Monday, June 30, 2014

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipshine from the Collection États Poétiques for Fall 2014

Just say, "Chanel Rouge Coco Shine" to me, and my response will be, "Where Can I Order?" When I saw that there were four Rouge Coco Shines ($35) in the Collection États Poétiques for Fall 2014, I ordered them. I barely studied the shades. I was sure they would all be sheer and attractive. I couldn't begin to choose, so I ordered all four.

The next chapter in the brilliant Rouge Coco Shine story: Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Color Lipshine, an innovative formula with intensified pigments to take color and sheen to a new level of vibrancy. Sheer, shiny, color-rich shades are effortlessly chic, infinitely wearable. Hydratendre Complex softens and plumps lips for a healthier, fuller appearance.

I ordered all four new shades from Chanel's Web site. As I mentioned yesterday, they sat for about 10 days waiting for a good opportunity for phototograpy, which finally came this past weekend. Although I'm not overwhelmed with my swatch photos, here they are. I still have those little pink dots on my arm, and I'd hate to show you the bruises on the other side.

I swatched the shades on my arm in the same order they are shown in my photo at the top of this feature. I started with #93, Intime. It is a very light pink. Anyone with highly pigmented lips will find it nearly invisible. I can see it on my lips, but the effect is subtle. Next down is #94, Confident, which is as gorgeous as it gets. A brown-toned pink, it falls into my "love zone."

Viva (#95) is a bit brash. I can never decide whether I like bright fuchsia shades on myself. They make me feel a bit self-conscious, even thought others love them. Aura (#96), is another drop-dead gorgeous shade. It is a rose-plum hybrid that is so flattering, it's a must. You would never know from looking at the tube that it is so gorgeous.

"Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipshine provides lasting moisturizing shine in a water-light texture. The formula glides on for quick and easy application, and a unique Hydratendre complex hydrates and softens lips, giving them a healthier and fuller appearance." This lipstick is available in a complete range of shades, from delicate beiges to berries, "with a hint of shimmer to enhance a glossy finish." This shimmer distinction is noteworthy because the finish of Rouge Coco Shine is lightly shiny - not metallic, reflective, glittery, or mirror-like. It gleams in a delightful way.

My experience with this lip color is that it loses its shine in an hour or two. The color is long-lasting, but the shine leaves after awhile. I apply lip gloss at that point to bring back the shine. My lips look fuller (and better) with shine. It's my preference.

You can find all four Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipshines from the Collection États Poétiques for Fall 2014 at Chanel's Web site and at Chanel Counters (everywhere, I hope). I think you need at least one.

Now, after a long day at work and a trip to PT after, I'm off to bed! I hope to snuggle up with Charlie and relax.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush from the Collection États Poétiques for Fall 2014

A poetic Fall palette. A colorful game of opposites. Innocent and stormy shadows express passion and emotion. A redesigned eyeliner pen defines a tone of mystery with a sleek felt tip for ultimate precision. 

After looking over the entire collection at, I ordered the blush in Innocence and the four Rouge Coco Shines. They have been here for 10 days! It was hot (or raining), I was going to physical therapy after work, and I had no time to get photos - until today. I'll admit I took a very conservative approach to the collection. I know there is more coming, and I want to see round 2 before I spend too much money.

There was no way I could pass by Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Innocence (#160, $45). I like to in person even more than I liked it online. It has more of an autumn look.

The soft, muted mauve pink, which some will call rosewood, is matte on my skin. It is sheer, giving us an opportunity to wear a literal blush of color or to layer the shade for more oomph. It is not as powdery as some Chanel blushes. Each time I've tried it, I've finished with a clean compact.

I swatched Innocence heavily at the top of my arm. I used a sponge-tipped applicator and ran it across the powder four or five times to show you an even representation of the color. Then I used a kabuki brush and applied it very lightly in a larger swatch below. Any shine you see is from the sun's reflection.

My arm looks like it had a battle. I'm wondering if those little red spots are spider bites. I saw a spider near my bed this weekend. I think I'll move him to another home if I see him again.

The color is a beautiful shade for fall. I'm going to enjoy it. I love the tinge of plum or mauve overlaid on rose. It may look lighter on darker skin tones, but it is definitely a heather rose on my fair skin.

These are the same swatches. The background color and angle to the sun make them look slightly different. I can see that my efforts to apply Innocence with a kabuki brush yielded an uneven application. I'll remember that and use a softer blush brush when I start to wear this beautiful blush for fall.

I purchased my Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Innocence at Chanel's Web site. I know the counters have the Collection États Poétiques for Fall 2014 because I received an e-mail notification.

Photos at top courtesy of Chanel; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Why Do Blogs Roll off "Blogs You Might Enjoy with Me"?

Today, I removed a blog - one that I felt was great - from my favorite blogs list, which some call a blog roll.  Why? Because the blog had gone stale. What do I call stale? A blog that hasn't been updated in six months.

I often wonder, "How can someone who was so good just stop writing, without any explanation?" Do they think they went away and no one noticed? I want all those bloggers who have quit to know that I noticed, and I miss you. I'm sorry I had to remove you from my list.

