Thursday, January 29, 2009

GIVEAWAY: Red Lips by Jouer Cosmetics

lipstick shown on all models: Jouer Simone Hydrating Lipstick

Happy Valentine's Day!

A little early, yes we know; but we'd like to give all our readers the opportunity to win a gorgeous set of deliciously fabulous Jouer red lip products. One winner will receive a Hydrating Lipstick in the shade of Simone AND a Lip Gloss in the shade of Riviera, all coutesy of Jouer Cosmetics. Lucky!

To enter, simply complete the little form below with your name and email address so we can contact you for your mailing information if you win. Email addresses will NOT show, so don't worry about others seeing your information.

The winner will be announced on Valentine's Day, Sat., 2/14/09.

NOTE: One (1) winner will be chosen at random to receive both lip products. Duplicate and incomplete entries will be disqualified. Contest open to residents of the USA. Some restrictions may apply. Entries will be accepted through 11:55 pm on Fri., 2/13/09.

Red: Carpets, Valentines and Lips!


Whether we're talking about the flurry of red carpets significant of the season, the symbolic color of love (and Valentine's Day) or the hot trend of the glamourous red lip, one thing is for sure - red is the color that's meant to catch our eyes.

Many women don't feel comfortable wearing the red lip, or fear they're "doing it wrong". Jouer's Christina Zilber offers these easy solutions for achieving the perfect red lip, no matter the occasion.

Red Carpet Red
For a true dramatic red carpet look, Zilber created the Simone Hydrating Lipstick ($22) – a rich true red that should be worn for that glamorous holiday party or big night out. This hydrating lipstick is highly pigmented and creamy in texture. Definitely a statement maker!

Everyday Red
Love the trend but looking for a more subtle approach that fits your everyday lifestyle, Zilber recommended a gloss because it is more sheer; try the Riviera Moisturizing Lip Gloss ($20) – a true red with a light shimmer. Loaded with Vitamins A, C & E, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil and Pomegranate Seed Oil to moisturize, soothe, nourish, rejuvenate and protect, the gloss keeps lips smooth, hydrated and lush with its sheer, shimmery true red flush.

Would you like a little more inspiration? Check out these lovely beauties and their rockin' red lips!

Jouer lip products are a lovely way to experiment with red and still be sure to get high quality products with a sensuous texture. Can't help but fall in love with these formulations. For more information on the red lip products of Jouer as well as other fabulous cosmetics offerings by the luxury brand, please visit Jouer online. You can also find Jouer products at Henri Bendel in New York.

DuWop Valentine's Kiss-Off Event

Calling all DuWop fans!

Mark your calendars now to restock your DuWop favorites or to try something new as this is a sale you don't want to miss. I'll be picking up another Reverse Lipliner (looooove that product) and trying out, finally, the Pure Venom when the sale goes live. I've been wanting to try that product for the longest ...

Save a whopping 30% off ALL DuWop lip products on Feb. 3rd. It's only for one day, so get that savings while you can!

Enter code: KISS at checkout.

Visit for more information and to take advantage of this great offer on 2/3.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rebelling with Lancôme Artistic Director Aaron De Mey

Elle takes a look at Aaron De Mey, Lancôme's Artistic Director, who clearly leads by his own artistic creativity - remember the first item he rolled out for Lancôme: the limited edition Piha black lipgloss. Here, an excerpt from Elle giving us a peek into De Mey's inner sanctum.

“I like extremes, surprises, and opposites,” says Aaron De Mey. Spend an hour with him and you’re likely to leave with lip-shine on your eyelids and eye shadow on your cheeks. “Studying art gave me a great understanding of color and texture,” De Mey says. “My technique is all about emphasizing individuality and confidence.”

How can I use black lip gloss and not look goth?
I layer it over red lipstick to give depth to the mouth—the sheerer the lipstick, the subtler the effect. I apply gloss, in any shade, only in the center of the lips—this gives the effect of a full, sexy pout. You can use clear or black gloss on your eyelids, too.

How so?
Marlene Dietrich used to make her own smoky, glossy eye shadow by burning a cork and then mixing it with Vaseline. You can achieve a similar effect by patting a dab of lip gloss into the center of your lid—it gives an incredible shine and texture that you can’t get with an eye product. Just try not to apply it to the outer corner of the eye, as this might make mascara travel.

