Beauty Q&A

It's been a while since we've had a Beauty Q&A, so if you've got a pressing beauty question, email me or leave it in the comments!

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These Are a Few of My Least Favorite Things: A Review, Part I

Sigh. I hate it when I buy a product so terrible, I wish I 'd never left the store's parking lot with it. I'm usually very selective about what I buy, and put in much research before I drop my cash. But, even the best of us can lose our senses when confronted with a new product we've never seen before. Yes, these are serious moments of weakness for me. Sadly, this has happened to me all to often lately.

I'd been having such good luck with IMAN products lately, that I decided to give her new Luxury Eye Defining Powder, $11 a try. Not one of my better ideas. I was hesitant to buy it because I didn't understand how such a fat wand was supposed to give you a normal looking line. It wasn't. It was a smokey eye or nothing at all. I ended up with a super-thick line of greasy loose powder that just wouldn't set. After blinking my eyes a few times I looked like I'd been working in a coal mine.

I spent the weekend hunting down the receipt (Trust. This mess is going back). Sorry Iman. Love you, but this has got to go.

Stay tuned for reviews from Biore and Olay.

Kérastase Private Sale

Kerastase is holding a Private Sale for items about to go out of stock. Head over to the site and enter promo code VIP30 for 30% off these luxe hair care products!

Thanks to 55 Secret Street for the tip!

Jennifer Hudson's Next Role: Avon Lady

Hot Mama Daily reports that J-Hud is the newest celeb face over at Avon, and the girl is looking fab!

Jennifer is gracing the cover of Avon's current catalog to promote their Perfect Wear makeup. Head over to Hot Mama Daily for more pics of Jen in action.

Sidenote* Jennifer's brows are looking crazy-good. I would love to know who did them.


Recession-Proof Your Skincare!

Last week, I posted about how I recession-proofed my makeup bag and saved $170 on my everyday makeup. Well, after that went so well, I decided to do the same for my medicine cabinet and see if I could find replacements for my most expensive skincare products. There was once a time when I balked at women who spent tons of money on skincare products. Those days are long gone...

Here are the priciest items in my medicine cabinet (excluding my Clarisonic, because that thing removes makeup like nobody's business):


Its almost hard to believe that my $225 only got me 4 little products. But no worries, I found great products at the drugstore, all with active ingredients.

Drum roll, please:

I impressed myself with my beauty budgeting abilities! I don't know how long I'll be able to keep up my new found product downsizing skills (I mean, lets be real. I am a product junkie, after all), but its great to know the I've still got it!

Budget Beauty logo by Makeup Makes Me Happy.

Beauty Review: Iman Second to None Cover Cream

Beauty maven Iman is debuting several new items this spring, one of them being her new Second to None Cover Cream, and I think I'm in love!

I'm not sure if the original usage of the cover cream was supposed to be a foundation or concealer, but I've been having great luck using it as a foundation. I just tap a little over the areas I want to cover and blend it in with a foundation brush.

The coverage is pretty amazing. It evens out my skin tone and can cover dark spots without looking at all heavy or cakey. The cream is a little slippery, so you'll definitely want to set it with some powder. After I dust my face with Iman Luxury Pressed Powder, my face has a really sheer, natural looking, smooth finish. I swear, I look like I have the most perfect skin!

If you're on the oily side, I would keep some blotting tissues or powder on hand. I don't know why, but Iman's face products always leave me oilier by midday than any other brand, but for now I'm willing to put up with it because the color match is so good. If you're in the market for a new concealer or foundation I would definitely look out for Iman Second to None Cover Cream at your fave drugstore.

P.S. Look out for my review of Iman's new Luxury Eye Defining Powder, a powder eyeliner and eyeshadow wand in one!

P.P.S Iman has her own YouTube page with how-to videos and product demonstrations. Who knew?

Dolce and Gabanna Makeup

The website for the new Dolce and Gabanna Makeup is officially up and running. The packaging looks kind of cheesy, but the collection itself looks pretty promising, especially the Classic Creme Lipstick. The color range is extensive, and the formula looks lush and creamy. But it could just be all those fancy graphics (visit the site and you'll see what I mean)!

