Monday 19 February 2007

Treat of the Week 19th -25th February

This week its Paul and Joe's Lip Gloss which has become a permanent fixture Paul & Joe Lip Gloss
in my make-up bag since someone unwisely left it at my house - Caramel Rose is my favourite (I hasten to add that no-one has attempted to claim this lip gloss I'm not just holding it hostage). Go on... treat yourself xx

Saturday 17 February 2007

Close Shave

I think Britney may have taken Rogers and Hammerstein a little too seriously this week. Rather than washing Fed-Ex and Isaac ‘Fed-the-Second’ Cohn right out of her hair she seems to have opted for the more extreme shave it all off option. Admittedly she may have realised that her taste in men leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe an extreme make-over might save her from more such ridiuclous choices of bed-mate, but I think it’s a bit extreme and maybe the final step too far. She also got her tummy button pierced which is a stretch mark disaster waiting to happen, considering she’s already shown a certain disregard for when she has children and who with. It can take up to two years for your tummy to recover from a piecing.
Last week Britney’s ex assistant and best friend announced that she was aware of what was happening to Brit but that the 25 year old singer, who spent one day (!) in rehab in Antigua last week, was beyond the help of her friends. I do appreciate that of late Britney has suffered from many a hair disaster, constantly chopping (ha ha) and changing between blonde and brunette, long and short, curly and straight, extensions or natural. Her only hair-disaster equal seems to be Jessica Simpson who recently stumbled into a terrible dye job. Luckily she quickly remedied the situation by choosing a more chocolatey less ginger terrier hue.
I’m pretty sure that most women after being dumped try to make themselves look as fabulous as possible so the evil ex can see what he’s missing out on. However, I have to say that although Britney is no Sinead, now she can really pull off the shaved head, Brit isn’t looking too horrific (as Mr J was quick to point out!). This could signal a fresh start for Ms Spears, a clean slate or new leaf. Lets hope so because there is only so much more her loyal fans can overlook before Fed-Ex’s full custody of the children starts to look appealing, and lets face it who would have thought that that would ever happen.
So for those of you who need to wash someone or something right out of your hair but aren’t ready to reach for the clippers just yet, here are some favourites of mine and the Misses.
I am always trying to get my hair thicker and bigger. It has a tendency to get a bit flat and one drop of rain turns me into a poodle. This combination is not attractive. I’ve tried so manyPantene Full and Thick Shampoo different volumising shampoos and the only one that I found to work was Pantene’s Full & Thick. Aussie and John Freida both do great volumising shampoo’s but if your hair flattens at the sight of a hat or the great outdoors, I’ve found these cannot stand the strain. I should point out that I have only tried the rather than his special volumising range. John Frieda Blonde Thickening Shampoo,Toni & Guy and Charles Worthington also do great thickening shampoos but again they are fabulous at first but seem to have no staying power. I thought I was destined to spend hours with my head upside down blow drying and straightening the difficult Miss B locks. That is until I decided to try Thicker Fuller Hair Shampoo. I’m a packaging snob and this really looks like something that could be re-bottled as shower gel or conditioner. However, it is the only shampoo I have found that gives lasting volume and really lifts the hair at the roots. I’d recommend any of the shampoos mentioned above as they are all great but if like me you really need all the help you can get the Thicker Fuller Hair range is the one for you.
For those who are lucky enough to already have voluminous hair but want smoother more moisturised locks there are some great products out there. If you have dyed hair the John Frieda range is great. TRESemme’s new moisture shampoo really works. I’ve been taking part in a two week trial for them and my hair, which can feel quite dry most of the time actually feels smooth but hasn’t lost any ‘body’. Miss S is a TRESemme devotee.
I have yet to find a conditioner that does not flatten my hair even those which are specifically made to be volumising. Pantene, John Frieda, Charles Worthington and have all had a gAussie Miracle Hair Insuranceo at my hair and none of them have quite managed the job. Sadly I have to say, I’ve slightly given up so I don’t condition my hair anymore. Once every couple of weeks I will use Tony & GuyJohn Frieda’s Blonde Hair Repairing Treatment. I also use his Healthy Attitude Leave-In Nourishing Spray or Aussie’s Leave-In Conditioner (but I’m not too keen on the smell).
The best leave-in conditioner spray has to be Cobella’s Weightless Leave-In Conditioner which not only really works but smells great too. To condition or not to condition really depends on your hair. It is important to keep it healthy and try and keep split ends at bay especially if you have dyed hair. I have to admit mine is platinum peroxided to within and inch of its life. The TRESemme Moisturising Conditioner from the hair trial is great when applied just to the ends.
Post Party:
I havTigi Bedheade actually been known to throw a tantrum when my Tigi Bed Hed After-Party Smoothing Cream runs out. If you have been out and your hair smells of anything (fags, booze and god knows what) this is the only thing I have found that will help. It covers the smell and to be honest I don't even know how to describe it. It literally sorts your hair out - you don't even have to tie it up. I have one at my house, my parents house, Mr J's house, and in my washbag. Its that good. If anyone has anything to rival this please let me know.
Straightening and smoothing:
Straightening, blow drying and indeed any heat is bad for your hair. No one is going to tell you different.. What with having frazzled dyed hair, a scary obsession with my GHD Classic Styler Ceramic Hair Straightener 170C and a tendancy towards Bon Jovi hair even when I don't blow dry. I need all the heJohn Frieda Sheer Blonde Spotlightlp I can get. And I think I've found it. Whilst your hair is still wet try Pantene's Heat Protection Cream which not only defends your hair against heat but softens it too. As a more general protection i.e. you can use it whenever and wherever you want, Toni & Guy's Iron It Heat Defence Spray is a weightless protector that won't affect your hair (except to protect it).

