Beauty Gizmos That Really Work
So why would you want a(n)...
Peeka-bu Intimate Grooming Mirror
Flexible Mirror?
If you take a topiary approach to your personal grooming (and by that we mean very scrupulous trimming), the new Peeka-bu Intimate Grooming Mirror ($25; can be useful—you get a good view with both hands free. Attached to a flexible arm that suctions onto a wall (or floor or shower door), it lets you examine things you otherwise couldn't (unless your yoga practice has really taken off). In the manufacturer's words, the mirror keeps you "in command of your personal terrain." But if you're not into landscaping, this contraption is destined to become a dust-collector. — Jenny Bailly
Lancome Oscillation Powderfoundation
Vibrating Foundation?
You've probably heard about vibrating mascaras—now your foundation can pulsate, too. The new Lancôme Ôscillation Powderfoundation ($48;, a loose mineral powder, has a vibrating applicator built into its cap. Just shake the jar to release the powder, remove the applicator, hold the sponge to your skin, and push the button on the side to trigger the vibrations. Lancôme claims the gentle pulses break the powder into less perceptible, "micronized" particles. I can't say for sure that the vibrations do anything but feel strangely soothing; I can say that my skin looked amazing after I used this stuff. — Jenny Bailly
Organic perfume
Organic Fragrance?
You'd want one for the same reason you would want any fragrance: You love the way it smells. But organic perfume has added appeal if you prefer subtler, more fleeting scents. Fragrances made from ingredients sourced from nature generally don't last as long on the skin as their synthetic counterparts, which are formulated from scent molecules engineered in a lab (USDA-certified perfumes are at least 95 percent organic; the Ecocert seal means that a product is a minimum of 95 percent natural and 10 percent organic). "The synthetic perfume industry is very focused on creating the luxury of long-lasting scent—but sometimes an ephemeral pleasure is more powerful," says Yael Alkalay, a perfumer and founder of Red Flower, which makes three organic fragrances. "Natural perfumes give you the opportunity to refresh scents during the day." Another benefit of organic fragrance: It doesn't contain phthalates, chemicals found in everything from perfume to plastic food containers to tap water. The FDA has not found definitive evidence that phthalates, in the trace amounts used in cosmetics, pose a safety risk, but because numerous studies have indicated that exposure could disrupt the body's endocrine system, some people choose to avoid these chemicals. An organic seal doesn't guarantee that a perfume won't cause allergies, though. "Many natural substances, such as rose oil, can cause some of the worst fragrance allergies," says New York City dermatologist Anne Chapas, MD. And there are some folks who think organic, when it comes to fragrance, is mostly a marketing gimmick. "Using only natural ingredients in a fragrance is a denial of some of perfume-making's great raw materials," says Chandler Burr, New York Times perfume critic and author of The Perfect Scent. "It's the equivalent of an architect refusing to use advanced carbon fibers and earthquake-resistant glass in favor of mud and straw and sticks. You can do it—and the results might be interesting—but there's no legitimate scientific reason for it." — Jenny Bailly
Tweezerman Zip File
Pop-Up File?
If you like your umbrella to pop open at the touch of a button, and your pepper mill to grind automatically when turned upside down, you'll love the way the new Tweezerman Zip File ($5.50; slides out of its handy plastic case—which then provides the perfect grip for filing. Even better: No more funky emery boards floating around in the bottom of your bag, collecting tissue fuzz. — Kate Sandoval
Cargo expiration date lip gloss
Lip Gloss with an Expiration Date?
If you're the kind of woman whose purses (and desk and bathroom) are littered with lip glosses, you probably don't remember how long they've been around—and you might want to. Every time you let air into a lip gloss tube and double-dip the wand (contaminating the formula with saliva), you create an environment in which bacteria can thrive; toxicologist Joe DiNardo suggests tossing gloss after six months (when preservatives have likely degraded). You could date every tube with a Sharpie, or consider Cargo's new glosses: Before using one for the first time, you push a plastic strip into the cap. At nine months, the strip will have turned completely red, indicating that you should chuck it. (Cargo found that its preservatives remain stable for nine months.) It's an easy way to know when your gloss could be giving you more than a dose of shine.

Kate Sandoval
Hand-Shaped Diffuser?
This bright green claw sat on my desk for weeks, attracting the curious attention of co-workers, who thought of lots of great uses for it (back scratcher, necklace holder, door knocker). Eventually, I got curious enough to want to know if it actually worked as a hair diffuser. (If you don't know what a diffuser is, you probably don't have curly hair—it turns a blow-dryer's dense rush of air into a light breeze, which preserves curls and reduces frizz.) Most diffusers are bowl shaped; this one claims superiority because it's molded to fit against your head, so its "fingers" can reach into your hair, drying the bottom and top layers at the same time. I clamped the wacky-looking thing onto my dryer (it snapped on easily with the included adapter); the instruction pamphlet directed me to hold the diffuser on the side of my head, close to my scalp, for two minutes. (If you tilt your head, the fingers can reach in more easily.) I did the other side, then the front—with the diffuser sitting like a hat, I slowly moved it right and left for a couple of minutes. Finally, I used the hand to gently scoop up the ends of my hair, encouraging the curl. The whole process felt a little bizarre—it was like wielding a prosthetic—and took some time (about 15 minutes), but when I was done, my hair was frizz-free and perfectly wavy. Will you forgive me if I say I think it deserves a big hand?

