Also, while supplies last, spend $50 or more (tax and shipping not included) and receive a special gift with purchase valued at over $20. Just enter coupon code CRUNCHER during checkout. It’s really that simple to give glamorous gifts and save!
Get Positively Beautiful: The Ultimate Guide to Looking and Feeling Fabulous ($15) -- In this recently released book from TLC's Carmindy, learn how to transform negative thoughts and perceptions into a more positive outlook inspired by your own natural beauty and best features. It's like CBT for your face.
Face of the Century: 100 Years of Makeup and Style ($40) -- with 192 pages and 200 photos, this collectible coffee table book details the looks, styles, hints and tricks for the last 100 years or so.
The Dress Doctor: Prescriptions for Style from A to Z ($14) -- Recently released special edition reprint of the classic guide to fashion and style from Hollywood's legendary costume designer, Edith Head. Famous for dressing pretty much every big classic Hollywood star you could name, Ms. Head details her advice for dressing for your body type, developing your own personal style and dressing for occasions.
Rescue Your Nails ($10) -- Every nail question you ever had or didn't even know you had is answered by Ji Baek (founder of Rescue Beauty Lounge) in this fun and instructive read. Apparently this book has inspired legions of nail-biters to give it up once and for all.
Thanksgiving Inspired Body Scrub -- combine some ingredients you already have around the house for a moisturizing, holiday-inspired, exfoliating treat!
Philosophy Orange Cranberry Spritzer (pictured above, $16) -- try one of Philosophy's signature 3-in-1 gels infused with the tangy smell of cranberry spritzer for a quick, but luxurious, pick-me-up.
Anti-Puffiness Cool Eyes by Montagne Jeunesse -- extracts of plant collagen, licorice and pumpkin soothe eyes tired from chopping onions all day long.
Cranberry Body Polish from The Body Shop ($20) -- if whipping up a DIY scrub is not on your to-do list, then check out The Body Shop for the entire line of cranberry body and bath products like this scrub that exfoliates with cranberry seeds, walnut shell and evening primrose. [Currently being sold with a Buy One Get One Free Promotion.]
Liplicious Lip Gloss in Cranberry Cocktail ($7) -- punch up your kisser with this flavorful, deep berry-colored gloss from Bath & Body Works. [Buy Two Get One Free Promotion.]
Dior Chic Palette ($50) -- Six shades of beautiful eye shadows in an iconic Dior-inspired package make this set not only an excellent palette but also a chic accessory. It is a limited edition, Sephora-exclusive product and it is gorgeous!
Tarte The Vanity Limited Edition Palette ($52) -- I wish that I had a better picture of this killer collection, but you'll just have to believe me that it is awesome. This palette is not tiny at all and could last a girl at least through next December. It includes 16 eyeshadows, 16 glosses, a mascara, a bronzer, a luminizer, four powder blushes, and a few brushes to spare. Plus, all the products are loaded with tarte's signature "skinvigorating" ingredients: vitamin E, beeswax, rice bran wax, carnuba wax, and mineral pigments.
Sephora Brand Luxe Noir Eyeshadow Palette in Silver ($26) -- It seems like Sephora has really been stepping-up their house brand offerings and this palette is no exception. Containing eight of their most popular sultry, smoldering shades, the Luxe Noir palette is perfect for creating holiday looks as romantic or seductive as you desire. Plus, at half the price of the palettes above and with a sleek silver package, what's not to love?
Are you assembling your holiday lists yet? Any of these lovelies going to make the cut? So many to choose from...
You may have noticed the "Total Beauty.com Member" badge appear on the front page sometime last week. That is because The Beauty Couch was accepted to be a member of the Blogs We Love Network on Total Beauty. Pretty exciting, no?
Even more exciting is that today The Beauty Couch is blog of the day! Check it out!
As a side note, there have been a lot of exciting things going on in my life recently. All are good, but just a heads-up that posting might be a little slow for the next few days as a result of some different demands on my time. I'll be back, though, pinky swear.
Today I finally had the chance perform an absolutely critical "vetting" of these sets in real life. Let me explain: most of these collections don't contain full-sized versions of the beloved products and what can appear to be an amazing must-have collection in the catalog can be a major disappointment in real life. Turns out some of them are downright freakin' tiny.
