Monday, February 28, 2011

Orlane Super-Moisturizing Tinted Cream

Orlane Paris has a new Super-Moisturizing Tinted Cream ($75), which combines anti-aging active ingredients with light-reflecting pigments to make your skin look even and radiant. This tinted moisturizer transparently evens skin tone and boosts your "glow factor." The treated pigment in it withstands water (and humidity) and even sebum for a long-lasting natural look. Orlane's product even softens lines and imperfections. A diamond powder, which reflects blue light, gives it a soft-focus effect on the skin that we all love.

I got a sample during the blogger event I attended at Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie two weeks ago. There are three "self-adjusting" shades, from #1 (Light), the lightest, to #3 (Amber), the darkest. The sample I got is shade #2 (Golden), and it's obviously too dark for me (see swatch below). No matter - I was able to see how nice the texture is by trying #2.

As a rule, I don't "love" tinted moisturizers. They often make my face look dirty. It's hard for me to find the right shade, and many companies, Orlane included, don't offer a full range of shades. If you can find the right shade for your skin, you will like Super-Moisturizing Tinted Cream.

This is definitely an anti-aging moisturer, intended for women over 30. The complex of aquatic plants and biomimetic active ingredients is intensely and lastingly moisturizing. The active ingredients help capture, retain, and redistribute water. Orlane's B21 Bio-Energic Anti-Aging Complex stimulates cellular energy and regenerates, smoothes, and firms the skin.

I used to be an Orlane addict. I loved their products. Somehow, over the years, I moved away from them, probably because Rene Marshall and her sister Vanna were no longer working for Orlane. They had been my gurus. I need to explore the line again, particularly with the most recent improvements. I plan to check out shade #1 in this tinted moisturizer to see if it works for me. My swatch of #2 is shown at right. I loved its transparency, and I loved the feel. Now I just have to see if the company has a shade for my pale face.

The swatch shows the unblended application at the top and a blended application below. If this is your skin tone, you could be a #2! I know the shades are supposed to adjust to your skin tone, but there was no way #2 was going to adjust to mine.

You can purchase Orlane's Super-Moisturizing Tinted Cream at Neiman Marcus (not all stores) and Bloomingdale's.

Photo at top courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Shiseido Replenishing Body Cream

Drawing on its expertise in Western science, Shiseido created its body care line with today’s advanced technology, along with inspiration from Eastern philosophy and medicine. Shiseido believes the key to a beautiful body is to provide vital nutrients, while effectively removing impurities and unwanted substances. "Shiseido body care combines the newest technology with the science of aromachology to create two high-performance products that redefine skin care."

The two new body care products are Shiseido Refining Body Exfoliator and Replenishing Body Cream. Both products are formulated to maximize the synergistic effect of the ingredients. Based on the philosophy of balancing “skin’s natural renewal cycle,” Shiseido body care products include a skin microcirculation-improving complex to eliminate impurities, while evening skin tone.

I had an opportunity to try the Replenishing Body Cream ($72). What a nice, rich body cream! It's worth every cent of its price. This "high-peformance" body cream is specifically designed to help moisturize, firm, and improve the overall look of the skin. Its moisturizing properties are fabulous.

It has a unique set of ingredients. Yuzu seed extract is a traditional Japanese citrus fruit that is typically added to baths during the winter in Japan to improve microcirculation. Yuzu seed extract maintains the skin’s natural moisture while stimulating the production of collagen (from in vitro data). It also has a divine fragrance.

Cherry blossom leaf extract is a natural antioxidant. Agar Gel, an algae-based compound, helps to leave skin deeply hydrated with no sticky residue. Then there's the fragrance ingredients that make no sense to me. Shiseido says that Kuroho, an ancient, traditional fragrance composed of clove, musk, sandalwood, frankincense, and agallach, combined with relaxing jasmine, scents the cream. I hate the scent of cloves and frankincense, and I have no idea what agallach smells like. What I smell is jasmine, rose, and a touch of the crisp, fruity yuzu. It's delicious!

Replenishing Body Cream comes in as large container, so you get a lot for your money. It also spreads with ease, meaning it doesn't take much to cover all the dry areas of your body. I've been using it on my legs, which came out of surgery with an alligator look. Now, they are smooth.

I love applying this luxurious body cream before bed. It has become a ritual. See what you think! It should be available at Shiseido counters soon.

Photo courtesy of Shiseido

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss in Love Giveaway Contest

Congratulations to Dlori! A long-time reader won this lovely gloss!

To celebrate the Academy Awards, I decided to give away one of Angelina Jolie's favorite lip glosses, Chantecaille's Brilliant Gloss in Love. I have an extra one, and it seemed appropriate to share the love.

As I mentioned earlier today (see this link), Angelina did a quick lip gloss touch-up with Love during the Golden Globes. It was the television shot seen around the world as she used this elegant gloss on her amazing lips. Immediately, Love sold out. The demand was that great!

Brilliant Gloss is made from a hydrating and enriching formula that imparts long-lasting color and brilliant shine. An exclusive "jellified" system creates long-lasting wear; it almost has the look of jelly, with its sheer, colorful movement. Microspheres of organic wheat protein-linked sugars create soft, supple, and plumped lips (without any tingling feeling) for a perfect pout. Among the ingredients, Brilliant Gloss lists green tea extract and vegetal-linked polysaccharides to protect the delicate skin on our lips. Like other Chantecaille makeup, it's fabulous.

Here's a swatch of Love on my arm. It's a light, petal pink. Don't you think it's a perfect color for spring?

How can you enter to win? Just leave a comment here once. After you comment, feel free to send me an e-mail at and identify your comment. You can never be too careful about sharing an e-mail address you care about on a blog, so feel free to follow this step (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 this evening, 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, but you can save me time by telling me you're a follower in your comment). I can't track followers through a third-party service, so you need to be on Google's list for me to verify the entry.

The deadline for entries will be Saturday, March 5, 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. Make sure to check your e-mail - and look in your spam folder - when the contest ends.

This contest will be open to anyone anywhere in the world. I will ship the gloss uninsured (the insurance costs as much as the lip gloss, and I can't insure a small Priority box - rules, annoying USPS rules). I will also provide proof of shipping, if necessary. I am going to take a chance that both mail systems will deliver the box - yours and mine - without loss, theft, or destruction! Let's see how it works if we have an "international winner." So far, my luck with international shipping hasn't been very good.

Good luck!

P.S. Don't forget I have another giveaway contest active until Monday night (February 28) at midnight. You can enter to win Tarte's Provocateur Amazonian Clay Shimmering Powder.

Photo at top courtesy of Chantecaille

New David Yurman Fragrances - The Essence Collection

Who doesn't adore David Yurman's jewelry (I stop by the counter often just to drool)? I'm an avid colored gems fan, and his designs are beautiful. I will never forget my jealousy when a friend at work (Kirk) would appear after Christmas wearing her new David Yurman jewelry. Her family certainly has good taste!

Now David Yurman has given us a second, inexpensive way to wear his creations with his Essence Fragrance Eau de Toilette Collection. The Essence Collection includes three evocative scents, each echoing the artistry of David Yurman’s signature jewelry and the emotions associated with three of his favorite gemstones - lustrous pink tourmaline, vivid peridot, and glistening citrine. Each essence is identified with a personal touch from Sybil Yurmam, a fluid brushstroke of paint mirroring the gemstone-inspired color.

