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.

Friday, April 22, 2011

blowing green

Leave it to Paul Mitchell to come up with a chic looking hair dryer and smoothing iron that help conserve energy and give a nod to the environment. You've never seen anything like the Limited Edition Nature InspiredExpress Ion Dry TurbolightDryer($190) and Express Ion Smooth ($160) from Paul Mitchell.

The Express Ion Dry Turbolight Dryer dries hair up to 60% faster (so you have more time to figure out how to apply the season's green makeup) and the Express Ion complex offers an extra dose of conditioning to quench hair and add shine. It comes with two styling nozzles, has powerful airflow for thicker hair, and can be set to three temperatures and two different speeds.

The Express Ion Smooth smooths and polishes hair from the inside out for sleek, healthy hair every time. It heats up to 400 degrees F in 60 seconds so you can get the job done and maybe even meet friends for drinks before it even cools off.

The bonus: They're both designed in a chic, nature-inspired "wood" casing just in time for Earth Day to remind us to be good to the environment.

Available in professional salons only, go to for more info.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

expert advice: don't shun the sunscreen

After this endless winter, spring is finally starting to show its face. Which means summer isn't far behind. As the weather warms up, don't leave home without your SPF.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 percent of adults do not apply sunscreen regularly and more than one-third of the U.S. population reported experiencing sunburn in the previous year. These are alarming statistics, especially since melanoma and sun-induced skin cancers are increasing each year. Here, Dr. Ranella Hirsch, noted Boston dermatologist, explains how to properly apply sunscreen so your skin is protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Q: When should you use sunscreen?

Dr. Hirsch: The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen of at least SPF 30 be used year round.

Q: Where should you apply sunscreen?

Dr. Hirsch: Sunscreen should be applied to any exposed skin. This includes, minimally, the face, décolleté, and backs of hands and forearms, but should be adapted for an individual’s weather and clothing.

Q: If you’re using a sunscreen on your face, what should the order be (if you’re also using makeup etc.?)

Dr. Hirsch: Always apply sunscreen first.

Q: When should you apply sunscreen?

Dr. Hirsch: Always apply at least 30 minutes before going outdoors.

Q: How much sunscreen needs to be applied to the face and body and how often should you reapply?

Dr. Hirsch: One ounce, or the amount needed to fill a shot glass, is considered to be an ample amount to protect exposed skin. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours and more frequently if you are sweating or swimming.

Protect Your Skin: Vichy Capital Soleil Soft Sheer Sunscreen Lotion provides water-resistant broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection in a lightweight, non-greasy formula. The sunscreen contains a unique combination of effective UV filters with Vitamin E and White Grape Polyphenol, powerful antioxidants to protect skin at the cellular level.

Vichy Capital Soleil Soft Sheer Sunscreen Lotion is available in SPF 30 ($27.50, 5 fl. oz.) and SPF 60($29.50, 5 fl. oz.) and is sold at select CVS/pharmacy, Duane Reade and Walgreens stores, and sold online at