Consider the Benefit 24K Sexy Gold Set priced at a very appealing $32 (picture above). This one isn't so bad because it contains a full-sized lipstick and pot of shimmer powder. What I found to be shocking was the size of the included bag. This "gold embossed clutch" is barely larger than a generous change purse. I looked for the official dimensions, but can't find them. I would estimate that it's about 7" x 4" at the most, definitely not big enough for an evening "clutch!"
Next up, DuWop Venom Rocks Set ($21) is a collection of three mini Lip Venom lip glosses. The important word there being "mini" because they are not joking. "Trial-sized" or "one-time-use" might be more appropriate. Each contains 0.05oz of actual gloss compared to 0.12oz in regular-sized Lip Venom ($16). With the entire set, you get 0.15oz of gloss, which makes the $21 tag suddenly seem even more outrageous. Lastly, we have the tarte Purse Your Lips Mini Lip Gloss Clutch ($39) which includes nine new colors. Amazingly, at a whopping 0.02oz each, these glosses contain even less than the Lip Venom set. Just for comparison, a regular sized tube of tarte's Lip Gloss ($21) contains 10 times as much product at 0.2oz. So, if you add up all the gloss in this set: 9 x 0.02oz = 0.18oz, which is still less than one regular container and costs almost twice as much!!! Granted, I understand that you aren't only paying for product, but for packaging and the little clutch (also small, BTW). Nevertheless, it kind of boggles the mind.
On one hand, I am surprised by the stingy aliquots of beauty in these sets On the other hand, I realize that these are businesses trying to make money and that these gift sets are designed and priced very carefully to do just that. Then again, I don't have to buy them, and (in the words of my charming sisters-in-law) they are officially "next-ed!"
There must be something romantic or fascinating about the Lipstick Index in times of financial crisis, because mentions keep popping up everywhere. Even the venerable NY Times is not immune. In a November 7th article by Ellen Tien, she reports that cosmetic sales in the past few months are up 40%! And just in case you were wondering what little piece of luxury is next on your list, simply consult the picture above.
Top row, from Left to Right:
1. Benefit Full-Finish lipstick in Ladies’ Choice, $18 at benefitcosmetics.com.
2. Sisley Hydrating long-lasting lipstick No. L17, $55 at Neiman Marcus stores.
3. Vincent Longo Lipstain SPF lipstick in Americana, $23 at vincentlongo.com.
4. Pur Minerals lipstick in Raspberry Quartz, $15 at Ulta stores.
5. Shiseido Perfecting lipstick in P13, $22.50 at sephora.com.
6. Mark Dew Drenched Moisturlicious lip color in Pretty Posey, $6 at meetmark.com.
7. Jane Iredale PureMoist LipColour in Melisa, $19 at Vert in Los Angeles.
8. Josie Maran lipstick in Rumi Joon, $20 at barneys.com.
9. MAC lipstick in Viva Glam VI, $14 at maccosmetics.com.
10. Clinique Long Last Soft Shine lipstick in Bamboo Pink, $14 at clinique .com.
11. Avon Beyond Color Plumping lip color in Divine Wine, $8 at avon .com.
12. Dior Addict High Shine lipstick in Casual Beige, $25 at Bloomingdale’s stores.
13. Mally Beauty lipstick in Zooey Doll, $15 at henribendel.com.
14. Origins Smileage Plus Organic Liptint in Vintage, $11 at origins.com.
15. Nars lipstick in Dolce Vita, $24 at narscosmetics.com.
16. Sally Hansen Natural Beauty in Plum Shimmer, $9.99 at Duane Reade stores.
17. Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Crème Matte lipstick in Red 165M, $23.
