Mar 082010 is offering to give away a Hana Professional straightener to one of my readers for free!  How cool is that?  The straightener will be shipped directly from Misikko based on a random draw from the pool of contestants.

Here are the rules:

  • The contest will run until 11:59 p.m. (PST) on Monday, March 15 2010.
  • You can get one (1) entry per day by posting a comment (include your contact information) in this post that asks to be entered in the contest.
  • You get one (1) extra entry by following Misikko on Twitter at  This only counts if you post a comment to this post that confirms that you’ve done it.  If you add your one-per-day comment more than once, only the first one will count.
  • Blog about the giveaway on a personal website or blog, and provide your website info in a comment to this post so it can be confirmed.  If you add a comment for this way more than once, only the first one will count.
  • You can get three (3) extra entries if you  join Misikko’s Newsletter.  Look for the “Sign me up” on the left side of’s home page.  To count, please leave a comment that you’ve done so in this thread one time.  If you do so more than once, only the first time will count.

I’m sorry, but this contest is open to U.S. participants only.  The Hana Professional that’s going to be given away is set up for U.S. voltage/amps only.  (Hopefully I’ll do something else in the future that can include international readers).

Here are some additional links so that you can learn more about

Good luck to all!




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Hana Professional Straightener Review and Give-Away Announcement

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Mar 082010

I have been using the Hana Professional 1″ Ceramic Flat Iron with Tourmaline for the past week.  All I can say is, this thing rocks!  It’s lightweight, has a full range of temperature settings, heats up in about a half-minute, and makes my hair looks shiny and healthy.

As background, you should know that my hair is fine, thick and colored.  Let me clarify–my hair is so colored that I have a colorist on my speed dial.   What’s more, I have a colorist on retainer.  I’m serious.  My hairstylist charges me a flat monthly fee, and I can go in as frequently as I want.  And I do.  Highlights, lowlights, base color. Sometimes two separate base colors.  I haven’t seen my natural hair color in years.  As you all know, if you process you hair this much, it can be fragile.  Given that I spend so much on my hair, I’m willing to invest in products that don’t damage, that are easy to use and I can use when I’m about to run out the door for another long day.

I own several ceramic straighteners.  I still own my dependable CHI that was my very first.  I then invested $240 in a GHD, because I had heard that was lightweight and gentle.  I also invested in a Sephora-branded one that’s wired for use in Europe.

I’ve been using my GHD most at this point but now the Hana Professional has replaced it.  It has all of the GHD’s features, sells for about half the price on and adds a variable temperature control.  Heaven!  Here are some of the features that I liked about the iron:

First:  It’s lightweight. Because I have so much hair, after a few minutes the others start to feel pretty heavy.  By comparison, the Hana seems very lightweight, but also very sturdy.  I also like the Hana’s smaller size and lighter weight for my upcoming U.S. travels:

Second: The plates seemed very gentle to my hair. No pulling or tugging.  The plates seem to have a little springy-action when I push on them.  I liked the one-inch size for my shoulder-length hair. Very easy to maneuver, I was able to do a straighten-flip at the bottom very easily.  It seemed every bit as gentle as my GHD.

Third:  Variable temperature control. My GHD has a simple on-off switch which does not give me any heat control.  Hana’s has a dial which allows me to vary the temperature from 140-450, plus an on-off switch.  This allows me to find the “right” temperature for me, then do a simple turn to the “on” position without having to re-set the temperature dial every day.

Fourth:  Power cord stays out of my way.   Hana’s power cord swings around very freely.  There’s a tiny loop here for hanging, which is a nice feature to have.

Fifth:  Gave me shiny, healthy-looking hair. Isn’t this what it all about?  My hair looked as good as using my GHD, but the Hana is half the price.

The reason I agreed to review the Hana Professional straightener is that Missiko offered to give away a Hana Professional straightener to one of my readers for free!  How cool is that?  The straightener will be shipped directly from Misikko based on a random draw from the pool of contestants.   The rules are on the first page of Cafe Makeup.  Good luck to all!

NOTE: This Hana Professional was provided to me for review by  But honestly, I did like the flat iron very, very much.

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Feb 242010

If you are anything like me, you’ve been reading Vogue since you were a teenager.  If you haven’t had a continuous subscription, you find a reason to grab the latest one on your way to catch a plane or back to a quiet evening at home.  The September Issue, directed and produced by R.J. Cutler, is a documentary about that iconic magazine.  The film garnered a prestigious award at the Sundance Film Festival, went out for a limited release in the U.S. last year and has just been released on DVD this week.

