Thursday 28 April 2011

The second hottest ticket in town tomorrow..

Sorry for my silence over the past couple of days readers, I've been busily jumping on the Royal Wedding bandwagon along with the rest of the country. I know many people are divided in their opinions regarding tomorrow's big event (forget the dress, for me, it's all about seeing how Kate chooses to wear her hair) but being a dedicated Royalist, I couldn't resist bringing a bit of the Brit spirit to Skin Deep.

If you're still stuck for ideas on how to spend the extra day off, the beauty brands are here to help, with my favourite being this one:
Brit spa brand, Cowshed are getting into the spirit of things by hosting celebratory parties in their London stores. They will be serving Kiss Me Kate Bellini Cocktails (£7.50) and Strawberries & Cream (£4.50), offering "wedding" gifts with any Cowshed product purchase over £30 and mani-pedis from £28 (I'm obsessed with their manicures) all to a backdrop of the Royal Wedding on screen.

How are you planning on spending 29th April?

Sunday 24 April 2011

Blind Test: Natural Orange Flower Shower Gels

Following fantastic feedback after last month's Rosemary Mint Shampoo Blind Test, Skin Deep will now be featuring this as a monthly post. See? I listen to feedback so if there's something you'd like to see more of on here, don't forget to comment!
Continuing the theme of April showers, this month's Blind Test looks at Natural Orange Flower Shower Gels. Again, I've selected two shower gels and three independant blind testers, each of whom was handed a non branded sample of each to test, only being told that it was an Orange Flower Shower Gel.

First up, Liz Earle Orange Flower Botanical Body Wash, which retails at £11 for 200ml.

All of the testers liked this shower gel, commenting on its "fresh, zingy fragrance which was energising and awakening- lovely for after the gym", that "the fragrance also had a spa undertone" and "this smelt nice although fairly strong- it left a subtle scent on my skin. Although I'm not a big fan of the orange flower scent, I would definitely use this again, I really liked it!"
They liked that it "lathered well and richly" and "makes the skin feel smooth", also commenting that "the texture was fairly thick so it felt luxurious" and that it "washed off easily".

Next, NAKED Take Care Orange Blossom Body Wash, which retails at a wallet friendly £3.99 for 250ml and was awarded Best Shower Gel in my Skin Deep Beauty Awards 2010.

Testers commented that it is "very refreshing for use in the morning" and that it "leaves a lovely feeling of clean skin for the whole day- nice smell that remains on the skin". Not all of the testers noticed the lingering scent, with one stating "this smelt very strongly. I couldn't smell it on my skin afterwards but it did linger in the bathroom." The tester who mentioned not being a fan of orange flower fragrances said, "The smell is so overpowering I wouldn't use it again."
Other comments included "it lathered nicely and washed off easily".
One tester, who has oily skin, said "the only downside is perhaps the fact that it made my skin feel a little dry but it was not a problem as I always apply body lotion."


Saturday 23 April 2011

Sudocrem Competition

I know a lot of people swear by the nappy rash treatment, Sudocrem as an on-the-spot treatment. It's not something which has worked for me personally but my attention has been captured by their latest marketing initiative which combines my two loves- beauty and bags.

For a bit of fun, Sudocrem have teamed up with the UK's leading Bagologist (yes, there is such a job) to offer a limited number of free handbag readings so that you can see what the contents of your handbag say about you. To enter, just "like" then simply upload a clear photo of the contents of your handbag. Each weekday before 10th May 2011, three bags will be randomly selected to be "read" and the first 50 uploads will receive a free tube of Sudocrem Skin Care Cream.

So, what are your handbag essentials?

Speed Review: Clarins Instant Smooth Crystal Lip Balm

I just realised that without any intention at all, my blog has been very monochrome over the past week so wanted to inject some colour today.

I couldn't resist sharing details of the return of Clarins' bestselling Instant Smooth Crystal Lip Balm, back by popular demand from June. Apparently the brand's quickest selling limited edition lip formula ever, I've become absolutely hooked on the balm and can certainly see why they proved so popular the first time around. The balms are easy & smooth to apply in a classic lipstick bullet format and I love the juicy, lollipop transparency of each balm. From clear to a sheer hint of colour, there are three shades (Crystal Coral, Crystal Red and Crystal) with the coloured versions based on a lip caring plant based pigment, along with other hydrating ingredients. I can't stop applying the balm purely because it's such a joy to use- it's so moisturising that I certainly don't need to be using it to the extent that I am!

By far the most chic lipbalms which I've come across in a while, I'd definitely be willing to pay £16.50.

