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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

Oooh, we’re going to experience a bit of a Weimar Republic vibe this autumn – thanks to Illamasqua, the cult makeup brand which champions alternative looks and cultures.. It’s highly appropriate, given how film noir – which gave us the femme fatale who is also a big inspiration for autumn/winter – grew out of German Expressionism of the same era as Berlin’s cabaret scene.

Which, of course, was famously immortalised in the 1972 Hollywood musical Cabaret, with the wonderful Liza Minnelli in her best-known role as Sally Bowles, an American singer who aspires to be as decadent as those around her.

Minnelli designed her iconic look for the film – the pudding bowl haircut with the widow’s peak and the Harlequinesque eye make-up – with the help of her director father, the great Vincente Minnelli. And it’s still a source of inspiration. I’m sure it’s played a part in the soon-to-be-launched Theatre of the Nameless collection from Illamasqua. Whether it inspired their new mascara, Illamasqua Masquara (£15; www.illamasqua.com) or not, who knows – but this fab separating, curling and lengthening mascara is just the job if you want to emulate Liza’s long lashes..

TUESDAY

The prettiest package I received last week was from The Body Shop which this week launches three new ranges of handcare products. There’s the Hemp collection, for those of us with dry skin; the Almond range for all skin types and The Body Shop Wild Rose collection for, ahem, “mature skin”.

Not sure how I ended up with the rose range – did someone tip them off about my impending 40th (or is it showing on my mitts?) – but it is lovely to use. Even my boys are finding the Wild Rose Caring Hand Wash (£5; www.thebodyshop.co.uk) a luxurious alternative to the usual liquid soaps I offer them. I’ll let you know if the combined assault of the handwash, the Wild Rose Targeted Hand Oil (£7) and the Wild Rose Nourishing Hand Butter (£10) shave any years off the apparent age of my hands….

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday was the day for my regular visit to the Clarins Spa in Frasers, Glasgow. Lindsay, my lovely therapist, really looks after me and is making it her mission to ensure that I continue to look as if I’m on this side of 40 – even after December, when the big day comes along. Last time I saw her, she focused the attention of the Tri-Active facial on anti-ageing for the first time and on Wednesday, she gave me some top tips on caring for the delicate skin around the eyes.

I’ve been diligently using eye cream at night and eye gel in the morning for the last few months and, as if they knew I was starting to get a bit fixated about this, Clarins has just brought out a new, improved version of its fab Clarins Eye Contour Gel (£26.50; www.clarins.co.uk) which is a must for de-puffing the eye area. Lindsay also suggested I try a couple of new additions to the Clarins repertoire: Eye Revive Beauty Flash (£26.50) and Skin-Smoothing Eye Mask (£28.99) …. Watch this space! Oh, and the Clarins Spa in Frasers (0141 221 5760) is currently (until September 3) offering a free “mini” neck and shoulder massage, and 25% off any Clarins Treatment if you book and pay when you’re instore.

THURSDAY

By coincidence, having tried out and loved their new mascara earlier in the week, I met Illamasqua’s PR Nicola in Glasgow on Thursday. Nicola is a walking testament to how wearable this apparently inaccessible brand’s cosmetics are. She looked stunning with her lilac-grey eye make-up, fanned-out lashes that would have made Bambi weep with envy, violet lips and matte purple nails. All of which worked a treat with her shock of short platinum blonde hair.

It was the nails that caught my eye most of all… Nicola was sporting one of the new Illamasqua Nail Varnishes (£13.50), four new shades with a rubbery matte finish which were inspired by the so-called Boot Girls of the Wittenberg Platz; prostitutes whose menu of services was indicated by the colour of their boot-laces… I’m not sure what Nicola’s Faux Pas shade (a dark purple) signifies (we probably don’t want to know!), but the one I’ve taken to is Vice (pictured, though it doesn’t look as maroon in this photo as it does in real life), a Rouge Noir-like dark cerise.

FRIDAY

I didn’t go out on Friday night – though I would have liked to, as I wanted to give my trio of new Benefit Velvet Eyeshadows (£13.50; www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk) an outing.

