Sunday, 31 August 2014

New: No7 Autumn Make-up & Match Made Lipstick

No7-Matte-lip-crayons,blush-stick,black,navy-nailpolish,eye-shadow-trio-no7-new-Autumn-2014 no7-eye-shadow-triono7-matte-lip-crayon-swatches-blush-stick-swatches

Swatches: Matte Lip Crayon - Raspberry Wine & Raspberry Red; Pop & Glow Cream Blush Stick - Watermelon; Stay Perfect Navy Eyeshadow Trio

The Autumn collection from No7 features matte lips, rosy cheeks, and navy smokey eyes with a matching mani. The hands-down highlight for me is the Matte Lip Crayon duo. I’ve already featured Raspberry Red in my Cherry Lips post, but am also very partial to Raspberry Wine for a slightly more subtle look - I love this kind of shade for Autumn.

I find make-up in crayon/stick form especially useful for on the go touch-ups… so easy to pop into a handbag and apply without brushes. Pop & Glow Cream Blush Stick has been released in a new shade called Watermelon, a very blendable cream to powder formula that’s more user friendly than it looks, so don’t be put off by the bright shade. This actually creates a very natural blush tone when blended out… I find it easiest to swipe a little on the flat of two fingers and pat on to my apples.

I swatched the Patent Blue polish on Instagram here - using just one coat as I liked the way the indigo hue shone through (it’s blue-black with two coats). I love the tones in the eyeshadow trio, but found the colour payoff quite poor… it took 3 swipes for the swatches above, whereas the lips and cheek colours were single swipes.

The Matte Lip Crayons are my absolute winners - velvety, long-lasting and comfortable on the lips.

The No7 Autumn collection is available now at Boots.com

PS This Wednesday (3 Sep), No7 is launching Match Made Lipstick, where advisors can suggest lipstick colours to flatter and suit your complexion from 43 specially formulated colours in six colour families:  Light Pink, Dark Pink, Plum, Coral, Red and Naturals.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Antonia Burrell Pure Therapy Facial Serum

Antonia-Burrell-Facial-Oil-Serum-

Antonia Burrell is a holistic skincare expert specialising in plant therapy. I started using her Pure Therapy Facial Oil Serum when my skin was feeling simultaneously hydrated and congested, with those irritating, stubborn under-skin bumps. The three key properties of this serum are balancing, calming and anti-blemish, so if you’re prone to breakouts or have oily skin and are nervous about trying an oil-based product, this may be a good place to start.

As the name suggests, the texture is mid-way between an oil and serum, more towards the oily side. It’s dispensed by a pump and the spa-like scent is incredible; I use 2 drops for my face and neck. I noticed a very quick difference in terms of skin calming - within a few days of use, the little bumps below my skin’s surface had reduced. The formula includes plant extracts to balance, de-stress, heal scar tissue and reduce redness. The serum is available in another formula called Radiant Light, to address uneven skin tone, pigmentation and scarring.

Antonia-Burrell-Facial-Oil-Serum-review

I’ve been using Pure Therapy every night between cleansing and moisturising for several weeks now and really enjoy having it as part of my routine. Antonia Burrell products are available at Urban Retreat, Harrods and all sound incredible! Find out more about the range at antoniaburrell.com 

 

 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Alfaparf Lisse Design Keratin treatment at Stafford Hair

frizzbomb Lisse-Design-Keratin-Therapy-Stafford-Hair

Frizz is the bane of my (hairy) life and the biggest hair challenge I’ve struggled with since my teenage years (as if it wasn’t bad enough being a carrot top, though I’m at peace with that now). So it’s with hand on heart that I can say a recent anti-frizz venture has been (temporarily) life changing for me. I had Alfaparf Lisse Design Keratin Therapy at Stafford Hair in Belfast (in whose hands I entrust all things pertaining to my locks). This is essentially a hair smoothing treatment, with results lasting up to 2.5 months. I’ve been curious about having it done for quite a while and was hesitant incase it would cause any damage, but the products used in this particular treatment mean it’s all about the hair benefits.

How the treatment works

The most significant bonus for me is that the Lisse Design Keratin Therapy Treatment is formaldehyde and paraben-free and conforms to international and European health standards, making it 100% safe (for both clients and the stylist).

As my fabulous stylist, Sharon Watson explained, Lisse Design is not a reconstructive treatment, but is designed to replenish the hair, containing Keratin to strengthen and collagen to calm frizz, smooth curls and enhance shine. While the treatment does have a slight straightening effect, it doesn't contain harsh chemicals that break down the hair bonds permanently. It penetrates the hair to repair it internally, which is why a course of treatments can be beneficial. It saves up to 60% of blow dry time (definitely true in my case) and lasts 2-2.5 months, when the Lisse Design sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner are used to maintain the results at home.

