Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Stay Tuned

Ms. New Beauty has to apologize to her loyal New Beauties for the lack of updates recently. MNB is about two weeks away from finishing her degree. After a very busy semester of planning back to back events, MNB is way behind on school work and now has a mountain of reading, two papers, a thesis, and two finals standing in between her and that all important piece of paper. Her beauty routine of late has boiled down to undereye concealer to hide the traces of lates nights in the library and blue mascara to brighten her eyes. She's been so busy that she hasn't even tried any new products in weeks. MNB is going to try to make time to post, but if she can't, you know why.

Stay tuned for updates, but study hard first, and don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Oh K!

Ms. New Beauty is getting grown. She didn't quite realize it at first, but she is surely a grown woman. It just happened one day, she was driving in her car and the "old school" lunch mix came on. And, to her dismay, all of the songs were ones that she used to party to in high school. Apparently, the late 90's is now considered old school. Biggie Smalls, SWV, Next, and Xscape have gone the way of Kurtis Blow when it comes to radio play. But don't get confused, MNB is still as young and fresh as she wants to be. In a hoodie and some doorknockers (don't act like you don't know those big hoop earrings you can fit a fist through), she can pass for a teenager. Yet, she still has to confront one of the most vexing signs of aging, dark circles. Now, Ms. New Beauty didn't claim to have dark circles, just an area beneath her eye that's a deeper hue than the rest of her face. That's how she described it, and yes, she was quite comfortable in denial. She set up a nice little apartment in denial and had the mail forwarded there. Oh, but MNB just got back from U-haul with a bunch of boxes because she's moving out and back into the real world, where she doesn't have to worry about dark circles any more.

Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue

I have been trying to find a solution to my aforementioned problems for months. I posted before about a total waste of money that is still taking up space in my medicine cabinet. Since then, I tried two more creams and serums that promised to visibly reduce the appearance of dark circles. Neither delivered, explanations below. I was ready to give up on my search until I remembered an eye cream that was recommended on the Dark Circles Blog. This one.

This cream is the only thing that has made a difference on my dark circles. After just a few days, I noticed a difference and I have not been happier. Packed with vitamins, anti-oxidants, and even caviar, this cream helps to relieve puffiness and relieve dark circles, fine lines, and even bruising caused from rubbing your eyes to vigorously (something I am guilty of when I'm sleepy, like now). But, the key ingredient in this cream is Vitamin K. This ingredient has been shown to relieve discoloration and help even out skin tone. I truly believe that this is the only thing that made a difference for me. PTR also makes a Power K face lotion designed to even out complexions. My fav saleslady at Sephora told me that lots of women rave about it, especially women of color. This eye cream isn't cheap, but it was well worth it.

$100, available at Sephora

And now onto the creams that were not worth it.


You know how they say, "you get what you pay for" right? Well, in this case, it's not true. I paid $95 for this eye cream and delicately patted in on with my ring finger twice a day for months. Nothing. Not one difference. Dark circles can be caused by two things - hyperpigmentation or leaky capillaries. Capillaries are the tiniest of the tiniest veins in our bodies and in very sensitive areas like the eyes, those capillaries can rupture and leak blood. That blood pools under the eyes and darkens causing those dark circles. Hylexin claims to reduce the appearance of that darkened blood and to strengthen your capillaries so that they don't leak as easily.

All that science and it did nothing for me. It's likely that the darkening around my eyes is attributable to just general darkening and not leaky capillaries. But I don't know for sure. What I do know is that I'm glad I decided to try this one out at Sephora, who has a very liberal return policy. I exchanged the half used cream for the Power K and I couldn't be happier. Not quite bad enough to qualify for Money Saver status because it just might not be designed for me, but make sure you get this one from a place that accepts returns.


DDF Erase Eye Gel

And now we come to the worst of the worst. First, this eye cream smells like buttercream frosting. Now, I'm not a fan of the foody scents, but at least I can understand the appeal of a body butter or lotion that smells sweet like frosting. But an eye cream? Who in the world wants their eyes to smell like frosting? Smells aside, this thin serum was not easy to apply. One pump of the bottle dispenses way more product than you will actually need, unless your eyes are the size of baseballs. And, it's runny texture made the cream get into and subsequently burn my eyes. Every day, no matter how carefully I applied, my eyes were stinging and burning for five minutes after application.

Yet, despite the smell, the messiness and the burning, I forged ahead and continued to use this for almost a month. No change, no improvement at all. I can look past a lot when I get results. But there's no way I'm putting up with messy, smelly, stinging products that do nothing. This one is definitely a Money Saver.


