Sunday, February 20, 2011

This Week's Sales:
e.l.f., Mario Badescu, Rock & Republic and More!

Kind of a quiet week where beauty sales are concerned, but HauteLook is the hot spot with Monday's Mario Badescu sale followed by Rock & Republic Beauty and Deep Sea Cosmetics on Tuesday, and Elemis and Colorevolution on Wednesday February 23rd. Emjoi and Baby Quasar open on Thursday, followed by Delicious Skincare Event (featuring BeFine, Barrista, and Bubalina) and The Hollywood Prescription Deal of the Day on Friday

Elsewhere, Brand Alley has a huge (like 6 pages!) designer fragrances shop now through Tuesday. Also, trickily hidden in their Clearance sale, hit "beauty" to find goodies from St Tropez, Grace Cole, Baylis and Harding, and more. Then check out the Designer Cosmetics shop, where you can get up to 73% off brands like Stila, Clinique, Lancome & more! Click here if you're not a member yet (fair warning, the site only ships to UK addresses!) and we can both earn a £10 voucher.

Later in the week, Friday to be precise, Beyond the Rack launches a killer Designer Fragrances for Her boutique featuring Burberry, D&G, Viktor & Rolf, my favorite- Lolita Lempicka- and a bunch more!

For those of you that have resisted the e.l.f. hype up until now, this could be the time to check it out- they're having a buy one get one 50% off sale on orders over $20, just enter code PRESHALF by February 28th. I personally use the Studio Powder Brush every day to apply & blend my foundation- I had to give the brush a little super glue TLC, but for $3- totally worth it! Also, check out their awesome reverse liner- it dupes products that cost more than 5 times it's price!

The odd ball this week, kid-cetric site Totsy has a treat for mom this week, they're featuring Nvey Makeup until Tuesday, February 22nd.

That's about it- anyone else have any scoops about good deals out there?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quick Tip:
Correcting Uneven Pigmentation & Discoloration

Nobody’s perfect, which is what adds interest and variety to the human condition. I remember seeing a computer generated image of the “perfect face” a few years ago and thinking it looked totally bland, not to mention more than a little creepy. Nonetheless, most of us have things we’d change if given the opportunity, and my experience as a makeup artist has taught me that uneven skin tone tops that list.

For those with significantly different areas of color on their face (including those with conditions like vitiligo, hormonal hyperpigmentation and severe sun damage) the question becomes: which area do I match?

The answer: For the most flattering match, choose the darkest shade on your face and match your foundation to that. Though this may mean some work blending the shade down onto the neck, it’s really the best way to avoid casting an ashy or grey cast to your skin, which is what will happen if you put a lighter shade over a large dark area.

Choose a foundation that offers medium to full, long wearing coverage. Popular choices include Dermablend and Kryolan Dermacolor, I've also been a fan of Estee Lauder Maximum Cover (but haven't tried it since the formula changed last year). Apply foundation first, then touch up areas that need extra coverage with concealer. If your discoloration is the result of bruising, port-wine stains, or rosacia, corrective color techniques can be your best friend- apply corrective color first, followed by foundation and concealer.

When you've gotten the desired coverage, top your foundation and concealer off with powder to set it. You can also use a sealing spray like Mehron Barrier Spray to help keep your makeup budge-proof all day long!

Monday, February 14, 2011

This Week's Sales:
Illamasqua, Eve Pearl and
Happy Birthday to...

Before we get into member's only deals, there are a few great (and rare) deals going on that I have to call out. First, a rare chance to save on Sugarpill Cosmetics as they celebrate their first birthday. Get 20% off site-wide on Monday and Tuesday only with the code "birthday". Also check out Tarte Cosmetics' Best of Tarte list, all items are 20% off with code "winner" (offer good February 14-18th on only). Until midnight Thursday, it's another 20% deal over at Illamasqua. Enter code "VALENTINES20" at the edit your basket page.

Save 30% on any Bliss, Laboratoire Remède or Elemis brand skincare purchase at with code SKIN30. Offer excludes Bliss The Youth As We Know It Anti-Aging Moisture Lotion SPF 30 and expires February 22, 2011 at midnight (EST).

On HauteLook this week, Nutra Luxe MD is Monday's feature, with Cosmetique and Alexandria Professional in the spotlight on Tuesday, Freeze 24-7 on Wednesday, Eve Pearl on Thursday, February 17th. On Friday the site hosts a nail discovery day featuring Barielle, Ginger + Liz and Pharmagel. There's also a Bellapierre deal-of-the-day.

On Thursday at the Rue La La, visit their Get Gorgeous event; salon and spa indulgences in 4 different metro areas.

If you're looking for hair tools, hop over to Ideeli for their Lava Tech sale opening Monday, or check out Gilt Groupe on Tuesday for T3.

