Tuesday 24 May 2011

Speed Review: Urban Decay Meltdown Makeup Remover

Urban Decay is one of my favourite cosmetics brands so I'm always excited to hear about a new launch from them. Meltdown Makeup Remover has been specially developed to remove the long-lasting eye makeup which the brand is renowned for. As far as I'm aware, this is the first skincare specific product from the brand and being a skincare addict, I'm keen to find out if this is a sign of things to come.
The product is nice enough and if it were from any other brand, perhaps my expectations wouldn't be so high but I was disappointed not to fall in love with this, as I have with pretty much every other Urban Decay product.
My first complaint and a big bugbear of mine is that the instructions are pretty much non-existant. I'm not sure if this is because I was testing a sample. I applied the gel-cream to my eyes (dry), massaged in gently and wiped away. I found that I had to double cleanse in order to remove my (not particularly heavy) eye makeup so time wise, I'd say oil based or liquid eye makeup removers are more efficient. Having said this, I really liked the texture- it felt nourishing yet sufficiently gentle and lightweight to use on the eye area without any puffiness. Even the next morning, the skin around my eyes still felt conditioned.
It's a pleasant enough product but given the price, I probably wouldn't rush out and repurchase. Instead, I'll continue to budget on eye makeup removers and prefer to invest in one of Urban Decay's uber desirable palettes instead.

Sunday 22 May 2011

Speed Review: Dirty Works Get Glowing Shimmer Puff

I'm not normally into talcs and powders with my favourite formula being oils but when the press release for this pretty puff from Dirty Works landed in my inbox, my attention was captured.
The packaging is perfect, unashamedly girlie and simply screaming out for a vintage style dressing table. When I removed the puff from the cardboard tub, I was surprised at the lack of powder underneath- it turns out that the shimmer is ingrained within the puff itself. Pretty clever as it certainly helps to contain any mess. I really enjoyed the glamourous old-style ritual of applying the powder with the puff and loved the delicate, feminine scent. I had originally imagined the powder to be pale and irridiscent so I was surprised that it's gold and very glittery- definitely best kept for showing off a deep summer tan or for christmas party season. Personally, it verges a little too far on the glittery side for me but it would make a cute gift for a young teen. I didn't find the effects particularly long-lasting, even when I applied on top of thoroughly moisturised skin but for £5.99, you can't go wrong.

Friday 20 May 2011

This week I'm loving....

Deborah Lippmann The Stripper to Go: Lavender Nail Lacquer Remover Finger Mitts

Everyone's entitled to a beauty pet hate and my personal one, without doubt, is chipped nail polish (and French pedicures- why would you want to make your toenails look long? ew). I've been known to give repeat offending friends bottles of top coat in an effort to avoid chipping and always keep remover wipes in my desk to use on myself or others as I'd rather have bare nails than chipped ones.

The simplest ideas are often the best and Deborah Lippmann's The Stripper to Go Lavender Nail Lacquer Remover Finger Mitts are testament to this. Pre-soaked nail polish remover pads are nothing new but I love the format of these- a teeny mitt which you pop over the end of your finger to work off the polish, no fuss, no mess. One mitt works for all ten nails and although the predominant scent during use is of nail polish remover, a delicate lavender scent is left on the skin intended to protect cuticles with its natural anti-bacterial properties. At £14 for a box of 6 from House of Fraser (more than £2 each), they aren't cheap but they're definitely convenient and are set to become a staple in my handbag.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Oh GOSH! It's Giveaway Time!

I'm not especially into gadgets- friends have referred to my original i-pod as "old-fashioned" and I'm yet to invest in a smartphone- but when they creep into beauty territory, my interest is captured. I really like the idea of lipglosses which feature a mirror and even more so, those that include a torch as I'm not into the whole jossling for space in front of the mirror in the ladies' bathroom scene. I've tried ones from new

Want to try one for yourself? Skin Deep is offering not one but two lucky readers the chance to win one. To enter, 1) you must be a follower of Skin Deep and 2) in the comments section of this post, answer the question... "Of which fairytale character is there a statue which guards Denmark's Copenhagen Harbour?". Winners will be picked at random on 31st May- I'm afraid the competition is only open to UK residents.

