Friday, July 31, 2009

HyperLuxe Media Network Weekend Roundup - July 31

Adventures in Round Brown takes a look into the world of Men's Big and Tall Fashion.

Askmewhats reviews L'oreal Elseve Smooth Intense.

The Beauty Chick share some of her favorite face primers.

Beauty Junkies Unite tells us how awesome Bare Escentuals Buxom Lashliner.

BeautySweetSpot has a behind the scenes look at the MAC Fall collection.

Best Things in Beauty has a Giveaway Contest: Sephora's new Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Kiss.

Claire's Beauty explores lipstick trends through the decades.

Denim Debutante is giving away a bottle of Arbonne's Made in the Shade Self-Tanner to one lucky reader!

Fabuless Beauty has us super excited for the MAC Look in a Box sets available exclusively at Nordstrom.

See Fabulous Over Forty's review of Josie Maran lipstick.

The Fashion Planner shows us how to how to make a no-sew top and necklace from a t-shirt.

Glamour Whore introduces you to Illamasqua cosmetics.

Gloss Menagerie homemade toner experiment.

Gouldylox Reviews has a sneak peek of Bare Escentuals liner and lipstick.

Hot Beauty Health gives you the low down on the white nail polish trend.

The Informed Makeup Maven is all about body and hair this week. Check out her must haves.

Krasey Beauty cozies up to Erno Laszlo Cosmetics.

Visit Lipgloss Break and Enter to Win Sunkissed Glow by JLo and AminoGenesis Perfect Reflection!

My Beauty Bunny recommends a cruelty-free self-tanner and body firming cream in one from Tarte.

Obsession Confessions of Glamour and Love reviews Ouidad products for curly hair.

Sicka Than Average keeps you walking on sunshine with its roundup ofsizzling hot shades.

The Style and Beauty Doctor begs you not to match your eyeshadow to your outfit.

Su Ferreira has another great tutorial on smokey eye.

ThisThatBeauty shares a beauty observations - Extreme Length False Eye Lashes in everyday life!

Tres Chic Style reveals her shopping secrets.

Laura Geller's New Sugar Free Blush-N-Brighten

I'm in love again! Laura Geller's new Sugar Free Blush-N-Brighten ($29.50) arrived yesterday. Ordered from Sephora, which has a nice five-sample offer going (soon to end, so hurry), this blusher is shimmer-free, but totally gorgeous. I got Raspberry, the lighter of two shades, and I'm tempted to try Boysenberry too. Laura Geller's blushers are buildable, so you can use just a little, or more if you need the color.

As with the other Blush-N-Brightens, this one will be fresh all day - no mid-day touch-ups needed. Just use a nice fluffy blusher or powder brush to apply because it is pigmented. Then apply more if needed.

Photo courtesy of Sephora.

Quick Note for Philosophy Fans

Until August 3, you can get $10 off any $50 purchase at Philosophy. Just enter the code buzzworthy at checkout.

A little weekend Web shopping in your future?

Photo courtesy of Philosophy.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Illamasqua Powder Blusher Giveaway Contest

Illamasqua, the newest line introduced at Sephora, advertises itself as makeup for your alter ego. "Conceived amidst the dark drama of Berlin in the 20s," Illamasqua was launched in 2008 in the United Kingdom and has recently arrived on our shores. See my earlier posting on the line here.

To celebrate its arrival, Best Things in Beauty has an Illamasqua Kiss Powder Blusher for our latest giveaway contest.

The Illamasqua Powder Blusher ($23) is "intense and highly pigmented." The brand says, "Be bold, be daring, and be the center of attention." Whew! I'm not sure about that part, but I can tell you the products apply true to their appearance. If they look dark, they are because they are highly pigmented. You can still use a light hand to apply the darker shades; you just have to be aware if you have a fair complexion.

I have a powder blusher in Kiss to give away. Kiss is pretty dusty plum color - perfect for fall. To enter, just e-mail and tell me what your favorite July posting on Best Things in Beauty was. That way, you get a chance to win, and I get some feedback on the postings you like.

The contest will close at midnight on August 7. Good Luck!

P.S. I have posted this giveaway on Free!Grechen, a pretty cool site for contests and giveaways.

Photo courtesy of Sephora.

Nars Fall 2009 Collection

The Nars Collection for Fall 2009 has some must-have items in it. On my "drive-by" lunch shopping trip this week, I was able to see them in person, which is so much better than selecting from photos. I bought two of the pieces: the Indian Summer Duo Eyeshadow ($32) and the Fast Ride Lipstick ($24) shown in the "look" here. As for the look, I think her cheeks are a bit too flushed, but I guess the look is art.

The Fast Ride lipstick is a totally wearable sheer deep grape-wine color. It's sheerness is what makes it so wearable. It looks fabulous on, and I can't wait to bring it out with my fall clothes.

I will wear the eye shadow Indian Summer now. The two golden shades are perfect for any season. The lighter shade is "frosted champagne," very pretty alone or with other colors. The darker shade, "mustard seed," is a great muted darker gold. It works!

There is another duo, Silk Road, that is really gorgeous. If you can wear pink-toned eye shadows, go for it! The colors are very pretty. Unfortunately for me, I have some pink in my skin (I do cover it with eye shadow primer), but I'll never forget the instructions I got from Bobbi Brown herself: "Avoid eye shadows with red in them." Her advice has served me well.

Rounding out the collection, there is a dark Brumes eye shadow duo, with charcoal and slate blue; a Mekong single shadow (pretty expresso with gold infused); and Tokaido Express Nail Polish in black amethyst infused with gold - very trendy.

Now that it's showing up in stores, you can visit and see if any of the pieces speak to you.

Photo courtesy of Nars.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chanel's Aqualumiere Sheer Lipsticks and Lip Glosses

How I love the Aqualumiere lip products! I latched onto the Sheer Colour Lipshines ($28.50) the minute they were introduced, and they remain in my makeup bag - and only fabulous things make it into a bag I'm willing to carry with me everywhere, adding to the weight of my purse! Characterized as sheer color with an ultra-creamy texture, these lip colors look good and feel good. They have no overt fragrance. I keep purchasing them and get terribly excited when new colors are introduced.

