Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blogging on My Birthday: Can Beauty Products Really Make Your Life Better?

Short Answer: Yes. Yes they can.

Don’t worry…a very long answer is coming. Very very long.

Why am I writing a long journal entry instead of a product review? Because today is my birthday, and I feel like being all thoughtful and wordy. I’ve also decided to take long break from blogging – at least for the rest of the summer (possibly longer). I love posting; but my schedule has become too crazy, and I need to scale back for a while. So I thought I’d take a little detour from “the usual.”

The title of my post sounds like I’m being sarcastic, but I’m really not. I love to throw the term “beauty junkie” around; but I also believe that my beloved products were part of a huge change in my life.

There was a time way back in the 2000’s (lol…) when I went through a seriously frumpy phase. “Frumpy” is putting things mildly. I had truly stopped taking care of myself – and stopped thinking of myself as vibrant or feminine. I was taking care of Maria, the singer; but neglecting Maria, the person.

At that time, there were also a lot of old, destructive thoughts still running through my head. I spent a lot of time telling myself that I was too fat, my skin was bad, I was out of shape, my hair was weird, and so on and so forth. And somehow all of these “problems” had come about because I wasn’t a good enough person. I needed more drive. More discipline. Better character. I didn’t deserve to look good and appreciate myself until I’d “fixed” everything. There was certainly no point in putting any effort into my appearance until I’d lost all the weight. Or met Mr. Right. Or gotten my career established. Or won the lottery/cured cancer/whatever.

I was so full of unreasonable expectations that even the smallest step felt almost impossible. And instead of being content to take baby steps and enjoy some progress; I kept piling things on my “to do” list, and feeling even more inadequate and overwhelmed.

Of course the result of all this harsh thinking was that I felt stressed out, exhausted and demoralized. And I looked like hell. The wake up call came in June 2006 when my aunt sent a picture of me holding my baby nephew. I suddenly realized that in less than 7 years, I’d gone from this…

To this.

I was shocked. Seven years isn’t a small amount of time; and there are things like flattering lighting, etc. to consider; but I still looked about 20 years older. Again…I was shocked.

If my adorable nephew hadn’t been in that picture, I would have ripped it up and thrown it away. But adorable nephew photos are too valuable to get rid of. So instead, I buried it under a stack of other pictures. I couldn’t forget it, though. What’s worse…I felt even sadder and was even harder on myself. But only at first.

I’d also been doing a lot of internal work, and it was starting to pay off. I finally took out the picture again; and instead of berating myself, I summoned up a little bit of compassion. And…when I looked at other old (“better”) pictures of myself, I started realizing that I had always been hard on myself. Even when I looked “good,” I never appreciated it. Why? Because I was always thinking of what was still missing or not good enough. No wonder I eventually stopped trying!

Maybe it was time to give myself a break.

In the year that followed, I started taking stock of things. I realized that I had let a lot of things go. Not just my appearance; but my health, social life, romantic life, hobbies, household, and just about everything except singing had fallen by the wayside. I also realized that I spent very little time doing things to make my life happier in the moment. I was always waiting for that magic day when I would reach my weight loss, career and financial goals. Then I would be good to myself. Then my life would start! I was in my mid-forties and waiting for my life to begin. Ooops.

Somehow, I finally decided that even though I wasn’t a skinny, rich, famous opera star with a perfect boyfriend; maybe I would just go ahead and start my life anyway.

One of the first things I did was…buy clothes. Not a lot of clothes. But clothes for the body I had instead of some future body. I even bought cute lingerie. And…I felt better. Much better. Without losing an ounce.

Then came a big change…beauty products. First it was skincare. Then it was wearing my contact lenses instead of my glasses. Then my friend (Nancy) and I went to a spring makeup event at Nordstrom. I bought a lash primer. Which led to wearing mascara, which led to other things. One day I decided I would get up 15 minutes earlier so I could put on makeup before heading out the door. Shocking!

For 15 minutes every morning, I sat at my vanity and played with pretty things. And I started to remember what it felt like to feel pampered and cared for. Instead of starting the day by telling myself what was wrong with me, I began the day feeling more beautiful. And I would catch my reflection every now and then, and be pleasantly surprised! Who was that person in the nice outfit with the snappy eyeliner? It wasn’t vanity either - it was pride. The kind of pride that came from knowing I’d done something that was good for me. It was also fun. And I was putting myself out there as if I mattered instead of trying to “hide” all of my “flaws.” I even started wearing…gasp!...sleeveless tops!

A lot of things changed after that. I eventually started dating again. I also started losing weight, exercising and taking better care of myself. Again…I was behaving as if I mattered. The most important thing was that I started having a life – and more people in it who mattered to me.

Now of course I know that the beauty products themselves were not solely responsible for the changes in my life. But in many ways, those girly things served as both catalyst and tool. No matter what the state of my singing career, weight, financial situation, romantic status was; I always had a quick, easy way to make myself feel good about myself now. I think that’s why beauty products do it for me. It’s a way to be right in the moment when my feelings about the past or the future take me out of the present.

Beauty junkie-dom was (and still is) a playful, creative and positive way for me to be nice to myself every day, and almost any time. Sometimes it’s a way to step out into the limelight, sometimes it’s a bit of armor when I’m feeling insecure, and sometimes it’s a way to cheer myself up; but most of the time it’s playing, pampering and fun – and it reminds me of how lovely life can be. Most importantly, it’s taking time to show some love for myself on a regular basis in a very visible, tangible way.

This picture was taken yesterday.

Again…it’s taken from a highly flattering angle (trust me); but I think that looks like someone who is participating in and living her life. I still have a lot of issues; but most of the time I’m proud of the way I look. I’m also very happy and grateful for my life and the wonderful people in it.

And I “feel pretty” almost every single day.

(Did you really think I could resist a corny tie-in?)

I wish you all a wonderful, wonderful summer (and possibly beyond). My heartfelt thanks to all of you who visit this blog, offer your comments and send me your emails. I wish I could tell you how long I’ll be away – but I really don’t know. I’m still a beauty junkie, though – and I’ll continue to roam the beauty counters, tear ads out of magazines, read everyone else’s blogs, and try out every single product I can get my hands on.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hair Care Friday: Surya Brasil Henna Cream (RAVE review)

Whoo! What a week! I finally realized that I have completely overextended myself this summer. And it only took me two months to figure it out! I’m going to be taking a break – probably for the rest of the summer – so I can get a handle on everything that’s going on. Which means this will be the last Hair Care Friday for quite a while.

Not to worry, though, it’s a good one. A really good one. From Surya Brasil.

Henna Cream ("Burgundy")

Blurb: It colors without damaging the hair structure. It is the only hair coloring product with organic extracts that treat the hair and scalp. It conditions, moisturizes and revitalizes the hair while coloring, leaving it much softer and shinier. Instead of using synthetic fragrances, Surya Henna Cream is formulated with essential oils of Rose, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine and Sandalwood. These give it a milder and more pleasant fragrance than any other coloring product. Since Surya Henna Cream is a semi-permanent coloring, it gradually washes out. Available in 15 different shades. Contains no Parabens, Peroxide, Ammonia, Heavy Metals, PPD, Resorcinol, artificial colors or synthetic fragrance. Therefore doesn’t harm your hair, your health or the environment.

