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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Lauder's New Chic Cheeks


Blush to me is a cosmetic Berocca. When you’re feeling lack lustre it has the habit of putting some get up back into your go. I have about three blushers going at any one time – three different shades, varying slightly depending on my seasonal skintone, and three different formulas: a powder, a cream and a gel. Sometimes, I even layer all three up at once. My aim is to have a ‘virtual’ glow. That’s one that’s fresh, radiant, flawless. So, hence the fact any blusher I come across I instantly put to the flush test.


Estee Lauder’s New Pure Color Blush Collection is something for cheeks to get excited about. Firstly, there’s a bigger than average colour collection – there’s 14 cheeks shades to cherry pick in both satin and shimmer shades. What’s the difference? Well, satin creates a soft low sheen on cheeks for a true satin finish, and shimmer gives a high voltage, sophisticated shimmer with light-reflecting pearls. And secondly, notice the palette? It’s gorgeously oversized which allows for plenty of dusting.

As for its performance, they score high. Its lightweight formula belies how much you need to impart radiance – very little, and colour lasts thanks to their True Vision Technology. Drilled down it’s explained as concentrated pigments wrapped in a crystal-like coating for enhanced wear. Here are two of my favourite picks from the collection, Blushing Nude and Electric Pink. Cheeks have never looked so pretty.

Pure Color Blush Collection is available from March 2012, costing £24.00 each.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Shiseido's Eye for Luminous Beauty

SHADES FROM LEFT: BL215, PK214 and OR313

Just had to tell you about these Shimmering Cream Eye Colors new from Shiseido. The textures are just sublime – they literally glide over the lid, whereby the pearly powder reflects different colours from every angle. The secret being the Jewel Reflecting Powder is transparent, so does not impede with the colour. This make-up composition allows plenty of light to pass through it, thereby achieving a luminous quality. They’re dreamy to apply too, giving just the right amount of impact.  Simply wash over the lid with a fingertip – no blending needed for all day dewiness.

As well as the unique cosmetic ‘arrangement’ of these three iridescent shades, I love the inspiration behind the trio given by Shiseido’s Make Up Artistic Director, Dick Page. A visionary behind many an editorial beauty splash, the new colour palette was created via his passion for photography. Shade PK214 was inspired by his picture of a pale sea shell where the centre had been cutaway revealing a cool simplicity. OR313 came about by photographing sunlight playing on water. “I coloured the water with food colouring, campari and bath salts,” reveals Dick. The result? A burnished type sun shower shade. And BL215 was the colour that came from a photo of broken ice in the Arctic, which Dick describes as having a “kind of fragile quality.”  Overall, their effect is artistic and modern, giving an illuminating radiance to eyes. Just gorgeous!

Shiseido Shimmer Cream Eye Colours costs £20 each.
Stockists: 0207 313 4774

Saturday, 25 February 2012

La Roche-Posay's Hopes of Getting Even


It doesn’t matter how much SPF you slap on, sun damage, however small will play catch-up at some point. I’ve always been fanatical about applying copious amounts of SPF when on holiday. Furthermore, I pick a moisturiser with an inclusion of a weighty SPF such as a 15 for everyday use, but even after years of being a skin saint, those little brown spots aka liver or ageing spots are beginning to show their horrid little marks.

There has been an influx of pigment bashing products over the last few years, namely because research has highlighted that it’s not wrinkles or lines that make you look older, but an uneven skintone. That’s one blighted by uneven pigmentation including sun spots – such a better phrase than liver spots don’t you think? La Roche-Posay who recently launched Biomedic Pigment Control reveal that 1 out of 3 women report skin pigmentation disorders. Unlike wrinkles which can be laughed away, hey it’s a sign of enjoying life right? Brown spots are deemed muddy looking and a clear sign that youth has well and truly slipped away.

