Beauty Without Fuss

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Flower Power: Ciaté Flower Manicure

By Emily

Oooooh, PRETTY! Flowers on pastel nails! I’m hyperventilating!

So yeah, I’m easily pleased. However, this fabulous ‘Bada Bloom!’ Flower Manicure from the geniuses at Ciaté contains all you need to create a super-summery floral nail. These guys have got manicure innovation nailed (sorry). It IS a bit fiddly, but the end result is worth it, I promise.

The set contains a mini paint pot in a pastel blue called Ferris Wheel. It’s a pretty colour but doesn’t give great coverage. I had to use three coats to get an even finish, which equals A LOT of drying time. Luckily Countryfile was on and it was John Craven’s 25th anniversary, so I was enthralled and the drying time just flew by.

Once your colour is completely dry add a slick of the topcoat (included in the set) to one nail and with tweezers place the dried flowers onto the wet topcoat. Push down gently (with the tweezers) to get the flower to adhere to the topcoat and lie as flat as possible. Repeat on each nail, placing the flowers irregularly and mixing up the colours, until the flower fairies would be WELL JEL.This would work really well on one or two feature nails, but I decided to go the full hog, because, no reason.

Finally, over the top of the flowers you apply the top-coat to seal them to the nail and add a glossy finish. You can then file off any flower bits around the top of the nail: I used a pair of small nail scissors to take off any larger sections.

It is quite a long process, but totally worth it I think. The mini-pansy flowers lie flatter on the nail but I prefer the effect of the purple flowers, even though they are more 3D.

I don’t imagine this is very long-lasting but for a special summer night this is a super-pretty manicure and great value too. The set includes a mini paint pot, a full-size top coat, two pots of flowers (I’ve got loads left), tweezers and a basic nail file; for just £18. And that equals some serious blooms for your buck.  

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Monday 28 July 2014

ByTerry Rose Infernal Collection: Eye Powder-Kajal, Rose de Rose, and Baume de Rose Fig Fiction

It's too darn hot right now, and when that happens, my mind always starts to think wistfully about cooler seasons, I'm not a happy summer bunny, alas.  Not to mention that I always prefer the Autumn and Winter makeup collections to the ubiquitous summer bronze (with a splash of "unexpected" blue) that we've been seeing all summer every summer since, well, time began.

ByTerry is one of my favourite brands, and this micro-collection of makeup staples (the wider collection has two fragrances and some really lovely skincare, which I'll tell you about another time) is a lovely one:

Yeah, 'scuse the finger marks, I couldn't wait to try the lipbalm.  Sorry!  Not sorry.
Consisting of a triple-shade blush in Rose Infernal, a powder eyeliner in Oriental Black, and for the first time the iconic lip balm, Baume de Rose comes in colour! There are six shades, and this is number 5 Fig Fiction.

The Rose de Rose contains three shades, a pink-coral, a salmon-peach, and a pearly pink highlight.  It comes complete with a small brush, and a good-sized embossed mirror.  It does kick up a lot of dust on application, but it's really nice - pinker than you'd expect - colour on the skin:

This has been applied with a heavy hand to get the colour to show up in pictures, but a lighter application leaves you with a sheer pink rosy glow that looks almost lit from within.  The different colours are probably too small to be able to get to the individual shades with the average blusher brush, but the pan is a great size for swirling. The powder smells divinely of roses, as does almost everything in this collection.

I do love a powder eyeliner, I own an entire set of the Guerlain loose kohls for example, and this is a good one.  The tip of the applicator is actually a sponge, which is really handy, as it adds a bit of flexibility to the application process - Boots No7 did a limited powder liner with this kind of tip a few years ago, I've always wondered why they didn't bring it back to be honest - and with a black this black (for it is indeed very black.  Indeed) you're going to need all the help you can get when you're putting it on:

It blends out easily, and a little goes a long, long way, so if you want to do a soft but intense smokey eye, this is great.  You can see from the swatch above that there is not much grey in the formulation, so you're not going to end up with a wan, pale grey smokey eye here.  You will get a lot of fall-out with this - it is the nature of the beast with eyeliners of this nature, to be honest, there's no avoiding it - so I suggest you do your eyes first and then do the rest of your make up, and especially your base, afterwards.  It lasts and lasts, particularly on the waterline, and barely fades at all.  I've not noticed any staining, but this is a great BLACK liner.

I'm not a massive fan of the original Baume de Rose, to be honest.  It's actually a great balm, and has a really nourishing formulation, but the milky film of colour it leaves on the lips is, for me, a killer.  With that in mind, I may have given a tiny whoop of delight when I saw the six new shades of Baume de Rose recently.  This is Fig Fiction, a sheer and easily wearable plum colour.

Anything that isn't milky on the lips is a winner for me, and the sheer but not unpigmented colour is great.  With the same gorgeous rosey scent as the original, this feels nourishing and cushiony on the lips, but it IS a balm, and therefore won't last very long.  It's a pleasure to reapply (even though it does come in a pot, a particular bugbear of mine), so this shouldn't be too much of a hardship.

The ByTerry Rose Infernal collection will be instore from September (the blush costs £72, and the eyeliner will cost £29) but the coloured Baume de Rose collection is in SpaceNK now, and they cost £35 each.  I'll be picking up Cherry Bomb and Bloom Berry come payday ...

