Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bobbi Brown Denim & Rose Collection - Gel Liner, Gloss, and More

You can tell I'm impressed with Bobbi Brown's Denim & Rose Collection for Fall 2010. It has been the star attraction at Best Things in Beauty so far this week! In the first two posts, I introduced you to the Highlighter Pens and the Denim & Rose Face Palette. Let's take a look at the rest of the collection now.

The Shimmer Lip Gloss ($20) in Raspberry is another limited-edition beauty. Shimmer Lip Gloss offers beautiful, non-sticky shine with a touch of iridescence. It's perfect over the lip colors in the Denim & Rose Face Palette. Formulated with aloe extract to soothe and soften lips, vitamins C and E for antioxidant protection, and jojoba and avocado oils to moisturize your lips, Shimmer Lip Gloss does it all. I love the new shade! It's perfect for summer. It will also be perfect this fall - who could wait?

The new Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner ($21) in Denim Ink is another must-have. I love Bobbi Brown's gel liners, and I love dark blue liners, so this one was a natural for me. Bobbi's award-winning gel liner gives you the look of a liquid liner with the ease and feel of a gel. The gel's extremely long-wearing, water-resistant color glides on (use Bobbi's Ultra Fine Eye Liner Brush) and gives you just enough time to get it the way you like it before it dries. It stays put without a smear or crease until you remove it.

I took a photo in full sun of the Denim Ink eyeliner and the Raspberry Shimmer Lip Gloss. I hope the photo shows you the beauty of the shades. These are shades that should work for everyone.

There is more to this stunning collection. I just couldn't afford to purchase it all! There is a limited-edition Extreme Party Mascara ($22), Bobbi's popular mascara formula, in Denim - a navy blue that will make your eyes pop. Sparkle Eye Shadow in Denim ($24) is the item that was sold out at Neiman Marcus by the time I got there. I wasn't able to see it in person because the sales rep had put it away, I was rushed, and someone else was helping me. I'll catch it on my next department store visit. A fabulous Denim & Rose Mini Brush Set ($55) has every brush you need to work with this collection - all encased in a blue denim zippered case like the face palette.
  • Mini Blush Brush - perfect for picking up the blush shade in the face palette
  • Mini Lip Brush with Cap - great for gals on the go
  • Mini Angle Eye Shadow Brush - you'll find plenty of uses for this one
  • Mini Eye Liner Brush - that's what I would use to apply the Dark Rinse shadow or the gel eyeliner
Denim & Rose is a very desirable collection. Because the items in the collection are limited editions, you should check them out before they are going, going, gone.

You can purchase the Denim & Rose Collection at the Bobbi Brown Web site and Neiman Marcus. It should be available at all Bobbi Brown counters soon - if it isn't already. Through July 2, if you use code DENIMR at checkout, you will receive a travel-sized mini of Extra Balm Rinse and free shipping at the Bobbi Brown Web site. Who doesn't like gifts?

All photos except my swatches courtesy of Bobbi Brown

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bobbi Brown Denim & Rose Collection Face Palette

Today, I'm wearing colors from Bobbi Brown's new limited-edition Denim & Rose Face Palette ($60) for Fall 2010. The look I created is soft and pretty! One of the great things about this new palette is its flexibility. The colors can go from day to night, and the palette's convenient too. The denim zip-up packaging makes it perfect to throw in your purse for a late-day glam-up.

Have you noticed how blue eye shadows and liners are all the rage this year? Once shunned, with memories of prior decades and opaque baby blue eye shadows, blue has made a comeback. Fortunately, it's not your mother's blue! Instead, it's sheer, shimmering, or smokey (or it may be turquoise, Pantone's color of the year for 2010, reflected in the NARS Burn It Blue Duo Cream Eyeshadow).

In the Denim & Rose Face Palette, the one blue shade, which looks very blue in the photograph and the pan, is smoking hot. You can see in my photo below how muted it is. There's a beautiful new Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner available in Denim Ink too. It coordinates beautifully with the eye shadows in the Denim & Rose palette. I'll show it to you tonight.

Packed with icy greys, neutrals, and pinks for eyes and fresh rose shades for lips and cheeks, this palette is the beauty equivalent of "dressed-up denim." Whether you’re in the mood for flushed cheeks, a neutral day look, or a sparkling, smoky eye, you’ll have plenty of options with the Denim & Rose Face Palette.

The Pink Rose Blush, shown at the top of my arm photo, is soft and pretty. Of course, Bobbi made sure it coordinates perfectly with the lip colors.

There are four shadow shades. The lightest, Navajo, is cream and matches my arm so well there was no way to photograph it. The next three, shown on my arm top to bottom in the photo to the right, are Pink Granite Sparkle Eye Shadow (shown under the blush), Dark Rinse Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow, and Grey Denim Eye Shadow. Today, I'm wearing Navajo as a base color, Grey Denim as a contouring shade, and Pink Granite Sparkle as an accent color in the center of my lids. I'm quite pleased with the look! Had I wanted a little more oomph, I would have used the Dark Rinse Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow as a smudged liner.

There are two Creamy Lip Colors and two lip glosses. I applied all of them on my arm photo with a lip brush, but this morning, to apply them "in real life," I just used my finger. The lip colors are Indie Rose (under the Grey Denim shadow) and Cool Rose (below). Both are flattering; they make my blue eyes pop. Shown at the bottom of the photo are the two glosses: Hot Rose Lip Gloss and Iced Lilac Glitter Lip Gloss (at bottom). Today, I'm wearing Hot Rose Lip Gloss over the Cool Rose Creamy Lip Color. Love the combination!

If there were anything about this gorgeous Denim & Rose Face Palette I would change, it would be the size or placement of the Pink Rose Blush. You have to be pretty careful with your blush brush when picking up the color nestled between the shadows. Just think, if it were larger, it would last longer too! The trade-off would be a palette that's less portable.

The Denim & Rose Collection is available at the Bobbi Brown Web site and Neiman Marcus. It should be available at all Bobbi Brown counters soon. Since the palette is a limited-edition, don't let any grass grow under your feet if you want one.

Through July 2, if you use code DENIMR at checkout, you will receive a travel-sized mini of Extra Balm Rinse and free shipping at the Bobbi Brown Web site.

I'll show you the rest of the collection in my next post.

Palette photo courtesy of Bobbi Brown

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bobbi Brown Denim & Rose Collection Highlighter Pens

Thank God for Bobbi Brown! Seriously. Can you even imagine a makeup world without her? Bobbi Brown knows women. She knows what we like. She delivers wearable perfection - in one collection after another. Her latest release, the Denim & Rose Collection for Fall 2010, is superb. Take a close look at the photo above, and you'll see beautiful makeup adorning a beautiful face.

