Tuesday, 19 August 2014

NEW: DKNY MYNY

DKNY-MYNYDKNY-MYNY-review new-DKNY-MYNY-fragrance

DKNY has launched a fragrance unlike any of its others I’ve tried: MYNY (My New York), housed in a heavy glass and chrome heart-shaped bottle, indicative of the New York skyline. I was expecting a So Delicious-esque light, airy scent, so was surprised to discover a powerful, heady eau de parfum with a mix of fruit, florals and spice. DKNY describe it as the pulse and energy of New York, bottled.

Screenshot (75)

The initial burst of fruit settles to a rich, musky scent on me, with a warm Autumnal element which I think will make it very popular in the cooler months ahead. It’s been compared to Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, which I wear, but don’t think it’s a dupe. The Chanel has a softness about it, whereas this is quite bold… one spray is pretty powerful on me, so a little will go a long way. 

The fragrance has its own digital hub at myny.dkny.com, where people are invited to get involved and capture their personal heart of New York. DKNY MYNY is available now at Debenhams and will be on counters nationwide tomorrow (Wed 20 August) from £36.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Bobbi Brown Sheer Brights Eye Shadow

BobbiBrown-Sheer-Brights-eyeshadows 

Who says pastel brights are only for Spring and Summer? Bobbi Brown has embraced the colourful AW catwalk trends with a September collection of Sheer Brights Eye shadows - or ‘Bobbi Bon Bons’ as I’ve nicknamed them. To me, the obvious way to wear these is as a subtle pop of colour with a rosy cheek and glossy lip, but I also like the idea of pairing them with a bold scarlet pout, or using them as an accent colour for an alternative smokey eye. Fifteen shades are available in total with a selection of matte, metallic and shimmer formulas. The colour is sheer, but definite - and lots of the tones work beautifully together.

Bobbi-Brown-Sheer-Brights-shades

Swatches

Bobbi-Brown-Sheer-Brights-Eye-Shadow-swatchesBobbi-Brown-Sheer-Brights-Eye-Shadow-swatches (2)Bobbi-Brown-Sheer-Brights-Eye-Shadow-swatches-

I’ve only used one swipe of each colour for these swatches to give you a true idea of the colour payoff and intensity. Using them over primer gives them more of a pop, but I’m quite liking the sheer wash effect. From left to right on my arm swatch we have:

  • French Blue - Shimmer - a cool pastel blue
  • Linen - Metallic - creamy neutral with golden champagne shimmer
  • Pistachio - Matte - a true light pistachio green
  • Berry Sorbet - Shimmer - cool toned pink with silver shimmer
  • Cornflower - Matte - this china blue is the least pigmented of these six
  • Golden Amber - Shimmer - a warm bronze, more metallic than the other shimmers I tried

My favourites are Linen for a lovely neutral base with just the right amount of sheen to add radiance, and Golden Amber for its drama and gorgeous contrast to the other shades.

The colours can be used individually or housed in a 3/4/6 pan palette, sold separately (£6). The eye shadows cost £17.50 each and will be on counters from September, though you can buy them now at Bobbi Brown with a complimentary 2 pan palette & free delivery when you buy any two powder eye shadows. 

You like?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector: Review

Skinceuticals-Advanced-Pigment-Corrector

I’m always a little nervous about reviewing this kind of product - a. because hyperpigmentation can be quite an emotive skin condition; b. it’s expensive and c. I expect people to be cynical (rightly so) - but I have seen some positive results with Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector.

Hyperpigmentation - or dark spots - is a common effect of ageing, largely due to overproduction of melanin. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that what looks like a few ‘cute’ new freckles in the Summer looks a lot less cute when my skin turns pale again and the contrast is a lot more noticeable. I have a few dotted on my hands and arms and a big one (about 1cm long) just above my left cheekbone. For two months I religiously treated the left hand side of my face, left hand and arm twice daily with Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector. While the marks haven’t disappeared completely, they are definitely paler in colour than before. I’m sure no-one else would notice, but I do - and that’s what matters, right?

Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector 
The product is a lightweight lotion that sinks in quickly and feels very comfortable on my skin. I won’t bore you with the science of how it all works, but it contains acids and exfoliants that help correct hyperpigmentation and improve skin brightness. (You can read The Science Bit here if you wish). It absolutely must be used in conjunction with an SPF to avoid undoing all the good work through sun exposure, which is partly why I’ve been so careful about SPF in recent months (it’s got me into good habits!).

I’ve been told (not by Skinceuticals) that just 20 minutes sun exposure without protection can be enough to reverse the results of hyperpigmentation treatments and must admit I have noticed a slight darkening again on one or two spots over the Summer. I assume has happened on the odd day when I’ve been caught out by unexpected sun or less than careful, which is 100% my fault and very frustrating. I’ve started the treatment again now to address this, which should be less of a problem in the cooler months ahead, though of course SPF is important all year around.

If like me, you only have small patches of pigmentation, this tube should last a long time - and in my personal experience, is a worthwhile investment - so long as you use it consistently and coupled with a high SPF.

The best price I’ve found online for Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector is £60.95 (free delivery) here.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

July Beauty Favourites: make-up / hair & body / extras

Make-up-favourites

A rather belated July favourites but here we go - lots of products to include, so I’ve divided them into make-up, hair & body and extras.

MAKE-UP

Laura-Mercier-Tinted-Moisturiser Creme-Silk-foundation 

Starting with base, two formulas stood out in July, depending on my skin’s behaviour and the occasion. Laura Mercier bases are my long term favourites and I think they do a formula that suits everyone. I’ve had Silk Crème in Beige Ivory since Christmas (thanks sis!) but it’s come into its own this Summer. For me, the key to this is less is more & blend, blend, blend! Silk Crème has been my go to for special occasions or rubbish skin days when I want more coverage (I’d describe it as medium to full). On good skin or ‘no make-up’ days, I’ve been using Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser in the shade Nude. This gives very light coverage and is great for anyone who really likes to look as if they’re wearing zero make-up - a proper barely there number. I’d never suggest that anyone purchases two different formulas just to mix them (find one that suits you best), but if you do have both of these, a combination offers a lovely light to medium, glowy base.

Both available at Blow Ltd (ps £10 off first order if you sign up to their newsletter!)

PurMinerals-Kinky-Blush-Lovestruck-Lipgloss

Another brand duo (neither intentional, just genuine favourites) is this Pur Minerals coral pairing. Kinky powder blush is very reminiscent of NARS Orgasm - pinky peach with gold shimmer and Lovestruck lipgloss is just the prettiest creamy coral… a perfect Summer combo! I veer between these and Clinique Chubby Stick for Cheeks (review here) in Robust Rhubarb, which I’ve discovered doubles up beautifully as a matte lip and looks gorgeous topped with the above gloss!

Pur Minerals is available at M&S. 

Too-Faced-Better-than-Sex-Mascara, MAC-Patina-eyeshadow

I recently confessed on Instagram that I’d purchased my first MAC eye shadow (slow starter, I know). MAC Patina - light taupe with delicate gold shimmer - has graced my eyes daily since purchasing - a perfect everyday shade that can be smoked up for evening. I love to pair it with Bourjois Contour Clubbing in Up & Brown and lashings of Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. This stuff is da bomb and I’ll be picking up the full size pronto - see a one done: one undone pic on my Instagram for evidence of its powers! 

EXTRAS

Diptyque-Philoskyos-perfume,Bioderma-Moisturising-Mattifying-Fluid Neals-Yard-Geranium Orange-handcream

It’s been almost a year since I treated myself to Diptyque Philosykos and only the past few months that I’ve truly fallen for it. I love the balance of comforting woods and fresh fig - like dousing myself in the strength to face the day. I’m properly attached to this scent. Bioderma’s Moisturising Mattifying Fluid is a recent addition and a Summer-only choice for a dehydrated face like mine. This has been a T-zone saviour on hot weather days, when my based needed every little bit of help to stop it melting off! If you’re combination or oily, this is definitely worth checking out -on offer until Thursday at Escentual. As ever, I have a few hand creams on rotation, but don’t think I’ve ever gone through one as fast as Neal’s Yard Geranium & Orange. This lives next to my bed and is applied in a thick layer every night - I love how it nourishes my hands and have come to associate the gentle scent with sleep (I don’t like a strongly perfumed one when I’m sleeping).

