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January 6, 2003

Happy New Year! This week I am pleased to bring Lisa's winter color report, a seasonal tradition here at Cosmetic Connection. Enjoy!

Lisa is 30 years old, and hails from from Columbus, OH. She has very fair skin that tends to be "combination," with unexpected rages of sensitivity. Lisa's heritage is rather mixed - mostly Hungarian, with some Scottish and French mixed in with a dash of Native American. Her very fair skin tans like nobody's business and produces a myriad of freckles, so she always wears plenty of sunscreen. Lisa has golden-green eyes, and auburn hair (not naturally, though - she's been coloring it every shade of red imaginable since she was 15). Lisa's main beauty concerns are puffy, sensitive, "circled" eyes, (which she remedies with Creme de La Mer applied at night, and Avon Lighten Up Plus in the daytime) and blackheads on her nose. The best thing she's found so far for the blackheads is "Queen Helene" Mint Julep mask - it works great, and has that fun retro packaging (it's available for mere dollars at drugstores and beauty supply stores nationwide) - and the AHA mask from Tipton Charles. Have a question for Lisa? Email her here.

Take it away, Lisa!

Greetings fellow Cosmetic Junkies! While the cold winds of winter are blowing full-strength through the Midwest, it seems like my own personal whirlwind has subsided a bit. I recently started a new job with a large cellular provider, and am now just beginning to feel like life is getting back to some semblance of normalcy. It has been fun and exciting, but also very challenging. Thankfully, I'm finding my stride again, which leaves time for those truly important things, like trying all the new offering of seasonal cosmetic goodies! (Yep, a gal truly has to have her priorities!) So, it is with great pleasure that I present my annual survey of the cold-weather color offerings for 2002/2003.

I'll admit, I enjoy playing with makeup far more in the colder months than I do in the warm ones. While it is next to impossible to keep makeup looking good in the dog days of August, colder weather allows for more precise application and increased staying power. And, for those of us who have an almost exclusively black wardrobe, the richer jewel tones and more substantial textures are an accessory in themselves. I mean, really, what is more dead sexy than deep red lips and the perfect black dress? Leather pants and a smoky, shimmering eye? The cold-weather possibilities are endless for we divas who like to play with color.

Since I've been trying bits and pieces from so many different lines, this is going to be quite the varied list. We'll start with the word on what's new from a couple of the bigger, luxury lines, and then move on to bits and pieces from here and there. So, get comfortable, and start planning how to spend that holiday booty!

First on the list to try was Clarins, which is always a favorite of mine. Clarins is just, well, so very FRENCH; characterized by high quality, ingenious formulas, and packaging that is luxurious and pretty. Their cold-weather line, "Precious Jewels," is full of deep colors with lots of shimmer. As always, each Clarins compact and container is almost a work of art in its own right; substantial and durable, each one even has its own mirror. No wonder French girls always look so fabulous.

I tried the face powder in Light Amber 01, which contains Clarin's "auto-focus" pigments (a base of very, very finely milled mother of pearl and silk powders, designed to reflect light and brighten the face). Don't worry, though ­ you won't sparkle TOO much. This soft beige is somewhere between regular powder and bronzer (depending on your own personal skintone), with just the faintest hint of shimmer. It is a very refined formula that is perfect for any age because it won't collect in little lines and creases. And, for my ice-princess pallor, this powder was the PERFECT shade of bronzer; not too dark or orange like almost every other formula out there. I brush a bit of this on my face in the morning, and I'm always happy with the warm glow it adds. If your skin needs a wake-up call, day or night, this face powder is a perfect choice.

Clarins eye color is a real treat for anyone who wants silky color that is incredibly blendable. This season, there are two new colors: Amethyst (a rich purple that is surprisingly pretty) and Rose Quartz (soft pink that brightens the eyes and hides discoloration). These colors can be applied wet or dry, depending on the desired effect. Personally, I like the Rose Quartz shade the best; really basic and easy to wear ­ I use it nearly everyday. The Amethyst shade is, for me, best suited for evening. One night, I used it to add a bit of "smoke" to my eyes before an evening out, and really liked how it made my green eyes look REALLY green. These formulas are smooth, silky, and rich with pigment.

Next on the list was Colour Gloss for lips. This lipcolor is very glossy and smooth, and has an intriguing, refreshing taste, thanks to a combination of vanilla, mint, and fennel. The seven shades, which range from pale crystal to striking vermilion, have good pigment, and are wonderfully moisturizing. However, I was NOT hot on the minibrush applicator. It just ended up getting goopy and matted. I personally think this would be the perfect lipgloss, if it just had a sponge-tip applicator :)

Last in the Clarins Color lineup was their uber-cool nail polish in shade number 230, a sheer amethyst with a serious golden sparkle. It works well on its own, but looks fetching on top of deep red polish, to add depth and shimmer. If you aren't daring enough to do it on your nails, consider it perfect for toes. This color lasts nicely, too, so your manicure will hold up.

After enjoying the offerings from Clarins, I moved onto the "Mineralites" collection from Estee Lauder. Rich earthtone colors, and textures with a bit of sheen were inspired by the season's cozy, plush looks from the runway. The shades are strong, but have a soft quality that makes the color very wearable.

