Friday, March 30, 2007

L'Occiane's Honey Face Cream

One of the questions I'm often asked is "What's the best brand?". Everyone wants to find that one cosmetic company you can always trust and buy blindly. However, as appealing as this idea might be, it's not that simple. From the sad but true fact that something that works for one person (be it a color or a skin care product) might be terribly wrong for another, to the even sadder one that every company that I can think of, including my most favorites, has some flops in its line.

I'm not entirely sure in which of the above categories to place L'Occiane's Honey Face Cream. I love their bath and body products. I use several of their body washes and lotions and consider their Ultra Rich Shea Butter Cream as my holy grail and the standard measure for any good body product. But my little skin care detour with a sample of this honey cream was pretty awful.

I should have guessed it's not for me when upon application the cream just floated there on my skin, not absorbing or moisturizing. The morning after breakouts were my punishment for this one night stand. I will not be messing up with my current routine any time soon.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I just might be willing to forgive Proenza Schouler and Lancome for that horrendous Proenza Pink lipstick. The reason? This dress. It's a collaboration between the designers and Lancome, to make a dress inspired by Hypnose fragrance. The stunning dress will be auctioned off on eBay starting April 1st. All proceeds will go to Save the Children. When you go to the website you'll find a link to a little video clip featuring both the dress and the gorgeous Daria Werbowy.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Panthere de Cartier (Memory Lane IV)

The winter of 1995/96 wasn't the best one ever. I was fresh out of business school, living in a city by the sea that turned out to be a gray, dreary place, plagued with unemployment and air pollution. I was working for a very small employment agency (so small that I was the only employee), had my second-to-worst boss and was realizing that the real world wasn't all that.

There were a few bright spots, though. The Blond and I were living together and talking engagement, we adopted our first cat and just around the corner from my miserable office was a little store that sold several of my favorite beauty brands.

One evening, after another frustrating day of trying to place unqualified workers at jobs only a little less horrible than mine, I paid a visit to the store. I needed a new Lancome Artliner, and was contemplating going wild and buying a red lipstick. I found one that I liked (I can no longer remember which one or what shade), and the sales assistant rewarded me with a purse spray of a new-to-me Cartier fragrance, Panthere.

I still have this vial, which is ensconced in the grip of a blue plastic panther. I don't remember much from the first time I tried it on, other than that it was love at first sniff. So much love that within a few days (and a paycheck) I was back at that store buying a full bottle.

Today I know to classify it as a floriental, to identify the citrus in the opening, the white florals in the heart notes (it has one of the most delicate tuberose and jasmine blends I have ever come across) and enjoy the elegant woodsy spicy dry-down (sandalwood, tonka bean and labandum). Back then I could only say that it felt elegant and sexy, much darker and edgier than my everyday Eternity, but still bright enough to make me feel happy.

It still does. I'm definitely not the queen of white flowers, but this scent is a far cry from the heady Fracas and its ilk. It doesn't hit you on the head. Instead, it glides on velvety paws in a warm, enveloping way. The flowers are soft, and even the opening isn't sharp at all, being more about the blossom than the pulpy fruit. A cat would not recoil from this.

Back then, it was one of my more sophisticated scents. My taste has shifted since then, and I might not be as in awe of Panthere as I used to be, but I still wear it when I want to smell beautiful, with a hint of mystery.

Panthere used to be easier to find. Sephora carried the fragrance and several of the bath and body products in this line, most of them are now discontinued. My first bottle was refillable parfum de toilette, with a red plastic cap. Those are also gone now, replaced by the prettier edp bottle with the perching panther on top. You can find it occasionally at one of the online discounters, but it's easier to get at the department stores. There's also a parfum version that might be my next purchase. I'm very curious to see how they differ and get more staying power.

A Good Read

The new issue of Sniffapalooza Magazine will be out tomorrow morning. I can't wait.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bliss Magnolia Body Scrub

Bliss products are a hit or miss thing for me. Some, like their hand and foot products, are brilliant. Others are just decent, but over-hyped and outrageously priced. And nearly all of them are seriously lacking in the scent department. In this price range I expect scents that don't belong in the cabinet under the kitchen sink.

