L'Oreal HiP High Intensity Pigments Color Presso

Next up in my tour of L'Oreal HiP products, we have Color Presso gloss duos. Recently I had the opportunity to try a few of these out to see how they stack up. Color Presso is unique for having two glosses per container, which then can be used to create three different gloss shades (each gloss separately or by mixing the two together in case that wasn't completely obvious). This gives Color Presso a definite leg-up in terms of versatility.

There are 10 shades from which to choose and I tried Swanky and Trendy (shown above and below). Trendy features a shimmery mauve combined with a pale, glossy pink. Swanky has a more intense bubble-gum pink packaged with a lustrous neutral.

Swatches with indoor light (left) and outdoor light (right).

My experience using the HiP Color Presso glosses was varied. I definitely preferred the more pigmented shade of each duo. The bright pink of Swanky actually looked quite pink on the lips and was a fun, but sheer, punch of color. The rose-y mauve of Trendy worked well with my natural lip color and was quite flattering for a low-key look. The neutral shades of each duo were just OK. My complaint is that they are barely pigmented and essentially like applying a clear shimmery gloss; which is fine if that's what you are going for, but they are not what I would consider "high intensity pigment" by any stretch. Mixing the two shades together was a fun experiment, but since the pigmented colors were fairly sheer to start and already had a fair amount of shimmer, I didn't really see the point. There are a few other Color Presso duos that may be more intensely pigmented and more satisfactory in the color department. I'd like to try Fashionista or Snazzy, for example.

Which brings me to a problem with Color Presso: the weird, awkward applicator. The applicator has two holes for the two different colors to squirt out. The problem is that to accommodate the two holes, it is twice as big as a normal gloss applicator. This increased size makes it completely useless in terms of applying the gloss. I tried it a few times, had gloss smeared all over my face, got frustrated, and then used my finger exclusively.

The glosses are fragranced with a candy-sweet scent that is pretty strong, but short lived. In terms of the wear and durability, they are pretty typical. I wouldn't say that it lasts any longer than a standard gloss, but it isn't exceedingly quick to disappear either. On average, they lasted about one hour on my lips with just talking (no drinking, eating, etc.). Ladies who hate stickiness in a gloss may actually love this one because the feel is silky smooth and definitely not sticky. I don't know if it has moisturizing agents, but it felt similar to a balm on the lips (something like Kiehl's #1).

Overall, I think that these are pretty good glosses, but not quite ready for prime time. If I had to change them, I would add more pigmentation, take away some of the shimmer (or at least limit the shimmer to one of the shades, not both, so that there is actually something to be gained by mixing the two), and change the packaging. I might also consider reducing the price to something more in line with other drugstore prices ($6-8). In my brief price checking of the L'Oreal HiP Color Presso glosses, they consistently are in the $13-14 range. This seems high, especially considering that you can get an excellent MAC lipglass for $14 and it won't have the strong fragrance and the problem applicator or take up as much space in your bag. On the other hand, a $14 MAC gloss would only be one color and the Color Presso gives two. Which I guess is the core issue, whether the two color option is enough to offset the less-than-perfect features and the price. This might be one to save for the BOGO sale.


Something for Everyone: Sephora Favorites Samplers

Those sassy folks at Sephora have been busy dreaming up some new kits and collections to loosen those purse strings. With their new Sephora Favorites, they have compiled ten very appealing assortments of best sellers in deluxe-sized samples. Check out the Get Pink'd Lip Deluxe Sampler ($37) with nine gorgeous lippies for that perfect pucker.

From the gotta-try-its (pink lips are so in) to the can't-live-withouts (skyscraper lashes anyone?), these Sephora Favorites are a beauty addict's dream come true. Each limited-edition set features deluxe samples of our latest fixations—all for $40 or less!—and the options are endless.The hard part? Deciding which one to test drive first.So, whether you're looking to go green, score smudge-proof eyes, hydrate head to toe, or spritz yourself pretty, there's a perfect box for you! -- sephora.com
Or try the Lashstash Mascara Deluxe Sampler ($39) with eleven well-loved mascaras to try and love. There is even a waterproof collection, the Splashstash Waterproof Deluxe Sampler ($36) with waterproof mascaras, eyeliners and a small bottle of makeup remover. Seven more of these limited-edition kits are available with samples of skin care, body moisturizers, perfume and brow products. There is definitely something for everyone and for $40 or less, it's not a bad way to try out some expensive products at an affordable price.


Some Cocoa-Lovin' Cosmetics

In addition to bringing us the first days of Summer, June also brings the thrill of being designated National Candy Month. As far as I'm concerned, every month should be candy month, but you know, June is a good start.

