Monday, May 31, 2010

Sephora Best in Bronze Deluxe Sampler Giveaway Contest

Congratulations to Lizzard, the winner of this cool sampler!
Just in time for summer, I bought this set of deluxe sample-sized bronzers and highlighters from Sephora. I liked the Best in Bronze Deluxe Sampler ($39) so much, I bought a second for a giveaway contest.

The 10 products in the set of Sephora favorites create believable, sun-kissed color year-round. Here's what's included.
  • 0.17 oz Josie Maran Bronzing Argan Oil (I just reviewed this fab oil)
  • 0.02 oz Bare Escentuals bareMinerals All Over Face Color in Faux Tan
  • 0.04 oz LORAC Tantalizer Baked Bronzer in Golden Bronze
  • 0.08 oz Too Faced Pink Leopard Bronzing Powder (I love this)
  • 0.16 oz SEPHORA COLLECTION Nail Polish in Bright Red
  • 0.09 oz Benefit High Beam (now a classic)
  • 0.08 oz TEMPTU RETOUCH Highlighter in Gold
  • 0.2 oz Smashbox Artificial Light Illuminating Lotion in Glow (one of Vicki Stiles' favorites)
  • 0.09 oz Tarte EmphasEYES Waterproof Clay Shadow Liner in Bronze
  • 0.39 oz Korres Monoi Oil Bronzing Powder in Sunglow Light
Want to enter to win? Just leave a comment here once. After you comment, feel free to e-mail and identify your comment. You can never be too careful about sharing your e-mail address on a blog, so I would follow this second step if I were you (an alternative is to code your e-mail, e.g., myname at gmail dot com, in your comment).

The contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada. The deadline for entries will be Saturday, June 5, at midnight. I will use a random number generator ( to select the winner.

I will post this contest at Free!Grechen, my favorite giveaway site on the Web. If you like giveaway contests, you will love Free!Grechen.

Good Luck!

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Josie Maran Argan Bronzing Oil

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind

Josie Maran's Argan Bronzing Oil ($52) leaves me humming Summer Breeze, an old Seals & Crofts song that brings back memories of those days of fresh, bare, and bronzed "beach faces," lit by the sun and scented by warm sand and waves.

Josie Maran's ultimate organic bronzing oil will give you a healthy bronzed glow anytime of year. You don't have to limit its use to summer! With Josie's signature ingredient argan oil, which is rich vitamin E and essential fatty acids, this lightweight and moisturizing bronzing oil can be applied to face and body.

It's not a self-tanner; it washes off. It's a tinted oil that's good for your face - and your looks. It's easy to apply, whether you use it straight out of the bottle or mixed with your moisturizer. It gives me a nice, lightly tanned appearance - something different since I stay out of the sun (or wear heavy-duty sunscreen). The color is fabulous because it's believable. The extra-added bonus is the argan oil, which is good for every complexion and skin type. Read my April post on Josie Maran Argan Oil to learn more about the benefits of argan oil.

You can use it on your legs if they are pasty white and you want to wear a darling sundress to a party. Or give your whole face, neck, shoulders, and chest a silky summer glow. This is a versatile product.

I think this bronzing oil is great for those with fair to medium skin. The lighter you are, the more color it will impart. It's probably too light to leave a sunny look on anyone with dark skin. With its hydrating properties, though, it would serve as a nice tinted and glowing moisturizer for dark-skinned beauties.

Josie Maran Argan Bronzing Oil comes in a recyclable bottle with a dropper for extracting a little bit at a time - perfect since you don't need much to cover your entire face and neck. Please remember to recycle the box! Josie's vision is, "There is no 'away'...reuse, recycle, or compost."

I purchased a lot of Josie Maran products a few weeks ago. I will work my way through the reviews over the next few weeks. You can already draw one conclusion since I keep buying more - I love Josie!

Josie Maran products can be found at her Web site and Sephora. You should check out Josie's Web site or Facebook page now and then. There was a code (SAMPLE3) published mid-May to receive a sample of Argan Bronzing Oil with any $30 purchase. I haven't tested it to see if it still works.

Photo courtesy of Josie Maran
Lyrics from Summer Breeze by James Seals; music by James Seals & Dash Crofts

Happy Memorial Day

If you have lost a loved one to war (or the new kind of war called terrorism), please know that millions are pausing today to reflect on your sacrifices. We care. Thank you for giving up the most precious thing you could give - your children, fathers and mothers, grandparents, brothers and sisters, cousins, and best friends. I hope you can let the American people embrace you today in a gigantic collective hug of love and appreciation.

Photo courtesy of

Sunday, May 30, 2010

M·A·C's To The Beach Collection

M·A·C has a hit on its hands. The limited-edition To The Beach Collection is selling at a fast clip. In fact, this too-pretty-to-use starfish highlighter is sold out online and in stores. When I asked about it at one department store, they told me they only received six of them. They also said that the M·A·C store in the mall had a line waiting at the door when they opened on release day, and it was gone in a jiffy. If you want it at any price, check eBay. Apparently the "resellers" scooped it up.

While I was originally disappointed, a friend who manages the beauty department at a large department store told me it was not my color. He said it is stunning in the case, but imparts an orange-toned glow to the face. He was very successful in talking me down from my "Can't you find it somewhere?" plea. I still wanted to see the collection, though, so today, I went to Nordstrom. I wanted to see the Not Your Daughter's Jeans on sale anyhow.

I bought three pieces. On a lark, I picked up the To the Beach Lipstick in Funbathing ($14). It was the darkest in the collection and appeared very brown in the tube. The color on the skin is amazingly different - and very pretty. It could be described on me as mauve, or a brown-toned rose. You have to see it to believe it. It's a CREMESHEEN formula with a soft shine. Love it! The case is an attention-getter, with its coral color and a cream shell motif.

I also purchased both shades of Lustre Drops ($18.50): Pink Rebel and Sun Rush. Pink Rebel is a shimmering pink (not too pink) and Sun Rush is a glimmering gold. Both are gorgeous. Lustre Drops provide sheer, natural-looking highlights with a luminous, shimmering finish. The lustre is shiny, not sparkly, so these are going to be useful. You can use Lustre Drops on your face or body as a highlighter. My M·A·C friend told me she mixes them with her foundation. You could also mix them with your moisturizer, or just use them on their own. Remember, a tiny drop goes a long way!

