Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dove Body Wash with Nutrium Moisture

I may be a fashionably late to this party, but I finally arrived! Dove has introduced a revolutionary body wash (seriously!) - one that combines all the features we love from its bar soaps into a creamy liquid.

There are three available formulas. Naturally, I like the formula for sensitive skin because it's fragrance-free, but you can also select Deep Moisture or Gentle Exfoliating.

Dove Body Wash with Nutrium Moisture uses 100% natural moisturizers, including stearic acid, soybean oil, sunflower seed oil, and glycerin, to clean skin without stripping its natural oils. Many of us, including my beautiful mother, have used Dove's Sensitive Skin bar soap for its fabulous moisturizing properties. Now, there's a nice alternative!

Why would you shun a soap bar? Because the "engineers" who design bathtub/shower combos put the soap holder right where the shower water dissolves a bar of soap in no time. BTiB hint: put your bar of soap somewhere else - it will last longer.

So, what sets this body wash apart from its competitors? Dove was able to make the lipids in their great bar soaps stable in a liquid, making their Nutrium Moisture gentler than many other body washes. The Nutrium Moisture Body Wash leaves behind lipids, beneficial oils, and humectants (which draw in moisture from the air) to fortify our skin's protective barrier. According to Dove, 88% of Nutrium Moisture users felt less dry than they felt after using a "traditional" liquid body wash. That's because most liquid cleansers wash away too much of our natural moisture, or they replace our natural oils with oils that don't absorb well. Dove found a way to add moisture that does absorb and replace our skin's own protective properties, and they did that for less than $9. Looking for luxury in a mass-market product? This is it!

Dove's Web site has more information about this new product. You can find it everywhere - at drugstores like CVS, supermarkets,, which is having a BOGO offer now, and lots of other sources. Be on the lookout for coupons too. Why pay more than you have to? Time to try!

Photo courtesy of Dove.

Patricia Wexler's New Sensitive Skin Collection

This is exciting. Even without testing it, I'm there - gotta try it! An advertisement for Patricia Wexler's new Sensitive Skin Collection arrived in my e-mail box from Bath & Body Works this morning.

What's available?
Sensitive Skin Smoothing & Renewing Night Cream ($39.50)
Sensitive Skin Calming Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 30 ($39.50)
Sensitive Skin MMPi-20 Comforting & Renewing Serum ($55)
Sensitive Skin Gentle Exfoliating Peel ($35)
Anti-Aging Sensitive Skin Starter Kit ($39.50)

Here's what Bath & Body Works has to say about the collection.

"Lines and wrinkles? Sensitivity? Dr. Wexler introduces a breakthrough regimen that addresses both these skin concerns together. These products combine her exclusive MMPi-20® technology with soothing, calming anti-aging technologies, such as Sym-Relief Redness Reducing Complex and Dragosine Anti-Aging Peptide."

You can see the collection at Bath & Body Works. I think I'm going to amble over. My crystal ball shows a starter set in my future. If you are interesting in ordering online, for two days shipping is free with code WEXLERSHIP and a $39.50 purchase - the exact price of the starter kit.

Update: This armchair shopper ordered online. Free shipping was too tempting.

Photo courtesy of Bath & Body Works.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Avon True Color Eyeshadow Quad Giveaway Contest

Recently, I discovered Avon's True Color Eyeshadow Quads - delightful coordinating colors in compacts that resemble Chanel's famous and fabulous quads (you can see the Best Things in Beauty posting here). I bought two to start and then bought again I liked them so much! On the second order, I purchased one of my favorites, Island Breeze, for this giveaway contest. Island Breeze, shown in the photo at this link (not the photo to the right) has four great shades: Latte (a nice dark taupe), Island Breeze (pale mint green), Beach Beauty (light peach sand), and Teal Waters (gray-toned teal).

You can create so many looks with these shadows! I just love them - great price, great results.

An Avon Island Breeze Quad could be yours. Just e-mail with your age - yep, your age. I'd like to know more about my readers, particularly how old you are. You could fudge the truth, and I would never know, but if you would indulge me, I promise not to tell.

The deadline for entries is midnight, Sunday, October 4. U.S. entries only, please. I will select one winner using a random number generator. I will also be posting this giveaway contest on Free!Grechen, my favorite site for giveaway contests. Good Luck!

Update: I get the giggles every time one of you writes! Thank you.

Photo courtesy of Avon.

Clinique Shows You How to Whiten Your Teeth with Lipstick

Have you seen the new Clinique Whiter Teeth Instantly campaign ads or displays in the stores? Clinique is showcasing existing lipsticks, liners, and glosses with a twist - the colors will make your teeth look whiter.

While it's not a new finding (certain colors do brighten your smile), it's an appealing marketing move. Twelve lipstick colors, with coordinating lip liners and glosses, will create just the right contrast to brighten your smile.

The 12 colors span all color families - nudes, goldens, pinks, and berries - and include various Clinique formulas. Included in the "list" are a few of my favorites, including Raspberry Rush Color Surge Butter Shine Lipstick ($14), A Different Grape Different Lipstick ($14), and After Party High Impact Lip Color ($14). I love Clinique lipsticks and glosses - no taste, no fragrance, just beautiful color!

There's a See It, Believe It video on Clinique's Web site. Check it out!

Photo courtesy of Clinique.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Blumarine's Spring 2010 RTW Collection

I try to keep my fashion opinions to myself, but it's hard at times like this, with new collections being shown every day.

I think Blumarine's Ready to Wear Collection for spring is magnificent. You can see a slide show at WWD - even without a subscription. "Jamaica Me Crazy" was the motto for Blumarine this season as Anna Molinari paid colorful homage to the tropical island. The riot of colors, artfully mixed, should inspire makeup lovers everywhere. I am already envisioning pale pinks, greens, blues - subtle washes of color on the eyes. Love it!

While you might not wear a full ensemble as shown on the runway, one of these pieces would certainly jazz up your spring and summer wardrobe. I am coveting the belts! Actually, I'm coveting a lot of what I saw, and that's unusual (for me) in these days of unwearable runway artistry. Check out the slide show!

Photos courtesy of WWD.

Great Stila Holiday Lip Glaze Deal

I continue to be amazed by the great deals to be found these days. Stila is offering eight Holiday Lip Glazes for $25! There are four new shades and four best sellers.

