Monday, September 29, 2008

Silly, scary sun damage

For anyone who hasn't realized that the growing SPF ranges are aimed at her: The Sun Tattoo robe!

Directions for use: Put on robe and lie on your stomach in the sun for a few hours, keeping absolutely still. Remove robe. Hurt like hell.

Lovely pattern (if you like the human doily look). It's an anti-henna thing. Or a just-as-risky alternative to an inked tat. Or maybe it's a statement on getting Vitamin D fashionably without having to drink milk?

Frankly, I'm surprised I haven't seen this before. It's much more thoughtful than painting a "dork" sign on someone's chest with sunscreen, isn't it?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hands-free living?

Earlier this week, I read this NY Times article on how hands are the new beauty market with interest. Sure, there's the requisite doctor interviews and product plugs. But there's also this description of hand model Ellen Sirot's hand-protecting regime:

She said she hasn’t cooked, cleaned or held her husband’s hand in a decade. The latter activity would mean keeping her hands below her waist, which would increase blood flow and make veins more apparent.

What price beauty, eh? 

Now, I don't want to give up holding hands with my husband as well as other handed activities (which currently include letting a teething baby gnaw on my fingers), but I do want pretty hands, so I checked out one of the products mentioned: Moisture Jamzz moisturizing gloves. The gloves come in a bevy of sizes and types (for women! for men! for tweens!), with designs ranging from classic white to sexed-up leopard print. With a little spandex added for stretch, the mostly-cotton gloves are part of an easy-peasy, two-step process: lotion up your hands, put on the gloves, and go about your business. 

The designs are cute -- these could make good stocking stuffers for any hand-obsessed friends. And there's a line of socks, for people like me whose hands are fine but whose feet could use a little TLC. Best of all, they're only $12 -- a price I'm very willing to pay!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rock the (Natural) Vote

You know how it goes: you buy the yummy-smelling cream in the soothing green jar with artfully-illustrated botanicals. You get home, slather it on, and then check out the ingredients: petroleum, red dye #2, the blood of baby seals, etc.... Don't you wish there were a way to scope out products at a glance?

Here's your chance to cheer for a label designation that means something: Vote Natural. The official campaign is sponsored by Burt's Bees and the folks at the Natural Products Association. It's also endorsed by Julianne Moore, but you didn't need celeb cred, did you? Here's what you're voting for:

  • The product must be made up of at least 95% truly natural ingredients, or ingredients that are derived from natural sources
  • No ingredients with any potential suspected human health risks 
  • No processes that significantly or adversely alter the purity/effect of the natural ingredients
  • Ingredients that come from a purposeful, renewable/plentiful source found in nature (flora, fauna, mineral)
  • Unnatural ingredients only when viable natural alternative ingredient are unavailable and only when there are absolutely no suspected potential human health risks

I'm a longtime fan of Burt's Bees products (especially their Baby Bee collection, which I use myself as well as put on my own two kids). But really this is about voting for an official seal of approval (much like the "organic" label for food) for personal care products that actually has enforceable statements behind it. Extra special goodies: Vote here and you could win a $500 worth of Burt's Bees products!

Monday, September 22, 2008

For Travel: Laura Mercier's Undercover Pot

Ah, Autumn. Falling leaves, bonfires, and jaunts over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house. Unfortunately, what it also means is sharing bedrooms and bathrooms with your grown siblings. And, all nostalgia for the strains of "You sunk my battleship!" aside, these visits have new rules: namely, that your shower kit and makeup bag be as small and portable as possible.

Here's a product that's perfect for those hasty moments when you're applying makeup as your later-rising relatives are pounding at the bathroom door: The Undercover Pot from Laura Mercier.

Behold the holy trinity of coverup: the single pot holds all your best products in a single divided container. A top layer divides into a camouflage half and a concealer half, tackling zits and dark circles in one fell swoop. A bottom compartment opens to provide translucent powder, salvation from the shiny T-zone that has been your bane in family photographs lo, these many years.

You'll look holiday gorgeous -- as long as you ditch the matching holiday sweaters.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Potential dangers of untested supplements

I found this New York Times article on the hidden dangers of supplements to be a little unsettling. The piece focuses on some aryuvedic supplements and lead levels and pulls out to talk a little about the lack of testing on other types of supplements as well. (In other words, the writer isn't piling on aryuvedic practices or supplements.)

Frankly, the fact that some supplements are untested (or not tested by independent labs) and potentially dangerous isn't news -- charlatanism, quackery, and snake oil are as old as mankind. But the kinds of questions I'd want to ask about complementary medicine include: Are there "alternative" medicines that DO undergo rigorous testing? Can we trust the results? Who's watching the watchers in the case of non-FDA-approved, alternative medicines? It's obvious that we can't trust sellers fully -- as the article states, over 20% of the 193 products bought online from American and Indian websites contained lead, mercury, or arsenic. (My skepticism is aimed at big pharma, too -- think of all the medicinal recalls you've read of recently.)

I also found it interesting that most of the people in the article utilizing the supplements were doing so for skin problems like cystic acne. It's a tough call -- would you rather have a potentially dangerous "natural" treatment for a serious skin condition, or take something like Accutane, where even a single dose can cause horrible birth defects if you get pregnant while taking it? The article's subject is important, but it's just describing the tip of the iceberg.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Clean and Clear for senior year (like, awesome!)

I recently attended my high school reunion. Hair highlighted? Check. Fresh makeup application? Check. Cute heels? Check. Then came the accessory to ruin it all: a nametag with my senior yearbook photo on it.

