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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Sprtiz, Spritz Hooray!


We’re in a birthday mood this week with another great cosmetic house blowing out the candles. Many Happy Returns of The Day to the treatment fragrance, Eau Dynamisante. It's 25 years old and it's all wrapped up in this limited edition sparkly red number. Hot!


Back-in-the-day, the launch of this now iconic citrus and upbeat scent heralded a new chapter in fragrance. A feel-good spritz, rather than a scent to empower and seduce – this was during the era of the Dynasty shoulder-padded power fragrances, boasted a blend of 14 aromatic essential oils and plant extracts. Perfect for post workout or for cooling hot skin during the summer, it’s a blend including lemon, rosemary, ginger and orange. Together they mingle to invigorate the senses and put the pep back into your step. It’s a testament to its formula that Clarins have never had to tweak it for over two decades. In fact, every three minutes of every day, someone somewhere in the UK buys a bottle. Now that’s what I call a winning juice!

Eau Dynamisante Limited Edition Glitter Bottle Natural Spray, £29
Available from July

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Bourjois's Vintage Blush


Popping the champagne corks, Bourjois are ready to fizz by celebrating their 150th birthday early with four new blusher shades from their vintage heritage. And haven’t they aged well?


Being a lady of the Victorian era must have been challenging to say the least. Refined and modest in her demeanour – or one might say prim, the mention of undergarments was deemed uncouth and they frowned upon the wearing of make-up, deeming it fit only for prostitutes’ and actresses. Her beauty regime consisted of chickweed for freckle removal, massaging castor oil into her eyelashes and using rice powder to dust her nose. Lipstick was too overt – a clear pomade would be used to induce sheen, so I’m sure it was with utter joy when Alexandre Napoleon Bourjois introduced the first compact power Blusher in 1863 – a classic rose pink. Ladies could finally stop pinching their cheeks out of sight and dust on some flattering colour to brighten her ivory complexion without looking too ‘cheap’ one would suspect!

Fast forward to the 21st century, and make-up is now a way to celebrate and enhance our beauty. Blusher is hailed as a youth inducer by many a make-up artist, as it instantly lifts the complexion and whips away sallowness from the skin. The vintage shades revived from Bourjois this summer are subtle in their approach, but nevertheless extremely pretty. The line up includes: Rose Pompom 37, a soft ballerina matt pink, Veloute de Peche 38, a gold infused soft peach, Rose Mandarine 39, a fresh matt peach and Rose The 40, a warm antique matt rose. If you’re not familiar with the formula, then let me tell you their finely milled, highly pigmented baked powder blends flawlessly, and the fragrance of rose extract can only brighten your mood when you open the pot. Now, if only we could put a candle on top.

Bourjois Blush new summer shades are available from July and costs £7.49 each

Friday, 25 May 2012

A Taste of Lace from Dolce&Gabbana


When worn, lace conjours up mystery, sensuality and delicacy mixed with drama.
Taking this fashion inspiration, Dolce&Gabbana have developed alongside their creative advisor, Pat McGrath an intense collection that reveals much the same emotions in their Lace Collection. Each product is boxed with a shiny lace pattern imprint to give an air of feminine luxury. Here are three my favourites.


For come hither eyes one of the stars is their new Intenseyes Black Intensity Mascara. You may well ask how exciting can a black mascara be? But this one gets my heart beating. As a mascara junkie, I can confirm that the ultramarine pigments that help max out the density of colour give lash-tastic results. Coal black, lashes really do come alive and the all important brush separates colour so each lash is evenly coated as well seemingly stretch them out. And every girl knows length counts when talking lashes! The precision of the brush allows you to build colour too without the fear of clogging. It’s Smudge-proof too which stands the test of time in hot and humid weather.

Have you ever seen such a beautiful looking bronzer (above)? With its lace imprint, the Glow Bronzing Powder comes in a velveteen pouch complete with brush. A mix of gold flex and bronze delicately dusts the skin. Gives skin an iridescent glow. Just gorgeous.


