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, December 31, 2009

shimmer into the new year

Big night out on New Year's Eve? This is your big chance to ring in the new year in style and find a glamorous new look for 2010. I recently came across an amazing makeup line that I have to share: Luscious Cosmetics, created by Charity Vance of San Clemente, California. She set out to create multi-use products that with imaginative packaging that bring color, pleasure and pizzaz to a woman's life. Says Vance, "Makeup is the quickest way to transform your look. It isn't permanent—if you don't like it, try something else! It’s that simple. Life is a journey! Prepare to discover something you love. Women experience such confidence and inner peace when they feel beautiful." Feeling beautiful is a no-brainer with Luscious. The Crystal Nail Lacquers ($20), in gorgeous shades, come in bottles with custom caps that holds color coordinated Swarovski® Austrian crystals to apply to your nails for a glamourous custom look. They're surprisingly easy to apply and give you a one-of-a-kind manicure you can design yourself. The Lip Delites Lip Plumpers ($17) give lips a wash of color and a glimmer of shine, and plump lips to as much as 40% more volume after only 30 days of use. The Lip Polish ($18), in a compact package for fabulous females on the go, is a beautiful, gloss and lip treatment in one. The color looks subtle and shiny when applied and, thanks to super-emollient ingredients, lips feel ultra-soft and hydrated. The perfect antidote to a long, dry winter! Stash them all in the limited-edition Posh Goes on Holiday makeup bag ($28), featuring Posh, the company's cat muse who loves to travel. (The bag comes with some mini makeup too). Pick up all of these great products and more at to ensure a very happy new year! See you again in 2010~

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

holiday looks: sleek locks

During this hectic holiday season, the best holiday hairstyles are effortless and beautiful. "Whether you are hosting an intimate gathering at home or going out for a night on the town, tousled loose waves do the trick every time," says celebrity hairstylist Larry Sims, who addresses the tresses of Wanda Sykes and Queen Latifah. "Start with your hair down and change your look in 10 seconds by pulling it up in an undone updo. If your hair is short, add texture to make it a short, sassy style. Whether your hair is short or long, make sure you protect your hair from thermal heating damage with Smooth 'N Shine's Silk Style Iron Styler. It protects and prevents hair from dehydration during thermal styling." Check out the complete collection of Smooth 'N Shine products at your local Walmart or

Monday, December 28, 2009

holiday looks: ready to party

The best makeup looks are the ones you get tons of compliments on. People say things like, "Wow, you look amazing! I don't know what's different but you look great!" That's what happened to me when I tried these alluring N.Y.C. New York Color products in preparation for my New Year's Eve look. First, I tried the Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil ($3.99) in black--when they promise long-lasting color, they aren't kidding! I did a low-key smoky eye for day and it lasted way into the night. I mean, while many eyeliners will wear off by noon, I seriously had to scrub it off around midnight! Not only did the pencil have staying power, but it glided on smoothly and was easy to smudge slightly into a dramatic smoky eye effect. As if that wasn't sultry enough, I followed up with a couple of swipes of the Sparkle Eye Dust ($3.99) in Smokey Topaz. There's a built-in brush right inside the package--it's the perfect size for applying shadow--and the shimmery color illuminated my lids in a subtle glow. N.Y.C. make-up artist Mathew
Nigera, who has worked on various a-list celebs such as Jessica Simpson, Kate Winslet and Marisa Tomei, suggests swooping the eye dust from the inner corner of the eye all the way to the outer corner. He says, "The texture and touch of sparkle will add a festive feeling and instant attention to the face. I would also encourage women to use baby blue on the lid and smokey topaz in the contour and underneath for a pop of color that will look very modern when paired with a flushy cheek and glossy pale mouth. Think 'Chic Ice Princess from the Alps.'” I am saving the self-adhesive faux eyelashes for the big night. At $1.99, how can you possibly go wrong? Go to for store locations or visit your local drugstore to purchase.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

holiday looks: the bold and the beautiful

Going to a New Year's party? Be fashionably late and make a bold entrance. Marie Gaglioti, Expert Makeup artist and creator of Dieci Colori cosmetic line, says the hottest looks this year will be bold and defined. Think red lips, smoky eyes and shimmery skin. Here's how to get them...

“Red lips are hot for the holiday season along with dark eye liner,” says Gaglioti. “Line your lips with a deep red liner and then smear the pencil color across your lips. Next apply a smooth red lipstick over your lips and pat a drop of clear gloss in the center to add volume and shine.” Try Dieci Colori Lip Shaper Pencil in Red ($14), Dieci Colori Lip Satin VII ($20) and Lip Polisher VIII ($18).

