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  • Lord & Taylor15% off beauty (30% off other categories) with code FRIENDS, ends 10/23.
  • Neiman MarcusReceive up to a $500 gift card with your $200+ purchase with code OCTGC, ends 10/19.
  • Ulta20% off orders (including prestige) codes out, check email/snail mail, ends 10/27.

Open Letters, Vol. 002: Write Yours!

Open Letters

We’ve done this before (see volume one), and I loved how it went last year so let’s try it again! 🙂  An open letter is something that is written to a specific person/brand but is posted for the public to see, hence why it’s open.  Sometimes they’re uplifting, thank you-esque notes, other times they’re more critical.  Feel free to write as many as you want — I have always found writing cathartic, and you never know, you might find a reader or two who understands your perspective.

I’ve written a few myself…

Dear Guerlain,

Thank you for creating beautiful and creative powder products with design and quality in mind.  I love that most of your designs go all the way through, and they’re functional and pretty look at.  I’d also like to put in a request for more Rouge Gs but even more important than that is refills, please!  Those cases shouldn’t be tossed.  [Editor’s Note:  I actually requested the same thing last year…]

Dear Illamasqua,

How is your Nail Varnish formula so spectacular?  I absolutely love the formula and wear–like iron!  I hope you’re able to bring more of your color range to the states, because there are so many more colors and shades that we’d love to try without having to order overseas.

Dear MAC,

My mom used to tell me, “Quality over quantity.”  It’s not always a statement I follow well, though I do try to slow it down and remember to put quality first when I remember!  I’m not opposed to regular launches and more than just the expected seasonal collections.  I just think that with 40-50 collections per year, you might be stretching yourself thin.  Between the quick sell outs/low product stock, last minute launch changes, and some product flops this year, I’d love to see more edited collections that really bring us the best in trends and classics.

Dear Urban Decay,

You can do a really amazing palette, but sometimes it feels like too many repeats or more recently, too  many palettes one after another.   I loved the idea behind the 15th Anniversary Palette, where we saw new and exclusive shades–except that many of them were repeated in subsequent palettes released just a a month or two later.  I’d also like to say I am in the camp of the Book of Shadows palettes are just too big!  They feel bulky, heavy, and I’d rather have a slimmer palette like the Naked palette, which is more travel friendly.

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Happy 5th Anniversary!

Happy 5th Anniversary!

Temptalia started October 2006, which means it’s our five-year anniversary this month! 🙂  Happy 5th Anniversary!

To date, Temptalia has…

  • … received 607,182 comments
  • … published 10,456 posts
  • … written 2,788 review posts (keep in mind many cover more than one product or shade!)
  • … asked 1,452 questions through Temptalia Asks You.
  • … received 39.8 million visits, 122.8 million pageviews
  • … held over 300 contests.

I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for the incredible support you have shown Temptalia over the past five years! Each year, we do more and grow in ways that I never thought possible. I can’t say I started Temptalia and thought (or even hoped) that this is where I would be five years later. When Temptalia began, beauty blogs were still new and an unknown quantity, so the idea of reaching as many people as we do today was so impossible it wasn’t even a dream. Temptalia has made me believe in myself and my dreams, because I now know nothing is impossible–at least not with enough hard work and dedication.

To readers: There is no greater motivator than you. Your comments and questions help me figure out where we need to go, what I need to do, to make Temptalia a better place to visit. When I meet people in the industry and behind-the-scenes (like brands, PR, etc.), I always stress the importance of my readers as number one. I am thinking of all of you and the things you want (and do not want) every step of the way. I look forward to the next year and what unfolds over time. Each year is better than the last, and for that, I’m extremely thankful to my readers, who have played a major role in making Temptalia possible.

