Thursday, December 27, 2007

Beauty Late Than Never

Happy Holidays New Beauties! Yes, MNB knows that she's a few days late with those yuletide greetings, but you must be forgiving of her since she knows you still have oodles and oodles of holiday cheer still in your system. Ms. New Beauty was busy shopping for presents (at the last minute!) and then came home only to pick up a head cold on Christmas Eve, and then woke up early to hit the stores on the day after Christmas on a search for the perfect outfits for New Year's Eve in Las Vegas. MNB had been on a quest for party dresses and planning to enjoy the warm weather, though now she's just learned that Vegas won't be any warmer than New York for the New Year. But, in all that time spent scouring the malls, Ms. New Beauty did happen upon some great new makeup purchases. And though she planned to do a makeup gift post, this one will just have to be for the post-holiday goodies you can treat yourself to!

Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener

Did making your list and checking it twice leave you looking tired sleeping and a morning that started early enough to be at the mall right as Neiman's opened left my eyes looking worn out and haggard. I'd seen this tube around Sephora for ages but that "flesh toned" color of the product made me think that it would never, ever, ever, ever, ever blend in with my skin and leave me looking like a reverse raccoon. But, with as tired as I looked, I figured I try this. Couldn't hurt could it?

Quite the opposite. It worked. The formula is ridiculously sheer and blends in immediately. At first I didn't think it did much, but when and ragged instead of give you a holiday glow? I know that yesterday morning the result of a night spent sniffling instead ofI applied it under just one eye the result was undeniable. My dark circles were noticeably diminished and my eyes were definitely brighter. Plus, the tiny, purse-friendly tube and low price had me hooked. Now this little find lives at the bottom of my bag, next to the sunscreen and lip balm.

$18, available at Sephora

Too Faced Border Line Anti-Feathering Lip Pencil

Did your lip color run for the border during your marathon of holiday parties? My perfect holiday red gloss suits my complexion beautifully but tends to leave only a trace by the end of the night. Well, since you still have to gear up for this weekend of pre-New Year's celebrations and then your actual New Year's celebrations, pick up this lip liner to keep your color in tact. Wait, wait, I know you just got ready to navigate away from the page thinking "Ms. New Beauty has lost her mind, she's recommending lip liners!" but trust me, this is a great one. Banish those horrible memories of mouths outlined in black and filled in with frosty silver lipstick. (Ugh, just typing that took something out of me!) This is a colorless matte lip liner. And, you don't use it on your actual lips; you trace this just outside your lip line. It creates a border to keep your lip stick or even your goopiest gloss from feathering and migrating past your lips to the rest of your face. You'll stay pout perfect from now until next year.

$18.50, available at Sephora

Sugar Perfect 10 Palette

Did your day-to-night beauty transition go about as smoothly as Britney's transition to motherhood? Magazines and talk shows will make you think that going from work/daytime appropriate to party perfect is as easy as another coat of mascara. But anyone who's actually done it knows that it takes a lot more thought than that. You have to consider your ensemble and make sure that your clothes and accessories are simple enough for day but not so simple that your fellow party goers think that you're on staff for the venue. You have to change your subdued daytime makeup look to something party appropriate in just a few minutes in an office bathroom under fluorescent lighting (eek!). Most importantly, you have to be able to fit everything you need for this kind of quick change into your purse without breaking your back.

And, while you'll still have to handle the outfit woes, this palette can seamlessly take you from day to night without taking up much room. Most holiday eye palettes are big, honking gifts meant to display at home. This one had to be designed to drop in a tiny clutch. Narrow and sleek, inside the palette are ten small eyeshadows in every shade a girl needs, from ivory and gold to navy, black and bronze. Use the lighter shades for work and then just blend the darker ones on top for an evening smokey eye.

