Saturday, July 28, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday MNB
Happy Birthday MNB
Happy Birthday Ms. New Beauty
Happy Birthday MNB!

Today is Ms. New Beauty's birthday. Not the woman, but the blog. Exactly one year ago today, Ms. New Beauty was finishing up a summer internship and decided to open up a blogger account on a whim. She'd been doing random "product of the week" posts for her friends and decided to just consolidate them into one permanent internet home. Little did she know that within a few weeks, she'd be writing to New Beauties all over the world, connecting with other beauty bloggers, and having her opinion solicited from some of the top beauty companies in the country.

What started as a simple goof has become a permanent fixture in Ms. New Beauty's life and completely changed her future. So this post is dedicated to you, the readers. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for your support, for your encouragement, your questions, your recommendations, your visits, your referrals. Thank you!!!!!!!!

To show you just how much you mean, Ms. New Beauty is celebrating her first anniversary with a luxurious gift bag giveaway!!!!!!! The gifbag includes the brand new M.A.C. Rushmetal Collection (and not just a few samples, the ENTIRE collection, including brushes) and products from Gloves in a Bottle, Maryam's Soap Nook, TESS Skincare, Clairol, Shiseido, and a gift certificate to Scent Design.

Winning could not be easier. All you have to do is sign up for a Ms. New Beauty email subscription with Feedblitz (check the sidebar to your right). Current subscribers will automatically be entered to win. The winner will be chosen at random on August 8, 2007 at midnight and notified via email, so make sure you sign up before then.

Celebrate this occasion beautifully, and make sure you sign up to win the giftbag, and remember for the next year that Ms. New Beauty told you!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Here We Go Again

Ms. New Beauty likes to consider herself a pretty tough cookie. She's a city girl at heart, so she knows how to navigate the world with a healthy dose of realism mixed with a little bit of worst case scenario. So, she tries not to be surprised at people's antics. But some things never cease to amaze her. Chief among them are business and luxury professionals who publicly speak of their disdain and distaste for their customers. First, Tommy Hilfiger got it hit with that Oprah show rumor, but we soon learned that was untrue. And, yet despite all the outrage and lingering beliefs among some that Tommy was guilty of such an offense, for some reason, Francois Rouzaud felt perfectly comfortable opening up to The Economist about his real feelings about his champagne, Cristal, being the bubbly of choice among hip hop's elite. Well he got what he wanted because Ms. New Beauty has not seen a bottle of Cristal available at any of the nightclubs or lounges she's been to since that controversy erupted. And now, Francois Girbaud, purveyor or designer denim, has added payed his initiation fees and joined "The International Brotherhood of I'll Take Your Money but Still Not Like You Buying My Product."

Sacré Bleu Jean? Denim Legend François Girbaud N’est Pas Pumped About His Company’s Hip-Hop Image

This article was published in the July 29, 2007, edition of The New York Observer.

On Monday, July 23, the French designer François Girbaud hosted a party celebrating his new line of denim clothing, called Le Jean, in the Marithé and François Girbaud Showroom, which occupies the 9th floor of a building on 10th Avenue and 36th Street. The crowd, overwhelmingly comprised of fashionably dressed African-Americans in their mid-20’s, seemed blissfully unaware that their host has apparently been less than thrilled about their devotion to the brand.

“Somewhere, the company was running too much in some direction, too much in hip-hop stuff,” Mr. Girbaud, 62, told the Transom (perhaps taking a page from the playbook of a compatriot who last year expressed disdainful befuddlement toward rappers’ loyalty to the Champagne label Cristal). He was wearing a black-collared shirt over baggy black jeans, which were adorned with a single drooping silver chain that smacked against his knee as he strode through the streamlined space. “To be just connected in the hip-hop stuff is other brand; there is people like Russell Simmons or Damon Dash or Puff Daddy or all this kind. I’m not the rap people. Sure, we introduced the baggy jeans, we introduced stonewashed and all this stuff in the 60’s or 70’s, I never target just to be ethnic. It’s stupid.”

. . .

“It’s really boring, non?” he said of the current denim market. “It’s just the same. I walk through projects today, and it’s the same five-pocket jeans. It’s not giving so much possibility to young generation to express themselves.”

When it comes to his own self-expression, Mr. Girbaud seems to think that the exigencies of marketing are cramping his style. “I have to talk like that”—he flashed a gang hand-sign—“and speak like that”—he flashed another gang hand-sign—“and move like that”—he grabbed his crotch—“and it’s ridiculous!” Now he was shouting. “What we bring into the market was always innovative, and I feel now I am trapped and I have to just talk the same way, like I have to have skulls and some kind of snakes. It’s boring, it’s really boring!”

