Monday 28 February 2011

Who's the fairest of them all?

28th February to 13th March sees the annual Fairtrade Fortnight and to inspire, Skin Deep has selected a few Fairtrade beauty products.

First up is the deliciously pink Fairtrade Foot Lotion from Lush. It's the best foot moisturiser I've tried to date- choc-minty fresh and easily absorbed. Many foot creams claim to be revitalising but this really does the job & I can certainly attest to the fact that it's perfect for perking up tired feet after hours in killer heels. It contains almond oil so offers much needed super conditioning benefits after a winter of neglect. Every ingredient in Lush Fairtrade Foot Lotion which can be Fairtrade, is so you can be safe in the knowledge that you're not walking over others in the quest for tip top toes.

Next up, L'Occitane, a brand which I always consider to be quite ethical with Braille featuring on the packaging of many of their products and various charity initiatives. Many of their products comprise Shea Butter, including Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Scrub (accounting for 10% of the formula) which launched at the end of January. Scented like baby cream, the scrub has a wonderfully rich texture which feels cooling on skin. Despite the exfoliant being finely ground nutshells, it's not too abrasive, rinses easily and leaves skin feeling soft.
L'Occitane source Shea Butter from Burkina Faso in West Africa, where a women's cooperative works to produce the moisturising wonder ingredient. L'Occitane has worked with the women since the 1980s and the co-op has grown from approx 100 women to over 12,000!

Last but by no means least is Neal's Yard Remedies' Sensual Jasmine Body Oil which contains Fairtrade apricot and Brazil nut oils, the latter of which is sourced from Peru. Being obsessed with Latin America together with the fact that Jasmine is one of my favourite scents, this was always going to get the thumbs up from me and upon trialling, it didn't disappoint.

Saturday 26 February 2011

Speed Review: bareMinerals Cosmetics

This week I've been trialling some pieces from bareMinerals which I was sent to try. Mineral make-up tends to polarise the beauty community- people either love it or hate it. Even if you haven't gotten along with their bestselling foundation, I urge you to try the bareMinerals make-up range, particularly the eye colours which I'm sure would impress any make-up aficionado.

I've attempted some swatches to give a rough indication of colour but the camera really doesn't capture the irridescence or vibrancy of the shades. Hopefully my descriptions will help but please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section and I'll do my best to answer!

First up, I was sent three on-trend shades from the Eye Colour range.
bareMinerals' Eye Colour range is divided into three textures; A Glimmer of Eye Colour (high intensity sheen), A Glimpse of Eye Colour (soft & sheer with a touch of glow) and A Velvet of Eye Colour (the most opaque of the three).

A blue- Surprise- A Glimpse
A purple- Bloom- A Glimmer
A turquoise- Azure- A Glimmer

I used my bareEscentuals Double Ended Precision Brush, £24, to apply- a bit of a wonder tool which makes professional eye make-up easy to achieve.
I absolutely loved that the colours can be used dry (surprisingly little drop considering they are loose powders) or wet for a shock of intense colour. I even managed to use the shades as an eyeliner when applied wet with an appropriate brush. Inevitably, dry application gives a softer, more wearable finish and makes blending easier. I did like the idea of using them wet and would certainly consider this for a night out, particularly as the colours have good staying power.
I'd say Bloom was my least favourite of the three but purely because I loved the others so much- there's nothing wrong with Bloom but purple does need to be a very specific shade to work well on eyes and I didn't find that this suited my pale complexion very well. If anything, I prefered this one wet as it is then clear you're wearing make-up and not simply tired/ been punched!
I really liked the turquoise green of Azure. It needs to be carefully blended but has just the right amount of irridesence to prevent it looking too young.
By far my favourite of the three is Surprise, the most beautiful shimmery pale blue which looks absolutely stunning on eyes. I'm looking forward to creating a colourful twist on my signature smoky eye with this on my next night out.

The eye colours are £14 each which I feel is a fair price given the quality and versatility. A little goes a long way so they are sure to last for some time.

Left to right: Azure wet, Azure dry, Bloom wet, Bloom dry, Surprise wet, Surprise dry.

I also received Buxon Plumping Lip Polish in Kanani and Lip Colour in Red Velvet Cake.

The Lip Polish is a generous, chunky tube which seems quite young in its appeal. The colour looks like Barbie pink in the tube but is just subtle enough upon application- don't be too heavy handed as it has the potential to verge on WAG territory, especially with its hi-gloss finish. It has a sweet, caramel scent upon application. As with most lip plumps, the gloss tingles on the lips. I couldn't detect any significant plumping- I'd say the shiny finish gives the lips dimension and therefore the illusion of fullness. At £18, it's not something I'd personally go for but if you're into a glossy finish, you'd no doubt like this.

Again, the Lip Colour wasn't a shade I'd personally go for and I'm afraid that my photo hasn't captured the true colour successfully- despite looking like it has orange undertones, I noted brown instead. I'd describe it as a brick red which might look good on darker skin tones. The colour applied beautifully- I didn't bother with a brush, using it directly from the tube. I found it easy to control and liked the silky feeling. The lipstick wore well on my lips, lasting from morning to lunchtime.
bareMinerals lipsticks are presented in weighty black tubes which are priced at a fair £14.


Friday 25 February 2011

This week I'm loving....