To my family and friends: I appreciate all of the amazing emotional support you have given me, because I know that without your guidance, patience, and understanding, I could not be the person I am today. My family is always driving me to think bigger, dream more lavishly, and pursue the paths that will help me accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself–and they’re always right there waiting to help me in any way that they can. Thank you for being my shoulder to cry on, rock to draw strength from, and roots to keep me grounded.  To have family and friends who understand why you cancel last minute because a new collection has arrived to swatch is unusual, but I do, and I love them even more for it.

Breast Cancer Awareness 2011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it’s a time not just for donating but raising awareness to those not yet affected by the devestating disease. I know that for many, mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, friends, and family have been lost, which is why early detection is key. The message of October, for me, has always been about spreading this knowledge. Anyone can get breast cancer–male or female–and chances of survival are greatly improved if it is detected early.   Make sure you know your risk factors, the ones you can’t change but also the ones you can (like lifestyle behaviors).

Get Tested

  • Mammogram | This is an x-ray and can detect cancer at earlier stages, even before a lump appears. Women over 40 should have one performed every year, and if you are younger but have a family history of breast cancer, you may want to speak with your doctor about whether to get them (or other screening tests) performed earlier. Read more on mammograms.
  • Clinical Breast Exam | This is done by your doctor and part of a general exam, which should be done every three years between 20 and 39, and then every year at 40 and older. Consider asking your doctor to show you how to do a self-exam at home as well.
  • Self-Exam | It’s important to know how your breasts look and feel normally, so that you can identify any changes immediately to your doctor. Cancer.org has a great step-by-step guide.

And also? While we’re on this topic, and because I know the demographic here on Temptalia skews younger, so for our ladies under 26, please consider finding out whether you’re a candidate for the HPV vaccine, which can help prevent certain types of cervical cancers. Ask your doctor about it and see if it is something that you could benefit from.

Thoughts on BCA Products

When I first started Temptalia, I included several round-ups of various products involved in raising money for BCA. In the past two years that focus has lessened, because of the significant increase in brands hopping on the bandwagon. Any money raised is a great thing, but at the same time, buying a product that gives 5% back that you don’t really want or need under the auspices of helping the cause isn’t what October is about. I’m particularly leery of any product that does not specifically list the amount, e.g. “portion of proceeds” or “contribution will be made.”

For that reason, my focus is only brands/products that make significant efforts to donate and raise awareness. My motto is if you were going to buy that product anyway, why not buy one that donates X percentage/dollars to the cause?  (A lot of household items, like toilet paper and paper towels, give back!) But you’re better off donating your money (or even half of what you would have spent, in most cases) directly to a charity if you want to help.

  • Estee Lauder Companies offers a slew of products but they also do a fair amount of awareness raising. A lot of their core brands, like Clinique, offer bestselling products (e.g. something you might already buy or need to buy) that also give to the cause. I linked directly to the BCA Campaign, which includes a breakout of what brands and products are participating. Jo Malone is donating $25,000 and purchases of Jo Malone products have NO impact on that amount. Smashbox O-Gloss will donate the entire $22 purchase price to BCRF during October (AMAZING!). Most of the other brands have participating products but are only donating 10-20% of the purchase price.
  • Lisa Hoffman is donating 100% of proceeds of her Tunisian Neroli Variations 4-Vial Set ($95) to the National Breast Cancer Coalition during October.
  • Philosophy Shower for the Cure Shower Gel ($20) donates 100% of net proceeds towards Women’s Cancer Research Fund.
  • Jare Iredale Roses & Lollipop Lip Duo Locket ($30) will have 100% of profits from the sale go towards Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

If you know of a product that is donating all or most of proceeds towards the cause, feel free to let me know! I went through 200+ press releases, and these were the only ones I felt good about promoting.

Consider Donating

If and when you’re able to, consider donating to your preferred charity or organization. There are many available, and of course, all of them can benefit from additional donations. These are a few of the major organizations and some of these I’ve personally donated to over the years:

If there is another organization you’re thinking about donating to but aren’t sure about, look to see if they’ve been rated on Charity Navigator.

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Give Us Your Feedback!

Give Us Your Feedback!