Swirl features Pangea Organics up to 50% off this week; sale ends Wednesday, February 16th.

Brand Alley has a Skin Solutions boutique going until Wednesday. Click here for an invite if you're not a member yet (we can both earn a £10 voucher too, so, nice.)

I hope everyone who celebrated had a great Valentine's Day- if you didn't celebrate Monday, do it tomorrow when all of those heart shaped boxes go on clearance! Have fun shopping!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Glittersniffer Warning!

For those of you unaware, there's been a lot of buzz in the blogosphere lately about indie cosmetic company Glittersniffer. The company is in the throws of a massive product recall affecting pigments made as far back as the company's inception (which, depending on your source, was either 2006 or 2008.) The recall addresses the company's use of dyes that are non-FDA approved for cosmetics (the ones used were meant to be diluted for use in soap making). Allegations of the company's deceptive business practices, which include claims of injuries, lost orders and missing refunds, are spread all over the internet. In fact, my friend Ana of Lipsticks & Lightsabers just shared her opinion of the matter, complete with screen captures and her own dazzling commentary. If you need a good primer on the scandal, I suggest you check out her post! I won't say it's unbiased, but it is factual, thorough and entertaining!

Since the issues with Glittersniffer have been so well documented, I'm not going to recount them all here, but I do want to share my comments (which are an edited version of what I posted in the comments section of Lipsticks & Lightsabers). I have never used Glittersniffer, and don't claim to have omniscient knowledge of the controversy, so be forewarned: the statements made herein are my personal opinions (except where noted) and should be taken as such. Nonetheless, I feel like my comments have value outside of the current discussion; they're relevant to anyone who's had issues with deceptive business practices, both inside the beauty arena and out.

With claims being made that Glittersniffer pigments have actually injured customers, I immediately wondered: has anyone contacted the FDA about this situation? Despite the recall, Glittersniffer owner Lela's comments on the website's recall info page prove that she still has no clue about FDA regulations. First thought? If she doesn't understand cosmetic ingredients well enough to, say, properly label her products, why in the world should be be trusted to properly use those ingredients? Second thought? DAMN WOMAN, get on the FDA website and get your info straight! OK. Maybe that was my first thought.

The first tell-tale sign that this company is a bit off? The US FDA requires that ingredients be listed by the INCI name, which is not necessarily the retail name OR the chemical name that Lela mentions. For instance, a retailer may sell Purified Water, the chemical name of which is Oxidane; in INCI nomenclature it must be listed as: Water (Aqua).

Lela also claims that since she's unable to label each pigment, she is working with her "graphic designer" for a solution. Bullshit.

My graphic designer is a Cannes gold award winner. He also happens to be my fiancé (brag brag) and I can assure you, he has no clue about labeling regulations (and yes, he works with cosmetic brands.) Why? Because it's not his job.

The fact is, since GS pigments contain less than .25oz (7.09g) per jar, the ingredients label doesn't have to be on the jar. However, they do have to be firmly affixed to the jar on a tag, tape or card. Otherwise, jars must be packaged in an outer container that includes the label. Simple, right? And my graphic designer didn't even have to tell me that!

Second, I haven't heard anyone mention getting an attorney. Again, I never tried Glittersniffer, and therefore am not directly affected, but I'm begging those of you who were, especially those that incurred medical expenses: GET A LAWYER & SUE HER!!! Most personal injury attorneys work on a pro-bono basis, meaning you don't pay them out of pocket, they just take a percentage of your settlement.

I had to sue a former landlord for an injury I sustained on his property, so I know how intimidating it can be to start this process, but in this case, it needs to be done. Not only to recover personal losses, but to stop this retailer from harming other people.

Finally, I encourage everyone effected by this to contact the Michigan State Attorney General. (Glittersniffer's business address is listed as: 4467 Vassar St Dearborn Heights , MI 48125. Incidentally, this info that should be on her products, as required by the FDA.) The website of the Michigan State Attorney General is:,1607,7-164-17331---,00.html

From what I was told by an insurance professional (in regards to a separate issue) this is the best way to get a business's attention quickly, and it often results in rapid resolution of an issue. Frankly, operating a business the volume of Glittersniffer without a business license can get Ms. Lela in big trouble as it is, so I imagine a letter from the AG would definitely get her attention.

Of course, a report to the Better Business Bureau is also warranted in situations like this, and can help to establish a negative history that can make it more difficult for a person to set up a business under another name in the future.

To those of you not affected, my purpose in publishing this is to help everyone become more educated and empowered consumers. To those that were involved, I'd like to extend my hopes that this situation is resolved quickly and justly, and I wish you all the best of luck!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

5 Uses for Disposable Mascara Wands
(That Have Nothing to Do with Mascara)

The other day whilst applying my makeup, it occurred to me that there is a tool I use daily that, unless you're a professional makeup artist, you probably don't even have in your arsenal. It's cheap, easy to find, and has a myriad of uses: a disposable mascara wand. Yes, I'm aware that you can buy a non-disposable version (a lash or "spoolie" brush) but don't do it. Mascara wands pick up everything-they get dirty and linty extremely fast & aren't the easiest thing to clean, plus if you're actually using them in mascara, the disposable ones are easier to fit in the tube, less messy, and (of course) more sanitary.

