Friday, 30 July 2010

Penhaligon's Perfumed London Black Cabs

The humble London taxi has become a fashionable part of brand marketing campaigns.  In July, Revlon sent a turquoise taxi around the city, inviting one and all to post photos of it on their Facebook page in exchange for a chance to try their latest mascara before anyone else.  

Now Penhaligon's is having a go too - five branded and scented taxis will be patrolling the city, with the drivers trained to offer advice on Penhaligon's fragrances.  During their journey, passengers will be entertained with the latest marketing campaign from the brand whilst enjoying air scented with five classic scents, and will receive a 10% off voucher when they reach their destination.  The cost of a trip is the same as any normal black cab; the benefits are the scented air, cabbies who can talk fragrance instead of football, and the discount voucher on the receipt.

Sounds like an interesting way to make a taxi journey more pleasant, if you're lucky enough to spot one.  Wonder who'll be embracing the black cab as a marketing tool next?

Free Body Shop Lip & Cheek Stain with InStyle

I love a freebie with a magazine.  Glamour and InStyle have been leading the way in recent months, with Glamour giving away Benefit products and Nails Inc polishes, and InStyle giving away Nails Inc polishes too (what is it with Nails Inc?!).

InStyle are giving away the Body Shop's Lip & Cheek Stain in a choice of Bronze Glimmer or Rose Pink, worth £9.50 each, with their September issue.  The Rose Pink variety looks to be a good dupe for Benefit's cult stain, Benetint, which I never quite got round to buying, mostly because of the cost and very large bottle.  I'll definitely be picking up an InStyle to try out the Rose Pink variety.

If you want to find out more (not that there's much more to it than that!), information can be found on the InStyle site.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Radiant Gradient! Blue gradient nails NOTD

I'm endlessly fascinated by the awesome techniques and trends that arise from the nail polish blogger community, and when I found this tutorial for gradient nails on Do Not Refreeze recently, I just had to have a go. She uses eyeshadow sponges to dab a second colour over a one-colour mani to create this effect.

As you can see from the pictures above, I was far too eager to get pictures and didn't clean up around the edges of my nails. But apart from that I'm really pleased with the effect. I've had several compliments in the last couple of days while wearing this blue gradient mani.

Here are the three colours I used - the Bourjois blue-violet is the base coat, and the shading was mostly No.7 Poolside Blue topped off with this Barry M sky blue shade. Needless to say I generously smothered the whole lot in Seche Vite to achieve a smooth and glossy finish after I'd finished shading.

To add my 2p's worth to Leanne's tutorial: I found that the first nail I did with the sponge was by far the easiest and produced a much neater gradient. As the polish on the sponge started to dry and become tacky it was harder to work with later on and by the final nail it was downright awkward. So if you have a few sponges spare, consider using a fresh one midway through your shading process to make life easier.

Here's my "brush" and "palette" - so glad I haven't chucked out all of my sponge applicators. I knew they'd come in handy one day.

A couple more images of the results:

Final Review: Clarisonic Skincare Brush - Living With Clarisonic

A few months back, I bought myself a Clarisonic using some birthday vouchers, and then proceeded to document my experiences (with many, many photos) for a month.  I found that my skin felt cleaner, was smoother, and than scars faded more quickly, but that I kept getting pesky spots.

A month or so on, I'm not really getting many pesky spots (aside from unavoidable monthly ones), and my skin feels much cleaner than it ever has. I thought I'd write an update with a few of the lessons I've learned in my two-and-a-bit months of Clarisonic ownership.

Apply cleanser to your face, not to the brush
Otherwise, by the time you've finished one area of your face, there will be no cleanser left on the brush, and you'll be cleaning your skin with water alone.

Make sure your moisturiser isn't too rich 
Because the Clarisonic improves absorption of any moisturiser, if your moisturiser is too rich, it will make you break out.  Similarly, unless your skin is rather dry indeed, limit your use of facial oils.

Don't press the Clarisonic into your skin
The motion of the brush bristles is enough to deep clean the skin.  Pressing the brush into the skin isn't going to bring any added benefit - it might feel terribly gentle when you first start using it but it's definitely effective!

Finally, I took a photo of the brush head before and after use and stuck them together to illustrate how much deep down grime is removed.  Bear in mind that this is after an oil cleanse to remove the bulk of my makeup!

From this, you can see that the bristles on the right look a little grubby and beige - this is dirt and makeup residue which would ordinarily be left on my skin.

Needless to say, I've grown very attached to my Clarisonic and wouldn't feel like my skin had had a proper cleaning without it.  Highly recommended, if you have the cash to splash.

