Monday, December 29, 2008

Into the Barely-There Blue

This should be the only blue eye color allowed to be anywhere near your eyes. Avon’s mineral make-up collection includes a smooth mineral eyeshadow in a shade called “Pixie Dust.” It is one of the lightest mineral powders around and allows for a flawless and foolproof application. The inner cap has a small opening that permits just enough of the shadow to adhere to a small brush. (The outer cap keeps the powder firmly in place when not in use.) When the mineral powder is dusted on the eyelids the effect is a light sprinkling of highlights with the merest, most subtle hint of blue.

This Avon eye makeup is blue eyeshadow that is not blue eyeshadow. It is more like a soft kiss of a dusting of the palest, barely- blue. Wear it now to put you in the mood for Spring or to complement the snowy difts of Winter.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Beautiful Bonus from Borghese

There is a very reliable rumor circulating that Borghese is having a fabulous sale. But it is ephemeral so remember the date. Borghese—the name that signifies, as they promise, “ the tradition of Italian classic beauty and modern sensibility” has tempting collections of skincare, make-up, fragrance, hair care, and more as well as a men’s line.

Here is the ephemeral part. For one-day only, you can receive 25% off anything and everything (your complete order, no minimum) when you order online at Simply enter the promo code – LASTCHANCE at the checkout. The sale starts at 12:01 am on Tuesday, December 16th and ends at 11:59 pm on December 16th.

With a genuine offer like this, who needs TARP Funds?

Mask-Away Stress

The Purify Self-Heating Mask (sugg. retail price ($5.99) from Bioré deserves another mention.

Right about now just might be a good time to apply the contents of this little power-packed capsule and massage it into your face. And it is easy to open—no “tear-here” tantrums-- unlike some other packaging that instructs “tear here” and no amount of tearing will work--especially nerve-wracking if you are trying to get ready for a shower and don’t have any scissors handy.

The self-heating mask fulfills the promise of a relaxing skin revitalizer…and in only one minute. And there is absolutely no mess. You just massage the mask into your skin. The warmth feels wonderful and soothing—calming. Then you just rinse off and there you are, ready for anything new that comes your way.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Exceptional Exfoliants

One sure way to wake-up a tired complexion in the morning is to wash your face with a facial scrub. There is nothing like it to get your skin cells pumping. St. Ives Elements offers three different versions, each guaranteed to get your face ready for the day.

The Swiss-based St. Ives Laboratories, now a part of Alberto-Culver, with its world-wide line of botanically-based Swiss Formula skin and hair products has long offered a strong selection of high quality and still affordable products.

The most gentle is the Olive Scrub., a 5 oz tube containing olive oil and all-natural exfoliants. The Olive Scrub does exactly what it says—“gently exfoliates while leaving skin moisturized.” It is very easy on the skin and is one of the most mild exfoliants on the market. Another, Microdermabrasion, has fine mineral crystals and chamomile to “gently smooth away the appearance of fine lines.” The texture is not at all gritty and the sloughing particles are so fine all you feel is a tingling. Then there is St. Ives new Warming Scrub, which “relaxes pores for a deeper clean”. It heats with contact with water and makes a rich lather and feels very comforting and at the same time invigorating.

All are refreshing wake-up calls for a still-sleepy complexion.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bridging Beauty Careers and Bridging Life

We usually write about a specific product in this space but this time we are taking a look at a person behind a well-known brand. This interview was published by Cosmetic Executive Women, Inc. ( ) a nonprofit professional organization of more than 4,000 executives in the beauty, cosmetics, fragrance, and related industries. CEW is based in NYC, and has associated organizations in France and the United Kingdom.

Sonia Kashuk, president and creative director of Sonia Kashuk, Inc., has step by step transformed herself from makeup artist to beauty business executive. Her nine-year-old signature cosmetics collection, long exclusive to Target, has just made a highly unusual leap expanding distribution into the prestige sector with the addition of Space NK shops in Bloomingdale’s. Next year, the line will debut overseas at Space NK stores in the United Kingdom.

How did your makeup career begin?
I helped with the makeup for the music video for the song Funkytown in the early ‘80s. That experience just pulled everything together for me. I remember thinking, `yes, I am going to go to beauty school now.’ Because at the time, you had to be licensed to do makeup, not just for hair like it is today. When I started doing makeup, it focused my energy.

What came after beauty school?
I went to work at a salon, running the makeup department and counter. Clients would get their hair done and I would do their makeup. Within a month of doing that, I knew I was more interested in being a freelancer. I started working on fashion shows and picking up other freelance jobs. I was having an incredible career in Minneapolis, but I knew New York was where I had to go.

