Saturday, 29 September 2007

LA Confidential

LA is a really weird place. Luckily, it is punctuated with many branches of Sephora and various department stores.

I tried not to get sucked in but I really did love it. So random! However, it's super tricky to try and describe an LA look to you. We saw a whole lot of Amy Winehouse-a-likes in Chateau Marmont, Mischa Barton wannabees at the beach and Paris after Paris after Paris at the shops. Interesting.
I'd have to say, go fresh faced by day - don't forget a touch of bronzer- and vamp up the eyes at night. Skin should always, always stay fresh and glowy.

To be honest, I didn't get a whole lot of BeautyMecca time (sorry for ditching you) but I did get the chance to try out a couple of fun new BeneFit products - Rush Hour and That Gal. Rush Hour is an easy to use multiple that gives cheeks and lips a rosy glow while That Gal was perfect for a fresh faced no make up look. It's a primer that really does cool and even your skin. Plus it looks like a pritt stick. Score.

MAC had some wicked 3D lipglosses that were super shiny and Vincent Longo was rocking some amazing moussey textured eye colours in gorgeous metallic green, bronze and pale gold. Mmm.

I also fell in love with Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume. So pretty.

I think I've got just enough time to mention the very LA 'Go Smile' tooth whitening thingy I picked up in Sephora. Go Smile is a peach flavoured tooth whitening gel in a handy disposable tube, like a little bit lipgloss but less sparkly colour and more burn the crap off your teeth. So if you happen to be in Hollywood, you've just necked a bottle of red wine with your lunch and you've got a big love scene with Peter from Heroes that afternoon, you're good to go... (who wouldn't be?)
Aaand, ACTION!

LA Confidential

LA Confidential

Monday, 24 September 2007

LA Confidential

I'm blogging on a BlackBerry so this could go horribly wrong. Just so you know.

I'm in LA and hopefully you'll be pleased to know that it's beautiful. Despite me initial 'it's just not New York' issues it is pretty damn good. And sunny. Yay.

I don't have any comedy beauty stories to tell yet, I've only been to the beach and thank god it was light on make up BUT there is a huge Sephora literally on the doorstep of my hotel. Yay again.
Did you know stila have a Smokey eye palette that talks to you? You press a button on the front and it tells you how to apply! Amazing!

Hopefully I will have a lot of stories after a night out tonight. And of course I will dutifully share...

LA Confidential

Friday, 21 September 2007

Design and Technology

Screw woodwork, we're girls and I'm really not interested in drills, glue guns and circular saws. Well, I have some interest in glue guns but what I'm really keen on, is varnish but purely of the nail kind. I LOVED the pretty silvers of summer and the glossy glam black of last winter but that's nothing to how I feel about this year's sexy purple and gunmetal greys.

Fingernails are short and rounded and the colour is deep and rich - mmm, nice. I adore the dark, shimmery greys at MAC but I've also got a secret yearning for the matte, light greys for daytime.

I'm not a huge fan of matching fingers and toes, plus, typing all day long makes for major chippage - this does NOT work with deep plums and purples, so I'm saving that treat for my tootsies. My toes are already totally taken with Zoya's Lael, a glossy deep plum that just does not chip. Which is just as well since these trotters are about to hoof it all the way over to LA!

I'm taking the BeautyMecca show on the road tomorrow morning to the land of the Zoebots. I'm guessing there will be lots to report - mostly that I'm seven sizes bigger than everyone in the city, but hey, I'm still excited. See you on the other side!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Geography - it's not just colouring in...

It is though, isn't it?

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to learn about igneous rock formations... sorry, I almost bored myself to sleep there. What I actually meant was, I thought it might be fun to look at where to bag the best swag, on the high street and on holiday.

My favourite shops in the UK are Space NK for premium beauty porn and Boots for everything else. You can more or less satisfy every basic beauty urge in Boots and you get points. Hurrah.
The joy of Space NK comes from its fabulous, fabulous brands like Eve Lom, Nars and Frederic Fekkai... I just end up mooning over everything for so long, I don't buy anything.