Friday 22 April 2011

This week I'm loving....


I stumbled across Wondercap on and was intrigued to try it as an easy fix for home deep conditioning. I always like to apply heat when treating my hair but faffing about with hot towels and hairdryers can take away from the indulgent aspect.
I was sent the Wondercap pack which contains the cap itself, a plastic shower cap and Guardian Angel mask. I thought it was well thought out, particularly the inclusion of the plastic shower cap to contain any mess.
Super easy to prepare- simply pop Wondercap into the microwave for about a minute & a half. It stays warm for 15 mins so is timed well to jump in the shower and shampoo hair ahead of applying the Guardian Angel treatment mask.
You only need a small amount of Guardian Angel. It's a gel-cream formula provided in a tube for easy application and contains henna to leave hair super shiny.
The cap feels quite heavy when first worn but it's relaxing and far more enjoyable to spend the time waiting for your hair mask to work sitting with a magazine as opposed to blasting hair with a hairdryer.
It took a while to rinse out the mask, although it's no worse than other products.
The treatment left my hair feeling soft & looking shiny, to the extent that friends even asked me what I'd done differently!
At £30, I feel it's a reasonable price given that the cap is reusable (it can also be used chilled to help headaches) & compared to the price of other hair mask products.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Speed Review: Sun-Believable

I really like Leighton Denny & trust his knowledge of the beauty industry, so despite not being overly into fake tan, my attention was captured when I heard he was involved in the development of new brand, Sun-Believable along with expert James Harknett.

The PR kindly sent me a Try Me Set, containing 100ml sizes of each of the core products: Scrub Me Body Exfoliator, Cream Me Body Moisturiser and Tan Me Self Tan Mousse in Medium, along with an applicator mitt all contained within a transparent bag. I really like that they've thought to include an applicator mitt and was impressed to note that this also comes with the Mousse if you buy the product individually. Admittedly, some of the black lint transferred onto my skin on the first use but for me, this wasn't a problem particularly being a one-off when the product was just opened. The set also contains a booklet filled with handy tips in addition to application instructions, keeping things pretty much foolproof for novices.
I like the sleek black packaging and actually prefer the functionality of the tube formats included in the Try Me Set. I've seen images of the individual Exfoliator & Body Moisturiser, both of which are presented in tubs.

First up, I used Scrub Me Body Exfoliator which is applied to dry skin then massaged off in the shower. It's a really thorough yet gentle exfoliator based on ground walnut shell and although I tend to prefer more pampering balm style formulas, I'd happily use this again even if I wasn't intending to follow with fake tan. The scent is slightly sweet and fruity. I decided not to fake tan my face so can't comment on the suitability of this for face, or the other products (I believe the Mousse can be used on the face).

As advised, I applied Cream Me Body Moisturiser in a light layer to danger zones such as elbows, ankles and knees. The cream is lightweight & easily absorbed.

Next up, Tan Me Self Tan Mousse.
The mousse is an awful colour- really quite scary with its green tint, however, this is the genius element which counteracts any orange hues from appearing. It also means that you can easily spot any areas you may have missed. The time taken to dry onto skin is comparable to other fake tans but the best thing is that it really doesn't have that distinctive, biscuity fake tan scent which so many others claim not to have, yet do. In spite of trying the medium shade, I adored the natural golden tan which this gave me- very believable and akin to the shade I naturally go if I've caught the sun. Even my mum couldn't believe that it was fake- and we all know how honest mums tend to be!

The Try Me Set retails at £35 so not cheap but I truly believe it's worth every penny. I'd say that it would last for a season given that you only need a little, especially of the exfoliator and cream.

I've never understood the appeal of fake tanning before- I like the premise behind it but before now, had never found a product to convince me 100%. I cannot stress enough just how impressed I am with this range- I really, really LOVE it. It's by far the best fake tan I've ever come across. My new summer essential!

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Speed Review: Naked Truth by Dr. Darren McKeown Face Renewal Mask

Naked Truth is a brand new range of five skincare products by cosmetic doctor, Dr. Darren Mckeown. Although I care about the ingredients within my products, I'd say the majority of my skincare is either from specialist or therapist brands as opposed to the signature ranges of cosmetic doctors. That's not to say I'm actively against cosmetic surgery and despite not feeling it's something I feel I need to explore at the moment, I'm within the "never say never" bracket. So, I was surprised at my desire to try the new range. I'd say part of that decision is down to the wonderful PR behind the launch and also the packaging, which has a slight feel of my beloved Eve Lom to it. It's very sleek and although it's clinical, it's desirable.
The concept behind the brand is that it only contains active ingredients which have been scientifically proven to improve skin's appearance, as the 29 year old doctor explains, "I chose the active ingredients based on the strength of scientific evidence to support their efficacy. I wanted to select the ingredients based on science rather than fiction and if there is no scientific evidence that an active works, then there is no room for it in my product. It's not that we don't believe in miracles, it's just that we're not sure they come in bottles."