Because they are sheer, I can wear many of the colors, even those that look dark on color wheels. I really wish I could have one of each. Favorites? Waikiki, Antigua, Ipanema, Santa Barbara, and Ischia. You can see the many choices on the Chanel Web site.

Some of the colors are limited editions, so if you purchase one and love it, make sure to stock up before it disappears from shelves.

Chanel also offers Aqualumiere Gloss ($27) as well, introduced last year - more to love. The 12 colors available all add a sheer, high-shine wash of color. Candy Glow is one of my favorites.

Give these a try if you like sheer lip colors. They are available on the Chanel Web site and major department stores.

Photo courtesy of Chanel.

A Few Makup Tips for the "Over 40 Club"

Vogue magazine has a short piece in the August issue on makeup tips for women over 40 - all good. I learned many of the published tips through trial and error - and observation. I'd like to present my own do's and don'ts - some of them ageless. You will see that they overlap the pro's tips, so I don't claim them as original.

But first...How many of the rules below did Katherine Harris break? I have to think there's a pretty face under all that makeup, screaming, "Let me out!" Someone probably told her that more is better for photo ops. At least her hair looked great!

Never use lip liner if you intend to simply outline your lips (this can only work if you use a lip liner that exactly matches your lip color). Once your lipstick wears off, you'll end up looking like the double-lipped booby fish. Fill in most of the lip, and you will still have color when your lipstick wears off. Don't extend your lipstick beyond your natural lip line, and don't even think about getting pillow lips (courtesy of a dermatologist or plastic surgeon). For some scary photos, go to Awful Plastic Surgery.

Make sure your lips are moisturized, not dry, before you apply lipstick (really a good tip for your whole face). Don't use lipstick that's too young (light, frosty pink, for example) or too dark. Very dark lipstick will draw attention to your lips and any imperfections (read wrinkles) that may exist near your mouth. Lipstick that is too light and frosty makes you look like a throwback to another era. If you want to wear a dark color, pick a nice sheer one. It won't add as much drama to your lip area.

Don't apply shimmery eye shadow over wrinkles. Shimmer attracts attention, and the last thing you want to do is attract attention to wrinkles or crepiness. Put that pretty shimmer in a nice smooth area, usually on the lid above your lashes.

As they said in the article, concealer and foundation tend to pool in wrinkles, so blend, blend, blend. In fact, always blend because less is more. Makeup is supposed to make you look good, not made up. Use products that reflect light, like luminizing primers under your foundation or luminizers over or mixed with your foundation. Always remember: blend, blend, and blend some more. Use a makeup sponge or foundation brush. Sheer will always look best where you don't need a lot of coverage.

Don't wear purple or bright blue eye shadow during the day - unless your skin is very dark. In fact, think twice about that dark eye during the day. Watch that mascara too - no spiky lashes, please. A lighter, fresher look is best for the "Over 40 Club."

Think about trying cream blush. It can give a more radiant glow than powder, and it's easy to blend. Dewy is better than dry any day.

If your eyebrows have started to thin, use a very natural looking pencil to fill them in - not create them, just fill them in with short strokes (think, "I'm creating little hairs"). And, remember to whiten your teeth! Nothing screams "aging" more than yellow teeth.

Have fun and experiment, but remember to look at yourself in daylight and artificial light before you leave home. Always remember, if you look good, you will feel good (short of any tragedies in your life - had to add that disclaimer). There has never been a better, younger looking Over 40 Club! We should be lookin' good and having fun!

Feel free to add your own tips in the comments. I'm sure you have good ones to share.

Propoline Lip Aids

There must be hundreds of lip balms we can choose, and I think I've tried half of them due to my lip balm addiction. A few years ago, a friend recommended the Propline Lip Aids ($8), so naturally I bought a few.

They are pretty nice! Featured in an InStyle Makeover magazine that came last week, the Lip Aids come in six colors and flavors. One of their best features is that they contain a natural base of cocoa butter, beeswax, and olive oil, combined with vitamins, plant extracts, essential oils, and sunscreen agents. It seems like common sense to keep your frequently applied lip products as natural as possible, given that most of us ingest them.

I like Lip-Aid Chamomile SPF 15, formulated specially to give sensitive lips a bit of sun protection. Its active ingredients include chamomile, olive oil, and vitamin B5. For a little color, Lip-Aid Black Currant is very nice. Its active ingredients are vitamins A, E, C, and soya phytosterols (derived from soybeans). I don't use this one frequently because I am sensitive to vitamin A products, but I have never had a problem with it.

Apivita, a Greek natural products company, makes the Propoline products that include hair and body care lines. There is a fabulous shower gel for sensitive skin that contains olive oil, aloe, and chamomile. Check out their Web site. For a list of stores and online sites where you can purchase them, click here. Included in the United States are Nordstrom, Bath & Body Works (flagship stores), and the Apivita online store.

Photo courtesy of Apivita.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Clinique Vitamin C Lip Smoothies

Clinique makes great lip products, and their newest offering is really nice. A friend invited me to do some "drive-by" makeup shopping at lunch, and I stumbled onto the new Vitamin C Lip Smoothies ($17.50) at Bloomingdales.

Am I glad I did! This lip color is both lipstick and lip gloss in one. Clinique has combined a great brush-on lip color with conditioning and protective ingredients, like Vitamin C and antioxidants.

I am wearing Rhubarbie (07) as I write. It feels very creamy, and the color is gorgeous. It also has some staying power, but doesn't feel at all clingy. The coverage is sheer to moderate. It's simply pretty.

The Lip Smoothie comes in a tube with a brush at the end. You prime the brush with product by turning the base, allowing you to use only what you need.

It's available in eight colors. Now I wish I had purchased more than one!

Photo courtesy of Clinique.

