Category Archives: Beauty

Kiss Me (With Bright Colour), Kate

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If you fancy treating yourself to an instant summery update to your look, check out Rimmel’s  “Kate Bright” SS15 collection of gorgeous shades of Salon Pro Nail Polish (£4.49 each) and Lasting Finish Lipstick (£5.49 each) designed by Kate Moss.

I love these bright lips and tropical nail colours – particularly the Lasting Finish Lipsticks in the vibrant coral of #37 (second down) and the pinky nude of #38 (the bottom one) along with the Salon Pro in Red Ginger (pictured top), a sultry tropical pink colour I’ve been using on my finger nails.

Pictured from top to bottom: Salon Pro in Hip Hop & Lasting Finish Lipstick #34; Salon Pro in Soul Session & Lasting Finish Lipstick #37; Salon Pro in Green Dragon & Lasting Finish Lipstick #35; Salon Pro in Angel Wing & Lasting Finish Lipstick #36 and Salon Pro in Red Ginger & Lasting Finish Lipstick #38.

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Graceful Tanning

Grace Kelly beachWell, sadly, I don’t have much in common with Grace Kelly – pictured here in the wonderful 1955 Alfred Hitchcock movie To Catch a Thief – but one thing I have in common with the character she’s playing here is a belief that sun protection is essential. I may never have holidayed on the Riviera, but I have suffered dreadful sun burn – two years ago on the beach in St Andrews, here in Scotland. And that was with a factor 5o cream on! The thought of how chargrilled my shoulders would have been without it makes me shudder.

This year, I’m taking no chances and covering all bases in terms of my range of sun protection options. And, as usual, Clarins has everything I need to protect my skin and my children’s too.  I’ve been trying to train my boys to use sun protection without having to be told, but previous creams and lotions have been Clarins Sun Care Milk-Lotion Sprayoff-putting for them because they have been thick and unwieldy (invariably the case with UVA/B50, which is my preferred level of sun protection for my fairer-skinned son and myself) so this summer we will be trying Clarins Sun Care Milk for Children UVA/B 50+ (£19.50) or Sun Care Milk-Lotion UVA/B 50 (£19.50), and also as back-up and for topping up purposes Sun Control Stick for Sun-Sensitive Areas UVA/B 30 (£17.50).

For my own exclusive use, I’ll be packing Clarins’ fab new UV Plus Day Screen Multi-Protection UVA/B 50 which is perfect for wearing under foundation. Well, if I’m trying to channel Grace Kelly, I can’t be expected to do it without full make-up!

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For Men Only (maybe!)

Cary Grant shavingTis the season of festivals and late nights and travel, so the timing of three great new skincare products for men coulnd’t be more timely.. No7 got in there first with the launch of a men’s serum that allows the male of the species to get in on the Protect & Perfect action. No7 Men Protect & Prefect Intense Advanced Serum (£24.95; targets deep lines and and wrinkles and is said to reveal younger-looking skin in just two weeks. I’ve sent one on the road with my personal tester so I don’t expect to recognise him when he returns!

Meanwhile, Elemis has also two new additions to its men’s range. The Anti-Fatigue Day Cream (£36; energises and moisturises, perking up the most tired-looking complexion – though my tester wasn’t too taken with the scent – while the Anti-Fatigue Eye Gel (£25) does a great job of waking up sleepy eyes with its refreshing, cooling and soothing formula. In fact, next time I see my tester, I may be swiping it from his toilet bag…

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Marilyn’s Toe Nail Tips

MM - in the bathOne of the best comedy moments in The Seven Year Itch, one of the Marilyn Monroe films playing in this month’s BFI retrospective, is when our wide-eyed heroine, known simply as “The Girl” reveals her embarrassment at having had to have a plumber come round while she was stuck in the bath. “There I was with a perfectly strange plumber,” she says, “and no polish on my toe nails!”

We’ve all been there .. Not naked with a plumber in the vicinity – but affronted by the sight of the naked toe nail. Personally, I can’t stand the sight of mine. Revlon One Perfect CoralAnd maybe Marilyn couldn’t bear to see hers sans varnish either, since the publicity photo for the film (above) features some well-dressed toes. It looks as if MM shared my preference for coral-coloured toe nails for summer, and if she was still around she would have plenty to choose from, from the pale Coral Crush shade of Gel-Look Shine Nail Colour by No7 (£7) to my long-time favourite, Revlon’s aptly named One Perfect Coral (£6.49), which is a vibrant, mood-enhancing shade of the classic colour.

This summer, however, anything goes for the toes – and the shades from Chanel’s Méditerranée collection (pictured below) encapsulate the range of options, since the quartet of new Le Vernis colours includes a must-have sea blue and a deep purple.

Variations on sea colours would probably be my choice too, if my toes were tanned. I’d plump for No7 Gel-Look Shine Nail Colour in the pale turquoise of Mint Treat or the gorgeously rich Persian Blue (£7), a bold blue which, like Chanel’s Lavanda shade (shown below) could look stunning on those of us who are pale – but maybe better for fingernails as on toe nails, it might look as if we have circulation problems! The last time my toe nails were bare for more than the amount of time it takes to repaint them was when having my babies by Caesarian – and I was told that nail polish was banned in surgery.. As Marilyn’s Seven Year Itch character might have said: “There I was, with a perfectly strange doctor – and no polish on my toe nails!”Chanel Summer 2015 nail varnishes



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Sprays of Wonder

Aveda 2Sometimes, to paraphrase The Dude, there’s a product – and it’s a product for its time and place. And last week, I was shown one such product. It’s Aveda Thickening Tonic Styling Spray (£19) and it is a must-try for anyone with fine flat hair. I had actually encountered this spray before – when I had my hair done last month – but last week, Bea Watson, an Aveda Global Educator and possessor of the best, and shiniest red bob since Geraldine McEwan played Lucia in the original TV adaptation of my favourite, Mapp & Lucia, novels, showed me how to use it – and what it could do for me.