Bobbi Brown's Denim & Rose is all about rock 'n roll.

Everyone looks great in jeans — and anyone can pull off a dark denim eye. To make it wearable, I’ve paired inky blue shadows with pretty roses for lips and cheeks. The combination is casual and put-together, rock and roll but romantic, and modern yet classic all at once. - Bobbi Brown

I got my hands on the collection this past weekend. I had heard that Neiman Marcus had it in the store, so I wasted no time getting there. Still, they had already sold out of their initial allotment of the Sparkle Eye Shadow in Denim ($24)!

I will be telling you about the Denim & Rose Collection - and showing you swatches - in multiple posts over the next few days. Today, we'll start with the new, limited-edition Highlighter Pens ($32).
There are three shades in this handy, new "Touche-Eclat-like" pen: Opal, Rose, and Bronze. Just click the button at the bottom, and the product is distributed into the brush for handy application and blending. Each shade is designed to be a pretty finishing touch that will make all the difference to your look. Lightweight and luminescent, this brush-on liquid shimmer catches the light for beautifully defined cheekbones and an all-day glow that won't settle into your pores. Its use isn't limited to your cheekbones, though; you can use this highlighter on any part of your face (or body) where you want a little extra pop.

Opal (at top in photo) is a shade nearly everyone can wear. Rose (middle) imparts a touch of healthy, cheerful pink. Bronze (bottom), once blended, is much like a shimmering bronzer. Gals with dark skin are going to be delighted with Bronze. Sometimes, they get left out when highlighters are introduced. Not this time!

In order to show you the shades, I applied each (yes, I bought them all!) heavily on my arm. It took several layers of Opal to make it clearly visible in a photo. Rose was a little darker, and, thus, a little easier to capture, but you can see in my photo that it's quite sheer. Bronze, unblended, photographed easily. I took my photograph in the sun, where the shades sparkled.

Blended, all three shades are sheer, shimmering, and beautiful. Opal is the logical choice for my fair skin, but Bronze has a unique appeal to me. Applied lightly and blended well, it gives me a gorgeous summer glow. Rose? I'm blushing. I love it too.

The Highlighter Pen is going to be a coveted item! Make sure to get yours soon. The items in the Denim & Rose Collection are available at the Bobbi Brown Web site at "What's New." The collection is also available at Neiman Marcus and will be available at all Bobbi Brown counters very soon.

Up next at Best Things in Beauty? The limited-edition Denim & Rose Face Palette. It's a beauty!

Look and Highlighter Pen photos courtesy of Bobbi Brown

Urban Decay Fall 2010 Eyeshadow Palettes

Urban Decay will be releasing two irresistible palettes tomorrow for Fall 2010: the Naked Palette and the Vegan Palette. We got a great sneak peek at the fabulous packaging and gorgeous colors at Chic Profile and on Urban Decay's Twitpics. I wanted to share them with you.

If you read my post on Clinique's cat's claw extract ingredients last week, you'll know I like to promote products that are made without harming animals. The adorable packaging of the Vegan Palette says in script lettering, "We don't do animal could anyone?" My sentiment exactly!

Beyond the work of art on the outside, the Vegan Palette has six eye shadows, a Primer Potion in Sin (travel size), and a 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil in Zero (black). These are the shadow shades below right.
  • Minx
  • Urb
  • Gunmetal
  • Twice Baked
  • Smog
  • Half Baked
The Naked Palette is a work of eyeshadow art on the inside. Look at the shades below! I'm beyond excited! It's got everything a nude and natural shadow aficionado could want. On top of that, it has a double ended 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil with two shades: Zero (black) and Whiskey (cream rich brown). How good does it get? I adore 24/7 pencils for their creamy texture, long-lasting wear, and ease of use.

Six of the 12 eye shadow shades are new. Here's the list.
  • Virgin – Satin chamois - NEW
  • Sin – Champagne
  • Naked – Matte buff nude
  • Sidecar – Cocoa with golden sparkle sheen - Book of Shadows, Vol. 1
  • Buck – Matte nutmeg - NEW
  • Half Baked – Subtle, lustrous bronze
  • Smog – Deep coppery bronze
  • Darkhorse – Bronze patina - NEW
  • Toasted – Rich copper
  • Hustle – Plum brown satin - NEW
  • Creep – Onyx with gold sparkle - NEW
  • Gunmetal – Gunmetal gray with silver glitter - NEW
The new palettes will be available June 29 at Urban Decay's Web site. Urban Decay's hot tickets have a track record of selling out quickly. If you are interested, you might want to join the fun tomorrow.

Want to see a short Urban Decay You Tube video of the Fall 2010 collection? A pretty kittie makes a cameo appearance. Just go to this link.

Photos courtesy of Chic Profile and Urban Decay

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bvlgari Omnia Green Jade Giveaway Contest

Congratulations to Nelsby! called her number.

Bvlgari's Omnia Green Jade is a clean, joyful fragrance inspired by the enchanting and sophisticated aura of the jade gemstone. This crisp, floral, and very green scent "arouses a spirit of fresh floral emotions and embodies the natural, distinctive young woman seeking a sensual signature essence as pure and enticing as the first spring blossoms."

Here's a list of its notes.

Spring Water, Green Mandarin, White Peony, Nasturtium, Pear Tree Flower, Jasmine Petals, Fresh Pistachio, White Woods, Musk.

Despite the absence of tea in this list, I smell it! If you like floral teas, this one may please you. It's certainly a nice, light summer fragrance, which dries down into the woods and musk.

I know you love makeup giveaways, but we have to mix it up now and then! I have one Omnia Green Jade to give away. How can you enter to win it? Just leave a comment here once. It's that easy. You don't have to subscribe to the blog, although I would love that!

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 (an alternative is to code your e-mail, e.g., myname at gmail dot com, in your comment).

The contest is open to residents of the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. The deadline for entries will be Saturday, July 3, at midnight. The next morning, I will use a random number generator ( to select the winner. I will e-mail the winner at that time. The winner will have 48 hours to reply to my message and provide a shipping address. After 48 hours, the prize will be forfeited, and another winner will be selected.

I will post this contest at Free!Grechen, my favorite giveaway site on the Web. If you like giveaway contests, you will love Free!Grechen.

Good Luck!

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Aromaleigh Color Infusion Botanical Lipsticks

I waited so long to review these nice, sheer lipsticks from Aromaleigh, they appear to be discontinued and in final sale! If you are interested, head to this link to see what's left in the Vault Sale.

lips will love these little numbers, chock full of organic olive oil, organic jojoba oil, organic meadowfoam seed oil, and organic shea butter. They are also beeswax-free. The nourishing balm formula provides the color intensity of a sheer lipstick, as you can see in my photo here.

