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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Nail of the Day - Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess

Couldn't resist a bit of this gorgeous metallic bronze shade from Estee Lauder to compliment my newly tanned hands when I got home last week!

Shimmering, and packed with multi-coloured flecks, this is a perfect compliment to any tan - and, it's not so brown that it'll look odd on paler skin, either.

Copper in some lights, bronze in others, but very elegant, and - for me at least - very different to a lot of my other polishes.

(No idea what I'm doing with my fingers here)
Wears like iron, too.  I wore this for four days straight without getting a single chip, or even any tipwear, but then I got distracted in the office and accidentally covered it in Sharpie so had to remove it.

Bronze Goddess is part of the annual limited edition summer collection from Estee Lauder, called ... um ... "Bronze Goddess" and should still be available on counters now, the nail varnishes cost around £14, but they last forever, have stylish bottles, and well, I like them.  So there.

The Fine Print: PR sample.  From about four months ago.  Bad blogger.

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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Post-Holiday Product Round-Up

Well, I think we can say this year's holiday was a success!  We ate lots, drank lots, walked lots, have lovely tans, and - best of all - I didn't get prickly heat!  If you read my holiday preparation posts, you'll know that this was the main thing I was worried about before we headed off, and I couldn't be happier that I was able to swim and sunbathe without the familiar pin-pricks of doom.

Here are my thoughts on the products I took with me:

 Piz Buin Allergy Sunscreen** range and Imedeen Tan Optimiser*

I think these are definitely the products I have to thank for my comfort in the sun, the Piz Buin spray is a brilliant addition to the range, as it sinks in a lot more quickly and evenly than the cream (I had both, and spent five days using factor 30, and the remaining nine using factor 15 - even so, I think we erred on the side of caution, to be honest).  My skin never felt dry in the sun, or overloaded with product, even when we were using factor 30.  The Imedeen, did, I feel, prepare my skin for the sun better, I didn't really have that "pink" stage that MrLippie did on a few occasions, so that was good.  The spray nozzle is very cunning and easy to use, but spraying areas like backs of legs and the like was a little difficult, but I was willing to overlook this as it's easy enough to spray some cream onto the palms of your hands and use the product that way instead.

I did find, however, that the Piz Buin facial sunscreen was far too heavy for my skin, I used it for a few days, and realised I was getting really heavy congestion on my cheeks, so swapped it for:

Instituit Esthederm Bronz Repair for Normal/Strong Sun*.

And, after a few days of using this too, I was still congested (massive big red splotches on my skin, not great) so, when I managed to get to Seville for the day on an excursion, I picked up this:

Lancaster Sun Age Control Lotion Factor 15.

This is a light apricot-coloured lotion (unlike the heavier white creams of both Instituit Esthederm and Piz Buin) and it suited my skin a lot better, and, once the good weather returns to the UK, this  is something I'll be using on a daily basis.  My blotches cleared up in about two days of using this - alongside my Decleor Sun Serum (which I used alongside the two others, too - as a control).  I was delighted with this product, and only wish we had a wider range of Lancaster products available in the UK!  If anyone knows where I can get a back up bottle of this (it cost me nearly Forty euro, but it was worth it) I'd be grateful.

Something else I was utterly delighted with was my pedicure, before I went away I slipped off to The Powder Room for a Mavala pedicure (I chose Curacao Blue - a perfect "swimming pool" blue shade), and even now, three weeks later my toes look just as good as the day they were first painted!  Excellent products, and a wonderful service from the PowderPuff  Girls, too!  The ridge filler in particular is fantastic, I've never seen my toenails look so smooth!

 I'd definitely take away all of these products again, there isn't a duffer amongst them - the facial sunscreens from Piz Buin and Instituit Esthederm are probably more suited to a drier skin than mine, in all honesty, they're both excellent and give great sun protection, they just didn't suit me and my combination skin, which tends to get oilier in the heat.

The Fine Print: Products marked with * were PR samples, apart from the ones marked ** which were a mixture of PR samples and purchases.  Products with no asterisks were purchases.  No one reads these anyway, do they?

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Monday, 11 July 2011

Some Holiday Snaps

I spent the last few weeks in Carvoeiro on the Algarve, and I thought you might like to see some holiday snaps:

 This was our second visit, and we'll most definitely be going back, I love the place, even if my legs are still recovering from all the hill walking on this trip!

