Beauty Without Fuss

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Current Skincare - Night & Day

I've been ill recently, necessitating a more than a couple of hospital trips, and it means I need a small procedure later on in the year. It's nothing too serious, but the feeling of being more rundown than usual has been showing in my skin, and as a result I've had to break out some of the big guns in my skincare arsenal.  Far from being a pain, I've found myself really enjoying taking care of my skin recently, mainly thanks to these somewhat ... er, luxurious* products.  I have two routines, evening and morning, and I'll take you through them both.


In the evening, I like to give myself a really thorough cleanse, using a lot of massage techniques.  Le Belle Oil Cleanser (£28) is a fairly thick oil-based cleanser which doesn't really emulsify, so is perfect for a really thorough cleanse when you've got a full-face of makeup on.  And even if you don't, it's still great for a really deep cleanse. I rinse using one of my gazillion washi cloths and some hot water, then I give my face a good going over with a Zelens PHA Bio-Peel Resurfacing Face Pad (£65) These are a recent discovery for me, and I LOVE them.

Based on a combination of AHAs and BHAs, alongside PHAs, and with a combination of acids (including salicylic, lactic, citric and polyhydroxy)  these are a gentler alternative to my beloved Alpha-H Liquid Gold.  They help to resurface, and rehydrate your skin overnight.  When my skin is feeling sensitive, it's easier to use these then the Alpha H, and I can really tell the difference.  I follow with a spritz of toner (see morning), then add two drops of Sjal Saphir Concentrate Oil (£125) An anti-ageing oil suffused with sapphire, this stuff is amazing, plumping and firming, it's a pleasure to use. I use it as a serum rather than a moisturiser, as it's rather light, so I finish with a tiny dab of Zelens Z Recovery Intensive Repair Balm (£140).  Again, on the pricey side, this is the one product on this list that I'd go without shoes to re-purchase.  A thick, slightly gummy "balm", it leaves the skin plump and hydrated, plus it soothes and repairs any dry patches or irritated skin.  It's light and non-greasy, and after applying, I always look forward to seeing how great my skin looks the morning after, if I could marry a product, this would be The One.


 I do another oil cleanse, this time with Nude Cleansing Facial Oil 28) it is lighter than the Le Belle, and emulsifies easily in water.  This is my default cleanser - I may dabble with others, but Nude is the one I return to again and again and again, even in this, my fourth (eep!) year as a beauty blogger

After rinsing with a washi, I spritz again with toner, this time with Sjal Mineral Kalla Energy Tonic (£50), which is hydrating and calming, and sets your skin up for serums and moisturiser nicely. For daytime use, I like Darphin Camomile Aromatic Care (£41), as I find it it both soothing, and protective for my "prone to redness and sensitivity" skin.  Finally, I apply a layer of Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream ($55), which contains both goat milk (good for a lactic acid dose), and aloe vera for soothing, plus avocado and jojoba oils for hydration.  Sadly, SpaceNK have dropped the Kate Somerville line, so I beg everyone I know who has a trip to the US planned to pick some up for me, and this is my fourth jar.

I realise that this is an expensive routine in anyone's book, but what price skin?

*  Expensive.  Yes, I KNOW.

The Fine Print: I sold my soul to PRs, various relatives, and several online retailers for some of these products, which are a combination of samples, gifts and (in a surprisingly large proportion) purchases.  You don't even want to know what the MiL wanted in return for the Goat Milk Cream ...

Oh, all links in this post are for informational purposes only, and are NOT affiliate links.
This post: Current Skincare - Night & Day originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Dove Creme Mousse Body Wash

I don't get too excited about shower gel, as a rule - unless it's fragranced like one of my favourite perfumes, or, well, rhubarb - but Dove offered me the chance to try out their newest body wash, and I thought I'd give it a go.  I also had some visitors over for the weekend, and I thought I'd get them to try it as well.