So in honor of National Candy Month, I thought I'd dedicate today's post to some delicious-sounding products featuring an all-time favorite candy: chocolate. As would be expected, there are quite a few beauty and body products featuring this delicious confection.

Just in time for Summer, there is no shortage of beautiful bronzing powders featuring extracts and coloring from cocoa. 100% Pure Cosmetics offers up Cocoa Pigmented Bronzer ($37); it contains extracts of cocoa, coffee, tomato and berries to simulate that sun-kissed glow. Not to be outdone, Too Faced brings us Chocolate Soleil ($28), a matte bronzer with a "sinfully sweet chocolate scent" (shown above).

If the land of chocolate-inspired cosmetics is somewhat limited to bronzing powders, the bath and body products makes up for it with many different cocoa-loving options. Max Brenner's Brazilian Brown Sugarcane and Cocoa Nibs Body Scrub ($23) makes my mouth water just reading the ingredient list: Brown Sugarcane, Ivory Coast Cocoa Butter, Ghanaian Cocoa Beans and Indonesian Cinnamon with the scent of Vanilla Bourbon. Doesn't that just sound amazing? It's a good thing that it contains ground up cocoa beans for exfoliation -- otherwise, I think I might be tempted to try a bite.

If sugar scrubs aren't your thing, never fear because Dylan's Candy Bar has an entire collection of chocolaty selections in their Chocolate Cupcake Collection. If you haven't sniffed any of the Dylan's line of products, you are in for a sweet surprise because they are uncannily similar to their food equivalents. The collection includes something for everyone with choices between Soda Pop Shower Gel ($16), Body Smoothie Lotion ($16), Ice Cream Sugar Scrub ($20), and Candy Butter Cream ($22). For any mocha mamas out there, Sephora brand won't let you down with its Espresso Chocolate Body Collection. These richly-scented body washes, scrubs and butters "blend energizing espresso with indulgent chocolate for a downright addictive result." Because they are Sephora brand, the products provide a similar luxurious experience to the Dylan's brand, but can be had for a smidge cheaper, which always helps. Incidentally, I'm not the only one with chocolate on the brain. According to this NY Times article, "When Economy Sours, Tootsie Rolls Soothe Souls," candy sales have often skyrocketed in times of economic hardship. It makes intuitive sense, candy being a pretty cheap thrill and all. But if you are the type to worry about the waistline, indulging in some candy-inspired body products may be a better way to work out those cravings. Although, some Tootsie Rolls never hurt...


Zoya Remove+ = Amazing

On the topic of where to spend your hard-earned beauty cash, nail polish remover might not be at the top of the list. Ringing up at a substantial $10 (plus shipping), Zoya Remove+ is significantly more expensive than standard drugstore nail polish removers that usually run in the $2-3 range.

I know this. I get it. So while I understand that it might be tough to convince you that the additional expense of Zoya Remove+ is not wasted, I just want to be clear that this is the absolute, hands-down, best nail polish remover ever. Is that too effusive? Let me explain.

Zoya Remove+ is billed as a 3-in-1 product due to its ability to remove nail polish, cleanse the nail and prepare it for polish, which is good for starters. But more than that, and most critical to my love for this product, is the mild acetone formula that is specially formulated to not dry out the nail or surrounding cuticle. And in addition to being formulated not to dry the nail and cuticle, it actually doesn't. For someone with chronically dry hands, cuticles and nails, this is nothing short of a small miracle. Particularly if you are nail polish fickle and change color at least twice a week, Zoya Remove+ is definitely something that needs to make its way into your medicine cabinet.

And, yes, while it is expensive, I like to think of spending money on a quality nail polish remover as a little like spending money on good undergarments. One might think: Why bother because no one else is going to see them? However, similar to good undergarments, good nail care is the foundation of pretty hands and manicures; it doesn't matter how beautiful the polish looks if the nail is dry and the surrounding skin is cracked and flaking. Similarly, no one is going to notice the gorgeous cashmere sweater if there are all kind of disorganized, lumpy things going on underneath it. You get my drift here.

In addition to the amazing formula, I also really like the "Big Flipper" spill-proof dispenser that comes with the 8oz size. In terms of negatives, I'm not crazy about the scent, which Zoya describes as "lavender." It isn't worse than any standard acetone-based nail polish remover, but it's not my favorite. "Natural" cosmetic fans may take issue with Remove+ being acetone-based and not exactly toxin-free like the Zoya nail polishes themselves. In general, acetone-based removers are much more effective than non, so Remove+ would definitely lose something if it were to be acetone-free. But I can only imagine that the folks at Zoya are fast at work on a more "natural" nail polish remover.

