The Same Questions I Ask Everyone....With Anastasia Soare

I initially came to know the one-part human, two-parts goddess Anastasia Soare as Oprah's eyebrow guru. Now I patronize her Nordstrom Brow Studios whenever the eyebrow spas intersect with my travel plans in an effort to compare technician quality and training (all superb and trained by Ms. A.) In May of 2008 I fell in love with her Beverly Hills outpost while watching the legend herself sculpt Bella Sugar's eyebrows. Now, on the eve of her skincare line launch (created after a year of research in her native Romania) Anastasia lets us into her beauty empire with an exclusive interview and a preview of her new line.

What is your first memory of beauty products?
Going to the apothecary pharmacy with my mother in Romania so she could buy her favorite face cream which was mixed fresh for her on the spot. If I close my eyes I can remember the scent of the place in an instant.

At what age did you start wearing makeup?
16. I remember we were wearing a latex eye liner back then. I am sure the ingredients were not the safest but the look we were going for was Cleopatra and of course these days Amy Winehouse wears the same look. This liner was liquid and you applied it in a thick band around your eyes and it dried in latex and you could peal it off later. It would stay on 12 hours or more.

If you could apply only one product for the next month what would it be?
My Line Erasing Serum: it gives the skin and instant dewy glow and it reduces discoloration and redness. It’s like a youthful spring in a bottle.

If you could give one product to all women in the world what would it be?
My brow kit. The most common mistake I see women make is over-tweezing their brows. With the 5 products inside including stencils they can all achieve perfect brows at home.

If you could ban one harmful ingredient from all beauty products what would it be?
This isn’t an ingredient but I love animals so so much. I wish that absolutely all animal testing could be banned worldwide not just from cosmetics but also pharmaceuticals etc.

What is your favorite skincare ingredient?
Glycolic Acid. It really refines and smoothes my skin.

What is the last product you created?
Line Erasing Serum - it’s amazing.

Who is the business woman you most admire?
Oprah Winfrey, whenever I complain that I work too much, I just think of her schedule and quickly change my mind. She is a nonstop work horse who is truly interested in improving the way people live. I think the huge fame and money were never her ambition. They happened along the way and really her #1 priority was to grow with her fans. That’s what makes her my hero.

Whose beauty do you most admire?
Every single woman that works for it. It takes a lot to be a woman these. There are so many expectations to remain young and gorgeous forever. Hats off to all of us who start with beauty in the a.m. and end with it before bed.

What was your best Spa experience?
The Spa at Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas. Just stepping inside that place starts to tranquilize my senses. Aside from that it is such a gorgeous masterpiece dedicated to relaxation and rejuvenation that I insist on going four times a year.

Besides your own, what is your favorite brand?
I really like MAC. I have been a long time fan of their eye shadows even before I had my own line and I know I can find everything I need there.

Wise words from woman wealthy with beauty and aesthetic talent. We can't wait to reap the benefits of her Romanian skincare research trip. Many thanks to Anastasia for taking the time be with us and to her team for working with us to provide the product preview below. Here is a bit of what's to come. More details here.

Working with a team of experts and scientists, Anastasia developed Balkan Botanical™ Infusion, a blend of rare plant and herb extracts found only in the rich soil of Romania. This unique and exclusive blend has the power to soften, soothe and restore the skin’s natural radiance. Balkan Botanical™ Infusion is a key ingredient in Anastasia’s new skin care products.
The Line launch includes:

Line Erasing Serum: a lightweight blend of natural hydrators, Instalift™ Goji, and Anastasia’s exclusive Balkan Botanical™ Infusion. This serum improves the appearance of skin and helps reduce signs of aging.

Blue Lotus Mist: a perfect fusion of Balkan Botanical™ Infusion, hydrating water, and a soothing serum of flower extracts from South Africa, to help revive complexions and provide skin with an instant burst of radiance.

Neroli Night Crème: contains a complex of fruit and flower oils, combined with Balkan Botanical™ Infusion in a moisture rich, non-greasy formula.

