Monthly Archives: March 2012

My Week in Beauty


It seemed a little like spring had sprung on Monday and I celebrated by experimenting with what I think is possibly the loveliest and freshest of the spring make-up collections: Dior’s “Garden Party”.

Entirely inspired by the colours found in a garden (probably Christian Dior’s famous garden on the cliff edge of Granville, in Normandy), it includes two beautiful eyes-and-lips palettes in the shape of a dinky clutch purse, and two exquisite new colourways in the famous 5 Couleurs eye shadow compact.

Mind you, the product which has seen the most action here is the Dior Skinflash Primer in Sheer Glow (£28.50), a brilliant make-up primer which imbues the skin with a flattering radiant glow thanks to its cocktail of minerals and hyaluronic acid which banish shadows and signs of fatigue.


And speaking of Dior, how about this for a spring-time nail colour? Not only does Dior Vernis in Waterlily (£18) look fresh and pretty (with one coat; with two it takes on a pea-green appearance), but it also smells of the flower after which it’s named.

I’m not quite as smitten with it as I am with the next batch of Dior nail colours (see last week), but it is lovely – and will look especially fab on my more sallow-skinned pals.

Dior seems to be having a bit of a make-up moment just now: the new Dior Addict Extreme lipsticks look set to be my summer staples – watch this space..


Some seasons we beauty journalists find our in-trays resemble mountains of mascaras, other times it’s lipsticks that we are sent by the barrel-load. This spring there’s a bit of a blusher bonanza going on – and all sorts of variations on the theme, from the YSL Voile de Blush (£28), a gel blusher which I mentioned a couple of weeks back, to Clarins Instant Light Blush (£19;, a creamy cheek tint, and the Estee Lauder Pure Color Blush (£24;,  a traditional powder blusher

I was definitely in need of some help in the healthy-looking complexion department last week. Suffering from a period from hell, I was washed-out and pale – the perfect blusher guinea pig. I found the Clarins blusher a little scary to begin with – it’s fairly thick and creamy so the colour looks very strong. I tried the Vitamin Pink shade (left) which was a bit too intense; Coral Tonic will serve me better when I need a complexion pick-me-up (and it does have skincare benefits), but a little definitely goes a long way and you have to practise the blending before you leave home wearing it.. Ditto for the new Estee Lauder powder blusher which has a strong pigment and comes in two finishes – satin and the ultra-flattering shimmer.



On Friday, I made a long-overdue return visit to the Elemis SpaPod in Debenhams, in Glasgow, for one of their famous 30-minute Power Booster Facials. I had a different facial this time – the Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing one. It sounds pretty daunting; in fact, the resurfacing bit sounds more appropriate to roadworks than a beauty treatment ..

Nevertheless, once the pesky “Intelligent Massage Chair” – the thing that flings you about like Bronco Billy in full swing – was switched off, this was (as before) a very relaxing half hour. My dreamy state was slightly compromised by an awareness that my skin was tingling and burning a little and I momentarily wondered if I was having an adverse reaction to the one of the products being used. However, I needn’t have worried: my skin looked fabulous afterwards. Not a hint of the redness I had been expecting, and it did indeed feel smoother and softer.


