Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ms. New Beauty Cheap & Chic

Ms. New Beauty fancies herself a versatile modern girl. She is equally at home in Neiman's and Target. When it comes to her beauty products, she does tend to favor the more expensive products. But, she doesn't want any of you dear readers to think that she doesn't appreciate a good CVS buy, as Ms. New Beauty really is a drugstore girl at heart. So, she's introducing a new feature here at MNB, solutions for your pressing beauty concerns at both price points - the Cheap and the Chic. Enjoy.

Foaming Facial Cleanser

DDF - Doctor's Dermatologic Formula Foaming Facial Cleanser, $28


AVEENO Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser, $8

Both are soap free, foaming cleansers with 2% salicylic acid to help exfoliate and clear up breakouts.

Eyebrow Pencils

Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil, $21


Milani Easy Brow Pencil, approx. $6

Both pencils are perfect for filling in brows and have a brow brush attached. The one disadvantage of the Milani is that it is not a traditional pencil. It's a soft push up pencil, so it's hard to sharpen, while the Anastasia can be used in any pencil sharpener. A sharp tip helps filled in brows look natural. However, if your eyebrows are naturally dark, Milani's black is the only way to go, as Anastasia's darkest shade is a dark brown.

Eye Makeup Remover

Lancome BI-FACIL Double Action Eye Makeup Remover, $23


E.L.F. Eyes Lips Face Eye Makeup Remover Pads, $1

Lancome Bi-facil is a fabulous eye makeup remover, but the ELF pads make eye makeup removal so, so simple. These you can use on the go and are so versatile for travel.

Loose Powder Eye Shadow

Bourjois Multi Shimmer Loose Eye Shadow, $16


Milani Loose Eye Shadow Powder, approx. $5

You all know that I feel that bright shadows are where you save your money. And for big color impact, loose powder shadows provide the best coverage, especially for darker skin tones. There is essentially no difference between these two products, only that Bourjois offers more shades.

Well, you can see that there are so many options for my ladies with champagne taste on a beer budget. I fully advocate spending the real money on foundation and skin color products, but for other things, you can totally save, especially when the product are almost identical

Try it, stay chic but be cheap, and don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Purse-sonal Inventory

Ms. New Beauty is going through a period of self-learning and development. Over the past six months or so, she's grown and learned a lot of things about who she is, what she likes, and what drives her. She's still learning, but there are a few things that Ms. New Beauty knows definitively about herself: she is not and will never be interested in any activity that could be described as "outdoorsy"; she cannot live in any metropolitan area that does not have a Neiman Marcus or comparable substitute; and she cannot carry a large handbag without testing its limits to see just how much it can really hold. This final fact has become particularly true during the past few weeks when MNB can never get to her phone before the caller hangs up because there are so many other things rolling around at the bottom of her bag.

Well, today I finally decided to take some inventory and see what really was in my purse. I'm not having any back or shoulder pain yet, but I just knew that I had to be carrying my whole life around with my in this bag. The long list is below, and includes quite a few of my favorite products.

Seeing this all typed out really puts into perspective all the things that I have inside my purse. This weekend, well maybe after my finals are over, but sometime in the next month, I am going to clean this purse out. I know my back will thank me.

Clean out your purse, save your shoulders and back, and don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Money Saver

Ms. New Beauty likes to think that she has a knack for picking the right products off the shelf, some kind of beauty product ESP. But, she is not infallible. Every so often she spends money on and gets excited about a new product only to be let down. Now is one of those times. You may be wondering why this post is titled Money Saver when MNB wasted her money (on a product she bought from a store with a "no returns" policy no less). Well, it's all about you ladies. Ms. New Beauty may have wasted her money, but you can save yours.

Save your money on Darphin Dark Circles & Depuffing Eye Serum. I get a little shadowy under the eyes. I'm not going to call them dark circles, just round areas that are a deeper hue than the rest of my skin. I have been faithfully applying this serum every day for the past month. I've even been using the figure 8 application technique recommended on the bottle. No improvement. None whatsoever.

The worst part, I'm actually perturbed that this product isn't working for me. It's not just that it's messing up my good product record. It's really that I bought this serum in an attempt to save money. I've been wanting to try Hylexin for months, but I couldn't justify spending $100 on eye cream. So what did I do? I spent $75 instead. I saved a few dollars by buying the Darphin, but not really - I'll end up buying the Hylexin cream anyway. I've heard that it's like a good night's sleep in a tube. I don't know how true that is yet, but it's convincing enough for me.