There is only one detangler and smoother for me. John Frieda's Spotlight Glosser has been a constant in my washbag for 9 years!! Toni & Guys Shine Addiction will add a bit of gloss before you go out and it smells great too. I've never been a fan of John Frieda's Frizz Ease. Some people love it but I think its only for girLanza Strait-line smootherls with curls. Whilst on a cruise The Mumma B discovered Lanza Strait-Line Formula: Smootherwhich is worth every penny of its (approximately) £10. Miss F loves Cobella Stay Staight Flattening Balm - it smells fab, keeps you hair soft and shiny and it lasts forever.

Colour Protect:

As I've mentioned I err on the Platinum side of blonde. I'll try not to be biased but I think its one of the hardest colours to maintain. You not only risk not canary yellow but also green and I'll do anything to not look like Orville so once again I've spent some money on these products, mostly shampoo's. Every couple of months or so I'll buy John Frieda's Sheer Blonde Volumising Shampoo. He makes them specific to your hair tone so you can be really choosy. He also does a great Forever Blonde; Total Colour Protector - but beware you only need a little, it can leave a coating on your hair.
As for post-wash volumising treatments I think I have spent more money on these than mostJohn Frieda Spritz & Blitz Spray other products. There are some great ones out there so I’ve narrowed it down to my top five which I would recommend to anyone. So in no particular order:
  1. John Frieda Spritz and Blitz - Lifting and Thickening Spray
  2. Toni and Guy Volume Explosion Thickening Cream
  3. Pantene Full and Thick Lightweight Conditioning Foam
  4. John FriedaFull Blown Blonde Volumising Spray
  5. Charles Worthington Full Volume Styling Spray
So after all this money and time spent grooming myh hair rather than shaving it what are the top five hair products I would take to my desert island?

  1. Thicker Fuller Hair Shampoo
  2. Tigi Bed Head After-Party Smoothing Cream
  3. Cobella Weightless Leave-in Conditioner
  4. John Frieda Spritz and Blitz - Lifting and Thickening Spray
  5. GHD Classic Styler Ceramic Hair Straightener 170C (ok ok they aren’t a product but I can’t bear to be without them) xxGHD Professional Straighteners

Wednesday 14 February 2007

Whats in Your Make-Up Bag?