18. DuWop Prime Venom nude lip plumping balm and primer, $20 at Sephora.
19. Michael Marcus lipstick in Jenifer, $24 at michaelmarcus.com.
20. N.Y.C. New York Color Ultra Last LipWear in Brandy Sparkle, $1.99 at Wal-Mart stores.
21. Sue Devitt lipstick in Zimbabwe, $20 at Barneys New York.
Bottom row, from left to right:
22. Bobbi Brown lip color in Brown, $22 at bobbibrowncosmetics.com.
23. By Terry Rouge Delectation lipstick in Icy Praline, $41 at Barneys New York stores.
24. Jouer Lip Color in Phoebe, $22 at Henri Bendel in New York, (800) 423-6335.
25. Rimmel Lasting Finish lipstick in Coffee Shimmer, $4.95 at CVS stores.
26. Ramy lipstick in Ramy Red, $17 at ramybeautytherapy.com.
27. Estée Lauder Signature Hudra Lustre lip at bobbibrowncosmetics.com.
28. Chanel Rouge Hydrabase in Enigma $27 at chanel.com.
29. Chanel Rouge Allure in Naïve, $30 at chanel.com.
30. Calvin Klein Delicious Luxury Crème lipstick in Oasis, $18 at sephora.com.
31. Trish McEvoy sheer lipstick in Innocent Sheer, $22 at Saks Fifth Avenue stores.
32. YSL Beauté Rouge Volupté lipstick in Sweet Honey, $29 at Henri Bendel in New York.
33. Smashbox Photo Finish lipstick in Delightful, $22 at Sephora stores.
34. Rilastil Long Lasting Color Fix in Tender Rose, $28 at C. O. Bigelow in New York.
35. Laura Mercier lip color in Pink Champagne, $22 at lauramercier.com.
36. Paul & Joe Lipstick N in No. 17, $20 at thebeautycloset.com.
37. TheBalm Read My Lips lipstick in Letter to the Editor, $16 at C. O. Bigelow in New York
38. Lipstick Queen by Poppy King sheer lip color in Medieval, $20 at Barneys New York stores.
39. Kat Von D Painted Love lipstick in Lolita, $18 at sephora.com.
40. Korres Mango Butter SPF 10 in Nude 33, $18 at sephora.com.
41. BeingTRUE translucent lip color in Protagonist, $22 at truelynatural.com.
Image courtesy of NYTimes.
Another holiday polish collection from beloved hometown brand Zoya: Flourish!
Six amazing glamorous metallics for your holiday events:
Richelle -- sparkling gold
Zara -- sparkling periwinkle
Shivon -- sparkling mauve
Mieko -- sparkling rose
Cyma -- sparkling red
Kalista -- sparkling mahogany
Again, swatches are available at All Lacquered Up and Scrangie. Richelle looks especially incredible. And, in case you've forgotten, zoya polishes are free of toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, DBP and are pregnancy approved.
If considering some holiday shopping on zoya, definitely check out the holiday Color Cubes ($8) complete with a full-sized version of one of zoya's killer polishes plus a full-sized coordinating Hot Lips Gloss. Each item (polish and gloss) are usually priced at $6 individually, so the gift set price of $8 for the set is a major bargain. Available in six different colors (one of them already sold out!), these little gals are perfect for stocking stuffers or small gift exchanges.
Lastly, as if any more incentive was need, Art of Beauty offers free gifts for all online orders over $30, 50 or $100 plus free shipping for orders over $55. That Fairy Dust is fab, no?
Oh, this just in! Get all six colors from Flourish (or Vibe or Pulse) with the purchase of a Zoya Color Lock System. Offer is good now through Tuesday, November 25th, 2008. Simply enter one of the three codes below in your shopping cart (corresponding to the Zoya Seasonal Sampler you want) and the Zoya Sampler will automatically be added to your cart.
PULSE = Pulse Fall Winter Collection
VIBE = Vibe Fall Winter Collection
FLOURISH = Flourish Holiday/Winter Collection
Images courtesy of Zoya and Art of Beauty.
Alright, let's try that again. It's probably not surprising, but the other love of my life (besides my husband, cats and makeup, obvs) is handbags. Some gals, like my BFF Marisa, are "shoe gals" and some of us sad souls are "bag gals." I am clearly the latter. Thus it totally makes sense that I am flipping out for this beauty.com exclusive Kooba Beauty Bag ($85) stuffed with full-sized products from several awesome brands.
Seriously, this thing is firing on all cylinders. Here's what you get in addition the incredibly hot lilac wristlet:
- Butter London Banana File
- Boscia Peppermint Blotting Papers
- Stila Lip Glaze in Peach Cobbler
- Cargo Blush in Fresno
- Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier Pencil in Bangalore
- Blinc Kiss Me Mascara in Black
- Tarte Clean Slate Primer
- Oscar Blandi Olio di Jasmine Serum
- Lorac Perfectly Lit Powder in Spotlight
Apologies for being late on putting out the holiday 2008 polish collections from OPI and China Glaze. But, lucky for all of us, they have already been extensively swatched by other bloggers (links below) so you can place your order wisely.
