Lifesavers! Bath products for the shower ...

Friday, 30 July 2010

No, I haven't gone insane, I just haven't had a bath for a month.  I really, really, really want a bath. I love baths, and have been known to spend several hours in there, just floating, reading, relaxing, and chilling, really.  They're where I go when I need a little respite from the daily grind (and they're where I can hide from MrLippie - don't tell him) Occasionally, I even, you know, clean myself in there too.  Showers simply don't compare.  In fact, whilst I'm being honest, I shall admit that I find showers rather unpleasant. Purely a necessary evil, as far as I'm concerned.

So, having spent the last month confined to showers only (and quick showers at that), has been a trial for me.  I love my luxurious bath oils - Ren Rose Otto is still a world beater as far as I'm concerned - and I miss my "me-time".  I've been avoiding shower gels during my bath-prohibition, as I can find them a bit drying and, the thought of itchy skin combined with healing scars after my operation still makes me wince a little bit!

So, I've been delighted to find that Aromatherapy Associates bath oils can be used in the shower too.  At a cost of £26.50 (£2.95 each, more than comparable to a Lush Bath Ballistic, for example) these are completely luxurious to use in the shower as the scent is amazing, and you still get clean.  To use these as shower oils, you simply rub them over your (dry) skin, prior to getting into the shower, and then rinse off as normal with your shower instrument of choice.  There are nine scents in the box, and my own personal favourite is the Deep De-Stress oil, which is meant for aching muscles, but I find the gingery, herby scent most invigorating!

For a shower treat that's a little more traditional in style, I've also been using No7 Shower Oil, which claims to foam gently. Personally, I find it foams barely at all (even on a shower puff), but the scent is nice, it leaves my skin silky soft, and it cleans admirably. Plus, at a cost of £8.75, it's a little more purse-friendly than the Aromatherapy Associates, albeit this means that there are a few synthetics in there, so I suggest you check the label before buying.

Two more weeks till bath-time!  I can't wait.  For serious.

 The Fine Print: Some samples were provided for review purposes, and some were provided as a gift in apology for someone's website accidentally infecting my computer with a trojan virus.  I'm not going to tell you which is which though - none of these links are infected, I've checked.  They're not affilliate links, either.  The Romans used to bathe with oil, you know.

Review - Thierry Mugler Womanity

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Caviar.  It's always the first thing that occurs to you when you think of how a woman smells, isn't it? No?  Well, in spite of it's much touted "figs'n'caviar" reputation, it won't be the first thing you think about when you sniff Womanity, either, don't worry.  Neither will figs, actually, but more about that later.

The first thing I think about when I smell Womanity is, oddly, pink grapefuits and sawdust.  Womanity definitely opens with fruit, pink fruits, berries, and hints of citrus, then dries down a little to a sweeter, creamier scent, then eventually settles into a woody skin-scent that stays a lot closer to you than you'd expect from it's rather loud opening.

The caviar note is only really around in the perfumes mid-stages, there's no real hint of fish (genuinely), but there is an odd, salty note that kind of sits above the fruity scent.  It's not unpleasant - in fact, in itself, it's rather intriguing, and impossible to place - but ... I'm not sure it works.  On a scent strip, the fragrance never really dries down to get to the woodsy finish, and the odd, salty note stays pretty strident throughout.  On the skin it does eventually settle, but for me, it's just a note that the perfume doesn't quite need. 

I think the effort to include a salty, and truly savoury note into a feminine perfume is an interesting one, but I'm not sure it works over what is, to be frank, a fairly generic fruity base. The bathing products (shower gel and body lotion) work don't include the caviar accord, and - interestingly - work all the better for it.  The body lotion in particular is a refreshing grapefruit and berry scent, and is quite refreshing as a result, an excellent, albeit inoffensive summer-time scent.

I've not mentioned the fig, as in all the various guises of this perfume, I couldn't pick up the scent at all.  I'm a huge fan of Philosykos from Diptyque (one of my two go-to summer fragrances) and I was disappointed that Womanity didn't live up to its figgy promise. I think if the scent had been greener, less pink with fruit, and more laden with mystery, rather than trying to be a mishmash of opposites (Figs! Caviar! Salt! Fruit!), for me, it might have worked better.  I'll be keeping the bathing products in my routine though, as without the caviar, they're really lovely. And I like the bottle, I think it's a thing of beauty, refillable too.

I suspect, actually, that this will be a big hit with those who love their fruity perfumes.  As fruity/woodsy scents go, this isn't a bad one, and I think if you like that sort of thing, you'll love this.  It's just not me.  I like my perfume to become part of my smell, rather than people being able to say "you smell of  ... <insert random name of food item here>".  It'll probably sell by the bucketload, as it's definitely a great perfume if you like that sort of thing.

I'm not even going to mention the name, mmmkay?  Or the migraine of a website. So there.

The Fine Print: Samples were provided for review. Sorry Thierry! If you've made it this far, and would like to try the perfume for yourself, then the first two people to email me at  womanity@getlippie.com with their shipping address will be sent sample sizes of all three products mentioned in this review.

Review - Giorgio Armani Face Fabric Foundation

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

This review alongside this one finally made me take the plunge into buying a Giorgio Armani foundation.  I adore my Blushing Fabric blushers, so when I was in Selfridges lately, I thought I'd complete the set.

A 40ml tube will set you back £29 which is fairly expensive, but you use so little that I estimate that the tube will last quite a while.  It's not a full-coverage foundation, by any stretch of the imagination, but it's meant to echo how real skin looks, for a "makeupLESS" look.  It's a thick mousse-y style foundation, but it's whisper-light on the face. Here's how it appears on my skin - compared to how my skin looks without help (for which I apologise, please don't look too hard at my pores in the pic at left, thank you):


As you can see, it smoothes out my skin tone, makes it look, well, less pink. I find it adds a softly "powdered" effect to my skin, but on really hot days, it does have a tendency to disappear fairly quickly, and, because of it's light coverage, I find it's better for "good skin" days.  But, I LOVE this foundation beyond all reasonableness in spite of that. Why?  Because it's chock-full of silicones, and it makes my pores disappear when I'm wearing it.  Seriously, click on the picture above to enlarge it, if you don't believe me.  Just, you know, don't say you weren't warned.  If I need a heavier coverage, I layer it over my beloved Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturising Balm, which gives this just a little more "oomph".

Of course, if you're at all sensitive to silicones then this is most definitely not the foundation for you, but if you're looking for a light-coverage foundation which will negate the need for a primer, then this is one of the best you'll find. It comes in 8 shades, (I'm shade two), but the coverage is so light and "realistic" that an exact match with this foundation isn't as important as it might be with full coverage foundations.

Giorgio Armani cosmetics are available from Selfridges.

The Fine Print: I bought this.  And I'd do it again, I tell you.  AGAIN!

Mr Lippie Reviews: Armani Diamonds Summer

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

I've been using Armani Diamonds for a little while now, and I thought (or, rather, was reminded) that it's about time that I put my thoughts on it down on paper, as it were.
 
