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THE COSMETIC REPORT
March 5, 2002

I'm sure many of you are wondering what's been going on with The Cosmetic Report lately - multiple mailings, reports coming at strange times. Let me assure you that your computer does not have a virus, and we are not trying to inundate you with email. We have just completed a much-needed upgrade to our mailing list server and software to help better manage our very large list. I thank you for your patience and hope that you enjoy "normal" delivery again!

From time to time I like to highlight one of our Panelists and the research and reviews she's been working on. This week I'm pleased to share Lisa's spring color report - always a favorite! Next week I will have my report on June Jacobs Spa Collection bath products and Perlier's new Kiwi Energy bath line.

If you have a question for Lisa about this report or any of her other reviews, you can reach her at lisadlink@mindspring.com.

  "Greetings fellow cosmetic junkies! Wow, life has really been a flurry of activity for me lately. With just about 2 months to go until my wedding, my plate has definitely been full, as of late. While getting ready for our big day has been incredibly enjoyable, it does not leave time for much else!

However, since so many of you have taken the time to write, and let me know how much you've enjoyed my seasonal color reviews in the past (thank you, kind readers!), I set aside some time to sample the new spring offerings from Stila, Tony and Tina, Smashbox, Clarins, and Benefit. How will the new shades of spring 2002 work for you? Read on to find out.

As always, let us start by examining the general trends for spring color. It appears that all focus is on eyes this season; rich (but sheer) shades of blue, green, lavender, and apricot in shadow, as well as liner, almost all have a hint of iridescence for an attractive sparkle. While apricot was also a big color for eyes last spring, most of this year's shades are on the cool side ­ great news if your skin is a bit fairer, like mine. I'll readily admit that I am far fonder of this spring collection that last year's. Those bright pinks and corals around the eyes (that dominated 2001) were hard for my pale skin to handle!

When using colors around the eyes that tend to be brighter than the norm, I personally feel it is best not to get complicated ­ 2 shades, at most, look best. But then again, at 30, you tend to simplify things more often than not. Even if you don't normally wear eye makeup, many of the shades, though bright and bold, are easy to wear because of how smoothly and evenly they apply ­ they blend in seamlessly, so the colors fade beautifully into the skin. In fact, many of the shadows are best spread on with your finger, just to give an unconstructed wash of color and shine. Typically, I use one darker/brighter shade for my lid, with a simple matte or shimmer bone shade to highlight, and maybe one of the pretty, new liquid eyeliners in a more edgy shade, if I'm feeling particularly adventurous. But you, however, should do whatever you like ­ makeup is supposed to be fun and fanciful, so go all crazy, ok?

At the other end of the spectrum, skin has only a hint of blush, or is simply bronzed a bit for spring; both pale complexions and brown ones are given pretty equal billing this season. Lips are left nude, or touched with the slightest hint of color. If you usually like your lips a bit brighter, or more opaque, this isn't really your season. Everything is left a canvas for intense-looking eyes.

And with that being said, on to the brand breakdown!

As usual, Stila has wowed me with their beautiful new colors and formulas for 2002. Their theme for spring is High Tea, with colors that range from delicate to vivid, the collection is totally feminine and pretty, down to the beautiful blue toile packaging.

The real cornerstone of Stila's spring collection is their new eyeshadow quads. Each collection contains four colors that run the gamut; a pale hint of color, a medium-toned muted shade, a bright but sheer vivid shade, and a deep, rich shade that can be used as liner, when applied with a dampened slant brush. Each collection is named for a different variety of tea; "Darjeeling Floral" (pink/purple), "Ceylon Green" (green), and "Lotus Infusion" (blue) are all "mostly matte" shades that apply luxuriously, and wear like nobody's business. Being the eyeshadow snob I am, I prefer Stila's formulas - hands down.

Though all the colors may first appear to be too bright for anything but evening wear, I urge you to throw caution to the wind, and try them during the day. They're just so darn pretty, and they add such a nice lift to your skintone - I mean, who doesn't need this under the harsh glare of the fluorescent lights most of us are forced to live under within our workspace? People at my office actually commented on how nice my skin looked when I wore them, so I say go for it, and add some color during the day.

Stila's offerings for lips and cheeks are far more understated, which is a perfect complement to the brighter shades on eyes. Two new lipsticks ("Olivia" ­ a peach nude and "Nicole" ­ a pink nude) add only the softest suggestion of color, keeping lips super-natural. There are also two new Lip Glazes; "Watermelon" (sheer pink) and "Apricot" (light melon) add shine, with only a touch of color. Stila also debuted a new blush duo for spring; "Jasmine Oolong Blend" is a delightful combination of very soft matte pink, and pale apricot. If you have dark skin, these shades will probably be undetectable on you (or only offer the merest highlight), but if you're pale like I am, they are colorful, yet soft, and practically perfect. Brush them all over your complexion for a healthy glow.

