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!
Tantejoan here! If you were to wake me up in the middle of the night, shine a strong light in my face and demand that I confess the one beauty product I could never do without, I’d probably say mascara. I love my entire arsenal of lip colors, foundations, shadows, blushes and what-have-yous, but the truth is that if I had to limit myself to one of each, I could do it. Give up my wardrobe of mascaras? I break into a cold sweat even thinking about it. My bathroom shelf has a 12-slot Lucite holder dedicated to housing my Wands of Many Colors, and that’s not even all of my collection.
I have blacks. And Extreme Blacks. And browns, which I like next to my blue, blue eyes. And burgundy, which I also like near my blue, blue -- well, you get the picture. I have several of those formulas that wrap each lash into little tubes that are supposed to drop off at the mere hint of water. Don’t like ‘em, but I still buy them each time another company comes out with a version in the hope that I will like theirs. I have cake mascara, a true throwback to the days when I used to sit in my eldest sister’s bedroom and watch her spit -- that’s right, spit -- on her Maybelline cake and work at her lashes with a brush the size of a gnat. When you bear in mind the health advisory that recommends replacing mascaras every three months, you can appreciate that mine is a habit more insidious and expensive than gambling or drugs. In fact, I’m looking for a support group, so I hope that the similarly addicted among you will step forward.
Some of my favorite mascaras are luxurious department store brands, including the two that I pay tribute to on my profile page, Yves St. Laurent and Givenchy, but a recent piece here on the new Maybelline Stilletto (which does not meet my, or in fact many of my sisters’, standards) reminded me of one of my oldest and best drugstore favorites, Max Factor’s 2000 Calorie Mascara. It’s been around forever, and at under $8 it’s a real steal. Now, in the first real breakthrough in Max Factor’s take on a winning formulation -- their innovations having previously been confined to the shape of the brush -- Max has come out with a truly new concept.... well, new for them. Max Factor 2000 Calorie Extreme Lash Plumper Mascara will look familiar to those who have tried Cover Girl’s Lash Blast. Both have big, big plastic brushes and both promise a “big lash look.” While I’m not convinced that a brush the size of a helicopter blade is necessarily an advantage when working on objects as delicate as eyelashes, this Plumper’s brush bristles are significantly shorter than the Cover Girl version. This to me is an advantage, giving the user more control. The patented Fat Wrap Brush is designed to grab every single lash, even the little ones, and the patented Fat Wrap formula works with the Fat Wrap Brush as it wraps around each and every lash for an “extreme, voluptuous effect.” The shorter bristles allow me to get in closer to the base of my lashes and wiggle my way into a truly lush lash. And the web site offers two intriguing hints for getting that Fat effect all the way up: a) blink against the brush, and b) take a piece of card stock or a business card and hold it against your lid, then stroke the product onto your lashes against the card.
This is really hard-core, ladies, but it worked for me, with no clumping or smudging. And while I’m not a fan of waterproof mascara, and so have not tested that, I have been caught in the rain while wearing the standard version, and can testify it did not run.
Gigi here! Sharon Stone sums up my lip color philosophy with one of her quotes: “I drive with my knees; otherwise, how can I put on my lipstick?” Kidding—don’t try this yourself! Use the rear view mirror when you’re at a stoplight or a stop sign with no traffic in sight. This is the one product which is ever-present on me. Gigi sans lip color transforms me into Conan O’Brien’s alter-ego. With my fair skin, I morph into a pasty Goth and thus always have a slew of colors with me and around my home.
How far will I go to keep tint on my pout? Years ago I purchased semi-permanent henna for lips. I used clear henna to strengthen my tresses and impart shine, and I thought the same would happen. It was a nightmare. Think prunes. No, think raisins. My mouth was so shriveled that all I needed was a broomstick to complete my witch look. Removal was next to impossible, even with makeup removers, baby oil, and Vaseline. I couldn’t leave our home for days!