Looking at the bottle itself, it's a chunky rectangular bottle, with a hint of blue/aquamarine at the base that gives the liquid a slightly mysterious look. The top is dominated by the spray nozzle, which is a heavy silver top that accentuates the slight curves of the bottle very nicely. The stylised Armani eagle is on the container, but it's not overbearing, it adds to the look, making the bottle itself quite imposing. 
 
The smell on first spray is quite sharp, almost like raw alcohol - it felt seriously eye-watering when I first put it on. There's quite a lot of citrus in there, which persists quite strongly for the first half hour or so, but there's quite a lot of interesting undercurrents that slowly rise to the surface and subsume the citrus. It make the scent slightly musky, but delightfully subtle and softer. I tend to use this most weekdays, as it's not something to just throw on just before going out - but it IS something that you feel comfortable wearing throughout the day, without fear that at some point you're going to smell like something that's decomposing in the corner - never the best at a crucial afternoon meeting, I find.
 
Overall, I like it, quite a lot. No whale bottoms here, Diamonds certainly manages to grab the attention.
 
Get Lippie says: I've noticed that this appears to be MrL's favourite scent by far this year, and it's become his "go to" fragrance for  everyday wear, not that I'm complaining!  Redolent of lemons at first (there's meant to be a hint of mint there but I can't pick it up), it soon settles into a woodsy smoothness that's subtle, but masculine.

Review - Summerlicious at The Chapel, Islington

Monday, 26 July 2010


At times, I'm truly reminded that mine is a somewhat charmed life. Recently, I spent the most delightful four hours in the company of Billie, Kay and Kim at the Chapel Hair salon in Islington, and was made to feel so much at home, that I didn't really want to leave.

Having read up a little before my visit about the "trend-setting" owners Billie Crago and Georgia Denton, discovering that the salon has won at least five "Salon of the Year" awards, and reading about how "cool" the design of the salon itself was, I don't think I can be blamed for being a little apprehensive about my upcoming appointment.  Add in the fact that on the day itself I was running a little late for my appointment, I was expecting a sniffy reception at the very least.  I could not have been more delightfully put wrong, from the super-friendly receptionist who set me up with a drink and a gratefully received Tunnocks teacake, to my colourist Billlie, my stylist Kim, and my mani/pedi diva Kay, everyone was friendly, relaxed, chatty, and a joy to spend the afternoon with. 



I was there to trial their "Summerlicious" offering, which aims to get you ready for your holidays, or just get you all spruced up for the warmer weather. For a special price of £200, Summerlicious includes the salon's signature "floating" highlights, a pedicure, manicure, a makeup consultation and, of course a cut and blowdry.  On arrival, you're whisked into the consultation area (above), for a chat about your likes, dislikes, skintone, hair requirements (mine was, deal with the madness, and make me look less dull, please), and colour requests for nail polishes, and just general chitchat about how the salon works.


Once all that's decided, your summerlicious appointment starts with your pedicure. These take place in the dedicated colour room, which is in the basement of the salon.  Equipped with sofas, footrests, and a fireplace, it's a wonderful little cave to rest and relax in.  Kay, the salon's beauty person, is simply an amazing therapist, chatty and friendly, with an astonishing knowledge of brands and products, talking to her was a joy, so much so that I almost forgot she was playing with my feet.  You regular readers will all know how I feel about feet, so I won't go on about it here again, but suffice it to say that Kay took all my quirks into account and this was probably the pedicure that's had the least amount of flinching and wincing (on my behalf!) as a result.  The salon use Leighton Denny manicure products, and my toes were painted a fetching milky coral-peach shade called Just Perfect.  It is.


Billie was taking care of my colour, which basically meant taking care of my grey roots - I've been greying since I was 18, and I find it infuriating - and then using her signature "floating" highlight technique to do the rest.  This technique is great for darker hair, as the lights start further down the hair (slightly away from the scalp) therefore minimising regrowth, avoiding totally that attractive stripy look on your parting, and just imparting a sunkissed glow towards the ends of your hair.  Aimed at mimicking a natural sun-bleached effect, they're far less obvious than traditional highlights, and less high maintenance as a result.  Billie very clearly knows her stuff, and was happy to talk all through the technical aspects of the treatments of the salon, and her passion for her craft was apparent at all times (ask her about her head collection!).  While Billie was applying the colour, Kay was painting my fingernails, and it was also obvious that these people are a real team who enjoy working together a great deal.

Once your nails are painted, and your highlights are in place, you're led to a sofa by the fireplace with a glass of wine and a magazine whilst your colour is developing. Most relaxing, and much better than being left in front of the mirror to stare blankly at yourself.  Billie had prescribed a particular "Chemistry" moisturising treatment for my hair type once the highlights were rinsed off, which has left me with silkysoft hair, and I was off to see Kim for my cut.  Kim has curly hair herself, so I knew I was in safe hands, during my consultation I'd noticed that Kim understood my concerns with my "mad" hair completely, and so I was happy to just leave her to the cutting whilst I was chatting to Kay again about summer makeup trends (which is again, all part of the service) She also gave me a great blowdry, bouncy and full without being too bouffant.


Even after four hours in the salon, all too soon it was time to leave, but all good things come to an end, I guess. Admittedly I was leaving a lot more relaxed - and groomed! - than I was when I arrived, which is always good thing, bearing in mind my natural state of being!


So-so things about The Chapel:
The name Summerlicious.  It's a simply amazing offer, but the name makes it sound a bit cheesy.


Good things about The Chapel:
Lockers for your bags, a simple, but absolutely brilliant idea.
Keys for said lockers on bracelets so you don't lose them.
The salon itself is beautiful but not at all intimidating when you're in there. Make sure you check out the Hollywood bathroom ...


Great things about The Chapel:
The staff.
The service.
The pricing structure - for all hair services, you are charged by the hour, no matter what you're having done, you have a consultation before hand (free) and you're told how long it will take, plus if your service doesn't take the whole time, you pay less.
Summerlicious itself.  An utter bargain, and a real treat!


Oh yeah, the traditional look at my hair (this is a couple of days later, and all styling errors are my responsibility as a result):






Summerlicious costs £200 and takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours.  The offer is running till September, so book it quickly! You can have a look at the Chapel website here, and their blog is here.

The Fine Print: Get Lippie was invited along as a guest of the salon, for review purposes.  I really have to stop talking about my mad barnet, as I suspect I'm on some sort of "insane" hair marketing list and that's how people find me.

Trish McEvoy Eye Products

Friday, 23 July 2010


Recently, I was invited along to the Trish McEvoy counter at Selfridges to take a look over some of the products that they stock that won't fit in my planner.  In case you don't know much about Trish's range, she's a US makeup artist, who is famous (infamous?) for her compact (and bijou!) makeup planners.  Mine must be about six years old now, and contains a face powder, a blush, a highlighter duo, and four eyeshadows. Over the years it's proved to be a great boon, particularly for travelling.  The thing I like about the planners is that you pick the colours, and contents yourself, according to your needs.  Mine is full of pinks, purples, and browns, and I love it.  I'll show it to you, one day.  Once it's full ... which might be soon ...

