Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rouge Bunny Rouge When Birds are Singing... Long-Lasting Eye Shadow in Angelic Cockatiels and Gracious Arasari

What taupe or neutral eye shadow lover could resist Rouge Bunny Rouge's When Birds are Singing... Long-Lasting Eyeshadows in Angelic Cockatiels and Gracious Arasari? ($35.86 at this time, varies with exchange rate)? Not this neutral lover!

Rouge Bunny Rouge's powder eye shadows have a lightweight, creamy touch and extraordinary adherence. The first time I applied one, I wondered how Rouge Bunny Rouge made the powder so creamy. It resembles a cream-powder hybrid, with its beautiful texture. I knew I would be adding to my collection over time, and I have.

I am charmed by Rouge Bunny Rouge's enchanting stories!

The firefly festival is eagerly awaited all year in the Enchanted Garden. For then on this very special day, the best voices of the bird world feed on these tiny fireworks that embellish their voices and then gather to perform a single concert together. Their jubilant musical notes are inscribed in a syrup of figs and milk and preserved in tiny pots to be enjoyed the year round.

Like this golden froth of musical syrup, 'When Birds are Singing...' Eye Shadows are a time-defying exotic enigma. This is plumage to adorn you in shades as deliciously mellow as soft silence that flows, or as brilliantly potent as jeweled notes. So addictive are these morsels that you'll be causing your own kaleidoscopic ripples every time you wear them.

The formula of When Birds are Singing... creates lively, dynamic color and a second-skin effect as the shadows melt into the eyelids, looking like they belong there. All of the shades stay perfectly placed and look freshly applied all day, without losing a bit of their luster. One of the ingredients, orange-derived flavonoid, is said to improve blood microcirculation, enhance luminosity, and serve as a free radical scavenger. That's an extra-added benefit when a shadow color is so pretty. I would purchase When Birds Are Singing... even without the skin-care benefits.

About six weeks ago, I received an order with Angelic Cockatiels and Gracious Arasari, two neutrals that looked lovely in the swatches. I selected them from 20 possible shades (actually 19 because of what I had purchased already), and I am thrilled with them. Although the online swatches looked similar, these eye shadows are very different. In the photo above, Gracious Arasari is shown on the left, and Angelic Cockatiels is on the right. All of my photos in this feature were taken in full sun.

Angelic Cockatiels is described as a metallic-finish golden honey with a hint of copper. A close-up of the compact is shown at left. Gracious Arasari is described at Zuneta as a semi-matte nude taupe with the barest whisper of pink. These are excellent descriptions.

Angelic Cockatiels is shown in the compact above left. It is exquisite on my skin - shimmering, softly metallic, and eye-catching. A close-up of Gracious Arasari is shown at right. You can see that this shadow in the compact has much less shimmer than the other. Fortunately (for my tastes), it's not "flat matte." It has life.

I took a few swatch photos to show you the shades on my arm. I applied each heavily (and dry) with a sponge-tipped applicator.

Where Angelic Cockatiels (at top) is bold and shimmering, Gracious Arasari is light and tender. They pair beautifully, although I haven't limited their use to this pairing. I love to use Angelic Cockatiels alone, swiping it quickly and lightly over my lid, from lash line to crease. It makes my blue eyes pop.

Gracious Arasari is a barely there taupe - perfect for us fair-skinned gals. It may not light up these swatch photos, but it's a remarkably useful shade. I like to use it in the crease when I want a natural look, and it makes a gorgeous liner under my lower lashes.

Your own coloring will guide your use of these shades or any of the other When Birds Are Singing... eye shadows. I've selected neutral shades, but I'm drawn to some of the vibrant colors. Mysterious Tinamou, a deep sea blue, reminiscent of a wild duck's plumage, looks exquisite. Whispering Ibis also looks gorgeous. It's described as an iridescent fern green, shimmering with gold pearls. I'm sighing. I keep ordering from Zuneta (I did last weekend when they offered free shipping). I love everything I receive. You will to, I'll bet.

Even without a promotion, Zuneta offers free international shipping for orders over £65. It's not hard to spend that much there!

If you would like to read my other Rouge Bunny Rouge features, just enter Rouge Bunny Rouge in the "Search This Blog" box on the sidebar. I'll be showing you more over the coming month.

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Le Métier de Beauté Vintage Ken Nail Lacquer from Ken Downing's Bordeaux Collection

I wanted to get a professional application of Vintage Ken to show you the gorgeous color. Vintage Ken is the nail lacquer in the I'm Worn This Way/Vintage Ken set, one of the three sets in Le Métier de Beauté's The Bordeaux Collection by Ken Downing for Fall/Winter 2011. See my Quick Peek feature here.

For his second exclusive collection for Le Métier de Beauté, Downing took the essence of the fall runways and distilled it into a beauty collection that presents elegant, coordinated duos to transform you into Lady Chic. The gorgeous sets have catchy names.
  1. Ken, Red My Lips (lips) and Gypsy Rose Me (nails) - subtle red with a blushing pinot undertone
  2. Ken's Wine on the Vine (lips) and Ken's Bodacious Bordeaux (nails) - rich, crimson cabernet
  3. I'm Worn This Way (lips) and Vintage Ken (nails) - Bold berry with a deep grape undertone, as you can see above.
All three sets arrived at Neiman Marcus Tysons Galleria last week. I decided to start with Vintage Ken. Because I like a professional application, but didn't have much time, I went to Yelp to look for a highly recommended nail salon near my house. The lesson learned here was, "Don't believe everything (anything?) you read on Yelp." You can read the rest of that story below.