Save your money, use concealer instead, and don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Subscriber Services

It's back!! Ms. New Beauty has finally had time to attack the evergrowing pile of magazines on her kitchen table. Unfortunately, most of the December issues were nothing special. But, as always, The Beauty Bible, bka Allure, came through. Allure never disappoints the hardcore makeup junkies like MNB. The best part December fashion/beauty magazines is the holiday gift giving and party survival guides. Allure did a great job with both of those. Ms. New Beauty wants to know what's better than a step by step guide on how to go to work after a night of clubbing and drinking looking like Sleeping Beauty when she just woke up. Nothing!

If you don't have the time or money to read, or just can't expend the effort on flipping the pages, catch the highlights of the December issue of Allure here.

  • I didn't read the cover article on her because I'm like the only person in America who doesn't watch Grey's Anatomy, but Ellen Pompeo looks pretty on the cover
  • Beauty 101 - this month it's a step by step guide to putting on falsies. My favorite tool featured is the Sephora Lash Placement Kit. Allure recommends only wearing clumps of individuals, but the Sephora clamp is perfect for placing full rows of false lashes. If you pick ones with thin lashes and trim it to fit your eye, you really can't tell that they're fake.
  • Style 101 - tips on pulling off the wide leg pants of the season. Make sure your pants are long and fit snugly in the hips and butt and then hang loose. Pair with a delicate, lightweight top to keep the look sleek.
  • How to Hide Signs of a Hangover - written by dermatologist Katie Rodan, you might recognize her as one half of the team that created the fabulous Proactiv Solution
    • Before bed - slather on a face cream to keep skin feeling soft in the morning and try to sleep elevated on a few extra pillows to prevent puffiness and dark circles
    • Alcohol can increase oil production, so wash your face. But skip any acidic cleansers since skin is more sensitive during a hangover.
    • Use an eye cream with caffeine and a hydrocortisone cream to handle any inflammation. A few eye drops can take care of bloodshot eyes
    • Use a little foundation to cover any splotches or inflamed areas
    • Ms. New Beauty tip - line lower lashes with white eyeliner to open up eyes and make the whites of your eyes look whiter
  • The secret to a long lasting manicure - use basecoat and topcoat. Basecoat acts like glue to keep polish on and topcoat seals it in. Make sure to paint topcoat onto the end of each nail. If you still get chips, add a layer of nail hardener after the topcoat to make nails stiffer and prevent bending
  • Total Makeover Note - all the ladies look great but the first participant looks fabulous!! She lost almost 100 lbs and looks like a different person.
  • Thierry Mugler "Perfume" Collection Coffret - a collection of 15 scents based on a murder mystery novel has already sold out in Europe despite the $700 price tag and the fact that a few of the fragrances purposely smell like dirty hair, urine, grease, overripe cheese, and feces.
  • The article on getting the gifts you want is insightful. I just may try the gift drawer idea but I don't know if it works since my family tends to buy the presents they want you to have.
  • A new study suggests that rubbing sunscreen may decrease effectiveness. Spray on sunscreens that don't require rubbing may be the most effective. If you use creams or lotions, just wait a few minutes for it to absorb and then add another layer.
  • Presents Perfect - one of my favorite parts of this issue. My picks
    • Neiman Marcus Swarovski Crystal Dumbbells - I know I won't use them, but they just look so good.
    • Balenciaga's Toiletry Case
    • Bobbi Brown Gold Leath Deluxe Trunk
    • Bond No. 9 Pocket Spray - okay, I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for anything with Swarovski crystals. But, at least I haven't covered my cell phone in them - I will agree that it's tacky
    • Yves Saint Laurent Beaute Makeup Bracelet
  • Forecast for Spring - gold on eyes, full lashes, and nude lips. The way Pat McGrath layered gold over chocolate for the Versace runway is gorgeous!
  • A full holiday party survival guide, including makeup and hair tweaks that take your look from day to night, figuring out holiday dress codes, and the best way to handle the parties, from going it alone, to working the room and the best way to cancel
  • Objects Lust - 13 products that have achieved that ever-elusive but oh-so-coveted status as cult following
    • NYX Color Trio Eyeshadow
    • DiorShow Mascara
    • The Beautyblender
    • Tarte fRXtion
    • Boujois Suvoltee Waterproof Cream Eyeshadow
    • Jordana Cosmetics Eyeliner in Morning Coffee
    • Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup
    • Rubis Tweezers
    • Smashbos Photo Finish Foundation Primer - Ms. New Beauty recommended this one a while back
    • OPI Friar Friar Pants on Fire Nail Polish - don't you just love the names that OPI comes up with for their shades??
    • Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer
    • Fresh Here Comes the Sun Face Palette
    • Julie Hewitt Los Angeles Noir Lipsticks
  • The 5 Biggest Skin Sins (Product overload, Picking pimples, Overcleaning, Assuming your skin is sensitive, and Ignoring the neck and decollete) and the simple solutions for salvation

