Monthly Archives: January 2014

A Neutral State

Clients|CliniqueYou might do a double-take at the above picture of the new, limited  edition, collection from Clinique – because the bottles in “16 Shades of Beige” are not of liquid foundation, but of nail varnish. The new range – which is available now at, and goes on-counter on February 7 – harnesses Clinique’s expertise at catering for all skin tones with its wide spectrum of foundation shades, and uses it to offer women a comprehensive collection of nude shades for the eyes and nails.

I love the eight-shade All About Shadow – Neutral Territory 2 palette (£32) of eyeshadows which range from ivory through to chocolate brown and offer a myriad of possible looks to suit each and every complexion. I’ve long been a fan of the texture of Clinique’s All About Shadows as they are extremely easy to blend, last well and can create as subtle or out-there a finish as desired.

That’s the good nudes. The bad is that I’m still not convinced by Clinique’s nail varnishes – AKA A Different Nail Enamel for Sensitive Skin (£12 each). There are some beautifully chic shades among the octet that are being launched as part of this neutral collection but I’m afraid my heart sank as the runny varnish dripped off the brush; just the same reason I disliked the product when it launched last year.

So, I’ll be sticking with my Estee Lauder nude shades from 2013 for the nails, but the eyes are all about Clinique.

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Chanel’s Colour Compositions

Chanel Notes de Printemps model shotChanel’s newly launched spring make-up collection, Notes de Printemps, takes its inspiration from music. A strange concept? Mais oui. And one that probably speaks more to the French sensibilities – and is easier to understand in French. So I’m going to let the pictures from the collection do the talking; suffice to say it’s a pretty, fresh look which is built around plum, violet and soft red shades. I’m very taken with the two new nail colours (£18 each) – Charivari, a dark, greyish mauve which is tres chic, and Tapage, a gentle red which is currently adding a touch of summer to my toes.

Chanel Notes de Printemps nail varnishes

Also worth checking out is the gorgeous new Diapason shade of Illusion d’Ombre eye shadow (£24), a vibrant brownish purple which looks much more striking in real life than in photos.
Chanel Notes du Printemps Illusion d'Ombre in Diapason

And for lips? Well, my favourites from this musical compilation are both corally colours: the Rouge Allure (£25) in Melodieuse and the Levres Scintillantes  gloss (£21) in Sonate…Chanel Notes de Printemps Rouge Allure in Melodieuse

Chanel Notes de Printemps LS in Sonate

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The Nudes Today

NudeGlow_Katie_Holmes_CMYK_LowresI visited the Bobbi Brown counter at Frasers, Glasgow, yesterday in order to be introduced to the new Nude Glow Collection of make-up, and be shown how best to use it on my pale Scottish skin…  I have to say, it wasn’t this picture of an almost unrecognisable Katie Holmes (right) that inspired me to experiment with Nude Glow – I’m not that struck on her frosted pink lips or the palette used on her eyes (not to mention the mousey hair colour). It was more the fact that I welcome any opportunities to be taught tricks on how to achieve a barely-there make-up look that enhances and improves my appearance.

Make-up artist Julie did a great job, and I was particularly impressed with her choices of foundation and powder for my fair complexion. I loved the Brightening Finishing Powder (£40), a pressed powder compact made up of six shades, and available in three different colour ways designed to give different skin tones a healthy glow. Inevitably, it was Porcelain Pearl that Julie chose for me.

Then it was on to the colour selection from the limited edition Nude Glow collection: we plumped for the Bronze Eye Palette (£35), one of three versatile quartets of eye colour in the range, plus Sheer Lip Color (£19) in Pink Gold, a lovely pale rose gold shade, and Nail Polish (£11) in Bronze Shimmer. Here are pictures of the collection which is in stores and online now.

Nude Glow eye palettes

Nude Glow Sheer Lip Color

Nude Glow Nail Polish

Bobbi Brown Nude Glow makeover 1

Me in the Nude (Glow), courtesy of Julie at Bobbi Brown, Frasers, Glasgow


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Saga Style

Saga mainYou can stick Sarah Lund’s knitwear up your jumper. There’s only one stylish Scandinavian TV detective worth emulating, and that’s Saga Noren, the magnificent, occasionally hilarious and utterly fascinating Swedish heroine of The Bridge (Saturdays, BBC4).

She may have even fewer variations on her sartorial repertoire than Lund, her much-missed Danish counterpart from The Killing (who alternated between two itchy-looking, yet surprisingly popular, woolly sweaters), but Saga’s one-hit wardrobe wonder – khaki military coat (always worn open; probably from H+M), over a grey quilted zipper, tan leather jacket, dark leather trousers of indeterminate colour and boffer boots – is easily the more appealing.

