Friday, August 31, 2012

The Friday Forum - August 31

What a week! I've been very busy at work plus "suffering" from an unusual summer sinus infection, which has left me very tired. I'm looking forward to this three-day weekend. I'm hoping to relax and do some Neiman Marcus Beauty Event shopping to ensure that my treasures will be ready for me the day the event begins, September 6.

Speaking of Neiman Marcus, you might want to check out some of the new fragrances that should be available for the event.

Remember I told you about Houbigant Paris' Oranges en Fleurs? I now have it, and it's gorgeous!  This beautifully sophisticated fragrance is centered around the warm head notes of orange blossom. A heart of Turkish rose and Egyptian jasmine is highlighted by a subtle combination of tuberose and orange leaf absolute. The accord is delicately balanced by the fresh floral note of ylang, slightly spiced with nutmeg. I can't even put into words how gorgeous it is. Even the packaging and bottle are beautiful. Try it!

I also purchased Eaudemoiselle de Givenchy. It is a "couture" fragrance dressed up in contrasts. Here are the notes.
  • Top: mandarin orange, Italian winter lemon, and shiso
  • Heart: Turkish rose, ylang ylang heart, and orange blossom
  • Base: ambrette seeds, cedar, tonka beans, and crystal musk
It's a gorgeous fragrance, and you must smell it. I also purchased the mist, which leaves a tiny bit of iridescence on the skin.

One year ago, Elie Saab Eau de Parfum captured the hearts of fragrance lovers everywhere. Now, Elie Saab has introduced an Eau de Toilette, which reveals an extra touch of lightness and versatility. The notes of mandarin blossom, orange blossom, gardenia, vetiver, and honey rose are sure to charm you. I'm charmed. If you like light fragrances (that won't offend anyone), this will be a good choice.

There's also a new-to-me line of fragrances called Eight & Bob. I'm looking forward to catching a whiff. More to come after I do.

Interested in exploring a niche fragrance? How about Hindu Honeysuckle ($115) by Providence Perfume Company? This was a recent purchase for me, and I'm captivated by it. You can find it at Beautyhabit, where there is a sale this weekend. Use the code SUNNYDAYS for a 20% discount through September 3. There are exclusions, but Hindu Honeysuckle isn't among them.

From India with Love...Revered for its lush aroma, honeysuckle symbolizes generosity and kindness. Notes of sweet Indian Jasmine Sambac meld with green vetiver, musk ambrette, rose, and coriander. Crisp bergamot belies the sweetness of honeysuckle.

What more can I tell you? It's divine - everything I had expected and more. Even as I write, my nose is nuzzling my arm, where I left a little of this intoxicating scent.

I want to tell you about an event at the Neiman Marcus in Westchester, New York.  Le Métier de Beauté representative Sabrina Autera will be hosting a Beauty Master Class on Saturday, September 8, from 1:00-2:30 pm. The class will provide will skin care and makeup lessons, including individual makeovers. As at the classiest Neiman Marcus events, there will be Champagne and little finger foods circulating - enough to make you feel good while you learn how to look good. If I lived closer, I'd be there. If you live within driving distance, call Sabrina at (877) 634-6269 to save your spot.

Perhaps you heard it here first? Dustin Lujan will not be leaving Le Métier de Beauté. I'm beyond excited! He won't be based at Bergdorf Goodman, but you'll see him around the East Coast - yea!

That's enough for my news and treasures right now.  Let's talk your week of beauty. 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? 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 will have moved on.

Don't forget to enter this week's giveaway contest. You could win the Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful Pretty Palette for Eyes, Lips & Cheeks. The deadline is tomorrow, Saturday, September 1, at midnight.

Happy Labor Day weekend!

Photos courtesy of Neiman Marcus and Providence Perfume Company

Thursday, August 30, 2012

M·A·C Heavenly Creature Mineralize Blush - A Surprising Treat

As you may remember, I was late to the limited-edition Heavenly Creature Collection. No surprise there. I'm late to most of the M·A·C "parties." Still, after I tried Mineralize Skinfinish in Star Wonder, which I use as a blush, I wanted to try the blushes in the collection. So, I ordered Ring of Saturn and Stratus Mineralize Blushes ($23.50) from Nordstrom online. Although neither appeared to be "me," I wanted to play. Now, I wish I had also ordered Solar Ray, shown above. The play time has been fun.

Baked minerals are refined into a powder formula to provide exceptionally sheer and lightweight application. Color builds lightly, layer after layer, without heavy coverage. Veils and enhances the cheekbones with a luminous, pearlized shimmer.

Here are my two shades: Stratus (described as amethyst and gold melange) on the left and Ring of Saturn (described as terracotta and gold melange) on the right. I've found that I can't predict the blended and applied shade just by looking at a photo or at the compact directly. These are such complex shades, with the pretty swirls of color, that each one is a little surprise. Look at these gorgeous shades on my arm.

I swatched them with a sponge-tipped applicator (unnatural for a blush) and took my photos in full, late-afternoon sun. I applied the bands of color very heavily. No one will apply them this way.