...these adorable Letter Soaps from Jonny's Sister.

I stumbled across the site whilst browsing the internet one day & loved the concept. I think they'd make very cute gifts or welcome soaps placed in a guest bathroom & the scope for spelling out messages is infinite.
Jonny's Sister kindly sent me a soap to try, thoughtfully choosing to send my initial. The soap arrived presented in a gift box and I can honestly say that I was impressed with the quality. There's the option of a glycerin or vanilla & poppyseed soap- I tried the latter and they lather beautifully with a creamy texture and delicate scent. At £5.99 each, you may prefer to spell out a nickname than a long message but given that the soaps are handmade in the UK using the finest natural ingredients, I'd happily spend my cash with Jonny's Sister, particularly as it means supporting a small business.

Thursday 24 February 2011

Speed Review: Urban Decay 15 Year Anniversary Collection

Urban Decay isn't one of the big advertisers of the beauty world so they may not be the first brand to spring to mind when considering your next make-up purchase. However, they are one of my favourite brands and I'm yet to try a product of theirs which I don't adore. Don't be fooled by their fun packaging- the products are high quality and an absolute joy to use.

To celebrate 15 years in the business, Urban Decay have launched the 15 Year Anniversary Collection of 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencils and I was lucky enough to be sent a set to try.
The set contains 15 Glide-on Eye Pencils, 9 of which are existing shades with 6 new launches. I've tried each of them and written my own interpretation below.
I'm not normally a swatcher so I'm intrigued to see how you'll respond to this post- do let me know if it's something you'd like to see more of on Skin Deep but please don't judge the photography!

This photo was taken indoors without flash.

From left to right, per my photo:
Perversion- blackest black for impact & totally new
Zero- black, with much less pigmentation than Perversion
Uzi- a very pretty graphite with micro-glitter- new shade
Corrupt- deep brown, with subtle undertones of plum & micro-glitter- new 15 year shade
Bourbon- a very wearable brown bronze
Stray Dog- a softer version of Uzi- again, a new shade
Rockstar- aubergine shade with pink micro-glitter
Stash- absolutely stunning olive green with gold tones, my favourite
Mildew- metallic forest green
Electric- neon turquoise
Binge- a wearable navy but not highly pigmented
Ransom- matte purple
Asphyxia- a girly, pinky purple with turquoise micro-glitter- one of the newbies
Baked- gorgeous burnished golden which would look incredible on blondes
Midnight Cowboy- palest gold ideal for highlighting the tear ducts- another new shade; Urban Decay suggest using this as a crayon on the brow bone

Yet again, Urban Decay have surpassed my expectations. Although some of the shades aren't as pigmented as I'd like, most of the shades are bold and the pencils are very soft with no pull upon application. The waterproof formula is super long wearing, to the extent that I actually struggled to remove the colour using my usual eye make-up remover. I really like the detail in this set- the presentation is fantastic, there's a good range of colours from the everyday wearable to more daring & I like that it contains a double sharpener.
I have to admit to being a little shocked upon hearing the price- it's £60 which seems a lot for a make-up kit but when you consider the price of the pencils individually (£180 for the entire set), it actually works out at good value and would definitely be a good investment for an eye make-up fan.
Urban Decay will be launching a collectable anniversary edition every season of 2011... I literally cannot wait to see what the next set will comprise!

Monday 21 February 2011

Speed Review: Givenchy Photo'Perfexion Light

Givenchy Le Make Up is a recent re-discovery of mine. The brand is known for innovative packaging, with the introduction of Phenomen'Eyes Mascara leading the way in boundary breaking wands back in 2008. For Spring Summer 2011, they're causing a buzz in the beauty industry again with Blush Gelee, a sponge tipped jelly blush which is dabbed onto skin for a natural flush and Photo'Perfexion Light Foundation, which I was sent to try.

For years, I used the YSL Perfect Touch Radiant Brush Foundation so I'm accustomed to foundations which incorporate an applicator into the packaging. With the brush style applicator, I found that my base had tell tale brush streaks if I didn't blend thoroughly so I was intrigued to see how Givenchy's new foam tipped applicator would measure up.

I'm highly impressed with the application- it's super easy, blendable and gives a pro-finish. You simply give the bottle a sharp shake downwards, squeeze lightly (I was apprehensive about this but the flow is pretty steady) and massage onto the face using the foam tip. I really liked that the foam tip doesn't drag on skin. I do wonder how much wastage there will be and I don't like that it's lacking an on/off switch as I'd be nervous to use this on the go, which seems a shame given how functional it would be.

Photo'Perfexion gives a lightweight yet buildable coverage with light reflective particles- some may find this a little on the glittery side but it's very subtle and I adored the flawless finish. The formula of the foundation leaves a lovely velvety feeling on skin and it doesn't sit heavily at all. It's delicately scented, reminiscent of luxury skin creams which was a major plus point for me, together with the inclusion of SPF10.

The foundation is available in 6 shades and is priced at £30.50 which I think is a fair price, comparable to similar products.

Friday 18 February 2011


Want to get the inside track on Skin Deep? Head on over to Just Nice Things to read my interview.

This Week I'm Loving...

...bareMinerals Deep Cleansing Foam.

bareMinerals are adding to their bestselling line (their foundation has gained number one status in the US) with the introduction of a skincare range and I've been given a special sneak preview.

