Thursday 30 December 2010

Skin Deep Beauty Awards 2010

Welcome to the first Skin Deep Beauty Awards, featuring absolutely zero glitz and glam in the form of red carpets, star appearances, overstuffed goodie bags and freeflowing Champers but 100% honest, free-of-advertising-influence, sharing of my favourite product discoveries from 2010.
Agree/ Disagree? Want to share your own favourites of 2010? Please comment as I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I swear by this shampoo to care for the condition of my hair.
This conditioner left my hair silky, shiny and managable without irritation- no mean feat on my hair I can tell you! What's more, from the sale of every bottle, a donation is made to the wonderful Look Good, Feel Better charity
Whenever I use this mask, I rave about it for days afterwards. It manages to do the impossible- make me proud of my hair. It's luxurious, with a pricetag to match but a little goes a long way and it's quite simply the best hair mask I've ever used
Whilst the rest of the beauty world was abuzz with talk of Moroccanoil in 2010, for me, it was all about my discovery of this wonder product which has boosted the condition of my hair and made styling an absolute breeze. I no longer use serum, this ticks all the boxes
Quick and easy to use on wet or dry hair, this takes the pain out of hair styling. I've opted for the fun, bright pink version which is easy to spot in my overcrowded bathroom!

Like a traditional cold cream cleanser, this rose based cream is soothing and nourishes dry skin.
I don't wear waterproof mascara so I can't comment on its effectiveness at removing this but I've been very impressed with this gentle product from a relatively unknown brand. The functinal packaging is superb!
Yes, it's eye-wateringly expensive but if you can afford to splash out then this is the product to go for. It transformed my skin and is, to date, the best serum I've ever used.
The Brit brand's bestselling product has Mother SkinDeep absolutely hooked for its anti-aging benefits
Another winner from CDLM- this luxury brand truly delivers results.
My skincare S-O-S!
If I've had a heavy night out, I make sure to slather this onto my skin to rehydrate and it never lets me down.
Another wonder product from the celebrity facialist. I adore this effective exfoliator which uses glycolic acid rather than physical exfoliants.
Great overnight results at a reasonable price.
Aside from the irresistable flavours, I love the concept behind this new brand which offers lip balms by subscription.
The celebrity anti-aging favourite leaves skin looking refined.

It doesn't work with every foundation but I find this gives fantastic lasting effects. Special mention also goes to URBAN DECAY ALL NIGHTER finishing spray to hold my make-up look in place all night.
I'm delighted that my favourite base is now available in the UK. It gives a good, lasting coverage.
For precision coverage, the pencil format of this concealer makes it easy to use and hard to beat for a professional finish
This is great for fresh-faced radiance in an instant.
Guerlain's cult bronzer received an update this year in a handy four-colour compact which gives a realistic colour
Quick & easy to use, Bobbi's eyeshadow gives intense, lasting colour without creasing
I adore this liner for adding instant drama and for a liquid formula, it's not at all difficult to apply.
I don't really require lengthening effects so I'm constantly on the lookout for volumising mascaras. This version, in black, is my favourite to date and I love the irreverant, bold packaging.
It takes a lot to part me from my signature Chanel lipstick but in 2010, D&G managed to do just that with their sleek packaging, highly pigmented and desirable shades which last all night long.
A chocolate scented, clear lipgloss with slight plumping effect
Simply the best for lasting colour, I rarely wear anything else on my fingernails, topped with the obligatory SECHE VITE. In contrast, I opt for OPI for toenails as their signature Pro-wide brush makes application a doddle & their quirky polish names bring a smile to my face every time.
I'm a big fan of Revlon for value-for-money yet quality cosmetics and their brushes don't disappoint.

I prefer to use natural products when possible, although they can sometimes be costly. This shower gel is great for morning use due to its uplifting orange blossom scent, it doesn't irritate my sensitive skin and offers great value for money.
When I really want to indulge, this is the product I reach for.
A great home spa product which makes the chore of exfoliation rather enjoyable!
I can't rate this wonderful product highly enough. Indulgent with a ritualistic aspect, I feel truly pampered whenever I use this and the wonderful lingering scent is amazing!
Effective everyday moisturising at a great price
I refuse to use anything else in the sun.
I'm not a regular fake tan user but I was really impressed when I tried this in the summer. Easy to apply, developing into a believable colour. Don't be put off by the random name- it's definitely worth a try!
Unapologetically bubblegum pink in colour with a delicious peppermint scent, this lotion really revives tired feet. Great post-party!
Fab winter handcare with the signature fresh scent from OPI's avocado inspired range
I love this simple blue cloth for all over body exfoliation.
The ultimate professionals, the team at MOW take the sting out of hair removal. Highly recommended.

The specialist fragrance house's blends are my all time favourite
I fell in love with Elemis' second fragrance when it launched this year and receive compliments whenever I wear it
Natural fragranced candles for a room filling fragrance with therapeutic benefits which work wonders. What's more, the chic glass tumblers look great in any room!

Finally, a word of thanks for all of your support in 2010. Wishing you a Happy New Year & here's to a beauty-filled 2011.

Saturday 25 December 2010

Wishing my wonderful readers a very... Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Speed Review: Occo Protecting Lip Balm

Continuing the theme of winter beauty saviours, I've been using Occo Protecting Lip Balm over the past few weeks.
Occo is a new brand on the beauty scene and this is one of the first products I've tried from them. Before we come to my review, here's a little background on the Company...
Pitched as a luxury spa brand, Occo's products are made in the UK using the finest natural ingredients and the range is inspired by the resources of the Dalmation Coast and Adriatic Sea...think citrus groves, vineyards, fig orchards and wild flower meadows. All products are free from parabens, sulphates, artificial colours and petrochemicals. Their 100% natural fragrance formulations are blended in Grasse, France which regular readers will recall I happily visited in the summer.
Occo's branding is right on the money- their logo and font are easily recognisable and if you haven't heard of the brand as yet, I'd commit it to memory as I strongly suspect they're going to be big.
So... onto the lip balm. I have to admit that my first impression, once I'd gotten over the excitement of finally trying something from Occo, was that their packaging is rather excessive for a small tub of lip balm (encased in a box). I understand that they're trying to portray an impression of luxury but I did feel that it went somewhat against their natural image. However, having researched this, I'm happy to report that their packaging is sustainable and fully recyclable, even going so far as being printed with soya ink.
The lip balm retails at £12 which I think is a fair price given it's position- that's the same as the Aromatherapy Associates one for example. It's also a whole lot cheaper than my all time favourite, Creme de la Mer The Lip Balm & the consistency is pretty similar, with a smooth, buttery texture which is easy to apply. The lip balm has a slight herbal scent which I found hard to pinpoint but certainly didn't dislike. It definitely leaves lips softened and soothed although I've found, particularly in this cold weather, that I needed to apply it fairly regularly so it's a shame that it's only available in a tub rather than a tube which could be hygenically applied on-the-go.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Speed Review: Schwarzkopf BC Bonacure Sensitive Soothe Conditioner

Winter invariably wreaks havoc on beauty and whilst I'm accustomed to my skin's needs, this winter, it's been my hair which has been suffering. As far as I can tell, the change from centrally heated environment to the bitter cold outdoors has caused my hair and scalp to become dry and sensitive and apparently, I'm not alone as 1 in 3 experience the same issues.

I have to admit that Schwarzkopf is far from my first choice of haircare- I suppose I've always seen it is a little dated and there have simply been other brands which have appealed to me more- but when the PR kindly sent me a sample of their new BC Bonacure Sensitive Soothe Conditioner (£10.95) which has been specially created to reduce irritated scalp issues by 50%, in a state of near desperation, I gave it a try.

