Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mally Beauty

I haven't been this excited about a cosmetics line for a long time. Mally Beauty, from celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal, features great concepts, standout packaging (aluminum cases with green snake skin patterned interiors) and beautiful colors. This post covers Mally's signature products: Lightwand Eyebrightener, City Chick Smoky Eye Kit, and Shimmer, Shape & Glow Face Defining System.

Lightwand Eyebrightener (not shown) is a dual-ended pencil that features a pencil on one end and a dabber at the other end to dispense illuminating powder. Both are used at the inner corners to brighten the eyes. BTW highlighter at the inner corners is also a key part of Carmindy's so-called 5-Minute Face.

Canal Street Khaki (actually more olive than khaki) is a new addition to Mally's City Chick Smoky Eye Kit collection of palettes, which I discussed in Demystifying Eye Makeup. Each kit comes complete with eye shadow base, highlighter, lip and crease colors, and a black retractable eyeliner - everything you need to create the classic smoky eye look (minus the brushes).

Shimmer, Shape & Glow Face Defining System

Shimmer, Shape & Glow Face Defining System is my favorite of the three products. It features three shades: a highlighter for the cheekbones, a blush, and a contour. Four color palettes are available: In The Pink Lighter, In The Pink Deeper, Life is Lighter, and Love is Deeper. All the palettes are pretty, and even better, you can buy refills so that you can mix and match colors.

Mally Beauty products feature inserts with Mally's tips on using the products. You may shop Mally Beauty at or

Follow-ups on recent articles

Now Lancome has come out with its own vibrating mascara. I received notices through, Sephora, and Lancome itself hyping the new mascara. I'll wait and see if L'Oreal will come out with a similar product for less: Lancome is part of the L'Oreal Group and L'Oreal products are often knockoffs of Lancome products.

This article General Counsel: Fashion Fuels a Friendship from (the companion webiste to the Wall Street Journal) is about dressing appropriately for the workplace, but it confirms what Poppy King said about Hillary Clinton. The article states,

"Yet if looking womanly can seem unprofessional, it's also possible to not look feminine enough. Massive amounts of time and print space have been devoted to analyzing Hillary Clinton's power lapels and pantsuits. Now, some voters wonder if a softer message might have been better received."

Of course, there were other things (Hillary's lack of connection with prospective voters, Bill's temper tantrums) that derailed her campaign.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

LongerThickerBetter Part III

Has anything tried this mascara?

Estée Lauder's New TurboLash All Effects Motion Mascara™

It's Estée Lauder's New TurboLash All Effects Motion Mascara™. According to Splendora, this mascara has "an auto-powered LashSonic Brush that gently vibrates with micro-pulse bristles." Any comments?

All sorts of new innovations promise longer or fuller lashes. I've already written about SpinLash, which I had rated as a "qualified buy." As I use this product more and more, I like it better. I still like Maybelline's The Colossal Volum' Express mascara for building thickness, but after reading Retainer Girl's review, I concede that mascara goop sticks to the wand and it has a strange smell, problems that her fave Lash Blast doesn't have. After applying The Colossal, I run SpinLash through my lashes. It removes excess gunk and really separates lashes after application.

LashControl Lengthening and conditioning formula in black

Another innovation is LashControl, which features a squeezable "wiper sleeve" (the pink part above) that is supposed to control the amount of mascara deposited on the brush. However, I didn't find the wiper sleeve useful. LashControl lengthening and conditioning formula is good; however, the volumizing formula (color coded with a purple wiper sleeve) was problematic. It smeared and flaked and despite the wiper sleeve, goop still stuck to the tip of the wand. In fairness to LashControl, however, its representative said that the problems I had shouldn't have happened, and offered to take back the mascara so that she could see what went wrong.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

wet n wild Beauty Benefits

wet n wild Beauty Benefits is a new line from the budget brand, but it's treated as a separate brand. It is formulated with Lotus Marine Minerals™, botanicals it claims to keep women looking "healthy and young."

I tried the following three products:

Color CorRx Eye Brightening Concealer

Color CorRx Eye Brightening Concealer in Fair - concealers are the most troublesome kind of makeup products for me. Concealers help cover dark circles and brighten the eye area, but are difficult to blend (although beautyblender has helped) to look natural. This kit features a somewhat greasy cream corrector in light peach, a cream concealer in a deeper peach that's almost scary, and an off-white pressed highlighter to set the concealer and corrector. Surprisingly (given the shades), the results are as good as what I get with my L'Oreal True Match concealer, but the number of steps that is overkill.