Naturally, I was interested in the bronzers. The Bronzing Powder, and Bronzing Oil in the collection are sparkly. While very pretty, I don't need more sparkly bronzers, so I passed on them. Additionally, the one that might have grabbed me, Creme Bronzer ($25), with its darling little seashell case, was muddy on my skin in the lightest shade (Beach Bronze). It's a hazard of being fair.

There's plenty more, including eye shadows, lip glosses, and powder blush. I'm quite content with the three items that literally jumped into my bag. You can see the whole collection online at Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and at

Photos courtesy of Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's

Memorial Day - A Day of Remembrance

Memorial Day - a day of remembrance - for many filled with feelings of love and loss, honor and pride. Let's pause for a thankful moment this weekend to remember the men and women who died for our freedom.

There was a beautiful, moving tribute in the Washington Post today, titled A Song of Gratitude at Arlington National Cemetery, by Page Johnson of McLean, Virginia. I recommend that you read it at this link.

Here's a short excerpt.

So on this day of memories, I come to tell them thank you. I come to tell them I honor their service and the heritage they have given me. Most of all, I come to tell them that they are neither alone nor forgotten. I will be here for them, in spirit and in deed, and for their fellow soldiers trying to make a safer world so the children of every mother and father can sleep securely at night.

Photos courtesy of and

TOCCA Beauty Bianca

TOCCA Bianca ($68) reminds me of an elegant afternoon tea at the Ritz Carlton, at a table set with roses in julep cups, fine china, and silver. Even the top of the vintage bottle reminds me of antique silver, its gilding softened by time.

Inspired by tea time in Italy, Bianca opens with a light citrus blend of lemon orpur and mandarin. Green tea and rose petals bloom, while a whisper of musk and sugar linger on the skin.

This is a beautiful blend. The top notes of bergamot, lavender, mandarin, and lemon orpur give it a citrusy opening. The middle notes, rose petals, jasmine, and green tea characterize its beauty. The bottom notes, which linger, are musk and sugar.

I was sent a sample of this delightful fragrance by LuckyScent (I think). In the past, I haven't been a TOCCA fan, so I lingered before I tried it. Too bad! That wasted time before I ordered this luscious treat.

Bianca reminds me of other tea-based fragrances I own, but it's not the same. The citrusy opening and the rose and jasmine blended with green tea have the same effect on me as catnip has on my cat Charlie. I can't get enough of it.

This is an incredibly long-lasting fragrance. I can smell it on my skin 12 hours after a light spritz. If these are notes you like, and you just happen to be ordering at Sephora, it was one of the free samples yesterday. Unlike many of the fragrance samples offered, this one's worth trying!

TOCCA Beauty sprang from a clothing company that was founded by friends in 1994. Named for the Italian word for “touch,” after its intricate embroideries and luxurious fabrics, TOCCA "combines the best of the romantic and exotic." In 1997, three unique and unusual products were launched: a solid perfume, a dry oil skin smoother, and a laundry delicate for fine washables in “Touch,” a gardenia-based fragrance. These beautiful and portable items were aimed at the European traveler on holiday. Emblematic of the free-spirited culture of the company, these products were unconventional categories with which to launch a beauty line. Yet they were an immediate success with the press and retailers. With its distinctive and sophisticated fragrances, TOCCA Beauty quickly developed a cult following. TOCCA Beauty can now be found in an extensive family of aromatic candles, luxurious bath and body products, fine fabric washes, and perfumes - and at many stores and online sources.

You can purchase TOCCA's Bianca at Sephora, LuckyScent, QVC, Bluemercury, LuckyScent, and from Tocca's Web site.

Photo courtesy of Tocca

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Estee Lauder Pure Color Collection for Fall 2010

Tom Pecheux, Creative Makeup Director of Estée Lauder, has been a busy guy. He was charged with bringing a new energy, style, and fashion edge to the Estée Lauder brand. It’s a challenge he is clearly relishing – although he admits there is still much more to do. The Moodie Report quoted top model Hillary Rhoda: "It is so nice that Tom is now here at Lauder. He is really talented and brings a whole new dimension to the Estée Lauder brand." Based on the latest from Estée Lauder, I think we're in agreement!

Kari had a great preview of the new Tom Pecheux Pure Color Night Collection for Estée Lauder, exclusive to Bergdorf Goodman, at Fabulous Over Forty! I called the store, ordered it, and learned that they expect it to arrive next week. Donna told me they are enjoying the gorgeous Night Collection testers. She also told me about the new Pure Color Collection for Fall 2010, including the Blue Dahlia palette, due in stores in July.

Here's a sneak peek at the new Pure Color Collection. Eyes will take center stage in hues of electric blue and vintage violet, while lips will shimmer in subtle shades of pale pink and raspberry (oooh, can't wait). Deep navy and iridescent lilac nail polishes will complete the look.Key items include the Pure Color Eye Shadow Palettes in limited-edition Blue Dahlia and Surreal Violet. Each contains five shades presented in a golden, mirrored compact. Single eye shadows, in four new shades (Twilight Rose, Sepia Sand, Enchanted Meadow, and Emerald Star) will also be available. Pure Color Gloss Sticks and Pure Color Glosses will be featured in shades of raw pink and magenta for a subdued lip look to balance strong eyes. A deeper berry shade (Midnight Bloom) will be available to deliver a stronger pop of color for those who want or need it. These look gorgeous in the photos.

Even more exciting, a new Pure Color Gloss Collection designed by Pecheux promises to deliver lasting shine, maximum moisture, and three multidimensional finishes. True Vision technology is said to wrap pigments in a crystal-like coating to provide intense color and shine. Six berry, red, nude, and plum shades will be available in shine, shimmer, and sparkle finishes. The glosses incorporate multifunctional humectants and vitamins C and E to moisturize, soften, and help protect lips. The lightweight formula will be comfortable, non-sticky, and fragranced with a signature fig scent.

