The Dark Side Diva’s New Face

By now you all know my love of both high end and drug store makeup, especially foundations. Well I have rediscovered a new/old product that I simply adore! Several years ago I worked for Lancome when they launched the Teint Idole line. At the time I was hooked on their Photogenic foundation, which I still love to this day. The TI was ok for my skin, a little lighter coverage than I would have liked and, by the end of the day my face was a little shiny. By the time they came out with the TI Ultra Wear version, I had moved on to other beauty pursuits. But after seeing a couple high profile beauty influencers using it, I decided to give it a try. TI Ultra Wear claims to be a long-wearing, 24-hour foundation — claims that get me every time. Seriously. Who in this galaxy wears their make up for a full 24 hours? I decided to try it with the new Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Powder and Morphe’s Continous Setting Spray. Here are my thoughts…


I got the TI Ultra in shade 110C Ivoire, which is the third lightest shade and it’s a perfect match for my skin tone. It blends beautifully and covers all my pores and redness. It was very comfortable to wear and didn’t transfer. The Fenty powder set the foundation nicely, is completely translucent and undetectable. It didn’t cake or settle in my fine lines and pores. It does come with a flat puff, but I prefer to use a big powder brush, so I use one from IT Cosmetics. I will certainly keep this powder in my bag at all times. I finished with the Morphe Continuous Setting Spray. This product is a dream! It’s a fine mist that comfortably sets your face and doesn’t drench certain parts of it. It’s also the kind of spray that you can use several times throughout the day if needed and won’t ruin your makeup. And it doesn’t have that toxic smell like so many other setting sprays do.

This new threesome has made my skin bulletproof from shine, pores, caking and all the other unpleasantries that can happen during the day. Recommend trying this trio I do!

Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear $47

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Invisimatte Blotting Powder $32

Morphe Continuous Setting Spray $15


Dearly beloved…I miss you dreadfully!

There are literally millions of products out there in the beauty galaxy. But do you ever wax nostalgic about the ones that got away? I have several that I miss dreadfully, all for various reasons – melancholy feelings, Christmas morning memories, beautiful scents and soft skin, 90’s pop stars. Here are five products that tug at my heartstrings, proving that yes, even Darths have a heart!

Touch Me and Try To Leave Me Cream by Benefit

This is NOT the revamped Bathina version (that has also been discontinued). This was the original formulation in a white jar with pink lettering. At the time it was $24 which was quite pricey back then but oh-so worth it. Beautifully soft scented, extravagantly rich, a little went a long way. When Benefit changed it with the introduction of the Bathina line, I was heartbroken. It was not the same cream at all. I touched it, but unfortunately I left.

Aroma Calm by LancômeAroma_Calm

I can still see the extraordinary purple glass bottle that this fragrance came in. When I started buying it in 2000, it was (gasp!) $50. When I think really hard, I can still smell the floral, musky scent:  rose, but not your Great Aunt Ethel’s kind of rose. You can find fake reproductions on Amazon but they are over $100 and not the same at all. When my Lancôme BA found out it was being discontinued, she called me and said she hid the last two bottles at the counter for me. A sad day indeed.

1006Ten-O-Six Lotion by Bonne Bell

If you were a teenager growing up in the late 70’s or early 80’s you got a Ten-O-Six gift pack for Christmas. The centerpiece was this brown, softly scented, deep-cleaning lotion for your pores. We used this before we were introduced to Sea Breeze. It had me dreaming of blemish-free skin like the models in Seventeen magazine. If my memory serves me correct, you got the lotion, a lip smacker, a shower gel, moisturizer and I believe a bar of soap that looked like present day Neutrogena. It wasn’t Christmas morning until I unwrapped this gift set!

electric youthElectric Youth Lip Gloss by Revlon

Yep, Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth. I wasn’t a fan of the fragrance but I loved her and the peach shade of lip gloss that launched at the same time. It had a great applicator, came in a totally rad neon green and pink tube and my hair stuck to it every time I wore it. I didn’t even have to be outside for it to get all over my hair. It was thick, goopey and I looked fantastic wearing it while shopping at the County Seat drinking an Orange Julius. Funny side bar here…  I saw “Deborah” Gibson in concert years ago. Someone in the audience yelled “We love you Tiffany!!!” She never missed a foolish beat and started singing Only in My Dreams.


tinkTinkerbell Cosmetics

Ok, this is all melancholy for me right now. One of my earliest, most vivid memories of getting beauty products for Christmas was this boxed sets of Tinkerbell goodies. The watery, pink hand lotion that smelled just like baby powder. The pink peel off nail polish, waxy lipstick, and perfume that was all alcohol. And in the most fantastic plastic pink and yellow bottles! When I turned 10, I was allowed to graduate to Love’s Baby Soft and I never looked back. The Dark Side was slowly beginning to evolve.

Ah, now I’m feeling all sappy. I need to go put on my Andy Gibb records, read the latest Shaun Cassidy gossip in Tiger Beat magazine while eating a Jell-O pudding pop and drinking a Tab. But don’t tell anyone or else I’ll have to use my lightsaber on you!