If my review seems a bit exuberant for something as mundane as nail polish remover, I can only attribute it to the awesomeness that is Zoya Remove+. I absolutely love it when a company can take a boring, mundane product and make it amazing. In Remove+, Zoya has done just that.


The Beauty Couch's Must See TV: Tarte TV

One of my all-time favorite beauty brands, tarte, has launched their very own Youtube channel. So far only three videos available for the launch, but promise to add more. Future videos will feature useful how-tos for tarte's best-selling products, info on product launches and celebrity looks. After viewing their quick and dirty video on using tarte's famous cheek stain, I'll be looking forward to what they post next. Maybe more beauty brands will follow suit -- wouldn't that be fun?


Dying To Try... Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Airbrush Spray Foundation

I was wandering through Ulta in my usual sort of Ulta-induced trance when I stumbled across this intriguing gem of a product: Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Airbrush Spray Makeup ($14). Sally Hansen is definitely one of my favorite drugstore brands and I've already reviewed (and loved!) both a bronzer and an eye shadow palette from the Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy line. While the line already includes a liquid foundation, it was always curious to me that they didn't make an airbrush formulation.

This is because, as anyone who has ever watched What Not To Wear knows, Carmindy loves her some airbrush foundation. In fact, I've seen very few episodes where she hasn't used a spray foundation. So it always kind of confused me as to why she didn't have a similar product in her own line. But, finally, here is is. To say that I was excited would be a definite understatement. And at $14, it is quite economical.

The only problem: the store was plum cleaned out of any shade even close to my skin color. In fact, the entire light end of the spectrum was completely sold out. Gone. Nothing. No love.

I've now been back several times and cannot seem to find this stuff in stock. Needless to say, I'm kind of dying to try it but first I need to, you know, locate it and bring it home. Argh! I think this is one of the most frustrating experiences in cosmetic/skin care buying: you see something that looks amazing on a blog, in a magazine or on TV and then you cannot find it to save your life. Why taunt me like this? Why?


L'Oreal HiP High Intensity Pigments Kohl Eyeliner

The L'Oreal HiP line features products for eyes, lips and cheeks in bright, show-stopping colors. Often favorably compared with higher end products, these products offer the opportunity to try out new, exciting shades without breaking the bank (always appreciated).

Recently I tried out Navy and Gold from the HiP Kohl Eyeliner ($13) series. First off, it is important to note that these are loose powder eye liners applied with a very fine, slightly flexible tip and they are perfect to create a smokey, smudgy effect.

In terms of shades, they live up to the HiP high intensity pigment standard as the colors are vivid and beautifully shimmery. The Gold is definitely high-impact and it would look quite beautiful with a summer tan or to really show off blue eyes. Due to my issues with the applicator (more on that later), I often ended up smudging it all over the eyelid for a gorgeous wash of color. The Navy shade is very dark, almost near black -- so much so that I thought it was black until I read the label. It also has a shimmer quality, but it is not so overdone to prohibit a work look.

There were some frustrations in the application of these powders. A fine, tapered wand is attached to the cap and serves as an awkward, unwieldy applicator. I found it to be difficult to control, mostly due to the bulky cap and poor grip. But beyond that, my larger complaint is that the fallout from this product is ridiculous. Even after blowing, knocking, tapping excess from the applicator, I would inevitably end up with navy or gold dust sprinkled essentially all over my face, necessitating a re-do of any already-perfected foundation. If I could remember to do my eyes first, the clean up wasn't such a big deal, although annoying. Both colors are equally susceptible to the fallout problem, but the navy is definitely more noticeable spattered all over the face.

Once that obstacle was tackled, the final result on the eye was actually quite pretty. And I was darn impressed with the wear the product has. On me, it definitely had more staying-power than most of the eyeliners already in my collection. It would get a little more smudgy as the day wore on, but it did not disappear or disintegrate like many cheaper eyeliners do. All in all, the L'Oreal HiP High Intensity Pigments Kohl Eyeliner is ideal if you love a sexy, slightly iridescent smokey eye. If they could figure out a way to make the application easier and do something about the fallout, this would be a damn near perfect eyeliner.


The Beauty Couch's Must See TV: Beauty from the Inside Out

Recently I had the good fortune to meet nutritionist Jennifer Adler. She is full of great information on dietary choices to benefit mood, energy and health. She also makes Youtube videos on eating right for skin, nail and hair care. They are pretty brief and have some interesting information. Enjoy!


Weekly Total Beauty Web Tour 6/19/09

Total Beauty Web Tour

The Informed Makeup Maven discovers Votre Vu and Terra Firma Cosmetics, talks summer faves and hosts MAC, Stila and Maybelline giveaways.

Beauty Anonymous shares a preview of Jill Stuart's upcoming 5th Anniversary Collection for fall 2009!

