Notes from the Editors of The Lipstick Page Forums: A Dedication to the Art of Beauty and Fashion.

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· Beauty Notes: EcoLips
· Beauty Notes: I Like This
· Beauty Notes: Mists & Hydrosols - Part I
· Beauty Notes: Lip Rejuvenation?
· Beauty Notes: Balm Hunt
· Beauty Notes: Sharon Bolton Scents
· Beauty Notes: Giò lotion by Giorgio Armani
· Beauty Notes: Bumble and Bumble Super Rich Conditioner
· Beauty Notes: Salux Beauty Skin Cloth
· Beauty Notes: Skincare thoughts
· Beauty Notes: Jean Patou's Joy (vintage parfum)
· Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent, part 3
· Beauty Notes: Perfume Bay to become Beauty Encounter
· Beauty Notes: Day Two of Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Milk
· Beauty Notes: This may be the article to link to.
· Beauty Notes: What is a Google bomb?
· Beauty Notes: Cate Blanchett's hair
· Beauty Notes: Southern Beauty Magazine featuring Nancy O'Dell
· Beauty Notes: Our own video!
· Beauty Notes: Unique Books and Hand-Decanted Perfumes
· Beauty Notes: Transitioning into "niche" perfumes
· Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent, part 2
· Beauty & Fashion Notes: Ruminations on aging, and finding that perfect pair of pearl earrings
· Beauty Notes: Serenity
· Beauty & Fashion Notes: The Buyer's Guide to Independent Art and Design
· Beauty and Fashion Notes: this 'n' that
· Beauty Notes: What I've been into, lately
· Beauty & Fashion Notes: this 'n' that
· Beauty Notes: Montale perfume this 'n' that
· Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent
· Beauty Notes: Indian Rapunzels, chopstick buns, updos & wet hair
· Beauty Notes: this 'n' that
· Beauty Notes: perfumes part 8
· Beauty Notes: Perfume recap
· Beauty Notes: Perfumes
· Beauty Notes: Perfume
· Beauty Notes: perfumes part 7
· Beauty Notes: Mom Makeup: The Early Years
· Beauty Notes: Mom Makeup
· Beauty Notes: Annick Goutal Passion vs. Heure Exquise
· Beauty Notes: perfumes part 6
· Beauty Notes: Jane is...back?
· Beauty Notes: In Search of Wisteria in the Bay Area
· Beauty Notes: Everything you ever wanted to know about Serge Lutens
· Beauty Notes: Chanel Moiré lipstick part 2
· Beauty Notes: perfumes part 5
· Beauty Notes: Chanel Moiré lipstick
· Beauty Notes: perfumes part 4
· Beauty Notes: perfumes part 3
· Thanks for the mention!
· Beauty Notes: perfumes part 2
· Beauty Notes: perfumes
· Support for the Cure Collection by nubar Nail Lacquers
· And so, goodbye.
· Beauty Notes: Diptyque
· Closing in on a signature lipstick
· Stash musings
· Rambles...
· Scarlett Johansson
· Time for a new lipstick?
· Reduce cellulite?
· Okay now this is really interesting...
· Ramblings...
· Adult acne rambling...
· Odd beauty notes...
· Some rambles about fragrance layering
· A minor ramble and the Youtube MAC Depotting Video
· Random beauty musings
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· Random stash thoughts
· Some very old ramblings...
· Bored with MAC
· Feeling hot, hot, hot...
· Minimalist thoughts
· The perfect lipstick

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The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog

Beauty Notes: EcoLips
Posted by Joy Rothke, Monday, June 30, 2008 2:02 PM (Eastern)

A lifetime of lip balm use has made me an expert, and I'm very particular about the balms I use. They have to be non-waxy, organic, soothing and preferably, moderately priced. I keep tubes and tins of lip balm all over the place [desk, car, bathroom, purse, etc.] so I prefer to keep the cost under $5, since inevitably, some will disappear or get misplaced.

I started using EcoLips last year, after reading about them in someone's blog. I liked the fact that they're an American, family-owned company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They offer a wide variety of balms, including vegan and vegetarian. Their prices are reasonable, with most balms between $1.99 - 3.99.

I ordered a selection and they're all excellent. My favorite is their Organic Eco Lips Gold ($3.49). It's 99% organic and exceptionally soothing (Ingredients: Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Sunflower Seed Oil, Organic Beeswax, Vitamin E, Organic Calendula Flower Extract, Vitamin A. Cruelty,Gluten and Petrolatum free. No Hydrogenated Oils.) This lip balm addict considers Eco Lips one of the top three lip balms on the market (the other two are Badger Balm and Aroma Borealis.)

If you're looking for a light colored balm/lipstick substitute for summer, try Eco Tints ($3.99 ea; set of 3, $9.99), a 99% organic gluten/carmine/lanolin free lip moisturizer in Rose Quartz, Plush Red and Mocha Velvet.

Along with hundreds of other Cedar Rapids business owners, Eco Lips has been hit hard by flood damage. They're back in business and offering a free Eco Lips Organic Gold Lip Balm with any order over $10.00, and free shipping to the U.S. for orders over $15.00. Use the coupon code: FLOOD. This offer is good through August. This is a good time to try some excellent products and help an indie business get back on its feet.

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Beauty Notes: I Like This
Posted by Joy Rothke, Sunday, June 22, 2008 12:38 PM (Eastern)

I'm not a hot weather person. This summer, I've promised myself to have a Zen-like attitude towards the heat. I'm accepting the weather as it is--and this being Southern California, that means a lot of dry heat. We've had our first heat wave of the year, and the temps the last several days have been over 100.

In this sort of heat, I like to use light, cooling and minimalist products--just enough to keep my skin clean and hydrated. A number of the new products I've been testing are heatwave-worthy.

Solavedi Hibiscus Daily Cleansing Milk

Carollanne Crichton runs Solavedi, an organic/Ayurvedic-based skincare and bodywork company. She sent me several samples last week of products she thought appropriate for my
Vata-Kapha skin. Ayurveda is India's 5000-year-old traditional herbal medicine, and puts people into three doshas or categories: Vata, Kapha or Pita. Vata (also spelled Vatta) skin like mine is frequently dry, mature and may have hyper-pigmentation.

The Hibiscus Cleansing Milk ($12, 8 oz.) is a light, mildly fragrant mix of organic light sesame oil, purified water, organic carrot seed oil, organic rosa mosqueta oil, rose absolute essential oil, hibiscus distillate, French lavender essential oil, juniper distillate and French white clay. It got the dirt and muck of a 95 degree day off my face without stripping it or making my skin feel tight.

A light and cooling toner is a must in this weather, especially when the heat is causing a mild rosacea flare. I've been using Kimberly Sayer of London Organic Lavender Toner ($29, 5 oz.) Sayer is a famous London facialist/esthetician whose skincare products are now available in the USA. This toner is especially soothing for dry, red and rosacea-prone complexions, and I particularly like the way the bottle delivers an exceptionally gentle mist.

I have dark, undereye circles most of the time, but the combination of summer heat, allergies and LA pollution makes them particularly evident this time of year. About six weeks ago, I started using Derma e Organic Expressions Brighter Eye Creme ($19.50, 1/2 oz.) I'd seen their products in Whole Foods, and wanted to try some of their newer organic products. I've been using Brighter Eye Creme as a treatment under my regular eye cream, and I like the light texture and quick absorption. There's no hydroquinone (a possible carcinogen) in any of Derma e's brightening products--a product best avoided. Instead, it uses Pycnogenol®, organic Almond and Safflower oils and Shea Butter, among other ingredients.

And it's working. I've been using it twice daily since May 12, and I can see some definite lightening of the dark circles.

Allergies also bring out the eye bags, so I've been using Simply Divine Botanicals Pack Your Bags They're Leaving Instant Gratification Eye Gel ($39.95, 1 oz.) Simply Divine's a super-crunchy company run by Master Herbalist in, of all places, Las Vegas. This gel, with its ingredients of "Unconditional Love and Gratitude, Cucumber, 24 kt Gold, Seaweed, Sea Buckthorn oil, Watermelon seed oil, Essential oils of Frankincense, Myrrh, Tangerine and Lemongrass and Vitamin E" works, they say, by activating the kidney's acupuncture meridians.

It's a very light and cooling gel that did tighten under my eyes, without the tight, cement-like effect of other products I've tried. Sample sizes available.

I've had mild rosacea for about 10 years, and until this summer, it was only very cold weather that exacerbated it. rosacea has decided that it doesn't like hot weather as well. I don't want to take Rx antibiotics or topical gels, the usual treatment for rosacea, so I did some research on available products.

Rosacea Care Products in Rhode Island sells an extensive line of rosacea treatments. These aren't glamorous or elegantly packaged, but they sounded effective, so I've been giving them a try. Rosacea Care sent me a sample of six of their products, and I've been slowly introducing them into my skincare regimen, as suggested. My favorite so far is the Willowherb Serum With Vitamin K ($52, 1 oz.) When I saw that the primary ingredient is Willowherb from the Yukon Territory (my favorite place on earth) I had a feeling this was made for me. I've been alternating it with Strontium Calming Lotion ($38, 2 oz.) that can be used both as a localized treatment or a fragrance-free moisturizer. The Calming Lotion contains COSMEDERM-7, a strontium compound developed at the University of California, San Diego. According to them, this compound "electively blocks the irritation-producing nerve endings (type C nociceptors) that become activated when itching, burning and stinging occur from any cause." Sample sizes available.

If I want a simple moisturizer, I've been reaching for Lily Organic's Sensitive Skin Moisturizing Cream ($29.90, 2 oz.) Like all of Lily's products, it's 100 percent vegetarian, and full of soothing ingredients like sweet almond oil, shea butter, kosher vegetable glycerin, tincture of lily flower, soy protein, hectorite mineral, citrus seed extract. All the Lily products are made in small weekly batches, so the products she ships from Boulder, Colorado are always fresh. Sample sizes

When it's so hot, the only kind of scent I consider is something light and cool--usually something lemon. Pacifica Candles now has an aerosol and solid perfume line, and their Malibu Lemon Blossom (aerosol $19.95, 1.2 oz; solid $8.95, 0.3. oz) is the sort of light and refreshing citrus/herbal scent that works on triple digit days.

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June 24, 2008 7:43 AM, Blogger Perfumeshrine said...

I admire your Zen acceptance. I get irritated myself and break the trance!
Thanks for the recs though :-)

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Beauty Notes: Mists & Hydrosols - Part I
Posted by Joy Rothke, Wednesday, June 18, 2008 11:56 PM (Eastern)

My favorite skin treatments are mists and hydrosols, and I use them year round. During the hot days of summer, they're essential. From the simple DIY versions I sometimes cook up to the sublime versions offered by green/organic skincare mavens, misting your face with a cooling stream of herbal goodness can make the hottest afternoon bearable. I like to store some of mine in the fridge, and spritz myself when I come in from walking the dog or an errand.

Daybreak Lavender Farm Only Rose Petal Toner

Jody Byrne and her husband operate Daybreak Lavender Farm in Streetsboro, Ohio. Self-described "old hippies," everything they make is fresh and hand-crafted. The Only Rose Petal Toner ($22.95, 6 oz.) is a simple and refreshing mix of white willow (witch hazel distillate), rose floral water, rose hydrosol and rose petal tea. It's also used in some of Daybreak's skin care regimens (I'm on one and will be reviewing it soon) and works well as a stand-alone product.

Healing Anthropology Rejuvenating Face & Body Mist

If you're traveling this summer, include this in your purse or daypack. The Face & Body Mist ($30.00, 2 oz.) is a blend of essential oils and aloe that are particularly soothing to sun-exposed skin. This would be an excellent product to use during airplane flights. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, HA is an woman-owned company, and all its products are 100% natural.

Owner Sabrina Posillico has pledged 15% of company proceeds in June to Gabriel's Angels, an Arizona non-profit that provides pet therapy to abused and at-risk children. So order this month and combine skincare and good deeds.

Garden Of Eve Clearly Lovely Toner

I like to introduce LP readers to the many small, artisan skincare lines. Garden of Eve is a small company in Afton, Virginia, operated by an herbalist named Eve, who creates products made with aromatic essential oils and no troublesome ingredients like parabens or synthetic dyes.

Her Clearly Lovely Toner ($39.00, 2 oz.) is designed for combination, acenic or rosacea-prone skin, and is made of organic and wild-crafted hydrosols, including Lavender, Rose Geranium, Rose and Roman Chamomile. Eve creates toners for other skin types, as well as providing a custom-blending service for clients.

Manor Hall Lavender & Chamomile Facial Toner

Susan Mann's Manor Hall Soap Company in Springfield, Mass., makes wonderful olive oil-based soaps. I've been a fan for a while. After trying her Lavender & Chamomile Facial Toner ($7.85, 2 oz.), I also love her skincare products. All Manor Hall products are natural and vegetarian, and made with natural colors and botanical essences. They're also very affordable, so you can use this alcohol-free toner with impunity all summer.

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Beauty Notes: Lip Rejuvenation?
Posted by Joy Rothke, Tuesday, June 17, 2008 3:04 PM (Eastern)

Several months ago, I began following an extensive (81 pages and still going) thread on the EDS (Essential Day Spa) forum about a product named Lips2Kiss that "rejuvenates" your lips. I've always been satisfied with my lips, though I admit to a serious lip balm habit. I've always had very dry lips, no matter the season.

is a line operated by a woman in Orem, Utah named Kandis, and her products were getting some serious raves on EDS--and they're not an easy group to impress.

According to Kandis, the aging process of one's lips can be interrupted by using her regimen. It's neither simple nor cheap, and requires a significant investment of time and the exclusive use of her products. Could I give up my beloved balms and pencils and enormous collection of (pretty much the same nude shade) lipsticks and glosses?

Of course, I was skeptical, but the reviews and results photos on EDS and Kandis' site showed some dramatic improvements.

I decided to give it a try, and Kandis set me up with some products about five weeks ago. The core of her regimen is four-part Spa LipCare System, ($79) consisting of an exfoliating creme, a lip creme, a lip hydrator and a lip glaze. (It sounds a bit complicated but you can get with the system pretty quickly.)

You send a closeup of your lips to Kandis, and she recommends a regimen. Since I have dry lips, I exfoliate once weekly. For the first couple of weeks, you're supposed to use the other three products all day long--optimally re-applying every half hour or so. Additionally, you're supposed to heat your lips lips with a blow dryer every morning and evening for 90 seconds. According to Kandis, this aids in the absorption of the products. Though I've been a very compliant lip rejuvenator, I must admit that I sometimes skip the heat portion of my program. Sometimes it's just too hot to do it, and I've also found that it can exacerbate my rosacea.

Some people experience severe peeling of the lips, but mine has been light. I also haven't had too many problems remembering to apply my products all day, every day--but as a lip balm addict, I'm used to that. The products are unscented and very soothing, so I like using them.

From my own experience, and what I've read on EDS, the women using these products are interested in returning their lips to a natural, healthy state. I have no interest in having huge trout lips or the fakey Lisa Rinna/Juverderm/Restylane horrors. I'll be happy if my lips look and feel moist and healthy. (If the marionette lines above my lips are reduced, that'll be nice as well.)

After a few weeks, depending on one's progress, users can advance to Time2Heal, a three-in-one product that applies like lip gloss, as well as a colored glaze. You still do the three-part system with heat every AM and PM. For most users, full rejuvenation is a process that takes three to six months. Kandis' philosophy is similar to the Dr Hauschka, in that overuse of chemical and artificial products ruins the ability of your skin and lips to self-regulate. In other words, once you get on the chapstick train, ain't no getting off.

Has it worked for me? I think so. My lips are fuller and smoother, and the color is better. I think the upper line is more defined and some of the small lines above my upper lip are reduced. My before (top) and after (bottom) photos show my progress after 30 days. (I took both pictures and they haven't been Photoshopped in any way.) I'm going to keep rejuvenating.

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Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
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June 17, 2008 4:36 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Wow, that's really intense. You find some cool stuff! Are those your lips? Looks like it actually does something...

June 17, 2008 4:47 PM, Blogger Joy Rothke said...

They are my own lips, without any product.

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Beauty Notes: Balm Hunt
Posted by Joy Rothke, Tuesday, June 03, 2008 7:05 PM (Eastern)

I'm a sucker for balms--always looking for something to deal with my chronically dry cuticles, or the scrapes and cuts and bug bites that seem to find me. I like to use organic/herbal and essential oil-based products, which means I use stuff you won't find in CVS or Target.

I bought my first Aroma Borealis Herb Shop balm when I spent a winter week in Whitehorse, Yukon. If I lived in Whitehorse, I'd be running up major bills in this sweet little shop run by herbalist/aromatherapist Bev Gray. They sell a variety of medicinal skin preparations, skincare, lotions, herbal teas and (some of the world's best) lip balm.

My favorite is the Green Aid Ointment (CAD$14.95 for a 60 ml tin), recommended to me by a longtime Yukoner as the best all-purpose skin fix-it she'd ever used. It's made of a variety of local herbs, including Yukon wild fireweed, organic goldenseal, echinacea, burdock root, calendula, chamomile and chickweed; lavender, tea tree, thyme and other essential oils; in a base of vitamin E, sunflower, olive, grapeseed and St. John's wort oils , shea butter and beeswax. The small tin is the perfect size to carry in your purse or pocket. If you're not lucky enough to find yourself in Whitehorse, you can order at Aroma Borealis' site.

Prairieland Herbs is a small woman-run family business in the central Iowa town of Woodward. Donna Julseth and Maggie Julseth Howe, mother and daughter, have been operating Prairieland for almost 10 years; I've been ordering from the ladies for the past couple of years. They grow all their herbs and flowers on their farm. I like many of their products, and a particularly good one for this time of year is their Healing Wand. The all-purpose salve relieves all sorts of scrapes and rashes, and works especially well on mild sunburns. It comes in .15 oz (lip balm size, $2.50) and .5 oz. ($7.00).

The wand is made of St. John's Wort, calendula, lavender and tea tree oils in a base of olive and vitamin E oil and local beeswax. According to Maggie, it works on dogs as well.

If you're planning to do any active outings this summer, I recommend investing in a bottle of Dremu Extra Strength Pain Relief. It's part of the product line of Dremu, an emu oil-based line that's received a ton a attention from magazines (as well as an Oprah imprimatur) for their anti-aging skincare. I have a couple of those products that I'll be reviewing in the future. Dremu also sent me a bottle of their Extra Strength Pain Instant Reliever ($38 for 4 fl. oz).

It's a lot pricier than Aspercreme or Ben-Gay. Is it worth it? It's received endorsements from the AARP of Florida and Arthritis Update magazine, among others. It's a simple and elegant formulation with one active ingredient--0.03% Capsicum--in a base of 40% triple refined emu oil, sweet almond oil, arnica, methyl salicylate, menthol and camphor, eucalyptus, rosemary, clove and lavender oils. It has a mild, mostly menthol-y scents, and the light emu oil absorbs quickly when massaged into joints. I tried it on my aching lower back and it did relieve the ache, if not instantly, within five to eight minutes.

I'm surprised but Egyptian Magic ("The Ancient Kamitians' Secret, Magical Skin Cream") actually works! I've seen this stuff in Whole Foods and read about it in innumerable sites and women's magazines. Apparently Madonna won't leave home without it, but I was still unwilling to spend $34 for product made of prosaic ingredients like olive oil, beeswax, honey, bee pollen, royal jelly and propolis extract.

And there's the whole story of how the CEO of Egyptian Magic, who calls himself Lord-Pharaoh ImHotep-AmonRa, discovered this ancient formula (etc., etc.) According to Egyptian Magic and its fans, you can use this product for everything from diaper rash to third-degree burns. It's a moisturizer, hair balm, lip gloss, personal lubricant, eczema and psoriasis treatment, lip balm for both humans and animals. Kind of a Middle Eastern Dr. Bronner's.

I've been testing Egyptian Magic for the past week and I am hooked. It healed a scrape on my upper lip in 36 hours; controlled the "frizzies"; helped reduce a small pimple in a matter of hours. I've used it as and cream and cuticle treatment, and on my heels. Egyptian Magic kept delivering. My jar is still about 99% full, so I expect this jar to last a long, long time.

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June 4, 2008 3:40 PM, Blogger Reese said...

Next time you are at Kiehl's try some of their new Superbly Restorative Argan Skin Salve; I just got some this week and it is wonderful. Great on cuticles, feet, shins, knees, elbows and hair. A new holy grail product for me.

