The Best Beauty Launches of February 2010 (Part 1)

Shu Uemura to Balenciaga.
Michelle Villett
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Shu Uemura to Balenciaga.

The beauty products debuting in stores this month are an interesting mix: not quite spring stuff, but definitely more intriguing than the usual heavy moisturizers, etc., that reign supreme from November through January. I'm most excited about Shu Uemura's foray into hair care and Kiehl's yummy new skin oil (more on those in a bit). But there are also fab scents from Balenciaga and Jo Malone, skin-perfecting treatments from Prevage and Burt's Bees, and make-you-pretty cosmetics from YSL and Estée Lauder. Here's Part One of the inside scoop on this month's new and notable products. Stay tuned for Part Two on Friday!

Jo Malone Red Roses Fragrance Chronicle

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Love rose fragrances? Then you'll love this. For the sake of my bathroom cabinet-style artwork, I've just showed you Jo Malone's original Red Roses fragrance here—but the "fragrance chronicle" is so much more. It's an entire set, which "tells the story" of how the scent was derived from seven of the world’s most expensive varieties of rose. Besides Red Roses (30 mL), it also includes 9 mL accords of Moroccan Mint Leaf, Ice Rose and Honeycomb. At Holt Renfrew stores across Canada.

Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Targeted Spot Treatment

This is pretty groundbreaking—Burt's Bees have just come out with what they're saying is the first and only "truly natural" anti-blemish line. All the other companies use synthetic active ingredients, but these products contain natural botanical extracts like willow bark, witch hazel, tea tree and borage. That means it controls oil without irritating your skin—hurrah! Besides the spot treatment there's also a cleanser, moisturizer and scrub. At natural grocery, drug, gift and specialty stores, select mass retailers such as Walmart and

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate

So I'll forgive Kiehl's for springing a psychic on us at the launch event—this new skin oil is amazing. You just apply a couple of drops every night, either alone or underneath your regular moisturizer, and it supposedly helps your skin repair and regenerate itself. I'm loving that it's paraben-free and contains 99.8 percent natural ingredients (think evening primrose and lavender essential oils). It absorbs fast so no need to worry about feeling greasy. Plus it smells incredible. At Kiehl's stores and select Holt Renfrew locations across Canada.

John Frieda Root Awakening Strength Restoring Gel

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I'm always being asked for recommendations of good-quality products at drugstore prices. For your hair—if it's considered "normal"—you really can't go wrong with John Frieda's Root Awakening line, which launched last year. Now they've added styling products to the mix, including a smoothing lotion, hair spray and this gel. Yes, gel. It's not at all like the sticky '80s versions, though—I tried it on damp hair just at my roots and was pleasantly surprised at how well it stood in for my usual volumizing sprays. At grocery stores, drugstores and other mass-market retailers across Canada.

Prevage Face Anti-Aging Serum

My mom should really be writing about this one, since she's head-over-heels in love with the Prevage line. It really does work (on fine lines, age spots and other discolourations), thanks to the active ingredient idebenone, which is a potent antioxidant. If you have oily skin or you're too young for full-on anti-aging creams but still want to do the prevention thing, this serum is the perfect choice. You can wear it alone or under moisturizer. At The Bay, Sears, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora, London Drugs and Pharma Plus.

Shu Uemura Art of Hair Muroto Volume Amplifying Shampoo

I wrote about hair guru Oribe's eponymous line last December, and now it looks there's some stiff competition from Shu Uemura, whose Art of Hair collection just arrived at Holt Renfrew and is equally luxe. I was treated to a shampoo, treatment and blow-dry a few weeks back and must confess: my hair hasn't looked that good in a LONG time. I even went a record three days without having to wash it! I tried the Muroto Volume range (pictured), which has a scent reminiscent of D&G Light Blue, but the line also includes Full Shimmer (for coloured hair), Moisture Velvet (for dry hair), Silk Bloom (for damage) and Prime Plenish (for "time-weakened" hair). PS: Is the packaging to die for or what? At Holt Renfrew.

Don't forget to check in again on Friday for Part Two...just in time for some weekend beauty shopping!