I’ve also seen you use lipstick and gloss as blush; is that something a non-pro should try?
Of course! A great way to choose the right shade is to match the natural color of the inside of your lower lip. Dab a small amount onto the apples of your cheeks, and use your fingers to blend it high on the cheekbones. I use Lancôme liquid lipstick: Its sheen creates a youthful and glowing appearance.

What else can sculpt the face?
You want to highlight, lift, and create definition. Use a bronzer or blush in a shade that complements your skin tone, and gently blend it into the natural shadows of your face—under your cheekbones and chin and on your temples. Remember not to be too heavy-handed. Always start with a small amount of product and build from there—better too little than too much.

How can irreverence be incorporated into everyday makeup?
Makeup should be individual and expressive. I want women to wear any color or texture they want, no matter what the time of day or occasion, like wearing powerful red lipstick to the supermarket or a black punky liquid eyeliner at 10 a.m.

But liquid eyeliner is hard to master at any time of day.
Use a small angled brush, like the one you use on your brows, because it gives you more freedom than the one in the tube. Just make sure that the outer ends sweep upward, which gives a lifting effect to the eye. I also encourage experimenting with different colors like blue, green, or pink. Have some fun.

How can fuchsia eye shadow be wearable?
Line the upper and lower lids with a black pencil, and smudge it into the lashes using an eye shadow brush—this balances out the pink and keeps the look flattering and chic. Blend the fuchsia shadow into the natural contour of your lid, building it so that it’s more intense in the crease. Apply a lot of black mascara, and then use pale pink shadow to highlight the top of the brow bone.

Lancôme Pink Irreverence Color Design Eyeshadow Quad
De Mey uses the palette “to create a contoured classic eye or just to impart a delicate pink wash of color to the lids.”

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
He favors this foundation because “it’s a luxurious and full-coverage base that gives a flawless finish.”

Lancôme La Laque Fever Liquid Lipstick
De Mey loves because “alone or with a gloss, it’s a bright, vibrant, amazing color that makesa statement.”

Muji Cotton Swabs
“They’re a must for cleaning up smudges and for perfecting the shape of eye makeup,” says De May.

Mustela Hydra-Stick
This is another one of De Mey's favorites because “it’s protective, calming, and perfect for applying under lipstick. It can also be used on the cheekbones and the center of the nose to create a dewy, highlighted sheen.”

click to enlarge image

Pink Irreverence
Spring 2009 Color Collection by Aaron De Mey

Limited Edition

De Mey takes inspiration from irreverent French heroines Madame Bovary, Sylvie Fleurie, Marie Curie and Brigitte Bardot. Just like the colors in the collection, these women have marked their eras with panache and embody the essence of pure and daring femininity.

Twisting the traditional codes of elegance, Aaron has created an impertinent color statement that pairs Spring pinks against rebellious blacks and potent shine against pure matte textures. The pinks are reminiscent of Lancôme’s iconic rose, while the deep black shades are evocative of the Piha volcanic black beaches of Aaron’s native homeland of New Zealand. Products are meant to be layered to create an array of stunning looks.

La Laque Fever Full Color Lipshine
Passionate about painting, Aaron De Mey wanted to recreate the purity of lacquer color in a lip product. Densely pixilated pearls combine with polymers to give multi-dimensional shine that lasts for six hours. The ultra-modern, silver streamlined packaging conveys all the color and shine contained within. Available in four daring, non-fading shades: Electric Pink, Optical Rose, Lucent Nude and Iridescent. $26.00

Color Design Eyeshadow Quad
Two new eye shadow palettes express the color statement and the free, irreverent spirit of Aaron’s spring collection. Use the black sparkling shade in the Irreverent Madame palette to structure the eye. Layer and play with the remaining matte pink shades to bring the look up or down. $42.00

Laque Liner
This eyeliner’s precise brush makes lining and defining easy and fun. The Pure Black shade is perfect for creating a deep intense look, while Pure Sparkle’s clear, shimmery formula instantly enlightens eyes. $25.00