Nourishing Eye Crème: an ultra-rich mix of essential oils and antioxidants, along with Balkan Botanical™ Infusion. Promotes smoother, firmer and hydrated skin for a more youthful appearance.

Hydrating Oil: features Jojoba, Borage, Black Currant & Meadowfoam Seed Oil which work together to provide ultimate hydration. Loveage, an aromatic oil, revives one’s spirit while our exclusive Balkan Botanical™ Infusion softens. Vital for thirsty, fatigued skin.

Sheer Moisture Crème: a hydrating and ultra-light SPF 30 day creme that works for all skin types. This truly innovative fragrance-free formula softens the skin and provides protection against UVA/UVB rays and free radicals that can cause signs of aging. Enjoy!


Free Frédéric Fekkai Travel Kit with Purchase!

I'm loving this sleek lilac bag that houses Fekkai's latest luxury incentive. Frédéric Fekkai salons are offering the complimentary Travel Kit of your choice with the purchase of any existing package. It's the perfect companion for a weekend trip to lake house and comes with all of your Fekkai faves for those summer weekend getaways. The Glossing Kit (pictured above) contains Fekkai Glossing shampoo, conditioner, styling cream, finishing hairspray, and a travel comb. Normally $40, now free with your existing package at Fekkai 5th Avenue, SoHo, Greenwich, Dallas, Beverly Hills, Melrose Place, and Palm Beach.

Practically Perfect in Every Way: Belli Skincare Skin Smoothing Body Exfoliator

Let me be perfectly clear about one thing: I am not pregnant. That said I was in Pottery Barn Kids the other day picking out a baby shower present for one of my nearest and dearest girlfriends (yes it's my first BF to reproduce and yes I'm slightly traumatized) and I finally decided, if Belli's pretty packaging and pregnancy friendliness (allergy free, tetrology screened, paraben and artificial dye free) are good enough for a fetus, then they're good enough for me.

The result is absolutely the best body exfoliator I have ever, ever used. Belli’s Skin Smoothing Body Exfoliator includes ingredients such as Green Tea, Ginseng, and Peppermint Oil, and removes dull, old skin with an absolutely invigorating scent. Big thanks to the Belli Founders, Jason Rubin MD and Annette Rubin who upon producing their own little slice of heaven in 2002, decided to offer pregnancy products that feature the pampering benefits of aromatherapy and massage therapy with the heightened screening of a medical company. Enjoy!


Eye Hope For Most Budgets

My eyes are the newest part of my body to declare decline. Just this year they have become incurably dry, puffy, and accented with an odd impermeable dark circles that scream "Dear God! Someone start paying this woman to blog!" Clearly my age is causing this decline and not the fact that I'm tied to a laptop whenever I'm not walking beneath the Carolina blue sky or swimming in my little country neighborhood's pool. To provide some hope, I've selected and eye cream for most budgets. If those fail, I refer you the best concealer ever made (its also an eye lifter!)

The RSF Eye Serum is divine. Made by smart-science types who really dig chemistry more than beauty which tells you why it works so well, smells a little funny, and costs a fortune! I don't understand their ad copy. You give it a shot. "Collagen cross-linking, due to glycation, is one of the main causes of the formation of eye bags, therefore, inhibiting this cross-linking prevents the loss of elasticity and subsequent eye bag formation. Tetapeptide also has vascular permeability inhibition properties, which gives draining and antioedema effects to prevent liquid accumulation." I may not know what that means but I do know that I adore it. $175

introduces eye hope: Adorable packaging, promising first week of testing, and paraben-free! Don't get this anywhere near your eyelids or you'll resemble your reptilian predecessors. This new and clinically proven product claims to improve fine lines, dark circles and puffiness. In just six weeks, 4 out of 5 people saw significant improvement in fine lines, dark circles, puffiness and smoothness. $48

SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex: Skin Ceuticals is endorsed by many renowned plastic surgeons. After seeing what their body lotion did to my skin (not to mention my self esteem) I'd wager a pretty penny or 850 pretty pennies that this is at is claims -"a breakthrough eye treatment, that dramatically decreases inflammation and dark circles around the eye." $85


Practically Perfect in Every Way: The Cool Fix - Best Shave Gel Ever

Paraben free. Pore reducing. Shine enhancing. Smooth like a seal's skin. Applicator Free. My legs haven't looked this good since I was a prep school lacrosse player. (I know I can't keep up with my past either.)

