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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.

1.31.2012

New Shoes from RACHEL ROY

Designer, RACHEL ROY, is set to launch a high-end footwear line this August. After working with Manolo Blahnik, her former mentor, on her previous runway collections, she's sure to have stellar shoes. The 30-piece collection will consist of flats, booties and stilettos in between it all. Expect a mix of materials and textures upon debut: snakeskin, suede, and wool paired with patterned polka dots, animal prints and even gingham. RACHEL wants the shoes to represent what she wants to be -- "strong and sexy." The retail prices range from $195 to $600.
(WWD)

1.30.2012

Makeover Monday: Bright & Bold Revisited









What do Rihanna, Lady GaGa and Nicki Minaj have in common? They are style chameleons and have an unpredictable love affair with makeup. Their looks border on sexy, trashy, over the top and even outrageous. Big fake lashes, rainbow lids, candy-colored 'do's, matte mouths...and yet, it defines them and becomes part of their character. Do you think these ladies should be imitated or admired from afar?















photo credits: irishblog.ie, rihannadaily.com; stylebistro.com

photo credits: handbag.com; bexbosworthx.tumblr.com;

photo credits: exclaim.ca; notquitemillionaires.com; thirty86.com

1.27.2012

What Lies Beneath

Fall's femininity calls for form liquid leggings and hip-hugging pencil skirts. So let's be honest, we all want "a body like a coke bottle"...think Marilyn Monroe, Tyra Banks, or Beyonce. These women represent femininity all around. With the right undergarments, we can achieve the look too. "Underwear creates form, control and sensuality." (June Ambrose/"The Right Fit"). Subtle sensuality? That's a good look.









GET SIZED UP...A bra that fits well will lift your breasts, create the perfect cleavage and eliminate back fat! Remember, our bodies change over time. Spillage, discomfort or a gap between the cups are clues that we have an incorrect fit. For a bra makeover, go to http://www.myintimacy.com/ to reserve a FREE in store fitting. You can also ask a fitting consulting for assistance in the lingerie department or at the ever popular, VICTORIA'S SECRET. Whether you choose a push up or wire-free style, remember to replace your bras every six months to always look your best.



NOTE: It's important to see a bra fitting consultant particularly after breast surgeries for a better fit and to aid healing.

A LITTLE CONTROL..Over the years, women (and men) have gotten bigger while our clothing has become skimpier, tighter, and sheerer. Shapewear undergarments are designed to lift, smooth, contour, and minimize undesirable bulges. This is not the panty girdle of yesteryear. These items create the illusion of a tighter torso, lift the booty, and slim the thighs. Looking beyond Spanx, Assets' Sensational Shaper ($20), provides tummy control and eliminates bulges while Maidenform's Control It! Waistnipper Brief ($26) promises to cinch the waist. When shopping for body shapers, have in mind level of comfort as well as convenience...we do not want to have an issue when nature calls!


OPTIONS INCLUDE: Camisoles: Camis or shapewear bras such as the SassyBax Torso Trim ($68) comes with a built-in bra. It smooths back fat and trims the waist under thin fabric with compression. Try Maidenform's Ultimate Instant Slimmer Torsette ($42) "with 360 degree shaping." Full & Half Slips: Shapewear slips pull in the tummy and rear to keep clothes in place under sheer dresses and skirts. High-waisted versions eliminate the dreaded muffin top. New technology promises to keep the hem from riding up as well. Try Calvin Klein's Half-Slip with Lycra. The Shaper Thong: Similar to a standard thong with a high-rise control panel which is ideal for low-rise pants and jeans. Check out Maidenform's Control-it Thong ($20). For an instant hourglass figure, try Luleh's Retro Chic Waist Nipper @ Macy's for $34/sized up to 2XL. For sexier stylish intimates, view the look book @ Haute Contour by Spanx @ http://www.spanx.com/ where fashion, technology and shapewear unite.


BEST KEPT SECRET: Yes, men wear them too! Male shapewear includes "mirdles" or man girdles, also known as support boxers. Go Softwear's Waist Eliminator brief ($26) @ http://www.gosoftwear.com/ has a waistband that extends up the midsection to minimize love handles. Also check out Calvin Klein's Pro Stretch shapewear available at Bloomingdales for a sexy take on "tighty whities." Ript Fusion's Firm Control Shapewear V-Neck T-Shirt has a firming control panel in the midsection to sculpt and smooth from chest to hips. The moisture-wicking fabric stays cool and dry and it's perfect for layering at http://www.barenecessities.com/ for $58!


