Tuesday, 28 October 2014

WIN 'ONE WOMAN 100 FACES' by Francesca Tolot


'Francesca Tolot is the most extraordinary makeup artist of our time.' So opens the foreword written by Beyonce in this beautiful new book.

A must-have for anyone working in makeup, loving makeup or simply a lover of big, coffee table photography books.

More information on Francesca is available here - warning - you'll lose hours looking through her portfolio. www.francescatolot.net

To win 'ONE WOMAN 100 FACES' simply leave a comment below and a way to identify you (@twitter/nickname etc, don't leave your email!).

One winner.
One prize.
Open in the UK only.
Closes Sunday 2nd November @ 11.59pm.


New appearance date with IOMA



A couple of weeks ago I had a skin consultation that was the best I've ever had. And it was done with a machine. 


Please excuse the rather Dr Who graphic but that is the IOMA Sphere - and it's capabilities for reading the skin are brilliant.
It perfectly detected what I already knew about my skin (some dehydration, prone to random breakouts), whilst reassuring me in other areas such as deeper wrinkles, redness and the big one for me, sun damage (minimal).

If you fancy having a go yourself IOMA have recently launched into Boots in both Westfield (White City) and Manchester Market St.

I am popping along to the Manchester branch next Thursday evening to meet some of you fellow skin obsessives so do please come along!

The first 10 people to arrive will receive the skin consultation from the Sphere (they're lengthy, hence the limit on numbers) plus a free gift and the rest of us can hang out and discuss all things skin.

I'm there between 5pm - 7pm. Hope to see some of you there! :)

Thursday 6th November
IOMA counter
Boots
32 Market Street
Manchester

M1 1PL

Monday, 27 October 2014

As requested - Louise Westra's 'Kick-a-germ' juice

A few of you indicated you would like the recipe for ‘Kick-a-germ juice’ so here it is along with some bonus winter tips.
1. Don’t underestimate the importance of wrapping up more warmly with hats, scarves and gloves – and don’t overlook the good old-fashioned vest under clothing.
2. Look after your mucous membranes with lots of naturally decongesting herbs and spices that can be added to food. Remember the classics such as chilli, garlic, fenugreek and ginger. These all work well added to hearty soups, stews and casseroles. You can even make a soup specifically designed to support the body in fighting against any assault by airborne germs. Be warned, this is not for the faint hearted – we generally referred to this when I was studying to be a Naturopath as ‘kick-a-germ juice’!
‘Kick-a-germ juice’ recipe
Use a base of approximately 1 litre of chicken stock (real is preferable) and add the following:-
3 cloves garlic
1 medium strength chilli
1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
1 medium sized onion
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
Any seasonal vegetables chopped to the size you like.
Cook until all the vegetables soft and tender.
Add fresh lemon or lime juice to serve.
Be prepared to spend the night sweating!
3. Lemons are a great natural antiseptic and can be drunk with warm water and honey, or juiced with other fruit and vegetables. I am not a huge fan of really chilled food and drink - especially during the colder months of the year - however, if feeling off-colour, I tend to use juices more than usual to assist in getting nutrients down to my cells without too much effort being required by my run-down body. Something along these lines will usually assist:-
2 medium carrots
1 medium celery stalk
1/2 medium cucumber
1 medium apple, such as Gala or Fuji
1 (1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger root
Push all ingredients through juicer. Stir well and serve right away

4. In essence, the two most important things to do if you do start to feel like you are coming down with something would be to eat lightly and do as little as possible. 
As Benjamin Franklin said: ‘The best of all medicines is resting and fasting’.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Delilah Cosmetics - GORGE.

 Even after all my years in the industry I still love it when I see something new and think 'PHWOARRR'. That's exactly what I did with Delilah.


The brainchild of 3 friends, Delilah is a British born and led brand that launched onto the scene fairly quietly this summer. It's also, like Charlotte Tilbury (for me anyway), a brand that literally makes you think you need every piece. I wish I was joking. I cherry picked the two that I've used religiously since I got them - although more will undoubtedly make their way on to this blog before long (esp the loose powder).


