Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weekend Roundup - October 31

Bet you expected a cat picture with this roundup! I decided our canine friends might be feeling a little left out of the weekly attractions, so this cute little guy gets his minute of fame.

Here are a few blog posts I enjoyed this week - in no particular order. They are recommended reading!

You can read about the gorgeous Givenchy Les Perles Holiday Collection at Beauty Addict.

Fabulous Over Forty is smitten with Jouer Cosmetics!

The Non-Blonde featured Laura Geller's Baked Marble Eye Shadow in Mint Licorice today.

Beauty 411 reviewed the ultra-shampoo from Philip B, Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo.

Amber at Beauty Junkies Unite reviewed Antidote Summer Glow Self-Tanning Lotion, designed to eliminate the DHA odor. Want to keep that safe summer tan? Check it out!

You can learn about LiQWD hair care products, developed by the original creators of Alterna, at Beauty in Real Life.

Temptalia has a Softlips Pure Organic Lip Conditioner giveaway.

You can see the Shiseido Holiday 2009 Rich Rocks Collection at Beauty Anonymous.

The Beauty Alchemist gave us a sneak peak at Clinique's Deep Comfort Hand Cream and Body Wash.

Just click on October in the Blog Archive to the right to see what's been happening at Best Things in Beauty. Thanks for reading!

Photo courtesy of

Michael Kors - Estee Lauder Partnership

WWD announced yesterday that Michael Kors has teamed with Estee Lauder to launch the Very Hollywood color cosmetics collection in January. My information here comes exclusively from, the source for fashion and beauty industry information.

The Very Hollywood color collection will have 19 pieces packaged in beige with gold accents and coral outer cartons. There are two color families — Bel Air Beige and Rodeo Pink — each with two $22 lip sheens with SPF 15, two $20 lip glosses, one $26 blush, one $30 eye shadow duo, one $19 eye pencil, and one $18 nail lacquer. Bel Air Beige’s palette is beige and coral centered, while Rodeo Pink is characterized by vibrant pink hues.

Aerin Lauder considers three complementary products the standouts of the collection: a $32 shimmering loose powder, the $22 lip sheen in a subtle pink shade with gold flecks named Hollywood Gold, and a $20 lip gloss in Hollywood Gold.

I am loving the idea of the sheens, sheer lip colors from Estee Lauder! “That’s something that was really new for Estée Lauder,” Lauder told WWD. “It is an interesting way for us to look at color. In the past, we have done thicker, more opaque colors on the lip.”

Michael Kors designs beautiful, wearable clothing, and I'll bet his cosmetics will echo the casual glamour of his clothing designs. I'm looking forward to seeing this collection, and I hope it doesn't sell out as quickly as Tom Ford's Estee Lauder entree.

Photo courtesy of WWD

Tarte Discounted at Rue La La - Now!

Like Tarte? Rue La La has deeply discounted prices - now!

Rue La La is an invitation-only shopping site. You can join by using Best Things in Beauty's invitation.

There are some very nice items available, but hurry! The good stuff always sells out quickly at Rue La La and similar sites. That's why I rushed this posting into print!

Photo courtesy of Rue La La

Living Proof Shampoo and Conditioner

You have probably seen the advertisements for Living Proof's relatively new "no-frizz" hair care products. They have been prominently featured by Sephora, and I was intrigued from the get-go. Billed as revolutionary products featuring the first new anti-frizz technology in over 30 years, Living Proof's shampoos and conditioners promise to weightlessly hydrate the hair, effectively block humidity, and enhance shine for truly sleek locks. The key ingredient, PolyfluoroEster, is said to create an invisible shield on the hair shafts to lock in moisture and repel dirt and oil so that you can go longer between washes to "break the frizz and damage cycle."

Here's what I had read. "Whether you've got curly cues or stick-straight strands, at some point you'll be affected by the dreaded frizz—the annoying change in hair texture that takes you from slick to static in any humid situation." Bloggers were abuzz! The girls were loving this stuff, so I sprang for the shampoo and conditioner. Did they match their hype? Not for me!

As a rule, I don't like to write about products that don't perform - it's just not fun. Living Proof falls into its own special category. I actually liked the Living Proof Shampoo ($24) and Living Proof Conditioner ($24), when considered as regular hair care products, but I found that they did nothing at all to block humidity, prevent frizz, or give me an extra day between washes.

What's to like? They have a very nice, light fragrance that doesn't linger in my hair. The shampoo lathers well, and the conditioner is hydrating and detangling. They provide bounce and shine. I used them up - emptied each container.

I have straight fine hair, so it's not hair one would call frizzy. However, like most women, I have some damage: a split end here and there and some broken hairs all over. It's the damage that creates what I call frizz. Unless they are plastered down, humidity makes the damaged hairs want to stand up and look disorderly. The Living Proof products did nothing to prevent that. Perhaps I should have used the No Frizz Straight Making Styling Spray ($24), but I wanted to see if the shampoo and conditioner lived up to their promises before I invested. I don't think I'll be spending that money.

It's certainly possible that I was a bad test subject! If you have truly frizzy hair and have tried these products, please tell us about your experience in the comments.

You can purchase Living Proof products from Sephora.

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

I have to admit I've never been a big "Halloween person." We weren't allowed to go trick-or-treating when I was a child (so no need for costumes). My father, who had lived through the depression, said that no child of his would ever go door to door begging. God Love Him! He took great care of us, and I tear up when I remember him every day.

Still, I find humor in Halloween and wish you a merry one no matter how you choose to celebrate! This kitty gave me the giggles.

Photo courtesy of

Friday, October 30, 2009

Best Drugstore Beauty: Discount

People StyleWatch published a super beauty discount for! Until November 26, use code PSWCVS for a 20% discount on all full-priced beauty tools, fragrance, hair care and color, makeup, nail care, skin care, and more.

This is the perfect time to check out the "healthy skin care brands," Vichy, La Roche-Posay, and Lierac. We have written about many of these products here at Best Things in Beauty. A 20% discount on these brands is a great deal!

The discount is not available in CVS stores, and it's not valid on prescription items.