If you're ever in London, you have to head to Selfridges. The beauty hall can be a little bit overwhelming but just grit your teeth and stick with it. There are a million make up artists who will help you find what you're after or even just give you a quick lesson, no purchase necessary. If I've got ten minutes spare, you'll find me hovering around the MAC counter. Love. It.

Since you're not a weirdo like me, you might not be thinking about buying make up constantly, even when you're on holiday but if you are taking a trip, keep these brands in mind.

France: Look for big savings on top brands like Avene and Caudalie. Lovely products for sensitive skins and much cheaper En France. And remember, Paris is the home of Chanel, so it would be rude not to buy something from Coco.

Spain: Who doesn't have happy memories of wandering around a perfume store in a Spanish tourist resort as a child? Oh, really? It was always a highlight for me, mainly because there seemed to be a lot of crap aimed at kids, especially particularly potent perfumes. Wow, they were offensive. You can still pick up a duty free bargain in Spain, try and check out the Antonio Banderas aftershaves and PERFUMES... I can only imagine. Alternatively, head to El Cortes Ingles and pick up some top brands at great prices - as long as the exchange rate is right.

USA: Obviously, I'm biased since I would rather be in New York than ANYWHERE ELSE ON EARTH but you really can pick up some great products. First port of call has to be Sephora (hit the Sephora on the Champs Elysee if you go to Paris too) where you can pick up anything and everything at dirt cheap US prices. Nars? Check. Smashbox? Check. id Bare Minerals? Check. Stila, Benefot, Urban Decay, Paul&Joe, Fekkai, Bliss, Anthony Logistics, every perfume known to man? Check, check, check.
Love it and it's nationwide.

If you're going to New York and want something special, Check out Bond No.9. Recently migrating to the UK, Bond No.9's famous perfumes are only currently available at Harrods and Selfridges and at extortionate mark ups, so head out to Bleecker Street and pick up your very own scent of New York. The bottles are a work of art and each scent is inspired by a different area of New York. This piece of gorgeousness is Chinatown.
But if you're really looking for something individual, (off the rack perfume? How common!) you can even have your own scent mixed in store.
Plus the wee, beautiful shop is a stone's throw from both Marc Jacobs and Magnolia Bakery.
You're able to go wrong here how?

Wednesday, 19 September 2007


History is the most important lesson you'll ever take. Fact.
If you don't understand the mistakes of the past, how will you avoid them in the future? Mistakes like stripping your skin with Clearasil, blending pink and blue eyeshadow and perms. Oh God, the perms.

But sometimes there are things from the past that we should never let go of and today, it's time to reassess the classics.

Estee Lauder's Advance Night Repair serum is a ripe old 25 years old and is still winning over new fans every single day. Despite the cunning 'Night Repair' name, application in every morning before your moisturiser will help neutralise 90% of skin damaging free radicals generated by UV light, pollutants and oxidants before they can damage the skin. When its not fighting off nasties, ANR delivers advanced levels of hydration with hyaluronic acid to boost the effectiveness of your moisturiser. Ooh. Basically, if you use this, you will look younger than the people that don't. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon, for the rest of your life. And at £32, it hardly breaks the bank. Hurrah.

And in case that wasn't enough, the geniuses at Estee Lauder have reformulated and repackaged my beloved Idealist Skin Refinisher to create a gorgeous companion to the ANR.
The new Idealist still helps skin banish flakiness and speeds up the skin's renewal process, plus it now includes with three times more Glucosamine (a sugar-derived, non-acid refinisher) and a super-potent anti-oxidant, NDGA, that also helps shrink the look of enlarged pores by helping reduce the build-up of excess oil. In a nutshell, gives you clearer, more radiant skin. All yours for £34.
And isn't it pretty? Sigh.

