Beauty Without Fuss

Sunday 31 January 2010

Technical Difficulties

In a break from our regular programming (sadly, my laptop is out of action for a few days, and I feel like I've lost a limb as a result!) there can be no makeover today, as I am a dingbat who forgot to schedule all of them last week!

It's been a busy few days here though, blogger events, IMATS and swaps (oh my!), so I've got lots to bring you when Gladys (my big pink Dell Of Doom) is back in action.

In the meantime, here is some soothing music and a picture of my recent delivery of goodies from Sephora (courtesy of the gorgeous @OlderGirlBeauty) which I'll be reviewing soon:

Kat Von D! And Sephora by Opi "Brunette on the Internet" nail polish (sometimes judging a polish by it's name is the only way to go!) but there is heaps more, Naked, OCC (but you're going to hear a LOT about them in the next week or so from other bloggers with more regular computer access, so I'll try and restrain myself!), Maelin + Goetz, more Chanel, Eve Pearl, Christopher Drummond, Rimmel (yes, really!), Milani, Embryolisse, and lots of other bits and pieces.

Oh! And I was featured on British Beauty Blogger this week! You can check out my mascara review on her homepage. I love BBB, so it was a great honour to be on her panel of reviewers! Can't do links on the iPhone for some reason but do click the link in my blogroll on the right.

Now, anyone know where I can get my hands on a mallet? Me and Gladys have some "talking" to do …

Thursday 28 January 2010

Chanel Kaska Beige Swatches

It's not often these days that I get excited by an entire collection, and if you'd told me a few months ago that the one collection I would be super-interested in this year would be, well, beige, I'd probably just have looked at you like you had two heads or something.

But recently, I've been going through something of a taupe phase, I dug out my beloved - and sadly discontinued - Clavin Klein makeup collections, which are full of beautiful dusty colours, and have been using those a lot for these "non-colour" makeups I've been craving.

So Chanel's latest collection has really called to me this week, I don't know why, but it has.  I showed you Particuliere the other day, but I caved in and bought these beauties too.  The lighting isn't great in these pics, so I'll redo them soon, and bring you a FotD for those of you I'm not seeing in the flesh this weekend!

From left to right there, we have: Rouge Allure 82 "Incognito", Quadra Eyeshadow 18 "Kaska Beige" and Fluid Iridescent Eyeshadow 100 "Torrent"

To be honest, I'd only gone to pick up the quad, but I had to get the lipstick and the liquid eyeshadow too after swatching in-store.

Shadow swatches:

They're a little sheer here - but that's because I used the sponges in the quad - I've also swatched them with fingers over primer and they're much more intense that way.  Lovely, lovely neutrals.

I love the lipstick, it's a lovely cool neutral rose, which is a good, "my lips but better" shade.  And I fell totally in love with the liquid eyeshadow, which has a hint of holographic sparkle, which the camera hasn't picked up there.  I simply couldn't leave it behind ....

One last gratuitous lippie shot:

Will you being picking up any Chanel this season?

PS - have you entered my giveaway yet?  If not, why not?  I'll be at IMATS this weekend, and picking up some goodies for you!


Wednesday 27 January 2010

Organic Wednesday - Naked Bodycare (quickie)

A little bird tells me that Naked Bodycare will be giving their Facebook fans a 50% off code for purchases made between January 29th-Feb 14th!  Go sign up now!

In the meantime, you can check out their range here.  I like Naked products, and will be reviewing some of their range in more detail for you soon, look out for an in-depth Organic Wednesday feature in the near future...

Organic Wednesday - Evolve

Evolve is a brand that's only come recently to my attention, but it's one I like, and the reason for it is fairly simple, the products are good, and they come in recyclable (and recycled) packaging.  A lot of organic brands make big claims about environmental friendliness, but I, for one, would be interested to know how many of them package their products in recycled milk bottles ...

Laura Rudoe, the founder of Evolve was previously involved with Nude Skincare (another favourite of mine) and it's good to see another affordable organic line becoming more readily available.

I tried Evolve's Gentle Cleansing Melt, which is a sugar-based cleansing product, designed not to irritate sensitive skin.

