Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Become a Bardot Pro

I went to the launch of the Headmasters Party Pin-Up Masterclass this morning. I find doing my own up-dos very tricky, so jumped at the chance to have an expert teach me step by step how to do it. First, the hair stylist did it for me, talking me through each stage and explaining which techniques to use where. And then, just when it was looking beautifully finished, she took it all out so I could have a go! She then watched over and offered advice as I replicated the technique as best I could – this Bardot-esque up do is the result, not bad I feel, considering my usual total lack of skill! I love the lace as a headband too, a very thoughtful touch.

I think this is a genius concept and thoroughly recommend you try it out when it hits Headmasters salons nationwide from 1st November. It costs £45 for the 45 minute appointment, but once you’ve been taught the technique once, you’ll be able to re-create it yourself time and time again at home.

Party Pin-Up Masterclass, £45, available from Headmasters nationwide from 1st November 2010.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Mmmm... look what landed on my desk!

Best cupcake-y treats we've had in ages, they were quite literally gone in 60 seconds!

Designer Cake Pops, from the very clever ladies at Pop Bakery

Monday, 2 August 2010

Miracle-gro for lashes…Yes, really!

I love it when a beauty product delivers on its promises. Every day, products land on my desk with dubious claims about their efficacy plastered all over their packaging, and 90% of the time I find they’re simply not true. I’m a born cynic anyway (a trait that’s tested to the max working in the beauty industry!) so I refuse to believe any kind of claim until I, or someone I know and trust, has tested it.

So when Rapidlash, a serum that claims to make lashes 50% longer in 8 weeks, first arrived in the office, I was intrigued but skeptical. As I still have my amazing Flutter eyelash extensions on, I couldn’t try it personally, but my fastidious and totally trustworthy Beauty Director Lisa Durant decided to give it a go, and I have to say the results are incredible.

After a few weeks of use (you apply to the base of the lashes, once a day, before you go to bed) she was seeing no results, but decided to continue with the treatment for the full 8 weeks to give it a fair trial. A few weeks later it seems her determination has paid off, as her lashes now look absolutely amazing; much longer and darker. Lisa usually tints her lashes regularly, but hasn’t had to once since using Rapidlash due to their newfound luscious density.

So it’s top marks to Rapidlash for making a product that truly delivers, and for proving my inner cynic wrong!

Rapidlash, £39.99, available from now.

Monday, 7 June 2010

What to wear next season: A/W 2010 trend report

My PR days are behind me and I’m slowly getting back into the journalistic swing of things. After a very happy couple of hours spent reacquainting myself with the beauty cupboard and having a good root through the A/W make up box, I’m now feeling thoroughly excited for the coming season.

You see, the sun may be shining (well, most of the time), but us long-lead beauty journos are already thinking to Autumn and beyond. In fact, the first invitations have started trickling in for the annual ‘Christmas in July’ press events, meaning we’re already thinking rich winter moisturisers and heavy-duty lip balms.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Vogue A/W 2010 trends report download recently (a beautifully organised event with the cutest mini scones and brownies you’ve ever seen) and I wanted to pass on the exciting trends coming our way this winter.

As is often the way, it’s a case of beauty imitating fashion this coming season. The catwalks were awash with grown up camel coats and capes, understated but beautifully finished eveningwear, and 90s style minimalist tailoring.

This less frivolous, more practical influence was mirrored in beauty by a huge movement towards ‘back to basics’ make up. The focus was on products and colours you usually disregard or take for granted. Eye shadows in subtle earthy hues from camel and taupe to mink and mocha took centre stage, and the techniques used to create this ‘sepia photograph’ effect became the focus.

Contouring was big news with a move away from soft blush towards a more rigid structure - powders were used to boldly carve out strong cheekbones. Brows returned to their natural, un-plucked state (in contrast with this season’s bleached brows) and lips were lined perfectly, and finished with a thin layer of clear gloss.

Nicola Moulton, Vogue’s incredibly lovely Beauty Director, told us make up artist Val Garland used a toothbrush to gently scrub models’ lips to bring out the natural colour, before patting on lip balm for a barely-there sheen. A perfect example of the ‘less is more’ approach.

So my top tips to those who want to stay ahead of the game are:

1. Invest in a good quality set of make up brushes. Lancome are launching a new range this autumn, and Max Factor have just launched a decent range for those on a budget.

2. Stock up on those neutral shadows you usually overlook. Blend them to create subtly beautiful eyes. Revlon have once again got it spot on with their new range of copper, bronze and silver shadows. Look out for my favourite, Nude Slip, a taupe-y pink with a beautifully soft sheen.

3. Don’t bin your statement lippies just yet. A wide variety of shades featured on the catwalks, from deep plums to electric corals, just make sure you properly prepare and line your lips first. Pick up a good long-lasting clear gloss or balm to seal the deal. Crème De La Mer’s The Lip Balm is the best I’ve ever tried.

So there we have it ladies - happy shopping, and remember: Next season, less is most definitely more! 


Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Philips Lumea: The Final Verdict

The 8 weeks are over (where have they gone?!), the 4 trial sessions completed and the Philips Spa at the Soho Hotel officially closed. And now comes the exciting bit: the results.

Am I totally fuzz-free? Well not quite, but very nearly. There are still a couple of patchy bits that I should think will disappear with one final zap. The hair growth has undoubtedly slowed enormously, and the hairs that have grown back are weedy shadows of their former selves, hurrah! So overall, it’s a huge thumbs up.

Compared to every other type of hair removal I’ve ever tried (and trust me, I’ve tried them all) there’s no question this wins hands down. It doesn’t hurt, it’s quick and easy, long lasting and very effective. What else could you ask for?

Of course, it does cost £400, which initially seems expensive (I for one don’t have £400 just hanging around in my bank account, waiting to be spent!), but if you work it out over 5 years (that’s the Lumea’s official shelf life) it’s actually far cheaper than any other form of hair removal.

Let’s take a professional bikini wax, for example. I’d say it costs £25 on average (although at inflated London prices, it can easily cost twice that!), that’s £25 every 2 months or so. So £150 per year. Over 5 years, that’s £750. Just for your bikini line. That’s got to hurt more than the waxing.

And when you consider you’re getting leg hair removal and bikini line and underarms for £350 less, and it doesn’t hurt, and you can do it yourself at home…it starts to make sense, right?

I know I’m starting to sound a bit like a Philips salesperson, and I do apologise, but price aside (even though I do think it’s worth the expense) I genuinely can’t think of a single negative thing to say about it. Basically ladies, you need the Lumea in your life!

Philips Lumea, £400, available from Boots now.