Pecheux describes the new Pure Color products for eyes and lips as his “babies,” with the new Lip Glosses his favorites. “It has to be the gloss,” he explains. “Why? It’s easy to apply; it’s transparent; it’s sexy; you don’t need any technique; it takes half a second to put on; you can keep it in your pocket; and you don’t even need a mirror to apply it."

Anything catch your eye? I can't wait to see the Pure Color Gloss Sticks and Pure Color Glosses!

Information and photos courtesy of The Moodie Report

Weekend Roundup - May 29

As we head into a holiday weekend in the U.S. and U.K., let's relax with the best of beauty from our beauty blogging friends!

Kari at Fabulous Over Forty compiled her favorite classic beach beauty looks. See what brands she takes along to the beach (Edward Bess, Lancome, NARS, and more). You might want to join her. I sure do!

It was all about Armani Beauty in the DC area last weekend when Tim Quinn spent two days at Saks in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Armani fans have Armani Beauty makeovers, news flashes, and tips to savor! You can read about Kristin's makeover, courtesy of Giannina Davis (herself an Armani beauty), at BeautyXposé. Then, if you missed it, click back a week here at Best Things in Beauty to see Lexi's makeover by Loyd Cassler and Tim Quinn. Both enjoyed their Armani glamour sessions!

Gaia at The Non-Blonde gave us a must-read look at Makeup Forever Aqua Eyes Waterproof Eyeliner Pencils in two very different green shades. She told us why they will become her summer staples. Will they become yours too?

Kelly is letting her hair grow; she wants long hair again. She treated us to a fascinating interview with Peter Lamas, accompanied by an end-of-May progress report, at Gouldylox Reviews.

Great post on summer's bright lip trends at Prime Beauty! Find out what products Cindy used to brighten up her look.

What does KarlaSugar at The Next Best Thing to Going Shopping Yourself use to get luscious curly hair? Fekkai’s Luscious Curls Shampoo and Conditioner for a start!

Been tempted by Makeup Forever's Beauty in a Box Aqua Essentials at Sephora? Find out what Lianne thought about the set at The Makeup Girl.

Carla at Product Girl tempted us all when she showed us the new Fresh Sugar Plum Tinted Lip Treatment. If you like the Fresh Sugar Rose Lip Treatment, you will love this new one!

Find out from Annieytown at Blogdorf Goodman why the lemming frenzy is in full force on the Makeupalley boards. Hint: MAC and a seahorse. I am going to try to get a look at the new MAC collection this weekend. I may have to buy a seahorse compact!

We hope you have a wonderful weekend. Check back! There's always something happening at our favorite beauty blogs. We miss you over long weekends.

Update: The seahorse is sold out online and at every store in my area. I was bummed. I felt better about it, though, when a good buddy who manages the beauty department at one of the department stores (and knows my skin) told me that it is not my color.

Giorgio Armani Beauty Giveaway Contest

Here's our special weekend giveaway contest. Giorgio Armani Beauty's Blushing Fabric ($38) is a fabulous new cream blusher. The micro-blend of water-soluble pigments creates a luminous silk-like finish with incredible transparency. Inspired by Armani's finest couture fabrics, this sensuously "textiled" color wraps the skin in weightless perfection.

Blushing Fabric is like wearing a "colored layer of air" on your skin. Formulated with Armani's MicroFil 3D technology, it creates your "second-skin blush." The unique MicroFil 3D formulations in Armani makeup products are characterized by lightness and fluidity, facilitating seamless blending and layering to enhance the natural glow of the skin.

I have one Blushing Fabric in #3, Pink Chiffon, to give away in this Memorial Day giveaway contest. This shade, the lightest, is a shade almost all women can wear (that assessment comes from one of my favorite Armani Beauty makeup artists). Even though it's called pink, it's a peach shade (on me) and very flattering - perfect for this summer's trendiest looks.

The contest starts now and will end at midnight on Monday, May 31. To enter to win, just leave a comment here once. It's that easy! After you comment, feel free to e-mail and identify your comment. You can never be too careful about sharing your e-mail address on a blog, so I would follow this second step if I were you (an alternative is to code your e-mail, e.g., myname at gmail dot com, in your comment).

The contest is open to everyone worldwide. I will use a random number generator to select the winner.

I will try to post this contest at Free!Grechen, my favorite giveaway site on the Web. I hope Grechen is working this weekend!

Good Luck!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Friday Forum - Memorial Day Weekend

Here's a reason to visit Best Things in Beauty this weekend. We will have a special Giorgio Armani Beauty Giveaway Contest that will run from Saturday morning to Monday night. Make sure to stop by so that you can enter.

It's time for The Friday Forum. Most of you know, we share information in The Friday Forum. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game! Just use the comments. We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. Either way, I always enjoy hearing from you.

As usual, I will share the best beauty bits with you over the weekend. There are some awesome sales this Memorial Day Weekend. I'll put them in the comments, so check for discounts, free shipping offers, and other treats from beauty companies. I'll be posting the latest ones today and later as they arrive.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway contest for LORAC's Little Black Palette! The deadline is tomorrow night (Saturday, May 29).

The microphone is yours!

P.S. How do you like the new site colors? Do you like getting a full feed instead of a partial one? Let me know when you get a chance. Thanks!

ESPA for Father's Day

During the next two weeks, millions of women will be trying to figure out what to buy for their children to give to their fathers for Father's Day. It's an annual dilemma. I have a solution to offer you: ESPA SHAVE RITUAL ($86.50), a treat for both of you!

ESPA sent me two products to try. I should say "to have a friend try." As much as I like testing beauty products, I couldn't imagine testing men's shaving products. I did, however, spend a good bit of time inhaling their products. The scent is clean, fresh, and absolutely addictive. That's why I'm proposing that you considering ordering something from ESPA for Father's Day. Why not transform him into a scented nuzzle-man?

Skin care is finally starting to become important to men. Their skin is thicker than ours. It produces more sebum, has more hair follicles, and has higher levels of collagen and elastin. These intrinsic differences, coupled with increasingly pressured lifestyles and a natural desire for simplicity, led ESPA to develop effective men's skin-care essentials tailored to address men's needs. Their fabulous products will prepare, nourish, and protect his skin while invigorating his senses - and yours.