I have to say that I'm impressed although a little annoyed at myself for having dismissed this brand for so long. Their packaging would probably benefit from a makeover- it's very plain and clinical which reiterates the fact that it is a professional, salon range.

The conditioner is super lightweight, making it perfect for my fine hair and has a gorgeous, delicate aloe scent which reminds me of body lotion. After using. I found that my hair was easy to style & had a lovely bounce to it. My scalp certainly feels soothed although I'd have to use the conditioner over a longer time period to comment on the lasting results.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Little Black Book... Reena Patel

Reena PatelYou're in for a treat with this post readers as Award-winning Freelance PR Consultant, beauty addict and writer about town, Reena Patel shares her Little Black Book for Christmas...

As the countdown to Christmas fast approaches, most of us will be in the full swing of festive celebrations. If you always seem to run out of time to fully prepare for the occasion (that probably goes for most of us too!), here are my top pointers to looking fabulous this party season. I've also shared my favourite eateries and bars to visit in London, plus some beauty gift ideas that never fail to impress.

The hot spot to get you tinsel town ready is celebrity haunt, Neville Hair & Beauty in London. I recently paid a visit to experience a new treatment on the menu; a one hour indulgence that includes a deep hair conditioning treatment, manicure, pedicure and the most glamorous blow-dry ever that saves us from bad hair days and poorly painted nails. They call this the "WOW" and for good reason- I walked out feeling like a real "Pretty Woman". This treatment starts at £150.

If a trip to Neville is out of your budget, try some at-home pampering. If you have dry winter hair, invest in an intense ritual using Kerastase products such as the Fondant Nutrithermique treatment, £17.90 and Elixir Ultime, £32.72 for supreme soft tresses, Also try the Aromatherapy Associates Enrich Hair Oil, £22.50,, which also deep conditions and adds lustrous shine to locks. Nails Inc also have cute crystal jewels on the tops of their Christmas collection, £15, I love Royal Arcade and Crown Court. If you're seeking a sun-worshiping glow, a stop at The Chelsea Day Spa for the organic, paraben and streak-free Vita Liberata Spray Tan, £45, does the trick.
Kerastase Elixir Ultime

Fluttery lashes never go amiss. The Powder Lounge's Nourishing Lash Serum, Long Sexy Lashes, £22, is the perfect primer before a lick of mascara and falsies. I find Eylure's Girls Aloud Party Lashes, £5.95, really rock a glitzy winter wonderland look. The perfect party palettes have got to be Bobbi Brown's Pink & Gold Lip Palette, which dips the lips with fresh pinks, deep roses and a golden nude, £35, and MAC's 6 Dashing Lassie Eye Shadows, £25,, soft shimmers in fairy-tale vanilla, coffee and bronze encased in a Tartan tin. These pretty sparklers promise to shine without overdoing it.

Bobbi Brown lip palette
LBDs and cocktail frocks by French Connection guarantee feminine party sophistication. I love the Silky Sacha, Graingers and Samantha Sequins designs the most. Check out to buy them online.

Christmas would not be the same without sophisticated scents. Florist Jane Packer has just introduced a new alluring fragrance. This crushed floral explosion dips you in a garden of red roses, black violet and cyclamen. Eau de Parfum, £45

Now that you're looking and hopefully feeling a million dollars, arrange drinks and dinner with friends in London. Providores- the New Zealand tapas restaurant in Marylebone,, offers a fusion of world flavours to create a unique and sensational menu. If you're East, Viet Grill is yummiest Vietnamese street food in Shoreditch, When West and need an escape after shopping for gifts on Oxford Street, hydrate with cocktails at Aqua The terrace top has great views over London and cosy cashmere blankets to keep you warm when it's cold outside. For the best Earl Grey martinis, set your sights on Hunter 486- the trendy bar in boutique hotel, Arch London, tucked away by Marble Arch.

On Christmas Day itself, you never know if a few unexpected guests will suddenly turn up, or worse yet, if they will come bearing gifts for you but you have none for them! To avoid any awkward present swapping moments, wrap up some beauty heroes. Molton Brown's The Three Musketeers should save you, £42, This three-piece gift set for men includes the Active Cassia Sportswash, Deoderant and Moisture-Rich Aloe and Karite Ultrabar. Neal's Yard has another rescue remedy for last minute arrivals. The Exquisite Wild Rose Skincare Collection brings together the Beauty Balm, Body Elixir and Beauty Concentrate into one box set, £45,

Neal's Yard Remedies
Finally, lift into high spirits with scented lights! Fragrance your home with the new Diptyque Oliban and Spicy Orange Candles, £45 each, I also like the Crabtree & Evelyn Noel 3 Fragranced Candles, £21, and you're ready to celebrate in style! Happy Christmas!

Diptyque candle
Like this post? Check out Reena's blog at

Sunday 12 December 2010

Can't live without...

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

I'm beyond obsessed with this "genius in a bottle" product and wouldn't dream of wearing eyeshadow without applying this creamy base first.

It's had pride of place in my kit for so long that I can't recall how I first discovered it.

I guess it's a strange type of product to love so much- it's not a mascara or lipgloss for example which people normally claim not to be able to live without. The great thing about this product is that you can use any eyeshadow, whatever your budget, with it- it simply will not budge all day/ night long although isn't difficult to remove using eye makeup remover when required. It's particularly worth using under cream eyeshadows to avoid creasing.

I like that the packaging is so distinctive although there are numerous commentaries across the internet bemoaning the lack of functionality- the shape means that there's always that little bit remaining in the tube which you can't get at which goes to waste. Having said that, the ward applicator makes daily use a breeze and I have heard rumours of a packaging revamp.

I ask for one of these in my Christmas stocking every year- I get through them at a rate of knots. If you haven't yet tried this, I urge you to- you won't look back!

Saturday 4 December 2010

Speed Review: Ole Henriksen Truth To Go Wipes

LA facialist, Ole Henriksen, is extending his bestselling Truth Serum line with the introduction of new products including these brand new Truth To Go Wipes which I was sent to test.
I've tried a limited number of Ole Henriksen products in my time and much as I want to fall in love with this brand- for one thing, the brightly coloured packaging looks fabulous in my bathroom- I simply haven't yet found a product which I can't live without.
With that in mind, perhaps facial wipes weren't the best product for me to trial but I wanted to test something quickly to give my lovely readers a feel of the new products in the range whilst they're still current.
I admit that I'm not the biggest fan of facial wipes as I prefer a really thorough cleanse. Having said that, I do appreciate their appeal, understand that it's quite wide ranging and believe that if you're going to fall into bed drunk/ exhausted/ abroad, it's better to use wipes for a quick make-up removal than nothing at all. As I'd expect, the packaging is fantastic. It looks great in the bright orange colour which is signature to the Truth line and this also works well for wipes if you're travelling and want to find them quickly, for example. The packaging is also functional with a plastic flip lid rather than simply a resealable one to maintain the moisture of the wipes. I also like that when you pull out one wipe, the others stay put rather than popping up in a concertina effect.
At £20 for 30 wipes, these really aren't cheap in comparision to other brands (in fact, they're the most expensive wipes I've come across to date) but calculated on a price per use basis, 67p isn't bad for a speedy cleanse.
I'm familiar with Truth Serum and although it hasn't worked any wonders for me personally, I am addicted to the gorgeous orange scent so I was delighted to discover that these wipes replicate that.
The wipes are suitable for all skin types. I have fairly sensitive skin but these didn't irritate & for a wipe, they were a pleasure to use, feeling gentle rather than stripping the skin. The packaging states that they contain essential fatty acids to nourish the skin. Again, I'm not sure how many benefits can truly be gained from a quick sweep but I certainly didn't find them dehydrating which is a big plus point, especially at this time of year. I particularly liked that they can be used to remove eye make-up as well.
Let's face it, wipes aren't going to work any wonders for your skin but if you are going to use some, I would recommend these as for facial wipes, they're not bad at all. I'll be keeping them by my bed for emergency skincare following late ones over the festive season.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

London Destination: Lost in Beauty

Lost in Beauty shopIf you find yourself in London in the run up to Christmas, head to Primrose Hill's Lost in Beauty, a wonderful emporium for beauty junkies.