The shaving authorities from Anthony Logistics For Men bring their expertise to the women’s side of the sink with a unisex launch of The Cool Fix™, an all-in-one gel lotion that fights ingrown hairs, razor burn irritation, redness. Exfoliating ingredients like Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Phytic Acid remove dead skin cells, kill existing bacteria under the skin, and simultaneously dissolve the dead skin so any hairs trapped underneath can be freed.

Price and Availability: $25.00; a 2009 exclusive at Sephora stores nationwide and online. Enjoy!

Neutrogena Wave: The Endless Summer of Skincare

I've been faithfully using my Clarisonic for over a year. I applauded the introduction of their body brush and actually adored their gentle cleanser. I still don't think I could live without my it but with brush heads that can be a bit messy and at $200 per starter-kit, the Clarisonic is not everyones' cup of tea.

Nuetrogena has successfully filled the need for a quicker, simpler, (cheaper!) younger sister to the Clarisonic. With disposable, single-use cleansing pads attached to the vibrating hand piece rather than a brush, the wave is perfect for oily summer skin and summer vaccays. Two speeds allow you to modulate depending on your cleansing needs. With a battery and two packs of oxy-clean-esque pads included, this vibrating little automated esthetician is quite lovely in every way. At only $11.99, this is the season's best shortcut to savvy skincare. Here's a coupon for you. Enjoy!

Ms. Laura Mercier: Please Liberate Your Luxe Lash Curler

On a recent trip to the mother ship (Sephora) I noticed that 95% of lash curlers resemble instruments one finds on the doctor's tray during an oft-feared female ritual, the annual exam. (No FTC, I'm not sure if that figure is accurate.)

When I'm getting beautiful in the morning, I'd rather not attack my eyelashes with an ob/gyn-like device. That, and my deep set eyes, led me to look for more from my lash curles. A few months ago, while chatting with my local Laura Mercier counter attendant (love her!) at Nordstroms I found a beautiful, friendly, ergonomically correct lash curler that left my lashes feeling cushioned, cared-for, and well-shaped. Unfortunately Laura Mercier's luxe burgundy-colored lash curler is only available as part of her $125 Eye Design Kit. (Laura, could you please reconsider this error in marketing?)

Until Laura reconsiders, Sephora has a pared down but architecturally identical version for only $14(pictured above). It's not the real thing, but my lashes haven't been this happy in a long long time. Enjoy!

Halston SS 09 Sample Sale

Girls, The Halston Sample Sale is almost here and it features the pieces I saw backstage at their SS09 MoMA.

What: Halston Spring/Summer '09 Sample Sale
When: July 7-9, 2009
Time: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Daily
Where: Halston Showroom
Address: 96 Spring Street, 2nd floor, NY, NY

Happy 4th of July -Love, Stila

Stila is (mostly) made in the USA and has a coupon code for you! I heart Stila so hard. Enjoy!

The Same Questions I Ask Everyone ....With Melissa Shabinsky of Revolution Organics

After hearing from co-founder Alexandra last week, this week we are lucky enough to feature Revolution Organics' other (equally gorgeous) half Melissa Shabinsky. These women, like their product, are highly efficient, stylish, and beautiful inside and out.

What is your first memory of beauty products?
A big outing to the mall was not complete without a walk through the makeup counters at the department store. I thought that it was the most glamorous place in the world.

At what age did you start wearing makeup?
Officially at around 15, but I did sneak in a little mascara and lip gloss into my backpack when I was 13 and apply in the bathroom at school.

If you could apply only one product for the next month what would it be?
Our All-Over Beauty Balm – it is honestly the only product I need and use all the time. It is my color, highlighter, moisturizer, blush, lip color and bronzer all in one!

If you could give one product to all women in the world what would it be?
Our certified organic All Over Body Balm – we created it to make every woman's life a little easier.

