Beauty Without Fuss

Monday 28 February 2011

Lanolips - Now in Boots

(l-r: Rose, Rhubarb, 101, Dark Honey, Apples)
 I popped along to Boots on Oxford Street last week, and noticed they now have Lanolips in store. They've been available on for a couple of months now, but  it's good to see them in-store finally. Even better, they're currently on 3-4-2, so it was an ideal chance for me to pick up a couple or three new ones to add to my collection (like I ever need an excuse to stock up on lipbalms ...)!

Made from medical grade lanolin (the tube labelled 101 is 100% pure), Lanolips are an Australian import, and are the brainchild of the lovely Kirsten Carriol, who has made it her mission to make a natural lip product based on lanolin.  I'd say she's succeeded, I've pretty much swapped out most of my other lipbalms and this winter I've rarely been without a tube in one pocket or another.

Initially I started off with just Rhubarb (I love rhubarb, I couldn't not have this one) and Dark Honey, but I picked up 101, Apples and Rose in-store recently too.  The shades are lovely and very wearable:

(l-r: Rose, Rhubarb, 101, Dark Honey, Apples)
Dark Honey (surprisingly) is probably the one I get the most wear out of, as it's a pale, dusky mauve shade that's very similar in shade to my natural lip-colour, and I find it evens out the tones in my lips very well - but I have very pigmented lips, with a natural "lip-line" that paler shades don't cover up too well.

The balms are fragrance and flavouring-free, and yes, they are a bit sticky.  Sticky to the extent that you may have to warm it in your fingers before applying it to your lips, and it's practically solid on a cold day, but on your lips it's feather-light, and hugely moisturising.  I haven't had cracked lips once, in spite of the bitterly cold weather, and I like to think it's because of Lanolips!  I've also found that it makes a great overnight treatment for sore lips too.

Enlarge to see ingredients
 So, do you need Lanolips?  I think so, they're moisturising, flavour-free, and best of all they work.  I'm not entirely happy with the packaging, the labels the UK distributor uses to seal the tubes peels the gold paint off, and there is just a plain nozzle on them, which means you can't apply direct to your lips from the tube, but these are minor gripes, my lips love these.

 The Fine Print:  I bought these, with my ill-gotten gains garnered from my other life as an accountant.
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Saturday 26 February 2011

Nail of the Day: OPI The One That Got Away

I could give a stuff about Katy Perry, and the associated crackle polish from her recent collection for OPI, to be honest, but even so I can't deny this deep fuschia-purple shade that's just packed with glass flecks is almost too gorgeous for words:

I'm about to get MrLippie to paint my toes with this too... Don't tell him! Perfect happy-making shade for a wet Saturday afternoon.

This came from Selfridges, and cost £10.50. Thought the rest of the shades were just a bit ... meh, so passed on the rest of them.

Thursday 24 February 2011

Chantecaille Turtles Palette - Swatches

I saw this just after Christmas in some promo pics, and I have to admit, I fell in love a little bit.  Chantecaille has always been a brand I've admired, but have never really seen what all the fuss is about previously, but this palette might just be the one to change my mind.  It's beautiful.

A shimmering sand shade, a glimmering brown, a multi-tonal greyed out forest green, and a golden coral shade, it's almost as if the palette was made for me (and, if the brown had been a taupe, I may well have thought it was!)

Every year, Chantecaille produce a palette where a proportion of the funds raised from the sales go to help sustain wildlife.  Last year it was tigers, and this year (via the Widecast Organisation) it is turtles.  I've spent a few nights - in the dim and distant past - on turtle watch in Greece, so this was a bit of a no-brainer for me, but it helped that the colours are so pretty.  So, how do they swatch?

Well, the answer to that is, very nicely indeed, thank you.  The colours are on the sheer side, to be honest, but they build up well, and can also be used wet or dry with no damage to the shades in the pan, which is great.  Swatches above are shown as several passes of dry shadow on unprimed skin.  The shades are shimmery, but in a very subtle way, and they're amongst some of the softest, most velvety feeling eyeshadows I own.  Sort of a Rouge Bunny Rouge texture, only slightly less pigment, making them - in my eyes - slightly easier to work with.  Personally, I find shadows with too much pigment difficult to deal with at times.

I love that charcoal green!  It looks so different on the skin to how it appears in the pan, but it's gorgeous either way.  I used it as an eyeliner this morning:

I applied the sand as a base, the golden brown in the crease, and the green as a liner on both top and bottom.  The colours are easy to blend for a seamless look.  Here's the full face shot so you can see it in context:

I wanted a clean, professional look today for a board meeting, eyeshadows as above, plus the blusher from the palette, foundation is Guerlain Lingerie de Peau, and I'm wearing Lanolips in  Dark Honey on my lips.  I'm going to try a smokier look with it tomorrow.

