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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Estee Lauder's Seductive Side


My heart always skips a beat when new polishes land from planet beauty. Like precious jewels they bestow fingertips and toenails with a smash of excitement and glamour. One creative makeup director that certainly understands glamourama is Estee Lauder’s Tom Pecheux. He has newly introduced two Pure Color Nail Lacquer collections called Beyond Black and Mental Mania.


Like their names suggests, they are dramatic, bold and seductive in their delivery. Colours are suited to women, rather than girls. Full bodied in their approach with names such as Dark Plum, Fiery Hot and Viper, the city of Paris was his calling for inspiration. But forget Paris in the spring time. “I wanted to capture the intensity and naughty side of Paris when it truly comes alive…at night,” says Tom. Each collection has five knock 'em dead shades under their umbrella. Beyond Black is rich and sexy, capturing the allure of the Parisian Femme Fatale, whilst Metal Mania is modern and daring, slicking on a metallic finish. A strong, highly polished collection that’s truly a la mode, with a little bit of oh la la on the side!   

New Pure Color Nail Lacquer are £14.50 each and available nationwide from August

Friday, 27 July 2012

Lancome makes eyes with Betty Boop


The differences between black mascaras must be minimal right? Wrong!  That’s the number one make-up misconception if you want stand-out lashes. Like a pair of jeans, you know the right fit the minute you try them on. Some mascaras I’ve ostracised after just one application. The fit was all wrong: spiky, clumpy, zero amplification. Not so with Lancome’s Hynose Star in Noir Midnight. In fact, I’d go as far to say my lashes cannot be parted from this wand. It’s full-on lash love!


A movie-star mascara, it’s inspired by the signature times of the 1930’s – all high voltage volume and killer, sensuous curves. Like the best applied nail polish, the secret is in the brush. This one is a combination of two flat and two round sides. With this four pronged attack lashes can’t fail to make an impressive appearance. The two flat edges load lashes from root to tip for intensity, whilst the rounded edges separate and lengthen lashes. Its triangular shape means that no lash goes untouched or ignored – even the shorter ones. As for the formula, for mascara that gives so much intensity, it’s surprising lightweight to wear. No heaviness is felt and the mineral pigments coated in light reflecting oils delivers dazzle.

Joining the lash line-up is vintage icon, Betty Boop. A product of the 1930’s, she’s sexy, playful and always has a wiggle in her hips. When she sang, ‘Don’t Take My Boop-Oop-A-Doop Away’ who would've guessed she was thinking about her Hypnose star? Watch a video of her trading confidences with Lancome’s face, Daria Werbowy at this link

Lancome Hypnose Star in Noir Midnight costs £21 and is avialble from this month nationwide.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Clarins does pretty with pink

Clarins are on fire for next season. A month or so ago I highlighted their 3-Dot Liner – a new generation, easy peasy eyeliner, this week I’m championing their new Skin Illusion Mineral and Plant Extracts Loose Powder Foundation.

I’ve been using mineral powder foundations for a while – Bare Minerals being one favourite. I prefer the way they leave the complexion looking under make-up and not too try-hard. Their USP is giving a natural coverage - it's almost like dusting on a second skin. Mineral foundations  triumph in humid weather too as they don’t slip like a traditional foundation. Moreover, I personally think they make the skin look younger. Some say they find powder, however finely milled collects in fine lines, but honestly, that can be true of all foundations, whether powder or liquid if you’re too heavy handed. Flatness to the skin can be another grumble with powders, but not this one. No sir-ry!

Clarins secret skin twinkle comes from the inclusion of Pink Opal Powder, a radiance enhancing mineral silicon. Pink Opal is extracted in Brazil and is recognised for their powder to diffract the light. In otherwords, they create an optical, luminous effect on the skin’s surface. When my skin is looking a little below par, I always gravtate towards a pink scarf or sweater. Worn near the skin it immediately gives the impression of putting bloom back into my cheeks. I liken this powder to wrapping a pink feather boa around your neck. A lightness of pretty in seconds!

Now for the innovative packaging. Twist off the lid and inside is a flat, round brush you simply pop out. How clever is that? Perfect for quick touch-ups without any spills or fuss, dip the brush into the powder, tap off excess and swirl and buff onto the skin until you’re good to glow.

Clarins Skin Illusion Mineral & Plant Extracts Loose Powder Foundation costs £28.
Available in six shades from House of Fraser from 6th September and nationwide from 24th September.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Lee Stafford and his new miracle

Shiny, swishy sexy hair is always on our tressed list. Dullsville hair never turns heads. Having always relied on a smoothing of serum for taming the frizzes and giving my hair a finished gloss, a weather malfunction changed my habits.  

