Tuesday 30 August 2011

Speed Review: Ciate White Chocolate Gentle & Nourishing Nail Polish Remover

I always like it when beauty companies try to inject an element of something special into an everyday product and that's exactly what Ciate have done with their nail polish remover.
Unlike standard nail polish removers which leave an overpowering, chemical scent, Ciate White Chocolate Nourishing & Gentle Nail Polish Remover leaves a tempting chocolate scent on nails once dry (disappointingly, there's still the chemical scent when using the remover wet). What's more, it works effectively to remove polish. My only complaint would be that the neck of the bottle is quite small so you need to tip the bottle quite a few times to saturate a cotton pad but that's hardly a big deal. Otherwise, the presentation is fantastic with a weighty glass bottle and feminine design.
At £14 for 250ml, it is pricey. I think this would make a nice gift as part of a pampering package for someone who's into home manicures but personally, I'd find it difficult to justify spending that amount.

Monday 29 August 2011

Speed Review: 2True Cheek & Lip Tint

I'm not overly familiar with budget makeup brand, 2True but I was sent a selection of products as an introduction which I'm currently in the process of trying. The first product which I've tried is 2True Cheek 'n' Lip Tint, available in 2 shades- a deep red or a feminine pink. I was sent the pink to try which is undeniably similar to Benefit's Posietint.

Presented in a small bottle with a brush applicator, it's similar to a nail polish in terms of packaging and is easy to use. I tend to prefer this type of product on cheeks so this is how I've reviewed it. You only need the smallest amount of tint to achieve a natural flush meaning that the bottle will last & last. Before being blended, the product is a very bright, fluro pink which is quite alarming given that I don't aim for full-on fesival style fancy dress on a daily basis. Having said this, it blends easily using either a brush or fingers and the effects are long lasting.

I don't love this quite to the extent as Posietint but it's a good enough substitute if you're on a budget.
At £1.99, it's a real bank holiday bargain.

Sunday 28 August 2011

Quick update

Please head on over to the wonderfully feel-good blog, Love Lust & Fairy Dust where I've guest blogged. Click here to read my review.

Saturday 27 August 2011

Speed Review: Fish Hairdressing Co. Style Fish Volumising Blow Dry Spray

Fish salon in Soho has been creating cutting-edge styles since 1987. Whilst I've never visited the salon, I recently met with the PR who kindly gave me a bottle of their Style Fish Volumising Blow Dry Spray.

Style Fish Volumising Blow Dry Spray is designed to help create big, sexy styles whilst incorporating heat protection benefits and medium holding power.
I fully expected to hate this. Whilst I of course like the idea of a voluminous style capable of making Cheryl Cole green with envy, I wasn't convinced that this would be the product to help me achieve it. Something about the fun packaging with its bold font and bright pink colour made me presume that it would feel sticky in my hair, with an equally sickly scent. That's not to say that I don't like the packaging- it just turns out that, La Biosthetique convert that I am, I like my haircare to be serious, who knew?!
Being a pump bottle, it's easy to control how much you dispense and I was certainly sure to apply it sparingly.
As I predicted, I hated the scent. A synthetic tropical, sickly sweet fragrance which brought to mind nasty cocktails, ugh.
Yet actually, I didn't hate the product. I was pleasantly surprised and really rather impressed. I couldn't feel any residue in my hair once it was dry and although I didn't feel that the volumising effects were particularly overwhelming, I liked that my hair seemed to have more body whilst being left smoothed. Even the scent, which subtly lingered, seemed to improve once heat had been applied. I also noticed that my style held well although still had movement.
I've fallen for Style Fish Volumising Blow Dry Spray hook, line and sinker and can't believe that it's just £4.07 for 150ml. I definitely recommend this.

Friday 26 August 2011

Skin Deep Needs YOU!

You may have noticed the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards badge on the right hand side.
Last year, the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards were launched and gained 15,000 entries, showing just how far blogging has come. Whilst I don't under any stretch of the imagination expect to be able to compete with so many fantastic bloggers, I feel that I owe it to myself to at least try!
If you've enjoyed reading Skin Deep, I'd REALLY appreciate you continuing your support by nominating me in the Best New Beauty Blog category (as Skin Deep is less than 18 months old). Simply click here and complete the form. It only takes a minute and is all very self-explanatory. My blog URL is http://www.skindeepbeautyblog.com/.
Nominations close at the end of August so there's just a couple of days left!

Thanks so much!

This week I'm loving....

