Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tarte emphasEYES Waterproof Amazonian Clay Cream Eyeshadow & Brush

There are days when I can barely contain my excitement. The day these four Tarte emphasEYES Waterproof Amazonian Clay Cream Eyeshadow & Brushes ($22.80) arrived was one of them. They are only available at QVC, but I received mine from Tarte. I am one lucky lady! Perhaps my love for cream shadows - and Tarte - has become legendary. These are among the best cream shadows I'm wearing. They are every bit as exciting as some of the makeup that's been getting all the attention in the last two weeks.

I've been using these rave-worthy shimmering treats on my eyes for a couple of weeks. The five shades were launched over a two-month period. I didn't understand how they escaped my notice at Tarte and Sephora until I discovered they were exclusive to QVC. Note to self: Read e-mails.

We'll have to chat with QVC because the little swatch photos do not do these beauties justice. They look dark and a little imposing. You have to click on the little square shade representations to flip the large photo to one that shows the colors in the pot in a more flattering light. Look at Seashell Pink. It looks brown in the little square at this link. Click on it, and you see the "real-life" look at right.

Each of the four colors I've been wearing is an everyday delight. I got a pretty decent full-sun photo of the shades before I dug into them. They are shown with Slate at top left, Moss at top right, Beach Bronze at bottom right, and Seashell Pink at lower left. Every one of these shades falls into my "love zone." They have exquisite shimmering color without being too conspicuous. I couldn't be happier with them!

For my arm photos, all taken in full sun, I used Tarte's fabulous cream shadow brush - the one that accompanies each emphasEYES Waterproof Amazonian Clay Cream Eyeshadow - and swatched in this order, top to bottom: Seashell Pink, Slate, Moss, and Beach Bronze. I applied them heavily so that I would get adequate colors for the photos. On my lids. I apply them with less oomph.

Seashell Pink has a tiny blue hue in it. It's a complex shade. Slate is hard for me to describe. Despite its name, which implies a blue-grey shade, I think it's a gorgeous taupe. Moss is moss green (or khaki), one of my favorite shades for eye shadow or clothing. Beach Bronze is bronze and beautiful.

These pigmented shadows stay put forever. Naturally, they sport some of Tarte's good-for-you signature ingredients. Micronized Amazonian clay intensifies the color pigments, while working to nourish skin, reduce surface oil, and improve overall texture for a beautiful application. Thanks to a botanical blend of natural plant waxes, the shadow glides on smoothly and forms an impermeable layer that protects against sweat, tears, and creasing for hours of wear time (up to 18 for me). I love their non-creasing quality. The colors do not migrate into the crease, as some well-regarded creams do.

Not only is this cream shadow super long-wearing, it works to infuse our delicate eyelids with Amazonian clay, aloe leaf extract, beeswax, and vitamins A and E. Because they are Tarte, the shadows are formulated without parabens, sodium laurel sulfate, mineral oil, petrolatum, synthetic fragrance, or phthalates.

Tarte has a special event coming up at QVC. On July 2, in four time periods (Midnight-1:00 am, Noon-1:00 pm, 5:00-6:00 pm, and 9:00 to 10:00 pm ET, there will be features on Tarte's high-performance naturals. With all of those times available Saturday, you should be able to tune in, if not on your television, then online as I do.

In the meantime, pop over to QVC to see these fabulous cream shadows. If you buy more than one, which I would find easy to do, you get a $3.00 discount on each additional shade - and save on shipping and handling. Wish you could tell them Best Things in Beauty sent you!

Photos at top courtesy of QVC; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Collection Byzance de Chanel - Rigard Signé de Chanel Quadra Eye Shadow in Topkapi and Joues Contraste Or Powder Blush

Chanel's opulent Paris-Byzance fashion collection was accompanied by a Byzance Makeup Collection for Fall 2011. Presented on the runway in December, 2010, the collection was inspired by the Byzantine Empire, 15 centuries into the past. Karl Lagerfeld took onlookers to to the banks of the Bosporus, at the heart of the Byzantine Empire, transporting them to a time when Constantinople was not yet called Istanbul. The extravagance of the Lagerfeld's designs was translated into the makeup collection.

Our first hint of the makeup's "decadence" was the release of the Lumières Byzantines de Chanel Palette, a highlighter palette that I was privileged to receive, with a lot of help from my friends in France. Now, Collection Byzance de Chanel has arrived at Chanel boutiques and, and it's generating enormous excitement. Who can't summon an image of golden and colored mosaics or jewel-encrusted glamour?

The collection's theme, gold and rubies, perfectly echoes the ornamentation of Lagerfeld's designs. I nearly gasped when I saw the first photos of the collection, provided a few months ago by a Chanel boutique. I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the pieces, which hit the stores last weekend. At last, my anticipation was nearly satisfied. A phone call, a quick trip by FedEx, and the pieces I wanted were mine! I knew the ruby red lipstick and blush would be outside my comfort zone, and I seldom purchase makeup "just to have it." If I can't wear it, I can admire it from a distance - or on someone else. You can see the superbly edited makeup collection at this Chanel link.

What I did want were the limited-edition Rigard Signé de Chanel Quadra Eye Shadow in Topkapi ($65) and the limited-edition Joues Contraste Or Powder Blush ($43). I was thrilled when they arrived.

I took some quick photos yesterday to show you these treasures - even before I applied them. I wanted to share my excitement and let you know to order them quickly if you wanted any of the pieces. The collection won't be around for long. I'm sure the demand exceeds the supply.