The Fine Print: PR Samples

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Friday 25 July 2014

ARK Skincare Derriere Facial

By Laurin

When I first agreed to contribute to Get Lippie at the beginning of this year, I imagined filing some light-hearted musings on perfume each week, maybe with a few words on moisturiser here and there. I did not expect to spend my mornings rollerballing napalm onto my bottom, or my evenings applying thigh creams that caused my flesh to stick together like sweaty plastic cheese slices. And so it was last week, when I found myself en route to the ARK Salon in Putney to test their brand new “Derriere Facial”, that I realised that I had unwittingly become Get Lippie’s Official @rse Correspondent. I’m updating my CV even as we speak.

Obligatory Disclaimer: Quick fix creams and treatments work for those who are either blessed with good genes, or those who already put in the work at the gym and need a bit of extra help. For anything greater, you need a plastic surgeon or a sorcerer, and I got kicked out of Hogwarts for lewd behaviour during Charms lessons. Sorry.

The Ark Salon sits on a busy stretch of Putney Bridge Road, flanked by a gourmet burger bar and a Brazilian barbeque joint. High quality skincare and delicious meat snacks pretty much covers all my basic needs, and I immediately begin making mental plans to relocate to SW15.

Inside, the spa is an oasis of calm and cool. I am greeted by Judy the spa manager, and spend the obligatory five minutes filling out forms of the medical variety. On the dot of 2:45pm, my therapist Georgina ascends the stairs to collect me for my treatment. Before she begins, she asks me what I’d like to achieve that day. The treatment can be adapted somewhat, depending on whether your main concern is cellulite, sagging or skin tone in general. I explain that I’d be happy to leave with smoother, more even-toned skin, and she leaves me to get undressed.

On my own in the room, the first thing I notice is the small shelf beneath the head of the massage table. It is, I am later informed, for resting your arms during the treatment. Hallelujah and praise be. At this exact moment, I know this is going to be great. I am convinced that it is these tiny concessions to a client’s comfort, these small, well thought-out gestures that ultimately make a treatment worthwhile. I always find massage tables slightly too narrow to accommodate my arms, so they usually end up tucked awkwardly beneath my body, where they start to fall asleep halfway through the treatment.

I remove my skirt and put on the Tarzan-chic paper knickers provided to spare the client’s blushes. It’s less the thong I anticipated, but more of a hospital style banana hammock. The treatment itself follows the general format of a facial, but on your bum. It begins with gentle body brushing on the full length of the leg, after which Ark’s own cleanser is applied to the area and buffed away with a body scrub. The treatment then moves on to steaming and a gentle massage with a personalised blend of serums. At this point, I start to nod off. This almost never happens when I have a massage or facial – the circus of my mind is open for business twenty-four hours a day. Again, I am impressed. A masque is applied, and Georgina massages my feet while it does its business. The treatment ends with the application of a light body lotion and you’re left to get dressed in peace.

Telling your friends that you’re off to let a stranger rub ointments into your bum sounds like a confession best left to the wee hours of the morning and the bottom of a bottle of Bombay Sapphire. I was a bit apprehensive that the Derriere Facial would be awkward and maybe a bit embarrassing, but it turned out to be one of the nicest beauty treatments I’ve ever had. The entire experience felt tailor-made with the client’s comfort in mind, from the aforementioned arm-shelf to the serene yet unobtrusive music that played in the treatment room. My only complaint was that it was over after 45 minutes. I would have been happy to lay there in a state of quiet repose until dinner, when I would at least have a legitimate excuse to pop next door for a burger.

I felt so relaxed when I left the spa that I would have been pleased to think of it as a happy hour spent on a sunny afternoon. A week later though, I looked in my mirror and realised that actually, my bum was looking Mighty Fine, thank you for asking. I felt others ought to experience the benefits of this, but sadly I was alone in my house.  If you’re off on holiday soon, or you’re just really vain (hi!), or you just like beauty treatments in quiet rooms that smell gorgeous, Ark is a hidden gem in South West London that is absolutely worth a visit. Go now. Your bum and anyone who has the pleasure of walking behind it will thank you.

The ARK Derriere Facial is £49 for 45 minutes. Details on how to book can be found at 

The Fine Print: Laurin was a guest of Ark Spa. Pictures courtesy of Victoria Waite at Ark.  

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Wednesday 23 July 2014

How to do: Foundation

By Luke

Oh sweet mother of god there are a lot of base products out there aren’t there? Foundations, tinted moisturisers, BB creams, CC creams, and everything in between. What are they, and what is best for you? Where on earth do you start?

Well there are a whole host of bases available, and all are good for different things, like, different times of year, different skin types. Any one person should ideally have at least two of the following list in their arsenal, in my humble opinion.


Light, translucent. Gently evens skin tone without covering too much up. You should be able to see your skin underneath and have it not feel heavy, or opaque. Ideal for on makeup wearers (who ARE you people??!!) and summertime. Comes in a variety of textures (oil free, radiant) and finishes (matte, dewy). Generally a fluid type, but sometimes comes in a compact. NOT a replacement for skincare generally. Just a name for a super sheer makeup.

GOOD FOR: A little bit of coverage, the summer time, when you don’t want to much on, generally everyone who wants a light easily applied makeup.

BAD FOR: Anyone that has hyper pigmentation (they generally will not cover this) or anyone that requires a fuller coverage base.

I RECOMMEND: There are a lot of these, but I like the Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser a lot Amazing array of colours, and textures, and I also love the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua (available nationwide, £32) . Less choice of colour, but a really lovely finish, and is virtually weightless. It also has light diffusing particles that are imperceptible, but work really well. Will need to give this a really good shake before you use it though. The NARS Tinted Moisturisers (available at, £29) are also amazing, and have a high SPF too. Tend to use these when I’m working outdoors.