If, after this, you quite fancy a try of the Clarisonic yourself, you can get it from
 Space NK online.  Bear in mind that this link is an affiliate link, and that we'll get a small reward if you buy after visiting.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

FOTD: Glorious Copper

Here's a makeup look that's pretty easy to do, doesn't involve blending two hundred shades of eyeshadow, and that looks rather nice on greenish eyes.  Copper is a great juxtaposition to green, and even though my eyes veer more towards hazel than towards a pure green, the copper shadows used really bring out the green.

Here's the look within the context of my whole face (and wet hair).  It's interesting: photographing makeup like this helps you to realise how your makeup looks outside of the mirror; I'm always very careful with blush as I don't want to overdo it.  In reality, you can barely see the peachy blush I'm wearing here... so tomorrow, I'll be slapping on a bit more.

Giorgio Armani Face Fabric foundation in #1
ELF HD powder
MAC Peachykeen blush

Urban Decay Primer Potion
MAC Coppering eyeshadow (as wash)
OCC Pure Pigment in Authentic (centre of lid for depth)
Makeup Designory Pixie eyeshadow (inner corners)
Guerlain Terracotta Loose Kohl in Black
YSL Faux Cils Noir Radical Mascara
Chanel Le Crayon Sourcils in Auburn (brows)

Kiehl's Lip Balm #1 (my lipstick goes on at the last minute on the train!)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Yet More Illamasqua Deals

Illamasqua are now stocked by, one of our favourite online beauty stores.  As a special opening offer, they are offering a free nail varnish in Boosh with any two Illamasqua purchases.

With the current slew of money off deals from the brand, and their move into online beauty emporia (unusual for a high end boutique brand), I'm wondering what the future holds for them.  Either they're on a major expansion kick, looking to get their products into as many makeup bags as possible... or their sales figures are looking a little weak and the company is trying to drive them up.  I'm hoping it's the former; despite thinking that the products are a little overpriced, I like Illamasqua as a company and think it's great to have a unique British brand with such a strong identity in the market.

NOTD: OPI Past, Present and Fuschia

This is OPI's Past, Present and Fuschia, which is a deep, vibrant fuschia with a hot pink and blue flash.  I was quite scared of it in the bottle; it looked very loud, and I was a bit worried I end up with 80s nails.  On the nail, though, it's bright, but not excessively so, and very cheerful.

This polish has OPI's Pro Wide brush.  If you've not had the pleasure of using an OPI with this kind of brush - it's an extra wide brush with plenty of bristles, and with it, it's pretty easy to cover most of the nail in one stroke.  Love it.  If all polishes came with a brush like this, I'd be one happy lady.

Now, the photo above makes the polish look a bit more rose toned than it appears in daylight - it's been very hard to photograph.  The photo to the right is the closest I could get to how it looks in real life.

If you love this colour and want to grab it for yourself, you can find it in a set with two more subtle pinks at QVC, where three polishes will cost you £24.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Review: Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel

Disclosure:  PR sample

Did you know that Philosophy claim to have pioneered the first medical microdermabrasion machine that exfoliates while delivering Vitamin C deeply into the skin?  This product, the Microdelivery Peel, is intended to be the less expensive, less invasive home based equivalent.  Philosophy recommend it to anyone with dull, uneven skin, and claim that in addition to the instant results, it will also help to "de-age" the skin.

Those are some pretty lofty claims, and ones which I was more than happy to put to the test.  The peel is delivered in the form of two products - a tub of vitamin C crystals, and a bottle of activator fluid.  To apply, you massage the crystals over the skin, then pat on the activator fluid, and leave for a few minutes.  If you're feeling the need for some extra exfoliating action, you can massage the crystals+foam mixture over the skin instead of just leaving it to sit.

The packaging is, as usual with Philosophy products, pretty fabulous.  The two products are presented inside a sturdy box, with usage instructions clearly printed inside - making it useful to keep as a reference, and also as a way of keeping the two products together, particularly as this is a weekly maintenance product which you won't want to leave out all week.  One thing I've found is that the amount you are supposed to use, according to the packaging, is possibly a little too much (unless of course I have a smaller than average face).  The instructions, for instance, say one teaspoon of crystals, whereas I found that a third of a teaspoon was plenty.  Similarly, a "good" teaspoon of activator translates into about three quarters of a teaspoon for me.

Anyway - application, thanks to the clear instructions, is pretty easy.  The vitamin C crystals are more of a fine, grainy paste, with a slightly citrus-y scent, and are easy to spread on the face.  The instructions say to massage them in, not scrub - and personally I'm not too sure what the difference is, apart from maybe the amount of pressure applied.

After applying the activator gel with my fingertips, I noticed a small amount of foaming on my face, coupled with a little bit of warming. At this stage, you have the choice of massaging further, or leaving the foam/crystal combo to sit on the skin - I've tried both options.  On my dryish skin, massaging the foam on the skin resulted in a very deep exfoliation which was almost too intense - my skin felt very smooth and soft afterwards, but was pretty dry and needed plenty of moisturiser for a couple of days afterwards.  Leaving the foam on, however, resulted in the same smoothness and softness, but without the excessively dry feeling.  If your skin veers towards oily, the extra massage might be more beneficial, but on drier skins, it might be a step too far.

