Beauty Without Fuss

Friday 29 October 2010

Giveaway Time!

Oh, this latest Fleur Cherie collection from L'Occitane is so pretty! The full range is released on Monday, but I have a gift set to give away to one of my lucky readers. Containing a full size Fleur Cherie eau de toilette, a bath soap, a set of brightening face powder pearls and the almost too pretty to use lipgloss you can see above.

The Fleur Cherie range is based around orange blossom and all the items in the gift set are beautifully packaged and scented. This is a lovely present either for yourself or for hoarding for a Christmas gift for someone else. There's a whole range of makeup too, which I'll show you more of next week, I think you'll like it, I certainly do!

The rules:

1) be a follower of this blog via google friends connect (on the right there)
2) leave a comment on this blog post telling me your favourite scent, and why
3) be UK resident, and please leave an email address I can contact you on in your comment
4) that's it!

The prize will be despatched direct from L'Occitane's representatives upon receipt of a valid postal address.

Prize will be drawn on Friday 5th November - invalid entries will be disqualified. Good luck!


Thursday 28 October 2010


I was obsessed with this shade from the first moment I saw it, a glorious golden-khaki, it's slightly different (metallic greens are my current nail varnish obsession) and I had to have it:

I love it. The above pic shows two coats over a sticky basecoat and topped with Seche Vite. First coat goes on quite sheer, but the second finishes it off nicely.

It's oddly work-appropriate, and very pretty, it flashes bronze and copper sparkle when you move your fingers around.

However this is a *chiptacular* polish! I've worn it several times now, and each time I've had to remove it within 48 hours (once within 12!) thanks to chipping. Still wear it though because I love the colour so much, but I'm not entirely sure I'll be buying any more polishes from NARS in the future, to be honest.

MASH is part of the NARS vintage collection which is available from Selfridges and SpaceNK, cost £13.50.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

A question

If you went for a keratin treament and got these results, what would you think?

After blowdry (1st wash, 3 days after treatment):

Close up:

And, after airdrying (2nd wash, four days after treatment):

Close up:

Excuse the dodgy lighting - and my best "Prisoner Cell Block H" expression, but I wondered what you guys thought of my hair (not my face, please)?  More details about the process in a later post.

I've had a similar treatment before, see those results here.

Monday 25 October 2010

Tom Ford Lipstick - Pure Pink

£35. For a lipstick. Even I, who will quite happily shell out a whopping £25 a throw for a new Guerlain Rouge G (review of a new one of those coming up soon, btw) every now and again, am thinking that £35 is just a little OTT. For a lipstick.

But, this isn't just any lipstick. This is a Tom Ford lipstick, and for all I know is made from precious dyes hand-extracted by virgins at the fullest of full moons, rare waxes to be found only in the magical village of Brigadoon, and then pressed into the moulds by the great man himself. They're not of course (they're made by Lauder Group), but they are pretty damn fine all the same. Soft to apply, richly pigmented and moisturising on the lips, they are a treat.

An expensive treat, admittedly. I'm amusing myself by figuring out, every time I wear it, the cost per wear, which is currently £2.92 at the time of writing (or £2.916 recurring if you want to be precise). Look, we accountants have to amuse ourselves somehow!

The main draw for me is the colour of this one, a cool, BRIGHT pink, this is a happy shade. A confident shade, and one I love wearing.

It's not glossy, but lips are saturated with colour that lasts (and lasts), but it will coat cups glasses and pens in pigment too, every time you eat or drink.

Overall: Do I think these are overpriced? Hell yes. Am I thinking of buying another? Dammit, I am. More than one, in fact, despite having been underwhelmed when I saw the line initially. I think the secret ingredient in these is crack.

Tom Ford: evil genius. Pass it on.

Thursday 21 October 2010


Yes, I am a child, but I can't deny that a large part of the charm of this shade (for me) is it's name. Which is actually Bogie, not bogies, but I never let truth get in in the way of a stupid joke. Did I tell you that I once bought a blusher purely because the shade was called "Wind"? Anyway, I digress ...

Hailing from the recent China Glaze Vintage Vixens collection (and actually named after Humphrey Bogart) Bogie is a glorious metallic aubergine, with a hint of silver in the mix. It's garnered a lot of compliments this week, and I love it.

