Beauty Ticket Year-End Sale

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New Year's Eve Konad Nail Stamp Art: OPI Little Red Wagon

Happy New Year everyone! How's everything going for the party tonight? Are your nails all dressed up for the holidays as well? Here's a little nail art to herald the coming of the new decade. I've had OPI Little Red Wagon for a year but I've only used it once on my toes:

Nonetheless, I think it's one of the best cream red polishes out there. I love the vibrancy of the hue, it looks so festive! What better way to welcome the new year than to be as festive as possible even with nail polish! It's definitely an eye-catching color, and I've never worn fire-engine red on my tips except for this occasion, which I think really deserves it. I used Little Red Wagon with Konad m64 image plate, and used China Glaze in Millenium over it. I believe the high-wattage finish of Millenium complements the vibrancy of LRW. Perfect for those champagne toasts tonight.

Happy New Year everyone, stay safe and I'll see you all with lots more beauty stuff in 2010!

Would You Survive 30 Days Without Beauty Products?
Would You Survive 30 Days Without Beauty Products?

See how one woman lived with only soap and sunscreen -- eek!

It's safe to say a lot of us are addicted to beauty products. I mean, would you quit your shampoo, mascara or lipgloss cold turkey? Sounds impossible, but that's what this woman did for a month. See how she survived -- and even thrived -- with only soap and sunscreen.

Read story

Winners of MAC Brush Set Giveaway For Subscribers Of The Shades Of U

Finally, we have two winners! All entries are in, and two winners were randomly chosen to win MAC items pictured above. Here goes!


(Winners announced below the cut)

The winner of the MAC Holiday 2009 Sweep and Define Brush Set (first photo above) is:


The winner of the MAC Holiday 2008 Face Brush Set (second photo above) is:

Angela (sparklemidori09)

Woohoo! Congratulations!! Please check your e-mail inboxes (and your spam boxes too just in case) for a notification e-mail by Contest Machine and The Shades Of U. Please reply using the link in the e-mail sent to you and enter your mailing addresses so the prizes can be shipped expeditiously. Please note that if the mailing addresses for both winners are promptly received, the prizes will be sent out this Saturday, January 2, 2010.

Congratulations again and thank you to all The Shades Of U subscribers and followers! Watch out for more giveaways on this blog. Happy New Year everyone!

15 Things Hair and Makeup Artists Can't Live Without
15 Things Hair and Makeup Artists Can't Live Without

See what they depend on most in their beauty stash

Hair and makeup artists, especially the ones backstage at Fashion Week, have access to tons of products. And even though variety is the spice of life, there are a few things they use constantly and simply can't work without. See what they are, and why you should have them in your makeup bag too.

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MAC Warm And Cozy Swatches and Review

I've had the opportunity to play with the colors and textures of the MAC Warm and Cozy collection. I must say that they are not the most unique makeup colors on this planet, but I liked some nonetheless because they are mostly neutrals and can be used time and again on almost any occasion. I like the fact that they are mostly warm colors too which would suit my complexion, although the colors are pretty much universal and would suit a wide range of skintones.


Spiced Tea is a warm bronzed brown that would probably suit medium to dark skintones. It is a tad too dark for me, however.

Siss is a muted golden beige which I love because it is a satin formula, which I believe I can probably pull off if I am sporting a really dramatic or smoky eye look.

My favorite of the bunch has got to be Warm Me Up, a creamy mid-tone neutral pink in the Amplified formula, and I will definitely be getting this baby. I tried it in the store and I loved the glistening finish, the great pigmentation (thanks to the formula), and the beautiful shade. Warm Me Up reminds me of the MAC lipstick in Marquise 'D, but much more pigmented:


The lipglasses are nice but there's not one that really called out to me. I already have 2N and 3N - they're okay but not really that unique.

2N is a creamy neutral yellow pink that you can use over darker lipsticks to town down the color.

3N is a neutral brown with gold and pink pearl that is sometimes too dark for my taste.

Feeling Dreamy is a dreamy pale neutral pink with pink pearl that to my eyes look very similar to 2N.

Light That Fire! is a mid-tone burnt coral with pearl that is the most interesting color of the bunch for me, but still didn't light my fire.


Oh wow, I think the shadesticks are the winners in this collection. I LOVE the pigmentation and wonderful texture. These are definitely a great improvement from the old-school shadesticks that tug at the lids and really don't give great color pay-off. These new ones glide like butter on the skin, have great texture and color pay-off is amazing. That is the reason why I much prefer shadesticks over other eye primers like Urban Decay primer potion- they not only give long life to your eyeshadow looks, they even have great texture and pigmentation to make your eyeshadow colors pop!