Sometimes, bloggers don't understand their impact. Maybe they don't get many comments. It's possible they just burned out. I felt a need to write to one today, just to say that I left your blog on the list as long as I could. I had hoped you would return. I'm sorry you didn't. I hope you are well.

Photo courtesy of

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Friday Forum - June 27

I saw my first mosquito of the season last weekend. "He" had made his way into CVS - either flying through the open door or riding in on someone's clothing. That mosquito made me think about one of the worst aspects of summer: ugly mosquito bites and the possibility of getting West Nile virus and the other diseases mosquitos carry. I need to order a fresh batch of Avon's Skin So Soft Bug Guard with SPF. I like it because it smells better than the other repellants on the market.

I ran across an article that noted plants that repel mosquitoes. Ageratum, Basil, Beebalm, Catnip, Citronella Grass, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon Thyme, Marigolds, Rosemary, and Sage. Check out Many of these plants are desirable additions to the garden. The herbs can find their way into our meals, while the decorative plants, such as lavender, smell great and add a touch of elegance.

Speaking of Avon, they are implementing a major cost-cutting program. It's expected that they will eliminate 600 corporate positions in an effort to return Avon to "sustainable growth." Somehow, over the years, Avon seemed to become our mother's beauty company. It could use an update. I'd love to see more adventuresome products and snazzy marketing.

Elizabeth Arden is another company undergoing major change. Their restructuring plan calls for reducing head count; exiting under-performing businesses, retail doors, and fragrance licenses; discontinuing certain products; and shuttering the Puerto Rico affiliate. It's a competitive world out there. That often makes me wonder how so many new and very small companies are starting up at the same time established ones are cutting back. Hope springs eternal?

I noticed a "new" Estée Lauder product at Sephora: Pure Color Cheek Rush. It's not new at all. It's a re-introduction of the limited-edition Pure Color Cheek Rushes from the Cello Shots Collection from last year - right down to the same shade names! I hate it when companies introduce re-promotes as new. Sometimes they mix re-promotes in a new collection, reducing the creative effort required to develop new products, and sometimes they simply bring back individual products as new. It's one of my pet peeves.

The Pure Color Cheek Rushes are nice products. If you missed them last year, you might want to check them out this year. The ultrablendable blushes feature an array of see-through shades and sheer, buildable, water-light gel coverage. Simply pump sparingly on fingertips and then blend for a perfect luminous and natural glow.

Last week's Friday Forum comments ended with a focus on Tom Ford's Fall 2014 beauty collection. There is an eye shadow quad in the collection I must have! I don't steal photos, so I'll send you over to Full Time Ford to check out the advance photos.

If you missed the Le Métier de Beauté Dark Orchid Kaleidoscope when it was offered as a GWP at Neiman Marcus' Camp Gorgeous, you might be able to pick one up at Bergdorf Goodman. I'm not sure when that offer ends, but a sharp-eyed reader let me know.

I have noticed that I am getting unsubscription notices with the reason "too many e-mails." If you don't want to get an e-mail every day, you can go click on the FeedBlitz link and select a frequency that you prefer. Perhaps once/week? This is a feature that Feedburner did not offer.

It's time for the Friday Forum. I love this part of our week. What new products did you discover this week? Did you find any deals you couldn't resist? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? What's new in your life? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers will have moved on.

Update: Now through June 29, you can get a 20% discount at Beautyhabit by using the code SUMMERKICKOFF. I'm shopping!

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Eve Lom Brilliance Cover Concealer Broad Spectrum SPF 15

I've found a "new-to-me" concealer I really like for very specific reasons. For the same reasons I like it, others may not like it at all.

Eve Lom's Brilliance Cover Concealer Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($40) is available in six shades (good range, but not fabulous). I purchased the lightest shade, Alabaster, at Neiman Marcus.

This concealer is designed to dramatically reduce the appearance of skin imperfections and signs of aging, with this smooth, creamy formula. A powerful light-diffusing ingredient gives a soft-focus effect, instantly covering imperfections and minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and large pores. Meanwhile, plant extracts hydrate deep down and encourage cellular renewal to repair, strengthen, and discourage new wrinkles from forming. Skin is protected too; SPF15 guards against UVA and UVB damage, while potent antioxidants stop aging free radicals in their tracks. Your complexion is perfected, radiant, and reinforced from within, with a silky, matte finish.

I like Eve Lom Brilliance Cover Concealer because it provides light coverage. I don't need a heavy concealer under my eyes. Heavy concealers can actually sink into my "expression lines." What I do appreciate is a product that brightens the area, and Eve Lom's concealer excels at brightening. I also appreciate the sun protection factor. Here are the benefits Eve Lom identifies.
  • Conceals imperfections, blemishes, and signs of aging
  • Light-diffusing formula gives a soft-focus effect
  • Cellular renewal is encouraged, leading to firmer, stronger, more healthy skin
  • Skin is hydrated, nourished, and repaired for youthful elasticity
  • Rich, creamy blendability
  • UVA/UVB and antioxidant protection
  • Actively beneficial for all skin types
The active ingredient berryflux vita stimulates the skin's natural hyaluronic acid to lock in hydration.  The concealer is rich in antioxidants, it strengthens the skin's natural barrier, and helps preserve collagen and elastin for suppleness and tone.

