Dear Answer Angel Ellen: You've explained BB cream, thanks! Now I'm seeing CC cream. What is it?
— Peggy Ann
Dear Peggy Ann: After testing all those BB creams (aka beauty balms), I decided that BB cream is really just a new name for tinted moisturizer. You're seeing CC creams because cosmetics companies are always putting out new products hoping you'll spend more dough on the latest miracle beauty aid. (How else to explain the 10,000 different mascaras?) So, as the glow of BBs fades, you'll be seeing more about CCs, which stands for color correction. These purport to do what the BB creams do plus even out your skin tone, whatever that means. I just finished testing five CCs available at drugstores, and here's what I found: They're just tinted moisturizers too. I liked BB creams, and I like the CCs, but I sure couldn't tell the difference between the two (and I can't wait for the inevitable DDs).
In my CC test, those with the most coverage (although not as heavy as regular foundation) were Almay (Smart Shade, $9.99/ounce) and Yes to Grapefruit ($15.99/1.7 ounces). L'Oreal (Visible Lift, $12.99/ounce) was barely detectable and definitely did not do any visible lifting. Coverage by Physicians Formula (Organic Wear, $14.99/1.2 ounces) and Olay ($19.54/ 1.7 ounces) was in the middle range and gave a slight glow. None of them evened out or color-corrected my skin tone, and I'm not sure I'd want them to anyhow. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Olay.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: My eyebrows are getting thinner and sparser. What is the best way to camouflage this? What is the best eyebrow brush/pencil?
Dear Skimpy: Over the years, I've tried an array of brow kits that come with complicated instructions, stencils, tools, various powders to blend and blah blah blah. Some are better than others, but the best solution I've found — this is going to sound weird but I swear by it — is a Maybelline blond eyebrow pencil, the one that looks like a real pencil (red on the outside). Official name: Maybelline Expert Wear Twin Brow & Eye Pencils. I'm not blond (at least not naturally) but the blond color (really, a very light brown) lets you go overboard or make mistakes without looking like a cartoon character (or Groucho Marx). If you don't believe me, do just one eyebrow and then compare in the mirror. (Use light feathery strokes for best results.) If blond doesn't do the trick, you can always go one shade darker until you find what's right for you. It's only $3.99 or so for a two-pack at the drugstore. As for the best brush to keep your eyebrows going in the right direction? You can't beat a toothbrush.
And speaking of eyebrows …
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Have you ever done a comparison test on eyebrow tweezers? I keep trying different brands, and they keep not gripping the hairs.
Dear J.: I'm sticking with Tweezerman (tweezerman.com), and I especially love the free sharpening pledge, which I've used more than once when the tweezers lost their oomph. (That's how I justify the initial $20-plus tweezer cost.) I tested the Revlon Spotlight tweezers with a small LED light built in. The light was great, but the tweezers were only so-so.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: My granddaughter was so excited when her new online-purchased sweatshirt arrived in the mail, she attacked the package with scissors, resulting in four small (inch-long) slices in the fabric. How can I mend these to make them less noticeable?
— Sad Grammy
Dear Sad Grammy: Don't you hate it when the best you can say about something is that it provided a good life lesson? Your granddaughter now knows she must be extremely careful when opening a package with a sharp object — especially when it's easily damaged clothing! But that's slender consolation to either of you — particularly the girl so eager to wear that new sweatshirt. Stitching the slashes closed will only call attention to them. I'd head for a fabric store and buy an iron-on patch as close as possible to the color of the shirt. Cut it into small pieces that cover the slashes well. Turn the sweatshirt inside out and then iron on so the patches are on the inside. It won't be perfect but it could be good enough.
JoAnn writes, "You really missed the mark" on the question about what the boss should give her employees when a gift is called for. (The Angel suggested something festive from a museum store.) "There is not one working woman or man out there who needs or wants a quirky, whimsical doodad even from a museum store. That boss should take the employees out to lunch and send them home early, or if she must give a physical gift make it edible and easily regiftable in case they are allergic, on a diet or not a foodie.
"And none of us should think a gift card would ever be amiss — as long as the boss includes a heartfelt note about the joy of working with the employee and a mention of why this particular gift card seemed perfect. 'I know I'm guilty of feeding your coffee habit, but enjoy!' 'This shop's got so many interesting things that remind me of you.' Or, 'I thought this great deli — or wine shop or candy store — would suit your holiday entertaining plans.' Just please don't add to the dust-catching 'stuff' in our lives."
Dear JoAnn: Lunch, knocking off early, a note of appreciation with a gift card? Great ideas all. How about use-any-time movie tickets? I agree that we don't need more dust-catchers in our lives. And that goes for gifts to friends and relatives too.
Why can't women clean out their dressing room after trying on clothes at a store? Do these women realize that they need to make the area presentable for the next customer? It is difficult enough to find a clerk to take your money, let alone expect someone to clean a dressing room because you are too lazy to put the clothes back on the hanger. And why would I want to buy clothes that have been lying on the floor? Same thing goes for the health club — pick up your wet towels and put them in the bin. Someone isn't waiting to pick up after you.
Shop, drop, then get help
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