The colors are lush. They enliven the face, similar to elegant jewelry at the neck or on the ears. I took swatch photos yesterday in full, afternoon sun. The highlighter was difficult for me to capture, primarily because the gold is light, perfectly light in my opinion. It illuminates, leaving a golden tint, but it doesn't shout loudly.

I applied it very heavily with a sponge-tipped applicator at the top of my arm to show you the hue - one with a hint of antique gold - and I used its companion brush, also heavily, to show you a more moderated view. I tried to hold my arm at an angle to the sun that wouldn't wash out the shade or add excess glimmer. I took photos in shade. I did everything imaginable to get good outdoor photos. These were the best I could do yesterday. If I can get better photos today, I will post them.

You can see that Joues Contraste Or sparkles in sunlight. It's not glittery. Rather, it reflects light, a quality you'll appreciate on your face.

The texture is very powdery for a pressed powder. On first use, you'll find powder inconveniently escaping its boundaries in the compact. I found that it stayed put once applied, perhaps binding to the oil in my skin (what little there is).

The highlighting powder is gorgeous. It works now for a golden summer look, but it will be perfect as fall turns to winter and we transition to the "dress-up months," when many of us delight in wearing a more ornamental look.

I had no trouble getting intense photos of the Topkapi eye shadows in the quad. I applied each with a sponge-tipped applicator for maximum color, and swatched clockwise, starting at the upper left bronze in the compact's top left. As with the highlighting powder, I tried to capture my swatches at different angles to yesterday's strong sun.

The shades are shimmering bronze, shimmering taupe, sparkling gold (a gold that is similar to the Joues Contraste Or on my skin, but without the antique cast), and a satin-matte dark brown. Each of the shades is rich. I would never apply them to my eyes as heavily as I swiped them for the swatch photos.

On the lids, when applied lightly with a shadow brush, they vary in intensity. The gold is sheer and sparkling. The two shades I called shimmering, bronze and taupe, are extremely wearable shades. Different tones of brown, they can be paired for a rich chocolate look that summons fall clothing in my mind. My favorite, simply because of my fair coloring, is the shimmering taupe (second down on my arm). I could use a truckload of the shade!

The matte dark brown is best used as a liner on my eyes. It's a perfect complement to the other shades and ensures you can create a complete eye look with this quad.

I would call Topkapi a must-have. It's luxurious, as you would expect from Chanel and a special collection, one that offers a glimpse of the Empress of Constantinople and creates a desire to pull out the history books.

I took many more photos - may post them today on Twitpic if I have time. I'll leave a comment if I do. For now, if you want any of the pieces in this collection, get on the phone or in your car and head for the nearest Chanel boutique. If you have any kind of patience (or live too far from Chanel), the collection is available at Chanel's Web site. I find their shipping to be speedy.

Photos courtesy of Chanel and Chic Profile (does anyone know where Tavia went?) and by Best Things in Beauty

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Le Métier de Beauté Anamorphic Lash Mascara

This morning, I shared one of Ivan Castro's tips for summer beauty: wear Le Métier de Beauté's colored Anamorphic Lash Mascara ($34) in the summer - instead of black. Don't think you'll look surreal in these colored mascaras. Le Métier de Beauté has designed Anamorphic Lash Mascara to be gentle on your appearance and your lashes.

I was first introduced to Le Métier de Beauté's colored mascara by Lisa Lingis (when she was at Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie). She showed me how Midnight Blue would make the whites of my eyes appear even whiter. I was impressed. Then Le Métier de Beauté sent me a lovely gift of three shades, Midnight Blue, Jade, and Aubergine. I've been having a blast with all three of them!

My blue eyes can appear to be green under certain conditions, and I like the various effects I can achieve with these shades. They are not as harshly black as my regular black mascara, and they are amazingly appropriate for day wear, as Ivan recommended.

I'm going to show you the shades on my arm, but these photos are a bit misleading. When you swatch on pale skin, the shades look rather colorful and light. When you swatch on lashes, which normally have color of their own, the shades appear to be tinted, more subtle versions of black.

The swatch photo above right was taken in dappled shade to try to capture the intensity of the shades. The photo at left was taken in sunlight. On the lashes, they are entirely different.

How to show you without taking photos of myself, which I dread? I went to CVS and bought a set of "fashion lashes," 100% human hair lashes. I applied Aubergine and Midnight Blue to them.

Do these look wild and crazy? No! You can barely see the unique color differences in this photo, and I took it in full sun. I can barely see that Aubergine is at the top and Midnight Blue below (they do look reversed, but I'm fairly sure that's right). The lashes appear beautifully defined - and refined. In person, if you look closely, you will see the tint.

Le Métier de Beauté Anamorphic Lash Mascara is worthy of your attention. One day last year, I spent a long time talking with Dustin Lujan about the deadly ingredients that have historically been found in many popular mascaras - and how hard Le Métier de Beauté worked to ensure their own mascara was good for our lashes.

It conditions as it thickens for a soft, touchable look. It has an anti-clumping brush that defines lashes without clumps or globs. Look at how beautifully it applied to these supplemental lashes! It's long-lasting, won't flake or smudge, and removes easily. Even better, it is free of tar, mercury, and charcoal. Yes, I said mercury, which historically was found in popular mascaras. You won't find mercury in the ingredients of those mascaras; you'll find thimerosal. That conversation made me extra-conscious of ingredient labels!