“Create luminous skin first by starting with a vitamin enriched moisturizer," says Gaglioti, "then apply a creamy shimmer stick to highlight your bone structure. Apply across your cheek bones and above your brows and a touch on your nose and chin. Add shimmering mineral eye shadow in silver, gold or bronze and polish your lips with the glossiest lip gloss in metallic shades or nudes and tans.” Try Dieci Colori Cheek Polish I ($25).

To create an alluring smoky eye, Gaglioti explains, “Apply a dark shadow to your lids and soften the edges with a neutral shade, then fade to a hint of ivory as a highlighter under the brow. Use a dark cake-eyeliner or gel liner to enhance the eye shape, add a lot of black mascara, then line under and in the eyes with black pencil.” Try Dieci Colori Eye Smudge III ($16) and Dieci Colori Eye Definer in Black ($18).

Go to to see the complete color collection.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

holiday gift guide: give soap & paper factory

If you're staying with friends or relatives for the holiday and need to bring holiday gifts and a hostess gift as well, you're in luck. The Soap & Paper Factory comes to the rescue with three new fragrant collections for your family and their homes. Choose sensual jasmine, calming geranium and exotic gardenia as the base scent for any of these great gifts: Solid Perfume ($18)--conveniently packaged in these travel-size containers; Luxurious Body Scrub ($36)--leave skin soft and glistening; Shea Butter Soap ($9)--nourishing and natural; Aromatic Room Diffuser ($32)--beautiful scents in beautiful diffusers; Pure Soy Candle ($28)--a clean burning candle warms up any room. All available at

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

holiday gift guide: give goldfaden

This time of the year can take its toll. One morning I woke up at the crack of dawn (thanks to my two-year-old daughter) and was out late for a holiday party that night. By the time I got home, my skin felt the effects. I broke open my Goldfaden Red Tea Anti-Aging Starter Kit in search of healthier, younger looking skin. First, I exfoliated with a dab of the daily scrub. The pure ruby crystals felt a bit rough on my skin, but they were working to get rid of dead cells and renew my outer layer so the rest of the products could work more effectively. The daily cleanser, designed to clean skin thoroughly, felt a little soapy and I didn't love the scent. My favorite part of the routine was the Pure Power antioxidant complex, a gentle serum that creates a protective antioxidant barrier on the skin. It made my skin feel super soft. Ideal for layering under moisturizer, I followed up with the 3-in-1 Daily Moisturizer designed to hydrate, prevent and repair skin. The perfect finale as it left my skin feeling smooth and refreshed. I definitely recommend these products (if you have sensitive skin, you may want to use the scrub every few days to be safe). It's not too late to buy some last-minute holiday gifts so pick up a couple of kits at

Monday, December 21, 2009

holiday gift guide: give girlie

I love getting fragrance as a gift. I always remember the person who gifted it, the circumstances and the way I felt when I first worw it. New to market--and just in time for the 2009 holiday season--is girlie by Debra Rodman. The fashion designer and founder of the yoga-inspired label Yogini, created this tough and tender, sweet and sexy, carefree and coquettish scent to celebrate the eternal feminine state of being girlie. The details... Top notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Clove Buds. Heart Notes: Turkish Rose, Egyptian Jasmine and Chinese Magnolia. Base Notes: Oud, Benjoin, Labdanum, Myrrh, Amber Musk, Vanilla. Blended together, they make up a zesty blend of rare floral and woody tones. The best part: Half of all sales from this perfume will be donated to benefit the children who are atetnding the Man-Rod Academy in Lamu, Kenya which Debra founded. girlie is available exclusively at

Friday, December 18, 2009

holiday gift guide: give wonderbar

Ready to break in a new favorite bar? Make room in your soap dish for Wonderbar--a new facial bar designed to firm, lift and make your skin glow in three minutes. Sound too good to be true? Wonderbar features a unique combination of Chlorey’nahre, an algae-based complex, and the natural, therapeutic 3000-year-old Heilmoor clay of Austria. The new soap alternative promises to reduce redness, tighten and minimize facial pores, remove free radicals and toxins, fight eczema, acne and psoriasis, and balance skin. You'll love the natural, healthy glow you get after just one use...and so will those who you decide to gift it to. It can also double as a shampoo, moisturizing the scalp and leaving hair shiny, or as a shaving foam to reduce razorburn and the incidence of ingrown hairs. The only downside: it won't fit in your soap dispenser. The holiday gift set includes four Wonderbars ($140) which should last about five to six months. Visit to order.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