Don't bother reading it, because Ms. New Beauty already told you!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Endless Summer

It's warm outside and Ms. New Beauty is scared out of her mind. She's not paranoid, just wondering if all of those end of days prophecies on supermarket tabloids are finally coming true. It's mid-November and not one flake of snow, sleet, hale, or any other winter precipitation has fallen from the Boston sky. It's actually balmy today, MNB didn't even put on a coat when she walked nextdoor to use the free internet. It's 62 degrees today, and while that's nothing to be happy about for my ladies in perenially sunny climates like Florida and Cali, in Boston, anything above 60 is practically summer. So, in honor of the unseasonably warm winter, MNB is dedicating this post to two beauty workhorses that get a lot of attention in summertime, but really should be used year round - sunscreen and bronzer.


Ladies, if you don't read one more word and never come to see Ms. New Beauty again, please take this message and keep it close to your heart from now until forever - wear sunscreen EVERYDAY! Not just in the summer on when you're on vacay, everyday. That means days when it's cloudy, when you're only running from the car to the office, when you can't even see the sun. As long as it's light outside, you need to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Sunscreen is the best protection against skin cancer, a disesase which a growing number of young people are developing. And, on the slightly more superficial but no less important tip, sunscreen keeps you looking younger, longer. 90% of the signs of aging, like wrinkles and dark spots, are caused by sun damage. Oh, and black women, this public service announcement definitely includes you too. Sunscreen is not just for our paler sisters. The melanin in your skin does offer some sun protection benefits, but it is not enough alone. Supplement that natural protection with sunscreen.

Okay, spiel over, product review begin.

DDF Matte Finish Photo-Age Protection SPF 30

This is a great sunscreen for women with oily skin. Sunscreens come in two forms - chemical and physical. The chemical sunscreens filter out the bad rays, but they tend to be a bit on the greasy side. That can turn a naturally oily forehead into a high beam spotlight. This sunscreen though uses a physical sunscreen, a chemical that actually prevents the sun's rays from hitting the skin. The matte formula prevents any additional shine and keeps skin protected and looking smooth. One caveat - physical sunscreens tend to be white and can be hard to blend on darker skin tones. Women of color, if you use this product, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to blend it in before you leave the house or you will end up looking ashy, and that is never cute.

MD Skincare Suncreen Pads

Isn't it great that dermatologists are getting into the beauty business? We, the obsessive consumers, get the benefit of all of their knowledge and great products that work wonders. Both this sunscreen and the last one were developed by dermatologists.

These sunscreen pads are literally at the top of my best inventions of the new millenium. Time magazine picked YouTube, but they are sadly misinformed. These sunscreen pads come with an SPF 30 protection, they are packed with Vitamin C which has great anti-aging benefits for the skind, and best of all, they are so portable. You know how I love products that I can fit in my purse without weighing it down. No bigger than a wetnap but ten times more useful, these pads fit into my tiniest bags. And, one pad has the perfect amount of sunscreen to cover face, neck, and decollete. I use one in the morning and carry another with me during the day. This is a chemical sunscreen, so it can be a little greasy, but I like to follow with a mattifier for my problem areas and then a bronzer. It gives me a dewy look.


Bronzer isn't just a replacement for a real tan in the summer. It is a year round staple that gives women worldwide a healthy glow and look of inner warmth. It really is key to grabbing a hold of that ever elusive "natural" look. Bronzer adds color and sheen to the face in just the right places and when done right, you never can tell if she's born with it or maybe it's Maybelline.

Becca Brazilian Bronzing Sheen

I have been on a search for a great bronzer since summer ended and my "living my life like it's golden glow" gave way to the normal Massachusetts pastiness. You know it's bad when even a brown skin girl looks pasty. I tried a bunch of powder bronzers, but none of them offer the right amount of color for me. The basic rule is to use a bronzer one to two shades darker than your skin for a natural look of warmth. But for darker girls, you have to use a bronzer that's darker than your skin but still has a lot of gold in it to give you a glow. That's pretty hard to find. Most of the powders I tried were basically indetectable on my skin. I didn't get any kind of glow. I tried Tarte Park Avenue Princess, Kimora Lee Simmons, and Cargo. Couldn't do a thing for me.

