Sunday, December 30, 2007

Who Needs Soy Lecithin? 'S.T. Lawder,' Naturally -

Origins Organics

Who Needs Soy Lecithin? 'S.T. Lawder,' Naturally from the December 28, 2007 edition of the Wall Street Journal discusses how Estee Lauder (get it? "S.T. Lawder"?) searched for a source that extracted soy lecithin without chemicals for the Origins Organics line.

Soy lecithin is an emulsifier, which enables oil and water to be blended together. Estee Lauder found its source through American Natural Soy Inc., a seed processor in Iowa. American Natural Soy Inc. faced special challenges in being a supplier to Estee Lauder: as the article notes, "Because the germ levels permitted in beauty products are stricter than those of food products -- given cosmetics' long shelf life and vulnerability to contamination -- Estée Lauder's technical requirements for the emulsifier were tougher than the two companies [American Natural Soy Inc. and its partner] were used to."

Other organic ingredients were sourced from around the world: "Organic palm oil ... in Brazil, clove in Indonesia, coconut oil in the Philippines, olive oil in Greece, thyme in Spain and lavender in Bulgaria." Is Estee Lauder also concerned about sustainable agriculture? As noted in the post about Lush, Lush is seeking to eliminate palm oil from its products, as some countries are clearing rainforests to make way for palm oil plantations.

NOTE Many articles are available for subscribers only.

Gossip drives this blog

My stats are running wild today! And it's mostly on account of this photo of burlesque dancer Dita von Teese (nee Heather Renee Sweet):

Could it be because her divorce from Marilyn Manson just became final? As with other celebrity marriages, Dita von Teese and Marilyn Manson had a long courtship (4 years), but their marriage imploded in a matter of months.

Another driver to this blog are rumors of Presidential candidate John Edwards's alleged affair with one Rielle Hunter. who was featured in an article in the now defunct yoga-cum-lifestyle magazine Breathe. Rumor has it that she's pregnant by Edwards. The story is in the December 31, 2007 issue of the National Enquirer - for enquiring minds who want to know! :-)

Odd - I haven't been one to dish on celebrities' personal lives, but it's celebrity gossip that has made this blog popular.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A bittersweet Christmas

On Christmas Eve, my husband and I leave for St. Louis to visit my mother. After my father died this past April, my parents' home was sold and Mom moved into an assisted living center. I never liked the house very much - it was a small brick home among nearly identical brick homes in a subdivision built post-WWII - and I resented the fact that we had the means to have a bigger home. But now it hits me that there's no home to which I can go.

When I call the assisted living center to inquire about Mom, the staff always tries to put the best spin on things. It was my Christmas wish to give her a night at the hotel, in a handicapped-accessible room, away from the center. Now I discover she's on oxygen all the time, and it would take 3-4 small tanks (each lasts for about 4 hours) to get her through the night. It doesn't seem likely that I'll be able to realize my wish. My husband and the woman I see for counseling advise me to take things one at a time.

Sometimes, I think that the Christmas spirit quite eludes me. I do derive comfort from listening to my favorite Christmas CDs - Handel's Messiah, Bach's Christmas Oratorio, and 'Twas on a Night Like This by folk performers Cathy Barton, Dave Para, and the Paton family. The last introduced me to the song In the Bleak Midwinter, which suits the rather somber mood in which I find myself. A Hallmark Christmas CD featuring contemporary Christian singer Sandi Patti would round this collection out, but it's probably in a box somewhere.

Christmas lights bring cheer, although my husband thinks that they are a big waste of energy. I like gaudy displays, but I found two elegant displays on my drive from Fauquier County to Fairfax County late this afternoon. One farm in Fauquier County had white lights along the enclosure fences all the way from the house on the hill to the road. Merrifield Garden Center on Hwy 29 had white lights tightly wrapped all around the tree trunks and branches. For a gaudy display, check out the house next to the shopping center on Nutley Street and 123 in Vienna before it's too late!

Another activity that has brought comfort is the Loving Hearts ministry of the church to which I belong. We send cards and make phone calls to people who are in need of comfort. I benefited from Loving Hearts after my father died. I began getting cards from people I didn't know. I was able to connect them to my church, but honestly, I couldn't connect names with faces. The care I received was gratifying, and I decided to volunteer this year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Myrrh is mine, it's bitter perfume ...

Twelve Oils of Ancient Scripture

Yes, I actually purchased something through direct sales. I expressed interest in the essential oils that a friend from church was selling from Young Living, a direct sales company based in Utah. And here's what I sprung for: the Twelve Oils of Ancient Scripture kit, which contains vials of essential oils referenced in the Bible.

The twelve oils are:
  1. Aloes/sandalwood
  2. cassia
  3. cedarwood
  4. cypress
  5. frankincense
  6. galbanum
  7. hyssop
  8. myrrh
  9. myrtle
  10. onycha
  11. Rose of Sharon/cistus
  12. spikenard
Frankincense and myrrh, of course, were among the gifts that the Three Kings gave to the infant Jesus.

The line "Myrrh is mine, it's bitter perfume ..." from We Three Kings of Orient Are alludes to the fact that myrrh was used in embalming and thus presaged Christ's death. Spikenard was referenced in John 12:

1 Jesus therefore six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus raised from the dead. 2 So they made him a supper there: and Martha served; but Lazarus was one of them that sat at meat with him. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, that should betray him, saith, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred shillings, and given to the poor? 6 Now this he said, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and having the bag took away what was put therein. 7 Jesus therefore said, Suffer her to keep it against the day of my burying. 8 For the poor ye have always with you; but me ye have not always.