Color Design Illuminator for Eyes and Face
This creamy, cooling gel can be used alone or blended over another color to highlight and brighten the eye area. Apply the light texture over your eyelid and up to the brow bone or experiment by bringing it from the eye down to the cheekbone to create a beautiful aura that lights up the face. Available in two shades: High Expectations and Hard to Get. $20.00

Color Fever Gloss in Piha Black
Back by popular demand, Piha Black adds an irreverent twist to the spring collection with its deep black and sparkly, volcanic beach inspired color. Used as a topcoat, the gloss brings a subtle dark intensity and brightness to other lip shades. Use alone for an edgier look. $25.00

Le Vernis Nail Polish
Take your nails to the extreme. For a dark sultry look, accessorize your nails with Piha Black, the same gorgeous, sparkly black shade found in the Color Fever Gloss. Lighten things up with Sassiness, a pink shade that, according to Aaron, “is the ultimate color of spring.” $18.00
Products in the Lancôme Pink Irreverance Spring 2009 collection are available online at The collection is set to be at beauty counters in February.
excerpt on De Mey:

REVIEW: Jus d’Amour EDP by Parfums Mercedes

A beautiful, grown-up comfort scent - and really, is there anyone who couldn’t use an extra dose of comfort right about now? Jus d’Amour opens with coconut – sweet, but not cupcake-topping sweet. This is a dark and dusky coconut, and there is a brief moment when it meets the mysterious and green aqualeaf accord that makes us wonder if we might be headed someplace edgy. Then the most soothing, enveloping woods appear, and it is clear that the place we are headed is the coziest chair in the room, complete with a cashmere throw. We can feel the knots in our neck begin to unwind, as creamy Tahitian vanilla wraps itself around mesmerizing sandalwood. Even the lilting violets and jasmine snuggle into the tranquil blend instead of floating above it. Sophisticated and serene, with a warm, soft sweetness that takes the edge off a stressful day. Just what we needed.

Don't let the description above fool you. This really is not an icky sweet fragrance - at all. In fact, the cleaness of the scent may surprise you. It's got almost a soapy scented character about it. The vanilla and sandalwood, while present, are very subtle. Truly, this is a tranquil blend soft and sexy, one to be enjoyed.
Mercedes Ganon herself is quite the artiste. Aside from creating lovely blends of fragrance, she is also an accomplished singer. Mercedes is an 'edgy' traditionalist who believes in breaking the rules within her music. She composes, sings, and performs with a dramatic sense of urgency. You can learn more about her at her website here.

Jus d'Amour EDP by Parfums Mercedes is available at Luckyscent and is available in a 65ml bottle retailing for $90 and a perfume oil (1/4 oz) for $60. Remember, too, that Luckyscent does afford us the opportunity to sample fragrances for as little as $3 (or enjoy free samples with purchases) - a nice way to see if we like the fragrance before buying.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2009 SAG Awards: Hair and Beauty

click to enlarge for more detail

Volume, elegance, softness - all attributes of the evening's look in beauty and hair. Stars bloomed in rosy lips, more sheer and glossy than the bolder lips of the Golden Globes. There was a marked fluidness about the ladies, from their soft, feminine hair to their long, flowy goddess gowns.

Experts share their tips and how-to's so we may create the looks.

From Pureology PureArtists, Mary Katherine Hecht, Wendy Belanger, Sherilynn Smart and April Webster share tips on these hair trends seen at the show.

Soft, peek-a-boo waves
1. Create a left side part. Take a two inch pie section on the right side and spray the hair with Pureology SuperSmooth Hot Iron Protection Spray.
2. Using a one inch iron curl the hair away from the face. Pin with a single prong pin.
3. Take another two inch pie section below the first section and curl towards the face. Secure with a single prong pin.
4. Continue to use this technique with two inch pie sections alternating the way the curl is facing until you get to the back of the left ear.
5. Take the left side section and curl towards the face and secure with single prong pin.
6. Set with Pureology InCharge, and when the set is cool, release the pins.
7. Use a soft brush to smooth it out, push the waves into shape.
8. Apply Pureology ShineLuxe to your hands and finger rake the hair to detail the waves.
9. Finish off with GlossingMist and InChargePlus Firm Finishing Spray.