holiday gift guide: give Profound Beauty

Don't let friends ring in the new year without showing off their luxe locks. Just in time for the gift giving season: Profound Beauty introduces its new limited edition Styling Kits ($49 each). Each kit contains three essentials to put hair in the spotlight. Hush controls frizz without weighing hair down, Stylist will accentuate the natural shape, texture, look and feel of their hair to create a style all their own, and atmosphere which is designed to mimic the best weather conditions for their hair (read: no more bad days ahead!) Try the Arctic Straight kit for sleek style and high shine (for my TV-reporter pal), the Desert Volume Kit (for moi!) for root to tip lift, texture, separation and bounce, and the Tropical Curl Kit (my sisters will fight over it!) for lush, dewy, plump curls. Go to to purchase.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

holiday gift guide: give Bond No. 9

What happens when you pair a top notch fragrance with a beautiful, architectural bottle? You get this latest find from Bond No. 9. In an effort to spread peace this holiday season, Bond No. 9 bottled its blackcurrent-lily-of-the-valley-cedarwood-musk perfume-ode to peace, The Scent of Peace, in a super-stunning limited-edition Swarovski crafted bottle. Every square millimeter on the surface is smattered with glittering Swarovski stones giving off a deep, rich, non-stop seductive shimmer. The Scent of Peace Superstar bottle is decked out with 2,500 Swarovski stones. Available at, it sells for $500. Is it worth the price? You decide.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

holiday gift guide: give nude skincare

Good things come in small packages...especially in this case. The Nude Selection Box ($25) features all your skin care must-haves, at least according to beauty industry experts. These skin care products include a Cleansing Facial Oil, Advanced Smoothing Complex, Advanced Eye Complex, Age Defense Moisturizer, and Miracle Mask. The Age Defense moisturizing lotion is my favorite (anything anti-aging rocks in my book!); my skin has never felt smoother than it does after I use it (not even after a facial). But the collection makes a perfect stocking stuffer or one-night-of-Chanukah gift. Another great gift idea: the Nude Lips kit ($14), complete with organic cupuacu and Tahitian vanilla monoi lip balm that melts at body temperature for the prettiest gloss. All the more reason to stand under the misteltoe. Both available at Sephora, Barneys and

Monday, December 14, 2009

holiday gift guide: give Pureology

Wanna be a celebrity? I do! But not for all the obvious reasons. It's because this holiday season, Hollywood A-listers like Sarah Jessica Parker, Heidi Klum, Reese Witherspoon and Charlize Theron got this incredible gift set from Pureology--and I want one! The Holiday Hydrate Kit is the best antidote to cold, dry winter weather. Packaged in an eco-friendly box, the gift set includes three essential products to keep hair hydrated during the winter months: Pureology's top selling HydrateShampoo, HydrateCondition and GlossingMist. The shampoo helps you keep your color from fading and smells like rose, sandalwood and green tea. The conditioner moisturizes without weighing hair down and is scented with peppermint, sage and rosemary. And the GlossingMist offers UVA/UVB protection and gives you a gorgeous, glossy shine. I told my hairdresser about the products and even got her hooked! Click on and try them for yourself or give them as a gift this holiday season.

Friday, December 11, 2009

holiday gift guide: give Carol's Daughter

It's one thing to get a beautiful gift. It's even more rewarding to get to meet the creator(s) and talk to them about their creations. If you love Carol’s Daughter, you can stop by one of these friendly get-togethers in your city to chat with Lisa Price, the brand's founder and innovator. Learn the secret Almond Cookie Candle Recipe for Naturally Beautiful Hair, and the inspiration behind her Magical Beauty Collection- a line that celebrates Disney’s first African-American princess, chronicled in “The Princess and the Frog”. Lisa will also share her recipe for her Holiday Potpourri, a budget-friendly solution for a month of endless entertaining. Meet up with Lisa at a store near you: Macy's Arlington, TX (Sunday, December 13th, 2-4PM); Carol's Daughter Westfield Wheaton Mall, MD (Thursday, December 17th, 6-8PM); Carol's Daughter Arlington, VA (Friday, December 18th, 6-8PM);
Macy's Waldorf, MD (Saturday, December 19th, 1-3PM). Go to for more info or for a complete selection of holiday gifts.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

holiday gift guide: give Burt's Bees

I asked a good friend what she wanted for Chanukah and she said, "A Burt’s Bees Holiday Gift set." I didn't even know they made them. But a quick click on the company's website proved her right. Being a big Burt's Bees lip fan, I was excited about the Burt’s Bees Lip Balm Purse Packs ($9.99), adorable cloth purses with four lip favorites. Choose from the Classic Purse Pack – featuring four Burt’s Bees® Beeswax Lip Balms – or the Mixed Purse Pack – a grab bag of favorite flavors. Then there's Burt’s Bees Mini Lip Gloss Collection ($14.99), featuring four shades of the Super Shiny Lip Gloss in mini forms, perfect for travel. Burt’s Bees Bee Keeper ($9.99), offers the signature lip balms in a festive reusable tin. Burt’s Bees A Few Favorite Things ($19.99), combines the Beeswax Lip Balm, Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme, Milk & Honey Body Lotion and Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream. Burt’s Bees Tingling Treats ($19.99) lavishes you in invigorating peppermint oil in the form of lip balms, foot lotion and more. Burt’s Bees Polka-Dot Perfect Mani-Pedi kit ($19.99) contains Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Crème and Coconut Foot Crème, plus a Pomegranate Lip Balm all in one tidy bag. With so much to choose from, I'm not sure which one my friend had in mind so I'll let her choose--but it can't hurt to keep a few on hand for last-minute gift giving. Go to to order.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