I hadn't realised - it's been a while since I stopped by the counter - that there was a full range of skincare.  This isn't a reflection on the skincare, btw, but I'm a magpie-shopper, and my attention is always drawn to the jewel-like shades of the eyeshadows before anything else!  I was especially drawn to a pot of Beta-Hydroxy pads which promise to help you resurface your skin - something I'm almost literally obsessed with at the moment, thanks to a surprise birthday present that I'll be reviewing for you soon - and a balm which promises 8hr Cream-like results without the, ah, "liniment"-like scent.

After a long chat, and a nice cup of tea, I was sent away with a couple of samples to try, and you can see them above, (top to bottom) High Volume Mascara in Jet Black, Eye Base Essentials in Demure, and a 24 Hour Eye Shade pencil in Topaz.

Onto the swatches:

First off, the mascara, this is a "tubing" mascara, something I'm always fond of because they don't flake or run during the day, and you only need a little hot water to remove it.  It's a bit scary the first time you try and remove a tube mascara (basically you wet the lashes, and gently - very gently - roll the mascara off your lashes.  You'll end up with fingertips full of tiny mascara tubes, which always look suspiciously like your eyelashes themselves though!  This mascara has a tiny brush head, barely any wider than the brush wand itself:


I like a small mascara brush, as it enables you to get really deep down into the roots of the lashes, without smearing mascara all over your lids and ruining your eyeshadow!  But the true test of a mascara for me is whether or not it both lengthens and thickens.  Here's what it did for my lashes:


For some reason, these photos don't entirely do the mascara justice, yes it doesn't lengthen quite as much as my most recent mascara-love Le Metier Anamorphic, but it does volumise a lot more, giving, I think, a far more dramatic effect over all. I've used it every day since picking up my sample, and it's been perfect in this hot weather, being impervious to heat, sweat and (to an extent) tears!  Love it.

Now for the eye base and the 24 hour shadow:


What I like about the Eyebase Essentials is that it comes in a selection of 8 shades, and a selection of finishes.  Shown above is Demure which is a rather cool-toned lightly pinked beige, with a faint sparkle, but there are peaches, and light taupes, all perfect as either skin-toned shadows in their own right, or they make a great base for your powder shadows.  I've noticed they don't last quite as long as Urban Decay Primer Potion,  but they do give you a bit more slip, so they're far, far easier to blend over.

The 24 Hour Shadow pencil in Topaz is a beauty, a multi-tonal bronze shade, you can either apply it heavily (as in the swatch) or sheer it out with your fingers or a brush after a quick sweep over your eyelids. After a few seconds, the shadow will "set" (you don't have to work as quickly as with Ellis Faas, for example) and it will last.  A very long time.  The sheerer you make your application, the less time you'll have before it creases, but I estimate that even then you'll get a minimum of 6 hours crease and fade-free wear.  If you apply it more heavily, you'll be wearing a perfect shadow look until you decide to take it off.  There are four colours in the range, and I'll be heading back out for the grey one very soon.

Trish McEvoy products are exclusively available from Harvey Nichols and Selfridges.

The Fine Print: I own a fairly extensive collection of Trish McEvoy already, but the products featured in this review were supplied for review purposes.  Unless you consider tea a bribe, I wasn't compensated in any way for this review.

It's not, by the way.  A bribe, that is.  Even Selfridges tea isn't that good.

Burberry Cosmetics land at Harrods ...

Thursday, 22 July 2010


So, as well as spending a little money with Dolce & Gabanna the other day, I also indulged in a little Burberry.  I hadn't been planning to, but the sales girls were so friendly, and the colours were so much nicer than I was expecting, that I felt duty-bound to pick up a few bits and pieces!  After a bit of a mass swatch, I picked (l-r) Sheer Eyeshadow No9 Rosewood, Light Glow Cameo Blush No2 and Sheer Eyeshadow No10 Antique Rose.

I've read some criticism of the range that it's all too neutral, too safe and a bit dull.  Well, yes, if you love your brights and deeps, then I can understand those thoughts.  Me though, I love me some sophisticated, polished neutrals, and this collection has them in spades. I thought the entire collection glowed with quality, and I'll be popping back this week for a lipshade (or two).


On the left there is Rosewood, which is a delicately glowing, pinkish taupe.  It's lightly shimmering, and very flattering, perfect as a crease-shade, or for a light look all over the mobile lid.  On the right is Antique Rose, a more matte, slightly plum-shade.  It's slightly more intense than Rosewood, and I used this to create a bit of an edgy smoky eye recently, a look I'll show you in a FotD coming up soon.  I really, really, really liked it.  Which kind of guarantees no one else will, but hey ho ...


Swatches shown dry over unprimed skin.  Although they're called sheer, they're actually fairly opaque, and when I wore them over primer, I had no issues with fading or creasing, even after about 14 hours of wear.

Onto the blush, the range of shades is actually quite small (three), but this was the one that called out to me.  I don't own many pinkish blushes, but this one struck me as very fresh-looking, and vibrant when I swatched it.


It's a matte shade (I prefer my blushes matte, so I can add highlight where I need it, rather than risk getting the dreaded "glitterball" effect), and on the more coral side of pink.  It's fairly long-lasting, needing a top-up only after about 8 hours of wear, but I like it a lot, it makes a change from my more bronz-y or orange shades! I like to think it's fairly flattering on my skin tone, and doesn't make me look too flushed.  It smells faintly of roses, too, which pleases me, oddly.

What's your opinion of Burberry Cosmetics?  I love the classily quirky packaging (also adore that the boxes are lined with pewter to match the compacts), and the textures are, whilst not the most buttery and pigmented I've seen - that would be Rouge Bunny Rouge - are very high quality indeed.  I'll definitely be investing in more.  Very soon....

The Fine Print: I bought these on the same day I got treated like poo by Dolce & Gabanna after my hard day in East London.  My bank manager reminded me this week that I bank with them, and NOT vice versa.  I love a funny bamk manager I do.  I should get one.

Dolce & Gabanna Summer Collection

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


So, if you read my blog last week, you know I had a hard time actually buying these, but, I do love the bits and pieces I bought ... Up there you can see (l-r) Nail Polish in Perfection, Classic Lipstick in Soft, and the eye quad in Nude.  What I didn't realise at the time is that Perfection and Nude are actually part of the summer collection, and as a result are limited edition.

The packaging on these is excellent, heavyweight, and a shade of gold that doesn't look cheap, even the etching of the names on the packaging looks great.  They do get hellishly covered in fingerprints though, so may be a good idea to keep them in their velvet pouches.
Onto swatches! 


The nail varnish flows like butter, I have an issue with the long, spindly brush aligned with a tiny cap (the gold part pops off to reveal the proper cap beneath), but this is because I am a well-known cackhanded muppet, and these things make applying varnish difficult for me. I think this is an almost perfect "mannequin hands" polish, too.  The above pic shows two coats (with a base and top coat), and is on it's sixth day of wear.  There was a minimal amount of chipping, and barely any tipwear.  Seriously amazing quality.

