Friday, September 30, 2016

The Friday Forum - September 30

What a week we have had! It has rained every day, and I think our total rainfall is somewhere around 4-5 inches. I'm not complaining. We needed the rain, even though it kept me from taking much-needed photographs.

Yesterday, I sat down at my computer and saw that I had no network connection. I knew I had lost it the day before, but I thought that might have been a weather-related problem. It was pouring outside. When I saw that I still had no connection the next day, I called Verizon. There is no way I can coherently describe the three hours I spent on the phone to get my DSL service restored, but I'll summarize the debacle that prevented me from writing a blog feature.
  1. Verizon announced by letter that it was discontinuing its copper service, and anyone without FIOS would lose phone and Internet service. Naturally, I made an appointment for October 3 to have FIOS installed.
  2. Some lame brain at Verizon discontinued my DSL service, but not my phone, five days in advance of October 3. Why? No one could explain. They kept denying it.
  3. I called Verizon technical support. During the three-hour ordeal, they cut me off at least five times, and I had to call back and start over each time. One of their nitwit techs cancelled my pending FIOS order without asking me because he said he couldn't get my DSL back any other way.
  4. They kept trying to transfer me to customer service, but each time, they cut me off. By the time I got to the fifth customer service representative, I introduced myself and told him I was livid.
  5. He (Charles) stuck with me until my DSL was restored by tech support, and he set up a new FIOS appointment for October 5, the first available slot, even though my October 3 appointment had been cancelled without my permission no more than an hour before.
  6. By the time I had Internet service restored, it was about 5:30 pm, and I was tired and frustrated. I gave up on the day. It's hard for me to believe that Verizon and its people can be so incompetent. I worked for that company once years ago as a consultant, and I did not find them to be half-wits. Something has changed. I talked to about eight people yesterday, and Charles was the only one whose service was acceptable.
So, my apologies for my featureless Thursday. Wednesday, I managed to write, even though most of my afternoon was stolen by a flat tire (replaced for free because I had purchased a tire and wheel warranty when I leased my car). I hope the week ends on a better note.

I zoomed over to Neiman Marcus a few days ago and picked up the new Guerlain Holiday Collection. I can't wait for sunshine so that I can show you photos. It's very nice.

I'm now short on time for today. I am going to a pizza party tonight for my high school class 50th reunion. I've got to run some errands, including feeding the wildlife at my mother's house, and then wash my hair and start working on looking presentable for the party. I fear I won't recognize anyone. I sure hope they have name tags.

It's time for the Friday Forum. The Friday Forum has always been an opportunity to share information. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game. Just use the comments. We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. I hope to see you in the comments.

Photo source lost

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Victoria Beckham Collection for Estée Lauder - Eye Foil

Yesterday was quite a day. Mid-afternoon, I went over to my mother's house to feed the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, and any other animals who might like what I served. As I went to get back into my car, I saw that my rear right tire was flat! I had driven over to her house with a flat tire. I decided to go to the nearest gas station with free air and pump air into my tire. Once I had finished that, I called the Audi dealer and asked if they could take a look at my tire. They said to bring it right away. So, off I went.

Thank God I bought the tire and wheel warranty when I leased my car. One hour after I arrived, I left with a new tire, which cost me nothing but the time I lost yesterday. When I got home, I realized I had very little good sunshine left to photograph Victoria Beckham's Eye Foil ($36), so I went straight for a swatch and walked far enough up my little street to "get sunshine." While I didn't get a picture of the product itself, it looks exactly as shown above in  Estée Lauder's photo.

This breakthrough liquid eye shadow delivers a high-shine, vinyl-like finish, even after it’s dried - and it dries quickly. Sparkling pearl pigments offer flecks of gold or charcoal foil for a liquid-metal effect.

This is a pretty flexible product. It can be used alone for a stunning pearl effect. It can be used under one of Beckham's Eye Metal Eyeshadows to add an entirely different dimension to the shadows. Or it can be used in the inner corners of the lids. I like it. It adds some pizazz to my eye shadow collection.