Plum Fairy - a sheer plum with pink pearl
Candy - sheer pink-coral with subtle rainbow shimmer
Marmalade - sheer peach with pink and white pearl
Pinkle Twinkle - sheer mid-tone pink with rainbow shimmer

Kitten - nude pink champagne shimmer with golden pearl
Starfruit - neutral pink-coral with white pearl
Cranberry - sheer brick red
Blackberry - deep purple wine

How can they top that? If you use the code FALLBEAUTY, you will receive a free Smude Pot in Golden Noir too.

This will be my second Stila order in a week! Hurry on over to Stila's Web site if you are as excited about this offer as I am.

Photo courtesy of Stila.

MAC Dazzleglass Creme

MAC's new Dazzleglass Creme ($18) is MAC's cult favorite Dazzleglass reinvented - sort of. It's definitely creamier, and it retains its namesake's shine and dazzle, which I like. Unfortunately, I think it also retains the heavy Dazzleglass texture that attracts cat fur like outdoor lights attract moths. [I suspect I'll be labeled a heretic by legions of MAC fans.]

Wishing to try it, I made the trip over to the MAC store this past weekend and selected two of the nine colors: Amorous and Do It Up. Amorous is as complex and rich in color as some of my favorite Chanel glosses. Described as "deep brown red with pearl," it looks very dark in the tube, but is quite wearable and will be a flexible lip gloss with many potential pairings this winter. I love the pigment and gold shimmer. Do It Up is described by MAC as a "bright blue pink with pearl." I would simply call it bright pink - the blue part is misleading. It's a good spring shade. Both have enough pigment to be worn without lipstick. I like that too.

Some of the colors were too bright or reminded me of bubble gum. I did like the transparent look of Soft Dazzle, a beautiful light pink with a hint of peach. If you are a Dazzleglass fan, you won't want to miss these. Their big plus is creme and shine. The minus to me is texture, but if you are a Dazzleglass fan, you won't mind the texture. In fact, you will like the new creaminess.

Available at MAC online, MAC stores, and wherever MAC cosmetics are sold.

Photo courtesy of MAC.

Juice Beauty Giveaway Contest Winner

Bonnie C. won our giveaway contest for Beautorium's Juice Beauty Oil-Free Moisturizer. Bonnie had some stiff competition! We had more entries for this contest than any contest in the past. Congratulations, Bonnie!

We selected a winner by using a random number generator, It's a great way to give every entrant an equal chance to win.

I hope you enjoyed your visits to If you haven't already done so, sign up for their e-mails so that you will always be notified of their wonderful specials. And don't forget that they have given Best Things in Beauty readers a 15% discount for the rest of 2009! Just use the code BTIB when you check out.

Many thanks to the generous folks at Beautorium - and to everyone who entered.

Photo courtesy of

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Will You Try LATISSE?

LATISSE is an FDA-approved prescription lash treatment that will make your lashes longer, fuller, and darker. Developed by Allergan, LATISSE makes lash growth possible because of its active ingredient: bimatoprost. Although why it works is not known, research suggests that LATISSE increases the percent of hairs grown during - and the duration of - the anagen (or growth) phase of lashes. Bimatoprost prolongs this growth phase.

The LATISSE model is the beautiful Brooke Shields. You can see Brooke's "unretouched" before and after photos at this link to the LATISSE Web site.

LATISSE is a once-a-day treatment you apply topically to the base of your upper eyelashes. Patients in a clinical trial saw results in as few as eight weeks with full results after 12 to 16 weeks. This simple routine produces results.

So, other than the cost of a cosmetic treatment, what would keep me from using it? Not the small percentage of side effects - all drugs have side effects in some people, and they are usually reversible. LATISSE may cause darkening of the eyelid skin (which may be reversible). Scarier for me, LATISSE may also cause increased brown pigmentation of the colored part of the eye, which is likely to be permanent. I like my blue-green eye color, and I don't want to take the chance of changing it. If I had paltry lashes, I might have a different attitude, but...

For brown-eyed men and women, increased brown pigmentation isn't a big deal. I'd like to know what you think. Would you try it if it were free? Just let us know in the comments.

Update: The poll I had up earlier had few voters, which means these results are inconclusive.
28% Yes
14% Maybe
57% No

Photo courtesy of LATISSE.

Armani Beauty Event with Tim Quinn

Always popular and a real draw, Tim Quinn spent two days at Saks in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The store usually has about 7-8 stations going, and everyone wants to spend a few minutes with Tim. He has a great eye for beauty, and he's so nice, friendly, and approachable. He's the perfect Armani ambassador. Women were leaving Tim looking pretty, and isn't that what it's about?

Look at Nicole Ojeda, a Best Things in Beauty (BTiB) reader, with Tim in this photo. Doesn't she look gorgeous? Tim always looks tan, rested, and terrific (and I would love to know his secret, given the time he spends on the road). This is a camera-phone photo - too bad we didn't have a pro there to memorialize all the BTiB visits. You can click on the photo to enlarge it.

I chatted with Tim about Spring 2010 products while he did my eye makeup and touched me up with some foundation and blusher. I have to admit that I was so interested in what he was telling me that I didn't pay as close attention as I should have to how he was doing my eyes (duh!). More on that below.

Tim and Loyd were surprised that the new Rouge d'Armani lipsticks had not arrived at the store for the event. These will be available in October in 18 shades grouped in four color families: Beige, Brown, Red, and Pink/Plum. The Beige shades have mother of pearl instead of white pigments, giving them greater transparency. The warm Brown shades promise a vibrant, bronze glow. The Reds, without mother of pearl, are intense and pigment-rich. The Pink/Plum shades provide a wide spectrum of pinks, from delicate lilac to intense fuchsia. The new lipsticks promise to add long-lasting color with moisture, a rare feat for a long-wear lipstick.

I learned that the Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow Palette in Rouge Iron was selling out - go figure. Tim swore it looked good on women with darker skin.

