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

1.31.2011

Drugstore Dandy -- Revlon's Mascara Madness

REVLON unleashes CustomEyes Mascara -- the first mascara that offers two looks with one brush. The unique brush has adjustable bristles to "amp up your lash length and drama" or give you "all-out length and definition." Go from subtle to sexy easily. Without dual sides. Without primer. All you do is dial up the drama with a twist at the end of the wand. The plastic applicator has longer bristles that move up or down with a simple click. Worth investigating at $7.49 at www.target.com or a drugstore near you. If you've tried it, please share...BSB readers want to know.

Thanks Kim F. for the heads up!!!

1.27.2011

Alford & Hoff - Skincare for Men

A true beauty will use her favorite scrub at least once a week to brighten, smooth and clear her complexion. Whether it's from a high end brand or one concocted in the kitchen, she will gladly indulge in an at-home "spa" experience.

Guys, you want to treat yourself, to make this part of your grooming routine too. This scrub is ideal prior to shaving. The abrasive granules remove dead skin that can trap ingrown hairs and give it a dull appearance. ALFORD & HOFF has a full line of products for your daily regimen but the Microdermabrasion promises to polish flaky cells without irritation, even skin tone and noticeably diminish fine lines and wrinkles. Even claims to give you a more energetic complexion, promote collagen production and is good for all skin types.

Key Ingredients: Aloe, oat, Vitamin E, lactic acid, cactus and samphire extracts plus the diamond shaped magnesium oxide crystals which free impurities and hairs. Exclusive to Bergdorf Goodman stores or online at www.bergdorfgoodman and www.alfordandhoff.com/$85.

1.26.2011

NARS Tainted Love -- Nordstrom Exclusive

A lot of stores are already displaying Cupids, hearts and flowers. The world of beauty is also following this V-day set up. NARS Cosmetics has a limited edition gift set for lips, cheeks and nails...yours for $59 exclusively at NORDSTROM.

NARS went totally girly on this collection...all pretty and pink.

Angelika Lip Gloss and Angelika Multiple Stick are cotton candy shades with flecks of metallic gold and silver. The polish, Schiap, a shocking pink, compliments the collection.

Visit your local Nordies store or order online at www.nordstrom.com.


(photo from Nordstrom.com)

1.24.2011

Honeycat Winners Are....

G. Brown, A. Burr, and T. Jones.

Please forward your mailing addresses to my attention at toscha@blackswanbeauty.com! You have 24 hours to respond (until 10:00 pm 1/25/11 EST).

See more products at www.honeycatcosmetics.com.
Thank you for following BLACKswan Beauty and commenting too!

More contests coming soon!






1.20.2011

Upgrade Your Travel Style

Style shines through even when you're travelling. Don't think just because you're in vacation mode that folks aren't paying attention. Whatever your personal style is, there are some essentials that give you a polished look.

Invest in a good duffel bag for weekend getaways, either leather, wool or canvas. The KENNETH COLE Roma Satchel is a great carry-on. This fully lined bag has two exterior pockets for travel documents, a detachable shoulder strap, and metal feet. I also like the JACK SPADE Bleacher Plaid Ajax Duffel. On sale at www.jackspade.com for $197.50. Passport covers can be customized with your initials. AIAIAI Noise Cancelling Headphones are ideal for long flights. Blocks out crying babies and chatty travellers. And I also suggest a comfortable pair of jeans. Cashmere jeans are more forgiving than denim when you're sitting for a while. Try on NAKED AND FAMOUS Slim Guy Cashmere Jeans/$260. Take along a great pair of shades to hide tired eyes, a good read and you're set.




(Photos from KennethCole.com)

1.19.2011

Dye for Your 'Do

BSB Subscribers: Apologies for the double postings as of late. Working on fixing this glitch!



This look recently hit the runway and was even embraced by celebs. For many of us, the first one causes a raised brow. More than that and most of us go into panic mode. What causes this random uproar? A gray hair (GASP)!

Whether you have some early strands or a head full, you can keep your hair looking salon fab with at-home maintenance.

To camouflage a few strands, try a semi-permanent dye which provides coverage but is ammonia free. Cover roots til your next pro job with CLAIROL's NICE N EASY AT HOME ROOT TOUCH-UP/$6.99 at www.drugstore.com. For complete coverage, choose a permanent color with low ammonia like CLAIROL's NICE 'N EASY PERFECT 10 HAIR COLOR/$14. Avail in 20 shades.

If you're fully gray, the PANTENE PRO-V SILVER EXPRESSIONS SHAMPOO and CONDITIONER will add vibrancy to dull hair. Only $6 each. Use this duo no more than twice weekly to avoid your hair taking on a purple tone.

Since gray hair follicles produce little oil and are generally dry, a glossing treatment can help. Try JOHN FREIDA LUMINOUS COLOR GLAZE/$10 in five shades. Be sure to hydrate with a rich hair masque. Keep hair shiny and smooth with KERASTASE OLEO-RELAX SERUM/$36. Tames wiry strands.

