Imagine all of QVC's beauty brand hosts in one room, and you've got the star-spangled madness that descended upon New York for the network's press preview of the beauty bounty scheduled to hit airwaves in coming months.
With notebook in hand and the back of our other hand ready to swatch, we braved the dizzying array of booths to find the most exciting launch news. Three hours later, we emerged victorious, albeit dehydrated with signs of information overload.
Public appearances by Leslie Blodgett are rare, so we immediately made a beeline for the Bare Escentuals CEO, who is often credited with bringing the mineral makeup revolution to the masses. Now that the brand has been bought by leading Japanese skincare brand Shiseido, we wondered what kind of changes the merger could bring about.
"I've been here since the beginning. I would have never agreed to do something that I didn't thing would be completely amazing for the company. When I went to visit Shiseido buildings in Tokyo, they were the size of Empire State Buildings, filled with just chemists! They bring incredible skin care expertise that will help with our base formulas, and our distribution to countries like Japan and China will grow," Blodgett told StyleList.
That influence is already beginning to show with the launch this month of Bare Escentuals' skincare line, which is based on a proprietary soil formula Shiseido labs helped perfect. Yet Blodgett says that devotees need not fear their favorites will disappear.
"You have to maintain who you are. Good people make good products, and our San Francisco roots won't change," said Blodgett.
We glimpsed "glow pads" that combine self-tanning with the brand's new active soil skincare complex, to be launched this fall. Creamy eyelid primers in a wide range of smoky and shimmering shades will debut in July, and a Good Morning Gorgeous set of seven eye pigments will be the brand's big QVC Special Value in May.
Next, a high-pitched and impossibly energized Mally Roncal pulled a group of editors over to demo her new Poreless Perfection Skin Finisher.
"It's like a translucent powder that smoothes your skin without that chalky finish, because you know what a disaster that can be on any woman of color, my loves!" said Roncal. "And if you call this a powder, I'mma find you and beat you down -- because there is nothing powdery about it. Just swirl the brush and blend over your face to finish."
With a beckon of her finger, Laura Geller insisted we come "tawk." The longtime New York-based makeup artist preached the gospel of the Waterproof I-Care Brightening Eye Pencil, which Geller says is a more savvy and subtle way of balancing out tired, red eyes than by using a frosty white pencil.
"It's banana-colored, but you can't see the yellow at all, because it has the effect of whitening your eyes. It works the same way as using yellow powder or concealer to balance out redness," said Geller.
Geller also divulged that she'll be launching her best-selling Spackle Primer in a soft-glow Ethereal Rose shade this spring, which is meant to add a healthy touch of vitality to the skin. Waterproof Eye Spackle will also debut a new deeper hue to complement women with darker complexions.
In recent seasons, beautyholics haven't been able to get enough of all the gizmos that claim to buff, exfoliate and zap skin into submission. This season, Bliss was on hand to demonstrate its latest: a Pore-Fector Gadget.
We watched with mixed feelings of fascination and disgust as the sonic vibrations of the scraper sloughed off a steady stream of dead skin cells off the back of our hands. (Similar to peeling off a Bioré pore strip -- yuck, but wow!) Once you're done with the exfoliation, you can select a micro-jet action that massages product deep into your skin. It's a pricey toy at $189, but does come with a polishing scrub and toner.
On the skincare front, Beverly Hills dermatologist and reality-TV star Will Kirby was on hand to extol the youth power of the QVC-exclusive Neutrogena Dermatologics line. "After sunscreen, the next best antiaging thing you can do is use a stabilized retinol every night. In my opinion, the strength of retinol found in these products is equal to the type of prescription strength retinol you'd find in a product like Renova or generic Tretinoin," said Kirby.
Meanwhile, Dr. Nicholas Perricone told us that one of the body's most potent antioxidants, glutathione, can be harnessed to target all visible signs of aging. Perricone MD's Acyl-Glutathione cream is formulated with a molecule that delivers the antioxidant to the skin, a claim that both the dermatologist and QVC are standing behind, in addition to the $175 price tag.
Rounding out the docs was the soft-spoken and seemingly ageless Dr. Adrienne Denese, whose Wrinkle Rx 76% Peptide Solution Concentrate is dominating a skincare market that usually only works with concentrations of six to 12 percent. "I'm not really popular right now with the other brands because I've raised the bar of consumer expectations with such a high percentage," Denese told StyleList.
At the heart of the neuropeptide complex is the recently discovered Snap-8, which targets muscles for firming and collagen-building results the dermatologist says are palpable.
The prize for most reality-defying before-and-after demo goes to Peter Thomas Roth's Instant FirmX Eye, which instantly tightens and lifts sagging skin with a veil-like blend of peptides and tighteners that last for several hours.
"You can leave it on for five to 10 minutes, and then remove it to enjoy the benefits for hours. You might be able to apply makeup over it, but you'd have to play around with that, test it out yourself," said Roth.
The eye treat sells in the Rewind the Clock Instant FirmX Face and Eye Duo, which retails for $36.
We know all the claims are dizzying, and the selection even more overwhelming -- but we think the best part about QVC's beauty selection is the 30-day money-back guarantee you receive on anything you buy, so that your wallet need not suffer should anything not live up to the hype.
And it's a good thing too, because we've almost been avalanche victims to the mountains of castaways lining our bathroom cabinets.
If you'd rather snag a steal at the drugstore, you'll be most interested in Salma Hayek's soon-to-launch CVS beauty line.