This is exactly the sort of product that makes me glad I’m a beauty blogger!

When my friend (Kristi) was visiting last weekend, I was telling her that I was thinking of switching to a semi-permanent hair color. My hair is getting really long now, and I’m doing everything in my power to keep it healthy. Since my roots show long before my color fades, it seemed reasonable that a semi-permanent product might be a little bit gentler. Kristi suggested I try henna.

Henna? For some reason, I always assumed that if hair color wasn’t chock full of harsh chemicals, it wouldn’t work. Henna just seemed too…mild. But Kristi told me she knew of someone who got great results, so I decided to give it a try. I trotted off to Whole Foods and asked the nice salesperson for her opinion and she recommended this Henna Cream. I actually tried to talk her into talking me into something else (how’s that for being a control freak); but she stood firm. So I brought a box home.

Cue angelic chorus.

This product is a revelation. For those of you who already use henna, all you need to know is that there's no mess or mixing. It comes pre-mixed, in a convenient, resealable bottle with plastic gloves and a plastic head covering.

Henna works by coating the hair shaft instead of penetrating it. Therefore, the hair shaft and cuticle are left intact and undamaged. For those of you who have not used henna, the process is simple. Wash hair (Use a silicone-free shampoo to remove any product buildup). Towel dry. Put on gloves, open the bottle and start applying the goo to your hair. I just globbed it on until everything was covered. Don’t comb through it, though. You want the color to sit on the hair shaft. Cover your head with the plastic cap (I used my own shower cap instead), and wait. The package has all sorts of complicated suggestions for figuring out how much time to wait; but I ignored them and left the color on for 45 minutes. Then I rinsed completely. The package says it’s ok to use conditioner after rinsing, but I wanted to see what it would look/feel like without conditioner.

Wow! This stuff is actually good for your hair! My hair was softer, smoother and shinier right out of the shower. It looked and felt better than before I’d colored it, and it still felt soft the next morning. It’s been a few days, and my hair still looks and feels great. The color is beautiful and natural (not flat) and the grey is completely covered.

I’m totally sold. Forever.

The only drawbacks I found were that the color still runs off a bit in the shower even after a few days; and I’ve heard that henna doesn’t last as long as “regular” color. But who cares? I can touch up as often as needed now. No more choosing between roots and damage!

A couple of tips. You should not use henna in conjunction with other types of hair color. And your shampoo and conditioner should be free of sulfates. Before coloring, it’s also a good idea to apply lotion to the skin around your hairline (and ears) to prevent staining.

Check out the website, take a look at the other products and visit the where to buy section. Surya is also sold at health websites, vitamin stores, health food stores and Whole Foods.

Have a great weekend!

(ftc disclosure: purchased myself)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Whining and Lining: Pixi Gel Liner (review)

You probably think I’m going to whine about the heat again. You would be right. I’m just not good at hot weather. Tonight I was supposed to go home, do laundry and tidy up around the apartment. Exactly none of that happened. Instead, I watched TV. Hmm…that sounds kind of win-win now that I think about it.

Anyway, in addition to "observing" the hot weather. I’m also observing a stellar product I’ve been using this week. From Pixi.

Gel Liner ("Onyx," "Sapphire," and "Jade")

Blurb: Create retro, sexy eyes in an instant. This gel liner is super easy to use with an intense colour pay off. Long-lasting with and water-resistant, it really goes the distance and stays put all day. With an application this smooth & foolproof, there's no need to be afraid of eyeliner application anymore!

Ever since I tried my first Pixi item, I’ve been hooked. I love the packaging, the selection and the excellent quality. So when I saw yet another type of eyeliner to try out (gel!) - I snapped them up.

As much as I've come to adore eye pencils (especially sexy, smudgy ones); my first and true love is applying liners with a brush. I love the smooth, saturated, clean lines that come with brush application. I’m also able to get much closer to the lash line. Gels are especially good for getting really saturated color – and the formula is a bit more forgiving than a liquid. (There’s also a bit of smudge time before it sets.)

These gels are wonderful. “Onyx” is a true, deep, jet black, and “Sapphire” is a very dark blue/black. “Jade” (which I found on, is a perfect hunter green. The brush that comes with the liner is pretty good – but I always prefer using my own brushes because I’m used to them. The gels were buttery soft, went on beautifully, and delivered highly saturated color and excellent staying power. Perfect score, Pixi!

The “Onyx” and “Sapphire” are currently available on the website. There are also some great web exclusives, and you can get 20% off of your order (use code: TWENTYOFF). Pixi is also sold at Target.

(ftc disclosure: purchased myself)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cake and Scrapes: Shea Terra Organics Cape Aloe Topical Healing Gel (review)

Today my nemesis is…a cake. A great big cake with tons of frosting and fancy writing. It’s my nemesis because I have to deliver it unharmed to an event that’s 60 miles away tonight. And it’s hot outside. And there’s no room in the work refrigerator to store it. So it’s going to be slightly gooey during the hour-plus drive.

And. And. And.

I know…I’m kind of cranky. Hot weather is not my friend, and we’ve had several days of it. Now I know why everyone gets mad at me in the winter when I get all cheerful about the snow while they’re shoveling out their cars.

The bright side (and there are several) is that I’m going to a fun event with a whole bunch of my friends. The other bright side is that if I’m successful, I’ll get to have...cake! And…before either of those things happen, I get to talk about a fine product. From Shea Terra Organics.

Cape Aloe Topical Healing Gel

Blurb: 99.5% Pure & Natural. Heal acne, burns, razor burns, nicks, cuts, wounds, bites and more all at amazing speed. Rare Cape Aloe is known to be the world's most active aloe. Off beaten paths, along bumpy, rocky roads in the Cape of South Africa grows the wonderous, succulent plant. Kept under the watchful eyes as a protected species, the outer leaves of this wonder plant are harvested to extract the healing jelly within. Made up of over 130 active chemicals, Cape Aloe's amazing healing properties is due to its high saponin, sterol, vitamin, mineral and amino acid content just to name a few. Once applied to skin Cape Aloe immediately goes to work to help cells build a protective barrier and aid them with the nutrients that they need to repair skin at an amazingly accelerated rate.

My other nemesis this week was a bad scrape on my hand. This scrape was caused by my mishandling of a cute tortoiseshell barrette. (Don’t let barrettes fool you – they look all innocent and stylish; but they can turn mean.) Of course cake can go a long way towards making any scrape feel better; but since I can’t actually eat any until after it’s delivered, I needed to try something else. So I tried this Gel.

