THE ADVICE SISTERS® "What Works" Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion Review for SEPTEMBER 2007 by Alison Blackman Dunham
Looking for products to update your old pieces, or add some trendy items to your style? This September column offers you a "first look at Fall" at the latest fashions, beauty helpers, cosmetics, gifts, and fragrances!
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FASHIONS & ACCESSORIES FOR A FANTASTIC, FALL:
Jennifer Michelson and Gina Paluch are identical twins. When Jennifer's hand-made jewelry started to generate more demand than she could handle alone, she asked her sister Gina help out with her business degree and creative talents. Two Sisters Jewelry is a fabulous line of sterling and gold-fill jewelry, featuring modern designs and semi-precious stones that look pricey, but are quite affordable. The Triple Fiona Bracelet $60.00 (LH photo) from the "Gorgeous Goldfill" collection gives your wrist a bit of flash, with an 8" triple strand of large, oval-shaped gold-filled links, held together with a simple, gold toggle. Add the Chloe Earrings $30.00 (middle photo), delicate, gold-filled hoops hanging approximately 1½” from the bottom of a gold-filled earwire with three small hanging gold-filled chains of different lengths and a faceted, smoky quartz drop, hanging from the middle. Sterling Silver lovers will like the Triplets Necklace $35.00 (RH photo) and complimentary Elle Earrings $25.00 of hammered silver. The necklace has a substantial, sterling silver rope chain (in 16" & 18") finished off their designer details such as a lobster claw clasp and two fancy connectors, from which dangle three small, hand-pounded sterling silver disks. It'll go with everything you own, from jeans to dresses. The Elle Earrings feature a single silver disk suspended from a delicate silver earwire. The quality of these pieces is excellent, and yet, these boutique-style pieces are actually less expensive than many of the "junk jewels" you'll find in department stores. There are a number of other collections, and all arrive in a cardboard box with a bonus jewelry cloth, all wrapped with the company's signature, chocolate brown ribbon. The website is easy to navigate, too. Treat yourself to something pretty, and do your holiday shopping early!
Reading glasses are a must for those who need them (squinting is not a good or healthy thing) but they are also chic accessories if you get the right ones. VisAcuity.com is doing great things with quality, fashionable glasses that give wearers an opportunity to look "hip" and see clearly! Most drugstore reading glasses have lenses of PVC plastic, which can distort your vision, but VisAcuity.com's lenses are created from polycarbonate which helps you see more clearly. The plastic frames are made from laminated acetate (or "Zyl"), so they're durable and retain their color. The metal frames are made from materials such as Monel, which is also hypoallergenic. Drugstore reading glasses work, but they're not as good quality and the limited, bland styles tend to brand you as "older." VisAcuity.com's chic styles come in strengths from +1 to +3. The designs for men and women are trendy, but affordable, ranging from under $15.00 to over $57.00 for hand-detailed styles. One of my favorites, a lightweight, rimless plastic style with tons of fun color options, was only $14.98! Each pair of VisAcuity.com glasses comes in it's own, soft-sided case. These are affordable chic, and a must-have if you need reading glasses. The company also has it's own version of the "as-seen-on-TV" Magnifier Light Card $5.49 (photo) It's a black, credit-card-sized rectangular piece of plastic with a wide panel featuring a 4x, ultra-clear, Fresnel lens magnification, and a tiny squeeze light. It's perfect to read menus in dark restaurants! The card is thin enough to carry in the pocket of your tightest jeans and you'll use it everywhere to make even the smallest print, readable.
Nothing is sexier than a great fitting pair of jeans. Red Engine Jeans (arp. $140-$180's depending upon style) prides itself on creating authentic vintage American jeans made modern with high quality denim fabrics, cutting edge washes, and hand-detailing (eg. copper rivets, pocket embroidery, signature red engine fabric in pockets, nicely-sewn hems, and wide belt loops). Although the denim comes from Europe, all the jeans are produced entirely in Los Angeles, and Red Engine Jeans are available in hundreds of top boutiques throughout the United States, Europe and Japan plus some online boutiques. Although they're not custom-to-order, they'll fit you like they were made for you, with styles and washes to suit every personality body type. I'm not surprised that Red Engine Jeans were voted best overall fit by Real Simple magazine. The Red Engine Wide Leg Jean and the Red Engine Mid Rise Bootcut Jean (photo) for example, are relaxed a bit through the hip and thigh to accommodate curvier types without making them into baggy "mom" pants, and a waistline cut slightly higher in back to prevent it from creeping down. I was delighted to discovered that the slim fit narrow boot cut jeans in deep indigo that I tried in a stretchy (360 degrees) denim hugged my curves and held my body in all the right places, so I looked sexy, but still felt comfortable. Red Engine Jeans are a great find for Fall.
In America, an unpopular war has taken it's toll, but many people want to show they are proud to be Americans. The All American Apparel Company's ' new American Joe’ Brand has created a 100% made in America clothing line. The company, headquartered in Texas, believes that: "there is an American Joe in every man, woman, and child." We don't have photos to show you, but the casual, affordable polo and T-shirts all feature the "American Joe" name or logo, and some also have a star or a patriotic slogan. The shirts are modestly priced ranging from a youth-sized short-sleeved Tee for $13.95 to a fancy Men's Waffle Texture Polo $38.95. The quality is quite good, however, and shirts feature expensive details. There are specific styles most suitable to men or women, but my favorites are a unisex, color-blocked, long sleeved vintage Tee $24.95 in mustard and olive drab with a blue and red logo, and a blue star for patriotic appeal, and a slightly cropped long-sleeved women's classic Tee $21.95 (ours was soft grey) with nicely stitched rounded neck and a blue and red "American Joe" logo, perfect to layer over another Tee, or under a sweater as the weather begins to chill.
A "must-have" fashion trend we know you'll want to follow, but maybe not spend a fortune on, is a chain necklace. Trust Avon to give you the goods at a great price! Their long, faceted Cat's Eye Necklace $19.99 features a dark pewter-colored metal chain (with flat and rounded pieces for interest), which glows with oval and round faceted (pearlized, "cat's eye") beads in the season's hottest color: plum. Shiny, round "hematite" balls and tiny, sparkling, lavender-colored spacers and rhinestone-studded balls, add interest and texture throughout the 3' necklace. Update your Fall clothes instantly, by wearing it full length over a turtleneck or tunic, or double it up as a choker, with the lobster claw clasp. The prices of Avon's accessories are so modest, but the quality and trendy-ness is still there. This chain will make a nice holiday gift, so stock up now. Watches can add panache to an outfit, and of course, keep you on schedule, too! Avon's Faux Tortoise Cuff Watch $19.00 makes a great fashion statement, and it's so affordable I couldn't believe the price when I tried it on! Cuff watches pull open to accommodate any size wrist, and then nestle softly back against your skin to make a personal fit, making them really comfortable. This faux tortoise cuff is substantial. It looks much more expensive than it is, and it coordinates beautifully with Fall's Earthtones. The clear, gold-colored, exaggerated oval watch face has funky, large, easy to read numbers. A stainless steel back and Japanese quartz watch movement mean years of wear, and assures accurate time. Part bracelet, part watch, we think this is one of our top "must have" fashion accessories this month!
Splendid Mills, for men, was introduced in the summer of 2005 by Moise Emquies, seeking to expand his already popular, "Splendid" line. These are not just Tees, there a sensual experience to wear--super-soft, super-luxe T-shirts (created with a blend of 50% supima cotton and a new form of rayon called "micro modal" ) that are so soft you just want to hug them, letting the silky fabric drape your body in nurturing comfort. And, these soft Tees are extremely flattering, gliding over places you really don't want to call attention to. Guys will find that they look sexier--leaner, and pulled together. Our reviewers reported that people somehow couldn't keep their hands off (their Splendid Mills T-shirts)! The dyes are also unique, adding soft-to-intense color. But the dyes also soften the garment, and the high temperature in which the cloth is dyed also means that they won't shrink when washed. We liked the signature, 1/8 reverse stitch, which adds a subtle designer detail and adds to the shirt's long wear. With six collections a year, a palette of 16 brights and neutrals, and more than 40-50 styles, there are shirts to appeal to every body type and personality. Ladies, you can get Splendid Mills T-shirts for women, too (or just borrow his). The Short-Sleeved V T-shirt (photo) is about $40.00 (sorry ladies, the guy doesn't come with the shirt) with other styles running $77.00+, but these shirts make you look and feel great, so they're well worth it.
BEAUTY KITS, HELPERS & TOOLS:
It's no secret that body odor can ruin the most carefully-planned outfit or makeup. Anti-perspirants/deodorants are "must-haves" every day! But who says taming what comes out of your pores, has to be dull? Secret Scent Expressions give you the dryness and odor protection you need, in nine, nice, floral, fruit and spice scents in invisible solid and clear gel deodorants/anti-perspirants and body mists $3.79-$4.29. We tried the Invisible Solid in "Spanish Rose" and "Afrikan Violet." They smelled "authentic" but light enough not to allow you to still add other fragranced products without competition. "Vanilla Chai" is a spicy-sweet scent that even a few male reviewers thought they'd feel comfortable, using. Secret Scented Expressions contain what Secret calls "Fragrance Encapsulation Technology (FET)/Beta-Cyclodextrins (BDC) scent Technology." FET contains odor-fighting capsules that absorb wetness and release a bit of fresh scent all day. We didn't actually sense the scent that much, but we did feel dry and fresh. These solids are extremely effective at reducing wetness and odor, and as the name suggests, they don't leave any residue on your clothes. A new favorite of mine is the Body Mist, especially the "French Lavender" that gave me a whiff of relaxing, calming, aromatherapy as I sprayed it. If you feel a bit "wilted," a light mist of the Body Mist will renew your body and spirit with a light, cooling scent. It can't take the place of a shower, but it will make you feel confident enough to be up-close-and-personal with someone.
In June, we reviewed Scrub & Baume $17.00 by Bourjois, a clever, multi-tasking lip exfoliator and balm. But at night, you need a balm that will work all night long, while you're getting your beauty rest. Bourjois Restoring Night Lip Balm (Baume de Nuit) $10.00 0.25 oz. is a tiny blue jar of nearly colorless, pink-tinted balm that leaves lips looking immediately more moist, and helps restore and repair lips all night long. It feels really silky, and although I couldn't figure out what emollient oils & repairing agents are in it. The bottom line? Your lips will look better, feel better, and be better without any effort. TIP: massage Baume de Nuit into your lips every evening and you'll find less "lipstick lines' forming, too. Come morning, make lips plumper with Pulp Action $17.00. This super-shiny lip gloss comes in just one shade, a sheer-rose tint with a tiny hint of pearle, that is complimented with a rose scent. It's girly, but that's not all. This gloss is enriched with collagen and chili pepper extract to stimulate blood flow to your lips, boosting volume and smoothing wrinkles. You will feel a little tingle, but it's pleasant, not nasty. Use the Night Lip Balm and the Pulp Action and get sexier, softer, lips!
If you hate VPL (visible panty line) but you can't stand the feeling of thongs, Nundies $15.00/5 inserts are the closest thing to a modern "fig leaf." Be discreet, and have the freedom you crave! They're large, tulip-shaped, one-time-use stick-ons that (unlike a traditional, and more padded, panti-liner, adhere directly to the inseam of your pants. They come in black, white, buff, and an assortment of wacky prints. Made of 91% nylon and 8% Lycra, they're comfortable to wear, and stay in place. Our reviewers felt a bit "naughty" wearing nothing at all, but the sensation of freedom and nothing but skin where it counts, is a plus for fans of skinny pants and skin-tight fabrics. For those who like nothing but bare, down there, this is a perfect solution. TIP: we think these are the ultimate travel solution too. No bulk in your bag, no laundry. Simply wear once, and toss. You might just become addicted!
One of the most versatile tools you can have in your makeup brush collection is a Kabuki Brush--a large, dome-shaped bristle head fastened to a stubby base. It's used to create a sheer, flawless finish when applying powder, bronzer or blush. One that is not only affordable, but of good quality is the Essence of Beauty Kabuki Brush $9.99 available through CVS pharmacies. We weren't able to get a breakdown of the genuine hair and fibers used in this brush, but we can tell you that it the domed hair of blonde bristles is beautifully shaped and super-soft--as we'd expect from a brush twice as costly. The brush was easy to grip by it's short, black plastic handle. Although budget priced, the brush performed beautifully, distributing both loose and pressed powder and blush in an even, sheer manner, giving us a polished, professional looking finish, without any effort. A Travel Case $4.99 is also available. TIP: dip the brush into the product in a circular motion and lightly tap to remove excess. Use a dusting motion to apply product. It's especially good for evenly applying mineral cosmetics and to easily and evenly distribute sparkle/shimmer powders.