This month I pestered Miss M until she relented and let me have a peek at her make-up bag. What Benefit Hoolacan she not leave the house without?Clarins Eclat Minute
  • Almay Skin Stays Clean Foundation
  • Hoola Bronzer by Benefit
  • Natural Collection's Juicy Lips
  • Lancome Black Eyeliner
  • Clarins Eclat Minute
  • Natural Collection Cover up Stick
  • Maybelline Turbo Black Volume Express Mascara
I love this because there's not a lot but if you left the house with no make-up and needed to make yourself look fabulous this would cover everything.

Monday 12 February 2007

Under Pressure

Its valentine’s day soon and even though I’m spoken for and therefore can’t join the ranks of single woman who boycott this romantic occasion me and Mr J have never really marked it. However, I like to celebrate it myself with a bit of pampering. This year I didn’t even have to think about it, the choice was obvious. Daily Candy were doing a deal with Clinique at Harrods and celebrity make-up artist Alex Babsky. For £10 you had an hour long session with Alex and one of the Clinique make-up artists and your money back against any purchases. I booked myself in after work yesterday as an end of the week pre-valentine’s treat, fully aware that as soon as saw the products I would hand over money I couldn’t spare. But I was sure it would be worth it.

And it was. It’s pretty intimidating to sit in the middle of probably the busiest shop in London and have all your make-up removed before trusting a stranger to re-apply it (although Kylie had been in the day before – now that would be competition!). Harrods is a glam environment and as I sat down I realised I wasn’t quite mentally prepared for what could be public humiliation. Would Alex take one look at my bare face and laugh until he had to be removed from the premises, would I react to one of the products and explode in a mass of redness? However, the Clinique make-up artist who was looking after me was so lovely she immediately made me feel so at ease that I didn’t mind her getting her trowel out to remove my war paint.

Whilst removing all my make-up Sam told me more about Clinique. All products are fragrance free and are often recommended by doctors for people with dry or difficult skin. Their products are tested and re-tested and if any of the tests cause a reaction then the product is not produced. I was further re-assured when looking at their website later to find a section where you can ask their lab questions and they will tell you the best treatments for all types of skin. The Clinique CX range is a great range of products for more unusual but common problems offering solutions for stretch marks (Stretch Mark Cream), redness (Redness Relief Cream) and discoloured and damaged skin (New Colour Corrector) among other things. Clinique’s most popular range is their 3-step care routine: Cleansing with non-drying facial soap, exfoliating clarifying lotion, and moisturising with lotion or gel (the website will tell you which products are best for your skin type).

Sam used Liquid Facial Soap to remove my foundation and the top layer of dirt. There is no point in using the clarifying lotion without getting your make-up off properly first otherwClinique Clarifying Lotion 2ise you will never get all the dust and grime off your skin that can build up during the day. I rarely use soap on my face. As someone with naturally dry skin when I think of soap I can feel the skin on my face tightening and dehydrating but the Clinique Facial Soap feels more like proper make-up remover.

Next was the Clinique Clarifying Lotion 2. This works better the more you use it. It gently exfoliates without being abrasive on the skin. The third step is to moisturise which is not an unusual way to end a beauty routine but rather than slapping on a thick moisturising cream we used their Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion which doesn’t just pump in moisture but corrects the balance of moisture in your skin – so this is a great purchase even for those who, like me, are dedicated to one or two makes of moisturiser. This one is not like all the others.