Cuddle is a frosted light golden yellow that I would definitely use to brighten my eye or to give a touch of shimmer to my looks.

Nurture is a frosted pale neutral pink with pink pearl that you can use with most eyeshadow colors.

Warm & Cozy is a burnt amber with red and gold pearl that would look great with coppers, bronzes, neutrals and golds.

Relaxed is a frosted dark chocolate brown that would look best with smokey and neutral looks.

I love these, and I would probably get each one of them, but if not, I would definitely get Cuddle and Nurture.


I like that the shadows are on the neutral side especially for this time of the year. My most fave is Mulled Cider, a dark warm brown in the satin formula that would look amazing as a crease color. A must-have!

Chamomile is a creamy pale yellow that looks like your average pale yellow highlighter, however I like that it is satin in formula because I need a toned-down (as opposed to a shimmery) highlighter.

Embark is from the permanent collection I believe and is an intense reddish brown. Very pigmented and matte so it would be great for bridal work or any neutral look.

Modelette- a mid-tone warm camel that didn't do anything for me. I didn't like the color at all.


(See rest of the review after the jump)

I am a collector of mineralize skinfinishes (MSFs), so I am such a sucker for these. I just had to have By Candlelight, a golden pink which to my eyes is a warmer version of Pleasureflush, a discontinued but very much sought-after MSF from many collections ago. I used to have all MSFs ever released by MAC except Pleasureflush (but just sold Stereo Rose and Lightscapade as I never used these). With my possession of By Candlelight, it feels like I own Pleasureflush too, but better, because the warm undertones truly complement my skintone. I love it!!

On the other hand, I didn't like Comfort because I already have too many similar-colored MSFs and contour/bronzing powders.

TINTED LIP CONDITIONERS (see above photos for swatches):

I love MAC TLCs because they really keep my lips supple and soft and prepped for my lipstick and lipglass application, but I have not really found a shade as good as my MAC Hello Kitty Pink Fish TLC. I liked Feelin' Good which is a light neutral beige, but for the price, I feel that there are cheaper balms out there that give a neutral hue as well for a lesser price. Close for Comfort is a pinkish brown that is a bit too brown for my taste. I have nothing against the formula of the TLC, I just didn't like the colors they released for this particular collection.

All in all, Warm & Cozy has a little bit of everything for everyone. I highly recommend the shadesticks, Chamomile and Mulled Cider eyeshadows, Warm Me Up lipstick and By Candlelight MSF. These are going to be staples that will remain classic because of the universal and classy shades.

Relaxing DIY Spa Day Idea
Relaxing DIY Spa Day Idea

Take a minute to unwind from the holidays and give your feet a treat

Whether you have five minutes or five hours to relax, you'll love this step-by-step at-home pedicure. It's an easy way to put your feet up (literally) and have a few calm moments to pamper yourself and reflect on all the fun you (hopefully) had this holiday season.

See step-by-step

Guerlain Spring 2010 Collection: Rouge G de Guerlain and KissKiss Strass

My Lips...Dazzle in Guerlain

Guerlain and lipstick. A beautiful love story that has flourished since 1854, when “Cire Rosat pour les lèvres” was created, followed in 1870 by “Ne m’oubliez pas”, the very first lipstick in a tube format. A perpetual flirtation between past and present brings for th constant surprises. Unconditional loyalty between a Luxury House, a woman and her lipstick.

Beyond eras, ages and trends lies a certitude: the chic style and modernity of a Guerlain lipstick never falter.

A flame kept alight by astonishing innovations:
- First, the KissKiss saga, re-orchestrated since 2005 by Olivier Échaudemaison, Creative Director for Guer lain, and designer Her vé Van der Straeten.

- Then, Rouge G de Guerlain, a hybrid white gold ingot, an object that radiates like luxury jewellery. A new elegant and unprecedented beauty gesture developed in 2009 by Olivier Échaudemaison and jeweller Lorenz Bäumer.

For spring, Olivier Échaudemaison has created two new lipsticks with high shine textures and lighter coverage. Rouge G de Guerlain and KissKiss thus reveal two unrivalled stories of brilliance to offer two new customised results.

Rouge G de Guerlain Le Brillant invents chic shine. Refined, discreet and impeccable, this is the “light” version of Rouge G. Ideal shine that claims its place as your best ally in all situations.

