The Makeup Show and Your Humble Correspondent


Hi, everyone!  I’ll be attending The Makeup Show this weekend (March 28-29, 2015) in downtown L.A. and will be reporting back to you about the event.

There are some good industry pro’s lined up for both days giving talks and demo’s about the latest info/techniques in the biz.  I’ll be taking lots of notes to make sure you feel like you have a virtual seat at the show.

If you live in or near L.A., tickets are still available.

The Makeup Show also has events in other cities. You can check out their website for further information:

Looking forward to sharing what I learn with you.

Last Two Days of Barneys Beauty Event

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Barneys New York Spring 2015 Love Yourself Beauty Bag -  -

Barneys New York is having a beauty department gift-with-purchase when you spend $200 and it’s a pretty darned good one.   I got it today and am very impressed with the 20+ mini-products (and a few deluxe-size ones) from luxury/boutique brands that they give you.  There’s a GWP for women and one for men, but I was told today that all of the men’s GWP’s were gone in the pre-sale.

Check to see on Barneys’ website if there is an extra brand-specific GWP as well:

Tomorrow, March 14th, is the last day of the four-day GWP, both in-store and online.  Act fast if you want to get one.  Good luck!


The Rush – A Cautionary Tale about a “Free” Department Store Facial

Who wouldn’t love a free facial at Neiman Marcus with well-regarded Kate Somerville products?  You might want to think twice about it, depending on what you expect.

What I imagined:  In the newly-renovated Neiman’s beauty department at the Beverly Hills location, I thought I’d be in a quiet back room where an aesthetician would apply Kate Somerville products for my skin type on me.  Afterward, there would be a sales pitch on what was used.  I’d either buy something or not, but would experience a few of the latest Kate offerings on my face and neck.  Then I’d assess how they worked on my skin later that day (I believe in skin care marination) and do a write-up for you on the efficacy of the products.

What actually happened:  I headed down the escalator to the beauty department and saw some kind of demo going on, front and center.  I check in for my appointment at the Kate counter and, instead of being led to a serene back room, I was taken to that demo area.  Now I was on display to anyone going down that escalator to the noisy, busy beauty department where a big Neiman’s gift-with-purchase was going on.  So much for a relaxing facial.

I was told that Kate Somerville herself would be at the event, but I never saw her in the hour-plus time I was there.  No biggie for me, but others might have been disappointed.

There were three aestheticians in the cramped demo area, high chairs for those of us getting facials and a center table loaded with Somerville products.  The nice aesthetician who worked on me said I’d be getting a “Red Carpet” facial that Ms. Somerville offers at her Los Angeles spa.

The first few steps of the facial were double-cleansing my skin and removing the products with toner (my neck was never touched).  Underneath the table was an oxygen machine.  The oxygen blasts up a tube, mixes with serum in an airbrush chamber and is sprayed onto the face.  This results in revved-up blood circulation along with many other skin-benefiting claims.

The close nozzle-to-skin oxygen treatment felt like tiny, prickly zaps, which was not pleasant to feel, but was nothing harsh.  Right after the oxygen was infused onto one side of my face, I was given a mirror.  The side-by-side comparison was pretty remarkable – I did look much younger and fresher, especially around my eyes.  But was the oxygen responsible for this magical transformation or was it the serum?  I wondered if any serum would produce the same results with such hardcore beauty machinery.

After the oxygen treatment, product after product was manually layered onto my skin.  The aesthetician gave a quick, scripted highlight of each oil, serum and cream, which I wrote down (I write without looking at the page).  I wasn’t given the mirror to see what was happening in between these steps, which would have helped.  I’m a big fan of how the French and Koreans approach skin care, meaning I like layering products at home, as long as they get the proper time to sink in to the skin before moving on to the next one.  But this facial felt like a pile-on of products which, when I felt it, left a tacky quality to my skin.

What blew my mind was, without being asked, the Somerville CC cream and eye concealer were used on my face.  After all of this product application which should have showcased the Somerville hydrating ability, color was added and the post-treatment skin could not be seen.  I didn’t mind the brightening concealer, which worked well, but the CC cream felt heavy on my face.

I wondered if the CC cream was used because my face might turn blotchy from the facial or if it was just a way to sell yet another product.  Either way, neither of the two CC cream colors used on me were a good match for my skin color.  That didn’t stop the aesthetician from trying to convince me to get both of the tubes – one for winter (I looked funereal in it) and the darker shade for summer.  I don’t use makeup that way and nixed the idea, especially since I really like my Amore Pacific CC Cushion Compact so much.