Age-defying sea fennel thrives on rocky coastlines and this formula harnesses that hardy resistance. By stimulating cellular renewal, it helps the epidermis regain its youthful smoothness and vitality, improving its structure and thickness while simultaneously thinning down the cornified cell masses, which contribute to the cause of fine lines and wrinkles. The ingredients are impressive for a concealer.

Who won't like Brilliance Cover Concealer Broad Spectrum SPF 15? Anyone who needs moderate to heavy coverage under the eyes (or on other regions of the face). This concealer will not provide that, no matter how much you may layer as you apply it. If dark circles are your scourge, forget this product.

I apply it with my fingers, but you can also use a concaler brush for an equally desirable effect. If you use your fingers, make sure they are clean. There is a good amount of product in the container, and you don't want to contaminate it over time.

I purchased mine at Neiman Marcus. You can also find Eve Lom at Barneys, Nordstrom, and the Eve Lom Web site.

Photo courtesy of Eve Lom

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Coming Soon: CREED Acqua Originale Collection

One of my favorite fragrance companies, CREED, has created a new line of fragrances called the Acqua Originale Collection. Five new fragrances are being released at one time - in mid-July. Is this a first?

The Acqua Originale Collection is Master Perfumer Olivier Creed’s living fragrance journal of countless globetrotting journeys with the fine art of perfumery as the narrative.

Asian Green Tea
Born from Olivier’s appreciation of Japanese art and culture of the Far East, Asian Green Tea opens with green, golden notes evoking the landscape of Malaysia, one of Olivier's favorite Eastern destinations. The fragrance bows with sparkling bergamot, mandarin, and essential oil of lemon petitgrain, then uncovers a fragrant floral bouquet of violet, heliotrope, rose, and sweet cassie blended with the region’s ritual: green tea. The finish is a warm melange of amber, sandalwood and musk.

Cedre Blanc
An ode to the intense green accords of the American forests, Cedre Blanc captures the woodsy floral scents found in the untouched beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia adored by Olivier. Beginning with fragrant laurel, spicy cardamom and bitter galbanum, the scent reveals transparent floral notes of geranium, water lily, and jasmine leaving a base of Virginian cedar, vetiver, and sandalwood.

Iris Tubéreuse
A shimmering white floral that combines the romance of Tuscany and the exotic allure of India, bringing together two of Olivier’s favorite places in one luxurious juice. Delicate iris - one of the most expensive raw materials gathered from the root - fresh galbanum, tender green violet leaf, and orange open the scent. Indian tuberose, the finest in the world collected by moonlight, follows with ylang ylang and lily of the valley to create an unforgettable bouquet of scent. Sicilian orange blossom, musk, and Mexican vanilla orchid create the sensual dry down of Iris Tubéreuse.

Abardeen Lavander [is this misspelled?]
Aberdeen Lavander is a tribute to Creed’s early client and endearing patron, Her Majesty Queen Victoria, whose heart lay always in the Highlands of Scotland. Olivier created this oriental fougére as a historical nod to the Creed archives and the Queen’s beloved picturesque northern retreat. Mysterious anise-flavored absinthe, rosemary, bergamot and lemon give way to a bouquet of annual lavender - flowering in the same year in which it is sown, sumptuous tuberose, iris, and full rose. Dark, dry patchouli, smoky leather, and vetiver complete the unique dry down.

Vetiver Geranium
The Island of Java, Olivier’s favorite destination east of Bali and just south of the equator, served as inspiration for Vetiver Geranium. The accord brings to life Indonesian vetiver that adorns the mountainous rolling hills of its native landscape and pairs the sensual, soothing essence of geranium to create a vibrant juice. Handpicked crisp granny smith apple, bergamot, and lemon make a luminous debut, while warm cinnamon and rose lead to hearty patchouli, cedar, and relaxing amber.

Each of these new fragrances will be priced at $300. You can pre-order them from the CREED Boutique.

Update: I hear the testers have arrived at Neiman Marcus.

Photo courtesy of CREED

Monday, June 23, 2014

Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil

It's been a long time since I purchased a Josie Maran product. I think the novelty wore off, and I stopped buying. However, when I saw Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil ($18) online at Sephora, I was newly intrigued, so I decided to give Josie a whirl again. I wish I hadn't.

Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil is a colorful formula inspired by Josie’s bestselling argan infinity intensive creamy oil, now in tints for lips and cheeks. I purchased Limitless Pink, one of the lightest shades. It's described as medium pink. This product is made for those looking for a pop of dewy, natural color that can be used on lips and cheeks.

Described as hydrating, nourishing, and argan oil-infused, this tinted treatment "tarts as a cream and melts into an oil for a pop of natural-looking, never-greasy color. The formula is 97 percent natural and petroleum-free." Maran says it's ideal for use on all skin types and all skin tones.

