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My Week in Beauty

SUNDAY

A flying visit to London to see a new silent, black & white, movie seemed the perfect occasion to debut one of the most alluring items in the Christmas collections: Yves Saint Laurent Manicure Couture No6 Duo Terriblement Noir  (£24).

This double-act of black nail polishes – one shiny and one matte – echoes the inspiration behind this season’s Les Noirs collection: the tuxedo, with its satin lapels. I haven’t quite perfected (actually, I haven’t come close to perfecting) a French-style manicure using the two polishes – I’ll probably have to train one of my twin boys to do it! – but I’ve been enjoying wearing the glossy one on its own… It seemed the right choice for a silent movie screening: after all, actresses probably wore black nail varnish in those old movies as red would not have shown up ..

TUESDAY

I don’t usually have beauty appointments in suburbia, but I had one in the new Whole Foods market in Giffnock, on Glasgow’s southside, on Tuesday as it is home to an outpost for the French organic beauty company Melvita. In just 18 months, this cultish brand has established itself as a favourite of green-minded beauty buffs, has two stores in London and has become available through John Lewis and its own website.

I had a consultation at Whole Foods and was very impressed with the products and how gentle and effective they felt. I immediately switched to a Melvita cleanser as I had run out of my Clarins one. Melvita 2-in-1 Cleansing Milk (£8.40; www.melvita.co.uk) cleanses and tones the skin in one fell swipe (*makes mental note for the party season*). You simply squirt some of the cream onto a cotton pad and wipe it over the face.

It leaves the skin feeling clean, refreshed, comfortable (and my skin is sensitive) and lovely – and it’s an absolute bargain, at less than a tenner for 200ml (via the Melvita website).

WEDNESDAY

The big cultural event on Wednesday was the launch of the new American TV series Pan Am – but it failed to take off as grippingly as I’d hoped. It felt about as convincing as a Carry On film; Mad Men it ain’t.

However, as with the infinitely superior Mad Men, its influence is bound to be felt in fashion and beauty trends. Revlon, which designed the original Pan Am look back  in the 1960s, is punting it again, with matching pink lipstick and nail polish. I’m waiting for samples to arrive – and will report back..

THURSDAY

And speaking of Revlon, I gave their latest foundation, Revlon Age Defying with DNA Advantage Cream Makeup (£13.99; www.revlon.co.uk) a whirl on Thursday – and am a convert. (I reckon the big count-down to my fortieth birthday has probably made me a sucker for anything that suggests defying age..)

It may have a very complex name, but the way this foundation works its magic is actually pretty simple. Recognising that the main signs of ageing in skin are caused by dehydration and exposure to UV rays – both of which can cause damage to skin cell DNA (hence the name) – it tackles these problems. So, it’s an extremely moisturising cream foundation and it contains an SPF of 20. Not only that but it evens out skin tone and contains subtle illuminators that flatter the skin and reflect the light. The result is healthy looking and feeling skin, and a very natural, radiant finish – and the coverage is good.

I particularly like the fact that it offers plenty of what Revlon calls “play time”; time to apply and blend it. None of that racing-to-get-it-in-place-before-it-sets nonsense…

FRIDAY

Why the photo of a young Alison, you might ask? Well, because I felt like I had the skin of a six-year-old after I had my regular Triactive Facial at the Clarins Spa (0141 221 5760) in Frasers, Glasgow on Friday. My therapist, the talented Lindsay, has made it her mission over the last couple of months to turn back the clock a bit when it comes to my complexion and I must say I was particularly impressed with last week’s results. The radiance and youthful glow lasted for a few days .. and then I caught a stinking cold and have broken out in dry patches and, of course, the obligatory red, flaky skin that’s caused by blowing your nose every two minutes.

Clearly, I’ll just have to ensure that Clarins sorts me out again in time for my 40th birthday – which is now less than a month away. Eek!

Oh, and watch out for Clarins Happy Hour events, where you can have a one-to-one consultation followed by a choice of mini beauty treatments. They’re doing them at Frasers on December 5.

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