Snow Job (a minty greeny-grey), Raining Men (a grey-ish greeny shade reminiscent of my favourite new eyeshadow from Chanel – the Illusion d’Ombre in Epatant) and Tickled Mink (a taupe shade) are the gorgeous new additions to Benefit’s range of beautifully blendable and long-lasting eyeshadows.

I may have been all dressed-up, make-up wise, with nowhere to go – but I know which eyeshadows I’ll be turning to next time I do have somewhere …

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

I never used to care much for Kate Winslet’s looks, but since she became one of the faces of Lancome, she has really blossomed. Her latest ads are for the new Lancome L’Absolu Nu (£19.50; www.lancome.co.uk) range of lipsticks – and boy, what terrific lipsticks these are. They’re extremely moist, glossy and they miraculously make your pout look fuller.

At first I thought I was imagining that last quality but then I read the press release and it explains how Lancome harnessed the latest advances in optical science to intensify the radiance of the lips and make them really eye-catching, even in the most natural shades. It sounds like hooey but it works…

There are 12 shades of this gorgeous new lipstick – and I want them all! Especially since they are extremely comfortable to wear – even for the driest of lips.

TUESDAY

New eyeshadows have been rather thin on the ground recently – it’s all been about the lips, dahling! – so I was desperate to get my hands on the new Estee Lauder DoubleWear Stay in Place Shadow Cremes (£15.50; www.esteelauder.co.uk) – although, as someone whose oily eyelids usually don’t hold creme colour for more than five minutes, I didn’t have any great expectations…

However, these are fab: they really do stay in place. My favourite combination is the new limited edition shade of Buttercream (worn all over the eye area), with Smoky Plum to shade in a slightly smoky eye – a lovely day look which I’ve been teaming with the Lancome L’Absolu Nu No.103, a violety-pink shade. Creme eyeshadow? I’m a convert!

WEDNESDAY

I ran out of my favourite toner, Lancome Tonique Douceur, last week and was very wary of experimenting with any new ones as my skin can be on the sensitive side. However, after using the newly re-formulated  Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Soothing Treatment Lotion (£23; www.origins.co.uk), I found that my skin felt lovely – and no sign of redness.

THURSDAY

The jazz side of my journalistic career doesn’t usually overlap much with the beauty side but my jazz pals and I all had the chance to get glammed up for the swishest event in the jazz calendar (indeed, the swishest jazz event I’ve ever been to!) on Thursday night: a formal fundraiser for the Glasgow Jazz Festival, for which I’ve programmed some movies this year.

It was the exactly the right occasion for me to give the autumn-winter colours from Chanel a first outing – although they don’t go on sale until August 19. The new Chanel Illusions d’Ombre eyeshadows, which shimmer and glisten, and the most bling of the new trio of nail varnishes, Chanel Le Vernis in Peridot, simply scream out to be worn to a fancy do, and since I was wearing a simple long black dress with minimal jewellery, I decided to go for the most dazzling of the Illusions d’Ombres, the gorgeous Epatant shade – a greeny, sea blue which, like the Lauder cremes mentioned earlier, lasts brilliantly. It was so dazzling, in fact, that I felt it distracted from my eyes so I toned it down a little – with some of the coppery eyeshadow from the Dior 5 Golds palette I’m still loving from last year.

FRIDAY

And speaking of Dior … it’s launching an exquisite-looking leopard print compact of eyeshadows, the Mitzah Palette, as a limited edition for Selfridges from June 1. Inspired by Christian Dior’s muse, Mitzah Bricard, it has camel, deep brown and nude shades and looks very sophisticated. Sadly, there were no samples for the press … but a bottle of the complementary new limited edition nail colour – Dior Vernis in Camel (£17.50; available exclusively from Selfridges from June 1) did fall into my hot little (hungover) hands on Friday.

It’s a matte shade which is a lovely alternative to the lighter nude shades of earlier in the year. Dior are definitely gaining ground in the nail colour department this summer … this one is tres, tres chic!

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