This, dear readers is Stiletto Cream Lipstick and to show you the true representation of the colours on their website - always a bugbear of mine - this is one I papped at home with no filter:


The colours are exquisite and they hold, the textures are beautiful and the packaging is reassuringly heavy. Rose gold is used throughout the range to great effect.


And this little wonder has replaced the aforementioned Tilbury Retoucher as my grab'n'go concealer. Perfect consistency for me, I use this all around the eye area, sides of nose, around the mouth to redefine lip line when out and about.. pretty much everywhere.

The only downside is the lack of availability in stores. Delilah is available in selected spas and online at www.delilahcosmetics.com - and I suspect that is their choice - but someone, somewhere more readily available needs to pull their finger out and take this brand on. It's a travesty. *becomes a beauty buyer*

Prices start around £20. The lippies and the pencil concealers are both £24. Love.



Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Vichy Normaderm Night Detox - review



Following on from the last post, I also gave my female tester in her late 20's the Vichy Normaderm Night Detox to trial.

What is it?

The blurb
'Those with oily, blemish prone skin suffer from an over production of sebum during the night. By morning, the skin can feel dirty and dull with additional blemishes. New Normaderm Night Detox targets the skin overnight by helping to control the production of sebum while purifying the skin.

Upon awakening:
  • Sebum production is controlled
  • Imperfections appear reduced
  • Pores tightened
  • Radiant complexion
  • Even skin texture
  • Skin feels clean & fresh
Powerful formula yet kind to the skin. The texture is light and non greasy leaving the skin with a clean fresh sensation.'
The reality:
A night cream aimed at those with a lot of spots/acne.

What's in it? (Kudos to Boots.com for actually bothering to list the ingredients)
AQUA • GLYCERIN • ALCOHOL DENAT. • HYDROXYETHYLPIPERAZINEETHANE SULFONICACID •ISONONYLISONONANOATE • ISOPROPYL LAUROYL SARCOSINATE • PENTAERYTHRITYLTETRAETHYLHEXANOATE • PEG-20 STEARATE • DIMETHICONE • CETYLALCOHOL • SILICA • ZEAMAYS STARCH • CI 19140 • CI 42090 • GLYCERYLSTEARATE • TRIETHANOLAMINE • SALICYLICACID • SODIUMPOLYACRYLATE • PERLITE • POLOXAMER 338 • TOCOPHERYLACETATE • AMMONIUMPOLYACRYLDIMETHYLTAURAMIDE • CAPRYLOYLSALICYLICACID • TETRASODIUMEDTA • EPERUAFALCATABARKEXTRACT • XANTHANGUM • DEXTRIN • PENTAERYTHRITYL TETRA-DI-T-BUTYLHYDROXYHYDROCINNAMATE • ACRYLATES/C1 0 - 30ALKYLACRYLATECROSSPOLYMER • ACRYLATES COPOLYMER • PARFUM

What's good about it?
From my tester: 'The Vichy Night Detox is amazing! My skin is almost clear. I've been doing your routine and just using this at bedtime and I can't believe the results.'
It's also a great price point. 

What's not good about it?
This isn't the 'cleanest' product on the market if you are someone who wants natural/organic etc. However, in my experience, once someone has suffered from sustained, incredibly annoying breakouts/spots/acne, you stop caring what's in it (for the most part) and just want something that works. Still, at least on this occasion you can actually look at the ingredients and make the choice for yourself. 

Vichy Night Detox is priced around £15.00 (but always on offer somewhere) and available from Boots.com.


Effaclar Anti-Blemish System - Trial Results


Exactly three months ago I asked two people to test the new 2 step kit from Effaclar that included the cleanser, new toner and the original Effaclar Duo cream.

The results are in and they are to say the least, mixed.

My testers were a woman in her late 20's with hormonal acne caused by PCOS and a teenage boy with typical teenage spots/borderline acne.

