Cheap Smells (or how to smell good without breaking the bank ...)

Thursday, 24 April 2014

By Laurin

I recently overheard someone dismiss a wonderful early 90’s commercial blockbuster fragrance with a wave of the hand and a dismissive, “It’s a bit…high street for me.” House rules prevent me swearing on this blog, so I am unable to repeat my exact thoughts. However, I would like to offer the following observation: “Your MUM’S a bit high street.”

Nobody wants to be basic, but in the rush to prove their connoisseur credentials with incessant name-dropping of the obscure, expensive and hard-to-find, perfume enthusiasts often wilfully ignore the fact that not everything that smells good is exclusive or requires a second mortgage. There is no shortage of mediocre scents bearing outrageous price tags to fool you into thinking they’re something special, and by the same token, it’s possible to find some great fragrances for very little money at all. 

All the perfumes below can be had for under £30.

Bvlgari Black - £24 for 40ml at

I would consider this a bargain at four times the price. The fact that you can buy two bottles and still have change from a fifty pound note is surely proof that there is a God, and She wants us to smell good. It contains notes of rubber tires screeching on hot asphalt, smoky black tea, vanilla, cedar and bergamot, but to attempt to pin this fragrance down to a mere collection on notes is to ignore its ever-changing complexity and almost human presence in a room. It walks softly, but carries a big stick. Or, as my friend Amy once put it, “This is a fragrance you wear when you need to rescue a vegan from a swamp.”

Chopard Casmir - £12.95 for 30ml at

This was the first grown-up fragrance I bought with my own money. I have a hazy, possibly false memory of billowing red scarves and gold turrets at the Dillard’s department store launch in Mobile, Alabama. The idea of smelling like an Arabian Nights fantasy princess while my peers were showering in squeaky clean CK One absolutely appealed to pretentious 16-year-old me. If I smelled this on a teenage girl today, I wouldn’t know whether to high-five her or order her into the bathroom to scrub that off NOW, young lady. Casmir is a daring overdose of vanilla, musk, benzoin and tonka, just made wearable with baskets of peach, mandarin, blackcurrant and overripe tropical fruit. It’s no surprise to me that it was created by Michel Almairac, the nose behind the outrageously brilliant Gucci Rush. Wear it while wrapped in cashmere and dreaming of ancient souks. Or give it to a teenage girl with a wink and a copy of Delta of Venus.

Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers - £10.00 for 30ml at

I own a small handful of what I like to call “Sunday Evening Perfumes”. They are for spraying medicinally, by the gallon, to dispel anxiety and unease. With its sunny notes of citrus, juicy honeydew, mouth-watering peach and breezy orange blossom, Sunflowers is the closest you can get to a bosomy bear-hug from a long-lost friend without getting on a plane. It’s simple, happy and completely without pretension. Spray with joyful abandon, or when joyful abandon is in short supply.

Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars - £12.00 for 30ml at

Official notes: Pineapple, jasmine, freesia, bergamot, vanilla and musk. Off the record: Like being strangled with a candy necklace by Karl Lagerfeld’s ponytail. Sweet shops and Brylcreem. Only buy this if you’re a collector of perfumes by Sophia Grojsman, or a fondness of mid-nineties “Celestial” themed d├ęcor. And if either of those descriptions do apply to you, drop me a line. I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady - £30 for 10ml (well, sort of) at

If, on the other hand, I haven’t convinced you of the delights to be found in purchasing a fragrance in the same shop that’s running a special on Tampax, take heart. There is always the option of pooling your resources with your similarly high-minded friends and splashing out on a travel set of Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady. At £90 for three 10ml travel sprays, this is stretching the concept of a “budget” option, but I find it helps to think of it as investing in your share of a masterpiece of modern perfumery. Dominique Ropion’s instantly recognisable accord of rose, patchouli, incense, cassis and raspberry is the only perfume I’ve ever worn that has caused strangers to chase me down the street, just to find out the name. Would that ever happen with a Jo Malone? I rest my case. BARGAIN.

This post: Cheap Smells (or how to smell good without breaking the bank ...) originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

GOSH Spring Summer 2014

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

By Tindara

Greetings Get Lippie-ers! I’m back back back. It’s been tough old game but I’ve been sampling lots of new things recently. Not least the new stuff from the GOSH Spring Summer range. I’ve been a GOSH fan for a while, I think their Velvet Touch eyeliners are brilliant and easily as good as my previous staple MAC Powerpoint at double the price. So, I was excited to get stuck into my goody bag.

There are lots of lovely new things in the range, the Lip Lacquers are cute and would make sweet presents for a teen relative. They’re contained in nail polish style bottles with an application wand in the lid. There are a host of pleasing summery colours, including shimmery neutrals, pinks, corals, and reds, with a not-too-glossy sheer shine.

