L’Oreal Advent Calendar

L'Oreal Advent Calendar

Are you sitting down? You might want to. The clever girls over at L’Oreal have the ultimate beauty gift for the month of December. They’ve come up with the “All I Want This Christmas” advent calendar. Wait! Untie your sneakers. It’s not stuffed with stale candy or pound-packing chocolate, thank goodness. Open one door a day until you hit the 24th, and you will be showered with beauty products from the likes of YSL, Viktor and Rolf, Kiehl’s, Stella McCartney, and more. Holy holiday gift set.

Stay with me. The chichi calendar is set at $97 and will only be sold through UK’s luxe retailer, Selfrides. All you have to do is ring the store (+44 113 369 8040) in time for them to ship it to you by December 1st. If this is too steep for your budget, spread the merriment and price with a couple girls at the office and enjoy the mini goodies together. Did I mention Lancôme, shu uemura, and Armani?

Maria Denardo

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Shades of Melodies

R & B/Hip Hop Soul singer Mary J. Blige recently launched her new line of sunglasses that she says are an “extension” of herself. The “No More Drama” singer, notorious for completing her outfits with shades from Chanel, Dior and Gucci, was convinced by friends and her adoring public to create an eyewear line of her very own.  ”Sunglasses bestow a certain mysterious look like a Bond girl. People were always saying, ‘You should do an eyewear line.’ So I said, ‘Let’s do it.’

The line, called Melodies by MJB, is available at select Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman stores. The shades add a touch of class, sophistication, as well as UV protection for the final compliment to any outfit and are priced between $165 – $225.

The eyewear collection will feature 20 color options and 4 unique styles. Each style will represent Mary J’s facet of life. The second collection of shades is set to launch in January 2011.  From aviator rounded lenses to over-sized, retro-inspired shapes, Bilge’s motivation for creating the sunglasses were to give women something to hide behind as well be fashion forward all at once.

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Soup, Salad, and a Side of Collagen

Collagen Supplement Drink

Collagen-infused food products have been on the scene in Japan for the past decade, but lately the edible smoothing products have seen a jump in sales with a younger, more eager generation. The trend began in 2001 when Kanebo Cosmetics launched the first collagen-based supplement drink called Twany Collagen 5000, which offers 5000 mg of the plumping protein in every serving. According to Relax News, Sakae Nonomura, the director of Kanebo Beauty Research Institute, said, “Japanese women are very conscious of how they are seen in society and many are still averse to leaving home without make-up.” After 17 years of research, Kanebo seemingly met their demands for firmer, radiant skin with a holistic approach targeting cosmetics, skincare, and diet. Their instant success was quickly challenged by competitors like Funcl, Meiji, and Shiseido, who delivered their own “tasty” elixirs. In particular, Kowa’s Fracora 500-a fan favorite containing 10,000 mg of fish collagen-has sold an astounding 55 million units since 2004.

The collagen craze has not stopped there. Food industry professionals have capitalized on the growing trend by stocking grocery store shelves full of delectable collagen-enhanced marshmallows, yogurt, soda, soup, and cheesecake. In savvy cities like Ginza or Nakameguro, lunching at a collagen-friendly restaurant is all the rage. Even Harunohi, a chic food chain frequented by flocks of Japanese women, boasts a menu containing healthy, low-calorie “beauty” dishes laden with the fashionable ingredient. If only the FDA wouldn’t be so picky.

Stylish women around the world are catching on but the question still remains: Do any of these products really make a difference for your skin? So far the research is not astounding by any means but it’s still early in the game. In any case, one can only hope the cure for aging can be found in a savory Bento box.

Maria Denardo

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Erase Me: Lips Go Sensuously Stark

Lip liner, cosmetic fillers and pepper-infused glosses: We live in a world where women regularly plump up their pouts to be one of the most visible features on a woman’s face. But, if we are to judge by the looks featured at such illustrious luxury Spring 2011 collections as Proenza Schouler, Rick Owens, Prabal Gurung and even Rodarte, things may be about to change.

We here at PoshBeauty.com would like to introduce you to the real star of the 2011 Spring Runway Season and a virtual backstage staple at many Spring shows:  M.A.C.s very own Lip Erase.

M.A.C. Lip Erase

M.A.C.’s Gordon Espinet describes this putty colored cream as a “shine-free balm spiked with flesh-tone pigments,” and was designed as a lip concealer.

“A dab takes down the natural pinkish color [of lips],” explains Proenza Schouler Spring makeup artist Diane Kendal, who sparingly dabbed it onto model’s mouths to conjure a coolly neutral mouth.

Make-up sheets from Proenza Schouler artist Diane Kendal

Think minimalism, naturalism and an homage to monochromatic fashions.

Prabal Gurung 2011 Spring - Rick Owens 2011 Spring - Proenza Schouler 2011 Spring

So how do you take this look from runway to real world?  In two ways actually.  One way is to give yourself over to the stark look of neutralizing the lip and emphasizing the eye and cheek with bold color or a smokey eye.  Another way, however, is to use M.A.C.’s Lip Erase as a canvas primer.  Dab a bit to the lips and then let it sit for 5 minutes or so – next, commence with color.  It’s a perfect primer to keep this season’s hottest bold pink, coral or deep red lip shade as saturated and lovely as it is in the tube.

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Double Time: Hairspray for Eyebrows, Eye Cream for Lips, Lip Balm for Hands

Saving money in this economy means it’s time to get creative. No longer do we have the luxury of buying whatever we want when we want it. However, skimping on beauty products is no easy task. By now most of us have our go-to brands and trusted favorites so what do we keep buying, what do we hold off on, and what do we buy for less? Just like with your wardrobe, a good rule of thumb is spend money on the basic pieces that will last and save on the items that will only be around a season or two. In order to translate this to the beauty world, think of your cleansing products, moisturizers, and essential makeup items as your foundation. Leave the crazy-colored eye shadows, lipstick, and blush for a cheaper cousin. Another effective way to save is using your beauty products for more than their intended purpose: lipstick as cream blush, lip balm for dry hands, hairspray for eyebrow gel, and eye cream for lips. Follow our lead and you’ll have double the benefits with half the cost.

Philosophy Hope in a Tube Eye and Lip Cream

Fight aging and dryness with a 2-in-1 formula. Philosophy Hope in a Tube Eye and Lip Cream works double-duty by firming up the skin around your eyes and moisturizing your lips.

Kiehl's Lip Balm #1

Are you a compulsive lip balm user? No need to stress; this is one time your habit comes in handy. Apply your balm (Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1 works wonders) liberally to chapped or cracked hands. One less step is one less worry.

L' Oréal Elnett Satin Hairspray

Who can afford eyebrow gel at a time like this? Crafty women are turning to their beauty closets to tame unruly brows. Spray your hairspray on a separate well-marked toothbrush, sweep across eyebrows, and go.

Maria Denardo

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Tea Time for Your Hair!

Tashni-Ann Dubroy and Tiffani Bailey Lash had one mission in mind when they finished their doctoral degrees in chemistry at North Carolina State University: Create the last shampoo and hair system that anyone will ever buy.
In December of 2009, that’s exactly what the two chemists did when they launched  Tea and Honey Blends,  a premium hair care line that uses high-quality products made from natural ingredients for various hair textures.

Tea And Honey Blends Creators

The line currently consists of Tea Tree Shampoo, Tea Tree Conditioner, Protein Conditioning Spray, Gleam Shine Serum, Sparkle Mist, Curl Definer and Herbal Nutrient Oil-all available on their website.

Dubroy and Lash believe in being innovators by staying ahead of industry trends and adapting quickly to changes in ingredients. While the brand is currently expanding nationally into salons and retail stores, both owners appreciate the opportunity to connect with their customers directly, gaining feedback and insight into their products.

In a few months the dynamic duo plan to launch a line that includes products for men, mom and baby, skin care and body care.

Check out the line at www.teaandhoneyblends.com and stay tuned for more to come!

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OLDIES BUT GOODIES: Sue Wong Celebrates Old Hollywood Glamour At 2010 LA Fashion Week

Sue Wong kicked off LA Fashion Week in true Hollywood style with her 2011 Spring preview Collection hosted at her famed atelier in the City of Angels historic Wilshire district.

Sue Wong with her Models at 2010's Fashion Week

One of the few big designers who currently show in Los Angeles, Wong was inspired by the glamour and sass of Old Hollywood’s starlet style and her collection certainly made that apparent.  Think flapper-ish short dresses as well as floor length diva-esque designs, all with plenty of embroidery, ornate beadwork and feather tiered trim – perfect for a float down the red carpet or other special event.

“The collection is inspired by the pre-code goddesses of the silver screen.  These were the first modern women and they were raw, undaunted, somewhat challenged perhaps but they were undeterred and unchained and uncut.  They were really strong and sexually frank.  Think Tallulah Bankhead and Marlene Dietrich and always with an incredible sense of glamour,” said Wong.

Sue Wong's 2010 Fashion Week Showing

Wong’s huge celebrity following was out en mass to get a glimpse of her latest and greatest, most of them wearing Wong designs as well.  Another historic nod to the era was the lack of a runway.  Instead Wong chose to have her models posed on clear pedestals and mingled with the guests – much like the dressing rooms of old.

Guests enjoyed jazz music, dancing and decadent cakes and cocktails – all in true devil-may-care fashion – which was the old-school icing on this decidedly dazzling affair.

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Beauty is as Beauty Does: Sesame Street and a 9 year old girl teach Black Girls (and Women) to Love Their Hair

If you haven’t seen the YouTube video posted throughout your friends’ FaceBook page or the articles overloading your RSS feed, you have been living under a rock for the past few days. Our childhood favorite, Sesame Street, recently gifted us with the “I Love My Hair” video paying homage to little black girls learning to love their hair. For African-American women, hair is a deeply rooted emotional issue that has come to light in the media since the release of comedian Chris Rock’s “Good Hair”.

Sesame Street I Love My Hair

The video features a brown muppet with an afro singing proudly about all of the many ways she can wear her hair. The video was inspired by Sesame Street’s head writer and puppeteer Joey Mazzarino who noticed his 4 year old daughter, adopted from Ethiopia, having difficulties embracing her hair amongst her blond hair, blue-eyed, playmates. Mazzarino began the lyrics to the song with “Don’t need a trip to the beauty shop, because I love what I got on top”. The entire song continues with words of self-love and pride that had Black women around the country leaving comments full of gratitude and pride that they can share with their daughters, nieces and sisters.

Almost coincidentally, Willow Smith, 9 year-old daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, released her first music video that same week from her hot new single “Whip My Hair”. The video is full of energy, color and hair whipping so fun you will be rocking and whipping your hair by the end! The entire song is about being an individual, loving yourself and not caring about what others think about you.

Willow Smith Whip My Hair

It seems as though the children have this self-worth down. It’s time for the grown-ups to jump on the band wagon and redefine our ideas of beauty!

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SNEAK PEEK: Lanvin Unveils Four Beauties From It’s H&M Collection

Sneak Peek of Lanvin for H&M

Those folks at Lanvin sure know how to keep things under wraps, but after months of speculation and pining for a sneak peek at Lanvin’s rumored collection for Swiss-mass-market chain H&M, we finally have a tiny glimpse of four pieces that scream of the couture design house’s past seasons.

In a typically stark and dour campaign advertisement, we see Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz utilizing some of his most iconic designs to recreate the Lanvin woman (with a much, much lower price point.)  Not seeing the connection?  Let’s take a peek.

One-shouldered, belted black dress for Lanvin 2009 pre-Fall Collection

The one-shouldered, belted black cocktail dress to the far left of H&M advertisement is strikingly similar to a piece included in Lanvin’s 2009 pre-Fall Collection – complete with a full-gathered shoulder embellishment and further gathering at the belted waist.  And… hey… doesn’t it also look like this little number from Lanvin’s Spring 2009 runway show?

Lanvin Spring 2009 Collection

The similarities didn’t end there.

Check out the tuxedo jacket on the middle-right model of H&M’s advertisement and then take a gander at the virtual replica of the tuxedo jacket in Lanvin’s 2010 pre-Fall collection:

Lanvin's pre-Fall 2010 Collection

Peeked lapel? Check. Mid-thigh length? Check. Bejeweled button enclosure? Check.  I guess Elbaz really meant it when he said “Doing a collection, for me, is almost like creating a vaccine. Once you create the vaccine, then you can duplicate it for $9.99. But see if you can create it for $9.99.”

No judgement here, though.  Lanvin continues to carry it’s reputation for creating clothing that embodies a dramatic elegance well into this modern age – and that, in and of itself, is without fault.  We here at Project Beauty are decidedly giddy to see more – but we’ll have to wait.  Lanvin won’t unveil the entire H&M collection until November 2.

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HEADS UP: Nars 2010 Holiday Collection Unleashed.

Nars' 2010 Holiday Collection

To the delight of cosmetics connoiseurs everywhere, make-up maven Nars has unleashed it’s 2010 Holiday Collection and she’s nothing if not festive. Inspired by his muse Daphne Guinness, Creative Director and Founder of Nars, Francois Nars set out to create an “audaciously bold” color pallet that speaks of “seduction and self-expression”.

Daphne Guiness next to Francois Nars

Think smoldering, cobalt-rimmed eyes and peach glazed cheeks and lips, and you’ll get a mental glimpse of the overall effect.  Mr. Nars utilizes traditional saturated color that speaks to the holiday season, such as gold and silver and a variety of plummy berry shades – most of them flecked with festive shimmery effects.

Nars Etrusque Single Eyeshadow (limited edition)

Nars Melusine Duo Eyeshadow

Well-known for pushing the color envelope, Nars Holiday Collection utilizes the best of sexy feminine hues (such as the peachy blush and lipstick) and strikingly dramatic colors (like the Okinawa Trio Eyeshadow featuring a saturated shimmering blue and a matte true black).

Nars 2010 Holiday Collection

Ms. Guiness also appears in the 2010 Holiday Collection campaign. According to François, “when you have Daphne Guinness as a model, you just let her be who she is. Daphne fits the brand so well –she has such a modern approach to fashion and beauty.”

In true Nars form, the Holiday Collection embodies the feel of it’s fearless muse and provides the pallet to explore our own dramatic-side as well.  Beauty without boundaries – indeed.

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