Product Review…Tara Smith

For all your beauty advice…

I love being introduced to new products! Not too long ago, I wrote about a casting call that was being held in NYC for celebrity hair stylist Tara’s Smith’s line of hair products. And, not too long after that, I was able to start using hair products by Tara Smith. I’ll admit, before I was notified about the casting call, I had never heard of Tara Smith before. It always seems so unfair that the people who do the work to turn the celebrities into glamazons never get the proper credit. But, Tara’s resume is pretty impressive! She has worked with some big names like: Demi Moore, Rosario Dawson, Neve Campbell, Lucy Liu, Patricia Arquette, Adrienne Grenier, Sting and Matthew McConaughey, to name a few. (Mmmm…Matthew McConaughey…lucky girl!) And, Tara’s products proudly advertise that they are tested on film stars, not on animals.

Before I get into what I thought about the quality of the products, I think it’s important to touch on that fact that all of Tara’s products are natural and organic. Tara believes that hair is a plant that needs to be fed, and she created a product line based on that. From one stylist to another, bravo, Tara! I have always tried to educate people on the importance of nourishing the hair and feeding the scalp, I just never had the opportunity to develop my own hair care line. The products are vegan approved, free from parabens, phthalates, glycols, etc., and they smell fabulous. As important as it is to keep things Green for our environment, I am a consumer who believes you can have the best of all worlds, so it should smell great, too…and it does. Here are the products I tried and my thoughts on them.

Feed The Root Shampoo. The main focus of this shampoo is to nourish dry hair and stimulate the scalp. Immediately, I loved two things about this product. #1. the scent. Wow!! The main scent you get from this shampoo is peppermint, but it also contains patchouli, cedar and a small amount of aniseed. The blend of these essential oils smells so good. #2, the fact that even though it doesn’t contain Sodium Laureth Sulphate, it still lathers up nice. That’s important to me. Any time I’ve tried an all natural shampoo, I’ve always been disappointed with the fact that few suds appear when I shampoo. Be assured, if you try this product, you will get suds! (yippee!)

Feed The Root Conditioner.  Carrying the same scent as the shampoo, Feed The Root Conditioner includes avocado and olive oil, to moisturize the hair and add shine. It also contains Marine Algae to help strengthen the hair and repair damage. Both the shampoo, and the conditioner leave your scalp feeling tingly. It’s great to use first thing in the morning because the tingle helps wake you up!

Base Coat Serum.  I would like to know where this product has been my entire life? Amazing! You apply this product like you do most styling products: to damp hair. Then, you style as you normally do, or let it air dry to allow your hair’s natural shape to come through. I tried both…I used a blow dryer to style my hair, and then another day, I let it dry naturally. When I styled with the blow dryer and my round brush, I was impressed with how easy it was to style. The brush seemed to slide through my hair and there was a lot of shine. I usually avoid doing the whole round brush routine, because of how long it takes. This product made it easy to style and my hair felt great. I have wavy hair that borders on curly…in a dry climate, this means frizzy. When I let my hair air dry with this serum, I actually saw ringlets in my hair…something I usually have to travel to Florida to obtain! Not that I would rule out a vacation to the East coast, but this is a little more affordable than a vacation right now! When my Base Coat Serum is gone, I am going to freak out! Or buy more, since this line won’t break the bank.

So, where to find Tara Smith Hair Care Range products? Check it out online at tarasmith.com or, if you are in NYC, you can pick it up at Duane Reade stores.  I know some of you may not want to shop online, but take my word for it…you won’t regret it! As soon as I hear more information on this line, and where it’s available in the U.S., I will update you, because you all need to have it!

Have you tried it yet? If so, what do you think? I look forward to your response!