The lipsticks are also really good value, moisturising, and good colours, particularly in the neutrals. They last very well too for a lipstick at this price point. I’m a bright lipstick girl normally but I’ve really taken to the Innocent, Nude and Sweetheart. They’re flattering and go very well with a smudgy smoky eye.

Which leads me onto the new Eyeshadow Forever Pencils. These are a great dupe for the many more expensive eyeshadow pencils on the market like Smashbox and Charlotte Tilbury. They twist up so there’s no need for sharpening, and come in gorgeous blendable metallic shades which are perfect for this season. After a minute or so they set and stay put the whole day. I’ve been using Brown, Grey, and Beige most, the latter being an excellent subtle pearly look particularly good on paler skins.

The real star of the show, however, is the Prime ‘n Set Primer and Mattifying Setting Powder. I had never used a powder as a primer before but this is a revelation. I’ve used lots of primers but none worked as well as using a light touch of this powder before foundation. It felt dry and comfortable all day even on a sweltering London tube journey. It’s also a really good setting powder and very similar to the Nars Light Reflecting Setting Powder at a fraction of the cost. Just saying. Here’s hoping GOSH bring out a pressed version soon.

GOSH Lip Laquer is £5.99. GOSH Velvet Touch Lipstick is £6.49. GOSH Eyeshadow Forever Pencils are £5.99. GOSH Prime ‘n Set Primer and Mattifying Setting Powder is £9.99. They’re all on offer at Superdrug with a few quid off at the moment. No pressure.

The Fine Print: PR Samples

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Spring Blushers with Clinique, Hourglass and Tarte

Friday, 18 April 2014

By Get Lippie

Spring really has sprung now, the days are lighter and longer, and, whilst I've not actually turned off the central heating yet (we have foot-thick walls, and 8ft ceilings, it takes Lippie Mansions a while to warm up), it's definitely getting warmer.  As a result, I've swapped out my darker winter blushes for some lighter, brighter shades for the longer days ahead.

Clockwise from top left we have Clinique's Cheek Pop in Berry Pop, Hourglass Ambient Blush in Luminous Flush, Hourglass Ambient Blush in Radiant Heat and Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Fearless.  The top two are on the cooler side, and the bottom two have warmer tones.  

Swatched heavily in sunlight, in the same order as above.

The Clinique Berry Pop is hella pigmented - you need the tiniest, tiniest bit of this to get brightly coloured cheeks.  It lasts astonishingly well, too, as do all the colours in the cheek pop range.  Just use a light hand, and an extremely flexible blusher brush when applying.  This is gorgeously pretty packaging too, the gerbera daisy imprint is a delight, and it seems to be lasting well, too.

The Hourglass Ambient Blush in Radiant Flush is a cool pink with beige veining in the pan, and on the skin is much paler than the Berry Pop.  I find it works well if you build up the colour in layers, rather than relying on one thick sweep to last you through the day.  The shades are on the sheer side, but you can build them up.  Ambient Blush in Diffused Heat is a warm coral veined with the yellow Ambient powder in Diffused (which was one of my products of the year in 2013), and is a paler peachy tone when swirled on the skin.  As with Radiant flush, you can build this up to a quite significant shade on the skin.  I've read quite mixed reviews of the Ambient blushes, but I like them a great deal - their rather sheer formula, and built-in highlighter effect make them ideal for the less dextrous amongst us.  Like myself.

 Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Fearless is a more or less straightforward matte coral, with some pinkish undertones.  It's wonderfully flattering on, and lasts quite well.  I'm really happy to see Tarte finally arriving in the UK (even if it is via QVC), and, from what I've seen of the range, I don't think fans will be disappointed.  Having read the ingredients list, however, I'm a little underwhelmed by the formula for this, as it's not that different to practically every other blush on the planet in all honesty, but this is a darn fine blusher, particularly if you want a matte shade.  Currently the shades on offer on QVC are rather limited, but I'm assured that more colours will be available later on in the year.  Personally, I like the foundations more than the blush - which I'm slightly surprised to discover, to be honest - but more about that later.

What changes are you making to your routine for the changes in the weather? 

 The Fine Print: Mixture of PR Samples and purchases.  Hourglass are going to bankrupt me at this rate.

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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

By Get Lippie

I'm having one of those weeks when all my favourite skin care items run out at the same time, and it's INFURIATING!

Champneys Spa Skin Super Rich Cleansing Balm:

Slightly grainy (and a little exfoliating as a result), I took this pot of balm on my honeymoon with me because I didn't want to use a chemical exfoliator, what with their sun-sensitivity issues and all, and I couldn't be bothered packing two products when only one can do all the work, and I've not looked back since.  A lovely rich balm with excellent cleansing properties, this is a brilliant (cheap!) cleanser, particularly if you totally ignore the instructions on the jar, and remove it properly with warm water and a face cloth, like what you are supposed to do.

