Beauty Without Fuss

Monday 31 December 2012

What a year!

Well, it's very definitely been a year of highs and lows, but when it was good, 2012 was very good indeed.

Some of the highs: 

Get Lippie was nominated for awards by both Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan magazines, and on the other side of the coin,  I was both a judge for the annual Debenham's Beauty Awards, and continued to judge the Creative Head Most Wanted awards, which I've been involved with since 2010.  In June, in the most amazing spot of luck, I was appointed beauty editor of SLiNK Magazine!  An amazing honour, and one I'm enjoying hugely.  There have been some amazing events this year, and, after years of nagging, I finally managed to get a piece published on Basenotes!  2012 has shown me that Get Lippie (and writing generally) continues to be one of the most fabulous hobbies around. Topping it all off was speaking at Mumsnet Blogfest alongside such luminaries as Caitlin Moran, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, Sali Hughes, oh, and that personality-vortex Liz Jones ...

And I got engaged this year too! Hopefully the #LippieWedding prep is mostly done now! I hope so, anyway, I just want to get on with the fun stuff ... 

It's not all been fun and games though, there's been some fairly serious illness and a few tears along the way, all of which has given me a new perspective on things. I'm also guessing the next couple of months will be ... interesting, both from a personal and professional point of view (I'm an accountant, and in a fluke caused by changing jobs six months ago, I've planned my wedding slap-bang in the middle of the busiest time of year. Oopsie!), but Get Lippie will still be here, come rain or come shine, as it has been for the last three and a half years ... maybe not as often, but it'll still be here.

I'm not always the greatest at replying to emails or tweets, or even comments on here sometimes (you try working one full-time, alongside two part-time jobs, then plan a wedding on top of that, and see how appealing logging onto a computer in your "spare" time feels), but every single reader of this blog is appreciated - even you, anonymous commenter who thinks every word I write is poo, hey, you keep my stats up, bless you! - and every communication is cherished, I only wish I had a little more time ...

A happy, healthy and prosperous 2013 to each and every one of you.

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Wednesday 19 December 2012

Best of 2012 - Skincare with Zelens

 Can't deny it, this was a tough category for me this year, I'm still mourning the loss of Kate Somerville products, which have been withdrawn from the UK completely, denying me my regular dose of Goat Cream, and, I'll be honest, I still haven't found a moisturiser that I love as much as that much-missed product yet.

However, Zelens is proving a real contender, I have to say.  I've spent the last quarter of the year fairly  ill with kidney problems (both serious and not), and as a result, my skin has suffered. It's been dehydrated, reddened, flaky and prone to spots recently, which has been infuriating.  However, Dr Marko Lens is a skincare genius, and, in particular his PHA+ Bio-Peel Resurfacing Facial Pads have been a lifesaver.

Gentle enough to use twice a day, with it's blend of Poly- Beta- and Alpha- hydroxy acids, these have helped refine my skin, and soothe the redness.  They tingle a little on application, but I can tell the difference every single time I use these, I can't imagine being without them again, even if I have had to cut the pads in half recently so I could eke them out, and make them last!  I love that the entire range is mineral oil and paraben-free too.

I've been following my use of the pads with the Zelens Z Recovery Intensive Moisture balm, which I adore - the gel-texture just suits my skin down to the ground, and I find it makes a magnificent night-cream on dehydrated days.  I think I need to try the Moisture Infusion, I have a feeling it might make a better day cream for me - could it be the one to replace Kate Somerville?  Who knows ...  It's pricey, but for me, it works, and therefore it's worth every penny.
The Fine Print: PR Samples.  Kidney problems all my own. 

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Monday 17 December 2012

Best of 2012 - Permanent Makeup with Tracie Giles

My depth perception isn't so great, I'm both long-sighted and short-sighted, which makes plucking my eyebrows a challenge! Especially when you take into consideration that as well as not seeing very well, I'm also a cack-handed muppet ...

That said, when the opportunity to trial permanent makeup with Tracie Giles came along, I did have to think long and hard about it. My eyebrows - badly plucked though they might be, are thick and, most of all, black, somwhat good would permanent makeup do for them?

Plenty, as it turned out:

This is, hands down, the single best thing I did for my face in 2012. No question. I absolutely adore my new eyebrows, they look this smart and groomed at all times, and, I don't have to do anything to them. Well, bar pluck them a bit - but hey!  Now I know I only have to pluck the hairs outside the lines! Perfect for a lazy (and cack-handed) so-and-so like me! The picture above was taken right after the treatment, but they've settled down perfectly into something a little more natural-looking since:

Please to be ignoring the eyebags, thank you.
It was a big decision, because if I didn't like them, I would have been stuck with them for up to two years, but the girls at Tracie Giles spend - literally - hours drawing different shapes of brows on you, and won't proceed until you are entirely happy with the shape, which is something I completely appreciated.