HAIR & BODY

Julien-Farel-vitamin-shampoo-conditioner-coloured-hair

I’ve used Julien Farel Vitamin Shampoo and conditioner for a couple of months and really enjoyed the products. Designed for coloured or chemically treated hair, I find these very gentle and non-stripping as they treat my hair with strengthening vitamins and antioxidants. Joico has been on my radar for a while - and although it’s only been a few weeks, so far I’m really impressed with Joico K-Pak Color Therapy… I love the salon-scent and softening effect, plus these minis are a great size for testing or weekends away!

Clinique Sparkle Skin is an exhilarating peppermint scented exfoliator, a real treat if you’re a fan of superfine, gentle grains like me. Great for removing the last traces of last-legs self tan, this provides the perfect smooth base for a fresh application. I like to follow exfoliating with body wash and the uber fruity-fragranced Passion Fruit & Grapefruit by Kneipp is really uplifting and non-drying. I’ve recently written an entire ode to Mio Future Proof Body Butter - now on its last legs and a hard act to follow.

Which one product has been your most used lately?

Friday, 8 August 2014

Discovering Bobbi Brown Skincare

Bobbi-Brown-hydrating-skincare-cleansing-oil, bobbi-brown-extra-treatment-lotion,hydrating-eye-cream,hydrating-moisturiser

What’s the first thought that comes into your head when you hear the words ‘Bobbi Brown’? Shimmer Brick, gel liner, neutral eye shadows, creamy lipsticks… MAKE-UP! Me too, until recently. Even if I had noticed the skincare, I’d probably have glazed over it and pounced on the latest pretty pink blush, so me and my skin are thankful to have been introduced to the products during my Pretty Powerful Makeover. Since photographing them, the above bottles are now almost empty - and having used them consistently for a couple of months, I’m more than ready to report back.

All five items are a complete pleasure to use, which some skin experts may scoff at, but for me - this matters. The packaging, consistency and how the products feel on my skin are what initially draw me in, so they’re important. For reference, I have dry to dehydrated skin. The Extra range is for extra dry skin and the hydrating range contains mineral water, hyaluronic acid and glycerine - all for extra hydration. I’ll talk you through my thoughts on each product in the order I use them…

Soothing Cleansing Oil - I’m more of a balm lover, so didn’t expect to be so enamoured with this, but it’s become one of my favourites and a day has not gone past when I haven’t used it. A pump bottle makes it quick and easy to use and 1-2 pumps is sufficient to remove my make-up; 3 if I’ve gone very heavy on the eyes. I massage this onto dry skin, add a little water to emulsify, then remove with a warm, wet flannel, which is much more pleasant than it sounds. I’ll then go in with a second cleanser as that’s my thang, especially when I’m using SPF, but if you wear light or no make-up, a single cleanse with this should be enough. No need for an additional eye make-up remover as this does it all - bonus!

Extra Treatment Lotion - I’ve raved about this before in a favourites post, so won’t dwell too long on it here, but basically this gives skin an extra layer of hydration and nourishment and I love it. I just pour a little into the palm of my hand, spread between both palms and press into my skin. Especially good on bleary mornings or pre make-up to plump up my skin.

bobbi-brown-extra-hydrating-serum,eyecream, moisturiser

Extra Repair Serum - this milky serum for dry skins contains Vitamin C, peptides and more to firm, hydrate and give a clearer complexion. Some find this nourishing enough to use alone, without the addition of moisturiser - I always use both but it’s worth bearing in mind. (If you only want to splash out on one or the other, choose this and go for a cheaper moisturiser.) This is the first serum I’ve completely finished since I started blogging - and I’ve tested a lot of skincare in the past three years. I rest my case.