EcoTools Makeup Brushes

My friends are raving about EcoTools Earth-Friendly Bamboo Brushes, available for power, blush, eye shadow and eye liner, foundation, lash and brow, and bronzers. The brushes have soft, cruelty-free bristles made of synthetic talkon, and they are made with natural (bamboo) and recycled (aluminum) materials. Bamboo is a highly sustainable plant. Years ago, my father planted bamboo near the stream. If a Chinese restaurant owner didn't harvest the young shoots each spring, the bamboo would have overtaken the house by now!

The brushes were featured in the April 2009 Lucky magazine's "Best of Inexpensive Green Beauty" piece. The five-piece set shown here is $14.99. Prices of the single brushes range from $3.99 to $9.99 at Ulta. They are also available at and in some drugstores.

One friend who has been using them for a couple of weeks says they are velvety soft and effective applicators that pick up just the right amount of product. Even better, she said they don't shed bristles. Given that they are "green," it's worth spreading the word.

Footnote: WWD has announced that actress Alicia Silverstone is partnering with EcoTools to launch a brush and storage line in time for the holidays. Stay tuned.

Photo courtesy of EcoTools.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Diane Sawyer's Makeup Artist on Great Drugstore Makeup

ABC has a short video, Secret Beauty Weapon, of Diane Sawyer and her makeup artist, Maria Verel, who was challenged by Allure magazine to choose the best drugstore beauty deals. She did three short makeovers with drugstore makeup products under $10. Worth watching!

Photo of Diane Sawyer courtesy of ABC.

Armani Everything - Eyes to Kill Mascara

Until now, my favorite beauty line, Giorgio Armani Beauty, hasn't been able to introduce a mascara I liked. They have had several tries, and there was always something wrong - the blahs, clumps, failure to separate lashes, difficulty of application, and so on. I discussed this with everyone from their national folks to my Armani specialists at Saks in Chevy Chase, Maryland. For makeover sessions, I would pull my own mascara out of my bag to finish the look.

Things just changed with Eyes to Kill Mascara! I have, courtesy of my Saks friends, two deluxe samples in black, and I am in love with the new mascara. It meets all of my criteria (and I'm definitely a mascara snob).

Here's how the Armani Beauty Web site describes Eyes to Kill ($28). "Dress the eye with powerful, plush, voluminous lashes. Fine, fluid Microfil™ technology creates intensely captivating lash texture. Micro-waxes combined with a “fineness agent” allow for smooth and easy application, revealing weightless volume."

The mascara comes in four shades: #1, steel black; #2, brown copper; #3, gun metal grey; and #4, rouge iron (a dark red). Now that I have tried the black, I want to give #2 and #3 a whirl. The #4 will never work for me. I don't think red eye lashes would flatter me (or anyone else) at all.

My criteria? A mascara must apply easily, work with my contacts, carry the color all the way to the tips to lengthen in one fell swoop, add a realistic "body" to my lashes, separate the lashes, never flake off or smudge, leave no clumps behind, and last all day. Eyes to Kill passed all these tests. On its first application, my reaction was, "Wow, they finally did it."

Available on the Armani Beauty Web site, Saks, and wherever Armani Beauty products are sold.

Photo courtesy of Saks.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bobbi Brown - Fall 2009 Ivy League Collection

I just got my hands on some items from the new Bobbi Brown Ivy League Collection. Isn't it funny how July used to be barren for new makeup introductions, and now it's exciting? These pieces were expected to show up in stores in August. Neiman Marcus has them on display already.

The Ivy League collection, with a preppy model in Tartan plaid, features three eye shadows, a gel eye liner (Forest Shimmer Ink), a handful of lip crayons, nine new creamy pencil eyeliners, and a very nice angled eye shadow brush.

I purchased the three eye shadows ($20) in the display: Bash Metallic, Golden Leaf Shimmer, both new, and Ivy, already introduced, but a perfect shade for a collection with lots of green. These colors will work very well together or separately. Bash is a muted metallic dark green. Golden Leaf Shimmer, shown here, is a muted shimmery gold that has just a hint of green in it (to my eye). Gorgeous!

I also picked up a Creamy Eye Pencil in Hunter ($20). It goes with the look, and I think it's a nice hunter green that's not too green. The eye liner pencils come in every color you could want.

I was very tempted by the Forest Shimmer Ink Gel Eyeliner. I suspect I will end up with it, but tried to exercise some restraint today. Same goes for the angled eye shadow brush. I'm sure it has a future at my house.

I wish I could direct you to a Web site with the colors. Neiman Marcus hasn't put them online, and neither has Bobbi Brown. Keep checking!

Postnote: You can now see the products at Bobbi Brown's revamped Web site. These colors are available in the various categories, and you can see the Ivy League look at this link.

Ulta Sample Bag Offer

Good news from Ulta! A sample bag, shown at left, is free with any $25 online purchase. It looks nice.

You can also get $3.50 off a $10 purchase at Ulta. Use code 22959 during checkout. It's valid until August 1.

Ulta allows you to choose three samples with your purchase, and they have some other great deals and new products right now. Time for a visit?

Photo courtesy of Ulta.

Rollerball Fragrances for Gals on the Go

I just got an e-mail from Saks that directed me to this find! To back up a bit, this Spring, I bought Annick Goutal's new fragrance Un Matin d'Orage ($80). Translated as "A Stormy Morning," it's a delightful blend of jasmine, magnolia, and gardenia - three of my favorite fragrant flowers. I knew the scent was really nice when my friend Kathy smelled it and raved (and that was before I even got home from Saks that day!).

Now, the wonderful fragrance is available in a rollerball ($29), which means I can throw it in my purse and refresh throughout the day. This is exciting! You know where I'll be later today!

Update at 7:30 pm: I went to the Saks closest to me, and the rollerballs had come in and sold out - just like that. I'll be checking my favorite Saks tomorrow. This has become a challenge!

Photo courtesy of Saks.

Do You Have a Favorite Facial Exfoliator?

On weekends, when I have a little extra time, I remember to exfoliate. There are two basic types of exfoliators: chemical and physical. The physical ones usually have some kind of micro-beads that polish off dead skin cells. The chemical ones do their work by reacting with the upper layer of the skin, weakening the binding properties of the lipids that hold dead skin cells together. This allows the outer skin to "dissolve," revealing the underlying healthy skin.