Below are the actual transcribes of their reports (we'll give the teenage boy a break for his minimal use of vocabulary ;):

Female:
'First cleanse, tone and cream done. It doesn't irritate, the cleanser says its foaming but it doesn't really foam that much. It feels lovely and smooth when you put it on, the toner is really gentle, no sting or feeling at all - I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. Cream smells nice, face isn't too dry.

Day 5:
I had a massive breakout over the weekend. Big, red, painful spots. The spots I had before haven't gone and the cream is leaving a gritty texture on my face. It doesn't feel nice and smooth like it does after I use the products that you recommend.

2nd August (2 weeks of use):
I stopped using the products yesterday. It hasn't worked for me. I've had massive breakouts (big red painful spots), the spots I had before haven't cleared up and it left my skin feeling gritty and dry. Just used a balm cleanser and it felt like heaven. My skin is smooth again and the bumps have gone down instantly.

Final verdict:
Cleanser - definitely a no. The toner is really gentle so that's okay, it just doesn't seem to do anything. I don't rate the moisturiser at all. I think it made my spots worse, it didn't clear anything up, it left a horrible texture on my face and makeup looked awful over it.


Male:
First text.
'My skin feels a bit dry and tight.'

Then it was quiet for a few weeks...

26th August (4 weeks of use):
I've been using the products for the past 4 weeks. I haven't had any new big spots but my face hasn't really cleared that much. My skin felt good for the first few weeks but now it feels a bit dry. I got quite a lot of new pimples on my forehead. Cleanser - ok, maybe a little too harsh. Toner - didn't really do much. Cream - the cream is probably the best out of the three. Face always felt smooth after using it. No massive new breakouts and no blackheads. I think my face is pretty much the same. It didn't make it any worse but it didn't make it much better.


So the final verdicts would appear to be:

Cleanser - too drying
Toner - ok but doesn't really do anything
Effaclar Duo - better on younger skins perhaps? Good topically on spots but too drying over long term use if used as an all-over face moisturiser.

Thank you to my two willing testers. I removed any mention of brands they preferred/balm cleanser used etc to try and keep it fair. The next post is from the same 20-something woman and is about a cream she raved about.....


Monday, 20 October 2014

Lucy Annabella Organics


One of the nicest parts of blogging is being made aware of brands early on that you might not otherwise come across quite so soon. My mind has turned to gift shopping (where did this year go?) and Lucy Annabella Organics is a beautiful brand that really delivers and is perfect for just that.

Based out of Ireland, they have a lovely small collection of products that are beautifully presented and work just as well as their more expensive competition.


The candles are soy wax, leaving no black tell-tale residue and the smell is strong without being over-powering like some.


I do like a muscle-related bath product and the Muscle Quench Bath Milk doesn't disappoint. This is hand-made and includes..

Essential Oils - Spike Lavender, Rosemary, Marjoram, Vetiver. Base Oils - Sweet Almond, Soya Bean, Argan, Coconut, Rapeseed. Other - Orange Fruit Water, Aloe Vera Juice, Rosemary Extract, Glycerin and Sucrose Laurate

If you are on the look out for either a nice treat for you or a lovely gift for someone else - you may well find it on their website here: www.lucyannabella.com

They've just released their Christmas offering - I'll be getting one of these Festive Spice numbers..... *lush*


Sunday, 19 October 2014

White Rabbit Comfort Cleansing Balm - a dupe for Eve Lom?

The best selling high-end cleanser in the UK is Eve Lom - the 200ml size outsells everything else in it's category and it is £84.00. I know. I've always said that Eve got people actually washing their faces again - it was a sea of milky, cotton-off cleansers before she came along. My problem with it has always been that it is mineral oil based. It's a lot to pay for something that doesn't cost a lot to make. However, Eve Lom fans are without doubt, eternally loyal - and if you love it, crack on. Half of the battle of good skincare is finding something that you love to use.

For those of us averse to the odd bit (a lot) of mineral oil, but still loving balm cleansers - and the smell of Eve Lom - this could be the equivalent in a non mineral oil version.