There are lots to choose from here. Comes in all manner of finishes, dewy, to matte. All different types of coverage also, from really close to what one might consider a tinted moisturiser, to a full coverage where nothing shows through. All different types of texture available, generally for different skin types. Creamy for dry, oil free for blemish prone, or shiny, compact foundations for ease of use, to sprays, and the list goes on. Just so you know, I have yet to come across a foundation that I can’t make look amazing, regardless of the price, and the quality. It’s not good enough to slap it on, you do need to spend a little bit of time, not hours, but a bit of time working it so you get what you want from it. Colour is perhaps the most important thing here. But generally nowadays they are all pretty good.

GOOD FOR: Anyone that requires a bit more coverage, perhaps the more problem end of the skin spectrum.

BAD FOR: Anyone who thinks you need a foundation ‘for evening’. Not necessarily. Anyone that doesn’t want to cover 70% of their features. Anyone that doesn’t want to spend a little bit of time working a base on.

I RECOMMEND: Lord so many. But in my kit I have the YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat which I adore. Light coverage, and dewy finish, and comes in a great range of colours, I use these a lot and am forever running out. The Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus foundation (available nationwide, £29) is another one I love. Not wild about the range of colours here, could be more, but generally found that it’s a good match for just about everyone. Has amazing skincare benefits too. Another one of my all time faves is Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum (available at, £8.99)). Amazing stuff. And so reasonably priced and smells delicious. Also I do like the Givenchy Teint couture foundation (available at, £32.50). Great coverage, not too heavy, and a really nice finish on it. Particularly for skins that can’t make their mind up if they are dry or oily.


Generally formed of minerals (no surprise there) which act as a sort of flat pigment that sits over the skin, and when ‘buffed’ provide coverage. Lots of different ones on the market with varying degrees of quality and effectiveness. Generally contain a natural (as in not added) SPF due to the nature of the product, and the materials used. NOT a face powder in the traditional sense. Has little to no oil absorbing quality, and if it does, sorry. It aint a mineral powder proper.

I RECOMMEND: Well, there is a well known brand of this particular type of makeup that frankly, I just can’t get along with. I find it overpriced and frankly, rather chalky looking. AAAANYWAY, I hate to bang on about them, but the best mineral powders I have ever used are the Laura Mercier ones. They come in two formats. Pressed and loose, they cover well, have a good range of colours. Some may struggle to match up, but few will, and they last a while too. (£31, available nationwide)

GOOD FOR: Generally speaking anyone that is particularly sensitive (unless it’s a mineral sensitivity), anyone that wants a quick and easy application as these are generally brushed on.

BAD FOR: Anyone with very dry skin. Despite not having a huge talc content, they are still a ‘powder’ so can look a bit arid on dry skins. Anyone who wants to look totally matte. They DO NOT absorb oil in the way a setting powder does. Older skins may struggle with these too, as they can show up fine lines.

Perhaps the most misunderstood, overused new term in the beauty market to date. Save for that awful ‘hypoallergenic’ rubbish that means zilch, but that’s a rant for another post. BB creams are not tinted moisturisers, and tinted moisturisers are not BB creams. A lot of BB creams on the market are IN FACT tinted moisturisers under a zeitgeist name. BB Creams were invented in Germany, not Malaysia as is commonly believed, by a Dr who wanted her clients to be able to wear a base that covered the rather inflammatory effects of her aggressive anti ageing facials that would also benefit the skin. The BB (or blemish balm, not beauty balm) was born. A unique product, with pigment suspended in rich skincare that evened out tone and redness and also helped the skin to heal. It was quickly adapted by the Malaysian market as a staple favourite, and then of course we heard about it a mere 10 years later, and acted like it’s the second coming. The formula since has been diluted down and down to such an extent that to be honest, if you are considering a tinted moisturiser or a BB cream, there is so little in the difference, you could quite easily use either to the same effect.

I RECOMMEND: There are few actual BB creams out there. Dr Jart (available at, from £9) is the closest I have come across. I am not wild about the colour of them though, but they feel nice and are easy to use. Without doubt, the best one I have ever used is the Stila 10-in-one HD Beauty Balm (available at, £26). Not strictly a BB cream, but has the same effect. I used this on myself when I had a quite reddening lactic acid peel, and it worked a treat. Love the finish on this. Another one I like is the Rodial BB Venom Skin tint (available at £35).

GOOD FOR: Anyone wanting to try something OTHER than a tinted moisturiser. Anyone who wants an uber natural finish, with the added benefits of skincare.

BAD FOR: Anyone expecting a fuller coverage.


Yet another product that has been around for eons, just rediscovered and given a new name. Commonly known in the industry as colour correctors, I have been using similar incarnations of these for nigh on 10 years. Now though, some have the benefit of a smart delivery system that means instead of effectively staining the skin, which is what they used to do, they become part of it, similar to the way a BB Cream pigment is delivered, and are thus much easier to use, and less like to make you look like Shrek.

I RECOMMEND: I am extremely old fashioned and tend not to use these, as I go for the colour correctors instead. That said some really nice ones have landed on my desk over the last year or so, My fave is the Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream (available at, £30). I have heard stories that despite the name, it can leave the skin feeling quite dry, but adequate skincare underneath sort of stops this. It does now also come in a handy compact. The Bobbi Brown ones are also good and come in a variety of colours for different concerns.

