Sunday, May 29, 2016

Happy Memorial Day!

Republishing a feature from a few years ago...

These photo say it all. Memorial Day is a U.S. national holiday when we remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. If you have lost a loved one, please know that millions are pausing today to reflect on your sacrifices. We care. Thank you for giving up the most precious thing you could give - your children, fathers and mothers, grandparents, brothers and sisters, cousins, and friends. I hope you can let the American people embrace you today in a gigantic collective hug of love and appreciation.

While today isn't really about the living, it's a great opportunity to thank veterans and the men and women who are currently serving in our Armed Forces. At any time, those at war could join the fallen at our national memorials at Arlington Cemetery and across the country. Today, some who were injured while serving are healing at hospitals around the world. Their stories - grit, determination, and bravery - are inspirational. Others who have returned from war aren't receiving the care (or the jobs) we owe them. That saddens me.

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

Here's a short excerpt.

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

So many images - so many stories - define Memorial Day. "Thank you" doesn't seem adequate. While there will be pageantry, picnics, parades, concerts, and fireworks today, many of us will be thinking tearfully about the heroes who gave their lives so that we could live in peace.

Photos courtesy of,, and the Washington Post

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Friday Forum - May 27

It's peony time here, one of the most beautiful times of the year. I wish I could drive around and take photos of them, but I'm spending almost all my time at Mom's bedside. She is not doing well, and I don't expect miracles anymore.

I'll keep this short. I'm going to ask Eileen to help me with the Friday Forum conversation. I'll be checking in to approve comments, but not as frequently as I normally would. Without further ado, it's time for the Friday Forum.

The Friday Forum has always been an opportunity to share information. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game. Just use the comments. We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. I hope to see you in the comments.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Photo credit lost

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Annick Goutal Rose Pompon Eau de Toilette

We have had a month of rain in the DC area. Even as the roses in my garden started to bloom, it rained. It was relentless. I needed something to brighten my spirits. Annick Goutal's new Rose Pompon Eau de Toilette ($149, 100 ml) was the perfect antidote to dreary weather. I've been wearing it to work nearly every day since I received it from Annick Goutal.

Introduced this year, Rose Pompon is a fresh, lively, rose fragrance in a pretty pink bottle. It makes me think spring, even when it doesn't feel like it outdoors. For those who might dismiss the idea of a rose-themed fragrance, keep reading. Rose Pompon is not your grandmother's rose. I've read many reviews of this fragrance, but I'll start by telling you what Annick Goutal has to say about it.

A mischievous glance, charming smile, burst of laughter...the Rose Pompon woman exudes joie de vivre. A fresh and playful olfactory creation, Rose Pompon is a bold composition inspired by new horizons… Sparkling notes of blackcurrant and raspberry mingle with pink pepper and a hint of peony to reveal the trio of rose extracts, including the fruity tones of rose centifolia (an old rose, often called Provence rose or cabbage rose or Rose de Mai); Bulgarian rose, and Taïf rose. The composition and balance of the ingredients is gorgeous.

Rose Pompon is the story of a young Parisian woman. She seduces everyone with her irresistible elegance. Her perfume, a fresh and sparkling rose, conveys her charm and happiness. Her addictive trail makes everyone want to smile, laugh, and enjoy life. An addictive freshness with a bold and modern twist.

I'll bet you know the house of Annick Goutal. Haven't we all worn at least one of the iconic fragrances in the past? My favorites include Un Matin d'Orange, Petite Chérie, and Eau d'Hadrien. These fragrances have been in my collection for more years than I can count. The Annick Goutal house of perfume is known for the quality of its ingredients, using the rarest and noblest essences, almost all of natural origin, such as Sicilian lemon, Damascus rose, Italian iris, and tuberose from Grasse. Their raw materials are chosen with the greatest care and extreme precision, to achieve, note after note, the perfect harmony.

Not only that, the house's bottles and packaging are made exclusively in France by expert craftsmen, resulting in an exceptional finesse in its detail. The finishing decorative touches are almost all done by hand, each one conveying a memory in the creator's life. As Annick Goutal liked to point out "luxury is in the details." When you hold and use an Annick Goutal fragrance, the quality and elegance lift your spirits and make you feel special.

Rose Pompon was developed by Camille Goutal and Philippine Courtière. I'll give you the creator's description because they said it better than I ever could.

Passionate perfumer, Camille Goutal keeps searching for new inspirations and raw materials. Camille appreciated the work of Philippine Courtière for awhile, and she wanted to collaborate with her for the creation of the new Annick Goutal perfume. Both their parents introduced them to the universe of perfumery during their childhood. They share the values of a family tradition, with a destiny of perfumers, although they began their careers as a photographer for Camille and a lawyer for Philippine. The purpose of their collaboration was to compose a fresh and playful rose, a unique scent inspired by new horizons. Named Rose Pompom, this creation is an olfactory ode to the two perfumers’ joie de vivre.