I did take before and after photos, but they didn't really show much visible difference for me.  Instead, the texture of the skin was the big difference; after use, my skin felt ultra-smooth, with bumpy areas of my face (such as my chin and forehead) feeling significantly smoother.  I also found my skin to look more fresh and radiant in the days following the treatment, even when I myself was feeling pretty grey.

All this exfoliant and radiance boosting goodness does come at a price, however.  At about £57 for the kit, this is a fairly spendy product.  That said, if you use it weekly at the levels shown in the photos above, then it should last you a good few months, making the price more justifiable.  My only reservation is that the activator might well run out before the crystals do - luckily, the crystals are a decent exfoliator on their own, so it's not like they will go to waste if the activator doesn't last as long as they do.

Even if you don't see immediate results, this is a fantastic maintenance treat for the skin.  I've been using it weekly, and have found that my skin is more radiant and smooth, and bar a few monthly breakouts, much clearer too. Definitely one to try out if you have trouble with dullness, or are a firm fan of a good scrub.

If you'd like to try it out for yourself, you can buy the kit from HQHair, where it will cost you £57, or from QVC, where it will cost you £69.90, and will turn up with a exfoliating wash for daily use.

Have you tried this product?  What do you think?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Inspiration for your Alice in Wonderland palette, from Urban Decay

Earlier this year, everyone who knew anything about beauty was desperate to get hold of Urban Decay's limited edition Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows eye palette. Just a handful were released to the UK, and many a beauty junkie was glued to their computer screen with a finger poised to press "Add to Basket" on the Debenhams website the day it was released. Much jubilation followed as palettes arrived in the post and swatches and pictures sprouted mushroom-like across the internet.

With the initial fever calmed, however, we heard several folks finding themselves at a loss for ways to make use of the palette, which is packed with bright, shimmering shades. The coveted items were starting to gather dust in drawers and on dressing tables in favour of more workaday colours. It seemed like people who wouldn't normally choose brights had gotten caught up in the excitement and wound up with a lovely collector's item that just wasn't seeing much use.

Urban Decay must have come to the same conclusion as us - they've produced a series of "how to" videos to help Alice BOS owners create wearable Wonderland-themed looks with their palettes. The rest of us aren't excluded either - as all of the colours in the Alice palette are available elsewhere in the UD line, we can all enjoy making ourselves up as the Red Queen, Alice herself, or even the Caterpillar using our existing UD collections (or dare I say it - other brands).

Check out the videos here. (The page title says "Win our Alice palette", but sadly we think this must be a mistake as there's no reference to any competition on the page.)

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Insane delivery charges alert!

I'm currently reeling from shock.

After spending an enjoyable half an hour filling up an online shopping basket at, I went to check out and was stunned to learn that I would have to pay an additional £17.10 in delivery charges on top of my £65 order. And that's if I want ordinary bog-standard UK Royal Mail - Special Delivery would be £26.40!

Most online shopping companies offer a flat rate, and many have free shipping above a certain threshold, usually around £50-£60, so I wasn't expecting this at all.

I clicked to find out how on earth this charge had been calculated. It turns out that Cheap Smells charge £0.95 per item for delivery. So the more you spend with them, the more extra charges you pay. I understand how this works for them if you're buying heavy things like shampoo or body lotion, but come on - my items were eyeshadow pans, lipsticks and concealers. (The picture above is cropped to show just the total - there were lots of things in the basket besides the Stila blush.) There is just no way it could (or should) cost that much.

Needless to say I have abandoned my shopping basket and gone elsewhere for my online retail fix. No wonder everything is in stock at Cheap Smells despite their low prices! What a disappointment.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Even More Illamasqua Deals

The number of deals and offers out on Illamasqua products recently, I'd be surprised if anyone's paid full price in quite some time!  As well as the infamous Makeup Amnesty, Illamasqua are also selling off soon-to-be discontinued products at 50% off.  Some highlights include shades of Intense Lipgloss for £6.25, lipstick for £7.50, and a great many shades of Powder Eyeshadow for £7.50.

The picture on the left is of Filth lipstick.  Who doesn't need a lipstick called Filth?!

Will you be indulging?

On Trend: Brown Lipstick

If you were a teen in the 90s like I was, you might remember that Rimmel Heather Shimmer was the lipstick that everyone wore.  Apart from me, that is - I fancied myself a bit of a rebel, and so I wore Coffee Shimmer, a frosty mid brown.  I'm sure it looked very fetching with my pale, pink toned skin.  And the good news, my friends, is that brown is back - apparently it is the hottest lip colour of the moment.

Not that I've seen anyone wearing a brown lip recently, but hey.

