Category Archives: Beauty

The Mean Reds to See Off the January Blues

Max Factor Marilyn MonroeTM Lipsticks BundleWhen it comes to red lipstick, there is no more iconic exponent than the greatest beauty icon of them all: Marilyn Monroe. So it makes perfect sense that Max Factor’s new capsule collection of red lipsticks is not only named after MM, but includes the Ruby Red shade (pictured below) that she loved.

The launch of the Max Factor Marilyn Monroe Colour Elixir Lipstick Collection in January is in response to research conducted by the beauty company. Its “Glam Jan” Poll revealed that more than half of women (55%) give up on glamour in the gloomiest month of the year because it’s too much hassle. So, this year, Max Factor is calling for women “to reclaim January’s forgotten glamour and embrace the classic red lip; the look that 70% of women say is the easiest way Ruby Redto make a glamorous beauty statement”.

Nevertheless, according to the poll, 53% of women avoid red lipstick because they can’t find the right shade for their skin tone. So .. the new capsule collection promises a shade to match every skin tone, and at a reasonable price of £10.99.

I’ve heard this “there’s a red for every skin tone” so many times and have seldom succeeded in finding one for mine. However, to my amazement, I followed the Max Factor guide and tried Berry Red, which is the recommendation for pale skins. And, you know what? It looks great. So much so that I may join the #GlamJan and #WearYourRed party on Twitter (also on Instagram) – which enters you into a competition to win a year’s supply of Max Factor Marilyn Monroe Colour Elixir Lipsticks!

Look out for the Max Factor Marilyn Monroe Colour Elixir Lipstick Collection in Boots and Superdrug branches.

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Clinique’s Hero of the Night

Clinique RepairwerIt’s not brand, spanking, new but Clinique Repairwear Sculpting Night Cream (£58), which launched last year, is one of those products that’s so good, it has to be shouted about. If you’re concerned about slackening of the skin around the jawline and cheeks, this is one of the most affordable and enjoyable options on the market. I’ve been using mine for a couple of months and am not only impressed by the tightening results but also love its luxurious gel-cream texture, and – especially – the way it leaves my skin feeling smooth, rested and moisturised when I wake up in the morning. If it could just make me feel as if I’ve notched up eight hours’ sleep too, then it would be perfect!

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Doin’ the Lauder Two-Step

Estee Lauder New Dimension Firm + Fill Eye SystemFollowing the success of the first wave of its New Dimension sculpting and contouring skincare, Estée Lauder now brings us New Dimension Firm + Fill Eye System (£62), one of three new products in the range.

Part one of this two-step eye treatment is a light gel formula which helps tighten and tone the eye area skin while helping to re-plump and refresh it thanks to its hydrating properties. Formulated with Lauder’s pro-collagen complex, the gel aims to visibly lift, firm and smooth the skin around the eyes so that contours appear more defined.

The second stage of the treatment is a crème which has light-diffusing optics to instantly the smooth the appearance of the eye area. The idea is that after using both products together over a period of time, the look of crepiness is reduced and the skin looks firmer and is strengthened.

So what did I make of the Firm + Fill two-step? Well, I loved the lovely, cooling and tightening feel of step one, and was delighted to be using it night and day, as recommended. However, I wasn’t very keen on the second step as the thickness of the crème, which has to be patted on otherwise it drags the skin, drew attention to the lines under my eyes – and looked even worse when I put my normal make-up on. Using it at night, as prescribed, seemed a little bit unnecessary as I’m not really bothered about the look of the skin around my eyes when all I’m doing is heading for bed.

Over to you! What do you think? Let me know if you’ll be trying New Dimension Firm + Fill Eye System – or which eye creams you favour.

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Hands Up for Clarins!

Clarins Super Restorative Hand Cream-2Can you improve on perfection? Well, the answer would appear to be yes – if Clarins‘s hand creams are anything to go by. Most of us beauty buffs are well acquainted with the classic Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream (£21), which is a terrific all-round hand cream, particularly good for strengthening the nails and providing serious hydration. But now, those of us in our forties and/or concerned (okay, obsessing) about the giveaway signs of age on our hands have an alternative – Clarins Super Restorative Hand Cream (£37.50).

I must say I’m a convert, not least because the cream’s scent is beautiful, much more to my taste than the scent of the original Hand and Nail Treatment Cream. With its significantly higher price tag, the new cream is – perhaps unsurprisingly – more luxurious-feeling as well. Tackling signs of ageing is its main focus, and it does this by using extract of organic harungana, the “healing tree” from Madagascar, to reactivate the hormone-deprived fibroblasts which stimulate the production of collagen which, in turn, reinforces the skin’s structure. The appearance of age spots is also reduced thanks to extract of organic Montpellier rock rose, known as the “phoenix plant”.