So, what's the point? Dead skin cells cling to our skin, and they make us look and feel dry, flaky, and dull. In order to renew and refresh our skin, we have to exfoliate. Sure, skin exfoliates over time without any help, but not fast enough!

There are only a few physical exfoliators that I can use, given my "reactive skin." Most of them are way too rough, no matter how little pressure I use when applying. I have successfully used My Blend Skin Polishing Cleanser ($70), a nice, although pricey, gel-based product that cleans as you exfoliate. It's gentle and non-drying, and I can use it a few times/week. I like the two-for quality of using it. My Blend products are a bit "obscure." I was introduced to them at Saks, and the only one of the My Blend products I tried that really grabbed me was this exfoliating cleanser. I would purchase it again.

My skin likes the glycolic acid exfoliators best. These are the basis for chemical peels administered in high concentrations by physicians. Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and is one of the most powerful and penetratable alpha hydroxy acids. We can purchase glycolic acid products in many brands at lower, safer concentrations than are used for in-office procedures.

I have used the 20% Natura Bisse Glyco Peeling 25% Pump (there is a 50% pump available too, but at an even higher price), and Glycoderma Revitalizing Facial Cream (25%) - the latter meant to be used as a leave-on cream, but I use it as a treatment.

There are also many moisturizers with glycolic acid. You leave these on, as opposed to the treatment products above. M.D. Forte Facial Cream I (15%) and Alpha Hydrox Enhanced Cream (10%) both work well. However, I prefer a treatment product I can use for 20-30 minutes and then wash off.

These exfoliators represent a wide variety of price points - from the $10.99 to $130. I'd recommend starting with the least expensive one you can find.

Watch out for salicylic acid in chemical exfoliators if you have sensitive skin. It burns my skin. I stay away from all products with this ingredient. I think it's good for younger, particularly acne-prone or oily skin.

I'm always looking for a newer, better exfoliator, so please send recommendations in the comments.

Photo courtesy of Saks.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dior Fall 2009 Jazz Club

Dior has winning offerings in its Fall 2009 Jazz Club collection! The products have hit the department stores. This is a beautiful collection, evocative of the swinging jazz age of the 1920's and 1930's.

I purchased a nice sample of the collection, including this gorgeous eye palette, at Saks in Chevy Chase this past week. The Jazz Club Smoky Eye Palette contains eye shadows, a brow-shaping powder, a cream-to-powder eye liner, and double-ended application tools - all in a little clutch for $65. The clutch would be great for travel. These colors are very "natural," and they will work for many skin tones. Terrific!

There are two new One Couleur Extreme Eye Shadows ($27.50). Argentic is a metallic charcoal, and Trendy Taupe (my purchase) is a great everyday accent color.

The display has four Dior Addict Lipcolors ($26), but I think only two of them are new. I choose one of the previously introduced colors, Mauve Royal. The new ones, Decadent Plum and Neglige Pink, didn't work well for me. I'm going to go back, though, and give Decadent Plum a second look.

I love Dior lip glosses, and came away with all four in two different formulas: Bordeaux Drape (Draped Burgendy) and Prune Taffetas (Taffeta Plum) in Ultra-Gloss Reflect ($25.50) and Nectar de Figue (Fig Nectar) and Macaron Praline (Sweet Praline) in Creme de Gloss ($26). (Sorry, ladies, I can't figure out how to get those French accent marks into my blog yet).

There's more to see, so check out your local Dior counter. I know that Saks and Nordstrom both have these colors in stock.

Photos courtesy of Saks and Nordstrom.

Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive - MAC Sweet Tease Look in a Box

What a terrific set! The picture to the left doesn't do it justice.

I am absolutely loving this Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives MAC Look in a Box set. I purchased Sweet Tease (59.50), the softest look of the three color families available (Sweet Tease, Seductress, and Sun Siren).

The Sweet Tease five-product set features Shell Pearl Beauty Powder blush, Mulch and Gleam eye shadows, Love Nectar Lustreglass, a promotion-sized Zoom Lash, and a mini 181SE Buffer Brush. It's available exclusively at Nordstrom and advertised as a $100 value.

The two eye shadows harmonize perfectly for a soft, daytime look. Gleam (Lustre) is a pink-peach overall shade that looks nice even when used alone. It provides a soft shine that brightens the eye area. Mulch (Velvet), a copper-bronze, is the darker accent color to be used in the outside corner, crease, or however you like it.

The blush, in Shell Pearl, is a gorgeous pink-peach. Applied with the Buffer Brush, it adds a summer glow that is perfectly matched to the eye shadows. The topper is the Love Nectar Lustreglass, a pink-peach lip gloss that shimmers and feels good on the lips.

Sets always seem to have one or two products you just won't use. Not this one! I will use these colors and use them together. The "look" brought out the blue in my eyes, so I am very pleased.

You can still purchase most of the MAC Beauty Exclusives at Nordstrom online or in the stores. Unfortunately, the Lip Bags (I bought Baby Blooms) are no longer available online.

Photo courtesy of Nordstrom.

Friday, July 24, 2009

SkinStore Sale Alert! is offering a 20% off sale this weekend (sale ends on July 27). For four days only, use promo code BEST20 at checkout. They offer free shipping for orders over $49, SkinStore reward points, and free samples. Now is a good time to stock up or try something new. SkinStore offers a wide range of skin care, cosmetic, and hair care products - many natural - along with fragrances, tools, and more.

If you want to read about Argireline, one of the ingredients in yNs Radiance, they have a nice short "tutorial."

HyperLuxe Media Network Weekend Roundup - July 24

has nail art tutorial for bling bling nails.

The Beauty Chick reviews CoverGirl and Olay Simply Ageless Sculpting Blush.

Beauty Junkies Unite shows you the right way to get cheeky with 4 easy cheek stains.

Best Things in Beauty spotlights the new Giorgio Armani Beauty Fall 2009 colors.

Claire's Beauty gives Clarins Delicious Self-Tanning Cream a test drive.

