Saturday, July 31, 2010

YSL Rouge Volupté Perle for Fall 2010

Rouge Volupté Perle ($34), a new formula of YSL's Rouge Volupté has been introduced in six shades for fall. Called a Silky Sensual Radiant Lipstick with SPF 15, Rouge Volupté Perle is going to be just as popular as its award-winning sister, Rouge Volupté.

Early in July, I showed you a sneak peek at the fall collection. It's in stores now and definitely worth your consideration. What follows in italics is YSL's description of this new Rouge Volupté.

An object of every woman's desires, Rouge Volupté's luxurious...outer packaging reveals a creamy lipstick that leaves your lips nourished, feeling smooth and soft, and looking glossy and irresistible. Presented in a romantic and elegant golden metallic case, with a mirror on top for quick and easy application throughout the day, and an intricate carving of the Yves Saint Laurent logo.

Rouge Volupté Perle is available in six new pearly, perfect-for-fall shades: #101 Beige Caress, #102 Coral Sun, #103 Sparking Pink, #104 Stellar Pink, #105 Insolent Beige, and #106 Mesmerizing Purple.

I thought all of them were pretty. Coral Sun, #102, isn't my personal best shade, but anyone with warm-toned skin will love it. Mesmerizing Purple, #106, is very dark. It's seasonal and trendy. I'll bet it earns a large, cult following.

The two I purchased Friday at Saks are Insolent Beige, #105, shown at the top of my arm photo, and Stellar Pink, #104. Look at the difference between the YSL Web site swatch shade above and the actual color of Insolent Beige! I wish beauty companies could figure out a better way to display the colors of their makeup online. I know that display settings account for part of the difference, but not all of it.

Both of these shades are perfect for me - love them! Insolent Beige isn't beige; it's a complex shade with rose, mauve, and brown in it. Stellar Pink has just enough warmth that it doesn't scream "pink." It does earn "extra credits" for brightening my face. Rouge Volupté Perle is hydrating and feels great on my lips. I could have purchased more of the shades, but instead I came away with the new blusher and one of the eye shadow duos. I'll show them to you within the next day or two.

You can purchase Rouge Volupté Perle at YSL Beauty's Web site and at all the department stores, such as Saks, that offer YSL's fabulous makeup.

Top photos courtesy of YSL Beauty

Sneak Peek at Giorgio Armani Beauty's Night Viper Collection for Fall 2010

Giorgio Armani will be rolling out several phases of new color for fall. I got the scoop on all of it yesterday. One phase has made an appearance at the Armani Beauty Web site, but is not available at Saks in Chevy Chase - not yet, at least. Night Viper is all about "nocturnal chic." The small collection includes a Maestro Eye Shadow Quad, an Eyes to Kill Palette, a new shade of Eyes to Kill Mascara, a Blending Blush Duo, and three new shades of Rouge d'Armani Lipstick.

The Maestro Eye Shadow Quad ($59) has shades of inky blue, the Armani star shade, along with dark brown, icy brown, and silver - inspired by the deep tones of night. This looks pretty, wearable, and like something I would purchase. So I did!

The #7 Eyes to Kill Palette ($59) is all about plum, with pure mauve (satin finish), ink black (satin finish), and aubergine purple (metallic finish). Seen below left, it appears to be rather daring - certainly not quite as wearable.

Of the two shadow palettes, I'm sure I will prefer the Maestro Quad. I don't look very good with red-toned plum on my eyelids. It gives me either a recently crying look - or one of extreme fatigue. Neither is flattering.

On the other hand, the Blending Blush Duo in Shimmering Pale and Dark Raspberry ($85) looks like it was made for me! I love these shades, shown at right. Blending Blush Duo was created with Armani's Micro-fil cream texture that allows the blush to morph into fluid color on contact with the skin. The result is soft, flushed color and subtle highlighting that sculpts the face very nicely. It's easy to apply and blend. This one is a must-have for me, even though it is $25 more than the other Blending Blush duos! That was shocking. My order, with two items, tallied to $144!

The new Rouge d'Armani Lipstick ($30) fall colors are:
  • 602 - soft pink,
  • 603 - black purple,
  • 604 - deep ruby.
All are dark and dramatic. Even #602 is a very pigmented pink. I need to see these before I spend.

Rounding out the collection is an Eyes to Kill Mascara ($30) in Blue Grey Night, a very attractive greyed navy.

I had wanted to see the shades at Saks before I purchased. Since they didn't have them and don't expect to before next month, I ordered the quad and blush from Armani's Web site today. Other than the price shock, I'm excited.

Through today, Armani is offering free shipping if you order any item from Night Viper. If you can't wait - like me - head over now.

Update 8/5: The price of the Blending Blush Duo is $49, not $85. The Web site was incorrect. See my 8/5 post for more details and swatches.

Photos courtesy of UrCosme

Weekend Roundup - July 31

Bye Bye July! I can happily kiss this month goodbye. It has been amazingly hot and dry in the DC area. We expect hot summers here, but this one has been brutal, with almost everything Mother Nature could throw our way.

We have so much to share in the beauty roundup this week - from summer to fall, short hair to long, and every color of beauty in between!

If you're going to spend your hard-earned dollars on a makeup palette, you really want to make sure you get the best use out of the colors. So many palettes offer one or two must-have's, and the rest are never used. Gaia from The Non-Blonde had to decide which of two different palettes to select, and she shared with us the one she chose from NARS.

Kari at Fab Over Forty has renewed her love of makeup with a brand that's an old favorite. This week she shared with us some of the newest products to the line and how she's back to using Elizabeth Arden.

Cindy, our Prime Beauty gal, had the opportunity to interview makeup artist Lori Taylor from Smashbox Cosmetics. Read what tips and tricks she learned!

Growing your hair out can be a daunting experience. Kelly from Gouldylox Reviews has been sharing with us her hair-growing experience. I think she's getting younger with every inch of growth! Kelly has a giveaway of five of her favorite Peter Lamas Chinese Herbs hair products that have helped her along the way. Be sure to enter!

While we're on the subject of hair, would you rather be blond or brunette, or how about highlights? Anne at Beauty Xposé showed us a virtual site where we can test drive a new hair color without opening a box or stepping foot in a salon. See Anne's results!

Karla Sugar shared her swatches of the latest Lancôme Fall Collection, French Coquettes. Take a peek at these rich, lovely shades at The Next Best Thing to Going Shopping Yourself. I purchased the exquisite La Rose Déco compact. Lancôme has nailed trendy again!

Do your eyebrows need a little extra help to look their best? Laurie at Product Girl showed us how we can have great brows and contribute to a good cause by purchasing IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil.