GOOD FOR: Anyone with high colour, or feels their skin could do with a ‘boost’ of radiance or more even tone. There are different colours for different needs. Green for anti redness, peach for dullness etc...

BAD FOR: Anyone who wants coverage. These work together with your base to make a more flawless appearance.


I have no idea. Not sure I want to know either. See: cynical marketing efforts by beauty companies.


To use a sponge or a brush? I would probably guess that 7 out 10 women do not use either, as it’s seen as a bit cumbersome, and takes a bit more time. Well, this isn’t necessarily the case. There are a whole host of tools to apply foundation that can make the world of difference to the finish. Here is a very general guide:
    A sponge should never be used wet! I hear this happening a lot. No. Just no. It will affect the foundation to such an extent that I am pretty sure you’ll be looking at about 20 minutes of good wear. Always use a dry sponge, preferably one you can wash and re use.

    There is no real benefit to using a sponge over a brush or vice versa, it really is personal preference. As a very general rule, a brush will place the foundation well, and buff it in, where as a sponge is an excellent idea for moving the product around, and blending it around the edges of the face.

    No sponge or brush need be used with a BB Cream or tinted moisturiser. They are too sheer really for this sort of application. Fingers all the way here.

    Please for the sake of your poor face, make sure that you CLEAN your foundation brush and/or your makeup sponge. Even if it is just you who is using it, it will still gather all sorts of bacteria so a good wash once a month (or more) is HIGHLY advisable. This can be done simply with some hot water, and some washing up liquid. Dry them flat on a tea towel overnight.

    A little foundation from the bottle or pump on the back of your hand rather than dipping it into the bottle itself is advisable. Hygiene being incredibly important here.
I RECOMMEND: Just your common or garden makeup sponge from Superdrug. I prefer the Oval shaped ones as they are easier to get into the smaller areas of the face than the triangular ones. To me, it makes no difference if you use a latex free sponge or not. Save for should you have an allergy to latex.


I recommend the following:

MAC 187: Large head of duo fibre hairs. One set synthetic, one set natural. All cut different lengths so excellent for buffing in any foundation. I just go in circular motions all round the face. Don’t be afraid by the ‘seams’ this brush leaves initially in the foundation, as soon as you keep buffing, they disappear to a flawless finish.
MAC 183: Same as above, but with a smaller head, great for getting into smaller areas, or if the 187 is a little intimidating. Both available at

Estee Lauder Foundation Brush: Perfectly sized, and cut to place foundation. Using the flat side of the brush you literally paint it on, until you have the desired finish. Available nationwide.

Glamcor Finish Brush: Superb buffing/finishing brush. Huge head on it again with the duo fibres that are shorter. Excellent for finishing a foundation by gently using the very tips of the fibres to gently buff over the surface of the base to really give a flawless finish. Available at

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Monday 21 July 2014

DHC Premium Lipstick: Petal Pink and First Blush

By Laurin

Until recently, I was something of a tart when it came to skincare. Like a Viking-sized magpie, I was all about the latest shiny thing promising to give me the skin of a teenaged nymph. The one constant in my routine for the last 10 years has been DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. I discovered it through India Knight back in 2008 and have been positively evangelical about its benefits since. It deep cleans without stripping the skin, shifts the most tenacious of eyeliners, smells reassuringly wholesome and a £21 bottle lasts for months on end. 

So when I heard DHC were launching a range of proper lipsticks, I was mustard-keen to try them. I chose the two palest colours, Petal Pink and First Blush to try first. Though I like to think I’ve come a long was in my appreciation of a bold lip, the truth is that I am running fifteen minutes late for work on any given day, and pale colours are more forgiving when applied in haste. The gold and silver tubes with flower etching are as pleasing pretty as the two colours themselves turn out to be. Above, you see Petal Pink on the right and First Blush on the left. At first glance, there seems very little difference between them.

The formula is specifically for those with ageing as a primary concern, so contains light-reflecting pigments to give the appearance of fuller lips. Applied on skin, both shades have a soft, candlelit glow that I find much more flattering than the opalescent, borderline-glitter favoured by some brands.

Above: Petal Pink applied with a lipbrush and Studio 10 Age Reverse Perfecting Lipliner

They’re also incredibly moisturising, containing a blend of macadamia, olive and rice bran oils. As such, they apply easily straight from the tube and are a pleasure to wear, but are somewhat lacking in the longevity department. To be fair, I tested them over a couple of days in London that included a heatwave, several journeys on the top deck of the 133 and an eight-hour shift in a shop that had decided to explore an alternate career path as an oven. I got about two hours wear from both shades.

Above: First Blush applied with a lipbrush and Studio 10 Age Reverse Perfecting Lipliner

Petal Pink and First Blush are both pretty everyday lipsticks that would be great to have in your handbag for quick touch ups on your “My Lips But Better” days. Far from being only suitable for more mature skins, I also think they would be a lovely “Lipstick 101” gift for an adolescent girl if you’re not ready to send her out in full Ruby Woo. Check them out. And if I happen to convert you to Deep Cleansing Oil as well, my work here will be well and truly done.

DHC Premium Lipstick GE is £13 and available at

The Fine Print: PR Samples

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Thursday 17 July 2014

Lipsticks of the Week

By Tindara

Well I don’t know about you, but I think it’s about time for another Lipsticks of the Week. This week, it’s a summer mixed bag, pinks and corals and you guessed it, a tomato red. I’ve also been on a spending spree and bought a few new lovely lippies that I feel like raving about.

