Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Clarins Extra-Comfort Cleansing Cream VS Clarins Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream

Just over a year ago I wrote this post about the genius idea that Clarins had to discontinue my beloved Extra-Comfort Cleansing Cream and replace it with update it with the new Extra-Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream. Any beauty fan will know the horrible feeling when something you love using is being discontinued. Annoyance followed by stock-piling of said product usually ensues. In this case Clarins assured those of us that loved the original cleanser that the new one would be the same with the added benefits of being anti-pollution. My first thought was, admittedly, 'Well of COURSE it's anti-pollution, it's a frigging cleanser DUH?!'.

Now it's not that I hate the new version, as you can see I gave it a good go. It's just not the same. Excluding the fact that they got rid of the lovely tub (I know some of you prefer the more hygienic tube, but whatevs), for me, it's just not as good at removing all of my makeup, the original gets rid of all my eye makeup, the new one leaves residue.
It is however, perfectly acceptable as a skin cleanser (second cleanse) and that is what I use it for. If push came to shove, I would stick to the original Alpine Herbs or Gentian versions.

*sad face*

Clarins cleansers can be found here:

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Perioral Dermatitis or 'those red annoying spots that won't go away' - Cheat Sheet

So. A really quick and simple one:
  • You've had spots/redness/flakiness/looks like eczema/you thought it was acne but it isn't - for ages in one place around your mouth or nose (or eyes - poor you). They're not particularly big, they don't seem to want to LEAVE and sometimes they seem to multiply.
  • You have clusters of spots/redness/flaking around your nose that laugh at you and say 'nice try!' when you apply spot treatments
  • You have clusters of spots/redness/flaking around your mouth that laugh at you and say 'nice try!' when you apply spot treatments
  • Sometimes they sting 
  • Sometimes they burn
  • Sometimes they flake over and literally peel off
  • Sometimes they go, disappear altogether and give you a sense of satisfaction - then POP BACK UP AS IF LIKE MAGIC
  • The thought of using exfoliating acid on the area makes you feel a tad faint

Sound familiar? You may have perioral dermatitis (or periorifical dermatitis if it's your eyes). No panic or worry required, it's very common and easily fixed. If though, you ignore it, it can spread. And even when you get rid of it - it will probably come back, so best to arm yourself in preparation.

While it occurs predominantly in women aged 20-45, giving it a possible hormonal factor, men and children can also be affected. The causes are multiple and the triggers can be a combination of differing things:

  • reaction to some cosmetic products
  • reaction to steroid creams (often referred to as steroid rosacea)
  • strong winds/UV light (think joggers and chapped faces)
  • hormonal contraception
  • dribbling in your sleep (that's attractive)
  • fluoride in toothpaste
  • SLS in toothpaste/cleansers

The parts of the face affected are near areas that are warm, dark and wet - the perfect combination for bacterial growth.

It's easily treated. If you know it is a recurring problem visit your doctor, you will either be prescribed a topical cream or oral antibiotics if it's really severe. I'm writing about it now as it always flares up on me in winter. I just got rid of a round of PD on my mouth. I used Bactroban for a few weeks as it wasn't severe enough for antibiotics and I prefer to keep those for something major....

It varies from a tiny patch of redness to severe flaking and bleeding so I'm not using pictures as it's so different in everyone. The Google link for pictures of mild PD is here - if you had severe PD you would probably have already been to the doctors.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Instagram catch-up and I promise I haven't fallen off of the face of the planet...

Hi Everyone.

I don't know where the last few weeks have gone but I do know that I've hardly been around either here or on YouTube. I can only apologise and thank you for sticking around. It's a little calmer around these parts now and there should be more activity going forward!

I haven't completely fallen off the face of the planet though...

I took Max and Ava to Tanya's new launch where.....

they hung out with some of my favourite people....

House porn. That is all.

This is beautiful...

Poor Max. 'Smell this.'


gives me joy.......

New from Nude next year...

Antonia Burrell and I were among the judges at the Stylist Skincare Awards

Gave a talk at Mumsnet's Blogfest with Lucy Mangan and Sali Hughes...

Took the kids to see the brilliant Miranda Sings in Brighton. Go. She's BRILLIANT.

Hung out with Sal from Hampton Sun... One of these people needed their roots doing....

and Tony from Anthony for Men...

Went to see the Counting Crows with Ruth where we both looked V ATTRACTIVE not.

Bobbi's Christmas is just beyond....

As are these from beefayre...

Sorted  my storage! This is before.....

Had a blissful few hours at the hairdressers until I read this monstrosity.....

STOP THE NONSENSE. VASELINE? Cotton pad? Really effective? At what? Making your face fall off?

And that would be me circa 1984 captured in a Duran Duran documentary bunking off school to see them arriving at Manchester Airport. As you do.
I'll see you really really really soon on YouTube.

It's that time of year again....Give and Makeup Shoebox Appeal

As with the last 4 years, we are running a Christmas Shoebox Campaign for the children and young people living in domestic violence shelters across London. They are sadly busier than ever and this year need your support even more than in previous years.

They can have anything - pyjamas, clothing, slippers, books, crayons, colouring books, suitable dvd's (they will be checked anyway), toys, sweets, chocolate, magazines - pretty much anything that you know a child/young person will appreciate.

As always please ensure the following:

  • gifts are suitable for ages between newborn and 15
  • no toy weapons
  • no borderline 'sexy' items of underwear (it has happened in the past)
  • no items of a religious nature
  • new or nearly new please 
  • boxes can be packed according to one child/gender or a mixture across all ages

Please send your donations to:

Give and Makeup c/o
Pardip Barmi
PO BOX 855
W4 4AW

Thank you so much for your continued support. You are changing people's lives.

For all information on Give and Makeup please see here:

Monday, 10 November 2014

An Evening or Two with blow LTD.

If you live in or near London please do come and see me next week if you can. I'm talking about all things skin (and Liverpool's current pathetic form given half a chance) at both the original blow LTD. store in Covent Garden and their brand new addition in Canary Wharf.

Times and dates are below if you are interested. 

Tuesday 18th November – 6-8pm
St Martin's Courtyard
8 Slingsby Place
London, WC2E 9AB

Wednesday 19th November – 6-8pm
Mall Level -1
Jubilee Place
Canary Wharf
E14 5NY

Tickets are £15.00 and are redeemable when you spend over £50.00 on the night and include prosecco and popcorn (two lovely P's).

To book tickets look here:


Friday, 31 October 2014

Interview with Elizabeth Hurley for #BCAcampaign 2014

At the beginning of the month I sat down with Elizabeth Hurley to talk about this year's Estée Lauder Companies Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. The campaign was founded in 1992 by the late Mrs. Evelyn H. Lauder with the launch of the Pink Ribbon, now the universal symbol for breast health.

Many thanks to everyone at Estee Lauder Companies and Elizabeth for being so generous with their time. And apologies for not holding it together for the intro.

This year's campaign is entitled 'Hear our stories. Share yours.' and focuses on the effect that a cancer diagnosis has on the families and loved ones of those that are suffering with the disease. I highly recommend that you give this 4 minutes of your time. You may need a tissue, but you will laugh.

The BCA Campaign has raised more than $53 million to support global research, education and medical services; with nearly $42 million funding 166 Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF) research projects worldwide since 1992.

For more information on how your money is being spent, all the details can be found here:


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.

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
32 Market Street

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 - 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 for actually bothering to list the ingredients)

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

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 ;):

'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.

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:

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 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.


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