It's a rich, thick, pearlescent cream (not quite a mousse, there's not enough air in it for that), that smells slightly sweet, and lathers up really well.  I found that my skin very definitely felt softer after using this than it does with my normal shower gels, which surprised me and I can tell this, because I don't routinely use body lotion.  Don't hate me! 

My special-guest reviewer - actually my baby sister - says: "this smelt really nice, lathered very well indeed, and left my skin feeling smoother than a baby's bottom".

High praise indeed from a very hard to please audience.  I liked it, I have no idea whatsoever what the "nutrium moisture" referred to on the bottle actually is, but my skin seems to like it...

The Fine Print: This is a sponsored post.

This post: originated at  If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, this this content has been stolen by a scraper.

Monday 29 October 2012

I'm A Collector: Serge Lutens

I love how they look like a chemistry set
 Turns out I've accidentally been a "niche" perfume collector for years now.  An entire lifetime ago, a tiny collection of six (or it may have been eight) fragrances appeared in my local Debenhams, and I was shocked and appalled to discover that they cost a whopping £40 each.  Naturally, I ended up buying two.

I'd never heard of the brand "Serge Lutens" at the time, and it was described to me as a range from a French artist who was more concerned with the story of a fragrance, than the fragrance itself, at the time I thought it was just so much bullhooey, but I realise, as time goes on, that the sales assistant wasn't talking that much rubbish, to be honest.

Anyhoo, I thought you might like a little tour around my collection, so here goes:

From left to right, we have La Myrrhe (bell jar), Tuberose Criminelle, Ambre Sultan, Vitriol D'Oeillet, Sa Majestie La Rose, A La Nuit, Un Bois Vanille, Clair de Musc, L'eau Froide.  That's nine, there used to be ten, but I had to part with my bottle of Jeux de Peau because my nose registered it as rancid margarine, and that's not a fragrance I adore to be honest ...

Anyhoo, in no particular order, here are some thoughts on each of these:

Sa Majestie La Rose and A La Nuit were the first two Lutens that I bought, and these bottles must be the best part of fifteen years old now as a result. Actually, on checking, I can see that both these scents were released in 2000 - which fits - and that means that my versions are original bottles in that case.   

Sa Majestie is a thick, rich rose which feel red, red, red on the skin, it's fairly sweet, but with a hint of the greenery underneath a rose bush to it too. I think the scent has some minty facets to it too, but there is no mistaking that this is, first and foremost a rose fragrance.   A La Nuit, on the other hand is a jasmine, almost a soliflore, it's very very strong at first, but softens down to something more wearable after a couple of hours.  If you don't like jasmine, then avoid this by all means possible.  These are, to some extent, the yardstick by which I measure any and all rose/jasmine fragrances to this day.  Whilst these are both almost photo-real flower fragrances, which plenty of punch, they're amongst the simplest fragrances, being almost linear from start to finish, amongst the Lutens collection.

Ambre Sultan.  Oh man, how much do I love Ambre Sultan?  A lot, is the answer.  It is dry, rich, woody, spicy, powdery and incensey, all at the same time. It feels like wandering around a spice market, wearing powdery furs, and as such, it's not an amber fragrance for the shy and retiring. Last winter it was the only fragrance I wanted to wear, and I have a hard time picking out other fragrances in my collection to wear instead, still.  An all-time classic.

Tuberose Criminelle: I love tuberose, and this fragrance highlights all the strange aspects inherent in the flower, the first blast is all menthol, camphor, and rubber.  It's one of the most shockingly odd fragrance openings I've ever come across, and it never fails to make me smile. Once you get past this Listerine-gasoline blast, there's a rich, creamy and adorable white floral fragrance behind it, but your work colleagues might prefer it if you apply this a good hour or two before you get to the office ...