After the facial, the hard sell began with what products I should purchase.  That’s when the “nice aesthetician” became as high-pressured as her oxygen machine and just as impersonal.  After I rejected buying all of the products used on me (over $1,500 before taxes), bottles were re-arranged in smaller groupings.  I rejected them, too.  She pushed the ExfoliKate product as being “a must”, even though I told her at the beginning that I was very happy with the exfoliator I was presently using.  Knowing I was wow-ed by the oxygen treatment, she told me that the fizzy DermalQuench Liquid Lift that she used on me was the way to prolong my more youthful appearance.  That sounded good to me.

Kate Somerville® 'DermalQuench Liquid Lift™' Advanced Wrinkle ...

When I said I liked the IllumiKate Concealing Eye Cream she used on me, I was physically hustled to the counter where the two products were quickly pulled for me.  Of course, the large size of the DermalQuench was pushed for purchase.  Oddly, what I was really interested in – and said so – was Kate’s sunscreen, but I wasn’t shown what the brand offered.  Then, the aesthetician looked for the Kate counter guy who booked the facial so he would get the sale.

While women were lined up around the counter getting two different GWP’s each from a cluster of Kate reps, I had a second to think.  I saw myself returning the products, which I always do after a pushy sales job when I’m too tired to say, “no” and walk away.  I waited another minute or two, didn’t see the aesthetician or the Kate beauty rep, so I placed the products on the counter and left.

About four-to-five hours later, it took some major cleansing for me to get all of the products off my skin.  After cleansing, I had to use several cosmetic facial pads, a few dousings of thermal water and plenty of toner to get off the residual products.  I had showered just before my appointment and went to the facial without any product on my skin, so it wasn’t that my skin wasn’t clean to begin with.  Perhaps the oxygen lifted out deeply-embedded impurities in my skin or the layers of liquid sucked in more city dirt than usual.  If it was the former, then a warning about this happening should have been disclosed to me.  If it was the latter, this proved that all of these products used together are not for me.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m glad I got to experience the “Red Carpet” Oxygen Treatment given to stars for big events like the Oscars.  The day after the treatment, my marionette lines were less noticeable, but I believe that it was due to the oxygen infusion, not the products.  This is not to say that Kate’s products aren’t good.  Years ago, I used a few of them until they were finished and liked them.  Her EradiKate (for spot treatment of pimples) is always on my shelf for when I have a break-out.

Perhaps I will go back and try the Dermalquench and under eye concealer again to see if they work on my non-oxygenated face.  I always want what’s best for my skin and will purchase it, within financial reason.  But all of us beauty consumers must understand what we’re buying and determine what’s right for us, not what’s right for the sales goals of a beauty counter.

Caveat Emptor:  If you decide to get a free facial at a department store:

1)  Ask the beauty specialist booking the appointment where the facial will take place.

2)  Ask how long the facial will be and what kind of facial you’ll be getting.

3)  Ask what products will be used on you.

4)  Tell the booker what allergies or conditions you have.

5)  Make sure the aesthetician knows what allergies and conditions you have right before your facial.

6)  Be prepared to be sold products.

7)  Be firm about what you want/don’t want to purchase.

8)  Ask if there is anything to expect after the treatment either that night or days later, like possible break-outs.

9)  If you believe as I do that experiencing a few new products is better than getting a dozen of them piled onto your face, tell the aesthetician.

10)  Have a mirror handy after each product is applied to see what’s happening to your skin.

11)  Make sure your hands are clean so you can feel products after they are applied to your face.

12)  Request that the products also be used on your neck.

13)  Wear clothes that you can easily wash, in case some product accidentally lands on them.

14)  Wear sunscreen, but try to keep your face bare before your appointment so the aesthetician can work with a clean canvas.

I’ll be getting a mini-facial tomorrow at Barney’s with Ren products.  You can bet I’ll be better prepared for this skin care session.

JUDGE BEAUTY VERDICT on this facial experience:  2 out of 5 gavels.

Neiman Marcus Beauty Event Gift-With-Purchase


Neiman Marcus has extended their Beauty Event GWP until March 4, 2015, both online and in stores. Spend $125 and you’ll get a small, heavy-rubber tote bag with many rows of triangle cut-outs in one of three colors (actual shades differ slightly from the photo above) with very good products to try.

I got mine a week ago and am pleased with the gifts.  Some are sample-size and others are larger mini’s.  All are from highly-regarded cosmetic/skin care/hair care lines such as Yves Saint Laurent, Molton Brown, Amore Pacific (I used the Time Response Eye Renewal Cream they give you – a good mini size – several months ago and love it) and Oribe.  Hit the website if you want more details:

If you spend $500, you get a few other products and a pencil-holder-size zip case in the same cut-out design.  I wouldn’t recommend spending the extra bucks just to get this gift, unless money is no object for you.