Application was fabulous, this applied perfectly in two coats, and, even now, four days after it was first applied, is still going strong, with no chips and only minor tipwear.

I just wish China Glaze were easier to pick up in this country, I got my bottle (alongside most of the rest of the utterly beautiful Vintage Vixens collection) at the Professional Beauty Show at Olympia recently.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Candle Wall ...

I love candles, now I've moved to Maison Lippie, I have an entire display unit devoted to my favourites, they make the room smell wonderful, even when they're not burning:

Top Row: (L-R) Orla Kiely White Tea (£12.50 from Heals) - this one doesn't really smell of anything when it's burning, which is a shame, as it smells wonderful in the holder. Jonathan Ward Lost in El Salvador -  (£20 from Wholefoods) this is one of my very favourites - you might be able to tell it had just finished burning in the pic - gloriously scented, once burning, this will scent the whole flat very quickly, I'll be heartbroken once it's finished! Malin & Goetz Vetivert (£34 from Liberty) - love the straw and hay scents to this one, I'm hoarding it a little for deeper into winter when I want to be reminded of summer days!

Middle Row: Kenneth Turner Blue Tangerine (£22 from this is a scent I have in almost every format it exists in, shower gel, hand cream, body lotion, candle, room spray, everything.  About the only format I don't own this in is a reed diffuser, but I'm hoping to remedy that soon, I think it's one of the sexiest scents on the planet, and I love this candle a great deal, it's about the third one of this scent I've owned, and I have a couple of back ups.  I just wish it was a perfume.  Orangey and minty, it's delicious. This doesn't smell as strong when it's burning, but I love it anyway. Man's Candle Lemongrass and Thyme (£12 from Wholefoods) smells wonderful in the box, smells of literally nothing whilst burning, and the scent has disappeared since I opened it too.  Definitely one I wish I hadn't wasted my money on.  The White Company Cassis - (£18 - The White Company) smells gloriously green and leafy, love it in the jar, but again, one that doesn't smell so much when it's burning.  A shame, blackcurrant leaves are a great scent! Jonathan Ward Lulu in Provence - (£30 from Wholefoods) Summer in a jar, sweet fruits with a hint of almond and some gorgeous sandalwood, again, it scents the room wonderfully whether lit or not.

Bottom Row: Jonathan Ward Nightingales Jasmine (£30 - Wholefoods) - wonderfully sexy scent for the bedroom, a spicy jasmine.  It's the first JW candle I got my hands on, and it's a glorious introduction to the range.  Neom Complete Bliss (£35 from - roses, roses, roses.  I love to burn this one alongside a bath with my beloved Ren Rose Otto bath oil.  It's sweet, and as the name suggests, rather blissful.  If you like roses, you'll love this one.  Kenneth Turner Citrus Bergamia - (£22 - A nice candle this one, but rather forgettable next to some of the others. Harrods Pink Pepper & Passionflower (£20 - Harrods) lovely, gentle, slightly spicy flowery scent.  It's really nice and relaxing to have burning when I'm blogging.

Now, you might be thinking that I have more than enough candles, but I have one space left that I'm saving for Idina's Locket (again from the genius that is Jonathan Ward), I was lucky enough to have sniffed Jonathan's latest range back when it was still in the planning stages, and I can't wait to see how they've turned out in candle form!

But, if anyone is reading, and wants to buy me another, this one has my name ALL over it ... Luce's Candle.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Estee Lauder Signature Services

After my little rant yesterday, on to a brand that's at least trying to get their counter service right.  I mentioned the other week that the worst makeover I ever had was at an Estee Lauder counter, and as a result I was invited along to try out an Estee Lauder Signature Service for myself to see how things had changed in the meantime.

There are several Signature Services, including Skincare Check Ups, Foundation Matching, Fragrance Finding, Colour advice, "Two Minute Touch Ups" (snigger) and Time Reversing Tips and Tricks.  I popped along to the Selfridges counter (ironically, one of the nearest proper Lauder counters to where I live), and spent some time with Kaman to get some skincare hints, and find my perfect foundation.