Aging Gracefully into the Next Galaxy

This December I will turn 50.  There, I said it.  I didn’t mind turning 30 or 40, didn’t have a care in the world.  But 50 is like an obscene F word to me.  I hear someone talking about dropping an “F Bomb” and assume that they are also approaching 50.

The funny thing is, I’m constantly told that I don’t look anywhere near my age.  When I was 44, I took one of those high falutin’, fancy 3D skin analyzer tests.  I answered a bunch of questions, placed my face in this contraption and a couple minutes later had a print out that said I looked…..28!!!  Imagine my mid 40’s joy when I saw those results!


This is what 39 looks like

Let’s face it, the aging process is not fair to women.  When men age, they look like Sean Connery.  Unfortunately when women age, they also look like Sean Connery.  I’m doing my best to avoid that scenario!  Here are a couple very easy and effective age-prevention steps I’ve been doing for years, and have no intention of stopping!

Triple Cleansing — I know it sounds a bit much, but when you wear as much makeup on a daily basis as I do, it’s makes a world of difference.  I start with a makeup remover wipe, Neutrogena or any of the packs from Marshall’s that you get for $2.99 work quite well.  Wipes are a quick and easy way to remove that yucky first layer of foundation, powder, and eye makeup.  I follow with a makeup removing cream, oil, or balm.  These break down and gently remove all traces of cosmetics and sunscreens.  Clinique’s Take The Day Away Balm or Burt’s Bees Makeup Removing Oil are excellent products.  The third step is a face cleanser that will remove dirt, oil and environmental factors that accumulate on my face during the day.  I prefer Oil Free Cetaphil or Clinique’s Oily Skin Liquid Facial Soap.  I have a rotating facial brush that I use a couple times a week with this step.

Products Galore — I like to rotate and try new skin care products constantly, as I feel my skin does better this way.   And when I return to my favorites, they work even better.  This step may not work for you, but you know your skin better than anyone!  The one product I cannot and will not be without is Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair.  I wrote about this serum in my “Hall of Fame” post.  I use this twice a day without fail.  I believe in both chemical and manual exfoliation and love Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion #4.  It’s the highest strength, but my skin has built up to that level of exfoliation.  This is not the Sea Breeze or Ten O Six Lotion that we used in middle school!  Apologies to you Millennials who have no idea what those products are!   PSA!!!!!  I do NOT use my rotating brush on the nights I’ve used the Clarifying Lotion.  Much too strong and your face will pay for it!  Additional lotions and potions on the Dark Side vanity are Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, Lancome’s Renegie Lift, Lauder’s Resilience Lift, anything from the First Aid Beauty or Philosophy lines, and facial oils from Tarte, Farsali, and Josie Maran.  Stay tuned to the Dark Side blog for more detailed posts about these products!

SUNSCREEN –This is, HANDS DOWN, the most important anti-aging preventative.  A sun burn is a disaster for a fair-skinned brunette like me.  I stay out of direct sunlight and always, always make sure my skincare or cosmetics have an SPF in it.  And I reapply.  I simply do not forget.  I use SPF 50 or greater on my body, and at least 25 SPF on my face. This step truly is a no brainer.


49 and feelin’ fine

Following these steps has made this almost 50 year old look 34.  I would like to think that if I took another skin analysis test it would read the same, if not better!  So I’m going to continue with what got me here, aging gracefully, headed into the dreaded F Bomb Decade!

I’d love to know your tips, tricks and products!  Comment below and let me in on your secrets, I promise I won’t tell!

Dark Side Hall of Fame

Having spent almost 5 decades on the Dark Side, I’ve used and tried thousands of skin, hair, and cosmetic products, both high and low end. What do I consider to be my top 10 of all time? Read on, you may be surprised by the range of items I adore!

TRESOR  I’ve been wearing this classic Lancôme fragrance since 1990. It was the second “grown up” perfume that I bought myself (Calvin Klein’s Obsession was the first).  It has notes of rose, apricot, and iris and is simply beautiful.  I’ve been followed around department stores by women wanting to know what my perfume is because I smell so nice!

CLINIQUE DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT MOISURIZING LOTION  This has been a skincare staple of mine since 1988.  It’s remarkably simple, nothing fancy.  Everyone recognizes the signature yellow lotion that is lightweight and very effective.  It provides me with all-day hydration while strengthening the skin’s natural moisture barrier.  I use it twice a day, after cleansing my skin but before any other skincare.  For those of you that need a lighter or heavier product, it now comes in an oil-free gel or a rich cream formula.

LANCÔME DEFINICILS MASCARA  I’ve tried almost every mascara out on the market, but I always come back to the classic from Lancôme.  It gives me loner, fuller, perfectly separated lashes that look like I’m wearing falsies.  It doesn’t smudge or irritate my eyes, and has what I think to be the best wand out there.  And the Deep Black shade is the perfect inky black, dramatic color.