In the spirit of David Yurman's jewelry, the Essence Collection is designed to be worn alone or paired, mixed to create an expression that is as individual and effortless as the woman herself. The Essence Collection has been artfully sculpted for the sense of smell by renowned master perfumer and creator of the original David Yurman fragrance, Harry Fremont of Firmenich.

The three scents span the range of fragrance types, with at least one for every taste. From floral to "floriental," you will find one you like.

Delicate Essence (Pink Tourmaline) is a modern floral, romantic and feminine. The top notes notes are pink pepper, lotus blossom, and sparkling orange. The mid-notes are pink peony blossom, wild rose, and rose absolute. The dry base notes are sheer amber, blonde woods, and musk. I knew I would love it, and I do. The floral notes are perfect for me, and the pink pepper gives it pizzaz - excitement, energy, and a spirit all its own. The amber and woods give it a lingering base.

Fresh Essence (Peridot) is fruity-floral, crisp and playful. It's also right up my alley. I'm wearing it now. It's fruity, which I love, but fortunately not terribly sweet. I'm sure you've smelled fresh, crisp, green fruity fragrances; they have notes that make their fruits sparkle. This one's special. The top notes are sparkling apple, cassis, juicy red fruits, and fresh greens. The middle notes are rose, peony, and water lily. The dry base notes are soft musk, cashmere woods, and cedar wood.

Exotic Essence (Citrine) is mysterious and sensual. It has an oriental flair to my nose (my first impression was correct, confirmed on the Web site). The top notes are sparkling mandarin through and through. The middle notes are Casablanca lily, rose petals, exotic woods, and patchouli (the patchouli, though soft, means this is not "my" fragrance). The dry base notes are vanilla absolute, amber, warm musk, Australian sandalwood, and peach skin. The warm base notes dominate Exotic Essence, making what otherwise might be floral a deeper fragrance - one you might wear at night to entice. I know that there are many of you who don't share my limited fragrance preferences (usually florals, fruits, and aquatics). This is your fragrance! It's complex and original.

The Essence Collection ($85.00 for 3.4 fluid ounces) is now available at Bloomingdale's, David Yurman boutiques, and I received generous samples from Mr. Yurman's PR firm - and feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to wear these new, unique fragrances. You would expect anything David Yurman touched to be gorgeous, and the Essence Collection is.

Photo courtesy of David Yurman

Celebrities Sell Beauty Products

In our celebrity-obsessed culture, celebrities sell beauty products - really well. Gone are the days (at least for now) when supermodels "owned" advertising for beauty products. Now celebrities do.

During Oscar week, beauty companies shower celebrities with free products and services. The very people who have the money to buy everything they want don't have to do anything except show up. Companies rent suites to attract celebrities with free stuff; the swag is amazing. "One brand name dropped at just the right time, even by a minor celebrity, can echo for months, translating into lucrative exposure for any beauty brand canny enough to be stationed within a mile of" the Academy Awards.1 While the Oscar arena is "choked" with beauty brands, some stand out.

The exposure pays. According to an issue of WWD's Beauty Biz, published five years ago, Revlon estimated that a small investment paid off in over $2 million in publicity. As a result, many celebrities are on the payroll of beauty and fashion companies, giving those companies year-round associations with beautiful woman. COVERGIRL has Taylor Swift, Lancôme has Julia Roberts (who has been airbrushed to feature-less "perfection"), Gucci has Jennifer Lopez and her children...the list is endless.

There is an enormous amount of attention, including from beauty bloggers (myself included), paid to what celebrity wore what makeup to the Academy Awards ceremony. Beauty companies send their top makeup artists to Los Angeles to cater to and prepare the nominees and presenters. I love looking at the fashion, but I've always got an eye on the makeup too.

At the Golden Globes, without even seeking the attention, Chantecaille became the lip gloss of choice when Angelina Jolie was seen touching up her lips on camera. What gloss was she wearing? Brilliant Gloss in Love. Angelina is also said to wear Charm, but it was Love she pulled out of her evening bag. The next day, Love sold out everywhere. You couldn't get your hands on Love anywhere. Chantecaille ran out, Neiman Marcus ran out - every source ran out. The run on Love was amazing, showing the power of Angelina Jolie to sell makeup - without really trying. I suspect, from what I've read about Jolie, that she finds Chantecaille's philanthropy as magnificent as I do. Even Brad Pitt uses Chantecaille products. Fact or fiction - I don't know the man - he's supposed to favor Future Skin foundation.

I didn't cover the news of Angelina's lip gloss selection right after the awards. There's the obvious question. "Do women really think a lip gloss will make them more like the ravishing celebrity?" However, I read it in the press with the rest of you (so disappointed that I didn't receive the press release - sob) that it was Love she was wearing.

Now, so that you can keep your eyes peeled for the next great, impossible-to-get product, I'm giving you the heads-up to watch tonight's ceremony. Then go online and order - quickly - if you want a tiny part of that celebrity experience! For those who were willing to wait, Chantecaille's Web site and Chantecaille counters have restocked Love. You can buy Angelina's lip gloss now. In DC, go see Alicia Cortes at Neiman Marcus Tysons.

So that you can see Angelina's fave lip glosses, I swatched them for you. My photo was taken outdoors during a momentary appearance by the sun. Love, shown at the top of my arm, is light pink. Charm, shown below, is nude. In my humble opinion, neither matches the shade squares shown online, which is why I'm showing them to you now.

Chantecaille's Brilliant Gloss ($28) is one of my favorites, and that has nothing to do with Angelina Jolie and the recent exposure. Brilliant Gloss feels good on the lips, looks good, and lasts a reasonable amount of time for a lip gloss. Just like Angelina, you'll need to re-apply it when you've been eating, drinking, or out on the town for the night. I know of no lip gloss that's truly long-wearing, and the thought of one actually scares me. Would it cling to your lips with magnetic attraction, picking up cat or dog fur? Or stray bits of grit on a windy day? [Shudder]

Now that's you've read to the end of this rambling feature, what do you think? Will you be swayed by what the stars wear tonight?

1Leslie Gornstein, Beauty Biz, April 14, 2006

Photo at top courtesy of NBC

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New NARS Illuminators

I have always felt like one of the top cheerleaders for NARS Orgasm Illuminator. I adore it. It's a highlighter, a blush, and a foundation enhancer - all in one tube! I bought three Orgasm Illuminators when they launched, two for myself and one for a giveaway.

You can imagine my excitement when I learned that NARS would be introducing a Copacabana Illuminator. I use the Copacabana Multiple, and I love it. I was thrilled to think that the same quality and characteristics that NARS brought us with Orgasm Illuminator would be extended to Copacabana. What I didn't realize at first was that the treat would be multiplied. NARS also launched Super Orgasm and Laguna Illuminators, which I saw (and ordered) when I went online to purchase Copacabana.

