Matte Blush Crush

When I bought Revlon's new Matte Powder Blush in Blushing Berry, I wasn't sure what to expect. I mean, matte blush? Whatever for? But I now know the perfect use for such a blush.

When I'm wearing really bold eye make up or lip color, I like to balance everything else out by wearing more low-key makeup on my other features. This is kind of hard to do with my favorite Nars Blush in Crazed. Now I turn to this matte blush whenever I need just a soft touch of rosy color. Wearing a dark, smokey eye? Sweep on a little of this. Rocking a bright red lip? Dust a little of this on your cheeks to finish your look.

Who says a girl can't justify any and every beauty purchase!

Narciso Rodriguez's Essence

I'm not much of a fragrance person (I'm terribly allergic), but I absolutely adore Narciso Rodriguez for Her. The eau de toilette is an amazingly sensual, musky fragrance (the eau de parfum, not so much) that always gets me compliments . It's my go-to fragrance, and the only fragrance I have ever used a whole bottle of.

I was beginning to wonder if Mr. Rodriguez would ever release another fragrance, and if it would be able to hold its own next to the original. Well, I must be physic or something, because Narciso is releasing his second womens fragrance in March. Essence, the new fragrance, is described as a "pure, sensual and luminous fragrance with a modern heart of musc enhanced by radiant notes of rose petals, powder notes of iris and hints of amber resulting in a floral, powdery musc fragrance." Mmm. I don't really care for floral scents but I'm willing to try for Narciso. Besides, as much as I love For Her, it always seemed a little too heavy for spring and summer, and Essence seems like it will be a lighter alternative, perfect for the warmer months. Love it.

I cannot
wait to smell this. It's available now at Saks.

Coincidentally, Narciso Rodriguez Musc for Him smells pretty sexy on us girls too, but I hear its being discontinued (gasp, I know). So if you or your man are a fan, you might want to mosey on over to Sephora or your fave fragrance counter before they're gone for good.

Update: Check out my review of Essence here.

YSL Spring 2009

I was in Nordstrom over the weekend and the new spring makeup collection from YSL literally stopped me in my tracks. What caught my eye were the Gloss Pur lip glosses. They were bright and pretty colors, just perfect for spring and summer! I found three colors to stand out the most, and really pop on brown skin:

#3 Pure Coral is a sheer peach shade that you could wear with bronzer, black eye liner and lots of lashes for a more dramatic bronzed look, a'la J Lo. This lip shade would also look fantastic with a more natural, bare face to give a sheerer, sun kissed look.

#5 Pure Fuchsia is just that. Pure Fuchsia. This definitely makes for a bold lip look, but this hot pink shade is worth it! Pair with a bronzed look like described above. Try Iman Second to None Luminous Skin Foundation to get the look.

#6 Pure Plum reminded me of raspberry sorbet. This rich, berry color is perfect for a sexy date night. It's sheer enough to not overpower your face, but has just enough punch to draw a little attention to your lips!

I think I'll be adding these to my beauty arsenal!

Beauty Deals!

For a beauty product junkie, saving money on beauty products is crucial, especially during these tough economic times. But who wants to search for all the sales and beauty promotions? Never worry, my Budget Beauty! I bring you a brand new feature: Beauty Deals!

I'll bring you the latest beauty promotions from your neighborhood drugstore, favorite beauty sites, and department store beauty counters.

Now, here are this week's Beauty Deals!

Drugstore/Discount,Week of 2/22-2/28:
Because sale items vary by market (with the exception, I believe, of Duane Reade, Target and K-Mart), it is impossible for me to get all of the sale beauty items for every city. So, I've included a link to take you directly to your favorite drugstore's sale circular.

Just enter your zip code, browse by department and select "health & beauty" from the drop box or selections listed. Voilà! You've got your local sale beauty items!

Duane Reade
Longs Drugs



Special offers from Dior, Bliss, Narciso Rodriguez for Her, and others.

Receive a trio of trendy cosmetic bags as your gift with any Estee Lauder purchase of $27.50 or more. Plus, customize your gift with your choice of cosmetics colors in warm or cool shades.

  • More than Mascara Moisture-Binding Formula in Rich Black
  • 0.24-oz. Perfectionist (Cp+) Wrinkle Lifting Serum
  • 1-oz. Take It Away Total Makeup Remover
  • Your choice of 2 color palettes: Warm or Cool

Special offers from Shiseido, Clinique, and others.

Neiman Marcus
The Beauty Event: Free Neiman Marcus tote bag with deluxe samples with any cosmetic or fragrance purchase of $100 or more.

Special offers from Bobbi Brown (free blush!), DDF, True Religion, and others.

Up to 75% off items from Juicy Couture, Sephora Brand, and others.

Hothouse Beauty Event: Floral shoulder bag filled with samples, with any $75.00 beauty purchase.

Multiple brands and items on sale. Click link for circular.

If you have a request, or know about a beauty sale we might want to know about, shoot me an email and share the wealth!

Best in Beauty: The OSCARS

Last night Hollywood came out to celebrate the best in film, so Beautè Noire is celebrating the best in Oscar beauty!

Best in Beauty: Oscar Edition!

Viola Davis looked stunning! The subtle use of bronzer made her skin glow, and I loved her berry lipcolor and soft curls. She really seems to be into full, sexy hair these days.

Taraji rocked her usual sleek and stylish bob and added a bit of extra volume at the roots for some extra lift. And I thought her dress and statement jewelry was amazing. She really turned it out for her big night!

Zoe Saldana kept it simple and pretty.

I am really loving this look on Tanika Ray. She blew her usually wild and sexy tight curls out for softer, looser, more romantic curls. A smokey pink/plum eye and frosted pink lip color round out the look.

Serena Williams looked so incredibly lovely in this look. She was defintetley channeling a 50s screen siren with her Marilyn Monrow-like curls and soft, smokey eye. Her sheer and shiney pink lipgloss perfectly finished the look.

Rosario Dawon made an appearance at the Vanity Fair After-Party looking great, as usual.

Robin Roberts looked great as well. I love that she wore a gown from J. Crew. How's that for Recessionista chic?

Queen Latifah looked amazing! She kept her look simple and natural, and turned up the glam with bronzed skin and lots of lashes.

Niecey Nash opted for a bronzed look as well. She usually goes for such bold colors, this was a good change-up for her. Hey, where's her usual Billie Holiday flower?

The lovely Laila Ali.
Keisha Whitaker looking cute and fab, as usual.

I have no idea who John Legend's date is, but she looked great. Loved the hair and makeup. Loved the dress.

Jada Pinkett-Smith's skin and makeup were flawless (as always), but I wish she had styled her braids a little more creatively. I'm not really feeling the dress either.

Halle Berry looking stunning. No surprise there!

Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon looked fantastic. I love a dark eye and pink lip. One of my fave go-to beauty looks.

Best in Beauty? Not So Much.
While so many of the ladies looked stunning, a few missed the mark. Surprisingly, each of these ladies usually looks amazing, so hopefully they were just having an off night.

Everything Eve's look is too light. The hair color is too close to her skin color, and her makeup looks too light. She just looks washed out.

Sigh. This look is flat out boring. Especially on Beyonce, who usually loves to turn out a unique and dramatic look. At least her dress was cute.


Whoa. So much went so wrong here. Chalky pink eyeshadow + heavy handed liquid eyeliner + mauve lipstick = Not a good look for Alicia Keys. And I won't even start in on that wig. And she's been looking so fierce lately! Uggh!!

Tichina Arnold, matching your eyeshadow to your dress is never a good idea. Even more so if your dress is red!

All in all, the ladies looked pretty fab. Agree? Disagree?

Photos: and

Backstage at Marc Jacobs

I love Nars and he really turned it out at the Marc Jacobs show. The inspiration was 80s nightclub scene, and he definitely hit the mark. That hair reminds me of Patti LaBelle circa 1985. Loves it. Models Chanel Iman and Sessilee Lopez walked the runway, each in a makeup look Nars created especially for each of them. I'm really digging Sessilee's hot pink lip color, and Chanel's smokey eye is on point.

Nars also used two new products that will be released this fall-Sheer Matte Foundation (available in September) and Larger Than Life Volumizing and Lengthening Mascara (available in October). Can't wait to try these!

Alfre Woodard Honors Oscar NomineesTaraji P. Henson and Viola Davis

Emmy Winner Alfre Woodard hosted a ladies dinner in honor of Oscar Nominees Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis before this Sunday's award show. All of the ladies looked pretty fabulous.

Alfre with Taraji and Viola.

Tracee Ellis Ross made an appearance, along with Kimberly Elise, Regina Hall and Regina King. Love Tracee's look, and Ms. Alfre is working that pose!

The ladies looking fab at dinner.

Halle Berry looking ridiculously gorgeous post-baby.

Not really feeling Regina King's look this time around, but glad to see her nonetheless!

Sanaa Lathan's makeup was fresh and pretty.

Angela Bassett chatted the ladies up.

I'm loving Viola's retro 50's look and sexy hair, and Taraji's dress and shoes are to die!

So good to see fabulous Black women coming together to celebrate one another! Good luck to Taraji and Viola!

