October 2014 archive

pH7 Nail Couture

Just a quick post today, because I am a little under the weather. Earlier this week, I ventured to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to check out pH7 Nail Couture, a new salon specializing in nontoxic manis, pedis, and waxing. Ai Ke (known as Helen) opened the business two months ago with her sister-in-law Di Huang (known as CiCi). Helen works full time as a financial analyst, and CiCi, who has been in the nail trade for about six years, minds the pH7 store during the day.

Helen told me they wanted to set pH7 apart from other nail salons by offering services using non-toxic and organic products. Hence the name pH7, which is at the center of the pH7 scale, and describes a water-based solution that is neither acidic nor basic.

She told me a little about the products they carry, including Scotch Naturals, a water-based nail care line. I have never heard of a water-based nail polish before. She showed me her nails, because she was wearing one of the colors. Her manicure was very pretty, and looked like regular polish. She also let me smell the bottle. It didn’t have the strong odor that solvent-based nail polishes have. Helen said if you want to use Scotch Naturals polish, you should use their base and top coat, so that the polish goes on correctly.

pH7 also carries Deborah Lippmann and butter LONDON, and a few “never heard of it” smaller brands such as Uslu Airlines and Sheswai. How cool are those bottles of Sheswai polish?

I went for butter LONDON’s Fash Pack, a greige-y taupe I’m loving. As much as I love Essie and O.P.I., I was excited to try a different brand.

Here is an Instagram I took of pH7”s polish wall:

Here’s a little about pH7 on Well + Good NYC. Think you’ll go check it out?



& Other Stories

Yesterday, I went into the city to check out the first U.S. outpost of & Other Stories, H&M’s hip sister brand. It just opened on Friday in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood.

Stories, as its known, has an amazing bath and body care line and scented candles, all displayed in-store according to different color paint splatters. The bath and body collection and candles are also available through the new U.S. web site.

The good news? Most of the line is priced under $20! I love the Cotton Care Madapollam body scrub with cottonseed oil.

The hero products, though, are nail polishes in colors that coordinate with the clothes. Such synergy is, according to Allure, pretty rare between fashion and beauty.

I got a great wool and mohair scarf and a matching polish in Say Pink.

Wool-blend scarf and matching polish in Say Pink from & Other Stories

Wool-blend scarf and matching polish in Say Pink from & Other Stories

There is also a skirt and a coat to match the scarf, and a beige sweater with the same pink stripes.

I also scored this gorgeous cashmere sweater and a polish in Swanskin Beige.

Cashmere sweater and polish in Swanskin Beige from & Other Stories

Cashmere sweater and polish in Swanskin Beige from & Other Stories

And I had to have this basic button down and the matching polish in Indienne Sky.

Cotton shirt and polish in Indienne Sky from & Other Stories

Cotton shirt and polish in Indienne Sky from & Other Stories

The polishes are a very reasonable $9 each. However, look for them in-store only for now. But keep an eye out for the brand’s color cosmetics. They should be arriving stateside soon, according to the cashier who rung up my order. I’ll do a haul post when that happens!

And speaking of hauls, when you return your empty & Other Stories beauty products, you get 10 percent off your next beauty purchase!

Think you’ll check out & Other Stories?

Mally Roncal: Love, Lashes, and Lipstick

The cover of Love, Lashes, and Lipstick

The cover of Love, Lashes, and Lipstick

Celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal just came out with her book, Love, Lashes, and Lipstick: My Secrets for a Gorgeous, Happy Life, and Ballantine Books was nice enough to send me a copy. It’s full of great makeup, life, and career advice.

I really love Mally’s eyeliner trick: use a darker color to line your upper lash line and a lighter shade for your bottom lash line. A few of her suggestions: black on top/brown on the bottom, dark brown or plum on top/bronze on the bottom, or dark gray or navy on top/light taupe on the bottom. I have been using this trick since I saw it in the book, and it really works! My eyes look defined, but not like I’m wearing heavy eyeliner. It actually makes me look younger.

For those who are unfamiliar with Mally, she has worked with celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey. Her story about working with Beyonce is great. One day, Mally’s agent called her to go to Beyonce’s hotel and do her makeup for a movie premiere. When Beyonce walked into the room, Mally saw that with her gorgeous gown, flawless skin, and honey-colored curls, Bey really didn’t need much makeup.

So she applied a little bronze eye shadow, mascara, some foundation and concealer, pink lip gloss, and a little blush. It took all of 10 minutes, even though a makeup artist usually allows for two hours to prep Beyonce. Turns out, Beyonce loved Mally’s minimalist approach. Within a week, Mally was hired to do Beyonce’s makeup for the next year, and continues to work with her on various projects. The take home lesson here: trust your gut.

And yes, there is a chapter on getting older called “Your Most Gorgois Days Are Ahead of You.” Mally’s advice? Embrace your age. Change your hair and makeup to suit your current lifestyle, not the one you had 15 years ago. She also urges readers of a certain age to be the kick-ass older woman that Millennials aspire to be. Finally, Mally doles out tips for defining your brows, and walks you through the steps for creating her “I’m Not 21 Anymore (and That’s Okay!)” Face.