Vitrol d'Oeillet: Or, Angry Carnation.  My search for a proper carnation scent goes on.  Have you ever stuck your nose into a bunch of carnations?  Of course you haven't, everyone (seemingly) hates the poor carnation, but do yourself a favour, and the next time you're given a bunch of supermarket flowers replete with carnations, stick your nose in and take a really good sniff, it'll be peppery, and clovey, and spicy, and not in the slightest bit sweet.  Luten's take on carnation tones down the spicy (angry) facets of carnation with violet, and sweetens it up, so it loses a bit of punch.  I love it regardless - as I do any carnation scent - but ... it's not the one.

Un Bois Vanille: A smoky vanilla, with hints of licorice and coconut.  Should leave you smelling like a pudding, but by avoiding making it too sweet, it just avoids being reminiscent of custard.  I love how this smells on MrLippie (I occasionally spritz him with it when he's not paying attention), as it makes a really good male scent too.  If you love sweet scents, this is a great gateway into more "grown-up" fragrances.  Highly recommended.

La Myrrhe: The Serge Lutens collection has two different lines, the export (in the square bottles you see at the top) and the Bell Jars, which are only available in Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido from Paris, La Myrrhe is one I purchased last year, to celebrate my first ever trip to France, and I adore it.  From the rosy aldehydic opening, which is almost soapy in it's freshness, to the slightly smokey and incensey dry down, this is a beautiful scent.  It doesn't last anything near long enough on my skin (basically, all I want from every fragrance I own is seemingly a big, ballsy, opening, and frankly, nuclear lasting power), but the bottle is beautiful, and the fact that I'm hugely unikely to bump into anyone else wearing it just adds to the appeal.

L'Eau Froide: Icy fresh incense.  A bit of a contradiction, and I don't really have much to say about this one, except that I prefer it to the original L'Eau, which to me smelled like vaguely scented coffee-flavoured washing powder.  Nice in the summer, but nothing really to get over excited about.  For me.

And finally: Clair de Musc: No one I know gives this one much love, and if you read reviews online, many of the people I don't know don't like it all that much either.  Me, somewhat to my own surprise, I love it. It's a light, clean, almost laundry-esque musk fragrance, somewhat clean, but rather lacking in that "fresh" note that makes a lot of light fragrances smell the same.  It also smells a little powdery, almost baby-powdery, but most of all, it smells like skin.  Beautiful, clear, skin. When I first smelled it, it brought back intense memories of an aunt who died not long after I moved to London, and of my grandmother, who died when I was 13, it still does.  I got a bit emotional smelling this, truth be told.  It's now rocketed to the top of my list of fragrances to wear at my wedding in February.  It's not groundbreaking, it's not complicated, it's just ... lovely.  And if it will help me think of those relatives who can't be at my wedding, so much the better.

Jeez, this post has turned into a monster ... sorry!  But the truth is that there are a lot of Lutens available, and they can be addictive.  Even now, ten bottles later, I still have a list of others I want to try:

Chergui: Cherry-tobacco, sounds wonderful, and I'm wondering if it will bring back memories of my grandfather.
Sarrasins: Another Lutens jasmine, this time darker and less bright than A La Nuit, it sounds fascinating.
Muscs Koubla Khan: filthy, dirty, disgusting musk, the exact opposite of Clair de Musc.  I like a contrast. Also, I want to test it against Maison Francis Kurkdijan's Absolue Pour le Soir, and see which one wins the skank-off ...
Feminite du Bois: Spices, cedar and plums. This is possibly the most famous, and most highly lauded of the Lutens fragrances, and it makes me feel like a bad blogger that I don't own a bottle.
Daim Blond: Whenever I smell this, I think of a soft suede rose, in a pale apricot shade.  As this is more or less the ingredient list, I think I need this one ...

So there you have it.  My accidental niche collection, which I still want  to grow.  Anything you thought sounded interesting?

The Fine Print: A mixture of purchases, presents, and the occasional sample from a variety of sources.  I wish you could still get them in Debenhams.  And that they were still £40, I'd probably have the full set by now ... Inflation sucks.

This post: I'm A Collector: Serge Lutens originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper.  Scrapers are scum.