Rose Pompon reflects Annick Goutal's olfactory creations, with a bold and modern twist. It is the joyful interpretation of a new and luminous rose where the spicy notes of Pink Pepper mingle with the bright and green sparkle of blackcurrant before opening out with the velvety notes of raspberry. Its heart notes carry a duo of rose extracts composing the Rose Pompon (Centifolia), a garden rose with a thousand petals, delicate and precious. First, the Bulgarian Rose essence, chosen for its luminous and green facets evokes the freshness of a rose at dawn. Then, the Taïf Rose, a rare flower with a suave and sensual scent offered by its fruity facets. Finally, a hint of peony envelops the notes with an ethereal sensuality. A playful and addictive composition warmed with woody cedar and powdery patchouli, followed by an exquisite note of white musks.

Rose Pompon has worked its magic on the iconic ribbed bottle, adorned here with shades of pink lacquering. The packaging reflects the work but also the bold and creative universe of the great photographers Camille admires. The Annick Goutal House has imagined a new woman, charming and mischievous, the Rose Pompon woman who attracts attention and makes everyone smile, hiding behind her extravagant flower. A sketch combining strokes of black pencil and the exuberance of a dazzling rose, embodying the woman for whom Camille and Philippine created this made-to-measure fragrance."

Imagine, then, the joy they shared with us when they created Rose Pompon. A fruit-laden floral, it is fresh and lively. When I apply it, I feel like I've stuck my nose into one of my David Austin roses, bred for fragrance. Plus, I get the extra-added benefit of juicy fruits, lingering as long as the rose does. What I don't smell is patchouli. I was shocked when I found it in the list of notes. Most of you know that my nose can sniff out patchouli in just about any fragrance. To me, it smells like cheap, acrid perfume. There isn't even the slightest hint that patchouli is in Rose Pompon. I believe that speaks to the quality of the ingredients used by Annick Goutal. There's patchouli, and there's patchouli. Rose Pompon probably contains very little of the very best on the market.

I think Rose Pompon lasts on me for about four hours. Often we trade longevity for the sparkling freshness of just-picked fruits and fragrances. That's a trade-off I'm always willing to make. I bought some little spray decant bottles that I can keep in my handbag and refresh my fragrance at lunchtime. That way, I - or those close to me - can enjoy this beautiful fragrance all day.

If you like fruity florals that sparkle, you should cheek out Rose Pompon. You can find it at Annick Goutal's Web site easily. It's also available at Luckyscent (but backordered in the 50 ml size - probably owing to its popularity) and some Neiman Marcus stores.

Photos courtesy of Annick Goutal

Monday, May 23, 2016

Mom is in the Hospital

I'm spending most of my time here. I will try to publish a feature tonight.

Just wanted everyone to know "where I've gone."

Thursday, May 19, 2016

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous Blush and The Friday Forum

BECCA's Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous Blush ($34) is a curated, colorful collection of six lustrous blushes to let your cheeks glow with light. I was attracted to it by Sephora's offer to provide it to VIB Rouge members early, and I'm so glad I took advantage of the offer.

The blush is available in six shades, and I did something uncharacteristic. I selected a coral shade, Snapdragon, not my "comfort zone" shade. I recall there were only two shades available as part of the "early purchase offer."

BECCA’s Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous Blush features multi-dimensional, versatile blushes to create a subtle, shimmering flush. Specially designed to flatter all skin tones, this collection is inspired by the fan-favorite Shimmering Skin Perfector - just the right balance of color and light. Wear them alone for subtle blushed luminosity or as a blush topper layered on top of your favorite matte blush for an added pop of radiance. 

That's BECCA's advice, but I can't see me using Snapdragon as a topper blush. It's so beautiful as it is. Have I been captivated by coral? The unique thing about this coral is that it's very pink-heavy. I would have described it as a warm pink.

I took my photos in full, mid-day sunshine. Just took at that beautiful sky reflected in the compact's mirror for proof. I believe that my photo of the compact is more true to the actual shade than Sephora's, which I placed at the top of this feature. The photo below in the color lineup of all six shades is more representative of Snapdragon.

My swatch photo shows how gorgeous this blush is on the skin. As usual, I swatched with a sponge-tipped applicator and took my photo in full sun. I applied the blush fairly heavily for the photo, but I'm sure you can translate my swatch into a revelation of the shade's color when applied to the skin with a blush brush.

Look at its gorgeous color! I'd call it a warm pink - a shade that will appeal to many. The shade is definitely not coral. I was rewarded for taking a chance on it.