I was able to get a few photos to introduce you to Vintage Ken, a gorgeous, deep purple shade. My photo at the top is the better of the portraits. The one below looks a little too blue. The shade will be a dramatic addition to my fall and winter wardrobe. Actually, it's really nice now! I adore purple and grape shades, and I can't wait to add a new Bordeaux handbag to my collection.

Each set in the Bordeaux Collection is priced at $49. The Bordeaux Collection is available at Neiman Marcus exclusively. I'll show you more soon in another feature.

Now for the rest of the story. The young lady who applied Vintage Ken was a total rookie. She couldn't paint a straight line near my cuticle, got nail lacquer all over my fingers (and under my nails), and thought her work looked just fine. She even dribbled top coat on my legs. She never used an orange stick to wipe away her mistakes; instead, she used her own fingernail. It was a fairly disgusting experience.

After I made sure my photos were OK, I removed the utterly gorgeous Vintage Ken because I couldn't repair it myself. It was hard to remove because she had painted it into my nail bed and under my nails. I'll get a real pro to apply the next one, Bodacious Bordeaux. I like a precise application, particularly with a dark shade. Hey, I'm a Virgo!

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

New: Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color Collection

New colors from Tom Ford's Lip Color Collection ($48) arrived at Neiman Marcus! I found three of them irresistible - even without the testers, which haven't arrived. There's a peek below at the shades I purchased.

Tom Ford believes that a woman attains true glamour by amplifying her individuality and expressing her own iconic style of sophistication and seductiveness. With Tom Ford Beauty, he introduces 18 new lip colors that "empower a woman to transform her look and mood and express her most glamorous self."

Formulated with rare and exotic ingredients, including soja seed extract, Brazilian murumuru butter, and chamomilla flower oil, the luxurious formula has an ultra-creamy texture for an incredibly smooth application. Specially treated color pigments are blended to deliver pure color with just the right balance of luminosity.

I purchased three colors that are all in my comfort zone: #02, Pink Adobe; #03, Casablanca; and #04, Indian Rose. I took photos of them in the tubes and on my arm. I realize that they look extremely similar in the tubes in these photos, but they are unique shades.

The tube of #02, Pink Adobe, is shown above right. It's a rose-toned pink with a hint of brown to my eye. Casablanca, #03 is shown at left. I would describe it as a vibrant blue-toned rose. It's the darkest of the three shades I purchased. Indian Rose, #04, is shown below right. I'd describe it as a medium-toned rose pink that straddles the cool/warm spectrum.

I swatched all three shades on my arm in this order, top to bottom (yes, out of order): #02 Pink Adobe, #04 Indian Rose, and #03 Casablanca. All photos were taken in full sun, which added a bit of sparkle to the swatch photos. I would call the finish of these lip colors gleaming, with a bit of shine in strong light, but not sparkly.

Adobe Pink is shown at the top of my arm. Tom Ford's color chart of the new shades shows it on the top row with the nude and brown tones. Next down on my arm is #04, Indian Rose. Hopefully you can see in my swatches that it's the "neutral shade." Both Indian Rose and Casablanca, which is shown at the bottom of my arm, are featured on the middle row of Tom Ford's color chart, which includes colors that range from light pink to a deep Violet Fatale. The bottom row shows the reds in every shade of the red spectrum. Sabrina posted a photo of the card at The Beauty Look Book.

While all the shades offer saturated color, Casablanca is the deepest of those I purchased. It warms up a little in the sun, but it is definitely cooler on my lips than the other two shades. The swatch photo below left is probably the best portrait of the shade, even though there's too much reflected sun on my arm.

The pigmentation of your own lips will determine how intense these lipsticks look on you. They all offer saturated coverage. I found when applying Casablanca that I had to tidy up the bottom lip line I had drawn from the tube. Naturally, a lip liner would have helped. I could have applied it more precisely with a lip brush, but I usually don't take the time for that.

They are very pretty. Did I "need" three new lipsticks, each costing $48? No, I'd probably have been just as happy with two. The elegant black-brown cases will be an eye-catcher, though, when I pull one out of my handbag. I'll have to select one of the shades as a take-along.

You can purchase the Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color Collection at Neiman Marcus. I can verify that the store at Tysons Galleria received all the new shades. Feel free to give Kathy Shoreman a call at 571-212-8399 (her cell) if you don't have a store with a Tom Ford counter near you.

Photo courtesy of Tom Ford

Pure Fiji Coconut Milk Bath Soap

"Island Bliss," says the bottle. Indeed! Pure Fiji's Coconut Milk Bath Soak ($33.95) will transform your bathtub at home into a spa. Luxuriously smooth and creamy, this hydrating coconut milk soak contains a bounty of nutrients essential to the support and good health of your skin. Fresh coconut milk with a blend of exotic nut oils rejuvenate, nourish, and rehydrate dry skin leaving it supple smooth and revitalized. Add 1/4 of a cup of this island bliss to running water and relax on a wave of island magic!

The product lives up to the hype. I prefer to shower in the summer, but now and then, I need to soak in a long, hot (yes, hot) bath. I felt that need this week on a chilly morning when I couldn't get warm. Sneeze after sneeze told me to enjoy a nice hot bath and warm up. I know that hot water will dry out my skin, so I had an opportunity to try the Coconut Milk and Bath Soak that Pure Fiji had sent me. It was heavenly. I didn't want to get out. The water felt great, the scent was intoxicating, and the creaminess of the water assured me that I would not need a body moisturizer when I emerged.