. . .

Truthfully, I haven't worn a stitch of Girbaud clothing since the fifth grade, but if I ever had an itch to purchase some, this article has officially scratched it.

Save your money, don't reward businesses that don't respect you, and remember that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


It's almost August and summer is certainly in full swing. Ms. New Beauty lives in the northeast where summers are characterized by upwards of 90% humidity and sweltering heat. There are days where MNB can actually see the moisture hanging in the air. These days often feature Ms. New Beauty timing her walk/run to and from the car to make sure that her hair doesn't swell up like feet in flip flops. In the midst of all of this, MNB has pared down her daily makeup routine to only the bare necessities - eyebrow pencil to perfect her arches, a swipe of mascara, and just a hint of color for her cheeks. But, some days the errant blemish pops up or her complexion is just a little mottled. MNB's skin is naturally oily (and gets even more so in the heat) so even a tinted moisturizer turns out to be too heavy. Ms. New Beauty would put it on at 9 and by 10:30 her forehead had turned into a oil slick that would put Exxon Valdez to shame. What is a New Beauty to do? It is far too hot and humid for a full face of makeup that will surely melt away within the hour but the pursuit of skin perfection mandates some solution. MNB knew there had to be some middle ground. Well, here it is.

M.A.C. Cosmetics Flashtronic Mineralize Skinfinish

For years, I bounced between wearing makeup or just going completely bare in summer. I figured out a little while ago that just a hint of bronzer does the trick for me. The hint of color darkens me up just enough to even things out and the shimmer draws the eye where I want it to go (i.e. away from any breakouts). The problem was that most powder bronzers were designed for fairer skin tones and ended up so light that they did nothing for my brown skin. And, the ones that did work were gels or creams that brought me right back to oil slick territory.

But this new powder highlighter from M.A.C. gives me just the perfect effect. While traditional makeup rules will have you put bronzer only on temples and cheekbones, this skin finish is versatile enough for full face usage. Just a light dusting with a very, very fluffy powder brush, and I'm glowing, evened out and not the slightest bit greasy. Global Glow is the perfect shade to use on my whole face while Gold Spill, a lighter champagne shade, works well for highlighting my bone structure. Northern Light is a pinkier/blush shade which was too light and ashy for me. It gave me horrid flashbacks of an ill-fated run in with Nars Orgasm.

And, my favorite part of this whole collection - you know I had to have a favorite part - is that the powders are all mixed up and baked in looking. They have the prettiest swirl effects running through them that make you almost scared to mess up the design with your brush.
The Flashtronic collection also has some great eyeshadows in pretty, swirled metallic shades. They can look a little disco a go-go but they go on very sheer and subtle. Tectonic looked like acid green in the compact but was a very shimmery, sublte gold on my eyes. Flashtronic is a limited edition collection in stores until September 27, so go get it now if you're interested.

$24.50, available at M.A.C. counters

Bronze it up instead of foundation, keep yourself comfortable and cool, but just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

P.S. - M.A.C. has another limited edition collection in stores this summer too called Rushmetal. Stay tuned for a very special announcement on Ms. New Beauty about Rushmetal.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Watch Your Step

Ms. New Beauty can be a study in contrasts when she wants to be. She loves gardening, but hates bugs and dirt. She's very particular about dirt on her feet, but doesn't think twice about walking all over the city in summer with nothing to protect her tootsies from the street dirt but her favorite pair of Havianas. The one paradox that confuses her boyfriend all the time is MNB's uncanny ability to be constantly late but despise tardiness simultaneously. Ms. New Beauty hates being late but can never manage to make it to appointments on time. It got so bad that her hairdresser was actually bewildered on the rare occasions that she made it to her weekly 10 am appointment before 10:30. While MNB loves all of her contrasting and conflicting traits, she's trying to work on that last one. Luckily, one event is coming just in time.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Starting today at 3 am (midnight Pacific time) is one of the shopping events that I set my yearly schedule around - the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. By now, you know that I have to hit up the beauty department and stock up on some of my favorite products. (PS and By the Way - Nordstrom's beauty department has gotten a major upgrade. I remember when that store was only good for a M.A.C. counter or maybe Bobbi Brown, but now they have a full makeup department plus they're brimming with skin care and bath & body products. You've come a long way baby, and I appreciate it!) But, during this sale, I'm also going to get something I desperately need - a new watch!!! I have not worn a watch since I was about 19 years old. At first, I just didn't like the feel of something on my wrist. And then, I made my lack of a watch a grand pronouncement of my rebellious nature. I could not be contained by society's rules on timeliness. I'm fearless, I come and go as I please, I'm not tied down to a minute hand and hour hand. Sounded good then, but now, being late is just annoying and leads to a string of foul words as I try to speed my way to every engagement with just a few seconds to spare. So, I'm strapping a timepiece back onto my arm and this is the one that I've picked out.

