Sunday, September 30, 2012

Giorgio Armani Cosmetics Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow Palette in #3, Pantelleria

Giorgio Armani's new Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow Palettes ($59) are said to offer the perfect matte with the perfect satin - the perfect match between colors and textures. I wasn't at all sure about that "perfect matte," but when I saw the palettes, I bought five - without hesitating.  Today, I start featuring them with #3, Pantelleria.

Armani offers innovation in the formulation of the new Eyes to Kill powder eye shadows: "an instant matte and intense formula that melds perfectly with a satin, pearly veil producing amplified light effects. Irresistible with its extremely soft, sensory appeal, the eye shadow arms the eyes with a flawless allure all day long."

Elegance - as essential in makeup as it is in fashion - the unparalleled strength of Giorgio Armani is to choose the right texture for each color. He gives color a substance that enhances it. Each finely crafted color is unique: always wearable, while retaining its own character - and each color flatters every skin tone and signs its style.

A palette of four harmonious colors instinctively follows the natural approach to eye makeup. From the light, luminous top of the eyelid to the saturated, deep lash line, colors and textures mix and layer endlessly and glide on effortlessly for impeccable results.

There is new technology behind these eye shadows. I described it in a coming attraction for the new shadows, so check it out at this link.

The first of these palettes I have chosen to feature is Pantelleria (#03), shown at the top of this feature. I knew I was going to love it, and I do. It reminds me of Armani clothing I wear - pieces that I will have forever in shades that are blends of green, taupe, and greige.

Pantelleria offers a gradation of ligh-infused faded to deep brown-greens - the sun's influence on colors. King of half-tone neutrals, Giorgio Armani introduces "vreige," halfway between green tenderness and Armani's beige glow. it's the new greige. It transforms and turns into a dewy celadon, as a slight echo to nature's exuberance. A bright sage green brings light with silver and gold reflections and ends with an intense matte khaki liner, like Mediterranean meadow grass at the end of summer.

I took my swatch photos in full sun, and I used a sponge-tipped applicator to apply each shade heavily. I swatched heavily on my arm from top to bottom in the compact.

These shades are like gossamer silk - sheer and luxurious. There is a luminosity to the shades that I wasn't expecting from Armani's descriptions of satin and matte finishes. The liner at the bottom of each compact is matte, but the other shades are luminous, varying in finish from soft satin to subtly shimmering.

The shimmering light champagne shade at the top of Pantelleria is as pretty as it gets. Contrast it with a veil of turquoise or deepen it with taupe. Either way, you eyes will enchant. The grey isn't a simple grey. It's a shade clearly selected to complement the other shades in the palette.

When I look at the colors in Pantelleria, I see the sheer silks of blouses and jackets by Armani, with colors so fine, they transcend fashion. They are timeless expressions of the elegance of a woman's body. So too are the shades in this beautiful eye palette.

I was surprised to see the new Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Palettes at Saks when I shopped there last week. I expected them to arrive in stores in early November. As I mentioned in the comments of another feature, I bought five - to start. It wouldn't surprise me if I end up with all of them. I will continue to show you the colors as I get time to photograph them.

If your favorite Armani counter doesn't have the new eye shadows yet, call call Giannina Davis or anyone at Armani at Saks Fifth Avenue (where I purchased mine). The counter just moved, and I don't know if they kept their old extension. So, call (301) 657-9000, when you get the recording dial zero, then ask for Armani Cosmetics.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Sunday This and That - Plus Sephora Cinderella Collection

I don't purchase mirrors - except that I did. Who could resist this compact mirror from Sephora's Disney Cinderella Collection ($20)? Its ornate clock design is as elegant as I've seen in a long time.

The Disney Cinderella Collection is proof - once again - that Sephora can develop amazing collections. Right now, it's only available to Beauty Insiders, but the collection will be offered to everyone in early October, which is very soon.

We all have a story to tell—the tale of our inner princess enlightened by magical beauty. Disney's Cinderella Collection by Sephora promises your own fairy tale-worthy transformation. Its time to experience Cinderella in a whole new light…with her grand entrance at Sephora as a famous icon. She has inspired this collection with words of wisdom about life, love, and making your dreams come true. Her voice is your voice. Her confidence is your confidence. And her moment is your moment.

The items in the collection are beautiful - from the compact mirror, though eye shadow, lipstick, and nail color collections. The prices are amazingly low. You will want to see what appeals to you, now or when the collection is available to everyone.

For now, I keep admiring my mirror. It's heavy. You would think it's a $50 item, not a $20 item. I ordered four in addition to mine. It's a gorgeous stocking stuffer or small gift. I hope my work colleagues aren't reading this feature!

I spent a boatload on beauty products this week. I ran into a bonanza of Armani's new eye shadows when I went to Saks Fifth Avenue for their beauty/gift card event. I'll start showing you all my new treasures this evening. The totes that are complimentary with a $100 purchase in beauty at Saks are really nice. I came home with dark green and navy. The mustard color is definitely not "me." If you are interested in the new Armani, call Giannina Davis. The counter just moved, and I don't know if they kept their extension. So, call (301) 657-9000, when you get the recording dial zero, then ask for Armani Cosmetics.

The new holiday sets from Giorgio Armani are better than ever. I am still hedging on the travel brush set. I haven't used the one from last year yet, so I'm wondering why I need another. That said, I suspect I'll cave and purchase it. Armani's brushes are among the best in my collection. Each of the holiday sets comes with an amazing Armani clutch that most of us will use. It's stunning - and basic black for the swankiest of evenings.