Society doesn't often equate gray hair with glam. No matter how you choose to wear your hair, be confident in your choice. Depending on the texture, hue, and style, I think it looks rather chic.


(Photo credits: incelebritynews.com; instyle.com and more.com)

1.18.2011

ZOYA's Spring Collection 2011

ZOYA has six beautiful shades in store for Spring 2011. The Intimate Collection is a mix of muted pastels and subtle shimmers in ultra long-wearing lacquers. They seemingly mimic the colors of a futuristic Easter egg hunt.

  • Marley: a lavender pink/soft metallic
  • Dannii: a sparkling orchid/metallic
  • Jules: a glimmering gold kiss/metallic
  • Gemma: greenish purple duo-tone/metallic
  • Dove: a pale gray/cream
  • Caitlin: a misty gray violet/cream

Pick any one to carry you from now until the weather warms. I'm not a fan of gold but I would try Jules for sure (especially for an accent nail). You know ZOYA is free of harsh chemicals. Each polish is $7 or you can enjoy all six in a sampler (5 oz per shade)/$36 at www.zoya.com. In stores now.

TRY THIS: Dip your nails in icy cold water for at least 30 seconds to set the polish.
Photo credits: zoya.com

1.17.2011

New at L'Oreal: Le Rouge Lip Color

Most of our best assets are all covered up with our winter wardrobe (hat, scarf, coat, boots). That's why I think lipstick is BIG this season since your mouth is in full focus. GLAMOUR agrees.

My new find is the L'Oreal Infallible Le Rouge collection. Creamy full color in thirty shades. You can sneak a peek since the case is clear at the top. Or go to www.LorealParisUSA.com and check the Infallible Never Fail Makeup Collection tab. All are long-wearing (ten hour claim) and non-drying with a semi-matte finish. Each application initially feels like regular lipstick but after a few minutes, the color kind of seals down. No need for a topcoat because it has a bit of shine. So your mouth appears supple and soft without the color beading. Embossed with the L'Oreal logo for a luxury brand appearance but at a corner drugstore price. Approximately $9 at Walgreens. Perfect for brides and for the gal who doesn't want to fuss with reapplying lipstick throughout the day.

PROS:
Color did not bead when I pressed my lips together.
No fragrance or flavor at all! (Color Riche is too perfumey for me.)
Liked the semi-matte texture when I blotted some of the shine.

CONS:
Color fades after about six hours.
Less product because the lipstick is visibly smaller.

Nonetheless, I will select a few shades for my kit and my cosmetic bag.



(Le Rouge #737/Persistent Plum in both pictures.)

1.16.2011

Wonder Woman Kicks Sass/A MAC Xclusive

MAC has a thing for girl power! Disney Villians, Hello Kitty and Barbie collections were huge most recently. Now girls everywhere can fight off beauty supervillians. Pasty colors and sallow skin beware! It's WONDER WOMAN She Kicks Sass Collection to the rescue. Eye shadow quads, PenUltimate eye liner, lashes and Opulash mascara in black and color (purple/blue & green -- super stoked!!!) for eyes. Lipstick and Lipglass, nail laquer, pigment and Reflects, Mineralize Skinfinish and powder blush duos complete the look. Product is packaged in bright bold colors: signature blue, red and yellow...designs of the Amazonian super-shero. Exclusive extras include a brush set/$49.50, a mirror/$20 and a maybe even a t-shirt. My only question is where are the cuffs???? Available at www.maccosmetics and in stores February 10, 2011!

(photos from google images)

1.11.2011

The Glee Club

OPI has scored big with THE GLEE COLLECTION, in stores next month. "GLEE" fans can show their love by donning shades from the limited edition collection.

Soon to be in SEPHORA and JC Penney, the launch consists of seven shades that take cues from the show: Hell to the No is a vibrant purple. Slushied is the opaque light blue. A pearled green gray called Mash Up and Who Let the Dorks Out, a peacock green, add offbeat flavor to the collection. Diva in Training, a vibrant pink, Gleek Out, a glittery lime green and Miss Bossy Pants, a raspberry shade make it hard to choose/$9 per at www.sephora.com.

In case you can't decide on just one, score big with the mini sets (pictured right). Each includes exclusives -- a glittery top coat Celibacy Club, a navy blue Sue vs Shue and Express Yourself to Yourself, a coral shimmer/$22. Add a personal touch with appliques in special GLEE designs.

Fragrances and cosmetics are rumored to follow. More on nail inspired looks here.

1.10.2011

More on Bath Time Beauty

Getting great comments about your bath rituals. We can agree that bathing is always a time to relax and reduce stress. Adding bath salts to the routine makes it a therapeutic experience.

HIMALAYAN PINK SALT
This crystalline salt is extremely pure, therapeutic, and even nutritious. Contains 84 elements that match the ocean and our bodies. Easily balances the body's PH level, stimulates circulation and pulls toxins from the body. Can even alleviate flu-like symptoms. Add essential oils like lavender or chamomile to destress completely. Try the SAN FRANCISCO BATH SALT COMPANY Himalayan Bath Salt/$18.99 for 5 lbs. Select from fine, medium, or coarse grains and add a scent too. Go to www.sfbsc.com.