I was surprised by how wearable both shades are when applied with a fluffy blush brush. The lighter shade, Ring of Saturn, is the best for me, but I'm looking forward to trying the darker one, Stratus (at the top of my arm), with my fall and winter clothing. I think these shades are stunning.

While I may have shades similar to the peachy Ring of Saturn, I don't think I own a blush quite like Stratus. Ring of Saturn is a pink-leaning peach on my cheeks. I'm struggling to describe Stratus. I think I can fairly call it rose, but what shade of rose? The purple I see in the compact doesn't translate into purple or lavender on my skin. If anything, there appears to be some brown in the shade. It's really flattering. If your skin is darker than mine, you might want to wear it now. I'll wait until the season can support the shade on my face.

These shades are not overtly shimmery on my face, but they do have a lot of life. My play time has been extremely satisfying. I'm going to have to be faster when M·A·C introduces its next Mineralized colletion.

What do you think of these shades? Have you tried them? Should I spring for Solar Ray?

Photo at top courtesy of M·A·C; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Le Métier de Beauté CHEM60 Pro-Peel & Glow10ai Mask Set

Le Métier de Beauté is introducing new skin care exclusive to Neiman Marcus, the CHEM60 Pro-Peel & Glow10ai Mask Set ($265). I can't wait to try it! Here's the scoop.

Ready, Set, Glow! There's no better accessory than healthy, beautiful, glowing skin, and now you can achieve professional, spa-like results in the privacy of your own home with Le Métier de Beauté's CHEM60 Pro-Peel & Glow10ai Mask Set.

CHEM60 Pro-Peel, with a proprietary blend of salicylic acid and glycolic acids, gently penetrates the skin's surface and exfoliates dead skin cells to reveal younger-looking skin in as little as 60 seconds.
  • Dimishes the look of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Increases hydration and reveals younger-looking skin
Le Métier de Beauté says it's appropriate for all skin types. I really hope I can use it. My skin is extremely reactive to salicylic acid, but with Le Métier de Beauté's proprietary delivery system, which has allowed me to use retinol without a burn, I may be able to use this new peel too.

You can use CHEM60 Pro-Peel up to three times/week. Apply the peel using the brush applicator, squeezing gently to apply a thin layer over the entire face. Avoid the delicate eye area and hairline. Wait 60 seconds and remove the peel by gently splashing the face with tepid water or a damp washcloth. For a deeper peel, leave it on for five minutes. How easy is that?

The GLOW10ai Mask infuses the skin with an unprecedented concentration of antioxidants, vitamins, and hydrators to help the skin renew and rebuild, while strengthening the skin's overall appearance. It's the product that makes my heart flutter. Each time I've had an opportunity to request a new skin-care product from Le Métier de Beauté. I've asked for a mask.
  • A sophisticated blend of moisturizers helps renew the appearance of damaged, dull skin.
  • The appearance of hyperpigmentation is noticeably lessened/improved.
  • Irritation and redness caused by chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laster treatments are visibly diminished.
  • Suppleness and smoothness are greatly restored, resulting in a fresh, hydrated surface.
Follow the CHEM60 Pro-Peel with the GLOW10ai Mask, using the applicator that comes with it. Apply a thick layer all over the face, avoiding the delicate eye area and hairline. The mask may be applied 2-3 times/week with the peel, or it may be used alone. I suspect I'll use the peel only once/week, but I may use the mask three times.

These two products are available as a set and will be available at Neiman Marcus in September. I know the counter reps are hoping to have the set for Beauty Week. They know it's going to be a hot seller.

Photo courtesy of Le Métier de Beauté

Lancôme Artliner Waterproof Precision Point Eyeliner for Summer 2012

How I love an ultra-thin line at my lashes! Lancôme's Artliner Waterproof Precision Point Eyeliner ($29.50) for Summer 2012 was designed to give me a fine line - as thin as it gets. This liner was introduced in three shades: Gold Passion, Bronze Desire, and Pink Luxe. I selected Gold Passion. I think the color will surprise you, but first...

Emphasize your eyes with this easy-to-handle, liquid pen featuring a uniquely shaped foam tip that lets you line, shape, and define eyes to create any look you like. Rich, deep, luminous pigments offer the most intense, dramatic color you can apply. Glides on smoothly without scratching, tugging, or skipping on the lids and lasts all day.

You can easily use Lancôme Artliner to draw the finest line imaginable. I love the applicator. That drew me to Gold Passion (#103), but the color also captured me.

I took a few swatch photos in full, late-afternoon sun. Instead of applying a thin line, I swiped on the liner multiple times to create a large swatch to show you this amazing color. It's a bronze, brown, gold hybrid. It is semi-metallic, but not overly showy at the lash line. It's also waterproof, good for all of you who have trouble with oily lids in the summer.

Is there anyone who can't wear this color? Is there anyone who wouldn't love to have it? Look at how powerful it is! If you are looking for an alternative to black - one with pizazz, this is it.

Lancôme suggests you apply it for a rich, metallic gold or bronze effect. Trace the upper lash line to add a pop to the eye and “break-up” the darkness of the smoky eye or a bright color for a daytime look.

I think this eyeliner was the sleeper of Lancôme's summer collection, and the good news is that it's still available at many Lancôme counters. The summer Artliners were available two days ago at the Lancôme Web site, but today it appears that the weird Pink Luxe is the only color for sale. I'm very curious about the two-day sell-through. Ask at your favorite counter.