Our favourite places to visit in Carvoeiro are:
Onze (don't miss this place if you get a chance to go, Ricardo and his team are amazing),
Taste (a little off the beaten track, but amazing tapas in a wonderful setting) 
and Jokers, which is the only place in the world ever to get Mr Lippie taking part in karaoke! (and they have Wifi)  Say hello to Sarah  when you get there ... and if she offers you a Ciroc, it's on me ...

The Fine Print: Nothing to declare in this post - this was a holiday!
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Sunday, 10 July 2011

A Week in Lipstick with Dior Polish

Yes, I'm back and I no longer need a stunt hand, so A Week in Lipstick is back too! Here's what I've been wearing:

This is Dior's Lip Polish in shade 003, a milky sheer peach. It's essentially a balm, but it imparts a hint of colour, and I find it goes very well on tanned skin:

I also have shade 002 which is a strawberry milkshake shade, but I think that looks better on paler skin.

The USP of Dior Lip Polish is the completely round "spinning" brush, which is intended to massage your lips as you apply, and stimulates blood supply to the lips:

I don't, entirely, believe the claims that the round brush stimulates the lips to the extent that it'll make a difference to the condition of your lips (I suspect you'd have to spend a LOT of time applying, rather than the usual 5 seconds or so you'd spend applying balm), but it does soften and smooth your lips and it's a nice moisturising balm to boot.

There's just one thing I don't like and that's this:

My brush arrived split. It still works, but at £20, I'd expect better quality control, to be honest.

So yeah, just one lip product this week. I don't think I'm ill…

The Fine Print: I bought this in Paris. From Sephora.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

I'm Baaaack!!!

Hello darlings!

Just a little picture of where I've been for the last few weeks, and letting you know I'll be back up to blogging speed very soon … I've got freckles you wouldn't believe!

What've I missed?

Monday, 4 July 2011

Guest Post - Cosmeceuticals: Are We Expecting the Impossible?

This is the last of my guest posts for this year, and it's from the ever-lovely and adorable Modesty Brown, whom I adore.  She's brought us some more corking pics and some scientific know-how again this year ...


Last year, I got the labcoat out for my guest slot on Get Lippie. I had initially intended this post to be a rant an informative chat about specific active ingredients but in sitting down to write, it has somehow morphed in to musing about cosmeceuticals and their promised benefits.

The skin care world is usually awash with amazing product claims and fancy active ingredients. ‘You too can return your skin to a baby soft state using collagen/growth factors/stem cells/the stolen tears of a lone weeping unicorn’…..ok, so maybe not that last one, but you catch my drift. Some of these claims result in major eye-rolling at the sheer scientific improbability.  I will also admit to shouting at the television, whenever I hear the lines “inspired by the science of genes”. I mean seriously, you want to have a read of Genes V, it’s a bit dry and low on the inspiration stakes…

At this point I was about to launch in to individual gripes about particular ingredients but on reflection I think that’s probably a little unfair. The sorts of products that cause the eye-rolling are those that probably fit best in the ‘Cosmeceuticals’ bracket. Cosmeceuticals fall somewhere between a cosmetic and a pharmaceutical, hence the catchy name. They usually contain biologically active ingredients that are supposed to have medicinal or drug-like properties. I think most anti-ageing ranges could be described this way.

Of course, because they don’t actually contain drugs or medicine, there’s no obligation to go through the same rigorous testing pharmaceutical drugs go through to get to market. I want to read the scientific backing for the active ingredients from laboratory research or patient studies, but often there isn’t any supporting evidence as it simply isn’t a requirement. The evidence for many active ingredients is purely anecdotal. Even when results have been published by the big pharmaceuticals, doubts are raised about bias or lack of statistical significance anyway. So, I wonder if some of my expectations are a little unrealistic. Is it fair to expect over-the-counter, easily available products to give exceptional results and still be reasonably priced? It may be a little ambitious of me to expect such things but at the same time, I’m not the one making the bold scientific claims!

So, how do you weed out the fact from the fiction? How to you decipher the real deal from the magic skin care pixies? Well, I’m coming around to the idea that you have to use your own common sense and sometimes you might just have to take an educated risk. Some ingredients are much better understood for their value in anti-ageing regimes; such as stable Vitamin C, Retinoids, AHAs and Nicacinamide. Consumers are already beginning to understand that Vitamin C in skin care needs to be in a stable form for it to be of value and that Retinoids require a good delivery system to reduce skin surface irritation and maximise the concentration delivered to the dermis. In terms of newer ingredients, I think it’s probably left to us as the consumer to sort the wheat from the chaff or indeed the Collagen from the penta-peptides.