The PR thoughtfully recommended that the Face Renewal Mask would be the best introduction to the range based on my skincare needs. Naked Truth Face Renewal Mask is descibed as a triple action mask designed for weekly use to exfoliate, boost radiance and soothe. The mask contains "finely crushed olive stones" as the exfoliant and I personally found the granules rather large. Having said this, I was surprised to find that in spite of my initial concerns, the olive stones didn't feel abrasive yet worked to thoroughly exfoliate. I absolutely adored the lightweight, whipped texture of the mask as well as the zesty scent. A little goes a long way so I feel that the price of £21.99 for 50ml is fair, particularly if compared to similar products. After 10-15minutes, the mask can be rinsed off. It doesn't dry on the skin but I liked how creamy the mask felt when rinsing off and I felt that this encouraged a massage action. Although I didn't see a noticable difference to the radiance of my skin, it did feel wonderfully softened and importantly, I found the mask enjoyable to use.

I think this brand may become one to watch, particularly as it offers such great value for money. I'm intrigued to see how it will develop in time. It's available online at Superdrug now and in their stores nationwide from 18th May. I have to say that I am surprised at the choice of distribution outlet and wonder how the brand will be received given this choice. What do you think?

Monday 18 April 2011

ASOS & Nivea Competition

I'm a big fan of ASOS so was excited to hear that they are partnering up with Nivea to celebrate the introduction of the skincare brand's new Invisible For Black & White Deodorant.

Based on the recognition that both black and white clothes can be affected by deodorant, from telltale white marks on black clothes and, on a more innovative note, those permanent yellow stains on white clothes, Nivea have developed a new deodorant, available in two fragrances and a choice of spray or roll-on format.
To celebrate the launch, ASOS have designed the perfect monochrome capsule collection inspired by the catwalk, with a competition offering the chance to win the entire range. For further details, click here.

Sunday 17 April 2011

Speed Review: Models Own Hi-Definer Mascara

There's been quite a lot going on over at Models Own recently with additions to the nailcare line and, launched last month, a new range of Hi-Definer Mascaras. There are four mascaras in the range, each colour coded. They are aimed at specific needs including a waterproof version, lengthening & curling mascara, a grow fast mascara and, as I was sent, Lashed-up Volumiser.
I like that the bright colour makes it stand out in a busy makeup bag. I'd have preferred the brush to be a little longer & although it's not the most volumising mascara I've tried, it gives good coverage and a wearable level of drama for daytime usage. I really like that the formula didn't clump or flake, yet was easily removed at the end of the day.
I'll be sticking to mascaras with greater "wow" factor for nights out but at £6, I'd happily use this as an affordable go-to option everyday.

Saturday 16 April 2011

This week I'm loving....

Firstly, I have to apologise for the delay in posting my This Week I'm Loving piece due to unforeseen circumstances- it'll be back to its usual Friday spot next week. Thanks for your patience.

I wanted to use my This Week I'm Loving space this week to highlight a very special charity, Give and Make Up & you'll also notice that although I don't have advertisers or an affiliate programme on Skin Deep, I have uploaded a banner showing support for the cause.

There are so many worthy charities out there & so while I don't want this to become too preachy a post, I would like to draw attention to a couple of stats. Rather shockingly, 2 women in the UK each week are murdered by a partner or ex-partner whilst 25% of all women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lifetime. Of course, this is totally unacceptable but it can be difficult to see a way in which you can help, given the inherrantly private nature of the abuse. Refuge & Women's Aid are two charities which have been specially set up to help these women and Give & Make Up has linked to them to provide everyday essential toiletries to those who need them the most.

They never ask for monetary donations so there's no hard sell & you can be safe in the knowledge that your donation isn't being spent on excessive admin costs. The charity is spearheaded by volunteers & all they ask is that you send any unwanted toiletries, tools & cosmetics to them. For hygiene reasons, they can't accept used items with wand applicators such as lipgloss or mascara but anything that you've used lightly & would still pass on to a friend is fine. Perhaps you've received an unwanted gift, received a gift with purchase or ordered a not-quite-right shade online, don't let it go to waste as many women escaping from an abusive relationship do not have time to think about packing toiletries.
Aside from the practical aspects, I do feel that taking the time to pamper yourself, even if it's as basic as massaging in a body lotion, is beneficial to the way in which you feel, whilst applying make-up can provide a much-needed confidence boost, particularly to those starting over.