Sunday 28 October 2012

Sneaky Peek ...

My desk fills up with random beauty clutter throughout the week whilst I'm figuring out what I want to be writing about.  I wander around the flat, picking things up as inspiration strikes, and it all ends up here. Along with random wrappers and press releases and, well, stuff As you can see, perfume and skincare have been on my mind at the moment.  All this (and a tiny bit more ...) coming up on the blog this week!  If you have any specific requirements, then now is the time to let me know ...

This post: Sneaky Peek ... originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Friday 26 October 2012

OPI & Bare Minerals Collaboration

It's becoming more and more trendy to match your nails to your lipstick, or your lips to your nails (depending on preference), and Bare Minerals - queens of collaborations at the moment - and OPI have teamed up this winter to help you out.

These cute duos, consisting of a Pretty Amazing lip colour and a matching OPI polish apiece will be exclusively available from QVC next month, and will cost £20.50 each.  

From left to right, we have:

OPI Elephantastic Pink/Bare Minerals Moxie - A sugary, almost pastel pink
OPI Big Apple Red/Bare Minerals Strength - A classic blue red
OPI Barefoot in Barcelona/Bare Minerals Free Will - A medium nude-caramel
OPI I'm Indi-a Mood For Love/Bare Minerals Ambition - A cool medium pink

I've reviewed Bare Minerals Pretty Amazing lip colours before, they have a great opaque texture and don't dry your lips out, here's how they swatch:

These are a fantastic match for the nail polish shades, and I can vouch for the fact that they're a great formula.  At £20.50 for the pair (which would normally cost £26 if you bought them separately), they're a good bargain too.

I've been wearing I'm Indi-a Mood For Love for nearly a week now:

Man, I need me a full manicure!
 It's probably one of my favourite shades, I wear it on my toes quite regularly as it's such a cheery shade.

What do you think, will you be indulging? 

The Fine Print: PR samples, but I already own a bottle of India, so there.  I paid cash money for it too.

This post: originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Thursday 25 October 2012

Estee Lauder Double Wear

Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation is the best-selling foundation in the UK.  I was a bit surprised when I found that out, but realistically, I shouldn't have been, because, for a long time in my late twenties, Double Wear was the only foundation I ever wore.  Actually, coming to think about it now, it's probably the first foundation I ever used.

Let me explain. I had a blessedly zit-free existence until I was 26, my teenage years passed in an acne-free haze.  I was clear-skinned, and delightfully pore-free.  I had no skin-care routine whatsoever, washing my face as and when I felt like it, and my makeup usually consisted of a tonne of eyeshadow, lashings upon lashings of eyeliner, and any lipstick I could put my hands on.  Blusher and mascara were optional, and I don't think I even knew what foundation was at the time.

I woke up one day at the age of 26, with adult-onset acne, my chin, in particular was zit-central, but there wasn't really any area of my face that got away scott-free, and my skin was the bane of my existence. Add to this that I had increasingly red and flaky skin, well, it wasn't good. Someone on the internet recommended Estee Lauder Double Wear to me, and it was life-changing.  A good, high-coverage foundation that covered up even the reddest of inflamed and spotty skins?  I was in.

However, at that time, Double Wear was only available in six shades, and, well, they were all slightly orange.  But, taking the lesser of two evils into consideration, being a little bit tangerine was a small price to pay to have my zits hidden, and I gladly paid it (and the £18 it cost - which I thought was extortionate, how times have changed!  Now, an £18 foundation would be midrange, but I'm digressing). 

All this has been a very long and roundabout way of saying that Estee Lauder Double Wear is now available in 30 shades ... and not all of them are orange!   Good old Fresco (what used to be the lightest shade) is still available, but it's now abutted by 29 other shades which should ensure that there is a match for most people.

