Saturday, July 16, 2016


At most of the beauty shows you can count on seeing more than your fair share of Moroccan Oils and Brazilian Blowouts, but for the first time in my more than 25 years on the beauty show circuit the "Mane" event was predominantly ruled by the men -Barbering skills to be exact.

Beauty companies have known and tried to tap into the potential male market before one ever existed for many years now and for the first time you could physically see the crest of the male wave coming across the isle of the Jacob Javits Center in NYC.  It was about more than beards and beard oil. Platform artists and industry reps were recycling the traditional barbering craft and repackaging it to the new hipster generation that seems to be hungry for new grooming skills. 

Platforms also crossed over into females who were seeking out that male edge that one might find proudly sport by Urban Decay Spokesperson Ruby Rose leaving one to ponder if this wave is more of a unisex trend than a male trend. 

North American beauty companies have a long way to go in regards to tapping into male market potential. In South Korea, men have have dominated spending on skincare products alone accounting for more than 21% of global sales. Experts cite this trend as a result of the ever popular and growing K-pop (music) and now lifestyle scene. 

 Other notable trends and companies at the IBS were the Lira Clinical BB BAR, which tout bb creams containing anti-inflammatory ingredients such as Arbutin and "healing" plant stem cells.........

............and Manicure printing directly onto the nail instead of acrylics- Technology courtesy of Korea of course. 

(p.s. Those are not my nails with the cuticles in dire need of some tlc)!

Overall the IBS 2016 was very well attended. With increased attendance my hopes are that more cutting-edge companies will attend the halls of the Javitts once again as they had years ago. My prediction is that we will be seeing a lot more men at these shows ladies. Guess it's a nice change of scenery ;).

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


In the past I usually tried to avoid the long-wear lip colors. They were great in concept, but overall most of them can be very drying and cause some pretty gruesome wear and tear on the lips. I'll find myself endlessly picking and biting at my lips with long-wear lip colors, which is why until now I usually wore the Clinique Red-y to Wear lipstick. The Clinque Red is moisturizing, doesn't feather and most importantly has some good staying power for a lipstick. Sadly Clinique discontinued that color!

Enter L'oreal's Infallible Pro-last color lipstick. I bought it and decided to test it at a recent wedding. Despite the massive amount of  food and drinks I consumed that evening it lasted from that night into the following morning. Unfortunately I was unable to add a hot makeout session to that test, but I can attest to the fact that it doesn't feather or transfer unless you eat something oily. The pigment stayed true with high-intensity. That being said it's not advisable to reapply this lipstick without fully removing it. It will get thick and uneven if you do.

The Clinique never gave me any issues and had great staying power, but I was limited in colors that performed as well as Red-y to Wear did. The L'oreal Infallible Pro-last has a good range of colors to play with. For me the number one reason I now personally wear it and can't go without it is it performs without ripping or drying out my lips. It also doesn't feel like I have a strange coating on my lips. I hate the way that most of these two-step long-lasting lip colors make my lips feel and this one is easy to compare to the feel of a lip stain.

Like all two-step lip color products this one comes with a balm. The second step pro-seal balm keeps the color and your lips moisturized for hours. Make sure you wait a couple of minutes after the lip color (step 1) has dried before applying the balm.  (I even like the balm by itself at times while I head out to the gym since I'm already carrying it).

You can keep the application light on the lips like a stain or heavy and vamp (instagram lips). I will warn you the heavier you go on color the more pro-balm is recommended to keep your lips from sticking to each other.

While this may be a drugstore product, I can assure you it will be used by many top makeup artists for major shoots and red carpet events.  If I had any qualms about the product it would be there isn't enough balm in proportion to lip color. L'oreal should sell extra balms should you still find yourself with a lot of leftover lip color. Overall this product gets five stars from Mary Schook!


While I still stand behind the staying power of the L'oreal Infallible Pro-Last color lipstick I have since found a new love: the Sephora Cream Lip Stains. It's a one-step lipcolor instead of two. I wear color 01 ALWAYS RED and get stopped in the street by everyone because of this color.  This formula also does not dry out the lips, but it's not completely non-transferable. It wears more like an ultimate wear lipstick than a permanent lip color.  The other down side is Sephora needs a wider range of colors. There's about two in the line that look okay on me. Definitely worth checking out! 