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chantecaille L'Elephant Palette - Swatched

Chantecaille's palettes always excite me. They're gorgeous. Each new one makes me  wonder how Chantecaille will top it the next time - and they do. The latest, L'Éléphant Palette ($82), provides a demonstration of the amazing creativity of the Chantecaille team. Everything about it is stunning, from the design of the palette, with the elephant on the front of an elegant dark green case, to the colors within. Add to that the celebration of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust - a charity I've avidly supported since I discovered it - and I'm delirious. This introduction is one of the best palettes of of 2012. Ask me at the end of the year, and I may tell you it's the best.

L'Éléphant Palette (refillable) was inspired by the fall runway trends and the tireless efforts of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Chantecaille created L'Éléphant Palette, a lustrous eye palette that fuses trendy colors from the catwalk and the Kenyan grasslands with simplicity in an innovative and wearable way.

The palette features Ivory, a soft, pearly beige inspired by the African elephant's tusks, at the top left. Grasslands, at top right, is a trendy green inspired by the color of the lush savannah grass after the rainy season. Red Earth, lower right, is the eye color of the fall runways - a strong copper that mimics the rich, red color of the African cliffs. Iron Ore is a glistening deep grey liner with flecks of gold. It mirrors the way the mineral shimmers in the bright African sunlight.

I was thrilled to have a chance to play with L'Elephant last week at Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie - thanks to Jeannine Barnes. As I swatched the shades, trying desperately not to "ruin" the elephants, I was struck by how down-to-earth they are. Each of the four shades could be a standalone, but together, they offer more than four eye shadows. In the truest sense of the word, they offer a collection, with the shades providing many ways to create complementary looks.

I ordered the palette the second I learned it was available at Chantecaille's Web site. Here is my palette, safely living with me now. This will be the first. I need one to use and one for my makeup museum. Oh, why delude you? I will probably purchase four of them. I've already pre-ordered the second from Jeannine.

I swatched the shades in clockwise order, using a sponge-tipped applicator. I swatched heavily. My photos were taken in full, early morning sun. I'm nearly drooling as I write this feature. Every one of the shades is special.

The Ivory is perfect for my skin tone. For me, it will be both base and highlighter. It blends into my skin tone so well, you may find it hard to see at the top of my arm. Grasslands has to be one of the best green eye shadows I have ever seen. I know that's a sweeping endorsement, and I mean it. It's a green that is totally wearable, and it should reassure green phobes that green is good.

Red Earth is copper on my skin - a copper that looks great with my blue eyes. It has no muddiness in the color. It dazzles. The big surprise of the palette (to me) was Iron Ore. The shade is drop-dead gorgeous. It's supposed to be "the liner shade," but it's light enough that I'll be able to use it as an accent shadow. I fear you won't see the complexity of the color in my swatch photo. I think it's is a hybrid between brown and grey. It's not simply grey, and those little gold flecks give it a life. I may try to get color close-ups later with friendlier lighting.

I am so totally smitten with L'Elephant, I'll babble if I write much more about the superb colors. For now, I'll leave you with the information about Chantecaille's philanthropy. Five percent of all proceeds from L'Éléphant Palette will be donated to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, one of my favorite charities. I've adopted orphaned elephants, donating to help the trust take care of them. I have a special place in my heart for them. Would you support them too, please?

Chantecaille first became aware of the Kenyan-based David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust through a very moving article in National Geographic. Established in 1977 by David Sheldrick's wife, Dame Daphne, the trust embodies her life-long mission and devotion to rescuing and fostering orphaned elephants in Kenya. A pioneer in understanding elephants, Daphne was the first person to successfully hand-rear a newborn fully milk-dependent African elephant.

Dame Daphne's keen ability to identify their needs for survival, from the formula they drink to the emotional nurturing they require, has helped save African elephants from extinction. Her life's work has proven that elephants and humans are extremely similar, from their emotions to family structure. Both species share a mutual need for support and love, with baby elephants taking up to four years to be weaned and needing almost 10 years of care before they are able to join their wild elephant families. Since the trust was established in Tsavo National Park, over 80 elephants have been successfully released back into the wild.

Elephants are the planet's largest living land mammals; they symbolize strength, wisdom, and intelligence. Sadly, the threat to elephants from ivory poachers is greater than ever, with an estimated 38,000 African elephants killed annually, a rate that, if left unchanged, will see elephants wiped out by 2025. Please don't buy ivory!

To help save this species from extinction, in addition to their contribution for every palette sold, Chantecaille has printed a QR code on the back of the palette box. Scan the QR code with a smart phone's QR scanner app to be directed to the screen that provides a link to foster an orphaned elephant. On the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's interactive site, you can choose an orphan based on origin and age. As a foster parent, you will receive a fostering certificate with a detailed profile and photograph of your adopted orphan. You will also be granted access to your baby elephant's Keeper's Diary, which is filled with daily calendar entries and monthly photos. Along with the update, you will be sent a collectible, monthly watercolor of your adopted elephant hand-painted by the talented Angela Sheldrick. I can personally tell you it's a rewarding experience.

