Jul 30, 2009

You'll Want to Bat Your Eyelashes for This!

Lengtheners That Make Your Lashes Go the Distance

Everyone wants to go to the extreme to look beautiful. Jessica Rabbit lashes seem to be the length to beat. Celebs seem to magically roll out of bed and onto the red carpet with perpetually elongated masterpieces.  Their secret, however, seems to be out: lash growth enhancers are so hot and so 2009! With promises of longer, fuller lashes, what's not to love? With budgets tightening, however, are these pricey new finds worth the splurge or will lash glue and a wand's worth of DiorShow do?

If your eyes truly are the windows to your soul, it seems only fitting that you'd want the curtains to those portholes to look extra nice. While Tammy Faye Bakker might have had it all wrong with miles of goopy mascara and fake lashes that cramped every inch of her crowded lids, she did know the best way to get noticed. She wanted everyone to recognize her and did so by decorating her blinds with the same gusto as you would a Christmas tree.

Your lashes are your eye's calling cards. They frame your face’s most important feature and the way you wear them lets people know what kind of mood you're in. Long and dark = mysterious and sexy. Thick and full = Flirty yet coy. Winged and curled = Dramatic and spontaneous. It’s no secret the finishing touch to any look is a swipe of mascara or securely attaching your favorite pair of fakies.

In fact the world wide annual expenditure on mascara alone is more than $5 billion. That money is spent on tubes that will only temporarily enhance your eye's appearance. More recently there’s been a boom in lash growth formulas that guarantee a more permanent, naturally longer and thicker look.

Among the most popular brands are Revitalash and Latisse but there's no shortage of other names popping up with their own concoctions. Peter Thomas Roth, tarte and FusionBeauty are some of the other labels vying for the attention of consumers. With so many products out there promising longer lashes it’s hard to know what really works. Beauty hubs are stocked with products claiming you'll have Bambi lengtheners but which brands are worth the money and most popular? How do they actually work and how can we compare them in value, effectiveness and longevity with our tried and true methods? Are these products safe to use and what are the side effects?  Furthermore, is it best to invest in one of these new solutions or skip it and settle for five dollar fakes and your favorite mascara?

Lash Lengthening Boom:

Eye doctors had been regularly noting the side effects of some of the drugs used to treat patients with Glaucoma-a debilitating eye disease. Patients using certain medications to treat the disease consistently grew long lush lashes.

Revitalash was  developed two years ago by an ophthalmologist for his wife whose lashes were damaged after intensive chemotherapy. What he developed worked so well that soon after it hit the market, people were clamoring for the wonder-tube.

Latisse was developed by Allergan; a company that produced the drug Lumigan, eye drops to help control the progression of Glaucoma. Allergan then began developing a formula, renamed Latisse, strictly for cosmetic use which was the first of its kind to receive FDA approval (last December). Bimatoprost is the active ingredient in the formulation of Latisse. It's a synthetic but natural-like compound or prostaglandin that is believed to stimulate the enzymes in your hair follicles, causing growth. Essentially, Bimatoprost are like seeds that when spread not only helps flowers to grow but also help the soil they're in to be extra fertile. Unlike other products available, you need a prescription to buy Latisse-a comfort to some and pain to others.

Popularity Contest:

In discussing popularity, reliability and visibility Revitalash (skinstore.com) and Latisse (latisse.com to find a doctor near you) come out as clear favorites. Both were developed by medical professionals, have been tested the most and are most popular with consumers.


$135.00 by RevitaLash at Skin Store

 In fact, Allergan’s chief executive predicted that the long-term worldwide sales of Latisse should exceed $500 million. While Revitalash’s Marketing team declined to discuss their annual profits, the buzz on the product is palpable.

Others have also developed lash stimulants. Here are our favorites:

The MultiplEye Lash Enhancer by tarte ($65, sephora.com) is great. NYC based, Celebrity makeup artist, Beau Nelson says actress Lindsay Price loves the way the affordable, chicly-packaged product makes her lashes look.

Tarte MultiplEYE Lash Enhancer

$65.00 by Tarte at Sephora

Peter Thomas Roth's Lashes to Die For ($125, Sephora) offers a three month supply and promises longer, fuller lashes. The conditioner uses Vitamins A, C, E and B5 to increase hair growth.