The FDA banned the use of mercury compounds in all cosmetics except those used around the eyes, where levels are limited to 65 parts per million. In 2007, the use of mercury in all cosmetics was banned in Minnesota. You will find most companies have phased it out of their mascaras. I keep checking.

I'm only mentioning this because Le Métier de Beauté worked hard to develop a great mascara without harmful ingredients. In addition to these three unique and flattering shades, Anamorphic Lash Mascara is available in Black and Brownish Black - both lovely shades - but these colored mascaras are keepers at my house!

You can purchase Le Métier de Beauté makeup at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Nordstrom online in the United States. Check out this link for international locations.

Photo at top courtesy of Le Métier de Beauté; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

First Look: Collection Byzance de Chanel

Arising from the opulence and beauty of the Paris-Byzance fashion show, the Collection presents sumptuous makeup treasures inspired by the sparkle of rubies and precious metals.

Hot off the FedEx truck, these two beauties from Chanel's limited-edition Collection Byzance de Chanel arrived today. The Rigard Signé de Chanel Quadra Eye Shadow in Topkapi is stunning! What a beauty in the compact!

The Joues Contraste Or is also beyond beautiful. I can't wait to swatch these coveted pieces and use them. For now, enjoy the photos and call your nearest Chanel boutique if you want one of these or the other pieces in the collection. I understand it is only available at Chanel and

Photos courtesy of Chanel (at top) and by Best Things in Beauty

Update Your Makeup for Summer - Interview with Ivan Castro, Le Métier de Beauté Global Key Artist

Yesterday, I had a an incredible opportunity to spend some time on the phone with Ivan Castro, Global Key Artist with Le Métier de Beauté. Ivan and I talked about summer makeup trends - color and application tips. Before we get to his ideas for your smashing summer, let me tell you a few things about him.

Ivan is based in Los Angeles and has worked as a makeup artist for over 10 years. The lucky ladies near the West Coast get to see him most often. Before joining Le Métier de Beauté, Ivan worked backstage at Marchesa and was a well-known artist behind the scenes at Los Angeles Fashion Week. He helps celebrities get ready for the red carpet, from fashion designer Keren Craig of Marchesa to Rihanna (no intro needed).

Ivan's beauty expertise and tips have been featured by numerous media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, Newsday, and Philadelphia Style. Yesterday was my first opportunity to chat with Ivan, and now I'm privileged to join those well-known sources by sharing Ivan's makeup wisdom and color tips for your summer.

Just seconds into our conversation, I wished we could have talked face to face - over a counter full of testers - playing with color to illustrate his ideas. His sensitivity to a woman's individuality was immediately apparent as he talked about his approach to makeup. Ivan is most definitely not one of those paint-by-numbers artists. One of the first things he told me was that women fear makeup artists see their flaws at first glance. Not true, he protested! A good artist sees the highlights - a woman's best features - and immediately wants to enhance them. As I asked him questions, I learned that he's reluctant to prescribe. Like all great artists, he knows that no single look is right for everyone.

Now that I've told you Ivan doesn't notice flaws, he will notice one that's correctable - when a woman is not taking good care of her skin. Our skin is the canvas for our makeup, just like a fine painting. If you want your makeup to look good, your skin has to look good. I wholeheartedly agree, one reason why I take time out from our makeup love fests to tell you about skin care. Here's a news flash. We have something special to anticipate. Le Métier de Beauté will be introducing skin care in late summer - probably September. Are you as excited as I am? That launch will be momentous.

We talked about foundation. Women have different needs for color and coverage. On the West Coast, Ivan sees a lot of women with tan bodies and pale faces. They look like mismatched postcards in scrapbooks (my words, not his). He tries to use foundation to even them out, using it to give the face, neck, and décolletté a unified look. Before he does, he often asks his clients, "Do you feel prettier when you look light or tan?" Then he uses one of Le Métier de Beauté's fabulous foundations to enhance the canvas.

Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Complexe is Le Métier de Beauté's newest foundation. It does double duty as skin care and color. This luxurious, tinted treatment fluid provides a sheer wash of flawless, luminous, and lightweight coverage. Peau Vierge feels like your second skin with a gossamer-like texture. Light-diffusing pigments help fade away lines and instantly impart a renewed radiance and healthy appearance. Peau Vierge provides SPF 20 to guard against the damaging effects of the sun and retinol in a Syntoc Actif delivery system that helps it penetrate more effectively. Packed with other moisturizing, calming, and protective ingredients, like vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, chamomile, and green tea, it's a marvel of modern makeup technology. He loves using it and finds it especially perfect for summer.

Ivan said that some women want more coverage, and Classic Flawless Finish Foundation suits them perfectly. The silky, featherweight, oil-free formula captures the luminosity of perfect skin, evens out skin tone, and blurs imperfections for a beautiful, natural finish. Ivan described Classic Flawless Finish as a medium-to-full coverage foundation that provides a beautiful finish, not matte, not ultra dewy - just perfect. It's available in 12 shades with a variety of undertones (we don't all have to be yellow). Ivan recommends applying it with Le Métier de Beauté's gorgeous Kabuki Brush. He suggests using a very small amount of Classic Flawless Finish and buffing it into the skin with the Kabuki Brush. That technique will yield a look that's actually flawless.

Whichever foundation you choose (there's a tinted moisturizer too), during the summer, make sure to use the least amount of coverage that makes you comfortable. That will give you a natural look that's pleasing to the eye, whether you are at an outdoor wedding or playing golf.