The shades on my arm, top to bottom, are Darling, Glossamer, Rosebud, and Perfect.

Color Infusion Botanical Lipstick is delicately fragranced with a 100% natural blend of essential oils and absolutes, giving it a very light cocoa orange fragrance. I prefer lip colors without fragrance, but this one is so light, it works for me.

The shades I bought are no longer available. There are six colors left, though, and they are worth checking out. They are only $4 each. Hurry if you are interested!

While you are there, check out the great variety of fabulous mineral shades for your face, cheeks, and eyes. It's worth a browse.

Logo photo courtesy of Aromaleigh

Rosebud Salve in a Tube

I've always loved Rosebud Salve, the cult-favorite, multipurpose balm that soothes dry lips, hydrates anywhere you apply it, calms and heals irritation (feels good on cuts), and soothes the sting of minor burns. If there had been anything I could find to criticize in the past, it was that little round pan. It was quite inconvenient to carry around in my makeup bag. Rosebud Salve was limited to my desk and bedside.

Someone at Rosebud must have gotten the vibes from me - and all the tube lovers in the world. Rosebud Salve in a Tube ($6) is now available! I can have it with me 24 hours/day.

Rosebud Salve has a hint of rose scent, which adds a delicately aromatic touch without overpowering or cloying as a more heavily fragranced product might. It's a mini moisturizing miracle! The product matches the hype.

You can buy the new tube at Sephora, my usual source for Rosebud. I'm a happy gal. I have one in my purse now.

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Tarte The Vanity Palette Giveaway Contest Winner

Congratulations, Jenny Stamos! selected you as the winner of the fabulous Tarte The Vanity Palette. Jenny has been notified by e-mail.

The palette has swivel-out levels with 16 eye shadows, 16 lip glosses, four brushes, a park avenue princess bronzer, luminizer, and two shadow brushes. That's not all; there's also a lights, camera, lashes 4-in-1 mascara. It's literally a makeup wardrobe in a golden case that closes with a magnetic snap. Plus, all products are loaded with "skinvigorating" ingredients: vitamin E, beeswax, rice bran wax, carnauba wax, and mineral pigments. Tarte's products are free of parabens, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, phthalates, sulfates, fragrances, and mineral oil. They are good for you while they make you beautiful!

My thanks to everyone who entered! We will start another giveaway contest this evening. Please come back and enter.

We will have another follower contest in July. If you want to win, you'll need to be a blog (RSS or e-mail) or Twitter follower.

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Saturday, June 26, 2010

AHAVA Dermud Enriched Intensive Foot Cream

Most of us expose our feet during the summer. We wear sandals, peep-toes, and slingbacks. We even kick off our shoes and relax now and then! We don't want our feet to look baked, callused, and scaly. If you have dry skin, you have to be on top of your game to keep your dry feet looking good. AHAVA's Dermud Enriched Intensive Foot Cream ($26) is designed to make it easy.

AHAVA, an enterprise indigenous to the Dead Sea region, is driven by a deep passion to employ the secrets of the revitalizing effects of minerals on the skin. The company has a Dermud line specifically targeted for sensitive and dry skin. More than any other skin type, dry and sensitive skin requires constant and consistent hydration in order to ensure its healthy function and maintain vitality. Dermud body products contain Dead Sea mud in a unique patented formula that's rich in moisture-enabling minerals and other soothing, natural agents to treat all dryness parameters (scaling, roughness, redness, and cracks) that affect your torso, arms, legs, hands, and feet. I think you will like Dermud body products even if you don't have dry or sensitive skin!

The Intensive Foot Cream from the Dermud line alleviates the itchiness, redness, roughness, and scaling of dry feet. Dermud’s special blend of Dead Sea mud, minerals, and plant derivatives moisturizes as it soothes and repairs. Included in its long list of ingredients are glycerin, shea butter, jojoba seed oil, coconut oil, aloe extract, lactic acid, Dead Sea mud, Dead Sea water, vitamin E, lavender oil, and more.

It's a nice thick cream, but it absorbs quickly. It has a clean, fresh scent. No one ingredient stands out in the fragrance, but I do detect a slight whiff of the lavender. I use it at night when I get into bed and treat my feet to a short massage as I rub it in. Both the application and the fresh fragrance are relaxing. My feet? Appreciative! Of course you could use it in the morning again because it absorbs quickly and won't leave your feet feeling gloppy in your shoes.

A few noteworthy features make it especially attractive for sensitive skin types. It's paraben-free, approved for sensitive skin, and allergy tested. Plus AHAVA products are not tested on animals.

You can check out AHAVA's products at their Web site. They have a generous special offer now. If you spend $100 or more, you will receive a free full-sized Pure Spa Dry Oil Spray worth $36, along with free shipping. There are so many nice products, I'm trying, without much luck, to narrow down my initial selections. I know I want the AHAVA Intensive Hydration Mask, which won a SELF Healthy Beauty Award. If I could only get my $300 list down to $100!

Photo courtesy of AHAVA

Weekend Roundup - June 26

Take a look at what our beauty blogging friends were up to this week as summer kicked into high gear. The heat, humidity, and storms (for some) didn't slow us down!

Kari introduced us to Judith August and her cosmetics line at Fab over Forty. Love this quote: "I was born with a makeup brush in my mouth, not a silver spoon."

Gaia joined the Shiseido Black Sand Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil fan club this week at The Non-Blonde. Find out why this eyeliner is a must-have and a shade that works for everyone.

Charlestongirl was converted to Edward Bess Cosmetics by that Non-Blonde (the enabler). She showed us why Compact Rouge has landed on her list of multitasking cream blush favorites at Best Things in Beauty.

Kelly dispelled any doubts that Tarte's Park Avenue Princess Matte Bronzer is waterproof. Head over to Gouldylox Reviews for the glowing proof.

At BeautyXposé, Anne (and esthetician Renée Rouleau) reminded us why our everyday activities can lead to more cumulative sun damage than lying on the beach now and then.

Ever heard of Beecology Bath & Body products? You'll want to read Prime Beauty for Cindy's frugal find. It's good for you, and, it turns out, good for charity too!

We haven't checked in on Debbi for awhile. Find out why St. Tropez Self-Tanning Mousse has left her gushing at DivaDebbi.

Once you get that tan, you'll want to make it glow! Victoria Stiles recommends Urban Decay's Midnight Cowboy Body Shimmer Lotion at Makeup Artist Backstage. It's packed with good-for-your-skin ingredients too.