NARS Illuminators light the skin from within (that is not just marketing hype). With the addition of new shades, this collection of light-reflecting liquids gives you multiple ways to shine. The Illuminators glide on to refresh and enhance the complexion to create a shimmering incandescence. Giorgio Armani Beauty's Fluid Sheers are among my holy grail beauty products. I have every shade. NARS Illuminators ($29) will take their place alongside my Fluid Sheers.

You can go gorgeously nude with the original peachy pink Orgasm or up the ante with Super Orgasm’s extra glow. Super Orgasm is so much nicer than its namesake blusher. I'm too old to use Super Orgasm on my cheeks. It's a sparkle fest, so I gave it away to a teenager. Super Orgasm Illuminator is sheer perfection. I love the color, and the shimmer level is flattering. The pearlescent Copacabana Illuminator is a beautiful highlighter or foundation enhancer for fair skin. The shade is white, with a hint of pink on my skin. I can't anticipate until I try it on a friend how it will look on chocolate skin. It might be too bright and white. Or, I might be surprised; it's possible it will blend into a sunbeam. Laguna Illuminator is a perfect bronzing shade, and as with the other Illuminators, you can mix it lightly with your foundation to add a summer glow or use it as a fast-application bronzer. Laguna can turn me into the bronze goddess I'll never be naturally.

I've had totally miserable weather for photography since these arrived. Even today, when I got this swatch photo, it's very cloudy. Earlier, I noticed that the sky had brightened - still cloudy, but more high overcast than the low-hanging clouds we've had for the last two days. I applied each Illuminator with my finger, and I blended them only slightly, hoping to get a decent representation of each shade. While this photo isn't great, it's the best I got out of nine.

Super Orgasm is shown at the top. Hopefully, you can see that its peach with a perfect shimmer - so much prettier than its namesake. Copacabana is white - very light. I'm not sure whether the hint of pink is my arm or the product. It's perfect for me; will it be for you? Laguna, shown at the bottom of the photo, has much less shimmer, making it ideal for a natural bronzer. I would describe the shade as a light, golden bronze. I'm happy to report that it does not leave an orange look on my skin.

If you would like to see additional swatches, head over to Café Makeup, where Amy did a nice job showing comparisons to other brands and products. Looks like Amy's a Fluid Sheer fan too.

The multipurpose nature of these Illuminators is magical. I lust after makeup that serves more than one purpose - all the better to lighten my overburdened handbag. These are great for on-the-go pick-me-ups. The flip cap is a secure one, and the hole through which you squeeze the product is small and ideal for dispensing buildable color. You are unlikely to waste these with a liquid spill on your vanity or in your bathroom or purse.

NARS advertises that the colors are deceptively sheer and decidedly luminous. That says it all. I can't wait to see what colors they have in store for us next! Isn't that funny? I have three new goodies, and I'm already anticipating the next lust-worthy shades, the sign of a true addict.

You can purchase the new Illuminators, as well as the original, at the NARS Web site. NARS counters also have them available. They arrived at Neiman Marcus about a week ago. I couldn't wait; I purchased mine from NARS. If you purchase at Neiman Marcus now, though, you might score a Beauty Event gift.

Photos at top courtesy of NARS

Weekend Roundup - February 26

Ready to watch the Academy Awards? Who doesn't love to watch the stars - and their fashion and beauty selections for the evening? I'll be watching - can't wait! We had some ideas this week to make you Oscar-ready. We should all shine for our big moments.

Tim Quinn, Giorgio Armani makeup artist to the stars, talked to Kari about finding the right foundation. You can learn from Tim at Fab over Forty. He's currently backstage at the Emporio Armani 2011 show (Saturday morning as I write). He's usually at the Academy Awards!

Rouge Bunny Rouge is a niche European brand that has been getting a lot of online buzz and a cult of fans. Learn more from Gaia at The Non-Blonde. I'm intrigued!

The new NARS Illuminators shades are also getting a lot of blogger attention. Check out Amy's impressions at Café Makeup. I received all three new shades mid-week and will feature them here today. I love them!

Jo Malone has launched a new line of Tea Fragrance Blends, and Sabrina tried them all. Head over to The Beauty Look Book to find out which one(s) might be right for you. I purchased Sweet Lemon (wore a light application to PT the other day!) and am currently testing Earl Gray & Cucumber. After a little more time with them, I promise to share my take.

Ever heard of Dermae skin care? Jane can give you the 411 at Daly Beauty. If you like (or can tolerate) products with retinol, this may be a good line for you.

Bare Escentuals has introduced Buxom Smoky Eye Sticks. Jennifer had the scoop at BeautyXposé. Is there one in your future? There may be one in mine.

Are you starting to look pasty, winter white? Laurie has been loving L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes. Want to learn more? Head over to Product Girl.

Do we need a bottom lash mascara? Debbi gave us her opinion of the new Clinique mascara at DivaDebbi. It's a nice mascara - for klutzes.

Kelly has a new obsession. Find out at Gouldylox Reviews how Konad made her wild and crazy! Her nails looked pretty cool.

I got a preview of La Prairie's summer makeup collection at a Neiman Marcus party. Check it out here at Best Things in Beauty. I am bummed that I have to wait until May to get my hands on the new cream blush shades. I also featured the upcoming Cellular Energizing Body Collection. Next week, I'll show you the new sun care.

Back to the Academy Awards. Let us know what you think about the red carpet! We'll be chatting next week. Aren't there always a couple of standouts - and a few debacles?

Update: There are swatches of Chanel's new Rouge Coco Shine at CaRa BeAuTé BLoG!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Shiseido Shimmering Rouge for Spring 2011 - Part 2

Women everywhere are going to love Shiseido's new Shimmering Rouge ($25), a sheer lip color that feels and looks great. There are 13 new shades. On Sunday, I told you about my first four. Please pop over to that feature by clicking on the "Sunday" link. Today, I want to show you the second four, ordered from Sephora, that arrived this week.

To recap quickly, Shimmering Rouge offers sheer, brilliant color that infuses the lips with lasting moisture and makes them appear full. These sheer lip colors feel good and look great.

For the first round, I had selected three shades from Sephora, and Shiseido sent me a fourth. I loved all of them, so I had to have more shades. I'm a sheer lipstick lover - maybe an addict. The four colors I ordered in the second round are listed here.
  • PK 311, Pink Champagne
  • RS 312, Iced Rose
  • RD 406, Desire
  • RD 601, Golden Dragon
The shades are shown on my arm at right in the same order, with PK 311, Pink Champagne at the top. My photo was taken outdoors in sunlight. The first three shades are perfect for me. Golden Dragon at the bottom may be a little bit darker than my "comfort zone," but I applied several coats of each of these shades to make sure I got a good photo. Applied with a lighter hand, it looks good.

Shimmering Rouge has a very reasonable wear time for a sheer lipstick. I don't mind reapplying throughout the day. I would rather have the brilliant, glowing, unfaded color than a long-lasting lipstick that looks like a stain in an hour - and feels like chalk. Another benefit to Shimmering Rouge, there's no detectable fragrance or taste - yippee!

You can purchase Shiseido makeup at Macy's, Nordstrom, Sephora, Bloomingdale’s, Saks, and Dillard’s. To get more information or to find a store location near you, just pop over to the Shiseido Web site. Make sure to get yours before the stores start to sell out of the most popular shades!

