Beauty Without Fuss

Monday 31 May 2010

Nail of the Day - OPI Meet Me At The Starferry

This might not be the most exciting nail polish you've ever seen, but I adore it.  A work-safe mauvish-pink with multicoloured sparkles, it has a lovely depth on the nails, and is very pretty.  I spent several days last week admiring it. I'd seen it on a lot of blogs recently, and it appealed to me a lot more than, say, Jade is the New Black, for some reason!

Swatches shown are two thin coats over an Orly base and with an OPI topcoat, and are around three days old at the time of photographing, it wears much better than a lot of polishes in my collection!

The day before I removed it, I decided to mattify it just to change it up a little:

Unlike the red creme I tried this with last time, I think this one looks better shiny, what do you think?

The Fine Print: I bought this from Selfridges.  I might as well get my entire salary paid to them and have done with it, let's face it.

Sunday 30 May 2010

All for Eve Launch - Pt II

All for Eve have just released a video of their official launch, which I was lucky enough to attend recently, and it's a far better record of the event than my gushing about stalking talking to Daniel Sandler, so I thought you'd like to see exactly how it was, so here it is!

You can rest assured that I'm not in it, but  Johnathan Rhys Myers is, so I hope you watch, and that you enjoy it as much as I did. Now, don't forget to buy the products, as the cause is a very important one.

Saturday 29 May 2010

Organic Weekend - Melvita Guest Reviews

A couple of months ago, I asked for some volunteers to try some products that didn't agree with me.  Both of the products came from Melvita, but with my dry, sensitive gel-resistant skin, I thought it would be better to get them tested by people they really suited.  Here's what MakeupbyKaty and DinkyLondon made of their products:

MakeupbyKaty tried the Foaming Facial Scrub:

When the lovely Louise at Get Lippie posted an opportunity on her blog to try and review this product, I shamelessly jumped up and down with my hand in the air shouting “ME ME ME!”. Okay I actually wrote a witty and apparently persuasive argument as to why I should review it. It was along the theme of this;

I have oily, problematic skin. I cannot use most products that everyone else adores. Yet I seem to be bombarded on a daily basis by ‘intensively moisturising’ creams or ‘nourishing anti-aging’ promises. The majority of products that are aimed at an oilier skin are the teenage acne blasting products which I am also not really in the market for.

So, a foaming facial scrub sounded right up my street. I love a bit of foaming me.

I gave this product just over a week and tested it 3 times on both my husband and myself. He is a keen exfoliator and always has an opinion so I thought I’d utilise him.

Dry skinned husband used it in the shower first and gave me a running commentary throughout. His first comments were that it had a ‘nice texture’ ‘not too oily’ (?) and that it felt ‘airy’, like someone had left the door open on his face (really). He then proceeded to rinse off and screw his face up and ask for some moisturiser. From someone who only ever moisturises after shaving, that told me that it may not be great on dry skin.

Here are my thoughts. It’s a nice reasonably firm scrub. Not scratchy, not gritty but most disappointingly, not foamy. At all. No foam anywhere! How very dare they? However it rinsed off well and didn’t leave that annoying bitty residue that a lot of exfoliators can.

Here comes the bad news- I also screwed up my face and begged for moisturiser. I mean my skin felt seriously tight! That’s never happened after using a scrub. I wanted to give it a fair shot so I used it twice more later that week. Once mixed in with my face wash to dilute it a bit. The end result was always the same.

My skin felt parched and stripped and, shock horror, dry! It’s done one thing and that is made me appreciate my oilier skin now, I’ve been to the dark (dry) side and I did not like it.

So with the combination of dry, tight skin and NO FOAM, I’m afraid it’s a ‘No thanks’ from me.

DinkyLondon tried the Eye Contour Gel:
When I saw Get Lippie was looking for someone to test Melvita’s Eye Contour Gel I knew I had to put myself forward. I’ve been hunting for the perfect eye cream for years with what can only be described a great degree of failure.

In my mid-twenties, standard anti-aging eye creams are often too thick and rich for my skin and leave me puffy looking and swollen by morning – not a good look and quite the opposite of what I was hoping for. So, I was always left with two choices; keep dabbing on creams which are too rich for me, or sit and wait for the crow’s feet to set in.

With Melvita Eye Contour Gel I’ve thankfully been given another option. A milky white, fluid gel in a small tube, the formula dries to a slightly tacky film within a few seconds and totally dissipates in less than a minute, leaving the eye area feeling soft and looking radiant. I can use it morning and night without any puffiness and I can even use makeup after application without my eyeshadow slipping down to my cheekbones.

I’ve been using the gel for several weeks and I love how I can use it all over the eye contour and even the eyelid. Whilst I haven’t seen a massive long term improvement in the fine lines I’ve already developed around the eyes, I’ve been hugely impressed by how it changes the look of the eye area on a short term basis. If I’m stressed or tired and my eyes are showing it, then I know I can reach for this tube and look ten times better. Even better, I can rest easy knowing that I’m protecting the fragile skin around my eyes from future wrinkles and premature aging. I’ll definitely be repurchasing – my hunt is finally over!

So there you go, a mixed bag there, but a massive thank you to both Katy and Joy (and MrKaty!) for taking the time to review the products for me!