Photo courtesy of People StyleWatch

Philosophy Supernatural Cream Blush Giveaway Contest Winner

We have a giveaway contest winner. Congratulations, Toye B!

Toye, you will be wearing blush again! This super-blendable, creamy, natural mineral blush from Philosophy moisturizes, energizes, and adds sheer, healthy color to cheeks for a very natural-looking blush. You can build the color, so start with a little and add more until you glow. You can read more about it at this Best Things in Beauty link.

Many thanks to all of my cat-loving readers who understood the crushed box "purr-fectly." As usual, I wish I had a blusher to send to each and every one of you! Thanks for entering the contest. Your e-mails were delightful.

Our next giveaway contest has a sensational prize. I'll be posting it soon. Until then, Happy Reading!

Photo courtesy of Philosophy

BeautyTicket's Think Pink Sale

Like Pink? BeautyTicket has a 48-hour Think Pink sale of "all things pink." Until midnight October 31, the code THINKPINK20 at checkout will take an extra 20% off Beauty Ticket's already discounted prices.

This is a great deal, and I'm about to head over and place my own order before they sell out of the gorgeous YSL cheek and lip colors I want. One is shown in the center of the photo here.

If you don't "know", you can read all about it at Best Things in Beauty posts Have You Ever Tried Beauty Ticket? and BeautyTicket Love.

Have fun!

Photo courtesy of BeautyTicket

Decleor Friends & Family

It sure seems like a Friends & Family fest! Decleor is offering 15% site-wide discount with code DDFAM15 until midnight October 31 (Halloween). The Sephora Friends & Family discount is a better percentage deal, but there is a nice gift with purchase of Aroma Night ($90) at Decleor: Decleor GWP- Excellence de L'Age Sample Kit (a five-piece set).

Savvy shoppers know that Decleor offers premium aromatheraputic, plant-based skincare products for every skin type. I have used the products, and I like them - primarily because they smell great!

Aroma Night, a new night cream, is available in two formulations, both containing nocturnal plant extracts, evening primrose oil, black orchid extract, and petitegrain essential oil. The new creams look interesting, but I haven't had an opportunity to try them. So, just consider this your Decleor Friends & Family and gift with purchase heads up!

Photo courtesy of Decleor

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Laura Mercier Club Couture Holiday Collection

The holiday color collections continue to roll out. Laura Mercier's Club Couture Collection is advertised as an elegant, but bold look inspired by the runway - where uptown chic meets downtown cool with a focus on the eyes. Despite the marketing hype, Laura Mercier designs products for "real women." No wonder she has so many fans.

Here are the products from the new collection that are most intriguing to me.

Foiled Eye Colour ($22) is an innovative, wet-dry baked powder formula in polished shades of V.I.P. Silver and V.I.P. Gold for a shimmering metallic look.

Lip Colour - Shimmer ($22) provides creamy long-lasting coverage with moisturizing, anti-aging, antioxidant, and plumping ingredients to enhance the lips. Designer Beige is the new color.

Lip Glacé ($22) is available in a pretty new pink shade, After Hours. This high-shine, pigmented lip gloss provides rich color and brilliant shine to create the appearance of fuller lips.

Lip Colour - Crème ($22), with the same properties as the shimmer lipstick, is also available in a new delicate baby pink shade, Pink Label.

I can't get at all excited about the Full Faux Eyelashes ($18), but surely there is someone out there who wants to try them!

There's more. You can check out this new collection on Laura Mercier's Web site, where complimentary shipping is available. Saks, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus all carry Laura Mercier if you want to cast your eyes on the collection before you decide on a purchase. If you do go shopping, check out the great Laura Mercier value sets that are currently available.

Photo courtesy of Laura Mercier

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Striking Skin Care

Imagine my delight when I discovered Striking Skin Care, a product line for women over 40 that helps restore radiance and firmness to the skin through the use of SmartPeptides. The peptides target skin that is showing signs of aging, with symptoms such as dryness, lines and wrinkles, loss of elasticity, loss of firmness and definition, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, rough texture, and thinning. My first reaction was Eureka! I will admit to some of these symptoms. Little wrinkles, dryness, uneven skin tone, and thinning are my own demons.

Striking Skin Care was developed to mitigate the effects of perimenopause and menopause on our skin. In August, I wrote that anti-aging products are a growth industry. The statistics tell why. At any given time, there are approximately 45 million women going through a menopausal transition in the United States! Given that our life expectancy is now 84 years, some of us will spend 50% of our adult lives in some phase of menopause. Cheery, huh? During menopause and the years immediately preceding it, many women experience the signs of aging for the first time. Forty seems to be the magic age when we start to experience hormonally challenged skin.

Helix BioMedix, the biopharmaceutical company that makes Striking Skin Care, has been researching bioactive peptides for over 10 years. However, their entry into the skin care market has been relatively recent and, I'd say, conservative, given that they had flown under my radar for nearly a year. Really (as Seth and Amy would say)! How could they have escaped my notice when I pride myself on knowing about great anti-aging skin care products?

I already knew from my research that peptides are among the hot ingredients in leading-edge skin care, so I was intrigued when I leaned about Striking Skin Care's patented and trademarked SmartPeptides. I have mental images of molecular madness when I think about attacking the signs of aging and add up the various effects of my favorite products to achieve the right cocktail.

Each peptide used in the Striking products helps rebuild and refresh time-worn skin. How? The company identified the specific amino acid sequences related to age-related changes in our skin to find just the right peptides to use in their anti-aging products.

I had to try Striking Skin Care. At my request, the company sent me three of their products to try. I tested Striking Multi-Vitamin Cleanser, Striking Restorative Moisture Creme, and Striking Rejuvenating Eye Creme for over a month. The only product I didn't test was the Striking Multi-Peptide Serum, which I plan to purchase. Yep, that good!

All of the Striking Skin Care products are dermatologist-tested and free of parabens, fragrance, artificial colors, pore-clogging ingredients, and formaldehyde triggers. Here are the trial results seen by 30 test participants in just 14 days. If you follow test results for anti-aging products, you'll know that these are phenomenal results.
  • 94% of serum users reported firmer skin
  • 84% of serum users reported a noticeable reduction in fine lines and wrinkles
  • 93% of eye creme users reported their skin was smoother
  • 83% of eye creme users reported a noticeable reduction in fine lines and wrinkles
  • 97% of creme users reported firmer skin
  • 93% of creme users reported an overall improvement in the appearance of their skin
What was my experience?