Downstairs is dedicated to unashamed old Hollywood glamour where beautifying services are on offer. Heading upstairs, discover a selection of beauty products, gift sets, accessories and one-off vintage pieces. Along the unique theme, the team will even host bespoke parties or come to your home to help you prepare for an event.

Lost in Beauty interior Lost in Beauty shop interior
Perhaps most exciting of the one-offs is that Lost in Beauty will be hosting an exhibition selling signed paintings by one of my favourite London-based artists until 24th December.

Fresh from her solo show at Liberty, Daisy de Villeneuve, who specialises in quirky, brightly coloured illustrations which have featured on products for the likes of Topshop, Moet and Habitat, has created one-off, beauty-themed paintings (POA) which make a wonderful gift for the beauty addict who has everything. If your wallet won't stretch quite as far as an original artwork, Daisy's personally developed candles will also be available.
Daisy de Villeneuve
Trust me, this is a good opportunity to snap up her work...Daisy's designs feature on the forthcoming SS11 collection by Zac Posen so you'll be ahead of the fashion crowd.


Tuesday 30 November 2010

M.A.C. marks World AIDS Day

MAC Viva Glam

December 1st marks World AIDS Day so tomorrow I'll be prouding donning my favourite M.A.C. red lipstick for the worthy occasion.
M.A.C.'s relationship with World AIDS Day goes way back... the M.A.C. AIDS Fund was founded to raise funds and awareness for the disease, challenging opinion one Viva Glam lipstick at a time. Their Viva Glam campaigns, featuring celebrities, the latest being the wonderfully quirky Cyndi Lauper and the ubiquitous Lady Gaga, have become iconic & instantly recognisable within the industry. The website is well worth a visit as it gives an eye-opening insight into what charitable efforts can be achieved from the sale of each cult lipstick.
MAC Viva Glam lipstick

Since the concept started, M.A.C. UK & Eire has raised in excess of £4.4million.
MAC Viva Glam Lipstick
It's great to see that M.A.C.'s commitment to the cause goes further than simply a product opportunity as they will also be giving up time tomorrow with make-up artists from London, Edinburgh and Dublin downing brushes and put on their red ribbons in a company-wide volunteer effort. Rather than decorating faces, tomorrow they'll be decorating nominated service areas and meeting rooms used by London's Positive East and Edinburgh's Waverley Centre charities. In Dublin, they'll be joining Open Heart House charity's inaugrual "Sleep Out" event.

As a child of the '80s, AIDS has always been in my consciousness and I can still recall hearing the news that the great Freddy Mercury had passed away. Yet for many, this is a modern disease which sadly remains widely misunderstood and viewed as a huge taboo... the only way to fight this is by talking openly about it so go on, do your little Viva Glam bit to show your support tomorrow.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

£83,000 Nail Polish, Anyone?

The beauty world is abuzz with news of the most expensive nail polish ever, Models Own Gold Rush, which launched this week at the breathtaking price of £83,000.

Pitched as something for the person who has everything, in reality, the nail polish can hardly be described as anything other than a massive publicity stunt, which is proving very successful! I've been a fan of Models Own since earlier this year, when I first trialled one of their polishes and was impressed with the range of colours, relatively good lasting effects and affordable prices (a standard nail polish is £5), yet it seems the brand hasn't captured people's interest to the extent it deserves...until now.

Models Own Nail Polish
So why so expensive? Although the polish itself is a glimmering gold, which resembles gold leaf and sparkles to remind of diamonds, it's actually the packaging which has resulted in such a heafty price tag. The lid is hand-crafted from an ingot of solid yellow gold and weighs nearly 100g! The lid is then inlaid with 1,118 diamonds.
Needless to say, the polish won't be available from your local Boots branch- such an opulent product requires a fittingly exclusive sales environment and Frost of London, New Bond Street has been selected. For us mere mortals, a rather more affordable version, Gold Rush Ready to Wear, £5 will be available at from mid December.

Monday 22 November 2010

The Sanctuary Skincare Review

The lovely PR for The Sanctuary sent me some of their new Brightening Facial products a while ago and I've finally gotten around to trialling a selection. I'm now regretting having waited so long!

This really is a fab range; great packaging, great price point & a wonderful concept for anyone looking to recreate a spa treatment at home. My hot tip for a Christmas present is their Brightening Facial in a Box, £16, which would make a nice gift for someone who deserves to take time out for themself or a beauty addict who perhaps you can't afford to treat to a full-on spa experience.

I tested the Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser and Radiance Exfoliator which are both contained within the Facial in a Box. I can't comment on the long-term effects of these as I haven't been using them for long enough as yet but am highly impressed so far!

I'm a big fan of hot cloth cleansers although I do find them somewhat time consuming which means that I tend to use a speedy wash in the mornings and do a thorough cleanse before bed when I feel my skin really needs it. They can range quite significantly in price so I'm impressed with the value for money offered by The Sanctuary's version at just £9.99 for 125ml. Even if you've never tried a hot cloth cleanser, the packaging gives clear instructions so I'd definitely recommend this to beginners- in fact, I've (reluctantly) passed my sample onto my mum who has never tried a hot cloth cleanser before.

To start, you need to open pores by applying a warm muslin cloth (supplied) to skin. I like the ritualistic aspect of this, combined with the knowledge that I'll be benefitting from a really deep cleanse as a result.

Then, the creamy cleanser should be massaged onto the face. For those who are accustomed to balm style hot cloth cleansers, you should be aware that this is a cream, not a balm so it lacks the indulgence factor of "melting" into skin yet still feels really hydrating and gentle. It has a comforting botanical scent.

Next, you use the muslin cloth to massage off the cream, using circular motions. This has a gentle exfoliating effect. For an extra thorough cleanse, you can repeat these steps. I'm not sure I'd bother on a daily basis but it's certainly an idea on weekends when you have more time, if your skin feels particularly "dirty" after a day wearing full make-up in the city or when your skin needs some extra care & attention. To finish, close pores by splashing the face with cold water. Thumbs up!

I absolutely swear by regular exfoliation- for me, it's an integral part of a good skincare regime but personally, I don't tend to like physical (i.e. granular) exfoliators, preferring more intensive chemical ones which don't feel scratchy on the skin. I still stand by this but if I were to use a granular exfoliant, I'd happily go with The Sanctuary Radiance Exfoliator, which I used after cleansing my skin per the steps above. It's a standard exfoliator with apricot granules and grape seed acting as the physical exfoliant suspended within a gel base. I was a little surprised to discover that it's the same price (£9.99 for 100ml) as the cleanser & you get less, as on first impressions, it seems that the cleanser is a higher quality product with more work having gone into it. I suppose you have to bear in mind that you wouldn't exfoliate every day so this would last longer. However, once I looked a little more closely, I was impressed to note that the exfoliator combines the physcial exfoliants with fruit acid extracts of pumpkin, pineapple and papaya to generate cell renewal so you're essentially getting a double-action exfoliator for your money. It does offer an impressive exfoliation with the standard benefits of leaving skin texture improved & aiding absorption of products such as moisturiser. My favourite thing about this product is undoubtably the incredible, lemony scent which is super uplifting.

