Beauty Without Fuss

Wednesday 31 March 2010

Organic Wednesday: Jonathan Ward Candles

There are few things more surreal than dragging the rugby-loving, cider-drinking, not-interested-in-male-grooming, will-only-get-his-hair-cut-when-ordered-to, shouldn't-be-reading-this Mr Lippie along to a candle viewing and scent testing session, and then watching him take over the proceedings to the extent that the Official Lippie (me) can't actually get a word in edgeways!

It might have happened because Jonathan Ward's candles are truly things of beauty, and it was a delight to be invited to pop along to Wholefoods recently for a sneak preview of his autumn collection (even MrL agrees).  Religiously inspired with incense, amber and spices, the new range will add three new scents to the line. No1 (which is the one that got MrL all excited, and he still refers to it now, a couple of weeks later) which to me smells like a clean, fresh, and warm (if that makes sense?) Mediterannean scent - in some ways similar to Acqua di Parma, only deeper and more resonant, No2, which I found to be a more classical kind of "boudoir" scent, and it brought to mind Hollywood glamour, film noir, and marabou-trimmed negligees. I can't wait to see how this one translates into a candle! And finally No3 (which is Jonathan's personal favourite) which was a more sweet amber-spice scent, almost food-y, but in a good way.

Sadly, we won't be able to see these candles for a good few months yet as they're still in the testing phase. So, what's the point in my telling you about something you can't buy yet, I hear you cry?! Well, as a result of some previous testing sessions (Jonathan does these fairly regularly for his favoured clients and the occasional blogger who has, let's face it, allowed her boyfriend to gatecrash), Jonathan has introduced a new size candle, after previous panels requested a range of candles at a more purse-friendly price point. Currently the large candles cost £30, which is a good price for an all-organic, hand poured, hand-packaged candle, but there is now a full range of slightly smaller candles (6.5oz as opposed to 8.5oz) which come in at £20 each which is a great price for presents, hostess gifts and the like. Also a good price for trying a new scent, if you ask me.

There is also a new scent about to be launched, Lulu in Provence, which is redolent of nectarines, sandalwood and redcurrants. Go buy a couple to make your house smell lovely, you'll never regret it. Me, I'll be getting myself a couple of Lost in El Salvador, which is another amber-based scent I can't resist. The candles are clean-burning, and smell beautiful even when they're not in use (I have Nightingales Jasmine by my bed to ensure sweet-smelling dreams), and will last for 45 hours in the large, or 30 in the medium.

You buy Jonathan Ward candles online here, or they are stocked at Wholefoods.  A full list of stockists is available on Jonathan's website. Want to say a quick thank you to the adorable Jonathan for inviting us along, and say that it's great to see a company that not only listens to it's customers, but actually pays attention. To that end, I'm just going to say two words:  Bath. Oil.  Please? ;)

The Small Print: No boyfriends, candles or whales were harmed during the writing of this post.

Tuesday 30 March 2010

Review - Untitled by Maison Martin Margiela

I was at Selfridges last Thursday, to see the in-store launch of this new fragrance from Maison Martin Margiela, and it looked amazing, white feathers everywhere, women dressed in lab coats, and the fragrance strips are cut like hospital bracelets! Plenty more fun than the usual frou-frou frilliness, I must say.

The perfume is a little different to the norm too, on me, this is one of those rare perfumes that smells more or less exactly like it does in the bottle when it's on my skin.  That's not a bad thing, to be honest, how many times have you fallen in love with a scent from a perfume strip only to find that it smells nothing like that when you're actually wearing it?

This has resinous top notes for me, I used to play the violin (yes, it's a day of unexpected confessions from me, I'm afraid), and immediately, it transported me back to Miss Brenton's classroom for violin practice on wet weekday lunchtimes. I spent a lot of time as a youngster with rosin under my nails, I recall, and this was a very unexpected  and not unwelcome scent-memory!  I've since read that the top-note is Galbanum, which is indeed, a resin.  It's an unusual, quite sweet scent (on me), without being sugary.

Crammed full of unexpected ingredients, it contains incense and orange blossom giving it an evocative undertone.  Mr Lippie calls it "interesting" and indeed it is, green without being over-fresh or sharp, and sexy without being in your face about it.  It's a mature and confident kind of sexiness, one that grows on you the more time you spend with it, rather than the desperately waving their knickers in your face kinds of smells a lot of perfumes rely on these days.

Personally, I don't get too much smokiness from (untitled), despite it's incense base, although when I do, I'm reminded of retsina and barbecues in the Troodos mountains, it smells of long, relaxed evenings, and again, this is a scent-memory that's personal to me, but it goes to show - I think - how unusual a scent this is, you don't immediately thing "strawberries!" or the like.  This is an unusual and unfussy scent which is all the better for not smelling of fruit, ozone or sugary girly sweetness, it smells of tweed and cashmere, and closeness.

Whilst it's being marketed as a unisex scent, I'm not entirely sure about that premise to be honest (although you can bet I'll be testing that claim!), it's very definitely feminine to me, and I like it that way.

The Small Print: Samples were provided for review.  As always, opinions are honest regardless of the source of product  Whether or not the aforementioned opinions make any sense is a matter of opinion.  As this is a perfume review, you may find it smells of a different classroom entirely on your skin, I cannot take any responsibility if it's maths, but you will have my deepest sympathy.

OooOOoOoOOoooOoOo .... !

How excited am I today? - one of my favourite online shopping sites has invited me to be a guest blogger for a couple of weeks!  Please click on the link below:
Get Lippie has a ramble elsewhere

To find out what I'm going on about today ... And don't forget to leave me a comment, please!

Normal service will be resumed on Get Lippie later.

Monday 29 March 2010


I bought these just after Christmas for the bargain price of about £15, I love the post-Christmas sales, I think the normal retail price of this little lot is about £30!  There's a double size shower gel, a  full-size body butter and a trial-size handcream.

So, why has it take me till nearly April to review them?  Well, they're just a bit meh.  I've read a lot of raves about the Bliss Spa, and I guess I was expecting miraculous things from their products. 

I have to say that the scent is wonderful, redolent of freshly cut oranges, undercut with the merest hint of spicy white pepper which all makes the shower gel one of the most refreshing ways to wake yourself up in the morning.  Sadly, it's stuffed full of SLS and parabens, and as a result, I find it (a little) irritating on my already-prone-to-dryness shins.  I still use it though, being both a sucker for punishment and slightly addicted to spicy, citrussy scents. It does bubble up nicely, and a little of this on a shower-lily really does go a very long way!

Likewise, the hand cream and body butter are chock-full of parabens too, which is a real shame, it means I can't use them as often as I'd like to because they can make me sting a little bit if I use them too much, or too often.  Lovely lingering scent though.  I've heard tell that the body butter is chock-full of glitter, but if it is, it must be microscopic, because I've not noticed it at all!

Personally, I wouldn't buy these at full price to be honest, there's nothing in there that you can't find in products which are a lot cheaper, and there's a few chemical nasties in there that might irritate more sensitive souls, but if you want a great-smelling refreshing shower experience, and you aren't bothered by the cheap ingredients, you'll love it!

Have you tried Bliss products?  Is there something from the range that you think will change my mind?

Sunday 28 March 2010

Just in - Sale at The Make-up Artist Boutique!

Those lovely ladies at the Make-up Artist Boutique have done it again! They're having an Easter sale this week, and for all you lucky people, there's 10% off across the board, on everything from OCC liptars to Yaby palettes, and everything in between.  But, if ten percent off isn't enough for you (and you're a new customer) then just add the code:

When you get to the checkout and you'll get an extra 5% off, making a total of 15% off any purchases you want to make! The sale starts Monday morning, and goes on until Friday.  Don't miss out. I'm going to finally complete my lip tar collection, I want vintage, plum and ... erm, another one. What're you going to get?

The Small Print: I am not affiliated with The Makeup Artist Boutique and I will receive no remuneration if you click on any of the links contained in this post, or if you make any purchases as a result of this posting.  They, are, however really lovely people, and hey! Who doesn't love a discount?

Lippie Chat - Lynne Sanders of Cosmetics a la Carte

Just a wee while ago, I was lucky enough to meet and chat with Lynne Sanders who -  alongside Christina Stewart, now retired from the business - founded Cosmetics a la Carte back in the seventies, after working for both Unilever and Yardley.  Cosmetics a la Carte have been providing women with bespoke cosmetic shades for all occasions, and individually blended foundations for any and all skin types ever since their inception. Renowned for their naturally glamorous groomed looks, Cosmetics a la Carte provide make up for women that is made by women who care what they wear too.

Lynne very kindly agreed to be interviewed for Get Lippie, and I'm both delighted and honoured that she did, she's a lovely, funny and warm lady who I took to immediately when I met her (she was eating a cupcake at the time, and hey, who doesn't love somebody who loves a cupcake?), and I've been enjoying re-discovering a British institution that's inspired many cosmetic brands the world over.

Hi Lynne, thanks for taking part! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I really enjoy making make-up and being actively involved in helping women ‘find their look and be fabulous’ and enjoy dreaming about new products, concepts and colours.  It’s difficult to believe that I am 60 and have been involved with Cosmetics a la Carte for over 30 years.

Apart from enjoying my daughter it is the most fulfilling thing that I do.

How did you end up in the beauty industry in the first place?

I have been a convert to the transformation qualities of make-up ever since I was a spotty, pasty, teenager studying Chemistry and conscious that the concealers available to cover those spots were all the wrong colour!

Inevitable then that I should choose Cosmetic Science as a career and start making my own colours. The rest is history.

How did Cosmetics a la Carte itself come into being?

Four Chemists, working in the corporate world of Cosmetic R&D, frustrated with the ‘copy-cat’ marketing approach to make-up in the 1970s; opened a little shop in Knightsbridge where we had a lab to create make-up while pioneering Make-up lessons in the shop.
I seem to be the only one left!

What are the philosophies behind Cosmetics a la Carte?

Make-up is a crucial part of self expression, part of finding the look to be taken seriously as a young person and then keeping the look fresh, glowy, and not disappearing into middle age.

It takes just 3 seconds to judge someone on first meeting so it is important to send the right personal message and be ‘truly top of your own game’.

What makes Cosmetics a la Carte unique, do you think?

The wide range and personal approach is part of our brand ethos. We are well known for blending the exact shade with variations for all skins and whatever our customers need.

We are totally customer led, and a lot of our range has a celebrity origin. From Princess Diana who ordered a flesh-coloured lipstick to Lady Gaga who was wowed at the idea of  Flush Blush and Bubblegum gloss that shows in UV light!  Dannii Minogue created Candy, our super glossy staining lipstick with sunscreen, and Boy George during the punk movement meant that we were the very first with super bright shadows… the list goes on.

Who are you targeting the Cosmetics a la Carte brand at?

We are a little different. Our experience with over 30 years making products for women by women means that we really understand what it means to have the right foundation and we go to extra-ordinary lengths to find that for those that care.

What do you hope is in the future for Cosmetics a la Carte?

CALC was the first luxury British makeup company to make all their own products, with a personal and individual couture service including makeup lessons to “Find your look and be Fabulous” and we have expanded and perfected the genre of natural with advice ever since. We would like to take this all over the world. 

What’s your beauty regime?

I love wearing make-up so I try to accentuate the good bits of my face with clever make-up colours and application. Naturally with a nod to fashion, and cleansing my skin completely every single night! 
What one cosmetic product couldn’t you live without?

Can I only have one??  I suppose it would have to be foundation or concealer to cover up the shadows, redness and marks.

What beauty advice would you give Get Lippie readers?

Make-up is a wonderful way to enhance anti-ageing skincare or procedures by concealing flaws and providing an illuminating glow to the skin. Furthermore, technology now means that we can enhance these qualities by incorporating anti-ageing ingredients into the products so delaying dermatological procedures or sustaining benefits in between treatments, naturally and without toxins.

I want to say a massive thank you to Lynne for taking part.  You can find out more about Cosmetics A La Carte here

Is there anyone else you'd like to see featured in this series?  I have interviews lined up with several cosmetic-range founders, a celebrity makeup artist, and an international hair designer, alongside a couple of surprise guests, but if there's anyone specific you'd like to see featured here, please let me know and I'll see if I can make it happen.  You might also be interested in reading about the chat I had with Alex Box recently, too!

Saturday 27 March 2010

Upcoming on Get Lippie

I've got quite a few things coming up, I thought you  might like a little heads up!

For the past couple of months, I've been working on collecting interviews with women I admire, who I think are doing interesting things in the beauty industry! Tomorrow, I'll be kicking off my little series with a small portrait of a woman I think a lot of beauty brands could learn a few things from ...

I was at The Vitality Show recently, and I was lucky to meet and chat to some wonderful people with some really interesting-sounding (organic!) products, I'll be bringing you reviews, interviews, and more from some of the following:
100 Percent Organics
Lucy Russell Organics
Antonia Burrell

I spent some time at Being Content recently too, and picked myself up a truckload of samples, so I'll be looking at brands such as, Amala, Dr Alkaitis, Absolution, Stem Organics, Inlight and Jurlique, some reviews will be in-depth, some will just be impressions based on the sample-size, but they're all interesting brands that deserve a better look, so if you get a chance to pop along, do go!  Imelda is very friendly and chatty, and you'll leave with a new impression of organic skincare, it's not all hand-knitted by muesli-wearing hippies, you know!

I've been trialling Mir Skincare for a while now, so I'll be reviewing that in-depth very soon!

I had lots of requests for lip-swatches, so I'll be working on those later today ...

In response to a reader-request, I'll be talking about my favourite highlighters, and sharing what I think might be my Holy Grail product - best of all, it came from Boots!

MrLippie is going to be sharing his thoughts on an aftershave, which could be interesting, seeing as he never wears it ...

Oh, and there will be all the usual rantings and ramblings, FotD and swatches you've come to know and love/dread (delete as applicable) complete with my signature terrible photographs!

Friday 26 March 2010

Nails of the Day - Nubar Risque Reds and Fortress Collections

Beauty Shed very kindly sent me samples of their new collections recently, so I drafted in a volunteer so I could swatch two colours for you this week!  First up, from the Risque Reds Collection, Torrid Red:

Lovely red jelly with a glorious gold shimmer shot through,  it's a little darker than it appears in these pics, and is all the nicer for it. Both pictures show two coats over a Mavala base, and with a Seche Vite topcoat.  I could actually have got away with one coat, but I wanted to apply two, just to see how the colour came out.  I'm glad I did.  Formulation is a bit on the thick side for Nubar, but it applied and dried very nicely.

Picture of the ring finger there is a fairly accurate representation of how the colour looks in normal light.  Just lovely!

And from the Fortress collection - which is a selection of all grey shades, which is fairly unusual in itself - I selected the one which looked most interesting, Silver Sword, which is a mid-grey metallic finish, and I got the lovely Kerry to be my hand-model for this one:

Above pic shows two coats with a top coat (think it's from No. 17) application was good, and this is a lovely finish which doesn't seem to be blighted with brush strokes.

Looking forward to trying this one myself, it looks lovely! I will bring you more shades from both of these collections next week.

Which do you prefer, the greys or the reds?

Nubar polishes are available from Beauty Shed, and cost £8 each.

The Small Print: I was sent this for review purposes, so I reviewed them.  I'm nice like that ;) All opinions are honest, regardless of the source.

Thursday 25 March 2010

Avon Calling? Liz Earle joins up ...

I don't often regurgitate press releases, but there's been a lot of talk on Twitter about this today, let me know your thoughts!


The Liz Earle Beauty Co. announced today a new partnership with leading global beauty brand, Avon Products Inc.

Co-founder Liz Earle, said of the deal “We are very excited to be joining forces with an iconic global beauty brand like Avon. We believe the Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare philosophy and extraordinary brand loyalty we have built in the U.K., when combined with Avon’s presence in more than 100 countries around the world, will create an outstanding opportunity for international expansion for our company.”

The deal, designed to deliver international expansion opportunities for the leading British skincare brand, will see the company remain firmly rooted in its home in Ryde, Isle of Wight. The company will continue to operate as a standalone brand, under the leadership of co-founders, Liz Earle and Kim Buckland.

“Joining forces with Avon is a dream come true for us,” said co-founder Kim Buckland. “Just as Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare has its own ‘Precious Recipe’ which lies at the heart of all we do, Avon has a long established reputation for its high levels of customer service, its great workplace environment, and its contributions to the wellbeing of society.”

Andrea Jung, Avon’s chairman and chief executive officer, said “We are delighted to welcome Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare to Avon and we see this new partnership as a perfect fit for both companies. Liz Earle’s tightly edited range of award-winning, naturally active skincare products is highly complementary to Avon’s anti-aging skin care and broader beauty portfolio. It also represents a long term opportunity to develop a standalone Liz Earle direct selling Representative channel.”

Terms of the arrangement between the two companies remain private and will not be disclosed.
What do you think?

Lancôme L'Absolou Rouge Creme de Brilliance swatches

Surprisingly, considering my utter worship of practically any mascara made my Lancôme, I don't own a huge amount of their colour cosmetics.  I have no idea why this is, but after their recent Pop Petrol collection, which I thought was really lovely (I ended up buying half of it for Other People, and have none of it for myself!), it's obviously something I'm going have to correct.

I do, however, always spend time searching for the Chris Benz Pout-A-Porter lipstick releases when they're out, but I was told recently that they're only ever released in the US due to lack of interest in the UK! Very frustrating to hear that after you've dragged yourself around every department store within tube-distance, but them's the breaks, I guess. It's a real shame though, as I always think they look just that little more interesting than the regular releases we get over here. That said, it's nice that Lancôme are doing UK-only releases (like Pop Petrol) these days, as we very often get short-changed a little bit by the bigger brands when it comes to Limited Editions.

Where was I?  Oh yes, the latest Lancôme release is this set of  L'Absolou Rouge Creme de Brilliance liquid lipsticks, which is a very lovely set of colours indeed.  When I was at the Lancôme offices staging my recent Precious Cells sit-in, they also presented me with a set of these little beauties to get me out of the place.

Containing Pro-Xylane, which is said to be anti-aging, there are nine shades in the set (in the same order as the picture at the top of the post):

More liquid than a lipstick, but less gloopy (and they are not at all sticky) than a gloss, these are really super-comfortable to wear. I've found that they're surprisingly long-lasting for a liquid formulation, taking about four hours before requiring a touch up - even after coffee and a croissant. They also fade very evenly, without leaving you with the tell-tale ring of doom.  I'm not, in all honesty, a big fan of the heart-shaped applicator, being the cack-handed muppet that I am, but the lippies do apply very evenly without dragging, and they  leave your lips feeling beautifully soft and moisturised after a day spent wearing them, almost as if you'd been wearing a balm rather than a coloured product. One further criticism: the numbers on the labels are too small!  You will NEVER know the trouble I had trying to get them into numerical order for the product shot at the top of this post.

Or maybe you will.  Hey ho ...

Now, would you like lip-swatches?  Which colours stand out to you? My favourite (surprisingly) is number 11 Rose Nature, which has an almost duo-chrome finish in the tube and is a lovely warm brown-rose shade on the lips.  I'm not normally known for my love of brown, but it is absolutely gorgeous on the lips!

The small print: I was given these as a bribe to leave the Lancome office and never darken their doorstep again. No PRs were harmed in the making of this post.  As always, reviews are honest regardless of the source.

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Organic Wednesday - Organic Surge, the return

I'm delighted that another of my very favourite bloggers, Helen from the lovely Just Nice Things site has offered to guest blog for me this week. If you're interested in nails - and other cosmetics! - then you simply have to make Just Nice Things a port of call on the internets!  Helen won my first ever blog giveaway way back in November last year, and she's reviewing on the prizes I gave her, Organic Surge Eye Gel.

Take it away, Helen:

Isn’t it strange the way that wonderful ageing issues that suddenly become a factor when you hit 30-something? Like the fact that the extra half stone you put on every Christmas just doesn’t shift? Or the fact that you still have the marks on your face left by the seams of your pillow at 9am because your skin hasn’t sprung back? Puffy eyes? Well, not only do I have to contend with all these concerns, I am also blessed by having chronic psoriasis.

For those of you who don’t know, psoriasis is a non-contagious skin condition that affects approximately one in every one hundred people. No-one knows what causes it, but we do know that it is essentially the same as having super efficient skin that just renews too quickly, pushing the old skin cells to the surface, where they gather and flake off. This can be incredibly painful, itchy and sore, not to mention unsightly. I’ve lost count of the number of people that have gone “Eurrrgghhh! What’s wrong with you?” to me, or people who haven’t wanted to shake my hand because of it.

What this also means is that I have to be extremely careful with what I put onto and into my skin. I don’t smoke (any more), I drink plenty of water. I have found out, over many years, what the triggers are. Fizzy white wine, chillies, strawberries and tomatoes are likely to have me clawing at my skin in agony. The same goes for beauty products. Anything containing sodium laureth / lauryl sulphate, perfume, or parabens is anathema to me. I don’t wear foundation, and I can’t get overly excited by the Sleek palettes that everyone loves, because they contain parabens. Once a week or so is fine but if I were to use something daily that contained any of the above ingredients, I know I’d be flaring, itchy and irritable. I haven’t narrowed it down precisely – for example, despite all their claims to be nasty-free and hypoallergenic, I can’t use either Jergens or Simple products. Don’t know why, I just know they hurt like hell when I apply them.

Similarly, I was a bit scared to try Organic Surge. Usually the only skincare I use is Liz Earle as I know from trial and error that it doesn’t have any sinister effects on me. I had an Organic Surge handcream a while ago and I don’t know what was in it but it set my psoriasis ridden paws on fire. However, the lure of a free lipstick is too much for any beauty blogger to deny, and so I entered one of Luce’s Get Lippie reader competitions, and won! I couldn’t believe it. The only thing I’d ever won before this was the odd £10 on the lottery, and a very classy silver plated after dinner mint tray at a school fete once. The Get Lippie prize bag contained several Organic Surge products, and so, with some trepidation, I reached for the eye gel.

I love eye gel. I used to nick my mum’s elderflower and vitamin E eye gel when I was little (and certainly in no need of it). I remember liking the way it felt on my skin and immediately made me feel brighter and more awake. So, I couldn’t resist trying this one out. I usually approach new products with a cynical “what reaction is this going to get then?” , so imagine my glee when it did….nothing. As in, I had no reaction at all. Brilliant. No stinging, no itching, just that lovely tightening and smooth feeling. Fantastic. I haven’t been over egging it and using this daily as I know my skin can sometimes get fed up with certain items, but I’ve been using this eye gel a couple of times a week since Christmas with no ill effects.

OK, so it doesn’t banish the dark circles (perhaps I need to look into drinking less wine…but then again, nah) but it does make the skin around my eyes feel smoother, look brighter and generally feel zingy. A little goes a long way here, hence the reason that this little 15 ml pot has lasted me since December. So as far as I am concerned, it’s a hit. It makes me feel nice and just perks me up a bit. And anything that can do that without rendering me like the Elephant Man deserves to score highly in my book.

Oh and I apologise for the slightly soft focus Wheel of Fortune “modeling the prize” photos. As you can tell from the product shots, I’m a nail blogger and you don’t get to see my face all that often. Mainly because it’s usually covered in creases from my pillow…


Thanks, Helen!

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Kat Von D - swatches

I've been doing some swaps with my international readers, and last month, I managed to get hold (in return for a truckload of Barry M) of a set of Kat Von D shadows and lipglosses from Sephora. These are so pretty!

I'm not sure if you can pick it up in these shots, but each of these pans has two different textures of shadow, one shimmer, and one matte, meaning you actually have six different shadows, rather than just three.

Here's how they swatch on skin, primer at the top of the swatch, and bare skin at the bottom:

As you can see the two textures are very similar in shade, and intensity, but the shimmery shades do have a more glittery appearance.

The lipglosses are rather unusual too, being one in orange, and one in black.  Black lipgloss is pretty cool, but these swatch out on the sheer side:

They're really shimmery, and feel very light, but not gritty on the lips.

Do you own any Kat Von D?  What else should I look out for in Sephora when I have someone passing by? I have some Tarina Tarantino on the way, and I can't wait for it to arrive!

Monday 22 March 2010

Eyeliner Masterclass featuring MakeUpByKaty

I'm always being asked how to do eyeliner, so, I thought rather than have you deal with my rambling thoughts on the matter, I'd ask an expert on your behalf!  Please welcome the astonishingly talented international makeup artist Katy, from Make Up By Katy, (who also blogs under the same name, which you can see here).  Take it away, Katy:


Hi Girls,

I've been asked by a few people to take them step by step through my eyeliner technique. I do try and show this on my video tutorials but will admit that I often skip over it so as to get to the fun part which is the colour! However, this is a very important part of all my looks so I think it's a good idea to go through it, step by step.

Firstly, I use a cake liner, this works better than a gel liner and especially safer than kohl. This is a Kryolan cake liner, the very best that I have found. It doesn't smudge, flake or run and it's a true black. It's also available in other shades such as brown and navy which are worth getting for a softer look. The brush needs to be synthetic, tightly packed and totally flat. No slants, no domes and definitely NO points. The cake liner needs to be mixed with a small amount of water to create a paste. Think of the texture as being similar to runny mascara.

Let's start by going through application of Step 1.   This takes a steady hand so it might be worth sitting down and resting your elbow to create a pivot. You can use your free hand to lift the lid slightly, or, as shown just place the brush under the lashes and press and wiggle right into the roots. Start in the centre and work outwards, then from the centre inwards. The end result should look like the 3rd picture along. Ideally there won't be any liner on the inner rim. If there is, simply take a cotton bud, dampen and gently run along to remove. I take the liner from lash end to lash end. Going right into the inner corner is much more dramatic, so probably best saved for evening.

Step 2 is similar to Step 1, although the brush now sits on top of the lashes. This is not to create a liquid liner effect. This should be placed in the same point as before, in-between the lashes. As you can see, the lashes are pulled down and the end of the brush is hitting the same spot as from underneath. This helps to darken the roots of blonde eyelashes, as often mascara won't reach this part. The end result of this is a clean, defined look. If mascara is put on, this line disappears and all that is left is the impression of fuller, thicker lashes. Nice!

This eyeliner trick can be worn alone, or with a soft shadow for a natural look. I'm going to take you through how to create a smoky eyeliner look using just a kohl pencil and one brush.

Above are 3 brushes, from left to right: Shu Uemura Kolinsky Brush 10F, Laura Mercier Corner Eye Brush and Laura Mercier Smoky Liner Brush. These would all be suitable to use for this step but would give different finishes. The longer and larger the brush head, the more smudged the liner would be. I wanted a reasonably small smudge so I used the Smoky Liner Brush.

I used my favourite Kohl pencil. Prestige Total Intensity Pencil. I urge you to give this a try. It's under £5 from Boots! I'm just doing a line along the top in this demonstration.

Note how I have the pencil on its side. This is the easiest way to run the pencil along the lashes as you can almost use the lashes to rest the brush on. The issue of wiggling the pencil in-between the lashes to darken the roots is no more as the cake eyeliner is already there, creating a base for your kohl.

I start in the centre, above the iris and work outwards, coming to the inner corner at the end. I wanted to open my eye up with this technique so I have lifted the liner in the centre as opposed to creating the width at the outer corner.

Before smudging

To smudge I take the brush and run gently along the edge of the line, pulling upwards as I go as I'm not looking to pull the line outwards. Note how I'm holding the brush at the same angle as the pencil. I'm using the long edge of the brush as opposed to the fine point.  The end result should look soft, blended and subtle.

Below is the end result, sans Mascara. For an evening transformation, I'd simply take the pencil, dot very subtly under bottom lashes and use the Shu Uemura 10F brush to work right into the lashes. To intensify further, I'd line the inner rim too.

I hope this has been helpful and interesting!

Until next time,



Don't forget you can see more of Katy's beautiful and helpful tutorials on her blog at Thank you so much for creating this masterclass for us, Katy! I hope my readers find it useful.

Sunday 21 March 2010

Mini Makeover - Ruth

Yes, it's a mini-makeover again this week, mainly because I AM the world's worst photographer, and I owe Ruth a massive apology as a result.

Anyhoo, on with the "show", as they say!  Please meet Ruth:

Ruth is someone I've known virtually for longer than I care to remember, but up until her makeover we'd never actually met in the flesh!  Ruth runs Love it Love It Love It (should be live this weekend!) which is a website that sells the most amazing clothes for babies and toddlers in BRIGHT colours - none of this pastel rubbish.  Please go take a look if there's a child in your life, there are some gorgeous clothes on there, and I'm going to be placing a couple of orders myself soon!

Okay, because the photos I took were so dreadful, we're going to skip straight to the after:

Ruth was looking for a funky look, so I told her we were going to do PINK!  And we did.  I think Ruth was a bit scared I was going to make her look like a refugee from 1986, or something, but I think I succeeded in avoiding that particular fate. Well, hopefully ...

Products used:

Benefit You Rebel Light
Benefit Bluffdust
Milani Runway Palette in pink
Bourjois Ultra Care Mascara in black
Cargo Plantlove Illuminator in Wind
Lipstick Queen 15 minutes of Fame gloss in minute 3

Here's an entirely gratuitous pack shot of the Milani palette, it's not very pigmented, and the colours can be a little chalky, and difficult to blend as a result, but they're very pretty shades, and it cost only £3.49 from Beauty Base in Westfield:


Beauty Blog Link Love

 Over at theNotice, Rae shares an amazingly pigmented bright blue eye -- done with shadows from the drugstore!

This week, Louise gets an (almost!) exclusive look at a Lancome mascara that has them queuing down the aisles in Harrods, and promises better lashes in a month.
Yinnie Dances with the fairies with her fairy inspired EOTD.
Phyrra dishes with Britton from Haus of Gloi for this month's Indie Spotlight at Fresco Phyrra.

Blaq Vixen Beauty decides to treat her skin to a Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector Regimen!

Retrodiva checks out three new innovative drugstore foundations. See which ones she would recommend!
Krasey Beauty takes a trip across the pond to bring you complete swatches and a review of MAC's newest, Give Me Liberty of London.
Looking for a great cream eyeliner that won't break the bank? Lipglossiping may have just the thing...
Sophie from melovemakeup talks about how much she loves Trilogy's Everything Balm.
TheLipPrint adds a little more Allure to her life with Chanel.

Michelle at Lipstick Rules laments her Liberty Of London lipstick purchases... but then finds a way to make it work!
Check out the swatches of Yummy Mummy by butter LONDON at Makeup4All.
Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed falls in love with the 10 year anniversary editions of Lancôme Juicy Tubes!
Follow Jellyminx's step-by-step tutorial for a pinky-coral look for Spring.
Over at Music and Make Up, Jo celebrates her birthday with a purple smokey eye courtesy of MAC's Violet Pigment.


Beautywoome has a giveaway with Europe's coolest new beauty brand. Win 1 of 10 Ellis Faas Ellis Red lipsticks.
Audrey Dao is giving away $89 worth of Napolean Perdis makeup as part of her 1 year blog anniversary.
Mz More at The Glamorous Gleam is having a giveaway in honor of her 200+ Followers. Check out the goodies galore!
Cindy from Prime Beauty gives you the Golden Ticket to win a Bliss "Best of Bliss Set".

Hope you enjoyed this week's Link Love! See you soon :)

Saturday 20 March 2010

Shameless plug!

One of my lovely readers - Nick, look out for her in a makeover soon! - has nominated me for a Little Blog award on the Dorset Cereals website.  If you click here to vote for me, you could win yourself a prize, too!

(Not Quite) A Hair Disaster ...

Was at the hairdresser yesterday, and this is the fruit of their labours.  It's beautifully shiny, and I love how they dried my hair, although it dropped quite drastically on my rainy walk to the tube, but ... well, I did NOT enjoy my salon experience all that much.

I've mentioned before that I find trying new hairdressers a bit stressful, particularly when it comes to colour, and yesterday's experience wasn't one that'll have me beating a path back to to this particular salon's door, I'm afraid. During the initial consultation, the stylist ignored my requests not to make it too dark, and completely dismissed my suggestion that maybe she could mix two shades, (the sample swatch was a really "flat" brown, and my hair has a lot of red in it, naturally, and I wanted the colour to reflect that).  Then, she called over another colourist with the express purpose of having two people telling me I was wrong.


The rest of the colour process was fine, two colours  were mixed and it was pretty uneventful (except being repeatedly called "hunni", which drove me nuts, "Are you alright, hunni?" "Do you need a magazine, hunni?" "I'll just be another hour with this other customer, hunni, okay?" Seriously I could practically see the heart-shaped dot over the i), and after the least relaxing, and actually quite painful rinse-out - seriously, I spent the entire thing in a flinch, and I LOVE having my hair washed! - I went over for the blowdry, with another stylist.

And I loved it! She asked me if I wanted something bouncy, and she did a wonderful job, just what was needed.  My hair was glossy and full of body, bounce and shine.  Simply perfect.

But ... the colourist then came over, and pronounced "See! Not too dark at all! We knew what we were doing all along!".  Well, actually, it is too dark - and it hasn't escaped me that it would have been darker still if I hadn't put put my foot down -  it's just not as dark as I was scared it was going to be.

But I was feeling thoroughly patronised at this point, so when she went on to point out the virtues of me not ever using permanent dye again (in that special voice people tend to save for the elderly, the insane or the foreign, you know the one I mean), I'd about had enough. I know I'm not trendy, I know I'm not young'n'funky any longer, and  I know I've made a few jokes recently about being senile, but I am not ready to be treated like an elderly maiden aunty who has just asked for a violet rinse in Toni & Guy ....

I didn't complain, because, really, how do you complain about being patronised by someone half your age?  And what would the salon have done anyway? My hair, actually, is fine, I just hated every moment of the experience!

Here's a pic to exmplify how much darker it is than usual:

Like I said, it's not bad, it's just ... not what I wanted.

So, can everyone tell me about their hair disasters please, so I don't feel too much like Morticia's granny any more?

Friday 19 March 2010

Chanel Coco Rouge Swatches

I make no apologies whatsoever for featuring Chanel's latest lipstick offerings once again. Beyond gorgeous formulations, pigmented, light and beautifully moisturising, they're everything YSL Rouge Voluptes should be, but aren't (I'll give you my thoughts on those another time).

Since I unexpectedly picked up Cambon way back in January, I've since been out and bought two more, Mademoiselle, and Rouge Orage.  Cambon is a bright - BRIGHT! - hot pink, which leans towards orange, Mademoiselle is a lovely nude rose, and Rouge Orage is a soft blood-red.  I find the colours last three to four hours before they need a touch up.  There is a hint of the classic Chanel lipstick scent (which I happen to adore, but I know some people have a problem with scents), and they cover the lips perfectly in one swipe.

On the lips, Cambon:

Last time I swatched this, the pictures made it look rather too scarlet.  This is a much better representation of the colour, a hot, hot pink, with no real blue undertones.  A happy-making colour.


This is the signature shade of the range, and possibly rightfully so.  I've seen a lot of swatches of this recently, and I think it's a very nice neutral, goes-with-anything colour and it seems to suit most people, though I've noticed it can look a fair bit redder on people with a lot of pink in their skin.  My hands are pinker than my face, and I've noticed the hand swatch is redder than the lip swatch as a result.  On my lips, however, it's a wonderful nude-shade.

I love this colour!  Haven't seem this one getting too much attention lately, but when I went on a mad swatching-frenzy in my local Debenhams recently (seriously, I got through a box of kleenex and half a bottle of their makeup remover, they hate me in there), this shade just called out to me.  It's a warm, but not too orange red, that's quite suitable for daytime wear.  It doesn't, in all honesty, look like anything out of the ordinary in the tube, dare I say it even looks a bit dull? But put this on skin, and it's beautiful.  It might just be my new favourite red, as it very wearable, and not too garish. Not as scary as it might look in the tube, well, I think so anyway.

Will you be trying any of the Rouge Cocos?  What's your favourite shade? Rouge Cocos are widely available now, and cost £21.

Thursday 18 March 2010

My top ten brushes

(Okay, it’s not actually going to be a top ten.  It’s not even going to be a top seven, as pictured, it’s a top eight – I’m a photographic-doofus, sorry!)

During Foundation Week recently, I mentioned my flat top kabuki brush a lot, and people on Twitter were asking me about my favourite makeup brushes as a result.  I’m not  a brush expert though, and many of my brushes are very, very old, but I do find myself reaching for a couple of classics over and over and over again.
In the same order as the picture:

brush 1

This is an old – a very old – MAC 218SE, a flat, animal-hair eye brush that is perfect for colour-washes.  It’s a very soft, silky feeling brush that grabs powder shadows well, and is great for blending.  I use this to add the base colour of whichever eyeshadow I’m wearing for the day (I tend to only use two different eyeshadow shades in most of my makeup looks).

Brush 2
This is a Benefit “Talent” brush, which is the one I use for applying cream eyeshadows.  It’s flat synthetic brush, which is a bit less “grabby” than the 218, it doesn’t pick up powders as well, but with a cream, it deposits a smooth veil of colour on the eyelid.  The rounded edge doubles up as an eyeliner brush, though it’s a bit wider than the eyeliner brushes I’ll talk about later.

brush 3
This is a very old Smashbox “pencil” or “bullet” brush, which I use entirely for defining the my eyelid crease, which is where I wear a darker shade in 80% of my own makeup looks. I find this technique makes my lids look less hooded.  Lots of companies make brushes like these now, but when I first got this one, around ten years ago, it was revolutionary!  This and the 218 are the two brushes I use on a daily basis almost without fail.

brush 4

This is the infamous flat-topped kabuki brush which is my latest obsession!  I received it in a swap from a lovely  US reader, and it’s had a centre spot in my collection ever since.  This one is from ELF, and it’s a round, densely packed brush, which is great for picking up liquids.  I put foundation on the back of my hand, dab the brush into the liquid, then “buff” it very gently into my skin.  I find it leaves an almost perfect airbrushed kind of effect when I use it.  I much prefer it to the flat “hard” foundation brushes (similar to the Benefit brush above, but larger), which I find can leave you a bit streaky.

It also works really well with powders – it’s a very soft synthetic, brush – and doesn’t leave you with a cake-y effect when you use it. I bought a back-up of this for powders.  For £3.50, this is a bargain!

brush 5

This is a MAC 266SE, which I find to be ideal as an eyeliner brush, in particular for using powder eyeshadows as eyeliners, which is something I do a great deal, to the extent that it’s a very rare day indeed when I use a pencil-eyeliner at all!  This brush is great because it’s fairly stiff, so it doesn’t splay when you press it against your eyelid, and unlike many cheaper versions, it’s thin enough that if you’re going for a very subtle thin liner effect you can do it.  I also use this for putting powder shadow on the waterline, which of course, I cannot possibly recommend anyone does, ever, but I do do it occasionally.  Allegedly.

brush 6
This is a MAC 224SE, which is a very soft, very fluffy synthetic brush that I use for blending.  Especially useful since I started using Urban Decay Primer Potion on a daily basis!  Doesn’t rub and tug your skin so much as using your fingers does.

brush 7
This is an ELF smudge brush, which has short, quite stiff (but yielding) synthetic bristles, it’s the most recent addition to my brush collection, and it’s one I like a great deal – in fact, it’s another one I have two of.  I use one for cream or gel eyeliners, I prefer it to the 266 for those, as there is less surface area for the product to dry out on as you’re applying them.  It’s also very good for tightlining, which is something I like to do to my upper lashes upon occasion.  I use the other one for cleaning up my cuticles after a messy manicure.  Again, excellent value from the people as ELF.

And last, but by no means least, my blush brush, which is a MAC 129SE (all my MAC brushes are special editions, I much prefer the shorter handles):

brush 8brush 9
It’s not the greatest blusher brush in the world, it’s slightly too scratchy, but it does give a nice soft finish to blush, when it’s applied.  Whenever you see me use Cargo illuminator, I’ve used this to apply it, as it doesn’t deposit the colour in clumps as some brushes can.  I also have a denser animal-hair brush from Smashbox, which gives heavier coverage, and as a result, I mainly use that one for contouring.  Which I don’t do often.

As for looking after my brushes, I tend to wash them with a brush cleanser or shampoo on a weekly/monthly basis depending on how often I’ve used them, and I give them a quick clean on a cleansing wipe immediately after using them on a daily basis.  My advice basically is to  spend whatever you’re happy to spend on brushes, (and if that’s nothing, then so be it! Make up is all about finding out what suits you, and that applies to application methods as much as colours and the like), but whatever brushes you have, look after them!  The vast majority of my brushes are around ten years old (some are even older, I have a Body shop brush here that’s got Barbara Daly’s signature on it!), but if it weren’t for the worn off numbers, and slightly chipped handles, you’d never know.

What are your favourite brushes?  What have I missed? What2 brushes do I absolutely need to make up my top ten?
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