OPI's 2008 Holiday Collection is entitled Holiday in Toyland and contains 12 new shades ranging from six classic reds to shimmering neutrals to smokey greys and blues.
The China Glaze Holiday Offering, Sleigh Ride, is much smaller, but packs a major amount of sparkle into three bottles of polish.
Both collections are available now at Head2Toe and 8ty8beauty.
Images courtesy of OPI and China Glaze.
In the Fall and Winter, I tend to gravitate toward creams, lotions, and bath oils with a "tropical" scent. Slightly exotic, sultry scents are a nice reminder that (while not in my neighborhood) somewhere on Earth the sun is shining and beautiful blue waves rock gently against the sand. *Sigh.* The Caribbean Therapy line by Aveda is one of my favorite for providing a proxy tropical experience.
The Caribbean Therapy Body Cream ($27) is probably the thickest cream I've ever used. It can be hard to get moving when it's cold, but once it warms up on the skin, it spreads quite nicely. Infused with scents of Caribbean mango, lime, cocoa butter, and amyris, this body cream provides a lot of moisturizing for dry, winter skin.
Caribbean Therapy Bath Soak ($25) features similar scents to the body cream for creating a luxurious, tropically scented bath experience. It is not a bubble bath so don't expect any bubbles or fizzing action like the Lush bath bombs. It can also be used as a manicure hand and nail soak as part of a home manicure.
Lastly, the Caribbean Therapy Body Scrub ($40) contains salt and cane sugar for exfoliating dry, dull skin. It also includes oils from coconuts, avocados and passionfruit for intensive moisturizing. This is a good product, but not my favorite and I'll tell you why since vaginas have been a hot topic around here recently. I made the mistake once of using this stuff to scrub my bum and the backs of my legs. Not to be too graphic, but some of it ran down and burned like crazy in the private area. I'm not kidding about this. It was really, really uncomfortable. I don't know which ingredient or essential oil was responsible, but I strongly recommend using it only on arms and feet. I use it almost exclusively now for a pedicure food scrub, where it works just great. The moisturizing oils do leave an oily film and I would prefer that it rinsed off more thoroughly. So, all in all, not my favorite.
Nevertheless, the Caribbean therapy line is definitely one of my favorites. To be sure, it is expensive and maybe a little too strong for every day usage. But, for a special treat and middle-of-the-winter pick-me-up, it does the trick.
Nevertheless, I'm hoping to go see it some time this weekend and not only because of scenes like this one, but because the newest "Bond girl" looks pretty kick-ass. Ukranian Olga Kurylenko is truly stunning (the other bland white girl, not so much) and I'm interested to see what kind of makeup was chosen to play up her natural beauty. You can watch a video of the hair and makeup designer for the film, Naomi Donne, here for some clues.
To get into the Bond spirit, you might be interested to try out the new Bond Girl 007 Fragrance from Avon. Presented in a bottle that suggests the shapely figure of this iconic movie role, the fragrance is "a sexy cocktail of exotic orchid and velvety white peach, refreshed with orange blossom and warmed by sensual cashmere woods that promises to captivate and entice." There is also a special offer right now on avon.com whereby one free ticket voucher to the film is added to your cart with a purchase of the fragrance.
You can additionally intensify your Bond Girl inspiration by checking out Total Beauty's Sexy Bond Girl Hairstyle Gallery. Most of them require oodles of hair, unfortunately, which might be why I love the new gal Olga and her medium-length locks. So get your up-do in order and I'll meet you at the theater.
Let me put it this way, I've been plagued by hangnails essentially for my entire life. My cuticles and the skin around the nail beds were chronically dry, cracked and horrible. That is all behind me thanks to this amazing stuff. CND Cuticle Eraser ($12) is a lotion containing alpha-hydroxy acids that gently "micro-exfoliate" the cuticle area. It also contains moisturizing agents like apricot kernel oil, aloe vera juice, and chamomile. There is a strong fruity fragrance that I wish were a little less prominent, but it's not unpleasant. If there is an open hangnail, then it will probably burn a little bit (it is acid after all). But with regular use, hangnails will be a thing of the past.