It's also a big decision, because this is, essentially,  a tattoo, and therefore is somewhat uncomfortable during the treatment (though the numbing cream they use is fantastic!), and for a couple of days after. The success of your new brows depends both on the hygiene of your therapist - absolutely A+ at Tracie Giles - and your own regime of skincare afterwards.  Your brows will need to be kept moist with balms to help them heal, and you very much have to avoid getting them wet in the shower, or getting them sunburned, and, whatever you do: DON'T SCRATCH!  However, once they've healed up, they're okay with a bit of benign neglect, in my experience.  Your brows will require a touch-up treatment after a couple of weeks, as your body will absorb up to a third of the pigments (which are mineral-based) right after treatment,but the top-up is included in the service.

It's also a big decision, because this involves a significant outlay of cash, too. Currently, prices begin at £395, but the eyebrows should last you at least two years.  However, if you got your eyebrows threaded every month, (at London prices of £15 a go) you'd have spent £360 over the same period on your brows as well, it's worth bearing in mind.

This is my treatment of the year.  Thank you, Tracie Giles.  I'm considering saving up - after the wedding - and getting my wonky lipline sorted, but there's no money in the pot for that right now. 

There's also a review of this service in Issue 8 "The Beauty Issue", of SLiNK magazine, if you want to know more!
The Fine Print: Get Lippie was a guest of Tracie Giles - my eyebrows now worship her as a goddess. 

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Friday 14 December 2012

Guerlain SS13 Maxi Lash Mascara

A new mascara is always something to rejoice in, and a new mascara from Guerlain is always something to get excited about - how does this one measure up?

 Well, it's about a third of the size of their usual mascaras, which is refreshing!  And lovely to see more of the deco-style packaging that we've all come to know and love from the Rouge Automatic range.  But most important for me is the brush, is it a mega-brush that gets mascara everywhere except where you want it?  No, it's a weeny thin brush:

No, it's actually a nice thin brush.  Let's take a closer look:

 It's just a normal, thin, spiral-set bristle-brush.  Nothing particularly out of the ordinary here.

Guerlain describe this as a "Volume-Creating, Curl-Sculpting mascara", and claim that the blend of three polymers is innovative: "The first one wraps the lashes in extremely adherent oils, coating and thickening the lashes. The second one, made with supple waxes, acts like a conditioner, softening the lashes so you can sculpt them into just the right shape and style. The last one forms a thin film, coating the lashes to trap the wax and set the amazing curve.”  My mascara is in Noir, which is, in reality, actually a deep charcoal rather than a sooty black:

I'm a little disappointed that it's not very black, to be honest, but this does also come in a violet shade, which is something I'm going to have to investigate when it's released.

So, how does it look?  Well, take a look for yourself  (and please excuse the extremely scary photos)

Well, there is definitely lengthening, thickening and curling going on, it's actually a nice mascaraBut it's not a very dramatic mascara, and I like DRAMA with my lashes.  Of course, your mileage may vary.  It also has to be said that I'm suffering from thinning lashes on my left eye (on the right in the pics there), and this mascara hasn't done much to disguise that.

Will I buy it again?  Probably not, in all honesty, I think Mascara G does a much  better job for my requirements, but if you're looking for a nice everyday mascara, you could do a lot worse.  It'll cost £22 when it's released in January.

What's your favourite mascara?

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Thursday 13 December 2012

Guerlain SS13 Meteorites Perles Du Paradis


No Guerlain collection is really complete without a new set of Meteorite perles. These slightly sparkling, and highly scented (of violets), beads of colour are highly flattering in use, and I find myself reaching for my pots of them quite regularly.  They're particularly effective for the ... er ... more mature lady, as they don't leave you with too matte a finish to your maquillage.  Next season the perles have changed somewhat, in some ways for the better, and some ways for the worse, you'll see.

The box opens up to reveal the familiar Guerlain rosette, and is embossed with the company name as usual.  It's a pretty baby pink, but ... it's cardboard.  I'm not entirely happy about this, I like a bit of luxury from Guerlain, and their outstanding packaging doesn't usually disappoint, but this does.  The reason, however becomes clear when you realise that this year, Meteorites have been supersized:

Here you can see the Meteorites Perles Du Paradise alongside Perles De Nuit (from the Christmas 2011 collection) on the left, and a pot of non-limited edition Meteorites perles on the right. The pot is about a third larger in size than the regular sized tins, and contains 53g of product compared to the regular 30g.

So, let's see what's in the pot, shall we?