I spent some time describing my adoration of the Guerlain eye palettes from the Champs-Élysées Fall 2010 Collection. Yesterday, I even raved about "the competition's palettes" with my favorite Armani buddy. Check out Best Things in Beauty for my swatching and swooning over the palettes. You must also go see Gaia's swatches of 93 Rue de Passy (one I didn't buy) at The Non-Blonde.

And one last thing...Kristen of Beauty Addict fame has been on a blogging hiatus for months. She's back! I added her to my "Favorite Blogs" to make it convenient for you to bop over to her blog now and then. Hers was one of the first beauty blogs I started reading. We are thrilled to see her writing again!

I'll start another giveaway contest tomorrow - and tonight I'll have a few of my new fall YSL Beauty purchases to show you. Come on back after your tour!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia

Yes, it's as exciting as it sounds! I'm wearing Jo Malone's new English Pear & Freesia Cologne, even though it's not due to be introduced until September.

They had a bottle on display at Saks at Chevy Chase, Maryland. After I sprayed it all over my arm, I swooned. I told Loyd Cassler "I have to have it - now. I need this. I love this." It was nowhere to be sold! He assured me he would get his hands on it as fast as possible. The Jo Malone rep was not there to explain to us why the bottle was out for testing, but there was no product to sell. It was such a tease!

Jo Malone's new fragrance is said to marry poetry and perfume because it was inspired by the ode “To Autumn” by John Keats. It's a fruity floral and as pretty as it gets.

Upon first spray, there's a burst of King William Pear in its top notes. White freesia (always one of the most fragrant flowers in a bouquet) is among the scent’s heart notes. Amazingly, its dry-down includes patchouli, white amber, and musk. I don't smell the patchouli, which I normally despise. Strange, huh? I do smell the musk.

I can't wait to get my own bottle!

Update 7/31: Saks says "very soon." I'm now on their waiting list.

Photo courtesy of WWD

The Friday Forum - July 30

It's Friday, which means it's time for The Friday Forum. Today, I have a special question for you. Should I continue The Friday Forum each week? I open up the blog to what you have to say about beauty products, and each week I try to put special offers and discounts in the comments to share them. This summer, there haven't been many comments on The Friday Forum, even though I know from my site counters that you're out there.

I'd like to know if you read this feature and whether you like it or not. Should I continue it, change it, or drop it? Please let me know. If no one comments, it's likely that this is our last Friday Forum (in its current form).

For now, let's enjoy this darling photo together and stick with the original purpose of The Friday Forum - to share information. 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. Some are "really slow." That's why I am trying to decide whether to continue with this Friday feature.

As usual, I will share the best beauty bits (noteworthy sales and special offers) with you over the weekend, starting with free shipping this weekend at Just use the code FREESHIP in the coupon box at checkout. I'll put any other great deals in the comments.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway contest for Josie Maran's Earth Day Essentials Green-On-The-Go Kit. The deadline is Saturday night at midnight. It's a nice prize!

Just a few of the features coming up in the next few days: the incredible Rahua Shampoo; Tarte, one of my favorite brands; Nailene's cool nail products; Exuviance skin care; and more fab fragrance! Thanks for reading!


Photo courtesy of

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back-to-School Beauty Preview from Clinique

Clinique has put together some pretty looks to help you master the art of color for an A+ look this fall. There are four complete looks: Nudes, Goldens to Greens, Pinks, and Violets and Blues.

Did you know...

Nudes are instant de-agers?
Goldens to greens make blue eyes bluer?
Pinks will instantly brighten your look?
Violets and blues can provide dramatic contrast?

The pairings are pretty, and the suggestions are fun. The Nudes are shown below. Check out all the looks at Clinique's Web site!

Photos courtesy of Clinique

Jane Iredale Eye Gloss

When I saw Jane Iredale's Eye Gloss ($15) in Allure, swatched in Green Silk, I knew I had to try it. You probably know that Jane Iredale was a pioneer in supplying the beauty industry with a full line of mineral makeup. She saw the potential of offering physicians makeup that was good for the skin, and she has worked with world-renowned plastic surgeons and dermatologists in the development of her line. The photo in Allure caught my eye immediately. The swatch was a golden green and appeared to have a beautiful shimmer.

Eye Gloss is a cream shadow that's available in eight sparkling shades. See the swatches from Jane Iredale's site at the bottom of this post (you can click on it to enlarge it). These shadows are absolutely crease-resistant, as advertised. There's a reason they are called "silks"! That's the way they go on, and that's the way they look on the lid. Smooth and lustrous, they don't crease or smear; my Green Silk stays on until I take it off. The shadows apply with a doe-foot-type applicator, like lip gloss. The shade shown in the photo above is Grey Silk.

Here's Green Silk on my arm. I applied it relatively unblended, which you should be able to see well. At the top of my arm, I blended it to show you how neutral and sheer it can appear when blended. Blended, it's an "un-green" green. Applied straight from the applicator, it's a very neutral, wearable green. You can apply it heavily or lightly, blended or not, to create the look you want. I like to wear it "half-blended" - if that makes sense. It makes my blue eyes look very blue.

I love Green Silk, so I'd like to try Champagne Silk next. I think Eye Gloss is a great swipe-and-go eye shadow. That's perfect for me when I'm in a hurry in the morning.

You can purchase Eye Gloss from Jane Iredale's Web site, where you can learn a lot more about Jane and her full range of makeup and watch instructional videos, and at

Eye Gloss photos courtesy of Jane Iredale and

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cold Plasma Giveaway Contest Winner

Congratulations to Rose Mary, who was just notified by e-mail! She won the Cold Plasma.

Our four independent judges selected her entry. They had a very hard time selecting only one winner. There were so many heartwarming and convincing entries. It took them all day to read, re-read, and finally vote on a winner. They wanted to be able to select more than one winner. I understand; I could have selected at least five of the entries to win!

My thanks to Dr. Nicholas Perricone and his team for their generosity. Maybe we can talk them into sponsoring another giveaway soon! I am using his skin care regularly, and I am very happy with the results. I love Cold Plasma. Cold Plasma Eye is one of my newest favorites - it has made a huge difference in the skin around my eyes. I am about to test the new Cold Plasma Body, and I can't wait.

Thank you for entering and for your sweet stories. We have contests every week. I hope that each of you will win a prize this year!

Photo courtesy of Perricone MD

Mélange Perfumes Roll-on Oils

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, it did. Only weeks ago, I ordered a few Mélange Solid Perfumes from b~glowing. At the same time, I ordered two roll-on oils by Mélange: Blend No. 5: Tahitian Gardenia & White Tea ($18), and Blend No. 12: Frangipani & Gardenia ($18).

Because I was having such a perfume fest with the solids, I set the roll-on oils aside for later. Monday, I had the day off and allowed myself the pleasure of sampling. I think I've mentioned that when I get a lot of new goodies in one fell swoop I like to space out the treats. Am I impressed! Both of my new roll-on fragrances are divine.

Blend No. 12, Frangipani & Gardenia, a seductive frangipani that's also known as plumeria, is blended with the equally beautiful Tahitian gardenia. Imagine the possibiliites of a flower so compelling it lures the Sphinx Moth, together with a gardenia adored for centuries (and one of my mother's favorites - her wedding bouquet was made with gardenias). I imagined, I purchased, and now my nose is like that moth, lingering by my wrist where I leave it a dose of this seductive perfume oil when I apply it.

Blend No. 5, Tahitian Gardenia & White Tea, is just as fabulous. Also known as tiare, fragrant Tahitian gardenia is native to Polynesia. Once reserved for island nobility, these blossoms are celebrated in wedding leis and prized by gardenia lovers. This floral oil is blended with a top note of fresh white tea, toning down the sweetness and giving it a character unlike any other fragrance I have.

There are other oils available. How does Cucumber, Water Lily, White Musk & Grass sound? Or Japanese Tea Rose & Sakura Blossom? What's especially nice about all these lovely perfumes is their price! At only $18, you can try a few without ending up in credit card trouble.

Mélange Roll-On Perfume Oils are inspired by the most coveted fragrance notes in custom blending. Alcohol-free, the oils are formulated in a natural base of coconut oil fractions, which leave the integrity of the fragrance notes intact, and Hawaiian kukui nut oil, a natural antioxidant that adds a rich dimension to the perfume. I am smitten by my Mélange purchases. The solid perfumes and roll-on oils I purchased have suddenly become my everyday scents. I know I'll have to tear myself away from them at some point, but for now, I am celebrating summer with the lush fragrances of tropical islands.

You can read more about Mélange, along with a blending guide, at the Mélange Web site. You can order from b~glowing and Mélange. I'm a b-glowing gal; I love their frequent specials, selection, service, and samples. There may even be a store near you that carries Mélange perfumes. Check out this link.

Photo courtesy of b~glowing

KissKiss Gloss from Guerlain Champs-Élysées Collection for Fall 2010

This blog is starting to resemble a makeup soap opera: The Continuing Adventures of Charlestongirl at the Guerlain Counter. You have watched and read the serial portrayal of a love affair with Guerlain's Champs-Élysées Collection for Fall 2010. Today, in what may be our conclusion (don't season endings always leave you hanging?), we won't have the high drama of the eye palettes, but we will spotlight a supporting character - one whose innate beauty could steal the show: KissKiss Gloss ($30).

KissKiss Gloss offers radiant, sheer color with high shine. It's a fabulous gloss. I loved it before the fall collection was introduced, and I continue to love it. Its non-sticky formula keeps my lips moisturized. Guerlain says it contains water-resistant and magnifying esters to ensure long-lasting effects with a boost of volume. It has a flat, smooth brush that's easy to use and provides accurate application (except on my arm).

I bought #823,
Poppy Star, and #848, Brown Sugar, shown here at left. Poppy Star is the sparkling red at the top, and Brown Sugar, described romantically by Guerlain as a "delicate and poetic beige," is a lively nude. The third shade of the three new ones is Péché Charnelle (#847), a soft gold with a racy name that translates as Carnal Sin.

Why did I select these two shades? Poppy Star is unlike any other
gloss I own. If I'm going to wear red, which is a very difficult color for me to pull off with my fair coloring, it's got to be sheer. A gloss is perfect. Brown Sugar is a sparkling topper that will allow me to tone down lipstick shades that might be a bit dark for me or warm up very cool shades. Both of these glosses are brilliant on the lips. They are extremely shiny, a feature I love. They will extend my gloss wardrobe into new territory.

You can purchase KissKiss Gloss and all of the items from Guerlain's Fall 2010 Collection at Saks, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus. There are many shades of KissKiss Gloss from which to choose if you aren't as taken with the new shades as I am!

Will there be a new episode of this love affair? Maybe. If you want to see the Caresse de L'Aube blush that was introduced with the collection, head over to The Non-Blonde. I purchased it, but I think it's going back (unused, of course). It's too warm/peach for my skin. After all, I have Stereo Rose.

Top photo courtesy of Sephora

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

MOROCCANOIL Luminous Hair Spray

I'm always searching for the ultimate hair spray - the one that does it all, has it all - and more. I've read so many good things about MOROCCANOIL products, so I sprang for their Luminous Hair Spray (I paid $15.95) at my local beauty supply store.

MOROCCANOIL is a media and celebrity darling. The salon products - all based on argan oil - contain powerful antioxidants and UV protectors. MOROCCANOIL's proprietary argan oil blend is rich in vitamins and natural elements that fortify the hair, including vitamin F (Omega 6), vitamin A to improve elasticity, vitamin E to protect against free-radicals, and phenols to shield against environmental stressors. The company deserves its fabulous reputation.

When I saw the Luminous Hair Spray, I wanted to try it. I was enticed by weightless, but strong, flexible hold; enhanced shine; and manageable, residue-free, and brushable hair. The can promised luminous and unique shine (credited to the argan oil) and a reflective shield to guard against humidity and frizz. Then a store employee told me that it was highly scented. I put it back on the shelf. The urge to try it was too strong, though. I went back, hoping they would have a tester. They didn't. I would like to have sprayed just a tiny amount to test it, but the store is too small. I had no opportunity. Darn!

I can report that the store employee was correct. It is highly scented. It's a nice scent, but it competes with my perfume - and it stays in my hair all day. I smell like baby powder - clean, fresh, pleasant baby powder. The hair spray itself is extremely nice. It held my style all day without any tacky feeling in my hair, and it added a bit of shine. Unfortunately, I can't get past the fragrance. I really wanted Luminous Hair Spray to be the be-all, end-all-searching hair spray for me. It isn't.

If you don't mind having your hair smell like baby powder all day, you may love it. Everything else about it is nice, including the fact that the company does not use ingredients from animals, and they do no animal testing.

You can purchase MOROCCANOIL products are salons (locator at this link), Amazon, and other online sources.

Photo courtesy of MOROCCANOIL

M∙A∙C Stereo Rose Mineralize Skin Finish - Why the Fuss?

You would have thought M∙A∙C's Stereo Rose Mineralize Skin Finish was the last blusher on earth! It sold out faster than a comet streaking through the universe. The build-up to its introduction with the In the Groove Collection made a lot of women - myself included - order it the minute it was available. Of course, those who had pre-ordered it were the first to get their hands on it (not counting the bloggers and others who received Stereo Rose gratis). At the stores, if you hadn't pre-ordered, you were out of luck. The M∙A∙C store at Tysons had a line at the door when they opened the day In the Groove "went live." On M∙A∙C's Web site, where I ordered mine, Stereo Rose sold out in a few hours.

When I ordered, I got it - or I thought I had. My confirmation e-mail listed it. My order came without it. It was then that I started reviewing my e-mails and found that M∙A∙C had sent one telling me that it was backordered and that I would receive it in about two weeks. I didn't believe it. I was sure that was a nice way of saying, "You snooze, you lose. We'll apologize later." Turns out I was wrong. Last week, a box carrying Stereo Rose arrived on a Friday afternoon. I was amazed.

My first reaction when I saw it was that it was misnamed. It didn't appear to be rose. It looked coral. I looked at it for awhile, trying to decide whether to put it on eBay. Finally, I decided to try it, making it eligible only as a slightly used gift to one of my friends if I didn't like it. The verdict? I like it - it's pretty, but I just don't understand the fuss! Why was Stereo Rose so special? For that matter, other than its beauty with that pretty seahorse design, what attracted people to the Marine Life compact? The color of Marine Life was harshly coral - not an easy shade for many women to wear. I'm now convinced that the media and bloggers whip up a kind of M∙A∙C hysteria, creating demand that exceeds the supply of M∙A∙C's often limited-edition, here-today-gone-tomorrow introductions.

I really like Mineralize Skin Finish (and Mineralize Blush). The sheer, slightly shimmering ("sheen" is a good descriptor), and long-lasting color are great features. I have a few shades that are gorgeous. My favorite is Blonde (introduced early in 2009), a warm pink that warms my skin without too much peach. Stereo Rose is pretty; it's just a bit too peachy for my face. That doesn't mean it won't look fabulous on thousands of women. It's pretty. I just don't understand the fuss.

Here are some photos to show you two things: 1) how incredibly sheer Mineralize Skin Finish is, giving you control to build as much color as you desire, and 2) Stereo Rose compared to Blonde to give you a reference point so that you can see the peach/coral in the shade. Most of the bloggers who swatched Stereo Rose applied it very heavily - or wet. I applied it on my arm a bit heavier than I might have on my face, but not radically heavy. On my arm above, Blonde is on the left; Stereo Rose is on the right.

To the right are closer shots of each. Stereo Rose is above Blonde. Check out the heaviest application (brush dump, if you can see it) of Stereo Rose in the top right-hand corner of the photo where it's not blended well. Now, look at Blonde and see how much pink it carries.

Which should be named "rose"? Stereo Rose should have been named Stereo Coral, or Coral Crazy. How 'bout Coral Hysteria?

Anyhow, I was glad to get it. I'll use it, but probably not often. It's not the best shade for my fair, cool skin. I hope that my order didn't deprive someone who would look fabulous in it - someone who was dejected because she didn't get it. I feel a bit silly for joining the lemmings. Fortunately, it wasn't expensive. M∙A∙C's cosmetics are very reasonably priced. Next time, I'll remember the lessons that titles don't count and the hysteria may be just that - hysteria.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Monday, July 26, 2010

KissKiss Essence de Gloss from Guerlain's Champs-Élysées Collection for Fall 2010

The eye palettes from Guerlain's Champs-Élysées Collection for Fall 2010 have stolen the spotlight from some very worthy lip colors. Guerlain introduced a new lip product with its fall collection.

KissKiss Gloss Essence de Gloss ($31) "brilliantly combines the art of lip care with the magic of colors." The extreme-shine formula, combined with anti-aging active ingredients, helps lips look and stay beautiful by smoothing wrinkles and fine lines. Instantly and day after day, Guerlain promises your lips will be beautified, smoothed, plumped, and rejuvenated. That all sounds very nice. I'm easy, though. I love the way they look and feel!

On some sites, e.g., Neiman Marcus, you are going to see Essence de Gloss referenced as KissKiss Gloss Serum. I can't explain the discrepancy. The boxes they came in have Essence de Gloss printed on them.

I purchased two KissKiss Essence de Gloss shades. I might have bought more of the colors if I hadn't spent so much money the day I bought the eye palettes. I have a suspicion I'll be going back for more. You can see the little swatch shades from the Neiman Marcus site at the bottom of this post.

"My" two shades, shown on my arm photo at right, are #421, Grenat, shown at top and #461, Baie Rose, below. Grenat is not as coral as it appears here - or as it looks on other blogs or in the photo at the bottom. To my eye, it's a complex warm mauve rose with a touch of brown and coral. I think one's own skin/lip color will determine how Grenat translates. Baie Rose is clearly pink.

The glosses have a lot of pigment, so you can wear them without lipstick underneath if you wish. They have a doe-foot applicator, which I like. They feel great on the lips - moist and not at all tacky. The elegant gold container is too pretty to hide. A little touch-up in public might be OK with a lip product this pretty!

I'm very happy with both shades. Check out the photo below from the Neiman Marcus Web site to see if there's one that catches your fancy. You can purchase KissKiss Essence de Gloss and all of the items from Guerlain's Fall 2010 Collection at Saks, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus.

With the exception of my arm photo, photos courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Where Do You Like to Shop for Beauty Products?

I have so many sources for beauty products, and I'm always adding more to my list. I'll try any store or Web site where I can get a good price on something I want, although I am leery of eBay for beauty products (more on that below). I have discovered great new Web sites with fabulous discounts and special offers, and I continue to purchase at department stores and boutiques, even though the experience isn't always satisfying. Department stores often offer the latest and greatest first - sometimes before a company's own Web site. If a store, store counter, or Web site treats me well, I'll be back.

What makes a source a favorite for me? There are three key factors: price, samples, and service. I don't mind paying full price for my items if I get some nice samples to try at the same time. To me, that's the equivalent of a discount. Otherwise, when I have a choice, price becomes the differentiator. When I'm looking for my MEG 21 skin care, for example, I'll go with the lowest price, which has been at a Web store called I've always purchased my Prevage MD at Amazon from an affiliate. I often purchase from They have many 20% store-wide discount specials, and I love their products and service. My purchases always arrive quickly and well-packed. They are one of my favorites.

Department stores are a case study of what's right in retail - and what's wrong. Many department store staff members are fabulous. They know their lines, and they are responsive and helpful. Many are clueless. I know more than they do. When I have to tell a sales associate about the products she will receive the following week, something's wrong. I'm reminded of a spring trip to a Lancôme counter. I asked about the spring Ô My Rose Collection. The SA insisted that her Lancôme display was the one I was seeking. I politely explained that there was a new Ô My Rose Collection and asked when she might have it in the store. She has absolutely no idea what I was talking about, and she is a Lancôme counter regular. Pitiful!

