For the Bollywood Or Pocahontas In You

So I may be one of the last people to jump on the ethnic-beauty-bandwagon, but better late than never. I hesitated at first, mostly because I have not tried any of the products out there geared towards 'women of color.' In case you haven't noticed, I've had trouble wielding the most basic of products out there to begin with. While the appeal and usefulness of these new lines will vary from woman to woman, there is definitely a need for cosmetics and skincare that cater to The Ethnic Beauty, which is really like, everyone on the planet.

Some of my fellow bloggers have already talked about Thevi Cosmetics, Vasanti Cosmetics, and Dr. Susan Taylor's Rx for Brown Skin. Whether or not you envision yourself as a multicultural or post-ethnic Disney princess, these lines may have something of interest for you. I know I'm eyeing Rx for Brown Skin because of some wretched post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation I'm experiencing (read - scaring after a zit packs its bags).

It also recently occurred to me that not being able to find the Right or Pefect X, Y, Z of a product might have something to do with how restricted some cosmetics lines are. So I may go for a Thevi blush (or two) soon and see what happens!


Rimmel Lipsticks

Have I mentioned that I'm 4 years away from 30? Because the way I'm acting lately, one would think I'm already over-the-hill. The interiors and inventory of Duane Reade seemed oh-so-important, but I failed to mention my biggest beauty find of the season. Forgive me if I have not forgiven myself. But Rimmel Lasting Finish Intense Wear lipsticks are too fabulous to have forgotten about, and I'll try to make up for it.

Where do I start? Like all junkies and perfectionists, finding the Right everything (let's not get into Mr. at the moment...) is a life's mission. I'm substantially more sane about lipstick than eyeliner, but of late, the few basics I was using just didn't seem fabulous enough for someone still 4 years away from 30. Although I have yet to find The One (again), Rimmel Lipstick in Heather Shimmer has come pretty darn close.

Heather Shimmer is a pink frost/shimmer lipstick - don't cringe. Sure, plenty of older women are into the frost bite, and it can be quite aging. Personally, some frost lipsticks have made me look like a dead ice queen. But I always found them to be the theoretical balance between matte, creme, and shine formulas. You might not think so, but this is my blog, my logic. Rest assured, I do not like an aging woman on Park Avenue shopping for clothes her daughter should be wearing instead.

Heather Shimmer is a well-balanced pink for my skin tone, and the frost/shimmer is work appropriate but not over the top. I've been wearing this lipstick day and night, and my first tube is almost down to a nub. No worries, because I have 2 more! Yes, I was that secure in my relationship with this baby to purchase a couple of others - 1 for the makeup bag, one for the handbag, one for the bathroom counter. It leaves that awesome bit of a stain, and is pretty long-wearing and moisturing. It is one of the few lipsticks that actually embraces the fullness of my lips and I might be developing an unhealthy relationship with it as I speak.

For $5 from a drugstore brand launched by the Brits, I'm extremely impressed. I also have this lipstick in Coffee Shimmer, which is a pretty brown/pink, and am considering purchasing Rhapsody, which looks like a creme version of Heather Shimmer. Any lipstick that makes me want to pucker up and kiss someone is a thumbs-up in my book.


These Are a Few of My Favorite Sephora Things

Most people (and bloggers) I know are not a fan of the Sephora brand of cosmetics. While I've experienced a few duds myself, there are a few products which suit me particularly well, and others that are a steal for the quality and price.

Like with many a "wheatish"-complexioned girl, it's often difficult for me to find the right shade of poweder, foundation, and concealer (although I never actually wear all 3 at once - just like to have them all in my makeup inventory!). So I was astonished to find a perfect foundation color match and formula in Sephora Brand Balancing Liquid Foundation, SPF 15. This product must not be a best-seller because it is constantly on sale at Sephora from $20 to $6 (like now, but only for a few shades online). But for some reason, it works for me. I can barely feel the light, non-greasy formula and because the shade is perfect, I actually get good coverage from it without a cakey effect. Another face makeup surprise from Sephora is the Light Touch Highlighter ($12), which looks to be a more affordable version of the famed Touche Eclat from Yves Saint Laurent. I have this in 05-Golden Beige, and again, the shade is a great match. What good is a concealer/highlighter that doesn't actually match your skin? So while this product may not actually be the best of its kind out there, it does have potential if you find a good match.

Another great new product from Sephora is the Nano Eyeliner ($5). Like the Prestige Total Intensity pencil I reviewed earlier, these pencils are extremely well-pigmented and smooth upon application. I especially love how there are 3 types of brown in the collection - Glitter Brown, Chocolate Brown, and Coffee. I'm a strong believer in dark brown eyeliners, and was glad to see a variety showcased in this collection, along with some great purples. These are a great alternative to the Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes and the Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliners.

So if you are ever overwhelmed at Sephora with a thin wallet, and the drugstore is too far away, the Sephora brand might be your only escape.

Show me the Dior

Because I really love it. I fell for the Dior DiorShow mascara hype and I don't know if there is any way out. I'm not a mascara person, which true beauty junkies might consider blasphemous, but it is the truth. I always found that well-applied eyeliner was more effective, and I didn't like the feeling of heavy lashes. Until, of course, I discovered this stuff. I began to wonder why I had never noticed the pitiful, sparse state of my lashes, and have new respect for those who don't leave home without it.

There is just something about this huge mascara wand that is unlike any other - and I really don't know what it is. There is no clumping to create a set of 3 lashes, and even though my lashes already curl up, they just soar upwards even more when I use it. All this without making me look like a porn star. When I'm not wearing liner, I go for this with some gloss. Get the waterproof version - for some strange reason, it tends to smudge a little bit towards the end of the day, but I can't risk the regular formula with my sensitive eyes.

Glad to have found a reason to like mascara, and maybe I'll experiment with some more.


Aid from Avene

So my boyfriend Duane Reade had a major makeover. It is worthy of a reality TV series. Inside and out, he looks completely different, and its only now that I realize he was previously a major eye sore. Along with a change in terms of layout and design, a few select Duane Reades have skincare centers (similar to the kind you find at CVS) that carry French skincare lines such Avene and Vichy.

A few months back, I made a few adjustments to my skincare routine, and used the help of a "specialist" at one of these centers to sample products from Avene. The line features products for sensitive, oily, irritated, and aging skin types. As a line of dermocosmetic products (cool word - read more here) that falls somewhere between the usual drugstore and high-end suspects, I decided Avene might be worth a try. I chose the Gentle Cleanser for Intolerant Skin and loved it at hello. It is a light, non-greasy, and non-irritating gel that can be wiped off with a cotton ball or washed off with water.

It took me a few months for my rather sluggish brain to realize that this is sort of a glorified Cetaphil. But if I remember my Cetaphil experience correctly, than the Avene formula is much lighter and leaves absolutely no residue whatsoever. At $17.00, it is pricier than any cleanser I have ever used, and although I think it is worth it, I'm not sure if I'm going to re-buy. I may experiment a little bit more first - I had a decent experience with the samples of the Ystheal Lotion and Cream, and would like to try another cleanser before settling on one. I'll admit that I'm already a sucker for the no nonsense, simple packaging that makes me feel like I'm really not doing much. Might be good enough reason to purchase again.

If you are drugstore obsessed like me, you'll definitely want to explore Duane's latest offerings, especially when a specialist is present and can give you samples. It's about time drugstore loyalists received some high-end treatment!

