Sunday, October 31, 2010

Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie Holiday Beauty Soiree & Special Treat for Best Things in Beauty Readers

Once again, Neiman Marcus at Mazza Gallerie has planned an exciting event for its customers, with a very special offer for Best Things in Beauty readers. Those gals at Neiman Marcus Mazza are the best! They really know how to hold a classy event.

On Wednesday, November 10 (the day before most of us have a Veterans' Day vacation), from 3:00 to 8:00 pm, Neiman Marcus will be hosting a girls night out, with music, nibbles, and cocktails (I'm sure I heard something about champagne, which ensures I'll be there). We all struggle at holiday time trying to find the right cocktail dress, purse, shoes, and makeup to look special. It's got to all come together into an elegant look, and it's easier said than done. How many times have you failed to plan ahead and found yourself rummaging around for the perfect shoes to go with your dress? Or a purse that doesn't look clunky with a fancy outfit? If you're like me, that happens way too often. Of course you want your makeup to flatter your look. Neiman Marcus has you covered!

They will have stations in the beauty department featuring the latest exclusive makeup and fragrance for the holidays, along with limited-edition gift sets in case you're shopping for gifts. They will be offering makeovers, but also styling with the fashion team to help make your holidays effortless - and enjoyable. You will have an opportunity to check out the latest from Bobbi Brown, Le Métier de Beauté, Trish McEvoy, Chantecaille, and many other favorite beauty brands. You can even schedule a makeover in advance with your favorite counter. To schedule a makeover appointment, call (202) 966-9700.

Neiman Marcus has a special treat for Best Things in Beauty readers. Mention Best Things in Beauty, and you will receive a special gift bag full of treats. How sweet is that? It gets better. Neiman Marcus has generously offered another drawing (remember when Ava recently won the $500 worth of products of her choice?). This time, if you mention Best Things in Beauty, you will be entered in a drawing to win a holiday beauty gift basket filled with $400 worth of beauty products from Neiman Marcus' stellar lineup of hair, body, and color brands. The wonderful basket will also have a relaxing holiday candle from Nest to put you in the holiday spirit. I've mentioned before that I don't have many local readers, so your chances of winning are excellent.

I would love to see some of you there! I'll be hanging out for hours, starting around 4:00, so come visit. If you aren't local - or just can't attend - give one of the beauty counters a call and place a phone order. If you mention Best Things in Beauty, you will receive the gift bag with your purchase and be entered for the drawing. This will be a great time to buy that special item you've been coveting - or buy gifts and get a little something extra for yourself.

Perfect event, perfect timing! Will I see you on November 10? Let's shop!

Photo courtesy of Steven Swain (Joe Architect)

Sephora Glitz & Glam Giveaway Contest

How beautifully selected does a deluxe sampler set get? Expertly in the case of Sephora's limited-edition Glitz & Glam Shimmer and Shine Makeup Deluxe Sampler ($39). I have one to give away. This purchase was an instance of "one for me, one for them." I love my readers.

This dazzling makeup collection contains 11 of Sephora's most sparkling beauties, all of which will leave you positively luminous. I can speak with "authority" on Tarte's Cheek Stain, NARS Orgasm Illuminator, Tarte's Lock & Roll, and Josie Maran Bronzing Argan Oil. These are fabulous products.

This holiday collection is the perfect starter kit for anyone who wants to up her glamour quotient - or try some new makeup. It includes an array of gorgeous bronze colors and complexion-illuminating products for that lit-from-within look.

Win this set, and here's what you will receive.
  • 0.085 oz Lorac Perfectly Lit in Spotlight
  • 0.17 oz Josie Maran Bronzing Argan Oil
  • 0.05 oz Tarte Lock n Roll 12-Hour Eyeshadow in Bronze
  • 0.17 oz Tarte Natural Cheek Stain in Glam
  • 0.10 oz Tarina Tarantino Sparklicity Pure
  • 0.10 oz Tarina Tarantino Gem Gloss in Disco Nap
  • 0.03 oz bareMinerals Mineral Veil in Illuminating
  • 0.024 oz Sephora Collection Electro Eyeliner in Copper
  • 0.11 oz Lorac Multiplex 3D Lip Gloss
  • 0.29 oz Nars Orgasm Illuminator
  • 0.3 oz Tarte Smooth Operator Illuminating Serum
To enter to win this week's giveaway contest, 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). That's what most of you do.

You can "earn" a second entry by tweeting this contest. Just make sure to include "@BTiBeauty" (without the quotes) in your tweet. I will tweet the contest soon, and you can simply retweet it to earn that second entry. You can earn a third entry by following the blog - either here or on Twitter (any entrant who is already a follower will automatically earn the follower point).

The deadline for entries will be Saturday, November 6, 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.

Here is more "fine print." This contest is open to anyone anywhere. Here are the terms. I will carefully pack and ship the prize (as I always do). I cannot insure the palette for overseas shipment - it's amazingly expensive to do so. If it's lost or stolen in transit, I won't be able to replace it with another palette for an overseas winner. We'll see how this works. My shipping issues have occurred when I've shipped overseas - the packages to the U.S. and Canada always arrive without incident. I'll do my best on this end; let's see if your mail services do right by you on the other end if we have an overseas winner.

I hope to post the contest at Free!Grechen, my favorite giveaway site. Good Luck!

P.S. I really appreciate your comments and e-mails with every giveaway contest. Thank you. I think I have the best blog readers in the world!

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Know Your Ingredients: Propylene Glycol

I was stunned as I read this month's Allure and found a plug from dermatologist Doris Day for propylene glycol (page 69). She remarked that it's a good humectant for sensitive skin.

Propylene glycol is a humectant. It makes the skin feel moist and soft, and it keeps your products from drying out. It's also a carrier in fragrance oils, a solvent, a de-icer used on airplanes, and an anti-freeze. It's ubiquitous. It's used in so many beauty products (cosmetics, skin care, toothpaste, deodorant, and more), you'll be amazed if you start reading labels. Unfortunately, it's bad for the environment (it depletes oxygen in surface water), and it can cause contact dermatitis when used in concentrations over 2% (and for some skin, even lower concentrations). The findings on the effects of propylene glycol have been published in respected medical journals.

The Material Safety Data Sheet for propylene glycol says it may be harmful by ingestion or skin absorption. Remember, that's at a very high concentration. Chronic exposure may cause gastrointestinal disturbances, nausea, headache, and vomiting, along with central nervous system depression. If you get it on your skin, wash with soap and water - the very premise of Dr. Day's recommendation for cleansers! Granted, full-strength, industrial propylene glycol isn't in your beauty products, but what strength is OK for daily application to your skin? We don't know.

I disagree with Paula Begoun, self-described Cosmetics Cop, on most of her product reviews. In her Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary, she describes propylene glycol as harmless. Could that be because she uses propylene glycol in her products?

Why do so many beauty companies use it? It's cheap. Plain and simple - it's cheap. It's legal too. Many companies prefer to use it over better, but more expensive humectants, and they count on having uninformed customers. Chances are good that you've been using products containing propylene glycol for years. That doesn't necessarily make them good for you.

I read labels. When a product has a high concentration of propylene glycol (near the top of the ingredient list), I skip it and select something else. Remember, you can still buy cigarettes, but that doesn't make them good for you.

Photo courtesy of Dow, which believes that propylene glycol is non-irritating to skin and harmless to aquatic life. They sell it.