I'm a lapsed Lauder customer. I used to use their Double Wear foundation back in the day, I always found it slightly the wrong shade, but it was about the only foundation at that time that would cover up my dreadful reddened, angry and pustular skin.  Likewise, aside from Idealist, I'd always steered clear of their skincare, finding it dreadfully over-perfumed and found the names way too long and confusing (still do, as a matter of fact).

However, with the recent addition of Tom Pecheaux to their creative team, Lauder powder products have impressed me hugely, so I was happy to have my prejudices challenged.  Kaman, is a lovely girl, and when she told me that she's going to be spearheading Lauder's campaign to get all counter-staff trained in making the customer feel comfortable, I wasn't surprised that she had been chosen for the job.  Calm, chatty, and willing to listen to my specific concerns about my skin, and my less specific whinges about customer service in the beauty industry in general she's a great person to spend 20 minutes or so in the company of.

She really knows her stuff too.  The Lauder system is based on you answering a few specific questions, and then a range of products are suggested to you.  My skin is going through an oily patch at the moment, so I wanted to look at products that were good for combination skin showing the first signs of ageing, no mean feat, really.  I was "prescribed" products from the Perfectly Clean range (Sparkling Clean is for oily skin, Soft Clean is for dry skin, and Perfectly Clean is for normal/combination skin), alongside Revelation Moisturiser and Idealist serum.  Oddly, I've always thought of Idealist as a primer rather than a serum, so we'll see how it goes.

As for foundation, I was matched to Double Wear Light (bad beauty blogger alert) which I wasn't aware actually existed!  It's a lot easier to wear than regular Double Wear, that's for sure!  I was surprised that I was matched to a cool tone - I actually think my skin tone is pretty neutral these days, I'm pale, but I tan, and the veins on my inner arms appear green rather than blue, but I do prefer cooler tones for clothing, and silver jewellery for some reason - but it was interesting to see that Lauder are making an effort to match cool, warm and neutral skin tones.  I was also really pleased to see that even though this is a free service, I was actually given a ten-day sample of the foundation of my choice to take away with me, which I thought was brilliant.  Much better than a sachet that may, or may not give you a full application.

All in all, I was very impressed with my time at the Estee Lauder counter, and once I've finished trialling a few things, I'll be back to tell you more ...

Monday 18 October 2010


I buy a lot of cosmetics.  I buy a lot of cosmetics.  But a lot of things about buying cosmetics drive me crazy. Over-attentive shop assistants who hover over you, demanding to "help" whenever your eye wanders onto anything.  Under-attentive shop assistants who ignore anything resembling a buying signal, up to and including you saying "excuse me, can I get one of these please?"

But one thing that really, really, really drives me nuts at cosmetic counters is the refusal to give samples. I have pretty sensitive skin, and, it means that I can't really buy skincare without having tried a sample of it for a few days first, particularly with eye creams, so many of them sting me after a day or two. Likewise, there are certain ingredients in some perfumes that literally make me vomit, so I have to be careful - you will never find me agreeing to be sprayed with an unknown perfume in a department store, ever.  They tend to get upset after the first time you throw up on a shop floor, I find. 

Now, none of this would bother me that much if we had a decent returns policy in this country for unsuitable products.  But, if you've ever tried returning something you were allergic to, or made ill by (or even one that's damaged when you get through the packaging), then, on a cosmetic counter, you're made to feel like a scammer, or a criminal if you try to return it to the brand.

Far too often these days, I find that brands are very, very reluctant to hand out samples, even when I've notice that they often have drawers full of tiny tubes and sachets just ready, willing and aching to be handed to people.  In fact, especially when the brand has drawers of product ready willing and aching to be handed out to people, this appears to be the time that the dragon sales assistant has decided that no one - but mainly you - simply cannot have a sample of anything.

In fact, even when you've spent lots of money on products already, increasingly brands (and expensive brands are the worst, at times) some companies won't give you any samples, even when you ask. "it's not policy" you're told, or "we don't have any", both of which are doubly galling when it's a brand you've had samples of before.  I know, if I had a chance to try before I bought - and I'd even be happy to pay a token amount for certain samples - I'd BUY MORE COSMETICS.

So, what drives you mad about buying cosmetics?  And, whilst I'm about it, what's your biggest gripe about cosmetic sales assistants?

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Review - No74 Hair and Beauty

There are some salons that you visit and you just know they've been designed straight from a catalogue of hairdresser cliches.  And then there are those that when you first wander through the doors, you know that they've been a labour of love from start to finish.

No74 Hair and Beauty is one of the latter.  Situated in Clerkenwell, yet feeling like you've wandered into a luxurious country house hotel, No74 is a tiny oasis of peace and beauty in the heart of the City.  Opened a year ago, Michael Reichelt has poured his heart and soul into creating what has to be one of the most gorgeous and calming salons it's ever been my pleasure to walk into.  Michael was recently voted "Entrepreneur of the Year" in the recent Creative Head It List awards, and it's not hard to see why!

Last week, I popped along to try out their Grand Classique facial, which features Yon-Ka products. Yon-Ka are rapidly garnering themselves a cult reputation, created in 1957, the products are largely botanical, and very therapeutic, and are, of course, allegedly used by lots of Hollywood celebrities!

The Grand Classique facial lasts 75 minutes and costs £70 (which, if you ask me, is a bit of a bargain bearing in mind the location), and consists of several cleansings, a mild peel,  steaming, extractions if required/requested, sprays with botanical oils, a mask and lots and lots of wonderfully soothing massage.  I enjoyed my facial very much, it's a very "tingle"-making facial, leading me to worry about blotchiness and redness, but my fears were unfounded, and I left the salon with a glowing complexion - even though my skin is going through one of its periodic greasier than a greasy thing phases), and singing spirits.  My skin has been very soft and smooth ever since too, no irritating breakouts!

It's very refreshing to go to a truly independent salon, who carry out a full range of hair and beauty services, and I've been privileged to be able to visit a few this year, I doubt I'll ever be able to go back to a chair hairdresser again!  No74 is a wonderful location, full of people who love their jobs, and  I hear on the grapevine that one of their latest additions to the team is a former stylist on X Factor, so you need to pop along and get your own celebrity-style makeover! 

The Fine Print: Get Lippie was a guest of No74 Hair and Beauty, and would like to thank Brett and Renata for an amazing experience, you guys rock.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Le Metier de Beaute - Le Cirq Kaleidoscope

This is the latest limited edition kaleidoscope palette from Le Metier de Beaute and it's currently available from Selfridges.  I finally saw it in the flesh last week and simply couldn't resist snapping it up.  Costing £65, it consists of (from top to bottom) a glorious almost duo-chrome grey/stone (Flamboyantes), a mauvish-taupe (Spectacle), burgundy (Enrichissant) , and a great matte purple/navy (Dynamique) at the bottom.

The top three shades are gloriously soft and blendable, and the matte blurple is very soft too, the shadows apply with no dragging or pulling, and even without a base are surprisingly long-wearing. Using the Le Metier "couches de couleurs" layering technique, you get a surprisingly wearable and unique shade, quite unlike any other effect.  I adore this palette.

I also had a look at the Le Metier/Marchesa collection, and there's a lipduo I think I have to have in La Figue/La Raisin but at £25 for two - tiny! - lipglosses, I'm afraid I couldn't make the leap into paying for it.  The Marchesa compacts are deeply pretty, but I avoid mixed (powder and cream) palettes like the plague, finding them too prone to giving you sticky powders and powdery creams after a while in usage, not pretty, and not nice.

I adore the Le Cirque palette, however, if you decide to splurge make sure you check your palette carefully.  When I unwrapped mine, I noticed there was a ding in the burgundy:

I wasn't happy.  Then when I went to use the shade properly, I saw that the shadow was damaged even more badly than I fiirst thought:

 (Click to enlarge)

I'd have been miffed - yes, miffed! - enough if this had happened with something costing a tenner, but in a palette costing £65?  Not cool.  Not cool at all...

Monday 11 October 2010

Winter Skin Preparation

I had a request from a reader to write about how to prepare skin for the coming winter months.

I'll be honest, I don't change my skincare routine much unless the condition of my skin changes drastically, with that in mind, I'll tell you what my current routine is, and what I'm planning to change when the weather gets colder.

I have combination skin, which - depending on the weather - can be more oily or more dry in patches, so I adjust my routine accordingly.