I popped into Boots the other day to have a little swatch of Coffee Shimmer (yes, you can still purchase it and its twin Heather Shimmer) and it looks much the same as it did when I was younger - mid brown, slightly grey toned, and frosty.  It didn't look so hot on my hand, so needless to say I didn't buy one, nostalgia or not.

Now, I only have one brown in my (extensive) lip collection, and it's OCC Lip Tar in Fondue, which I mostly use for mixing.  It's a rich, deep chocolate brown, and thus should be bang on trend.  In the interests of trendiness, I tried it on.  Blotted down a bit, it's a properly chocolatey stain, which in this close up shot doesn't look too bad.

Within the context of my whole face, though, I think it's deeply unflattering.  It does nothing for my skintone and makes me look a bit lifeless.  Lipstick in a flattering colour can inject colour, life, and brightness to the face, but this is the opposite on me.

To be honest, I'm not sure who this trend will actually work for, and I suspect it might be a similar thing to the whole black lips trend that was so big last year - short lived and not particularly wearable outside of the catwalk.

What do you think?  Can you pull off a chocolate brown lip?  Will you be trying?

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Steals and Deals

A few bargains and deals on the Internet for your delight and delectation.

  • Aromatherapy Associates are offering a free Renew Rose Hydrating Body Gel worth £25.75 with all purchases made online from the Renew Rose range, until 15th August.
  • St Tropez are offering a special Holiday Set exclusively online, which includes an applicator mitt, self tanning mousse, gradual every day tanning mousse, and a wash off instant glow lotion, for £40 - a saving of £15.  Available until the end of July.
  • Debenhams are offering Duty Free prices on 100 beauty essentials online and in store until 28th July
  • Illamasqua are having a makeup amnesty... Trade in your unwanted product for a discount on new ones, until 31st July.  
If you know of any other great deals, feel free to share!  

NOTD: Essie Spaghetti Strap

This is Essie's Spaghetti Strap, a pale pink cream which is just sheer enough to let the whites of the nail shine through for a French effect, while being opaque enough to even out the colour of the nail bed.

It's a very grown up colour.  So much so that I've been peering at my fingertips a lot whilst wearing it - I'm much used to brights and glitter, so this level of sophistication is not something I'm used to!  I can imagine this would be a fantastic wedding colour, and is also appropriate for interviews or for work.

This is my first Essie; the formula is smooth, of medium thickness, and very easy to apply.  The polish is spreadable and two coats provided a very even finish.  Wear is pretty decent - two days later and I can't really see any tipwear, even if I look closely.  That said this is a pale and fairly natural colour, and shades like these disguise tipwear very well.  I will definitely be trying out more Essie polishes.

Also, mental note - keep cuticle oil on desk and stop nibbling fingers when concentrating.

If you'd like to grab a bit of grown up sophistication for yourself, you can find this polish at for the reasonable price of £7.50 for 15ml, which is a nice mid-end price - cheaper than OPI, but better quality than cheaper high street brands.

Would you wear this colour?  Is the French manicure look passe or is it still a classic?

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Felt Tip Eyeliner Showdown: Le Metier De Beaute vs Eyeko

Disclosure:  Both the Le Metier and Eyeko liners were supplied as PR samples.

Ladies and gentlemen, roll up roll up!  Today we're pitting two felt tip style eyeliners together: in the high end corner, Le Metier de Beaute's luxe Precision Liquid Eyeliner in Noir, weighing in at £20, and in the low end corner, Eyeko's Graffiti Eyeliner Pen in brown, weighing in at £5.  Let the battle commence!


Here are two products whose packaging definitely reflects their price points.  The Le Metier offering is black, smooth, glossy, with simply the brand name stamped upon its sexy exterior.  Eyeko's eyeliner has a silver toned plastic barrel with graffiti like scribbles printed on it.  The Eyeko pen also has a useful coloured end to it, much like you'd get with an actual felt tip pen, which helps you identify the colour the product inside, while the Le Metier pen leaves you to guess (or draw on your hand).  Being a bit of a snob, I prefer the slick black of the Le Metier product, as I find the Eyeko packaging a little childish - but that's personal preference, others might feel the opposite way!


Functionally, both eyeliners have fine felt tips which taper to a similarly narrow point, allowing you to control the thickness of the line you wish to draw.  At a Le Metier event a while ago, I was told that the design of the eyeliner was aided by a Very High End pen manufacturer.  By the same standards, one might imagine Eyeko were assisted by Bic - as both eyeliners, much like both high end and low end pens, have tips that allow you to draw a decent, precise fine line.  There's no real difference between the two in terms of weight in the hand, balancing etc (these are EYELINERS, of course, not knives).  In short, no difference between them here.