Today, you can purchase L'Elephant Palette at Chantecaille's Web site. It will be at store counters very soon.

Three photos courtesy of Chantecaille; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Tom Ford Fall Color Collection for Fall 2012

The Neiman Marcus Fall The Book introduced me to the Tom Ford Beauty Fall 2012 Color Collection. The limited-edition makeup collection "explores the mesmerizing depth and versatility of color, from floral pinks and lavenders to bewitching shades of black cherry and emerald. It can create a spectrum of captivating looks, from delicate and romantic to hedonistic and hypnotizing."

Pfew, that's pretty stunning language for a collection that looks disjointed to me. Let's dissect this collection as presented in The Book (there's more to it, but I'm equally unmoved by the rest of the collection).

Here are the items, lest I get carried away and forget them. The "sexy" names actually turn me off. I'm so over Tom Ford's ideas about sexy.
  • Extreme Mascara in Raven (snooze) ($42)
  • Nail Lacquer in Dominatrix (I find the name a turn-off; the color lies on a well-worn path) ($30)
  • Lip Color in Aphrodisiac (bold pink - not unique this fall) ($48)
  • Limited-edition Lip & Cheek Stain in Tainted Love (OK, this looks interesting; I'd like to see it in person) ($48)
  • Eye Color Quad in Emerald Lust (did someone say spring?) ($75)
Overlook the price disadvantage for a moment. Is there anything here that makes you want to run right out and purchase the collection? Do the pieces seem like afterthoughts? To me, they appear to be a random collection of this and that, totally lacking in cohesiveness or a theme.

I'm sorry, Mr. Ford. In my humble opinion, this one is a big miss. Including black mascara, a staple, in a color collection is a cop-out. An intense pink lip color? How original! A blue, aqua, and green quad? I already have eye shadows that will give me the peacock look. It's not on my fall radar. We did these colors last spring.

Have we reached the point at which his name will sell anything? Was he counting on that when he "designed" this collection?

Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus - let's not blame them; they just sell this stuff

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tom Ford Private Blend Jardin Noir Collection

Everything Tom Ford touches turns to gold. He had an idea to take an iconic family of floral fragrances - the heart and soul of perfumery - and bring out their dark, hidden sides. The New York Times quoted Ford as saying, “When you showcase their darker and less innocent aspects, flowers can become so thrilling and beautiful, they could almost ruin you. That was the sensation I was after.”

His efforts resulted in the new Tom Ford Private Blend Jardin Noir Collection, with four fragrances ($195-$475). He ruined me - I had to have most of them. Three are gorgeous. The Jardin Noir Collection has arrived at the stores that carry Tom Ford, and they are attracting their fair share of attention from perfume aficionados everywhere.

Here's the lineup...

Jonquille de Nuit, a white floral-narcissus blend. A "high-definition portrait of female self-obsession." Huh? That's an odd description coming from a designer who is as self-obsessed as any I've seen. Jonquille de Nuit is a gorgeous fragrance, characterized by its key notes of narcissus, violet absolute, mimosa, and orris. I purchased it. I love it. I can smell real jonquilles on first spray. It's spring - it's not dark.

Café Rose is the dark one. It's a woody rose. "an unexpected twist on classic elegance." The key notes are rose oil, coffee essence, incense resin, and patchouli oil fraction. One of the Tom Ford counter reps told me it also has oud (agarwood) in it. From the moment I smelled it, I disliked it. I am dead-sure it did not share the same perfumer with the other three (now, really, you don't think Tom Ford designs these fragrances himself, do you?). To my sensitive nose, the patchouli, a note I can't tolerate if I can smell it, takes over and strangles the rose in Café Rose. If you like patchouli and that woody base in your fragrances, you may like it. I found it the odd one out in this series.

Lys Fume is my favorite among beauties. It is a white floral with just a hint of spice. "A narcotic twist on the innocent lily flower." It had been code named Me!Me!Me!, and I was sure the code name sent me a signal that it was indeed all about me (sorry, Tom). The key notes are pink peppercorn (for the pleasant and subtle spice), lily, ylang ylang (for zip), and vanilla absolute. Ravishing! It's like cuddling with a bouquet of Stargazers.

Ombre de Hyacinth is a green floral with a reminder of spring's delicate, fragrant hyacinths. "A fragrant portrait of distant and bewitching beauty." The key notes are hyacinth, violet leaf, jasmin absolute, and Persian galbanum resinoid. This is a very green, effervescent fragrance. I love it, but you must love greens to get comfy with it. Some find them "bracing." I find them fresh.

The dark bottles are beautiful and will adorn your dresser or vanity with typical Tom Ford cachet. Despite his racy ads (some of which border on distasteful in my opinion), he has launched a collection to appeal to those of us who love the traditional, floral side of life. It's not dark. To me, it's about light and love.

Although Tom Ford's publicity said these four new fragrances would be available in October, you can find them now at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Have you seen then? Tried them? Bought one?

Photos courtesy of Tom Ford,,,, and

Introducing Aerin Effortless Beauty by Aerin Lauder

I know Aerin Lauder's new line for Estee Lauder was coming, and today the announcement landed in my mailbox. Aerin Lauder has created a collection of easy, everyday beauty products - from color to rose-scented cream to treat your hands.