Denim Debutante has an in-depth review of Paige Premium Denim.

Fabulous Over Forty is giving away Sothys Sun Care to one lucky reader. Enter now.

The Glamour Whore shows off the hair raising talent of Olivier Chomienne.

Gloss Menagerie reviews Softlips Pure Honeydew.

Gouldylox Reviews sneak peek at Milani Eye Tech Infinite Liquid Liners.

Hairs My Story has a gorgeous summer tropics FOTD.

in a word...fab has a sneak peek at J.Crew's Fall 2009 Collection.

It's complexion week at the Informed Makeup Maven, and don't forget to enter her cool giveaways this week!

Krasey Beauty discovers the beauty in going organic with Revolution Organics.

Visit Lipgloss Break and Enter to win The Cure 24/7 hair treatment and Sunkissed Glow fragrance by JLo!

My Beauty Bunny shows you how to get gorgeous, healthy, post-beach hair!

Sicka Than Average schools you on the best sunscreens for that pretty little face of yours. Protect ya neck!

ThisThatBeauty runs down fall's hottest collections!

Unfunded takes on Farmer John with some killer denim cut-offs.

VexInTheCity invites you to share her addiction - her make up collection.

***Affiliate of the Week***

The Style and Beauty Doctor will show you how to keep your blowout for blowing up.

For more information on The HLMN or on becoming an affiliate please visit our Web site.

Elizabeth Arden to Introduce New Prevage Day Cream

According to WWD's July 24, 2009 issue, Elizabeth Arden will be introducing a moisturizing day cream in October ($125). I can't wait!

The Prevage Day will merge the Prevage anti-aging Idebenone; a new ingredient, Thiotaine; UVA/UVB protection; EPF (environmental protective factor) protection; and shea butter and other advanced moisturizing ingredients. Sounds fully loaded!

Here's what WWD had to say about the EPF..."The new product features a 95 EPF rating. The metric measures things like sunburn cell protection, lipid oxidation, and DNA damage."

Thiotaine is a potent lab-formulated replication of a botanical amino acid shown to promote skin energy and block the activation of two enzymes that degrade collagen and elastin and destroy the skin's supporting structure, leading to wrinkle formation. It's currently available in some niche products like Remergent DNA Repair Formula ($94.99), available at Amazon.

By all accounts, this new day cream will be a potent and effective anti-aging product.

Photo courtesy of WWD.

Laura Mercier's New Fresco Collection

Looks pretty and natural, I think. The collection includes two new Satinée Crème Eye Colours: amber velvet, a warm brown, and teal cashmere, a dusty teal shown on the model. I am going to have to purchase the teal shadow based solely on this photo. I have some of the "older" creme shadow colors (Rum Satin is a great soft golden bronze), and I like them. They have a nice muted shine, and they do stay put.

There are two new "Lip Watercolor" palettes, Fair and Medium. Each includes lip prep balm, six lip stains, and a double-ended brush. I like having a brush in any palette for quick and mess-free application.

The Crème Cheek Colour Pot is available in Soft Apricot and Sienna Sunset. This cute little pot includes a creamy cheek color for the fresh, "flushed effect" that only a creme blusher can give and a soft-focus loose cheek powder to add an a bit of glow.

See the look at this link. I like it! What do you think?

If you order from Laura Mercier online, you can get free shipping with a purchase of $50 or more and a free samples of mini candlelight mineral illuminating powder and face primer with your order.

Photo courtesy of Laura Mercier.

It's a Good Time for Tropicals

Isn't it a nice time for tropical scents? "Hawaii's premiere organic skin care products" come from a company called Malie Organics (mah-lee-ay). They offer hand soaps, room fragrance diffusers, soy candles, body washes and creams, aroma mists, and more. Here's what they have to say about their ingredients.

"At Malie Organics, we’ve created a sustainable approach to providing the purest, natural ingredients our island paradise has to offer. Our reverence for the land and commitment to the preservation of natural resources guides us in our organic farming methods and in harvesting our wild tropical plant life. We ensure that the fertility of our rich volcanic soil is never depleted. Our highly sensitive “wild-crafting” methods allow the precious flowers from our pristine rain forests to thrive in a state of constant renewal. True to our Hawaiian roots, all of our ingredients are sourced here.

Everything in Malie Organics is safe and nontoxic, with absolutely no petroleum, mineral spirits, sulfates, or parabens. Because of our commitment to your health, wellbeing, and the environment, we only use all natural, organic, and wild-crafted ingredients.

Finally, we translate the purity of the most fragrant flowers and fruits in the world through our advanced hydrosol distillation process so that you enjoy the aroma-therapeutic benefits of each botanical in every product."

Sounds nice? They have my stamp of approval!

Here are some of the scents I love. Pikake come from the exotic star-shaped pikake (Hawaiian jasmine), which is prized for the buds that are strung into fragrant leis. Its name derives from “peacock” because the exalted Hawaiian Princess Ka‘iulani loved the bird and the flower. I love them both too! This tropical scent is heavenly. Malie claims it to be an anti-depressant. I guess the thought of sitting next to a tropical pikake plant in its native habitat would be a picker-upper.

Plumeria is another of my favorites. Think jasmine, gardenia, and citrus, and you'll get the idea. It's lush. Kokee is a newer intro. It has a very "green" fragrance. Purchases of the Kokee products benefit the Kokee Resource Conservation Program. You can read all about it on the Malie site.

To give you an idea of pricing, the hand soaps, which last a very long time, are $20, and the soy candles are $30. The products are available at the Malie Web site, Art with Flowers at the Tysons Galleria in Virginia, and even Amazon (must have been karma). If you can't dash off to Hawaii or another tropical location, do the next best thing and bring the tropics to your home!

Photo courtesy of Malie Organics.

Baby Animals - Darling or What?

Check out for photo-stories told with love by Lincoln Karin, a photographer whose passion is the red-tailed hawks of Central Park. This "Little Stinker," as Lincoln affectionately calls all baby hawks, is playing with a tennis ball. Lincoln's Web site is rapidly approaching 10 million hits. Beauty lovers, let's put Lincoln over the top!