Find room for them on your dressing table NOW.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

RE: Cult Brands

So I'm not the most spiritual of people and well, actually, I'm not even christened but I am certainly a well qualified girl of the (cleansing) cloth when it comes to talking about cult beauty products.

I'm not talking about the ones you've all already tried, who doesn't live and die by Beauty Flash Balm? And I'm not going to bankrupt you by recommending £200 marine enzyme wonder gels. Oh no, I'm more like the crack dealer that brings you in cheap and then hikes up the price...

So, let's start with Fenjal Creme Bath. This lovely rich bath treat has been knocking around for years but its just as lovely as ever. If I'm ever in need of a really relaxing, skin softening bath, this is what I turn to. It's got a beautiful, almost herbally scent that wraps you up like a big hug and leaves your skin totally soft. And the bottle is pretty too. Sorry, but it's a factor to me...

Moving ever so slightly up the price scale and speaking of factors, is DDF's Enhancing Sun Protection. This fabulous SPF 30 not only protects you from the sun's evil rays but it also enhances your skin's own loveliness meaning you can more or less ditch foundation! Wowsers. It really does work on all skintones, from night of the living dead me to the super tanned minxiness of my friends (focus group of three). I wear this literally Every. Time. I. Go. Outside. In case DDF aren't doing enough for you already (greedy) this sunscreen is chock full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients to keep your skin in tip top condition.

And up the price range a little more... my two new favourite products from Bliss. My skin is a sod for congestion and I'm forever trying out new exfoliants and masks so I was super happy to find Bliss Sleeping Peel Serum and Mask. The amino-acid-antioxidant exfoliating serum literally levels your fine lines (in less than a week) while simultaneously lightening dark spots from sun damage. Wow. And the mask... See how pretty???

And yes, I'm watching Lord of the Rings.

According to The Goddess Guide by Gisele Scanlon (one of the most wonderful books you will ever buy) the serum is amazing at clearing your post-flight so I will be trying that out super soon.

Did I not mention I'm off to LA on Saturday? Sigh...

Monday, 17 September 2007

Foundation Course

Morning class. Is everyone barefaced as requested?
Good. Today we're learning very important lesson - foundation.

Now, as I've mentioned a few thousand times, I'm super pale. Super, super, English Rose if that rose was grown in a dark corner with very little access to sunlight pale and so getting the right shade has always been a bit of a chore for me. Not any more.

My new, never fail winner is my worth-its-weight-in-gold Prescriptives Custom Blend Foundation.
I love it.
I loved getting it blended.
I loved chatting with the make up artist on the stand.
I loved that I was able to add skin brightening ingredients and radiance boosters to my final formulation.
I loved choosing my own level of coverage and finally getting a colour that was an EXACT match for my skin.
I love that when I smooth it on in the morning, it blends seamlessly, giving me model perfect coverage, not a chalky death mask or orange Jordan glow.

It's not really blue by the way but it does have blue in it. Mine even had dark plum - it brightens dull skin - who would have thunk it?

And if all this wasn't enough, just push me right over the edge, once I had my foundation in my sweaty paws, lovely Sara mixed up a coordinating concealer.
With eye brightening ingredients.
And it's ace.

Buying foundation just always felt so utilitarian to me, just a job that had to be done, ut the Prescriptives Custom Blend service made it feel like a real luxury. (The fact that this happened at Selfridges was a sheer coincidence.) If you're looking to switch from your summer colour to a winter foundation, pop on over to the Prescriptives counter for your free colour print and I dare you to leave without buying the foundation.

They do lipgloss too you know...

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Beauty School Dropout...

I'm so bad, I haven't been doing my homework.
As punishment, I will be doing lines (on my smokoey eyes tis evening, big awards event) and normal service will resume tomorrow.

If you're desperate for some education, try and hit Selfirdges before Saturday and see their very own Beauty School. Can you believe they ripped me off?
Well, great minds think alike.

Monday, 10 September 2007

What's in the Bag Anita Vukomancic?

