Worry Not, I Will Return

If you don't hear from me much over the next few days, fear not. I am off on an adult-only ski trip with my spouse and friends. We are driving today up to Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia, and while that sounds scary, it's not so bad. They do have nickel slots for the local lottery, which can be hours of entertainment for me.

And, of course, there is skiing. Which I'm not that good at, but what I lack in skill I usually make up for with enthusiasm.

You have a good chance of keeping up with me and my ski adventures over at my Tumblr blog, which is more personal and definitely more random. You never really know what I'm going to post over there.

Enjoy your weekend! Oh, and PS: look for Fashion Week 2009 reporting from me, because I am heading to NYC for the festivities!

Beauty Bubbles: Avoiding Makeup Meltdown

How to Avoid Makeup Meltdown

Pro tips on keeping a fresh face - all day long

Making makeup last all day doesn't have to be a high-maintenance hassle. Follow these tips from pro makeup artists Charlie Green and Molly Stern and your look, whether natural or dramatic, won't melt away before you finish showing it off.

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Beauty Bubbles: Top Body Washes

Top 21 Body Washes

Which shower gel was tops -- was it from Clinique? Neutrogena? Nope.

All body washes will get you clean, but TotalBeauty.com readers expect much more when they step into the shower. They want a product that leaves skin clean, soft and smelling great, and will even put them in a better mood. Sound impossible? It's not. In fact they found 21 washes that do just that.

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No. 21: Neutrogena Rainbath Shower & Bath Gel, $9.99

TotalBeauty.com average member rating: 9.1*

"This is a great addition to anyone's shower. I love it for shaving and my boyfriend loves it because it's not super feminine-smelling when he chooses to use it."

No. 20: Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Body Wash/Bubble Bath, $13

TotalBeauty.com average member rating: 9.2*

Why it's great: "I can't say enough about this product. I love the smell, it washes off well and leaves you smelling great!

No. 19: Suave Skin Therapy Body Wash, $3.69

TotalBeauty.com average member rating: 9.2*

Why it's great: "Not only does it smell great, but it's moisturizing and it sells at a terrific price! You can't ask for better then that."

Want to see what's number 1? Click here!

Product Review: Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer

It's hard to find people who have tried Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer. I've asked a lot of people I know, and even some of the sales associates at Sephora, and no one really has much experience with this line.

I picked this up because I had used up all my Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer and was looking to try out another line. I have the Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder and love it, but haven't ventured further into the HD line.

I'm glad I did! This is one amazing primer. Unlike other primers that I've tried, Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer has a consistency more like lotion than a silicone layer. However, it doesn't lay on the top of your skin like a lotion would, but immediately absorbs in and leaves behind a smooth matte finish. While it was developed to be used with the Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation, I've been using it with Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation with excellent results.

It is available in six different shades: neutral, which adds luminosity to all skin types; green, which minimizes redness; mauve, which counteracts sallow tones; caramel, which combats ashiness in medium to dark skin tones and warms golden tones; blue, which adds radiance to fair skin and helps cover minor imperfections; yellow, which lightens dark complexions; and pink, which brightens and reduces sallow tones.

I happened to choose the blue, because I wanted to see if it made any sort of difference in comparison to using a clear or natural primer. I can't say that it does, honestly. I think that the product would work just as well in neutral as it does in blue. In other words, I'd buy it no matter what, but I don't necessarily think I need the blue.

I'm rapidly heading towards loving the entire HD line by Make Up For Ever, which isn't surprising since I like more coverage than average. It does quite well living up to the promise of flawless looking skin. Plus, it gives me better photos!

Beauty Bubbles: Luxe vs. Less Skin Care

Luxe vs. Less Skin Care

Find out what products to splurge on and when to save your hard-earned dollars

You don't have to spend half your paycheck on skincare products to stay wrinkle and pimple-free. That said, slathering household condiments on your face to avoid paying for the good stuff isn't a smart idea either. We'll show you which bargain products really work and when you should kick in some extra cash.

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What's So Important About Exfoliation Anyway?

You know you're supposed to exfoliate, and you've heard me talking about how I do it every day, but what is it all about anyway? Why is it so important and what does it do for you?

Easy - it removes dead skin cells from the outer layer of the skin and brings the new skin cells to the surface. The benefits of removing the older, outer layer of skin are important - it keeps the skin clean, it unclogs pores, and exposes hair follicles. It can also help remove the dry, flaky dead skin that pops up in the colder months.

There are two different ways of exfoliating: mechanical and chemical. The mechanical method is the most common, where you physically remove the skin cells with an exfoliating cloth, sponge, brush, or loofah. Mechanical exfoliation can also be the addition of hard particles to a soap base, such as almond kernels, sugar, or salt. Chemical exfoliation is the addition of alpha and beta hydroxy acids to products. Alpha hydroxy acids are the most common, and they include glycolic acid, malic acid, and fruit enzymes. Beta hydroxy acids are essentially salicylic acid, which has been proven to penetrate through the layer of sebum that covers a pore. Beta hydroxy acids are most effective in treating acne and breakouts for that reason.

So, which should you choose? It depends on the type of skin that you have. Oily or acne-prone skin should choose a chemical method involving beta hydroxy acids along with a mechanical method. A favorite of mine is Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrubwhich combines all of these. Normal skin benefits from an occasional exfoliation, up to three times a week. My favorite is a more high-end line, but it's excellent: Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion In A Jar. A wonderful lemony smell and does a great job. Dry skin needs gentle exfoliation about once a week, but no more. Try Boscia Smoothing Facial Polishfor drier or sensitive skin.

Once you incorporate exfoliation into your skin care routine, you will see improvements in any type of skin. It's beneficial for all of us!

Photo by hd connelly on Flickr.

Golden Compact Awards: Vote for the Best in Beauty

Finally, everyone in the online beauty community (that means you!) gets a chance to vote on the best of this year's beauty. The Golden Compact Awards are the brainchild of several prominent beauty bloggers such as The Beauty of Life, The Daily Cookie, Beauty Blogging Junkie, and The Daily Obsession (all of which you can find in my blogroll to your right).

Head on over to The Golden Compact Awards and make your vote known! Oh, and you might get something cool for playing along, too. Little somethings such as Barbar Hair Tools, China Glaze, Givenchy, Herbal Essences, Orly, philosophy, Prescriptives, Tommy Hilfiger Fragrances, Vera Wang Fragrances and more.


Beauty Bubbles: Backstage Beauty Tips

Backstage Beauty Tips

Learn the 26 tricks we picked up from top hair, makeup and nail pros

We asked hair, makeup and nail artists backstage at Fashion Week for their best kept secrets. Read on to find tips that will help add a little runway glamour to your signature style.

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Total Beauty

About Me

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Meredith Edwards-Cornwall is the founder of online lifestyle websites RetrodivasBeauty.com and RetrodivasCloset.com. She is also known as @retrodiva on Twitter. She specializes in drinking large amounts of espresso, shopping, and enjoying social media. In all of her free time she writes for StyleBakeryMom.com twice a week, and does various other freelance gigs involving writing, designing, and generally being awesome. While she believes that success is indeed a job in New York, she currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband, two children, and two cats and has hung on to her day job.