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Beauty Notes: Sharon Bolton Scents
Posted by Joy Rothke, Monday, May 19, 2008 11:49 PM (Eastern)

I encountered Sharon Bolton's scents a year or so ago, while perusing the Perfume of Life boards. I lurk there frequently but never say much. To be honest, I frequently don't know what the hell perfumistas are talking about. Maybe I'm a fragrance Philistine, but I tend towards the experiential with scent, rather than the abstract or intellectual. I approach perfume the same way I approach music or flowers or most any art form. It's how it makes me feel; whether it touches me.

My LP colleagues Dain and Colleen write eloquently about perfume history, chypres and aldehydes, Lutens and Malle. Confession: I have never sniffed a Malle or a Lutens, a CB I Hate Perfume or Andy Tauer. None of the niche darlings. Unless I spring for a decant or get a gift, I probably never will. Hanging around the perfume department of Barney's or Bergdorf's or--even worse--one of those tiny posh shops, fills me with dread.

I'm not stuck in a fragrance rut. Except for a few old favorites, especially my lovely Fracas, I've left mainstream perfumes. In the last few years, I've worn all sorts of musks, and even patchouli and a spicy, cinnamony scent called "Voodoo Love." But I always return to my true fragrance loves: big white florals like gardenia, jasmine and tuberose. I love their deep scent, their softness, their richness. I like the way they stay close to the body, and smell so rich and womanly. Soft and round--that's how the white florals smell to me. Many scents seem to disappear quickly on my skin, but Bolton's lingers.

Bolton lives and works in Santa Barbara, California, and her fragrances are influenced by that beautiful beach town. I've been using my sample of Luv for several months, and Sharon was kind enough to send me bottles of Truth and Soul to try. Luv remains my number one favorite, but I like Truth and Soul as well, and all three scents layer beautifully.

Coconut and papaya and musk and vanilla and citrus and white flowers make up the Bolton scents. There are only three:

Luv: Pink gardenia, lush Hawaiian white flowers, and a bit of creamy vanilla and white musk.
Soul: Papaya, pineapple, and creamy coconut with undertones of clean musk.
Truth: A clean citrus. Lemon-lime softened by florals and sheer musk.

They're sold in one form: perfume oils. ($42 for 1/8 oz.) Bolton's scents are also available in body lotions ($27), shower cream ($24) and natural soy and palm wax candles ($28).

You can order Sharon Bolton's products at her site.

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May 26, 2008 2:46 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

lololol! I'm afraid I don't fit in with the perfumistas, either. There was a brief period when Montale was the "it" brand, on another board, and I was interested in it at the same time--so for five minutes, I had something to talk about. But on that same board, hardly anyone mentions Montale anymore. I don't know if they all swapped their Montales...I bought some, it's a nice brand. It has a strong Middle Eastern vibe, which is nice in perfumery.

Thanks so much for posting about the Bolton line. I'm jealous of much of the American artisan movement is based in Southern Cal. We have TerraNova of Berkeley here...they make a Pikake scent I swatch every time I see it. It's pretty much pure pikake, maybe a little musk. It's been on my wish list for years. I'm slow to buy new scents.

Don't be afraid to bump up a new post to the date/time it's being published. :)

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Beauty Notes: Giò lotion by Giorgio Armani
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, April 24, 2008 10:45 PM (Eastern)

gio perfume by giorgio armani

Stealing a small break here, as I've been cleaning house (we have guests arriving soon).

One of the items I "rediscovered" while dusting was a small bottle of Giò-scented lotion. It's at least thirteen years old, likely more, as it dates back to when I lived in Washington State. It never smelled as good as the Giò perfume (while the shower gel certainly does), yet that doesn't exactly explain why I never used it up.

It's still perfectly preserved; I tried some on...I need lotion, why buy if you own some? It smells terrific too. I'm not terribly fickle about perfumes...I tend to make a particular one my signature, for years, then switch to something else for more's funny how this still smells so good on me. Giò was good to me. Thinking now of chasing the perfume down some time and buying it again.

I went on one of those "artisan perfume binges" a while back, and regret nothing (have my nifty Montales to show for it, along with a bazillion samples), but I've never been one to turn my back on the ordinary department-store perfume. That would be silly.

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April 25, 2008 11:03 AM, Blogger Dain said...

It truly surprises me how few niche perfumes I want to keep for myself.

April 25, 2008 2:00 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Part of it is the cost imo. I rather liked that Tauer L'Air du Desert Marocain, but the thought of paying $90 for a little bottle of something with little staying having to hunt it down and buy it in decant form.

There are quite a few artisan perfumes I'd buy if I could...Jasmin Full, Intense Tiare, the Tauer one, Heure Exquise (maybe), AG Rose Absolue and Eau d'Hadrien, yadda yadda... The mainstream perfumes tend to be more reasonably priced.

April 25, 2008 10:24 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I'm starting to be more open about fragrances with very little staying power. I've always been prejudiced in favor of strong, powerful perfumes. In some cases (Chanel Cristalle and Guerlain Après L'Ondée are good examples) ephemerality is an integral part of the charm—if they were stronger, they'd not be the same experience.

I think the only niche scent I find myself craving is Ormonde Woman, though I'm still in the middle of investigating Frederic Malle and find quite a few outright stupendous. Otherwise, the only sure bets at this point are Caron Parfum Sacré, which I snagged for $13, and Guerlain Mitsouko (still). I guess I'm more about the classics. : )

April 26, 2008 3:36 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Uh-uh...if it doesn't last, I won't buy it. To me it's an insult, especially for expensive perfumes. It's on the manufacturer to find a way of making the scent last. I don't use other cosmetic products that have no staying power, from eyeliner to blush to lipstick, either.

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Beauty Notes: Bumble and Bumble Super Rich Conditioner
Posted by EZE, 2:08 PM (Eastern)

I noticed there haven't been any Bumble and Bumble reviews on this blog, and I thought that was a real shame. B&B is a treat for me to use. It is the one hair care line that I have consistently used and that has provided a real turnaround for my hair.

I have a full head of very course, thick, wavy, dry hair. It has previously been a nightmare for me to deal with, and even now, the waves will only ever do what they want to do. For a long time, I've had a very short haircut similar to the way Winona Ryder wore her hair in the 90s. It suited me, and having almost no hair was the only way I could figure out how to deal with it.

After having tried Sumotech with great results, I picked up a bottle of Super Rich Conditioner. It is the single conditioner that gave me results with the first use. My hair was significantly softer, and after the first two or three weeks of use, it was the healthiest and most nourished that it's ever been. I truly never thought my hair could be this soft. I think all the beauty articles are right (this time): the more you spend on your hair, the better the results will be.

There are several reasons why this conditioner trumps every other one I've used. It contains no silicones, which make my hair lovely and smooth, but even drier than before. Silicones are the equivalent of two steps forward, three steps back. They are the wolf in sheep's clothing. It's an incredibly rich, thick formula. I cannot abide by a runny or milky conditioner. Every single conditioner with a thin consistency has only dried out my hair more. I think the fact that it only has a few ingredients in it makes a difference, too. As with skin, hair doesn't need to be pummeled into submission with thirty different kinds of alcohols and parabens. It only needs a few ingredients that actually work.

Super Rich contains shea butter. I can't really say whether that's what's working for me or not. I've never tried any other hair products with shea butter to compare it with.

I will also say the reason I started using Bumble and Bumble products to begin with is the packaging. I'm a huge design fan. When given the choice, I would gladly decorate my bathroom with beautifully packaged products. B&B's products look something like a cross of sumi-e and urban minimalism. They're right for now, though if the packaging isn't redesigned in a few years, it will probably look passe.

Image courtesy of Amazon.

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April 24, 2008 4:16 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Cool. I've been curious about this product for a few years now, but I never took the plunge, because it's so expensive. Though I hear it's much more cost-effective when you buy it by the liter. Have you tried the Gentle Shampoo?

April 24, 2008 10:16 PM, Blogger EZE said...

I haven't tried it. I have tried the Seaweed shampoo and it dried my hair out. Creme de Coco (?) shampoo is all right, though.

I don't think the price is too bad. It's not great - $20 for 8 oz. - but it's a concentrated formula. The liters are definitely a better deal. They're just so big that I find them vaguely intimidating. I start panicking: "When will I ever use this much conditioner?" :)

August 30, 2008 6:40 AM, Blogger mack said...

i hear it's cost-effective and good for i have tried it and now i am using it..its good for hair..

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Beauty Notes: Salux Beauty Skin Cloth
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, April 12, 2008 12:34 PM (Eastern)

salux beauty skin cloth
If this doesn't qualify as a cheap thrill, I don't know what does. ($2.69)

I picked up one of these on a whim from a local Japanese shop, after having passed it over numerous times at other markets. They had several knock-offs, but I decided to go with the Japanese version (it really wasn't much more than the knock-offs anyway).

You get a large stretchy towel, as shown in the image; you can easily wash your back with it, and then some. As promised in the copy on the package, you don't need to use much soap. A couple of swipes generate ton loads of lather. Assuming the towel is durable, which it certainly seems to be, this is a good way to extend your soap budget.

It's scratchy, as you'd imagine, but then you don't need to scrub. Using a light touch, you get painless exfoliation and super smooth, soft skin. It's kinda like a loofah, only more efficient and likely much longer-lasting.

The one bugger I experienced was trying to wash my ears with it. It doesn't work well for ears, or else I haven't gotten the hang of it. I had to do the ears a couple of times to get them squeaky clean. And I don't dare use it on my face. It seems a bit rough for that.

All in did I live without this? (I've been using for a week, after a lifetime of washcloths.)

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April 12, 2008 4:34 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I've used something like this since childhood; in Korea people will scrub you down with these things at spas. It's a textured viscose cloth, right? You can find mitts for $0.99, and they are durable. It works best if you soak for a bit so all the dead skin gets soft, and then you'll just see it all peel off, it's a real gross-but-satisfying moment, like picking your nose.

April 12, 2008 10:03 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I'm not sure it's exactly the same's nylon, and you can't really scrub with it. It's far too rough. I didn't notice peeling, but then I don't soak, so that could be it.

It's sort of like, you just touch your skin with it, you rub very lightly.

I did try it out on my face today...after I wrote the post, I realized it didn't make sense not to try it. It's actually pretty good. Again it's not good for small areas such as around the nose, but for broad areas like the forehead, it's better than my Hauschka Cleansing Cream. (Might be worth a few extra minutes in the shower to reduce the amount of Cleansing Cream I use.)

BTW did you know Google bought Feedburner? It's what LP uses to syndicate the blog, so that could be good.

April 13, 2008 4:48 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Hm, it may be the same thing nevertheless. It's rough, and abrades dead skin pretty thoroughly? It's a little tricky applying evenly, though, and it's easier with a mitt. I try to do it after I soap up while there's conditioner soaking in my hair but before shaving, by that point, your skin has soaked up enough water to come off easily (it "pills" up into these little grey bits, charming, I know).

April 13, 2008 5:41 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Yeah, the principle sounds similar. I tried it again today but didn't get pills yet. lol! I dunno, it just sounds like something fun to watch.

It's incredible for my face, so far. I used about half the amount of Cleansing Cream on my face, after washing it with the cloth. I actually felt the cleansing cream was a bit unnecessary. I suppose it'll take a few days to work into a routine.

April 15, 2008 2:14 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I guess the virtue of the cleansing cream is that it exfoliates without abrading the skin, it simply collects all the loose bits and rinses away. My guess is that it's probably redundant to use both, but the Cleansing Cream is probably better for your skin.

You need to apply horizontal pressure, if that makes any sense.

April 17, 2008 11:03 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Yeah, that would make logical sense, but more for young skin. My skin has changed a lot over the past few years. For young people, I would say the cloth is overkill. The cleansing cream alone should do it, if you even need to exfoliate much.

It's odd, how age changes you gradually. You don't look in the mirror overnight and go, "Wa', what a right old bag." lol But gradually, I've needed to exfoliate much more. Since the change is gradual, sometimes it's hard to realize just how much more.

So far I've been using the cloth first, then a teeny dab of cleansing cream, about half the amount I used before. I feel the cleansing cream functions more as a moisturizing treatment (since the cloth leaves my face squeaky clean, which isn't good for oily skin), and picks up whatever odd dead skin the cloth missed in more complicated areas like around the nose.

April 18, 2008 3:24 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Hm, actually, it's the other way around. Young skin is always the more durable. It's probably more the fact that you're oily that makes your skin fine with it.

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Beauty Notes: Skincare thoughts
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, March 02, 2008 12:37 AM (Eastern)


Oh well, I broke down and bought Dr. Hauschka's Cleansing Milk today. My local health food store now carries this brand, thus negating the need to travel to Berkeley. I experienced a small pain in the wallet as I bought my Milk, and wondered if an earlier casual remark--that a dollar spent on good skincare meant saving at least five dollars on everything else--held much water. And decided there was something to it.

I'd run out of my usual evening facial cleanser, the (in)famous beauty-board darling, Johnson & Johnson Head to Toe Baby Wash, a while back. That's when I started using a sample of the Hauschka Cleansing Milk, and realized its odd, almost greasy whitish lotion was good for my skin. Less acne, fewer flakes, softer texture, all-around expensive skincare goodness.

When I'd squeezed the last drops from the sample tube, I was left with nothing, and started washing my face with some tea-tree oil soap. Now this was not good for my skin. Makes a great hand wash, but, face-wise, I was beginning to see pimples. Pimples are depressing enough in their own right, but are particularly disturbing to those who have been to acne hell. Signs of returning to good.

But, five dollars on everything else? What would I be spending $169.75 on? How long is this cleanser going to last? My Hauschka Cleansing Cream, purchased mid-January, is less than half-way used up. Let's be optimistic and say it will endure three months (I use it only once per day in a pea-sized blob). If the Cleansing Milk can do the same, that's $169.75 over three months, or $56.58 per month. It is conceivable I'd be tempted to spend $56.58 in a month, depressed over having lousy skin. Hermmm...

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March 2, 2008 5:11 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I found the Cleansing Milk lasted for a surprisingly long time. I used it sporadically, so I can't be accurate, but three months is probably a conservative estimate, I'd guess a bottle'd last twice as much.

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Beauty Notes: Jean Patou's Joy (vintage parfum)
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, February 17, 2008 8:22 PM (Eastern)


Ah, it's wonderful.

I've smelled Joy before, many many times. But not recently, and not in California. Meaning it's been well over twenty years since last I smelled it.

This is the quintessential East Coast/Southern, possibly English rose perfume...not the Middle Eastern rose of Montale, nor Annick Goutal's continental rose. This just reminds me of home, but not in the same style as Creed's Fleurissimo, which I didn't like, so much as simply recognized.

What I'm smelling is nostalgia. A meld of East Coast rose gardens, women in fur coats (they still wore them when I was a kid, though the fashion was already waning), lipstick and powder...women who always kept the family going, and together, and fed, and in clean clothes; unsung female heroes. This is not a weak nor watery rose, not a toy rose. It has a sort of gorgeous maturity to it, a quiet splendor, without being hopelessly old school, or, to coin a term, "old lady."

There's jasmine in it too, classical jasmine (not, say, Montale's mellow star jasmine), but the rose is in front.

All in's on my wish list. I'm not planning on buying it right away; I'd like to make a dent in my Montale perfumes first.

Okay, so what's the picture? It's from Jericho, a television show that's been aired here before, but I missed it, and caught it only now. It was made in 2005 in a total of five episodes, set in London in 1958. The thing is Joy, it's a gorgeous, yet spare, show. There is this odd intense nostalgia about it, about the lead character's workplace (male-dominated, dog-eat-dog), personal life (easily the hottest thing I've seen on tv in years), and environment, wreathed in cigarette smoke and alcohol. It's the perfect encapsulation of a time and place.

image courtesy

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February 18, 2008 1:13 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Hm... the jasmine seems slightly the stronger, to me, but then I'm more comfortable with rose. Imo, I think they're well-balanced by each other. I find it ageless (in that it defies the trends), but nevertheless of a certain age (in that, I feel gauche in it).

I'm not sure if vintage and reorchestration will make much of a difference (I have not smelled it before I tried it), but I suspect concentration might.

February 19, 2008 11:17 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I think you're right...Patou is unlikely to have changed much. I was a bit stunned when I smelled the Sublime sample--it's exactly the way I remembered it smelling, back in the mid-90's when I went to Nordies and sampled it.

On me there is only a bit of jasmine.

I'm not much of a parfum person, I can dig the idea but eau de parfum tends to suit me better.

February 21, 2008 10:57 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Me too, except when there is a decided difference (Chanel No. 19 EDT is pitiful, but the parfum is a marvel). I like an EDP because I really like to spray with abandon.

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Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent, part 3
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, February 12, 2008 7:44 PM (Eastern)

Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent
Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent, part 2


Thanks to the lovely Dain, who gave me a sample of Jean Patou's Sublime (among loads of other samples), I'm pretty well set as far as the perfume wardrobe goes.

When I tried Sublime again, after...ten years? probably more...I immediately reconnected with it. This was the scent I had tried several times at Nordstrom, along with Guerlain's Samsara, Dior's Dune, some others...and had never bought. It is sweeter now to my nose; perfumes in the 1990's were sweeter and more assertive than the popular scents of today. But, so what. It's magnificent.

Yup, I will go through the entire...mass...of samples, and will doubtlessly experience something unexpected. The Lutens loot should be interesting. Still I have several decades of perfume conservatism under my belt; I have never owned many scents. Five will already be more than I've ever owned at a pop.

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Beauty Notes: Perfume Bay to become Beauty Encounter
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, February 11, 2008 7:40 PM (Eastern)

Not the newest of news, no doubt, but Perfume Bay, the online perfume discounter, lost the suit Ebay filed against them. As of March 1, 2008, Perfume Bay will become Beauty Encounter, at

Perfume Bay is familiar to me as one of the few places carrying Annick Goutal's eau de parfums. Rather crucial, since the widely-available Goutal eau de toilettes have terrible staying power. I got my Passion EDP from Perfume Bay, and have off and on eyed their solid Sublime. (There are a lot of odds and ends on the site; reminds me of Woolworths in a good way.)

Oh well, I'd hate to see an independent etailer take a nose dive over something like this, so do update your bookmarks on March 1.

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Beauty Notes: Day Two of Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Milk
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, February 04, 2008 9:30 PM (Eastern)

dr. hauschka cleansing milk

Finally getting around to trying this. I bring in new skincare products slowly, but that's because, when you have skin problems such as being acne-prone, you should do it that way. It then becomes obvious if the new product aggravates your skin.

I've been using their Cleansing Cream since September of last year. The Cleansing Cream was more important, as I'd already had in mind to find an exfoliating product of some sort. The idea of a mild'd been using Johnson & Johnson Head to Toe Baby Wash to cleanse, and Heather Loraine jojoba butter to moisturize, for years.

Recently I ran out of the J&J--it's cheap but goes fast--and, stealthily, began to substitute an old clear natural shampoo I'd fallen out of love with. It seemed to work just as well as an "official" facial cleanser. Then I remembered the Hauschka Cleansing Milk so thought I'd give it a whirl.

So far: very interesting. It's moisturizing, where typically someone with oily acne-prone skin would gravitate toward a more astringent cleanser. It's almost too moisturizing, but then the Cleansing Cream is sort of like that.

The Cleansing Milk is a white lotion-y substance which smells, like most of the Hauschka products, pleasantly herbal. It's almost like washing your face with lotion. Unlike the Cleansing Cream, which leaves a delicate film of oil after rinsing, the Cleansing Milk feels as if you've already applied moisturizer, after rinsing.

That's where I feel it just might work. Instead of using the more astringent cleanser and then moisturizing, this would appear to do both.

It's too soon to say about results...the Cleansing Cream took a while to kick in, and it's my philosophy anyway that good long-term skincare seldom works instantly. I can admit I'm a bit surprised something so moisturizing doesn't seem to have aggravated my acne-prone-ness one way or the other, but, as I say, it's too early.

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February 5, 2008 4:51 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Interesting. The peanut oil in this product clogs my pores. Otherwise, I like it. I'll agree that you don't really need moisturizer afterwards. The spritz of a toner will do. In fact, that's how you are supposed to do it at night, according to the Dr. Hauschka regime, so that skin can "breathe". That might be why the cleansers have such a heaviness to them.

February 6, 2008 12:27 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Hey Colleen, you know that hoop design you've been working with lately? Have you considered looping it back down before you wrap it and making a small hoop that descends into the center? That way, you can attach a stone that floats in the middle of the large hoop, and whatever you like on the ring itself. It might be a way to tinker around with color combinations and not worry about the stones themselves knocking into each other.

