Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Emperor's New Clothes: N V Perricone

Now that reviews of Perricone's wonder scent, Neuropeptide Synergy are starting to emerge, some beauty reviewers are thinking it might actually be working. Dab the anti-ageing aromatic on your top lip to get the maximum anti-anxiety and mental clarity benefits. Or possibly don't bother....because each dab will cost you around about five pounds, and for something that might or might not marginally make you feel vaguely more awake, the thought of throwing fivers up your nose should be causing more stress than Synergy could possibly be getting rid of. It's 225 pounds for 25ml. I'm thinking a nice pair of shoes, a very decent handbag or even a fabulous dinner a deux would have the same effect and probably cost less. Have I tried it? No. But, I've definitely smelled a rat.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Eye Candy: Chantecaille

The beauty brand, Chantecaille is notoriously expensive, but converts don't mind shelling out - especially when 68 pounds buys you something this lovely. The rose decoration on the shadows is technological brilliance and requires precision laser cutting - no easy task when you consider how fine and delicated eye shadow is. Laser cutting isn't a quick job either so you are unlikely to find huge runs of laser cut make up, and it goes some way to accounting for the price. 68 at www.hqhair.com.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Brilliant Organisation: Estee Lauder

Every year I get a Debrett's/Estee Lauder Pink Ribbon Diary - and love it. Perfectly proportioned, it's actually a rather good read too, since the back section contains a wealth of information such as international clothing conversions, where to buy a nice cake and where to go if you want to see beautiful sculptures. It's priced at 45 pounds, 25 of which goes straight to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation - it's a decent enough amount and sets it apart from the other 'breast cancer fund raisers' in the beauty world which frankly make me slightly uncomfortable. Using breast cancer as a marketing tool to boost sales needs to be carefully thought out; I'm uneasy with the ever increasing beauty products that 'donate a percentage' of profits to breast cancer charity. How much are they donating exactly? It's often rather woolly - and beware of those who donate 5p or similar silly amounts unless it's a beauty giant likely to make huge sales. Largely, the charities would do better if you just made a straight donation and don't get side-tracked by confusingly worded promises. The Pink Ribbon Diary is exclusively at Selfridges.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rock & Republic Cosmetics

Stylish denim house, Rock & Republic, have launched their new cosmetic range stateside....apparantly, it's coming to Harrods in the not too distant future. Critics have said it's all style and no substance; i.e. the make up formulations aren't that great for the price - which range from between $18 and $225 (eek)- but I'm not convinced. There are some great product names, too, such as Ciggy and Asphalt to describe smokey greys, and the packaging is gorgeous. All in all, once in does hit Harrods, it will be a very welcome addition to the current crop of really cool cosmetics.

Ruby & Millie

Due to a lack of decent pictures, I've been unable to post about these amazing eye colours from Ruby & Millie...My own home efforts at stylish photography were so absurd...So, firstly I need to say THANK YOU to the Daily Mail from where this image came. Right, on to the colours. Using a radically different approach to primer - normally pasty white or cream, using a dark navy blue primer as a backdrop to the deeply pigmented and shimmering shade actually accentuates the depth of colour in the make up. My favourite is the Khaki green that looks absolutely stunning on any eye colour - it's in my make up bag right now and is already half-used up. There isn't much to beat this dazzling duo. 10 pounds at Boots.

Photo Credit: The Daily Mail

Style File: Givenchy

I'm completely in love with this make up palette from Givenchy; it's got everything from the amazing Eye Fly mascara (one of my all time favourites) to the perfect lipgloss shade - in fact both are Givenchy best-sellers. The Couture Make Up Palette Eyelet edition (which suggests to me there are more to come)is on House of Fraser counters now, and at 39.50 pounds, is a great way to buy into an iconic fashion brand for really not a huge outlay.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Here It Is....YSL