Laurie gave us a preview of Chanel's Fall 2010 Makeup Collection at Product Girl. A few of us are in the "virtual line" to buy these gorgeous pieces the second they hit the stores! The commotion may rival the iPhone 4 hoopla!

Amber reviewed and swatched the new Bare Escentuals BUXOM Big & Healthy Lip Sticks at Beauty Junkies Unite. Will there be one of these goodies in your bag next month?

Want a sneak peek at Bobbi Brown's Denim & Roses Collection? Find out why it put Lianne in the mood for fall at The Makeup Girl.

Stay cool - enjoy your weekend! Fall's a long way off.

Update 6/27: The Chanel and Bobbi Brown collections referenced in the roundup have arrived at Neiman Marcus. I spent too much.

Revlon Fantasy Lengths Maximum Wear Lashes

Want to try faux lashes without breaking the bank or maxing out the credit card? Revlon's Fantasy Lashes may be right up your alley.

There are times when we want or need lush lashes, and our own won't cooperate. Although lashes are always shedding and regrowing, they don't usually do it in clumps. Every now and then, though, you'll see what looks like a little bald spot and feel lopsided after you apply mascara. Who couldn't use a little help for a big day (or night) when that happens? There are other times when we want to look like celebrities (don't believe for a second that they aren't wearing faux lashes in those mascara advertisements), but can't make a huge investment. Revlon to the rescue!

Revlon had sent me two sets of Fantasy Lengths to test. I eyed them lovingly for a week or so, but realized that I might not be able to give Revlon a fair shake. This is the part where I admit that I'm a total klutz, and I was sure I would mess them up on application. I'm not good at reading directions. I usually forge ahead with "things" (new computer programs are a great example), only looking for help when I get stuck. I could see myself ruining the generous gift. Fortunately, a few of my work colleagues are expert lash wearers. Having seen their lush lashes in the past, I asked for help. Jamika was game, so I had a tester Revlon could count on.

There were two sets: one Fantasy Lengths Maximum Wear Glue-on Eyelashes and one Fantasy Lengths Maximum Wear Self-Adhesive Lashes. They range in price from $5.49 to $5.99 per pair. Each type comes in different "intensities," from flirty to full. Each package comes with directions and extra adhesive strips or "glue."

Jamika enlisted her daughter for the test. You can see how lush the lashes looked in these before and after photos Jamika provided (obviously in different lighting). Crystal (Jamika's daughter) wore the self-adhesive lashes and applied some liner over them. She went from cute to glam! The proof is in the photos.

Jamika tested the glue-on lashes. Here are her before and after photos. The result was a glamorous look you could wear day or night.

What did my testers think? They were impressed by the way they looked! So am I after checking out their photos! The lashes stayed on for about 24 hours. The first ones to stray were the self-stick lashes, but Crystal slept on them not long after she applied them. Both gals reported that the lashes felt fine - they experienced no heaviness on their eyelids. Crystal and Jamika felt they were easy to apply, although experienced Jamika advises that you should have tweezers on hand. She says it's easier to apply them with tweezers than your fingers. She also said that the adhesive for the glue-ons looks like Elmer's Glue on your hand, but dries clear and becomes invisible when the lashes are applied.

Revlon's Fantasy Lengths passed the tests - with flying colors! For a great price, you can have dramatic lashes - and love the way they look. You can find Fantasy Lengths now at Walgreens,, and other mass market stores. Next time you're in the mood for a little glamour, give them a try!

Top photo courtesy of Revlon
Before and after photos courtesy of Jamika

Friday, June 25, 2010

NARS Lamu The Multiple

I love NARS The Multiple ($38) - so much that I purchase almost every one that comes along. The Multiple is the original multipurpose cream-to-powder stick for cheeks, lips, eyes, and body.

I love The Multiple sticks - they are so convenient - even though I often use a foundation brush to apply them. I love their creamy texture, natural look, and blending ease. Then, there are the gorgeous shades.

Lamu was introduced with the NARS Summer 2010 Collection, inspired by the character Séverine Serizy, played by Catherine Deneuve, in Belle de Jour. The publicity photos alone had me eagerly anticipating its introduction. When the collection appeared in the stores, I got my first up-close and personal look at Lamu, a Multiple in a juicy, fresh glazed-apricot shade. I tested it on my arm and noted how pretty the shimmering accent shade appeared. At the time, I wondered how it would look on my face, but I was rushing to an event. It wasn't the time to test makeup.

Months passed, and I realized I still needed to try Lamu. Even though it's not a natural shade for me, I continued to be intrigued. I finally ordered it online. I wore it on multiple days this week, and I'm very happy with my purchase. Lamu is a perfect summer blush shade - even for my fair, cool-toned skin. It gives me a bright warmth that conveys "summer."

I wanted to show you how pretty it is. I swatched it on my arm (which is lighter than my face), and I swatched a NARS Multiple Bronzer, Toumota, under it to show you that Lamu is shimmering and Toumota is matte. I applied each straight from its tube, without blending at all. The photo on the right was taken in filtered early morning sun; the one on the left was taken in the shade.

If you have been "on the fence" about Lamu, as I was, wondering if it's too apricot, I can assure you that Lamu is a very wearable and flexible shade. When applied with a brush, it provides sheer, buildable color that warms the complexion while offering a slight pop. The amount of shimmer is just right. I'm loving it!

You can purchase Lamu at the NARS Web site, in stores that carry NARS (such as Neiman Marcus), and Sephora (where you will find the closest square rendition of the shade online).

Top photo courtesy of NARS

The Friday Forum - June 25

It's hydrangea time! One of my favorites is this variegated French lace cap hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla Mariessii Variegata) that graces the back entrance to my screened porch. It puts on quite a show. I'm going to have to give all my plants a drink today. It has been brutally hot here, and we are well below June's average for rainfall.

It's also time 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 the best beauty bits (sales and special offers) with you over the weekend. I'll put them in the comments. There's one very special one, though. If you haven't scrolled down to see it, you will want to take note of the Giorgio Armani Beauty Friends & Family Sale. Through Sunday, June 27, you will receive a 20% discount at the Web site. I placed my orders (yes, plural). Did you?

The giveaway contest for Tarte's The Vanity Palette ends tomorrow night (Saturday, June 26) at midnight. I will be using to select the lucky winner. Make sure to enter. It's a dynamite set. Please check back Sunday morning to see if chose you.

