Tag Archives: Dior

My Week in Beauty

SATURDAY

A last-minute invitation to attend a black tie charity dinner on Saturday night was the perfect occasion for me to get a second wear out of my bargain evening gown (bought last May for my first-ever formal jazz event) and a first wear out of some fab new Dior make-up I’d been sent.

I’d come across this photo of the lovely January Jones amongst the publicity for the new series of Mad Men, which got underway last week, and once more she proved to be a great inspiration – though at the last minute I switched to dark pink lips (Dior’s Rouge d’Or in Nocturne, from their limited edition Christmas collection, since you ask) as I just looked too washed out…

Anyway, my take on the 1966 Mad Men look involved using the paler shades in the classic Dior 5 Couleurs in Greige (£40), which has become my favourite palette lately, and the fabulous Dior 360 degrees Revolving Mascara (£29.50), an extremely easy-to-use mascara which does a terrific job of curling the lashes for a dramatic effect.

MONDAY

Since running out of my Chanel skincare a few weeks ago, I have been using some new products from another of my favourite French beauty brands – Guerlain. They have just relaunched their Super Aqua range of hydrating skincare and I’ve been enjoying getting reacquainted with their lovely textures and, especially, their distinctive, rose, scent. The fact that I’ve had more than a few compliments on my skin is a bonus.. I’ve been using the new Guerlain Super Aqua-Lotion (£30), a softening and hydrating toner, and the newly reformulated Guerlain Super Acqua-Serum (£65.50), which was already one of my favourite serums and is now better than ever..

The 2012 version of Super Aqua-Lotion harnesses Guerlain’s newfound awareness of the ageing effects of water pollution on the skin’s cells. The result is a serum which simultaneously hydrates and plumps up the skin, as the product reactivates the skin’s natural water purification process, thus allowing the flow of cell life to continue without disruption – ie, less chance of wrinkle outbreaks!

WEDNESDAY

I didn’t get round to trying out the new Benefit High Brow Glow (£14) in time to use it at the charity dinner on Saturday but I would probably have avoided it anyway: I’m not a big fan of the shimmering brow bone look, though I can appreciate the way a highlighter can enhance the bone structure. This easy-to-use, creamy pencil certainly does that and offers a champagne coloured alternative to the original, cult classic – the linen-pink shade of High Brow. Mind you, £14 seems quite a lot to pay for something that comes – albeit in powder form – in most eye shadow palettes.

THURSDAY


I finally got round to trying out the latest body treatment from Clarins on Thursday. The Clarins Melting Hone Hot Stone Massage (from £60) is not the most relaxing treatment I’ve had – but it was certainly extremely effective at ironing out the myriad knots in my muscles. It turns out that not only do I carry a load of tension in my neck, shoulders and back (which I knew) but also in my right foot. Go figure.

The therapist uses nine stones, in four different shapes, to carry out a deep and very precise massage – the shape of the stone and the amount of heat it can carry determines where it is used. Unlike some hot stone treatments, where the stones are placed on particular spots on the body; these ones are designed to be an extension of the therapist’s hands. The honey massage gel – available in two formulas, one for relaxing and one for invigorating – is massaged on initially as a barrier for the heat, and it melts into an oil as the massage unfolds before transforming into a very moisturising milky emulsion.

The effects were still evident several days later – though I do now crave a facial with back massage where I can completely switch off and not be flipped over half-way through as happens in a body treatment….

FRIDAY

A low-key dinner with a friend in Edinburgh seemed just the right occasion to try out the Incognito shade of  Dior Vernis Extreme Wear Nail Lacquer (£17.50). It’s very appropriately named, this shade which looks sort of putty-like on first application but then takes on a slightly lilac hue with a second coat. In fact, it’s very reminiscent of Chanel’s Rose Cache and Rose Confidentiel – and the name is inkeeping too!

The corresponding Dior Addict Extreme lipstick (£24) would have been perfect for the January Jones look (above), but I need just a bit more colour to prevent me from looking pale and of interest only to a mortician …

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

There’s nothing like being treated like a supermodel to brighten up a dull Monday – and that’s exactly what happened to me when I was reunited with Jamie Coombes, Dior’s National Make-up Artist and a member of the International Pro Artist Team. I loved the makeup he did for me this time last year – he taught me how to create the look and I trotted out variations on it at every event I went to last winter. So, on Monday when I had an appointment with him at Frasers in Glasgow, I challenged him to come up with an evening look that would see me through this year’s party season. “Oooh, can I play about?” he asked. Carte blanche was duly granted.

Jamie must have been reading my mind because he immediately picked out green as the dominant colour in the smoky eye he elected to create. His first step was to apply a little foundation – Dior Forever Fluide 010 (£29.50) – on the eyelids as a base. Then, taking the Dior 5 Couleur Designer in Green Design (£40), he applied its darkest shade along the lash line and created a V shape in the outer corner. He spent quite  a bit of time smudging the dark green, and pulling the colour further into the lid while keeping the darkest part at the outside. In the centre of the lid, he applied some of the central, shimmery shade in the palette – as well as the golden shade from the Dior 5 Couleur Designer in Amber Design. 

