Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quick Tip: Making Fragrance Last

One of the biggest atrocities in the fragrance world is finding a scent you love, dropping a quarter of your paycheck on it, and then discovering that after an hour of wear, the scent you covet is no more.

Though you may have thought it a lame sales pitch, wearing a coordinating lotion underneath your fragrance actually does help to make it last longer. Obviously, the matching lotion will be comprised of some of the same fragrance oils as the perfume, which will intensify the scent.

What the sales person may not tell you is that an unscented body lotion can be just as effective. The aroma of a fragrance is carried in oils, which are attracted to other oils- including those in your skin. Enhancing your skin's natural oils with body lotion gives the perfume something more to bond with, thus the scent will hang around a bit longer.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Beauty Buzz Words: Fragrance Notes

In preparation for an upcoming post on my favorite fragrances, I though it might be helpful to do a quick primer on some of the terms that are often thrown about in the fragrance industry. There are a ton, so for today we'll start with a few that are used in every fragrance description under the sun: Notes.

Just like music notes, the "notes" of a fragrance are the individual scents that combine to make the final fragrance. They appear in different intensities and last for different amounts of time, which is why a fragrance will smell different when you first apply it then it will at the end of the day. The "notes" of a fragrance are separated into 3 main categories; Top Notes, Middle Notes, and Base Notes.

Top notes are the first thing you smell when you spritz on a scent. The top notes of a fragrance are the most fleeting, they begin to fade away immediately and are completely dissolved within the first hour or so. Top notes are usually the fruity, fresh or bright floral counterparts to a fragrance.

Middle notes, also called Heart notes, are the longer wearing "body" of a fragrance. They are typically richer floral, herbal or spicy scents that are noticeable right away, though they do intensify as the top notes fade. The heart notes of a fragrance can last several hours and, in combination with the base notes, will give the most honest impression of a fragrance.

Base notes are what a fragrance is "built" upon. Though occasionally they are noticible when you first apply the scent, typically they do not emerge for several hours. Since these notes are the longest wearing (and the ones most likely to linger on your scarf for days afterward) it is important to decide whether you like a fragrance's base notes before you purchase it. Woody accords like Sandalwood, Patchouli and Vetiver (which is actually a grass) are common base notes in both men's and women's fragrances.

This Week's Sales:
Lancome, Perricone MD and Tricomi

Though it's a rather quiet week in the land of beauty sales, there are still some good deals to be had. This Tuesday, July 28th, Gilt Groupe will be featuring Warren Tricomi Haircare followed by Perricone MD Cosmeceuticals on Wednesday, July 29th.

Over at Hautelook, Lancome's Captivating Nights collection will be featured on Tuesday, July 28th. This marks the first time I can remember finding one of the "big three" lines on sale- you'll never see it happen at the department store counter, so don't miss out!

Since these sales are by invitation only, I've attached yours here- you can join any site and visit the sale (all for free) just by clicking on the name of the site! As always, I do my best to list all of the sales that I know of, but since they are subject to change at any time, make sure you're following e on Twitter for the most up to date sales and invites.

Monday, July 20, 2009

This Week's Sales:
More Stila, Korres, Davies Gate and More!

If you missed your chance to snag some Stila deals last week, you've been granted a reprieve. Run on over to Gilt Groupe today, July 20th. Sale starts at noon!

Also on Monday, Hautelook will feature luxe fragrances, body care and more by Mor Cosmetics, and Freeze 24.7 on Tuesday, July 21st, followed by Greek import Korres on Thursday the 23rd. All sales start at 11AM EDT.

Rounding out the week, check out Billion Dollar Babes' double feature, starring Pangea Organics and Davies Gate. Both sales start this Wednesday, July 22nd.

Since these sales are by invitation only, I've attached yours here- you can join any site and visit the sale (all for free) just by clicking on the name of the site! As always, I do my best to list all of the sales that I know of, but since they are subject to change at any time, make sure you're following me on Twitter for the most up to date sales and invites!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Product Review:
Make Up For Ever
HD Invisible Cover Foundation

If you're at all interested in makeup (of course you are, why else would you be here?) then it's fair to assume you've at least heard of Make Up For Ever's highly praised HD Foundation. Touted as a holy-grail product for many women, French makeup masters Make Up For Ever created this formula to meet the demands of actors and actress in this new age of high definition. The idea is to make the skin look flawless, but still look like skin.