I think that’s where beauty blogs come in. Done properly, skin care reviews can help us discover the products that really work and which products are pure hype. If you’d like an idea of which things you should be looking for in your anti-ageing treatments, there’s an excellent post on  The Beauty Mouth  that I urge you to read, if you haven’t already. In many ways it’s easy to forget the benefits of the basics too, keeping the skin clean and hydrated as well as using a good sunscreen is crucial in taking good care of your skin.

These days, I do try very hard to switch the science cynic off (maybe I need a lab-otomy?). It gets boring dismissing things and I would really like to appreciate the products and treatments for what they are and what they can do. Even if the benefits are purely superficial. I know I tend to gravitate towards skin care that is a mix of science and botanicals. I hated plant science so I can merrily join in with the claims without being any the wiser! I do think how a product makes you feel and what it does for you, even if it isn’t lasting, is the most important thing.

When all else fails, there’s always my magic wrinkle cream!
I do still refuse to subscribe to the idea that more expensive always equals better. If you have several hundred pounds to spend on a cream, then maybe that money would be better spent visiting a dermatologist privately for the more potent, concentrations found in prescription pharmaceuticals anyway? The pots probably won’t look as pretty on your shelf, but the results might actually be more satisfying.

I shall shut up now, as what I really want to know is how you feel about the scientific claims. Do you find it reassuring, does it make you more likely to buy a product or do you simply choose to ignore it all and buy things based on good reviews? Do the scientific claims and active ingredients entice you to spend more money? I’m fascinated to know how other people feel. 


Get Lippie says: Another thought provoking post from Modesty - care to share yours?

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Friday, 1 July 2011

Guest Post - Thoughts on Manscaping

Gotta love a boy beauty blogger, and The Chap Blog is one of the best!  After Mr Lippie giving us his thoughts on his new personal grooming routine last week, I thought this would make a great companion piece.  Manscaping.  How far should it go?


Hi boys and girls! I was asked by Get Lippie if I would write a guest post and the brief was left totally open to allow me to write what I like! Well……recently over at The Chap Blog I posted an ‘Interview with Diane Wood AKA Queen of Shaves’ and here was her final answer.

“I can’t stand when men do not trim or shave down south! It’s unhygienic and unattractive. Most women know how to keep their love rug trimmed so men should take the time and do the same.”

So this got me thinking, should men Manscape?

Is it really hygienic?
Is it necessary?
And is it attractive?

To answer the first question…..personally why not! If it makes you look good and feel good then go ahead. I’m sure it suits some more than others, and because it gives the illusion that your tackle is bigger it may even give confidence to some. As mentioned already, in the past I’ve removed my chest and stomach hair, but never have I gone lower than my belt. Personally I’m not sure that I would want to and the idea of any type of razor anywhere near that area scares me to death. However, looking into this I have found it’s actually more common than you might think. From Body Builders to models to the general guy on the street has done it, or at least has tried it, or thought about it. Curiosity got the better of me and I bet that there’s many guys out there who’s been the same!

Is it more hygienic like Diane Woods suggests? I’m not sure…..Surely if you clean down there every day then it’s clean. As long as you don’t have fleas or lice then there’s nothing wrong with a little hair.

Is it necessary? Well it is in some cultures and religions. But I think for the most it’s down to preference. However be warned that the hair growing back will feel uncomfortable and itchy. This certainly put me off from ever trying to remove all the hair again.

Is it attractive? I think I’m the wrong person to ask, I’ll leave that up to you the reader to decide? But, it did get me thinking! Instead of removing it all together may be guys should tidy it up and make it look more presentable. It’s acceptable for ladies to do it so why not the boys! What do you think?

If you are about to enter the world of Manscaping especially going below the belt; just remember your skin down south is thinner, more sensitive and a lot more stretchy than the rest of the body so trim or shave, either wet or with an electric razor. Never ever wax or use a hair removal cream in that particular part of your body. I can only imagine you’ll most certainly regret it.

So there you have it, my thoughts about Manscaping! For me trimming is more acceptable but what do you think?

Thanks for reading and please leave a comment!
The Chap : )

Get Lippie says: Personally, I find hairless men slightly ... and I'm sorry to be saying this ... but for me it's a no-no.  I like a hairy chest.  I'm not against grooming and cleanliness, but ... well, if I were a gay man, I'd like bears, put it that way.

I can't believe I've just admitted that.  Thank goodness I'm out of the country!  What do you think?

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