Category Archives: Beauty

Aveda to the Stress-cue!

Theda BaraI was scouring the net for a photo of a glamorous movie star with a headache – Carole Lombard in Nothing Sacred or Myrna Loy in The Thin Man sprang to mind – and I turned up this pic of silent era vamp Theda Bara whose scowl and pose combine here to remind me of how I feel when I’m stressed-out and tensed-up. The last time I felt like that, I was lucky enough to have an appointment for an Aveda Stress-Fix massage booked – and it sorted me out. But you never know when you’re going to be struck with a stress or tension-induced headache, so it’s not always possible to have a treatment lined up.

Aveda Stress-Fix new additionsThat’s where the at-home collection of Aveda Stress-Fix products comes into its own. This range has been around for a while (the Aveda  Stress-Fix Concentrate, a roll-on oil, has helped keep me on this side of sanity on more than a few occasions) but has now expanded thanks to the launch of Stress-Fix Creme Cleansing Oil (£22), a luxurious body wash which releases the signature, lavender-based, Stress Fix aroma as it’s lathered, and Stress-Fix Composition Oil (£22) which can be used as a bath oil or a massage oil if you’re lucky enough to have your own personal masseur!

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Them There Eyes

Clarins head shotYou know how you sometimes go for beauty treatments and don’t really notice any difference at all – but are thankful anyway, because you were pampered and had a lovely snooze? Well, forget that when it comes to the latest treatment from Clarins

With the new Age-Defying Eyes treatment (£30 for 45 mins), you get the pampering and the snooze (if, like me, you’re prone to dozing off mid-pamper) but what you also get are effects which are visible several days later!

I went to the Clarins Spa in Glasgow’s John Lewis store on Friday, in the hope that the recently launched  Age-Defying Eyes treatment would help improve the appearance of the skin round my eyes which was tired-looking and which has developed some lines over the last couple of years, due – I reckon – to excessive, PMT-induced, crying. I’ve been using, and loving, the new Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate (£54) for the last month and this treatment has been designed to tie in with it.

After the cleansing of the eye area, my therapist Leighanne exfoliated the delicate skin around my eyes for what was undoubtedly the first time ever. This helps to brighten the skin and removes dead skin cells so that products are better absorbed. After that, two masks are applied: a cream mask followed by a gel mask which hydrates the skin. The eye area, forehead and scalp were massaged; a particularly beneficial part of the treatment for anyone, like me, who is Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrateprone to puffy eyes. The process ends with the application of a touch of colour after the appropriate eye cream has been applied.

I must say I didn’t notice an immediate difference in the appearance of my eyes and was bemused rather than convinced by Leighanne’s assertion that the effects might reveal themselves over the next few days. But you know what? On Sunday, I met a friend I had seen earlier in the week. She seemed to be studying my face while I was talking, then pronounced that I was looking great and not at all the knackered specimen I was professing myself to be! And when I looked in the mirror, I saw she was right!

Safe to say: I’ll be back ..

* Click here to find your nearest Clarins Spa.  The number for the Clarins Spa in John Lewis, Glasgow is 0141 354 0417.

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The Beauty Code Breakers

Codage Paris foundersThis Parisian pair are Julien and Amandine Azencott, the brother and sister behind the coolest new French skincare brand on the scene. The Azencotts , who come from a medical family and have both already worked in some of the beauty industry’s biggest brands, created  CODAGE, so-named because it is all about “decoding” individual skincare needs and then providing a formula tailored to suit them.CODAGE serums

Inspired by the apothecaries of the old days, when anyone could walk in and discuss their way of life, needs and issues with an expert – and be provided with a treatment tailored to their requirements – the Azencotts aim to revive the art of service while acknowledging that everyone’s skin is different.

And you don’t have to be able to physically walk up to a CODAGE Paris counter or salon to be able to benefit from the range and to be able to start practising its three-step ritual of prepare, act, protect. You can get a prescription online for a bespoke serum or you can buy one of the nine ready-made serums which have been formulated to cater to specific skin types identified by CODAGE. It’s also possible to buy a month’s worth of samples whether you’re going down the tailor-made or ready-to-wear route – check out the CODAGE Paris website for details, watch out for it on QVC or visit Fenwick or Selfridges in London.

I’ve been using one of a set of samples built around Serum No3 – for Radiance and Energy – and am a CODAGE convert, having loved the feel and results from the day and night creams and the serum in particular.



