Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I was just wondering...

I'm trying to work on my dissertation today and I keep getting distracted by whiffs of the Chanel No.5 EDT I'm wearing.  Heaven!  I was thisclose to falling asleep at my desk when I gave myself a little spritz.  Fragrance does a world of good to stimulate me and my creativity; in the winter, I'll often burn a yummy Tocca candle at my desk while working.  It made me wonder: do any of you use fragrances to perk yourselves up or energize yourselves?  If so, which ones?  Post your responses in the comments below!  Back to work...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Firebird Part Deux

Just following up on yesterday's post... Today I decided to try the Firebird mascara on both eyes.  I love how it manages to make lashes lush, but not clumpy!  Here's how it looks with full eye makeup.  (That's my dog Shea perched on my shoulder; he climbed up there himself! aww... :)) 

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fall (mascara) has arrived!

I love this time of year!  Just when the dog days of summer are beginning, the beauty industry gives us a little bit of relief by anticipating fall.  Summer sales are ending and fall catalogs and shipments are arriving!  I love fall beauty for all of the richer textures and colors.

This week I had the good fortune of getting to try out two new mascaras that are being introduced this fall: Tarte's Lash Hugger and Fresh's Firebird.  

Firebird (in the blue tube shown above), is Fresh's answer to those clients for whom Supernova is too dramatic.  The press release for Firebird states that "Firebird mascara creates stunningly full, flirty, fluffy lashes for an alluring, feathery look.  Its uniquely shaped brush and ultra black formula delivers the gorgeous and lush feathered look of the 1970s.  In just one stroke of the wand, lashes are instantly curled and voluminous.  It's truly magical!  Plus, the ultra-nourishing formula includes restorative sea buckthorn oil and fortifying panthenol (vitamin B5) to help condition and strengthen each lash.  Supernova Mascara creates a dark, dramatic diva lash and Firebird Mascara delivers a full, flirty, fluffy lash."

You can see Firebird below on the right hand eye (my left eye; the one you see to the right).  It is a very lightweight mascara that is impossible to clump--I couldn't clump it if I tried! (and I did, with multiple coats).  The brush did an excellent job of separating my lashes into a feathery fan, which surprised me given that the brush's bristles are not that densely packed together.  I think that the finished effect is a nice combination of natural and dramatic; I'm not totally convinced that I like this better than my Tarte Lights Camera Lashes, which to date is my HG (holy grail) mascara, but it has potential.  The look is very demure, refined, and perfectly polished.  I would wear this to a job interview.  And I LOOOVE the tube!  It's so gorgeous!  Just the tube alone makes me want to pull this one out of my makeup bag.

You can check out Lash Hugger in the pictures below on the eye you see at left (my right eye).  The launch of this product reflects the Tarte brand's overall initiative to become increasingly more of a natural brand; in keeping with that effort, this mascara features no parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, propylene glycol, sulfates, synthetic dyes, and fragrances.  It's also eco-friendly; the tube is made of recycled aluminum, which prevents the clear cutting of trees which are used to produce bauxite ore, a component of aluminum.  It has a chubby, rounded brush not unlike the Smashbox Bionic Mascara brush, and the juice is a thick and rich black.  It was easier to create drama with this mascara; while the Fresh took multiple coats, just one coat of the Lash Hugger gave me drama.  The only drawback was that a little of this blinked off my lower lashes onto my under eye area immediately following application, a problem I didn't have with the Fresh.  Still, I would reach for this mascara again if I was going for a dramatic eye look or smokey eye because it has the potential to build upon itself and create more volume (for intentional clumping).  

I will update this post later today once I've seen how these mascaras wear over time!  Overall, based on the photos below, I'd say that the Fresh Firebird (seen at right) is the clear winner.  It's beautiful!  But if I was obsessed with natural products or going paraben-free, I think that the Tarte makes a great second choice.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Personal Shopper: Blue Mercury

This week, I'll be your personal shopper at Blue Mercury, a modern apothecary found in many major US cities.  I was introduced to Blue Mercury by my dear friend DJ--the ultimate product divo--who took me to the store in DC's Adams Morgan.  My first product was Bliss' no-fat moisturizer in the yellow bottle (they don't make it anymore! sad! It was lemony, fresh, and cooling!), and I was hooked for life.  When my husband and I lived in Philly, we used to walk by the Blue Mercury on Walnut Street and he would take my hand and hold it.  I always thought it was so romantic, until I finally figured out that he was steering me away from my favorite spot!  Here are some of my Blue Mercury must-haves:

- Tocca Agadir candle : this is the sexiest home fragrance I have ever found.  Use with caution; your next hookup will be utterly seduced (and hooked!). 

-  Dermalogica Ultra Rich Body Cream : a huge bottle with an easy pump that is unscented and totally jammed with every effective anti-aging ingredient known to man.  Hyaluronic, Evening Primrose, and Linoleic Acid are just the beginning!  I've heard of plastic surgeons who insist their patients use this lotion for a month prior to surgery to ensure optimal results.  For even better results, use alternately with Dermalogica's Body Hydrating Cream, which chemically exfoliates with hydroxy acids.

- Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel : I learned about this little gem from a friend who performed at clubs in full theatrical makeup and costume.  I pinned him down for product recommendations because I just had to know how he got all that makeup off night after night while maintaining such a smooth and flawless complexion.  It was this little $12 beauty that was doing the trick--it takes off eye makeup and all, while gently exfoliating with enzymes.

- Phyto Phytocitrus Mask : this conditioner, used immediately after coloring, will seal in your color and smooth out the hair shaft.  It's incredible--I've used it before, and would definitely purchase it again.

- L'Artisan Premier Figuier : in Italian hotels, unisex bath products are scented with fig.  This fragrance brings me straight back to my honeymoon, soaking in a marble tub at the Hotel Majestic Roma and luxuriating in my shower at the Capri Tiberio Palace .  It's amazingly fresh and dewy, but warm and sensual at the same time.  

- Comptoir Sud Pacifique Mora Bella, Matin Calin, and Aloha Tiare : my three go-to summer scents that I shouldn't even be talking about because I don't want everybody else to wind up wearing them!  Any one of these will ensure that you don't smell like anybody else you know--and everyone is going to be wondering what you are wearing.  

- T. LeClerc Pressed Powder in Cannelle and Soleil : always looks radiant, mattifies reliably, and photographs beautifully.  Flawless when applied with an enormous, oversized kabuki brush!

- Molton Brown Blu Maquis hand wash : this smells so good to me that I have totally broken down and used it as a body wash before! (I know!)  The funny thing is that it is of such high quality, and so moisturizing, that even as a body wash, this little guy by far surpassed all cheap drugstore or BBW body washes by a mile.

- Anthony Logistics Sea Salt Scrub : OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! Get in the tub with your man and work it out!  Minty, citrusy, salty, beachy, natural, yummy, delicious.  I always bring this on vacation with me and my hubby for a spa-like experience in the hotel room.

- Terax Original Crema Conditioner : it's a classic for a reason!  Unscented and super-softening.  Like, so softening that if you don't need softening you shouldn't buy it.  Also works just great on my doggies when I give them a bath at home!  (Because it's verrry lightly scented, it doesn't bother their little noses).