Tantejoan here, trying my best to walk a mile in Gigi’s shoes, the better to fill in for Drugstore Deals. Trouble is, it’s 90 outside, and New York sidewalks are hard on the tootsies in the best of weather, and, let’s face it: I have terrible, horrible, disgusting feet. You don’t believe me? Think I’m exaggerating? Take a look at Exhibit A, my left foot. (The weak of stomach may want to avert their eyes here.) Had enough? I’ve got another one just like it.
My feet are a horrible confluence of genetics and poor childhood shoe replacement patterns. Genetics I cannot control -- all the women in my family have these broken, Russian peasants’ feet, complete with bunions, hammertoes, corns and assorted other atrocities, in one form or another. With me they are all so pronounced that when I went for a consultation with New York’s premier foot surgeon he exclaimed, upon first seeing them (and very unprofessionally, he later admitted) “Oh, dear God in Heaven, Joan!” Then he sat down and wrote a letter to my internist telling him in detail what he would have to do to make them better. It was over three pages long.
Finally I determined that having lived this long with my deformed dainties, I might as well keep them until the end. But because the Lord is supposedly Perfect, and my feet are extreme evidence to the contrary, I decided it was my duty to spare Him the shame. I don’t want Him to look bad, so I have taken it upon myself to cover these monstrosities with only the prettiest of shoes. No sandals, though, for obvious reasons.
Gigi Here . . .My friend TanteJoan calls me a “palette-loving soul.” Stylemama has me pegged as well. But Sharond, honorable to a fault, exacerbated my habit—she is actually a “pusher” for Cat Cosmetics palettes! They understand my addiction; Sharond has fed it. I didn’t dream she could be duplicitous! Thus, I promise this will be the last palette review for awhile, maybe even two weeks, but detox requires baby steps.
As a young child, I began to paint and a palette was an extension of my arm. When I grew older and had less free time, irresistible mixes of makeup hues replaced paints, albeit in a rectangular or square shape. Should I confess this? Deep breath her e, Gigi, these women are your treasured friends. At one point, I was worse than Monk when it came to idiosyncrasies. I feared being put in a padded cell. I could only eat from divided Chinette foam plates, placing each item in its proper order (think of the natural nuance of colors, as in a rainbow—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black).
Thus, every course of a meal was housed in a separate divided compartment from left to right. A large dinner generally required two, three, or more plates. Food was arranged something like this: beets, carrots, yellow squash, French-cut green beans, Bleu cheese, Jello in deep lavender, steak, and caviar. That was before I sought therapy and became a member of PLA (“Palette Lovers Anonymous”). I strive to live one day at a time; I do not think of the compacts I will buy tomorrow and am content with what I have. Most of the time. Some of the time. Okay, I’m not there yet.
NYX makeup is priced so reasonably that I fear they have lost their minds. I pray they aren’t reading this and will not inflate prices. Their new “Smokey Eyes” Palette can come close to Tarte’s Day-to-Night, opulent “Heath Couture Collection” ($44.00) Kat Von D’s sultry compact in “Beethoven” ($34.00), and more for a mere $9.00. You read that right—buy it now and they’ll add a magic garden tool, onion chopper, and miracle spot remover for the same cost! (Disclaimer: That was said in jest; I teach law and do not wish to be sued at this moment. Perhaps later, but I’m not in the mood right now.)
Formulas are highly pigmented, more than with other inexpensive shadows. You know where I’m headed with this—nothing compares to brushes to gain control over how much you wish to use. (Did I ever tell you how much I emphasize using these? I believe I did.) Dark shadows work perfectly as liner, allowing those with unsteady hands to forego pencils or liquids to smolder and smudge. They last fairly long, but a primer will help to extend the color and prep your eyes as a canvas is readied for paint. A perfectly coordinated combination of soft and intense tones will take you from day to night, from “Bashful Beth” to “Sara the Siren.”
Not into smokes? There are other compacts meant specifically for your own eye color. These combine some surprising but tremendous hues. Although contrasts work best, those with blue eyes can handle variations of indigo when used in conjunction with brown, and green eyes will pop with a bit of jade or forest. Trust me—I still wear paint stains from art classes in college. If you visit www.nyxcosmetics.com, use the well-designed web site to pull the colors up close to help make a decision on what works for you. Actually, you don’t have a decision. Buy at least one. The Drugstore Dealer rules on Thursdays!