And then came stains. I did cartwheels. I did handsprings. I shouted from the mountaintop. The benefits are manifold: Regular lipstick melts in the summer and disappears quickly. These leave you with color through lengthy days, perspiration, swimming, conditioning, romance, and eating and drinking. Recently, I was lured by Revlon’s ad for their new stain, “Color Stay Ultimate Lip Color”™, which promises that there is no need for touch-ups. Users are told they will enjoy a built-in ultra-lasting coat and it will wear for twelve hours. Revlon, the staple and maverick of makeup, you rarely let me down, but you did with this! I purchased three, sure that these would work wonders. As soon as I applied it, my lips developed a strange, tacky feel which kept them sealed together (some people would say this would be is good thing for me).
Enter Cover Girl® with its new “Outlast” stain (about $7.50). The tube is clear and comes in several hues true to the way they appear on you. I am able to use both warm and cool tones, and “Cinnamon Smile” was a becoming, slightly copper, tawny tone. Their web site allows you to virtually try makeup colors to choose those most flattering. The tapered felt tip is impressive; it permits precise application. My lips weren’t sealed shut as they had been. I took a sigh of relief, unfortunately followed by a strong urge to continue with a primal scream.
Gigi the teacher here! Think back to your first reading books. You learned about how Jane, Dick, and Spot ran. Now see Jane run to the drugstore and look confused; she found a new product and has mixed emotions about it but thinks it may be worth a try for you. What is puzzling her? Jane Cosmetic’s Mineral Foundation, available in a tube with a sponge or brush applicator ($6.99), a new offering from this affordable line.
As a former liquid base snob (generally Christian Dior), I once forgot all of my makeup when I was going out. Me forget makeup? That was a first—and probably a last! Write it off to temporary insanity. My husband drove me to a local drugstore to pick up products to apply in the car. One chosen was Oil of Olay’s Complete Day Radiance Powder Foundation. Ready to be disappointed, I fell in love. The formula actually did leave me glowing. People wanted to know why I was luminous, and I never give my secrets away—except to you. My wrath with Olay continues for dropping this cosmetic line.
I then used Lancome’s Dual Finish compact foundation, but it’s not for those on a tight budget; I waited for an included gift before purchasing. Bare Escentuals offered a trial version of their mineral makeup, and now few things come between me and my minerals, just like Brooke Shields and her Calvin Klein jeans. It is pure and contains no talc, oil, or irritants, making it both beneficial and comfortable for skin, even sensitive complexions. However, learning to “swirl, tap, and blend” was initially a challenge. I finally realized that tucking a paper towel under my chin and covering the area where I worked were necessary, as tiny particles imbed themselves everywhere until the routine is mastered. I have problems with this brand. Once more, it’s the cost (as in yikes!) and having to tote three containers with me, especially during this season, when I try to pare my beauty routine to a minimum.
JANE COSMETICS MINERAL FOUNDATION! This is available in five shades, from “colorless” and “fair” to “bronze.” You can toss it into your purse and go. If your skin requires refinement and little color, less is always more. I found the powder to be nearly as effective as expensive brands. Use a primer to enhance its staying power and a brush to conceal blemishes. It works well for those with most skin types, lasts a long time, and there is no unsightly line of demarcation. Attention is drawn to you, not to your foundation. Shine is held at bay and pores are minimized, even in summer’s brutal, unforgiving light.
Gigi here! Our dog Skittles (West Highland Terrier mix) loves to chew my personal items if she doesn’t receive much attention—oh, that would be playing with her 24/7. I’ve lost my pens, flash drives, a purse, and a crystal candy dish (don’t even ask). Her actions scream, “You stopped petting me and now you will pay for it.” The joy she brings is worth a few ruined items. Okay—more than a few, but they can be replaced.
Thus, this review is brought to you in part by our little “terrierist.” She is savvy when it comes to cosmetics and generally chooses the best and most efficacious. Her last “meal” was a great choice! She gave me the ideal product for a review. I found her chewing on paper blotting sheets.
I melt in the summer sun like the witch in “The Wizard of Oz.” Heat, humidity, and long days out working hard at amusement parks, county fairs, and picnics leave me appearing like the wilted last rose of summer. Beware layering more pressed powder to address this if it happens to you, as it will only exacerbate the problem when it coagulates. What saves the day? Blotting tissues to eliminate shine and leave makeup intact in an instant! Unwashed is not the look I’m trying to achieve.