I asked Tim, "What's coming?" He told me the look for Spring 2010 would be PINK - all shades of pink. I'm already excited about that. Eyes to Kill shadow colors will be "ethereal," meaning sheer washes of subtle color. By that point, I was so excited with anticipation I lost all track of my own eyes, which he was "painting" with sheer washes of Manta Ray color. The spring line, in the final stages of Mr. Armani's selections, was sounding custom-tailored for me. There will be a new product that will be something of a hybrid between Fluid Sheer and Face Fabric. This sounds really interesting for spring and summer, given that most of us like to tone down the full-face look in the warm months. Knowing that Armani won't disappoint, I'm excited! I'll get you more information on the upcoming products as soon as I can.

Now, my eyes...Tim used concealer to create a base and then applied the #4 duo (Stone) shown here. He used both the pale blue and taupe and blended, blended, and blended. Then he used the dark grey pencil and drew a thin, expert line at the base of my lashes. Finishing with Eyes to Kill Mascara, the effect was pretty. His artistry was in his use of the two colors - where he used one, and where he used both. Magic! Plus the liner application was as good as it gets. He also brushed some Face Fabric over the central redness in my face (we laughed together as Loyd said, "Throw some makeup on her") and applied #1 Blending Blush Duo (Pink Rose/Sand).

I went from there to my doctor's office where I learned that I broke a metatarsal bone in my hand when I fell Monday. At least I looked and felt good when I got the news! Let me share with you that typing with your pinkie taped to the next finger is not easy.

When you get the chance, sign up for an Armani event with Tim. You might want to pay more attention to your face than I did. You can recreate the look he demonstrates!

Photos courtesy of Armani Beauty and Nicole Ojeda.

Estee Lauder's New Limited Edition Pure Color Eye Shadows

Estee Lauder has introduced new limited edition Pure Color EyeShadows ($17.50), available in 10 matte and 10 metallic shades. I was drawn to the metallics.

A silky new formula for Pure Color looks richer, wears longer, and doesn't crease. The shadows have a lightweight texture, but carry lots of pigment. You can buy one and sweep it from lash line to brow (Ecru Matte or Porcelain Matte would be nice for that on fair skin) or splurge and express your inner artist. They blend easily. I purchased Gold Metallic, Candlelight Metallic, and Amber Metallic. I have my eyes on Copper Metallic for darker accents too.

It's nice that the little compact has a mirror and applicator, however useless the applicator is for makeup mavens, in case you want to keep one in your purse or desk drawer at work. These are worthy of a look next time you shop.

Available at Estee Lauder's Web site (try code FREESHIP30), Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks (it's beauty week), or wherever you purchase Estee Lauder. Bloomingdale's has skin-care bonus offers for Estee Lauder right now - and a lipstick gift in store next week - so you may want to look there.

Photo courtesy of Nordstrom.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beauty Bits

Remember that the deadline for our Juice Beauty Giveaway Contest is midnight tomorrow night, September 27. I just used the Best Things in Beauty 15% discount to order John Masters Organic products. Saving money makes me so happy, and saving money on extra-special products makes me giddy!

If you have some free time this weekend, check out the newest addition to my favorite blog list: The Non-Blonde. Gaia's blog is excellent.

WWD reported that Hearst Magazines Digital Media and ModiFace announced the launch this week of a new beauty makeover tool on, an online beauty destination that went live Thursday. The new tool allows users to upload photographs to see how they would look with new hairstyles/colors and cosmetics, visualize anti-aging, and simulate weight loss. The makeover tool can be found on and is slated to be launched on the Web sites for Seventeen, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and Harpers Bazaar in the next few months. Estee Lauder had a similar tool available now, so this must be the next best thing.

Photo courtesy of Beautorium.

Armani Beauty Master Class - What Fun! Helpful Hints from Loyd

We had an "evening out" with Loyd Cassler, left, and Giannina Davis, standing in photo below, our friends from the Saks Armani Beauty Team! Six gal pals met after work Thursday at Saks in Chevy Chase, Maryland to learn and play in a private setting away from the sales floor, with all kinds of goodies to eat and drink. We had a blast! I think it was really cool that everyone showed up for work the next day wearing their new makeup and lookin' good.

The class took about two hours. During that time, Loyd stepped us through the whole routine - from skin care to the finishing touches. Each table had lots of brushes and other essentials (like cotton swabs) - and all the skin care and makeup you could need to "get pretty," no matter what your skin tone. We were a challenging class, I'm sure, with half African American, two pale faces (Libbie and me), and a medium-toned brunette, spanning all age groups.

Loyd demonstrated each step, using one of us as a model (alternating so everyone got a turn), and the rest of us followed his lead. I think Loyd's been holding out on me - I even learned something!

I'll share a little of what we learned at the class. You apply the Crema Nera Mineral Soothing Lotion with your hands! No cotton pads - just pour a few drops in your palm, rub your hands together, and blot the lotion onto your face. Good grief...I've been using it the wrong way!! You actually apply the Crema Nera Reviving Eye Cream over your concealer and/or foundation, patting it under your eyes. This allows the cream to do its thing - adding its reflecting properties without impediments. Amazing how that lights up your eyes. I watched Loyd do the same with a lovely redhead the next day, during the "Tim Quinn" Beauty Week event, and her whole look brightened. Very cool!

Armani Beauty makes fabulous makeup brushes, and I have them all. Loyd recommended that budget-conscious beauty addicts buy two Blender Brushes and use one for foundation and concealer (or Fluid Sheer) and the other for eye shadows or blusher. That's all you really need if you want to go minimal. Wash them as needed or once/week.

We worked with the Maestro Eye Shadow Quads, which are so flexible. Your skin tone determines the results. I have to admit, though, that we pale faces were coveting the way #3 (Earth) looked on our dark-skinned friends. Everyone in the class was impressed with the new Eyes to Kill Mascara, which lengthens and separates lashes magnificently.

One of my favorite products, Fluid Sheer, surprised everyone. Rouge (#4) is a great, sheer blusher no matter what your skin tone. Fluid Sheer can be a highlighter, bronzer, foundation "corrector," blusher - you name it. Use it under, over, or mixed with your foundation, or use it alone. And the beige-toned Lip Shimmers (#45 and #57) were quite a hit. Everyone liked the more neutral lip with a fancy eye.