The shades are in six different colour groupings, 1 being the palest, and 6 the darkest, with warm, neutral and cool tones (W, N, C) within each group. I got matched recently to shade 2N1 Desert Beige, which you can see above. I have pale (but not that pale) skin, and neutral is normally a good match for me, whilst my skin is usually on the cooler side, I do actually tan quite well, and my eyes are hazel, both of which normally mean you're warm-toned, but I'll stick with neutral, thanks.

My hands are WAY paler than my face, for some reason.
Re-trying Double Wear has been fun, actually, I see a lot of people wearing it these days - sometimes, if it's been over-applied, then powdered to heavily (something I see fairly regularly, even in people who should know better, frankly) you can just tell.  The trick to a natural application with this, and it is possible, is to apply as little as possible, then buff, buff, buff the liquid into your skin, until you're left with as natural a finish as possible.  Personally I don't powder over - but then I only ever use powder once in a blue moon anyway.

I love how Double Wear lasts, it never needs reapplying in the middle of the day, and you very rarely need concealer, either, just, you know, take care not to over-apply, guys ...

The  Fine Print: PR Sample - if you ever get a chance to meet Alan Pan, the Lauder International Makeup artist, jump at it, he's a scream. 

This post: originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup Review

A review of two halves, this one.

I was so, so excited when I read about Giorgio Maestro Fusion Makeup, and was desperate to try it.  Described as a blend of five different oils, with a powder-free formulation, I thought this would be great for my combination-oily, but occasionally dehydrated skin.  I'm a massive convert to oils these days, using them for cleansing, moisturising, and as serums.  When it first arrived, and I first had a play on the back of my hand, I was exceptionally excited, I can honestly say I've not tried a foundation similar to it.

It's an exceptionally thin and runny liquid, which very much needs the dropper it comes with.  You do literally only need around 5-6 drops to cover your whole face.

 It spreads very easily, and is virtually undetectable on the skin, you can neither feel it, nor see it, it's amazing.  It blends away exceptionally easily, and leaves a matte finish (something I wasn't really expecting, admittedly). It has a very sheer coverage, but I find that it evens out the skintone very nicely.  This is shade five, which is right in the middle of the range, there are nine shades, which promise to match every skintone.  In actuality, the shades are very forgiving, and adapt well to individual tones, so picking up something that doesn't quite match isn't the tragedy it can be with some other foundations.  It's not great at covering imperfections though, so bear in mind that you will need a concealer with this foundation.

You should be able to see the slight difference on my hand there, but please bear in mind that my hands are much paler than my face, it actually matches pretty well with my complexion.

The first day I wore this, however, I was bitterly disappointed. Just four hours or so into wear, my face was showing "dehydration lines", and the foundation was clinging, patchily, onto any dry patches of skin.  It looked awful.  Dreadful. Possibly the worst foundation I've ever worn.  It made me look very old, exhausted, and worn out. NOT what you want in a foundation.  I put it away, and vowed never to use it again.

In the meantime, however, I've read a lot of similar reviews, and they made me think that maybe I should give it a second chance. My skin is in better condition at the moment than it was around the time of my initial testing,  and I've been wearing Maestro for a week or so as a result.  I'm happier with it, as, because my skin isn't dry or dehydrated right now, the formulation doesn't cling to any flaky patches, or settle into dehydration lines.

Whilst it's great that I can now use this to even out my skintone on good-skin/no makeup days, it kind of defeats the object of foundation, really.   The fact that my skin has to be in tip-top condition before I can use the product is galling - who has perfect skin?  I'll stick to Armani Face Fabric for good skin days.

Here's how it looks on my mush - you can see it doesn't cover pores, and is clinging slightly to my nose, but aside from that, I quite like the finish.

Lipstick is Burberry Miliary Red, I'm wearing a bit of mascara, but that's it.
Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup costs £36.  What do you think?

The Fine Print:  PR Sample, and a long-overdue review. Good Face Days are few and far between.  Camel-face days on the other hand ... well ...

