Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Great Mascara Hunt: In which I wax philosophical about what I have learned

Ahhh, the changing of seasons in DC is unmistakable. The shift from spring to summer is clearly visible.

The collars-up masses of college students depart, leaving a wake of bars in Georgetown mournfully bereft of fake IDs and vomit.

But never fear! The interns are here!

Yes, the Metro is awash in a sea of khaki pants, button downs, black suits, and flip flops, while the air smells sweetly of dry cleaner starch and Acqua di Gio (seriously? Can't men find a better smell?). All this and the proud display of laminated government ID badge. Guess what? Everyone's got one, and I don't need to know your name. Put on some real shoes, smart-ass.

Oh, and it's also 90 degrees out. In MAY!!

So, as the world turns and jobs turn over, I choose to use this time to reminisce on my time testing mascaras and reading others review for The Great Mascara Hunt.

First, everyone loves mascara. This is obvious. I will not dwell.

Second, there are some pricey mascaras out there. Since I like to toss my mascara often, I have steered away from anything costing more than $7 with the exception of the Blinc Kiss Me/Trish McEvoy Lash Curling varieties. But from reading many of the reviews, I don't see a need to spend a lot of cash for a good mascara. If you like it, go for it. But personally, I could take a million years trying out all the drugstore varieties and save my prettyifying pennies for Chanel lipgloss.

Third, packaging matters. Also, if you add "ify" to any adjective, you too can be a beauty executive.

Fourth, the best easy and natural brand that I tried and can recommend is the Cover Girl Exact Lash. It comes off with soap and water, gives a nice natural darkening, and doesn't smudge even during a spin class. It was also featured prominently in the season finale of Top Model (Joanie got robbed!) and comes with the sweet purple porcupine brush.

Fifth, I am a sucker for marketing.

Sixth, primers and extending formulas make my eyes itch and scratch my corneas. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Seventh, who knew there were so many ways to describe the smudgy effect when you get mascara under your eyes? Whore eyes, racoon eyes, heroin chic, strung out, walk of keeps going.

Eighth, Rimmel Volume Flash is my total crush right now and enjoys favored status in my makeup collection. Every time I put it on, I notice the difference immediately. It's not the easiest to get off, but when it is on, whoo baby, it is ON. My lashes got served!

Ninth, I forgot what I was going to say. Crap.

Tenth, sweet Jesus there are a lot of mascaras out there!!

So...I will see all you mascara fans in the fall which should be the next time I even consider purchasing another mascara! Bring on the freshmen and pop those collars!

no graphic because Blogger is being fussy, but many thanks to Katie from Scentzilla for letting us all use her graphic!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Great Mascara Hunt: The Truth is Out There

A lot of the stuff published about beauty is totally misleading. The product that is one person's godsend could give another an itchy rash. And many of the people who rave about certain products are getting paid to do so.

At least, this is one of the explanations for the inexplicable popularity of certain products.

Great Lash? More like Great Hoax.

Other bloggers have covered this topic as well, and from what I can tell, no one can understand why this mascara is flying off the shelves. I personally tried it once in college and hated it. Then I tried it again when they came out with the "new" "Blackest Black" until a friend told me they have always had it, Maybelline just changed the packaging. Now it's war.

However, some products deserve the constant press they get. One product I believe deserves this reputation is L'Oreal's Voluminous Mascara. I've heard of numerous friends and anonymous independent sources confirm that this is a great mascara.

And they were on sale at Target last week.

So I tried the Original and Extra Crispy varieties. Actually the Full Definition.

And I liked them. But I liked the Full Definition version better. Don't ask me how I was able to determine this, since they are probably both the same, but I did like that one better. Both gave a good darkening effect and made my lashes more noticeable and more defined.

They were totally out of the waterproof versions, so I sucked it up and bought the regular ones. I was extremely concerned that with my constant rubbing and tears from the contacts that the non-waterproof formula would give me that "walk of shame" look (or, as one of my friends calls it, "whore eyes").

But, no! It stayed put pretty well. Actually, a little too well. One of my problems with the mascara was that it was not easily removed with either soap and water or makeup remover.

I think I still prefer the Volume Flash by Rimmel for now, but L'Oreal Voluminous is deserving of its good reputation (especially since you won't look like you have a bad reputation from wearing it).

Product Rating: Original: 7.0, Full Definition: 7.75

I'm very technical about these things.

image courtesy of Katie from

Let the Sun Shine In: Volume 1

This is the first entry in what I hope will be a summer-long project where I review various suncreens and other sun-protection products.