All of Aerin's products look wearable - grounded - to make women look and feel pretty. Her goal is minimum effort, maximum impact. What you'll find when you explore the inaugural collection are essentials and a fall collection filled with easy-to-wear colors.

Check out her new products at this link. It's a peek inside her beauty bag.

Update: To learn more about Aerin Lauder's new collection, check out The Book for fall from Neiman Marcus. 

Photos courtesy of Aerin Beauty

Jouer Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Wind

The Jouer Lip Glosses ($20) caught my eye recently - at Nordstrom and at Jouer's own Web site. I've got a few to show you, including today's feature, Wind. Wind is new to me, but not one of the new shades of Moisturizing Lip Gloss.

Jouer's irresistibly sheer shades are loaded with vitamins A, C, and E; shea butter; jojoba oil; and pomegranate seed oil to moisturize, soothe, nourish, rejuvenate, and protect for smooth and hydrated lips.

Jouer Lip Glosses are available in a the Jouer signature vial that connects to any Jouer custom palette. I don't connect them to anything, so I'd appreciate a slightly longer top, but that's a small detail. The colors are beautiful.

Wind reminds me of a Creamsicle. It's soft, juicy, and almost the same pastel orange. It's somewhat like a liquid lipstick if it gets hot. I'll warn you: It will melt if exposed to heat - just like a Creamsicle. Open it and the color will pour out. [Note: I've never had that happen with a lip gloss, and I'm wondering if I received a defective one. I've used Jouer glosses before and found them to be high-quality.]

Isn't this color luscious? It's applied heavily on my arm to show the color well. One swipe, and it's much more sheer. Build the color, and this is what you get - an ever-so-slightly shiny pastel that screams summer. That's one reason I wanted to show you the color now.

You can purchase Jouer Moisturizing Lip Glosses at Nordstrom, where I purchased mine, or at the Jouer Web site, where Malibu won a recent face-off with the Hamptons. I'll show you those colors soon.

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

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chanel Rouge Allure - The New Luminous Intense Lip Colour

The next generation of Chanel's Rouge Allure ($34) dresses the lips with "unmistakable attitude," taking color to the extreme. Chanel has introduced the next generation of its classic lipstick.

Click with Color
An alluring statement of elegance, the iconic lipstick Rouge Allure dresses lips with unmistakable attitude. A true symbol of authentic luxury, its sleek signature black column opens with a click, now to reveal a dramatic new formulation for color that's radically intense.

The stunning color of Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Color is the result of a concentration of ultra-thin pigments specially designed to magnify shade intensity. Lighter hues have a "unique presence," revealing nuances and depth. Darker tones heighten the drama, with audacity and pure elegance for an ultra-feminine effect.

Color brilliance is only part of the story of Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Color. Special hydrating agents and antioxidants, rich in green tea extract and sappan wood (East Indian redwood) will leave lips supple and protected for lasting comfort, while tea butter will ensure that your color endures for ultimate wear.

There are 16 shades of Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Color - a dizzying array from which to choose. They are categorized as Reds, Corals, Pinks, and Beiges/Browns. As I tested them at Neiman Marcus, I found most of them to be intense (after all, isn't the intense lip - the red lip - the "thing" for the coming seasons?).

I bought a pink: Secrète (#92). What else?  I will admit to being sorely tempted by one of the browns, but I wanted to wear my new Rouge Allure before I "went for broke." As a rule, I'm not entirely enamored by opaque, satin-finish lipsticks. I'm a Rouge Coco Shine kind of gal.

I watched our Chanel friends apply the new Rouge Allure on members of the press last week. They were using intense shades, and each of the brown-haired "models" that night looked fabulous.Their lips telegraphed "in-the-know." It's very stylish.

What can I tell you, now that I've worn the new Rouge Allure? It's opaque and offers a satin finish, with just a little radiance during the first 30 minutes. Any "shine" disappears after that. It does feel pretty good on my lips - not gooey as I like them - and it is long-lasting.

Secrète is a gorgeous color. I took my swatch photos in full sun, so it shines on my arm way more than it shines on my lips. I think most would say it looks great. So why do I feel the need to shine it up with lip gloss?  For me, it doesn't offer the pop of shine that makes my lips look ample. Not sure I need the brown one. I know my preferences too well.

If you are a Rouge Allure fan, want to try this new version of the iconic lipstick, or are just curious about adding some drama to your fall look, get over to a Chanel counter. You can also see the shades and order at Chanel's Web site.

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

New from La Mer: Crème Soyeuse de la Mer - The Moisturizing Soft Cream

Its white utilitarian jar gives away nothing. You have to experience La Mer's new Crème Soyeuse de la Mer ($150-275), The Moisturizing Soft Cream (or Silky Cream of the Sea), to understand how special it is. The luxuriously light formula may lead you to think it's not as hydrating as its older sister. Aux contraire!

The formula penetrates deeply to replenish moisture and improve strength and radiance, using a new delivery system that allows The Moisturizing Soft Cream to have a lightweight feel. You don't need to warm it in your hands to make it "spreadable," as La Mer recommends for the original Crème de la Mer. It comes out of the jar ready to apply, and it absorbs in a heartbeat, leaving my dry skin feeling utterly moist and satisfied. Oh, and the light scent is beautiful - very La Mer.