Today's beautista is Anita Vukomancic, not only is she super pretty but she's a top cosmetologist too... it's bound to be a good one!

What's your signature beauty product and how does using it make you feel?

It will have to be my amazing moisturiser by Benostan Phytocosmetica. It is completely natural, slides on my skin and feels very light and fresh. It feels great to know that the first thing I put on my skin is free from any preservatives and chemicals.

A beautiful boy is on the approach and you only have time to apply one product - what is it?
Pout Plump Lip-gloss. It looks great, it tingles your lips and you just squeeze it on from the bottle – no sticky fingers afterwards. So when this handsome boy is coming my way all I have to do is Pout!!

What is your favourite beauty product ever - current, classic or, sob, discontinued?
'The Oscar' would have to go to my Incredible Mascara by Blinc. Since Blinc is not a cosmetic paint like conventional mascaras it doesn’t fade, smudge or run. When applied it forms little tubes around each lash so it is incredibly easy to take it off with a bit of warm water splashed on the eye area - the tubes just slide off. No need for make up remover which is a bonus!

The rest of the bag?
How much space do you have as there is a lot in there…! Okay, here goes;

Lavera Naturkosmetic roll on deodorant (it took me ages to find a natural no aluminum or alcohol deodorant that actually does the job and bingo I finally found one)
Becca concealer in two tones
High Beam by Benefit
Cargo Sunset Beach blusher which I use with my Pout Blusher Brush – it’s all about the glow!
Tiny pot of MAC loose powder for eyes that can be applied on with fingertips
Mini OXY gen tube by Crystal Clear for any sudden spots or as a wake me up treatment around the eyes when I’m tired
Dropper contain alcohol-free perfume oil that I massage on (lots of us don’t realise that spray on perfumes can cause discoloration on the skin and as a cosmetologist I am aware how difficult it can be to treat pigmentation)
Vitamin Ester C sachets that dissolve in water (good way to remember topping up on Vit C)
Hair Clip by Ficcare (it can make the worst hair a good hair day)
Cotton Buds

Hmm, fab make up bag, really pretty?
I'm totally not jealous...

Friday, 7 September 2007

High School Beautiful

As you all know, I am a complete child and therefore, I practically wet myself at the chance to go to the High School Musical 2 premiere last Sunday.

I love High School Musical. It's a dirty, marketing wet dream, fresh out of the sinister labs of Disney, created by a million marketers, working at a million macs for a million days but boy, it sure is catchy.

Bucking the trend of usual US school-based shows, the kids in HSM are more or less that, kids, so I was really excited to see what they'd wear. This is Disney sanctioned good clean fun after all.

Or didn't you get that memo, Olesya Rulin?

In the movie, Olesya plays a tomboyish musician so she's clearly trying to point out that in fact, she is a feminine laydee. I love the hot 40s look for winter - it'll be all over your Christmas parties (and your face by the end of the night) but doesn't it look a little much on someone so young? Add in the fact that the premiere was on a Sunday afternoon and that the skintight, wet look dress was backless and we've definitely got a 'uh-oh' rather than a 'hell, yeah!'.

Ashley Tisdale, resident HSM bee-hatch Sharpei Evans, (and everyone's favourite) looked super pretty.

I loved her swept up hair and smokey eyes but I would have added a little bit of colour to her lips, she's got a touch of the morgue about her and not in a good way. It might look okay at a glamorous night do, but again, too much for Sunday afternoon.

Now, you've all probably seen a very different picture of Vanessa Hudgens doing the rounds this week (ahem, but seriously, if she's going to continue to knock it out of the park like this, I'd rather see her with her clothes, and make-up, on.

This isn't a perfect pic but she looked radiant, messy but elegant and immaculately made up. Perfect balance of all three looks - Olesya's liquid liner teamed with Ashley's smokiness but combined with a real fresh glow and soft peachy lips.