Lips:


Classic lipstick in Soft  is a rather dark neutral rose shade, opaque in one stroke, it provides soft, glossy lip coverage:


It looks a little lighter on the skin than on the bullet, and it reminds me somewhat of Chanel's Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle - I'll make a potential dupe post soon! - on my lips it very nearly a "my lips but better" shade (I have quite pigmented lips naturally) but it's a good, wearable, fairly neutral shade for many skin colours, I think.

Onto the eye quad:


I fell in love with these shades, the top two a lightly shimmery brownish-purple, and pale coral, and two matte flesh shades, perfect for creating a no-makeup makeup look.  Here's how they swatch:


The brown-purple (or purple-brown, if you prefer), is simply beautiful, I've used it for lining, but it's also perfect for a flattering smokey look.  I used the whole quad recently to create a natural look (for meeting Edward Bess, who complimented me on it, but more about that anon), used the two matte shades for the base and crease shades, and then coloured the mobile lid in a little with the peach, and used the brown to line, seemed to work just fine!  The shadows lasted really well - admittedly over a primer - too.

So, was it worth dealing with the sneery sales assistant?  Yes, I think it was, but I'll be buying from the Selfridges counter next time ...

The Fine Print: I bought these after a hellishly bad day in East London.  East London apparently does strange things to your credit cards.

Review - Clarisonic (First Thoughts)

Monday, 19 July 2010

Ever since I read Gemma's Clarisonic Diaries posts about her experiences of using a handset for a month over on London Beauty Review a while ago, I've wanted one of these sonic beauties!  A couple of weeks ago though, this desire was cemented by the amazingly talented Jody Bloch at the Fern Skin Clinic, who told me that a Clarisonic would definitely help me with some dry skin issues I've been suffering from lately.

It took me a little while to get my hands on one, but I finally have one in my sticky little paws, and, after a week of use, I thought it might be interesting to get some thoughts down about how using a giant toothbrush Clarisonic to clean my face has been.

Here is what Clarisonic claim for themselves (from the Clarisonic website):


Benefits beyond just clean skin: Clarisonic improves the appearance of skin tone and reduces the appearance of pore size

Clarisonic is the sonic technology proven to gently yet effectively loosen dirt and oil to clear your pores. The Clarisonic Cleansing System uses a patented sonic frequency of more than 300 movements per second to clean, soften and smooth your skin. In just 60 seconds a day, the Clarisonic micro-massage action cleans more than twice as effectively as manual cleansing.

Clarisonic Sonic Cleansing Benefits

  • Removes 6x more makeup than manual cleansing
  • Leaves skin feeling and looking smoother
  • Cleanses so well that products absorb better
  • Gentle enough for twice daily use
  • Helps reduce oily areas, dry skin patches and blemishes
  • Helps reduce the appearance of visible pores
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles 
I've been using mine twice a day for the last week, with an old favourite cleanser (Nude's Facial Cleansing Oil), and, I have to say, I've been astonished at how much I love using this thing. Essentially, you apply your cleanser to your damp skin, then, after wetting the brush head with warm water, you move it in small circles over your skin, moving to different parts of the face when the handset beeps.  Once the brush turns itself off, I usually go over my skin with a warm facecloth and remove any last traces of cleanser that are left behind, and give myself a little steam-treatment too.
 
So, how have I found it? Well, after my operation, I'd been quite openly complaining about my dull, grey, flaky skin, which not even my usual hot-cloth method of skin-cleansing had been able to shift.  In addition, I've been "suffering" from a constant patch of dry, flaky skin on my forehead for a matter of months that has been driving me bananas - it was diagnosed by a couple of people recently as "lipid dryness", meaning that oil wasn't able to penetrate beyond the most superficial layer of my skin.  From the first use, Clarisonic has helped with both of those problems. 

My dry patch has disappeared, and my skin has been uniformly more even in tone, and it's soft. So soft that it feels like velvet!  I do find that my skin most definitely feels a lot cleaner when I use the handset, and from the first use (for me), it's been a bit of a revelation. I've also found that I don't need to exfoliate at all.  Astonishing.  Astonishing enough for me to actually look forward to cleansing my face as a result!
 
Now, has my skin been visibly changed for the better?  I can't in all honesty say so.  Yet.  MrLippie hasn't noticed any difference in my skin (then again, he'd only really notice a change in my skintone if I suddenly dyed it to match his London Irish rugby shirt, to be honest).  Skin creams certainly seem to sink in better after using it, and  I think this might be raising their efficiency slightly.  Oils, in particular just seem to vanish into my face with only the bare minimum of massaging, and my skin has been brighter as a result.  The main skin oil that I'm using at the moment is Liz Earle's Superskin concentrate, by the way, I just adore the neroli-scent as a night treatment.

Things I don't like: it takes a long time to charge - when it first arrives, you have to charge it for 24 hours before you can use it, and, I've found it can be tricky trying to change the programming.  It has three speeds, which are very easy to sort out, but moving it from a 1 minute timed setting, to a 2 minute timed setting or a setting without a timer can be difficult.  So difficult, in fact, that mine appears to be stuck on the 2 minute timer, and I can't, for the life of me, figure out how to get it back onto a one minute timer!  This is eating up my battery life, which ties back into my point about it taking a long time to charge! It's also on the pricey side, coming in at £150 for a face-only version, or £175 for a face and body unit. You can pick one up from Selfridges, Harrods, or SpaceNK.  That said though, a course of facials would cost a similar amount, and, this is something that I feel is definitely going to make a big change to  my routine, so, on a cost per use basis, it actually works out pretty cheap.  I've always believed that getting your cleansing right is the key to any skin routine, and, well this is a big step along that route.

Overall, I'm exceptionally impressed, and I'm looking forward to seeing if the coming weeks bring any differences to my face that other people can notice ...

The Fine Print: Unit was accidentally provided for review purposes.  Long story, it involves Selfridges, a champagne cocktail or two, another encounter with me talking WAY too much to Daniel Sandler and some lightly embarrassed gatecrashing.  Probably best not to ask ...

MAC Rodarte Collection - but it is art?

Sunday, 18 July 2010


You're going to be reading a lot of posts on this matter this evening, and I just thought I'd add my tuppenorth into the matter.  The new MAC collaboration with Rodarte is due out (in the US) in September.  A collection of ethereal pale greys, pinks and taupes, it's meant to be inspired by the beauty of the countryside in Mexico, and specificially, items (according to Rodarte) were inspired by the female workers "floating to work" in the factories at dawn.

So far, not so unusual, but several of the items may have been insensitively named: Juarez, and Factory, are the nail polishes in the collection, and here's where the controversy begins, for, over the last several years, women in their dozens have been abducted on their way to work in the factories of Juarez, and they have been raped and murdered. Juarez is a notoriously impoverished factory town, and has been named one of the most dangerous places to live in the world as a result of these abductions, murders and rapes.  Very little is being done by the police to investigate the situation, as the women (aged between 12 and 20, in the main) are every poor, and it's not seen as worthwhile to try and bring their rapists and murderers to justice.

After an outcry in the US, MAC have released a statement announcing that they are aware that some people consider these names controversial and/or offensive, and, as a result, they are going to donate a "portion" of the proceeds of this collection to the people of Juarez.  Rodarte themselves have merely said that the names of the collection were inspired by their "travels", and have not apologised for the controversial element.

