My Fortnight in Beauty

It’s been a bit of a manic fortnight, what with a jazz party to attend (that takes a week out of the diary – four days there, plus three days to recover), and a feast of writing assignments after a bit of a famine.

Still, there have been opportunities to try out some new products – and discover a couple of new favourites. Undoubtedly my favourite find of recent times is the new collection of nail varnishes from Yves Saint Laurent.

YSL La Laque Couture (£18) is the name of this new polish and aside from the fact that it comes in 30 fabulous shades created to reflect the couture legacy as well as the contemporary creations of the house of Yves Saint Laurent, what I immediately loved about it was its brush which – during my long train journey from Glasgow to Norwich for my jazz party – enabled me to paint each nail very neatly and precisely with just one sweep.

I haven’t yet experimented with the YSL polishes on my toes – I haven’t needed to, as they’ve been sparkling with a Leighton Denny varnish that was applied by a pro, when I tried out the new Ila Luxurious Seaweed Foot Experience (£80) at The Blythswood Square hotel in Glasgow.

This new treatment turned out to be very relaxing – so much so that I drifted off a few times (possibly, at least once, mid-conversation!). It kicks off with a soothing footbath using nutrient salts and pure essential oils. Then the feet and lower legs are scrubbed with an exfoliator made using the oil from Scottish seaweed. The next stage is a massage using a deeply hydrating and nourishing oil, followed by a comprehensive pedicure which left my feet positively glowing – and undoubtedly ready for their close-up in summer sandals..

In addition to the YSL nail polishes, my other great find of the last fortnight is an exfoliator which makes me smile every time I use it. Can’t be a bad thing, can it? It’s not just that MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator (£18) is jet black, and makes me look like Al Jolson or a member of the chorus on The Black and White Minstrel Show. It’s because it reminds me of Annie Hall, one of my favourite Woody Allen films. Remember the black soap scene? (If not, scroll down to see a clip.)

As Annie explains to Alvy, the black stuff is good for her complexion – and my skin was certainly radiant after I’d used this unusual product (a cult favourite from MAC which had been limited edition but was reinstated due to popular demand) thanks to its combination of natural volcanic ashes and sugar crystals. Next time, though, I’ll warn the offspring before I put it on …

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