So, do you need a Turtles palette?  If you like polished neutrals, then possibly.  It is expensive, at £73 the price is more than comparable to, say, a Le Metier de Beaute Kaleidoscope, but the inclusion of blusher makes them a slightly different proposition.  I can see it's something I'm going to use a lot, but your mileage may vary.

Finally, one last shot which is actually an outtake, but I thought it looked kind of cool:

Look!  They're all swimming in a circle!

The Fine Print: I bought this.

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Malika Signature Facial

Before I discovered Browhaus, I used to alternate between going to Blink at Selfridges and Malika in Westfield to get my eyebrows done.  Both are marvellous, and I never had a bad eyebrow shape from either of them, pop along if you get the chance, you won't be disappointed.

However, just because I've sold my eyebrows to Ellie at Browhaus, doesn't mean I'm planning on abandoning Malika (mainly because it's on my doorstep, practically) any time soon.  I was invited along to their Westfield store recently for a signature facial to find out more about other services the threading chain is offering to their clients.

The signature facial is based on ayurvedic principles, and, after answering a few questions about your skin, your facialist will mix up a personalised selection of fruits, aloe vera, juices, milk and honey, based on your requirements.  This facial is all-natural, and there are no pre-prepared ingredients and/or creams and unguents used during the 80 minute facial. 

Far from relaxing, this is an exceptionally cleansing facial with an amazing massage attached, the facialist really goes to town, and gives your skin the most thorough workout you've ever had.  I liked it a great deal, afterwards my skin was smooth and blemish free, and the enzymes in the fruit juices definitely had a slight peeling effect on my skin, leaving it brighter for a good few days afterwards.  The only downside is that it can be a little messy, so make sure you take something with you to tie your hair back with.  Oh, and the treatment room is tiny, so if you're claustrophobic at all, you might have problems.  The Signature Facial costs £80 and lasts 75 minutes.

You can find out more about Malika here. 

The Fine Print: Get Lippie was a guest of Malika

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Tuesday 22 February 2011

Beauty Resolutions

As beauty bloggers go, I'm a bit of a scruff. Okay, a lot of a scruff.  Oh, and I'm a bit lazy too.  If there's a choice between an extra ten minutes in bed, and giving myself a blow-dry in the morning, I'll take the ten minutes in bed, and go to work with wet hair.

Yes, I have no shame.  But I will always make the time to at least put some mascara on, I've no wish to scare the kiddiwinks on my walk to the tube ... (too often)

But no more!  Alongside my Project Perfume, I've decided that this is the year that Get Lippie Gets Groomed*.  No more fluffy eyebrows.  No more leaving my hair six months in-between getting coloured.  No more chipped nail varnish.  No more letting my toes go unpedicured for months on end (MrLippie's going to love this, I make him paint my toenails for reasons I won't go into on here again) No more letting my leg hair grow so long I could plait it .  Actually, that last one is a lie, but the sentiment is still there. So, to that end, I'm enlisting some of my favourite salons and services to help keep me in shape.

To wit: I've just booked myself a course of ten eyebrow shapes at Browhaus because it cost £100 instead of £150 (and I could pay in two instalments of £50!) and Ellie at the Covent Garden branch is practically the only person I'll trust near my eyebrows these days.  I'll be regularly visiting Equus in Knightsbridge to sort out my colour with Jack, and get some wonderful blow-dries from David Evans, who has just joined the team. He kindly sorted me out with a gorgeous swishy do for London Fashion Week over the weekend, which garnered a lot of compliments.  He's a bargain at £65 for a cut and blow dry too - make sure you book now for your Royal Wedding 'do (don't tell me you're not considering one), as they're getting booked up already ... I've already mentioned I'm sorting out teeth whitening recently, but more about that next week ...

As for stuff I can do myself  (what do you mean I can pluck my own eyebrows?  Have you seen the havoc I could wreak with a pair of tweezers?) I'm going to paint my nails at least twice a week, and I'm going to start having regular facials too. Sometimes I'll have them at home with my INSANE collection of skincare, and sometimes I'll try out facials from other places as well, but I'll talk about that another day this week. 

I shall still, however, stick to my policy of only wearing black sacks, flat shoes and cardigans.  Well, us accountants have to live down to image somehow ...

So, what else should one consider when going on a grooming regime?

*Not like that .

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Monday 21 February 2011

When Obsessions Collide...

Did I mention I had a stationery fetish?