What an appropriate gift for marking the holiday and remembering "the reason for the season." Yes, Christmas is only four days away, but you can extend the holiday to January 6 (Epiphany), which marks the arrival of the Three Kings. You may order Young Living products online or through a Young Living representative.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Never Fail Lipcolour Collection

L’Oréal Paris has released a limited edition collection of its Infallible Never Fail Lipcolour compacts. The compacts feature floral and fruit silhouettes designed by up and coming fashion designers supported by CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund (CVFF). Below is the list of designers and the shades for which they created designs:

3.1 PHILLIP LIM- Phillip Lim - Apricot
BAND OF OUTSIDERS - Scott Sternberg - Azalea
ERIN FETHERSTON - Erin Fetherston - Cerise
KOI - Koi Suwannagate - Geranium
MICHAEL BASTIAN- Michael Bastian - Hibiscus
PHILIP CRANGI JEWELRY- Philip Crangi - Mulberry
ROGAN- Rogan Gregory - Persimmon
THREEASFOUR - Gabriel AsFour, Angela Donhauser, Adi Gil - Pomegranate
VENA CAVA - Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai - Rosebud
VPL - Victoria Bartlett – Thistle

I'm not aware of anything else on the market like L’Oréal Paris’ Infallible Never Fail Lipcolour. The compact consists of a tube of liquid lipcolour with wand and a gloss stick (a "conditioning topcoat"). There is a mirror on the reverse side of the compact. To use, push the lipcolour tube outwards, open the tube, and use the wand to apply lipcolour. The package recommends that you wait two minutes for the colour to dry before you apply the gloss (similarly, the gloss stick is pushed outwards). It also recommends that you remove the lipcolour from your lips with an oil-based makeup remover (baby oil or cold cream would work).

I like the results. The lipcolour dries to a lip stain, but as I have noted before, you need conditioned lips to wear lip stain well. But don't apply gloss immediately before applying Infallible Never Fail Lipcolour: the package recommends "clean" lips.

The limited edition L’Oréal Paris’ Infallible Never Fail Lipcolour collection is available exclusively at L’Oréal Paris retail stores or by phone. Call 888-270-7743 to order.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Angel Shadowbox pendant

This pendant in 14K gold relief against a sterling silver background really speaks to the Christmas season. It's by Texas-based jewelry designer Jeep Collins, who specializes in Christian themes.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Desert of the Heart

As I was browsing my feeds, I discovered this item from the New York Times: Jane Rule, Canadian Novelist, Dies at 76. Who was Jane Rule, you might ask? Jane Rule was a pioneer of lesbian fiction. Her best known work, Desert of the Heart, was published in 1964, long before there was a visible gay rights movement. Desert of the Heart is about Vivian Bell, a professor who goes to Las Vegas for a quickie divorce and bonds with with a younger woman who works in a casino. The book is really about human relationships, so it's accessible to all except those who consider same-sex relationships a sin or morally reprehensible.

The novel was made into a movie Desert Hearts over 20 years later. The movie starred Helen Shaver as Vivian, Patricia Charbonneau as Vivian's young lover, and Audra Lindley, as the owner of the ranch where Vivian stays - the last best known for playing Mrs. Roper on Three's Company! Likewise, the movie is about human relationships, but it also features an explicit lesbian scene. Madonna was so smitten with Alex McArthur, who played Walter, that she cast him as her boyfriend in her Papa Don't Preach video.

I saw the movie, then read the book. Both are worthwhile. Jane Rule's obit made me recall both.

Lush develops palm oil-free soap base

Lush, the purveyors of bath and body products with clever names, natural ingredients, and minimal packaging, is taking yet another step for environmental responsibility. It will switch from palm oil base for its soaps to base using sunflower, rapeseed and coconut oil. To meet the demand for palm oil, countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia have been clearing rainforests to build palm plantations. Lush claims that sunflower and rapeseed are sustainable products harvested in Europe, while coconut oil is sourced from sustainable plantations in Indonesia.

For more, see Lush develops palm oil-free soap base

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bond No. 9 New York - Bon-Bon Box

Bond No. 9 New York - Bon-Bon Box

I sampled Bond No 9 fragrances for the first time during a recent trip to Miami (at the gift shop at Loews Miami Beach Hotel, where I found the Cate Adair clutch). They're subtle, and even better, they didn't irritate my skin and make my nose twitch. I can't decide on just one, so I'd really like to get this Bon-Bon Box, which features 18 different fragrances .20 ml. pocket sprays, for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Olive Branch Menorah by Michael Aram

Olive Branch Menorah by Michael Aram
I discovered this beautiful piece at Carter & Spence, a gift shop in Warrenton, Virginia. I thought that the olive branch sculpture would be a great centerpiece for our dining table. Moreover, it would extend the Mediterranean theme we created by the display of all the pottery my husband and I bought in Greece.

Then I flipped over the sculpture and saw the holes for candles. Only then did I realize that it was a menorah, proving that you don't have to celebrate Chanukah to enjoy this piece.

