the smallest amount of crepiness can be accentuated with eye shadow. Read on to find out how to work around nature.

The photo isn't me (you know I'm a photo phobe!). It was taken from a cool site that has before and after photos of cosmetic surgery. This is a before photo and illustrates the crepiness that can develop in the inner half of your lid, right above the crease, as you age.

Here's the deal. Any kind of shimmer or sheen, certain colors, and sometimes even matte shadows can make those tiny wrinkles that comprise crepiness stand out. Instead of fading into the background with an expert application on other parts of the lid, they shout, "Look at me!" Take a look at the gorgeous Helen Mirren's eye shadow. That pink made her crepiness stand out.

What disturbs me is that many makeup artists paint right over crepiness, as if it weren't there. They have a paint-by-numbers look, by golly, and they are going to apply it to everyone. A few weeks ago, a darling young artist (keyword "young") did it to me. I wasn't paying attention, and sometimes it's hard to learn when you are too directive. So, I let her do her thing. When I was given a mirror to admire her work, the only thing I saw was gold pigment over my little crepiness, making me look about 80. What's so sad is that the rest of her work was pretty, and I fixed it easily when I went home. I just took a Q-Tip with a bit of eye makeup remover, and wiped the gold off that section of my lid. Then I covered it with a matte neutral shadow that I blended into her work at the middle of the lid. Presto! I looked good.

Loyd Cassler, Armani Beauty guru at Saks in Chevy Chase, Maryland, is a makeup artist who knows. The only shadows Loyd has ever applied to that section of my lid are matte or relatively "flat" neutral shades. You have to know your skin, and you have to know the shadow. Some will work over crepiness; some won't. I have found a shadow primer that works well over the whole lid, and it also brightens. Most of the time, I apply no shadow over it in that inner corner.

I leave the drama for the outer section of the upper lid (crease and up), which elongates my eyes at the same time. I use shadows that shine on the lid below the crease, where my lids are smooth and receptive to just about any type of shadow. I get my eye shadow fix, focus on a good feature, and avoid the trap.

Almost without fail, application of a shimmering shadow over wrinkling or crepiness will age you. Know your skin. Try different looks and find the ones that work for you. There will be a way to wear that striking new gold - as long as you put it in the right place!

Now, about eyelid surgery. If the crepiness gets really bad, you might want to consider an upper eyelid lift. The procedure is fast and can be done without general anesthesia (same for the lower lids - they use "twilight" anesthesia). Recovery is relatively simple, and the procedure can make a world of difference. I'm not advocating, just commenting. I haven't had the procedure, but know many happy women who have. An extremely well-regarded surgeon told me I was not a candidate and that there would be laser treatments available when I became one. Oh well. Maybe now that years have passed, I'll go talk to him again.

Photo courtesy of RealSelf and Yahoo! TV

Giorgio Armani Beauty Maestro Mascara Giveaway Contest

Inspired by Mr. Armani’s perception of the “couture eye,” Maestro Mascara ($28) seeks to draw attention to the eye by extending and adding volume to the lashes. Maestro’s patented applicator recreates a sumptuous volumized eye look, instantly sculpting lashes with utmost precision. Comprised of four combs and 30 teeth for heightened volume and perfect lash separation, Maestro creates a professional and mesmerizing eyelash look.

Some of its features?
  • Patented volumizing and separating lash applicator
  • Enriched with honeybee, jojoba, and carnauba waxes
  • Coats evenly with one stroke
I have four (yes, four!) Maestro Mascaras to give away, courtesy of the generous and talented Armani Beauty Team at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland. They take incredibly good care of Best Things in Beauty readers! Two of the mascaras are black, and two are brown.

Want va-va-voom lashes? All you have to do to enter to win one of the four is comment here, telling us why you would like to win and your first choice of color (unfortunately, no guarantees you will win your first choice).

After you comment, e-mail and identify your comment. You can never be too careful about sharing your e-mail address on a blog, so I would follow this second step if I were you (or code your e-mail, e.g., myname at gmail dot com, in your comment). The deadline for entries will be midnight March 27. I will use a random number generator to select the four winners.

I will be posting this contest at Free!Grechen too. Good Luck!

Photo courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First Look at New Armani Beauty Blushing Fabric and Face Fabric Radiance

Many months ago, Tim Quinn, Celebrity Face Designer for Giorgio Armani Beauty, told me that new "Face Fabric-like" products were on the way. They have arrived! "Fabric is the reason for my success," said Mr. Armani. So, he has worked with fabric-like textures in beauty products with great results. His Face Fabric Foundation SPF 12 ($48) has been an incredible success, winning a Cosmetic Executive Women Beauty Award - and winning over all my friends.

Blushing Fabric ($38) is a
micro-blend of water-soluble pigments that creates a luminous and luxurious fabric-like finish with incredible transparency. Inspired by Armani's finest couture fabrics - silks and chiffon - this sensuous "textiled" color wraps skin in weightless perfection.

Blushing Fabric is like wearing a "colored layer of air" on your skin. Formulated with Armani's MicroFil 3D technology, it creates your "second-skin blush." The unique MicroFil 3D formulations in Armani makeup products are characterized by lightness and fluidity, facilitating seamless blending and layering to enhance the natural glow of the skin.

Blushing Fabric is available in three shades that creating a soft-light, soft-focus blush of color. I think I need all of them!
  • Translucent strawberry, a strawberry pink for a fresh and luminous glow
  • Shimmering apricot pink, a coral-pink to enlighten the skin
  • Fresh baby pink, a pale pink for a touch of spring on the cheekbones
To apply, place a small amount of Blushing Fabric on the back of your hand and melt it with the tip of your fingers (best) or a brush you use for foundation or cream blushers. Then, moving from the apple of the cheeks to the temples, spread the product using circular motions. Repeat until you achieve the effect you like. You can use what is left on your hand to add a subtle touch of color to your eyelids or lips. Blushing Fabric can be worn alone or over a foundation.