By now, every one knows that the sun is bad for you. It makes you wrinkly and cancerous. This is usually enough to scare even the most bronzed goddess into a bottle of Coppertone SPF 50. However, on a day to day basis, it's easy to forget to put on sunscreen before you head outside, even when you are as pale as I am. It takes a long time to put it on, rub it in, it makes you sticky, the list goes on and on.

Then, I heard a story about a girl who came into the hospital with skin cancer that had metathesized to her brain and she died about a week after being admitted. This story scared the living crap out of me. You might ask why, since this happens all the time. Well, this girl was 25.

That is enough to send me sprinting to the suncare aisle at CVS.

Since suncreens degrade over time, I was in need of a new summer product and one of the smartest things that this industry does is come out with new and improved formulas every year. I picked up a bottle (well, can) of Neutrogena's Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock and tested it out this weekend in the incredibly gorgeous Memorial Day weather.

A note about my testing capacities. I am extremely fair skinned. I can get burned in a matter of minutes in the direct sun and have had the misfortune of being burned in the most bizarre places. Along my part? Check. Pinky fingers and toes? Yup, yup. Tops of the ears? Yes, and those really hurt!

The spray is great, bottom line. It sprays on evenly and in a continuous stream which makes it easy to get your back and other tricky areas, like the backs of your arms. It's super easy and fast to apply. I didn't really notice that it was really all that "cooling," not any more so than anything else I've sprayed on my body. I rubbed it in a little and noticed that at the beginning, it gives you a light sheen like a moisturizer, but then sinks in and is only minimally sticky.

I have to say that I'm not wild about the smell, but I was also out walking in the sun all day and my arms stayed ghostly pale! Well, there was one spot on my shoulder that I missed and turned bright red. It was actually a good test, since the Mist was obviously very protective if that spot was the result sans screen.

The benefits here clearly outweigh the drawbacks here and I am planning on spending the summer spraying to keep the doctor away.

Neutrogena has a great suncare section on their website with quizzes and helpful tips. Definitely worth a look.

photo courtesy of

Friday, May 26, 2006

maybe Socialism isn't all that bad after all

Yesterday in the Thursday Styles Section of the New York Times, the Skin Deep column detailed the French trend of "Le no makeup" look. Apparently, French women cast their utmost disdain upon those unfortunate overdone souls in California and Catherine Deneuve (wow, apparently a little M.A.C. contract and a face lift is all it takes to draw your own nation's ire).

So the article delves into the obsession that French women have with looking natural, but beautiful at the same time. For them this means a perfect glowing complexion and beige lips. It does not mean looking like Nicole Ritchie or Britney Spears (thanks for singling out two of the worst examples of American culture, by the way).

And personally, I'm all for the no makeup look (actually, I usually have it going on because I have to run out of the house late in the morning without makeup, but I don't think that's what the French had in mind).

The embodiment of "le bare face" are actresses like Juliette Binoche and Audrey Tautou. Looking at pictures of them, like the Allure June cover of Tautou, I'm buying whatever they are selling. However, the article also points out that the quirky French healthcare system allows women to regularly indulge in creams, facials, and spa treatments while imputing 65% of the cost to the government. Vive la France, baby.

The article also has a list of cosmetics that the experts recommend to acheive le no makeup look.

Some of them are no surprise, like the YSL Touche Eclat, but some of the others will definitely make my list of things to try out the next time I'm in a department store including the Laura Mercier Moisturizing Foundation, the YSL Tinted Baume No. 6, and the Giorgio Armani eyeshadows nos. 10 and 36.

So the next time I stumble out of my apartment and someone asks if I forgot my makeup, I can say haughtily, "I prefer le bare face" in my best snotty accent. Eat it, Ritchie!

FYI, while the French take extreme pride in their language, there was a movement to purge all of the bastardizations of American words from the lexicon, like "le week-end." Evidendently it didn't take, at least not in magazine copy.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Secret Socks...

There are certain behaviors that must be stifled when you live with another person. Especially if that person is your significant other. Seriously, they devoted an entire episode of Sex and the City to the topic.

One beauty ritual that I have had to stuff in a drawer (literally, I put them away in my nightstand drawer) when I moved in with my boyfriend are my Bliss Softening Salve and Socks.

The salve/sock combo are a one-two punch to dry feet where you coat your feet with this incredibly thick lotion that smells like peppermint and then slide them into these socks that are lined with a "moisture gel" that helps seal in the moisture. Then you leave them on overnight or while you hang out around the house.

Except...when you live with someone.

The first time I put them on in the post-holiday frenzy where I try to use all my gifts at once and end up looking like a six-year old who raided her mother's closet. I thought they could look cute in that hanging-out-in-the-apartment-quirky-cool way.