To complete the dramatic eye look, Jamie lined my eyes using a combination of the Carbon and Navy shades of Diorshow Waterproof Liner (£17), and then applied the Carbon shade to the inner rim of the eyelids to intensify the effect.  He plumped up my stumpy eyelashes with a coat of Diorshow Maximiser (£22), a bodybuilding primer, before applying the fantastic Diorshow Black Out Spectacular Volume Mascara (£22).

After sculpting my cheeks with blusher and highligher, Jamie painted on a nude lip – the Rouge
Dior in Beige Angelique
(£22.50), the shade he used recently on Charlize Theron. That’s what I’m wearing in the photo at the top of this article. Then we experimented with a bolder – almost scary – red: Diorific High Fashion Lipstick in Dolce Vita Red (£21.50). I think the pale one is slightly too pale and the red a bit too strong with the strong eye, so I’m going to conduct further experiments at home – sticking to warm shades to complement the greens.

Meanwhile, Jamie is coming to a House of Fraser store near you over the next few weeks: Tuesday, October 25 & Wednesday 26 at Selfridges, Manchester; Thursday 27 at Harrods, London; Friday 28th at Selfridges, London;  November 1 & 2 at Jenners, Edinburgh; November 3 & 4 at Frasers, Glasgow; November 15 & 16 at Arnotts, Dublin; November 17 & 18 at Brown Thomas, Dublin and November 28 & 29 at Harrods, London.

WEDNESDAY

This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, as they’ve been doing for the last 18 years, the Estee Lauder Companies are highlighting this great cause with their own campaign.

Jo Malone London‘s contribution to the cause is one of the most covetable: Jo Malone Red Roses Body & Hand Wash (£30; http://www.jomalone.com) is a gorgeous new product which went on sale at the beginning of the month and is almost too delectable to use on a daily basis. (If you think my kids are going to get to wash their mitts with it, think again!)

£5 from every sale of the Red Roses Hand & Body Wash is going to be donated to help fund grants for research into breast cancer, here in the UK.

THURSDAY

Well, I’m not sure if my legs would have made the grade in a 42nd Street-style line-up, but they certainly stand a much better chance following the Clarins TriActive Body Treatment – The Body Sculptor (£63; selected Clarins spas nationwide) which I enjoyed on Thursday.

The TriActive Body Treatments are the first new treatments to be introduced by Clarins in four years, and I was delighted to be getting the chance to try one out at the Clarins Spa in Frasers, Glasgow (0141 221 5760). There are three variations on the treatment – The Moisture Quencher, The Firming Age Corrector and The Body Sculptor. It’s a very thorough treatment- the therapist asks if there are any areas you would prefer she skipped as the massage takes in the breasts, tummy and inside leg.. Very French, you see. I skipped the tummy – mine does not like massage since I had my twins.

This isn’t a treatment designed to send you drifting off for a wee snooze – it’s about results. The 60-minute massage is all about detoxifying, toning up the skin and “sculpting” the contours. My skin felt lovely afterwards and where I had the toning mask (upper arms), there was a distinct sensation of tightness. I wouldn’t expect visible results after one session so I may well consider booking in for a series. Just as well, then, that, until October 29, Clarins Spas are offering the chance to book six body treatments for the price of four. Call 0800 036 3558 for more details or information on your nearest salon.

FRIDAY

October is proving to be a great month for new lipsticks: in fact, we’re spoilt for choice. The latest is Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Golden Lustre (£22.50; from October 19), a sheer lipstick infused with gold. There are 12 beautiful shades in the collection – so far I’ve fallen for no.112, AKA (appropriately enough for someone who’s overdue a trip to the French capital) Rose Parisien…

The make-up maestro who created this sumptuous purpley pink – and the rest of the range – is Lloyd Simmonds, YSL’s Creative Director, and he’s going to be previewing his new Holiday collection at Selfridges on Thursday, November 3 (from 5pm) and at Glasgow’s Frasers on Friday, November 4.

During his visit, clients can have their make-up done by a member of his team – and receive a luxury goody bag and glass of champagne. Appointments cost £25, and are redeemable against any purchases made on the day. For Selfridges, call 0207 318 1358 and for Frasers, call 0141 221 3880, extension 2036.

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

Blue eyeshadow and I have never really got on. Having dark blue eyes, I was always being given eyeshadow palettes in blue or shades when I was a teenager first learning about make-up, and I’ve never found a blue palette which didn’t make me look like a beginner – or remind me of the Queen Mum or Dame Edna or someone still living in the 1980s (a decade whose looks I still can only remember with horror, sorry Dynasty fans)….

This was the case until I got to grips – during my holidays last week – with the latest eyeshadow compact, which comes from Dior’s Blue Tie collection for autumn 2011 (available from August 16). The Dior 3 Couleurs Smoky Eyeshadow in Smoky Navy (£32) is a craftily designed compact with a pop-up mirror and a trio of colours – two of which (a shimmering denim and a deep navy) I found were brilliantly easy to apply for a smoky look. I don’t think blue would ever be my first choice for a smoky eye (I like the sound of the new palettes in Smoky Nude, Smoky Khaki and Smoky Brown), but this could sway me ..

TUESDAY

I went to St Andrews laden with products to test. One of them – which was much better tested there, in a power shower (as opposed to in a bath in my shower-less Art Deco bathroom) – was Elemis Tranquil Touch Body Polish (£20; www.timetospa.co.uk), from Elemis’s new Sp@Home range.