More from Jane

I thought it would be quite impossible to be more impressed by drugstore brand Jane Cosmetics' wonderfully inexpensive and quality products after trying out their new organic line. But Jane continues to surprise me. Here a couple of recent discoveries:

Staying Powder Loose Powder (Colorless) - I'd always wondered what the hype surrounding translucent/colorless face powder was. Is it really colorless? Is there hope of it providing any coverage? Will it really control oil/shine? Apparently, yes! Perhaps not to the degree you might expect from more heavy-duty products, but still worth it. Would I buy a translucent powder from an expensive Sephora brand? Probably not. But from Jane, it's just right. I decided to try out this makeup mystery with Jane's inexpensive version, and am happy to have this basic little jar on hand. The powder is light and non-irritating, and does control shine, although it definitely is not a long-wearing product. There are days when my skin looks like a patchwork of different shades and tones, and the last thing I want to do is add another. A light dusting of some colorless powder, however, gives your face a little polish without feeling heavy in the least, especially as the weather warms up. I find it easier to blend than my pressed powder from Clinique, and it works well for in-between seasons when you're not quite as pale as you were in December but the sun still hasn't warmed you up enough. Under $5.00, and worth a try if you haven't used a loose face powder before.

Be Pure Mineral One Liner (Ink Mica) - Alas, if you read my post about purple eyeliner from earlier today, you won't be surprised that I have also located the Perfect Blue. Like with everything-eyeliner, I have had issues with finding the right blue. I like sort of dusty-musty-inky blues that border on slate/gray, but are still pigmented enough to show up on my skin. Ink Mica is just that (the swatch on the Jane site does not do it justice). It beats out most of the blues and blue/grays from MAC (which has about as many liner shades as you can imagine), and reminds me of the discounted Slate pencil from Prescriptives. This is a mechanical pencil, which is nice because it allows you to create a thinner line. It also has a smudger on one end - again, amazing for the price of about 3 bucks. Goes on smoothly, and won't create a mess. What more could you ask for? Ah, yes, the Perfect Purple, but that's already been taken care of!

How Many Brown Girls Are Blogging About Beauty?

Perhaps we should start a Facebook group, or maybe our own cosmetics company! A Brown Girl's Beauty Blog is one of the few beauty blogs written by South Asian chickies to be featured in an issue of the South Asian Journalist Association's (SAJA) daily newsletter. Share the beauty junkie joy.

Prestige and a Powerful Plum: Total Intensity Eyeliners

Normally after I've disappear off the face of the earth, I assure you that I've been a busy beauty junkie with little time to share. This has not been the case over the last few months. For better or for worse, I've been hooked on a some great products, and few others have held much appeal for me. But like all my best beauty finds, my latest, long-overdue item was recently discovered accidentally at my boyfriend's, Duane Reade.

If you've followed this blog at all, you know I have serious liner issues, especially with these sensitive eyes and oily lids. I'm always searching for the perfect black, the perfect black-brown, the perfect liquid, the perfect pencil, the least smudgy, the just-smudgy-enough, and so on. Most of these quests are actually complete - I just had to find the Perfect Purple. Luckily, my faith in the beauty world was restored knowing that such a purple exists in the form of Prestige's Total Intensity Eyeliner.

This is really an amazing pencil for about $5.00. Seriously. It's way better than the usual inexpensive classics. Like the Make Up Forever AquaEyes pencils, it is super smooth, silky, and pigmented. In fact, it glides on smoother than the standard kohl liners (expensive and drugstore brand), which are typically the softest type of pencil liners (and also the messiest), on both the upper lid AND waterline. But unlike kohls, the Total Intensity liner stays put even on oily lids like mine. You don't have to worry about looking tired, sad, or bruised with this pencil.

I have this in Powerful Purple, and it is exactly the shade of purple I was looking for - dark like the skin of a dark plum, not overly purple, and not as stark as basic black. Basically, this is an improved substitute for Laura Mercier's Black Violet eye pencil (a kohl formula), which I was previously lusting after - a blackened purple that shows up well on darker skin, with barely noticeable shimmer. This isn't a Barney purple, so if you really want that kind of oomph, try elsewhere. If you want a softer effect than black and would like something other than brown or blue, this is the way to go. It's a subtle difference that only the obsessed might understand...

With a range of shades from black to green to purple, I highly recommend these pencils to all eyeliner junkies.

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