Crème de la Mer has, since its introduction, been the gold standard for moisture. Its unique Miracle Broth, the foundation of the formula, has re-energized the skin of so many women, it's a legendary product. Other moisturizers have come along with newer technology, but I and other La Mer fans will never leave it. We just layer it with newer, more technologically advanced products.

Many women found the original Crème de la Mer too heavy or didn't want to use it in the warm seasons, when their skin naturally has more moisture. So, La Mer developed products for them, such as The Moisturizing Lotion (which I've used and love) and The Moisturizing Gel Cream.

I've yearned for something in between: a product just as hydrating as the original Crème de la Mer, but more lightweight for summer. Now I have it, and I'm enormously pleased. The Moisturizing Soft Cream, as it's called in the United States, is the answer. This cream will make your skin feel soft and supple while it almost disappears on the skin. It's there, though. I applied it liberally last night before bed, and even now, eight hours later, I can feel a soft, protective, very light "film" on my face. During the day, your proof that it's "there" will come from your foundation application and wear. The Moisturizing Soft Cream provides all the slip you need to apply foundation and feel hydrated - all without any heaviness, and the color should look good all day.

I've used Crème Soyeuse de la Mer for about two weeks and give it an unqualified A+. I love it. After using two samples, I purchased the big jar. I'm in this one for the long haul.

I purchased mine at Neiman Marcus. The Moisturizing Soft Cream should be available at all La Mer counters. You can also find it at the La Mer Web site. See what you think.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Teaser Alert: Chantecaille Fig Luminous Gloss - Swatched

Chantecaille's Luminous Gloss ($34) Collection will welcome Fig, a new color addition, this fall. Fig is described perfectly as an earthy berry. At times like this, seeing something I really want, but can't have just yet, gives me palpitations from the anticipation. I had to share my excitement.

Loved for their superior adherence and rich texture, Luminous Glosses contain innovative polymers that create a fluid, 3-D glass-like effect for color, volume, and shine - the whole package. They are water-binding and contain pyrrolidonic carboxylic acid (used on the skin to retain moisture) to hydrate and smoothe the lips for superb comfort. Theoretically, Luminous Glosses offer six-hour wear. Maybe on someone. I eat, drink, and talk too much. Plus there's the always-present Kleenex for my allergies to everything.

The beautiful Jeannine Barnes gave me a chance to play with Fig at Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie. You can see it here at the front of the fall display, grouped with all of my other Chantecaille must-have's. Jeannine let me swatch it in the store, so my photos aren't as bright as they usually are. I figured you'd rather see slightly dark photos than no photos at all until Fig is launched.

I have no idea why I had a crease across my arm. Perhaps it was from holding onto the edge of the counter, desperately wishing Fig were coming home with me?

Even the in-store swatches show that Fig is a warm berry shade with a touch of brown. Could there be a more perfect berry for fall? I'll be able to wear Fig alone or use it to top any number of lipsticks to warm them, while adding shine and a great feel.

I think this color is stunning. I've pre-ordered one from Jeannine; I'm sure I'll order one from the Chantecaille Web site the moment it appears for sale; and the only question is who will sell me my third and fourth. When I find a lip gloss I love, I make sure I won't run out anytime soon - and I tend to stash them everywhere so I always have one at hand.

Chanteaille's fall collection will be available in September 2012 at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Frédéric Fekkai Salons, Neiman Marcus, Space NK, select Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstroms locations - and at, of course. You can purchase "only" one piece today, L'Éléphant Palette, Chantecaille's Web site.

If you would like to work with a Chantecaille representative at Neiman Marcus for Beauty Week, give Jeannine a call at  (202) 966-9700, extension 2289. She will take very good care of you. I've known her a long time, and I can make that promise without hesitation.

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

Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful Pretty Palette for Eyes, Lips & Cheeks Giveaway Contest

Bobbi Brown's Pretty Palette for Eyes, Lips, & Cheeks ($60) is extremely versatile. It is filled with pink tones designed to create a healthy look because Bobbi believes that there is nothing more beautiful than a healthy-looking complexion. I found this palette at the Estée Lauder Company Store, and it did not come with the brushes. No matter.
Any woman who loves makeup and wants a clean, fresh, modern, and healthy look will proably have her own brushes!

The shades in the Pretty Powerful Palettes were handpicked by Bobbi to flatter all complexions, from fair to dark. The shadows are designed to instantly brighten and open up the eyes. The palette has a blush that creates a healthy, flushed look. The lip shades look like the shade of our lips, but better.

The Pretty Palette includes eye shadows in Ivory, Pink Flannel, Chocolate Caviar, along with Pink Chiffon Shimmer Wash; a blush in Pretty Pink; a lip color in Sandwash Pink; and lip glosses in Bubble Bath and Soiree Pink Glitter.

