For a sheer summer glow, I’m loving Crème Cheek Colour in Oleander, $22, by Laura Mercier.
This is a great product because it’s a breeze to apply, blends easily and it’s hard to put on too much – it’s just too lightweight. I don’t wear foundation so instead I daub this on the apples of my cheeks, forehead and neck to enhance whatever color I get from the sun. (I also use Mercier’s Secret Concealer, $22.)
Small and compact, this blush doesn’t require a brush. It won’t take up much space in a makeup bag, making it ideal for travel and handy to pop in a little evening bag. And it comes with a mirror so touch-ups are a snap.
I would definitely recommend trying the colors in person at a department store because, at least for me, Oleander shows up on the Mercier web site as a bright pink when in fact it’s much rosier.
Product Source: From my own collection; I did not receive product or compensation from Mercier.
Paris was a great chance to test a few products and Maybelline Stiletto Ultimate Precision liquid eyeliner, $7.50, was a fab find.
After lounging too long over coffee and pain au chocolat, I’d often be in a hurry to get ready and Stiletto was quick to apply. The thin felt tip is easy to control so you can create a soft feathery line or a thick dramatic band. The color is sheer, soft and stays put, without flakes or smears, even after a busy day of exploring the city.
Alas, the stilettos shown in this picture didn’t fare as well. Flats were my shoe of choice and the heels stayed parked outside my suitcase.
Product Source: I received a review sample from Maybelline. I did not receive compensation.
I realize I’ve been remiss in my eyeliner updates. There have been so many noir movie events in April and May, I have, alas, fallen behind. But I have squirreling away tubes and sampling them when I can.
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with Voluminous Eyeliner Mistake-Proof Marker by L’Oréal, $7. The felt tip is slanted so you can choose a thin line (use the pointed tip) or a thick line (use the slanted side).
Once you get it on, it does stay put and wears well; it also removes easily. But mistake proof? Not so much. Though the company says the flow of liquid is controlled and continuous, the tip itself doesn’t give you much juice so, in terms of ease of use, I was a little disappointed.
The key, I found, is a light touch. Because it’s a marker I was tending to hold the tube with the same strong grip that I would hold a Sharpie. That is not the way to apply – instead, easy does it! Voluminous is pretty good for a soft line, especially along lower lashes. Only $7, it’s worth a try, especially if you want to go a bit lighter for summer.
Product Source: From my own collection; I did not receive product or compensation from L’Oréal.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” said Leonardo da Vinci. Somehow I don’t think he had beauty routines or vanity tables in mind when he said this but you never know. He was a Renaissance man, after all.
I recently found a new product that’s really rather captivating in its simplicity, Bulgari’s Jasmin Noir body cream. The plain black jar, minimally adorned with a single gold band, catches the eye. The rich, yet light, cream is a joy to use, keeps skin summer-soft and eliminates the need for any other fragrance.
Earlier this week, I slathered some on after a shower and then dashed out the door for a blowout. “You smell fantastic. What is that?” Nava, the stylist, asked me as she washed my hair. Leaning back, with my feet up, it was the perfect way to relish the feeling of well being and pampering.
Bulgari says it was drawn to jasmine for its “intriguing ambivalence and complexity,” noting that the flower’s scent changes hour by hour. “At dawn, the translucent white flower has a fresh and delicate scent, then at midday it releases a citrusy fragrance that recalls orange blossoms, which then transforms in the evening into the characteristically warmer, more seductive notes.”
Perfect for a femme fatale, no? Also available: soap, bath & shower gel, body lotion and perfume. Bulgari’s Jasmin Noir Body Cream is $90 for 6.9 ounces. To buy it, visit Neiman Marcus.
Best of all, I have an extra jar for this month’s reader giveaway! To enter, just leave a comment on any FNB post, June 1-30. The winner will be randomly selected at the end of the month and announced in early July. Include your email address in your comment so that I can notify you if you win. Your email will not be shared. (The winner of the April giveaway has been selected and contacted.)
Product Source: Bulgari has provided a product for review and a product to give away to a reader. I did not receive compensation.
Add a bit of spice to your routine this week with a retro fragrance that has been around since the 1920s. The spicy Oriental scent was reportedly a popular choice among American GIs of World War II looking to bring a bit of Euro-glam back to their stateside sweethearts.
According to Fragantica, Maja is a mix of nutmeg, carnation, patchouli, cloves, vetiver, rose and geranium. The liquid soap also has olive oil extracts to moisturize.
But what caught my eye was packaging, a mysterious Spanish dancer against a black background. What man could resist her? 😉 And at $9.95 for 8.5 fluid oz., it’s easy on the wallet; available at beauty-supply stores and Maja Soaps.
While I’m a fan of the liquid soap, I can’t vouch for other fragrance products. Alas, according to several sites, Myrurgia (part of Barcelona-based Puig) decided to reformulate “the scent of seduction, Spanish passion.” This decision did not sit well with loyal fans, some of whom likened the reformulation to cheap aftershave.
Here’s hoping that the vintage scent will make a comeback. Well, stranger things have happened.
Product source: From my own collection; I did not receive product or compensation from Maja.
Few things in life are more important than serendipity when shopping. It’s sort of like when you stay in the moment and become open to happy coincidences and new connections.
While recently browsing around my local boutiques, I stumbled upon products from Mor Cosmetics, the 10-year-old brainchild of Melbourne-based designers Dianna Burmas and Deon St. Mor.