February 7, 2008 1:49 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

The funny part is, it doesn't leave my face greasy. When I'm using it, it feels like hand cream--after rinsing and drying, it doesn't feel different from my regular moisturizer. Possibly it's better for oily skin than for dry.

I haven't bothered with the toner yet. I've used the cleansing milk for three nights now--I'm using it only at night, I use the cleansing cream in the AM. My skin does feel a bit softer and smoother.

Ah, the quest for the handmade wire hoop. The thing is you can buy readymade components, but they'll look readymade, in the sense of being something anyone can buy. I'm not knocking it...I've been pondering getting some myself, like a round hammered silver link with tiny holes in it.

The handmade ones are a bit have to get it so it doesn't look bulky, since you have to get the thing to stay together using only wire.

February 7, 2008 12:05 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...


Recently I've been doing the double-looped wrap I saw on the SkyDreams Etsy really does work better. The old top wrap had only one loop, which you used to wrap the other end of the wire. I was having a problem with the end of the wire popping out of the wrap if you pulled it. If you put a loop at the top of the end, it really can't pop out.

What I'd need to do is bring the wrap itself down and terminate it in another loop. The hoop would have to be bigger of course but there's no reason it wouldn't work.

February 7, 2008 7:16 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Yeah, I figured that might be it. Dr. Hauschka, try as I might, never quite suited me. And I first scorned Jurlique as a Dr. Hauschka copycat, but it suits my skin far better.

The toner is great--it's the only toner I'd actually recommend. It's somehow "more than toner". There's alcohol in it, plant alcohol, but IIRC is it's ethyl not isopropryl, as it is for so many products. There's just lovely botanicals floating around, and it smells wonderful, and like nothing else. (I'm talking about the Facial Toner, am allergic to Clarifying).

February 7, 2008 7:47 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

It's weird eh? It seems to me the greatest fans of Hauschka are in fact those with oily skin and/or acne.

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Beauty Notes: This may be the article to link to.
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, February 01, 2008 6:29 PM (Eastern)

A big thank you to KAYLEEN SCHAEFER from the NY Times

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Beauty Notes: What is a Google bomb?
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 4:38 PM (Eastern)

I was putting the finishing touches on a pair of earrings today; the design challenge, if you will, was to use the microscopic precious stones you get if you buy a graduated strand. Mine purport to be 2mm in diameter, tiny enough, but I swear some are even smaller. Yet the color is sublime, and, strung together, you get a very nice effect.

Just as I'd finished them, I checked my email and came across a certain publication's article on beauty bloggers. It was...I suppose the word "laughable" came to mind, as the article implied beauty bloggers simply blog, and are then buried in free gifts from various companies. Random figures and terms had been tossed in, such as $50, $500, free trips, gigantic goodie bags, champagne, parties...OMG!!!!!

I was a bit perplexed, wondering how we at The Lipstick Page Forums could possibly position ourselves to receive at least some of this deluge of free cosmetic bliss, but then it occurred to me perhaps there was a rather cynical purpose behind such an article. What better way to get your publication mentioned and linked to, across a wide swath of blogs, than to openly imply such blogs should have little to no credibility (unlike, say, the publication itself)?

Wasn't that once known as a "Google bomb"?

Merchants: please use the Contact Us link at the top of this blog, or at the bottom of every page in The Lipstick Page Forums, to obtain our addresses to send the expensive bribes to. Thank you so much. rotfl


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Beauty Notes: Cate Blanchett's hair
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, January 31, 2008 1:23 AM (Eastern)

cate blanchett at the 14th annual sag awards

Simple, yet indelible. Cate may not have seen much gelt at the 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, but surely she was a monument to elegance. (Related photos may be found on

Even as I'm straining to get a better view of her jewelry--earrings with vivid green stones (and in other pics, a bracelet beaded with stones resembling rough rubies)--and her swank Balenciaga maternity(!) gown--what really pulls this look together is the hair. Instead of overshadowing, the way a typical awards-show updo would have done, this style is a golden frame around eyes, glowing complexion, simple makeup and deep green jewels. Imagine a stuffier hairstyle with the exact same gown and jewelry, and it's instantly aging.

Now onto the press release and products:

MATRIX Celebrity Hairstylist Dishes on Cate Blanchett's Soft Waves

Even though she didn't bring home any statuettes last night at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Cate Blanchett kicked off awards season looking radiant on the red carpet with soft, beautiful waves that brought out her natural beauty and pregnant glow. MATRIX celebrity stylist, Mark Townsend, was the man behind the look and has the scoop on how to get this simple yet beautiful hairstyle.

Townsend has been working with Blanchett for nearly four years, so it doesn't take long for the pair to decide on the perfect style for big red carpet events. As soon as Cate tried on her stunning Balenciaga gown for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the entire fashion and beauty team agreed that her hair should be down and simple so as not to overpower her intricate gown. To achieve the look, Mark first took Cate's damp hair and applied Biolage Hydro-Foaming Styler all over to add a little texture, and then blow-dried her hair with a medium round brush. When the hair was completely dry, Mark used a one inch HAI Elite curling iron, taking random sections of hair from one to three inches in size sections of hair, and wrapping them around the iron. According to Mark — the trick to getting perfect waves and curls is to never actually open the iron, just wrap the hair around it while closed. When finished, Mark rubbed Biolage smooththérapie Smoothing Serum in the palms of his hands and raked it through Cate's hair to soften the curls into soft, loose waves and blend the curled pieces with the straighter pieces of hair. To finish, Mark used Biolage Complete Control Hairspray to softly set the look so it lasted all night.

biolage products

Mark's Product Picks:
Biolage Hydro-Foaming Styler, $14
Biolage smooththérapie Smoothing Serum, $14
Biolage Complete Control Hairspray, $15

Cate image courtesy

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11 comment(s)  
January 31, 2008 2:54 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Hm, it looks a little messy and matted to me, but I agree that the first thing you notice are those vivid green earrings. My first thought was, "Oy, great color on her." I adore Cate Blanchett, truly one of the finest actresses we have today. It makes me really angry to think Gwyneth Paltrow got the oscar that one time for Shakespeare in Love and it's like, PALTROW!!!? HOLLYWOOD NEPOTISM!

January 31, 2008 5:08 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Weeellll...I saw Shakespeare in Love. It was good, there's no doubt about it. Most American actors can't do English accents, for the same reason English actors usually end up doing American Southern accents--there isn't quite such a thing as a generic English or American accent. The only way to emulate is to choose a specific region, and that takes more time to study.

There is a definite "shmooze factor" in Hollywood. Spike Lee always got passed over. It's not a reflection of the quality of work by any means.

January 31, 2008 5:52 PM, Blogger Dain said...

It's a fine movie, but the day that they pass up Cate Blanchett in favor of Paltrow is the day I stopped watching the Academy Awards.

January 31, 2008 7:36 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

To me it's like a soccer game anyway...unless you're hanging out with a bunch of people and drinking beer, there isn't much point watching the entire show. You can always catch the highlights later on. :)

There's a stone called chrome diopside that looks sort of like those earrings--at least it does on the Net. I've never seen it in real life.

January 31, 2008 7:50 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Yeah, they've been giving the wrong awards to the wrong people since the very beginning, eh? Judy Garland never got hers for A Star is Born and neither did Bette Davis for either All About Eve or Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Perhaps malachite might do? I know it's a deeper green, but...

Hm, the box I sent you should arrive in a week. I've included to tiny pearls, perhaps they could go atop a deep purpley amethyst in a similar style, though perhaps less dramatic. And in gold, since that would match better.

February 1, 2008 2:43 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I did a little digging, there wasn't much info about the green earrings on the Net. Unusual, since part of the point of having celebs wear jewelry is to publicize the jeweler. I found one article which said they were "natural jade and diamond." That's some jade!

February 2, 2008 4:39 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Playing with color combinations:
rose quartz + labradorite
lavender amethysts + amber (I like the idea of this one)
deep pink + rich blue (good on a brunette, I think)

February 2, 2008 2:34 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Ya know, the more I'm doing this, the more complicated it seems to get. Odd, because I always thought it would get simpler. The mechanical aspect of making the stuff has definitely become far easier, but the design part just gets deeper and deeper.

February 2, 2008 4:14 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I think that's probably true of anything. Look at people who design clothes, for chrissakes. Karl Lagerfeld sends a model down the runway in a denim bra and everyone's like, "Oh, that Karl. He really knows how to demonstrate the French attitude for play. Of course, he's genius. I love him."

February 2, 2008 5:16 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Eh...people can become lazy once they become successful. They tried much harder when they still had to struggle. It can backfire though. People get bored if you keep churning out the same old thing, no matter how prestigious your name has become.

It is odd though...before, I thought, all I have to do is get good at the mechanics, and come up with a few really good "templates." Then just plug in different stones. lol I have yet to be able to do that. Each stone and cut and size seems to require its own design. I suppose I should see it that way...start with the stones, then figure out what to do with them.

February 2, 2008 8:15 PM, Blogger Dain said...

What I found intriguing about jewelry design is how it's not intuitive, in a sense. You take a little bit but you can use it many, many ways. That's kind of cool, in the sense that I've always really liked jigsaw puzzles. Jewelry design is rather like that to some degree.

But I'll admit I find the idea of color combination with stones more intriguing. I mean, it's a little like playing with makeup colors, and in some sense, you need to have the stuff on hand to get a good sense, but that seems like the easiest, fun part. (Not the mechanics, poo!)

I was in Jo-Ann fabrics the other day getting a clasp for the pearl strand, and I noticed that these cloudy lavender beads would really work well with amber drops. They contrast perfectly with each other, and yet, they are slightly unexpected, no? It's interesting to me because you want the piece to look, somehow, whole, at a glance, so that you can wear them and not have to think about it too much. And yet, they should have some excellence as you draw closer in.

Ehhh... that's making no sense. Like a NARS duo. Lol.

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Beauty Notes: Southern Beauty Magazine featuring Nancy O'Dell
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, January 09, 2008 1:57 PM (Eastern)

southern magazine featuring nancy o'dell

I (regrettably, really) passed on this brand new mag's lush Jennifer Love Hewitt cover, the other month. Nothing personal; I happen to like Love Hewitt, thought she was handy with Jackie Chan in The Tuxedo amongst other things, and there is ever a common thread which runs through all Southerners (I represent Norfolk...thank you, thank you). So, to make it up to y'all, here is an excerpt from Nancy O'Dell's interview with SB:

On how her beauty regimen has changed after the birth of her baby girl, Ashby:
"Having the job I have, I have to do a certain amount of maintenance— it is just less now. And my beauty regimen has also changed due to breast feeding... there are certain lotions and potions I cannot use because I am nursing. Hopefully my skin has a natural glow from the happiness my baby girl has brought me."

On the beauty products she can't live without:
"Clinique tan gel and Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. I grew up in a beach community, Myrtle Beach, SC, so I am used to having a tan. I don't want to go out in the sun, so this is the safest way. I just rub or spray on a tan!"

On how women can be successful in today's working environment:
"Don't ever compromise your values."

On how living on the West Coast differs from living in the South:
"I grew up with everyone speaking to you wherever you go in the South. Here, people tend to stick to themselves. I go to the grocery store and ask the checkout person how they are doing. They look at me like I am crazy."
[Editor's note: this is so true.]

On the meaning of "Southern beauty":
"Classic, natural and fresh beauty which comes from the inside."

On feeling beautiful:
"I don't think I would feel beautiful at all if I couldn't do something to help others. Beauty is defined by how you treat others."


Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
8 comment(s)  
January 9, 2008 2:12 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Lol, people on the West Coast keep to themselves? Coming from the dog-eat-dog Northeast, I look at the West Coast and think, man, people are so much easier and nicer there, if somewhat less educated, as a whole.

January 9, 2008 6:35 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Well...Southern society is unique. I've been to the Northeast, the Midwest, and I've lived here and in Washington State for a while. The one place I've never been is the center of the country...Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado...when I came out here, I drove across the Southern part of the country.

Southerners are very social. If you're taking a walk...which is what we used to do over there, there wasn't anything else to would say "Hi" to everyone you passed on the street. Of course that wasn't true in the bigger cities, but even then, there was this sort of social acknowledgment...if you didn't actually say "Hi," still you sort of acknowledged the people on the street.

It's hard to get used to not doing that. Californians do keep to themselves.

Well...on the entire East Coast, North and South, people tend to judge you by what books you've read. That's not really true out, people tend to judge you by what you've done. I think it can be said people come out here, rather than being born here (it's a generalization, bear with me)'s a kinetic place, people expect you to pursue your dreams, whatever they are.

For example, you could say software was pioneered out here. Why here? Why was Hollywood developed out here? If it's something new, chances are, it will begin here. If it's something established, like advertising or literature, it's bound to fare better on the East Coast, because of the longer history.

January 10, 2008 5:48 AM, Blogger Dain said...

I dunno if it's so much that people judge you by the books you read, it seems to me that in the Northeast people judge you, period. There's an atmosphere of sophistication and money and education compared to the rest of the United States, but I daresay it is mostly because it is so much older than the rest of the country. At its worst, people are extremely critical of each other, and very jealous of what they have.

January 10, 2008 12:25 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...'re going to get some of that everywhere, although I think I know what you mean.

It can be a good thing about California...for two reasons. One is that people come from everywhere. It's difficult to have one standard for anything, because which standard are you going to use?

Two is the earthquakes. People can, at times, live for the moment. can be an age thing. Younger people tend to measure themselves against everybody, they feel compared. The older you get, the less you do that. Or, the less you should do that. You should have your own concerns by the time you get to be my just want to have a regular job, you take the money home to your kids.

January 10, 2008 3:50 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I think you're right about the age thing. That may be it. You know, the "boarding school" mentality.

January 10, 2008 8:58 PM, Blogger Dain said...

You know, I had a thought. The great American virtue, if you could boil it down, is that sense of possibility, that crackerjack sense of entrepreneurship. That, more than anything, brought all the great talent from the world over, which built up the capital that gave America power. But now, America has power.

I don't know, I am very young, and I look at my options:

(1) Academics? Such bullshit. I can understand elitism, hell, I'm an elitist, but I really despise most academics. There is such an inflated sense of self-importance, combined with raging insecurities that drive people to intense criticism of each other. Agh... It is hard to explain. There is an attitude (which intensifies the higher your degree) that one is above the human condition, by virtue of brain, clean and removed from the mess of the masses. And yet they are so snipey about each other!

(2) Work. Sounds even more bleak. At least I wouldn't be bored in academics. Or required to keep natural bedtimes.

(3) Volunteer. I am simply not a good enough person, I think.

(4) I guess I may just have to be a starving artist after all.

Ja, ja. I think America has lost its urge for potential, for possibility, though this is a very generic statement. It's decadent: it laughs at change and seeks novelty instead, and it is really frustrating, because one buys into the myth.

Some of the charm of Southern culture is that it hasn't lost quite all of its fantasy. New York, evidently (I refer to the "furor"), is quite a different matter.

January 10, 2008 8:59 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Oh, and I forgot:

(5) Marriage. Gah! No!

January 10, 2008 9:18 PM, Blogger said...

I'm afraid our blogger account isn't publishing. You can add comments through this form of course, but the comment count on the posts won't increment. has been devalued in our modern-day culture. Say ten years ago, people talked about work, all people seem to talk about is getting rich. It's not the same thing.

I do feel America is a great country, but in an experimental sense. It's not always easy to have faith in experiments. We do things differently; sometimes people agree with it, sometimes they don't. I think, what makes us great is the simple fact that anyone can be an American.

That is not true everywhere else...if you move to just about any other place on Earth, you will be an outsider. Your kids will be outsiders. Depending on the place, your descendants may never really belong. What really is an American? Nobody can say.

So it's like...if everything craps up for you, you can still try to emigrate to America. Your life here is what you make it to be.

No, don't get married until you make your own money.

Oh, the South... We lost the war. We had only one war and we lost it. After that, we had to carry on. So Southerners have an inner strength. And, either an extreme cynicism, or extreme belief, which are two sides of the same coin.

--Colleen, too lazy to log in

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Beauty Notes: Our own video!
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, January 08, 2008 3:51 PM (Eastern)

Home hair color stuff

I had to figure out a way of converting analog tape (VHS and mini DV) to digital. I got the device (it's monumentally simple, all you need is either the red, yellow and white cable connection, or S-video) and tried it out on a mini DV camcorder.

The capture is straightforward, but the editing software (Pinnacle) requires more memory than I have on this computer. Not to has a patch (which you must download, since it doesn't work if you don't)...less memory makes the program slightly slower when you're running it, but as you can see, it does work.

This is what I switched to when L'Oreal discontinued the only light beige shade of the Feria color liquids. It's supposed to lift four levels, not the customary two or three, and these people aren't kidding. The color looks dark when it's still in your hair, but my hair came out lighter than I was planning on. Oh well, live and learn.

I haven't bought color kits in years; not only are the components much cheaper, you can easily mix the exact amount you need.

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3 comment(s)  
January 9, 2008 1:57 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Hehehe... Pleased to meet you!

January 9, 2008 2:28 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

lol! Yeah, I think it is kind of weird to see someone on video after all these years. :)

I hope to make more useful videos at some point; I think the potential for them has yet to be reached. Much of what you see is formulaic. I like Asian Beauty Blog's stuff, Pursebuzz, Michelle Phan...I can't think of too many others in the non-corporate category.

January 9, 2008 2:33 AM, Blogger Dain said...

I thought the same thing... There might be a lot of possibilities in this.

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Beauty Notes: Unique Books and Hand-Decanted Perfumes
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, January 05, 2008 10:57 PM (Eastern)

Eiderdown Press: Unique Books and Hand-Decanted Perfumes

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Beauty Notes: Transitioning into "niche" perfumes
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, December 28, 2007 1:14 AM (Eastern)

I would like to remind our dear readers that we have covered some of the more obscure brands of fragrance on this site, with more to come.

Perfume Reviews
The Mnemonic Sense

You may also check individual brand labels, such as Serge Lutens, Annick Goutal, Montale and so forth.

Even as the choices in scent grow exponentially, still I would like to think we at The Lipstick Page Forums endeavor to refine...if not "what's good," at least what isn't particularly good. It's not all good. In fact that's something I always liked in Dain, that she didn't advocate indiscriminate collecting. There is a useful aspect to it, in having tried sheer masses of products, but then there is a tendency to become less perceptive of each product.

Before I go on, it's well to note I never bought any Diptyque perfume. I tried a bunch of them, but the one I liked best, Do Son, had this sort of pathetic staying power. It smelled otherworldly for about an hour; two, tops...I remember wearing it in Muir Woods, and trying to detangle what was Do Son and what was the scent of the park itself--no small potatoes, the latter looks like this:

But, eh, it's like that fantastic lipstick of the perfect shade, and zero staying power. Ultimately I won't be happy with it. I would choose a lipstick that's perhaps less in terms of the color, if it means I can put it on and forget about it, as long as possible.

Likewise, I tossed the idea of Annick Goutal's eau de toilettes. Yes, they're cute, they're easy to find, and reasonably priced, relatively speaking...the lasting power just sucks. I chased down the more elusive Annick Goutal eau de parfum and found it to last as well as any other EDP.

Etro was kind of a weird brand. I ended up with a full bottle of Heliotrope, which my kids love (always good to have a consultant or two).

Ultimately it is all about the samples: Where to get perfume,, and The Perfumed Court are the more popular sites for these. Though samples can become expensive in their own right, I've found them indispensable particularly for niche fragrances, because these tend to not be designed to smell good sprayed on a card, or tested on your hand in a department store. There is often a far less immediate appeal...some scents take hours to develop, days to comprehend, and months to be able to afford. :D

Anyhow, happy hunting! and do check back on this blog.

image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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December 28, 2007 2:30 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I've heard that the Chanel exclusifs are very good, but of course, they are a mass-market brand's version of niche. I haven't smelled any of them, but talented perfumers and highest quality ingredients sounds like a promising mix. Guerlain is very tricky for me, Guerlinade is musty on me, but I do like L'Heure Bleue. If I had a house, it would be Caron. Caron never cheapens.

You know, Annick Goutals have never agreed with me? They are somehow... too cute, too benign. I think I prefer perfumes very strong opinions. Diptyque, I've only tried two, one was a big hit, the other a big miss. ETRO has very wearable, but unoriginal perfumes, I think. Serge Lutens, I think, gives you a real appreciation for raw materials--those two really know how to bring out a flavor, it's never the thing itself, but in a lot of ways, it is often better. I'm dead curious about Montale--I guess we'll see!

December 28, 2007 11:43 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

The odd thing is it's probably harder to get hold of a Chanel "secret perfume"--dunno, do they keep it behind the counter? :D than a plain old niche fragrance. The niche people were smart enough to start up sample programs, which go hand-in-hand with decant services.

I've never had Guerlain work on me...have never tried Caron. Givenchy is my "mainstream house," since I'm allergic to the older, better Chanels.

Annick Goutal is weirder than Etro if you think about it. Etro, overall, struck me as masculine, where AG struck me as feminine--but wildly differing. Not all of their scents are nice-girl concoctions. It's as if someone goes crazy in the lab late at night, and pops out something no one else has, that is too perfect. And then it's business as usual the next day.

Lutens...mmmmm...I suspect he's more your guy than mine. You're more European in taste than I am. Montale to me has this slight French edge, but it's largely Middle Eastern in flavor. I sense SL is largely French with a slight Middle Eastern edge. (I could be entirely washed up here, it's more of a hunch.)

December 29, 2007 12:04 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Yeah, Guerlains are just tough, but very rich food for the mind. I guess that will just have to be my next perfume review. ; )

To be honest, there are only a very sparing number of SLs I'd consider FBW, indeed Tubereuse Criminelle is alone assured. They are magnificent to appreciate, as one might savor fine wine in a restaurant, but it is quite another thing to buy a case of the vintage (approximately the relationship between decant and full-bottle, no?).

However, I see what you mean, and I think your hunch is a good one. It is very French. But you know, Fleurs d'Oranger is one of the least impressive of the SLs, pretty but... And I have never tried Montale. We'll just have to see.

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Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent, part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, December 14, 2007 4:55 PM (Eastern)

potential signature scents

(see Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent)

I haven't smelled Sublime in ages, hence the small representation. I own the perfumes listed in red text, have the ones printed in purple on my some-day wish list (although I'm not planning to buy Sublime unsniffed).

Intense Tiaré, I've been wearing the most lately. It's amazingly warming and soothing. If anything will take you down to Kokomo, this is it...

...yet the coconut here is silky and subtle, woven into the fresh tiare flower (which even has a minute bitterness to it, like an actual bloom). It's floated to the top of my wishlist in fact. I feel I can live without Jasmin Full or Sublime, but Intense Tiaré plays like a Bob Marley song.

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Beauty & Fashion Notes: Ruminations on aging, and finding that perfect pair of pearl earrings
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, December 07, 2007 4:36 PM (Eastern)

handmade freshwater pearl and argentium sterling silver earringsCool, eh? After fiddling around with pearl earrings for years, these just sort of emerged. They're not even chased, just hammered flat. The hoops are more of a bugger to make than it would appear (it's surprisingly easy to fluff the wrap at the top) yet, once made, they are beautifully round, and, well, tight. There's no way the wire could bend or pop loose; the entire hoop becomes quite solid.

I've given some thought to aging, as our culture becomes more and more engrossed with cosmetic surgery. A few years ago, I would have dismissed anti-aging procedures as simply too invasive. Or perhaps a bit too Dorian Gray.

Intuitively, I didn't feel aging, in the cosmetic sense, could be all negative. What I studied in college was logic, and I am likely the world's worst Catholic; I've never been that interested in theory, or in what you are supposed to believe. Does it work? Are we all doomed to cosmetic procedures (lucrative, if that's your field; an amazing drain on finances if not)?

Then I got older, and found out for myself. No, I don't think we are all going to get Botox and plastic surgery. Some people will do it. And it will become more and more common, certainly more acceptable. But there will always be a substantial group that doesn't, either for monetary reason (as the pressure to open your wallet and let the money flow toward plastic surgeons increases), or from plain old cussedness...a belief, on whatever level, that God created you as a spectacular work of engineering. Paying the lesser engineers to fiddle with your

The part that no one tells you is that you can feel more beautiful as you age. shhhhh... When you're young, it is much easier to be beautiful, and in fact you should make yourself beautiful, since you have only one youth. When you're old, it's no longer theory as to what you'll look like when you get old. If you can remain attractive for your age, it is akin to a naked body as opposed to one that is fully clothed. The concealed body may contain any number of surprises, where, with the naked one, what you see is what you get.

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December 8, 2007 8:53 AM, Blogger Chez Moi said...

"Paying the lesser engineers to fiddle with your"
HeHe,love that line!

The closer I get to 40, the less and less "Looks" obsessed I get. I've noticed that the people closest to me also could care less about aging. I did have a few folks in my life who are obsessed with getting older and losing their youthfulness, but I just don't have the patience anymore to have people like that in my life. Its just far to "high school" for me. Plus, a 35 year old woman wearing tons of makeup, bleached out hair and dressing out of the juniors department just looks pathetic. Not me, a "friend" of mine. I just don't get it. She is married, has a nice husband, a beautiful 2 year old baby boy and she's just crazy-obsessed with wanting to attract men's attention. I've tried telling her that she is worth so much more than that, but she is just totally deaf to it. She's smart, she works hard, she is not an unattractive gal. But all she cares about is having guys (preferably young, hot ones) hitting on her. I've given up on the friendship with her and it's just sad.

Anyhoos, your article made me think of this quote that I had posted awhile back on my own blog,

"Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art."
Eleanor Roosevelt


December 9, 2007 6:51 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Hi! Nice to see you. :)

Yeahhhhh...well, some people want to see if they still have it. I've found that doesn't change with age, it doesn't matter what your circumstances are either. I'm not against that, in fact I think it is important to keep up your looks, because it affects your morale.

It's more that you have to draw a line...if you don't draw a line, you're going to be pressured throughout your life to pay for procedures or products that really don't do that much for you. Right now there's a tremendous push for the sort of cure-all for everything. And I think it's bullshit, as a cure-all for everything.

The funny part is actually getting old yourself. You find out so much of what you've been told your entire life is, well, fiction.

The only thing I miss is being able to stay in shape easily. For a very long time I was naturally strong. Now I have to work at it. There are many things you can do to keep strong though, the thing is to keep going.

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Beauty Notes: Serenity
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, December 05, 2007 1:36 AM (Eastern)

It's well to find ways to keep your morale and energy up, no matter what's going on. Not that it's easy to do. In fact it's a skill, that should probably be taught in school along with mathematics (the two are not as dissimilar as they may appear).

Serenity & Music

What better way to get everything in alignment than to put on some music? (Do people still say that, or did this expression recede with the vinyl recording?)

alicia bridges - i love the night life COQUIGUATE

This was one of my favorite songs of the disco era. It's subtler than Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," and as sexy, in its own way, as Grace Jones' "Pull Up to the Bumper."

And speaking of Grace Jones...she was a prominent figure in the tail-end-of-disco, birth-of-New-Wave period, and I miss her. I didn't know until today that LL Cool J's "Doin' It" was sampled from a Grace Jones song:

Grace Jones - My Jamaican Guy (Live)

Serenity & Perfume

Finally got around to trying my sample of Serge Lutens' Fleurs d'Oranger today.

serge lutens fleurs d'oranger

In its own right, it is a highly soothing composition, with waves and billows of honeyed orange blossom, whiffs of the orange itself, smooth white starts out with a small burst of the same bright sweetness of Fracas, in fact...all reminiscent of crisp white cotton shirts, sunny gardens, and general tranquility.

I can never in a million years see buying this, mind you; it's not "me." "You," in your perfume-buying decisions, should be the perfumes that bring you peace. My Montale Aoud Blossom/Boisé Vanillé blend never fails to soothe, nor does Annick Goutal's Passion. I'm mulling over the idea of trying Jean Patou's Sublime again (I haven't smelled it in a decade, easily, and don't want to make the same mistake I made buying Samsara after not having smelled it in about as long.)

Serenity & Jewelry

turquoise, labradorite and keishi pearl necklace

I had the idea of trying to capture the sea around Jamaica, without using obvious maritime symbols such as mermaids or shells. This is American turquoise and labradorite, with a natural pink keishi pearl. In the end I couldn't resist the golden anchor (in real life, it looks more like a fleur-de-lys than an obvious anchor).

Here a great deal of the calming aspect is making the piece itself. It's not unlike knitting, which I've recently thought about taking up (I was a complete screw-up at knitting in my youth), in being able to take the same elements and redo them, with very little waste (okay knitting trumps jewelry making, but if you stick with it long enough, you don't make that many mistakes anymore).

Serenity & Comedy

Springtime for Hitler

Sometimes you really need to laugh. When I saw The Producers originally, it was sometime in the early to mid 1970's, when the horrors of World War II were still relatively fresh. I had to blink to believe what I was seeing, it was that hysterically funny. Likely some of its jibes are less pointed now, but the opening number for Springtime for Hitler is a classic.

image courtesy

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Beauty & Fashion Notes: The Buyer's Guide to Independent Art and Design
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, November 09, 2007 1:49 PM (Eastern)

Trunkt: The Buyer's Guide to Independent Art and Design

I stumbled across this site; it's a blend of indie and Etsy (in fact some of the shops linked to are on Etsy).

Etsy, btw, has become a respectable site, after a rather slow beginning. Check out their Chiyogami page; it alone would be worthy of a nicely-illustrated blog post.

In regards to Trunkt, each category has a sample photo of what's being made, so the sections are a lot bigger than they would appear to be. Click on the sample and you are directed to a page of more samples and a bio of the company. Click on the samples here and you go to the company's website, where you may browse further.

I could use something like this:

And this:

$70, custom made, comes in a multitude of colors in hemp or cotton lycra, reversible (ruffles in front or ruffles behind; the latter looks sassier imo).

How about a purse?

They've got ton loads of other stuff on there, such as bath and body products, jewelry, items for your home, ton loads more bags, just a whole lot of interesting things.

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Beauty and Fashion Notes: this 'n' that
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, November 06, 2007 1:51 AM (Eastern)

I was reading through Dain's Beauty Notes: Color Theory (part 1) and realizing how different we are. I don't mean deeply different, more like superficially so.

It's a good thing. I dislike sites where everyone has to agree with everything all the time. I'm American; I treasure the concept of there not being any one righteous path. To me it's dull and stifling, and ultimately stagnant.

Yet I can acknowledge that finding one's "look" is important, and confusing. It's a jungle, and sometimes it's good to have a guide.

I've just never done anything that way...hmmm...okay, I can agree with her first point. Skincare first. Dain was the first to emphasize this back in the misty days of twentieth-century beauty boards, while everyone else was going ga-ga over color cosmetics.

After that, for
  1. Skincare first. I tend to view it more as an internal thing, likely because of my acne. Nothing topical ever worked, but changing my diet, birth control pill, vitamins...these cleared my skin.

    The one conventional skincare product I advocate is the Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream. The stuff is killer, from its finely smashed whole almonds, to its gently oily film (keeps skin from producing too much oil), to its touch of alcohol, to whatever herbs it's got going on there. I am very skeptical about skincare claims (again, acne sufferer...have heard tons of promises of miracles), but this delivers as an exfoliant and overall skin refiner.

  2. Hair. Finding the right hair style and color is key. Why do you think nuns cover their hair? Hair is attractive, sexy; it's your "crowning glory." The color has to be right; the style has to fit. Not that you have to go to a salon (I don't); go if you want. Finding your hair groove is slightly more important imo than building a wardrobe...not that you shouldn't build your wardrobe...but the best clothes in the world, paired with a lousy hairdo...I'd rather see great hair and lousy clothes.

  3. Perfume. I wrestled with this for more than a year before buying a full bottle of anything, and finally decided on Montale as my house. How you smell is as important as how you look. I've never been a great collector of scents...even now, when there are so many to choose from, I'd rather own two or three bottles at a time and work through them.

  4. Lipstick. People look at your lips. A pretty color lifts your mood, brightens your face, makes the world go round... I don't collect these either, I had too many of them go bad in my experimental days. It takes half an hour to buy a lipstick and a year to use one I prefer something like two or three lipsticks at a time.

  5. Overall health. I don't diet or exercise much either, but I have found it easier to stay relatively slim, than to find clothes that look good on you if you don't. I'm very sincere in this; to me there is a strong economical factor. If you put on weight, you can't wear regular clothes, you are constantly shopping for clothes that don't make you look fat. And there's a tendency to put on even more weight, meaning you have to buy even more clothes because your old ones don't fit. I've been through all that. It's expensive and annoying.

    As far as the unrealistic anorexic body image, I rejected that too, actually for much of the same's high maintenance and unhealthy.

These are the basic things...if your skin is at its best, your hairdo works, you smell good, have a nice lipstick on, and have a reasonably regular body weight--not too thin, not too fat--the rest is a lot less important. Or, if you're looking at it my way, you can get away with a great deal more cheapness and laziness.

The lipstick is the one item on my list that isn't a true foundation; it's not even a face foundation item like Dain's One True Blush. It's just a random item, pure luxury (since you could as easily go for an untinted lip balm, as far as function).

I know these things seem screamingly obvious, but we are living in a capitalist society. Fixing your foundation, instead of constantly buying patches for it, is, well, cheaper in the long run (although it can be more expensive up front).

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November 6, 2007 1:58 AM, Blogger Dain said...

o lord! I forgot perfume!

November 6, 2007 2:10 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

We're still living in Blogger Hell? I went to their help section, I saw three posts bitching on their ftp service. The problem is they don't put anything on their blogger status page, you are to use voodoo to figure it out.

Well, my guidelines are laziness and tightwadded-ness. How little can I do and still look as if I made the effort?

The problem with perfume is finding an inexpensive one that works as well as a spendy one...I gave up on that a long time ago. What attracted me to the Montales, besides they smell good, was the sheer lasting power, the idea of not having to touch them up.

It's what I didn't like about Diptyque...nice scents that don't last. You'd tear through the bottle.

I left jewelry off my list, it's not crucial, yet it adds a lot.

November 6, 2007 2:29 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Yup. It's as sluggish as anything. I've been thinking of writing a post on "things you don't need to spend a lot of money on", but I'll agree that unless you wear, say, oils from a headshop (I know a girl who wears jasmine perfume oil only, it's really lovely on her...), it's a lost cause with scents.

Your Montales makes me as happy as if I owned them myself. Lol. It's queer, I haven't even smelled them.

November 6, 2007 2:31 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Looks like we're back.

November 6, 2007 2:34 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I've only just smelled them? I got Annick Goutal's Passion EDP too, a small bottle of it. That's it for now. I wanted to see how long the Montale's keep.

November 6, 2007 2:37 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Bah, premature. Oy, but I agree, we're all about difference of opinion on LP. Debate is important, it means that people have something to say.

But I dunno, that, say, our current administration follows your creed of Americana.

November 9, 2007 12:35 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Our current administration didn't come from the moon. The problem is not the current administration, the problem is having alternatives to it, which is the part people outside the U.S. don't seem to grasp (as well they shouldn't; they don't live here).

I remember post-Roosevelt, pre-Reagan America in every's how I grew up. It's hard for me to imagine not having that experience. Once you've seen the potential, you don't let go of it. Or, I dunno, you don't let go of it easily.

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Beauty Notes: What I've been into, lately
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, October 25, 2007 3:07 PM (Eastern)

nars mambo

Nars Mambo eyepencil. I haven't felt like wearing eyeshadow, much, so eyeliner is key (and faster to put on, anyway). I had three liners back in August of this year, and found I reached for this liner more and more, to the point I tossed the other two (which were getting old) without needing to replace them.

dr. hauschka lip products

Dr. Hauschka lip products. I wouldn't have guessed these would be so good (no offense, but I always thought of Dr. Hauschka as the skincare guys, not the color cosmetics guys). It makes logical sense though, if you think of lip products as (tinted) skincare for lips.

nars malibu

Nars The Multiple in Malibu. This is really useless as a multiple-purpose product, at least this shade is. It's too dry to use as lipstick, and mediocre as eyeshadow. But it's my ideal shade of warm-toned bronzed-rose blush, wearable year-round.

montale aoud blossom and boise vanille

Montale perfumes. These are so strong, I spray some in the palm of my hand and apply it that way. Perhaps the perfect cure for ephemeral scents, and the ordinary.

24 - Jack Bauer and Tony Almeida at a Drive-Thru

24. If you've watched this show even once (or eaten at an In 'n' Out), you'll immediately recognize the references in this parody. If you haven't, I would highly recommend both!

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October 25, 2007 3:35 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Those Montales sound amazing... I hate weak, derivative perfumes!

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Beauty & Fashion Notes: this 'n' that
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, October 19, 2007 9:37 PM (Eastern)

I have been busy lately...I have to finish up a project involving jewelry. I placed an order with a company I'd been planning to buy from, for...months, possibly even a year or more. It's one of the few jewelry supply companies that is Fair Trade certified, they're based in Thailand, and the majority of their items are fine silver (.999). Only a few items are sterling. They also vermeil and according to them, their vermeil exceeds legal standards.

Aside from this, they have this totally droolworthy site with a glut of stunning items, everything from beads (some solid, which I'm kicking myself I didn't buy), pendants, earring components, chain, charms, all sorts of things. They carry rose gold vermeil as well as yellow, but I find rose gold difficult to work with since most vermeil components, not to mention goldfilled, are yellow. If you'd like to check it out:

When I got the package, I literally had to sit down when I was opening it. The images on the site really do not do the items justice. Part of it is the weight of each item, the soft yet bright silver, the sheer quality of the workmanship. Take this pendant:

silver rose pendant

Here it looks nice enough, you're thinking eh... In person, when you run your fingers over it, there is not a single rough edge. All of the many edges are as smooth as silk. The balance of the pendant is perfect; it's handmade yet the symmetry is also perfect. It's just an amazing piece.

That's what I did today, made a necklace out of that pendant, some lapis, some of these:

silver butterfly beads

...and some odd Bali sterling components. It's a bit tricky to design with fine silver because of the weight first design had two strands of lapis and silver along with the pendant. I loved how it looked, but it was too heavy to wear more than a few hours, so I went back to the drawing board and made it a single strand.

I hope you take advantage of our Parfums Raffy coupon code for 10% off. Parfums Raffy has a diverse selection of perfumes, and the prices are competitive. They have modern mainstream perfumes, classics such as Joy and Fracas, niche brands such as Creed and Montale, Raffy's own original perfumes, and even this:

bill blass nude perfume

This is Nude by Bill Blass. I've never owned it, never even tested it, but let me tell you this. This perfume drove me crazy one day at Trader Joe's.

If you don't have a Trader Joe's, they tend to have relatively small aisles (at least ours do) and to be perpetually crowded. So I was there one day shopping, and I smelled the most wonderful perfume. I mean it was magical. Normally I don't notice perfumes, but this was extraordinary...I kept smelling it, as I made my way through the aisles, but it was so crowded I couldn't pinpoint who was wearing it for the longest time.

Finally I figured out who it was and I asked her what was that perfume, and she said it was Nude by Bill Blass.

Hopefully I'll have some jewelry pics and other features soon.

images courtesy,

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October 20, 2007 12:25 PM, Blogger Dain said...

How pretty. You have my interest piqued in the Bill Blass now. Which Montale did you get?

October 20, 2007 10:57 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I've never tested Nude, I only smelled it on someone else. I read some reviews on Basenotes, where it was described as "artificial" and "synthetic," yet it did get four thumbs up (out of four reviews).

:D I'll post about what I got when I get it...

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Beauty Notes: Montale perfume this 'n' that
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, October 13, 2007 11:18 PM (Eastern)

violetsI tried Montale's Aoud Blossom layered with Boise Vanille today.

I'm still in favor of Boise Vanille; not sure about Aoud Blossom. My earlier thought, that its blended floral composition was similar to that of Creed's Fleurissimo--not the exact flowers, just the seamless, almost purely floral blend--turned out to be not that far off. Aoud Blossom today smelled quite violetty. Hardly oud-y at all--this is the least Aoud-y of the three Aouds I've tried, White Aoud and Aoud Roses Petals being the other two--just this sweet, old-fashioned, violet-dominated blend, like a good-quality old-style soap.

I'm still smelling it on myself; I've had it on about ten hours. The sillage fades out though, probably after about five hours (I'll have to time it next time). I really want to smell like violets? I like violets, don't get me wrong...and the Aouds are good, staying-power-wise. Just wondering if this is the layer I want over my Boise Vanille. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I've never owned a violet scent before in my life.

I think I'll try Boise Vanille with Aoud Roses Petals tomorrow (I'm kicking myself I used up my Jasmin Full sample, although I suspect an Aoud would pair better with Boise Vanille).

image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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October 14, 2007 7:16 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Violets are nice. They are very motherly, though sometimes they're over-candied.

October 14, 2007 7:48 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Aoud Blossom is an indestructible violet. I put a few dabs on in the morning, and could still smell it quite strongly on myself (close to the skin) past midnight.

