I’m always stunned when the fall fashion mags start to arrive in my mailbox. How can I think about sweaters and boots when it’s 95 degrees outside–and it’s still AUGUST, for pete’s sake? Alas, the retail world moves on a different schedule than the rest of us. It’s often necessary to shop for fall wardrobe items during the summer, as the selection will already be picked over b Labor Day. Luckily, this doesn’t apply to the beauty world; at least, not entirely. While pre-fall beauty launches are hitting store shelves already, unless they’re limited edition, you can count on them sticking around and remaining available throughout the coming season. Here are some of the best people, places, and things that have come across my radar screen lately–I’m happy to share them with you!
NARS Como Lip Gloss
YLBB–if you’re a regular reader of beauty blogs, you’ve seen this before. It’s shorthand for “your lips, but better”–basically, the holy grail of lip products. If you’re going to own one shade of lipstick or gloss, this is it. Bobbi Brown’s trick for finding your perfect shade? Tug softly on your lower lip and look at the inside of your mouth. Slightly gross, but that’s the color you’re going for. My YLBB shade is this sheer, plummy gorgeousness from NARS; a non-stinging plumping formula speckled with subtle gold shimmer, I’ve been living in this all summer long.
Pureology Highlight Stylist line
A new, multilayered haircut means it’s time to revamp my styling routine. I’m partial to the Pureology Highlight Stylist line, a collection of new products that are designed to nurture highlighted hair while helping it to sparkle. Though my highlights aren’t intentional–the ends of my hair have just bleached out from spending time in the sun and the water–this product line is great for me. There’s a volumizing foam and an addictive hair gel with little gold sparkles in it (whether they actually show up in the hair is another matter–but they’re cool to look at). The real star of the line, though, is the Sea-Kissed Texturizer Salt-Free Tousle Mist. If your hair is dry at all, salt can just make it worse; this spray uses food-grade red algae (who knew there was such a thing?) to texturize without the crunch. To say that I love this is an understatement.
Locally available at Ulta stores, and online at pureology.com
Kelly Kish at Nordstrom Beachwood
When it comes to department store makeup shopping, my mantra is: find a makeup artist you love to work with, and then buy everything from her or him. An unspoken fact is that most m/u artists at these big retailers, like Saks or Nordstrom, are free to roam the floor if they’re helping their own customer–this is so that they will get the commission from the entire sale and not just what you buy from their line. I recently met someone I adore at Nordstrom Beachwood Place–Kelly Kish. A sprightly gal with a great smile who has such great skin that she looks amazing with no makeup and just her platinum pixie, she makes me feel right at home and always bends over backward to help me get what I need. She’s incredibly knowledgeable and experienced, too; now she’s working for the skincare brand Philosophy, but before that she was with Dior, and she always helps me with YSL (my current fave makeup brand). Definitely seek her out for your next makeup or skincare revamp!
OK, so I am totally skeptical about “cure-all” skin creams. I mean, the whole “miracle-in-a-bottle” thing is the number one biggest cliche in skincare; it’s the whole reason that some people, like my mom, swear off anything but sunscreen and Aquaphor. Dermatologists tend to agree, although they say that retinoids are the miracle that we should all be using. Unfortunately, that miracle is currently unavailable to me as retinoids are a no-no for nursing moms; NeriumAD is totally botanical, though. Just the extract of the nerium plant and aloe. So, does it work? Truth be told, the before and after pictures of NeriumAD users are kind of intriguing. When I read a review by one of my favorite bloggers at Goldfish Kiss, which included her own before and after photos, I started to believe. Then, when I actually got the chance to try a bottle of NeriumAD for free, I jumped at the chance. I just tried it last night, and so far, so good. No breakouts, and my skin is definitely more hydrated. The only thing that sketches me out is that there’s some kind of subscription scheme for purchasing NeriumAD–like you either have to buy it from the lady next door (kid of like Avon in the old days) or subscribe online. The reviews online of this subscription service are mixed; some people are really not a fan, and others don’t mind it. I’ll have to see; if the results are indeed as miraculous as the brand’s fans claim, it might be worth the trouble!
UPDATE: I just found out that you can actually buy neriumAD on your own, without going through a brand partner! Check out mynerium.com. Also, they’re coming out with a second forumla, a day cream that should be even more hydrating than the original–perfect for fall. I’ll update again once I’ve tried it!