And why not follow Skin Deep's lead and "like" the GOSH Facebook page? Simply click here.

Friday 13 May 2011

This week I'm loving....

Guerlain Terra Inca Summer 2011 Collection: Terre Indigo 4 Shade Eyeshadow
One of my favourite beauty brands has developed this too-pretty-for-words eyeshadow palette for summer 2011, inspired by one of my other passions, South America. Launching next month, the palette will retail at £37. Pricey, yes but it feels so incredibly luxurious, looks like a work of art and you do receive four shades within the palette.
If you can bring yourself to actually use the palette, Guerlain have suggested three looks which can easily be achieved using the four shades:
Simply Chic- apply light brown in a sweep across the entire eyelid, layer the orange shade to the upper part then, to give more intensity to the eyes, apply the darker brown at the outer corners.
Trendy- apply orange to the eyelid fold, sweep the blue shadow across the eyelid and finish with a small amount of light brown in the outer corner.
Fiesta Vibe- apply orange over the entire eyelid, add blue to the eyelid fold and then apply light brown along the upper lash line and dark brown under the lower lashes.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Speed Review: Urban Decay Brightening Complexion Primer Potion

One of my all time favourite cosmetics items is Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion which gives staying power to even the cheapest eyeshadows so when I heard that Urban Decay also have a foundation primer, Brightening Complexion Primer Potion, I was keen to try it albeit with high expectations.

Luckily, Brightening Complexion Primer Potion didn't disappoint. The gel-cream formula applied smoothly and my makeup stayed in place all night long. If I were to be picky, I'd say that the primer feels rather synthetic with a scent which reminds me of the way mascara smells, although that's a little unfair of me as you'd be hard pressed to find a primer which isn't packed with silicone (Korres offer one).
The packaging hints at the original "genie-us in a bottle" Eyeshadow Primer Potion yet has improved functionality, being presented in a tube. Whilst £18 for 30ml isn't cheap, it's certainly comparable to other primers and I'd definitely recommend this. Thumbs up!

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Speed Review: Molton Brown Ambrusca Cleansing Shower Oil

I first discovered shower oils on a trip to Canada and rather like them so when I was sent a sample of Molton Brown's Ambrusca version from http://www.beautyexpert.co.uk/, I didn't delay in cracking open the bottle.

As with all Molton Brown products the packaging is sleek and a joy to have on display in the bathroom. It's functional as well, with a slide back lid to allow easy dispensing of the oil without wastage.
The texture is akin to a very thick shower gel which emulsifies with the water. In spite of the fact that I've been using Ambrusca Cleansing Shower Oil for a few weeks, the bottle looks barely touched as you only need to use a small amount per shower. I found that this texture makes the product good for shaving with as well.
The scent is fresh and woody, making it a pleasant unisex choice. I love that it left my skin feeling refreshed and cared for, without any greasiness. In fact, don't be fooled into thinking you can get away without moisturising- you still need to as I found that my naturally dry skin was screaming for lotion on the one occasion that I did attempt to forgo it. In this respect, it's a little disappointing compared to the Aromatherapy Associates oils (where you can skip the moisturising step) but they are two very different products in the way they react in the shower so that's not necessarily a fair comparison.
At £22.50 for 200ml, it's a pricey option for a daily shower product but it definitely satisfies as a luxury treat and given how long it lasts, I could probably just about justify the expense.

Monday 9 May 2011

Skin Deep talks to...

Deborah Johnson, Beauty Exective at Pure Public Relations
I've worked with Deb for a couple of years due to her role as the PR for brands including Absolution, Mavala and Malin + Goetz so am excited to have her on board for May's Skin Deep expert interview!

SD: So, why beauty PR?
DJ: To be honest, beauty was not an intentional career choice but PR certainly was. I started out by assisting a friend who was the PR for the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol whilst at university. I loved the creative and social aspects of PR so decided it was definitely an industry I wanted to work in. Once I returned to London, I started interning with fashion focussed agencies as I thought why not combine my oldest love with my newest passion. After quite a while interning, I was told about an opening that had come up at Pure and given a recommendation by my then boss. As they say, the rest is history.