My boyfriend laughed so hard I thought he was having an aneurysm.

Then he laughed some more when I had to take them off when my feet got really hot and was grossed out by the "moisture gel."

So the socks have been relegated to the drawer...most of the time.

Now that sandal season is coming up, I have been furtively wearing my socks in shorter intervals while my boyfriend is out of the apartment. Ha ha! Take that Battle of the Sexes!

If you have someone who won't laugh at you, or some time to indulge in secret beauty rituals, I recommend the salve/sock combo, it really softens the feet and gets them ready for the first pedicure of the season.

I won't tell anyone...

photo courtesy of

Monday, May 22, 2006

Short and Sweet

Okay, that earlier post was extremely long. I'm like Joe Biden over here.

I am clearly not heeding the adage of my 11th grade French teacher who told us when it comes to essays: think of a woman's skirt, keep it long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep it interesting.

Anyhoo, I love lip gloss. As in, I want to marry it and have its babies. I keep several in each purse at all times (I like options!).

My current faves are the Glossimer lip glosses from Chanel. They come in the most fabulously elegant packaging and a wide variety of pretty colors and see-though-it-ness. I keep Satinette (apparently a favorite of Scarlett Johansson, and I want anything that makes me more like her) and Glaze with me at all times.

This weekend at Sephora, I fell for Seashell and Sesame, both slightly peachier shades than my normal pinks, which feel so totally right for summer.

The drawbacks are these:
  • they are sticky, I'm not going to lie to you. Get thee to a ponytail holder.
  • the colors on the website are completely inaccurate. Caveat emptor.
  • they are NOT inexpensive. A penny saved, well...can buy you a pretty lip gloss.

That's it!

Everything is bigger in Virginia

And just so I don't get hate mail from people from Texas, I just mean that everything in Virginia is bigger than everything in DC.

Seriously though, the roads are bigger, the cars are bigger, the houses are bigger and most importantly, the stores are bigger! It's positively Brobdingnagian!

I ventured into a WHOLE OTHER STATE this weekend to visit the Bath and Body Works flagship store at Tyson's Corner. That is how dedicated I am to the pursuit of beauty perfection. And I only got slightly lost.

I mean, would it be so hard for the VDOT to give a road ONE name?? What is with the fact that every road must have 3 different monikers and no numbers on the street signs?

But the store was great! Once I found it. This is not the blue and white gingham bedecked Bath and Body Works of my youth. It still maintains that white-picket-fence faux Cape Cod je ne sais quoi, but the brands inside have been elevated. They still sell the anti-bacterial soaps and lotions in a thousand colored smells, but in the interest of time, sanity and my sinuses, I skipped all that and made a beeline for 100% Pure.

The thing about 100% Pure is that you could almost eat their products. They are mostly vegan and very natural. The packaging is adorable and the scents are overwhelmingly true to what is in the product.

As I stared at the shelves, I attracted the attention of a salesperson (we'll call him Jim) who offered to help in any way possible. I was in the market for a scrub, I told him. He quickly told me to skip the "juicy" scrubs from 100% Pure since they are extremely oily and can make you slip in your tub.

Ahhh, I replied, head trauma is not on my agenda this weekend.

Jim steered me towards the "buttery body scrubs," in particular to the Chocolate Mocha Scrub (I thought that mocha implies coffee and chocolate??) which he proudly announced was made from real coffee grounds. I took a whiff and totally believed him. It smelled like my coffee maker if I forgot to clean it for a week. Not that that happens often or anything... Jim also expounded on coffee's natural "antioxidant" and "firming" properties. I bit my tongue and didn't get all science major bitchy and tell him that is all a load of hooey. Yay for me.

So Jim then grabs my hand, drags me to a sink and proceeds to lather up my hand with this stuff! Great, now I smell like my old coffee grounds. As if the eight cups of coffee I try to mainline every day doesn't make me smell like this already. So I picked out the Strawberry Butter Body Scrub and beelined my way back across the Chain Bridge to Lilliput.

During the test run of the scrub, I found the smell infinitely better. Now I smell like a popover at Neimans. My boyfriend shunned the scrub, saying that boys should not smell like Strawberry Shortcake dolls. Too bad! More for me! The scrub has lots of sugar grains which exfoliated really well and was pretty moisturizing. My main complaint is that, while I get the "100% vegan all natural" schtick, I could live without the huge chunks of strawberry. Unlike Kramer from Seinfeld, I don't have a garbage disposal in my shower.