For further information, please visit

Thursday 14 April 2011

Speed Review: Superdrug Ooh la Spa

Quite a few beauty brands have been introducing home spa ranges recently, with the latest being Superdrug. Their new Ooh la Spa range features a comprehensive range of products for both face and body.

I was sent products from their bathing range: Keep It Clean Body Wash, Take A Dip Bath Soak and Moisture Boost Body Butter.

I'd have liked to have seen more thought go into the packaging- aside from the bright colour and bold font screaming out what the product is, there's little else & I felt that this gave a first impression of cheapness. For example, I wouldn't be inclined to buy a selection of these products and make up a gift set, whereas there are other reasonably priced brands which successfully combine affordability with desirability. Having said this, the packaging is functional and I like that there's also a choice of travel sizes and accessories.

First up, I tried Keep It Clean Body Wash and have to say that I was disappointed. The cream gel lathers well but I didn't particularly like the scent which is very synthetic. Although it's affordable at £3.49, I feel that there are nicer shower gels than this even if you're on a budget.
Take a Dip Bath Soak isn't the most luxurious product but I do feel that it's a pleasant treat for those on a budget. It creates a fair amount of bubbles and I'd say it's more invigorating than relaxing. Skin was left feeling softened.
Which brings me nicely onto... Moisture Boost Body Butter.
The body butter is nice enough & I particularly liked the whipped texture which meant that it was more readily absorbed than most butters, without a greasy residue. I'm surprised that there's also a souffle in the range, given the texture of the butter but I do like that there's an option of moisturisers, also including a lotion & a dry oil. It left my skin feeling conditioned & I was impressed at how long-lasting these effects were. However, I need something more, with a results focus to take an everyday essential into pampering home spa treat and to say it's branded as Ooh la Spa, I simply don't think it delivers on this. Having said that, I'd happily recommend this as a daily moisturiser for those on a budget, particularly as I feel it offers good value for money.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Speed Review: Rituals No. 4 Violet & White Lily EDP

Rituals perfume review
Rituals introduced their first range of fragrances at the end of last year to coincide with their 10th anniversary. Founder & CEO, Raymond Cloosterman, explained, "We have collaborated with the best perfumers to realise our dream through the creation of exclusive and extraordinary perfumes. We're very pleased with the result: a wardrobe of luxurious scents based on natural ingredients and using only organic alcohol."
I was sent fragrance No. 4 Violet & White Lily EDP to try and I've been spritzing the EDP on quite a bit over the past few weeks as it's wonderfully lightweight and wearable for spring.

I love the sleek packaging which feels a lot more luxurious and well thought out than I anticipated. Admittedly, it looks rather similar to the DSquared2 fragrances with the wooden top contrasting the glass & mirrored bottle.

Violet is one of my favourite scents although it can be quite sweet & not to everybody's taste. I can just about detect it in the initial notes of this, although it's very subtle & not sweet as in other fragrances. I'd say that if you like white florals then this would be a good option for you for the new season, without having to move into citrus or aquatic territory.
For some reason, the scent simply didn't last on my skin- not something I normally experience & particularly not with eau de parfums so I found this disappointing.

At £34.90 for 50ml, the fragrance isn't cheap- the price point sets it amoungst designer perfumes rather than high street offerings & I wonder how well the range will do given that it's set itself a challenge against giants with huge advertising budgets.

In addition to No. 4 Violet & White Lily, there are four other fragrances for women, all of which sound very tempting & I hope to try in due course: No. 1 Ginger Essence & White Tea, No. 7 White Patchouli & Cedarwood, No. 9 Vanilla Drops & Sweet Orange, No. 18 Sandalwood & Wild Rose, and three fragrances for men.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Speed Review: Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipshines

For lipsticks, Chanel is the brand that I come back to time and again whether I'm seeking out an everyday nude or the perfect statement red. For spring, I'm absolutely hooked on the feminine shades from the new Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipshines.

Unlike my other Chanel lipsticks, these are presented in a stick format rather than the logo-embossed bullets which I love. However, I think it works well as the Lipshines are an easy-to-apply formula which lends itself to this- the sheer colour glides on so the precise application that the bullets give isn't as necessary.

They aren't the most long-lasting of colours but they live up to their hydrating claims, which is more important to me.