Friday 18 February 2011

Guerlain Rouge Automatique - 121 Rouge D'Enfer, 140 Mitsouko, 161 Cherry Blossom

One of the things I really really like about Guerlain is that they bridge an amazing history with really forward-thinking packaging and amazing textures.  It's a great contrast to think that they've been making perfume since the 1870's and yet, the packaging of their Rouge G's has more than a little hint of the space age about it, I'll say one thing for them, they're not afraid to do things different.

 Because they have such an amazing history, they have some great vaults in Guerlain HQ, and this leads creative director Olivier Echaudemaison to occasionally make raids on some great lost designs of the past.  Based on an old design lipstick case first developed in 1936 (I think the pic above really highlights their Art Deco influence) the new Rouge Automatique lipsticks are a fun - they're designed to be used one-handed - addition to the Guerlain lipstick line.

I was sent three to try, (l-r) Rouge D'Enfer, Mitsouko, and Cherry Blossom.  As well as taking the inspiration for the casings from the vaults, each lipstick is named after either a classic Guerlain shade or fragrance.

(l-r Rouge D'Enfer, Mitsouko, Cherry Blossom) In order to get at the colours, you slide the button on the (slightly rounded - this is important, I'll come back to this later) front of the casing, and the top slides down, and the bullet rises up to enable you to apply it.

There will be 25 shades in the range, and I have a red, a nude and a pink to show you.   In the same order as the hand swatches above:

Rouge D'Enfer:

A classic neutral red creme, with no shimmer.  It applies lightly and lasts well - I wore it for seven hours and it lasted me through several snacks and quite a few cups of coffee, but I have to admit there was a hint of "red ring of doom" when I wore it through lunch.

 Mitsouko is - what else? - peach. If you don't know, the fragrance Mitsouko is based on peaches - amongst other things.  I can't deny that when I first looked at the bullet, my first thought was "Peach! Frosty! Frosty Peach!".  But on swatching, and on the lips I was very pleasantly surprised.  It's a lot more sheer than I anticipated, and it has very fine shimmer on the lips.  Not quite a micro-shimmer, but close.  It's far, far, far more flattering than I ever expected, and it's something I'll happily wear.

Cherry Blossom

Now, my favourite pink lipstick of All Time (at the time of writing - I am fickle)  is, of course, Guerlain Rouge G in Georgia.  This doesn't, for me, hold a candle to that shade, but it is very pretty.  Again, in the bullet, the impression is that it's frosty, but, like Mitsouko it's sheer on the lips, and the frost shows up as a slight hint of shimmer.  It's very wearable, if a little on the pale side for someone who likes their pinks, PINK! as I do ...


The texture of these lipsticks is fabulous. All from a gel base, the creme shades are highly pigmented, and all the variations are lightweight on the lips, and "meld" with your lips rather than sit on it (which is a particular pet hate of mine), they're very comfortable, non-greasy, and non-drying.  Lasting time is rather average, but you can extend that with use of lip pencil or a lip primer. The packaging is lovely and light, and you could carry about six of these around with you for the same weight of say, one Rouge G or two Tom Fords ...

The one thing I don't like is ... the packaging.  As you can see from the picture above, the case is rounded at the front, and is quite thick, so it can house the lever that moves the bullet up and down.  Now, the problem is that the bullet is placed facing that direction so you have the thicker side of the casing towards your lips when you're applying it.  With the more sheer shades this isn't so much of a problem, but when you're applying the red (or any other shade that requires precision), it means you have to lever up much more of the bullet to avoid having to hold the lipstick at an awkward angle when applying - and it makes me worry about snapping the bullet.  If the bullets were placed so they face the back of the case (where it is thinner), it would be less of an issue.  All that said, it's a relatively minor issue.  The texture and wear of these is superb.

Guerlain Rouge Automatique will launch exclusively in Selfridges on April 3rd, and cost £24.50.  The cost is comparable to Rouge G's, which now cost £28 ... they'll be available nationwide from 1st May.

Oh, and one final picture ... I'll be reviewing the Terracotta collection for 2011 from next week, here's a sneaky preview:

The Fine Print: Samples kindly provided by a mysterious benefactor*.


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Thursday 17 February 2011

Artistic Colour Gloss - Gel Manicure

Long-lasting manicures have been around for a little while now.  Essentially, they consist of layers of gel (as used in gel nail extensions) layered onto your natural nails, and cured with UV light.  They differ from the gel used in nail extensions as they contain pigment, and therefore act like a nail varnish until your natural nails grow out!  They will last from between two to four weeks, depending on how you look after your nails, and how fast your nails grow.