The basis of the range is RareMinerals Active Soil Complex. Yes, you read that right...soil, not something we're accustomed to slathering onto our faces! However strange it may seem at first, the science behind this actually makes a lot of sense. The idea being that fertile soil is laden with minerals, essential for living cells. As the press release explains, "The proprietary complex in our skincare line is extracted from effective, mineral-abundant soil... these minerals yield a densely rich, efficacious concentrate capable of transformational skin renewing benefits". I think it's incredibly clever how bareMinerals have incorporated this fundamental element behind their brand into the skincare and truly made it work.

This could all sound like science jargon and marketing spin if it wasn't for the fact that I've tried the skincare and it works! I'm loving the Deep Cleansing Foam (suitable for all skin types) so much that, weirdly, I've found myself looking forward to cleansing! It's a simple to follow regime which I believe is important in skincare to ensure you stick to it.
The packaging is a little.. meh. It's not offensive and I'm happy to have it in my bathroom but it's nothing groundbreaking. If I was being particularly fussy, I'd say that I'd prefer a flip top lid rather than a screw cap but being a tube, it's functional enough for purpose. If you're familiar with Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant, the earthy scent is similar to that. A little goes a long so I expect the tube will last for ages- providing great value for money! In actual fact, I think bareMinerals are selling themselves short by only charging £15 (for 119g) for this- obviously it's great for consumers but this feels so luxurious to use that I'd happily pay double. You only need to squeeze a pearl sized amount into your palm and add a little water to emulsify. It lathers up beautifully (due to the inclusion of a coconut based foaming ingredient) and definitely feels as though it's deep cleansing skin, leaving it feeling squeaky clean but not stripped. This is by far the best cleanser I've tried in a long time- not something I say lightly and is a product I'd be willing to fork out my hard earned cash on even if I hadn't received the sample.

The bareMinerals skincare range launches in Selfridges in April but then, they do say the best things come to those who wait..


Thursday 17 February 2011


Skin Deep has been interviewed by the lovely, Lady of the Lane. Check it out here.

Speed Review: Healthy Sexy Hair

This week, I've been trialling products from the Healthy range of American brand, Sexy Hair ( Frankly, who doesn't want that... But does it deliver on what the label says?

First up, a little background on the brand... Sexy Hair is known as a salon brand in the US but remains relatively unknown in the UK, although it is gaining salon distributors and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it soon becomes recognisable. The brand comprises seven ranges, named after their intended usage, such as the signature BigSexyHair (volume), ShortSexyHair, CurlySexyHair... you get the idea. HealthySexyHair is the first soy-based haircare line to launch in the industry, offering a high concentration of amino acids for the ultimate in hair nourishment.

I'm really impressed with the bright packaging which features bold text. There's something about it which reminds me of Toni & Guy/ TiGi in the early days, yet better and is around the same price point, starting at £2.75 for travel sizes with the standard products ranging from £9.85-£17.95. The packaging is in keeping with the young, fun side of the brand, easy to identify and something I'd happily have on display in my bathroom.

I was sent Reinvent Color Care Top Coat which is the latest addition to the range and is designed for use between colourings to revitalise hair. As pictured, it's presented in a functional tube and is pretty foolproof to use- simply apply to wet hair after shampoo & conditioner, leave for 3-5 minutes and rinse. The product is an opaque gelee texture which I didn't particularly like although it makes application simple. The scent is incredible- like a perfume! It feels a little weird to add a treatment after conditioner but Reinvent Color Care Top Coat offers good rinsability and didn't weigh my hair down at all. My hair was left silky soft although not especially smoothed. I don't have dyed hair but I did find that this brought out my natural red tones and Mr. SkinDeep even commented, describing it as "vibrant"! I used a generous amount but I'd say you'd get a fair number of uses out of the tube which is priced at a reasonable £12.99 for 150ml.
I also tried Soy Renewal Nourishing Styling Treatment, which at £17.95 for 125ml is the most expensive product in the range. I absolutely fell in love with this product and am currently in danger of pulling a muscle in my neck as I keep flicking my hair around! Initially, I wasn't sure what to expect from this product- it's a bit of a multi-tasker as you can use it as a pre-blow dry hair oil, on dry hair to smooth or leave on for 20mins as an intensive conditioning mask. Soy Renewal Nourishing Styling Treatment is a fairly thick oil which is jam-packed with wonder ingredients including the industry's current obsession, Moroccan Argan Oil. I used it in place of my Neil George Indian Gooseberry Oil ahead of blow-drying my hair and although it's a thicker formula than my usual product, I couldn't detect any residue on my hair once dried and although I have fine hair, it certainly didn't feel weighed down. The packaging is functional, although some may dislike that the bottle isn't transparent. The scent isn't the most pleasant but as it doesn't linger on hair, this didn't particularly bother me. I was somewhat cynical regarding the claims that it helps to reduce blow-drying time but it truly does! Apparently, the science behind this is that Argan Oil absorbs quickly into hair speeding the drying process. I was reassured to learn that this isn't caused by some damaging chemical and it's definitely a bonus to have a minute or so extra in the mornings! My hair was left feeling super soft and volumised. This product is my new obsession!
Although expensive, a little goes a long way and compared to similar products such as Moroccan Oil (which is £30.45 for 100ml), I actually feel that this is a very fair price. I'd highly recommend this product, particularly if you're a hair oil first timer.

