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THE COSMETIC REPORT
May 5, 2004

Welcome to the Cosmetic Report newsletter. It's our goal to bring you unbiased information about cosmetic products and trends so you can make educated buying decisions. If you've been searching for straightforward beauty information and advice, you've found it here. The Cosmetic Connection Panel of reviewers are consumers just like you who face the same issues and challenges, and look to the beauty industry to help solve them.

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 (from indulge.com).

Wow! What a winter it has been. It has been a colder than average one here in the midwest, with temperatures frequently in the single digits. Being more of a tropical creature myself, I'm especially excited that spring is right around the corner. I've had just about enough of chapped skin and teary eyes! Bring on the thaw!

And, with the warmer weather comes a welcome host of new makeup colors and textures. What's big this season? Lots of sheer pops of color for eyes, cheeks, and lips. Flower-like shades of apricot, pink, and lavender, as well as every shade of green imaginable (bottle green seems to be the most popular). You wouldn't think so, but these shades are actually quite wearable, and do a great job of bringing complexions out of hibernation. Spring is a perfect time to experiment with color, and bring some life to a pasty winter face and body. I've been digging into some great new items, so, without further ado, on to my annual spring color report!

Benefit Cosmetics Shangri-la Sheers Collection
Ah, Benefit - one of my very favorite brands because of the great colors and textures, as well as a sense of whimsy that pervades the line. I always look forward to their new spring collections. The Shangri-La Sheers are a collection of bright shades for cheeks and lips that wear surprisingly soft for their seeming intensity.

For lips, I tried Shangri-la sheer lips ($18 each) in "you'll never-never land me" (a bright fuschia pink) and "picked up in paradise" (soft lavender). Although the colors looked far too bright and candy-like in the tube, they went on very sheer. I actually was quite surprised at how they seemed to brighten my whole complexion. The rich, smooth texture and satin shine of these lip sheers make them a real pleasure to use.

I also tried Shangri-la sheer cheeks ($18 each) in all three shades offered: "you've got some nirvana" (fuchsia), "love and mirage" (coral), and "I lotus'ed you looking" (lavender). All shades are very pretty, but use a light hand. They have great pigment, and could come off as too dark if you're very pale.

If you chose to coordinate your cheek and lip color with these vibrant shades, I think it looks best to go very easy on the eye makeup. I sweep a basic, matte linen/bone/beige color (Stila chinois is a good one) from lashline to brow, and apply a light coat of brownish-black mascara (I adore Maybelline Lash Discovery).

You can find the Shangri-la Sheers collection at benefitcosmetics.com.

Smashbox Cover Story Collection
This is another line that focuses on innovation, and daring color choices. Like Benefit, Smashbox focuses on bright, sheer colors for spring. Shiny-sheer lips, flushed cheeks, and bright colors to wake up the eye area.

For lips, I tried the Lipgloss ($14) in Smashing Prep (sheer, shimmery tangerine) and Smashing Click (iridescent lavender-magenta). Both look sheer, and work with the natural pigment already present. As usual, the texture is very nice, too.

For cheeks and face, there's one new choice: Skin Tint Stain Stick ($18) in Smashing Click. This shimmering tangerine cream blush would work for any skintone (and I was really skeptical ­ I think I need to re-think my fear of orange shades), but looks especially divine with a faux tan (more to come on self-tanners!).

For eyes, I tried the Eye Shadow Duo ($24) in Smashing Duo-tone (two shades: a frosty peach and a clear, bright orange with sparkles), Smashing Pin-Up (matte magenta and matte lavender with sparkles), and Smashing Still (matte light sage green). While it was fun to play with the brighter shadow shades, I found I picked the tamer green and peach colors for daily wear. As usual for Smashbox, the colors have a super, finely-milled texture, and lots of pigment.

While these bright shades are a departure from most women's cosmetic drawers, we shouldn't fear change. Now, I don't mean that you should go out and buy the whole spring line, but pick an item or two that is different than your beige-pink lipstick and taupe eyeshadow. A shiny lipgloss or skin tint adds some new life to skin, and looks really modern. Makeup is for fun!

You can see the Cover Story collection from Smashbox at smashbox.com.

Bobbi Brown Pink Shimmerbrick ($35 at gloss.com)
I was bummed that I didn't get to try the original Shimmerbrick (in a mixture of bronze shades) so when I saw that it had be re-released, along with this new color collection, I couldn't wait to try it. Since I have such fair skin, I went with the pink collection, as it looked better suited to a paper-white ice princess.

This face shimmer is very light and sheer, adding just a hint of the palest blossom pink on skin. The shimmer is very refined and subtle, and adds a beautiful glow to cheekbones, temples, and eyelids ­ wherever you want to light to reflect. I think it's a great pick-me-up for fair to medium skintones (might look a too ashy on anyone with darker skin) that can work day or night; just apply with a light hand, and add a little bit at a time for more sparkle. If your skin is more in the medium to dark range, though, definitely go for the bronze iteration.

St. Tropez Whipped Bronze Instant Self-Tanning Mousse and Clarins Tinted Self Tanning Face Cream SPF 15
If you've been reading my reviews for any amount of time, you know how I feel about tanning and sun exposure sans protection. Aside from the very real risk of skin cancer (melanoma, the deadliest type, is one of the fastest growing types of cancer in the USA), there are the more obvious effects of a suntan, like dry, wrinkled skin, and very often, hyperpigmentation. No thank you. Do right by your skin by using a SPF 15 lotion on your face, neck, and hands when you go outside. Your skin will reward you with even tone, texture, and firmness. Trust me, it is the best thing you can do to keep your skin in its best shape possible.

Now, sometimes we all like to look as tan as amazons; the color hides little imperfections, and looks fabulous with bare, warm weather fashions. Since this season's makeup shades lean heavily to apricot, fuchsia, and sea green, they look especially beautiful against a sun-kissed glow. This is where self-tanner comes into the equation. Really, don't be afraid by dreadful past experiences with products like "QT" (shudder - I still remember those bright orange palms). The newest formulas really are as close to goof-proof as you can get. Self tanner can be likened, in process, to how fruit browns when cut. Self tanner leaves a shield of enzymes on skin which react with air to oxidize, and viola! A beautiful bronze body!

Clarins is always a winner in the self-tan category, and the Tinted Self Tanning Face Cream SPF 15 ($27) is no exception. The tint adds an immediate healthy glow, and makes it easy to make sure you've applied it evenly. The color develops fully in about four hours, and fades like a real tan does, in about 4 days.

The St. Tropez Whipped Bronze Instant Self-Tanning Mousse ($35) for the body is especially easy to use because it has a fair amount of tint to act as a guide. Don't be frightened by the seeming "inkiness" of it. Just apply after an evening shower or bath ­ this is easiest when a spouse or buddy helps. Be sure to exfoliate from stem to stern completely before application (I use exfoliating gloves with a moisturizing cleanser, like Lush Cosmetics Skinny Dip or Aveeno moisturizing bodywash). Apply self-tanner evenly (I purchase latex gloves to avoid having to scrub hands), wait until dry, and then turn in for the night. In the morning, rinse off all traces of dye, and marvel at your bronzed skin.

You can find St. Tropez at ULTA.com, and Clarins at department stores and gloss.com.

I hope you enjoyed this Spring 2004 installment of my seasonal color report. Now go outside, and enjoy the sunshine :).


 

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