Evolve Say:

Pure pleasure...this gentle soap free cleansing balm melts away make up and impurities before transforming into a rich creamy milk on contact with warm water. It rinses away leaving skin clean, moisturised and soft to the touch. This amazingly versatile product can also be used as a rinse off massage oil, a soap free body cleanser, shaving oil and more.

Lippie Says: 

This is a gel-textured product, which you scoop from the jar, and apply to your (dry) face, then use water to emulsify, and rinse. It's a very firm texture, which I rub between my palms before applying to my face, and then I massage it all over in order to get it to dissolve my makeup. Then I  use the hot cloth method to remove the residue. I find that whilst it spreads easily over the skin, it doesn't have as much "slip" as an oil-based cleanser and, ironically, as a result it feels a wee bit greasier when it's in use than a cleansing oil.  Once you add water though, it emulsifies instantly into a milky lotion, and is very easy to remove.  I find that it doesn't leave my skin dry, but it doesn't remove eye makeup as well as an oily facial cleanser. There's no scent to this product at all, so if you're sensitive to strong-smelling products then this is ideal. I've not found that it irritates my exceedingly irritated skin.


It's a good general cleanser, and for an entirely organic product, it's reasonably priced at £10.99 for 100mls.  I don't think it would last as long as a liquid oil cleanser as you need to use a little more then you would a liquid, owing to it's lack of slip, but I suspect that a jar this size would last you a good month or two, depending if you cleansed once or twice a day.  I also think you'd need a separate eye makeup remover, but this isn't really an issue.  The only thing I'd change about this product is that I'd put it into a tube, personally I hate having to dig my fingers into a tub of anything and then apply it to my face, but that's my own odd issue ...


Tuesday 26 January 2010

Unexpected Nail of the Day - Chanel Particuliere

Don't you just love synchronicity?  I was just thinking this lunchtime that my polish needed changing, and was musing about what colour to do them next, when I noticed that the Chanel counter at my local Boots had the spring range in, and they had Particuliere!  I've been lemming this colour for ages, but instead of trying to assuage my NEED with similar colours, I told myself I'd be good and wait ...

It's a taupe shade - somewhat less grey than I was expecting, and it shades almost to a milky chocolate colour in artificial light, but I love it.  I don't own anything quite like it already, and I can see I'm going to be staring at my nails all day tomorrow ...

Pictures show two coats with a Seche top-coat, application is fine, a little sheer on the first coat, but it builds up nicely on a second.

Apologies for the appalling lack of cleanup in these pics, but I wanted to show you the swatches as soon as I possibly could ... I like it an alwful lot more than the last Chanel special edition I bought you, which was Kaleidoscope, and I hated it.  Normally I avoid browns - I'm scared of them - but this is one I think works quite well with my skintone.

Will you be buying?

Spots - A How To Guide

We all get zits. Occasionally, we all get those hormonal enormozits that take ages to come to a head and then take what feels like months to disappear. Here's my patented guide to dealing with zits.

Salicylic acid-based spot treatment
Clay-based face mask
Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream or similar

The vast majority of topical spot treatments contain salicylic acid, but I can personally recommend Clinique, and Origins as good ones.

If an emergency zit treatment is required, smush an aspirin (the active ingredient in aspirin is salicylic acid!), dilute with a little water, and dab the paste on your zit as required.

Dab the affected area with salicylic acid treatment of choice every few hours. Then put a dab of clay based mask on for overnight, to draw the spot out quicker.

Use something greasy - I'm going to recommend 8Hr cream here for traditions sake, but you can use vaseline, or bio oil, as you wish, but it must be something highly emollient - to clear up the inevitable redness and dryness caused by salicylic acid zit-zapper.

If squeezing proves irresistible:

If you end up popping your enormozit, first make sure your hands are clean! Pop, then use the clay mask to draw out all the impurities - leave it in place as long as you possibly can - then cover with grease of your choice (bio oil, 8hr cream etc) to ease resultant redness/flakiness/soreness.

This should help your zit leave quicker and not leave you wanting to tear your hair out waiting for it to go.

Any other spot tips out there?

Monday 25 January 2010

Multipurpose Products

So, we all have them, those little products that do double duty.  Blushers that double as eyeshadows, lipsticks that act as blushers, the lipbalm that also works as a moisturiser or cuticle cream and so on.