I'm highly impressed following my first experience of SexyHair and can't wait to discover more from the range.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Beauty goes Pop!

London based beauty fans are in for a treat over the next few days with a very exciting pop-up shop catering to skincare needs.

Clarins are launching their first ever pop-up shop to celebrate the launch of the new Daily Energizers skincare range, aimed at the late teens to late twenties age range. Head to the venue for free skincare consultations and the chance to sample the range months before everyone else. Free Energy Recharger facials, lasting 40 minutes, will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, with six slots available daily and an additional 12 available with a £10 redeemable booking fee. If you're after tanning or nail advice, be sure to plan your visit for 23rd and 24th Feb, when there will be expert appearances between 1-6pm. There will also be a free juice and cappuccino bar so why not grab a few girlfriends and make a day of it?
The shop will be open from 17th- 26th February, located near Marylebone High Street at 10a, Blandford Street, London. W1U 4AZ


Tuesday 15 February 2011

Speed Review: Dirty Works Pore-fect Face Scrub

This week I was sent the new Dirty Works Pore-fect Face Scrub to trial.
My immediate impression was that the packagaing was far from unique. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but I have to wonder just how happy Soap & Glory are about Dirty Works' packaging. It's undeniably similar and if the two brands were placed alongside on a shop shelf, I'd have difficulty distinguishing where one ended and the other began. Having said this, lots of brands take inspiration from others so it's somewhat unfair to single out Dirty Works in this respect. Luckily, I really like this style of fun, girlie packaging and given how successful it has proven, I'm not alone. The scrub is presented in an easy to use tube and is priced at an affordable £4.99 for 125ml.
The scrub has a feminine, fruity scent with undertones of menthol which become more apparent once applied to the skin. It's a lightweight gel-cream texture with very small, non abrasive grains of jojoba beads. So far, so good.
You don't need to apply much but I have to say that I really didn't enjoy this being on my skin. It has an intense, tingly feeling which simply felt too strong for my sensitive skin. The scrub has a cooling effect on the skin and it's certainly refreshing for morning use. It is easy to rinse and once my skin had calmed down, I was impressed at how soft it was left feeling, almost plumped and glowing with radiance.
I'd recommend this for those with oily skin who suffer from blackheads but I'm afraid that anyone with sensitive skin, like myself, probably wouldn't find this best suited despite the positive end result.

Monday 14 February 2011

Skin Deep talks to...

Sally Marsh.

As a special Valentine's Day treat, it seems fitting that we're speaking to the founder of Bonbon Balms, the first artisan lipbalms by subsciption, guaranteed to keep your pout kissably soft year round!

Got an idea for a lipbalm flavour? Don't forget to comment with your suggestion!

SD: So, tell us about the decision to set up your own company..
SM: I've always wanted my own company and one day I decided to stop daydreaming and make it happen. The first step was to learn how to make lipbalm (very easy) but then came making good lipbalm (very hard!). All in all it took over a year to source the best ingredients, natural aromas and get Bonbon's secret formula just right.

SD: Why lipbalms?
SM: A big reason is that I'm a massive lipbalm lover myself. I also saw the potential to make a fun company that was a bit different. Each month Bonbon creates a new, limited edition flavour and sends these out to members of our lipbalm club. All our balms are handmade using only the loveliest natural ingredients and we have had great feedback from our customers.

SD: Where do you find your inspiration?
SM: All sorts of places.. art, blogs, other companies. I love the little things that put a smile on your face whether it's beautiful packaging, a fun idea or a company that goes that little bit further for its customers. Because these are the sorts of things I appreciate and enjoy, I try to incorporate these sorts of little details into Bonbon wherever possible.

SD: What struggles have you overcome in developing your business?
SM: So many things! In my quest to create the perfect lipbalm I made hundreds and hundreds of lipbalms and have had my fair share of lipbalm disasters along the way. In fact, every stage of starting a company has been more difficult and taken much longer than expected.

SD: What's the best thing about having your own beauty company?
SM: Apart from having a never ending supply of lipbalm, it's fun to be in charge! It's great having the final decision on things like how the Bonbon website looks, choosing which delicious flavours to include in our balms and finding different artists to work with.

SD: How do you see Bonbon progressing?
SM: I am really excited about the future of Bonbon. We've had great feedback in our first year and I want to build on this to make Bonbon even better. In the next year I want to work closely with customers to create new, more delicious flavours, create new packaging designs and maybe even make some new products that aren't lipbalm!

SD: What advice would you offer to someone thinking of setting up their own company?
SM: If you've always dreamed of running your own business then go for it. It is lots of hard work but you can get there if you take it one step at a time.

SD: What's your number one beauty tip?
SM: Take your vitamins! Your skin needs vitamins to help it stay supple and withstand the damage caused by pollution and age. Vitamins E (anti-oxidants) and Vitamin F (essential fatty acids) are especially good for the skin, as are beauty products that contain natural plant oils.

SD: If you weren't running Bonbon, what would you be doing as a career? SM: I do have another career working at a botanic garden. My work involves teaching children about the importance of plants, the environment and communities and of course, these are values shared by my company, Bonbon. As well as using only the highest quality natural ingredients, Bonbon always uses organic and fairtrade options whenever these are available.