Then there are the dedicated professionals in department stores, men and women who know their lines and have taught me so much. I am grateful to them; they keep me going back. Once you find one of these fabulous folks, make sure to go when they will be there. Not only are they helpful and fun, they can always teach you something new. Here is a VERY short list of some of my favorites. I know I will leave someone off, and I'll apologize now. I just want to give you some examples of beauty professionals who are at the top of their game.
  • Loyd Cassler, Armani Manager at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland, along with his team
  • Diron Carr, Bobbi Brown Manager at Nordstrom Tysons Corner
  • Chris Coles, currently Assistant Beauty Department Manager at Nordstrom Montgomery Mall
  • Donna Muzio, Estee Lauder counter at Bergdorf Goodman
  • All of my Sisley friends (Simone Noorestani, Loula Ayoub, and Janette Glynn at Neiman Marcus Tysons and Gail Sezer at Saks Chevy Chase)
  • Kathy Shoreman, formerly CVS Beauty Manager and headed for Neiman Marcus Tysons
  • Susan Babakhanovaat the Edward Bess counter at Bergdorf Goodman
Just in case you were wondering, retail stores - from drugstores to department stores - do receive samples from the beauty companies. The employees are often given new products to try so that they are knowledgeable about what they sell. The samples are provided for customers. Unfortunately, many of these samples never make it to customers. They go home with employees - or their friends - leaving the store with no samples for those who actually request them. I am always pleased when a store employee offers me samples or asks if I would like samples and specifically what I'd like to try. That tells me a couple of things: 1) the employee and colleagues have saved the samples for customers, and 2) they want you to try before you buy. Products can sell themselves - even very expensive ones - when you have a chance to see how nice they are. Sisley's Supremÿa at Night is a great example. Samples are more important than ever with the unsanitary nature of testers. You should hear the stories store employees have told me!

Web sites are, in general, great sources for beauty products. You can armchair shop any time of day (nice for those of us who are often pressed for time), the products show up at your door, and the price is often right. The beauty companies offer great samples on their own Web sites. One very important factor for me is free shipping. Now that most Web sites are charging sales tax, a purchase can add up if the site wants me to pay for shipping too. I don't mind minimum purchases to get free shipping. What I hate are sites like QVC that charge shipping for each and every item you order. Take a look at the total. If you are paying 10% (or more) of the purchase price for your order, no matter how small and light, you are probably paying too much. I've had a UPS account for years, and I ship your giveaway prizes via USPS. I know what shipping costs. The "handling" charges are bunk. The site is charging you their cost of being in business. They just need to raise their prices rather than change handling fees.

Here are just a few of my all-time favorite Web sites. I'd be rich if I didn't shop at these sites so often.
  • Yes, even
I don't love Sephora's stores. They are often messy and crowded, and I don't like waiting in line to spend a lot of money. Sephora's online site has an advantage over the stores for a couple of reasons. The products come from a warehouse, so they haven't been pawed over, they arrive quickly, and I don't have to leave home to get them. What bugs me about are the often-boring free and 100-point samples. I was also sad to lose the drawstring bags, but I understand that the economic stress on companies has been severe for the last few years.

About eBay...the seller has to have a sparkling reputation for me to bid. Having sold for years on eBay (antique silver), I know how to bid and win, so I want to ensure I'm winning what's represented. I bought way too much misrepresented silver over the years, and beauty products are no different. "Buyer beware" cannot be overemphasized on eBay. Also, don't pay handling charges - same reason as other Web sources. Find out how shipping will be priced before you bid. I never charged my winning bidders a handling charge. I charged them exactly what it cost me to send their parcel. Handling, the cost of the seller's time and materials, should be wrapped into the price.

This is a long blog post. If you got this far, thanks for reading! Where do you like to shop for beauty products? Want to recommend someone or a great source? No commercial comments, please.

Photos courtesy of and

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Let's Do Another Giveaway Contest - Enter to Win a Josie Maran Makeup Set

Congratulations to vrtish55! She won the Josie Maran set.

We already have one fabulous giveaway contest going. If you haven't entered to win Cold Plasma, what's stopping you? You have to write a few words to explain why you want or need Cold Plasma for a chance to win a $150 wonder-product. How hard is that? The deadline for entering the Cold Plasma contest is Tuesday, July 27.

Right now, we start a giveaway contest for the Earth Day Essentials Green-On-The-Go Kit by Josie Maran. The kit from Sephora is a $98 value, filled with Josie's best-selling and award-winning beauty products.

Green-On-The-Go is sure to bring out your natural beauty with universally flattering shades that will leave your skin glowing. Josie's kit is an eco-chic way to get gorgeous, and it's a perfect introduction to the Josie Maran line if you have never tried it.

This set contains these lovely products that will suit almost all skin types!
  • 100% Organic Argan Oil (3-5 uses) that will hook you no matter what your skin type
  • 0.14oz Plumping Lip Gloss in Daring (sheer shimmering rosy nude)
  • 0.12oz Cream Blush in Sunrise (soft pink)
  • 0.17oz Mascara in Black
  • 0.04 oz Eye Liner in Black
By now, you know that Josie Maran's products are earth- and skin-friendly, formulated without the ingredients we are all trying to avoid.
  • Parabens
  • Sulfates
  • Synthetic Fragrances
  • Synthetic Dyes
  • Petrochemicals
  • Phthalates
Be good to your skin and enter! How? 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 anyone - from any place in the world. The deadline for entries will be Saturday, July 31, 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.

Naturally, I'll be posting this contest at Free!Grechen, my giveaway contest partner and a great site to visit often.

Good Luck!

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Coming Attraction: Love, Chloé

Set to arrive in August in the U.K., Love, Chloé is the latest women’s fragrance from Chloé. Love, Chloé’s scent, created by Givaudan perfumers Louise Turner and Nathalie Cetto-Gracia, has top notes that include orange blossom and pink pepper. The heart of the scent is filled with iris absolute, lilac, hyacinth, wisteria blossom, and heliotropine. At its base are musks, talc, and rice powder. The scent has been described as powdery, and it's got to be floral. It sounds heavenly. I am dying to get my hands on Love, Chloé.

Roman Coppola directed the television advertisement for Love, Chloé, an inspired choice by Coty, which owns Chloé. It features Raquel Zimmermann striding through a day in Paris. She’s featured in numerous locales, including the Pont Alexandre III. The ad is intended to simultaneously convey a sense of modernity and a vintage character. New and old even meet in the design of the flacon, which was inspired by an old bottle. It has a metal plaque at its base and an old-fashioned chain to keep the cap close to the bottle’s neck.

The new scent will be launched exclusively at Harrods in the U.K. on Aug. 22 and be introduced in all other markets starting in September - except for the U.S., where there will be an exclusive at Saks Fifth Avenue starting in mid-October. What? How does Harrods keep scoring all the latest fragrance launches? Why do we have to wait until mid-October? Is our market might slipping? Double sigh!

Photo courtesy of Chloé

Guerlain Place Vendôme and Rue de Sèvres from the Champs-Élysées for Fall 2010

By popular request, here are two more Guerlain eye palettes from the Champs-Élysées Collection for Fall 2010. Finding them at Saks, sampling them, just looking at them, and finally swatching and applying them gave me an endorphin rush. I wanted it to linger. I wanted to save them for times when I needed a pick-me-up. They are that exciting!

My photos are a little dark - sorry! I had a choice of very shiny photos taken in sun, with the silver compacts reflecting light, or photos taken in indirect light. I chose the latter. Even with the photos taken within 10-15 minutes of each other, my arm appears to be a different color. I selected the photos that showed the truest shadow shades.

I'll try to give you "a little color" on the shades in these two lust-worthy compacts. Each bears the name and address (number) of a Guerlain boutique in Paris. The first, with blue in its center, is #2 Place Vendôme, has shades of iridescent ivory, deep grey, sheer copper, shimmering beige, intense indigo blue, and a navy-plum liner. The arm photos are shown clockwise from the lightest, highlighting shade in the top left of the palette. The interior indigo blue shade is fifth from the top, and the liner is shown under it. Each compact has its own liner, a nice feature that adds special value to these eye palettes. You can see the liner on the right side of each palette.

I applied several layers of the shadows to photograph them, but the choice is yours. You can apply these creamy powders with a light hand or build the color on your eyelids. I think it would be hard to overdo most of them. One exception is the indigo blue. It's really blue!

Place Vendôme has a few shades I'm going to wear out - right down to the bottom of the plan! I love the four shades that circle the blue center. The iridescent bone is a shimmering highlighter that will look fabulous under the brow, in the center of the lid, or in the inside corners of the eye. The sheer copper and beige shades have a subtle shimmer to them. While they appear to be similar on my arm, they offer two intensities of the same family. The liner has a navy-plum cast to it. It's dark and a shade that I can wear, so I'll enjoy experimenting with it.

Rue de Sèvres (#29) is very a different palette. Although the highlighting and interior turquoise shades shimmer, the rest of the colors are mostly matte - grey and taupe. The liner is dark brown, coordinating perfectly with the family of shadows.

Again, the shades are shown on my arm in the photo at right, starting with the lightest, highlighting shade at the top and rotating clockwise around the compact. The "interior" turquoise shade is the fifth one from the top on my arm, and the liner is shown under it.

I love all the shades in Rue de Sèvres. While the shimmering turquoise will be limited to the lid on my eyes, gals with darker skin are going to have more flexibility in its application. The greys and taupes are everyday shades that will get a lot of use. The same goes for the brown liner.

What makes my heart flutter with these palettes is how sheer the colors are, with the exception of the liners. The wearable shades, punctuated by a few pops of "real color," offer an abundance of flexibility in creating looks for fall and winter. If you can't figure out how you should use the shadows, directions come with the palettes, giving you a hint of Guerlain's intentions for their application. You can use the paint-by-numbers approach for a dramatic effect and smokey eye, or just do your own thing, taking advantage of the sheer formula to "swipe and go" on your way to work.

As I mentioned in my post on #68 Champs-Élysées, the first thing you notice about each palette is its weight. The palettes are heavy. Before you even open one, you get a sense that there is something very special in your hand. The silver case, the lacy cut-outs, the bee etched into the design - all of the compact's features contribute to its glamour.

Then you open the palette, and the wow factor magnifies. When you open the compact, you see the double-ended brush and a protective covering that is carefully designed to flip out to the right. The black cover protects the eye shadows from any damage. Only after you flip up the cover, do you glimpse the eye shadows and liner - color-coordinated beauties. Guerlain calls them "tailored harmonies." Opening one for the first time is like discovering a secret.

There are five palettes in the fall collection. The two I didn't purchase are very different. 10 Rue des Francs-Bourgeois has shades of beige, golden bronze, and brown. It's absolutely gorgeous, and if I didn't have hundreds of new eye shadows in these brown-toned shades, I would have purchased it. I may still (she says with a grin). The other is 93 Rue de Passy, with pink, smoky pink, grey, and taupe shades. Most pinks don't "work" for me. I try to avoid pink and red-toned shades on my eyes because they bring out any redness in my eyes or lids. There will be plenty of gals for whom these shades are perfect.

There you have it! New eye palettes from Guerlain that you really need to see. I didn't even mention the price; each is $84. You can find Guerlain's Fall 2010 Collection at many the department stores, including Saks, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus. Next, I'll show you the lip colors and blush I purchased. More beautiful makeup!

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Estée Lauder Pleasures Bloom

I was prepared to like Estée Lauder's new Pleasures Bloom fragrance. I really was. I had loved Pleasures Jasmine Violet Splash, a spritzer incarnation of Pleasures that was introduced about a year ago. One of my friends loved it too, and the bottle was huge, so I was able to share frequently. I assumed Bloom might be similar.

Estée Lauder describes Pleasures Bloom as fruity, luscious, vibrant, and playful. I would describe it as a floral-fruit blend with a gratuitous addition of patchouli and vanilla. Why perfumers consider patchouli a mandatory addition to fragrances these days is beyond me. To me, it screams "department store," cheap, and a few unmentionables. To them, it whispers "feminine."

The original Pleasures fruity-floral scent is said to be have been "updated" to be contemporary and playful, vibrant and carefree. Seriously, those are the adjectives the Estée Lauder Company uses. Here's how Karyn Khoury, Senior Vice President for Corporate Fragrance Development Worldwide, describes Pleasures Bloom.

We wanted to take the timeless core concept of pleasures - the enjoyment of life's simple pleasures as the balance to a life that is often over connected and overextended - and express it with a new level of animation and vibrancy that reflects the world we live in today. The less about tranquil calmness and more about adding energy, animation, and color to life.

The fragrance opens on a "fresh and playful, fruity blend" of grapefruit, raspberry, and a violet flower made to feel more modern thanks to a juicy note of lychee. I think modern means one can't have a pure floral anymore. The heart of the perfume is radiant and feminine with notes of dewy pink peony, elegant rose, intoxicating jasmine, and the intrigue of green lily. Up to this point, we are cooking! The base notes are "warm and enveloping," resting on "soft, shimmering" musk, patchouli, and creamy vanilla. What they ended up with is a mishmash of notes that jars me. Even the bag in which I brought home my samples (generously provided by an Estée Lauder representative) stinks with that contemporary note of stale perfume that characterizes so many fragrances. I'm reminded of the worst perfumes of all time - those that could clear an elevator.

The advertising features the gorgeous model Hillary Rhonda relaxing in the summery atmosphere of a field of wild flowers. That will probably sell a few bottles.

Should Pleasures Bloom be just what you're looking for, you can purchase the Eau de Parfum spray for $52 or $74 at Estée Lauder counters or the Web site.

Let me know what you think!

Photos courtesy of Estée Lauder

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekend Roundup - July 24

It was another exciting week in beauty blogging land - so many interesting stories! Here are our recommendations for your weekend reading.

Kari has been running a series about her trip to the dermatologist and what she did to return her skin to tip-top shape. Check out Part 1 at Fab over Forty. Then read Parts 2 and 3 too!

You are going to laugh out loud when you read Kelly's Argan Oil, Poop and Goats: Things I Learned on Tuesday at Gouldylox Reviews.

Find out how Gaia found true love with Tela Organic Shampoo and Conditioner at The Non-Blonde.

Like orange? You'll want to read Chelsea's fashion-forward and economical ways to stand out in orange this summer at BeautyXposé.

Just in time for this weekend's heat wave, Cindy shared with use her top picks for great lightweight summer foundations at Prime Beauty.

Laurie got her hands on NARS new Douceur Blush. Check out Product Girl to see why most of us need it!

You have to read Shimmer Spray for Grown Ups at Beauty Info Zone Blog and find out how Lisa found her summer glow with Hampton Sun's Serious Shimmer Cooling Spray.

I had an endorphin rush when I finally swatched the first of my new Guerlain eye palettes for fall. Find out why I love Champs-Élysées here at Best Things in Beauty. I promise I'll swatch the rest of the palettes this weekend!

Remember the Cold Plasma giveaway contest! One comment might leave you holding a $150 wonder.

Hope you have a beauty-full weekend!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Friday Forum - July 23

A rose from David Austin, English Rose breeder, specialist grower, and author. His reblooming roses are a welcome addition to my garden in the severe summer heat! Is this a clue to my love for rose fragrances?

I've had a busy week. As I write this, I'm having a TGIF moment. I need the weekend to get organized and plan next week's Best Things in Beauty posts. It's predicted to be brutally hot this weekend, so staying cool inside might be a good plan. I'm sure I'll catch a nap or two; Jungle Boy (Charlie) will love curling up with me.

It's 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 (noteworthy sales and special offers) with you over the weekend. I'll put them in the comments.

The microphone is yours!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Estee Lauder Pure Color Gloss Sticks from the Blue Dahlia Collection for Fall 2010

My favorite Estee Lauder lipsticks are Pure Color Gloss Sticks ($18.50), and there are five new limited-edition and luscious shades. Most eyes go right to the flashy new eye palettes in the Blue Dahlia Collection display. Mine went straight to the new Pure Color Gloss Sticks.

These are the new shades.

Night Bloom
Mauve Mirage
Orchid Dream
Midnight Bloom
Rose Dusk

As you can see on my arm photo, I came home with three. From top to bottom are Night Bloom, Midnight Bloom, and Mauve Mirage. Names - even the "in-the-tube" look of Pure Color Gloss Sticks - can be deceiving. While names usually convey a collection's theme, they aren't always good descriptors of the shades - in any line. That's why trying before you buy is always fun when you have an easy-to-find counter like Estee Lauder's and a knowledgeable and helpful professional, like the darling Aisha Henley. Aisha helped me pick out all of my new Estee Lauder makeup at Nordstrom Tysons Corner. I had a blast shopping with her - and yep, more to come in another post on my new Pure Color Glosses, the latest Tom Pecheux sensations.

I think the new Pure Color Gloss Stick shades are drop-dead gorgeous. Night Bloom is a bright pink that's not Barbie pink. It has a hint of peach in it to warm the pink. Midnight Bloom is a mauve-brown with an opal shimmer that's extremely flattering over the natural rose in my lips. Mauve Mirage is more pink than mauve, but what's in a name? Had I not spent so much on Nordstrom's Beauty Exclusives in the last month, I could easily have purchased the other two. All of the new shades are desirable.

I love Estee Lauder's Pure Color Gloss Sticks for many reasons. They are sheer, although there's plenty of pigment to make them look like glossy lipsticks, not lip glosses. They add sheen to my lips, which makes them appear fuller than they are. They feel nice and creamy, and they stay on long enough to make me happy. Most lipsticks advertised as long-wearing feel dry to me - if not immediately, then after the first half-hour of wear.

Fortunately, you can purchase Estee Lauder Pure Color Gloss Sticks wherever you have an Estee Lauder Counter - or online. Since the new shades are limited editions, you might want to shop soon. The favorites are sure to sell out. If you would like some help by phone, give Aisha a call. She's the Manager of the Estee Lauder counter at the Nordstrom closest to me. Her phone is (703) 761-1121, extension 1070. If you want to order online, through July 23, you can get a sample of the new Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronized Complex by using the code FOREYES at checkout. Some of the Estee Lauder counters have these samples too.

If you are interesting in reading my May preview of the Blue Dahlia Collection, just click on this link.

Top photos courtesy of Estee Lauder and The Moodie Report

Guerlain Champs-Élysées Palette for Fall 2010

When I gave you a preview of Guerlain's Fall 2010 Champs-Élysées Collection, I mentioned that Guerlain's collections are always eagerly anticipated at my house. I found the collection at Saks immediately. After vowing to buy only two of the eye palettes, I bought three. I could have bought four. They were definitely gush-worthy!

I've been admiring them for a few weeks - just looking at them, holding them, and saving them. Saving them for what? I don't know - just the "right time," whatever that is. I didn't want to use any of them, marring their perfect beauty with brush strokes.

The first thing you notice about each palette is its weight. The palettes are heavy. Before you even open one, you get a sense that there is something very special in your hand. The silver case, the lacy cut-outs, the bee etched into the design - all of the compact's features contribute to its glamour.

Then you open the palette, and the wow factor magnifies. Here is the first one I opened to share with you: #68, Champs-Élysées. Just look at it for a minute. When you open the compact, you see the double-ended brush and a protective covering that is carefully designed to flip out to the right. The black cover protects the eye shadows from any damage.

Only after you flip up the cover, do you glimpse the eye shadows and liner - color-coordinated beauties. Guerlain calls them "tailored harmonies." Opening one for the first time is like discovering a secret. The shades in #68 look and actually are more grey than they appear in Guerlain's promotional photo. In Champs-Élysées, it's about grey with a pop of a trendy lavender fall color in a hue I can wear!

The shades are shown on my arm in the photo at left (taken outside on a cloudy day), starting with the lightest, highlighting shade at the top and rotating clockwise around the compact. The "interior" lavender shade is the fifth one from the top, and the liner is shown under it. Each compact has its own liner, a nice feature that adds special value to these eye palettes. You can see the liner on the right in Guerlain's photo above. Very nice. You know you can click on the photo to see a larger version, right?

Look at the subtle, wearable shades and the variety of the colors in this compact! Directions come with the palettes, giving you a hint of Guerlain's intentions for how you will use the shades. There are paint-by-numbers pictures for a dramatic effect and smokey eye. I'm going to have fun with this one (and the others, which I will share with you soon). I may not wear the lavender shade often - or I may mix it with other shades to custom-build my own shade - but I know I'll wear all the shades. Each is gorgeous. I applied them fairly heavily to photograph them, but the choice is yours. You can apply these creamy powders with a light hand or build the color on your eyelids. I think it would be hard to overdo them.

As I dole out my new eye palettes to myself, rationing my endorphin rushes, I'll share swatches with you. If you can't wait, you can find Guerlain's Fall 2010 Collection at all the department stores that feature Guerlain makeup. It's worth your trip!

Compact photos courtesy of Chic Profile

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Amazon Beauty Rahua Conditioner

What an amazing conditioner! Rahua Conditioner ($34) from Amazon Beauty is everything I expect from a conditioner - and more. Rahua Conditioner leaves my hair soft, silky, shiny, and "knot-free" after shampooing. It's ideal for color treated or damaged hair. You can even use it as a double-duty leave-in styling product.

It's a "green" product. Rahua harvesting and production is earth-friendly and creates self-sustaining economies for the Amazon tribes. Never heard of Rahua? Rahua Shampoo, Conditioner, Finishing Treatment, and Elixir are no longer beauty secrets! Just look at the press coverage at this link!

Rahua Conditioner is made with organic and 100% natural ingredients, including rahua nut oil, the star of the show after which the product is named. The molecules of rahua nut oil from the Amazon are extremely fine, allowing the oil to penetrate the hair's cortex to rebuild, moisturize, and strengthen. Additionally, rahua oil has a positive charge and is attracted to the negative charge of dry hair, allowing it to effectively close the hair cuticle.

Rounding out this conditioner are:
  • Wheat protein, which promotes moisture retention and helps repair damaged and color-treated hair;
  • Green tea leaf extracts to mitigate damage from UV ray exposure;
  • Aloe, which moisturizes and regenerates lackluster locks; and
  • Palo santo, which offers a very delicate (mildly nutty) and pleasant fragrance for a nice experience while you use the conditioner.
I first learned about Amazon Beauty's Rahua products from ION Studio, New York’s first and leading green salon. For centuries, women from the Quechua-Shuar have combed (no pun intended) the Amazon rain forest in search of the rahua nut. Its restorative oil was known to make hair thick and lustrous. The minute I learned about Rahua products, I wanted to try them. I ordered the conditioner only, figuring that if I liked it, I could "go back for more." I not only like it, I love it. This conditioner gets a rave review from me. It's as nice as the best conditioners I have ever used.

Now I'm going to get really picky. Rahua Conditioner comes in a bottle with a flip-up top that is supposed to dispense the incredibly thick product. I have found no way to squeeze the conditioner through the little hole in the cap. I have had to remove (unscrew) the cap and tap/shake the bottle vigorously to force the conditioner into my palm. It should have been packaged in a pot. A pot wouldn't appear to be as convenient as the flip-top cap, but it would be easier to get at the conditioner if I could just scoop it out of its container. This is something Amazon Beauty can fix. There's nothing about the conditioner itself that needs to be fixed. It's fabulous.

I'm ready to try the Rahua Shampoo ($32). Since I adore the conditioner, I'm sure I will feel the same way about the shampoo. I already ordered the Rahua Finishing Treatment (it's here waiting for just the right occasion). There is a fourth product: Rahua Elixir, which is very expensive at $175. It's said to be a 15-minute conditioning miracle. I would love to try it, but at $175, I probably won't be able to buy it until I win the lottery.

Check out the incredible organic, natural, and vegan Rahua hair products at Amazon Beauty. There is a store and salon locator at this link.

Photo courtesy of Amazon Beauty

Dior Sérum de Rouge Lip Treatment from Fall 2010 Collection

Sérum de Rouge ($32) by Dior has earned a place among my favorite lipsticks. With 10 times more active skincare ingredients than other lipsticks, including Dior's own, Sérum de Rouge features an amazingly creamy texture to moisturize, smooth, and pamper your lips day in and day out. Enriched with mango butter and other natural extracts, this nourishing treatment is said to boost your lips' microcirculation and collagen levels and enhance their appearance with gorgeous, luminous color.

I had already fallen in love with
Sérum de Rouge when I happened upon the Fall 2010 Collection display at Nordstrom. Six shades were shown, and I wasn't sure which shades were new. As an aside, I have learned I can't trust that the colors on a new display are actually new colors. It seems that sales associates just stick other colors on a display when they sell out of the new ones (one of my pet peeves). So, I can't be totally sure that the four colors I purchased (yes, four!) are all new. There were six shades on the display, and all of them were gorgeous. There were no Dior specialists to be found. So, I did my thing and tried them all on my arm. It took every ounce of my self-restraint and willpower (what little I have) to resist the two I didn't purchase.

Here are the shades that came home with me, listed in the order of my arm photo, top to bottom.
  • #560 Radiant Pink Serum
  • #470 Pearly Pink Serum
  • #880 Plum Serum
  • #870 Ruby Serum
I think - but am not 100% sure - that the shades featured in the Dior collection for fall include Radiant Pink, Pearly Pink, Ruby, Pink, and Plum. That would mean that Pink Serum is the only new one that I didn't purchase? I don't know what the sixth one on the display may have been - can't remember.

I love Sérum de Rouge because it feels great on my lips (extremely moisturizing) and looks sheer and colorful. That may seem contradictory, but some have more color than others. The SPF formula is an extra-added bonus. Dior says that after one month of daily use, Sérum de Rouge increases the hydration of our lips by 40%, adds 24% more smoothness, and helps regain curves and firmness. I don't know about those statistics. They are nice, but not important to me. I simply love the colors, look, and feel!

Want a lighter-than-air, luscious lip color? Check out the Dior Fall 201o display at your local department store. There's a lot more to see - lavenders galore! I was captivated by the Sérum de Rouge shades.

Photo at top courtesy of Nordstrom