What is it?

White Rabbit Comfort Cleansing Balm is unapologetically grease. Not for the faint-hearted, this is pure massage joy.


What's in it?

Shea butter, castor oil, olive oil, olive wax, rosemary, eucalyptus and lavender essential oils.

Who is it for?

Most skin types will be able to use this without problem - there are however, things to bear in mind. If you have active acne I would avoid. It is very dense and while it it fabulous for massage, it will be problematic for you to remove without causing your open/active acne problems.
Equally, super-sensitive skins/those with rosacea may find it is too thick for their skin to tolerate.
Drier skins will appreciate the texture more.
All things, incidentally, that I would say about Eve Lom cleanser.



What's good about it?

This is great for facial massage - and it goes against my normal advice for application. In this case, you really do need to warm this up a little across the tops of your fingers (unless you keep it in a warm environment).
Like Eve Lom, it is very thick and you can get really good grip with this. If you were using it for makeup removal you would need to add a bit of water to make it more malleable.
Much more affordable than most balms.

What's not so good about it?

This is so thick that you need to follow up with something lighter to make sure that the residue is gone. And it's three goes with the flannel (both sides of it). This is not what you are going to use after you've been out boozing and need a quick cleanse. You will have residue - and then probably breakouts. I follow this up with something lighter to make sure I have cut through the grease and follow with acid toners. I wouldn't use on eye makeup.

All that being said, this is a good affordable addition to your skincare collection and the best part? The price.

White Rabbit Comfort Cleansing Balm is £12.00 for 100ml including a proper large flannel - no muslin in sight - and is available from www.GiveMeThePretty.com. AND until 5th November they are giving readers of this site free UK shipping.
The code is LADYHIRONS. I swear they did that just to make me type it. :)
Check out the rest of the collection too. All made in Scotland, really lovely and affordable.

Enjoy.










Friday, 17 October 2014

Instagram Friday Catch-up

Trialing

Loving this
Brilliant

Out next month. *is beyond excited*

The awesomeness that is Mary Greenwell and Georgie Dawson

The Orangery at Kensington Palace going pink for October and BCA.

Brilliant for texturising as opposed to just making crispy and messy.

One of my evening routines.....

It's nearly that time again.....

My eyebrow on advertising boards - always weird.
So so happy for Ruth and her Colab launch - details coming. And Sali Hughes - OBVS.

And one of my morning routines......

Le Galion Paris launched in Liberty this week - details coming. Lush.

If you haven't yet signed up to My Little Box you're missing a trick. :)

And topped off my week with a PA in Dublin to support Cloud10beauty.com - LOVE YOU PEOPLE!! Photo courtesy of  (totally stolen from) http://www.fluffandfripperies.com/

Monday, 13 October 2014

MV Organics Gentle Cream Cleanser and Rose Smoothing and Protecting Moisturiser - review by London Makeup Girl

Long-time blog readers will remember the lovely Lydia from London Makeup Girl. Blogging as Grace London until last year, LMG was one of the first blogs that I read and Lydia was one of the original crowd of people that encouraged me to start blogging. Her blog was intelligent, eloquent and always very well thought out. In the current world of 'press release cut and pasting', LMG left a big gap. I have been trying to get Lydia to write guest posts for me for a while - her specialty/interest is/was organic/all things natural (genuinely natural) - something that I enjoy, but not a prerequisite for me to use/blog about. I know, however, that a large number of you are completely passionate about that area of skincare so I thought you'd appreciate another opinion and slightly more regular postings from that domain. Below is what I hope to be the first of many posts from Lydia. Who knows - maybe we can persuade her to come back to us. (PS: Just in case it needs saying - you can assume that I endorse Lydia's reviews - I'd happily let her go skincare shopping on my behalf)


I’m Lydia and I used to write a blog called London Makeup Girl. Work and life has gotten in the way of regular blogging for me (I hear you - CH), but Caroline has kindly invited me to guest post on her turf about my favourite natural* skincare products.