SUPER by Perricone

Dr. Nicholas Perricone's new skin-care line, SUPER, arrived at Sephora weeks ago. I had mentioned it in August when it was introduced by WWD. Now, you can see it and buy it at Sephora.

I've been reading Dr. Perricone's book, Forever Young, and I've started eating a lot more blueberries. I'm also looking for an inexpensive source of watercress, which I've always loved, but can't find in large or reasonably priced bunches. I believe that the so-called super foods can make a difference in our lives, health, and skin, so I'm happy to add them to my diet if I like them. Nothing is going to convert me to salmon, but I'm happy with many other super foods.

Perricone says super foods are the world's (and our skin's) super heroes. Inspired by a passion to feed hungry skin, Dr. Nicholas Perricone created SUPER, a nourishing collection of formulas for your face and body. Infused with phyto-nutrients derived from some of the most powerful super foods and formulated with advanced patented ingredients, SUPER allows your skin to indulge in nature's most nutritional bounty.

SUPER was designed for the 25-35 age group. I'm not its target audience, but I still purchased a piece to give it a whirl. Dr. Perricone has already taken care of my age group with his eponymous line. I love the idea that he has introduced products that will encourage the younger set take good care of their skin - at an affordable price. I think his timing is great, since interest in skin care seems to be at an all-time high. The younger the better!

All of the products feature ingredients with high nutritional value that also benefit the skin. The products count yogurt, açaí berry, melon, chili peppers, watercress, melon, and dark chocolate among their ingredients.

I bought SUPER Lush Lips with Coconut Oil ($20). I love the beachy scent of coconut oil, and there's nothing age-specific about hydrating the lips. This buttery balm melts into your lips for deep hydration. Made with deliciously addictive coconut oil, it's packed with a superior form of vitamin E that keeps lips in a tropical paradise that's sweet, silky, and smooth. I keep mine next to my bed and reach for it every time I start to feel parched. This is one of those hard balms, so you have to dig a bit with a fingernail to extract enough product to make a difference. Once you do, your lips will feel pampered.

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Rene Marshall, Mid-Atlantic Account Executive for Dr. Perricone. Rene thinks the SUPER like is ideal for the client who is experimenting for the first time with skin care and wishes to prevent the signs of aging. She said that each of the products adopts the scent of its basic super food(s). I can testify to that! My SUPER Lush Lips jar takes me to the beach.

I asked Rene to name her favorite products from the new line. She mentioned SUPER Lush Lips without any prompting. She also told me she loves SUPER Detox Elixer with Watercress ($30), a spray that works as a hydrator to lock in moisture. It's perfect for travelers of all ages. Since our skin can become dehydrated in an airplane's pressurized air, SUPER Detox Elixer with Watercress can help keep the skin moist during a trip. Rene knows about travel - she's on the go all the time! She also mentioned that it's great for setting makeup.

Among her other personal favorites?
  • SUPER 3-Minute Facial with Ginger ($50) - ginger stimulates the skin and gives you a glow. When you put on makeup after using it, your face will glow.
  • SUPER Hand & Cuticle Cream with Yogurt ($30) is water-resistant. Rene said you don't have to keep applying it. Yogurt is loaded with probiotics, which will keep your skin soft and moist.
  • SUPER Body Toning Serum with Olive ($35), which Rene suggests putting on top of Cold Plasma Body. Not sure I'd use two body moisturizers, but I'm intrigued by the firming nature of this one.
  • SUPER Bright EYED with Melon ($50) is very creamy and will create very moist skin around the eyes. Rene suggested that older gals should use it on top of our Cold Plasma Eye.
Rene told me that SUPER items are so popular they are selling out at Sephora stores. The price point is affordable, and the scents of the products are heavenly. Younger gals are using SUPER for their main skin care regimen, and older Perricone customers are supplementing our heavy-duty treatments with these fun and effective products.

Rene has some events coming up in the DC area. Live around here, and you can meet her! She has two SUPER launches at Sephora: one on November 7 at Pentagon City, and the other on November 21 at Tysons Corner Center (both 11:00 to 6:00). All events will feature free gifts, free mini-facials, and consultations. Naturally, she will be at the Nordstrom Beauty Trends show at Tysons on November 13. Rene will have the "best of the best" Perricone reps with her, so I look forward to seeing them.

If you don't live near DC, ask your favorite Sephora when they will host a SUPER event. The events are a great time to ask the experts and learn more about the line.

Photos courtesy of Sephora

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What's New from Giorgio Armani Beauty?

Giorgio Armani Beauty just introduced a lot of new products! Last week, I showed you Giorgio Armani Beauty's Design for the Lips set for the holidays, three Lip Shimmers in a useful patent case. Today, I want to share the other gift sets with you - and show you the newest colors, which are available online.

All four gift sets have arrived at Saks, and they are available at the Armani Beauty Web site too. I purchased two of them - only two because I have a back stock of everything else. Actually, even though I have purchased every brush set Armani has ever introduced, I bought another one! I can be a little obsessive-compulsive about Armani's brushes. There are times when back stock is good!

The Mini Brush Set ($100) is a $200 value. It includes blush, blender, eye shader, concealer, and eye contour brushes. All of them will help you achieve makeup artist results (on the go if you travel) with brushes that dispense the perfect amount of makeup. These brushes have shorter handles than the regular brushes, but are otherwise the same. I use the set brushes all the time at home.

The Eyes to Kill Set ($49) includes a Soft Lash Base, Eyes to Kill Mascara No. 1 (black), and Smooth Silk Eye Pencil in No. 4. Use it to create a glamorous eye look with length, separation, and definition, all in three easy steps. This is a good value because the items priced individually would cost $85. I don't think I have to tell you how good Eyes to Kill Mascara is.

Interested in Crema Nera Skin Care ($250)? This year's set is more attractively priced than last year's. The first step to polished and flawless makeup is always healthy skin, and Armani's Crema Nera can help you create your perfect skin canvas. The set includes OMC3 Obsidian Mineral Restoring Cream SPF 15 1.7 fl. oz., Obsidian Mineral Reviving Eye Cream 0.5 oz., Mineral Soothing Lotion 1.69 fl. oz., and Obsidian Mineral Cleansing Balm 1.01 fl. oz. Nice set! I particularly like Armani's eye cream.

The subject of much speculation, the new Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow Collection for Holiday 2010 ($32 each) gives us a taste of a much larger collection that's coming in the spring. Giorgio Armani Cosmetics is previewing its unique, high-tech approach to blended color with these new shadows. The innovative hybrid texture, which is not a powder, nor a cream, acts like a smooth, lasting color film. The formula is composed of an unprecedented association between binder elements and pearls that creates exceptional luminosity, depth, and intensity of color. A high-resistance bi-polymer enables the formula to perfectly fit the contour of the eyelid, with cushiony suppleness, for comfortable, long wear.

A harmony of blended black cut-metal shades sets a smoky eye on fire with gold, copper, or silver grey shimmer. Apply dry or wet to obtain any finish from satin to lacquer, subtle to dramatic.

Offering 24-hour wear, the new Eyes to Kill shadows are waterproof and sweat-proof. They slide on and stay on, but wipe off in an instant. Applied wet or dry with fingers or a brush, Armani's Color-Fil color matrix formula blends and layers without creasing or flaking.