Available currently only the states online at www.ysl.com, is my personal make up hell - the limited edition YSL Gloss Pur Black. It's fabulously dramatic on the catwalk, livens up a fashion spread no end, but can you wear it to the pub? No. So, if you're not a model and you're not a goth, and want to use this in the real world, you can't. The trouble with black on lips is that it wears away leaving the pink of your lips showing through - generally around the areas that you use to sip your drink leaving you only half wearing gloss. With normal pinks, nudes etc that wouldn't really matter - or show as much - but with black it just looks odd. Unless you are prepared to top up every five seconds, not eat or drink and risk all the Morticia jokes, leave it alone and wear black nails instead.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Saaf Gets Even Better

As I use Saaf Cleansing Balm every day of my life to whisk away any last specks of make up and keep my skin soft and clean, it's a pleasure to know that they've just got BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) approval. Along with a raft of other pleasing accreditations, such as Soil Association and Nature Watch, Saaf gained Halal certification by excluding alcohol, GMOs and irradiation. This brand sets a benchmark for other 'eco friendly' cosmetic and beauty brands to follow...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Big Question

Which well known beauty company is bringing out an anti-ageing night cream next year that contains ingredients to help you sleep? Don't stay awake worrying because when I can tell you, I will!

Fitflop News

As a complete Fitflop Addict (it can only be a matter of time before there are support groups and a 12 step programme) I'm excited that the first images of the winter versions are finally around. Not due to hit shelves till November, there are already stockist waitlists (Victoria Health, notably)....The Gogh, at 65 pounds (foot closed, heel open) and The Billow, 88 pounds, all snugly and sheepskin and perfect for winter walks, will fly out of stores, so order yours now to avoid a costly therapy course.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

True Blue: YSL

Is it wrong to be crazily excited about nail varnish? Actually, don't answer - I think I know it is! But, have to confess to a small flurry about these new limited edition nail colours from YSL coming in stores at the end of October. Paint Moonlight White over the entire nail, and tip with Deep Blue. Love it. Want it. Need it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cultishly Desirable

Friends at Cultbeauty have bagged this brilliant brand in an on-line exclusive - Boadicea The Victorious (or BTV for those in the know) is a niche new Brit brand with an eclectic twist on traditional fragrances. Blended in the Cotswolds, with the intricate pewter bottles made in Sheffield, this is everything good about UK creativity....Spritz on clothes, in hair and everywhere in between to smell as good as you feel. The Wait-List starts now.....www.cultbeauty.co.uk.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Drink To This: Glowelle

News from New York: Exclusively at Neiman Marcus is Glowelle - a beauty supplement in powder form to add to your drink. What's interesting about this band wagon supplement (because if you ain't sucking, licking or sipping your skin vitamins these days, you're truly out of touch) is that it's from Nestle. And apparantly hideously expensive at $40 for a week's supply. They've flavoured it with Raspberry/Jasmine and boosted it antioxiants, but it's a strange twist from the company that gave us KitKats, Winalot and Go-Cat.

Rouge Bunny Rouge

It's surely only a matter of time before we see fairytale make up brand Rouge Bunny Rouge making its way onto beauty counters...Already a hit in Russia, all Rouge Bunny Rouge colours are inspired by a magical tale that's part Victorian fantasy and part elaborate contemporary story-telling. Having got my hands on some samples, the quality is high, the packaging delicious and the colours spot on. Brands like this that blend uninhibited imagination and strong imagary with wearable, easy to use shades are few and far between....and a refreshing change from clinical looking ranges without a shred of personality. Please, buyers, snap it up! www.rougebunnyrouge.com.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Steam Cream

I'm feeling just a teeny bit smug about Steam Cream; I discovered it on-line about 8 months ago, but it was only available in Japan (or China...I forget...). I'm pleased to say though that UK beauty buyers have seen the light and we'll now be able to get our hands on it here (at Liberty from October). Thanks to the pioneering steam technique, the cream is loose, glossy and feels ultra-light on the complexion. Made with oatmeal (known for it's soothing properties), orange flower water, lavender and a few secret ingredients, the steaming process breaks down other components to such a fine level that it is very easy to absorb - resulting in better moisturising. It's all freshly made in the UK from natural, traceable ingredients, giving it some good eco credentials, too. It's not a big stretch to say that Steam Cream will be the new darling of the beauty pages, not least because the range of limited edition aluminium containers will look damn pretty on a page. And, it's under a tenner giving it mass market appeal, too.

