Monday, May 05, 2008

As Seen on MNB

Ms. New Beauty has decidedly unique preferences in television. She loves Gossip Girl but will only watch episodes that have been recorded on her DVR, never the live broadcast and she can never watch repeats. But with any of the seasons or cities of the Real Housewives, MNB can watch over and over and over again. She also has an equally fickle relationship with some of her favorite Food Network chefs. She can only watch two episodes of Rachel Ray per week before the canned goofy/perkiness starts to wear her out - seriously, who really prefers to call a sandwich a sammie? Who? - but the absolutely divine over-the-top antics of the Neely's never fails to amuse Ms. New Beauty. Quite possibly her strangest tv habit is her love affair with infomercials. Since the time she got a television in her room as a child, MNB has delighted in watching these 30 minute long commercials. Her favorites tend to be any kind of cleaning or cooking products. Ms. New Beauty practically knows the dialogue for the Ron Popeil Showtime Rotisserie Grill and absolutely adores the perky redhead of a certain age who can always whip up a five course meal with just a can of soda, some frozen fruit and the latest stovetop cooking innovation. Of course, MNB enjoys a good skincare or mineral makeup informercial. Despite all this consumer-centric viewing, Ms. New Beauty has never bought anything off of an infomercial. Recently, she did find herself in the As Seen on TV aisle of her local Duane Reade and ended up picking up one little gadget that's going to be her savior for sandal season.

The Ped-Egg

When I first saw the very cheesy commercial for this little gadget, I immediately rolled my eyes and changed the channel. See, I've been scrubbing my feet with a pumice stone in the shower every day since I was about 14 years old. That few minutes followed by a good body cream and white cotton socks has been keeping my feet baby soft ever since. I had absolutely no intention of modifying or supplementing my pedi maintenance routine. But, after spending a good 30 minutes in a Duane Reade that only had 5 minutes worth of interesting products, I ended up wandering down the As Seen on TV aisle. And sitting right in front of me, looking innocent enough, was this little foot scraper. Since the price was cheap enough, I figured, why not?

I was actually very pleased with the results. First, this comes with a filing blade that looks like rows of menacing razors but is in fact quite gental. Just a simple back and forth motion gently filed the dead skin away and buffed the new skin soft and smooth. There's a collection cap on top that holds all of the filings and it can be a little jarring to see just how crusty your tootsies were. But be careful. I found that when I was particularly rigorous with the buffing, some of the dust fell through the holes and ended up on my floor. What I really liked about this was the fact that you use on dry skin, not in the shower. That means anytime your heels are looking a little ragged, you can handle the situation right on the spot - no waiting to get home or into your nail tech's chair.

$9.99, available at Target and drugstores
Keep those feet soft and smooth for your sandals, and don't be too scared to try what you see on TV, but just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hit The Bricks

Ms. New Beauty has spent the last six months or so anxiously, breathlessly, kid-on-Christmas-Eve-ly, waiting for the arrival of spring. This winter has just been full of gray dreary skies and rainy days and MNB was over it about three hours after it began. But, last week, it seemed that spring had finally sprung. The skies were blue and sunny. The birds in the tree by Ms. New Beauty's front door started chirping and 4 am and kept it going all day long. And, flowers had started to push their way up through the earth and bloom just outside her window. All was right in New Beautyland. Of course, MNB started adjusting both her clothing and cosmetic wardrobes to this welcomed change in climate. She started skipping the socks that had become a mandatory staple, regardless of footwear. Her heavy winter moisturizer was replaced by a heavenly light and refreshing new face lotion (new post on that later). Ms. New Beauty's favorite adjustment was to her bronzing routine. MNB gets helplessly pasty in winter (yes, brown girls get pasty too) and her regular golden bronzer was the only thing that kept her from looking like a victim of the Bubonic Plague. But, now that the weather's getting warmer, and her complexion is coming back into its own luminosity, Ms. New Beauty is adjusting with a finer shade of shimmer.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Apricot

When I first walked up to the Bobbi Brown counter, I knew this was the shimmer brick that I wanted. I have two or three other bronzers that work well, but they're all pretty much the same golden hue. Some have more shimmer, some have less, but they're all still gold - which is heavenly in winter for a nice natural glow. But for spring, I wanted something a little more understated and a little more fresh.