Friday 28 May 2010

Get Lippie - An Announcement ...

Time passes, things move on, and sometimes you need to make some changes. I've done a lot of soul-searching recently, and have been trying to think of ways to make Get Lippie a bit different.

Then I thought, stuff that, I like what I'm doing!  But, sometimes it helps to have a different viewpoint on things, and some of my very favourite blogs have two writers, so I thought I'd enlist someone to help me out sometimes. And I'm happy to announce that Get Lippie now has a new co-blogger!

Now, I could have, as I've seen on some other blogs, put out a call to my readership, and ask people to submit their writings in order to "audition" them for a regular guest spot.  Seemed like a lot of work for both me and for my readers.  As I'm both lazy and a control freak (some of you might have noticed) my search for a new writing partner went as far as the other side of the sofa and the immortal words: "Oi! Write me some articles, bugalugs!" and they delightedly* agreed.

Some bright sparks on Twitter may have already figured out who the new correspondent is ... and with that in mind, I guess I should let  the new blogger introduce himself ...

Please give a nice Get Lippie welcome to ... MrLippie!

Let's see. I'm 'the posh boyfriend' according to some, and, looking at it in a vaguely detached light, I suppose they might, begrudgingly, have a point! I follow rugby rather than football, I have some random white-collar job that has some sort of connection to the oil industry, and I speak with a fairly generic southern accent which is often found in the BBC when they're not actively encouraging the many and varied regional accents across the UK. If that makes me posh, then so be it!

I'm still not entirely sure how I've ended up blogging - or even volunteering to on a semi-regular basis! - but I'm willing to admit it's my own fault! Having actively encouraged GetLippie in the creation and formation of this blog, I couldn't help but get interested, and I've found myself commentating on many a lipstick or eyeliner (much to the horror of my internal monologue). So, here I am. I'll be occasionally dropping by to review some male grooming products, and possibly offering my outlook on the world....but there is just one thing:

No Guyliner**. No. No. No.

And NO.

That is all...

So there you go!  Ironically, he does in fact know his taupes from his tans, and where to put chunky glitter ("not in a highlight FFS!"), I'm just hoping writing on a regular basis will get him to learn to love moisturiser!  He'll be writing here when he can be bothered once in a while plus he's also going to be contributing on a regular basis to Ape to Gentleman, a great and wonderful blog dedicated to all things male-grooming related. His collected writings will be collated in a page under the header (that black and white picture at the top of the page)  which I've cunningly titled Mr Lippie, and I'll give him the odd aftershave to sniff once in a while on my/your/someone's behalf.  He likes smelly stuff.  He may mention whale bottoms a lot.  You have been warned ...

*Not true.  At all.
** Also not true.  There WILL be guyliner.  Oh yes.  You watch.

Le Metier De Beaute Summer Event

A few of you might remember that I discovered Le Metier de Beaute recently, and fell in love with their Anamorphic Mascara. Well, I’ve just found out that Ivan Castro, the talented international makeup artist behind behind the brand - and responsible for some of the gorgeous looks sported by the likes of Nicole Kidman and Rhianna - will be available for one-to-one makeup lessons between 3-5th June at Liberty. I’m going to be popping down to see him, and get him to overhaul my eyeshadow application on Thursday next week, and I’m really looking forward to it! Wonder if it’ll look better than my NARS makeover?

Appointments cost £20, and that cost is fully redeemable against purchase, but if you spend £50 (and admittedly, that would be very easy to do!) you will get a free blushing/bronze duo which is worth £30. To book, call 020 7734 1234 ask for extension 2506, and maybe I’ll see you there!

Thursday 27 May 2010

Review - Lancome Climat

Scouting around trying to find myself a bottle of Cuir de Lancome in Selfridges (I was offered O de Lancome five times, but no matter), I came across this little beauty.

First released in 1967, it is described as a floral aldehyde, and was re-released by Lancome a couple of years ago.  I find it beautiful, it's very feminine - even ladylike - but it's another scent that's sweet without being candy-ish, and floral without being too single-note.

On first spraying, it's a very scent-y kind of scent, it reminds me in a dim and distant kind of way of Chanel No19. It's a classic fragrance in that sense, calling to mind boudoirs, and negligees and wedge-heeled mules.  And yet, when it dries down, it's powdery and warm, a little comforting, and lingers close to the skin.  It's old-fashioned, almost, in it's powdery-ness, but it's intimate and lovely, and it's been a fine addition to my perfume wardrobe.

Climat costs £38 and is available exclusively from Selfridges.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

The Appliance of Science

“To not be afraid of one’s beauty is truly the rarest occurrence. To find it, is the most valuable gift”

Words of wisdom there. I found them written on the side of a facecream I’ve just committed myself to using for the next six weeks. But more about these wise words shortly.

Someone asked recently how do you know you’re trialling something properly, and how do you make sure you’re being fair to the products? I have to admit that when it comes to skincare, it’s a difficult question to answer.

It’s easy to know if a makeup item works, you know pretty much straight away whether it’s going to be an item you’ll use and cherish, or if it’s something that is just going to hang around like a supermodel in your cosmetic drawer, gorgeous, but yet slightly useless and having a knack for making you feel guilty for not appreciating it more.