As always, Stila's prices are at the high end, but once you've tried their products (especially their eye shadows) it's hard not to make excuses to splurge. Heck, if you really need one, let me know ­ I have a whole file of them :)

Equally delightful was the adorable She Shells collection from Benefit Cosmetics. Each plastic "shell" holds a lip gloss or crème eyeshadow, and a pretty little faux pearl, to add a bit of whimsy. For lips, choose from three very sheer, fairly neutral-toned shades; "She Splash" (a pretty medium pink shimmer), "She Coral" (peachy coral frost), or "She Tide" (a rosy shade with a bit of brown). While they don't have much pigment (everything for lips is VERY sheer this season), these glosses will add shimmer and moisture. The one drawback? I always prefer it if lipgloss compacts have a mirror ­ these don't.

For eyes, She Shells crème shadows are all sheer and luminous, with an iridescence that adds some real dimension without being too bright. All the colors are very wearable ­ just apply them from lid to browbone for an easy, no fuss glow. She Shells for eyes come in "She Breeze" (pink with golden undertones), "She Star" (gold with greenish undertones), and "She Shore" (soft melon with pinkish undertones). All three choices worked very well on me, with She Breeze being my favorite (when you're mother tells you how pretty you look, you know it's a good makeup day!). My bet is that everyone can wear them very easily.

She Shells are only available for a limited time, and retail for $18 a pop. If you've elevated your makeup consumption to "collection status," you'll probably want to add at least a couple of these little cuties to your cosmetic aggregation. Great formulas and adorable packaging definitely make Benefit Cosmetics a perennial favorite.

Next, I moved on to Tony and Tina. Now, usually I can't help but snicker at their hippie-dippy "mood-enhancing" formulas, but this isn't to say that their makeup isn't quality ­ in fact, I like some of their formulas quite a bit. But personally, sugar, if I want to "enhance" my mood, I think I'll stick to smooching my fiancé, or drinking a nice, strong Cosmopolitan. Consequently, I won't be talking too much about the special herbal additives; honestly, there are such small, trace amounts in the makeup, I can't imagine that they have any real significant effects ­ none I've noticed, at least. Just take the makeup at face value; great, innovative formulas with nice textures, and you can't go wrong!

I do love the fact that T&T really do it up right each season with a plethora of new shades and formulas to play with. There's a lot to cover in this line, so let's jump right in!

One of my favorites was T&T's Herbal Environment Powder in the "corrective" shade; a buttery yellow that obliterates redness and blotchiness, and promotes a creamy, even-toned complexion. This pressed powder is silky and light, and does not get cakey on skin; definitely a perfect little addition to your purse or briefcase for touchups during the day. I also give kudos to any cosmetic company who thinks to add a nice little sentiment like, "Smile, you're Beautiful" to the inside of the compact. A little positive re-affirmation is never a bad thing!

Keeping with this season's ultra-sheer lips, T&T added some new Herbal Aromatherapy Lipglosses that merely suggest a shade, letting your own lip color provide most of the depth. "Rainbow Warrior" (pretty tangerine), "Banshee" (silvery-mauve), and "Goddess" (sparkling, pale pink) will all work on anyone. With their easy sponge-wand applicator, and lovely herbal scent, these are perfect anytime your lips just need a "little something."

Tony and Tina have also done a lot with loose pigments that can be used wherever the spirit moves you. Universal Color Dust is so soft and finely milled; it applies with ease, and adds very sheer color and sparkle. Try "Shooting Star" (buttery gold) and "Cosmicology" (pinky-apricot) on eyes, or mixed with a bit of lip balm (like Kiehl's, or just plain old petroleum jelly) for shimmering lips. Freeology crystals are tiny, blue, iridescent, translucent (how's that for a description?) bits of glitter. While they don't adhere to skin very well on their own, anchored to a bit of lipgloss or creamy eyeshadow, they add a sparkling, special-effect quality. Fearless babes with a yen for a new look will have great fun playing with these goodies.

T&T also introduced a few new, pretty shades of their fabulous Color Frequency Eye Shadow to try for spring. "Cosmic Truthology" (light apricot glitter) and "Cosmic Mindtazia" (beautiful inky hunter-green glitter that looks amazing applied as liner) both have dense pigment, and a satiny finish. Truly a quality eye shadow for any cosmetic aficionado.

Even out of all the neat stuff I've mentioned thus far, nothing wowed me as much as the supremely cool Herbal Liquid Eyeliner. I love the slim, little tubes, and the unusual color selections. "Purity," a white liner with lavender iridescence, is great for lining underneath eyes, or just at the inner corners for enhanced brightness (an excellent tip from cosmetics god Kevyn Aucoin). "Insight" (lavender with blue iridescence) and "Truth" (steely silver-blue) are unexpectedly light, but look totally glam when backed up against inky black, or cobalt blue mascara. If you watch Sex in the City, you'll notice that Carrie sports a similar eye look in a few of the new episodes, and those were made way back in the early fall of 2001. It's obviously a trend that makeup companies like Tony and Tina, who really cater to what's cutting edge in style, took note of. Thankfully, light shades of liquid eyeliner are far easier to apply than the usual black, which just stresses me out a way too much (so very unforgiving!). If these shades smudge a bit, the color is shimmery enough to reflect light and hide any little mistakes. The formula is very long wearing, and won't settle into any little wrinkles. So, whether you are young, or just young at heart, this look should work for you.