Anyone else hate her a little bit?
Wait till you see her nekkid.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Chemistry: The Importance of H20

Test tubes away, it's not that kind of a chemistry lesson.
Today we're going to establish whether or not you have dry skin!

You could try the comedy Clinique route, you know, there they stick a bit of 'cosmetic grade' sellotape on your nose and see if the skin cells give themselves up, or you could answer the questions below:

Is your skin dull looking?
Is it flaky (ew, eyebrow dandruff)?
Do you have a lot of fine lines for your age?
Does your skin feel 'tight' straight after cleansing?

Okay, the odds are you know whether or not you've got dry skin but if in doubt, pop in for a Dermalogica facial. I always thought I had oily skin until a recent facial when my tiny mind was exploded with the facts. Turns out my problems were mostly caused by me continually abusing teenage skin conditions I was ten years clear of.

The best thing you can do is simple. Drink truck loads of water. Truck. Loads. If you really can't manage it, you can at least try the following:
Avoid extreme temperature changes
Drink less caffeine
Keep your environment humid (a humidifier in the bedroom made a tonne of difference to me)
Protect your skins natural barrier with the right products

The first save-my-skin product I tried was Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Booster, as recommended by my facialist. It contains Hyaluronic Acid, Panthenol, Glycolipids and Algae Extract all of which help restore your natural moisture balance and helps you avoid those pesky fine lines. Despite it's rather impressive claims, the product is really light and liquid, not heavy and oily. Joy.

The most important thing is not to freak out and start attacking your skin with thick, gooey creams that sit on top of your complexion, all you'll get that way is break outs. As we shift from summer (huh?) to winter, your skin is going to be all kinds of confused - do your skin a favour and give yourself a treat, book a facial while it's still relatively close to payday.

Do it... Do it now... Go on... You know you want to...

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Cleansing 101

Good morning class.
Today we will be starting with the Beauty School basics - cleansers.
Do I sound like a proper teacher? No? Oh.

Anyhoo, in the interests of passing our exams, I've been testing some new cleansers and heeeeerrrrrrrre are my pick of the bunch!

Origins Clean Energy Cleansing Oil
There's been heaps of buzz about cleansing oils for a couple of years now but I think most peeps are still a bit wary - oil + skin = bad, right? Well, that sum is wrong. The lovely, lovely Origins oil is absolutely fab. For a tip top but ultra soothing cleanse, massage the oil into dry skin, then massage in some warm water to create a lovely milky cleanser. Then wash off with a warm washcloth (aka flannel). It's chocka with lovely ingredients, all of which are non-comedogenic - sunflower, olive, sesame, safflower oils to cleanse, kukui nut, macadamia and vitamin E oil to moisturise and grapefruit, orange and lime to refresh your senses. Yum.
My only downer with this was pouring it out of the bottle, I am super clumsy, but once I got used to it, we were fine.

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleanser
If you like a traditional cream cleanser, I love Clinique's Take the Day Off. It really, really removes every last trace of make up and dirt (sometimes make up left by other cleansers not lucky enough to be named here!). It's not going to mess with your skin in anyway, is widely available and it's pretty purple!

Trilogy Cream Cleanser
If you like the effect of a cream cleanser but prefer to wash off with water, I've got the perfect balancing act for you. Top of the class is Trilogy Cream Cleanser. Not only is it beautiful to look at and smells amazing, it contains certified organic rosehip oil and other nutritious goodies such as evening primrose oil, jojoba, almond and carrot oil to soften while it cleanses. Yummy. Plus it's sulfate free (they use orange blossom instead!) so it won't upset delicate skin. Massage the luxurious cream on and rinse off with warm water.

REN Mayblossom and Blue Cypress Facewash
I know we've covered this a million times but really, I just keep on coming back to it. Ideal for combination skins, whenever I'm having a hormonal/stress/hangover/POST-READING skin freak out, I turn to this. It's REN, it's lovely, please buy it.

Aaaaand, pens down.

See you tomorrow for Chemistry class!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Back, Back, Back to School...