Pure Fiji is a great company. Based in Suva, Fiji, Pure Fiji uses the finest quality plant oils and extracts in each of their products. The line does not contain ingredients that commonly cause allergies or problems for sensitive skins, uses organic materials whenever they can, and does not test on animals. All Pure Fiji containers are recyclable.

Here's a little more about the company, abstracted from their Web site. Pure Fiji works to ensure that their products will benefit customers through exceptional performance and value, while positively impacting the people and economies of the local communities from which the raw materials are sourced. Pure Fiji believes this is achievable by using ingredients from renewable resources and eco-friendly packaging.

Pure Fiji takes makes every effort to minimize their carbon footprint, and where appropriate, enhance Fiji's unique ecosystem. Botanical ingredients, such as their blend of nut oils, are wild-harvested, which means they select the nuts from trees that grow in their natural habitat. That practice reduces their requirement for energy-dependent irrigation and fertilization methods. Bottles used in packaging are PET, which are an environmentally responsible choice that requires 24% less energy to produce and generates 40% less solid waste than glass bottles. Gift packaging is made by hand using natural fibers, such as handmade paper or delightful woven baskets.

These enlightened philosophies also played a big part in the design and construction of Pure Fiji's state-of-the-art factory and its daily production processes. Passive solar dryers are employed, and oils are cold pressed in the villages that supply them. Spa linens and staff uniforms are sun-dried, eliminating the need for electricity. Pure Fiji even recycles the chaff and seed casings from the nuts in the factory gardens - which act as a nursery for Pure Fiji's tree planting programs along the coastline, a source of a variety of flowers and herbs for use in their spa, and even supply fresh vegetables for the factory staff to use in their meals.

The coconut line is only one of Pure Fiji's fragrant product lines. Imagine your favorite tropical scents. Pineapple, frangipani, mango, anyone? I'll bet you'll find one at Pure Fiji's Web site. Can you beat that? A great company, a great bath soak, and a certainty that your self-pampering is not an assault on our ever-threatened environment.

Photos courtesy of Pure Fiji

Monday, August 29, 2011

Elie Saab Le Parfum Eau de Parfum

Designer fragrances often come with a fantasy, and Elie Saab Le Parfum Eau de Parfum ($90 to $120) offers one that's immensely appealing. Who wouldn't love the photo of Anja Rubik, a wind-bown urban princess wearing a gorgeous gown designed by Elie Saab?

As a rule, my reaction to "just another department store fragrance" would be a huge yawn. Lately, though, I've discovered that a few of them are glorious. I had a "love at first whiff" reaction to Elie Saab Le Parfum, and my love has grown in the couple of weeks I've had it. Elie Saab's intent is to glorify women, to inject beauty into women's lives. Even if we don't have the means to purchase his glorious haute couture, his first fragrance is accessible.

Elie Saab Le Parfum is housed in a heavy glass bottle that's as exquisite as Elie Saab's evening gowns. Tasteful, elegant, and chic, the bottle was created by Sylvie de France. It conveys a resolutely modern beauty.

The fragrance was created for Elie Saab by the masterful perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, who describes the fragrance as a light, woody floral. Orange blossom provides the centerpiece, tempered by cedarwood, which gives it a lovely softness. There are two jasmine absolutes among the notes: jasmine sambac and jasmine grandiflorum. They add a glorious depth to the orange blossoms. A white honey rose completes the floral design. The cedarwood heart is blended with patchouli, which absolutely stunned me. As a rule, I flee from patchouli. There are no sharp edges in this one. I'm stunned. I think I finally found the patchouli that appeals to fragrance mavens.

A video at this link describes the fragrance as an "ode to light," to a sun that's almost white in its gold brilliance - an intensely feminine, modern, and radiant fragrance. On my skin, it's a bright, fresh floral. It's as soft as a summer garden, yielding its scents to a light breeze that wafts a floral bounty through my windows. Elie Saab Le Parfum reminds me of the intoxicating scent of the fragrant hostas that I planted against my screened porch. When they bloom, it's hard to leave the porch as their white flower scent comes my way.

I knew when I finished this feature that The Non-Blonde was publishing her impressions last night. I refrained from reading Gaia's feature until I finished writing mine. Her always-extraordinary fragrance descriptions are unforgettable. You must read her review. We are both enjoying Elie Saab - for many of the same reasons. I think you will too.

I purchased my bottle at Neiman Marcus. I know it's available at Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Photos courtesy of Elie Saab

Charlotte Ronson A Summer's Kiss Face and Body Glow

Fashion "it" girl Charlotte Ronson is best known for combining her effortless sense of style with her chic downtown designs. Charlotte is "bringing the same sensibility to her new beauty collection." Inspired by her friends and family, the line takes its direction from the different looks and lifestyles of her inner circle. There's a multi-tonal eye shadow palette for Nicole Richie; a weightless, nonstick gloss for her DJ sister Samantha; and a luminous light-filtering powder for Rashida Jones.

The entire collection is designed around her muses - their different routines and diverse beauty - appealing to a wide range of women who want to look pretty on-the-go without trying too hard. Every product seamlessly transitions from day to night and is especially portable and easy to use. Plus, the formulas are infused with light-adjusting technology so you look flawlessly radiant in every cast of light, no matter what spotlight you find yourself under.

I was surfing Sephora and saw Ronson's A Summer's Kiss Face and Body Glow ($18). As a total illuminator junkie, I had to have it. The price was right, so into my cart it went.

When it arrived, I was extremely happy with my initial tests. The color is a bronze gold with just a hint of rose gold. My first impression was, Wow!" The liquid illuminator/bronzer definitely adjusts its shimmer and glow based on the lighting.