Check the website to see if the brand you’re buying also offers its own GWP.

JUDGE BEAUTY VERDICT:  Guilty – of offering a great deal and top-quality products.

Thanks to the very-cool Kate Somerville beauty consultant, William, at Neiman’s in Beverly Hills, I’ll be checking out the Kate Somerville Event (Kate will be there – I’ve met her before and she’s great) where I’ll be getting a facial later today.  Will report on what products are used and how they work.

The Red Carpet and Oscars Ceremony Starting Today at 1:30 PM/PST

Starting around 1:30-2PM/PST, the stars will begin to hit the Red Carpet for the Oscars. Please join me for the last round of Live-Tweeting this season for the most glamorous award show all year on Twitter @JudgeBeauty at 1:30PM/PST.

I have a few different vantage points and will report back to you what I see. Mostly, I’m looking forward to your Tweets on all the great hair and makeup (or misses), with the occasional guy thrown in who deserves our attention.

See you in a few hours!

Independent Spirit Awards Live-Tweeting on Twitter beginning at 11AM/PST @JudgeBeauty

Thanks to all of you who participated in Live-Tweeting the Red Carpet and Live Show of the Independent Spirit Awards at @judgebeauty.  I enjoyed your comments and appreciate your “favorited”/retweets actions.

Emma Stone was my favorite look with that gorgeous, modern black-lace top, adorable lob and perfectly-balanced, redhead-flattering makeup.

Who did you like the best?

My Beauty Routine for February, 2015

Regular A.M./P.M. Routine:

-Cleansing:  Tatcha One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil.

-Eau Thermale:  I spray thermale water (either Vichy or La Roche-Posay) on my face and take it off with a lint-free cotton facial pad.

-Toner:  Just ran out of Primavera toner and am now using Origins, A Perfect World, Age Defense Treatment Lotion with White Tea, also used with cotton face pad.

-Serum:  Just ran out of – and replenished last week – Tatcha Gold Camellia Beauty Oil.

-Moisturizer:  Will be replacing Tatcha Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream with Creme de la Mer Moisturizing Cream this week.

-Eye Cream:  Cle de Peau Intensive Eye Contour Cream.

-Lip Balm:  Either EOS Lip Balm throughout the day or Peter Thomas Roth Pink Bombshell Lip Balm.

-Sunscreen:  Either Supergoop! or Cle de Peau SPF 50 for face, neck and chest.  La Roche-Posay Anthelios 45 for arms and hands (made for face).

On some days, these products replace step in routine or add to it:

-Simple Cleansing Micellar Water.

-Vichy Purete Thermale 3 in 1 One Step Cleanser, Sensitive Skin.

-Beauskin Snail Mucus Brightening Essence (I promise it’s not gross) pressed into skin.

-Bulgarian Rose Hydrosol Facial Toner spray to refresh skin between A.M. and P.M.

-Post-serum: Pure Vitamin E Oil pressed into skin.

-Post-Serum: Pure Grapeseed Oil pressed into skin.

-Blemish: Kate Somerville Eradikate Acne Treatment (spot treatment).

-Cel-Derma Multi-Perfection 100 Hydrogel Mask.

-Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Scrub (twice a week, very gently used on face).

-Tatcha Classic Rice Enzyme Powder.

-Tried Aquafor as a moisturizer (Derm prescribed), but need to do more research on the ingredients before using it again.

-After bad experience years ago with prescription-strength Retinol, Derm told me to get Skinceuticals Retinol .5%, which I did.   Need to research how to use it with my skin care routine before I use it.


-Shampoo:  L’Oreal Everstrong Sulfate-Free Anti-Breakage Shampoo.

-Conditioner:  Aussie 3-Minute Miracle – Moist.

-Leave-in Conditioners:  Kerastase Chroma Riche Essence and Kerastase Nectar Thermique (even these nice products aren’t enough for my super-dry hair!).

Occasionally use:

-Bumble + Bumble Invisible Hairdresser’s Oil.

-Bumble + Bumble Prep.

-Oribe Gold Pomade.

-Fekkai Dry Shampoo.

-L’Oreal Advanced Hairstyle BOOST IT Volume Inject Mousse.

-Hate hairspray, so on the rare occasions I need it, I use what my husband has.

Whew – that’s a lot of products!

I’ll be updating this list every month.  Also, I will forego some products if I am testing a new one I’ll be writing about.  I am presently testing a line of skin care created for astronauts called 111 Skin.

If you have any questions about what I use or how I use it, please ask.  Thanks.