Thursday, January 31, 2013

Valentines gift ideas for your guy

Based on the numerous boyfriends and husbands I've had over the years, I find that most guys love being gifted with grooming products they normally wouldn't buy for themselves.  Grooming products are personal, almost intimate, and show that you care - just the thing for Valentines Day.  It's sharing a bit of yourself and your beauty world with him, and makes him feel special.  That said, I would base your selection of products on your guy's needs and preferences:  is he low-maintenance or high maintenance?  A fragrance lover, or fragrance-free?  Does he have sensitive skin or any other skincare concerns that he doesn't know how to address?

Hopefully one of these ideas will resonate with your guy's personality:

Molton Brown Black Pepper Body Wash is the difinitive men's grooming gift. In general Molton Brown products make the perfect gift because they are a luxury brand from England, something beyond the ordinary.  The Black Pepper scent is particularly sensual and masculine - a blend of spicy, woodsy, and a tad bit of citrus.  If you think your guy would want a corresponding body lotion, there is a fantastic gift set of shower gel/lotion.  Definitely a treat!

Not all men like a liquid body wash so for those who prefer a bar soap Bliss Mammoth Minty Scrub Soap is the way to go.  It is the ultimate refreshing and invigorating morning pick-me-up.  Great for the no-frills frugal guy because it gives a superior clean and will last him forever.  None of that fru-fru fragrance here.  To complement the minty soap why not bake your lover a batch of gooey mint brownies - he will be over the moon.

You would not believe how many men are looking for a great hand cream, and L'Occitane has the ideal solution.  Their (virtually unscented) Shea Butter Hand Cream provides superior hydration without being sticky or greasy, and it absorbs easily into the skin.  Men who work with their hands - from construction to message - love it, and men with aggravating skin conditions appreciate it as well.  Also the large, spare, non-nonsense packaging couldn't be more man-appropriate.

If you are looking to buy your guy a fragrance, Atelier Cologne Vetiver Fatale Cologne Absolute is a unique scent that has wide appeal.  It's not too heavy, not too perfumey, but is naturally masculine, including notes of Haitian Vetiver, dark oud, Texas cedarwood, and citrus.  Atelier Cologne is a couture perfume house that makes what I consider essentially unisex fragrances.  I highly recommend that you check some of their other scents for yourself or share the Vetever Fatale with your guy.
For the ultimate in nostalgia get your man the Classic Shaving Black Stoneware Complete Shaving Kit.  The black stoneware mug with premium shave soap, old-fashioned safety razor (and extra blades), and badger bristle brush are totally retro cool.  This is a special gift for a special guy, and I think he would be delighted to receive it.
If none of these presents strike a chord for you, see my post grooming gifts for your guy to get more gift ideas for men.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

spending your holiday gift money

It is very unlike me not to cash in a gift certificate or gift check right away but this particular post-holiday season I have been procrastinating.  I have been exercising something I rarely exercise - caution. After all what do I really need?  Or more accurately, what do I really want?  Well!  After much deliberation I have come up with a short-list of goodies for me, and any beauty maven still holding on to holiday money, to buy.  Keep in mind we must buy something special - something we wouldn't normally spend the money on.  Gift money is all about indulgence!

I've always wanted to buy something from MOR Cosmetics.  Years ago I smelled some MOR candles that I came across in a local boutique and was enchanted.  I have been looking for more MOR (pun intended) ever since but have only ever found it online.  But so what!  I am giving you the link so that you, and I, can peruse and purchase whatever we want from their delicious website.  They have everything from body butter, to eau de toilette, to soap. And you'll see, the packaging is exquisite, the fragrances decadent, and the quality pure luxury.