I really love this product! Lots of people grow Aloe plants so they can run out and snip off a piece whenever they need it. Not me. I definitely prefer a handy pump bottle. It’s way more convenient. The healing properties of aloe make it great for just about anything that makes your skin unhappy. You can use it for sunburns, shaving cuts and even ragged cuticles. It helped my hand heal faster, and there was no snipping involved!

The website is currently in progress, but you can still browse the many fine products they have and sign up for VIP specials. Eventually, you’ll be able to visit the Explore Africa, and shea terra tv sections too.

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Happy Other People: CLEAN Moisture-Absorbent Deodorant (review)

Oh. Em. (Eff.) Gee.

It is freakishly hot this week. Again. Last night I slept on the sofa (again!); and I’m pretty sure I’ll be sleeping there every night this week.

What a perfect time to review this product. From CLEAN.

Original Scent Moisture-Absorbent Deodorant

Blurb: An aluminum-free deodorant with Clean's original scent. This product's breakthrough formula goes above and beyond typical deodorant performance. The Exclusive Cotton Vantage™ technology helps to absorb moisture naturally, without aluminum. Reminiscent of pure soap, the time-released CLEAN fragrance has that just-out-of-the-shower fresh smell. It's everything you need and nothing you don't!

Normally I would say “run, don’t walk” and pick up one of these – but since it’s several million degrees outside, walking is probably the wiser choice.

First…Omigod it smells good! I mean really, really good. And not overpowering – just...good. If you’re looking for an aluminum-free product, this is a stellar item. It contolled wetness really well, and also kept odor at bay. I probably wouldn’t run a marathon in this; but on a hot day with a lot of errands, it did the job. It was also completely non-irritating (a huge plus for me), and it didn’t leave any white residue.

And did I mention it smells really good?

CLEAN is currently overhauling their website, but you can still shop all of their products at Sephora.

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy Feet (And Hands): POP beauty nail glam Polish (review)

Whoa. The heatwave is beginning…again. Today was not super fun. Not only did I run around doing a bunch of errands in the heat; I also had to spend way too much time changing all of my passwords. (Something looked suspicious on one of my email accounts, so I wasn’t taking any chances.) A good reason to not have the same password for everything in the first place – it’s a pain in the u-know-what to change them all at once.

Speaking of u-know-what; I saw the final Harry Potter movie this weekend (where u-know-who and Harry have their big showdown). I won’t tell you how it ends (as if); but I will tell you it was a thoroughly spectacular movie going experience (in fancy IMAX 3-D thankyouverymuch).

No cheesy tie-in today. I just wanted to share a bit. But now it really is time for a beauty review. Here’s something nifty - also from England - and POP beauty.

nail glam

Blurb: High intensity nail polish in a dream library of POP colours. Whether you want vampy black, the perfect rouge noir, classic tomato red or way-out fluro pink, POP Beauty has a nail shade to suit your mood and your wardrobe. Each Nail Glam shade is non-occlusive so it wont stain nails and contains nylon creating a strengthening non chip barrier. Nail Glam nails stay sensational.Nail Glam is the brand new high intensity nail polish from POP in 20 dazzling new shades.

These are fabulous awesome colors, and a fabulous awesome formula! I’m showing a lot of pictures just so you can appreciate the array of shades available. It really is like being in a candy store to look at all of these. All the shades I tried had excellent staying power (I used a base and top coat), and the colors stayed true throughout the week.

My absolute favorite was “ocean.” It’s a deep, shimmering cornflower blue that looks absolutely beautiful. I got so many compliments when I wore this – even from people who favor more “traditional” shades. My second favorite was “ultraviolet” – a creamy, rich lavender that looked great on my fingers and amazing on my toes. Honorable mention goes to “orange.” It’s fresh, bright, yummy and a little bit sassy.

Visit the U.S. website, and browse the other shades, Sara's POP picks and the web deals and steals. POP beauty can also be found at CVS,, and ULTA.

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Happy Hair Care Friday! Motions Foaming Wrap Lotion (review)

Grrr…I just realized that my Friday post mysteriously “disappeared” yesterday. Google is really getting on my nerves lately. Just sayin. Luckily, I still had a copy of my post in a Word document, so I’m putting it back up this morning.

Its…Friday!!! My friend is coming to visit, and the weekend is going to be full of sleeping in, mall browsing, Harry Potter, and girl talk. Tomorrow is going to be fun and long; so I’m featuring a fab hair care product to keep everything in place and looking good. From Motions.

Foaming Wrap Lotion

Blurb: Get naturally beautiful control without stiffness using Motions Foaming Wrap Lotion. Holds hair in place and helps it stretch as it dries for a beautifully soft style all day long. Will not stick to irons. Collagen amino acids provide flexible hold and control while Panthenol adds shine. The long-lasting formula holds wraps, wet sets and thermal styles yet combs out easily. You get natural-looking style that leaves hair soft and shiny. Can be used for wrapping hair, wet sets, blow drying, and up dos.

This is a good hair day in a bottle. It’s recommended for fine hair, but it’s been wonderful on my coarse wavy/curly hair. Since I started growing my hair out last year, I’ve only been getting the ends trimmed. So without any layers, my hair tends to get a little bit flat – especially since the top layer of my hair is straighter than the hair underneath.

This product worked wonders as a volumizer – the volume even lasted until the next day! I also got great curl definition, including more curl on the top layer. It also fought frizz, and added some shine without making my hair sticky or crunchy. Excellent!

Check out the website. I recommend visiting find your style section and the product advisor page. Motions products can be found at places like Sally Beauty, Target,, grocery stores and drug stores.

It took every ounce of self control not to go all disco for Friday. But I controlled myself. Here’s something peppy, but completely disco free.

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday – Almost There! Fusion Beauty IllumiCover Luminous Concealer (review)

The week is getting easier, and I’m getting more and more excited about the weekend. My very very very good friend is coming to visit and we’re going to see the final Harry Potter movie. Woo Hoo! We’re also going to indulge in serious amounts of girl talk.

What does that have to do with beauty products? Nothing. Zip. It’s just really, really cool.

But…this is a beauty blog, so here’s a very nifty item. From Fusion Beauty.

IllumiCover Line Smoothing Luminous Concealer

Blurb: A concealer with brightening properties. This weightless concealer works instantly to diminish the appearance of shadows, dark circles, and imperfections. Its luminizing ingredients deliver a brighter, more youthful complexion. Use a single application for a weightless effect or build layers for greater coverage. FusionBeauty Products deliver instant and long-term results—this concealer is no exception. Hydro-gel technology rebuilds skin's extra cellular matrix to smooth and plump wrinkles around the eyes right away. Matrixyl® 3000 reduces wrinkle depth and volume over time.

Here’s another fabulous multi-tasker. This lovely item is skincare, concealer and highlighter all in one – and it also works well as a primer to keep shadow and eyeliner in place!

I mostly used it on my under eye area. It’s creamy, lightweight, has a very smooth finish, and brightens without looking obvious or shiny. It gave very good coverage for dark circles; and when I used it under my foundation on my cheeks and nose, I got excellent results (especially near my nasal folds which get very red when my allergies act up).

