Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stila, Do Tell, How Do You Do This EVERY Time?

Holy mother of all things holy. This is makeup at a whole new level. You have not lived until your lips have touched this gloss and your eyes have been blessed by these ethereal wands of beauty. I'm not usually an edit (heavily), copy and paste kind of girl but these beauties have left me speechless....

Stila Jewel Luxe Lip Gloss Trio: Feels Like Heaven Made from the Earth.
These three glosses glide on seamlessly and leave a celestial wave of sequin-like reflections on the lips. With a taste more like dessert, it's surprising that the ingredients are actually more closely related to dirt, containing Stila's Exclusive Gem Complex made of diamond, emerald, jade, ruby, moonstone, rose quartz, sapphire, topaz, amethyst, amber, garnet, mother of pearl, and opal. Mango seed butter, goa seed butter, and shea butter smooth out this formula for an irresistible pout. I have NEVER put anything better on my lips. EVER.

Stila Black Diamond Mascara
Paraben free mascara swirled with genuine diamond powder. This precise mascara adheres tightly to your lashes leaving them simply, beautifully enhanced. The genuine black diamond powder brings out the color of your eyes. Shades include: Black Shimmer (black with silver shimmer) and blue Shimmer (black with blue shimmer)

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
The picture does NOT do this thin marker-like justice. I have never seen more narrow or dense applicator which virtually guarantees ease of use for even the least experienced make up beginner, while also delivering a defined thin line or even a dramatic bold line with precision. A-MAY-zing

The products in this post were provided to Beauty's SPOT for free (I know, you hate me) for editorial review.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Living of Love-ly Lip Gloss

There's an Avett Brothers song that goes something like, when they ask you what you are living for say, 'love'. Just in time for the season where we are all reminded (happily or otherwise) to live with love, Estee Lauder unveils the Love Your Lips limited edition collection. I adored this lovely little lip gloss the second it came out of the package. The gloss itself is long lasting, sweet, and the perfect subtle pink. The fashionably inscribed packaging reminds us every time we reapply what exactly we're living for. Enjoy!

Products in this post were provided to Beauty's Spot free of charge for editorial review.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hand Heaven: The Trick to Smooth Silky Winter Hands

For years when winter skin debuted its increasingly painful, red, poison-ivy like patches on the inner third of my hands, I simply amassed tubes of various lotions in my over-sized bag and layered the lotions until my computer screen was greasy and my apples tasted like Shea butter. Still no matter how much I layered, the patchy roughness stayed. I was making one major mistake. Heaping gobs of lotions, butters and balms on top of already damaged skin doesn't actually take away the nasty elementary school teacher hands. Exfoliation, dears. Not just any exfoliation - organic super fruit exfoliation. For flawless friendly fingers, especially in winter, I've found two musts:

1) Noah's Naturals Age Defying Brazilian Body Polish with Acai Berry. Simply replace your hand soap with this hard working extract packed and plant oil plumped polish and voila - sixteen year old hands.

2) Dr. Obagi's ZO Skin Health Daily Hand Repair SPF 20. Who doesn't want to protect their hands from the sun's harmful rays? With this luxe lovely lotion your newly buffed hands will be soaking up saturation and shielded from the sun. Love.

Full discolsure: The products in this post were provided at no cost for editorial review.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Same Questions I Ask Everyone with Liz Earle

I first laid eyes on the Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare line a year and half ago during its long-awaited US launch. (The Brits had been keeping it from us for over a decade!) Since that time I have known this in an exceptional collection of unique, effective, even spiritual products.

Growing up I had a theory that beauty actually came only from the inside and that depending on your metal health and general happiness you could actually increase your beauty. (Since then I've watched enough reality television to know that beauty comes on the outside of many packages, some beautiful on the inside and some, well, not.)
Still, Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare is the only skincare line that I actually feel works in that same way. Perhaps it's Liz's extensive botanical knowledge or the care put into the cultivation of each product but I actually feel as if Liz's products harness the power of your inner beauty and maximize the potential of your outer beauty. In fact I've spent most of the week thinking that since my Superskin Concentrate (an oil I smother beneath my eyes every morning) and my Bust Treatment are nearly gone it is proof that my life is in fact dirt.
Then I was granted an interview with this most brilliant goddess of skincare, Liz Earle herself. Though I am honored by every skincare entrepreneur who graces the pages of Beauty's SPOT to have Liz Earle visit with us is a true honor. I hope you learn as much as I did from reading her words of wisdom. As a former beauty editor and author of 30 titles, Liz has paved a beautiful path for the rest of us to follow.