Typically I use it 2-3 times a day and it has worked miracles for my nails. They have never looked this good in my entire life, I'm in awe. You will be, too.
This led me to think about the fact that one of my favorite nail polish brands, Zoya, gives their polishes female names. With over 300 polishes already in existence, I'm sure they are always looking for name suggestions. So here's one: Malia.
The other two ladies of the Obama family, Michelle and Sasha, already have polishes bearing their names. Michelle, on left, is described as a "duochrome hot magenta with micro glitter." Sasha, on right, is described as a "dark browny red cream."
I've never seen Michelle Obama wearing anything as bright as a hot magenta, but I'm pretty sure she could pull it off. And while Sasha is a beautiful color and would probably look amazing on her mother, it's not really a little girl appropriate color, is it?
So here's my proposed solution. When Zoya gets to work creating a color called Malia for their next collection, they can also create one for Sasha using her given name, Natasha. And everyone will be happy, especially me.
Images courtesy of Zoya.com
The answer thankfully comes to us from the always beautiful Scarlett Johansson and Lucy Liu: peach blush. Peachy blush is an excellent way to warm up your winter complexion in one easy step. Thankfully, there is a peach blush out there for everyone: if you have fair skin, opt for a pale shade, for olive or ebony tones, go for deeper, more coral shades.
To get Scarlett's lit-from-within look (without marrying Ryan Reynolds), try Makeup For Ever Sculpting Blush in Light Satin Peach ($24) paired with a dark lined eye and glossy, neutral lips.
To mimic Lucy Liu's naturally polished look (courtesy of Bella Sugar), try a creamy blush like Trish McEvoy Cream Blush in Peach ($20) and a shiny lipstick like Clinique Long Last Soft Shine Lipstick in Golden Brandy ($14).
Other peach blushes to try:
Benefit's Georgia ($28) provides a glow reminiscent of a true Southern belle.
Shu Uemura Glow on Blush in Peach (#42) ($21) is a silky blush appropriate for many complexions.
Maybelline Expertwear Blush Duo in Twin Peach ($4) will provide the perfect peachy glow on a budget.
My personal favorite (which I've been wearing almost daily recently) is MAC Mineralize Blush in Nuance ($21).
According to nail guru Ji Baek "Anyone can wear dark polish, as long as nails are short and well groomed." This isn't to say that getting a flawless dark mani is a piece of cake. InStyle magazine published a feature this month about dark nails and here are some of their tips:
- Trimming nails to 1/4 inch past the fingertip makes strong hues look more modern -- and appropriate for any occasion.
- Hard edges can look severe. Instead, file nails into an elegant almond shape or "squoval" (similar to Anne).
- Dark shades dry slowly so set aside an hour for your mani or pedi to avoid smudges -- and frustration.
- Since these colors draw attention to your hands, keep ragged cuticles in check and moisturize frequently.
- Be sure to use a base coat to avoid prevent staining of your natural nails.
The kit contains:
- Two Eye Shadows in Luminous Topaz and Smoky Topaz
- Eye Liner/Shadow in Lush Topaz
- Blush in Rosy Topaz
- Mineral Veil Translucent Powder
- Buxom Big & Healthy Full-Color Lip Gloss
- and Three Brushes: Tapered Crease Defining Brush, Precision Eyeliner Brush, & Soft Focus Face Brush
Application is a cinch. Simply apply the cream color with the brush and then use the roller-ball mechanism to place the powder over top. And you're done. The brush can deposit a bit too much, so I would recommend using a pinky finger to smooth it out and evenly distribute the cream. Despite my expectation, the roller-ball deposits color surprisingly well for an overall polished look in no time at all.
The Lock & Roll is available in seven different color combinations. I tried it in Rose Gold, a shimmering pinkish gold, and found it to be really flattering on my light-colored eyes. It was intense for work, however, so I had to tone it down with a light dusting of powder over top. But for a night time look, it would be great.
This product is genius in that not only does it provide a 2-in-1 eyeshadow primer + powder combo for long-lasting color, it comes in a very convenient, sleek pen-sized package perfect for the gal-on-the-go. It might even qualify for a Low Maintenance Must Have. It is on the expensive side, but if you're looking for one product to perk up your peepers, this might be it. Lock & Roll is available at tarte.com and at Sephora.