So...I highly recommend the 100% Pure line and the new and improved Bath and Body Works, just watch out for any Yahoos trying to fondle your hands in their sinks.

photo courtesy of Purity Cosmetics.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Great Mascara Hunt: The Kiss Off! Edition

Ooooh, yesterday was a very snarky day on the Hill.

First up, there was a shouting match in the Senate Judiciary Committee between Chairman Specter and Senator Feingold that involved them hurling insults like "Good riddance!" and "See ya!" and "You are no more a protector of the Constitution than am I." (oooh, burn, Feingold! That's how we do it in Dirksen, bitch!) The episode ended with Feingold stomping out of the room and the Committee passing the Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Then! Justice Antonin "Smackdown" Scalia verbally bitchslapped Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) telling him to mind his own beeswax when it came to telling the Supreme Court what kind of laws to cite when writing opinions. Scalia is actually siding with Ruth Bader Ginsburg on this one. Look out, because Hell is an ice skating rink right now.

I promise I will get to the mascara!

Euan Blair (Tony's son) said "peace out!" to his internship with Rep. Jane Harmon and apparently likes to booze it up and burn tables at Madam's Organ (who doesn't?).

Meanwhile...everyone was bored at the totally soporific Hayden hearings over in Senate Intelligence.

But was I present for any of this???


Because I was in the bathroom staring at my eyelashes! I tried out the Rimmel Volume Flash Waterproof Mascara and was pretty pleased with the results.

I was a lot more comfortable with the brush than with the lash comb, because it was just a regular brush. Also, it follows the normal screw-the-cap-off approach of almost every other mascara on the planet. Score one for the Volume Flash.

The darkening effect was really great. Normally I think, black is black, right? I mean it's going on a hair which is half an inch long, who can tell the difference? Well, apparently you can when it's actually different. This one made my lashes really dark and noticeable, even from a distance, which is not easy for me, given my poor eyesight and short stubby lashes. I was able to see the darkening effect right down to the bottom of my lashes, eliminating the tell-tale blonde roots and making it look like I had on eyeliner when I didn't.

It also held the curl on my lashes ALL FREAKING DAY!

The downside, you ask? It's pretty difficult to get off. I washed my face, which usually gets everything off, but then had to resort to eye makeup remover and a towel to get it off.

So, I really like it and will continue to use it, especially for those late nights burning tables in Adams Morgan (all the cool kids are doing it) but I'm not going to make it my one and only.

Product rating: 8 and 1/2.

See ya!

graphic from Katie at

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Edge

No, I am not talking about the other guy in U2 or that movie with Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin (what was that about anyway? I know it was a trillion years ago, but it always confused me)

Nope, nope.

Y'all, I have reached the edge of the beauty frontier. And as a good Yankee, I never say "y'all." So you know I'm serious.

I have been taking some Bikram yoga classes, a form of yoga where they heat the room to 100 degrees and 40% humidity. It's sort of like doing yoga on the surface of the sun.

And while you are contorting your body like a pretzel, your makeup slides off like a dress on prom night. Honestly, I'm surprised my nail polish stayed on.

(No, I did not put on makeup to go to these classes, I go after work and the makeup comes with me)

However, a friend charitably gave me one of the new Goody Stay-Put hair ties and it was the only thing that stay on my body besides my clothes (which I only believe stayed on because they were glued to my body with sweat).

The Stay-Puts were featured prominently in the Express Fit section last Tuesday and were reputed to have special elastic fibers woven into the band to help them grip onto hair. They make ponytail holders and headbands. The band I tried was the "medium" one, and was certainly thicker than the tie I normally use. But damned if it didn't stay-put during the entire class, and I had my hair in one of those half-assed buns where you just pull the ponytail halfway through. Typically, this holds up for about 10 minutes, but this time it stayed for the entire 90 minutes. Every hot, sweaty, twisty, excruciating minute.

A word of caution! These do NOT slide out easily. You must unwind them in the reverse order that you put it on with Jack Bauer technical skill or you will pull your hair out. Also, they arent the most stylish holders that I have in my arsenal. I plan on picking up a set of the thinner version for fine hair though, maybe they will assist in my "oh-so-cute-I-totally-planned-this-messy-bun" look.

The interesting thing about the Bikram class though, is that by the time I got home and showered, I noticed that my skin looked glowing and my eyes looked really bright. Maybe it's a real benefit of the class!

Or maybe it is a heat and dehydration induced hallucination.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Great Mascara Hunt: What Happened to the E?

As a part of the Great Mascara Hunt, I wrenched myself away from the Cover Girl Lash Exact to try Rimmel London's Volum' Eyes Lash Comb Mascara. Oh, yes, there were tears.

Which obviously does not help the mascara testing.