Happy Chanukah to all our readers who celebrate the holiday!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sera clutch from Cate Adair

I'm a faddish shopper. Lately, I've had a craze for collecting small bags for stashing cosmetics, from quilted Vera Bradley signature print cosmetics bags to woven polyvinyl bags (which look like something Sandy Chilewich might do) from MacFABhome to nylon pencil cases from American Apparel to the Alisa clutch from Double Happiness. Now my heart's set on this Sera clutch from Cate Adair:

You may search The Style Page web site for links to Vera Bradley, Sandy Chilewich, and American Apparel. For links to MacFABhome, Double Happiness, and Cate Adair, visit Bags on MyWeb by Yahoo!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Discount on jewelry from

Here's a special for the holidays: the online jewelry store Stylism is offering a 10% discount off every item, in addition to discounts such as its automatic 10% on orders over $200.

While The Style Page did not partner with Stylism on this discount, we did partner with Stylism before. I purchased a necklace of crochet-wrapped rings from Elizabeth Gillett through Stylism, at a signficantly lower price than that quoted in the magazine. Stylism fills its orders quickly, and I had the satisfaction of developing a rapport with Stylism. Both The Style Page and Stylism were pleased with the results of our promotion.

Stylism features designers such as Ayala Bar, Ben-Amun, Extasia, Liz Palacios, R.J. Graziano, and Sorrelli. While Chanukah is less than a week away, wouldn't these embellished menorahs by Michal Golan look great on the table?

Menorahs from Michal Golan

To take advantage of this offer, visit Stylism and enter coupon code SANTA upon checkout. This offer is good through December 10, 2007.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Alisa clutch by Double Happiness

Alisa clutch

Clutches are back, particularly for dressy holiday parties. The large mother-of-pearl accents and studding makes this clutch from Double Happiness look tough. This clutch also has a hefty detachable chain.

I found this clutch at Lusso in St. Louis, but it's now 50% off through the online store for Double Happiness.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Makeup tools

Makeup application = product + tools + technique.

Sephora Brand Chocolate Croc Prestige Brush Set ($300 Value)

This brush roll provides all the tools you need, and more. It contains a Powder Brush, Blush Brush, Foundation Brush, Concealer Brush, Feather Shimmer Brush, Contour Brush, Large Eyeshadow Brush, Small Eyeshadow Brush, Smudge Brush, Flat Eyeliner Brush, Brow Brush, and a Lip Brush. The feather shimmer brush would be fun for teasing others!

Happy Thanksgiving

To our friends and readers of The Style Page

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Underground by Rimmel

Underground by Rimmel is more daring than Rimmel's regular line, and invites comparison to L'Oreal HIP. While Underground is geared toward teens and twenties, there are some great products that woman of all ages can use.

Stir It Up Cream Eyeshadow in Wassup? by Underground by Rimmel

The cream eyeshadow features different shades that are mixed together when you apply it with your fingers. There's some glitter in this, but if that's not the effect that you're seeking, just remove it by flicking a cotton swab or Q-Tip over it.

Cheeky! Blush Duo in Cheer Up by Underground by Rimmel

This blush duo features pale apricot and deep rose shades. Nowadays, most of the shades of blush from mass-market brands are subtle (to be foolproof), so this blush duo stands out. It can look natural by applying the deep rose shade on the apple of the cheeks - don't blend out to the temples. If it's too bright, the pale apricot shade will tone it down. There are several other shades of Cheeky! Blush Duo available, and all are wearable.

Loud Mouth Lipgloss in Pucker Up from Underground by Rimmel

Don't be fooled by the name. This is more lip stain than lip gloss. In addition to Pucker Up, there are other wearable shades of Loud Mouth Lipgloss that will appeal to women of all ages. To prevent the stain from going beyond your mouth, consider lining your lips with clear lipliner first.

Because Loud Mouth Lipgloss is a lip stain, it can be drying. Now since the weather is getting colder, you need to keep your lips conditioned. I use Aquaphor icon, essentially a goo of petroleum jelly and mineral oil, at night to condition my lips (for more, see Treating Chapped Lips). I also like Sally Hansen Healing Butter for Lips (not available through, alas). It boasts of having shea, mango, cocoa and murumuru butters, but if you're seeking a plant-based product, this isn't it: petroleum jelly tops the list of ingredients and these butters are way down the list. Still, it's very emollient.

Underground by Rimmel may be found at Target, and Ulta in the U.S.

Monday, November 19, 2007

We love our friends

Soon after I posted my frustration and disappointment with the success of this blog, it was only right that I should give recognition to those folks who have listed The Style Page on their blogrolls.

There's Kristen, who graciously included this blog on the blogroll for her hugely sucessful Beauty Addict blog, which was covered by the New York Times. She also announced our (now closed) promotions with Real Cosmetics and Anne Maa Designs through her blog.

There's Retainer Girl, who blogs at Soul-Piercing Reflections. She loves Jane Austen, John Cusack, Sam Cooke, and Motown. She gave me encouragement to carry on with this blog. I prefer the Brontë sisters to Jane Austen, but I share her fondness for R&B and soul music (thanks to Starbucks' Hear Music compilations). Seems that she and I could have a lot to talk about.

~charng from Frivolous Rants

Finally, there's ~charng from Malaysia, who blogs on whatever she wants to share at Frivolous Rants.

New is I♥M·A·C, who blogs at I♥makeup. It's evident that she's interested in beauty from India. I have a soft spot for India myself, as my husband's from India and my in-laws who live in India have accepted me as family.

These are the folks I know who are listing The Style Page on their blogrolls. If there's anyone else who lists this blog on her (or his!) blogroll, please let me know. I don't want to overlook you!