I've noticed on the website that selected items from the range are currently included in a 3 for 2 offer. I'm not sure how long this is on for but it seems like a good excuse to try the range!

Before this trial, I'd only used the wonderful body products from The Sanctuary- I'm delighted with this range and am swiftly becoming a devotee!

Thursday 18 November 2010

Liz Earle to open in Leeds

Liz Earle shop
So, it turns out that Liz Earle is hugely popular "oop North" and following customer demand, a standalone shop is to open in Leeds' historic Victoria Quarter next week (w/c 22nd November).
Having never been into a Liz Earle shop myself (the image is a stock one of the London store), I imagine them to be wonderfully fragrant and serene places. After all, the brand is one of Britain's most popular natural ranges.
I'm told that the shop interior will be inspired by the brand's Isle of Wight heritage, with pebbles, natural stone flooring and aged cedar shingle walls. The centrepiece to the store will be a "botanical staircase" (whatever that means!), reflective of the natural ingredients used in the products and leading to the second floor. For me, the most exciting aspect of the store is this second floor where a botanical research library with books to peruse and an ingredients bar, created to encourage learning are located.

This seems a fitting time to mention that I've recently been trialling the brand's newly launched, albeit years in development, haircare range, namely their Botanical Shine Conditioner for Normal Hair. The internet is awash with raves of the range and it's no secret that I'm very specific in my haircare requirements- my hair is my beauty bugbear so I'm ridiculously fussy when it comes to products & perhaps I'm not best placed to be reviewing this. Natural haircare is notoriously tough to get right and I have to say in terms of market placement, they are (as Liz Earle tends to be, e.g. with customer offers, etc..) right on the money with this. The Botanical Shine Conditioner is sufficiently thick that a little goes a long way so the 200ml tube will last & last, which at a very reasonable £7.50 makes this a great value for money option in my opinion. I like that there's also a 50ml trial version for £4 as well. There's no question that this is packed with natural botanicals- meadow foam oil to condition, Kenyan yangu oil to smooth & soften, blue seakale and apple & orange extracts to boost shine- the intoxicating scent hits you as soon as you open the flip top lid. I loved this aspect of the conditioner, particularly as it makes it ideal for lethalgic mornings! What's more, the scent lingers delicately on the hair throughout the day which Mr. Skin Deep complimented me on and let's be frank, who doesn't love great smelling hair?!
The conditioner is really smoothing which is a major bonus when it comes to frizz prone locks and has the added benefit of making styling a breeze but I'm afraid that the conditioner was simply too rich for my stupidly fine hair- I found that it made it too soft, with a flyaway effect although I will say that it rinsed out beautifully. I'd love to hear what others have made of this range... it is something which I'd recommend as, although I personally haven't gotten on with it as well as I'd hoped, I can appreciate what's essentially a good product when I see one!

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Brazilians... what the magazines don't tell you.

There's no delicate way to write this post and those who know me can account for the fact that I'm pretty honest and open in my approach so prudish types, read on with caution...

Brazilian bikini waxes have been en vogue for a number of years now so following a recent appointment with the lovely folks at Ministry of Waxing, I was surprised to discover whilst chatting with some girlfriends over cocktails, how uncommon the treatment remains amongst the average girl. In fact, out of approx. 10 of us, it was only my least groomed friend who was familiar with the treatment- clearly she's more groomed than her low maintainance approach ("I've never bought moisturiser") would suggest! Whilst the magazines rave about the treatment, what it actually entails seems to have remained a mystery.

I cannot stress strongly enough just how impressed I was with the treatment itself and the professionalism of the girls at Ministry of Waxing- I would recommend them to anyone, particularly "waxing virgins" and let me tell you, this is definitely the kind of treatment where you want to be in the hands of the experts!
For those who don't know, this isn't a treatment for the shy. It's incredibly intimate (all clothing on the bottom half is removed, there are no paper knickers & yes there's touching- in fairness, it's probably worse for the therapist!) & whilst obviously not as physically invasive as a smear test, there's no denying that all notions of modesty go straight out of the window! Clearly, it's a treatment which is going to hurt but the combination of hot wild berry & chocolate wax and cooling, antibacterial compresses take the sting out of it. They've cleverly thought of details such as offering a squeezy animal stress ball to make the treatment more bearable and the therapists are pros at making you feel relaxed. Don't be alarmed when they ask you to turn over, just as you're thinking "they must be done now", it's all part of the full Brazilian package! A soothing gel is applied afterwards along with aftercare tips such as a reminder to exfoliate to avoid ingrown hairs.
The salon itself is centrally located in Covent Garden, with a cool, industrial vibe. It's not perfect- they need covered bins in the treatment rooms for a start but with treatments where the results speak for themselves, these minor details can be easily overlooked.
For those looking for a less invasive hair removal, their sister company, Browhaus, has just opened next door offering a range of "eye" treatments including threading, eyelash tinting, etc.. Personally, I'm yet to find a threader to rival the wonderful Dal Sohal of Browse so I'm not sure I'd necessarily go out of my way but certainly, they do a reasonable job if you're in the area.

Sunday 14 November 2010

H & M Homewares

The fashion world may be abuzz with talk of Lanvin's signature collection for H&M but I'll be avoiding the scrum and instead, bulk-buying from their fab new Homewares collection. The Scandinavians already have a reputation for both quality design and mainstream homewares (Ikea, anyone?) so it's really unsurprising that the chain has decided to expand into this arena. In keeping with the fashion and beauty lines, the homewares are trend led and affordable. These adorable guest towels, featuring a beauty themed design
are hanging by my wash basin as a type and at £2.99 for 2, this could be the start of a new habit...wallets at the ready!

Friday 12 November 2010

Jeff Koons for Kiehl's

Kielh's Creme de Corps I do love a special edition so when I saw this bottle of Kiehl's cult Creme de Corps emblazoned with designs by controversial artist, Jeff Koons, it was lust at first sight.
Creme de Corps is one of Kiehl's bestselling products and it's wonderfully indulgent. I admit that it's not a product I use every day- preferring the speedy application of easily absorbed body oils but I enjoy it when I have time to slather it on & truly believe that no bathroom should be without a bottle. Proceeds from the sale of this limited edition version will benefit charities for missing & exploited children so there's no better time to invest if you have been wanting to try it out.

Available at

Saturday 30 October 2010

Speed Review: bareMinerals Flawless Definition Volumizing Mascara

Mineral makeup is undeniably the "Marmite" of the cosmetics world- people either love it or hate it. When talking about mineral makeup, I immediately think of base but the lovely people at bareMinerals recently sent me a parcel of products which I'm in the process of working through & reviewing... This mascara (£15) stood out as their new, big launch for October. I'm normally a Benefit BadGal devotee but this intrigued me. The mascara was presented on a fluro pink card proclaiming the launch & packaged in a black, white and pink box so I was a little disappointed to find a very minimalistic black & grey tube- I certainly think they could have extended the colour scheme or done something a little different to make it stand out in crowded cosmetics bags. Having said this, it's what's on the inside that counts and I have been impressed with this product. I don't agree with the claims of it being a volumising mascara as although it offers some volume, there are certainly better mascaras out there if that's what your focus is upon. Perhaps others have tried this & felt differently- the stats on the press release certainly suggest as much, e.g. volumises lashes up to 600%. For me, it delivers on flawless definition and incredible lengthening properties which have me hooked. I'm currently relying on this as my daily mascara to enhance my natural lashes, with no clumping.