The Giorgio Armani GWP is fabulous. With a $150 Giorgio Armani beauty or fragrance purchase, you'll receive a bag filled with a full-size waterproof Eye Pencil #1, Regular Lift SPF Cream (0.5 oz.), Regular Serum (0.1 oz.), Eye Balm (0.1 oz.), Luminous Silk Foundation (0.17 oz.), Fluid Sheer #2 Concealer Sachet, and Gio Essenza and Gioia Essenza fragrance vials. The full-sized eyeliner makes the whole gift worthwhile. Check out all the GWPs at this link.

If you need a shopping suggestion for Saks Fifth Avenue, the new fragrances by Oscar de la Renta are gorgeous.I blind-bought three of the six, and I am thrilled with all three. Read the notes, and you'll know what to purchase. I must tell you about these soon.

My Barneys order finally arrived - on Friday, only 10 days after my SA walked it to shipping. They claim to have been swamped with orders for beauty week, but other retailers managed to ship in a timely manner. I'm not sure what gives with Barneys. anyhow, I have several new beauties from Claudio Riaz to show you. I'm stuck on that line.

Did you know, and I know some of you do, that Sunday Riley is now available at Sephora? I had discovered it during one of my daily browsing sessions, and I ordered immediately. What a thrill. Not quite as thrilling as the Edward Bess arrival, but exciting nonetheless. I think Sephora may eventually take over the world.

For Rouge Bunny Rouge fans, Zuneta is having a birthday party! You can receive a 20% discount on anything at Zuneta from now until Monday at midnight. Use the code BIRTHDAY at checkout. Hurry. At times like this, Zuneta sells out of many favorites.

That's enough enabling for one day. I'll be back later with Armani.

Photo at top by Best Things in Beauty; second photo courtesy of Sephora; other photos courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

Chanel Vertigo Les Vernis for Fall 2012 Giveaway Contest

Chanel calls its limited-edition Vertigo ($26) rebellious, unsettling, and elegant. Vertigo is a deep, dark shade of Les Vernis with a heart of red pearl. A new twist for nails.

Les Vernis is available in classic and trend-defining shades from the runways of Paris. The state-of-the-art formula strengthens and moisturizes the nails as it delivers long-wearing, high-shine, chip-resistant color. It applies evenly without streaking. All Chanel nail products are formaldehyde-free, toluene-free, and DBP-free - an extra-added benefit, one we've come to expect.

If you'd like to see Vertigo (the chameleon) modeled, check out The Beauty Look Book. I have one Vertigo to give away to one of you lucky gals who just couldn't make up her mind to buy this fashion-forward shade.

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, October 6, 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.

The winner must be able to provide me with a "mailable address," meaning the U.S. Post Office recognizes it or its street, province, and other "elements" the way the winner provides them. I've had some trouble with both U.S. and international addresses lately.

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 Chanel

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chanel Ombre Contraste Voile Sculptant Yeux et Joues in Notorious

I was able to pick up my Chanel Ombre Contraste Voile Sculptant Yeux et Joues (Sculpting Veil for Eyes and Cheeks) in Notorious ($43) at Saks this week. I had pre-ordered it for the beauty event (my complimentary dark green tote is gorgeous!).

When you first see Notorious, you will think it looks bizarre. Play with it, as I did with Loyd Cassler, and you will discover its magic - the same magic Peter Phillips showed on the models at his March Ready to Wear show.

Notorious is described as a eye shadow/blush "hybrid." It was released on and promptly sold out. Then it arrived with the Fall 2012 Collection at some of the stores that received that collection rather late, like Saks Fifth Avenue. You can call Loyd or Georgia at Saks Chevy at (240) 497-5363 if you'd like to order one.

The color of Notorious is the same color you see in the compact above. It's a lavender grey/silver that you'd expect to impart a corpse-like look. Amazingly, it's a beautiful shade for contouring the cheekbones, which I could have figured out on my own. Loyd showed me how to use it on my eyes.

To apply it to the cheeks, he used a kabuki brush and dotted it just below my cheekbone fairly close to my hairline (further out than the hollow of my cheeks). Then he pulled the color forward, blending as he went. He applied blush as usual, but drew it down over the Notorious, blending until the application was seamless. Wow! I had cheekbones as never before.

On my eyes, Loyd applied the Route des Indes de Chanel Illuminating Powder with Shimmer on my eye lids. Then he used Notorious and applied it in circular motions over the ball of my eyes outside of the center line. That applied a punch of color, which he blended across the crease, leaving the lavender grey in the crease and on the outside third of my lid. He did not take it into the crease in the inside corner of the eye, but he knows to avoid that area on me.

I was astounded at how good it looked. Without help from Loyd, I would never have tried the combination of shimmery gold with Notorious.

You are going to wonder how the color shown in my swatch photos can be so flattering. I'm sure you can imagine the unique shade on the eyelids, but the cheeks may be harder to visualize. You'll just have to trust me. It works. If you want to see it modeled, check out Messy Wands. I'm a lily white pale face; she has a light Asian skin tone. I can see it more clearly on her face than I could see it on mine after Loyd had blended it as he taught me how to use it.

I took my swatch photos in full sun, but I purposely took one that was direct and one indirect so that you could see that the shade is not as shiny as it appears in the top photo, which took advantage of the sun's reflection. Notorious has a slight sheen, but is closer in finish to the photo directly above.

Just remember: blend, blend, blend. You can create your own magic if you take the time to blend.

I think Notorious is a must-have for makeup addicts, and at this point, you'll find it difficult to find. Give Loyd or Georgia a call as soon as possible it you want one. Otherwise, call your favorite Saks Chanel counter quickly.

Update 9/30: I forgot to tell you yesterday that you can use Notorious to fill in your brows. I wouldn't have believed it until Loyd showed me.