Zelens PHA Bio-Peel Resurfacing Facial Pads

God, I love these. Gentler than straight glycolic acid, but still packing a tingly punch of exfoliating goodness, I start to panic every time I get past the halfway point on a jar of these.  Used after cleansing, these pads gently help your skin reset itself, and make you glow.  PHA is also humectant, so it binds moisture to your skin too, as well as resurfacing. Only drawback is the price, which is £65 for 50 pads.  I have been known to cut them in half to eke them out longer ...


My love for Hydraluron is fairly widely known, this is either my third or fourth tube now, and I can't imagine life without it.  Which (bearing in mind that I was totally underwhelmed with it when I first started using it) is going some!  This is one of those products that doesn't really appear to do much whilst you're using it, then, when you've run out, you can really tell the difference - my skin is just more dull when I don't have this in my routine.  I use it to layer extra moisture into my skin, and I apply after my serum/oil, and before my moisturiser.   I panicked the other day when I realised the tube was empty, I don't mind admitting.  Yes, I am a big sad. 

Aromatherapy Associates Soothing Cleansing Balm

For days when I don't really fancy a  slightly scrubby cleanse with the Champneys Balm, this gloriously silky and gently fragranced balm cleanser does the job.  It melts makeup and grime on contact, and never leaves my skin feeling dry or stripped.  There are no bells or whistles to this balm, it is just a good, gentle, and even beautiful product.  Oh, and it's in a tube. I fupping LOVE balms that come in a tube.  Love them! MORE TUBES IN BEAUTY PACKAGING, PLEASE.  Have I mentioned how much I hate sticking my fingers into a jar of runny goop?  Well, I do.  A lot. I actually keep a teaspoon in my bathroom to actively avoid having to dip my fingers in stuff.  It's a bit weird, I know, but we have a million teaspoons for some reason.

I've had a lot of compliments on my skin recently - and I've just got through an entire winter wearing only tinted moisturiser (or the occasional CC cream -more about those soon)  which is entirely unheard of! I'm normally caked in foundation from October to April, every year, so this is massive for me, and it's (almost) entirely down to the products featured here.

What are your most repurchased products?

The Fine Print: Mixture of PR samples and repurchases

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The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

Monday, 14 April 2014

 By Get Lippie

To say I don't really "do" fashion would be a mild understatement.  I simply don't "get" fashion.  Part of this is because I'm what is euphemistically known as "plus size", of course, but mostly it's down to the fact that high fashion isn't really useful to those of us who either don't earn millions of pounds or, aren't six feet tall, or have, like, proper jobs and that.  Also, I'm an accountant.  Cutting edge accountancy fashion is making sure you've put the right buttons into the correct holes on your cardigan, frankly.  

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that I'm not really the target market for the current JPG exhibition at the Barbican, I basically only know Jean Paul Gaultier because of Eurotrash. Oh, and his perfume, of course!

But ... this exhibition is absolutely bloody astonishing.  Luke and myself were lucky enough to be invited to the press preview of the show the day before it opened to the public, and I found myself enthralled by the sheer size and scope of the exhibition, and the really amazing detail on the clothes themselves.

Basically, every era of JPG's career is represented, from his iconic work with Madonna's stage oufits, his film costumes, his catwalk haute couture, and, of course, his :ahem: pioneering work on Eurotrash, and there is even his Spitting Image puppet:

Frankly, terrifying.
 There are holographic mannequins, who gurn, giggle, and even sing to themselves, which genuinely have to be seen to be believed as the technology, even close up, is amazing (and much, much better than these next couple of quite frankly shonky photographs make it look):

We only had an hour for our view, and it wasn't, in my opinion, nearly a long enough amount of time, there was a lot of stuff that we simply didn't have time to see properly, and I missed the significance of some of the exhibits, as we were racing around before the main event of the day.

There was also a fragrance symposium after the exhibition, where it was revealed that there will be a new "intense" version of the JPG Classique fragrance released in the UK in July, which is great news for lovers of the original.  We were treated to a tiny sniff of the new formula at the symposium, and it's ... fruity.  Apparently, Francis Kurkdjan has been dying to make a fruity floral for a long time now (my heart sank at those words, I must admit), and he was delighted to be able to bring that to fruition.  I've no idea how the formula will translate on the skin, but I'll keep you posted once I've smelled it properly.

If you get a chance to pop along to the Barbican before the exhibition ends in August, then I recommend that you run to see it.  I'll definitely be going back - did I mention that it's amazing?

Because you can't talk about JPG without mention of THAT corset ...


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