Low textured bun
1. Create a left side part.
2. Use Pureology DryShine HairStyler to add texture to the hair, use fingers to rake the hair back into a loose pony-tail placed opposite of the lips.
3. Use a wide tooth comb to comb the hair that has been created in the low pony-tail, this allows the hair to show some of its natural texture.
4. Use a piece of the hair from the pony-tail to wrap around the rubber band.
5. Separate the hair into two sections. Take the top section and twist and fold the hair to the right of the pony-tail, then secure with bobby pins.
6. Take the bottom section and twist the hair and fold it to the left, and then secure with bobby pins.
7. Spray with InCharge Flexible Styling Spray and spread the hair apart to loosen the buns.
8. Finish with Pureology GlossingMist and InChargePlus Firm Finishing Spray.

Hair: Stylist and co-founder of David Babaii for WildAid, David Babaii, shares his tips for getting Angelina Jolie’s red-carpet hair for the awards' show. To capture Angelina's effortlessly elegant style, David blow dried wet tresses to create a shiny, frizz free foundation. Next, he randomly curled her entire chocolate mane to form beautifully tousled waves. To ensure volume at the root area, spray David Babaii for WildAid Volcanic Ash Root Amplifier. Slightly back comb sections of hair and smooth out with a brush to achieve desired height. Create a low bun at the nape of the neck by gathering sections of curls and securing with black bobby pins. Finish with David Babaii for WildAid Mise En Plis Extra Hold Styling Spray for a dazzling red carpet style.

Beauty: Celebrity makeup artist Mary Burton wanted to create a 60’s look and chose to focus on Angelina’s eyes by applying lots of eyeliner and mascara. She used my holy grail of eyeliners Lancôme Artliner in Noir, a liquid liner, just above the lash line. To compliment Angelina’s eye color and to make her eyes really stand out, she applied a bluish grey eyeshadow YSL Ombre Solo Double Effect Eyeshadow in #3 Blue Silk to the eyelid. Finally, she applied several coats of Lancôme Courbe Virtuôse Mascara in Black. Mary added a touch of pink to the apples of the cheeks using Shu Uemura blush in M Pink 31. To create ultra-shiny and luminous lips, Mary used Lancôme Color Fever Gloss in Rose Jolie.

Hair: Kate Winslet’s glamorous low bun and side swept bang as seen on the red carpet was created exclusively by Frederic Fekkai stylist Renato Campora using Fekkai products. Apply FEKKAI MORE ALL DAY DENSITY MOUSSE to wet hair for added volume. On the bottom portion only apply FEKKAI COIFF MAGNIFIQUE to ends for a smooth blowout and to protect hair from the heat of styling tools. Using the FEKKAI EXTRA LARGE ROUND BRUSH blow dry hair and part on the right side. Once completely dry, use a one inch curling iron throughout hair to create tousled movement with dimension. Apply FEKKAI TECHNICIAN GLAZE to ends working it through with fingers for texture that is not too heavy. Tease the top of the head ever so slightly to create a touch of height. Next pull hair back into a low ponytail. Create a loose braid and twist it around to form a bun. Secure with pins. Making a braid helps to keep the bun from appearing to severe and gives it the soft modern touch.

Beauty: Celebrity makeup artist Jillian Dempsey played up Kate’s eyes with lots of black eyeliner, mascara and shimmering shadow paired with a soft neutral palette on her lips and cheeks. Jillian used Lancôme Artliner in Noir on the upper lash line and then lightly dusted Jillian Dempsey Professional for Avon Eyeshadow Trio in Pebble Wash on the eyelid. She finished the eyes with a few coats of Lancôme Ôscillation Mascara in Black. For the lips, she used Serge Lutens nude lip liner and filled in the entire lip. Finally, she applied Color Fever Gloss in Engaging, a very sheer nude shade, for a high-shine pout. To compliment Kate’s vibrant look, fashion manicurist Deborah Lippmann polished her nails with a sheer, misty pink called Prelude To A Kiss.