Finding inspiration in traditional apothecary practices, they blend “age-old and contemporary ingredients” to create their pretty, pampering products (they have about 150). The packaging draws on the classicism of Art Deco and it’s so pretty, there’s really no need to wrap if you’re buying gifts.
I picked three items from the Little Luxuries/Cassis Noir collection. The lip nectar gloss ($14*) looks great alone or with lipstick and it has just the right amount of peppermint oil to give a pleasant sensation without actually tingling. Mor’s triple-milled, softly scented soapette ($9*) cleanses and moisturizes. The tins are, of course, reusable. The hand cream ($12*) contains shea and cocoa butter as well as vitamins to leave your hands feeling silky and well cared for.
If you don’t already, these hip products with a nod to the past will have you yearning for a vanity table, a half-moon manicure, silk stockings, a lacy brassiere and a girdle. OK, maybe not a girdle, but you get the idea. 😉
Product Source: From my own collection; I did not receive product or compensation from Mor.
*These are base prices – if you buy online, there are shipping charges (starting at $8.50); if you buy at a store, you may pay more than the base price. For example, I paid $20 for the lip gloss at a boutique in Brentwood. Visit Mor’s web site for details and for a store locator (on the Contact page).
Winners of the April giveaway have been selected and contacted. One will receive “Blow Out,” Brian DePalma’s 1981 neo-noir thriller starring John Travolta. The movie was recently rereleased by Criterion. The other winner will receive a copy of “The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It,” a book by Sharrie Williams.
For the May giveaway, I am giving away a copy of my friend and former colleague Robert K. Elder’s book: “The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark.” Directors include: Danny Boyle, Peter Bogdanovich, John Dahl, Henry Jaglom, Guy Maddin, Atom Egoyan, Richard Linklater, John Woo, John Landis, Neil LaBute and John Waters.
(Meanwhile, Rob has a new book out called, “It Was Over When: Tales of Romantic Dead Ends,” based on stories compiled via his web site of the same name.)
To enter the May giveaway, just leave a comment on any FNB post through May 31. The winner will be randomly selected at the end of the month and announced in early June. Include your email address in your comment so that I can notify you if you win. Your email will not be shared.
Despite my long-standing devotion to classic black eyeliner, I’ve recently become smitten with midnight blue. It still defines and opens the eye, but gives you a slightly softer, lighter look that’s perfect for summer. Yves Saint Laurent’s Eyeliner Moiré liquid liner in No. 8/Marine Reflections, $34, is a great color to try. Deep blue and tinged with purple, it’s flattering for any eye color.
The small, squared-off brush lends itself to precision. It lets you grab a nice dollop of liquid or a just a little bit, depending on how thick you want your line to be. It’s also very easy to layer so that you can start with a gentle daub and add more to heighten intensity. The proportions of cap to tube, a seemingly minor point, make a difference in terms of holding and handling the brush and YSL has nailed this aspect.
YSL’s formula is long wearing and flake-resistant, though it seems to do a better job staying put on my top lash line than on the bottom. With hot weather approaching, I may skip the bottom line and just use a little waterproof mascara on the bottom lashes.
Product Source: From my own collection; I did not receive product or compensation from YSL.
Aah college … a taste of independence, man-packed parties, the luxury of spending an hour or more getting ready in the morning. Alas, the older I get, the less time it seems I have to pull myself together before rushing out the door. So to expedite the process, I thought I’d try a marker-tip eyeliner.
My first experiment: Le Stylo Liquid Eyeliner, $26, from Chantecaille, a New York-based cosmetics company with an emphasis on botanicals. It is perhaps best known for its natural-looking, translucent foundations. The brand name comes from French-born Sylvie Chantecaille, a beauty industry veteran, who founded the firm with her daughter in 1997; another daughter and her husband are also involved.
Chantecaille’s web site describes Le Stylo as “a dramatic, long-lasting liquid liner [that] delivers a highly precise thin line of color. … A specially designed applicator tip ensures optimal control in application, while a high percentage of water ensures intense, extreme color.”
And indeed it is a breeze to apply. The light formula makes it easy to blend the line with little mess. It’s also great because it doesn’t flake off throughout the day the way heavier liquid liners tend to do. That said, I can’t give it high marks on staying power. When I use it on lower lashes, even with a dusting of powder first, it fades by midday. It’s easy enough to reapply but, at $26 a tube, that was a little disappointing. More
Gerald C. has won March’s giveaway and will receive a copy of “Sweet Smell of Success,” recently rereleased by Criterion. For the April giveaway, I have two nice prizes and will pick two winners.
First, the lovely people at Criterion will provide a copy of Brian DePalma’s 1981 neo-noir thriller, “Blow Out,” starring John Travolta, Nancy Allen and John Lithgow. Extras include new interviews with DePalma and Allen.
Second, eyeing up a family drama: In 1915, when Tom Lyle Williams watched his sister Mabel fix her fire-singed lashes and brows with petroleum jelly, coal dust and ash, little did he know he was making a date with destiny. Read about the building of an iconic brand in “The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It,” a book by Sharrie Williams with Bettie Youngs.
To enter, just leave a comment on any FNB post from April 1-30. The winners will be randomly selected at the end of the month and announced in early May. Include your email address in your comment so that I can notify you if you win. Your email will not be shared.