SD: Finally, what does Skin Deep mean to you?
SM: Skin Deep is one of my favourite beauty blogs. The articles are honest and interesting and cover such an amazing range of topics from Brazilians (the waxing not the people) to £83,000 nail varnish. Love it! Actually that gives me an idea for a lipbalm...

Sunday 13 February 2011

Speed Review: Crabtree & Evelyn Citron

Crabtree & Evelyn have added to their bodycare with a range of five Citron products. I was sent the Body Scrub and Skin Indulging Body Souffle to trial.

It's time to put aside any preconceptions you may have of Crabtree & Evelyn. This range feels very current. The products look great with well considered packaging- a functional tube for the scrub and a tub for the souffle, both featuring a lemon illustration and presented in boxes.

I absolutely adore the scent- it's inspired by the Mediterranean and truly feels like a little reminder of summer which lingers delicately on the skin. The combination of Citron with coriander and honey definitely gives it a grown-up edge, adding something extra to the standard fruity offering.

The scrub is a lightweight creamy texture which can be applied directly to dry skin and feels incredibly nourishing. I found that I used quite a bit but this could simply be because I found it such a pleasure to use! The exfoliant aspect of the scrub is sunflower seed wax granules which are gently abrasive and similar to a salt exfoliant in terms of size and texture. The scent of the scrub is definitely more lemon-y than the souffle. It feels wonderfully freshening so ideal for use post-gym or in the mornings.

I like the idea of a souffle but it suggests that the cream would have a whipped texture- it doesn't. It's a rich body cream which absorbs easily although I found it left a greasy residue on my skin in the areas such as my legs where I'd applied a generous layer- you really don't need to use very much to leave skin feeling soft and conditioned.

The Body Scrub retails at £15 for and the Skin Indulging Body Souffle at £18 so definitely at the pricier end of high street brands. I think they can just about get away with this- the products do feel luxurious and have the added benefit of being free from nasties such as parabens, mineral oils, sulphates, etc.., something I'm always prepared to pay that little bit extra for. This would make a wonderful gift or treat for yourself. I'm highly impressed.

Saturday 12 February 2011

Speed Review: Dove Damage Therapy Intensive Repair Express Treatment Conditioner

Dove's new haircare range launched at the end of last year and I was sent a sample of the Damage Therapy Intensive Repair Express Treatment Conditioner (phew, what a mouthful!) to try. Designed as a treatment and a conditioner in one, Damage Therapy Intensive Repair Express Treatment Conditioner claims to "repair, nourish and condition to leave hair looking glossy & beautiful". So, what's the Skin Deep verdict?
First up, the packaging... it's presented in a functional tube in Dove's signature style. It doesn't feel particularly luxurious but I was happy enough to have it on display in my bathroom.
The conditioner itself is a thick cream and smells incredible, with a fresh, natural scent which is reminiscent of salon brands. I really like the idea that it combines a treatment with a daily conditioner.
A little goes a long way- the first time I used this, I applied too much which left my hair feeling greasy but having learnt from this, I used less and was highly impressed with the results. It offers good rinsability, leaving no residue. My hair felt a lot healthier with a glossy finish & it even seemed to seal my split ends!
I think this offers fantastic value at just £3.29 for 180ml- I'd be happy to pay double as it truly feels like a treat! I'd highly recommend this as an affordable luxury.

Friday 11 February 2011

This week I'm loving...

I've posted under the title "This week I'm loving" previously, on an ad-hoc basis with the most recent review being of Clarins' HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase. However, I've decided to make this a regular weekly post sharing quirky beauty items which have caught my attention. What do you think? Do you like this new twist?
This week, I stumbled across these awesome "Microphone Brushes" by Corioliss at £9.99 for a paddle brush seems very reasonable to me and the added fun element definitely appeals to my inner diva!


The Results Are In...

Thank you to all of those who entered my Love Your Skin Valentine's Giveaway. This competition is now closed.

I used a random number generator at to select the winner and can confirm that Alicia will be receiving the Fade Out skincare pack. Please kindly DM me with your details so that the company can post this directly to you.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Speed Review: Bourjois Volume Fast & Perfect Mascara

The trend for innovative mascaras shows no sign of slowing down and following launches with vibrating functions, lash growth ingredients and specialist wands, the latest gismo to hit the market is the rotating brush. Dior have already launched their take on the trend and although I consider myself open minded in terms of beauty prices, almost £30 for a mascara does seem a little excessive. With this in mind, I was delighted to learn that one of my favourite budget brands, Bourjois are also introducing a version which will be priced at a more affordable £11.99. The mascara won't launch until May but I've managed to get my hands on a tube to give you a sneak preview.

Bourjois mascaras currently retail between £6-£10 so, if I'm not mistaken, this will be the most expensive one to launch to date. Their mascaras do appear to be getting increasingly pricey but if this added profit is being reinvested into new, innovative launches then I'm not complaining!

The idea behind Bourjois' version is that you can achieve a flawless false lash volume effect in just 30 seconds with the rotation function ensuring that every lash is captured, separated and coated evenly from root to tip. The mascara is currently only launching in one shade, Starting Black.

