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.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

expert advice: Face Stockholm keeps skin hydrated

I'm the first to admit my skin craves moisture in the winter. So I was excited to try Face Stockholm's Moisturizing Treatment Masque ($38). The lightweight gel went on smoothly and tightened as it dried, feeling like it was hydrating, balancing and smoothing my skin where needed. It has soothing botanicals and rich hydrators like Olive Oil, Witch Hazel, Lavender Extract and Green Tea Extract to moisturize dull, dehydrated skin. The trick is removing the mask when it's dry. The instructions say, "peel from bottom to top," which made me think it would come off easily. Not so. When I started to peel it off, it mostly came off in large pieces but I had to work a little to peel off some smaller spots and then wash off the remnants. It left me wondering whether you could do more damage to your skin using this type of product, from either pulling it off your face or slightly scraping to get off the remaining pieces. Can this kind of product strip away much-needed oil from your skin? I asked a Face Stockholm expert, who assured me I was following the instructions correctly. "That is the appropriate way to take off the Moisturizing Masque. The masque will come off in larger portions, the only damage you should be wary of is around the hairline or eyebrows- no one wants a surprise waxing! But actually it works by sealing in moisture and once dry, the only thing that is removed as it’s peeled away is the scale layer/dead skin. So it is actually exfoliating and moisturizing simultaneously. The skin's oils are not stripped away, that would only happen with a highly acidic or alcohol based product." Whew...relief. My skin felt smoother and tighter afterward. For a more regular moisturizing treatment, I prefer the company's Seaweed Cream ($54), a soothing moisturizer with extensive healing ingredients like Algae Extract and Allantoin that also protect skin from the elements. I love the way it makes my skin feels smooth and soft...and safe to use daily. For more info, go to

Monday, February 15, 2010

fashion week: get this fresh makeup look from Napoleon Perdis

Just back from Fashion Week where I interviewed makeup artist Napoleon Perdis backstage at the Tony Cohen show. His "tough chic" makeup look "takes you from office to club in just a few simple steps." Perdis started the look with Auto Pilot Pre-Foundation Skin Primer and Boudoir Mist, followed by Stick Foundation and Camera Finish Powder. On eyes, Perdis took smoky to a whole new level, using Color Disc #27 (Charcoal) and #29 (Black) on lids, #66 (Healther) in the socket, #44 (ehite and #5 nude) on the brow bone and China Doll Eyeliner Equinox in Color Disc #27 (Charcoal) along the lashline. On lashes, he brushed Mesmer-Eyes Mascara, which comes with a dual-sided brush that features a fine mascara comb and a slightly wider tooth comb. "The finer side separates and the other thickens, lengthens and curls," explains Perdis. "Plus, the formula makes your lashes look glossy and beautiful, not dehydrated." Perdis used Stick Foundation to contour cheeks, then brushed DeVine Goddess lip gloss in Lianna (named after his 10-year-old daughter) on lips and Luminous Lip Veil in Hot Toffee as a lip finish. Finally, he spritzed the entire face with a lightweight skin spritzer for a slightly dewy effect. "My goal is to infuse freshness," says Perdis. "No matter how strong the look is, there's still a certain freshness to it." For more info on Napoleon Perdis products, go to

Sunday, February 14, 2010

vday beauty: make eyes

Whether you share a sly glance, a quick peek, or seriously lock eyes across the room, you'll want to make a statement. For a last minute makeup boost this Valentine's Day, try Mineral Fusion Lengthening Mascara ($16). I have used cute, compact barrels which are easy to stash in a purse for a while now so I was surprised at how much easier it was to control this full-size version. No vibrations, no slick combs, no gimmicks. Just brush it on and watch your lashes lengthen. The first application lifts and slightly curls. Add a second coat and lashes appear thicker and longer, without clumping. Plus, it contains antioxidant protection, thanks to white tea, red tea, pomegranate and vitamins. Choose from Rock (a natural looking dark brown) and Graphite (black) at, then go ahead--bat away.