I've swatched the shades that I was sent- No. 55, Romance, No. 56, Chance and No. 62 Monte Carlo below. Please excuse the lighting in my photos- I hope they give an indication of the colours, however, in reality they are sheerer than in the swatches (although the colour is buildable) as I applied a few coats in order to capture the different shades.
I'd love to know what you think so don't forget to comment below!

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Lipstick review

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Lipstick swatches

Saturday 9 April 2011

Speed Review: Connock London Kukui Oil Comforting Body Wash

Personally, I expect my April showers to be of the pampering variety- being caught in a rainy downpour simply doesn't appeal.
I've been wanting to run this post for a while, ever since my monthly expert interview in March with Amanda Connock. As you can no doubt imagine, I've tried a LOT of shower gels in my time, from natural to budget & high end options but never before have I been wowed by the packaging to the extent I was when I first saw Connock London's Kukui Oil Comforting Body Wash. It is so sleek and combines functionality with a luxurious weightiness- I'd like all my shower gels to be packaged like this.

Connock London Body Wash review

I didn't expect the fragrance to be as floral as it is but that's not to say that I didn't like it. I could also detect fresh, aquatic notes. It definitely feels expensive and I liked that the scent lingered delicately on my skin afterwards.

I'd have preferred this to omit the parabens but that's down to personal choice, although the minimalist packaging would work so well with a stripped back, natural approach that it seems a shame. Although pricey at £22.50, you do get a generous 300ml and I'm all for adding a touch of luxury to something as otherwise mundane as an everyday shower.

It's definitely difficult to remember that Connock London is less than a year old- if they can achieve these high standards in such a short time then this is sure to be a brand to watch.

Friday 8 April 2011

This week I'm loving....

4711 Cologne review
Muelhens 4711 Eau de Cologne.
4711 is cited as the original Eau de Cologne, dating all the way back to 1792. It's something of an icon, with Napolean reportedly being a fan & Holly Golightly wearing it in Truman Capote's book, Breakfast at Tiffany's. 
I absolutely love that it's steeped in such heritage and is a step away from today's fragrances. The unusual turquoise and gold bottle, complete with seal reiterates this.
I've tried spritzer perfumes, ones you dab on and solid fragranes before but this was my first experience with a splash cologne & it felt strange to apply so liberally. The scent itself is wonderfully refreshing, a blend of citrus, lavender and rosemary with neroli being the most evident to my nose. It isn't particularly long lasting but I've come to quite enjoy the ritual of applying so that isn't a huge issue for me. I'm planning on wearing this throughout the summer. It's perfect for the new season and the best thing about it is that it's so reasonably priced. The only trouble is that it's unisex so I'm hoping Mr. Skin Deep doesn't decide to pilfer too much of it!


Wednesday 6 April 2011

Speed Review: Clarins Extra-Firming Body Cream

An ex-boyfriend's mum first introduced me to Clarins' bodycare range and although the relationship wasn't to be, my love affair with Clarins has been rather more successful. I really like the results driven products, particularly the treatment oils and am always excited to hear about a new addition to the range.
In time for summer, Clarins have added two new firming products to their bodycare range: Extra-Firming Body Lotion and Extra-Firming Body Cream, as I was sent to try. Regardless of the texture you prefer, both products retail for £39.50 for 200ml which I'd say is pretty standard for the brand. I don't feel it's necessary to comment on the packaging other than to say it's in Clarins' signature style, which the majority of people are familiar with.
The cream itself is pale apricot in colour, with a luxurious scent and a very thick texture, almost like a butter. In spite of this, it absorbed into my skin quickly and I was impressed that it left absolutely no greasy residue, meaning I could get dressed quickly. The Cream is packed with beneficial ingredients such as Lemon Thyme extract, Shea Butter & Hazelnut Oil. My skin felt wonderfully conditioned from first use and although it took more time to notice the firming benefits, the fact that it's such a pleasant product to use meant that I actually stuck with the regime.
It's not a miracle worker but I've really enjoyed using Clarins Extra-Firming Body Cream, yet another product which has lived up to my high expectations from the brand.
Clarins Extra Firming Body Cream review

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Speed Review: Skin Science

Skin Science is a new skincare range from Norway, with ingredients inspired by the marine life found around the country's Arctic coast. For reasons entirely unsubstantiated, I always think of Scandinavian women as having beautiful skin so this launch immediately caught my attention.
Apparently, Skin Science has been proven to delay skin ageing by up to 20% and it's undeniably a science-led range, as the name suggests. The key ingredients all have techy names and various anti-ageing benefits, as follows:

Omegatri, which sounds suspiciously like the contrived bacteria names in advertising for healthy yoghurts, is high in Omega-3 oils and is sourced from Atlantic salmon whose oils are similar to those found naturally in the human body.