SD: What are the best aspects of working in PR?
DJ: The team at Pure and our brands are definitely the best aspects of my job. I know this sounds like a cliche and "yawn" but we're a bit like a little family; which isn't surprising considering that in our current state, we spend more & more time in the office than we do at home. We're all quite different and have really strong personalities which you'd think would be disasterous amongst a group of women but it works well for us. I'm also 100% dedicated to the brands I work on; I don't think I could do this job if I wasn't.

SD: And the worst?
DJ: One of my least favourite aspects of the industry is the biased favouritism to larger brands. I understand it cannot be avoided in some areas but it's frustrating nonetheless.

SD: What would you be doing if you weren't working in beauty PR?DJ: I went to university with the view of forging a career in film or photography so I like to think that's what I would be doing if PR did not work out.

SD: What's the best insider tip you've picked up?
DJ: Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse. I've had so many great people tell me about how important a good cleansing regime is. I mean, what's the point of slathering your skin with lotions and potions if it's not clean enough for the products to be absorbed.

SD: You have 5 minutes to get ready. What do you do?
DJ: Easy! It takes me roughly 10 minutes to get ready every morning. Once I've showered, it goes like this:
1) Moisturise with Absolution La Creme du Jour- the best facial moisturiser I've come across for a while. It's gentle and leaves skin hydrated throughout the day. 2) A couple of coats of Diorshow Mascara in Waterproof Blackout- I'm constantly touching my face & this is the only mascara that stops me smudging. 3) Work Topshop Makeup Blush in Pinch subtly onto cheeks- I don't wear foundation but this instantly lifts my complexion without making me feel too "done". 4) Quick slick of Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturiser on the lips- I've never experienced a lip product like this. It's colourless and odourless and keeps my lips moisturised for ages without being too greasy. 5) Spritz myself with Davidoff Cool Water for Men followed by my Byredo Gypsy Water- I like these fragrances as individuals but together they're so intoxicating and heady.

SD: Any beauty guilty pleasures?
DJ: I'm quite low key when it comes to beauty products but I'm obsessed with nail polishes. I have them lining most window sills in my flat and even have a special locker where I house some of them. Right now, I'm into Black Oyster from the Mavala Select Collection. I guess black is quite an unusual colour choice for spring but it contains these tiny flecks of silver, gold and purple which just dance on your fingernails. Absolutely beautiful!

SD: Any favourite treatments?
DJ: I don't really have the patience for professional treatments but once a week I treat my hair to Philip Kingsley's Elasticizer Extreme. It has been a godsend since I decided to chop all my hair off and grow a natural afro.

SD: What would be your desert island beauty essentials?
DJ: Ooh, most definitely my Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturiser, Raw Coconut Balm (great for hydrating skin and hair), Absolution L'Eau Soir at Matin Cleansing Water (cleanses and tones my skin whilst leaving it impeccably refreshed) and a few bottles of nail polish to keep me distracted.

SD: What do you predict will be the next big thing in beauty?
DJ: I think it's impossible for me to say what the next big thing will be as trends are constantly evolving. That said, I'd love to see an insurgence of the "natural face". I find it most frustrating when I see young girls layering their faces with makeup and often question why it's so hard for some women to accept and embrace how they naturally look. I guess I'm a bit of a hippy like that.

SD: Any secret London hotspots?
DJ: I recently discovered Being Content in Marylebone. It stocks a great range of quality natural and organic beauty products.

SD: Finally, what does Skin Deep mean to you?
DJ: To me, Skin Deep is an acceptance and understanding of all aspects of YOUR beauty.

Saturday 7 May 2011

William Tempest for label.m

I love a good collaboration so it's not surprising that my attention was captured when I heard that haircare brand, label.m have teamed up with young British designer William Tempest in creating a choice of two bags for the summer. As label.m (from the Toni & Guy umbrella) has been the official backstage range used at London Fashion Week for 14 seasons and William Tempest was recognised as a designer to watch in 2009 with the Vauxhall Fashion Scout Merit Award, there's a synergy between the two brands which has now been sealed. Featuring a graphic grey and lemon yellow print based on the designer's spring summer collection inspired by the mythical "Sea Siren" half women- half sea creatures which enticed ships to wreck, there's a choice of a spacious tote or, my personal favourite, a cosmetics purse.