Lighten up around the eyes, and stay as young as you can pass for, just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Beauty, Ms. New Beauty

Ms. New Beauty considers herself quite lucky. She has great family and friends, has had amazing opportunities in life (like going to Africa three times on somebody else's dime), and making it through the first 24 years of her life with a respectable level of self esteem and confidence. There are days when MNB wakes up, looks in the mirror and knows that she can conquer the world. That, ladies, is a fabulous feeling. It's also a minor miracle considering all of the images we see on a daily basis from the time we are born that can easily make young girls and women hate what they see in the mirror. Another minor miracle is that Ms. New Beauty is a brown skinned girl who is absolutely in love with her complexion. No color complex or bleaching creams get any play in the New Beauty household. She's a brown girl loving the brown skin she's in. Not light, not dark, just right in that cocoa colored middle, MNB's skin one of her favorite features. It can do amazing things. It can absorb full bottles of lotion in a matter of days in the middle of a dry Boston winter. Or, it can have the most beautiful golden glow with just a touch of sun exposure. That golden glow is beautiful, but make no mistake, Ms. New Beauty does not believe in unprotected skin getting exposed to harmful UV rays. She loves her skin far too much to risk a nasty melanoma. So she keeps that complexion protected with the most convenient and cool looking sunscreen she's ever found.

Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF 30 All-Powderful Sun Protection

I was wary of powder sunscreens for a while. The first one I tried (and regretfully I can't remember the name) was a waste of money. It claimed to be colorless and easy to apply with its built in brush. However, it had a color, white, and came tumbling out of that brush as soon as I removed the cap. The result was me looking like a brown-skinned extra from Memoirs of a Geisha.

This one however lives up to every claim that it makes. The powder is colorless, odorless and water resistant. In the tube, the powder is the color of cornstarch, so initially I was doubtful that I could wear it without having the powder face effect. But the powder particles here are so fine that instead I initally wondered if there was anything on my face at all. So light and fine, but gives the greatest sun protection. I applied this religiously during my ten day trip to Africa and when I got back, people were wondering why I hadn't gotten any darker. My complexion had that golden glow I love so much. And, my favorite part is the packaging. An all-in-one brush with the powder in a refillable(!!!!) container at the back. Everytime I apply this I get so many questions from people wondering what it is. I feel like an undercover beauty agent talking into my pencil and getting directions through my bobby pins. The name is Beauty. Ms. New Beauty.

There is also a colored bronzing powder with an SPF 20 available.

$45, availabe through BlissSpa.

Stay sun smart, and love every bit of the skin you're in, just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

PS - Here's a quick video I shot on my latest trip, to South Africa. This is the view of Capetown from the top of Table Mountain. Breathtaking!

Ms. New Beauty on Table Mountain

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Plane Jane

Ms. New Beauty loves to travel. She loves seeing new places, meeting new people, learning new cultures. What she does not love is flying commercial. Just yesterday, MNB endured over 30 hours of flying on commercial airplanes, or waiting to get on or off of them, on her journey back home from South Africa. So, Ms. New Beauty aspires to two things for her traveling future - (1) to visit every continent and as many countries as possible, and (2) to have a Marquis Jet membership. Marquis Jet is a private jet rental company where the $100K a year membership gets you access to a private jet, anywhere in the world, with just 4 hours notice. MNB dreams of the day when her name is printed on a plastic card below the Marquis Jet logo. Until then, she's stuck flying commercial flights, and devising ways to combat stiff, swollen knees and dried out skin from the plane air. Ms. New Beauty's knees are still a little stiff from the transatlantic flight, but she certainly has found the secret to glowing and moisturized skin, even in the face of dry plane air.

Origins Youthtopia Skin Firming Lotion

Finding a good moisturizer for a long plane ride is no easy task. In the past, I've been hard pressed to find something that is rich enough to keep my face moisturized in a plane circulating air dryer than a desert. Being a naturally oily girl, anything that I would normally use is oil free. Until now, they've all been far too thin and watery to effectively moisturize my skin. I still ended up with a dry, tight face. But, being naturally oily is a double-edged sword in dry air situations. On the other end of the spectrum, any heavy duty creams I use leave me greasier than the Colonel's Extra Crispy. Striking the right balance has been tough.

But, before this last trip, I headed to the Origins boutique near my school. The salesgirl there had flown to South Africa before, and thus knew the pain of a 16 hour non-stop flight. She recommended Youthtopia Skin Firming Lotion. It's an oil-free formula that's light enough so my skin doesn't feel greasy but rich enough to sink in and keep my face soft and smooth for the whole trip. I applied this lotion about 3 or 4 times during my flight, I probably didn't need to but a sista was trying to touch down in the Motherland looking fabulous! Each time, I gave myself a quick spray of Evian and followed with Youthtopia to seal the moisture in. My skin was glowing and there was no product build up. Plus, this lotion contains Rhodiola extract which kept my skin firm and taut, which was great for keeping the undereye bags at bay.

$47.50, available at Origins

I also fell in love with the Origins Night Vision Relaxing Eye Mask. Thick and soft fabric with extra padding around the curves of the nose and cheeks, this mask blocked out every bit of light. It makes sleeping on a plane or in bright places much easier. It's so thick that it did make my face sweat a little on the plane. But, I'm pretty sure that our flight crew was turning on the heat in the middle of the night to mess with us. You want to deal with a stank stewardess? Fly South African Airways.

Stay moisturized, and fly fabulous, just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

MNB on Tour

Ms. New Beauty is currently bringing the Beautiful Life to South Africa. She's just spent a week in Botswana and now she's loving every bit of Capetown. She broke away for a few quick seconds to let all the New Beauties of the world know that MNB is safe and posting will resume once she comes back to America.
Take a vacation, or just live every day like one, but don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

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