holiday gift guide: give Ouidad

The perfect gift for the stylista in your life: Ouidad's Classic Curls Kit. For friends who spend hours and hours trying to create hairstyles for their curly hair but don't have time or cash to get to a professional hair salon, the Classic Curls Kit lets them create brand new hairstyles every time they use it. And since it was developed by Ouidad, the queen of curly hair, herself, it has everything you'll need to do your curls justice this holiday season. What's inside: Ouidad's best sellers at a remarkably discounted price. The Celebrate Classic Curls Kit ($35; a $46 value) includes: Clear & Gentle Essential Daily Shampoo (2.5oz), Balancing Rinse Essential Daily Conditioner (2.5oz), Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel (2.5oz), Botanical Boost Moisture Infusing & Refreshing Spray (2.5oz), 12 Minute Deep Treatment Intensive Repair (2.5oz), a wide-tooth detangling comb and Ouidad’s How-to Guide to Effortless Curls. Visit for a complete list of all 2009 holiday kits.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

holiday gift guide: give remington

No one welcomes the inevitable task of blow-drying or straightening their hair. And holiday parties call for lots of both.

Remington adds a little bit of fun to the process with its new Limited Edition holiday hair tools. The company's Cool Style line of straightening irons and blow-dryers are cute, compact and come in festive holiday prints, so they make great stocking stuffers or gifts for yourself.

The blow-dryers boast three heat settings and a cool shot button, are very lightweight and have great air flow. They're an excellent way to blow-dry and straighten thick, wavy hair.

Use the hair straightening iron, a great hair straightening tool, for the ultimate sleek, straight style. It really straightens hair and keeps it looking chic even the next day.

For both hair straightening tools, choose from Remington's four adorable prints: light blue and brown leopard print, pink and white polka dots, brown, mustard and turquoise plaid, or pink, blue, brown and white floral print ($19.99 each).

By-pass your local beauty supply store and head directly to Target or shop

Monday, December 7, 2009

holiday gift guide: give paul mitchell

The holidays are all about lifting people's spirits and giving back to people who need it most. Add meaning to your gift giving traditions with these Paul Mitchell Holiday gift sets--a portion of the proceeds go to Amnesty International and American Forests. I love the clean, salon-like scent of the Extra-Body Daily Shampoo, the lightweight feel of the Thicken Up Styling Liquid and the powerful hold of the Extra Body Finishing Spray. Choose from these hair-perfecting options...

Paul Mitchell Holiday Gift Set Trios ($19.95 each)

Smoothing Gift Set: Super Skinny Daily Shampoo, Super Skinny Daily Treatment, and Super Skinny Serum

Extra-Body Gift Set: Extra-Body Daily Shampoo, Extra-Body Finishing Spray, and Thicken Up

Flexible Style Gift Set: Shampoo One, Super Sculpt, and Fast Drying Sculpting Spray

Firm Style Gift Set: Awapuhi Shampoo, Sculpting Foam, and Freeze and Shine Super Spray

Paul Mitchell Holiday Gift Set Duos ($14.95 each)

Color Care Duo

Moisture Duo

Strength Duo

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Gift Sets

Love in the Present ($21.95)

  • Tea Tree Special Shampoo, Tea Tree Special Conditioner, and Tea Tree Body Bar

Joy in the Present ($21.95)

  • Tea Tree Lemon Sage Thickening Shampoo, Lemon Sage Thickening Conditioner, and Lemon Sage Energizing Body Wash

Peace in the Present ($21.95)

  • Tea Tree Lavender Mint Moisturizing Shampoo, Lavender Mint Moisturizing Conditioner, and Lavender Mint Moisturizing Body Wash

Joy for Every Body ($24.95)

  • Tea Tree Lemon Sage Energizing Body Lotion, Lemon Sage Energizing Body Wash, and Lemon Sage Energizing Sugar Scrub

Peace for Every Body ($24.95)

  • Tea Tree Lavender Mint Moisturizing Body Butter, Lavender Mint Moisturizing Body Wash, and Lavender Mint Moisturizing Sugar Scrub

