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Photo Credit: MAC


Posted by 04.17.14

In beauty, packaging is every bit as important as the product itself (think: Chantecaille, Givenchy, Chanel to name a few brands who do it so well). The packaging ensures portability, convenience, and, of course, a pleasing look and feel.

MAC is no stranger to creating innovative packaging to house multitasking products, from its iconic Fluidline (it can be used as an eyeliner, but also artfully blended for smokey eye shadow) to its newly-launched Studio Sculpt Shade and Line, which marries two traditional eye shadows and one liner in one compact.

StudioSculptShadeLine-eggplant2Shade and Line in Eggplant. Photo Credit: MAC

The Studio Sculpt Shade & Line formulation is quite special and versatile: the biggest selling point is that three distinct textures —matte, sparkling and metallic—are available in one single case. I’ve seen few beauty brands do this, and quite frankly it’s surprising no one has thought of this before.

The compacts have two varieties of eye shadows, and one strip of eyeliner in the middle that separates the two shadow pans. As one would expect, they come in several beautiful combinations (each is $21):

  • EBONYBLEND: white frost/carbon black/dirty blue-grey (pearl/matte)
  • VIOLETBLEND: light white-pink/deep violet/iridescent cool pink (pearl/matte)
  • EGGPLANTBLEND: soft light pink/deep plum/dirty silver-grey (pearl/matte)
  • ROSÉBLEND: dirty washout pink/dirty blue-plum/metallic bright gold (pearl/matte)
  • APRICOTBLEND: champagne beige/dirty berry brown/warm coral peach (pearl/matte)
  • OLIVEBLEND: rich rose-gold/deep olive green/ dirty olive (pearl/matte)
  • ESPRESSOBLEND: rich penny-copper/charcoal black/warm brown (pearl/matte)
  • INDIGOBLEND: soft, clean sky blue/deep blue-teal/deep plum (pearl/matte)

The Studio Sculpt collection, in general, has a lot of makeup that is worth acquiring, from the concealer, foundation, and now the Shade and Line combos.  These are items I would buy and keep because one is all you need in your pocketbook to create several looks. You’d spend $21 on one eyeshadow alone: three in one doesn’t seem terribly shabby for the price.

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Posted by 04.15.14

Hair coloring has come a long way since the ancient Gauls and Saxons dyed their hair with natural pigments derived from plants and minerals. And appropriate hair color has long been a sign of status—the ancient Greeks and Egyptians used natural hair dyes regularly to show rank and to look younger. Since few resort to crushing plants and roots in their kitchen anymore, unless you’re a true naturalist, at home hair kits are the best options.

Ninety million people in the U.S. color their hair, so it’s no surprise that the “at-home color kit” concept has grown in leaps and bounds. Madison Reed, brainchild of start-up expert Amy Errett, boasts colorist Sally Hershberger as an adviser, and is very much the UBER of hair color kits. Not only does the box you purchase come with salon quality hair color (Hershberger has personally tested the formulas and vouched for their depth, shine, and grade), but it comes with several surprising perks and virtual services too.

One of the hardest challenges of coloring your hair at home is finding the right shade, so the brand actually sends out a colorist to your door (in San Francisco and Manhattan, so far) to help you select the right shade. You can also get assistance from an online color advisor, mobile app, live web chat, digital photo consultation, or a consultation with a real person on the phone. As far as we know, no other at-home hair color kit gives you all these options.

Madison Reed at home hair color

Photo Credit:

The kit itself contains items that would even make the cast of Mad Men reject their hair salons: simple, illustrated instructions on the flap jackets of the box; a radiant Cream Color; Conditioning Color Activator with “less-mess” application tip; two pairs of fitted gloves, one for applying color and another to rinse; Barrier Cream to keep skin around your hairline clean; a hair cap to wear while waiting for color to set; a cleaning wipe to remove stray color; and a specially formulated Color Enhancing Shampoo and Conditioner (this is what we couldn’t believe!). All of this for $29.99 (many luxury shampoos alone cost this amount).

The online quiz is visual and fun: choose from a variety of hair types and length and they’ll figure out what works for you.

While we’re not turning our noses up on the other hair color kits on the market, this is definitely one that raises the bar in more than one way. Once you go Madison Reed, you’re pretty much hooked–just like Uber.

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Posted by 04.11.14

Among this season’s crop of new eye creams, Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Contouring Eye Lift ($150) stands out like a rose among the daisies.

This slim, slightly larger than a cigarette eye lift offers much more than your average jar of cream. It’s a contouring eye lift with a super silky finish that glides underneath the eye with a cool tip (perfect for the summer months). The formula contains Black Tourmaline gems as well as proprietary Life Re-Newing Molecules™.  In clinical trials, 92% of women said that they felt an instant tightening.

The tightening effect is thanks to a blend of three advanced polymers including acacia Senegal tree, sweet almond, and goji berry extracts. Advanced lifting technology also helps the ingredients to penetrate better and to boost collagen prouction. The tightening technology works with the skin’s natural “mechanical tension” or cellular attachment.

What would an eye cream be if it did not address puffiness? The formula is infused with refined gold, which helps prevent irritation. There is a special soothing de-puff complex with algae and golden chamomile extracts that help lessen those inflated eyes over time. As though the tourmaline was not enough, the formula contains South Sea pearls to provide extra radiance reflect light.

You can find many depuffing eye treatments on counter, including Clinique All About Eyes, Perricone Firming Eye Cream, and Do Not Age with Dr. Brandt Triple Peptide Eye Cream. What is different about Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv is the contouring benefit, its precious ingredients, and extra radiance formulation.

For $150, it might put a dent in your wallet but a smile on your face.



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