My Week in Beauty


Beauty icon Jean Harlow, known as the Platinum Blonde bombshell of the early 1930s, liked to contrast her beestung, scarlet lips with pale, milky white skin – and loose powder was a staple of her make-up regime.

Miss Harlow was a big fan of Guerlain fragrances  so I have no doubt that had she lived to be a grand old grande dame (and I mean seriously old – next year is the centenary of her birth), she would have loved the latest incarnation of the classic loose powder from the luxury Parisian beauty house.

Guerlain Les Voilettes Mineral (£33) is a lovely powder, scented – like Guerlain’s celebrated Les Meteorites – with a parma violet fragrance. It comes in a handsome, smooth gold tub and is applied with a decadent black puff.

My mum had been asking me for some powder and I thought I’d give this tub to her after I’d tried it out. I fully expected not to want to wear it much because I’m not a fan of parma violets, but I loved the feel and look of the powder on my face and, frankly, the scent wasn’t obvious after the initial application.

Mum’s had to make other arrangements …


By strange coincidence, I was thinking about Jean Harlow as I headed to Hotel du Vin in Glasgow on Tuesday to meet the chic PR for Tom Ford Beauty. Tom Ford’s fragrance White Patchouli, with its Art Deco-inspired white bottle, always brings Jean to mind. After all, she liked to wear gleaming white gowns, and her era (she died, at just 26, in 1937) was the age of Art Deco..

Melissa was in town, however, to talk to the local press about the arrival in Frasers, in Glasgow, of The Tom Ford Private Blend Collection later this month. These 16 scents, many of which appeal equally to both sexes, represent the designer’s fascination with the world of artisanal perfumery – in other words, they’re not your run-of-the-mill, easy-to-wear, suits-anyone type of fragrances.

Strangely, given my recent predilection for wearing men’s fragrances (read on!), I was drawn to the floral-oriental Champaca Absolute (£110 for 50ml), a mysterious and complex scent – more Garbo than Harlow – with cognac amongst its top notes and a spicy floral heart…


I rekindled an old love affair (well, not that old) last week – with Dior Homme (from £42), a gents’ fragrance which came out a few years ago and which I used briefly then set aside and forgot about.

Anyway, when I chanced upon it at the weekend, it seemed like the time to give it an outing – and I ended up wearing it for most of the week. I think it’s one that many women pinch from their partners as it is, unusually, a “masculine floral fragrance” with iris at its heart, as well as top notes of sage, lavender and bergamot and a woody/leathery base.


I’ve been trying to continue with some of the Elemis skincare programme which was prescribed to me during my recent facial at their spa pod in Debenhams and, by Wednesday, I realised that I’d have to make it official and admit that I am now addicted to Elemis Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser (£27;

Like that other fab, wash-off cream cleanser, Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, Elemis Pro-Radiance is a pleasure to use. It has a luxurious texture, smells lovely (orange, lavender, ylang ylang and patchouli) and it leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth and looking radiant.

I’m not sure about the anti-ageing bit but I’ll be using it religiously and shall certainly notice if it starts to turn back the clock, complexion-wise.


My revival of interest in men’s fragrance couldn’t have been more timely: Chanel has just brought out a new perfume for men.

An elegant square bottle of Bleu de Chanel (£42) arrived chez moi on Friday and I was delighted to find that it’s another men’s fragrance which I would consider wearing myself. First impressions are of a slinky, seductive scent – undoubtedly a midnight shade of blue..

As ever with Chanel, there’s a stylish advertising campaign with strong cinematic credentials – this time, director Martin Scorsese and actor Gaspard Ulliel, shown above. You might recognise him from some of the notable films he’s already been in (he’s only 26): Summer Things, in which he seduced Charlotte Rampling, A Very Long Engagement and Paris Je T’Aime..

Here’s a link to the film and the concept behind Bleu:

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