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.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

New: Clinique Chubby Line Up: Chubby Stick Cheeks & Baby Tint Lips

Clinique-Chubby-Sticks-for-Cheeks Baby-Tint-Lips 

The much emulated Clinique Chubby Stick family has multiplied again with the launch of Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm and and Baby Tint Moisturising Lip Colour Balm. Application is child’s play, leaving cheeks and lips with a pretty glow of colour that’s perfect for everyday use. They make the perfect handbag and travel companions for on-the-go touch ups, no brushes required. 

Chubby Stick Cheeks

Clinique-Chubby-Stick-Cheek-Balms-shade-namesClinique-Chubby-Stick-Cheek-Balms-colours  Clinique-Chubby-Stick-Cheek-Balms-shades Clinique-Chubby-Stick-Cheek-Balms-size-length

My cheeks have been slaves to Clinique Cheek Pops since I first got my hands on them, so these had big shoes to fill in the fight for space on my face. They’re a completely different formula of course… four very wearable shades with good colour payoff - more than I expected - and soft creamy colour that’s easy to apply. A couple of stripes on each cheekbone and a gentle pat with fingers to blend is my favourite way to wear them, though you could get technical with a brush for a more subtle, seamless finish. The product is twist-up and measures 2.5cm.

Clinique-Chubby-Stick-Cheek-Balms-swatches  

Swatches are in the order of the products next to them… I’m so glad there’s no shimmer involved and was immediately drawn to peachy coral, Robust Rhubarb. Amp’d Up Apple is a rosy beige, Plump up Peony a plum tone and Roly Posy Rosy a deep rose pink. I was surprised that there was no bright pink in the collection, expecting something similar to Plum Pop, my most used, perfect cool toned pink. I used 3 swipes for each of these swatches to give you a good idea of the colour; 1 layer is enough for my cheeks. I find that these add a lovely pop of natural looking colour, with a skin-like (non greasy) finish and pretty good lasting power, even in the current heatwave.

Baby Tint

Clinique-Baby-Tint-Colour-Lip-Balms-colours Clinique-Baby-Tint-Colour-Lip-BalmsClinique-Baby-Tint-Colour-Lip-Balms-shade-names Clinique-Baby-Tint-Colour-Lip-Balms-swatches

Hello pretties… I love these colours, though rolled my eyes when I first swatched them as they seemed a bit pointless (bear with). Initially very subtle, they deepen minutes after application, leaving a definite wash of sheer colour that lasts a long as a lipstick and leaves a slight stain on my lips. Apparently colour adapting, the formula reacts to your own lips, so the shades will look slightly different on everyone (and deeper than they do on my arm swatches above). I found it quite fun waiting to see what colour they’d turn, like mood rings for lips!

I was most intrigued by Flowering Freesia, the lilac shade, which looks like a cool pink on my lips and gives teeth a whiter hue. Even baby pink Budding Blossom packs some punch, setting to a mid cool pink. The orange shade, Poppin’ Poppy is a reddish orange on me (my favourite of the four) and Coming Up Rosy a just bitten, natural lip toned red.

I like these way more than I expected to and know I’ll wear them a lot for a slightly polished but not overly made up daytime look. They’ll be great for anyone who doesn’t like to look (or feel) like they’re wearing too much make-up. I’m a fan of Clinique lip balms and these do feel like a proper balm, leaving a comfortable, fine film of moisture with a temporary sheen, thanks to Shea Butter, Mango Seed Butter and Jojoba Seed Oil. ps round of applause to Clinique for zero sickly sweet scent (or any scent at all), the only thing that holds me back from wearing cheaper versions of these lip tints (Barry M I’m looking at you).

Clinique-Chubby-Tint-Cheeks Baby-Tint-Colour-Lip-Balms-applied

In this pic I’m wearing Robust Rhubarb Chubby Stick for Cheeks and Coming Up Rosy Baby Tint on my lips (and little else… don’t judge!).

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Balm, £18 and Baby Tint Lip Balm, £17 are available online now at clinique.co.uk and will be instore next week at Boots and all the usual outlets from 1st August.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Caudalie Parfum Divin

Parfume-Divin-de-Caudalie

You know when you fall in love with the scent of a beauty product and daydream about it being bottled? Well sometimes dreams come true…

Caudalie has done exactly this, by recreating the scent of its much-loved (by me and - it seems - anyone who’s tried it) Divine Oil in a perfume. I had high hopes and I wasn’t disappointed… it was bliss at first spritz. I’m a big fan of skin scents for Summer, which is exactly how I’d describe this - warm, sensual, musky, makes me swoon a little - just how I like it.

‘A rose, a little vanilla, musks, something wonderfully smooth...

When I close my eyes it reminds me of warm Summer evenings, yet works equally well as a daytime scent. It sprays in a fine, delicate mist and is difficult to overdo - heady but not overpowering; sweet but not sickly - suitable for women of all ages.

‘The queen of roses builds on scintillating grapefruit and spicy pink peppercorn, three rare "Uganda planifolia" vanilla beans, wonderful Virginia cedar and extraordinary musks.’

Caudalie-Parfum-Divin-Divine-Perfume

The elegant bottle reflects the contents perfectly - I love the pale gold ombre effect glass and ash wood lid. It’s heavy, substantial, but doesn’t take up too much space on my dressing table.

So if you already own the oil, do you need this too? I tend to use Divine Oil on my legs, so yes - I need this on my upper body where I can catch a waft of it throughout the day. If you use the oil all over, you’ll know that it’s pretty heady on its own and could probably skip this… *if* you can resist the temptation to spritz yourself in its loveliness.

Caudalie Parfum Divin is available at Escentual.com or Lookfantastic.com

 

Friday, 18 July 2014

Hydraluron Moisture Jelly

Hydraluron-Moisture-Jelly-Indeed-Labs-moisturiser 

Following the success of its facial serum and moisture boosting mask, Indeed Labs is back with a third face quencher, its first ever moisturiser: Hydraluron Moisture Jelly. I initially assumed that this was another skin treatment, but it’s a straight up, standard moisturiser with a jelly texture - and my skin is loving it.

Suitable for all skin types, it offers instant and long-term moisture thanks to 5 complex actives including a hefty boost of our faithful friend, hyaluronic acid.

Hydraluron-Moisture-Jelly-moisturiser

The packaging has been designed to release the perfect dose of moisture in one pump - I love these flat top style jars - so easy to use as well as hygienic.  There was a time when gel textures like this were considered less moisturising than rich creams, but that’s all changed as new formulas mean the gel can carry goodness even deeper into the skin, in a similar manner to serums.

Hydraluron Moisture Jelly feels cooling, soothing and comforting on my skin - slightly tacky on application, it dries quickly and makes a great base for make-up.

Hydraluron Moisture Jelly will retail at £24.00 for 30ml, but Boots currently has 1/3 off selected Indeed Labs products making it just £16.99 HERE.

Love a bargain… I wouldn’t hang about as I really don’t think you can go wrong with this.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Bronze Luxe

Bronze-Luxe

My bronzer usage is totally seasonal: it lives in a dark drawer all Winter while I embrace the pale - followed by a joyful reunion come Summer when the urge for a golden glow becomes irresistible. To me, bronzers are one of the most exciting Summer make-up releases and today I’ve picked four of my favourites from the 2014 line-up: Michael Kors, Bobbi Brown, Sisley and Liz Earle.

High-end-luxury-bronzers-2014-

Packaging is important when it comes to bronzer. It’s gotta be pretty, practical and have a decent mirror. These four are on a par, apart from the Michael Kors which comes in a huge, heavy gold studded case. Practical? No. Beautiful? Yes. Set it on your dressing table and swoon.

Bobbi-Brown-Bronzing-Powder-Medium  Liz-Earle-Bronzer-quartet-2014  Michael-Kors-Bronze-Powder-Glow Sisley-BronzerIMG_5846

This bronze quartet includes 3 different levels of shimmer and 1 matte - nb these are heavy finger swatches to give you an idea of the colour and intensity. None of them look this shimmery or intense on the face.  Here’s my lowdown on each one…

Michael Kors Bronze Powder in Glow, £34.50 - the most user-friendly bronzer for pale skins that I’ve tried, I can sweep this on without having to be too careful or worry about overdoing it. I’ve been using it since my palest days and it’s one of the few that just might remain in my stash beyond Autumn. The formula is smooth, velvety and has a subtle sheen which is barely detectable unless you’re under a spotlight (not if I can avoid it).

Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Medium, £28 - I’ve renamed this The Perfect Matte Bronzer, either for contouring or Secret Make-up days (just me?). I love its cool tones and even finish, which is great for deepening allover skintone, or adding colour to areas where the sun catches naturally - across cheekbones, temples and forehead. Although the Medium shade appears quite deep in the pan (also comes in two lighter shades) I find that it works really well on me - and is so finely milled that I have a lot of control over the finish. Speaking of which, its matte-ness makes this a great option for men looking for a subtle bronzed look.

Sisley Phyto-Touche Illusion d'Été, £66.50 - this gel-like powder is one of those that hurts to use the first time - it’s just so pretty! It applies beautifully, adding a gentle bronze glow to light skins and illuminating tanned skin. I find that one sweep gives a skin-evening ‘halo’ effect - almost like a bronze version of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders. Building up the product adds a very natural looking wash of radiant golden colour to my skin. In the swatches, the colour looks very similar to the Michael Kors, but it’s actually more yellow-gold toned with brush application. Like all Sisley make-up, Phyto-Touch treats your skin, thanks to moisturising natural extracts of Gardenia, Mallow and Linden Blossom.

Liz Earle Radiant Glow Bronzer, £19.50 - the different shades in this quartet make it very versatile - and swirled together they give enough depth of colour to work on light, medium and tanned skins (I generally avoid the darkest quarter). As it has quite a lot of shimmer, I only use this in the evening - if you prefer a lighter, matte finish, the Natural Glow Bronzer is great. It’s worth noting that this has quite a distinct, sweet scent, which I find quite overpowering, though am not aware of after application.

Have you tried any of these bronzers - or which is your favourite this Summer? If you thinking these are a bit pricey, I’ll be featuring some more purse friendly alternatives soon.  

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Four Budget Skincare Buys

BeeGood-Cleansing-Water,Good-Things-Manuka-Honey-Mask,Super-Facialist-Anti-Blemish-scrub,Mandara-Spa-Amber-Heaven

Budget + skincare are not words that I often include in the same sentence, so I’m really pleased to introduce four recent finds under £10 that perform way better than their price tag suggests (and give some high end products a run for their money).

Bee Good Honey & Wild Mint 3-in-1 Cleansing Water, £10 here - you already know how much I love the Bee Good Creamy Cleanser (review here). I found the cleansing water super-refreshing and effective as the first step of my holiday skincare routine, removing most of my make-up with a single swipe. It dissolves make-up, cleanses and tones the skin and is gentle enough to use on eyes. Also lovely for a morning cleanse, the light, 100ml bottle is perfect for travel. I know there are cheaper micellars around, but the value in terms of quality is excellent - and it does fall within the £10 budget.

Super Facialist Purify & Refresh Face Scrub, £5.99 (on offer at Boots) here - I’m a huge fan of this brand and it’s always the first option I suggest when asked for budget skincare recommendations, as the quality is superb. Packed with effective actives such as salicylic acid and Vitamin B3 to tackle breakouts, it also soothes with Grapeseed Oil and Elderflower. The texture is superfine and it leaves my skin feeling extra soft and smooth. Currently 1/3 off at Boots, I honestly can’t believe this is only £5.99!

Mandara Spa Amber Heaven Softening Body Cream, £4.00 (on offer, different packaging) here - in all honesty this has been in my stash for a few months as I didn’t really expect to be wow-ed by it. More the fool me. As the name suggests, the smell is *actually* heavenly - and the sandalwood and patchouli element smells rich rather than hippy. Acacia honey, sweet almond & starflower oils and vitamin E mean it leaves the driest parts of my skin (shins and ankles) feeling totally nourished, with a lovely sheen. Feels like it costs £40 instead of £4.

Good Things Manuka Honey Radiance Face Mask, £3.99 (another offer!) here - I don’t generally associate clay masks with radiance, but somehow this works. It draws out impurities with white clay, brightens with papaya extract and soothes with Manuka honey and beeswax, all while smelling divine! This gave my post-flight and full day’s travelling face a real boost and didn’t leave it feeling at all stripped - a pleasure to use.

While luxury products will always be my first love, please let me know if you’d like me to include more budget finds in future. I’d love to hear your budget skincare recs - please leave me a comment below!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

He-Shi Rapid 1 Hour Liquid Tan

He_Shi_Rapid_1_Hour_tanI’ve had a long term love affair with He-Shi self tan and declared the Dark Foaming Mousse my favourite last Summer. Rapid 1 Hour Liquid Tan is the newest release from the brand - and I’m besotted. I’m rarely organised about self tanning and often don’t even think about it until the last minute, when I realise that my company for the evening may require sunglasses to avoid the glare from my skin.

This happened today and I wasn’t even going anywhere special, but it was hot, I was wearing a cami top and felt pasty. A two minute application of He-Shi Rapid 1 Hour Liquid Tan left me looking like I’d just stepped off the plane from somewhere exotic. As far as I know it only comes in Medium to Dark - and if you want a lighter colour, you just wash it off after the first hour, though personally I’d use a different tanner if you’re uber pale or only want a light golden tan. This gives a proper holiday glow… in fact the first time I used it I was asked twice where I’d been on holiday (this was before I went on holiday!) and both people (one a beautician) were amazed that my colour wasn’t natural.

This is a very runny liquid which basically looks like black coffee (like the original He-Shi Express Tan - this one just works even faster). Application with a mitt is essential - I pour a small amount directly onto the mitt, apply to skin, then repeat with the same amount for each matching limb. There is enough time to blend before this sets, though not loads, so don’t hang around. It is tinted, so you can see exactly where you’ve done (just me that forgets and re-tans the same limb otherwise?) and gives an instant wash of colour, so you’re good to go even during that first hour while it’s developing. I never wash it off after an hour - I just leave it all day/evening and have a shower before bed to avoid staining the sheets with the colour guide. The smell is average - there’s a slight whiff when it develops but it’s not overpowering, doesn’t bother me and is gone once I’ve showered. 

The final colour is an incredibly natural looking deep golden olive with zero orange tones - it looks very even and lasts around 5-7 days on me before I need a top up. Oh, my latest discovery for foolproof even colour is to go over the final application with a clean, dry tanning mitt. This has a similar effect to using a kabuki or buffing brush to finish your foundation - removing any excess, evening things out and buffing the usual dodgy areas: hands, feet and elbows. I do recommend using a moisturiser on these areas pre-application to avoid build up on dry patches and dilute the intensity a little. I’ve tested this with an all over body cream application prior to use and found it didn’t work as well as when my skin was perfectly dry. You know the score re exfoliating in advance etc, but if you’re nervous about self tanning, you can read more of my tips in a recent article I wrote for City Guide here. It’s also worth adding that if you’re a novice or not in a hurry, the Dark Foaming Mousse is probably a little bit easier to apply.

Well I got a bit carried away there, didn’t I? That’s what happens when I’m bowled over by a product. So much for starting the second series of Orange is the New Black this evening.

He-Shi Rapid 1 Hour Liquid Tan costs £22.50 from Space NK

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand: review & swatches

BobbiBrown-Surf Sand-Collection-Summer-2014Bobbi Brown’s limited edition Surf & Sand Summer collection was inspired by sandy neutrals, designed to create effortless beach to bar looks.

Surf Eye Palette

BobbiBrownSurf Sand BobbiBrown-Surf-eyeshadow-paletteBobbi-Brown-Surf-Eye-Palette-swatches Bobbi-Brown-Surf-Eye-Palette-swatches-flash 

The collection includes two eye palettes: Surf - above, and Sand - warmer copper and gold shades. Surf includes 5 shimmering gold tones, a matte cream shade and blue and green glitters. I was surprised to see the inclusion of brights and expect most will have a marmite reaction to these: they aren’t for uber bright fans as the colour payoff is very minimal. The colour-shy are more likely to enjoy the subtlety, though really, the colour is barely detectable.

Bikini Bronze, the strongest gold tone (top right) is the one I’ve been reaching for the most. Applied over primer this looks super intense and can be worn alone or as the basis for a smokey eye, while the lighter gold tones look good for a daytime wash of colour.

Personally, I’d opt for the warmer Sand palette, which appeals to me due to the variety of my kinda tones, good colour payoff (in swatches I’ve seen) and the inclusion of a deeper shade for contrast.

Brightening Blush + Sheer Lip Color

BobbiBrown-Pink-Lightening-Blush-Surf Sand  Bobbi-Brown-Sheer-lip-color-peach-sorbet summer-nude BobbiBrown-pink-lightening-blush Summer-Nude-Peach-sorbet-sheer-lip-swatch

The lightly pearlised blush in Pink (also available in Bronze) gives a subtle, pretty flush to the cheeks, which works well over bronzer on my skin tone but may not show up on darker skins. The first swatch is the main colour on its own and the second, all three swirled together, which looks pretty on upper cheekbones. I like this a lot and think I’ll wear it more in cooler weather when I’m paler.

Although described as sheer, the lipsticks can be built up to significant colour - I’ve used a double swipe for these swatches. Summer Nude is a more apricot tone than I’d normally go for, but surprisingly nice on the lips and gorgeously creamy in texture. Peach Sorbet is a soft coral with gold shimmer, something I’m not normally a fan of, but it does soften shortly after application into a really pretty shade.

Long-Wear Eye Pencil

Bobbi-Brown-longwear-eye-pencil-bronze-surf sand

Is it weird that my favourite from this collection is an eyeliner? Just look at it though… *swoon* - I’m a huge fan of bronze eyeliners and constantly trying new ones - and this one is utter perfection. It’s cooler and darker on application than expected, applies like velvet and lasts well on my eyes, perfect for a smokey smudge along the lash line.

BB BB- 

In these pics I’m wearing the Pink blush (after a little contouring with bronzer), Summer Nude Lip Color, Sunshine Metallic Eye shadow (3rd left shade in palette, without primer) and the Bronze long-wear eye pencil.

Prices start at £18 and all products are available now at Selfridges or John Lewis.

If I had to choose from the Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand collection I’d go for the Sand Eye Palette, Bronze eye pencil and Pink Taffy lipstick. How about you?

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Beauty Treatments under one roof

Jo-Malone-hand-arm-massage

People are often surprised to hear how few professional beauty treatments I’ve experienced. Much as I love beauty, make-up and pampering, it’s something I usually DIY, due to budget and time constraints, but was recently treated to a pampering morning at House of Fraser Belfast as a thank you gift - and thought I’d share my experience. Maybe I’m the last to know, but I honestly didn’t realise how many treatments were available under one roof.

First up was a hand and arm massage at Jo Malone, an amazingly soothing experience, during which I learned about fragrance combining and why we’re drawn to particular scents - all while sipping a glass of champagne.

Nails-Inc-Mani

Next up was a mani at the Nails Inc nail bar… I opted for one of the gel effect colours in Kensington Passage, a neon orange coral. I was really impressed by the Kensington top coat used over this - it was so glossy and long lasting I’ll be picking one up for sure.

La-Prairie-facial

The highlight for me was a La Prairie facial by the (breathtakingly beautiful) Emma. I was expecting a few products to be applied at the counter, so was pleasantly surprised to be whisked off to a pretty, dimly lit beauty room for a proper full-on facial. This was a completely incredible luxury treatment which I can’t recommend highly enough. It left my skin so glowing that I was quite happy to walk around the store make-up free for a while - a big deal for me, believe me!

Dior-makeup skincare

My final treat was make-up by Dior, with an Airbrush foundation base, smokey eye using the new eye shadow palette and a little bronzer and blush. I was out of my comfort zone with the orange toned eye colour, but the lovely Laura convinced me and I really liked how it looked on!

Final look   

This was my final make-up and nail look… note the uber chilled expression, a million miles from the one I arrived with that morning!

A friend has her brows done with Shavata in the same store and they look amazing. You can book in for each treatment with the individual brand or department, just like you would with a normal beautician - well worth enquiring at your local House of Fraser and I’ll definitely be back for more.

 

NB In case you’re wondering, this is not a sponsored post and I was under no obligation to blog about my experience.

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