However, I think this one takes the biscuit it's the, er ... "personal product" that also works as a hair serum, and heat-styling protector.  Would you?  Could you?

Warning:  while the link is safe for work (it's from HQ Hair) the product itself might not be something you want on your work internet history ... Many thanks to @muddlinleigh for the link!

What are some of your favourite double-duty products?

Sunday 24 January 2010

Makeover: Helen H

I love Sundays at Lippie Towers, every week there's a different person here for a makeover, and it's always fun figuring out how a person wants to look, and seeing if I can recreate that look for them.  Please meet Helen:

Two Helens in two weeks!  Helen is a very pretty girl, who wanted to learn more about applying foundation, and using colour.  As you'll see, we discovered that Helen's favourite colour is in fact, black, so we mainly used that ...

As always, we start with the base, for this makeover, we used Max Factor Seamless foundation in porcelain, and used a touch of Bare Escentuals in bisque as a concealer on those areas that needed it:

This has evened her skintone beautifully. We were inspired by a  picture of Julia Roberts wearing a smokey eye designed by Kevyn Aucoin:

And so we went on to define Helen's eyes with a mixture of 2 True number 9 shadow, and Rimmel Jet Black eyeshadow.  First we used 2 True as a colour-was over the whole eyelid area:

The we defined the crease with Rimmel Jet Black, and went on to use that as an eyeliner too:


Because Helen's brows are a little sparse, I then went on and filled them in with a little Smashbox brow fix in brunette, and added a little Bourjois mascara:

Then, to finish, I defined those gorgeous cheekbones with a little Ilamasqua blush in Rumour, and covered her lips with Chanel Rouge Allure in No.1: Delight:

Here's the before'n'after:

A slightly more wearble version of the Julia Roberts look, but achieved with a minimum of products and fuss.  Thanks for taking part, Helen!

Friday 22 January 2010

Mystery FotD

Trying out some makeup I'll be featuring in my makeovers soon, can anyone guess the brand?  Tiny prize for anyone who does ...

Wednesday 20 January 2010

(Almost) Organic Wednesday Liz Earle + Giveaway!

Giveaway is now closed, thank you lovelies!

When I'm asked about handcream, I very rarely have to stop and think, I simply say "Liz Earle Hand Repair", because I truly believe it's one of the best handcreams I've ever tried.  It smells divine, sinks in easily, doesn't leave a greasy residue (it leaves them matte, the first handcream I ever tried that did that!), and it leaves your hands soft and moisturised for hours on end.  I may flirt with other creams whose scent I admire, but it's safe to say that in the handcream race Liz Earle has won my gold medal.

I'm a big fan of the Liz Earle brand, and have been ever since it debuted on QVC back in the mid-90s.  In fact, I think my second ever purchase from QVC was a Liz Earle tester set, and I've liked the brand ever since! Their commitment to  natural ingredients (though they don't claim to be certified organic), alongside a female-friendly profile - Liz is a wonderful spokesperson for the brand -  and a desire to keep luxury affordable, are things I always admire. 

After I wrote a little feature the other day about my dry skin tips (in response to a reader request) the company got in touch and offered to give one of my readers a set of their Superskin goodies!  Perfect for treating  dry, and flaky skin in winter time, the kit includes:
  • Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser 30ml
  • Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer 30ml
  • Superskin Moisturiser 15ml
  • Superskin Concentrate 2ml
  • Sample size of new Superskin Eye & Lip Treatment
  • 1 pure muslin cloth
  • Zip-up kit bag
OR, if you're not suffering from dry skin at the moment, don't worry, Liz Earle is offering a bottle of her brand new fragrance instead: Botanical Essence No.1 which is 98% natural, and contains (amongst other things) lavender, patchouli, rose and bergamot which sounds perfectly divine!

Now, because I'm hosting this giveaway, and because I'm a helpless over-sharer, I'll be adding a couple of prizes too, plus I will personally be providing the second prize.  I'm off to IMATS the weekend of 30th/31st January, and I'll pick up some mystery gifts for the lucky winners while I'm there.  They'll have to remain a mystery for now, as, well ... I haven't bought them yet!  Companies exhibiting at IMATS include Ilamasqua, OCC, Crown Brush ... who knows what'll be in the bags?