If you use heat styling tools or do anything else involving heat, you already know that minor burns from these instruments can really hurt! Instant Burn Cooling Patches $6.99/pkg. 4 finger + 1 large patch by Johnson & Johnson RED CROSS® Brand are just the thing if you've burned yourself. These aren't a fashion statement, but they can help you heal more quickly, and with less pain. The next time you touch that curling iron or hair straighter, don't run the burn under cold water (which doesn't really provide lasting relief), reach for an Instant Burn Cooling Patch . These latex-free, self-adhering hydrogel pads cool and reduce pain without sticking to the affected area, so your skin can start to heal more easily and quickly, and with less pain. Now that's a true, fashion helper!
Every fashion-oriented woman knows that "Prêt-a-porter" means "ready to wear." Prêt-à-Porter $44.00 by Tarte, is also a ready-to-wear fashion accessory, but this "ready to wear" fashion is exclusively for your face! Tucked into the shiny, black, moc-croc case with magnetic closures and a divider, are two complete makeup looks inspired by the New York and Paris runways. "Paris, mon Amour" is the more intense look, with warm, burgundy rose, and rich currant red lipsticks. A large rectangle of cream blush in a rosed-coral, and three shimmery eyeshadows in soft pink, a medium grey-purple, and the season's favorite color: deep plum. "I Love New York" is also glamorous, with a soft, universally-wearable, pink-beige and muted peach-beige lipsticks, a warm honey-peach cream blush, and shimmery eye shadows in warm bone, muted olive and deep moss. Together, these very wearable colors will work with virtually every fashionable Fall color. But that's not all you get in this kit! a mini eyeliner brush, and a mini eyeshadow brush, a mini-sized "Lights, Camera, Lashes! 4-in-1 mascara" (enriched with proVitamin B5) and a mini-sized "Rest Assured (nude pink) brightening eyeliner are nestled into their own section, held securely by elastics. A glossy little instruction booklet is also included, so you can apply the fresh-from-the-runway looks, perfectly. This face-in-a-case kit is compact, so it's an absolute must have purse or a weekend away, plus it's packed full of products worth $195! However, it's a limited edition, so dash to get yours, before they're gone. We love Paris, we love New York, and we adore Tarte Prêt-à-Porter!
UhOh! you just spilled coffee on your blouse, and the big meeting is in five minutes! OxiClean, new to our reviews this column, has a brand new stain fighter in a small, spray bottle that will rescue you in seconds, literally. Just pump a bit of the OxiClean Spray-A-Way Instant Stain Remover $2.99 .47 fl. oz $4.99/2 on the stain, blot it with a paper towel or some tissues, and watch the stain fade from view. Amazingly, it really is that easy. The product works best on stains like coffee, grape juice, ketchup, tea, chocolate, etc. It's meant to treat fresh stains, but we did significantly fade older ones with a few applications. The small, plastic pump bottle makes it a must-have lifesaver for your tote, or travel bag. For big stains and at-home use, I personally use OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover $7.99 3.5 oz for everything from brightening my entire wash, to removing serious, set-in stains. This multi-tasking stain remover will wash away everything from regular stains you don't want to damage with bleach, to carpet stains, to yellowed spots in old linens (soak them in a solution of water and OxiClean overnight, launder, and voila!). TIP: these products work extremely well when used correctly, and on the right fabrics, but they're not suitable for all stains and all fabrics. Read the label to determine which OxiClean product is best for your needs.
Dental Hygiene is so essential to image, that I hardly need to report that a piece of whatever you ate last, stuck between your teeth, is a fashion don't so huge, you don't want to think about it! But carrying bulky dental floss around with you is awkward, and most people wont' do it. The Bryton Pick $4.95/3 is a new, bright idea, a boomerang shaped, flat, two-sided, stainless steel strip that you slide gently around your teeth in lieu of dental floss. I personally have close-set teeth, and thought it might be hard to use, but it was actually easier than regular dental floss. The pick comes in a variety of colors, can be carried unobtrusively (in a tiny zip-lock pouch) in a wallet or makeup bag. Even better, you can clean and re-use (for up to a month) by washing it in hot water or rubbing alcohol. I wouldn't recommend using it at the table or in public, but it's perfect in a pinch, on a plane or right before you make your public entrance.
Wouldn't be a better world if you could slap on a patch before bedtime, and wake up to a more toned thighs, buttocks, and stomach? Now, Biotherm has introduced the Celluli Night Patch $36.00/6 patches. Large, violet-colored foil packets contain an overnight spot body treatment in the form of patches enriched with caffeine & ginkgo. These help smooth & tone skin in stubborn areas for up to 8 hours while you sleep (yes, while you're dreaming of a better body, you can actually be getting one!). Biotherm suggests you use the patches 2-3 times a week coupled with Biotherm's Celluli-Peel during the day. Cellulite treatments take dedication, and you'll have to use an entire box to treat all the basic problem areas at one shot. On the other hand, this product makes working on stubborn cellulite and dimpled skin so easy, you can't resist! The patches will not cover an entire area completely (unless you are very skinny), but where we put ours, we woke up to smoother, less dimpled skin. At $36.00 a treatment, it is still a lot less expensive and time consuming that going to a spa, or working it with a brush and gels.
A swivel stick of eye color that sets in just 15 seconds and lasts for up to 8 hours? It's not a fantasy, it's Estēe Lauder's Double Wear Stay-in-Place ShadowStick $17.50! This sheer, blendable, crème shadow stick in a blue, swivel-up stick, can be worn alone or under powder shadows (for oomph!) and, believe us, they really do stick around as they're designed to do! The secret is a patent-pending micro-layer film technology that combines multiple silicones to form a thin film over pigment, giving this crème up to eight hours of continual wear (ours lasted nearly that long and we tested it in very humid, hot weather). Thanks to ceramides, shea butter, and coated pigments that use selected waxes to enhance color, the application is silky and effortless. These are also dermatologist and ophthalmologist-tested, but still water-resistant (so they won't run into your contact lenses). You will have to use a makeup remover remove them, however. Eight, layerable colors, in luminous, shimmery pearl, blend beautifully so you can create lots of and lots of chic eye looks using them as base, highlight or definer. To keep a Summer glow going a bit longer, I paired "Bronze" on lids with "Sand Shimmer" as a highlight. There's also a glamorous "Gold Pearl," a subtle, "Pink Shell," and the rest of the pretty colors: "Silver Lilac, Rose Chrome, Black Pearl, Pink Pearl" and "Silver Pearl."
Bourjois Survoltee! Eye Shadow $14.00 comes in a small tube and bills itself as waterproof, but it's really, really, long lasting (up to 8 hours). The creamy color contains a long-lasting polymer and it's enriched with light-reflecting pigments. It goes on creamy and smooth with just your fingertip. Add a few coats, and you'll have an intense, metallic look for your eyes, but it leaves just a shimmery, light-reflecting glow that's good for day or evening, with just one light coat. The color may lose some of it's intensity, especially if you rub your eyes, but it won't crease. The tube is tiny enough to tote in a makeup bag without weighing it down. Two of my favorite colors are "1-Beige Électrisant" a universally flattering, lovely champagne and "3-Lilas Éclairé: a pearly, dreamy lilac perfect for greys, blacks and browns this season.
At the Mercedes Benz 2007 Fall Fashion Week Araks Runway Show, I watched James Boehmer, the lead makeup artist for NARS, carefully apply a beautiful palette of makeup colors to the model's faces, in a look Boehmer said was inspired by Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. With Ms. Austen once again becoming a hot topic this Fall, you'll want this romantic look for your own. To create romantic eyes, James used a Duo Eyeshadow $31.00 called "Kalahari," a new featuring a gorgeous, shimmery golden copper, paired with a sugared cocoa, blended with A Single Eye Shadow $21.00 called "Voyage," a very sheer, glittery golden fawn that adds just the right amount of glamour to a soft eye, or wear it alone for sparkle without too much additional color. Another Duo Eyeshadow called "Underworld" is versatile, modern, and attractive, pairing a shimmery silver and a dark slate blue that shimmers softly like pewter on lids as a liner, or a more daring, smoky eye. Daring and a great way to add a hit of color to brighten up a subdued palette of fabric colors this season, is a Duo Eyeshadow called "Brazil," pairing a metallic ginger with a metallic rose. These are bright and intense, but with a bit of blending, the edginess is somewhat more subdued, making these colors fun and very wearable.
When there's a chill in the air, the deeper, more intense makeup trends take hold to offer a balance to heavier, more bold clothing and accessories. The smoky eye seems like it's still super-popular, along with deeply-lined lids and lots and lots of lashes. If you're on a budget, you don't have to wait for a cosmetics sale to update your eye wardrobe, however. Prestige Cosmetic's Fall collection has plenty to offer the eye makeup lover. For the newest take on a smoky eye, start with an Prestige Eyeshadow Compact $3.95 in "Onyx," a deep pewter shadow shot through with starry glints of silver. Add drama and highlights with "Glisten," a gold-sparkled pearl in light golden ivory, that looks great as a lid color, too. Make the look more modern, with lots of eyeliner in a deep, intense color--don't be shy about application, either. We tried the Soft Blend Kohl Eyeliner $4.95 in "Jet Black." We liked the soft feel of the pencil (with sponge-tip blender on one end) that makes it easy to make a smudge-y, smoke-y eye. The liner may be easy to apply, but it doesn't run or smear. Finish the look with a lush fringe (several coats) of mascara. An affordable, effective one is Lash Matrix Mascara $5.95 in "Black." Flexible polymer spirals wrap around each lash so the product lifts, lengthens and volumizes in one step.
Eye Mania 10 $65.00 by Giorgio Armani Beauty is part of the limited edition, "Leather Collection" for Fall, 2007. This quartet of luxe, silky, sheer and intense pressed eye shadows are just a bit different from the pack, and definitely worth your investment. A deep, matte purple works for a smoky eye or a simmering liner--it's simply this season's "must-have" color. Three other, lighter and shimmery shades are all aligned with the mauve/purple family, but with a designer's touch -- instead of the garish, garden-variety blue-toned purples that make can make some complexions look simply "ghoulish," Armani tweaks the colors just enough to make them just a bit more warm, natural, and universally flattering. There's a shimmery peachy-pink, a pale pink, and a softer, medium brown with a mauve-ish hue. These colors are modern, but they're also very wearable. Just as nice, this little splurge will enable you to make a fashion statement even before you apply the products, with the chic, embossed "snakeskin" pattern with subtle Armani logo on the round, black mirrored compact. I generally find liquid eye liners intimidating, but with Armani's Maestro Eye Liner $30.00 I can create this season's trendy "lined eye," without fear of failure. This is no ordinary liner--it's a lining "pen." The formula is a waterproof, deep, matte black delivered through a thin-line felt tip that is as easy to manage as a marker. Make the a retro "Hairspray/Dreamgirls" line, or keep it subtle--the power is in your hands. I never thought I'd love a lining product, but I'm hooked!
Lined eyes are big this season. For a flawless, defined line that doesn't waver or fade, you need a great eye liner. The (limited edition) Lucky Stroke Eye Defining Liquid Liner $19.50 by Prescriptives from it's Fall 2007 color collection aptly called "the Seducers" brings a touch of 1940's glam to Fall. This isn't just any liquid liner, this one has little "balls" that help mix up the rich, long-lasting color so it applies perfectly smoothly with the fine-line brush top. It is so amazingly easy to use, even those of us who don't normally use liner, are loving this! Brows are also important so you'll want Prescriptives Groom Stick for Brows $18.50, a slim, swivel-up pencil that helps fill in brows and define them in four natural colors: Espresso, Cocoa, Clove and Hazelnut. The long-wearing creamy pencil is sweat/humidity/water-resistant, and a nice touch is the stylish bristle brush on one end of the pencil, to keep even the most stubborn brows under control. To add color to lids and emphasize Fall's structured, fashions you'll want the drama of Prescriptives High Contract Refillable Custom Compact $17.00 pre-loaded with a dynamic duo of limited edition, "universal" (non-color-typed) shades of black and white shadows: "Black Diamond," and "White Wash." I love the sparkling Black Diamond with silvery glitter that can be used for an evening liner, or smudged for a smoky eye with a modern edge. "White Wash" is a silky, intense pearl. Use it over or under another color to change it's vibe, or wear it as-is, for a stark white lid look (use black liner to make it "mod"). The silver and white plastic mirrored compact has magnets inside that let you pop different squares of single Shadow $14.00. The additional Fall duos are organized by color tone (Blue/Red; Red; Red/Orange; Yellow/Orange). They are: they are: "Iced Cider/Golden;" "Copper/Fire;" "Platinum/Bordeaux" and "Lilac Frost/Plum."