I started with Striking by using the Multi-Vitamin Creme Cleanser ($28). Not one to jump into a new line with both feet, I figured that if the cleanser contained something that would make my reactive skin complain, I could quit while I was ahead. There was no need to quit! The cleanser is a wonderful rich and creamy liquid that removes makeup effortlessly and leaves behind clean, moist skin. I really like the fact that I can tell by feel when the cleanser is totally rinsed off. I'd recommend it to anyone, not just those with aging, dry, or sensitive skin. The cleanser is the only one of these products without SmartPeptides. It does contain vitamins A, E, and C; evening primrose oil; sea buckthorn; carrot; and avocado oil - all nourishing or antioxidant ingredients.

The Restorative Moisture Creme ($42) has Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-14, complemented by emollient botanicals (such as green tea, rosemary, and soy) to nourish and replenish the skin and age-fighting vitamins C and E to neutralize free radicals. Sodium Hyaluronate provides moisture to the skin, drawing 1,000 times its own weight in moisture. Linoleic Acid is an omega-6 fatty acid important in cell membranes. When I first saw the lightweight texture of the creme, I was afraid it wouldn't be powerful enough to moisturize my dry skin. Silly me! It is extremely moisturizing, spreads nicely because of its creamy texture, and works equally well as a day or night creme.

The Restorative Moisture Creme did something very exciting that I didn't expect. It tightened my pores without any feelings of dryness or tightness - feelings that are characteristic of most firming products. I started by using it at night, and in the morning I noticed that my face was very smooth, the pores in my T-zone were reduced, and my skin tone had improved. I asked the company how the creme could be feel so emollient and moisturizing and still firm my skin enough to minimize my pores. The company's scientist said that the Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-14 in the creme has a tightening effect due to cell migration and collagen rebuilding.

The Rejuvenating Eye Cream ($35) is thicker than the face cream, probably to keep it from migrating into the eyes. It does exactly what you expect of a good eye cream: reduces fine lines and wrinkles and minimizes puffiness and dark circles. Hexapeptide-21 controls visible photo-aging while calming and soothing the skin around the eyes. The other ingredients, which include shea butter, squalane, and dimethicone, replenish lost moisture and add a protective barrier.

The one product I haven't tried yet, the Multi-Peptide Serum ($65), has two peptides: Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-14 and Heptapeptide-7 to help rebuild lost collagen and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Other ingredients include Trehalose, a naturally occurring saccharide that helps protect the skin from dehydration and restore the skin's moisture balance; Palmaria Palmata to brighten the skin for a more luminous complexion; and Thermus Ferment, an antioxidant that detoxifies and helps to restore collagen.

OK, so this was a long review, and I may have lost you with skin science. I love these products, so I wanted to give you plenty of information. You can read more at Striking Skin Care's Web site, where you can also purchase their products. They offer value sets as well as free shipping for purchases over $75.

Striking Skin Care gets a Best Things in Beauty rave. The products worked very well for me. I would recommend them to any woman - no matter what her age - who suffers from dry or sensitive skin or who needs a good anti-aging regimen.

Update: Right after I wrote this review, I found a press release from the company describing the results of three new clinical trials. It's all good and worth reading.

Photo courtesy of Striking Skin Care

butter LONDON's New ReVamp Collection

ReVamp is a great name for this new nail lacquer collection from butter LONDON. Vamp, of course, is Chanel's iconic red-black polish. The Vamp-inspired ReVamp Collection, priced at $40, offers four of the latest deep, dark, "in" nail colors.

Just a few words about butter LONDON...The salon's founder, Sasha Muir, felt there was a bridge market between high-end and low-end nail care salons and products. Once she mapped out her business strategy, Creative Director Nonie Creme joined the team to design the signature non-toxic products that are the hallmark of the butter LONDON brand.

The Company stormed the fashion scene this season with the introduction of British Racing Green ($14) nail lacquer at the New York shows. British Racing Green is one of my all-time favorite colors: for cars, clothing, insignias - you name it, I love the color. The beautiful dark green butter LONDON shade has already been heralded by Vogue, W, Lucky, and other magazines.

Back to ReVamp. Here are the descriptions of ReVamp from butter LONDON's Web site.
  • Princes Plums: The perfect bluey-purple, royal purple. Rich and deep, just like a prince.
  • Union Jack Black: Jet black and uber-glossy, this goes on like liquid patent leather. Be warned, you may have the sudden urge to wear six-inch stilettos and carry a riding crop.
  • Big Smoke: London’s finest. Mildly metallic navy blue that’s as naughty as a night in a smoky pub.
  • La Moss: Vampy and full of red wine, just like its inspiration.
The shades look cool and sound cool. What's also cool is the 30% discount you can get through November 30 by using Lucky's special discount code for butter LONDON: LUCKYBREAKS11. My thanks to Best Things in Beauty reader, Chloe, for reminding us!

So, check out butter LONDON, and don't forget to use that fabulous discount code!

Photo courtesy of butter LONDON

Chantecaille's Les Pétales Collection Launches

Chantecaille's Les Pétales Collection has arrived, and it's a fresh, beautiful look for the New Year. The model's fair skin and the pretty pink colors have enticed me to try everything. We have talked about advertisements that work? This one did it for me! The look conveys elegance a la Grace Kelly.

It gets better than "simply" beautiful, fresh new colors! If you spend $125 at Chantecaille's Web site and enter the code TIGER at checkout, you will receive the White Tiger Poudre Délicate compact shown below. I'd hurry over. I'm sure this gorgeous tiger will be in great demand. I'm going to forgo a few restaurant dinners for this offer.