Turns out, I have around eight cleansers on the go at the moment, but the two I alternate between most at the moment are Alpha H Balancing Cleanser, and Nude Cleansing Oil - I may toy with with others, but these are the two I keep coming back to.  The Alpha H is a cream cleanser, which I enjoy using to "melt" off my makeup at the end of the day, and I like using a cleansing oil in the mornings.  I'm playing with a couple of other cleansers too these days, and I'll talk to you more about those soon.

The cold weather can make even the best looked-after skin a bit drier and a little flaky looking, so you may find you need to exfoliate a little more often. For exfoliation, I'm still in love with my Clarisonic (I cannot tell a lie) but I found in the past that the hot-cloth cleansing method with a muslin cloth used daily was more than adequate for my exfoliation needs.  Occasionally (once a week or so) I'd use a little Origins Modern Friction, which I enjoy using for the warming sensation, and removing the gluey mass at the end is very satisfying, but then, I am a little odd.

You may want to switch to a (slightly) heavier moisturiser at this time of year,  I'm currently trialling a few moisturisers at the moment - amongst them ROC, Estee Lauder and a couple of others - but, I admit I'm still waiting to find "the one" that's going to suit me all winter long.

Whilst I'm waiting for the magic moisturiser to make itself known to me, I'll be upping my hydration levels via the use of a few judiciously chosen emollient masks.  Sisley Flower Mask is one I adore, though it's expensive, and I'm also planning to make use of Liz Earle's Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask over the coming months too.

But, the one thing I absolutely, positively can't live without at this time is - of course - lipbalm.  For an overnight treatment, I simply adore Sisley's lipbalm (no, Sisley haven't sponsored this post, I just love them!) I just slip a little over my lips at night, and generally all is free of chapping the following day.  For during the day though, I love my little tins of Badger Balm, they're organic, not full of mineral oils, and taste divine, even if they have discontinued my beloved Chai Rose flavour!

What are your winter skincare tips?

Sunday 10 October 2010

Dear Mac...

Formidable nail polish is beautiful, but I'd like more than 36 hours wear, please:


Friday 8 October 2010

Tresemme Naturals

I tell you, it's very annoying when - before you've even tried a product - you've already written half of the review in your head, then when you do go on to try it, you realise that you're going to have to eat half  the words you haven't yet actually written.


So ... I was introduced to Tresemme Naturals recently, the latest offering from the Tresemme range of shampoos, conditioners and styling products.  Now, I've always been a bit sniffy when it comes to high street shampoo, I can't deny it. Ever since I started colouring my hair (a very, very long time ago) I've always  used salon brands, and paid the most I can afford for my haircare because, after all, your hair is the accessory you wear every day, so - to me, at least - it's worth investing in. However, this range from Tresemme, promises no parabens, is silicone-free, is a third lower in sulfates than it's original range and contains organic extracts of orange, aloe vera and avocado.

Now, I do find the name "Naturals" a little misleading (which is where my "original review" started, to be honest), as the only natural things in the shampoo are the organic extracts - and they're there in very small amounts - and basically, all they've done to the formula is tweaked it slightly to make it sound trendy, and "natural", plus they can put organic on the label too.  Nothing makes me madder than this kind of green-washing, particularly when it's a cover for putting out a less effective product, as I've seen happen in some companies.


(and this is where I hang my head in shame and admit to having been a bit closed-minded),

The shampoo and conditioner in question are actually a bit marvellous.  They smell good, a little citrussy, the shampoo lathers well, and you can barely tell the conditioner is silicone-free at all, as there's a good amount of slip.  I found that both used together leave my hair clean, soft and super-shiny.  Colour me very impressed, and less prepared to sneer next time.  Price is quite reasonable too, you get nearly a litre of each for less than five pounds.

If the ingredients actually were natural, and they were SLS-free (instead of "lower sulfate" than the original version) then I'd be happier, but at this price point, they're actually pretty difficult to beat.

Thursday 7 October 2010

The Worst Makeover I Ever Had

Was at the Estee Lauder counter in the Liverpool branch of Boots a few years ago.

I only really have myself to blame, I'd ignored a few of my own hard and fast rules about makeovers (namely the ones about ignoring advice from someone who has deliberately turned themselves tangerine, and - my bad - the one about women who willingly wear black lipliner in the middle of the day having no business with their hands near my face), and gone for it in spite of myself.