I got a kick out of something I read on the Internet the other day crediting Pat McGrath for her "new technique" of using a white or silver shadow or liner on the inner corner. I was stunned. This technique has been used by makeup artists for more years than I can count. It opens up the eyes, and everyone who knows makeup knows that. The article left me wondering if it was written by an intern.

Anyhow, Eye Foil is available (when it's not sold out) in two shades: Blonde Gold, which I purchased, and a dark shade that is also currently sold out. I can't even find the name right now, but I will later. I just got a call from Neiman Marcus that the Guerlain Holiday Collection arrived, and I have to hurry over there to have first choice of my I-wants.

As I mentioned yesterday, the preview products sold out almost instantly. The collection will be officially launched on October 1. Only one store in my area will have it, Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria. If you are interested in pre-ordering from them, give Rahman Malik a call at (703) 861-4673. Naturally, you will also be able to order from  Estée Lauder and Bergdorf Goodman once they restock.

Photo at top courtesy of  Estée Lauder; swatch photo by Best Things in Beauty

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Victoria Beckham Collection for Estée Lauder

Victoria Beckham has unveiled a limited-edition color cosmetics collection with Estée Lauder. I introduced it last month, and then I promptly pre-ordered a few of the 15 pieces from Bergdorf Goodman. I'm glad I did. Most of the pieces are sold out and will remain that way until the more universal launch on October 1.

Today, I'll show you Charred Emerald Eye Metals Eyeshadow ($45) and Modern Mercury Highlighter ($65), Both of these are already sold out at Estée Lauder.

According to WWD, Beckham's aim was also to deliver products people could immediately associate with her, “whether it’s a smoky eye, a nude lip, or dewy skin. So I’ve been very honest, very true to myself. This has been something that I’ve wanted to do for so many years,” she said.

To Estée Lauder, she’s a next-generation Estée: Authentic, an entrepreneur, wife, mother, fashion designer - and she’s a beauty maven. Some people in fashion are into fashion, but not beauty. She’s into the whole picture and has a vision. She knows her style, her point of view, and the way she wants women to look, feel, act, and be comfortable in their skin, while having a great deal of glamour at the same time.

There are 15 units, including a limited-edition, portable mirror that casts a flattering light for makeup application. Prices range from $30 for the designer’s signature nude-matte lip pencil to $45 for an Eye Metals Eyeshadow, $95 for the Morning Aura Illuminating Crème and $1,200 for the Victoria Beckham Collection Daylight Edition, a light box that includes a removable lighted mirror as well as eight products. After reviewing the collection online, I selected a few pieces that I knew I would actually wear. I'm impressed with their quality.

Charred Emerald Eye Metals Eyeshadow attracted me because it's green. I love green on my eyes. I took my photos in full, early afternoon sunshine, and that may have brightened the colors a bit. I think Charred Emerald is darker than my photo directly above shows, but lighter than the Estée Lauder photo appears.

This rich color powder eye shadow delivers a high-shine finish to the eye. It is densely pigmented with color that is strong, sexy, and confident. You can wear it alone all over the lid for a modern smoky eye or layered over Eye Ink for an oil-slick finish. Eye Ink is very cool. I'll try to get photos so that I can show it to you tomorrow.

Modern Mercury is a highlighter borrowed from Estée Lauder's past. My photo is too pink. The Estée Lauder photo above is more accurate. A favorite of Victoria’s, this highlighter can be worn as an accent on the cheekbones and with or without bronzer to create a moist skin look. It's a beauty.

My swatch photos are pretty accurate. Charred Emerald blends black and green for an exquisite smoky green look. While we can't all look like the former Spice Girl, we can imagine this look on ourselves for a night out. To me, it's glamorous.

Modern Mercury is a rose gold on my skin - one of my favorite highlighter shades. The compact is huge, which means it will last a very long time. You can apply it very lightly for a subtle gleam or more intensely for a  high-wattage look.

The packaging of these products is lovely. It's a dark blue, accented with gold, and it's heavy. It looks its price, if you understand what I mean. The accents are gold. I guess the direct sun made them look silver in my photo below.