This is not about creating volume (which one tends to do at the root); it’s about beefing up every single strand of hair for a fuller, thicker effect. A 97% naturally-derived, and lovely-smelling, formula, Thickening Tonic Styling Spray harnesses the power of various botanicals, notably Amla – an Ayurvedic herb used in India for centuries to keep hair healthy.

The key with this product is to use it properly, counsels Bea Watson. “Always shake it well before you use it,” she says. “Then apply it in sections from roots to ends before combing through. Applying in sections as you blow-dry – rather than to the whole head at the start – helps to avoid the product air-drying into the Aveda 3hair, which can lead to unwanted frizz and fluffiness.

“Always create the parting that you want before you start to blow-dry. Place your product around it to help the hair fall the way you want it to. Start blow-drying at the section where you want it to appear fullest – usually at the root/crown area – and start by lifting the hair up and directing the air-flow into the root and upwards along the hair shaft, using a nozzle. Opt for a high heat and low speed to control the air-flow and help avoid heat damage.”

And you don’t need to be wearing your hair down to benefit from Thickening Tonic’s magic effects, adds Bea. “It has a fantastic gritty texture that helps to stop the hair from slipping so it’s not only ideal for creating fuller, thicker-looking blow-dries – it’s also great for up-do’s such as the on-trend top knot, or a low ponytail with lift at the crown.”


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Seeing Red

Tracy's nails 2I’m typing out this post with Tracy Barlow’s nails … For the benefit of non-British readers – or those who aren’t up to speed with their soaps – Tracy is the longest-serving bad girl on Coronation Street. This week, the street’s resident villainess has been plotting revenge on her sister-in-law, and yesterday – in the second of this week’s nightly episodes – we saw her sneak into her intended victim’s flat with murder on her mind.

Anyway, back to the nails which I hope I won’t be biting tonight as fire rips through the apartment building that’s home to several characters. I noticed a few months ago that Tracy – who is brilliantly played by Kate Ford – is never seen these days without red nails, no matter whether she’s on the school run, in the Rimmel Salon Pro in Rock n Rollpub or working in her shop. I’m not sure when it started though I think I remember being surprised by her red nails on her wedding day last autumn. In any case, she (and my obsession with her nails) has taken over from where Spiral’s bad girl left off.

While Spiral’s Josephine Karlsson probably wore an expensive brand of nail varnish, complementing her designer wardrobe, Tracy’s red is altogether more affordable. Coronation Street’s Head of Make-up Elizabeth Armistead tells me: “It’s a Rimmel one – Salon Pro in Mars Red. Kate’s worn red nails and lips for a while – she wanted to wear red and so we found the products for her.”

Kitting Tracy’s nails out in one of the most purse-friendly ranges is genius – since she is a character on a limited budget. But according to Elizabeth, that’s not how the Rimmel connection came about: she asks the actors which ranges suit them and tries to accommodate their preferences. She’s going to have to hit the shops again, however, as Rimmel tell me that Mars Red was a limited edition red and has now been replaced with the equally glossy Rock n Roll, another £4.49 shade designed by that other Kate, Ms Moss. I must say, I’m very impressedSexy Sensation Nail Lacquer-2 with my Salon Pro manicure: I’ve now typed two articles and innumerable emails (and had a bath and washed my hair) and the single coat (it’s a base coat, polish and top coat all rolled into one) I applied early yesterday is holding up beautifully.

I’d say Rock n Roll is just a little deeper, more scarlet than what Tracy has been wearing during her red rampage. So if she is not getting carted off to prison any time soon and is still allowed a nail file, here’s my pick of alternative reds for her manicure. If she wants to further economise, she could try Rimmel’s new 60 Seconds Super Shine range (£2.99 each) in Queen of Tarts, a shade that’s blood red and spot-on name-wise.

For a very similar red to her first choice, she could splash the pawn shop cash on Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Coral Blame (£26) and if she fancies more of a tomato red that also has a designer tag but is not quite as dear as Tom Ford’s, I’d recommend Michael Kors Nail Lacquer in Sensation (£15.50;

In the meantime, here’s to another non-nail-nibbling viewing session tonight!

* Coronation Street continues at 9pm each night this week on ITV.



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No1 for Eyes

No7 Eyeshadow trioSeven seems to be my lucky number – in eye make-up anyway – this year. First No7 brought out the fabulous “mini” eye palette that I’ve been using continuously since it was launched in February; now it’s followed it with another winner. If the last one was mini, this one is positively bijou.. No7 Stay Perfect Eyeshadow Trio in Tea Party (£9.50) is its name, and a variety of looks – ranging from pretty-in-pink to a smoky, plummy eye – is its game. The rest of the No7 Summer Collection – which includes three new No7 Gel-Look Shines (£7) for nails – ain’t bad either!



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