Here's how Bobbi Brown suggest you use it. Sweep the lightest eye shadow from lash line to brow bone with an eye shadow brush. Dust one of the medium eye shadows on the lower lid, from the lash line to the crease. Use an ultra-fine eyeliner brush and the darkest eye shadow to line eyes. Smile and dust the blush on the apples of the cheeks, blending up toward the hairline, then downward to soften the color. After brushing on lip color, top it with the lip gloss of your choice. Finish with two to three coats of your favorite mascara.

I have one Pretty Palette, with its Pretty Powerful logo compact, to give away. How can you enter to win this giveaway contest (technically a sweepstakes)? Just leave a comment on this feature (not in another BTiB post). After you comment here, feel free to send me an e-mail at (the contest address, not my "personal" e-mail) 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). Please make sure I have your e-mail. If I can't notify you, you can't win - even if your number is drawn. I can't believe the number of entrants I haven't been able to find in the past.

You can earn extra entries. Follow this blog (through an e-mail subscription, GFC, or though one of the many Google readers - see sidebar at right) to earn a second entry. If you are a follower, it would help me tally entries if you tell me in your comment how you follow. You don't have to follow to enter. I want everyone to have a chance, but I also want to reward my followers. I must be able to track this entry.

You can earn a third entry by tweeting this contest. You must include "@BTiBeauty" (without the quotes) and the contest title in your tweet. Remember, tweet the contest title - if you don't, that entry won't count. I will tweet the contest early this evening, and you can simply retweet it to earn that second entry - if that's easier.

The deadline for entries will be Saturday, September 1, at midnight. The next morning, I will use a random number generator ( to select the winner. I will e-mail the winner on Sunday morning. 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 may not be able to replace it with another prize just like it. 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.

For all the legalese related to this contest, please see the Contests/Sweepstakes page at the top of the blog. Good luck!

Photo courtesy of QVC

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Another Le Métier de Beauté "Vintage Kaleidoscope" Find

It's hard for me to believe it, but there are a few Cherry Blossom Kaleidoscope Eye Kits ($95) still available at Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie. I want you to know because this is one of my personal favorites.

Micheal Reinhardt's Le Métier de Beauté limited-edition Cherry Blossom Kaleidoscope Eye Kit ($95) was launched just as the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin bloomed. Michael Reinhardt, Le Métier de Beauté manager, artist, and all-around ambassador, works at Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie, and the Cherry Blossom Kaleidoscope was exclusive to his counter. Michael is an industry veteran - one who "knows his stuff" and is an extraordinarily talented makeup artist. He applied my makeup today, using the new Nouvelle Vague Kaleidoscope Eye Kit, and I got compliments everywhere I went in the store.

Michael has a talent for knowing what the "Washington woman" wants to wear. We can't arrive at work looking like a New York fashion model wearing the latest far-out trend or a West Coast hipster. We need sheer, buildable eye colors that work and make us look pretty, while staying within the bounds of office-appropriate. The Cherry Blossom Kaleidoscope Michael designed was perfect for us - and most of you too.

If you want to see my my swatches, hop over to this link. As I review those photos today, I don't think they are the greatest. Trust me; this is a fabulous Kaleidoscope.

Once I publish a "vintage find," the find usually sells out quickly, helped along by our love of Le Métier de Beauté. Michael is at work today.  Give him a call at (202) 966-9700, extension 2258 or 2236, to order.

Stay tuned for more on his application of Nouvelle Vague later. I'm feeling quite glam.

Photo by Best Things in Beauty

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dior Holiday 2012 Teaser: Grand Bal Collection

I was able to get a photo of Dior's Grand Bal Holiday Look color at Neiman Marcus. Just click on the photo to enlarge it.

I did the best I could in-store and with store lighting. Even so, I think these items look like must-have's - all of them. Sigh!

As they say on Twitter, #thatisall.

Photo by Best Things in Beauty

Chantecaille Amour Lip Chic for Fall 2012

Amour, one of two new Chantecaille Lip Chic ($35) shades for Fall 2012, is a soft pink that pairs perfectly with the rich eye looks you'll create with Chanteaille's L'Éléphant Palette. I swear Chantecaille created it for my personal year-round use, and you won't be able to disabuse me of that notion (mine was a gift from Chantecaille). Generously, they are allowing all of you to purchase it.

I was able to snap some photos of it late-afternoon yesterday when I got home from work. Look at the pure rose-pink in the tube! Even the color bullet reflected the sunlight. Now focus on the swatch photos, and you too may think it was made for you.

Chantecaille's Lip Chic is a best-selling, highly emollient lip formula that offers the even coverage of a lipstick with the high shine and plumping effects of a gloss. Added collagen gives the lips a boost, leaving them fuller and with a decidedly more youthful appearance, without any irritation. Lip Chic is one of my favorite lipsticks. I wouldn't leave home without one. I've purchased a large percentage of the shades so I have one for every occasion.

The photo above is probably the truest representation of Amour's color my camera captured on my arm. I would describe it as a rose pink that leans warm. Amour (a secret lover) is definitely not an ice queen. Have you ever noticed how wearable Chantecaille's pinks are? Many of them lean warm, and I'll bet the gorgeous Sylvie, Olivia, and Alex perform the beta testing to ensure they will look great on everyone.

Here's another photo that shows its gorgeous color, shine, and life. On the lips, this is a perfect pink to complement just about any look.