If you're looking for fashion-forward products at reasonable prices, take a look at MAX Factor MAXeye Shadows $4.78. You'll get a trio of colors for highlight, lid and liner, packed into a small, clear plastic square. The wet/dry shadows are versatile, and the colors are intense, made even more so when applied, wet. The five trios run the gamut from demure nudes such as "Compass Rose" (soft lilac, light pink, and an intense mauve) to the more "fierce" "Ravenous" (bright gold, intense rust, and deep charcoal). The colors slide on easily and last without caking or turning. They also have emollients so they're kind to your skin. Those with sensitive eyes will also appreciate that these are hypoallergenic, and suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. The shadows are easy to remove with soap and water, or eye makeup remover. These make a fun, attractive way to update your eye makeup wardrobe this Fall, and we think you'll want all five.
There's nothing better than natural beauty. If Mother Nature didn't endow you with naturally-glowing cheeks, Tarte's Natural Beauty $28.00 is an award-winning cheek stain that can make you look like you were born with a natural glow. The (exclusive to Sephora formula) is natural, with a proprietary berry complex that includes: blackberry, goji, acai, cranberry, pomegranate and currant. In case you don't realize it, these are powerful antioxidants that help fight the effects of aging, while adding a natural mineral blush to your skin. Don't let the intense, berry color intimidate you--it's so sheer that it will look lovely on virtually every skin tone. Cassis (blackcurrant) leaves also provide a natural scent. This cheek stain is preservative free, 100% alcohol-free formula (so it won't dry out your skin), with natural waxes and oils that help moisturize, and it also has no artificial coloring. You'll love it berry, berry much (pun intended).
A trio of limited edition, rose-themed cosmetics called the "English Rose Collection" by Chanel are causing a lot of excitement on blogs, and in Nordstrom store, where they are available exclusively until October. Chanel Natural Finish Pressed Powder (Poudre Universelle Compacte) $50.00 in "Rose Blossom" is the crown jewel of the collection. The translucent, palest-pink powder with sparkle, gives your skin a glow that usually comes from being a bride, being in love, or being naturally blessed with amazing skin. Apply it over your foundation or tinted moisturizer or use it as a pick-me-up during the day to magically, instantly, soften the appearance of fine lines and imperfections (thanks to the ultrafine lightweight formula with light-reflecting pigments). In addition, this pressed powder has micronized Talc, a natural mattifier, that helps prevent un-chic, shine from breaking through your serene complexion. A natural mineral called "Sericite" also helps you apply the product smoothly, with the included sponge applicator. A black velveteen pouch protects your precious compact with the iconic, crossed "C's Chanel logo. If you're looking for a splurge that you'll use, constantly, this is definitely it!
Natural blush products that let your own beauty come through. They're great as your tan is fading, and you need to liven up your complexion just a bit. The newest, from Prestige Cosmetics, is a Blushing Duo $5.25 called "Tapestry." The very sheer, universally flattering, light pink has a small, semi-circle of pearly, super-light nude, slightly shimmery highlighter superimposed onto it. Sweep your blush brush through both for a slightly pearly sheen, or use them separately. Sheer blushes balance your makeup look when you're doing a more intense eye or lip, as well, so it's really versatile.
In our June and July/August columns, we reviewed quite a few different products from Physicians Formula, a line that quietly brought minerals to the mass marketplace. This line provides an impressive array of truly good-for-your-skin products at truly affordable prices. The Physicians Formula Mineral Wear collection offers more than 20 shades of mineral powders alone, impressive, especially since the powder has antioxidant Vitamins A & E, and it's hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, oil-free, talc-free, and non-comedogenic. The Mineral Loose Powder $9.95 is a natural, but full coverage, matte powder that you'll find yourself reaching for constantly, to combat shine and add a polished look to a bare face, or over foundation. The packaging is a real plus, too. This shaker jar isn't messy, because it has a flip-open cover to keep loose powder under control when the product's not in use. It even has a built-in holder under the clear, domed cap (which holds a mini powder brush)! Eight color choices range from translucent light, to medium bronzer, and since this is a mineral makeup, you'll get a natural look even if you layer on a lot. I like the soft, diffused look of loose powders, but for portability, Physicians Formula's Mineral Wear Talc-Free Face Powder Compact $12.95 gives you the same benefits as the loose powder, and is composed of a lightweight, non-cake-y formula that absorbs oil and minimizes the appearance of fine lines. Since it is a minerals makeup product, it's particularly appropriate for sensitive and breakout-prone skin. You'll still get the same, full-coverage in six shades from translucent to bronzer, to suit nearly every skin tone. Although the powder isn't expensive, there are luxury touches, such as a flip-up mirror inside the bottom part of the compact, which also has room for a flat, mini powder brush, without creating a great deal of bulk in the compact. Impressive products, impressive packaging, and a year-round beauty boon for all.
New to Bourjois is the Poudre Compact $20.00. The creamy, soft pressed powder comes in a shiny black mirrored compact ringed with delicate, pink and mauve flowers, making it one of the prettiest compacts around. Inside, the product is all business, however. The powder helps to conceal imperfections and smoothes skin without caking or drying (especially important when you're still dealing with sun-parched skin), leaving nothing but a smooth complexion, and a very light scent. The pressed powder is lovely, in three shades "Beige Clair (light), "Miel Doré " (medium), and "Hâlé Naturel" (medium dark) and the compact itself will remind you of Spring, all year long.
High Gloss Plump $17.00 by Estēe Lauder is going to be a new "must-have" favorite for Fall. This semi-sheer lip gloss in a slim, squeeze tube (with slanted tip for easy application) has a newly-developed "Plumping Complex" that contains natural ingredients (e.g.. Capsium frutescens Fruit Extract, Glycine Soja Oil, and Ginger Root Oil ) that stimulate your lips to look more full and sexy. The gentle tingle fades fairly quickly, but the appearance of fuller lips will last up to four hours. Use this over time, and you get added bennies: smoother, softer, more toned lips, as this amazing gloss helps your skin boost its own, natural collagen production. We all loved the silky, not sticky, high shine and the fact that this has just a bit more color than Summer's sheer glosses. A new, 3D Optic Pearl Technology helps enhance the plumping effect and all will please, but we particularly liked "Peach Plump," which left just a bit of peachy sheen and high shine, and "Natural Plump," which literally put the rose back in our lips. You've got to get at least one. Protect your lips from the sun's damaging rays every time you apply lip gloss with the very lovely, Tender Lip Balm SPF 15 $14.00. This balm in a squeeze tube comes in six shades (peach, pink, plum, berry, caramel and nude). My personal favorite is "Tender Caramel," a rosed-brown that leaves lips with just a merest hint of warm rose that looks like your own lip color, but better. The shiny, sheer, silky lip balm conditions, soothes and moisturizes lips while it protects with SPF 15, thanks to ingredients including: Soy Bean oil, Vitamins E, A, and C and other special lip-friendly ingredients. This luxury lip product adds just a bit of color but it's real goal is to nurture, and protect--and that, it does!
Lipstick lovers will be racing to grab the newest Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick $30.00 by Chanel called "Rose Blossom." This limited edition (until October) lipstick is not only a perfect, slightly shimmery, medium rose, but it comes in a sleek black case with gold top that has a unique feature. If you've ever had the annoying problem of a lipstick tube pulling apart in your handbag, you'll love the way this lipstick tube literally recedes and locks the shiny gold tube into it's sleek, black plastic cover with subtle "Chanel" logo in white at the very bottom. Simply push the bottom of the gold tube to lock it into the cover, push again, to release it. This not only keep lipstick from opening when you don't want it to, it also makes the compact look sleek, chic, and luxurious. And what of the lipstick? It's sensational. The feather-light formula slides on like silk, feels like a beauty treatment on your lips, and of course, stays put and true to color. This is one of those colors that we predict women won't be able to get enough of, so hurry and get yours before they're all gone.
There a lots of lip plumpers around, but the Lip Amplifier $14.99 by Juice Organics (launched from the Juice Beauty Line) is unique because all the Juice products are made with safe, healthy organic ingredients featuring a patent-pending, 100% organic juice base. A squeeze tube of clear, shiny, silky balm is a blend of lip amplifying peptides, refining cane sugar, certified organic citrus juice and nourishing essential fatty acids. We didn't see a huge "puffing" action from this product, but our lips did feel smooth and soft. For those who hate that harsh, stinging feeling that so many lip plumpers have, this one is a perfect choice. It also feels wonderful on your lips, has a nice, light, citrus scent. *October What Works will have more reviews of Juice Organics.
Most of us have two sides, the everyday "nice" and also a "naughty" aspect as well. MAX Factor's shiny, shimmery and luscious MAXlicious Glitz $6.95 and MAXlicious Glaze $6.95 lip glosses let you express both sides, even on a budget. There are 13 shades of MAXalicious Glitz and a dozen shades of MAXalicious Glaze. They're divided into naughty and nice color categories. What's the diff? Both are moisturizing and make lips shiny, sexy, and silky, but the MAXalicious Glitz features a wanded tube with very high shimmer that makes lips look full and kiss-able. We tried two of the naughty colors: "Dim the Lights," for example, smells a bit like cocoa, and leaves lips with a sheer wash of shimmery bronze that won't raise any eyebrows, but looks pretty for daytime. "On the Prowl" colors lips with a bit more intensity, but it's still a sheer, berry stain. I thought I sensed a burnt caramel flavor in the MAXalicious Glaze colors, and these silky and sheer glosses come in a squeeze tube with slant tip for easy application. I like "Weekend Getaway," a super sheer, shimmery nude, and "First Kiss," a clear sheer pink--both from the "nice" side. A "naughty" fave is "Secret Rendezvous," a medium berry that looks nice (not naughty) on everyone. These glosses feel so luxurious and moisturizing, thanks to petrolatum gel. With all the different choices, the hardest decision you'll have to make is how many to buy.
ArmaniSilk Lipstick $25.00 is one of those products you may wonder if you need, but when you try it, you'll know you do. The high color lipstick gives lips a silky, moist, creamy look with a shot of intense color. Two "it" colors that are perfect for Fall are opposites on the color spectrum. Shade #56 is a rich maroon with a gold shimmer that is deep and regal. Shade #55 is the palest beige, that follows the "nude lips" trend. I like it best with an overlay of shimmery gloss in a contrasting color. I didn't test the newest Armani Lip Shimmer $26.00 but it's a pink with a hint of silver sparkle that would work beautifully. The designer's touch is evident in the subtle Armani logo embossed right into the lipstick. A shiny black compact goes with everything, and looks wonderful in your makeup bag or on your dressing table. *our October What Works column will include a review of Mr. Armani's newest skincare product, Crema Nera. Don't miss it!
Tinte Cosmetics, new to our "What Works" reviews, this column, brings back some of the nostalgia of my teen years, when scented lip glosses were all the rage, and no self-respecting girl would be caught without one slicked on her lips at all times. But Tinte's colors, tastes and flavors are enjoyed by adults too--celebrities such as Jennifer Anniston, Nelly Furtado, and Cameron Diaz (to name just a few). The shiny, yummy Painted Lady Kit $32.00 is just one of the products in the Tinte Cosmetics line, but it's one we think you'll love for Fall, and all year. Three flavored Lip Shine shimmers: "Peachie Sheen" (peach); "Float" (brown) and "Pink Lemonade" (light pink) pair with three Lip Color mattes: "Cream Soda;" (ivory nude), "Peppermint" (wine) and "Blackberry Jam" (deep purple). The super-glossy lip tints nestle into half-circles in a silvery, mirrored compact with dual-ended lip brush. Each looks great on it's own, or layered, and each has a scent/flavor that is reminiscent of the real deal. These colors will work well with Fall's Earth tones and the neutrals you'll find in the stores. The lip tints are not sticky on lips, but do stick to them (ours lasted through a face cleansing and coffee). You can purchase individual tins of scented lip tints, too. This kit of scented lip tints will make you look good and bring out a bit of the "kid" in you, too.
