Friday, April 30, 2010

Guerlain Ombre Éclat Eye Primer

Guerlain's Ombre Éclat Eye Primer ($35) is prominently featured with the newest color collection. Billed as a primer and treatment in one multifunctional product, this base has been specifically designed to "fix" makeup for a perfect hold. It is also marketed as a treatment having smoothing and moisturizing agents to protect the delicate eyelid area against the harmful effects of aging and the environment.

Creative Director Olivier Échaudemaison advises, “Apply to the eyelid before makeup using a brush or your fingertips. This soft, radiant beige base is perfect for all skin tones and can therefore be used on its own, as an eyeshadow, or to brighten and revitalize the eyes." Well, maybe.

I like this product, and there will be some women for whom it's perfect - in shade and performance. Unfortunately, it's not perfect for me. It's too dark. I'm accustomed to a primer that is just as light as I am, and my primer must serve to brighten my eye area. In fact, my favorite primer can be used without shadow on top for a nice, natural look. It removes any redness from my crease area and leaves my eyelids looking concealed, bright, and uniform.

This product feels great. It has a creamy texture and good slip (there are waxes in its formula). I have been applying it with my Bobbi Brown Touch-up Brush. Once I get an even amount applied - and that isn't 100% easy because of the color issue - it provides an effective base for my eye makeup. The issue for me is the color. It's quite transparent when applied, and the beige shade doesn't add anything to my skin tone. It almost disappears. It's there, but it doesn't perk up my eyelids, and it doesn't even out my skin tone.

Naturally, its packaging and case have all the markings of a luxury product. I love Guerlain cosmetics for their elegance. It just turned out that this one wasn't made with my name on it. My advice to you: you must try it before you buy. Give the tester a workout in the store (if you trust the store's testers). If the color suits you, and you like the way your lids are primed after you have applied it, this could be a keeper for you. There are going to be lots of women for whom it's perfect.

You can purchase Guerlain's Ombre Éclat Eye Primer at department stores and Sephora. I got mine at Saks during Friends & Family.

Photo courtesy of Guerlain

The Friday Forum - April 30

It's Friday! Once again, we can put another week behind us and talk beauty together.

Clear the decks! Clear the tracks! You've got nothing to do but relax. Blow a kiss. Take a bow. Honey, everything's coming up roses!

This has been a "recovery" week for me, with my knees on the mend, but still slowing me down. I want to thank everyone who has inquired and let you know that I'm much better now! Not back into overdrive (my usual mode), but I can walk without fear of toppling over or collapsing onto the floor in slow-mo.

I'm ready for The Friday Forum! Most of you know, we "share" information in The Friday Forum. 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'll be posting the latest ones this evening.

The microphone is yours!

Bobbi Brown Antigua Face Palette

Bobbi Brown's Antigua Face Palette ($55) is one fabulous little number, and it's a Bloomingdale's exclusive. I bought mine weeks ago, and I'm loving it!

Designed to give you that well-rested, seaside glow, this Caribbean-inspired palette has a pinky-peach illuminating bronzer that gives pale skin subtle, sun-kissed color and works as a beachy blush on darker skin tones. The palette also includes three neutral eye shadows and three pink lip colors that let you take your look from subtle to bold, just like a week on the islands. These colors were made for me, and I'm betting they were made for a lot of you too.

The shades are: Navajo Eye Shadow, Oat Eye Shadow, Caviar Eye Shadow, Antigua Illuminating Bronzer, Kitten Creamy Lip Color, Pink Ballet Creamy Lip Color, and Azalea Metallic Lip Color. This palette is worth your consideration. You could purchase most of these shades as single items, but why do that when you can get so much for $55?

You can find the Antigua Face Palette at Bloomindale's stores and on the Web site.

Photo courtesy of Bloomingdale's

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Sunny Clarins Sun Light Collection for Summer 2010

Clarins has a winning color collection for the season! The Sun Light Collection has three key pieces to brighten or bronze your look for summer. In short, they are gorgeous.

I first played with them at Saks a couple of weeks ago. The collection had only been there for about two weeks, but many pieces were sold out. Clearly, faster shoppers had discovered the beauty of the collection. So, I bought what I could at Saks and ordered the rest of the items I wanted from the Clarins Web site. Pfew! Mission accomplished. Then I asked about the collection at Bloomingdale's a week later. The response? "Wow, it blew right out of here!"

I know that inventory control is a key issue for department stores these days, but could the buyers not have seen that this collection would be a blockbuster? Its carefully edited pieces and universally appealing colors were going to sell.

Let's start with the limited-edition Instant Sun Light Eye Quartet & Liner Palette ($36), four warm eye shadows and a liner that will work for both warm and cool skin types while adding a summer glow.

Decorated with a shimmery gold star anise flower, the four shades are pearly ginger, iridescent cinnamon, matte cocoa, and sparkling paprika. They are joined by a metallic nutmeg eyeliner, and the shades can be used to give you countless looks from sweet to smokey. The palette contains tiny applicators - good for women on the go - but use your professional brushes at home. I love every one of these colors. There are no blah neutrals in this palette! Instead, there are shadows designed to add light with their color, and the effect on the lid is stunning.

The Instant Sun Light Instant Smooth Compact Highlighter ($32) comes in two shades: natural and bronze. They are irresistible. I toyed with both, with the help of Armani makeup maestro Loyd Cassler. I wanted them both, but couldn't decide between safe (Natural, a light pink pearly shade) and Bronze (a totally wearable pearly bronze highlighter). The texture of these highlighters is creamy, and the effect on the skin is soft and pretty. They are also generously sized. Loyd chose Bronze for me, telling me that it was a shade I don't own. There you have it; I came home with Bronze! Except...I really wanted the Natural one too, so that found its way into my online order. They are both gorgeous.

There are three Instant Sun Light Click & Gloss SPF 6 ($18) lip glosses, available in Vanilla, Coral, and a luscious Cinnamon. I can't tell you how much the name "Cinnamon" turns me off, given my aversion to the real thing. So, I just overlooked the name and bought the gloss. It's a pretty mauve that's perfect for my coloring, and it carries enough pigment to give my lips some color. The click-pen applicator leaves most of the product carefully protected in the packaging while you use only what you need.

There's more (some cool lip balms, a waterproof liner, and more), but I bought the most exciting pieces. Check out the entire collection at the Clarins Web site, where you can actually find these products. Or meander by your local Clarins counter at the department store and bemoan the fact that you wanted to see and possibly purchase these. Maybe the buyers will get the hint if the sales associates pass along the word about the demand.

Photos courtesy of Clarins

Special Armani Beauty Giveaway Contest for DC-Area Beauty Lovers

Update 5/14: We are canceling this contest. Not enough entries. We will do something special for the one entrant. Stay tuned for the next Armani Beauty giveaway contest! Do make an appointment to go see Tim on May 21-22 if you can - he's fabulous!