But what else can you do with these little buggers? Here are a few uses I've discovered over the years:
  • Brushing eyebrows after makeup application- This would be the "daily use" that I mentioned above. You know those people that have harsh, penciled-in, "old-lady brows"? 9 times out of 10 that look can be remedied by simply brushing through the brows after filling them. This softens the lines and assures there aren't any brow hairs clumped together from a wax, pencil or gel. I always, always, ALWAYS brush through my brows as a finishing step.
  • Exfoliating lips- sugar scrubs are great, but not always handy. Yes, a toothbrush will work too, but leftover toothpaste residue can irritate. Instead, put a little lotion, lip balm, or plain Vaseline on a disposable wand and lightly buff over your lips for a few seconds.
  • Taming hair flyaways- spritz a little hairspray on the wand (or directly on your head, whatevs...) and use the wand to brush the stragglers back into place. The fine, closely placed bristles on the wand grab tiny, fine flyaways better than a brush, and they don't leave tell-tale "track marks" like a comb.
  • Root touch-ups- for those of us that color our hair, these wands can be a god-send for quick root jobs. For me anyway, the long brush I use for my whole head can get unwieldy if I'm only doing roots; the tiny wands place color exactly where you need it without glopping extra product all over. If you color your brows, these work great for that too (of course, I would never recommend doing something so silly, since you could go blind, but if you happen to choose to of your own accord, I happen to know it works!)
  • Removing cuticles- Apply a little cuticle remover cream, or just a bit of plain ol' olive oil, let it sit for a bit, then lightly buff at the base of your nails to remove softened bits.
And here's a little bonus tip that has a little to do with mascara (or lashes anyway). The non-bristled end of a disposable wand is the perfect for applying glue to strip lashes. Instead of applying glue to the lash straight from the tube (which can put too much glue on) I put a bead of glue on the plastic handle of the wand and run the lash through the bead. Wipe the excess glue off of the handle, place the lash, and use the end of the handle (again, the end opposite the bristles) to lightly push the lashes into place. Much more precise than your finger!

Monday, February 7, 2011

This Week's Sales:
Sultra, Harajuku Lovers, Deborah Lippmann
...and more!

HauteLook opens the week this Monday with Lotus Cosmetics. Tuesday's a busy day with Sultra styling tools, Fusion Spa, Argyle Salon & Spa, Celebrity Laser Spa, XYZ Salon, and Miracles In The City. Wednesday features include Jane Cosmetics and La Fresh.

And, yes, I know it's not beauty (strictly speaking) but have to mention Ideeli's Harajuku Lovers sale anyway. It's pretty likely that we'll see some makeup and travel bags on sale, and it's 100% guaranteed to be super-cute (IMHO)! Sale starts Wednesday, February 9th.

Love is in the air (thanks Hallmark!) and Gilt Groupe is getting into the act with several V-day themed boutiques, starting Monday. Check them out if you're looking for treats like spa treatments, Decleor massage sets, D.L. & Co candles and more. On Tuesday, Deborah Lippmann visits along with Kai Fragrances.

Beauty Story only has one sale on the menu so far this week, when Davi Napa begins on Thursday, February 10th. Odd for a site that generally has a new sale beginning each day- of course, I'll keep you all updated right here should anything change!

Brand Alley has a designer candles and fragrance shop open until Tuesday, and Bellapierre Cosmetics until Wednesday, when Institut Karite takes over. Non-members don't fret: click here to get a personal invite from me (we can both earn a £10 voucher too, so yay!)

Anyone excited about any of this week's sales? Nothing is riveting me so far, but I have no doubt some unexpected things will pop up, so I'll be keeping my eyes open!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Truth About Hair & Silicone:
Guest Starring Molly Loretta!

Photo by: o5com
Something has been bothering me for a while. I don't know who else has noticed, but lately silicones have been taking a smack-down, especially from hair care companies. Though silicones have been used for decades without concern, suddenly we're being told they're murder on your hair; they weigh it down, dry it out, strip the color- if silicones could, why, they'd punch your mother right in the face.

Oddly, these claims seem at odds with everything I've ever learned about the ingredient. So I ran straight to my own favorite hair guru, my friend Molly Loretta. For those of you not familiar, Molly is a woman after my own heart- a fellow beauty blogger, Molly is a licensed cosmetologist, hair and makeup artist who knows her stuff and isn't scared to site sources to back it up! When I asked her to help me sort out this mystery, she graciously jumped right in. So now, I yield the stage!