*Incidentally, shop at Sephora.com from 11/6 - 11/10 and get 20% off everything when you use check out code FF2008.*
- Mediterranean Clay: an absorbent mineral that helps bind the make-up to the skin for long-lasting coverage.
- Mica: Adds luster and has light-diffusing properties to help disguise fine lines.
- Titanium Dioxide: Helps protect skin from the sun; provides color in cheek color and eye color. The SPF 25 in our foundation is currently the highest in the mineral make-up market.
The Body Shop rolled out this product line with a foundation, cheek color, and eye color. I had a chance to try out Nature's Minerals and was pleasantly surprised. Starting with the Foundation ($25), I chose Shade 01 to match my pale skin but Shade 02 might actually be a better match. The technique for application is similar to other mineral makeup explained by The Body Shop's own catch-phrase: Tip It, Tap It, Work It, Use It. Certainly the texture and application of Nature's Minerals is on par with other mineral makeup I've tried, but I found the coverage to be a bit more sheer than what I was expecting. I had to reapply several times in order to achieve a sufficient level of coverage. If other mineral makeups have seemed to "heavy" for you, then I would definitely suggest giving Nature's Minerals a try.
I also tried one of the four available Cheek Colors ($18): Golden Terracotta, which is described as a golden pink. I'm not sure if golden pink is the right description because on the cheeks it looks like a pretty sun-kissed glow -- more bronze than pink. That's not to say that it's a bronzer, because it isn't, but just don't go thinking that it is a true pink. Overall, the color saturation in the cheek color was very intense and required an amount of restraint with application. But that's good because it means that the little container will last even longer. After applying with a fluffy brush to the apples of the cheeks, my technique is to blend a bit with a makeup sponge to even out the harsh lines and leave a pleasant glow. It really looks beautiful on and I can imagine that it would work for a variety of skin tones.
Lastly, there is also a line of Eye Colors ($13) to try. The colors are limited to compared to some of the large brands, but there are a few that really catch the eye (Platinum Shimmer and Radiant Graphite).
This might be strange, but what I really love about Nature's Minerals is the improvement in packaging. The tubs are not completely open as it would suggest from the website photos, but have a very fine sifter for dispensing product into the lid. This is a big improvement in that it keeps most of the product neatly inside rather than spilling out in overly-large quantities. So amen to that!
In summary, I'm not sure that I would leave my Bare Escentuals foundation for Nature's Minerals, but I wouldn't think twice about trying out a few more of the cheek and eye colors.
One of my favorite all-time desserts is S'mores. So, naturally, Philosophy's Warm By The Fire Gift Set ($25) caught my eye. It contains three of Philosophy's signature luxurious bath and body products in delicious, practically edible, scents. This particular set comes with a sample size of Double Rich Hot Cocoa Shampoo/Shower Gel/Bubble Bath, Melting Marshmallow Cream Body Souffle moisturizing cream, and a full-sized Ooey Gooey S'mores Flavored Lip Shine. The lip shine alone is usually priced at $12.
Warm By The Fire is available (limited edition) at Sephora or at philosophy.com. This looks too delicious to pass up, but hurry because this fire won't burn all season long...
Read about the inspiration for the makeup seen on Mad Men here. Find your own inspiration from a collection of vintage ads here.
Interested in how to infuse your own look with a little vintage flair? Look no further than The 20-to-40-Style Makeup Guide or Miss-Vintage.com*. I particularly love the Icons of Style section, where you can find excruciating details about the makeup, hair and beauty habits more than 30 classic startlets like Marilyn Monroe (of course), Elizabeth Taylor (love her!), and Sophia Loren (my husband's favorite). Anyway, I've been obsessed with that site since stumbling on it and figured I would pass it on...
Check out Vintage Hairstyling for some hints on retro styles. Be sure to visit their link list for other resources.
Lastly, it's no secret that some modern stars like Gwen Stefani and Dita Von Teese have made a career of showcasing their retro-glam makeup looks. Click here for a how-to of a 1940s Dita-approved look. Here is a fun tutorial of a Gwen-inspired classic red lip with dramatic liquid eye liner. Enjoy!