My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

My week got off to an unexpectedly glam start when I decided to have a play about with some of the dark lip glosses I’ve been sent recently. There are currently umpteen variations on the uber-dark lip theme, from the dark berries and plums that swing back into fashion every winter to the deep purples and even blacks which are very winter 2010.

I plunged straight in at the deep end, colour-wise, by starting with the brand new limited edition black lip gloss from Dior: Dior Addict Ultra Gloss in Noir Lame (£19.50; available now from Selfridges, and nationwide from November 1) . As I opened the tube, I thought to myself: “This’ll be a good one to scare the kids with at Hallowe’en”. But as soon as I looked in the mirror, I was completely smitten with the total transformation that I’d undergone with just one swipe of the wand… It was positively vampish, very 1920s silent movie star – shades of the original “It” girl, Clara Bow (above) and her exotic-looking
contemporary Theda Bara. Indeed, they probably did use black lipcolour to create their famously bee-stung lips – black would have showed up best on film…

After that, the purples and plums looked tame and, frankly, less dramatic. Strangely, the black – spread evenly across the lips (which does take a little time) – suited me much better than dark purple which can make me look rather ill… Teamed with a simple, nude-coloured eye dressed with just liner and mascara, it looked beautiful but you can bet I’ll be doing some more experimenting very soon!

TUESDAY

Tuesday was lunch with Margaret, my beauty therapist pal whom I met years ago when she worked as a make-up artist on shoots for a magazine whose beauty section I edited. Of course, she had a report to file, this time on the latest addition to the Chanel Sublimage range of luxury skincare – Chanel Sublimage Essential Revitalising Concentrate (£290; call 020-7493 3826 for stockists).

Here’s what Margaret said: “With all good serums, I expect an almost instant boost of some sort and this certainly didn’t disappoint. With just one application, my face felt firmer – it was like Spanx for the face!

“The instruction manual with this product read like an adventure novel: ‘Driven by a tireless quest for effectiveness and perfection, Chanel researchers travelled the world to discover new natural treasures  – to India and the Himalayas at the altitude of almost 10,000 feet, the Chanel team discovered the Golden Champa..’

“The science pitch with this product is that the Golden Champa detoxifies the skin cells, allowing them to be reborn. Well, after three weeks, my skin is looking great – though I wouldn’t yet say ‘reborn’. I’m looking forward to seeing the final results after I finish this 30ml bottle (and I’m nearly there). I only have two criticisms: the first is that it is very heavily fragranced  and for a sensitive skin this may present a problem, and the other is the price which means that very few women will be able to afford it!”

WEDNESDAY

Bobbi Brown products seem to be getting harder to come by if you’re a beauty writer, but I managed to snag a couple of items from her new Hydrating Skincare range to try.

Hydrating skincare is exactly what my permanently quenched complexion needs so I was the ideal guinea pig for the Hydrating Face Tonic (£18.50; www.bobbibrown.co.uk) and the Hydrating Face Cream (£33, above). And they exceeded my expectations.. The tonic comes in a clear bottle (emblazoned with Bobbi’s crest) which resembles the flacons of old-fashioned toner that I used to buy in Italian beauty halls. And the contents – a calming, soothing fluid made with minerals and cucumber – continue the retro theme. It’s a very comfortable and pleasurable product to use.

Ditto for the cream, which I used at night instead of my regular serum and cream combo – though it’s probably intended more as a day cream. With a texture of thick, whipped cream and an ingredients list which includes soothing caffeine and moisturising algae extract, it’s soothing, hydrating and great even on sensitive skin like mine.

THURSDAY

Thursday was the official opening of the newly revamped beauty hall at Frasers in Glasgow – and who better to do it than Elizabeth Hurley (left), who was in town anyway in her role as a spokesperson for Estee Lauder.

Not only did Liz pronounce the slick and gleaming new hall open, she flicked a light switch and turned the historic Frasers building pink – so that it joined the other landmarks across the world which are marking Estee Lauder’s Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign.

A vision in pink Herve Leger, she then did a brief signing – of products from the limited edition The Elizabeth Hurley Lip Collection (£25; www.esteelauder.co.uk) which is being sold as part of this year’s Pink Ribbon Collection. For your £25, you get a shocking pink mock-croc clutch bag containing two double-ended glosses from the Pure Color Gloss range. From each purchase of a product from the Pink Ribbon Collection in the UK, £7.50 will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for its research programme at the UK’s Institute of Cancer Research.

FRIDAY

Elizabeth Hurley’s sexy make-up look (smoky eyes, pale-ish pink lips) was created by the renowned make-up artist Mary Greenwell who took advantage of being in town to introduce the Scottish beauty press to her “baby”, her first fragrance – Plum (from £60 for the eau de parfum; available from selected House of Fraser stores).

Over an informal lunch, Mary – whose gold baubly bracelet evoked the weighty, gold- plated, stopper of her Plum bottle as well as the case in which the Solid Parfum (£70) is housed – chatted to journalists about her luxurious, very feminine scent. A classic chic chypre with a fruity twist, it has sparkling top notes of plum (natch), blackcurrant, peach, bergamot and lemon; heart notes of gardenia, tuberose, orange flower, rose and jasmine, and a base of sandalwood, oakmoss, patchouli, amber and white musk.

I’ll be writing more about Mary and Plum later this week …

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