After working my way through the truly staggering selection of trendy Tony and Tina products, I switched gears, and took a look at the simple array of spring products from Clarins. Elegant textures, and whole plant extracts, really make this French line the epitome of old-style elegance made modern with new colors and textures. Ah, the French ­ tres chic!

For nails, I tried two of Clarins' new nail polishes; "Golden Red" is rich and dark, with a hint of golden highlights (nice for toes), while "Patient Pink" is more peach, with some shimmer to add dimension. Clarins nail polish applies smoothly, and wears well. It certainly compares with other high-end brands in quality, but doesn't otherwise have any other real, stand-out attributes. Definitely a nice polish, if you find a color you can't live without.

For complexion, Clarins gives us the Summer Face Palette. This silky, pressed powder is 3 golden shades in one compact; just run your favorite powder brush over the raised flower motif and apply. Despite my uber-pale skin, this bronzing powder didn't make my face look orange or dirty, like so many others do. It applies so sheerly, I would go so far as to call it mistake-proof; just keep adding color until your desired shade is achieved.

Aside from the product, the packaging is absolutely stunning. Clarin's signature red compact is heavy and secure, with a nicely-sized mirror inside. If you enjoy pulling a gorgeous compact out of your purse, you'll flip over this item. It's too pretty to be missed!

Lastly, I tried Clarins new pressed powder eyeshadow in "serene green," a shade somewhere between sage and mint. This exceptional eyeshadow is very silky, and will definitely stay-put all day long. I loved how this green looked on my skin ­ very fresh and colorful, without being overly bright. Serene Green is a very wearable shade that seems to work nicely on all sorts of skintones. A very lovely, modern shade.

Lastly, to wind up my round of spring reviews, I tried a couple of items from Smashbox Cosmetics. Surprisingly, this is a line I had not tried in the past, as it isn't exactly easy to find. However, I've heard a bit about Smashbox here and there. I know that the Smashbox line was created by the great grandsons of legendary makeup artist, Max Factor. However, I was wondering how these boys would stack up against the ghost of "the godfather" of cosmetics.

I wasn't disappointed with what I found. Great textures with rich, dense pigments are really the cornerstone of their products. This truly is a makeup-lover's line; while there are neutral choices to be had, their strong point is unexpected color. Look to Smashbox for something different, something unique ­ purchase your neutral standbys from other lines. Their spring theme is On Location; photo shoots in warm locales like the Caribbean served as inspiration for the color palette of warm, earthy, green, and moist shades.

Their eye formulas were really great fun to play with. I adored "Smashing Scout," an apple-green Cream Eyeliner with golden highlights. Just use your trusty stiff-bristled, slanted, eyeliner brush to apply. The color is rich and opaque, and the crèam formula is resilient enough to last all day. Pressed powder eyeshadow in Smashing Zoom (blue, green, and glittery) makes you feel like an ocean-born goddess, while "Smashing 35mm" (shimmering pinky taupe) is always dependable and wonderful. I can tell you right now that I WILL want more of Smashbox's eye goodies ­ they really are gorgeous.

For face, simplicity is the mantra once again. Pressed powder blush in "Smashing Stylist" is a pretty pinky-brown that will add that alluring glow of the tropics (or your favorite self-tanner) at a moment's notice. The formula is very finely milled, and applies in a weightless, even veil. For allover color, there's the Reflector powder in "Smashing Flash," a soft apricot with silver sparkle, which adds an attractive coolness to the shade. If you normally can't wear apricot around the eyes, but like the "sun-kissed" effect, this might be the product for you. It worked quite well for me.

For lips, Smashbox keeps with spring's sheer and light liptones, but adds plenty of shimmer to make lips look full and lush. In gloss form, I tried "Smashing Shoot" (pinky/peachy/golden, similar to BeneFit's "Side Swipe") and "Smashing 35mm" (light pecan shimmer). I loved these glosses; thick, rich, and very smooth, they lasted very well, despite their lack of "tackiness" (the ability to stick, not one's lack of class). In Stick form, I tried "Smashing Flash," a sheer, fiery golden coral. A pretty color, to be sure, but just not my taste. The lipstick formula, however, was excellent; very moisturizing and shiny. These glosses and lipstick all felt so great on my lips, I'm already scanning the other color choices :)

Deep, deep breath.

And that, my friends, brings us to the end of this Spring 2002 in review. There really are some nice items out this season that make it easy to smear on an unexpected, bright shade, and produce a result that elicits admiring stares, not bemused ones. It also hit me how refined makeup has become; whisper light formulas with opaque pigment, and glitter that is soft and attractive. Mistakes are hard to make with these kick-ass formulas. A little practice, and some luck in channeling the sex bomb of your choice (for me, Marlene Dietrich and Mae West are paragons of style), you'll find the skill and confidence YOU need to try something new.

Ladies and gentlemen, time to play!"

Thank you, Lisa, for that terrific look into the new spring color palette. I hope you enjoyed this issue of The Cosmetic Report!

Until next time,


 

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