I like that this collaboration makes Tempest's designs accessible, which are usually seen on celebrities such as Alexa Chung, Emma Watson & Kate Moss- it's a great opportunity to own something which the designer has put his name to. The bags will launch later this month as a gift with purchase.

Friday 6 May 2011

This week I'm loving....


Ok, so it's not technically a beauty item but I'm hoping that I can get away with sharing this new discovery with you as it falls under the "health" category, plus I'm absolutely hooked!
I eat reasonably healthily but my downfall is definitely snacking- I have a real sweet tooth along with a deeply ingrained tendacy to snack on savories purely to have something to do with my hands whilst working. Graze.com has come to the rescue with their clever snack boxes, delivered for just £3.49 a week.
It's easy to sign up and order. Simply choose the box you'd like, I chose the Nibble box which enables you to choose from the widest selection although there are healthier options, then enter the date you'd like to receive your snack boxes which is usually a couple of days ahead. Choose where you'd like your box delivered- either home or your place of work & note any allergies. I really like that you can quickly "bin" items which you don't like/ are allergic to so that you're never sent them. It's such a clever scheme, enabling you to vary your snacking with healthy opinions in portion controlled packs (I'd say you receive about a handful in each tub, with four different tubs in each box). I really like that there are full ingredients listings on the site and nutritional information in the box. Once you'd received your box of snacks you can rate items so that Graze.com can monitor your likes & dislikes. Although it seems a shame that there are only four tubs, rather than five, I like the idea that you can have a treat day if you're using the scheme for dieting purposes. I've been using Graze.com for three weeks and have so far received delicious snacks including olives, flapjacks, vanilla seeds, as well as nuts mixed with dried fruit & pieces of fudge to taste like desserts. I'm super impressed- why not give it a go?

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Speed Review: Lush H'Suan Wen Hua Hair Mask

I'm a big fan of Lush and was sent their H'Suan Wen Hua Hair Mask to try. Whilst the name is a bit of a mouthful (supposedly Cantonese for "The God of Hair"), the pricetag is a bargain at £7.99 for a generous 225g tub.
Presented in one of Lush's signature black tubs, the packaging isn't exactly glamorous yet whilst I still feel that the brand's black tubs could do with some improvements, I do like that they offer a free fresh face mask (Catastrophe Cosmetics is my personal favourite) when you return five empty pots to the store.
The scent is very much a "love it or hate it" strong, spicy aroma which luckily, I found warm, exotic and soothing although I'd definitely recommend trying it before buying as it won't be to everyone's liking.

The mask is packed with all of the hair-loving ingredients that you'd traditionally use to make a home treatment, such as fresh free range eggs, organic bananas, avocado and extra virgin olive oil & I really liked this foodie element. It has a thick texture which I liked as it wasn't messy & didn't drip upon application. Per the instructions, the mask should be applied to dry hair for 20 minutes before washing, which is a fairly lengthy wait but makes for an enjoyable weekend treat. As it's a pre-shampoo mask, I didn't have any issues with rinsability- definitely a plus point! 

After use, my hair was left feeling healthy, thickened & stronger. Despite being a thick mask, my hair wasn't weighed down although I was left feeling a little disappointed at the lack of shine (particularly as shiny hair is generally associated as being healthy). Overall, I was impressed with the conditioning benefits. Even when being generous with application, I'd say you'd get at least half a dozen uses from the pot for medium length hair and being such an intense treatement, I wouldn't say it's necessary to use more than once every week or so- a fab value for money option!


Tuesday 3 May 2011

Skin Deep News

I'm a big fan of online luxury beauty emporium, Escentual.com so I'm absolutely thrilled to be named as their Blog of the Week. Click here to see what they had to say about Skin Deep.

I was first introduced to the site by my editor and to celebrate my honour, have shared my current wish list, in no particular order, from Escentual.com below.