There is only one foundation in the collection, and D&G threw in a few deeper shades for us, but we'll have to see those in person to see if they're really wearable. Several shades of bronzer are offered as well, which will probably be popular this summer.

No word on the price points just yet. The collection will be available at soon.

Beauty Steals and Deals!

  • Free shipping with any bareMinerals purchase.

  • 20% off bliss and Remede products. Enter coupon code 019904 at checkout.

  • Beauty Insiders get 8 free natural beauty samples. Enter GONATURAL at check out, or bring this coupon to your Sephora store Saturday, March 21, from 12pm-6pm to get your samples in-store.

NY Times: Are Facials Really Necessary?

The NY Times published an article today about an ongoing debate between dermatologists and estheticians. Apparently, most derms think facials promising to be miracle workers are a waste of cash, while facialists think their work is crucial to making your skin its most beautiful. In my humble opinion, its a woman's prerogative to treat herself to a little pampering and pore extraction!

Love getting facials? Wouldn't be caught dead dropping cash for something you'd rather recreate at home? Let me know!

Beautè Noire is on Twitter!

I've joined the Twitter ranks! You can now follow Beautè Noire in real time. I'll be posting Twitter updates when I come across a fabulous beauty find while out and about, or when something fabulous comes to mind.

You can find my Twitter updates in the column to the right, or sign up for your own Twitter account for automatic Beautè Noire updates. Already hip to Twitter? Add me to your favorites!

Visit the Beautè Noire Twitter page!

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics 25% Off!

The effects of the struggling economy have made their way to the beauty industry, and apparently Bobbi Brown is the latest victim. Everything is 25% off at through Thursday. I have a feeling we'll be seeing more sales like this...

Recession-Proof Your Makeup Bag!

I tend to be fairly frugal when it comes to most things, but I usually spare no expense when it comes to beauty products. Since we've all got to stretch our dollars these days, I decided to scale back on my beauty products and try less expensive alternatives (though I have no idea how long I can last!). The first place I started was my makeup bag.

It is extremely hard for me to find foundations and powders that match my skin tone, so I've always felt that any price is justifiable if the makeup matches. Nevertheless, I think I've found some pretty good alternatives at price points that are more agreeable to my wallet.

Here's what I usually use:

  • Becca Luminous Skin Colour in Cognac, $42
  • Becca Stick Foundation in Truffle, $44
  • Amazing Concealer in Deep Golden, $42
  • Becca Fine Loose Finishing Powder in Cardamom, $35
  • Nars Blush in Crazed, $25
  • YSL Touche Eclat in #4, $40
  • Bobbi Brown Metallic Eye Shadow in Burnt Sugar, $20
  • Max Factor 2000 Calorie Extreme Lash Plumper, $10
  • Revlon Matte Luxurious Color Kohl Eyeliner in Black Truffle, $10

I know beauty costs, but this is a tad much. Since the Max Factor mascara and Revlon eyeliner are just $10 a piece, I decided not to replace them for now. I was surprisingly successful at finding less expensive alternatives to the other products, all of them found at the drugstore!

Here they are:
  • L'Oreal True Match Super Blendable Makeup in Cappuccino, $8 (on sale at Target)
  • Iman Second to None Cover Cream in Clay Medium Dark, $13 (NEW! available at select Walgreens)
  • Iman Corrective Concealer in Clay, $10 (great to carry in your purse for touch ups)
  • Iman Luxury Pressed Powder in Earth Medium, $15
  • Iman Luxury Blushing Powder in Peace, $11 (the closest color match to Nars' Crazed I've ever seen)
  • Sephora Light Touch Highlighter in Apricot, $12
  • Revlon ColorStay Mineral Eye Shadow in Tiger Eye, $9
  • Max Factor 2000 Calorie Extreme Lash Plumper, $10
  • Revlon Matte Luxurious Color Kohl Eyeliner in Black Truffle, $10

Wow, much better! A $170 savings! I was so impressed with my ability to find cheaper versions of my makeup, I decided to recession-proof my medicine cabinet. In my next post I'll show you how I traded in some of my expensive skincare products for budget-friendly ones.

Budget Beauty logo by
Makeup Makes Me Happy.