What really made this stand out was the absolute lack of creasing. Even in hot weather, there was no creasing or settling into lines at all – so it looked great all day.

Right now the website is undergoing construction, but you can easily shop their products online at Sephora (or click on the Store Locator). FusionBeauty can also be found at, ULTA and Nordstrom.

So…mod, moody, folksy…? I think we’ll make Thursday slightly artsy. Here’s something from David Bowie.

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Slowly Easing Over The Hump That is Wednesday: Ahava Rich Cleansing Cream (review)

Woo hoo - it’s Wednesday! More than halfway there!

The day started out with some mid-week crankiness; but luckily I had time for a fun little break. That cheered me up for the rest of the afternoon. Maybe that bodes well for the rest of the week too. Cranky beginning followed by fun and cheerful second part. I can live with that.

Okay…time to stop meandering and get to the beauty part. Here's a super fab cleanser. From AHAVA.

Rich Cleansing Cream

Blurb: A refreshing rub-on-and-rinse-off experience with 2-in-1 skin cleansing and balancing action. This mineral-rich, soft-textured cream cleanses delicately and efficiently as it clears the complexion. Makeup and dirt rinse away effortlessly and skin is left feeling soft and supple. Cleanses skin while protecting against environmental damage. Soothes and conditions skin with Aloe Vera extract.

I’ve been using this Cream for about a month, and I am loving it!

It has just about anything I could possibly want in a cleanser. It’s creamy, gentle, lathers well and removes every bit of dirt and makeup. It even removes sunscreen! It also rinses away easily and leaves my skin feeling clean, soft and balanced. And…it doesn’t cause breakouts. I appreciated all of the minerals, vitamins and botanical extracts – but what really sold me was how well it worked.

Visit the website and take a look at the rest of the Time to Clear line. Check out the bestsellers and see what's new. (Right now through Friday at midnight, you can get a free summer straw tote with any $30 order.) You can also find Ahava at, and HSN.

So far, this week has brought a mod Monday, and a moody Tuesday. How about a folksy Wednesday?

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It’s A Tuesday Kind of Day: Lierac Sensorielle Multi-Use Oil (review)

Meaning…"It’s only Tuesday?"

It was so hot last night that I had to sleep on the sofa. The regular AC in my bedroom just wasn’t enough to cool things off. So I moved to the living room. The thermostat on my industrial strength living room AC no longer works – which causes a continuous, chilling, arctic blast. It’s awesome.

For all of my friends who still live in San Francisco: ”AC” stands for “Air Conditioner” - something I never owned until I moved east. San Francisco is freezing cold in July. Tonight, it’s about 87 degrees here in the Philly ‘burbs. Tonight’s temperature in San Francisco is a right and proper 52 degrees…sigh.

Anyway…everyone here has been all draggy and droopy for the last couple of days and the week seems endless. So maybe instead of being all whiny, I should talk about something nice and pretty. Perhaps something that smells good and makes my skin feel soft and smooth. Perhaps something from Lierac Paris.

Sensorielle Multi-Use Oil for Face, Body & Hair

Blurb: This luxurious polysensory oil provides 24-hour hydration that nourishes and softens the skin and hair with a combination of jasmine, camellia, gardenia and four precious botanical oils: argan, hazelnut, sweet almond, and grape seed.

Here’s another fine product for summer. I was worried that this would be too heavy for the hot weather; but it’s a perfect weight. This oil has a light consistency, and absorbs very quickly into both skin and hair. It also has a very subtle, lovely fragrance (a nice balance of earthy and floral). And the multi-use aspect is fabulous for long days when you don’t want to lug a bunch of products around with you.

By multi-use, I really mean multi-use. I patted some on my hair in the afternoon, and it tamed my midday frizz and flyaways. I also rubbed a little bit more in my hair before I went into the pool to help protect it from the chlorine. As a quick hydrator for my face, it also worked very well.

My favorite use for this, though, was as a body oil. Even though it absorbed quickly (my hands were “slip-free”); it softened for hours. It was a soothing, fragrant bath oil, and an excellent pampering after-bath moisturizer.

Browse all the fab products on the website. See what's new, check out the promotions page and use the store locator. Lierac is also available in European Skincare Centers (at select CVS/pharmacy and Duane Reade locations),, and

To balance out yesterday’s ramped-up mod Monday experience; here’s a thoughtful (perhaps...moody?) Tuesday kind of thing…

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Slowly Returning To Calm and Sanity: Schick® Intuition® Naturals Sensitive Care™ Razor (review)

Very slowly. Thanks to all of you who have been patient – and for all the cute notes. This summer is full of fabulous activitivies, and awesome self-discovery, and there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to discover everything. Plus, people keep visiting. Which means I have to clean stuff. It turns out that cleaning also cuts way into discovery and blogging time.

I took on far too many things this summer, and it looks like I need to sit down and figure out how to shave some time off all my obligations. But today...I finally have enough peace, quiet and relative sanity to write a beauty review. And speaking of shaving (heh!), here’s something for your pretty summer legs. From Schick.

Intuition Naturals Sensitive Care

Blurb: Schick® Intuition® Naturals Sensitive Care™ razor has a Skin Conditioning Solid™ that contains 100% natural Aloe with Vitamin E, and is fragrance free and hypo-allergenic so it's gentle on your skin and helps reduce irritation. Now gentler on the environment with 100% recyclable packaging made with recycled materials!

Somehow Schick keeps managing to hit home runs with their products. I’m a huge fan of the Quattro for Women razors, and I was really eager to try this. And because of the design, I thought it would be perfect for traveling. It was!

The first bit of genius is that I don’t need to use any shaving cream. The Skin Conditioning Solid™ that surrounds the blades lathers up while shaving. I not only appreciated not having to bring along an extra bath product; but the convenience of having the shave cream already in the razor also meant I didn't have to find a spot for the shave cream in the teensy hotel shower. The Aloe and Vitamin E also did a nice job of moisturizing.

The razor has an easy-to-grip rubber handle, and a pivoting head. It also comes with a shower hanger and cap. It's unbelievably convenient and portable. Gym bag, overnight trips, long vacations – you name it.

And…I got an excellent, close shave! Awesome!

Take a look at the website. There are some other great looking products as well. Schick products are sold in grocery stores, drugstores and places like Ulta, Walgreens, CVS, duane reade, and

And…since I’ve been gone MIA for so long…here’s a nice video. Some 1960’s mod angst. The video sequence is a little strange, but this version had the best sound. And it might help wake you up if you have the Monday blahs…Enjoy!

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Have a Wonderful Holiday!!

I'm still trying to get caught up on the chaos that is currently my summer (and google is still being ornery); but that doesn't mean I don't have time to wish you all a wonderful Fourth of July!

I wish you a beautiful weekend full of fun, leisure, and judicious use of sunscreen!

See you all after the holiday!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday Edition: My Wish List at Zalando!

