Mascara Showdown: L'Oreal Extra Volume Collagen VS. Revlon Double Twist

I love mascara. I never leave the house without wearing some, and I'll only wear it if it'll pump my lashes up. So, sucker for volumizing mascara that I am, I was super excited to see two new formulas from L'Oreal and Revlon. Since both companies claim that their new volumizing mascara will give you fat lashes, I decided to try both and review them here. May the best volumizing mascara win!

L'Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Mascara

What It Claims: "This Extra Volume Mascara by L'oreal contains Hydra Collagen which creates up to 12x more volume with no clumps, extra volume brush is twice as thick as traditional brushes."

What It Does: Well, the brush is definitely very thick! I don't quite see how a huge brush automatically equals huge lashes, and in this case it didn't. The result was no different for me than the regular L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara. Granted, it didn't clump (which is a mascara
miracle in itself!), but I wasn't wowed. I tend to like L'Oreal mascaras so I was expecting lush, date-night lashes. What I got where simple, seperated daytime lashes. Not bad, just not what I wanted.

Revlon Double Twist Volumizing Mascara

What It Claims: Massive Volume + Remarkable Definition.

What It Did: Somebody at Revlon needs to pull out their dictionary, because either they are seriously confused about the definition of "remarkable" or they're seriously confused about the definition of "definition". While this mascara delivered on its promise of massive volume, it can also deliver "massive clumps" if you're not careful. The large "brush" (and I do mean large) is made of inflexible plastic bristles, which can be dangerous if not used carefully (I poked myself in the eye the first time, so don't get too close at first). I said all this to say that it can give you really full lashes, but you first need to master the wand.

The Winner: Drumroll please... Revlon Double Twist Volumizing Mascara!
Why: Although the application isn't perfect, it gave me really lush lashes. All you need to do is gently blot the brush on a lint-free tissue (or scrape off any excess on the inner edge of the tube if you're in a hurry), which you should do anyway for a clump-free application. If you're still not happy, remember, eyelash combs are your friend! (But I don't think you need one with this mascara.)

I took a picture wearing both mascaras, with no blotting, no eyelash combs, no nothing. On the left side is the L'Oreal mascara, and on the right is the Revlon mascara. Pretty amazing, huh?

So, what do do think? Did I pick the right winner? Have you tried either of these? Let us know!

Orissa, Anyone?

Hey lovelies!

I was scouring the internet for natural cosmetics companies that offer shades for deeper skintones, and came across a brand called Orissa.

All I could decipher was that the brand is located in the UK, and will be centered around mineral makeup for ethnic skintones (think Bare Minerals but darker). I'm not a fan of mineral makeup, but I'm curious.

Has anyone else ever heard of this brand or tried it out? Let me know!

Black Beauty Pros You Should Know, Part 5: Product Prodiges

Hello all!

Welcome to the final installment of the top 10 Black Beauty Pros You Should Know! We're wrapping up with makeup artists A.J. Crimson and Roxanna Floyd. Both of these beauty product pros have not only made their mark as makeup artists, but have also made a name for themselves as creators of products for women of color.

Who He Is: A.J. Crimson - Celeb Makeup Artist and Cosmetics Creator

What You Should Know:
  • Makeup artist to Keyshia Cole, Christina Milian, Mya, Fergie and others
  • Co-created Kissable Couture lipgloss line with Keisha Whitaker (wife of Forest)
  • Has his own line of foundations and powders for women of color sold here.
What's Next: See A.J. at The Makeup Show NYC on May 17th from 2:45-3:30 on the Main floor of the Metropolitan Pavilion. Click here for tickets.

Who She Is: Roxanna Floyd - Celeb Makeup Artist and Cover Girl Creative Consultant

What You Should Know:
  • Best known as (probably, former now) makeup artist to Queen Latifah.
  • Helped create the Cover Girl Queen Collection.
  • Former spokesperson for Avon and Mary Kay
What's Next: Check out her website for more info!

