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Prada's new line

Plus: the neck lift; the "photo facial" at Completely Bare


Private Label
"Miuccia Prada looks at skin as fabric," says a Prada spokesperson, so we guess it's no surprise she's launched a beauty line. The most striking thing about the 28 skin-care products, due in select Prada stores and Saks this October, is that there are no jars or bottles -- just single-use packets sold in boxes containing a one-month supply ($50-$125). (The waste-conscious needn't worry; every part of the packaging is recyclable.) Apart from being portable, the doses are airlessly sealed under argon gas, to preserve freshness and allow for greater potency than a cream that sits open on a shelf. Discretion, too, is an issue. The tiny dispensers have only discreet gray lettering; after all, the folks at Prada argue, does your houseguest really need to see your big ol' jar of crow's-feet cream? If all goes well, Prada will expand into perfume and a color line. We can't wait to match our lipstick to our bowling bag.

Vain in the Neck
Swaddling the area between the chin and the chest in cashmere works in the winter, but in this season of décolletage, covering your neck means only one thing: You're hiding your sags. A neck lift, which can cost $10,000, isn't the only way to smooth out those pesky folds. Mark Traynor's new neck-lift device ($15 at Alcone; 235 West 19th Street) consists of two pieces of clear surgical tape linked by a beige-colored elastic, to pull back loose skin (avoid ponytails). Skeptical? According to the pamphlet that accompanies the gadget, it's already popular with "the actresses of stage, screen, and television." You'd trust the girls who told you the camera adds ten pounds, right?

Ready for Your Close-up
Freaked out by your freckles? Put away the lemon juice and head to your aesthetician. The "photo facial," just introduced at Completely Bare, takes an Epi-light machine -- previously used only for hair removal -- to focus intense pulses of light on specific layers of the skin. Not only does this high-tech exfoliation give a smoother appearance and reduce fine lines, but the pulses penetrate beneath the surface to eliminate broken capillaries as well as freckles and age spots. But getting closer to porcelain perfection doesn't come cheaply -- half-hour sessions are $450, and a minimum of four treatments is needed for the full effect. Even then, says Manhattan dermatologist Dennis Gross, "only the test of time will tell how long the effects last."

The Big Top
After the years we've spent struggling to tame unruly locks, yanking curls and waves into submission, we were thrilled to hear that big, wild hair is back. Of course, not everyone's hair falls in a perfect lion's mane, and achieving the tousled look can be as high-maintenance as the perfectly sleek coif. So volumizers -- including Redken's "Inflate" spray, Frederic Fekkai's Instant Volume, and Joico's Hi-Rise Hair -- are squeezing out straighteners on pharmacy shelves. Even frizz-free-hair guru John Frieda has a line of volumizers called Ready to Wear. Says Frieda, "Volume is back, but it's not about the stiff power hair of the eighties. It's full-bodied but natural-looking." Sacha Cohen of the Sacha & Olivier salon says the image to keep in mind is "like a looser Brigitte Bardot or Jackie Kennedy, not a B-52." Thank goodness.


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