Beckham said, “I want to make women feel empowered, to feel sexy and confident. This makeup collection does that. I’m a girl’s girl, I love to make women feel like the best version of themselves.” I think she's done a great job on her first foray into makeup.

There were a few pieces available at Bergdorf Goodman the last time I looked, but you've got a better chance of finding the collection on October 1 when it launches "officially." I even got a note from Neiman Marcus Tysons Galleria saying that they will have the collection available there - the only source in my area. If you are interested in pre-ordering from Neiman Marcus, give Rahman Malik a call at (703) 861-4673.

Photos at top courtesy of Estée Lauder; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Monday, September 26, 2016

YASOU Moisturizing Hand Cream

Days after the Fall Equinox, our weather is finally starting to cool off. Today, it is cloudy and cool at my house. It is predicted to be like this almost all week. We've gone from temperatures in the mid-90's to mid-70's, just like that.

As the weather changes, we all need to take a look at our body products and replace the moisture we lose to cool, dry air. I've started with YASOU Hand Cream ($25), which was sent to me for review. I have been using the Hand Cream for a month, and I'm impressed. Because I was originally unfamiliar with the company, I'll assume you may be too and give you a short summary YASOU.

“YASOU” (pronounced ya-su) natural skin care gets its name from a common Greek greeting meaning “to your health.” YASOU’s mission is to embrace the beauty traditions, natural ingredients, and rich culture of Greece with American technology, bringing you this luxurious natural skin-care line that makes you look and feel good.

YASOU skin care is inspired from the heart, heritage, and passion of creator Theodora Ntovas. Theodora grew up in Chicago and often traveled and lived in Greece as a child, where she spent time visiting her family and soaking up the rich Greek culture and local traditions. As an adult, Theodora felt a calling to return to the Greek village that she remembered so fondly from her childhood. That particular trip soon became a soul-searching and enlightening experience for her and changed the way she looked at the world and specifically beauty products.

While shopping a local farmer’s market, Theodora discovered the purist, most unique, organic skin-care products and was intrigued by the beautiful women who swore by them. These glorious products were made from olive oil, natural essential oils extracted from local flowers, and indigenous plants, plus organic beeswax.

Using what she learned from that small farmers market in Archia Feneos in the Peloponnese region near Corinth, Theodora educated herself in cosmetic chemistry, aromatherapy, and natural skin care solutions. Her research led her to partner with chemist/formulator Nestor Tomasi. Inspired by Greek beauty philosophy, together they developed the unique Calityl-O Complex, that became the foundation of a truly luxurious natural skin-care line. And so, YASOU was born.

This exclusive and completely natural, luxurious skin care nourishes the skin and is formulated with the highest quality natural and organic ingredients sourced from the best growers, producers, and suppliers in the United States. YASOU consists of face cream, a cellular firming and rejuvenating day cream that compliments YASOU’s anti-aging night cream with hyadisine, and the ultra hydrating body cream with essential oils and vitamin E. The ultra hydrating body cream is designed to nourish skin, help calm and relax your mind, and even help you fall asleep (I could use that). It is ideal for those special and precious “me time” moments when you want to pamper and reward your body, like having a spa experience, but at home.

YASOU Hand Cream is a vegan product made in the USA. Beautiful hands conceal our age and  sensitize our touch. We need to treat our hands with tender loving care, particularly as the weather changes and dries our skin. YASOU Vegan Hand Cream is formulated to moisturize, protect, repair, and soothe your hands. It is a natural hand cream that contains moisturizing certified organic extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, bacteria fighters, and soothing botanicals. The company's signature Calityl-O Complex nourishes all skin types. Packaged in a recyclable tube, YASOU Hand Cream protects the environment as well as your hands. In addition to its natural, certified organic, and vegan ingredients, it is gluten-free and Leaping Bunny certified. It does contain retinol, but so far I have had no adverse reactions to it.