My favorite product, by far, is the Crème Patina for Eyes. Now, I usually hate crème eyeshadow because it usually takes all of an hour for the color to creep into creases and lines; not a pretty look! This formula is different, though. It blends easily, but then the color sets to a powder finish. The moisture evaporates completely, so the formula stays put. The colors I tried were Pearl Jade, a shimmering sage-y green, and Golden Pearl, a creamy ivory with golden shimmer. Both were sheer and very pretty; real keepers, in my opinion.

For lips and nails, the colors ranged from neutral (golden "Tigereye" for lips and bronze-y "Marcasite" for nails) to rich (Plummy "Sunstone" for lips and "Amethyst" for nails) and downright bright ("Rubellite" for lips and "Garnet" for nails). The lipstick is a smooth, moisturizing, full-coverage formula, and the nail polish has great pigment and really lasts.

For the wilder child, there's Illusionist Mascara in "Teal." While this mascara is really overkill in the daytime, the rich green-blue is perfect for candle-lit dinners or a swanky party. This one is just for fun :)

After my fun with Clarins and Lauder, I also tried an assortment of various goodies from different lines:

For eyes, I tried MAC Pro Longlash Mascara in "Burnt Umber." Oh, how I loved this mascara! The formula leans towards "natural," but you can build up the layers for more vavoom. It refuses to clump or flake, and really does add a bit of length. While it thickens slightly, it won't add a ton of volume. Even better, the price is a mere $9.50, which isn't much more than most formulas from L'Oreal. Compared to most department store brands, which start at around $15 and go up from there, this one is a real steal for the level of quality and performance.

I also really like Maybelline Lash Discovery. The little brush easily distributes the mascara to even the smallest lashes, and friends of mine that have smaller, more deep-set eyes swear by it because it's so much easier to apply. Lash Discovery wears well, but doesn't make it quite as long without flaking as the Pro Longlash from MAC. However, this is a great formula with an ingenious little brush ­ don't hesitate to pick it up.

Just a couple of quick mentions on the eyeshadow front: Nars powder eyeshadow in "Night Clubbing" just might be the perfect shade for making green eyes look smoky and sexy. This deep, shimmering olive green is incredible when applied with a damp slant brush. Take a little time to practice applying it the way Heather mentioned in an earlier Laura Mercier review: underneath the upper lashline. Use your index finger, held horizontally, to GENTLY hold up lashes, better exposing the rim ­ GENTLY push slant brush at the middle of the lash line and work outward, then inward. You can even add more color above the line if you are really doing it up for a hot evening out. The results really are amazing! Thanks, Heather, for that great tip!

I also really adore Urban Decay's eyeshadow in shimmering "Sin." This is a great champagne shade with a satin shine that adds light to the eye area, and camouflages party-tired (or in my case, holiday-retail tired ­ sheesh!) eyes. You can make this color work on light or dark skintones day or night depending on how much you apply ­ it is truly a great, universal shade.

For lips, since the season's trend is towards matte, I tried two different lip "stain" formulas: Urban Decay Ink in "Naked" and "Spank" and Stila Lip Rouge in "Moue." All in all, I liked the UD's Ink in "Naked" the best. The sheer mocha was a great, natural shade, and the applicator tip applied the color beautifully. I wasn't so hot on "Spank," though. The color was just too bright, and far too opaque to apply evenly. While I loved the "Moue" shade from Stila (a pretty berry-brown) the applicator tip was just awful. It was too small, and the color refused to flow through the tip without constant pressing and prodding. If Stila adopted the UD applicator tip, it would have been just perfect.

For face, I tried Urban Decay Surreal Skin Liquid Foundation. Now, I'm notoriously picky about foundation: it can't be cakey or too dewy, and it can't irritate my cranky complexion. This makeup from UD provides medium, demi-matte coverage that blends effortlessly, and really lasts! It also contains and SPF 15 for double duty UV protection.

Even better, this foundation also blends with a bit of Urban Decay Special Sauce formula to change the effect. I got the "Matte" formula to keep shine at bay, but there is also a "Glow" formula (for a bit of rosy shimmer) and "Glisten" (for a dewy glimmer). All you need is a dab, and the foundation can change to fit your needs. This versatility is a real bonus, and the foundation is a really something special. Even makeup phobes will like this great formula.

And, since my skin is so paper-white pale, I'm always on the lookout for a great blush to make me look awake and refreshed. In the winter, my skin is more normal, so I can experiment with cream blush formulas. I fell in love with Girl Cosmetics Cream Blush in "Flushed." This golden-pink shimmer is very similar to the powder blush in "Orgasm" from Nars. The cream formula looks soft and fresh, without being too shiny. I've been using it every day for awhile now, and love how it literally "wakes up" my complexion. If you have pale skin, you should definitely pick up this great blush.

And that, my fellow cosmetic junkies, brings me to the end of my annual winter color review. Hope you all enjoyed it! Enjoy this special time with family and friends, and best wishes for a wonderful new year!

Thanks, Lisa! I see some things I'll have to go pick up :) I hope you enjoyed this issue of The Cosmetic Report!

Until next time,



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