Spa Find Heavenly Hydration Conditioning Scalp Mud

It's been a while since I've run a This week I'm loving... post as I tend to want to include slightly quirkier products which have caught my attention. This definitely falls under the "unusual" product category. Although I've tried mud and clay based hair masks before (& been surprisingly impressed), they are few and far between.
I'd never heard of Spa Find until the PR's email came through. It turns out that Spa Find is a professional and home care brand based around mineral therapy, with their hero range being based around natural Dead Sea Mud which contains 21 minerals beneficial to skin. Spa Find Heavenly Hydration Conditioning Scalp Mud incorporates Dead Sea minerals along with coconut, grapefruit and peach extracts to help condition hair and scalp.

Spa Find Heavenly Hydration Conditioning Scalp Mud has a suitably "spa" feel to it. I definitely feel that's there's something indulgent about slathering on a rich mud.
The packaging is functional, a pump bottle so there's no mess or wastage when you dispense and certainly no product getting caught under nails as generally happens when I attempt to scoop things out of a tub. The bottle is absolutely huge and will last and last. In fact, my only gripe with Spa Find Heavenly Hydration Conditioning Scalp Mud is that the product information and directions are detailed on a tiny card attached to the bottle neck by elastic, which you have to remove before taking the bottle into the shower and is clearly going to get lost. Personally, I like to have a reminder of directions, particularly if I'm not using a product regularly. Having said that, you can use Spa Find Heavenly Hydration Conditioning Scalp Mud as part of your daily regime although I feel that this would be too much for my fine hair.
For some reason, I guess because I associate muds as being exotic, I expected this to have a warm scent but it's surprisingly fresh and very pleasant nonetheless. It's a smooth mud so there's no grit which many might associate with this type of formula and is easy to apply. I was a little unsure of how much to use so I erred on the side of caution and left on for the suggested few minutes. Given the formula, I found it easy to rinse out and was pleased not to see lots of messy residue left in my shower.
My hair was left feeling unbelievably soft and very managable. I'm impressed!

At £18 for a generous 500ml, I feel that this represents fantastic value for money. The SpaFind website, http://www.spafindskincare.com/, is definitely worth a look, I found myself browsing for quite some time!


Thursday 25 August 2011

Speed Review: Soap & Glory The Breakfast Scrub Body Exfoliator

Soap & Glory's The Breakfast Scrub Body Exfoliator has been sitting in my "to try" box for a couple of months now. It's packed with skin loving ingredients including oats, shea butter, banana, almond oil and honey. I guess that I was mainly put off trying it sooner as the description, stating that it includes oats, made me expect this to be a lumpy, messy scrub.
The packaging stays true to Soap & Glory's much imitated signature style. Although I tend not to like tub formats, the scrub is so thick that I can't think of any other way they'd feasibly be able to present it. I like that the packaging has been kept to a minimum. As a child of the '80s, I appreciate the fun name and it's a very cleverly thought out concept- a blend of breakfast ingredients to leave your skin smoothie soft.

If you don't like maple syrup, you won't like this as the sweet, earthy scent hits you as soon as you open the tub. Luckily, I love it although I wouldn't necessarily want to be smelling the breakfast condiment all day long (it'd make me hungry for one thing!) so I was pleased to note that it didn't linger on my skin after my shower.
As aforementioned, the scrub is thick, almost balm like in texture although as it doesn't melt into skin, I applied it to shower-damp skin rather than directly onto dry. A little goes a long way and the mix of sugar and salt granules make this a very effective "scrubby" exfoliant. My skin was left feeling soft and smoothed, although I still needed to moisturise. I really like The Breakfast Scrub- yet again, Soap & Glory have come up trumps!
At £9.45 for 300ml, Soap & Glory have better value for money body scrub options (Sugar Crush is £9 for a whopping 450ml), however, I still feel that this is very reasonably priced and given that it's going to last & last, it's easily justifiable.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Art with a Heart

From daVinci's enigmatic Mona Lisa and Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring to Warhol's ultimate statement in celebrity culture, certain artworks are instantly recognisable.

Feelunique.com, Europe's largest online beauty emporium, has commissioned three reworks of the masterpieces with a modern twist. Each of the paintings has been created by artist Duncan Cargill, using only makeup available to buy on Feelunique.com including foundations, eyeliners, nail varnish and lipsticks.
CEO of Feelunique.com, Aaron Chatterley said, "When it comes to their makeup routine, our customers know that there is an art to getting the perfect look. We wanted to have a little fun with this idea, and at the same time demonstrate the fantastic range of products we carry. Recreating these three outstanding and iconic works of art, using the products that all our consumers have access to, seemed like a fabulous way to celebrate the connection between the worlds of beauty and art."
So? What's going to happen to the creations? Feelunique.com will be auctioning off the artworks in aid of three worthy cancer charities; Breast Cancer Campaign, Look Good Feel Better and The Eve Appeal for Gynaecological Cancers. Simply log onto the site to view the artworks and click the link through to the auction site. Hurry, there's just 4 days remaining...