Call 1.800.321.JPMS or visit to find a salon near you where you can start shopping.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

holiday gift guide: give juicy couture

Ever since Juicy Couture debuted its famous A-list track suits, the company has continuously delivered highly coveted fashion, accessories and beauty items. Share them with friends this holiday season and give the Juicy Couture fragrance gift set. Complete with Original, Juicy Couture, Viva La Juicy and now the new Couture Couture scents, it offers yet another way to dress in Juicy Couture. Co-Presidents, Co-Founders and Co-Designers Gela Nash-Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy apply the same whimsical, feminine charm that makes the label's clothing and accessories so irresistible to their fragrances. The ladylike bottles aren't exactly my cup of tea but I'd be happy if I found one of the beautifully scented Body Crèmes or Shower Gels in my stash of gifts. Create a customized gift set ($35 to $100) at

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

holiday gift guide: give terax

Whether you're looking for a token Chanukah present or a stocking stuffer, sometimes the most basic of necessities will do. Take Terax Crema conditioner ($9), for example, You can never have too much of the stuff. It glides through hair, smells clean and fresh (thanks to the creative combo of rice flower, shea, bergamot and juniper) and leaves hair feeling soft and looking shiny. Stuff some stockings with Terax Crema – this pint size product packs big beauty benefits. Kate Beckinsale and Liv Tyler are fans--you will be too! Get more info on or pick up your portable, holiday get-away Terax Crema tubes at select Sephora stores,, Ulta and

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

holiday gift guide: give H2O+

The trick to gift giving is to give someone something they want that's also something they really need. And everyone needs skincare products that feel good but also really work. Tucked away in this handy beauty bag, the Sea Pure Natural Skincare gift set (a $42.50; a $56 value) features three marine-based beauty essentials. There's a gently foaming Creamy Facial Cleanser, an ultra-hydrating, antioxidant packed Deep Moisture Cream and a line-minimizing Perfecting Eye Cream--all enriched with ingredients that boost the body's sirtuin levels to naturally stimulate skin cell regeneration. Blended with marine botanicals, shea nut butter and sunflower oil, this rejuvenating collection helps smooth skin and deflects daily free radical damage. Give it early for great results by the holidays! Go to for this and other gift set options.

holiday gift guide: give tarte

Tarte starts off the holiday season with a burst of color with three incredibly beautiful makeup gifts.

Want to keep all your color essentials in one complete package? Check out Tarte's Treasure Chest, Limited Edition Palette ($52, $686 value!), an annual offering that's now 30% bigger, thanks to an added layer of 16 additional eyeshadows. It includes 16 new shimmering tarte eyeshadows, 16 new matte tarte eyeshadows, 16 new lipglosses, tarte's mineral powder bronzer in park ave princess, new soft pink luminizer and four new powder blushes. The best part: It's packed into the cutest bejeweled, mirrored compact that fits neatly into your purse.

Need multiple gifts for family or friends? Tarte's Crown Jewels Lipgloss Multi-Gift Set ($39) offers three gifts in one! It makes one deluxe gift or three individual gifts for the diva, trendsetter and green goddess on your list. Choose from Glittering Green Goddesses (sheer nude-peach, sheer beige, sheer sweet pink, sheer cotton candy pink, sheer shimmering cinnamon), Dazzling Divas (dazzling warm sand, dazzling gold, dazzling orchid, dazzling violet, dazzling coral- pink) and Twinkling Trendsetters (twinkling strawberry, twinkling melon-pink, twinkling fuchsia, twinkling brick-red, sheer raspberry). Chances are you'll want to give away two and keep one for yourself!

The Three Carats Limited Edition Mini Cheek Stain Set ($25) features three carats mini cheek stains infused with the company's natural, t5 super fruit complex ™ (packed with antioxidant rich nutrients and vitamins). It comes in three new, limited edition shades: brilliant (shimmering champagne), princess (shimmering rose) and cushion (shimmering deep apricot).

Available at, Sephora,,, Henri Bendel, and boutiques nationwide.

Monday, November 30, 2009

gift-a-day holiday gift guide

check out prettyisprettydoes'
holiday gift guide,
featuring a gift idea every day
for the month of
great party
makeup essentials....


cyber monday:

It's Cyber Monday...the first big shopping day after Black Friday when the biggest sales are happening online. Among all the great sites to shop...check out, an exclusive, members-only online beauty destination where beauty lovers can participate in premiere-brand, private sale boutiques, each open for 24-48 hours. Membership is free, and subscribers can purchase today’s top beauty brands up to 75% off retail. A first of its kind, the private sale site focuses exclusively on beauty by providing a platform for brands to communicate directly with consumers. This includes: user-generated makeup brand reviews, industry insider commentaries, and expert editorial content from the site’s Editorial Director, Nadine Jolie of If you can't live without Jurlique's face mist, Pixi's makeup palettes or Sonya Dakar's Pore Minimizer, check out to fulfill all your beauty needs at a price that works for you. Invite your friends to join and they'll save on their beauty essentials too.