Gigi here! I’ve lost my tolerance for Goth and I need a “fix”—rainbows of color! I am a “girly girl,” so please bear with me as fix my pink parasol before I type. Moreover, I tend to concur with Woody Allen’s comment that, “I’m not afraid of dying, but I don’t want to be there when it happens.”
Before I go further, I have forgotten again and again to warn you against a phenomenon, the “Makeup Shock Index” (MSI). It’s worse than the “Dreaded Orange Mask” women create when foundation is too dark or orange for their skintones. When you see magazine photos of celebs bare-faced, they’re proving a point, as I had an encounter with this first-hand. But I learned a lesson and wish to pass it on. However much makeup you use in general with under various circumstances, such as to work or on dates, make it consistent, make it a habit, and do not differentiate.
Do you wear no makeup? Fine, as long as your skin is protected against the sun with SPF so that the Meg Police are not driven to kill you, as it’s both a sin and a felony. We don’t want to go to hell, especially over cosmetics. And neon DOC jumpsuits aren’t particularly flattering, as they add pounds. Do you wear just a little? That works. However, if you’re semi- or all-glam most of the time, this means you in particular.
At twenty-two, I became friends with one of the employees who maintained Price Waterhouse’s library. Abby (name changed to protect the trespasser) was utterly beautiful, but one day I arrived at work very early and stopped to speak to her. It wasn’t Abby. She had become a combination of the “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” Freddie Kruger, Jason, and worse. She must have noted my shock and said that she had had no time to put on any makeup at all that morning.
Who knew what magic Abby had wrought before coming to the office? Her skin tone was terribly uneven and I could have parked trucks in her large pores. I think I saw slits she called eyes. Brows? What brows? Her lips disappeared. She asked, “Gigi, are you okay? Is there something I can do for you?” My first thought was to ask, “Yes, tell me—are you an alien? Where you’ve hidden the real Abby?” Then I nearly swallowed my tongue rather than say, “Yes—run like the wind before anyone else sees you.” That is not arrogance. I struggle with manifold issues, from enlarged pores, “turkey neck,” inherited “frown lines,” and nearly non-existent eyes, but I deal with them. Shock therapy should be reserved for certified mental institutions with padded cells.
What one sole item could have transformed Abby from Godzilla? Maybelline’s “Expert Wear Shadows” in their “Stylish Smokes.” Actually, I’ve never been a fan of their eyeshadows. I’ve purchased their eight-color pans and thrown them away over and over. They lack pigment, and application is akin to boot camp. You become strong—Army strong!
I picked up one quad in this new line recently. Like a Stepford wife, it seemed as if my hand moved by itself to purchase one against my will. Now these rank very high on my list of “must-have’s.” The rest of the display became history and is in my home.
The hues are incredible. The formula is soft and blends like a dream; build as much color as you want. Have a busy day? It stays in place long after you pass out. Maybelline’s coordination is brilliance. The “Natural Smokes” compact has unique tones of brown and a maverick silver-infused chocolate. The directions are simple and show where shadow is to be applied on the compact, a huge help for those of you who are clinging to more boring tones disguised under the name of “neutrals” (pardon me while I yawn). These are subtle shadows with moxie! “Amethyst” is a high-powered posh capable of becoming a “yowsa” quad. Plush purple with a hint of sheen is applied over the lid, with a matte eggplant to contour, an inky-black to line, and an ecru to use on your browbone or just above your pupil for all eyes on you.
Gigi here!I am most grateful to Tantejoan for the extraordinary review which she once again penned in my absence. The woman is an enigma—the epitome of charm, style, and grace, Joan is also a stunningly beautiful, cornflower blue-eyed perfect fusion of Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Woody Allen, Robin Williams, and Seinfeld. She is now romping in the ocean with sea shells and men at her feet (I suspect more of the latter) . . .
Joan was correct; I spent time with Conan. My favorite part was the ability to watch as he was prepped for the show. And what brand was used? “The” brand—Max Factor, named after a Polish-born immigrant who created makeup himself for actors performing for the Russian nobles, entertainers at the 1904 World’s Fair, and then for movie stars in 1914. He learned to make it long-lasting, free of flakes and creases. Thus began a legendary line of products, many of which have no equal.