This strikes me as a shame, and a missed opportunity.  Why not release the entire collection as an awareness raising one, and donate the entire proceeds to the people of Juarez? MAC, of course, have a track record in this area, donating as they do, the entire proceeds of their Viva Glam releases every year to Aids charities.  I'd feel a lot less uneasy about MAC if they'd done this, I'll be honest.

Can you imagine if, in the UK for example, Illamasqua had released a collection with an item named "Soham" and then claimed it was simply because the town was so beautiful, and that was the only reason they chose the name?  It shows a massive amount of naivety on the behalf of the Rodarte team that they didn't consider the implications of naming parts of a collection this way, and ignoring any offence they may have caused too.

Please be aware that I am NOT calling for a boycott of this collection, and if you want to buy the items, you are, of course, welcome to (personally, some of the items I've seen, I think to be very pretty, in all actuality - it's certainly not a collection for our darker skinned sisters, judging from the promos though), but I'd like to see MAC do more to redress this situation, (what proportion of the proceeds are they willing to donate, for example) and I'd like to see more in the way of action from the Rodarte team to acknowledge the situation too.  Makeup shouldn't, if you ask me, be glorifying the rape and murder of women ...

What say you?  Legitimate outcry, or storm in a teacup?

You can read more about the situation on the following blogs:


Beauty Blog Link Love



Have you tried Ellis Faas yet? Rae's reviewing a few of these super-luxe, super-chic products, starting with Ellis' Milky Lips line!

Armani Blushing Fabric Second Skin Blushers have caught Louise's eye.

No bruises here! Check out Maggie's soft pink and purple face of the day over at The Polka-Dotted Apple.

When do Lego's and cosmetics have something in common? When Jouer comes to town, that's when. Watch Jeweled Thumb act 5 and play with a recent haul!

Butter LONDON has some fabulous new nail shades for Autumn 2010 - come check them out on Lipglossiping!

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed gets up close and personal with the Burberry Beauty line!

Hell Candy attends the Edward Bess UK launch and is blown away by the beauty of everything (the make up AND the man!)

Jolie Laide Girl gets silky soft with Kiehls Lightweight Body Lotion.

Sarah from IHeartCosmetics shows you how to get rid of spots,simply and easily.

Dry skinned and on a budget? Eyelining thinks Boots may have a bargain solution!

Looking for a perfect red nail polish for summer? Take a look at Illamasqua's Alarm at Makeup4All.

Lipgloss86 conquers all fears and grabs for the epilator in a bid for fuzz free legs.

The Lip Print discovers the sweetest nail shades for spring and has a chat with Orly's Creative Director about what's hot for nails!

There’s a new mascara in town! Check out Tsahi’s review on Revlon’s new Luscious Grow Mascara.

Madame B Fatale talks about a product that supports a great cause!

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Be sure to enter Phyrra's Summer Giveaway! Two winners, great prizes, open worldwide!

It's Pink Diva Beauty's birthday and you receive the presents! Have you entered?

Ever wanted to try LA's Prtty Peaushun? Now you can - Beautywoome is giving it away this month!

Reviva Labs wants to
protect and prettify you with their Summer Skincare Giveaway on Prime Beauty.

The Pink Sith is celebrating her second Blog Anniversary with a Purple and Silver giveaway!

Dolce & Gabanna Makeup at Harrods

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Dear Dolce & Gabanna,

Your new makeup range is gorgeous.  Your counter at Harrods is gorgeous.  The staff on your makeup counter at Harrods are beautiful and gorgeous.

And, if the beautiful staff at your gorgeous counter hadn't been too busy painting their nails, ignoring customers and sneering when asked for service at 2pm last Monday afternoon, I might even have spent more than the £70 I finally managed to give A N Other member of your staff. I'm very happy with the products, but the attitude of your bit... er ... sales assistant  is still bugging me.

I'm guessing the lovely girls who were busy being helpful on the Burberry counter had put some noses out of joint?  Such a shame, anyway.

Love and unimpressed kisses,

Lippie xx

Review - Alpha H facial

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Yesterday's post was about a blissful spa, so full of relaxation that I genuinely think the treatments - though enjoyable - are entirely secondary to the spa itself.  Today's post is about a spa that's more or less the exact opposite, putting great treatments front and centre, but entirely fabulous nonetheless.

Fern Skin Clinic are the only spa in the country licensed to carry out Alpha H facials, and boy, these people take their facials seriously. I first learned about Alpha H products when they launched on QVC about a decade ago, I was suffering from adult onset acne at the time, and I'd heard that the products were amazing for "troubled" skin.  Sadly, at that time I couldn't afford to buy the products, and by the time I could, I'd solved my acne issues (mainly by swapping away from foaming cleansers, but that's a blog post for another time).  After that, I guess they just kind of dropped off my radar, after all, my skin was no longer "troubled".

Fast forward a few years to a chance meeting with the people behind the brand recently and I was put right,  Alpha H is actually suitable for everyone, and has great results for both troubled and "less troubled" skin.  I was offered a facial so I could out some of their claims to the test.  I trotted off for a facial with Jody Bloch at the aforementioned Fern Clinic, and put my face on the line.  Honestly, the things I do for you people ...

The clinic is clean, modern, a little stark, but no less relaxing a space for that, beds are comfortable, and the staff are warm, friendly, and very, very professional. After filling in an exceptionally thorough medical form, Jody chatted to me about my skin, my concerns and put together a personalised facial prescription for me.

Now, I have to say that these facials are very results-oriented, if you're expecting a couple of passes with a cleanser, and a relaxing massage, you're going to be very surprised disappointed. After two cleansings (one with a Clarisonic, more about which tomorrow), a pineapple and papaya enzyme mask was applied and my face was wrapped in clingfilm.  Yes, really.  Then, after a thorough massage with an age delay oil, it was onto extractions.  This HURT.  Seriously, imagine someone digging around the pores of your nose with a safety pin, that's what it feels like.  But, oh! The results! Then, a calming and soothing mask, a wonderful hand and arm massage, and my face was ready to face a moisturiser.

And what a face I ended up with!  Well, obviously it was the same face I went in with, but you know what I mean ... I'd expected red blotchiness and greasy splots of nastiness (yes, ******  facials, I'm looking at you, £150, and left looking like I'd spent 90 minutes rubbing myself with a block of nettle-studded lard), but what looked back at me was rosy glowing plumpness and smoothness.  I went without foundation for the best part of a week after (seriously unheard of for me), and spent several days marvelling at my temporary state of porelessness. 

I'm seriously considering going back every week from now until the end of time. I've just bought a selection of Alpha H products as a result of the facial - I should make it clear that no one at the clinic pushed me to buy them at the time, something I always appreciate - and I'm looking forward to them arriving so I can use them for myself!