This post: originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Monday 22 October 2012

Burberry Lip Velvet - Military Red

I've been researching red lipsticks rather thoroughly recently (for a piece in SLiNK), and, being fond of a bit of Burberry makeup, this has been a nice addition to my collection.  It's from their new matte lipstick collection.

It's packaged in a matte tube, rather than the shiny pewter livery that we're used to:

 (personally, I prefer the shiny, but that's just because I'm a bit of a magpie)

I do adore the Burberry pattern embossed into the bullet, it just gives these lipsticks that little more ... oomph, somehow.  Admittedly, this is about the only place I do like the Burberry pattern, but that's by the by.

The shade is a classic bright, bright red, and Military Red is a good name for the shade, it definitely brings to mind the scarlet jackets of the military.

It's not a harsh matte formulation, it has plenty of slip, and is opaque in more or less one pass over the lips.  The formula doesn't dry the lips out, either, which is great.

This is, however, one of the brightest reds I own.  And I kind of love it for that.  It's very definitely a statement shade, if you're wearing this, no one will notice much, if anything else that you have on your face, so it's definitely not one for wallflowers.   I think of it (a little bit) as a Snow White kind of red, ie one that's perfect for the very pale, I can see this working very well on the very pale, or the very dark, I'm not too sure how it would work on a medium or olive skintone, to be honest.

Here it is in the context of my face:

 I really like this shade, the formulation hasn't blown me away as much as some other matte formulations have this year (Art Deco, for example), but it's a great lipstick all the same.  I haven't noticed any bleeding, and it lasts quite well, but can fade somewhat from the centre.

Burberry Lip Velvets cost £23 and are available from Harrods - incidentally, the shade swatches on the Harrods website bear no relation whatsoever to the actual lipstick shades, I've noticed, so make sure you do a thorough search around the internet to check out the colour of any lipsticks you want to buy.  

The Fine Print: Press sample, but there's a few other shades that I want to pick up, I think...

This post: originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Friday 19 October 2012

Tom Ford Tainted Love Lip and Cheek Stain

...Sometimes I feel I've got to run away
I've got to get away
From the pain you drive into the heart of me.
The love we share seems to go nowhere

Ahem ... anyway, I doubt very much this product was inspired by Soft Cell, but one never knows.  The latest collection from Tom Ford is a seasonal one, and, for me, this is the most interesting product.  
Packaged identically to the iconic Tom Ford Private Blend lipsticks (which is both a blessing and a curse, to be honest), this is Tom's first lip and cheek stain.

It has a rounded top, unlike the lipstick's slanted edge, which makes it easier for application on the cheeks rather the the lips, and it has a sheerer formulation than the traditional lipsticks:

Oops!  Used before photographing, sorry!
My bullet feels a little loose in the housing, as you can probably tell from the markings towards the middle of the stain - which I find infuriating in such a high-end product, tbh - but this is essentially a sheer berry shade, which should be flattering on most paler skins.  I'm not sure it would show up too much on the cheeks of darker skins, but it would still work as a lip stain.  It's a lovely colour, not too blue, and not too pink, which is a very fine line.

Strangely, I find myself  preferring this as a cheek colour to a lip stain, it's got a fair amount of slip, blends easily, and gives just a tiny kiss of flushed colour to your skin, it's deeply pretty, and looks very natural. 
On my lips, the colour just doesn't quite work, as my lips are quite pigmented naturally, and it doesn't quite do enough to even out any patchy shading.  But if your lips are more evenly pigmented, or are paler, than mine then it will work better, it's just a little too close to my natural shade to be useable, really.
It doesn't, really, have any staining properties that I'm aware of having tested it a few times, now.  It's far more Lipstick Queen Medieval than Benetint, if that makes any sense.  It's basically a sheer lip colour, which is fairly emollient, than a stain of any description whatsoever, really.
Tainted Love Lip & Cheek "stain" is a limited edition product, and is on counters now at £36.

 The Fine Print: PR sample.

This post: originated at:  Get Lippie on 19th October 2012. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper
© Get Lippie | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template by pipdig