Primers, once considered an extra step in the foundation-application process, are now fundamental to getting a smooth, flawless finish. They’re so popular, in fact, creams and liquids that fill in fine lines and wrinkles to properly prep skin for makeup are now a dime a dozen on retail counters, which make mind-blowing developments in the category few and far between these days—something that was not lost on Illamasqua. The British brand that appreciates a little shock and awe when it comes to product development (the unisex cosmetics line created “for your alter ego” already includes white foundation, green lipstick, and glow-in-the-dark nail lacquers galore) was looking to carve out a niche for itself in this growing share of the market, and managed to do just that with its new Hydra Veil. The result of actual consumer feedback that highlighted the fact that heavily pigmented foundations often appear cakey when applied to dehydrated skin, its unique gel texture is part moisturizer, part base, and all intrigue. The antioxidant-fueled formula comes with a little scooper that you actually need to help portion out a small amount of the buoyant jelly, which melts into your skin once it is spread over the face and neck. It hydrates on impact and can be applied under—or over—makeup; a light patting of Hydra Veil on the under-eye area is a clutch concealer-reactivator come 4 P.M.
Since launching Bite Beauty two years ago, entrepreneur Susanne Langmuir has had a string of successes. Her lipcentric lineup of crème lipsticks, rouge pots, matte pencils, and sheer balms—all formulated with food-grade ingredients, such as organic shea and fruit butters spiked with red-wine resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant—was picked up by Sephora, where it has been sold exclusively ever since. The range’s point of difference on the primping emporium’s increasingly crowded shelves is not just its green-leaning ethos, but its shockingly vivid color payoff; we’ve used all manner of all-natural lipsticks before, but none that deliver quite like Bite, which is a real passion project for Langmuir. “My favorite experience is when I am mixing and blending new and inspired color creations,” she says—an experience that will now be part of the public domain.
Starting tomorrow, the Toronto-based brand will officially open the doors to its first-ever pop-up shop in Soho, where customers can mix their own lip color and then watch as a troop of Bite professionals actually melt, pour, and package the customized bullet. “We wanted to create something that is totally new,” Langmuir explains of what will evolve into a permanent brick-and-mortar, on Thompson Street, come September. Designed in collaboration with the Austrian firm EOOS, the space is equipped with a center bar, “play stations,” where you can actually blend multiple different cream lip colors—a zinfandel red with a little white and some peach to create a warm rose, perhaps—before you choose a scent (current choices include a superfruit blend, cherry, peppermint, and lavender) and watch as trained technicians churn out your personalized product following a five-minute heating-and-cooling process. In today’s world of complicated ingredient labels and constant clamor over the hazardous chemicals that are readily put into cosmetics, it doesn’t get more transparent than that.
Bite Beauty, 174 Prince Street, NYC, open from 11 AM – 7 PM, Tuesday-Sunday; www.bitebeauty.com.
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments are the stuff of legend. With an ever-expanding shade range of the sugar-tinged balms that are spiked with plumping black-currant oil, antioxidant-rich grape-seed polyphenols, and vitamins A, C, and E to love, there’s a twist-up bullet for everyone (we’re partial to the dark nude Sugar Honey hue). But just when we thought the brand had exhausted the possibility of debuting new iterations of the old standby, it has surprised us with its Sugar Shine Lip Treatment. Billed as a shine-enhancer, rather than a gloss, the nourishing formula bolstered by cupuaçu and mango butters goes on velvety smooth, without any trace of stickiness—a real feat where lip lacquering is concerned. The familiar faintly citrus scent of the original balms is also present here, as is the signature blend of reparative oils, and while it currently comes in a single neutral sheer shade, we imagine Fresh founders Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg have plenty more plans in the works—maybe even a Sugar Honey Shine Lip Treatment, one hopes.
Aerin Lauder is a savvy businesswoman. Just look at the small empire she has managed to build out of her own eponymous line—in such a short amount of time, no less—following years of practice as a senior vice president and creative director at her family’s Estée Lauder companies. The Aerin brand now consists of shoes, jewelry, accessories, home goods, and, of course, beauty. For summer, Lauder is releasing her Seashell collection, which features a nude and pale pink palette that covers eyes, cheeks, lips, and, in an interesting turn of events, hair. As any veteran beachgoer knows, a little lotion or oil goes a long way toward nourishing a tan when applied after a day spent in the sand and surf. But it can also nourish your strands while you (safely) soak up some rays, according to Lauder, who devolped her new bronze-tinted Beach Cream to double as a deep-conditioning treatment. Activated by the sun’s heat, it can be applied post-ocean dip, and melts into parched locks to offset dryness—and even counteract frizz—while you listen to your iPod and read a gossip magazine. Although it’s typically overused, we’d say the term “beach-bag essential” works particularly well here.
Most New Yorkers—and Londoners, for that member—have likely gone through a phase of life during which time getting a Soho House membership has been a top priority. There was even a Sex and the City episode devoted to the subject, in which Samantha steals a member’s card, and assumes her identity, just to have access to the club’s famed rooftop pool in the Meatpacking District. But it’s not just those coveted, crystal blue waters that have made a trip to the Soho House such a hot commodity over the years: its in-house spa product range from British brand Cowshed has also been known to draw a crowd—and has, until now, only been available outside the U.K. at the members-only club. This month marks the end of that oversight. Through an exclusive partnership with Barney’s New York, Cowshed is bringing its natural, wildcrafted, and therapeutic bath, body, and home line to the upwardly mobile masses, along with the distinctive handcare and haircare offerings that are found in Soho Houses worldwide. Comprised of a series of six “moods”—or fragrance pairings—the Knackered Cow range boasts relaxing essences of lavender, eucalyptus, and chamomile; Moody Cow balances with hints of geranium, magnolia, and frankincense; Grumpy Cow is meant to uplift with notes of grapefruit, neroli, and linden blossom; Horny Cow has a seductive quality thanks to infusions of rose otto, sandalwood, and vanilla essential oils; Wild Cow invigorates with wafts of lemongrass, ginger, and rosemary; and Lazy Cow soothes the senses with jasmine, chamomile, and sandalwood. Each one comes in shower gel, body oil, body lotion, candle, and perfume roll-on form. Three cheers for equal-opportunity skin-slathering.