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This and that from Denise

J.Lynne Cosmetics
Jess Miller launched J.Lynne Cosmetics in 2005 after years of using traditional cosmetics that irritated her skin. All of J.Lynne's products are crafted in small batches and are completely free of chemicals, synthetics, fragrances and dyes. These days, mineral makeup is becoming almost the industry norm, so Jess knew that she had to go the extra mile to rise above the ranks. All of J.Lynne's loose power products are made with only titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which provide excellent staying power, and at the same time forming a natural UV block for the skin. I tried several of J.Lynne's products, and I'm a devoted fan!

Mineral Smooth Foundation ($18)
Mineral foundation is one of the marvels of the modern-day cosmetic world, as far as I'm concerned. It took me a while to perfect the process - at first I was applying too much of the powder foundation to my cheeks, which caused them to become dry and inflammed. Once I realized this and corrected my error, I am now able to achieve perfect coverage every time. It never ceases to amaze me what great coverage loose power mineral foundation provides. I tried J.Lynne's Mineral Smooth Foundation in Ivory Neutral (1.3) and Ivory Warm (1.4), which were nearly interchangeably suitable shades for my light skin. This foundation lasts all day long with not a crease in sight. It's a winner in my book! Again, the only caution that I have is to be careful in the application. I think that a lot of women are probably of the same mind set that I was - that a loose powder foundation can't possibly provide very complete coverage with minimal application. Believe me, it can and does! A little really does go a long way.

Finishing Powder ($12)
After using J.Lynne's foundation and powder together for a few days, I quickly decided that they are somewhat duplicative, and unless you have very oily skin, it's probably only necessary to use one or the other on any given day. I use J.Lynne's Finishing Powder in Light/Ivory on weekends, or really on any of my "less made-up" days, and it ensures that my face stays matte and beautiful all day long. This ultra-fine powder is also great for setting color between lipstick coats or putting that final touch on any finished face. It's a definite staple in my makeup kit.

Illuminating Powder ($12)
This is one of those fun products that really adds the finishing, beautiful touch to a face. The pure mica pigments that make up these gorgeous illuminating powders is intense, so I learned quickly to apply it with a light hand. My favorite is Sunset, which is a luscious warm peach shade with golden crystals in it. It looks absolutely fabulous swiped across the tops of cheekbones, or even subtly dusted over the collarbone. Again, the color and shimmer of the Illuminating Powder lasts all day and into the night. What a great product!

Through years of research and careful planning, Jessica Lynne Miller was able to develop an extremely high quality line of products, which are also priced very reasonably. I recommend that you visit her website at jlynnecosmetics.com and choose some sample jars so that you can try a few products or even the whole line - I don't think that you'll be disappointed! It's an added bonus to have the opportunity to support an entrepreneurial woman in her launch of a great line of products that will in turn help us all to look and feel our best!

Benefit eyecon ($26)
As the years fly by, I'm always on the hunt for effective eye creams. By the way, have I told you that I'm counting backwards from 30 now? But I digress... On a recent trip to Sephora, I picked up a jar of Benefit's latest creation, eyecon. I've been a fan of Benefit products for some time now - their high-quality ingredients and fun packaging reel me in every time. Eyecon is no exception. It's touted as a dark eye circle fading miracle, and you know what? It's really true! Eyecon contains orange and apple extracts to nourish skin and essence of japonica leaf to fade the appearance of under eye circles. After the first few days of using eyecon, my under eye area felt less puffy and my under eye circles that I've always battled were noticeably reduced. I use eyecon morning and night, and my eye area is smooth and bright. Another great product by our pals at Benefit! Pick up a jar for yourself at Sephora.com or at benefitcosmetics.com.

Alterna White Truffle Luxury Shampoo and Conditioner - Private Reserve
I've read so much about Alterna's luxury line in magazines, I was excited to have the opportunity to finally try the products for myself. The price tags attached to these stylish plastic bottles are astronomical, around $70 for the shampoo and ranging from $99 to $120 for the conditioner. Now, I've read the ingredient list on these products, and I realize that they are packed full of expensive and rare ingredients, such as European White Truffle oil, Caspian Sea Caviar extract, and Arabian Frankincense, all of which are very indulgent and luxurious. However, for me, the proof is in the pudding. I have no problem spending money on products that are worth their weight in gold, or caviar in this case, so I dove into the Alterna line head first to see how deep my next spending spree was going to get. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that these products are aimed more towards the jet-set who like to claim that they only use the best of the best, and are therefore addicted to Alterna's luxury shampoo and conditioner. Don't get me wrong, I didn't NOT like these products, in fact, I thought that they worked very well. If they were priced a bit more reasonably - even at half the price - I would definitely buy them again. I did not, however, experience earth-shattering results, which would be a necessity in order for me to spend that kind of money on shampoo and conditioner. The Alterna formula is designed to change and heal the hair shaft from the inside out, using enzymes, Omega 3 fatty acids, and high-powered vitamins B and E. White Truffle Oil is a rich source of B vitamins, which do a fantastic job of strengthening the hair shaft. My hair was always soft and shiny after using these products, with never a flyaway to be found. The smell is pleasant, although somewhat nondescript, and the shampoo doesn't foam as richly as I would prefer. One great feature of all Alterna products is that they contain full spectrum UV protection to prevent further damage. I probably won't be joining the ranks of the Alterna Luxury line jet-set, but if you'd like to check out their full line of products, visit Alterna's website at 4alterna.com. The Luxury Shampoo and Conditioner are available at select salons and also online at beautysak.com.

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Posted April 6, 2005

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