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora

The Friday Forum - February 25

I wonder who this could be, stationed next to the towel I use to pull on my leg, and playing with my lens cap. He loves to sit with Mr. Sunshine, and he got his wish earlier in the week. We're hoping Mr. Sunshine comes back later today. Right now, it's raining, meaning I can't get makeup swatch photos.

It's hard for me to believe it's almost the end of February! I think I lost January entirely, and it seems like February flew by. Pretty soon, I will have to stop working from home and start going into the office. I think the kid above is going to miss me.

I am making progress in physical therapy, although I still can't entirely straighten my knee. The best I've done is three degrees, and I have to get to zero. I can bend it more and more each week, with effort. The Dynasplint that is supposed to help me straighten it is unmitigated torture. I know it's not supposed to hurt, but it does. I am tolerating it about three hours/day. I talked to my "regular" orthopedic surgeon last Friday afternoon (not the one who replaced my knee), and he thought I was doing really well, particularly since my knees had so many issues, including major inflammation, before the surgery. So, I'm plugging along. Thank you all for your continuing well wishes! I can't tell you how much you have lifted my spirits.

This beauty season continues to be amazing for new product launches. I have much more to show you. Plus, I have new purchases from the Neiman Marcus Beauty Event I have to show you. From cosmetics to skin care (and a fragrance or two), I'll be busy next week! Just as an aside, the Bobbi Brown GWP at Neiman Marcus is fabulous.

What's new in your life? It's time for The Friday Forum. We use the forum to share information and chat. Did you find any deals you couldn't resist this week? 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.

Don't forget that I have two giveaway contests underway. The first, for a One Night Set in Neutral ends Saturday at midnight. The second, for Tarte's Provocateur Amazonian Clay Shimmering Powder in Champagne ends Monday at midnight. Have you entered yet? If you don't enter, you can't win.

Thanks for reading Best Things in Beauty! Got anything you want to talk about?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ambre Blends - 100% Pure, Natural Fragrances

Imagine intoxicating fragrances, aromatherapy treats, that are made with 100% natural ingredients to scent your world, soothe your mind, and protect your well-being - fragrances that are clean, but also seductive and addictive. If you can summon that image, you have captured the heart and soul of Ambre Blends. Even if you can't visualize these transporting scents, you can see, hold, and smell the Ambre Blends line, which has joined my current favorites list.

The company Ambre Blends was created by Ambre Ashley in Indianapolis 10 years ago and has grown into a nationally distributed product line. Why had I never heard about it before the company contacted me? Somehow I missed these special fragrances, sold in high-end salons, spas, and boutiques throughout the country. I want to make sure you don't miss them! They are that special - and unique.

Amber essence is the common ingredient in each of Ambre Blends' products. This is amber as it should be, soft and intoxicating. The shrill amber that is incorporated in many "commercial" fragrances today is nothing like the amber used by Ambre Blends. The company sources its amber from a seventh-generation company in India (and you may know that amber is a resin from the base of trees). The amber used by Ambre Blends is special; it's light and clean. It integrates with one’s natural body chemistry and is activated by body heat to produce a unique and individual aroma - your own custom fragrance.

Ambre Blends products are currently available in three delicate, all-natural scents. In all three, amber oil, the key ingredient, is blended with other 100% pure essential natural oils. Ambre Blends says it is likely, as with most oil-based fragrances, that your sense of smell will become accustomed to the scent, which means that after wearing it for some time, the scent becomes a part of you. You might not smell it on yourself, but others will smell it on you. I have found that I can always smell it on my skin - and since I love it, that's a treat.

There are three scents: Solace, Invoke, and Amber. Each scent is available in the pure essence oil, body cream, spritzer, olive oil soap, and pure soy candle. Solace infuses the amber essence with a sensuous vanilla blend, interwoven with a "rare special ingredient," an Indian spice. I don't know what its special ingredient is, but it's heavenly. Solace was created to comfort and attract.

Invoke builds on the amber essence by adding a stimulating blend of pure jasmine, neroli, sandalwood, and a hint of rose. It evokes the scent of spring blooms kissed by the warmth of the sun. It's an unusual floral, with the soft warmth of the amber, but gorgeous. I can't decide whether I like Invoke or Solace the most. They are both lovely. I may be leaning toward Invoke because I'm a floral gal.

Ambre Essence is the original blend. It carries a sensual aroma that's like bottled sunshine. It's the base of all the products, so you essentially get it in Solace and Invoke. If you want your amber unadulterated by other oils, this one's for you. There is one other secret ingredient, but "we're not telling."

Ambre Blends sent me a sample of their products, and I was captivated the moment they arrived. I selected Solace to try first - not sure why I would do that since the notes of Invoke are my kind of fragrance notes. I used the Solace Body Cream first and swooned. I'm not a big fan of vanilla overloads, but the touch of vanilla in Solace is comfortable. You know that men love vanilla fragrances, right? Solace is actually relaxing, except that my nose won't stay away from it. After I "learned" Solace, I tried a sample of Invoke and fell in love again. I tried the Invoke bar soap and found it the perfect before-bed scent to stop my mind from racing.

I'm wearing both Solace and Invoke on my arms now (one on left, one on right). It has been about six hours since I applied them, and they are still vividly aromatic. I think they dry down to Ambre Essence, the base notes at some point. Right now, they are virtually indistinguishable to my nose. I could smell a distinct difference, however, when the top notes were fresh.

I had a delightful conversation with Ambre Blends' director of sales and learned that their fragrances are the only fragrances she knows that are universally loved (and worn) by men and women, young and old. People stop her in the grocery line to compliment her 10 hours after she had applied her fragrance. Now that's a special fragrance!

Want to try Ambre Blends? You can find the products at their Web site. For locations of retailers carrying the scents, click on this link. There's one near my workplace! We may even do a giveaway soon, thanks to the generosity of Ambre Blends.

Photo courtesy of Ambre Blends

MAKE UP FOR EVER Lab Shine Lip Gloss

MAKE UP FOR EVER's new Lab Shine Lip Gloss ($18) roped me in when I saw it online at Sephora. I love glosses, and this one comes in 35 shades and three finishes! I knew I would find a few I loved, and I did.

This gloss combines camelina oil and mother-of-pearl particles that reflect light to create incredible shine that adds the appearance of volume to the lips (shiny lips look fuller). Formulated with hyaluronic acid, it provides intense hydration with a non-sticky texture for a noticeably moisturized pout. Its subtle apricot fragrance adds a sweet scent to your lips - probably the only drawback from my perspective. I wasn't sure what flavor of Kool-Aid I was tasting when I applied it, but I knew it was sweet. I know I'm extreme in my biases about flavored lip products. Many of you like them.

I can get past the fragrance on this gloss because the gloss is so nice. The three finishes are Diamond, Star, and Metal. The Diamond Collection includes 12 shades that give natural color with sparkling, sheer coverage. The Star Collection has 14 shades with a pearly shine for medium coverage. The Metal Collection consists of nine highly pigmented shades that offer full coverage with an intense, chrome finish.

I decided to try two. I purchased D14, a shimmering "Indian pink" from the Diamond Collection and S14, pearly blackcurrent, from the Star Collection. They are very different. D14 is very sheer. S14 has much more pigment. Both shine, but S14 has slightly less shine. I noticed little micro-sparkles in D14. You can't feel them on the lips, but they are there - and beautiful.