cyber monday:

From rouge unlimited lipsticks to ultimate expression mascara to primal mix blush, shu uemura has your makeup needs covered. To celebrate cyber monday, fans get an extra special treat. Shu Uemura offers seven deluxe samples to customers who spend $125 or more plus free shipping and the 20% discount! The deluxe items include a mesh bag filled with mini-gloss, brightening cream, red:juvenus intense vitalizing concentrate, pleasure of Japanese bath – hinoki, cleansing beauty oil premium A/O, deep sea water mist in chamomile, and powder foundation. Just enter the promotion code WISHDELUXE09 upon checkout. Bookmark for regular deals and great beauty buys all year long!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

feeling misty

Always on the lookout for help for my typically normal-to-dry yet sometimes sensitive skin, I recently discovered Sampar. The high-tech line is formulated with natural fibers to enhance your skin, so it's a great general beauty product or anti-aging treatment. Designed to protect against the environment and help renew and restore skin, it's made with an Urban Active Complex that includes shea butter, mint leaf extract, plant sugar and lactate extract. I tried the Skin Quenching Mist ($42)--a spritz on my face, neck and eyes in the AM and PM--and was pleasantly surprised. While it won't take the place of your trusty face cream, it leaves skin feeling soft and smelling like roses. Since it can also be worn over even the finest mineral makeup, it gives skin a refreshing lift when spritzed on throughout the day. The company also makes a roll-on Prodigal Pen ($21) with essential oils that zaps any zit in minutes, as well as the pretty popular Lift Me Up Bust Cream ($78), which naturally shapes busts while reducing stretch marks and reinforcing elasticity. They're available at Beauty 360 or with the rest of the Sampar collection of skin care products.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

escape the winter: mineral sun protection

Just when I thought mineral beauty products couldn't get any better, I found Colorscience micronized mineral sun protection--perfect timing with winter vacations just around the corner. Colorescience Sunforgettable has SPF 30 as well as UVA and UVB protection. But the appeal isn't only in the breakthrough formula, it's also in the totally innovative packaging. Leave messy tube applicators and oily bottles behind. This mineral sunscreen is available in shaker can, dispensing brush or roller ball applicators. The shaker is great for hard-to-reach areas like your face, neck and shoulders and comes in a clear, perfectly clear or almost clear shade. The powder shakes easily out of the can and smooths into skin. The dispenser brush distributes just the right amount of powder to the face and neck and is great for more targeted areas like the sides of the nose or those prone-to-burn eyelids. The roller ball applicator covers larger surface areas so use it all over your body. No matter which you choose, you get the same great formula and unforgettable protection on your skin. I don't know about you but my vacation can't come soon enough! Available at fine day spas, resorts, dermatologist and plastic surgeon offices and makeup artists’ studios, Colorscience has attracted celebrity fans like Cameron Diaz, Katherine Heigl, Kelly Rowland and Christina Aguilera. For more information

the right to bare all

Word on the street: completely bare spa is stirring up quite a scene at its Bowery location (25 Bond Street, NYC) with a new interactive Christmas display! Fans are heading downtown to take their picture with the completely bare bond girl! And when you take your picture and tag completely bare in it, you get a percentage off of a treatment! Who wouldn't want that? The spa is known for its expertise in hair removal and has been a landmark beauty spot in New York City for years. (Since its debut in NYC in 1998, completely bare spas have opened in Scarsdale, NY and Palm Beach, Florida, in addition to other neighborhoods in Manhattan). From the ouchless wax treatment to laser hair removal to razor bump solutions and at-home waxing kits, owner Cindy Barshop knows how to smooth out any hair removal concerns. While I've heard about all of the shop's amazing hair removal treatments, I never knew completely bare had its own skincare line including completely clean antioxidant facial cleanser ($24), completely buff exfoliating crystals ($32) and completely blocked SPF 30 antioxidant sunscreen ($26--there's an SPF 45 too). I love the feel of the cleanser on my skin almost as much as I love the way it makes my skin feel afterward--smooth and clean. I mixed it with some exfoliating crystals to remove dry, dead skin and the result was an even softer, smoother effect. The crystals fine enough to avoid irritating my skin yet strong enough to make me feel the granules working. Though I love the smell of the antioxidant sunscreen, I haven't tried it yet. I'll get back to you after winter break! Try them for yourself at

Thursday, November 12, 2009

feels like buttah

I hate the heavy feel and unnatural look of some lipsticks so I tend to opt for lightweight glosses or stains. Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh and Katherine Heigl seem to agree with me. The Grey's Anatomy stars all have a "thing" for Korres Lip Butter ($9). Ellen prefers Quince, Katherine loves Jasmine, and Sandra opts for the darker shade of Plum--which happens to be my favorite. It goes on smooth and makes my lips feel buttery soft (thanks to a combination of shea butter and rice wax). And while it feels like the product is barely there (think of a moisturizing lip balm), you get a subtle dose of color that looks like a light lip stain. So basically it's a super-hydrating formula with a juicy pop of color. For an extra treat, dab a drop on your cheeks and blend for a natural tint. Get a taste of the above mentioned shades or try pomegranate, wild rose, guava, or mango at

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

the new cold cream

Growing up, we always had a tub of Pond's Cold Cream in the bathroom cabinet. I remember opening it up and digging out a handful of cream to smooth all over my face. It felt rich, smooth and moisturizing, and left my skin feeling clean and fresh. These days, Pond's Cold Cream is still around--which makes me feel pretty old! Sure, it's packaged in a more modern container with a clean, cool design, but it still does the same great job on your skin. As you may know, I've added a Beauty Tip widget from Unilever to my blog. One of my favorite tips suggests using the cold cream as a face mask, letting it sink in, then washing it off with warm water. Why didn't I think of that years ago? For more beauty tips, keep your eye on my blog till 11/26--they change daily!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

smooth operator

I'm always looking for a new lipstick formula. Something that feels good on my lips and looks natural too. Shu Uemura's rouge unlimited supreme shine lipsticks ($23) do both. I tried 943, a natural looking beigy shade. The color is subtle so I don't feel too made up. There is a hint of shimmer so it looks a little glam. And a sheerness to it so my natural lips show through. The formula is ultra-moisturizing, thanks to ceramide, which protects and cares for the lips. It feels comfortable which makes me want to swipe some on whether I'm going to the grocery store or out at night. And I love the comprehensive color range--from fiery reds, berry reds and icy pinks to flat oranges, warm browns and necessary neutrals. The best part: They last for eight hours so you rarely have to reapply. Choose your hue at

Sunday, November 8, 2009

matte-r of fact

I recently wrote about some new shades of matte nail polish--and now I have even more matte news. You don't have to switch from your favorite hue to try this new trend. It's the most simple beauty treatment you'll ever attempt. Just apply polish as usual and brush Essie's Clearly Matte right over it! In seconds, you'll have a completely new look. I tried it over my just-beginning-to-chip manicure (well, I didn't want to risk it on a fresh one!) and was amazed at the results. No longer shiny, my nails looked like the top layer had been stripped away (actually, that's probably how it works!). I can't say I approved at first--it just looked dull to me. After a few minutes of staring at my fingers (I haven't looked so long since I got engaged!), it started to grow on me. I can assure you, I won't be using it often. But it's a nice change every now and then, especially for all the dark polishes that are popular for winter. Essie's matte look is being promoted as part a new partnership between Essie and Rock & Republic. To complement your newly made-over nails, they're offering innovative new All About Matte jeans and Top Matte tees. Go to Rock & Republic retail locations or to shop.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

republic of us

I can't remember the last time I wore fragrance. Maybe it's because so many of the other products I use have their own fragrances so applying perfume doesn't seem necessary. Or maybe it's because these days I'm lucky if I get to shower in the morning let alone dab on some edt. But when I heard Banana Republic was debuting a new pair of fragrances called Republic of Us, I was intrigued.

Republic of Women and Republic of Men, two unique scents designed to complement each other, debuted this fall. The concept behind them is to capture our own unique individuality and bring out the strong connection we have with ourselves, with others and with the world.

Playful and romantic, innocent and alluring, the Republic Of Women features notes of Cassis buds, juicy Lychee, Moroccan Rose, Jasmine, and precious woods (EDP $48). Modern and authentic, the Republic Of Men features notes of sparkling Clementine, wet Plum, freshly-cut Hazelnut, Basil, and Cedarwood (EDT $45).

Just a dab of Republic of Women on my inner wrists is a great accessory. The scent is elegant but subtle, a huge plus for non-fragrance wearers. It's alluring but soft with a sophisticated edge. I only got to try a sample--it comes in a miniature bottle that is totally adorable!. But this holiday season, you can experience The Republic of Us Collection ($49) as part of Banana Republic's holiday gift sets.

The women's gift set features a 50 ml eau de parfum and a 50 ml body cream while the men's gift set includes a 50 ml eau de parfum and a 50 ml body wash. It makes a great gift for others or even for yourself. So once your closet is fully stocked with cozy cardigans and pencil skirts, it's just one more reason to hit your local Banana Republic store.

Monday, November 2, 2009

get nude now!

