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, May 28, 2009

here comes the sun

We've all heard the warnings about protecting your skin from the sun. And women who protect their skin daily with SPF reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. According to Dr. Zein Obagi, it's never too late to incorporate SPF in your daily routine. To protect your hands from wrinkles, dry skin and sun spots: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 20 or higher. Keep one in your bag and one in your car since UVA rays are transmitted through glass. Try ZO Skin Health Oraser Daily Hand Repair SPF 20 ($65) to protect from UV damage, lock in moisture, even skin tone. To protect your face without clogging your pores or leaving a greasy residue: Choose ZO Skin Health’s Oclipse Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30 ($65). It's also a great makeup primer. ZO Skin Health products are available at select Nordstrom retailers and STUDIO at Fred Segal as well as online. To help encourage women to protect their skin this summer, Dr. Obagi is offering a special online deal until May 31st. Go to, buy a full size of either product and get a travel size gift with purchase.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

expert advice: lancome's tarek abbas

Yet another reason to get to the Windy City...or a great way to spend a day if you're already there. Stop by Nordstrom Chicago this Friday (5/29) or Saturday (5/30) for some hot new makeup tips from Lancôme National Makeup Artist Tarek Abbas. For advice that will truly highlight your individual features and skin type, book a one-on-one appointment to get an inside look at the season’s hottest beauty tips and learn how to create a flawless finish for summer. Tarek has been creating glamorous looks throughout the years and has touched the faces of the most beautiful celebrities and models including Elettra Wiedemann, Juliette Binoche, Selena Breed, Eva Longoria, Goldie Hawn and many more. He is one of Lancôme’s go-to makeup artists and has become Lancôme spokesmodel Arlenis Sosa’s favorite artist. Tarek created Arlenis’ fabulous look for the Met Ball this May. Check out the schedule below or go to for more specifics.

Nordstrom Michigan Avenue on 5/29

10:00 am – 6:00 pm

55 East Grand Avenue, Chicago IL 60611

Number to book appointment: 312-464-1515 ext. 1427

  • 10:00 am – 11:30 am – General appointments. There is a $50.00 reservation fee fully redeemable towards Lancôme products.

  • 11:30 am – 1:30 pm – One-on-one appointments. There is a $100.00 reservation fee fully redeemable towards Lancôme products.

  • 1:30 pm – 6:00 pm – General appointments. There is a $50.00 reservation fee fully redeemable towards Lancôme products.

Nordstrom in Oakbrook on 5/30

10:00 am – 6:00 pm

10 Oakbrook Mall, Oakbrook, IL 60521

Number to book appointment: 630-571-2121 ext. 1064

  • 10:00 am – 12:00 pm – One-on-one appointments. There is a $100.00 reservation fee fully redeemable towards Lancôme products.

  • 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm – General appointments. There is a $50.00 reservation fee fully redeemable towards Lancôme products.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

start multitasking

Sometimes I look in the mirror and can't decide which skincare issues to focus on. Try to find a skincare regimen that targets them all and you'll drive yourself nuts! That's why I was excited to try the M2 Skin Technologies system which features Mandelic and Malic Acid. Madelic is antibacterial and lipid-soluble, which means it can cut through oil and really clean and balance skin deep down. Malic Acid is a natural humectant and antioxidant to keep skin hydrated throughout the day while protecting it from free radical damage. The collection consists of an exfoliating cleanser, treatment serum and skin recovery moisturizer that promise to do everything from even skin tone and reduce acne breakouts to tighten pores and erase fine lines and wrinkles. First, I try the Exfoliating Cleanser ($19.50): The gel-based formula has subtle exfoliating properties so it's definitely not harsh on your skin but still feels like it's working. Though it smells slightly like anti-bacterial soap, it feels good when you add water and work it into your skin. Next, I apply Skin Refinish ($44.50), a pearly-looking multi-purpose serum with a high concentration of Mandelic and Malic Acid. As I leave it on for the required 10-15 minutes, I actually feel it tightening my skin and pores--almost like a lightweight, transparent mask. I don't want to wash it off, thinking I can use all the tightening I can get! I finish up with the Skin Recovery Moisturizer ($30.50), with potent anti-inflammatory ingredients. Designed to reduce redness and irritation while keeping skin hydrated, it also contains vitamins A, C, E and D to protect from free radicals. It's a bit strong for my sometimes sensitive skin. Nevertheless, I use it for a few days and find my skin adapts. In the end, Skin Refinish is my favorite and I can't wait to see the results after long-term use. Thanks to renowned laser surgeon Dr. Mark Taylor for figuring it all out for us! To order, go to or visit for more info.