As much as I would like to tell you we were privileged, the Amani Beauty counter at Saks Chevy Chase (and also at some other Saks stores) will set up a master class for you. Find out, and if your store is as good to you as ours is, grab your friends and make a date!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bobbi Brown's New Rich Color Gloss

Bobbi Brown's new Rich Color Gloss ($20) has hit the stores. I've seen it at Saks and Neiman Marcus, and it's on Bobbi Brown's Web site. The new gloss is three products in one, offering the full color coverage of a lipstick, the soft shine of a gloss, and the luxurious feel of a balm. As usual, Bobbi Brown has hit a home run.

Available in eight shades - light to dark and representing every color family - these glosses are long-lasting and feel good. There is a very slight taste.

I like the "doe-foot wand" because of the smooth, even, and fast application. I wasn't a big fan of Bobbi's brush applicators for gloss because they splayed out if you weren't really careful when placing them back in the tubes. Once splayed, they were harder to apply.

I bought two to start: Pink Raspberry, featured in the October W magazine, and Pink Buff. Both colors have enough pigment to wear alone - no lipstick underneath - for a nice sheer look.

Bobbi Brown fans should be on the lookout for these!

Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus.

HLMN Weekend Roundup - September 25

This week BeautySweetSpot's own, Jeannine Morris, was at the Emmy's doing a segment for E! Get the behind-the-scenes scoop on the red carpet and celebrity swag suites.

Beauty Junkies Unite has three easy ways to plumper, fuller lips.

Best Things in Beauty has a Juice Beauty Giveaway Contest underway, along with information on how gals with straight, wavy, or curly hair can can achieve their coveted look with Ouidad hair care.

Brown Suga Fashion and Beauty Blog breaks down Fall's new face.

Fab Glance Nashville guides you through picking the perfect watch for the man in your life.

Fabulous Over Forty has a week-long review of mascaras with a giveaway at the end of the week.

FerOHHHsh takes on Fall Style for Non-Barbies.

Gouldylox Reviews asks what makes us yearn for the latest and greatest in beauty.

Hot Beauty Health answers a common skin question: How do I get rid of acne scars?

The Informed Makeup Maven heads backstage at the Walter show and gets the scoop on the look for fall with Stila.

Krasey Beauty shows you her favorite outfit and makeup look from New York Fashion Week.

Discover 10 ways to look younger at Prime Beauty.

Looking a little pale going into Fall? Read up on Lipgloss Break's favorite Self-Tanning Products and self-tanning application tips.

Marina from Makeup4all reminds you about all Collections by MAC cosmetics for 2009th Year.

theNotice takes a look at makeup + chronic pain to come up with a easy five-minute face -- for everyone!

Check out why Ilamasqua is illmatic on

Fall in love with Su Ferreira's beauty picks.

For more information about The HLMN or how to become an affiliate, please visit our Web site.

Save 20% at SkinStore

A quick note to let you know that is having a store-wide 20%-off sale through September 29. Use code SEP20 to save on your favorite brands.

SkinStore carries Philosophy, Kinerase, MD Forte, Cosmedicine, and so much more.

Photo courtesy of

Saks Beauty Week

Beauty Week at Saks Fifth Avenue is underway, and there are some great gifts with purchase. Not only that, depending on how much you spend and what departments you shop (including cosmetics and fragrances), you can get a gift card (their spend some, get some reward). Online and in stores until September 27, if you spend $450, you will receive a $100 gift card. If you spend $1,000, you will receive a $250 gift card.

Customers who spend $75 or more will also receive a Stephanie Johnson beauty bag (you can select one of three colors) filled with samples from Natori, Guerlain, Lancôme Secret de Vie skincare, Frederic Fekkai, and more (while supplies last).

Most counters have a gift with purchase special too, including Clinique, Armani, Bobbi Brown, Sisley, Laura Mercier, Estee Lauder, Lancome, and Kiehl's - to name only a few. Some of these are great gift sets.

If you order online, use code SAKSGIFT9 if your purchase qualifies for a gift card. Code SEPTSHIP9 will get you free shipping. It's more fun to stop in the store if you can.

We (work buddies) had an Armani Master Class with Loyd last night. I can't wait to tell you about it! Champagne, fruit, cheese and crackers, sparking water, skin care, and makeup! A winning combination. I will be going back to pick up my goodies and meet with Tim Quinn on Saturday. I know Tim will show me the one thing I don't have, but can't live without. He's got a knack for that.

Photo courtesy of Saks.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

MAC to Go Preppie

According to WWD, Lilly Pulitzer has partnered with MAC Cosmetics to create a color cosmetics collection, "MAC in Lillyland," which will be introduced next January. The products will include two makeup brushes, an eyeshader for $24.50 and an angled contour brush, $32; two Technakohl liners, each $14.50; four Lipgelées, each $14; two nail lacquers, each $12; three Paint Pots, each $16.50; four Cremeblend blushes, each $18.50, and two embossed compacts. "If you can’t afford to go to the resort, we will bring the resort to you with these products,” James Gager, MAC's senior vice president and creative director, told WWD.

What a fabulous idea! Lilly and MAC are both famous for colors. I'm hoping the colors will be playful but wearable shades - just like the Lilly Pulitzer clothing.

We've got a long wait (doesn't snowy January sound a long way off?), but I'm looking forward to seeing this collection!

Photo courtesy of Lilly Pulitzer.

Estee Lauder's New Makeup Brushes

"Individually designed and engineered with direction from top makeup artists from around the globe," Estee Lauder has introduced a new line of makeup brushes. The Blush Brush 15 ($32) shown here replaces my favorite Estee Lauder blush brush.

This great brush applies blusher with a softness that is hard to beat. A quick swirl on your cheeks, and your powder blusher is evenly applied and natural looking. The brush deposits just the right amount of product on your skin.

The new line has nine brushes: powder foundation, powder, blush, foundation, concealer, blending shadow, contour shadow, lip, and eyeliner/brow. The prices range from $20 to $42.

If you purchase a makeup brush at Estee Lauder's Web site and use the code REMOVE at checkout, you will receive a great fold-up mirror and a five-day supply of Take It Away makeup remover towelettes. As always, at Estee Lauder's Web site, you get to select your free samples with purchase.

Photo courtesy of Estee Lauder.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Curls Courtesy of Ouidad

I've got curls - serious curls. If you knew how stick-straight my hair is, you would think it's a miracle. Instead of divine intervention, though, it was royal intervention. Ouidad, the "Queen of Curl" struck.