Gratuitous Beyonce photo

Given that I've blogged on Beyonce several times already, why not another time?

Here's a photo of Beyonce as we often don't see her, with little makeup and casually dressed in a knit cap, oversized hoops, a turtleneck, and high-waisted, wide-legged tie-fronts pants.

But she looks great anyhow. To see more, Music Royalty Eats on the Cheap - omg! photos on Yahoo!

Big MAC Attack

I hate crests and emblems. It’s probably because I dislike Juicy Couture. I don’t like its gaudy accessories with their insignia, and frankly, its velour tracksuits with the word “Juicy” emblazoned on the butt are tacky. Who wants to see (as I did) someone’s muffin top above a waistband with the word “Juicy” on it?

MAC Royal Assets holiday collection
6 Warm Eyes eye shadow palette

Still, I couldn’t resist buying this eye shadow palette 6 Warm Eyes from MAC’s Royal Assets limited edition holiday collection. The packaging features a white cover accented in gold with a crest in relief. The casing is made of metal, which provides some heft to the package, and has an authentic vintage look.

Makeup artist and blogger Elke von Freudenburg describes the shades in 6 Warm Eyes as “Golden leaf gold, pale shimmer peach, rich forest green, deep burgundy and rich earth brown.” There is also a matte tan with some pink undertones. The description on MAC’s web site has no relation to what’s in the palette.

Still, Elke didn’t describe the finishes. The shade that she describes as “rich forest green” has shimmer and looks like greenish gunmetal when applied. The deep burgundy is shiny. The rich earth brown shade (bottom row, right), which is matte, coordinates easily with the with the pale peach shimmer (top row, L), the matte tan (top row, R), and golden leaft gold (middle row, L). Coordinating the burgundy (middle row, R) and forest green (bottom row, R) shades with the other shades is more challenging (I prefer tonal shades). The burgundy and forest green shades probably would best used for the crease or outer corner of the eye.

I'll defer judgment on this palette until I'm able to experiment with all shades, including the burgundy and forest green shades.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More foundations for "women of color"

A selection of stick foundations

Do you want more reviews of foundations for women of color than provided in my post Finding cosmetics for African-American women?

Then visit COCOACHIC Beauty for reviews of liquid makeup from Clinique, MAC, Bobbi Brown, Prescriptives, Lancome, and Maybelline and reviews of stick makeup from Black Opal, Becca, Bobbi Brown, Iman, MAC, and Stila.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The fun Gus is having with you

"But Gus the gardener’s left now and you went with him, too
The fungus there reminds me of the fun Gus is having with you" - Garden of Love

Could a breakthrough in treating dandruff be far off? Scientists at P&G Complete Genome Sequence of Fungus Responsible for Dandruff, Skin Disorders (a really gross picture of the fungus Malassezia globosa may be seen by selecting this link).

The opening paragraph from this Reuters article Dandruff's genes sequenced is graphic enough:

First, researchers grew enough fungus to give dandruff to 10 million people. Next, they sequenced its genes. Then they found out that not only does an icky fungus live on your head and cause dandruff-- but it could be having sex. On your head. Right now.

This fungus had been discovered to reproduce sexually. According to the article, 10 liters of this fungus is enough for 10 million people.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Viva Glam

M·A·C Cosmetics | Viva Glam

Although it's been over a year since MAC launched Viva Glam VI, it's brought back Eve and Dita von Teese for a new ads to promote the Viva Glam series of lipsticks where the proceeds go to fight HIV/AIDS.

I didn't blog on Viva Glam VI when it was first launched, but the current promotion makes a review relevant once again. MAC describes Viva Glam VI as a "Warm terracotta-plum fusion with subtle pearl." Terracotta and plum are among my favorite makeup colors, so this fusion sounded very tempting.

However, Viva Glam VI was disappointing. It had less pigment than other MAC lipsticks that are among my favorites (Plum, a discontinued satin lipstick, and Bourbon, a lipstick from the limited edition Beauty Icon 3 collection featuring Catherine Deneuve). Moreover, the color didn't intensify my lips. I'd practically recommend giving the money directly to an AIDS cause, but I know that getting a lipstick at the same time is a lot more fun.

I certainly can't imagine burlesque dancer Dita von Teese, who was in the original Viva Glam campaign, wearing this lipstick. If red lipstick was created for anyone, it would be her, with her raven-black hair and fair complexion.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

How to Find the Right Lipstick Shade - not!

How to Find the Right Lipstick Shade

No, this isn't about finding the right lipstick shade. I blogged on the same topic before.

Rather, it's a rant. I've been blogging consistently for over 3 years and have maintained my web site for over 6 years. I spend a lot of time on the blog and I do all the maintenance of my web site and blog. I'm disappointed and frustrated that I don't have a wider readership.

Here Julyne Derrick is blogging on a topic that I've already covered. No, I am not suggesting that she ripped me off, but it's frustrating that my subscription base on Bloglines is smaller than hers.

I'm proud of the work I've done. The interviews with Lubna Khalid and Matin were especially rewarding. While some might argue that is reward in itself, I would like broader recognition and wider readership for my blog and some commissions earned through the programs for which I'm an affiliate (I do have to pay Yahoo! to host my web site).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Style Page interviews Lubna Khalid of Real Cosmetics


The Style Page recently spoke with Lubna Khalid, founder and CEO of Real Cosmetics. The Real Cosmetics product line currently consists of foundations, pressed powders, and lipsticks designed to flatter all women.

Real Cosmetics foundation and pressed powder shades are grouped into four “families”: Olive, Golden, Red-Gold, and Red-Brown. These shades were developed and tested by trial and error on women of all skin tones in the Berkeley, CA area, where Lubna studied at the University of California. She said that this approach was opposite of how many cosmetics companies develop makeup shades, by first taking an existing shade and deepening it.

Pressed powder compacts from Real Cosmetics

When Lubna founded Real Cosmetics in 1999, she started with the concept of real beauty for real women – years before Dove instituted the concept for its marketing campaign. One challenge in starting a new cosmetics line was finding investors: not many investors wanted to invest in tangible products during the boom. Another challenge was finding retailers, but Lubna succeeded in getting Sephora and select Nordstrom stores to sell Real Cosmetics.

Lubna says that her lifetime goal is to “revolutionize the way that society views beauty and to connect and empower women globally.” She seeks societal acceptance of women of all skin tones and body types. Women should be viewed holistically, with beauty coming from within.

Skin tones

I asked Lubna why she thought that many people in Latin America, the Middle East, and South Asia have a prejudice for fair complexions. As a graduate of UC-Berkeley with a degree in marketing and ethnic studies, Lubna had researched that topic and had definite views. She noted that beauty was a construction of media. In many countries, the prejudice for fair complexions was part of the colonial legacy. It is also a class issue, as dark skin is associated with laborers who are exposed to the sun. For slaves, “passing for white” was a ticket to freedom, which is also why practices such as “relaxing” hair evolved. In short, the prejudice for fair complexions is tied to the historical, social, and political context.

At the same, many women with light skin tones want to be tanned. This can also be tied to social context, as it conveys the idea that they have the leisure to go on vacation to sunny places. Here is another example how women want to change their natural skin tone.

My conversation with Lubna segued into a discussion on skin-lightening cream, which is a best-selling cosmetic in many parts of the world. An ad for Fair & Lovely, the best-selling skin lightening cream in Pakistan and India, promised “a fairer skin in days, and more than that, a perfect life: a sure-shot at a husband, a super job and instant acceptance” – for more, see the article The White Complex from Little India. Lubna said that she doesn’t believe in skin lightening creams, as it conveys the idea a woman’s natural skin tone is not beautiful. More specifically, she objects to fear-based marketing, such as that employed by Fair & Lovely. She conceded that skin lightening creams do serve a purpose for making the complexion more even: in that case, the creams should be marketed to treat hyperpigmentation.

Lubna is excited about a projected relaunch of the Real brand. She has a new partner with over 30 years of experience in the cosmetics industry who complements her vision. The relaunch will feature not only an expanded makeup and color range, but also fragrance and skin and body care, for a total of 300 products. Currently, Lubna is seeking capitol to roll out franchise stores featuring the expanded line, using the same retail concept as The Body Shop (the late Anita Roddick is a major inspiration).

Real Cosmetics lipsticks come in sheer, semi-matte, and frost formulas

In the meantime, you may buy Real Cosmetics makeup, pressed powder, and lipstick through the Real Cosmetics web site at Lubna is extending a 20% discount to readers of The Style Page good through October 31. To take advantage of this offer, mention "The Style Page" in the notes section of the shopping cart.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Special 15% off jewelry from Anne Maa Designs

Anne Maa Designs is offering readers of The Style Page 15% off all jewelry on its web site through October 31, 2007. To take advantage of this discount, enter style upon checkout from its e-store.

Smokey lemon quartz ring

Standouts from Anne Maa Designs include rings with wire-wrapped stones (I'm partial to the smoky lemon quartz ring shown above) and rings with geodes set in them (see our navigation bar at left). Anne Maa Designs's Metal collection features necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings in sterling silver with a distinct primitive organic look.

Select offerings from Anne Maa Designs Metal Collection:
Crater Cuff, and Rough Amethyst Chunk Ring

This 15% offer is good until October 31. Hurry now to buy - dare I say that the holidays are sooner than you think?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Finding cosmetics for African-American women

Here's a good article from about finding cosmetics for African-American women at drugstores and other venues. Especially valuable is the review of foundations from Iman, CG Queen Collection from Cover Girl, L'Oreal HIP, and L'Oreal True Match.

If you're a "woman of color" (a marketing rubric to encompass women whose origins come from elsewhere than Europe), do you prefer to shop a brand targeted toward women of color or one that appeals to everyone? Why?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Style Page interview with celebrity makeup artist Matin - Part 1

Matin Maulawizada
The Style Page is pleased to present an exclusive interview with celebrity makeup artist Matin (pronounced mah-TEEN) Maulawizada. Matin has an impressive list of credits: his work has been featured in InStyle as well as other major fashion and beauty magazines and his client list includes Angelina Jolie, Beyonce, Gwen Stefani, Liv Tyler, Reese Witherspoon, Salma Hayek, and Shakira. A more comprehensive list of credits may be found by selecting this link.

Because of the length and range of the interview, it will be split over three postings. This post focuses on his upbringing in Afghanistan and what he learned about beauty in Afghanistan.

1. Your biography states that you have six sisters. Were you the only boy?

Yes, I am the only boy.

2. What was your first language?

It is called Dari. A language spoken in Afghanistan and a few other central Asian countries inhabited by Tadjik tribes.

3. What beauty rituals did you observe your mother, sisters, and other female relatives do? A magazine article said that you learned threading by watching your female relatives, but were there any others? What about mehndi (henna), lining the eyes with kajal?

