Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Seven Layer Dip

From an Elcaya Face Creams advertisement, Ladies Home Journal, April 1928. White River Valley Museum Archives.

My husband's friend facetiously refers to his wife's skincare regimen as the nightly application of her "Seven Layer Dip". Now, anyone who has tried the Mexican-inspired appetizer by the same name realizes this is not exactly complimentary!

But tonight as I applied product after product to my face, I began to take note of what my own seven layers of skincare are. You can surely tell I'm not exactly a loyalist (this blog would be quite boring if I were); I love to check out new products and therefore rarely use the same combination of things twice. But here is tonight's "dip" - and I hope you'll share yours!

  1. Lancome BiFacil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover to remove mascara and eyeshadow
  2. L'Oreal Paris ReFinish Micro-Dermabrasion Cream
  3. Sovage Idebenol "facial anti-oxidant" moisturizer
  4. Bliss Wrinkle Twinkle around the eye area
  5. Philosophy Hope in a Bottle, spot applied on blemishes
  6. Aclovate ointment on chapped lips (this is RX, if you don't need prescription-strength, go for Aquaphor).

Needless to say, I don't use seven products every night! In fact, I'm usually lucky if I do more than cleanse and moisturize. But it's fun to experiment. I know: many experts would say that you have to stick to a regimen to allow the product to demonstrate real results. But to me, that's like asking, "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?" Nobody knows, because you can't resist biting. And I can't resist the next new beauty product.

My next purchase? A rich night cream for use in the dry winter air. What's yours?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Oh, Momma!

In honor of my friend Beth who just gave birth to her first child - a beautiful little girl named Illiana - this post is dedicated to pregnant ladies.

The lovely Illiana
Here are some of the latest and greatest products for pampering the pregnant body - from head to toe. Use this list for yourself or as a shopping guide next time you're off to a baby shower.

For the FACE

Basq Rebalancing Facial Cleanser: As your hormones change during pregnancy, your skin is naturally affected. While you need an effective cleanser for break outs and blemishes, many contain ingredients that should be avoided during pregnancy. Basq created this whipped cleanser with micro exfoliators, rich emollients, ylang ylang and imported oak root extract to rebalance and refine the appearance of your skin.

Belli Anti-Chloasma Facial Sunscreen: A lightweight broad-spectrum tinted facial sunblock. Used daily, it can protect against chloasma-- dark brown splotchy areas on the face that occur in 70% of pregnant women.

thatglow Refresher Face & Body Mist: Help calm the stresses of pregnancy and keep your energy alive. Spritz your face and body to feel an instant pick me up. For an extra treat, keep one in the refrigerator and use throughout the day.

For the BOOBS

Mama Mio Boob Tube: Boob Tube is a leave-on moisture mask for the very delicate skin in the bust area. This skin does not take well to large size changes and however much you wish your fantastic pregnant profile was permanent, it isn’t. It is on loan and the rent is high if you don’t take care of your skin. Trust us, you will be paying for years to come! So keep rubbing in Boob Tube – an EFA-rich blend of skin-soothing oils.

Bug & Pickle Nipple Cream: Mum can help prepare her nipples prior to the new arrival by using our rich ointment daily during the final trimester… and definitely be sure to have plenty on hand for those first few weeks after the baby comes.

Propoline Mult-Mam Nipple Cream: For a natural approach during pregnancy, use Multi-Mam Massage Balm with Aloe & Tea Tree. Heals and protects cracked or sore nipples.

Mustela Specific Support Bust: Helps promote firmness and prevent loss of elasticity. Helps relieve skin tension and soothe breast tightness.

Bug & Pickle Hooter Hiders: Allows mom to nurse her baby without showing off her hooters to the world! The soft fabric comes in a variety of fun patterns.

For the BELLY

Henna Belly Painting Kit: Henna use during pregnancy is an ancient practice and is soothing as well as calming. It is believed to help bring about an easy birth and healthy child. (Note: Having henna applied during a healthy pregnancy is generally safe but it is always a good idea to speak with your doctor.)