I had to take my swatch photo outside on an extremely overcast morning. I could see the sun behind the clouds, but there wasn't enough to light up my photo well. Sorry it's a bit dark, but it is supposed to rain later, so I don't know when my next opportunity will arise. D14 is swatched at the top, applied directly with its own brush applicator. You can see it's a pretty, warm pink. What you can't see in my photo are the teeny-tiny sparkles. They are very pretty. S14 below is my favorite of the two simply because it has more pigment. It's a grape-rose, an exquisite shade.

These glosses are so nice, I'm trying to decide (based on the fragrance, which does fade) whether I will buy S16, S18, and S20. I like the Star finish, and all of those shades look nice too.

Have you tried them? You can find them at Sephora.

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tarte Provocateur Amazonian Clay Shimmering Powder Giveaway Contest

Congratulations to Estelle! She won this beauty.
I'm feeling generous - and a little crazy - today, so let's do a second giveaway contest this week! I told you last week about Tarte's fabulous new Provocateur Amazonian Clay Shimmering Powder. I have one in Champagne I am going to give away.

Provocateur Amazonian Clay Shimmering Powder ($30) is a finely-milled powder infused with Amazonian clay, "nature's most perfect ingredient." This new highlighter was introduced for Spring 2011.

Amazonian Clay is rich in nutrients, with benefits for all skin types. Is your skin oily? Amazonian clay minimizes oil in and around the pores to balance skin and keep the product in place. Is your skin dry? The nourishing clay hydrates skin naturally to restore moisture. Have combination skin? Amazonian clay will intuitively identify your skin type and condition and deliver benefits to restore harmony. The result for everyone is promised to be makeup that wears better, longer, and truer!

Like all Tarte Cosmetics, these powders are also filled with good-for-your-skin ingredients, such as vitamins A, C, and E, They are formulated without all the things we try to avoid, including phthalates, synthetic fragrances and dyes, and sodium lauryl sulfate. I'm sure you know Tarte abhors animal testing.

This finely milled powder can be applied to cheeks, brow bones, and décolletage for a completely customizable glow - add a little for a soft, subtle sheen or add more for lavishly enhanced radiance I like the powder because it's creamy. I think that's one reason it's long-lasting.

It's available in two shades: Champagne and Rose. Both are gorgeous. They both are packaged in a padded, quilted compact with a mirror and round sponge applicator. I like the fact that the compact color mirrors the shade, so there's no guessing when I reach for one.

Champagne is the golden shade. How can you enter to win it? Just leave a comment here once. After you comment, feel free to send me an e-mail at and identify your comment. You can never be too careful about sharing an e-mail address you care about on a blog, so feel free to follow this step (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, but you can save me time by telling me you're a follower in your comment). I can't track followers through a third-party service, so you need to be on Google's list for me to verify the entry.

The deadline for entries will be Monday, February 28, 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. Make sure to check your e-mail - and look in your spam folder - when the contest ends.

This contest is open to U. S. and Canadian residents only. I still can't stand in line at the Post Office to send international packages. I can do Click-n-Ship. I promise, international readers, we should be able to go back to completely open contests as soon as I finish intensive PT.

Good luck!

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora

Neiman Marcus Beauty Event for Spring 2011

It's time for Neiman Marcus Beauty Event! From tomorrow, February 24, through Sunday, March 6, in stores and online, you will receive a tote with a few samples inside with every purchase of $100 or more in the beauty department (cosmetics and fragrance). Additionally, most of the brands have gift with purchase specials. Depending on how much you spend with the brand, you may get a nice sample set too.

The GWPs range, in my humble opinion, from fantastic to ho-hum. I wouldn't spend $300 for something I didn't need just to get a few samples. On the other hand, if you are interested in trying something that is in the GWP, you should go for it!

This is the perfect time to visit Neiman Marcus if you have one in your area. The product specialists and sales associates are ready to help you. If you live near the Neiman Marcus at Mazza Gallerie, I suggest you go see Sunny Choi Noble, a sales associate who can steer you to all the best product specialists. If you live near Tysons Galleria, please visit with Kathy Shoreman, who will do the same. Both are knowledgeable and will not try to sell you something that's not right for you. I love them. You can call Sunny at (202) 966-9700, ext 2265. You can call Kathy at (703) 761-1600, ext 3282.

If I try to name all my favorite product specialists at the two stores, I know I will forget someone. If there's a brand that interests you, just leave a comment, and I will recommend a contact for you. Remember, if you don't have a local Neiman Marcus, the gals in the DC area can still help you. Give them a call.

Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus

NARS Nouveau Monde Duo Eyeshadow for Spring 2011

I was pleased to find a NARS eye shadow for spring that I really like! After the debacle of the Calanque Trio Eyeshadow, I was hopeful that the Nouveau Monde Duo Eyeshdow ($33) would be everything I expected. It was - and more! The two colors are gorgeous, and the texture is perfect.

A rich brown-olive gold is highlighted by a shimmering silver lilac. Wear each shade solo or use one as a base and the other as an accent or highlight - the combination is striking. I was wary of the silver lilac. I have a difficult relationship with lavender-toned shadows. This one is an ice blue-lavender - in a class of its own among the "lavender" shadows I have purchased in the last year or two.

Here is a swatch photo of both shades, taken indoors in morning sunlight. I applied the silver lilac shade unevenly. Have no fear (after Calanque), it's a nice shadow that applies evenly and with ease, leaving shimmering color, not just shimmer. No crumbles, no fallout! I think the base shade of Calanque was an aberration. I really don't know what happened with NARS' production, but I was pleased to see that Nouveau Monde's texture was perfect.

Isn't the silver lilac color beautiful? When you apply it over the whole lid below the crease and use the deep brown-toned olive as an accent or in the crease, the combination creates a stunning look. The olive shade is no slouch itself. It has warmth, depth, and a subtle shimmer that makes it light up the eyes. I am very happy with both shades in this duo.

You can purchase Nouveau Monde by itself at NARS counters, the NARS Web site, or Sephora. Or, you can buy Sephora's Front Row Set, which includes it, along with three other nice pieces: an Eyeliner Stylo in Nuits Blanches, an Orgasm Lip Gloss, and a mini-Multiple in Palm Springs. I recommend the set, which I purchased. It costs $59, but gives you $97 worth of makeup.

Photo at top courtesy of NARS

NARS Tainted Love Set

NARS has made some fabulous sets this season, none nicer than the Tainted Love Set ($59). A $78 value, Tained Love will ignite your passion for pink. Angelika Lip Gloss pairs with a new, limited-edition Angelika Multiple to enliven your eyes, lips, and cheeks in a cotton candy hue with shimmering silver and gold sparkles. To coordinate, your nails make a statement with vibrant, shocking pink Schiap. An $80 value, Tained Love was irresistible - for me - and I don't usually wear nail polish. The Nail Polish going to a good home. I had to add the Angelika Multiple to my collection.

At left is a photo of each piece nestled in the packaging - before I pulled them out and started to play. These aren't mingy little samples - you get a lot for your money.