Boutique Flair is offering 2 chances to win some swag. Enter here and here by 06/21/09!

The Beauty Couch shares some ideas for getting that sexy 60's Star Trek-inspired look.

Meilily talks Fitness Shoe Skepticism: Are FitFlops & MBTs Just Glorified Platform Shoes?

Neon Bible experiments with Japanese nail art

A Little More Beautiful is giving away 1 LUSH Sweetie Stack Gift Set which includes 3 of their most popular soaps.

eye4style keeps her tootsies in tip top shape with THIS Farmhouse Fresh product.

Dao from My Makeup Blog has a gorgeous makeup tutorial for nighttime and clubbing.

The Makeup Divas reviews Philosophy Beach Party.

Beauty Banter gives you the secret beauty tips and products of Parisian ladies... straight from 2 gorgeous frenchies!

Beautiful With Brains reviews Clynol Play With Me Powder Punch.

The girls over at Beauty in Real Life want you to have the perfect at home pedicure. Click here to enter their giveaway with Ms. Pedicure and China Glaze!!

LA Pretty is having two giveaways of new releases from Target beauty lines Pixi by Petra and Napoleon Perdis. Get the details here!

Monique from Beauty Girl Musings reviews LaVaque Tweezers!

Enter to Win Several of Lipgloss Break Giveaways, including Borghese B Gloss in sold out Fuchsia!

Hot Beauty Health shows you 5 organic hair care products that works and stylish pics of Rihanna at Carol's Daughter Spa in NYC.

The Advice Sisters reviews Beauty Fix a season's worth of beauty bargains in a box!.


Product Lust: Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronze Collection

Not that one should be overheard quoting Rachel Zoe on a regular basis, but upon first seeing this collection I could only muster an emphatic "I die!"

Leave it to Bobbi Brown to bring the beach to you in the form of the incredible Illuminating Bronze Collection. Makeup mavens everywhere swear by Bobbi's Shimmer Bricks ($38) to add a soft and luminous glow and they regularly show up on "Best Of" lists. Not to be outdone, this collection contains a super-sized Shimmer Brick for Body ($75). It features three shimmering bars of color ready to highlight arms, legs, décolleté, or anywhere you want to show off. For application, Bobbi has created the All-Over Body Brush ($85) designed with ultra soft, luxurious bristles that not only make you feel pampered, but also provide flawless application of the finely-milled shimmer. Definitely not a combo for the price-conscious, but this would be an incredible splurge!

If those two are on the pricey side, try one of the Illuminating Bronzer Powders ($33). Specially formulated with micro pearls combined with a sheer powder, these beautiful bronzers are incredibly buildable, effectively creating that completely natural-looking flush. What makes these bronzers special is an ever-so-subtle dose of gold fleck that adds the "illuminating" aspect to the bronzer. And with six shades to compliment a wide variety of skin tones, there is sure to be one (or more) that is just perfect to create your sun-kissed blush. Seriously, how amazing are these colors?

  • Antigua -- light pink bronze (specifically designed as a bronzer for porcelain skin)
  • Aruba -- light golden bronze
  • Bahama -- deep golden bronze
  • Bali Brown -- golden bronze
  • Barbados -- warm deep bronze
  • Maui -- pink coral bronze
Lastly, Bobbi rounds out the collection by adding a new shade of All Over Bronzing Gel with SPF 15 ($28). Choose from two shades, Golden Sun and Desert Sun, to add a more uniform color enhancement to the complexion. Suitable for use all over the face, the best result is achieved by blending where the sun naturally hits - forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin. This innovative gel has the benefit of providing some sun protection and is not a self-tanner, so the color will wash off easily at night.

All in all, this is one seriously beautiful collection and it will undoubtedly please legions of women searching for that essential Summertime look. The Illuminating Bronze Collection is available now at all Bobbi Brown Counters and on www.bobbibrown.com.

Image: Bobbi Brown


Past, Present & Future: Star Trek Inspired Beauty

Have you seen the new Star Trek? It's been out for a while and generally kicking butt at the box office. My husband (who knows a lot more about Star Trek than I ever appreciated) was looking forward to this for months, so I saw it opening weekend. But, I'm not complaining because the movie is actually really fun and cool -- so much so that I kind of want to see it again.

The entire new cast was incredible, but one character in particular stood out: Zoe Saldana as Lt. Nyota Uhura. Of course Ms. Saldana is gorgeous to start, but I was completely mesmerized by the retro, 60's-inspired makeup design.

About halfway through the movie I leaned over to point this out to my dear husband, at which point he helpfully provided this head-slapping insight: "I think it's homage." Without a doubt, the winged eyeliner and nude lips are faithful to the original Lt. Uhura, Nichelle Nichols, and is just as fresh and chic looking today as it was then.