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday to brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

The Beauty Of A Beauty Mark

For all your beauty advice…

Marilyn Monroe had one…Madonna had one…Cindy Crawford’s put her in the spotlight. No, I’m not talking about an illicit affair with a Kennedy, I’m talking about a beauty mark. You can’t think of glamorous blondes, or Cosmopolitan magazine covers without thinking of these three stars…and that’s just to name a few. They made moles look beautiful. I know that sounds unattractive, but really, that’s what they are. I think someone decided to be Politically Correct a long time ago and deem a facial mole a beauty mark. But, a beauty mark it is; it’s amazing how it’s the perfect touch to an already perfect face. Or are they perfect? Would Marilyn Monroe have been as intriguing without one? Would Cindy Crawford’s career have taken off the way it did if she had the beauty mark removed? Would Madonna have been able to emulate Marilyn? I would have to say no.

Some people are born with them, some people have them tattooed on their faces. I’ve even known people who change the location of their beauty mark depending on the location of a pimple that week. Some people have even gotten their face pierced in the spot that Marilyn had her beauty mark, and the piercing is referred to as a “Monroe”. I personally think the facial piercing thing is taking it too far…it’s just not for me. But, to each his own. I think a beauty mark can look beautiful drawn on, if it’s done right.

So, if you’re making the decision to add a beauty mark to your look to complete your glamorous face, what’s the best way to do it? Well, you could take the very easy way out and get a stick-on beauty mark. Not kidding! I stumbled across a website called hottiedots.com, and they claim that adding a beauty mark can be as easy as peeling the backing off, and sticking the beauty mark where you want it. Do you want it on your cheek, like Marilyn? Do you want to enhance your lips, like Cindy Crawford? Maybe you want to make your eyebrow arch look a little evil a-la-Angelina. You decide. But, you don’t have to buy the perfect beauty mark in a sticker form. You can create one of your own with a few simple steps. 

Apply your beauty mark where you want it, with a waterproof eye liner pencil. You can choose basic black, but if your skin is on the fair side, choose brown. Make this one of your last steps in your makeup routine. It will adhere better if you’re wearing foundation, and of course, foundation primer. Let the beauty mark set for a minute or two, and then as a final step, set it with powder and your look is complete. Just be careful not to touch your face while you have it on.

Adding a beauty mark can be a fun way to spice up your makeup, add a little extra something to a costume, and it can be a great way to hide a pimple. For those of you who were born with one, embrace it and understand how unique and beautiful it makes you. There are times I wish I had one!

So, what do you think of beauty marks? Do you have one…do you like to draw them on for a different look? Have you tried hottiedots? I look forward to your answers.

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday to brookeknowsbeauty@htomail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

Q&A Monday

For all your beauty advice…

Good Morning, and Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I want to know why the weekend goes so fast, but the work week can feel like a month?? If only we were all independently wealthy, right? Read on about what highlights to choose for dark hair, wedding makeup choices, and some tween skin tips.

Dear Brooke, I’ve just decided to get my hair highlighted next week. It’s been about 2 years since I’ve last done this, so I was wondering if you can give me some ideas on some fabulous fall colors to add to my mane? My natural color is black if that helps. Thanks as always for the great articles! I always look forward to them. ~Kim A.
Dear Kim, Thanks for the compliment! Ok, if you’ve been going to same stylist for years, they’ll know what colors to use. My rule of thumb, when going lighter, is to only go 2 shades lighter than your natural color, but that’s typically for all over color. You can go much lighter since you’re doing highlights. If your hair tends to hold on to red colors, I would avoid using anything with a gold base…you want to use neutrals only to avoid brassy-ness. Since your hair is so dark, I would choose 2 colors…one light brown, and one light blonde. Using 2 colors will give your hair more dimension and make it look more natural and soften up the contrast between blonde and black. Hope that helps…it can be kind of hard explaining hair color to people without using stylist lingo!! Let me know how you like it!
 