There are a few things I noticed when I tried this mascara. First, the top with the comb pulls straight off the tube. No screw-on. Okay, stop giggling. I kept twisting and twisting but the top wouldn't come off until I yanked it, nearly splattering mascara on my laptop. Okay, seriously! Stop laughing! Second, the mascara has a comb instead of a brush. In unison now, DUH!

I have dealt with the comb before, most notably with the Revlon Colorstay Overtime Mascara, which you are supposed to be to wear for three days straight. Hel-LO Conjunctivitis!! And the comb can be kind of nice. However, the mascara here is so think that it's really hard to see where the tines of the comb actually are. Especially when you put on your makeup in the dark because your boyfriend is still sleeping.

Once the mascara was on, I thought, "Oooh, that's really volum' inous." Then I looked closer into the mirror and realized that my lashes were all stuck together. So I combed them and jetted out the door, feeling pretty good about myself.

At work, I noticed under the fluorescent lights of the restroom that I had a few specks on my upper lash line, no doubt due to the inept application with the comb apparatus. However, the mascara stayed on during the three o'clock eye rub with no smudgies. Pretty sweet, no?

Then! During spin class, there was very little migration, even though the instructor seemed hell-bent to torture us with several sprints set to Modern English. A formidable challenge, and the Volum' stayed on, but washed off with soap in the post spin shower. Actually, it washed off my lashes, but not my eyelids. Not so sweet. verdict on the Volum' Eyes is that it gives a more noticeable darkening and volume than the Lash Exact, since it made me feel a little dressier but didn't give me that Jessica Cutler-this-is-inappropriate-for-work feel. And it stayed on during a workout. However, it was harder to apply and remove than other mascaras that I have tried and liked.

Product Rating: 6 (From what I can tell, I might be the Eastern European judge of the Great Mascara Hunt)

NEXT UP: Rimmel Volume Flash mascara (there was a special!) Also, check out Blogdorf Goodman's review of the same product here.

graphics from Katie at Scentzilla and Rimmel


Who is excited about the season finale of America's Next Top Model tonight?!?!

Oh...just me?


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Absolute Zero

Correction appended.

You would think packing up to come home from a trip would be pretty easy, right? You just pick up all of the stuff you brought with you and shove it in a suitcase. Apparently, this is more difficult than I am capable of.

I was away this weekend with my family and, of course, forgot to pack shampoo and conditioner. So I decided to suck it up, be a sport and try the hotel's brand. Hey, I thought, maybe I can even blog about it.

The shampooing goes okay. Then the conditioner, which I realize is terrible. I keep putting more in, but it doesn't seem to be working. I look at the label in my pre-contacts/pre-consciousness state and see that it is HAND LOTION!!

I mean seriously! Seriously? Who puts the teensy tiny opaque bottle of hand lotion next to the shampoo and expects there not to be a problem?

Once I recover from the horror that is trying to get this crap out of my hair, I think, my mom will have some kind of leave-in product! Moms are so good at this stuff. As in, not being a complete spazz. She brings me her bottle of Zero Frizz Corrective Hair Serum.

I have to tell you that I was not impressed with this product that day. But let's face it, after you put cheap hand lotion in your hair, you can't expect to look like a Breck girl. I should have been happy I didn't look like I got dipped in a vat of grease or stuck my hand in an electrical socket. More like a combination of the two. This is why God and Goody invented ponytail holders.

However, I did manage to pack the Zero Frizz and take it home with me. 250 miles away from its rightful owner. Happy Mother's Day to my mom, right?

So, before I mail it back to my mother, I decided to sneak a little test run sans the hand lotion rinse. And it ROCKS. I put a squirt into damp hair and then blew it dry. There was, quite literally, zero frizz. My hair was also shiny and swingy and pretty all over!

I assumed that this was some pricey product since I had never seen it before and my mother has quite the Amex Black taste, but she said she got it at the drugstore for like 6 dollars! AND then, she claimed to receive the tip from my very curly haired sister (who will be totally frozen out for not letting ME in on this secret!). AND then, she told me to keep the bottle! Rock on!

Now, it is unusually NOT humid in DC right now, so the true test will come soon. Have faith, sisters!

Pop Quiz Hotshot: Any science nerds like me in the audience know the value of absolute zero and what happens when you get there?

NB: I mispoke. The Zero Frizz is the Corrective Hair Serum, not the Extra Strength. The link and name have been corrected.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Great Mascara Hunt

Vous ne trouvez pas le meillure mascara, le meillure mascara vous trouves.