You can use YASOU Hand Cream as many times per day as you feel you need, but the company recommends that you use it in the morning and before bed. I've been using it at bedtime because I wash my hands so frequently during the day. Charlie is not fond of scented products, but fortunately he has not objected to the natural ingredients that make the scent of YASOU Hand Cream unique. To me, it's an herbal scent.

I have copied from YASOU the long list of ingredients so that you can see how much thought the company put into the moisturizing formula. 
  • Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Jojoba Oil soothes and moisturizes. Olive oil’s antioxidants form a protective barrier, trapping moisture on your skin. Jojoba oil’s vitamins, mineral, and fatty acids promote elasticity and radiance.
  • Shea Butter is vitamin-rich and one of the best anti-aging moisturizers.
  • Glycerin is a good re-hydrant that helps moisturize the skin without
    making it oily. It attracts moisture and holds it within the skin making skin more supple.
  • Coconut Oil is a powerful moisturizer that helps restore dry or flaking skin. It helps to strengthen skin tissue more deeply and eliminates dead skin cells while absorbing quickly into your skin. Containing vitamin E, coconut oil helps delay wrinkles and can soothe skin conditions such as eczema, sunburn, and psoriasis.
  • Certified Organic Aloe Vera moisturizes and hydrates the skin.
  • Evening Primrose essential oil can help with age-related structural and functional changes in skin tissues such as redness, firmness, roughness, and fatigue resistance. It is also effective in relieving many symptoms of eczema.
  • Lemon Extract exfoliates, brightens, and diminishes acne for smoother skin. It naturally bleaches the skin and quickens the rate in which dark spots, scars, sunspots, acne scars, and age spots fade.
  • Grape Seed Extract boosts collagen development in your body. Collagen helps your skin stay firm, supple, and moisturized. It aids in the renewal of skin cells. Grape Seed Extract contains compounds called procyanidins, which bond with collagen, resulting in healthier and more elastic skin.
  • Tocopherol also known as vitamin E, is an antioxidant that protects and repairs your skin. It promotes cell regeneration, creating an anti-aging effect to make your skin look and feel younger.
  • Vitamin A/Retinyl Palmitate has great anti-aging, superb antioxidants, and moisturizing capabilities. It accelerates cell renewal and stimulates the fibroblast and collagen in the skin, thereby reducing wrinkles and fine lines. It helps promote softer, smoother skin.
  • Mastic essential oil contains antioxidants along with antibacterial and antifungal properties. It possesses therapeutic benefits for the skin due to its soothing, softening, and healing properties. Mastic oil is used in many personal hygiene products for its antiseptic assets.
  • YASOU Calityl-O Complex - The Unbeatable Combination of Nature and Science: Calityl-O is rich in important antioxidants which our skin craves. YASOU's Calityl-O Complex helps form a protective, nourishing barrier that keeps environmental damage and toxins out, while infusing and keeping the moisture of skin in, creating a perfect balance.
Natural body care starts with using the best natural and organic ingredients. YASOU Skin Care products contain no parabens, synthetic colors, or artificial fragrances. How good does it get?

Other YASOU products that might interest you include Cellular Day, Cell Renewal Night Cream, and Hydrating Body Cream - just in case the line intrigues you, but you've got a great stock of hand cream.

You can purchase the Hand Cream at YASOU's Web site, where you can also learn about the company's other products. There is a wonderful, educational section about ingredients used in YASOU products, a video, and a blog with a new feature about recognizing product ingredients. I like the Web site because it's educational and so transparent about the company and its excellent formulas. There is a store locator, but distributors are currently limited; it's easiest to buy it online.

Photos courtesy of YASOU    

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Friday Forum - September 23

Today, I spent the better part of my morning with Sarah Lavache, one of Bobbi Brown's best Makeup Artists, at an event at Nordstrom Pentagon City organized by Diron Carr, Bobbi Brown's manager there. Sarah spent about an hour working on my face, and I was enormously pleased with the results.

She used the Party to Go Lips & Eyes Kit ($42), a palette that I might not have selected before Sarah applied it to my eyes. After I saw the results, I came home with it! Unfortunately, even though Diron recorded all of the colors Sarah used on me, I accidentally left it behind. I'll have to call in a bit and ask him to save it for me.