Now that we've prepped the canvas, where do we go with color this summer? To the Mediterranean, of course! Without leaving home, we can bring the elegance and beauty of the islands, oceanfront, and sea to our lives with Le Métier de Beauté color. The Penelope Kaleidoscope Eye Kit will give you a perfect pop of color for summer. Penelope captures all of the beauty of the Mediterranean panorama with its four opulent eye shadow shades, Blonde Amber, Pale Satin Amethyst, Bronze Topaz, and Black Emerald. Ivan said you can use these popular colors one by one or layered (the Le Métier de Beauté Couches de Colour way) for a wash of color that's perfect for this summer's best look. He loves soft lavender, bronze, and coral - great shades for summer - making Penelope the perfect eye palette. It provides every shade you need to update your eye's wardrobe in just one kit.

On the lips? Go natural for day with Dustin Lujan's Écumes D’or Kaleidoscope Lip Kit or wear a pop of hot color at night with Ken's Kissable Koral. Ivan shared a tip for using hot, bold colors for summer without venturing too far into a full-force movie star look. Use the lipstick as a stain, blotting it into your lips for a tint of color and then following with lip gloss to achieve a Creamsicle look. Use the vibrant fuschia Paris Color Core Moisture Stain Lipstick as your stain and top it with Vanilla Rose lip gloss (listed as Vanilla Crème at Neiman Marcus Web site). Or use Riviera (bright orange) or Ken's Kissable Koral and top it with the same gloss. Instant glamour! I liked this idea and plan to drag out a bright lipstick today to create this look myself. Maybe I'll get brave and try my Ken's Kissable Koral!

I asked Ivan how we can update our makeup look for summer without breaking the bank. He said to focus on the eyes or lips, not both. Add a pop of shadow, one with high sheen to glide over your eyelid, and wear a minimal lip for day. I asked about fabulous summer eye shades. He likes True Colour Eyeshadow in Spicy, a beautiful bronze that looks good on everyone. He also recommends Plum True Colour Eyeshadow, a violet that is sheer on the lids and can be layered over any other shadow to enliven it. He mentioned that Innocence, Plum, and Lapis are meant to be used over more neutral colors to jazz up your look.

We talked about how to look naturally pretty, not over-done, during the summer. Ivan suggests switching from black mascara to brown. A look he likes starts with a natural skin base, followed by Spicy and topped with Innocence, then accented with Tamarack Dualistic Eye Pencil on the inside of the eyes to give a little sparkle - but not too much. Brownish Black Anamorphic Lash Mascara finishes the look.

Ivan also recommends using Le Métier de Beauté's colored mascaras for summer's fun alternative to black. He doesn't want to see mascara overtake a woman's eyes, particularly at outdoor events. He recommends we try Aubergine for blue eyes or Midnight Blue for brown eyes. The combination of the mascaras and your own lashes will give a tint that's extremely flattering. I'll show you later today, so come back!

He also loves the look of Le Métier de Beauté's Crème Fresh Tints for cheeks. Natural color that melts in the skin (no pun intended), Crème Fresh Tints are among my favorite cream blushes. Ivan recommends them because they provide a nice glow that's more flattering in daylight than metallic or sparkly cheek colors. There's a shade for you. See my feature on the newest of these wonderful blushes here.

We finished up with the question I get from many readers: How do I keep my makeup in place during the summer months, with heat and moisture working against me? Ivan said that women don't seem to like using powder (there are some serious misconceptions), but it’s really necessary in the summer. Use loose powder to set your makeup. If you apply it correctly, you won't lose your glow. He recommends Classic Flawless Finish Loose Powder. Blot it on with a sponge or puff, particularly if you're oily, or the Powder Brush. He suggests using loose powder over eye shadow, your finished face, even your lipstick. For an extremely long-lasting lip, use lip liner over your entire lip. Follow with loose powder, then lipstick. Blot, then apply more lipstick, more loose powder, and top with lip gloss. He laughed as he said, "Your lip color will stay put for a very long time."

Suddenly, our time was up. Someone else had reserved our conference line, and we had to say goodbye. Thank you, Ivan! I'm looking forward to meeting you in person some day soon.

I'm extremely envious of the West Coast gals who see Ivan frequently. When you get the chance, make an appointment to see him at an event. Even if he's not available when you're ready to update your makeup for summer, head over to your closest Le Métier de Beauté counter. Everyone who works with the line is amazingly talented. With Ivan's tips and your own preferences, you'll find a summer look you love.

Photos courtesy of Le Métier de Beauté and Neiman Marcus

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

RéVive Defensif Renewal Serum

Here's a secret I'm going to spill. I promise I'll share my skin-care treasures as soon as I've determined they work (not like the favorite eye makeup remover I kept a secret for almost a year). RéVive's Defensif Renewal Serum ($195) works, and I love it!

It became available in April of this year, and I purchased one at Neiman Marcus at the recommendation of Kathy Shoreman and Anna Befanis, the RéVive Product Specialist at Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria. Both were impressed almost immediately after they started using it. When two skin-care mavens tell me something's great, it usually is.

Defensif Renewal Serum is a lightweight, protective serum that shields the skin against environmental aggressors and free-radical damage, while helping improve skin tone and texture. A scientifically advanced Bio-Renewal Protein promotes skin cell renewal to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles and unveil the even-toned, healthy complexion hiding underneath the surface of our skin. This small bioengineered protein has been shown to effectively increase cell renewal.