Who doesn't want to look good in the nude--especially when it comes to your face? Luckily, Nude Skincare products revive your skin, making you look and feel younger after just a few uses. I've been applying the Age Defence Moisturizer ($100) and Advanced Eye Complex ($108) for two weeks and couldn't be happier with the results. Here's how they work: Probiotics, the good bacteria found on skin, and prebiotics the natural sugars which bioselectively feed these good sugars, join forces to rebalance and strengthen skin's natural protective barrier. So what's inside? Only good-for-you stuff, like botanicals, peptides, COQ10, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. I love the facial moisturizer and its silky smooth texture. Sure, it glides onto your skin and absorbs quickly like you'd expect a good moisturizer to but it also offers a subtle firming action and leaves skin the way it feels post-facial. It's especially soothing for sensitive skin as well. The eye cream promises its own anti-wrinkle remedies while offering an immediate lift, reducing dark circles and eliminating puffiness. Plus, it increases collagen production to banish that hollow, sleepless effect. The same super-smooth texture left the skin around my eyes feeling smooth and helped soften unfriendly crow's feet. Also available is the Hydrating Water ($34), with prickly pear to lock in moisture, vanilla floral water to tone skin and rose floral water to soothe the complexion. The bottom line: Use Nude products and you'll feel like you can venture out without makeup because your skin looks THAT good. I even got two unprovoked comments from friends...something about a radiant glow! Go to to view the entire collection and make your purchase...or head to your nearest Sephora, Barneys, or Whole Foods store.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

show off your shape

One of my favorite things about fall is digging out my tights and leggings. I love wearing them with slouchy boots and a cozy sweater for day, or sleek boots and a flirty top at night. I've blogged about one of my favorite brands, Scultpz Shapewear, in the past. But I had to write again to tell you about their latest looks. New for fall, you'll find opaque leggings and capris and textured tights in a collection of warm fall shades, like a pretty, dusty rose color (of course, a handful of neutrals match different skin tones too). There are shaper tops that smooth bulges and eliminate panty lines and control tops that tighten your tummy and give your butt a well-deserved lift. I tried the Control Top Leggings and was blown away by the fact that there's tons of support and shaping going on but no thick panels anywhere! I thought I was being Punk'd! Honestly, where did they put the heavy padding and tight waistbands you find in so many other shaper products? Plus, they claim the leggings and capris offer light massaging leg support. All I know is that instead of feeling tight and binding, they feel silky smooth. Go to to try them yourself. From $18 to $40, the biggest decision won't be whether to make a purchase but which ones to choose.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

curls for a cure: Ouidad

For years now Ouidad, the curl guru, has helped bring life to the curls of many women. Today she is giving life to women everywhere--no matter what their hair status. In 2002, Ouidad was diagnosed with breast cancer, a disease that took her mother’s life, and was fortunate enough to make a full recovery. This season marks the 5th anniversary of her charity, Curls for a Cure. Ouidad matches dollar-for-dollar any donations made to Curls for a Cure ALL YEAR ROUND to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. She hopes to raise a quarter of a million dollars and has almost reached her goal. The great news is that you don't have to make a purchase to contribute. Just make a contribution on Ouidad's website or add a donation to your shopping cart when purchasing any of Ouidad's amazing products. Try the innovative Double Detangler, a wide tooth comb designed to work its way through tangles while maintaining the wave pattern, a must for creating natural looking curls. Or treat your hair with the Climate Control Gel ($22), an alcohol-free formula that protects hair from humidity by absorbing moisture from the air to hydrate hair and prevent frizz. To learn more and donate now, visit

expert advice: Skyy Hadley, As "U" Wish Nail Spa

Last week was my birthday and I actually made some time for myself to get a massage, workout and go out with friends--things I don't get to do too often with two small kids. But as a birthday gift to myself, I promised to make more time for ME! I plan to start by following these simple pampering tips from Skyy Hadley, the owner of As “U” Wish Nail Spa in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Meals for the Heels Mask: Take one cup of regular oatmeal and 1/2 cup of regular milk and heat up over the stove, stir until cooked. Add sugar to thicken the mixture, and then let it cool off a bit. When the mix is thickened, apply to your feet. Leave the mask on for about 5 - 10 minutes. The oatmeal soothes dry, itchy or irritated skin, while the milk acts as an exfoliant to help get rid of dry and dead skin cells. Finish off with pure shea butter as a moisturizer and you’re all set.

Light Cucumber Shell Mask: Just combine 2 cucumbers, 2 tablespoons of Lemon Juice, to exfoliate, and 2 tablespoons of deeply moisturizing Olive Oil in a blender until pureed. Heat up the mixture and split it between two Ziploc bags. Place each foot in a bag and rub the mixture all over feet. Leave on for 5-10 minutes then rinse with warm water. You’ll have super soft feet that are just dying to be rubbed.