For more, see mynerium.com
Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Pygmalion
Another makeup artist I met recently, and love, is Melanie Hujar from the Chanel counter at Dillard’s Beachwood Place. When I told her that I was looking for an every day shade, something hydrating and somewhat natural looking, but with a pop of brightness, she quickly zeroed in on this sheer pinky coral and nailed it on the first try. I loved it the minute I swiped it on! It’s the pink lip color that was designed to coordinate with this summer’s Ete Papillon eye and nail collection, which I also obsessed over, so it’s really no wonder that I love this shade, too. She also filled me in on other upcoming Chanel lanuches–a volumizing mascara that is apparently amazeballs, as well as a CC cream–and I love knowing someone who’s “in the know” and willing to fill me in! A lot of people don’t know this, but Dillard’s actually has some big beauty sales periodically during which full priced makekup from designer brands like Chanel and Dior can be purchased at a discount. This is major, as department store makeup never goes on sale. Like, ever.
Contact: Melanie Hujar, Makeup Artist, Chanel, Dillard’s Beachwood Place, (216) 464-6000
You know, I never got on board with the whole DiorShow mania. I just felt like the gigantic mascara wand was messy and difficult to control. That may still be true, but Dillard’s Beachwood Place Dior makeup artist Michael Szekely turned me on to this little gem, promising that it wouldn’t create greasy black smudges under my eyes at the pool. Indeed, he was correct; this actually stayed on my lashes, and unlike most waterproof formulas, my lashes looked feathery rather than gloppy.
Contact: Michael Szekely, Beauty Advisor, Dior, Dillard’s Beachwood Place, (216) 464-6000
Mai Couture papers
Man, I wish I had known about this when I got married! Brides, listen up. I have found THE thing that you need in your little clutch purse on the big day. Made by the brand Mai Couture, they look like blotting papers, but they actually deposit color onto your skin, and they’re available in foundation, bronzer, blush, and luminizer shades. I got to try them out at Dillard’s Beachwood Place, and they are really cool, as they take up less than zero space in your bag but allow you to touch up a whole face of makeup. One caveat: they’re still blotting papers, so the application of the color can go on blotchy if you don’t blot with an actual blotting paper (like Boscia or Clean n Clear) first. If I were your makeup artist, I would tell you to follow these steps:
1. Blot with an actual blotting paper.
2. Dust skin with translucent powder from a compact to smooth the surface. Don’t go crazy here; just a light dusting. No StudioFix.
3. Apply color from your Mai Couture papers and look like a million bucks without spending an hour in front of the mirror!
Now you know!
By the way, these are available in this new Sephora-like section of Dillard’s Beachwood (not an actual Sephora store in store, mind you, but something along those lines) called the “Edge Shop,” where many indie and unique brands are carried. Another one of my favorite lines available there is DuWop (maker of the famous Lip Venom), and this is the only place I know of in Cleveland where you can shop DuWop or Mai Couture products.
Contact: Michelle Snellenberger, Business Manager, Edge Shop, Dillard’s Beachwood Place, (216) 242-6000
Elemental Herbology Neroli & Rose Damask Body Cream
It is so difficult to find a lotion in summer that doesn’t feel like it is coating my skin and making me sweat more. I LOVE this natural one by Elemental Herbology–scented with Neroli and Rose Damask, it smells amazing, and it is so utterly soothing. It’s a cocktail of everything that skin loves–aloe vera, argan oil, rose hip oil…and my favorite ingredient is an olive derived squalane called Fitoderm that absorbs easily because it has the same consistency as your body’s own sebum. A sort of gross-out concept, but you’ll be thankful for it when you don’t feel like a greasy butterball in the sun!
NARS Multiple in G-Spot
A NARS multiple is a summer must. Find your perfect shade–mine is the gold tinged russet “G-Spot”–and take it with you everywhere you go. It is literally the only thing you need to enhance your skin and look “done” on a summer day–do the cheeks, lips, and the eyelid creases, and you’re finished. I picked mine up at Blue Mercury at Eaton; they have the best NARS selection in town (more products than Sephora or Saks), and they’re never busy, so you’ll get the makeup artist’s full attention. An added plus? They give out tons of great samples of expensive products–just ask!