If you could ban one harmful ingredient from all beauty products what would it be?

What is your favorite skincare ingredient?
Coconut oil

What is the last product you created?
I have an entire cosmetic bag full of lab samples of new products that we are creating right now, just essentials that every woman would want, like a good mascara.

Who is the business woman you most admire?
Leslie Blodgett - she is an innovator and is constantly ahead of the trend curve

Whose beauty do you most admire?
My mom. She is blessed with good genes (which I hope have been passed onto me) but takes care of herself and her skin and NEVER sits in the sun. She is also at peace with her looks, something that many women have a hard time doing, which makes her really truly beautiful.

What was your best Spa experience?
I’m not a spa girl, I can’t sit still that long!

Besides your own, what is your favorite brand?
It has been so long since I have worn any other products other than ours but I do like what ColorScience has done with their mineral protections.

Lazy Girl's Fitness: FitFlops on Sale!

Working out has never been my thing. Sad but true. Like most things in my life, to find fitness interesting I need it to be beautiful and connected to a spa in some way. With these FitFlops on sale at bliss and the colorful wrist weights below (Banglz - Wearable Fitness) even sweating looks sexy. For those of you who don't believe the Fitflop hype, wear them for a day and you'll feel muscles you never knew you had. I'll be spending my afternoon with Banglz and FitFlops in the hopes of banishing some cellulite.


A Beautiful Email from Michelle Obama on Father's Day

It's not often I get an email from the First Lady. In fact I am fairly certain this is the first time. I am not special nor do I have a personal relationship with Michelle. (Though what beauty editor doesn't adore her keen eye for fashion and beauty?) I simply signed up for the white house blog's email list a few months ago and never gave it a second thought.

For the past two years no less than 100 rugged, manly emails have arrived in my inbox shouting at me to try, endorse, or promote items for father's day. Shaving kits, cologne, travel accessories. Seemingly sound gift-worthy items. Both years I have picked a few of the best and hesitantly posted them to aid you in fathers day preparations. Every year I struggle, knowing I have no reasonable way to understand what it would be like to happily hunt for a gift for father's day.

As Michelle puts it, Barack doesn't either. Her email and the video below bring some beauty to this day. Whether you've lost a father, love your father, or loathe your father I hope this brings you the hope it brought me. We all have the chance to bring beauty into a child's life and today is a beautiful day to start.

Valentino: The Last Emperor (or How Investors Stole a Legend's Company)

Girls, I know we are all here because we love beauty and we see fashion as an art form. For all of us this is a film you must not miss. Valentino, focused on his art and in the latter part of his seventh decade on earth, has his empire stolen but throws a party so grand the theft is almost overshadowed. Fashion's last celebration of designer as artist was at least an Irish wake of sorts, celebrating the Joie de Vivre despite the inevitable.

A Smokey Eye in Two Ingredients

The mythology around the smokey eye and its technique has left the iconic staple under-used and over-complicated. Earlier this week when my work life needed a little fashion model mojo I created a simple dramatic smokey eye with two relatively inexpensive user-friendly ingredients, Glo-Minerals Eye Shadow in Onyx and Almay Liquid Liner in Black.

First use the liquid liner wand to play connect the dots with the base of your eyelashes. Next retrace that line with the Onyx eyeshadow with an angled-sponge brush like this one from physicians formula. Stay close to the base of your eyelids during this step and simply smudge upwards as your desire for drama dictates. The finished look is a chic, tamed smokey eye appropriate for work or socializing that feels like work.


With a Touch of Gold, Jane Iredale Makes Blush Ethereally Easy

When was the last time you bought 24 karat gold anything for $12? Never, right? Luckily for us, Jane Iredale, the matriarch of mineral makeup, is offering a perfectly tinted, user-friendly gold dust. Blush has never been my thing. I have spent years working with two of the most brilliant estheticians on the planet to eliminate my rosacea. So why I would ever attempt to add anything in the neighborhood of "rose" to my skin has been, until now, beyond me.