Sunday 24 October 2010

Rituals Competition

This slightly cheesy but undeniably cute competition popped up in my inbox this week and caught my attention.
I have to admit to not being particularly familiar with Rituals- I've tried just a couple of their products & have been impressed. Their Infinity Handwash & Lotion Duo with Sweet Orange & Japanese Mint has earnt a place in my bathroom and Eve's Kiss lipbalm works as a fantastic budget alternative to an old lipbalm by Lancome (apologies readers- the name fails me but it came in a green tube!). Likewise, when I've visited their shops, the staff have provided strong customer service, reminiscent of The Body Shop in the good old days although I don't understand why their travel sizes are so limited considering that they are expanding into airport sales outlets.
So.. on with the competition! Rituals are launching a signature Facebook page and to celebrate, are holding an international photo competition entitled, "My Bathroom Friends".
Once a fan of the page, the idea is that you take and upload a creative photo of yourself, your friends and your favourite Rituals product inside a bathroom. Any bathroom can be the backdrop, be it your local gym or a hotel suite. The first twenty entries will receive a Rituals gift and the overall winner will win a luxury spa weekend for two in the home of Rituals, Amsterdam. Get snapping!

Sunday 10 October 2010

This week I'm loving....

Nude Lips Lip Balm.
I always prefer natural beauty brands where possible and think they're particularly worth the investment when choosing lip products.
This version from Nude, presented in a cute cube pot, is currently keeping my lips kissably soft as the season change takes it toll. It's a very thick balm which needs to be warmed for application, not ideal when in a hurry but the trade-off to this is that it'll last and last.

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Skin Deep talks to...

Elemis Senior Press Office, Ellie.
Elemis PR

SD: It's that time of year again.. October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Can you tell us about Elemis and the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign?E: We've always supported a breast cancer charity and this is the second year that Elemis has pledged £10,000 to Breast Cancer Care. We chose this charity as it offers a great professional support and expert information to anyone affected by breast cancer. Behind the scenes, we plan a year ahead to create an eye-catching collection. This year, our Sparkling Beauty collection contains five Elemis products in a bright fuchsia pink bag. The pink "boob tube" Pro-Collagen Lifting Treatment Neck and Bust is a great product to help customers be breast aware and also be a part of their beauty regime. It's a great collection with a big saving- what's more the pink cosmetic bag will look great on your dressing table.
SD: If you were to introduce Elemis to someone for the first time, which product would you recommend?E: Pro-Collagen Marine Cream. Since joining Elemis, I've converted my mum, aunties, cousins and most of my friends to using the Pro-Collagen Marine Cream. They love it! They can't believe the difference it has made to their skin and how soft it is. It's great working at Elemis as we get to try all the products and it's definitely a talking point when we have people round the house and they look at the bathroom. They think they are in Elemis heaven!
SD: What is your favourite Elemis treatment?
E: The Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial was my first treatment at the day-spa and instantly became my favourite facial. I have some superficial scarring so after 90 minutes my skin is left feeling smooth and incredible clean. Also, I love the treatment as you have your neck, shoulders, scalp and arms massaged during the treatment. Seriously indulgent! It's incredibly tranquil at the day-spa- the perfect hideaway off London's Bond Street. As soon as you enter the spa you feel instantly relaxed which adds to the whole Elemis treatment experience. If only we were lucky enough to have an Elemis treatment every day!
SD: What are the best & worst aspects of working in beauty PR?E: I think the best thing about my job is working in an industry which I enjoy. My friends always say that I have a great job as I get to try new products and treatments, get invited to some great events and receive lovely gifts. Aside from the "perks" of the job it's great to be creative with a company and brainstorm ideas- for example our Elemis SpaBus- and see the end result, or launching a product and seeing a lovely review featured. I still have the same buzz as I did back when I first started my job. The thing I love about beauty PR is that each day is never the same. I could be pitching for an article one day to writing a release to organising a launch so the job never gets boring. The worst? The 5am starts or early mornings to set up an event. I'm not a very good morning person but beauty journalists are ever so lovely so all worth it when you see them at 9am!
SD: What's the best insider tip you've picked up?
E: That toning is just as important as cleansing. Noella Gabriel says, "A toner has 3 actions on the skin: 1) Removes the remainder of cleanser, 2) gently tones the pores and keep it squeaky clean and 3) prepares skin for the next application whether it be a moisturiser or night cream."
SD: What do you predict will be the next big thing in beauty?E: I have seen more advanced beauty gadgets creeping onto the beauty shelves. This seems to be something that could be the next big thing to enhance a beauty skincare regime. I've seen the Bliss Pore-fector which has had nothing but good reviews so I'm keen to get my hands on one.
SD: What are your five desert island beauty essentials?E: Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream. This is my favourite moisturiser and will keep my skin super hydrated.
Elemis Liquid Layer SPF 30. You can't be on a desert island without protection so this is definitely coming with me. Lovely and lightweight and what I love most is as an SPF it doesn't have that horrible, yucky SPF smell.
Philosophy Kiss Me SPF 20. This is a lovely minty cool lip gloss with a light red tint- love this! I recently took this on holiday with me and it's incredibly soothing, perfect in the heat!
label.m Protein Spray. Great to use after shampoo and conditioning to help protect, nourish and condition my hair.
Le Metier de Beaute. A friend recommended this mascara to me and it's my new-found fave. I always have trouble with mascara smudging towards the end of the day so this is a great waterproof and smudge-proof mascara.
SD: Any beauty guilty pleasures?E: Lip glosses and lip balms. For some reason, I have a stack of them at home (I have just counted 2 lip glosses and 2 lip balms on my desk and one of each in my handbag!). I'm not sure when this all started but I'm guaranteed to buy a few lip glosses in duty free- although it doesn't help when I recently discovered Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush lip glosses are now available at Gatwick duty free! My only problem is that I never finish any of them!
SD: Who is your beauty icon and why?E: I don't have one particular favourite beauty icon. I love Beyonce as she always manages to pull off different looks, Natalie Portman and Liv Tyler for their natural, flawless beauty and porcelain skin and of course, Cheryl Cole. Whenever I see her in the magazines or on TV she always looks effortless.
SD: What is your secret London hotspot?E: Aside from the Elemis day-spa in London? Kettners brasserie in Soho. We recently held a launch there and by chance, I met 2010 Masterchef's winner Druv. It certainly made my day and what I didn't know was that they actually film a few scenes of Masterchef at the restaurant and if we wanted to, we could request his culinary skills for our event. The food there is great and the last time I went for my boyfriend's birthday dinner, we saw the actress Emma Thompson dining with her friends. It's definitely a secret hotspot!
SD: Finally, what does Skin Deep mean to you?
E: Getting to the bottom of skincare and not something that will be "airy fairy" but giving you information with substance.