The Angelika Multiple and Lip Gloss are shown on my arm below right. My photo was taken in sunlight indoors. I applied both products directly from their tubes, and I did not blend out the Multiple.

You can see the pretty sparkles in the Angelika Multiple swatch at right. You also see some brilliance from the sunlight gleaming on arm, but there are definitely micro-sparkles in the color. Not too many - not enough to make you look like a disco ball - but they are visible. The Angelika Lip Gloss, part of the Spring 2011 Collection, is a gorgeous, cool-toned candy pink. It has a lot of pigment, which will give you color without lipstick underneath. Nice pinks!

I doubt I need to tell beauty mavens about the Multiple or NARS Lip Gloss. The Multiple is François Nars' original multipurpose stick for eyes, cheeks, lips, and body. I have just about every color. The Lip Gloss is an acquired taste. Once you acquire it, you'll find yourself acquiring a lot of pretty glosses!

Here's another shot (at left) with much less sunlight on my arm. Hopefully, you can see the richness of the girly-girl pinks. They are extremely flattering.

The Nail Polish coordinates beautifully with the Multiple and Lip Gloss. NARS Nail Polish is free of toluene, formaldehyde, and DBP. It still gave me a jolt of scent when I applied it, but that "unpleasantness" went away very quickly.

It's been a long time since I applied polish. I didn't stop because of the fragrance; I stopped because wearing nail polish was incompatible with gardening. NARS Nail Polish offers a long-wearing formula that provides a tough, durable chip-resistant finish and has added ultraviolet protection to prevent polish discoloration. Who knows? Maybe if I had tried it while I was actively gardening, I wouldn't have sworn off polish, which usually chipped on the first day I wore it.

Schiap is shown on my nail at right. This photo was also taken indoors in bright light. I didn't have any Scotch tape handy, so I painted a stripe on my nail (and removed it with Deborah Lippmann's The Stripper). That's one pass on my nail. It covers well, but you could add a second coat for more vibrant color. The polish is an elegant, glossy pink - guaranteed to draw attention to your hands - or toes!

What do you think? I love this set - even the polish (I have to remember to give it to its promised recipient). I bought my Tainted Love Set at Neiman Marcus, where it sold out the instant it arrived. It's also available at the NARS Web site and Nordstrom.

Photo at top courtesy of NARS

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lancôme Teint Miracle Instant Retouch Pen, Lit-from-Within Reflector

Another pen highlighter! Just when you thought we had enough of them, Lancôme has a new one (at least the gals at Neiman Marcus told me it's new). Of course, I had to try it!

Here's the difference I see between this one and others, including my all-time love, Touche Éclat. It's meant to retouch your foundation in addition to serving as a highlighter. Not all of them do that.

Lancôme makes a relatively new foundation called Teint Miracle, 10 years on the making. It's said to recreate the true, natural light of perfect skin, with a lit-from-within look. I have always liked Lancôme's foundations (I used to wear one exclusively a long time ago). The Instant Retouch Pen for all skin types was created to do the same thing: add a lit-from-within look to the areas you want to touch up. It can be used as your foundation in a pinch.

This is the first Lancôme perfecting pen enriched with micro-fluorescent particles for a surge of true, natural light. The portable pen can be used anytime anywhere to retouch - illuminating, smoothing, and visibly eliminating imperfections. The fluid blends seamlessly and easily (very fluid texture), and it's instantly hydrating. Unfortunately, from my perspective, some of its hydrating properties come from propylene glycol (PG), the ubiquitous, inexpensive hydrator our beauty companies don't seem to be able to "lose." While it has some nice hydrating ingredients that score plus points in my book, the PG gets a minus from me. Too bad - otherwise, I really like Teint Miracle.

You may not care about the PG as much as I do. If you want to try a new click pen highlighter that will immediately brighten your skin, check out Teint Miracle at your Lancôme counter. It's available in multiple shades.

I purchased the lightest shade, #1. I took a photo of it indoors in full sun. At the top of my photo, I applied the product straight from the pen. Below, I blended it. Blended, it's my skin tone, so all you will see is a gleam in my photo - if that. I can assure you that the shine in the center of my arm is primarily from the highlighting effects.

You can purchase Teint Miracle at Lancôme counters. They told me they are having trouble keeping it in stock at Neiman Marcus.

La Prairie Cellular Energizing Body Collection for Summer 2011

First there was Cellular Treatment Body Spray ($115). Just in time for summer, we'll have a three new Cellular Energizing products in La Prairie's new Cellular Energizing Body Collection.
  • Cellular Energizing Body Spray ($70 for 50 ml)
  • Cellular Energizing Body Lotion (65 for 150 ml)
  • Cellular Energizing Bath and Shower Gelee ($60 for 150 ml)
All three products contain La Prairie’s Cellular Complex, which combines glycoproteins, ginseng root, and horse tail extracts to nourish and energize the skin. The Cellular Energizing Body Spray contains heather extract that helps soothe and pamper the skin. Sea acids provide an excellent source of AHAs for gentle and effective exfoliation. The Cellular Energizing Body Lotion moisturizes the skin with extracts of grape seed oil, rice bran oil, and shea butter. Also, white willow bark extract enhances and brightens skin tone.

The Body Fragrance blends La Prairie's Swiss skin care with an uplifting fragrance to lavish the body and energize the soul. It's one part skin care, one part fragrance. With new products, anyone who has lived in and loved the Body Spray can treat herself (or himself) to the equivalent of surround sound. Those who haven't tried the Body Spray may be tempted to try one of the new products, such as the body lotion, with its moisturizing effects to enhance the fragrance.

The scent of these products is an aromatherapy treat. It has an element of crisp, citrus freshness and another element that I think is floral. I don't know how to describe it beyond that. It's named well because the fragrance is energizing - it gets you going in the morning. Some people have written that the fragrance is unisex. I can understand that characterization, but I think it's more feminine than masculine.

The new products will be available at your La Prairie counter in late May. Make sure to stop by for a whiff!

Photo courtesy of La Prairie

Monday, February 21, 2011

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils - Part 2

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils ($24) have been the talk of Twitter, and they have been featured on many blogs, including mine and The Beauty Look Book (Sabrina wrote a three-part series; click here for Part 1). The buzz over these glorious lip "sticks" has been intense, with beauty mavens lusting for them or sharing the shades they purchased. In my original order, I bought two. Then when my Neiman Marcus got them in stock, I bought two more. Today, I will update my original feature by showing you my newest shades.

First, a recap. These are glossy lip pencils with a smooth, buttery texture. They coat the lips with stunning, glossy, nicely pigmented color and moisturizing ingredients, including vitamin E, hyaluronic acid spheres, and phytosterol esthers. They don't contain the bad actors we all like to avoid, like phthalates, sulfates, parabens, petrochemicals, and synthetic fragrances. They are so much nicer - in my opinion - than the matte pencils that NARS introduced previously. I like a little shine, so I'm definitely biased toward the Velvet Gloss Pencils.

My first two were Baroque and New Lover. You can see swatches here. My second two are Frivolous and Club Mix. I'm thrilled with them; they are very different shades from my earlier selections.

