Thursday, August 21, 2014

Preliminary Photos of Tom Ford Beauty Testers for Fall 2014

I was lucky to receive photos of Tom Ford testers from Adila, my lovely Tom Ford representative at Neiman Marcus, Tysons Galleria. They are a little dark - probably taken by a cell phone. Nevertheless, knowing your interest in Tom Ford, I thought I'd better share them.

The top photo shows the new Contouring Cheek Color Duos ($77) in Softcore and Stroked, along with the eye palette we all want: Nude Dip ($79).

Her swatch photo of Nude Dip is shown directly above.

Two new Private Blend Lip Colors ($50) in Negligee and Twist of Fate are easy to identify. Adila put them in front of their boxes. She sent a great swatch photo of the shades.

If it's sunny, I'll be going over to see the testers in person either tomorrow or Saturday. Until then, I hope you enjoy these photos.

Photos courtesy of Adila at Tom Ford. You can reach her at 703-761-1600. Ask for Tom Ford Cosmetics.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Join Me in Paradise (Eau de Parfum) Courtesy of NEST Fragrances

The moment NEST Fragrances' Paradise Eau de Parfum ($65) was launched, I purchased a bottle. Then, NEST sent me a rollerball ($25). I was already in Paradise from this divine fragrance, but having a convenient way to take it along with me made me a very happy - and fabulously scented - gal. You wouldn't believe the compliments.

Paradise perfectly captures a luscious burst of fresh, Mediterranean blood orange. The vibrant character of the fragrance is balanced with watery nuances, a hint of white ginger, and a lingering base of cedarwood. Inspired by the works of Eighteenth Century British artist Mrs. Mary Delany, Laura Slatkin collaborated with master perfumers to translate these works of art into luxurious fragrances that capture the essence of each of the botanicals that adorn the products' striking packaging.

Spray on Paradise, and you will think you were peeling a juicy orange. I'm a huge fan of seriously juicy citrus fragrances (think Orange Sanguine, although Paradise is much more sophisticated and nuanced). It is so satisfying. If you concentrate - hard to do when you are reveling in citrus - you will detect the other notes, particularly at dry-down, when the aquatic notes come into their own.

NEST calls Paradise vibrant, sparkling, and luminous. Check. I'd add addictive. How can you keep your nose away when you apply some to your arm? I can't.

I've written several times this summer about fragrances that transport me. I'll bet some of you have noticed my infatuation. Perhaps I need to be transported to the tropics. For now, NEST Paradise is a perfect substitute for the travel.

Did I tell you the bottle is beautiful? You can find it at NEST and Sephora.

Photos courtesy of NEST Fragrances and eWeb4.com

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rouge Bunny Rouge Raw Garden Eye Shadow Palette in Chronos Giveaway Contest

Here we go, the stupendous giveaway contest of this year! You can enter to win the brand new, exquisite Rouge Bunny Rouge Raw Garden Eye Shadow Palette in Chronos, worth an estimated $73. Rouge Bunny Rouge has generously donated the palette for one winner at Best Things in Beauty. There are other contests running; one is at The Non-Blonde.

If you didn't see my feature on this beautiful new palette, just scroll down. I have swatch photos I've been sitting on for months. I'm so pleased to be part of this unveiling.

How can you enter to win this giveaway contest (technically a sweepstakes)? Just leave a comment on this feature (not in another BTiB post). After you comment here, feel free to send me an e-mail at bestthingsinbeautycontests@gmail.com (the contest address, not my "personal" e-mail) and identify your comment. You can never be too careful about sharing an e-mail address you care about on a blog, so feel free to follow this step (an alternative is to code your e-mail, e.g., myname at gmail dot com, in your comment). Please make sure I have your e-mail. If I can't notify you, you can't win - even if your number is drawn. I can't believe the number of winners I haven't been able to find in the past.

You can earn extra entries. Follow this blog (through an e-mail subscription, GFC, or though one of the many readers - see sidebar at right) to earn a second entry. If you are a follower, it would help me tally entries if you tell me in your comment how you follow. You don't have to follow to enter. I want everyone to have a chance, but I also want to reward my followers. I must be able to track this entry.

You can earn a third entry by tweeting this contest. You must include "@BTiBeauty" (without the quotes) and the contest title in your tweet. Remember, tweet the contest title - if you don't, that entry won't count. I will tweet the contest early this evening, and you can simply retweet it to earn that second entry - if that's easier.

You will automatically earn a fourth entry if you have commented here during the last two weeks. I will know if you have.

The deadline for entries will be Monday, August 25, at midnight. I will use a random number generator (random.org) to select the winner. I will e-mail the winner the next day. The winner will have 48 hours to reply to my message and provide a shipping address. After 48 hours, the prize will be forfeited, and another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your e-mail - and look in your spam folder - when the contest ends.

This contest is open to anyone anywhere. The winner must be able to provide me with a "mailable address," meaning the U.S. Post Office recognizes it or its street, province, and other "elements" the way the winner provides them. I've had some trouble with both U.S. and international addresses.

For all the legalese related to this contest, please see the Contests/Sweepstakes page at the top of the blog. Good luck! One lucky entrant will receive the palette of the year directly from the generous people at Rouge Bunny Rouge.

Photo courtesy of Rouge Bunny Rouge

Rouge Bunny Rouge Raw Garden Eye Shadow Palette in Chronos

The excitement at the Rouge Bunny Rouge Headquarters is now public. I can finally give you a look at a special, limited-edition product that the team and a few beauty insiders, myself included, have kept a treasured secret for months. Finally, on the eve of its introduction, I am able to announce Rouge Bunny Rouge's Raw Garden Eye Shadow Palette in Chronos (55 euros). It will be available next week.

I received this stunning palette many months ago. Sitting on it - well, not literally - has been extremely hard. You will see it was winter when I took my photos. It's really hard to keep my mouth shut for months on end, but that's what I did.

Chronos is an extravagance that is fun, time-saving, with a brand new texture, and limited. It offers a brand new metallic texture for your makeup pleasure - and a brand new, luxurious palette design with a large mirror and magnetic holders to carry your favorite refills.

Chronos has been designed to become your perfect partner in crime - in particular, for a magnetic smokey eye. Do you know what the most common smokey eye pet peeves are? Rouge Bunny Rouge shared its experience with us.

First, it’s choosing black or grey as your only color. There’s the risk of ending up with a grungy, bland-looking patch of darkness around your eyes that's not really attractive. However, if you choose a colored eye shadow - green, violet, or blue - you need smoky colors to tone it down, and you need time to practice. Another problem is that it can get a little messy and quite time consuming if your product creases or is difficult to blend.

With Rouge Bunny Rouge's brand new, limited-edition Eye Shadow Palette Raw Garden, you get a palette of muted metallics that are ideal to create a perfect, enticing, and quick smoky eye in the formula of your favorite eight-hour wear, flavonoid-enriched Rouge Bunny Rouge Long-Lasting Eye Shadow.

When Chronos arrived at my house, I nearly hyperventilated with happiness. I couldn't believe that the company was sharing its treasure with me. Month after month, I've wondered when I'd be able to show it to you. Finally! This palette is divine, and the colors will take you into fall and winter with glee.

I took my photos in full sun, and I used a sponge-tipped applicator to apply the shades, starting on the left at the top of my arm and moving toward the right down my arm. There is a dual-ended sponge-tipped applicator in the palette, but I used my own.

Look at these shades! I love every one of them. I would call them shimmering, not metallic, but that's a minor detail. The taupe at the top of my arm is drool-worthy. Every taupe lover will rejoice. The next shade is a taupe-plum hybrid that's heavy on the taupe so it's eminently wearable. The brown-olive shade is simply perfect. What more can I say?

The grey is just this side of charcoal. It's a very flattering shade to use with all of the other shades in the palette. Use it as a liner or an accent color, it's much prettier than your "average charcoal." In certain light, I see some blue in it. I'm sure the last shade, a teal from heaven, was inspired by the plumage of the Enchanted Garden's birds.

All of the shades are very nicely pigmented, with no fallout, and a texture that's almost creamy. Although I applied them to show you their intensity, the brush you use for application and your own hand can guide the look you wish to achieve, from a soft wash of color to a full-on, intense eye. This palette is the ultimate smoky eye treasure.

Rouge Bunny Rouge has a draw at its own site. Four bloggers have also been offered a giveaway, and, my lucky readers, BTiB is one of them. I will start our giveaway contest tonight. Come on back to enter. Make sure to enter all of the contests to increase your chances of winning one of the prettiest palettes I've ever seen. All I could think was Yabba Dabba Doo when I opened Chronos. You will too.

Photo at top courtesy of Rouge Bunny Rouge; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne

I blame the darling Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book. I had absolutely no intention of purchasing Bite Beauty's Agave Lip Mask in Champagne ($26). Unfortunately, her feature intrigued me, leaving me no option but to order it. Her pictures were fabulous, as always, and it looked like something I would appreciate. I love masks of all types, but there are few good ones for the lips.

The color is not as exciting on me as it is on Sabrina. Once I apply it to my lips, I'm left with a clear champagne gloss that loses the peachy oomph that you can see in the unblended shade. I took my photos in full, lunchtime sun as I waited not-so-patiently for the sun and clouds to do their daily dance.

The photo directly above shows the Champagne color as it "dots" out of the tube, with the blended shade above. As you can see, that lovely color disappears into an almost-clear champagne shade when blended - or when you smack your lips. I wouldn't purchase this product for the color unless you are short on champagne glosses.

I did a finger swatch because your finger pads are closer to the pigment of your lips than your inner arm. This is how the Lip Mask looks on my lips. It does have a very sheer peachy hue if you look hard.

How does it feel on the lips? Thick, very thick. Is it protecting them? Said to instantly soothe and soften the lips, this "delicious" leave-on lip mask contains a bio-active blend of healing antioxidants, including organic agave nectar, jojoba, and 15 mg of the antioxidant resveratrol (good stuff). Used over time, I expect it would have a therapeutic effect on the lips. I won't be using it long enough to find out.

The problem I have with it is that I would never use it during the night - the time when I'm most amenable to wearing masks. It is so thick and goopy it would come off of my lips and leave sticky lip prints all over my silk pillowcase - way too messy for my tastes. I sleep on my side. If I were a back sleeper, I wouldn't have that problem.

Because it's thick, it clings to the lips during the day, offering a nearly sheer shine. I look better with a little color. Had it had some lasting color, I might be more impressed - and more likely to use it.

It has a disagreeable taste that dissipates pretty quickly, so it's basically a sheer, thick, lip gloss (packed with ingredients that are good for your lips). That's not enough to entice me.

Sabrina was thoroughly honest in her review. I chose to focus on the attractive features as I rushed off to order this product. Had I read more carefully, I would have passed. Given the price, I've lost only a great lunch.

There you have it. We offer two opinions with many similarities on the same product. Mine is more critical. I'll keep Bite Beauty's Agave Lip Mask in "storage," though. I might be more impressed in the winter when my lips feel chapped all the time.

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Coming Soon: Le Métier de Beauté After Dark Total Look Kaleidoscope

Scheduled to arrive at Neiman Marcus about the first of September, the After Dark Total Look Kaleidoscope ($95) is being called the "everything evening Kaleidoscope." Given the description below, I suspect the press photo above is inaccurate colorwise.

This collection was designed as an evening glamour makeover for eyes cheeks, and face. It's perfect for the woman on the go. This portable collection is said to contain two eye shadows, a shimmering patina, and a burnished sapphire. A universal evening blush in shimmering mauve, and a face-sculpting contour powder. Flattering and elegant, it's bound to be popular.

Since I don't see sapphire - granted sapphires are available in blue, pink, white, and other shades - I'm assuming the Kaleidoscope will be much prettier than the advance photo. As a rule, the term sapphire is used in the beauty industry to refer to blue.

I won't ask you what you think until we get a good photo. Until then, I'm excited that the pipeline is starting to fill again. If you want to pre-order or reserve one, give  Michael Reinhardt at call at (202) 966-9700, extension 2258.

Photo courtesy of Le Métier de Beauté

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Friday Forum - August 15 - Le Métier de Beauté Kaleidoscope Lip Kits

It's hard to believe it's already mid-August, until you remember that the days are growing shorter and the mornings cooler. Today, it's beautiful outside - a morning perfect for hanging out on the screened porch.

I am bracing myself for the inevitable I-wants that will come as the new fall and winter beauty collections hit the counters en masse. Fall turns into an expensive season. Like the rest of you, I am on the prowl for that Tom Ford eye palette, new Chanel, and more to come from Le Métier de Beauté.

During the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I purchased a hand cream I'm loving: Antica Farmacista's Bergamot & Ocean Aria ($18). It was one of those little extras I often throw into my shopping cart, not a planned purchase. I love it! Built on the allure of the ocean, ozonic saltwater notes blend with jasmine and lavender, while crisp bergamot adds sparkle. Warm notes of oakmoss captivate the lush scent. This beauty needs to be better known, so give it a whiff next time you are at Nordstrom.

Antica's hand creams include luxurious botanicals to nourish and moisturize. Shea butter and vitamin E produce a silky formulation that is restorative and beautifully fragranced. I'm using it so quickly that I'm going to have to purchase another - or maybe one Bergamot & Ocean and another in a different scent. I know I love Ala Moana.

Do you spend much time on Facebook? There is a growing and disgusting trend there - one that Facebook seems disinclined to stop. Haters - aka trolls - are attacking all of the animal rescue and related sites trying to raise money, most often for vet bills and all of the expenses of caring for abused and abandoned animals. They are also going after people down on their luck who are using sites like GoFundMe to try to get help from readers who donate voluntarily. I guess the haters don't believe in charity.

Each week, I am reading anguished posts by good people - no, great people - who are sacrificing their lives to save animals, but are being attacked as frauds by the haters. It must be some kind of game for bullies. Facebook has an anti-bullying policy, but they will do nothing about the trolls. I have reported them. Hundreds of people have reported them, with no results. No wonder there are predictions that Facebook is old school and will be replaced by an as-yet-known competitor. I hope it will be a company with a conscience - one that will realize that words are being used as weapons.

Trolls exist everywhere. That's why most beauty bloggers moderate comments. You would not believe the comments that come in to BTiB for moderation. My friend Gaia gets them too. It's hard to believe that there are so many women who love makeup, a community I would hope, who think nothing of attacking me or my readers. I had to add a notice to the comments page stating that I will not publish comments attacking my readers. It's no surprise that these comments are always anonymous.

I did not write an obituary for Lauren Bacall. I wanted to, but her death came too close on the gut-wrenching news of Robin Williams' suicide. Instead, to remember her, take a close look at this photo and her makeup. What an extraordinary photo of an extraordinary woman! I would love to know what lip color she was wearing. The lipstick, the blush, the eye shadow - everything was perfect. Her makeup enhanced her features. It's a good lesson to remember. That should be why we wear makeup.

It's time for our weekend sharing, the Friday Forum. I love this part of our week. What new products did you discover this week? We have all seen the upcoming Tom Ford collection, so I think we can skip that this week. Did you find any deals you couldn't resist? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? What's new in your life? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers will have moved on.

Update: I wanted to show you a photo of Le Métier de Beauté's new Gemini Kiss Kaleidoscope Lip Kit ($125). It is exclusive to Neiman Marcus stores. It is much like the V.I.B. program Gemini Rising Kaleidoscope, with the dual pans, one including a reformulated Hydra-Crème Lipstick, and the other side with a Lip Crème Lip Gloss. The colors are intended to be layered.

I was not going to show you Gemini Rising because you couldn't buy it. I did take photos and swatch it this morning. I want to warn you not to leave this Kaleidoscope in your purse in a hot car. I had it outside for photos this morning, and the Lip Crème Lip Glosses turned to mush. This is definitely a keep-indoors product.

The photo directly above is Gemini Rising. It was hard to get all of the colors in my photo without taking the Kaleidoscope apart, and I wasn't up for it. A swatch photo is below, starting at the top level, applied as directed, with the matte shade applied first, topped by the gloss. My photos were taken in full, mid-day sun.

It looks like my Gemini Rising has more pink in it, and that Gemini Kiss has more coral and nude. You never know, though. Press photos can we way off. I'll report back after I see Gemini Kiss in person. If you would like to order one, give Michael Reinhardt at call at (202) 966-9700, extension 2258.

Update #2: You have to read this

Happy weekend!

Photos by Best Things in Beauty and courtesy of NBC