Bliss Magnolia Body Scrub is a rare one in this regard. The magnolia scent is actually very delicate and pleasant, even for someone like me who isn't a big magnolia fan. I wouldn't object to a full line of products carrying this fragrance. Very spring-appropriate, cheerful and feminine, but doesn't last longer than the steam in your shower and will not interfere with your perfume.

The problem is that it's a very unimpressive scrub. The consistency is thin, the granules are tiny, and though the product is creamy and pleasant on the skin, it isn't much more than a glorified shower cream. It's very comparable to the exfoliating body wash from Maryam's Soap Nook. Very pleasant, not drying or irritating, but can't be trusted with all of your exfoliating needs.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tiffany by Tiffany- Memory Lane III

There aren't too many icons of glamor that are bigger and bolder than Tiffany & Co.. The robin egg blue boxes, the instantly recognizable store, Audrey and her breakfast...
Years before I had my first piece of Tiffany jewelry or even set foot in one of their stores, I owned a bottle of their original perfume. A bottle of pure femininity, glamor and mystique, which made my 22 year old self feel larger than life.

I knew very little about perfume back then, and couldn't really recognize notes. I didn't have much of a defined taste (other than realizing that peachy-fruity scents made me gag) and could barely recognize scent groups. I can't remember if I knew back then what's in the juice, but I knew that this one was BIG.

Tiffany perfume is, indeed, a big floral. Not as heady as tuberose based scents, but floral all the same. It's beautifully blended, so none of the flowers takes center stage. The notes are: rose, jasmine, iris, ylang-ylang and orange blossom. Like with other old favorites that I've been wearing for many years, I can't deconstruct the fragrance and analyze it even semi-objectively. I don't see notes. I see memories .

The elegant femininity of the bottle and the scent were what I craved when I first came across it. It was my evening and special occasion fragrance, and I still treat it as such. You have to dress and act like a lady when you're wearing Tiffany. And it gives you the confidence to do and be so. But, don't mistake it for an aloof, formal, Jackie O of a scent. It has warmth and sweetness that feels almost like vanilla, just not quite as simple. It's approachable and comforting.

Tiffany used to be more readily available than it is now. I've always bought bottles of the EdP, either from Sephora or online. Now it seems that you can only find it at Tiffany's website. everyone else is only selling the EdT if they have it at all. Tiffany also has a pure parfum version , and I'm seriously considering getting that one once I finish my current EdP bottle. I adore this scent as much as ever, but I wear it less often because of all the other bottles I have in rotation (not to mention my sampling habit). This is why I'm thinking that a tiny bottle of the pure essence might serve me well.

Original artwork by Fifi Flowers on Etsy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Magic Mousse

My experience with cream and gel blushes was less than stellar until now. Either the texture felt horrible to my skin (Tarte), they didn't blend well (Benetint), or the color was so far off that I ended up looking like a clown (remember O-Glo?). It all changed when I tried Magique Blush from Lancome.

First, the texture is great. It's an airy mousse that feels soft and is easy to blend. A couple of swipes with my finger tips and it looks perfect. It melts and merges nicely into my Chanel foundation, and the result looks more natural than any other blush I've tried.

Then, there's the color. I chose Plum Fantasy, which is very similar to their Aplum Blush Subtil. The color is like a light and sheer version of Benefit's Dallas, which I love, but looks a bit too much for my still winter-pale skin. Plum Fantasy is such a natural color on my skin that I use a touch of it on my nose and forehead, like I would do with a bronzer. It gives just the right amount of lively color.

I tried it on my lips, but it's too dry and matte and the color is exactly the same as my natural lips, so it doesn't contribute anything. There's only so much multitasking you can expect. The only improvement this great blush could use, is a longer lasting power. It fades to nothing within 4-5 hours and requires a touch up.