I’ve purposely waited 3 weeks to share this experience as I wanted to see how it would work out at home when I didn’t have the experts on hand - and to gauge how the results would look over time. I think the two pics above say it all (taken a few hours apart pre and post treatment), but if you’d like to know what the process involves, read on…

What the treatment involves

Alfaparf-Lisse-Design-Keratin-Therapy-treatment-products-Stafford-Hair Sharon-Watson-Stafford-Hair Blow dry keratin straightening to activate keratin with hot ironsblow dry post final rinse     Lisse-Design-Keratin-Therapy-Sharon-Watson-Stafford-Hair

The process involved six main steps:

  1. Deep Cleansing - my hair was double shampooed to remove any product build up
  2. The keratin treatment (a liquid) was ‘painted’ onto my hair in small sections with a brush and left to do its magic while I relaxed
  3. Hair was smooth-blow dried
  4. Hot irons were used in small sections to smooth the hair and heat activate the keratin; this was the longest part of the process
  5. The keratin was shampooed out of my hair. I also had a colour gloss at this point as the treatment can strip colour a little.
  6. Final blow dry and styling (thanks to Lena for doing an amazing job on this!)

Results at home

Alfaparf-Lisse-Design-Keratin-Therapy-Shampoo Conditioner Lisse-Design-Keratin-Therapy-Stafford-Hair-

I’ve loved using these Alfaparf products which leave my hair feeling super soft even while wet, similar to when I’ve used a deep conditioning hair mask. The above pic is after I washed my hair for the first time at home and quick dried it - no brushes or smoothing involved - I wanted to know how it would look au natural and I was impressed! (Sorry that this actual pic is a bit fuzzy  as the light was rubbish). NB normally when I ‘abandon’ my hair in this way, it looks like the Before pic at the top (and that was second day hair… it was bigger and frizzier the previous day - cringeworthy!).

Three Weeks Later

one side curledfinal look  

Three weeks in I’m still really happy and most of the time I just wash my hair, give it a quick blast with the hairdryer and a brush (literally for 2-3 mins) and go. It’s almost dry at this point. It is pretty straight (I’m naturally wavy), moreso than I expected, but still holds a curl easily when I style it. Above left is half of the hair dried in waves using my beloved Babyliss Big Hair (on 80% dry hair) and half rough dried with the hairdryer and a brush. Above right is the final look with both sides Babyliss-ed into waves. This entire process took me 10mins from wet and would normally take at least half an hour.

Final Thoughts

I’m so glad I did this. I’m really happy with the results - the ease of it all is literally a joy every time I wash my hair - and I no longer have to psyche myself up to the chore of it all. I only wish the results were permanent. My stylist, Sharon Watson, told me that around 3 times a year is the maximum advisable for this treatment - and I’ll definitely be back.

Prices start at £150 for shoulder length hair or £175 for longer length, which includes the recommended shampoo & conditioner for home care. A shorter term service is also available from £45, which includes the blow dry. This will produce noticeable results, though not as dramatic as the full treatment that I had and takes around 45 minutes - as opposed to 3-4 hours for mine.

Find out more at Stafford Hair Belfast

ps congrats to Paul Stafford, who is headlining at UNITE Hair Global Session 

 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Wet Brush: tangle-free hair!

Neon-Pink-Wet-Brush-UK The-Wet-Brush-detangling-review The-Wet-Brush-UK

I’ve mentioned the Wet Brush on here before, but it’s been such a life (hair) changer, I felt it was due an ode of its own. I have a lot of hair with exceptional self-tangling abilities, not a whisper of wind nor sleepless night required. I’ve been faithful to Tangle Teezers since my children’s (curly) hair was long enough to need brushing - and still think they’re good, but in my view the Wet Brush is better. And it now comes in neon pink. Need I say more?

Ok I’ll try…

1. It has a handle. If you’ve used a Tangle Teezer on proper tangley hair, you’ll have watched it whizz across the room as it slides out of your hand a thousand times. The Wet Brush has an ergonomically designed, non slip handle, so I don’t drop it and feel like I have more control when using it.

2. Despite the name, the Wet Brush is suitable for use on both wet and dry hair. Unlike most brushes, it’s safe to use on wet hair without causing breakage or stretching the hair, but 90% of the time I use it on dry hair.

3. It glides straight through my hair - and that of my children - with complete ease. This is a big deal, especially for my daughter who has fluffy, tangle-prone ringlets. She prefers this to the Tangle Teezer and races around looking for it regularly (it’s also light weight, so easy for little hands to use).

4. It’s neon pink so I can find it easily, which comes in useful around 6 times a day. As per reason no.3.

Sadly it’s not yet widely available in the UK, but I’m hoping it will be very soon. And that the many other versions of this brush also reach our shores from the US (where, incidentally, it’s the best selling hair brush).

You can buy the Wet Brush at Sally’s or Cult Beauty - £11.99 here

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Cherry Lips: Best Budget Buys

No7-Matt-Lip-Crayon,NYC-Expert-Last-Lip-Lacquer,KIKO-3D-Instant-Volume,BarryM-Loud-Mouth-red

Budget beauty brands are really bringing it with lip products to rival their much more expensive sisters. NYC, No7, KIKO and Barry M have released four innovative new pout perfectors that I think are worth checking out - and possibly adding to your stash. I’ve chosen cherry shades from each, though the formulas are all very different.

No 7 Matte Lip Crayon in ‘Raspberry Red’ £9 - a velvety formula that appears almost matte but feels very comfortable to wear, glides on smoothly and has good lasting power. The rather faint lip swatch (below) is more an illustration of how little this transfers rather than the pigmentation, which is quite intense, with strong depth of colour and complete coverage - as you can see from the swipe straight from the crayon (next to the lip swatch). I’ll be wearing this a lot this AW.

{Reminds me of: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil}

NYC Expert Last Lip Lacquer in ‘Big City Berry’ £3.49 - Mind blown, seriously. If I was one of numerous high end brands, I’d be kicking myself for not coming up with formulas like NYC and Bourjois have done, to create exceptional liquid lipsticks which (I think) outperform at a fraction of the price. The NYC formula is not matte like my beloved Bourjois Rouge Velvet, but is similar in application, texture and intensity. The deeper shades fare better than the light ones in my opinion, but then I’m not really a pastel lip fan anyway. These will be on counter from mid September for £3.49 (yes really) - check out gorgeous swatches of all the shades here

{Reminds me of: a glossier Hourglass Liquid Lipstick or Bourjois Rouge Velvet}

KIKO 3D Instant Volume - I’ve been wearing this more in the pink shade which I instagrammed here but do like this cherry red shade too. I’d describe the formula as semi-sheer but buildable… I don’t tend to like a thick layer of lipgloss, but you can make these look quite opaque if you wish. They make my lips tingle slightly (in a good way!) and look slightly fuller and smoother. It’s the smoothness that appeals to me the most - but regardless of that, I really like the formula and packaging and enjoy wearing these. I picked up another KIKO volumising lipgloss in Italy in the most beautiful bright orange and absolutely adore it - not sure of the exact difference but it’s quite minty.

{Reminds me of: nothing - in a league of its own!}

Barry M Loudmouth Extreme Lip Colour in ‘Tease’ £3.99 (on 3 for 2) - from the packaging and shade range, I expected these to be similar to OCC Lip Tars, but they’re quite a different animal. Although well pigmented, they’re more sheer and glossy, which in many ways makes them a lot more manageable. I think Lip Tars are a great product but am a bit nervous wearing them as they’re just so full on… these are a more user (and pocket) friendly version in my opinion. The little applicator can be used straight onto the lips, but they work best applied over lipliner with a brush. Try a thin layer, blot and reapply.

{Reminds me of: a more sheer, glossy OCC Lip Tar}

No7-Matt-Lip-Crayon,NYC-Expert-Last-Lip-Lacquer,KIKO-3D-Instant-Volume,BarryM-Loud-Mouth-swatches 

Sorry for not showing all of these on my lips (some times a gal can’t face the camera)… I’ve left you some kisses instead - mwah!

If I had to pick just one of these… I couldn’t - I’d have to pick two: the No 7 and the NYC. Which do you like the look of?

Friday, 22 August 2014

Bioderma Hydrabio Moisturising Mask

Bioderma-Hydrabio-Moisturising-Hydrating-Mask-Masque

Regardless of skin type, most of us have thirsty skin that looks and feels best when well hydrated via healthy eating, drinking water and using the correct skincare products. Most of us also have days when we want instant results, which is when I reach for a hydrating mask like Bioderma Hydrabio. For hydration, I like a lightweight mask that sinks in quickly and allows me to get on with whatever I’m doing. I’m usually up to my eyes with something or other - with little time to sit around waiting for the magic to work (more’s the pity) - so a light fluid texture that quenches where it’s needed most is right up my street.

Bioderma’s Hydrabio Mask is designed for sensitive and dehydrated skin, feels immediately soothing and refreshing on application and leaves my skin looking brighter and feeling happier. You know when you apply a product and can almost hear your skin say ‘Ahhhh….’

This mask should be applied in a generous layer post-cleansing, left on for 10 minutes and any excess removed with a cotton pad; this can be repeated for 7 days, then once or twice a week as required. Personally, I just use it when I need it most, around twice a week, for as long as I like (so long as it’s a minimum of 10 mins this doesn’t really matter). I usually find that my skin drinks it all up and there’s no excess left to remove.

Bioderma Hydrabio Mask £14.50

Does your skin ever feel thirsty?

ps this mask also works well after a long flight or the morning after the night before.

pps If you’re interested in trying Hydrabio, I’m also a fan of the H20 Micelle Solution and Cleansing Cream from this range, all available here

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Late Summer Beauty Essentials

Summer Beauty Essentials: Pedi Sox, Glove Your Body, Alfresco Insect Repellent, Mr Kate Beauty Marks

It seems like forever ago that I jetted off to Italy and as I sit here, sweater-clad, preparing for my kids’ imminent return to school, I feel like my Summer is drawing to an end. For those lucky enough to be heading off on a late holiday, here are a few beauties I wish I’d packed for mine. 

The top row are things you might like to try before jetting off…

TAN FASTER Carrot Sun Tan Accelerators come in 6 formulas with different skin benefits and include natural ingredients: carrot oil, L-tyrosine and henna. They prepare your skin for sun exposure and speed up the tanning process, so should be used for a few weeks in advance of your holiday (L-tyrosine is an amino acid which promotes and stimulates melanin production). Carrot smells lovely and fresh but the Coconut is my favourite as it feels so nourishing and smells divine. Available in large pots or a set of mini shot pots like mine above. 

PEDI POWER Pedi-Sox are toe-less socks which can be worn to keep feet cosy post-pedi - just pop them on pre-painting and you can still wear flip flops home without getting cold feet! They can also be used overnight with a moisturising treatment like botanical Sofspa, though personally I’d prefer a pair with toes in for that!

BRONZE ON I’ve been applying Sienna X Q10 Bronzing Mousse with this cute Glove Your Body leopard print tanning mitt. Q10 is more rich and creamy than most other mousse formulas I’ve tried and gives an instant (perfectly presentable in public) golden tint, which develops into a natural looking golden olive tone after a few hours. Glove Your Body is thicker, more dense and sturdy than your average tanning mitt and has finger holes inside for a secure grip. I found that it gave a really smooth application, didn’t absorb too much product and looks way cuter than the average manky mitt in my bathroom. It’s pricier than some, but has much longer lasting power and can be chucked in the washing machine.

Make way in your suitcase for the items in the bottom row of my pic…

BUZZ OFF If like me you get eaten alive by insects on holidays (I have an allergic reaction to mosquito bites) and are afraid to wear perfume in the evenings, then you’ll find this duo as revolutionary as I do. Acqua D’Alfresco is a a natural insect repellent perfume... I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, but it smells good! I’d describe it as a sensual, oriental musky evening scent - exactly the kind of perfume I’d enjoy wearing on holiday. Right now I’m using it to keep grumpy late season wasps and midges at bay, but so wish I’d had it with me in Italy *sighs at the mosquito scars still on my legs*. Use the Anti Bug Bite Moisturiser in place of After Sun and you’re good to go - great for babies and children too!

SOOTHE IT Speaking of bug bites, Human & Kind Family Remedy Cream is a great way to treat them, along with skin ailments ranging from sunburn to eczema and cuts. It contains 15 natural ingredients and has a distinct tea-tree scent, which doesn’t bother me, but worth a mention. I adore the packaging and have also been enjoying the hand cream from this range.

LUSH LOCKS Moroccan Argan Oil for Hair is perfect as an intense conditioning treatment or to keep frizz at bay. I’ve been using this at home but it’s great to have something like this on holiday to avoid hair drying out in the sun. It makes my hair feel lovely and soft and doesn’t weigh it down.

HYDRATE To keep your face hydrated, Pur Minerals Miracle Mist contains 70+ essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids. It does leave the face quite wet, but is super refreshing, doesn’t interfere with my make-up and can in fact also be used as a setting spray! Mine came as part of a travel set; the full size is 100ml.

GOLDEN GIRL Last but certainly not least is a product I’ll soon be featuring in more detail, Mr Kate Beauty Marks. Essentially glamorous, grown-up tattoos, I like to think of these as jewellery for the skin - gorgeous with a tan and much safer to pack in your suitcase than your actual jewellery!

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.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...