July Beauty Buzz

Photographer: John Aquino

Status-conscious consumers are increasingly wary of potentially harmful chemicals, so a host of luxe beauty brands are being reformulated to get rid of such ingredients. Renata Helfman, owner of green-friendly Los Angeles cosmetics shop Vert, has noticed the trend in everything from hair care to makeup. “I love Leonor Greyl, but its most popular shampoos contained sodium lauryl sulfate,” she says, referring to the lathering agent that can irritate skin. “I was going to pull the line, but they promised me they were taking the SLS out, and five months later an SLS-free shipment arrived.” Fellow French brands Nuxe and Caudalie have also tweaked their recipes, as has Tarte cosmetics, and Clark’s Botanicals finished reformulating its entire line last year to get rid of parabens and petroleums. “It’s not an easy task,” says Helfman of changing established potions. “It takes time, and it takes the right green chemist to do it.” Now there’s a profession with a bright future.

Photographer: John Aquino

Leave it to Apothia to make the mundane act of hand washing feel glamorous. The L.A. beauty boutique’s new line of hand and body washes comes in eight divine scents, from the tomato-leaf-and-cilantro-spiked Verde to the grassy, Casablanca lily–infused Casa. And thanks to the additions of moisturizing almond protein, aloe vera and vitamin E, they might just cut down on your hand cream consumption.

Photographer: John Aquino

Inventive makeup packaging (think lip gloss in charm bracelets) is often more gimmicky than functional. The kooky wand of Givenchy’s new Phenomen’Eyes mascara, however, is an exception. The applicator, which features a bristly ball instead of a barrel-shaped brush, is designed to reach lashes from all sides. Nicolas Degennes, Givenchy Le Makeup’s artistic director, dreamed up the product, which launches in August, after a bit of tinkering. “I started cutting mascara wands down to these tiny bits and I saw how well I could get to each lash,” he says.

Photographer: John Aquino

Now checking in at New York hotels: big-name salons. At the newly renovated Plaza in June, Warren-Tricomi is set to open a massive emporium featuring massaging shampoo chairs, mirrors that double as TV screens and a VIP room with a separate entrance. On the Lower East Side, Ricardo Rojas—an alum of Oribe and Odile Gilbert fresh off an eight-year stint as Donatella Versace’s personal coiffeur—will open shop at the Hotel on Rivington, also in June. The place is small, with just eight chairs, but Rojas will be working overtime, snipping until 1 a.m. on weekends. Expect a very different vibe on the Upper East Side, where Frédéric Fekkai at the Mark Hotel, the posh stylist’s eighth location, is set to open in the fall.

Photographer: John Aquino

Fashion fans flock to Nordstrom’s annual Anniversary Sale, which will run from July 18 to August 3 this year, in search of discounts on fall clothes. Beauty obsessives, however, come with a different mission. Every year the store partners with top cosmetics brands to create limited-edition products for the occasion. “We scour the globe to find the most unique items,” says Nordstrom’s national beauty director, Debbi Hartley-Triesch, who adds that the store will also be offering Chanel, Dior and Clinique goodies formerly only available overseas. The items aren’t marked down, but that doesn’t stop shoppers from snatching them up; most sell out before sale’s end. Our prediction for this summer’s most coveted items: MAC eye shadow and lip compacts, which, thanks to their bright nylon coverings, stand out in any makeup bag.