Just out is Dior's Spring makeup collection and the 5 Couleur eyeshadow paletts are irresistible.  Their colors are as delicate as petals and are embossed with a faint houndstooth design.  So clever! Personally I am not going to wait for Spring to use these beauties:  The Cherie Bow Collection Rose Ballerine for day and Rose Charmeuse for night

I already have a Clairsonic - have been using it for years - but YOU must put it on your shopping list. Unless you have an extreme skin condition, it is one of the single best things you can do for your skin and absolutely worth the investment.  It will give you immediate glow and your skin will never feel cleaner - the secret is in the sonic technology.  And I'm sorry but it really is better than all those copycats out there.  My  professional recommendation to you is only use it once a day maximum.  Every other day is preferable and only once maybe twice a week for sensitive skin.  Also for sensitive skin be sure to buy a separate "delicate" brush head - it comes with a "sensitive" brush head but with Clairsonic "sensitive" is really normal, and "delicate" is really sensitive.  Use their "normal" brush head on your body - the machine is waterproof and can go in the shower!
Alterna is one of my favorite brands of haircare, everything they make is gentle, sulfate and gluten free, and very very effective.  While I have already used many of their products, I always wanted to try the Caviar Collection.  They are a little pricier than regular Alterna products but Caviar Anti-Aging Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner actually contain Caviar Extract, Vitamin C, and UVA/UVB protection.  It is a luscious combination that is good not just for "mature" hair but for any dry, brittle, or color-treated hair.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

complexion makeup for luminous skin

This is the time of year that I get multitudes of clients coming to me complaining about pasty, dull, tired, skin.  They want bronzers, they want blushes, they want powders.  Which is going about it all the wrong way, because first and foremost you need to be sufficiently hydrating and exfoliating your skin.  And some vitamin C products wouldn't be remiss either (they give good glow).  But let's face it, Winter is a bitch on the skin.  So say you are doing all that and you still want more vibrant skin - then you can turn to the appropriate makeup solutions.  And I've got some good ones for you too, whether your skin is dry, mature, or just has the doldrums.

If you are going to use a foundation, try layering it on top of Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Radiance.  This will give a great baseline for whatever makeup you use - it'll make your skin look moist and healthy.  I have to say when this primer came out last year it was an instant hit - beauty editors and makeup artists alike could not stop talking about it. So consider adding it to your make up routine - it will also help your foundation last longer.

If you want a good medium coverage foundation that doesn't look cakey or dry I highly recommend Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation.  This stuff is gorgeous and smooth with light-reflecting particles.  And yes it is mildly hydrating but this does not let you off the hook from using a moisturizer as a base - you must still do that.  What you will get is considerable coverage that doesn't look like you are wearing makeup - it just makes your skin look supple and alive.  Definitely a cult favorite.

If you like a sheer, natural-looking coverage, go for Stila Stay All Day 10-in-0ne Illuminating Beauty Balm.  This one step wonder will even out skintone, increase collagen, and literally light up your skin.  It is the answer for people who prefer a low-maintenance make up routine because it covers all the bases.  You will never experience a dull moment with this souped-up tinted moisturizer.  Plus it has spf 30!

If you have mature skin your best bet may be Lancome Renergie Eclat Multi-Lift Mulit-Action Tinted Skincare.  It's more sheer than a regular foundation, and more beneficial than a tinted-moisturizer.  It has wonderful anti-aging ingredients in it as well as provides positively luminous color.  The reason I like it for mature skin is because of its emollience. Unless it is very dry, younger skin may not appreciate the oilier quality.  Note I say "oilier" NOT "greasier"  because this stuff absorbs well into the skin.  If you have the right skin type, oil is a good thing, and you will fall in love.
  Once you start using these super-star products you will notice that fine lines and imperfections melt away.  There will be no sparkle, or glimmer, or shimmer.  Instead people will be asking you if you've been on vacation because you will have a radiance that looks like you've been in Hawaii sipping green smoothies all day long.  Aloha!

*** since I wrote this there has emerged a new 'must have' luminous face product.  Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream gives the dewiest of dewy finishes, all the while providing color, hydrating, priming, dark spot correcting, and protecting you from the sun.  You gotta try it!