Credit: Wire Image

DERMAdoctor Poetry in Lotion Review

I have been absolutely in love with DERMAdoctor products lately. I have been using the Wrinkle Revenge Cleanser, and it is the business! The glycolic acid helps even out my skin tone, removes my makeup (with the help of my Clarisonic) and never dries out my skin. I swear, its a skincare miracle.

So imagine my surprise to come across a new DERMAdoctor product while in Sephora. DERMAdoctor Poetry in Lotion is a potent nighttime treatments filled with retinol to even out skin tone, prevent wrinkles and unclog pores. Usually products with retinol are super drying and super irritating. Not so with this little gem. Is doesn't make my uber-sensitive skin the least bit irritated, and has the texture of a face cream and moisturizes like one too. All that and it got rid of a stubborn blackhead that wouldn't budge! This stuff is great!

Visit VIV Mag to win a bottle of this little beauty. Good Luck!

Black Hair in the White House

Ladies, bear with me while I get serious for a moment. I promise to be as brief as possible!

With all of the intense attention focused on First Lady Michelle Obama's fashion and personal style, I recently began to wonder how long it would take before something would be said about her (and her daughters') hair. When fashion commentators take note of a celebrity or public figure, they analyze everything from the dress to the shoes, the handbag to the jewels, and the makeup to the hair. Michelle Obama has been subject to all of this; Criticism of her Election Night Narciso Rodriguez dress. Raves for her Inauguration morning ensemble, including her J. Crew leather gloves. Kudos for her glowing skin and flawless makeup application. But I've noticed that, compared to her fashion coverage, little has been said about Michelle Obama's hair. Is this, perhaps, out of fear of saying the wrong, racially insensitive thing?

Sure, Mrs. O's hair stylist, Johnny Wright, has gotten a healthy dose of press attention, and has even landed a development deal to star in his own reality/makeover show (which I'm very jazzed to see, by the way). But will we ever see him (or any hairstylist for that matter) recreating Michelle's bob on a model during a segment of Entertainment Tonight, a'la Frederick Fekkai during Oscar season? Relaxer, rat tail comb, and all? Somehow I doubt it.

Which begs the question: Is this the way we as Black women want it? I'm sure we've all dealt with a curious Caucasian friend or co-worker who has reached out and touched our hair, or asked more questions about our hair than we would like. After one of these incidents, does it make you wish the person knew more about Black hair, so it wouldn't seem so mysterious and foreign to them, or do you think that they flat out don't need to know? Either way, I think we are on the verge of Black hair "coming out of the closet", and becoming more visible to the mainstream, for better or for worse.

With a Black family so incredibly visible, it would be impossible for the hairstyles of these three ladies to not be a topic of conversation at some point over the next eight years (yes, I said eight). At some point will a clueless newscaster marvel at how Michelle keeps her hair "so straight"? Will some clown on Fox News see little Sasha's afro puffs and ask why her hair is so "unkempt"? What will we do then? Will we sick Jesse and the NAACP on them, or use the moment to educate? Should we use the moment to educate?

It's a shame that something like hair has the potential to create such discomfort and confusion. I'm sure that this is something that Michelle Obama has had to think about, not only when deciding how to wear her own hair, but when having Sasha and Malia's hair styled for events as well. It kind of makes me sick to think that this family has to put such thought into how they wear their hair, because it will have such a tremendous affect on how people see them. They want to assure people that Black folks are, for the most part, just like everyone else, and part of this is demonstrated through their hair. But doesn't this take away their options (and what, after all, is a Black woman's hair without options?) But then, as working Black women, don't we all go through this (albeit, on a much smaller scale)?

OK, I'm off my soap box now! Let me know your thoughts.

Also, check out a great piece by writer Erin Aubrey Kaplan. She's written a very thought provoking piece on this very subject. You can read it here.

And check out this interview with funnyman Chris Rock about his new documentary about Black women and our hair. It was very well received at Sundance, so hopefully we'll see it theaters soon. I can't wait to see it.

On with the beauty!!

Fashion Week's "Obama Effect"

It's Fashion Week in New York, and some are finding are more diverse crop of models after last months inaguration of President Barack Obama. The NY Times recently featured a group of young Black male models who walked the Duckie Brown show last Friday. The models and their agents describe the recent success they're having in NYC and Europe as the "Obama effect" (Milan, aka "NO BLACKS", excluded. Read the article to see what I mean).

Part of me is extremely excited that our fabulous Prez and First Lady have inspired the often lily white fashion world open its doors to gorgeous models of color, but mark of me wonders if this is just a passing fad. Are these designers and fashion show producers really committed to diversifying, or are they just jumping on the Obama bandwagon, thinking it's "cool" to have a few Black models to match our Black president?