Peter Thomas Roth Lashes To Die For Night Time Eyelash Conditioning Treatment
$125.00 by Peter Thomas Roth at Sephora

Application 411

These boosters work by taking the brush-like applicator and lining it along the bottom of your lash line on a nightly basis.

For Revitalash a thickener keeps the solution from dripping or getting in your eye while Latisse provides disposable applicator to make things neat and easy.

Revitalash takes six weeks before you see any results. Put it on once a day for two months and then 2-3 times a week after that.  Jacquie Champagne, a cosmetics boutique manager from Boston, said she saw a significant difference after a month. “My lashes have grown so much longer and darker that I don’t feel like I need to wear mascara.  People ask me all the time if I've gotten eyelash extensions", she says.

With Americans spending almost $1.3 billion on mascara alone last year, the idea of someone feeling like they don’t need to wear mascara seems almost unthinkable.

It may take a little longer for the results to show while using Latisse, which asks patients to apply it by lining the lid at the base of the eyelashes with an applicator, but show they will. A clinical test done by the company and approved by the FDA showed that eyelashes grew 25 percent longer, 106 percent thicker and 18 percent darker while using the drug after sixteen weeks.

While Revitalash does not make any such guaranties they do have a strong following, especially among celebrities (Paula Abdul, Fergie and Rihanna to name a few).  Hannah Murray, the company’s VP of Marketing, says celebrities love the product because of its effectiveness.

Latisse also has a strong star backing in the brand’s spokesperson, Brooke Shields. Nelson who also works with Shields told us how much she loves the product. While the gorgeous star is naturally striking, the formula has made her lashes grow in only a month and the difference is significant. “Her lashes look absolutely incredible”, Nelson says.

Launch Party for LATISSE - Arrivals

Side Effects and Safety

While none of these products have been on the market for that long, both have been poked and prodded by researchers.

Since both treatments use a variant of the same solutions to treat Glaucoma, there is a risk of experiencing some of the side effects those patients encounter.  Red eyes, itching, a darkening of the eyelids and possibly the iris color are some of the possible results. After testing, Allergan did note about 3 percent of the patients experienced itching and red eyes but no one in the 100,000 people tested experienced a change in their iris color.

Dr.  Leslie Baumann, Director of Cosmetic Dermatology at the University of
Miami, says that after seeing such dramatic results (and no problems) in her patients, she started using Revitalash for herself. She did note, however, that since the compounds in Revitalash have changed (due to the rights Latisse has on using Bimatoprost, Revitalash has had to alter their solution to something similar but different) she now prefers Latisse. There has been a rare report of patients using Glaucoma drops experiencing a swelling of the retina, which blurs the vision. This, however, is extremely uncommon and usually encountered by people with pre-existing eye conditions.

Budget Friendly or Splurge Worthy?

Pain is beauty and it’s kind of a pain to part with dollars right now…unless it’s worth it. Revitalash is $150 but lasts for six months. So it ends up being about $25 per month.  Latisse is $120 for a one month supply but, unfortunately you don’t usually see full results till 4 months of use, so it’s more than the initial investment.  Think of it, though, as the equivalent of buying a cup of coffee every day and the money you’ll save on mascara replenishment.

Others range from $65 to $140 so either way you're gonna be plucking down cash.

Formulas or Fakes?

These treatments can be used with fake eyelashes and mascara. Nelson says if you’re not up for taking these tools out for a ride, try drugstore brand fake eyelashes (4.99, drugstores) and heavy mascara like YSL Faux Cils ($28.50, sephora.com) or L’Oreal Voluminous  Mascara, ($7.49, drugstores). You’ll achieve the sultry drama you want and both mascaras don't smudge and look great on everyone.

Yves Saint Laurent MASCARA VOLUME EFFET FAUX CILS Luxurious Mascara

$28.50 by Yves Saint Laurent at Sephora

Avoid eyelash extensions. Some users complained that the heaviness of the fake lashes became uncomfortable. Others said their eyes felt irritable and maintaining the look every month is far too costly (sometimes $400 an application).