It's amazing how a new lipstick or lip gloss work wonders to update your wardrobe, or just perk up your mood. Prestige Cosmetics translates the hottest trends, and gives you to look for less. Get the newest Prestige Classic Lipstick $4.25 and Wonder-Full Plumping Lip Gloss $5.95 for less than the cost of lunch! "Pout," a creamy, moist, light caramel, is the latest lipstick color for Fall, a nod to the earthy, "au natural" trend that's hot right now. But "natural" doesn't mean unglamorous. Line lips in a complimentary color to add precision and keep product in place. We liked the Prestige Classic Lip Liner $3.50. The newest color for this creamy, blendable lip liner is "Silk," a soft, mauve-y pink that will work with lots of your favorite lipsticks. Add dimension and glamour with a coat of the latest Plumping Gloss in "Posh." This clear, vanilla-scented, gloss gives you silky, patent-leather shine. Alone, or as a top coat over color, this one transforms even dry, cracked lips into moist, pouty ones, thanks to tiny bits of parti-colored shimmer that catch the light and make lips look sexy.
At the Mercedes Benz Fall 2007 Araks runway show, NARS lead stylist James Boehmer used a new NARS lip Gloss $32.00 called "Tempest" on all the models. It's so pretty you'd best get two, because you'll be using it up in no time! This semi-opaque, silky and shiny wanded gloss is medium pink with a bit of mauve, that really looked beautiful on all the models. Not used in the show, but slightly more deep and intense, is "Chantaco," a rhubarb-y brown that can easily take the place of dramatic red, this season. For Fall lips, NARS has two new Lipsticks $32.00 that give you very different looks. "Flamenco" (photo) is a sheer, candy-apple red that will bring out the "Robert Palmer Girl" in you, while "promiscuous" is a ladeylike, shimmery honey beige, that gives you the season's nude lip, without making you look too pale. An added bonus is the NARS lipstick compact which I just love: lightweight, matte black with a stark white NARS logo on the top. You'll look and feel fashionable.
The Advice Sisters have been fans of FACE Stockholm makeup for years. The chic, silvery cases, modern but wearable color palettes, and high quality, high performance products keep our attention, season after season. Now, FACE Stockholm is turning 25 years old and to celebrate, they've created a Lipstick $25.00 in a brand, new shade, modestly called "25 AR." There's nothing shy about this creamy, rich rose, which can be layered for medium or bold coverage. It's universally flattering, and will add a much-needed bit of brightness to Fall's neutrals, greys, and earthtones. The luxurious, long-lasting lipstick is packaged in FACE Stockholm's original, shiny, silver-plated tube with three grooved bands of black enamel on the base. Even better, profits from the sale of this lipstick will be donated to the Lower Eastside Girls Club Project "Girls Gone Green." This is an environmental education program for economically disadvantaged girls. What a great way to celebrate a "silver" anniversary! For those who love art and fashion, FACE Stockholm has also launched an oversized, bi-annual magazine, primarily in Swedish, with a few English features. The current issue, in FACE Stockholm stores this month, features stylist Steven Terry, Illustrator Mats Gufstafsson, and trend forecaster Anna Fagernaes.
Blackened purple is an "it" color for eyes, lips and nails. If you are going to wear this trend, it's all the way, or nothing at all. One seriously luxe and glam product to try is Colorscope Lipcolor $17.50 by Prescriptives. We tried the most dramatic of a quartet of colors, the limited edition "Purple Prose" will flatter cool toned skin especially well, and add an intense blackened plum with just a hint of copper shimmer that looks glamorous, not "goth." The lip color itself is lovely--lightweight, long-lasting with glossy color and a moist, pampering feel. Since Prescriptives organizes colors by tones, there are three others for warmer and cool toned skin: "Red Flair" sparkle), "Currant Affair", and Calcutta Red." The stocky, shiny, silver cases are always chic and fun to use. At least one plum/purple/wine color should be in your Fall color collection. Any of these, will be pretty and trendy.
Dry hair looks and feels unhealthy but Redken's All Soft Renovation line, luckily, is just about the best product line you can find to treat dry hair. It truly turns "straw" back into gold! The secret ingredient in each of the products is Redken's Silk-Luxe complex. Silk amino acid adds strength and compensates for the loss of protein in dry, damaged hair; olive oil conditions; avocado oil adds softness; and gold camelina adds a luminous, surface shine. There is a pleasant, light honeyed-floral scent that adds a bit of aromatherapy. All Soft Shampoo $11.50 10.1 oz and All Soft Conditioner $13.50 8.5 oz clean and condition gently and thoroughly, and give you that luxury haircare feeling. There's also All Soft Heavy Cream $14.95 8.5 oz--a five-minute deep conditioning cream that also controls frizz while it provides intense moisture. All Soft Velvet Whip $14.95 5 oz. gives dry, fragile hair even more protection before heat styling without leaving a greasy residue and helps detangle, as a bonus. The true star of this line is a sensational, new product: All Soft Gold Glimmer $14.95 1.7 oz. It's a leave-on shine-maker and de-frizzer so seriously powerful, the tiniest dab will block humidity and completely flatten frizz (use more if you want a "beachy" look), while helping to prevent breakage, and adding dazzling shine. It's become my new "cant-do-without" because it gives instant gratification and results that last. Trust Redken to wow you.
If your hair is stressed out from all the sun, pollution, environmental and chemical saboteurs, you'll want to know about Alterna's exciting new set of products: Caviar Seasilk Shampoo $30.00 8.5 fl. oz and Conditioner $32.00 8.5 fl. oz. These products not only help to prevent and reverse the signs of aging, they make all hair look better. I like the elegant, plum-colored bottles with silvery tops with unique twist open/close top, but what makes these products really different is the anti-aging ingredient "Seasilk Age-Control Complex." It's a combo of marine botanicals, providing deep moisture and nourishment, while green tea helps increase moisture retention. In other words, the products don't just make your hair look good on the surface, they help the good-for-your-hair ingredients actually penetrate into the hair follicle. "Enzymetherapy" with "Color Hold" protects your hair color, and also provides enzymes that help transform those ingredients so that the hair can easily absorb them. The nicely lathering, pearly shampoo also has a clean, fresh scent. You'll immediate see softer, more manageable hair that detangles easily and is shiny and healthy looking. Over time, these products could actually help you turn back the hands of time for your hair--who wouldn't want that?
In you're into what celebrities use, you'll want to know that Food-Show host Rachael Ray depends on the Specialist Protectant Treatment Spray $21.00 6 fl. oz by Cutler (from the Cutler Salon in NYC) as one of the key products she relies on to keep her hair under control. The blue and lime-green graphics on this plastic spray-pump bottle look sleek and modern, but of course, it's the product inside you're buying. Spritz in on your hair before you blow-dry, and a host of polymers, avocado oil and panthenol, plus wheat, rice and almond proteins, and specialty botanicals work to shine, smooth, and protect your hair from the drying, damaging effects of heat styling and the sun's rays. The lightweight, non-sticky, freshly-scented liquid won't weigh your hair down, but it will help it look good!
Summer hair is curly, beachy, and casual, but now that the Fall has arrived, straight, sleek hair is a must-have. Pantene Pro-V Smooth & Sleek Collection offers inexpensive products that help even budget-minded fashionistas get the sleek, straight, swingy look everyone craves. If your hair tends to be frizzy, Pantene Pro-V Smooth & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum $5.99 1.5 oz provides a thin coat of silicone-based product that instantly tames dry frizzies. You can use it when hair is already styled (how many of us have left the house looking good, only to end up at our destination, with a helmet of frizz?) and it also helps to keep hair smooth when you're blow-drying it. The product also adds shine...a particularly nice thing when your hair is a bit dull and faded from too much fun-in-the-sun. It's safe for color-treated or permed hair, too.
In(fus)ium 23 (moistur)ologie Leave-in Treatment $5.99 16 oz may have a bit of a confusing name, but there's no confusion about what it does: penetrates the hair shaft to correct, moisturize and rejuvenate dry, hard-to-manage hair. It's enriched with NUTRIMIN-23 COMPLEX (a blend of 5 pro-vitamin and treatment ingredients) that strengthen and protect your hair cuticle on the outside while counteracting damage from the inside. The lightweight formula won't weigh hair down. Reviewers liked the nice, clean scent and the way hair felt soft and smooth after using it. You can spray it on during the day as well, if you feel the need for additional protection--it'll rinse out easily when you're ready.
At the CEW Awards Luncheon last May, I set with two lovely women from Easy Straight, who sent over some of their latest and greatest products. My favorite is the EasyStraight Climate Shield Waterproof Hairspray Maximum Hold $7.99 10 oz. It looks like any other hairspray, but it uses high-tech, vinyl/acrylic polymer technology to form a shield on the surface of your hair, creating a moisture-resistant barrier. A clue that this hairspray is serious stuff, is that once you've applied it, you need to run your fingers through your hair to loosen the "hard" hold. The impressive hold and anti-frizz properties lasted through a workout, a shower, and even hot fun on the dance floor. It's impressively effective. Another effective, inexpensive product from Easy Straight to add to your no-frizz arsenal is Frizz Block $8.00 3 fl. oz. It uses cashmere extract to condition and soften, while flaxseed oil moisturizes, and coconut oil helps to nourish the hair cuticle. There is also sunscreen in this one, to protect and de-frizz. Pump a little bit into your hands and smooth on your dry hair to watch the frizzes, flee. Instant Silk $8.00 5.1 oz tube, is a daily conditioner to help heal split ends, and combat frizz, with a blend of nourishing oils and silicones. The lightweight cream in a flip-top tube smells fresh and light. We didn't test the EasyStraight Long Lasting Frizz Remover Treatment $15.00 but for the price, it's worth a try. You get enough product for two applications (2 months worth of frizz-free hair). The three- step process is formulated for all hair types and colors, and the kit includes an Internal Repair Solution, Cuticle Repair Conditioner, and an Anti-Frizz Sealant. Depending upon how frizzy and curly you hair is to begin with, you may see amazing results. Follow the directions and have 20 minutes to spare after you've cleansed and dried your hair initially.
NEW & NIFTY FOR NAILS, HANDS & FEET:
Nail trends this Fall run to deep and intense colors, but a classic pink is always my favorite. Le Vernis Nail Color $19.00 by Chanel in "Rose Blossom" is a limited edition, shimmery pink that reminds me of the elegant and ladylike pink Grace Kelly, or Gwyneth Paltrow, would love. This Chanel color from the "English Rose" collection is your perfect pink--the one I've been searching for. I hardly need to mention (but I will) that this luxe polish is everything you'd expect performance-wise. It slides on effortlessly with a smooth, glowing finish. One coat adds a pink shimmer, two, a more opaque, slightly more intense medium color. It's also fast-drying and long lasting. According to Chanel, it will be available until October, but my guess is that it will sell out before then. This one is gorgeous, and you'll wear it with everything from a wedding dress or evening gown, to a bathing suit during a wild weekend!
Treat your nails, royally, with one of six new shades of Creative Nail Design Nail Enamel $6.00. The Fall/Winter 2007 collection called "Imperial Anarchy," features high-quality, long-lasting, jewel-toned colors. "Rock Royalty" is a deep plum crème, that follows the "blackened" polish trend reminiscent of rich, purple velvet. Also "blackened" is "Hyde in the Dark," a deep coal that is somehow, softened by starry metallic shimmer so it's shimmery charcoal, not punk black. "House of Rebels" is a brick red crème with a bit of cherry, while "Crimson Uprising," is a deep, rich, shimmery merlot and "Regal Revenge," gives nails a deep fuchsia crème. A trendy polish that won't show chips as easily is "Crowned" a lovely, coppery metallic with the merest hint of iridescence--so versatile with Fall colors! TIP: dry your nails super-fast with a coat of Speedey Quick Drying Top Coat $5.95 1/1 oz. It'll keep your colors looking fresh, help strengthen and protect them. It has UV absorbers to keep the color from getting brittle or fading and, of course, it sets the color, quickly. Another fast-dry that nurtures your skin (with Jojoba oil, Vitamin E and sweet almond oils) is Solar Speed Spray $15.95 4 oz. The quick-dry with fast evaporating silicone sets the polish is 1-3 minutes while it moisturizes and conditions. Fabulous!