Even if you don't have the perfect figure, shapewear has the perfect solution for every body. Remember, it all begins with what lies beneath. For tips on purchasing shapewear or an in-house fitting with a shapewear consultant, please contact me directly at blackswanbeauty101@gmail.com.

1.26.2012

More Underthings: For Those with "Hips & Curves"

My previous post featured lacy underthings for women up to size 12? Size 14 at best. We know that doesn't work for everyone. Every woman wants to feel pretty and sensual with confidence. For the girl who is more voluptuous, check out HIPS & CURVES. The site carries lingerie, shape wear, hosiery (and even accessories and costumes) to add to your va-va-voom. The bras and panties are super girly and the unmentionables range from pretty to provocative. All at a great price point -- $20's to $40's on average. Happy Shopping!






(photos from HipsandCurves.com)


Victoria's Secret Designer Collection





VICTORIA's SECRET has gone high-end to compete with luxury brands like Agent Provocateur. No worries...they will still carry the 5/$26 cotton panties but this is something special. The company describes the launch as "Timeless and glamorous. Spirited and sensual. Lingerie only VICTORIA's SECRET could create." Seemingly, it's going well as the collection is almost sold out!

Deep plunging bras, see-through baby dolls, silky kimonos and more are part of the VICTORIA's SECRET DESIGNER COLLECTION. Available online and in five locations, including NYC Lexington Avenue and Herald Square mega stores. The sexy unmentionables range from $38 to $298. No need to wait til next month's lover's holiday...slip into luxury lingerie available at the local mall! Do you think you will splurge on these items?






(via HuffingtonPost.com and VictoriasSecret.com)

1.23.2012

Kimora Lee Simmons to Launch Shinto Clinical

Supermodel. Makeup maven. Fashion and fragrance designer.

Kimora Lee Simmons has worn many hats throughout her successful career. Now she's set to introduce SHINTO CLINICAL. This skincare line incorporates the best of both worlds -- treatments and technology from Eastern and Western culture. Kimora has worked on the collection for two years with a New York dermatologist. The nine-piece product launch includes good for you ingredients like fish oils, pearl powder, omegas and kelp extract. Look for an anti-aging cleanser, a microdermabrasion cream and an anti-cellulite cream among the goods.


Her hopes are to present the launch as "colorless and ageless" offering something for every woman. Expect a QVC debut February 24th with a retail launch soon after. Stores set to carry the collection: Nordstrom and Fred Segal.

1.20.2012

Budget Beauty: 15 Under $15

If you're obsessed with all things beauty but are on a budget, check out this months favs all under $15!

Take it all off with in one sweep with NEUTROGENA Deep Clean Oil-Free Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes/$8.

Long-wearing (up to 8-hours) velvety soft shadows that look like pressed loose pigments. A new addition to the Infallible collection from L'OREAL PARIS. My first introduction to the Infallible Eye Shadow was at a L'OREAL Sublime Sun Care launch last year. We created the perfect sun kissed looks with Sahara Treasure and Bronzed Divine (pictured left). It's an amazing piece of product for only $7.95.

A detoxing mask infused with orange and bergamot that draws out impurities and absorbs excess oil. Cleans and clears skin for a brighter complexion. FORMULA 10.0.6 Deep Down Detox Ultra Cleansing Mud Mask/$6. Left my skin feeling fresh and hydrated. I really like it!

SHEA MOISTURE Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo. Hydrates, smooths and repairs dry hair with minerals, Rosemary extract, Sea Kelp and Shea butter. Upon contact with wet hair, you feel the difference...immediately softens hair/$9.99 at Walgreens, Target and Duane Reade.

Makes lips softer, improves texture and color of our lips within seven days in six pretty colors. Even protects with SPF 20 -- NEUTROGENA Revitalizing Lip Balm SPF 20. Can be used as often as you like/$8.99 at drugstores.