A hands-down winner!

 

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A Few of My Favourite 2015 Finds

Rimmel Salon Pro in Desire

Rimmel Salon Pro in Desire (£4.49) is the nail varnish I’ve loved most this year – the colour is chic and sexy and it lasts terrifically well.

Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Protective Primer

Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Protective Primer (£7.50) is brilliant for detangling and conditioning even the finest hair.

Illamasqua Brow Gel

Illamasqua Brow Gel (£18.50) proved the perfect product for filling in sparse eyebrows in a subtle way.

No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Eye Cream

I fell in love with the creamy texture and flesh colour of No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Eye Cream (£17)

Max Factor Ageless Elixir

Max Factor Ageless Elixir (£12.99) is THE most flattering foundation for older skin.

Chanel Rouge Coco in Marie

Chanel Rouge Coco (£26) was reformulated this year and is now perfect for my slightly dry lips – especially the deep pink Marie shade.

Essie Gel Setter

I tracked down a bottle of Essie Gel Setter Top Coat (£9.99) after it was used in the best manicure I’ve had in years!

Freedom Pro Eye Primer

Freedom Pro Eye Primer (£2.50) – cheap as chips but as effective as eye bases ten times its price!

Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque

Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque (£8.99) is simply the best lip lacquer I’ve come across in years – and the price is as beautiful as the colours..

Clarins Super Serum

Clarins Super Restorative Remodelling Serum (£80) is my anti-ageing weapon of 2015.

Estee Lauder Little Black Eyeliner

Estee Lauder Little Black Liner (£22) proved 2015’s easiest way to pull off a sexy flick of the eyeline.

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Carole’s Christmas Crackers

Xmas - Carole LombardI love this picture of Carole Lombard, one of my favourite Hollywood beauties from the golden age, gleefully opening her Christmas presents – even though I know it was probably taken in July and all the boxes are empty! I’m sure she would have loved to find any of my pick of this year’s beauty gifts under her tree – apart, obviously, from the token one for the men!

Bobbi Brown Caviar Mini Lip & Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Caviar Mini Lip & Eye Palette, £26.50 (www.bobbibrown.co.uk)

Aveda Stress Fix Hand Creme Gift set

Aveda Stress Fix Hand Creme Gift Set, £32 (www.aveda.co.uk)

Elemis Clean Man gift set

Elemis Clean Man Gift Set, £25 (www.elemis.com)

 

Dior Makeup Multi Palette

Dior Multi-Use Make-up Palette, £68 (www.houseoffraser.co.uk)

Diptyque Oliban candle

Diptyque Oliban Candle, £48 (www.spacenk.co.uk)

Tom Ford Lips & Nails Gift Set

Tom Ford Lips & Nails Gift Set, £130 (Tom Ford counters in House of Frasers and Space NK)

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Attaboy, Clarins!

Clarins Super Restorative Remodelling SerumChristmas wouldn’t be half as beautiful without Clarins – it’s definitely the go-to beauty brand for skincare treats, and its red packaging just adds to the festive appeal.  For me, the stand-out anti-ageing product this year has been Clarins’ Super Restorative Remodelling Serum (£80), which promises to help lift features, replenish the skin, reshape and redefine the facial contours and reduce the appearance of age spots.

I used it religiously from August until very recently (it lasted extremely well, especially since, once I began to panic about running out, I only targeted my forehead and my jawline!), following the “Clarins Method” – a particular way of applying it using gentle pressure. I noticed an improvement in the tautness of the skin on my jawline pretty quickly, which is why I was encouraged to keep using it twice a day and not to skip the serum step even when I was knackered.

Early on, somebody commented on how lovely my skin was looking. I remember feeling perplexed because at the time I felt quite run-down. Then I realised that the credit for any improvement in my complexion was probably due to this serum, since it also restores radiance, and gives older women’s skin the support it needs to bounce back and recover from the hormonal changes which inevitably weaken it.Clarins New Visage_2013

Towards the end of my Super Restorative Remodelling cycle, I was lucky enough to be treated to one of the fabulous Clarins Tri-Active facials (£67 for 85 minutes), which now incorporate the serum. As ever, it was not only extremely relaxing, but also produced instant results in terms of tightening and brightening the skin. If you’re planning to splurge on a woman who is fortysomething or older this Christmas, this is the skincare to buy – and the Tri-Active facial is the spa treatment to book….