Lips to Help Focus on the Eyes

Anne Hathaway - Lancôme Color Fever Gloss in Seductive over nude lipliner
Laura Linney - Shu Uemura Drawing Lip Pencil in Pink 310 and Shu Uemura Vinyl Unlimited in BG937
Christina Applegate - MAC Lip Pencil in Currant with Shu Uemura Gloss Unlimited in WN2838
Frieda Pinto - Dior Addict Ultra Gloss in #457 Pink Liberty

images: getty, newscom, picapp

Monday, January 26, 2009

2009 SAG Awards: Fashion and Jewels

Here's the award given to actors by actors. The 15th Annual Screen Actor's Guild Awards - another glorious evening of fashion, beauty, feminine hairstyling and bejeweled lovelies. Well, for the most part. Decidedly, the theme for the evening: the one-shouldered dress with a few halters thrown in for good measure. Let's take a look ....

My Favorite of the Evening

Amy Adams in a delicious plummy, bordeaux Giambattista Valli gown and jewelry by H. Stern. Her hair is lovely, the silhouette of the gown gorgeous and her natural beauty just illuminates outward from within.

The Standouts in Fashion

Evan Rachel Wood in a muted teal Monique L'Hullier gown - fabulous!
Jane Krakowski in a stunning red Roberto Cavalli (I think Jane is so underestimated - she always looks absolutely beautiful)
Taraji P. Henson making a name for herself in a Herve' Leroux halter
Kate Winslet flawless in cobalt Narciso Rodriguez and Chopard jewels
Viola Davis glowing in a honeyed-lemon David Meister dress
Christina Applegate in a kelly green Emanuel Ungaro frock, Christian Louboutin shoes and jewelry by one of my faves - Lorraine Schwartz

What WAS She Thinkin'

Tina Fey in a Brian Reyes cocktail number. I'm speechless on this. I really don't know what to say. Perhaps it's time to turn the tables and have Palin poke a little fun, or at least help the poor girl out with some wardrobe advice. Whew!

More on Jewels and Accessories

Anne Hathaway in Cartier
Viola Davis in Judith Ripka
Olivia Wilde in jewlery by Cartier
Evan Rachel Wood - love that cuff, anyone know the artist?
Freida Pinto in Martin Katz jewels
Jenna Fischer in Neil Lane jewelry
Laura Linney with her Tod's clutch
Taraji P. Henson bejeweled by H. Stern


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
SEAN PENN / Harvey Milk - "MILK" (Focus Features)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
MERYL STREEP / Sister Aloysius Beauvier - "DOUBT" (Miramax Films)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
HEATH LEDGER / Joker - "THE DARK KNIGHT" (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
KATE WINSLET / Hanna Schmitz - "THE READER" (The Weinstein Company)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
HUGH LAURIE / Gregory House - "HOUSE" (FOX)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy - "30 ROCK" (NBC)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
TINA FEY / Liz Lemon - "30 ROCK" (NBC)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
images: getty, newswire, picapp

Amrita Singh Sale at ideeli

The beauty of Amrita Singh Jewelry is like no other.

It's not surprising to learn that jewelry designer Amrita Singh began her career working for Oscar de la Renta and Christian Lacroix. Singh's eponymous line of jewelry has an aesthetic favored by both legends in their own designs: ethnically diverse embellishments that celebrate the beauty of women in all cultures. Believing that "your jewelry should be priority number one when choosing your outfit," Singh's greatest source of inspiration lies in her own heritage, and her jewelry references time-honored motifs from India's Mughal era.

click image to enlarge for detail

Though they may be steeped in tradition, Singh's creations are the product of a very modern mindset. Her designs feature diverse materials such as precious stones, polished wood and rich-looking threads, and often feature offbeat colors and strong silhouettes. Just the thing to satisfy a modern girl's love for looking fabulously original.

If you've not heard of ideeli, let me share a bit with you. ideeli is the first 'invite only' shopping community in the US. ideeli offers privileged access to sought after products in fashion, home and beauty, as well as to lifestyle luxury experiences (like exclusive spa services). ideeli members receive exclusive shopping privileges including:

  • Insider prices (oh my goodness, the discounts are enormous)
  • Early access to the newest products
  • Hot European brands not available in the US
  • Exciting giveaways from brands like Versace, Fendi, Prada and much more

This is one event I just couldn't keep to myself. Singh's jewelry is being offered today on ideeli at such huge discounts that you can actually grab items costing upwards of $300 for $90 and some pieces are going for as low as $18 - it's really unbelievable.