Last time, I mentioned my favourite go-to deep pink, Bobbi Brown’s Cosmic Raspberry. Since we’re talking about the pink hit parade, a close number two is definitely Lipstick Queen’s Hot Rose Sinner. It’s got a real hot edge to it alright. There’s something of the deep but fizzy bright to this, it’s more flirty somehow than pinks of similar tone. It’s also got a lovely moisturising but semi-matte texture. I really like Lipstick Queen products as a concept and this is not the only one from the range I’ll be featuring this week. Hot Rose Sinner is a versatile colour, and works with little eye make-up or a big flick, or tones really well with taupe or goldey browns and greys.

(Hot Rose Lips either full selfie or one of crops, whichever you prefer)

Like me, you’ve probably heard a lot about Estee Lauder’s new Pure Colour Envy lipsticks. I had to see what all the fuss was about and bought a couple. I went for Intense Nude and Impassioned. I really loved the feel of these lipsticks, long-lasting, highly pigmented and satin in finish with a light vanilla scent. Both colours are eminently wearable.

Intense Nude is the perfect brown-pink darker than natural lips colour on me, but I think it could suit lots of skin tones from pale to dark. It works well whether you’re going for an efficient day look or a more of a statement look with lashings of mascara and smoky eyes. Somehow it makes my lips look bigger and fuller. I really love this.

And Impassioned, well, you know how I feel about tomato reds, and this one is glorious. It reeks of glamour, and the satin feel needs a touch more make-up than I sometimes wear with other more matte finish reds. This is not a problem however, these lipsticks feel luxurious and make me want to spend more time on my routine, adding flicks and smudges and highlights. I’m revelling in them to be honest.

And now two coral lipsticks; I love a sheer coral at this time of year, it feels totally right for sipping a fruit-filled Pimms and matching with your pedicure showed off in your gold sandals. Well, Birkenstocks, anyway, I’m not that blooming glamorous. Anyway, the two I’ve been wearing are Tarte’s paper-packaged Soft Coral and Lipstick Queen’s Endless Summer Stoked.

Tarte Soft Coral lipstick is great, a hint of peachy coral in a really moisturising sheer finish with quirky cool packaging. It works well on it’s own for a natural look or with bright blue, turquoise, or navy liner/shadow. This has been in my bag all week and the packaging stands up to being lolloped around a bag on London Transport, even if I don’t in this weather. Lipstick Queen’s Endless Summer Stoked is almost like a deeper coral take on Jean Queen for me. Slightly more pigment, perhaps, but supremely soft, natural and moisturising. I like wearing this with a smudgy navy liner, and my hastily applied dolly blusher in a peachy coral shade with a bit of shimmer.

Well there you go lipstick fiends, there’s mine for this week. Maybe I’ll go heavy on the eyes next time and clear gloss. Adam Ant stripe over the nose? Nah, there will be red, there will always be red.

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Wednesday 16 July 2014

Geometric Nails featuring Models Own, No7 and Seche Vite

By Emily

I’ve got a bit of thing for bare nails with a splash of colour; often I’ll do a French manicure but with bright coloured or multicolour tips. It’s really quick and high impact. This week I wanted to create something a bit more unusual, so got out my Models Own nail tape and created this Modern geometric design. Here’s how:

First up, make sure your nails are squeaky clean before applying the nail art tape. Using two strips of tape per nail, create a triangle shape at the top of each nail. Make sure you keep the tape a bit longer than your nail so it’s easier to pull off.

Then apply your chosen colour to the triangle area. I chose a No7’s Stay Perfect in Me! Me! Me! Your first coat should be light…try not to gloop too much on. Don’t wait too long before you apply the second coat and again try to keep it light while getting the colour depth you need.

Once your second coat is on, don’t wait long before carefully removing the nail tape, using tweezers. If you wait too long you’ll get a jagged edge to your triangle.
Once all the tape is removed you can tidy up any rough edges with remover on a fine brush before applying a good quality top coat. I use Seche Vite, for its speed-dry amazingness.

And there you have it, hipster nails worthy of a trip to Dalston. Undercut and Fixie bike optional.

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Tuesday 15 July 2014

Makeup Revolution: Blushers in Now and All I Think About Is You

By Laurin

In 2007, against her better judgement, Her Gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth II extended to me an offer of citizenship which I duly accepted. There was a ceremony at Lambeth Town Hall, and I came away with a souvenir photo of me looking like I’d accidentally joined the Hogwart’s branch of the BNP.

To receive this honour, I had to sit the “Life in the UK” exam, thus satisfying the British government that I did indeed know the date that women gained the right to divorce their husbands and what percentage of the population identify themselves as Muslims. There was a study guide! I made flashcards! But to get to the really useful stuff, you just have to learn by trial and error and the occasional raised eyebrow at the pub. Here’s a few of the things I wish someone had told me when I arrived at Gatwick fourteen years ago:
  1. When your friend cancels your plans at the last minute, he hasn’t blown you off, he’s blown you OUT. The former means something completely different and is best not discussed in front of your mother-in-law.
  2. Do not be tricked into ordering Pimms and lemonade simply because the sun is out. It is essentially a non-alcoholic beverage with added hedge trimmings, and you will need to build up your alcohol tolerance if you ever hope to truly fit in.
  3. People will make assumptions about your social class based on the word you use to refer to your evening meal.
  4. People will make assumptions about your social class based on the daily newspaper you read.
  5. People will make assumptions about your social class based on the supermarket you most frequent.
  6. Superdrug is the best chemist on the high street.
The last point eluded me until about six months ago. It only dawned just how much love there is for Superdrug when I realised that people were genuinely excited for their 50th anniversary product editions. It seemed that every woman who spent her formative teenage years in this country had a happy memory of spending Saturday morning with a coven of girlfriends, happily wallowing in the cheap and cheerful nail varnishes and lipsticks at her local branch. I, on the other hand, had pretty much ignored them for the past 14 years, having been impressed by the fact that I could buy a lemon-flavoured yogurt from their main competitor on my first visit to these shores. So exotic! I now see the error of my ways.