So I have joined The Great Mascara Hunt which was started by Blogdorf Goodman. Basically the Hunt is beauty bloggers trying out mascaras so you don't have to. BG mentioned in the Weekly Recap that my one true love, Lash by Lash, was pulled from the market years ago, never to return again. And since then, I have searched for the "Holy Grail" of mascaras to grace my lashes.

This is all very appropriate, given that I just reread "The Da Vinci Code" in anticipation of the movie opening this week (Wow, that totally makes me sound like a LOTR geek. Seriously, I just read it a long time ago and during my 1L finals so I didn't remember very much. It also ruined my ConLaw study sessions.) So, the above saying in hideously poor French grammar will be my motto for this quest.

I have mentioned that I am currently in like with Cover Girl's Lash Exact with the porcupine brush. I also have the two Rimmel mascaras to demo on their own, since the layering experiment was BAD. I repeat BAD. My rating of these two together are seriously low. I do not approve of the direction in which these mascaras are heading. It was clumpy and heavy and it took about ten minutes to get it off of my eyelashes.

So, while the mascaras find me, I will tell you what I am looking for:

Single lashes seek coating. We are skinny, pale, and a little on the short side, but don't let that discourage you! We go to lots of great events and frame two blue irises. You are black and come on a suitably thick brush. We want someone who can stay on all day and flatter us by making us long and put a little meat on our fringe! Contacts are involved so non-waterproofs need not apply.

So, let me know if you can recommend any mascaras to try out for the Hunt and I will report back on the Rimmel 'scas soon!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

So you're on a desert island...

I was once on a car ride with two other very high maintenance friends and talk turned to beauty, as it so often does. The question arose, "If you could only have three beauty products for the rest of your life, what would they be?"

We first established the ground rules. We did not mean this to include basic hygiene staples like toothpaste or soap. However, tools such as tweezers and lash curlers DID count towards the three product quotient. This was hotly debated, but eventually, the listing began.

I can't remember exactly what everyone picked, although almost everyone included some kind of concealer/foundation.

My picks were my Vincent Longo foundation (can double as a concealer!), mascara (yuck to the lashless bunny effect), and Prada Shielding Balm SPF 15/Lip/Tint 04.

The genius of the Prada Lip Tint is that it can multitask as a blush and a lip balm and a lip gloss.

Now, in a world where I am allowed as many beauty products as I like, I still love my Prada Lip Tint, but I don't use it every day. This might strike some as odd, considering I just said that I would pick it to have forever and forsake all other lip balms and glosses. In the real world, the Lip Tint is wonderful because it is a fantastic pinch hitter.

A word about the background. When Prada Beauty made its debut circa 2002, it was heralded as being so sleek, minimal and sanitary. Single use tubes! Air tight packaging! Germs begone! Miuccia's beauty reigns supreme!

I fell for the lip balm immediately and fell in total lust for the clear cherry color of Tint 04. But alas, they were out of it! I was talked into buying Tint 03, which I used, but never felt right about it. Finally I signed myself up on the Barney's waiting list for the 04 color. That's right, a waiting list.

But I have loved it ever since. The color gives my lips and/or cheeks a totally natural flush. The formula sinks into your lips and is extremely moisturizing without ever being slippery or sticky. It even has a nice little lemony scent.

And thanks to the sanitary packaging and the fact that you get 8 tubes in a box, I have NEVER had to buy this again. (But I totally would) And they are so tiny that I keep one in each purse and one in my car! Hell, the tube is so small you could fit it into that tiny useless fifth pocket on your jeans and forget about a purse. (But why would you want to forget a purse?)

So thankfully, I do not live in a world where my beauty products are limited by anything other than my budget and my bathroom counter space, and the Prada Lip Tint happens to fit in both.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

a note about updating...

I'll be the first one to admit that I'm not the most reliable of people.

While I am trying to post as many days as possible, sometimes the world of beauty is slow. Or the world of my actual job and life are not slow.

I also understand how annoying it is to visit a blog only to see the same post for five days in a row.

So...I bring you BLOGARITHM!

Yes, that's right, sign up with the Blogarithm subscribe form to the right and they will email you only on the days when I have updated the blog. It is the same form used by The Beauty Addict and if you receive those, you can easily add this blog. You can also add all of your favorite blogs and just receive one email on days when they are updated.

Sort of like The Daily Digest, only interesting. And, you won't waste precious goofing-off time visiting that old stale content.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sparkle and Fade

I've been feeling the pinch over here on the Hill...maybe all the talk of appropriations and budget cuts have seeped into my beauty budget. I'm also trying to save up for some new summer products and maybe even that Serge Lutens Datura Noir I sniffed in LA. I'd consider selling my soul, but somehow I doubt that would cover it.