The look is deceptively simple and yet tricky to pull off. Surprisingly, there hasn't been much discussion on the beauty blogs about this, but I have a few suggestions on achieving this for yourself using some drugstore favorites. First, here is a closer look at our modern Uhura:

To get started, her complexion is kept simple with sheer coverage and a matte finish. Try Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse foundation ($9) which provides a smooth, air-brushed look or Rimmel London's Stay Matte Clarifying Matte Foundation ($9) for more intense, flawless coverage.

Zoe's look is notable for very minimal cheek color with just a the tiniest hint of sculpting bronzer under the cheek bones. Any bronzer would work as long as the contrast is not overly dramatic and the finish is again matte. A bronzer sans shimmer can be tricky to find, but luckily Physicians Formula Baked Pyramid Matte Bronzer ($12) should fit the bill perfectly.

Next, those killer cat eyes. Time to practice your steady hand techniques since this will most certainly take a few tries to perfect. This would best be achieved using a gel liner and a short bristled, angled brush. The movie's makeup artist reports using a Shiseido liner which rings in at almost $30. A more budget-friendly choice would be L'Oreal HIP Collection Color Rich Cream Eyeliner ($12) which helpfully comes with the exact kind of brush needed.

The key is to keep the line as neat and precise as possible, tapering near the inner corner and fattening up toward the outer. Finish it off with an impressive swoop extending a good 3-5mm beyond the end of the eye. For extra polish, add some light brown eye shadow in the crease just to bring the eye out a bit more. Finish with black mascara and a strip of false eyelashes, if feeling additionally ambitious. Be sure to keep eyebrows nicely shaped and groomed to frame the whole face.

Lastly, lips are kept natural with just the smallest amount of nude lip liner and finished off with a sheer, nude gloss. Cover Girl's Wetslicks Amazemint Lipgloss ($7) in No Care Bare would be perfect.

And there you have it! I think this look is absolutely stunning and would be perfect day or night. Thankfully, using drugstore choices, achieving it shouldn't require breaking the bank.

  • For more on Star Trek beauty, check out Beauty Blogging Junkie's interview with Mindy Hall, the head makeup artist from the film. Michelle at All Lacquered Up has the inside scoop on Uhura's nail color to add that final amount of polish.
image credit: AllMoviePhoto.com


Sunscreen Sticks: Genius!

It's entirely possible these ingenious products have been around for a long time; but, for whatever reason, they have only recently come to my attention. I am talking about sunscreen sticks -- that's right, sunscreen in a semi-solid stick form not unlike antiperspirant.

The brilliance of these products is that the sticks are at least 1/3 - 1/2 of the size of regular tubes of sunscreen, making them at least 2-3x more convenient to carry around in your purse, beach bag, gym bag or whatever. They are also solving my problem of what to do for sun protection near the end of the day. Unfortunately, the sunscreen I use in the morning is long gone by the time I'm ready to drive home from work. Now I can just throw one of these tubes in my work bag and touch up prior to leaving. Perfect!

There are several of these on the market now, but here are a few that are worth checking out.

Korres Watermelon Sunscreen Stick with SPF 30 ($25) is probably the one I'm lusting after most right now. Having tried Korres Watermelon Sunscreen Cream and loved it (real watermelon scent! awesome!), this one is sure to please. It also adds some iridescent pigment to enliven the complexion.

Clinique Sun SPF 45 Targeted Protection Stick ($18) steps up the protection to SPF 45 providing enhanced UVA protection to guard against premature aging. The bright yellow color will make it easy to find in an already-crowded bag.

Don't forget that men need sun protection, too. Luckily, Anthony Logistics for Men has created a sun protection stick for them, Sun Stick with SPF 15 ($16), so that they don't have to feel too girly about skin protection.

Lastly, if the idea of spending around $20 for less than 1 oz. of product is less than appealing, there are some good drugstore offerings as well. Neutrogena comes through with several varieties (for adults and babies, incidentally) of stick sunscreens like this Healthy Defense Oil-Free Sunblock Stick with SPF 30 ($8).

Tuck one of these in a convenient spot and never be without sunscreen again. That alone is worth a trip to the store.


Lush Dark Angels Cleanser: The Scariest Looking Stuff You Might Put On Your Face

Most cleansers and exfoliators for the face are calm, soothing colors -- things like white, off-white, peach or pale blue. Lush's Dark Angels ($11), on the other hand, is charcoal black and gritty.

Designed to be used with young and oily skin, Dark Angels contains Rhassoul mud (a natural acne remedy imported from Morocco) which acts as an anti-bacterial cleanser. It also contains powdered charcoal, an effective exfoliating agent. Lastly, it contains some soothing essential oils to keep skin soft.