I was invited along to Equus recently to be their nail model (fame at last!) for the new system, Artistic Colour Gloss, which they're launching next week, and I chose this glorious and gorgeous bronze shade, which I've tried to show in a variety of different lighting conditions.


Browns and bronzes aren't normally shades I go for, but I was very happy with this, as the shade was deep and complex, and I spent a lot of time admiring my nails!

So, how does a gel manicure work?  Well, first of all, your nails have to be completely and utterly dry, so a dehydrator fluid is painted onto your nails, and once this is dry, a base coat of clear gel is painted onto your nails, and this is then "cured" under a UV light for a few seconds.  The the colour gel is applied in either two or three coats (depending on the depth of colour you want) and "cured" between each coat.  A glossy top coat is then applied and this is cured too.  Best part is, the second the top coat is finished, your nails are dry and ready to go!  No awkward waiting around for your nails to dry before you can leave the salon/pay the bill/drink your tea.

After two weeks, my nails looked like this:

You can see where my nails have grown around the cuticle area (a little), there's some very minor chipping on the index finger, but there's a quite significant peel on the thumbnail.  I should make clear that is because of my own incompetence and wasn't the fault of the manicure in the slightest (I got the edge of the nail caught in something, and couldn't help worrying at it for a day or two ...).  I was really pleased.

This manicure doesn't need to be soaked off, either.  A day or two after I took the above picture, I had to remove the manicure, and only had some normal nail varnish remover in the house - ordinarily, you'd have this done in the salon with a special removing fluid - but I found the foil method:

(where you put a pad soaked in nail varnish remover on your nail and wrap it in foil to keep in the heat and stop evaporation) worked just as well, though it did take about twice as long (about ten minutes) to get the gel off than it did in the salon.  The gel comes away in one piece of film.  Enormous fun!  I'll definitely be getting this done again, it strikes me that for fingers and toes if you're going away on holiday, it's definitely worth investing in.

The Artistic Colour Gloss gel manicure at Equus salon will cost £50 and is available from Monday 21st February.

The Fine Print: Get Lippie was a guest of Equus.  Cheers, Jack!

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Bulldog - The Return

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, it's the long awaited (and requested) return of Mr Lippie ... I've been nagging him to get back in the blogging groove, and here he is with some thoughts about some Bulldog goodies he was sent a little while ago ...
I've been using a fair few Bulldog products since my last rather "interesting" experience with them, and I thought it only fair to share how they've fared against my somewhat fussy instincts and tastes, given that I was perhaps a touch uncharitable in my last scribblings about them.
Firstly, let's talk about the shower gel. It's presented to us in a functional dispenser, with the trademark stark black & white packaging that Bulldog are known for, with just a couple of hints about what it may or may not do for the user. Not bad, a decent size, and looks like it means business. So far so good. Pouring it out onto the hand, and you're presented with a yellowy gel that is seriously aromatic. The eucalyptus just cuts through everything and makes this practically eyewateringly 'herby'. As to how it feels, it's quite refreshing, lathers up well, and has a nice cooling/soothing effect. Quite good when it's that whole feeling of first thing in the morning and you're barely awake! Nonetheless, not entirely for me - the smell just overpowers everything and is a touch too sharp for something your're applying as a precursor to the entire day - but still, not a bad product in itself!
Moving on to the next step in getting ready to face the day - the shaving gel. An impressively large tube of the stuff, again with the black on white classic packaging, and it all looks good. The gel is again somewhat yellow, with the odd random bubble in it, and yet again, the first thing you really notice is the smell. I'm genuinely not sure what it is about Bulldog and how I react to the smells - they are just far too sharp on the whole for me. Smell, however, is a very distinctly personal thing - and given some of the other products on the market, the aroma isn't that displeasing, it's just too herbal & sharp for myself. Anyway, moving on - it lathers up well, feels very cool on the skin, and doesn't turn me into a frothing monster of doom, unlike some previous gels I've experimented with. It remains (loosely) controllable, and doesn't spread over your face like some voracious fungus intent on world domination. Which is a plus, in my book.
The final product I'm taking a look at in this post is the 'Original Cooling' Moisturiser, which (funnily enough) is applied within seconds after finishing with the gel above. Yet again, I have to compliment Bulldog on the packaging. It's disctinct, consistent, and presents a brand image that's very 'no nonsense', which appeals on several layers to male consumers. I do worry that the organic philosophy that lies behind Bulldog is not necessarily expressed particularly well when you look at their products, but anyone who is actually focussed on that sort of thing will take the time and effort to a) examine the packaging and b) spend some time researching the market for products that match up to their desires. Moving on, yet again, and back to the product. This time, the smell is toned down CONSIDERABLY. This is a moisturiser I would happily use again & again as it's smooth, creamy, and the aroma is genuinely relaxing as opposed to being really sharp. Certainly one for any/all mornings.
That's it from me - for now.... 
Get Lippie writes: So, the frothing monster of doom has awoken ... I'll have to see what I can get him thinking about reviewing next ...
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Tuesday 15 February 2011

Parian Spirit

Every once in a while a product comes along that's nothing less than a miracle.  Parian Spirit is one of those products.  In case you're wondering, it's a brush cleanser, but it's not like any other brush cleanser I've ever used, it's much, much better.  No water required, no shampooing, and no endless rinsing, it's a miracle.