DEAD SEA SALT
Taken from the Dead Sea, used in ointments and soaps, this salt is the least drying. A concentration of minerals including magnesium and potassium. It's a natural muscle relaxer, soothing to arthritis and heals a host of skin conditions including psoriasis and eczema. Go to www.ahavaus.com for the JUNIPER Mineral Bath Salt/$22.

EPSOM SALT
A common drug store favorite! It is a cheapie exfoliant that soothes dry skin. Known to draw out fluids to quickly reduce swelling and relieve achy muscles, it's the classic problem solver. Get more ways to use Epsom Salt here.

TABLE SALT
Yes, Sodium Chloride has amazing anti-bacterial properties in crystal form. A potent cleanser that fights acne and combats breakouts. Mixed with grape seed or olive oil, it makes a nice scrub.

Make sure you drink plenty of water to restore fluids that can be depleted. Fill the tub and add two or three scoops of the crystals. Choose from any of the bath salts above to refresh and rejuvenate both body and mind. Be sure to include a bath pillow, lie back and enjoy.

If you're pregnant or have medical issues, consult your doctor first!
(Picture from sfbsc.com)

1.09.2011

Honeycat Cosmetics Giveaway

As a thank you for supporting BLACKswan Beauty, I am happy to announce that the official HONEYCAT COSMETICS giveaway is finally here. You can win all natural products that put a fresh sexy spin on bath time.

Several ways to win:

  1. Subscribe directly to BLACKswan Beauty and leave a comment with your favorite bath time ritual.
  2. "Like" my FaceBook page and leave your comment there.
  3. Follow me on Twitter @BLACKswanBeauty to tweet this giveaway.
  4. Shy about sharing? Send me a message at toscha@blackswanbeauty.com.
NOTE: Be sure to include New2BSB with each comment. Contest open to U.S. residents (in the 50 states/D.C.) only. Winners will be chosen at random on 1/23/11 at 6 pm EST. You will have 24 hours to respond.

1.07.2011

Cold Weather Accessories for Men

Friday is for the Fellas.

It's appropriate that we review the season's warmers: hats, scarves, gloves and thermals. Especially when they're on SALE!

HATS: We all know that heat escapes from the top of your head. Cover your noggin with stylish skullies in cashmere (warmest EVER) and wool ribbed or cable knits. A good circular knit pattern that hugs your head is best/John W. Nordstrom Ribbed Cashmere Cap reg. $55/$35.90 at http://www.nordstrom.com/.

SCARVES: Your scarf is the closet thing to your skin aside from your collar. Cashmere or merino wool are soft and warm so you don't have to worry about fidgeting with scratchy fabrics. S.N.S. Herning Cable Knit Scarf reg. $145/$69 at Barneys.

GLOVES: Our high-tech society has no time to waste with on-the-go communication devices. Keep your digits warm with fold-down fingers...let's you stay in touch. Saks Fifth Avenue Men's Collection Hat & Texting Striped Glove Set reg. $98/$49.00.

THERMALS: You're used to piling layers on top. Skiing, snow tubing or other outdoor activities call for all over warmth. Long underwear, whether cotton, wool or silk, is essential for retaining heat. Merino wool Wicked Warm Underwear at LLBean.com
reg. $54.40/$38.99.

On the hunt for a boutique bargain, visit Eredi Pisano in Midtown/NYC. A bit pricey but I was impressed with the wares and top notch service.

(Picture credits: neimanmarcus.com/saks.com/barneys.com/nordstrom.com.)

1.03.2011

New Year Beauty Affirmations

Each year we make a commitment to start things fresh. A promise to improve our diet, start an exercise program or search for a new career. We also commit to better beauty and grooming habits.

My resolutions include:

Wearing Gloves: While I'm washing dishes or cleaning the bathrooms because the detergents are drying my hands making them hard (not ashy). Nothing pretty about that!

Using Natural Face Cleansers: Love the results from using honey, aloe, and lemon for cleaning my face and fading blemishes. Works better than the benzo wash from the dermatologist for me.

Going to Bed Earlier: Hitting the sack an hour earlier improves skin repair, balances weight gain and rejuvenates persona.

Stretching Every Day: I simply want to be more flexible and agile.

Regular Mani/Pedis: I would like to visit an upscale salon monthly. The Back Room/Hand & Foot Spa @ CAROL'S DAUGHTER, THE POLISH BAR of BROOKLYN, or JIN SOON Hand & Food Spa. I enjoy The Balm of Purity treatment. Go to http://www.jimsoon.com/ to see what services work for you. It's a necessary self indulgence -- enough said!

Get a Massage -- It's therapeutic, improves circulation and releases toxins. Whether it's consulting with my personal LMT, Isis or getting serviced at a spa, I would like to have one at least every four to six weeks.

Share your beauty and fashion resolutions in the comments section. Would love to hear from you!

(pix credit: 88db.com)