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A childhood interest for art and design grew into a passion for all things beauty. Currently, I’m still smitten.


The Birchbox

Finding what works for you can be challenging when there's a new launch every time you turn around. A new color. A creamier formula. A hydrating ingredient that's better than the last. The options seem endless but our budget is not! What's a gal to do? Here's one launch you want to look into. It's the perfect little treat! Beauty products and skin samples delivered to your doorstep along with hair products and fragrances! No smidgens in tiny petri dishes or small foil packets. We're talking deluxe size samples from your favorite brands (great for your makeup bag and travel). You can evaluate the product over time at your leisure! Fall in love with one, then order the full-size version through the site and earn points for your next buy. Three membership options to choose from so you decide what's affordable. Only downer...BIRCHBOX delivers to US addresses only (for now)! Click here to learn more.


Stay Put Shadow

GIORGIO ARMANI is set to launch an eye shadow with claims of 24-hour wear. With my oily lids, all I can say is wow! Super rich color that won't budge, fade or crease without a primer is worth investigating.

The secret? A highly pigmented powder-gel hybrid that combines shimmer and translucent emollients to lock in color. The how to? Use a slightly dampened brush to apply a sheer amount of color onto your lid.

Do we really need an eye shadow that lasts all day? Maybe not, but shadow that takes us from "desks to drinks" can't be all bad. In stores in October 2010/$32 each.
(Courtesty of InStyle 9/2010)


The Best Coverage

(Thanks to all who responded yesterday. Keep the topics coming!)

Several questions about foundation from a BSBB reader. Which one to use? How much? Does powder cover better than liquid?

Here are some helpful suggestions for beautiful babes of all ages.

For women in their20's:
Unless your acne prone, you don't need much coverage. Try a tinted moisturizer or light oil-free foundation that lets your skin show through. I like LAURA MERCIER's OIL-FREE TINTED MOISTURIZER with SPF20/$42. If your complexion is really clear, opt for spot coverage and blend.

For women in their 3o's:
You may notice fine lines around your eyes. Create a smooth canvas with a bit of primer. For a nice glow, stroke on GIORGIO ARMANI's LUMINOUS SILK FOUNDATION with a brush and blend well. Finish with a translucent powder to make sure makeup stays put.

For women in their 40's:
Along with some creasing, you may experience an "extreme" in your skin condition: excess oiliness or intense drying -- probably due to hormones. (UGH!) Simple solutions to shut down the shine -- prime skin first and use an oil-free foundation. For dry skin, try M.A.C. SELECT SPF FOUNDATION with SPF 15/$26.00. The hydrating formula offers medium coverage.

For women in their 50's and up:
Perfect your skin with an anti-aging serum. Avoid powdery or shimmery foundations altogether as they draw attention to wrinkles. Try LANCOME's ABSOLUE Bx MAKEUP for moderate to full coverage to conceal imperfections and even skin tone. Won't sink into lines and restores moisture. Helps skin look rejuvenated and regain suppleness/$57.00.

If you prefer luxury brands, visit a counter at a department store for a professional shade match. Shopping locally? Check your favorite drugstores for return policies so you won't spend a small fortune on foundation. I think Rite Aid and CVS will return with a receipt.
(Photo courtesy of Women's ages range from 25 to 44.)


Fall Forecast

Designers are showcasing their fall/winter lines in stores and beauty brands are launching limited edition collections. We all want to keep our looks current -- beauty and style...that's for sure.

I've been sharing tips that I thought would interest you. Let's kick off the season with fall's top trends from YOUR POINT OF VIEW, your fall forecast.

Tell me what you want to know to update your beauty notebook:
  • What trends you want to try?
  • Which shades do you want to experiment with?
  • Do you know your skin type?
Interested in waking up your wardrobe with fall trends?
  • Want an option to basic black?
  • Do you know what works best for your body type?
  • Where can you find????
Share your favorite topics/questions/concerns right here on The BLACKswan at Beyond Beauty Blog. Prefer not to make your POV public, email me at! Look forward to your input and thank you!


Change is Good

The autumn season is quickly approaching. So many new collections and trends. In cosmetics and clothing. It's never to late to revamp your image or reinvent yourself. You can do that by experimenting.

Fall Wardrobe: In Stores Now
Decide what's your best feature.
Try on outfits appropriate for your lifestyle.
Incorporate essentials like sweaters, blazers, and an uber feminine dress that takes you from dawn to dusk.
Complete your look with a detailed carryall..chains, metallics, or animal prints are a must.