The web site suggests applying Magique Blush with their Precision Cheek brush. I caved and got the Petit one, but here's where you can learn from my mistakes. It's completely unnecessary, and actually doesn't perform half as well as your fingers. The straight cut of the bristles is weird and doesn't contour to the face. Also, the mousse sticks to it and requires washing after every application.

Retro Curls. Is My Hair Back I Style?

like just about every woman who was born with curls, I was repressing a sigh as I saw some of the Oscar looks. Gwyneth, Reese and Nicole were all rocking my dream hair: Stick-straight and very blonde.

However, Barbie isn't the only trend this season. According to the latest Life & Style issue, big curls are also an option, and a very cute one. We saw it on J-Lo at the Oscars, but I wasn't very fond of that. There was something creepy in her look (and I don't mean her husband). I guess that i just don't buy the retro look on Jenny from the block.

I really like the version you can see on Emmy Rossum. It's pretty, looks effortless (though I'm sure that it actually took some work) and very fresh.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cristiano Fissore Cashmere For Men & Women

Kashmir goat in Llandudno by Tony Worrall Foto

Nothing could be better with the kind of weather that we had for the last month or so, than a fragrance named Cashmere. I couldn't wait to try it, as in my mind cashmere is my long coats, many black sweaters and luxurious scarves. My taste in clothes leans towards the dramatic, and so does my idea of what I'd like a cashmere scent to be.

But cashmere is also the pink twin-set worn by the former prom queen, and this is exactly what Cashmere for Women by Cristiano Fissore smelled like every time that I tested it on my skin (and the following day. This might be an EdT, but it's so tenacious that it took more than one shower to completely get rid of it).

On paper, the notes of Cristiano Fissore Cashmere For Women (bergamot, jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, amber, cedar, myrrh, vanilla, white musk) sound almost perfect. But from the moment the scent unravels and envelopes my skin, something is definitely going wrong. Bergamot is the only fruity note listed, but it isn't the culprit of the fruity, peachy accord that greeted me, squealing like a cheerleader in a pep rally. I hoped she'd go away, scared by my very un-peppy skin, but she brought her college graduate sister instead. The one in the pink twinset who just joined the Junior League. The peach became candied and sugary, and has stayed there, killing everything that stands in its way: vanilla, ceder or musk. Muffy has got a gun and she's definitely going to use it.

I can't tell how or why, but something there has turned fruity bubblegum on my skin, with a disturbing sour note. And it would just not go away. I'm sure that there are many who would love it and can make it work. I'm just not one of them.

As is the case with many male-female fragrance duos, disliking the women's perfume often ends up with me adoring the male version (Prada is a good example). This would have happened here if only I could smell Cristiano Fissore Cashmere For Men.

Theoretically there are several woods, patchouli and also vetiver. I think I can detect the patchouli and something woodsy. However, the male version relies strongly on the very kind of musk to which I have a full anosmia. Seriously, I can bathe in this scent and only get a whiff of the opening, and then: Nothing. I think it saddens me even more than my failure with the female version. The Husband was not much help here. Apparently, he's anosmic to the same stuff and said he smells nothing but the alcohol, so none of us can tell you what this stuff smells like. Maybe it's really really good.

Both Cristiano Fissore Cashmere For Men and For Women are available at Luckyscent.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Trinny & Susannah- What You Wear Can Change Your Life. Or can It?

A few weeks ago, while doing some damage at my local B&N store, I was leafing through Trinny and Susannah's second book, the one called "What You Wear Can Change Your Life". I don't have too much to say about the book, but it's probably a good inspiration for someone who feels stuck in a rut (or in 1985) fashion-wise and have no idea where to start. The "What Not to Wear" ladies have a great attitude, they understand how looks influence your sense of well-being. And even if it's not exactly high fashion or the latest trends, they know a thing or two about clothes. There's some practical advice about dressing according to your body type, but the color guide they offer is a bit too simplistic. There are way more than just "warm" and "cool" skin tones, and most women I know can safely choose certain colors and hues from both groups.