Jane's Rose Gold Dust is simply the quickest (easiest!) way to a beautiful, subtle summer shimmer. Brush a (tiny) bit lightly over the apple of the cheek with a mini-Kabuki brush. Jane's Gold Dust is the perfect touch for any summer evening. Think ethereal summer garden party. Dreamy.

The Same Questions I Ask Everyone ....With Alexandra Zanella of Revolution Organics

Organics have come along way since the days of dusty shelves at your hippie-haven local co-op. I first fell in love with Revolution Organics, the front runner in the next generation of organic beauty, back in March when I first tried their body balm and lotion. Alexandra Zanella and Melissa Shabinsky, the bold beautiful duo who created the line, inspired a collective fearful gasp throughout the "natural" beauty industry when they went ahead and made their stylish, effective products USDA certified organic.

Alexandra's partner in all things organic, hot, and beautiful will be with us next week to share her answers! In the meantime, you can follow these trailblazers @revolution_girl.

What is your first memory of beauty products?
I was approximately four years old. My Mother had a beauty mark on her face – and I wanted one too. To make me happy, she would ‘pencil in’ a beauty mark (a la Cindy Crawford) on my cheek with her eyebrow pencil so I could be like her.

At what age did you start wearing makeup?
15 years old.

If you could apply only one product for the next month what would it be?
Glow Beauty Balm (you can use for lips, cheeks, eye shadow, highlighter and on and on)

If you could give one product to all women in the world what would it be?
Glow Beauty Balm

If you could ban one harmful ingredient from all beauty products what would it be?

What is your favorite skincare ingredient?
Shea Butter

What is the last product you created?
All Natural Mascara – coming soon!

Who is the business woman you most admire?
Andrea Jung – Avon Chairman/CEO

Whose beauty do you most admire?
Queen Rania of Jordan – not only is she beautiful to look at she is renowned for her philanthropic work and dedication to women and children rights globally.

What was your best Spa experience?
Cannot think of one

Besides your own, what is your favorite brand?
I don’t have one. I try different brands that suit my needs at that time.

Michelle Trachtenberg Wears at Lancôme at the CFDA Fashion Awards

Who was wearing Lancôme at the CFDA Fashion Awards earlier this week? Michelle Trachtenberg (who by the way is wearing the same pair of Michael Kors peep-toe heels that I torture my gams with on the regular.) Directly from her delightfully talented makeup artist, I bring you the makeup play-by-play.

Celebrity makeup artist Sandy Linter worked with Michelle Trachtenberg. She accentuated the eyes by first applying Effacernes Waterproof Concealer in Porcelaine I as a shadow base, under eye base and skin corrector giving Michelle a silky soft complexion. Sandy then lined her eyes with Le Crayon Khôl in Black Coffee giving it a smudged effect for a soft contour. To accentuate her eyes even more, Sandy applied Color Design Eyeshadow in Click for a smoky look and Bikini Golden on the inside. She then coated Michelle’s eyelashes with Ôscillation vibrating mascara to give them an extended effect and finish the look.

Essence Launches the First Digital Beauty Makeover Tool for Women of Color

Essence + CoverGirl have teamed up to launch Makeover Magic, a digital makeover tool catering to the beauty needs of African-American women online. This fun tool takes the guess work out of the over-the-counter makeup experience. With the entire CoverGirl Queen collection at your disposal, as well as great products from P&G Prestige, you can easily avoid those beauty budget bummers. Users can also ‘try on’ a wide variety of trendy/celebrity hairstyles to achieve fresh, new looks.

"Makeover Magic is an innovative tool that offers the visitor a rich user experience and virtually connects her to the ESSENCE beauty and fashion editors. The makeover tool is modern, creative and empowering just like the brand. Building confidence and self awareness through technology is just another way is bringing its audience into the future," says Managing Editor, Emil Wilbekin in the recent WSJ piece detailing the collaboration.