Dear Brooke, I am getting married in less than two weeks and I have no plans for my eye makeup…it’s sad, sad news! I need to figure it out…I sweat a lot…part Italian, part nerves. What looks can you suggest, and will they stay on all day? I wish I could fly you out so you could talk me through the day! Angelia S.
Dear Angelia, I would love to fly out and keep you calm and beautiful for your big day, but I know you’ll do great! Too Faced Cosmetics has two great palettes that I think are great for brides! The Natural Eye and The Naked Eye palettes are so pretty and you can create tons of different looks with them, from natural to dramatic. They come with tutorial cards so you won’t be lost when it comes to applying the makeup. Their Shadow Insurance Primer is also amazing and makes your eyeshadow stay put ALL DAY! I use it every day and I love it. Good luck, and congratulations!!
 
Dear Brooke, What facial cleanser and/or skin care do you recommend for pre-teens?  My sons are 11 and already showing some signs of break-outs and zits, and I want to nip this problem in the bud.  I currently have them washing their faces with a “Clearasil Cleanser” from Wal-Mart or Target. What about adding a toner and does an astringent like Sea Breeze work?  I remember the days of Noxzema and Sea Breeze as a young teen in the 80’s… I’m sure there are much better products out there now!   I don’t want to spend a lot of money on Boy Skin Care, but also don’t want them to battle acne as they grow more into the teen years.  Thanks, Jera D
Dear Jera, I can understand what you are going through, my eleven-year-old daughter is battling breakouts right now. Boys can use a lot of the same products girls are using at this age. Gel cleansers foam the best and help break down dirt and oil; you could also get them those pre-soaked pads by Clearasil, or Clean and Clear, to use as a second step. A toner will give you good results, but the pre-soaked pads seem to be the most convenient for tweens. Then, have them use a light moisturizer that has SPF in it. The reason for that is, they need that protection because of the ingredients that are typically found in the pads. They still need moisture at night, so find a light moisturizer that doesn’t have SPF in it for night. The best thing to try that’s not going to break the bank is, Neutrogena. You can find it anywhere, and they have a 3 step system that’s a lot like Pro Active, but more affordable. Stay away from Pro Active…it’s too harsh for young skin…it does work, but I wouldn’t recommend it for young skin just being introduced to skin care.
 
Thanks again for the great questions, keep them coming! Email me your questions for Q&A Monday to brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com
You’ve Been Beautified!

Get Bronzed And Beautiful!

For all your beauty advice…

Summer is officially over. I am sure a lot of you got a great tan and hate to see the color fade away. You can still keep your sun-kissed look, and appear to live in a world where it’s always hot, and you’ve always got a glow. No, I’m not talking about self-tanning, or tanning beds, I’m talking about using bronzer to keep your skin looking like you’ve been in the sun.

It took me awhile to get used to using bronzer. I have an olive tone to my skin and keep a decent color year-round. I always thought it would look too orange on me if I used a bronzer…really, I thought it would look too orange on anyone to use a bronzer, but if you find the right one, it can be subtle and beautiful. So, I thought I would share with you my favorite bronzers.

1. Warm Bronze Mineral Powder by Laura Mercier.

This is a loose bronzer that has a great color to it…not too dark and not too light. I think this is a very flattering bronzer for all skin tones. Use it as a blush, or use it on the areas on your face where the sun naturally hits to give your skin some color…top of the forehead, down the nose, and along the cheeks. This is such a generous size product, and it seems like bronzers in loose powder form last forever.

2. Warmth by Bare Minerals.

Another loose mineral bronzer, Warmth is a very popular product from the Bare Escentuals line. If you use the Bare Minerals makeup, Warmth is a great finishing product to use. You apply it very lightly to your cheeks, or mix it in with your Bare Minerals foundation for an all-over glow.

3. MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Comfort.

I love this bronzer so much, I use it almost every day. It’s a swirl of light and medium shade bronze colors that make your skin look like it’s glowing on the inside. What attracted me to this shade of bronzer was the ad campaign showing how it literally makes you look like you have a candle under your skin. Love it! It’s soft on your skin, and I love how it’s high in pigment, so you don’t have to apply a ton of product to get the desired effect. This one is a limited edition by MAC, so get it while you can! (If it’s already gone, my apologies…but it’s awesome, so good for me!)