The SHAVE RITUAL gift collection is perfect for Father’s Day. It includes both ESPA SHAVEMUD and ESPA POSTSHAVE, as well as a cotton cleansing mitt for quick clean-up. Shaving is a daily event for the majority of men. These products will make it a luxurious experience, instead of a chore, by preparing his skin for a close comfortable shave and then calming any irritation after shaving.

SHAVEMUD ($38.50 priced alone)
is an absorbent mud that doubles as a deep-cleansing and purifying mask, is suitable for all skin types, particularly sensitive skin. It combines an effective shaving preparation with a deep-cleansing mask. It will leave his face feeling smooth, cool, and refreshed. This rich-textured shaving mud will help his razor glide across the skin for the perfect close shave. White China clay (Kaolin), renowned for its highly absorbent properties, will help to draw out excess oil and impurities. My friend Paul, who tested these products, loved it.

POSTSHAVE ($50 when priced alone) is a soothing gel that will calm any irritation or redness after shaving. Natural extracts of tea tree, lemon, and soothing thyme, combined with the protective properties of evening primrose oil, help to balance oil production without stripping or drying the skin. Paul said that POSTSHAVE left him feeling pampered.

The company also sent SKINBALANCER ($58), a light and non-greasy cream-gel moisturizer that helps to calm and purify oily, congested, or combination skin. White thyme, sage, and lemon actively work to soothe, cool, and correct any skin imbalance, leaving his skin feeling clean, smooth, and hydrated. Even skin prone to oiliness can become dehydrated, so it is important that he use the right moisturizer to regulate oil production while keeping the skin healthy and supple. Men should use a moisturizer, and most of them don't! Paul does (he had been using AVEENO every day - now he's using SKINBALANCER).

What Paul and I liked about these products - beyond their luxurious performance - is their fabulous clean, fresh, natural fragrance. The natural plant ingredients make their scent so delectable while still masculine. Why not perform the morning routine with something that will delight?

You can also feed good about helping our environment when you purchase ESPA products for men (and women)!

ESPA believes that purity counts. In the development of their products, they strive to use ingredients that are as natural, pure, potent, and effective as possible. All their precious plant extracts, restorative essential oils, and deeply nourishing marine elements are ethically sourced, and all the raw ingredients they use are from sustainable supplies.

The ESPA product cartons are completely recyclable. Product containers, where possible and practical, are manufactured using glass, which is recyclable. Their plastic product containers can also be recycled to make lower-grade plastics. All their shipments are sent using biodegradable chips, which has reduced the use of bubble wrap by over 85% in the last two years. I think that's pretty cool!

Last, but not least, ESPA is against animal testing, as am I. They do not test their products on animals and have never done so. The raw materials they use in their products and packaging do not contribute to habitat devastation of endangered animals, and their product range is suitable for vegetarians.

Check out the ESPA Web site (US link). There are many spa products to tempt you. Maybe you'll find something for yourself while you're there! Isn't that the point of gift shopping? One for them, two for me! They offer free standard delivery in the U.S. for orders over $70, and you still have time to plan for Father's Day!

Photo courtesy of ESPA

RAMY Weekend Two for One Sale

There are some awesome bargains this weekend. One that caught my eye was the two-for-one sale at RAMY Beauty Therapy. It's BOGO at its best!

I'm a big Ramy fan. If you haven't read my posts about his fabulous makeup - and his big heart - use the search box on the sidebar to the right. I love RAMY products.

Simply Enter RAMY241 in the Coupon Code Box when you order, and they will double your order. Buy one, get two. Buy two, get four, and so on. What a great way to treat yourself - or your friends! The last time RAMY had one of these sales, I ordered a lot. It's a great way to stock up on favorites.

Have fun out there!

Photo courtesy of RAMY Beauty Therapy

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Benefit Silky-Finish Lipstick in Breathless

There are two new shades available in Benefit's Silky-Finish Lipstick ($18). Breathless is described as a pearl muted grape, and Frenched as a cream cherry red. I prefer the pearls - with their nice, quiet shine - over the creams. It was an easy choice online - Breathless all the way. When Breathless (shown below right) arrived, I was a bit breathless - with delight.

I love Benefit's Benefit's Silky-Finish Lipsticks! I have so many of the shades I've lost count. Hug It Out, a pearl-pink mauve has been my favorite. It has a new competitor for that honor!

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

In addition to Hug It Out, I love Swoonderful (pearl/silver mauve) and Candy Store (pearl/copper pink). I do have some of the cream shades, and they are very nice too. Skinny Dip is my favorite cream.

Here is a swatch of Breathless taken in sun. You can see that it's not as purple as its grape description. There is a lot of rose in the shade.

This is a beautiful shade on the lips, perfect for those who love cool-toned lipsticks. I think it would look good on most warm-toned gals as well. I'm very happy with it, which is why I'm spreading the word!

You can purchase Benefit's Silky-Finish Lipsticks at Sephora, Benefit, and Bloomingdale's. I highly recommend them!

Photos courtesy of Sephora and Benefit

Philip B Cucumber & Blue Orchid Hand & Body Crème

Before bed every night, without fail, I treat my hands and feet to a dose of moisture. A few months ago, I saw a few new Philip B products at Beautyhabit, one of the sites I browse regularly.

How could someone who uses Philip B hair care products not be tempted by new Philip B hand and body moisturizers? Cucumber & Blue Orchid Hand & Body Crème, which is available for $12 in a two-ounce size (or $47 for six ounces), was priced to entice. I ordered one right away!

Here's the description that lured me.

A limited-edition release in 1994, our original Cucumber & Blue Orchid Hand & Body Crème is back by popular demand. Women were still writing to request it, 14 years on! What we kept: The luxurious blend of pure, soothing-yet-refreshing cucumber extract, cooling menthol, and an airy dose of blue orchid essence. What's new: A generous dose of cutting-edge oligopeptide chains (anti-aging ingredients proven to firm and tighten skin), plus pure hydrating aloe and antioxidant vitamins A, B5, and E to normalize cell turnover and your youthful glow. The crème also includes a combination of peptides (lipoproteins) that penetrate the skin's surface to help rebuild collagen, tightening and strengthening your skin's integral texture and elasticity. The moisturizing equivalent of a Bentley GT (that’s how our chemists refer to it in the lab), the crème’s botanical, green-floral scent is just as gorgeous and sexy as ever.