Hydrating Eye Cream - feather light yet hydrating, I find this really soothing on tired, puffy eyes, thanks to aloe vera, jojoba and avocado oil. It sinks in very quickly, no hanging about before moving onto eye make-up.

Hydrating Face Cream - like the eye cream, this disappears into my skin super fast, prepping it for make-up and leaving my face hydrated and comfortable all day.
I’ve genuinely enjoyed using all of these but my Top 3 picks are the Extra Repair Serum, Extra Treatment Lotion and Cleansing Oil (in that order).



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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Best Body Butter: Mio Future Proof

Mio-Future-Proof Mio-Future-Proof-Body-Butter

Hands up if you find applying body cream a chore? I did too until I tried Mio Future Proof. Here’s my Top 3 reasons why I think this is the best body butter I’ve tried…

  • absorbs very quickly
  • dries instantly, so I can dress immediately
  • leaves my skin glowing without any sticky residue

And that’s before I start on the actual benefits to my skin. For me to use a body lotion/cream/butter regularly (yawn), it’s got to be a quick and easy process - the practicalities come first!

This leaves my skin feeling silky soft; pesky dry patches have gone and my shins no longer resemble the bottom of a mock croc handbag. It feels rich and silky in texture, yet all but disappears on contact, while still nourishing my skin. Magic I tell you! I literally swoon every time I use it and think why can’t ALL body creams be like this?

Unfortunately Mio Future Proof is also one of the most expensive body creams I’ve tried, due to an ingredients list that includes antioxidants, vitamins and omegas, so essentially, it’s skincare for your body. My skin is dry, quite sensitive, prone to eczema patches and itching - all of which have stopped since using this. As part of testing for this review, I used it for a month, then stopped completely for 2 weeks to see if I’d notice a difference and all of the above came back again. I’ve hit pan since the above pics were taken and will definitely be investing in a new pot - I think it will really come into its own in the cooler months.

Anyone else find most body creams a faff to apply?

Mio Future Proof - £35

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Bourjois Summer 2014: Bronze & Brights

Bourjois-Summer-2014

Bourjois has added to its Summer 2014 collection with an injection of bronze cheeks and bright eyes. Delice de Poudre can be used to bronze, sculpt and highlight, while Cream Blush Sun adds a sunkissed flush to cheeks. Bright eyeliners are the easiest way to add an injection of colour and Bourjois Contour Clubbing Waterproof pencils deliver smooth application and long lasting wear.

CREAM BLUSH SUN

Bourjois-bronze-cream-blush 

I’ve really enjoyed wearing Cream Blush Sun in Pink Sunwear (shade 05), one of 3 Summery additions to the Bourjois Cream Blush range. While it’s warmer in tone than I’d normally choose for cheeks, it strikes a nice balance between blush and bronze - as the name suggests (negating the need for both) - and leaves a slight sheen on the skin.

DELICE DE POUDRE

Bourjois-bronzer-swatches (2)

DELICE DE POUDRE DUO

Left (pinky) is a mix of the two shades in Delice de Poudre Duo Bronzing Powder & Highlighter (shade 55). On my  ring finger is the highlight shade, a cool cream with delicate pink sheen and on my middle finger is the darker bronze shade on its own. Although deeper than I’d normally go for, a mix of these work to warm my complexion if I’m wearing self tan and I really like the highlighter on its own.

DELICE DE POUDRE GOLD

On my forefinger is Delice de Poudre Gold Bronzing Powder (shade 54). This has enough depth for me to use it as an allover bronzer if I was a fan of the shimmery look (I’m not), but is best used as highlight for deeper skintones, on cheekbones, shoulders and décolleté. It’s velvety soft and very pigmented - a little goes a long way.

CONTOUR CLUBBING WATERPROOF EYELINER

Bourjois-waterproof-eyeliner  

The Contour Clubbing Waterproof Eye pencils are my favourites of the new releases - I’ve been wearing Up & Brown on my upper lash line and a tiny bit of Blue Remix on the outer corners of my lower lash line. Up & Brown is a lovely cool toned metallic bronze-brown and Blue Remix, a bright metallic teal. The real stands outs are matte shades, Pink About You and Dynamint, with proper wow factor. I think Pink About You is best reserved to the young and smooth, but luckily it doubles up as a lipliner and does.not.budge. All of these have great lasting power - there is a reason I swatched them on paper and not my skin!