This palette of five shades achieves that look perfectly for me. Ranging from pure ivory to gold, bronze and the warmest peach, these colors blend so well and give the softest glow. Because all of the colors are peachy, they naturally have the yellow undertones that work with most complexions and especially complement brown skin. What I really and truly love about this is how finely milled the powder is. There are no big specks of glitter or chunky shimmer that just stands out on your face. The powder is so fine that just the quickest swipe of a fluffy brush is like creating your own mood lighting for your face. Just a few strokes across my cheekbones and temples, and I'm lit from within and absolutely glowing like I've just done three back to back Bikram yoga session followed by a restful nap that would make Sleeping Beauty jealous.

$38, available at Bobbi Brown counters

(hint, hint New Beauties - we are deep in the midst of retail's friends and family season. Last weekend was Lord & Taylor and Saks, and this weekend is Macy's. Check your emails or send out some requests to a few friends so you can print out the coupons and stock up on your beauty goodies on the cheap).

Put some spring in your step, and then put a little on your face, but just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Battle of the Primers

More than a few times recently, Ms. New Beauty has had ridiculously long days. Most people wake up, go to work, and come back home. In MNB's life, it's been more like wake up, go to work, get dinner, maybe a few cocktails, head out to some social event, stumble in the house way past midnight, do it all over again the next day. With days this long, Ms. New Beauty of course has to rely on makeup that will go on easily in the morning and keep on kicking until it's time to take it off. Pressed powder and cheek stain pretty much keep her complexion in tact. Her mascara is so good, it doesn't come off unless she uses an eye makeup remover. But keeping her eye shadow in tact always proved to be a struggle. The color that looks great in the morning is creased and all but evaporated by evening, unless MNB gets a little help from her friends - her primer friends that is.

MAC Paint Pot in Painterly

I first told you about this amazing find a few months back. The paint pot is itself a cream eye shadow with a water base. Use your finger to smooth it on and it dries almost instantly and lasts all day. Painterly is a creamy shade that works beautifully as a primer under my darker eye shadow looks. I just smooth it on before applying my eye shadow and the color lasts all day. There is no creasing whatsoever with this on my lids, and that is a really big deal given how oily my lids can get after just a few hours.

But I do have one gripe with using this as a primer. Light eye shadow colors just don't read well when layered on top of this. Because this is actually meant to be used as an eye shadow on its own, the creamy white color doesn't disappear into your lids. And, given my cocoa complexion, it really stands out. Every time I've tried to do a light or shimmery look on top of this, the white still shows through. So of course, you know I went out looking for something that would work under any shadow and still last all day.

$16.50, available at MAC counters

Urban Decay Eye Shadow Priming Potion

I first heard of this primer when I stumbled upon this blog post about just how much product gets trapped in the oddly shaped tube. A few hours of web surfing later, and I realized two things - one, there are all kinds of makeup videos on youtube (seriously, I saw enthralled watching all kinds of different women doing all kinds of different eye shadow looks for at least three hours) and two, absolutely every one of these women primed their lids with this potion first. That was all it took for me to put this on my shopping list for my next trip out to the beauty counters.

This primer is very creamy and packs a big punch. It took me a few days of using it before I actually got the right amount onto my lids because it's very easy to apply too much. Too much of this primer will leave a white residue on your lids that really stands out if your complexion is on the deeper end of the spectrum. The creamy formula goes on really smooth so just a few pats with your ring finger will cover your entire eye lid. It does take about a minute or so for it to fully absorb and dry. Once it does, it's almost invisible and any color eye shadow goes on seamlessly on top of it. The important part is that the eye shadow really lasts throughout your day. I have found that there was just a little creasing, but seriously, just a little.