I love this bright orange watch with the rubber band. It's sporty and chunky but still soft enough to wear as a woman. And, although it's quite bright, orange and yellow are neutrals in my world so you can trust that I'll be wearing this one all the time. But my favorite part of the watch is the band though. It's not the color of the band, or the texture; it's the smell!! Yes, the band is scented and smells like vanilla. So every time you get the watch wet, you'll get just the slightest whiff of vanilla. You know you love it!

Remember that contrasts make you interesting, but don't use that as an excuse to ignore your fixable flaws, and this time, tell a friend that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Spa La Land

So by now, we all know that Ms. New Beauty graduated last month. Well a few weeks ago, she was out to brunch celebrating someone else and she got the most fabulous graduation gift. She opened a pretty red envelope to find that eleven of her beautiful line sisters got her a $350 gift certificate to Spa Finder!!!!! Yup, that means Ms. New Beauty has a nice chunk of money to spend at any one of thousands of spas around the country. She could get a mani in Manhattan, a facial in Philly, body wrap in Boston. You get the point. After a gift like that, Ms. New Beauty was on cloud nine. Truth be told, she still is as she tries to decide exactly what to get. Anyway, MNB could not figure out the right way to truly thank these beautiful women for their gift. A handwritten note on good stationery? Of course, that's a given. But, Ms. New Beauty needed a way to make it more personal. And what did she come up with? A wallet sized picture of her in a deep cleansing face mask! Honestly, who couldn't use a pint size pic of MNB to carry around next to her driver's license? The ladies can't see me enjoying my spa gift, but at least they'll know what I look like at the spa. And now, so do all of the other New Beauties in the world.

Ms. New Beauty bought that green mask in the picture just on a whim at the beauty supply store. But to her surprise, she found that she really liked it. Instead of just being used for pictorial purposes, this mask has earned a prime spot in MNB's medicine cabinet, right next to a very similar mask that costs 4 times more. And, thus we have the latest installation of Ms. New Beauty's Cheap & Chic.

Green Face Mask

The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil Face Mask, $14


Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque, about $3 at drugstores

I've been using The Body Shop's Tea Tree Oil face mask since I was a teenager. I read in a magazine that tea tree oil helps to fight acne, so I ran out and went to the first place I could think of that might carry it. Back then, the only place in the suburbs to get cosmetics with natural ingredients was The Body Shop. So this mask has a special place in my heart.

But, I'm really falling for the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque (dontcha just love how they spell it "masque" like it's a luxury French product even though they sell it in drugstores?). I've been walking past this product in the store for years and years. And, never until a few days ago did I have any desire to try it. I was in Sally Beauty Supply looking for something totally hair related and decided to throw this in the basket on a whim. I am so glad I did. As soon as I opened the jar, my first thought was about how much it looked like the Tea Tree Oil mask from The Body Shop. It has the same texture and thick, claylike consistency (which is a godsend for oily skin like mine). The color's almost the same. The main difference is that the Mint Julep feels cool and tingly on your skin. It's designed to help fight blemishes also and can be used as an overnight spot treatment for problem pimples.

The one thing that initially worried me about comparing the Queen Helene to The Body Shop was the lack of tea tree oil. I like to make sure that my Cheap & Chic comparisons as on par as possible. I mean who wants to read a post claiming that vaseline works just as well as Nars Body Glow for shiny legs??? I am not trying to be the Sandra Lee of the beauty blogging community. So, I did my research on the Mint Julep - I went right to the ingredients list. Holding the two jars of mask side by side, I saw that of the main four ingredients, three were exactly the same. Reading The Beauty Brains has taught me that the main ingredients listed first on the label are the ones most responsible for how a product works. So, I can say confidently that the Queen Helene worked just as well for me as The Body Shop.

Go green on your face while you save some money, give extra special thanks to the people who love you, and this time tell a friend that Ms. New Beauty told you!

P.S. If you want to get a spa gift for yourself or someone else, look to your left! As of this week, Spa Finder is an official Ms. New Beauty sponsor. Show them some love.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

E Bay Bay!!