$28, available at Sephora

Stay beautiful through the rest of the holiday season, and finally pick up something for yourself, but just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Give Skin

Here we are, just a week before Christmas, and Ms. New Beauty still has presents to get. Between long work hours and ridiculous crowds at every store, boutique, and mall that she passes, it's been easy for MNB to completely put off shopping until the last minute. Especially since she's had the hardest time thinking of what to get for her family and friends. But, last week, she went to the most delightful launch part at one of the most amazing beauty boutiques around. gathered some of the best beauty bloggers and online editors at Space NK to tour the site and go shopping at the store. Space NK is much more a beauty boutique than it is a regular old apothecary. The store has such a well-edited and selected collection of the top brands in beauty. Needless to say, the back of MNB's hands were covered in product from all the testing and trying she did. And, whenever you have that many product junkies and outright beauty fiends in one room at one time, you get the best product recommendations. Ms. New Beauty left that event with some great goodies for myself and all the info she needed for a great beauty post just in time for the holidays. And here we have the best products out there to give the gift of beautiful skin.

Eve Lom Deluxe Collection

Skincare is a tricky thing to gift. Give someone a jar of wrinkle cream a few years too soon and you risk telling them they look like hell without actually telling them they look like hell. So, when you give skincare, it is only appropriate to give something uber-luxe and completely universal that anyone could use. Enter Eve Lom.

This was a brand I'd never tried before but apparently, I was the only one who'd missed the Eve Lom boat. This line has such a huge cult following. The sales girl at the store told me that this is one of the products that women try and then can't live without. This Deluxe Collection gives you the best of the brand all in one box and at one price. Included are the cleanser, the eye serum, mask, moisturizer, SPF 15 sunscreen, hand cream and lip balm. The cleanser is the product that you'll probably fall hardest for. It's a very emollient scrub that's used totally differently from most cleansers on the market. On dry skin, you simply smooth on a good dollop of this cleanser and let it sit for a few minutes. This will remove makeup and surface dirt and oil. Then, you use the included muslin cloth and dampen it with hot water. Use the cloth to gently massage and rinse the cleanser away and you have your own at home cleansing and exfoliating facial. The Rescue Mask is just as luxurious and intensely hydrating for dryed out winter skin. This is the perfect gift for your spa-junkie mother or your best girlfriend with the glowing skin.

$400, available at Space NK

Space.NK Luxury Collection Enrapture

Giving bath and body sets as holiday gifts has gotten terribly cliched. People pick up any three body products and put them together thinking they've hit the nail on the head when it comes to gift giving and completely forget that gifts are supposed to make the recipient feel special and loved. I know it's the thought that counts, but if I open up a box of sickeningly sweet smelling shower gel, I wonder how much you really think of me. Honestly, who really wants to walk around smelling like food? Ranting over. Gift suggestion begins.

If you want to give the gift of body care, do it with a brand that is high quality, a scent that's widely pleasing, and packaging that's adorable. This gift set from Space.NK's own house brand is much more like something you'd get after a luxurious spa service and not in a Secret Santa trade. The Enrapture scent is subtely sexy and absolutely pampering. Plus, it comes in this adorable box and not shrink wrapped to a cheap basket filled with tinsel. This is the kind of gift set that any woman, like a boss or co-worker would be happy to display in her boudoir.

$195, only at Space.NK

Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Trio

Now I know I just went on a whole rant about how much I hate those foodie scent bath products. (I know the proper term is gourmand, but that sounds too nice to describe things that often smell so bad). But, at the same time, I know that many women all over the world love, love, love those products that smell like delicious, delectable desserts. My 90 plus year old grandmother loves stuff like that. And, I try to keep my product snobbery to myself. I don't judge others for their taste in beauty (unless it's just downright tacky, but tacky people deserve to be judged don't they?).

So, if you love those scents or know someone who absolutely does, gift them with something that they truly will love. But do with a gift that's far more fabulous than your average drugstore offerings. Laura Mercier's bath and body line feels divine. It would share space in my bath with all my other goodies if I enjoyed the scent. Her creme brulee scent is the most popular, but even in my most non-judgmental state I can't recommend something that smells like frosting. The Almond Coconut Milk Trio has a sweet scent but it's not so overpowering that people on the street will stop you and ask you what you were baking. So you can give this gift in good conscious. And, your sweet smelling grandmother, or maybe even your kids' teacher, will love the honey bath (with wooden dipper!), body cream, and body scrub.

$65, wherever Laura Mercier is sold

Give beautiful skincare gifts, or maybe pick up something great for yourself, but don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

P.S. MNB knows this post was ridiculously late, but she promises the rest of the gift guide will be posted soon. And you know you haven't finished your shopping anyway!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Nose Knows

This holiday season has completely snuck up on Ms. New Beauty. This is her most favorite time of year, so she normally relishes every bit of the season. From the almost coma-inducing meal at Thanksgiving to decorating the house and staying up all night to watch the 24-hour Christmas Story marathon on TNT. But this year, the marathon may be the only part of the holiday season where MNB can just sit back and drink the merriment in. With a busy work schedule and a fresh, new apartment to decorate, she just hasn't had the time. And, forget about Christmas shopping. Ms. New Beauty just realized that she has presents to buy, make, and mail. At least she can try to help the other New Beauties of the world get their shopping done before the big day with a multi-part gift guide. This will be the first installation and totally devoted to the one beauty sector that gets the most love from stores and customers - Fragrance! And since MNB knows that sometimes her taste is too expensive for her readers, she's offering gifts for every wallet and budget.

Bond No. 9 I Love New York Double Decker Sampler Box

When I opened my email last week to find information about this new set from Bond No. 9, I almost died!!!! Bond No. 9 has pulled some of their sweetest smelling and best loved scents together for this gift set. Can you imagine - 12 bottles of Bond No. 9's absolutely luscious and luxurious scents, all in one box???? It definitely includes some of my favorites - Chinatown, The Scent of Peaces, Bleecker Street, Bryant Park, and Fire Island. Just the prospect of pulling this out from underneath the Christmas tree makes me squeal already (hint, hint - family, friends, and loves who secretly read my blog and think I don't know). Now, I know that the price of this is (understatement of the century alert!) a little much for some of you, but there are plenty that would willingly part with their money for this. Knock the socks off your young, trendy and glamorous sister or BFF with this amazing gift set.

$1600 (yes, that's two zeros), available at

Estee Lauder Fluttering Feather Perfume Compact

Every holiday season, Estee Lauder releases these pretty and precious little baubles filled with their best scents and powders. And every holiday season, I smile at them for weeks and weeks and hope someone who loves me will take notice.

How beautiful is this one??? This encrusted little feather houses a solid perfume compact of Estee's classic, signature scent White Linen. The solid form makes this scents so easy to reapply. This is the perfect pretty little thing to drop in your bag on your way out for a night on the town. And, it will surely dazzle whichever lucky young lady you love enough to give it to. This would make the perfect present for your elegant mother or grandmother.

$250, available at Neiman Marcus

Jo Malone Cologne Coffret Set

Jo Malone is the elegant British fragrance brand that brought the classic sensibilities of the single note scent combined with the thrill of infinite possibilities to fabulous women on this side of the Atlantic. This gift set combines six of the brand's fragrance sprays in deluxe combinations for ultimate mix-and-matchability. Unfortunalely, JM didn't put my absolute favorite (and probably her most popular) scent, French Lime, in this gift set. But there are still plenty of other scents to make your creative and classically beautiful big sister smell delightful. Buy this one in stores so that you can mix up your own fragrance recipes especially for the recipient to make her feel extra special this holiday.

$90, available at Neiman Marcus

Sephora Scent Sampler Certificate for Her

I recommended this ingenious gift idea and I'm doing it again this year because I think this is just such a perfect gift. What you get in this box is sample-sized bottles of Sephora's best selling perfumes. And, since popularity comes and goes, the scents included this year are completely different from the ones included last year. This time around, your fickle friend will get to test try scents like Vera Wang Princess, Guerlain My Insolence, and With Love . . . Hillary Duff to figure out which one is her favorite. When she finally has her heart set on the one she loves, all she has to do is take the included certificate into any Sephora store to redeem for a full-sized bottle of the perfume. It takes out the trouble of sniffing and smelling scents with someone else in mind for you and gives your friend the chance to get a gift she'll really love.

$50, available at Sephora

Phew!, well take a deep whiff something beautiful, and then give it to someone you love, just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

And stay tuned for the best in cosmetics, skincare, and gifts for him this holiday!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Return to the Scene of the Crime

Ms. New Beauty takes keeping her skin soft and smooth very seriously during the winter months. Just a few posts ago, she extolled the virtues of moisturizing in the shower before even drying off. One component of that "winterizing" process that MNB had to leave out of that post was regular exfoliation. Unfortunately, Ms. New Beauty picked up a tub of body scrub that was so not up to her standards that it earned the dubious Money Saver distinction on this blog. So, she headed back to Target, hell bent on redeeming herself and her innate ability to pick up great product. She happened upon a tube of scrub so cute that she just couldn't resist and Ms. New Beauty was even happier when she got it home and felt how wonderfully it worked on her skin.

Soap & Glory Scrub of Your Life

Soap & Glory is a new brand created by the woman behind all of those wonderful, yet cheeky skincare solutions from Bliss. So, now you can get great product in cute packaging with funny little names for a lot less money. Even the brand's name gives you a little hint that this is going to be a line of fun and functional cosmetics. And everything comes in this cute, slightly retro, but ridiculously girly pink packaging.

The description of this scrub on the tube is written like the answer to all of your love problems. And for good reason - once you try it, you'll certainly fall for it. The texture is thick and gummy, so it won't run all over your tub. But, it's still packed with tons of exfoliators to slough off that dry, scaly skin that can easily make your itch in cold weather and rose oil to soften and moisturize. I've gone through almost my whole tube in less than a month because I've been scrubbing down my entire body daily. But, at a price this low, I can afford to stock up and keep enough on hand to make it through the winter.

$14.99, available at Target

Scrub down and fall in love with your scrub in the process, just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bright Eyed and Beauty Tailed

Ms. New Beauty has been cooped up in the house for the past few days fighting a ridiculous stomach bug. In that time, she's learned a few things. First, she now knows that the Chinese takeout place around the corner from her is completely off limits, lets there be a repeat of this stomach bug disaster. MNB also knows that a trash can by the bed is an absolute necessity when sick. And, since she spent the greater part of her sick time in bed and watching Bravo, Ms. New Beauty's picked up a host of tips and tidbits courtesy of the fabulous Tim Gunn via countless episodes of both Project Runway and his namesake Guide to Style. The basic tenets of style are pretty much ingrained in MNB's DNA, but one rule of Tim's kept MNB firmly planted under her covers - when you dress like you don't feel like getting out of bed, don't get out of bed. So, Ms. New Beauty heeded his words and resisted venturing out into the world of the living and healthy. But tomorrow, she must get up and go to work, and though her clothes won't show any signs of sickness, her tired eyes might. So, Ms. New Beauty is digging into her bag of tricks to make sure she looks better than she feels.

Sephora Brand Eyeliner in White

White eyeliner is one of those makeup offerings that most people just pass by. If you have pale skin, it completely disappears on your upper lids and if you are darker, you risk looking like Babs from Diddy's first, ill-fated musically, yet completely riveting on television Band. (That pic might not show it, but trust me - she wore a thick band of white eyeliner all through the first and second seasons of that show that completely vexed my college sophomore/junior soul.) In seasons past, magazines told us to line the inner corners of our eyes with white. This looks great in photos, but way too editorial and "I'm ready for any paparazzi cameras" in real life. So most of the time, the poor white eyeliner just sits on the makeup shelves waiting to be snatched up and completely misused and abused by Babs wannabes.

But, I keep white eyeliner in my makeup bag for times just like these, when I need to look more fresh faced than I really am. White eyeliner is perfect on your lower lids. Just carefully line your inner lower lids. That subtle line of white blends in and makes the white of your eyes look bigger and brighter. Just be careful not to get any on your lashes. If you do, you'll have to cover it with dark mascara and dark mascara on your lower lashes just closes in your eyes and completely undoes the work of the white eyeliner. Though I normally prefer kohl liners because they smudge more easily, I always get a traditional pencil for white because smudging is the opposite of what I want it to do.

$4, only at Sephora

Benefit BADGal Blue

Benefit BADGal is one of those classic cult mascaras. The formula is thick without being clumpy and the brush has those big fat bristles that really pack on the volume for skinny lashes. (Ms. New Beauty mascara hint - big fat brush equals big fat lashes).

What's so special about this mascara is that it's Benefit's classic BADGal, but in a deep indigo blue. This is a product I've been using and loving for months and months and been meaning to blog about. Now, I know that blue mascara may immediately make you think of some reincarnation of horrible frosty blue eyeshadow, but this is nowhere close. The color is ridiculously subtle. When you put it on, the effect under normal light is quite the same as traditional black mascara. But, that subtle hint of color will make the whites of your eyes look whiter and brighter. And, no one will notice that your mascara isn't black. Using this in tandem with the white eyeliner trick will erase any signs of fatigue or flu from your eyes.