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Gel polish has been a love/hate relationship. Given that nail polish only lasts a good few days on me, I warmly embraced gel polish when it first came out.  It's the removal that kills me when it comes to gel nails. You all know what I'm talking about. Your nails look like a cheese grater grazed against your nail in the removal process. The IBS show in New York city this past week was loaded with nail repair kits and products because of damage we all endure from those darn gel polishes!

BUT a game-changer has entered the room. Greg Salo, president of Young Nails, allowing me to rigorously test Caption polish by Young Nails between myself and a busy flight attendant. Caption is a professional gel polish alternative with LaqQ3 technology (a triple infusion of dual polymer technology, volcanic glass, shellac, and plant-derived plasticizers). All you need to know is that this means rich, pigmented polish that is tougher than polish and cures with air. The line has over 60 stunning colors. The removal results in NO NAIL DAMAGE. In fact, the base coat helps nails to grow.

What's important to understand is that the polish is not Kryptonite. It's supposed to last twice as long as your normal nail polish might wear. I think they say that to keep expectations low because I have already tripled my regular polish wear time with Caption. I might add it takes me a third of the time to apply the base coat, one richly, pigmented color coat and a quick-dry top coat when compared to gel or regular polish applications. If there were 5 stars for this product I'd give it 6! It has certainly exceeded my expectations and I truly believe the gel lines have something to worry about: speed, long-wear, amazing range of colors and no nail damage = Nail industry disrupted.

I will admit the lighter colors don't seem to have the longevity as the the dark colors do. The flight attendant that tested the polish found that the lighter colors chipped easily as did I, yet the dark colors, which seem rich in pigment just lasted way longer than any polish I've tried.

As a side note I wanted to add that Gelish is still my favorite gel line. They have an assortment of rich, nail-friendly colors and IF the technician soaks them the prescribed amount of time then the polish crumples right off without the damage......but that rarely happens does it. I like that you can still buy the Gelish line at Sally Beauty supply.

Get your nail tech to run and get Caption polish today!

Friday, February 6, 2015


This season in fashion the 70's are back, bell bottoms and all, which logistically means so are the big bouncy fros.

Many of the products available in this niche market are greasy and not hydrating making the hair heavy (not luxuriously coiffed and soft like Design Essentials). Hair is also more prone to breakage because of the dry hair issue.

Last year I met a hair brand called Design Essentials at the beautypress event held in NYC. They gave me some samples of the twist and set, the curlforming custard and the natural curl enhancing mousse. I feel an obligation to every curly girl to feature Design Essentials and their high performing products after the raves we received from our testers with these products. 

The Design Essentials brand seems to have something for every hair type and I'm happy to have the time to recognize them. I feel sometimes that African American and Latina products don't get enough media play in the beauty industry leaving a growing beauty population with tresses that need some TLC.

Apparently they just launched a Coconut and Monoi deep moisture collection. I have not personally tried or tested it, but I can tell you that if it's anything like the other products in their line then this will be a savior for many a curly fro!

The video attached to this post is also a compelling demonstration of the performance and results of the new Coconut and Monoi collection.

Let us know in the comment section below what you think about this line!

Thursday, October 30, 2014


There are very few mascaras that I like out there. They either burn and irritate my eyes, break my lashes and most of all underwhelm my need for fluffy, bushy lashes that I can only seem to get with false lashes.

I am prone to love lash extensions, but 40% of the consumers out there can't or shouldn't wear them and not everyone can apply lash strips or false lashes. What's a gal to do?

Since I used to be a beauty editor at a magazine the PR companies still send products to my attention. Cherry Blooms specifically grabbed my attention because I know how serious Australians are about their beauty....especially their lashes.

I've tried a few of the competitors on the market, but they would either fleck on my face, didn't last through the day or cause major lash loss because the mascara was so difficult to remove or would cause lash breakage.  I used to use the Talika nylon fibers, but they always dropped on my face and I don't seem to have that problem with this brand. I never liked the effect of Fiberwig either or some of the other competitors.