The new items?
  • Les Pétales - Rêve de Rose Lip Gloss SPF 15 ($36), a pearlescent rosy-brown lip gloss with a smooth restorative texture
  • Les Pétales - Voile de Rose Poudre Délicate ($36), a rose-embossed shimmering pressed powder in a limited-edition burnished gold rose-etched compact equipped for take-along application
  • Les Pétales - Lumière de Rose Highlight ($36), a high-shine pink-gold highlighter with a creamy texture - for cheekbones, eyes, and temples
Naturally, it will be a perfect time to pick up a Lip Chic ($30) or two! I'm convinced I need Tea Rose and Camellia.

Who wouldn't want this White Tiger compact as a gift with purchase? Isn't he handsome?

Just visit the Chantecaille Web site to see these beauties and more. While you are there, make sure to read about the company's charitable programs - Using Beauty to Change the World. As I wrote recently here at Best Things in Beauty, Sylvie, Olivia, and Alex are my kind of women!

Update 11/6: The tiger came, and he's too cute to use! I'll write an update on my purchases soon.

Photos courtesy of Chantecaille

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quelques Fleurs - Classic, Timeless, Floral

Is there anyone over 40 who hasn't worn - or at least tested - Quelques Fleurs? Introduced in 1912 and translated as "Some Flowers," Quelques Fleurs Eau de Parfum is a blend of soft, sensual florals that has over 250 different raw materials and more than 15,000 flowers in each ounce.

Its continuing popularity was brought home to me last week when I was hanging around with Loyd at Saks in Chevy Chase, looking at Armani's new holiday sets (more on those later). A woman approached and wanted to know if he could help her find Quelques Fleurs for her mother. She also asked about value sets. Take heart, shopper, I found a set at Neiman Marcus, and an online search turned up plenty of sets at discounted rates! My fragrance counter expert at Nordstrom is expecting to get sets for the holiday season, and she's taking reservations. They're that popular!

Jean-François Houbigant (1752-1807) launched his perfume business in Paris in 1775, originally selling gloves, perfumes, and bridal bouquets. His business grew to cater to royalty and the wealthy class. Fast forward from that rich history to the year 1912, when Houbigant perfumer Bienaimé picked up the ball and introduced Quelques Fleurs, one of Houbigant's all-time great fragrances. Unfortunately, during the 1990's, the company filed for bankruptcy, changed hands multiple times, and it's not at all clear to me that Bienaimé's Quelques Fleurs is the exact fragrance sold today. However, I have read that the fragrance is being manufactured today under the original specifications.

I'm a little confused about what some refer to as "Vintage" Quelques Fleurs vs Quelques Fleurs L'Original. Maybe one of you can help out? It appears that sophisticated noses detect a difference. I have asked countless fragrance experts, and I have not received a consistent answer. Most of them say that Quelques Fleurs L'Original is the real deal. So, comment please if you know!

Here's what we do seem to know. The top notes are orange blossom, green notes, tarragon, bergamot, and lemon. The middle notes are carnation, tuberose, orchid, lilac, orris root, jasmine, heliotrope, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, and rose. The base notes are sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, musk, civet, and oak moss.

So many fragrances come and go, driven out of the market for any number of reasons (they "stink," they aren't distinctive, their celebrity namesake went to many reasons). Quelques Fleurs' longevity and timeless popularity are indisputable.

You can find it at hundreds of sources and at wildly varying prices. Do your homework if you're looking for it. And if you want one of those value sets from your local department store, get on the list!

Photo courtesy of

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bobbi Brown's Chrome Collection Lip Colors

On one of my recent trips to Saks, Bobbi Brown's Chrome Collection reached out and grabbed me. The stunning Chrome Collection centerpiece is the Chrome Palette ($75). You can read about it at the Bobbi Brown Web site or at Best Things in Beauty. Not to be missed, though, are the accompanying lipsticks. The new display has three Metallic Lip Colors ($22). Just in time for the holidays, Bobbi created two new shades, Chrome (a pale silver shimmer) and Plum Pearl (a golden plum shimmer), for a "quick-and-easy way to look party-perfect." Or just nice!

The Metallic Lip Colors have fabulous shimmer, with their unique combination of high-shine emollients and light-reflective pearls. They are creamy, soft, and comfortable on the lips and offer medium coverage along with their great shine. Chrome (the middle color in photo above) was a bit too avant garde for me, so I selected Plum Pearl (the lowest of the three lipsticks shown in the photo here). Love it! I have also put several other Metallics on my wish list. The shine in these lipsticks will make your lips look nice and plump.

The Chrome Collection and the Metallic Lip Colors are available at the Bobbi Brown Web site, where you can enter the code CHROME at checkout and get two travel minis, Hydrating Eye Creme and Long-Wear Eye Makeup Remover (through October 29 or while supplies last). You can also watch Bobbi's new Chrome Collection video at this link. Of course, you will find the collection at department stores, such as Saks, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus. This is one collection you won't want to miss!

Photo courtesy of Bobbi Brown

Philosophy Supernatural Cream Blush Giveaway Contest

Philosophy's new The Supernatural Lit from Within Healthy Cream Blush ($22.50) is a beauty. This super-blendable, creamy, natural mineral blush moisturizes, energizes, and adds sheer, healthy color to cheeks for a very natural-looking blush.

You can read about The Supernatural Collection at this Best Things in Beauty link. The products are full of minerals, plant extracts, fruit extracts, vitamins, and antioxidants. They don't contain parabens, phthalates, mineral oils, talc, sulfates, propylene glycols, pegs, or fragrance.

Philosophy says you need this blusher if:
  • you want natural-looking healthy color;
  • you want a super-blendable, creamy blush;
  • You want a good-for-your-skin formula that brightens and protects your skin; and
  • you want sheer color and a soft, radiant glow.
Who doesn't?

The Healthy Cream Blush is available in three colors. I have one Lit from Within in Bare Your Soul to give away. It's a pretty pink-peach blend that will work well for many complexions.

To enter, e-mail Let me know why you should be the one lucky gal to win this blusher. Our deadline will be Friday, October 30, at 5:00 pm Eastern Time. Good Luck!

I do have to tell you one thing about this product: My cat slept on the box while I had it next to my computer to prepare for the giveaway contest. The blusher is fine, but the box is a tiny bit crushed. He sends his apologies.1

I'll be posting this contest on Free!Grechen, which you really ought to check out for all kinds of fabulous contests.