Yes, I learned most of beauty trick watching my sisters go at it decades after decades. My mom would be running around with a masque on her face ordering the staff at the house on what to do and what to cook, a sister would be screaming from pain of waxing her leg, the other would be threading her upper lip, yet another one would be painting her face… It was NICE ;-). My main inspirations were my sister Mina who did incredible eye make-up on herself in the 60’s and 70’s. She cross dressed she had a Beetles style haircut until 11th grade, then did a complete turn and joined miss Afghanistan and got very fem, my sister Shakila is absolutely gorgeous and I used to sit with her and watch her get ready to go out with her fiancé in the 70’s, my sister Trina with her super smokey eyes, pale 80’s face. So I watched and absorbed these looks not from the books or movies but right in front of me done by very beautiful, very talented women who were my sisters. Kajal and Surma (khol powder) is used by men, women in children in my country (Afghanistan) so it is of course my most favorite thing to use.

4. Would you care to comment on beauty as an act of resistance under the Taliban?

On one of my trips back to Afghanistan, I met a brilliant man that produced lipsticks, nail polishes, facial bleaching creams etc in his garage during the reign of Taliban and sold them to the underground beauty parlors. Make up is IS a form of expression in today’s Afghanistan, it is theatrical and it is a way to show the world that you are modern. You don’t wear it at all and when you do… you go ALL OUT.

In Part 2, Matin talks about coming to the U.S., breaking into the beauty business, and making it.

The Style Page interview with celebrity makeup artist Matin - Part 2

In Part 2 of The Style Page interview with Matin, Matin talks about coming to the U.S., breaking into the beauty business, and making it.

5. What brought you to the U.S.?

Life brought me to the US. I needed to go to college and we were politically exiled from my country, so we ended up as political refugees in the US.

6. Your biography says that you got into makeup on account of your college roommate. Tell me about his or her influence on you.

As I mentioned, we became political refugees. My family lost everything during the Soviet occupation and I had to pay for school. I was flipping burgers in East Oakland until 3 am. Then finally got a job selling perfumes at the stores on Union Square in SF. My father finally found someone to smuggle him out of Afghanistan and finally joined us in the US after 6 years. I moved out when he arrived, moved to the city with my roommate Marti whom I met teaching modeling at the Barbizon school of modeling in SF (Don’t even ask how and why I got a job there ;-)). She worked also at Neiman Marcus as a make up artist. When I needed a job, she suggested to interview with her boss and she told me how the make up thing worked. Next thing I know, I had a job offer.

7. How did you learn to become a makeup artist?

I do calligraphy and was always good at drawing. Make up was a very natural process for me. I often say that one has to “listen” to the skin and it will tell you what it needs. I guess some of us are born with that “ear”. I do not have formal training. I learned from working at make up counters during my undergraduate years in Berkeley and then I assisted Laura Mercier.

8. Your biography states that you worked as a research scientist after earning your masters’ degree. Was your decision to become a makeup artist full-time sudden or was it something that was planned over time? When did being a makeup artist full-time become feasible?

I had an offer to do an event for one of the cosmetics company that I had worked in the past. After that job, I realized how much fun I had doing make up. I woke up one night thinking about creating a make up line. The next step terrified me. It was to move to NY, starve for a few years and maybe make it or I though maybe I could become a trainer for a cosmetic line or a national make up artist. Without applying for any jobs, I got 3 offers in the next two weeks for exactly that position. That just blew me away. I took it as a sign and let the universe take care of the rest. Doors opened up, I met Laura Mercier and my agent Timothy Priano. Laura Mercier line created a position for me and Tim told me to look for him should I move to NY and seek representation. It was like magic. I worked for Laura full time for a year, then moved to NY and went to see Timothy. Now if I knew how little money I was going to make in the beginning, I probably would have talked myself out of it but ignorance is bliss and fate is a strong cushion to lean on.

9. Tell me about your first big break as a makeup artist. What event gave you an entry into the world of being a celebrity makeup artist?

My first full page beauty was for Glamour magazine. Kate Moodie (style director of the magazine then) hired me to do it. I met her during a beauty shot when I was still assisting Laura. Then a few months later, my 3rd year in NY that I got a BIG break. I was working for Laura Mercier 3 days a month still and I got a job for ELLE magazine to shoot a model for a bathing suit story. I was to make a white girl black from head to toe. “Bien Maron” was what the Fashion Editor (Carlyn Cerf De Dudzelee) told me. The photographer was non other that Gilles Bensimon. Intimidated I woke up at 4 am to get the girl painted and ready for a 7 am call time. I was shy, totally stayed on the side, didn’t really fit in at the shoot but the stylist was kind enough to include me in everything. We ended up doing a fashion and a bathing suit story. This meant 16 pages in my portfolio that I didn’t have. I was thrilled and very grateful. At the airport waiting for our luggage, Gilles who hardly said a word to me during the shoot tapped on my shoulder and with a very THICK French accent said: “I’m shooting Liv Tyler for a cover next week and want you to do the make up for it”. WHAT??? Usually you have to slave and test for years in order to get an opportunity like this. I thanked him and truthfully didn’t believe him. 2 days later my agent called and told me that I was booked for the cover. When the magazine hit the stands, I had the cover and 31 pages of work inside the magazine. I did 6 of the 8 remaining covers that year and it launched my career to a completely different level.