“I love putting my Argan Infinity Intensive Creamy Oil on my lips and cheeks to battle dryness and keep them soft. So I thought, why not make a tinted version to add a kiss of color? I’m in love with these cute color wonders. The tint is transparent, so it looks natural, but the popping pigment brightens up lips and cheeks instantly,” said its creator, Josie Maran.

I took swatch photos in full sun, applying a tiny bit of product to my fingertip and then swirling it onto my arm. I noticed immediately that it has a texture similar to an ointment. It's heavy, like Vasoline or an ointment.

While the warm pink color you see on my arm is beautiful, it does not translate this way to my lips or cheeks. When applied to my lips, it feels like Vasoline - very heavy. I assumed the texture would guarantee some longevity to the color. Wrong! The product stayed on my lips for hours, but the pretty pink color was gone in 10 minutes. I don't understand how the color "went poof" while the underlying vehicle stayed in place. After 10 minutes, I might has well have had Vaseline on my lips.

I had an entirely different experience when I applied it to my cheeks. Limitless Pink is dark on me and very hard to blend. It dries on contact. In order to blend it, I have to mix it with moisturizer.

If I can't wear it on my lips or cheeks, I fear that I have to give a fail to Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil. That's ashamed. The color on my arm is pretty, and I admire Josie Maran for her commitment to eco-friendly cosmetics.

You can purchase all of Josie Maran's products at Sephora and at her own Web site.

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Thierry Mugler ALIEN Eau Extraordinaire Eau de Toilette

Many fragrance aficionados rotate their fragrances with the season. Earlier today, I responded to a discussion on a Facebook fragrance forum where we shared with other members the lighter fragrances we'd be wearing this summer. One I'll be wearing is Thierry Mugler's new ALIEN Eau Extraordinaire ($89). Sent to me by my lovely friends at Clarins, ALIEN Eau Extraordinaire reveals a luminous, floral scent that will make you feel like a golden, summer goddess. On top of that, the golden bottle is gorgeous.

The notes coalesce to convey the ALIEN tradition. Perhaps you recognize tiare. Tiare flower is a symbol of love and happiness from the Pacific Islands where it grows; this flower adds a subtle honey-toned accent to the new ALIEN. Tunisian neroli is an essence described as liquid gold by perfumers because of its olfactory richness with hints of orange blossom (a narcotic to me). Italian bergamot tea is simply a combination of the essential oils of bergamot and tea - and the result of their combination comes to life in this fragrance.

White amber, the emblematic signature of ALIEN, brings a feeling of well-being. Notes of heliotrope are the perfect addition for soft comfort.

Do you know cashmeran? It's a synthetic not found in nature and often called blonde wood.  According to Fragrantica, it's actually a musk component with a yellow, trickly texture. Its scent profile takes over the vast sea between woods and ambers, making it abstract and indefinable. It was used - tremendously successfully - in Thierry Mugler's original ALIEN where, combined with jasmine, it enhanced the floral note in the blend. You will also find it in niche fragrances (and very pricey fragrances) like Xerjoff's Al Khatt and Mona di Orio's Les Nombres d'Or Tubereuse. Once you start looking for it, you will find it's widely used for its warmth the longevity it adds to a fragrance.

Mugler's ALIEN Collection of fragrances has been a commercial success. Why? Each smells so darn good! Nice fragrances usually lead to compliments, and who doesn't love a compliment? This latest edition of the collection was designed to be a fragrant expression of summer in a bottle. The top notes will make you think citrus; think Europe; and think irresistible. The dry down will summon an incandescent woodiness that's soft and comfortable. Eau Extraordinaire is like a magnet to the nose, bringing with it a feeling of tranquility and happiness - the tranquility that comes to mind as I envision the cool breeze of the beach at dawn, the earliest moments of a day filled by glittering sunshine. This beautiful fragrance was created by Dominique Ropion and Veronique Nyberg - both perfumers at IFF.

Mugler is active in environmental causes, so he designed the beautiful ALIEN bottle to be refillable. As a result, he keeps 1,505 tons of bottle waste from landfills each year. Refills of Mugler’s favorite scents, ANGEL Eau de Parfum and ALIEN Eau de Parfum happen every seven seconds worldwide! In addition to saving the environment, this feature has an impact on our wallets as well, with savings of up to 40% with refillable perfumes. Never worry about running out and buying back-ups. That gets my seal of approval.

You can find ALIEN Eau Extraordinaire at Thierry Mugler counters nationwide and at Thierry Mugler's Web site, where you will find free shipping, special offers, and free samples.

Photo at top courtesy of Thierry Mugler; beach photo courtesy of

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Friday Forum - June 20

June has been strange. We have had weeks of rain interspersed with days on end on August heat and humidity. I think my plants don't like it. Isn't June supposed to be the glorious month?