As with all the items in the range, Tranquil Touch is a professional standard product with a lovely aromatic fragrance; luxurious but functional too. It made the chore of exfoliating a pleasure – which is why my body has now been scrubbed enough to last the next two months!

WEDNESDAY

Remembering how the seaside air completely dried out my skin and hair last year, I didn’t stint on the serums when I was packing – and although I had decided that the time is right for adding an anti-ageing serum to my routine, I used it with my usual Chanel Hydramax Active + Serum.

The anti-ageing serum in question is Clarins Double Serum Generation 6 (£54; www.clarins.co.uk), which I’ve experienced in facials but had never before used myself. After just a few days’ use, I was a convert: my skin looked refreshed and glowing, and well recovered from all my late nights at the Glasgow Jazz Festival. This is the sixth generation of Clarins’s famous dual-phase serum and it certainly does seem to firm, hydrate and nourish the skin.

THURSDAY

“Dramatic length, visible lift and long-wearing results” – if you saw that on the heading of an email in your in-box, you might think someone was trying to sell you Viagra. However, these are some of the observations made by testers of the latest mascara from Benefit..

I’m always a sucker for a new mascara – so I had high hopes for Benefit They’re Real! (£18.50; www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk). I wouldn’t say I’m likely to drop any of my favourite mascaras and switch to this one, though it did give me well-curled, well-plumped-up lashes. The problem was that it wasn’t easy to use, it seemed to clump the lashes together and the results, while good, weren’t dazzling. Still, if you’re promised something that moves the earth, you’re just being set up for disappointment!

FRIDAY

“Happy feet, I’ve got those happy feet … ” So goes the song, and so it was on Friday when I felt the benefit of a week of using the other Elemis Sp@Home  goodie I took on holiday: Elemis Treat Your Feet Foot Cream (£16). This is a gorgeous-smelling (patchouli, eucalyptus and lemon oils) cream, rich in texture but easily absorbed – and it did a great job of moisturising and soothing my feet and softening hard skin, thanks to key ingredients jojoba oil and shea butter.

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

I never used to care much for Kate Winslet’s looks, but since she became one of the faces of Lancome, she has really blossomed. Her latest ads are for the new Lancome L’Absolu Nu (£19.50; www.lancome.co.uk) range of lipsticks – and boy, what terrific lipsticks these are. They’re extremely moist, glossy and they miraculously make your pout look fuller.

At first I thought I was imagining that last quality but then I read the press release and it explains how Lancome harnessed the latest advances in optical science to intensify the radiance of the lips and make them really eye-catching, even in the most natural shades. It sounds like hooey but it works…

There are 12 shades of this gorgeous new lipstick – and I want them all! Especially since they are extremely comfortable to wear – even for the driest of lips.

TUESDAY

New eyeshadows have been rather thin on the ground recently – it’s all been about the lips, dahling! – so I was desperate to get my hands on the new Estee Lauder DoubleWear Stay in Place Shadow Cremes (£15.50; www.esteelauder.co.uk) – although, as someone whose oily eyelids usually don’t hold creme colour for more than five minutes, I didn’t have any great expectations…

However, these are fab: they really do stay in place. My favourite combination is the new limited edition shade of Buttercream (worn all over the eye area), with Smoky Plum to shade in a slightly smoky eye – a lovely day look which I’ve been teaming with the Lancome L’Absolu Nu No.103, a violety-pink shade. Creme eyeshadow? I’m a convert!

WEDNESDAY

I ran out of my favourite toner, Lancome Tonique Douceur, last week and was very wary of experimenting with any new ones as my skin can be on the sensitive side. However, after using the newly re-formulated  Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Soothing Treatment Lotion (£23; www.origins.co.uk), I found that my skin felt lovely – and no sign of redness.

THURSDAY

The jazz side of my journalistic career doesn’t usually overlap much with the beauty side but my jazz pals and I all had the chance to get glammed up for the swishest event in the jazz calendar (indeed, the swishest jazz event I’ve ever been to!) on Thursday night: a formal fundraiser for the Glasgow Jazz Festival, for which I’ve programmed some movies this year.

It was the exactly the right occasion for me to give the autumn-winter colours from Chanel a first outing – although they don’t go on sale until August 19. The new Chanel Illusions d’Ombre eyeshadows, which shimmer and glisten, and the most bling of the new trio of nail varnishes, Chanel Le Vernis in Peridot, simply scream out to be worn to a fancy do, and since I was wearing a simple long black dress with minimal jewellery, I decided to go for the most dazzling of the Illusions d’Ombres, the gorgeous Epatant shade – a greeny, sea blue which, like the Lauder cremes mentioned earlier, lasts brilliantly. It was so dazzling, in fact, that I felt it distracted from my eyes so I toned it down a little – with some of the coppery eyeshadow from the Dior 5 Golds palette I’m still loving from last year.