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Speed Review: bareMinerals High Shine Eye Color

I'm a big fan of bareMinerals and although their High Shine Eye Colours are nothing new in themselves, the range has recently been extended with the introduction of new shades. When I recently met with the lovely PR, I was excited to receive two of the new colours; Meteorite (on the left in my swatches below), which is described as Iced Mocha and Vapor, described as Gunmetal Grey.

I love, love, LOVE these! The packaging is well thought out as the narrow neck of the tube means that the loose powder is contained whilst the sponge tipped applicator is easy to use.
The irridiscent colour glides on smoothly although you need to watch out for drop, I'd definitely recommend covering your cheeks with a tissue when applying. They live up to the High Shine moniker and impart a deep pigment, similar to that which you'd normally only achieve if you applied an eyeshadow wet.

The lasting power is incredible, these simply don't shift.
I'm so impressed with the quality of High Shine Eye Color and think they are well worth the £15 price tag, particularly for creating dramatic yet fuss-free looks in the run up to the party season.

Monday 22 August 2011

Speed Review: Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion

Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion recently caught my attention when I was browsing the site so when the PR kindly sent me a sample, I was excited to try it out.

It's a clever little product in that you can use it as a powder (per the first picture below), or "liquified" by rubbing your hands together to create a lightweight lotion (second picture below) before applying to your hair.

Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion is said to add up to 17% volume to hair. Now I can't comment on the specific stats but I do feel that it does what it says on the tin and adds volume to hair. It's perfect for creating that windswept, summery look as well as adding a matte, not-too-done finish to styles. You only need a little of the product to gain results.
I like that the bottle itself is light and therefore easy to carry around, plus it doubles up as a dry shampoo making it ideal for travel or festivals. It has a subtle scent of the Aveda botanical blend which makes it feel like a treat to use.

Unfortunately, you can feel a sticky residue in your hair which personally, I hated and couldn't wait to rinse it out of my locks (which I found quite difficult to do). For me, it was a downside to the extent that it would put me off using this again. I tend to fiddle with my hair a lot and don't like to feel product in it so perhaps I'd be better off trying to use this to create an up-do. After all, it does add holding power to styles.
At £18, it's not cheap but given that it reminded me a lot of the Schwarzkopf Osis Dust It Mattifying Powder, which is £9.55 for half the amount, it's comparable in price to similar products.


Sunday 21 August 2011

Clinique AW 2011 Look: Black Honey

Clinique always seem to get their imagery bang-on and this season is no exception with these stunning pictures accompanying their Black Honey collection for AW 2011.

The collection draws inspiration from a single Clinique lip gloss shade, Black Honey, which launched in 1971 in a pot format and became a cult classic. The shade was rereleased in 1989 as an Almost Lipstick and this year, it forms the basis of the entire collection for the season. I absolutely adore the name which brings to mind an innocent sensuality.
I was sent products for review and have to say that I've been seriously impressed. As always, Clinique have moved the collection forward with their new trend shades whilst remaining true to their core customer through the wearability of the colours.
First up, The Colour Surge Eye Shadow Quad in Black Honey.

True to Clinique form, the packaging is sleek yet functional, featuring a generous mirror. Unfortunately, as is often the case with included miniature applicators, the brush is a complete waste of time, shedding bristles like crazy but that didn't particularly bother me as I've learnt from experience with various brands that it's best to use my own brushes.
Unlike many palettes where one colour always remains untouched, I can see myself using each of the four shades. The formulas lived up to my expectations as the shades are soft enough that they are easily blendable yet "drop" isn't an issue.

In spite of the quality, at £23 for four shades, the Colour Surge Eye Shadow Quad does seem quite pricey compared to other neutral palettes which are around. If you are thinking of investing, it might be worth holding out until they run one of their fantastic Gift With Purchase promos.

I was also sent Almost Lipstick in Black Honey along with a handy Lipgloss/ Lipstick Duo, also in Black Honey. I love a good duo product and there seems to be something of a trend towards these sorts of products lately.

I've really struggled to see the distinction between the Almost Lipstick and the Lipstick in the Duo. To me, they're unmistakedly different, with 2 formulas and finishes yet are similar to the extent that you only need to invest in one, not both (in which case, it makes sense to choose the duo).
The swatches correspond to the tubes so the swatch on the left is of Almost Lipstick whereas the swatch on the right is of the lipstick from the Duo.