Formula & Wear

The Le Metier eyeliner dispenses a thin, deeply black ink which dries down quickly and applies smoothly.  I've found that when I apply with a flick, I can get a bit of patchiness in the thickest parts of the flick, but nothing that can't be remedied with a further dab of product.  The Eyeko product drags a tiny bit on the eyelid, but I'm being really picky in saying so - it's marginally less smooth than the Le Metier product.  I didn't notice any patchiness in my flicks with the Eyeko product either, although I'd say that the ink was a little less pigmented and opaque than the Le Metier.   Wear wise, both products were still firmly stuck to my eyelids after a full 13 hour day.  Which is rather excellent indeed.

Shade Range

Eyeko make their Graffiti liner in four shades; brown (as shown here), black, navy blue, and purple.  Le Metier de Beaute make their Precision liner in three shades; noir (shown here), bleu, and aqua.  While Le Metier obviously win points for naming things in French, which immediately make them more desirable, Eyeko ultimately wins out with their slightly wider shade range.

Value for Money

Oooh, now we're talking.  Effectively, what we have here are two products which do the same thing in a pretty similar way.  It's very difficult to choose one over the other.  However, for the price of one single Le Metier liner, you could have all four Eyeko liners.  In my mind, the difference in price is entirely down to the brand positioning here - Eyeko are cheap and cheerful, aimed at the younger market, and Le Metier are high end and luxe, aimed at those who will pay for style.

And the winner is...

For the price and performance, it has to be the Eyeko Graffiti liner.  BUT.  I'm not saying that the Le Metier is an inferior product - it very definitely isn't.  In fact, it's one of the best felt tip liners I've ever tried.  Unfortunately, the Eyeko liner is also one of the best I've ever tried - and given the massive difference in price, the Graffiti liner wins.  If you want a high performance eyeliner, buy the Eyeko.  If you want a high performance eyeliner, with a bit of that high end tingle, and you've got some cash to flash, buy the Le Metier.  There's virtually nothing but price between them.

Eyeko Graffiti Liner can be bought from the Eyeko website for £5, and in selected branches of Superdrug.  Le Metier de Beaute Precision Liquid Eyeliner can be found exclusively at Liberty, where it will cost you £20.

Which one would you be more likely to try?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

MAC, Rodarte and Juarez: A Different Perspective

Much has been said over the last few days about MAC's latest collaboration with fashion house Rodarte.  If your attention has been elsewhere, the crux of the matter is that the collection, said to be "inspired by" a road trip that took in Mexican border towns, uses stark, ghost-like imagery and contains product names such as "Factory", "Bordertown" and "Juarez".  The reasoning behind the offence caused lies in the disturbing history of Juarez; a border town with a profusion of factories where the need to produce goods at very low cost means low working wages and poor conditions.  Young women are often raped and murdered, with such frequency that the town has become known for "femicide".

The product names, in combination with the ghostly imagery, are indeed in bad taste, given that the collection did not aim to raise awareness or funds for what is undoubtably a very worthy cause.  One might wonder how MAC and Rodarte were so short sighted as to not anticipate an outcry.  To their credit, MAC's response has been to apologise for any offence caused and to pledge a portion of profits to a Juarez charity.  But this, it seems, isn't enough for everyone - the outrage continues, with calls for the collection to be axed entirely.

I take issue with this suggestion. It stands to do damage rather than good for the victims; surely some money for the women of Juarez is better than no money at all. If the collection is indeed pulled, there will be no proportion of proceeds to be donated.

Whilst I understand the drive to get MAC to commit to a higher proportion of proceeds to be donated, the amount of vitriol being directed at MAC and Rodarte seems disproportionate to the crime.  Yes, they have named some products and used imagery in bad taste.  If this had been a charity collaboration from the start, though, with the same images and names, I suspect there would be far less controversy surrounding it.

There has been talk of MAC "exploiting" women by using Juarez-related names and imagery in this campaign without highlighting the underlying cause more explicitly.  Honestly, I feel that the backlash has the wrong companies in its sights: if we want to blame someone for exploiting women, we should blame the companies who operate the factories, blame the governments who don't protect women, blame the corporations who demand margins that make the low pay and poor conditions a reality.  MAC and Rodarte might have been insensitive, yes, but they are not exploiting anyone.  Conversely, they have inadvertantly highlighted the issue - ultimately, how many of us can honestly say we had heard of Juarez and its mistreated women before all of this kicked off?

Now that we do know about it, our energies would be far better invested in campaigning for organisations who make a positive difference in Mexico than in campaigning against the organisation who accidentally brought it to our attention.