Superdrug’s new cosmetics range Makeup Revolution definitely falls into the “cheap and cheerful” category, but that’s no reason for letting the teenaged girls have all the fun. I have, of late, been extremely impressed with the colour and longevity of both their powder blusher ranges.

I tested All I Think About Is You from the Vivid Baked Blusher range (£2.50, above right) and Now from the Powder Blusher range (£1, above left), and found that they performed as well as blushers at twenty times the price. The packaging is nothing to write home about, but for the price of a Diet Coke, I’m not complaining.

Now is a soft, rosy pink with an almost undetectable shimmer, while All I Think About Is You is a brighter candy pink with swirls of tawny gold. They both give a pretty, sheer wash of colour that looks beautiful on my ghostly skin, but without making me look so flushed that fellow Victoria Line commuters ask me if I’m okay. Despite the shimmer, Now actually goes on quite matte, giving it a low-key yet polished look that’s perfect for work or general daytime wear. All I Think About Is You is now my go-to blusher for a fast casual look. It makes my cheeks pop without looking too “done”, and the golden highlights mean I can skip the highlighter altogether. I get a good nine hours wear from both formulations.

I’ve not seen the range in store yet, but it’s available to order online. Get stuck in – cheap make-up is a great way of trying out a new look or colour without worrying about wasting your hard earned cash. Any other questions, give me a shout: I’ll be the girl on the houmous aisle at Waitrose with a copy of the Guardian tucked under my arm.

Makeup Revolution is available at

The Fine Print: Purchases.

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Monday 14 July 2014

La Roche Posay - Rosaliac CC Cream (Daily Unifying Complete Correction Cream)

By Get Lippie

So, after saying the BB Cream craze has largely passed me by recently, I now find myself reviewing a CC cream, finally.  And, I have to say, that I almost unqualifiedly love this one.

La Roche Posay has become something of a cult skincare brand in the UK. Almost ubiquitous in France, it's fairly difficult to come by in the UK, but it's well worth seeking out (even if they don't import my favourite product in the range: Serozinc to the UK at all), as there are very few skin conditions they don't treat, and La Roche Posay is a godsend for sensitive skin.

Redness is my major concern, and Rosaliac CC Cream is designed for redness prone sensitive skin, like what I have got.  It's a fairly thick texture:

But it spreads very easily, and gives good coverage:

On skin it blends easily, melding nicely with the texture of your skin:

And, it is virtually undetectable once blending is finished:

This gives a fairly light coverage, but it does cover redness well, and gives a lovely, glowing satin finish.  It reminds me a great deal of my beloved Chantecaille Just Skin, which is about the highest praise I can give it, to be honest.  There are a couple of caveats to that, which, as Rosaliac CC cream is only a third of the price, are only to be expected.  Wear time could be a bit longer, I do find I have to powder down in the mid-afternoons, but, for the price, this is very good indeed. Oh, and it only comes in one shade, which is frustrating if you're either very dark or very fair.  I'm fairly pale, and this is good for giving me a glow, but if I were any paler, I'd struggle with it, I must admit.

It comes with an SPF of 30, so if you apply enough you won't have to use a separate sunscreen, but as I always use a separate sunscreen regardless, I'd ignore this, tbh.  It's got a great texture, a lovely finish (provided you use powder), covers redness, feels soothing on inflamed skin, and best of all, it's currently on offer for £16.55 on I can't really recommend a tinted moisturiser more highly than this one, without you paying almost £60 for it, to be honest ...

The Fine Print: PR Sample.  Photos for this piece were taken with a Nokia Lumia 1020 lent to me by Microsoft.

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Friday 4 July 2014

Colbert MD Skincare

By Luke

Whenever a leading member in the field of dermatology brings out a skincare range, more often than not it’s a good one. This is good news, because no self respecting member of the strict regulatory bodies that govern this particular field of expertise (such as Dr Colbert), is going to put their name to something that is a) bad for your skin, and b) rubbish.

Dr Colbert MD is a bit of a celebrity’s celeb too. He designed an advanced facial that had the Hollywood elite queuing at the door, the Tri-Facial. This gently and effectively uses light laser abrasion, and soothing botanicals to increase the amount of collagen in the skin, and as it has minimal down time it fast became dubbed as ‘The Red Carpet Facial’ with A-listers popping in to quickly get their fix before they donned a posh frock and strutted down the carpet in front the eyes of the world.

Dr Colbert then got asked to produce a serum for a celebrity whilst on a film set (where is often spending time making sure that his clients look incredible), which he pretty much knocked up athere and then, and has been using it ever since. Then he made a facial oil that gave the skin not just an extraordinary radiance that photographs beautifully, but also treats the skin too.
From that point on, the range expanded, there are currently nine products available in the UK, and is now a fully comprehensive range that will knock your socks off. It did mine.

I was asked to try the Colbert MD range about a month ago and have been mightily impressed with the simplicity of it. There are no complicated procedures, or multiple products to get confused with. I have even had the chance to put some of the products to the test when working on other human faces than my own, and with rather excellent results.