There are plenty of options out there to create a look that screams sexy and hot! The resources are out there, it’s just a matter of deciding which avenue suits you best.

Jul 22, 2009

A New Hue for Less!

Skip your next salon appointment. Your new colorist is looking at you in the mirror.

Your bathroom may not look like your salon but it is. DIY tips to coloring away your imperfections.

In these tough economic times it seems like even getting a hair cut every three months is a bit of a luxury. So it comes as no surprise that most people are looking to save their pennies when it comes to coloring their hair. Getting your color revamped every few months by a professional is always ideal but it adds up quickly and sometimes means sacrificing other mind body & soul necessities. So before you start sacrificing your bi-weekly pilates classes for a colorist’s monthly touch, consider the merits of at-home coloring kits. With the right information and research it's very possible to not only do it successfully but also have it look like its been done by Louis Licari (or at least by his wildly-talented long-lost twin!).

Do your homework on the look you want and products you're going to use. Save dramatic color changes for trips to the salon. Embodying Ashlee Simpson's seamless transition from golden sun-kissed blond to fiery-rocker-chick red would be fun, but that kind of care can only be handled by a professional. Stay within your color range by at least two levels (darker or lighter). Anything more extreme will change the tones that compliment your complexion and not necessarily work with your skin.

Here looking like a quintessential beach blonde beauty.   Crimson locks & a rockstar hubby added just the right amount of  "street-cred."

Finding Your Hair's Prince Charming

Just like your own undertones, your mane has natural undertones in cools and warms. People with warm tones tend to have darker skin while cools have fairer features. If you're a cool choose box tints with "ash, light, or cool" on them, while warm tones need "golden, butterscotch and rich" hues.

Look at online color charts. Clairol and L'Oréal have comprehensive guides and experts to help guide you along. Clairol even has a "try it on" feature which enables you to see how you'd look with different styles and shades. Also Ask your hairstylist for advice on which color or brand is best suited for you. Since you're an amateur, DIY tinting should only be done with semi-permanent, single-processed or color-deposited dyes.

With all this information, how do you choose your glass slipper; the package that's going to change your hair's life? In an interview with O magazine, Clairol Color Director and Co-Owner of NYC's Ted Gibson Salon, Jason Backe, has a few suggestions: "If you're covering grays try Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing Color Treatment ($7.50). For a root touch-up, opt for Clairol's Nice 'n Easy Root Touch-Up ($7) but if you want to alter your hue choose a semi-permanent dye like L'Oréal ColorSpa Moisture Actif, ($8)."All brands are available at your local drugstore.

Keep your grays away with this powerhouse.

All you need is 10 minutes to recharge your color.

This one-click applicator boosts your hair's natural color

We also love Feria Haircolor by L'Oreal ($10, drugstore.com). The inexpensive brand has a variety of shades to choose from and leaves your hair hydrated and silky. Nandini Giridharadas, a pottery teacher from Bethesda MD who regularly uses Feria to cover her grays, swears by L'Oreal saying "the conditioner is so moisturizing and the shade (Dark-Golden-Brown) is perfect for my hair and skin tone".

The hues come out looking incredibly vibrant.

Erica Corsano, Editorial-Director at Stuff Magazine-Boston, adores Frederic Fekkai's Salon Hair-Color ($30-Sephora). For someone as busy as her (I was narrowly able to squeeze in an interview with her in-between the charity-fashion show she had just participated and blind-date she was heading out for), time is of the essence. Although Corsano sees a colorist, she mixes in using the hair-color kit because the color looks amazing, its so quick and easy to use and perfect for covering grays in between salon trips.

The "brush and bowl" technique allows for thorough and precise blending.

Gather the tools you'll need for your mission. Find an old t-shirt, a timer, rubber gloves, brushes, clips to section off your hair, old towels and a hand mirror to look at the back of your head. Keep your strands unwashed as your scalp's natural oils act as a buffer to any irritants. Wait two weeks to color if you've bleached, permed or relaxed your tresses. In an interview done with Elle, Adrian Wallace, Celebrity-Colorist at NYC's Rita Hazan Salon recommends using Phyto's Phytonectar-Oil $30, Sephora) if you're locks are damaged. The nourishing treatment helps strengthen and moisturize your hair by restoring the amino acids lost from over-processing, using soybean and egg yolk and corn oil extracts.