The makeup section of the book is not exactly groundbreaking. While every statement they make is very true, I highly doubt that anyone reading the beauty blogs really needs to be told that foundation must match the skin and that a lip liner darker than the lipstick is a deadly sin. The fact that clumpy mascara isn't making you pretty isn't a new concept, either. However, one of the ten makeup points that they mention is actually worth talking about, and that's the awfulness of most long lasting lipstick, and how they make lips look parched.

I'm glad that someone has said it. A formula that is supposed to last for eight hours come hell or high water, isn't designed to make your lips happy. I can't think of even one product of this kind that ever felt comfortable on my lips, and it makes me wonder why would anyone think that re-applying is such a big effort that she'd rather suffer through wearing a super dry lipstick. A matte look can be perfectly fine (ask Dita von Teese), but you need to choose your lipstick carefully, and probably forgo anything that is drying.

Instead, I'd go for a very pigmented, high quality and very moisturizing lipstick. The latest offering from Lancome, Color Fever lipstick, is excellent. I've already fallen in love with the gloss from the Color Fever line, and the new lipstick is just as wonderful. It definitely lives up to the promises regarding shine, pigment and comfort. As you apply it, the feeling is similar to a lip balm. it coats the lips in moisture.

It doesn't survive dinner or a makeout session, but reapplying is fun.

The color that I got to try (thanks to Kerry from Lancome), Burning Torch, is not yet available, but hopefully will be soon, because it is perfect. Despite the name, it's a fairly muted brownish red, that (at least with my skin tone) is very suitable for everyday wear.

Ask the Non-Blonde 2: Lancome Mascara

I was asked about the difference between two Lancome mascaras: L'Extreme and Fatale. Now, I own L'Extreme, as well as Hypnose, Defincils and Defincils Pro, and I use them all (a review of the latter is coming soon), but I don't own Fatale. However, my mother, a non-blonde who is well-versed in beauty products and is probably to blame for my own little beauty habit, uses it.

According to my mom, Fatale is exactly what you see in the ads. It gives the fake lashes look, very 60s style, bold and completely not safe for work. It's a great evening look, because the lashes look very thick and their length is amazing: Up to there. "There" being her eyebrows.

L'Extreme is a great option if you want really long lashes that still look yours. I only became aware of just how much it lengthens until I began using a lash curler. Until then, the difference between L'Extreme and the other mascaras wasn't that obvious. They all gave definition and maybe some length. But once curled, you can see that Hypnose gives a thicker, fuller look, while L'Extreme is all about the length, and it holds the curl like no other mascara.

(Photo of Twiggy, found somewhere on MySpaces)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ask the Non-Blonde 1: Purple Eye Shadow

I love getting questions from readers, both through the blog's comments and by email. I email back when applicable, but this one was left as a comment and would probably be of interest to others. I was asked to recommend a rich purple/plum eye shadow for a green-eyed reader in her 30s.

My reply: The exact color that is right for you depends on your skin tone even more than on your eye color. There are many beautiful purples, and plum is a great option, because as a warmer color than violet it's more flattering on most. The ones I'm listing here are my personal favorites:

Dior 2 Color Eyeshadow. You can't go wrong with Dior. The shadows are very pigmented, easy to apply, blend beautifully and last without fading and creasing. Diorart is a combination of a soft plum and medium/fair pink that complements it beautifully. For more drama, there are the new. They are bolder and more shimmery. Amber Plum has a golden sheen and would look lovely if you're looking for a warmer tone.

I've written before about Bourjois Petite Guide de Style. The tiny booklets are among my favorite makeup items of the season, and I find all the colors to be very wearable. Excellent quality and long wear make them a very attractive option. Coquette Rosette is a violet/pink combo. From my experience, the shimmer is very delicate and is office appropriate.

Lorac single shadows (as well as their palettes) are among the best around. They are never too shimmery, but the colors are true to to what you see in the little pots. Garnet is a rich plum, one that I would have bought for myself if I didn't own several others already (Diors and a couple of sadly discontinued Elizabeth Ardens).