Mama Mio Tummy Rub: Mama Mio Superstretch Tummy Rub is a super-nourishing blend of the richest and most healing oils available. It absorbs quickly, leaving your skin feeling soft and nourished but not at all greasy.

Miss Oops Popper Stopper: You're five-months pregnant and you look beautiful. You slip into that form-fitting top, proud to show off your new bump. But wait--there's a bump on your bump! Miss Oops Popper Stoppers to the rescue.

Tummy Honey Stretchmark Prevention Stick: It has a solid, oil-based formula that penetrates deep into the skin layers, maintaining skin moisture and elasticity for several hours.Tummy Honey STICK has a mild natural cocoa butter scent - no flowery or overpowering fragrances. This ideal stretch mark prevention solution is the winner of the iParenting Award for Excellence.

Preggie Pop Drops for Morning Sickness: A delicious and discreet way to fight morning sickness - all day long! Comes in 3 wonderfully sour flavors - raspberry, lemon and tangerine.

Naked Paint Belly Butter: NakedPaint's Belly Butter is a maternity cream for expectant mothers that combines natural ingredients to help increase hydration and elasticity and is designed to minimize the stretch marks, dryness and itchiness often associated with skin's expansion during pregnancy.

Belli Stretchmark Minimizing Cream: This highly effective, nourishing treatment features darutoside-- a molecule from the Asian plant Siegesbeckia Orientalis, which has long been known for its wound-healing properities. Recent research has shown it's ability to minimize the appearance of stretchmarks by stimulating tissue regeneration and promoting growth of the collagen matrix.

For anywhere SKIN

Active Birth Organic Pregnancy Bath Oil: A luxurious organic bath oil with warm, exotic fragrances to soothe away tiredness and keep your skin beautifully moisturised. Use daily for a balancing effect on the emotions, to restore energy and enjoy a welcome respite from the extra weight of pregnancy.

Mama Mio Wonder-Full Balm: A blend of nine different oils and waxes, this product is super-targeted moisture. Designed to rid you of those obscure little dry patches (a weird side-effect of pregnancy).

Nicci Maternity Body Creme: Extra- rich, and deeply nourishing Shea Butter from Uganda combined with a mild blend of Orange Blossom and Lavender.

For the LEGS & FEET

Belli Foot Relief Cream: During pregnancy, swelling and cramping may cause discomfort of the ankles, feet and calves.

Bella Mama Foot Salts: Rest tired, swollen feet in a bath filled with these uplifting salts made with a wonderfully cool and refreshing citrus aromatherapy blend.

Mustela Instant Comfort Legs: Immediately relaxes and refreshes legs. Ensures long-lasting hydration and toning.


Earth Mama Angel Baby Happy Mama Spray: For Morning Sickness and the Baby Blues, Happy Mama Spray is virtual bliss in a bottle! It's a wonderfully uplifting aromatherapy spray made only with pure essential oils and flower essences created for new mamas as well as seasoned ones.

Basq Sweet Dreams Aromatherapy: It’s often hard to give your body the rest and relaxation it needs during pregnancy. This beautiful lavender-pear aromatherapy blend helps your sleeplessness and promotes relaxation.

The Beauty Hatchery salutes all moms and mothers-to-be and hopes these products may help ease your body's adjustments as you await your new(est) little one!

Got a preggie product to share? Add a comment!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Taking Care of (Lady) Business

There are so many beauty products out there, it's hard to believe (and I know - because I'm trying to store them all under my sink!) But there is a growing category just for ladies... and companies are coming up with pretty unique products that can help us pamper ourselves and deal with the sometimes not-so-great parts of being a chick. Check out the following products that make taking care of Lady Business much more fun.

Sweetspot Labs: First of all - love the name. Their philosophy? You don't wash your hair with toothpaste, so why should you use just any products on your sweetest spot? Their products are intended to nurture and complement your natural, delicate bodily functions, avoiding commonly used ingredients that are known to create sensitivity or cause irritation. Products include Gentle Wash, Balancing Mist, On-the-Go Wipettes, and Eau de Spot, and they come in scents like citrus galbanum, geranium lavender, basil grapefruit, and, for the ultra-sensitive, you can also get them unscented.