Lastly, as any make-up artist worth her translucent powder knows, brushes are her tools of the trade. The mini brush collection is encased is a lace zipped purse which could almost double up as an evening clutch. Once opened there are four brushes to perfect your look from cheeks to lips. As you would expect, brushes are of good quality – I especially like the lip brush as it doesn’t overly splay risking a messy lip. Bellissimo!

The Lace Collection is available from June exclusively from Harrods

Black Intensity Mascara, £24
Glow Bronzing Powder, £38
Mini Brush Collection, £65

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

We Have Astalift Off!


I have the opportunity to try lots of skincare lotions and potions, some I can leave, others I love, and a few I flip over. Whether so-so, or so good, they all generally claim to be wrinkle slaying, youth inducing miracles, so it can be hard for a skin sleuth to determine what to drop her cash on. 


My ears started pricking up of a new skin ‘miracle’ when I heard a couple of beauty directors talking about Astalift. I researched further. A skincare brand developed by Fujifilm, they’ve capitalised on their expertise in developing technologies to achieve the ultimate glossy posse picture into skincare. How so? Well, as they explain skin ageing is caused by oxidation – a natural process which also causes photographs to fade. Fujifilm’s superior understanding of this process has led to products designed to target dark spots, lines and dull-as-dishwater skin. Interestingly, the primary raw material of photographic film is made of collagen – who knew? This as we know, is a crucial structural protein necessary to give skin its spring. The technology of using collagen to hold together light-sensitive particles in photographic films is applied to the formulation. Furthermore, they have also applied their know-how of nano-technology – used for exposing and colour developing in film, to allow high concentrations of nano-sized skin nourishing ingredients to be delivered to different levels of the skin.

 I’ve been trying their Jelly Aquarysta Rejuvenating Concentrate for a week now and I can honestly say my skin is having a celluloid moment. It’s weird to use as it’s a jelly, much like you serve up at a kid’s party, but once you get the hang of slathering on a wobbly texture you’re good to go. I’ve traded this for a serum, applying before a moisturiser – it disappears in seconds, and I can feel the difference instantly. I know I sound like a commercial, but skin feels immediately nourished – it harnesses three types of collagen and is rich in Astaxanthin which is a 1,000 times more powerful than CoQ10, making skin take on a ready-made-glow. Not a hearty Ready Brek glow, more like a Hollywood radiance. You can feel the effects under your fingertips too – skin feels turbo-charged smooth. This is definitely one of my ‘flip over’ picks, and with the promise of 95% more luminous skin in just 28 days, I say bring on the paparazzi, my skin is camera ready!

Astalift Jelly Aquarysta Rejuvenating Concentrate costs £71

Thursday, 17 May 2012

L'Oreal's Hair Karma

In need of hair rehab?

With the abuse hair has to suffer on a daily basis, it’s little wonder it feels like standing on end. The answer is in a hard working hair mask, simply because it acts as rehab for stressed out cuticles. Overprocessing with colour, cooking with styling heat, wearing hair pieces and extensions as well as permanent straightening is what we put our hair through to achieve those ‘good’ hair days. But although hair has a glossy veneer, you know hair is crying out for desperate kindness and repair.

I’m a big fan of hair masks – I use one at least twice a week and it makes a difference. Hair feels healthier, behaves and looks better, plus it sheds some of the guilt I feel when I’m running it through sizzling hair straighteners. Like conditioners, I have a few hair masks on the go at anyone time. The latest to enter my hair fray is L’Oreal’s Paris Hair Expertise EverSleek Absolute Smooth Intense Mask. My hair frizzes at the slightest hint of damp, so this 48 hair, silicone-free, anti-frizz protection is perfect. But for those who have a different hair personality to mine, there’s also EverPure Colour Care Reinforcing Intense Mask which maintains colour vibrancy and EverStrong Reinforcing and Vitality Nourishing Intense Mask - the Iron Man of hair masks. All three offer instant hair karma, and they smell pretty good too.

 The L’Oreal Paris Hair Expertise three hair mask collection cost £6.99 each

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

CARITA's Spring Spritz

I think it’s romantic to have a signature scent, but with so many beautiful ones around, it’s hard not to spritz around and play the fragrance field, rather than stay true to one bouquet.