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Clinique’s Pop Lip Culture

Clinique Color Pop group shotClinique counters are exploding with colour this spring – and I for one plan to raid them as bright colour is the only antidote to the miserable wet weather we’re experiencing this week in Scotland. The reason for this colour explosion is the introduction of the new Pop Lip Colour + Primer collection – 16 shades of beautiful lipstick (£16 each) which not only provide long-lasting colour but also condition and moisturise the lips.

There are five or six nude/neutral shades (I love Melon Pop, a pale coral which evokes Audrey Hepburn’s lipstick in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to this movie-mad beauty buff) but it’s the eye-popping bright colours – Punch Pop, Cherry Pop and Poppy Pop – especially which smack of summer. Oh, and the squared, coloured tubes are pretty gorgeous too..

Visit the Clinique website to read about the fab #LipPic competition in which participants post pix of their Pop Lip-painted lips for a chance to star in a Pop Lip advertising campaign. Now, after “3”, say “Cheese”!

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Chanel Take Five

Chanel Rouge Coco 2015I’m surprised that Chanel haven’t chosen May 5 – 5/5/15 – to celebrate Essentially Chanel, the five beauty products they consider the most iconic amongst their make-up and skincare collections. Why? Because their founder, Coco Chanel, was famously superstitious and five was, as we all know, her lucky number. Nevertheless, the company is offering customers the chance to discover their top five at counters across the country from now until May 8. Simply visit a Chanel counter and enjoy a complimentary bespoke make-over, packed with expert tips and background info about the products.

The five Chanel essentials you’ll learn about are the new formulation of Rouge Coco lipstick (as modelled by Keira Knightley, above), Hydra Beauty Micro Serum (the latest addition to the fab Hydra Beauty range for dehydrated skin), Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Make-up Base (a versatile bronzer that can be used on top of or under foundation), Le Volume de Chanel (one of the best mascaras on the planet at the moment) and Le Blanc de Chanel (an illuminating base beloved by make-up artists).

It’s interesting to learn which products Chanel regards as its most iconic essentials. Personally, I certainly couldn’t be without my Hydra Beauty Serum (I haven’t tried the Micro Serum yet) and Gel-Creme, my Le Lift Creme and Eye Cream and my Le Volume mascara. What’s your top five?


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Unmasking Great Skin

Clinique masksClinique has just expanded its line-up of face masks with the launch of three new additions to the already impressive collection. (I’m a long-standing convert to the Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, £30, which is an SOS treatment for dehydrated skin.)

Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask (£34) is an ideal investment for anyone who wants to be able to give their complexion a quick shot of radiance and hydration at the same time – maybe while getting ready for a night out. It has a creamy, luxurious texture, and is fast (five-ten minutes) and easy to use and delivers great results. My skin felt fab after using it – smooth and hydrated – and it looked healthy and even-toned.

Turnaround Revitalizing Instant Facial (£35) delivers similar results even more quickly, with the emphasis on boosting radiance and revving up cell turnover to reveal fresh skin. With its granules, it has an exfoliating effect too. A facial in a tube!

Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask (£22) is the perfect prescription for anyone with over-oily skin since it is a mattifying treatment which absorbs oil, impurities and environmental pollutants to detoxify the skin.

For best results, all of these masks can be used a couple of times a week and they tie in with Clinique’s various specialist skincare ranges.


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Making Like Murphy

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Shine lipsticksOooh, I think that this summer, I’m going to aspire to look like Carolyn Murphy in this photo …  Thanks to my oversized tortoise-shell sunglasses, I was already part of the way towards fulfilling my goal – but then I was sent one of the new Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Shine Sculpting Lipsticks (£25), and I’m now halfway there!

These new lipsticks are siblings to the Pure Color Envy collection and come in a similarly elegant squared tube with a magnetic closure. The multi-faceted colour pigments help shape and define the lips, while making them look plumper. Whereas the original lipsticks have a creme finish, the new ones offer a glossy look which is fresh and sexy for the summer.

Choose from 16 gorgeous shades; the bright corals, pinks and reds are particularly striking. Be warned, though: your initial impression might be that the lipstick is going to dry your lips, but in fact, it’s comfortable even on dehydrated lips and provides lasting moisture as well as shiny colour.

Now all I need is La Murphy’s hair, jewellery and a Pure Color Envy Shine Nail Lacquer!

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