Editor's Picks for Fathers Day

Crabtree & Evelyn, an expert in naturally based formulas for over 35 years, won my heart several months ago with their new launches which emphasize their dedication to green products. The "Naturals" line is comprised of eclectic blends of botanical extracts, botanical oils, and mineral complexes but free of parabens, mineral oil, colourants, sodium lauryl sulfate, or propylene glycol. Just in time for Fathers Day, Naturals Solutions for Men Daily Face Shield with SPF 15 is on sale for only $10. I can not tell you the last time I saw women's natural moisturizer with SPF 15 for under $20.

The new Father’s Day gift sets from Every Man Jack – a line of naturally-derived grooming products that are available at Target – include the Signature Shave Kit in Mint and Citrus Hair + Body Kit. Both are retailing at Target and At just $9.99 budget-minded dads will receive them with great pleasure.

Anne Hathaway in Lancôme for the Tony Awards

Our lovely Lancome friends just sent us the scoop on Anne Hathaway's makeup (and dress - a strapless Oscar de la Renta) at the Toni awards!

Celebrity makeup artist Julie Harris created the look for Anne Hathaway at the 63rd Annual Tony Awards in New York City last night. Julie applied Lancôme Modèle Sourcils in Naturel to shape and define her brows. She then applied Lancôme Artliner in Noir to her upper lash line. To make Anne’s eyes pop, Julie coated her lashes with Lancôme Hypnôse mascara to give her lashes extra volume and finish the look. She does look Magnifique.

Steal Her Look: 2009 Tony Award Winner Marcia Gay Harden

Remember last year when I tried to spray tan and ended up looking like a jaundiced zebra? Probably I should have taken a beauty tip from this 2009 Tony Award Winner (and mother of two) who opted for organic, paraben-free self tanning. 2009's Best Actress in a Play, Marcia Gay Harden elected every earth-muffin's summertime BFF, Fake Bake® and had Eve Pearl Salon in NYC spray it on for her this past weekend. What do you think? Would you go for this organic, paraben-free baking?

Kiehl's Superbly Restorative Argan Body Cleansing Oil is In Fact Superbly Restorative

The latest installment of Kiehl's 100% organic, fairly traded Moroccan Argan Oil series is this brilliant Body Cleansing Oil. Not being of French descent, the words "cleansing" and "oil" when used in combination puzzle me. Still, this particular oil transforms into a milky, heavenly-scented cleanser that left my skin feeling clean, healthy and as soft as it's been since its (much) younger years.

Kiehl's 100% post consumer recycled packaging houses oils of Sweet Orange, Patchouli, Eucalyptus, and Cedarwood - all rich in antioxidants, poly-unsaturated fatty acids, including Tocopherols (Vitamin E), and Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids, which cleanse the skin without stripping its essential lipids.

8 oz., $27.50 Enjoy!

Joyeux Anniversaire L'Oreal!

Today is L’Oréal Paris’ 100th Anniversary! In honor of this major milestone they are celebrating all month long with fabulous deals!

The products will be available at your local drugstores and you can enter the anniversary sweepstakes online at For the sweepstakes, L’Oréal Paris is giving away prizes for 100 days including a grand prize of a makeover in Paris!!

True Match Super-Blendable makeup collection $5.99 (reg. $13.95) EverPure haircare collection $5.99 (reg. $6.99) Revitalift skincare collection $9.99 (reg. $19.99) Voluminous Volume Building Mascara $4.99 (reg. $7.95) Colour Riche Lipcolour $4.99 (reg. $8.50) Excellence Haircolor $5.99 (reg. $8.99)
Skip the Spa and Pamper Yourself at Home

Find out how you can get professional-level results at home

Skip the Spa and Pamper Yourself at Home

Who has the money or the time to head to the spa or beauty salon these days? Not us. That's why we searched around for gadgets and products that would give us spa-worthy results at home. Check them out and be on your way to clearer, smoother skin, glossy hair and more, without making a huge dent in your bank account.