Update 6/27: Just got notice that there's a Perricone MD Friends & Family Sale! For orders over $100, you'll get a 15% discount. Order over $150, and your discount will be 20%. For orders over $250, the discount is 25%! Use code SUMMERFRIEND at checkout. The offer appears to be valid today and tomorrow. It says two days only, and the e-mail arrived at 4:00 this morning. Here's the Web site. This one was too important to "bury" in the comments.

The microphone is yours!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Clinique Sun SPF 50 Face Cream - Kind to Kitties

There I was, reading the new Vogue, when a little blurb caught my eye. Charlie was sitting next to me, and he and I were both shocked when I read that Clinique's Sun SPF 50 Face Cream ($17.50) "encourages the skin's own repair process with cat's claw extract and RNA fragments."

I had several immediate thoughts. There had to be some mistake. Clinique couldn't possibly harm cats to make a face cream. They are a supremely reputable company! While Charlie gets the tips of his claws clipped regularly to ensure that my own skin stays puncture-free, the donations (should I provide them) wouldn't be a reliable production source. Nor would the donations from thousands of cat owners nationwide. I just couldn't believe it.

Of course I called Clinique, and I followed up with an e-mail with my questions.
  1. Where are the cat's claws coming from? Are any animals harmed in the process?
  2. How does one "harvest" cat's claws?
  3. What is the benefit of this ingredient?
I got my answer quickly, and much to my embarrassment and relief, I learned that cat's claw (C1-8 Alkyl Tetrahydroxycyclohexanoate) is a tropical vine that grows in rain forest and jungle areas in South America and Asia. Some cultures refer to the plant as the "Sacred Herb of the Rain Forest." The vine gets its name from the small thorns at the base of the leaves, which look like a cat's claw. These enable the vine to attach itself around trees and climb.

The plant is considered a valuable medicinal resource and is protected in Peru. Although scientific research has just recently begun to explore its benefits, many cultures native to the South American rain forests have used cat's claw for hundreds of years. The extract is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. Clinique says that cat's claw encourages the skin's natural repair process to help "clean up" skin damage before it can replicate.

Now that I know Charlie (Savannah too) and millions of other cats are safe, I'll be purchasing Sun SPF 50 Face Cream this weekend. It sounds like a fabulous, protective cream. Here's what Clinique says about it online.

Innovative SolarSmart technology stabilizes high-level protection against the aging and burning effects of UVA and UVB rays. Triggers a repair that helps prevent signs of aging. With solar-activated antioxidants that help prevent visible damage. Gentle enough for sensitive skins. Dermatologist tested. Oil-free.

Clinique's sparkling reputation is safe at my house!

Photo courtesy of Clinique

Giorgio Armani Beauty Friends & Family Sale

This photo says it all! I'm excited. Use code FAMILY for your discount through June 27. What will you be ordering?

Photo courtesy of Armani Beauty

L'Artisan Nuit de Tubéreuse - Love at First Whiff

I'd like to stop hyperventilating long enough to write a reasonably intelligent post. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece. I just want to convey how much I love my new fragrance. I love almost everything about it: its beautiful bottle, the lovely color of the intoxicating liquid, and the main attraction, the fragrance itself.

I had pre-ordered L'Artisan's Nuit de Tubéreuse ($115 or $155, depending on size) from LuckyScent - based solely on the description. When I told you, some of you commented that my leap of faith was brave. Friends, my bravery was rewarded with a fragrance that I would hoard if it were a limited edition. I'm now kicking myself for ordering the small size!

I don't think I can do a better job than LuckyScent in giving you the facts about Nuit de Tubéreuse. I'll provide you with their description; then, I'll add a few closing notes of my own.

Bertrand Duchaufour is on a roll. With Penhaligon’s Amaranthine, he proved that his masterful style could extend to sensual florals. Now, he’s gone and tackled the most unmanageable diva of the perfumer’s palette, and come up with a totally novel, utterly seductive take on tuberose.

The eagerly expected Nuit de Tubéreuse turns down the classic, creamy-coconutty facets of the flower to focus on its more unusual facets. The top notes draw out the odd, rooty, snapped asparagus stalk aspects of tuberose absolute and set them off with vibrant green cardamom; mango drenched in pink pepper creates an almost incense-like effect – Duchaufour’s signature. The scent goes through a strangely compelling, freshly upturned earth phase before easing into a suave floral heart, where the tuberose is bolstered by orange blossom, ylang-ylang, and rose, wrapped in the honeyed-tobacco facets of broom on a warm, musky, woody, and balsamic base.

If you’re addicted to tuberose, you’ll be riveted by Bertrand Duchaufour’s totally original interpretation. If you’re tuberose-averse, you might very well be converted. And if you’re a man, you may have finally found a version of the note that can be worn unselfconsciously. But women needn’t worry: Nuit de Tubéreuse is still very much a heart-breaker.

Nuit de Tubéreuse Notes

Cardamom, clove, pink pepper, black pepper, citrus, green mango, angelica, tuberose, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, rose, broom, musks, vanilla, sandalwood, palisander, benzoin, and styrax

You can read another description at L'Artisan's blog. It's equally engaging.

I would describe Nuit de Tubéreuse as having all the intoxicating qualities of tuberose (I really can't keep my nose away from the flowers), but with a spin that is totally unique to L'Artisan's new introduction. This fragrance has green notes, a bit of fruit, only enough spice to keep it interesting (as a rule, I dislike spicy fragrances), and a warm base that's sultry. On first spray, you can detect the tuberose, floral, green, and slightly spicey blend. As the fragrance dries down to its base notes, it becomes sexy, warm, and slightly powdery. Sometimes, I don't appreciate (in other perfumes) the base notes present in Nuit de Tubéreuse. This blend works for me, possibly because the blend of notes produces a fragrance in which no note - other than tuberose at first blush - predominates. I think Duchaufour has produced a winner.

From my perspective, it's not a man's fragrance, even though it's "rated" at LuckyScent half-way between feminine and unisex. Not that I would object to being around a guy wearing Nuit de Tubéreuse. I might embarrass myself zeroing in for a fragrance fix. Better that I spray some on my own arm each time I wear it. Then I can satisfy my need to dive in.

The only thing I don't like about Nuit de Tubéreuse is very personal - the hint of spice left of my skin 10-12 hours after I spritz. By then, all the notes I love have departed, and one or two base notes that were great in the blend, but less so alone, remain. It's a personal preference that there be no scent left when the star attractions leave the stage.

You can purchase Nuit de Tubéreuse at LuckyScent, Henri Bendel's L'Artisan Boutique, or your favorite L'Artisan source. If you want to test before you buy, and you don't have a source near you, LuckyScent offers samples for $3.

Photo courtesy of LuckyScent

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tarte 10-Year Anniversary Introductions

Tarte turns 10 years old this year! To celebrate the milestone, Tarte is introducing some nice new products. They are available at Sephora. I think they are going to be blockbusters. Take a look!

TEN Natural Cheek Stain ($30) is a limited-edition, natural cheek stain inspired by eco-friendly celebrity makeup artist Tina Turnbow. It was designed to celebrate Tarte's 10-year anniversary with the company's iconic product - the one that started it all a decade ago: TEN Limited Edition Natural Cheek Stain.

This best seller is all new in a limited-edition sleek, gold-studded tube in Tarte's signature dark purple. The stain itself is a shimmering bright pink shade said to invigorate all complexions. "Powered by Tarte's signature T5 Super Fruit Complex, this nutrient-rich natural cheek stain fights free radical damage while treating skin with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. From anniversaries to birthdays to the everyday, Tarte always gives you something to celebrate with High-Performance Natural formulas that keep your complexion rejuvenated and fresh, inside and out." My TEN is on its way! I'm so excited I couldn't wait for its arrival to tell you about it.The TEN Limited Edition Collector's Palette ($44) is a refillable and reusable, gold-studded palette that contains 10 full-sized eyeshadows, a double-ended eye liner, a full-sized eyeshadow brush, and a deluxe sample of Lights, Camera, Lashes! Clinically-Proven Natural Mascara.

Here's what Sephora's has to say about it (more or less).

With all the effervescence and sparkle of flowing champagne, TEN Limited-Edition Collector's Palette celebrates Tarte's milestone: a decade of High-Performance Natural beauty. Overflowing with 10 limited-edition shadows; a limited-edition, double-ended eye liner; and a full-sized eyeshadow brush, this palette is a true collector's item filled with endless looks from soft to smoky and from earthy to jewel-toned. Before being treated with soothing vitamins, these pigmented and luxurious shadows are softly milled from natural mineral pigments for rich color payoff and silky application. The double-ended eye liner in deep black and plum complements any look and is infused with antioxidant-rich and free-radical-fighting carnauba wax, shea butter, and cocoa seed butter. Tarte even includes a free deluxe sample of their best-selling Lights, Camera, Lashes! Clinically-Proven Natural Mascara, so you can achieve a 424% increase in the volume of your lashes [ed: that may be a slight exaggeration]! Housed in a refillable palette studded to embody a little bubbly, this masterpiece is the perfect way to celebrate the last decade and toast to the next TEN. Cheers!

I'm sure you know that Tarte's wonderful cosmetics are formulated without the following ingredients we are all trying to avoid.
  • Parabens
  • Sulfates
  • Synthetic Fragrances
  • Synthetic Dyes
  • Petrochemicals
  • Phthalates
I love that about Tarte! That's why I keep buying. There's little I can resist. My latest purchases (along with the new items above) are value sets that include pre-launches and best sellers: Maureen's Favorites Exclusive Value Set ($39) and Radiant and Rested Luminous Complexion Collection ($42). Check them out! The first includes a darling little Deluxe Natural Cheek Stain in a new shade: Exclusive (a warm earthy nude). The latter includes a small Natural Cheek Stain in Glisten. I am a total pushover for cheek stains, and little ones I can pop into my makeup bag are the cat's meow. I'll tell you about them after I've had a chance to sample.

Congratulations to Tarte! May the next 10 years be even more exciting than the first 10!

Photos courtesy of Sephora

Chef Yossi Chef's Soap

Now I'm really spilling my secrets. Chef Yossi Chef's Soap ($24) is a miracle! It was designed to remove pesky, lingering odors from your hands - stubborn food smells that regular soap won't touch. I don't know about you, but I don't want my hands to smell like onion, or garlic, or whatever I had to mince for a recipe.

Chef's Soap is also antibacterial, so it will keep you safe from E. coli, salmonella, and other nasty bacteria that can hide in uncooked food, and it will sanitize pesky cuts from knife slips (who but Jacques Pepin doesn't slip now and then?).

If you purchase Chef Yossi's Chef's Soap for your kitchen, you are going to want one for your bathroom too. Here's my secret: it removes cosmetics and fragrance odors. I'll admit I have a sensitive nose. Occasionally, I spray/test a perfume that's beyond bad; it's disgusting to me. Do you know how hard it is to remove something you hate? The great stuff washes right off. The scents you hate want to linger for hours. Chef Yossi to the rescue! I put the liquid soap right my skin (usually my arm), massage it in, then rinse it off. The offensive odor is gone!

Love this stuff! You can purchase it online at Chef Yossi's Web site. I have also seen it at specialty cooking stores.

Photo courtesy of Chef Yossi

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Edward Bess Compact Rouge

I've had a long-standing love affair with cream blush. I'm delighted by its natural look - it's like a second skin. When I can use a cream blush on my lips too, I'm doubly delighted. That's why Edward Bess Compact Rouge ($38) is on my list of favorites!

The simply named Compact Rouge is an incredibly smooth cream that provides a sheer tint for very natural looking color - a "seductive, stained finish." It applies beautifully and blends easily with either a foundation brush or fingertips. The color persists on my cheeks all day - just as it should with a quality product.

It's available in two shades, Island Rose and After Sunset. I bought both months ago, and I'm glad. Island Rose, the pink-rose shade shown at the top in my photos, is perfect for cool-toned skin or anyone who can wear pink and rose shades. After Sunset, perfect for warm-toned gals, also works for me as a light bronzer - or on days when pink is "out of the question." Sometimes, I want a monochromatic natural/nude look, and After Sunset is perfect.

I applied Compact Rouge heavily for these photos. It's actually very sheer. The shades are shown here in different outdoor exposures. You can see that the color has a gleam to it. It's radiant, but not sparkly.

The compacts are rather small. That might be a drawback if you are trying to be frugal and stretch your dollars a long way. When it comes to Edward Bess makeup, you'll be happy if you go for extravagant. Each compact comes in a pretty velvet carrier, and the sleek, black compacts contribute to the sense that using Compact Rouge is a treat.

For more about Edward Bess and his inspired and elegant cosmetics, please pop back to my April 12 introduction. If you are tempted to experience the luxury of Edward Bess, and want to get some help from Bergdorf Goodman, give Susan Babakhanova a call at (212) 872-8826 or Donna Muzio at (212) 872-2777. Either one of these wonderful ladies would be pleased to help you select some goodies. You can also order from Edward Bess online.

Top photo courtesy of Edward Bess

Red Flower Kinmoxei Wild Lime Silk Oil

Red Flower Kinmoxei Wild Lime Silk Oil ($44) has been one of my bathroom staples for years. I realized this past weekend that I had never written about it - or any other Red Flower product I use. I'm changing that today!