To enter, all you have to do is be a follower of the blog - click the link on the right there, if you haven't already! - and add a comment to this post telling me what your particular skin-care concern is (doesn't have to be dry skin, it could be something like open pores, or dark circles for example), please leave me a valid email address and say whether you'd prefer the skincare or the fragrance. If you're not a follower of the blog, don't worry, I'll be holding a giveaway which is open to all entrants in the near future. 

This giveaway is open internationally, and will the draw will be held on Sunday 7th February.  We'll do our best to ensure you get your goodies in time for Valentines Day!

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Face of the Week - Ellis Faas

This was a very simple, and exceedingly quick look I created in about three minutes flat this morning.  After applying foundation (Rimmel Stay Matte in 200 Soft Beige), I used E105 on the eyes, darker on the mobile lid, and sheered out with the fingers towards the brow-bone. Eyes were finished with Clarins Wonder Perfect.  Then I used S302 on the cheekbones - I love the subtle flush of sheerly shimmering colour you get with this! - and finished with L307 on the lips, which is a lovely, and surprisingly wearable, coral shade.

I won't lie, there is a learning curve to using the Ellis Faas products, the applicators can be temperamental until you get used to them (not helped by the fact that I think the nozzles on my blush are all blocked bar one) but they're worth it as the eye and cheek products barely budge during the day.  The hard part is actually not applying too much!  This look was a lot brighter and more glow-y in the flesh.  I loved it, as it was natural and not too much for a day in the office.

Do you have any Ellis Faas?  Is it a brand you'll be checking out when it arrives in Liberty next month?

Monday 18 January 2010

Reader Request - Dry Skin Tips

 I get a couple of requests from readers now and again (Whoo! People actually read this!)  and I thought I would start answering the questions here if they're beauty-related enough.

I think everybody is suffering from dry skin to a greater or lesser degree at the moment, thanks to the dreadful weather, here's how I deal with mine.



I've found, over the years, that the key to dealing with dry and flaky patches is to ensure you have an exfoliation routine.  There's no need to go overboard, but when you're cleaning your face in the morning, you'll find the addition of a muslin cloth, and some hot water (as detailed here) to your normal cleanser and using that to remove it will help you get rid of your flaky patches, and keep on top of them on a daily basis.  I get my muslin cloths from Mothercare and find that a dozen cut into quarters is more or less a year's supply!  Not bad for about £6.



Please, try not to leave the house without moisurising the skin that's exposed to the elements, hands, lips, face and neck.  You can use a heavy moisturiser if you've found one that suits, or you can supplement your normal one with either a facial oil or serum underneath.  Currently I'm using Neal's Yard Frankincense cream, with Elemental Herbology cell food underneath, which I find have helped my skin not to dry out so much at all this winter, a result I'm happy with!  Also, it's not caused zits, which can happen if your moisturiser is too oily for your skin.

Don't Overcleanse!

Now, I know I said exfoliation was the key to getting rid of dry patches, but that doesn't mean that you should be using harsh cleansers as well!  Check the ingredients list of your cleanser and if it contains "foaming agents" such as sodium laureth (or lauryl) sulfate, then it could well be the product that you're using that's making your skin feel dry.  I find using a cleansing oil helps me avoid most foaming nasties, and also means I can avoid preservatives too.  I'm using Nude Cleansing oil at the moment, which, after a period of adjustment I now really love!

Use a balm!

And not just on your lips.  I find the more natural balms are great for using as night-creams, (Badger Balm in particular is great for this, and if Sisley weren't so expensive, I'd be splashing that around my face with a lot more abandon too), after cleansing.  During the day I also use them around my nose, on my lips, around my cuticles, anywhere where the skin is dry and/or exposed to the elements, particularly if it's cold and windy.

That's basically it - to be honest, my routine doesn't vary that much year round, I might swap to a lighter moisturiser (Organic Surge is pretty good) and cleansing oil (I swap to Origins minty and lovely Liquid Crystal, now sadly discontinued, but I have a stash that I'm eking out), in warmer times but it's essentially the same winter or summer - and this is just what I've found that works for me. If you have any other tips that might help, I'd love to hear them.

