Friday, 22 January 2010

Where to go for summer nails? The supermarket!

Back in the noughties, supermarkets cottoned on to the growing consumer appetite for instantly available catwalk-inspired fashion at bargain basement prices, and they got pretty good at producing it. But somehow they’ve never been quite as hot on the beauty side of things.

Tesco caused quite a stir back in 1999 when they signed legendary make up artist Barbara Daly, and she has created some memorable products (her Face Lift Cream developed quite a cult following) but generally, I’ve found the supermarket’s efforts at beauty collections boring, predictable and not of the best quality.

That is until now… I was surprised and delighted to see some beautiful pastel nail polishes arrive on my desk a couple of weeks ago from M&S. Bang on trend for this Spring, they’re pretty, wearable and last well. And this morning, I discovered these gorgeous nail colours from Barbara Daly for Tesco. Every shade is a vibrant bright that stays true on application, and all will compliment a summer tan beautifully. Seems the supermarkets are finally realising there’s a demand for on-trend beauty too…

M&S Essential Colours Nail Colour, £2.50, available now from Marks & Spencer stores nationwide.

Barbara Daly Mini Fashion Nails, £2.70, available 24th February in larger Tesco stores nationwide.

Friday, 15 January 2010

A juicy treat

When it comes to fashion, I’m definitely a believer in the adage ‘if you’re old enough to remember it the first time round, you shouldn’t be wearing it the second time round’. But with beauty, it seems a different set of rules apply...

I remember the hype when Lancome Juicy Tubes first hit the shelves 10 years ago. As a 15-year-old girl, it was the make-up bag must-have. Well now it seems it will be the gloss du jour once again, as Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has designed 6 motifs to adorn the packaging of the original 6 shades to celebrate the tenth anniversary. With a revamped 100% natural formula enriched with shea butter and honey, they’re more hydrating than ever, without loosing any of that legendary shine. My favourite is Dot Apricot (third in from the right), a gorgeous everyday nude with a subtle pink tint. 

Lancome Juicy Tubes, £10, available exclusively from Debenhams from April 2010. 

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Creme de la creme

I love how certain smells can evoke vivid memories. The smell of the original Nivea Creme - the one in the big blue tub - really reminds me of my childhood as my mum used it as a cure for absolutely everything from dry skin to full on cuts and grazes! I haven't smelled it in a while so when I opened these cute new tins this morning, I got a real blast from the past! Good on Nivea for updating the packaging, but staying faithful to the original formulation of the cream. Its preservative-free formula has remained unchanged since its conception in 1911, and the fact that it's still a best-seller nearly 100 years on proves it's a real beauty classic.

Limited Edition Nivea Creme tins (available in four designs), £1.35, available nationwide from 9th February 2010

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

LUST ALERT! The body art you won't regret!

The mere sight of those interlocking C’s is enough to make me go weak at the at the knees, so when I discovered I could have them on my knees, I got a little bit excited!! Depicting pearls, flowers, birds and of course, that all important Chanel logo, these temporary tattoos are truly a beauty product with a difference. I’m expecting them to sell out within minutes, so get yourself down to Selfridges early on 1st March to grab a pack! See you in the queue…

Les Trompe L’oeil de Chanel, £49 for 55 individual temporary tattoos, available exclusively at Selfridges and Chanel boutiques from 1st March 2010. 

Thursday, 7 January 2010

On the lash

Lash extensions are a relatively new beauty treatment, and one that I have been keen to try as my natural lashes are teeny weeny and barely visible when not coated in several layers of mascara! So when I booked in with Kathryn of Flutter Lashes at the Urban Retreat spa in Harrods, I was extremely excited to say the least...

Here are my thoughts on the results:

Upsides: They look really really good. Amazing actually. Really full and thick but totally natural - the above picture is not exaggerated at all. I’ve had loads of compliments on them, but the hugest benefit in my mind is that it cuts down my morning beauty routine as there’s absolutely no need for mascara - you just wake up in the morning with totally perfect-looking wide awake eyes! You feel like you don’t need to wear as much make up, just because you wake up looking that much more healthy.

They’ve also lasted really well. I’ve had this set for four weeks now and they’re only just starting to look slightly ragged around the edges. You do notice one or two lashes falling out, but they fall out so gradually - with your natural lash cycle - that you hardly notice. 

Downsides: The price. I had mine done with the owner of Flutter, Kathryn, who is an absolute pro, and who made my experience really enjoyable, but quality comes at a price - £250 to be exact. I can almost hear you wincing. The price drops to £180 if you opt for a member of Kathryn’s team instead, which is more reasonable. The way I see it, some people think nothing of spending £100 on an hour’s facial that lasts just that – an hour. For two of those, you get a good 6 weeks wear from these lashes.

They also take a bit of getting used to, you can’t rub your eyes which is rather like having an itch you can’t scratch at times, and you have to be careful not to use oil-based make up removers. Other than that you can pretty much continue your routine as usual.

So my verdict? If you can justify the expense to yourself (or your bank manager!), definitely go for it, you’ll never look back. But it’s an expensive habit, and once you've had them, going au naturel again just doesn’t seem an option!

Lashes from £180 and infills from £60 at Urban Retreat in Harrods.

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Monday, 4 January 2010

Hello everyone, and a slightly belated Happy New Year to you all!

So it’s officially the FIRST DAY BACK AT WORK (boooo). The turkey is finished, the copious amounts of alcohol consumed and Now That’s What I Call Christmas Volume 35 returned to the back of the cupboard. Time to look forward to the coming year, and what better way to lift the January blues than preview the forthcoming beauty joys of 2010! Here are my top 5 products to look out for in the next few months:

1. Lancome Kohl Gloss in Pop Petrol – This new eye pencil was met with shrieks of delight when it landed in the office. It’s a gorgeous petrol green shade (the colour the entire Lancome S/S 2010 collection is based on) and it has an amazing wet-look glossy finish which really draws attention to the eyes. Smudge it around for a modern take on the classic smoky eye.
£18, available nationwide from 15th January.

2. Chloe Eau de Fleurs: Capucine – Fragrance is a totally subjective product which makes it difficult to write about and difficult to recommend. However, this new offering from Chloe seems to have universal appeal. I’ve only be trialling it for a couple of weeks but already 4 people have asked me what I’m wearing, including a checkout lady at M&S! It smells modern and fresh with soft floral undertones, and is very wearable.
£75 for 100ml, available from 7th April 2010 (0800 083 6312).

3. Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Particuliere (pictured) – The nail polish Beauty Eds everywhere are desperate to get their mitts on, this soft taupey-brown is the shade to don this spring. I predict a riot at the Chanel counter come January 29th…
£16, available nationwide.

4. YSL Palette Y-Mail in Blush Harmony (pictured) – It was a case of love at first sight when I first clapped my eyes on this seriously lust-worthy blush. Just look at it! It’s the beauty junkie’s answer to the YSL Y-Mail clutch, is equally desirable and about a twentieth of the price! You’ll get admiring looks a-plenty if you whip this out on the tube.
£35, available nationwide from 23rd January.

5. Ojon Restorative Leave-In Treatment – I attended the launch of this product about a month ago, and was really impressed with the instant smoothing and glossing effect it had on the live models’ hair. A pound-sized blob and a few seconds are all you need to transform the most dry and damaged of hair. It’s amazing.
£29.50, available from January in Harrods, Liberty and selected John Lewis stores.