Products used:
Balancing Cleanser
Micro Cleanse
Pineapple & Papaya Enzyme Mask
Age Delay Oil
Calming & Soothing Mask
Balancing Moisturiser

I've heard good things about their moisturiser with factor 50+ sunscreen too, from no less than Lisa Eldridge, so I'm going to be tracking down a bottle of that very soon ... Alpha H products are available from Beauty Expert, QVC and HQ Hair

The Fine Print: Get Lippie was invited to Fern Skin Clinic as a guest of Alpha H.  That all sounds so fancy, dunnit?  I have since, however, bought my not inconsiderable bodyweight in products.  They're *that* good.  Full review as and when I get around to it.

Review - The Sanctuary

Monday, 12 July 2010


The Sanctuary Spa, in Covent Garden, was one of my very favourite places, and had been ever since my first visit about five years ago. I loved that it's woman-friendly without being all fluffy and pink, but most of all I loved it because it's a spectacular oasis of peace and calm right here in central London.

I used to go two or three times a year, but on my last visit there was a bit of a customer service issue (which was never really resolved by the spa either at the time, or in response to emails after my visit), so I hadn't been for a while, but when I was invited to an event recently to celebrate their re-launch of their skincare range, and to announce the opening  of three new branches (in Cambridge, in Richmond and in Bristol), I thought I'd pop along to see how things were. 

During the event, I was struck by the obvious passion for the place from the staff, and was impressed by the entire operation's devotion to making the spa a real sanctuary for their visitors, and I have to admit that I was very impressed by this.  I was also happy to hear that they've changed a lot of their skincare - I have to be honest, I was never much of a fan of it, and always found Sanctuary facials to be a little disappointing in the past - and I'm delighted that they're expanding their offerings into things like eyebrow shaping, and a more medi-spa offering in all their sites.

 In fact, I was so impressed with everything they're planning to do that I went back - at my own expense! - last Friday for a day of R'n'R.  As I'm still recovering from surgery, a lot of the facilities were inadvisable (the pools, the steam rooms, massages, etc), but the setting itself is so wonderfully relaxing that I still managed to have a great day.  I started with a light breakfast in the koi carp lounge, then went to the third floor - the Sanctuary has 42 treatment rooms, an amazing number I still find hard to believe - for an express manicure and a perfectly polished pedicure. The manicure didn't quite last 24 hours, though the colour (Merlot from Jessica) is beautiful, I always go for a deep, dark nail colour when someone else is doing it, it's so satisfying seeing how neat a manicure can be! The pedicure, however, was amazing.  My therapist, Hollie, was very sympathetic to my ... er... unusual foot situation, but the callus gel they use is AMAZING, and frankly, my feet have never been so soft.  I bought a supply of this amazing elixir so I can replicate the results at home from now on!
I then had a lingering lunch in the restaurant - the food at The Sanctuary is much better than you might expect from a spa, you can eat healthily if you wish, or not if you don't!  Generally, I choose not to, and had an excellent steak and chips for lunch, followed by an iced coffee in place of desert.  Then to round off my day, I had a little post-lunch nap on one of the beds in the koi carp lounge.  I didn't miss not being able to use the pools or the steam rooms, or anything of that nature and I had a wonderfully indulgent and relaxing day, I'm glad I decided to go back.

As for the revamped, repackaged and relaunched skincare, well, for me, the jury is still out. I have some bits and pieces to try - I have high hopes for the facial oil - and I'll bring you my thoughts as and when I get around to trying everything properly.  But, one thing they've launched that I think is a great idea is the "Facial in a Box" kit, which has everything you need to give yourself a salon-quality facial at home.  In two varieties, Brightening and Youth Boosting, the kits cost £16 each, and are a great way to acquaint yourself with The Sanctuary products.

Now, this post has been pretty London-centric, and I'm aware that many of my readers won't get the chance to travel to London to try out their facilities (though if you do get the chance, leap at it, you won't regret it!), so I bought one of the Facials in a Box to give away to one of you guys.  Just leave a comment on this blog post saying what would be your ideal spa treatment, and I'll draw a winner entirely at random at the end of the week.  The prize is a Brightening Facial in a Box, and I will ship internationally.  You don't need to be a follower to enter this competition, but you do need to leave a valid email address in your entry comment.  Good luck!

Organic Weekend - A'kin Kaolin Clay & Activated Carbon Express Purifying Facial Masque

Saturday, 10 July 2010

I've talked about A'kin and their particular brand of organic, sulphate-, petrochemical-, paraben-, silicone- and mineral oil-free products before, they're a brand I always have a few bits and pieces from around the house - I particularly like their hair conditioners, and I'll be reviewing them for you soon - but I wanted to mention this one today as it's something I've found really useful this week.

Post-surgery, my skin hasn't been that great, a combination of feeling more than a bit lacklustre and, well, let's face it, me just generally having other priorities on my  mind than keeping myself catwalk-ready!  I did, however, give myself a little home-facial this morning, with this masque as the star of the show, and have to admit that I've been pretty impressed with the results.

A pale duck-egg blue emulsion, the masque smells gloriously fresh - unusual for a clay-based product in my experience - and dries to a powdery finish in the ten minutes you keep it on your skin for.  I found that even the thick layer I'd applied had absorbed somewhat into my skin, which says a lot for how greasy and gross my face had become over the last week or two!  It tingled slightly, which I'm putting down to the "activated carbon"-based ingredients, but when it was washed off, my skin was left feeling tingly-fresh, and a whole lot softer than it had been previously.  Finished with a layer of facial oil (about which more next week), my skin is feeling a lot better than it was earlier, I can see this mask becoming a regular treat. Mainly because it lets me pull faces like this:

Don't try this at home, folks!

A'kin Kaolin Clay and Activated Carbon Express Purifying Facial Masque costs £12.99, and is available from Look Fantastic and LoveLula.  It's suitable for normal, oily and combination skin.

The Fine Print I bought mine from Wholefoods several months ago, but it's come in really handy recently.  Links provided are for informational purposes only, and are NOT affiliate links.  I don't believe in affliiate links.  Or body lotion.  Or toner. Or the Easter Bunny.

Guest Post: Two Face Retractible Kabuki Brush

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Today's guest poster is Eyelining, she has a great blog which I subscribe to, and you can find it at: Eyelining and Other Makeup Obsessions

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The lovely Louise kindly agreed to let me loose with a guest post. She even sent a lippie for me to review which Royal Mail promptly stole and are now denying all knowledge of. Super.

Nonetheless we will soldier on with this review of a brush which has become my new summer staple. Now I know when you think of summer staples you think of bronzers and sunscreen but for me and my oily skin summer means blotting papers and powder. Lots and lots of powder. I apply it every couple of hours for fear of BP setting up a rig on my nose.



This little kabuki is a lifesaver. Because it retracts and has a lid it is very handbag friendly. The inside of my makeup bag no longer looks like somebody has been baking in it! The brush itself is incredibly dense which means that you do get a rather heavy application so it is best to use a light hand. Too Faced famously use ‘teddy bear hair’, synthetic bristles, so it is animal friendly too. It is supremely soft and thus far hasn’t shed a single hair.

My one little niggle is than it is quite awkward to wash. It’s really easy for you to get water up inside the handle and if you do it takes at least a couple of days to dry properly. But its super cute packaging and convenience win out, I love this thing! Mine was bought from Asos for £21 and yes, I would repurchase x

Guest Post: Go to bed in England and wake up in Jamaica

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Today's guest post is from Liloo who blogs at Le Petit Jardin de Liloo but some of you might know her better as that Twitter powerhouse @tsunimee. She's very shy, so please be gentle ...