Giorgio Armani Beauty's Crema Nera OMC3 is a blockbuster hit - with me, my friends, and world-wide. OMC3 has an SPF of 15 (protecting against both UVA and UVB rays), so it's basically a day cream - lightweight in feel, but with heavy-duty effectiveness. It's priced at $185. See the information below for more about OMC3.

Best Things in Beauty has one OMC3 to give away, courtesy of the generous Armani Beauty team at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Here's the deal. Saks in Chevy Chase, Maryland has a super-cool two-day event coming up. Tim Quinn, Giorgio Armani Beauty's Celebrity Face Designer, will be there on May 21 and 22 (Friday and Saturday) to help women with appointments select the right colors to look their best. He may not be the one who actually applies your makeup - it will depend on how busy it is when you go - but he will definitely select some shades for you.

To be eligible to win this contest, you have to do three simple things.
  1. Simply leave a comment here saying you are going to the event.
  2. Call the Armani counter at Saks at (240) 497-5206 and make an appointment to meet with Tim. When you call, make sure to tell them you are a Best Things in Beauty reader and what name you used to leave the comment.
  3. Keep your appointment with one of the world's best makeup artists.
It's that easy! After the event, Loyd Cassler, leader of the Saks Armani Beauty Team, and I will compare notes for eligibility, and then I will use a random number generator to select a winner. I'd say your odds of winning are going to be high since I don't think I have that many DC-area readers.

Now, back to OMC3 for a minute. The targeted anti-aging OMC3 treatment is designed to restructure, replenish, and re-plump the skin for women (and men) concerned with wrinkles, firmness, and sagging. Its active ingredients are the OMC3 complex, a combination of perlite solute, iron, and silicium - the latter two being anti-aging, cell-regenerating minerals; pro-xylane, which stimulates the production of glycosaminoglycans, important to the function of connective tissue; and hyaluronic acid (a must-use topical hydrator). This is "good stuff" for the skin!

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

The contest deadline for leaving a comment here is midnight on May 20. I wouldn't recommend that you wait to book your appointment with Tim. Appointments with him are always a hot ticket, and they book fast. Check out my recent interview with him!

My thanks, once again, to the uber-generous Armani Beauty team at Saks for this contest! It's intended to be a thank you to my local readers and their customers - and a nice way to introduce you to Armani's superstar, Tim Quinn.

I'll be posting this giveaway contest at Free!Grechen, my favorite giveaway contest site. Good luck!

Photo courtesy of Armani Beauty

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Avon magiX Cashmere Finish Foundation SPF 10

I'm on an Avon roll! I received Avon's magiX Cashmere Finish Foundation SPF 10 to test. I'll skip to the conclusion and tell you right now that it's fabulous. Let me back, up, though, and explain my foundation requirements and preferences - and why I have them.

I'm pretty picky about foundation. The name "foundation" says it all. Your foundation forms the basis for the rest of your makeup, so it's got to be great and prepare the "canvas" for what's to come.

Here's what I want in a foundation.
  • Some coverage. I have some sun damage on my face, and I want to blur it. I also have areas of redness in the middle of my face - particularly on my nose - and I want them to be nice and light to match the rest of my face.
  • Moisture. I want my foundation to feel good.
  • The right shade. Sometimes, as all of you know, it's hard to find the right shade, and when you find a foundation that meets all of your criteria, and the shade is perfect too, it's nirvana. I need a foundation that's not too yellow, but not too pink. Not always easy to find.
  • It has to last during the day. I'm only impressed if it looks perfect when I leave home, continues to look good at mid-day and still looks good when I get home from work.
  • The right texture. It absolutely cannot settle into my expression lines.
  • The right finish. This relates to the other criteria, but basically, I like a soft, dewy finish - one that blurs my imperfections, but doesn't look heavy or caked. Totally matte foundations are not good for me.
  • I do want some sun protection in my foundation - just enough to ensure that incidental damage from indirect light, indoor lighting, or a dash outside won't damage my skin.
With all these criteria, I have gravitated over the years to high-end foundations. There are some great ones that meet my requirements and make me very happy. I have never identified a drugstore foundation that I would substitute for my pricey foundations. I'll even admit that the first time I tried this new foundation, I had to pry my Armani Beauty foundation out of my right hand with the left as I reached for a backup. Seriously, I was ready with a back-up plan!

You can't call Avon a "drugstore beauty product," but I always though it was comparable in price. Lessons have been learned here lately! Avon's new foundation (it was introduced in February 2010) is normally priced at $11, but is on sale now for $7.95. That makes its price way better than inferior drugstore foundations. Then we get to performance, and it blows away the competition in its price range. I like everything about it, and I highly recommend it. Avon magiX Cashmere Finish Foundation with SPF 10 is amazing.

Unlike some competitors, Avon knows that we come in many different skin colors and different tones within each. None of that silly light, medium, and dark business. This new foundation is available in 12 shades - from Light Ivory to Earth. I'll bet there's one that's perfect for you. I turned out to be the second lightest, Ivory. The first time I used it, I squeezed out a dab into my palm to see what I was dealing with and decide how I would apply it. The dab looked a little dark (instant thought: am I a Light Ivory?), and the foundation seemed to have a medium-weight mousse texture. I decided on fingers, and I actually think that was the right choice. It blended like a dream - quickly too.

The foundation instantly diminished my flaws (I have some freckle-like spots near my hairline and two larger areas of hyperpigmentation in the same area). After application, they were blurred (only a concealer would make the darker freckle-like ones disappear entirely). I had the same impression I had had the first day I tried the pricey Clé de Peau Refining Fluid Foundation ($118 for one ounce) - nice soft-focus finish!

The formula of magiX was inspired by the soft-focus technology in cameras (and Photoshop) that's often used to make celebrities' skin look perfect. Avon's magiX is formulated with the company's patent-pending Optix Light-Diffusing Technology, which blurs imperfections to deliver an instant look of poreless, shine-free, and line-free skin. It also features Avon's newest texture breakthrough, Soft Touch Blend, which weaves together real silk fiber proteins with a unique blend of luxurious powders. The result is seamless, second-skin blending.

Advertised as offering buildable light-to-medium coverage for a dewy-matte finish, magiX is said to banish shine for up to 10 hours. I don't have a shine issue; I have a dull issue. My skin looked perky all day.

The tube it comes in is one ounce, but you don't need a lot, and the price, even for only an ounce, is beyond reasonable. I got the same effect from an $11 product that I got from one that I had paid $118 for. I have had a twinge of guilt this week as I considered that the difference could have helped pay my charge card bills.

Avon's magiX is available through an Avon representative. To find the representative nearest you, just visit Avon's Web site. Or you can shop conveniently online at Avon's Web site. Avon has great specials. Sign up for their e-mail list! There are lots of sales and free shipping offers. Just check out the comments on Monday's GLIMMERSTICKS Diamonds Eye Liner post to see current offers and find some gals who would love to help you select your new foundation. Try it and please let me know what you think! I'm impressed.