Almost Lipstick costs £15 and is described perfectly in the press release as "not quite a lipstick, not quite a gloss.. a rich, high-power glaze". Although the colour looks scarily deep in the tube, it applies as a sheer hint of colour to enhance your natural look. I really liked the nourishing formula.
In comparison, Lipgloss/ Lipstick Duo costs £17 and is a limited edition so if you like it, stock up while you can. It's a very pleasant twist on a classic which I think will prove a good introduction to the shade for those who were previously put off by the name or the depth of the colour in the lipstick tube, as well as being a nice formula variation for those long-time fans. As with the Almost Lipstick, the formula feels nourishing and when the gloss is applied on top, it enhances the intensity of the colour, giving a groomed finish without stickiness. Alternatively, you could use the gloss on its own although stupidly, I forgot to take pictures of this.
Clinique's Black Honey collection is available now from counters nationwide.

Friday 19 August 2011

Guest blogging on Lauren Loves Blog

Please head on over to the Lauren Loves blog where I'm guest posting today. I've written two pieces inspired by summer; a round up of five travel sets (click here to read) and a look at some tropical beauty treats (click here).

Thanks to Lauren for having me!

Happy Birthday Coco Chanel

Today would have been Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel's 128th birthday. Oh, and it's also my birthday, which you'll have to forgive me for thinking is pretty cool. See? I really do need that 2.55 handbag in my life! For now, I'm satisfying my Chanel desires by wearing the aptly named Chanel No.19 Poudre which was kindly gifted to me when I recently visited Chanel HQ on Old Bond Street.

Chanel No. 19 Poudre is a variation on the classic No. 19 fragrance, which was the last perfume Coco Chanel was involved in the development of back in 1970 just before her death. No. 19 is named after her birthday on 19th August as Chanel herself explained, "It is the day of my birthday, August 19. I was born under the sign of Leo- the lion. I will bring out my claws to protect myself against being hurt. But believe me, it is harder for me to lash out at someone than to have someone lash out at me."
It is presented in the instantly recognisable, minimalist Chanel bottle whose iconic status was cemented when Andy Warhol featured Chanel No.5 (presented in the same way) in his screenprint series. It's a design which practically screams out to be displayed on a traditional dressing table and something which feels very special to use. Being an EDP, I found the scent long-lasting on my skin.
The classic No. 19 is based around the signature note of Iris, along with bold yet fresh green notes and No. 19 Poudre stays true to this heritage. In fact, even the liquid itself is green in colour and is reminiscent of the August birthstone, Peridot (also the name of Chanel's hot new shade for AW11, on counters today).
The initial blast of scent is fresh with top notes of Grasse neroli and Mandarin. The heart is formed of Iris Pallida, keeping it evokotive of the original, along with Jasmine Absolute which makes it unmistakably Chanel. The base notes are a stunning blend of White Musk, smoky Haitian Vetivert and creamy Tonka Bean.
Apparently iris is diffcult to source and work with, keeping with the luxury theme. The powdery finish adds a modern twist to Chanel No.19 and makes it accessible to a younger generation. Having said this, it remains an elegant scent in the way that Chanel fragrances capture so well and demands to be accompanied by a polished appearance albeit with a witty sense of fun.
I'm going to admit something controversial now and say that I actually find No. 19 far more wearable than Chanel No.5. I like that it gives you a touch of Chanel without being as instantly recognisable as the iconic No. 5, I like to keep people guessing when it comes to fragrance after all and the new twist certainly appeals to me. Of course, given the fact that it contains my beloved Vetivert perhaps it's unsurprising that I've joined the ranks of Chanel No. 19 fans. I'll be wearing this in celebration of our shared birthdays as well as beyond today.

Chanel No.19 Poudre costs £61 for 50ml Eau de Parfum.

Thursday 18 August 2011

Mr. Skin Deep Speaks...

Introducing Mr. Skin Deep.
The first in a new monthly series dedicated to the men in our lives which is sure to see my other half & I increasingly jossling for space in the bathroom. Whether you're a guy, or girl looking for gift ideas or something to encourage your man to be that little extra groomed, Mr. Skin Deep will be bringing you a summary of grooming products going forward. Please comment- can't wait to hear what you think!