1 OK, so he's not really sorry, but he is purring with faux guilt. He believes that I shouldn't leave stuff where he likes to nap.

Photo courtesy of Philosophy

NARS The Multiple Coffret

Attention Multiples fans! While Sephora is having Friends & Family, you really should order this wonderful NARS Multiple Coffret set of three mini Multiples. I got mine!

Multiples, the NARS signature multi-purpose cream-to-powder "sticks" for cheeks, lips, and eyes, have followers like me who must have nearly every shade. Imagine our delight the year NARS released its signature Orgasm blusher in a Multiple - it was nirvana!

Now, you can purchase a set of three minis for $32 ($40 less 20%) during Sephora's online Friends & Family. Whether you use these for a glow while traveling, keep them in your purse for touch-ups, or just use them at home, this set is a treat. The colors in the set?

All fabulous!
  • Orgasm (peachy pink shimmer)
  • South Beach (shimmering apricot)
  • Copacabana (glistening pearl)
While you are online, check out the other limited-edition NARS sets, including the Wild at Heart 15 Year Anniversary Palette ($75 less 20%) and the Day and Night Palette ($50, or $40 with discount).

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Armani Shine Lipstick Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to Quinn S. and Alexis W., our two winners! Both have been notified by e-mail that they will be receiving an Armani Shine Lipstick.

The shade that will be winging their way is Hollywood Bois de Rose ($25), a very pretty rose-toned nude and a perfect color for all women.

The Armani Shine Lipstick Giveaway was our most popular contest to date. My thanks to all who entered the contest. I always enjoy reading your e-mails. Keep entering! We will have plenty of giveaways coming up.

Once again, I must thank our best beauty friends, the Armani Beauty Team at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland. They are making all of these fabulous Armani giveaways possible. If you are in the DC area, please stop by to say hello to them sometime.

Photo courtesy of Armani Beauty

What's New at Bloomingdale's?

Yesterday, I went to a beauty event at Bloomingdale's at Tysons Corner. It was billed as an introduction to "what's new in the beauty department." Our Mistress of Ceremonies was Tarsha Jones, the high-energy beauty department manager, who was ably assisted by many department and industry reps. Tarsha promised to tell the audience how to look great, feel great, and smell great, and the team delivered, introducing new skin care, makeup, hair products, fragrances, and more. If you get a chance to attend one of these events, go! It was a lot of fun. And the giveaways were really nice; each of us got a pretty silver umbrella at the start of the event and plenty of samples. They had door prizes too.

So, what is new at Bloomingdale's? Here's just a smattering of what we saw, tested, and sniffed.

T3 has introduced the Bespoke Wide Wet & Dry Flat Iron ($200) that can be used on wet or dry hair, and, despite the fact that it heats to over 450 degrees, it won't burn your hair. Tarsha started out with this product, which she is clearly loving. She also raved over the incomparable T3 hair dryer, which many beauty professionals can't live without.

We did a lot of fragrance sniffing while we were there. La Prairie has three new fragrances: Life Threads in Platinum, Silver, and Gold. My favorite was Silver, which has notes of tuberose. Very nice! Mark Jacobs has introduced Lola, a warm floral in a very cool bottle with a figural rose on the top. Lola has top notes of red ruby grapefruit, a heart of fuschia and peony, and a tonka bean base. Narcisco Rodriguez's new fragrance, Essence, is a sensual fragrance of modern musk enhanced by radiant notes of rose petals, powder notes of iris, and hints of amber. The bottle, shown here, was designed to be curvy like a woman. Our hosts promised that you'll receive compliments from men and women while wearing Essence.

What's new from Clinique? Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer with SPF 20 promises to lighten hyperpigmented skin, including spots and scars, brighten, and clarify. Superbalanced Powder Makeup SPF 15 is a solid powder foundation in a no-waste container that dispenses skin-defending vitamins with each twist and comes with an antibacterial brush. This foundation is said to last for up to eight hours.

YSL has a new mascara called Singulier Exaggerated Mascara. The multi-dimensional bristles are designed to ensure application precision and dress the lashes evenly from root to tip. It's available in four colors: Deep Black, Deep Brown, Deep Green, and Deep Violet. Tarsha was wearing Deep Violet, and it looked great on her!

Our Bliss gal bravely demonstrated the Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Eye Mask. Like an energy drink for your eyes, this instant brightening treatment includes three forms of glow-inducing oxygen, antioxidant vitamin C, and puff-reducing cucumber extract. It will leave your under-eye area looking lively in 15 minutes flat. I came away with a sample I'll be testing soon.

We also got a nice introduction to Borghese's top sellers, including Fango Delicato Active Mud Mask for Delicate Dry Skin. This skin-soothing Italian mud is gentle enough to make even the driest skin feel comfortable and pampered with its moisturizing, calming, and protective ingredients.

In the short hour, we also covered Lancome, Lancaster, Laura Mercier, Carolina Herrera, Freeze, Chanel, Shiseido, MAC, and Clarisonic! It was a beauty whirlwind. They gave us samples galore, so over the next few weeks, I'll be reporting on some "new-to-me" products.

Thanks, Team Bloomies! It was a fun hour.

Photos courtesy of Bloomingdale's

Beautorium's Think Pink, Go Green Campaign

"Think Pink, Go Green" is the theme of Beautorium's campaign for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and this campaign will last well beyond October!

Natural beauty retailer Beautorium will be donating the proceeds from select products listed on their Web site to support a new initiative that will unite breast cancer fundraising, in support of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure North Jersey Affiliate, with education about the health benefits of natural and organic beauty products. From October 15, 2009 to January 15, 2010, 25% of the proceeds from select products will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Beautorium has enlisted several of its brands, among the top natural beauty companies in the world, to participate in the effort. Exuberance Beauty, John Masters Organics, Juice Beauty, Marina Cosmetics, Pangea Organics, Red Flower, Revolution Organics, Saaf, Sophyto, and Trilogy will donate to the cause. Melvita Organics will also join the lineup at the time of its US debut. Among the 40 natural and organic products hand-picked to benefit Susan G. Komen North Jersey are Beautorium top-sellers like Trilogy Organic Rosehip Oil, Exuberance Brightening Facial Serum with Vitamin C, Saaf Organic Eraser Body Oil, and Juice Beauty SPF 30 Tinted Moisturizer.