The luminosity of this blush is real. It's not sparkly, but it does offer a subtle shimmering touch of radiance to the cheeks. Now I want more. The photo below shows all six shades. Which ones would you select? The caption is hard to read. From left to right, they are Camellia, Tigerlily, Foxglove, Snapdragon, Blushed Copper, and Dahlia - all floral names except for Blushed Copper. Go figure.

I think I need Camellia. Who knows? I might indulge myself with Blushed Copper too. It would make a gorgeous bronzer.

There you have it - a very nice new blush, inspired by BECCA's popular Shimmering Skin Perfector. If you know and appreciate that one, you will love this blush. I purchased mine at Sephora. You can also find it at BECCA's Web site.

I have a very early-morning meeting tomorrow (and I must watch the season finale of The Blacklist tonight), so I'll publish The Friday Forum here as a two-in-one feature. The e-mail notice of this feature will not go out until tomorrow. The Friday Forum has always been an opportunity to share information. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game. Just use the comments. We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. I hope to see you in the comments.

I'll leave you with a photo of a Siberian iris blooming in my garden. The clump had just started to bloom last weekend when I snapped this photo.

Photos at top and of the color lineup courtesy of BECCA; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Lipstick Collection

My Dress, My Style, My Lipstick! Guerlain has introduced its magnificent La Petite Robe Noire Nail and Lip Collection (I'll show off the nail products in a later feature). The collection is a fresh, unexpected, and slightly scented array of irresistible shades inspired by the alluring namesake fragrance, La Petite Robe Noire. The upside-down heart shows that it belongs to the House of Guerlain and reminds us of La Petite Robe Noire's original perfume bottle.

Two Guerlain signatures on the lipstick casing overlap to create the ultimate couture detail - one on the transparent case in shiny silver and the other engraved below in the body of the black mechanism. Each shade is beautifully showcased through the transparent glass, allowing for no mistake as to what shade is within. Love that!

Although I featured a new lipstick collection just Monday, I need to show you Guerlain's magnificent La Petite Robe Noire Lipstick Collection. It's fun, lively, and enticing.

Alone in front of her wardrobe, La Petite Robe Noire's namesake is deep in thought. She would need something to add the finishing touch to her inimitable style and twist all her wonderful dresses, that little added extra, that je ne sais quoi to bring out her femininity and reveal her true personality: mischievous, Parisian, spectacular, seductive, elusive, and yet with a distinctive presence. What she needs is, of course, color! Color just like her - scented color for an added dimension to her unique style.

I was absolutely delighted when I received six shades from this collection from Guerlain. The innovative company has created an absolutely essential and utterly irresistible La Petite Robe Noire Lipstick in a deliciously shiny texture to dress up your style with luscious color! The lipsticks are available in vibrant shades in an unexpected texture.
  • The lightweight texture reveals the lips’ natural radiance, leaving them supple and comfortable.
  • The coverage is buildable, thanks to its thin film: one layer to offer a glimpse of the sensual texture of the lips, two layers for a casual chic daytime look, and three layers for a more dense and sophisticated finish - a glamorous evening look.
  • Inspired by La Petite Robe Noire, the formula is deliciously, but lightly, perfumed and delicately flavored for an unforgettable taste on your lips;
  • These lipsticks have an ultra-shiny finish and pure and luminous colors thanks to a cocktail of pure and extra-luminous pigments that are coated with a specific resin that delivers a shiny lacquer effect.
There are 20 fantastic shades that Guerlain has grouped into three categories.
  • Star Shades (four)
  • Her Easy Chic Shades (eleven total, although some are available only in Asia and Russia)
  • Her Trendy Pop Shades (10 shades, with the same constraint. Hmm, who do I know in Asia or Russia?)
My First Lipstick, #001, is a very light pink, the ideal lipstick for young girls and for all women who prefer a natural look. The soft pink is subtly set off with a veil of shimmer with an innovative texture. Also in this category, Black Perfecto, #007, shown below, is a surprising shade, a fake-black that can be applied alone or as a top coat for an elegant rock finish. Applied alone, the eosin that it contains reacts to the pH of the lips and reveals a tailor-made soft purple. It is perfect as a top coat that “smokes” any shade applied before it. That’s the secret of the rock style of La Petite Robe Noire, the most Parisian of all.

Guerlain sent me these two, plus Leather Blazer (#013) and Red Bow Tie (#022) from the Her Easy Chic group and two from Her Trendy Pop group: Poppy Cap, #020, and Red Teddy, #021.

Here are the six shades I love, lined up from left to right in numerical order. I took my photo in full, mid-day sunshine, which has been rare, and a wind that wouldn't give me a break. As soon as I could get the tubes to stop moving, I snapped photos.

