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, March 12, 2009

mission possible

Skin care products often promise you the world--with claims that they're sweat-resistant, vitamin infused, skin healing... But do they deliver? Some of the world's top athletes have said no--until now. Introducing Mission Skincare, a collection of skin care remedies designed and tested by professional athletes. Since they're always looking for gear that might improve their performance and are big fans of sunscreen, moisturizers and balms, cosmetic industry veteran Josh Shaw asked athletes for their feedback when developing a line of skin care products just for them. There are five products in Mission's Get-Fit Skincare Kit (all under $20): Revive Gel High Performance Moisturizer for face and body designed to soothe, heal and condition; Anti-Friction Cream to defend skin and relieve chafing, Foot Synergy Gel to energize and condition before an activity and soothe and relieve inflammation afterward; Daily Offense SPF 30 stick with UVA/UVB protection; and Lip Protector SPF 20 All-Star Lip Protection in a tiny tube with a pointed applicator. All products are totally totable and easy to apply during a workout. In further pursuit of their Mission, the company has developed a line of athlete engineered lip balms: Try Tennis star Serena William's Pomegranate Lip Balmer SPF 15; pro snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler's Sweet Vanilla Lip Balmer SPF 15; pro skateboarder Ryan Scheckler's Orange Lip Balmer SPF 15 for long lasting protection and great orange flavor; gold medal swimmer Amanda Beard's Organic Strawberry Lip Balmer SPF 15 in a delicious strawberry flavor and a classic Mission Mint Lip Balmer SPF 15 which offers unbeatable protection. Check them all out at Mission accomplished!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

expert advice: salon owner Rodney Cutler

So times are tough and we're not supposed to be spending frivolously... But when it comes to beauty, who's to decide what's frivolous? I asked Rodney Cutler, owner of Cutler/Redken salons, how to maintain a hair cut and color without breaking the bank. "At CUTLER salons (in midtown Manhattan and SoHo), an average cut costs $100 – much more affordable than $200 at most other high-end salons," says Cutler, whose sleek salons offer exceptional service without the pretentious vibe. Cutler adds that in these tough times, it's important to look and feel your best in order to keep your spirits up. "Find a way to treat yourself without spending a lot," he recommends. "It will help you get through the tough times." According to Cutler, you don’t have to give up on your color either. "Talk to your colorist about ways to lengthen the time between color touch-ups," he says. "There are creative ways for colorists to do color placement so that you don’t have to get your hair colored as often.” For some budget-friendly treatments, try Cutler's Recover at Cutler (let's hair recover after brushing, blow-drying and styling), Strengthen Up (brings back strength and vitality to color-treated hair), No More Fading (prevents fading of your natural color due to stress and the environment), Soft and Silky (moisturizes brittle dry hair) and Get It Straight (gives you a silky, smooth, frizz-free finish). Each only $35, or $25 when combined with another salon treatment. Go to for more info or to see a treatment menu and find out how to schedule an appointment.