Make your lips a sweet appetizer with Bite Beauty

Trying out a new lipstick today — my first from Bite Beauty’s new Amuse Bouche line. Did you know that ‘bouche’ is French for lips? Or that an ‘amuse bouche’ is a small appetizer? I quite like thinking of my lips as an appetizer for my man!

Anyway, the color I selected is Soufflé, a marshmallow pink. It’s a bit lighter than I expected and paler than my usual shades, but I quite like it. I think it will look even better if I get a little color in my cheeks this summer. Or with a good bronzer.

Anyway, the formula is matte, but it doesn’t feel as drying as many of the mattes in my collection. Wearability is good — not as long as a liquid lipstick but much longer than a gloss or satin. As you know, the creamier and glowier the lipstick, the shorter the time between applications. I’m not much for reapplying my makeup during the day, so I gravitate toward apply-and-go mattes.

Because I chose one of Amuse Bouche’s paler shades, it wasn’t completely opaque in one swipe. I had to apply two coats because my natural lip shade is darker than the lippie. Once in place, it was very comfortable and non-drying, but I’d suggest exfoliating and moisturizing before applying.

Bite’s Amuse Bouche line ($26 per tube) is available from Sephora in 34 wide-ranging shades. Speaking of Sephora, don’t forget that the spring Beauty Insider sale is going on. VIB Rouge members receive 15 percent off their in-store and online purchases with the code ROUGENOTE until April 13. VIB members receive the same discount with the code VIBNOTE. For Beauty Insiders, the discount is 10 percent until from April 9 though April 12 with the code BINOTE.

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Balm cleansers: A sensual experience 

Let’s pause for a moment to sing the praises of cleansing balms. What, exactly, are they? They’re thick, rich cleansers packed with oil and emollients that melt when they come into contact with skin. They remove dirt and makeup without stripping skin of its moisture and also latch onto and remove excess sebum — the icky stuff that causes blackheads, blemishes and enlarged pores.

A lot of people worry about the wisdom of using oil-based cleansers, fearing they will cause oily skin to become more oily. Actually, the opposite is true: Using cleansers that are too drying causes skin to produce more oil. This results in larger pores and increased acne.

Balm cleansers are applied to dry skin and massaged with the fingers. Don’t rush the process, or you’ll miss a fantastic sensation: As the oils in the balm begin to melt, you’ll be left with a thick, warm concoction that feels amazing. Take time to give your face a sensual massage that improves circulation as you cleanse. Once you’ve finished your mini-spa experience, wash away the balm with a wet, warm — not hot — washcloth or muslin cloth.

I think by now you’re aware that I’m a big fan of cleansing balms. Since that’s established, here are my favorites:

  • Sunday Riley’s Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm — This is a soft blue balm-to-milk cleanser. Here’s the company’s description: “Using gentle, clean-rinsing, sugar-based cleansers, it moisturizes with cocoa butter and mimosa flower wax while soothing with deep-blue, azulene-rich, essential oils of blue tansy and German chamomile. Vanilla and sweet orange essential oils help to relax the mind for a tranquil, spa-like experience. It rinses clean effortlessly while thoroughly removing makeup and gently purifying the skin.”
  • Jordan Samuel Skin Plié Treatment Cleanser — This is a lovely gel-to-oil cleanser. The company says it uses “olive, jojoba, and grapeseed oils to remove every trace of makeup, while sugarcane, apple and willow bark extracts provide a gentle exfoliation to leave the skin hydrated, soft and absolutely pristine.”

Many women view their facial cleansing ritual as something to get done in a hurry. By adjusting their thinking to view it as a pleasure, they’ll enjoy the process and even look forward to it. Cleansing balms can help: There’s no way around it; the warm, silky slippery sensation they produce is almost like an orgasm for the face!

Won’t you let me take you on a sea cruise? 

Well, hello, my friends. I’ve just returned from a relaxing, fun-filled cruise to the Bahamas — a girls’ trip with my mother, sister and daughter. We had a super time: We swam with dolphins, sat in the sun and made some great memories.

As usual, I overpacked. I wore about two-thirds of the clothes I took along and less than half of the makeup products. That’s OK, though, because my husband and I are headed for Jamaica in a few weeks. I’ll wear the apparel that went unworn on the cruise and pare down my makeup bag to include just what I used in Nassau and Freeport. Since many of you are planning fun-in-the-sun getaways, I thought I’d share what made the cut:

  • SunBum products: I always burn, never tan so I must be very cautious about protecting my skin. I’m a big fan of SunBum products and my faith was rewarded on the cruise. I burned only on my back, and that was my fault because I neglected to reapply my sunscreen as I should have. I use SunBum’s SPF 50 spray and keep my lips protected with the company’s pomegranate lip balm in SPF 30. I once burned my lips on a trip to Myrtle Beach and it was excruciating. My friends Kelly and Nikki swear that burning your lips can cause cold sores, even if you’ve never had one before.  I’ve still never had a cold sore, so I don’t know if they’re right or not!
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen: I use the SPF 70 version on my face. My cheeks and nose didn’t burn during the cruise and my face didn’t break out, so I’ll use it again.
  • Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum: I serendipitously found a generously sized sample of this light-coverage foundation with SPF 30 in my sample drawer while packing. The minimal coverage was just the thing for a cruise.
  • Effaclar BB Blur: I find this BB cream that blurs imperfections perfect for “no-makeup makeup” days. Bonus: It contains SPF 20.
  • MAC Eyeshadow Palette in Cool Neutral: This 15-shadow palette featuring cool tones was all I needed for a variety of makeup looks. For those who love warm tones, there’s a warm-tone palette also.
  • Too Faced Love Flush Long-Lasting 16-Hour Blush Wardrobe: Six pretty blush shades that stay put? Enough said.
  • Benefit They’re Real Mascara: This is my ride-or-die mascara because it lengthens, volumizes and stays put until I take it off.
  • Best Damn Beauty Best Damn Lip Mask: My lips love this quenching, moisturizing, softening mask with its pale pink tint. It doesn’t purport to plump, but I swear it does make my lips look fuller.
  • Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder: This just-add-water cleansing powder is perfectly portable and great for brightening and exfoliating.
  • Hand sanitizer: There are hand-sanitizer stations located throughout cruise ships. If you’re out at sea, chase away germs by availing yourself of them and take a small bottle of your own. In this case, more is more: Germs spread to cruise passengers and crew members at the speed of light. My sister and I would have spent more time at our ship’s casino if we hadn’t learned there was an onboard epidemic of strep throat. We decided handling chips and cards wasn’t worth the risk. That’s probably a good thing — I finished a winner, up $12!

A note about a previous blog: Thanks to all of you who contacted me here and through Instagram in response to a recent message about handling the end of a relationship. I heard from people who were estranged from friends, boyfriends, sisters-in-law, parents and adult children, and did my best to thoughtfully respond. I deleted the column because upon reflection I want to limit Makeup Plus 50 to more upbeat topics such as product reviews, recommendations and ideas. To the many who identified with that particular blog, know this: Your memories will someday be more sweet than bitter. In time, you’ll look back on the person and be glad they were a part of your life, no matter how briefly. I’ll leave you with this French proverb: “Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace.” – Ronda