I can't tell you what a blue orchid smells like. I hvae never owned one. Most orchids have no fragrance, but some have distinctive scents. I can tell you that the scent of cucumber shines through. Cucumbers are known for their hydrating, nourishing, and astringent effects. They make a great natural face mask.

I wish Philip would come back and visit us again in the DC area! He used to visit when Neiman Marcus carried his hair care line, but we don't see him anymore. I would love to tell him I'm still using his amazing shampoos, conditioners, and Rejuvenating Oil many years after we last spoke.

If you are in the market for a new hand cream, you might want to give Philip B Cucumber & Blue Orchid Hand & Body Crème a whirl. Join the women who became addicted 16 years ago!

You can find it at Beautyhabit and the Philip B Web site.

Photo courtesy of Beautyhabit

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Memoire Liquide No. 120 Fleur D'Oranger Parfum

Memoire Liquide No. 120 Fleur D'Oranger Parfum ($65) is a heady orange blossom fragrance in a convenient little rollerball. Yes, it's only a half an ounce, but there's a lot to love in that tiny package!

I have had this fragrance for a long time. I never got around to blogging about it. Why am I telling you about it today? I discovered that layering it under Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue gives me the equivalent of a third, customized fragrance that's unlike anything in my perfume wardrobe!

Jo Malone made fragrance mixing fashionable, but I have to admit I don't often do it. I like most of my favorites just the way they are. The Jo Malone Fragrance Chronicles are an exception. I layer them with enthusiasm. Maybe my most recent purchase of the Orange Blossom Fragrance Chronicle gave me the idea.

Memoire Liquide Fleur D'Oranger Parfum is a divine, pure orange blossom fragrance, rich with that concentrated white flower scent that takes me to a vibrant tropical garden at night. This orange blossom is as sweet and rich as gardenia. When I wear it, I always roll a bit onto my wrist so that I can smell it "on demand."

This week, I had the idea to layer it under Orange Sanguine Cologne. Orange flowers and orange fruit belong together in nature, right? It appears they belong together in fragrance too. The result of blending them sent me into a state of orange bliss! The combination is seriously pleasurable - and unlike any fragrance I own.

The Memoire Liquide line consists of many fragrance bases that can be worn alone or blended together to create a unique signature scent. Orange Blossom not your favorite? You can select from vanilla, Moroccan rose, amber, and many other essences. I would like to try No. 400 Fleur des Tropiques Parfum, a blend of gardenia, tuberose, jasmine, frangipani, ginger lily, ylang ylang, and plumeria - all of which I love. I can almost smell it!

For now, I will wear my Memoire Liquide No. 120 Fleur D'Oranger Parfum the latest way, with a spritz of fruit to go.

You can purchase Memoire Liquide fragrances at Beautyhabit, Henri Bendel, Bloomingdale's, and at Studio Beautymix (the sisters' boutique) at Fred Segal in Santa Monica - other places too, I'm sure. I bought mine at Art with Flowers at the Tysons Galleria in Virginia. If you have a favorite Memoire Liquide fragrance, please let us know!

Photo courtesy of Beutyhabit

Frugal Find & Best Drugstore Beauty: Wet n Wild COLOR ICON Eyeshadow Palette

Last week, I saw the display at CVS - new eye shadows from Wet n Wild! I was intrigued with COLOR ICON ($4.99), so I purchased one. Each palette has six shadows, three matte and three shimmering color-coordinated colors.

The shade families? Pride, Lust, Vanity, and Greed - all with sinful connotations! I purchased Vanity, the palette with the neutral shades. The others, none of which appealed to me, have combinations of blue/green (seen above), pink/gray, and lavender/gray shades. I think I got the one that's most wearable by all. Vanity has nude, gold, copper, and brown shades.

This new palette was a happy frugal find and also qualifies as a BTiB Best Drugstore Beauty winner. You get six shadows that perform perfectly and look great for only $4.99. While I prefer the shimmering side, I know others will prefer the matte side. I have worn shimmering shades on a few days, all matte once - and everything in between.

What struck me most about my new Wet n Wild palette is how long-lasting the shadows are. I apply them early in the morning, and they haven't dulled, flaked, or lost a bit of their luster 12 hours later. That gets an A+ in my book!

You can find these new Wet n Wild palettes at CVS. I know that you can find Wet n Wild makeup all over the country, so go to the locator at the Web site to find a retailer near you.

Photo courtesy of Wet n Wild

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Polly Foot Primer - Wear Your Favorite Shoes!

What a find! Polly Foot Primer ($17) is an all-natural foot primer designed specifically to help prevent friction between you and your favorite shoes. The perfect compliment to any shoe no matter what style. How many of us have worn a new pair of strappy sandals only to find the straps cutting into our feet within a few hours? I have problems with new shoes that haven't adjusted to my horrible bunions - the ones I inherited in a double whammy from both my mother and father! Polly can provide you with the confidence to wear your favorite pair of shoes - new or old - without fear of impending blisters and pain.

Forget ugly bandages or moleskin! Polly Foot Primer is an all-natural, clear, color-free, and fragrance-free veneer that acts as a barrier between your bare foot and your shoe. Polly is made from natural and organic ingredients, such as aloe vera and grapeseed oil, that leave your feet naturally soft and pampered. Polly’s packaging is also 100% recyclable so you can feel good about minimizing your impact on the environment. The Foot Primer is compact too so you can carry it with you for touch-ups when you have a very long day.

Before putting on your shoes or socks, apply Polly to all the places your shoes rub you the wrong way, whether the tops of your toes, the sides of your soles, the backs of your heels, or bunions.

Once you realize how well it works, Polly will provide you with the confidence and freedom to dance the night away, strut down the runway, stand all day to lead a meeting, or travel in style while wearing your favorite shoes. Not only does Polly turn a two-hour pair of shoes into a six-hour pair of shoes, Polly also soothes and restores your feet so you can be sandal-ready all year long.