$19, available at Sephora

Cover up that cold, show up looking better and brighter than you did before, and this time, tell a friend that Ms. New Beauty told you!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Red Hot

As a general rule, Ms. New Beauty doesn't make a habit out of posting on the weekends. For one, MNB's weekends are normally pretty full. She can either be busy with organizational meetings and community service or a packed with social events and late nights out. Some days, like today, Ms. New Beauty likes to stay under her covers and hunker down for good TV and good food, like the Project Runway marathon that she's currently three episodes into and the leftover smoked gouda and bacon mac 'n cheese from Cafeteria. And, Ms. New Beauty also realizes one inherent truth about most of her readers - that the New Beauties of the world typical get their doses of MNB while at work (when they should be working). But today is a special day, a day Ms. New Beauty holds close to her heart, so she must recognize it - Saturday or not. Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day. A day when we remember those affected by the disease and when we recommit ourselves to fighting and funding a cure. And so, we honor this day here at Ms. New Beauty by showing our support for this cause by wearing red.

M.A.C. Viva Glam

Last year for World AIDS Day, I encouraged you all to support M.A.C. Viva Glam lipstick and today I will do the same again. Unlike breast cancer awareness, AIDS doesn't get an outpouring of support from the beauty and cosmetics community. But M.A.C. was one of the first lines to pledge their support to finding a cure and one of the few to remain steadfast in that commitment. In 1994, M.A.C. introduced the first Viva Glam lipstick and pledged every cent that it raised to the M.A.C. AIDS Fund. Since then, the company has introduced five new Viva Glam shades and the M.A.C. AIDS Fund has raised over $100 million to support this cause.

Originally, the first Viva Glam was not my style, but now there are so many shades and there's a color that will look good on everyone. So, please go out and pick up a tube. You're gonna buy lipstick anyway, so at least buy one that can help change the world.

$14, available at M.A.C. cosmetics stores and counters

NARS Lip Lacquer in Diablo

Unfortunately, M.A.C. is the only cosmetics firm that I've found pledging its support to the AIDS cause. But after you've supported Viva Glam, made your own donation to an AIDS charity and most importantly, GOT TESTED!, you can still wear red to draw attention to the AIDS crisis.

NARS Lip Lacquer is impossibly shiny and glossy without being messy or goopy. Diablo is a deep apple red shade that I believe will work on a multitude of skin tones. This shade is classic and can take any outfit or makeup look from everyday to Old Hollywood Glam with just one quick slick. The second I tried it on in Sephora, I knew I'd be taking it home with me. It instantly upgraded by Sunday afternoon jeans and sweater ensemble. I only wish that it came in a tube to make application easier. The small pot makes application something that must be done with a lip brush and a mirror, so there'll be no touch-ups in the backseat of a speeding taxi as you jet from one party to another.

$23, available at Sephora

Essie A-List

The best way to really make a statement today is to match your classic red lip with classic red nails. In keeping with the Old Hollywood glam feel, give your nails a swipe of Essie nail polish in A-List. It's a similar shade of red, like a deep red apple. This is a little bluer in its undertones than the NARS Lip Lacquer but it's still just as flattering. I normally go for really trendy darks (like Russian Navy or Noir Ceramic) or almost completely bare with clear polishes or very, very pale pinks. But, this is a nice change of pace for me. I actually got a lot of compliments on it at the salon yesterday where the nail tech offered me a free manicure, looked down and saw my nails, and instantly retracted the offer because I didn't need it.

With such bold color on your lips and nails, someone is sure to comment. Make sure you accept the compliments graciously and remind your admirer what today is and why you chose a double dose of red. Use this chance to educate yourself and others about the global AIDS crisis. Why not offer a little tidbit like "despite the heavy coverage of AIDS in Africa, the disease is also having devastating effects in India, China and Latin America."

$7, available at drugstores.

Wear red today and show your support for the fight against AIDS, but just don't forget to get tested and that Ms. New Beauty told you!

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