It is rare that interesting films are made about a thing–in this case, the September 2007 issue of Vogue, the largest one ever published.  Watching the film I couldn’t help wonder if Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, the authors of Freakonomics, have ever sought to correlate the pages length of Vogue with the health of the world economy.  Certainly September 2007–before recent economic problems manifested–demonstrate a moment in time that we are all uncertain will be repeated.  Nonetheless, I am happy to report that the latest issue (March 2009) is a hefty 528 pages.  Perhaps things are looking up?

The film reveals some fascinating glimpses of the magazine.  The cover, as it turns out, belongs to us. Who knew? It’s intended to draw us in, to invite us to buy and read.  Inside, art and money have a symbiotic– if uneasy– relationship.  We see $50,000 worth of photographs cut in an instant, last-minute re-shoots that really do seem significantly better than the originals and an unerring sense that fashion (and Vogue) cannot exist without a firm understanding of both excellence in artistic vision and the underlying economics.

The film spends an appropriately substantial amount of time on Anna Wintour, who has been Vogue’s Editor in Chief since 1988.  Wintour is every inch an “editor”–decisive, extraordinarily visual, cool and the voice of “no.” Her trained eye and blunt demeanor are infamous.  The film shows sharp slices of her humanity to some degree through her relationship with daughter, but primarily through her discussions about her father who was himself an editor of the British London Evening Standard.  Wintour shines in her support of the then-fledgling designer Thakoon Panichgul, using her considerable influence to help him become part of a legacy of new designers.  Nonetheless, the majority of the film is a study in Wintour’s ability to cull, to separate, to push, to enforce her impossibly high standards that her extremely talented staff relentlessly seeks to meet.  Beyond this, the film demonstrates Wintour’s incredible mastery of both the art and commerce of fashion, and of Vogue as an institution within it. As Wintour breakfasts with luxury retailers at the Ritz Paris, it becomes unquestionably clear that her influence extends beyond clothes to encompass business.

The quieter star of the film is Grace Coddington, herself a former model and now Vogue’s creative director, who emerges as the magazine’s imaginative force.  The pictures that she envisions are incredible, the images that are discarded by Wintour’s eagle eye are beautiful beyond description.  If Wintour is the voice of “no,” Coddington is the voice of “yes,” seeing possibilities and building fantasies that are ultimately made real.  To the extent that there is any conflict displayed in the film, it is in Coddington’s frustration with Wintour’s decisions to cut some of Coddington’s prolific imagery.   One interesting moment was a scene featuring Coddington’s off-the-cuff statements to a relative newcomer at Vogue who was struggling with his relationship with Wintour.  Coddington advises him to stand his ground with Wintour, to demonstrate his own vision and therefore his value.  This was a heartening insight that spoke volumes about how respect is earned at that institution (and, I suspect, at most others).  Further, the uneasy dynamic between Wintour and Coddington demonstrates the tension between creators and editors–after all, without Coddington’s ability to produce unbelievable variation, Wintour would be left with little content to edit.  Without Wintour, Coddington’s platform to effectuate her creative vision might tumble.

There are glimpses of fashion in The September Issue, as Wintour visits designers for an early look, in photo shoots and on racks lining the hallways at the magazine.  Perhaps cognizant of the ephemeral relevance of that season’s collections, the film uses the clothing as mere background.  After all, fashion is always moving forward.  Vogue, it seems, will last forever.

If you are a Vogue fan, and haven’t already seen it, The September Issue is an interesting look into the magazine and well worth the 90-minutes or so viewing time.  My DVD has an additional disc, advertised to include nearly the same length in extra footage and features.  I have a feeling that I’ll be watching both several times, it’s both an interesting and enjoyable treatment of these fashion icons.

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Feb 172010

Chanel’s Joues Contraste Blushes come in two separate varieties:  the U.S. version and another sold throughout the rest of the world.  Both are round, both share the same “Joues Contraste” name.

Here is an example of a U.S. version, in this case Imprevu from the Holiday ’09 collection.  You can see that the blush is a pressed powder, and the brush has brown bristles:

Chanel Imprevu U.S. Version

The texture is soft and shimmery.  When applied, the effect is a glowy shimmer:

For comparison, here is a Chanel Reflex blush which I purchased in France.  Reflex used to be available in a softer, pressed powder U.S. version.  That was discontinued.  This Reflex is quite different.  Although both are peach-toned, the texture of the non-U.S. version is baked.  You can see the round pan has a marble-like surface.  You can also see that the brushes have black bristles, rather than the brown bristles packed with the U.S. product.