The six shades, as presented above from left to right follow.
#001, My First Lipstick - very light pink with shine galore
#007, Black Perfecto - as described above (reminds me of the iconic Black Honey)
#013, Leather Blazer - a gorgeous brown with pink undertones
#020, Poppy Cap, a lovely coral
#021, Red Teddy - a rose pink shade
#022, Red Bow Tie - a very wearable red (many of you know I'm very conservative when it comes to reds)

I swatched them in the same order on my arm, starting with My First Lipstick at the top and ending at the bottom with Red Bow Tie. The Star Shades at the top of my arm are very light and shiny. The other shades have more pigmented color, although all are bright and shiny. I really love them - sheer and shine add up to a perfect lipstick in my eyes.

Although Guerlain is perfectly clear that these lipsticks are scented, I - the one who prefers her lipsticks unscented - can barely detect the scent. I don't smell it on my lips and barely taste it. The subtle taste dissipates quickly. To me, it does not taste like I'm wearing a scented lipstick after about 10 minutes. I have to admit I'm not a big fan of La Petite Robe Noire fragrance; it has patchouli in it (not my cup of tea). The lipstick fragrance is described as a fruity floral with accents of bergamot, rose, and raspberry, inspired by the delicious notes of La Petite Robe Noire. This is a scented lipstick I'll wear with great pleasure. Has Guerlain converted me?

There are a few shades I think I need to purchase. Mauve Gloves, Lilac Belt, and Plum-Brella look like must-haves. Oh my, what's a lipstick lover to do?

Check out all the gorgeous shades at Guerlain's Web site, where you will find large color representations. I'm going to have to find out their availability at our favorite in-store and online shopping sites. I do know the lipsticks will launch in the U.S. at Nordstrom next week.

Photos courtesy of Guerlain and by Best Things in Beauty

Monday, May 16, 2016

New and Exciting: Victor dE Souza Lipsticks by Dustin Lujan

It was worth the wait. I have known for a long time that Dustin Lujan was developing a new cosmetics line, starting with a lipstick collection. Dustin chose to align his new beauty brand with his partner, fashion designer Victor de Souza, and so Victor dE Souza Beauty was born. I am so thrilled for my sweet friend Dustin.

The long-awaited launch occurred in New York City on April 28. The party, hosted by Victor and Dustin, featured five models - from students to media strategists - and eight-foot tall banners showing their glam shots wearing Dustin's lip colors. Over 150 guests attended. I wish I could have been one of them. Unfortunately, it was impossible for me to work the full day and add on a round trip to New York before it was time to work the next day.

Beauty has always been an important focus for de Souza, coming from a family in which both sisters are skilled makeup artists. Victor has worked with some of the top makeup artists in the world, including Francois Nars and and Dustin Lujan, to make shocking and beautiful images for his fashion shows, making the makeup a centerpiece along with his fashion designs. Cosmetics were a natural transition for his portfolio; his father was one of the top chemists in Argentina. As he grew up, he and his sisters tested makeup formulas.

As a creature of design, Victor collaborated with Dustin, former creative director and development consultant for several top, luxury beauty houses, to work on Victor's own beauty line. Max Factor's design from the 1920's was one of the main inspirations of Dustin's designs, using all-metal packaging that is sleek and heavy. The upgrade to the classic inspiration was the metal spike on the top of each case, adding a modern edge resembling the pawn of a chess piece to combine classic, contemporary, and intellectual design factors.

The lipstick formula, developed by Dustin, consists of an ingredient called Hyla-Bubble, exclusive to Victor dE Souza Beauty. Hyaluronic acid is trapped in micro-bubbles and released when the lips are pressed together, replenishing moisture and redepositing color to the lips. This ingredient attracts and holds up to 1,800 times its own weight in water to fill the space between collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. Dustin spent over 10 years developing this masterful formula.

The lipsticks come in three different formulas. All are priced at $68. All shades stay on forever. To get them off my arm, I had to use soap, water, and makeup remover. That's unusual. The shades must have a long-lasting tint in their formula, making them highly resistant to transfer and color loss.
  • Prismatic Lipstick, which offers extra moisture and shine
  • Satin Lipstick, for the most sensitive lips with a true-to-life "lip finish"
  • Matte Lipstick, for a moisture-intense matte lip with flair and life
I purchased one of the shades, and Dustin graciously sent me all of them. I was able to take swatch photos this past weekend. I took the lipstick photos in full, mid-day sunshine and grouped them by formula.

The first photo above shows the two Prismatic Lipsticks. Doom Generation is shown on the left, and Liquid Sky is shown at right. I was lucky to get photos at all. It was incredibly windy, and the lipsticks kept moving around on me.

The swatch photo for these two Prismatic Lipsticks is shown directly above. The two Prismatic shades could not be more different. Liquid Sky is a very slight, shiny pink, and Doom Generation is a deep plum. It makes a statement.