Yes – it’s actually Saturday! After getting all caught up on my reviews at the beginning of the week; utter and complete chaos ensued (and then google blogger starting acting weird). So I got all cranky, and decided to take the week off from blogging to get everything straightened out and back to “normal.”

Of course, in addition to straightening things out, I also spent way too much time on the web checking out cool sites with pretty stuff. And I found this really awesome (not to mention comprehensive), super stylish European site. It’s called…Zalando

First portion of wishlist...clothes. Like this short dress from miss sixty.

And some cool dresses from French Connection

And…more dresses

Second portion: some mighty cool…sigh!

Like these Minna Parikka heels

Or these yummy suede boots from Clark's

I’m also craving these mad fab Adidas high tops

Okay…back to business. I have family visiting this weekend, so it should be nice and relaxing. And...I’ll be back all bright eyed and ready with the prettiness!

(ftc disclosure: sponsored post)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pretend Hair Care Friday! Salerm Hi Repair Mask (review)

Yup – it isn’t Friday either. But that doesn’t mean I would just randomly skip my weekly hair care item! Nope. It’s a few days late, but it’s here. Something from Salerm.

Hi Repair Mask

Blurb: Hair is restored from root to tip, without leaving a greasy residue. Protects against hair aging caused by chemical or natural processes. Patented molecule made up of a fast acting silk-silicon-alkali, which restructures the hair deep down.

As my hair gets longer, conditioning becomes even more important. I also color my hair, so that’s another level of conditioning need. I’m always on the lookout for new conditioning products; and lately, I’ve really been appreciating what I call “mini-masks.” They’re halfway between daily conditioner and overnight treatments. About two mornings each week; I saturate my hair, wrap it in a towel for about 3-5 minutes, then rinse.

I gave this Mask a try, and thought it did an excellent job. I didn’t even need to comb it through my hair; and when I rinsed, my hair was silky and tangle-free. I let my hair air dry, and was thrilled at how soft and shiny it was. I only needed a tiny bit of leave-in (to control fly-aways), and I was good to go. I had soft, pretty hair all day long; and by evening it still looked great.

Visit the website and take a look at the giant selection of products. There’s a what's new section, and an online catalogue that even includes salon furniture.

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Happy Pretend Thursday! Olay Purely Pristine™ Body Wash, Bar Soap and Body Lotion (review)

I know…Thursday was a few days ago. I wrote my Thursday and Friday reviews last week; but then things got so hectic and crazy that I never had a chance to actually post them. I could have written “Happy Pristine Thursday” if I had been on time with my postings. But instead…last Thursday is being brought to you now. Along with some fine items from Olay.

Cleansing Body Wash and Moisturizing Body Wash

Blurb: Discover the clarifying crispness and pristine beauty of the Nordic region while you refresh and cleanse to purify your skin with this oxygen-rich lather infused with mineral crystals and seaweed extract.

Massaging Bar Soap

Blurb: Refresh and cleanse your skin with minerals crystals and seaweed extract using this body bar with a massaging design.

Body Lotion

Blurb: Discover the clarifying crispness and pristine beauty of the Nordic region while you invigorate your senses and nourish your skin with this rich moisturizing lotion infused with minerals and seaweed extract.

This line features refreshing spa-like fragrances, and soothing formulas that feel lovely and pampering. The Body Washes had a wonderful, crisp scent, cleaned well and left my skin soft and smelling pretty. The body bar had a textured side, that not only cleaned, but gave my tired muscles a gentle massage. The lotion felt soothing, softened my skin and had a slightly warmer version of the Body Wash/Bar fragrances.

I really enjoyed this line (and each of these items is somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 each). Fabulous value!

Check out the website for more information. You can also browse the new products and offers. Olay products are sold in drug stores, grocery stores, Walmart, Target and ULTA.

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mid-Week Refreshment: skyn ICELAND Arctic Face Mist (review)

My long weekend is starting to become a distant memory. It’s only Wednesday, but this week has been jam packed. I’m starting to droop. Time for a little facial (glacial) wake up call. From skyn ICELAND.

NEW Arctic Face Mist

Blurb: Has your frantic lifestyle led to a surge in stress-related hormones and histamines? If so, your skin may be irritated, exhausted and depleted of vital hydration and nutrients. You need relief and protection against future damage — and you need it fast. Our newly reformulated, dye-free Arctic Face Mist instantly helps calm and stabilize irritable, depleted skin with a cooling burst of natural mineral water, while fortifying it against the aging effects of free radicals and environmental stress. Powerful antioxidants and a daily dose of multivitamins for skin help energize and replenish for a radiant, healthy glow.

First I’m going to tell you about all the good things that are in this. Things like vitamins A, B(complex), C and E. It also contains Thiotaine (a natural antioxidant), yeast extract and cucumber water (to calm irritation and tone), and white willow bark (to prevent breakouts and skin congestion). That’s a mighty action-packed spritz!

It’s also an incredibly refreshing spritz. I deeply appreciate all the things that are good for my skin; but today I loved the minty, cooling, freshening I got when I sprayed it on. In the morning, it makes a wonderful toner, and in the afternoon, it’s a great refresher. It’s soothing, doesn’t irritate at all and has a very light, lovely scent.

I love visiting this website. There are lots of great facts about Stress and Skin, as well as cool products (like their TSA-approved detox kit). Right now you can find out how to recruit 10 friends and wiln $100. Skyn Iceland is also sold at Sephora and Saks Fifth Avenue.

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

For Dad’s Day: LUSH Dirty Collection - Body Spray, Springwash Shower Gel & Shaving Cream (review)

Many many things need to get done this week. You may know something about that. In addition to my regular goings on, there’s also Father’s Day business at hand. For those of you that are still wondering what to get the Dad (or Dads) in your life; here’s a nifty collection. From LUSH.

Dirty Body Spray

Blurb: Squirt our Dirty spray over your body, day or night, for portable deodorizing when you're on the move. Dirty spray is a deep and powerful freshener any time that you feel rushed off your feet; sandalwood helps to combat unwanted odours and that famous Dirty scent of tarragon, lavender and subtle spearmint will fool even the bloodhounds. Complete your layers with the deeper levels of Dirty. Get guys to ‘can' their aerosol body sprays and start using this freshly fragranced one instead. Plus it's made with real fragrance that will last a lot longer.

Dirty Springwash Shower Gel

Blurb: Like a dip in a mountain spring. After a dirty night on the tiles, jolt yourself back to reality with our tingly spearmint shower gel. Springwash is like a dip in a mountain spring, just in time for the weather getting warmer; spearmint and menthol crystals will make your skin feel cool in a hot shower and give it a sweeter scent than peppermint. Your bits will feel fresher in no time. Mo invented this refreshing and tingly shower gel, adding sodium bicarbonate to soften the water and deodorize the skin, making it absolutely perfect for 'Dirty' guys. There's also glycerine and sea salt in the recipe to soften the skin and hair as you're washing with it.