Zonase X. Despite working in freezing temperatures, salmon hatchery workers have unusually smooth hands, the result of this gently exfoliating ingredient which is produced by salmon embryos.

LEX, derived from salmon roe, is rich in growth factors that have been shown to boost collagen production by up to 600% in just 8 days

Quicklift which has a botox-like effect, leaving skin firmed and smooth

Lastly, not to mention rather disconcertingly, Spermine. After 25 years of research, scientists have synthesized a lab version which has been shown to be an effective skin protectant. I can't bring myself to comment further.

The range comprises six core products, from which I was sent Skin Science Bio Active 24hr Protective Complex Cream SPF15 and Skin Science Bio Active Eye Contour Complex Cream to try.
My first impression was that the boxes are excessively large which I found quite off-putting. Having said this, the packaging of the products inside is fab & well considered- tubes with pump dispensers which will be ideal for travel.
The ingredients list isn't for those of a delicate constitution but the products themselves give no hint to this. I'm not particularly squeamish about trying new products on my face and my thinking is that if a diet rich in oily fish is good for you, then topical application can't hurt surely? Besides, there's no fishy scent and the texture is luxurious. In particular, I liked the texture of the Eye Contour Complex Cream- it's silky & lightweight, absorbs easily into skin and doesn't cause any puffiness. It's pricey at £75 for just 15ml and I wouldn't say that it's knocked my favourite Creme de la Mer Eye Concentrate off the top spot although it is over £50 cheaper.

Skin Science review
Skin Science Bio Active 24hr Protective Complex Cream is £85 for 50ml. The tube is going to last for a fair amount of time as a little goes a long way- you only need one-two pumps to generously cover the entire face and neck. I like that it contains SPF 15 yet still feels like a luxury cream, without heaviness.
I personally prefer a separate SPF day cream and an intensive night treatment cream so I only used this during the day but was pleased with the results nonetheless.

Skin Science review

I really like what I've seen so far of this range- I think it suits my skincare needs well, helping to protect against the first signs of ageing without overwhelming skin with ingredients it doesn't yet need and would happily recommend it.

Monday 4 April 2011

Speed Review: Fudge Urban

Salon haircare brand, Fudge have launched their first retail line, Fudge Urban exclusively available in Superdrug. The range comprises 11 unisex styling products, priced around the £6 mark.
I was sent Messy Stuff and Instant Smoothie to try.

Fudge Urban Messy Stuff review
Messy Stuff is a blow dry creme designed to create the messy look. It is presented in a rectangular, matte tin, not much bigger (although it is wider) than a credit card. It opens like a book to reveal the creme which has a strong, fruity scent just like tropical fruit juice. I really liked the fun, edgy packaging and the bright orange and pink colours.
I used a small, pea sized amount, warmed in my palms & then scrunched through hair. A little goes a long way so I think the tub represents good value for money.
It works well to create beachy waves without the feel of any residue. My hair felt soft and not weighed down and it brushed out easily. The scent didn't linger in my hair.

Fudge Urban Instant Smoothie review
Instant Smoothie is a post hot iron smoothing spray. Again, the packaging is edgy yet functional. It's easy to use- simply spritz onto hair after using straighteners. I loved the summery scent- reminiscent of '80s tanning oils (which I know is naf but I love any hint of summer) & this scent does linger on the hair. I liked that it did what it said- smoothed flyaways, however, I've used other products in the past which provide better shine.
Although I liked Instant Smoothie, I'd probably be inclined to wait until it's on offer to buy as I think the price is a little steep for the product.

Sunday 3 April 2011

Skin Deep talks to...

Mother & Daughter team, Janice & Rosie Hards of Hards PR.

Janice worked in PR for a number of years, starting at Marks & Spencer, before co-founding Hards PR in 1999. Ten years later, it seemed an obvious choice for Rosie to join the business when she finished her Media and Cultural Studies degree at Sussex University.

Hards PR

SD: What's the best thing about working together?
JH: There's an unspoken trust in each other. We are similar in our attention to detail so I know that whatever Rosie is working on will be done to the highest standard. I would say we have a closer relationship too. And of course, as it's a family business we are working for a common goal.
RH: Since working together I would say we have gotten a lot closer. It's nice working with someone you already know and trust and with the business in the family name, we both always have its best interests at heart.