We are always trying to make improvements and post the things you’re most interested in reading/seeing, so we would love to have you take our (hopefully quick!) survey to let us know how we’re doing and help us give you more of what you want in the future. Thank you in advance!

Fill out the survey!

Customer Service is King

Customer Service is King

In today’s world of social media and 24/7 communication, bad customer service stories get around all too easily and then they spread like wildfire.  I’m not sure enough businesses realize that customer service extends beyond prompt shipping and receipt of intact, as-ordered products.  Good customer service is about the total experience:  from the minute I step into your store (or office, retail front, website, etc.) until I’ve come home with my purchases (or service has been rendered).  The older I get, the less tolerant I am of shoddy customer service.  I really do appreciate being treated like a human being, and it is surprising the effect one bad experience can have on your entire view of a business.

I keep seeing some of the same mistakes made by businesses–both large and small–and here is some advice that would make me, as a customer, feel good about purchasing from you:

  • Transparency is underrated.  If there is a problem, please be upfront about it.  If a code is broken, your Facebook app doesn’t work, or you’ve oversold a product, acknowledge it.  Acknowledge the mistake from the beginning rather than attempting to cover it up.  If there is an ongoing problem, consider regular status updates and spend more time providing real information than promises on when something might be fixed if there really isn’t a solid ETA.  You would be surprised at how far the mere act of acknowledgement will go–especially with big businesses that cannot always react as quickly and fluidly as customers would like.
  • Privacy is extremely important.  Keep customers’ personal identifiable information private–it’s personal, and customers are entrusting you with their data and information for a particular purpose.
  • Blaming customers is never the right path.  Sometimes customers can be wrong, but in reality, going on a public form, whether it’s a person’s blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. is not making the company look good.  Part of the costs of doing business is dealing with bad customers, sometimes cutting them loose because they become too expensive to keep, but also recognizing that for the few bad customers (like the ones who report missing items that weren’t or always do questionable returns), there are many more that are good and honest.
  • Accept bad reviews with grace.  Not everyone is going to love your product/service/business.  If you truly have a good business and feel like you’re doing all the right things, it will show.  Just because one person has a poor experience with your product/service doesn’t mean it will be true of others.  However, if you start harassing people who give you negative reviews, you might find the backlash is far worse than one bad write-up.   After hearing from readers who posted negative reviews on various retailers’ websites and not having them posted (but their positive reviews went through just fine), I became much, much more jaded about the weight and value of reviews on retailer websites.
  • Don’t be afraid to apologize.  Sometimes a forthright, on-time apology is all that is needed or can greatly mollify frustrated customers until something is resolved.  Just don’t abuse it–you can’t keep making the same mistakes and expect an apology to suffice.

We often regale friends and family members with stories of poor customer service, while too often forgetting to recognize incidents of excellent customer service.  We should do both; we should warn others against businesses that practice poor or questionable ethics, fail to address customer concerns and problems adequately and efficiently, and ones that are simply rude or dismissive of customers, but we should remember to give praise to the businesses we love to shop at because of how we feel at the end of the experience.

Feel free to share your tips for excellent customer service or share a story of superior customer service!

What prompted me to write this… 

New Design is in Bloom!

New Design is in Bloom!

Just a quick announcement to assure you that you are not going crazy — we have changed the design and layout of Temptalia! We hope you enjoy the new look and feel. 🙂

As with any new design, there might be a few bumps and bugs along the road, and we’ll be on the lookout for them ourselves, but if you discover any, would you please let Temptalia’s resident tech guy know? Send him an e-mail with the problem you are having/seeing along with any browser information (e.g. which version of what internet browser you use).


  • We have changed the narrower font per user feedback.
  • If there is an advertisement in the background, the flowers + blue background will not show up.  We are still tweaking the way the background will look when these run.
  • We are continuing to improve on the search.

If you’re using Internet Explorer and something doesn’t look quite right, click “Compatibility View” (circled below) to see if the bug persists.