4. One Hot Minute by Benefit.

Products from Benefit always have such catchy names. What’s so great is, even though they’re packaged very cute and the names make you laugh, the product is excellent and I love so many of their cosmetics. One Hot Minute is also a loose bronzer in a rose gold shade, and it comes with a really cute brush that looks like a fan to give you the best application. It’s not too shimmery, and it gives you a natural glow. Another one that’s going to last forever because it’s in loose form.

5. Pink Leopard Bronzer by Too Faced.

This is my new favorite bronzer! It’s been out for a while, but I just recently got my hands on it. It’s two different shades of bronzer with some pink thrown in the mix to really brighten up your look. It’s packaged very cute and the three colors are mixed together to resemble leopard spots, so it’s also a very fun product to use. Not just fun, but the great for highlighting and bronzing your face. The packaging will certainly catch your eye, and the results you will get are amazing.

So, those are my favorite bronzers. What about you, what are your favorites to use?

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday to brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

Walgreens…The Poor Man’s Sephora

For all your beauty advice…

I know so many people who have been hit financially with the economy recently. Most women I know refuse to give up their cosmetics, so this industry is still alive and kicking. But, even though we know we love our skin care, makeup, and fragrance, a lot of us have had to open our minds and start trying more affordable products. Enter Walgreens…what I now refer to as, The Poor Man’s Sephora.

You can get all the same stuff you have been buying at Sephora, or other specialty stores, at Walgreens…it’s just going to have a different name, and most important, a lower price. There is a Walgreens that just opened close to my house. A new store means an organized beauty department. Usually, I don’t look at makeup at places like Target, and especially Wal Mart, because it’s dirty and nothing has been restocked. I don’t know if it’s because the Walgreens is new, or if they are stepping it up to compete with others, but the Walgreens beauty department by my house has me hooked. You can find the latest in skin care, nail polish, makeup, skin care, hair care, body lotion…you name it. It’s all right there within your reach, not to mention your budget. Oh, and they actually have a person working there to answer your questions!

Even better? Something is always on sale! Seriously, when was the last time you went to Sephora to buy a lipstick from YSL and they told you it was buy one get one half off? Um, never! It doesn’t happen at places like that, because it doesn’t have to happen. Those luxury brands never go on sale…even when a color is being discontinued, it doesn’t go on sale, it just goes back to the company.

When one of my readers suggested I start doing Beauty On A Budget, I found myself at Walgreens and I found so many great finds. Wet N Wild has some great products, and most of them are only $1! L’oreal lipstick and gloss on sale for $5, Cover Girl Cosmetics were Buy One Get One 50% off. Neutrogena skin care on sale, Dove so cheap it’s a steal, Yes To Carrots at an affordable price, Burt’s Bees…Wow! I couldn’t believe how many lines they carried and how good the deals were. Not to mention their own bath line, Details (love it, by the way!). It got me thinking, if you’re on a budget, who needs Sephora? No, you won’t see the luxury lines, or have the makeup artists there to help you with colors, but you do have some great products available to you at excellent prices. And, there’s something to be said about being able to shop without 50 people in the store greeting you and asking you what you came in for today. You may get greeted by one or two people, but for the most part, you’re left alone and that can be such a blessing…especially after a long day of work!

If you compare the ingredients with department store products and drugstore products, a lot of it is the same. There are some products from specialty/department stores that I think nothing can replace, but perusing Walgreens lately has really opened my eyes to some great finds. Not to mention, it’s a lot easier on the wallet! Bad economy, or not, I refuse to give up my addiction to all things beauty, and now I don’t have to! So, let’s get coffee and then go to Walgreens!!