Two potent antioxidants deliver powerful protection against the visible signs of premature aging. Resveratrol is harnessed from the skins of grapes. A new generation of this potent antioxidant is more capable of fighting dangerous and harmful free radicals than earlier incarnations. This resveratrol was processed through a natural fermentation process to make the already-small molecule even smaller, allowing it to penetrate the skin to fight free radicals.

Superoxide dismutase is one of the most powerful antioxidants for protecting the skin against free-radical damage. It's now encapsulated in an advanced liposomal delivery system to enhance absorption. Defensif Renewal Serum also has a high concentration of glycolic acid, which keeps the dead surface skin cells sloughing off for a smooth, fresh complexion.

The directions say to use it in the morning and follow with your moisturizer. Contrarain that I am, I use it in the evening, when my skin is resting and refreshing. Most of the time, but not always, I follow it with a treatment moisturizer. I can see how it's perfect, though, for protecting the skin during the day, particularly in "unfavorable" conditions (heat, sun, humidity, and smog in the summer in my area).

Dr. Gregory Brown, RéVive founder and noted former surgeon stated, "Living on our planet begets aging...pollutants, diminishing protective ozone layer, UV rays...all of these factors contribute to the formation of free radicals. These free radicals wreak havoc on the skin's collagen and elastin, drastically promoting aging. The new Defensif Renewal Serum arrests those free radicals in their tracks." When Dr. Brown speaks, I listen!

I has stopped using this serum for a few days to test another serum last week. Suddenly, out of nowhere (but probably related to stress), I saw one of those "underground" inflammatory processes starting - the kind the develops into a blemish. I was appalled. I realized that my Zeno Hot Spot was packed away in a box and decided to go back to Defensif Renewal Serum to free my chin of any dead skin cells that might have trapped something irritating that needed to "depart" for the inflammation to clear. It took only two days, and the inevitable blemish was gone - stopped in its tracks by Defensif Renewal System! That just doesn't happen. I was impressed.

Even before this "event," I was impressed with the way my skin was looking. I use many great products, and it's hard to move the bar. I think RéVive's Defensif Renewal Serum did that. It was worth every penny of its price, and I need so little to cover my face and neck, I think I'll be using this serum for a long time. I like that legendary soft, supple, and dewy RéVive glow. If I could wish for anything - anything different - I'd love to have a little window to show me how much I've used. I don't want to run out of this fabulous serum.

You can purchase RéVive Defensif Renewal Serum and other RéVive products at RéVive's Web site, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Barneys.

Photo courtesy of RéVive

Chanel Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer in Giggle for Fall 2011

It's back! Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer in Giggle ($28.50) is being re-promoted with Chanel's Fall 2011 Collection. Giggle is a beloved Glossimer shade that has had its share of appearances and has earned a lot of love. It's perfect for fall - in my opinion any time of year - so I'm not surprised Chanel rolled it out with the fall color collection.

An alternative to the sparkly, shimmering Pampille and Braise, Giggle (#46) offers a more subdued glossy look. Its mauve-rose color is perfect for me, and I suspect it's perfect for many because it straddles the line between warm and cool.

I like it. I can't claim it's the snazziest gloss in the recent parade, but it's a staple, a gloss you will grab when you want some color and want to look good, but don't want to sizzle.

Here are some swatch photos I grabbed when the sun made a quick appearance yesterday. You can see that the color isn't even close to the the little rectangle on Chanel's Web site rendering above. It's definitely not grape or plum - on my arm or lips (or in the tube for that matter). What color would you call this pretty warm rose? It's hard to characterize, but not hard to love.

You can see that my arm sparkles from the sunlight, but Giggle doesn't. It has a nice, glossy finish that's perfect on its own or for use in transforming a lipstick's finish and shade.

I didn't purchase Pampille. It's extremely light, and I didn't need another ultra-sheer, ultra-light, shimmering gloss. It's pretty, but I gravitate toward colors that are unique. I think that adjective fits Giggle.

You can purchase Chanel's fall colors at Chanel's Web site or your favorite Chanel counter. I bought my Chanel Fall 2011 Collection pieces online and at Neiman Marcus. I'm sure Saks, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, and the rest of the counters have or will have the collection. Although it was scheduled to launch at counters in July, it arrived here a week early. From Twitter, I know that many of you are still waiting for the collection. Be patient. I'll bet it shows up this week.

Update 11:20 am - I got a question and decided to answer for all of you. This Giggle is not the Asian and European version, which is called Praline Giggle. That shade is rosier and darker.

Photo at top courtesy of Chanel; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Monday, June 27, 2011

Xtrème Lashes Eye Makeup Remover and Facial Cleanser

I haven't exactly been holding out on you. I've meant to tell you about Xtrème Eye Makeup Remover and Facial Cleanser ($13.95 to $34) for a very long time - too long. I can see hiding a very special eye shadow - one that's yours alone, one that makes your eyes the envy of everyone who sees you. Some might love that and adopt an "eat your heart out" attitude, right? I felt almost selfish when I realized I had never told you about this extraordinary eye makeup remover, one I've been using since last year.

I did tell you about GlideLiner - an abfab, long-lasting eyeliner with all the great qualities of a liquid or gel, but in a devilishly easy-to-use pencil. I also told you about Xtrème Lashes AMPLIF-eye Lash & Brow Fortifier, an effective product that does not contain the dreaded prostaglandin, the active ingredient in LATISSE. If you didn't see those features, please click on the links and visit them. I love both products.