For more information, visit the Wikipedia article, Amnesty's broader page on the Violence Against Women Act, or find out how you can help, visit Amnesty's Take Action pages.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Edward Bess - Prince of Lipstick

The name "Edward Bess" has been a by-word for quality and desirability on the beauty circuit for some time now. His range of uber-classy neutrals was available in the US only until last week, when beloved online shopping boutique launched the range on the UK market
Painfully exclusive, with premium packaging and prices to match, the line is concise and to the point - a handful of classic shades for lips, eyes and cheeks, along with some essential tools. It's a "can't go wrong" colour wardrobe, but it's anything but ordinary - sumptuous textures and finishes ensure that each piece stands out. My favourite item so far is the Ultra Luminous Eyeshadow in 'Intimate', a shimmery light greenish taupe that's both complex and subtle. (And an eye-watering £22.) Shown here as part of the Private Eye collection (an even more eye-watering £175). 'Intimate' is second from the right.

(Blurry) swatch:

We were lucky enough to be introduced to the range and its creator at Zuneta's launch event, held in central London last week. Bess himself is famously beautiful, with long flowing hair, perfect bone structure and a quiet, charming manner. He has a courtly Southern accent and semi-formal style - dressed in a suit with an open necked shirt, he was full of modest enthusiasm and interest, mingling and conversing with everyone at the launch. His presence, along with the Victorian-esque decor of the venue, gave the whole proceeding an air of timeless class - something that seems central to the brand and to Bess' aesthetic ideals. Here's a picture of me and Edward - I don't look great here but you can see what I mean about his appearance!

He demonstrated the products on a willing model (London Makeup Girl, already a big fan), and as we watched him at work, his sense of focus and passion for the range and its purpose shone through. I felt that despite his 24 years and his gentle manner, he was full of determination and confidence - perhaps not surprising, given that he has made his name at such an early age.

Each attendee was given a lipstick from the range to try out - Secret Desire, a creamy mid toned nude. It's a good example of the "can't go wrong" quality of the range - road testing in the pub afterwards showed that it suits pretty much anyone. Here it is on me:

Edward Bess cosmetics are available in the UK exclusively from Zuneta, and in the US from Bergdorf Goodman in NYC. Learn more about the brand (and the man) at

Sunday, 18 July 2010

New limited edition Eyeko polishes

Disclosure - PR sample

Here are two new limited edition polishes from Eyeko - Rain ("for city nails") and Saucy ("for naughty nails"). Each costs £3.50 for 8.5ml.

Rain is an absolute stunner. It's a shade that's midway between grey and blue. If I was feeling lyrical I'd say it was an accurate representation of the London sky, which is always somewhere between cloudy and blue, sometimes depending on your own outlook. There's a subtle shimmer to this polish, but the finish is still predominantly creme. It's a thin but opaque formula, and applies easily without much dragging. I found that two coats was plenty to achieve an even, thorough coverage. Love this.

Saucy I was less intrigued by when I first saw it - a red polish is a red polish, right? It has the same thin and opaque consistency as Rain and applies smoothly. No shimmer in this one, it's a straight creme with a glossy finish. Again, two coats was plenty to get even coverage. Once dried, I found that I really liked the shade as well - it's darker than your average red and definitely stands apart from the others in my collection.

As the pictures show, there is slight tip-wear on the red (after one day in this case). For £3.50 though, I'm not complaining.

Both polishes are available to buy online from Eyeko.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Review: Armani Face Fabric Foundation

Giorgio Armani Beauty make some incredible makeup products, and I've tried a fair few of them, but for me the brand excels at base products.  Their Luminous Silk foundation is a bit of a high end hero for many, and their newest foundation, Face Fabric, has quickly earned a reputation.  Which meant I had to buy it, in the name of research and all that.

Face Fabric is a foundation with an ultra natural finish, described as "invisible makeup".  It doesn't try to go for a matte finish - being that skin isn't generally naturally matte anyway - but works to "enhance the natural glow of the skin".

Read on below the cut to see how I got on.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Review: James Brown Richly Moisturising Conditioner for Dry Hair

James Brown.  Unless your first thought is of the iconic soul singer, you're probably thinking of him who does Kate Moss' hair.  The product line, which was "inspired by Kate", includes a variety of shampoos, conditioners and styling products in rather nice packaging.  I bought the Richly Moisturising Conditioner for Dry Hair after trying it out at my hairdressers house, when I'd forgotten to take my usual silicone free conditioner along with me.  I was surprised to find that it doesn't contain any silicones and so decided to invest in a full tube to try out.

The conditioner, despite being for dry hair, is actually of a rather thin consistency - much thinner than you'd expect.  Despite this, a palmful distributed through the ends of the hair is very moisturising and has a decent amount of slip to it - you need a lot less than you think you need.  It is in fact so rich that I don't allow it to go anywhere near my roots; it's definitely more suited to dry ends.

The scent is pleasant; light and fresh, and it doesn't linger on the hair after use at all.  The conditioner rinses cleanly from the hair, leaving it feeling moisturised, detangled, and with a little bit of that slip that I've missed from non-silicone products.  The hair also feels soft and looks shiny once dry.