Fall Beauty Forecast
Decide what's your best feature.
Try on new shades at the counter to see how they wear.
Limited edition palettes provide complimentary colors for eyes, lips, and cheeks (one stop shopping). I like the NARS "Only You" Eye & Cheek Palette/$65.
Play with velvety textures, shimmery finishes, and plush mattes.

Take along a friend for an honest opinion or contact me for pro assistance. Always happy to help!


The Feline and Fabulous Debut at MAC

I'm loving the subtle roar of kittens on the runway. And now a preview of fiercely feline inspired makeup? Only MAC can give it to you like this. I received my post card announcing THE fall collection. The Fabulous Feline launch consists of three new collections that mimic the textures and colours of prized pedigrees. Playing on the seduction of a lithe cat, The Palace Pedigreed, The Leopard Luxe and the Burmese Beauty consist of lipsticks and Lipglass, Cremestick Liners, seductive shadow quads, pigments, and Mineralize blushes. And to complete the perfect cat eye look, each collection contains Plushblack Mascara and Superslick Liquid Eye Liners. There's even a signature felt cosmetic bag with faux leather trim to match each one. Available August 26th.


Manic Manicure

We're all trying to squeeze in as much fun as we can these last few weeks of summer. Wild-patterns and bright colors are what summer mani/pedis are about. A friend had on an amazing shade of teal that popped against her black suede booties (quite lovely Natasha). You too should indulge in the anything goes attitude that style mavens have for your fingers and toes! Choose from:

  • At home versions of the MINX nail craze. Available at Sephora by OPI Chic Prints for Nails in a variety of patterns including Fishnet and Chrome Lace/$15. Each nail patch is a solid pre-cut film for a one-time application.
  • CHINA GLAZE Poolside Collection -- Yellow Polka Dot Bikini: a creamy neon yellow/$7 @ beauty supply stores.
  • REVLON's Sparkling Top Coat -- Slipper: a clear polish with extremely sparkly glitter/$5 @ drugstores.
  • ORLY's DIY Starter Kit that includes five lacquers and a Duo Dotter tool for design application/$32 at Click here video tutorial.
  • The ROCKER CHIC Mini Collection, also at Sephora, can be carried over into fall. This quad promises long wearing, chip resistant color for an upgrade to any neutral palette/$18.


The Fall Fashion Fave

I've been in transition mode. I think I'm ready for fall. Leafing through the September 2010 magazines could be the reason. They're like THE introduction to autumn. Showcasing pretty palettes for eyes and lips, plush fabrics and rich tones for knits, sweaters, and scarves. And of course, there are boots galore.

Another thing I'm looking forward to is the big September issue. Of VOGUE. The magazine previews:
  • amazing fashion -- some that I can trickle into my wardrobe and some that I will only covet;
  • practical beauty looks for everyday wear and inspirational makeup strictly for editorials.
I love it all. But this issue is particularly special to me because HALLE BERRY graces the cover, the second African American to do so. She is the personification of VOGUE: elegant, classic, edgy, sexy...a true modern woman. The fall season will be here shortly. All you fashionistas should check the local newsstand so you can be in vogue.


The Perfect Scar Cocktail

SCARTINI is a potent aid for scars, burns, stretch marks, acne scars and surgical incisions. The miracle cocktail contains Lychee extract, best known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Throw in Centella Asiatica, a plant extract that reduces redness, boosts collagen production, and promotes faster healing, and you have a healing powerhouse. SCARTINI has a roller ball applicator for even application and a light fruit fragrance.

The scar serum was created by Erin Elmore (from Apprentice 3) after suffering from several injuries that caused serious scarring. She teamed with Dr. Shareef Jandali, Chief of Plastic Surgery at University of Pennsylvania who tired of friends and family complaining of high priced treatments. Word spread with every use and now even doctors recommend the product. Post surgical patients are raving about SCARTINI and some are using it to ward off wrinkles and as a make up base. The concentrated serum travels well and is only $29.99. Could be worth adding to your medicine cabinet.