Frivolous is shown at the top of my arm, with Club Mix below. My photo was taken indoors in sunlight. Frivolous is a very natural peachy-pink-nude shade. It may be the lightest of all of them. It's perfect for a casual look. Club Mix is a plum-grape-rose mix. On the lips, which have a little color, it's slightly darker.

I think all four of the shades I purchased are fabulous. I would recommend these lip pencils to everyone. They are gorgeous colors, have a perfect amount of shine, and feel great on my lips. Their color is long-lasting too.

You can purchase them at the NARS Web site, Sephora, and at your NARS counter now. I bought my first two at Sephora and my second two at Neiman Marcus.

Photo at top courtesy of NARS

La Prairie Colour Launches for Summer 2011: Bouquet de Jardin and Anti-Aging Hydra Tint SPF 20

Last week, I was privileged to attend a blogger event at Neiman Marcus at Mazza Galleria. I came away with exciting information! I couldn't wait to share all the news with you. There's way to much to tell you about La Prairie's introductions for spring and summer (between now and May), so I am breaking up my news into two (maybe three) posts. I really don't know how to prioritize fabulous over gorgeous, so I'll start with the makeup and move on to skin care later.

I met Raychel Wade, La Prairie's Colour Ambassador, last year. Her charismatic personality, combined with her eye for color and simple techniques, has earned her a loyal clientele. Raychel has assisted with the creation of past La Prairie colour stories. This year, she created her own, Bouquet de Jardin Summer Colour. It's a stunning collection. I wanted to leave Neiman Marcus with the cream blushes, both of which are drop-dead gorgeous.

Les Calla Lilies is a limited-edition Cellular Treatment Eye Colour Ensemble ($70). A quad with four coordinating shades, all in a variation of rosy peony, are beautiful on the skin. I played with them at the store, and I think these are colors that are going to flatter a wide range of skin tones. As always, La Prairie's makeup offers benefits to the skin, in addition to beautiful color.

To finish your eyes, there's a limited-edition Luxe Eye Definer in Bronze ($50). The liner has a smudger on one end, which is convenient. The shade coordinates perfectly with the Eye Colour Ensemble, but it's also a shade you will want to wear with all your neutral shadows. I love bronze liner, and this one is the cat's meow.

There are two new Cellular Radiance Cream Blush ($70) shades, and both are lust-worthy. I was so sad that I would have to wait months to get my hands on them.

The first shade, shown at left, is the limited-edition Mauve Glow, the darker of the two. The lighter shade is Plum Glow, shown below right, and it will be part of the permanent collection. Both shades are going to work for me.

Cellular Radiance Cream Blush is a luxurious, creamy blush that blends like a dream to allow you to layer as much as you desire without caking or streaking. It's one of the nicest cream blushes I have ever used. The colors I own are exquisite, and it glides across my cheeks, even when applied with my fingertips. At $70, it's pricey, but the pan is very large, and the color is unparalleled. I'm not sure how a fickle beauty addict could run out of it.

The limited-edition Luxe Lip Definer in Petal Pink ($50) is one of the prettiest pink lip liners I have seen lately. I think it's going to match my lips perfectly, so I am going to have to buy it. With color on one end and a lip brush on the other, it will be a handy addition to the makeup bag I keep with me at all times.

I'm not at all surprised that Raychel has designed a dynamite collection. She knows color! For more about Raychel, check out my feature about her, written last April.

Not part of Raychel's collection, but also launching in May, is Anti-Aging Hydra Tint SPF 20 ($100). This is an incredible, treatment-laden tinted moisturizer. It has a lot of pigment, so it offers more coverage than your typical tinted moisturizer. I tried it in the store, and I loved it! It will be available in four shades. I was the lightest, a yellow-leaning ivory.

I have so much to tell you about La Prairie's skin care. I have one product to test, the new Cellular Power Infusion. I will start testing that tonight, so I will hold off on featuring it until I finish the vial. There's much more, though. I will show you very soon, if not later today.

Photos courtesy of La Prairie

Sunday, February 20, 2011

One Night Set Giveaway Contest

Congratulations to Hofken! She won the One Night Set.
The nice folks at One Night Cosmetics donated a One Night Set for this week's giveaway contest! The most universally flattering shades fill the Neutral Skin Set, 10 take-it-along beauty products in a tiny set. I think the skin sets are very cool.

Are you one of those gals who loves to party, but hates it when her makeup disappears half way through the fun? You're going to find the One Night Set ($24.95) a lifeline. It's got everything you need to refresh your look - all in a tiny case that will slip into your evening bag without adding weight. Don't want to take the whole case with you? The palette will fit into a wallet!

The One Night Set has all you need on the go - and more: concealer, eye shadow, eyeliner, powder, bronzer, lipstick, lip gloss, mascara, and even a brow tint. It's packed in a small black pouch with five brushes to apply exactly what you need where you need it. It will even last awhile despite its small size. The cosmetics are made "proudly" in New York from the highest quality material, under careful attention to quality. This kit fits in the smallest clutches. Just drop in your ID and a credit card, and you are ready for a night on town or a trip. You can leave behind your treasure chest of cosmetics - or in my case, about three pounds of makeup.

Check out my feature from early this month. How can you enter to win a One Night Set? Just leave a comment here once. After you comment, feel free to send me an e-mail at and identify your comment. You can never be too careful about sharing an e-mail address you care about on a blog, so feel free to follow this step (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 this evening, 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, but you can save me time by telling me you're a follower in your comment). I can't track followers through a third-party service, so you need to be on Google's list for me to verify the entry.

The deadline for entries will be Saturday, February 26, 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. Make sure to check your e-mail - and look in your spam folder - when the contest ends.

This contest is open to U. S. and Canadian residents only. I still can't stand in line at the Post Office to send international packages. I can do Click-n-Ship. I promise, international readers, we should be able to go back to completely open contests as soon as I finish intensive PT.

Good luck!

Photo courtesy of One Night Cosmetics

Shiseido Shimmering Rouge for Spring 2011

One hit followed by another - that is how I think about Shiseido now. The new introductions for Spring 2011 are fabulous. From skin care to makeup, there's something for everyone. Women everywhere are going to love the new Shimmering Rouge ($25), a sheer lip color that feels and looks great. There are 13 new shades. Make sure to get yours before the stores start to sell out of the most popular shades!

I'm a sheer lipstick addict, and the moment I saw Shimmering Rouge at Sephora, I ordered three shades. After I received them, Shiseido sent me a fourth. I felt very special to have these four new goodies in my makeup bag. Shiseido says they offer sheer, brilliant color that infuses lips with lasting moisture and fullness. "Lips have never looked so all-day sensuous." I don't know about the sensuous part. "Sensuous" is not high on my priority list on most days, but I care as much about looking good as most glamour girls. I can verify the rest of the description!

Apply these lipsticks, and you will be immediately pleased by how you look. I put on Discretion (RD713) first, and I jumped for joy. You know I love sheer and transparent lip colors. They can be semi-sheer or completely sheer; I love their natural look. Wearing them makes you look like yourself, only better. I know that's becoming a hackneyed description, but it's true.