There will be a lot of shades available in the spring. Now, though, you can experience the pleasures early with Black (13), Copper/Black Grey (15), and Silver/Black Grey (16). I won't know which of these two photos is correct until mine arrive early next week. The photo on the left above is on the Web site, but the photo on the right above shows the shades I was expecting after talking with Tim Quinn about them. If the Web site is incorrect, it won't be the first time.

The Gold Rush Palette and three new Rouge d'Armani shades - all vibrant - also arrived at the Web site. Follow this link to my earlier Best Things in Beauty post to see them.

The Gold Rush Palette ($55) is a soft, universal, sheer, and shimmering beige powder that will light up the face and décolleté with an irresistible gold glow. The sleek, gold and black lacquered signature compact, itself representative of Armani elegance, adds a sparkling note to the seductive collection.

The three new Rouge d'Armani shades for Holiday 2010 ($30 each) are bright: Coral Red (404), Fuschia (517), and Tibetan Orange (405), all designed to revisit the colors of the Giorgio Armani Fall/Winter fashion collection. These shades are outside my comfort zone, but if you like vivid lips, they were made for you!

More interesting to me than the new Rouge d'Armani shades are the four new Lip Inks ($27). Like a second skin color for lips, the Lip Inks offer long-lasting transparent warm shades of deep reds, pinks, and purple. They are intended to be used alone for a natural intense color effect. I ordered one to get the "feel" of Lip Ink. I expect I'll love it and want more.

There's one more set, one I hadn't anticipated earlier in the season. It's called Dress Code for Face ($115), and if you wear shade 5.5 in Luminous Silk Foundation, you should check it out.

See anything that catches your fancy? You can order these new goodies now at the Giorgio Armani Beauty Web site. Some of them are available already at Saks, and they will all debut at Armani counters very soon.

Photos courtesy of Giorgio Armani Beauty

Weekend Roundup - October 30

It may only be Halloween weekend, but the buzz is building for holiday beauty! Get yourself party-ready with beauty tips and product finds from this week's roundup. You're sure to find something that catches your eye for the special season ahead.

Still looking for last-minute Halloween makeup? Chelsea at BeautyXposé explained how Sephora's limited-edition kits will leave you preening like a peacock in no time at all! I have already ordered one, and I'm on the verge of ordering a second kit during Friends & Family.

From the pretty new packaging to the sparkling holiday colors, Kari from Fab over Forty reviewed several makeup palettes this week, including the Pure Color Extravagant Collection created by Tom Pecheux for Estée Lauder.

Are you having Mad Men withdrawal like Gaia, The Non-Blonde? Missing the oh-so-popular vintage look? Read her take on the new book by Dyna Moe: Mad Men, The Illustrated World. It may leave you longing for more Mad Men.

Feeling blue? Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book reviewed the new nail polish by Lancome called Le Gris L'Wren (021). It's a steely blue that just might steal your heart.

Do you love the glitter, but hate the mess that some makeup creates? Kelly from Gouldylox Reviews found a glittery, holiday must-have with the LORAC All That Glitters set. Put some sparkle in your life!

One of the toughest makeup challenges can be finding the perfect concealer. Laurie at Product Girl may have found the one that works perfectly for her. She reviewed the M∙A∙C Pro Longwear Concealer, and it might be what you're looking for too! I quizzed a M∙A∙C product specialist once about the concealer she was wearing, and it was Cover FX! That didn't inspire me to try the M∙A∙C concealer.

Debbi, also known as DivaDebbi, shared a secret with us: the makeup artists selected by most famous celebrities. See what the Kimara beauty team did to Debbi to make her look red-carpet ready.

Do you love beauty must-have lists? Marcia created a "Top Ten" list of her favorite go-to beauty products at Beauty Info Zone Blog. Is there anything on her list that you already have in your beauty bag or think should be?

This week, I was able to get enough sunlight to show you a few new Tarte holiday goodies. Ring It In has three all-new sumptuous shades of Tarte's iconic Cheek Stain, perfect for carrying in your makeup bag. This is the time to be shopping at Sephora, where the Friends & Family sale is still underway. Use code FF2010 for a 20% discount online. The gorgeous Royal Collection isn't available at Sephora, but you will still want it. Tarte's own special offer continues through October 31.

If you haven't entered the Giorgio Armani Beauty Mediterranean Palette giveaway contest, why not? The palette is a stunner! The deadline is tonight, October 30, at midnight.

Have a spook-tacular weekend!

Photos courtesy of and

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dior Minaudière for Holiday 2010 - Grey Golds

I said I wasn't going to buy Dior's Minaudière ($90) for Holiday 2010. I had seen photos of it. Some of my favorite beauty bloggers had shown sneak peeks or were talking about it. I couldn't warm up to it. My first reaction was a gimmick alert.

There are two versions of this "change purse" filled with eye shadows and lip glosses. I was uninspired by the Pink Golds version. I didn't think the Grey Golds (001) would excite me either, but when I saw the Grey Golds palette at Saks (the second time), I reached for my credit card. It sang to me.

Dior calls the Minaudière eye shadow and lip gloss palette "makeup must-haves for radiant eyes and lips." The heavy palette contains three eye shadows and two lip glosses; the lip glosses are covered by a little flip-up gold door. The palette comes with a dual-ended applicator with a lip brush on one end and a sponge-tipped applicator on the other end. I think using a sponge rather than a brush was a little "cheap," not what I would expect from Dior - particularly when they used a lip brush on the other end. They made up for "cheaping out" on the applicator with a huge mirror on the compact. You can see your whole face in it.

The first time I saw the Minaudière, I passed. It was a drive-by shopping trip, and my reaction was, "cute, but." The shadows looked like shades I already own, but the lip glosses were intriguing. The second time I saw it, I tested the shadows in the store and decided the palette was worthy of purchase. My current perspective? One of the three eye shadow shades is a must-have, and both of the lip glosses are desirable. The two additional eye shadow shades are very pretty, but may not be that different from colors you already own.

The shades on my arm above, top to bottom, are those shown in the palette left to right. They were all applied with a sponge-tipped applicator, something I don't use in "real life," and I took my photos in fleeting late-afternoon sun.

The medium grey shade in the middle is the one I adore - it's grey, but with just a hint of taupe in it. If you look closely, you'll see that the darker shade is a hybrid between charcoal and dark brown. I think your skin tone will determine how both of these shades look on your eyelids. The light, highlighting shade adds a glimmering neutral touch, a perfect foil for either of the other shades, or both. I love using the light shade on my lid below the crease and the medium grey on the outer "V" for emphasis.

The lip glosses are stunning. The berry shade has enough pigment that it can be worn alone, and the gold adds a sparkle to any lipstick. It's hard to see on my arm, but I assure you it's a gorgeous gloss. I'll be reaching for the glosses often. Since I spend so much time at the office, I should take the Minaudière to work with me to ensure I use up the glosses, but having the eye shadows at work would be a waste. I apply shadow before I go to work, and I don't reapply it during the day. It would be nice to saw the palette down the middle - just kidding.

For another set of Grey Gold swatches, check out Sabrina's post at The Beauty Look Book. To see the Pink Gold Minaudière, modeled by my beautiful friend Kari, visit Fab over Forty.

As far as I know, the Grey Golds are currently available only at Saks Fifth Avenue. I bought my Minaudière there during Friends & Family.