Now that September has arrived, the pale pastels and sheers you chose for fingers and toes, just seem too bland. Essie has created a collection of on-trend Nail Polish $8.00 that will give a "polished" (pun intended) nail look to coordinate with the subdued colors that you'll be seeing everywhere this Fall: gray, purple, deep green, chocolate brown, rust, camel, black, silver, and navy. Essie's runway-ready collection features shiny, easy to apply, long-lasting, intense colors, without shimmer, pearl, metallic, or glitter. "Decadent Diva," is a basically-black polish with a hint of cocoa that looks quite edgy. "Material Girl," is rich, intense, blackened royal plum. While nearly-black polish is a trend that is still hot, "Handle with Flair" is a saturated wine that looks inviting, not trashy on fingers and toes. Universally flattering is "Alligator Purse." This color is categorized as "burnt orange," but it's not garish and looks sexy with anything earth-toned. Fashionistas who just can't see wearing anything but a true red, will love the clear, bright, cool, almost cherry-red called "Turning Heads Red." For true trend-setters, "Bags to Riches" is the must-have of this column. This creamy polish makes nails look like they've been dipped in light caramel--unlike anything I've seen before. Even better, this modern neutral goes with everything.
If you're busy (and who isn't?) and are looking for a long-wearing polish, that looks shiny and elegant, So Lacque $9.00 by Bourjois applies effortlessly with the specially designed flat brush, leaving a smooth, even coat, without streaking or glopping. Even better, the high-shine, brilliant colors last up to 7 days (ours even managed to survive a soak in a hot tub which usually kills a manicure). The secret ingredient is vinyl, known for it's toughness. The fast-drying polish looks so shiny, you might even omit a top coat, and get out and about, even faster. "Rose Vamp" is a bright fuchsia that adds a touch of color to peep-toe pumps. "Rose Corset" is a semi-opaque peach that looks ladylike and appropriate, day or evening. Two deep reds and two light nudes give you light and dark color options, as well.
Jessica Vartoughian is such a well-recognized celebrity manicurist, that I'm not surprised that her new "Slick Tricks" collection of Nail Polish $6.50 features trendy, metallic, jewel-toned colors with a little something extra: a top coat called "Brilliance" that intensifies the color into an even brighter, more metallic hue with a wet-look finish. Even without the clever top coat intensifier, these metallics are not colors are for the shy: "Fancy Fishnets," is a bright blue/purple, and "Cheap Trick," a true, medium green. No less dramatic are "Dirty Dancing," a deep grape, "Purple Rain," a light purple, and "Vinyl Vixen" a very deep purple. My favorite is "Burlesque Rouge," a rosed-red oddly subdued by the metallic sheen. It is deep and on-trend, but still, somehow, ladylike. You'll love the way the polish dries quickly to a soft, metallic sheen. These are unique and fun to try with or without the top coat magic.
When I think of Russia, opulent, jewel-toned Faberge eggs come to mind. In keeping with the Fall/Winter Trends, OPI has release a dozen gorgeous Nail Lacquers $7.50/each called "The Russian Collection" that represent Russia's heritage of aristocratic elegance, featuring primarily intense, jewel-toned berries and purples to coordinate with the brown, plum, gray, deep green, and black tones that are must-have" in clothes this season. We can't describe every single one of the gorgeous, shiny, long-lasting polishes from the new Russian Collection, so we're splitting them up between two What Works columns, featuring the reds and rose colors this month, the deeper tones, next month. The lightest shade is a lovely pearled pale nude/gold called "Cosmo-Not Tonight, Honey!" One coat nicely covers nails with a shimmery warm nude. My favorite in the entire collection because it is so universally flattering and versatile, is "Crème de la Kremlin," a creamy terra-cotta pink that is a ladylike classic. "Ruble for your Thoughts" is a coppery/rose shimmer that's bold enough to wear as a an evening color, but won't shock your boss, either. Red is so hot, and this trio of intense reds gives you Fall chic: "An Affair in Red Square" is a shimmery red with just a hint of cherry to make it sexy. "Vodka & Caviar" is a bold, bright red, and a shade darker and deeper is "St. Petersburg," a true claret.
I love the smell of Rosemary with it's spicy yet calming feel. Perlier's Hemp With Rosemary Oil Nail Hardening Oil $17.50 .25 fl. oz mixes fragrant rosemary with Vitamin B6 which facilitates the production of keratin, important to nourish nails that split easily. It also contains hemp oil that is cold-pressed to contain all eight essential amino acids, as well as Vitamins B and E. This combo helps to smooth skin and nourish cuticles. Rosemary contains vitamin C, and it also smells delicious. All of these are combined in a tiny bottle with brush top that may help to nurse your Summer-weary nails back to health, just in time to wear all those dramatic, intense nail polish colors we're going to see all Fall and Winter. It may seem like a lot to fork over for a miniscule bottle of product, but it's a true beauty treatment you can afford outside of a salon or spa. You'll really like the way your natural nails look instantly radiant, smooth, and slightly glowing--after just one application!
If you're like me, you enjoy the freedom of sandals all Summer, but when you have to stuff your feet back into shoes in the Fall, they rebel! Soothe and pamper your feet from toes to ankle, with a rich, soothing cream from Orna Skincare, new to our review this column, called Foot Revitalizer $30.00 4 oz. Orna Skincare believes in providing safe, effective and natural products to their customers. This one is sure to please anyone with hot, tired, and treats dry, chapped skin, cracks, sores, rashes and aches. Massage the thick, rich, cream with a slight, fresh scent into your feet (a little goes a long way), or even better, ask someone else to do it for you (then return the favor). There is a 5-minute how-to: on Orna's web site, along with a comprehensive, almost dizzying list of ingredients (the first couple include soothing and moisturizing aloe vera, shea butter, kokum butter, wheat germ oil, arnica, chamomile, licorice, lemon, and cucumber). Despite it's rich, moisturization, the cream wasn't greasy, and didn't leave any slippery residue. I like products that provide immediate relief, and even if you have to massage this one into your feet, yourself, you'll get a feeling of pampering and well-being from it. The next morning, my dry heels feel noticeably softer. Orna Skincare's Foot Revitalizer lives up to it's name.
FOR FALL-FANTASTIC FRAGRANCES:
Mediterranean Eau de Parfum $57.50 3.3 fl. oz., $47.50 1.7 fl. oz. by Elizabeth Arden arrives in a very eye-catching, The holographic, seal-blue presentation carton with a hammered silver cardboard base, holding this unusual fragrance. Inside the carton, two eggshell-shaped plastic cups cradle a smooth, voluptuous ellipse of bright, sea-blue glass that radiates the light. It's topped with a square of hammered silver, making this fragrance bottle gorgeous to look at and almost irresistibly- touchable. Quest International’s Executive Perfumer, Claude Dir. was inspired in his creation by the beautiful and sophisticated actress (who is also an Elizabeth Arden spokesperson) Catherine Zeta-Jones's love of the Mediterranean. The scent is tied to the sun and the land, with fresh and woodsy notes, but it also has marine aspects, that make it clear and almost a bit briny. Upon drydown, you can smell the floral notes, but they're subtle, so much so I think Mediterranean might become a favorite of the guys, too. The actual top notes are Peach Nectar Sorbet, Sicilian Mandarin, and Damask Plum (that's the burst of fruity-freshness you sense at first), layered with a heart of Radiant Wisteria, Star Magnolia and Madagascar Orchid (a hint of spiciness), and the bottom notes that make this one seem less girly and more unisex include some classics: Sandalwood, Blonde Woods, Fluid Skin Musk and Golden Amber. The scent has staying power, but it's not overpowering, so it works for all occasions. TIP: we didn't review these (yet, anyway) but you can add more Mediterranean to your fragrance wardrobe with a Body Lotion $29.50, a (limited Edition) Shimmer Powder with Puff $25.00 and coming up, a Body Cream $40.00 (limited Edition Holiday 2007).
Even if your sun-soaked holiday is over, the newest fragrance from Missoni, Missoni Acqua Eau De Toilette $80.00 3.4 fl. oz, $60.00 1.7 oz, $45.00 1 oz will keep the memories, lingering all year long. Everything about this stunning fragrance delights. The exterior packaging is the color of the Mediterranean sea on two sides, punctuated by silver zig-zag that are a Missoni signature. The other two sides are bright silver, for sparkle. Inside, a voluptuous, asymmetrical oval, clear glass globe with shiny gold cap topped with a bright coral cabochon (coral is really so representative of the Mediterranean) is a fragrance of delicate azure blue. If you gaze inside the globe, there's a surprise: an abstract, multi-colored Missoni-style zig-zag motif cover the bottom, as if you're looking deep into a pool, or perhaps, a beautiful reef at the bottom of clear, blue water. This bottle is just so beautiful to look at, and sensual to hold. My favorite way to apply fragrance however, is with a Rollerball $60.00 .02 oz. (at Nordstrom). The slim, glass tube with bonus fabric carry case featuring two colorful balls of Missoni fabric on the ties, lets you refresh the scent anywhere, and is still "legal" on airplanes. Missoni fragrances tie their scent to colors that are featured in Missoni fabrics, and each means something. Acqua starts out with "Radiant Greens" that are bright and fruity, such as bergamot, juicy melon, fresh grapefruit and for a bit of softness, sensual narcissi. "sparkling Blues" comprise the heart: violet, peony, blue freesia, and a light, feminine maguey. "Crystal Turquoise" represents the bottom notes, which soften the fruit into a feminine but not heavy or sweet, drydown that has elements of the sea and sand to my nose, anyway. Key elements in the bottom are Tuscan iris, jasmine, and something called "glimmering sole" (the warmth of the sun hitting the open water). Missoni fragrances delight all the senses, and for those on a budget, the fragrance line is a way to enjoy true designer luxury, without the couture cost. *We will be reviewing the Acqua Body Lotion and Shower Gel in our October What Works Column, so watch for it!
"Diamonds are a girl's best friend," crooned Marilyn Monroe in the classic movie, "Gentleman Prefer Blondes," with lyrics by Frank Sinatra. A few decades later, modern diva, Beyoncé Knowles, will belt out her own version of the classic song as the face (and the voice) of an exciting new fragrance by Emporio Armani called Diamonds, available beginning this month. Diamonds Eau de Parfum $69.403.4 fl. oz, $49.50 1.7 fl. oz, $39.50 1 fl. oz is much more affordable than the carbon-based gem, but does come in a striking, faceted, gem-shaped clear glass bottle that sparkles like the gemstone, topped with an elegant, shiny, square, silver, push-top atomizer. The outside cardboard packaging is stark white, accented in the four corners, sides, and top with tiny metallic foil "aurora borealis sparkles" airbrushed with the slightest touch of soft grey to mimic tiny, sparkling diamonds. The actual fragrance is also sparkling, in feel, at least. It is described as a "gourmand floral." To deconstruct that for you, the scent starts off briskly, with bright fruit tempered with a hint of subtle rose, which becomes just a bit more apparent as you wear it. The actual top notes are litchi and raspberry, giving it that sparkling, fresh fruit vibe. You'll immediately sense the heart of rose, delicately tinted with freesia and lily of the valley that becomes just a bit more apparent as you wear it. The bottom notes offer a sensuous, but still light feel, combining vetiver, cedar wood and patchouli and a final touch of amber. The fragrance is seductive and long-lasting, but not overpowering. We think Emporio Armani Diamonds may become your newest "best friend" this Fall!
Back in November 2006 we reviewed Estee Lauder Pleasures. Estee Lauder Pleasures Delight Eau de Parfum Spray $45.00 1.7 fl. oz $64.00 3.4 fl. oz. is the This newest of the Pleasures fragrances. While the classic Pleasures fragrance is a romantic floral mixed with a hint of spice and herbal notes, Estee Lauder Pleasures Delight starts with fresh, fruity top notes of pomegranate, fresh greens and dewy freesia combined with "whipped strawberry meringue." The heart is a feminine blend of peony and lily, sweet and girly maguey and heliotrope that peeks shyly through the fruit. What I love about this new fragrance is the way it transforms upon drydown. Then, sugared rose petals, caramel, marshmallow and vanilla mix together with a hint of patchouli to give a sensual, gourmand feel that will have you constantly sniffing your wrists for more "pleasure." Estee Lauder Pleasures Delight will give you a creamy, slightly spicy, sexy scent light enough to wear to work, and (when you're close to someone special) a sexy surprise. The bottle is similar to the original fragrance--a voluptuous clear glass bottle topped with a matte, silver, elliptical cap. Actress and style-diva Gwyneth Paltrow is the spokesperson for this product--a perfect choice for a line of fragrances that will become beloved favorites for women of all ages.
Antonio Banderas is not only a sexy man, the fragrances by Puig Beauty USA in which he's participated have been lovely, especially for a modestly-priced product. We reviewed Antonio Banderas Spirit for Men in our Holiday 2004 column and Spirit for Women in our Fall 2005 column, and Antonio in our Summer 2006 column. Now there's another fragrance, Blue Seduction for Men by Antonio Banderas Eau de Toilette Spray 1.7 fl. oz $30.00, 1.0 fl. oz $21.50. The watery blue packaging with silver graphics on the front is masculine, but modern, On the other side, we get treated to a photo of the very sexy Mr. Banderas in an open tuxedo shirt which may persuade lots of women to buy it for their special man on that merit, alone (growwwl!). The bottle is a chunky rectangle of clear glass, with a square, shiny silver top, showcasing some of the most beautiful blue "juice" I've ever seen. This is a much lighter, fresher scent than the others, with a pleasant attitude that is classified as "fresh, aromatic, watery wood," without being too "clean" or sterile. Top notes of bergamot, cassis, mint and melon feel clean and invigorating, while cardamom and nutmeg, plus melon, add a fresh and modern heart. The bottom notes add the sex appeal: amber, oak moss, woods, and an original cappuccino accord (which I couldn't detect). The drydown is subtle, almost too subtle, actually. But what I like about it is that you need to be physically close to really sense it, so it's like a sexy little secret! Perfect for the last warm days of the season, and subtle enough to wear every day all year long at the office.
There's something about purchasing a high-end, designer product, that makes a you feel pampered, special, maybe just a little bit decadent. That's the feeling you get from the Sublimate Eye Essential Regenerating Eye Cream by Chanel $160.00 0.5 oz. But you'll also feel a bit better when you learn that the key ingredient in this precious and pricey eye cream is not only organic, it is sustainably harvested on Madagascar, where Chanel provides the local employees with education and health care. Who knew Chanel id not only great for beauty, but also "green?" The rich, unscented, ivory cream gets it's unique benefits from Planfolia-PFA. The best molecules of the Vanilla Planfolia plant are concentrated to stimulate growth factors in your skin, helping to make it firmer and more radiant (which translates to "younger looking"), while licorice root extract works to lighten sun damaged dark spots and shea butter and canola oil help hydrate skin and make it more elastic, and smooth. The outside gold box with Chanel logo opens to a gold-covered brochure that looks like a miniature owner's manual for a luxury automobile. Inside is a more substantial, golden cardboard presentation box, into which sits (like a precious jewel), a square, clear glass jar with golden shimmer and a shiny black top (with Chanel logo in silver). A simple, white spatula makes the cream easy to apply in just the amount you need. As with virtually all skincare products, we can't test this long enough to report on long-term effects. I can say that my under-eye area did look lighter and less puffy, and the skin felt smoother after just two applications. Used regularly, over time, this might be a magic potion for a younger, brighter looking eye area. It most definitely will make you feel like a pampered princess every time you use it.
Norman Leaf M.D. a Board Certified plastic surgeon, and Rand Rusher, R.N. run a medical care clinic in chic, Beverly Hills. Their line of skincare products, Leaf & Rusher, is new to our reviews this column. Their clients are among the most demanding in the world and since they can afford the best, and they expect it. An interesting fact about this upscale line of products is that as the skincare items were created, the samples were presented to celebrity patients to test, tweak and approve them. The amusing Leaf & Rusher tag line is: "Tested on celebrities...not animals." Today, the line is quite extensive, and beautifully packaged in cream colored cardboard (with bands of green, maroon, or grey for identification). Each product gets an additional swathe of signature, Leaf & Rusher tissue inside the box. In this column, we're focusing on two cleansers, since clean skin is the foundation of clear skin. Even adults get acne, and we really liked the Acne Foaming Cleanser $25.00 5.1 fl. which arrives in a sophisticated, olive green plastic bottle with black pump top and attractive, "apothecary-style" beige label with brown lettering. Acne-prone skin must be thoroughly and gently cleansed. This product, used twice a day, offers salicylic acid to reduce bacteria while amino acids act as antioxidants that aid in healing. It has a somewhat strong but fresh scent, and leaves skin refreshed, not overly dry. For normal and sensitive skin, the gentle Green Tea Wash $35.00 3.5 oz comes in a green flip-top tube and smells like tea, a nice touch to make a routine chore more pleasant. This soap-free cleanser is designed to thoroughly clean all skin types. It quickly removes cosmetics and oily build-up from pores that give the skin a tired, lifeless appearance. The cleanser has a combination of green tea, providing powerful anti-oxidants, and licorice extract to soothe. Although it's extremely gentle, our test surprised us with how thoroughly this product was, removing even waterproof makeup, easily without drying our skin out. There are so many other skincare products we don't have room to mention them here *see our October column for more reviews, but one the Leaf & Rusher DermaRoller Kit $122.00 is essential to the delivery of most of the skincare items, and it is exclusive to this line. The little roller reminds me of a cross between a mini-ravioli crimper and a tiny rolling pin, with nearly 200 stainless steel micropoints that drive Leaf & Rusher's active vitamins, enzymes and lipids into the skin. I found the DermaRoller a tiny bit irritating (my skin is very sensitive) but I'd get used to it if I was going to commit to using these high-tech products. After all, if you're going to buy the products, you should also use the prescribed tool that delivers the goods right into your skin. The kit includes the roller, a travel-sized Active Serum Sensitive Skin, a Packet of Tx Night Formula With DNA Resolve and an Instructional DVD on how to properly use the DermaRoller.
This fall, Boots has a new skincare product that those of us with rosy or uneven skin tones will want to check out. No7 Calm Skin Redness-Relief Gel $21.99 1 fl. oz. An elegant, frosted glass bottle with a large oval pearlized top hints at the calmness your skin will feel after use with or without foundation. The light, unscented, easily absorbed lotion feels a bit refreshing, and instantly makes skin feel softer. We didn't use it long enough to see the results others have experienced, but our skin did feel lovely after we tried it. Over time (2 weeks) however, the lotions' blend of emollients, ceramides and shea butter plus white lupin peptides and extracts of liquorice and chestnut, should help your skin look more even-toned as well as smoother and softer. Boots No7 is the most popular cosmetics line in England, and it's been a hit since it hit the shores of the USA last year, too. No wonder!
REN Skincare, new to our columns this month, is one of those product lines that defies concrete categorization. This UK-based company touts it's products as unisex, emphasized by packing the products in recyclable materials in plain, white bottles (most with pump top) and labels with simple graphics. Sample some of the products in this line with the REN Travel Set $34.00. A soft-sided (but sturdy), black, neoprene zippered back has a half-dozen REN products good for all skin types, held securely in place by individual, elastic bands. You'll get: a Rosa Centifolia Facial wash; Rose Complex Moisturizer; Frankincense repair cream; Omega 3 facial serum; Seaweed and Sage body wash; Grapeseed jojoba and shea butter body cream, and a Product brochure. A standout in the collection is the Seaweed and Sage Body Wash, a lightly foaming, moisturizing bath/shower gel that features the toning properties of Laminaria seaweed extract. It leaves skin feeling very clean, but still moist (not greasy). I think both men and women will like the energizing blend of essential oils including Geranium, Cypress, Rosemary and Sage, which actually reminded me a bit of spicy liquorice. 'm not quite sure how much men will like the Rose Complex Moisturizer, but as a rose fan, I liked the luxury of the rose scent for a routine task. The rich, thick, cream hydrates, nourishes and moisturizes, and, of course, smells like rose petals. Wild Roseberry Extract, Camellia Oil, Rose Hip Seed Oil and Shea Butter help to hydrate and nourish skin, while free radical fighting polyphenols offer anti-aging bennies. There are also toning tannins from crushed Centifolia Rose petals. The quickly absorbed cream was non greasy, and did a lovely job. The other products are equally uniquely and pleasantly scented with natural oils, and equally nice to use. There's something for everyone in this kit. It also makes a great host or hostess gift. There is no animal testing of products. The concept is: "clean bio active skin care" that relies on science without harming nature. REN products don't contain any petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrance, synthetic colors, TEA, DEA, glycols, silicones or PEGS. Although "natural" and "organic" may seem frumpy or "crunchy" for some fashionistas, these products use 100% natural blends of essential oils, distillates and plant extracts in place of synthetic fragrance, and 100% pure plant oils such as Camellia Oil, Monoi, Manketti Oil and Sesame Oil in place of chemicals like mineral oil, paraffin and petrolatum. Natural ingredients such as flowers and plants instead of synthetics, is chic.
You don't have to be "old" to have age spots or pigmentation. If you've "sun worshipped" too much and your skin has discolorations, you can do something about it short of a serious facial peel. Murad Post Acne Spot Lightening Gel $58 00 1.0 fl. oz. can help fade dark and age spots, and freckles, with a bit of patience (up to 3 months of treatment). Murad, new to our reviews this column, has an impressive number of high-performance products addressing various skin type and skincare issues. This clear gel in a clear glass pump bottle with attractive orange and white label has it's own U.S. patent. It combines glycolic acid with 2% hydroquinone and another patented formula, an "Advanced Performance Complex™ to fade skin discolorations and give you a more even and bright complexion. Licorice and Allantoin alleviate redness and inflammation (this appears to be a powerful formula). Simply apply a small amount on the affected area(s) in the evening. We didn't use it long enough to see the type of results you might achieve with this product over time, but if you want a better looking complexion without resorting to drastic (and expensive) measures, for under $60.00 it's definitely worth a try. TIP: this type of product exfoliates dead skin cells, leaving new skin exposed. Make sure you use a moisturizer and sunblock during the day.
The Summer's over, and perhaps your skin doesn't look quite as good as when the warm weather started. A good skincare line will help you nourish it back into shape. The AdviceSisters received a number of Skinceutical products from their six lines: Cleanse & Tone, Prevent, Correct, Moisturize, Protect, Body. My hands-down favorite is the Foaming Cleanser $26.00 5 fl. oz. I love this cleanser for the way it deep cleans pores and removes excess oil in a flash, but still leaves even dry, Summer-baked skin feeling pampered and moist. You apply this mild, fragrance free, non-allergenic cleanser to a dry face, where it lightly foams--then you wash it off. Follow with one of two toners. The Equalizing Toner $24.00 8 fl. oz works well for combo or oily skin and has hydroxy acids and anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. The Revitalizing Toner, is for normal to dry skin and it soothes and moisturizes. Both toners. gently exfoliate dead skin cells and help restore your skin's protective pH mantle (to normalize and balance). Finish with a good daily moisturizer such as Skinceuticals Daily Moisture $50.00 2 fl. oz. The light cream is nice to apply, and absorbs quickly without an oily residue. This makes it especially great for oily or combo skin. Marine extracts also help to reduce pore size, and of course, hydrate and nourish. A good serum in the final step in rejuvenating and protecting your Summer skin. Serum 15 AOX+ $85.00 a fl. oz is formulated with 15% L-ascorbic acid to fight back against damaging UVA/UVB rays, prevent premature signs of aging and stimulate collagen production. Just a few drops of this precious, and impressively powerful antioxidant treatment helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also gives your regular SPF protection more "oomph," and once you've applied it, Serum 15 AOX+ can’t be washed or rubbed off. The company claims it protects for up to four days. We can't confirm or deny, but we do know that it is a great idea. The product is ideal for all skin types and does what it was designed to do, easily, simply, exceedingly well. Skinceuticals has many more products to explore and we hope to bring you more Skinceuticals reviews in the future.
September may signal "back to work & school," but that doesn't mean that you won't still be spending lots of time in the sun. Coppertone has been protecting skin from the sun's damaging rays since the 1940's, and they have an impressive array of sunblocks, including six with SPF 50 (two are for children). Ours arrived too late to be reviewed for the Summer column, but we'd like to suggest them as an all-year protection. These new spray-sunscreens give you quick, easy, clean coverage with a continuous mist that works even if you're spraying a hard-to-reach area and the can is upside down. A twist-lock cap prevents leakage. There's something for everyone. For hikers, campers, and anyone who is going to work up a sweat, Coppertone Sport Ultra Sweatproof SPF 50 $9.99 6 fl. oz (photo) is waterproof and sweatproof, featuring 3% avobenzone, as does the Oil Free Quick Cover Lotion Spray SPF 50 $9.99 6 fl. oz and UltraGuard Oil Free Quick Cover Lotion Spray SPF 50 $9.99 6 fl. oz (broad spectrum anti aging & anti-burn) that are also waterproof, fragrance free and won't clog pores. There's also an Ultra Guard Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 $9.99 6 fl. oz (anti aging & anti-burn) in a more traditional, non-spray version that's also non-greasy and has Vitamin E. I hate the feel of lotion on my hands, so my personal favorite is the No-Rub Continuous Spray SPF 50 $9.99 6 fl. oz featuring Vitamin E and aloe. It sprays at any angle, goes on clear with just a light "beachy" scent, and that's that! No matter what product you choose, the main thing is to find one that you like, and use it! Coppertone gives you lots of options, so you have absolutely no excuses!
Also worthy of note, are three products from California Tan: Luxurious Sunscreen Lotion SPF 15 $18.00 4.5 oz., Luxurious Sunscreen Lotion SPF 20 $20.00 4.5 oz. and Luxurious Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 $20.00 4.4 oz. We tried the water resistant, broad-spectrum SPF 20 & 30 versions, and liked the fancy outside box, featuring golden palms and tropical hibiscus. Both products feature coppery tubes with black flip-top caps and the SPF 30 also features an attractive design of fancy, curlicues in white and lime green. But it's the product inside that counts. The light, herbal scent and thick, creamy but non-greasy lotion is pleasant to use and easily absorbed. They're sweatproof and highly moisturizing, containing "Vitatan," an exclusive tanning formula that helps build a rich, golden tan, while Vitamin E protects against free radicals. Reviewers also reported that their skin was protected against burning but it also felt nicely hydrated and smooth--just another great reason to choose it. There is a long list of celebrities who are fans of California Tan on their web site, along with a page of songs from indie artists that you can download--clever, and fun.
We didn't have a chance to review Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion SPF 55 and Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Spray SPF 45 i$8.99-$10.99 in our Summer column, but I personally love these two products. They are not only pleasant to use, effective sunblocks, but they also contain an ingredient Aveeno calls "Active Photobarrier Complex," which helps provide photostable, UV protection. Aveeno’s sun care products are endorsed by the Skin Cancer Foundation. The high SPF means you are helping protect your skin from the sun's damaging rays, of course. The Continuous Protection Sunblock Spray SPF 45 is a great product for the entire family with good broad spectrum UVA/UVB coverage. It is clear, light and slightly fruit-scented, and contains natural soy proteins and antioxidants that help protect your skin against environmental damage. It is also waterproof, so you won't have to apply it quite as often (every sunblock needs to be re-applied in regular intervals--read the label). The best thing is that you don't have to mess up your hands, or find a willing partner to apply it. The one-touch spray makes it easy to apply this anywhere on your body, at any angle, and without clogging your pores. The Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion SPF 55 is available in a slim tube that makes it easy to tote, and you'll like the fact that even those with sensitive skin can use it. The light, white lotion is quickly absorbed into skin with a "dry-touch" formula that won't leave a greasy residue, and of course, it's got a lot of broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. Both are "must-haves" now and throughout the year.
BATH & BODY BOOTY:
It's been a while since we reviewed products from The Body Shop, but we're delighted to bring you their exceptional and affordable products once again. We know your Sun-parched skin will appreciate the trio of treatments The Body Shop has created to suit normal, dry or very dry skin. The "Purees" are lightest, for normal skin, "Milks" are for normal to dry skin, and Moisture "Whips" serve those with very dry skin. All are created with yummy fruits and nuts and smell almost good enough to eat. In fact, they smell so good, you may have difficulty stopping yourself from continually applying them! The packaging is simple and attractive: clear plastic bottles with applicator tops and pleasing graphics let the natural beauty of the product show through. A feature are natural ingredients sources from The Body Shop's own Community Trade Program, giving marginalized communities around the world gives these communities access to a global marketplace. For normal Skin, shea butter from Ghana and blends of fruit make moisturizing fun. Even the guys won't be able to resist the fresh, fruity (and moisturizing) Papaya Puree Body Lotion $13.00 8.4 fl. oz. This lightweight gel moisturizer with papaya seed oil and real pulp, immediately sinks into your skin leaving it nicely moist, and lightly scented with papaya. The Strawberry Puree Body Lotion $13.00 8.4 fl. oz reminds us of tropical drinks, with strawberry pulp (rich in antioxidants) and Strawberry Seed Oil and Shea Butter. For normal to dry skin, Coconut Milk Body Lotion $13.00 8.4 fl. oz sprays on lightly, but still moisturizes with coconut milk and oil, minerals, and fatty acids, plus Babassu oil from Brazil. I also love the Almond Milk Body Lotion $13.00 8.4 fl. oz with almond milk and oil and babassu oil. If your skin is really dry, Mango Whip Body Lotion $13.00 8.4 fl. oz. works magic with mango pulp, fruit acids, mango seed oil, and babassu oil from Brazil. and a yummy, mango scent. Brazil Nut Whip Body Lotion $13.00 8.4 fl. features a super creamy, almost caramel-y scented lotion with brazil nut oil and babassu oil. All leave dry skin in the dust.
Lemon is such an invigorating scent. It makes you feel happy, even when nothing is going right. That's why I can't say enough great things about the Mediterranean Lemon Orange & Grape Shower Gel $6.99 6.6 by Boots. Trust me, it's aromatherapy that also does good things for your body. The tart, lemon scent is so yummy we kept sniffing it even though we weren't bathing. It's addictive. A clear plastic tube with black, flip top cap dispenses a nicely lathering gel with organic lemon oil, revitalizing orange oil, and nourishing grape seed oil. This cleanser is effective and gentle to skin, but it just makes you feel so good! It's a quick pick-me-up you won't be able to resist at a price that you can't pass up.
Every woman is a goddess, and Jo Hook, owner and developer of the Lakshmi NYC product line (new to our reviews this column), has three goddess-oriented scents: the earthy/musk Lakshmi goddess of abundance), Vanilla/amber oriented Parvati (goddess of perseverance) and the lemongrass-based Athena (multi-faceted warrior goddess and goddess of wisdom), to help you accentuate your particular goddess qualities. Made with natural and essential oil, we also like that the company's focus is sustainability, and 10 percent of all profits go to charity. We also like the idea that you can carry your goddess's scent from your head to your toes, with shampoo, fragrance, and even home scent. Always in need of more wisdom, we tried the Athena scent, with lemongrass. We especially liked the Athena Soap $7.40 4 oz. a pretty, clear, amber-colored, pure glycerin soap mixed with a natural loofa, making it a multi-tasking exfoliator especially great for legs, arms and feet. The soap slab is lightly infused with the Athena fragrance, a lemongrass spiced with a bit of what we guessed is incense or musk, to make it just a bit exotic. Pamper your inner and outer goddess after bath, with Athena Moisturizing Lotion $15.00 8 fl. oz. The isoflavones Genistein and Daidzein, which can act as estrogens in the body and have protective functions, saponins, derived from plant sources believed stimulate the immune system, and the natural Vitamin E in soy, provide antioxidant and nurturing bennies. Layer the fragrance once again with a spritz of Athena Fragrance $25.00 1/3 oz. This scent, in a roll-on applicator, is a 100% blend of essential oils without any water or alcohol. Reviewers found the fragrance itself highly concentrated, with a white floral overtone that we didn't sense as much in the more citrus-y bath and body products. You'll want to apply the actual fragrance sparingly, or you may find it is overpowering. On the flip side, a little goes a long, long way.
Aveeno Continuous Radiance Moisturizing Lotion for all skin tones $14.99 7.5 oz. will help you get the Summer glow you may already be missing, and it helps you keep the tanned look all year long. What makes this moisturizing product even more unique is the dual-chambered bottle and the patented dial dispenser with five different settings from lighter to darker. This lets you "tan" just a little, or go all the way to dark. If you are a cautious self-tanning fan, you'll like the fact that the dial-a-color gives you the option to build color gradually...and all in a single bottle! Your skin will look tan, but it will also be soft and smooth for up to 24-hours and even out your skin tone, thanks to natural soy and chicory extract. I'm still not a self-tanner fan, but I definitely like the idea that I get to control the color and the intensity--cool!And, at under $15.00, you can indulge your "tan cravings" all year long without breaking your budget
Even if you didn't have dry skin or want to firm up what you've got, it's hard to ignore light and dark pink flip-top tube of a product called Flirty Little Secret $32.00 6 fl. oz. Billed as the world's first firming cream with pheromones, the natural weapon for true sex appeal, we just had to try. The cream is silky and seductive, and of course moisturizing too. It's slightly shimmery, and has a yummy peach and mango fragrance that's hard to resist. But the girly stuff aside, there are three firming agents to tones and firm your curvy parts: Bio-Bustyl firms your bust, wheat protein based Tritosol CM works to tighten the appearance of your skin, UGL complex works to promote collagen renewal and make skin more hydrated and smoother. We didn't use it for the 4-6 weeks needed to see results, but our skin did immediately look and feel soft, silky, and sexy. All this is good stuff, but it's the additional of the "flirty little secret": pheremone Androstentnol, that supposedly will make you feel more seductive, so you attract men to you likes flies to honey that makes this product truly unique. I can't promise for sure that the man of your dreams will fall helplessly under your spell (although come to think of it, my husband was particularly attentive), but I can assure you that you'll love the way your skin looks, smells and feels, love the flattering glow, and you'll have more fun with this product than you ever thought possible. This is one you'll definitely want test out!
If your skin is flaky from the sun, exfoliating will help bring back it's glow and make it feel better, too. If you're self-tanning, you absolutely must exfoliate those dry, dead flakes, first. But exfoliating isn't all that much fun. Sweet Beauty Sugar Scrub $17.00 8 oz. however, changes all that. These exfoliators are not only packed with chunky sugar granules, but also with minerals and essential oils in scents so yummy, you'll look forward to exfoliation time. We tried the "Cherish Chocolate Coconut" (there's also "Nourish Triple Chocolate," and "Sense Mocha"). If the name sounds yummy, believe me, the scent, is sinfully delicious--like a chocolate-coconut drink. When you open the jar, you need to stir the mix of extra virgin coconut oil and grapeseed oil into the sugar granules, finely grated coconut flakes, rosemary extract, cocoa powder and vitamin E. Rub it on your skin, while breathing in the delicious aroma. The result is silky, smooth skin. Share this with someone you love...it's a sexy way to begin or end the day.
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The Thymes Wild Ginger Whipped Body Cream $32.00 8 oz. not only smells delightful, it is chock-full of skin-loving, moisturizing ingredients to soothe, smooth and pamper even dry, flaky, after-Summer-sun, skin. Good for your skin Vitamin E, emollient glycerin & sunflower oil hydrate, and seal in the moisture your skin craves. The light, non-greasy cream also features soothing organic red clover and moisturizing honey. But this large, screw-top jar of moisturizer also has a bonus-- a snappy scent, combining one of my favorites, ginger, with refreshing cucumber spiked with a slice of Tahitian lime, Moro orange and a touch of vanilla. Let it put you in a good mood, while it does good things for your skin. The white cardboard carton is decorated with a cool, green representation of ginger plants and ferns so it's a no-need-to-wrap gift, too. Another nifty and inexpensive pick-me-up is The Thymes Triple Milled Soap $12.00 7 oz. in "Azur." It's a clean, marine scent that's perfect for men as well as women, because it smells fresh, not fruity or flowery. Attractive blue, white and green graphics portray sea ferns and bubbles. Inside, a substantial bar of ivory soap is embossed with the same design. The vegetable bar soap lathers nicely and cleans well, creating a rich, frothy lather rich with an essential Phytomarine Complex of sea herbs, minerals and vitamins that leaves your skin feeling clean and refreshed, but not dry. If you're not quite ready to let go of Summer, "Azure' will remind you of the sea, all year long. The Thymes soaps (there are 18 of them) with their unique graphic packages, are great to consider for stocking stuffers in a few months, too. *check out the October What Works Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion review next month, for more The Thymes products.
I love honey-themed bath & body products because honey is such a natural, soothing ingredient, and helps the regeneration of damaged skin tissue (perfect after Summer sun). Perlier's Honey Miel & Eucalyptus Liquid Soap $14.50 10.1 fl. oz has the richness of 100% Italian Organic Honey mixed with fragrant, spicy eucalyptus. The large clear round plastic bottle attractively showcases the sunny, yellow, liquid inside, and it's dispensed via a black pump top. The liquid soap contains honey's gentle properties, in a luxuriously foamy formula that leaves skin clean and lightly moisturized. You'll also get the bennies of a nicely-lasting spicy eucalyptus scent. What a nice way to start the day, or wash away the day's grime and fatigue? This is a lovely little sweet little treat that will energize you, make washing up a pleasure for everyone in your family, and do your skin a nice turn. We also tried the honey-scented Honey Miel Body Oil $24.50 5.o oz. A clear plastic bottle with pump top dispenses a fabulous, dry body oil that really holds in moisture. Spritz this non-greasy, fast-absorbing oil on your body after both or whenever your skin feels dry during the day, for instant smoothing, soothing and hydration. There's also a rich, Honey Miel Age-Defying Hand Cream $15.00 3.3 oz, and (in case you don't have enough "honey"), an aluminum pump bottle holds Honey Miel Bath Body Water $14.50 8.4 oz. that feels cooling and refreshing on your skin. The honey scent is accented with spicy cumin ands nutmeg, and sensual vanilla essential oils. These are not only great for a gift, they're a nice way to add a bit of sweet sunshine to your Fall season!
When I think of The Gap, I think of fun, inexpensive, casual clothes, but The Gap is into bath & skincare, too. This Summer, GapBody expanded their personal care offerings both in-store and online. The new GapBody Bath + Skin Collection features 72 products and eight different scent options. The products are modestly-priced, from $9.50 for a Shower Gel, to $16.50 for a Body Cream, but the quality is very good, and even the packaging looks expensive: glass bottles with ribbon accents and pump tops, and apothecary-style letterpress labels and "faux" handwritten elements, plastic flip-top tubes. We tried The Body Lotion $12.50 8.4 fl. oz in "Sugar Snap," a lightweight, light green moisturizer that absorbs nicely and does a nice job of hydrating your body, leaving behind a subtle, sheer, feminine floral blend of pear flower and lotus, mixed with creamy white woods and a dash of musk. I am sure the other products will be impressive, but I absolutely loved the Body Scrub $11.50 5.1 oz. in "Nightfall." The scent is a unique (and expensive-smelling) blend of tiger lily, ambers, Oriental incense, and dark woods. It's different, and quite sophisticated. I think men who like spicy, sexy woods, musk, and ambers will enjoy this as much as the ladies. More importantly, sugar cane and sea salt powerfully exfoliate, mixed with emollients and other good-for-your-skin ingredients to make this a very good product. A nice touch is the silky, white rope for hanging your product where it's always in easy reach.
HEALTH & AT-H0ME HELPERS:
I've been meaning to visit the Cornelia Day Resort but since I haven't yet, I'm glad to be able to enjoy some of their luxe, spa-related products at home. There's an interesting collection of "teas" for example, some for drinking, some for soaking. One of the Drinking Teas is the Men's Energizing $25.00 2.8 oz (35-72 servings), to help all those stressed-out guys to chill, lift their spirits and improve their energy level. All teas arrive in re-useable, shiny aluminum tins with tight fitting lids featuring attractive, botanically-inspired labels. The Men's Energizing Tea is a loose mixture of crushed herbs and flowers that nice to look at and actually smells invigorating-- a mix of sage, rosemary, arnica and salvia. Steep the tea for five minutes and sweeten if you wish (we didn't). Our reviewer didn't drink this brew for 30 days to see the full effects, but agreed it would be a great choice instead of coffee, at break time. It's also a great way to get your guy to de-caffeinate. I tried the Slimming Tea $25.00 2.8 oz (35-72 servings. The herbal, slightly spicy tea contains a floral mix including dandelion root, birch leaves, corn silk and European white birch, and even a hint of ginger. It tastes great hot or iced, and a little goes a long way. The mixture acts as a diuretic to cleanse away toxins, while antioxidant ginger helps circulation. Two times daily between meals will help you look slim and even keep you "regular." It's a good choice for your coffee breaks and anytime you feel a need to pamper yourself. *we will be reviewing Cornelia Day Resort Soaking Teas in our October column, so watch for it.
When the weather changes, it can smell a bit stuffy inside. Renuzit, new to our columns this month, sent us Subtle Effects $2.50 9 oz. This new line of soft, home fragrance sprays are inspired by natural scents and won't smell medicinal or bowl you over with an overly-strong scent. This isn't your grandma's air freshener, it comes in a modern, brushed steel can, in 4 scents: "Cool Morning Air," "Light Alpine Frost," "Gentle Citrus Orange," and "Quiet Lavender Whisper." We tried "Cool Morning Air," a very light, fresh-smelling scent that reminds me of clean laundry hanging on the line on a breezy day. These are more "home fragrance" than heavy-duty odor eliminators, so don't expect it to mask the cat box, but do use it to make your home smell nice.
PRODUCTS THAT LOOK GOOD & DO GOOD, TOO:
Fall is back to work and back to school time for many, and business as usual, for the rest of us. When considering what you're going to buy to update your wardrobe this season, if you carry a laptop computer, keep in mind that a battered, old, laptop case can sabotage your image. Targus, a leading global supplier of mobile computing cases and accessories (and new to our reviews this column), has plenty of options to choose from to carry just about anything, including computers. The products are not only high quality and functional, but fashionable, too. We tried the Targus Fandango Tote $89.99. Made of substantial, black, durable woven and smooth polyester materials, it weighs just 2.87 pounds unfilled. The outside dimensions are: 15.4" X 5.25" X 14.75" With high quality handles and accents, this bag combines the trendy oversized handbag look with a padded computer tote, designed to fit notebooks with up to 15.4” screens. The design is what we've dreamed of in a multi-tasking tote, and it's so well designed, I'm guessing it was designed by a woman (who definitely carried her laptop, lots. Although this is primarily a computer tote, it's an organizer, too. Included in the interior is a large removable storage pouch with a wrist strap to store your mobile accessories or personal items. It also includes a removable wallet with an ID holder and plenty of space to store credit cards and cash. The interior includes pen loops, a business card holder, key clip, a large, zippered pocket for files and paper, and additional pouches for other items. A side pocket with magnetic closure gives you even more storage space (the perfect pocket to secure a passport, airline tickets, ID, and other must-have paper items). There are more impressive, high-end touches on this tote, too. For example, the fold-down handles are oversized (so you can carry the tote on your shoulder) and tapered to make them more comfortable. The striped, interior lining is beautifully finished, and the metal hardware is substantial. Even better, Targus donates a portion of sales to support breast cancer initiatives. A nice (and useful) touch is the included, pink enamel breast cancer keychain, to let you show your support, too.
We love The Body Shop's Hi-Shine Lip Treatment $11.50. This super silky, shimmery-sheer gloss not only tints lips, but offers intense moisture and conditioning. The passion fruit scented gloss is the perfect product to give Summer-parched lips some TLC. There are many nice color options, but a special color called "Stop Violence in the Home" will give 75% of your purchase cost to Stop Violence in the Home. This is The Body Shop's national campaign to end domestic violence, extending to 45 countries around the world and encouraging millions to speak out and take action against violence in the home. This very beautiful gloss is a super-super-sheer pink with gold shimmer that is exceptional. Get it for glamour, and to give to a good cause.
Philosophy always has new, fun, and unique fragrances, and we love they're philanthropic view, creating products that give back to good causes. Almost too cute for words is The Tree House $25.00, a set that helps raise awareness of the mission of Public Broadcasting. The packaging is shaped like a little tree house (with a door you can really open). It's decorated with brightly colored graphics including the PBS kids logo, children's faces, and tons of fanciful, smiling bugs (and one happy spider). The products feature an adorable logo of a red apple and a smiling worm! 100% of Philosophy's net sales of The Tree House will support PBS (public broadcasting system) and PBS kids. The cause is a good one, but frankly, you'll also want it because the apple scented products are delicious to smell and fun to use. Apple a Day Hand Wash 8 oz. is a fun, deep red, and it really smells like freshly picked apples while it thoroughly cleans and moisturizes. The Apple a Day Hand Cream 4.5 oz is a rich, pink cream that also smells like apples, and contains the very moisturizing and pampering shea, mango and cocoa butters. Choosing this set is child's play!. TIP: This makes the perfect, no-need-to-wrap, pick-me-up for yourself, a friend (stock up for the holidays), or as a thank-you for a special teacher.
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Alterna: www.4alterna.com 800-4-ALTERNA or at ULTA stores and upscale salons worldwide
American Joe Apparel: http://www.americanjoeapparel.com/
Aveeno: drugstore.com and drugstores and mass market retailers nationwide
Avon: www.avon.com or call 800-FOR-AVON
Bioré: drugstore.com and at mass market retailers and drug stores
Blue Seduction Antonio Banderas: fine chain drug and mass market retailers
Boots: at Target and CVS stores
Bourjois: Bourjois at Sephora.com
Bryton Pick: www.brytonpick.com or call 877-427-9866
California Tan: www.californiatan.com
Chanel (English Rose Collection: sold exclusively at Nordstrom and Nordstrom.com until October, 2007
Coppertone: http://www.drugstore.com and drugstores and mass market retailers nationwide
Cornelia Day Resort: www.cornelia.com or call 866-663-1700
Creative Nail Design: www.creativenail.com
Diamonds (Emporio Armani): www.giorgioarmaniperfume.com and at fine department stores
Easy Straight: drug stores and mass market retailers
Elizabeth Arden: at Elizabeth Arden counters nationwide
Essence of Beauty: CVS/Pharmacy stores nationwide
Essie: call: 800-232-1155 for product and store info or visit www.discountbeautycenter.com
Estee Lauder: www.esteelauder.com and makeup counters in department stores, nationwide
GapBody: www.gap.com and Gap retail stores
Giorgio Armani Beauty: http://www.giorgioarmanibeauty.com at Giorgio Armani Boutiques, and fine department and specialty stores,
Instant Burn Cooling Patches:
Jessica Cosmetics: http://www.jessicacosmetics.com/ or call 800-582-4000
Juice Organics: www.juiceorganics.com
Le Couvent Des Minimes: Bath and Bodyworks stores, C.O. Bigelow, and www.bathandbodyworks.com
Max Factor: at mass market retailers nationwide and drugstore.com
MIO Watches: www.miowatch.com *MioPINK sold exclusively on Amazon.com
Missonia Acqua: exclusively at Nordstrom department stores
Murad: www.murad.com and select MURAD salons and spas, or call 800-MURAD
OPI: www.opi.com and at professional salons, or call 800-341-9999
Orna Skincare: www.ornaskincare.com and at Spa H and Body Balance, New Jersey
Pantene: at mass market retailers and drugstore.com
Physicians Formula: drugstore.com and drugstores and mass market retailers nationwide
Prescriptives: www.prescriptives.com, department stores
Prestige Cosmetics: www.prestigecosmetics.com drugstores and mass market retailers nationwide
Red Engine Jeans: www.redenginejeans.com and boutiques
Renuzit: www.renuzit.com and mass market retailers nationwide
Secret Scent Expressions: http://www.drugstore.com and food and drug and mass market retailers nationwide
Splendid Mills: top boutiques and department stores including Barney's, Fred Segal, and Selfridges, and online boutiques
Skinceuticals: www.skinceuticals.com through skin care professionals, physicians, and upscale salons,
Sweet Beauty: www.sweetbeautyspa.com
Tarte: www.tartecosmetics.com Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman, and select Sephora retail stores
The Body Shop: www.thebodyshop.com
The Thymes: www.thethymes.com
Tinte Cosmetics: www.tintecosmetics.com
Two Sisters Jewelry Boutique: www.twosistersjewelryboutique.com