-First of all there is no mascara that lengthens like Cherry Blooms. If you do get greedy and overuse it the mascara will clump up. That's not my personal esthetic, but it's easily resolved with a lash comb before the mascara sets.
 - I like that if I decide not to remove my mascara that it still is soft and buildable the following day (bad habit). 
 -I like that my eyes don't burn.
-They don't raccoon.
-I don't get flecks under my eyes and it seems to last all day.
-The removal is super easy.
- My lashes don't break like they do with conventional mascaras.
- It doesn't require any special skill to apply...maybe just a little practice.
-What I love most is the lack of irritation without sacrificing performance and the simple ingredients: Water, high-grade potent beeswax, carnauba wax, black iron oxide, natural cellulose fibers, stearic acid, natural emulsifying agents.

I have to say Cherry Blooms is worth every penny and when this tester runs out I will be making a new purchase. Well done Cherry Blooms.



How Cherry Blooms Mascara Works (as per the manufacturer)

Cherry Blooms Mascara Fiber Eyelash Extensions are lightweight and just as easy as applying normal mascara. The kit includes two tubes; the transplanting mascara gel and a tube of dry natural cellulose black fibers which stick on the beeswax mascara making it look like you are wearing false eyelashes.
The brush-on fibers are lightweight, adhere to your own lashes and act like instant lash extensions. It dramatically creates 300% longer and thicker lashes within seconds. The fibers easily wash off with warm water and a cotton ball, but can be worn for many days until it is washed off.
Our customers tell us time and time again they will never use anything else on their eyelashes. It’s water resistant so it is cry proof, laugh proof and sweat proof too, and suitable for all ages.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014



The International Beauty Show (and IECSC) were held at the Javitts March 2014. It was one of the better beauty shows I have seen in New York in a long while. Major beauty player Redken headlined for the first time in years showing technicians how to creatively inspire their customers through color.

Over the last decade the IBS shows had hit a sharp decline and felt more like a flea market featuring carnival side shows than the high fashion/ Avant-garde events I grew up with. I was embarrassed for the industry and sad at the same time. In the past (WAY back) these shows were around to primarily inspire artists and help technicians brush up on their craft. The industry forgot how to inspire and in turn forgot how to sell. It shows in the salons and spas. This is one reason the Groupons of the world have been so successful. Trust me, when a customer finds a great technician/artist they don't let go!

Brands and educators are supposed to be leaders and lead by example especially when it comes to these shows, but sadly the last several years have been and continue to be about Moroccan and Merula oils, Brazilian blowouts, too many nail polishes and dodgy lash extension products. 

Customers are coming to salons with problems and looking to artists for a vision, but they're not finding them. I know this because I hear it day in and day out being an esthetician and being someone who has worked in this industry for over 20 years. 

On the IECSC side there were lots of whispers concerning the lack of talent and spas having an especially difficult time of staffing decent talent. As a spa owner I know this tends to be true. 


SunFX spray tans: best sunless tan spray tan I've ever seen. No orange. No bad buildup. No dry skin. Layers well. This poor guy in the photo had to have been sprayed at least 100 times in the face before I got to him. Normally any other spray tan would have already made his face look very dirty. I think anyone would find difficult to spot this one as a fake (minus 50 fewer sprays). 

Hair Botox by Kashmir Kerath. It's the only hair product on the market with actual Botox (Botulism). I was unable to speak with the owners, but from the demo that I saw the product gave silky, straight hair instantly. It didn't look dry like some of the other straighteners do. All- in-all a very interesting concept. Licensing Botox® alone had to have been a fortune, but I don't see the trademark so who knows...the educator had assured me the Botox® was in there.

The lip mask by Satin Smooth seems fun especially for those winter chapped lips. Masks can be very effective at helping to penetrate moisture. 

We've moved past heated rhinestones in the hair and on to fun shapes! Kinda cute for the teens.

The Alessandro Hand Spa Silky Gloves protects your hands through ten washes! This is fantastic for super dry winters and bartenders that constantly get their hands wet. It's time to stop neglecting those hands!

Friday, February 21, 2014


All of the sudden the news is back to talking about lash extensions and lash damage. What I find interesting is when the media talks about lash extensions they have NO idea what they are talking about.
They confuse temporary lashes with lash extensions. It drives me nuts!

To make matters worse one show did a demonstration of lash extensions with the eyes open. Last I checked lash extensions were doing with eyes closed unless you're one of the crazy people wanting to do the bottoms, which should be illegal.

Take a look at my lash guide below:

To find out more about lash extensions check out our sister blog