Dirty Shaving Cream

Blurb: Chin up! Slather, shave and soothe your face with a generous helping of Dirty shaving cream. Calming oat milk, shea butter and honey are great for calming irritations and red marks on sensitive chins. No one enjoys smooching when there's a hairy, scratchy beard face to contend with! Dirty boys should use this softening shaving cream to help the razor glide over the skin and leave their chins looking sharp. Scented with lavender and sandalwood, it's another layer to the Dirty fragrance blend. Not only should the men in your life being using Dirty shaving cream for a slick, fresh face, ladies can also enjoy the feeling of silky smooth, hair free skin on their legs and under their arms with a good dollop of this softening cream.

I love this line! I love to give beauty gifts, but generally the guys aren’t always as eager to “feel pretty.” This line pretty much satisfies everyone. The packaging is straightforward, modern, and has a “no frills” look while still remaining stylish and giftable.

And the products are excellent. Now I have to admit that I was the only one who tried the Shaving Cream. I kept it all for myself, and I loved the scent. I did have an actual guy try out the Body Spray and Shower Gel, though. He thoroughly loved both of them. The peppermint/sandalwood/tarragon combo is fresh and botanical without being girly. Not only did he enjoy the Body Spray, but I enjoyed it on him. We both gave the Shower Gel a try (he showered with it, and I used it as a bubble bath). It was heavenly and refreshing. The mint was more noticeable, and I felt incredibly clean and fresh afterwards.

The website has the entire collection, and there’s also very nice Get Dirty Gift set.

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Get Your Glow On: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Custom Glow™ Blush & Bronzer

Alas…my “staycation” is over. It’s back to going to specific places at specific times (and doing specific things). I actually love my job; but I really loved my long break. A friend of mine told me that when you stay home for vacation, every day becomes Saturday. He is wise. He also likes to steal plastic traffic cones – so he knows all about how to have a good time.

Today, I’m easing into the week with a couple of pretty (and fabulously priced) items. From Neutrogena.

Healthy Skin Custom Glow™ Blush & Bronzer

Blurb: Perfectly coordinated blush and bronzer duos that blend effortlessly to deliver a healthy, sun-kissed glow anytime. Patented blend of antioxidants helps enhance skin's healthy look over time Lightweight, velvety texture. Mirror and brush included. Available in 6 shade duos.

Healthy Skin Custom Glow™ Bronzer

Blurb: Get a healthy, sun-kissed glow anytime of the year. The lightweight, velvety bronzer with light reflecting pearls blends effortlessly for a naturally radiant look. Formulated with a patented blend of antioxidants, it helps enhance skin's healthy look over time. Mirror and brush included.

Ever since I reviewed a compact; I’ve had a new respect and curiosity for this line. I love the idea of effective beauty products that are good for my skin, and also reasonably priced. Both of these items have kept the respect going.

The Blush/Bronzer duo is perfect for summer. I tried the “Berry Glow” palette, and loved the sweet, pretty color of the blush. The bronzer is lovely and shimmery, complimented the blush, and worked well as both a bronzer as well as a contour color. Both are highly pigmented and have excellent staying power. The solo Bronzer is also excellent. The color goes from light to darker, so I was able to get exactly the right shade. I also used some from the darker side on my shoulders and collar area for a nice sun-kissed glow.

Check out website, and visit the special offers page. Neutrogena is sold in grocery stores, drugstores, and online at

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Edition: LUSH Retro Favorites

Check out the fab retro fab favorites that LUSH has brought back for the summer…

Ask [LUSH] And Ye Shall Receive...

Here at LUSH it’s all about innovation and keeping things fresh. This exciting modernization also means having to say goodbye to some products to make room for the new ones. But what about those loyal fans who can’t live without X, Y or Z and like to tell us so? Don’t worry we’ve got them covered with our Retro line of re-released discontinued products that are available exclusively online at Here are just a few of the fan favorites that are making resurgence in the LUSH line-up this summer:

In the Nude Bath Melt: Get in the nude this summer! This naked bath melt is small and discreet, yet it’s rich in moisturizing cocoa butter and scented with the divine combination of almond oil, lavender oil, rose absolute and chamomile oil.

Shave The Planet Shaving Cream: The antioxidants and vitamin-rich ingredients soothe and reduce redness while repairing and softening skin. Fair trade organic shea butter and cupuacu butter condition skin as the rose absolute and bamboo infusion soothe it. Vitamin-rich pumpkinseed and cold pressed rosehip oils make for a smooth shave and calm skin. LUSH’s 100% PCR packaging make sure that as you shave you save the planet.

Milky Bar Soap: This creamy, comforting soap smells like hot milk, which is nice to wash your body with just before going to bed. Milky Bar Soap is made with nourishing soya milk (so it's vegan!) and toning sweet orange and patchouli oils. Give a chunk to all the sweet people you know for glowing, touchable skin to slip into the sheets for a good night’s rest. (Vegan)

Smitten Hand Cream: LUSH customers asked very politely (but persistently) for a lighter, daytime hand cream scented with the same deliciously mouth-watering almond fragrance as our Snowcake soap. LUSH founder and product creator extraordinaire, Mark Constantine, created Smitten in response. Smitten is a fast-acting, deliciously scented, chamomile and coconut butter hand protector enriched with wheat germ to make your hands feel soft and luxurious while smelling like delicious almond frosting.

Sunday Edition: Perfect Brows with Parissa

Check it out – mini wax strips for perfect brows!

Sunday Edition: Scented Handles from Schick Quattro for Women

How fun is this? Schick Quattro for Women has just come out with scented handles! Take a look…

A Girls’ On-The-Go Guide to “Berry” Smooth Legs!
NEW Schick® Quattro for Women® Disposable razors with Scented Handles
In #1 Skintimate® Signature Scent™ Raspberry Rain

No matter the season or where you may be, count on the NEW Schick® Quattro for Women® Disposable razors with scented handles in #1 Skintimate® Signature Scent™ Raspberry Rain™ to awaken your shave routine. See how the sensorial shaving duo keeps your skin and life berry smooth!

7:00 AM: Shower Your Senses

Perk up your shower routine with the sweet smell of raspberries from the fragrance-infused handle. Pair it with Skintimate® Signature Scents™ in Raspberry Rain™ to moisturize skin with olive butter, Vitamin E and Pro-Vitamin B5. Whether you’re showing off legs in a summer dress or hiding them behind tights this autumn, you’ll be smooth and prepared!

Smooth tip: You know when it’s time to dispose your razor when the blades are dull!

6:00 PM: Strong, Sexy and Smooth Post-Workout

Don’t forget to pack your disposable razors and shaving cream into your gym bag for a quick and easy shave to show off those toned legs!

Smooth tip: Avoid a shower that’s too hot and repeat passes of the blade for a nick-free shave

8:00 PM: Champagne and Raspberries

Whether you’re meeting up with girlfriends or the apple of your eye, get ready in a jiffy with your disposable razors and shaving cream. Schick Quattro for Women and Skintimate leave skin so smooth that you could skip a day or two—perfect for that second date!