How did you prepare for that jump?I studied fashion magazines.
I was so impressed with the work of makeup artist Linda Mason. She used bold washes and stripes of colors. I desperately wanted to meet her. But I wasn’t having much luck until her agent hired me to help on a show. At our first meeting, her face was painted green. She was trying out a look for the designer Willi Smith’s Williwear show. Linda eventually recommended me to the photographer Arthur Elgort. He took me under his wing. It changed my life.

What came next?
In the late 80s, I consulted with Aveda on a new makeup line and the brand’s overall creative direction. And I continued to travel for other assignments.

How did this lead to your relationship with Target?
I worked on a beauty book with Cindy Crawford, titled Cindy Crawford's Basic Face. It was published in 1996. The book tour took us to Target and other big box stores. At the time, Bobbi Brown and Francois Nars were establishing their prestige makeup artist lines. I got inspired to start a makeup artist line of amazing products at affordable prices. I found mass market makeup lines difficult to shop because they had too many color selections. If I found it this overwhelming, how must the typical woman feel? I wanted to do a more edited line. I got the name of a senior executive at Target and called. They’re always looking for new ideas and embraced the concept. I was the second designer, after Michael Graves, that they began working with.

How has your focus changed during the course of your career?When I launched my cosmetics line in 1999, it coincided with the birth of my second child. I realized that I loved doing makeup, but I also loved the concept of creating a brand and handling the business side. I was married with two children and wanted to be more in control of my own destiny. I didn’t want to be waiting for a phone call to know if I had a freelance job the next day. Now that my career has transitioned from makeup artist to beauty entrepreneur, I’m in control of it, instead of it controlling me.

How do you manage work and family?
Our offices are in the same building as my apartment. So when my kids come home from school they can pop in and say `hi.’ We could be sitting here working on [product] names and my kids might pull up a chair and work on names too. I love that about my office. It is not stiff and uptight. It is a creative, peaceful and calm environment.

In 2006 you were diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. You opted for a double mastectomy to give yourself some peace of mind. How did you handle serious health issues, while running a company?
My family has a history of breast cancer. So I had regularly been checked at Sloan Kettering. I got the news in May of 2006 and within a month underwent a lumpectomy to remove the tumor. I realized I had to schedule the most major surgery into my life. I didn’t do it until September 15th. I wanted to have everything organized beforehand. I had to carve out time. It is amazing that whatever you need to do in life you get through it. Target, and my vendors, were so incredibly supportive. Everyone did everything they could to help out. To help others, I partner with Target and the Breast Cancer Research Fund, and in 2009, will serve on the board of the CEW Foundation which supports the Cancer and Careers Program.

What do you think has helped foster your success? A lot of things have happened by my being a little bit aggressive and stepping over the line. What is the worst that can happen, other than someone saying, `no?’

CEW, 286 Madison Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10017

Monday, December 1, 2008

Snickerdoodle in the Shower

It is Philosophy’s philosophy that every day is a holiday. And the holiday collection of mouth-watering scents and fragrances will put even the grouchiest grump in a better mood to start the day. One unique Philosophy product is their 3 in 1 shampoo, shower gel and bubble bath elixir. It really can be used for any of the three purposes, and it does what you ask of each.

This multi-tasking, award-winning shampoo, shower gel and bubble bath formula cleans and conditions hair and skin in one easy step leaving them feeling soft, smooth and smelling delicious. It is a gentle yet thorough cleanser that will send your senses reeling with an array of fragrances so vast that you could try a new one every day for almost two months and still not have experienced all of them.

Some of the seasonally inspired scents include: Pumpkin Spice Muffin, Caramel Apple, Black Licorice, CafĂ© au Lait, Double Rich Hot Cocoa, Spicy Pear Cobbler, Orange Cranberry Spritzer, Angel Cakes, Snickerdoodle, Gingerbread--hungry yet? (No, we didn’t put these in the wrong products review page--they only sound and smell like they belong in our food review blog.) The flavor fragrances will delight anyone and inhaling the fresh food aromas may even help satisfy food cravings… maybe.

Our philosophy is that is that even if Philosophy made no other product except the fabulous 3 in 1, they would have lived up to their philosophy.

Just one suggestion--since the elixir is so deliciously thick and rich, it would be easier to get the liquid out of the container if it came with a pump. Idea?

About $16 to $20 each. And worth every cent--scent.