Part 3

The Style Page interview with celebrity makeup artist Matin - Part 3

In the third and final part of this interview, Matin discusses becoming Neutrogena Cosmetics' makeup artist, makeup tips, and his hobbies.

10. Tell me about Neutrogena approaching you to be its makeup artist. Are you also providing creative direction through developing new products and color palettes?

I met some Neutrogena people at a dinner party and we talked shop. Next thing I know, I got a call from them me asking me if I was interested in working with them. It was important for Neutrogena to have a make-up artist who not only understands how to apply cosmetics, but also the science behind them. Because of my science background, it was a perfect fit. I am providing direction on shades, textures and I test drive all the upcoming color products prior to production.
11. Can you share with our readers any advance information about new products from Neutrogena?

As always, Neutrogena will be launching products that are innovative while being both beautiful and beneficial.

12.Women want to know how to apply makeup and look beautiful, so this is probably the part that will interest readers the most:

a. For me (and probably many other women), shading the crease is probably the trickiest part of makeup application. It’s important to me, as I have deep-set eyes. What do you recommend in terms of eye shadow shades, choice of brushes, and application?

If you have deep set eyes, you do not want to “shade” the crease. This will make your eyes look even more deep set. Instead, try a wash of neutral beige (skin color) all over the eyes, then go with a taupe or caramel color and use it lightly on the brow bone to make the brow bone recede. Best is to use a fluffy small eye shadow brush (like laura mercier’s eye color brush) made of sable hair for the wash all over, and a smoother brush (like laura mercier crease brush) made of squirrl hair on the brow bone and under the brow to get a very sheer application of the powder eye shadow.

b. How best to apply foundation? By dotting the cheeks, “stippling,” or other means? Fingertips, sponge, or brush? If you use a sponge, do you moisten it or use it dry?

Use a dampened sponge with oil free foundation. Put the foundation in your palm and press the sponge (egg shape is the best) in to the palm of the hand to absorb the foundation. You should not see the foundation on top of the sponge. Then apply by patting the sponge and moving it quickly starting with flat areas of the face (cheeks) and neck and use very little if at all around the eyes and sides of the nose, smile lines and laugh lines.

For moisturizing, still one can use a damp sponge, or a brush or even fingers

13.Are you planning to write a book on makeup application?

Not yet. I don’t have any new concept for a book on make-up, but a book I will write, just not on make up ;-)

14.Your biography states that you enjoy “practicing Calligraphy, studying Islamic and Gothic architecture and shopping for exotic ethnic textiles.” I like textiles, too – especially block-printed textiles from India (see my blog posting Block-printed textiles, and suzanis from Central Asia. However, I can’t find the bold suzanis online that I see in Domino. What textiles are capturing your attention now?

Well, I have always had a soft spot for suzani and chain stitching. I now have a foundation in Afghanistan called Afghan Hands Inc. ( which is mainly a literacy program but it also employs the women (war widows) to do embroidery. We do bold patterns in wearable scarves and shawls using suzani and chain stitching and using the old traditional flowers on the fabrics but with a more modern color scheme.

Red shawl from Afghan Hands
Postscript: Matin was recognized as one of CNN Heroes for his role as a community crusader in starting Afghan Hands. He is currently on travel in Afghanistan and posts to the afghanhands blog.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Get it while it lasts

Here in the Washington, DC Metro area, where I live, the dominant drugstore chain is CVS. There is only a smattering of Walgreen's and Rite-Aid stores (including former Eckerd that became Rite-Aid stores after Canada's Jean Coutu Pharmacy sold Eckerd stores to Rite-Aid). Consequently, I go out of the way to shop at Walgreen's or Rite-Aid.

I went to Walgreen's yesterday, and I was startled to see all IsaDora cosmetics sold at 50% discount. I asked the beauty adviser-cum-salesperson if Walgreen's is no longer going to carry IsaDora, and she told me that IsaDora no longer wanted to ship products to the USA(!)

While I was not initially impressed by IsaDora, I reconsidered after reading Paula Begoun's glowing review of its eyeshadow quads. I now enjoy IsaDora eyeshadow quads in Antique Gold and Bronzing Plums - and picked up the eye shadow trio in Patina yesterday.

In short, get IsaDora products while you still can!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The case of the missing videos

Our web page stats have gone through the roof today! And it's all because of a review I did of the now-defunct Breathe magazine, a yoga-meets-lifestyle magazine, in which I mentioned an article about former hard-partying girl Rielle Hunter who claimed that she found enlightenment. Now Rielle Hunter is a hot news item for making mini-documentaries of Presidential candidate John Edwards that the Edwards campaign apparently doesn't want to show. For more, see Overlawyered: Rielle Hunter and John Edwards, which has been the referring URL for many visits to The Style Page blog, and follow the links.

Former vice-Presidential candidate Edwards's campaign is lagging behind the campaigns of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. Until Rielle Hunter came along, no one had brought as much life into his campaign as Ann Coulter!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Goddessy Rx 14-piece natural brush set

Goddessy is now selling its 14 Piece Brush Set and its other products through

Goddessy's brush set.

The cosmetic brush set is packed in a cosmetics roll ready for travel.

I'm partial to the eye shadow brush which has a flat head but a slant edge - great for contouring. I'm also using combo brow brush/eyelash comb to groom my eyebrows prior to applying tint.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Finds from The Container Store

Finds from The Container Store

I can go nuts at The Container Store buying cute things for storage and organization. I'm compulsive about buying things to better organize my activities, as though the mere act of buying will make me better organized - ha! I recently went on a shopping spree at The Container Store, and the picture above shows only some of what I bought.