CARMEX CLASSIC LIP BALM  You’re all familiar with the yellow and red tube of lip balm.  You can get it for $1 and I have tubes everywhere – in my purse, on my nightstand, in my car.  It’s medicated, soothes and protects your lips, and  has a SPF of 15.  I started out with the jar and moved to the easier to apply tube.  Best of all, Carmex does not test on animals!

COVER GIRL CLEAN POWDER FOUNDATION  I started using this when it was known as “Simply Powder Foundation”.  CG changed the name and packaging, but not the formulation.  It covers like a liquid but feels like a powder.  I use it on its own or on top of my liquid foundation when I need a heavier coverage.  It stays all day, is convenient to toss in my makeup bag, and costs around $7.

ESTEE LAUDER ADVANCED NIGHT REPAIR SYNCHRONIZED RECOVERY COMPLEX II  Otherwise known to Estee Lauder fans simply as ANR, it is the #1 repair serum on the market.  It helps fight the key signs of aging to help reveal a smoother, more radiant, younger-looking face.  I’ve definitely noticed a decrease in dryness, dehydration, wrinkles and dullness.  When I try something less expensive, my face pays for it and the signs show! ANR is oil and fragrance free and will not clog pores.  While it’s best known as a nightly product, I use it twice daily.  All over my face and neck and a trick that an Estee Lauder coworker taught me is to use it on the back of your neck where signs of aging show sooner because of sun damage!

IVORY SOAP   I will never have a shower or bath without this 130 year old classic bar of soap!  It provides a simple, effective clean, is free of dyes and heavy perfumes, and is 99.44% pure. I adore this product and its mild scent.  And it’s still made in the USA!

AUSSIE MOIST 3 MINUTE MIRACLE  Every gal has used Aussie products at least once in her lifetime. The familiar purple bottles and that instantly-recognizable fragrance that takes you back to 8th grade – it was awesome until you got caught in the rain and the smell intensified.   And if your friends had used it too…  Anyways, it hydrates and deep conditions my old, wavy, war-torn hair, making it smooth, soft, shiny, and frizz-free.  I use it a couple times a week as a deep conditioner.  For $3, it’s a steal!

CETAPHIL DAILY CLEANSER  This has been effectively cleansing my face for years.  The mild, non-irritating formula gently removes excess oil.  However, it does not remove makeup, so if you have a full face on you will have to use a makeup remover first.  But sunscreens, dirt, and environmental crud wash away like a dream.

REVLON COLOR SILK PERMANENT HAIR COLOR  This may or may not come as a surprise to some, but the Dark Side Diva has been coloring her hair since she turned gray at 16.  That’s 30+ years of being just about every color in the rainbow (and then some). This formula completely covers my gray roots, is ammonia-fre, long lasting, and doesn’t fry my hair. It’s very easy to use and costs around $3-5 a box, conditioner included.

So that’s my Dark Side Beauty Hall of Fame.  I could have added some red lipstick, cleansing conditioners and facial masks, but that’s for another time.  Stay tuned to see what products end up on the Death Star’s Hall of Shame!

Water Water Everywhere

The fairly new kid on the block in the skin cleansing family is micellar water. By now you’ve probably seen them in every major women’s magazine, on drugstore shelves, and at the department store beauty counter. Without getting too technical, micelle molecules cluster together to make an all-in-one facial cleanser. It looks and feels like water, yet it gently removes waterproof and long-wearing face, lip, and eye makeup. They are safe for sensitive skin and, best of all, no rinsing is needed.
I decided to try a prestige brand and two drug store brands. I used these products as the first step in my cleansing routine as makeup remover with cotton pads.
First up was Lancome’s Eau Fraiche Douceur Micellar Water. It retails for $39 and, if you’re the type that adores beautiful bottles sitting on your vanity, you’ll love this! It has a light, pleasing scent, is oil-free and non irritating. It removed about 95% of my makeup, as it did not remove all my waterproof mascara. But my face was soft, smooth and not red. A definite win for me.
When I finished the bottle of Lancome, I decided to try what is probably the most familiar brand out there, Garnier’s All in One Micellar Cleansing Water. This product retails for $8.99 and compares surprisingly well with the Lancome. It is unscented, oil-free and non-irritating. It completely removed all my makeup, waterproof mascara included! Garnier also has mattifying and waterproof versions and recently have introduced travel sizes and towelettes to the line. Another win!
The third contestant in my micellar water challenge is from Wet n Wild, which retails for $4.99. All I can say is that this product is a complete disaster. It burned and irritated my eyes so badly and dried out my lips terribly. I wanted to give it a fair shake, so I used it again. Same horrible reactions. Unfortunately this is a never, ever again product for me.
Both the Lancome and Garnier Micellar Waters are wonderful products that work well but the Garnier wins this battle. With a beauty budget-friendly price and the power to vaporize waterproof mascara with a simple swipe, this product will remain in my arsenal on the Dark Side.