Lush Prince (£4.99 for 100g/£8.95 for 225g) is the ultimate in shaving creams. For men who want to feel like Royalty this light shaving cream is made with cocoa and shea butters for ultra moisturisation and beeswax to help get rid of dirt for a smoother shave. Scented with orange blossom, rose, smoky vetivert and luxurious neroli, in just one shave his face will be left soft, smooth and ready to face his public.
Mr. Skin Deep really liked this, saying that it felt silky upon application, with no one overpowering scent, just a clean, slightly woody fragrance.
Mr. Skin Deep mentioned that most men are likely to buy the shaving cream nearest to the razors in the shop and it's a shame as they'd miss out on trying this. I found it interesting that Mr. Skin Deep liked the packaging, whereas I know most women feel that the black Lush tubs are in serious need of a makeover.
He noted that it's not as clear to see where you've shaved as with shaving foam but that it is comparable to mainstream ranges in terms of the actual shave (no snagging of hairs).
It left his sensitive skin feeling soft and he was impressed with the moisturising benefits. Mr. Skin Deep recommends.

Wingman Deodorising Wipes for Men (£1.22 for a box of two or £3.56 for eight).
The young entrepreneur, Stuart Jolley, who featured in BBC Two's Britain's Next Big Thing fronted by Dragon's Den star, Theo Paphitis, has launched the first product line from his WINGMAN range in Boots stores across the UK. The extra large, "man sized" deodorising wipe has been created for busy men who don't have time to shower, to help them freshen up instantly and feel confident at all times. The innovative wipe contains a refreshing mix of ingredients including soothing Aloe Vera, cooling Peppermint Oil and invigorating Ginseng, to revive and refresh whilst effectively removing dirt, oil and bacteria. Stuart first came up with the idea while camping with friends. With no showers to use at the campsite, they became frustrated using "girly" baby wipes. Shortly after his trip, on a night out clubbing, he noticed men wiping their armpits with paper towels to try to mask their body odour. He says of the wipes, "Whether you're heading straight into a meeting from the Tube, going for a few drinks after work or squeezing in a quick gym session at lunch, staying fresh can sometimes be a challenge. WINGMAN is designed to help men feel confident & fresh wherever they are."
I brought these out for Mr. Skin Deep to test when we were amoungst a group of friends (embarassing, moi?) and they created quite the talking point. The overwhelming first impression was one of disbelief, with one friend's other half even questioning whether it was a belated April Fool's joke. On a personal note, I wondered just how busy men think they are that they don't have time to jump in the shower.
The thing about WINGMAN is that, although it may be dismissed at first, after trying one, Mr. Skin Deep did start realising that there were quite a few occasions when a WINGMAN would have come in handy and kept mentioning such. Yes, they are expensive compared to standard wipes but you're paying for convenience plus a carefully considered ingredients list.
He hated the name, saying that a wingman is the less attractive mate that you take on a night out but felt that the packaging was suitably masculine.
The conclusion? Definitely worth a look, particularly for festival season.

Versace Man Eau Fraiche Eau de Toilette
(from £25.50 for 30ml) For the man whose strength is his soul, who feels free and knows how to enjoy life, Versace Man Eau Fraiche is a fresh fragrance that combines classic and innovative, new ingredients. Carambola has a bubbly personality in the top notes and contrasts with the nobility of rosewood and white lemon. The distinctive character of cedar wood rises through the heart note to highlight the tarragon and clary sage. The base notes leave a final and irresistable trail with sycamore wood, comforting amber and sparkling musk.

Mr. Skin Deep absolutely loved this, to the extent that it has now become his signature scent.
It's a citrus scent which is unmistakedly masculine, although I was still quite surprised that Mr. Skin Deep liked it so much given his previous scent choices (fougeres and spicy, woody fragrances such as the gorgeous D&G The One). It's a great everyday option with a freshness which alludes to sport.
His only critism was of the packaging which he felt was too plastic to be reflective of the designer branding. 

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Speed Review: Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Vixen Red

Continuing with the red lipstick theme, today's post looks at Bobbi Brown's Lip Color in Vixen Red.

I really rate Bobbi Brown products. It may be psychological but personally, I think it comes across that the wearable range is created by a woman for women. Despite lipsticks being one of her signature products, this is my first foray into Bobbi Brown lipstick so I was intrigued to see whether it would live up to the hype.
Bobbi Brown Lip Color is designed to provide a semi-matte finish with full coverage and I feel that it delivers. It's also impressively long-lasting.
I like the name, Vixen Red, as it summarises how a red lipstick makes you feel. The packaging is standard for a lipstick, sleek but nothing ground-breaking. To me, the colour is a warm red with subtle brown undertones. I would say that this gives it a slightly retro feel, although these earthier shades are really where it's at for AW 2011 so in fact, it's bang on trend.
At £18 for a lipstick, Bobbi Brown is another pricey one yet the quality speaks for itself.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Speed Review: Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Perle Lipstick in Mysterious Red