KissKiss Strass reveals sparkling and extra-scintillating shine. Sexy and glamorous, this ultimate accessory of seduction plays with dazzling reflections to multiply light like a kaleidoscope.

Rouge G de Guerlain Le Brillant
Exceptional complete lip-shine

Luxury, design and absolute seduction. Since its creation in 2009, Rouge G has been all this at once. An impulsion of sophistication. A compulsion of glamour. An irresistible and irreplaceable must-have now and forever. Now Guerlain introduces Rouge G Le Brillant, draped in a shine that unites true chic and deceptive naturalness, richness and radiance, beauty and comfort. With the original creamy texture of its predecessor, Rouge G Le Brillant adds a lighter, shinier finish for exceptional long-lasting sheen. Lips scintillate subtly with a savvy balance of luminosity and creamy richness.

• Creamy texture embellishes lips and adorns them with a truly elegant jewel-like shine.
• Smoothes lips and provides them with volume and hydration.

• The heart of the formula remains Ruby Powder, this precious jewellery ingredient is enhanced to offer Rouge G Le Brillant spectacular sparkle.
• Hyaluronic acid microspheres fill with water on contact with your lips and swell to six times their initial volume, smoothing the appearance of lips in the process.
• Gugul resin used in Ayurvedic medicine, acts like a natural wrinkle-filler in the lines of the lips.
• Tiger Grass and Vitamin A palmitate combine to help plump lips by stimulating epidermal cell growth and boosting the synthesis of collagen fibers.
• Wild mango butter enriches the ultra-comfortable formula to maintain optimum hydration levels, offering the comforting pleasure of a balm in the intense colour of a lipstick.

Available in 10 shades divided into 4 colour families:
The Nude family
B01 Blondie
B02 Barbara
B03 Bridget

The Red Family
B20 Berry
B21 Bianca

The Pink Family
B60 Beatrix
B61 Brenda
B62 Betsy
B63 Bella

The Orange Family
B40 Brit

Rouge G Le Brillant is available January 2010 for $46.00 at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.

KissKiss Strass

Crystal Shine, Shimmering Colours

Guerlain’s new KissKiss Strass reinvents multi-shimmering shine for the lips with an explosion of colour and a profusion of gloss effects. The crystalline texture creates scintillating shine, like a river of rhinestone on the lips. Its unique formula is incredibly lightweight at the same time, like an airy chiffon dress, thanks to a combination of oils and mother-of-pearl twice as small as those commonly used. KissKiss Strass glides over lips to leave a veil of absolute softness and comfort.

• Lips are beautified with multiple sparkling effects, like an array of sumptuous fabrics adorned with shimmering coloured stones.
• Hydrating properties ensure suppleness, curves and delicious beauty of a perfectly defined pout.
• Delicately fruity and irresistible flavor.

• Pure Crystal Beads intensify and multiply the interplay of mother-of-pearl and colours.
• Three types of Mother-of-Pearl carefully mixed to create the illusion of multi-shimmering shine: Transparent Mother-of-Pearl enhances the base shade and gives depth and texture to lipstick. Transparent mother-of-pearl with coloured reflections plays with multi-dimensional effects. Finally, coloured mother-of-pearl projects even more intense reflections.
• Hyaluronic acid microspheres, true miniscule sponges filled with water, target the furrows of the lips to maintain optimal hydration.

Available in 10 shimmering and sparkling shades divided into 3 colour families:

The Red Gold family
320 Rouge Taffetas
321 Rouge Broderie
322 Cuivre Drapé

The Yellow Gold family
340 Beige Mousseline
341 Brun Parure
342 Orange Sequin
343 Brun Satin

The Pink Gold family
360 Rose Perle
361 Rose Strass
362 Corail Dentelle

KissKiss Strass is available January 2009 for $31.00 at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.

Guerlain Cherry Blossom Spring Collection 2010: Meteorites Voyage and Insolence Blooming Edition

“Cherry Blossom”

A Tribute to Blossoming Nature in the Far East

Guerlain envisions Spring 2010 with more freshness, more luminosity and more tenderness than ever before. Our newest colour collection Cherry Blossom is “la vie en rose” with an Asian twist! For this collection Guerlain drew inspiration from the colors, tones and softness of the Far East where Cherry blossoms are cause for festivity when winter comes to a close. Look for a rosy, almost porcelain complexion with shiny, fresh and sparkling lips, and eyes blending extremes of shadows.