Here are two swatch photos of a heavy application at the top of my arm, with a lighter, more normal one below. I applied both swatches with a concealer brush and took my initial swatch photos in full sun.

I decided to test A Summer's Kiss for longevity by leaving the swatch on my arm and going off to run errands. I went to CVS, got some things for my mother, delivered them, and came directly home. At no time during my foray did the inside of my arm get an excessive workout. The product didn't fare well on my arm. By the time I got home, there was little left.

The swatch photo at right was taken with some clouds overhead that moved in while I was gone. As you can see, the color wore off significantly. There was some color and some sparkle left, but the pizzazz was gone.

Interestingly, the color persists nicely on my face. With sunshine or strong indoor light on my face, A Summer's Kiss is a pretty, gleaming, shimmering medium-toned bronze-gold. With less light, it shows me less gleam and more color. It's cooling when I apply it.

The active ingredients, listed at Sephora, include:
  • Nano-fine titanium dioxide and alumina: work synergistically to create a soft-focus effect by absorbing, reflecting, and scattering light;
  • Multidimensional pigments: creates differentiating shimmer and luminosity effects;
  • Capric/caprylic triglyceride and xctyl palmitate: help keep the skin soft, supple, and moisturized; and
  • Vitamins C and E: strong antioxidants to protect the skin from environmental aggressors.
My conclusions about A Summer's Kiss? It's a pretty facial illuminator or shimmering bronzer in a color most of us can wear, and the price is very reasonable. It only fails the test as a body bronzer. You only need a tiny amount of product to achieve a pretty look, so the three-ounce tube should last a long time if you are wearing it only on your face.

Charlotte Ronson's A Summer's Kiss Face and Body Glow is exclusive to Sephora. I bought mine online. You can see Ronson's complete collection at Sephora.

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

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Giorgio Armani Beauty Blushing Fabric Giveaway Contest

Congratulations to Anonymous in South Africa!
Giorgio Armani Beauty's Blushing Fabric Second Skin Blush ($38) is a micro-blend of water-soluble pigments that creates a luminous and luxurious fabric-like finish with incredible transparency. Inspired by Armani's finest couture fabrics - silks and chiffon - this sensuous "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 adore my Blushing Fabrics!

Thanks to a generous friend in the industry, I have one Blushing Fabric in #3 to give away. The tube is shown above. I can't swatch it for you (otherwise this tube would be used), but I can describe it as a gorgeous pinky peach shade. If you haven't tried Blushing Fabric, you have no idea what you're missing! Now's your chance. Here's the "fine print" for the contest.

There are a few simple steps to enter. First, all you really have to do is leave a comment on this feature. After you comment here, feel free to send me an e-mail at and identify your comment. You can never be too careful about sharing an e-mail address you care about on a blog, so feel free to follow this step (an alternative is to code your e-mail, e.g., myname at gmail dot com, in your comment).

You can earn extra entries. Follow this blog (through an e-mail subscription or though one of the many Google readers - see sidebar at right) to earn a second entry. You don't have to follow to enter. I want everyone to have a chance, but I also want to reward my followers.

You can earn a third entry by tweeting this contest. Just make sure to include "@BTiBeauty" (without the quotes) and the contest title in your tweet. I will tweet the contest this evening, and you can simply retweet it to earn that second entry. Only one tweet will be counted as an entry. I appreciate multiple tweets, but it's not necessary.

The deadline for entries will be Saturday, September 3, at midnight. The next day, I will use a random number generator ( to select the winner. I will e-mail the winner on Sunday. The winner will have 48 hours to reply to my message and provide a shipping address. After 48 hours, the prize will be forfeited, and another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your e-mail - and look in your spam folder - when the contest ends.

This contest is open to anyone anywhere. Here are the terms. I will carefully pack and ship the prize (as I always do). I cannot insure the prize for overseas shipment - it's amazingly expensive to do so because of the way I have to send insured mail. If it's lost or stolen in transit, I won't be able to replace it with another. I'll do my best on this end; let's see if your mail service does right by you on the other end if we have an overseas winner.

Good luck!

Photo by Best Things in Beauty

Collection Essentielle de Chanel Lumière Romantique Giveaway Contest Winner

I'm pleased to announce that Bonnie C. won the Collection Essentielle de Chanel Lumière Romantique giveaway contest. Congratulations, Bonnie!

Tallying the entries took some time this morning (there were so many!) before I could use to select a winner. I was a little shaken from the storm overnight. Irene left me awake most of the early morning hours, fearing the worst. As transformers blew and things went boom in the night, I had visions of disasters. I'm still exhausted from the fitful "sleep."

I'm always eager to find out who won, and I'm always excited for each and every contest winner. Today's winner gave me a special joy for a couple of reasons.

Bonnie C. is a long-time reader of Best Things in Beauty. She may not realize it, but she's a best thing in beauty - a beautiful person inside and out. Bonnie suffers from a debilitating illness that's probably not a secret since she's on Facebook and has inspired thousands. Despite that, she has a joie de vivre that's infectious. She and I have exchanged e-mails over a few years, and I've said more than a few prayers for Bonnie as she has broken bones from a fall, had surgery, and bravely battled an illness that's unrelenting. That's why I was particularly excited when selected her entry. She'll have a blast with this palette, and she really deserves to have some excitement in her life.

Bonnie calls me her fairy godmother. Bonnie, your fairy godmother will be sending this palette your way with love.

I loved reading your entries. Some of them left me laughing out loud.

If you're interested, I have a soul available that I'll sell you for this.

This is the perfect way to start an obsession with Chanel cosmetics.

What an awesome stash of goodies. I would definitely find time to use them.