The next grouping of colors (directly above) shows the Satin Lipsticks. Mysterious Skin is shown at left, and Stage Fright is shown at right. It was Stage Fright that really caught my eye in Dustin's model's photos. It gave me palpitations. Shown below on student Kyla Malbon, it was an instant must-have.

My swatch photo of the two Satin Lipsticks is presented directly below. Mysterious Skin, a peachy nude is shown at the top of my arm, and Stage Fright, which appears to be coral, is shown below. Both shades are definitely affected by your own lip pigmentation, in most cases making them more pink than they appear on my arm.

The Matte Lipsticks surprised me. They are not dull mattes. You can even see in my swatch photos below that they reflect light, giving them a spectacular finish.

Even though they were moving around with the wind, I managed to focus on Female Trouble at left, Raspberry Reich in the middle, and the ultimate red, The Hunger, at right. My swatch photo, with the lipsticks shown in the same order as I moved down my arm, is shown directly below.

From the fuchsia Female Trouble, to my favorite of the three, a rosy pink Raspberry Reich, to the perfect red, The Hunger, these shades were designed to provide a pop to your face.

Here is a cute photo of Victor and Dustin, taken at the launch party. I don't have to tell you who's who because so many of you know and love Dustin.

Although the cases are gunmetal grey, I love the photo above, provided by Dustin. It shows how classy these lipsticks are - even without color.

You can purchase these Lipsticks from Victor dE Souza Beauty online. If you don't follow Dustin on Facebook, you really should. In a run-up to the launch, he posted photos of the models wearing each shade. They are masterfully edited, showing the flair of both Victor and Dustin.

What's next for Victor dE Souza Beauty? What one makeup product does every woman need - besides lipstick - on a deserted island? Mascara! I may be spilling a secret, but I knew you would ask me. Before long, Dustin and Victor will have developed a full, luxury beauty line, with worldwide distribution.

What do you think?  Do you have a favorite shade? Will one or more go on your must-have list?

Update 5/18: In my original feature, I mixed up Raspberry Reich and The Hunger. I'm sorry. The Hunger is the perfect red. I have confirmed this with Dustin, who didn't notice at first either (so I don't feel like such a ditz). Thanks to "Anonymous" for pointing out the confusion. I have corrected the copy above.

Photos courtesy of Victor dE Souza Beauty and by Best Things in Beauty

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Rouge Bunny Rouge ALCHEMY Long-lasting Brow Liner

Creating chiselled, immaculate eyebrows may be an art…but with Rouge Bunny Rouge's extra-thin waterproof ALCHEMY Long-lasting Brow Liner (26 euros), it’s a snap. The exceptionally fine and sharp tip allows for ultimate precision of lines, instantly releasing the pigments for maximum control. Rouge Bunny Rouge sent me these liners months ago, and I've been anxiously awaiting their introduction to show them to you.

The easily blendable, wax-based formula and the delicate matte finish create a very natural-looking result: waterproof and smudge-free, it will stay put for 10 hours and longer. I love the natural colors. They both work for me, and I suspect they will work for everyone who wants to fill in patchy spots or enhance the shape of their brows.

On top of their thin precision, these liners are enriched with natural antioxidants, vitamins E and C and are vegan. They are also free from mineral oil/paraffin, synthetic preservatives, and volatiles.

They are available in two medium-coverage shades. Antimony is described as a dark chestnut. It's and deal neutral shade for dark brown and black natural brow colors, although I found I could use it lightly on my brows (which have always been darker than my hair). Trona is the shade an expert would select for me. It's a light hazelnut - a perfect neutral shade for almost any natural brow color, especially for blondes and those with fair faces.

I took a photo of both shades in today's wind. I only wound them up a little because it was so windy I was afraid they might fly off and get damaged. Antimony (#088) is shown on the left, and Trona (#089) is shown at right.

I took a swatch photo that shows both shades applied very lightly on my arm. I wanted to show you how much control you will have when you use these liners to either add wisps of color into your brows or to add color to the brows you already have in a very natural way.

Trona is shown at the top, with Antimony below. I see my swatch of Antimony, the darker shade, wasn't as even as I would have preferred, but it's too late now to go out and retake the photos. I hope you can see from my swatches that these shades will look natural on nearly everyone. The only women who may not find them dark enough may be those with chocolate skin and black brows.

As always with Rouge Bunny Rouge products, there's a lovely story.
The divine transformational power inherent to the philosophy of the Enchanted Garden is celebrated every year during the Great Alchemy Ball. The guests of honor are the Artists and the Philosophers, the Artisans and the Mages who have excelled in their arts. Their indisputable mastery and wisdom allow for the visions and fantasies to come true in perfection…and to be filled with magic and life. Rouge Bunny Rouge's Long-lasting Brow Liner ALCHEMY brings a spark of this magic to you: a delicate pencil made to enthrall you with the magic of precision.