Face Fabric Radiance ($48) is our "old favorite" Face Fabric Foundation reformulated with the exclusive MicroFil light fluid pigment for seamless application as your sheer second skin. It creates a radiant, luminescent glow. It's available in three shades: fair, medium, and medium dark. That choice will be easy for me: fair!

This is all so exciting! I "live for" new Giorgio Armani Beauty products. They are that good! These are available now at the Armani Beauty Web site (check out the Makeup drop-down), where free shipping is available with a purchase of $45 or more. Use code COMPSHIP. I'm sure the new product will be at Armani counters at Saks, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom (select stores) soon. Oh happy days!

Photos courtesy of Armani Beauty

Makeovers for the Cure

The gift of time is precious. Yesterday, a group of makeup artists, spa professionals, and others who made the Makeovers for the Cure event "work" donated their time to help fund the fight against cancer - angels all. I was privileged to spend a few hours at the event, held near Dulles Airport in Virginia. I left more convinced than ever that we will find a cure for breast cancer (all cancers really) with so many angels behind the effort.

I found the event through a @VictoriaStiles tweet (Vicki is shown above and to the right), and she graciously allowed me to attend so that I could blog for the cure. When I walked into the Leiper Stiles Studios - a studio transformed into three rooms for makeup and manicures - the event was underway. Vicki gave me a quick tour and introduced me to the angels who were all busily doing makeup and manicures. It was a warm and welcoming party.

As I wandered from room to room, I asked the same question, "What brought you here today?" Each person told me her or his personal reasons for being there - making a difference, giving back, remembering a relative or friend who had died from breast cancer, and more happily, celebrating one who had survived cancer. Beauty, the focus of the event, was the fun thread that brought so many people together, but it wasn't the first thing anyone mentioned. It was all about giving and a great cause!

Makeovers for the Cure has a unique background. In 2009, makeup artists and other beauty industry professionals across the nation were asked to advertise in an upcoming book to support Cancer Schmancer (a charity led by Fran Drescher) and Stand Up 2 Cancer. Unfortunately, the book publishers were con artists (yep, criminals stealing money that was intended for the cure), and the proceeds of the campaign never made their way to the charities. While the authorities work to bring the scumbags to justice, some of the donors set out to make sure that funds would be channeled to the charities.

Vicki Stiles and Lisa Barnes (shown below selecting nail polish) developed the idea of Beauty Pros Make It Right, a non-profit organization that unites beauty professionals and 501(c)(3) charities to tackle the fight against cancer. Some of those who donated their services yesterday were among those who had been scammed. They were all there to ensure that funding would go to three great charities, Cancer Schmancer, Stand Up 2 Cancer, and Critters for the Cure.

The event was sponsored by a long list of fab people who all deserve a mention!
  • Victoria Stiles (
  • Lisa (LiLi) Barnes (
  • Kathy Aragon (
  • Kim Reyes (
  • Kim Gray (
  • Shauné Hayes (
  • Brooke Williams (
  • Lisa Carter-McPhee (
  • Celebrating You The Spa (
  • Paint and Powder Cosmetics (
  • Lisa Schultz (
  • Savoir Fare Limited (
  • Capital Party Rentals (
  • Shelley Miller (
  • Jacob Anthony (
  • Sherry Bae Restifo (
  • Rhonda Bishop, Keya Bhagirath Asuquo, and Jason Perkins
  • Daniel Stiles ( - Dan was "everywhere" taking photos
A few of many memorable conversations

Renee Platzer (second photo from top with Vicki) came to support Vicki. She is a nine-year cancer survivor and an ardent supporter of the cause.

Natalie Skotzko's mother is a mammographer, her grandmother had breast cancer, and her aunt is currently undergoing treatment. Natalie is shown seated above left. She had a killer green eye shadow application, and Alloria Carter painted Natalie's nails green to match.

Kim Gray (shown above right wearing a great necklace) is a beautiful woman who manages to do it all - she's a makeup artist, works in ethics, and volunteers her time. She goes to a homeless shelter twice a month to do makeovers for homeless women. She loves to use her talents to give back.

Erica White (long curly hair above right) came to support the cause. She walked in looking gorgeous and left looking even more gorgeous, thanks to Kim!

LiLi Barnes, cool makeup artist shown above in ruffled black top, decided I needed gold on my eyes Saturday. LiLi, I looked great at dinner!

LiLi painted a beautiful smoky eye as she did a makeup application on participant Natalie Weygandt.

I had a fun conversation with Mary Amons (shown below left), reliably rumored to be on the Real Housewives of DC show scheduled to start soon. Mary and I have a lot in common. She lives in McLean, my hometown; we know many of the same people; and we went to the same high school. We didn't get to hang out together in high school, though. I graduated the year she was born. Yikes! Mary is joining Fran Drescher to collaborate on her passion to make a difference for women's health initiatives. She came yesterday to show her support and get a pretty makeup application.

What makeup and nail polish were the artists using? All different types - everything from MAC to mineral makeup, OPI to Chanel, and everything in between. The common thread? The results were really flattering. There wasn't an over-painted woman at the event. Those artists knew their stuff!

There will be more Makeovers for the Cure events. I will be supporting them. If you would like to help, you can contact Victoria Stiles at her Web site.

Photos by Daniel Stiles and BTiB - my thanks to Dan for sharing his photos. You can see the whole set of Dan's event photos at this link.

I have to learn to stop smiling for cameras. Smiling make me look wrinkled - wrinkled, but happy! :)