FRIDAY

And speaking of Dior … it’s launching an exquisite-looking leopard print compact of eyeshadows, the Mitzah Palette, as a limited edition for Selfridges from June 1. Inspired by Christian Dior’s muse, Mitzah Bricard, it has camel, deep brown and nude shades and looks very sophisticated. Sadly, there were no samples for the press … but a bottle of the complementary new limited edition nail colour – Dior Vernis in Camel (£17.50; available exclusively from Selfridges from June 1) did fall into my hot little (hungover) hands on Friday.

It’s a matte shade which is a lovely alternative to the lighter nude shades of earlier in the year. Dior are definitely gaining ground in the nail colour department this summer … this one is tres, tres chic!

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

Oh dear, I rather overdid it on Sunday night during a couple of back-to-back jazz gigs in Edinburgh – and felt somewhat the worse for wear on Monday. Unfortunately, unlike the uber-chic Myrna Loy in The Thin Man, I didn’t have the urbane William Powell on hand with a liquid hangover cure, but I did have Clarins Eye Contour Gel (£26.50; www.clarins.co.uk) which refreshes the eye area, while toning and de-puffing it. It’s even better if it’s been in the fridge overnight. If William Powell was around today, you can bet it would be as essential to his hangover-chasing kit as Worcester sauce and raw egg..

TUESDAY

I finished using Origins Plantscription after about six weeks and have to report that while using it, I found it had a slightly drying effect on my skin – so much so that I had start using a moisturising serum as well. I didn’t notice any improvement in the lines on my face – if anything, I became more aware of the lines on my forehead because I was studying them more closely than ever. After I finished Plantscription I switched to Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Serum (£245.50; www.houseoffraser.co.uk) and Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Rich Night Cream (£255) for my evening skincare routine. I’d been using these two high-end products for about a week when – on Tuesday – I had an appointment at the Clarins Spa in Frasers, Glasgow,  for my monthly facial.  And the first thing that my facialist, the lovely Lindsay, said when she had finished working her magic was that my skin felt significantly firmer than before. Whether this is the result of the Plantscription, or my new Guerlain evening routine, I don’t yet know … but I’ll be continuing with my super-expensive skincare ritual and shall report back anon.

WEDNESDAY

I went to see the French film Little White Lies – Ces Petits Mouchoirs – on Wednesday, with my French pal Sabine. Over our pre-movie coffee, Sabine – who had just returned from a holiday in France – was singing the praises of a face cream which her sister had advised her to track down while en vacances..

Its name (which evokes our last cinema trip – to see the superb psychological thriller Les Diaboliques)  is Diabolique Tomate by Garancia (around 33 Euros in French pharmacies), and it harnesses the goodness of tomatoes – in particular lypocene, which is a powerful antioxidant – to hydrate the skin and help with anti-ageing. So far, Sabine is very impressed – and her sister is a complete convert.

THURSDAY

Our man from Dior, Jamie Coombes, was in Glasgow on Thursday to acquaint journalists with the latest additions to the company’s vast range of beauty products. Not only did I come away with fantastic, glossy, neon-pink painted nails – Dior Vernis in Paradise (£23, with top coat) – but also with a brilliant tip which I wish I’d known last time I ran out of nail varnish remover: if you paint a layer of nail varnish over the varnish you want to take off, then wipe it off while wet, it will take off both the fresh and the old coats. Jamie showed me – and it works! He also picked out a couple of colours from the new Dior Addict lipstick collection (£22 each) for me to try – the photo shows me (just hours before I finally got that hair colour sorted out!) having the New Look shade expertly applied.

* Jamie Coombes, international make-up artist for Dior, is available to book for a personal make-up lesson in Jenners, Edinburgh (0844 8003725) on Monday April 25 & Tuesday 26, and in Frasers, Glasgow (0141 221 3880) on Wednesday 27 & Thursday 28. 



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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

A dull Monday was brightened up by the arrival of a package containing a selection of new lipsticks from Dior – all from its revamped Dior Addict (£22 each; at Selfridges now and nationwide from April 11) range. As you can see, none other than Kate Moss is the face of this new collection, the advertising film  of which was directed by Jonas Akerlund who’s best known for Lady Gaga’s Telephone vid.

Miss Moss looks gorgeous – 1960s rock chick meets 1950s starlet – in the ads, but frankly I’m more excited about the fact that there are 44 exquisite colours to choose from, and the texture, which is less waxy than a conventional lipstick and contains an innovative gel that makes lips feel hydrated and look shiny and full.

Kate’s favourite shade is no578 “Dior Kiss” – which she models in the ad above. I’ve only tried out a handful of the 44 colours, but love the texture and the glossy effect. I’m hoping that when Dior’s  National Make-up Artist Jamie Coombes comes to Glasgow next month, he can help me find the best shade for me …

TUESDAY

Some beauty products just baffle me – not because of the “science part” (though that can be a challenge sometimes, if not explained well), but because I do wonder: “What’s the point?”. That was my reaction to the latest nail varnishes from Revlon, a company which already has an impressive range of nail colours. Why? Because its latest thing is smelly nail varnish.  The limited edition Revlon Scents of Summer Nail Enamels (£6.49 each; available now) are just what they say on the label – unfortunately. If you are so inclined, you too could smell papaya, coconut, bubblegum or one of the other scents every time your fingers are near your face. One for the tweenies, methinks – it’s just a step up from the scratch ‘n’ sniff stickers that my generation collected ..