You can find all you need to know about Rouge Bunny Rouge's Long-lasting Brow Liner ALCHEMY in a product brochure (including professional make-up tips) that you can open or download in PDF format from the following link: Long-lasting Brow Liner Brochure. Some tips for Rouge Bunny Rouge follow.

Eyebrows are "alchemy" to our looks: masterfully defined, they can give faces friendlier and younger expressions, counterbalance other facial features for greater harmony, and, of course, modify the very appearance of our eyes. Since the smooth, natural Long-lasting Brow Liner formula is effortless to apply and doesn’t produce harsh, dull, or "greasy" looks in the first place, the company's makeup artists have but these few tips for you.
  • For natural and pretty results, take the brow liner and feather in your eyebrows with minuscule strokes.
  • To create or accentuate beautiful, full arches, don’t attempt to draw additional hairs - instead, elongate or extend the natural shape subtly. A little goes a long way here.
  • If you’re playing with a new shape or just are new to color cosmetics, always step back before applying more product and examine the results in a good mirror with good lighting.
  • Soften the color with a brush (try the three-in-one Brows & Lashes Brush 007). This step really makes a difference: you’ll see how it finishes the look and evens out any application mistakes for a perfectly defined brow. You’re not likely to need more product at this stage.
  • Here's an extra tip: Trona is your ideal natural shade for creating faux freckles.
Rouge Bunny Rouge has made a very generous offer to Best Things in Beauty readers. If you purchase from the company's Web site and use the code RBR-BESTTHINGSINBEAUTY20, they will give you a 20% discount on their collection. This code will be valid for three months - perhaps even longer! That should inspire you to check out the Rouge Bunny Rouge site of treasures.

Update 5/19: The brow liners will be available to U.S. buyers in mid-June. Customers in Europe can order now.

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

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Friday Forum - May 13

I've ranted here before about product specialists who put substitutions in their new displays. I buy them, thinking they are the new introductions when they aren't. This drives me crazy!

Last night, I discovered that the two KissKiss lipsticks I had purchased, thinking they were the new limited editions, were not. I'm furious. The individual who sold them to me knows I write this blog. I called her before I drove over there to tell her I was interested in the summer collection and ask if she has received it. Once I got there, she should have disclosed that the two lipsticks placed in the slots on the display were not new at all. Although they are pretty, I think I'm going to return them. Yes, I'm the one who never returns things, but I feel misled. I have plenty of KissKiss lipsticks. I wanted the new ones. Do I have to get out my phone to check every time I select a product from a new display to ensure the items on the display are all actually new?

I have had this problem before, and there are some product specialists at certain stores I don't trust at all. I thought I could trust this one. Lesson learned.

Yesterday brought an embarrassment of riches. I have all the new Victor dE Souza lipsticks, designed by Dustin Lujan, and I also have a lovely collection of Guerlain's Le Petite Robe Noir lipsticks - plus some nail products. I felt like a kid in a candy store when I got home from work. Now I'm hoping that we get the sunshine that's predicted for Sunday so I can take photographs. It has rained here for something like 17 out of the last 18 days.

It's time for our Friday Forum and weekend conversation. The Friday Forum has always been an opportunity to share information. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game. Just use the comments. We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. I hope to see you in the comments.

Photo by Best Things in Beauty

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Guerlain Terracotta L'Eau Hâlée Cooling Bronzing Water for Face for Summer 2016

Guerlain's Terracotta L'Eau Hâlée Cooling Bronzing Water for Face ($54) requires no commitment to a tan. It washes off with soap and water. It is designed to help us achieve a natural-looking, flawless tan for the face.

With this "water," a healthy tan look is just a drop away with this silky-smooth, cooling bronzing water. The ultra-comfortable second-skin texture will delight the skin, but it’s the versatility and the impeccable results will keep us loyal to L’Eau Hâlée. Worn alone or under Terracotta Bronzing Powder, L’Eau Hâlée delivers buildable glow, while simultaneously enhancing and prolonging an existing tan - or creating one we don't have. The tan is said to intensify with every application, and I can't really explain that. (When my Guerlain PR representative returns from vacation, I plan to ask whether it contains a low-dose self-tanner. I do not see one in the ingredients.) L’Eau Hâlée washes off easily with soap and water, so you don't have to make a commitment to your tan. You can be tan by day and fair at night.

This light “Eau” instantly recreates a translucent, naturally sun-kissed complexion with a bare skin effect. The universal color creates a sun-kissed glow that can be adjusted to suit everyone. It's very natural and sheer. Its hydrating formula envelops the skin in freshness. In other words, it's as perfect as it gets for those of us who don't want to use the usually smelly self-tanners on our faces. The scent of L'Eau Hâlée is delightful. It has notes of orange blossom, tonka bean, vanilla, and white musk.

