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!


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