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The one with all the incense- Comme des Garcons

This might be the tail end of winter, but with temperatures and windchill in scary single digits, incense scents are just the thing. After going through several samples of Cardinal and still not getting it (though it layers nicely with almost every scent you'd try. I've been committing more fragrance sins than I'd ever confess here), I turned to Comme des Garcons Series 3: Incense.

I tried the most popular ones: Kyoto and Avignon, and gathered all my courage to revisit my old nemesis: Zagorsk.

Avignon: This is what I wanted Cardinal to be. The incense here is darker, deeper and more interesting then the soapy pine of Heeley. I lack the Catholic background and memories to make it a really evocative experience (being Jewish would do that to you), so there are no hooded priests when I'm wearing it, just more proof that good patchouli can make everything smell a little better.

Kyoto: I've never been to Japan, but if that's how it smells I will most likely love it. The incense here is more elaborate than in Avignon, and to my nose and skin is sweeter and less predictable. The different woodsy notes blended well on my skin into one cohesive image of dark green brunches against wintery sky. Pretty and Chilly.

Zagorsk: Are you scared yet? I know I was. My previous encounters with this one didn't end well. The first time I tried it all I could smell was pungent, rubbery smoke, band aid and pencil shaving. I tried it several times, working hard to find the promised beauty, but my only discovery was that I should never Zagorsk and drink. There was cookie tossing involved, and it wasn't pretty.

Still, I ordered a new sample and braced myself.

I have no idea if it's the fact that all my previous attempts at Zagorsking were at the height of summer, or it's my aging skin that has changed. It could also be my nose that has learned a lesson or two in the past seven months. The fact is that the bad industrial smoke was nowhere to be found (it now resides safely in Profumum's horrid Fumidus). Instead, I got all the cedery goodness and the floral notes, both violet and iris that softened it and made it (dare I say it?) pretty.

Out of all the three Comme des Garcons that I played with, Zagorsk is by far my favorite. Kyoto and Avignon, as pleasant as they are, lack a certain sexiness and flirtatious quality that I'm after at this moment. I'm going to have The Blond test them both. I have a feeling that their straightforwardness would work better on a male skin. Zagorsk isn't an "eat me" fragrance, but it has just enough pretty and intriguing elements to make me want to wear it again. I don't know if I'm getting a full bottle just yet. I'm scared that at any given moment it might turn and once again become Bois de Turnpike. It's not a chance that I'm ready to take just yet, but it's becoming very very tempting.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Super C Me

I finished my regime of the Caudalie serum sooner than I anticipated and, as planned, moved on to a new one: Laboratoire Rem├Ęde Super C Serum. I wasn't expecting to see quick results, definitely not within a week. But, I can already tell that barring some delayed reaction, this is going to warrant a serious raving review.

The Caudalie serum was nice, made my skin feel comfortable and started some fading action on the little sun spots. But this one has gone beyond that as far as skin texture goes. And, the fading of freckles/spots has accelerated.

I'll write an official review in four weeks, but so far I'm very happy with it.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Green Goddess

I wasn't going to up on my quest for a springy light green eye shadow. I knew I could find something, and actually managed to get two. One for evening, and one that is daylight friendly.

I'm a big fan of Lorac eye shadows, and wasn't disappointed this time, either. Goddess is a warm, almost golden green. The color blends well with neutrals and the shimmer is very delicate and office friendly. Like all Lorac shadows, it's high quality, goes on smoothly and lasts for hours. I wear it as a highlighter, but if your skin is lighter, it can probably work as an all over color and maybe, if applied wet or with a transformer, as a liner. Either way, it's very pretty and flattering.

There's also a green option for high voltage nights. The mint green shadow in Nars' Habanera duo is very sparkly, amazingly pigmented and makes the eyes center of attention. Unlike Goddess, this is a cool tone, almost silvery. It's very bold and doesn't work for me as a highlighter. Applied under my brow bone it makes me look ghostly. But when carefully smoothed on my lower lid, it is very flattering and makes my very dark brown eyes pop. It's way too shiny for day wear, though. Also, I have no idea how anyone can wear both the green and the plum together at the same time. The plum is almost glittery, very dark and really gorgeous, but I only wear it with a very neutral light shadow (Lorac Moonstone, one of the light shadows from the Bobbi chocolate palette or the light beige in Dior's Beige Massai).