But then, I went back to my roots, back to my girl Becca. She never disappoints me and true to form, she had the perfect bronzer for me. The color is dark, but sheer at the same time with plenty of gold in it to warm up the face. It's dark enough to show up on women of color, but sheer enough for fair skinned girls to take advantage too. This is one of those few shades that is universally flattering. The Brazilian bronzing sheen isn't a powder. It's a light gel solid, similar to my Tarte Cheek Stain. Just dip a finger in the pot and smooth on a little on cheekbones, temples, the bridge of the nose, and just a smidge on the chin. That's enough to give the whole face a warm glow without looking like you have one of those hideous fake tans of the competitive body building scene.

Michael Kors Leg Shine

While this isn't quite a bronzer, it is an absolute necessity for a body that glows with the healthy look of someone who just got back from an oh-so-fabulous vacation. In three shades, Michael Kors Leg Shine adds just a hint of color and shimmer to body for the look of an inner glow. The shimmer is very very subtle, so you don't have to worry about looking like you've revisited that horrible body glitter trend of the late 90's. It comes in a solid stick looks like a fabulous reincarnation of deodorant. Perfect to use apres beach or for any night out on the town. Added bonus, it's lightly scented with Michael Kors' original perfume for a subtle aroma with notes of freesia, tuberose, and tamarind. The scent is so light that you can wear your normal perfume while using it and you will not be bringing tears to anyone's eyes or setting off allergic reactions in public.

Stay young, glow, and don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Getting Lucky

Ladies, ladies, ladies - Ms. New Beauty went to Lucky Shops last night and had a BALL!!!!!! The energy, the deals, racing through racks of clothes to find the jewels, the blue martinis, oh what a glorious day. Ms. New Beauty found so many things that she wanted to get, but by the time she added up all those yellow slips and realized the cost of them all, she had to edit the list down to four key pieces. Highlights of the day

  1. The woman on the street telling her friend via cell phone about the line wrapped around the building. "I don't know what all these girls are standing out here for, but every one of them has a designer bag. All designer bags."
  2. Getting the Botkier bag that I've been loving all season. I swooped down to get the last one and after the fact a certain old lady was plotting a way to get it from me. But I certainly showed her.
  3. And then, getting another Botkier just for good measure. Two bags for less than I would have paid for just one at full price.
  4. Getting a new wallet, which I desperately needed, and my new wallet is in fact a soft pink leather Marc Jacobs that only cost $25. I only regret not buying more, those suckers would have made great presents. Of course, the box of wallets was cleaned out within 10 minutes.
  5. Finding an oh-so-cute navy canvas LaROK coat that comes with a tan fur detachable vest. I love, love, love it, but I can't brag too much because my Partner in Crime originally picked it out for herself but they only had my size. Retail price - $378; Ms. New Beauty paid $150.
  6. Meeting a girl who recognized me from Boston. She drove down just for the sale too. I wish I had chatted her up more and gotten her name, but at the time, I was going after the aforementioned LaROK coat.
  7. Haagen Daas Cherry Fudge Truffle Ice Cream. I'm not even a chocolate person, but this was really, really good.
  8. E-Money, my Partner in Crime's big sister, getting a Chloe Paddington bag for a price so ridiculous that I can't even post it publicly on the internet. But trust, this buy has definitely earned this girl a heralded spot in the International Shopping Hall of Fame.

Besides all the deals and the crazy pace, I was really looking forward to the gift bag. Now, as much as I love Lucky magazine and absolutely loved Lucky Shops, but the gift bag was so disappointing. The bag was heavy, because of the current issue of Lucky mag inside it. My thinking is, most of the women here probably already read this magazine and have that issue, so we don't really need another one, but oh well. The really disappointing part of the bag was all the drug store brand product samples in it. I appreciate a good freebie like anyone else, but I definitely expected a little something more than Clearasil samples. I am actually offended at the Wet n' Wild nail polish they included. Do you really need to give away for free something that only costs a dollar?

It wasn't all bad though. I'm definitely going to crack open the teeth whitener sample and the With Love . . . Hilary Duff candle will be getting burned this weekend. And, if I had bad eyesight, I might consider the discount on Lasik surgery, or maybe not. Surgery is the one thing that I think you should pay full price for. I wouldn't let a doctor who had given out coupons anywhere near my eyes, let alone with a laser.