Award Winning Beauty

Whether browsing through the aisles of the neighborhood drugstore or sampling products at your favorite department store, you are bound to come across some of these BEST OF BEAUTY award winners. Here are a few I'm sure you've used:

ALLURE Best of Beauty Award Winner

  • WET 'N' WILD Eyeliner Pencil: Great for the times you want to experiment with a new color or look but aren't willing to shell out the money. Approx $1.
  • SALLY HANSEN Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color: 32 shades, one coat coverage, and the quickest drying time -- enough said. $5
  • RIMMEL LONDON Stir It Up Eyeshadow: Cream eye shadow mixed with two shades of powder results in a different blend every time. $7.50
  • DOVE Beauty Bar: A rich blend of cleansers and lush moisturizers. No other beauty bar has more natural skin moisturizers. $2.49

SELF Healthy Beauty Award Winner
  • SUAVE Naturals Apricot Exfoliating Body Wash: Sloughs off dead skin with ground coconut and apricot. $3
  • SMASHBOX Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer: Skin protecting peptides and antioxidants come together with a light color for the perfect canvas. $30
  • URBAN DECAY 24/7 Glide On Lip Pencil: Jojoba oil and Vitamin E condition lips to improve the application. Plus it's waterproof so sip away ladies. (TIP: Try Ozone, the clear shade, to keep lip gloss in place longer.) $17

Happy primping!


What is Glowology?

"It's the art of celebrating the beauty in every woman." says Christine Berger, creator of Noodle & Boo. She found that women with sensitive skin were using the popular children's line so she filled the void with GLOWOLOGY. The entire line is free of parabans, sulfates, and synthetic preservatives. Products are organic -- 100% biodegradable. While GLOWOLOGY has a celebrity cult following, they encourage everyday women to be a brand ambassador. So check out the goodies and spread the word.

The Balm contains Shea butter for hydration, astringent citrus fruit, and salicylic acid to remove dead skin. Also contains bilberry, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory to combat cell damage. Great for hands and feet. $24

Sugar Mama Honey Scrub has aloe, coconut and raw honey in it. By now you know I am a fan of raw honey: it locks in moisture and has natural antiseptic properties. Try the scrub in the shower to gently exfoliate skin. $26

Opulent Body Butter is an extra rich cream for all over body moisture. Works best on extremely dry skin. Calendula and sweet almond oil ensure long lasting hydration. $18.

The finest ingredients promote healthy beautiful get your glow on.
Available at Neiman Marcus or


The J Spa...Where Lasers Meet Luxury

Ready to wage war on wrinkles and sun damage but find the idea of a lil' nip/tuck intimidating? Doctors perform mini-miracles with powerful lasers and anti-aging fillers. Post-surgery may leave some recovering in a cold, stoic environment. Dr. Andrew Jacono, head of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, has created an environment that does just the opposite. THE J SPA is not a salon-like med-spa that offers Botox between mani-pedis. THE J SPA is a 12,000 square foot derma-palace taking on sagging, scarring, and wrinkling. Clients who come in for nonsurgical procedures recover in a most relaxing atmosphere. Dr. Jacono created the J Pak System which is unique to the spa: homeopathic remedies that follow aesthetic surgeries. Plush white robes, soft classical music, herbal tea, healthy snacks, and aromatherapy massage are a prelude to lip plumping, injections and laser treatments.

Dr. Jacono says the luxe setting is essential to patient recovery. "This is not just's science. It's been shown when individuals are comfortable, their vital signs are more balanced and they tend to recovery more quickly." He is dedicated to his clients 110%, considerate of them before, during, and after any and all enhancements. I view his craft and passion with new interest...what about you?


The Coverup Artist

That's what it feels like this wedding season because lots of brides have tattoos. While some prefer to let them show, many insist they be covered... COMPLETELY. So in addition to perfecting the bride's look at a consultation, we must find an exact match to conceal the "very visible" tattoo. The goal at a trial is to make sure the makeup doesn't transfer onto clothing and to avoid an allergic reaction. Depending on the size, details and color, I've been successful with waterproof concealer, full-cover cream foundation, and translucent powder. For an elaborate design, I like the COVER FX Total Coverage Cream Foundation. COVER FX also carries a water based liquid foundation called Natural FX. Both are great for sensitive skin and come in a wide shade range...even have sunscreen. There is a color guide online to assist in finding your perfect match for those who like to DIY! Blending colors is easy, the coverage is great and it makes my job easier. Approximately $45 at


Glambox Glam Rocks

If you're at the mall this weekend, stop by the SMASHBOX counter to preview another Nordstrom exclusive. The Glambox Glam Rocks set has something for every feature...eyes, face, and lips. Two eyeshadow trios and a creme eye liner duo, a mini version of their signature primer, Photo Finish Foundation Primer, two Lip Enhancing Glosses, a nude shade and a red, Blush/Soft Lights Duo, and your choice of the Halo To Go Hydrating Perfect Powder (avail in four shades Fair to Dark). It's probably all you need for a full face makeover.

P.S. I'm hoping Nordies has their 2010 Fall Collection -- MASQUERADE. The Creamy Cheek Color and Brush looks interesting -- cream blush on one end and a blending brush on the other. I wonder if the warm pink shade is universally flattering on all skin tones...Hmmm. We'll see.


Fashion Find or Fashion Faux Pas? You Decide...

Leafing through some magazines, I recently saw some interesting trends that made me think about What Not To Wear. I'm all for stamping your signature style and individuality, so Beyond Beauty wants to know if you would:
Rock a Boho Headband?

I love the bohemian look especially for summer. It's so easy and free -- beaded necklaces and piles of bangles, but a boho headband? Ummm...I'll pass. However Zoe Kravitz does make it look like a "do". It just fits her character. She looks adorable.

Wear Thigh Highs?

Shenae Grimes from 90210 looks cute in this 90's throwback, but would you mimic the trend if it went mainstream? I have to admit, I had a black pair myself...with white trim! And yes, I wore them but only once. questions!

Brave a Bouffant

The piled high hairstyle was quite common in the 60's and it's back. Popularity these days ranges from the runway to weddings and boudoir shoots. But will this style go beyond those settings? Maybe. I happen to like bed head/big hair at the right time. I think you can always find a way to make this style work.

Invite Goth Back?

Fall 2010 welcomes the return of goth glam: dark, full vampy lips. Confidence comes into play when wearing this much color since all will be focused on your purple pout. Should this look be saved for the runway too or could you make it work in your every day? I am looking forward to the dramatic change from my usual nude gloss. Dare I say the same about you?

(If you want to channel your inner-diva and try any of the styling/beauty recommendations above, let me know. I have a great hairstylist, an A-list stylist, and of course, a makeup artist - yours truly- ready to assist.)


Avoid These Anti-Aging Blunders

The wrong skin-care, makeup and hair can add years fast. Maintain a fresh face with the tricks listed below.
  • Give Your Skin a Glow. Our skin dulls with age if we don't exfoliate. Try a glycolic peel at least once a week.
  • Don't Ditch the Eyeliner. Fake a bright-eyed look by applying black liner on the top lid, thickening it at the outer corners and add mascara.
  • Avoid Frosty Shadows. On mature skin, they tend to highlight fine lines and look harsh. Soften the look with subtle shimmers.
  • Resist the Urge to Glob on Eye Cream. You may wake up with itchy, even puffier eyes the next day.
  • Use Concealer Like a Pro. Choose a creamy formula in a yellow-based shade for blue/purple shadows, peach-base for brown discoloration. Blend with a brush focusing on the inner corners and set with loose powder.
  • Cream Blush: The forgiving alternative to bright powder for a youthful look. The texture holds better on older skin for a natural flush.
  • Eat Skinny Foods. Almonds, salmon, dark leafy veges and green tea are essential for antioxidants, zinc and vitamin C. These yummy skin refreshers promote cell turnover naturally.
  • Hair Scoops: Long choppy bangs soften your face if you have a short cut (and hide forehead wrinkles), loose waves are universally flattering for long hair, and highlights illuminate the face as opposed to opaque colors. If you're prone to wear ponytails, try a sideswept or loose one...pretty, sexy and sophisticated all at once.

Bottom line, even though 40 is the new 30, this stuff may just work for us! As for the rest of you, a head start is always a good thing.


Your Perfect Fit

No matter what size we wear, we all want to look our best. I recommend you check out MYSHAPE.COM immediately. It's an online boutique that selects styles personalized to compliment your proportions. Takes away the guess work on what works for YOU. Body type recommendations are highlighted with each piece of clothing so it makes shopping a breeze. Features everything: entire outfits, accessories, even basic lingerie and intimates. The site has special sections to refine your signature style, wardrobe tips for your anatomy, and features the season's "must haves." MYSHAPE.COM is like your own virtual personal shopper. New selections for clothes and accessories are added frequently so there's lots to choose from.

Whether you prefer a brick and mortar experience to online shopping, the site is a good reference for key pieces that accentuate your silhouette. Here's to individuality...Happy shopping dolls!


Expose Those Toes

Stepping up your summer shoe game puts your feet on display in platforms, peep-toes, and flip flops. But none of us wants to showcase scars, corns, and blister marks. PRETTY TOES FADE-N-COVER to the rescue!

Developed by a board certified podiatrist, the makeup covers a multitude of shoe sins! The foot concealer is formulated to fade scars while it hides unsightly marks. You can also dab it on shaving nicks and mosquito bites. Plus, you can pack it with your favorite bikini to the beach cause it's water resistant. The six shades may work best for brown beauties so select your shade here. Call 877/849-TOES to order for only $17.99.