Smooth tip: Skintimate is designed to cling onto hair and lather—don’t use soap if you’re in hurry!

Weekend Getaway: Smooth Sailing!

If you’re packing for a weekend excursion, don’t forget to include your must-have shave essentials. After shaving, simply toss and go!

Smooth tip: Don’t hesitate to pack your disposables in your carry on—they’re TSA-approved!

If you’re a girl on-the-go, don’t forget to keep your Schick Quattro for Women Disposables fully stocked and legs Skintimate smooth so you’re ready for wherever the day may take you!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hair Care Friday…Saturday Version: Rusk Deepshine Oil Protective Treatment (review)

Yes, this week Hair Care Friday falls on a Saturday. Mainly because I spent most of last night fiddling around with a dessert idea that just didn’t work. But I did learn two valuable lessons. First, don’t wait until the last minute to try out your new dessert idea. And second, whipped cream collapses and turns to runny goo in 90+ degree weather.

Earlier in the week I also learned that it’s a terrible idea to try out a new hair coloring product the day before an event. On the bright side, I learned how to fix said problem with the help of a fine product. From Rusk.

Deepshine Oil Protective Treatment

Blurb: A marine mineral-enriched argan oil treatment that smoothes the cuticle, eliminates frizz, and improves elasticity and hydration, leaving hair soft, silky and manageable. Deepshine Oil is perfect for all hair types. Deepshine Oil smooths the cuticle, eliminates frizz, and imparts incredible shine and condition. This lightweight, alcohol-free formula imparts brilliant shine, while advanced marine therapy infuses the hair with superior condition, renewing the natural integrity of the hair. Used as a styling or finishing product, Deepshine Oil helps seal the cuticle, prevent color fading with subsequent shampoos, and protect against damage caused by chemicals, excessive heat from thermal styling, and environmental factors.

Short version: This Treatment saved my hairdo!

I tried out a temporary color product that a friend of mine had been raving about. I was going somewhere, and I wanted to do something fun…but temporary. Well, the color was cute (and temporary), but it completely dried out my hair. I was appalled…and kind of peeved at my friend.

Luckily, I had a bottle of this Treatment that I’d been waiting to try out. It claimed to smooth the cuticle, and add lots of shine and conditioning. I gave it a try. I smoothed it in my damp hair, then gently combed it through. And…my hair was fixed. Totally and completely fixed. Instead of colored straw, I had colored hair. It was shiny, pretty and the curls came back. Whew!

Even better, my hair felt soft and pretty all night. Thank you, Rusk!

I chucked out my friend’s “suggestion,” but I’m going to keep this Treatment for use after I do my regular coloring. It says that it’s also great for use during the coloring process. I believe it!

The website has the entire Deepshine collection. You can also check out the fashion, culture, and attitude pages. Deepshine is available at leading salons (including ULTA) and online at

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thunderous Thursday: Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips (review)

Well the whole day wasn’t thunderous. Most of today was wretchedly, ridiculously hot. But then the heat broke thanks to a big thunderstorm. So now it’s pretty pleasant. End of weather update.

This is day #2 of my “staycation,” and it’s been mighty nice so far. Wednesday was clean and pamper day, today was relax and have fun day; and tomorrow I’m hanging out with the girls. End of staycation update.

Oh wait, isn’t it time for a review? It is! Here’s something super fun from Sally Hansen.

Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips

Blurb: Sally Knows nails are the best accessory. Now, Sally makes it easy to get a designer-inspired salon effect anytime, any place. It wears like nail polish because it IS nail polish. No dry time, so you’re ready to go.

What the blurb above doesn’t say is that these are really, really fun! It took me a couple of minutes to get the hang of applying them; but once I got it all figured out, it was incredibly easy. Simply peel off the backing, peel the polish stip away from the plastic, lay carefully on the nail, snip off the excess, and then use the orangewood stick to rub/buff it on to your nail. I also used the edges of the stick to tuck the ends under the edge of my nail. After they were all applied, I used the file (included) to file off the edges that were sticking out and any excess that got tucked under. I got a perfectly neat application on every nail.

What’s more, there was no drying time, it lasted for 8 days, and came off easily with polish remover.

And they looked fabulous! I first tried “Girl Flower” (second row, far left), and got tons of compliments. Same with my favorite, “Laced Up” (second row, far right). I got compliments from friends, co-workers, and even grocery store cashiers. I am having a blast with these!

Check out the website to see all of the great designs; then visit the where to buy section for a listing of grocery stores and drugstores where Sally Hansen is sold.

I feel like I conveyed my enthusiasm, but my explanation of how to apply wasn’t all that great; so I’m going to refer you to another blogger’s video tutorial for a little bit better demo…

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Warm Weather Is...Afoot: AHAVA Dermud Intensive Foot Cream (review)

The heat has definitely arrived! Record-breaking temperatures! Yuck.

First I want to send a shout out to all my friends at Americade who are camping (you heard me right…camping) in the heat. I wish you safe travels, plenty of shade, and big bottles of water (and/or beer).

Here at home, I’m spending the day barricaded in my air conditioned apartment and doing things like coloring my hair, cleaning, and later on giving myself a mani/pedi. One of the fine things I’ll be using to make my feet pretty is something nice from AHAVA.

Dermud Intensive Foot Cream

Blurb: This soothing cream is a real difference maker for my dry feet. It's hydrating Dead Sea mineral mud formula relieves itchiness, redness and scaling. It leaves my feet feeling remarkably soft, supple and comfortable. Aloe Vera and Shea Butter extracts soften and smooth very dry and sensitive skin. Coconut and Jojoba oils helps to lock in moisture for all day comfort. Provitamin B5 and Vitamin E protects and rejuvenates.

I like to wear as little footwear as possible (except for the occasional pair of cute high heels). I only own about 4 pair of socks because that’s how rarely my feet are covered. That means my tootsies are visible to the elements (and the general public) most of the time. Even more in the spring and summer. So I know from foot cream.

This particular Foot Cream is excellent! It’s a very thick, soothing cream; and it also absorbs very quickly. It makes my feet look softer and better immediately. My feet also feel great – even the roughest parts. What I especially love is that there’s no stickiness or greasiness - which is aweseome when I don’t feel like sliding around in my sandals.

The website is full of wonderful things for your skin. Orders over $50 ship for free, and you get free samples with each order. You can also find Ahava at And…this Friday (June 10); tune into HSN (8am to 10am) to learn about the Foot Renewal Treatment Duo and Bath Salts Trio.

And now here's something kind of bikery for my motorcycle riding friends. Kind of. My sister and I were crazy about this song when we were kids. I remember singing our own version of it with our little neighbor friend. Imagine 7 and 9-year-olds singing “you’ll see the world from my Harley.” Kinda cute (and slightly alarming). This youtube version features tv clips instead of the band (I have no idea why).