I'd love to see more niche brands like this, but UK beauty buyers aren't known for their risk taking, which is why we are almost always last to get our hands on anything vaguely different. But, that's a rant for another day......sigh.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Love Potion: Dans Tes Bras

For those who don't know the name Maurice Roucel, he's the 'nose' who created the infamous fragrance for Frederic Malle, Musc Ravageur. Noted for being the fragrance to wear if you want your date to end in sex (how handy for lean times), Roucel's newest collaboration with Malle is Dans Tes Bras (In Your Arms), which I'm assured is the one to spritz if you want to be certain of romance. Ideally, you'd get both to cover all options....Dans Tes Bras holds notes of bergamot, cloves, violets, jasmine and sandalwood and produces a sensory experience similar to being wrapped in cashmere....warming, embracing and sensual.

Frederic Malle is noted for his 'guest' noses invited to collaborate on magnificent fragrances in the Editions series - in the rarified world of perfume, this is unusual. As a general rule, cosmetic companies like to keep quiet about the talent that lies behind a truly wonderful fragrance for fear the creator may detract from the brand. And, it's all about the sales, not the smells for them.

£80/50mls from Les Senteurs 020 7730m 2322 www.lessenteurs.com

Uslu Airlines

This quirky brand from Berlin is stocked at Colette and 10 Corso Como. Known primarily for their uber-fine spray foundations, it's much more fun to browse the site for cool colour nail polishes, sharp and shiny lipglosses and moisturising lipsticks named after various destination airports. Thankfully there is no Gatwick, Luton or Heathrow but I think they've missed a trick not using London City which in my mind would have to be the slickest ever red. Just reading the editorial on www.usluairlines.com is funny as they're weirdly honest ("the colours probably won't be much like the ones pictured but we're sure you'll like them anyway..."). Great news is that they ship.

Picture Credit: Bernard Wulhelm.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cashmere Mist: Donna Karan

I love, love, love scented candles; if I had to have a desert island essential it would be a lifetime supply of fragranced candles (and a lighter!). I love the Cashmere Mist candle from DKNY even though I never got to grips with the perfume. It's diffused somehow and less intense in candle form and fills the room with a gentle, warm aroma. Lovely. It's limited edition and is 25 pounds from John Lewis from 22nd October onwards....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lulu Time Bomb

Just checked out a feature on Lulu from the Sunday Mail written in February this year. She gives plenty of tips on how to stay so young looking (she does look amazing given she's in her 60th year), and advises that her own skin care range, Time Bomb has helped to contribute to her complexion as well as good genes. Now, call me a cynic but I've yet to come across a skincare range that gives such an incredible 'botox-like effect' as Time Bomb seems to do. Or does it? While I can't say beyond a shadow of a doubt that Lulu's had 'work', I feel (having seen many, many botox/filler/peel faces)she almost certainly has. Which makes attributing her great complexion to her own skin care range (full of wheatgerm, glucose, Vitamin E and rice bran) a bit rich really. I'm struggling to see how her skin can be that flawless with no intervention. A quick read of various chat sites and beauty sites finds that nobody else can quite believe it either, other of course than the newspapers and magazines who clearly don't feel it encumbent upon them to question whether the Time Bomb creams they are featuring can really produce Lulu-like skin. As an aside, I have met Lulu's 11 year younger sister and clearly the 'genetic' stroke of luck that blessed Lulu didn't strike twice. She just looks like any woman of 49 would want to look...ageing nicely but not magically!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tame The Beasts: Styli Style