The only gripe I have with this product is with the packaging.  While the tube design ensures that you'll get every last drop out, the way in which you get the tube to dispense product is not the easiest to manage with wet hands.  To get product out, you turn the bottom part of the tube, which opens a hole in the centre.  Twisting with wet slippy hands isn't the easiest thing to do, and when I have my hands full of conditioner, I tend to put the tube back down on the side of the bath without twisting shut.  This leads to some of the conditioner to leak out, which is a tiny bit wasteful.

That small point aside, I really like this conditioner - it feels luxurious, is surprisingly moisturising, and at £5.99 for 250ml, it's reasonably priced too.  Well worth a go.  If you'd like to give it a try, you can get it from or in store.

Have you tried any James Brown products?

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Review: MAC Chromaline

MAC Chromaline is a PRO product.  So, when I swapped for a pot in Landscape Green recently, I consulted the product page on the MAC PRO website, and decided that it looked like a good contender for something that wouldn't crease on my oily lids.  And thusly, I swapped.  I tested it out and proceeded to write a long and very positive review.  Then, I read some very conflicting reports on t'internet about whether the Chromaline product is eye safe or not.

I'd kinda assumed that it was, as the description on the product page describes it as a "liner".  However, there's not one mention of the word "eye" alongside it, as this is geared more toward body art than facial beautification.  I emailed MAC, and their PRO artist told me that only the black and white shades of Chromaline have been tested as eye safe, but that I could try other shades out and just discontinue use if I noticed any irritation.  So if this product sounds appealing, be careful to only buy it in black or white unless you're prepared to chance the product turning out to be irritating to your eyes.

Illamasqua Makeup Amnesty

You're probably going to read a lot about this over the next few weeks, as it's a fantastic deal.  As of Saturday 17th July, Illamasqua is offering 25% off the price of an item for every item of unused, unwanted makeup you bring to the counter.  So if you bring two old bits of slap, you get 25% off any two new bits of slap, etc.  Lovely.

The old slap in question can be any brand, and in any condition - smashed, used up, or just generally unloved.  Sounds like a great deal to us!  Find the deal on between 17th - 31st July at Illamasqua's UK counters: Selfridges, London, Birmingham Bullring and Trafford Centre; Fenwick Newcastle; BT2 Grafton Street Dublin; and Debenhams Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff.

What will you be trading in?  I've got a few old and broken MAC longwear lipsticks I was planning to turn into new MAC lipsticks - but now might be turning them into Illamasqua blushers instead!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Tuca Tuca - new fragrance from Gorilla Perfumes at Lush

Disclosure - PR sample

I am so happy. Mark and Simon Constantine, the Lush perfumers who created B Never Too Busy to be Beautiful's family of unusual and lovely fragrances, are bringing their scents back to the public. This time around, they're going under the slightly less "pretty pretty" trading name of Gorilla Perfume. 

Gorilla will use existing Lush stores as its outlet, and it looks like there will also be an online shop at the Gorilla website.
According to this report from Basenotes, they'll be bringing back many of the B Never-era scents in the coming months, and I'm hoping that my favourite "Dirty" will be included in that selection.

For now though, they've released a brand new concoction to whet our olfactory appetites. Tuca Tuca is out now, and has been available in branches of Lush since the end of June.

It's a typically Constantine creation - very distinctive, playful, unusual and immediate. The notes are listed as violet, cassie absolute, vanilla, ylang ylang, violet leaf and vetivert. Typically, I got something totally different - jasmine, honey, mint, cedar and musk. While the man of the house here described it as "burning rubber, latex, but somehow kind of nice". Baffling.

The ideology for the scent, according to the press release;

"It’s that fun and flirtatious girl inside us all - she’s mischievous with a naughty sense of humour and an infectious giggle. She likes to dance like no-one’s watching and run through park sprinklers with abandonment, just because she can. She’s whimsical, carefree and when the sun shines just right she can go from being sweet to sensual with the bat of an eyelash.  Tuca Tuca is the epitome of how fast your heart races when your eyes meet the boy you’ve got a crush on!"

Man, she sounds annoying. But Tuca Tuca (named after the song by Raffaella Carra) really isn't. It's a big, blowsy, bright summer scent with a quirky, rebellious heart. I have been wearing it around the house this week - it's a little flamboyant for work - and very much enjoying it.

Tuca Tuca comes in 9g (£11) and 27g (£23) sizes, and is also available as a massage bar (£5).

Lush will be releasing a cover version of "Tuca Tuca", sung by Mira Manga, and will be organising some flashmobs with Tuca Tuca dancing in coming weeks. The single will be available on iTunes from Monday 12th July, and there is a free download with each 27g bottle of the fragrance.

Your Opinions Needed!

We'd love to know what you think of the London Beauty Review.  Would you like us to post more news and offers (we don't tend to republish every press release we receive), even more reviews (even of products we're a bit ambivalent about), or more Face of the Day posts?  Would you welcome more opinion based articles which aren't necessarily to do with a particular product, but are more related to an aspect of beauty?