Lucky shops is still going on today, so if you are in New York or can get here within a reasonable time, you can still catch yourself some bargains.

Shop, spend money but save even more, and don't forget Ms. New Beauty told you!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Strength Training

Ms. New Beauty has been incredibly busy with school, representing clients, and trying to maintain a reasonable amount of fabulousness about her. But, she's really been in training for her version of the New York City Marathon, Lucky Shops. This means dutifully paying on her credit card so she has pelnty of room to play, doing arm curls so that she can support the weight of those shopping bags, and planning the perfect outfit for trying on shoes in a pinch - she finally decided on a t-shirt dress with legging and flat slip on boots. Everything goes on, off and under quickly so that trying on jeans and shoes is so, so simple. Although MNB doesn't anticipate trying on too much since she prides herself in knowing her size in all the brands she wears. Now, she and her Partner in Crime are headed into the city to get a good spot in line so they can bust right through the doors as soon as they open.

I'll be back with a regular update and a special recap of all the fabulous things I bought.

Shop til you drop, but don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Ms. New Beauty's favorite holiday, besides her birthday, is Christmas. She loves everything about Christmastime. The trees, the ornaments, the cookies, the cheesy sweaters that middle aged school teachers wear, oh the list goes on. Idealistic as it may be, MNB truly believes that the world is more peaceful and people are better to each other around the holidays. Besides TNT's 24 hour marathon of The Christmas Story (you'll shoot your eye out, you'll shoot your eye out), MNB really looks forward to the shopping. She loves getting presents, but she also really loves buying great things for the people she loves. Now, some believe that Christmas shopping begins on Black Friday. And for those people, MNB just giggles at their naivete. For we all know the true sign of holidays around the corner is getting the Neiman Marcus Book in the mail.

I love, love, love the Neiman Marcus Book. It's part catalog, part magazine and tells you everything that's going to be hot for the holidays. Aside from all the normal products, it comes with a special beauty book inside with the highlights of the season.

The Scent Event - much like the famed beauty event, but with fragrances instead. Any purchase of $85 or more earns you a gold wristlet filled with samples and freebies. I'm currently loving Jo Malone French Lime layered with Nectarine Blossom & Honey Colognes, Rock N Rose by Valentino, and Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie.

Laura Mercier Signature Collection Beauty Book

A palette containing all the basic for lips, eyes, and cheeks. Three lip colors, three eyeshadows, two blushes, and an eyeliner all for $45. This is totally something that I would drop in my purse and keep with me to change from day to night on the run. And, there's also the complete beauty library with separate eye, cheek and lip "books" for

Becca Mesmerise Holiday Set

I only use Becca products on my skin. This is the only line that I've found that has a range of colors for all women. Typically, lines that do skin color for women give us three colors - light, medium and dark. They never match and you either end up looking like you have mud on your face (a la Dawn in the early episodes of the last season of Making The Band) or you have the chalky powder face. Becca has so many different shades and actually adjusts the undertones for each so that you get a perfect match.

Needless to say, I am in love with Becca and everything that she makes. The Holiday Mesmerize Set comes with the perfect pinks for lips and cheeks and dark shadows and liners for the perfect smoky eye for that fabulous New Year's Eve party that you'll be going to. It comes in a white leather pouch, but I can basically guarantee that it will end up in a pile for goodwill.

Estee Lauder Holiday Shimmer Compact Collection

I have a thing for pretty and fancy compacts. Something about the beauty of touching up your nose with products in a truly beautiful case just speaks to my soul. I actually own quite a few, that really don't get much use because they tend to be heavy and weigh down my purses, but I continue to buy them. I tell myself that when I have a daughter, I'll have them engraved and pass them down to her on the night of her debutante ball. Truthfully, I'll probably just keep them for myself but we all have noble aspirations.

Well, here's another one that I'm adding to my collection. These compacts come filled with Estee's Lucidity Pressed Powder that's completely refillable. I'm partial to the Golden Tartan design on the left. But, I'm also leaning towards the Beautiful Coliseum solid perfume compact too.

And, although this isn't beauty, I do have my fashion picks for the season. I mean really, what's the point of having flawless makeup if your outfit is a damn mess??

Shop early, buy gifts for your loved ones and yourself, make sure you wrap them in fabulous paper, and don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

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