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Not So Boring Eye Makeup Removers

As much as I adore my little mama raccoon outside, I don't want to look like her. That makes eye makeup removers a necessity. Even the best facial cleansers won't always take off that stubborn mascara "run" under my eyes.

One product I use is a bit unusual, but it's very effective: OCuSOFT Lid Scrub Eyelid Cleanser ($13.95 for 30). These individually wrapped moistened pads are fabulous, not only for removing eye makeup, but also for exfoliating the tender skin around your eyes. They were recommended to me by my opthamologist a couple of years ago, and I have used them ever since. I buy mine at CVS. I highly recommend these pads.

I have an arsenal of other eye makeup remover products I like. I'll tell you about my most-often-used ones here and why I like them. I have a few criteria. They must be effective without rubbing, non-irritating, free of perfume, and appropriate for sensitive skin.

Let's start with the least expensive. Almay makes oil-free eye makeup remover pads that work really well and are not at all irritating to my sensitive skin. They are made with a botanical blend of aloe, cucumber, and green tea. If you go looking for them, make sure to get the Oil-Free Makeup Remover Pads. Even though they are advertised as hypo-allergenic, the moisturizing ones have oil that can seep into your eyes. These Almay pads are often on sale at drugstores. The price is $4.99, and there's a BOGO offer there at the moment.

Also available at some drugstores is the Vichy Purete Thermale Eye Make-up Remover Sensitive Eyes, a very nice product. I'm turning to it more and more. I buy this product at CVS - the list price is $14. It is made with Vichy's Thermal Spa Water, cornflower water, and pro-vitamin B5 (see Korres below).

Estee Lauder makes an oldie but goodie that must be a great seller to this day. I have used the Gentle Eye Makeup Remover ($15.50) on and off for many years, and I still return to it. I love the fact that it is frequently available in deluxe sample size in gifts with purchase or as sample to select on the Estee Lauder Web site.

I have been using a Korres Jasmine Eye Makeup Remover ($21 and shown above) for about a year, and I really like it. Beyond the appeal of the Korres brand's natural products, it works, feels good, and makes me feel like I'm doing something good for the environment. It's fragrance-free, gentle, and contains pro-vitamin B5 to moisturize the skin. Here's what it doesn't have: synthetic fragrances, dyes, pretrochemicals, phthalates, genetically modified organisms, or triclosan. I read a review of the product on Sephora's Web site, and the writer said that Korres has discontinued this product. Sephora still lists it, but as out of stock. That's disappointing...I wonder what Korres will introduce as its replacement. Something to anticipate!

Give one of these a try if you are looking for a new eye makeup remover!

Photos courtesy of Sephora and OCuSOFT.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Great Patricia Wexler Deal at Bath & Body Works

A great offer arrived in my e-mail box today. At Bath & Body Works online (only), you can buy two select products for $25. Included in the offer is the Fastscription™ Instant De-Puff Eye Gel. This product won an Allure 2008 Best of Beauty Award, and I can testify to its effectiveness. It sends under-eye bags packing!

Check out the offer at this link. There are some great products available in this two-for special.

Photo courtesy of Bath & Body Works.

Oscillating Mascaras

Last night, I curled up with the August InStyle magazine and read their Beauty Buzz road test of "vibrating mascaras" - one trend this obsessive compulsive beauty addict will miss. I can poke myself in the eye with a wand powered only by my arm. Why would I want help?

According to InStyle, the Lancome Oscillation ($34 at Sephora) mascara is the best for lengthening and freedom from clumps. So, if you are brave, this sounds like the best of the three they reviewed. It's also the first one that was released. Lancome is known for having great mascaras, so waiting lists formed for this one.

The other two? They say that the Estee Lauder Turbolash All Effects Motion ($32) one is best for thickening, and the new Maybelline New York Pulse Perfection one is best for your pocketbook ($15). However, it sounded like both clump. Why would you want to have to add an eyelash comb to the morning routine to "fix" your mascara?

I may sound like a curmudgeon, but I just don't get it. We all know how to apply mascara, right? We have read all the tips about moving the wand back and forth as we apply the product from the base of our lashes to the tips, but I don't even do that. I simply use a superb mascara, Maybelline Define-a-Lash Volume Washable Mascara (currently), and it gives me great darkening, length, and clump-free "thickness." I have used others I recommend to those who want their lashes clump-free (in other words, to avoid the Tammy Faye look) and enhanced. These include Clinique's Naturally Glossy Mascara and their newer High Impact Mascara.

So, I guess I'm old fashioned, but I don't think I'm missing anything. What do you think?

Photo courtesy of Sephora. Thanks to InStyle for the review!

Benefit Silky-Finish Lipsticks

I love Benefit's Silky-Finish Lipsticks! I have so many of the shades I've lost count. Hug It Out, a pearl-pink mauve is my favorite. I'm on my third tube.

These aren't brand new, but they are noteworthy nonetheless. They have a silky smooth formula, so they feel great on your lips. They have sheer coverage that's buildable. I find that one coat is enough for me, though. There's a nice slanted tip for ease of application. They even come with a beauty fortune inside every package. My favorite says, "And on the 7th day, makeup was created." Even better, the price is right at $18.

These lipsticks are available in cream and pearl formulas, and I prefer the pearls that have a nice, quiet shine. In addition to Hug It Out, I love Swoonderful (pearl/silver mauve) and Candy Store (pearl/copper pink). I do have some of the cream shades, and they are very nice too. There are 22 shades on Sephora, so there's a color for everyone.

Benefit's Full-Finish Lipstick ($18) is the "companion product" to Silky Finish. Like the Silky-Finish lipsticks, Full-Finish is nice and creamy. It simply has more pigmented color. My favorite is Do Tell, a pink/mauve. There are 14 shades, and three are new. One of the new colors, Breakup Rumor, available on Benefit's Web site, looks like a must-have to me.