Photos at top courtesy of Chic Profile

The Friday Forum - October 29

Halloween gives us an opportunity to use makeup to become an entirely new person - a creative expression of the abnormal, bizarre, or even beautiful. M∙A∙C excels when it comes to providing ideas and the theatrical shades you'll need to create your own fantasy. The photo here came from a M∙A∙C look for Halloween, published a few years ago. Becoming Hibiscus Woman is Halloween fun I could enjoy!

As I look back, I'm not sure why this week was crazy-busy. There's a lot going on at my house. I still haven't been able to get Charlie's screened porch fixed, so he's become insufferable as he walks around bemoaning the fact that he's grounded to the confines of a house without birds, squirrels, and mice to watch. I'm trying to clean in my spare time, and there's precious little of that. Work has been frantic-busy, distinguished from normal-busy by my Type A desire to have no backlogs. This will be a welcome weekend for rest. I'm looking forward to getting blog photos too, since my daylight hours after work are waning, soon to disappear entirely.

It's still Friday, though, so it's time for The Friday Forum. We use the forum to share information and chat. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By Monday, most readers have moved on.

We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. Last week, we had a great exchange. I'm always happy if even one reader stops by. Leave a comment, and say hello - even if you don't want to comment on beauty products. As I always do, I'll leave news of some great beauty offers (great, not just good) in the comments of this post. If you want to know where to find nice gifts with purchase, free shipping, and other deals this weekend, make sure to check the comments.

Thanks for reading Best Things in Beauty! Got anything you want to talk about? Are you dressing up for a Halloween party?

P.S. I got an unsubscribe notice today - not unusual. I never know why people subscribe or unsubscribe. I'd love to know if I'm doing something that doesn't capture your interest - ever. Fortunately, I get more subscription hello's than bye-bye's. By the way, you have to verify your e-mail subscription with Google. If you sign up, the link Google will send you is legit. Click on it, and you will be verified. Even though it's an extra step, it's for everyone's protection. An amazing number of people subscribe, but never verify (small, but still amazing to me). I assume those subscribers never get my e-mails because they didn't verify.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

LORAC TIE DYE FOR Lip Gloss Collection for Holiday 2010

The holiday sets that my favorite cosmetics companies are introducing are irresistible. One day recently, an e-mail from LORAC popped into my box showing the new, limited-edition TIE DYE FOR Lip Gloss Collection ($25). How could I resist? The glosses looked unique, with their pretty swirls.

Once the set arrived, I vowed to buy more if they ever go on sale (not unlikely with LORAC). These full-sized lip glosses are absolutely gorgeous - and an incredible value. You get five glosses for $25!

The ultra-rich lip glosses feature a menage a trois of color swirls to create a one-of-a-kind high-shine gloss with highly pigmented color. The unique formula is infused with açaí berry and pomegranate to add a boost of powerful antioxidants to help nourish and protect your lips, while natural emollients, such as grape seed, apricot, and coconut oils, soothe and moisturize your lips.

The collection contains five TIE DYE FOR lip glosses.
  • BERRY BLENDER (Purple)
  • SOCIAL MIXER (Pale pink)
  • IN THE MIX (Nude brown)
  • SHOCKING TWIST (Fuchsia)
That's the order in which they are shown in my swatch photo, top to bottom. The glosses were applied with their own brushes, and my photo was taken in full sun. My painting skills aren't great when I'm rushing, so my gloss lines are wavy. There's no mistaking the beauty of these shades, despite my artistic failures! Fortunately, when I'm applying gloss, my lips provide an outline to follow.

It's hard to select a favorite. I will probably reach for BERRY BLENDER most often, but how could anyone resist SOCIAL MIXER, shown on the model below? I'll wear every one of these shades. Love them!

Pop over to LORAC's Web site to see all of the Holiday 2010 beauties for yourself. Let me know if you succumb to the temptation.

Photos at top and bottom courtesy of LORAC

The Royal Collection Holiday Palette by Tarte

Tarte has introduced The Royal Collection for the holidays, a limited-edition palette with a value price ($43). What a great gift - if you can bear to part with it! I'm always in a "two for me, one for them" mood when I do my Christmas shopping. It's a good thing I don't buy gifts for many makeup addicts.

This dual-level, limited-edition palette with a darling ruffled case - complete with mirror - in Tarte's signature purple is stacked with 16 exclusive shades of eye shadow and deluxe sample sizes of Tarte's best-selling products.

Since the palette doesn't come with a shade map, you'll have to look at my swatches to see the enormous range of the 16 generously sized shadows in the "penthouse compartment."

The first-floor pull-out drawer includes a clean slate natural face primer; lights, camera, lashes! mascara; multiplEYE lash enhancing primer; and vitamin-infused lipgloss. The gloss shade will work for everyone! I've included a photo of it at the bottom of this feature.

I applied each shadow to my arm with a sponge-tipped applicator. The shades stretched from my wrist to my elbow - a rainbow of colors and finishes. My photos were taken in full afternoon sun, the first sun we've seen in a few days. I started on the top row and swatched left to right, moving down the rows, left to right. There are four rows, so there are four eye shadow photos. I'll try to let the swatch photos speak for themselves, but I do have my favorite shades. My favorites won't necessarily be yours.

You can see - I hope - that the finishes range from matte to shimmering. None of them are glittery, so you don't have to worry about fallout. I can't imagine a shade combo you can't create with this splendid palette, which is why I think it would be so hard to give it away.

I'll admit, I do have a few favorites. Look at the first and last photos, and you'll find a couple of shades that are drop-dead gorgeous. The prettiest of the pretty! Is that impartial? Nope - just a personal opinion. Check out the green tone of the second shade from the top in the last eye shadow photo. Combine that on your eyelids with the very last shade, a shimmering silver-green, and you've got a snazzy fall-holiday look that's hard to match.

The golds? Glimmering! The plums? Trendy, wearable fall shades. There's charcoal too, so you can create a gorgeous smoky eye - and punctuate it with color if you'd like.

I did take one photo that shows the full range of shades. Sorry about that little mark on my arm. Trust me; it's not melanoma! It's a little round bruise, and I have no idea what caused it. It just appeared the other day, and it has been slow to absorb. When you use your arm for makeup swatches, you feel a bit like a hand model. My reaction was, "Oh great, how am I going to get photos around this ugly red mark!"

I'll finish up with a photo of the pretty lip gloss that comes with the primers and mascara. Shown at right, it's the perfect light shade to complement an eye with pizazz.

Can you envision the fun you'll have with The Royal Collection? Can you imagine giving it away?

It's available exclusively at three sites. Check out Tarte's Web site first. There's a special offer there. Through October 31, you will save $5 on any purchase of $25 or more with the code TREAT. You can also find it at and Ulta.

Photo at top and palette courtesy of Tarte

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why You Need a Kate Somerville DERMAL QUENCH Treatment

After work today, I had an appointment with Margarita Vega, Product Specialist for Kate Somerville at Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria. I had booked the last appointment of the day for a DERMAL QUENCH treatment and facial (referenced in some materials as DERMAQUENCH).

Margarita was ready for me when I arrived a few minutes early. Our weather was horrendous, and she had had a few cancellations. I can't imagine why anyone would have given up a slot to avoid getting wet. I got drenched multiple times today, but I wouldn't have missed this treatment for rain or anything short of hospitalization.