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Heat Wave a' Comin! COOLA Mineral Face Matte Finish (SPF 30) & Tint (SPF 20) (rave review)

I’ve been walking around in a fog all day because our local township thought it would be a really good idea to repave the street where I live. I totally agreed with the whole repaving idea, but I did not agree with the idea of doing it in the middle of the night. Really? Yes, really. There were trucks and bright lights outside all night long.

Cheltenham Township…you do NOT rule. You don't rock either.

There. I said it.

Anyway…in other news, a gigantic heat wave is supposed to descend upon the Philadelphia area beginning tomorrow. That means there will be sunshine everywhere. Wouldn’t this be a great time to feature some awesome sun protection products? (Answer: yes, it would.) How about two lovely items from COOLA.

face spf30 matte finish cucumber natural mineral sunblock

Blurb: Say hello to your new everyday sunblock. A natural, mineral matte formula that gives you SPF 30, broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection while it hydrates your skin with vitamins, antioxidants and repairing extracts like Shea Butter and Borage Seed Oil that target early signs of aging. Soothing organic Cucumber balances skin’s moisture and delivers a refreshing scent. Naturally water-resistant phyto-protectors like Plankton boost SPF protection make this the perfect beach companion. 70% Certified Organic inactives, 95% Natural.

face spf 20 tint rose natural mineral sunblock

Blurb: Feel rosy without getting too rosy with this natural mineral, sheer SPF 20 sunblock that is sure to keep your delicate facial skin even, hydrated and protected. Rose Extract soothes the skin and the senses with its natural toning and aromatherapy properties. And while combining the super antioxidant and anti-aging powers of Xylinum Black Tea and Organic Grape Seed Extract, this formula delivers lasting broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and is still light enough to feel perfect under makeup everyday. 70% Certified Organic inactives, 98% Natural.

Wow! Just Wow! This is powerhouse sun protection, skincare and beauty all rolled into one. Or…two.

The matte finish sunblock is a zinc-oxide/titanium-dioxide sunscreen that also makes an excellent primer. It went on smoothly, absorbed quickly, and left no white cast. It had a very mild and pleasant cucumber scent, and felt light, hydrating and soothing. There was no heavy feeling at all. It dried to a matte finish that worked fabulously under my foundation.

I tried the tint rose sunblock both alone and layered over the cucumber sunblock, and got great results each way. The rose sunblock has a consistency somewhere between a tinted moisturizer and a light foundation. The coverage was sheer to medium and slightly buildable. It blended easily, and did an excellent job of evening out my skin tone (it also had a pretty rose scent). The finish was very fresh and natural. And again…excellent zinc oxide-based protection.

Each of these products is fabulous on its own; amd layered together they provide super effective (and pretty) sun protection, coverage and skincare. I feel like I can go anywhere this summer and look great while my skin stays in the shade. A+…and bring on the heat wave!

Take a look at the website and learn more about sun science, and a few other organic facts. There’s also a very comprehensive where to buy section. COOLA is also available at Spas, beauty centers, Dermstore and

Here’s another kind of heat wave. From Martha & the Vandellas.

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Aaaaand…We’re Back! Thymes Agave Nectar Body Wash (review)

As I mentioned earlier, last week was a giant, hectic, crazed festival of stress. I had an amazing Memorial Day weekend; but then had to hit the ground running Tuesday morning. And I kept running. Then I ran some more. By the time I stopped it was the weekend again.

But once I did stop? Beauty treats to soothe my spirit. Starting with this gorgeously scented body wash. From Thymes.

Agave Nectar Body Wash

Blurb: Whether used as a shower gel or body cleanser, awaken your ability to thrive with skin-quenching lather blooming with fresh fragrance. Glycerin attracts moisture and softens skin while agave extract helps soothe. Agave Nectar is an oasis for your skin, tapping the resilience of the desert. Agave nectar, cocooned within the quenching agave plant, forms a warm, honeyed base note. Above, layers of ruby red grapefruit, delicate lemon blossom and tangy guava pulse with refreshing citrus, radiating a bright, cheerful optimism. And soothing aloe leaf and subtle crystalline musk deliver a clean, fresh finish.

After last week was over, I seriously needed some pampering, refreshment and rejuvenation; and this Body Wash was more than up to the task. I got loads of soft, bubbly lather, and my skin was clean, balanced and soft. I love citrus fragrances, and this one is a standout. It’s a heavenly balance of tart and sweet with a bit of warmth and softness. It’s an excellent pick me up. I immediately felt a whole lot better.

Check out the website, and take a look at the Complete Agave Nectar Collection. There’s also a beautiful gift section, and a handy store locator. Thymes is sold in fine independent specialty stores across the United States and Canada (and in certain international markets).

Here’s to smooth sailing this week!

(ftc disclosure: sample/product received from manufacturer or representative)

Almost Back: Jessica Biel and Revlon Grow Luscious Mascara Commercial

Take a sneak preview of this commercial before it starts running in movie theatres on Monday…

Revlon’s brand ambassador Jessica Biel
Starring in “Hypnoteyzed,”
Revlon’s new commercial for their new Grow Luscious Plumping Mascara.

Biel and musician Pharrell Williams star in the 60 second film noir-inspired commercial, which was shot entirely on black and white film. In “Hypnoteyzed,” Biel draws Williams in with her plumped eyelashes and with each bat of her lashes, nearly knocks Williams off his feet. Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping Mascara conditions and plumps eyelashes by 200% with every use!

As of today, Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping mascara is available in drugstores and mass retailers nationwide, and “Hypnoteyzed” will begin running in US movie theaters on June 13.

Almost Back: Liz Earle Wins Two CEW Awards!

One of my favorite brands just won two (count em – two) CEW UK Awards! This is huge (and well deserved) – go Liz!

Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare Wins Best British Brand...And More!

Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare won two prestigious awards at this year’s Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) UK Awards ceremony. The awards are known as ‘The Oscars’ of the UK beauty industry, so to win two of these highly coveted prizes is a wonderful achievement!

In the brand’s 16th year, it was an honor to be recognized by the CEW with the
Best British Brand Award.

Also, as the ‘one-for-all’
Botanical Shine Shampoo is still in its first year, we are especially excited about the Best New Haircare/Styling Product Award. This shampoo has already found a place in the hearts of many of our customers, as well as the Liz Earle team!

Even better there were three other finalists from the brand. The original and only
Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser was a finalist for Best Classic Beauty Product: Prestige category, the uplifting Energising Body Lotion was a finalist in the Best New Bath and Body Product: Prestige category, while the crème de la crème for more mature skin types, Superskin Eye & Lip Treatment, was a finalist for Best New Skincare Treatment Product: Prestige category.

About the CEW AwardsCEW Awards nominations are proposed and judged by a panel of around 600 ‘beauty insiders’, including top experts and professionals who are all members of the CEW. As these awards are recognized as the beauty industry’s highest honor, winning one acknowledges a product is the very best in its category.