Friday, 30 January 2015

Clarins Blush Prodige Illuminating Cheek Colour in Sweet Rose

Meet my new favourite blush - Clarins' Blush Prodige, which isn't a new product, in Sweet Rose, which is a new shade for their Spring 2015 Garden Escape collection.  The chunky palette contains a big pan of matte rose pink, with smaller pans of deeper pink and shimmery peach - swirled together, they make for a fresh, rosy, slightly glowy but definitely not sparkly flush.

I suspect the reason that the finish is so natural is down to the fineness of the powder within the compact - it's almost dusty and crumbly, and a gentle swirl with a brush picks up plenty of super-soft powder which buffs easily into the skin.

At £26, Blush Prodige is a little on the expensive side, but for a natural flush which works with a variety of looks, I think it's worth the cash, particularly as a little goes a long way.  Just make sure you throw away the included brush and use your fluffiest blush brush, as this stuff is worthy of a gentle veil across the cheekbones, rather than a more precise application.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Treatment Review: Philosophy Lunch Time Peel at Debenhams Oxford Street

Philosophy have ventured into treatments for the first time, giving fans a chance at a half an hour long lunchtime personalised pick me up.  Situated in the beauty room in the shiny new beauty hall at Debenhams Oxford Street, the treatment promises radiant skin in a flash.

First off, the treatment room is one of those used by multiple brands on a rotating basis, so it's fairly pared back and simple in its decoration - not a problem for Philosophy, whose stark white packaging looks very much at home in the stark white room.  When I visited, Krenara the therapist told me that Philosophy has been a runaway success so far - she's been booked up ahead of time for twenty slots a week, where bigger brands such as Dior and Givenchy have struggled to get even a single booking during their weeks in the room.

I suspect that part of the reason why is the therapist herself - I visited on her birthday, and her super-smooth, glowing skin made her look much, much younger than she told me she was turning.  Her passion for the products is obvious, and she explained every step of the treatment as she completed it - I left feeling well educated about the brand alongside the glowing skin.

The treatment itself is a pretty quick and simple affair - makeup is removed with a cleanser (don't worry, you can keep your eye makeup on), followed by the Microdelivery Peel application, which happens in two steps - crystals followed by an acidic solution which reacts on the skin to form a white foam.  Once that's been thoroughly massaged in and then removed, the skin is treated to an application of serum or oil, eye cream, and a moisturiser, all tailored to your skin type.  The treatment finishes with a spritz of your choice of Philosophy fragrances - I chose the one which smells of the ocean, which was a lovely invigorating way to finish a very relaxing treatment.

Afterwards, my skin looked bright and glowy, and I even met some friends for drinks later on without reapplying my foundation.  The next day, the brightness continued, and my skin felt incredibly soft.

For a half hour treatment, I was surprised at how effective it was - and I was impressed that all this is offered to customers for a mere £10 booking fee, redeemable against Philosophy skincare products.  Even if you don't want to indulge in any product, £10 is a very reasonable price to pay for an instant glow.  Upcoming dates, if you too would like to indulge:
  • John Lewis Cardiff:  2nd - 7th February       
  • Boots Cardiff - 9th - 14th February
  • Boots Fort - 2nd - 7th February
  • Debenhams Silverburn - 9th - 14th February  
  • Debenhams Glasgow - 16th - 21st February     
  • Debenhams London Oxford Street - 2nd - 7th February           
  • Debenhams Newcastle - 2nd - 7th February             
  • Debenhams Meadowhall -  23rd - 28th February    
  • Debenhams Liverpool - 23rd - 28th February
  • Debenhams Chester -  9th - 14th February

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary treatment for review purposes.

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Tom Ford Black Orchid

I picked up Tom Ford's Black Orchid Eau de Parfum at a recent 10% off sale at Debenhams - it definitely was a 'want' purchase rather than a 'need' purchase, particularly at £52 for a 30ml bottle.  It's absolutely gorgeous, though, and well worth every penny, especially if you're a lover of deep, mysterious, spicy fragrances.

The first spritz opens with a flash of bright white flowers, with an almost nose-quiveringly strong alcoholic note.  Behind that initial assault, there's a slight pepperiness which slowly deepens and becomes richer as it warms into the skin.  Once it's developed, there's a lovely warm richness to it, with the tiniest taste of bitter chocolate wrapped up in spices and vanilla - but it's saved from being a gourmand fragrance by the subtle citrus notes which freshen it up, and a hint of amber which works with the spices to make it feel entirely rich and grown up.