It isn't candied here, it's a bit powdery and soapy. It's nice but I feel it's...conservative...for me?

I tried Boise Vanille out with Aoud Roses Petals today. This just might be "it."

What's odd is ARP, which is a strong rose scent (rose, saffron and oud, bit o' cedar in the drydown) hardly smells rosy at all over the Boise Vanille. The whole works becomes one of those rose-in-the-background blended perfumes.

I'll have to see what happens tonight though...yesterday, BV faded out long before Aoud Blossom (hence the last x hours of almost pure soapy violets).

October 14, 2007 9:05 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I can see that... violets also make me think of Victorian sentimentality, which is pretty conservative. Maybe you can get Boise Vanille and a couple to layer over it as the mood strikes you?

October 14, 2007 11:02 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

They are so...expensive. The price here appears to be fixed. I checked all of the sites I could think of that carry Montale...parfums raffy, aedes, luckyscent, four seasons, there's a Canadian etailer too, (which is cheaper, but who knows what the shipping's going to be)...

The cheapest place is Suravi, but only because they have a 10% Basenotes and MUA discount. They don't have the scents I want up, but it's probably a matter of emailing them and asking.

Other than that, there is theperfumedcourt, but all I saw there was an 8-ml decant.

I've heard you can order it from Paris and it's cheaper that way, but more aggravating.

Haven't decided yet which I like better, Aoud Roses Petals or Aoud Blossom (White Aoud is out of the running).

October 15, 2007 3:03 PM, Blogger Dain said...

But if they last as long as they do, and unfold in such a complex fashion, you can consider them like "parfum", which are around $200 for a tiny bottle anyway. Imo, though, parfums don't need layering.

October 15, 2007 4:56 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

What I've read is the Aouds keep very well, but the regular EDP's don't necessarily. In short if I got one Aoud, it would be fairly safe to say it wouldn't go bad. For the regular EDP it would be a decision between 50-ml and 100-ml, but it might depend how fast it goes.

These don't need layering...I like to layer. I have it in mind to get two scents that could work on their own, or else be layered together to create a third scent. Besides, I like the idea of wearing something next to unique. Unless I bump into someone with the same notion of the same two scents, applied in the same proportion, it's unlikely I'll smell this on anyone else. To me there's nothing sacred about perfume; if it works, it works.

Aoud Blossom is pulling ahead, if only because I still don't think of myself as a rose scent person. They don't seem to sell the Aouds in smaller bottles, so the Aoud factor is key here.

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Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, September 28, 2007 2:25 AM (Eastern)

perfumesI'm anxiously anticipating my Montale samples.

Was tempted to go ahead and request the other Montales I wanted to try, since different places carry different Montales (there are a whole bunch of them). But that would be a bit silly. Who knows, by the time I get this batch, there might be a new Montale out. So, what's the rush?

I began this perfume quest a bit over a year ago, starting with some Annick Goutal samples (Eau d'Hadrien, Mandragore and Ce Soir Ou Jamais) and some Etro (Lemon Sorbet, Sandalo, Messe de Minuit, Royal Pavillon, Shaal Nur, Heliotrope, Vicolo Fiori, Gomma).

In some ways I feel further away from having a signature scent, than I did a year ago. Not really though. I don't feel it has to be a linear path; my life has seldom been linear anyway. I've learned to start at one point and just keep on going.

I've drained some of my samples...Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien, Ce Soir Ou Jamais, Heure Exquise (there's one more go of Passion left). Also Diptyque Do Son, Montale Jasmin Full.

I anticipate using up more...Montale Aoud Roses Petals and Crystal Flowers, the other Diptyques (except Philosykos, which smelled terrible on me, and possibly Ofrésia, which smelled bitter at first sniff), the other Annick Goutals, maybe...I didn't like Songes (too simple and sweet, though admirably strong and long-lasting), Gardénia Passion (also too simple and sweet).

As far as Etro...most of the scents were love or hate. I anticipate using up Heliotrope (I have a full bottle of this as well), Shaal Nur, Vicolo Fiori, Royal Pavillon...that might be it.

As far as Creed, eh...I like Montale better. The two Creed scents I tried, Fleurissimo and Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie, were both singular, more traditional perfumes, but neither were "me."

Fracas, you've got to like. It's not "me" either though.

If the perfume fairy appeared right now and granted me however many perfumes I so desired...while we're dreaming, these perfumes keep perfectly and never turn...I could easily go for several of the ones I've tried. That's the appeal of "splits" and decants, the idea of being able to own relatively many fragrances, without otherwise living in penury, or, far worse, having your perfumes go bad.

I'm not there yet though; still attached to the idea of two or three bottles.

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Beauty Notes: Indian Rapunzels, chopstick buns, updos & wet hair
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, September 27, 2007 4:56 PM (Eastern)

I can't for the life of me do anything sophisticated with my hair. I've concluded there is hairstyle dyslexia, and I have it, in spades.

However, if you have the dexterity and the locks, there is an abundance of hairstyle how-to's on Youtube.

Long Hair Bun - Indian Rapunzels

This is from a site which touts itself as "the long hair site of India." Here we have astoundingly long, lush hair, fashioned into a neat bun.

How to: use hair chopsticks

This looks a bit more my speed. Fellow hair klutzes will appreciate the detailed step-by-step instructions our hostess has written up on the Youtube site.

Hair Trick

The single chopstick version. My hair is not long enough to do this, I just thought it looked cool. (You'll note the first step is the same as in video #1, only with a different length of hair involved.)

How to make the latest updo hairstyles

This is from Nexxus; they have several how-to videos up. It's not exactly what I'd call an updo, but it is a nice evening hairstyle for a young girl.

From Wet Hair to Done Hair in 5 Min

Finally, Pursebuzz demonstrates some of my favorite hair concepts: what to do with wet hair (other than blowdrying it of course); how to achieve fullness with no, or very minimal, teasing; specific product recs (always a bonus); and getting out of the house quickly, yet in style.

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Beauty Notes: this 'n' that
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, September 24, 2007 2:30 AM (Eastern)

I'm putting together which Montale perfumes to try. There are a lot of them; it would be expensive to try them all...and I don't actually want to try them all. I don't think it's necessary. I do think it's possible to cobble together what the perfume smells like, by gathering a few reliable sources for descriptions, and then sort of triangulating them.

Luckyscent's perfume descriptions are overly long and flowery, too...I dunno, enthusiastic? While Aedes' descriptions tend toward the too-short and spare. Put the two far I've got:
  • White Aoud
  • Black Aoud
  • Chypre Fruite
  • Vanille Absolu
  • Soleil de Capri
  • Chypre Vanille (dithering)
  • Intense Tiare
  • Orient Extreme
  • Attar
  • Blue Amber
  • Velvet Flowers
  • Roses Musk (dithering)
  • Aoud Velvet
  • Patchouli Leaves
Before I decide on a final list, I'll check some perfume blogs and Basenotes.

My trial of Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream is going well. It truly is a gentle exfoliant (at least to my skin it is; I don't have particularly sensitive skin). What I like best is the slightly "oily" feeling it leaves after rinsing. I know that sounds counterintuitive, since I have naturally oily skin, but that odd moist feeling does not translate into an oily face; quite the contrary.

My skin is already smoother and softer; seem to be fewer and smaller clogged pores. It's not a miraculous transformation by any means, but I'm suspicious of quick results when you're talking about skin. Most of the products I've tried that ended up working over the long run, worked gradually rather than right away.

I have a theory--that skincare is similar to weight loss. You don't gain the weight overnight (even though it feels that way); you gain it over time, which is why gradual weight loss works in the long run. Quick dramatic weight loss tends to work at first, but then stop working.

Your face doesn't get cruddy overnight either (even though it feels that way!), which is why mild, gradual treatments tend to work best in the long run.

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September 24, 2007 1:05 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I'm jealous. I really wanted to be able to use Dr. Hauschka cleansing cream, but can't... I really liked the premise, a paste that you "press" into a creamy emulsion that lifts away all that is bad without disturbing what is good, and it works, but... ach, allergies.

I agree 100% about skincare. Things that work miracles at first never keep up to the promise.

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Beauty Notes: perfumes part 8
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, September 21, 2007 3:45 AM (Eastern)

Elvis Costello - Peace Love And Understanding (2004)

There are several music videos I've had in draft mode, probably since part 7 of my perfume odyssey. There's this, the original video The Police did for "Roxanne," and Power Station's "Some Like It Hot."

Ultimately, Elvis Costello won out. This is a Nick Lowe song, and Costello kind of ruined it, but in a good way. He de-countrified can almost grasp how Lowe would have done it, all cowboy boots, grits 'n' ham gravy. Oh wait, here it is:

Nick Lowe What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love & Understandin'

Costello is the superior singer, the Whitney Houston to Lowe's Dolly Parton, but I like both versions. looks sheepish

I am a bit closer to finding my perfume nirvana than I was a year ago.

I have discovered my grail house. It is Montale. I "got" Montale, the way you "get" your favorite brand of chocolate the first time you taste it. It just feels right in your mouth; it's what your eyes seek in the shop, no matter how many other kinds of chocolate fill the shelves.

Still, which Montale? There's a dizzying array of scents. I've tried reading reviews, to narrow down even a list of samples. But the reviews of the three Montale scents I've tried (Aoud Roses Petals, Crystal Flowers and Jasmin Full) don't match how they smell. Perfume-Smellin' Things Perfume Blog did justice to Aoud Roses Petals and Jasmin Full (couldn't find a review of Crystal Flowers there), and there is always Basenotes.

I suspect I'm doomed to try them all, slowly.

Along the way, I do have favorites from the other houses I've tried, most notably Annick Goutal's Passion (okay I have a small bunch of favorites). I've also considered buying other forms of perfume (usually something like shower gel works out well, and lotion doesn't). I've never felt you need have everything "match"; scents are components, just as they are themselves made of components; there's no reason you can't use them exactly where and how you please.

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Beauty Notes: Perfume recap
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, September 11, 2007 2:14 PM (Eastern)

It all started with an Etro sample...about a year ago.

I still haven't bought a bottle of perfume. Still contemplating. I had considered buying Annick Goutal's Passion, a beautiful dusky tuberose, almost a "skin scent," then I started getting into Montale. And I still haven't decided.

At first I was sure one scent would jump out of the sea of samples, screaming, "Buy me in full size!" but that's a bit silly and old-fashioned. That happens only if you buy perfume from a department store. Because most of the scents there have to have an immediate effect, otherwise you wouldn't buy them.

With the samples, you get something like Etro or Montale, something that takes an inordinate amount of time to either grow on you (Etro) or develop in the first place (Montale). It's rather the opposite of everything else in modern living--it's actually become a slower process.

Anyhow, here is my current virtual perfume stash (the only real one is Heliotrope):

virtual perfume stash

This doesn't include all the fragrances I like, by any means. It's just the narrowest interpretation of what I might begin to consider buying.

I found the Etro scents overall masculine. Even Vicolo Fiori, which in my department-store days I would have almost purely floral, smells like a good quality soap from an obscure shop, yet still has a masculine edge. Hard to describe, but you know it immediately when you smell it.

I found Annick Goutal overall feminine. Even Eau d'Hadrien, which is unisex, smelled distinctly feminine to me in its spare, almost mathematical construction. Néroli got bumped off the list for its lack of staying power. a weird house. None of the scents lasted well on me, save Eau de Lierre. I put Do Son up for its sheer luscious authentic reconstruction of a garden, complete with sunshine and running water.

Fracas is something I'm pondering as a layering scent. It's lovely as is, don't get me wrong, but I think it's more versatile than that.

Montale is the obvious choice for me. Of the houses I've tried, it's easily the closest to what I'm looking for.

Nope, I haven't tried the bazillion other houses out there. I suppose I could. I'm not persuaded it's necessary.

I suppose it's more of a philosophy. When I find something I like, I tend to stick with it. I realize it's something of an anachronism now, since we have that many more choices, but I've always been like that. I don't feel I need to continuously "upgrade" or be off in search of the newest and latest, except as a sort of experimental phase.

shania twainAs much as I don't actually espouse retail therapy as a way of life, I do think women around the world should have their bit of fun, at least before settling down. :) It doesn't have to be a wallet-draining experience; it can be a creative one.

If I really wanted to sit down and make another collage, it would be of the following:
  1. Nancy Kwan's "I Enjoy Being a Girl" scene in Flower Drum Song
  2. Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"
  3. A Streetcar Named Desire: "Aw, let the girls have their music."
  4. Shania Twain's "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!"

images courtesy,,, Wikimedia Commons

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September 12, 2007 1:29 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Hm, I'm not one for samples. The whole process drives me nuts for some reason. The faceless wee things, and I've been burned by samples before. Something I really loved turns out to be real disappointing full size.

As such, I tend to buy bottles, even without trying, which may not be smart, but I'd rather not go through the fuss. Just purchsed Parfumerie Generale Bois Blond, with a few samples. But I also have my eye on: Shiseido Bois de Feminite, Chanel No. 19 parfum, and Guerlain Apres L'Ondee.

September 12, 2007 4:03 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said... thing I've found with samples is that you have to apply a lot of the stuff, to replicate spraying it on from a regular bottle. Those little plastic wands are next to useless.

It's easy to see a point where you could spend more money on samples than you would on an actual bottle of perfume. I've been judicious about what I've decided to try as a result.

Or you could simply end up in a sort of samples hell, never buying a bottle of anything in favor of buying more samples.

Those Montale samples though, amazing...nothing the way they've been described on the Net. There is a distinct Middle Eastern flavor to them, it's instantly recognizable. The interpretation of roses is nothing like other rose scents, you don't get that sort of...blandness, or generic rose quality.

Now I'm wondering about the reviews of other Montale scents I've read. A lot of people missed the saffron in Aoud Roses Petals altogether. It's literally like smushing up saffron threads and mixing them with water, it's very strong, almost as strong as the roses themselves (and stronger than the oud imo).

From this point actually, I feel inclined to try only Montale.

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Beauty Notes: Perfumes
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, September 09, 2007 2:42 PM (Eastern)

Mmmm...I can still smell yesterday's Montale Jasmin Full on my clothes. What I'm going to do today, is fool around layering it with Fracas.

I found Fracas to be a tiny bit too sweet on me. By this I mean it is actually way sweet. What keeps it from being sick-sweet is that it is complex enough, and...floral-, rather than synthetic-, smelling. It smells really good, and the sillage lasts well (better than Jasmin Full), but wondering if Jasmin Full would knock the edge off some of the sweetness (where Fracas would extend the sillage of Jasmin Full).

I'll also need to try Crystal Flowers. It's premature to say this, but I've already found "my house." It's Montale.

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Beauty Notes: Perfume
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, September 08, 2007 12:15 PM (Eastern)

I'm wondering now how many samples you need try before you attain full-bottle nirvana.

I know that sounds vapid. It's just that I went through a fair amount of cosmetics experimentation, back in the 60's rotfl... Okay back in the late 90's and at the turn of the century. And I found it wise to pace yourself. It takes half an hour to buy a lipstick, but one year to use one up. Ten lipsticks = ten years.

Perfumes have the edge of the sample/decent phenomenon. It's been necessary: perfumes are too costly done any other way.

Here is my current list of favorites:

  • GF Ferre Lei (not new for me)
  • Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien and Passion (not sure about Heure Exquise)
  • Etro Heliotrope and Shaal Nur
  • Diptyque Do Son (not sure about Jardin Clos and Tam Dao)
  • Montale Aoud Roses Petals and Jasmin Full
  • not sure about Fracas...I think I might like Jasmin Full better

There's no way I could buy all of those fragrances. It isn't the cost that would bother me. It's the thought that some of them would end up sitting at the back of my closet. I believe perfumes are like jewelry--they're not happy unless you wear them. You should choose them carefully.

Here is a cool article on Etro fragrances: indieperfumes: Etro. This illustrates the layering concept, which is something I like, the idea of "tuning" perfumes by applying one to one part of the body, and another somewhere else. I don't need any one perfume to...necessarily encapsulate everything, all the time. To me, the components can be as important as the whole (and you need not combine them the same way each time).

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September 9, 2007 2:38 PM, Blogger Joy said...

I adore Fracas, but it takes some getting used to! :>

September 9, 2007 2:56 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Yup, I hear that! :)

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Beauty Notes: perfumes part 7
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, August 28, 2007 10:33 PM (Eastern)

(see part 6)

I'm still sort of waiting for the Moment of Truth to arrive, and tell me which of the (many) samples I've tried is to be my next bottle of perfume.

It's not as easy as it sounds (and mind you, I'm not complaining). It's just a different experience from perfume-shopping of yore. Before, I would go to Nordstrom or what you have, try on various scents...I liked so few of them, the "full bottle choice" was always pretty obvious.

The past few times I went to San Francisco, I reached for my Diptyque Do Son or Eau de Lierre. In fact I finished my Do Son sample today; the first Diptyque sample to go. Is it a sign? My Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien was the first Annick Goutal sample to go.

I've yet to use up an Etro sample (to be fair, I own Heliotrope, which negates using up the Heliotrope sample).

Oh well. If I miss Do Son all that much, that might well be it.

There used to be several copies of this video on youtube, then they all got pulled and this official copy now resides there alone. One of my all-time favorite music videos. It was odd seeing it after not having seen it for what, twenty years?

Donald Fagen - New Frontier

Not particularly relevant to this post, unless you count the "Ambush" reference :D

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August 28, 2007 10:44 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Nice video, says a lot without saying too much. Culture these days, we want to disclose everything. It'd be nice to retain a sense of privacy...

August 28, 2007 10:53 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I felt funny watching it, it reminded me of this tv movie I saw long ago, with Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay. Oh here it is: A Rather English Marriage

Both of them try to capture a time and place, that haven't existed for years, that will never exist again, that would otherwise simply have been forgotten.

We almost bought a house that had a bomb shelter. lol It was the first one I'd ever seen in person. Really weird...thick, bank-vault style doors, a posted list of supplies, a place where the canned goods would have gone...

August 29, 2007 2:18 AM, Blogger Audrey_H said...

Aaahhh, Donald Fagen is great! I heard him live in Stockholm (with JennyB!) this summer. I've been a fan for nearly twenty years now.

August 30, 2007 5:47 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

That would be fabulous, to see Donald Fagen in concert. I'm seriously jealous. :)

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Beauty Notes: Mom Makeup: The Early Years
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 1:16 PM (Eastern)

Hm. Last night, after I published Mom Makeup, I realized that was "old Mom Makeup," and that the average new Mom would probably burst out laughing at the idea of having time to wear eyeshadow, so...

new mom makeup

The top row is what I considered necessary (actually minus the blush, since I didn't own it back then): sunscreen (here it is tinted) and powder (because I have oily skin).

Eyepencil is the quickest way to look as if you bothered, so you will need at least one good eyepencil.

Lipstick is something you can put on in the car (not while driving obviously, I never really got that). In fact to this day, I keep the lipstick I'm using in my purse, in a mirrored case like these:

lipstick cases

There are some years when you will need to get by on the items you consider bare necessities. These items have to work, since you won't have time to fuss with them. I never bought into the notion that a woman suddenly becomes a different creature when she gives birth. Don't give up your makeup, or the concept that you're still entitled to looking good, but do hone your routine to fit into the time you have.

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Beauty Notes: Mom Makeup
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 1:08 AM (Eastern)

mom makeup

Along with Mom Clothes, there should be Mom Makeup.

I already had one of my kids, and was pregnant with the second, back when I discovered beauty messageboards. Part of my makeup quest has always involved time. Quick application, minimal touch-ups or fuss...minimal shopping. Something affordable, both in terms of money and of time.

Here is a quick collage of the makeup I wore today. Top row, left to right:
  1. Tinted sunscreen. It's an old pic, from my old site, most of which dates from 2000-2001. You can see how long I've stuck with this same concept; it's much faster and easier to apply and blend than regular foundation and already includes SPF.

  2. Nars the Multiple in Malibu. This is relatively new to my stash. :D Before Malibu, I usually skipped blush, but this is so quick and easy to apply, after tinted sunscreen and before pressed powder. It lasts well too; no disappearing blush.

  3. MAC Blot pressed powder. The date on this pic is December 2003. Blot is, thus far, simply the best pressed powder I've found for oily skin. In the San Francisco Bay Area climate, I need apply this only once, in the morning, to keep my face from getting greasy all day.

Bottom row, left to right:
  1. Nars duo eyeshadow in Jezebel. The Nars duos are incredible time-savers, since they already contain two shadows that work perfectly together. Of the four duos I own--Babylon, Ireland, Island Fever and this--each contains a perfect lid shade, paired with an ideal crease shade. These keep well too; they don't turn hard and funny.

  2. Nars Mambo eyepencil. At first I thought, wha'? $19 for an eyepencil? I tried it mostly out of curiosity, plus I had no chocolate brown eyepencil after my Prestige Expresso got old. The more I use it though, the more I like it. It holds a lovely point and goes on, if not satiny-smooth, at least without dragging, and goes with everything, including the Island Fever and Ireland duos that I used deep grey liner with before. It's a quiet pencil, but with an odd bit of genius within.

  3. Dr. Hauschka #01 Amoroso lipstick. As much of a no-brainer as my previous go-to lipstick, MAC Strawberry Blonde, but still in production. Amoroso is a lovely coral red, works well with warm coloring, doesn't require liner, doesn't have too much transfer (I find that highly annoying), lasts reasonably well on, feels good on lips, and is next to edible, to boot.

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Beauty Notes: Annick Goutal Passion vs. Heure Exquise
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, August 22, 2007 2:17 AM (Eastern)

Trying to decide which of the two is more "bottle-worthy." I've decided to pass on Eau d'Hadrien as my first perfume bottle purchase, it's been years.

I still have the ends of Armani Code and GF Ferré Lei, which I've been reluctant to use up since I have no new bottle to move on to. I can try samples, and samples have been good to fact I highly recommend samples. Gone are the days that I went to Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus or Macy's, and sprayed perfumes on my hand, and tried to deduce what it would be like to smell these perfumes day after day. Now I can actually smell them day after day. Ultimately it's put me more, rather than less, in the mood to buy; there's no risk.

But there's little point in using only samples. I'm glad for my bottle of Etro Heliotrope. Spraying beats dabbing, what can I say... I seldom wear Heliotrope by itself; it's pleasant (dry, almost not sweet, almond and vanilla, with a smidgen of ethereal flowers) but for me it's a layering scent, rather the equivalent of a camisole or tank top.

So far, I'm leaning more towards Passion. Heure Exquise still smells very good on me, in all its powdery grandeur, but Passion is closer to a "melds with your skin scent" experience. If only Annick Goutal made a twin-pack. ;)

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Beauty Notes: perfumes part 6
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, August 19, 2007 1:18 PM (Eastern)

(see part 5)

I'm now thinking in terms of buying an actual bottle of perfume. I feel, as long I'm using samples, I'm getting...soft. It's easy to like something in its (relatively inexpensive) sample form. The moment of truth arrives when you buy the bottle.

So, over the next few days, I'll retry the few perfumes I'm thinking of buying. Etro Shaal Nur would have been one of them, but it strikes me as more of a cold-weather, soothing scent; something I don't really need right now.

It's more a tie among Annick Goutal Passion, Heure Exquise and Eau d'Hadrien (all eau de parfum). I'm not considering Diptyque yet. I like it but it's too new to me, where I've been wearing the Etro's and Annick Goutal's over the past year.

I used up my sample of Eau d'Hadrien long ago... Wouldn't it be nice to find a gift set of Eau d'Hadrien, Heure Exquise and Passion edp's? (Of course I have this recurring dream that I open my front door and people throw money at Actually it's not that easy even to find Annick Goutal eau de parfums. A lot of places I checked last night carried only the eau de toilette form, and Annick Goutal edt's tend to be light.

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August 19, 2007 1:49 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I'm thinking of getting a new perfume too. But I've only just started.

August 20, 2007 2:11 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I wore AG Passion all day today...mmmmm.

It's the oakmoss. Even on the AG site, they barely mention oakmoss, but that's what makes Passion good.

I didn't request Passion as a first choice actually, rather as a back-up in case my first choices were out of stock. Based on the AG individual product page for Passion, I thought it would be too sweet--tuberose, jasmine and vanilla.

It's the oakmoss that grounds this. It reminds me a tiny bit of the Ava Luxe "Ingenue" I sampled (a replica of Catherine Deneuve's perfume). That was described as a chypre. I recognize that same note in Passion.

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Beauty Notes: Jane is...back?
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, August 17, 2007 2:21 PM (Eastern)

jane lipkick lipstickJane was one of those highly innovative brands--the operative word being "was"--back when I discovered The Lipstick Page in 1998. Back then, such popular items as Magical Mushroom and Purple Heart eyeshadows; Blushing Glow blush; Loco Cocoa, Browned Down Red, Cinnamon Stick, Rosy Outlook and Bye Bye Brown lipsticks, were posted about with the same enthusiasm and reverence as, oh, Nars, Chanel, or other slightly more expensive brands.

It's not that Jane was ever quite high end makeup at drugstore prices. The staying power of the products varied wildly. Some of the lipsticks were dry, others (supposedly of the same formula) weren't. It's just that some of the stuff really was good. And it was all, what, $3 apiece?

Estee Lauder had already acquired Sassaby, the owner of Jane, in late 1997, before I found out about Jane on LP. It certainly explains how easy it was to find Jane. Longs Drugs carried it, Walgreens did as well; it seemed to be everywhere.

At one point, Jane changed, from being the hidden drugstore gem, into something akin to Bonne Bell. Sweet flavored lipsticks and shiny colored powders appeared to dominate, and I felt my interest wane.

Later on, it suddenly became impossible to find Jane at all. It was pulled from Longs Drugs, seemed to linger on a bit longer at Walgreens; it popped up at Target (the Weather Wear lipstick, carded packaging period). Then it disappeared from Target.

The last two Jane products I bought were "Blushing Babydoll" and "Blushing Petal" blushes, from Target. They had half an hour's worth of staying power each, and I threw them out, too disheartened even to bother trying to make them work.

Estee Lauder sold Jane in 2004 to Lisa Yarnell and Harry Adjmi.

I suppose I forgot about Jane, even when I read on the beauty boards that it was back. I was dismayed that most of the popular shades were missing from the new line-up. No Magical Mushroom; the "new" Purple Heart was not at all the same shade as before, et cetera. It struck me that one person researching beauty boards for two days would have known which shades to reissue. The flood of posts from beauty-board old timers rushing out to buy their long-lost favorites would have introduced the brand to beauty-board new timers, in a giant wave of (free) buzz.

What summoned these memories: yesterday, I saw a Jane stand at Walgreens. I don't normally shop at Walgreens (ours is small), so have no idea how long that display has been up.

The display was...small. There were ten lipsticks on the rack, all Lipkicks. I saw Cotton Candy (light pink, pearly?), Tiramisu (this seemed quite orange), what I'll guess is Firetruck (that ubiquitous red-in-the-tube, fuchsia-on-my-lips shade, that sometimes works if your coloring is cool), Peach Perfect (this looked pretty, an orange-rose shade), Toasted Rose (ubiquitous pink-brown, but looked like a nice rendition of it), something else that had too much purple in it to be of interest to me, something Barbie pink...I'm drawing a blank on the other three shades.

Nothing actually caught my eye, beyond Peach Perfect and Toasted Rose, but then, ten lipsticks? On a drugstore rack, you need more choices.

They had a slew of eyeshadows: singles, duos, quads, palettes of six and eight shades...a good concept. If you were starting out using eyeshadow, it would make perfect sense to try larger amounts of smaller shades.

I barely glanced at the blushes, I suppose remembering too well the zilch staying power of the last two Jane blushes I'd bought, but they did have some interesting-looking mosaic blushes. (No Blushing Glow on the rack, but it is on the Jane site.)

Didn't see any of the mineral products but then I wasn't looking for them. I have lately contemplated replacing my trusty MAC Blot pressed powder with a non-talc version, just to see if it made a difference...Jane wouldn't be the worst place to start. (Editor's note: I've seen good reviews for the Physicians Formula Mineral Wear pressed powders.)

Ultimately, I didn't buy anything. I'm not sure how much of that is because I don't readily buy drugstore makeup anymore (I've found it can be expensive over the long run, since more expensive products tend to last a lot longer), how much could be attributed to the limited product selection (if I had found a lipstick shade that caught my eye, I would have bought it for old times' sake, and to see if the new is as good as the old).

image courtesy

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Beauty Notes: In Search of Wisteria in the Bay Area
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, August 16, 2007 8:18 PM (Eastern)


This was a complete and total bust. The image above is from Wikimedia Commons.

There's one place around here I know has wisteria (the nurseries don't generally carry it, maybe they have it, maybe they don't)'s in front of a vacant lot. I went there today, since it was en route to the local Target.

Editor's note: those Go! designer collections aren't bad, although you do have to avoid anything with a ginormous logo on it. I got a few of the Proenza Schouler tanks and short-sleeved tops last time around; they're nice and soft, look better than regular old tanks and short-sleeved tops, and seem to be wearing well after several washes. What they have now is Libertine; I got the puffed-sleeve top (it's way cuter on than it looks online, it's fitted and the neck is scoopy) and some of the lace-inset Indonesian tanks.

I even brought my camera, hoping to take a picture of the wisteria. I realized, in reviewing Diptyque Olène, it's been years since I smelled an actual wisteria flower. It's probably been more than twenty years. I have a fairly strong memory of the scent, but why not smell the real thing?

Once I got there, I could find only two, dilapidated blooms. Wisteria in the South, I'm sure of it, blossoms the entire summer. Bleh! And they both smelled terrible. I got a tiny bit of real wisteria (and haven't changed my assertion that Olène does not smell like wisteria) but not that dense, wondrous cloud of scent. Oh well.

I'm betting Berkeley has wisteria. Can you imagine, a Southerner looking for wisteria?

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Beauty Notes: Everything you ever wanted to know about Serge Lutens
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, August 15, 2007 3:44 PM (Eastern)

but were afraid to ask. :D

Serge Lutens ~ Nearly All the Facts

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Beauty Notes: Chanel Moiré lipstick part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, August 10, 2007 5:45 PM (Eastern)

chanel moire lipstick, nars jezebel, mambo and malibu

Okay, I give up. It's not that plummy. To my eye it seems plummy, but it's more rose than plum. I also have Nars Jezebel, Mambo and Malibu on in this pic, and my hair is completely wet.

Happy Friday!

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August 10, 2007 8:18 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Mebbe you could call it mauve?

August 10, 2007 8:35 PM, Blogger cmm said...

Its really pretty. Alittle different than your usual everyday choice of color,no?

August 10, 2007 8:47 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I suppose it could be sort of mauve-y. It has some red in's just an odd color...bricky red, plum, a bit o' brown...

It is different, but even I have become sick of sheers and YLBB. The newer lipsticks seem subtler than the old...I remember a time when just about every lipstick I tried, screamed "lipstick!" and required a lot of other makeup to balance it off. This is still pretty much wear 'n' go.

August 11, 2007 7:46 AM, Blogger cmm said...

I like it!
You have lovely lips! LOL!
I suffer from lip envy though. I've got itty-bitty little Betty Boop lips.

August 11, 2007 8:25 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I have hair envy...but I figure, you can make whatever you have look good. It's just not as effortless. I'm jealous of y'all having to wash hair as if it were heavy silk. I'm happy that at least mine doesn't look stringy anymore. :)

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Beauty Notes: perfumes part 5
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 1:36 PM (Eastern)

diptyque shop(see part 4)

A definite "nay" to Annick Goutal Songes. I tried it again a few days ago. This is the eau de parfum form; it has the strength, no doubt about it. A few good dabs were good to go all day.

Still, in its genre--tropical white floral--their Passion scent is subtler and more complex (Songes kind of hits you over the head, and is potentially headache-y toward the end of the day).

Recap thus far:


Yay: Shaal Nur, Heliotrope (already own this)
Nay: Lemon Sorbet, Gomma
?: Royal Pavillon (on me this is less a perfume, more a hothouse replica :D)
Retry: Messe de Minuit (I never got past the "head shop phase" here, but that's hardly fair), Vicolo Fiori, Sandalo

Annick Goutal

Yay: Eau d'Hadrien EDP, Heure Exquise, Passion
Nay: Les Nuits d'Hadrien (EDT form, too faint), Songes, Gardénia Passion, Rose Absolue, Mandragore, Ce Soir Ou Jamais (pretty, but too young for me)
?: Néroli (smells terrific, doesn't last on)
Retry: Eau du Ciel


Yay: Do Son
Nay: Philosykos, Olène (lovely but too similar to Do Son)
Retry: Eau de Lierre, Jardin Clos, Tam Dao--I liked these at first sniff; Ofrésia (this smelled bitter on me)

Diptyque shop image courtesy

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Beauty Notes: Chanel Moiré lipstick
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, August 09, 2007 2:02 PM (Eastern)

I finally chased down my sample of Chanel Hydrabase "Moiré" lipstick and wore it yesterday.

Wearing is believing...I'd forgotten how good this stuff is. Zero bleeding: the outline stayed exactly as I had applied it, hours later. It faded a tad in the center, but not much; simply a matter of dabbing some back in (or, conversely, applying slightly more in the center to begin with). Basically it was, put it on and forget about it. And it looked good.

The color Moiré is plummier than I'd remembered. It's primarily warm-toned plum, with some brown, some brick red, and the finish is matte, although the lipstick itself is moist. It's a classical, rather than trendy, shade.

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August 9, 2007 2:32 PM, Blogger cmm said...

Sounds pretty, did you take a pic?

August 9, 2007 9:10 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I have a really lousy picture of it in the image gallery lol. But I hesitate to link to it (it's still there, but I took it when it had looks more rose brown than plum there).

August 9, 2007 11:25 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I say go for it! A superlative lipstick, no matter how expensive, will do the work of many.

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Beauty Notes: perfumes part 4
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, August 05, 2007 2:46 PM (Eastern)

(see part 3)

You know, a part of me is wondering if I'm turning into a perfume sample junkie. It's so buy samples, then you have a lot of samples, so it's not as if you don't have any perfume to wear. On perfume sites, they talk about a scent being "bottle worthy."

Sorry, couldn't help it... If Seinfeld were still being made, Elaine would be a perfume sample junkie, struggling to commit to a full sized

So, on my "bottle worthy" list thus far: EDP's from Annick Goutal--Eau d'Hadrien, Passion, Heure Exquise...Néroli is made only in EDT form. I'm on the fence about Néroli, anyway, wondering if there isn't a longer-lasting neroli scent around.

Not altogether sure about getting more Etro. Will have to retry some samples there, but Shaal Nur and Royal Pavillon were the standouts; not sure about Vicolo Fiori.

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Beauty Notes: perfumes part 3
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, August 02, 2007 2:50 PM (Eastern)

passion by annick goutal(see part 2)

It's funny, Annick Goutal's Passion now smells quite good on me. I'm not sure why I disliked it before. It could have been a case of "confused nose." When I sniffed it initially, something screamed "1970's!" and I put it aside. (If, say, pop music diversity reached its summit in the 70's, perfumery sure didn't.)

Passion is a tuberose and jasmine scent, a little's sweet, a bit simple, but good. It now goes on my short list, along with their Heure Exquise and Néroli.

I'd say some of the Annick Goutal scents lend themselves as well to layering as Etro's. Why layer? :) I think I'm the only one on LP who does it routinely, but I tend to think in terms of components all the time, how you can move the components around, what you can do with them.

Leaving Annick Goutal Eau du Ciel and Songes on my to-retry list.

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Thanks for the mention!
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, August 01, 2007 8:11 PM (Eastern)

Makeup - Mahalo

It's a nice page.


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Beauty Notes: perfumes part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 1:37 PM (Eastern)

ylang=ylang(see part 1)

Group 3: my Annick Goutal samples: Les Nuits d'Hadrien, Passion, Gardénia Passion, Eau du Ciel, Rose Absolue, Néroli, Heure Exquise, Songes.

Les Nuits d'Hadrien was the EDT form and I don't recommend it; it's too diffuse. The EDP form I'd sprayed on my hand at Nordies struck me as rich and complex, truly the nocturnal complement to Eau d'Hadrien, but the EDT was lightly scented water on me.

Gardénia Passion and Rose Absolue...nay to these. They're good, even excellent soliflore scents, but I found I was not into either gardenias, nor roses, enough to consider a full sized bottle. (Even though Rose Absolue layered delectably with Heure Exquise.)

Eau du Ciel...I've tried this once. It struck me as a young scent, too young for me. I doubt that's a fair assessment so will be sure to try it again.

Passion....interestingly, my first impression of this was entirely negative. I'm trying it again right now; it's not bad. It's not "it" for me, as far as tuberose-based floral scents go (that would be Diptyque's Do Son), but I haven't ruled it out as a layering scent.

Songes was nice and strong, but rather lacking in complexity. It would make a good layering scent should you be into layering. I plan on revisiting Songes. It's basically a bouquet of tropical flowers (plumeria, ylang-ylang and jasmine) on a base of vanilla. Strong and sweet.

Heure Exquise and Néroli were my favorites of this group.

Heure Exquise was your basic powdery scent...its notes, from the Annick Goutal site: Turkish rose, iris, Mysore sandalwood. But blended together so well, you don't detect individual notes, only a thick sweet smudge o' yum, complex enough to not be common.

Néroli was a sort of green interpretation...I got a lot of green leaves out of it, with a layer of the orange blossoms. Delicious, but rather short-lived on me. Were it offered in a more concentrated form, I might consider it; as it is, I'm thinking of trying other neroli scents.

Conclusion: Heure Exquise and Néroli go on the short list, unless I can find a longer-lasting neroli scent as yummy as Néroli. Retry Passion, Eau du Ciel and Songes.

To come: group 4.

image courtesy wikimedia commons

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Beauty Notes: perfumes
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, July 30, 2007 5:07 PM (Eastern)

Okay... I have narrowed things down a bit in my perfume search.

annick goutal eau d'hadrienGroup 1: my Nordies samples: Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien, Ce Soir ou Jamais and Mandragore.

Mandragore is out for me. It's not bad...a rather earthy tea scent...just not me.

Ce Soir ou Jamais is pleasant, a rose scent with enough other flowers and plants to make it "not just a rose scent."

Eau d'Hadrien is to die for. It's a spectacular, almost geometrical perfume; a perfect balance between lemon and herb, sweet and unsweet, light and dark...amazing.

Eau d'Hadrien goes on the short list.

etro royal pavillonGroup 2: my Etro samples: Lemon Sorbet, Gomma, Shaal Nur, Royal Pavillon, Heliotrope, Messe de Minuit, Sandalo and Vicolo Fiori.

I have a bottle of's ideal for layering. It's primarily almond and vanilla, and you're thinking, what's to layer with that...but it's not particularly sweet, rather it's dry and almost powdery. As a layer, it's a "your skin but better" scent.

Of the rest, several can be ruled out...Gomma (which had a rather dank edge on me, like the smell of an old concrete building), Sandalo (not bad, but sharper than Diptyque's Tam Dao, were I in the market for a sandalwood scent), Lemon Sorbet (again not bad, a bright sparkly lemon, yet pales compared to Eau d'Hadrien), Messe de Minuit (thanks, I lived through half the 60's and the entire 70's already).

So add to the short list:
* Shaal Nur, which manages to make patchouli soft.
* Royal Pavillon, which captures almost the exact smell of the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
* Vicolo Fiori has a slight sharpness, but then mellows out to smell like a bar of soap from an old, dusty, obscure shop.

To come: groups 3 & 4.

images courtesy,

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Support for the Cure Collection by nubar Nail Lacquers
Posted by, 1:12 AM (Eastern)

nubar support the cure setnubar, "The Healthy Alternative for Beautiful Nails" announces the Support for the Cure Collection for 2007. A collection of four nubar nail products which are great for everyday wear. Two beautiful pink shades, Pink Cami and Je'Taime, a foundation base coat and Diamont Seal & Shine. 10% of the retail price of the Support for the Cure Collection will go towards St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Cancer Treatment Research Foundation and the City of Hope. nubar offers products that are free of harmful ingredients such as: Toluene, Formaldehyde or DBP (Phthalate). Your purchase is a commitment to help support education, outreach, research and all of our critical programs throughout the country.

NSTC4- Support For The Cure- Suggested Retail Price: $28.00

For complete product line visit

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And so, goodbye.
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, July 29, 2007 8:02 PM (Eastern)

mac strawberry blonde lipstick
mac strawberry blonde lipstick
mac strawberry blonde lipstick


My MAC Strawberry Blonde lipstick has finally bitten the dust. I'm using Clinique Apple Brandy now:

clinique apple brandy lipstick
clinique apple brandy lipstick

It's a nice lipstick, but it's not the same. The MAC Lustre formula is superior, most of the time anyway (the texture varies some for the different shades), to that of Clinique Butter Shine. With Apple Brandy, the color is enchanting...soft, somewhat muted, sheer pinkish red. It's flattering, easy to wear, goes with everything...

But the formula doesn't last nearly as long on, as Lustre. You need to touch up more. There's transfer, where there isn't much with Lustre. And so forth. A lipstick's formula is key, actually, easily as important as its color.

Apple Brandy will tide me over, but I'm now in the market for a new lipstick, as Strawberry Blonde was a limited edition shade. Here's what I have my eye on:

dr. hauschka lipstick
image courtesy

Dr. Hauschka lipstick! I've actually swatched some of these (Elephant Pharmacy in Berkeley carries them). #01 and #07, Amoroso and Adagio, respectively, looked fabulous on me. #09, Dolce, was kinda blah...not bad, but not enough color. #03, Giocoso, was too brown on me. It's quite brown.

Amoroso is a lovely reddish shade, I'd say it's a bit warm. Adagio is definitely pink, again a bit on the warm side (I can't wear cool lipstick shades, they look harsh on me).

But I haven't really tried them out, as in wearing them day by day, so I don't know how good the formula is. I didn't detect any perfume or flavor in them...I prefer the faint vanilla of MAC or the candied rose of Chanel, but hey, no scent/taste is better than scent/taste you don't like.

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Beauty Notes: Diptyque
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, July 26, 2007 2:06 PM (Eastern)

diptyque shop
google street view of the Diptyque shop on Maiden Lane

I'm slowly wending my way through my Diptyque samples. It's a different experience from, say, going to Nordstrom and spraying a few perfumes on your hands (trying to fit about three scents per hand). It's a much more leisurely process.

I compared Olène to Do Son the other day. They're quite similar to my nose; both intense, complex, brilliant florals.

For that matter, I compared them both to my remaining sample of Givenchy Ange ou Démon, since I finally got around to writing a review for it. Ange ou Démon, in comparison with these two exquisitely delicate florals, is a workhorse of a perfume: dab it on, it'll last until you shower it off, and cling to your clothing an extra day beyond that. If it's strength you're seeking however, may I recommend Givenchy Organza. It's all that and still yummy, without hitting you over the head.

It would be redundant imo to own both Do Son and Olène, unless you're one of those floral fanatics. For me, Do Son narrowly edged out Olène. There's just this extra shot of yum there, that makes this a bit more insanely addictive than Olène.

You are giving up some of the strength and lasting qualities of the older-style perfumes...which is why I layer btw. I layer a stronger, longer-lasting scent, with a more ephemeral one. It's not that I'm not happy with either, and I don't layer them one upon the other, rather I place the longer lasting scent lower down (back of knees sort of thing) and the lighter one higher up.

Here is what Do Son brought to Yup--it's that good.

"Falling in Love Again," Marlene Dietrich, from 1929's The Blue Angel

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July 26, 2007 8:09 PM, Blogger Forever Redeemed said...

Great use of Google Street View!

July 26, 2007 11:13 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Thanks! I was surprised there were so many views of Maiden Lane. I've got pics of it from either end (it's a very short street).

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Closing in on a signature lipstick
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, June 07, 2007 3:59 PM (Eastern)

Oh well, I've already decided to lose my Nars lipstick virginity. Now, which one?

I'm thinking sheers. Yes, sheer has become a dirty word, when it is used to mean "next to no pigment in product"--and I have no desire to select a "why bother?" lippy...yet, I've never read a gripe that Nars sheer lipsticks lack pigment.

Internet photographs of women wearing Nars lipstick are in ridiculously short supply btw. I can buy it that they cost more than some other lipsticks, but these days, they don't cost that much more. I'd sooner pay Nars prices for one lipstick that works and gets used all the way down, than pay more for two other lipsticks that end up getting tossed after a few uses.

Dolce Vita? Not likely...I'm sure it's a great shade. But after some experimentation, I've become convinced that "my" lipstick (other than Chanel Moiré, which I'm not worried about now) has got to be a little bit bright. It should not be too neutral, too natural, really.

Hindu? Check this out: SM Memo: Nars "Hindu" is Very Brown. Nice pic. Too brown for what I'm after.

Gipsy? Doesn't everyone own Gipsy, if they own a Nars lipstick? Or Flair? They both look pretty, that's for sure.

Sexual Healing, Barbarella, Belle de Jour and Viva Las Vegas are all quite light, from what I've seen Net-wise. Light lipsticks are good if you use a certain amount of eye makeup, otherwise you get the dead fish look. Hum.

That narrows it down a bit. Not really; I think you do have to see the lippies in person, swatch 'em, get a feel for what you're getting.

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Stash musings
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, June 02, 2007 1:23 PM (Eastern)

As my cosmetics stash gently ages (see previous Rambles...), I feel I should rethink what it means to have a stash to begin with.

I've never been much of a "collector" in the sense that owning a lot of makeup, for the sake of owning it, has never appealed to me. By this I do not mean that owning a lot of makeup is bad. It can be very good, as long as you find a purpose for it. If I had use for two hundred lipsticks, I would own two hundred lipsticks. And I would love each one.

But two hundred lipsticks is not "me." One or two lipsticks is becoming, more and more so, "me." That could be seen as next to insane in this era of thousands upon thousands of lipsticks, but, again, a stash is personal, and must be customized to the customer.

So far a close candidate for the One or Two Lippy Policy is Chanel Moiré.

It looks nothing like that little swatch btw. Moiré is a luscious blend of many colors, starting with a warm, brick red base, laced with plum, rose, a bit o' brown, a twist of fuchsia shimmer, altogether Your Lips But Better, but not as bland as some YLBB shades tend to be.

Why Moiré, well it's the only Hydrabase I've tried. I would probably investigate the other Hydrabases before plunking down anything.

So, next...

Nars. Which Nars? I have no clue. Unlike MAC, Nars is a brand not incessantly photographed. The price of Nars is comparable to Chanel's, so again I would investigate before buying.

Those are my two candidates, when my MAC Strawberry Blonde lipstick gets used up. I'm leaning more toward Nars than Chanel, if only because Nars lipstick is the "evil I never tried before."

Now, eyepencils...what I have: MAC Powerpoints in Permaplum, Grey Utility, Bordeauxline. MAC Eye Kohl in Heirloom. Prestige waterproof automatic pencil in Expresso.

Expresso is genuinely getting old, I've tried wiping a few layers off with a tissue; it's still difficult to get a good thin line out of it, or blend the line I do get. It's a good brand...easily the best drugstore eyepencil. But I'd like something more special in terms of color.

Enter Urban Decay 24/7 eyepencil in Bourbon.

Bourbon would appear to be a brown pencil swirled with gold, perhaps a bit of red; all that good stuff. I'd have to swatch it, but basically I'm looking for a brown eyepencil that would go with all the eyeshadows that brown eyepencils go with, but be special enough to be worn on its own.

I'm not in a hurry to replace my MAC eyepencils as the quality seems to be holding out, but if Bourbon works out, I might look at the purple 24/7's.

Blush...more than happy with Nars the Multiple in Malibu.

"Pinkish brown" not do it justice. Malibu is a bit warm, a bit bronzy, essentially a deep rose color. It functions as part blush, with an element of a bronzer. You can use it as eyeshadow or lipstick...I don't, since I have better eyeshadows, and as a lipstick, it's too dry. As a blush, it transforms. Can't ask for more, there.

Eyeshadow. Now here I must echo Dain. You've got to replenish your Nars duo eyeshadows periodically. They do pay for themselves; the duos I acquired three years ago are still going strong, still look perfect, still...inspire.

Habanera is the "obvious" choice, if only because it's different. Not "different unwearable," from what I can glean (never seen it in person), but "I can create something amazing" different, "how did she do it?" different. But I'll probably end up getting something else. Forget it, Jake. It's Nars.

Okay so that's it for color cosmetics for me. I don't wear mascara, don't wear eyebrow products, don't do gloss or lipliner (shhhhh...). For that matter I don't do concealer, have no interest in full coverage foundation, have never actually worn liquid eyeliner. I need a few color cosmetics to keep me entertained/make me look good when I need to look good...the products have to perform, have to elevate, otherwise why bother?

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June 3, 2007 8:36 AM, Blogger cmm said...

I have a Chanel lippie and I also have a NARS.

Colorwise, the NARS rocks, but the formula stinks. Its drying. Really,really drying. Which is fine, cause its a red and so it wears like iron and does not move. But it is drying. Good for special occasion wear, not so good for everyday use.

Chanel, the color is not as rockin', but, ahhhhhh, the formula. It is a pleasure to wear! This one is also a red. Its moist, creamy,light, balm-like. Of course, it doesn't last as long, but it does wear well for a red

I have ultra-sensitive lips though, so maybe the NARS won't bother you. I would definitely buy another Chanel, but I wouldn't repurchase another Nars lippie.

June 3, 2007 9:49 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Hermmmmm... I had heard that about Nars lipsticks. Not sure if they're all like that, or if some formulas are drier than others.

That's the bugger about Nars, there isn't much consumer info about it on the Net. There's an overload o' MAC, but next to no Nars.

I'm game to try *a* Nars lippy, most likely one of the sheers. If the sheer is dry, that will likely be the last Nars lippy for me. I don't do dry too well.

The Chanel lippy I tried was the Hydrabase formula, and it was good. It felt dry on the surface, but kept my lips really soft.

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Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, May 26, 2007 9:05 PM (Eastern)

This is an old applet I wrote...have no idea when. I don't remember if it was written on the Windows 95 computer or the Windows 98 one. I'm fortunate to have copies of the original text files (once they're semi-compiled, you would basically have to rewrite the entire code if you needed to change anything).

Never did get around to implementing Advanced Kitty, sorry about that.

I've come to realize that much of the makeup I currently own, is, in a word, old. Not yucky-old, like a rancid lippy, which I would toss without compunction. But, simply, old.

This is a new phenomenon for me. In my pre-Internet-beauty-forum days, I never owned enough makeup for it to age. Sometimes my blush (note the singular form) would get a tad hard toward the end; it was an inexpensive drugstore blush, so I replaced it. Sometimes my lipstick (again: one) would start to look a tad ratty before it was finished. Since it was a Bonne Bell Frosty Gloss or a Cover Girl LipSlick, it was simply a matter of buying a new one.

My stash is quite a bit larger now, and largely higher end, meaning the stuff tends to last a lot longer in both senses of the term. The use-it-up factor, and the toss-the-ratty-item factor, are for all practical purposes now gone.

Plus, they're good items, meaning the "product that never gets used because it doesn't work" factor is not so much there either.

What to do? As I'm resurrecting the entire TheBroadroom.Net site--which hosts The Lipstick Page Forums site, among other things--I have weeded out a few items, like my method of replacing lost preferences in Netscape, that aren't going to work for 2007.

I put a little bit of Flash on the new pages...and I think it's good to add a new makeup item to your stash once in a while; something different, not a retread of a shade you already own.

Hence my notion of "replacing" MAC Strawberry Blonde with Nars Sexual Healing (or some other, equally irrelevant Nars lipstick)...and Prestige Expresso with Urban Decay 24/7 Bourbon. Those are my next two planned purchases btw.

Ultimately though, I am going to keep most of the site content as is. As long as it still works, who cares if it's old?


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Scarlett Johansson
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, April 10, 2007 1:13 AM (Eastern)

I've already decided this is my favorite contemporary actress.

Why Scarlett, oh there is such an ephemeral nature to Hollywood these days. There is always a young new "it" girl, who lasts a maximum of three movies, then vanishes. It's depressing, not unlike those limited edition cosmetics I keep griping about. Once you find something beautiful, you like to have it around for a while. much as people mumble "photoshopping," "makeup," even "under the knife" whenever Scarlett's name rolls around, I don't care. She has an essence that transcends makeup, or photoshopping, or whatever minor nose work she had done. It's undeniable.

Her acting chops are still a bit rough, but again, we are speaking of a film actor. If film actors need not emote to the same degree as stage actors, they have to work with two dimensions not three. They have to create the third dimension all by themselves.

I saw Girl with a Pearl Earring the other night; it is one of those consummate films for beauty buffs. Not because of the makeup by any means. It's the lack of obvious makeup that makes the scenes stand out, in this jaded world we live in now.

images courtesy

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Time for a new lipstick?
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, February 01, 2007 11:50 PM (Eastern)

I've been thinking about it for a just may be time for me to get a new lipstick.

Now, mind you, I have been a cosmeti-holic since 1998, back when I discovered the Internet (yeah, I didn't bother with it until I needed to create a website for an assignment). Back then, there were only four beauty forums in existence: Beauty Buzz, The Lipstick Page, Makeup Alley, and Faceonline. (The exact dates for the last two escape me but BB and LP were both up and running in '98.)

I have owned many a lipstick. And got sick of it all at one point. I just got...tired. I wanted to settle down with a really nice lipstick or two. And I have been doing just that, for the past couple of years...owning only a few lipsticks at a time, using them up one by one.

Lessee...I have used up MAC Jubilee, Viva Glam V, Sophisto. In my current stash I have MAC Strawberry Blonde and Spice It Up, and Clinique Apple Brandy Butter Shine.

I hate to sound utterly anti-MAC (as you will note, it was the MAC lipsticks that I used up), but my reasonably new-ish Strawberry Blonde has begun to taste and smell a bit waxy. It's disappointing; perhaps there is truth after all in MAC cosmetics not being the same quality as before. I have dented it but not substantially.

The Apple Brandy is a nice lipstick but I've found it slightly less moisturizing than the MAC Lustres. I should say it is moisturizing, it just wears off more quickly than the Lustres.

Spice It Up was always somewhat more color than I usually wear. A bit too deep (I don't wear dramatic lipsticks so your mileage will vary).

So! I have been contemplating this new lipstick.

The obvious solution is Chanel Moiré Hydrabase lipstick. I've tried this in sample form; it's fantastic. Complex...brick red base, with plum, rose, bit o' brown, twist of fuchsia shimmer, like real moiré cloth. Moisturizing...after this wore off, my lips felt velvety soft, even though the surface of the lipstick felt almost dry. Fragrant...okay, some love this intense candied rose scent, others retch...I like it. Most interesting, its medium coverage. Neither sheer (which even I'm getting tired of), nor full coverage, which I find makes me look silly.

The price tag doesn't bother me, whatsoever. How many lipsticks do I buy these days? I've listed them. I expect to make a commitment. It has to be good.

The only fly in this idyllic ointment is Nars. I've been promising myself for years to try a Nars lipstick. The price is comparable, the beauty board buzz, likewise...the diehard beauty junkies have given this brand their loyalty. I have no doubt I'll like it.

Anyhow it's not an impulsive decision for me. I'd like to get more use out of my Strawberry Blonde, for one thing.

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Reduce cellulite?
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, January 22, 2007 11:51 PM (Eastern)

You know what's odd? I read on another board that if you stop drinking carbonated drinks, such as soda pop, you can reduce your cellulite.

It sounded half cracked but the thing is this. I hardly ever drink soda, and I don't have much cellulite. Maybe there's something to it. It can't hurt to try it out.


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Okay now this is really interesting...
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, January 06, 2007 9:08 PM (Eastern)

In My Kit

Whatever your stance on MAC (see previous post), you can't argue this is a very handy list of good products.

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Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, December 16, 2006 1:10 AM (Eastern)

Not much happening here, beauty-wise. I've almost used up my MAC Sophisto lipstick; it is now down to that final sliver. It will be the third lipstick I've used up since, erm, discovering Internet beauty forums. Back in my pre-Net days, I would use up a lip product (before said discovery, I did not use lipstick at all, since I could never find one that I liked) every three to four months. Or rather, the lip product would be mostly gone and start to look a tad shabby around then.

It's well to note that the other two lipsticks I've used up recently were also MAC Lustre formula lipsticks. sighs I'm not in a rush to replace Sophisto however. I still have MAC Strawberry Blonde and Spice It Up, not to mention Clinique Apple Brandy (Butter Shine). But when I need to buy a new lipstick, it will neither be MAC nor will it be sheer. I have my eye on Chanel Moiré. More expensive, but far more versatile.

During this thread, it crossed my mind there is one advantage to having oily skin. You don't need to do anything in wintertime; no special treatments. Of course that doesn't actually make up for having oily skin, I'm just saying.

I've been blending my Etro Heliotrope with Armani Code, or else GF Ferre Lei/Her. I don't know why, but those two combinations work...smell better than wearing any of the three solo. Normally I would be too lazy to layer, but I can now see the practicality of doing so. You get better results, it's less obvious what you're wearing, you get this wall of "yum," et cetera.

Mmmmm...that's about all for now. I suppose I've gotten much more into making jewelry's...absorbing, possibly because I'm learning it on my own. I started out not knowing what gauge or temper (or material, for that matter) of wire to use, where to buy it, what to do with I'm at the point where I know most of it, but now I want to make better pieces. The kind of pieces you can see yourself wearing ten years from now...classical, yet not predictable: not a copy of something else. "Future heirloom" even. It's harder than it looks. I've found it's as much about details as it is about "great beads" or suchlike. Your eye won't catch these details (unless you make jewelry or are particularly observant or artistic); it's more an overall effect.

Oh I suppose that could be makeup-related, since that is the cosmetic ideal after all--you don't want people to notice the fine details, only the overall effect--but I've found gathering the materials for beading to be almost as laborious as gleaning cosmetics for your stash. You have to be just as obsessive.


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December 17, 2006 10:34 PM, Blogger Dain said...

We should get you a tube of YSL Rouge Pur Shine #12 Rose Aqua. Here, I found a picture of it:

It's so expensive, though. But perfect lipstick. YSL makes perfect lipsticks.

I mean, I'm not sure that it's actually that much more expensive than Chanel. Hmm... $4 more. Yikes. Everything is so expensive these days.

December 18, 2006 1:53 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

lol! I have to approve my own comments now. I switched my Blogger account to beta, but haven't switched the LP account. I won't switch LP until the beta is no longer "buggier than a bait store," but it's weird.

Yeah...I think there is a whole new market toward which these seemingly extravagant products are being pitched. These are the people who cut their teeth on Internet beauty forums. coughLipstick Pagecough

Seriously, I think women's standards have gone up from reading Internet beauty resources. We're buying less (just a guess here, but I think the original beauty posters are buying less) and we're pickier...way pickier...hence we are willing to spend more on each piece, if it's good.

YSL eh? I'll have to give it some thought.

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Adult acne rambling...
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, November 15, 2006 8:36 PM (Eastern)

I had a sort of a bad skin day a few days ago. (Though I have an Adult Acne Blog, I feel a little cross-posting can be a good thing.)

What passed through my mind, was how awful it was for me before...the acne itself is not nearly as bad as not knowing what triggers it, or what to do to get rid of it. You feel as if you're always walking on eggshells. You don't know why some days are good and then the acne comes back, which it always does. You spend a lot of time and money on surface treatments, which in my own experience either don't work at all, or else work at first and then stop working, or else do work, but destroy your skin in the process.

Those days are long gone for me; I know what triggered the bad skin day. Simple. I was on my placebo week of Yasmin birth control pills and I was eating regular, i.e. growth-hormone-raised, beef, several times. I should have been more careful, since it was the placebo week; I shouldn't have eaten the beef that much. To clear it up simply means not eating beef for a few days, drinking white tea or water, and piling Differin directly on the blemishes (don't get it on the surrounding skin).

That's what I've been doing, and the blemishes are nearly gone, with no new blemishes. (The sooner you put the Differin on, the better. The first day or so, you can put it on twice. Once it starts working, just do it once per day.) If I wanted to clear the skin more quickly, I would just drink more water or white tea. But the simple idea of avoiding hormone-processed beef, and shrinking the existing zits with like a charm.

On a side note, my skin also felt oilier during the bad skin day. It feels much drier now.

On another side note, I have no affiliation with Differin. In fact it was horrible as an all-over acne treatment. It made my skin so flaky, it was scaly. It was worse than having acne...I mean literally...I dropped it and went back to having acne back when Differin was what I was supposed to be using. But as a spot treatment...applied only on the's brilliant.

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Odd beauty notes...
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, November 13, 2006 11:32 PM (Eastern)

Finally got that Alba Hawaiian shampoo. I wanted to use up my Kiss My Face Whenever shampoo first. It was a toss-up between the Honeydew and the Plumeria...they both smell fantastic, and are labeled "for all hair types." Finally I just went with the Honeydew. I've used it once...and am already a bit impressed. Most shampoos are either astringent, and leave the surface of my hair feeling slightly rough, or else they're emollient, and my hair gets oily toward the end of the day, but this one actually did leave my hair both soft and clean. Not a ringing endorsement as of yet, of course; as I say, I've used it only once. But so far, so good.

Still with Nature's Gate Herbal daily conditioner. I need so little of this for it to work...a blob between dime- and quarter-size...too much and I get greasy hair.

Disclaimer: this is a beauty blog, relating the personal experience of the bloggers therein, not a medical website. It should not be used as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult your own doctor if you're in any way concerned about your health.

Been taking a biotin supplement for about two months now. Very pleased with this. I've seen megadoses of this on the shelf (then there are megadoses of just about every vitamin on the shelf) any case, I wouldn't take the megadose. I use the BBC guideline here: Vitamins and the one here: Treating Hair Loss Naturally. The former cites 150 mcg as the recommended daily allowance, with 500 to 1,500 mcg as the "typical therapeutic daily dose" and 2500 mcg as the maximum. The latter mentions amounts from 2000 to 3000 mcg. In my opinion, it's well to start small. If smaller amounts produce results, by all means save your money.

It took about a week for me to see results. I've had a seemingly lifelong problem with thin hair, with hair shedding throughout the day. I'd say about half as much hair falls out now after I wash it. And hardly any sheds during the day (this used to annoy the beejabbers out of me, frankly).

I'm anticipating full results in six months to a year. Good stuff.

Does it really matter if you wash your hair right after coloring it? I can admit I never found out. I've always washed my hair after coloring. looks guilty

This time I did not have time to wash my hair, so I'll end up seeing if it makes a difference or not (followed instructions...rinse color out thoroughly with warm water, apply deep conditioner, leave on two minutes, rinse conditioner out thoroughly). My hair feels quite clean now at any rate. Can't tell it wasn't washed. What was I worried about?

Life is short--keep on being beautiful!

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November 14, 2006 6:10 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Strangely, I had the same experience with Nature's Gate. It's potent and heavy, but not at all emollient in the way most conditioners are. I find it works well if you leave it in for a bit, as if it were a "treatment".

November 15, 2006 2:13 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Good idea. I can tell you, I like it. It's a brilliant find.

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Some rambles about fragrance layering
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, November 10, 2006 10:45 PM (Eastern)

I never saw myself doing this, even though other women have been doing it for years. Generally speaking, I'm lazy. I prefer spray bottles of fragrance to splashes or "dab bottles," being too lethargic to splash or dab. I keep all of my perfumes with my socks. If they were stored separately from the items I need day by day, they would never get worn.

I used a tinted sunscreen: no need for two layers. I pay $18 for a compact of MAC Blot pressed powder, because it works, meaning I need not touch up my powder during the day, and it lasts, meaning I need not journey to the mall to replace it until a year has passed. I won't wear gloss because lipstick lasts longer on. Eyeshadows must be fade-proof since I can't be bothered with an eyeshadow base.

I could go on (and on) but, ah, fragrance layering. I've just begun to do this.

Of course, more closely examined, there probably is a "lazybones factor" in fragrance layering itself, particularly if it means less frequent reapplying of either scent...but anyway...

My combination of choice these days is Etro Heliotrope and...get this...Armani Code.

Code is the stronger of the two (and I have the eau de parfum), so I usually do only one, or two little, spritzes of this. Heliotrope is an eau de cologne so I'll go for five or six spritzes here. It sounds like a lot but Heliotrope doesn't have much sillage. Putting on a lot of it makes it last longer, but doesn't make it smell that much stronger.

Code wears better, so, as both fragrances fade, I still smell good.

Another odd note...this doesn't work if you apply the Code too high up. I tried spraying some on the back of my neck and it ruined the entire effect. Code has sharper, "higher" notes than Heliotrope (which lacks either kind of note), so spraying it lower down makes it waft pleasantly up to meet the Heliotrope (which tends to linger in the middle of the range).

It all sounds somewhat eccentric, but experimentation in beauty is good. (I tried out several perfumes with Heliotrope before settling on Code.) If you can find a few scents in your stash that complement each other, you will not only expand the use of your stash, you will also produce next-to-custom scents.

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A minor ramble and the Youtube MAC Depotting Video
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, October 30, 2006 8:56 PM (Eastern)

When did we stop wearing hats? I don't mean the kind designed specifically to keep your head warm. I mean "your hat," as in "putting on your hat"..."getting your hat and coat."

This quaint notion flitted through my mind today as I was putting on my lipstick to go out. By this I mean stepping outside the house. It's our last vestige of the hat thing.

Reminds me to dust off my hat. I do own one; it's a grey fedora.

In case you missed it, here is the Youtube MAC Depotting Video (embedding disabled by request, but well worth watching):

click here

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November 1, 2006 6:58 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Wahahaha... that video is amazing.

November 3, 2006 7:54 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...


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Random beauty musings
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, October 29, 2006 1:08 AM (Eastern)

Perfume is like a memory in reverse. When you smell it, you don't know you are creating a memory. It's only much later, when you smell it again, do you realize that you even have such a recollection.

I suppose I've become less interested in cosmetics, and more interested in perfumes. Some of it has to be inevitable; you get settled. You have your favorite cosmetics, and these tend to last a very long time. Even if you have the misfortune of having a favorite makeup item discontinued, if you're sharp enough, you'll be able to find something similar...there are only so many colors of makeup.

Once the variables have been reduced to next to nothing...which colors to use, which brands to buy, which application techniques to employ...what then?

Perfumes have far more variables to reduce to begin with. Moreover, I feel the perfume market itself has changed. You no longer have to go to a department store and choose from whatever's there. You now have a next to infinite variety of scents available to you at the click of a mouse.

Ergo, the newer b & m, mainstream scents have become, to my (not particularly acute) nose, not as good as before. They smell flatter to me, less complex; there is less "there" there. It's in direct proportion to the growth of the more obscure perfume houses. Again, next to inevitable.



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Random beauty ramblings
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, October 12, 2006 1:34 AM (Eastern)

A few updates on sundry topics:

* SLS-less shampoos and conditioner. Been mixing the Jason Vitamin E shampoo with the Kiss My Face Whenever shampoo. It works pretty well that way (I find the former too astringent, the latter too emollient). With this I use the Nature's Gate Herbal daily conditioner.

Overall, pretty happy with this new routine.

* Biotin for hair loss. Crap! The people in this house have taken all my biotin. I must replace it. I've gone a few days without it and have already noticed more hair fall-out (it's not dramatic fall-out, I'm just saying).

I tried the local GNC and felt disappointed. They had 600 mcg and 2500 mcg amounts; nothing in between. I don't feel 2500 mcg would be harmful but why the excess? Why only those amounts? It's nuts.

* Biotin for skin. It's the same a pleasant side effect, my skin has gotten slightly better since taking it. (Smoother, softer, fewer bumps/clogged pores.)

* Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. waves to Arabella I tried this out; I will have to say, were I not already content with my own tinted sunscreen (a small amount of Zia liquid foundation mixed with TerraSport sunscreen SPF 30+), this might well be my grail foundation.

It feels light, not greasy at all, blends well, nice coverage (a bit more coverage imo than the name implies); overall a pleasure to wear. The shade I tried was a tad warm on me, but that was just that shade.

Yes it's $ but it's foundation (and it has SPF to boot). Your foundation products have to work. You can skimp on other stuff.

* Did I say I was going to knock Etro Heliotrope off my "bottle-worthy list"? Somebody better slap me, before I start to rust. :D It's a scent that grows on you.

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Random stash thoughts
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, October 03, 2006 10:59 PM (Eastern)

It's been eight years, literally, since I first discovered Internet beauty boards. I'll have to say that things have changed a lot since those heady days. Or...? It might be more accurate to say I've changed a lot. Perhaps more than the boards have.

I still love the boards. Yes, I feel the content has become more diffuse. There's now a heavy ribbon of...seeding...on some of the boards. I've been around long enough to recognize it as such.

Still, it remains the Internet, and there's still no way to completely control it. It is now what novels used to be: a form of rebellion. Something you (at least figuratively) pull out of your handbag and read on the bus. The secret thrill ever flows; you just have to look harder for it these days.

I'm thinking now of doing a stash-cleaning. I'm pretty shameless as far as that goes. I don't care if I've barely made a dent in the product. If it's old, and I'm not using it, it's gotta go.

I've given perfectly good (albeit old) MAC shadows the heave-ho, right out of their Back-to-MAC-able pots. Perfume turned? Ta ta! Eyepencil hard? Okay, try the JennyB trick first...sharpen the dickens out of the thing...but if it's still hard, it's history, it's Elvis.

And, I would like to procure a couple of new items. I've heard so much about that MAC Buried Treasure Powerpoint. Someone "borrowed" my Chanel Moire lipstick sample; I'd like to buy a full size (it's gorgeous and wearable). I still have eyeshadows up to my eyeballs :D no temptations here...except I'm toying with the notion of the Bobbi Brown Shimmerbrick's a neat idea.

Y'see, I've come to fully realize just how lazy I am, beauty-wise. I should have known, back when I started stashing my perfumes where I keep my socks. Socks? you say. What in the beejabbers...? The thing is this. While I'm getting dressed, the perfumes are right there. No need to walk three steps to fetch 'em.

Next...fairly recently...I began to keep my cream blushes in the same place I keep my tinted sunscreen and pressed the bathroom. The bathroom? you snork. Isn't that a big storage no-no? Well yes it is, but if I kept the stuff anyplace else, it would never get used. It has to go on after I've brushed my teeth, and in a place where I can conveniently wash my hands.

Why cream blush? Heh heh...because again, it's less of an extra step if you can apply it after you've put on your foundation product (the tinted sunscreen) and before your powder--both of which I regard as necessary. It's dab, dab, blend, blend, you're done!

Hence...returning to the Shimmerbrick...the notion of a multi-tasking product is attractive to me and potentially to lazybones everywhere.

So, the short list:

1.) MAC Buried Treasure Powerpoint. I suspect Teddy is better, color-wise, but my Powerpoints get more rotation than my Eye Kohls. (No touch-ups = lazy = more rotation.)

2.) A Shimmerbrick? Dare I? I'll have to research it. There are several 'bricks to choose from.

3.) Chanel Moire lipstick. Those Hydrabases rock.

That's it for now.

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Some very old ramblings...
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, October 01, 2006 10:39 PM (Eastern)

Ramblings: Diary of a Mad Drugstore Cosmetics Junkie

rotfl! I still have the Sonia Kashuk brush set btw, although it is the SK "large" eyeshadow brush that I use every day (it didn't come with the set; I bought it later on).

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Bored with MAC
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, August 30, 2006 1:15 AM (Eastern)

There, I said it.

I've been thinking that way for quite some time pinpoint it, this feeling of disinterest began when MAC started cranking out a new collection every--what feels like--two weeks. These "collections" consist largely of limited edition shades, mixed with a few old shades, oh I suppose there are a few new permanent shades now and again but nothing outstanding.

For a beauty junkie, this practice is anathema. Why so many limited edition shades? To this veteran of beauty on the Net, it appears to be nothing better than a device to generate endless buzz about MAC--not to develop brand loyalty by creating extraordinary products.

It wasn't always like that of course. MAC used to be a superlative brand. And still some of their older shades are good. It's just that the juice is gone, the notion of finding that perfect color...the Sophisto, the Permaplum, the Angel, the Tarnish, the Teddy...or formula...Blot pressed powder, Powerpoint eyepencils, Fluidline gel liners, Paints, Veluxe Pearls.

Another gripe is the price. MAC "made their bones" by making department store makeup affordable (or as close to affordable as makeup gets). Now I see MAC has matched prices with Clinique.

In short, whatever MAC used to be...a company that responded to consumer demand (I kid you not, whatever people were complaining about on the beauty boards used to be remedied by MAC within months), with reasonably-priced, long-wearing products in a wide range of colors (most notably, for women with warmer coloring coughs), this company that produced bona fide board lemmings for years, has become...boring. Meaningless. I have no interest in the "next" MAC collection; I cannot even tell you what the "current" collection really is.

I can tell you I've bought two MAC items this year. Correction: I've bought one MAC item this year. It was Strawberry Blonde lipstick from the Catherine Deneuve collection. It's limited edition, so, no matter how much I like it, I can't replace it.

The other item was a Back to MAC (again a remnant from MAC's days of gentility, the idea of exchanging six empty plastic MAC containers for a free lipstick): Spice It Up lipstick.

There are a few things left on my MAC wish list but they're older items I never got around to buying, like Teddy Eye Kohl, Prunella, Powersurge or Buried Treasure, et cetera.

MAC...please, stop with the limited edition collections every two weeks. Go back to doing what you used to do so well: making our every little dream come true.

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Feeling hot, hot, hot...
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, July 23, 2006 11:15 PM (Eastern)

Well okay that is an exaggeration. I'm in the Midwest right now, and it's not nearly as hot as the South gets to be. Since I'm from the South, I can concede the heat is not that much.

Moreover, the sun isn't as scorching as it is in California, where I've lived over the past twenty years or so. I slacked off today and didn't wear sunscreen, aside from what I normally wear on my face (yes, I always use sunscreen on my face). In California you would be talking a sunburn for the next week. As it stands, I got slightly hit on the shoulders and on the top of my head. Probably should have worn a hat.

Still, the experience does make me review my current beauty routine. It's surprising to me how many of my products have held up well in the heat and humidity. I'll guess it's because staying power has always been crucial to me in a product. I loathe touch-ups (except for lipstick since it's to be expected); therefore I have always gravitated toward the product that has migrated or faded the least. I'll pay more, I will abide a more limited color selection (MAC Powerpoint over Eye Kohl), just don't ask me to keep checking my makeup in a mirror!

So far, my usual base face--tinted sunscreen (TerraSport SPF 30+ and Zia liquid foundation in Mica) and MAC Blot powder--has worn pretty well. I had to blot a little with a tissue and put on more Blot, once.

My eye pencils...MAC Permaplum Powerpoint and Prestige Expresso automatic waterproof...have stayed put all day.

Today I did shadow (and frankly, if it gets hot and humid enough I don't do shadow, why bother): Christian Dior Beige Massaï eyeshadow quint. I didn't do an elaborate design, where shadows travelling would show. Rather I opted for a simple wash of the orange sherbet shade, a light outer crease of the medium nut brown shade, and the Prestige Expresso to line. This held up through a day at the zoo (I mean literally, a day at the zoo) and a nap. lol

Blush...Nars The Multiple in Malibu. Lipstick...well okay, that's something that has to last only reasonably well (as in, touch up after eating): MAC Strawberry Blonde. Curse MAC for making this a limited edition shade (it was from the Catherine Deneuve collection, which fact alone should have made it permanent).

My Avalon Organics Lemon Clarifying shampoo is still working, but barely. I could use something more astringent in this weather; it wouldn't strip given the climate. And I've halved my usual Pantene Smooth & Sleek daily conditioner. I could replace even that with something a tad lighter.

Armani Code perfume is struggling along. You need something strong in high heat and humidity; do not listen to anyone who says otherwise. (I'm from the South, remember? Most perfumes fade within minutes of having been applied once the humidity sets in.) My GF Ferre Lei/Her perfume would have been a better candidate, but still not ideal. I don't live in this type of weather enough to have found a suitable scent for it. So I have nothing to say about that here.

Enjoy your summer while it lasts. Wear your shorts and tank tops, eat your barbecue and watermelon. Just wear good makeup; choose your products carefully, and don't forget that hat!

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July 24, 2006 8:23 PM, Blogger Dain said...

wee! I am glad to see that you have tried Dior shadows. They are superluxe, no? Really, the best on the market (the older ones, in the square, brighter blue packaging are even nicer), though you can't beat NARS for ingenuity. If you're worried about the cost, though, is the place to go... you can find these quints for half, if not a third, of the original price.

July 24, 2006 9:00 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Yep! It was part of a RAOK that was very kind :)

What's great imo is that the colors are very soft. Yet they do last. This quint, Beige Massaï, I think works best with green eyes and warmer coloring. The shades have a definite warmth. It's the red factor...the soft orange sherbet shade, the punchy terracotta shade...that makes it work with green. Those two shades don't look that great together; they're better off paired with one of the more neutral shades in the quint...the soft medium nut brown (warm, not red), the soft ivory shade (likewise)... I haven't used the deepest shade much. It's not dark enough to line with, and I prefer the medium brown as a crease color. I suppose I'm just being lazy. It might look nice as a more dramatic crease.

I don't ebay :) But sometime I would like to try your mauve quint. drools

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Minimalist thoughts
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, May 31, 2005 2:12 AM (Eastern)

Thanks for the Armani quote (on the Fashion Blog). :) One of my favorite quotes is the following:

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Albert Einstein

That--and, admittedly, "Measure twice, cut once"--are two key sayings in my own life.

It was Dain who introduced the concept of minimalism on the old Lipstick Page. At the time, I found the cosmetic world to be a massive confusing sprawl of products. It had simply never occurred to me that there was a way of narrowing them down.

I have settled down a lot since then. It was a combination of experimentation and reading others' experiences on beauty boards. I can tell you that beauty boards are not always purely about cosmetic acquisition. A good beauty board is more about introspection; how to look good without breaking the bank.

What I'll do is take some pics of my current stash (I haven't done this in a long time; it's been in the back of my mind). It's a good visual.

Oh, and there are two items I've been lemming. :) One is MAC Vapour eyeshadow. Can't live without it. The other is this mythic lipstick (I will check out the MAC Lustres and see if they don't have something like it)'s...a sort of off-red with a brown base, sheerish, glossy (hence the investigation into Lustres first).

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The perfect lipstick
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, April 27, 2005 7:07 PM (Eastern)

So...what is your perfect lipstick and how do you find it?

Is there a difference between drugstore lipstick and department store lipstick, beyond the (sometimes significant) price difference?

Here I must employ a common beauty board term: "meh." Sometimes price does not quite mean quality, nor a guarantee that you will love this lipstick a year from now. Sometimes lower price does not mean greater value for your money.

In any is my personal experience in the wide world of lipstick.

Department store brands overall have superior packaging. Drugstore brands tend to be functional, but not particularly pleasurable...just a plain old lightweight plastic tube without much pizzazz.

A few d/s brands have used rather stylish packaging, such as the old Fetish and Jane: minimal clean-design tubes.

A few department store brands have used rather homely packaging...Clinique comes to mind...and paying more does not mean better packaging...MAC comes to mind. Probably the cheapest department store brand, MAC has lovely sleek tapered black tubes that go with everything.

Department store brands seem to have better reds. I searched for my perfect red in drugstores over some years, and have yet to find it. A few have come close...Revlon "Blackberry" Super Lustrous lipstick, Black Opal "Barely Mocha" lipstick...but most turn bright fuchsia pink on me with just a trace of red.

As far as lasting power, you have the edge with some department store brands. My sheer MAC lipsticks last as long as full-coverage d/s ones, for example (and I loathe to reapply). Conversely, the Cliniques I've tried fade faster than Revlon.

All of that why buy drugstore brand lipsticks? Some of them are good. Revlon Super Lustrous is a good brand, now that they're unscented/unflavored. L'Oreal is good if you don't mind the L'Oreal rose scent.

On the health food store side, find a Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer or a Terra Tints colored lip balm for a few bucks (both have good colors and function as lip balms).

Some of these lipsticks rival department store brands, and, they are cheap, or else they go on sale and get cheap. Falling out of love with a cheaper lipstick means you can toss it without an excess of "trashcan remorse." There is the variety/experimentation factor too in that, if you are paying $18 for a lipstick, you can play with only so many.

So why buy department store brands? You get to swatch before you buy. There tend to be greater selection and more complexity in will find shades here (such as the aforementioned elusive perfect red) that don't exist low-end.

Another factor is that drugstore brands, infuriatingly, discontinue their shades and formulas at the drop of a hat. If commitment is your thing, you will face more heartbreak at the drugstore than the department store.

After years of soul-searching and trying this and that, I ended up with two MAC "Lustre" formula lipsticks, Viva Glam V and Sophisto. Viva Glam V is somewhat more versatile in that (on me anyway) it is truly neutral and can be worn with warm or cool eye makeup. Sophisto is somewhat prettier than VGV...a bit more color, a bit cooler (which makes teeth look whiter), more lipstick-y all around.

These taste faintly of vanilla (as do all MAC lippies), last well, keep reasonably well (more than a year, since it takes forever to use up a lipstick)...the price is right for me. If ever MAC dared discontinue Sophisto (VGV is part of the fundraiser series so not to worry, they'll continue making it), I would feel momentarily sad, yet I would replace my Sophisto with another MAC Lustre there is that security-blanket feeling there too.

These are both sheers (compatible with my full lips, which look clownish in more solid colors).

Am I in lipstick heaven? Is the search over with? is actually.


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