Yes, I was a ditz to put this palette away for another day! When I found it, though, I knew almost instantly what I needed to do with it. Giveaways are my way to thank everyone for reading Best Things in Beauty. You keep me going - the reason we will start another exciting giveaway later today. I think you'll like it.

Come back this afternoon or evening. I'll have recovered from Irene's fury and will post the contest. Don't forget, we started a Hurricane Irene contest from AVEENO yesterday for U.S. readers. Make sure to enter!

Photo by Best Things in Beauty

Saturday, August 27, 2011

New: Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eye Color

Shiseido introduced new Shimmering Cream Eye Colors ($25) this month, and they are luscious. The lightweight cream eye shadows have a radiant, lustrous finish that will maintain a just-applied, fresh look for 16 hours without smudging or creasing. They apply easily with your fingertip or a cream shadow brush (or concealer brush) for a smooth, even finish. You can wear the shades separately or blend them to create a custom look.

The formula adds a luxurious bonus to the color. Shiseido's Super Hydro-Wrap Vitalizing DE hydrates the lids. The shadows contain a jewel-reflecting powder that emits an intense radiance to morph to your surroundings. A patent-pending emulsification technology allows excess oil and water to be removed after application, leaving behind only the hydrating and jewel-reflecting powder on the lids. That's how the shadows stay crease-free for the duration. They apply like a dream come true.

The 12 shades range from the vibrant Purple Dawn, shown on the model above, to a discreet Sable. I purchased two shades to start my collection. I love cream shadows, so I was on the lookout for the new shades. Actually, I had seen them at Nordstrom, but it was during the crazy Anniversary Sale days, so I skipped out of there quickly. The shadows are now available online at Sephora. That's where I bought mine.

The two shades I purchased are shown above: Meadow (BE204), a gorgeous antique gold - and Patina (GR707), a silvery khaki or olive green. I adore them both!

I took a few swatch photos in full sun. You can see that these shadows are shimmering beauties. Yes, the sun makes them look especially sparkly, but you can always count on Shiseido for totally wearable makeup. On my lids, they are magnificent. For these photos, I applied the shadows with a cream eye shadow brush.

You can see that Meadow is a gorgeous, shimmering gold. I love gold shadows on my lids, and Meadow is going to replace a very old one (another brand) that has finally given up the ghost. Patina is an interesting, muted green with a silver shimmer. It's beyond flattering. It brings out the green in my eyes, which is fun.

I think the pots are really well-designed. Instead of being perfectly round, they have a contour that allows for an easy grasp and turn (as you can see in Shiseido's photo of Meadow above).

I am a huge Shiseido devotee, and I'm passionate about cream eye shadows. I am totally delighted with my new Shimmering Cream Eye Colors. Now I have Techno Gold and Sable on my must-have list. Perhaps I'll even buy Leather. I need to see that one in person, but I could order the other two from the online photos. I know I'll love them.

You can find Shiseido's gorgeous new Shimmering Cream Eye Colors at Shiseido's Web site (click on the little circle and a fabulous photo will display), Sephora online, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and Macy's. Go look at them!

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

A Special Hurricane Irene Giveaway Contest from AVEENO

Congratulations to Dlori and Holstrom4!
We’re nearing the end of summer, and we need to concentrate on beauty, not Hurricane Irene! While everyone's sad to see this fun-filled season drawing to an end this way, AVEENO gathered some styling and hair tips from celebrity hairstylist Patrick Melville to get you through the next few months.

Patrick gave AVEENO his tips for transitioning your hair from summer to fall. By following these tips, you’re sure to be a stand-out beauty this coming season. Patrick says, “When going to the beach those final days of summer, apply any of the AVEENO NOURISH+ conditioners throughout your hair to protect it from UV rays. In addition, always bring a hat or scarf to cover your hair from the sun. Coming out of the pool or ocean, make sure to rinse hair well with fresh water, apply some NOURISH+ conditioner, and comb it evenly through your hair. This will remove the chlorine or salt from your hair and put moisture back in.”

“After the hot summer, you'll want to cut off those beach/pool frizzy ends. Shampoo and condition your hair with AVEENO NOURISH+ to restore hair vitality and elasticity. If you color your hair, it's time to go a little warmer with your color. Try using AVEENO LIVING COLOR to help restore shine to your hair - shine that was lifted out by the UV rays during the summer months.”

“Once we’ve finally beat the humidity, hair will be a little smoother, and you will be adding more shine to your blow dry. Coming out of summer, I always feel hair length should be brought up the neckline a bit. This also helps rejuvenate the hair after the summer months.”

AVEENO is offering two lucky Best Things in Beauty readers an opportunity to win a shampoo and conditioner from the NOURISH+ Revitalize or NOURISH+ Volumize lines. Interested? Here's the "fine print" for the contest.

There are a few simple steps to enter. First, all you really have to do is leave a comment on this feature and tell us whether you prefer a Revitalize or Volumize set. After you comment here, feel free to send me an e-mail at and identify your comment. You can never be too careful about sharing an e-mail address you care about on a blog, so feel free to follow this step (an alternative is to code your e-mail, e.g., myname at gmail dot com, in your comment).

You can earn extra entries. Follow this blog (through an e-mail subscription or though one of the many Google readers - see sidebar at right) to earn a second entry. You don't have to follow to enter. I want everyone to have a chance, but I also want to reward my followers.

You can earn a third entry by tweeting this contest. Just make sure to include "@BTiBeauty" (without the quotes) and the contest mentioning AVEENO in your tweet. I tweeted the contest, and you can simply retweet it to earn that second entry. Only one tweet will be counted as an entry. I appreciate multiple tweets, but it's not necessary.