Photo courtesy of Avon

Prada Infusion de Tubéreuse

I am a huge fan of tuberose, the white floral, night-blooming plant prominent in Indian culture. I'll bet you have seen and smelled tuberose in floral arrangements and not realized what it was. My Art with Flowers friends at Tysons Galleria did something so sweet for me about a year ago when they gave me a few stalks of tuberose to take home with me. They perfumed my bedroom for days!

Tuberose has been described as complex, exotic, sweet, floral, and sultry. One of my favorites for many years was Jo Malone's Tuberose. I was bummed when her tuberose bath oil discontinued.

If a fragrance is tuberose-based, I must try it. I jumped for joy when I learned that Prada was introducing a new fragrance with tuberose at its heart. Although I never liked Prada's early fragrance introductions (I thought the one named Prada was a stink bomb), I was swept away by perfumer Daniela Andrier's Infusion de Fleur d'Oranger. I hoped that Infusion de Tubéreuse ($74-135) would be as enticing.

It is! As with most Prada introductions, it's a hot ticket. It is featured in the May 2010 Vanity Fair and the May 2010 InStyle. Infusion de Tubéreuse is also now featured on my body!

Described as an unexpected mix of tuberose from India, petitgrain bigarade, blood orange from Italy, and luxurious dynamone, Infusion de Tubéreuse could be called traditional or modern. It just depends on your nose and your perspective. I'm perfectly happy with traditional.

Here's Prada's description of the composition.

Tuberose from India: Tuberose is a symbol for creation - intoxicating and penetrating. In Infusion de Tubéreuse, the flowers are delicate and young, like morning buds not yet touched by the sun.

Petitgrain Bigarade: Made from the leaves of the bitter orange tree, petitgrain bigarade is reminiscent of fresh green leaves after the rain.

Blood Orange from Italy: Juicy citrus notes of blood orange from Italy are blended with precision to give a sparkling freshness to the tuberose.

Dynamone: A rare and luxurious ingredient in perfumery, dynamone brings sensuality to Infusion de Tubéreuse. Its woody notes bring the citrus and floral notes into harmony, enabling this fantasy infusion.

This tuberose fragrance is lightened by the zippy blood orange and green notes. It is soft and subtle. Give it a try. It smells great!

The design of the packaging and on the bottle cap of the fragrance was inspired by an archive Prada print. It's mauve and a perfect counterpoint to the bottle.

I bought mine at Saks. It came in a set with a matching body lotion for $100, which you can also purchase at Nordstrom. Other department stores and specialty stores that carry Prada fragrances will also have it.

Photos courtesy of Nordstrom and

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ample Angora Volumizing Light Foam

Last week, I ordered a new hair product - totally an impulse purchase - while I was ordering the highly praised Essence Absolue from Shu Uemura Art of Hair. Ample Angora Volumizing Light Foam ($33) looked interesting. I always need something to add volume to my flat, fine hair, and I was game to try a new potion. I'm happy to report that it works - really well!

While I had used it before today, today gave it the ultimate test. It was destined to be a bad hair day. It rained overnight, and this morning the ground and air were saturated with water. That usually means hair style death to me. On top of that, it was windy. I expected to look something like a bedraggled puppy by the time I got into my office. Ample Angora saved me! Literally. My style withstood the elements, and it looked no different than it did when I had finished blow drying. My hair had volume, my bob was intact, and my hair had movement and shine. How much more can you ask?

On Shu Uemura's Art of Hair Web site, I had read that it has a green floral fragrance enveloped in lily of the valley. If you read my lily of the valley fragrance post last weekend, you will know that I love that scent! I was hooked on the description, even though I am not a fan of scented hair products. I'm not at all disappointed to tell you that the fragrance is nondescript. The mousse has almost no fragrance, and what little it had was gone in a flash. That's fine. I can add my florals with perfume.

Ample Angora is enriched with Japanese cedar bud, known for fortifying properties. It promised to offer volume as ample and silky as angora. It also said it would offer medium hold to my fine hair without crunchiness, leaving it nicely soft. It met its promises - and then some.

It's definitely a lightweight mousse in texture. When I pushed down on its applicator the first time, I got what I feared was too much - a big pouf of airy mousse. I spread it across both hands, lightly ran it through my hair, and then combed and styled as I always do (including the obligatory "head upside down" part of the routine for volume). When I finished, I could feel virtually no trace of "product" left. It was nicely integrated into my hair. What I did have was volume, and I've had it each time I've used it, which brings me back to today. For full disclosure, I need to tell you I used Pureology hair spray, but I always use spray to finish. It doesn't always help me fend off weather disasters.

I am home from work, and if I may say so, my hair looks pretty darn good. It's got volume and bounce, and it was destined to be a bad hair day. I'm happy with my impulse purchase! If you are looking for a new hair product, give this one a try. I think it's a keeper!

You can purchase Shu Uemura Art of Hair products at the Web site. You can also use the company's locator for a salon near you. My only criticism? Their Web site is a little slow and annoying (probably because of the razzle-dazzle), and navigation isn't entirely intuitive. Small price to pay to find a keeper.

Photo courtesy of Shu Uemura Art of Hair

Monday, April 26, 2010

Avon GLIMMERSTICKS Diamonds Eye Liner

Earlier today, I told you about a drugstore eyeliner bargain. Now we move to Avon's new GLIMMERSTICKS Diamonds Eye Liner ($6.00) - with a better price, less effort, and a fabulous look! Sometimes, the best bargains aren't at the drugstores. How many of us have overlooked Avon over the last few years - except, of course, for Skin So Soft, which we all use to keep from being eaten by mosquitoes, right?

This spring, you can give your beauty routine a high-definition boost with Avon’s new vibrant and rich makeup must-haves, including the GLIMMERSTICKS Diamonds Eye Liners. Avon has a new high-definition makeup line, these eyeliners are part of it, and these products are definitely on my radar.

I received some samples of these products, and I'm going to tell you today about the first one I used. GLIMMERSTICKS Diamonds Eye Liners are normally $6.00, but are on sale at for $2.99! Yikes - how can you afford not try one (or more) at that price?

Avon says your eyes will sparkle in any of the six long-wearing, waterproof, and smudge-proof shades that will give you dramatic definition and add some glimmering glamour to your look. These retractable stick liners with just a touch of shimmer are flattering, and they are available in basic shades and subtly updated shades as well.
  • Black Ice
  • Brown Sugar
  • Emerald Glow
  • Smoky Diamond
  • Sugar Plum
  • Twilight Sparkle
Regardless of their name, these liners are not glittery. They add a soft glow, and I really love the one I am using: Black Ice. It's a soft black that's perfect for my fair features. I want Brown Sugar, Smoky Diamond, and Twilight Sparkle next. I'm smitten - both with the price and their performance.

The liners are so easy to apply and control, and I adore the retractable feature. Don't ask me why; it's one of those intangibles. I just like the way I can swivel out the liner to have just the right amount on hand. The texture is creamy, and the liner glides on very smoothly for a nice straight line - perfect! The liner lasts all day for me - Avon says at least 12 hours - but I'd say longer.