Second update 9/30: Georgia just assured me she can get Notorious for anyone who still wants one. Give her a call at the number above. Make sure to ask about the gift card "deal" that will get you free shipping.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Friday, September 28, 2012

NEST Fine Fragrances - My New Addiction

Recently, I featured Laura Slatkin's new NEST Fine Fragrances ($115 or $30 for the rolleball). At the time, they were a coming attraction. Today, they are available at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman, and select Neiman Marcus stores. If I were you, I'd check them out.

I was sure when I featured them that my favorite would be Passiflora or Amazon Lily. They carry notes I love. Midnight Fleur reportedly has patchouli among the notes, and I can't tolerate patch in most fragrances - basically whenever my nose detects it. I assumed it wouldn't be in contention for my favorite. Was I wrong! Surprisingly, I think Midnight Fleur is the most compelling of the three! I love them all, but Midnight Fleur is so sultry, so sexy, so addictive I want to live in it.

The NEST Fine Fragrances collection was inspired by the 18th century British artist, Mary Delany, who, at the age of 72, created a new art form, mixed-media collage. By cutting shapes of paper, painted to capture nature's colors, Mrs. Delany cut and designed them to mirror the exact likeness of various plants, including flowers. She became famous for having created over 1,000 cut-paper, botanically correct works of art. Her art inspired the amazing packaging for the three fragrances (and the body creams). The floral designs on black backgrounds will be at home on the most elegant vanities around the world. You can read more at my original feature.

Amazon Lily is infused with refreshing hints of Brazilian lime, tangerine, and bergamot with a base of Galapagos driftwood and white musk. Passiflora carries notes of passion flower, water hyacinth, and lily of the valley, infused with an overdose or lush signature green notes as watery nuances. NEST sent me pre-release samples, and I have been wearing Amazon Lily and Passiflora to work. They are gorgeous scents - and fortunately fragrances I can wear to work without worrying about offending anyone.

Midnight Fleur is sex in a bottle. It's composed with exotic woods, patchouli, and black amber, blended with the sensual notes of night-blooming jasmine and vanilla orchid. I don't smell the patch. I would describe it as a blend of all the night-blooming flowers that inhabit tropical gardens and attract the creatures that thrive and mate or pollinate at night. Whenever I go out in the evening now, I wear Midnight Fleur. I just ordered a full bottle from Bergdorfs. I don't ever want to be without it.

The body creams ($50) are just as heavenly as the fragrances. Filled with lush scents and rich hydrators, they are beautiful complements to the eau de parfums.

If you'd like to order from Bergdorfs, give Maddi a call at (212) 872-2733. She will take good care of you.  The list of Neiman Marcus stores where you can sample follows.
  • Scottsdale
  • Bal Harbor
  • Boca Raton
  • Coral Gables
  • Orlando
  • Tampa Bay
  • Atlanta
  • Michigan Avenue
  • Las Vegas
  • San Francisco
  • Beverly Hills
  • Fashion Island
  • Northpark
  • Houston
  • Willow Bend 
I was mystified that, once again, DC was considered a backwater. Why didn't one of our stores make the grade? I was lucky NEST helped me sample.

You will love at least one of these new fragrances. If you love florals, you may find you need them all (as I did). Once you have a chance to test, please let me know what you think.

The Friday Forum - September 28

What a week! We have had nighttime thunderstorms that kept me awake. Today, I feel like I need to recapture about six hours of sleep. Maybe it's just Friday fatigue, but I don't think so. I feel it in my bones.

Months ago, yours truly was asked to contribute to this quarter's New Beauty magazine, nominating the most innovative beauty product of 2012. I selected Kate Somerville's DermalQuench Liquid Lift Advanced Wrinkle Treatment ($95). There I am on page 29 (well, more on that below) with my recommendation for this treatment that will take years off your appearance in minutes.

Each time I have been privileged to experience Kate's Dermal Quench Oxygen Treatment in a store (the machine travels), I've asked if they could sell the machine. It's so impressive that certain celebrities will not make a red carpet appearance without a treatment beforehand. Wouldn't it be nice to have the machine at home and spruce up before a party or big event? Kate gave us the next best thing when she introduced this new product. I purchased DermalQuench Liquid Lift when it was previewed at QVC. Now, it's available at all Kate Somerville counters - and online. If I were you, I'd buy one. I held off on featuring it here out of respect for the magazine's unique content.

New Beauty had asked me for a photo. They didn't like the first one I sent; the resolution wasn't adequate for magazine reproduction, they said. I had no high-def photos, but I sent them another one, which they said they could use. Why did it matter? It appears they had someone draw a picture of me from the photo, turning me into a cartoon character. I think I look the worst of the three bloggers they featured. That's me? I showed it to a colleague at work (a man - women can be kinder), asking if he thought it was flattering. He didn't even recognize me! They say all publicity is good, so I'm going to adopt that attitude and try not to be so vain.

While I'm talking magazines, I want to give a shout out to Dovey Kim (Cute and Mundane) who entered and placed in Allure's Beauty Blogger of the Year contest. Thousands of us were invited to apply. I didn't bother because the process would have been exhausting. Dovey and other beauty friends did, and she is featured in this month's magazine. I love Dovey; she's a blogger with a brain - and great taste. If you've never seen her blog, hop over to Cute and Mundane.

Another blogger friend, Brooke Pakulski of Blusing Noir, was mentioned. Allure reported that she had the most "viral" content entered, with members of the Beauty Blog Coalition urging her on.  Brooke is a doll and deserved the recognition. Congratulations to her and to Dovey!

One more thing from the October Allure...there was an interview with Carine Roitfeld, former editor of French Vogue. I think Conde Nast made a big mistake when they gave her the heave-ho. Roitfeld was asked about fur, and I was pleased that she said she is not wearing it. However, her remark about ivory ("You have to be very aware of what you're wearing, where it comes from...same with ivory") disturbed me. There is no OK source for ivory. Ivory comes from tortured and butchered elephants - plain and simple. Those who kill elephants for profit are barbaric, and I hope they get a taste of hell in the afterlife. What was Roitfeld thinking? Since I like her, I will blame the "oversight" on zealous editors, who have been known to drop a word or two and lose the real context of a remark. It is not OK to buy ivory. Period.