Blush Eclat – Cherry Blossom
The freshness of a morning stroll in a garden still damp with dew. The first sunbeams caress her blushing cheekbones. Her complexion is luminous and radiant. This is the “healthy” promise of Cherry Blossom, a pink and peach blush with shades reminiscent of Japanese cherry trees in bloom. Ultra-lightweight and transparent, they revive cheeks left pale by the winter. These extremely soft colors will boost a natural glow in one stroke!
Limited edition shade: #07 Cherry Blossom - $49

Ombre Eclat 4 Shades Eye Shadow
Light and shade are captured together in this intense black lacquered case. Pearly pink and white tones were inspired by the rays of sunlight reflecting on the surface of a lake, while the violet and mauve evoke oriental flowers playing with shadows in a garden at dusk. The luminous and soft tones for the day contrast with smoky and more intense shades for the evening.
Limited edition shade: #408 Jeu D’Ombrelles - $59

MÉTÉORITES VOYAGE Exceptional Pressed Powder

Guerlain’s Meteorites collection harnesses the beauty and art of light for powders that create universal radiance on every skin tone. Their fresh and delicate textures have propelled Meteorites to cult-like status; makeup that delivers pure, magical results. Advancements never cease in a brand known for almost two centuries of innovation and new Meteorites Voyage is a reinvented formula featuring unprecedented shades and a spectacular new case. Meteorites Voyage offers the ultimate in colour-blending expertise to reproduce the purest radiance on the skin. Finally, a powder that can create the flawless complexion and feeling of comfort that all women seek – softness, radiance and luminosity with an imperceptible, translucent finish.

• Ingenious blend of matte and pearly shades for six correcting or light-enhancing colours that deliver the purest radiance to all complexions.
• Ultra-fine, easy to apply texture for a finish as airy and soft as silk.
• Delicate violet fragrance.

• Three correcting colours: a mauve that catches the light and brightens the complexion, a pink that refreshes tired complexions and a green that reduces redness.
• Three light-enhancing colours: a white to infuse the complexion with light, with no chalky effect, a champagne to make the skin sparkle and radiate and a pink gold to unify olive complexions and warm up fair skin tones.
• Enriched with nylon powder, to subtly mattify while reflecting the light.

Apply with a powder brush on bare skin or over foundation.

Available Shades: Mythic 01

Guerlain Meteorites Voyage Compact is available for $170.00 (refill available for $55.00) at select Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Bloomingdales and Bergdorf Goodman.

Insolence Blooming Edition
Springtime fantasy
Press pause and awaken all of your senses.
Insolence by Guerlain, the fragrance of insouciance and the unexpected, gets playful and has fun surprising us with fantasy.

To celebrate the arrival of spring, it slips into joyful, swirling colours. This sparkling floral, punctuated with radiant violet, fiery berries and sensual iris, dresses up in exceptional seasonal attire. An homage to the awakening of nature after the lassitude of winter, it brings a breeze of cheer to the dressing table. It shows off a colourful and sparkling bottle, decorated with Japanese-style flowers, a reference to Kyoto gardens and famous manga graphic novels.

Insolence Blooming Edition:
The awakening of colour s and scents.
A swirl of notes.
A whirlwind of colours.
An unpredictable fragrance that stimulates the nose and eyes.
Bold and joyful notes.
A box and a bottle revamped with a spr ingtime feel.
An elegant and joyful graphic design.

Beautiful Skin and Hair for Pennies
Beautiful Skin and Hair for Pennies

With these at-home beauty product recipes you can save money without sacrificing quality

Spend a little too much this holiday season? Well, one way to get your bank account back on track is to spend a little less on products. Thankfully, with these at-home recipes, you can save plenty of cash but still have glowing skin and shiny hair.

See recipes

OPI Nail Polish in A Grape Fit Nail Swatch and Review

This is one of my favorite nail polishes of late. The color is to-die-for in my book since I love purples. This is almost a dead-ringer for my favorite Zoya polish in Malia. This is such a pretty cream mid-range lilac with blue undertones. It is more lavender than Done Out in Deco without the grey tones. It is also similar to Misa in Jasmine, although the latter is a tad lighter. The blue tones really complement my skintone. I also love the texture - not streaky at all, very easy to apply, finish is great. As with most OPI cream polishes, staying power is also very good.

The Shades Of U rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars

Luxe vs. Less Hair Care
Luxe vs. Less Hair Care

When should you save and when should you splurge? Find out here

Sure, we all want beautiful hair, but we don't all want to blow a lot of money getting it. Luckily there's this guide that shares which products you can save your money on -- and which are worth a hefty price tag.