Sometimes there seems to be a high-tech v natural skincare divide. I think it’s similar to how you might approach nutrition/diet - you can eat scientifically designed supplements and vitamins or a variety of organic produce. In either case, you’ll likely be healthier than if you lived on nothing but junk food. A combination of the two is often no bad thing.
I like natural skincare because I prefer a gentle, long term approach to healthy skin. My skin also tends to react badly to too many silicones, and they are easier to avoid in natural brands. So, that’s enough about me and my tao of skincare. The products I’m reviewing today are from MV Organic Skincare.

The Gentle Cream Cleanser is a thick cream cleanser - a bit thicker than a cold cream, and definitely more cream than lotion. I use one or two pumps on dry skin, but then I wet my fingertips to massage the cleanser over my skin as per the instructions. This makes it much easier to spread; if you don't use damp fingers you'll either drag the skin or need to use (and waste) a load of cleanser. It has a gentle citrus scent (from the mandarin essential oil). I remove with a wet flannel, and then splash with cold water. This cleanser takes off eye makeup efficiently (I don't wear waterproof mascara, but it can remove a Bobbi Brown Gel eyeliner with no problems).
Ingredients:
Water, Camellia (Camellia Oleifera) Oil*, Cetearyl Glucoside, Vegetable Glycerin*, Olive (Olea Europaea) Fruit Oil*, Coconut (Cocos Nucifera) Oil*, Glyceryl Stearate, Vitamin E non GM (Tocopherol), Xanthan Gum, Honeysuckle (Lonicera Caprifolium & Lonicera Japonica) Extract, With essential oils of: Rose, Chamomile and Mandarin *, Potassium Sorbate, 
* Organically Grown

The Rose Smoothing and Protective Moisturiser is a thick white cream that has a subtle rose fragrance. I use half a pump for my face and the same again for my neck and upper chest. I find it applies best over skin that's slightly damp with toner - I like the MV Organics Rose Hydrating Mist, Live Native Essential Mist MSM Toner or Organic Pharmacy Rose Facial Spritz. It's a good base for makeup and doesn't leave the skin feeling or looking greasy if you use the correct amount. It's also very good mixed with a couple of drops of facial treatment oil for drier skin; the MV Organic Booster oils work well, so does Sunday Riley Juno (review on that coming soon) and the De Mamiel Seasonal Oils.
Ingredients:
Water, Camellia (Camellia Sinensis) Oil*, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Vegetable Glycerin*, Glyceryl Stearate, Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinesis) Seed Oil*, Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Oil, Vitamin E non GM (Tocopherol), Honeysuckle (Lonicera Caprifolium & Lonicera Japonica) Extract, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, With essential oil of: Rose Otto and Rose Geranium     
* Organically Grown

These are good, simple products; they are very easy and no-fuss to use, and are particularly good on inherently sensitive skin or skin that has been riled up by a change of climate or harsh skincare. I also like that you can purchase 15ml travel/trial sizes before you invest in full sizes.
I purchased mine from www.beingcontent.com (most of my skincare comes from Content). There's more information on the MV Organic website at www.mvskincare.com.




*I use the term ‘Natural’ as shorthand for skincare based on plant oils/extracts, often organic. I know, not everything that is natural is good for you. 



Erm. WHERE have you BEEN/where have you GONE?

That, dear readers, is the question I have been asked a lot in the last few weeks. As most of you will know, I suffer from a dodgy back (broken coccyx) and was given some new medicine recently to 'try out'. Lest I become a dreadful only-ever-talk-about-what's-wrong-with-me-bore, let's just say this and be done with it: the tablets were akin to horse tranquilisers once they were in my system.




It took me a couple of weeks to realise that I was having the energy to work, be a Mum and then literally napping the rest of the day/going to bed early. The lack of YouTube videos is literally because the thought of setting up lights/focusing the camera made me want to sleep even more. Horrible. I thought I was going out of my mind. Friends thought I was ignoring them, Mother thought I'd been kidnapped - the whole shebang.
I stopped taking them on Saturday and literally felt like a new person on Sunday. It was ridiculous. Said pills are going back to the pharmacist and I am sticking to what I know. Sod. THAT.