WEDNESDAY

At lunchtime on Wednesday came the sad news that Dame Elizabeth Taylor, one of the most beautiful and talked-about women of her time, had died. Contrary to many news reports, she was not “the last of the great Hollywood stars” – we still have Lauren Bacall, Doris Day, Kirk Douglas, Olivia de Havilland and several more – but she was unquestionably one of the most fascinating.

She had delicate features and, in the early part of her career, often looked like a porcelain doll; her rosebud mouth usually the focus of her look. At some point after she became a fully-fledged sex symbol in the late 1950s, she began playing up those unforgettable, so-called violet eyes. The 1960s suited them beautifully: lashings of fashionable kohl drew attention to them, and personally I think she looked far more alluring with the accent on her eyes and her lips painted in muted colours than in the darker shades which were undoubtedly a requirement of being filmed in black and white a decade earlier. In fact, it almost looks like she’s wearing Dior Addict no.564 (AKA Model)  in this pic …

THURSDAY

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Clarins make-up is really having a moment just now. My Neo Pastels Eye Colour and Liner Palette (£30) is being used on an almost-daily basis and on Thursday I finally got round to trying out their new range of creamy, natural-coloured lipsticks.

Clarins Rouge Hydra Nude Smoothing Cream Lipsticks (£16.50; www.clarins.co.uk) would have been a pleasure to use – had it not been for one thing: their scent. What is it about smelly beauty products? First the fruity nails – and now these lipsticks which have a caramel sort of fragrance to them. I realise that most lipsticks do have a scent but this one is very pronounced, especially if – like me – you can’t stand sickly, sweet, vanilla-ish fragrances. Anyway, if you do like that sort of smell under your nose all day – lucky you: you’ve four pretty nude shades (coral, rose, beige and caramel) to choose from …

FRIDAY

And speaking of Clarins, thank heavens for the their treatments … I was feeling quite run-down and fed-up before I arrived at the Clarins Spa at Frasers in Glasgow but a Clarins TriActive Facial (from £62) soon sorted me out. When Lindsay, my facialist, asked about my skin concerns, I mentioned that I was beginning to worry about the signs of ageing (well, the fortieth birthday is hanging over me), in particular around the jawline. She tailored the treatment accordingly, explaining to me afterwards that “as soon as someone mentions concerns about sagging round the jaw, I reach for the ClarinsPRO Refreshing Lift Mask.”

Regular lymphatic massage – which is a staple of all the variations of the TriActive facial – helps to prevent jowls appearing, but that mask produced especially impressive results. So much so that it can only be used by therapists in the spa: at one point, customers could buy it, but they loved the tightening effects so much, some were over-using it – and it’s very potent..  Needless to say, I’ll be back for more!


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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

After being confined to quarters as a result of the first big snowfall of the year (which caught everyone offguard), it was time to venture out on Monday. I don’t have an array of ski-wear like Audrey Hepburn’s alpine wardrobe in Charade, but what I do have – in lieu of her very cosy, complexion-protecting headgear – is Clarins HydraQuench skincare range (www.clarins.co.uk).

I had been sent this recently, after my fantastic Tri-Active facial at the new spa in Glasgow’s Frasers, and it had just started it using at the weekend. Immediately I applied the rich yet easily absorbed Clarins HydraQuench Lotion SPF15 (£32), I felt that my skin was ready to take on the
elements. It’s the perfect day cream for those of us whose skin is prone to dehydration, and particularly sensitive to the cold.

And it’s especially effective when worn over what Clarins considers the star product in the collection – Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum (£37.50), a comforting, hydrating liquid which, despite a slight oiliness, is a pleasure to use and really does deliver. There are two other moisturisers in the range, plus a lip balm.

TUESDAY

Being stuck indoors – apart from the very occasional venture out to shops/school/pillarbox – I had plenty of time last week to assemble my cold weather emergency skincare kit.

A key component is Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator (£25; www.elemis.com), a brilliant exfoliator which I’ve been using since I had a facial at their SpaPod in Debenhams in Glasgow a couple of months ago.

I wouldn’t use it every day – though Elemis says it can be used daily – but it’s certainly gentle enough to be used frequently, and on sensitive skin. In this cold weather, it’s a must to keep the skin smooth, soft and ready for all the lovely comforting moisturisers I’ve been falling in love with.

WEDNESDAY

There’s nothing like a compliment to boost the spirits, especially on a dreary winter’s day – and I received a couple on Wednesday when I revisited one of my favourite lipsticks from last winter: Rouge Dior Serum de Rouge no.760 – AKA Raspberry Serum (£24.50).

Actually, whenever I’m feeling a bit blue, I stick on this beautiful reddish-pink, super-glossy lipstick and I immediately feel brighter. Dior calls this lipstick a treatment because it contains ten times more concentrated skincare ingredients than your average lip colour; I call it a treatment of the spirits as well – prozac for the pout ….

 

THURSDAY

I had a bit of haircare epiphany this week thanks to the discovery of Aveda’s Pure Abundance range (www.aveda.co.uk). This relatively new collection turned out to be just what I needed for my hair, which, since it was treated with Aveda’s all-natural highlights, had looked good colour-wise but been very limp, lank and fine-feeling.