I never really got on board with vibrating mascaras but nevertheless, was keen to give this a go.
The tube itself is chunky and weighted at one end where the battery lies. I wasn't overly keen on the checkerboard design but it certainly isn't offensive. The section where the mascara itself is contained is smaller than standard mascaras although would certainly provide sufficient quantity for the recommended 3 month lifetime of a mascara. The flip switch to power the rotation is easy to use- on in a clockwise rotation, on in an anti-clockwise rotation or off. At first I was a little baffled as to why the brush rotates in two directions although I did find it useful to reverse the rotation when applying to my left eye (I'm right handed). It's also handy for coating the tops of lashes when looking down. Basically, this mascara does what it says- it adds volume and lengthens, effectively capturing even the tiniest lashes and helping to open up the eyes and I have to say that I liked the effect, especially the glossy black finish. If you're not accustomed to wearing mascara, this may not be the choice for you as it doesn't feel weightless on the lashes and at first it's undeniably going to take longer than 30 seconds to achieve a flawless coat. By far the most impressive aspect of this mascara is that it didn't flake or smudge all day long yet was easy to remove when I was ready.
I'm not convinced that I'll be switching permanently from my good old fashioned "manual" mascara but this is certainly a fun gimic for those who are into make-up and at such a reasonable price, why not give it a go?!

Don't forget to enter my Valentine's Giveaway by clicking here.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Speed Review: Caudalie Premier Cru The Eye Cream

Caudalie, the French brand based around the antioxidant power of grapes, features in the personal bathrooms of many a beauty editor so it's not surprising that a new launch from them is always eagerly anticipated within the industry. Their latest launch is Premier Cru The Eye Cream.
Its predacessor, Premier Cru The Cream has sold almost a quarter of a million worldwide since launching and become the number one anti-aging cream in France. French women are as known for their enviably good skin as their chic wardrobes so this is no mean feat for any brand!

The packaging is everything I hope for in a product- sleek, luxurious and functional. At £48.50 for 15ml, it doesn't come cheap but I do believe that you should spend as much as you can afford to on skincare, eye creams in particular.
I don't necessarily feel ready to start using anti-aging products on my face as yet but I suffer from dehydrated skin which has meant the first signs of aging creeping in around my eyes. It is this delicate area which tends to be the first to show fine lines in most people so I feel that targeted products are a worthwhile investment. Caudalie Premier Cru The Eye Cream aims to target wrinkles, loss of elasticity, dehydration, malnourishment, dark circles, puffiness, dark spots and loss of radiance.
The cream itself is a lot thicker than the products I'm accustomed to applying to my eyes yet it feels lightweight on the skin and I didn't suffer any puffiness, as I have with other cream formulas... a big bonus for me. One pump dispenses sufficient cream for both eyes as a little goes a long way. As it's a richer formula than the serums I've opted for previously, I found that it took a while to sink into the skin but the trade-off was that my skin felt especially nourished and my dehydration issues were improved. I don't yet suffer from the other issues mentioned but given that Caudalie Premier Cru The Eye Cream has proven so successful in helping my eyecare concerns, I'd have no hesitation in recommending this product to either those looking to fight the first signs of aging to those with mature skin who need a little extra helping hand.

Don't forget to enter my Valentine's giveaway by clicking here.

Monday 7 February 2011

Love Your Skin Valentine's Giveaway: Fade Out

I'm delighted to announce the first ever Skin Deep Giveaway!
Fade Out is celebrating Valentine's Day by offering one lucky winner a skin care goodie pack comprised of Original Moisturising Cream and a Brightening Anti-Shadow Eye Cream, valued at approx. £20.
Whether you're prepping for that special date or planning on some singleton pampering, Fade Out will help to promote a glowing complexion and tackle issues such as dryness which are associated with wintery weather.

Fade Out is not a skin whitening cream- Skin Deep will NEVER promote such products- yet it works to even skin tone, target hyperpigmentation and visibly brighten. The range is suitable for both men & women and is available from Boots nationwide.
Fade Out White Original Moisturising Cream- staple product for all skin types. The perfect pick me up for dull complexions, used regularly, this must have treatment will leave you with a smoother, brighter, younger looking complexion.
Fade Out White Anti Shadow Brightening Eye Cream- formulated to reduce under eye circles and delay the signs of aging, this tinted eye cream contains light reflecting particles to instantly hide imperfections. Enriched with Vitamin A to hydrate and assist the production of collagen, helping the skin appear firmer.

The small print:
- To qualify for entry you must 1) Follow Skin Deep and 2) Add a comment to this post sharing a top tip for Valentine's Day pampering
- I will use a random number generator to select the winner. This will be announced on Skin Deep on Friday 11th February and the prize will be sent directly from a Fade Out representative. Entries will be accepted until 1pm (GMT) on 11th.
- The competition is only open to residents of the UK (& surrounding islands)