The unique support that Beautorium brings to Susan G. Komen highlights the organizations’ interest in health awareness and education for women. In addition to raising funds that will help save lives, bring care and support to breast cancer patients, and work toward a cure, Beautorium seeks to further the understanding of the importance of natural and organic products for our best health. Many ingredients that are commonly found in commercial beauty preparations have been linked to cancer or other health issues. Given that skin is our largest organ, able to absorb 60% of what we put on our bodies, the choice of natural and organic personal care products is an important step in protecting ourselves from an overload of harmful chemicals.

Beautorium offers only the highest quality natural products that are free from ingredients like parabens, phthalates, sodium laurel sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and polyethylene glycol, which may pose serious health risks. To learn more about the potentially harmful ingredients in your beauty products, visit Skin Deep.

Beautorium founder Ann Francke says, “We are passionate about the fight against breast cancer and thank Susan G. Komen North Jersey for the opportunity to support their work. We are hoping that our benefit campaign will be highly successful and enjoyed by all!"

You know from reading Best Things in Beauty that Beautorium is an online marketplace with a premier collection of natural and organic beauty care. They take the guesswork out going green by carefully editing the world’s most effective and ethical natural beauty brands. The beauty world is saturated with “natural” and “organic” products, and it’s hard to know what’s real and if it works. Beautorium has hand-picked and carefully screened over 650 products from 20 brands according to five selective criteria to ensure consumers get an authentic, effective, and elegant experience. For more information go to their Web site.

I've certainly been impressed with the products I have purchased at Beautorium. I anxious to try their new brands: Revolution Organics and Melvita, which will be added on November 9. Meanwhile, I'll have bouncy, shiny hair from John Masters Organics hair care products!

P.S. Until midnight today, you can get free shipping on a $50 order with code FreeFall.

Photo courtesy of Beautorium

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Les Deux Levres Scintillantes Gift Set

I love holiday gift sets. They usually offer popular products at a bit of a discount, making them "value sets." Chanel has a beauty!

Les Deux Levres Scintillantes Gift Set ($50), which I saw at Bloomingdale's Tysons today during a fabulous Beauty Department event, is a Chanel lover's delight. Gorgeous shimmer and a high-shine glow make the perfect gift for lips. The best-selling lip gloss in two new inspired shades: Spark, a golden berry, and Praline, a beige rose exclusive to the set. Also included? A mini LE CRAYON LÈVRES Precision Lip Definer in Nude, and a chic signature makeup bag. The gals at work line up for my makeup bag bounty, which I always share.

These lip glosses are among my favorites in the lip gloss world! High shine, no tackiness, no fragrance drama - just your own lips made better.

Until October 25, has free shipping, so you can order this bag using code 1009FREESHIP at checkout. Or, you could visit a Chanel counter in your favorite department store. This one's worth a look! If you purchase, let us know: Will you use it as a holiday gift or hoard it? I'm hoarding mine!

Photo courtesy of Chanel

Weekend Roundup - October 24

I know readers like to launch the best of the beauty week's best from one posting, so here goes. These are the posts I enjoyed this week - in no particular order. They are recommended reading!

Kari at Fabulous over Forty reviewed Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion, and she has a giveaway contest posted too. Hurry over!

Gaia at the Non-Blonde convinced me that I have to try Cle de Peau Extra Silk Lipstick.

Amber at Beauty Junkies Unite gave us a sneak peak at Demi Moore's All You Ever Wanted fragrance.

Jennifer at Beauty in Real Life wrote about a skin care cream I don't know! Belacrema One Cream sounds perfect for women who don't want to do the three-product routine every night.

Beauty 411 gave us the heads-up on Origins' new GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream.

Blogdorf Goodman told us why MAC's new Greystroke eye shadow palette is worth a look.

Speaking of MAC, Karen and Tabs have a MAC Style Midnight Media Mattene Lipstick to give away. Hurry over! You can also see photos of Tabs, her dashing editor, at the Makeup and Beauty Blog.

Lipgloss Break has a contest too. Check out DermaScyne Intense Daily Serum and see what you think.

The Gloss Menagerie tells us how we can get Billion Dollar Brows.

If you live in the Northeast, you may want to stay out of the rain today and read beauty blogs! Don't forget that yours truly, Best Thinks in Beauty, has an Armani Shine Lipstick Giveaway. The deadline is tomorrow, Sunday at 5:00 pm ET.

Thanks for reading!

Photo courtesy of

Annick Goutal's Petite Cherie

I wear Annick Goutal's perfume for children. I wonder how many other women do! This week, WWD wrote that baby beauty products are popular with adults. A poll by Johnson & Johnson revealed that more and more consumers are hitting the baby aisle for their needs.

Petite Cherie has a place in my perfume rotation. It's a beautiful, light, fruity-floral fragrance with notes of peach, pear, musk rose, vanilla, and freshly cut grass. It has been described as pure, sweet, darling, and irresistible. I agree and add fresh. There are no "hidden agendas" or scary base notes.

Annick Goutal says it stirs the senses and moves the heart. It's not just for babies. Try it sometime!

You can find this fragrance discounted, so shop around. Nordstrom has a holiday gift set right now. For $80, you get not only the Eau de Toilette (normally $61.99 to $80, depending on seller), but also a body cream. The Eau de Parfum is normally $160, but you can purchase it for less than $93 at by using the 10% discount pop-up window. It's also available in a beautiful butterfly bottle at Yahoo Shopping for $23.94.

Update: See comments. Anna knows her fragrance history! Much better than my sales person.

Photo courtesy of

Friday, October 23, 2009

Best Drugstore Beauty: Vichy's Exfoliating Cream

Vichy makes a fabulous Exfoliating Cream ($16) for dry and sensitive skin. It's labeled for all skin types, but if you have dry and/or sensitive skin, it's a good one to try.