With 25 shades in the range, I was hopeful that I'd be able to find a perfect match for my exceedingly fair, warm toned skin. Alas, this prospect disappeared when I learned that the lightest 3 shades in the HD range have cool undertones (mini-rant: Why can't makeup lines realize that not all pale people have pink skin? Honestly, even those that do have pink undertones often look best in a yellow based makeup- give us pale ivories some options!) One glance at the lightest warm shade (117-Marble) told me that it was too deep to be an option. I did a quick test swipe and decided on- surprise- the fairest option available, 110-Pink Porcelain. (The line does have a fairer shade, 107-Pink, but I've been unable to find it.)

Though MUFE recommends a flat, nylon brush, I had read review upon review suggesting a stippling brush, so I whipped out mytrusty MAC 187 brush and prepared to be amazed. When I applied the foundation to my skin, I was thrilled to find that the shade was a decent match. Unfortunately, my skin still has quite a bit of color from the cruise I went on back in April- if I wanted to wear this foundation in the winter, I would most certainly have to hunt down the 107-Pink shade.

The HD foundation is described as a medium/full coverage makeup with a natural, radiant finish. While it is oil free, it does include several moisturizing ingredients, making it suitable for a wide range of skin types. Despite this, my first impression was that it looked quite matte on me. My skin does tend to be dry, but it is not lacking in luminosity, and I felt like this foundation gave me a dull, lifeless look. I also noticed immediately that it emphasized my expression lines, especially the ones around my mouth (you know, the ones dermatologists affectionately call "marionette lines"). While the Invisible Cover is not the only makeup that I have had this issue with, I did not expected it to be a problem since Make Up For Ever specifically claims that the HD Foundation does not accentuate wrinkles. Sadly, the way that I looked after applying the foundation had me seriously considering Restylane- odd, considering that the lines aren't even visible when my face is clean.

I really wanted to like this foundation. How could so many people love it so much? There had to be something I was missing. I experimented with various methods of application: different brushes, with and without primer, etc...and, low and behold, found that I liked the finish much better using a flat, synthetic foundation brush like the one MUFE suggests. This type of brush seemed to work the product into my skin better, whereas my softer, fluffier 187 brush left the makeup lying on top of my skin, imparting an unnatural mask-like effect. When I applied the makeup with my 187 brush, it gave, at best, medium coverage- it evened my skin out, but did little for imperfections. Layering the makeup in an attempt to achieve fuller coverage just resulted in a cakey, pore exaggerating effect. However, after I discovered that I preferred my flat brush, I realized that the HD foundation could indeed give natural looking full coverage, even without the aid of concealer.

I give this foundation a 5.5 out of 10. The formula felt good on my skin, stayed on relatively well, and, unlike some foundations that are designed for photography, it looked just as good in person with full sunlight as it did in a flash photo. While I would say it is a good foundation overall, there are other brands and formulas touting a smaller price tag that seem just as good.

-Wide shade range available (25 shades)
-Long wear
-Photographs well
-caused no irritation to my sensitive skin

-Limited availablity; additionally, not all shades are available at all retailers.
-settled into and accentuated fine lines
-most shades in the range are pink/beige based
-price ($40) seems a bit inflated given the average performance of the makeup.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nars Online Discount

Now through July 20th, get 20% off and free shipping on any Nars online purchase of $60 or more! If you've been tempted to try their famous Orgasm blush or The Multiple sticks, now's the time! Enter code NJ070960 when you checkout and as always, have fun shopping!

Beauty Buzz Word: Tight-lining

A relatively new term in the makeup lexicon, tight-lining refers to lining the inner rim of the upper eyelid, in the area between the eyelashes and the actual eye. This gives the appearance of a more solid, fuller lash base which, in turn, makes the eyes appear larger and more open.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

This Week's Sales:
Spa Trips & Some of My Favorite Skincare!