My newest discovery as a fragrant jezebel is Carita’s Eau de Parfum. A modern amber floral, it describes itself as the perfume for all women who embraces her femininity (tick), looking for a perfume for ‘herself’ (tick) and capable of making her unique (tick). With three big ticks in place, I concluded it would fit into my ever growing signature collection.

The perfect fragrance to put the bloom  back into spring – bergamot blends with the purity of rosebud along with the voluptuousness of violet. The scent is extremely pretty without being sickly sweet and if had to be summed up in words, expresses the spirit and freedom of naked skin.  It's a fresh and sophisticated juice that literally blows the cobwebs away.  Vintage in design, the bottle stands proud with a lovely Parisian pump (simply twist to switch on and off) it’s all boxed up complete with bow, making the perfect present for yourself!

CARTIA Eau de Parfum costs £65

Monday, 14 May 2012

Benefit's Hot Lips


You know, Benefit is one of those brands that never seems to fade or flounder. As it’s their first mention on my blog, let me just give you a little X Factor back story. The initial concept was founded in 1976 by two twins called Jean and Jane Ford with a small make-up store in San Francisco – I’ve been at a press launch where Jean and Jane have actually sung – and penned their own cheeky lyrics, which goes a long way in explaining their creative and non-corporate approach to beauty. Their ‘hero’ product back-in-the-day was a blush and lip tint called Rose Tint which was created for an exotic dancer who wanted a rose flushed tint for her nipples! It was later reinvented as Benetint. Going global 15 years ago, it’s a brand that has captured many a beauty heart with their quirky and retro cutsey packaging along with stick-in-your-head names and funky fonts. Although copycatted over the years by some, it just goes to show that packaging isn’t everything; it’s their formulations that stand true to the test of time, as well as their never ending ideas for giving us good face.

New on their scene are these Ultra Plush lip glosses. They don’t actually hit the stores until July, but I just couldn’t keep my lips sealed, they’re so good! Created to complement their bestselling box of powders of the same name, it’s hard to pick one as a favourite, so I’m guessing it won’t be long before you plump for all six. From sheer coral (CORALista) to shimmering golden nude (Hoola) they slide on silky smooth, with absolute no tackiness or cheap aftertaste. Lips are left looking sexily gleamed and understated. Just the slick for summer.

Benefit Ultra Plush lips glosses are available from July and cost £13.50 each

Friday, 11 May 2012

Party time for Elemis's Papaya Peel

This peel has to be one of my favourite masks. Ever! A must-have for many a make-up artist – they swear by it for jet-lagged skin, or for pores that need a pep up, Elemis are celebrating its 10th birthday with limited edition, eye popping packaging designed by British artist Laura Oakes.

The reason I’ve returned again and again to this mask over the last decade is simple, it works. Its workings are self explanatory in its sell – it uses the natural fruit enzyme Papain extracted from crushed Papaya and Pineapple sourced from Africa. Lovely to wear, this creamy, non-scratchy formula gets busy in just 10 minutes by gently melting away superficial dead skin cells, leaving skin feeling pleasantly hoovered. Pores look clearer and skin texture brighter and smoother. As for those with sensitive skins, there’s no fear of redness – it has a cut-off points so won’t over exfoliate. And, not to reshuffle the formulation after 10 years speaks for itself

 More than just making a splash with newly designed packaging, Elemis have also teamed up with the new charity SOCO to provide funding for over 50,000 vaccinations for children in Africa. Short for Socially Conscious, it’s a charity canvassing hard to alleviate poverty and malnutrition and to address healthcare and education issues in underprivileged societies. It warms the cockles of my heart when beauty companies go more than skin deep.

Elemis Limited Edition Papaya Enzyme Peel launches June 1st and costs £28.60.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Charmed, I'm sure!


I have to admit I’m having a pretty mad beauty crush at the moment on Dolce&Gabbana. Having just reviewed their Light Blue Dreaming in Portofino fragrance last week, this week I’ve just been introduced to their Limited Edition Charm Pencils Collection consisting of four lipliners and four eyeliners. And just had to share!