I was initially drawn to Dark Angels because it is so unexpected looking but also because I've been battling some irritating blemishes recently. My goal was to get a good, thorough clean and Dark Angels definitely delivers. The experience of using it is a bit disconcerting owing to the fact that it is black paste. But, after a minute or two, it's actually kind of fun. The grittiness of the charcoal is just enough to polish the skin, but not as much to be overly abrasive or irritating. The main cleansing ingredient is Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate (not to be confused with the synthetic, often-irritating agent Sodium Laureth Sulfate), a skin-friendly ingredient derived from coconut oil and thought to be generally OK for sensitive skin.

After using Dark Angels, my skin is surprisingly refreshed, amazingly soft and, I mean, amazingly soft. But, even more impressive, there isn't that overly-stripped-of-oils tightness that some cleansers and exfoliators leave. My skin feels clean, clear and ready to go. The best part is that, unlike more intense exfoliators like Philosophy's Microdelivery Peel, Dark Angels is gentle enough to be used every day.

A few minor points about usage. I was advised by the Lush sales clerk to be sure to use toner after washing with Dark Angels. The justification being that toner is needed to ensure that every last bit is sufficiently rinsed off. I took her advice and it turns out to be valid since there were some traces of black that came off on the cotton balls. Also, similarly, it is important to rinse really well and all around the face, chin and hairline. Not only do you not want to leave any Dark Angels linger on the skin, but if it doesn't get rinsed off in the sink, then it will come off when drying your face, leaving some not-so-pretty black streaks on white towels. They wash out easily in the washer, but I just felt the need to mention that.

Dark Angels is fun to use, effective and gentle enough to be used daily. All in all, it's a winner.


MAC Attack: Naked Honey

Sweet, sticky and hard-to-resist might be three things that describe your Summer fling, but they also describe the ancient food that is honey. Honey, amazingly, has an incredible history dating back over 10,000 years; now it finds its newest incarnation in the form of MAC's latest collection, Naked Honey.

Following the example of their fabled Queen, Cleopatra, Egyptians bathed in honey and milk. Queen Anne of England used it to silken her hair; from the Ancient Greeks to the Roman Empire, honey has never lost its regal, ever-amber lustre. We love the luxury of its sensual essence…but we also know that it’s a highly efficient and wholesome humectant and healer.

Available in the U.S. starting tomorrow, this diverse collection contains several products that will definitely stimulate taste buds along with some new lip glasses and eye shadows to compliment newly honeyed skin. I find myself particularly drawn to the body products:
  • Naked Honey Skin Salve ($19) -- formulated from honey, organic beeswax, sunflower oil and other natural ingredients, this rich honey–scented and flavoured salve instantly moisturizes and helps recondition dry skin.
  • Naked Honey Hand & Body Cream ($23) -- a sensuous cream made from bio-converted honey, shea butter, and vitamins C and E derivatives. Absorbs quickly for skin-softening moisture. Conditions, nourishes, protects.
  • Naked Honey Body Wash ($20) -- formulated from bio-converted honey, this body wash cleanses the skin while providing the soothing and moisturizing benefits of lavender, narcissus, jasmine flower and blue agave extracts. Provides a sensual, calming, cleansing experience.
But, then again, the Lipglass shades ($14) look amazing as well:
  • She’s a Star Light -- neutral gold
  • Queen Bee -- mid-tone apricot with multi-dimensional pearl
  • Buzz -- dark copper brown with multi-dimensional pearl
And let's not forget about the High-Light Powders ($25). These delectable shimmer powders come in compacts with an embossed honeycomb pattern. Nice touch. Use them here, there and everywhere to perfect that Summer glow.
  • Honey Light A light peachy gold with shimmer
  • Golden Nectar Muted golden tan with gold shimmer
The collection also contains two new scents, Naked Honey and Africanimal, which are as sweet and spicy as you like, "celebrating the secret lives of Queen Bees."

I have to admit, I have no idea what bio-converted honey is; I'm wondering if it has something to do with harvesting honey without enslaving bees. See, it sounds as if I'm kidding, but I swear there were people in college who boycotted honey because of the enslavement of bees. All I can say is, more for me.

From now through Sunday, June 14, get free shipping on orders shipped to US addresses. Use promo code HONEY. Mmmmm...free shipping, the perfect condiment to a sweet treat.


Summer Beauty Must Have: Stila Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer

Although this product has been featured in several FOTDs (face of the day) on this blog, I've never written about it explicitly.

The funny thing about doing this blog is that there is always something new that I want to try out. So even if I really love a product, I very rarely repeat buy because I'm forever moving on to the next thing. There are a few exceptions, however, and Stila Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer ($32) is one of them. I'm currently working on my third tube of this and I have a spare waiting in the wings. When I heard that Stila might be going under, I had a momentary panic that this would no longer be available.