Beyonce Covers April Vogue

Beyonce is covering Vogue's "Shape Issue" next month, and she looks pretty darn good! I'm not sure the article will be about much of anything, but the pics are sure to be fierce. Look for it on newsstands soon.

Wow, two Black women covering Vogue in a row. Anna Wintour is on a roll!

DIY Beauty! Part II: Make Your Haircut Last Longer

While regular trims are the key to growing your hair long and strong, making regular trips to the salon can put a hurting on your wallet. So what is a budget-conscious beauty to do? Stretch out those hair cuts! The more you do to protect the ends of your hair, the longer you can go between trims.

What to do if the damage is done but you don't have the cash for a trim right now? Citre Shine Shine Miracle Split End Mender, $5 is for you! While nothing but a cut can remedy scraggly ends, this serum can certainly help. Even the labs at the Good Housekeeping Institute found that Citre Shine's split end fixer gives some positive results. Definitely worth the 5 bucks until your stylist can get her hands on your hair.

Heat is a mother on your hair, so protecting it from your flat iron and other appliances is a must to preserve your hair cut on an ongoing basis. One heat protectant I love is Motions Heat Seeker Protector Spray, $4.68. This liquid spray dries fast and doesn't leave a residue on your hair. At under 5 bucks, its a real beauty bargain.

If your not so keen on using a liquid, try FHI Heat Hot Sauce, $14. This silky cream not only protects your hair from heat, but smooths the hair cuticle while imparting serious shine and moisture. The directions say to use on wet hair before blow drying, but I use use it on dry hair too before flat ironing. Its a little pricier, but worth it.

Got any tips to make your style last longer between salon visits? Let us know!

Fragrance Review: Essence by Narciso Rodriguez

I was able to get my hot little hands on a bottle of Narciso Rodriguez's highly anticipated new fragrance, Essence. I have to admit that it was very hard for me to smell Essence and not compare it to the wildly popular Narciso Rodriguez For Her. For Her is my all time favorite fragrance, and I think many consider For Her to be the gold standard for any fragrance Mr. Rodriguez makes. That being said, Essence is no For Her.

I don't dislike Essence, per say. I just didn't fall head over heals in love with it, and I'm a little disappointed that I didn't. While Essence had the musky quality that I have come to love (and expect) from a Narciso Rodriguez fragrance, it was missing the ultra sexy, sensuous and feminine qualities that I've come to love and expect from NR.

At first spritz, the fragrance had a floral quality. I do not care for florals, but I stuck with it, as the floral notes mingled with the aforementioned musk. Over time, the floral notes gave way to the musk, and a crispness emerged. While the ending was better than the beginning, I can't help but feel that I've smelled this before, maybe even in a men's fragrance. This is definitely a better option for spring than NR for Her, but I'm not so sure that this will be in regular rotation. Sigh.

So, I've had several weeks to get used to Essence, and I have to say I like it a lot more now than I did before. This fragrance has definitely grown on me. It has a very crisp, sophisticated, "grown up" scent, that is more subtle than I guess I'm used to from Narciso. While visiting the other day, my best friend friend spritzed a little and fell in love. In fact, she loved it so much that she proceeded to walk around my around my apartment, holding the bottle, while going on and on about how much she liked it. Crazy girl.

I guess great minds think alike, because I think I've fallen for Essense, too. But, fans of For Her, I am warning you. This is not like For Her. I only warn you because if you compare the two, Essence is sure to disappoint, and you'll miss out on this fabulous fragrance. Enjoy!

Beauty Supply Shout Out

When most people relocate to another city they consider things like transportation, cost of living, proximity to friends and family, etc. Not this beauty junkie. When I was considering moving from NYC back to my hometown of Kansas City, MO, I was trying to figure out where I was going to buy my favorite beauty products. The idea of living without a Sephora was so non-negotiable, that I triple confirmed that we had one (thankfully, we have 3 with a rumored fourth on the way), then called the closest store to make sure they carried my favorite products. Yeah, it was that serious.

Since I've been back I've made do with trips to Sephora and Beauty Brands, and have resigned to ordering products online that I can't get in town . After deciding to go natural recently, I wanted to give the legendary Miss Jessie's hair care products a try. I balked at the idea of buying before trying, and paying extra to ship things I used to be able to walk into a store and buy in New York irked me to no end (Pay shipping and handling? No, thanks.). So I was excited and relieved to find Beautiful Madame Beauty Supply.