As you can see from my snaps these sophisticated trinkets wouldn’t look out of place hanging from your neck, let alone a pencil, so make for a very fashionable addition to your make-up purse. Each charm is related to the designing duos world – love, luck, femininity, fashion and romance. As for the pencils themselves, they’re soft in texture and glide on seamlessly. Lashes to lips are beautifully enchanced in a single no-fail swoop. Just charming!


The Eyeliner Charm Pencils are available in four colours: black, coffee, platinum and Stromboli at £19.50 each.
The Lipliner Charm Pencils are also available in four colours: nude, dahlia, fire and soft at £19.50 each.

Available from Harrods and

Monday, 7 May 2012

The Body Shop's Beauty Makeover


The Body Shop has undoubtedly always been on my beauty radar. Founded by the late Anita Roddick in 1976 – I met her a couple of times and I found her inspiring, passionate, a little bit scary (as all entrepreneurs are) and not without strong views. She was a pioneer in creating an environmental and socially responsible brand. A year before her death, The Body Shop was taken over by the L’Oreal group which raised eyebrows namely for their stance on animal testing, but in true Roddick style she riposted by saying, selling her business to a huge firm, will be able to influence the decisions it makes. But business politics aside, The Body Shop – which personally I found had flat lined creatively over the last few years, has rediscovered their beauty mojo – although more commercially digestible, once again.

Their first big move was signing up flamed haired, cerebral model Lily Cole last year as their first ever Global Ambassador, and the face of their Beauty With Heart campaign. Known for her environmental credentials, she was the perfect fit – naturally beautiful, educated and emotionally intelligent. Lily has given the brand a glamorous edge whilst still retaining their core values.


The new limited edition make-up range which is vegetarian and 100% cruelty free has a Doris Day feel with their packaging. The Puff On Radiance for instance comes with a cute-as-a-button pink powder puff and the Lip & Cheek Dome brings an innocent 50’s flush on cheeks and lips – Lily’s favourite product in the range by-the-way. The make-up line falls in two colour stories: Pink Revolution and Coral Me Beautiful. So, if like me you've passed by The Body Shop for a while, put it back on your beauty-dar.


Lily’s Cruelty Free Make-Up range is strictly limited and prices start from £4 for the Mini Hi-Shine lip gloss.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Scented sensuality


You may not be taking a trip to Portofino this bank holiday weekend, but it’s easy to whip up the olfactory excitement of sunshine, sea and sizzle with a generous spritz of  Dolce&Gabbana’s limited edition Light Blue Dreaming in Portofino.

A beautiful fishing village on the Italian Riviera, Portofino has a get-away-from-it-all paradise vibe that is frequented by the jet set. With an old word, romantic movie style presence – Elizabeth Taylor used to vacation there back in the day, it’s a fragrance that relies heavily on high-end escapism. Top notes of Litchi and Ambrette seed along with rich floral tones of Iris and Osmanthus settle warmly on the skin, delivering an easy, breezy intimacy that has you dreaming of beaches and blue skies. A true emotion potion,  I think I’ve just embarked on a summer sensory fling!

Dolce&Gabbana Light Blue Dreaming in Portofino Limited Edition is available from this month from £32.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Smoke gets in your eyes wtih UNE

There seems to be a beauty commandment that says, 'Thou shalt not wear smoky eyes in the daylight hours." Well, rules, or commandments are made to be broken, and the rule breaker here is UNE. Launching three new wear-in-the-day smoky eye make-up shades called Sfumata - named after an Italian painting technique favoured by Leonardo da Vinci, they're intellecutal in name, and smart in application. For the art buffs amongst you, Sfumato is actually a technique that consists of layering paint to create a smoky mist. It's a practice that can be adopted whilst working with these eyeshadows.

I'm a lover of the smoky eye, but rarely wear it myself for fear of looking over-done, but I have to say these shadows are low-key in their application whilst giving the desired effect. Combining both intensity and subtlety, they boast a high content of colour mineral pigments and blend on seamlessly. The overall effect is smoky without being too smoky. In essence, they create a smoky halo which is perfect for day time without looking like you've had a night on the tiles. Workable and wonderful!

Intense Sfumato Eyes cost £9.29 and comes in shades of deep green, intense blue and charcoal grey.