The combination of Aveda Pure Abundance Shampoo (£13.50) and Aveda Pure Abundance Volumizing Clay Conditioner (£15) was an instant antidote. These plant-based formulas manage to make the hair look and feel fuller but without weighing it down. Frankly, I was amazed at how effective they were – and the results were even more impressive the next day, after I’d slept on it. (Ordinarily, it’s only immediately after having my colour done that I can get out of washing my hair every single day.) Oh, and the smell is sublime…

FRIDAY

Finally, on Friday a chance to get out on the town. Going out for cocktails for a friend’s 40th at the Blythswood Square hotel was the perfect occasion to road-test the primer to which I’d been introduced when I had a makeover at the Giorgio Armani Cosmetics counter in Frasers.

Giorgio Armani Fluid Master Primer (£32) is a silky-smooth, transparent gel which evens out skin tone, mattifies the skin and smoothes away fine lines. My foundation went on beautifully afterwards and looked great. Indeed, for once I didn’t feel the need to check how shiny I looked – in fact, when I looked in the mirror, shininess didn’t even cross my mind. I think it’s safe to say that this is my latest must-have. Especially for brightly-lit bars like the Blythswood’s Salon.

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

Having spent some of Saturday and Sunday nights getting reacquainted with The Fabulous Baker Boys (on DVD), I went on to have a bit of a Suzy Diamond-inspired week. In case you don’t know the film, Suzy Diamond was the singer who’s drafted in to give the eponymous sibling lounge pianists a touch of glamour in their rather dated act.

I may not have writhed around on top of a grand piano (hey, there’s still time – that scene takes place at New Year’s), but I’ve been listening to the soundtrack and, more importantly, was inspired by the Suzy Diamond look throughout the week. Cue lots of playing about with nude eye shades and red lipstick…

TUESDAY

Getting my hair sorted out on Tuesday at James Dun’s House salon in Glasgow was the second step in my Suzy Diamond homage. Michelle Pfeiffer, who played Suzy and immediately became one of my favourite actresses when I first saw this film in 1989, is a California blonde, but for this part, her hair – appropriately for the floosie- turned-chantoosie – is a dirtier blonde than in her earlier movies.

James Dun’s House (0141 248 5864) is an elegant and very contemporary salon which opened a couple of years ago in the same building which now houses Jamie’s Italian. Not only does this salon offer a full range of Aveda spa treatments but its hairdressing is all done with Aveda too.

I was very impressed with my very natural-looking (I hate stripy hair!), born-again blonde locks – achieved by Christine using Aveda highlights – and, especially, by the attention to detail that this salon offers. While you have your colour done, you can select a complimentary mini-treatment from a little menu – a neck and shoulders massage, a hand treatment, or a colour consultation for a new lipstick..

I’ve not yet been asked to add glamour to a piano double act,  but within a couple of days of getting my hair done, I’d notched up a respectable number of compliments on the shine and colour..

WEDNESDAY

You can’t experiment with red lipsticks – or any other strong shade – unless you have a good cleanser to remove all traces of each tester. Luckily, on Wednesday, I received a parcel from Lancome – just in time for my trawl through the red lipsticks of the season…

Lancome Eau Micellaire Douceur (£20; www.lancome.co.uk) is a lovely cleansing water, and cleansing water is the quickest, most effective way to remove lipstick in a hurry. Apart from the texture and fragrance, this refreshing liquid is a hit because it has a pump so you don’t risk too much coming out by tipping it onto your cotton pad – as happens with normal bottles. Anyway, it’s now my default morning cleanser – for those days when washing the face is just too much effort.

THURSDAY

Over the last few years, the party season has started a little earlier than before for us Scottish beauty writers. Why? Because those lovely ladies at Clinique come up to Glasgow and treat us all to a fabulous festive dinner. This year’s dinner took place on Thursday and it seemed only good manners to wear as many of my favourite Clinique products as possible for the occasion.

The main one is my ever-reliable Clinique Perfectly Real Makeup (£20 ; www.clinique.co.uk), which – used over Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Protective Base SPF15 (£ 14) – keeps my face more shine-free and even-toned than any other combo I’ve tried.

On the eyes, Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in True Black (£13) and Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow in Double Date (£18.50), a neutral palette, helped me create a fairly natural look so that the emphasis could be on my Suzy Diamond-esque red lips. Which I achieved not with the best current red that I could find –

My quest for a Suzy Diamond-esque red lipstick led me to Dior Rouge Dior Haute Couleur Voluptuous Care in Zinnia Red (£22), a gorgeous blue-toned red from the beautiful new Dior lipstick collection that launched in September. However, for the Clinique night, I went into my own personal archive and exhumed the very same shade of red from my favourite lipstick range  – Clinique Colour Surge Butter Shine Lipstick (£14.50). These lipsticks are very shiny and highly moisturising – and the most comfortable I’ve come across. A couple of years ago they had a limited edition shade called Parisian Red. It came out for Christmas, I fell in love with it and then they stopped making it. I must confess I felt like a naughty schoolgirl sneaking it into the proceedings on Thursday…

FRIDAY

Too late for my night-out, I was seduced by the newest acquisition in my mascara collection – Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Excess Mascara (£23). The name may sound more like the sort of product that Michelle Pfeiffer might have worn in Married to the Mob, but it provided dramatic lashes that were certainly worthy of Suzy Diamond.