As long as I'm on a magazine roll, I found the fragrance coverage in Allure to be bizarre. In a short blurb on page 76, Beauty Reporter noted that Florabotanica Eau de Parfum is slightly masculine. Huh? This floral fragrance is the ultimate French feminine fragrance. There's no mistaking its sexuality. In the Best of Beauty Fragrance section, the magazine named Givenchy Dahlia Noir as the best floral. Really, Allure? Dahlia Noir is, in my humble opinion, a stink bomb. I know they always name new introductions, but why not Givenchy's Eaudemoiselle, or Florabotanica, or Tom Ford's Lys Fume or Jonquille de Nuit? I could ramble on. Even the SAs in the stores don't like Dahlia Noir. What an odd choice!

Let's talk about your week of beauty. It's time for the Friday Forum, our open chat. I love this part of our week. 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. Dior's Holiday Makeup Palette for the eyes is really pretty. The deadline is tomorrow, September 29, at midnight.

Photo source lost

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New: Chantecaille Gel Liner Pencil in Bronze

Welcome a new Chantecaille Gel Liner Pencil ($33) into the fold! Bronze has arrived.

This shimmering copper brown shade from the best-selling Gel Eye Liner Collection comes to us straight from the runways. Its beautiful eye-opening shade will add an air of romance and seduction to any look. It's the ideal complement to L'Éléphant Palette, which I'm enjoying enormously.

Breakthrough extrusion technology made Chantecaille's Gel Liner Pencil the first long-wearing gel eyeliner housed in a sustainable wooden pencil. Previously only available in composite “faux wood” material or in glass jars, the liner features a brilliant multi-purpose angled brush on one end to draw, clean, and define the perfect line at the lash line. It can also be pulled upwards to create the perfect smoky or cat's eye. The Gel Liner Pencil is water-resistant and long wearing, offering immediate, smudge-proof definition that lasts up to six hours, according to Chantecaille. I find it lasts all day (12 hours or more).

I took swatch photos in full, late-afternoon sun. You can see the bronze glow beautifully, with the color reflecting the fading sun that was low in the sky.

Bronze is a brown lover's brown. It's a gorgeous color that defines the eyes with a dash of color, but doesn't scream "eye liner." It's easy for me to apply. It deposits color without pressure. I never break Chantecaille's liner tips, as I've done with other brands.

Once you try it and see how beautifully it coordinates with L'Éléphant Palette, you're going to want it. Fortunately, it's currently available - at Chantecaille's Web site and at Chantecaille counters. I purchased mine from Jeannine Barnes at Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie.

When you get yours, try drawing a very light, smudged line under your lower lashes on just the outside third of your lid. You're going to love it.

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

Easeamine Eye Crème

I love eye creams, so when I was given the opportunity to try Easeamine Eye Crème ($98), I jumped at the chance. I've used it on and off for months, and I like it a lot, which is why I am featuring it today.

Easeamine starts the pitch this way. "Look in the mirror. Do you see it? That fragile and delicate skin around your eyes? Its needs are special and very different from those of the rest of your skin. Easeamine Eye Crème meets these needs perfectly. Formulated with Adenosine, it penetrates deep into skin [not sure how deep in light of the FDA's recent "sensitivity"] to help repair it and restore its natural collagen. Enriched with antioxidant ascorbic acid [vitamin C] and natural marine and plant extracts, the lightweight Easeamine helps prevent environmental damage while lifting and tightening."

Easeamine helps reduce puffiness and minimize the appearance of dark circles and crow’s feet that can add years to your age. Instead, your eyes will shine with radiance and a youthful look.

The ingredient Adenosine plays an important role in biochemical processes, such as energy transfer. It's actually an FDA-approved drug, but not for skin care. I have no scientific basis for evaluating it. I want you to understand that I like it because of the way it feels, absorbs, and makes the skin around my eyes look. That's plenty for me.

The Easeamine anti-aging skin care collection combines science with a mission to make us more beautiful. Here is more of the marketing information from Easeamine.

The Easeamine line of cosmeceuticals contains ingredients that influence the biological function of the skin, delivering nutrients that are essential to achieve a younger appearance. Our patented Adenosine Skin Technology increases production of collagen and elastin, two important proteins that are vital in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and eliminating dryness that occurs with aging. Totally non-invasive, Adenosine works from within to help repair damaged skin and encourage healthy, younger-looking and more beautiful skin.

Most interestingly, the line was founded in 2012 by Carmel Laboratories' Brother Dennis Wyrzykowski, a Carmelite monk. The products in the line feature an exclusive Hydroxyzometransdermal delivery system of patented Adenosine Skin Technology. Now, based on the FDA's recent actions, I don't know what to think of all these newfangled delivery systems. I want to believe they work, based on my experience with La Mer and Le Métier de Beauté.

Developed and patented by renowned scientist Dr. James G. Dobson Jr. while conducting cardiovascular research at University of Massachusetts Medical School, Adenosine Skin Technology has been clinically proven to have a marked effect on skin repair. The technology is said to deliver Adenosine, a naturally occurring, anti-inflammatory biochemical compound to the dermis, where it increases the production of the dermal fibroblast proteins collagen and elastin; increases blood flow to the outer layers of the skin; and increases cell size, giving the skin a fuller, smoother appearance.

In real clinical trials, not perception tests, test subjects showed improvements of as much as 48% in skin firmness, softness, and elasticity, as well as improvement of fine lines and wrinkles. The University of Massachusetts Medical School licenses Adenosine Skin Technology exclusively to Carmel Labs, providing for its charitable work benefiting the underprivileged through educational and outreach programs.