I dread to think how many red lipsticks I own. It's something of an addiction and a large part of my love for the classic shade is due to my laziness when it comes to applying makeup. In my opinion, there's simply no other product that can instantly transform your look, adding a polished effect even when the truth is that you've slept in, had minimal time to get ready and applied your lippie on the go. It's my sneaky trick for disguising a hangover as well as my go-to evening look when I want a different focus to the standard smoky eye. Since having lash extensions I've been reaching for my red lipstick more than ever. I don't actually like my mouth that much so it may seem surprising that my choice of lipstick is one which inherantly draws attention to the area yet red lipstick does so much more than that- it transforms the way I carry myself and harks back to a more glamourous era. What's more, there's a shade of red lipstick out there for everyone so if you haven't found yours yet, get looking.

Anyway, on with today's review which is of Yves Saint Laurent's Rouge Volupte Perle Lipstick in Mysterious Red (shade 111). Rouge Volupte Perle Lipstick in Mysterious Red is part of the Autumn Winter 2011, out on 17th August. Believe it or not, this is my first YSL lipstick. Although I really like their makeup, I always seem more drawn to their eye and base products.
Rouge Volupte Pearl is a new addition to the YSL lipstick line and features six shades. Rather than being presented as traditional "bullets", the formula is in a stick format. The hydrating formula, which contains plumping hyaluronic acid, is an absolute joy to apply to lips, it feels as though it is melting on. There's a refreshing scent to the lipstick which is reminiscent of soothing aftersun. There is a shiny finish but it's not to the extent that you'd receive with a gloss.
The colour is rich and warm. I think it would look great on darker skin tones but I may simply be swayed into saying this by the fact that I tried it after a spray tan.

Regardless of the brand, when wearing a red lipstick you're going to need to carry the tube with you for on-the-go touch ups so it certainly helps that the YSL packaging is absolutely stunning, reflecting the opulent luxury which the brand is renowned for.

£22 is rather pricey for a lipstick but given that red isn't a trend shade, I personally feel that I can justify spending a little more on this classic essential.

Monday 15 August 2011

Speed Review: House of Fraser Apothecary Fragrance

Now, this is an interesting one. House of Fraser's Apothecary beauty department is introducing its first fragrance in collaboration with perfumer Francois Robert. Whilst I'm not aware of any other department store signature scents, it's not unknown for a beauty retailer to sell its own fragrance, notably SpaceNK's bestselling Laughter. With this in mind, it certainly seems that HoF are stepping things up a gear and investing heavily in their Apothecary formula.

I was sent a sample of the scent, simply called Apothecary, to try. My first impression was how beautifully crafted the bottle is. The frosted glass bottle with weighty lid and traditional stamp label feels far more expensive than the £25 price tag. It's a generous size at 100ml.
I have to admit that I didn't have particuarly high expectations- I usually prefer Eau de Parfums so I was concerned that this Eau de Toilette wouldn't have much lasting power and was proven right as on my skin, the scent seemed to disappear quite quickly.
It's also described as a fruity floral, which I don't tend to like although it's surprisingly fresh, with notes of peach, blackcurrant, lily of the valley and hyacinth, mellowing out onto a base of sandalwood and patchouli. Although peach and berry notes are noticable in the initial blast, it's not too saccharine and certainly doesn't hark back to my early teenage years when The Body Shop's Fuzzy Peach perfume oil was my fragrance of choice. I suspect this is due to the inclusion of Cantaloupe Melon, which keeps it fresh. This quickly subsides to make way for strong florals.
House of Fraser Apothecary Eau de Toilette isn't going to win any prizes or break any boundaries in the perfume world but it's a pleasant enough, refreshing option for the remaining summer months.

Saturday 13 August 2011

Speed Review: Jessica Pink Explosion Nail Polish

When I recently had a manicure, I thought I'd veer away from my usual colours and opt for a bright, fluro pink. After all, it is (supposedly) summer.
The colour I chose was Pink Explosion by Jessica, which appears Barbie pink in the bottle but applies much brighter, almost bordering on neon. I have to say that I've been super impressed with the lasting results. It's still going strong one week after my treatment & it's certainly been a busy week!

I don't feel able to comment on the formula as I didn't work with it myself but I wanted to post pictures so you could gain a feel for the colour. I'm somewhat disappointed that the boldness of the pink hasn't been captured in either the natural sunlight (first two pics) or indoors. The photos seem to hint at a coral orange which isn't there at all in reality.