See products

The Same Questions I Ask Everyone...With Metta Murdaya of Juara Skincare

In early 2008 I found my skincare soulmate in Metta Murdaya's Indonesian botanical based line, Juara. Indonesian-born but US educated, Murdaya combined the principles and ingredients of her island archipelago home with the most stringent standards of spa skincare found in her earth-forward (adopted) hometown, San Francisco. The nascent line's resulting brilliance, even in its infancy, earned it coveted space on the shelves of Bendel's and Bliss. After sitting down for a cup of coffee in Soho with Metta last fall, I left certain that this powerhouse would continue to contribute to the skincare world for a long long time. Thus there is no woman better suited to be our inaugural guest for this the first installment of "The Same Questions I ask Everybody."

What is your first memory of beauty products?
-My first memory is from when I could first walk. I would watch my mother ‘put on her face’ meticulously in Indonesia EVERY morning. I recall how much time she took to do her makeup – and how much time she spent not only putting on the color, but also the ‘prep,’ the moisturizer, sunblock, all sorts of things I didn’t recognize at the time. I remember my dad saying “It’ll be another hour and half until your mom is done…” and I would think, “Wow, will I have to do that too when I’m older? Then I don’t want to grow up!” Haha.

At what age did you start wearing makeup?
-While growing up I have always gone light-to-no makeup. As an adolescent with oily skin prone to breakouts, I was more concerned about ‘not clogging pores’ and keeping acne breakouts under control. I was a bit of a tomboy all through the first half of high school in San Francisco, where ‘au natural’ was the preferred look, however, I did start flirting with lipstick around 6th grade… Believe it or not, only last year did I start wearing foundation. Being in front of TVs and cameras really very quickly gets you adjusted to makeup.

If you could apply only one product for the next month what would it be?
-So tough! I would choose either sunblock or a moisturizer. But probably a sunblock – since I know there are some sunblocks with good emmolient, moisturizing properties, (sufficient for my skin anyway…) and the key to preventative maintenance against aging is sunblock – those UVA/B rays are real killers! But after 31 days, you'll see me running for my moisturizer and toner!

If you could give one product to all women in the world what would it be?
-I have to say JUARA’s Tamarind Tea Hyrdating Toner. I’m not saying this just because it’s a product in my line, but because we created that product based on a need I didn’t see any other product out there fulfilling. It’s a dehydration buster with antioxidant properties. And we know dehydration in ALL skin types (not just dryness) is one of the leading causes of aging. It will single-handedly quench your thirsty skin and make your skin softer and more hydrated (with no oil) but with a chock full of hyaluronic acid and tamarind seed extract. And it makes whatever moisturizer you put on after work better. (So you can use less of it, and go easy on your jar of Crème de La Mer.) Also, if you want a hydrated but not heavy/greasy skin this is your product. It’s packed with tea antioxidants, but fragrance free, paraben-free. We keep the ingredient list pretty tight. In the summer, I actually forgo the moisturizer and just use the toner (which oily skinned people can do,) since my skin produces enough oil anyway…No cotton ball needed either, wouldn’t want to waste the precious liquid on a ball, and at a rocking $27, it lasts sooooo long…

If you could ban one harmful ingredient from all beauty products what would it be?
-If I had to choose one harmful ingredient - harsh detergents and scrubs should be banned. Our skin is a gentle organ that needs to be nurtured and taken care of. It’s a myth that we have to really scrub or wash our faces until it become squeaky clean in order for it to be REALLY clean. This feeling of “needs to be squeaky clean” may come from childhood, when us oily teens were told to wash with bar soap and we got used to what that felt like, but that’s not a good benchmark. There are plenty of gentle surfactants that can cleanse thoroughly but not irritate or strip the skin – which can cause or aggravate redness and irritation. It’s misleading – I have gotten many a phone call or email from people who think they have “weird, schizo skin” that is red, dry but greasy, irritated, and need to know what moisturizer or mask to use. My first question is: What do you use as a cleanse? It’s important to be kind to your skin in the first step of your cleansing/skincare routine. If you mistreat your skin at Step 1, you’ll be taking step 2 and 3 to undo that damage, instead of really improving your skin.

What is your favorite skincare ingredient?
-In sunblocks, I LOVE mexoryl. UVA protection that’s less photosensitive and won’t turn my skin white. Other skincare ingredients – I’m a huge fan of Kombucha/Fermented Sweet Black Tea and Hyaluronic Acid. Kombucha is a natural, preventative anti-aging ingredient, not harsh but effective, and hyaluronic acid is just so clean and hydrating.