“This next generation of products has unique formulations, is easy to use, and is extremely effective. We at the monastery call it divine intervention for your skin,” related Wyrzykowski. “And while radically transforming your skin, you are also providing opportunities to transform the lives of the less fortunate in a positive way.”

The products have been completely reformulated from early versions by chemist Renato “Rene” Jose, who has developed products for Helena Rubenstein, Parlux, Calvin Klein, Elizabeth Arden, and Liz Claiborne - with the exclusive Hydroxyzome transdermal delivery system and additional beneficial ingredients. The five-SKU line features luxurious ruby-red packaging emblazoned with the shield of the Teresian Carmelites. I'm also testing a second SKU, the night cream. Easeamine products are free of parabens, preservatives, mineral oils, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, and artificial dyes, which makes them particularly attractive for my sensitive skin.

Here's what I've observed. This eye cream feels great on application. It's cooling, and the cooling effect lasts for about five minutes. I like that. I feel like it's a mini-ice pack, and I think it reduces puffiness (the kind caused by sleeping on your face). It absorbs rapidly, so putting on concealer just a few minutes after application is a breeze. It works. When I use it, my eye area feels and looks hydrated. The effects last all day.

I can't tell you that it has shaved years off my appearance, but it's an extremely nice eye cream that costs a fraction of some of the others I use. That makes it a keeper.

You can find Easeamine Eye Crème only at the Easeamine Web site. There is a somewhat dorky, short video that explains its use at the Web site. What beauty addict doesn't know the information in the video? Don't let that discourage you. This is a nice eye cream.

Photo courtesy of Easeamine

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chantecaille HD Perfecting Powder and Kabuki Brush - New Perfect Pair

Chantecaille's HD Perfecting Powder ($72) is remarkable. Created especially for high- definition cameras, Chantecaille’s revolutionary skin smoothing powder goes on without a trace, leaving only a flawless, matte (but not lifeless) finish. The hydrating formula is available in one universal shade that looks white in the pan, invisible when applied, and approrpriate for all skin tones. Worn over makeup, the translucent powder gently sets foundation, ensuring long-lasting wear. Worn over moisturizer, it adds an evenness to the complexion that might make you think about skipping foundation more often.

I was blown away by how perfect it made me look the first time I tried it at Neiman Marcus. Jeannine Barnes had managed to get her hands on a tester early, and she had it available at a media event. I applied it right there, over my makeup at an event, and was stunned at how flawless and polished it made me look.

The non-drying, colorless formula goes onto my skin with a slight white veil. The white disappears almost immediately, leaving behind air-brushed skin. How good does it get?  The powder softens imperfections on the skin - like my hairline sun spots - instantly erases pores (not much of a problem for me, but I know they plague others), and adds luminosity and radiance. Like all great powders, it evens out the complexion, while never settling into fine lines (ahem, I hate to mention them). It actually blurs lines.

Chantecaille says the weightless feel is an "ultra-gliding texture" that blends into the skin like a fluid. I'm not sure I understand that concept, but the powder does blend into my skin perfectly.

HD Perfecting Powder was formulated with new micro-fine perfecting powders that are undetectable under high-definition cameras or by the naked eye. This powder will give your skin a flawless, natural finish. Some quote unquote HD products promise the news anchor look without delivering anything unique. Chantecaille has delivered a powder I will wear daily, and I don't wear powder on normal days.

That reminds me...yesterday I was returning to my car after visiting the Italian Store. It was a nice day, and many people were eating at the tables outside the store. As I walked by, a man said loudly, "Your hair is beautiful!" I turned, and, sure enough, he was talking to me. Made my day. When you wear Chantecaille's HD Perfecting Powder, your compliments will more likely be, "Wow, your skin looks amazing!"

Chantecaille has also introduced a gorgeous new Kabuki Brush ($69), made with luxuriously soft goat hair, the ideal hair for blending. It's the perfect brush for applying the HD Perfecting Powder. The innovative firm dome of the brush flawlessly smoothes on any kind of powder or bronzer. You can use it to build, buff, and blend powder makeup for a natural finish.

The zebra print was inspired by fall's runway trends (Sisley is also doing zebra).  Conveniently sized for on-the-go touch-ups, this brush is a must-have. You will love it!

You can find both of these products at the Chantecaille Web site and at Chantecaille counters everywhere. If you think powder is a ho-hum product, unless it comes in little balls or has another eye-catching feature, HD Perfecting Powder will adjust your thinking. It may even change your life.

Update 9/30: Several of you asked for the ingredients in the HD Perfecting Powder. Here they are (click on the photo to enlarge it). I do not believe the powder is marketed as anti-aging. It is a perfecting powder, designed to make your complexion look great.

Photos courtesy of Chantecaille

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Coming Attraction: Giorgio Armani Cosmetics Lip Maestro Intense Fusion Color

Giorgio Armani has created his first liquid lipstick, inspired by his love of luxurious fabrics. "Color like velvet. Feels like a veil. Offers total color impact."

Lip Maestro ($32) is a fourth-generation lip color that reproduces the way silk velvet moves with light in an almost fourth dimensional way. A technological breakthrough led to Lip Maestro's creation.

A new liquid lipstick base holds a unique Soft Focus finish with anti-shine properties. Instead of rejecting light, the Soft Focus finish captures it and fuses it with saturated pigments. Colors glow from within, no longer faded by surface reflections. The color impact is stronger than ever. Color in 4D!

A new texture for the lips, the Velvet Weave elastomer forms a gel network that fuses with the lips. The softest lip veil ever created, with no makeup feel, results. It has zero-density sensation, but total color vibration to intensify your color experience.