For details of your nearest spa, visit www.clarins.co.uk

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One for Her – and One for Me … A Bourjois Christmas

Bourjois Superdrug giftParisian beauty brand Bourjois is making Christmas shopping a much more enjoyable experience with a couple of fab offers running concurrently at Superdrug and Boots. I don’t normally get excited about these things but these offers are downright irresistible! I haven’t received any press info about them; I just stumbled across them instore – and figured that it’s worth knowing about both deals before you choose which one to go for .. Or which to go for first!

At Superdrug until the end of January, not only can you buy three Bourjois items for the price of two, but you will also receive the lovely eyeshadow trio pictured – a beautiful, light-coloured and very wearable trio of shimmering nude shades, and instructions on how to use them. A brilliant stocking-filler – or maybe a palette to save for the spring?

Meanwhile, over at Boots, a spend of £15 from the Bourjois stand before December 29 will earn you the Rouge Glamour gift box (worth £29; scroll down to view), which contains full-size versions of the Smoky Stories Quad Eyeshadow in Upside Brown, a Volume Glamour Max Mascara in Ultra Black, a Rouge Edition Velvet Liquid Lipstick in Hot Pepper and a So Laque Ultra Shine Nail Polish in Rouge Escarpin.

Both free gifts are available while stocks last. I reckon that won’t be long!Bourjois Rouge Glam

 

 

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Full of Eastern Promise

Illamasqua Equinox headshotApologies for the absence of new blog posts over the last week but I was unwell and feeling far too wretched to write.. I did get a laugh in the midst of the misery, however, thanks to the arrival in the mail of a selection of items from the team at cult British beauty house Illamasqua, the brand for those who dare to follow their own path make-up wise. Why the laugh? Well, actually it was more of a snigger – fuelled by the inexplicable name of one of the beautiful nail varnish I’d been sent. Phallic. Nope, me neither. It’s a sparkly midnight blue shade – not a fleshy one as you might perhaps expect!Illamasqua nail varnish in Phallic

Anyway,  it’s part of the Equinox Gift Set (£45), one of three which complement the gorgeous Equinox make-up collection modelled in the photo above. The  collection is said to represent a desert at night, with the shimmering textures of the gorgeous Celestial Palette (£34; one of the loveliest eyeshadow quartets I’ve seen this season – scroll down to view it), the Broken Gold (£18.50) liquid eye colour and the champagne shade of Nail Varnish in Beam (£14.50) all evoking the stars and the sky.

The collection is completed with a set of False Eye Lashes in No27 (£12.50) and the deep garnet-coloured, satin-finish Glamore Lipstick in Vega (£19.50). In all, a ravishing alternative to the other beauty houses’ festive make-up collections – and a unique one. After all, I don’t think I’ve come across one that reminds me of the Three Kings of the Orient or the old Turkish Delight ads before…Illamasqua Celestial Palette

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Festive Noir

Chanel Rouge Noir model shotThis year’s Christmas collection from Chanel is as glamorous as ever but it has a dark twist. The Rouge Noir Absolument collection has been inspired by the classic, vampy Rouge Noir nail varnish, which celebrated its 20th birthday recently and was one of the biggest beauty stories of its era. I remember vividly writing a story for The Herald about it when news broke that this dinky little bottle of inky, blackish-red polish had a waiting list in the UK. I only got my hands on mine because I went on a press trip to Copenhagen where there were still a few bottles left!

Rouge Noir was originally inspired by a colour mentioned as a favourite of Coco Chanel in a 1926 magazine article, and this new collection puts the deep Chanel Rouge Noir Signe Particuliergarnet shade centre stage, with a number of roses, pinks and golds in supporting roles so you can release the inner vamp or temper her with softer, prettier shades. Highlights of the collection include the Signé Particulier Exclusive Creation (£44), an eyeshadow quartet which revolves around the matte Rouge Noir shade; a beautiful highlighting powder, Joues Contraste Lumiere 12 Coups de Minuit (£31), in a pearlised rose-gold shade, and of course the gorgeous new trio of nail varnishes  (£18 each) – the original Rouge Noir shade, plus brand new Le Top Coat Lamé Rouge Noir, a transparent top coat with gold flecks, and the delicate Rose Fusion shade.

I popped along to the Chanel counter in Fraser, in Glasgow, last week for a Rouge Noir makeover (scroll down to see my pix from the day). Late morning is probably not the best time of day to go noir, but it was worth doing as my make-up artist, Megan, gave me some great idea about how to wear the Rouge Noir collection. I particularly loved the eye palette, which was enhanced by the new Rouge Noir shades of the Ombre d’Illusion cream eye colour (£25 ) and Le Volume Mascara (£25).

  • For stockists call 020 7493 3836Chanel Rouge Noir nails

Chanel RN makeover 3

Chanel RN makeover 5

Chanel RN makeover 8

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