What do you think of Walgreens? Have you found some amazing products and deals there? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday to brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

Beauty On A Budget…L’Oreal Colour Riche

For all your beauty advice…

Ok, I’ve said it before in the past, and I’ll say it again. I can be a bit of a makeup snob. I tend to gravitate towards brand names that break the bank. I love lipstick by MAC, Laura Mercier, Lauder, Lancome, Stila, Tarina Tarantino…even Mary Kay. Funny how I’m willing to spend $15 and more for a lipstick if it comes from a department, or specialty store, but I refuse to spend more than $5 when it comes from the drugstore. Well, I guess I was in luck when I discovered L’Oreal Colour Riche on sale at Walgreens recently for only $5.

I’ve always been a fan of L’Oreal, but I have noticed in the last few years, they have really hiked up their prices. Why would I spend $9, or more, on a lipstick that’s available at a drugstore?? (Snob-alert, I know!) I admit I have an addiction to makeup, so when I sniff out a sale, I stock up! I found the Colour Riche line of lipsticks AND lip glosses on sale…I hit the Mother lode!

I bought 4 items that were on sale for $5 each…just over $20, with tax, for 2 lipsticks and 2 glosses, you can’t beat that! The funny thing is, they’re so close in color, but I seriously couldn’t choose! Let’s see a show of hands…how many of you have 100 lipsticks that are all pretty much the same shade, just slight variations in color? I know I do, so admit it, you do too! I always lean toward neutral browns, and that’s what I got! The products are classified by number, more than they are by name. I got 2 lipsticks #810, and #825. The glosses I got were #’s 820 & 830. I noticed a pattern that I stayed in the 800’s. By the way, the lipsticks do have names: #810 is called Sandstone and #825 is called Bronzine, but the glosses are only numbers. Sandstone is gold/brown/nude that looks like anyone can wear it, and Bronzine is a raisin-y brown that is pretty much the perfect brown for me…they should have named it after me!

The first thing I noticed about the lipstick was the scent. I can’t quite describe it, and I can’t decide if I love it, or hate it. I know some people think the scent is amazing, and it’s what they associate with L’Oreal. Can someone please tell me what it is?? It’s pretty strong, and I lean towards not liking the scent. But, I know L’Oreal stands the test of time, because they’ve been around forever. The next thing I noticed was how smooth the lipstick felt when I applied it. It was very nice and felt like it was the consistency of lip balm, but added some great color to my lips.

I love topping lipstick with gloss, so of course that came next. The Colour Riche gloss is very light in texture, but true to the color you see in the package. It isn’t sticky, and it doesn’t have the same scent as the lipstick, so I got over the fragrance factor pretty fast. The combination of layering this gloss over this lipstick is flawless. I am in love!

So, how did it do with lasting all day? Amazing! I have to say, I was really impressed with the staying power in Colour Riche. I talk a lot throughout my day…yes, I work with people and I have to communicate with them, but beyond that, I’m just really chatty. Talking all day, drinking water to wet the throat because of said talking, can wreak havoc on even the best lipstick, but this stuff stays put and keeps your lips feeling hydrated. I am really happy I found this on such a great sale, because if I hadn’t, I may never have tried it. Now that I’ve tried it, I will be ok with spending about $9 on this lipstick and gloss, because I know it works great. Aren’t sales wonderful??

What about you? Have you used this brand of lipstick and gloss? If so, what are your thoughts? Do you have ANY idea what the scent is in the lipstick? I would have to say, that’s the only downside of this product, but I was able to look past it and recognize a quality lipstick. I look forward to your response, as always!

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday to brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

Q&A Monday

For all your beauty advice…

Good morning, and Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Fall is in the air, and the season is changing. This is my favorite time of year! As always, I had some great questions this week. Read on about keeping your cuticles healthy and how to keep them from tearing and bleeding, heat and velcro rollers, and the best primer for mineral foundation.