There are 12 shades of Lip Maestro. Just click on this photo to enlarge it. I see a few I'd like to try.

The 76 women in France who tested this new liquid lipstick reported these impressions.
  • A matte and luminous finish - 84%
  • Very fine and light veil on the lips - 73%
  • Soft texture - 89%
  • Not sticky - 85%
  • Velvety - 84%
  • Sufficiently covering - 92%
  • Comfortable all day - 76%
I believe we will see Lip Maestro at Giorgio Armani counters soon, as well as on the Giorgio Armani Cosmetics Web site.

Photos courtesy of Giorgio Armani Cosmetics

Coming Attraction: Giorgio Armani Cosmetics Iced Light Holiday Collection for 2012

Illuminate your holidays with a sophisticated, magical makeup collection from Giorgio Armani. Inspired by the house’s iconic eveningwear, layered with sequins and crystals, each sheer shade and luminous harmony celebrates a woman’s natural radiance.

Shimmering mattes evoke the translucent purity of snowflakes against a winter sky, fresh-snapped branches gathered for a fire, and the glow of rosy cheeks. Day to night elegance, created exclusively for our end-of-the-year festivities.

For the first time, Giorgio Armani has added a lip color to his signature palettes. Two new, limited-edition Shimmer All-in-One Palettes offer harmonies that combine the season’s most flattering, shimmering shades for eyes, face, and lips - total looks for effortless chic. The black lacquer double-tiered case slips into a small bag, a must-have accessory to take with you everywhere you go.

A complete look at your fingertips. The first tier houses a compact face powder with illuminating Micro-Fil technology for long-lasting shimmer. Soft and creamy, the weightless powder melts into skin to create a natural, silken finish.

On the second tier, you'll find two luminous Color-Fil Satin eye shadows to blend and layer, plus a lip wax for sheer matte color. Two festive harmonies will be available.
  • The Snow Shimmer Palette: Face Shimmer compact powder in Snow is paired with Light Grey Satin and Grey Satin eye shadows and Rouge lip wax for sophisticated winter style (shown above on left).
  • The Nude Shimmer Palette: Beige Shimmer powder joins Light Taupe Satin and
    Taupe Satin eye shadows, along with Beige lip wax for sheer, natural elegance.
The new essential from Giorgio Armani is a glamorous, zero-color Lip Maestro Transparent Instant Radiance Lip Volumizer for fuller, beautifully illuminated lips. Lip Maestro Transparent enhances and amplifies every look. Use alone for smooth, plumped and naturally luminous lips. Apply on top of lip color for maximum volume and radiance. The color of your lipstick will last longer. Your lips will be softer and more seductive, wrapped in comfort for up to eight hours. The texture is velvety light and fluid. Translucent, soft-focus spheres glide across the lips to create a “backlit” effect. The perfect fusion of matte and shine. Slip Lip Maestro Transparent into a handbag for sophisticated lips anytime, anywhere. I may need two. One for my bathroom and one for my handbag.

Micro-Fil Loose Powder will provide the finishing touch to your radiant holiday look. Exclusively for the holidays, Giorgio Armani has created a limited-edition Micro-Fil loose powder in a soft, festive pink. The ultra-fine, translucent powder warms and evens out skin tone for a flawless complexion. Apply to the face, shoulders, and décolleté for a seductive, rosy shimmer.

Giorgio  Armani's Iced Light Collection for Holiday 2012 will be available in time for our holidays - probably November. I can't wait!

Photos courtesy of Giorgio Armani Cosmetics

Monday, September 24, 2012

Coming Attraction: Giorgio Armani Cosmetics Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow Palettes

Giorgio Armani's new Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow Palettes ($59) offer the perfect matte with the perfect satin - the perfect match between colors and textures. Color crafting creates eye makeup with higher intensity. Eyes to Kill Palettes associate two pioneer formulas: an extraordinary matte with intense payoff that easily blends with an exceptionally luminous satin veil that morphs with every skin tone for a crease-proof makeup that will last for hours.

Armani offers real innovation in the formulation of powder eye shadows: an instant matte and intense formula that melds perfectly with a satin, pearly veil producing amplified light effects. Irresistible with its extremely soft, sensory appeal, the eye shadow arms the eyes with a flawless allure all day long.

Elegance - as essential in makeup as it is in fashion, the unparalleled strength of Giorgio Armani is to choose the right texture for each color. He gives color a substance that enhances it. Each finely crafted color is unique: always wearable, while retaining its own character - and each color flatters every skin tone and signs its style.

A palette of four harmonious colors instinctively follows the natural approach to eye makeup. From the light, luminous top of the eyelid to the saturated, deep lash line, colors and textures mix and layer endlessly and glide on effortlessly for impeccable results.

There is new technology behind these eye shadows.

The incomparable technology of matte eye shadows: instant intensity. A base of silky waxes for glide-on application and even, flawless results. It ensures long-lasting, intense matteness. It is generally extremely difficult to formulate matte eye shadows because the pigments and mattifying ingredients become hard to pick up with a fingertip or brush for application. Their white bases tone down colors. The Giorgio Armani Laboratories developed a new formula that reconciles high color saturation with a matte finish by using a coating of soft-touch powders. This technology makes it possible to use an exceptionally high percentage of pure pigments for more intense, ultra-saturated color. Immaculate, pure, extreme matteness.

The illuminating technology of a satin eye shadow: the fusion of color and radiance on the skin. Thanks to a translucent binder, the luminosity of the nacres is amplified: a supple, airy light veil flows on like a second skin and holds for hours and hours – and adapts to each skin color. Conventional eye shadows generally incorporate an opaque white or grey base, which dulls the color and doesn’t always compliment the complexion. With Color-Fil Satin technology, the color is more intense and can finally express all its richness without a powdery, dull finish. It is radiant, and the intensity of the nacres is amplified. The color applies in an exceptionally fine veil, making layering to infinity possible, in harmony with every skin tone. Satiny eye shadow infused with light: radiant and delicate.