Essentially, you just dip your brushes in a shallow dish of Parian spirit, it dissolves the makeup on them almost instantly, then you wipe the brush with a paper towel, and presto! Clean brushes which dry in a couple of hours, rather than overnight.

I'm demonstrating this on one of my favourite brushes, my blush brush from Pro Makeup Brushes, which is made of white goat hair, and takes on the colour of whatever you use on it almost instantly.

How to use Parian Spirit:

Pour a little into a shallow dish:

(It's there, honest!  Up to the third line on the bowl)
Then, dip your brush into the liquid:

Swirl the bristles around in the dish:

Then wipe the bristles on a paper towel:

Once done, your brush will look like this:

Clean, and almost dry!  This was just one pass in the liquid.

Once I'd tried it once on this badly stained white brush, I used this to clean my entire brush collection (which is huge, I have two sets for me, and one set that I use for makeovers, a collection of nearly 100 brushes in total) and was done in just a little over an hour.  Something that if I'd tried it with shampoo would have taken several hours, and some of the brushes would have taken several days to dry.

I've used it on both natural and synthetic brushes of all shapes and sizes, and it works astonishingly well on all of them, leaving brushes clean, conditioned and smelling gently of citrus - it's also antibacterial, so your brushes will be super-super clean.  I simply can't recommend this stuff highly enough.

You can buy Parian Spirit from Pro Makeup Brushes who currently have it on offer for £14.95 instead of £19.95 for a 473ml bottle.

The Fine Print: PR Sample, but I've had this in rotation for about four months now, and I'll be buying another bottle.

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Monday 14 February 2011

Reader Request - Handcreams

Well, it is Valentine's day, so I'm hoping all my readers will find at least one person they'd like to hold hands with today, so here's something to make sure your paws will be at their smooth best.  Now, I'll be honest, I don't use much in the way of handcreams - my hands aren't particularly dry, as a rule, and I'm blessed with good "hand genes", in my hands are always pretty smooth and youthful looking. Sorry! But, I do use handcream occasionally, especially at this time of year, and these are the three that I reach for when I need one:

For every day use, I have a tub of this on my desk at work:

 All for Eve Hand Cream.  Simple, easily absorbed, and beautifully herbal-scented, this is a great all rounder, and everyone at work who has tried it has ended up buying a tube.  In fact, it's the most seen beauty product in my office.  I think the fact that all the profits go to help The Eve Appeal make this a simple decision for me.  A "feel good" product that actually does good, it's a no-brainer.  At £7.50 for 100mls, it's an affordable treat too.

Most times, I have a tube of this  in my bag at all times too:

 Liz Earle Hand Repair.  When I first tried this hand cream - must be about 12 years ago now - this was a revolutionary texture for me. It's matte, and leaves your hands soft and moisturised, without ever feeling greasy, which is utterly wonderful. Again, it's easily absorbed and with a lovely herbal scent.  A 50 ml tube of this will set you back £8.95, so it's a bit more pricey than the All for Eve, but it's a very handy size for carrying around with you.

When my hands really need a bit of TLC I use a dollop of this:

Lanolips Wild Rose Balm Intense. Which is an incredibly rich, thick, even dense, balm of medical-grade lanolin which requires warming in the palms of your hands before it becomes soft enough to be spreadable onto your skin. Once that's done though, you're rewarded with a rose-scented treatment cream that's an incredible treat for parched skin.  It's fabulous on dry cuticles and anywhere you have dry, parched or even cracked skin.  It costs £8.95 for 50mls , but it's also available in a less intense version for dry skin which is £9.95 for 120 mls, making that one a bargain.  I find the smell of this one extremely (and randomly) nostalgic, in that it smells - ever so slightly - like the plastic they used to make Sindy's out of. 

Yes, I am a weird.  What are your recommendations for handcreams? 

The Fine Print:  These are all products I've quite happily spent my own pennies one.  Make of that what you will ...

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

I wish I'd looked after me teeth ...

Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth,
And spotted the perils beneath,
All the toffees I chewed,
And the sweet sticky food,
Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth.
I wish I'd been that much more willin'
When I had more tooth there than fillin'
To pass up gobstoppers,
From respect to me choppers
And to buy something else with me shillin'.
When I think of the lollies I licked,
And the liquorice allsorts I picked,
Sherbet dabs, big and little,
All that hard peanut brittle,
My conscience gets horribly pricked.
My Mother, she told me no end,
"If you got a tooth, you got a friend"
I was young then, and careless,
My toothbrush was hairless,
I never had much time to spend.
Oh I showed them the toothpaste all right,
I flashed it about late at night,
But up-and-down brushin'
And pokin' and fussin'
Didn't seem worth the time... I could bite!
If I'd known I was paving the way,
To cavities, caps and decay,
The murder of fillin's
Injections and drillin's
I'd have thrown all me sherbet away.
So I lay in the old dentist's chair,
And I gaze up his nose in despair,
And his drill it do whine,
In these molars of mine,
"Two amalgum," he'll say, "for in there."
How I laughed at my Mother's false teeth,
As they foamed in the waters beneath,
But now comes the reckonin'
It's me they are beckonin'
Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth.
Copyright: Pam Ayres

Who says a beauty blog can't be cultural?  That's, like proper poetry that is. Well, kind of. 

Anyhoo!  My teeth aren't that bad in reality, but they could do with a little sprucing up, I have to admit. So, I spent an interesting hour at The Welbeck Clinic yesterday, looking into getting my teeth whitened, and I've decided to go for it.

I hate my smile, and there's a reason you never see my teeth in my Face of the Day posts (and I'm aware there haven't been too many of those recently, long story, but they'll be back, consider this a warning), that's because my teeth are yellow, and I have a somewhat "gummy" grin, which I'm very self-conscious about and have trained myself over the years not to grin much.

So I approached my visit to Welbeck with some trepidation yesterday, I thought I'd be thrown out for having nasty teeth!  Luckily, the clinic is warm and welcoming, and Dr Joe couldn't have been nicer.  He explained the difference between the at home system (basically four hours a day wearing custom-made trays unable to eat or drink anything that might stain for 14 days)  and the laser-whitening (Zoom) system, which takes one visit to the dentist and a couple of days in trays at home.  I opted for the Zoom laser, it just sounds easier, quicker, and well, it involves a laser, and anyone who read my blog post yesterday will know how I feel about those ...

During my consultation Dr Joe was totally honest about how the process is entirely unpredictable, and results will vary individual to individual, which I appreciated.  He also pointed out that I have translucent teeth tips and these won't whiten at all during the process.  To be honest, I hadn't even noticed I had translucency issues.  I'm just hoping my teeth don't go completely invisible over the years! 

I then had my impressions taken, from which they make my trays for the at-home portion of the whitening (which takes four days) a process which was surprisingly easy, and super-speedy, and didn't taste as strange as I expected it too, which was nice. It took about seven minutes start to finish to complete the whole thing.  I go to collect those on 23rd February, and then the full whitening will go ahead on 1st March ... I can't wait.  New gnashers will be mine ... for a year or two, it's not a permanent process.

Whilst I was there, I also enquired about gum sculpture, but it turns out I'm not a suitable candidate as I'm not having veneers, so, whilst I can't deal with my "gummy" grin, at least the teeth you can see will be white and shiny!

I'll be back with before & after photos later, is there anything else you'd like to know about the process?  Also, has anyone else had this done, what can I expect, do you think?

This post originated at: All rights reserved.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

LMS Spotlights

This is a Red Light Therapy Unit.  Yup, I didn't know what it was either, but this little gizmo has been unbelievably handy recently.

In a nutshell, the LMS Spotlight is designed to help you keep your skin clear from spots and blemishes via the use of red LEDs (which provide the light).  Red light, shone on trouble spots at the right wavelength, apparently stimulates the body's natural defence systems, and enables it to relieve problems like spots.  Apparently, it activates adenosine triphospate in the skin, and this starts the healing process off more quickly than you would expect.  The technology was initially developed by NASA, and is used a lot by physiotherapists. Colour light therapy is also widely used in hospitals around the country for a variety of problems - my mum is a licensed therapist (she's also a Reiki Master, but we don't like to talk about it). It's also meant to be good for headaches (according to unofficial sources, so don't quote me - thanks, mum), but I haven't tried out this unit for that purpose.