I fell in love with the opaque creamy finishes of MAC Cosmetics Tour de Fabulous Tinted Lip Glass in Style Packed (a vibrant hot pink) and of course, Knockout (bold glossy orange)/$14.50.

LAVANILLA Healthy Body Butter To Go -- ultra rich body butter that's naturally formulated with Shea and cocoa butters, anti-oxidants from the Gogi berry and other minerals that are delicious for the skin. At Sephora/$10.

Oil-free body scrub with salicylic acid and green tea extract treat breakouts on your back, shoulders, and chest. Gently exfoliates and reduces redness. ST. IVES Naturally Clear Body Scrub Green Tea/$6.19 at drugstore.com.

ORGANIC ROOT Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner Deep penetrating conditioner rebuilds damaged hair and restores moisture. Up to $9.99 at beauty supply stores.

MAYBELLINE Color Tattoo 24Hr Cream Gel Shadow Smudge proof cream shadows that can be worn alone or act as base for powders...think MUFE Aqua Creams or MAC Paint Pots. Any shadow that won't crease works for me. Ten shades at $6.99 each.

Falsies add instant glam to your look. ARDELL Lashes have a lash for every occasion. Lightweight, reusable and easy to apply (even comes with a "starter kit"). I like the #110/Demi Lash./$4.99 at CVS.

OPI nails it every time with the gorgeous collaborations they create. Check out the Nicki Minaj Nail Lacquer 2012 Collection. Pink Friday and the Super Bass Shatter are my favs/$8.50.

Take away the shine with PALLADIO Rice Paper Tissues with Rice Powder. For approximately $4, double-sided oil-absorbing tissues made with natural rice gently attack your shiny T-zone. Available at Ulta locations.

Oral hygiene products get recycled -- PRESERVE Toothbrush handles are made from recycled yogurt cups (cool, right?)! Sign up for their subscription program and every three months, a new toothbrush is delivered to your doorstep/$15 annually. A partnered company grinds it into plastic lumber for picnic tables and park benches. I like the tiered bristles (yes, they're new) and the easy-to-grip shape. Plus their BPA free!

SCHICK QUATTRO for Women Disposable Razor is $7.50 for a pack of three. Ultra-thin blades easily glide over skin for a close smooth shave. With two conditioning strips and a sweet raspberry scented handle. What's not to love?

If you have a bargain beauty find under $15, please share it in the comments section below.

Meeting in the Men's (G)Room

Guys, here's a head's up. The New Year is the perfect time to start taking better care of yourself! Let unrealistic resolutions fall to the wayside. Take care of your grooming needs with these easy expert recommendations to put your best face (and body) forward.

1. Hydrate and Hydrate Some More. Adding a few extra minutes to your grooming routine this winter will really pay off. A few minutes once a week is all it takes. CLARINS HydraQuench Cream Mask/$35 simply restores moisture to your face. The name says it all...it quenches thirsty skin.

2. Switch Up Your Shaving Stuff. Dried out after shaving? You need a rich shaving cream, sans the alcohol, to soften hairs for a close comfortable shave and protect the skin from dryness and razor burn. The ART OF SHAVING Cream/$22 --Unscented is your go to...perfect for sensitive skin too.

3. Get Rid of Dead Skin. Dead skin cells may have your face looking a bit dull. Get into the habit of exfoliating at least twice a week with a gentle scrub. CLARINSMEN Active Face Scrub/$19.50 sloughs away lifeless skin cells that can dull skin. TIP: Mix it with your cleanser for a two and one clean!

4. Give Eyes Some Attention. Guys sometimes ignore the eye area. It's a must for EVERYbody to treat the delicate skin around your eyes. Temporarily depuff and decrinkle with PETER THOMAS ROTH Instant FirmX Eye/$38 . Pat away excess residue with fingertips or a damp cloth.

5. Soften Up Your Hands. Hand washing, sanitizers and cold weather can dry out your hands. Slather on a rich hand cream to winter-proof and protect your skin. LAB SERIES Get Recharged Active Hand Cream/$15 soothes dryness with mineral rich electrolytes that replenish moisture.

6. Try a Fancy Shower Gel/$22. A luxe shower gel that smells good will perk up your image and ego. A confident man is always sexy...enough said!