How much heat can velcro rollers withstand? I am thinking about trying a dryer cap that hooks up to your hair dryer on my head with velcro rollers… will they melt to my hair? What will happen? I would use a lower heat setting. I am planning to curl my hair for a pageant and using a hair piece so I only need to style the top and sides of my own hair. I use a curling iron on the hair piece. Sandy D.

Dear Sandy, Great question! Velcro rollers can stand up to pretty high heat under the dryer. I’ve never seen one melt before, so you’re safe to put it on a high setting. If you’re concerned, put the heat on a medium setting and before you take the dryer cap off, change the setting to cool. This will help set the style. Also, the best way to style your hair after you use velcro rollers is with your fingers instead of a brush. It helps keep the volume in your hair. Sometimes I use a large comb, if there are spots that have a few tangles. Good luck in the pageant!

Dear Brooke, every time I use those little cuticle cutters I end up bleeding! Any good ideas to trim cuticles without drawing blood??? Thanks!!!! Melissa F.

Dear Melissa, Working with cuticle nippers can be tricky. One little slip of the hand, and you’ve cut yourself! Not only does it hurt like crazy, it seems like those little cuts take forever to heal. If you’re not experienced in the art of using nippers, try using a cuticle removing gel. Apply the gel to your cuticles, and use a cuticle pusher to rub it in and push back your cuticles at the same time. Let the gel sit for a few minutes to get the best results, and then rinse the cuticle remover off. A second step I like to take when I use cuticle remover is, when you go to rinse, use a scrub on your hands. Scrubs like, One Minute Manicure are great because they have sugar or salt in them to exfoliate your skin and oil in them for softness and hydration. If you use a scrub, concentrate on gently scrubbing the cuticle area. This will give you the best results.

Dear Brooke, I use mineral makeup religiously. I was wondering if you suggest a certain primer that works best with this type of foundation? Jennifer G.

Dear Jennifer, I also use mineral makeup and I love it! It took me awhile to find the best foundation primer to use with mineral foundation, but I have come across two that I think you will love. Primed and Poreless by Too Faced and The Porefessional by Benefit have become my go-to primers when it comes to using mineral makeup. I used to think a foundation primer was just one more step that I didn’t need, but I’ve noticed a big difference with these two! They both have the same consistency and they’re both around $30. They really help minimize the pores on your face, and create a smooth surface so your mineral foundation doesn’t sink into pores, fine lines, or wrinkles. A little goes a very long way with these products, so the price isn’t too painful when you think about how long it will last. After you apply the primer, let it set/dry for a minute before applying your foundation for the best results. Let me know if you try one!

As always, thanks for the great questions this week…keep them coming! Email me your questions for Q&A Monday to brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

Makeup Remover Reviews

For all your beauty advice…

It’s the end of the day, you’re tired, you want to go to bed…the last thing you want to do is take off your makeup, but you know it must be done. Since getting someone to take off your makeup, and wash your face for you isn’t an option, you need a makeup remover that is going to work fast and efficiently. No one needs the annoyance of using a product that doesn’t get the job done. A good makeup remover is going to dissolve your makeup and wipe off easily without leaving residue behind. So which ones are the best and which one should you stay away from?

I’ve used many makeup removers since I started wearing makeup. How many of us removed our teenage makeup with Pond’s Cold Cream, Mary Kay Extra Emollient Night Cream, or (Heaven forbid) Vaseline? Most of the makeup remover I use on a regular basis looks like oil and water…you have to shake it up to mix it together and use it before it separates. But, there are a few options out there to try.

A makeup remover that is a good multitasker, because it’s also a cleanser is Purity Made Simple by Philosophy. This is a great one-step product. No need to use any other kind of makeup remover, because this gentle cleanser is not only going to melt away your makeup, it’s also going to get your skin very clean. It’s great for all skin types and really does a good job removing face makeup, and eye makeup.