What's new in beauty? Alicia Keys will be the face for Givenchy's newest fragrance, Dahlia Divin, which will launch in September. Is there anyone who doesn't love Alicia Keys? Of Dahlia Devin, Keys told WWD, “This scent is grounded, but still has a femininity that is very earthy, and I love that.” The scent, developed in-house by Givenchy perfumer François Demachy, combines notes of jasmine, mirabelle plum, patchouli, vetiver, and sandalwood. The eau de parfum will be available in three sizes, as well a large Skin Dew - all moderately priced. In the U.S., the scent will be sold in about 1,500 doors, including Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Dillard’s and Sephora. I imagine it will receive the same "can't miss it" publicity Dahlia Noir received. I didn't like that one either.

Will I be giving it a whiff? You bet. Will I be purchasing it? Very unlikely. I despise patchouli, and it's a rare day when I can't smell it in a fragrance. I'm actually disgusted with today's perfumers who think they can't create a blended juice without it. There are plenty of other ingredients to give a fragrance an earthy edge. Patchouli must be the go-to because it's widely available and relatively inexpensive.

Speaking of fragrance, I read a book this week - I often don't have time for books - called The Book of Lost Fragrances: A Novel of Suspense. I'd recommend it for a good and atypical read. M. J. Rose spun an unlikely and certainly unpredictable tale of secrets, intrigue, and lovers, separated by time, all connected through the mystical qualities of a perfume created in the days of Cleopatra - and lost for 2,000 years. I purchased it at Amazon, where the hardcover is on sale. I bought the Kindle version, though, and read it on my iPad. I enjoy reading. If I ever get to retire, I'll be going through a book or two every week.

Do you have a favorite beauty loyalty program - one that leads you to try to purchase from a single retailer whenever possible? Some are loyal to Sephora (I'm one of them, although I hate setting foot in their stores); others prefer Ulta. Both have approximately 13 million members. I enjoy my Sephora V.I.B. Rouge status. I really like the fast shipping and my ability to order a single item and get free shipping without a minimum purchase. I hope they don't roll that back someday. I think Sephora was brilliant when they set it up. It encourages me to buy more often.

I also like the perks of the Neiman Marcus special beauty events, but I am starting to tire of the ever-rising minimum purchases to get a few tiny samples from the brands. I gave up on the tote contents years ago. Now I'm starting to give up on the GWPs from the brands. They are far less generous than they used to be. Those of you who have been with me for years know that I've written about this before. I am lucky. I do have brand representatives who are very generous with me because I spend mega-bucks over the year, not just at events. Others have to spend $350 to get a little makeup bag with four samples, three of which they may never try.

I'd be interested in knowing your strategy for selecting a retailer. I'm sure the retailers would be too. Let's see if we can have a good conversation this week.

Don't forget that Giorgio Armani Beauty is having an online Friends & Family sale. If you spend $75 or more, you will receive a 20% discount through June 30. If you spend over $125, you will be able to select five samples. I got the e-mail yesterday and hopped right onto the site to order stock of my foundation. I also found some samples that were more exciting than packet samples.

Did you hear that UPS plans to change its fee structure to charge more for larger boxes? In other words, a regular-sized Sephora box filled mostly with paper padding will cost more to send than a very small box containing less padding. I fear that this change is going to lead to more damage in shipment or - the horror - more use of padded envelopes, which annoy me. When I have purchased a $75 compact, I don't want to see it arrive in an envelope. I remind myself that less packaging material is good for the environment, but I fear that I'll be spending more time returning damaged merchandise. One thing I hate about Chico's is that they send clothing in plastic envelopes, and by the time it gets to me, it is wrinkled beyond my ability - and time - to iron it. I end up returning half of what I order. I don't know why I should have to put work into making new clothes wearable.

Is anyone reading a fan of beachy hair treatments? I'm intrigued by one I just saw at Sephora. DRYBAR's Mai Tai Spritzer Sea Salt Spray ($25) promises to adds soft, beachy waves for a breezy look without the drying, damaging effects of seawater. The formula contains real sea salt, aloe, and algae to create just the right amount of grit, texture, and volume, while leaving hair with a soft, matte finish. I am this close to adding it to my cart. I'd love to hear about it if any of you have tried it.

It's time for the Friday Forum. I love this part of our week. What new products did you discover this week? Did you find any deals you couldn't resist? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? What's new in your life? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers will have moved on.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty and courtesy of Givenchy, Giorgio Armani Beauty, and Sephora

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Fragrance Foundation 2014 Awards

The Fragrance Foundation announced its prestigious annual awards on June 17. I've always found the awards interesting. They are aimed at the "commercial" side of the fragrance market and often reflect the taste of the masses, not those who consider themselves perfume aficionados.

Clinque Happy has been around for so long, and it continues to please. It's no wonder it was inducted into the Hall of Fame. I'm thrilled for NEST Fragrances for its award for Passion. I'm also excited for by Kilian and Aedes de Venustas.

I'm curious. Did Chanel win a media campaign award for Brad Pitt? Really?

Here are this year's award winners.