Right now, Benefit has free shipping (through July 22 only) with code TWODAYUS. You can get a free California Kissin' with every $35 order (no code needed). In addition, you get two free samples with every order. Sephora has some great deals too, so now's the time to shop.

Laura Geller Plus Giveaway Contest Winner

Congratulations to Hannah. She was the lucky winner of the Laura Geller Golden Apricot Blush-N-Brighten.

I want to thank everyone who entered the contest. I loved your e-mails. Some of you sent the kindest messages, and I want you to know how much I appreciate them. The information on your favorite posts will be helpful to me as I forge ahead with this new endeavor.

Now, for the technical stuff. Each entrant was assigned a number. I used a random number generator (RANDOM.ORG) to select a winner. That was as fair as I could make it.

We'll try to do a giveaway every month, so please keep visiting!

Love to all of you,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Favorite Home Fragrance - Rosso Nobile

The nicest - and probably most expensive - home fragrance diffuser on earth has to be Rosso Nobile by Dr. Vranjes ($350). I was introduced to this wonderful product at Art with Flowers at the Tysons Galleria in Virginia. It's available online at Luckyscent and a few other places you can find with a Google search.

The fragrance fills my home with an indescribably enticing and voluptuous fragrance. I have never smelled anything quite like it! The top notes are dominated by strawberry and blackberry, but mixed in are tannins from red wine, citrus, violets, and roses. This short description doesn't really do it justice. It's just heavenly. It wraps you in luxury. Men and women find it intoxicating - we keep sniffing at the bottle!

The container is gorgeous, as you can see here, with a modern, Danish appeal to the glass vase (reusable) and grape vines to diffuse the fragrance. As with any diffuser, all you have to do is turn the vines over now and then. Once you purchase the set, you can buy refills ($250) and continue to use the same container "forever."

For those of us for whom $350 is more than a splurge, there are beautiful candles (and refills for those) and a room spray. I keep the room spray at my office and use it when someone's awful perfume wafts in - or when I just need an aromatherapy treat.

If you are wealthy, win the lottery, or just want a splurge, you will love Rosso Nobile!

Photo courtesy of Luckyscent.

Carmen Dell'Orefice - Class is Forever

One of the most beautiful models on earth, the ageless Carmen Dell'Orefice continues to inspire and amaze me. How on earth could she be 78 years old? Look at her at 77! Perfect features: eyes, nose, cheekbones, mouth. Gorgeous hair that makes me yearn for silver gray. Yes, I know about Photoshop, but she is real.

I need to order her 1985 book, Staying Beautiful: Beauty Secrets and Attitudes from My Forty Years As a Model, available from Amazon. I think she's even more beautiful than she was then.

Quoted in People nine years ago, here's what she had to say about her beauty routine.

HAIR: She highlights her gray locks four times a year "to lift the color."
MAKEUP: To even her skin tone, she wears more foundation than in her younger days.
SKIN: Since undergoing a dermabrasion procedure at age 37 to peel away sun-damaged skin, she has been receiving silicone injections to smooth wrinkles. "If your ceiling is falling down, don't you call someone in?" she says. "I apply the same principle to myself."

While we have better wrinkle injections today, I think her advice and looks are timeless.

Photo courtesy of Rolex, another inspiration. Carmen's beauty routine courtesy of People.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Maybelline's Great New Color Sensational Lip Products

It's not often I get really excited about drugstore lip products, but I am loving Maybelline's new Color Sensational lipsticks and Color Sensational lip glosses - both available and nicely "coded" in the color families pinks, plums, reds, and naturals. They feel great on the lips because they added honey nectar to the formula, making them extremely emollient. The lip glosses are nice and shiny and not at all sticky.

There are of 20 lipsticks and 12 lip glosses, plus liners to boot. I have purchased four lipsticks, four glosses, and one liner, and I love them all.

When you are wearing the new gloss #055 (Raspberry Sorbet), and your high-end makeup artist loves it, you know you have a hit! These are available at all drugstores and Web sites carrying Maybelline. The prices are right, and, of course, there's usually a BOGO offer to be found somewhere. Since they are new, look for a special display.

Photos courtesy of Maybelline.

Cult Fragrance - i Profumi di Firenze

Why call it anything but a cult fragrance? You won't stumble on it in stores - you just have to know. How did I find it? Beautyhabit, of course. Once I discovered Beautyhabit, I spent what the Brits would call a bloody fortune.

Among other Beautyhabit purchases, I started ordering the i Profumi di Firenze fragrances, and each one that arrived was special and individual. Here is what Beautyhabit has to say about the line.

Inspired by original 16th century secret formulas commissioned by Caterina de Medici, "i Profumi di Firenze" perfumes are meticulously hand-blended in small batches with the finest selections of floral and botanical essences from Italy and around the world.

In the mid-1960's, when synthetic perfumes were all the rage, a renowned Florentine apothecary carefully re-created these Renaissance fragrances using only all natural ingredients and their own secret methods of essence extraction. These scents are timeless and harmonize beautifully on the skin - you will not be disappointed!

A nice summery scent I am wearing a lot now is i Profumi di Firenze Acqua di Firenze ($99). I can't find this scent on Beautyhabit now. Fortunately, Acqua di Firenze is available at several Web sites, including Lusciouscargo. A blend of white flowers, including heavenly honeysuckle, and green leaves, this light, fresh scent is divine. I picked up a few extras at Art with Flowers at Tysons Galleria.

This line has a fragrance for everyone, from floral lovers to citrus fans to spice gals.
Tuberosa d'Autunno is based, like its name implies, on tuberose, a seductive white floral that has found a home at my house in many different brands and fragrances. Mughetto di Primavera is a single-note wild lily of the valley scent. This also doesn't seem to be available at Beautyhabit, but you can find it online. I don't know why some of these come and go - perhaps since they are handmade, they are available only for a limited time (just a guess).

Check out Beautyhabit or Lusciouscargo and then choose the one that appeals to you. You won't smell like "everywoman."

Use code BHVOYAGE at Beautyhabit for a purchase of $50 or more to receive a seven-piece sampler. The code is good until July 27 (or until supply is exhausted).