Makeup remover wipes are all the rage right now. I think they are great for travel and they are great for middle of the day touch-ups, but they’re not my favorite to remove makeup. That’s not to say they aren’t a great product, I’m just saying that I prefer not to use them. They’re convenient, in a pinch, but I’ve always found that when I remove eye makeup with wipes, the product on the wipe tends to irritate my eyes and make them water. Some I’ve tried are, Olay Cleansing Cloths, Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes, and whatever generic brand I can find at the store, to save a little money. One I haven’t tried, but I really want to is Purity Made Simple cleansing cloths. Yes, the first product I mentioned in this article is now in the form of a wipe. I haven’t tried it yet, but I want to and I will report back!

Probably the most popular, and my favorite by far, makeup remover is the stuff that comes in the bottle and looks like oil and water so you have to shake it to mix it together. I have used eye makeup remover in this form for years. I rely on my cleanser (and my Clarisonic!) to get my face makeup off. Some makeup removers in this form have been too greasy, some have been not greasy enough, and some have been just right for me! Two of my all-time favorite eye makeup removers are the Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover by Mary Kay and the Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover by Neutrogena. Both of these are great at getting my eye makeup completely off and not leaving any sticky, or oily, residue left behind. Honestly, a lot of times I’ll grab the generic brand that’s always placed right next to the Neutrogena remover, because it’s pretty much the same thing, but about $3 cheaper!

What do you use to remove your makeup when your day is done? What are your favorite brands?

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday to brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

5 Fragrances I Can’t Live Without

For all your beauty advice…

In a follow-up to yesterday’s article, it been has been requested that I now share with you the 5 fragrances I love, since I told you the 5 I can’t stand! I’ve always loved perfume, and scented lotions, so picking only 5 is a bit of a challenge for me. I can choose 5, but just know there are many, many more fragrances out there that I absolutely love…not just these.

1. Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker.

I don’t usually jump on the celebrity bandwagon when it comes to fragrance, and I tried to resist this one forever because, at the time I was not a fan of SJP. But then I read about it and how it was inspired by her love of layering fragrances and I started paying attention. I love to layer different scents and make my own signature scent! Some of the notes in the fragrance include lavender, musk and amber…three of my favorites. I adore this scent and I get the most compliments when I wear it…in a word, it lives up to its name…it’s simply Lovely.

2. Tuscan Blood Orange by Pacifica.

No surprise that I can’t live without a scent from Pacifica! This is one of their top-sellers and it smells so good, I can’t even begin to explain how yummy it truly is! It’s warm, fruity, and bright all at the same time. I’m not usually a fan of fruity fragrance, but this one warms up on your skin and smells very subtle and very sexy all day long. Love it! I wish they would make a candy out of it because it’s one of those scents that you can almost taste.

3. Must de Cartier by Cartier.

Dear Husband of mine…Please, Please, Please buy me this for Christmas…or just because it’s Wednesday! This fragrance may surprise some people that it’s one of my favorites, because it’s rather heavy. It’s an Oriental, musky scent that you smell in the bottle and wonder why anyone might like it. But, the first time I tried it on and it blended in (perfectly, I might add) with my body’s chemistry…I was hooked! Classy packaging and from Cartier mean small investment, but it’s worth it, I love it so much! A co-worker of mine once gave this to me as a gift years ago, and I still have about one spray left in it. It hasn’t gone bad, but I’m saving that last spritz for the Oscars…or something else just as fabulous!

4. Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…roll your eyes all you want, but I say old classics never die! This cologne came on the scene when I was about 16 years old, and no cologne since then has literally made me weak in the knees. What is it about this scent? Some people think it’s too heavy, some people think it’s too out-dated…I think it’s fabulous and every man should wear it. Wait! No!! I have to take that back if I just claimed that it makes me weak in the knees…only my husband should wear it. Something about the notes in this scent make me feel like I’m on a cloud. True story…once I was mad at my husband for something, and he left the room for a few minutes. When he came back, he was wearing this (yes, he left the room and sprayed some on, hoping for this effect) and I forgot what I was mad about.