The deadline for entries will be Tuesday, August 30, at midnight. The next day, I will use a random number generator ( to select the winners. I will e-mail the winners on Tuesday. The winners will have 48 hours to reply to my message and provide a shipping address. After 48 hours, the prize will be forfeited, and another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your e-mail - and look in your spam folder - when the contest ends.

The contest is only open to U.S. residents, and the prize will be mailed to the winners by AVEENO or Recyclebank. Wasn't it nice of them to give us something to get our minds off Irene? Good luck!

Photo and contest courtesy of AVEENO

Chanel Blue Jean Nail Collection for Fashion's Night Out

Vogue will celebrate Fashion's Night Out, the third annual event, with the exclusive Blue Jean Nail Collection by Chanel. Peter Philips, Creative Director of Chanel Makeup, developed the collection for Fashion's Night Out, September 8. Denim, the everlasting emblem of chic and casual fashion, was his inspiration. Three shades, Blue Rebel, Coco Blue, and Blue Boy, from medium to very pale blue, will offer as much enjoyment as your favorite pair of blue jeans.

Conceived by Vogue editor Anna Wintour as a stimulus project for New York City in 2009, Fashion's Night Out has grown each year. Now more than 100 cities in 15 countries organize special events, extend store shopping hours, and have fabulous promotions to encourage fall shopping. We will be celebrating FNO in the DC area!

Interested in knowing a little more about Chanel's Fashion's Night Out specials? Head over to visit Product Girl.

The Blue Jean Nail Collection will be available at, Chanel boutiques, and some Neiman Marcus stores. I suspect the pieces will sell out, possibly before Fashion's Night Out, so place your pre-orders now. Call your favorite Chanel boutique or Neiman Marcus soon.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Quick Peek: Le Métier de Beauté - The Bordeaux Collection by Ken Downing for Fall/Winter 2011

They arrived! All three sets of The Bordeaux Collection by Ken Downing for Fall/Winter 2011 for Le Métier de Beauté arrived at Neiman Marcus Tysons Galleria today. It was exciting! I wasn't expecting to see them this early in the season. They are drop-dead gorgeous!

For his second exclusive collection for Le Métier de Beauté, Downing took the essence of the fall runways and distilled it into a beauty collection that presents elegant, coordinated duos to transform you into Lady Chic.

I will devote a full feature to the collection soon, with my nails done. For now, I wanted to show you the two sets I purchased: I'm Worn This Way/Vintage Ken and Wine On The Vine/Bodacious Bordeaux.

Wine On The Vine/Bodacious Bordeaux is shown at the top of this feature, and I'm Worn This Way/Vintage Ken is shown at right. Each set is $49. There is a third set, Ken Red My Lips/Gypsy Rose Me that I didn't buy. I struggled to get decent photos of the duos as Irene's clouds started to blanket our area. The moment I put the duos away in their boxes, the sun came out again. I'll get brighter photos for my next feature.

I was able to get swatch photos of the two Moisture Stain Lipsticks in direct and indirect light. I don't normally wear dark lipsticks, so I had wondered if I would like the lip colors in the Bordeaux Collection. I love them. I needed two sets!

My first swatch photo of the lipsticks at left, taken in full sun, shows Wine On The Vine at the top of my arm and I'm Worn This Way below. You can see that neither is pure red. Wine On The Vine is a stunning, deep grape, and I'm Worn This Way appears to be a saturated rose on my arm, but it's red. The photo at right shows the shades when the sun ducked behind clouds. I'm Worn This Way is particularly interesting because the lipstick looks red in the tube, and it is red (not rose as it appears on my arm). On my lips, it's a cool-toned cherry red - one I can wear, which delights me. I think it's the most flattering red lipstick I have ever tried. Your own lip pigmentation will define the shade of these lipsticks (which is normal).

The "lip-matching" Nail Lacquers are exquisite. Vintage Ken is shown at left and Bodacious Bordeaux is shown at right. Both shades will give us the Bordeaux look that will be the "in color" this fall and winter. Bordeaux provides a beautiful accent for so many colors, and it will add a fashionable flair to your little black dress.

The packaging of the sets is unique, with a black, deep red, and fuchsia leopard print removable insert in an elegant black box. The insert cradles the nail lacquer and lipstick. The boxes have a printed Kenneth Downing signature. If you could stand to give one away, it would be a very classy gift. Sorry about the glare from the sun on the window of one of the boxes shown just above right. Isn't the box enticing?

I always warn you when I think something new is going to sell out. Consider yourself warned about the Bordeaux Collection. Call your local Neiman Marcus now. If you would like to order one from my friend Kathy Shoreman at Neiman Marcus Tysons, give her a call on her cell phone at 571-212-8399. Do it today if you can. She's off tomorrow (nursing her broken and bandaged hand), but will be back at work Sunday.

I will be back with a full feature later. I was so excited, I wanted to show you my selections from the collection as quickly as possible. I keep looking at my Wine On The Vine red lips in a mirror. I'm a happy gal.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

The Friday Forum - August 26

What a week! The unfortunate part is that "it's not over yet." That was quite an earthquake we had in Virginia. Now officially categorized as a 5.8, it was the strongest quake in our state (commonwealth, actually) since 1897. That means most of us have never felt anything like it.