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Got Blue Eyes? You Need These Makeup Tips
Got Blue Eyes? You Need These Makeup Tips

Find out all the best ways to enhance your striking feature

Blue eyes certainly stand out in a crowd, especially since only 10 percent of the world has them. Are you one of the lucky ones? Then use these makeup tips to really make them pop.

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The 13 Best Makeup Tools
The 13 Best Makeup Tools

See which brushes, tweezers and eyelash curlers Total Beauty Readers love

Even if you use your fingers to apply most things, all of us have a few tools in our makeup arsenal that we wouldn't want to live without. readers shared their favorite makeup tools, maybe it's time to add a few to your stash?

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No. 13: Shiseido Eyelash Curler, $19 average reader rating: 9.1

Readers call this "the most perfectly designed eyelash curler …"

No. 12: Too Faced Kabuki Brush, $30 average reader rating: 9.3

It "provides fuller coverage than the usual brushes that eat up your powder …"

No. 11: Bare Escentuals Maximum Coverage Concealer Brush, $20 average reader rating: 9.3

It is best when you want "skin tone perfection," as it allows …

Want to see what's no. 1? Click here!

EcoTools by Alicia Silverstone Cosmetic Bags and Brushes Review

I distinctly remember a year or so ago, I read in a fashion magazine that Alicia Silverstone, a staunch vegetarian and crusader for PETA, stated that her favorite makeup brushes are Ecotools because they are very functional, aesthetically pleasing and yet cruelty-free. It really struck me because I was already using Ecotools brushes at that time. It must have struck the Ecotools powers-that-be as well, because they have collaborated with Alicia Silverstone to come up with a new line of cruelty-free, environment-friendly cosmetic bags that won't break the bank. I honestly cannot think of any other model for Ecotools but Alicia. She even launched her very own eco-conscious website,, where she shares all her discoveries in food, style and products that would make this world a kinder, simpler, cruelty-free place.

The makeup bags that she endorses for Ecotools fit Alicia's personality, goals, and philosophy. Here are the reasons why:

•Bag is made with natural hemp material.
•Lining is made with recycled plastic (PET).
•Floral design is printed with non-toxic inks.
•Hangtag printed on tree-free stone paper.

Amazing, eh? Tree-free stone paper! I didn't even know you can make paper out of stone. These are amazing bags in the sense that they are all-natural but don't look unkempt, haphazard, or plain. They are the hippies of the cosmetic bag world, non-conformist but colorful and attractive. They are not ghetto at all. I love the classy beige-brown color and the colorful splash of flowers and leaves (apparently Alicia's favorite flower).

Cosmetic Bag

I am liking this cosmetic case. It is big enough to carry a lot of your makeup essentials, and yet small enough to fit in your average-sized purse. Perfect for everyday touch-ups.

5-Piece Brush Set and Bag

This is my favorite out of all the cosmetic bag variants from Ecotools. But of course, because it comes with 4 brushes that Ecotools claims as limited edition ones. These brushes are made from cruelty-free, synthetic hairs that are soft yet get the work done.

The Finishing Brush is great to use with mineral makeup and loose powders. This would be great to apply my finishing powders to set my foundation. The Blush Brush is actually a duo-fiber -like brush (similar to the MAC 187) that you can use to apply pigmented mineral or traditional blushes to give a soft, lit-from-within finish. Create a smoky eye with the Angled Eye Shadow Brush. Apply shadow to the outer corner of your eye, moving inward at an angle. Use the Lash & Brow Groomer to control stray brows. You can also use the comb to separate and lengthen lashes after applying mascara.

The brushes are also made with bamboo handles (a highly-sustainable plant), recycled aluminum ferrules and cruelty-free hairs. Love them!

Lastly, store the brushes in your earth-friendly Cosmetic Bag.

Train Case

The train case fits a wide variety of products that you can use for storage in your home, or tote for a weekend getaway.


Overnight Bags

Lastly, the overnight bags are great to use for those quick out-of-town trips over the weekend and you just want to stuff all your toiletries in one bag. You can place your bath products, face creams, lotion, and makeup in this bag and still have room to spare.

I honestly love these makeup bags. They are stylish and yet cruelty-free and kind to the environment. Best of all, they are affordable (the biggest one, the overnight bag, has a suggested retail price of $19.99). I saw them at my neighborhood ULTA, and they are also available online at top retailer sites.

Note: This review is based on media samples provided by a representative of the company. For more information on the matter, please refer to the Disclosure page.