The quality is wonderful as far as application and staying power go, but there is some glitter migration that I could live without (I wear it over a primer. It's probably worse if you don't wear one).

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Heeley- Figuier

I'm not a forgiving person, and I certainly don't forget offenses. Even perfume ones. Interior designer James Heeley has created the second most horrible scent I've encountered recently: his Eau de Bengay, Spirit of the tiger. That one would have been enough to make me give up on his creations (I wasn't overly impressed with his popular Cardinal, either). But the temptation of a fig fragrance was too great, and I'm very happy that I gave him another chance. I also went to check his web site and was blown away by the beauty of some of his work. His designs put his fragrances in context and help understanding them. His very clean and cold lines might not be my personal choice in home decor, but I can't resist their beauty.

Figuier is a beautiful, lush, fig scent. If most fig fragrances are kept green and cool to the point of being watery, this one is the opposite. It's full of body, like an old fig tree bearing almost-ripe fruit and heavy with green foliage. Its sweetness is very light and subtle, mostly in the creamy opening (the part that has a slight coconut note, but coconut haters shouldn't worry, it's really not 'nutty or tropical in any way, and it's over quickly). It doesn't develop much, only dries down to a cooler, darker fig that blends heavenly with my skin. It feels like sitting in the shade of such a lovely tree, inhaling its aroma. Figuier is much longer lasting than its L'Artisan competitor, and it's somehow figier. I love it.

James Heeley, come home. All is forgiven.

For the Pink-Challenged

Spring might not be in the air just yet, but beauty spring fever most certainly is. I can't do away with my coats, but springifying my nails is a good way to cheer one's soul. The problem is that the ultimate spring nail color is girly pink, but way too many of the obvious hues and tones tend to look awful on my hands.

My olive skin looks better in either very warm pinks (with a touch of coral) that are more summery, or in mauve-based tones. Essie has a perfect one: Spritzer (#365) is a muted warm mauve-pink. It's a great everyday shade, always aproppriate and very pretty. One coat is good enough (and looks more pink and bright), a second coat gives the exact color you see in the bottle.

Speaking about the bottle: The color is less pearly than it looks in the bottle, especially when a second coat is applied.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Montale Black Aoud & Blue Amber

Skin chemistry is fun. Except for when two fragrances that sound heavenly and perfect seem to not do what they are supposed to on my skin, and leave me with an unfulfilled longing. Two scents have broken my heart like this. They are two of the most popular Montale fragrances: Black Aoud and Blue Amber.

It's interesting in a cruel sort of way. Usually when I really like or really hate a fragrance I don't think of them as combination of notes, but more of an impression, good or bad, that evokes something deeper. However, with these two Montale perfumes it was almost a game- to feel and identify the notes one by one as they appear. Which is probably what went wrong. I never got the picture. just the colors, and none of them felt right.

Montale Black Aoud is a cyclical game of rose, camphory rose, leathery rose and back to rose. I get none of the mystery or darkness. The aoud part is dangerously close to turning sour, which I'm pretty sure isn't supposed to happen. It's rumored to be extremely sexy, but I can assure you that my skin isn't having any of it.

Montale Blue Amber starts with a very strong amber note, a hint of bergamot and a side of something stale. It feels like a cartoon version of amber, if you could have a cartoon scent. Exaggerated and aggressive instead of the promised contemplative and magnificent. I can smell the potential in the vial, but my skin is dead set against it. As it develops, the patchouli and vanilla soften it and make it all better. The drydown feels very similar to Mazzolari's Lei, only not as well rounded or comforting, because the amber leftovers and my skin do not agree with each other.