Friday 12 August 2011

Speed Review: MUA Pro Range Starry Night Eyeshadow Palette

I'm going to write a more extensive review of Makeup Academy's brand new Professional range soon but I wanted to post pictures of the Starry Night Eyeshadow Palette which I was recently sent for review.

At just £4 for 12 eyeshadows, the Make Up Academy Eyeshadow Palettes offer fantastic value for money. The packaging feels cheap and flimsy but it's easy to overlook this when you're getting such an extensive selection of colours. It's a great way to try out trend shades and still receive change from a fiver.

The shades are highly pigmented and the effects were impressively long lasting. All of the shades of shimmery which does give quite a young feel to the palette but given the price point, perhaps that's to be expected.

Available at Superdrug.


Thursday 11 August 2011

Support Japan

The shocking images of the devastation caused by the Japanese tsunami earlier this year are difficult to forget so I'm pleased to hear that the beauty industry is continuing to do its bit for our Asian neighbours.
Japanese cosmetics brand, Shiseido, are launching an online charity auction tonight, due to run until 21st August with all proceeds going to the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal. There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs so that you can pamper yourself whilst donating to a worthy cause, including:

- Two night, mid-week spa break for two at Champneys
- Top to toe treatment at the Middletons' favourite, Richard Ward Metro Spa, London
- Harrods Urban Retreat pamper package which includes a full body massage, facial, manicure & pedicure, blow dry and Champagne lunch at the East Dulwich bar
- Spa day including a Shiseido Radiance Facial at The Academy in Harrogate
- Makeup lesson with renowned makeup artist, Ruby Hammer
- and my personal favourite, Overnight Stay for two and Carita Spa Experience at Cameron House Loch Lomond

So, go on, why not place a bid? The auction is now live at www.ebay.co.uk/auctionforjapan

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Speed Review: The Body Shop Lip Oils

As a teenager, I had every flavour of The Body Shop's lip balms but it's been years since I used one of their lip products, for no particular reason other than a desire to continually discover new beauty products. However, the recent launch of The Body Shop Lip Oils caught my attention. I love using oils- on my hair, my face and my body so I was intrigued by the concept of an oil for lips, not something I've come across before. My only concern was that, given the affordable price (on introductory offer at £3 each), they'd be filled with "nasty" ingredients. I was pleasantly surprised to note that the Lip Oils are 100% natural.

The Lip Oils are available in coconut, mint, orange, rose and berry. The nostalgic part of me was slightly disappointed that they haven't produced one in vanilla. I was sent orange and rose versions to try although my rose rollerball appeared to be faulty meaning that I was only able to try orange. Not that this was a problem. Trialling the orange Lip Oil was such a joy- it's sweet scent meant that it was almost good enough to eat!
The rollerball format is easy to use and I like that it's more hygenic than a pot for on-the-go application. The formula is very liquid and doesn't feel greasy at all. Although it leaves a clear shine, it doesn't have the intensity that you'd achieve with a gloss. The downside is that I didn't find the Lip Oils offered any lasting hydration and I had to keep reapplying. I'd say that they'll be a good choice as a lip protectant (as opposed to conditioner) as winter approaches.
I have no idea if teens still shop at The Body Shop but I can just imagine myself back at school repeatedly applying the Lip Oils in class.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Speed Review: Caudalie Fleur de Vigne Shower Gel

I've been in London this week (I'll leave the riot commentary to more appropriate forums) and during my visit, I've been enjoying using Caudalie's Fleur de Vigne Shower Gel.

With a wonderfully fresh & clean, green fragrance, it's been a welcome addition to my morning regime. The scent is said to be evokotive of the grape blossom (Fleur de Vigne) which only blooms for a few days in June each year. What's more, the soap-free formula is gentle and hasn't irritated my sensitive skin.
At £9 for 200ml, it's a relatively affordable way to inject a sense of indulgence into your everyday shower. Highly recommended.