Not too long ago, we had a small earthquake, which I recognized as one pretty quickly. It freaked out all of us East Coast types. That turned out to be nothing compared to what happened here Tuesday. I was at my desk at home, on the phone placing an order, when the trembling started. As it rolled in, things started to rattle. I thought Charlie was misbehaving (he wasn't, but during the earthquake, he came running into the room to be with me). Within nanoseconds, as everything in my house and my house started to move rather violently, I realized we were having a doozy of an earthquake. I had told the woman on the phone, "Hang on, something is really wrong." She stayed on the phone until I came back, after the earthquake had ended, and I told her what had happened. She told me she had been on the phone with California customers when earthquakes had struck. What are the chances of that?

I was pretty rattled. As I surveyed for damage, I found perfume bottles everywhere. They went flying off shelves. Pictures on the wall were askew. Shampoos and conditioners on the rim of the tub were in the tub. I'm fortunate. I found nothing damaged or broken. There was severe damage elsewhere. You may have read that the National Cathedral suffered major damage, with fallen angels and parts of the spires broken off and smashed on the ground. The Washington Monument was damaged badly. Just up the street at Tysons Corner, part of a building wall came down and smashed cars. In Mineral, Virginia (southwest of here) at the epicenter, the damage is catastrophic. Many homes and businesses in the little town have been condemned.

We have had unsettling aftershocks since then. Why do they keep happening at night? The largest was Thursday at 1:07 am, when we had a 4.5. Charlie felt it first and bolted upright. Then the house started to rattle. The aftershock was more of a severe rattle than a rocking and rolling shock. It was still unnerving. I lost two nights of sleep to aftershocks. It's hard for me to go back to sleep when I've been awakened suddenly.

Now, we are waiting for Hurricane Irene. "She" is expected to reach Virginia on Saturday and Sunday. All coastal areas are being evacuated. I suspect we will have torrential rain and heavy winds, and many will lose power. I lost my power for 10 days after one tropical storm, and those were 10 miserable days. Workers from Florida Power and Light, who had come to help our area, restored my electricity. We cheered the guys! I wanted to hug them.

Let's hope for no major damage from Irene. The trees really suffer from these storms, homes are often damaged, and it seems inevitable that someone is going to get hurt. I'll be out braving the panicked crowds today to get all my essentials, including cat food.

I may also have to make a quick run to Neiman Marcus to see Kathy. As she crossed the parking lot there this week, some jerk almost ran over her (he kept going, so the mall is reviewing security tapes to try to find him). Kathy fell and broke a bone in her hand. She continued to work for five hours before she left to go get an x-ray, and she went in the next day to help all of you who have started shopping with her. That's dedication!

Let's talk about something beautiful. It's time for The Friday Forum, our open chat. What new products did you discover this week? Did you find any deals you couldn't resist this week? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? What's new in your life? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers have moved on.

If you feel like shopping this weekend, Zuneta is offering free shipping from August 26 until midnight August 29 on all orders, wherever you are! Use code FREESHIPAUG. Now's the time to order Rouge Bunny Rouge.

I have a great giveaway underway. If you'd like a chance to win Chanel's Collection Essentielle de Chanel Lumière Romantique, make sure to enter before midnight tomorrow, Saturday, August 27.

If you are in the path of Irene, I hope you stay home, stay safe, and weather the storm well. Good luck!

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Le Métier de Beauté Peau Vierge Lash Growth Serum

Le Métier de Beauté's Peau Vierge Lash Growth Serum ($95) "takes lash growth technology to new lengths" with the most effective delivery system available. It promises to deliver longer, stronger, fuller, and healthier lashes quickly. It can be used on top and bottom lashes, sparse brows, and when you are wearing faux lashes.

Le Métier de Beauté promises a long list of benefits, and I can verify many of them. I've been using Peau Vierge Lash Growth Serum for about two months. I have to admit that I haven't used Peau Vierge every night. Sometimes, I forget it. I've still seen pleasing results.

Peau Vierge Lash Growth Serum offers these benefits.
  • Thickens lash diameter
  • Boosts volume and length
  • Intensifies lash appearance
  • Moisturizes and conditions to prevent damage and thinning
  • Strengthens and protects against natural and environmental aggressors
  • No discoloration or irritation
Le Métier de Beauté's amazing and proprietary Syntoc Actif is a powerful form of vitamin E that increases the absorption of the active ingredients, guaranteeing that they will be delivered deep into the dermis and hair follicle. If you read my feature about the new Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Treatment Collection, you'll know that the patented delivery system, which took 12 years to develop, uniquely encapsulates ingredients to ensure that they penetrate the skin to encourage lash growth.

The active ingredients are all good. My experience with lash growth serums is that they must include peptides, and this one does. It also contains vitamins and proteins. It doesn't contain a prostaglandin, which can have nasty side effects.
  • Myristoyl Pentapeptide-17 - five amino acids or protein builders that help strengthen lashes
  • Dimethyl Isosorbide - enables the product to penetrate the skin, promoting faster lash growth than normal
  • Panthenol - a non-irritating form of vitamin B to correct dryness and add moisture; it binds to the hair shaft readily and is a frequent ingredient of great shampoos and hair conditioners
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice - a natural conditioner and anti-irritant
To use Peau Vierge Lash Growth Serum, cleanse your face and eye area, and when your skin is dry, apply a thin layer of the serum with the applicator brush at the base/root of your lashes (both upper and lower). You can apply the serum to thin spots on your eyebrows too. Use the serum every day for best results.

I am blessed with long lashes, so I might not have had as much room for improvement in length as others will have. Makeup artists often ask me what mascara I'm using. I'm not sure the mascara matters because my lashes are long.