Girl Balm: Here's a belly balm that helps you ease cramps - and promises to melt away the grouchies too! Massage a fingertipfull of Girl Balm into your lower belly, as often as needed. Then stretch, breathe and enjoy - feel lighter and quieter. The organic and wild-crafted essential oils of Clary Sage, Rose Geranium, Ginger Root and Black Pepper encourage hormonal balance and circualtion. The base is made of unrefined beeswax, organic hemp seed oil and jojoba, to soothe and soften. As reviewed in Daily Candy.

Lush silky underwear dusting powder: OK, this is a cool idea - a dusting powder that's made to be worn with (or instead of) your very best undies. Unlike talc-based powders, it's made from cornstarch and china clay with tiny pieces of coca butter to moisturize your skin. The formula is scented with vetivert and jasmine to boot. Only drawback? The Kraft 'Parmesan Cheese Shaker' packaging doesn't match up to the luxurious formula.

Vinnie’s tampon case: "Vinnie" lets you approach that time of the month with humor. Check out his funky, retro-styled zippered case designed to protect all your feminine products in your purse. He encourages you to know your flow with a "Giant Roller Coaster Period Chart".

Mrs. Meyers Unmentionable Wash: This has been designed for those special items that you need to launder in private. Gentle, yet effective, it contains Anionic cleansers from plant-derived sources plus Cotton Extract and essential oils for garden-fresh fragrance.

Kama Sutra Honey Dust: What good would talk of lady business be if we didn't include something sensuous - you know, just for pleasure? This sensuous, edible powder is made with pure, natural honey, one of ancient India's most prized skin conditioners. Dust it on yourself and your lover, leaving a silky-soft glow, a delicate fragrance and a irresistible taste.

Anti-Panti: A complety adhesive-backed cotton disk that sticks to the inside of your jeans. The soft cotton flannel protects you from your jeans and your jeans from you! The Anti-Panties come in a pack of 5, in assorted colors and patterns. Commandos: Similar idea, different shape (so as not to bunch while hugging your curves).

Reduce/Reuse/Recycle: It's staggering when you think how much garbage our monthly visit from Aunt Flo can generate. Two companies take a novel approach to solving the problem. Both Red Rag and Sckoon offer washable fabric pads that come in a variety of sizes and patterns.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Note To Self (Hair Powder Misadventures)

Note to self: Avoid beauty product experimentation one hour before any major event.
I went to a wedding on Saturday night and, of course, wanted to look nice. I had gotten highlights and a trim the night before and wanted to maintain the blow-out for the event. Since I usually can't go 24 hours without washing my hair, I didn't want to arrive at the party looking greasy. I remembered that I'd just read about Bumble & bumble's new aerosol Hair Powder in Allure magazine. It is supposed to add body and absorb excess hair oil. Sounded perfect. I popped into a store, picked up a mini-can in the "blondish" shade (at $19!!) and thought I was good to go.

Fast forward two flights, and I'm arriving at my hotel in Martha's Vineyard an hour before the barefoot-on-the-beach ceremony is to begin. Just enough time to change, freshen and walk over. I whip out the Hair Powder, shake, hold 10 inches from my scalp, and spray onto hair. This might have been fine if I had SHIELDED MY FACE. When I looked in the mirror, I looked like I'd been dragged through the desert - and every nascent wrinkle was emphasized in the dirty debris because I'd been squinting against the blast.

Though I could have washed my face and reapplied my makeup, I decided to take a shower, wash my hair and blow it out again. I had fears of the sky opening up and beigey rivulets of hair powder water running down my face and onto my dress. Of course, this do-over made me almost late to the ceremony! Moral of the story: don't try a new and tricky-to-apply beauty product moments before a big event. It could backfire in your face.