I have to say, the girl was a dab hand with the highlighter, I had it everywhere.  Cheekbones, upper lip, and on my brow bones.  The stuff on my brow-bones was, I kid you not, an inch thick!  Worse though, she'd used so many products on my face that the whole thing started slipping even as she was applying it, meaning she had to cake more and more and more powder over the top to keep the "look" in place.  It looked, and I kid you not, like crazy paving by the end of it. And she was so proud!  I went back to the office afterwards, and after listening to the insane giggling and dodging a volley of remarks referencing Danny La Rue (imagine the above picture with dark hair, that was me, that was), I vowed, there and then to never go to an Estee Lauder counter for a makeover again.

Well, today I'm eating my words, as I've been invited to a makeup lesson at one of Estee's flagship stores, and I'm actually really looking forward to it.  I think the Estee Lauder brand has really pulled itself out of the "old lady" rut with the advent of Tom Pecheaux this year, I adored his Blue Dahlia collection a few months ago, and his Christmas collection (which I'll be showing you soon) is beautiful too!  Plus, they've promised not to make me look like an elderly drag queen today, which is nice.   I'll be showing you the results in the morning, so they can't say they haven't been warned!

So, what was your worst makeover like?

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Face of the Day - Berry Lips

Dark, gothic lipstick colours are very much the flavour of the day this season, so here's my take on the look:

I'm wearing Chanel tinted moisturiser, Edward Bess eyeshadow in Intimate, Dior purple eyeliner, and the lips are Daniel Sandler lipstick in Micro Berry. This shade, I've discovered, makes a really pretty stain too.

Will you be wearing dark lips this autumn?

Monday 4 October 2010

Pride and Joy!

Get Lippie moved house over the weekend, and I thought you'd like to see the reason I chose my new abode:

In case you can't tell (and I won't be surprised if you can't) that's my new bath. It's also a jacuzzi, power shower, steam room, and ... er ... something else. Doubles as a disco too, as you can see! I still need to read the instructions, as me and MrLippie took twenty minutes just to figure out how to fill it with water yesterday, which was ... amusing. It also has a remote control for the built-in telly, natch!

Blog posts are going to be a bit sporadic for the next week or so until I get my broadband sorted, but I'll be posting from my iPhone in the meantime, which - you lucky things! - will probably mean shorter posts for a while!

Right, off to unpack my Ren, Shu Uemura, Aromatherapy Associates, Elemis Super Soak and various other bath oils, any recommendations?


Saturday 2 October 2010

So Annoying

I hate dodgy packaging:

Just went to apply my (lovely) Alpha H Age Delay treatment eye cream, and the nozzle has decided to stay in the lid!

Bye bye, eye cream, bye bye.

Friday 1 October 2010

YSL Belle D'Opium

Launched in what must be one of the prettiest bottles I've seen all year, Belle D'Opium is the latest fragrance from Yves St Laurent.

A "sister" scent to the original Opium, this is lighter, and designed - I guess - to be more of a complement to the current trend for the fruity-musky-woody stews that are all you can smell in modern fragrance these days.

Which is a shame.  I loved the original Opium, my father used to buy it for my mum by the bucket load (in massive duty-free flacons), and the heavy, heady, spicy oriental scent of carnations and smoke perfumes many of my memories.  Belle D'Opium has, sadly, about as much in common with the original Opium as I do with Cindy Crawford.

It starts off well, not too sweet, slightly dry and a bit flowery, but not overly so, and for the first 15 minutes or so it's perfectly  ... pleasant.  Inoffensive. No spices, no headiness, no intense desire to keep sniffing, and work out what the notes are, as you get with some perfumes, just ... niceness. A little warmth, maybe, but it's hard to tell how this is supposed to remind you of Opium at all, outside of the name.

Then, on my skin, it simply  ... disappears.  Completely.  Totally.  Utterly. It disappears with such a total and abrupt thoroughness that upon occasion I've completely forgotten that I'd applied it in the first place and then an hour later I've applied something completely different. And, get this, when I have, the scents have never clashed, that's how thorough a nothingness is left behind once the top notes wear off.

It's a shame that such a beautiful bottle with such a historic name behind it smells so  ... gone.

The Fine Print: This was a PR sample I wanted to love.  Sorry peeps!
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