Christina Klein, a total shoe fanatic and Polly's founder, described a "defining moment" in her life.

At 16, I walked through the Nordstrom shoe department at Christmas for the first time, surrounded by sequined peep toes, feathered pumps, jewel-encrusted strappy sandals, and thigh-high platform boots in the yummiest suede imaginable. It was my version of a sugar-plum fairy dream with Manolo’s, Jimi’s, and Prada’s swirling around my head! Coming from a family that was more Payless than Prada, my heart raced, my palms sweat.

In 2009, in another defining moment, she found the inspiration for Polly!

On a business trip in Mexico City in 2009, determined to wear my Dries Van Noten Betty Boop-esque satin pumps for a full day, I concocted a primer from ingredients in my beauty bag that I hoped would spare my feet from the inevitable. Boo-boo free 16 hours later, I had the inspiration and initial recipe for Polly.

I tested Polly Foot Primer. Little did the company know they had asked a woman with foot "issues" to try it out! There are the bunions (funky bone growths that stick out), which keep me in flats. Even my flats have to be cut just right and made of very soft leather these days (or be sneakers like the ones Tim Quinn had on last week - such chic Armani sneakers). I'm too stubborn to have that potentially horrible surgery, so I just adapt. Polly Foot Primer was especially kind to my feet when breaking in new shoes at work. The pressure spots didn't blister! Not only that, I was able to wear some strappy shoes that I had avoided. I have no idea why this wonderful product is effective - it just is!

Polly Foot Primer is a little hard to find. You can purchase it at Fred Segal or online at If you are interested in learning more about Polly, you can check out the Polly Foot Primer Facebook site or follow on Twitter @pollylovesshoes. If you get blisters from your favorite shoes, do your feet a favor!

Photos courtesy of Polly Foot Primer and

Avon Smooth Minerals Lip Tint

I've been on an Avon binge, and I'm loving every minute of it! A brand I had long overlooked - except for my must-have-at-all-times Skin So Soft Bug Guard - has come back into my life. I'm having fun too.

You know by now that I buy a lot of pricey beauty products. They are often the standard against which I judge less expensive brands. Avon is holding its own quite nicely. In some cases, it has outperformed one of the most expensive makeup brands I own. You'll have to read my recent Avon reviews to find that brand.

Avon sends me a tempting catalog with each order. In the last one, I saw the Smooth Minerals Lip Tint ($6). There is a special - buy one, get a second for $1.99 - so I couldn't limit myself to just one. Besides that, I'm a lip gloss/balm/conditioner junkie, so Avon's description, plus the ingredient list on their Web site, had me.

The smoothest, softest kiss of color. Sheer hint of color with moisturizing vitamin E, castor seed oil, lanolin, olive oil, and cocoa and shea butters for the smoothest, softest lips ever.

There are six colors available. I now own four! Here they are, photographed in sun, all flattering to the lips. From left to right: Smooth Raisin, Smooth Berry, Smooth Pink, and Smooth Nude.

Each provides a nice, sheer, and shiny tint; feels great on my lips - so moisturizing; and has no flavor (despite the peppermint oil in the ingredient list). I like the fact that there's enough pigment in them to distinguish them from clear lip conditioner. My favorite shades are the two darkest ones, Smooth Raisin and Smooth Berry because they leave a clearly detectable tint.

There's one "at the ready" on my desk at work at all times now - with distinguished company. These compare very favorably to the new beauty blogger favorite, NARS Pure Sheer SPF Lip Tint. The NARS tint is $25; Avon's is $6 (less during special if you purchase two). NARS has the sun protection factor; Avon has a little more pigment.

Next up, I'm ready to try Avon's skin care. There's a new product, Anew Clinical Luminosity Pro ($54), a brightening serum, that I am about to test for a few weeks. I used it last night for the first time.

How's this for enticing? Avon's first topical serum with a skin brightener that provides an at-home option to a dermatologist's laser! Instantly makes your skin look brighter and more even toned. Eighty percent of women saw the look of dark spots dramatically diminish, and over time, 100% of women showed more illuminated skin with a visible reduction in fine wrinkles. I'm there! Can't wait to use it long enough to tell you more! Who wouldn't love to have brighter skin?

For a look at the Smooth Minerals Lip Tints or some of the other Avon products I've tried lately , head over to Avon's Web site. While you are there, you can find your local Avon representative to get free shipping every day! Or you can sign up for Avon's e-mails to get free shipping and discount offers that arrive often enough to keep me ordering.

Photo at top courtesy of Avon

Monday, May 24, 2010

Smashbox Friends & Family Sale

This e-mail says it all! Use code FF2010 at Smashbox for the 20% Friends & Family discount through May 28.

Photo courtesy of Smashbox

Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue

Unabashedly orange, Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue ($145) smells exactly and simply like a freshly peeled orange. This zesty and energizing fruity fragrance plays sweet blood orange juice against bitter orange peel, tempered with sensual notes of geranium.

Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue, concentrated at 15%, has top notes of blood orange and bitter orange; heart notes of jasmine and South African geranium; and base notes of amber woods, tonka beans, and sandalwood. The base notes are so muted, though, I smell orange from the moment I spray to the last whiffs before the fragrance is gone.

Created by perfumer Ralf Schweiger (who also created Lipstick Rose for Frederic Malle), Orange Sanguine offers an exceptional take on the classic pure fruit genre. It's so fresh, those near you will be sure you just peeled an orange. I think it's going to have the same appeal to men that grapefruit fragrances have - they can't get enough of them. Maybe that's why this cologne is being marketed as unisex? Want your favorite guy nuzzling in for a sniff? Try this fragrance!

A romantic suggestion of summer is evoked by the Atelier Cologne marketing "blurb" on the Neiman Marcus Web site.

It was the kind of moment you would want to revisit. Everyone was here, gathered on the terrace for breakfast, and the scent of fresh oranges was diffusing in the yellow heat. A symphony of their laughter and waves hitting the cliffs played in the air.

The photo at the top was on a postcard I received during Beauty Week at Neiman Marcus. Since I sought out the fragrance and purchased it, the photo was clearly effective. I'm a pushover for orange fruit and orange flower fragrances.