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Style on Film: Laura

Apart from David Raksin’s lovely theme tune, I’m not much of a fan of Otto Preminger’s newly re-released 1944 noir melodrama Laura – about the investigation into the murder of a beguilingly beautiful young woman played by the luminous Gene Tierney (above, with Vincent Price) – but I do love most of its heroine’s style. The wardrobe sported by Tierney, and designed by Bonnie Cashin, is much softer and less tailored than the clothes worn by other 1940s female characters in film. Here’s how Laura looks when her admirer, the acerbic newspaper columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) recalls first meeting her, when she was 17.On the night that seals Laura’s “doom” – when she meets smooth-talking southerner Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price in an especially annoying performance as an especially annoying character) – she’s a vision in a cowl-necked, hip-hugging, vaguely Grecian-style evening dress which is accessorised with  a brooch on one shoulder and an elegant cuff.Here it is again, this time in a studio publicity shot … A successful advertising agency executive, Laura might be expected to be kitted out for the office in sharp suits and angular hats – but, as if to reinforce her image as a gentle, kind-hearted creature, she is only seen wearing almost informal workgear (simple sweaters and skirts) and floppy, cloche-like hats. Here she is getting ready to leave the office wearing the hat which Shelby tells her he “approves of”. When she visits the jealous Waldo shortly afterwards, Laura wears this stripy tunic top with a peplum – how 2012 is that? From the start of the film, everyone thinks that Laura has been murdered. The cop investigating the case, McPherson (Dana Andrews), becomes so obsessed by her that he is sleeping in her apartment when she turns up alive after weekending in the country – an angelic vision in a white raincoat and another coquettish, floppy cloche hat. Weirdly, Laura seems more dressed up in the morning, when she’s making breakfast – in her broad-shouldered kimono jacket, palazzo pants and high heels – than she does for going out to work… Another unusual outfit is the pencil skirt and tunic ensemble Laura wears for a little soiree in honour of her homecoming, towards the end of the film. The top with drawstring, peasant-style neck, bracelet-length sleeves and is tightly fitted over the hips and tummy – and it’s quite unlike anything the other female characters are wearing in this film, or any other of the era. Laura wears it with only a diamond ring and a sparkling cuff – and outshines every other dame (as McPherson would say) in the room. When she’s taken to the station for questioning, she throws a matching shawl round her neck.There is one rival in the style stakes in this movie: Laura’s socialite aunt, Ann Treadwell (played by Judith Anderson, best remembered as dowdy and creepy Mrs Danvers in Rebecca). When we first meet her, she is sporting a sarong and a black top accessorised with a series of surrealist-style brooches. 


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My Week in Beauty


I’m afraid I didn’t get to any of the gala nights at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival – too busy living it up with Annie Ross and organising my exhibition – but I wasn’t going to miss out on the “Gene Kelly Ceilidh” being held alongside a screening of the lovely, underrated musical Brigadoon. I didn’t manage to find a Cyd Charisse-style dress to wear for the dance but my lips were certainly worthy of a close-up, since they were modelling the latest lip colour innovation from Yves Saint Laurent – YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis a Levres (£22.50;

It may look like a little bottle of nail varnish but this is actually one of the best lip stains I’ve come across. It is the gloss for those of us who hate glosses as it has the longevity of a stain and the comfort factor of a lipstick – but the shine of a gloss. And what’s more it comes in a fantastic array of colours. I’m particularly smitten with the misleadingly named Corail Aquatique (no7); Rouge Gouache (no11) and Corail Fauve (no12).


And, speaking of YSL.. I was feeling and looking a little tired and run-down on Tuesday – so decided to give the new gel blushers from their spring collection a whirl. YSL Voile de Blush  (£28) turns out to be one of the few items from the candy-coloured spring range that suits me and is to my taste. I’m afraid I’m not into tangerine and bubble gum pink nails or bon-bon shades of eyeshadow. But I was rather taken with the effects of the jelly blusher – natural, radiant, fresh and moisturising-feeling.


I can’t believe there still over two months to go before the launch of the new Chanel Hydra Beauty range which will replace most of the existing Hydramax products (my beloved Hydramax + Serum survives, alongside the new Hydra Beauty equivalent), to which I’ve been addicted for the last few years. Hydramax has proved to be the best and most comprehensive antidote to dehydrated skin that I’ve found, so I was a bit trepidatious, to say the least, about the news of the advent of Hydra Beauty. If it ain’t broke etc …

However, Hydra Beauty goes one better than Hydramax has a low-molecular weight hyaluronic acid to plump skin up. It also harnesses the hydrating powers of the camellia (Coco Chanel’s signature flower) and blue ginger which aren’t in the original Hydramax range.

I’ve been using the products since January, and so far my favourite is the Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Creme (£50; from May 18) which makes the complexion look and feel fab, and is a fantastic base for foundation…


I’ve not been able to tear myself away from the raspberry-tastic April shade of Chanel’s spring nail varnishes (I’m not much interested in the May or June shades) – but it now has not one, but three rivals for my affections – in the form of the new Dior Vernis Extreme Wear Nail Lacquers (£17.50) which go on sale on April 1 along with the new Dior Addict Extreme collection of lipsticks. Of the four new nail colours, I dying to try Incognito (a putty shade) and Lucky (a vibrant pinky-coral) on my fingernails. I’m not as taken with the bright pink Plaza, but my toes are currently sporting Riviera (right, though the picture doesn’t do it justice – it’s brighter), my new favourite coral. Summer, it seems, has come early …

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