Sunday 26 September 2010

Product Review: Revlon Nail Enamel in Ruby Ribbon

Revlon Nail Enamel
I've had something of a nail polish obsession for the past few years. Previously, it was all about the "it" bag but as times have progressed, it's nail polishes which have commanded lengthy waiting lists and made headlines. They are affordable and instantly update your look. It's at this point which I feel it appropriate to give a shout-out to one of my favourite blogs,, a wonderful encyclopedia for nail addicts.
Having said this, I simply can't come around to matte nail polishes. I'm quite classic in my approach, prefering vampy shades or classic reds with OPI Chick Flick Cherry red featuring amongst my favourites & love a glossy finish. However, when trialling Revlon's Ruby Ribbon shade from their new AW collection, I tried to keep an open mind, particularly as I'm a huge fan of Revlon nail polishes. I think they offer fantastic quality and the price point (£6.29) is realistic. It's an on-trend, blood red with subtle shimmer to add a texture in contrast to the matte finish. I liked the formula- smooth yet sufficiently pigmented so that it doesn't require lots of time-consuming coats to be applied. As with other shades I've tried from the range, I was impressed with the lasting results of this shade.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Product Review: Boss Sunset EDT

As regular readers will know, I'm a huge fragrance addict and always enjoy trialling perfume, although I am quite particular in my tastes with such a sensitive nose. I was sent a sample of the new Hugo Boss EDT in Sunset, from the Orange range, to trial.
My initial impression, based on the ad campaign featuring Sienna Miller, is that this is a young, fun fragrance. I liked the packaging- chic yet functional with architectural styling and suitably bright colours.
I've really fallen in love with this fragrance throughout the course of my trial. It's more sensual and grown-up than I anticipated and settles beautifully on the skin, leaving quite a sweet, vanilla scent, without being sickly. My favourite aspect of the perfume is that it is ideal for wearing anytime, both seasonally and various times of day. What's more, a number of people commented on it. I'd feel comfortable recommending this to any confused men looking for perfume themed gift ideas as it ticks so many boxes.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Shiffa Sensual Body Oil- Speed Review

Apologies for my silence readers... I've just returned from a girls' holiday, possibly the perfect beauty focus group! Findings from my trip are as follows:
- Normal girls are no longer afraid to experiment with bright nail colours
- Quick routes to glamour, e.g. plaits in hair, are popular
- Long-term skin damage as a result of sun exposure largely remains something which will be worried about later in life
- Natural beauty still has a long way to go in converting those on a budget, although ethical issues such as the inclusion of palm oil do capture the imagination
- Scent plays a huge role in beauty purchasing decisions and we like to play around with products before committing our cash

And so, on with my latest review...
I was sent a bottle of Shiffa Sensual Body Oil which I've been using for approximately a week and I have to say, I'm impressed. This is definitely one for fans of luxurious indulgence and natural products.
The packaging is minimalist yet elegant, with clean lines which I feel suits the brand message.
My one, major complaint would be that it's a pouring bottle and I'd have found a spritzer considerably more practical.
I'm racing through the bottle so to ensure value for money, you may prefer to use this as a treat e.g. after a warming winter bath rather than as a daily moisturiser. Having said that, my skin looks and feels incredibly conditioned and although it's a thick oil, it is fairly easily absorbed.
The scent is somewhat overpowering so if you're not accustomed to the fragrance of pure essential oils (in this case, rose and geranium being the predominant scents), it may not be to your taste, however, for me, it merely added to the indulgence factor. I'm looking forward to discovering more from this brand.

£52 for 100ml at

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Product Review: Crabtree & Evelyn Iris EDT

I've just been sent the new fragrance by Crabtree & Evelyn and I have to say, I'm impressed.

Described as a single note fragrance, Iris, as the name suggests is a classic floral which I've discovered is not to Mr. SkinDeep's liking ("it smells like old ladies").

Iris rhizome, better known as Orris Root, has a long history of being used in fragrance and it is this essence which forms the overall impression of the scent.

Top notes of zesty Bergamot and Cassis don't really leave much of an impression, although it's certainly the sweet Cassis which is the dominant of the two.

The base notes are detailed in the press release as being a blend of Sandalwood, Patchouli (which I normally detest), Vetiver, Musk (again, a Saturday job in The Body Shop when I was younger has put me off this long-term) and Cedarwood, yet I have to say, the combination works and I really like the scent. It's subtle and sophisticated.

The packaging features an illustration of the Iris flower which could be twee and staid but the heavy, square bottle adds a vintage impression which just screams to be displayed on a traditional dressing table. I love the story behind the illustration- it was designed by Bella Towse, a graduate from Central Saint Martin's who was inspired by her parents' Sussex garden and it's fantastic to see that C&E are supporting young, British talent in this way. The only aspect which could be improved upon is the lid- unfortunately, it's a plastic purple- something more luxurious would have added a more premium feel.

I normally opt for Eau de Parfums but for a reasonably priced option (£24 for 100ml), this EDT is a good choice, particularly if you're looking for something a little more offbeat than the standard brands. There's a number of products within the range for those who scent-layer- from lotions, creams and soaps (all of which, I'm delighted to say, are free from parabens, mineral oils and the like) to the more traditional C&E offerings of drawer liners and room spray.


Sunday 15 August 2010

Creme de la Mer: Range Review

Some time ago, I was sent products to trial by the Creme de la Mer press office and it's taken me a while to blog about the results, the sole reason being that this is undeniably a luxury range with prices to match so I wanted to take my time with the trial in order to write a truly honest review.
I've been following the regime, starting with The Cleansing Foam and using The Hydrating Infusion, The Regenerating Serum, The Eye Concentrate and finishing with the infamous Creme.
I've been using The Lip Balm pretty much every single day and the pot has lasted me just over a year so I won't comment other than to say that it's one of my favourite beauty products. Conversely, I've tried a couple of products from the bodycare range and weirdly, have failed to fall in love with them.
I can honestly say that I'm delighted with the results- my skin looks model-clear to the extent that I've been able to go without make-up most days. I don't just worry about obvious blemishes but also about the texture of my skin, which is dehydrated and touch-sensitive but which has greatly improved. I admit that I've never had bad skin (touch wood), my main complaints in the past have been redness around my nose, some stress pimples along my forehead or occasional hormonal breakouts on my chin, and of course, everyone's skin is different so I can only comment on the results which I've observed.
Probably the only aspect which I don't like about following this regime is the need to apply a separate SPF- I'm always rushing about in the morning so prefer one which is integrated into my moisturiser.
I'm approaching 30 and am conscious that the time has come to reassess my skincare needs- I'm hugely paranoid about a deep-set line in the middle of my forehead starting to appear and although everyone else claims not to see it, I know that prevention at an early stage is the best method of treatment and besides, the beauty industry exists because of women's personal insecurities! I do believe that following the regime, in particular, using The Eye Concentrate has helped with this.
On the subject of price, I've actually been surprised at how long the products have lasted. They are of high quality and a little goes a long way so I'd say you get a good 3 months worth of use, at the very least, from each product so if you're looking to justify the expense, price per use is a good excuse! The Regenerating Serum has been the first to run out so I'm planning to continue following the regime without this to see if I'm as impressed with the results. At £210 for the bottle, it's the most expensive product from the regime (not based on quantity) and I might draw the line at forking out that much, despite the results but otherwise, I'd happily put my money where my mouth is.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Newsflash: Illamasqua launches flagship store in London's Soho

Someone please hide my credit cards... Illamasqua is launching its first standalone shop.
Set to open in September, the store will be located, fittingly, in the heart of London's Soho.

If you are yet to discover Illamasqua, I'd suggest popping into the new flagship store, or if you can't wait that long, head to a concession where one of the professional make-up artists can talk you through the brand. Despite already being a fan due to the impressive formulas and intense pigments, I visited the lovely Adam in the Selfridges branch a month or so ago and my make-over truly converted me.