One last thing: Mally’s book has tons of great photos. My favorite is the one of her holding up a sign that says, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep rereading the last one.” So true!

Think you’ll check out Mally’s book or try her makeup line, Mally Beauty? She can do my makeup anytime!










Jillian Wright Apothecary Mask Bar

Jillian Wright Apothecary Mask Bar

Jillian Wright Apothecary Mask Bar

I went into New York City last week and visited the Jillian Wright Clinical Skin Spa to check out Jillian’s new apothecary mask bar, a first of its kind in the city. Wright told me in a email that she always dreamed of offering an apothecary mask bar. “I wanted something that was unique and raised the whole facial experience to a new level.”

A person’s skin is always changing, so Wright wants the ability to custom blend a finishing mask for her
clients each time they came in. As she put it, “To be able to create something from scratch that represents what that person needs at that particular moment is special.”

Wright said she aims for total transparency with her mask bar, with only organic and raw ingredients. She also loves that she can change up the experience by adding new ingredients each month. Regular updates to the ingredients list mean that no two masks are ever alike.

Well + Good described the mask bar as a smoothie for your skin, because its similar to green juicing, where you choose the ingredients you want in your smoothie. You pick from a menu of 19 different active ingredients and three clay bases, based on your skin concerns. Its mixed together in a little bowl with a wooden spoon, and the finished product is put into a little glass jar, like a vintage apothecary.

My mask has RASSOUL clay (Moroccan lava), which is high in minerals; Norwegian Rockweed seaweed, which is good for increasing skin elasticity and restoring youthfulness; green tea, which has polyphenols and antioxidants; rose hip, which is rich in vitamin C and firms and tones; kale, which has vitamin B, vitamin E, and copper; soothing lavender; Manuka honey, a natural humectant and antibacterial; green coffee bean extract, which has caffeine and is great for reducing puffiness; and resveratrol extract, to promote cell turnover.

A word to the wise. The seaweed smells like, um, the sea, so you may want to put a little essential oil in there to mask the fishy scent. Jillian has several oils you can choose from. (I picked orange.) And put the glass jar right in the fridge when you get home. It only has Japanese honeysuckle as a natural preservative.

The mask bar is complementary with any facial; otherwise, its $40. You can post a picture of you in your face mask to your Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #JWFacialFace. I’ll start:

My #JWFacialFace Thanks, Jillian!

A photo posted by Charlotte LoBuono (@clobuono) on

Think you’ll check out the Apothecary Mask Bar?

Roloxin Lift

Roloxin Lift

Roloxin Lift

Roloxin Lift was recently named an Allure breakthrough product of the year at the magazine’s annual Best of Beauty awards, so I felt compelled to share. What caught my eye was the fact that Dr. David McDaniel, a dermatologist and researcher in Virginia, was so intrigued by Roloxin Lift that he studied its formula at his own expense.

Doris Day, a dermatologist in New York City, told Allure that Roloxin Lift may be the first in a whole new category of anti-aging products. McDaniel agreed. Cosmetics and cosmeceuticals have gotten a lot of hype over the last few years for their ability to deliver instant results, he told me in an email. But most of them really didn’t deliver as promised. Roloxin Lift provides visible and immediate improvements that last all day into the evening, said McDaniel.

So how do you use this miracle product? Basically, you knead the little packet of lotion for about 10 seconds to activate it, then tear it open and apply a thin layer to your clean, damp face. You leave it on for five to seven minutes. It will dry like a mask and turn a chalky white color.

Tiny silica particles start binding together and sticking to the surface of the skin, with an assist from the film-forming ingredient chitosan glycolate. As it dries, the breathable film pulls your skin taut, leaving it feeling nice and smooth. You rinse it off by splashing your face with lukewarm water. You can then apply moisturizer, sunscreen, makeup, and you’re out the door. Roloxin Lift is safe to use every day.

McDaniel said that most of his patients are thrilled with the results. You’d particularly like Roloxin Lift if your pores tend to be on the larger side. “Some younger patients see improvement, but since they do not have the larger pores, fine lines, and wrinkles that older patients do, the results are not quite as much of a ‘wow’ factor when they first test it,” McDaniel said. My skin felt bright and flawless, like porcelain.

The effects of Roloxin Lift may be cumulative, too, although they have not been studied over an extended period of time. The product contains active ingredients designed to provide lasting improvements to the skin, McDaniel explained. He went on to say the findings of a study done overseas suggest the effects may be good for a while. “We just have not seen it personally yet, as our patients have not returned far enough out after they began treatment,” said McDaniel.

A few notes. The product smells and looks a little like Greek yogurt. And it doesn’t come cheap: a 10-day supply is $110 and a 30-day supply is $270.

Think you’ll check out Roloxin Lift?