Fragrance Hall of Fame: CLINIQUE HAPPY - Clinique

Bath and Body Line of the Year: PEONY & BLUSH SUEDE BODY CRÉME AND BODY & HAND WASH - Jo Malone London

Fragrance of the Year
Men's Luxury: TOM FORD RIVE D’AMBRE - Tom Ford Beauty
Men's Prestige: POLO RED - L’Oréal/Ralph Lauren Fragrances
Women's Luxury: PRIVÉ ROSE D’ARABIE - Giorgio Armani
Women's Popular: VICTORIA BY VICTORIA’S SECRET - Victoria’s Secret
Women's Prestige: MODERN MUSE EAU DE PARFUM - Estée Lauder

Indie Award: PLAYING WITH THE DEVIL - by Kilian


Perfume Extraordinaire of the Year: MANE – AEDES DE VENUSTAS, IRIS NAZARENA by Perfumer Ralf Schwieger

Hall of Fame: MICHAEL GOULD, Former Chairman and CEO of Bloomingdale’s

Perfumer of the Year Lifetime Achievement: CARLOS BENAIM, Master Perfumer of IFF

Packaging of the Year

Editorial Excellence in Fragrance Coverage
Article: Notes to Self - ELLE
Feature: Department of Synergy - ELLE
Online: Meet the New Scent Aficionados, The Goodsmellas -

Media Campaign of the Year
Men's: POLO RED - L’Oréal/Ralph Lauren Fragrances
Women's: JEAN PAUL GAULTIER CLASSIQUE - Beauté Prestige International, N°5 - Chanel

Photos courtesy of and NEST Fragrances

Laura Mercier Bonne Mine Stick Face Color

I love cream blushes, and I love cream blushes in sticks. They are so convenient. I was playing online recently and saw Laura Mercier's Bonne Mine Stick Face Color ($32) at Nordstrom. I immediately ordered two shades: Pink Glow and Peach Glow.

Wake up your skin with a healthy glow. These sheer, blendable sticks give skin natural-looking color with a “no-makeup” radiance that looks soft and sun-kissed. Luminous shades for cheeks and face transform skin into radiant, glowing skin. Four luminous shades.

Pink Glow is shown above. What a gorgeous rose shade! The sheer, blendable formula gives you that no-makeup radiance with a natural, soft and sun-kissed look.

I was more than disappointed when I pulled these beauties from the Nordstrom box. Peach Glow fell right out of the tube. Not only did it have some damage around the edges of the top, it had melted at some point, perhaps in transit, and it was no longer attached to the wind-up mechanism. It's too bad that I have to send it back, although I will ask that it be replaced. It's a beautiful color on my skin.

I took swatch photos in full sun. I applied the shades directly from the tubes, and then I blended them lightly with my fingers. Pink Glow in particular came out of the tube a bit too dark for my skin. I would blend them into my skin anyhow, so I don't think the need to blend the color is relevant to anything.

Pink Glow is a stunning rose pink. I would gush, but I'll leave that to you pink lovers. Peach Glow is slightly more subtle. It's extremely natural on the skin, and I'll bet the shade will work for nearly everyone. There are two other shades available: Bronze Glow and Coral Glow. Both appear to have been created for darker skin tones.

I remember that Laura Mercier offered color sticks in the past. They were called Illuminating Sticks, and they were wonderful. Now, we have a bit more color, making them perfect for use as blush in addition to being "glow sticks."

 Apply the colors to your skin where a healthy glow is desired. Laura Mercier recommends you touch the color onto apples of of your cheeks then softly blend the color up your cheekbones and toward your temples until your desired coverage is achieved. Works for me!

You can find Bonne Mine Stick Face Color at Laura Mercier's Web site, Nordstrom (where I purchased mine), and other Laura Mercier counters.

Photos at top courtesy of Laura Mercier; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dior Beauty Diorskin Nude Shimmer Powder in Rose/Pink from the Summer 2014 Transatlantique Collection for Neiman Marcus

Each store received its own Transatlantique Collection for Summer 2014. I had fun shopping at Saks. Then I did it again at Neiman Marcus. Trying to be frugal, I selected only one piece, Diorskin Nude Shimmer Powder in Rose/Pink ($56). It beckoned to me from another counter!

The limited-edition Transatlantique Color Collection was inspired by Christian Dior’s love for travel and the brand’s spirit for timeless elegance and playfulness. The collection boasts classic, elegant shades contrasted by bold pops of color.

Diorskin Nude Shimmer Powder mimics a fresh glow. It's a luminizing product that combines pigment with shimmer to create a natural, fresh look. "A gentle blush of color sculpts and contours, creating a dazzling, complexion-enhancing glow."

The compact comes in a very large box, accompanied by the small kabuki brush you see here. With one stroke of the Kabuki brush (or more, if you wish), your skin blushes gently, catching the light and revealing a sculpted face. The color is gorgeous: a pastel pink that leans cool without being too blue.

I took my swatch photos in full, late-morning sun. I applied the powder with a sponge-tipped applicator, which I "ran" over all the colors in the compact. Then I used the kabuki brush that comes with the compact (in a very large Dior box) and applied the large swatch below.

