Thursday, August 31, 2006

Kiss Me

But not if your lips are crusty!!!! In the summer, we girls focus so much in keeping our heels soft that we can easily neglect our luscious lips. Soft lips are an absolute essential. To get them and keep them soft, you have to employ the same two steps regime you use on your feet - (1) exfoliate and (2) moisturize.


My favorite way to exfoliate is with an old fashioned toothbrush. Just wet your lips and the toothbrush and scrub gently, or a little harder if the situation so demands, to remove the dead skin. You can also add a little vaseline to the brush to make the scrubbing a little more gentle. However, there are products specifically designed to exfoliate your lips with no need for the toothbrush.

Bigelow Soothing Lip Buffer

This lip buffer has aloe extract to soften lips and tiny granules to remove the dead skin. It's like a body scrub for your lips. It leaves your lips soft and has a sweet taste to it that makes the experience all the more pleasant. I actually use this after the toothbrush scrub just to make sure I've gotten my lips as soft as they can be. Although the tube is small, the product is a little goopy, so this is something definitely to do in the bathroom at home because you'll need to wipe the excess off your mouth.

Kenzo Brown Sugar

Last year, I bought a Kenzo Brown Sugar exfoliating lip treatment that I love. It's the size of a lipstick and comes in a silver package. Half of the stick is a brown sugar exfoliant and the other half is a moisturizing vitamin packed balm. I loved it because it fits into even the tiniest clutch purse and isn't even the slightest bit messy. It can truly go anywhere. I'm a little worried because I haven't been able to find any listings for it on Sephora's site, and that's where I bought it. I also couldn't find it anywhere else, so I fear that they may have discontinued it that quickly. If I'm wrong though and you see it online or in-store, first buy it for yourself because you'll love it, and then leave a comment here so I'll know where I can get another one.


Next to lotion, lip balm is my second biggest product addiction. If I ever ended up on a Survivor-type island where I could only bring one thing, lip balm would probably win out though.

Now, I'm sure that everyone has their own personal favorites when it comes to basic lip balms. There are so many to choose from that there's no reason that you shouldn't have a favorite by now. I almost don't need to post anything here. But, I saw on the news a few years ago that some of the ingredients that companies add to lip balms actually make your lips more chapped because they suck the moisture out of them. So the more you use it, the drier your lips become and the more you need to use. It's a vicious cycle and chapstick addiction is still an addicition. Because of this, I try to only use balms that have very few ingredients in them and only ingredients that I recognize.

Smith's Rosebud Salve

A true all-star product. A classic formula that hasn't changed since it's invention and a smooth texture that glides on and keeps lips soft. It's a petroleum based balm so there aren't a lot of chemical additives to dry your lips out. It adds just a hint of color and shimmer to your mouth without getting shiny goopy overboard (the MAC lipglass moment is so over). This one is a beauty staple that has been loved by everyone for years. My mother actually put me on to this one. She used to order it from Ricky's (a beauty product junkie's heaven on 23rd Street in NYC) back in the day. Luckily now, Rosebud is having a moment and you can buy it at any Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie. Just stay away from the strawberry flavor, the original is by far the best.

The only drawback to this one is that you have to use your fingers to apply it. I'm a slight germaphobe, so I don't like putting my dirty hands into the tin to get some lip balm, I'm always worried that something will start to grow in there. Plus, with tins of lip balms, people like to try to stick their fingers in it, and I definitely can't take someone else's germs growing on my lips. I tend to keep this one at home for use only in the house. It's great to apply right before bed.

Eucerin Aquaphor

Aquaphor is one of the original healing ointments. My dermatologist recommended it to me last year and I've been using it ever since. Again, it's a petroleum based balm. This is really a head to toe product. It softens lips, feet, and elbows. You can apply it to burns or cuts or even diaper rash. I keep the largest size jar at home and use it anytime that I can. This one's a drugstore find available everywhere.

For some reason, Blogger isn't uploading the pic of the Aquaphor. It comes in a white tube or jar with navy blue writing and accents. Again, it's by Eucerin so it's right in your local drugstore.

Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm

Another one I love and that's sold damn near everywhere now. Burt's Bees used to be sold in only organic/health food stores or natural beauty product outlets, but the products have become so popular, I've seen them on the counter at my local deli. This is a purse staple for me. Because it's in a stick form, this one doesn't require my hands to apply so no more germophobe worries. My favorite aspect though is the peppermint oil. It leaves a little tingle on my lips that comforts me. Hey, I'm easily amused, leave me alone.

I guess Blogger is just acting up with the pics tonight because this one won't show either. I'm sure that most of you know what this one looks like, but just in case, it comes in a yellow tube with a honey comb design on it.