5. Lola by Marc Jacobs.

This is my favorite new scent! The bottle alone is beautiful, but the fragrance is just as pretty. Lola (not just a girl from the Copacabana!) won more fragrance awards in 2009 than any other debut fragrance. It’s wildly popular, and I see why…or I smell why! It’s a pretty mix of floral and warmth and it’s going to be around a long time. I know this scent will be a classic for many years to come!

Well, those are 5 of my favorites. Like I said, I have many more I love, I just can’t name them all. What are your top 5 fragrances you can’t live without? What do you think of my top 5? Can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday at brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!

5 Fragrances I Can’t Stand

For all your beauty advice…

I don’t usually like to single out an item, or items, and give them a bad review…I generally like to write about what I like and what I think are the best products out there. But, someone recently asked me what I don’t like. They commented that everyone knows what I think is great, but what about what I think is not-so-great? Specifically, they wanted to know what perfumes/cologne I absolutely couldn’t stand. Ok, let me just preface this by saying, I don’t feel good about doing this…but what must be done, must be done. Here are the top 5 fragrances I can’t stand.

1. Jivago 24K For Women.

One look at the bottle this fragrance comes in, and all you can think is “money”. It’s truly a beautiful presentation, from the logo, to the emerald-green top, to the real flakes of 24-karat yellow gold floating around in the fragrance. It looks expensive and luxurious, and it costs a small fortune. Unfortunately, the beauty of this product stops at the packaging for me. This is the most “musky” fragrance I have ever smelled. I hate classifying things as “old lady” but when you think of the epitome of an “old lady” fragrance, this is it. It is way too strong and heavy, and if you spray too much of it on you, it doesn’t wear off gently throughout the day. I know some women are completely dedicated to this scent, but it’s not for me…and please, never wear this fragrance around me!

2. Angel by Thierry Mugler Parfums.

Another beautiful bottle…another disappointment with what’s inside. This is the other extreme from Jivago, in my opinion. It’s also a heavy scent that stays with you all day, but it’s sweet. Sickening sweet. With base notes that include vanilla, chocolate, and caramel, it’s a wonder one doesn’t get a sugar high when they wear this. Any time I smell this fragrance, I get a headache. Once, when I worked in a cosmetics department, I broke a bottle of this perfume…nobody liked me very much that day, so I know I’m not the only one who dislikes this fragrance.

3. Boss by Hugo Boss For Men.

This is supposed to be a sporty scent for men, but really, it’s just an icky one! It’s one of those fragrances that no matter how little you put on, it makes you smell like you jumped into a pool of it. It’s not a good cologne for men, it’s way too strong and the fragrance notes they blended for this one just don’t work for me. I’m not a man and I don’t wear men’s cologne. But, as a woman who appreciates a nice smelling gentleman, I appreciate it when men don’t wear this one.

4. Kim Kardashian For Women

…by Kim Kardashian, who else? I’m keeping this paragraph short, because KK doesn’t need any more publicity. Heavy and too sweet, this fragrance should have been named “Over-Exposed”…because that’s what she is.

5. Leslie Blodgett Perfume Diaries.

Created by the CEO of Bare Escentuals, Leslie decided to branch out into fragrance. From what I’ve read about the creator of this product, she has an absolute passion for perfume, but this first fragrance in her diary series was a ‘miss’ in my opinion. Too many notes, not enough of them good ones. I don’t like the way it smells in the bottle, and I’ve yet to come across an individual who can wear it well with their body’s chemistry.

Ok, I say it all the time…all fragrances are going to smell different on each individual that wears the scent. So, what I may not care for, may be someone else’s favorite. But, if I had to choose 5 fragrances, off the top of my head (and I just did) that I could do without, these would be my 5. What about you? What are some fragrances you can’t stand? Do you love any of the ones I don’t? As always, I look forward to hearing from you!

Email me your questions for Q&A Monday to brookeknowsbeauty@hotmail.com

You’ve Been Beautified!