I'm using this gorgeous pink as an illuminating blush. I apply it with a light hand because it is very pigmented.

The texture of this finely-milled powder is soft and very blendable on the skin. Once you blend it, it seems to melt into the skin, never looking powdery. I am thrilled that I purchased it.

Diorskin Nude Shimmer Powder in Rose/Pink is supposed to be a Neiman Marcus exclusive, but you can find it at Nordstrom too. I can never figure out why one store thinks they have an exclusive, but others have the same product. I've given up trying.

Photo at top courtesy of Neiman Marcus; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Monday, June 16, 2014

Giorgio Armani Beauty Nail Lacquer from the Bright Ribbon Collection for Summer 2014

When the Bright Ribbon Collection was launched recently, my eyes went straight for the Rouge d'Armani Sheers. After ordering two, I lingered at the Nail Lacquers ($20). Something about #302, a coral that is "so not me," commanded my attention. It telegraphed, "I am the coral of the season; you will never regret purchasing me." So, I put aside my natural attraction to pink and ordered a coral shade. I'm glad I did! Armani's #302 is exquisite.

This rich, thick polish creates an exception creamy shine with long-lasting color. The flat and wide brush sets a clean drop at the base of the nail and easily stretches color to the nail tip with one stroke. Even I can do it. The transforming "gel on brush" prevents dripping for a clean, precise application. The application is easy, and the application is long-lasting. What's not to love?

I took swatch photos on the color wheel in full sunshine. I applied two coats. More would have been overkill. This nail lacquer covers well.

Is this not a shade that screams summer? I think it's a fingertip shade - and a shade for your toesies - to draw attention while still telegraphing Armani elegance.

I have a hard time applying Nail Lacquer, but I find that Armani's shades apply easily, neatly, and evenly. There are six new shades in the Bright Ribbon Collection - including turquoise and pastel grape. This is the only one I've tried. I purchased it at the Armani Web site. It's also available at Giorgio Armani Beauty counters.

Photo at top courtesy of Giorgio Armani Beauty; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Perricone MD No Lipstick Lipstick

I never liked Perricone MD's No Foundation  Foundation, so I have no idea why I was intrigued by his new No Makeup Skincare. I looked it over at Sephora and decided the No Lipstick Lipstick ($30) was the safest purchase for someone who had never been impressed. How hard is it to screw up a lipstick?

Described as an anti-aging lip treatment with SPF 15 designed to enhance lip contours and mimic the natural rosy color of youthful lips, No Lipstick Lipstick is available on one shade: Sheer Rosy Pink Sheen.

No Lipstick Lipstick is said to restore the natural rosy color of youthful lips while deeply nourishing and conditioning. It smooths vertical lip lines with neuropeptides (state-of-the-art ingredients), and its solid-to-serum texture allows for sheer, buildable coverage.

When I took it out of the box, I blanched. The lipstick looked like it had had an accident during manufacturing. Look at the motley surface of the bullet: a combination of frosted, garish pink studded with rose. The color was disastrously uneven. I have no other No Lipstick Lipsticks here for comparison, so I really don't know if I received a dud or not. However, it applied to my lips just fine.

I took swatch photos in full sun to show you that it's actually a pretty, sheer, warm pink. Who would have expected such a pretty color from that lipstick bullet?

Will I recommend Perricone MD No Lipstick Lipstick to you? I don't think so. I don't like it when my product looks "diseased," even if it applies nicely. No Lipstick Lipstick is just another sheer pink lipstick. I will give it credit for the neuropeptides and SPF 15, but then take away some credit for the shape of the tube. It ends up in a mediocre zone.

All in all, I'd say try it if you are a Perricone fan. Otherwise, I think you could skip it.

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Sunday, June 15, 2014

BECCA Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflé in Fig/Opal, Guava/Moonstone, and Raspberry/Opal

When I wrote about BECCA's Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflé Lychee/Opal ($27), one of six shades, I said I'd be going back for more. I did. I purchased Fig/Opal, Guava/Moonstone, and Raspberry/Opal on Round 2. They are shown in that order from left to right immediately below.

A four-in-one air-whipped soufflé formula adds a flush of color to cheeks. The ultra-lightweight formula packs four must-have qualities into one formula: a powder to add a pop of color, a stain to give staying power, an illuminating highlighter, and a cream to deliver a flawless finish. Water-resistant, each pot combines Becca’s bestselling Beach Tint with a Shimmering Skin Perfector for effortlessly buildable, complexion-enhancing color, soothing hydration, and a youthful glow.

The soufflé is made by pulverizing Beach Tint and Shimmering Skin Perfector pigments and pearls into an ultrafine powder, which is then combined with a proprietary blend of liquids, and whipped into a delicate soufflé. It definitely applies like a cream. The result? Glorious!

I took swatch photos in full, bright, mid-day sun, using a sponge-tipped applicator to apply the shades to my arm. I started at the top with Fig/Opal, continued with Guava/Moonstone, and finished at the bottom with Raspberry/Opal. I am just as happy with these shades as I was with Lychee/Opal.