Not only does this fat wanded mascara curl and lengthen the lashes, it makes them look as if they’ve multiplied. On the smudge-test results, the jury’s still out – I’ve had mixed results so am hanging fire with my final verdict. But put it this way: I’m happy to keep giving it the benefit of the doubt as long as it keeps giving me movie star lashes.

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

In these hard times, manicures can seem like an unnecessary expense – especially when there are so many fab products you can use at home, or even on the go.. My current nail colour addiction (and sadly I can’t find a picture of it) is Chanel Le Vernis in Rose Confidentiel (£17), a wonderful deep brick pink, the ideal autumn colour and the perfect pink until party season (with its hot pinks …) comes along.

Anyway, I’ve been testing some of the products on the market for nail and hand care this week to see if my favourite combination – Crabtree & Evelyn Cuticle Cream plus Clinique Deep Comfort Hand Cream – can be beaten, or at least rivalled.

TUESDAY

On Tuesday, I finally began treating my nails after a couple of weeks’ abuse by nail polish. Nail polish just doesn’t seem to agree with my nails so I try not to wear it too much and to always treat my nails to some TLC whenever possible.

Instead of turning to my usual treatment, however, I gave Rituals … Nail Cuticle Treatment (£6.25;  www.rituals.com) a whirl. What appealed to me when I requested this product to try was the fact that, although it’s oil-based, it’s not messy. The gel is released through a brush and you can either push it into the nail and nailbed with the brush or with your finger tips. It’s very easy to use and, because of its pen design, perfect for keeping in your handbag, ready to use whenever you find yourself with a spare few minutes.

Oh, and the other reason to love this treatment gel from the mid-priced Dutch company which uses natural gemstones in all its products? Well, it’s free from parabens. After a few days’ use, my nails are looking well on the way to recovery.

WEDNESDAY


Less successful was the hand cream I began testing on Wednesday. With the cold weather beginning to kick in, I was anxious to suss out my hand cream options. I know some of my friends are big fans of cult hand creams which I find too runny and lotion-like – I prefer my hand creams to be rich and creamy and to feel like they are going to be able to keep dry skin at bay.

Sadly, Jergens Naturals Ultra Hydrating Hand Moisturising Cream (£2.49; from Boots and supermarkets nationwide) didn’t meet my particular requirements. It’s really quite runny and although undoubtedly “ultra hydrating”, it didn’t make much impression on the driest bits of my hands. I won’t be giving up my Clinique any time soon, it seems …

THURSDAY

In recent months, I’ve been using a flesh-coloured eye shadow powder as the base for my eye make-up (a la Bobbi Brown). But it’s nearly finished, and I don’t have another one. Luckily I was given a new eye base a couple of weeks ago so, in order to have a full arsenal of secret make-up weapons ready for the party season, I thought it was time to check it out.

Cover FX Eye Prep Anti-Age Smoothing Primer (£41; selected House of Fraser stores and Harvey Nichols in London & Dublin) turned out to be a great base. It’s like a lotion so, unlike cream primers, you need to wait a few minutes before applying your eye make-up – until it has dried. Combining skincare and cosmetic benefits, it refreshes the eye area, blurs fine lines and provides an excellent foundation for eye make-up – mine didn’t shift at all. The only thing it didn’t do was disguise a burst  blood vessel which had – helpfully – appeared on Thursday morning …

FRIDAY

On Friday I had an appointment for a makeover at the Dior counter in Frasers, Glasgow. It was something of an emergency. Why? Because every single eyeshadow palette I’ve seen so far for Christmas 2010 has been based on a gold theme – and I have to confess that I’ve never been drawn to gold (or silver, for that matter) eyeshadow. It never struck me as a colour that would suit my Celtic complexion; sallow-skinned girls could carry off golds, bronzes and coppers, but not me. If I didn’t get help in learning how to work gold, I was going to be left behind this festive season..

Luckily, I was booked into the safe hands of Jamie Coombes, Dior’s National Make-up Artist and a member of the International Pro Artist Team. He was in Glasgow for a fashion show, but managed to squeeze in an appointment so that he could talk me through the Dior Christmas look.

“It’s all about luminosity,” he explained as he stripped off all my make-up, prepped my skin and beefed up my eyebrows using Dior Eyebrow Pencil (£16). Before he applied any foundation, he began work on my eyes, assuring me as he did so that “anyone can wear gold”. The first step was to apply the new limited edition Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen in Golden Glow (£24.50) as an eye base.

Using the Dior 5 Couleurs Iridescent Eyeshadow in Gold Edition (£39, pictured above), Jamie then applied the shimmering yellow-gold highlighter shade to my brow bone before “parking” some of the coppery, mustard-like shade (top right in the palette) at the outer corner of the eyes and drawing it up to the socket. So far, so pretty a look – and one which, with lashings of black mascara, would be perfect for daywear.

But I wanted to go all the way, and be shown how to create an evening look in the gold tones. To “ramp up the look” for a more dramatic effect, Jamie advised using the dark bronzey brown (bottom right shade) along the underside of the brow bone and into the socket to create a really smoky look. 