At the core of the range is the QuSome technology, which put simply is patented delivery system for the active ingredients that gets them where they need to be in a stable way and in the most effective manner possible. It does this by encapsulating the active ingredients within an oxygen-proof ‘shell’ that makes them more potent when applied. Daily nutrition for skin, in a pseudo ‘pill’ format? I’m in!

Without giving you a full description of the whole range, I am going to pick the highlights.

The Balance Purifying Cleanser, £38.
This was the first product I used.
I opened it up, and put a blob into my hand uh oh, a gel. Generally I don’t get on well with gel cleansers as they have a nasty tendency to be full of soap and foamy, which leaves my skin feeling dry and at worst flaky.
This, I noticed immediately when on my face, was a totally different texture.
It’s a soft gel that is so light you barely feel it on the skin at all! It doesn’t foam wildly, and certainly didn’t leave me feeling tight or dry afterwards. Difficult for me to say how good it is at removing makeup, as I don’t wear any, but skin was certainly squeaky clean afterwards. I have tried it with a foundation on the back of my hand though, and it seemed to get rid of that with no real effort.
The feeling is also slightly cooling. I am not sure which ingredient this is, and in the recent humidity was most welcome.
In it, there is also lactic acid (one of my favourites) that gently exfoliates, and it has Ginko Biloba which is a natural anti-bacterial. So it’s an all rounder this. And the smell is just gorgeous too. A lovely light citrus scent, naturally provided. Not artificially perfumed.
Do be sure not to hold this the wrong way up when you take the lid off though as it has a tendency to really pour out, when you only need a tiny little blobette. New word. Look it up.

Stimulate The Serum, £115
This was next (it was bedtime).
Claiming to stimulate the collagen production in your skin, this is a bit of an all rounder too.
What I love about this, as with most of the line, is that it is a once a day product. Either AM or PM. Under your moisturiser at night, or during the day, or just under your sunscreen. Wherever you can fit it in. The action of this is in the name also. Stimulate, it is designed to wake the skin up, revitalising the appearance of it, brightening and all the other things we want from healthy looking skin.
It has Caffeine, and glycolic in it, but is ever so gentle. Anyone who is worried about the acid content of this needn’t be as it is very gentle indeed.

The Illumino Face Oil, £100
This, for me, is the runaway favourite product.
For many reason, but mainly because it delivers INSTANT results, and the effect keeps getting better for about half an hour after you have put it on your face.
Again using the QuSome technology, compounded with retinol and vitamin C, this deep penetrating oil was designed to give an almost supernatural glow to the skin, giving the appearance of youth in al its dewiness. It has been used on red carpet attendees for many years, as it is so effective, and really photographs well. Makeup works superbly with it (but be careful, only a tiny drop is needed here) either underneath as a sort of primer, or dabbed over the top.
A nourishing treat too, it contains Argan Oil, Passion Fruit Oil, Marula Oil, Yangu Oil, Borage Seed oil all designed to feed and improve the quality of your skin, and boy does it.

I used this recently when working with some female body builders at the WBFF. The glow emanating from all them was superb, and they all looked fantastic on stage. I would say it would work on any skin except the very oil, spot prone types. But dry skin will absolutely LOVE this as mine does.

There is also an Illumino Body Oil, which is of a similar composition which Dr Colbert tells us is used on all those stunning Victoria’s Secret models for the shows to give them a super sheen.

Tone Control Facial Discs, £65
One of two of these sorts of affairs, they are little textured pads which contain the product on them. The ones I have are the Tone Control variety (as opposed to the others which are re texturising pads, and they're very good ones too). Gentle enough to be used morning or evening, these contain an ingredient called “SymWhite” which targets darker skin pigmentation from sun damage. Designed to give a more even tone to the skin, and diminish any visible irregularities it also has anti inflammatory ingredients that reduce redness.
I have used these for about three weeks, and although I don’t have any real signs of pigmentation on my skin, my redness (which I am very conscious of) is definitely reduced. What I like most about these is the skin conditioning that seems to go on. Skin is very smooth, and really overmoisturised. Although it does say to use a moisturiser afterwards, I found this is not always necessary.

The other thing that I love about these is the little flap that acts as a handle! You don’t get any of the product on your hands, and it is easily put over the face without losing your grip and dropping it on the floor! It happens!

Colbert MD is available at SpaceNK Stores nationwide. 

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Thursday 3 July 2014

Soap & Glory Sit Tight Super Intense 4-D

By Luke & Laurin

Luke says: 

Soap & Glory always approach beauty with an excellent sense of humour, and frankly I’m sucked in by it. I know that there are people who don’t like their packaging talking to them, but I rather enjoy it if it’s done well. So, when you have a cream that is essentially about spending a little bit of time rubbing something onto your bottom twice a day, you can imagine that S&G had a few funnies up their sleeve. Enter the new Sit Tight Super Intense 4-D. Revisited, and slightly re-formulated for 2014 this is the new Firming and Smoothing treatment gel.

Right off the mark here, I am very careful to not use the words ‘anti cellulite’ as nowhere does this claim to be that type of product. And let’s face it, none of us are really sucked into that hype now are we? The product is merely claiming a feeling of firmness after 14 days use, recommended application of twice a day. With lofty sounding ingredients like Pinkpepperslim-Lip-FBTM derived from pink pepper berries (as if that wasn’t clear) and the Pressocapsular FirmplusTM and FirmigenTM Caffeine thrown in for good measure along with Sweet Orange Peel (the irony) Glycerin and Olive Oil. The Super Intense also claims, as did the previous version, to work when you’re actually sitting down as well by bursting the little nano sized capsules of all the goodness mentioned above.