$16, available at Sephora

So, this post is titled the "Battle of the Primers" because I was really looking to find the best primer on the market. But, the truth is, I like and use them both. Neither is perfect and they both have their own strengths and uses. For my smokey eyes, I go for the MAC and for the light shimmery looks, it's the Urban Decay. If only more battles and wars could end like this.

Live a life as fast as you want, and know that your makeup will be able to keep up, but just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Drive-by Beauty

Yesterday, Ms. New Beauty had the longest day of her life. She left the house at 8 am and didn't make it back until 4 o' clock the next morning. MNB put in a full day at work and then had a full evening scheduled after. The plan was to meet her boyfriend for a quick drink and then head over to Radio City to see the Katt Williams comedy tour. After the drinks and jokes, next up was dinner and then a cab ride downtown to celebrate a friend's birthday at a club. Add in the fact that yesterday in New York was cold, cloudy, rainy day. Obviously, it took a herculean effort for Ms. New Beauty to find the right outfit that would work in the office and then carry her through her whirlwind night all the while keeping her looking chic despite the weather. MNB put together just the right look for the day but as she was leaving work and heading uptown for her cocktails and comedy, she realized that her makeup was badly in need of a refresh. Unfortunately, Ms. New Beauty had left her emergency cosmetics bag at home. So she did what any woman in her situation would do - she headed right to her nearby Sephora to touch up her look and to try some new products. And, she found some new favorites in the process.

Phyto Phyto 9 Daily Ultra Nourishing Botanical Cream

As any woman who straightens her hair will tell you, the weather is not your friend. Even the threat of rain can take you from smooth and silky to frizzy in an instant. Yesterday was no different for me. The rain and the fog undid all of the work that I put in with my curling iron as soon as I stepped out of the front door. The worst offender of all was the constant mist floating down from the sky all day. It's so fine that an umbrella is just no protection at all. Needless to say, my hair was at the top of the my to-do list when I walked into Sephora.

I was looking for a product that smooth and moisturize without drying up and leaving my hair hard and crunchy. This balm perfectly fit the bill. It delivered a power punch of moisture to my edges and roots, also known as the new growth. It left my hair softened without the slightest bit of greasiness and smoothed everything down without being too watery. My only regret is that I did not buy it right then and there because I was in such a rush. But this is definitely coming home with me the next time I step into Sephora.

$26, available at Sephora

Carol's Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey

Here's another hair product I needed yesterday. You thought I was joking, huh? I said that the weather completely did number on my hair and I was serious. My ends were so parched that every time I ran my finger through my hair I heard "me want agua" whispered in my ear. Clearly this got annoying after the third or fourth time. I knew after I got my front laid down, I had to find something to handle the back

At first I hesitated about using this kind of product on my hair. I have a lot of hair, but it's really fine. Anything with too much oil will weigh my strands down in a nanosecond and a lot of natural hair products, especially those marketed to women of color, can be too much for my hair. But I was pleasantly surprised by this pomade. It emulsified in my hands almost immediately and left a light citrus scent on my hair. Even more important, my ends drank it up! I swear I almost heard my hair belch afterwards. All the moisture I needed with no heaviness or greasiness. But be forewarned, less is definitely more. Just a dab'll do ya.

$9.50, available at Sephora

NARS Blush in Taos

The last thing I needed to ready myself for my whirlwind night was a boost to my complexion. In the morning, I typically use a quick dab of cheek stain to give a little color to my face because I can do it almost without looking. Just a few quicks dabs of product and then a quick blend with my fingers and I'm ready to go. It takes less than 30 seconds. But when I have more time, I love my powder blush and NARS Taos has been my go to color since I first discovered it four years ago. If you read magazines and beauty blogs a lot, you've probably heard of NARS Orgasm already. It's a pinky peach blush and while it's perfectly nice, it is not, and I repeat not, universally flattering as it has often been called. While I'm sure it works on plenty of women and changed lives around the globe, Orgasm does not look good on everyone, particularly me. For complexions on the deeper end of the color spectrum, Orgasm can be too shimmery and border on looking ashy.