The international versions of the Joues Contrastes typically need a stiffer brush, because of their harder texture.  I sometimes use a kabuki.  Chanel sells a separate line of makeup brushes outside the U.S., and some have very stiff bristles which would work well with their non-U.S. blushes.

Note that the non-U.S. versions typically have more sparkle/shimmer than their U.S. cousins.  The non-U.S. Reflex has quite a bit of gold shot through the product, which gives a more pronounced highlighter effect:

Gold shimmer

Many of my U.S.-purchased blushes are marked “Made in U.S.A.”  However, this is not always the case.  For example, my U.S Imprevu blush is marked as “Made in France.”  Your best guide for the U.S. versus U.S. is the brush color  and the texture of the blush pan (pressed powder versus harder, baked texture).

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From Vogue Paris: Oscar de la Renta to Create a Makeup Line?

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Feb 112010

Here is a rough translation of the article which can be found here:

  • Oscar de la Renta is about to follow suit by Dolce & Gabbana by creating a comprehensive cosmetic wing. According to Women’s Wear Daily, the brand is being explore private investors to take more weight in the world of beauty. Clearly, this probably means a new fragrance and why not a line of makeup. The brand already has more juice: So de La Renta, released in 1998, Rosamor launched in 2005, Oscar Summer Dew in 2004, Intrusion released in 2002 …

Personally, I hope this becomes a reality.  Oscar de la Renta is a genius.

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Jan 172010

You’ve probably seen some press that on Thursday January 14th Shiseido announced an intent to purchase Bare Escentuals for approximately $1.7 billion.  What does all that mean?

According to Bare Escentuals announcement to its investors, both companies’ board of directors have approved this.  So, this means that unless some difficulty arises, Shiseido will own BE in a few months.

The BE press communication includes some interesting tid-bits for the makeup world:

  • Shiseido’s offer is said to be over 40% higher than BE’s stock value at the time of the offer.
  • The sale is conditioned on the continued employment of BE’s founder and CEO, Leslie Blodgett.
  • BE will operate as a separate division of Shiseido.  I take that this means that BE customers continue to find their products under the BE name, and not at the Shiseido counter.
  • BE will gain better access to the markets in Japan and China;
  • According to this article, the deal gives Shiseido access to a broader customer base in the America’s, as well as expertise in mineral makeup.

This Reuters release suggests that BE’s profit margin has been running much higher than Shiseido’s lately, stating that “Bare Escentuals’ 2008 operating profit margin of 31.5 percent was more than quadruple Shiseido’s 7.2 percent in the year to last March.”

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Holiday Makeup, Part Three

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Dec 202009

This is the last of a series of posts about holiday options. December can be one of the most demanding months, and I usually have less time to get ready than I’d like.  One quick way to add some shine is to use a creme eyeshadow, such as Laura Mercier’s Metallic Creme Eye Colors ($22).   I’ve been using this product for years, and it never fails to deliver.  Dab a little on your finger, then apply on your lid.  Touch up your liner and you’re done.  If you wear these sheerly, using a “dab” motion and less product, they work well for daytime.  They last for hours and hours, and don’t overwhelm.  Their range includes neutrals and understated colors such as Mercury and Gold, below.

Washes Cremes

If you don’t want to invest in shimmery looks, mineral makeup companies are a great option.  Bare Escentuals is the most accessible, available at Sephora, QVC, department stores and through its own boutiques.

For even less, you can buy from online retailers.  Typically, they  sell small sample-sized products for less than $5. These “samples” last for 15 through 30 uses–I’ve never used one up entirely.  One outstanding choice is Fyrinnae, which delivers an incredible range of high-quality products for about $3-4 per sample.  Thankfully, their website categorizes selection by finish and by color.

Here are a few mineral eyeshadow options, including three from Bare Escentuals (Queen Tiffany, True Gold and Queen Linda) and one from another good etailer, Aromaleigh (Aurelie):

P.S.:  I’m going to pick up some of Chanel Spring 2010 today (my local counter will get everything this week, I’m told).  Hopefully, I’ll have some pictures up here later today or tomorrow of the products that are already in!

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Lancome Offers

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Dec 062009

I honestly think that Lancome has the best gifts with purchase in all of the makeup industry. For example, they are currently running a seven-day promotion with some very generous gifts with a code. If you like any of their products, register for their site. I’ve been registered for over a year, and believe that they have some type of special offer or code nearly every week.

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