Lee Stafford is a brand that I’m always dipping in and out of. It’s eye popping for starters – you can never miss his signature punchy pink packaging on the shelves; and as a writer I like his quirky slant on product names – if a little bit saucy. One of his new products for instance is called Matt Fat Shaggy Texturising Paste! Lee is a hairdresser with personality, so therefore it's commercial smartness that his lifestyle reflects his product line.

The Miracle Shine Spray is a little more conservatively titled, and a new introduction to his best selling ArganOil from Morocco collection. Coming in from the drizzle one evening, and having to go straight out to dinner, in desperation, I reached for the spray in the hope it would do something, anything, to my sad looking mop.  I initially thought it wasn’t a huge hair-changer, questioning the word miracle. But once misted, I brushed my hair through and the frizz instantly behaved. The gloss level having been at zero hit a nine, possibly a ten. Even my husband noticed. So, on second thoughts, perhaps this product does deserve to have miracle stamped on the can.  I've added it to my arsenal of hair wear.

Lee Stafford ArganOil from Morocco Miracle Shine Spray, £9.99.
Available from Boots

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Supermarket skin saver


I’m no skincare snob. Yes, fancy packaging seduces, but if the product works then I don’t care if it comes in a tester tube. Astral, Nivea, Simple and Vaseline all have their skincare groupies and for a very good reason. Because  they give great results. Another mass market brand I would like to add to this list, and which you can pick up effortlessly when doing your supermarket dash is Derma Intensive + skin care range.

As well as the usual role call of day cream, night cream, eye cream and serum, they have newly introduced a Daily B.B. Cream. Now, beauty hounds will know blemish balms are the newest fix-it-all skincare wizards to hit the market this year, and every brand have been getting in on the act. Some are good; some are okay and others worthy of side stepping. This one? It’s brilliant! For under a fiver – it’s £3.99, it performs as well as, if not better than any high-end brand. I couldn’t quite believe it when I tried it. I thought it maybe overly perfumed - of which many are, and feel quite dry on the skin. But not a bit of it. Lightweight, it blends like a dream giving skin a sheer uniformed radiance. It has an SPF15 too so skin is protected if the sun ever decides to shine. I really think this B.B. should stand for bloody brilliant!

Derma Intensive + Daily B.B. Cream is available in two shades of light and medium and costs £3.99.
Exclusive to Tesco

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Meet your skin's new Super Facialist

Every serious skin sleuth knows that a super facialist is the cornerstone of good skincare, and once their reputations are built at the coal face – giving sublime facials that quickly create long waiting lists, product lines swiftly follow. Joining the elite skincare tribe of uber facailists turned product gurus including Sarah Chapman, Kate Somerville and Emma Hardie is new recruit Una Brennan.  


Una’s name may not be familiar - yet, but she’s been on speed dial of some of London’s feted natural beauties for years including Laura Bailey and Sienna Miller. Known for making skin look at least five years younger with her dextrous fingers and massage techniques, Una relaxes, revives and replenishes skin behind closed doors from her flat in Notting Hill. Her new range is aptly called Super Facialist. Surprisingly, it's available not from Space NK where expert skin brands tend to launch, but Boots, therefore giving it a wider reach.

Divided into three regimes: Hydrate/Rose, Deep Clean/Tea Flower and Firming/Neroli, the collection of 16 products mix science with nature for effective and feel good results. I’ve been pore testing Hydrate with the Calming Creamy Cleanser and the Miracle Makeover Facial Oil. Upon application of both, the smell of rose really comes to the fore in a clean and fresh way, rather than overpowering and sickly. This is crucial for skincare, if it harbours a smell you don’t bond with then you don’t want to use it. Simple as that! For the science bit, power hitters include a triple offering of : Hyaluronic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Peptides.

So, how did they measure up? The cleanser at £7.99 is creamy but also light. Once rinsed off my skin felt smooth and clean without a hint of tightness or dryness. I’m a huge lover of facial oils and have tried a slew  – many ranging from £50 plus. This one is a steal at £14.99 and very good in terms of consistency, not too oily, but has enough slip to work well under fingertips and not drag the skin.  It sinks in pretty quick too. Una suggests using as a pre-cleanse treatment. This is a great ritual to fall into after a morning shower and before bed as it nourishes the skin and gives you the excuse for a line smoothing facial massage. You may not be able to grab an appointment with Una, but you can certainly experience her skin ethos with these pore picks every day.

Super Facialist has recently launched in leading Boots stores and online at

Friday, 13 July 2012

J.Lo: The Fragrance 'It' Girl


Celebrity fragrances come and go quicker than their high profile romances, but one brand that’s still smelling strong and capturing our olfactory imagination  is Jennifer Lopez. Yep, the girl from-the-block has reportedly banked a staggering £50 million from her perfumes sales in the last decade.  She shifts more juice than any other celebrity – even Sarah Jessica Parker, with her bottled success outstripping her music sales. With 18 pulse blockbusting perfumes on her resume Coty must surely be jumping for joy!

What it is that makes J.Lo so fragrant? Well, she’s sexy, successful, beautiful and independent, all factors that women buy into when shopping for a fragrance. But of course, there’s the juice itself and if it doesn’t seduce, then we’re not going to spray. And therein lies her secret – she and her perfumer have a very good nose.


Her newest scent is Glowing, a floral woody amber that’s inspired by her favourite candle. A potent mix of pretty and sexy, it gets the scent ratio just right with top notes of bergamot, mandarin and cypress, a bright and happy heart of orange and cassia flowers, drying down to sensual base notes of cashmere musk and patchouli.  The bottle is divine. A classic cylindrical shape with deep-cut vertical glass facets,  it's inspired by the lines of Baccarat crystal. I like to pop on my book shelf as it really does look old school-movie-star glamorous – just like the girl herself.

Glowing Eau de Parfum costs from £17 for 50ml.
Available this month exclusively in Superdrug.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Perricone Fakes it Real Good

No beach required for a
great looking tan

Sorry to keep harking on about the rain, but with no sun comes no lightly toasted skin – only rust! And that makes a girl feel sad. After all, honeyed limbs and a sun splattered complexion makes us look healthy, feel sexy and gives the illusion of looking at least 5lbs lighter. To summerise from top-to-toe in adverse conditions of unseasonal rain, one has to turn to the DIY home hue – in otherwords crack out the fake tan!

When Perricone’s MD No Sun Tanner landed on my desk, I initially thought what a fab name – after all it speaks our language: the sun is hiding and it promises a tan, secondly I knew the perfect person to test it. My friend is a mistress of fake tanning. She’s tried nearly ever single one on the market, and has her home alone application down to a fine art. If she ever finds herself short of cash, I’m sure she can cut it as a tanning expert. Used to mass market tanning brands – she’s tried everything from Garnier through to L’Oreal and St Moriz, she admittedly baulked at the price tag when I told her it was £54.

 A week later, she called asking, ‘Where can I get it, I don’t care about the price.’ So what swayed her to part £50 plus for a fake tan?  “A little goes a long way,” she said. “I only needed to use three to four pumps for face, neck, chest, legs and arms. I liked the fact it multi-tasked for both face and body – usually I buy separate. Funny enough, I thought I only preferred spray tans, but this changed my mind. The formulation was thin which made it easy to apply and I didn’t have to work hard rubbing it in. It was a tiny bit oily after application, but that’s only a slight grumble. There was no streaking, smelling or staining.  But the encore was the glow. The colour was natural to build as it would be if tanning under the sun – after seven days I had a great colour which looked very natural. In fact, someone I hadn’t seen for a couple of weeks asked me if I’d been away. Just the comment you want after applying a fake tan. It beats asking what fake tan are you using? Which I have to confess I’ve been asked in the past.”  So, if you find yourself on the sunshine diet, try this bottled Mother Nature colour changer for a spot of sun esteem.

Perricone MD No Sun Tanner, £54.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Soaking Up Solar Sense

Sorry girls, if  you’ve been putting up with the rain, you won't want to hear that I’ve spent the last five days at Lake Como soaking up the sun. I may not have come across George Clooney, but I did come across some fabulous suncare I want to share with you.

Like sandals that rub and cause blisters, if you pack the wrong suncare and burn, you suffer. I have skin type 4 which rarely burns, although of course, I have to be vigilant – I kick start off with an SPF30 then slide down the scale to an SPF15. On this sunny jaunt, I packed an independent and trend led brand – namely because it was a sexy looking bottle, and subsequently burnt. I followed my skin rules: slathering on an SPF30 and  re-applying after pool dipping. Normally when holidaying I stick with the main guns like Nivea or L’Oreal , so this little parting of ways did make me quizz the efficacy of the research and development behind small brands. However, one of my Como Crew of girlfriends came to the rescue with her skin saving Decleor Protective Hydrating Milk for the Body. Firstly, I loved the bottle – what a pretty pink. In fact I’m using it as a colour swatch to paint a wall in my office! Secondly, it was a pump dispenser, making it easy peasy to apply.  And thirdly, it applied like an indulgent spa body treatment. It smelt delicious – jasmine and melon extracts mingled with essential oil of rose, giving skin a sensory up-lift. And as for the texture, it’s deliciously light and sinks in beautifully. But more importantly, I was confidently sun-proofed, allowing me to unleash my inner sun goddess.

Decleor Protective Hydrating Milk for the Body in SPF15, 30 and 50 from £23.