Friday 4 February 2011

Good enough to eat? Beautifully Delicious Strawberry & Pomegranate Review

The childlike part of me still gets a little excited at the thought of foodie beauty so I was delighted to be invited to try these products from wallet friendly brand, Beautifully Delicious.
The range encompasses various fruit inspired fragrances such as Papaya & Mango, Honey & Almond, Coconut & Shea and Strawberry & Pomegranate, as I was sent.
I think the bold packaging is suited to the brand and well considered, even featuring bite marks at the corner of the labels.
I rarely indulge in baths so tried the gel in the shower. I adored the unashamedly girlie pink colour and, being unaccustomed to SLS based shower gels (as, for the most part, I use natural shower gel these days), found it lathered beautifully. The scent isn't juicy and fruity as I had anticipated but reminiscent of strawberry sweeties. I couldn't detect any pomegranate although it's suitably pleasant while you use it, without lingering on skin and giving away your guilty beauty secret afterwards!
Of course, if you do like the scent, you can follow with the body butter, which has a delectable strawberry fragrance and is zestier than the shower gel. Compared with The Body Shop Body Butters, this has a softer texture akin to a very rich cream. It doesn't melt into skin and although I only used a small amount on my dry legs, it did take a while to rub in, with a ghostly white residue at first. The best thing about the body butter is that it doesn't feel greasy at all.
The Bath & Shower gel is a bargain at £2.99 for 500ml and the Body Butter is £4.99 for 200ml.

Like their foodie counterparts, I'd envisage using these products as an occasional treat to sweeten up my beauty regime. I view them as the childlike comfort food of the beauty world and although I opt for natural, results-driven products which work hard for me on a daily basis, I'll certainly be reaching for these when I need a pick-me-up.

Thursday 3 February 2011

Yves Saint Laurent Belle D'Opium Advert Banned

A decade after Yves Saint Laurent made history when Opium became one of the most complained about adverts following their provocative campaign featuring a naked Sophie Dahl, the brand is in hot water with the Advertising Standards Authority yet again. This time it's the new fragrance in the range, Belle D'Opium which is causing a stir, following complaints that the television advert glamourised drug use.

The advert for Belle D'Opium features French actress, Melanie Thierry dancing to a drum beat. She is then seen pointing to her inner elbow and running her finger along the insider of her forearm, which objectors have complained is suggestive of intravenous drug use. She is finally shown lying on the floor as the voiceover states, "I am your addiction. I am Belle d'Opium. The new fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent."
YSL have responded stating the the Opium name has been a registered trademark since 1977 and that the name Belle d'Opium was suggestive of the addictive qualities of the woman wearing the fragrance, rather than narcotics. Nonetheless, the thirteen complaints were considered sufficiently serious that the ASA has banned the advert being shown in its current form.

What do you think? Are YSL purposefully courting controversy following the legendary status of the Sophie Dahl ad? Are such complaints inevitable with the suggestive brand name? Do you find the advert offensive? Share your thoughts!

This week I'm loving... Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase

I was sent a sample of Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase at the end of last year and have been somewhat slow to review it, more fool me. I don't believe it's a new product from Clarins but a timely one as the PR promoted it as a winter skin saviour. Seeing as the freezing temperatures show no sign of leaving us anytime soon, it still feels appropriate to share this wonder product discovery with you. In fact, I can imagine this also being fantastic to soothe summer skin that may have caught the sun although it's not promoted as such.

The HydraQuench range is targeted at those with dehydrated skin, which includes me. For those interested in the science part, Clarins describe the range as "highly sophisticated climate control skincare products which harness the most powerful plant extracts from Madagascar to the Artic Circle to protect... An intensive hydrating and repairing formula of Fair Trade Katafray Bark extract, a new Hyaluronic Acid complex, Sorbier Bud extract, Omega-3 rich Inca Peanut oil, Red Algae, Artic Cloudberry, Pomegranate and Willow Herb extracts." The Serum is seen as the star product in the range and described as an SOS Intensive Treatment.

Throughout the winter, my regime had been to following my cleansing/ exfoliation with Creme de la Mer's Hydrating Infusion, then serum and finally moisturiser. To explain the Bi-Phase part of the name of Clarins' product, it's essentially a 2-in-1 product which combines the effects of my usual Hydrating Infusion with a serum. In real life terms this means that I get to skip a step in my skincare regime- definitely a bonus on cold winter mornings.
You may also be thinking that it's money saving, with Creme de la Mer being inextricably linked to pricey products (personally, I've always regarded them as good value for money) although as my calculations below show, on a ml basis, Clarins is practically double the price.

Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase £37.50 for 30ml (£125 for 100ml)
Creme de la Mer The Hydrating Infusion £80 for 125ml (£64 for 100ml)

Of course, this trial was never intended as a comparison, it's merely highlighted due to Creme de la Mer being the product I had been using beforehand. So, let's focus upon Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase...

The name in itself is something of a mouth full and may be off-putting due to sounding quite clinical. Please don't let this put you off- if your skin has been suffering with the cold weather, I can't recommend this product highly enough.
There's not a great deal to say about the packaging- it's typically Clarins and although small, I guess this is due to it being a specialist treatment product & highlights the intensity. Unlike traditional serums, this is a spray format which turns from a bluish liquid into a very lightweight gel-serum upon contact with skin. You only need a small amount and I found it applied beautifully. I didn't notice any obvious fragrance.
Within a very short time indeed of using the product, I noticed that my skin felt velvety soft with no dryness in the usual areas.
Yes, it's pricey but I really have been very impressed with this product. Love it!

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Speed Review: Naked Skincare

I'm a big fan of Naked. It took me a while to discover the brand but once I did, I was quickly converted. The products offer fantastic value for money, are a great way to try a greener approach to beauty and their shower gels are to die for.