Well, I’m certainly not in my first flush of youth, but then again I don’t view myself as leaving the beauty party just yet, so I’ve been applying this targeted concentrated conditioning serum for the last few days. And it’s getting a good trialling, around my hairline where sun spots have developed through incidental sun exposure whilst wearing hair in a ponytail, across the backs of my hands and a little on my chest. As you would expect from a serum, it's lightweight and easily absorbed. It comes with a dropper, so I just tend to drop onto offending areas and rub in.  Now, I can’t report any fading yet, as their blurb dictates advanced correction within 4 weeks, so I will tweet in a month’s time if any invisibility has started to take form. But I’m hopeful. The clinical data all reads incredibly scientific, but it’s safe to say powerful key ingredients have been recruited including kojic acid, glycolic acid and LHA – which works by performing fine desquamation (skin peeling) at a micro-level.  I’m not expecting a virtual looking skin, but I have hopes that it can deliver a little rebooting and refreshing. Come on Roche-Posay knock the spots off me!

La Roche-Posay BioMedic Pigment Control costs £29 and is available from Boots and independent chemists.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Jemma Kidd's Multipurpose Skin Rescue

Multipurpose is one of those words that brings joy to my heart. It’s a word that suggests time-saving with no-fuss. If that sounds boring, then it isn’t meant to be, but where is the fun in using four different products to achieve a look, when you could only use one? That’s why I love Jemma Kidd’s new all singing, all dancing Skin Rescue Bio-Complex Veil SPF15. Even the name dictates it’s not a one trick beauty pony.


“Flawless skin is often best achieved with a ‘less is more’ approach,” explains make-up artist Jemma Kidd and founder of her Make-up School. “Thick foundation can often accentuate rather than mask imperfections.” Indeed it can. Which is why this product is literally a breath of fresh air. Jemma describes it as a light, breathable formulation for almost transparent coverage. Once applied, it literally vanishes on the skin, the only trace being a sheer finish that doubles up as perfect base for make-up. And boy does it multi-task. An all-in-one moisturising skin essential that preps, primes, tints, illuminates and protects the skin. It also has an anti-ageing complex containing the plumping hero, Hyaluronic Acid and Amino-Peptides, as well as antioxidants. Plus with an SPF15 it’s got your skin covered in all senses of the word.

For superior application, Jemma says, “the key is to blend, blend, blend. Pump a small amount onto the back of your hand and blend evenly onto the face with long, light strokes. Start from the centre of the face, working outwards using a synthetic flat top foundation brush. Buff the skin in mini circular motions to increase the skin’s micro-circulation and give a polished finish.”

Jemma Kidd Pro Skin Rescue Bio-Complex Veil SPF15 costs £32. Available in yellow/cool and pink/warm undertones.


Sunday, 19 February 2012

Bobbi Brown Goes with the Glow

Lots of things make our skin glow: doing a headstand, running for the bus, having sex! But all of these things take energy. An instant inner glow is what we all crave, a non-sweat glow that blesses the skin with a slight glisten, giving the illusion we’re full of get-up-and-go.

Make-up artist, Bobbi Brown is one of the smartest cosmetic cookies around; as she manages to consistently deliver colours or concepts that you never knew you needed until now. Always the sign of a great creative.  Her Brightening Nudes Collection is just the collection to tempt your skin out of its winter cocoon, and inject some much needed brightness and radiance. Apart from the limited edition Sparkle Eye Shadows that open up the eyes with shimmering pearls and glitter, there’s a standing ovation for her star product, Brightening Finishing Powder that surely lands the leading role. A palette of muted but skin loving colours, the formula as you can see from my close up snaps is ultra sheer and silky. The six gleaming shades complement each other by mingling and mixing together seamlessly to instantly prettify the skin with a dusting of skin-tone correct colour. Simply swirl a brush over the palette to marry all the shades together and feather brush lightly over cheeks, forehead, nose and chin – anywhere the sun naturally hits. Any pallor is instantly whipped away, bring lustre to the face in a nanosecond. It sets make-up perfectly too. In fact, it’s the must doable skin trick for happy looking skin until summer’s warming rays creep out from grey skies. Make it your spring buy.