1. What is your first memory of beauty products?

My father is a keen gardener and plantsman and I spent many a long hot summer helping him dig, plant and harvest home-grown herbs, vegetables and flowers, and I’ve always had a passion for researching the fascinating properties of plants and the effects they can have on the skin.

This lifelong fascination with botanicals and natural remedies led to my early career as a magazine health and beauty editor. I went on to write several bestselling books on the therapeutic power of herbs, plants, vitamins and essential oils. My good friend (and now business partner) Kim Buckland had the original idea to bring much of my research and specialist knowledge together to create a wonderful range of affordable, pampering, fuss-free skincare treats that actually work! That was 15 years ago and the rest, as they say, is history.

2. At what age did you start wearing makeup?

I think I probably started experimenting with lip gloss and glittery nail varnish at around the age of 10, similar to my own daughters now!

3. If you could apply only one product for the next month what would it be?

Here in the UK we have had a real cold snap, so over the next month I will be focusing on ensuring that my skin is well hydrated, nourished and protected from the elements. The best ingredients for helping your skin to retain its own moisture reserves are plant oils which mimic the skin’s own naturally effective moisture barrier, sebum. Our Superskin range is designed to hydrate, nourish and protect your skin. Specially formulated with powerful naturally active ingredients rich in GLA, omega-3 and antioxidants, these botanical skin-savers plump, smooth and deeply moisturise skin that needs a little extra help during these colder winter months. Therefore, the one product that I would apply for the next month to help protect my winter worn skin is our botanical wonder-cream, Superskin Moisturiser. This purely plant-based formula really does create ‘super skin’ and I absolutely always double-check I have at least one jar in my bag. I absolutely will not leave home without it!

4. If you could give one product to all women in the world what would it be?

The cornerstone of effective skincare is cleansing. Cleansing is integral to achieve a clear complexion by getting rid of daily grime and impurities to keep your skin clean and prevent blemishes. The starting point for smooth, radiantly clear skin is undoubtedly our multi-award winning Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser which celebrates its 15th Anniversary this year. This luxuriously creamy, plant-based cleanser is used together with the pure cotton muslin cloth provided which helps to boost the circulation and stimulate cell renewal to help keep skin soft and smooth. The Cleanse & Polish is enriched with purifying rosemary and eucalyptus extracts and skin softening cocoa butter, while the soft muslin cloth has the perfect texture to gently exfoliate by buffing away dead skin cells, revealing instant radiance. This unique two-phase cleanser really is the starting point for healthy, glowing skin, whatever your age or skin type (from very dry to even acne-prone) making it my number one choice for a product to give all women in the world. Cleanse & Polish is a fuss-free pampering treatment that all women can depend on.

5. If you could ban one harmful ingredient from all beauty products what would it be?

Although mineral oils are not harmful, I would suggest that all bland mineral oils, used in beauty products, should be replaced with potent plant oils. I am a firm believer in the potent powers of plant oils to make a genuine difference to your skin. Plant oils are absorbed within the upper levels of the epidermis so they soften far more than mineral oils. Plant oils are much more compatible with the skin and they mimic the skin’s own naturally effective moisture barrier, sebum, and leave skin silky smooth. They are also rich in the natural form of Vitamin E and skin-saving essential fatty acids, which is why we only use plant oils, not mineral oil, in the Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare range.

6. What is your favorite skincare ingredient?

I swear by natural source vitamin E. I could practically write a book just about this wonderful skin-friendly substance, mainly derived from vegetable oils. As natural source vitamin E is up to three times more potent than the synthetic variety, we only ever use the naturally derived vitamin E in our products. Naturally sourced vitamin E helps to defend the skin from damaging effects of ultraviolet light, to optimize moister levels and improve appearance. It also delays skin ageing by fighting free radicals. One of the main ways vitamin E works is by protecting the phospholipids (fatty acids) in cell membranes, which form the ‘cement’ of the skin barrier and are major targets of attack by free radicals. As well as looking for naturally sourced vitamin E in skincare, I also recommend taking it internally as it can act as an internal anti-ager, making you beautiful from the inside out. As vitamin E is not as easily found in foods as other vitamins (its main sources are avocados, nuts and seeds), a daily supplement is useful – but look for the words ‘natural source’ on the pack.