Beyond Amplifying Mascara Waterproof (not shown) - this is an OK mascara. It doesn't clump, run, or smear (as long it doesn't contact the Color CorRx Eye Brightening Concealer application), but neither does it build appreciable volume. I'll stick to Maybelline's The
Colossal Volum' Express mascara as a volumizing mascara.

Beauty Brilliance Bronzing Powder

Beauty Brilliance Bronzing Powder - In general, I'm satisfied with my blushes and bronzers. I avoid obvious shimmer and sparkle and stick to muted tones. I use a light touch. Beauty Brilliance Bronzing Powder has pink, terracotta, and darker bronzer shades that can be blended together. It has some shimmer, but it's not obvious.

You may find wet n wild Beauty Benefits through its store finder. The nearest store that carries wet n wild Beauty Benefits is nearly 50 miles from my home in the DC metro area!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Revlon seeks to re-energize itself

Revlon no longer creates excitement among consumers like myself who prowl the aisles of drugstores and big box retailers for reasonably priced cosmetics. L'Oreal is the clear winner among mass market brands - I love its True Match makeup and the limited edition eyeshadow palettes that are part of L'Oreal's frequent collections. I am also fond of L'Oreal HIP lip color - in the traditional wand packaging, squeeze tubes, and pots - and its unique flavor, which I characterize as something like creme brulee.

Now Revlon is trying to re-create excitement for the brand. As other beauty bloggers have noted, Gucci Westman, formerly of Lancome, has joined Revlon as its Artistic Director. Revlon has signed Elle McPherson and Oscar winner (Best Supporting Actress, A Beautiful Mind, 2001) Jennifer Connelly as new spokesmodels. It has already rolled out ads featuring Jessica Alba.

Elle McPherson

Elle McPherson might have a killer bod (a tad too masculine for my liking), but I don't think that she has a particularly beautiful face - too angular and mannish. Admittedly, her new bangs soften her look.

Jennifer Connelly - retro done right

As for Jennifer Connelly, she is a great choice. Can you imagine how great she might look in the red lipsticks for which Revlon is famous? Or in eye shadows that make her intense blue eyes pop?

Time will tell if these new developments will re-energize Revlon as a brand. Revlon should also develop a new visual image for its displays and get away from the soft focus look that has characterize its displays.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm a sinner, I'm a saint ...

Lipstick Queen is a brand founded by Poppy King, who previously had her eponymous line and then, after her Poppy line collapsed, joined Prescriptives as its creative director.

Poppy King

As with her former line Poppy, Lipstick Queen is limited to lip color. Poppy King describes her Sinner lipsticks as "opaque, rich and creamy with a matte yet silky finish" and her Saint lipsticks as "The sheerest, moistest, most serene lipsticks you have ever tried."

I tested lipsticks in both Sinner Rust and Saint Rust at the Soft Surroundings store in St. Louis, after the saleswoman told me that warm tones suited my complexion than cool tones and dissuaded me from wine or berry shades.

Sinner Rust was very matte, but not "creamy" or "silky," as Poppy King described. I found the matte lipsticks very dry. I prefer lipsticks that are between cream and matte, with some luster.

Saint Rust is more a lip stain, and therefore not sheer. It is a little more creamy that other lip stains I've tried (Laura Mercier, Underground by Rimmel).

These lipsticks do not match Poppy King's descriptions. Still, I like the Saint lipstick, but I'd be reluctant to shell out $20. I'd pass on the Sinner lipsticks.

UPDATE: The JC Report interviews Poppy King. She says, in words surprising for a beauty entrepreneur, " Feminine is a construct, whereas female is a fact ... To be in fashion right now means to understand the difference between feminine and female and to get the balance right: too feminine and we are back in the submission of the '50s, too confrontational and it becomes '80s power woman. ... Perhaps if Hillary Clinton had got this sense of female right it may have turned out differently for her."

It is not surprising that Poppy King would comment on politics: in Australia, she was part of the Australian Republican Movement.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Flower Power

A couple of items punched up with bold floral designs:

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada lip balm for GAL Perfumeria

These fruity-flavored lip balms features the exuberant designs of Spanish fashion designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada. I purchased the passion fruit-flavored lip balm, which is tinted blue, but goes on clear. I found mine at duty-free at the Copenhagen airport, but I've also seen these tins at anthropologie.

marimekko for AVON All Over Face Palette

Avon has partnered with famed Finnish design house marimekko to create makeup palettes with marimekko's signature Unikko poppy print. Pictured above is the All Over Face Palette; eyeshadow palettes are also available. Unlike the rip-off that Dolce & Gabbana did with its poppy-print dress, marimekko licensed use of the Unikko print to Avon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Reading inspiration

I had been pondering why I hadn't experienced the pleasure of reading in a long time. I have a day job totally unrelated to this blog and in the evenings I'm busy doing paperwork and chores, blogging, or watching TV (I am hooked on the O'Reilly Factor and reruns of The Simpsons, which I think is genius for its references to both high culture and pop culture).

I found that I didn't even have a list of books that I wanted to read. Then, my first inspiration was my niece, who said that her favorite books were Angela's Ashes and Wuthering Heights. I then decided to pick up Angela's Ashes.

I knew about her fondness for Angela's Ashes and the other books by Frank McCourt ('Tis, Teacher Man), but I was surprised and embarrassed to learn that she was fond of Wuthering Heights through the web site of a magazine! As I wrote before, I'm in awe of Wuthering Heights - it's hard to believe that someone with such an erratic education as Emily Bronte could conceive the structure of the novel.

More recently,, the online home of Vogue and W, had a slideshow of books, the selection of which was inspired by recent designer collections. If you're registered on, you can create your own "lookbooks" - to see which books I selected from that slideshow, visit my public lookbook.

And of course, there's always my wishlist on

If you had to choose, what three books would you recommend?

Friday, July 11, 2008

The First Lady sings

Carla Bruni

A followup to Models who sing:

The third album Comme Si De Rien N'Etait by Carla Bruni aka Mme. Sarkozy was released today:

Comme Si De Rien N'Etait by Carla Bruni

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Eye shadow and eye color

I just sat through the debut of Eyes By Design on HSN. I spent 30 minutes listening to some woman with a grating British accent and the usual hyper-perky TV shopping network hostess, who subjected me to pitches that the eye shadow palettes were created "scientifically" (a red flag word) to enhance one's eye color.

The presentation so totally bummed me out that I won't be buying Eyes By Design. I'm disappointed - I expected better from BeautyBank.

The HSN and QVC websites are among the most sophisticated e-commerce sites I've seen, with lots of information about products. Download the tip sheets for using Eyes By Design palettes. The tip sheets are available in a printer-friendly version and can be used with other palettes .

I'm not smitten with the idea of selecting eye shadow shades based on eye color alone - refer to Makeup lessons from Di Kennedy to see what other factors should be considered.

Still, if you're interested in eye shadow palettes based on eye color, I recommend L'Oreal's recent Made for Me Naturals eye shadow palette collection. All the palettes are beautiful, and you don't have to limit yourself to the palette for your eye color: I chose the palettes for brown eyes (Penelope Cruz) and dark eyes (Beyonce).

I'm also enjoying the Pop Beauty Eye Class palette in Brown Eyes (although the appliqués make the wallet look tacky). I also like the Play It Up eye shadow trio for green eyes from Almay, and while I grumbled about Almay retaining Elaine Mellencamp after it completely redid its brand, she's picked up cachet through her husband's recent - and deserved - induction into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame!

Beauty on HSN

Eyes By Design™

TV shopping networks (QVC, HSN) are so tawdry. The products these networks peddle are tawdry and the chit-chat and banter are irritating. However, I'll be watching the debut of Eyes By Design™ on HSN this week.

Eyes By Design™ is a new venture between HSN and BeautyBank, a division of The Estee Lauder Companies. BeautyBank creates brands that are sold outside traditional department stores. BeautyBank is the brains behind Flirt!, American Beauty, good skin, and grassroots brands at Kohl's. Given my fondness for Flirt! and some American Beauty products, I'm hoping that Eyes By Design™ will be as good.


On the other hand, I won't be watching the IMAN Global Chic event on HSN this week. Iman will be debuting her third(!) cosmetics imprint, after Iman and i-iman, this Saturday. If it's anything like the cheesy Global Chic accessories she peddles on HSN, I'll pass it up. One item that Iman offers through Global Chic is a cheap knockoff of the ring that David Bowie gave her on their 15th wedding anniversary: she and the show host giggled about how the original ring came from "Fred" whose last name they wouldn't say - no doubt Fred Leighton.

I give Iman high marks as an entrepreneur (as I say, she's the biggest success story to come out of Somalia), but Global Chic undermines my perception of her "classiness."

Monday, July 07, 2008

Advice that works

I recently bought the latest edition of Paula Begoun's Beauty Bible. Her advice to use matte foundation as a base for eyeshadow was terrific. I patted Maybelline's Dream Matte Mousse Foundation on my eyelids before applying eyeshadow and my eyelids didn't get that oily appearance, as when I used cream eyeshadow base. Thanks, Paula.

I have dry cheeks and a nose that's prone to oiliness and pimples. While I use moisturizing makeup on my cheeks, I use the same Dream Matte Mousse Foundation on my nose. It's better than blotting tissues and pressed powder.

To remove eye makeup, I saturate or even soak cotton pads in eye makeup remover, lie back on the recliner (who says that recliners are for men only?), and place the pads over my eyelids to dissolve the eye makeup. No tugging and pulling - let the eye makeup remover do the work and gently wipe the makeup off afterward. I use Neutrogena's dual-phase eye remover.

Born on a Monday

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban on their wedding day

I'm glad that Nicole Kidman gave birth to a biological child (she has two adopted children from her marriage to Tom Cruise). I know that it's something that she sought for a long time. She's one celebrity who is a class act.

But why did she and Keith Urban had to give the baby girl such a ridiculous name "Sunday Rose"? The baby was born on a Monday! Let's hope that they simply call her "Rose."

Anne Hathaway in People

Anne Hathaway in SELF

While the July 2008 issues of InStyle and Self with Anne Hathaway are still at newsstands, out comes this week's edition of People, with a cover story about Raffaelo Follieri and her.

Anne Hathaway in People

I don't know whether or not she was "stunned and heartbroken" by Follieri's alleged wrongdoing, but I do know that stories of betrayal play well. Just witness the media attention given to the marital woes of Alex Rodriguez and Christie Brinkley.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

ThickerLongerBetter Part II


SPINLASH™ is a battery-driven mascara wand that is available at Target and CVS. It comes with its own mascara cartridge, but I use it applying my "regular" mascara (I've been trying out so many different mascaras that I really can't call anything my regular mascara). By pressing either end of the switch, SPINLASH™ can turn clockwise or counterclockwise. It spins very slowly. SpinLash does seem to define and separate my lashes and accentuate curl. Call SPINLASH™ a buy.

What we women go through to get ThickerLongerBetter eyelashes! My totally hot nephew (dare I say this because I'm his auntie?) in India has naturally long and thick eyelashes that I have to recreate with eyeliner and mascara. I envy him!

ThickerLongerBetter Part I

Many of us are constantly seeking the perfect mascara: one that thickens or lengthen lashes (or maybe both!) and doesn't smear or clump.

Many people like Cover Girl's Lash Blast. While Lash Blast doesn't smear or clump, I was disappointed, as it didn't deliver on building significant thicker lashes. Rimmel's new Glam'EYES does deliver on building thicker and longer lashes and doesn't smear. However, you might want to run a lash comb or clean mascara wand afterwards to define and separate the lashes.

Maybelline Colossal Volum' Express mascara

beauty girl musings had great things to say about Maybelline Colossal Volum' Express mascara. I have yet to try this mascara. If Lash Blast's orange packaging was eye-catching, then Colossal Volum' Express's packaging is eye-popping, in a yellow that fairly screams. Monique said that you'd expect to pay about $7 for Colossal Volum' Express. Where I live (Northern Virginia, near DC), if you have a CVS customer card, you can get Colossal Volum' Express on sale for $4.99 through Saturday, July 5; even better, you'll get "bonus bucks" that will give you $2 discount on a future CVS purchase. Enter your zip code to locate your nearest CVS store at and browse the Weekly Store Ad to see if this offer applies to your store.

Since I mentioned the CVS sale, I should also mention another special applying to my location is "bonus bucks" for $5 discount on a future CVS purchase with purchase of LaRoche-Posay's Anthelios SX SPF 15 sunscreen. Anthelios SX contains Mexoryl SX, which is the 1st sun filter in a sunscreen approved by the FDA in 18 years. Mexoryl SX fills the gap in sunscreens for short UVA ranges.

PS I took advantage of the CVS sale to purchase Maybelline Colossal Volum' Express mascara. This has the edge over Rimmel's new Glam'EYES mascara. Maybelline Colossal Volum' Express is a buy.

PS Just got notice from Anthelios' PR that Anthelios 40 with SPF 40 will be available soon.

Funny ...

I found this item in an email from Nordstrom on New Not Your Daughter's Jeans & More ironic and therefore funny (both funny ha-ha and funny peculiar). Select image to view a larger image:

C'mon, these models don't look old enough to have daughters, even if they started as young as Loretta Lynn! (She was 14)