Monthly Archives: December 2011

Beauty Black Book: Dana Hotel and Spa + Skin Authority Facial

A few Friday’s ago, I indulged in a facial, courtesy of Skin Authority, at the Dana Hotel and Spa in Chicago. It was the best way to spend a Friday evening — so relaxing after a busy week at work. While some may prefer a night on the town, this was just my speed. The Dana is one of Skin Authority’s spa partners, so I had a customized facial and glycolic peel using Skin Authority products.

After I donned my spa uniform – cozy bathrobe + sandals – I kicked back for a few with a glass of berry and cucumber spa water. I love the rituals involved with relaxing! After prepping my skin and removing all traces of makeup with Skin Authority’s Exfoliating Cleanser, the esthetician did a glycolic peel. The strength of the glycolic acid was 35%, and it was on my skin for just under three minutes.  The peel is an optional add-on to the Dana’s facial treatments.

I had a few extractions done as well, which I never dare do myself (no matter how tempting), but love when professionals do it for me. From there, she used a post-peel balm and massaged it into my skin for about seven minutes. It nearly put me to sleep. Next, she used a clay mask with avocado to further extract gunk out of my pores. While the mask sat, she rubbed an elixir on my neck, shoulders and upper arms. Almost fell asleep during that, too. Total mental relaxation does wonders for the body.

After removing the mask with a hot towel, she layered a series of Skin Authority products on to wrap everything up. Of note about Skin Authority products – they are about the most effective (e.g. highest concentration/lowest penetration pH levels) that you can get without a prescription.

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New for Spring! Chanel Harmonie de Printemps

Chanel Spring hit counters really early this year. I saw it while Christmas shopping the first week in December.  As far as spring collections goes, this one is about as spring as you can get! It almost feels slightly summery with the sheer Rouge Coco Shines, but balances out beautifully with the eyeshadow quad. There are a lot of standouts in this collection — it actually feels a bit overwhelming!

Blush Horizon de Chanel ($58) limited edition

Poudre Universelle Compact  ($45) limited edition

  • Jasmine Luminous beige

Quadra Eyeshadow ($57)

  • Eclosion – peach, gold, beige, plum

Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long Lasting Eyeliner ($29)

  • Garnet

Ombre Essentielle  Soft Touch Eyeshadow ($28.50)

  • Rose de Mai – pink
  • Tigerlily – golden orange

Levres Scintillantes Glossimer ($28.50)

  • Petillant – golden beige
  • Bonbon – soft pink
  • Bagatelle -pink

 Rouge Coco Creme Lip Colour ($32)

  • Superstition – golden beige
  • Paradis – pink coral
  • Charme – pink
  • Destinee – plum

Rouge Coco Shine ($32)

  • Candeur – pastel pink
  • Flirt – soft coral

Le Crayon Levres  Precision Lip Definer ($29)

  • Rose Corail – pink coral
  • Bois de Rose – rosewood

Rouge Double Intensite  Ultra Wear Lip Colour ($34)

  • Rose Topaz Rosewood (U.S. Exclusive)

Rouge Coco Baume Conditioning Lip Balm ($32)

A new product, this moisture-rich lip balm contains advanced Hydratendre Complex, which hydrates and softens lips, for a healthier and fuller appearance.

Le Vernis Nail Colour ($25)

  • April – garnet
  • May – intense pink
  • June – pastel apricot limited edition

Seeing as it is the spirit of giving, I held off on purchasing anything. But, I am loving the June nail polish! I think it will be a perfect spring shade when I can’t possibly wear another muted color. I also think the Blush is stunning and would really perk up a winter complexion.

What are your thoughts?

I'm Sold on the Glittery Goodness of Sonia Kashuk's All Out Glam Brush Set

If after reading this post, you are on your way to Target to pick up this Sonia Kashuk All Out Glam Brush Set, I apologize for the spontaneous urge to shop. The closer to Christmas we get, the idea of going to Target gets that much more stressful. But I’d bare a midnight-on-Black-Friday-type-crowd for this set. Six sparkly brushes + a boxy clutch that fits my iPhone, lipstick and other party essentials for $24.99 makes this one amazing value.  A mix of face and eye brushes, three in each category,  would fit perfectly into any woman’s brush collection. I especially love the domed point brush for concealer, and the powder brush is so soft and fluffy — the perfect size to apply just the right amount of color to cheeks. Also, every time I use it, the sparkles make me very happy. Glitter wins every time.  Bottom line? Don’t miss out on this one.

Currently Loving: Suki Eye Repair Balm

Texture is kind of everything to me. In food (no tomatoes, just can’t deal) and in beauty products. Especially eye creams. I’m admittedly very particular when it comes to eye cream. More so than probably any other facial product.  There are very few eye creams that meet my standards.  I find that many are lacking in the moisture department, and don’t live up to expectations. So when I find one that totally knocks my socks off, I need to talk about it. Today, I need to talk about Suki Eye Repair Balm.

It’s like a salve for your under eye. Think of how amazing a salve is for your hands and cuticles. It’s like that, but better. Suki’s Eye Reapir Balm is filled with essential oils, like lavender and grapeseed, and organic carrot and rose hip, with a side of shea, coconut and jojoba oils. It’s an oil-lovers paradise. The delicate skin under my eyes drinks this up, giving an almost plumping effect. I find I need less concealer when I use this. I usually dab a small amount of brightener (like Benefit Erase Paste) and/or a sweep of Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder and I’m good to go.

The smell is powerful, but very natural. I can’t quite narrow it down, but I love it. And, the price is rather friendly at just under $34. It’s a win-win-win.

What's New in Beauty: NARS 413 BLKR, Pantone's Color of the Year and the Kate Spade bag I Must Have

Only one more week to go until Christmas! I am officially done with all of my holiday shopping as of about 4 p.m. today. I only had a few more things on my list to get, and it feels great to be done. What about all of you? Is it a wrap? Or are you procrastinating for a few more days? If so, here are a few more distractions from us to you! 

NARS 413 Bleecker Larger than Life Lip Gloss is one hawt red. Available online or at the flagship boutique at 413 Bleecker in New York. Feels very festive, no?  [NARSCosmetics]

Orange you excited for Pantone’s 2012 Color of the Year, Tangerine Tango? It looks like it will be everywhere come spring, in fashion and beauty. To get in on the trend now, try BUTTER London Jaffa. [The Wall Street Journal]

Katy Perry launched her second fragrance, Meow! by Katy Perry, at The Grove in Los Angeles earlier this week. Available exclusively at Nordstrom.

10 White Elephant Gifts to keep! [Refinery29]

Is it too late to add this Kate Spade Rosa Satchel to my Christmas wish list?  That patent bow is calling to me!  [Nordstrom]

Still looking for a stocking stuffer or two? We love this little set from Fresh! And…only $10. [Sephora]

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Collection

Don’t you hate it when you leave home in the morning feeling confident about your hair only to check in mid-day and see all that volume has gone away? Back combing is fine and all but sometimes you just want to be able to run your fingers through your hair! The John Frieda® Luxurious Volume collection aims to give fine, limp hair visible, natural looking volume that you can actually touch and lasts all day.

The Luxurious Volume collection has a range of products that can fit in your routine starting with shampoo and conditioner. The Thickening Shampoo plumps and thickens fine strands working from the inside out to for fullness and movement. It is followed by the Thickening Conditioner to target damaged areas with lightweight conditioning. Blow dry your hair? How about some Blow-Dry Lotion Root Booster? This ultra light spray lotion lifts hair at the roots and thickens strands for natural looking volume. If you’re a mousse gal, the Thickening Mousse is all you and gives hair fullness, body and bounce. Who doesn’t want that? Finally, set it with some Extra Hold Hairspray. Want to keep that same look when going out at night? You can reach for the Anytime Volume Refresher, a dry shampoo you can refresh your hair with if some of that oomph happens to be missing from your do.

The collection is available in stores and it has been getting rave reviews, women with lackluster volume have said it’s a transformation worth talking about. Here’s just some of what they have had to say:

“I have the LIMPEST HAIR ever…until I tried your products. Now my hair is FULL OF BODY and volume!”
“I have very fine hair and this WORKS WONDERS! I have never had so much volume in my hair!”
“Finally a product that DOES WHAT IT SAYS it does!”

If you have used this collection, let the Fine Hair Authority know about it! You can find John Frieda Hair Care on Facebook. Whether you’re a styling product girl or go the minimal route with your hair routine, there’s something for everyone in this collection to add bounce and body. For me, I have my eye on the shampoo, conditioner and dry shampoo!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored advertorial post but opinions within are all mine.

Beauty VIP of the Week: WEN Winter Vanilla Mint Cleansing Conditioner

For as much QVC as I watch, it’s a surprise that until a few months ago I had never tried WEN by Chaz Dean. The bouncy hair, the “friends don’t let friends use shampoo” mantra — it is so a club I wanted to be a card carrying member of. Back in the fall, I finally got on board with the seasonal fall Cleansing Conditioner in Ginger Pumpkin. I loved every last drop of that bottle, and found that it made my hair look all pretty and shiny. Alas, all limited edition things do come to an end. I think it was meant to be, though, because now Chaz Dean is back with another seasonal Cleansing Conditioner in Winter Vanilla Mint. And this one is even better.

Winter Vanilla Mint gives me the winter warm and cozies. The smell is faintly of a Thin Mint cookie. Not too strong or overpowering, but just right. Perhaps good enough to eat. It’s infused with vanilla extract, wild cherry fruit, goji berry and peppermint oil, and is a lovely thick, hydrating formula for winter. It agrees with my hair, giving my fine locks a little substance without the weight.

While I use quite a few pumps (probably about 20-25) per cleansing, I am hooked. I do it as a first step in the shower, through my hair up in a bun and rinse (very thoroughly) as a last step. I love how the peppermint oils give a slight tingle to the scalp. It makes my scalp feel more rejuvenated and cleaner than any other shampoo. And the smell lasts long after the shower. All day, in fact. How do you like that? Obviously, I do. Very much. A clear Beauty VIP of the week.

WEN Winter Vanilla Mint is available on QVC through February 28.

Emily's Stocking Stuffers

Growing up, the one thing I looked forward to most on Christmas morning was opening my stocking. At the crack of dawn my sister and I would rush downstairs to the fireplace where our stockings hung to find out what treasures and trinkets awaited us.  Now that I’m all grown up (or so I like to say), I love shopping for creative stocking stuffers for my friends and family – pocket-sized goodies that are a bit quirky and unexpected, but still practical.  Below are some of the items on my list this year…what’s on your holiday shopping list?

 1. For my sister – L’Occitane Hand Indulgences Trio. This limited-edition set comes with three shea butter hand creams inspired by Africa; Desert Rose (Morocco), Hibiscus Flower (Egypt) and Cocoa Flower (Ivory Coast).

2. For mom – Kate Spade pouch.  A glitzy way to help mom dress up her cosmetics without being too over the top.

3. For my colleagues – Rad and Bad Sticky Flags. An edgy take on the boring office item, these sticky notes let you flag things ‘Hot or Not,’ ‘Dope or Nope,’ ‘Mack or Wack.’

4. For the jet-setter – Coach Travels Key Ring. Remind your on-the-go friend of places she’s been…or wants to go!

5. For the glamour girl – Essie Cocktail Bling. The name says it all – a cool and stylish color for the winter months.

6. For roommates – Marc by Marc Jacobs Heart Earbuds. A sneaky (and chic!) way for her to make the switch from those blaring iPod speakers to more apartment-friendly headphones.

7. For me! – honeydew intimates.  Sexy and comfy at the same time!

Gilt City and Benefit Cosmetics Team Up With Holiday Beauty Offer

The best spray tan I ever got was from Benefit. The tan was the perfect shade of believable, and the experience was phenom. Definitely an indulgence I save for special occasions, as it runs about $40 for a full-body spray. That’s why I’m swooning over this special deal from Gilt City and Benefit for a trio of beauty services.

The deal:

  • 3 Pack Brows —At Benefit, we look past brow trends and focus on a brow shape that’s right for you. A Benefit trained aesthetician will shape your brows using the custom Brow Mapping technique. Gilt City price: $48
  • 3 Pack Brazilian Waxes—Benefit’s waxing experts will leave your skin silky smooth just in time for that tropical beach vacation. “We’re precise, gentle and your bikini’s best friend,” the team promises. “Stay hair-free and carefree.”  Gilt City price: $129
  • 3 Pack Tanning— Benefit Boutiques airbrush tanning is a round-trip ticket to a gorgeous looking “glow.” All shades are completely customizable and services are performed in under ten minutes. Gilt City price: $86


Available in select cities. Participating Benefit Boutiques include:           

  • Bay Area: Chestnut, Fillmore, Berkeley, Mill Valley, Los Gatos·       
  • New York: Soho, Rye  
  • Connecticut: New Canaan, Westport ·        
  • Chicago: Armitage, Evanston, Southport, Naperville, Damen
  • Los Angeles: West 3rd, Montana Avenue

 Cheers to Gilt City and Benefit, and a beautiful New Year!

June Jacobs Spa Holiday Harvest Collection + Giveaway

Based on the comments on this post, you guys are really dealing with dry skin this winter. And we totally feel your pain. It’s a rough combo with the cold temps on the outside and the dry forced heat inside. Our friends at June Jacobs Spa must have been listening, because they are giving Product Girl readers the chance to win one of three Holiday Harvest Collection sets!

June Jacobs makes one of my absolute favorite masks (see our review) and we are totally loving the festive feel of the Harvest Collection. Here’s what’s included:

June Jacobs Perfect Pumpkin Peeling Enzyme Masque ($78)
The smell of autumn harvest (yum!). The brand’s bestselling facial masque, this spicy, detoxifying masque contains a powerful pumpkin enzyme to digest dead surface cells stimulating cellular turnover and improving skin’s tone and texture

June Jacobs Cranberry Body Balm ($50)
A luxurious body balm with a delicate bouquet of cranberry blends and hydrating shea butter with nourishing oils of squalane, sunflower, jojoba, and sesame to replenish lost moisture to skin.

June Jacobs Peppermint Hand & Foot Therapy ($40)
Peppermint is the scent du jour. This energizing hand and foot cream works to hydrate, rejuvenate and revive tired hands and feet. A perfect treat after a long day of shopping or a long night of wrapping gifts.

To win*, visit June Jacobs Spa Collection on Facebook and like the page (if you’re not already a fan). Then, leave a comment on this post telling us which item you’re most excited to try! We’ll select three winners on Sunday, December 18.

Good luck!

*U.S. Residents only!

**This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to our winners: Monique, Cindy and Brianna!