Brightening Finishing Powder is on counter March priced at £40.00

Friday, 17 February 2012

Scent Seduction

When fragrances come and go quicker than Hollywood romances, it is rather special when a brand can claim it’s been around for 150 years. Even more amazing, it’s a brand that has evolved and grown purely from its passion and heritage of fine fragrances, rather than big splashy advertising campaigns.

This year the perfumer and apothecary Armand Roger and Charles Gallet created the house of Roger & Gallet a century and a half a go. Some may see it as old fashioned, but that would not be an appreciator of fragrance, others may see it as traditional, but that would be simply short sighted, and the remaining would see it as a house that has become a hallmark of authenticity, creativity and pedigree.

To celebrate this landmark anniversary, their champagne moment is a design reinterpretation of Napoleon Bonaparte’s bespoke Eau de Cologne flask. It sounds rather masculine, but as you can see from the bottle’s slender lines it’s anything but. The reason being as a token of love, Josephine de Beauharnais asked Jean Marie Farina who created the cologne, to invent a bottle that her husband could take anywhere with him. This inspired the tall and elegant shape that could be slid into his boots and infuse him with loving thoughts about her. How wonderfully romantic is that story telling? Today, they would be slipping it into their man bag which doesn’t really have the same emotion I think you’d agree!

The three limited editions are: Eau de Cologne Jean Marie Farina which is to the original recipe of notes of lemon balm, thyme, rosemary and neroli; Eau Fraiche parfumee Bois d’Orange which as it sounds, full of zesty notes of orange leaf and fruit and Eau Fraiche parfumee Fleur d’Osmanthus with delicates notes of the flower with added notes of orange peel and tonka bean. All three are breezy, easy and delicious to wear on the skin and cost £34 each.

Bringing the house right up to the 21st century, their new all-in-one body mist, Eau Des bienfaits is an everyday spritz that’s fresh, modern and heightens your senses. Inspired by a journey to the heart of an Italian garden, this gives you some idea what to expect in terms of smell. As well as an energising fragrance, it also leads a double scented spritz as a bodycare formula with extracts of Aloe Vera, and fruits acids to gentle smooth the skin. I love to use it after a workout.  Available this month at £28.50.

Roger & Gallet is available from pharmacies and selected stores.

To read more about the house go to

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Zelens does Zen for Skin

Zelens is probably a brand you haven’t heard of unless you’re a real skincare boff – namely, because it doesn’t have a huge advertising budget and not aired on TV, or splashed on billboards professing to wipe years off in five minutes. But what it does have is plenty of integrity, bringing a scientific approach to natural beauty.

A brand favoured by beauty directors’ namely because it has been developed by Dr Marko Lens, a well respected plastic and reconstructive surgeon, and a know-it-all (in a very good way) in the field of skin cancer and skin ageing. I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Dr Lens, I’m in the queue next time he’s in town, but I hear he has knowledge oozing out of his pores when it comes to skincare. Although I am a teeny bit frightened he will scrutinise my face and finally advise me to have some Botox!

The only way for me (at the moment) is au natural, but I’ve been trialling his Radiance Luminous Facial Cleanser along with his 3t Complex Essential Anti-Ageing cream now for a good six weeks and….wow! No, I don’t look 10 years younger, nor do I look like I’ve had a stab at Botox where lines have disappeared (they have softened though), but they’re an absolute pleasure to use. The sensory levels are way up there in terms of superior formulations along with the way they feel under fingertips, and they’ve both left my skin feeling, well, beautiful. It’s performing better too, no breakouts, and the stretch of chilly weather that’s recently hit, the dynamic skin duo have risen to the challenge of keeping my dehydrated skin nicely hydrated and feeling comfortable.