SD: And the worst?
JH: It's a 24/7 relationship! Having said that we do have independant lives as well.
RH: Probably trying to have two different relationships- a work relationship and a mother-daughter relationship. When she tells me to do something I don't want to outside the office as my mum, I won't do it, or at least I'll make a fuss but inside the office, as my boss, I have to shut up & get on with it!

SD: What beauty memories do you share?
JH: Having our eyebrows done by the lovely Shavata at her Brow Studio at Urban Retreat, Harrods. Shavata is such a genuinely lovely person and the best in her field. We both had our eyebrows shaped by her before wandering off for a look around Harrods.
RH: We go to Center Parcs in Elveden Forest every year for a long weekend and always go to the Aqua Sana Spa. The steam rooms, foot baths and outside pool are so relaxing. We always make time for treatments too and have tried everything from an Elemis facial to Hopi ear candles.

SD: Are you similar in your product choices?
JH: Yes, in many aspects although I guess I veer more towards anti-ageing where skincare- or anything- is concerned! Not something that Rosie has to worry about for quite a while. Where we are similar we go for a mix of natural and science led products. On the natural side we love Trilogy, Origins and Balance Me (we love the body washes). Science led, we like Crystal Clear, L'Oreal and Strivectin. Max Factor Second Skin Foundation is a particular favourite of us both too.
RH: We have different skin types so different skin concerns but we're the same in that we like to use a mix of both natural and science-based ranges. I'm still trying to find what works best for my combination skin so I go through lots of different products. At the moment I'm using Clinique Anti-Blemish solutions range which I really love. The Cleansing Foam and the Clearing Moisturiser are amazing. The one range I always go back to, which we both love, is Crystal Clear.

SD: What product do you pilfer from your daughter?
JH: Her intensive hair treatments! A few years ago, Rosie bleached her hair but as it is so fine the bleaching dried out her hair and made it brittle so it broke easily. She started using intensive hair treatments to get her hair back into shape. I'd never really bothered with any extra hair treatments other than shampoo and everyday conditioner but seeing the effect they had on her hair tempted me to have a go.
SD: And from your mother?
RH: I used to take her Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner all the time until she got me it for Christmas! Now I take her Origins Ginger Body Scrub and Balance Me Shower Gel whenever I'm having a bath- there's not much she can do about it with the door locked!

SD: Any brand discoveries through your daughter?
JH: Aussie! The 3 Minute Miracle Reconstuctor in particular (initially bought because of the bleached hair problem) but also their Aussome Volume Shampoo & Conditioner. Volume shampoos and conditioners are a relatively new find. We both have fine hair so this is our new obsession!
SD: And through your mother?
RH: Yes, she told me about the one product I couldn't live without- Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. You can use it for EVERYTHING! I especially like using it as a lipbalm and take it with me everywhere I go. Years ago, before I went to Benicassim festival in Spain, she also gave me a bottle of Batisse Dry Shampoo and I've been buying it ever since. It's great for those "I can't be bothered" days.

SD: What's the best beauty tip you've picked up from your daughter?
JH: Use a base coat and top coat when painting nails! I used to bite my nails (I hold my hands up to this one- or rather, I didn't!) but when I broke my wrist last year and had my arm in a cast, the nails on that hand had a chance to finally grow. So rather than have mis-matched hands, I grew the nails on my other hand and for the first time in years I can now paint my nails. Such was the excitement, having loved the look of the nail colours over the seasons that I could now finally use them, I dived straight in with the colour but was disappointed when the polish started to chip after a day or so. Cue Rosie reminding me to use a base and top coat...
SD: And from your mother?RH: She's always told me about the importance of sunscreen since I was very young, especially because I have such pale skin. Being asked to put some on all the time used to drive me crazy when I was growing up but now I can see why she did. Sunscreen is not somethig you should just apply in the summer but something you should be using everyday. Nothing is more ageing than the sun's UV rays. Marks and Spencer has a good range of moisturisers with SPF. I especially like the Formula Age Defence Vitamin C Summer Glow Day Cream, not only does it protect your skin with SPF15 but it gives you a nice golden glow too.

SD: What would you change about your daughter's style?
JH: Nothing really. Rosie goes for a natural look by day and full-on smoky eye- jet black eyeliner, eyeshadow and mascara- for evening, which has always been my favourite look too. Rosie has a really effortless style which I admire.
SD: And your mother's?
RH: The only thing I can think of is I would maybe like to see her using a little bit more colour when it comes to make-up but that's something I would change in myself too. We both always go for black and neutral shades but she can apply things like tangerine lipstick and look amazing! It's the same with our clothes too- our wardrobes are over 70% black!