Sunday 17 January 2010

YouTubers for Haiti

I've had a few problems this week (ill-health, bad planning and terrible weather related) so there's no makeover. Instead, I'd like you all to go to this link here and give a little cash to DEC in order to help out the people in Haiti who have real problems at the moment.  If you'd prefer to help out Doctors Without Borders, you can click here  I'll be making my donation later today, it'd be wonderful if some of you gave too, if you haven't already.

Beauty blogging isn't at all important, but it's wonderful to see some of us doing good things.

Thank you.

Saturday 16 January 2010

Here is the nude ...

One thing I don't actually find as universally appealing as we're told is the "nude lip" look that's so popular these days.  I've noticed in my trawls around a lot of magazines, books and blogs that a lot of women appear to be scared of colour on their lips, and I'm wondering why that is?  Get your lip colour right, I always think and you don't actually need other makeup!

Don't get me wrong, when the concealer-lip look is done well, as above, I think it's superbly flattering, but get the colour slightly wrong and you can look like a zombie.  Or worse:

It's one of those looks that I, personally, think is easier to get wrong than it is to get right.  What do you think?

Thursday 14 January 2010

Nails - my new obsession!

If you follow me on Twitter I think you'll have noticed that my latest obsession is my nails!  And, I'm also obsessed with nail varnish at the moment too ... but not just any polish, I'm mainly obsessed with holographic ones ...

This is the collection I have of them so far.  I blame Mizzworthy, if she hadn't tied me down and forced me to buy  introduced me to the OPI Designer Series Celebration polish (2nd from the left there) then I wouldn't have this lemming for holographic polishes, because I wouldn't have known they existed!

My nails are currently painted with OPI Extravagance (3rd from the right) which is a gorgeous purple with red, yellow, orange and green holographic glitter:


Love the depth of colour in this polish, and also love that it's quite subtle from a distance:

I've tried China Glaze and OPI holo's so far, but I'm REALLY looking forward to Nubar releasing their holo-polishes at the end of January ... they'll be available from Beauty Shed, and I'll be picking up at least a couple ...I found the swatches here, and I can't wait!

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Organic Wednesday - Voya

Q: Why is the beach wet?

A: Because the sea weed!

Look, it's the first Organic Wednesday since Christmas, that's my only excuse for the terrible joke, I think I accidentally memorised my nephew's 101 Terrible Jokes book over the break! Luckily, this week's products aren't terrible, and I just hope Voya - a family run Irish company who specialise in luxurious seaweed based products - will forgive me ...

Have three products to talk to you about, conditioner, shower gel and a body lotion, and I have a guest blogger again, but first, a little bit about the company:

About Voya

Based in Strandhill, Ireland, the company runs one of the few remaining seaweed spas in Ireland, and they have a great love of organics, they've spend a lot of time over the last ten years or so developing their product range, for example, it took them six years to figure out the process of drying seaweed in a manner that merely puts it into "stasis" rather than killing it off entirely, as they say:

"Seaweed (an algae) dries when the tide goes out, and to prevent it from dying and keep its cell structures intact, it has developed a natural defence against this: slowly reducing its water content and entering a period of stasis or dormancy. Because of our ability to replicate this, we don’t have to treat our seaweed with harmful preservatives, and so the full recuperative power of wild seaweed is brought to you in each product."

Their products are entirely organic, and the company's philosophy is this:

"Inspired by the breathtaking natural beauty around us and the long-standing traditions of the area, VOYA has adopted organic and sustainable ways of creating our products. We use only sustainable harvesting practices to ensure that we don’t damage the delicate coastal environment that provides us with our certified organic seaweed. We then combine this with the best organic ingredients from around the world to bring you a unique seaweed bath experience and a range of products that not only heal the body but leave the skin silky smooth."

The Products

Forget Me Knot hair conditioner 

Because of my recent keratin treatment, hair products aren't something I'm experimenting too much with at the moment, so I invited another blogger (and my lovely housemate)  McTofu to try this one out for me.

Voya say:

"Forget Me Knot uses an express delivery formula that includes our organic seaweed and both vitamin B5 and vitamin E to add moisture, shine and protect hair from environmental damage. An effective conditioner with essential oils and natural active ingredients to help repair, protect, de-tangle and replenish the hair. As our organic formulations don't use harsh chemicals, you can use this product daily."