ON MY FACE

 IMG_0848 

In these pics I used Up & Brown to line my upper lids and Blue Remix on lower lids, softened with bronze eyeshadow (the blue is brighter but wearable when worn alone). On my cheeks is Delice de Poudre Duo Bronzing Powder & Highlighter (shade 55) and a little Sun Cream Blush (shade 05) on the apples of my cheeks. My lipstick is Aerin Rose Baume in Perfect Nude.

I haven’t been able to find all of these specific shades under one virtual roof, so you may need to shop around in-store. Bourjois is available online at Boots (3 for 2) or Superdrug.

Bourjois has been a favourite of mine for years and its products definitely rival more expensive brands. Are you a fan - and can you see yourself wearing pink eyeliner?

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Clinique Sonic System Cleansing Brush

Clinique-Sonic-System-Cleansing-Brush-Clinique-Cleansing-Brush Clinique-Facial-Cleansing-Brush Clinique-Sonic-System-Cleansing-Brush 

Clinique is the latest brand to launch a facial cleansing brush, or a Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush to be precise. Available from today at John Lewis, it will be at Clinique counters nationwide from 29 August.

The design is clean and simple, more basic than that of the Clarisonic Aria, which may be a plus point to some. There is just one setting: on or off, though the small section of green bristles at the top are more coarse than the white, designed for tackling clogged pores.

The white bristles feel very soft against my skin and should be used without pressure for 1 minute max (it switches off after 30 seconds). The handle vibrates quite strongly, but the bristle movement is very gentle. Although I’ve only had a chance to test it briefly, the results are promising, with “97% of users agreeing that the brush gently cleansed skin” and “94% agreeing that skin looked clearer and more radiant.”

More affordable than some other brushes on the market, this one comes in at £79 (less than half the price of Clarisonic Aria at £155) and replacement brush heads cost £20. The brush is easily charged via the base stand and a USB.

Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush £79, exclusive to John Lewis from midnight tonight (Thursday 31 July).

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Travel Beauty Essentials

Delores-Travel-Beauty-Bag (2)

Meet Dolores, the cutest travel beauty bag I’ve ever seen. Today I’m sharing her contents - the beauty essentials I brought with me on holidays. I saved this post until after my return so that I could talk about what I actually used the most. The first pic is everything (minus make-up or we’d be here all day), followed by a closer look…

Travel-Beauty-Essentials

The full shebang above… I’m gonna try to skim through the contents (not in my nature as you know) since there’s so much to get through.

Delores-Travel-Beauty-Bag

From the left… Hair bands are an absolute essential for me in hot weather and I love Popbands as they’re so soft and can be worn around the wrist for emergencies (I’m guessing other long/ big haired readers will also consider needing a hair tie an emergency?). I’ve already raved about Bee Good Honey & Wild Mint Cleansing Water here - think super refreshing and effective, just what you need in a hot climate. Macadamia Flawless is one of my best beauty discoveries of the year. It’s a cleansing conditioner packed with goodness including macadamia and argan oils, which is a pleasure to use and basically cleanses and conditions in one step, leaving my hair incredibly soft. Although not cheap, I think it’s worth every penny - and just spotted a travel size on Beauty Bay! Phyto Plage After Sun is a treatment for holiday parched hair, just spritz in and leave to do the work (smells lush too). Ultrasun SPF 30 for sensitive skin is my all-time favourite sunscreen for the body. I first discovered this when my son developed eczema as a baby and we’ve all used it ever since - one application lasts all day (yes really), it sinks in quickly, isn’t white or sticky and gives me total peace of mind… it *just works*. My Washi cloths come everywhere with me for hot cloth cleansing - super soft and very thin, they dry out quickly and I’ve used them for years. Clinique Even Better SPF 45 is my favourite for face, neck and décolleté (full ode here).