International make-up artist and virtuoso of smoky eyes, Linda Cantello interprets Armani elegance by paying tribute to two of the brand’s main bywords: harmony and attitude. A recognized color expert, she has developed the palettes to form a perfect balance of strength and softness. Very easy to wear, Eyes to Kill Palettes offer women makeup from the simplest to the most sophisticated - for bewitching eyes.

"The Eyes to Kill Palette colors were crafted like Mr. Armani designs fashion: to enhance women’s elegance and power of seduction.” - Linda Cantello, International Makeup Artist for Giorgio Armani Cosmetics.

Giorgio Armani is inspired by nature, and I think there is a reason for that: we look best with the colors we find in nature. Giorgio Armani loves and is able to capture these kinds of colors that are neither greys, nor beiges, that are indefinable colors, which is what makes them so interesting. Giorgio Armani is inspired by an ever-changing, living nature that reflects its contrasts through harmony: calm and peaceful, yet also majestic and powerful.

There are eight new palettes. I am sorry the photos are small. I enlarged them, unfortunately adding a bit of fuzziness. At least you can see the shades. Maestro (#01) is shown directly above. It offers a gradation from radiant mineral sprinkles to high-powered rock colors. Like mineral stratum equilibrium, the legendary glowing Armani greige, secret formulation between grey and beige turns into radiant mica stone. An asphalt matte grey echo to Giorgio Armani’s Pantelleria imposing rocks is easily strengthened by a powerful matte obsidian lava black giving strength to the eye.

Terra Siena (#02) offers a gradation from sunlight-infused sand to strong-earth Italian brown. A dewy beige for a pure mineral light blends perfectly with a shiny bright taupe that brings a touch of bronzed light. Like following the sunset, earth tone turns into a shaded hot brown and ends with a powerful matte earth brown liner, perfectly balanced between darkness and lightness.

Pantelleria (#03), shown at the top of this feature, offers a gradation of ligh-infused faded to deep brown-greens - the sun's influence on colors. King of half-tone neutrals, Giorgio Armani introduces "vreige," halfway between green tenderness and Armani's beige glow. it's the new greige. It transforms and turns into a dewy celadon, as a slight echo to nature's exuberance. A bright sage green brings light with silver and gold reflections and ends with an intense matte khaki liner, like Mediterranean meadow grass at the end of summer.

Effeto Nudo (#04) offers Giorgio Armani's contemporary interpretation of the legendary Italian Claroscuro. A neutral bright beige highlights the lid with a stray beam of light, while the light matte and sandy taupe design the eye with Italian attitude. Specially designed for shaping the eye with shadows, the darker matte taupe warms up the finish with a touch of Mediterranean light. A rich tierra tone signs the magical painting.

Mediterranea (#05) offers a gradation of Mediterranean blue, from a quiet spring dawn to fall's stormy seas. This harmony begins with a luminous silver with a touch of blue that reminds us of the foam of the ocean. It travels into a light blue-grey shade with shiny reflections. The vivid and intense Armani Bleu de Prusse fights the coldness of the blue and radiates like the sea when spring begins. The palette ends with the legendary Armani blue Marine, color of the sea prior to a storm.

Boudoir (#06) offers a gradation from dewy coral essence to intense Amazonian mahogany. From a soft coral infused by light, color turns into a bright rosewood that enhances the skin and reminds of eighteenth century luxury. A strong matte inspired by 100-year-old trees is strengthened by an intense mahogany liner that gives strength to the eyes.

Saharan Blush (#07) offers a gradation from summer's Saharan sky to hot sand brown. Extremely glowing rose turns into an eggshell tone, reminding us of the color of the sun reflecting on the Saharan landscape at sunrise. A bright rose that could be seen in the sky colors the palette before setting in a hot brown.

Parma (#08) offers a gradation from dewy lilac to an iconic amethyst powder.  Two variations of lilac rose tinted with blue reflections remind of spring colors - from the sky at dawn to blooming flowers. The gradation goes into a sparkling mineral dust before ending in an intense amethyst violet, echo to the homemade eye shadows crafted by women in ancient Mediterranean civilizations.

These eight new Eyes to Kill Palettes will be available in November at fine department stores and at the Giorgio Armani Cosmetics Web site. I'm doomed. I want them all.

Photos courtesy of Giorgio Armani Cosmetics

NARS Andy Warhol Kiss Mini Larger Than Life Lip Gloss Coffret

The NARS Andy Warhol Kiss Mini Larger Than Life Lip Gloss Coffret $55) is sold out at Sephora. I am stunned. It's nice enough, particularly for NARS lovers, but not sell-out nice.

The Sephora-exclusive lip gloss coffret features five Larger Than Life Lip Gloss shades. Theoretically, NARS captured the infamous lips of Andy Warhol’s muses and the sparkle of the artist’s silver studio with the collection of five mini, high-shine glosses.

The set, contained inside the clever, decorous tin can, includes five 0.11-ounce Larger Than Life Lip Glosses (read that "small"). The shades are Silver Factory (aluminum glitter), Chelsea Girls (flesh-toned beige), Drella (ultra sheer hot pink), Blue Movie (pink sherbet), and Myths (rosy pink). Five little glosses, plus a can you can use for pencil storage (makeup pencils naturally) or makeup brush storage. It's a very nice can and a great reminder of Andy Warhol's appeal.

Created exclusively for Sephora, these "ultra-glamorous lip glosses are presented in a keepsake soup can. Andy Warhol crafted paintings of iconic people and elevated ordinary things, such as flowers, soup cans, and lips, in his work. Highlighting pop themes, he used bright, electric colors that pop." If only the lip glosses had been bright - or interesting.