In my job, my face is my canvas so I was surprised to hear from Adam that many people are afraid to experiment with make-up. If there's one brand which demands a curiosity, it's this and he suggests setting aside half an hour a week to play and try out new looks. It's make-up, not a tattoo... it'll wash off! If ever there was a season to rediscover make-up, this is it as the daunting, polished and immaculate styles of the past few seasons make way for a new grunge which is slightly smudged around the edges and endearingly imperfect.

I absolutely fell in love with Adam's enthusiasm- the artists on the counters really do live & breathe the brand and are encouraged to take jobs as professional make-up artists in their spare time. Unlike stuffy, traditional make-up counters where the women have to wear a given number of the brand's colours on their faces, I really felt that Illamasqua encourages the original. This isn't paint-by-numbers but boy, does the make-up ever look incredible. Adam shared tricks of the trade with me, e.g. combining textures and showed me how to recreate the "new smoky eye" and his clear love for the brand quickly rubbed off.

The brand has quickly earnt a loyal following- it is particularly popular in the goth community and in fact, the brand's logo features the vampire symbol. Its cult status has been recognised in the US, where it is sold in Sephora- remarkable for such a young brand (it launched in November 2008)! Joe Corre, Vivienne Westwood's son and founder of Agent Provocateur was so taken with the brand that he has put his money where his mouth is and become a key investor, perfectly summarising the mood of the brand, "Working with Illamasqua has felt like an adrenalin rush injection into the industry...a fantastically creative company looking at beauty through a completely new lens."

The flagship will feature a rotating exhibition area to showcase limited edition products in collaboration with the charity, S.O.P.H.I.E. as well as a unique make-up school, offering evening and day-time courses... I've seen the list and I want to go on them all!

I adore their website so I literally cannot wait to see what they come up with for the window displays- I'm expecting something spectacular!

Wednesday 4 August 2010

For Wannabe Oompa Lumpas only...

As a professional writer, there's an unwritten expectation to sugarcoat the truth about some brands, be it due to a PR relationship or the brand being a profitable advertiser. With this in mind, it's with some trepidation that I write my first "bad" review of a product- I hope that it will be read with respect for the honesty which is an inherant part of a blog and not taken as a lack of gratitude following much support from this PR.

I asked one of my go-to testers to trial Philosophy's The Big Skinny Self-Tanning Firming Cream and I'm sorry to report that the results were disappointing.
I'm normally a huge fan of Philosophy, particularly their guilt-free treat inspired sets which the child in me requests on my Christmas wish list every year. I adore the sentiments on the packaging and they're spot-on with the font and branding, which has been much-copied.

The Big Skinny Self-Tanning Firming Cream follows the fab packaging and delicious, food-inspired scents which the brand has become known for... this one smells of chocolate and is presented in a functional tube.
My tester is no stranger to fake tanning and so her opinion is a trusted one. She reported back that the formula took quite a long time to dry onto the skin, compared to the luxury brands which she is familiar with. Despite knowing her for her bronzed skin, I had to laugh when we met to discuss the trial- wow, somebody give this girl some exfoliator! She'd followed the usual tanning rules of exfoliating first, etc.. but the colour was streaky and a very unnatural, almost luminous orange- a truly ridiculous shade. "I look like a carrot that has been half peeled" came her damning summary. Needless to say, she hasn't and won't be testing this for sufficient time to comment on the firming powers.
Disappointing- sorry!

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Elemis Fragrance Launch

Hot on the heels of their signature fragrance making it's debut in April, Elemis have announced a second Eau de Parfum, "Exotic", launching this September.

Elemis exotic perfume I've had the pleasure of testing a sample and am delighted to report that it'll be worth the wait. Although I liked the signature fragrance, a fresh and citrussy blend, this is much more what I was expecting from Elemis. Renowned for their Exotic bodycare line (I'm not the only beauty writer who counts their Moisture Melt as a favourite product), this follows similar mysterious, heady scents.
The bottle is very simplistic, following the same design as their signature scent yet in purple packaging. This has benefits- the creation would have been speedy, they can presumably use the same supplier and it's nice for customers to be able to collect a purse-friendly (in terms of size) family of scents. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the chosen presentation yet having said this, I'd have preferred to see something better suited to the name. For example, they could have had such fun with the design, looking to the packaging of their bodycare range for inspiration.

I love that they've scoured the globe in the search for essences to incoporate. Spicy top notes of Pink Pepper, Clove Bud Oil from the Comores Islands and Sri Lankan Cinnamon Bark set the tone, transporting the wearer to exotic landscapes. Heart notes of nighttime blooms such as Ylang Ylang, White Tuberose and Indian Jasmine give it a very apparent floral vibe which settles into a sensual, woody base with notes of Frankiscence, Sandalwood, Cedarwood from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and Somali Incense adding interest. It's described as "intoxicating" and I really do think that's a great description- although it's launching in September, I personally think it's beautiful for balmy, late summer nights or a romantic date.
I'm actually quite disappointed that this isn't available in a larger size (it's £35 for 28ml) as over the course of my trial, I've really fallen for this and am zooming through the bottle at a worrying rate... Elemis, if you're listening/reading, I'd love to see this in a candle format too!
If you like your fragrances to be floral orientals, this is one for you.

Monday 2 August 2010

Product Review: Invisible Zinc ESP SPF 30

Apologies for my silence readers... I have just returned from holiday which proved the perfect time to trial Aussie brand, Invisible Zinc. The PR had kindly given me a selection of samples to trial but I opted for the Environmental Skin Protector SPF 30.

I'm something of a fanatic when it comes to SPF- I wear it every single day of the year, regardless of the weather in the quest to protect my skin against aging so new protectors do tend to grab my interest.
As a general rule, I prefer natural products so it stands to reason that I'd choose physical over chemical sunscreens but I have to admit that this is one of those areas where I don't mind if a product isn't particularly natural- I'm looking for results, without compromise.
Elle Macpherson is the face (& body, of course) of the brand in her homeland, Australia whilst it launched in the UK recently with mother & daughter, Jerry Hall & Georgia May Jagger as the spokeswomen. I'm not sure of the thought process behind this, other than grabbing attention in a busy marketplace and highlighting that it's a prestigious brand.
As the name suggests, Invisible Zinc is a physical sunscreen based on a high level (20%) of zinc to act as a barrier against both UVA & UVB rays. There is a tendancy for physical blocks to leave a ghostly white sheen and although there is no escaping this, it does what it says on the tin and is, for the main part invisible.
I've tried a lot of sunscreens in my time and have to admit that I was impressed with this product. The packaging is a little chunky for travel, with a sporty vibe- I'd prefer a slimline tube as opposed to this pump bottle but it is functional and for me, this is the only negative. The blurb states that it "feels like a moisturiser, works like a sunscreen" and I honestly can't think of a better way to describe it. It's a wonderfully, lightweight formula which is easy to apply, sinks into skin quickly and doesn't leave a greasy feeling. It really is a pleasure to use! I was impressed with protection offered- of course, everyone is different but I did feel that SPF 30 was perfect for my holiday in the sun. I haven't tried wearing this under make-up but I'm confident that it wouldn't be a problem, based on the texture and there are other products, e.g. powder or tinted moisturisers, within the range if this is how you'd prefer to wear your SPF.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

NARS Online Event

NARS onlineI've been sent details of an online NARS event and thought I'd share it for any fans of this fab make-up brand to check out.
Pitched as "Marcel Nars, the long-time companion (yes, that's the dog in the image above) of Founder and Creative Director, Francois Nars, is making a special virtual appearance on Twitter and Facebook."
You'll need to act fast and submit questions today to #MarcelNars at Twitter, which he'll answer tomorrow (22nd July) at 1pm EST. Alternatively, log onto Facebook tomorrow at 2pm EST and ask questions live. Only followers of @NARSissit will be able to submit questions (Twitter) or for Facebook, fans of the NARS group. You can submit any questions you desire, whether you wish to get a head's up on the hot looks for Autumn or how to achieve the perfect flawless base.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Product Review: Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser

As I suffer from dehydrated, sensitive skin, I asked one of my oily-skinned trusted testers to review Origins Deep Pore Cleanser with Saw Palmetto and Mint (£15 for 150ml) from the brand new Zero Oil Collection (launched this month). Here are her thoughts...

First impressions: I use Origins products within my regime anyway so am familiar with their philosophy. As with all of their products, the packaging leaves an impression of an environmentally friendly, natural and honest product. Being in a tube, the packaging is functional but it is bulky which isn't ideal for me as I travel a lot for work.
Use: I liked that it doesn't have an overpowering scent. It's a traditional cleansing gel style formula which doesn't lather much but is quick and easy to use. My skin didn't feel tight or dry after use which was a positive, as even though I suffer from oily skin, I don't like to feel as though my skin has been stripped of all its moisture.
Results: I was very pleased with the effects and the feeling of my skin after use. I would definately recommend it! Already being familiar with Origins products, I think I'd be prepared to spend between £20- £30 on this as the tube is a generous size and a little goes a long way. With this in mind, I'd say that it's a competitive product and if placed on the market targeting women like me, it would prove successful, particularly if available to buy in a bundle purchase with other products from the range.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Product Review: Famous Dave's Moisture Tan

Although I am naturally fair, I'm lucky in that I tan easily which means that my skin tone is quite versatile- pale & interesting suits me equally as well as a rich, honey tan. As a general rule, I tend to highlight my fair skin with glosses but come summer, I embrace my exotic side and experiment with fake tan. I'm not afraid of making mistakes, which is a blessing for a beauty writer and have had my fair share of streaky, tango-shade disasters (top tip: rubbing a freshly cut lemon helps to erase mistakes).

This week, I trialled Famous Dave's Moisture Tan. The American tanning brand has quickly gained a dedicated fan base so in this respect, I had high expectations although the fun packaging, with its circus inspired typeface did make me doubt how effective it would be at delivering a natural experience.

Following the law of fake tanning, I applied the lightweight formula to freshly exfoliated skin. I was impressed at how simple it was to apply using the handy mitt which the PR thoughtfully included in the package and the speed at which it dries onto skin. The presentation in a convenient pump bottle also cuts down on mess. The lotion isn't tinted so I'd say that the mitt is a necessary tool to ensure even application- there's not really any way of telling where you have or haven't already applied. There's no denying the inevitable "biscuit-y" odour as the tan develops but it certainly wasn't unbearable or as strong as I've experienced with some other brands.

The results really speak for themselves. I'm incredibly impressed with the natural shade (I don't resemble an oompa lumpa!!) which isn't dissimilar to the colour I normally tan and will be relying on this for beach prep throughout the summer.

£24.99 for 236ml at

Thursday 8 July 2010

Continuing travels of a beauty blogger...

Today, I created my own eau de parfum, with the help of a "nose" at the house of Galimard which was founded in 1747. Named after today's date as the ultimate souvenir, my summery fragrance contained my favourite aromas including top notes of refreshing grapefruit, blackcurrant, green tea and bergamot, followed by floral heart notes of violet, rose, gardenia, linden, pomegranate and a hint of fig with a warm, sweet base of vanilla, praline and oriental sandalwood.

I returned again to create a sensual, spicy blend for Mr. SkinDeep, which I'm hoping he'll like! Although his usual D&G choice is spicy, this has a greater depth. Again, my inspiration for the name came from a date, this time our anniversary (no excuses for forgetting now!). It was interesting to create a men's fragrance by comparison, with much more powerful scents and different concentrations employed. I chose a base of vanilla, vetiver and sandalwood followed by heavy, spicy heart notes of bamboo, carnation, wild jasmine and fig balanced by fresh, citrusy top notes including tomato, orange blossom, bergamot, lavender and physalis.

Unfortunately, on this visit, I ran out of time to visit the Musee International de la Parfumerie and perhaps, if I had, I would have viewed a selection of unusual or quirky bottles. Although I viewed antique examples on my various trips around the perfume houses, nothing in particular stood out. However, I am sure I will return. I've absolutely fallen in love with the "behind the scenes" creation of products and whilst I lack the patience and discipline (smoking, alcohol and spicy foods are all forbidden) to ever train as a "nose" myself, I have gained a deep admiration for those who do and will continue my interest in the manufacture of products.

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Travels of a Beauty Blogger

As a self-confessed fragrance addict, it has long been my dream to visit Grasse, France and, with my attendance at a friend's wedding in nearby Cannes, here I finally am. Heralded as the world's perfume capital, many renowned "noses" (of which there are only approx. 50 globally) have honed their craft here. The area's climate is ideal for the growing of rose, violet, tuberose and, perhaps most famously, jasmine.
Originally developed in order to disguise the offensive odours of the regions's historic leather tanning industry, the perfume industry has long since thrived here with historical visitors including Queen Victoria.
The town itself is long past its glory days with dilapidated buildings and a confusing traffic system.
Yesterday, I began at Molinard, which was founded in 1849. Here, I toured the premises, learning about the raw materials, distillation methods and bottling. I treated myself to a bottle of Iles d'or, from the 1930s, in the signature packaging originally designed by Lalique.
Heading onto the famous Fragonard, one of the oldest fragrance houses, I learnt in greater detail about the different notes of a scent as well as the families, e.g. floral, oriental, etc.. which fragrances are identified by. As anything with a hint of violet instantly captures my imagination, I treated myself to a bottle of Emilie parfum, a floral blend combining orange blossom, rose, jasmine, violet, lily of the valley, sandalwood and amber.
Overall, a wonderful day.

Wednesday 30 June 2010


Fittingly, my first blog post is about the new launch from Bourjois: UNE.

The range comprises approx. 150 products, boasting 98-100% natural formulas and eco-friendly packaging.

Upon receiving the samples to trial, my immediate impression was how sleek the packaging is. Reminiscent of technology with snappy slide-open functions, it is instantly desirable and appealing to the modern woman. In particular, I liked the generous mirrors which form the front of the packaging, making it convenient for travel or on-the-go touch-ups.

The PR thoughtfully sent me a selection of products suited to my colouring. Make no mistake, this isn't a brand for those who like to experiment with vibrant pigments. It's natural make-up in every sense and the press part of me wonders how UNE will develop and maintain interest. Having said this, they clearly understand their target customer and I can see this being a brand to quickly gain a loyal following after the initial curiosity purchase.

The products are a joy to use- smooth to apply with lasting formulas (although I did use a base of my beloved Lancome primer) and a variety of creams, powders, metallics, glosses and mattes, etc.. to suit a range of requirements. It's great to see that such a large cosmetics house has decided to launch a natural make-up range and proves just what a successful sector this market has become.

Although clearly set apart from the Bourjois brand in terms of packaging, etc.., my overall experience suggests that UNE will follow the philosophy of quality and value for money which has made Bourjois so well-loved. One to watch...

From £4.99 at

Tuesday 29 June 2010


As a professional beauty writer, I'm lucky enough to test hundreds of products. Via this blog, I intend to share my thoughts on many of these and promise to tell the no-holds-barred truth about all products... the good, the bad and the ugly. Enjoy!
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