Thanks to beauty editor, Baze Mpinja for MACY's, who shared this tidbit via Twitter.

1.19.2012

Lash Out Like Katy Perry

KATY PERRY is known for her bright baby blues which are always framed with dark plush lashes. After the lash lover rocked these lashes throughout her tour, she's sharing her obsession with everyone. The California girl is launching a line of false eyelashes with the lash specialists, Eylure. The brand has created alluring looks for beauties over the decades: Sophia Loren, Marlene Dietrich and Elizabeth Taylor to name a few.

Coming to Ulta next month, the range mimics her signature style. Four looks from sweet to sexy:


  • Oh, My/(purple box): A layered lash look that's daring yet flattering.

  • Cool Kitty/(blue box): Can be worn day or night.

  • Oh, Honey/(yellow box): A full lash with a natural finish. Takes your lashes from from fine to fab!

  • Sweetie Pie/(pink box): A dainty lash that discreetly adds length and volume.

Luxurious lashes at an affordable price...only $6.99 each.

(photo from Ulta)

1.12.2012

BOBBI BROWN Neons & Nudes Collection

The year is off to a bright start thanks to the BOBBI BROWN Neons & Nudes Collection. She's launched the best of both worlds, barely-there color nudes with jolts of color for a striking modern look that looks effortless. I think I'm in love with the contrast of it all.

Create stunning looks with the limited edition collection which includes the Ultra Nude Eye Palette ($45) -- six shades of shadow that we're accustomed to seeing from the makeup maven. The best part is they are universally flattering on everyone. The shadows compliment the bright sheer glosses. Super shiny color in Citrus, Cosmic Pink, and Ultra Violet ($23). There's also a choice of stay-put lipsticks in Atomic Orange, Neon Pink and Uber Beige ($23)that treat your lips to rich color with a soft-matte finish. A hydrating blend of Vitamins C and E keep lips supple along with Beeswax for a comfortable wear.

Two other eye-popping shadows are included, Ultra Violet Shimmer Wash and Bluebell, ($21) an Ink Liner in Really Black ($24) for the precise look of liquid liner and two soft blushes in Nude Peach and Nude Pink ($24). Carry it all in a black cosmetic bag with (what else?) neon pink accents.

I haven't tried any product from the collection yet but I'm curious to know about the color payoff for the bright shadows. Please share if you've tried them already...Thanks dolls!









(via everythingbobbi.com)


Diane von Furstenberg Oversized Ombre Sunglasses

DIANE von FURSTENBERG is one of my favorite designers. Her clothes are classic and her accessories are timeless. Like these oversized shades....so Hollywood and oh so hot! They're perfect for most any face shape.

Retro-inspired acetate specs with dark amber gradient lenses. No need to wait for spring in my opinion. These are a must have at Nordstrom/$150.

To see if this frame fits your face, click here.

1.11.2012

Beauty Blunder: How to Cover a Cold Sore

Although they usually clear up within a week or so cold sores are an eyesore! It's hard to feel your best with a cold sore. It seems like the blister is the only thing anyone can focus on. Fortunately, cold sores can be covered up easily while it heals.

Treat It: Applying a thin layer of an OTC ointment like Blistex or Abreva prevents infection and discomfort. Products that contain camphor and benzocaine effectively speed healing time. At the first sign of a cold sore, applying ice supposedly slows the growth rate and relieves pain. Tea contains tannic acid, an ingredient found in some OTC meds for cold store relief. Place a moistened tea bag directly over the area for a few minutes every couple of hours. Keep the cold sore soft to speed healing time with aloe vera. Its said that a cotton ball soaked in milk also provides comfort. Avoid spicy or salty foods and citrus fruits that can aggravate a cold sore.


Cover It: Make sure the cold sore is moistened to avoid makeup sinking into the crevices. Using a Q-tip, gently stipple on a green color corrector (to neutralize the redness) like LOREAL's Studio Secrets Professional Anti-Redness Primer or a creamy concealer directly on the spot. Be sure to use a new Q-tip each time. Then take non-latex sponge to tap it in to avoid spreading the germs. After, dip a cotton ball into powder to lightly brush over the cold sore to ensure the coverage will last. If the cold sore is on your lips, apply lip color with a Q-tip or disposable lip brush. I suggest a soft neutral shade of gloss and play up your eyes instead with color.


