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


MAC Me Over -- Fluidline

I was super excited to try the MAC Me Over Collection. The launch targets everyday folks...not just makeup mavens. And this collection has something for's all in the way you play it up (or down).

For those who prefer neutral shades, I have an easy way to incorporate subtle color into your morning makeup. These four Fluidline gel liners are the easiest way to add color and definition to your eyes. The creamy formula glides on smoothly without skimping on color payoff.

Dark With Envy: Blackened Green
Avenue: Charcoal Black w/ a Gold Pearl
Midnight Blues: Blackened Blue
Dark Diversion: Darkened Plum (re-promote)

The shades are the perfect alternative to basic black and brown. Application is made easy with a stiff angled brush for precision. You can also smudge the line for a softer effect. Although they aren't waterproof, each are long wearing...won't fade or budge through your 9 to 5!

I've been looking for an emerald green gel liner forever so I grabbed Dark With Envy. At $15, I may grab another since the launch is limited edition. Personally, I think each would be a great addition to the permanent range...wishful thinking!

MAC Me Over is a 51-piece collection in stores now (U.S.) and on shelves in September abroad!


Friday Favorites

The past few days have been very for a b-day celebration, two tv tapings and a teen makeunder! Typically, I have my "go-to" product pieces and this week was no exception.

If you follow me on twitter (hint: BLACKswanBeauty), you know I can't live without my MAKEUP FOREVER 5 Camouflage Cream Palette No 1 and No 4. It offers complete coverage to diminish dark circles, has a creamy texture and doesn't sink into fine lines. Bonus: Each palette also has a color corrector/$36 at MAKEUPFOREVER.

L'Oreal Color Riche LeGloss has just the right amount of pigment, a light sweet fragrance and emollients to create luscious lips. I recommended Watermelon Crush and Blushing Berry to my teen in place of the dark lipstick she was using to give her two completely different looks. On set, I used Peach Fuzz on top of a coral lipstick/$8 at local drugstores.

I also like cream/gel eye liners because of the long-wear and versatility (perfect for cat eye and smokey/smudged looks). As of late, I'm using MAYBELLINE Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Liner. It comes with a thin applicator brush but I use it with my MAC #266 angled brush for a precise line. I love it in Blackest Black alone -- goes on smooth, delivers an inky color payoff and doesn't budge. I suggest you wait a few minutes for the product to dry down. Another drugstore dandy/$10.

These are a few staples in my makeup bag and kit! They're tried and true and very affordable. What are some of your favorite products?


I Love My Papaya Face Mask

I finally tried the papaya facial treatment. My mix consisted of a ripe papaya (nervous about the aforementioned tingle), honey and yogurt. I blended it into a creamy smooth texture. After removing all traces of makeup, I slathered it onto my face and neck. I felt a slight tingle after a few minutes but nothing that irritated my skin. A cool rinse was followed by my favorite moisturizer, olive oil.

Next morning, my skin felt smooth and I still had a glow. Remember, papaya nourishes the skin with Vitamin A which accelerates cell turnover. Papaya also acts as a natural brightener, slows acne and prevents premature aging. Papain, the enzyme found in the exotic fruit, is a gentle exfoliator that's less irritating than glycolic acid treatments.

Dubbed as the "natural" face lift and used in many products such as toners, moisturizers and facial peels, papaya is perfect for your skin. This treatment was super easy and my skin felt radiant. Thanks to for the heads up!

Would you forgo your cleansing routine for a quick DIY option? So worth it!

The Avocado Hair Treatment

This week I worked with a super talented hair stylist who has incredibly curly honey hued hair. Her hair is gorgeous so I inquired about my dry locks. She recommended I try an avocado treatment for maximum hydration on the cheap end. Familiar with the DIY mask, I personally never tried it. I didn't think it worked well on relaxed hair.

So wrong!

Her recipe is super easy: 1/2 ripe avocado blended with two dollops of mayonnaise.* The mixture is full of proteins, vitamins and oils that are essential for moisturization. I applied it to my freshly shampooed hair for twenty minutes. I washed my hair again to rid it of the concoction and followed with a creamy conditioner (yes, I'm obsessed with conditioner!). After blowing drying my hair, I immediately noticed the shine (sans my "go-to" products -- the ORGANIC Root Stimulator Olive Oil Cream or MIZANI Supreme Oil). My hair had body and looked like I had a salon visit (honest). I'm sure this will become a monthly treatment for my hair routine. If you try it or some other DIY hair mask, I'd love to hear about it.

* In place of mayonnaise, you can use coconut milk.


TheraPearl Eye-ssential Pack

Late nights? Allergies? You can remedy swollen puffy eyes with this cute convenient eye mask. The reusable non-toxic THERAPEARL EYE-SSENTIAL PACK reduces swelling from sleepless nights, waxing, surgery and bruises. Used either hot or cold, the mask conforms to the skin for maximum treatment (20 to 30 minutes). Forget the frozen peas and leaky ice packs. Multi-sized packs provide relief for achy body parts too/$6-$25. For smart relief that's super easy and more information, click here.


The Best Beauty Creams

Makeup can cover a number of skin issues: blemishes, dark circles or rosacea. But you need something to treat these concerns as well. Face and eye creams help to combat alot of issues easily.

A good face cream sort of guarantees clearer skin. It's that simple. You have to determine what meets your needs. Fighting acne, anti-aging, firming, evening skin tone? Focus on your biggest problem.

One of my favorites is L'OREAL PARIS Ideal Skin Genesis Daily Moisturizer SPF 15 Lotion. It's a mild moisturizer that's ideal for sensitive skin, evens skin tone and promotes collagen production, a must for a youthful appearance. It also gives you a luminous finish...soft and dewy/$20 at drugstores. I love this for brides!

Another to try is KINERASE Cream/$110 at This fragrance free moisturizer improves the skin's texture, remedies blotchiness and is perfect for sensitive skin. The active ingredient kinetin reduces lines and wrinkles. Winner of Allure's Best of Beauty Award for four years.

BOSCIA Enlivening Amino-AG Eye Treatment uses all natural ingredients to calm the skin and reduce puffiness. It's a creamy gel blend that gently moisturizes delicate eye tissue so it's good for sensitive skin. Coix seed acts as the anti-inflammatory (counters bags), Tocopherol Vitamin E promotes circulation and diminishes dark circles and Willowherb reduces redness/$38 at Sephora.

Worried about wrinkles around the eyes? Peptides are all the rage to fight crow's feet around delicate eye tissue. Try PATRICIA WEXLER M.D. Dermatology Intensive 3-in-1 Eye Cream. Lifts, firms and contains an anti-aging formula. Talk about triple play/$32.50 at Bath & Body Works.

Do you use a little miracle in a jar? Share your favorite beauty creams with us.


The ALLURE Beauty Product Finder

Did you hear about ALLURE's Beauty Product Finder?

Get recommendations for hair, skin and makeup...all tested by ALLURE's editors and experts.

Each product suggestion is personalized...tailored to your needs and even your budget! Go to their site now to check it out for yourself!