How to Avoid Makeup Meltdown

Summer is coming, and makeup meltdown is a major beauty problem for me. Check out these tips to keep your makeup in place!
How to Avoid Makeup Meltdown

Pro tips on keeping a fresh face -- even in sweltering hot weather

Making makeup last all day-- especially in hot, muggy conditions-- doesn't have to be a high-maintenance hassle. Follow these tips from pro makeup artists Charlie Green and Molly Stern and your look, whether natural or dramatic, won't melt away.

See tips

What do you do to stay looking fab in hot weather? Let us know!

Black Beauty Pros Yous Should Know, Part 4: Music's Hottest Hairstylists

Today we'll be highlighting two of the most recognizable hairstylists in entertainment. Kim Kimble and Ursula Stephens have turned out some of the hottest hairstyles in recent memory, on two of music's biggest divas!

Who She Is: Kim Kimble - Famed Hollywood Hairstylist and Healthy Hair Expert

What You Should Know:

  • Most known as long-time hairstylist to Beyonce Knowles
  • Designed each of the 50 wigs Beyonce wore in the movie Dreamgirls.
  • Has her own line of popular hair care products called Kimble Hair Care Systems, that recently became available at
What's Next: Check out Kimble's website for more info on her products and hair extensions, as well as her schedule of hairstyling classes.

Who She Is: Celeb Hairstylist Extraordinaire

What You Should Know:
  • Most known as hairstylist to pop star Rhianna.
  • Gave Rhianna both her famous bob, and the short, spiky cut she is most known for.
  • Is regularly called on by fashion and beauty publications for her tips and styling expertise.
What's Next: Visit Ursula's website for a look at her work, and updates on what next.

Tomorrow, the finale of the top 10 Black Beauty Pros You Should Know!

Happy Earth Day!!!

Happy Earth Day! I've made major strides to become more "green" since this this time last year. I've been incorporating organic meats and produce into my diet, I switched to non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products, and I buy recycled paper products.

But making my beauty routine green has proven to be more difficult. I love luxe beauty products and don't want to have to resort to "granola beauty" to be more green. Luckily, the beauty world has taken note, and is offering beauty fanatics Earth (and skin) friendly products, that look and feel just as fab as their not-so-good-for-the-Earth counterparts. Here are three lines that have caught my eye, a green wish-list of sorts:

I am dying to try NUDE Skincare! I've heard nothing but amazing things about this line (seriously, not one single complaint), and would love to give it a spin. Not only are the ingredients used organic and fair trade sourced, but the sexy packaging is made of 40% recycled materials. In addition to their products for normal/oily skin, I have my eye on their Advanced Eye Complex, $108. It's pretty pricey, but like Kermit the Frog said, "It's not easy bein' green!"It's sold out on, so I guess my bank account is safe!

I've been looking everywhere for Essie's new Naturally Clean collection, but I can't seem to find it anywhere! The line is free of parabens, and is made up of natural ingredients. What I'm really looking for is the Purifying Nail Polish Remover, $6. It doesn't strip the nail bed of its natural moisture, and infuses it with anti-oxidants, vitamins, glycerin and eucalyptus oil. Nice!

I'm thisclose to buying some items from items from the Aveda Enbrightenment Collection, $35-50 each. The line promises to fade dark spots and even your complexion without the use of hydraquinone or other chemicals. Instead, it evens the skin with Vitamin C, grape seed extract, and mulberry root. I used to be a big Aveda fan back in the day, so maybe this collection will bring me back into the fold!

I would have loved to post some makeup that's great for women of color but, sadly, there aren't any worth mentioning (at least not to my knowledge...). Case in point. I've been looking for a natural foundation and powder, and was having zero luck finding a shade darker than beige. I was super excited to find out that former model Josie Maran's natural cosmetics line included a tinted moisturizer and concealer in 2 shades for darker complexions (paltry, I know, but better than nothing I guess).

So, I went to Sephora yesterday to purchase it after seeing the color swatches on the Sephora site, and was stunned to see how light the darkest shade called "Espresso" was. It should have been called Cafe au lait. Ridiculous. My hope is that by next Earth Day, cosmetic companies will have realized that there are women of color who are Earth conscious and deserve to be beautifully green, too!