Ms. New Beauty loves all of her readers. She really does. She started this blog only to have an outlet for all the makeup talk that clutters her head and that her boyfriend can really only listen to for five minutes at a time. MNB never had any idea that so many women (and men!) would find what she writes interesting, entertaining and valuable. She is constantly impressed by her sitemeter statistics. But, Ms. New Beauty loves when she gets to hear her readers' feedback one on one. She takes the love and the criticism all in and tries to make Ms. New Beauty better. But she's gotten one comment more often than the others. It typically goes like this - "Ms. New Beauty, I love your blog but I just can't afford some of that stuff. Can you recommend something cheaper?" MNB has expensive taste in skin care and cosmetics but she also understands what it means to be a New Beauty on a Budget. Trust her, she does! So this post will let all those New Beauties with financial constraints in on one of her favorite beauty resources.


I know what you're thinking. Ebay? For makeup? Yes! I know a lot of people don't trust eBay. I didn't myself for a long time after I sent a money order for a Prada purse and the seller disappeared the day the postman delivered it. (Serves me right though, $89 for a Prada purse just does not happen in real life). But, I've learned that eBay can be a great resource if you use it right.

I have just a few simple rules to buying beauty on eBay.
  1. Only buy products that you have used/tried in person. Most sellers don't do returns so eBay is not the place to try new things.
  2. Read the descriptions CAREFULLY and make sure you check the size that the person is selling. You may find yourself tricked into paying for a trial sized bottle of your favorite cleanser.
  3. Only buy products advertised as brand new and still sealed.
And, now I'll let you in on the one product I buy exclusively from eBay. Proactiv Solution. Yup, the acne system that Diddy uses to moisturize his situation and Jessica Simpson, L.Lo, and Alicia Keys have all hocked on infomercials. It's cheesy but it works. But, before we forget, it's expensive. $40 for cleanser and moisturizer that runs out within a few weeks is a little steep. But Proactiv products are all over eBay. I've gotten two bottles of the cleanser for less than $10. I won't ever buy it in the mall again. I'm all about my eBay. Since my beloved Biotherm has ceased all US operations and the products are only available online, I've taken to buying my dear Aquasource Gel moisturizer on eBay as well.

Start bidding, and get your goodies on eBay, just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

P.S. I will readily admit that "Ay Bay Bay" is by no means a good song, but for some reason I just love it! I couldn't resist sneaking it in here in the name of the post.

P.S.S. I hope you noticed that changed the layout, not too much, I just added another column. But for the life of me I can't figure out how to get rid of those dark blue bars so if anyone is an html whiz, let me know.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

$2 Thursdays

Where has Ms. New Beauty been? Well, the answer ladies, is all over the place. The end of June/beginning of July was quite busy for MNB. She hasn't been home more than two days in the last few weeks. But she sure has had fun hopping all over the East Coast. Now, she's home and ready to get back to business at MNB Enterprises.

Two nights ago, one of Ms. New Beauty's divinely fabulous friends got married, to herself! It was a wonderful affair. And, last weekend, another vivacious lady in Ms. New Beauty's life celebrated her 27th birthday. This occasion was recognized with a brunch at a great little restaurant in SoHo called Libation. The Libation brunch, New Beauties of the World, is truly something to behold. It only costs $15 and comes with three free drinks. Oh, the mimosas that morning flowed like tap water. There's nothing quite like sixteen young, educated and upwardly mobile black folks galavanting on the streets of New York semi-intoxicated in the middle of the day. Ms. New Beauty was also impressed by the Libation Thursday happy hour that features $2 Cosmos, $2 Shots, and $2 glasses of champagne. It is appropriately called $2 Thursday. And since Ms. New Beauty is such a fan, this Thursday post will feature another new fave that only costs a mere two bucks.

Sephora Super Shield Lip Saver

As many times as I have ranted on this blog about the importance of proper sun care, I have to admite that there is one place I always forget. My lips. In the summer, I tend to stick to my old faithful Rosebud Salve, even on days when I am laying out on the beach basking in the sun's full glory and baking myself in the process. Everything else gets protected, but the sun ends up penetrating my lip balm and essentially frying the outer layer of my lips. After my last Caribbean vacation, there were cereal sized flakes falling off of my poor lips. So not a good look.

The reason that I forgo sun protection for my kisser is typically an issue of texture. Most chapsticks and lip balms with SPF are thick and white, leaving me looking like a frozen corpse. But, Sephora Super Shield Lip Saver with SPF 15 has been my savior. The texture is smooth and creamy, and it goes on just as clear as my beloved Rosebud. But, this blends almond oil, shea butter and olive oil to really moisturize lips deep down and a powerful SPF 15 to keep them from getting fried. All of that and the best part - it only costs $2, a price that's much better than most drug store brand lip balms.

$2, available at Sephora

Keep your lips soft and protected, and enjoy the occasional libation every now and then, just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

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