That's where I've been. I'm awake now. See you soon.


Lush Christmas

When I visited the Lush Head Office/Factories this summer I was given a preview of Christmas and Halloween - and obviously asked to keep it under wraps. The Lush Christmas reveal has become somewhat of a tradition and I was offered cash (really) to break the embargo and tell Lush fanatics what Christmas 2014 entailed. Below is a little preview of what you can now find instore..... and for a smell-a-vision version you can watch Zoe's video here....Zoella Lush Haul

Father Christmas Bath Bomb


Golden Wonder Bath Bomb - warning to you parents out there - the bath will be a bastard to clean after this.

Holly Golightly Bubble Bar

Candy Mountain Bubble Bar

I nearly threw this away. HOW cute is that?

12 Days Of Christmas 

The Christmas Penguin Bubble Bar

Candy Mountain again - one of my faves - can you tell?


Melting Snowman Bath Melt

It's back. Say no more.

So White - apple in the shower...

Snow Fairy Gift Set - a no-brainer for the Snow Fairy fanatics out there.


For you Lush fanatics out there, go now before they are gone. 2014 will go down as the year I joined your ranks. :)

www.lush.co.uk/christmas

Friday, 10 October 2014

Ooh DUBLIN!


Just a quick one. I'm in Dublin next week with the brilliant Cloud10 Beauty. It's a private event BUT there is the chance to win tickets to the evening event where you can listen to me rant talk all things beauty with me, Sinead Cady and Morgan Keyte from Tigi.

To win simply enter here:www.cloud10beauty.com/giveaway

I hope to be back in a more public way soon. Bloody love the Irish.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Backstage at Stella McCartney with Sunday Riley

This post was updated 13.10.14: see below

I promise I'm not strangling that poor girl.
 I was lucky enough to work the Stella McCartney shows again this season, both the Green Carpet Challenge with Livia Firth in London and Stella's SS15 show in Paris last week. They are always a highlight of the year and Stella's team are a joy to work with.
This is personally my 3rd season and it was busier than ever last week. We had models queuing for a morning massage. Queuing! You know when you have those moments of 'I'm so unbelievably grateful that this is my job'? I had those all morning. What a dream.




The old adage of models not taking care of their skin is so not the case anymore. These girls know their faces are their fortune and their skin showed it. The odd blemish aside, it was mainly a case of giving them a little brightening, a little massage and a glow. This was week 4 of fashion week for most of these girls and dehydration was the only sign that they have worked - in most cases - non-stop and been on flights continuously for more than a month.





I am always asked for the routine used. Last week the brief from Pat McGrath was soft, glowing skin and to achieve that I:

  • cleansed with Ceramic Slip (sometimes mixed with Good Genes and used as a mask depending on the model's skin)
  • removed with damp cotton pads (moistened with mineral water, not tap)
  • massage with either Juno or Artemis oils - again depending on the skin type and concern - using a small amount of product is key. Too much oil means slip not grip and a greasy catwalk makeup. Not good.
  • apply Start Over eye cream 
  • apply a small amount of Bionic moisturiser to give the perfect makeup base for the team

Most of the girls had a power nap during the massage. I avoided too much lymph drainage - by week 4 of fashion week your immune system is on high alert and under considerable strain, if I was to really work the lymph they could have come down with colds/got sniffly and no-one would thank me for that with days of shows left.


I mainly worked the temples/forehead and cheeks, relaxing the face and giving a glow.

Dani with her gorgeous face that I frankly just wanted to squeeze. Look at that skin.
 The finished faces.







As per your requests in the comments see below my untouched photographs from some of the shows. The only thing being touched up in any of these is my bosom. :)




Gorgeous gorgeous Dani.





For more information on Sunday Riley www.sundayriley.com

All photography courtesy of Sunday Riley. Huge thanks to the team at Stella McCartney.

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