What's in a name? I bought this product about six months ago, and it was called Purifying Exfoliating Cream. Now it appears to have another name in the United States: Detoxifying Exfoliating Cream. I have compared the ingredient lists of the two, and they are the same. Buy whichever you find. Update 10/24: Detoxifying is the old name. The new name is Purifying! Kathy Shoreman at CVS cleared that up for me!

This is an extremely gentle physical exfoliator. It's loaded with good stuff for your skin, including Vitamin E, shea butter, soybean oil, and Vichy's Thermal Spa Water, which is rich with mineral salts and oligo elements. The little exfoliating beads are jojoba pearls, said to be perfectly round so that they won't produce what I call micro-tears in the skin. It's hypoallergenic, alcohol-free, soap-free, and colorant-free.

The minute you apply this cream, you'll notice its rich, creamy feel. I can't use many physical exfoliators because my skin is so sensitive, but this one has never irritated my skin - not a trace of redness after using it. I wet my face, lightly massage it in using circular movements for about a minute, and then thoroughly rinse it off. It leaves me with smooth, clear, and radiant skin.

The container is small (2.5 ounces), but a little of this luxurious cream exfoliator goes a long way. I think this product is a little treat, and I love the fact that I can get it at CVS.

You can find Vichy's Exfoliating Cream at CVS, Vichy's Web site, and other stores that carry Vichy products.

Photo courtesy of CVS

Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Happiness

My Sephora Friends & Family goodies have started to arrive, and I really like the limited-edition bareMinerals Happiness box. Described as "nine pieces of pure euphoria" and infused with "mood-boosting Happybelle," a complex containing a natural plant extract believed to mimic the effects of endorphins and induce a state of happiness, this set is designed to improve your mood. Quite honestly, I haven't had a chance to put Happybelle to the test, and I suspect it's not quite the natural high it's cracked up to be. However, the wonderful selection of products and the colors in the set did make me very happy.

The nine-piece set has these items.
  • bareMinerals Glee Radiance All-Over Face Color
  • bareMinerals Euphoria and Happiness Eyecolors
  • bareMinerals Hallucinate Liner Shadow
  • bareMinerals Flawless Definition Mascara in Black
  • bareMinerals 100% Natural Lipgloss in Berry Rush
  • Two brushes with hot pink handles
  • A beautiful pink clutch
Even if you aren't a bareMinerals devotee, you will find this a very appealing set. And, you could get lucky! Each Happiness Collection carries a ticket that automatically enters you into the Get Lucky Contest. You could win one of three grand prizes of a lifetime supply of bareMinerals SPF15 Foundation. Go to the bareMinerals Sweepstakes Web site to see if you're a winner on December 25th.

The set at Sephora is priced at $54, but with the Friends & Family discount (use code FF2009), it's just $43.20. That's a deal!

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bioelements Absolute Moisture for Combo Skin

Bioelements Absolute Moisture ($31.50) is a great moisturizer for women (and men) with combination skin. Bioelements is a mainstay of professional aestheticians. If you have had a facial, there's a good chance you have experienced Bioelements.

Now and then, I mess up and order something that isn't the right product for me. This happened when I placed a Bioelements order for Absolute Moisture. I just didn't do my homework. When it came, I saw my mistake right away. The box said it was for combination and oily skin. That's so not me!

However, I'm pretty lazy about returning products, and I know a Best Things in Beauty reader who has ultra-combo skin: very dry in places, but very oily in the T-zone. I asked her to test it. I carefully spooned out a large sample and sent it her way. I didn't tell her what it was, just asked that she test it and send me the results. The outcome? She loved the "mystery moisturizer," so the rest of the product is headed her way.

Here's what she had to say.

"I'm almost finished with the moisturizer and I'm loving it! It has a great consistency. It's lightweight, leaves no oily residue, soaks in well, and has no scent, which I love. Also, it doesn't leave me with a shiny face like a lot of combo-skin moisturizers do. This is a great daytime moisturizer, but I would go with something a bit thicker for the evening, paired with an eye cream of course. The moisturizer is great under makeup and blends well with foundation or a tinted SPF moisturizer."

Sounds to me like an endorsement! So, if you have hard-to-please combination skin, you might want to give Bioelements Absolute Moisture a try. The company says that with daily use, you can expect to see surface wrinkles minimized, smoother and softer skin, and your moisture level balanced. The product's self-adjusting hydrators balance the skin's water-to-oil levels - a normalizing action.

The key ingredients are all good.
  • Sodium PCA: Softening, moisture-binding
  • Hyaluronic acid: Moisture-binder
  • Almond oil: Emollient
  • Avocado oil: Soothing, emollient
You can learn more about Absolute Moisture and purchase it at the Bioelements Web site. It's also available at, Carla's Salon in McLean, Virginia, and many other places.

Photo courtesy of Bioelements

Lash Allure MD + $100,000 Contest reported this week that Dallas-based Beauty Bio Sciences is staging a $100,000 contest to publicize its new Lash Allure MD eyelash growth serum. “We could spend the money on advertising — or do something fun and help somebody along the way,” Leesa Smith, the firm’s executive vice president, told WWD.

The company has challenged people to write a story or post a video describing what they would do with the prize money. The most compelling story, to be determined by public vote, will be announced by Jan. 1. The company encourages contestants to post before and after photos of their lashes, but no purchase is required.

Go to Lash Allure MD for the contest rules. Who couldn't use an extra $100,000?

Now, for the product...
Priced at $49.50 for 3.5 ml., Lash Allure MD is said to grow longer, darker, and thicker lashes for most people within two weeks. Unlike Latisse, a prescription medication the company sees as the product’s chief competitor, Lash Allure MD contains no prostaglandins that can discolor the iris and skin. I'm really intrigued by this one!

Here's what the company has to say about Lash Allure MD.

Ninety-two percent of women reported thicker, darker, longer lashes after six weeks of use and reported noticeable results after two weeks. Contains patent-pending Pentapeptide Growth Complex to enhance lash and brow growth without irritation. Contains proprietary HFH (Hair Follicular Habitat) technology to provide the optimal environment for accelerated hair growth when combined with the powerful Pentapeptide Growth Complex. Physician formulated and extensively tested for performance and safety. Twice the lashes in half the time. Expect to see a change after two weeks and dramatic results after six weeks. Results will continue to enhance beyond the six-week mark. Clinically proven to give the appearance of thicker, darker, longer lashes without the use of prostaglandins, which have been shown to cause skin darkening and eye discoloration in some consumers.