At upper left is the To-Do pad from WhoMi. This colorful collection of note pads are spiral-bound together and there is a color-coded pad for each shop, call, and do.

At upper right is the Memo Pocket from Moleskine, best known for its notebooks. The Memo Pocket is actually a mini Accordion file folder that can fit in your handbag. It's great for sorting and organizing receipts, coupons, and other scraps of paper.

At lower left and lower right are Post-It note pads from Russell+Hazel. The Memo Notes at lower left feature a vertical bar on the left side where you can circle the month and day. Alas, the type is itty-bitty, and the orange and pink make it even more difficult to read. The Chicklet Notes are tiny (3/4" x 1") Post-It note pads. The pack consists of eight pads, two of each in pink, blue, green, and orange. Many people think that Russell+Hazel is overpriced, but dang, their products are so cute!

Monday, September 10, 2007

What gives?

For me, sitting around at the hair salon is an opportunity for me to catch up on magazines. I was waiting as my husband got his hair cut, and picked up the current issue of Allure, with Britney Spears on the cover. It was surreal. The photo spread, which featured a topless Spears (with her breasts discreetly covered by her hands or arms), was accompanied by Judith Newman's article about her unsuccessful efforts to get an interview with Spears. Then, there was Editor-in-chief Linda Wells's tortured (and ultimately lame) justification for putting Spears on the cover. What gives?

Just go to the Allure web site - it's all about boosting magazine sales.

PS I didn't watch MTV's Video Music Awards, but by all accounts, Spears' headliner performance was a disaster. While Kanye West's insistence that he should have been headliner is proof of his overweaning ego, he was probably right when he said that MTV "exploited" Spears for TV ratings.

Does this woman (Spears) have anything else to offer than exposing her body? Are Allure and MTV so deficient in imagination that they must exploit this woman's tabloid-worthy escapades and problems to promote themselves?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A lousy mascara, a so-so mascara, and a great mascara

Bésame is a boutique cosmetics line that replicates vintage cosmetic containers from the 30s and 40s - its reproductions are more authentic than Body & Soul, another cosmetics line that strives for vintage appeal. I've had good things to say about Bésame's Enchanting Lipstick, but I can't say the same for its Sculpture Lash Mascara in Black, a recent addition to its line (Bésame has also added Enriched Lip Glaze to its line). This mascara doesn't build any volume and it smears as well. This mascara is not worth the $26.00 price charged for a single tube.

Curiously, the Bésame Sculpture Lash Mascara in Plum doesn't smear, but like the one in Black, it doesn't build up volume.

The find is L'Oreal HIP's High Drama Volumizing Mascara in Ultimate Bronze Black, part of its limited edition collection in orangey shades. It really makes eyelashes appear thick, and doesn't smear. At $9.99 a tube, it's a great mascara at a much more comfortable price point than Bésame's Sculpture Lash Mascara.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Two consumer items for cosmetics users

Cosmetics Products Get a Makeover - A new international standard provides guidelines for the detection and identification of candida albicans, which can contaminate cosmetics while in production. Yes, candida, the nasty little fungus responsible for yeast infections. However, there is no reason for alarm: most cosmetics are safe to use.

FDA Proposes New Rule for Sunscreen Products - The Food and Drug Administration (U.S.) has proposed rules for rating UVA in a sunscreen and labeling sunscreens. SPF covers protection from UVB rays only. In addition, the FDA proposes this warning label on sunscreens:"UV exposure from the sun increases the risk of skin cancer, premature skin aging, and other skin damage. It is important to decrease UV exposure by limiting time in the sun, wearing protective clothing, and using a sunscreen."

The FDA is accepting comments on the proposed rules until
November 26, 2007. You may submit comments to FDA referencing Docket No. 1978N-0038.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Removing Eye Makeup: More Important than You Think!

Soon after I publshed a criticism on the fallacy of keeping mascara and eyeliner on overnight, Paula Begoun noted, "a basic remedy for puffy, irritated, crepey skin around the eyes was being sure to remove every last trace of eye makeup before you go to bed" and recommended using an eye makeup remover in addition to a water-soluble cleanser.

Artificial tears - a must in your makeup kit

On a related issue, I recently had some inflammation along the lower eyelid. I quit wearing eye makeup on the lower lid, applied artificial tears
icon(not eye drops formulated with steroids) and an eye ointment
icon, and began washing my hands more thoroughly. I use hand sanitizers like Purell
icononly sparingly, as I take seriously the fact that bacteria and microbes will mutate into more resistant strains in response to antiseptics.

Selling Radical Chic to Teens

Radical Chic was a term coined by author Tom Wolfe to describe the soiree in which the late Leonard Bernstein hosted members of the Black Panther militant group. More recently, several retailers that market to teenage girls have been selling scarves resembling keffiyehs. The keffiyeh has been traditionally worn by men in the Middle East, and was particularly associated with the late Yassir Arafat, who wore the keffiyeh to cover his bald pate.

There has been an uproar over selling keffiyehs, as many people associate the keffiyeh with terrorism.

Below is an example from Urban Outfitters:

An ironic name for this scarf
This type of "radical chic" is reflected in T-shirts carrying the image of Che Guevara; even the perfumeur Le Labo has used Che's image to portray its fragrance line as "revolutionary." (hat tip: Beauty Addict)