Practice Makes Perfect!

It wouldn't fly if your colorist hadn't practiced before working on you, would it? It's no different for you, especially if you've never colored your own mane. Use gloves, a brush and conditioner to mimic the motion used from root to tip. Test a small patch of hair to see if you like the tint. Look at the color in bright natural light. You can make adjustments or mix colors at that point.

Use Vaseline on the outer edge of your hairline to prevent the dye from staining your forehead. If you do end up staining your skin use Roux Clean Touch Hair-Color Stain Remover ($3.39, amazon.com). Apply color to the front sections first and then work your way back since the front tends to be lightest. Reverse the procedure if you're lightening your tresses. Section off your locks into clips to help evenly distribute the dye. If mixing the solution is required, do so, then pour the contents into a plastic bowl. Use a brush as an applicator instead of a bottle as the brush is easier to spread the concoction evenly. If your hair is very long or thick, ask a friend for help. Each section needs to be colored, conditioned and dried separately so you'll need assistance. Leave the formula on for the exact time recommended and follow all directions closely including rinsing out mixture and using a color seal glaze. Don't shampoo again till at least 12 hours later and only use lukewarm water to protect the color from fading. Redo in four to six weeks.

The solution will help remove stains from your clothes.

Also try Avon Grey Root Touch-Up. ($5, avon.com) It’s easy to use, available in a ton of shades and incredibly affordable. Bonus: Throw it in your bag for a rush-hour commute application.

The mascara wand-like applicator is an industry favorite, winning a CEW Insider's Choice Award. For a natural alternative Wallace likes vegetable dyes, like Herbavita ($10.34, online at amazon.com), sold at health food stores. They're great for pregnant women and clients looking to deepen their color at home. Get a box one shade lighter as they tend to come out darker than they appear.

John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze Clear Shine ($9.99, drugstores) Celebrity colorists love this shine-inducing treatment. It gives a jolt of shimmer and leaves your new color rich and supple.

Try Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo in Blond and Silver ($5.90, amazon.com). Wallace uses this favorite on his famous blonds (like Alicia Silverstone) because it “wont stain the hair but keeps highlights fresh by counteracting any brassiness”.

Frederic Fekkai's Sunshine Shield ($ 22, beauty.com) protects your tint from fading and keeps it lustrous. Use a UV protecting spray after you've colored it to keep your hair looking brilliant.

This fragrant smelling spray will help your color last longer and protect your roots and ends. Ken Paves Healthy Hair Boost Up Color Drops ($ 40, beauty.com) has conditioning agents like soy to boost proteins and make your color richer. The famed stylist uses these drops to maintain the chestnut hues and honey-gold's of Eva Longoria and Jessica Simpson.

Jul 19, 2009

Look and Feel Posh-Spice Airport-Ready No Matter Where You Are

Out of Office Reply up? You're in Vacation-Mode!

Gain your world traveler wings with this season’s most skin suitable and smart to use products on-the-go.

Pack the tools that optimize space, time and effectiveness.

Summer has finally arrived! Shielding yourself from the bitter temperatures in your faux-fur parka and face wrap was mildly amusing, but now you're more than ready for warm weather and sunny beach days. You may not have the means to fund a Tahitian vacation-extraordinaire right now but wherever you decide to journey, (surf and sand at the Jersey Shore or poolside in Miami) you'll need the right accoutrement to make you're travels easy and skin effortlessly glowing. The fun of vacations is their sometimes unexpected nature. While spontaneity might work for your itinerary, it won't for your skincare routine. Packing products that are either multi-purpose or compact is a great start, but too often people compromise quality for travel ready. There's nothing worse than being in your dream location, ready to drink in the culture and night life but instead stressing over an inopportune zit or frizzy hair day (since your without your favorite products).

Carry-on in style!

Dress your liquids up in packaging as stylish as your airport outfit.

Conveniently varied in style and size, Japonesque's Gotta Go Weekend Travel Bag ($20, amazon.com) comes with identification labels so you don't confuse your toner for mouthwash. This bag is perfect for all those obscure but necessary fluids that you must journey with.