It’s only when you actually stop and think about it that Saga’s style credentials mount up. The khaki kit ties in with the cool green eyes, not to mention the  vintage, bogey-green Porsche she drives. (All of it also, of course, blends in with the bleak, washed-out look of the series. The Bridge may come from the Saga & carcountry that gave us Ikea, but bold primary colours don’t get a look-in in this TV show’s palette.)

In rain, hail or snow (the sun never shines on the Scandinavian TV we get to see), our heroine never wavers from her near-iconic look, which is always unencumbered by scarves, hats and other accessories – just as her messy blonde hair seems never to be troubled by brushing or styling of any sort.

I couldn’t say what age Saga is meant to be – early 30s, maybe –  but Sofia Helin, the actress who plays her, is 41 and clearly a perfect example of the no-make-up look knocking years off one’s age. With make-up, she’s almost unrecognisable.

Sofia Helin


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The Max Lash Factor

Max Factor Excess Volume

Max Factor’s latest addition to its arsenal of fab mascaras is the double-ended Excess Volume (£12.99) which is ideal for anyone who wants eye-catching, deepest black, lashes with real va-va-voom. One wand takes care of the volumising side of the operation while the second stage is a coating of what is, incredibly, Max Factor’s first jet black lacquer mascara using the other wand. Just be ready with your waterproof eye make-up remover as this mascara does not want to budge once it’s on…

In celebration of its new launch, Max Factor has coined a new phrase – the “#SELFEYE”, a twist on the selfie, so that anyone seduced by the effects of these magic wands can take a photo of one or both made-up eyes, and tweet it. I did try to do my own, but was thwarted by my Blackberry’s limitations…

Make-up guru Caroline Barnes offers these tips for taking an expert “#SELFEYE”:

  • It’s always best to raise your arm slightly upwards and look up to the lens to get the most flattering shot. 
  • Looking towards daylight and the window gives a lovely soft natural light effect but you have to be directly facing the window.
  • Flash is also perfect for the evening and has this wonderful effect of clearing up any fine lines or blemishes and making us look like we have been papped on the red carpet.
  •  Always try and avoid any lights from the ceiling as they give you very dark shadows.

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The Defence League

CLINIQUE_Superdefense_SPF_20_and_Superdefense_Eye_SPF_20_TRAVEL_RETAILWhile the rest of us were recovering from post-turkey stress on December 27, Clinique launched two new skincare products in readiness for our traditional New Year fixation with sorting out our skincare concerns.

Clinique Superdefense SPF20 Daily Defense Moisturizer (£39; boasts a cocktail of ingredients designed to help the skin defend itself against the early signs of ageing – while at the same time protecting it from future damage from the sun’s rays, and keeping it well hydrated. The cream is available in two different formulations to suit different skin types, and the textures are lovely and feel like a treat for the skin.

If ever an area cried out for extra protection it’s the particularly delicate skin around the eyes, so it makes sense that Clinique has also launched Superdefense SPF20 Age Defense Eye Cream (£30) which protects and hydrates the skin while preventing future damage. Additionally, it has a luminous tint to it to help brighten dull, tired-looking skin. Word of warning: if you like your eye creams to feel moist and malleable then this one is maybe not for you.

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The Art of Scarf Styling

A friend was lucky enough to be given a classic large square Hermes scarf for her birthday recently. When she asked me for tips on how to wear it, I remembered a leaflet, published by Jacqmar of London, that I found amongst my grandmother’s stuff when she died. It’s full of great ideas so I thought I’d share it with other scarf-lovers.Scarves_leaflet_4
Scarves_leaflet_2 Scarves_leaflet_3


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Happy New Skincare!

Clarins Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing CreamMeet the first skincare hero of 2014: Clarins Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream (£25;; from January 12). Yup, its name is a bit of a mouthful but that’s easily forgiven when a product is this good. Cleansers have really upped their game recently, so much so that we’re all coming to expect more from a cleanser than just clean skin; we expect it to be a pleasure to use as well.

This one goes further still and offers defence against pollution thanks to Clarins’ use of Moringa Seed which eliminates all traces of pollution by acting as a barrier against pollution particles, and ensures that the skin’s surface is rinsed of these impurities. The Moringa Seed doesn’t only detoxify the skin’s surface, but also the epidermis – meaning that the skin regains youthful qualities and radiance. It also feels very nourishing and comforting on the skin, and is applied using the “Clarins Method” – as practised in salon treatments, making it feel very much a lovely ritual to add to the morning and/or evening repertoire…..



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