DERMAL QUENCH Oxygen Treatment produces instant, unbelievable results, and Neiman Marcus is doing the treatments for free - treatments that cost hundreds of dollars elsewhere.When Margarita was finished, I had stepped out of a time capsule into a face that I had about three years ago.

Margarita did a facial before she did the oxygen treatment. Naturally, she used Kate Somerville's pro-level products for all phases of my relaxing treat. She cleansed my skin with Gentle Daily Wash and then exfoliated with Micro Glycolic Polisher, a professional-strength treatment peel that resurfaces and restores skin. I told her that my face could handle glycolic acid, despite the sensitivity of my skin - and it did. Kate Somerville has products for every skin type, and Margarita was careful to talk to me about my skin and what it likes before she selected the treatments she applied.

The Quench Hydrating Mask was an incredibly cooling pleasure. While it was working, she made my treat even better by a quick arm and hand massage, using Goat Milk Body Lotion. She also applied Neck Tissue Repair in such a soothing way. By that point, I was so relaxed, she could have done anything and I would have been happy. The reason I went, though, was to experience Kate Somerville's DERMAL QUENCH Oxygen Treatment - applied with a machine that pumps serum and oxygen into your skin, hydrating and plumping it to take off the years.

This treatment is well-known among celebrities who suffer from jet lag or have to walk the red carpet looking fabulous. It's starting to be well-known among my set (ordinary women), unwilling to look "older," but not willing to endure expensive, painful, and bruising injections. Margarita told me that women want to know where they can buy the DERMAL QUENCH machine, and now I know why. This could get addictive.

What does DERMAL QUENCH do? It's a hydrating treatment that delivers oxygen, vitamins, and hyaluronic acid serum under hyperbaric pressure to produce age-defying results. After complimenting my skin, which was very sweet and totally unnecessary, Margareta told me that she would concentrate on the lines on my forehead. I asked her to also work on my nasolabial folds, which bother me more than my forehead, and she was game. The machine and the HydraKate Line Release serum used with it are intended to hydrate, plump, soothe, soften, tone, and lift the skin. The treatment can be used anywhere on your face. Concerned about your undereye area? No problem - the treatment can be applied there. You will glow when your treatment is over. In fact, you probably won't want to leave. The treatment feels like a high-powered airbrushing, but it's gentle and relaxing. The results are said to last two to three days, long enough to look younger (and great) for a big event.

HydraKate Line Release, used with the oxygen treatment, has some high-tech ingredients.
  • HSC Complex - a proprietary ingredient that counters the loss of lipids
  • Hyaluronic Acid - a moisture magnet
  • Leuphasyl - reduces the depth of expression wrinkles and is a safe alternative to Botox
  • SNAP-8 - reduces wrinkles and muscular contractions at the surface
  • Pepha-Tight - algae extract and pullulan to strengthen connective tissue and firm the skin, while hydrating
  • Peptides - the darlings of state-of-the-art skin care, which help to build collagen and reduce the signs of aging
Margarita showed me my face in a magnifying mirror after she did the initial facial treatments and before she did the DERMAL QUENCH treatment. I saw my "expression lines," hard to miss in the mirror. Then she set to work with her little spray wand, a pleasant experience once I realized how it felt and exactly what she was doing (concentrating on any little wrinkle she saw). After about five minutes (maybe a few more - I was totally relaxed in her hands), she was finished and handed me a mirror. I was stunned - totally stunned. While I still had some wrinkles on my forehead, they were significantly reduced. The nasolabial folds and the other shallow parentheses around my mouth? They were gone - truly gone. She noticed the dramatic difference. So did I. It was amazing. No wonder women want to buy the machine.

Margarita finished my treatment with more serum and Line Release Under Eye Repair Cream. I was relaxed, hydrated, dewy, and free of the surface wrinkles that plague me. You can experience this too.

If you live in the DC area, Margarita will be doing the DERMAL QUENCH treatment on November 11. Call (703) 761-1600, extension 3304, to book an appointment. If you would also like the luxury of a facial and the oxygen treatment, you can make an appointment for November 23. She does them about once a month, and they are complimentary. You should take the opportunity learn about Kate Somerville's fabulous skin-care products and the ones that will make you glow. I'm building a list, and Margarita kindly gave me some samples to bring home so that I can continue to experience the luxury of Kate Somerville and make my treatment results last as long as possible.

If you don't live in the DC area, you have options. Many of the Kate Somerville counters are offering DERMAL QUENCH treatments, so ask. Kate's own clinic in Los Angeles provides all Kate Somerville services.

You need to do this! I have never experienced a treatment that took off years in just a few minutes - until today. Want to see a cool video? Check out this one from just one clinic that uses this fabulous Kate Somerville technology. Or Google DERMAL QUENCH to see what a phenomenon it is.

Photo courtesy of Kate Somerville

Love, Chloé

In July, I gave you the heads-up on Love, Chloé, 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. It's a floral scent that has been described as powdery. I perfer the term "soft" for this one.

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.

I read on another blog (can't remember which one) that the lightweight chain that holds the cap to the bottle had broken. The same was true on my bottle, and quality control is the issue. There is a ring to which the chain is attached, and the ring was open on mine. There was no way to keep the chain from slipping off a ring with a wide gap. I have two choices: 1) I can leave it off, which I will probably do, or 2) I can use a pair of needle-nosed pliers to fix it. I don't think I need to solder it. I don't care that much.

When I wrote about Love, Chloé this summer and how bummed I was that other countries were getting it before the U.S., Clarisse, my cherished reader in France, offered to buy it for me and send it. She did buy it, but got to the local post office in France to find that she couldn't ship perfume, a flammable liquid. That's another story, and don't get me going. I sincerely doubt terrorists are planning to ship a few fragrances to blow up an airplane, and those working around the planes are not allowed to smoke. Oh well, there must be something I don't understand or haven't taken the time to learn. Poor Clarisse! After going to all that trouble to buy Love, Chloé for me, she had to go to more trouble to return it.

Now I'll turn back to the fragrance, which is absolutely lovely, despite the bottle malfunction. While it is powdery, I would describe it as a fresh, soft floral with a hint of fruit. The notes. listed above, are a beautiful blend that includes some of my favorite scents. Couldn't you nap under a wisteria arbor? The pink pepper gives it just a slight zip. It does dry down to a fragrance that anyone close to you should find attractive. This is an office-friendly fragrance. I am very pleased with it - unusual since I am often dismissive of "department store fragrances." They are getting much more desirable!

I purchased mine at Saks during Friends & Family. It's my understanding that it's exclusive to Saks - for now at least.

Photo courtesy of Chloé

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Xtreme Lashes AMPLIF-eye Lash & Brow Fortifier

Everyone wants lush, long eye lashes, and I'm no exception. I'm depressed by the eyelashes that fall out regularly on my eyelid scrub pads. I know they grow back, but who wants to wait? Mascara can only do so much if you don't have eyelashes. That's probably why most mascara models and celebrities hawking mascara are wearing faux lashes. And what about those occasional gaps that form naturally when you've lost a few lashes in one spot - or the brow hairs get temporarily thin in one spot, making you look lopsided?

Xtreme Lashes sent me Xtreme Lashes AMPLIF-eye Lash & Brow Fortifier ($119 for a three-month supply), which will be launched in early December. I've been using it for a couple of months, and I love it. Based on my testing, I'm sure it makes my lashes and brows thicker, and I'm sure it facilitates growth. Let's leave the FDA out of this.