1.) Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blusher- Blusher is one of my essential products for an instant pick-me-up & I've been dying to try the cult ones from Daniel Sandler

2.) Vichy Dermablend- because sometimes you need that extra bit of coverage.

3.) HissyFit- I'm practically religious in my approach to sun protection & am always on the lookout for the hottest new thing.

4.) Serge Lutens- I'm a fragrance fanatic and like to choose scents which are a little outside of the mainstream offering.

5.) Clarisonic- still number one on my lust have list.

Monday 2 May 2011

Speed Review: Superdrug Optimum Swiss Apple Skin Renewal Day Cream

Superdrug appear to be investing quite heavily in their skincare offering at the moment, most recently with the introduction of the Naked Truth range. This follows on from the hugely successful Superdrug Optimum Swiss Apple Overnight Skin Renewal Serum which was launched in August last year, becoming an instant sell out. It was the store's bestselling anti-aging serum in 2010 and has sold approx one hundred thousand bottles to date and now, Superdrug has added Swiss Apple Skin Renewal Day Cream to the line up. 
Superdrug Optimum Swiss Apple Skin Renewal Day Cream launched earlier this year, in March and I was sent a sample to try. The cream is based on the same Apple Stem Cell "wonder ingredient" as the original serum, along with the addition of moisturising Hyaluronic Acid and UVA & UVB filters, however, I was a little unclear on exactly what level of sun protection, if any, is actually provided.

My first impression was that the packaging looks and feels much more expensive than I had anticipated. The velvety texture is also suggestive of a more expensive product, with only a minimal amount required to leave skin feeling smooth. Whilst many may expect the scent to be of apples, it's not, however, it's pleasant and a more grown-up fragrance than a fruity element would provide. I haven't noticed any miraculous results, however, I have enjoyed using this cream & feel that the overall texture of my skin has benefitted. If you're looking for a starter anti-ageing product and don't yet need the targeted ingredients or the price tag of more specialised products, I'd say this is a good option.
If you're thinking of trying Superdrug Optimum Swiss Apple Skin Renewal Day Cream, here's a hot tip for you... invest now when the cream is offered at the introductory price of £9.99. From 11th May, the price will be increased to £12.99.


Sunday 1 May 2011

Speed Review: NIA24 100% Mineral Sunscreen

Following a couple of days off for the bank holiday, Skin Deep is back & packed with treats for the month of May. Look out for the monthly features including blind test, expert interview and a new men's grooming section, all in addition to regular speed reviews starting with a suncare one below.
NIA24 has been available in the UK, exclusively at SpaceNK for a couple of years but having recently gained a new PR representative, has caught my attention again. According to the press release, it's the USA's number one recommended physician skincare line. Based around the key ingredient of Niacin (a.k.a. Vitamin B3), the products are designed to help protect against sun damage and the ageing process. The patented Niacin molecule, Pro-Niacin, has been shown to be so successful in counteracting sun damage that it's been recommended by the National Cancer Institute- strong praise indeed!
There are seven products in the line-up, including a cleanser, scrub and eyecare, and I was sent a sample of NIA24 100% Mineral Sunscreen, of which Michelle Williams and Rachel Bilson are fans.
I like physical sunscreens, as there's no waiting around before heading out in the sun plus they're better for sensitive skin although some can leave a ghostly white residue on the skin, a major downside. I liked that NIA24 100% Mineral Sunscreen was barely visible on the skin, however it is a thick cream which I found felt rather heavy. It's oil free but I feel that many would still find this uncomfortable. It has a unisex scent so it's good for sharing if travelling, for example. I also like that the cream combines anti-ageing ingredients, however, not having used it on a daily basis, it's difficult to comment on the overall effects. I'm not convinced at how powerful the sun protection actually is and despite really wanting to fall in love with NIA24 100% Mineral Sunscreen, I can't help feeling that it's a bit... meh. Having said this, many people absolutely rave about the range. At £37 for 75ml, it doesn't come cheap but if you do want to try it, there is justification as I firmly believe that skincare (and I'm including suncare here) is one beauty area where you should spend as much as you can afford to.
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