Conan sat as his favorite shades were used. First came concealer under his eyes in “Cyanotic Celebration.” Cheekbones were contoured with “Ashes to Ashes,” a grey-indigo blush. A touch of a repugnant purple named “Love That Livid” was added to his lips, followed by the famous pancake foundation in “Snowflake.” To set the makeup for hot studio lights, he was dusted with loose powder in “D.O.A.” When the makeup artists turned toward me, I tried to run, but I was outnumbered. What to do?
I breathed a huge sigh of relief. In their hands I saw products I love, including their “2000 Calorie Mascara” and “MAXeye Shadows.” Unfortunately, one shadow palette was “Queen Bee” (blinding yellow, vibrant orange and deep lime green). Were Max himself to climb out of his tomb and beg me to wear it, I would refuse. Nor would I permit my dog to leave the house with these shadows on her ecru fur. Despite the fact that these palettes have garnered awards from beauty magazines, always remember: Much like the armed forces, you are one of the few, the wise, the Megheads! You do not fall for slogans and promises.
One artist began to try to apply the same foundation and lip color as Conan sported; I said in my most charming voice, “Oh, surely you jest.” She dismissed me until I put my hand in my hoodie as if I carried a gun and said, “Go ahead—make my day.” Point taken. From that time on, I chose all of my own products and gravitated toward trios of more natural colors.
Ah, I digress. My focus was actually on the new Vivid Impact Lipstick. This has received a lot of positive press, but I tell it as I see it. I was drawn to it because this line has hues that are simply beautiful, utterly feminine, and daringly “edgy.” I chose a matte shade called “Vegas, Baby.” It is a muted merge of mauve and taupe, a lipstick that most women could wear. Artists began with a natural hair lip brush to outline and keep color in place (a lipliner and/or primer will also do the job). Warning, Will Robinson: Don’t create a new mouth shape unless it is Halloween! Work with what you have; if need be, extend your lines just slightly beyond their natural ones. You don’t want your pout to appear as if it has been inflated by Helium gone wrong.
Tantejoan here, filling in for our Drugstore Deals Diva, Gigi. Yes, I know you were expecting to be entertained and enchanted by Gigi’s amazing ability to divine the very best that her pathetic local CVS calls a cosmetics aisle – teeth marks on the lipstick wrapper indeed! I was, too. But Gigi is otherwise occupied, and I’ll tell you why. She is so funny, so witty, so darned appealing that Conan O’Brien, recently transplated to the Left Coast for The Tonight Show, begged her to help him write his monologue for Thursday night. So I’m left to pinch-hit for our own Star.
Now thinking about Conan (and hoping he has not shanghaied Gigi for good), I naturally thought of sunscreen, and not just any sunscreen, but sunscreen for the active, athletic consumer. Why? Well, Conan, being the whitest white man in America, is newly resident in Los Angeles, where sun, fitness and looking good are practically the cornerstones of civic pride. In fact, I believe in Beverly Hills there is a weigh-in station where the police deny entrance to anyone with a BMI above 24. Or is that a DUI? But surely Conan, as anyone who has watched those promos of him running the entire breadth of our country as he powered on toward his new home can attest, is in great shape. Yes, he’s still in his New York City skinny suit, but until his new tennis togs arrive, this man is L.A. based and in serious need of protection.
I am, too, even though I’m not planning to run across country anytime soon. Although I’m just going as far as the Jersey Shore to spend a week with my sister, my fish-belly white skin (under my fake tan, of course) will crave the best protection money can buy. The only trouble is, I am what my British pals would call skint. Broke. Light in the pocketbook. I’m not necessarily in the market for the Rolls Royce of sunscreen, but I want a good, serviceable, non-paraben, fragrance-free, alcohol-free, easy to apply product that will work on my body and my face. For less than $10. In short, I want it all. And really, my friends, I want it all for you, too.
My CVS not being as stripped-down as Gigi’s I repaired there to examine my options. I checked out all the usual suspects, los Banana Boat, el Coppertone, house brands and some weird names like Blue Lizard and Ocean Potion, but then my eye lighted on a range of bottles, tubes and sprays totally unfamiliar and yet somehow enticing. I was on a mission to find a good, economical sunscreen, and here was… Mission Skincare. I ran back home to do some research and this is what their web site said:
Gigi here! I am not prejudiced. I like Rimmel products. Other Jane items have enticed me. Milani’s runway shadows have caught my attention, along with makeup from NYC and several others. But I’m in a dilemma. With unresolved eye issues and pain, I am only permitted to drive about a mile from our home.
Driving for me isn’t a habit—it’s pure bliss. I am given to opening the windows, taking the speaker volume to max, and playing and singing anything from Samuel Barber’s “Agnus Dei” from “Adagio for Strings” to Steve Winwood’s “Roll With It,” the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” to “Highway Star” by Deep Purple. A more mellow mood will have me chanting “Amazing Grace” or “It Was a Very Good Year.” My taste is obviously eclectic. My husband warned that I would blow the speakers and thus I did. But did that influence me? No—what rides I have!
Now my territory is limited along with my access to brands. Our large, sprawling community has one full-service drugstore; the reasoning eludes me. I feel as if I’m in the movie “Gaslight.” Am I going crazy or am I imagining it? When I see a stack of “Jesse’s Girl” boxes lined up on the floor, I return the next day for the contents. The packaging has disappeared and only one container of eye shadow has been put up. It’s in a vibrant shade of pink-infused orange (eyeshadow by any company in this hue is highly effective for work—use before approaching your boss and saying, “I think I’m getting sick.” You’ll be home in no time, and people will give you their seat on public transit to avoid contracting the plague.) Last week new Rimmel inventory arrived. Finally, after a year, I would give some mention to the brand. The boxes sat unopened. I can’t see the surveillance camera and I don’t want “Local Teacher Found Shoplifting” splattered across our hometown newspaper. I waited and returned. Two products were on hangers: A black mascara, partially opened, and a red lipstick with teeth marks in the wrapping (evidently someone has worse makeup addiction issues than I do)!
And thus I remain with Olay again this week for a timely topic—Olay’s “Daily Body Lotion Plus A Touch of Sunless Tanner.” Jergens ranks high in this area, but I somehow was not born with the gene allowing me to use sunless tanner properly. (Disclaimer: Please note that, when you signed up for this site, you were implanted with a unique cyber device. If you fry your delicate skin in the sun or in a tanning bed, a signal will be beamed back to one of the MP’s—Meghead Police—and we will be forced to find you and slap you silly. We remain anonymous at all times.)
I was reading a beauty magazine article about Olay’s version. It touted it as totally goof-proof. Obviously they haven’t met me! I run a small business from our game room, where I do creative sunless tanning, promising to give you a look which is totally unique, with swaths and streaks unlike anyone else’s, auburn palms, and lines of demarcation. A treatment includes a tie-dye T-shirt (mistakes from using Rit for clothing) and a free “peace” pendant.
I decided to see just how goof-proof Olay is. I purposely didn’t do what I knew I should do—exfoliate first. For your face, neck, and décolletage, use your finest products. For arms, hands, fingers (yes, fingers), legs, and all else (including toes), any will do. Uneven layers of skin will add to a creative look. I applied as is. This is first and foremost a moisturizer, and it glides on with no heavy, slick feel at all; skin remains hydrated for several hours, and the ingredients will not cause blemishes. The lightweight lotion is available for both face and body, but using just the body formula will cause no harm (around $7.00-8.50, depending on the store, online drugstore, and/or coupons available).
Gigi here! Would someone please tell me that there are no product application police? I was kidding last week when I referred to the St. Ives patrol, but shopping for skin care can become pure hype. Yes, I was born at night, but not last night!
It was hard to control my annoyance with a saleswoman at an Estee Lauder counter recently. Where do they find these Stepford types? I am hooked on their CP+ serum and wanted to purchase it. The saleswoman asked, “Well, you know you absolutely must use this particular cleanser beforehand, don’t you?” I pasted on an obedient smile and said, “Certa inly.” Then she said, “Well, then you must follow with this” and tried to sell something else. I lied smoothly and said, “Oh, I have that” (and I also have eighty dollars along with the $55.00 for the serum which gives me more guilt that the nuns in my elementary school). She would not relent and “The last step to be used right before bed is our newest item.” I almost fainted at the price. I wanted to ask, “And what must I use at 3:00 a.m.? Do you have a bank in mind which I should rob?” Her facial features disappeared and all I saw was the word “COMMISSION.”
A friend of mine with flawless skin told me she enjoys Olay’s “Night Fortifying Cream” (a generous tub retails for around $14.00). Swamped again by the number of moisturizers on drugstore shelves, I wanted to destroy the display of this item simply because of the name, telling me when to use it. What—did I need ten other creams for this to work as well, one to layer every so many hours? I saw an opened container of it and read the label—no other products were mentioned. That was a surprise. And then I sniffed. And sniffed. And kept sniffing like a dog trained to detect drugs—Heaven! It has a delicate, slightly floral scent. I bought it.
Gigi here! Time to come clean, literally and figuratively. I know what you’re doing, just like the rest of us—displaying an expensive container of an exfoliant in your guest bathroom so that guests will think, “How does she afford that?” Meanwhile, you stockpile an arsenal of St. Ives’ Apricot Scrub.
This warm, muggy season can be unduly harsh to skin. Moisturizers which may work wonders for you throughout the rest of the year can cause problems. Sunscreen is a blessing, but several have comedogenic components. Add to that perspiration itself: it can serve as a breeding ground for lovely bacteria (picture the green characters from the Mucinex ad) or, if your complexion is quite dry, exacerbate that problem. Dermatologists suggest washing your face several times daily. I love outdoor activities. Where to conduct my toilette? Push livestock aside and use their water troughs? Beg off from a game of volleyball to cleanse with a flowered parasol over my shoulder? I think not.
The answer is clear—exfoliate daily, perhaps twice. St. Ives became known for its “Gentle Apricot Scrub” (nicely priced at about $4.79). This admirable company created some smooth moves; the ingredients include Jojoba Beads. Not only do these make short work of lifting imbedded impurities, but the beads are uniform in size. Other natural scrubs incorporate uneven pieces of walnut shell and seeds, which can damage rather than benefit.
St. Ives has branched out into more Apricot scrubs—“Invigorating,” “Blemish and Blackhead Control,” and “Renew and Firm.” Evidently they haven’t dealt with Megheads before. We read labels and analyze ingredients before we throw both caution and dollars to the wind and succumb to marketing ploys (of course, I jest). What does tend to happen is that four formulas can cloud anyone’s judgment; rather than stand in an aisle and study, it is easier to buy all. St. Ives knows this, so allow me to give you a “head’s up” before you shop.
Tantejoan here, subbing for our Drugstore Deals Diva, Gigi. Today I'd like to tell you about a remedy for a disease you may not know you have: Blepharitis. Sounds funny, doesn't it? When my ophthalmologist told me, years ago, that I had it, I blurted, "You're making that up, aren't you?" It just sounds so bogus, like Movie Star Disease, that killer that polished off Ali McGraw in "Love Story." But blepharitis is real, and actually a very common ailment suffered by girls and women. It is a disease of the tiny oil glands at the base of the eyelashes, called blephs, causing inflammation, swelling and redness that many women assume is pinkeye. Blepharitis is easily treated, and once relieved, it is almost 100% preventable.
What causes it? Improper or incomplete removal of eye makeup is the primary cause of blepharitis, and careful cleansing of the residue from mascara and eyeliner is the remedy. There are two easy ways to ensure that all makeup is cleaned, both easily available at your local drugstore. The First: make a solution of ten drops of baby shampoo in a squeeze bottle filled with 3 ounces of water. Shake and then drop onto the end of a cotton swab and scrub the base of each eyelid. Use a new swab for each eye. You will be surprised at how much product is still left on your lashes, and how easily this final step will ward off future infections. The Second Method: especially well-suited for those who travel or do new make-ups on the fly at the end of your office day, is a fantastic product called Eye-Scrub. Packaged in boxes of 30 individually-wrapped, sterile, single-use packets, Eye-Scrub removes all of your eye makeup in one refreshing step, and enables you to scrub away those pesky infection-causing remnants of mascara or eyelash glue. They are also wonderful for getting through airport security checks without taking up precious space in those little zip-lock baggies -- space needed for your creams and lotions. Tiny and spill-proof, several thin little packets can slip into even the tiniest of evening bags for ladies room clean-ups, too. I find them useful at weddings, when I tear up before the organ begins to play.
Meg here! I used to get so bummed out when I was a kid reading about all the cool and hip new places that opened! They were all in the magazines and they were all places in New York City or Los Angeles. I was sure as an adult I would live in both places!
It really didn't give any information on new salons or stores or services in Boston. I was only a kid and didn't have any money to actually spend there but it still would have been nice if my area had been noticed!
So Memphis and Tulsa-rejoice! Yolanda, the creator of Classified Cosmetics, founder of airbrush makeup is coming to your hood!
Have her show you how to get a celebrity spray-on foundation! See why she is Hollywood's best kept (but the secrets getting out there so move quick.)
She's really cool and super talented and can show you how to look amazing!
All that and you don't even have to take a subway!