With skincare, it’s a lot harder, who is to know, really, that it’s the wonder serum that you tried that’s made you glow, or the moisturiser you’ve been trying that’s truly smoothed you out instead of a couple of early nights or a slightly healthier diet?

Ultimately I try to use new skincare for at least a month before I form an opinion of it, and so it irons out any temporary wrinkles (sorry) in diet and lifestyle that might be making a difference. But still, in the end, most skincare reviews, in my experience anyway, tend to boil down to “I like using it, it makes my skin feel nice”, basically.

However, this skincare trial I’m doing at the moment is slightly different, my face has been scanned, and I have a collection of slightly sinister (and very scary) mugshots to prove it. I’m to use the creams religiously for six weeks, then go back and be scanned again to see if there are any differences and what the scale of the changes actually are. I’m pretty excited to be taking part!

The creams I’m using are from the SKIN.NY range, and the opening quote in this post is from the packaging. As is the below:

“The SKIN.NY woman is not afraid to be beautiful. She knows who she is and expresses herself down to her every step, breath and word. She personifies quality and wants the best of everything in her life including her skincare.

The SKIN.NY woman was born before this skincare range. It was her who demanded its creation.”

Pretty puke-making stuff! If I’d read that before I’d agreed to take part, I might have thought twice about it. Leaving aside the logical error in the second paragraph – come on, how many toddlers do you know who are demanding face cream at £55 a pop? – I don’t think a cream can make you beautiful. There, I said it. It’ll definitely make you look less knackered feel more moisturised, but … make you beautiful if you’re at most passably attractive (in a dim room) in the first place? I don’t think so. I’m not holding my expressive breath on that one …

The products also contain warnings (the first on the moisturiser, the second on the eyecream)

Warning: You will have beautiful skin after using this product.

Warning: your eyes will be big and bright after using this product.

Shame there was no “Warning: you may belm gently to yourself in a bemused fashion every time you read the box” written on it. I ask you.

Seriously, do we have to have this guff written on it to justify an expensive purchase? How does reading statements like this on your products make you feel? The worst part is that this cream has been clinically tested, and has a lot of fairly rigorous peer-reviewed scientific papers behind it. I haven’t read them, of course, but you know, there’s graphs and stuff on the little leaflet, and I’m an accountant, so I like me some graphs. It doesn't need guff like this if you ask me, but then, I'm scared of my beauty apparently, so what do I know?

But, all that aside, I’m keeping an open mind, I’ve used it a couple of times so far, and I like using it, it makes my skin feel nice. So there.

The Fine Print: Products mocked in this article were provided as part of the clinical trial process.  The author reserves the right to wish this had never been written should she wake up looking like Ava Gardner in approximately 28 days time.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Final Zuneta Post!

For the final time, I'm pimping my posts elsewhere out, and begging - literally begging! I'm not proud - for your input.  I'm having a rant this week about cosmetic companies.  At least, that's what I think I was doing, why don't you go take a look and let me know?

Monday 24 May 2010

Guerlain Kohl Noir - Review and FotD

I cannot tell a lie, I was petrified of using this. It's the stick.  Putting sticks in my eyes to apply my makeup just seems wrong. Pencils are fine, brushes are good, even putting my fingers in my eyes to wear my contact lenses is okay, but using a stick, just to apply eyeliner? Noooo...! I don't mind admitting that I've been ignoring these beautifully packaged eyeliners for a very long time.

They've been popping up on various blogs recently though, and I finally got around to biting the bullet and  trying one out.  I chose the Guerlain Kohl in Noir, which is a rich, slightly sparkling black powder. Kohl is the traditional way of wearing eyeliner, and the stick is actually very handy for being able to apply the powder to both the upper and lower inner waterlines at the same time.  This is how the applicator looks:

Essentially, there are two ways to wear the liner, Eastern (on the inner rims) and Western (on the eyelid itself).  The powder is rich, and pigmented, but it can cause fallout, so I suggest you apply it before the rest of your makeup, in order that you don't ruin your foundation.

To apply it Eastern style, just settle the point of the stylo into the inner corner of your eye (on the waterline) and "swipe" gently towards the outer corner, this instantly lines both the upper and lower waterlines, and makes your eyes look brighter, and your lashes look thicker. It's a look I happen to adore, and this is, I've found, by far the easiest way to do it.  To line your eyes Western-style, you pop the stylo next to your lashes, and "swipe" in exactly the same way, then I like to smudge it out a little with my fingertips:

The powders last well - better than most pencils - but they will need re-applying to take you from day to night, I've found.

So, have I been converted?  Yes, I think I have!  As well as the black (noir), I now also own Mirage (a rich matte brown), Oriental Metal (a glorious metallic taupe) and I've just placed an order for the discontinued "Secret Glow" which is a shimmering white, which I think will be just perfect for opening up and brightening eyes when a smokey look isn't required, I can't wait for it to arrive!

Here's how I tend to wear the kohls, I make the liner the main focus of my eyes, and co-ordinate with a light, bright lipstick (in this case, Guerlain Rouge G in Georgia):

Yeah, no idea what I'm scowling at there.  Guerlain Kohls are available from most major department stores and cost about £20.  Yes, that's very pricey, but you use so little every time, I think they'll last for a very long time.

