Category Archives: Beauty

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

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Chanel RN makeover 8

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A 1950s Christmas Carol

Carol 2Yesterday I was at a press screening of the most gorgeous-looking film I’ve seen this year. Carol is its title, and it was directed by Todd Haynes – who also directed the similarly ravishing-looking Far From Heaven back in 2002. To be honest, I wasn’t really convinced by the characters or gripped by the plot but I was utterly seduced by the autumnal palette, slightly grainy film and – most of all – the  way the two central characters, socialite Carol (Cate Blanchett) and young department store clerk Therese (Rooney Mara), looked. (Scroll to the end of this post for more images plus trailer.) Anyone who loves and appreciates 1950s style and beauty, as I do, will not be able to take their eyes off the screen!

The plot centred on the love affair between these two women – and it was a bit like watching Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn (in Sabrina – pre-Paris transformation) getting together. They both look amazing in clothes designed by costume designing legend Sandy Powell: Blanchett sports chic suits or fitted dresses with silk scarves and elegant jewellery, tidy little hats and a ubiquitous mink, while Mara wears simpler, gamine gear. (Indeed, the pinafore-turtle neck combo she sports for Christmas in the country is a direct lift from Sabrina.)

In an interview earlier this year, Blanchett said: “The mink was old and it kept falling apart. Between takes, Sandy Powell  the costume designer, would sew it back together by hand. I considered changing coats, but when you find the right thing, you know immediately. That coat was the one to tell Carol’s story. It was perfect.”Carol 6

Just as perfect and every bit as striking was the make-up look created for Blanchett by her regular movie make-up artist Morag Ross, who told the MakeUp411 website: “The character of Carol Aird was a sophisticated, wealthy woman, so the make-up and hair had to reflect that. As was the norm of the period, she was always made-up and lipsticked, always put-together and elegant when in public. When the two women go on their road trip the look became more relaxed and free.

“Cate’s look really came together with the immaculate and stunning hairdressing by Kay Georgiou. We took our inspiration from period photos of Grace Kelly who, of course, always seemed effortlessly elegant and beautiful, and we made our aim to channel that kind of look and feeling.” Carol’s coral-red lips, says Ross, were painted with Chanel’s Rouge Allure Lipsticks in Coromandel and Incandescente (used on the middle of the lower lip), while her nails, throughout the film, sport the Lilis shade of Chanel Le Vernis.

And Blanchett’s verdict on her make-up also referred back to Chanel. She said: “I had to pluck my eyebrows nearly every day to achieve that very stern look. I just hated it. I much prefer a natural approach to beauty. You know, Coco Chanel always said to take one thing off before you leave the house, and I think that also applies to makeup.”

Carol is in cinemas from November 27Carol 4

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Carol 3

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Black Velvet

Max Factor Velvet mascaraFancy having flutterable lashes with extra va-va-voom? Then get along to a Max Factor counter near you and treat yourself to the latest magic mascara wand from the company which invented them. Max Factor’s new False Lash Effect Velvet Volume Mascara (£11.99) features the brand’s latest innovation – its “Lavish Volume brush” – plus a revolutionary new mousse formula.

Why do we need another addition to the already bewildering array of mascaras on offer, you might ask? Well, because Max Factor has designed this one in Max Factor False Lash Effect Velvet Volume Mascararesponse to research which found that while women love the full lash look, many of them can’t stand the volumising mascaras already out there because they feel they leave lashes looking stiff and feeling brittle.

With its gentle, mousse texture – the formula has been blended with natural beeswax – False Lash Effect Velvet Volume is kinder to lashes and adds volume in one fell swipe. My verdict? I loved the mega-lashes look and their intense blackness, and liked the softness of the mascara but, sadly, it turned out (unlike my existing favourite Max Factor mascara, False Lash Effect Clump Defy Extensions) to leave smudges under my eyes after a few hours’ wear.


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Luxe Lips on a Budget

Bourjois Rouge Edition AquaAll hail my latest beauty hero! Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque (£8.99) may have been around for a few months but it took me till now to stumble across it in Superdrug while on a quest to find something to replace a much-loved and much-missed lip lacquer which I can’t really justify splashing my cash on…

When I fell in love with YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis a Levres back in 2012, a tube cost £22.50; now the price tag is £26 – and I’m afraid I just can’t help but think that that much of an increase smacks of greed. Of course, I might have been tempted to part with the asking price – and kept the lip shine for special occasions – had I not discovered the beautiful Bourjois equivalent and taken a chance on it. (A no-brainer especially just now, when Superdrug is offering 3-for-2 across all its beauty brands!) It was a miracle that in the coral-pink Appechissant shade (right) I found a pretty close substitute for the gorgeous Corail Aquatique colour that served me well across several adventures in 2012, and was always complimented.YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis a Levres Glossy Stain

I’m happy to report that the Rouge Edition Aqua Laque was a big hit on its first outing on Sunday. What do I love about it (and the YSL)? Well, the flattering colour which can be used to soften a darker shade, the high shine and the complete absence of any stickiness (this is not a gloss, and I am not a gloss wearer!). As someone who won’t be doing the matte lip thing this winter, I am hoping that Bourjois add some more shades to the current existing sextet. And that they don’t hike the price up by £3.50!


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A Little Noir for the Soir

Tom Ford Noir faceYou can rely on Tom Ford to confound cosmetic expectations – and for this party season, he has created a dark and decadent look that is in contrast to the reds and golds and other seasonal shades we normally see at Christmas time.

The Noir Color Collection – available from Monday – was inspired by Ford’s new signature women’s fragrance, Noir Pour Femme, and features the darkest smoky eye, matte nude lips and vampy black nails. I’d say it was reminiscent of that great beauty icon Morticia Addams, but she would have had to be feeling extra audacious to swap her red lipstick for the pale one that’s key to this look.

It’s not all sombre sophistication, however: there is a playful side to the Noir proceedings too – in the form of the new Lash Tips Mascara, in cobalt or gold, which adds a dash of colour where you might least think of Tom Ford Lip Color in First Timehaving it!

Personally, I’m already rather smitten with the Lip Color Matte in First Time (£42), which is a beautiful, very wearable velvety nude shade – and one which is surprisingly comfortable to wear.

This limited edition collection also comprises Cream & Powder Eye Color  in Night Sky (£50), Eye Defining Pencil (£29), Waterproof Extreme Mascara (£39), Lash Tips Mascara (£35 ) and Nail Lacquer in Black Out (£30).

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