SD: It's Mothers' Day today- what are your top tips for a mother-daughter day out?
JH: Obvious, I know but there's nothing like a day out shopping! We tend to go off to Bluewater together and stop off at Yo! Sushi along the way round, with Rosie paying! It helps that we tend to like going in the same shops too like Topshop, All Saints and Urban Outfitters. Or other than that- get a dog! Rosie and I have had some lovely walks in nearby Greenwich Park with Poppy, our pug puppy.
RH: Bluewater also has a cinema so if something good is on, we might put our shopped-out feet up there!

SD: Finally, what does Skin Deep mean to you?
JH: Refreshingly honest reviews with a fresh perspective. I love the eclectic mix of big brands with smaller names that you may not already have heard of. It's always exciting to get the latest post straight to my inbox.
RH: As part of our job, we are always on the look out for good beauty blogs and Skin Deep is one of them. I like the mix of news, interviews and reviews that are always interesting, helpful and reliable. It was only a week ago that I ordered Nailease Instant Manicure Varnish strips after reading about them on the blog.


Saturday 2 April 2011

Speed Review: The Sanctuary Trim & Tone Body Wrap

The Sanctuary Body Wrap review

Summer is officially approaching and my inbox is increasingly being filled with Beach Prep press releases. One which did catch my attention was from the PR for The Sanctuary, suggesting their Professional Body Care Range and I was sent their Trim & Tone Body Wrap to try for myself. At £25.52, it's designed for those who want to recreate the effects of a spa treatment at home, for less. I'd say you get approx. 2 uses out of the kit so it represents good value for money compared to a professional treatment.
I really like that the kit includes everything you need to perform the treatment, from an exfoliating loofah mitt to a tape measure, which shows that it's been well thought out.
The instuctions are very clear and easy to follow. You start by measuring the areas you wish to treat, marking your skin so you can measure the same area after the treatment. Next you exfoliate on clean, dry skin and during this process, soak the bandages (still rolled) in warm water. Then, simply slather on the fresh scented clay, which is easy enough although undeniably a messy process before wrapping the bandages on (which thoughtfully have velcro strips attached for easy securing). 
It's actually the next part which I struggled with the most and which I think is the flaw in this treatment- you have to relax in a warm environment and sit still for a minimum of 60 minutes. I appreciate that this is important so that the treatment can work and that you'll see results but I don't know many women who have a spare 60 minutes to spend sitting around (in addition to the time consuming preparation). I found it surprisingly difficult to do this in my own home as I kept thinking of chores I could be doing whereas had I been at a spa, I'd have had no choice but to relax.
When it came to remove the bandages, I have to say that I didn't have particularly high expectations that it would have delivered results. I was pleasantly surprised to immediately notice that my thighs were looking firmed, making cellulite appear less visible. When I came to measure myself, I noted that I'd lost 6cm across the areas I'd treated (stomach and thighs- the treatment can also be used on the arms), impressive for a home treatment!


Friday 1 April 2011

This week I'm loving....

Fool-proof styling from Goody Simple Styles.

Goody hair accessory

Ok, so I grant you that they don't look like much but this is no 1st April joke- the only nod to the date is that these unassuming grips make hair styling simply fool-proof.
I'm no expert when it comes to hairstyling & tend to rely on a few tried & trusted styles with a focus upon speed & easiness to achieve.
Goody Simple Styles, which hails from the US, is a range of four styling accessories each priced at a very reasonable £4.99. Much cheaper than booking a stylist appointment & reusable! Admittedly, you're going to need to practise ahead of a special occasion but the great thing about Goody Simple Styles is that you can achieve such a wide range of styles & they suit all hair types.
The "hero" product from Goody Simple Styles is the Spin Pin, the spiral tool from the image above, which is approximately the size of a lipstick and provides the hold of 20 bobby pins. It makes chignons an absolute breeze to create- no need for any other accessories & that includes hair elastics. The instructions which come with the tool are clear & I like that there are handy hints as well. This was my favourite of the products I was sent, particularly due to the strong hold and the fact it makes styling quicker than if you're to faff about with kirby grips.
I was also sent the Volume Boost Comb to try which slips under hair to create a padding when you want to create a quiff or 60's style updo. As it's available in different shades, this can be blended into hair so noone will be any the wiser! I'm more adept at creating volume so found this less relevant for my personal needs, although it's still a simple yet effective product.

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