The Amrita Singh event is scheduled to start on Monday, January 26 at 11am EST (it's on now) and will run for 36 hours. You'll need an invitation code to access the event and/or to view other fantastic ideeli offers and giveaways. I'm thrilled to be able to invite you to join and access the Amrita Singh event or any other ideeli event and giveaway posted.

Your ideeli special invitation code is: love

Just click the link to access the ideeli website, enter your invitation code and enjoy! xo

Beauty Secrets from Around the World

eyecandy images

I came across this article on MSN taken from the Oprah Winfrey show. Very fascinating, don't you think? Read on ...

As a digital correspondent for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, Mara Schiavocampo travels the globe, covering stories with just her camera, tripod and laptop. Now, she's heading to Tokyo to see how Japanese women define beauty and find out what measures they'll take to achieve perfection.

Japanese women believe their skin is the key to true beauty.
Mara says Japanese women believe their skin is the key to true beauty. Miki Okae, one of Japan's most famous beauty experts, says the ideal is fair, smooth skin. "Everyone demands that," she says. While some Americans get collagen and Botox injections to erase wrinkles, Japanese women believe in a different approach—they consume collagen-infused foods. Miki says eating collagen-rich beef tendons is a regular part of her beauty routine. "I sneak out of the office when the supermarket opens to buy this," she says. Many restaurants even feature collagen, which is derived from animals like cows and chickens, on their menus. "Collagen-infused food is everywhere in Japan," Mara says.

Japanese hair straightening.
One beauty treatment that was developed in Japan is now used by women around the world. Known as Japanese hair straightening, hair correcting or thermal reconditioning, this technique uses chemical creams and flat irons to straighten wavy hair. "It's a way of taking hair that's naturally wavy or a little bit kinky—something that you could blow straight—but just for convenience' sake, you permanently make it straight," Mara says.

In Japan, straight hair is considered "the norm," and therefore, more attractive. As an African-American woman, Mara says she's had her hair straightened or relaxed using similar techniques, but she didn't think it was common in Asian countries. "We go through a lot to straighten," she says. "I was a little surprised to find that Asian women are also using chemicals and heat to straighten their hair."

Face-slimming belt.
In America, late-night infomercials advertise products that claim to perform cosmetic miracles. Whether you want to get rid of cellulite or sculpt your abs, there's something out there for you. In Japan, women are faced with a different barrage of products.

Mara brought a few back to Chicago to show Oprah and her audience. The first is a Japanese contraption that's advertised as a face-slimming belt. "If anyone's concerned that your face may be too puffy or chubby or whatever, this is a belt that you can wrap around your face. It's supposed to make your face thinner," Mara says. "It kind of has sauna properties, supposedly. So it may sweat out some bloat[ing], possibly. It's supposed to heat things up and make you sweat a little bit."

The next product is a face-whitening cream that many women, including Miyuki, use on a regular basis. Mara says this cream claims to lighten a person's complexion. "You see a lot of products that advertise whitening because [Japanese women] want that porcelain, that very, very fair, light skin," Mara says.

A golden trinket around the neck is sometimes a little more than just a golden trinket.
Clear skin and straight hair might make a woman more attractive in Japan, but in remote corners of the globe, women are judged by different criteria. On the National Geographic Channel's show Taboo, cameras document some of the world's most extreme beauty practices.

On the border of Burma and Thailand, members of the Kayan tribe begin their beauty rituals at a young age. At just 5 years old, girls start wearing brass rings around their necks, a ritual that's centuries old. As they grow older, more rings are added, and eventually, their necks start to look elongated, giving them a giraffe-like appearance. For these women, the shiny brass rings are the ultimate sign of female elegance and status. Some neck pieces can weigh up to 22 pounds.

"If I take the rings off now, I won't look nice anymore," one woman says. "They really are a part of my life."