Recently, I had a little spot on my left brow (at its widest spot) that thinned. I had been using AMPLIF-eye only on my lashes, but I decided to try it on my left brow. Am I impressed! Within what seemed like a week of use, morning and evening, my eyebrows were even again as little brow hairs started to fill in the gap. Xtreme Lashes says that most users will see a difference in two-to-four weeks. I proved that to myself.

I didn't follow the directions on my eyelashes. I'm bad. You are supposed to use AMPLIF-eye in the morning and evening. I used it every evening before bed. Despite doing my own thing, it made a difference. I could have used it in the morning; it does not cause the crustiness that some lash conditioners cause. I like the way it absorbs into my skin within seconds.

Why is AMPLIF-eye different from other lash conditioners or the lash-enhancing drug LATISSE? The most important thing I can tell you is that it does not contain a prostaglandin. The prescription drug LATISSE contains Bimatoprost, a prostaglandin analog contained in glaucoma medication, and that's the ingredient that can make your blue eyes brown or discolor your skin - or even make your eyes red and itchy. I'm not willing to accept the risks of using a prostaglandin on my eyelids - even a small risk. I was surprised to learn that some lash fortifiers contain a non-prescription strength prostaglandin, which means it's present, but you may not realize it! I think that's creepy.

Xtreme Lashes worked with their own in-house chemist to develop the formula for AMPLIF-eye, which does contain a concentrated growth-stimulating triple peptide complex. The three peptides comprise a full 35% of the product, which is pretty impressive. Competitors claim to have peptides in their formulas, and they do, but peptides are expensive ingredients. They are often included in other products in very weak concentrations. Xtreme Lashes told me that AMPLIF-eye has twice the peptides competing products have.

AMPLIF-eye is said to be non-irritating to the eyes and surrounding skin. I agree, but caution you to keep it out of your eyes. That's common sense, but on a night or two when I was tired and a little klutzy, I placed it into the waterline, and it stung a tiny bit for a nanosecond. That was user error, and the problem was solved by being more careful.

Besides the super-effective peptides, AMPLIF-eye contains green tea, borage, saw palmetto (a beloved herbal remedy for hair loss), evening primrose, nettle, rosemary leaf, ginseng, apple, sugar cane, and witch hazel. Sounds pretty natural to me!

You will be able to purchase AMPLIF-eye at the Xtreme Lashes Web site, where you can see a video now. Most of the salons that specialize in Xtreme Lashes eyelash extensions and carry the company's cosmetic products will carry this product. You may also see AMPLIF-eye Lash & Brow Fortifier appear at a department store near you. It's that good!

Photo courtesy of Xtreme Lashes

Guerlain Rose Imperiale KissKiss Strass for Holiday 2010

Looks can be deceiving. The first time I glanced at Guerlain's Les Ors Collection for Holiday 2010, I assumed that KissKiss Strass in Rose Imperiale (#323, $31) would be dark - or too red - or even too orangy. That was silly, since I have purchased almost every shade of KissKiss Strass ever introduced. You'd think I would know it well by now.

Once I took the time to play at the Saks counter during Friends & Family, I snatched it up in a heartbeat. Rose Imperiale is a gorgeous, transparent, warm rose shade that will flatter every skin tone.

I mentioned last week that I have been a KissKiss Strass groupie since the transparent lip colors were introduced. They feel good and look great. I can't tell you how many compliments I've received while wearing Brun Satin (#343), my all-time favorite. It must look pretty good. Twice I've been sitting at Saks while wearing Brun Satin, watching Loyd Cassler work, and his Armani customers have asked me about my lip color! Loyd never minds when I tell them it's Guerlain.

KissKiss Strass has an extra-scintillating shine. This ultimate lip color plays with dazzling reflections to multiply light like a kaleidoscope. Rose Imperiale, like the other KissKiss Strass shades, is the "un-lipstick." This lipstick-lip gloss hybrid falls into my definition of divine. The color of Rose Imperiale is rosy - it's well-named. It provides a little more color than its sister Rose de la Reine (#363), also introduced with Les Ors for holiday. It gleams - and it feels moist and creamy while it perks up my face. I'll wear Rose Imperiale when I need more color than Rose de la Reine provides.

My swatch photo was taken under heavy cloud cover. The luminosity of the lip color doesn't jump onto the Web page, but the photo provides a good rendering of the shade.

I purchased mine at Saks. It's available at all Guerlain counters, including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdale's. Look for it if you like sheer lip colors as much as I do. I applied it fairly heavily for this photo, but the choice is yours.

Did you try one of the new KissKiss Strass shades? Let us know which one! If you haven't, you are in for a treat. If KissKiss Strass were the Tams, I'd be "on the road with the band." That was a quiz. Does a single BTiB reader remember the Tams? Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy!

I've been "challenged" in trying to show you the new Perles d'Or Meteorites, a glowing finishing powder, in my next Les Ors. Stay tuned.

Photo at top courtesy of Nordstrom

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dior 5 Couleurs Iridescent Eyeshadow for Holiday 2010

Last week, I purchased Dior's 5 Couleurs Iridescent Eyeshadow in Endless Shine (#529) for Holiday 2010 ($58). It is every bit as gorgeous as Dior's 5 Couleurs Gold Edition. Don't let the "iridescent" term in its name scare you; the shadows shimmer, but they are not laden with glitter. Instead they highlight the eyes with subtle, glowing shades of gold, pink, and ivory - with an accent of dark chocolate. How perfect does it get?

I wanted to get a fabulous swatch photo of the shades to show you how incredible each is. Each shade can stand alone, and each gives a different shimmering tone to the lids. No matter how you wear the shades in the compact, you will light up your eyes.

Unfortunately, my photo was taken under heavy clouds; you take what you can get. I swatched using the sponge-tipped applicators that come with the compact, starting with the upper left quadrant, moving clockwise, and ending with the dark chocolate shade in the center. Hopefully, you can see that the first shade at top on my arm (the iridescent ivory) is a great highlighting shade; the next three are all pastel, shimmering tones, ranging from rose gold to pure gold; and the center dark chocolate is a perfect liner.

I've just started playing with this palette, and I'm thrilled with the eye-opening looks I can create by combing these shades or using them with colors already in my collection. I'm stunned by the elegance and beauty of this palette. I may like it better than the Gold Edition for Holiday 2010, and I adore Gold Edition! There's a debate raging in my head. If you could only have one of these holiday compacts, which would it be? I don't know! It's a good thing I didn't have to choose (and the Friends & Family discount helped).

I purchase my Endless Shine 5 Couleurs Iridescent Eyeshadow palette at Saks. I haven't been able to find it online anywhere, but I'm sure you will find it at other Dior counters - if not now, very soon. What do you think?

Photo at top courtesy of

Guerlain Les Ors Collection Rouge G for Holiday 2010

Guerlain's Holiday 2010 Les Ors Collection had to grow on me. At first glance, I was delighted that I didn't have to spend a fortune, as I did with the to-die-for fall collection. Slowly, though, I sampled and purchased a few things. I'll tell you up front the eye shadow quad did nothing for me. I don't like red plums, and I don't need any more charcoal, a shade that has limited usefulness (liner only) for me. That left me feeling free to sample the other items in the collection.

I showed you the fabulous KissKiss Strass Rose de la Reine (#363) a few days ago. I think I need another one! I did purchase the other new KissKiss Strass shade, Rose Imperiale (#323), during Saks Friends & Family. I'll show you that this week.

While I was studying the Les Ors display, I tried the new Rouge G in Bee (B64, $46), shown on the right-hand side of the photo above. It's a beautiful, vibrant plum-leaning rose. Guerlain also placed a previously introduced Rouge G shade on the new display. That usually annoys me, particularly when the product representative can't tell me whether the shade is actually new or not. In this case, I liked the previously introduced shade Betsy (B62) better, so I came home it. By all appearances in the tube, Betsy is a plum-leaning, cool rose, much lighter than Bee. I love it! In my humble opinion, it looks great on me.

My swatch of Betsy was taken in full sun. It shows the beauty of the shade pretty well. It's a perfect shade for day and will be much more useful for me than the darker Bee.

I've never been fond of the razzle dazzle of the Rouge G container, with its mirror and heavy weight. The whole lipstick is too heavy to carry around with me, so I will be limited in where I can use it. I have decided to keep Betsy in my desk at work, where the mirror will actually come in handy. I try to minimize the weight of my handbag, so every ounce counts. Suggestion, Guerlain marketing folks, provide a regular lipstick top to fit over the product for those of us who love the lipstick but don't want the extra weight. Let us choose. I'd be happy with a plastic cap. I would even pay extra for it! I may cannibalize another lipstick in my house if I can find a top that fits.

If you don't care that your lipstick was introduced last winter, you'll love Betsy! If you do want the latest thing, try Bee, keeping in mind that it packs a color punch.

What else did I purchase? Meteorites Perles d’Or, filled with gold and plum spheres, and Midnight Star, a lifting, smoothing, radiance-enhancing treatment/primer in a case that's gorgeous. Later! There is an exquisite pressed powder compact with a powder that's fairly nondescript on the face, but you have to be willing to spend a makeup museum price ($170) to buy it. The compact is refillable.

You can find Guerlain at Saks, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and Sephora. I don't think Sephora has Les Ors yet.

Lipstick photos courtesy of Guerlain

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Norabloom Botanicals Rose Bud Creme Cleanser

Norabloom Botanicals Rose Bud Creme Cleanser ($28) was selected for me by Holly Green, owner and founder of Norabloom Botanicals. Holly is a beauty junkie who is determined to design a beauty ritual for every gal out there, no matter what age. She is a licensed aesthetician and makeup artist who has been involved in the beauty and spa industry for over 10 years.

Holly collaborated with an award-winning chemist to bring us Norabloom Botanicals. She has a fundamental belief that we should treat and preserve our skin using healthy ingredients. Holly owns a darling little skin spa and beauty lounge in Ithaca, New York, and she recently published her first beauty book, Goddess Glow. She has a knack for caring for others, so pampering and beautifying her clients delights her. By offering her products online, she hopes to stretch her message beyond her local community and spread her knowledge, love, and passion for natural beauty! She did that for me. Holly sent me Rose Bud Creme Cleanser, and I wanted to transport myself (beam me up, Scotty) to Ithaca for a personal session with Holly.

When Holly and I first met online, she offered to send me one of her products to try. I told her about my skin, and she zeroed in Rose Bud Creme Cleanser, the perfect way to start your beauty ritual with this gentle, creamy facial cleanser that's perfect for all skin types, but especially for dry and sensitive skin. This cleanser contains organic aloe, which has remarkable healing properties, and organic shea butter to nourish and hydrate delicate skin. The formula also contains organic green tea, so it's packed with antioxidants. I love it! I love everything about it, including the pump dispenser. All seriousness aside, the only thing I didn't love about it was my klutziness; I dropped it on my foot in the shower and ended up with a foot shiner. The cleanser comes in a very generous size (big smile).

You have to read the ingredients in this product to get a sense for Holly's dedication to quality.

Purified Water, Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Almond Oil, Organic Safflower Oil, Emulsifying Wax, Rice Bran Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Shea Butter, Stearic Acid (plant based), Organic Dandelion Extract, Organic Oat Extract, Organic Green Tea Extract, Orange Oil, Essential Oils, Phenoxyethanol, Organic Grape, Organic Grain, and/or Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Citric and/or Lactic Acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Tocopherol), and Vitamin A.

It's an impressive list of good-for-your-skin ingredients, and as you might imagine, the natural fragrance is heavenly. Holly wouldn't use animal ingredients. That would offend her little ankle-biting chihuahua, Stella, and her big, goofy chocolate lab Rosie. So those of us who care about animals are safe in Holly's hands.

The cleanser has made me very happy. It's gentle, effective, and soothing. I'm now scouting the Norabloom Web site for other things I'd like to try. Holly offers an impressive list. I'm bummed that she discloses that her Aloe Microderm Scrub is not suitable for sensitive skin - it sounds so nice. On the other hand, that's the thing I love about Holly. She won't steer you wrong. Check out Norabloom Botanicals & Beauty Lounge to see what grabs your fancy.

I think my first purchase will include Natural Lip Stick ($22) with exotic oils, such as macademia nut, and rich butters of cocoa and avocado. I'd also like to try Evening Primrose Eye Cream ($42). Eye and lip products are two of my favorite skin-care treatments. My friend Kari at Fab over Forty tried Organic Jojoba Body Blend in Organic Lime. If you aren't sure what you'd like to try, Holly offers a sample bag for $24, giving you an opportunity to try before you invest.

If you live in upstate New York, you could have the privilege of visiting Holly at her Beauty Lounge. The rest of us will be perfectly happy with her Web site. Norabloom Botanicals are eco-friendly, cruelty-free, paraben-free, and petroleum-free.

Photo courtesy of Norabloom Botanicals

Giorgio Armani Beauty Mediterranean Palette Giveaway Contest

Congratulations to Mamavalveeta03! Val won the Giorgio Armani Beauty Mediterranean Palette. finally selected an early entrant - yea!

Our good friends from the Giorgio Armani Beauty Team at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland, donated this week's giveaway contest prize - and it's a great one. Four beautiful eye shadows and a fabulous bronzer grace this elegant mirrored compact. See my May feature with swatches of the Mediterranean Palette ($85). I am so grateful to the Saks Armani Team for this exciting giveaway contest!

We can count on Armani to design gorgeous bronzer/eye shadow palettes, and this year's edition, shown to the left, continued the magic. These palettes are unique because they work for everyone - for my fair skin, as well as those with dark skin and everyone in between. Armani's palettes are like a paint kit in one elegant compact. The eye shadow shades in this one are metallic copper, sea green, pale chiffon, and deep teal - seasonless colors. The bronzer is also a perfect shade for any season.

To enter to win this week's giveaway contest, just leave a comment here once. If you've ever tried - and loved - Armani Beauty products, please let us know which ones. We've got to spread the love.

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).

You can "earn" a second entry by tweeting this contest. Just make sure to include "@BTiBeauty" (without the quotes) in your tweet. I will tweet the contest soon, and you can simply retweet it to earn that second entry. You can earn a third entry by following the blog - either here or on Twitter (any entrant who is already a follower will automatically earn the follower point).

The deadline for entries will be Saturday, October 30, 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.