If you try these tips, please let me know how they worked for you.


(photo from depositphotos.com)

1.10.2012

MAC Mineralize Skin Care Collection

New to the world of skincare is the MAC Mineralize Skin Care Collection. The technology is ionized super-duo charged water (think regular water vs. Vitamin Water).


My favorite product is the Mineralize Charged Water Cleanser which gently removes makeup without scrubbing, leaving skin clean and conditioned. What's more is there is no oily residue left behind. Your skin feels good (not tight, greasy or wet) and is immediately ready for makeup application. It's perfect for cleanup. Mineralize Charged Water Moisture Gel is a super light hydrating gel. The Mineralize Charged Water Eye Cream reduces puffiness and minimizes dark circles. Also includes Mineralize Charged Water Face & Body Lotion which feels dewy (not sticky) and seals in moisture. The Mineralize Charged Water has a soft citrus scent that refreshes skin. I think this is an ideal product for summer in a travel size. All product is available in store and online in the U.S. Prices range from $23 to $37.
















































1.09.2012

Three DIY Beauty Eye Serums

Serums are little wonder tubes that erase unwanted laugh lines and frown lines on the forehead. Highly concentrated ingredients (vitamins, peptides and antioxidants) are delivered deep into the skin to provide quicker results. Eye serums specifically treat wrinkles and crow's feet taking years off your peepers. Early prevention and treatment are key to a fresh face and youthful appearance. Get maximum results at home when you concoct these remedies yourself at minimum cost.

Ultimate Eye Serum
1 tablespoon of Grape Seed Oil
1 teaspoon of Carrot Oil
1 teaspoon Pomegranate Seed Oil
1 teaspoon Cranberry Seed Oil

Combine ingredients in a clean dry glass bottle. Apply one drop to each eye. Grape seed oil is antioxidant, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory and easily absorbs into the skin. Pomegranate oil fights free radicals and promotes skin regeneration. Cranberry seed oil is rich in Vitamin E, Omega 3s, 6s and 9s.

Anti-Aging Eye Serum
1 oz of Jojoba Oil
5 drops of Rose Oil
5 drops of Chamomile Oil
5 drops of Apricot-Kernel Oil

Mix oils in glass jar and apply below your eyes and on the brow bone. This serum has restorative qualities to help keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay. Jojoba oil penetrates the three layers of skin and the Vitamin E in jojoba oil softens skin. Rose oil and Chamomile oil speed in skin cell turnover while Apricot-Kernel oil protects the sensitive skin around the eye from the cold and dryness (read: wrinkle-free).

Anti-Wrinkle Eye Serum
15 drops of Jojoba Oil
2 tablespoons of Hazelnut Oil
3 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
3 drops of Rosewood Essential Oil
2 Capsules of Vitamin E

Combine and store oils in glass jar. Use this as part of your nighttime routine for a refreshed face in the morning. Rosewood seed oil is rich in Vitamin A which delays aging and assists in cell regeneration. It also increases collagen and restores elasticity and firmness around the eye. Hazelnut oil is emollient, strengthens capillaries and is great for all skin types.

Although these DIY treatments are super moisturizing, traditionally, eye serums are not hydrating but work well with a moisturizer. It's recommended that your moisturizer is layered on top to seal in active ingredients around the delicate eye area. Natural ingredients may be less irritating but be sure to test the area first to avoid allergic reactions. Using eye serums is a personal choice so decide if it fits into your beauty routine.

(Recipes via myskin.com. Photo from googleimages.com)

1.07.2012

LOOK BOOK: H&M Spring 2012

Although it seems light years away, Spring is coming! And H&M gives us something to look forward to. The H&M SPRING 2012 COLLECTION introduces us to a brilliant mixture of clean silhouettes, fluid shapes, stripes, florals AND 70's inspired wear in bright hues. Citrus yellows, fruity oranges and crisp whites compliment soft apricots, apple greens and shades of blue. Liya Kebede is the perfect beauty to inspire style addicts everywhere. Cheap and chic clothes can be yours...be on the lookout! Till then, stay warm!


























































(photos from H&M)