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THE COSMETIC REPORT
April 7, 2003

Denise has the stage this week as we feature several reviews that she's been working on. Enjoy!

Denise is a 28-year old paralegal from Phoenix, Arizona. Denise has long strawberry-blonde hair and blue-green eyes, and a super fair complexion with combination skin. Her skin does not tend to break out very often. Denise is still looking for the "perfect" cleansing regimen, and having fun looking! Have a question for Denise? Email her here.

Take it away, Denise!

Smashbox Develop Compact Bronzer ($32)
All my life, I've had to fight the "battle of pasty skin." In my younger years, I foolishly abused my skin, determined to be at least a shade resembling tan, but I've gotten smarter with time. Now I look at pictures of celebrities (no names mentioned) from the "sun goddess" era, and I see what their skin has turned into, and it scares me. Fortunately for me, today's better informed society is now beginning to see pale skin as healthy skin. Yeah, yeah, I'm not pale, I'm just healthy! But I digress. Since I don't tan or sunbathe anymore, and faithfully apply my daily SPF 15 moisturizer, I need a bit of help to add some color to my complexion. I prefer the naturally sun kissed look to the "applied blush" look. Don't get me wrong, I love my MAC matte blush in Strada, because it's a nice, neutral skin toned shade. I've tried several bronzers, and have found that the liquid formulas leave me looking too blotchy, and the powder formulas are often too shimmery to look natural. That is why I was so thrilled when I tried the new Develop Compact Bronzer from Smashbox Cosmetics. Smashbox cosmetics are developed specifically for film and print makeup artists, so I've found that I often get very professional results from the line. The Develop Compact Bronzer was no exception. The cream-to-powder SPF 20 formula comes in two shades, #2 and #4, packaged in the signature sleek black Smashbox compacts. I tried #2, which is the lighter of the two shades, and found that it left just the right amount of bronze tint on my skin. The kicker here is that it is a nice natural, matte bronze tint, not a brown, or a shimmery copper. I also found that wetting the sponge applicator slightly added to the intensity of the color applied. I've found a new favorite in this bronzer. Now I can have a healthy natural glow, without the damage from the sun! You can find the Smashbox Develop Compact Bronzer at smashbox.com.

Stila Crème Bouquet Body Shimmer Powder ($28)
This is one of those really great "girly" products that are completely unnecessary, but SO much fun that we go crazy for them anyway. I've been a big fan of the Stila Crème Bouquet fragrance line since I purchased the parfume and body lotion a couple of months ago, and this new shimmery body powder is a hit with me, too! It's a similar product to BeneFit's Kitten powders, in as much as the powder is contained in the big, soft powder puff. I think that the Stila powder distributes more evenly than the Kitten powders do, though. When you pat and smooth the soft, furry puff over your body, just the slightest dusting of shimmery sweet-smelling powder lands on your skin. The powder has that great vanilla crème bouquet scent, but it's definitely meant for layering. The powder alone isn't scented strongly enough to carry you through the day. I love the subtle shimmer and great smoothness this cool new "girly" product gives my skin. You can get your hands on the entire Stila Crème Bouquet line at Sephora.com.

Charles Worthington Results Relax and Unwind Blow Dry Straightening Balm
I am one of the unlucky ones who was not blessed with either perfectly stick-straight hair, nor with completely curly locks. My hair, when left to its own right, is sort of wavy underneath, and straight on the top layer. Not a good look, normally. So, I'm forced to either stick to the daily blow drying routine, or resort the trusty ponytail. I've used several different straightening or "de-frizzing" products, and my latest find is from Charles Worthington's Results line of products. Charles Worthington is a London-based hair care line, and I'd been anxious to try their products for some time. Unfortunately, although I do think that the Charles Worthington balm is a good product, I found that this wasn't the "miracle balm" I've been searching for. It's a thick gel-like product, which smells a little too "chemically" for me. It's meant to be put on damp hair prior to blow drying. Don't get me wrong, this balm definitely did help to tame my locks, but I've tried better. I think that I'll stick with Phytodefrisant Hair Straightening Balm, which is exceptional and costs about the same as the Charles Worthington straightening balm.

Astara Green Papaya Nutrient Mask ($37)
I am one of those shoppers who constantly peruses the menagerie of different facial masks out there, and always picks out one or two that look like the end-all, be-all of skin boosters, but then hardly ever uses them. I've got a cabinet full of masks, but the problem is that, no matter how much I'd like to, I usually don't have the time or patience to devote to them. My most recent mask purchase may just change my ways. I love my new mask - the Green Papaya Nutrient Mask from Astara. This mask has got so many great qualities - where do I start? It's loaded with nutrients such as papaya extract, algae extract, and vitamin E to give your skin a boost, as well as ascorbic acid to gently remove dead skin cells, while extracts of chamomile, calendula, basil, comfrey, and linden soothe sensitivity. Astara's basic premise is "conscious skin care." Accordingly, this particular mask contains essential oils of sandalwood, ylang ylang, mandarin orange, ruby grapefruit, and lemongrass to provide "spiritual upliftment and emotional nourishment." I'm not sure about the spiritual upliftment, but the mask definitely does smell good, and the aroma has a calming, peaceful effect. The Green Papaya mask is the most gentle of the Astara family of masks, and it's perfect for my sensitive skin. One of my favorite things about this mask is that it rinses off very easily. That is one of the reasons why I don't use masks very often - it usually seems that I'm rinsing my face forever after they dry in order to get all of the residue off of my skin. The Green Papaya Nutrient mask dries quickly (and is a very pretty green color, I must add), then rinses quickly and completely, leaving my face feeling soft and renewed. This is a mask that I will definitely be using on a weekly basis. You can choose from the entire collection of Astara masks at Sephora.com or Beauty.com.

Thanks, Denise. I hope you enjoyed this issue of The Cosmetic Report!

Until next time,


 

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