I also love the Xtrème Lashes Eye Makeup Remover and Facial Cleanser, an aloe-based makeup remover that will gently cleanse and moisturize the skin around your eyes (or your entire face) while conditioning the lashes and brows. A coconut-derived cleansing agent removes impurities and stubborn eye makeup, while antioxidant and vitamin-rich botanical extracts, including rosehip, chamomile, eyebright, and cucumber calm, refresh, and nourish the skin. I always feel grateful after I use this gentle product - grateful that Xtrème Lashes created it. For me?

It's over 90% natural and contains no mineral oil or artificial colors, fragrances, or dyes - nice and pure! It's sulfate-free too, so it won't strip your skin of natural oils. The clever folks at Xtrème Lashes, who specialize in eyelash extensions, created it to ensure it would work in harmony with their lashes. It's ideal for all skin types, even the sensitive skin around the eyes (my most sensitive area).

A little goes a long way. When I cleanse my skin with many gentle facial cleansers - usually too quickly at the end of a day - I end up with a touch of mascara "wash" under my eyes if I don't target the area under my lower lashes. One quick wipe with Xtrème Lashes Eye Makeup Remover, and it's gone, without tugging or a struggle. I have never felt even a remote suggestion of stinging, and it doesn't migrate into my eyes. I tried another eye makeup remover recently, one that was advertised as supremely gentle, and it migrated into my eyes and stung! This one never has.

I know Xtrème Lashes labels the product a facial cleanser too, but I have never used it to remove the day's makeup. I use it to supplement my cleanser. I think it would be lovely, though, to clean up quickly on one of those makeup-free days, when a light wipe is all I need to take off the day's grime. It's refreshing.

The next time you are in the market for an eye makeup remover, check it out. I'll bet you'll like it as much as I do! My lashes are natural (no extensions) and long. I want to take good care of them. I can count on Xtrème Lashes Eye Makeup Remover to help me.

You can order directly from the Xtrème Lashes Consumer site. While you're there, check out the other cosmetic products offered by the company. Jo Mousselli founded Xtrème Lashes, which has grown from a small, family business into an international company - for good reason. You can find out more about Jo and her company at this link.

OK, who remembers the British comedy Absolutely Fabulous? Nicknamed AbFab, it was a hit in its day.

Photo courtesy of Xtrème Lashes

AVEENO Hydrosport Sun Care

This is the time of year when beauty bloggers get all preachy about sun care. Playing in the sun, whether lounging at the beach, playing golf, or just working in the garden, will be a menace to your skin. I didn't write "can be," I wrote "will be," and I did that for a reason.

I am a member of the generation that came of age believing that nothing was prettier than a beautiful tan. Throughout my early school years, I swam competitively, and I was in the sun, either training or playing most of the time during the summer months. During those years, I tanned slowly over the summer.

Things changed during college - and immediately after - when we dedicated time to achieve a golden tan, the darker the better. I don't recall there being any such thing as self-tanners. Some gals achieved a sun tan effortlessly after a few hours in the sun. Others, like me, worked hard to achieve a golden look, spending hours lying on beach towels anywhere we could (even on the roof of the dorm). We didn't believe in sunscreens; we used baby oil, reputed to help us tan. We slow-baked, something like food coated in oil and placed in the oven for hours to develop a crisp skin.

I still remember the blisters from sun poisoning (radical sunburn) and painful recoveries - all self-imposed in a quest to look as good as my dark-skinned friends. It was accepted; it was what we did. No one told us that the damage from those sessions would lay dormant until later - that one day we would awaken to notice spots on our chests and arms, but worse on our faces - spots ranging from dark freckles to large patchy areas of hyperpigmentation. That word came later, as the medical profession began to warn of the dangers of the sun's rays and our parents' generation began to develop melanoma and forms of skin cancer.

Today, no one can claim to be unaware of the sun's dangers. The only questions that remain are how much protection is enough, and how to adequately protect against both UVB and UVA rays.

AVEENO has some new sun-care products I like. They offer a wide range of products with photo-stable technology and broad-spectrum protection. They are convenient to use - my favorite feature. One line, Hydrosport Sunblock with Natural Lotus Complex, is available three formulas.
  • Hydrosport Sunblock Spray with SPF 50
  • Hydrosport Sunblock Spray with SPF 85
  • Hydrosport Sunblock Lotion with SPF 85
The sprays are my reach-for sunscreens. I keep one near the front door. They are convenient and can be applied even when you are wet or drippy. They leave my hands dry, so I don't have to keep a towel at hand.

Hydrosport harnesses the unique water-repelling ability of the Natural Lotus Complex, a special blend with naturally-derived ingredients (you've seen it in hair products to protect against humidity). This exclusive formula provides long-lasting UVA and UVB protection and withstands water and sweat, two elements that will wipe out your sun protection in a jiffy. Lightweight and non-greasy, these revolutionary sunblocks form a thin, breathable shield that will cling to the skin, even when it gets moist.

You need to remember that AVEENO recommends reapplying your sunscreen whenever you go in the water, just as the U.S. federal government recently warned. It's nice to know that you'll have some protection when the sweat starts to pour off your skin - when it's so hot and humid it's unbearable (maybe on the golf course if not in the garden?) - but it's better to reapply than assume your protective barrier is still in place after swimming or a couple of hours in the sun. A spray makes it easy to reapply without getting all gooey. Most dermatologists recommend application of a broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher every two hours while outside.