If you've got an opinion to share, please share it via the comments or via email.  

Monday, 12 July 2010

Review: Good Skin Soft Skin Creamy Cleanser

I don't believe in spending a lot of money on a cleanser.  Since it's not going to be on your face for very long, and it's main function is to lift dirt and makeup residue off the skin, I very much doubt that there's anything to be gained from using a spendy one.  Thus, my requirements for a cleanser start with a reasonable price point, and finish with effectively removing dirt and not stripping the skin of moisture.

This Good Skin Soft Skin Creamy Cleanser is a fairly simple product despite its long name.  At £8 for 200ml, it's definitely reasonably priced.  Its minimalist, clean looking packaging looks more expensive than it is, and is very portable - a secure fitting cap and a locking pump go a little bit further than you might expect for the price.

Texture wise, this is your average light cleansing lotion - it's smooth and emollient, but also relatively thin in consistency.  It also has a very light scent, which borders on being not there at all, which I really like in a cleanser.  Four or five pumps results in a fifty pence sized puddle in the palm of my hand, which is plenty to cleanse the whole face.

I've been using this for about four months after an oil cleanse and find that it is very effective in removing any residue and loosened dirt.  Used alone without an oil cleanse, I found that I needed two passes to adequately remove my (admittedly heavy) facial makeup - and it really struggles with long wearing eye makeup, in particular mascara.  So unless you're a fan of a more lightweight makeup approach, you might find this to be a bit of an underperformer alone.  After use, I found that my skin felt soft and smooth, and not at all stripped or dried out.

All in all, this is a very effective cleanser for the money - so long as you're not expecting it to clear a full face of slap all on its own.  I've been impressed by how long the bottle has lasted, and while I've not been totally blown away, this is one basic I'd probably repurchase.  If you'd like to try this for yourself, you can get it for just £6 from  I found mine at Bicester Village in the Estee Lauder CCO, which had a good selection of the whole range at a decent discount.

Have you tried the Good Skin range?  Do you think it's worth spending or saving on a cleanser?

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Review - Eyeko Graffiti eyeliner pen

Disclosure - PR sample

A reliable eyeliner is one of life's true comforts. Call me shallow, but I stand by that statement. Knowing that there's something that will make you look and feel good and won't smudge, run or otherwise let you down is important. I'll be honest - I wouldn't expect to find such a product within a range where most things cost a fiver. But this felt-tip liner from Eyeko has thoroughly surprised and pleased me.

It's a fairly standard felt tip liner in appearance - a round barrel about the size and shape of a standard pen, with a snap-on lid and a tapered, flexible fibre tip with a fine point.

The silver barrel is decorated with text and simple graphics. I really liked the way the text had been written specially for the purple shade, and wasn't just a generic description across all the liners in the range (there are four - brown, purple, navy and black).

It applies very smoothly and is liquid without being watery or running into the creases of the lid. A couple of strokes gives a bright, even line. And look at these amazingly intact cateye wings after 14 hours of wear!

You might feel less impressed when I tell you that I applied it over UDPP - that generally improves performance of any eye product dramatically and can turn a dud eyeshadow into a gem. But today was such a swelteringly hot and muggy day that I actually creased my way through that layer of UDPP, while the Graffiti liner held firm. See:

Nice work Eyeko! We are impressed.

You can pick this up for just £5 from Eyeko

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Illamasqua polish contest winners and purchases

Earlier this year, Illamasqua ran a competition, asking entrants to provide inspiration for two new shades of nail polish. As you can see from the picture above, they ended up picking three winners, whose designs will be transformed into Shrapnel, Raindrops, and Eclipse. Here are the descriptions from Illamasqua -

* Shrapnel by Loren Perry – a pink-based metallic copper inspired by the dazzling shine of a new penny.

* Raindrops by Ann Black – a creamy pale grey with a sheer silver sparkle inspired by watching raindrops running down the window while riding the monorail in Seattle.

* Eclipse by Dami Lawal – a deep grey/purple blue that reflects the theatricality of a lunar eclipse 

 Is "theatricality" a word? Not sure. They all look very nice in any case.

Illamasqua also advised me that my entry into the competition made the top 50, which was very nice to hear, and they sent me a 25% discount voucher as a runner up prize. Hooray!
I thought it would only be polite to make use of my voucher with a little online shopping. I picked up nail polish in Nudge (a pale blue from the quartet of pastel cremes that were released this spring), Velocity (a dirty mid-violet creme) and eyeshadow in Intense (matte deep teal) which had been on my wishlist for over a year.

Very pleased with them all, although my teeth did gnash slightly when I saw how similar Nudge was to my cheap-as-chips Boots 17 Mint Choc Chip polish. It was, as I initially feared, dupeable. Whatever though. The bottle is nicer.
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