There's nothing that makes you feel older than when you see a beauty trend come back for the nth time. How many times have we done 'bold brows'? It's been coming and going for literally decades. Given that there isn't that much you can actually do with brows perhaps its not all that much of a surprise that the old trends keep re-circulating. And bold doesn't, by the way, mean untamed, bushy, meet-in-the-middles that are standard lazy-girl fare. You aren't working the look if your brows are currently any of the above no matter how much you convince yourself that your beasts are back! Great brows rely on a brow pencil to wax down strays and add some colour that doesn't make them look like they've just been felt-tipped. I've been stocking up on Styli Style brow pencils from the USA for years now - they're just the right mix of wax and colour and they stay put. You can get hold of them via www.amazon.co.uk for 3.59 pounds but they are shipped from the states at a charge of 4.99 pounds per order. Worth grabbing a few to make the most of it - they also do eyeliners which are great for staying power but do tend to drag on the skin a bit.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Sorry Tale of Brad Pitt Body Wash

I'm currently putting together a feature for a national paper on beauty brands that donate to charity. While I'm a great supporter of breast cancer charities, I've become a little bit cynical about the number of companies who shove something pink into their range, donate 10p from each product and reap the hefty rewards of extra press coverage and sales from people who want to make a contribution. So I decided to write about the other companies that have on-going commitments, or even new initiatives that support other charities. So far, I've got prostate cancer, environmental, marine life and many others. Because I follow US beauty blogs I'm aware the big news from Kiehls is that they are collaborating with Brad Pitt on a range to benefit global environmental issues. So, although the first product, Aloe Vera Biodegradable Liquid Body Wash (complete with Brad's scrawl across the front) is already up on the USA website, with as much information you could care to want, the press office here say it's embargoed and they can't give me any information. None. Not a price, not a launch day, not a single item of information about the fund raising product. So, on a different tack I asked if there were any other charities they support. Oh yes, they said. The Terrance Higgins Trust (Aids). Great then, I'll write about that. Oh, we can't tell you anything, it isn't finalised. So that's two charities that have missed a great slot in a national thanks to some extraordinary marketing decision (because I do know in this case the PRs are just the front-line). It's things like this that make me despair for the beauty industry. To illustrate, the picture above is of the very product we Brits are not allowed any pictures or information about. See www.kiehls.com for anything else about it you'd like to know.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Front Cover News

Fabulous new brand Front Cover are launching later on in the year. Stylish packaging contains pictures of the model actually wearing what's contained in the kit so you know exactly how the look will be, and also full instructions from a jobbing make up artist (instead of a 'celebrity' one) that tell you exactly how to do it. The Rainbow Eyes box contains 26 colours, eyeliner mix to convert all the colours into intense liner and two brushes - all for 30 pounds. And the quality is good. Loving the use of edgy photos of dramatic eyes and lips on the In The Bag Set for 15 pounds - inside is a blue shadow trio, lipstick, eyeliner in shade of the moment Sapphire, and a four piece brush set. Bargain, no? Look out for this brand at branches of Boots around October/November time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Secrets of The Spikey: Daniel Sandler

I'm told by my good friend Jess at Cult Beauty that that the secret of her amazingly long and spikey lashes is all down to Daniel Sandler Baby Jet Mascara, 12.50 pounds and Clinique Lash Building Primer, 12 pounds. After my hasty exit from the world of false lashes, I'm stocking up right away and not telling her there is now a newer, even spikier version from Daniel Sandler - Super Jet Mascara! Born to be mean.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Lashing Out: False Eyelashes

I'm so envious of people who can make false eyelashes work, because I can't. I've had hundreds of press releases saying how easy they are to apply and that they've moved on in leaps and bounds - I've even, stupidly, written features about them saying exactly that, without trying them properly. I've had three attempts at applying them recently - each with the same horrible result. I've had glue in my own lashes that needed picking out with tweezers, I've also had glue in my eyelids meaning one eye blinks slower than the other for a while - eeek - and I just cannot get them to sit near enough to my own lashline. So, I've given up - they, or I, are just rubbish and the pile of crumpled, trodden on, spidery mess on my bathroom floor is testament to it.