Have to say that I'm adoring the cute puff in the pot this time around, so much more luxurious looking than the sponges you normally get in the regular pots.  Shall we see the perles now?

This time around, they're a bit brighter than the normal pastel-shaded perles, with very definite hints of mauve and pink, lilac, rose-gold and silver.

And, I have to say that these are very sparkly indeed compared to the normal Meteorites, in fact, I'd go so far as to say they're a better body product than they are a face powder.

Here I've swatched them very heavily to show the differences in the shades, in use, when swirled with a slightly firm brush, they're actually just a slightly pink shade, which a fair amount of sparkle:

Hopefully you can see the sparkle there.  As well as having supersized the package, they've enlarged the perles too:

You can see the difference better here:

Huge, eh?

Overall, this is a bit hit and miss for me.  An extremely pretty product, with a gorgeous puff (something I've thought that Meteorites has been missing for a while, actually), let down slightly by what is, frankly, extremely cheap packaging, and has slightly too much sparkle ... Gorgeous for collectors, but a bit of a let down for serious powder users, unless you want sparkly face dandruff...  It'll cost £43 when on counter in January.

 The Fine Print: PR Sample.

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Wednesday 12 December 2012

Guerlain SS13 Rouge Automatique 600 Ballade Shine Automatiqe 761 Flirt

Alongside the two eyeshadow palettes I showed you yesterday, Guerlain are also introducing a few new shades of both Rouge and Shine Automatique, I have two to show you:

Rouge Automatique in 600 Ballade, and Shine Automatique in 761 Flirt.  I adore the deco-style packaging, which can - if you so desire, be operated with one hand:

  What we have here is a peachy pink, and deep fuchsia berry:

Both are infused with micro shimmer, in Ballade's case it is gold, and in Flirt, we have an iridescent blue.  Let's take a closer look:

Even though they are ostensibly different lipstick formulas, (Rouge is more opaque, and Shine is more ... well ... shiny), I find both of the shades slick in application, and don't dry the lips out in wear.

This pic gives you a good idea of how glossy both shades are in wear. Whilst the lasting power isn't remarkable, it's about average for this kind of lipstick, you'll need to top it up quite regularly.

Lip Swatches: First Ballade:

(not really a great shade for me, in all honesty)
 And now Flirt:

Now that's more like it!
 Flirt is actually a great match for the colour of my wedding dress.  I'm thinking I might save it for February!

Guerlain Rouge and Shine Automatiques both retail for £24.50, and these shades will be on counter very soon. 

 The Fine Print: PR Samples.

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Tuesday 11 December 2012

Guerlain SS13 Ecrin 4 Couleurs: 501 Attrape Coeur 502 Coup de Foudre

My love for Guerlain makeup is pretty well-documented by now.  Well, hopefully it is, anyway.  I caught the briefest glimpse possible of their Spring/Summer collection recently and was delighted, featuring as it does decidedly un-pastel purples and greens.  I have an unbearable loathing for pastel-shades, finding any colours that have too white a base tend to sit "on" my skin rather than blend with it.  Anyway, for the rest of this week, I'll be showing you the collection, and today I'm starting with the two eyeshadow palettes, which are rather beautiful.

Packaged in the signature gold palettes of the Ecrin 4 Couleurs line, the two palettes this spring feature bright, unexpected violets, purples and mauves in Attrape Coeur, and beautiful greyed-out greens and khakis with a pop of coral in Coup de Foudre:

See, beautiful, and very unexpected for a spring collection.  Let's take a closer look at both: 

501 Attrape Coeur is a symphony of cool-toned purples with a frosty white added for definition.  I'll be honest, I found this difficult to swatch:

As the shadows are rather hard, but I'm going to try this again with a harder brush and over a primer.  I'll let you know how I get on. 

502 Coup de Foudre is also a beauty, however, with that gorgeous and extremely unexpected hit of warm coral, alongside those silvery-greens.  It swatches more easily than the purple Attrape Coeur, too:

I can't wait to try out a face of the day with these - I'll be sure to take pictures when I do.  In particular the gunmetal shade on the left there is calling my name rather loudly.  Guerlain have been doing some really interesting palettes lately - their autumn collection was a symphony of rather beautiful oranges and browns too, I think there's a dupe of the coral shades in the Les Fauves palette from that collection, I'll report back.

Guerlain shadows are normally long-lasting, and blend really easily, even if they're not the most buttery-soft shadows out there.  They're actually designed to be applied in any order, with not too much emphasis placed on shade placement.  I'll show you some looks soon.

The Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs palettes cost £37 each, which is, admittedly, quite a hefty price,  but for Coup de Foudre in particular, I think it's worth it for a rather unique set of colours. 

The Fine Print: PR Samples.

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