What are your thoughts? Have you tried to "green" your beauty routine? Why or why not? Let me know!

Beauty Pros You Should Know Part 3: Fashion's Beauty Titans

Welcome to Day 3 of Black Beauty Pros You Should Know!

Today we'll be shouting out two of fashion's top titans of beauty, Ted Gibson and Path McGrath! There is nary a model of any ethnicity who would dare walk down a runway without having Gibson or McGrath work their magic on them. Here's why:

Who He Is: Ted Gibson - Master of Sexy Hair

What You Should Know:

  • Not only is Gibson the mane man Gabrielle Union, Angelina Jolie and others turn to for sexy, voluminous hair, he regularly turns out glam looks for fashion, runway and editorial.
  • Has his own line of delicious smelling hair and body products, called Ted Gibson Beauty, available at Target (relaxed girls, try the Tame It Lotion, $23 for non-greasy shine. You'll love it!).
  • Gibson commands $950 for his sought-after haircuts at his NYC salon (Which I visited when I was living in NYC (Not to see Ted, of course!). It's super-chic and glam, and the staff is so nice! Give it a try, if you're in the NYC area).
What's Next: Visit for all the scoop on Ted, and news about his new salons in D.C. (aka The New NYC) and Fort Lauderdale.

Who She Is: Pat McGrath - The High Priestess of Runway Makeup

What You Should Know:
  • McGrath's coveted work can be seen on Fashion Week runways the world over. There is, arguably, no makeup artist more in demand in fashion today.
  • McGrath is the Global Creative Design Director for Proctor and Gamble, where she's in charge of the Cover Girl and Max Factor brands. In fact, McGrath is responsible for revamping Max Factor in recent years.
  • She designed Giorgio Armani's eponymous cosmetics line, and helped create the new highly anticipated Dolce & Gabanna makeup line.
What's Next: Check out how McGrath's influence on the new Dolce & Gabanna Makeup line turned out here.

Tomorrow, Music's Hottest Hairstylists!

Walgreens Celebrates Earth Day with 15% Off!

Head over to Walgreens to stock up on your favorite budget beauty items. Stores are giving 15% off all purchases today in celebration of Earth Day! Click here for the coupon.

Revlon Fruitful Temptations Scented Nail Polish

Hey ladies! I picked up Revlon's new Fruitful Temptations Nail Polish in Passionate Fruit over the weekend and gave myself a manicure. I have to say I am loving this nail polish!

I'm typically an OPI loyalist, and dabble in shades from Essie from time and time, but Revlon often turns out shades that catch my eye, and this is one of them! Passionate Fruit is the perfect transitional shade going into spring. It gives brown skin a nice punch of color without going over the deep end into super-bright summer shades (check out the pic below).

The wildest thing about this new collection is that it's scented! Its been three days since I applied Passionate Fruit and it still has a faint sweet, berry scent. Trust me, its very subtle, and makes for a more enjoyable manicure.

I'm going to pick up one of the coral shades next, and you should definitely give these a shot!

Black Beauty Pros You Should Know, Part 2: Hollywood Heavyweights

Whenever you've seen a Black star looking fab on the red carpet and gracing the cover of a magazine, chances are she's been beautified by these two Hollywood heavyweights. Since A-list starlets won't make a move without being glammed up by either of these two, they often end up working together on the same person! Check them out here:

Who He Is: Sam Fine - Makeup guru and beauty expert to A-List stars of color.

What You Should Know -
-He's the long-time makeup artist to beauties like Vanessa Williams, Iman, Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell (who gave him his start) and dozens of other Black celebs.
-Published a beauty tome dedicated to makeup for Black women called "Fine Beauty" in 1998.
-Is known for his flawless contouring and naturally glamorous looks.
-Swears by Black Opal Creme Stick Foundation and L'Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara.
What's Next - Sam dishes about his fave products and techniques for Black women in the May issue of Vogue (which is fab, by the way). He'll also be releasing an instructional DVD this May, called Fine: The Basics of Beauty at!