Kinmoxei Wild Lime Silk Oil was inspired by the fifth step of a Japanese cleansing ritual that has been perfected by centuries of attention to the sensual and thorough art of caring for the body.

The first thing you notice about Kinmoxei Wild Lime Silk Oil is the unusual, exotic fragrance. The blend of the beautifully tiny, yet intensely scented, kinmoxei flowers and hints of wild lime, vetivert, and ylang ylang in rice bran, leave the skin fragrant. The bergamot and wild lime help to warm and stimulate the skin to bring a healthy glow to the surface. Rice bran and monoi oil, which are high in vitamin E and fatty acids, add moisture and antioxidants that are quickly absorbed. The blend of penetrating nutrients leaves the skin soft, scented, and radiant.

Its key ingredient is concentrated hydrolyzed silk for true softness that renews the skin and leaves it supple and healthy. Natural silk proteins provide intensely penetrating moisture to smoothe and soften the skin.

The company says to dispense several highly penetrating drops into your hands and blend the oil generously into water-misted skin (or skin still damp from bathing). Then deeply massage the oil from the nape of your neck to the bottom of your feet, becoming aware of the radiant energy circulating freely throughout your entire system. Believe! The experience is warming and pleasant. I've also been known to spritz bath water with the oil and just soak in the aromatherapy treat.

Red Flower (which technically should be all lower case, but that hurts my eyes) was launched nationally in 1999 at Barneys New York with six flower candles and two organic flower teas. The line continues to evolve and grow, with over a hundred products, each with a generosity of scent, health, and environmental consciousness, performance, and integrity - all of which make Red Flower so innovative (and good for you). The products are entirely free of drying agents and harsh preservatives. They are not tested on animals. The ingredients are 100% botanically based and essential oil-derived. The packaging is 77% post-consumer recycled paper, and it's printed at a 100% wind-powered plant. You can feel good about using Red Flower products.

You can find them at many sources now. A few are Barneys New York, LuckyScent, the Red Flower Web site, and Amazon.

Photo courtesy of Red Flower

Monday, June 21, 2010

Josie Maran Finger Paints - Lovely

Summertime, and the livin' is easy...

Something about Josie Maran's Finger Paints in Lovely ($36) reminds me of my favorite song by George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke - there are so many stellar versions of Summertime, and I love them all.

Think you can't create sophisticated makeup looks with your fingers? Think again. It's summertime, and the livin' is easy! Makeup should be easy too, especially when you're on vacation. What could be easier than one compact; four gorgeous shades for eyes, lips, and cheeks; and no need for sophisticated applicators?

The palette holds four multi-use makeup shades specifically chosen to flatter every skin tone and intended to be applied with your fingers. The feather-light shimmers bring soft, glowy, summertime color to cheeks, lips, and eyes. One compact does it all.

I adore Finger Paints! All four colors work on my eyelids, and the two lightest shades are beautiful highlighters. The two darker shades work well on my lips. The shade at the top in my arm photo is gorgeous on my cheeks. Lovely indeed!

The innovative formula contains natural, organic ingredients, including argan oil. There are no artificial fragrances, parabens, or toxic ingredients. No animals suffered for our beauty either - that's important to me.

I bought my palette from Sephora. You can also purchase Finger Paints from Josie Maran at her Web site, where you can learn more about her brand.

Photo at top courtesy of Josie Maran

Sephora's Limited-Edition Value Sets

Sephora has been offering us some especially nice sets. Two very different ones, available now, are definitely worth a look! These sets are limited editions and available only at Sephora.

Benefit To Go Beauty Bestsellers ($10) is irresistible - both because of its price and its products. It has four portable minis of Benefit's best-selling complexion enhancers. These are all popular products. If you have them, you will appreciate the small purse or pocket sizes. If you have never tried them, now's the time.

The set has four products.
  • 0.08 oz Posietint: A poppy-pink tinted lip and cheek stain
  • 0.06 oz Some Kind-A Gorgeous: The foundation faker
  • 0.25 oz That Gal: A brightening face primer
  • 0.09 oz High Beam: A luminescent complexion enhancer
The second set I recommend is MAKE UP FOR EVER's Beauty In A Box - Aqua Essentials Kit ($69).

This kit includes seven long-lasting, must-have products that resist water and humidity, even in the most extreme summer conditions. Stay crease-free with Aqua Cream's long-lasting formula, which contains mother-of-pearl particles that provide rich color in just one application. I am absolutely smitten with Aqua Cream! Define your eyes with the award-winning Aqua Eyes, a two-in-one eyeshadow and liner pencil that adheres to the lids and remains melt-proof. You can apply it as a defined line or smudge it to smoke it out. The shades included in the set are black and a dark, metallic grey. Create an extra-black faux lash effect with Aqua Smoky Lash mascara, which delivers lashes with volume, length, and curl. Shape your lips with Aqua Lip in Nude Beige, which contains vitamin E and jojoba wax for comfortable wear. You can instantly remove your waterproof look with MAKE UP FOR EVER's best-selling make-up remover Travel Sens' Eyes. Its gentle formula can be used on even the most sensitive eyes.

The Aqua Creams alone are $22 per shade, and I have both Warm Beige (champagne shimmer) and Taupe (taupe shimmer), the two colors included in this set. Beauty in a Box is a great value.

There you have it! Two great sets worth a look before they disappear.

Photos courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tarte The Vanity Palette Giveaway Contest

Tarte's The Vanity Palette was a limited edition - a $494 value - that is no longer available. I purchased one, thinking it would make a nice gift. It will - for one of you!

The palette has swivel-out levels with 16 eye shadows, 16 lip glosses, four brushes, a park avenue princess bronzer, luminizer, and two shadow brushes. That's not all; there's also a lights, camera, lashes 4-in-1 mascara. It's literally a makeup wardrobe in a golden case that closes with a magnetic snap. Whether you use it for your everyday look or find it the perfect travel companion, you will love this set!

All products are loaded with "skinvigorating" ingredients: vitamin E, beeswax, rice bran wax, carnauba wax, and mineral pigments. Tarte's products are free of parabens, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, phthalates, sulfates, fragrances, and mineral oil. They are good for you while they make you beautiful!

How can you enter to win this set? Just leave a comment here once. 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 (an alternative is to code your e-mail, e.g., myname at gmail dot com, in your comment).

The contest is open to residents of the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. The deadline for entries will be Saturday, June 26, at midnight. The next morning, I will use a random number generator ( to select the winner.

I will post this contest at Free!Grechen, my favorite giveaway site on the Web. If you like giveaway contests, you will love Free!Grechen.