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My overnight failproof fake tan recipe for dummies 

I will simply never achieve a nice tan from natural exposure to the sun. I had to come to terms with that. Unless I spend 2 full solid weeks in the sun, I will never achieve a decent tan. I don’t go red at the first sign of sun, and my skin is quite used to the sun (I spent all my life in Mauritius) but it will take me for ever to develop a hint of colour. So I’ve always been fascinated by the world of fake tanning at home, and achieving a tan, artificially using a bottle for example. Problem is that for years, I was scared to try in case of turning yellow, orange, zebra and too brown. With the arrival of ‘gradual tanning products’ on the market, it was finally time I took the plunge. Months and months of hilarious and disastrous fake tan experiences, I think I’ve finally ‘cracked it now’ and I wanted to share with you my recipe.

I have been experimenting with all sorts of products, from traditional self tan products to gradual ones (self tan product mixed with moisturiser for a lighter tan), different textures (tan towels, cream, mousse, gel) with all unsatisfactory results until I realised where I had been going wrong all along:

It was more how I was applying the fake tan product more than what particular product I was using. My number one fake tan phobia was the dreaded orange hands and streaks everywhere: I was rushing through the application. I was forgetting where I was applying it. I didn’t leave enough time for it to dry to put my clothes back on (for how many hours are you supposed to stand there waiting for it to dry before you put your clothes back on anyway?) and I didn’t know for how long I was supposed to leave the product to take effect. I was aiming for a healthy glow bronze goddess. Instead I was a stressed out, streaky mess.

Until I decided to apply my fake tan OVERNIGHT, take all the time in the world to do it and it solved all my problems, and wake up like I had spent the night in Jamaica, all rested, like I wanted to be. For years now, I have been using a high street /drugstore, the Sublime Bronze, Tinted gel, for face and body all in one.


This product is just ideal for me. The smell is typical of fake tan products and you will stink, and it will do your head in after a while. But it has been giving me such a NATURAL result every single time, with no streaks, this natural “been spending a few hours in the sun’ glow without looking orange or fake” that it’s totally worth it. It is very easy to apply: because it is tinted & shimmering you can see where you have actually applied it. How do I apply it? How do I go round the overpowering smell on my body? How do I avoid streaks on my skin and on clothes? orange hands? Hear hear.

Ingredients: what you’ll need

- One night to yourself, with no boyfriend or guest staying in your bed

- 1 pair of skin tight medical gloves from eBay, (buy a whole box of them, you’ll use them for your hair colouring as well: totally worth the investment. The tighter, snuggier, the better! The aim is not to feel the glove at all. When I run out of medical ones, I go get some at Sainsbury’s (in the cleaning section, local supermarket)

- 2 Exfoliating products, one for the face, and one for the rest of the body.

- 2 Moisturisers, one for the face, and one for the rest of the body

- Fake tan product itself: L’orĂ©al Dermo Expertise, Sublime Bronze, Self Tanning Gel, Tinted and Shimmering, for Face and Body

- Old bed linen: old pillow case, and sheets to sleep in

- Old rubbish light bath robe, (in case someone rings your bell once you’re in the middle of your tan operation lol)

- Hair Dryer

- (Optional) Moisturising Face Mask (Optional)

What you do:

1. Prepare your skin: In the evening, before going to bed, spend time in the shower/bath exfoliating face and body, spending extra time on the driest areas of your body: elbows, ankles, knees, hand knuckles, feet. If you have got a moustache (don’t tell me I am the only one with facial hair), make sure to lighten it beforehand or to have epilated it a few hours beforehand because the fake tan will make everything darker: skin and facial hair. Pat dry your skin, and spend lots of time moisturising face and body, paying extra attention again to the driest parts of body. Wait a few minutes till the moisturiser has been totally absorbed. While you wait, make sure hair is up and out of the way, and just keep your underwear to a minimum: a pair of knickers only. No pyjamas or nightie. If you’re cold at this stage, because of the moisturiser, blast a little hair dryer on you for a few seconds.

2. Apply fake tan: In front of mirror, put on your medical skin tights gloves on both hands, put a little bit of product in your protected hands and start applying on centre of face, then to the edges, blending in your skin as you would with a moisturiser. There’s no need to apply too much. Blend, blend, blend. Take all the time you need. Apply lightly to start with, you can always apply some more the following day. Make sure not to forget to put a little bit of product around the eyes and on the ears. You can apply a more liberally on the rest of the body.

When it comes to the driest parts of your body, (ankles, knees, elbows) mix a tiny weeny bit of body moisturiser with fake tan product in protected palm of your hand and apply mixture. The last part of the body should be your hands: partially remove gloves and apply very lightly on wrist and front of the hands. Rub the fronts of your hands together. Wash back of hands even though you feel you have not applied anything there.

3. Getting ready for bed, and letting the fake tan to do its magic while you sleep. Cover your existing bed linen with old bed linen, including the sheet you sleep on, the sheet covering you, and the pillow case you will have you face on. Again with just very minimal underwear on, wait 10 minutes or so till product has dried a little bit. If you still feel a bit sticky, before going to bed, blow hair dryer on yourself for a few seconds.

4. Wake up gorgeous and sunkissed. Wash face and body gently (no scrubbing) but thoroughly. Gently pat dry your skin (no frantic rubbing) and moisturise more than you would normally do. Fake tan tend to dry up your skin a lot! The advantage is that you have any little spots or little blemishes you’ll see them drying up faster as well. woohoo!

- If you feel the urge to scratch nose or whatever while fake tan is on, don’t do it with your fingers, or your fingernails could get stained in the process, use the old sheet you sleep to protect fingernails and back of the hands.
- Any stains left on bed linen using that product will still disappear through normal cycle machine washing but still make sure to use old bed linen anyway.
- On me, the tan will last about 3 to 4 days. What I do to top it up is to use my favourite gradual tanner, until the next time I exfoliate again and ready to do the whole operation again.


- Sounds obvious but avoid any exfoliating products (products containing AHAs also for example) for the next 4 days or so
- Finally, fake tan will have the tendency to dry your skin a lot, and you’ll probably find you need double the amount of moisturiser than usual.

Fancy waking up in Jamaica with me tomorrow? Try it and let me know how you get on. Any products or methods/recipes/tips & tricks /fake tan mishaps you would like to share? I’d love to hear! Thank you for reading and thank you Louise for the opportunity :) x

Guest Post: Esthederm Suncare

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

If you don't read MakeupbyKaty, you should!  She's a font of some amazing knowledge, and she's a lovely person to boot, I love her, and you will too.  Today, she's talking some sense about suncare:

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Hi!,

I recently came back from 10 days in sunny, glorious Greece. Great food, white beaches, hot sun. Perfect. Except that me and the sun, well let’s just say that it’s a one way love affair.

I’m happy to admit that I enjoy the sun, that I embrace the sun, that, shock horror, I like to tan. It is an area that is controversial to say the least! As the sister of someone with Albinism and the daughter of a Dermatological secretary, I am educated in all matters of sun-damage. So when I do get the chance to see some sun, I take every precaution to protect as well as get some colour to my skin.

I like to think about my tan levels in terms of Biscuits. I generally never get darker than a Digestive…and that’s fine with me… I don’t hanker after russet brown skin. I just don’t have enough melanin. And I’m ok with that.

My husband on the other hand, with his half Greek genes, goes roughly the colour of a Bourbon biscuit within the first week. And that’s with no trying. I think that somewhere along his genealogy, he has an ancestor that was a mahogany table.


 All jokes aside, I do have to be very careful as I am prone to easily burning and the pink wafer is neither delicious, nor an attractive look. 

So how do we get a balance between over exposure and Vitamin D deprivation?

I am a huge believer in the good that the sun can give us. I treat the sun with respect, knowing that it’s just as likely to harm me as to help me.

I first discovered Esthederm Sun care when working as a visitor in Space NK a year or so ago. There was a huge buzz about it with the staff, and that for me is a very telling sign. Space NK staff are usually very skincare/sun care savvy and if they’re excited and purchasing, my ears tend to prick up.

My usual holiday sun care purchases are an SPF30 for the first few days, an SPF15 for the rest of the holiday. I have also used Tan stimulating creams and also tablets (with disastrous effects, I may blog about it another time). So when a friend suggested I could take just the one and it would suffice, I took the leap.

At £38, it’s not cheap. And I’m also going to have to simplify the technology to explain why. 

The one I opted for was the Adaptasun Body Milk for Extreme Sun. This is how the levels work at Esthederm. You choose your sun care by your skin sensitivity levels and the sun level of your holiday destination. Hence, I went for Extreme. The Website states the Result as ‘Optimal Tanning quickly and safely’

It also ‘Ensures a suitable protection under extreme exposure (glaciers, tropics, prolonged exposure to the sea or high altitude).

Here is what Esthederm have to say about their ‘different’ approach to the Sun.

•  Overexposure to the sun is dangerous, as is its absence
Sun is essential to life because of its heat, its light and its natural anti-depressant action.

•  Tanning does not age skin
Photo Cellular skincare protects cells from the attacks of free radicals.

•  Tanning is the best protection
On the skin’s surface, melanin pigments absorb some of the solar radiation.

•  Adaptation to sun rather than over protection
Completely depriving the skin of sun exposure makes it lose its ability to adapt to the sun, which is tanning.


•  Inequality of the skin’s behaviour under the sun is not inevitable
With Photo Cellular Skincare, fair skin tans; intolerant skins bear the sun.


•  SPF is not a reliable or sufficient indicator
SPF measures the risk of sunburn but not the risk of ageing, nor of photo-sensitisation.

My take on this? Instead of totally blocking my skin from the sun, I’m using the positive aspects of it to help my skin to adapt. I have no burnt skin. I have no peeling. I feel great. I’m tanned, safely.  Of course, we still have to take responsibility and be wise in our sun exposure. I don’t lay out in the sun for hours at a time. I religiously re-apply every two hours, sometimes more often. I apply it liberally, DO NOT SKIMP!! After swimming I re-apply, as I do before swimming, on my shoulders and forehead.

I tend to skulk off either under an umbrella or to a bar between the hours of 12 and 3 and I never fall asleep with bits sticking out of the shade, (anymore….).

I cannot really do the technology justice, I’m not a scientist, but I will tell you this. I will never go in the sun again without my Esthederm.

Here is a gratuitous picture of me on holiday. 


Yours, deep in post holiday blues

Guest Post: Cosmetic sell by dates and other nonsense.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Today's post comes from the lovely Modesty Brown, I adore her blog, and she deserves to be so much better known, so please, go show her some love!






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‘We wouldn’t hesitate to chuck out mouldy or bacteria-ridden food – and the same standards should apply to lotions we put on our skin.’

A few months ago I came across this article in the Mail Online. I have come across recommendations for discarding cosmetics before, but this particular article for some reason really got on my nerves. I suspect it was the spectacularly short shelf-lives prescribed for many of the products mentioned. As well as the rather alarmist slant (what was I expecting, it is the Daily Mail).


This is probably a good point to explain that I am actually a science nerd, specifically a skin microbiologist. I know quite a lot about the bacteria that live on your face (and have had a reasonable amount of experience with pharmaceutical companies). So, naturally I wanted to know if these recommendations were based on sound research or just a load of old flannel!

The bacteria living on your skin are there all the time, they don’t cause infection on your skin ordinarily so I don’t entirely understand the implication that bacteria will ‘breed’ in your make up and cause horrible infections like Impetigo. Unless of course you have been sharing your make up with someone that has open blisters? No, I thought not. Also, I’m not convinced that powdered make up like blusher and eyeshadows would make particularly good growth environments for bacteria.

With items such as mascara or lipgloss I agree there are good reasons to be cautious. Both mascara and lipgloss provide a good growth environment, it is moist, dark and pushing the wand/applicator back in drives air in to the tube.  Though having said all that make up does contain preservatives to prevent growth. With my background I was rather intrigued about what research had been done to investigate microbial contamination of make up. I also wondered if there was anything out there to explain the time frames for expiry.

Interestingly, I managed to find some research into contamination of mascara. In the study women were given a mascara to use daily for 3 months. Two different brands were tested, Avon and Maybelline. At the end of the study the mascara wands were tested for microbial contamination. Although their conclusions were that mascara should be discarded after 3 months, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with this based on their results.

 
Growth was discovered in 12% of the mascara’s but the numbers of bacteria were very small. I won’t bore you with exact figures but from personal experience I can assure you the level of contamination was very low. Also, of the bacteria they isolated, none of the species would cause an eye infection unless there was a scratch on the eye. They managed to grow bacteria from the unused control tubes as well, so some of the bacteria were already in the mascara tubes. Which suggests that contamination occurred during manufacture. Although the research made for interesting reading, for me, it wasn’t a terribly convincing argument that mascara is easily contaminated or poses a serious health risk. I was however horrified by this particular gem from the paper ‘Some will add water, and even saliva, to make their makeup last longer’. Who on Earth spits in their mascara to make it last longer?

I failed to find any research testing other kinds of make up for bacterial contamination. I found lots of articles stating eyeshadows, lipsticks etc., can become contaminated but no research or statistics to back it up. This leads me to think that these sorts of tests are being done by the cosmetics companies and I know they are rarely able (or willing) to share their results! I know that it is also the companies that set their own Period After Opening (PAO) dates, so of course the cynic in me thinks that the dates might well be a bit of a marketing ploy.

Now, I’m not going to advocate you ignore all the guidelines but I would like to suggest that you follow your own instincts before throwing away the contents of your make up bag! As long as you are not sharing your make up, keep your brushes clean and store your cosmetics in a cool, dry place, you can keep it safely for much longer than the expiry guides suggest. My other key advice is to trust your nose! If a product changes texture or starts to smell, bin it. Don’t ask me to describe the smell folks, just believe me when I say you’ll know!

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