Propoline Chamomile Lip Balm

This lip balm glides on so smoothly. It contains cocoa butter and Vitamin A to soften lips. And, as an added bonus, it has an SPF 15 sunscreen to protect lips. The sun can be a major cause of dry chapped lips. I love that this balm is still light and smooth even with the sun protection. So many other sunscreen lip balms are thick and leave a white cast on your lips, which can give a Six Feet Under kind of look, especially on those of us blessed with more melanin, but this one stays smooth and doesn't build up. I also love the clean fresh scent.

There are no negative reviews on lip care this time. I've seem to have an uncanny sense for what's a good lip balm and haven't really ventured into bad territory yet. I love all of these products so much.

If you buy or try one, don't forget to tell them that Ms. New Beauty sent you!!!

P.S. Sorry for the delay in posting a new review. Since the last one, I've been moving out of my summer apartment, planning a surprise party for my dad with 80 guests, and moving back into my apartment at school. I've been busy with sporadic internet access, but posting will resume as normal next week when school starts.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Not Quite a Beauty Post

But beauty and fashion go hand in hand. As summer comes to an end and fall clothes are already in stores, we can count on one thing - Clearance Sales!!!!!! One of my favorite online boutiques Shop Bop is having a massive end of summer clearance. Up to 70% off on summer clothes. For those of you who live in warm climates, take advantage. For everyone else, buy summer clothes and justify it by saying that you are building up your resort wardrobe.

I've already stocked up on my Juicy Couture sweats. They are selling pants, dresses and tops at 50% off, just $40 a piece. The velour or terry sweatsuit has gone from being a faddish item to a mainstay for fashionable relaxed days. They are the perfect choice when running simple errands and looks just as good with sneakers as they do with flip flops or wedges. Add hoop earrings and a cute tank and you're done.

Shop Bop is a great resource for flirty and fun pieces. Stock up on C+C California t-shirts and Havaina flip flops to go with them. Then, pick up a classic DVF dress and cute party girl sandals. And, they've just added free UPS ground shipping on every order. (I admit that I'm salty about that one because I just paid for shipping my order last week.)

And, don't forget to tell them that Ms. New Beauty sent you!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Don't Sleep

Don't sleep on CVS!!!!! The drugstore is a great place to find some good beauty buys. Every woman has those things that she splurges on, and those she saves on. For me, my eyes are where I save. I am a firm believer that foundation, blush, and skin care are investments and worth the money. Eyes however can be done on a budget and still look quite fabulous. With eye colors changing every season, and with eye makeup needing to be replaced every few months to prevent infection, spending tons of money on those products just isn't worth it to me. I've found my eye all-stars right at the corner drug store.


Normally, drugstore eyeshadows only give you the basic neutral colors. When the palettes do have bold colors, the pigmentation is so sheer that you really have to layer and layer and layer to get any kind of impact, especially for darker skin. Or, you end up having to wet the shadow and literally paint it on your lids. But, I've found two brands that take all that trouble out of bold eyes.

L'Oreal - High Intensity Pigments (H.I.P.)

L'Oreal's new line, H.I.P., is making some great eyeshadows in bold colors. The shadows give you tons of color saturation without having to cake it on your eyes. The colors are superblendable with each other for endless combinations. They also have loose powder shadows and pure pigment sticks. The offerings are very similar to the eye color products that MAC makes. However, at about $6.99 a piece, there's no need to splurge on MAC when you can achieve the same look at less than half the cost. Plus, you won't feel guilty if you only wear them a few times. This one definitely gets an "A" from me.

Note: The H.I.P. line also includes foundation. Again, I think that the best foundation comes from higher end beauty counters, but they do offer a pretty wide range of colors so it may be worth a try.


I love and use almost all of Milani's eye products. They make bold eye shadow compacts and loose powders that cost no more than $5. Again, there's great color saturation and a wide range of colors to choose from. The shadows are perfect for nights out when bold eyes look best. They also make really soft pencil eye liners that smudge beautifully for smoky eyes. My absolute favorite, however, is the Easy Brow Pencil. It's a brow pencil and brush in one and it's perfect for filling in and defining brows for a perfect polished look. Fuller brows are back for fall and you can use this pencil to lightly enhance your brows if you're not willing to forgo waxing and plucking just yet. The colors look natural and won't give your brows a fake look, even the black pencil blends naturally.

Now, I've only seen Milani products at CVS. But, in my area, there's a CVS on almost every corner, so I rarely go into other drug stores. Nonetheless, it should be easily accessible at many different drugstore chains.


Because of the close contact with your eyes and the moist environment of the tube, mascara is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Using it past it's prime can lead to styes and nastier eye infections. If you are a daily mascara user, as am I, you should replace your mascara every 2 to 3 months. Less regular users can keep their mascara a little longer. At the maximum, mascara has to go after six months. For me, $25+ is just not worth it for mascara that I'll have to throw away soon after buying it, so I stick to the drugstore brands.

Maybelline Great Lash

This is the MVP of mascaras for me. The thin formula goes on easily, with no clumps and doesn't look too heavy for day. Plus, it rinses off easily with just water. No eye makeup remover necessary. I've been using the original formula in Blackest Black for years. This is what I consider the Old Faithful of mascaras. And, the pink and green tube doesn't hurt!

Maybelline Lash Discovery

With its mini brush, this mascara can really hit every lash that you have, even those teeny, tiny ones at the corners of your eye. It also delivers just the perfect amount of mascara for those delicate lower lashes without giving that spider eye look. This is definitely a great choice for women with thin and fine lashes.

CoverGirl Lash Exact

This is one of the best new mascaras that I've tried. You've seen it. The funny brush in the purple tube. I was a little skeptical at first, but this stuff works. Something about the new brush perfectly and evenly dispenses the mascara to your lashes. No clumps ever. Only thick lush looking lashes and wide open eyes. This is so worth the money and at such a low price, you can afford to replace it as often as you should.

L'Oreal Volume Shocking Mascara

This one is not worth the money. Almost every drugstore brand has a two step mascara in their product line. The theory is that the first step, a fiber base, extends lashes, and the second step, black mascara, covers the base and makes lashes look full, thick and long. I've tried this and wasn't impressed. I found the fiber base to be thick and clumpy on my lashes. Even though the follow up mascara comes with a comb to separate lashes and break down the clumps, it was ineffective. The teeth on the comb are not long enough or strong enough to break through the clumps. The black mascara only ended up sitting on the clumps and making them more visible. My best results in using this mascara were by skipping the extending fiber base and just using the mascara alone. As mascaras go, I definitely got better results from both the Maybelline and CoverGirl products listed above. Skip this one.

No Shine

Having a flawlessy matte finish is one of my obsessions. I've been using a cocktail of products to keep me shine free for years and I've tried even more. Some I love, some not so much. Basically, I use a foundation primer and then pressed powder. I touch up with a mattifier throughout the day, since I've never found a product that kept my shine free with no touch up.

Foundation Primers

Paula Dorf Foundation Primer

The primer for normal/oily skin contains cotton fibers to aid in oil absorbtion. It has a glossy and silky finish and foundation glides on smoothly over it. However, it has a slightly opaque color that left a little of a grayish/purplish tint on my face. Women with darker skin tones take note.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer

Despite its slightly greasy feel, this actually is a great foundation primer. It has an SPF 15 and contains antioxidants - two ingredients that will protect your face from wrinkles for years to comes. Again, your makeup will melt into your skin after applying this, especially stick foundation and creme concealers. I prefer this one to the Paula Dorf, especially because the added SPF takes a step out of my daily routine.


Smashbox Compact Anti Shine

This has truly become one of the loves of my life. I never leave my house without this compact. Smashbox has taken its traditional mattifying liquid, Anti Shine, and put it into a compact. Genious! This mattifier is a thick white creme that goes on flawlessly. I use it on my nose and eyelids, two telltale places that will give away an oily skin secret. Plus, the compact is so small, less than two square inches, and comes with a mirror and sponge so you can apply it anytime and anyplace. And, since oily skin and acne often go hand in hand, the creme contains tea tree oil to fight pimples. You can reapply all day with no worries of breakouts. This definitely comes highly recommended from me.

Chanel Precision T-Mat Shine Control

This product goes on silky, but does little else. It was not a strong mattifier and really did not take the shine off my nose more than momentarily. The only thing that you get for that price is the Chanel name. Skip this one.


Some people swear by blotting papers. I do not. I've found that the absolute best blotters are free. My favorite thing to catch the excess oil is a cheap brown napkin from almost any restaurant or takeout place. They absorb oil as well as any blotting paper I've used. Also, toilet seat covers (unused of course!) do a great job as well. Something about that cheap, almost raw paper grabs onto oil better than anything else. However, pulling a toilet seat cover out of your purse is not the most appropriate thing to do in public.

I have had good results from the Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets.
They are the best value for the money and available at any drugstore. The more expensive blotting sheets tend to have a light dusting of talc on them. But, women with darker skin have to be careful on too much powder, lest they end up looking like Casper. These sheets are just plain and absorb oil without smudging makeup.

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