Lash Allure MD is launching this month at Dillard’s Department Stores and Nordstrom and through the company's own Web site. I may have to test this!

Photo courtesy of Lash Allure

Benefit Friends & Family

Benefit is having a Friends & Family Sale. You will receive a 20% discount any order. Use code FRIEND09 at checkout.

As usual, you will receive free standard shipping with any purchase of $50 or more and two free samples.

What a good time to consider the Benefit Holiday Collection! While you are there, check out the new Lip Gloss and the Silky Finish Lipsticks. They are two of my favorite Benefit beauties.

Photo courtesy of Benefit Cosmetics

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Stila 2009 Holiday Gift Collection

Stila has assembled an irresistible collection of holiday gifts. You can see the collection at Stila or Sephora. Each item is specially priced, and those items available at Sephora come with a 20% discount during Friends & Family.

The limited-edition Gift of Appreciation ($38), shown here, is a makeup powerhouse. I particularly love the Rose Gold Illuminating Finishing Powder and the Eye Shadow Trio in Gold Glow - both included. Just click on the link to see all of the items included. Stila calls this gift a thank you for your love and loyalty.

The 24K Luxe Lip Gloss Collection ($30) is on my Christmas list. Doesn't some uninspired person always ask you what you want for Christmas? You just have to make a list! I think these lip glosses are gorgeous. They are the bomb, as my younger friends say!

Are you a Lip Glaze gal? Check out this set of eight minis for $25. It includes four new shades: Marmalade (sheer peach with pink and while pearl), Pinkle Twinkle (sheer pink with pink and multicolor sparkle), Plum Fairy (sheer plum with pink pearl), and Candy (sheer pink-coral with rainbow sparkle).

There's so much more to love. Just go to Stila or Sephora to see these incredible value sets. They are a Stila lover's delight.

Photos courtesy of Sephora and Stila

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Check Out This LORAC Set

The VIP Jet Setter Makeup Collection is $25! It's a $170 value available only at LORAC's Web site. Not bad!

Included while supplies last?
  • Special Effects Conditioning Primer and Lengthening Mascara
  • Showstopper Eye/Cheek Palette
  • Mini TANtalizer Baked Bronzer
  • aquaPRIME Face Primer
  • Cream Lipstick in Premiere
  • Matte Lipstick in Imagine
  • Front Of The Line Liquid Eyeliner in black
  • Includes Travel Roll Up Bag
Photo courtesy of LORAC

Dior Holiday 2009 Palettes, Sets, and Pendant

It's Dior Holiday Love!

Dior has introduced some beautiful sets and palettes for Holiday 2009. My two favorites are shown here. The limited-edition Dior Deluxe Travel Palette ($75 and shown to the left) was my first choice, even though I stopped traveling long ago. Had to have it! This beauty has six smashing eye shadows that, mixed and matched, give you many gorgeous combinations. In fact, I have already tried two of the eye shadow rows on my cheeks, and they are stunning there too. The palette also has a "real" DiorBlush in a pretty pink shade, an allover highlighter, a lip gloss in #257 Organdi Pink, and a mini Black Iconic Mascara.

The limited-edition Dior Holiday Collection Makeup Palette for the Eyes ($42 and shown to the right) is a divine neutral palette - a great buy! Dior makes such high-quality eye shadow, anyone would love the eye palette as a gift - if you could part with it! The iridescent shadows are shades #682, #542, #519, and #929. Formulated to blend seamlessly, these silky, highly pigmented eye shadows were created with Dior's new Wet Reflect technology. Like the shadows in the travel palette, they can be applied on their own or mixed for endless combinations.

These two sets come in darling black patent zip-up cases with a silver-toned "D" charm that is removable. You could "Diorize" your key chain!

There's more! In a red patent case at Sephora, Dior has a limited-edition Holiday Collection Makeup Palette for the Lips ($40 and shown above) in shades of pink and red. What's interesting is that there appears to be a different lip palette at the department stores - darker lip colors in a black patent case. Check out the difference at this Nordstrom link.

A Mini Brush Set, also a limited edition, is available for $60. There's even a luxurious crystal pendant, the Aurore Boréale Crystal Lip Balm Pendant ($80), inspired by a Swarovski crystal created exclusively for Christian Dior in 1955. The Crystal contains a petal-pink lip balm with a hint of shimmer.

There are some opportunities this week to save money on these little wonders! Sephora is having Friends & Family until November 2. Just use the code FF2009 at checkout. Additionally, Saks has a Buy Some Get Some event on Thursday, October 22. Spend $250 that day and get a gift card for $25. Spend $500 and get a gift card for $50. It gets better as you spend more, so it's a good time for holiday shopping.

Photos courtesy of Nordstrom and Sephora

Armani Shine Lipstick Giveaway Contest

Our best friends, the Armani Beauty Team at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland, have donated two Armani Shine Lipsticks ($25) for this week's giveaway contest.

I love the Shines. I'm partial to shiny lips, and these lipsticks feel great, no doubt because of the moisture-infused formula. The Shine Lipsticks provide a gloss-like shine in a full-color, rich lipstick. The Micro-fil formula captures and reflects light, leaving lips hydrated and sparkling without glitter. They are available in a glamorous range of ultra-pretty shades to flatter all skin tones. You can see them at the Armani Beauty Web site.

We have two #35, Hollywood Bois de Rose, lipsticks to give away this week. This is a rose-toned nude that is so right year-round. If you keep up with lip colors in the monthly magazines you'll know nudes are "in."

To enter the contest, e-mail and tell me if you have ever tried any of the Armani lipsticks. I'll use a random number generator to select two winners, so your answer won't affect your chances. I'm just curious - as usual.

The deadline for entries will be Sunday, October 25, at 5:00 pm Eastern Time. I'll be posting this contest on Free!Grechen, a site you should check out for all kinds of fantastic giveaways.

Good Luck!

Photo courtesy of Armani Beauty