Do you use kohl?  How'd you wear it?

The Fine Print: I bought this. The others have been acquired via various means up to and including bribery and corruption.  And eBay.  Thank goodness for paypal.

Sunday 23 May 2010

Lippie Chat - Fiona Parkhurst of Amie Skincare

Another Sunday, another profile of someone I think is doing interesting things in the beauty industry at the moment.  This week, please welcome Fiona Parkhurst of Amie Skincare:

 Hi Fiona, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Well, I am a ‘working mum’ of two teenage kids – Harry who’s 16 and doing A/S Levels and Samantha who’s 14 and beauty and fashion-mad! I have a lovely, very patient husband and a very naughty Golden Retriever dog called Gemma.

How did you end up in the organic “beauty” industry?

I have spent my whole career working in the beauty industry and for some of the ‘big players’ such as Estée Lauder, as I have always been passionately interested in beauty products.  So, it was an obvious thing for me to develop my own range which also dovetailed into my interest in natural and organic ingredients.

A lot of previously “high-powered” women are increasingly giving up their lucrative careers in order to get involved with organic products at the moment; do you have any thoughts on why that may be?
I think it’s because, as a mum, you are always so concerned about what you feed your children or what you put on their skins.  So you start to question all the previously received wisdom and want to have better, greener, healthier products for the whole family.

How did Amie come into being? 

Well, I actually developed Amie for my own daughter, Samantha, who, when she was around 11 starting needing to use skincare products as her skin was changing and getting oilier.  I looked around for nice, gentle,
natural products for her to use, and, when I couldn’t find any that were good quality but affordable, I decided to create my own.

What are the philosophies behind Amie?

Really, it’s about creating excellent products that deliver what they promise and using only the best, natural and organic ingredients that we can find.  We also want to make Amie products affordable and keep our prices under £5 as not everyone can afford the pricey upmarket brands.  We also hate anything to do with animal testing and want products to be vegan and vegetarian friendly.

What makes Amie unique?

Well, all of the above plus the fact that it was created for a real person – Samantha.

Who are you targeting the Amie brand at?

Everyone !  From women in their early teens upwards – we have many, many happy customers who are in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.  Amie is all about effective cleansing and moisturising using high quality natural ingredients and no nasty chemicals.

What do you hope is in the future for Amie?

Just to create more and more products !  I get requests every day for new products and I love developing them – so, just watch this space !!

What’s your beauty regime?

I always cleanse my face – morning and night !  I use our Amie Morning Clear Facial Wash without fail, as I still have combination skin and need to keep it clean (but not stripped).  Then I use a light moisturiser, Amie Morning Dew Matte Finish Moisturiser – obviously - as my skin can get shiny and I need a shine control product.   I nearly always wear makeup and cannot live without black mascara !

What is one cosmetic product couldn’t you live without?

My Amie Bright Eyes Gentle Eye Makeup Remover as I use mascara every day and always take it off before I go to bed.  So I needed a very gentle but effective eye makeup remover and Bright Eyes is the best !

What advice would you give Get Lippie readers?

Don’t forget to take great care of your skin !  Sounds obvious but many women spend hours and hours on their hair, makeup and nails but forget to make much effort with their skin. 

Amie products are available at Superdrug, Boots and John Lewis and online at:

Friday 21 May 2010

Nail of the Day - Nubar Lustful Red

One from the Nubar Risque Reds collection that was released recently, I really like it.  A blue-red creme it applies smoothly (if a little on the thick side, but nothing that can't be fixed with a couple of drops of thinner), and evenly. There is no shimmer, and no glitter I really like it for a dramatic old-school"Hollywood" nails look.  Pic above is two coats shown over an Orly basecoat, and without a topcoat. Okay, it's not very edgy, but it is classic and pretty, and I like it. You can buy Nubar polishes from Beautyshed, who are lovely people, they cost £8 each.

Speaking of "edgy" though, I was at Boots No7 Autumn/Winter trends preview last week, and they're releasing a matte topcoat for nails in August, and I managed to snag a bottle.  I was wondering what a classic glossy red nail would look like mattified and here it is:

I think I kind of prefer this shade matte, to be honest, it's more of a raspberry/cranberry colour once the gloss is removed,  what do you think?  No7 Stay Perfect Matte Topcoat will be available in Boots stores from August 11th, and will cost £7.25.  I've just doubled my varnish wardrobe!  Hmn ... wonder what matte toenails will look like?

The Fine Print: Both items featured in this post were provided by PR for review purposes. Opinions are all my own work, feel free to ignore them though, it's cool.

Thursday 20 May 2010


I held a tiny Twitter competition recently, and invited one of my readers along with me when I went to check out the Nailgirls salon in Islington.  The adorable Lauren Marks was my companion for the evening, and we had a fine old time. As much a great place to hang out as it is your traditional nail salon, we had a great time, we met the lovely and very friendly owners, had a glass or two of wine, and - of course - got our nails done! 

Here's Lauren's impressions of the evening:

I joined the lovely Louise at a manicure evening at Nail Girls in Islington and must say I wasn’t sure what to expect when I turned up at a small building in a side street – but it seems the best things come in small packages. I was greeted incredibly warmly and made to feel welcome within seconds of my arrival. All the staff were very friendly and chatty, making the effort to come round and chat to everyone – and even after doing tons of manicures they were all smiles. Now considering my nails are bitten to shreds – terrible habit I know! – the girls still made them look fantastic. I picked a coral/red colour, trying to be bright and colourful in preparation for the summer, and had many compliments on the colour as it was being painted on from fellow party-goers and staff – a great confidence boost. Certainly a lovely, pampering experience and I left feeling confident, happy with my bright, shiny nails and that despite the spa not being that local to me – I would definitely be returning. A great find, very reasonably priced and highly recommended by me!

I have to agree with all of that - I'll be going back, I'm wondering what their pedicures are like!  Sadly, we forgot to get a picture of Lauren's nails on the night, but I went for a gorgeous khaki shade shot through with golden shimmer, as below:


I adore it! This shade is Green #2.  I have to say that one of the most impressive things about NailGirls is that they use all their own products and treatments, it's great to see so much creativity and ingenuity around.  The quality of the polish is amazing too, the colour above lasted about five days before I chipped it! Fairly reasonably priced too, at £10 a bottle.

Where do you get your nails done?

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Birthday Giveaway!

If you read my Zuneta post yesterday, you'll know I'm about to have a milestone birthday.  In many ways the milestone birthday.  Eek!

But, I thought I'll make the most of it and share some of the wonderful goodies I've discovered over the last few months with you.  So, with that in mind, I'd like to offer you a chance to win all of the following:

Chanel Nail Varnish in Particuliere (limited edition, no longer available in stores):

 A Guerlain Kohl in Oriental Metal (limited edition taupe shade):

 And finally, one Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick in the shade of your choice:

How to enter:

Okay, writing this blog makes me happy.  Discovering new products makes me happy.  Other bloggers make me happy.  Getting new comments on posts here makes me happy, Basically, this blog makes me a very happy bunny indeed, but I want to know what makes you a happy bunny!

So.  Basically, tell me what makes you happy. A story, a product, a picture, an anecdote, a makeup look, anything, it doesn't matter what it is,  if it gives you joy, I want to hear about it! There are two ways to enter (and you don't need to be a follower, either):

1) If you have a blog, write a blog post about what makes you happy - please link back to this post - and leave me a comment in the comments section here with a link to it, so I see it!  I'll comment on it so you know I read it! 


2) If you don't have a blog, (or you're just plain shy!) then drop an email to and tell me about your happy things.  I just want to hear about good stuff in time for my big day!

Only entries submitted either in blog posts or emails will be counted, the comments on this post should just be used to give me your links to your entry posts. 

This contest will close at midnight (UK time) on Wednesday 9th June, and I'll announce the winner of the contest on Thursday June 10th (which is actually my birthday, but I want to give someone else a little present on the day!). And yes, it's open to all my international readers too! I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

The Fine Print: All prizes in this competition were purchased by myself at various times throughout this year, prizes are brand new, in packaging, and unused. No PRs were harmed/hassled/bothered/asked/approached/emailed or tweeted about this, so they didn't supply anything.  The judge's decision will be final, won't be used in this one.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Zuneta Tuesday

It's that time of the week again, where I wander off and spread my pearls of wisdom on the Zuneta blog!  This week I'm blathering about something that's been on my mind a lot lately.  Or something.  Go read it and see, please!

Monday 17 May 2010

Chanel Limited Editions

I've picked up quite a few over the years, and these are my favourites. There are no reviews or swatches with these, but if you'd like to see any, please ask.

And a closer look at each:

This last is the newest addition to my collection (courtesy of the lovely Charlie at Lady of the Lane) I love how it appears to glow!

I sort of regret how bashed up and over-used some of these are - what I wouldn't give for a pristine version of the Rouges Noir palette again! - but I think makeup is here to be used, played with and loved, not stuck in a box and saved for it's rarity value.  What do you think?

Sunday 16 May 2010

Favourite Brands?

I get asked a lot what my favourite makeup brand is, and it's such a difficult one to answer!  There are so many brands out there, and they all do something well that picking out just one for praise is almost impossible.  Well, for me it is, anyway.

But, I guess, if I had to pick just one brand that I'd use for the rest of my life, that brand would be Chanel.  Yes, I'd miss my Lancome mascaras and Bobbi Brown tinted moisturising balm - my other desert island items, those - but my collection already contains a lot of Chanel. Foundations, blushers, eyeshadows, pencils, mascaras, lipsticks, glosses, perfumes, bathing potions, nail varnishes ... the list goes on! It's probably my most "complete" collection of products from any brand.

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, then you'll know that I went a bit crazy and bought several Rouge Cocos when they were released recently, but I was very happy to realise that I'm not the only person who thinks they are fantastic, alongside a lot of other bloggers, lots of makeup artists have discovered their greatness too.  There are a few videos about the lipsticks floating about, but these are my favourites:

First of all, Peter Phillips talking about the inspirations behind the range, and how it came into being:  (can't figure out how to embed this one, I'm afraid).

This is the utterly fab Mary Greenwell showing three fabulous looks with three different shades:

And finally, this is Lisa Eldridge (who I met and chatted with last Friday, and I'll be telling you more about that later this week), showing how to use one Rouge Coco in four different ways:

Tomorrow I'll bring you some pictures of my favourite limited edition palettes from Chanel which I've picked up over the years, and will be bemoaning the fact that I've used and abused them instead of keeping them pristine and clean ...

What's your favourite brand?  Why?

Saturday 15 May 2010

Organic Weekend - Une Natural Beauty from Bourjois

I do love me a bit of Bourjois, long one of my favourite High Street brands, I was delighted to find out recently that they were launching a new range of affordable organic cosmetics!  Already available in a few Boots stores around the country (London readers, you can find your nearest stand in the Oxford Street branch), it's making it's official debut on the Boots website this week.  Every single product in this line is between 98 to 100%, there are no synthetic dyes or fragrances, and the range is sillicone, paraben, pthalate and petrochemical free, and the ingredients used are sourced as organically as possible.  Pretty impressive for a mass brand, and the prices start at a not too pocket busting £4.99 for pencils, through £8.99 for shadows, up to £11.99 for the foundations.

 I managed to get my hands on a few bits and pieces, so I could give you my impressions:

First of all the packaging, it's clean, it's functional, and it's also pretty stylish, I love the square pencils, and the mirrored tops to the blush and eye packaging, but it's bulky.  They're not really items that are suitable for carrying around with you - but that mirror (you peel the labels off) is a totally nifty idea, and I love it.

A closer look at the items and their formulations:

As you can see, the mirrored sections slide up  on the colour cosmetics to reveal the contents.  A lot of the range is based around creams, from left to right we have: Breezy Cheeks blusher, a cream formulation, which goes on smoothly with fingers or a synthetic brush, and leaves a pretty, stained looking glow.

A matte finish without shimmer, these are lovely, almost foolproof shades which are buildable to the intensity you desire.  Longevity isn't bad, but you will probably need to reapply towards late afternoon time to keep looking flushed and lovely!

There are three formulations of eyeshadow, Sfumato (powder), Glimmer (cream), and Nude Eyes (cream to powder), as seen below in the same order as above:

All of these shadows tend to swatch on the sheer side.  They're great for layering (I like to use the nude eyes cream on the bottom as a base, then use the powder sfumato for definition around the crease and as a liner, then dot a little of the glimmer over the whole thing for a little sparkle), and as I found out the other day, they last pretty well under stressful situations such as crying, and eye-rubbing.  The range of shades tends towards the neutral/sludgy spectrum (which, for me, is a plus!) and they're good for creating natural, polished looks.  I'll definitely be picking more of these up.  Oh, but throw away the dinky brushes, they're worse than useless, if you ask me.  These are ideal for applying with fingers for a quick application, they sheer, so they're pretty difficult to go wrong with.

Pencils: mixed feelings about the pencils, to be honest.  Above is shown one eyeliner (the Sfumato, top) and a "Skin Glow" pencil.  The Sfumato eyeliner I find to be slightly on the hard and crumbly side, gorgeous shades, but I'm not sure they're great for the delicate eye area, as they appear to drag slightly on my skin.  The Skin Glow pencil, I love, even while I freely admit that I'm not - entirely - sure what it's supposed to be.  It's a creamy flesh-toned pencil, which I've used both as an eyeliner (on the water line) and as a concealer for small areas, plus I've used it to highlight my cupids bow, and add a little light to the inner corners of my eyes.  It worked well on all of those tasks - surprisingly versatile! - but ... I'm not sure what it's "official" function is meant to be, so if you know, do tell!   Here's how they swatch:

The lipsticks are probably the standouts of the range though.  A selection of lip-toned (not nudes, please note the difference!) shades, they're creamy and moisturising, and they add a polished finished look to your makeup whilst flattering your skin tones:

Again, they swatch on the sheer side, but, as with the shadows, this is deliberate in order to let your natural colouring through:

I love these, and I think I'll definitely be picking up a couple more when I get a chance, they're delightful!

I was also sent a foundation, but owing to circumstances beyond my control, I've not had a chance to wear it properly yet so I can't give it a proper review!  Long story ...

In essence, this is a good solid collection from Bourjois, some hits, some misses, the colour-range won't appeal to everyone, admittedly, but the textures are generally excellent, they're wonderfully easy to apply, and it's and range ideal for someone who wants to avoid particular ingredients whilst not spending a fortune. Personally, I think it's a great range for neutral, polished looks, and, I'm a fan, what do you think?

Friday 14 May 2010

Organic Weekend - Bulldog Eco-System Shave Gel

MrLippie's been dying to get some more review action in, so it's a double-whammy of organic goodness for you this weekend (I have something rather lovely to show you tomorrow, so stay, er, browsed!).  Again, this is a sample I picked up at the Natural and Organic Product show recently, and I made the boy change his shaving habits for a while to try it out - I don't think I was the target market for this one, somehow - and these are his rather ... random ... esoteric ...  geeky ... er, you'll see, thoughts on the shaving gel in question:

Ever since a Roman took a look at a hairy tribesman and thought ‘I’m not going out like that’, shaving has been a mainstay of Western male grooming habits for nearly 2000 years. Admittedly, there’s been the odd blip, such as the Vikings, or those fantastically moustachioed men of the 1800s, but, by and large, smooth-skinned cheeks have been the norm. With the slow demise of the professional shave by a high street barbers and the rise of the handheld razor as championed by Gillette/Wilkinson Sword/Bic/etc, companies that produce shaving products have merrily marketed themselves as the “Mans’ Choice”, and often featured sports stars of varying fame and the occasional scantily-clad lady in a shameless appeal to the machismo and testosterone that surrounds the whole idea of running very sharp blades of steel over your face and throat.

However, with the emergence of Organic Products, and the whole Green lobby, these companies have found themselves in a bit of a quandary. Mainstream Male aversion to ‘metrosexuality’ is still fairly strong, but it’s tempered by a growing eco-awareness, which begs the question: HOW can we market these products without diluting the aura of “manliness” that surrounds shaving? In Bulldog’s case, their Eco-System Shave Gel has an obvious difference to their normal range. It’s green. Not just any old green, but olive drab, which immediately put me in mind of army colours. Soooo…an interesting start. Then, looking over the tube, there’s a prominent label of ‘Natural Grooming’. Ok…Bulldog….Natural Grooming…ok, that’s a BAD image in my book. Moving on. I had a bit more of a look at the packaging, and came across a little homily about Dad saying how “Nothing in life is fair, son”…which left me sighing, to be honest. The whole thing just SCREAMS mixed message…I just thought they were trying too hard!

The Gel itself is aromatic. Very aromatic. It reeks of herbs and green tea, and it’s not really the nicest smell to rub into your face first thing in the morning. That said, it lathers up nicely, and yes, your skin feels smooth & doesn’t sting at all as you shave. Which is nice. So, functionally, it works, quite well.

Sadly, for me, the mixed messages and the overwhelming smell rule out this as a long-term option. It was nice to try, but I think I’d probably prefer to try some of the original Bulldog products, just to clear my head of the whiff of green tea and the horrible image of a Bulldog getting involved in “Natural Grooming”…

So, er ... there you have it!  This product is from Bulldog's new Fairtrade range, and the shave gel contains green tea from Sri Lanka, organic shea butter from Ghana, organic sugar from Paraguay, sesame seed oil from Nicaragua, and Brazil nut oil from Peru. Personally, I think it smells rather nice, fresh and green actually. The products are available from leading supermarkets, and you can find out more about the range here

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Review - Le Metier de Beaute Anamorphic Mascara

I've been very lucky, and have been invited to a lot of beauty-related events lately, and I'll be drip-feeding my reviews of some of the things I've been introduced to as a result of these events throughout the next few weeks, you know me, I like to test the heck out of stuff before I talk about it here.

Recently, I was invited to Liberty to find out more about Le Metier de Beaute, a brand I'm familiar with from reading the likes of LondonMakeUpGirl, Visionary Beauty and The Beauty Look Book (who are three of my favourite blogs, do check them out if you haven't already), but hadn't got around to trying yet.

I have to admit to being very impressed with the quality of many of the products, the powder items seem to be extremely pigmented, and are beautifully soft and blendable.  They have a unique style of application too, based upon layering to build up pigment, rather than applying in a sort of regimented order.  I'll bring you a FotD with one of their beautiful shadow palettes right after payday ...

Anyhoo, onto the mascara, the shades shown above are (top) brown-black, a nice subtle shade for daytime wear, which still manages to give a decent amount of definition to your lashes, and aubergine (below) which is a purplish-black, which is a touch more dramatic.

As you can see on the brush, there isn't a huge amount difference in the shades, but on the lashes, there is quite a difference.  The brush is a little on the large side, which means it can be easy to blob it on your lids when applying until you're used to handling it, and the first time I used it, I wasn't that impressed with it as I was applying it.  It didn't volumise as much as I normally require from my mascara.


(one coat on uncurled lashes)

That is one heck of a difference!  What it lacks in the volumising department, it makes up for in lengthening, and in spades! It's a fairly natural-looking mascara with one coat, but with two, you can get a far more dramatic look, which I've been pairing with lots and lots and lots of kohl lately (but more about that another time), this has very rapidly become a favourite mascara for me, which I've been alternating with my Precious Cells, for different looks.

Le Metier de Beaute Anamorphic mascara costs £22, and is available exclusively from Liberty

Tuesday 11 May 2010

It's that time again ...

... Yes, I'm guest-blogging on Zuneta once again.  This week, I'm talking about being how I'd describe myself, which two words  aren't synonyms, and there's a mention of what I had for breakfast.  I'd love to hear what you think, so come take a look and tell me how mad and wrong I am.

See you over there! Lx

Wysteria Lane - Free gift voucher!

Now, it may come as a surprise to some, but I'm not actually a very girly-girl.  I'm a pints and a packet of scratchings (ooh, lard!) kind of a girl.  Most of the time.  Sometimes, I think, you just have to indulge your more frou-frou cravings.  A great website for finding the girliest of girly items is Wysteria Lane - MrLippie should now please note that it is my birthday in FOUR WEEKS, and this, therefore is the first official "hint" - full of items from bath caps to bath salts, from manufacturers such as Cath Kidston and Cowshed.  It's frothy, girly funtime.  Even for a bad-tempered old grump like me.

And, as readers of Get Lippie, you can get yourselves a FREE £10 gift voucher, simply by signing up to their mailing list. That's right, they'll give you £10.  Just for getting an email once in a while.  Personally, I'd spend it on these, I've been soaking in them for a couple of weeks now  - not literally, that'd be gross, and I'd be all wrinkly by now - and the smell is divine, stuffed full of  lavender, lime and rose (and, er ... salt, they are bath salts after all), they're a lovely, and cheap, bathtime treat. They sent me some to tempt me recently, the lovely ladies that they are, and they arrived quickly and beautifully packaged.

What'll you spend your voucher on?

The Small Print: This is a promotional post.  However, I am not affliated with the company, and the links in this post are not affiliate links, I won't make any money if you look at the website, or if you sign up to the newsletter. You will, however make the lovely ladies of Wysteria Lane very happy.  I hope.

Monday 10 May 2010

100 Years Of Hairdressing - Andrew Collinge

Two thousand.  At the end of the 80's, that's how many perms that were processed by Andrew Collinge's salons every single week. When I point out that all the salons are based in (and around) Liverpool, you might understand why that particular little statistic brought a smile to my face when I heard it the other day.

I grew up in, and lived in, the north west up until around five years ago. When I was younger, (before the likes of Toni & Guy showed up), you had a choice in hairdressing, you either went to one of the local blue-rinse brigade of salons - usually called something like Bab's or Curl Up and Dye - or, you saved your pennies and went to an Andrew Collinge salon, usually in either Chester or Liverpool.  Having long been a hair snob, I usually saved up, and went "fancy". I must have been to at least half of the 8 salons in the chain, over the years as well as spent quite a few hours in the graduate academy, sitting as a model for the trainees who were learning blow-drying!

I learned a lot about hair from those salons, how to do an easy zig-zag parting, about styling products, that blonde highlights are not my friend, that a "restyle" rather than a trim will cost you an extra tenner at the till, and that salon products are usually better - but not always - for your hair than Vosene.  In fact, the first ever "designer" hair product I bought was Andrew Collinge's Design and Shine.  Lo! An expensive hair habit was borne ...

So it was that I was beyond delighted to be invited to Andrew's house (along with some other lovely bloggers!) to have a chat with the great man himself recently.  Amongst some interesting snippets of gossip which I'm not at liberty to repeat here, Andrew gave us some great tips and hints about haircare, some of which I'll repeat here:

Hair needs to be nurtured, treat it gently!  A cool rinse will work wonders for shine and condition.
Hair doesn't need to be washed every day - every 2-3 days is optimum, he thinks, and I agree - in fact, washing every day can lead to your scalp becoming over-stimulated which will make greasy hair even greasier in the long run, as your scalp gets used to daily massage.
Semi-permanent colours work well on greying hair, used regularly, they can have a staining effect on the greys which will help them blend in better, whereas a permanent colour will just lead to a white-rooted "badger effect".  Not sexy, if you ask me.

Andrew also very kindly demonstrated some simple hairstyling tricks for us - which was amusing as he only had one hair-brush and one hairpin to create most of them with!  Still, the fishtail plait he created was beautiful, and really simple, and the updos he did for everyone else were likewise.  I got a hint of backcombing, and some tricks about how to deal with my "mental" hair.  Andrew actually used the phrase "look at the little baby curls!" when I was showing him why updos just don't work all that well for me.  Thanks, Andrew!

Andrew also reminded us that he still has a haircare range available in most supermarkets - you can have a look at it here at Superdrug - it's recently been repackaged to celebrate the Collinge family's 100th year in hairdressing, and, as I never feature a product without testing it first, I've been using it for the last couple of washes.  Now, I'll be honest, I genuinely can't remember the last time I bought shampoo in a supermarket, so this was a bit of a leap of faith for me. I tried the Smoothing range (pictured above) which is the same as is used in his salons, which promises smooth shiny hair without frizzies.  I've been amazed, my hair has never been so shiny, I was out with a few people yesterday, and I got lots of compliments, which almost never happens!

I'm not, however, a massive fan of the packaging, the bottles are big (500mls for £4.99), and can be tricky to handle with wet hands - a pump dispenser would be great, I'll have to dig a couple up from somewhere - and the range does contain SLS, so I'll have to alternate it with an SLS-free product to avoid the itchies, but this is some seriously good shampoo and conditioner right here, and at such a bargain price!  The range also includes A "Purity" collection alongside the salon range (pictured left) which features more natural products based around quinoa proteins which I'm looking forward to trying too.

Again, the products are available in most major supermarkets, and Superdrug sells it online, alongside the styling range, which still includes good old Design and Shine!

I just want to say a massive thanks to Andrew for being brave enough to invite a load of "nutters from the internet" (MY phrase, not his!) into his home, and for being such a gracious and charming host. Blogging has taken me to some wonderful, random, and unexpected places recently, but this has to be one of the most relaxed, and informative sessions I've been to!

Incidentally, the top picture in this post features me, circa 1990, modelling one of those very perms Andrew was referring to in the first paragraph ...
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