I was sent products from their new skincare range to try...

My first impression was that the names are fun and quirky, in keeping with other products from the brand.

Perfect Getaway Cleanser is the first step in the regime.

I'm sorry to say that I absolutely hated the packaging- it simply didn't live up to my needs in terms of functionality. I found dispensing the product itself difficult- it's a flip top bottle as used for their shower gels. I can understand that this is a cost saving for the company, particularly whilst they see if the skincare will prove successful but this style simply doesn't lend itself well to the bottle format containing a relatively thick cream formula. When I did manage to dispense some of the product, I ended up with far more than I needed so on future uses, found it was easiest to unscrew the lid. Please Naked, can you replace with a pump?!

Having said that, wastage is hardly an issue at a bargainous £4.49 for 200ml. I think it offers great value for money so two very positive thumbs up for pricing!

Perfect Getaway is ideal for sensitive skin, such as mine. It's a gentle, cream cleanser in the traditional sense. In fact, it's so gentle that I found I was able to use it to remove light eye make-up. Those who wear heavy makeup may need to double cleanse. Perfect Getaway feels incredibly nourishing and I liked that you don't need to wash it off as I can find this too awakening in my pre-bed regime. I couldn't detect any scent, other than what you'd expect from a natural lotion.

Next up is the toner, Up Tone Girl.

This is a liquid formula in a squirty bottle which lends itself far better to usage. The design on the bottle is fairly basic- it might have been nice to reflect the unique name with an associated image- and I'd have preferred a transparent bottle in order to see how much product is remaining.
I don't usually use toner- if I feel I need something extra, I'll splash my skin with cold water & I keep a spritzer on my desk for use throughout the day so I was intrigued to see if this could convert me. I definitely felt that the extra step benefitted my skin as I initially experienced some minor breakouts (which I can only put down to the additional cleaning benefits). The product has quite a medicinal scent which I found surprising given the brand and although it's by no means offensive, I have to admit that I was expecting something more natural. I didn't particularly like the feeling of the residue which was left on my skin- whether this is down to my lack of experience with toners I'm not sure but I didn't find it especially nourishing and it left me wanting to further clean my face.
Having said this, I would recommend this toner as a good choose for those seeking value for money. A little goes a long way and although it's not going to add any luxury to your skincare regime, it would be a good everyday option.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Speed Review: Vie at Home Skin Sparkle Kit

Last weekend, I was extolling the benefits of regular exfoliation to a friend who claims never to have tried. Cue very puzzled, botox-free expression on my part.
I believe exfoliating to be anti-aging, helping to maintain clear pores, remove dulling dead skin cells, reduce pigmentation and, if all of the above aren't enough to convince you, exfoliating allows your lotions & potions to be better absorbed into the skin, thereby saving you money!
Said friend claims to put aside a Sunday night to indulge in a leisurely soak in the bath, cleanse & tone and a once weekly application of night cream. If she weren't so laid back, I'd be inclined not to believe her- she has great skin. However, I'll still be recommending she adds this kit to her Sunday Spa Night.

I was fascinated when I was sent the Skin Sparkle kit from Vie at Home which contains two tubes for a two-step home polish. The silver and white packaging looks clinical and gives no hint as to its bargain price at just £15.50 for the set.

The two tubes are Crystal Polish, rich in vitamin C and designed to remove the dulling dead skin cells and Energising Serum with salicylic acid. Don't be put off by the "Sparkle" name- this merely refers to the thorough exfoliation, not any glittery particles.

You may be familiar with Vie from the days when it was part of Richard Branson's Virgin empire. They've since parted company yet Vie lives on. It's never one of the first beauty companies I think of but I have to say, this trial has left me highly impressed and it proves that you shouldn't dismiss a product based on preconceptions of branding.

The on-pack instructions are clear and easy to follow.
Step 1: Massage the Crystal Polish onto clean, dry skin for one minute. Do not rinse.
Step 2: Massage a generous amount of gel on top of the polish. Rinse thoroughly after 2-3 minutes, pat skin dry and follow with moisturiser.

Crystal Polish is a thick balm style formula with very small grains suspended within it. In fact, it's so thick that I found it a little difficult to squeeze out of the tube! It has an incredible scent which no doubt comes from the inclusion of Sweet Orange Peel Oil. I really liked how it melts into skin. It actually reminds me a little of a facial version of Elemental Herbology's wonderful Beach Prep, if you're familiar with that.
The grains feel very gentle on the skin, I'd compare the granular texture to the product the hygenist uses when you have your teeth polished! You do need to use a fair amount to cover the face.
It definitely seems odd to apply the serum directly on top, without rinsing. The serum is a rather liquidy gel which creates a foam when applied onto the skin & seems to be the more tech-y of the two products. The packaging said to expect a slight warming sensation, although it was hardly noticable. I wouldn't say it's any more difficult to rinse away than any other exfoliator.

I'm impressed at how quick the treatment is to carry out and I liked the ritualistic aspect of using the two tubes. My skin was left feeling super soft, smooth and glowing and I can certainly see the benefits of the deeper, two-stage exfoliation.

I really cannot find fault with this kit. I'd recommend it to anyone looking to recreate a salon facial experience at home.
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