Travel-minis 

Most of these are travel minis, always a winner for me - I try to stock them up throughout the year, use them up on hols, then bin them before I come home. Charles Worthington Dry Shampoo is perfect for freshening up hair and giving it a little oomph between beach and dinner if you can’t be bothered with full-on styling. Heal Gel Intensive is a skin healing wonder, used daily on insect bites and prickly heat. This also works well on sunburn if you happen to miss a bit. Bourjois Nail Polish Remover for Hands and Feet (review here) is great for the colour fickle or those who can’t handle a single chip - just me? Weleda minis are a constant in my stash as they bring them out regularly (other brands, take note!) and I love both the Sea Buckthorn and Wild Rose creamy body washes, which don’t dry out my skin (actually everything in the Sea Buckthorn range is divine).

 Latest-in-Beauty-Caudalie-Polyphenols-C15-April-2014

For skincare, I took these Caudalie Polyphenol minis (more details in this post) and the super gentle REN Hot Cloth Cleanser pictured above… I prefer the balm but this is lovely if you like a cream texture.

Holiday-Beauty

And just to prove that it all fits in the bag!

Are any of you heading off on holiday soon? If so, I hope you find some of these suggestions useful.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Best Sunscreen for Face (with or without make-up!)

SkinCeuticals-Ultra-Facial-Defense-SPF50,SunSense-AntiAgeingFace-SPF50,Clinique-Even-Better-SPF-45

It still amazes me how many people don’t use SPF on their face, even when it’s scorchio. I think part of the reason is the assumption that it will feel greasy, leave a white cast on the skin or make foundation slide off even faster in the heat. Or they just can’t be bothered. I’m not gonna preach; it’s taken me a while to get into the habit but I’m religious about it now - and never leave the house without SPF on my face, neck and décolleté, whatever the weather. After testing lots of different formulas, only 3 made the cut...

My priorities:

  • high protection
  • light, quickly absorbed formula
  • no greasy feel
  • no white cast
  • won’t interfere with make-up application
  • won’t cause me to breakout

All of these formulas tick the above boxes. Skinceuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF50 (£22.95) is a light fluid and the most dense of this trio. The other two sink in without a trace, while this feels quite rich and requires a little bit of rubbing in… don’t be put off by this as the process only takes a moment and it performs really well. I’d recommend for normal to dry skins.

Sunsense is a fantastic Australian brand which I’m so pleased is now available in the UK. It offers a wide range of formulas for the face - including anti-ageing, tinted and mattifying formulas. I’ve used them all and they’re excellent, but Sunsense Anti-ageing Face SPF 50 (£19.20, on offer) is my favourite and contains a whopping 100ml of product. I completely trust this brand in terms of protection; the formula is oil-free, paraben & fragrance-free, tested to very high standards and great for sensitive skin. It sinks in and dries very quickly, leaving quite a matte base for make-up.

While I use all 3 of these regularly (one lives with my make-up, one in handbag & one at the door for last min emergencies), my No1 is Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Defense SPF 45 (£26). I’ve raved about this before and still think it’s the best facial sunscreen I’ve tried as it’s such a pleasure to use. It sinks in nanoseconds faster than the Sunsense, has a barely tinted formula that slightly evens skin tone and leaves a slight radiance - bonus if you don’t wear make-up. Speaking of which, applying foundation over this feels like applying it over a primer… it goes on more smoothly and I seem to need less product.

Obviously the most important thing about all of these is that they work, but finding a formula that is quick, easy and pleasant to use is what has kept me applying mine daily. No more excuses around here!

ps sunscreen should be the last step in your skincare routine, after serum/moisturiser, before foundation.

  • More on SPF in my previous posts: La Roche Posay Anthelios + Ultrasun Face (only one that doesn’t need topped up throughout the day), lots more!
  • Caroline Hirons has done two excellent YouTube videos with the very charming Dr Marko Lens from Zelens. In Part 1 they discuss the full lowdown on SPF and in Part 2, answer readers’ questions. I learnt so much from watching these.
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