All of that said, I'm still going to give the Hair Powder another try. In the privacy of my own home, with nowhere to go and nobody to see! For additional testimonials and tips on how to use it, see the great review and comments at Jolie in NYC.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Go for the Glow

Hard to believe it was only last summer that Jergens Natural Glow hit the market. Summer '05 saw glow-seeking consumers flocking to drugstores - and finally, eBay, to get their hands on this must-have product. Now that this summer '06 is winding up and cooler temps are setting in, pasty gals like me want to extend whatever summer glow they were able to acquire - and we find ourselves with a veritable Everest of options. It didn't take manufacturers long to realize that they could add a dash of self-tanner to their moisturizers and capitalize on this huge trend. See the list below - then let me know which one is your favorite.

  • Jergens Natural Glow: The original, now in three shades and formulated for face. Body formula has some shimmer, which can look glittery in certain light.
  • Johnson's Holiday Skin: This was a huge sell-out hit in Summer '05 in the UK. Now, US shoppers can buy the body products (not yet, however, for the face products) through Interestingly, they have a "Night" version of the body lotion, designed not to stain sheets.
  • Olay Touch of Sun: Last summer, Olay launched Quench Radiance Reviver, which worked well but didn't quite communicate the sunny-glow benefits. Touch of Sun body lotions come in in Normal and Dry skin formulas, and there is a product for face with SPF 15.
  • Dove Energy Glow: Daily Moisturizer with Subtle Self Tanners available for Fair Skin Tones and for Medium Skin Tones.
  • L'Oreal Paris Sublime Glow: Comes in Light and Medium shades, and the formula contains "light-capturing micro-pearls" to add shimmer to skin. contains mango butter, vitamin E and sweet almond oil.
  • Neutrogena Summer Glow: They have added SPF 20 to their body lotion, a great idea. The face product only has SPF 15. (This looks to be a much better product than their Build-A-Tan, which comes in body and face versions.)
  • Vaseline Healthy Body Glow: Daily Replenishing Moisturizer & Touch of Self Tanner, in Fair and Medium variants.
  • AVEENO Active Naturals Continuous Radiance: Combines natural soy with a subtle color enhancer to help even out skin tone and texture.
  • Hawaiian Tropic Island Glow: Daily moisturizers for Light and Medium skin tones. Soothing Green Tea fragrance.
  • Coppertone Gradual Tan: The body lotion comes in a pump, which is nice, and they have just launched a Face product.
  • Clarins Radiance Plus: Self-Tanning Creme-Gel for Face, or Body Lotion with tiny mother-of-pearl particles to give skin a glow.
  • Lancome Hydra Flash Bronzer: Daily Face Moisturizer with Nanocapsules of pure Vitamin E and a light touch of self-tanner
Post a comment with your own review and let us know which of this vast array of products is your favorite. You can read more reviews of Glow lotions on iVillage.

Here's to keeping a warm, summery glow as the days get shorter!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

All that is Solid Melts into Air

I like to carry perfume with me when I go out, but fear that one day, the bottle or vial will break, and I'll waltz into a restaurant or something and be the perpetrator of a major olfactive faux-pas. The solution? Carry a solid perfume. Whenever you need a refresher, just whisk your fingers across its waxy or powdery base and apply to pulse points.

Here are some solid versions of today's favorite scents. Many come in gorgeous compacts or slim touch-on pens:


Designers have discovered a way to let you wear their fragrances in two senses of the word - as scent and accessory.

  • Angel by Thierry Mugler Midnight Collection Lucky Touch Pendant
  • Island Michael Kors Solid Perfume Pendant
  • Donna Karan Pure Cashmere Solid Perfume Pendant


Many compacts and pendants housing solid perfumes are limited editions and thus become collectors' items. And of course, there is a whole website dedicated to collecting them! Visit for information, pictures, items for sale, and much more.


Interested in learning to make your own solid perfumes? Mandy Aftel's book, "Scents & Sensibilities" features descriptions and detailed instructions on making solid perfumes at home with beeswax, jojoba oil and essential oils.

* bizarrely enough, the title quote is from Marx's Communist Manifesto!