Sunday 7 August 2011

Milia & Me

About a month or so ago, I noticed a teeny white dot high on my cheekbone, just beneath my eye. Although so small that it wouldn't be apparent to anyone else, I was conscious of the spot. My natural reaction- don't judge- was to attempt an extraction. All that this did was create a very obvious red area around the white dot. It finally disappeared, on its own, after quite some time only for a second white dot to appear. By this point, I was convinced that I was suffering from Milia.
So what are Milia? Milia are tiny keratin-filled cysts which are caused by conjestion. They have been linked to high mineral oil content in cosmetic products. I'm not sure what caused mine but I was keen to see a specialist, which I did at the Vaishaly clinic in London.
As part of my Vaishaly signature facial, the therapist examined my skin and confirmed my self-diagnosis of Milia. She gave me the option to leave the white spot or for it to be professionally extracted, which is the recommended treatment for Milia. To perform the extraction, my therapist used a tiny needle to pierce the skin and then performed an extraction in the same way as she would for a simple blackhead. Not painful at all, in fact, it was rather satisfying!
I'd definitely recommend seeing a specialist if you are concerned about Milia- they're really not a huge deal but something that was annoying me personally. If you suspect that you're suffering from Milia, don't even bother trying a home extraction- this needs to be left to the professionals, who will sort you out in no time at all.

Saturday 6 August 2011

Speed Review: Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector

I prefer Clinique makeup to their skincare and not suffering from severe hyperpigmentation, I passed Clinique's Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector onto a friend who had been considering laser treatment for her acne scarring. I handed her the sample two weeks ago.

Clinique's award winning Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector has been developed by dermatologists to improve the appearance of age spots, dark spots and blemish scarring by 53%. The packaging advises that results will be visible within 4 weeks so given the length of time my friend has been trialling this for, perhaps this review is a little premature. Having said this, after just 2 weeks my friend cannot stop raving about this product.
Presented in Clinique's signature sleek, clinical yet functional packaging, Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector is a lightweight, unfragranced serum. A little goes a long way. My friend has been applying the product morning and evening and has noticed a significant improvement in the pigmentation, with impressive fading. She highly recommends it.
At £39 for 30ml, it's not a cheap option although is considerably more affordable than a cosmetic procedure. What's more, given that the results speak for themselves, Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector is worth every penny.

Friday 5 August 2011

Waxing Lyrical about Strip

Firstly, an apology for my silence this week. I've been busily meeting with PRs in London and have lots of lovely news to share with you over the coming weeks. Anyway, on with today's post...

After pledging allegance to Ministry of Waxing at the end of last year, I didn't think anything would be able to shake my loyalty to the hair removal specialists. That is, until I called to make a booking only to be informed that they'd be closed on the day I needed my appointment. Hugely disappointed, I decided to try Strip instead, considered to be one of the best waxing destinations in the capital. I opted not to mention my role as a professional beauty writer. I paid £49 for my Brazilian hot wax treatment.
I've stated previously that I'd never, ever book a Brazilian anywhere but the most reputable salons. After all, why risk an inexperienced therapist using hot wax in the most intimate area of your body? Besides, it's far from an enjoyable aspect of beauty maintenance so why add to the trauma? The website is filled with glowing testimonials from the likes of Sienna Miller, Victoria Beckham and Rosie Huntington-Whitley so I had high expectations. As soon as I called to make the booking, I was put at ease and left with a very favourable first impression. Wearing suitably Chelsea white skinny jeans, I trotted along to Strip's Fulham Road branch, a couple of streets away from South Kensington tube station. The staff warmly welcomed me and I was taken to the Berry room for my treatment with therapist, Sky.

Where Ministry of Waxing has a cool, industrial vibe to the interior, Strip very much has a grown-up, seductive feel with opulent, themed treatment rooms where the decor is matched to the scent of the wax. Choose from luscious chocolate, berry (per my treatment), lavender or gold. As soon as I entered the berry room, which features flocked wallpaper and pink accessories, I noticed the fruity fragrance of the melting wax, fantastic attention to detail.

My therapist, Sky, was professional and efficient and her no-nonsense approach put me at ease as I felt confident in her experience. Unlike MOW, there are no stress balls or cold compresses to relieve your pain although Sky helpfully suggested breathing techniques which proved surprisingly effective. It's always going to be a painful treatment but it wasn't TOO bad.
I love that you can watch TV as a distraction whilst your therapist gets to work. Strip have definitely tried to make every aspect of this maintenance treatment as enjoyable as it possibly can be.

Unlike many salons, Strip don't use cotton strips in the treatment as these can pull the skin and increase sensitivity. Instead, Strip apply oil to the area to prevent skin being pulled then apply a quick setting wax, which they pull directly off once solidified. I felt that the treatment was over quickly, which I was impressed with. Although it's not a dignified treatment, I was asked to hold different positions rather than turning over (per MOW) which I personally felt more comfortable with.
Finally, once the treatment is over, there's a tempting lingerie boutique stocking brands such as Elle Macpherson Intimate, Cosabella and Stella McCartney so that you can truly indulge.
It's easy to see why Strip is regarded as one of the top waxing salons in the capital. I'll definitely be returning.
© SKIN DEEP | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig