Beauty Without Fuss

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Review - Webster Whiteman

One of the most surreal - and proudest! - moments of my blogging "career" to date was being invited to judge one of the awards for this year's Creative Head Most Wanted awards.  I don't, in all honesty consider myself a hair blogger, but I can't deny that I am interested in hair, hairdressing and styling, so it was a great honour to be asked.

I was judging the Online Salon category, (click here for a full list of winners), and one of the finalists in my category was the team at Webster Whiteman,  I think I may have been more disappointed  than them when they didn't win the award, as I thought their website was a great one, it introduced the team beautifully, and gave a real sense of what the salon is all about.  Go check out their "meet the team" page, which is a great example of a salon with a great sense of humour!

So, when my roots needed sorting out recently (seriously, it's such a bind being an elderly brunette, you know),  I popped along to the comfy, and wonderfully unpretentious, Webster Whitman salon in the heart of Mayfair, just to see if their real life presence was as good as their online one.

I have to say that I wasn't disappointed in the slightest, the entire team is friendly, welcoming, and delightfully down to earth.  Even though the salon is situated slap bang in one of the ritziest areas of London, it's not at all intimidating, and throughout my three hours in the salon (which flew!), I was amazed at the assortment of diverse characters the salon manages to attract, from ladies who lunch to busy businessmen, to the occasionally slightly stressed and vaguely pre-occupied beauty blogger.

I think a large part of this is down to the staff, I chatted to the owners Darren Webster and Lisa Whiteman, who were both busy on the floor themselves, and I had a wonderful time in the hands of award-winning colourist Claire and also with Becky who did my blow-dry.  Both girls are amazing talents, and I won't be surprised if Becky is going to be a rising star in her own right one day, certainly someone who can teach me how to blow dry my fringe properly in a way I can actually remember a couple of weeks later certainly deserves a medal!

So, how did they do?  Well, I was happy with the last cut I received at the Chapel, and I'm still kind of in love with the highlights I had then too, but I was in desperate need of having my horrific roots covered up, so Claire and I  had a chat about covering them up, then blending them in via a semi-permanent shade throughout the lengths, so I wouldn't lose the highlighted effect.  I have to say that I think this has worked magnificently, my hair is shinier, my roots aren't grey, and I still have a gorgeous lightly sun-dappled effect:

As for the blow dry - and my love for a good "bouncy" blow-dry is becoming legendary in certain circles - with Becky, this is the result, full-bodied, but still wonderfully natural-looking, and full of shine:

Love it.  To the team at WebsterWhiteman, thank you very much.

The Fine Print: This knackered beauty-blogger was a guest of Webster Whitman, and is very grateful.

Monday 27 September 2010

Wish List

If wishes were horses, beggars might ride, I guess ... but anyway.  Get Lippie is moving house this week, and I've been streamlining my makeup collection as a result of having to share my storage space with a fellow beauty blogger (okay, it's Mr Lippie) from now on.

Now, me being me, all this clearing out, and donating of products to the deserving has just lead me to start fantasising about what replacements I can make!  At the moment, I'd like any - and all - of the following, please:

Tom Ford Black Orchid Collection.  I was lucky enough to have had a preview of this last week - having previously written off the Tom Ford collection of lipsticks as being too rich for even my blood - and fell instantly in lust.  Consisting of a balm version of the Tom's Black Orchid perfume, a special edition black packaged Black Orchid lipstick, and a gorgeous Black Orchid (very, very remiscent of Chanel's Rouge Noir) nail varnish, this is a sophisticated shade perfect for autumn/winter.  Priced at a reasonable (in context) £90 for all three products, in Tom Ford terms, this is practically giving it away.  Want.

Speaking of Tom Ford - and sharp-eyed readers may be about to pick up a theme here - I'd also like a bottle of Black Violet by Tom Ford.  Or a bottle of Tuscan Leather.  Also by Tom Ford.  Seriously sexy scents these, I managed a little sniff recently, and fell in love with both.  I suspect Tuscan Leather would make a great layering scent for adding other perfumes to, and Black Violet surprised me a great deal by not, actually, smelling of violets.  I'm trying to get my hands on some samples of these, so I can have some more considered thoughts on the scents, but for now - BIG want.

Okay, so these two aren't strictly replacement products, but they are things I need to do again, well, I think so anyway:

I need a keratin treatment.  I had one in December last year, and I absolutely adored it, so it's time I got it done again.  I'm blaming Modesty Brown for this one, she had one recently, and I've been thinking about it for ages, so I'm waiting for the next time they pop up on Wahanda, and I'm booking me one!  They save me so much time and effort, it's not even funny.  Besides which, my hair is going through one of its periodic "insane" stages again, and even though I got the colour changed slightly - more about that tomorrow - recently, it's time to show it who's boss again, I think.

I need a spa day.  Packing all my stuff up - and downsizing my beauty collection by at least a third! - has taken a toll, and I'm exhausted.  I need a massage, and a day of someone else looking after me. Mr Lippie, send me to a flipping spa!

Oh, and I want one of these:

A puppy.  Highly impractical, but still.  Want.

Friday 24 September 2010

D&G Orchid Lipstick Applied

I'm a doofus, I showed you the D&G autumn collection earlier this week and forgot to show what is, I think, the standout item of the collection!

That is the lipstick in Orchid, a glorious deep, rich fuschia shade, with a rather blue base:

I adore this shade, it's dramatic without being too "in your face" about it.

A creamy formulation (without feeling greasy) that lasts well, much better than, say a YSL Rouge Volupte, another creamy formulation, but one I don't like, to be honest. It fades evenly, leaving you with no ring of doom! But, being both very creamy and such a strong shade, it does have a tendency to feather, so ideally it needs a lipliner as part of your application routine.

I'll be wearing this tomorrow for a wedding, paired with a neutral, slightly smokey, eye. Similar to this, but with (hopefully) better lighting!

The swatch in the top pic is rather more true to life, don't know why I'm blue in this pic!

D&G lipsticks are available from both Harrods and Selfridges. At least until Selfridges ban them, that is!

Thursday 23 September 2010


Yes, I'm showing you my drawers today, for today is the day I downsize my makeup, toiletries and haircare collection prior to the "Big Move" next week.

I've just realised that seven of the drawers in this chest (plus the top of it, plus the ikea, um ... thingy downstairs, plus a couple of shelves in the wardrobe and a plastic crate in the bathroom) are full of my beauty products.

I've always been a beauty hoarder, my rooms are filled with products I treasure, and cannot bear to be parted with, stuff I like that I'm going to use again on a semi-regular basis and stuff I'm not sure about but I'm convinced will "come in handy" one day ...

Now, as I'm moving to a flat with less storage space than I currently enjoy, my challenge to myself is to GET RID OF SOME OF IT!  But my question to you is how?  Where do I start? Naturally, I'll be giving most of the rejects to friends, but only after throwing out some of the more venerable (elderly/disgusting) items.  No blog sales, here, sorry! 

If you had to cut down your stash by half (say) what would you get rid of?  And, what, out of your collection, would you absolutely not be parted with under any circumstances whatsoever?

I need some inspiration, peeps!

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Review - Daniel Sandler products

Okay, so yesterday I told you what it was like having a makeover from a celebrity makeup artist, and today - as is my wont - I'm going to go through a few of the products from the Daniel Sandler range of cosmetics.  I'll mainly be looking at the basics and the standout products today

I'll start with Daniel Sandler Waterbase Foundation with Concealer. Actually, I find this would be more accurately described as a tinted moisturiser, with a concealer, rather than a foundation, but this is not to denigrate the product in the slightest.  It's a fairly lightweight, sheeny finish, that gives you a light to medium (buildable) coverage.  But I will say this, in the jar, this looks ... well ... orange.  It's actually pretty scary looking!

The jar you can see here is the "fair" shade.  Now, I'm fairly pale (but not that pale) but I think my cooler, more porcelain-skinned friends might struggle with trying to use this to build coverage, to be honest.

As it is, on my skin, it gives me a great glow, and evens out my skin-tone beautifully (see the gold opalescence in the bottle there?  Flipping lovely), but I suspect that on paler skins, you'd need to use it with a light hand to avoid a certain element of tangerine creeping in.  On my dry-ish skin, it leaves me with a dewy finish, but oilier-skinned sisters will definitely need to set it with powder.

You can see how the shade "pops" a little against my skin there, but I have to say that this does blend well, and won't leave you with a tidemark, even if you are paler than the shade in the jar.  I find applying it with a brush is a great way to buff it into your skin.

The bottle is a little awkward though, having a wide mouth, and a "paddle" attached to the lid to enable you to get the product out, which leaves me with worries that once you get towards the end of the bottle, it'll be exceptionally difficult to get out the last drops of your product.  It's a problem I have with La Prairie's foundation bottles too, to be honest.

There is a concealer hidden in the lid, and this is a brilliant, brilliant concealer.  Light, but opaque enough to conceal, and does not dry cakey, or look dry on the skin.  This is important for me, as I find that very many concealers are far too heavy for the under-eye area, and have a tendency to settle into under-eye lines that simply aren't ordinarily visible without the concealer in the first place!

It's a little paler in shade than the foundation in the bottle:

I just love this, if it was sold separately, I'd buy backups of it in a heartbeat!  I don't actually use much in the way of concealer (heathen that I am), as I find a lot of them merely draw attention to your flaws rather than hide them, but this one is great for under-eye shadows.

I mentioned that you might need to set the foundation, naturally, there is a powder in the range, and that is the Daniel Sandler Invisible Blotting Pressed Powder (catchy!).  Housed in a handsome pewter case, this is a pressed white powder that is totally colourless when applied:

Ignore the instructions to use the (rather rubbish) puff,  you need a brush for this. I find that a very slight dusting of this is more than enough to see off any shine, and, as it's colourless, it doesn't change the shade of your base, and this also makes it suitable for any skintone.  I've used this with a variety of foundations - I'm fickle - and it works well over all of them.  I've also used it over bare (moisturised) skin, and it smoothes wonderfully.  I like it as much as my ELF HD powder, possibly more, as it's a lot more portable.  Not to mention far more classily packaged! It can be slightly prone to "glazing" in the pan if you use the puff, so be aware that you might need to give it a bit of a scratch with something rough once in a while.

So, onto Daniel's infamous blushers: Daniel Sandler Watercolour

Shown above are two shades (there are seven in total), on the left is Truth, and on the right is Cherub.  Truth is a lightly peachy-nude shade with a hint of silver shimmer, and Cherub is a lovely baby-pink.  Both give, on my pale yellow skin, a light flush of colour, and their lasting power is amazing, far better than most powder blushers in my collection, and certainly better than very many cream blushers. Separately they're lovely shades, and I find that by mixing a drop of each, I can get a really nice shade for a little more drama.

However, there is a very definite learning curve to using these products.  As you've probably guessed from my description of their lasting powers, this means that they're actually quite highly pigmented, and this means you have to handle them with caution.  A single drop of either is actually more than enough for both cheeks, and if you pick one of the darker shades in the range (Dare for instance), then it's probably enough for your lips too.  After spending a few days sporting fetching blush-splotches on the back of my hand, I discovered that the best way to apply these is to actually drip one single drop of the blush onto a synthetic (very important) blush brush, and then apply the colour to my cheeks.  Once blended, these babies stay put, and are very flattering shades, they've very quickly become absolute staples in my routine, particularly Truth, which is perfect for a barely there glow that suits almost all makeup looks.

And now onto the infamous waterproof eyeliners (which were actually what I was meant to be looking at before Daniel decided I needed a makeover!) which you can see here: Daniel Sandler Waterproof Eyeliner. There are six shades in the range, brown, grey, black, purple, green and blue, the latter three of which are brand new to the range.

The brown, grey and black are matte shades, but the purple, green and blue have a hint of gentle shimmer.  Daniel describes these three as his "jewelled" shades, and I can see what he's getting at, the green in particular is a stunningly pretty shade, which is surprisingly appropriate for the waterline.

These pencils are soft, creamy (the above swatches are one pass with the pencil over bare skin), and very blendable.  Once set - which is fairly quickly - these do not budge. They will fade over the course of 12-14 hours or so, but rain won't budge them, and even if you cry whilst wearing them, you won't end up with rivulets of black or green over your face.  You can trust me on this, I've cried a lot recently for one reason or another, and these babies have never let me down. They are great - I much prefer them to Gosh's waterproof liners, for example, my only real criticism of them is that the purple needs to be MORE purple!

So, there you go, a quick (ha!) look at some of the basics from Daniel's range, anything you think you'll be trying?  I'll have a look at the colour cosmetics at a later date.

The Fine Print: These were an unexpected gift from Daniel, however, I've never been one to turn down an opportunity to look a gift horse in the  ... er ... eyeliner. Links provided in this post are not affliate links, and are just provided for informational purposes.  They're from a variety of sources because I'm a flibbertigibbet.

Tuesday 21 September 2010

A day with Daniel Sandler

Naomi Campbell.  Jade Jagger.  Yasmin le Bon. Kate Moss. Joanna Lumley.  Keira Knightly. And now ... Get Lippie.  Oh yes, Daniel Sandler has all the luck ...

Now, if you're a regular reader, then it should be fairly well known by now that I adore Daniel Sandler. Having met him a few times this year, I've found him to be funny, friendly, down-to-earth and I've always found that time spent in his company is great fun, so when he invited me for a personal introduction to his makeup range recently, I found it to be an offer I couldn't actually refuse ... well, could you?

Popping along to his studio on Harrod's fifth floor, I find that Daniel's Hollywood-style makeup counter looks amazing, all mirrors and spotlights, and it's a glamorous spot to sit a spell and have a natter about lipgloss with the man himself.  Initially there just to take a look at Daniel's new collection of waterproof eyeliners, it's a matter of mere moments before Daniel has decided that I'm to have a makeover.  Actually, I didn't think I looked that bad beforehand to be honest!  But hey, the man knows what he's doing, and I'm not one to turn down a makeover when one is offered, particularly when it's offered so politely!

Discovering that Daniel and I first got into makeup at around the same age, and discovering that we were both influenced by the New Romantics (yes, I'm showing my age again, I know) was hilarious.  I had a Girl's World when I was about ten, and the book was full of "piratical" makeup thanks to Adam and the Ants but I found it really difficult to re-create the looks with just a green and a blue crayon! Confessing this to Daniel, he told me that he spent a lot of time grinding down chalk to make pigments for the makeup for his school plays, and that this had given him a great lesson in how cosmetics are made, which he admits has given him a boost when it came time for him to create his own line.

I'd love to tell you more about what Daniel and I talked about, but alas, I'd made a fatal error on the day.  I took Mr Lippie along, and discovered that he and Daniel got along like a house on fire!  So much so, that I could barely get a word in edgeways between the two of them ...honestly, I'm banning MrL from makeup events now, he makes me look totally socially inept at times, bless 'im.

Daniel did make time to tell me a few snippets about Lulu, and he's one of the very, very few makeup artists who've actually noticed that my eyes are actually different colours, which just shows how much attention the man pays when he's doing your makeup!  He also mentioned that I have a similar complexion to Keira Knightly (yeah, right), and was very happy to discuss all his makeup inspirations - particularly when I pointed out that when you look at his collection, I personally found a few of the inspirations easy to spot - and it was refreshing to hear from him about the problems that go with trying to launch a makeup collection.  Particularly how frustrating it is when things don't come out precisely as you want them to.  All really fascinating to anyone with even a passing interest in the beauty industry, and as a control freak myself (no, really), I had severe sympathy!

So, I'm guessing you're wondering what a makeover with Daniel Sandler actually looks like, hmn?  Well, if you excuse the dopey looks on my face (sorry Daniel), here's the finished article:

I came away with a brown smokey eye (complete with at least two different shades of eyeliner) and berry-stained lips. I don't ordinarily use brown eyeshadow, for a variety of reasons, but I always like the effect when someone else picks it for me, and I adored the choice of berry lips to go with it.  I'd normally shy away from coloured lipstick with such a statement eye look but I thought this worked amazingly well. Maybe a little OTT for an evening spent on the sofa watching X Factor, but such is life ...

I'll be talking you through some of the range of products Daniel has tomorrow, but in the meantime, if you're interested in a makeup lesson from Daniel, you can find the details here: Makeup Lesson with Daniel Sandler

The Fine Print: I was just there to look at the eyeliner, honest! 

Monday 20 September 2010

Clarisonic WINNER!

Oh, I'm so pleased!  The winner of my Clarisonic competition is ...


Well done lovely, I'll get it in the post to you this week!  A massive thank you to all my entrants - apart from all of those I had to disqualify ...

Dolce & Gabanna Autumn Collection

I got a look at the autumn collection from D&G recently, and it's all about gothic lips, alongside some unusual eyeshadow shades this season.  Let's take a look:

These are the lipglosses in Amethyst and Vibrant.  Both have a very pretty blue micro shimmer, and apply very opaquely. Ironically, the one named Amethyst is the more brown-shade, and Vibrant is  the fuschia.

Both apply feel very moisturising on the lips, and, whilst they are a bit sticky, they're very nice to wear, non-drying, and good coverage.  Speaking of wear, they last about an hour, maybe two on the lips, depending on - of course - if you're eating or drinking whilst wearing them.

There are two lipsticks in the collection, Cosmopolitan, and Orchid.  Naturally, because I'm an idiot, I only have swatches of Cosmopolitan:

As you can see, this is a creme shade, which personally, I find shades a little towards the tangerine ... but it's pretty.  An odd choice for autumn, I think though, after all the coral shades of the summer.  Orchid is a beautiful shade too - a glorious PINK, and I'll bring you a face of the day with that one soon ... it ha disappeared when I was doing the swatches for this set. 

There are also two eyeshadow sets, one a duo, and one a quad.  They're a little unusual, as both contain a pink ... pink eyeshadow?  Hmn ...  First up is the duo: "Evocative", and following is the quad "Divine".

As always, the shadows are very smooth, and fairly pigmented, here's how they look on my fingers:

Most of these shades are matte, with the exception of the pink and blue from the Divine quad, which have a tiny amount of shimmer.  Pink is an unusual shade for eyeshadows, and I think it's even more unusual to release two in the same collection, here's how they compare:

On the left is the Divine pink, and on the left is the Evocative.  As you can see, the Divine is almost frosted, and it's very much on the cool side, whereas Evocative is warmer, almost coral-toned, and is matte.  I find that you can wear the Evocative shades layered over one another, for a wearable look.

No nail varnishes this time around, which is a shame as I still really adore Perfection from the summer collection, and I'd have liked to have seen some new shades.

What do you think?

The Fine Print: Samples were provided for review purposes, which is nice, after my last D&G cosmetic experience.

Sunday 19 September 2010

Clarisonic Giveaway!

Yes, I'm still giving one away, but this is just a little heads up that the competition ends tomorrow at noon.  If you haven't entered already (and if not, why not?), here's the link to find out how to enter.

Looking forward to hearing from you!  C'mon, it's pink, you know you want it ...

Thursday 16 September 2010

Products to make you feel great

I'm often asked why I like beauty products so much.  The very simple answer is that using them makes me feel good.  Sometimes, they even make me look better too, which is always a bonus.  A reader recently asked me to recommend some products that might help her feel better too, so here's a selection of things I like, that I always really enjoy using.

Lipstick.  There is simply nothing better - and easier to use - than a luxurious lipstick in your favourite colour, for cheering you up, the more expensive the better (for me at least!).  Applying lipstick is a ritual, and often one we neglect for a lipgloss, because gloss is quicker and easier, and harder to get wrong.  For me, what never fails is a bright, *bright* colour, or red.  Glorious, vampy red.  Current favourites include Guerlain Rouge G, in pink or red, there's a Lord and Berry red which is glorious, and you can't really go wrong with a Chanel Rouge Coco (I like Cambon, myself) either.

I also find that taking the time to give myself a mini-facial always makes me feel better too.  If my skin is looking good, I will automatically feel better about myself.  For my mini-home facials, I'm a big fan of Origins Modern Friction, it's a self-heating scrub that really leaves your skin soft and glowing after one use.  Then a mask, either something from Clarins, or the great lavender one from Alpha H.

I find that great-smelling products are always good for making you feel better, so I tend to pay more attention to my perfume when I'm feeling a bit down.  I mentioned the other week that I love Guerlain's Herba Fresca, which is a gloriously herbal scent, laden down with calming mint and hay.  But I find anything that has a hint of amber, or powder, can be wonderfully comforting too, scents like Climat by Lancome are great for making you feel like you've had a hug. A wonderful bath oil by Aromatherapy Associates - in Relax Deep - which is redolent of ginger and rosemary with a hint of lavender has been something I've been using as a body oil in the last few weeks to "take the edge off" a bit too.  It's actually a bath/shower oil, but the scent is so divine, I couldn't resist using it on my body too!

But most of all, I find that simply taking a little more time to apply my makeup in the first place can make a huge difference to how I feel before I face the day.  I know that if I've taken all possible care with my application, then I will feel better about how I look, and better about life in general.

Which products make you feel good?

Wednesday 15 September 2010

In a rush!

I mentioned yesterday that I'm lazy, and I'd rather spend an extra minute or two in bed than spend time using two products when I can use only one.  So I thought I'd tell you my favourite "two minute face" products.

For my base, I'd use Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturising Balm, it has SPF 25, and works well for evening out skintone (taking the place of foundation) and also works exceptionally well as a moisturiser in it's own right.  This, essentially, takes the place of three products!

Eyeshadow, probably something taupe (the one above is Chanel's taupe grise, not, strictly, a taupe, but lovely nonetheless).  Taupe because it goes with everything, suits almost everyone, and it's hugely versatile.  I'll either pat a darker taupe into the crease, or a lighter one all over the mobile lid.

Trish McEvoy High Impact Mascara in Jet Black.  I love this stuff, it doesn't budge throughout the day, and I find that it volumises my lashes to the extent that I can go without liner (normally a total no-no chez Lippie) once in a while.

For my cheeks, I'd either use Daniel Sandler's Watercolour Blush in Cherub (a pale rosy pink) or, if I want a little more colour, I'd use

Edward Bess Cream Rouge in Island Rose.  Both of these are ideal for adding a little fresh colour to my pale and sallow mug in the mornings, and they're both a real pleasure to use, too.

As for my lips, I'd cheat and use either of the blush shades on my lips.  Four products, two minutes and groomed perfection.  In my dreams!

What's your two-minute routine?

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Hair today ...

 ... hair tomorrow?

I'm lazy. I've admitted this before, but no one ever believes me. My laziness is part of the reason why I don't believe in toners or body-lotions, I like to spend those extra precious seconds in bed!

Still, lazy is as lazy does, and even though I'm lucky enough to be able to get away without using toners or body lotions, I still have to remove body hair every now and again, and I always hate using two products when I can use just one for the same effect.

Enter Gilette Venus, I've actually been using these razors for years and years - since they were introduced, in fact.  I've always liked them, but for a while preferred Wilkinson Sword's Intuition razors, because they had a built-in lathering agent, which meant you didn't need a separate shaving gel or foam.  My issue with the Intuition is that their soap bars actually make the shaving head very bulky, and this makes it difficult to deal with areas like the back of the knees or the ankles.

I like the new Spa Breeze version of the Venus because it too gets rid of the need for shaving foam (I mentioned that I'm lazy, right?  Did I also mention that I'm cheap?  I should have done), and has a really nice light scent that makes it pleasant to use.  I find that they don't leave my skin dry after shaving, and there's never any irritation, either.  They're also a lot less bulky than the Intuition so they're easier to use, especially around those "pesky" areas.

So, how do you depilate?  I have a couple of other things I've been using to try and rid myself of random patches of hair, but I keep defaulting to the Venus.  See?  Lazy.

Monday 13 September 2010

Tangle Teezer

Sometimes something is so simple that you can't tell how it works even when you've got one and have spent many an hour staring at it, playing with it, picking it up, putting it down, taking it apart and then putting it back together.  I have even, I have to admit, actually even resorted to using the darn thing, and I still can't tell you how it works.

So I'm assuming it's some kind of magic. Certainly, it's worked miracles on my hair.

The Tangle Teezer, launched in 2007 by the irrepressible Shaun Pulfrey, has a kind of mystique in the beauty business, largely down to an infamous appearance on Dragon's Den the same year.  Shaun was turned down by the Dragons, but he's never looked back since!  I met with Shaun recently, and he told me all about the backstage shenanigans, which were utterly hilarious, funny and loveable, Shaun's a real tonic after a tough day at work, I can tell you!  He spent 20 years as a colourist, but now his brushes are taking over the world ...

Speaking of tough, I've been giving Shaun's compact Tangle Teezer a thorough workout in the last week, too.  Designed not to pull or tug at your hair, no matter how tangled, the brushes are said to make styling and brushing a breeze.  On first sight, the brushes don't look too different to many other ones on the market - although the lack of a handle does mark them out a little bit - but it's when you put them to your hair that the real difference appears.

Even on the wettest, most thick with product, tangled hair (that's been caught in a gusty rainstorm, to boot) the Tangle Teezer simply floats over the knots, untangling and leaving your hair flat and smooth.  There's no tugging, no pulling, and no pain.  I have no idea how, it's simply astonishing!  I'm not astonished by much these days, so it was a nice surprise to discover that there are no bells and whistles on this product, and it just does what it says it will. And does it blimming well!

Any brush that can float through my mad - and maddening - mane has to be a miracle, have you got yours?

Tangle Teezers cost from £9.99 and are available from Boots, and the Tangle Teezer website.

The Fine Print: Brush used in this review was a gift.  Sorta.

Sunday 12 September 2010

New blog!

Yeah, I've gone a bit mad and started a new blog, it's called Lippie Lite, well, for the time being it is, and it's where I'm planning on writing about all the stuff that catches my eye that isn't makeup.  Like films.  And shoes. Okay, maybe not shoes. But there shall be ranting, and restaurant reviews and recipes and things.

No accountancy though.  I promise.  Kinda.

If you'd like to read it, you can find my first post here:

Look forward to seeing you guys there, too!

Friday 10 September 2010

Lip Stains

I'm a big fan of lipstains, whilst I don't mind spending time applying my makeup in the mornings, I'm actually very lazy, and re-applying lipstick is something I don't bother doing all that often during the day, so it's nice that there are products you can use that'll stay in place all day.

That said though, I'm always slightly disappointed with products that look a bright rich red in the tube (or bottle) that actually just pull fuschia on the skin.  Yes, Benetint, et al, I'm looking at you!  The Body Shop lip & cheek stain does the same thing, but actually, I kind of like it.

Bourjois Rose Exclusif is actually a lipgloss with "colour-changing" abilities.  Do you remember "Ultra Glow" lipsticks?  They came in green and yellow and blue and brown and the like, and were meant to change to your "perfect" lipcolour in reaction to your body chemistry.  In reality, on me, they just went bright fuschia (no matter what colour I'd started off with) then stained my lips for three days.  Rose Exclusif promises to do a similar thing, only in a gloss.  And hopefully without the industrial staying power.

Here's how they swatch on the hand:

Body Shop tint on the left there, and Rose Exclusif on the right. As you can see, the Rose Exclusif doesn't really stain skin which isn't your lips, which is nice.  Both have a slight scent, and the Bourjois smells very, very sweet indeed.

Remarkably, both go more or less the exact same shade on my lips!  The Body Shop tint is far too pink for my cheeks alas (pink shades on my cheeks tend to make me look like I'm having a hot flush, which isn't a great look, to be honest), but here's the Body Shop tint on my lips:

And here is the Bourjois Rose Exclusif:

I find that if I layer the Bourjois over the Body Shop, then I can deepen the colour, and it lasts all day.  Here's the Rose Exclusif in the full context of my face:

Excuse the mad hair all over the place there, was testing a shampoo that I'll be talking to you about soon.

The Fine Print: One was a PR sample, and one was a freebie with a magazine.  Both are very nice though, regardless.

Thursday 9 September 2010

Max Factor Vs All For Eve: A Nail File Challenge

Crystal nail files are everywhere at the moment, when I had a pedicure at The Chapel recently, BeautyMaze used a Leighton Denny crystal file on my tootsies, and I was astonished at how smooth it was, and how little it set my teeth on edge when she filed my toenails, which is always the worst part of any pedicure for me.  Well, usually.

As a  result I thought I'd try a couple for myself, and see if they could make a difference on my fingernails.  Now, I'm not one for doing much filing on my fingernails, to be honest.  As a long-time cack-handed muppet, I tend to make a dreadful mess of them, and always, but always end up with uneven nails as a result.

Max Factor have recently introduced a line of beauty accessories which includes makeup brushes and a crystal nail file.  I've been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the brushes, especially when you consider the price points, and their glass file currently retails for £8.50.

All For Eve also have a glass file in their range, which is a little pricier at £12.50, but you do get swarovski crystals for that, so how do they compare?

They're very similar in thickness, but the Max Factor is a little longer, they're both well designed items,  I like the black and gold on the Max Factor, but I'm always a sucker for something sparkly and I love the little crystals on the All for Eve file!

Now, the important thing about a crystal file is how smooth it is.  The smoother the file is, the less you'll feel it on your nails, and the less likely it will be to snag your nails. Also, the smoother it is, the quieter it'll be.  I can't be the only one who finds the sound of filing nails a little ... gnarly?

Anyhoo, you might be able to see that the surface of the Eve file is a lot smoother than the Max Factor, but even so, the Max Factor is considerably smoother than even the finest emery board you might already own.  Both give a fine filing experience, and don't split the nails when you're shaping.

As for the detailing on the files themselves, it has to be said that the Eve file does have the edge, if you look at the tips, the Eve file is finer-pointed, and this just shows that greater care has been taken with the design.  Plus, the cases that you get with the files mean that the Eve file is likely to be better protected in your handbag, but the smaller padded case you get with the Max Factor means that it is, in fact, easier to carry around.

Overall, there isn't a lot to choose between these files, both make shaping your nails a more pleasurable experience, and they're both definitely good at doing what they were designed for!  Whilst, yes, they're both more expensive than an emery board, if you take the time to look after these properly, they will last you a lifetime, which is always a bargain as far as I'm concerned.

For me though, my money would go to All for Eve, mainly because it's (slightly) better designed than the Max Factor one, and the fact that 100% of the profits on this line go to charity will always make me willing to spend a little more on a product. That said though, the Max Factor file is also very useful, if you genuinely can't afford the couple of quid extra to spend on the Eve file.

What do you use to file your nails?

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Guest Review: Tara Smith Feed The Root Shampoo and Conditioner

It's been a while since I had a guest-reviewer on board (why yes, MrL, that is a hint!), so I thought I'd let Sarah take over for the day today.  She's been raving about this shampoo range for a little while, and her she is spreading the joy:

Given that Smith is (allegedly) one of the commonest surnames in the English-speaking world, hairdressers called Smith are particularly rare. Maybe they're told, after they've spent their first day sweeping away cuttings, making tea and learning to make small talk about holidays: "Sorry lovey, but Smith just doesn't say 'Stylist' to me. You'll need to get married or do something drastic to the spelling, my love. Maybe add an extra letter?"

Tara Smith is a brave exception. You can imagine her tossing her perfectly-formed mane defiantly as she folded the towels and vowing that one day, she too would be a vibrant, innovative and respected Stylist to the Stars and yet stay true to her roots and stay a Smith. With an "i". Twelvty years later she has snipped and demiwaved her way to the glittering salons of Hollywood, and now she is ready to join the ranks of the Sassoons and the Friedas with her own range of organic, cruelty-free, locally-produced haircare products. And I bet no-one calls her Smitty...

So, on to the review:

The product

The main attraction for me was the absence of foaming and stuff like parabens, sodium laureth sulphate and something called phthalates. The blurb on the back says "Tested on Film Stars, not Animals" - but it doesn't say which film stars were strapped into a harness and had shampoo dripped into their eyeballs, but I enjoyed making a list of potential testees.
Smith gets extra brownie points for natural, earth-friendly ingredients and local manufacture (well, Sussex is fairly local...). 

Her products also carry certification from the Vegan Society. The shampoo contains five yeast extracts and extract of bamboo, plus tea-tree oil and mint. The conditioner has something called Squalane which is derived from avocado and olive oil. Combined with more yeast extracts and marine algae, the conditioner claims to provide with essential minerals and bind moisture to the hair shaft. Both shampoo and conditioners come in circular 250ml bottles that fit very nicely on the edge of the bath.

To use the shampoo, rub a good-sized squidge into wet hair and leave in for a few minutes. The shampoo is suitably rich-textured and smells deliciously minty, like an After Eight. After about 30 seconds your scalp begins to tingle slightly. This, apparently, is the shampoo At Work, according to the label. With no parabens or foaming agents, there isn't much in the way of lather, but it rinses out easily anyway. The label recommends a second shampoo, but I don't think that makes much of a difference, other than more bubbles the second time around.
Squeeze-dry your hair and apply the conditioner in the usual way. The conditioner felt quite light, compared with similar products, but it smelled utterly delicious and worked easily into the hair, leaving no icky residue on your hands. Again, you feel the minty tingle after a few seconds. Rinse out the conditioner after leaving it in for five minutes and style as usual.

After the wash and condition my usually coarse, wiry (greying) hair actually felt quite silky. This doesn't usually happen unless I've applied half a tonne of Kiehls conditioning treatment and slept with my head in a plastic bag. To be on the safe side, I applied a small dollop of Tara Smith's base coat primer before blow-drying and tonging the hair into some semblance of normality. The primer helps to protect the hair from heat treatments, and it comes with a clever little all-in-one squishy pump. One pump is all you need for shortish hair with the texture and manageability of a moody Brillo pad.

So, given it's completely organic, vegan and made by magical elves in leafy Sussex, you'd expect the price to be something ridiculous, but no. Cult Beauty sells this shampoo and conditioner for a paltry £5.50 each. The primer costs £6.50 for 50ml. Half a bottle does for three months of twice-weekly washes on fairly short, thirsty hair, which means you can be green and gorgeous, and have a bit of change for that lovely All For Eve lippie...
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