Here's a third photo.  Although Amour is definitely not coral - you can see that in the tube above - I liked the way the photo showed the sheer finish and the way Amour reflects light. It's a stunning lipstick. I can't wait to see how it will look with the new Fig Luminous Gloss.

If you missed my previews of Chantecaille's Fall Color Story, click here and here. The fall collection will be available in September 2012 at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Frédéric Fekkai Salons, Neiman Marcus, Space NK, select Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstroms locations - and at, of course. You can purchase L'Éléphant Palette today at Chantecaille's Web site.

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

The Friday Forum - August 24

This was a fun week! I attended a fabulous fall beauty event at Neiman Marcus Mazza Galleria and spent hours learning about upcoming and newly launched makeup, skin care, and fragrance introductions. I have lots of information to share over the next week (or more).

Here are a few short blurbs on the treasures that caught my eye. I'll start with treats I purchased.

I bought and have worn the House of Houbigant's newest luxury fragrance, Orangers en Fleurs. It's a delightful orange blossom scent I'll wear all year. Of course, I stood and drooled over the new Tom Ford Private Blend Jardin Noir Collection. I'd already purchased three of the four new floral scents: Lys Fume, Jonquille de Nuit, and Ombre de Hyacinth. I hope to be able to feature them early next week.

I also purchased VENEffect's Anti-Aging Lip Treatment. I've used packet samples and been impressed. I want to test the "real deal."

La Prairie has some amazing new skin care. I need to dedicate an entire feature to it. That's Lisa Lingis above with the new lineup.

Speaking of skin care. Lancôme's new Absolue L'Extrait is phenomenal. I've been using samples, and I am smitten. This "exceptional elixir" contains up to two million rose native cells in Lancôme's more powerful regeneration product ever, which promises to help reveal more elastic and radiant skin. What I can tell you so far is that it smells and feels divine.

I've already featured Bobbi Brown's latest foundation. I tested it in the store. After being warned by the Bobbi Brown rep that Long-Wear Even-Finish Foundation SPF 15 is not for me (bless her heart), I forged ahead and applied it.  She was right. It's designed for a younger woman whose skin isn't bone dry. That would be most of you, so head over to a counter to try it.

Sisley will have a blockbuster season. There is new skin care and new makeup. Hate the pores on your face? You must try Global Perfect Pore Minimizer ($210). The new Face and Eyes Make-Up Remover left me swooning. I'll be purchasing Eau Efficace ($120) the moment it arrives at the stores. The Phyto-Blush Eclat has new zebra-striped packaging and will be on-counter in October with one new shade. Seven new Phyto-Lip Glosses are coming with the blushes. There'll be more to come here about Sisley. There were two Vicki's in the photo above. They both looked darling this week, but one closed her eyes for my camera's flash. I knew if I didn't crop out her face she would seek revenge (wouldn't you?). So, I focused the published shot on the products.

I have a sample of Dior's new foundation, which I hope to start testing this weekend. I also have photos of their holiday collection. Gasp! We already know the Dior fall collection is extraordinary.

Have you seen the new Chanel? The new Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour comes in 16 shades - reds, corals, pinks, and beiges/browns - with at least one that will strike your fancy. Coco Noir has also arrived at counters in its elegant black bottle. I've tested it, and unfortunately, it's not right for me. I adore its top and heart notes. My first impression of a musky dry-down didn't "hold" over time. The patchouli in the base notes grabs me by the neck and won't let go. More women like it than not, though, so definitely check it out the next time you go shopping.

I won't tell you much now about La Mer's new Crème Soyeuse de la Mer because I plan to feature it very soon. I'll throw out a teaser. I adore it. You already know that I love Jo Malone's new Blackberry & Bay Cologne, which has arrived at all Jo Malone counters.

So much to little time to write. Many thanks to Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie and all the product representatives who worked hard this week to make our evening informative - and fun.

I'll be back later today with one of Chantecaille's new Lip Chic shades. Until then, let's talk your week of beauty. 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? 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 will have moved on.

The deadline for entering the exciting NARS Foreplay Cheek Palette giveaway contest is tomorrow, August 25, at midnight. Don't forget to enter!

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Teaser Alert: New Chantecaille Goodies

There they were when I walked into Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie last night! Chantecaille's new introductions in play-ready mode. Jeannine Barnes made sure she had them to show us. I was careful not to drool on the museum-ready specimens.

You can already purchase that wonderful zebra-striped Kabuki Brush, made with goat hair. It's the perfect brush for applying Chantecaille's new HD Powder. I tried it out in the store and was blown away by the powder's effectiveness in giving me a soft, polished look.

The elephants? What can I say. Stunning makeup, good cause - how good does it get? You'll also want those two lipsticks and the lip gloss. If you missed my preview, just click here.

The eye palette has landed on our shores, but has not made its way to Chantecaille yet. I'm sure I've turned into a pest, asking multiple times a day, "Is it here yet?" I'll bet we'll have to wait only a few more days. I'll tweet its arrival at

Want to pre-order? Give Jeannine a call at (202) 966-9700, extension 2289.

Update 10:45 am: L'Éléphant Palette is now available at

Photo by Best Things in Beauty