Let me show you what I mean. I tried to apply the glosses heavily. I swatched two little squares on each level of my arm, and I applied the Silver Factory alone at the bottom. My photos were taken in full sun.  Why do the photos look boring? Because the colors are boring.

I tried really hard to show you saturated, colorful shades on my arm, but it was impossible. These glosses are not saturated. Two are so sheer they almost blend into each other at the top of my arm. I'm sure you can see the peach and rose tones in the center (one pale pink, the other pale peach/nude). Do you see anything other than a bit of dirt below? That's Silver Factory. It leaves a clear finish with tiny grey glitter embedded within. It's not even a silver gloss. It's more like what collects at the bottom of a dust bin. If you wear it alone, you will appear to have worn your clear lip gloss outside on a windy day, resulting with your lips picking up whatever was blowing around.

I'm very disappointed in this set. I think $55 was way too much money for five tiny glosses and a tin can. The tin can was the best part of the collection. What does that say?

I'm not sorry to report that when I checked at Sephora yesterday, I found the set sold out. I'm amazed, though. Either there were a lot of blind purchases, like mine, or NARS can sell anything.

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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday This and That - Plus Fun with Sisley's Alfredo Lizardi

I am heartbroken. I learned this morning that our panda cub at the National Zoo had died. I think I cried for an hour, and I spontaneously cried all day.

We were all so excited by the birth of Mei Xiang's cub last weekend. All week, zookeepers told he the cub and his mother showed signs of health and well-being. Suddenly, NBC Washington announced on Facebook that the baby had died. "Panda keepers and volunteers heard a distress vocalization from the mother, Mei Xiang, at 9:17 a.m. and notified the veterinarian staff immediately," the statement read, in part. "The panda cam was turned off and the staff were able to safely retrieve the cub for an evaluation at 10:22 a.m. Veterinarians immediately performed CPR and other life-saving measures but the cub did not respond."

DC is going to be in mourning. It's a very sad day - for us and for the world of panda lovers. You may think we are consumed by politics here, but I assure you that panda was more important to us than any politician.

It seems incongruous to jump from such sad thoughts to happy ones, but I'm going to do it - partly to keep from descending into total depression. I feel like one of my own died.

The adorable, delightful, and talented Sisley makeup artist Alfredo Lizardi applied my makeup Friday evening. I went over to Neiman Marcus Tysons Galleria after work and had a blast. He is so much fun!

I'm always wary of makeup artists. More often than not, I go straight home after a session and wash my face. Not this time! I wished I had had somewhere to go Friday night. When Alfredo finished, I thought I looked good. He asked me about the kind of look I wanted, and we decided on natural, but with pizazz. He entertained me as he worked. Here you can see were were both smiling about something as Simone took our photo. We may have been laughing about the prior photo, which I was sure made me look like an eagle (not in a majestic way).

Alfredo used all Sisley products on me, including a new clump-free mascara that I will show you this week. It's a new formulation, and it comes in black, brown, and blue. He used black on me, but when I found out from my Sisley friends it came in blue, I pulled out my charge card for the second time that night.

The two eye shadows he selected for me are gorgeous. Sorbet (#2) and Stardust (#7) came home with me. They are both shimmering (how did he know I prefer shimmer?). Sorbet is a light, natural peach shade, and Stardust is a green-silver hybrid. Like grey greens? Stardust will make you enormously happy. Of course, I had to get photos of them today.

Alfredo selected a lip gloss for me. Sisley has a collection of new ones. They are shown in the photo below. He choose Rosewood, with my hearty consensus. Then we found out the tester unit had arrived, but not the for-sale products. Darn! I was ready to buy Rosewood and another (#5 and #7) - for a start.

The nice thing about these fabulous glosses is that they are extremely saturated and offer a shimmering finish. I may end up with five, or six, or whatever. They meet all my criteria for a great gloss.

Sisley has also repackaged its blushes, giving them a zebra theme. This in-store photo is not color-true. They are much prettier. Once they arrive, I'll buy a few and feature them.

Here we are when Alfredo finished. That's as close a photo as I'll ever show. Once you're two years out from qualifying for Medicare, you do not relish close-up photos. Isn't he a doll? After my makeup had been perfected, we took off and played with perfume. He mentioned to me that he liked the new Tom Ford Noir, and I wanted to share with him a few other Tom Fords I thought he might like. Loula was so sweet. She got samples of Noir, the new Ombre de Hyacinth (which he loved), and others so that we could send Alfredo home as happy as I was.

If you ever get a chance to jump in his chair, do it! He has the right touch.

Speaking of my favorite makeup artists, Tim Quinn from Giorgio Armani Beauty will be at Neiman Marcus Tysons Galleria on Saturday, October 13. If you are a DC-area local, you might want to call to make an appointment. I'll take care of my favorite sales associate there and ask you to call Loula Ayoub at (703) 761-1600, extension 3230, to make an appointment with Tim. Loula is one of the the most successful sales associates at the store (if not the most), and there's a great reason for her success. She is a consistent paragon of customer service.

The Saks Fifth Avenue beauty event starts this week on Thursday. The totes look pretty, so I've pre-ordered. I have purchased enough to get the two I want (blue and green). I use them to carry my laptop and/or iPad - and often food - to work. If you need help, give Loyd Cassler or Georgia Marmaras a call at Chanel at (240) 497-5363 or (240) 497-5301. They asked me to convey their gratitude to those of you who called to order the Blue Illusion de Chanel Collection.

In closing, I love my new striped three-quarter sleeve tee. It was a birthday present from a friend. I want more of them! Wouldn't navy and red stripes look nice? Or solids.

Photo at top courtesy of the National Zoo; other photos by Best Things in Beauty