In the don't-let-this-happen-to-you category, we have a great treat for all Big Apple citizens in need of a photo to stand the test of time (or at least til your next big reunion): a cool promo to kick off the launch of the CLEAN & CLEAR Advantage Blackhead Eraser Exfoliating Cleanser.

CLEAN & CLEAR(R) is inviting teens to "Erase Their Worst Year Book Picture" at a pop-up photo studio in Times Square; New York City. On Saturday, September 20th from 12 noon to 4pm, teens can stop by for the chance to erase their worst school yearbook picture and replace it instantly with a stylish headshot. Cosmetic and Medical Dermatologist, Dr. Gervaise Gerstner of Wexler Dermatology in New York City will be on-hand to offer skincare consultations, and an all-star team of celebrity hair and make-up artists will touch-up teens for the shoot. Teens will then leave the photo booth with a backpack containing the CLEAN & CLEAR(R) Advantage(R) Blackhead Eraser(TM) Exfoliating Cleanser, a print copy of their photo, and their digital picture on a USB drive for easy uploading to their own social networking sites.

Actually, my skin wasn't so bad in that pic. The curled-under bangs and the goofy smile? Much harder to live down.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dewy is the new Matte

Those of you whose fall begins in September and October have a jump on those of us in states where cooler weather doesn't even breeze in til November. You're enjoying the deeper shades and matte makeup of autumn while we're still peering into our summer bags for our peachy-pink lipgloss.

But this little number just may bridge the beauty gap for all of us: Clinique's new Blushwear Cream Stick, part of their new "Modern Matte" line for Fall 2008. It goes on like a cream (i.e., it's blendable) and dries like a powder. The shades are just light enough for LA and just deep enough for New York, with a color called "Glow" that's great for an all-over bronzing effect.

For those of you still fanning yourselves in the heat, it's a great way to cozy up to fall -- and at less than $20, it's far less expensive than a leaf-peeping vacation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's... Alive! (your skin, that is...)

Recently I was on, looking for some juicy dishing on new products via their new "Ratings and Reviews" system. I love the tell-it-sister nature of learning about a product via people who have bought and used it. (And something tells me that Sephora's R&R will be more fun than, say, reading Amazon reviews.) The review system has only been up a week, so it's time for everyone to get over there and spill your guts about your raves, faves, and guilty pleasures!

Anyway -- in the new product section I came across this: Alive! by Tricia Sawyer. Tagline: "A moisturizing enhancer infused with botanical oils and color to give skin the look and feel of being alive."

Well, I thought my skin was already alive, but just in case I need help convincing others, this product is easily applied (hmm) "over existing skincare regimens and foundation." The thought of applying anything over foundation makes me want to break out on the spot, but you know what? The sweet phrase "sheer rosy bronze" is making me take a second look. At $36 it's a pricey buy for an unknown, but here's hoping I can go into the actual store and test the product. If you've test-driven this one, skedaddle over to Sephora and kick that ratings system into high gear!

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Rosewood (spa) by any other name...

Recently the Rosewood Hotels & Resorts group opened up a lovely new property, The Mansion on Peachtree, here in Atlanta. I was with a group of women who were there for a professional dinner. Then came a tour of the Spa. It was a stop-the-presses moment. You could see all of us eyeing each other, thought bubbles looming over our heads like "if I hide under this massage table, I can be first in line in the morning." Everything was in restful shades of brown, cream, and blue, from the smallest details on the shelves to the gently-pattering fountains. We spoke in whispers -- the sheet threadcounts and luminous tile really did say "hallowed ground," I swear.

Now, I'm more of an Everygirl. I know that my lot in life is not to visit spaces like these every week (or, sadly, every month). And I'm not the coveting sort. But if I write the next Harry Potter, or discover how to cure cellulite, or somehow inherit a fortune from a long-lost Hilton relative? You'd have to pry me out of Spa 29 by my cold, dead -- and exquisitely-manicured -- hands.

Intrigued? Check out a sister Mansion/Rosewood spa in Dallas, New York, or California. And report back to us. Was it good for you, too?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Look like an angel

So the other day I happened to catch an interview with Lil of Seraphim Skincare on our local news morning variety show. What I saw -- a simple routine for better skin, focusing on retin-A products applied with an easy-peasy 2-step technique. Lil's no-BS manner and warm personality (and great skin!) drew me to check out the website, where I took a look at the amazing before and after pics. Her skin really does look younger, with nary a freckle in sight. When I punched up the product listing, I saw the terms "peel and bleach" -- which would normally have me running away like a bandit. But based on what I saw on the TV how-to, the peeling is nothing more than a good exfoliation. And let's face it: like most women, I use SPF but not consistently, and could use a little turn-back-the-clockage on a few sunspots. If you're scared of retin-A, you may want to take a second look and see what the technique can do for you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Afraid of the Dark (Circles)?

I have dark circles under my eyes. There's no good way to ignore them as you get older -- what may have been alluring shadows in your twenties just make you look haggard in your thirties. But for a lark I went in to a local beauty boutique for a mini-makeup session and came out with a product that really made my skirt fly up: the Magic Wand by Face Stockholm. I've used and liked other concealers, but this one really pulls the rabbit out of the hat and makes it tap dance.

What I love: there's no cakey or thick feeling -- this stuff melts right into your skin with a few soft pats. And I swear it reflects light. After sleepless nights (I have two kids in diapers -- hear that tiny violin playing?), this stuff can make me look fresh as a daisy in seconds. I love it so much I subjected my mom to a driveby de-circling, and she looked amazing as well. My other concealers are languishing in a drawer, and the best part is that at only $30, this could be a fabulous weapon in anyone's look-younger arsenal.