Being a skin scientist, Dr Lens understands how the skin functions at a molecular level, and it’s that experience he’s brought to his formulations. He has used potent plant derived ingredients, many of which are chosen from traditional Japanese herbal Kampo medicine. In fact, it sounds silly, but these two products do have a Zen like approach to your skin – very calming. The cleanser is a luxurious and light creamy texture and lordy, lordy if I sound like a commercial I cannot help it, but really does leave the skin feeling like velvet after cleansing. Camellia oil is its hero inclusion, enriched with essential fatty acids. It’s known as the ‘beauty oil’ due to its age defying features, and has been used for centuries in Japan to maintain smooth and soft skin.  The anti-ageing cream is a triumph too. Again, very light to the touch without feeling occlusive on the skin, and the science behind it being, Dr Lens developed a unique plant derived triterpenoid regenerative complex, otherwise coined 3t complex. This contains plant isolated ursolic acid, concentrated cell extracts from 15 plants and 5 sea algae and 7 herbal oils. The science and tongue twisting names may sound baffling, but all you need to know is, it works! Skin feels baby smooth, fines lines are hydrated, therefore they seem less noticeable and because of that extra plumpness, skin looks radiant and relaxed.

When it comes to cost, they’re not cheap – although a little goes a long way. You only need one pump of the cleanser to get good coverage, and a small amount of the moisturiser to adquately apply and massage in. The Facial Cleanser is £40 and the Anti-Ageing Cream, £95, but if you can afford them, comfort yourself you’re buying into expertise and products that live up to their name. Dr Marko Lens I skin salute you!

Zelens products are available from
For further information go to

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Send Yourself Some Fragrant Loving


What’s the betting your boyfriend/beau/lover/husband will walk through the door like this on Valentine’s Day? This is our fantasy man, and thanks to Jo Malone for channelling that fantasy, but the reality of it happening is pretty slim wouldn’t you say girls’?

Let me remind you of the lyrics of Destiny’s Child’s Independent Woman, one of my favourite Karaoke turns by the way!

The shoes on my feet, I’ve bought it
The clothes I’m wearing, I’ve bought it
The rock I’m rockin’, I’ve bought it
‘Cause I depend on me

So, with that in mind, let’s turn Valentine’s Day right upside down on its romantic old head, and pledge to buy ourselves some love. I say Valentine’s Day is a day to buy something that makes you feel special, and not to wait on a man to do it.


Nothing says love-me-do more than Jo Malone’s Red Roses Cologne – it’s the essence of modern romance, and if that’s self romance than so be it. Originally launched on Valentine’s Day, it’s a full bodied blend of seven of the world’s most beautiful roses. With crushed violet leaves and a twist of lemon, it’s a sophisticated juice without being too sweet and cloying.

There’s also a new addition to the collection, the Red Roses Fragrance Chronicle. It’s an invitation to bespoke the original scent by fragrance combining with three accords: Sweet Lemon, Scarlet Velvet Roe and Honeycomb.
Red Roses Cologne from £36 and Red Roses Fragrance Chronicle, £72

Another love-me-do gift that deserves serious attention is Juicy Couture’s Limited Edition Viva La Juicy Solid Perfume necklace. Solid perfumes are becoming more on-trend, and I love the idea of just popping open a locket, dabbing in a fingertip and rubbing scent behind the ears and on pulse points – it’s a vintage idea and conveys a quaint and ladylike quality, which somehow is very modern. The fragrance is gladden-your-heart uplifting: mandarin orange, wild berries, honeysuckle and gardenia all makes for a burst of floral loveliness. It’s enough to make you lfall in love with life, let alone yourself!  Surprisingly heavy, this chunky cut, twinkling diamante pendent feels classy, and looks kooky cute when worn. The heart shape simply signifies you’re declaring love to yourself – and what better message is that to send ones self on the 14th?

Juicy Couture Limited Edition Viva La Juicy Solid Perfume Necklace, £37.
Available from Debenhams, Harrods, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Selfridges

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Shampoo Super Nova


I love the promise of a good shampoo – in fact, I like to think of myself as a bit of a shampoo connoisseur if that doesn’t sound too poncy – which it probably does!