Who He Is: Oscar James - THE go-to guy for to-die-for hair in Black Hollywood.

What You Should Know:
-His clients include Tyra Banks, Vanessa Williams, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Iman, Veronica Webb, Sanaa Lathan, and lots more.
-Styled Halle Berry for her historic Oscar win in 2002.
-Owns the Oscar James Salon and Spa in his hometown of Florence, SC.
-Was the first African American spokesperson for John Frieda (I miss that line, I believe it was called Relax).

What's Next: Check out his website for more info.
Check back tomorrow for Part 3 of Black Beauty Pros You Should Know!

Beauty Steals: Spiral Haircase

Hello beautiful readers!

I've teamed up with to offer Beautè Noire readers a special discount on some of your fave beauty products. What is Spiral Haircase you ask? Why, it's a one-stop shop for skincare, haircare and nail products from brands like CHI, Pureology, OPI, Essie and more.

For 10% off your order, enter code BBBCBEANOIRE1 at checkout. You can also enjoy free shipping if your pre-discount total is over $30.00!

Other deets:

  • Shipping charge of $5.95 will show up at checkout, and be removed for Beautè Noire readers before your CC is charged, when using the Beautè Noire code above.
  • Due to the large response they're experiencing, allow Spiral Haircase to up to 14 days to get your order to you.
  • Check back next month for another promo from Spiral Haircase!


Black Beauty Pros You Should Know: America's "First Stylists"

Though they're still in the minority in the beauty industry, Black hairstylists and makeup artists are making major strides. Beautè Noire wants you to know who the movers and shakers are in the industry, so this week I'll be shouting out the top 10 Black Beauty Pros You Should Know!

Today, we're highlighting America's First Stylists, Johnny Wright and Ingrid Grimes-Myles. Whenever you've seen First Lady Michelle Obama turning heads with her glamorous hair and makeup, these two have been behind her fabulous looks. Meet the First Lady's glam Squad!

Johnny Wright - Hairstylist

Who He Is: Official Hairstylist to First Lady Michelle Obama

What You Should Know: Chicago native and former Frederic Fekkai stylist Johnny Wright first styled Michelle Obama's hair for her Ebony cover shoot in 2008. Mrs. O liked his work so much she called him back for more. Johnny cinched his position as Mrs. Obama's stylist after he styled her hair for the 2008 Democratic National Convention (girlfriend's hair was laid!). The rest is history!

What's Next: Wright is currently an Artistic Style Director with Soft Sheen-Carson, and has inked a deal to star in his own reality show.

Ingrid Grimes-Myles - Makeup Artist

Who She Is: Official Makeup Artist to First Lady Michelle Obama

What You Should Know: A veteran makeup artist, Grimes-Myles was the head makeup artist for local Chicago TV station WGN-TV prior to working with Michelle Obama, according to an article from the Chicago Sun Times. Grimes-Myles has been Michelle Obama's makeup artist for several years now, and has styled her for many of her most publicized appearances and photo-ops. Not only was her work seen around the world at the Inauguration of President Obama, but she also applied Mrs. O's makeup for her highly anticipated March 2009 Vogue cover shoot.

What's Next: More First Lady Glamour. She's pretty tight lipped, but I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping she'll let slip some of Mrs. O's fave beauty products!

Tomorrow: Hollywood Heavyweights Oscar James and Sam Fine!

Aveeno Nourish+ Hair Care Review

Lots of people have been awaiting the arrival of Aveeno's new hair care line, and I'm glad to say it was worth the wait!

I tried out the Nourish + Moisturize Shampoo and Conditioner, $7 each, Nourish + Soothe Shampoo, $7, and Nourish + Condition Leave In Conditioner, $7.

I started out with the Nourish+Soothe Shampoo. I was especially looking forward to using this shampoo, as a dry scalp is something I'm always battling. After using this shampoo, my scalp was soothed, and my hair felt super soft. Plus, the delicious lavender scent was an added bonus!

I followed up with the Nourish+Moisturize shampoo. Though this fruity scented shampoo didn't leave my hair quite as soft as the previous shampoo, it did leave it pretty soft. Both shampoos lather up a lot, so only a little is needed, which helps each bottle to last longer.

I finished my shampoo with the Nourish+Moisturize Conditioner. It didn't smell as good as the shampoos, and was rather runny, so I wasn't sure what to expect. When I rinsed it out, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. My hair was super soft and surprisingly shiny! I topped it off with some Nourish+Condition Leave In Conditioner, which added to the softness and defined my curls but, sadly, the softness it provided didn't last.

Aveeno definitely hit the mark when it comes to providing soft, healthy hair! If you're in the market for a new shampoo and conditioner, give these a try!

Say "Yes, Yes, Yes!" to The Body Shop and MTV

This week, The Body Shop and MTV launched the Say "Yes, Yes, Yes" to Safe Sex campaign to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention in young people. To do their part, The Body Shop has released a Yes, Yes, Yes! Tantalizing Lip Butter, $8, with $5 from every lip butter sold going to The Staying Alive Foundation, their joint HIV/AIDS awareness charity with MTV.

Not only do you get to help save a life, but you also get smooth lips - a win win situation!

Got to for more info and to check out campaign spokesperson, Solange Knowles.

Real Woman Tutorial: Perfect Eyeliner

Can't quite figure out to apply your eyeliner just right? Is your "cat-eye" looking a crazy mess? Check out this picture guide from a fellow beauty blogger, courtesy of Total Beauty!
Real-Woman Tutorial: Perfect Eyeliner

Quick and easy tips for a perfect cat eye, liquid liner and more - brought to you by fellow blogger Temptalia

This tutorial is designed to show you step-by-step how to line your upper lash line and wing out the liner subtly, which is typically called a cat-eye. Check out these tips and you'll be on your way to perfectly-lined eyes in no time.

See how-to

Spring Beauty in Bloom

Victoria's Secret model Selita Ebanks never fails to look gorgeous when she hits the red carpet, and her recent appearance at the New Yorkers For Children charity event in NYC was no exception!

Selita complimented her hot pink dress with makeup in shades of berry and plum, and super feminine, sheer pink nails, with light silver tips for added flair.

Here's how to get Selita's look:

1. Try Revlon Colorstay Eyeshadow Quad in Berry Bloom, $7. Apply the deep plum shade to the lid, from the lash line to the crease. Next, sweep on the bright berry shade to the crease, blending upward.

2. Finish this sexy smokey eye with Stila Smudge Pot in Black, $20 and Shu Uemura False Eyelashes in Luxe Black, $20.

3. Brush on a little e.l.f. Natural Radiance Blusher in Bronzed, $1.49 to the apples of the cheek. Finish the look with Sephora Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss in Pretty Berry, $10.

Get Selita's chic tips by polishing two coats of Essie Nail Polish in Sugar Daddy, $8 on the entire length of the nail. Once dry, apply Orly French Manicure Tip Guides, $4 to help you create a perfect french tip. Finish by applying two coats of Essie Nail Polish in Loophole, $8 to tips of nails.

Now, you're red carpet ready!

Photo: J. McCarthy

Deal Alert: Sephora

This is pretty major. Sephora is giving Beauty Insiders 15% off EVERYTHING online. Just enter code BD2T9CB5 at checkout. This is a great time to try out something new.

Budget Beauty Binge: A Trio of Reviews

I made a beauty run to CVS yesterday and picked up some items I'd been meaning to try for a while. Here's some of what I bought:

Maybelline Age Rewind Double Face Perfector in Dark, $9. - I knew going in that the concealer wasn't going to be worth a darn. It was the highlighter I was after. A makeup artist was recently quoted in the NY Times saying that this was comparable to the legendary YSL Touche Eclat. I seriously beg to differ. This was way too light to be called "Dark", and it didn't even cover my dark circles. It just left them ashy. Sigh.

Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick in Top Tomato, $11. - The good thing about this liquid lipstick is that it's the most amazing shade of red I've ever worn. Seriously, this is a universally flattering shade that would look good on pretty much any skin tone. The bad thing is that the lipstick itself sucks. It made my lips look super dry, but was so sticky that it made my lips stick together like they'd been sealed with glue. I'm going to keep playing around with it. If there's a way to make it work, I'll gladly keep it on hand.

L'Oreal EverPure Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner, $7 each. - I am in love with this set. The shampoo is particularly amazing. I've used sulfate-free shampoos in the past, and they've always left my hair dry and tangled. It smelled like men's cologne, but this shampoo from L'Oreal's new line for color-treated hair left my hair super soft, with lots of slip. The conditioner smelled like sweet peppermint (and tingled too), but it took away the slip the shampoo gave, and left my hair feeling rubbery. The jury is still out on the conditioner, but the shampoo is a must.

Made any budget beauty buys lately? Do tell!

Soft and Beautiful Dry Wrap Mousse

When I saw Soft and Beautiful StyleProtect Nighttime Dry Wrap Mousse, $7 in Walgreens I (lunged for it and) began to toss it into my basket, until I remembered that I no longer have relaxed hair. Darn the luck, because this dry mousse seems almost too good to be true.

You read right - dry mousse. Just add a dollop of this moisture-rich mousse to your hair before you wrap it at night, and wake up with stronger, more moisturized hair. Its a big hit over at the Anti Hair Slave, and I'd love to know what you think if you've tried it. In the meantime, I'll try to come up with a use for this on my hair, it sounds just to good to pass up!

Dark and Lovely Hair Colour Review

This weekend I made my first foray into home hair color. I went natural recently and decided that this was as good a time as any to dabble in some color. I'm usually an advocate of leaving hair color to the professionals, but with the economy like it is, and my hair as short as it is, I figured why pay someone to do what I can do myself?

Well, when Dark and Lovely says they give you vibrant color, they mean it! I bought their Permanent Hair Colour in Sun Kissed Brown #377. It came out way to red for my tastes (I looked like Malcom X), but after looking at the box again, I realize that its definitely the same color on the model, so my dissatisfaction with the color is my own fault, I guess.

The gel and squeeze tube made it quick and easy to apply (though, a lot did end up all over my bathroom). It didn't smell too bad, but it burned my super sensitive scalp while I waited for the color to set. My scalp was fine after I rinsed the color out, but a good moisturizer was definitely in order, because my hair was left dry and hard, and the conditioner that came in the box was not cutting it.

Homey the Clown color aside, I would use this again in another shade. The color is very rich and vibrant, just like the box said, so if you picked the right color it would look really great. I've since followed up with Dark and Lovely Reviving Colors Semi-Permanent Hair Color in Ebone Brown (I'll post a review of this later) to mask the red until I can color again. When the brown fades fades in 6-8 washes, I think I'll try Chestnut Blonde #380. A good spring/summer shade, no?

Taraji P. Henson & Viola Davis Cover Ebony

Ebony is really stepping up their cover game. Oscar nominees Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis are on the cover of the May Ebony, and looking pretty fab, as usual.

Though both ladies look great in this spread, I think these are the best photos I've seen of Viola. She looks stunning in this red Monique Lhuillier gown. Get her glamorous look with Nars Limited Edition Lipstick in Sephora Flame, $24 and Essie Nail Polish in Sole Mate, $8.

Cellulite & Stretch Mark Solutions!

While nothing will work like hitting the gym or having enviably good genes, these products can definitely help wage the war on cellulite and stretch marks. And just in time for those chic short shorts!
Stretch Mark & Cellulite Repair

Finally, the truth on which promising products will actually help -- and which are just money-wasting hype

Many of us are genetically destined to get stretch marks and cellulite. (Yeah, thanks, we know!) But thanks to expert help from two of the country's most famous rock star-level skin gurus and 200,000 unbiased beauty product reviews from readers, you can effectively prevent and minimize the appearance of these bummer issues. Get the real scoop here.

Get the facts

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