Don't we always want what we can't have? Although I loved my long, straight hair in college, that was a long time ago. For many years, my hair uniform has been a bob - long bob, short bob, medium bob - the best I have been able to do is keep my hair turned under on the ends with a styling product and hair spray. I'm not really complaining now that bobs are "in," but every now and then a girl needs a change! Not a drastic change, just something different, if only for a few days.

Thinking that Ouidad products were only for women with natural waves or curls, I had never tried them. During the last week, I gave three products a workout: Clear & Gentle Essential Daily Shampoo ($13), Balancing Rinse Essential Daily Conditioner ($15), and PlayCurl Volumizing Foam ($17). We started at my hair salon, where I asked Donna if she could help me test the products and create a curly style. With a worried look that said, "I don't have all day," she kindly agreed. She's actually a great sport, but I know she thought I was having a birthday crisis.

The Clear & Gentle shampoo has a very pleasant, light scent, lathers nicely, and cleans thoroughly. Judy, the shampoo specialist and hair stylist in her own right, was impressed. From my vantage point, I was impressed with the nice, very light citrusy fragrance. This all-purpose shampoo is blended with essential wheat protein to restore hair's natural body and shine, as well as vitamin E and jojoba seed oil help ensure that your hair looks and feels its healthiest. The Balancing Rinse Essential Daily Conditioner also had a nice light fragrance, and it does its work quickly. We made sure to leave it on until we could easily run our fingers through my wet hair. The oil-free, wax-free, and animal fat-free formulation locks moisture into your curls by closing each hair's cuticle layer - important for nice, curly but frizz-free hair. Then, onto Donna's chair. PlayCurl also had a very light fragrance on application, and then the fragrance disappears - perfect! PlayCurl blends arnica flower extract, wheat protein, and hydrolyzed silk with volumizing polymers to strengthen and detangle hair without weighing it down - giving hair an effective body boost that encourages curl formation. Donna scrunched PlayCurl into my hair from the bottom up and started her work.

She created curls - or at least the early makings of curls - by quickly creating large, messy curls all over my head with double-pronged clips. Then I sat under the dryer for a short time. Had I been at home, I could have let the curls air dry. After she removed the clips, she went at my hair with a small-barreled curling iron. She fussed until she was satisfied. The results? Curls, volume, shiny hair, and no frizz! With almost no hair spray, the curls lasted for two days. Wow! The cool part is that people noticed and liked the look. Who doesn't appreciate compliments?

My own results, while less professional than Donna's, were very satisfying. I went for waves - a second look I have wanted to achieve. I like wavy bobs with a turn under here and a little flip there - a casual look that won't hold in my hair more than 15 minutes under normal conditions. It worked! My hair did exactly what I asked of it, without much more effort than I put into it on a normal day.

We have a consumer reporter in DC on NBC4, Liz Crenshaw, who has a segment called, "Does It Really Do That?" The answer with Ouidad is a resounding YES!

By the way, you curly haired gals will find that the products are really up your alley. You can learn how to work with your curls, not against them, on the Ouidad Web site. There's so much good information there, including videos. Not only that, there is a 24-hour help line!! How good does it get?

Those who have subscribed to Ouidad's Curl Talk e-mail list can receive a special code for free standard shipping on any order placed before Friday, September 25th.

I will try to get you some before and after photos eventually. In the meantime, head over to Ouidad to check out the curl celebration!

Photo courtesy of Ouidad.

Armani Crema Nera Giveaway Contest Winner

At long last, I can announce our Armani Crema Nera contest winner. I had this contest judged by independent judges to avoid any charges of favoritism (toward subscribers, frequent comment contributors, etc.). Unfortunately, the judges were slow. We also ended up with a very close decision, but one that shows all of you that you can win two contests on Best Things in Beauty. So keep entering!

Drum roll, please. The winner of this generous giveaway from the Armani Beauty Team at Saks in Chevy Chase, Maryland is...Margarete S., who was notified by e-mail. Margarete submitted the most creative entry we got - had the judges in hysterics, as did our #2 entry.

Congratulations, Margarete! This fabulous gift will be coming your way.

Thank you to all who entered. We have lots of great giveaway contests coming up, and our Beautorium Juice Beauty contest is underway. Check in here at Best Things in Beauty often. Giving away great stuff is fun, so we are going to keep doing it!

Don't forget that Saks in Chevy Chase has an Armani Beauty event this Friday and Saturday. Tim Quinn will be there. I plan to go to see how he's creating the look of the season.

Photo courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue.

Clinique Blushwear Cream Stick Blusher

If you like cream blusher, Clinique's Blushwear Cream Stick ($18.50) is a fabulous one. Not only is the price right, it has all the qualities we look for in a cream blusher: blends easily; transparent, natural color; buildable color; transfer- and water-resistant. Not only that, it is billed as "cream to powder," so it dries to a lasting finish.

I love this stuff - so much that I bought one in every color...Rosy Blush, Peachy Blush, Glow Blush, and Shy Blush. That way, I can create any look I want - with fingers, brush, or sponge to blend.

This week only, with any $30 Clinique purchase at, you can get a mini Rosy Blush and free shipping by using the offer code GREAT at checkout. Great is exactly how I would describe this blusher!

Photo courtesy of Clinique.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stila Smudge Pot Deal - Too Good to Pass Up

Let the good times roll! Like Stila's Kitten shadow? Take a look at this special. For $32, you can get four smudge pots plus a mini liner brush - and free shipping with the code FALLSHIPPING.

Smudge pots are multitasking gel-based liners and shadows. I adore Kitten. The set includes two new shades, Starry Night and Violet, and two best sellers, Kitten and Black. Kitten is a must-have for me and several of my friends. A nude champagne with shimmer, it's the perfect everyday shadow. Who can't use black, and why not get the ultra-trendy violet at the same time?

I'm headed off to order now. This offer ends at midnight on September 27.

Photo courtesy of Stila.

Juice Beauty Giveaway Contest

The generous folks at, the go-to site for natural and organic beauty products, are sponsoring our giveaway contest this week. Not only that, they are offering Best Things in Beauty readers a 15% discount on all purchases between now and December 31!