If you ever get a chance to jump into Sarah's chair, do it! You will love the results. I was very happy with her handiwork on my eyes today.

I was invited to attend Victor dE Souza's fashion show during the just-concluded New York Fashion Week. I wasn't able to go because the show was in the evening, and there wasn't any way I could get a train back to DC on the same day.

Dustin Lujan, Victor's partner, kindly sent me a video so that I could see the show I missed. Just click on this link to see the show highlights. Besides the fashion - and the fabulous animals that adorned many of the pieces - Dustin's makeup was the star of the show for me. I have been talking to Dustin about the next pieces he will introduce now that his lipstick collection is established. The models were wearing the mascara and eye shadows that will be introduced next. I strained to look as closely as possible to try to discern the eye shadow shades. It was difficult see them in the video, but I know that with Dustin's master touch, they will be beautiful.

Please watch the video to experience the fashion show from the comfort of your home of office. Victor is on the cusp of worldwide fame. You'll be able to say, "I knew him when."

The Saks Fifth Avenue Beauty event started yesterday, and the tote GWP is really nice. I spent more than I should have, but the bonus was that gorgeous tote. Although the Neiman Marcus beauty event has officially ended, Michael Reinhardt is extending it at Mazza Gallerie for Le Métier de Beauté through Sunday. So if you missed it by accident, give Michael or Andy a call at that counter at (202) 966-9700.

I've been sorting beauty products for features here on the blog, and I must have about 50 pounds of gorgeous products to show you. Next week, I've got to get busy taking photos, and I may have to try to write more than one feature per day. Several generous companies have sent me their new collections, and I want you to see them as soon as possible.

It's time for the Friday Forum. The Friday Forum has always been an opportunity to share information. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game. Just use the comments. We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. I hope to see you in the comments.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Edward Bess Threads of Silk Multi-Use Powder

Perhaps you missed it too. Edward Bess's Threads of Silk Multi-Use Powder ($45) was introduced when my mother was very ill. I was not on top of my game this spring. Fortunately, Edward Bess introduces makeup with staying power. If it's great, he doesn't leave it online for a month and then yank it, like some beauty companies do to give the illusion of exclusivity.

This skin-perfecting marvel is available in two shades, Bellissima (shown above) and Ciao (shown immediately below). I purchased Bellissima. It is a finely milled complexion enhancer, blush, or highlighter - however you want to use it - with silk fibers to infuse the skin with a luster, leaving it radiant and glowing.

Exquisitely crafted in the northern region of Italy, this satiny-smooth powder is as soft and luxurious as silk, one of the finest fabrics we wear. Woven with actual silk fibers, this multitasking powder adds warmth and dimension to the face and eyes, allowing our features to exhibit a new vitality.

Optical light reflectors mimicking those found in silk threads deflect light to blur imperfections and bestow a silk-like luster on the skin.

I took my photos of Bellissima in full, early afternoon sunshine. I ran a sponge-tipped applicator across all of the patchwork shades, yielding a surprising golden, bronze sheen. Would you have anticipated that after looking at the pink, ivory, and taupe shades in the compact?

I think the blended shade is gorgeous, and I'm so happy I purchased it. Now, despite the fact that it's not brand new (only a few months old), I want Ciao! I'll bet the blended shade is nowhere near as peachy as what I expect from its photo. I saw swatch photos at The Beauty Look Book, but Sabrina's skin tone is so different from mine, I was startled by the difference in our swatches. She takes great photos.

You can wear these powders if you choose as eye shadows, either by blending the colors and applying them as a wash over the entire lid, or by individually selecting shades with a small brush and applying them individually.

I remember that you told me a few months ago that you wanted to see makeup that wasn't brand new as long as it is available. The good news is that you can find Edward's beautiful Threads of Silk Multi-Use Powders at the Edward Bess Web site, Bergdorf Goodman, and a few Neiman Marcus Stores. I have about 50 pounds of makeup I haven't featured yet, so I wanted to show you this beauty before I move on to holiday collections.