When I got to the store, I found a collection of new Atelier Colognes: Orange Sanguine, Grand Nérole, Bois Blonde, Tréfle Pur, and Oolang Infini. I smelled each of them and was also drawn to Nérole and Bois Blonde - the latter being pushed for some reason by the sales associate. So I sprayed three white paper fragrance samplers and took them over to my friends at the Sisley counter. Each of them voted for Orange Sanguine, so Orange Sanguine it was! At $145, I limited myself to one, but don't be surprised if I surrender to at least one more before the summer ends.

Despite the marketing claims, Orange Sanguine will not last all day. I get three - maybe four - hours of scent. Then I need to refresh it. I'm OK with that, given how fresh and fabulous it smells!

You can purchase Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue (and the other new Atelier Colognes) at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and LuckyScent, or from Atelier Cologne (by calling 800-715-1390).

Photos courtesy of Neiman Marcus and LuckyScent

Bobbi Brown Beach Club Collection for Summer 2010

About a week ago, I got my hands on the much-anticipated Bobbi Brown Beach Club Collection. Tipped off by a reader that it had arrived at Nordstrom, I wasted no time getting over there. Not only am I a Shimmer Brick addict, I adore Bobbi's cream eye shadows. The colors had looked so yummy in the advance photos, I know I would love them. And I do!

Beach Shimmer Brick ($38), a compact hand-made in Italy, features five bars of warm, pearlized, shimmering shades to create a beautiful seaside glow (think sunset). Run your Face Blender Brush across all five shades and lightly dust over your cheeks and forehead for extra oomph. Or wear just one or two shades on your eyes for subtle glamour. Shimmer Bricks are so versatile, I can't resist them. If you are thinking that these shades are too warm for a cool complexion, my face is living proof that they work beautifully for summer.

There are four new pastel shades of Bobbi's Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadow ($22).
  • Moonstone, a pale shimmering green that Diron used on Hayley last week (see this link)
  • Opal, described as opalescent pink
  • Pink Oyster, a shimmering pale pink
  • Surf, a pale, shimmering blue
There is also a new shade in Long-Wear Cream Shadow ($22): Shore, a soft matte beige perfect for a look that’s just one notch up from natural and a perfect base for the metallic shades.

Bobbi's Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadows are wearable metallics. The award-winning formula is infused with sparkle I can wear without looking like a glitter bomb exploded nearby. These shadows are very sheer. You can blend the shadows on your lids with your fingers or use Bobbi's wonderful Cream Shadow Brush for a wash of color. For a more dramatic look, add another layer, or wear one on top of your favorite matte cream shadow for soft shimmer. When Diron did Hayley's makeover at Nordstrom last week, he applied Moonstone over Sandy Gold.

These really are long-wearing shadows. They stay color-true, retain their sparkle, and don't migrate to the crease. I wear contacts and have very sensitive eyes. I have never experienced any flaking into my eyes with Bobbi's metallic cream shadows. Of course, wearing a primer helps.

I don't normally wear pinks and blues on my eyes, but these shades are so sheer, they work for me - even the pastel blue Surf. I tried a dab of it on the center lid near my lashes, and it made my eyes look bluer than they are - and very summery.
Even if you don't want to purchase the whole collection as I did, you should seriously consider the Shimmer Brick and at least one of the shadows for a sheer and pretty summer treat.

One more Bobbi Brown fact you should know - the Antigua Face Palette, which was exclusive to Bloomingdale's when introduced, is now available at Bobbi Brown's Web site. It's a great value.

You can find the Beach Club Collection at Bobbi's Web site and Bobbi Brown counters at your favorite department stores.

Photos courtesy of Bobbi Brown

Sunday, May 23, 2010

LORAC Little Black Palette Giveaway Contest

Congratulations to Resham, the next-to-last entrant for the palette! My thanks to everyone who entered. Keep entering the contests. You never know what number will select.

Last weekend, I told you how much I like LORAC's Little Black Palette ($32). The set includes four neutral baked eye shadow shades that will work for everyone, along with a Behind The Scenes Eye Shadow Primer (which I reviewed last week).

Here's LORAC's description of this fabulous set.

Everyone needs a Little Black Palette! Create long-lasting, hot looks for days, evenings, and after-hours in the city with this must-have palette. Shine in rich golds and bronzes with four color-coordinated, mineral-infused, silky-smooth, shimmering Baked Eye Shadows and a mini Behind The Scenes Eye Shadow Primer, all packed in a must-have sleek black case. Buy a little perfection with LORAC's Little Black Palette - it's the must-have accessory for every season!

I have one fabulous Little Black Palette to give away. To enter to win, just leave a comment here once. It's that easy! After you comment, feel free to e-mail and identify your comment. You can never be too careful about sharing your e-mail address on a blog, so I would follow this second step if I were you (an alternative is to code your e-mail, e.g., myname at gmail dot com, in your comment).

The contest is open to U.S. and Canadian residents. The deadline for entries will be midnight, May 29. The next day, I will use a random number generator to select the winner.

I'll be posting this contest at Free!Grechen, my favorite giveaway site on the Web. You should check it out if you haven't already!

Good Luck!

Photo courtesy of LORAC

Giorgio Armani Beauty Event with Tim Quinn - and Lexi's Makeover

Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland just had a very special two-day Giorgio Armani Beauty event featuring the always-charming and extremely talented Tim Quinn, Armani Beauty's Celebrity Face Designer. My friend Lexi and I went on Friday. I had fun talking to Tim and watching him make all the ladies glamorous. I was able to get this photo of Tim with Loyd Cassler (manager of the Saks Armani Beauty team and makeup artist extraordinaire) when I arrived - just as the team had returned from lunch and right before it got crazy in there! By the time I left, there were 10 women getting their makeup polished at any given time.

I decided it would be fun to show you a makeover - this time courtesy of Loyd and Tim. They teamed up to take Lexi from her usual pretty self to alluring. To the left is Lexi's before photo, greeted by Loyd when she arrived. She was wearing a tiny amount of makeup. Loyd went to work with concealer and foundation. He used High Precision Retouch #2 to brighten her eyelids. Then he mixed Fluid Sheer #3 with Luminous Silk Foundation #5 in his hand and applied the combination with a brush to even out Lexi's complexion. He filled in her brows using the Eyebrow Defining Pencil in#3.