It's frustrating, because I can actually smell all the good notes in both Montale creations. I know that they are there, they just refuse to come out and play with me.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Dior- Beige Massai

I love those 5-color eyeshadow compacts from Dior. Each one offers several different looks, the colors are great and the quality is superb. Since I was on a quest for new and fresh spring looks that don't include bubblegum pink, Malibu Barbie or an enbalmed corpse, I decided to see what I can find in those navy blue compacts.

I was curious about the lighter shades, though I knew that most likely they wouldn't work for me. That's the problem with my particular skin tone. It's not spring-friendly and leaves me envious of those who can wear pastels, whispery pinks and most everything that's traditionally associated with the season. I also don't have the personality for anything of that sort, but a girl can dream, right?

As I expected, none of the delicate colors suited me. Unlike most light colored eye shadows, the Diors are very pigmented and do show up on my skin, but both Moonray and Mystic Jade (the one I was most curious about since seeing it on one of Neiman's spring looks) looked horribly chalky on me. Both would be fabulous on very light complexions, on which the almost-white base of the powder won't show up. It was frustrating, because I really wanted to find something in a light sage green color (mint green would never look right on my face), but neither were made for me.

I looked longingly at Myriad. It's one of the most stunning compacts I've seen. All those shimmery blues are beautiful. I can pull off muted blue eye shadows quite easily and own several, but this was just too much. I don't need electric blue shimmer,and chances are that you don't, either. Unless you go clubbing every week.

I wasn't in the market for anything brown, but on a whim, decided to try the colors in Beige Massai. They are brighter and livelier than in the photo, and the minute I tried them I knew that I found my cheery spring look. The biggest surprise was the light beige sheen. I have such a hard time finding a beige eye shadow that actually shows up on my skin and highlights my brow. This one is perfect. I'd definitely buy it in a bigger individual pan. All the other colors are pretty and very warm. They have a sheen, but not a shimmer, they light up the face and are very flattering. Their decidedly warm base might not work for everyone, and I know that on the very pale skinned with bluish undertones you'd get the infamous muddy effect. However, if you're rust and bronze friendly, you'd want to try Beige Massai. It just might be the compact you'd use most this spring/summer.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Yawn (and a swan)- Betsey Johnson

This is Betsey Johnson and she's riding a swan. She's trying to sell you her fragrance. Would you buy?

If you buy it, you'd find yourself with a bottle of a very generic fruity floral, with a drydown of musky vanilla. It's like the cartoon version of a fragrance- roughly sketched with all the usual suspects: Citrus? Check (tangerine and grapefruit), Berry? Check (blackcurrants), more fruit? Check (apple and pear). then there's lily of the valley and freesia and the base notes of sandalwood, musk and praline. All the notes you need to get a teenager to Macy's.

I have several Betsey Johnson clothing items, and the thing they all have in common is uniqueness and an air of fun. Both are sorely missing from this fragrance. It isn't a horrible one. I've smelled more cloying fruit in other scents, and since vanilla and musk tend to love my skin, the drydown is wearable. I wouldn't be able to identify it in a blind sampling, grouped with all the other fruity floral girly clones, but I didn't rush to the bathroom to scrub myself silly, either. It's a little annoying, but tolerable.

For educational purpose, here's the non-photoshopped Betsey. I almost prefer the swan.

You Said Chicken Poop!

There are many ways to generate marketing buzz for your beauty product. You can pay a celebrity to be your spokesperson (and hope that he or she don't end up shaved head and in rehab), you can make limited editions of your products that are either so limited that only select few can get their paws on them, or are only sold at one or two stores in the entire world (while you watch with satisfection at the insane bid wars your products are getting on eBay).

Or, you give your product an insane name.

I'd never believe it had I not seen the advertisement in my Gmail account, but there's a lip balm called Chicken Poop. It is sold on and is quite popular. The ingredients are: Soy, Jojoba, Sweet Orange, Lavender, Beeswax. Nothing to do with chicken (or poop), and the reviews on the website are very positive.

The name has that kind of charm that makes you think of two little boys grossing each other out at the dinner table. Cute, in a way, but I'm not sure that this is what I want in my beauty products (though it's still way better than a stoned celeb).