So why do I love it so much? For one thing, it provides very sheer coverage that is perfect for Summer. Secondly, the "illuminating" part makes skin dewy, glowing and lit-from-within. It provides the appropriate amount of coverage for gently evening the skin tone and prepping the skin. This moisturizer is perfect for skin that tends toward dryness since it will instantly revive a lackluster appearance and add a youthful glow. It is also fairly moisturizing and contains SPF 15.

There are a few downsides, one being that it is kind of pricey although occasionally you can find a deal on beautycrunch.com. The coverage is very sheer so it won't provide a ton of coverage if you tend toward significant unevenness. Additionally, it probably isn't the best choice for oily or high-shine skin. It is also slightly awkward to apply since it comes out of the tube very thick and is hard to spread initially. But, after it warms to the skin for a few moments, it spreads and blends easily.

There are less expensive, drugstore varieties of tinted moisturizer that are perfectly adequate and get the job done. But, for me, even though it is a little expensive, there is just something about Stila Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer that keeps me coming back for more -- definitely a Beauty Couch favorite.


NOTW: Miami Beet

Just as Nail Rehab was finishing up and my nails were starting to look somewhat presentable, wouldn't you know I would just go ahead and take a giant slice out of one of them with a Santoku knife. Yeah, that was unpleasant.

But I'm pretty happy to report that things are once again fairly stable in the nail department. I decided to celebrate with a bright, Summer-y manicure: OPI Miami Beet. I previewed the OPI South Beach Summer Collection a while back and wasn't initially that excited about any of the shades. That is, except for Miami Beet. This bright magenta is definitely reminiscent of highly nutritious beets. Miami Beet is a creamy, very color-rich shade without any shimmer at all. This is a nice change, in my opinion, since Summer nail polishes tend to run a bit heavy on the shimmer/glitter. The application and formula are great and I continue to love the OPI wide brush. If you are shy about bright fingertips, then this probably isn't the shade for you, although it would make a lovely pedi. I can definitely see myself wearing this again and again this Summer. It might be my next pedi shade, in fact.

I can't see myself buying any of the other South Beach shades, but check out this link to see swatches of the entire collection.


Do or Don't -- Putting On Makeup On The Bus

woman put on her make-upYesterday I was riding the bus downtown (not one of my favorite activities) and the bus was even more crowded than usual. Crowded is an understatement -- let's say shoulder-to-shoulder packed. Shortly after I got on, a middle aged woman gets on and she starts looking around agitatedly as if looking for an open seat (there weren't any) or a friend or something. Then she wedges herself past several people and asks another women if she would switch her places so that she could put on her makeup. I guess she wanted to stand against a pole for stability or something. Anyway, she was able to accomplish this re-positioning maneuver and then proceeded to take out her makeup kit.

What then ensued was an elaborate application of cream, primer, foundation, powder, lip liner, lipstick and probably even more because when I got off the bus a good 10-15 minutes later, she was still at it. Now, I try to be an accepting and nonjudgmental person and I realize that people are busy and mornings are often rushed. But, oh my god, seriously?

At any rate, I was doing OK with the whole bus/makeup salon thing, even finding it mildly amusing, until she pulled out the most disgusting makeup sponge I have ever seen. If I had to guess, it was at least several years old and I'm pretty sure it has never been washed. I seriously considered gently suggesting that she a) throw it away and get a new one for 99cents, for crying out loud or b) at least take a little soap and water to that one. But I kept my mouth shut on that front.

It's interesting because a little lipstick and gloss application on the bus wouldn't even phase me, but an entire face application?! I don't know, maybe I'm splitting hairs here. What do you think?


Friends & Family Friday

This week's Friends & Family Favorite is the first submission from my super-fun friend, Ashley. I feel somewhat responsible for her blossoming cosmetic addiction so I recruited her to write up a piece on Korres Lip Butter ($9).

Korres is a Greek brand of cosmetics and skin care and all of their labels are charmingly printed in both English and Greek writing. They are a "natural" brand and base most of their products on food and flower extracts. This results in some truly delicious-sounding offerings. While I have tried and enjoyed using the Guava (clear) variety, Ashley has tried quite a few more. Here's what she says.

Re: that Korres stuff:

It comes in a variety of colors including: Guava (clear), Quince (sheer rose), Plum (sheer lavender berry), Pomegranate (sheer coral) and Wild Rose (deep red). All come in a small pot with a screw on lid that seems not at high risk for leaking (which you know freaks me out). The Guava goes on totally clear, but with a hint of a dewy quality. I also tried the Pomegranate which is a really pretty shade, but too sheer for my lip color. I really like the Wild Rose which actually had enough color and was tarty, but not too vampy. They all smell great, go on smooth and are non-sticky. The downs? They didn't seem to last long at all in their "gloss duties" but do seem to make lips super soft. These are all also touted as cheek stain, but I didn't try any in this way.