If you have been reading Best Things in Beauty, you will know that I am smitten with Beautorium. The range of brands and products available is stunning. They have carefully edited the world's natural and organic offerings, selecting the best, and they provide so much good information that I find myself browsing all the time.

Our giveaway contest is for a Juice Beauty Oil-Free Moisturizer ($28). To quoteBeautorium..."Juice Beauty’s lightweight organic oil-free moisturizer blends certified organic white grape and pomegranate juice with soothing aloe vera, vitamin antioxidants, and nutrient-rich sea algae to hydrate and quench skin's natural moisture balance for a beautiful matte finish." Use this moisturizer morning and night on your face, neck, and décolletage to stay moist and gorgeous. This is a great product for oily, combination, and normal skin.

What sets Beautorium apart from its competitors is the wealth of information they provide. I learned on the site that Juice Beauty was voted the #1 organic brand by and Most Wanted Cosmetic Product by Juice Beauty counts Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz, and Marsha Cross amongst its celebrity clientele.

Juice Beauty meets the strict USDA and the COPA (California Organic Products Act) organic guidelines for all of their certified organic ingredients. Juice Beauty contains no parabens, pesticides, petroleum, propylene or butylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances. and no phthalates. Not only that, their products have not been tested on animals.

To enter the giveaway contest, just e-mail and tell us what you like best about the Beautorium Web site. There's a lot to like, so have fun out there. The deadline for entries is midnight September 27.

While you are browsing, I'm sure you will find something you have to try. Just use the code BTIB during checkout any time through 12/31/2009, and you will receive a 15% discount. I'll be ordering a huge supply of John Masters Organics hair products (read my review here) - more than enough to get the free Lavender Hydrating Mist, a gift with purchase.

Good Luck!

I will be posting this giveaway contest on Free!Grechen, my favorite site for giveaways.

Photo courtesy of Beautorium.

Monday, September 21, 2009

HERMÈS Un Jardin sur la Nil

Have you ever tried HERMÈS Un Jardin sur la Nil? This is a delicious fragrance - light, fruity, and sparkingly fresh. Give it a try next time you're shopping!

Translated as A Garden upon the Nile, the fragrance evokes the mangos of the fertile Nubian region of Egypt. However, it's so much more complex than those overly sweet mango fragrances that abound. It has notes of lotus flowers, shown on the box, sparkling citrus fruits (definite grapefruit), and something very green. There's a very slight woody note that's quite pleasant; I have read that it's sycamore.

Although billed as unisex, I think this fragrance is very feminine. From the moment you spray it on until later in the day when you still get a whiff, it's feminine charm is undeniable.

Despite the HERMÈS name, this perfume is competitively priced. Once available only in high-end stores and priced from $90 or $125, depending on size, you can now find it online at Amazon ($67.99) and other discount sites I see online.

I think I bought a lifetime supply when this fragrance was introduced. Every time Neiman Marcus had a kit, with a body lotion and "take-to-work" size included, I would buy another one. To this day, I'm glad I did.

Photo courtesy of Hermes.

b~Glowing Anniversary Celebration Discount

To celebrate its fifth anniversary, b~Glowing is offering a store-wide 20% discount. Use code CELEB now through September 28.

Philip B, Diana B., Nuxe Paris, Kai, Hampton Sun - everything is on sale. Check it out!

Photo courtesy of b~Glowing.

Bobbi Brown's Moisturizing Cream Compact Foundation

Like your foundation in a pan? Want medium-to-full coverage with a natural appearance? Need some moisture too? Bobbi Brown has the perfect solution: Moisturizing Cream Compact Foundation ($40). This workhorse comes in 20 shades (from very light to very dark), three of which are new. The new shades are Cool Beige, Natural Tan, and Warm Honey.

I use this foundation for a boost at lunchtime, after I have obliterated the foundation I was wearing with my napkin and to re-cover the redness around my nose. It blends seamlessly with what I applied in the morning (Armani), and the shade I use (Warm Ivory) is perfect for me. It's really convenient to have the compact in my desk drawer. It has a nice big mirror and sponge applicator in it. I don't even have to leave my desk for repairs!

The emollient formula provides lasting wear and moisture. Advertised to instantly soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and deliver a soft, radiant finish, it meets its promise. This foundation is designed for normal to dry skin because it is blended with moisturizing ingredients, such as jojoba and avocado oils.

You can see Bobbi's demonstration video, Applying Foundation, at her Web site. You can purchase Moisturizing Cream Compact Foundation at Bobbi Brown online or at Saks, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and other department stores.

Photo courtesy of Bobbi Brown.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Do Advertisements Attract You to Purchase?

Another Rant and Rave Post

Advertisements send strong messages. They are meant to rope in customers and sell products. There is a current Gucci bag I have never seen in person, but it's a "kill-for" item. Unfortunately, I can't afford a purse that costs close to $3,000, and I have finally learned that it won't hold its value like jewelry does.

I was browsing through the October Elle and here's my list of the "best and worst" from the first few pages. My criteria? The best make my eyes linger. I look at the model and the product, and I quickly judge the effect. I get the "I wants." The worst are usually sex-themed or kinky, include nudity, and are, in my opinion, trashy - even when they are for expensive products. Am I becoming a curmudgeon?

The Louis Vuittton ads are just plain silly. Green hair, green eyelashes, celebrity seduction...for a purse?

What caught my eye about the D&G clothing ad is that it didn't flaunt sex this time. There's a minor peek-a-boo, but it is inoffensive and shows vivid purple - a color of the season. At least I wasn't offended.

Who wouldn't want a Bottega Veneta gown after seeing the gorgeous models, so elegantly attired and ready for the ball?

Guess, on the other hand, assumes women leave the house with their shirts unbuttoned to the navel, breasts exposed, and S&M hardware. If I had a teen daughter, I would ground her if she emulated this look!

Donna Karan continues to prove her slogan: "For a woman, by a woman." What class! What wearable clothes! I have never found them to fit me without tailoring (I do not have womanly curves despite my age), but I have always admired them.

Dolce & Gabbana cosmetics featuring Scarlett Johansson? The ads do not inspire me. Sorry, Scarlet, you're a talented actress, but your pose in a corset lying on a leopard fabric have no relationship with my life.