Photos at top courtesy of Edward Bess; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Coming Attraction: The Guerlain Shalimar Holiday 2016 Makeup Collection by Natalia Vodianova

This coming holiday season, Guerlain invites you on a unique journey into the heart of the East with an eight-piece makeup collection developed in partnership with supermodel Natalia Vodianova. The collection includes a new Shalimar iridescent spray for Body and Hair powder, plus Guerlain's must-have’s for achieving the perfect holiday party looks.

The collection includes these eight future superstars.

SOUFFLE D’OR DE SHALIMAR ($98). The famous Shalimar bottle is revisited in deeper blue with the Guerlain signature and a blue atomizer with metallic blue thread. Inside is an extra-fine pearly loose powder subtly perfumed with Shalimar Souffle de Parfum notes: bergamot, orange blossom, and vanilla. Apply to face, hair, body, and décolleté for a subtle golden highlight.

TERRACOTTA TERRA INDIA in 00 ($55). Packaged in lacquered Shalimar blue, Terracotta Terra India – whose pattern has been inspired by Indian drawings - is Guerlain’s classic Terracotta powder in shade 00. The powder, decorated with golden shimmer, offers a healthy glow.

MÉTÉORITES Perles de Légende ($65). This cult color-correcting formula, housed in a beautiful gold and sapphire limited-edition case inspired by India, creates a perfect, fresh, and radiant complexion thanks to a new and unique harmony of pearls.

L’OR EYELINER ($34). A long-lasting intense gold eyeliner that creates a stunning highlighted eye look. It comes in a silky texture for an easy and flawless application.

PRECIOUS LIGHT ($52). A light, pearly, and blendable texture to apply on light zones for an instant and subtle glow to illuminate the complexion in wintertime.

DUO EYESHADOW SHALIMAR in GOLD AND SAPPHIRE($46). Two vibrant colors inspired by precious stones: gold and sapphire with a creamy, metallic finish that will enhance the eyes for the holiday season.

ROUGE G Exceptional Complete Lip Color in #821 Rouge Saphir ($56). As unique as a jewel, a collector's edition of Rouge G lipstick with a precious blue stone on the case. The lipstick itself is an intense ruby red shade (in keeping with the red "color of the season).

KISSKISS in ROSE INDIEN ($37). Guerlain’s beloved KISSKISS formula in an intense fuchsia inspired by Indian pigments.

I saw a photo of the MÉTÉORITES Perles de Légende in the catalog Saks Fifth Avenue produced for its beauty event, which starts tomorrow. I was immediately smitten. Out of the eight pieces in this collection, I know I want at least six. I'm wondering where I will get the money. I need a new job soon!

Here are some lovely tips for using these new pieces from Supermodel Natalia Vodianova.

“In addition to face and hair, I apply this powder on the back of my hands and on my wrists. So when I move them, a subtle scent emerges.”

MÉTÉORITES Perles de Légende
“I specifically chose these three colors of pearls because they remind me of the colors of the mosaics in the Indian palaces. The pink pearls revive the natural color of the cheeks and the freshness of the complexion; blue pearls correct irregularities of the skin and dark circles; and the gold pearls warm and illuminate cheekbones.”

“My application advice: use the three (3) gesture invented by Olivier Echaudemaison. Draw a three on each side of the face, from the forehead to the cheeks and then to the chin following the facial contour, and smoothing it down along the neck.”

“Do not hesitate to apply a fine line of the gold eyeliner over this collection’s eye shadows; it really makes my blue eyes stand out!”

“To illuminate your features, apply this color on your cheeks, on the outside corner of your eyes, the bridge of your nose, or on your Cupid's bow.”

I'll be very happy if I can emulate her application techniques and end up with even a fraction of her blonde beauty.

The Guerlain Shalimar Holiday 2016 Makeup Collection by Natalia Vodianova will be available on October 1, 2016 at Guerlain Boutiques and select store and online location at Nordstrom, Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, and Dillard’s. See anything you must have?

Photos courtesy of Guerlain