Daily Rant | Makeup

BeautyMaverick in The New York Times

By on August 23, 2008

BeautyMaverick in The New York Times

Exciting news!

A recent interview I’d done with Natasha Singer, a lovely editor at the NY Times, has been included in her latest piece entitled ‘En Garde! The Great Mascara Duel’.

From today’s Style Section:

CALL it the Battle of the Battery-Operated Mascaras.

On July 17, Estée Lauder introduced TurboLash, a mascara with a battery-operated vibrating brush, at Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The night before, the company’s Web site, esteelauder.com/turbolash, sold out of its stock of about 1,000 mascaras, said Elana Drell Szyfer, the senior vice president for marketing at Estée Lauder.

On July 31, Lancôme, which had been scheduled to trot out its own battery-powered wand in November, fired back with a one-day advance sale of the mascara, called Ôscillation, in a handful of stores nationwide.

By the end of the day, more than 5,000 mascaras had sold out at outlets like Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan, Neiman Marcus in Houston and sephora.com, said Kerry Diamond, the vice president for communications at Lancôme USA.

Both companies said the purpose of an electronic mascara wand is to better separate and more evenly coat lashes than a traditional brush would.

Estée Lauder said TurboLash, $30, produces 7,500 vibrations per minute.

Lancôme said Ôscillation, $34, produces 7,000 “micro-oscillations,” or pulses, per minute.

“It has been a question of who would get to market fastest,” said Karen Young, the chief executive of the Young Group, a beauty marketing firm in Manhattan, who has worked at both companies. “It is the mascara wars.”

The battle is so intense that manufacturers are borrowing the promotional weaponry of cellphone companies. They compete over technological iterations, stoke expectations by favoring certain bloggers with advance information, and tightly control initial distribution so that people who pride themselves as being early adopters can buy the product first. Beautymaverick.com, a blog written by a former cosmetics publicist, referred to the Lancôme mascara as “possibly the iPhone 3G of the beauty realm.”

“If you miss the boat, you are unable to be one of the people who have the It product, who are in the know,” Lily Nima, who started the blog 18 months ago, said last week in a phone interview.

“If a mass-market brand were to put a vibrating mascara on the shelf, it would look more like a novelty you would expect a drugstore to do,” she said. “The limited edition at the beginning makes it cooler, unattainable and more glamorous.”

A mass-market wand has been on the shelves at stores like Target and CVS since March.  Called  Spinlash (spinlash.com), the battery-powered gizmo costs about $14.99; more than 100,000 have been sold, a company spokeswoman said.

But, whatever the price, will women embrace a device that requires greater meticulousness to use than a manually operated mascara, and which emits a hum as annoying as a vibrating cellphone?

Beauty companies are positioning the power mascara and the power-free mascara as the difference between automatic and stick-shift.

But even beauty bloggers predict the electric mascara may find only a niche audience.

“An electric battery-operated mascara can be a tricky thing to apply in the back of a cab or on the go,” Ms. Nima said. “The beauty junkies may take to it, but the average beauty consumers may have a harder time with it.”

Still, Jennifer Nobriga of Woodbridge, Va., one of a pair of self-described average beauty consumers and stay-at-home moms behind the blog Beauty in Real Life (beautyinreallife.blogspot.com), said she had already tested Spinlash and was eager to try its higher-end competitors.

“Once we get our own hands on them,” she said, “we are going to be doing a comparison.”

TurboLash is available at Saks; Lauder is working seven days a week to produce more, Ms. Szyfer said. For those who must have Ôscillation, there’s a waiting list at Lancôme counters.

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Makeup | Q&A with the Pros

Q5 with Pat McGrath

By on February 20, 2008

Q5 with Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath is a sui generis superartist, one whose influence on the beauty industry spans much farther than any runway or red carpet. Of course, such talent doesn’t go unnoticed; This brilliant Brit’s now added to her resume the title of Global Color Cosmetics Creative Design Director for Procter & Gamble (now that’s a tongue-twister!).

I recently had the honor of quizzing Ms. McGrath on her source of inspiration, the need for primer, and what she just can’t travel without.

Q1: What initially inspired you to become a makeup artist?

My mother was obsessed with both fashion and makeup. We would spend hours researching makeup for black skin.

Q2: When creating looks for the runway, do you prefer to let your creativity run wild or do you try to create looks that the average women could wear?

When creating looks for the runway, I always collaborate with the designers to develop the look. They usually have an idea of the makeup they want for the show, but they look to me to create makeup that’s unique and represents the designer’s aesthetic. Some makeup looks are more daring than others, but they all involve a great deal of creativity and help shape future beauty trends.

Q3: Using makeup to contour can be a bit tricky for most of us. Would you have any tips or tricks for enhancing or softening certain features?

Avoid using contour powder along the cheekbones as it can look too harsh, particularly in the daytime, but use a soft brown shadow in the eye crease to give subtle depth and dimension. Use a loose shimmer powder, such as Benefit Show Offs in Miss Moon, to accentuate the cheekbones, inner corners of the eye, Cupid’s bow and brow bone.

Q4: Do you think the use of primer is necessary for the average girl, or is it more for professional use?

Primer is great to use if your skin is normal to oily or when wearing foundation. It’s great for controlling shine and helps foundation last longer. You can even use it in place of foundation to give the skin a soft focus look that diminishes the appearance of imperfections and wrinkles. YSL Matt Touch is a great primer.

Q5: What beauty products do you always carry with you when traveling? Why?

MAX Factor Volume Couture and CoverGirl Lash Blast Mascara- These mascaras pump up my lashes and make them look full with lots of definition. They give my lashes a nice lift too.

CoverGirl Amazemint Lip Gloss is very fresh and great when traveling. Every time I press my lips together when I wear this gloss, I get a cool mint flavor that’s refreshing. It makes my lips feel smooth for hours.

SKII Air Touch Foundation (custom blended for my skin). I love the way it makes my skin appear flawless, yet you can’t see any foundation. It’s also very easy to use and carry with me. I wear it when I’m on camera backstage and when I go out in the evenings.

Aromatherapy Associates Essential Oils bring a wonderful smell to hotel rooms and combat jet lag. I love applying it to my pulse points (wrists, temples) because it releases a relaxing scent all day, and before I go to sleep at night.

MAX Factor ColorGenius Blush in Spices– This blush is a wonderful shade for deeper complexions, as it gives that hint of peachy rose color that’s so pretty.

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