Bvlgari? Gorgeous, elegant, beautiful woman (with false eyelashes), but still enticing.

Hugo Boss - ditto without the funky lashes. You can see yourself wearing these clothes.

Chloe? Who lives Little House on the Prairie? Ruffles are in, but if you wore one of these getups to anything but a fashion victim theme party, you would draw stares.

Chanel's new Le Mascara Inimitable? With expertly placed false lashes, it makes you want to try the new Collection Noirs Obscurs.

White House Black Market - the ads actually drew me into their store. Isn't this what advertisements are supposed to do?

Cole Haan? Could they have put pants on Maria Sharapova? Do real people wear over-the-knee boots with short shorts?

Moncler? Precious - makes me want to seek them out.

Dooney & Bourke channels Ralph Lauren, horse theme and all. Great ad!

Jimmy Choo, I'll be wearing clothing with my next handbag purchase, but I'm sure that your products will appeal to the status-conscious among us.

I'm over it now. Writing can be such a release! Does anyone out there agree? What features of an advertisement draw you in, make you shop, or lust for a product? Anyone out there reading blogs on this gorgeous Sunday?

Photo courtesy of popcrunch.

Maybelline's Rep at CVS

Mabelline's representative for the CVS stores, Nicolette Dickman, is making the rounds. She's new to the job and a nice, young woman who loves her products! Since I wear Mabelline's Define-A-Lash Mascara, which I think is better than the best-selling Great Lash, I trekked over to talk to her.

Maybelline has some new products, including Sensational, their fabulous new lipsticks and lip glosses. They are also pushing battery-operated mascara wands (not my thing). One new product that interests me? Their Expert Wear Eye Shadow Quads, available in 12 coordinated color families. I saw a photo of a smokey eye palette and results in one of the new magazines, and I think the price is right for me to try out these smoldering eye colors without breaking the bank. Even if I don't wear the darker shades, the two lightest colors will look good on me.

Maybelline is one of the top mass-market beauty brands. Less expensive than the other leaders, Maybelline cosmetics are a good value. Naturally, you can buy Maybelline at drugstores, online, supermarkets, and superstores like Target. There are usually BOGO offers and coupons galore! I came home with some coupons I'll be using.

Photo courtesy of Maybelline.

Kai - Another Cult Fragance Favorite

There's no question I'm a floral fragrance fanatic - a selective fanatic, though. My florals have to be "pure," meaning they cannot contain ubiquitous stink bombs like patchouli or amber.

Kai is a blend of gardenia and white flowers (jasmine, tuberose, and lily). It evokes Hawaii, where the creator spent her youthful vacations, or Florida, where I loved to sit near the gardenias in a friend's garden. Perhaps I inherited my love of gardenias from my mother; she carried a gardenia bouquet at her wedding to my father, a marriage that lasted until he died in his 80s a few years ago.

Kai is light, green, clean, and heavenly. What's great about Kai is that there are so many products to love. There is the Eau de Parfum Spray ($72) for those who simply want a spray fragrance. The Perfume Oil ($45), which comes in a rollerball, is perfect for throwing in your purse. One really cool product is the Body Glow Spray ($30). This is a lightly fragranced spray body oil that adds a bit of glow to your skin - nothing dramatic, just a nice clean sheen. The new Body Butter ($60 in a big jar) has a shea butter base that leaves you moisturized and irresistible.

There's more! Check out Kai at, LuckyScent, or Google Kai if you like florals. Devotees include Charlize Theron, Cate Blanchett, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Gardner, Tyra Banks, and Mariah Carey - and then there's me.

Although this fragrance has been available for years, it's still not well-known. Perhaps because it's not a department store or magazine ad staple? DCers: you can buy it at Art with Flowers at the Tysons Galleria.

Photo courtesy of Kai.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ralph Panned

Now I've seen everything. Ralph Lauren's "shabby chic" collection for Spring 2010 was panned in the Washington Post this morning. You can read Robin Givhan's review at this link. I have to say, after seeing the clothes, I have to agree with her. She is a keen fashion observer, and she actually panned most of the Spring looks.

As a rule, I think Ralph Lauren produces some of the most beautiful, romantic clothing and accessories on earth. His advertisements are masterpieces. I would love to live in his fantasy world. It's sad that he couldn't give fashion lovers a "lift" in bad times, rather than playing to the mood of poverty, despair, and recession.

Photo courtesy of NBC New York.

Liquid Foundation - Fingers, Sponge, or Brush?

How do you apply your liquid foundation? Most of the time, I use a sponge - one of those wedge-shaped ones made for makeup. I never use my fingers anymore, and most of the time I don't use a foundation brush for foundation (just cream blushes) because it takes me longer. I am always in a hurry in the morning.

I put the right amount of foundation in my palm and then pick it up with the narrow end of the sponge. Sponges blend really well, and I use the larger end for any blending that might be necessary after I have applied my foundation with the smaller end. Remember that most of us need more product in the center of our face and less toward our hairline, jaw, and chin. The sponge application allows you to start in the center with the majority of your product and then blend outward.

When sponges are unused, they do soak up extra product, but after an application or two, that stops. I wash my sponge about once/week. Of course, I throw it out and start with a new one every 3-4 weeks.

Today, I read a Beauty Bulletin by Paula Begoun (the self-named "cosmetics cop"), who advocates a different method. She puts the foundation directly on a round sponge and dots it all over the face before blending. Whatever works! I do disagree with her on total, even coverage. She advocates sunscreen in everything, and she believes that "you must apply a complete, even layer [of foundation] over the entire face." She says, "A thin or too sheer application will not provide adequate protection from the sun."

I think that to look your best, you need to use as little foundation as possible and rely on a moisturizer for your sunscreen. I also believe that you need as little foundation on your jaw line as possible to minimize the difference with your neck color. What do you think? Anyone willing to share their routine for applying foundation?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Weekend Shipping, Discounts, and Other Specials

Just a few of the offers that have hit my mailbox in the last day...

LORAC has a new VIP starter set available for $18.50 - while supplies last. These LORAC sets are a deal!

Shu Uemura is offering free shipping this weekend (through Sunday night). Use code FSHIPPING at checkout.

Clinique has free shipping this weekend (through Sunday night). Use code WEEKEND at checkout.