At this point, Jamie shared with me a tip which I’ve not come across in 15 years of writing about beauty. In order to make the eyes stand out even more, he lined my eyelids at the roots of my lashes using black mascara applied with a fine eyeliner brush. It produced a significant but fine line which didn’t get the way of the eyeshadow.

Once we were satisfied with the eye make-up, Jamie applied my foundation –  Dior Diorskin Nude Natural Glow Hydrating Make-up (£29), which has a natural finish but provides great coverage – and a light pink, almost nude lipstick, Dior Serum de Rouge No.640 (£24.50), over Dior Contour Lipliner Pencil No.573 (£16). Finally, he swept Dior Diorskin Nude Natural Glow Sculpting Powder Make-up (£36) over the cheekbones and anywhere else he felt I needed a lift.

I was thrilled with the final results, shown here (left and below – though they look slightly less dramatic in the photo than they did in the flesh), and am now an absolute convert to the value of having some gold goodies in my make-up bag. I’ve always found that it’s worth asking for help when you’re stumped by a new look or product – in fact, I might even book Mr Coombes again almost immediately, as he returns to Glasgow’s Frasers on November 2 and is offering lessons until Friday 5. Call 0141 221 3880, ext 2099 to book a personal consultation, booking fee redeemable against any Dior purchase.

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

I caught up with my beauty therapist pal Margaret on Monday and she reported back to me on the Dior Capture Totale One Essential skin boosting serum (£75) I asked her to try out a while back. This is the anti-ageing serum which Dior launched earlier this year, with promises of “increasing the skin’s ability to repair itself in order to combat all signs of ageing” and of  “increasing the effectiveness of skincare products applied afterwards”.

Margaret’s verdict? “I really enjoyed using it and definitely thought my skin looked more youthful. It’s expensive, given that it lasted only about a month – so is probably only for ladies with a disposable income!” She’s now testing Lancome’s Genefique …

TUESDAY

Okay, I know it’s only June – season of sorbet colours and hot pinks – but the autumn/winter cosmetic collections have been arriving and we beauty writers are already experimenting with the shades everyone will be wearing at Christmas..

Last week, the Chanel colours – including their next sure-fire must-have, the pewtery purple shade Paradoxal – arrived, and then, on Tuesday, I received a package containing the already-available Marks & Spencer Perfection Long Wear Nail Lacquers (£7.50 each; www.marksandspencer.com) in Gunmetal and Rainbow (don’t understand that name – it’s silver).

If you want to get a head-start on everyone else, go for the Gunmetal – a glistening metallic grey which looks great on fingernails. The Rainbow shade would be better against more tanned skin than mine but if you feel artistic you could always give yourself a French grey manicure, painting the silvery shade along the tip of the dark grey. It looks fab! Practise now and you could be celebrating Christmas in July – beauty-wise, anyway …

WEDNESDAY

With the hot weather last weekend, I noticed that both of my six-year-old twins had red bags under their eyes after they had been out in the sun – despite having been slathered in Factor 50. The younger boy, 11.41, who is fairer, actually looked quite ill because of it.

So, on Wednesday I set off to find a sun cream that could be used on the sensitive area under the eyes – and the only child-friendly one I could find in Boots was Garnier Ambre Solaire Very High Protection Stick for Sensitive Areas (£8.97; www.superdrug.com) which has turned out to be a great and speedy way of applying sun protection to the whole face.

What was particularly worthwhile about this trip to Boots was the chat I had with the excellent suncare advisor (at the Sauchiehall Street branch in Glasgow). I hadn’t known that almost all sun creams take a good 20 minutes or more to take effect, and that the only ones which are absolutely instantaneous are from the Nivea range. .

THURSDAY

And speaking of suncare – or rather sun tans – is what my pals Lizzy, Colette and I were doing when we went out on Thursday. Lizzy is the chief of my department of fake tan testing so when she announced that her new favourite tanning product was a body tint which cost less than a fiver, I took note..

Actually, I’ve got a feeling I gave her this Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan Bronzing Spray (£3.25) last summer so I was especially pleased to hear it was a hit.  She reported: “It gave me a lovely, even, colour for the night – I got lots of comments about my healthy glow  – and I didn’t wash it off until the shower the next morning.” The only drawback, says Lizzy, was that because of the spray, she had to do the tan in her bathroom – so the ten minutes post-application were spent scrubbing her bath. In the scud!

FRIDAY

I went into Debenhams to return a faulty necklace and came out looking like a movie star – though not Roz Russell or Joan Crawford (pictured, below, in the famous department store scene in The Women), alas!  My transformation was thanks  to a lovely girl called Gemma who was manning a new beauty counter – Smashbox.

Smashbox is an American company which was founded by the great-grandsons of a certain Hollywood make-up pioneer called Max Factor. I’m pretty sure it was available in the UK in the mid-1990s but it hasn’t been widely available here for years so we had a bit of catching up to do.

Gemma talked me through the philosophy behind the cosmetics. It’s a professional brand; the make-up has skincare benefits and it’s all about problem-solving. In this case, this meant applying some green primer to my flushed cheeks before the foundation went on. I hope to get to try out some of the products at home soon – as soon as I’ve tracked down the PR – but in the meantime, I may head back to Debenhams soon for another free make0ver!

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