McTofu says:

"One advantage of living with a beauty blogger is that quite often some lovely products come my way. One such product is Voya ‘Forget Me Knot’ organic conditioner. Made from hand harvested seaweed, I was expecting it to smell of the sea, but no, it had a pleasant spicy, woody smell. Now, I’m a gal that is used to sweet smelling hair products, so I was not overly impressed with the scent when I squeezed a 50p sized blob onto my hand.

It spread through my hair evenly enough and I left it on for my usual time of about 3mins. It rinsed through easily and when dry, my hair seemed to comb through well without too much trouble from tangles. Once dry, I didn't notice that my hair was any glossier or smoother as it promised on the pack, however the scent really grew on me throughout the day. Voya Forget Me Knot is a nice product but it is slightly out of my price range for an every day conditioner, I liked it but don’t think it is a product that I would buy for myself."

 Get Lippie says:

The instructions for this product say to leave the conditioner in place for 15 minutes, another housemate has tried this product too, and really liked it, and she also commented on the unusual and pleasant smell.  Both testers have coloured and porous hair, the conditioner (which I'd actually consider more of a mask than a daily use product, owing to the long time it's recommended to leave it in place) is very thick, rich and seems to be really suitable for dry, coloured and/or processed hair.

Now onto (reviewed together underneath images):

Squeaky Clean body wash

 Voya says: 

"...Infused with the natural purifying properties of wild organic seaweed, sourced from Ireland’s untamed Atlantic coastline. Squeaky Clean captures the energy of this coastal environment in an invigorating body wash that will stimulate both your skin and senses. Our mild but effective organic foaming body wash contains essential oils and naturally-derived cleansing and conditioning agents to help soften the skin and leave it feeling clean, fresh and revived. The active seaweed extracts help to relieve muscle stress and fatigue. Use while showering for a real organic indulgence that will leave your skin refreshed and gently cleansed..."


Softly Does It body lotion

Voya says:

"When it comes to taking care of your skin, our silky blend of wild seaweed extracts and organic essential oils provides a completely natural, deep moisturising experience that can help prevent signs of ageing and cellulite as well as improve skin tone and elasticity. Blended with basil and lime, patchouli, clove, mandarin and lemon organic essential oils, Softly Does It is best when massaged into your skin after showering or bathing, and offers a real organic indulgence that will keep your skin moisturised and feeling luxuriously smooth."

Get Lippie says:

I tried these, and I really liked them.  The shower gel is a clear gel-product, it doesn't lather overmuch (due no doubt to the lack of SLS and other nasties) but leaves you feeling fresh and clean and delicately scented with the unusual, but very lovely, mixture of sweet basil and clove that the entire range has.  It doesn't appear to leave my skin dry, and I'm not flaky after using it.

The body lotion is a medium-weight cream that I found took a fair bit of rubbing to absorb, but it's not a chore to use.  The scent does last, but not in an overpowering kind of way, so I don't think you'd have too much trouble with clashing smells if you use this. The softening effect is lovely, and appears to last for a while.  They're definitely products I'll continue to use!

Voya products are available from and start at around nine euro.  The range includes skincare, bodycare and haircare products as well as candles and teas ... Seaweed teas sound kind of interesting, don't you think?

The small print: The products were provided free for review purposes.  All reviews remain impartial regardless of the source.


Tuesday 12 January 2010

Not, quite, beauty products ...

... but still beautiful.

I love candles, I was lucky enough to be made a gift recently of some from Jonathan Ward ones recently.  I have them in Nightingale's Jasmine, which is a delicious scent that makes the entire bedroom smell wonderful - whether you've lit them or not! They're paraffin-free, and made from an organic wax base.  There is a special offer on several of the candles at the moment where you can get two for the price of one!  If you like candles, you'll love these.

Another range of home-scents that I like is from Kenneth Turner who also makes body products.  I, in particular adore the scent of Blue Tangerine, which has to be one of the sexiest scents I've ever noticed in a candle.

Or a shower gel. Or body lotion.  Or air freshener.  Or hand cream ... I buy this stuff by the bucket load, the range isn't organic, and it doesn't promise anything amazing will happen if you use the products, but, the scent!  Oh, how I love it.  I have a tube of the handcream in my office, and I adore it. If the reed diffuser was in stock on the website, I'd have them all over the house! Even though reed diffusers strike me as the middle class alternative to Airwick these days ...  The range has an orangey-minty smell, but so much more that paltry description implies, deep, sexy and clean.

Finally, I had a chance to pop over to ARK Skincare on Kensington Church Street recently, and have a sniff of their "Loving" range of spa products, unlike many spa scents, this one is warm and spicy, and wonderfully cosy, it strikes me that it's a perfect scent for these wintry days.  This scent is available in everything from reed diffusers to a very luxurious-looking bath oil that I'm dying to try:

I'll be popping back to ARK soon, they have an offer on at their Kensington Church Street  store at the moment, where if you book a facial you get one free, the staff are super-friendly so I'm looking forward to trying their services out!  In the meantime, if anyone wants to get me anything for Valentines day (and before you all groan, there are Creme Eggs in the shops at the moment, and that's not till April!) I'll be happy with anything from this page here  hint, hint.

How do you keep your home smelling sweet?

Monday 11 January 2010

MORE bargains! Stila

After my last (dreadful) experience with Stila, I was in two minds whether to pick up any more, but these were such a bargain that I thought even if they're awful, it's not too much of a loss.  I picked up four loose shadows and a smudge post in Jade for just £10! Thank goodness for the random bargains you can find in TJ Hughes ... Then I discovered that I'd actually bought two shadows which were the same colour, but hey ho ... look out for it in a giveaway soon!

Onto the swatches etc, first the loose shadows:

I have numbers 7, 3 and 12, as you can see they're all very shimmery, 7 is a nice metallic taupe, 3 is a very pretty lilac, and 12 is a soft copper.  Here's how they look on the skin:

As you can see, they swatch pretty sheer, but the colour pay-off is still better than last time. These have been swatched dry over bare skin, I expect if swatched wet, or over a primer they'd be a lot more vivid.

Here's the smudge pot, I like this mossy green a great deal, and I'm a bit annoyed they didn't have any other colours that I could find:


The colour pay-off in this is excellent, and it blends well.  I'm really looking forward to getting on with some FotD's with these.

Sunday 10 January 2010

Whee! Squared ...

150 followers, wow!  As a little gesture of thanks, I'll put together a giveaway for you soon ....

You're all great, thank you so much! Incidentally, if you have a blog and I'm not following you already, leave me a comment on this post, and I'll get around to updating my blogroll very soon!

Makeover: Helen

Ah ... back in the makeover swing of things after the Christmas break, it's nice to have them back!

Please welcome Helen, here she is giving it her best "Prisoner Cell Block H" pose:

Helen wanted a very simple, daytime look that she could easily replicate herself, that would make her look more "polished".  We picked some nice, neutral shades to suit her skin-tone, and that would be easy to apply in a rush.

As always, we started with the base, we thought that using a tinted moisturiser would be the best thing, so we wouldn't have to "mess about" with moisturiser and foundation and powder.  I used Benefit You Rebel in light, with a little light concealor under Helen's eyes to even out the little dark circles she has there:

This left us with a nice, sheeny glow.  Then we moved onto the eyemakeup. We had picked out the Paul & Joe eyeshadow I bought recently in 95, which is a lovely rose-gold shade, as we thought it went very well with Helen's eyes:

As you can see from the picture above, it's very natural-looking.   I applied it in an almond shape all over the eyelid, up to the brow-bone, then replicated it on the other eye:

Helen seemed quite impressed!  In order to emphasise the  blueness of Helen's eyes, I used a Chanel chocolate-brown eyeliner on the top lid, and added a tiny amount of Clinique liner in charcoal under the bottom lashes.

Once I'd finished off the eyes with a smudge of Clarins Wonder Perfect (currently my HG mascara) on the lashes, I applied a dab of Cargo Illuminator in Wind to Helen's amazing cheekbones:

Then I realised it needed a bit more blending in, so taking a soft fluffy brush, I did just that!  To give a llittle sheen to Helen's lips, I applied a layer of Clarins Joli Rouge in fig, which is a lovely soft reddish shade, with a lot of illuminating particles:

I think she liked it!

Here's the before and after:

It's a very simple look, with a minimum of fuss and products used, but I think it polished Helen up a  treat.  What do you think?

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