Here is more "fine print." This contest is open to anyone anywhere. Here are the terms. I will carefully pack and ship the prize (as I always do). I cannot insure the palette for overseas shipment - it's amazingly expensive to do so. If it's lost or stolen in transit, I won't be able to replace it with another palette for an overseas winner. We'll see how this works. My shipping issues have occurred when I've shipped overseas - the packages to the U.S. and Canada always arrive without incident. I'll do my best on this end; let's see if your mail services do right by you on the other end if we have an overseas winner.

Good Luck!

Thank you, Loyd Cassler, Giannina Davis, and Nimati Nazhat for this stunning palette. You're the best! One Best Things in Beauty reader is going to be very happy - and pretty - gal.

Photo courtesy of Giorgio Armani Beauty

Beecology All Natural Lavender & Bergamot Body Wash

Looking for a natural body wash with a divine fragrance and superior performance? Who isn't? Look no further than Beecology, where you'll find All Natural Lavender & Bergamot Body Wash ($7.99).

Beecology sent me this full-sized keeper in a sample pack, and I've been using it ever since. The fragrance is fleeting, but that's good. I appreciate enjoying it in the bath or shower and then moving on to the fragrance I select for the day (or evening). Each time I use it, I say to myself, "This smells great." No kidding! The fragrance is fresh, clean, and calming.

The ingredients are water; the saponified oils of coconut, olive, and virgin hemp; vegetable glycerin/vegetable gum; aloe; honey; and lavender and bergamot essential oils. The honey comes from Beecology's own hives - and the bees that made Beecology famous. For more about Beecology, see my September feature on Buzz Balm.

The primary fragrance is lavender, but the touch of bergamot gives it a freshness that makes it unique. Did you know that bergamot is used in aromatherapy to treat depression? I read that at Wikipedia, and I believe it. The scent is uplifting.

I think I need to try All Natural Grapefruit and Lemongrass Body Wash next. Doesn't that one sound irresistible too?

Intrigued? Love to use natural products on your skin? Love products that smell nice? Pop over to Beecology's Web site to explore. You'll like what you choose.

Photos courtesy of Beecology and

Tarte Ring It In Cheek Stain Set for Holiday 2010

The Ring It In holiday set from Tarte is hoard-worthy. If I'm a good example, you'll need three of them for yourself, and if you plan to give any as gifts, you better buy more. Don't say I didn't tell you! On top of its sheer appeal, there's the lure of a discount. Right now, you can get a 20% discount at Sephora, using their not-so-secret Friends & Family discount code FF2010.

The Ring It In Cheek Stain Set ($25 before discount, $20 after) is limited-edition set of three best-selling and award-winning "mini" cheek stains in all-new sumptuous shades. I can't tell you my delight when I opened the box from Tarte and started to play with the shades. Every one of the three excited me. Then, there's the costume "universally sized" cocktail ring that's too big for my size 5 ring finger - even with it's elasticized band. A few friends at work will enjoy the rings (yes, rings, because I will get one with each set I ordered). The ring is a gimmick, but it's cute - and big.

The set contains three mini Cheek Stains in Vivid (vibrant rosy pink), Luster (peach champagne), and Flawless (soft peachy pink). They aren't teeny tiny, but they aren't full-sized. That's good. The size is as perfect as it gets for throwing in a makeup bag, and that's where each of them will go in my handbag - one at a time. That's where the first set that came from Tarte will go. When my order from Sephora arrives, one full set will go in my desk drawer at work.

Each shade is sheer and pretty. They are so sheer, I'd wager there's no way you can overdo them. Just swipe a few times, blend if you need to, and go. You will glow. I remember one of my favorite makeup gurus saying, "Everyone is nicer to you when you wear blusher." She's right! When you head for a meeting or encounter that makes you anxious, pop into the ladies room for a little Cheek Stain. Can't hurt!

My photo shows the three flattering transparent shades on my arm in late afternoon sun. Flawless, Vivid, and Luster are shown top to bottom. I can't use enough superlatives to tell you how happy I am with the shades, which look even better on my cheeks. My photo was taken late-afternoon fading sunlight. I rolled each stain across my arm four or five times to ensure the colors would show in the photo. Can you use Luster as a highlighter? Absolutely! You can also use it to bring out your own natural pink blush, adding a champagne touch to reduce excess redness.

There's a close-up of Vivid at right (photo taken in brighter sunlight). I absolutely love the rosy pink shade. Whether your skin is cool or warm, light or dark, you'll be able to wear it.

These ultra-flattering Cheek Stains feature a t5-infused botanical formula that keeps pigments truer, allowing you to blend into skin for a finish that's fresh and dewy. The t5 super fruit complex is a proprietary blend of the five most active super-fruits: extracts of goji berry, açaí, maracuja, acerola, and pomegranate extract. The first blend of its kind, the t5 super fruit complex is loaded with naturally occurring, antioxidant-rich nutrients and vitamins that are known to deliver refining, anti-aging, and skin-restorative benefits with each application.

If you've been reading Best Things in Beauty, you know that Tarte's makeup is formulated without the following ingredients we should all try to avoid.
  • Parabens
  • Sulfates
  • Synthetic Fragrances
  • Synthetic Dyes
  • Petrochemicals
  • Phthalates
Head over to Sephora to see Ring It In, and make sure to check out the other beautiful Holiday 2010 sets at the same time. I'll be showing you more this week. Ring It In will also be available at Tarte's Web site soon. There's a special offer there too. Through October 31, you will save $5 on any purchase of $25 or more with code TREAT.

My gushing rave is over - for now. These Cheek Stains make me smile.

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dior 5 Couleurs Gold Edition for Holiday 2010

You know Dior has a hit on its hands when many beauty bloggers are smitten! This week, I purchased Dior's limited-edition 5 Couleurs Gold Edition (Five Golds, #001, 5-Colour Eyeshadow, $58) at Saks Thursday when Friends & Family started. Perhaps I would have been smarter to buy it at Sephora during Friends & Family (better discount), but I didn't realize that Sephora had it. So often, there's a delay before new makeup appears at Sephora.

This photo from Sephora doesn't do it justice. Sabrina put her own photo of the compact at The Beauty Look Book, and hers shows the five colors in a more flattering light. I think Five Golds is gorgeous.

The shades include shimmering black, copper shimmer, silver shimmer, light gold shimmer, and bronze shimmer, and the compact comes with two double-ended sponge applicators. I used those sponge-tipped applicators to swatch the shades for you.

My photo was taken in full sun, starting on my arm with the top left quadrant of the compact, moving around it clockwise, and ending with the silver shimmer in the center. The shimmering black shade is a good liner. I can't imagine using it for anything else. To my eye, it's not as shimmery as the other shades. I am totally smitten with the golden shades, and the shimmering silver is a beautiful bonus - a pure silver that isn't "tainted" with another shade. It's magical on the eyelids!

The incredibly soft texture of Dior's eye shadows makes application and blending a breeze. Each shade can be applied with varying degrees of color intensity - for the more subtle look I favor or a full-intensity look. The choice is yours, and I suspect you'll enjoy playing with the various color combinations.

I know you can find 5 Couleurs Gold Edition for Holiday 2010 at Saks Fifth Avenue, which is having its fall Friends & Family sale (10% discount in the beauty department) through tomorrow, and at Sephora, also having a Friends & Family sale (use code FF2010 through November 3 in the U.S.). Aren't discounts nice? If you want to look like a golden goddess, you might want to check it out this weekend.

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora