Monday, March 31, 2008

Calling All Bare Escentuals Fans!

If you happen to live in the San Francisco Bay Area and like/love Bare Escentuals, check this out! Sephora is hosting a Master Class with Leslie Blodgett in San Francisco that you can attend with the purchase of a $25 e-gift certificate which is redeemable for merchandise. Also there is a goodie bag for attending!

The class is on 04/17/08 from 6-9pm. You must be a Beauty Insider with Sephora and call 1-877-sephora to register.

I am already signed up and ready to go! I am currently loving Bare Escentuals Foiled Eye Tutorial and can't wait to pick up some more tips.

More on the Foiled Eye tomorrow......

Baked Beauties by Laura Geller

I have tried a lot of the baked cosmetics out there and they have ranged from so disappointing I returned them (an extremely rare event for me) to superb! Instead of focusing on the losers I returned, I would like to direct your attention to the winners that I will purchase again gladly.

Laura Geller is the queen of the baked powder in my opinion and has a range of colors to suit everyone. From bronzers to blushes and eyeshadows too, I haven't found a bad one in the bunch.

My favs are:

Ethereal Rose is a pearly pink powder that is perfect as a sheer blush, highlighter over blush, eyeshadow or swept all over to give you some sheer color and glow.

Blush-N-Brighten comes in 5 shades and I own 2 but want them ALL! Roseberry is a divine rose, pink, coppery wonderland.

Bronze-N-Brighten is the only bronzer I am able to wear without looking like I have dirt smudged on my face. I have very fair skin and make a point of staying out of the sun, but when summer roles around I want a little sun kissed glow without the commitment of self tanner on my face. (am I the only one who doesn't like the idea self tanner on my face?)

I have visited the Laura Geller store in NYC and have high praise for the friendly and attentive staff and the place is any makeup junkie's playground. Sephora also carries most of this line and I can say with utter confidence that the silky texture and color of these baked beauties will not disappoint.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Must Read Article

Most of the advice on what sort of battle plan to put together to take on aging skin just sounds like a product endorsement from the author. But every once in a while there is a well written piece that I think deserves your attention.

This month in W Magazine there is a fantastic article, Aged and Confused by Danielle Stein, that really hits home for those of us dealing with our first wrinkles and less than lovely changes in our skin.

All of sudden it seemed like the oily skin I had always battled was changing and sun damage was asserting itself along with fine lines that did not disappear after a good nights sleep! I really feel that most women wait too long to go see a dermatologist and in the words of my own, show up looking like 10 miles of bad road expecting a miracle. I think that the multi-pronged approach that the author describes is the one that works best, although I do use retinoids and can tolerate them well. There is also a great cheat sheet attached to look at for some products to consider, although there are products available at lower price points that work well too.

I always strongly recommend reading Paula Begoun's books, consulting her website Cosmetics Cop, or researching your favorite products or prospective purchases on her new online Beauty Pedia. I feel you can rely on her to give sound advice with the science to back it up and her reviews are detailed and unbiased. My favorite products and the ones that disappoint seem to mirror her advice and her free articles on everything from acne to wrinkles are a worth while read.

Only you and your dermatologist can come up with a plan that will suit your needs, but any helpful advice in the right direction is much appreciated my this makeup junkie! Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gift With Purchase

I am rarely drawn in by gifts with purchase. I generally view them as an attempt to persuade me to purchase more stuff than I wanted, needed or intended. But every once in a while a serendipitous event occurs and I am already purchasing enough to qualify for the shiny little gift. Better yet, every once in a while the gift is actually worth having and then I feel like I have won the cosmetics lottery!

Bloomingdales currently has just such a gift at the Estee Lauder counter with the purchase of $37.50 or more. First of all, the gift is huge and you get to chose from an array of products so this really does seem like the jackpot.

First pick is between a warm or cool eyeshadow palette with lipstick AND gloss. The palettes have 8 eyeshadows each, with the cool (my pick) ranging from light pink and taupe to smoky grey purples. YUM!

After that you have the choice of 1 each between 3 moisturizers, 3 repair lotions and 3 fragrances, all in a little cosmetics bag! Holy Cow!

In order to take home this prize I purchased the new Signature Eyeshadow Quad in Smoky Pink and Rose Light in the Pure Color Ultralight Gloss. This Rose Light shade is in the running for my favorite nude with some ompf, lipgloss color....really check it out! The new eye quads are the best shadows that Estee Lauder has produced in my opinion. The shadow is silky smooth and really wears and each quad (there are 8) is gorgeous. I am generally a MAC-aholic when it comes to eyeshadow. Between the color selection, quality and price, they are tough to beat. But these new quads at $35 for 4 colors aren't too shabby.

The gift is available until 04/13/08 in stores and online. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I Heart Kiehl's

Hello All! I am sure that everyone has heard of Kiehl's Lip Balm #1 but just in case there is someone out there who hasn't, I am putting my 2 cents in.

I became a Kiehl's Lip Balm believer when I took Accutane about 8 years ago. For those who don't know about about Accutane, it is serious stuff for severe acne. I had tried every lotion and cream both over the counter and prescribed and still my acne persisted. I was very tired of feeling like a perpetual freshman in high school and decided that I would give this a try. Accutane is indeed serious stuff with a list of side affects a mile long not the least of which is dryness that went beyond anything I had ever experienced. I searched for something that would take care of my lips and put a stop to the cracking and bleeding that would happen if they remained unprotected for more than an hour.

A friend pointed me to the Kiehl's counter in Neiman Marcus (the only place that carried it locally at the time) and my love affair with this balm was born.

Kiehl's Lip Balm comes in tubes and tubs (tube being my favorite for $7) and was the answer to my prayers. It is a thin layer of lovin' for lips with vitamin E, aloe, almond oil and sunscreen to keep lips protected and relieve chapping. It has a pleasant almond fragrance that is not cloying and although it may seem a little thin it really works.

Kiehl's recently added Lip Gloss ($14.50) to the lineup and the base of these glosses are very similar to my beloved Lip Balm #1 with apricot kernel oil and 10 colors to choose from. My picks are Pink Rider a cool pink with just a touch of gold shimmer and Berry 1851 a warmer berry shade with a bit of gold shimmer as well. These glosses combine the best moisturizing qualities of the balm with a wash of sheer color and are a must for any one's pucker.

Monday, March 24, 2008

LaVanilla = LaLovely

I confess that I have a little problem with lotion. As a self identified makeup junkie I feel it is only fair to admit that I do hoard lotion and have to stop myself from buying more when there are a dozen tubes waiting to be used at home. I am always motivated to try because I want non-greasy, super moisturizing, pleasingly scented lotion. I assure you this is not such an easy combo to find and I usually find myself settling for 2 out of 3.

The first time I ever heard about La Vanilla was on HSN during their Sephora show. The perfumes were the focus along with the fact that they don't contain any petrochemicals, propylene glycol, mineral oil, etc and instead rely on natural and organic ingredients along with some antioxidants thrown in. I was really motivated to head on down to my local Sephora when body butters joined the line up!

Exposing both arms for testing I tried every last one. I sniffed and vacillated, sniffed and vacillated some more because I liked them all for different reasons. Here's the lineup:

Vanilla Blossom: freesia, lemon, rose, jasmine, orange blossom and a base of Madagascar vanilla.

Pure Vanilla: freesia, tonka bean, heliotrope and Madagascar vanilla.

Vanilla Grapefruit: grapefruit, bergamot, lime, cedar wood, heliotrope, and Madagascar vanilla.

Vanilla Coconut: coconut, tiare flower, heliotrope, sandalwood and Madagascar vanilla.

They were all scrumptious and I felt that I smelled good enough to eat! I also had to decide......or did I? The 3 Wishes set solved most of my dilemma (it included the first 3 Vanilla's for $28) and the sample of the Vanilla Coconut (from the nice Sephora lady) sealed the deal!

My favorite has become the Vanilla Grapefruit and my husband's pick is the Pure Vanilla. I am here to report it is the first time he has ever commented favorably on the fragrance of my lotion routine and if that isn't reason enough for you ladies, perhaps the shea and cocoa butters will do the trick!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Why does everyone smell the same these days?

Every so often I find myself in the check out line of the grocery store and I can pick out what perfumes women are wearing and dang it if it all doesn't smell the same! There seems to be this variation on a theme that most perfumes that come to market are based around these days and they just aren't for me.

I don't tend to like super commercial, celebrity created scents (the exception being SJP's 2 scents) and I also am not usually a fan of florals either.I really lean towards spicy scents with just a touch of sweetness to balance them out.

I had read all about Musc Ravageur a Editions De Parums scent and was intrigued. So I headed to the local Barneys to see if these would be the antidote to my perfume blahs. I immediately noticed the 3 floor to ceiling tubes in front of this perfume section and also that the perfumes were kept in a refrigerator....hmmmm, even more intrigued. The 3 tubes that can best be described as Star Trek teleporter type things, turned out to to be scent chambers and in order to really smell the fragrance, internal fans were switched on and the fragrance was sprayed inside.

Moments later I was busily going between the 3 scent tubes and sniffing to my hearts content! The first tube contained Noir Epices which was really love at first sniff. The second was Carnal Flower and was just too flowery for me. The third was Musc Ravageur and while I loved it and will probably end up purchasing it later, tube #1 was my clear choice.

Noir Epices (Black Spices) is just that. Warm, spicy, it smelled intoxicating in the way that a scent that you love makes you feel slightly light headed. It has just a touch of sweetness from the orange and in my mind keeps it from smelling too manly. I do happen to like many men's fragrances but some just veer too far in the manly direction for my everyday wear. This fragrance walked that tightrope like a trained acrobat! The waves of spice were a marvel and I kept noticing that something was missing and it was vanilla. Vanilla is fine by me but I was thrilled that it had not joined the party because this scent was pure spice market in some steamy hot country I have never been to.

I highly recommed checking this line out if you are tired of the run of the mill fragrances that all seem to smell disturbingly similar these days. Be fairly warned that these frangrances are an investment (from around $100 to over $300) but are sure to be a permanent part of your scent wardrobe.

I get a little thrill every time I spray Noir Epices on. I feel that I am transported to a time when perfume was heady and romantic and the women who wore fragrance were spraying on a luxury of the most intimate kind.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

CK Beauty is CK-licious

Oh the excitement, oh the joy! I went to visit Sephora today and was just thrilled down to my tip toes! They FINALLY had a few collections I had been waiting to see in person, chief among them was CK Beauty. Now I have taken a gander at the line on the Sephora website, but I am not good with purchasing makeup on the Internet sight unseen and smeared across my hand, face, etc. I need to be able to feel the texture of shadows, see the opacity of a lipgloss, and well darn it the shopping and testing is half the fun!

CK, I am happy to report, did not disappoint. I LOVED the gloss selection in the CK line. The colors were great (lots of pink) and the texture was not sticky. I immediately put on Flair in the Sheer Plumping Gloss and it was a dream. It was the perfect balance of pink and brown with slight shimmer and transparency. First Date which is a bright pink in the Delicious Light collection was young and fresh without looking bubblegum. I was so busy smearing all available body surfaces with gloss that I had to force myself to look at the rest of the line, which is a ringing endorsement in my mind.

The blush, all 6 of them, were great. I, of course, gravitate towards that illusive perfect pinky-brown color, but there were other options, I promise. Foolish and Skin were both warm and lovely.

I tested both concealer options, one on each eye, and the winner for me was the Endless Light Brightening Concealer. I love concealer that has a brush on applicator mainly because I feel they are easier to work with. This pen had good coverage without highlighting every fine line in sight and had a subtle brightening effect that was easy on my peepers.

Hopefully there is a Sephora near you carrying this glossy fun and if not then break down and check out the website. The glosses were all so good, really you can't go wrong!

Heatherette by MAC

Today in stores the new Heatherette collection makes its debut! I had the chance to see the collection about a month ago (a pal who works for MAC) and was definitely interested. If for no other reason than the hot pink cases of this collection caught my eye. It's true, I am a sucker for good packaging and advertising. So off to the city I went today to check out the colors to my hearts content.

First off, this is not a color collection for the faint of heart. There are some pinks with some serious wattage and is what you would expect from Heatherette. Now don't misunderstand, this is not criticism. Not all makeup is or should be neutral and easily accessible in my humble opinion and if accessible color is what you want there are plenty of lines that are doing that well. Bobbi Brown and Clinique are the first that come to mind. But I count on MAC to provide edginess and not your mother's makeup colors and they deliver in spades!

My fav's for this collection are the Trio 2 eyeshadows that range from baby pink to a gorgeous purple. Lipglass in Style Minx is a true blue pink that is hot, hot, hot! The dual edge pencils with a different color on each end about sent me over the edge, with Phone Me/Text Me (metallic silver/charcoal grey) being the cream of the crop. My pal Karin was with me today and the Beauty Powder in Alpha Girl was her pick and I agree. It is a pinky golden color that would make an otherworldly spring blush.

So skip on down to your local MAC store and check this out. While you are there look at the Strobe collection and the Beauty Powder Blush. I have a flirtation going with the True Romantic shade.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Follow the Shimmer Brick Road

This past weekend I caught Bobbi Brown on QVC and as always was delighted with all the little tips and tricks I picked up! There really is nothing like seeing the person behind the brand working with the products to learn more.

I own 2 shimmer bricks in Pink and Tawny (a limited edition from last year) and admit that they haven't seen all that much use in my makeup rotation. Don't get me wrong, I love these little jewels and I get this twinge of guilt for having purchased them but not really using them. I knew that they were intended as a blush/highlighter and since I like to layer blush colors they would be the last one applied. But beyond that.....they were collecting dust.

So there I was watching Bobbi with her brushes, making the whole darn process of makeup-ing look effortless. Then they came to the Aqua Shimmer Brick for eyes. I sat forward in my seat, ready for some inspiration and WHAM, it struck me. Wait a second, this was eyeshadow she was talking about and as though the QVC lady was reading my mind at home, she asked Bobbi if all the shimmer bricks could be used for eyeshadow as well. If you are reading and saying DUH, well then you are smarter than me because the idea had just never occurred to my makeup brain.

Naturally I used the Tawny the very next day as not only a blush color, but used individual strips of the brick for a crease color and Voila! it was lovely. I also used the lightest gold shade as a highlight under the brow and it did not disappoint. Sometimes shimmery eyeshadow can really crease up on me but this performed well and really had some staying power!

So if you, like me, have products that are taking up valuable makeup space and not earning their keep, experiment! Plus a lot of the artists are selling their wares on QVC or HSN, so tune in (or set your TIVO) and pick up some ideas direct from the source!

This post is dedicated to my friend Karin. She loves the Wizard of Oz and will get a kick out of the title of this one!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Magazine Foreplay

This lovely magazine arrived in my mailbox today and I have already devoured it cover to cover! It's not my fault, the Annual Best Beauty Buys were calling me from the cover and would be responsible for this reading frenzy! Which brings me around nicely to the title of this post.

I buy LOTS of magazines just for their beauty sections. I am of the feeling that all of those pages between the front cover and the actual beauty pages are just foreplay. Now you might say that those articles are meant to be read, not skimmed in my haste to get to the good stuff. Well I say, politely, you're nuts! It's all just build up until I can get to the beauty editors picks and begin my couch commentary.

Going with the ummm, bedroom analogy, like rushing through the foreplay sometimes you are left satisfied and sometimes not so much.

This issue covers over 140 products and some I feel are clear winners and others I just don't understand. Givenchy Flirting Brown lipstick is on page 401 and its a gorgeous, superb berry shade. Featured on page 404 is Prescriptive's Site Unseen concealer which promises to both hide circles while brightening and has me ready to run right out and see if the promises are to be believed.

Instyle's choice for cream shadows is not a favorite for me. The pick is Nars, which is one of my favorite brands. I own a small fortunes worth (okay a large fortune) of their makeup and recommend many things highly (Outlaw blush being one), but the cream shadows just don't work for me. As mentioned in my first post, I have oily skin and these cream shadows just wander around my eyelid and as the article states, they never really dry down. This probably isn't a problem for someone with normal or dry skin, but for me it's the kiss of death!

Bobbi Brown cream eyeshadow and gel liner are like manna from heaven! They stay put through an entire day and that includes the gym, which for me is nothing short of a miracle.

All in all I say, get yourself a copy and peruse the beauty pages or if unlike me, you like more foreplay, I did see an article about Renee Zellweger as the pages flew by!

Monday, March 17, 2008

1st Annual Makeup O-wards

I was on my way back from Chicago and was on the plane with the April 2008 issue of O magazine to keep me company. In this issue O presented their 1st annual Makeup O-wards. YSL's spring line with the super cute Pop Stick Blush is featured on the first page, but it was the next page that really caught my eye. Winner #6 is the new Cle de Peau Extra Silky Lipstick ($50) which I have in shade# 104, which is a lovely creamy pinky brown shade with a glossy finish.

However Winner# 10 had me on the hunt! Featured was a new Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Bonbon ($22) that looked promising. Now in the interests of full disclosure I have not been a fan of Laura Mercier gloss in the past. It was sticky and smelled intensely of plastic, although the colors were always so nice I tried my very best to get past it. Not so much.

I am very happy to report that the new gloss (which is currently a Nordstrom exclusive) is much improved! The plastic stink has been replaced by a sweet vanilla fragrance and the stickiness is gone. According to the sales person shea butter has been added for moisturizing benefits and well, I was sold! (it doesn't take much)

Rose is my favorite shade, all rosy lipgloss glory, with Baby Doll (clear light pink) being a close second. The Bonbon shade mentioned in "O" is very nice but a little too peach for me, although I think it's a great spring shade. The rest of the new Laura Mercier Dreamy collection is worth a look as well. Next up from Laura Mercier will be the Gold Digger collection that word has it will be more dramatic, whereas Dreamy is springy and naturally flattering.

I think that the official gift of spring should be a new lip gloss (or 12) and these O-Wards point in the right direction!

Matte Perfection

I have oily skin. I don't like my oily skin. I have heard all the old wives tales about how oily skin will stay younger looking longer and I realize there may be some truth to it, but the shine battle that I wage as a result is no fun.

There are lots foundations that claim to be matte but very few that really deliver on that promise without looking like a mask. Yuck! Or worse, are not really matte at all and just look like goop on my face by mid-day. Double yuck!

Make Up Forever Mat Velvet+ liquid foundation is the hands down winner in my book and the Super Matte Loose Powder is divine. Both set the bar for matte foundation and powder without looking like you stole a small child's sidewalk chalk and smeared it all over your face. I remember the late 90's were all about matte but they were terrible, with heavy texture and cakey looking results. These two favorites are nothing like that with medium coverage and a matte finish that really controls shine without looking like the aforementioned chalk.

I also enjoy MAC's Studio Fix powder foundation and always have it on hand for use when morning time is limited, but blotting is a must for those of us afflicted with truly oily skin. So if you struggle as I do to keep your foundation looking fresh throughout the day, do not delay! Get thee to the Sephora and check out the promise land!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Why a blog?

As the blog name suggests I LOVE MAKEUP. I love shopping for it, reading about it, applying it, and chatting with my friends about it. I have traveled to major cities just to shop for makeup. My most vivid memory of my mother when I was a child was watching her apply makeup and wondering when I could get my paws on all those shiny cases of beauty magic!

Recently I took an online poll for Allure magazine that was asking all sorts of questions about today's changing economy and what you considered a luxury. For instance, did you consider makeup a luxury that you would cut back on or was food negotiable to keep your beauty budget intact?

Well needless to say I am pretty sure Allure would like to refer me to some sort of 12 step program after I submitted my responses to this poll.

A blog seemed to make sense in light of this and so I figure that by sharing my love of makeup maybe that would help to mitigate the imbalance in my budget. Plus, I could yammer on about all things beauty related and give my poor friends a break!

With that said I would like to start my blog by posting about the workhorses in my makeup collection. Too often I overlook these beauty soldiers and grow complacent since they perform everyday, without complaint, beautifully.

The first step in my makeup routine is sunscreen. My search for a sunscreen that would not make my oily skin mad and my foundation feel like a mask was long and hard. I tried everything I could get my hands on that claimed it would be friendly with oily skin and not cause my face to look like a solar reflector of shine within an hour. I failed many times, suffering breakouts of teenage proportions and used dozens of my favorite Shisedo blotting papers to try and eliminate the oil slick that would take over by midday. So it is with great pleasure that I present Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Daily Mattifying SPF 15!

Okay I realize that sunscreen may not seem like a glamorous choice for a first blog, but without sunscreen we will all look like hags a lot faster so it ranks high for this makeup junkie! This sunscreen does exactly what it says it does. It provides light hydration with uva/uvb protection, all the while using silica to control shine. With my shine prone skin I couldn't ask for more and at $18.95 for 2 oz my wallet breathes a sigh of relief.

This and a great many other worthy products are available here:

Next in my diary will be my favorite foundations and yes I have more than one!