September. The universal month of Back To School...
Are you excited?
Filling up your new pencil cases in anticipation?
Well, in case you're felling less than thrilled at the prospect of fresh exercise books and shiny sharpeners, I'm happy to provide you with a thrilling induction into:

Beauty School!!!!
It sounds like a laboured feature, I know, but please roll with it.

Throughout September we'll be looking at everything from Cleansing 101, RE (Cult brands) Art (using colour) Geography (what to buy from where) and all of your other old favourites.
Apart from PE. I hated PE.

Anyway, how better to start Beauty School than with an apple for the teacher?

I am of course referring to DKNY's rather gorgeous Be Delicious perfume which comes in this fab apple-shaped bottle. Definitely more likely to get you A's than a mouldy old Granny Smith.
Aside from its fab packaging (and we know how much I like fab packaging) it's a cool, crisp combination of apple, exotic flowers and sensual woods. Yum, yum, yum.

Or, if you're dead set on detention (on your first day - for shame!), go for Sean John's new women's fragrance, Unforgivable Woman.
All the cool boys in the upper sixth love a bad girl...

Monday, 3 September 2007

What's in the Bag Claire Becker?

Today's gorgeous guinea pig is the lovely Claire Becker. Not only is she the owner of a bag of glam goodies, Claire is a former beauty therapist so watch out for definite performers in her bag!

What's your signature beauty product and how does using it make you feel?
Dr. Harnik Stop Puffy Eyes: Most days when I wake up I have big puffy swollen bits under my eyes, and I’m really conscious of looking like I haven’t slept in weeks/ had a fight with Mike Tyson. I keep my Dr. Harnik Stop Puffy eyes in the fridge, get back into my bed after a shower and gently pat and massage it under my eyes. It is so cooling and soothing and after a few minutes I can feel the swelling going down. It also helps me to wake up and feel revived for my day at work

A beautiful boy is on the approach and you only have time to apply one product - what is it?
Trilogy Intensive Lip treatment. Most men don’t really like girls with loads of make up and lip gloss on, they like them too look natural and seeing as lips are usually the main focus point when you talk to someone, I think this natural organic treatment really hydrates dull and chapped lips whilst subtly plumping out fine lines and looking glossy, natural and above all, kissable.

What is your favourite beauty product ever - current, classic or, sob, discontinued?
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Rose. This is a bit too much for day wear but a quick sweep on your cheeks at night really highlights your cheekbones and makes you look glamorous and glowing. I also love that you can use the different shades in the brick as eyeshadows, I like the pearlised finish which make your eyes look really awake… Classic.

And the bag?
24 Hour Eyeliner by Colorsport: Easy to apply eyeliner with a soft felt tip type nib. Glides on easily and literally does not budge until you remove it with make up remover. Great for nights out partying and swimming on holiday, no need to struggle to keep your head above water any more girls.

Benetint by Benefit- looks scarily red in the bottle but looks like a natural flushed glow when applied to cheeks. Also works wonders on pale lips without looking like your wearing anything and smells of roses to top it all off.

Dr. Harnik Dark Circle duo corrector: When I’m tired it really shows underneath my eyes. As a previous beauty therapist I have tried most of the concealers on the market and I can honestly say that this is the best I have tried. It has a yellow concealer to correct bluish tones and then a beige cream-to-powder concealer to create an even flawless finish. It is waterproof and contains Aloe Vera to soothe.

Mac Plushglass lipglass: I love lip plumping glosses, but I hate the burning feeling they create and I think you will find my boyfriend agrees! This one is refreshingly tingly, and makes your lips look and feel instantly fuller. Great colour ranges, I love the bright pink ones, they look really girly and fun.

Rimmel Recovery foundation: I have a lot of freckles on my face and when I wear foundation I still want them to show through instead of trying to hide them, this foundation is light and hydrating, whilst having subtle light reflective particles to make my face look dewy and fresh.

Hurrah for freckles! Hurrah for Claire Becker!

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