In India, women take a more natural approach to beauty.
Ramya, a young woman from Bangalore, India, says some use homemade remedies to beautify themselves. On her wedding day, an Indian bride may use a mixture of turmeric, lemon and honey on her skin to achieve a glowing complexion.

Ramya says brides also wear special clothing and jewelry, including a forehead chain, on their special days. A dot of red powder on the face—known as a kumkum—is also thought to make a woman more attractive.

Around the world, Indian women are known for their beautiful skin and hair, and in the United States, women go to great lengths to achieve the same thick, shiny locks. To help American women achieve this look, salons offer hair extensions and weaves, a common practice that's grown into a multibillion-dollar business. What most women don't know is that their weaves may be coming from a sacred place.

More than 1,000 tons of human hair are imported into the United States and used to create extensions and weaves, much comes from India.
For the past eight years, Angie has been wearing extensions, but she says she's never thought about where the hair originates. Mara says, "Some of the best quality and most desirable hair comes from India."

Where do they get all these long locks? Some of it originates at the Venkateswara Temple in southern India, one of Hinduism's holiest sites. Many of the worshipers who visit this temple leave a special offering for Lord Venkateswara—their hair. "It's part of a ritual called tonsuring, the cutting of hair for religious reasons," Mara says. "Every day, thousands of Hindus sit before the temple barbers to offer their hair and please the God."

Annually, Mara says the temple earns about $18 million selling this hair to exporters. "As soon as the hair leaves the devotee's head, it starts the journey to someone else's," she says.New York City stylist Jay Ferrara uses "temple hair" in his extensions. "When this hair comes from India, it's beautiful," he says. For short extensions, Jay says he charges clients $2,000, and if you want longer hair, it will cost you as much as $4,000.

Mara says temple hair accounts for just 25 percent of the Indian hair market. The rest comes from women who collect the hair that comes out naturally and sell it. "It's called the dead hair market," Mara says. "You may have 60 women in one village who pool their hair together, and they'll sell it for $2. So they're getting pennies for this."

The beauty of tattoo.
Thousands of miles away from the border of Burma and Thailand, the Maori people of New Zealand practice a sacred beauty ritual—tattooing.

These indigenous people, who are of Polynesian descent, believe women are more attractive when their lips and chins are tattooed. A woman with full, blue lips is considered the most beautiful and desirable.

In Ethiopia, beauty is skin deep.
For the women of the Karo tribe in southern Ethiopia, beauty is literally skin deep. During childhood, girls allow their elders to cut scars onto their stomachs.

"The main reason for my scars is to attract a male that will give me joy, because I will be beautiful and hopefully get a husband," says one girl during her Taboo interview.

Once a Karo girl has received the last of her scars, she's allowed to marry and have children.

In the Middle Eastern country Oman, women turn to nature as their source of beauty.
Hashima, an Omani, says women like to put dried rose petals into boiling water and rinse their hair with it. "This gives the hair a very fine smell of a rose," she says. Omanis even have an all-natural approach to dental hygiene. "The miswak stick is brushed on the teeth like a toothbrush," Hashima says. "It reacts with the human spit and gives an orange color to the lips."

Hashima says the more color a fabric or piece of jewelry has, the more beautiful it is. However, the brightly colored dresses are often covered by a cloaklike wrap called an abaya. "This is to cover up the woman's body, and it covers also if you had a bad hair day," she says. While it's not mandatory in Oman, some women also wear a burqa, which veils the face. "It's used as a sign of beauty," she says. "It's supposed to make your eyes look really sexy."

Brazilians have long been regarded for their beauty, but some say achieving perfection has become a national obsession.
Ilana Rehavia, a BBC radio reporter and native Brazilian, has an inside perspective. "Growing up in Brazil, I used to feel pretty inadequate about the way I looked and about my body," she says. "Being such close proximity with the beach also didn't help." The average weight of a Brazilian woman is 110–125 pounds—and the pressure to be thin leads many people to take extreme measures. "Brazil is the biggest consumer of diet pills in the world," Ilana says. Brazilians also love to be fit—and it shows.

For women who can't achieve their ideal body naturally, Ilana says plastic surgery is becoming more and more common. "Brazil has about three or four magazines specialized only in plastic surgery," she says. The country is now second only to the United States in the number of plastic surgeries performed. "Before, it used to be all about the butt," Ilana says. "Now, it seems Brazilian girls are concentrating a lot more on having really big breasts."