But after, ahem, 20 years of writing beauty and meets-and-greets with leading hairdressers, many with their own wet lines, I’ve tried a fair old few. Some excellent, some good, some not-so-good. I’m also no-brow when it comes to shampoos, doesn’t matter on price, as long as it makes my hair feel good. There’s nothing worse than spending time washing your hair only having it feel heavy and sticky post blow-drying. The best shampoo for your hair type should leave locks feeling revived and cleansed with plenty of get-up-and-go. Your mane should be left turning men’s heads if you believe the swishy ads!

My personal criteria when looking for a shampoo is to flip over the bottle and scan the ingredients. Unlike food, the more ingredients listed the better. Shampoo at its most basic just relies on cleansers, stabilizers and conditioners. If there’s a roll call of ingredients, it shows me there’s a highly developed mash-up of each agent. Some ingredients, such as silk fibres add shine by acting like thousands of little mirrors to reflect light, other such as proteins help give flexibility and shine to the hair shaft.

Here are two shampoos that have recently landed on my radar and been lathered through my hair with very pleasing results.


Percy & Reed Splendidly Silky Moisturising Shampoo, £14

From the dynamic cutting combo that are Paul Percival and Adam Reed. Masterminding creative styles in their intimate 12 chair salon in central London, they’ve pushed their brand one step beyond, by putting their heads together and creating their own superlative hair range. With fashion forward illustrations on the packaging and extra long product names, they’ve pooled their well earned expertise into a bottle or two (there are around 13 products in the collection) making hair perform the very best it can. I tried the Spendidly Silky Moisturising Shampoo (see what I mean about looong names?) along with the conditioner. Described as a pick-me-up for parched hair, the shampoo contains grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil and aloe vera gel for that all important trapping-the-moisture silkiness. The formula doesn’t lather too much, which psychologically makes you feel hair isn’t getting a good wash, but not to worry as my sometimes dry hair, thanks to straightening irons got plenty of love. Hair was left looking and feeling nurtured along with being smooth. I also noticed it tended to frizz less in damp weather too, which I put down to an extra surge of moisture coating the hair.

Available from

L’Oreal Elvive Triple Resist Reinforcing Shampoo, £2.69

I would put this as The Iron Man of the shampoo world. There’s no messing with this name! Targeted for fragile hair – which let’s face it most of us suffer from after abusing it with daily heat, its hero ingredient is arginine. This is an essential amino acid that makes up 9% of all the amino acids (building blocks) in the hair fibre, and is one of the major protein components of the hair. Starring in this blockbusting shampoo, its main role is to attach itself to damaged areas of the hair, helping to restore its natural shield as an energizer. Wham, bam! After one wash, my hair did actually feel stronger. I could feel the hair fibres flexing and showing some muscle! Hair shed was definitely less as I blowdried it and altogether my style felt rebooted thanks to the added bounce I noticed in my hair. And look at the price – surely enough to make your hair stand on end!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Dirty Works for Clean Girls'

Good packaging always seduces, and Dirty Works knows what works. With on-message colours and eye-catching graphics along with their catchy tags – whatever copy writer came up with ‘say hello smooth you’re in the groove’ deserves a success on their hands, it all makes for a cheery impulse buy.

If you're looking for quick shower-shake-up, Buff Your Stuff Body Scrub is a super creamy exfoliator that isn’t scratchy on the skin, but has enough pumice particles roughness to whip away sell-by-date dead skin cells. All Of A Lather Body Wash, smells laundry fresh thanks to lemongrass extract, and has the sensory power to wake up a duvet slumbering sleepy head.   

They are also incredibly well priced. £3.99 for the scrub and £2.99 for the wash. Available from Sainsbury’s. It seems a beauty crime not to chuck them into your trolley along with the groceries.