This is where Taos steps in to fill the void. Taos is a rosy shade with just enough coral and peach to bring out of the warmth of a darker skin tone. And, it has a very fine milled hint of golden shimmer that just makes my skin glow. NARS blushes are very, very pigment rich so a big fluffy brush is a must to keep the look natural, which is why I normally skip it in the morning. But for evening, it always brings my look together. The challenge yesterday was applying it in Sephora without the aid of my favorite Kevin Aucoin brush. Ever the resourceful one, I found a way to use those cotton rounds to buff and blend the color to perfection.

$25, available at Sephora

Take yourself from early morning through late night, and make a quick stop to refresh the sexy if you need to, but just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Glow To Go

As Ms. New Beauty mentioned before, she just started a new job. She's delighted to inform you all that she's really enjoying herself. The work is challenging. The people are nice. And, the culture could not be more suited to MNB's personality. But, she does have one small gripe. The lighting in the women's bathroom. On her first, Ms. New Beauty took extra care to spruce up her normal routine with a little extra coverage and color where she needed it only to be absolutely dismayed on her first run to the ladies' room. The lighting made her look like an absolute hag! Under the daylight outdoors she looked great. Under the flourescents at her desk, she was flawless. MNB looked great everywhere - except in that bathroom. She doesn't know how and she doesn't know why but somewhere along the line, Ms. New Beauty pissed that light bulb off and it was determined to make her pay for it. Each day, MNB subtly adjusted her daily routine to compensate for the horrors waiting for her in that bathroom mirror. A switch from gel bronzer to powder. Just a dab of liquid foundation instead of a few pats of her stick formula. And, just a few swirls of a fab new blush to bring it all together.

Three Custom Color Ski Bunny Lip & Cheek Stain

My all time favorite and most flattering shade of blush is always in the berry family. Something about that sheer red, with just subtle hints of pink and purple, always works wonders for my skin. And, that combo tends to be perfect for a million other complexions as well. This lip and cheek stain falls square into that raspberry color family. Though it looks decidedly crimson in the compact, it has just the right combination of other tones to look completely natural on my cheeks. The formula is quite sheer, so I can layer and blend and layer and blend until my heart's, and cheeks', content. This can double as a lip stain as well, though I only use it as a blush. I tend to like my lip color to be as close to my natural color as possible during the day.

Now, loyal New Beauties will know that Tarte Cheek Stain is one of my all time favorite products. Ever. It takes a lot for me to turn my back on my baby. The one thing that this has going for it over the Tarte is portability and a built in mirror. I can drop this in my bag on my way out the door and apply my blush on the my walk to the bus. Add in a quick slick of lip gloss and I'm fabulous and ready to start the day. Take that, you damned light in the bathroom!

$20.50, available at

Look good under any lighting, and take the products that help you do it with you wherever you go, but just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

It's Been A Long Time

MNB shouldn't have left you, without a dope post to step to. Step to, step to, step to. Hey there New Beauties! Ms. New Beauty knows that it's been a month of Sundays since she's posted and she's tres sorry. Life has just been going a mile a minute, she started a new job the day after she interviewed for it. So, with trying to adjust to a new office and get up to speed on her new work, by the time she gets off, it's all MNB can do to wash off the day's makeup, let alone blog about it. But never fear, she's got a fresh new batch of posts coming this week - here's a quick teaser
  • Mascara Mania - reviewing a whole mess of mascaras
  • Tech Beauty - the latest in at home, high tech beauty treatments
  • The Perfect Hand Healer - finally found it!
  • Gobble Be Gone
  • The Clash of The Primers
So scoot back from the edge of your seats, the goodness is coming.