Although many Brazilians have dark, wavy hair, Ilana says the new trend is blonde, straight hair. "People will go to great lengths to highlight their hair and have permanent straightening," she says.

Women wrap fabric around their bodies to wrap their bellies.
Irma lives in Jakarta, Indonesia, and says women in her country have a solution to getting their shape back after giving birth. She says women will wrap fabric called a stagen, which is 65 feet long, around the body to bind the women's belly. "It is a bit painful, but I think what it does is to give the pressure to our womb to get back into the normal size," Irma says.

"The nose job capital of the world"?
Indeed. Can you guess which country it is? It's not image-conscious Brazil or even the United States. It's Iran—the conservative Muslim country with seemingly endless contradictions. In a place where women cover most of their bodies, business is booming for plastic surgeons—they're performing an estimated 60,000 nose jobs a year. While plastic surgery is kept hush-hush in many places, Iranian women like Naeimeh and Sahar are eager to talk openly about the procedure. "Here in Iran, women do have to cover their hair and the most beautiful part of their body," Naeimeh says. "They have to reveal their beauty out from a place which everybody can observe, which is the face."

Bigger is better!
In the United States and many countries around the world, thin is the standard when it comes to beauty. But in a West African country halfway around the world, bigger is definitely better. Mauritania is a desert oasis that sits on the northwest coast of Africa. Here, a woman's beauty is revered—but thin isn't in. In Mauritania, plump is sexy!

While it might sound nice to throw dieting out the window, it's not all pleasant. For generations, young girls were subjected to the practice of gavage—or force feeding—in order to fatten them up and make them more desirable. In Mauritania, many say the more you weigh, the better chances of you have of finding a husband.

Although force feeding is now frowned upon by the government, old habits die hard in remote areas of the country. Some young girls spend hours each day in the stifling heat, forced to stuff themselves with couscous and high-fat camel's milk. Vomiting only leads to another helping of food.Even in Mauritania's more progressive cities, some women are willing to do anything for a fuller figure, including buying black-market drugs meant for animals.

Houda, a woman who grew up in Mauritania, says her father is a doctor who sees the negative effects of the country's big idea of beauty. "My father deals every day with women with serious, serious health issues such as high blood pressure," she says. Even though the problems associated with obesity, like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes are prevalent, Houda says that doesn't deter women from wanting a big body. "When you're skinny, you're even considered as sick or there's something wrong with you," she says. "Women that are fat, they're really happy."

Thick ankles, plump arms and a big butt are considered the most beautiful parts of a woman, Houda says. And don't worry if you have a few stretch marks—the men in Mauritania love 'em!Not only are extra pounds considered sexy—Houda says being divorced will win you extra points with the men too! "In Mauritania, you just get divorced and there's a feast, a party—and the more you get divorced, the more you're seductive," Houda says. "That means that a lot of men want to be with you."

France ~ for Parisians, slender is sexy.
Stephanie grew up in St. Pierre and Miquelon, a French island off the coast of Canada and now lives in Paris. "I've fortunately lost a bit of weight recently, but I used to have a hard time finding clothing in Paris stores because they go up to size 12," she says.

Stephanie says the goal of most Parisian women is to look effortlessly chic. "For French women, being beautiful is all about being elegant but in a natural, very subtle way." But how do French women get this je nais se quoi? "French women don't like to admit it, but, in fact, they spend a lot of time and money on beauty products for every part of their body," Stephanie says.

Watch Stephanie's report on Parisian sex appeal.

Once the body is perfectly moisturized and the complexion is flawless, Stephanie says the next step to sexiness is lingerie. "It's all about feeling good from the inside," she says. In France, Stephanie says women look forward to getting older—turning 60 is sexy! At the same time, Stephanie says women keep up appearances and stay slim, trim and well groomed as they age. "French women feel entitled to be sexy and desirable all along their lives," she says. "It's a lot of work, but they feel entitled to it."

source:; From The Oprah Winfrey Show "Beauty Secrets from Around the World © 2009 Harpo Productions, Inc.
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