In theory this is an excellent idea: that even by being sat on ones posterior the product will be working to firm up sagging or droopage. So, fast forward to me in the mornings post shower using the massager (handily included on the end of the tube) rubbing this vigorously into my backside, and love handles. All this in front of a full length mirror, although why I am not sure. It’s not like I am in any doubt as to where my butt is!

The sensation: How can I describe this? The box claims you can feel it working almost instantly, and this is no lie. The previous incarnation of this product was quite intense, so the now one being SUPER intense does to some extent live up to its name. How to describe it? Well, imagine if you will, squatting in a hot bath, standing up and then having a fan of cold air blowing rather forcefully on your slightly red skin. It’s not quite a menthol sort of coolness that occurs, but more a peppery sensation where you are unable to quite pin point whether it’s burning or just plain cold. Uncomfortable? No. Unnerving? Slightly. Fun? Most definitely. It never failed to bring a smile to my face. Also, having to go and mingle with housemates (once dressed) and grinning to yourself about the party that was going on on your rear end, for some reason pleased me. I can, however, understand that I find pleasure in other places where people might not, and for some this may be a little much. That said though, the next morning was less of a sensational overlaod. I think perhaps I had gotten used to it, or perhaps toughened up somewhat. Still some tingling, but not nearly as loud as the very first application. Perhaps this was for the best.

As for firmness, well. Let me be clear. There is nothing firm about the lower half of my body. I am blessed/cursed (depending on your cultural preference) with a very large rump, and frankly, have more than my fair share of wobbly bits around the middle. Yes ladies, my name is Luke Stephens and I too have cellulite. I like my Wine Gums and Curly Wurly’s too much. Did this make a difference to that? Well who knows? I’m not likely to get up in a pair of speedos anytime soon, much less a bikini so it really isn’t important to me so much that I get rid of it.

It did however feel rather nice, and the skin on my tummy and sides had a bit more snap to it. My backside, however, is beyond help. And If I was flexible enough to reach round to see it in the mirror, I probably wouldn’t need this cream in the first place.

And frankly, with that amount of overstimulation on that part of my body in the mornings, who cares?

My advice? Enjoy it!  RRP £18 From Boots.

Laurin says:

At the point on the Venn diagram where feminism and the beauty industry collide, you often hear women utter the phrase “I’m doing this for myself” when attempting to justify a cosmetic enhancement, whether it’s a fondness for £34 lipsticks or an actual boob job. I believe them when they say it, and I’ve been known to utter the words myself. You wouldn’t be reading this blog right now if at least a few of us didn’t take immense pleasure in painting strategic splotches of colour on our faces, even if the only errand on the agenda is a quick nip to Whole Foods for some coconut yogurt.

But listen: I haven’t spent the last fortnight rolling heated serum into my thighs for the pleasure of it. I’m single, I live in freezing London and I do not make my living in the adult film industry, so I’m the only one who regularly sees my thighs. In this case, I’ve been napalming my ass every morning because I’m vain and...actually, that’s it. Vanity is the only rational explanation for why I might be swayed by the promise of another anti-cellulite potion when I know good and well they aren’t permanent fixes.

I love Soap and Glory products. I truly do. The packaging is fun, they’re well-priced, and their “Make Yourself Youthful SPF 50” singlehandedly converted me to the cause of daily sunscreen. And to be fair to them, the packaging of their “Sit Tight Super Intense 4D” serum never once mentions the word cellulite on the packaging. Instead, it promises to “stimulate circulation” and “promote body smoothing”. Except that the only reason my thighs aren’t smooth in the first place is because of ALL THE LUMPY CELLULITE UNDERNEATH.

Since it’s unlikely that you’ll ever see my thighs, and the pictures I do have of them are in a password protected file on my laptop, you’ll just have to take my word that they do look and feel fractionally “smoother”. Maybe. I think. But I won’t be purchasing another tube when mine runs out, for three reasons:
  1. THE BURNING, OH GOD, THE BURNING. About three minutes after you apply the quick-drying serum with the nifty rollerball applicator, it starts to heat. This is how you know it is working. It’s supposed to properly activate when you sit down, but it was so uncomfortable the first time I tried it that I spent ten minutes cooling my bum in front of an electric fan before I dared make it any worse. “I’d tell you why I’m late for work, but the resulting mental image has the potential to ruin our professional relationship” is not a sentence I ever care to utter on a Monday morning. Again. I gather that some people quite like the heating sensation, but I am not one of them. And now, my good friend Leo joins us from his caravan in Mantua Outfields to report on what happens when the applicator slips and goes a bit too far up. Leo, over to you:

Thanks, Leo. Don’t forget to swing by the pharmacy on your way back into town.
  1. You’re supposed to apply this twice a day. I can just about remember to do it once. Also, see Reason 1.
  2. The pseudo-scientific language on the box makes me wonder if an angry Aldous Huxley is actually alive and working in marketing. Pressocapsular Firm-Plus? Puffdrain 82?
If you already exercise, eat well, drink lots of water and still have a few stubborn spots, you might see a bit of difference using this product. Or you might not. I cannot responsibly suggest that you run out and spend £18 on it. But if you are still tempted, I won’t judge you. Just watch where you’re pointing that rollerball.

Soap & Glory™ Sit Tight™ Super-Intense 4-D is £18 and available at Boots

The Fine Print: PR Samples.

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