I can't think of much else to add to that very comprehensive review! I really love the texture of this balm, which is silky and buttery (but not in a gross way). I agree that the gloss is more of a slight sheen -- very subtle and good if you like the no-makeup look. Overall, Korres Lip Butter is a high-quality tinted balm, if a tad on the pricey side. And it has never leaked in my purse.

Korres Lip Butter is available exclusively at Sephora.


Review: Anastasia Brow Definer

One thing that I love about the Anastasia brand is that wherever you fall on the high-low maintenance spectrum, Anastasia has the product for you. That product, then, will be high quality and highly effective. Anastasia's newest release, Brow Definer ($22), is definitely for the low-maintenance crowd and it performs characteristically beautifully.

This defining duo is one half velvet brow pencil for filling in sparse or uneven brows. At this point, it only comes in one color, an ashy brown which will work for most people (but not all, sadly). The color is best applied in quick, even strokes and can be easily blended with a little finger. After filling them in, the other half of the defining duo is a tube of Clear Brow Gel which is swept along the brows to keep them neatly in place. The entire process takes less than a minute and results in elegantly sculpted brows that last all day. Since I've had this, I've been reaching for it over and over again. Especially during warm weather months where the pull is to keep makeup minimal, a pair of well-groomed brows will keep the look casual but still polished. The Anastasia Brow Definer is seriously all that is needed to maintain neat-looking brows with minimal effort. I highly recommend adding this to your summer makeup bag.


Link Love

As I spend half my life combing the web for health and beauty related content, I thought I'd pass along some recent interesting links.

Since we've been scared about the potential for premature aging and cancer from the sun all throughout the month of May, here is yet another New York Times article about finding "A Healthy Glow That's Truly Healthy."

Is there a new hairstyle in your future? Check out this really cool, detailed quiz to find "Your Perfect Hairstyle." It's free to take and doesn't require any goofy registration. Just FYI, the results are interesting, but pretty text-intensive.

In case your subscription to French Elle expired, you may have missed the April issue featuring eight female European celebrities--including Eva Herzigova, Monica Bellucci and Charlotte Rampling--all without makeup and all entirely without Photoshopping or retouching of any kind. The fact that such a thing is so outside the norm is actually pretty sad. Granted, they are all beautiful to start, but it is definitely refreshing to be reminded of how beautiful women are without all of that "enhancement." Monica Bellucci is one of the most beautiful actresses working today, in my opinion, so I was especially happy that she was featured in the spread.

At long last, the Stila Indian Summer Collection is now available!

Do you etsy? While there is no shortage of homemade body/cosmetic products available on this online flea market, the products made by Naiad Soap Arts have got me seriously salivating. Lemon Cream Body Sugar Cubes, Chocolate Coconut Whipped Bath Mousse, Banana Brulee Soap? Yes, please.

Lastly, some new and interesting research on the social function of blushing. Maybe it's not so embarassing after all.


A $5 Investment in Smoother Skin: Body Shop Bath Gloves

It seems like at least once a month I have to talk about my scrubbing product du jour. Despite reviewing many great scrubbing products on this blog, I have heretofore neglected to write about one of my all-time favorite shower products: the Body Shop Bath Gloves ($5).

It's no secret that I love a good exfoliation and these bath gloves provide just that. On the continuum of scrubbing products, I would say that these gloves are more intense than a typical jar scrub product but less intense than a full-on professional Korean scrub. For daily use, since they are a bit intense, I prefer using something slightly less abrasive. But at least once a week I do a full all-over scrub with these gloves and it is, quite frankly, pretty amazing. If you are a scrub freak like me, these can definitely be used enthusiastically all over. But, even if you aren't a power-scrubber, they are fantastic on problem dry areas like elbows, knees and feet. Plus, the gloves slip on and off easily and take only a little bit of shower gel to really get them going. They rinse out easily and are small enough not to take up too much precious shower real estate.

For their very reasonable price, the Body Gloves are quite durable; I've been using my pair for at least a year and they are still in excellent shape. The gloves are stretchy and will fit a large variety of hand sizes and (this is really important) they come several cool colors. Mine are in my favorite color, orange, but those coral ones in the photo are pretty cute.

Anyway, I realize that today's post isn't terribly exciting. But y'know, some of the best products out there aren't exciting because they are simple, unassuming and incredibly effective. We could use a few more of those, come to think of it.


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