All of the shades add semi-sheer, gleaming (not glittery or sparkly), and just-pretty color to the lips. At right, there's a photo of my four shades (so far). My photo was taken indoors in sunlight. From top to bottom, the shades are Iron Maiden (RS308), Lounge (RD709), Discretion (RD713), and Sizzle (OR405). If you compare these shades to the Sephora color swatches, you'll see significant color differences.

Hands down, my favorite among four great shades is Discretion. The mauve-rose shade is perfect for my coloring, and I adore it. I was surprised at how much I like Sizzle, the shade Shiseido sent me. Normally, I wouldn't gravitate to a shade with "OR" (meaning orange family) in its preface. I think this peach shade is gorgeous on the lips. Iron Maiden is bright blue-pink. If you can wear blue-pinks, you will like this one. Lounge is a hard color to nail in a description. It has elements of apricot, rose, and brown. On the lips, it's a very natural color.

Shimmering Rouge has a very reasonable wear time for a sheer lipstick. I don't mind reapplying throughout the day. I would rather have the brilliant, glowing, unfaded color than a long-lasting lipstick that looks like a stain in an hour - and feels like chalk. Another benefit to Shimmering Rouge, there's no detectable fragrance or taste - yippee!

Next Shimmering Rouge purchases? I am sure to order Champagne (PK311), Desire (RD406), Golden Dragon (RD601), and Iced Rose (RS312). I had a hard time selecting only three on my first pass, but I knew I would get a better feel for the shades after trying a few. I may be headed to Sephora online today. I'm feeling housebound anyhow. I will show them to you when they arrive.

You can purchase Shiseido makeup at Macy's, Nordstrom, Sephora, Bloomingdale’s, Saks, and Dillard’s. To get more information or to find a store location near you, just pop over to the Shiseido Web site.

Photo at top courtesy of Shiseido

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Le Métier de Beauté Smoldering Embarkment Eye Kit

There's not doubt in my mind that Le Métier de Beauté's latest Kaleidoscope for eyes was intended to create a multidimensional, seductive, smoky eye. The shades smolder, so it's named perfectly. The Smoldering Embarkment Eye Kit ($95) has four shades, all very different, that are perfect for layering and blending to create a smoky eye.

I called Dustin Lujan, Le Métier de Beauté national makeup artist extraordinaire, at Bergdorf Goodman to order mine. I had seen an advance peek at Fab over Forty. I had expected it to ship Monday. Yesterday, I was thrilled to read Gaia's review at The Non-Blonde, which sent me into a greater state of anticipation. Hours later, mine arrived via UPS. Despite the fact that I don't often create a smoky eye (I lead a relatively boring life), I'll be happy to reach for this eye kit when I want some drama.

Gaia had names for the shades, so I am using her names. All of the shades shimmer. My swatch photo was taken indoors in sunlight. I applied the shadows using sponge-tipped applicators.

The top shade, First Love, is the base shade in the palette, and it's appears to be a very light, skin-toned beige in the compact. On my skin, it has a white cast that makes it a perfect highlighter. The next shade, Love Struck, looks brown in the pan. Instead, it's a vibrant dark khaki with golden shimmer. That swipe on my arm at right was created with one pass of the applicator! I have to remember that when I use it, with a brush and swiped across the pan with much less pressure.

The shade that appears in the kit to be red, In Love, is actually an orange-copper on my skin (pfew!). Shades in this family bring out the blue in my eyes, so I will play with it with a light hand. The shade reminds me of Enrichissant from Le Cirque Kaleidoscope, which looked equally scary in the pan.

The bottom shade, Lovelorn, may be my favorite. It appears to be a pure charcoal in the pan. On my skin, it adopts a hint of brown. With its silvery sparkle, I think it's a chameleon. I suspect it's going to be a bit different on everyone.

I haven't had the Kaleidoscope long enough to work with it to discover its potential, but I know Le Métier de Beauté well now. I know there are enchanting secrets to be discovered through experimentation.

Le Métier de Beauté's True Color Eyeshadows offer versatility, superior blendability, and great color pay-off. They are ulta-fine powder shadows that cling to the skin and last forever. They offer adjustable coverage, from very sheer to intensely pigmented - all up to you and your hand. Interestingly (to me), they are never exactly the color I expect when I look at the pan in the store - or even at home. On the skin, they are transformed into shades that find a way to flatter, even when I have my doubts. I don't know how they do that!

Le Métier de Beauté has been building a Web site, and I discovered this morning that it's alive now. Gals without access to a counter can surf and window shop. Smoldering Embarkment was introduced for February, and so far, it has not arrived at Neiman Marcus. I don't know if Nordstrom has it either. I believe the only place you can get it now is at Bergdorf Goodman. No one at Neiman Marcus has been able to tell me if or when it will be available. So, give the Bergdorf Goodman counter a call if you want one. The store number is (212) 753-7300. The shipping was $12.50, but there was no tax charged.

Weekend Roundup - February 19

Is your weather as crazy as ours is? We got a taste of spring this week, but Mother Nature yanked it away overnight. Yesterday, the temperate in DC was 77 degrees. Today, it's cold, and we are having a wind storm. I just got my power back after a two-hour outage - not too bad, all things considered. No matter what the weather, though, I think we are all dreaming of spring.

Let's start the roundup with spring makeup. Gaia was one of the first to get her hands on Le Métier de Beauté's Smoldering Embarkment Eye Kaleidoscope (mine arrived last night). You have to visit her at The Non-Blonde to see it!

Carla at Product Girl has the scoop on Butter London's spring collection, straight from Nonie Creme herself, the brand's creative director. Find out the inspiration behind the painterly palette and her nod to greige nails.

Amy shared her experience with Chantecaille's Sea Turtle Palette at Café Makeup. Even though it arrived slightly damaged (probably from being knocked around by UPS), the palette is a keeper! Amy's photos are gorgeous.

The brief arrival of Chanel's newest line of lipsticks, Rouge Coco Shine, had a lot of us buzzing. It was released early in one shade, Boy. I paid $10 to get my $32 lipstick delivered from Florida! Jane at Daly Beauty got her hands on it too. See what she thinks of Boy.

Tired of paying department store prices for your makeup, but can't find quality in the drugstore brands you've tried? Chelsea from BeautyXposé shared her experience with the new Maybelline Fit Me line.

I am smitten with Clé de Peau's La Beauté Éblouissante Collection for Spring 2011, with pastel looks for the eyes and brilliant, shiny lips, the collection is right up my alley. You can see it by scrolling down or clicking this link.

Did you see the Grammy Awards red carpet last Sunday? Kari from Fab over Forty gave us the details on the fabulous over 40 Nicole Kidman and her beauty look, created by Carol Shaw and LORAC cosmetics. Kidman looked better than I've seen her look at an awards show in years. Worth replicating, so make sure to hop over to Fab!

Kelly reviewed pieces from the skin-care line By Nieves at Gouldylox Reviews. The line received accolades for Best Local Skincare Line by SF Weekly. Be sure to read the review and see her glowing results.

Brushes are an important piece to the beauty puzzle. How they work can change a look completely. Sabrina shared with us her must-have eye brushes at The Beauty Look Book. You will want to read her feature!

Debbi of DivaDebbi was on the hunt to find a replacement for her long-time favorite blush. Read about her dilemma and what she found during her Sephora Safari.

I hope you enjoy your weekend!