Avon has free shipping on any $5 order through September 21. Use code 918FSW at checkout.

Bobbi Brown has free shipping on any order through Saturday night. Use code TOP at checkout.

The 20% discount at Giorgio Armani Beauty ends tonight, September 18. Lancome's free shipping and deluxe sample offer also ends tonight.

MAC has an extended free shipping offer. Use code FALLTRENDS through October 11.

At Tarte, you can save 30% off the Fashion Week Spring 2010 collection. Use code SFW30.

Flirt at Kohl's online has 15% off your order, a free sample, and free shipping on a purchase of $75. Through September 23.

Stila has a free Smudgepot in Golden Noir with any purchase. Use the code FREEFALL or FALLBEAUTY at checkout until Monday night at midnight.

Photo courtesy of LORAC.

HyperLuxe Media Network Weekend Roundup - September 18

Yea, the Roundup is Back!

BeautyLuxe has compiled the ultimate Fall Beauty Guide.

Check out exclusive peeks backstage during fashion week and the man of the week at Beauty Sweet Spot.

Best Things in Beauty has a fabulous giveaway contest going; you could win a Giorgio Armani Beauty Crema Nera Regenerating Cream ($230).

Claire's Beauty is really loving the new L'Oreal Telescopic Explosion Mascara!

DenimDebutante learns more about ECBC, a shopping site for women, by women (with a giveaway bonus!)

Fab Finds Under $50 has selected 20 items for $465 creating over 40 outfits for the plus size gal!

Fab Glance Nashville takes a look at the new owl-inspired jewelry trend.

Fabulous Over Forty discovers the wonderful Spa Bath products of Lisa Hoffman Beauty.

Gouldylox Reviews shares what to do when haircuts go wrong.

Go backstage with Francois Nars and Marc Jacobs at the Marc Jacob's Fashion Week Spring 2010 runway show at The Glamour Whore.

The Informed Makeup Maven previews Victoria's Secrets Holiday Collections.

Krasey Beauty goes backstage with Mehron at Vassilios Kostetsos.

Marina from Makeup4all tells you how to create bright coral lips that you could see at NYFW.

Check out MAC Bible Secrets and My Views on Color Theory at The Makeup Snob.

theNotice has finally found the perfect blue-red lip colour -- honestly!

Temple of Glam is serving up NY Fashion Week Coverage + "True Blood" Inspired Beauty.

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

Patricia Wexler Fastscription Instant De-Puff Eye Gel

Lately at Best Things in Beauty, it has been all about eyes! This morning, I'm continuing our eye theme.

I know I have mentioned Patricia Wexler's Fastscription Instant De-Puff Eye Gel ($19.50) in the past, but I think it deserves its own posting - it's that good. This eye gel won a 2008 Allure Best of Beauty Award in the Best DePuffing Eye Product Category and the 2008 Best in Show Award from Women's Health magazine.

Fastscription Instant De-Puff really works to de-puff your undereye area. It surprised me the first time I used it because most products that claim to banish bags don't.

So what causes undereye puffiness? Many women think it's just fluid retention. However, most of the time, it's fat. We come by the fat naturally, but as we age, it shifts. Not only that, it's genetic, so you can thank mom and dad. No eye cream or gel will remove fat. If you want to get rid of it, you need to consider the surgeon's knife or fillers. Some fillers are being used by skilled practitioners to minimize the appearance of bags by filling out the surrounding areas.

Puffiness is also caused by allergens, too much alcohol, too much salt, sleeping on your head, and other self-inflicted conditions (guilty!) or by prescription drugs and medical ailments. This kind of puffiness can often be reduced, if not eliminated, by cosmetic products. My other remedy that works well? Resting with head raised, wet gauze protecting the eyes, and a baggie of frozen baby peas over the entire eye area for at least 20 minutes.

But I digress. You pat the Fastscription Instant De-Puff Eye Gel onto your skin under your eyes and, should you need it, on your brow area. Although it's safe for contact lens wearers, you should avoid getting it in your eyes. The product works well under your makeup. In a pinch, I have used it over my makeup - worked fine. It is said to also help with firming and fine lines. I can't testify to that because I don't use it every day - only for "emergencies."

Give it a try if you suffer from undereye puffiness. You can purchase Fastscription Instant De-Puff Eye Gel at Bath & Body Works.

Photo courtesy of Bath & Body Works.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Prescriptives is History

Today, according to WWD, the Estee Lauder Companies announced the "shuttering" of Prescriptives. They will "shut down wholesale distribution of its 30-year-old Prescriptives brand by Jan. 31. Products will continue to be available through the brand’s Web site for consumers needing replenishment, until supplies run out."

That's big news, although not surprising. The brand has been considered stodgy for years - no buzz. My "department store friends" have told me that it doesn't sell. WWD reported that sales have been "anemic."

If you use anything in the line, now's the time to buy at

Update: See comments. Calyx will live on.

Photo courtesy of Prescriptives.

Did You Go to Saks Today for the Fekkai Special?

We did, and, as I expected, the sales push was aggressive - too aggressive. You will recall that today, if you took a full bottle of any brand of shampoo to Saks, you could exchange it for one of three reformulated Fekkai shampoos - free. In fact, as far as I know, the swap will continue all day - are you going? A friend and I went late afternoon, and we both selected Technician Color Care, a $23 value. Why not? It was basically free.

I was able to resist the sales push, which included the assessment that my hair was a bit dry. After the rep told me that, she asked what shampoo I was using. I couldn't resist saying Fekkai. It wasn't entirely a lie, although I haven't used Fekkai in months [wink]. "You will need a conditioner," she continued. I told her I have the Technician Conditioner and that I would buy more when I need it - and that was true! Then she tried to sell me the mask. Check - already have it.

My friend also got the full-court press, and she ended up buying a conditioner and a styling product. At least they gave her some samples in addition. It was a riot when one said to her, "I will give you some samples because I like you." I guess they didn't like me. Perhaps it was because I kept my wallet in my purse.

Actually, I went with the intention of buying the conditioner! The attitude and their aggressiveness turned me off. I am not sure whose employees they were; they didn't look familiar to me.

Ever get so annoyed with a sales rep that you refuse to buy something you'd like to have?

Photo courtesy of Sephora.