Beautiful Madame is an African American woman owned beauty supply store (so incredibly rare) here in Kansas City, that carries authentic products from your favorite drugstore brands like Soft Sheen-Carson and Nexxus, to cult favorite boutique brands like Miss Jessie's and Mixed Chicks. They also carry innovative products from local beauty mavens and cute tees and accessories from Sable Dame. Owner Monica Roberts (that's her on the far right) is super informed about the products she carries and customer service is paramount. Not in the Kansas City area? Not a problem! Visit their site and order online.

Fragrance Review: Halle by Halle Berry

I decided to pop into Kohls last night to check out Halle Berry's new fragrance, and I am sooo glad I did. Truth be told, I was probably going to buy Halle's perfume regardless of whether I loooved it or not (I strongly support brown beauties with big beauty deals). I figured, even if its not so great, how bad could it be? It was on sale, so I decided I could support my girl Halle for 20 bucks.

After spritzing some on my wrists, I wandered around the store a bit to let it settle in. And let me tell you, I could not stop smelling my wrists. This stuff is that good. I can only imagine what I looked like on the store security cameras, walking around smelling myself.

This fragrance is an interesting mix of sweet and sultry. At first smell, Halle is sweet and slightly fruity, feminine and summery. As the scent lingers, spicier, more musky notes begin to come out, and the fragrance takes on a sultrier, sexier scent. Mmmm. Sexy and sweet. I love it!

I'm not one to wear fragrance every day, but the first thing I did this morning was spritz some of this on. And, yes, I'm still smelling my wrists.

Halle did a bang up job on her fragrance debut, and this is one celebrity scent you should definitely check out!

DIY Beauty! Part I: Custom Nail Polish

With the economy in limbo, it can seem pretty frivolous dropping loads of cash on beauty treatments. But you can't let your looks go, can you? No! So, I've searched high and low for some Do-It-Yourself alternatives to those pricey treatments you get in salons and spas, and I'll be posting them here for the next week. Here we go!

Who needs $23 Chanel nail polish when you can create your own custom nail polish at home? After all, custom cosmetics are the ultimate beauty luxury. There's just something about knowing that no one else is wearing the same shade as you! Well, you can treat your nails this exclusivity by creating your own nail polish on the cheap with this recipe I found over at Spa Girls Guide. Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 paper envelope
  • 1 bottle of white nail polish. Try N.Y.C. Quick Dry Nail Polish in Little Italy, $2.
  • Eyeshadow (try a cheap brand from the drugstore or an old shade you don't wear anymore)
  1. Crumble some or all of the eyeshadow into the envelope. Make sure there are no lumps!
  2. Snip a corner off the envelope to make a tiny funnel.
  3. Slowly pour the powdered eyeshadow into the nail and stir until you reach your desired color.
  4. Though I'm normally against shaking polish (It creates bubbles, so its better to roll the bottle between your palms), you may want to shake in this case to make sure the color is distributed evenly.
  5. Paint your nails as usual!
Next in DIY Beauty, making you haircut last longer!

Germ-Free Beauty

While washing my makeup brushes the other day, I realized that I've been sort of lax lately. There were so many colors in my bathroom sink, I could have tie-dyed a t-shirt. It was a little out of control. I kept thinking about all the germs I had been brushing all over my face. Ughh!!

Granted, you should wash your brushes regularly to keep germs off of your face and out out your makeup, but I can't help but think that the Sephora Deluxe Antibacterial Brush Set, $60 would be a big help. The bristles in these brushes are treated to fight bacteria, so germs don't stand a chance on your gorgeous skin! And it comes in a cute little case to boot.

If you don't have 60 bucks to drop right now, try Sephora Daily Brush Cleaner, $6. This fantastic little spray works wonders to sanitize your brushes in a flash. Just spritz some of this on your brushes and wipe the bristles on a clean cloth. You can use this after each time you use your brushes or before bed each night, and they'll be ready in the morning! And what if you need to clean your brushes last minute? No problem. This spray is quick-dry and can have your brushes ready in just a couple of minutes. This is definitely getting your beauty bucks worth!

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