GLIMMERSTICKS Diamonds Eye Liners get a definite thumbs up! I can't figure out how Avon manages to offer such fabulous products at its value pricing. I returned to Avon last year with shadows, and I haven't looked back.

These eyeliners are available through an Avon representative. To find the representative nearest you, just visit Avon's Web site. Even though I have bought from local representatives many times, I prefer to shop online. Avon has great specials. Sign up for their e-mail list! There are lots of sales and free shipping offers (one free shipping offer ends tonight - use code 426FSD if you get there on time). I don't want those nice "Avon ladies" to lose business - most of them are terrific - but online shopping is so convenient.

There you have it - a real bargain! I published this tonight, rather than tomorrow morning, just in case some of you wanted to take advantage of that free shipping code. Have fun! More to come on Avon in the next week.

Update 4/27: I awakened to a new free shipping offer from Avon. With any $20 purchase, use code AVON2010 through May 6. There you go, great time to shop. Make sure to check out the rest of the High-Definition Mega Watt Drama Collection. I'll be posting more soon.

Photo courtesy of Avon

Best Drugstore Beauty: Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner

Maybelline has a hit on its hands! Offering a drugstore-priced alternative to prestige department store gel eyeliners, Maybelline has introduced Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner ($9.99).

The oil-free formula holds the liner's highly concentrated pigments in a clear gel base so that the result is intense color that lasts for 24 hours. It's smudge-proof and waterproof, and I can attest to that! Maybelline says it removes easily with soap and water, but I recommend an oil-based eye makeup remover, holding the pad at the base of your lashes for a few minutes to soften the product before you do the soap and water wash.

Most gel liners are easy to apply. You can create an intense line, if that's your preference, or a very thin one (my preference). It's all about the brush you use, and that's the only weakness of this product. The brush doesn't allow me to apply the liner with the precision I like. It goes on too thick or uneven, no matter what I do. My solution is to use one of Bobbi Brown's two eyeliner brushes. They are fabulous and give me the control I want. While I wouldn't say this liner is as good as Bobbi's, it offers an attractive and affordable alternative to those who want to wear a gel liner, but can't afford department store prices.

If you already have a great eyeliner brush, you will want to check out this new best drugstore beauty pick. It's available in a glass pot in four colors: Blackest Black, Brown, Charcoal, and Aubergine (deep black-purple). It comes contained in a nice, sealed package, so it's tamper-proof. Maybelline says it's ophthalmologist tested and safe for sensitive eyes.

When it arrived at the stores in my area, it was available for a week and then quickly sold out in every shade except the Aubergine. Now, the stores are restocking. I bought Blackest Black, Brown, and Charcoal to give all of them a test drive. I like all three shades. The price is particularly nice with the use of a coupon or during a BOGO offer. Choose the color you like best! Then buy more if you love it. You'll find the new liner anywhere you buy Maybelline. I bought mine at CVS and Rite Aid.

Photo courtesy of Maybelline

Kinerase Ultimate Volume Lip Conditioner SPF 20

Kinerase has introduced an innovative new lip balm, Ultimate Volume Lip Conditioner SPF 20 ($28). The lip conditioner includes collagen-boosting ingredients to correct the symptoms of aging by correcting wrinkles and plumping the lips for a nice full appearance, while providing UVA/UVB protection with its SPF 20 to prevent further sun damage to the lip area.

It has a cream-gel texture. It's not "hard," like some products referenced as balms. I would describe it as close in feel to the lovely Jo Malone Vitamin E Lip Conditioner. That's high praise.

The conditioner is packed with great ingredients, including Volulip, a peptide complex that increases hyaluronic acid levels and stimulates the production of three types of collagen. As our lips age, they get thinner, so this treatment visibly plumps while it repairs the signs of aging, leaving noticeably smooth, full, and shiny lips.

Volulip has been shown to mimic hyaluronic acid injections in scientific lab studies. It is said to increase the appearance of lip volume by up to 15%. I am using Ultimate Volume Lip Conditioner, and I think that's an accurate assessment. When you apply it, there is a slight (I do mean slight) tingling for a few minutes. I knew right away my lips would look plumper, but I was pleasantly surprised when I looked in the mirror. I got my 15%! I don't like those lip plumpers that are nearly painful. The tingling with this one is short-term and barely noticeable.

The new conditioner also includes dehydrasomes, organic phospholipids that attract water, locking in moisture to rehydrate and plump the lips. This is why you should use the conditioner day and night - or as often as you want - to keep your lips feeling and looking smooth.

Naturally, because it's a Kinerase product, it includes Kinetin, the company's cornerstone ingredient. Kinetin is a plant growth factor that improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and increases the skin’s ability to maintain moisture. It's the ingredient that has made other Kinerase skin-care treatments uniquely successful.

You can purchase Kinerase Ultimate Volume Lip Conditioner at the Kinerase Web site, where it will be back in stock soon, or at DERMAdoctor,, or your favorite online site or retailer for Kinerase. This one's definitely worth checking out!

My thanks to our regional Kinerase representative for sending me this product. I love it! I'm a Class 1 lip balm addict and a loyal Kinerase fan, so I was dying to try it. As a card-carrying lip balm addict, I reapply something to moisten my lips at least every 30 minutes. (As an aside, I had a professor in college who told us one could get addicted to lip balm. I thought he was loony. Little did I know at the time!) I find that this new Kinerase product gives me extra time between balm applications, and once it absorbs, it allows my other lip products - lipstick, gloss - to last longer.

Update 4/27: I understand that the lip conditioner will be available in the retail stores in May.

Photo courtesy of Kinerase

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shiseido Spring Collection - Part 2

Isn't she darling? This is Anne Houseman of BeautyXposé. I only wish I had taken a close-up, well-defined photo of her stunning eyes. Anne and I had the pleasure of a makeup session yesterday with the renowned Shiseido National Makeup Artist, Renato Almeida. This morning, I wrote about Renato and his favorite Shiseido products, Now, I'll tell you about the fabulous colors he used on us.

When Renato started Anne's look, he prepped her eyelids, lash to brow, with Concealer Stick #2 ($26.50), a cream concealer in a convenient stick form. Then, he set the concealer with Translucent Loose Powder ($35) to create a smooth surface on which to blend shadows. He started with Luminizing Satin Eye Color ($25) in BE202 (Caramel), just slightly darker than Anne's skin tone, to cover the lid and contour. Then, he built color by using the Luminizing Satin Eye Color in GD810 (Bullion), a copper-toned gold on the lid (shown at right) - basically everywhere except the inner corner above the crease. I'm also pretty sure he used a pop of pure gold, perhaps GD810, shown to the left just below, in the center of the lid for emphasis. Don't hold me to that.

He used the Accentuating Cream Eyeliner ($26) in black to line her lids - on top from under the lashes, and in a very thin line below her lower lashes to accent her eyes. Renato said that he uses eyeliner below the lash line for some women; it depends on the shape of their eyes and whether they can pull it off. He might use a shadow under the eyes for women whose eyes might be closed in by liner.

Step by step, he was carefully sculpting her eyes. Next came the eyelash curler, which really turned up Anne's lashes and prepared them for the Mascara Base ($23), one of Renato's favorite products. He combed the lashes with a lash brush and then coated her lashes - top to bottom and from both sides - with Lasting Lift Mascara ($23) in black. He also used the Natural Eyebrow Pencil ($20) in BR603 (Light Brown) to darken her eyebrows just a tiny bit.

When it was time for the rest of Anne's face, Renato used just a little Pureness Matifying Moisturizer Oil Free ($35) under her eyes, and on her cheeks and forehead, patting it in to create a canvas ready for foundation. He toyed with two shades of foundation and selected Dual Balancing Foundation ($38.50) in I40. This award-winning foundation provides long-lasting, oil-free coverage that responds to the skin's specific needs, increasing moisture in dry areas and minimizing shine for a soft matte look. It's filled with good stuff for your skin, including hyaluronic acid. He then added just a little more of the #2 Concealer Stick under her eyes.

For her blush, Renato selected Luminizing Satin Face Color ($30) from the spring collection in RD103 (Petal), a shade I thought was gorgeous. I'd buy that! He applied it to the apples of her cheeks and then blended it out so that it looked like her own color. The blush was a pretty, warm pink. I loved it. The blush comes in four new shades. It's shown here in RD401 (Orchid).

For lips, Renato likes to use a lip liner over most of the lip to prepare the lips for the color he selects and to ensure that the lip color stays perfectly in place. On Anne, he used the Smoothing Lip Pencil ($20) in BE701 (Hazel) and then filled in her lips with Perfect Rouge ($25) in BE208 (Baby) lipstick and the new Luminizing Lip Gloss ($22) in BR302 (Brown Sugar). Anne said the gloss felt great - not at all sticky. Just moist and nice. Voila! She was ready for a party!

Renato used a lighter hand on me, with my fair skin and light hair. I'm sure he intuitively knew when he saw the makeup I was wearing that I'm a drama-free zone. What fascinated me is that after he prepared my lids with Translucent Loose Powder ($35), he used the same Luminizing Satin Eye Color ($25) in GD810 (Bullion) that he had used on Anne. This shade was absolutely perfect for both of us. Warm, trendy, and with sheer buildable color, this shadow can take you from day to night. I adore it!

He spent a lot of time on my eyes, just as he had done with Anne, applying, blending, and checking. I also got stunning lashes, courtesy of Mascara Base and Lasting Lift Mascara in Black (applied from the top and bottom). He lined my eyes with a soft brown Natural Eyeliner Pencil ($20). It was a good choice.

For blush, Renato applied Accentuating Color Stick ($33) in S1 (Bronze Flush) shown here. This multifunction color for face, lips, eyes, and body will be with me all summer, warming up my very pale skin and adding a lustrous finish to my cheeks. I had played with every shade of the color stick before we started, so I was delighted that he used it on me with absolutely no prompting. I purchased the one he selected!

Renato also lined my lips with the Smoothing Lip Pencil ($20) in BE701, the same natural shade he used on Anne, and then he applied the totally exquisite new Perfect Rouge Tender Sheer ($25) in RD629 (Rouge Parfait). More casual than a lipstick and more formal than a gloss, Perfect Rouge Tender Sheer provides the perfect pop of color. Check it out here on my arm. There was no gloss for me - I was complete!

We were happy girls when we left! Both of us arrived feeling a little puffy - Anne from allergies and me from Prednisone. Anne headed off to eat with her husband, and, still in gimp mode, I went home to rest. Too bad I didn't have anywhere to go to show off my look! I can recreate it, though. I paid very close attention!

The Shiseido colors Renato used had very reasonable price points for an upscale line. I bought four items, and my bill came to about $100. With some luxury lines, I would have had to spend twice that. So, I'll be visiting my Shiseido counter many times again.

Just want to close with a special thanks to Renato and the fabulous Shiseido rep, the beautiful Melissa Shaw. Melissa stayed with us the whole time charting our looks and answering questions - even fetching items we needed, such as the heavy-duty eye cream Renato used under my eyes. We were in great hands!

Luminious Satin Face Color photo courtesy of Shiseido
Hopefully, Anne got a better photo of her finished look than I did!

Shiseido Spring Collection - Part 1

Yesterday, Anne Houseman of BeautyXposé and I had the pleasure having our makeup perfected by Renato Almeida, National Makeup Artist for Shiseido. We met up at the Macy's at Pentagon City - outside my usual haunts, and far outside Anne's, since she just moved to Virginia from Boston. First thing I did when I walked in the store? Yep, you guessed it. I walked by a shoe sale. Some darling little Calvin Klein gold flats with a spongy rubber sole for comfort and a cute gold three-dimensional flower on top reached out and grabbed me. Great little numbers at a great price - and so comfy!

Anne arrived smartly wearing no makeup, and I came with my usual natural makeup look. That's an age difference, I think. She's young, while I'm, well, "older." Above is a snapshot of the two of us after Renato worked his magic.

Before I get to the artist and the makeup after this long introduction, I want to tell you that I was greeted by many warm and welcoming people - freelance artists, Shiseido reps, sales associates. They offered me a face massage (which I declined like a fool), played with colors with me (I arrived early), offered me chairs at every step (I still have bum knees from my unfortunate encounter with Synvisc-ONE). I felt at home. That's nice in a bustling department store.

Working in the beauty industry for more than eight years, Renato Almeida has helped bring makeup trends from the fashion world to the real world. Renato has spent most of his beauty career working backstage at New York fashion week and on fashion photo shoots, which has contributed to his strong reputation as one of the industry's most sought-after makeup artists. Since his partnership with Shiseido in 2006, he has worked to help today's and tomorrow's Shiseido customers look our best with his effective techniques and flattering Shiseido color combinations. My impression of Renato? He has an "eye." He doesn't paint by numbers. He applies, checks, and blends. He checks over and over again, using his keen eye to ensure that the effect he's trying to create is working. While all makeup artists "look while they work," Renato has trained his eyes to look frequently - he's not easily distracted - and the result is a flawless makeup application, with colors that work for the client and a look that telegraphs, "How pretty you look," not "Your makeup is fabulous."

I'm always interested in how people arrived at their calling. Before our makeup sessions, I had a few minutes to talk with Renato, who originally worked as an advertising copy editor in Brazil. First he landed in Los Angeles. His interests in art, fashion, and photography led him to New York, where he worked for three years with Linda Cantello, currently International Makeup Artist and color guru for Armani Beauty, before branching out on his own. With Linda, he had the pleasure of collaborating with (he says observing) her as she created new color collections for YSL.

Shiseido's spring collection, designed by Dick Page, is gorgeous, like so many others this season. Before we started, I had an opportunity to ask Renato what makes Shiseido makeup unique and to show me his favorite color items. Shiseido, you probably know, is well-known for its skin care. As a result, the company includes skin-care ingredients in all of its makeup too. They want your makeup to work for you while you wear it - not just sit on your skin. That's nice for all of us - young and older.

Renato's favorite Shiseido product selections? He used them on Anne and me!

Mascara Base ($23): a moisturizing treatment that treats, enhances, and protects your lashes from the "ravages" of mascara ingredients and adds volume, curl, and length to make your mascara pop.
Lasting Lift Mascara ($23): the Shiseido waterproof, oilproof, and sweatproof mascara with a great texture that lifts and plumps the lashes, allowing lash-by-lash definition.
Accentuating Cream Eyeliner ($26): a long-lasting cream formula that comes with a brush that is actually useful. Renato prefers thin eyeliner (a man after my heart) to define the eye and make the lashes look lush, and he uses my favorite technique (upper liner applied from underneath the lashes to draw a perfect line). He used black on Anne.
Corrector Pencil ($17): not white, but a natural yellow/beige blend that he uses to conceal the red membranes of the inner eyelids - and it lasts through tears!
Two new bright Perfect Rouge ($25) lipsticks - all the rage now - OR418 (bright orange) and RS320 (bright fuschia), lip colors that demand a soft eye.
Luminizing Satin Eye Color ($25) in PK319, GD810, BR303, and BE202 - all warm, from pink to copper. The little color swatches on the Web site don't do these justice. They are luminous without sparkle - truly lovely.

Tune in later today for Part 2. I'll tell you about the spring colors, the products he used on Anne and me, and his application techniques. While our hair, eye, and skin colors are different, he used the same fabulous copper-toned eye shadow on both of us (GD810) with extremely satisfying results! Her green eyes were greener, and my blue eyes were bluer! I was also enamored with Accentuating Color Stick ($33), a multipurpose cream for eyes, lips, cheeks, and body. Renato used the color stick in S1, Bronze Flush, as my blusher. I loved it! It wasn't my "intuitive" color choice, but it warmed my skin and made me look softly chiseled and dewy. He knew exactly what he was doing. It was love!

Collection photo courtesy of Shiseido

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Weekend Roundup - April 24

What a beauty-full week we had! Here are a few must-read posts from some of our favorite beauty bloggers.

Kari at Fabulous Over Forty gave us a preview of Kate Somerville's new book, Complexion Perfection. In her book, Kate shares her own stories about the skin-care business, her struggles with eczema, and her eponymous skin care. Head over to Fabulous Over Forty to read more. Bet you'll want to read Kate's book!

Kelly at Gouldylox Reviews has the fabulous Hana Professional Flat Iron from Missiko to give away! You have to see how good her hair looked after a trial run. Then enter, friends! This is the crème de la crème of flat irons.

Gaia at The Non-Blonde told us why we have to try Ellis Faas Creamy Lips. Her to-die-for shade? Ellis Red (L101) - a "must try for red lip addicts." Gaia always finds the most tempting treats for us!

KarlaSugar at The Next Best Thing to Going Shopping Yourself swatched Armani's Giorgio Armani Beauty powder blushers. Check them out. There's a lesson too. Colors come and go, so if you love one, buy it before it's gone!

What have the gals at BeautyXposé been up to? Testing Ole Henriksen’s Anti-Aging Perfecting Mask. Sounds like 10 minutes of tingling can add up to smooth, soft skin.

Lianne at The Makeup Girl has a new favorite eye cream: Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. Sounds good enough to eat!

Felicia, with a brand new site design at ThisThatBeauty, has been writing a series on hyperpigmentation. Who over 30 doesn't have a touch of that? Her latest installment on DERMAdoctor's Immaculate Conception is a must-read!

Laurie at Product Girl shared her five NARS must-haves! She did the testing for you. Want to share your NARS favorites? Just leave a comment.

It was Giorgio Armani Beauty week here at Best Things in Beauty, with an interview with Tim Quinn, Celebrity Face Designer, an introduction to the new Obsidian Mineral High Recovery Elixir, and a showcase of the line's summer makeup introductions. I'm smitten with Armani! Can you tell?

Have fun out there in beautyland this weekend!

The Divine Scent of Lilies of the Valley

The lilies of the valley (Muguet du Bois) are blooming. Their time with us each year is short, but they add such a beautiful burst of groundcover color and fragrance. I always have to stop and smell the flowers when they bloom. Fortunately, the rest of the year, there are some lovely fragrances to remind us of spring's lilies of the valley. Here are a few of my favorites.

Diorissimo has to be the classic keeper! Introduced in 1956, the fragrance continues to charm (and sell) with its notes of lily of the valley, Christian Dior's lucky flower, as well as ylang-ylang, amaryllis, boronia, and jasmine. It is feminine - and timeless. Saks just came out with Diorissimo Eau de Toilette ($89) in a new, updated bottle to make it look as good as it smells. Last week, I spritzed while in the store - Diorissimo on right arm, another fragrance on the left. Only Diorissimo sang to me hours later.

Don't laugh, perfume sophisticates - I know you'll gasp - but I still love Jessica McClintock's eponymous fragrance. Born in 1987-88, the Eau de Parfum Spray is a delicate white floral blend of bergamot, ylang-ylang, rose, white jasmine, and lily of the valley. Every time I walk by the store at the mall, I stop in for a spray. You can purchase it for $34.99 at, a significant discount over its mall store price.

Caron's Muguet de Bonheur is another oldie, introduced in 1952. Am I remembering mothers and grandmothers? Possibly. Lily of the valley was more popular in perfumes in the '50s than it is today. The top notes are neroli, bergamot, and lily-of-the-valley; the middle notes are jasmine and tincture of rose; and the base notes, giving it a bit of "sultry" that's different from the first two are musk, sandalwood, and heliotrope. You can find an Eau de Parfum Spray at Amazon for $37.95.

There are, unfortunately, a lot of cheap, cheesy, lily of the valley fragrances available - usually in lines known more for their soaps than desirable fragrances. Give one a spritz, and you'll smell unrecognizable synthetic lily of the valley. If you love the flower, try one of the classics!

Photos courtesy of, Saks, and Amazon

Bobbi Brown Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15

Earlier this month, I told you about Bobbi Brown's coming attractions for Summer 2010. One of them was Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15 ($22), featured in a Pretty Powerful brochure I picked up in a department store. It's now available, and I know you are going to want at least one!

Bobbi’s Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15 is a lightweight, soft-shine lipstick that doubles as a rejuvenating treatment. It instantly comforts dry, chapped lips and provides long-term moisturization with natural cocoa and shea butters, and jojoba, apricot kernel, and avocado oils. Peptides, along with vitamin C and paracress (reduces wrinkles by relaxing muscle contractions), stimulate collagen production to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The SPF 15 helps prevent future sun damage.

The result? You lips will be healthier, smoother, softer, and protected. And pretty. Can't beat that!

Treatment Lip Shine is available in 12 shades. I have to admit, I bought three-quarters of them. These innovative lipsticks are so flattering - and they feel so good on my lips - I wanted all the shades that worked for me! There was Desert Rose, Moonlight Rose, the darker Plumberry, Sunset Bronze...there was no stopping me! I'm so happy with them!

You can see the colors and select your own at Bobbi Brown's Web site and at Bobbi Brown counters in department stores. I love buying from the Web site because Bobbi always lets you select and there are often special samples for those who have registered at her site. Until Sunday, if you have a Saks nearby, you can get the 10% Friends & Family discount on them - or any other Bobbi item on your must-have list.

Let me know what shade(s) you can't live without!

Photos courtesy of Bobbi Brown

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Friday Forum - April 23

Every day should be Earth Day. The Earth is in our hands; let's take better care of it! Can you imagine a world without polar bears or dolphins or elephants or lions or Chesapeake Bay blue crabs? I can't. It makes me sad to even think about it. I'm doing the best I can. I hope you are too! Even little things add up to a better world.

This was quite a week at my house. After seriously adverse effects from Synvisc-ONE injections in both knees last Friday, I've been housebound a lot - too much! When I did go out, I paid the consequences later. Fortunately, I'm now on the mend, due to that wonder-drug athletes love so much. :)

I'm ready for The Friday Forum! Most of you know, we "share" information in The Friday Forum. 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'll be posting the latest ones this evening.

The microphone is yours!

Photo courtesy of

NARS Summer 2010 Collection - Effortless Sophistication - Fond Memories

When I saw the advertisement for the NARS Summer 2010 collection, I stopped in my tracks at the beauty of Amber Valetta. Suddenly, I realized she was channeling Catherine Deneuve, one of the most beautiful women to ever grace the screen - and Chanel ads. Maybe I'm getting a little "boggy" after so many bone and joint injuries over the last few months, but I just sat and stared at Valetta.

Then I went in search of a photo to validate that my impressions weren't all that boggy at all. I didn't have to do that! All I needed to do was wait for the collection to go online at the NARS Web site. There I would find that Francois Nars looked for inspiration from the character Séverine Serizy, played by Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour. "Her character is incredibly beautiful and elegant. Her look is effortless - she has an incredible inner sophistication, " said Nars.

Another connection: the title of Belle de Jour is the French name for the daylily (literally: "daylight beauty"), a flower that blooms only during the day, and one that has my special love. I am a life member of the national association for daylilies, and I have grown and judged them for over 30 years. I've made countless lifelong friends through that association, people I treasure even now that I am no longer active. I see them in my flowers each day they bloom. But I digress. Séverine adopted the name Belle de Jour in the brothel where she worked as a prostitute during the day. I brought a lot of daylily history to the collection (sorry - no tantalizing brothel history) when I first saw it at Neiman Marcus! What I did see vividly, apart from the fond memories, was color - lots of bright, sheer color.

The collection is beautiful. Heavy on warm tones, but with something for everyone, it provides a summer splash of sheer color that can be worn as a wash, as shown on Valetta, or with a heavier hand if you want a bit of drama for summer.

I've pondered my purchases for a week, and I have finally selected my items. I'll be a bit in experimental mode, but I'm sure, after testing for a short time in the store, that I have to get my hands on Enchanted Cream Blush ($26), described by NARS as a soft-peach shade that delivers a hint of shimmer and smooth, silky color for a luminous complexion. It's so sheer that I know I won't look like an orange daylily. While I'm not a blue eye shadow fan, after seeing the photo of Valetta, I have to buy the Burn it Blue Duo Eyeshadow ($32), and iridescent ocean-blue paired with turquoise. I may use it for a pop of color, rather than the lid wash in the photo, but I'll even enjoy staring into the pretty pots of relaxing color - rather mesmerizing when you think about the efforts that have gone into creating blue daylilies.

If you are a natural for oranges and peaches, like my friend Carolyn, the Lamu Multiple ($38) should jump into your bag. It will give you a summer glow that you can use on eyes, cheeks, lips, and body. I will choose to wear the Mustique or Orgasm Multiple with the collection, a softer peach, one that I can pull off more easily that the glazed-apricot Lamu. Oh but the color of Lamu - it's enticing.

I don't see the Coup De Coeur Lip Gloss ($24), an apple brandy, pared with the ocean eyes and warm skin, but it may surprise me. No matter how I wear it - or with what - I will enjoy its gorgeous shiny color.

There you have it - my own selections from a noteworthy collection from NARS. Please let me know what you think if you get to see the collection at a store counter. NARS has been pulled out of many of my usual haunts (Saks, Bloomingdale's Tysons - don't think "my Nordstrom" ever had it), so I have to go to Neiman Marcus or Sephora (never the first out of the gate) to find it. That's why I usually order online. I'm glad I got to play with the colors this time before I purchased. I was able to give it a week and discover the ones that sang to me.

P.S. You will also want to check out the new Sheer Lip Pigment. I've got my eyes on a couple of these too!

Photos courtesy of NARS and

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tarte Celebrates Earth Day with Special Offers

What a nice offer from Tarte to celebrate Earth Day! Today through April 25, save 30% on everything with offer code EARTHDAY. Plus, with any purchase of $60 or more, you will receive a free 24x7 Natural Lip Sheer with SPF 15 and tote set! Check out Tarte's Web site to see the rest of the offer, including free shipping and samples. Don't forget to enter the promotion code at checkout.

This is a perfect time to try Green Siren Natural Cheek Stain ($30 before discount). Everyone I know who has bought it - me too - loves it. With the purchase of every Tarte Green Siren Natural Cheek Stain, you'll be supporting Sambazon's Sustainable Acai Project, a member of the Fair Trade Federation, which helps to preserve the Amazon Rainforest through conservation, improved living conditions, and educational opportunities for communities in Brazil.

What a nice way to do your part for Earth Day - enjoy a discount, buy a fabulous product, and support environmental preservation all at the same time!

While you are visiting the Tarte Web site, make sure to check out the natural ingredients used in Tarte's makeup, as well as their vegan and cruelty free cosmetics. Great company!

Photos courtesy of Tarte

Never Know What to Give Mom for Mother's Day?

Peonies and roses would be nice! They won't last as long as a gift from Bobbi Brown, though. Check out Bobbi's Mother's Day Gift Guide for some ideas that will leave your mother with great skin or stunning makeup - a gift she'll appreciate all year!

Is your mom concerned about wrinkles and dryness? Check out the Extras. Does she fret about hyperpigmentation (sun damage)? She should like the new Brightening Skin Care products. Bobbi has suggestions for every woman, from world travelers to lipstick lovers.

Check out Bobbi's Gift Guide! It may solve that dilemma we face every year. What do you give the mother who claims she has everything?

There's free gift wrapping too!

Photo courtesy of Bobbi Brown

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sneak Peek at Giorgio Armani Beauty's Summer 2010 Colors

On Monday, Tim Quinn, Giorgio Armani Beauty Celebrity Face Designer, told me what we could expect to see at Armani counters for summer. Today, I have the privilege of sharing some photos with you. I'll bet you'll be as excited as I am!

Tim mentioned new Eyes to Kill palettes. Here they are! Knowing how you can use the Eyes to Kill shadows to create everything from a pale wash of color to a strong eye, I am beyond eager to get my hands on them! I also mentioned the relaunch of two existing palettes that were hot sellers when they were first released. By the time I realized I needed a second of each, they were impossible to find. #1, Steel Black, and #3, Gun Metal Gray (which combined shades of plum with gray), continue to be covet-worthy palettes. While you can see them at the Armani Beauty Web site, they have been out of stock for months. Soon, we will get our second chance! With plums and grays being trendy for fall 2010, you'll want to pick up #3 before it sells out again.

We can count on Armani to design gorgeous bronzer/eye shadow palettes, and this year's new edition, shown to the left, continues the magic. These palettes are unique because they work for everyone - for my fair skin, as well as those with dark skin and everyone in between. Their appeal is universal. When you get the opportunity, play with the color combinations as presented, but also mix your own shades. These palettes are like a paint kit in one elegant compact. Tim's description, "metallic copper, sea green, pale chiffon, and deep teal," was perfect, but words can't always convey as well as a photograph how stunning the results will be.

Tim also mentioned the new waterproof Eyes to Kill Mascara. Since its introduction, Eyes to Kill Mascara has taken the world by storm. It's one of the best mascaras on earth (and I don't think I'm exaggerating). Some of you have told me that the mascaras you wear smudge, smear, or melt off your lashes onto your eyelids during the day, especially during the summer. This mascara was designed for you! It will also take care of poolside beauties and beach-goers - or anyone who anticipates a dose of tears or water for the day. It will be available soon.

I know what I'm purchasing - everything! What will be on your list? If you don't have an Armani counter near you, keep checking the Armani Beauty Web site. We don't have too long to wait.

Photos courtesy of Armani Beauty

Guerlain Perles Collection for Summer 2010

I wasn't expecting to see Guerlain's latest Perles Collection for Summer 2010 in stores until May. For many reasons, I'm glad I limped over to Bloomingdale's at Tysons Corner Center last night to the "what's new in the department" class Beauty Department Manager Tarsha Jones had set up. The knee pain was worth it when I found the Guerlain collection in stock (mostly) and ready for me!

Guerlain makes some of the most elaborate eye palettes available. Each collection gives us pretty colors with a theme, and the new Pearles Collection continues the tradition. The Ombre Éclat 4 Shades Eyeshadow ($59) is a tad darker than it appears in this photograph. The sheer neutral shades, encased in a matte silver, mirrored compact, are eminently wearable. The more you wear them, the more you'll lose the design, but that's the only downside of these beauties.

While the directions that come in the box show you how to create a "look" by using the shades in a traditional way (one for the entire lid, one for the crease, etc.), you will find these colors to be extremely flexible. Play at will!

The texture is as luxurious as we've come to expect from Guerlain eye shadows - a creamy powder that stays put. With long-lasting wear, they are must-haves.

There are also four new Ombre Éclat 1 Shade Eyeshadows - all in neutral shades, and all gorgeous. I'll tell you about them in a subsequent post because I have to rave now about other pieces in the new collection.

A Météorites Perles Illuminating Powder ($56) in #03, Teint Doré, is the perfect, warm melange for summer. Housed in elegant silver metal packaging with a floral design on the top, the little pearls of robin's egg blue, beige, and taupe-brown pigments create the perfect glow. There's also a new brush for this powder if you need a brush - or just want one!

There are two Kiss Kiss Baby SPF 10 Nourishing Lip Balms ($31) in "Delicate Nudes." The also are housed in matte silver containers, so don't be shy about touching up in public with these lip-quenching beauties. The two limited-edition shades are shown here. I purchased #262, the pink-toned shade on the left. The other, #242, has a coral tone. Both are extremely sheer, so most of us could wear either. One for every mood?

The collection wasn't scheduled to be at Guerlain counters until May, so I'm not sure whether my find was just lucky timing or an early launch. Either way, I'm sure glad I went to Bloomingdale's!

Be on the lookout for the new collection!

Photo sources:,, and BTiB

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dauget Huile Seche pour le Corps - My Favorite Olive Oil for the Skin

This is one of my secrets - secret because Dauget's Huile Seche pour le Corps is incredibly hard to find! Made by the French company, Dauget, the spray body oil is made with 100% organic extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, arnica oil (good for sore muscles!), marigold oil, vitamin E, and St. John's Wort oil. It has a heavenly scent and melts on the skin. I spritz with it almost every night before bed.

The use of olive oil in skin care dates back to ancient times. Cleopatra was known to take baths in olive oil. The Greeks and the Romans slathered their bodies with olive oil after a bath to hydrate their skin and protect against the acidity of water. Olive oil was also used for hair treatments.

Dauget points out olive oil's unique properties for skin care.
  • It's a pure fruit extract, an elixir of youth, and a fruit juice! In fact, olive oil is the only oil made from a fruit. All other oils are made from grains or seeds of fruit, but not from the fruit itself.
  • Olive oil is rich in vitamins A a E, antioxidants that neutralize free radicals in the body.
  • It's rich in chlorophyll, a natural anti-aging substance, with notable nutritional and medicinal qualities known to stimulate wound healing and cell renewal.It's also rich in squalene, a natural organic compound and rich emollient that penetrates extremely well into the skin. Squalene is usually found in the liver of cartilaginous fishes, such as sharks. Since we don't approve of using squalene from animals, olive is the best source.
  • Olive oil also helps regulate the secretion of sebum, which maintains and restores moisture in the skin and hair.
Do you know the olive oil basics?
  • Olive is a fall/winter fruit.
  • Out of twenty delicate flowers, only one olive will form.
  • An olive contains 15 to 25% oil.
  • The olive harvest in the south of France is called “Olivade,” and olives are harvested from October to February by “Oliveuses” (olive pickers).
  • In Provence, the ritual of Olivade today is no different from that practiced at the beginning of the century due to the commitment of olive associations that demand excellence in their produce.
  • The hand-picking of olives one by one is considered ideal because it respects the integrity and purity of the olive.
  • Olive oil is the only oil that does not foam. Consequently, you can test the authenticity of olive oil by shaking it. If it foams it means that it has been mixed with another type of oil.
If you can find this luxurious Dauget Huile Seche pour le Corps, I highly recommend that you try it. There are a few spas and boutiques in the Washington, D.C. area that carry it. Their distributor even has two Virginia phone numbers: (703) 534-9021 and (703) 992-4072. I left messages at both trying to find you more sources. When I hear back, I'll post an update.

Photo courtesy of Dauget