DevaFuser; $35;

Kate Sandoval
L'Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Technology
Tubing Mascara?
Lengthening, extending, volumizing, thickening...tubing? There's a fresh term in the mascara-hype lexicon. More and more mascaras claim to enhance lashes by forming tiny tubes around every lash. The concept sounded to us like a bit of magical thinking, but according to independent cosmetic chemist Yoram Fishman, there really is something different about "tubing" mascaras. "Most mascaras are oil- or wax-based; they're essentially paints. These formulas are water-based and contain polymers that form a solid film around each lash once the product dries," he said. When we tried them (a whole bunch of them: Blinc, L'Oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Technology, VMV Hypoallergenics Ooh-La-Lash, Too Faced Lash Injection, Prestige Lash Matrix, Stila Convertible Mascara), we discovered the appeal. Tubing mascaras refuse to smear, smudge, or flake. The formulas dissolve in warm water; just a few splashes and those little tubes slip right off—no remover, rubbing, or raccoon circles of residue.

Jenny Bailly
Estee Lauder TurboLash All Effects Motion Mascara and Lancome Oscillation
Vibrating Mascara?
Recently, when a couple of suspicious-looking vibrating devices were delivered to our desks, we thought there had been a mistake. (Were they meant for the Cosmo offices upstairs?) After a little surreptitious investigating, we realized that the things were mascaras. Both Estée Lauder TurboLash All Effects Motion Mascara ($32, right) and Lancôme Oscillation ($34, left) are powered by tiny batteries contained in their caps. The Estée Lauder wand starts softly trembling as soon as the cap is unscrewed (and turns off again when it's twisted back on); Lancôme's has a button on the side that lets you control when it vibrates. The pulsating motion of these wands is supposed to eliminate clumps and coat each lash all the way around for more fullness. "Oh, sure," we thought. But after testing the mascaras for a week, we found that in three strokes, they give us the same lush lashes that usually take a couple of carefully applied coats to achieve. And now we can't stop buzzing about it.

Jenny Bailly
Kinerase Whitening Pen and Erno Laszlo Whitening Pen
Whitening Pen for Your Face?
If you'd like to see your age spots do a slow fade, these mess-free pens were made for you. They contain retinol or naturally derived extracts that can work to lighten hyperpigmentation. Apply the serum to the spot twice a day; you should see an effect after a couple of months. If patience isn't your thing, a dermatologist can prescribe a topical cream (like Tri-Luma) that contains hydroquinone. Used once a day, it will erase the spot in a few weeks.

Kate Sandoval
Evian Brumisateur
Water Complexion Mist?
There are a few reasons: If your liquid foundation tends to get cakey by afternoon, a spritz of water lets you smooth it without adding more, says makeup artist Matthew Nigara. Or, if you're a mineral makeup convert, you'll see that a post-application mist turns its matte finish more luminous. You can also use a mist before applying moisturizer, which is absorbed more readily into damp skin. Of course, you can get the same effect by filling a spray bottle with (free) tap water. But if you're the type who springs for two-ply toilet paper and fancy, prewashed lettuce, you might enjoy the luxury of a sleek, travel-ready can (like Evian Brumisateur, $10).

Kate Sandoval
Benefit D'Finer D'Liner
Clear Lip Liner?
When a makeup artist suggested recently that we try an "invisible" lip pencil, we wondered whether she'd gone a little light in her (Gucci) loafers. But she hadn't: Clear lip liner can keep the contour of your lipstick defined without looking harsh or artificial, says Cristina Bartolucci, the cofounder and creative director for DuWop Cosmetics. Apply the liner before your lipstick and you create a physical barrier that blocks the color from seeping into those teeny vertical lines around the lips, so your color stays neat. And because clear liner is undetectable, you'll never worry about having a ring around your mouth once your lipstick fades.

Ensure that your lipstick stays put with Benefit D'Finer D'Liner ($18).

Jessica Matlin
Guerlain Météorites
Box of Meteorites?
If you're entranced by Guerlain's pastel-colored and sweetly scented Météorites, we understand—so were we. But we weren't quite sure what to do with them: Crush them, toss them in the bath, or serve them to company? A quick read of the accompanying directions revealed that buffing a powder brush over the multicolored spheres and sweeping it across your complexion would make your skin look brighter. The pinkish powder imparts a healthy glow, but because the shade isn't nearly as rosy as blush, you can apply it all over (even on your nose) without looking flushed. The golden pearls add luminosity without sparkle, and the mint green spheres tone down ruddiness.

Jessica Matlin
Scalp scrub
Scalp Scrub?
Scalp scrubs are gel-like exfoliators designed to purge the scalp and hair of product buildup and dead skin cells, leaving hair looking refreshed. If you're a scrub junkie and you love to rub-a-dub-dub, you're probably intrigued. But wait. "Scrubs can irritate the scalp's delicate skin—especially if you have dandruff—and the scrub's particles can break the hair," says Philip Kingsley, a New York City trichologist (hair specialist). Any shampoo will clean your hair and scalp effectively, says Christopher Mackin, a resident trichologist at New York City's Gil Ferrer Salon. But if you think you need a power wash, use a formula containing eucalyptus, because it's an excellent clarifier, he says. And while you're shampooing, massage your scalp with your fingertips, which increases blood flow (promoting healthy hair growth) and lifts dirt and oils off the scalp.

Jessica Matlin
Gray nail polish
Gray Nail Polish?
While gray—and navy—are considered great, classic colors, "I can't remember the last time gray or navy nail polish was a trend," says Leatrice Eiseman, author of More Alive with Color and executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. So why are those shades appearing now? "We're in a time of big changes in the world, and [basics like] gray represent stability. Gray nail polish also suggests uniqueness; wearing it, you're making a statement about being a bit offbeat," says Eiseman.

Jessica Matlin 

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