Identifying adhesive labels make storing liquids easy.

Skin Solutions for Every Surface

“Hand-ie” for your face.

While this bottle may not appear travel-friendly, it is! Satin Soaps by Jason Natural Products ($6.75, jason-natural.com) is all natural and so gentle on your skin you can use it on your hands and face. We love the one infused with Herbal Extracts. It has avocado oil to moisturize and aloe vera to soothe the skin. Use this multi-faceted wash to cleanse your exterior and enjoy the satin smooth hydration you’ll experience. Throw some in one of your newly acquired airport-ready bottles.

The foaming solution will keep your hands and face soft to the touch.

It's summer so wearing thongs (sandals that is) is a given.

Outdoor activities can be rough on your feet. Having dry, calloused and cracked feet takes away from the beauty of your tanned, freshly manicured (in neon pink of course) toes. Tips 'N Toes Hands & Feet Kit by Burt's Bees ($8.50, burtsbees.com) includes a pumice stone, miniature peppermint lotion and creams in coconut and lemon butter. The concoctions smell delicious and are enriched with ultra moisturizing cocoa butter.

I Can See Clearly Now

Topical treats that allow your summer skin to be as clean and makeup free as possible. Don’t waste time on vacation doing prep-work when you can be squeezing in back to back activities. Sometimes, that means jumping from beach to bar without much time for touch-ups. Unfortunately, heat and humidity increases the activity in your oil glands causing pores to clog and creating breakouts. Try AcneRecovery's System Kit ($99, acnerecovery.com). These powerful treatments contain benzoyl-peroxide and salicylic-acid and come in convenient packaging. Additionally, their special "dial-in" technology allows you to adjust the amount of active ingredients you use depending on your needs. The clearer your skin, the less time you’ll spend applying makeup and the more confident you’ll feel in your new locale.

Other Travel Favorites Include: Solid perfume roll on sticks by Crazylibellule and the Poppies ($18, Poule de Luxe Vanilla Lemon Pie is my favorite), Yu-be Moisturizing Skin Cream To Go ($15), Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primer To Go SPF 15 Dermaxyl Complex ($17) -all available sephora.com- and Oscar Blandi’s Proteine di Jasmine Protein Mist for Restyling Hair To Go ($8, drugstore.com)

Tip: Use the spray bottle for rosewater if you're on a plane. Spritz on your face after you land to rehydrate your moisture-thirsty skin. Try Pure Persian Rose Water by Julie Hewett ($24, thebeautymark.com)

Jul 18, 2009

The Not-So Moody Blues

Picasso would be proud! Blue makeup is this summer's hottest painted shade.

Summer is finally here and there's no better way to emphasize a newly acquired glow than with this season's hottest color, blue. Find that shade that’s best for you and you'll see how fabulous and wearable it really is. Blues intensify and brighten your eyes by bringing out the warm toned contrasts and specks within your iris, while cerulean, azure, and cobalt polish shades draw attention to radiant skin. No costume parties are needed to relish in a look that might have conjured up images of Smurfette in the past but is nothing short of fashion forward and fabulous, today.

Create a sultry smoky eye using products that look dramatic when mixed together but when worn individually also look gorgeous for a day time look. Try Duwop's Blue Eyes Palette ($32, beauty.com) and Bobbi Brown's Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner ($21, bobbibrown.com) in Cobalt or Indigo Ink.

Before slipping on your wedges, paint your toes with a vibrant blue like OPI Nail Polish in No Room for the Blues ($8.50, amazon.com).

Tip: Keep your shadows from clumping, especially in the heat, with Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($17, Sephora.com) and turn them into long lasting richly-hued liners with Paula Dorf's Transformer ($19, drugstore.com). If you're feeling extra pale, lather on some self-tanner like Clarin's Self Tanning Instant Gel ($32, sephora.com) to make the color pop.

Side note: Brides: Don't be afraid to let your makeup be your "something blue"! This fabulous color palette suits most skin types and is the perfect modern chic update to fresh wedding makeup.

Here are some of our favorite Hollywood starlets sporting their color of choice:

Here's how to NOT wear this fabulous shade:

Sorry Estelle!