Even though sometimes it takes her a while, don't forget that Ms. New Beauty will always end up telling you!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Oily Girl's Burden

Ms. New Beauty is a firm believer in the motto "practice what you preach." And, she tries to do the best that she can. She recycles her plastic bottles because she announced her commitment to going green. She's following her passions because she's gotten on friends for ignoring their own. MNB is so committed to practicing what she preaches because she cannot stand hypocrites. Especially the hypocrites that tell women one thing and then do the other. Like the female celebrities who tone up and drop ten pounds by living on a combo of caffeine, cigarettes and five hour daily workouts, but then claim that they owe those abs all to yoga. Since Ms. New Beauty lovingly dispenses her own beauty advice, rantings and ravings to the world on this site, she has to admit the times when she's fallen short. Though she knows the importance, MNB sometimes skipped her sunscreen. It wasn't that she didn't want sun protection or just felt like being lazy. It was because as an oily girl, a lot of sunscreens just left her way too shiny to be a faithful user, even the ones billed as "oil free." It was the Oily Girl's Burden - skipping products you know you need just for the sake of not wanting to bring sand to the beach, so to speak. But Ms. New Beauty knew better. So instead of just skipping it altogether, she got serious about finding sunscreens that work for an oily complexion and she did!

Boscia Oil-Free Daily Hydration SPF 15

I'm sure this is a side effect of the world's favorite color being green lately, but I find myself paying natural and organic skin care lines a lot more attention. Recent news about the number of chemicals that the FDA bans from use in cosmetics (like 7) and the comparable number banned by the EU (like 300) has me being a lot more conscious about what I'm putting on my body. Boscia specializes in preservative-free products that are packed full of natural botanicals. And, since I'm always on the look out for a good sunscreen that won't leave me greasy, I tried this with very little hesitation.

I'm glad that I did because I love the results. This is the most lightweight and easily absorbed sunscreen that I have ever tried. At first, I was wary of the super light consistency. I was afraid that it would be too thin and leave certain areas of my face feeling dry against the winter air so I layered it over my normal moisturizer. Even then, the finish on my skin was still flawless. No shine, no heavy feeling, no greasy buildup after a few minutes. My face just felt clean and soft and it looked even better. My skin was matte with no shine, not even in my t-zone. Eventually, I moved to just using it by itself and I found that the results were the same. My skin was neither dry nor oily. It was that perfect flawless happy medium.

$27, available at Sephora

Cosmedicine Medi-Matte Oil Control Lotion SPF 20

If an absolutely matte finish is what you demand from your sunscreen, this is the ultimate choice. Medi-Matte is a thick, creamy white sunscreen that's about the consistency of Elmer's school glue. It actually feels just a little tacky on your fingers when you smooth it on. Normally, a texture that's anything but divine is enough for me to tell a product to hit the bricks. But, I can't with this one because it really delivers. It leaves my skin absolutely matte. Even my ever defiant nose, who just loves to get her little shine on right in the middle of my face, was no match for this sunscreen. And, after giving it a minute or two to really absorb, that tackiness goes away and leave a smooth finish behind. Plus the sun protection is right where it needs to be (anything above SPF 15 is good for everyday use) and the formula actually keeps oil and shine under control throughout the day.

Now, I do find that this is a little too thick to use on the hottest of hot days. It works, but the heaviness just makes my skin feel smothered and I soon start to "glow." (Ladies don't perspire, we glow). But this is perfect for days when the sun is high, but the temperature is still reasonable. I am going to be using this from now through the spring and right on until the beginning of summer. Any temperature below 75 would be perfect for this.

$42, available at Sephora

Protect your skin oily girls, and stop worrying about added the added burdens of most sunscreens, and don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

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