Fig/Opal is described as a nude infused with golden opal. If you think about the luscious fruit you see when you cut into a fig, you may get a mental image of the Shimmer Soufflé shade. Guave/Moonstone is described as coral infused with pale gold. It's more peach than coral, but the color is so pretty, I won't quibble over its description.

Raspberry/Opal is the unique one among my four. It is described as raspberry infused with golden opal. When you look at it in the pot, that's what you see. On the skin, though, it's a vivid warm pink - one that really perks up my cheeks.

I love these little pots of gleaming wonder. If I were to get picky, I would criticize their size. It's a little hard to work within the confines of the pots if you wish to use a brush to apply the creams. I can't even imagine how one would use BECCA's recommended The One Perfecting Brush. If you use your fingers, you'll find the diameter perfectly acceptable. Given that they are only $27, that is a picky observation.

Sephora still has them in stock. Given how quickly they blew out of there when first stocked, I think you might want to order soon before they disappear again.

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day! It's a day to celebrate all the great fathers. I'll bet even the family pets know it!

I read a nice "sign" from Words of Wisdom on Facebook a few years ago.

Dear Dad,
I thought of you today, but that is nothing new. I thought about you yesterday and days before that too. I think of you in silence, I often speak your name. All I have are memories and a picture in a frame...God has you in his arms. I have you in my heart. 

I tear up every time I think about my father's passing and how much I miss him. So, please give your father a hug from me. I just sent a message to mine in heaven. It's supposed to be a happy day.

Photos courtesy of and

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Friday Forum - June 13 - and By Kilian Scented Jewelry

Friday the 13th, and the Satsuki azaleas are blooming. It's sucn a pretty time of year. We have been drenched this week, so the azaleas aren't terribly happy. Later today, the last storm is predicted to move through, bringing a "cold front" that will take the humidity out of the air. I'm expecting a great weekend for everyone celebrating Father's Day.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I learned that Kilian Hennessey is introducing scented jewelry. I've always been underwhelmed with the concept, although I've never been underwhelmed by Kilian. WWD quoted Kilian as saying, "We are living in a world where things that are invisible don’t exist,” referring to the plethora of images on everything from Instagram and Pinterest to Facebook. “Perfume is an accessory in the same way shoes and handbags are. But it’s an accessory that is not visible.”

Now, he will be providing visible fragrance. The Jewels of l’Oeuvre Noire, a capsule line of four necklaces for women, each one coming in 18-karat-gold plate and pure rhodium. There’s an onyx bead tassel necklace (whose cord is microencapsulated with one of six By Kilian scents), plus two other tasseled models and one with a locket. Each involves a cage system made of perforated metal that holds a ceramic piece onto which fragrance can be applied.

The Leathers of l’Oeuvre Noire are four bracelets - in a selection of five scents - for men in either brown-and-gold or black-and-silver finishes. Their fragrance is said to last up to one year. Hennessy designed them all. Tassels have appeared on the snazzy By Kilian fragrance boxes, and the metal shield design is on some of the jewelry, as well. “It’s always essential shapes,” he said.

Prices for the women’s line range from $245 for the locket necklace to $465 for the onyx piece. The bracelets run from $195 to $325. The jewelry is set to launch Sunday in the By Kilian boutiques in New York, and Moscow, plus online through Its rollout will include London’s Harrods and Bergdorf Goodman in September and the upcoming Kilian boutiques in Paris; Lugano, Switzerland; Doha, Qatar; Seoul, and Dubai through year end. Will you be shopping?

It's time for the Friday Forum. I love this part of our week. What new products did you discover this week? Did you find any deals you couldn't resist? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? What's new in your life? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers will have moved on.

Photo courtesy of Southern Living; Kilian information and photo courtesy of WWD

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Le Métier de Beauté 2014 VIP Program

You know I love Le Métier de Beauté, but, seriously, would you spend $348 on a bet - a bet that you will like the surprise monthly, "curated" full-sized product or assortment of products shipped to you if you pay to join the VIP program? "As an added bonus, Vault VIP Subscription shipping is free" (woo hoo). All you have to do is sign up, receive your complimentary gift, and anticipate 12 exciting months of Le Métier de Beauté surprises.

Savor the perks of insider access and start discovering beauty with us.  How? Receive the following...
  • One full-sized item or an assortment of items shipped to you at the beginning of every month
  • Curated mix of our favorite color, skin care, pre-release sneak peaks, lab previews, and vault exclusives
  • Receive a bonus gift just for signing up
I'm sorry, but $348 is a lot of money to me. If I sign up, it's predetermined that I will receive palettes created by Mikey for West Coast beauties who love wearing red or plum on their eyelids, or whatever is left over in the stock room. I'm gullible, but not that gullible.

I have a better idea for Le Métier de Beauté. Introduce some new products at your store counters. Stop this exclusive, online surprise of the month program. You want to run an online vault? Offer the products and let us choose whether we purchase them - or not.

As I said, I love the company, but I don't think this is the best way to win long-term customers. It reminds me of a carnival game. What do you think?

Photo courtesy of Le Métier de Beauté