7. What is the last product you created?

We recently added three new products to our top selling Superskin range; Superskin Eye & Lip Treatment, Superskin Bust Treatment and Superskin Body Cream. My favorite is our Superskin Body Cream as this ultra-rich body cream is our most intensive moisturiser ever, helping mature or very dry skin look and feel rejuvenated and replenished. At the heart of our Superskin Body Cream, we are using a variety of shea butter from a lesser known sub-species. Shea butter produced from the nuts of the East African shea, Vitellaria paradoxa nilotica, is lighter and finer in texture and so sinks more easily into the upper levels of the epidermis. This enables us to use more of it without overloading the skin or causing any kind of greasiness. You can see a clip of our senior botanist, Jennifer Hirsch, and me with the women’s co-operative who harvest this for us in Northern Uganda on a field-trip last year [click here]. The plant-based formula really does create ‘super skin’ and is rich in skin protecting omega 3, 6 and 9 from cranberry seeds as well as free radical fighting antioxidants. Although we can never turn back time, the Superskin range certainly slows the clock’s ticking, leaving skin visibly plump, smooth and replenished.

8. Who is the business woman you most admire?

I really admire the work of Robin Coe-Hutshing– the founder & creative director at STUDIO BEAUTYMIX at Fred Segal. STUDIO has a global reputation for being on the cutting-edge of new trends and products in the beauty world. We share their passion for promoting beauty, health and wellness in unique high-end luxury products, which is why we are delighted to be included by having our products available there.

9. Whose beauty do you most admire?

On a visit to Morocco I was astounded by the effortless beauty of the Berber women in the Hammams of Marrakesh. I noticed that despite the fiercely hot climate, the women had the most beautiful smooth skin and glossy hair. It was then that I found out about argan oil or the ‘Gold of Morocco’, which has been used traditionally by the Berber women for centuries to keep their skin smooth and youthful. I knew I had to include this precious essential oil in the Liz Earle range, and so we developed Superskin Concentrate, a super-intense aromatic blend of 100% pure plant oils with vitamin E rich argan oil- a restoring treat for all skin types, inspired by the stunning beauty of the Berber women.

10. What was your best Spa experience?

One of my all-time favourites is the ‘eco-spa’ Sasaab in Kenya – a magical eco-lodge in the Samburu hills with the most spectacular views of Africa. An idyllic setting with luxurious tented rooms, superb simple fresh food and charming, friendly service. A truly tranquil hideaway!

11. Besides your own, what is your favorite brand?

I am a big fan of Aromatherapy Associates who, like us, never compromise of the quality of the efficacy of their lovely aromatherapy treatments. They can often be found in some of the nicer spa locations around the world and are well worth making time for as a special treat.

Read more about Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare on Beauty's SPOT...

Some products mentioned in this post were provided to Beauty's SPOT for free as editorial samples.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pagosa Springs: Colorado's Hidden Gem

The poor man's SPA (or is it the only authentic definition of SPA?) is the hot spring, bubbling up naturally from between shifting tectonic plates, releasing the heat of an earth rumbling largely unnoticed in many parts of the world, or in this case - across the San Juan river. In what must be a massively under-mentioned impossibility of metaphysics, with coffee shop patios and a paved dog path just across the river, a piece of heaven has clearly descended into the center of Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

I have soaked in hot springs threaded with algae in the middle of Yosemite and in ones corralled by ugly 80's style hot tubs along the banks of the french broad river as it cuts through what remains of the ever-shrinking Appalachians. In fact last year I got a bit obsessed and toured every hot spring in Truth or Consequences, a New Mexican town built around it's abundance of hot spring resorts, and Ojo Caliente - the place so dear to me I mention it only in passing hoping you'll forget and leave me my most perfect paradise. The challenge facing these excessively generous gifts from the earth is they must stratle the line between hippie paradises with naked old wrinkly European men smoking hash and engaging you in seemingly benign conversation and the Los Angeles refugee seeking spiritual healing from her excess - but you know, not TOO much retreat. "Yoga-laties on site please!"

Pagoasa Springs is the revelation of hot springs. There is no Hot Spring in America that more adeptly quenches the thirst of all those who may be seeking healing from the earth or just a good manly dip in a snow-banked river between soaks. With the peaks of the San Juan Mountains scratching a piercing blue sky all around you and a crystal clear river providing prey to the fly fishermen beneath you, I promise you will never have a better soak than in the waters the Natives called "Pah gosah."

I can imagine no better place to turn 29 and I'm quite certain that while laying out on a slab of rock in my bikini with 103 degree water massaging my back and the Colorado sun rehabilitating my sickly white skin, something changed in me. Something fundamental, like an internal polar shift and without my even noticing it, on the last day of 2009, while turning 29, happiness became me.