So, the "science bit" - please don't presume I know anything about science, as should be most definitely clear by now, I actually don't - out of the way, does this work on spots?  Well, the answer, surprisingly, would appear to be yes.  I picked one of these up the other week and the very next day woke up with a whopping great cystic zit on my neck, one of those painful ones that takes a week to work up into an actual spot, and appears for that week to have it's own central nervous system, not to mention a pulse rivalling your own.  I suspected for a while that it had its own gravitational pull too, but I could be mistaken.  Perfect timing though, admittedly!

However, I used the LMS as directed - you put the unit against the spot, turn it on, and leave the affected area illuminated in red light for a minute, three times a day - and, by the following morning, there was a most definite reduction in the size of the spot, and, I have to say that the spot very definitely felt less painful every time I used the unit, which was a nice surprise.

On the second day, there was merely a slight red mark indicating where the spot would have been.  I was a little astonished, nothing works that quickly!  Since then, I've used it almost exclusively on MrLippie's skin - he's a little more spot-prone than me, bless him - and it's had an astonishing hit rate, spots appear to calm down after just one "zapping" (and if you're thinking that there's nothing more fun than pretending to be attacking your other half with a "laser" several times a day, then you'd be right - but then I am very easily pleased, and a girl has to get her fun somewhere), and are almost entirely gone by the third go-round.  It's very easy to use too, turn it on, and leave it on till it switches itself off.  Simples!

Great stuff - highly recommended, anything that gets rid of spots without drying your skin out is okay with me!  The LMS units cost from £29.99 - £69.99 (depending on the amount of LED's in the unit, which in turn relates to how much skin you want the unit to cover), and are available either from Harrods or the LMS Spotlight website.

The Fine Print: Sample provided by PR.Fun Factor: Priceless

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Monday 7 February 2011

The Breakfast Scrub - Soap & Glory

I'm a snob.  I know it, always have been, most likely always will be, but that said, even I do like a decent high street product that costs less than a tenner!

Soap & Glory.  Oh, how I wish their products appealed to me more, I really do. I love that they have a sense of humour, but sometimes I think (actually, scratch that, I know) that I'm not their target market, and so I tend to ignore them in Boots.

Well, more fool me, eh?  Having been introduced to body scrubs by the wonderful Haus of Gloi recently, when a tub of this turned up recently, I thought I'd give it a go.  And I'm glad I did.

Fairly solid in the tub - nothing annoys me more than a runny scrub that you end up merely rinsing off the bottom of the bath - and smelling deliciously of maple syrup, owing to that, porridge, shea butter and ... banana* being it's major ingredients alongside salt, sugar and glycerine, this is a good scrub.  In the hands it remains fairly solid, and it exfoliates even the hardest skin very nicely without making the bath a slippery nightmare.  I found it dealt with the scaly skin on my shins - that I suffer with every winter - very well indeed, and didn't cause any redness or itching.

Whilst I didn't enjoy using it quite as much as my Haus of Gloi Bubbling Scrub (it doesn't lather, and the scent isn't as complex, being rather foody, but enjoyable all the same), it's a perfectly acceptable substitute and, at £9.45 from Boots, it's a fairly reasonable price for a massive tub.  Although the S&G website states it's only £7.50 ...

The Fine Print: PR sample, but a very welcome one.

* I HATE BANANAS.  There, I said it.

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Friday 4 February 2011

Perfume Portrait at Ormonde Jayne

I've had some astonishing invitations through this blog, but being invited along to Ormonde Jayne to meet Linda Pilkington and have a chat about perfume has been one of my favourites.  Linda has been the brains and inspiration behind Ormonde Jayne for ten years, and has produced some of the most highly praised scents in the world during that time.

I popped along to her new store in London's Sloane Square one lunchbreak last week, and sat for a "perfume portrait" with the lady herself.  Open to everyone, the portrait aims to pick out the scents that will best suit you from the Ormonde Jayne range, according to how well you like (or dislike) particular scents.  It starts with a few questions about perfumes you love, mine were Clinique Aromatics Elixir, Chanel Crystalle, Guerlain Herba Fresca and O de Lancome. Then you have to move onto perfumes you dislike, which in my case were LouLou (it makes me vomit) and Eden (ditto).  Many, many apologies to Cacherel there, but ... well, they do.

Then the most interesting part, Linda guides you through smelling 21 raw ingredients (divided into seven different categories) and asks you if you like them or not.  There are no right or wrong answers, but I liked many of the ingredients, apart from Tiare and Tonka.  I suspect that it is (tiare in particular) those two pesky little ingredients that are behind my intolerance to particular perfumes.  I think Linda was surprised by some of my reactions, she let slip that she'd thought I'd be a great candidate for Tolu, but I hated all the ingredients!