So, I've been beauty shopping at Target since I can walk there (saving on gas! and eco-friendly!) and it is, how do I

After reading a blurb in The Express (the free daily version of the Washington Post which is handed out near every Metro stop and bus station in the District and becomes extremely handy on those days where I have run out of magazines and my attention span is way to short for a book) I picked up a bottle of Dove Advanced Color Care Leave-In Luminizing Mist for Lightened Hair. Sweet God, that is the longest cosmetic product name ever. It's like the executives at Dove read "Naming Your Beauty Product" by James Joyce.

I'm not really sure what I expected from this product, but I don't think I got anything from it.

The liquid inside has all of these shimmery sparkles, and I guess I thought that they would translate into sparkly hair, but no. Also, it doesn't smell that great. I actually used up most of my sample of Oscar Blandi Jasmine Serum to cover up the smell. (Have I told you how good that stuff smells?? Yes? Several times you say? Well, it smells awesome. So there.)

Once I had it in my hair and then covered up the smell, I had forgotten what it was supposed to do. So I refered to the handy-dandy press release from the Dove website: Advanced Color Care for Lightened or Highlighted Hair leaves lightened hair noticeably soft, smooth and luminous, without weighing it down. New Dove Advanced Color Care Leave-In Luminizing Mist detangles lightened hair instantly, improving manageability for easy combing. Just apply it from roots to tips after your daily shampoo and let it work — there's no need to rinse it out. The lightweight mist leaves hair silky and adds shine without weighing it down.

Ummm...thanks. That's supremely unhelpful. My hair doesn't usually get that tangled and it felt just as soft as when I don't use the sparkly spray.

So, my verdict here is that my experiment in bargain beauty was a small disappointment. Maybe I'll peel the label off of the bottle and pretend it is a really small lava lamp.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Bath & Body Whaa?

So apparently I have been asleep at the beauty wheel.

Bath & Body Works used to be this sort-of Body Shop knockoff, except without any pesky principles about cruelty free products and a whole lot more smell. Major league smells. As in, you could smell it from the other end of the mall (because that's where they all were.) As in, I took one particularly allergy prone friend in there once and she went into anaphylactic shock.

But they have now totally revamped their image! They are the saviors of the environment! They have really high end beauty products! Who knew?!?

The Awakening: I was on the plane reading Vogue, Elle, and whatever else I can get my hands on. I read this article in Elle about this all natural company called 100% Pure which makes these fantastic scrubs and lotions from fruits and such. Very eco-friendly. (the theme of the world this month is "green" meaning that all the magazines are hawking environmentally friendly cosmetics, clothes, cleaning products and celebrities. pass it on!) Then, I read an article in Vogue about the Savannah Bee Company and their scrubs and body lotions which are all made with honey. YUH-mmy.

The article mentions that you can get the products at...wait for it...Bath & Body Works! You are all very smart and get to move to the front of the class.

So I look up where the one closest to me is located and find that on the website they have ALL KINDS of fun products! And also some that look like they might give L'Occitane and Bliss a trademark infringement suit.

I am headed to one this weekend to pick up a scrub...hopefully one which is sweet and eco-friendly.

p.s. there is no Bath & Body Works in the District...where is the love people??

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Big Love for Lashes

I will admit it. I am a serial monogamist when it comes to mascara. Except when I cheat on my steady for something new and enticing. Sometimes it works out, but most of the time it doesn't and I have to pick up the pieces and move on.

I can't say exactly how my mascara-hopping started, but it is certainly helped by the fact that it is absolutely necessary for me (I have very blond lashes and I look like a rabbit if I forget to put on mascara), new formulas are constantly being introduced, and medical professionals (the beauty industry, who am I kidding?) tell you to throw it out every three months.

I was once in love with Maybelline Lash by Lash. I fell hard. The mascara had a little wipey-thing that cleaned the excess off of the brush, negating the need for tissues. But alas, my eyes wandered (literally) and I found another that promised more, yet did not deliver. When I went back for the Lash by Lash, it was gone for good. And Lash Discovery (which the Maybelline people told me was it's doppleganger) is NOT the same.

So began my every-three-month quest for The One.

Most recently, I've tried the Blinc Kiss Me mascara, which was excellent for easy removal, since it comes off in little tubes (and is also exactly the same as Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara), but not so good for the ba-bam! effect you want for a night on the town. And the little tubes at the bottom of the sink sometimes freaked out my boyfriend who thought they were bugs.

Then I tried Maybelline Unstoppable. Also good, but missing something...