The new government rules about sunscreen claims go into effect next year. You'll see changes in labeling (you may see SPF 50+ for protection factors higher than 50, and you are likely to see the "++++" system phased out for UVA protection). Companies will be required to prove that their products offer UVA protection. As the industry starts to give us more information, you can bet AVEENO will be at the forefront of the leaders providing sun care in the mass market. They work hard to ensure that their products combine nature and science to protect your skin - gently and effectively. As an AVEENO Ambassador, I've had opportunities to talk with their scientists, and I'm impressed by their dedication to make AVEENO products best in class. We are actually expecting some new information on the sun care from AVEENO soon. When I get it, I will share it with you.

For now, I'm sticking with my AVEENO sprays when I pop outside to pull weeds. I don't need any more of those ugly spots on my skin!

Photos and product courtesy of AVEENO

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chanel Rouge Coco in Plumetis and Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer in Braise for Fall 2011

The lip colors in Chanel's Fall 2011 Collection seem to be overshadowed by the nail colors and Illusion d'Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadows! I decided to try two new lip colors, selecting both in person at Neiman Marcus: Chanel Rouge Coco Hydrating Crème Lip Colour in Plumetis (#79) and Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer in Braise (#158).

Rouge Coco in Plumetis ($32), featured in Chanel's promotional photo above and shown on the model at right, is a lovely peach/pink-toned nude shade - just the right intensity to make the lips look pretty, while ensuring the eyes remain the focal point of the look.

It's one of those shades that will have a different appearance on every woman, depending on the shade of her lips. I tested it in the store on my arm (I never apply used testers to my lips) and saw more pink than it appears to have on my lips. The first time I wore it, I felt I needed a topper and reached for a plum-rose gloss. It was just a little too light for the outdoor evening event I was attending.

The shade in the tube appears to be a pink nude. On my skin, it's either a peachy nude or very warm pink nude, depending on your perspective. Swatched, it's definitely peach nude on my skin.

Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer in Braise (28.50), which appears to be a sparkly red in the tube in the promotional photos, is really a warm, rosy coral. Again, I caution that our skin tones may make a huge difference with these shades.

I decided to skip Chanel's photo of Braise. It's way too red and way too cool. Here's how it appears to my camera and my eye - dark and sparkling. Lovely, but a surprise on the skin! This "dark" gloss shade is a medium-toned gloss, more coral than rose, but still entirely wearable for my cool skin. It adds a lovely glow to Plumetis, and it's pretty when worn alone. The micro-sparkles in this gorgeous gloss will make your lips glow.

Check out the combo in my swatch photos, which were taken outdoors in sunlight. Would you have expected these shades from the promotional photos? They are gorgeous, but I'm glad I waited to see them before I purchased them. At least I knew what I was buying!

I don't want to leave you with the impression that these new lip colors are not beautiful. They are. They aren't "revolutionary." They are pretty, and, actually, they are absolutely perfect for summer. There must be a method to the early fall collection strategy. Wear these now with a smile on your face.

There are other new lip colors. There is another Rouge Coco in Etole, a second Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer in Pampille, and a Rouge Double Intensité in Rose Morganite. I'm still on the fence with Rose Morganite.

You can purchase these lovely lip colors and the rest of the fall collection at Chanel's Web site or your favorite Chanel counter. I bought my Chanel Fall 2011 Collection pieces online and at Neiman Marcus. I'm sure Saks, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, and the rest of the counters have or will have the collection. Although it was scheduled to launch at counters in July, it arrived a week early.

Top photo courtesy of Chanel; model photo by Vincent Lappartient; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Chanel Péridot Le Vernis Nail Colour Giveaway Contest

Congratulations to the lucky Tinagirl!
I know I'm a little crazy. I bought Chanel's new Péridot Nail Colour (#531) in a burst of enthusiasm for the Fall 2011 Collection. I decided this week it would be fun to give it away. It's gorgeous, it's hot, and it's something you might not buy for yourself. Now you have a chance to win one!

Chanel just introduced three new nail colors for fall: Quartz, Graphite, and Péridot. All three are gorgeous. If they haven't arrived at your favorite Chanel counter yet, you can purchase them at or Neiman Marcus. I'm sure all the stores will have them soon, if not already.

Peridot, as you may know, is a gorgeous gem stone. Brilliant, gem-quality peridots are amazing. The beauty of the gem is formed from the mineral olivine and is a result of extreme conditions. Peridot is found in the rocks created by volcanoes and even in meteors that fall to earth.

Peridot is formed deep within the earth under tremendous heat and pressure.The fresh lime green of peridot is its distinctive signature. Peridot is a green gemstone that is as popular for jewelry today as it was in the past. It's certainly one of my favorites!

I'm not sure why Chanel named this polish Péridot. It's more gold than green. I would describe it as a green-tinged gold. If you want to see Péridot applied to the nail, check out Amy's swatches at Café Makeup or Sabrina's swatches at The Beauty Look Book.

How can you enter to win? Here's the "fine print."

There are a few simple steps. First, leave a comment on this feature. After you comment here, 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). That's all you have to do to be entered.

You can earn extra entries. Follow this blog (through an e-mail subscription or though one of the many Google readers - see sidebar at right) or my Twitter account, @BTiBeauty. That will earn a second entry.

You can earn a third 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. Only one tweet will be counted as an entry. I appreciate multiple tweets, but it's not necessary.

The deadline for entries will be Saturday, July 2, at midnight. The next day, I will use a random number generator ( to select the winner. I will e-mail the winner on Sunday. 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. residents only. Sorry, but shipping this "hazardous material" is difficult. It's hard to believe nail polish and fragrances are considered hazardous materials - particularly in such small quantities.

Good luck!

Chanel photos by Best Things in Beauty; peridot photo by

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sneak Peek: Clinique Black Honey Collection for Fall 2011

There I was, surfing Nordstrom Beauty online, when Clinique's Black Honey Collection for Fall 2011 caught my eye. I've been wearing Black Honey on my lips since Hector was a pup, so naturally, I'm intrigued.

Cult-favorite Black Honey Almost Lipstick now works its charm on eyes and cheeks, courtesy of a limited-edition eye shadow quad and blush. And the lipstick that started it all, Black Honey, gets even more seductive in an exclusive Lipgloss/Lipstick Duo.

I'll be purchasing that duo at $21, probably in multiples! Black Honey Almost Lipstick ($14.50) may be easier to find since it's being re-promoted; it's often sold out at counters. Head over to Nordstrom to see the photos - and purchase now if you can't wait another second!

The eye shadows may not be my shades, but they will look phenomenal on gals with darker skin. I need to call my favorite Clinique representative, Alexandra Tuluceanu at Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria, to find out when she's getting the collection.

Photo courtesy of Nordstrom

Chanel Illusion d'Ombre à Paupières Iridescente for Fall 2011

Now for the drama! Chanel's Fall 2011 Ready-to-Wear Collection during Paris Fashion Week showed us Peter Philips' laser-sharp focus on the eye. Study the images of the models on the drab grey, scorched earth runway, and you'll find that their looks were accented with Illusion d'Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow ($36). Even though the backdrop to the gorgeous clothing and beautiful models was drab, their glowing eyes were anything but.

Before I received Illusion d'Ombre, I anticipated something similar to Giorgio Armani's Eyes to Kill Intense: cream shadows with a high shimmer and limited (for me) wearability. Gorgeous, but certainly not office-appropriate without great care on application. Luckily, this Chanel collection of six shades has something for everyone - the social gal on the town and the woman who wants to look polished and professional, but still pretty.

Illusion d'Ombre was designed to be used as eye shadow or liner. The formula, created with silicone and a patented silicone elastomer gel, yields a texture that is soft, with a glide to delight on application. The product is cushiony in the jar. Press on it with your fingers, or the shadow/liner brush that comes with each jar, and you'll detect a definite give. The brush applies a generous amount of product, even when swept lightly across the pigmented cream. The Chanel representatives at Neiman Marcus recommended using my finger to apply Illusion d'Ombre, and after trying it with the applicator and my finger, I prefer a finger application. That's because I'm not setting out for a runway, but rather real life. I love the watercolor wash I can achieve with a light, smudged application.

I purchased Émerveillé (#82) and Épatant (#84). Émerveillé is peach, and Épatant is a dreamy, ethereal green, which can be dark and dramatic or light and minty, depending on your application technique. I had planned to purchase Épatant, but Émerveillé forced its way into my bag when I visited Neiman Marcus. It's gorgeous too. The other shades, left behind, were aubergine/eggplant, pink, black, white, and a rather strange purple-red shade.

For some reason, Épatant wants to photograph charcoal in the pot. It's not. The sparkling khaki shade is better viewed on the skin. Here's the small brush that fits in the box with the shadow. Take the cap off, and insert the brush into the cap, and the brush becomes long enough to use. The angled bristles make it easy to use the shadow as a liner. I probably won't use the special brush at home. I have better synthetic brushes for cream application.

For my first swatch photo, I applied Illusion d'Ombre with the brush. I found that even a careful, light application with the brush resulted in dramatic color. It was actually a little "pebbly" in places, but blending back and forth with the brush helped me even it out. My photos were taken outdoors with a miffy sun that kept disappearing behind the clouds. Here you see the two shades - intense, dramatic, and exquisite.

Once I had taken a few photos of the unblended shadows, I decided to blend out the swatches on my arm. I was partially successful because they hadn't dried completely. I wanted to show you how you could smudge the shades to achieve a slightly less dramatic look. Now, we're talking office-appropriate. I would wear them as shown at left during the day. I was convinced I had discovered their secrets. Wait, though, it gets even better for day wear.

These two shades can be applied very lightly with your finger for a subtle wash of color. Two photos, one in more direct sunlight than the other, show you how Émerveillé and Épatant can become watercolors, subtly shimmering washes of color on the lid that will enliven your eyes and make you look like a summer gal. Now, I know why we'll be using a Fall 2011 Collection now! These shades are brilliant. Illusion d'Ombre will carry you from June through winter, allowing you to select your own look. I'm very pleased with them!

Whatever you do, tighten the cap on these shadows after you use them, or they will dry out. Protect your investment!

You can purchase Illusion d'Ombre and the rest of the fall collection (I have more to show you) at Chanel's Web site or your favorite Chanel counter. I bought my pieces online and at Neiman Marcus. I'm sure Saks, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, and the rest of the counters have or will have the collection. Although it was scheduled to launch at counters in July, it arrived a week early.

Photos at top courtesy of Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe and Vogue; other photos by Best Things in Beauty