This Monday, July 13th, Hautelook will be hosting one of my favorite skincare lines, Mario Badescu. Those of you that have been keeping up with me for a while will recognize the name; I'm crossing my fingers that I'll find some good deals on the Glycolic Acid Toner, their famous Drying Cream and Lotion- heck, I'm game for almost anything! Also on Hautelook, check out Kerstin Florian on Wednesday the 15th to peruse their selection of spa proven treatments based on natural resources like thermal mineral water, mud, algae, and herbal extracts. Both sales begin at 11am EDT so don't be late!

Also on Monday, Gilt Groupe will be featuring Dr. Hauschka, who uses holistic, plant based skincare to help skin to balance and heal itself . Need an excuse to get out of town for a day or two? Head over to Exhale Spa will be offering discounted packages on massages, facials, yoga classes, and more at their New York, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Santa Monica locations. If you live near Exhale or want to take a road-trip to relaxation, check it out! Sale starts Tuesday, July 14th at 12pm EDT!

Meanwhile, over at Billion Dollar Babes... Developed by a dermatologist who also happens to be a board certified dermatological surgeon, MD Skincare promises to be your "surgical procedure alternative." Check out the range on Wednesday, July 15th.

A final note: sales on these and other "members only" sites are subject to change, and lately, have been doing so quite frequently. It's not uncommon for a sale to be canceled or another to pop up out of thin air. Since I may not always be able to do a full blog post, make sure you're following me on Twitter for up to the minute info!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Illamasqua Comes to the US!!!

In case word doesn't spread quickly enough, Adina from KraseyBeauty dropped the scoop tonight that many of us have been waiting for- UK rock star brand Illamasqua will be making it's US debut this month!

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Illamasqua, prepare yourselves. I honestly haven't seen such positive buzz for a line in my 13 years in the industry. Illamasqua, hyped as "makeup for your alter ego" is a line that is all about tolerance and self-expression, a rare and beautiful thing in an industry that so often feeds on vanity.

Beginning July 21st, will start carrying the line, followed by an in store launch July 31st at the NY Times Square location. From there, the line will roll out nationwide this fall.

I spoke to a manager at my local Sephora as well as the HR manager at the 5th Ave location in NYC just yesterday, and neither manager had ever heard of Illamasqua- that goes to show you how tightly under wraps this was! Illamasqua has said that they plan to bring a 200 product assortment to 26 stores across the country by the end of October. The manager at my local store did explain to me that typically, only 2 retrofits are done annually; the next will be at the end of August or beginning of September, so though the official launch may be closer to October, I plan on checking in sooner in hopes of grabbing a sneak peek!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Another Tempting Sale Week:
Cosmedicine, Pop Beauty and More!

The week begins on Monday July 6th over at Billion Dollar Babes with UK darling, Pop Beauty. With a slogan like "Shakeup your Makeup" how could you miss it? I'm hoping (against the odds- it's hot, hot, hot) to see their Lid Neon palette. You will have to get up early though, the sale begins at 8am! On Friday BDB hosts Pixi Beauty. Developed by makeup guru Petra Strand, this Soho, London based beauty line focuses on multi-purpose formulations that actually benefit the skin while keeping you beautiful!

On Tuesday July 7th Haute Look features Lisa Hoffman Beauty . Wife of actor Dustin Hoffman and mother of 6, the "kitchen chemist" has amassed beauty secrets from around the world and translated them into an award winning skincare range. Thursday July 9th, keep your summer glow going sans sun damage with Hourglass Cosmetics' Solar Tan Self Tanning Primer, or check out their range of PETA approved brushes. Both sales begin at 11AM.

Also on Tuesday, Gilt Groupe will feature Cosmedicine, skincare products that are actually considered over-the-counter drugs. The line has a "no beauty BS" policy and promises "the safest, most effective skincare you can buy without a prescription." The sale starts at noon.

If you haven't signed up for a free account with these member's only sites, CLICK HERE for a personal invite from me.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Quick Tip: Fixing Eye Makeup Mistakes

To fix a fatal flaw in an otherwise pristine eyeshadow masterpiece, first turn to your trusty non-oily makeup remover. To keep your Q-tip from becoming so saturated that it smudges more than what you want to remove, simply shake the bottle. Dip the Q-tip into the just the suds that form at on top of your liquid, rather than putting it into the liquid itself. This will moisten the cotton just enough to clean up a small area while keeping collateral damage to a minimum.
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