Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...and those of us holding the mascara wand.

After two decades of covering the beauty industry, I've come to learn what makes it so alluring. Finding the perfect shade of makeup to match your skin tone, adding a swipe of eyeliner to give your tired eyes a lift, discovering an innovative new product line, or indulging in a totally luxurious spa treatment. My experiences have been documented in magazines, newspapers and websites worldwide. I've tested newly formulated products in the lab, explored hair removal options, shopped for lipstick, added shine to my hair and succumbed to massage marathons--all in the name of beauty. I've written press releases, hosted makeover events and co-authored a Do-It-Yourself Beauty book (Alloy). On this blog, I write about products and services that I come across every day as well as those that have been provided by publicists or the companies that make them. Either way, I write what I think. I hope to share some of my insights--and bring you the latest, greatest beauty news right here. Join me in the quest to find all things pretty.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

flat out

During one of my many single summers in the Hamptons, I was invited to a very exclusive house party by a friend who had a share in the house. She told me to come by early so we could finish primping together. Being my low-maintenance self, I managed to touch up my eyeliner, mascara, bronzer and lip gloss in about five minutes, then spent the next half hour watching her straighten her hair. Too bad the Paul Mitchell Express Ion Smooth 1.25 had not yet been invented. The first claim on the package is that it reduces smoothing time--and it's true! I did my whole head of mid-back length hair in about five minutes flat. The Express Ion Complex blend of silicone and ceramic restores moisture and seals the cuticle without causing damage. It's easy to use: Just plug it in, turn it on and choose from four different temperatures, then run it through each section of your hair. Not only did my hair look straight but it felt soft, smooth, silky and static-free. The best part: For September and October 2009 only, it is available in a limited edition, ultra-lightweight pink version to benefit Fran Drescher's Cancer Schmancer foundation (a portion of the proceeds will go to the charity and help promote early detection of all cancers). Ready to iron things out? Take this advice from Angus Mitchell, artistic director of education and co-owner of John Paul Mitchell Systems: “A major fall trend will be sleek, straight hair with a thick fringe (as seen on Katy Perry). A must-have product is new Paul Mitchell Hot Off The Press – a thermal protectant spray that’s great before flat ironing hair and achieving this look.” Pick up an Express Ion Smooth at your local Paul Mitchell salon.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

lash out

The last time I wore fake eyelashes was for a Halloween costume in 1997. So imagine my lack of expertise when trying I-Envy ($3.49), the glamorous new lashes from Kiss. I was getting ready to head to the Bryant Park tents for NY Fashion Week and decided to give them a try. I chose Juicy Volume but they're available in a handful of lengths and sizes. I applied the glue (maybe a bit too liberally!) then placed the lashes in place along my lashline. The great thing about I-Envy is that the length is ideal for most eyes. The instructions said you could cut them to make them fit your eye so they don't droop at the edges but I thought if they were supposed to reach from the inner corner of my eye to the outer, I would need a longer pair. There was no advice on what to do about that. When I asked the company, they said a professional makeup artist might cut the lashes in sections to beef up natural lashes where needed. I wasn't even going to attempt that so I sort of placed it in the middle, a bit closer to my outer eye where it would be more noticeable, and continued. I also made sure to press the lashes into the groove right above my natural lashline, without letting skin show between the lashes and my own. If you place them on your own lashes, they will droop instead of opening your eye. I held the lashes in place for about 10 seconds until the glue dried, then wiped off the excess. One helpful trick from the experts at Kiss is to allow the adhesive to become tacky before applying. Another trick is to tilt your chin up but look down into the mirror so your lid is facing down. When I looked in the mirror, some of the lashes had stuck together where there was a bit more glue so it looked funny. When I tried to fix it, the whole piece of lashes moved and then I couldn't get it back to the right spot. I have to say, for the few minutes they were in place, they looked great! Lush volume, dark and sexy--I wished they were my own. If you think you have a steadier hand than I do, go to for more info or your local Duane Reade store to buy them. If you get it right, you'll be batting a thousand.