Photo courtesy of Lusciouscargo.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Beauty Exclusives and Gifts with Purchase

I hit Nordstrom today to pick up my pre-sale MAC Beauty Exclusives, and I found that there were some other nice deals.

Laura Mercier has a nice sample of products in a pretty brown cosmetic bag. It includes deluxe Flawless Skin Day Creme SPF 15, a full-size Undercover Pot UC-3, exclusive full-size Pink Champagne Lip Glacé, exclusive Renaissance Eye Color Duo in nice everyday colors, mini Black Thickening and Building Mascara, and a double-ended Secret Camouflage Powder Brush and a mini velour puff. Billed as a $167 value, it was $65. If you want this one, they are running out of it all over the country. Hurry.

Clinique has a really nice bag for $45. It includes the "legendary" Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, which I have always loved, and five equally nice products: All-new Youth Surge SPF 15 Age Decelerating Moisturizer, All About Eyes, Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser, Dual-ended High Impact Mascara/High Impact Curling Mascara in Black, and a dual-ended Cream Shaper for Eyes, all in a pretty, large canvas makeup bag with darling silver handles and accents. This is billed as a $79 value.

My Nordstrom store has sold out of the Chanel eye and lip palette, as predicted. It appears that this is still available online, and you might be able to find it in the store closest to you.

As usual, MAC has fabulous Beauty Exclusives, including brush sets, Look in a Box in three color tones, eye shadow palettes, and a lip set (I got Baby Blooms - nice).

Last, but not least, there is a Bobbi Brown "Must Have Set," priced at $75. It has a
seven-well lip palette with lip brush (featuring Italian Rose Creamy Lip Color, Nude Pink Lip Color, Heather Buff Creamy Lip Color, Uber Pink Creamy Lip Color, Baby Peach Metallic Creamy Lip Color, Dusk Metallic Lip Color and Kir Metallic Lip Color), two-pan eyeshadow palette (featuring Nude Beach Metallic Eye Shadow and Hot Stone Eye Shadow), full-size Espresso Ink Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, mini black Everything Mascara, and new mini dual-ended eyeshadow/ultra-fine eyeliner brush. Fabulous!

In the Gifts with Purchase category, I liked the Estee Lauder gift, but they had sold out of every new color product I wanted. Too bad, but I won't invent "wants" just to get a freebie.

Jo Malone has a gift with purchase. The most incredible offer is that you can get a discount on the colognes if you buy two. Jo's fragrances are never discounted!

Hurry over to Nordstrom or order online for these and other great buys. At my store, the Chanel exclusive was sold out, the Laura Mercier set was almost gone, and others will disappear soon. You don't want to be late to this party.

Photos courtesy of Nordstrom.

Revlon Limited Edition ColorStay Mineral Finishing Powder

I like to troll drugstores for Revlon's new products. I love this summer's ColorStay Mineral Finishing Powder. It's advertised as soft all-over enhancing color, and it works perfectly when used that way or strategically placed on your best features. It's priced at $13.99 - probably because it's huge - so make sure to use the $2 Revlon discount coupon you can find in the new August Allure. If you can find a Buy One Get One Free Offer at one of the drugstores (Rite Aid has one now), you can get two of the colors for the price of one.

I am loving Brighten, a marbled soft pink, and Sunkiss (both shown here), a luminous marbled brown that is much lighter on the skin that it appears in its packaging. The two colors I have are very sheer and slightly luminous (no glitter or overt shine). Sunkiss gives a summer glow that is lighter than an actual bronzer - very nice. Brighten does just that. I haven't tried the third shade, Suntan Matte. If you have, please leave a comment. I'd love to know your impression before I spring for that one.

Make sure to enter the Laura Geller Giveaway Contest on this blog by midnight July 21.

For online shoppers, these are available at

Photos courtesy of

Armani Everything - New Products for Fall

New Armani Fall 2009 Product Alert!

Imagine the delight of this Armani Beauty fan when she saw the new Sheer Blush in #12 ($42)! This soft pink color leaves a radiant glow, and I saw the results on different skin tones at Saks this past week.

Loyd Cassler applied the blush to me (fair skin) and to a nicely tanned woman with a medium skin tone. She saw the light color in the pan and thought it wouldn't work for her. I wondered too, thinking it might disappear on her skin. However, once applied, it made her eyes pop - she looked fabulous. For me, there were no doubts. It was a perfect color.

The Sheer Blush is extremely natural looking. This new color is a definite hit. I thought the ultimate color existed in #10. Now, I have a new favorite.

I also picked up two more Manta Ray Eye Shadows ($32). I had blogged about the first two I ordered from the Armani Web site in colors #2 and #4. I wanted to see the rest of the color duos, and I was thrilled to find that #1 and #5 are equally exciting. Loyd used a blend of all four colors on me that day, and a few hours later, I got a compliment on my shadow from another beauty fanatic. The #1 is a duo of subdued charcoal gray and "greige," and the #5 is a chameleon, with one side described as shimmering lilac and the other pale green pearl. Applied, they simply provide a radiant base that will work with any other colors or used alone to enhance a light, natural looking eye. Very cool. The nice thing about these shadows is that you can create so many combinations by mixing them. True of all Armani shadows, they allow you to modulate the color; you can stop at a sheer wash or keep building for a more dramatic look.

There are two new ArmaniSilk lipsticks ($25) in colors #92 and #93. Both with a tilt toward blue, the darker grape-colored one is a nice touch for Fall. This color should work for all skin tones, with different effects for each. I won't be waiting for September to break out these beauties.

I also purchased a new Liquid Silk Eyeliner. It's a beautiful metallic blue-tinged gray. These liners apply easily and are extremely long lasting. At $30, give one a try.

I love it when Armani Beauty introduces new colors. You can see them at Saks or order online from the Armani Beauty Web site. If you live near a Saks Fifth Avenue, next Thursday, July 23, they have an in-store promotion. Spend $250 that day, and you will get a $25 gift card. Spend $500, and you will get a $50 gift card. Spend even more, and you'll get more back! It's spaving - spending money to save money.