I took my photos in full, mid-day sunshine. I applied a drop of the cooling water into my palm and used my finger to apply a broad swatch on my arm. You can see how sheer and natural this wonderful faux tan will be on your face. I hope you can see the swatch near the top of my arm.

This color is perfect for me. It looks natural, and it glows. A light application makes me look healthy, with sun-kissed skin that could be a result of a short time outdoors. It's exceedingly pretty.

I purchased my Terracotta L'Eau Hâlée Cooling Bronzing Water for Face at Neiman Marcus. All Guerlain counters should have it, and I see that it's widely available from retailers who sell Guerlain in store and online. Check it out. If you want options, not a full-out tan look, I think you'll find this L'Eau your sunshine in a bottle.

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Guerlain Terracotta Pause d'Été Bronzing Powder Duo for Summer 2016

Today, we turn from one of my very favorite cosmetics companies (Chanel) to another: Guerlain. The Guerlain Summer 2016 Collection is superb.

The gorgeous, limited-edition Terracotta Pause d'Été Bronzing Powder Duo ($82) is a collector's piece. Guerlain Terracotta powder, the reference standard in bronzing powders, is currently available in a limited edition, Terracotta Pause d'Eté. The luxurious, environmentally sound wooden packaging (using wood from PEFC-approved sustainably managed forests) contains a wide mirror in the top and a "two-tone powder block": the combination of the best-selling Terracotta shade #03, which naturally warms all complexions, and the "it color" for summer, pink with a slight gold shimmer, to illuminate the skin with a tan radiance.

The colors can either be blended together to warm the complexion and enhance the natural beauty of summer skin or applied separately to achieve your desired bronze intensity. On the skin, the shades meld together to form an adjustable silky veil - so fine that the result is impeccable and remains so all day long.

I took my photo of the palette, showing a snippet of the magnetic cover (which one unscrews after the magnets "find their mates") in full, mid-day sunshine. As you can see, the color portrayed by Guerlain on its Web site is spot on. This is the kind of palette that I want to wear, but also put in my makeup museum. It's gorgeous. I think I need two!

In order to swatch the multi-colored palette, I used a sponge-tipped applicator and made sure to run it over all shades - there are really three of them. My photo directly below was taken with my arm aimed directly at the sun. You can see the direct light in my swatch.

I think this color, when applied directly with a bronzing or powder brush is exquisite. Although it's intended to be used on both the face and décolleté, I've only used it on my face to date. I applied it where the sun would naturally beam, which made me beam. The rose in the shade makes the blended shade beautiful on my fair skin. I'm sure it will be flattering on everyone.

The photo directly above shows the swatch with a little less direct sun. I turned my arm to get more swatch, less sunshine. Either way, I am stunned by the blended color. If I had to describe the blended color using familiar words, I'd call it a rose-leaning copper. You can apply it with more rose and less bronze if you choose.

You don't have to blend the shades; you can use them individually - even the gold roping can be used (with a small brush) as a highlighter. This is a versatile bronzing powder palette, and I think you will love it as much as I do. In my opinion, it's a must-have.

I purchased my Terracotta Pause d'Été Bronzing Powder Duo at Neiman Marcus. All Guerlain counters should have it, and I see that it's widely available from retailers who sell Guerlain in store and online.

I'll show you my other purchases from Guerlain's Summer 2016 Collection in the coming days. Every piece is a treasure.

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

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Chanel Summer 2016 Collection Dans la Lumière de L'Été - Stylo Yeux Waterproof

What is the perfect complement to your new Les 4 Ombres Multi-effect Quadra Eyeshadow in Empreinte du Désert? Chanel's beautiful, limited-edition Stylo Yeux Waterproof eye pencils ($33) in Oasis (#817) and Sable (#827). These two colors, which I purchased at Neiman Marcus, are glorious. Oasis is the perfect spring grass green (I don't see it as khaki, the way Chanel describes it). Sable is copper.

Chanel's waterproof, smudge-proof eyeliner delivers long-lasting definition with a twist of the wrist. Color winds up when you need it, winds down when you don't. The gentle, soft, silicone-enriched formula delivers smooth, even lining. A built-in sharpener at the opposite end detaches for quick refreshes. How much better does it get?

I took swatch photos in full, mid-day sunshine. My camera didn't do a bad job of  portraying the green, but I still edited the green swatch just a tad - to make it look as pretty as it is. It is grass green, not grey-green as my camera saw it. I drew little squares like you see online. I figured that was safer than trying to draw a straight line with no guide rails, like eyelashes.