Loyd provided a brow tip worth sharing. When you use a brow pencil, first take your fingers and pull up the brow. Use the pencil turned flat to apply color to the brow on the inside of the arch. Then use the point of the pencil to apply color from the arch toward the hairline, all the time pulling up on the brow. This provides a natural look, particularly since your brows are thicker closest to your nose and thin out on the other side of their arch.

Next, Loyd applied two bronzers to sculpt Lexi's face. First he used Sheer Bronzer in #1 to contour her face and make her cheekbones pop. Then he used what was left on the brush to go down the center of her face. He said you should remember not to go straight from the bronzer pan to the center of your face - the result will be too much color. He used the warmer tone in the Bronze Mediterranean Palette as an allover highlighter to warm her complexion. He even used it on under her chin and on parts of her neck to give her a radiant glow.

Loyd finished his half of Lexi's makeover with Sheer Blush #10, which is one of my all-time favorites. I was wearing it that day, and Loyd explained to Lexi that she could apply it as softly as I had or a bit more dramatically, which he did because she was about to be photographed.

Tim took over at that point to make Lexi's eyes striking and glamorous. He was so sweet; he remarked that Lexi was so pretty she didn't need makeup. As I watched Tim work, I was struck by how he was able to wear that white jacket all day without getting a single makeup smudge on it - amazing! I also coveted his navy blue Armani sneakers. They were so stylish, and they looked so comfy!

Tim used the new Bronze Mediterranean Palette at our request. He worked his magic with the beautiful green shades - blending, blending, blending - then lined Lexi's eyes with Smooth Silk Eye Pencil in #3 on the top lid and lower waterline. He applied Eyes to Kill Mascara, Armani's super-hit, which was just released in a waterproof formula. He finished her eyes with few more dabs of concealer - this time #3 - and the incomparable Crema Nera Reviving Eye Cream, which is intended to be applied over your makeup to highlight your eyes while it hydrates.

Lexi's eyes were a knockout when he finished, so he used softer colors on her lips, making Lexi pretty in pink with Armanisilk Lipstick in #16 and Lip Shimmer Lip Gloss in #62. He also used Smooth Silk Lip Pencil in #1 after he had applied lipstick and gloss.

He touched up her brows a bit, and voila - she was stunning! I asked Lexi to look down so I could show you her pretty green-shaded eyes. If you think you can't wear green on your eyelids, think again! This photo shows how sheer and wearable the green shades in the new palette really are (BTiB swatches).

The finished look? A little hard to see in this photo of Lexi and Tim. Trust me - she was dazzling!

I couldn't leave "merely fabulous" alone, though. I thought it would be fun to see Lexi with a stronger lip look and knew it would photograph really well. Loyd selected shades that coordinated with her coral clothing, using Sheer Lipstick and Lip Shimmer Lip Gloss. See what a difference it made below. Lexi thought her lips were a bit too dramatic for her tastes, but Loyd and I loved the look. Immediately below is Loyd posing with Lexi for her final photo (where the lighting was better), and you can see the full effect of Tim's and Loyd's artistry.

It's always fun to watch Tim Quinn, Loyd, and the rest of the team work. I wandered around watching transformations of women of every age (from teenagers to 60-70), skin type, eye color, and ethnicity - whether they wanted a natural look or one they could wear to a party that night. Armani Beauty's makeup and skin care products have something for everyone and every occasion. No matter what your skin tone or tastes in color may be, there are perfect shades and textures for you. The talented makeup artists at the event demonstrated that repeatedly. That's why I have a closet full of Armani Beauty products.

I have just one more photo to share with you, the talented Armani Beauty team at Saks - some of my favorite people! If you ever get a chance to visit with them, I know you'll have fun. Even though it's all about beauty, we always manage to share a laugh or a great story. I consider them my friends. As I write this, I hope they are relaxing after finishing a busy weekend, and I know there are a lot of happy women at home playing with their new makeup treasures.

A special thanks to Tim (love him and hope to see him again soon), Loyd (love him and will see him again next week), and the team - and, of course, to Lexi, who agreed to be our lovely makeover model!

Zoya Nail Polish Reverie Sampler Giveaway Contest Winner

Congratulations to Katy! selected her to be the lucky winner of this great nail polish set from Zoya. I have e-mailed her to let her know she won.

You are all so sweet, leaving comments and e-mails about this contest and others. I love hearing from you, not only because it tells me you are "out there reading," but also because of the nice notes you send. I read them and wished I had more sets to send out!

I have another can't-miss giveaway I'll post tonight. It's a set I reviewed during the last week - and love. Stay tuned.

Photo courtesy of Zoya

Weekend Roundup - May 22

Primers are an important addition to the makeup routines of many of us. See what Gaia from The Non-Blonde found out when she tested Clé de Peau Beaute Luminizing Enhancer Base.

Kari at Fabulous Over Forty shared with us her interview with Liz Earle, creator of Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare. See what expert advice she has for us.

Ready for some sun-loving fun? Kelly at Gouldylox Reviews shared with us some of her fun, fresh summer finds that will keep your skin in youthful shape.

Wouldn't we all love to own a Chanel bag or a Hermes skirt? Lauren from BeautyXposé showed us why these luxury pieces can cost us so much of our hard-earned money.

Custom makeup or already prepackaged? Cindy from Prime Beauty shows us both worlds with the Three Custom Colors range of beauty.

Carla from Product Girl continued her Stila product reviews. This week it was the new One Step Prime Color for lips, cheeks, and eyes. See what she thought of this new tube of color.

Can you imagine being in beauty heaven? KarlaSugar from The Next Best Thing to Going Shopping Yourself attended The Makeup Show last weekend, her own beauty heaven! See some of the people and products that left her in awe.

We've all been enthralled with Bobbi Brown's Pretty Powerful campaign. Well, here at Best Things in Beauty a young friend got her own Pretty Powerful makeover at the Nordstrom Bobbi Brown counter. See the glowing results.

Have a lovely weekend filled with beauty and laughter!