I guess only time will tell. Check out the NY Times piece here.

Michelle Obama Covers Vogue

The rumors were true. First Lady Obama is indeed gracing the cover of the March issue of Vogue (don't you just LOVE her?!). Her ensembles were fabulous (of course) though I do NOT care for the cover photo. Mrs. O's face looks a little awkward, and since she usually photographs so beautifully, I'm blaming it on Vogue and Annie Leibovitz! Where was Andre (Leon Talley) during all of this?

At any rate, I can't wait to get this in the mail! I think I'll pick up an extra copy as a keepsake of our fabulous First Lady.

Beauty News: Halle Berry's New Fragrance

Halle Berry's new fragrance, Halle by Halle Berry, is finally set to launch next month. WWD reports that the fragrance will have Halle's favorite notes of fig and mimosa. Other notes include bergamot, pear blossom, freesia, hibiscus, ultra mimosa, sandalwood, driftwood, cashmere musk, olibanum and sensual amber.

The March issue of Ebony (p.58) lists the price at $30 at Kohls, though I understand it will be available at Target, JC Penney and drugstores as well, which I'm rather upset about. If Sara Jessica Parker, J.Lo and Mariah Carey can be in Macy's, Bloomies and the like, why can't Halle? Hell, even Paris Hilton's fragrance got to be in department stores! I don't know, maybe they were trying to make her fragrance more accessable. But, still...

At any rate, I can't wait to smell this. I'm a big fan of Halle, so this is one celebrity fragrance I might actually buy! Check out the March issue of Essence (p. 34-35) to see Halle's new 2-page ad.

Thanks to Fashion Manifesto for the photo.

Update: Click here for my review of Halle by Halle Berry.

Beauty News: Mani-Pedi Meltdown

The NY Times recently reported the lengths women are going to stretch out their manicures. Some are switching from acrylics and other artificial nails to cheaper, regular manicures, while others are opting for lighter shades of polish that show less chips, allowing them to go longer between touch ups. While these budget-savvy beauties are finding ways to afford their trips to the nail salon, salon owners are none to happy about the hit to their bottom line. Check the article out here.

I've resisted regular manicures at salons for the longest. I spend more on top notch products, but I save more on the service by doing my nails at home. Have you had to cut back on your mani-pedi's during this economic downturn?

P.S. For some mani-pedi myth busting from the NY Times, click here.

Beauty Find: Essence of Beauty Makeup Brushes

I have been a Sonia Kashuk makeup brush loyalist since her cosmetics line debuted at Target in 1999. Kashuk's brushes are widely considered to be the best inexpensive makeup brushes on the market, and rightly so. But there is a new kid on the block who may just snag me as a permanent customer.

I'm used to seeing Essence of Beauty cotton balls, loofahs, and scented body washes in CVS, but never gave their makeup tools a second look. That is, until I needed a new brush in a pinch and made a beeline for their display. I was (and, quite frankly, still am) stunned at the quality of the brushes. These plush brushes don't shed and blend makeup perfectly. There is a large variety of brushes to choose from, and they're all under $10.50 each. You can even buy sets for under $15. These are such an amazing find!

It seems that there is a limited selection at CVS stores (my CVS was nearly sold out), but the whole collection is available at Give these brushed a try. I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised!

Beverly Hills, Here I Come!

I saw the most gorgeous shade of nail polish while in Beauty Brands the other day. I was headed for the flat irons, but Essie Nail Polish in Love, Beverly Hills stopped me dead in my tracks. It's the most amazing shade of luscious candy-apple red with the perfect hints of gold to look stunning on brown skin. The picture just doesn't do it justice! It so happens that the gold undertones come from the 24Karat gold the polish is infused with. At $18 it's double the normal price of Essie polish, so I left it there without hesitation. But it's just too good to pass up! I think I'll be going back to pick this up(I may post some swatches of it to the blog over the weekend).

Here Kitty Kitty!

MAC has released the Hello Kitty collection early! Head to your nearest MAC freestanding store or Nordstrom ASAP to snap up these goodies. I have a feeling they'll be going fast! Here's what I have my eye on:

Clockwise from left:

Hello Kitty Eyeshadow x 4 in Lucky Tom, $38, Plush Lash Mascara in PlushBlack, $12, Hello Kitty Lipstick in Most Popular, $14, Hello Kitty Nail Lacquer in Something About Pink, $11, Hello Kitty Purse Mirror, $22, Hello Kitty Tinted Lip Conditioner in Pink Fish, $14.50, Hello Kitty Lipglass in Sweet Strawberry, $14

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Life-long beauty junkie. There's no 12-step program for this!