What is the last product you created?
-In March, we launched the Sweet Black Tea & Ginger Mattefying Moisturizer. It’s an oil-free moisturizer (for combo to oily skin), a counterpart to our existing and popular Sweet Black Tea & Rice Facial Moisturizer (for dry to combo skin.) It contains Ginger and Cinnamon, which are good natural oil-control ingredients, with Sweet Black Tea (Fermented Sweet Black Tea, actually,) which has anti-aging properties. A moisturizer that’s BOTH anti-aging AND has oil-control, is fragrance free, paraben free and works great under makeup, it’s being received quite well!

Who is the business woman you most admire?
-One of my role models is Anita Roddick – the founder of Body Shop. Beauty products inspired by natural ingredients are more commonplace today, but back when the Body Shop was founded decades ago, I think her model to create a natural based line which contributed back to the communities from which she got her ingredients from was amazing. I think she really institutionalized the concept of “Giving Back” in beauty and also managed to make the line large and successful – which shows you can be a business woman and make great contributions to society at the same time and be very successful at both.

Whose beauty do you most admire?
-I don’t have a specific person in mind. I see beauty as an inside-out concept – if you’re passionate about life, what you’re doing, and really care about the people around you, that energy really translates – and I do believe it translates into your skin. Women who are healthy (take care of what they eat and exercise,) try to live life to the fullest and share laughter with friends – I’m convinced there’s something internal (lower stress factor? A happiness glow?) that just radiates to the outside. That’s the kind of beauty I admire, because it’s natural. It will exude no matter how much or little sleep you’ve had.

What was your best Spa experience?
-My best spa experience has been in Bali, hands down. It’s hard to beat a multiple hour treatment that starts with a delicious massage, followed by a body scrub, then a FANTASTIC yogurt rub, and a warm floral bath with rose petals and magnolias floating all around you, while you’re also sipping a traditional ginger/spice filled sweet herbal tea. One of the locations I received this treatment at was on a mountainside where I could hear the waterfall on the other side of the mountain, and the view from the outdoor floral bath was of the mountains as far up, down, right, and left as the eye can see… The other one was a similar treatment, but by the beach so I could hear the ocean waves as the warm beach air brushed by my body. (Tugu Hotel, Bali)

Besides your own, what is your favorite brand?
-It depends on the product. I love products that don’t make me feel like I have goop on my face or threatens to aggravate my skin or drown it in perfume.
Sunblock: I LOVE La Roche Posay. It’s just so gentle and elegant feeling on the skin.
Moisturizer: Avene/Vichy: Also good for sensitive skin (love!!) has a nice, light smell and isn’t overwhelmingly greasy. It absorbs quite well.
Cleanser: So hard – I really do love our JUARA Rice Facial Cleanser. But as backup, Rice Force, a line in Japan works great too.
Body products: Scrubs and stuff – 100% Pure is just pure healthy decadence.
Hair: (Though we don’t have hair products…) Pureology is my latest favorite. I have long, black, coarse hair – it moisturizes it and gives it body with no frizz, and brings out the natural waves.

Thank you Metta for sharing your incredible skincare knowledge and of course the Tugu Hotel treatment recommendation. I didn't start wearing makeup or foundation until I was 26. I love hearing that someone else has fallen as hard and as fast as I have for all the truly effective and environmentally friendly products now on the market.

Beauty's SPOT in International Cosmetic News Magazine

A few months ago we had the privilege of being interviewed by Ms. Sophie Douez of International Cosmetic News Magazine. With coresspondents on every continent, ICN is the industry's premiere publication, acting as the beauty bible for buyers, execs and estheticians alike. Today the June/July installment arrived with a skillfully written piece on the top bloggers in the beauty biz. We are delighted to be featured along with our good friends at Makeupbag, A Mom in Red High Heels, Total Beauty, Elke VonFreudenberg, and Bois de Jasmin. Read the full article!