Recently, I was commandeered by Jessica to write a post about silicone in hair products. There's a lot of skepticism in this department-fear, even-in regards to what silicone in hair products really does to the user. Is it damaging? Will it cause hair to break off?

There is a lot fear implanted into the minds of consumers regarding hair products, and many common misconceptions. As a hair artist myself, I blame other stylists for perpetuating this fear through misinformation, as well as their lack of explanation in the department of product usage. We're supposed to be knowledgeable, and telling our clients why or why not to use a product without proper reasoning only inflicts fear and confusion upon the user. I think that's part of the reason I started a blog in the first place. [Editor’s note: it’s also why I go to Molly Loretta with my hair-related questions; I know she truly understands the reasons & facts behind her answers and isn’t just spouting some company press release!]

A proper place to begin would be to explain what silicone is. Silicone is a chemical compound created from the most common mineral on the planet, silicon (though where it comes from isn't particularly important.) It is widely used in the beauty industry as a slip-agent and moisture binding ingredient. Silicone is also used for an abundance of other purposes, including medical implants and non-stick cooking sheets. So what does and doesn't it do to (and for) your hair?

Fear of using silicone in hair products is absolutely silly. First, the major complaint is the "product buildup" which will "break hair off." Every product you use on your hair will cause buildup. Hairspray, styling products... Silicone is no different. While an abundance of buildup could cause your hair to break off, it's unlikely in any circumstance that you're going to go that long without washing your hair, and continuously re-apply product to it. Next, saying that is damaging to the hair is a double-edged sword that is going to take me a few moments to explain.

Silicone is not an inexpensive product. It's actually pretty pricey for companies to use. So why do stylists NOT recommend you use mass consumer (drug store, you know, stuff from Wal-Mart blah blah) silicone products on your hair? It's because often the silicone is used in smaller doses, with fillers added to try to get you the results you want. These fillers include inexpensive products like certain types of alcohol (not just the rubbing type), and beeswax. The added fillers will leave a buildup on your hair that can result in a greasy feel or cause dryness.

More expensive products warrant their prices not just by their name, but by using superior ingredients that actually nourish the hair. The silicone used in high-end products is less likely to be diluted with ridiculous, unneeded fillers that prevent the silicone from doing what it is meant to do in the first place. Keep in mind there are MANY types of silicones, and it is highly unlikely that any ingredient list is just going to say “silicone.”

Here are some good, commonly used silicones to look for, along with brief descriptions of what each one does:
  • Phenyl Trimethicone - Water-resistant, adds shine
  • Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone - Adds luster and sheen.
  • Dimethicone Copolyol - Same as above and is water soluble.
Again, some common filler ingredients you’ll want to avoid are:
  • Drying alcohols, including any type of ethanol (ethyl alcohol), often listed as SD Alcohol, Alcohol Denat, also benzyl alcohol, methyl and isopropyl alcohol. Mind you, there are beneficial alcohols that can actually act as emollients, so if the phrase "When You See Alcohol, Steer Left" means nothing to you, read this now!
  • Waxes. You really don’t want that on your hair if it’s not for a styling purpose. I use beeswax when creating dreadlocks, I would never use it in a conditioning product due to its heavy nature.
Of course, if you have a question about a hair ingredient while you’re shopping, you can always pull out your smartphone and Google “What is [insert ingredient here]?" to avoid confusion. Sometimes companies will use the scientific names for ingredients, which is confusing to the average user. Mind you, the average user compiles the majority of the population, so this can make it very difficult to find a good product.

All in all, the positive aspects of silicone in your hair products far outweigh the negatives (which I couldn't find legitimate sources on, anyway). Just remember, sometimes you get what you pay for. To get a great silicone product, shell out a little bit more money. I promise, it will be worth it in the end once you see the amazing results.

One last tip: keep in mind that you should use a shampoo that is comparable to the conditioner you are using. You don’t want to use a mildly cleaning shampoo, then an incredibly thick conditioner that will deposit more moisture onto your hair that you likely don’t need. Many shampoos and conditioners end up getting a bad reputation because they’re mixed with the wrong counterpart! If your hair is dry, use a shampoo and conditioner for dry hair. Want volume? Use a volumizing shampoo and conditioner. The same across the board. You’ll notice there are different consistencies between different lines of shampoos and conditioners. This is because they’re formulated for different things; different ingredients have different molecular weights, and deposit differently onto the hair. Listen to your (hopefully) well-educated stylist to determine what will be good for your hair.

And next time your stylist tells you NOT to do something, ask why. If they can't give you an adequate answer, look it up, and possibly try to find a different stylist who has more knowledge in their field.

Hair questions? Shoot 'em my way at

Sound off in Jessica's comments and tell us what beauty myth aggravates you the most!
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