Most recently I have liked Cover Girl Lash Exact. You know, the one that Queen Latifah wears in the ads and has the funny looking plastic porcupine purple brush (I told you there was more alliteration coming!). I like that one because it washes off easily and stays on during most workouts, but also misses the ba-bam! for night. Also sometimes I poke myself with the little brush and that hurts.

But then I went to Ulta and they had Rimmel London Mascaras at a 2-for-1 special. It was like candy for a diabetic. I bought the Volume Flash Waterproof and the Volum' Eyes Lash Comb. I layered them today after reading that it is a "beauty secret" in InStyle.

Ummm, it's a little clumpy. Like Tammy Faye Lite. I'll try again separately, because they do hold the curl in the lash very well and they give a little more oomph that might be nice at nighttime.

Maybe all three mascaras can live together in my makeup bag. Maybe I can turn into a serial polygamist with my mascaras. Then again, maybe I'm ready to settle down with just one...


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Stink Bombs Away!

There is a girl in my office who travels with a cloud of perfume. Seriously, it is like Pigpen from "Peanuts" who travels with the cloud of dirt around him at all times. You can smell her from a mile away and after she comes into your office, the scent will linger for hours. Not that she smells bad, mind you, it's actually a nice perfume. Just very distinctive.

I have no such distinctive smell. I mentioned earlier that I have worn Chanel Allure for years, but that is not so much a "signature scent" as it is a "rut out of pure laziness."

So while browsing at Fred Segal this weekend, I was viscously attacked by the perfume lady who was waving white tester strips at me as though she was performing an exorcism. I have a severe aversion to shop-people who try to spray me with stuff that smells like Lysol. But I was intrigued and felt a little too awkward to bolt out of the store, so I acquiesced and tried a few.

Most of the perfumes made me gag. However, one that didn't smell great at first then became better smelling as we went along. I cautiously allowed my wrist to be spritzed then instantaneously regretted it. The saleswoman obviously noticed my rising panic and asked me if I liked vanilla. I said I was more of a mint chocolate chip kind of girl. (This was obviously not what she meant) And she showed me the bottle of Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, which I pronounced a little too I-work-at-a-bakery-don't-I-smell-sugary-sweet-and-cute.

At this point the woman looked like she was about to throttle me.

But then I re-smelled my wrist. And it smelled GOOD! I found out that the non-offensive smell actually came from Serge Lutens Datura Noir.

I had read a lot about this brand, but had never seen them up close and personal since the Barney's Co-Op here is not even close to as good as the real deal in New York and Beverly Hills. I could not stop smelling my wrist all day and I have resolved to try to break free of the Chanel chains of love and purchase it on my next trip to New York.

Unless the laziness or the boyfriend allergy attack prevents it. These things are just beyond my control!

And we're back!

Okay, I had to change the template and the look a little, but I think we will all be comfortable over time with the new appearance.

Technical problems appear to be solved. I should really go make friends with the people in the IT department.

This is an emergency broadcast...

I'm not quite sure why the sidebar keeps appearing below the texts, but I am working to resolve the problem.

Please bear with me.

Light and Fluffy

Great for pancakes, not so great for hair.

One of the worst compromises in the history of hair was the decision to put the capital of our great nation in a swamp. Let me tell you this, if Jefferson and Hamilton had consulted their wives and daughters about the possibility of spending summers in a place where it can be 90 degrees AND 90% humidity, we might have acquired California and Arizona a whole lot sooner.

However, in spite of California's reputation for arrid-ness, I found myself in Santa Monica this weekend with a serious case of the frizzies. Not all that surprising given the ENORMOUS OCEAN about a block away.

Anyway, this needed to be quickly remedied and since I am a horrible packer, I totally forgot my de-puffer of choice, Bumble and Bumble Sumo Tech. (They told me it was good hair weather in LA!!) I ducked into Sephora and snagged a sample of the Oscar Blandi Jasmine Hair Serum which the Beauty Addict raved about.

First of all, it smelled fantastic. As in, really really fantastic.

Second, it took the puff down a notch, but did not create the shiny swinging straight and smooth hair of my dreams. (did you like that alliteration? there's totally more where that came from)

Third, I have been using it since and I still really like it. I am extremely cautious about serums because I have been burned before. Like when your boyfriend asks you if you washed your hair that day. This does not produce that drippy greasy effect, but it also doesn't create a piecey texture like the Sumo Tech which can really manage the fluff and puff.

Overall, I think I will buy it if only because it smells AWESOME (did I mention that?) and it creates some shine and smooths flyaways without looking like Exxon-Valdez parked itself on my head.

I guess it's never too early in D.C. to start preparing for August.