I use lid scrubs every morning, and lid scrubs tend to shake loose your lashes more quickly - either that or you just see the lash loss on the scrub. Since I started using Peau Vierge Lash Growth Serum, I have had much less daily lash loss than usual. As a result, my lashes are thicker (which is great). I mean that I have more of them, not that each lash has become thicker in diameter. I haven't been able to see that. Lashes are so thin that you might need a scientific way to measure the thickness of individual lashes. I don't have that capability. My lashes have never broken easily, so that benefit is also hard for me to evaluate. You really need to remove mascara before you go to bed! If you don't, your lashes will break. My lashes do seem to be easier to coat with mascara, which may mean they are more hydrated.

Le Métier de Beauté sent me my serum, and I'm delighted with it. I plan to keep using it. You can purchase yours from Le Métier de Beauté or at your favorite LMdB counter. Don't complain about your lashes - try this magic potion!

Photo courtesy of Le Métier de Beauté

Fresh Sugar Passion Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15

Fresh Sugar Passion Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 ($22.50) will look fabulous on all complexions, thanks to a well-balanced, warm-cool (neutral) pigment that compliments the natural shade of a woman's lip, no matter her skin tone. Sugar, a natural humectant, ensures long-lasting moisture, while hydrating meadowfoam and black currant seed oils condition the lips. The formula is also enriched with antioxidant-rich vitamins to defend against wrinkle-causing free radicals and provides year-round protection from damaging UV rays. This versatile treatment allows for buildable coverage to customize a sheer or rich hue and is the perfect partner to the best-selling clear Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15. The UVA and UVB protection is offered with avobenzone and octinoxate.

Red is the color of passion. No other lip color gives off such a powerful, feminine energy. Inspired by imagery from my favorite book growing up in the Ukraine, "Scarlet Sails" by Russian writer Alexander Grin, I pictured a silk scarlet fabric, light as a parachute, barely there but rich with color. - Alina Roytberg, Fresh Co-Founder

I'm sure you know that Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment comes in other shades - all of which I own and love. The most recent before Sugar Passion was Sugar Honey, a flattering nude. Sugar Plum and Sugar Rosé are both fabulous. I knew Sugar Passion was coming, and I ordered it the second I knew it was available at Sephora (thanks to Product Girl). It arrived, and I am thrilled.

All of Fresh's Tinted Lip Treatments give a natural, sheer tint to the lips. While I can't wear red lipstick unless it's super-sheer, I can wear Sugar Passion easily. I know I'll need to purchase another one because I like to keep these Fresh goodies at all my personal docking stations. There's a clear one next to me at my computer.

I've attached a few swatch photos for you to see the actual shade, which is more rose than red on my arm. Of course, add the color of your lips, and the shade will be darker.

My photos were taken on a tropical morning, with the sun disappearing frequently behind the hurricane-driven clouds that will get denser as the day progresses. We are expecting thunderstorms as Irene moves toward the East Coast. That gave me multiple light intensities for photographing the swatches - all in a five-minute period.

The swatch at the top was taken with a Japanese maple backdrop with a bright overcast. The swatch at right was taken in front of a cleome when the sun was shining fairly brightly.

I think the color is gorgeous. What do you think? Will you be shopping for Sugar Passion? It's available now at Sephora, where I purchased my first one, and should arrive at your Neiman Marcus counter soon.

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Givenchy Les Ombres de Lune Shadow & Light Eyes in #2 Lune Mordorée for Fall/Winter 2011

Givenchy's Les Ombres de Lune Shadow & Light Eyes in #2 Lune Mordoréen ($58) is an eyeshadow and highlighter in one. Or an eyeshadow and liner in one. Or two eye shadows. Or three eye shadows. It offers all kinds of flexibility with its two shades.

For Givenchy's 2011 Fall/Winter Collection, Nicolas Degennes created a collection in homage to the moon. Like a celestial muse floodlighting the darkness with its bewitching brightness, the moon embodies the essence of a soft and mysterious beauty, a magnetic aura, in the same vein as Givenchy Couture. Inspired by this sensual night star, the Collection "Je veux la Lune" invites us to dream the impossible.

With his love of the impossible, Degennes wanted to create a multipurpose, must-have product. The result was the Les Ombres de Lune, which Givenchy calls an all-in-one highlighter for cheeks, eyes, and complexion that also works as an intense eye shadow. The two shadows in #2 are reminiscent of a blue moon in a golden sky. There is another palette, #1 Lune Mystérieuse, that evokes a black moon in a white sky.

Here is the true color of the palette. Givenchy's photo at the top of this feature is a little misleading. This was a blind purchase for me. I figured I would either love it or hate it. It's very hard for me to wear blue shadow, so I gambled. Am I glad I did! This palette is gorgeous.

I swatched the shades with a sponge-tipped applicator and took my photos in the sun. At the top of my arm, you will see the gorgeous, shimmering gold. I love to wear gold shadows on the lid. The blue shade is a grey-blue on my skin. It's a beautiful liner and, applied with a light hand, it offers a beautiful wash of grey with just a hint of blue. It has a satin finish.

I couldn't resist the urge to merge. I decided to blend the two shadows equally on my applicator and found that they blend to an exquisite, complex grey that has a subtle shimmer. The grey leans taupe, making it fabulous to my eyes.

You can see all three shades - gold, navy, and the blend, on my two arm photos. I couldn't be happier with Lune Mordorée!

The bottom drawer of the compact slides out to reveal two sponge-tipped applicators and a slanted brush. Givenchy must have known that it would occur to us to use the blue shade as a liner. The compact also has a mirror, making it ideal for application on the go.

Sephora is the exclusive retailer for Givenchy in the United States. Since the two eye palettes are limited editions, order soon if you want one. I haven't tried #1, but it looks interesting - just not as exciting as this one.

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