Good Luck!

Update 6/22: The winner of this contest will be required to reply to my e-mail within 48 hours of notice or will forfeit the prize. If that happens, another winner will be selected.

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Bug Bites Are Not Pretty!

Don't you hate those welts on your arms, legs, ankles - anything that's exposed when you dart outside in the summer? A mosquito feasted on me at a picnic recently, and my arm itched for a week! I'm as fast as "he" was, so fortunately, his meal on my arm was his last.

I like Avon's SKIN SO SOFT insect repellents. This morning, I received an e-mail alert that Avon's Bug Guard Plus IR3535 EXPEDITION SPF 30 Aerosol Spray and the pump spray version are on sale. Bug Guard Plus IR3535 Expedition is unscented, so I love it. So many insect repellents have a dreadful scent! This one also offers SPF protection, so you get a two-fer when you use it.

Priced at $7.99 instead of $16 (or $6.99 for the non-aerosol spray), Bug Guard Plus IR3535 Expedition is currently a great deal. Until July 1, use code SUMMER10 for free shipping at Avon.

Photo courtesy of Avon

Smashbox Naked Beauty Mini Lip Gloss Winner

Revised post...

Congratulations to Kammi! She was notified by e-mail that she was the lucky winner of the Smashbox Naked Beauty gloss collection. Selected by, Kammi's was one of many entries. This was a popular contest! I can see why; I love the set I bought for myself, with its luscious pastel colors. It's perfect for summer.

Thank you - to all who entered, to all who left or sent sweet notes, and to all my blog readers! My thanks, also, to my new Twitter followers. I try to put content on Twitter that's not "long enough" for a post here in the blog, so I hope you will stick around. We can chat there too! Remember, this summer I will do a contest only for followers.

We have these contests every week so that I can share with you my love of "the best things in beauty." Contests with over 70 entries are hard to win, so please don't get discouraged. Keep entering. We'll start another contest tonight. Come back later, please.

Photo courtesy of Smashbox

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day! It's a day to celebrate all those great fathers. I'll bet even the dog knows it!

Update: I couldn't decide whether to post a sad note on such a happy day. I tear up every time I think about my father's passing and how much I miss him. So, please give your father a hug from me. I just sent a message to mine in heaven.

Photo courtesy of The Daily Green

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Estee Lauder Pure Color Night by Tom Pecheux

On May 21, Kari published a must-read piece on the Pure Color Night Collection by Tom Pecheux for Estee Lauder. To see photos of the look and the three products, please pop over to Kari's place at Fab over Forty.

The finely edited and stunning collection consists of a Pure Color Ombre Effect Eye Shadow ($20) in Naughty Black, a trio of matte and shimmery black/brown shades; Pure Color Lip Gelée ($20) in Kiss Me, a rosy nude; and Pure Color Luminous Powder ($40) in Highlight, the creamiest powder illuminator I own. Highlight is so creamy (for a powder) it's surprising. The formulation is fabulous.

Kari told us that this limited-edition collection would be available only at Bergdorf Goodman, so I called to order mine. I waited a few days, but I didn't dilly dally. I spoke with Donna Muzio, who was a doll. She convinced me that I should order the eye shadow, even though it looked as if it would be way too dark for me to wear. Donna, if you are reading this, thank you!

Although I haven't confirmed it, rumor has it that the collection has sold out. The first day Bergdorf's could mail out the pieces was last Monday. I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my goodies, and they came today. They are gorgeous!

Here are a few "arm shots" taken in different outdoor light intensities. I applied all of the products with the applicators included. You can see the highlighter at the top. I can't stress enough how pretty it is. I'm already gushing. I will probably wear this one down to the bottom of the pan. The lip gloss is stunning. I'm sure you read rosy nude and thought, "Yeah, there are thousands of them." None of my several hundred are quite like this one!

The three dark shadows (stripes in one pan) are all slightly different, I think my favorites are the two lightest ones shown on top, but all three will be useful accent colors or liners for me. I smudged them on heavily for these photos. Applied lightly, they are perfect smokey eye shades.

Thanks to Kari, Donna, Tom Pecheux, and Estee Lauder, I'm a happy gal today! Donna wrote me the sweetest note too. She's a contact I'm keeping!

Update 6/20: You can see Kari modeling her new pieces (she got them yesterday too) at Fab over Forty!

Weekend Rant: Product Returns

If you read Best Things in Beauty regularly, you know that I've been testing primers for months. I've found great ones and others that left me wondering, "What on earth were they thinking?"

One primer I reviewed recently came from a luxury-priced line, and it did nothing - absolutely nothing - to prime, prepare, or enhance my skin. Yet the company representative (who knows I love the makeup from her company) testified to its effectiveness in adding a glow. Hope springs eternal, so I forked over my charge card and purchased it.

Later, as I shared with you, I found that the product was worthless. It had no desirable effects - nada. Kim (a beauty pro) asked in the comments if I'd lost my mind. In a word, sweetie, yes. I was in the mood to try primers, and I assumed that a company that could make fabulous makeup could also introduce products to enhance our makeup.

Fast forward. This past week, I had a session with an esthetician who works exclusively for the same company. Here's how the conversation went.

Me: I tried the blah-de-blah primer, and...
Her (cutting me off): That primer won't do anything for your skin. Why did you buy it?
Me: The rep told me it would be fabulous for me.
Her: Which rep? Did you buy it at [insert store name]? Was her name [insert SA name]?
Me: Yep.
Her: Take it back. We do have a primer you might like, but that's not it.

And so I did. I really don't like to return things. I feel that if I make the wrong decision, it's really my fault. I'm supposed to be hype-resistant. For the most part, I am. This time, I was misled by the company's incredibly fabulous makeup, a lure it turned out. I'll be smarter next time.

Why am I writing out this rant? It's really not OK to buy products just to try them and then return them. You will earn a bad reputation at a store if you do that too often. If you like beauty products, you want to have a good relationship with the many talented (and honest) people who work in the industry. They deserve that! I've made some lasting friendships at stores, and I know how hard my friends work to please us.

If you are interested in a new product, ask the sales associate or company representative for a tester or sample. If they don't have a pre-packaged one, they will usually make one for you (at a good store). Had I been able to get one, I would not have purchased the primer. The Golden Rule has to apply here. Do unto stores as you would have them do unto you! However, if a sales or company representative misleads you, you have a right to return an item that doesn't match his or her praise. Maybe the rep can explain to you how you might use it more effectively. Maybe not. Have that discussion. It's only fair.

What about you? How do you feel about returning beauty products?

Photo courtesy of MJC