I've used the word 'rich' a lot in this description, and that's the scent I live with whilst I wear it - rich, sumptuous and spicy.  It's very grown up, a bit sultry, and very, very unique.  I love it.  Not quite as much as I love Tobacco Vanille, which still smacks me round the face with its sheer intensity every time I wear it, but as a slightly less heady day-to-day fragrance, Black Orchid is fabulous.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Quick Pick: Jo Hansford Voluminous Spray

I don't usually go for volumising products on my hair - it's thick, fluffy texture means that I generally want to reduce the volume rather than increase it.  A few haircuts ago, though, my hairdresser took a good chunk of weight out of the midlengths, leaving it much less fluffy than usual, and in need of a boost at the roots.  Luckily, I received this new Voluminous Spray from colour maestro Jo Hansford, and since then, it's been a regular part of my hair styling routine.

Voluminous Spray is a super lightweight mist with a delicate fragrance.  It's designed to give volume and body to fine or limp hair, whilst also protecting the hair from heat.  This is a good point - my usual combination of blowdry creams protects my lengths, but I never put them on my roots, which means my roots were sort of unprotected until I started using this product.

Anyway, spritzed into the roots before blow drying, I definitely notice that my hair has lots more volume - if I really emphasise volume by drying my hair in the opposite direction to the way it lays flat, I get some serious bouffe.  Added to my normal styling regime, it's a more subtle effect (thankfully).  I'm most impressed by the lasting power - my hair stays full all day, and in the morning a bit of a shake through with my fingers at the roots reinvigorates the volume.

In summary, then, I'm seriously impressed, and will probably repurchase once the bottle is finished - although I suspect it'll be a long time coming, as the six or seven spritzes I use barely makes a dent in the amount of liquid in the bottle.  Find it now at Jo Hansford's website, where it costs a spendy but not exorbitant £18.50.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Beat the January blues with free Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipsticks in Ruby Tuesday!

Apparently, Monday is Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year.  Perhaps because it's still so cold, perhaps because the shine has worn off the Christmas presents, and perhaps (definitely in my case) because that Christmas weight is still stubbornly clinging on.

Max Factor are rather charmingly giving away free Colour Elixir lipsticks in Ruby Tuesday to pep up your Monday - the only catch is that you'll need to be travelling through London's Liverpool Street station, or Manchester's Piccadilly Station to nab one.  I can't believe it was 2011 when the Colour Elixir range was first released - Ruby Tuesday was one of the stand out shades for me then, with it's bold classic red tone, comfortable texture and brilliant wear time.

The Max Factor team will be handing out lipstick from 7.30AM - first come first served, and unsurprisingly there's a limited supply available, so if you fancy a free lipstick to start your week off, be there early!

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Illamasqua Glamore Lipstick in Virgin

I'm a fan of Illamasqua's newest lipstick formula, Glamore - it's much more comfortable to wear than their original, intensely matte formula.  This shade is called Virgin, and it's a classic true red with a satiny finish and a lovely comfortable feel on the lip.  The fact that it's a collaboration with the reddest of airlines, Virgin Atlantic, might have passed you by, since Illamasqua do like to name their lipsticks in a semi-sexual manner, but a collaboration it is - Virgin's cabin crew wear this shade to match their red uniforms.

Side note - my stepson thinks that an excellent alternative career for me would be to work on Virgin Atlantic, because I have red hair, and that would clearly give me an advantage in the application process.

Anyway - if you're looking for a comfortable red lipstick at a mid-range price (£18.50 does seem to be a mid-range price nowadays), this is a good one to try.  Add to that a decent 4 hour wear time before softening down to a muted ruby stain, and you've got a good all round classic red.  The fact that it's from a home grown brand is a bonus, too.

Find it online and in-store at Illamasqua now.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Quick Pick: Ojon Colour Sustain PRO Shampoo & Conditioner

Ojon's Colour Sustain PRO range is everything colour-treated hair needs:  sulphate free, gentle, and moisturising without being heavy.  I've been using them for the last couple of weeks and I'm seriously impressed - to the extent that I've unconsciously reached for them every time I wash my hair.  The shampoo lathers up pretty well for something without sulphates, leaving even my bleached hair tangle free and soft rather than a bit Velcro like.  The conditioner is surprisingly moisturising for something with a light, fluid texture - I apply it to the mid-lengths and ends of my hair only, and it leaves my hair feeling supple and silky without any added weight or heaviness.

The only slight downside is that these products are pretty pricey - £18.50 for 250ml of shampoo, and £20.50 for 250ml of conditioner.  A cheaper alternative is L'Oreal Hair Expertise range, which costs under £5 per product, although the Ojon versions are more luxurious and leave the hair feeling slightly lighter.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.
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