Picture either one of these shades with the new eye shadow quad and, if you're like me, you'll see eye makeup perfection. These liners apply with ease, whether you prefer a thin line nestled into your lash line or a larger smudgy line for a real pop of color. I also find that they apply easily and lightly for a pretty smudge under the outer third of my lower lash line. They are creamy, so don't press too hard when you apply them.

I purchased these two eye liners from Rahman Malik at Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria. You can also find them at Chanel's Web site or any Chanel counter. My favorite Nordstrom Chanel product manager at Nordstrom told me the summer collection arrived there today. I suspect you can find the exquisite Summer 2016 Collection Dans la Lumière de L'Été at your favorite counter now.

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

New: Softsoap Pure Foaming Hand Soap

I have to take a short break from new cosmetics to tell you about a new liquid soap. Is there anyone who doesn't use and love Softsoap? I always keep it in stock at Mom's house, where there are many of us coming and going and washing hands constantly. I use it at mine and have always loved the various scents you can select. Now, there's a new Softsoap made especially for those who don't like artificial fragrances, alcohol, or any of the other ingredients one might call contaminants in products they use often. We germ phobes wash our hands countless times each day.

Softsoap graciously sent me two bottles of Pure Foaming Hand Soap ($1.98 to $2.99, depending on source), and I love them. It's a simple, gentle formula that is dye-free, alcohol-free, has 100% natural fragrance, and effectively cleans and purifies - just as well, if not better than, the original version.

I enjoy the fresh, natural scent (I'm using Lemongrass; they also sent me Fresh) at my kitchen and bathroom sinks. While I haven't used it in the shower yet, I will. There are some very cool things I love about this new formula and its packaging.

It has a beautiful light scent that I smell while using it, but as soon as I dry my hands, it's gone. It dispenses as a foam, which I think saves product. I also think the design of the container is genius. It's bottom-weighted, so it doesn't tip over with even the slightest shove. I'm always knocking over my cylindrical and tall, rectangular liquid soaps, especially when they get low on liquid. While that's a small annoyance, I have found great delight in the shape of Softsoap's new container.

If you are in the mood for an inexpensive treat - one that you know is clean and pure - give the new Softsoap Pure Foaming Hand Soap a try. You can find it at mass market retailers, such as Walmart, Target, and others, I'm sure.

Photo courtesy of Softsoap

Monday, May 9, 2016

Chanel Aqua Glossimer (Lèvres Scintillantes) from Summer 2016 Collection Dans la Lumière de L'Été

The best-loved Chanel gloss returns with a lighter, water-like texture for a splash of shine. I'm thrilled!

Chanel's new Aqua Glossimer (Lèvres Scintillantes) ($30), a brand new gloss on Chanel's Summer 2016 Dans la Lumière de L'Été display, is reminiscent of my old-time favorite Aqualumière Gloss. This new Aqua Glossimer is available in six new shades.

I purchased three and then came home to find that I have a fourth, Sahara - a gift from Chanel. I will have to get photos of Sahara next weekend. Today, I have photos to show you of #606, Rouge Désert; #608, Dzhari; and #612, Adenium. All of the shades are limited editions.

I took photos of the three I purchased in full, mid-day sunshine. They are shown in numerical order directly above: #606 at left, #608 in the middle, and #612 at right. I swatched them in the same order, starting with #606 at the top of my arm.

I usually select the glosses with the most pigment because I use them instead of lipstick. I love these three - one of which was a surprise. #606, Rouge Désert, is shown at the top of my arm. I describe it as a beautifully pigmented rose. Not too warm and not too cool, it's an exquisite shade for all of us. Don't pass on it because it looks orange in the tube. It's not.

The middle shade, #608, Dzhari, appears to be a very dark purple-red in the tube. On the skin and lips, it's more red than purple, and it's stunning. This is the way I can wear red!

The shade at the bottom of my arm, #612, Adenium, is less pigmented than the other two, but has enough color to give my lips a pretty pop of pink. Sahara (#610 and not pictured here) is a lovely peach shade. I promise to get Sahara photos this coming weekend, the first time we may see the sun this week. We are back in a cloud after a pretty Mother's Day.

I love the way these glosses apply evenly and without special effort. The new wand tip is shaped in such a way that you can paint the peaks of your lips with a narrow tip, while fully covering the the rest of your lips with the wider base. Apply these glosses and you'll achieve long-lasting, shining color, with or without lipstick underneath. The feel? Like a dose of your favorite lip balm. I detect no discernible fragrance.

You can purchase these beautiful Aqua Glossimers at Neiman Marcus, as I did, or at Chanel's Web site now. If they are not at your favorite Chanel counter yet, they will be soon. I called Nordstrom today to find out when they will arrive in store. I was told they had shipped and would be at the counter in 1-2 weeks.

Update 5/10: The collection arrived today at our Tysons Corner Nordstrom store. If you call there and order from Diron Carr at Chanel, he will send you a GWP.

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