At the end of this, Linda asks a few more questions, along the lines of particular habits you might have, any preferences, and picks out a few scents from her range.  There are 12 perfumes in the line, and Linda selected three for me to try, Champaca, Osmanthus and Zizan.  All extremely different to one another!  Champaca is a "deconstructed" floral with hints of rice and bamboo, Osmanthus is a zesty citrus floral, and Zizan is a masculine vetiver-based fragrance.

I have to say, I liked them all, but the one that really called out to me was Zizan.  For years I've preferred men's fragrances to women's, finding them both better lasting and - to my nose - more interesting than many women's fragrances.  That said, it was interesting to have it confirmed in a blind smell-test!  

I love the scent of Zizan, it reminds me (in a good way) of Acqua di Parma.  Not in the way that it smells - they're not really alike at all - but both scents remind me of the warm smell of a man you know well, intimate, and a tad sexy.   It's a proper, old-school scent, something that if I smelled it on a man would make me swoon a little, but on my skin it's a warm, grapefruity (vetiver always heads towards grapefruit on me, albeit without the sulphurous undertones), lightly smoky and wonderfully playful scent that I can see myself wearing year round.  I suspect MrLippie would smell magnificent in it, but as of yet, I'm refusing to relinquish MY  bottle.  

As for Osmanthus, I was a little unsure at first, but over the hours that it developed, I fell in love with it more and more, and have an inkling that a purchase might be in order.  In fact, I'm tempted to go back and buy the discovery kit, as I suspect that I'll like a LOT of this range once I try them properly.  I think I really do have try Champaca as well ... But Tolu may well be a complete no-no for this particular blogger.

The Sloane Street store is a delight of black laquer with tangerine accents, and the friendly and delightfully knowledgeable staff are a real treat to chat with.  Linda herself was wonderfully chatty, and I have to admit that if I had more time, I'd have been perfectly happy to spend the entire afternoon at the store.  

Perfume Portraits are free, and depending on the time available will take from 6 minutes to an hour - mine took 40 minutes, but we got distracted talking about jacuzzis for a while.  You know, like you do ...  There's also a wonderful service where you can book out the store and take five of your friends along for a glass of champagne and a perfume portrait each.  Who's with me?

As far as my Project Perfume is concerned, the visit was a complete bust, as I wasn't "matched" to any of the perfumes on my list, but I think the visit was all the better for not being tied to smelling particular items.  Many thanks to Linda and her team for making me so welcome last week, it was a delight, and I'll be back.

You can find out more about Ormonde Jayne here.

The Fine Print: Get Lippie was a guest of Ormonde Jayne, and a perfume sample was provided for the purposes of this article.  However, the service itself is free to all visitors to the store. Pop along, you'll surprise yoursel!  As always, links in this article are for informational purposes only, and are not affiliate links.

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Thursday 3 February 2011

Tom Ford Lipsticks - Bruised Plum and Smoke Red Swatched

L-R Bruised Plum, Pure Pink, Smoke Red
 I posted about my wonderful Christmas present of two Tom Ford lipsticks recently (and well done to all who spotted the difference!), and I had a few requests for swatches, so here they are:

Top Direct daylight - Bottom artificial light (no flash on either)
 The sharp eyed amongst you today might notice that Pure Pink has snuck in there, it's a pesky wee thing, always wanting the limelight ... anyhoo, Bruised Plum is a wonderful deep dark plum that isn't as overpowering as you might expect from the shade in the bullet.  I feared looking like an elderly goth in this one, but it's actually surprisingly easy to wear, particularly when it's sheered out a little.  Smoke Red is a beautiful red shade, which isn't as brown as I was expecting from the name.  It's probably the one of these three that I'm going to get the most use out of, but I wear them all very happily.

I've not noticed many other blog posts that have pointed out that these are actually shimmery lipsticks, and in fact, it was only when I was looking at Smoke Red in particular lighting that I noticed it myself.  I've done my best to show the micro-shimmer in the below pics:

With the red one especially, it might help to enlarge the pics, but in Smoke Red there's a hefty dose of red micro-shimmer and in Bruised Plum there's a smattering of blue and red micro-shimmer.  I have to say that since I've noticed this my appreciation for these lipsticks has actually shot up.  The micro-shimmers just add a certain depth and vibrancy to the shades, without adding glitter or sparkle, and that's a heck of a trick to pull off in a lipstick.  Kudos, Tom Ford!  I haven't noticed the shimmer (if any) in the Pure Pink though.

As for lip swatches, here you go, Bruised Plum first, then Smoke Red:

Not a huge amount of difference in the shades, they're both firmly in my comfort zone, and I'm liking them a great deal.  If you want a lipswatch of the Pure Pink, then please click here.

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