My skin care complete, it was time to meet Alex and discuss what make-up we should do. Clinique Turnaround 15 Minute FacialWhile we waited Sam applied some Turnaround 15-minute Facial to the back of my hand. Apparently I would see the difference; even on my hand (I was dubious). Then Alex appeared and was totally different to how I expected. He was calm and friendly, really interested in what you wanted from your make-up and keen to find something slightly different to show you rather than playing safe and going with something not dissimilar to your usual look. For someone who has done such famous faces as the Beckhams and Naomi Campbell he didn’t seem at all appalled when presented with my naked face. I’m pretty stuck in my ways with regard to my daily make-up and I won’t deny that this involves black eyeliner (complete with flicks) and the most volumising black mascara I can get my hands on. I think Alex had noted this on my arrival and when told I also had trouble creating the perfect smoky eye look, he very calmly decided that he’d like to try reds. I have to say I was not sure. I imagined my washed out face with pillar box streaks round my piggy eyes but reminded myself that I had yet to see this look feature on Victoria (or David) Beckham so I was probably going to be alright.

So we got to it. Sam got to work with Gentle Light Make Up (04 Nude Glow) which was applied with a great brush (Foundation Brush £20). I had been naughty and after my foundation brush broke I resorted to sponges which are not at all hygienic but I could tell the difference in the application with this brush. I recommend getting one. Although this is a great foundation I still found it a bit un-smooth on the dry patch in betwClinique Airbrush Concealereen my eyebrows so I don’t think I would apply it there. It does illuminate your skin nicely giving a change from the usual matte look. Next came my one regret of the hour. I didn’t buy the Airbrush Concealer. I’m running out of Bo-oing and this light concealer really works well under the eyes covering dark circles and fine lines. A loose dusting of powder meant I was ready for the red!!

Sam worked with Colour Surge Eyeshadow Soft Shimmer in Cider building up with the layers around the eye and going further up onto the eye socket than I’ve ever had the guts to do. She also built up fine layers of cider along my lower eyelashes using a thin shadow brush. Rather than my usual black we chose Quickliner in Roast Coffee which was is really easy to apply and smudgy so you don’t get to severe a line. Rather than eyeliner or mascara on the lower lashes Sam built up the colour using the Cider eyeshadow on a fine brush right under the lashes. She continued to build up the smoky lookClnique Quickliner in Roast Coffee with shadow and liner adding a small application of black liner right next to the top lashes and then Alex came to curl my eyelashes. I can never do this without taking half the skin off my nose – having someone else do it for you is fantastic. Then one application of mascara which looked so subtle against the browny red of the cider but added some great definition. Alex chose Blushing Blush powder in Innocent Peach a colour I would never have chosen myself. I don’t think I’d even considered using blusher that wasn’t a light pink but this peachier colour suited my skin tone so much better.

Throughout the makeover Alex and Sam just seemed so calm that even though I had no idea what I looked like I really wasn’t dreading looking at myself at all. I was reassured when Alex decided the first choice of lip gloss made the overall look too ‘natural’ and so chose another. He wasn’t afraid to change his mind. We went for Colour Surge Impossibly Glossy in Beach Bunny. I had to shove my hands in my pocket when I left to stop me adding it to my ever growing list of purchases. For the grand finale Sam removed the Turnaround Cream from my hand and I really could see the difference. The skin looked clearer, less red and dry and felt so smooth and moisturised.

When I looked in the mirror I was really surprised. It was completely different to what I expected and what I usually go for. The eyes were defined but subtle and really effective. The colours made my eyes look properly blue green and my skin looked bright and healthy and the further application of the eyeshadow really looked great. Nothing looked too over-the-top but I felt ‘glammed’. I was really pleased and very impressed. I hadn’t expected the people to Clinique Blushing Blush Powderbe so friendly and genuinely interested in me and Alex and Sam both talked me through what they were doing while they were doing it. The products were really good and I had to stop myself spending my entire monthly wage. But will I be able to re-create the effect? I’ll have to let you know but I’m quietly confident.

I would recommend anyone to go online and find when the next celebrity make-up artist is coming to town. If you want to pamper yourself this is a really good way to do it. It was a real treat. Beware £10 seems like a great deal but if the make-over is good this will turn into a pretty expensive outing.
So what could I not leave without?
N.B. I've been using Clarifying Lotion for 5 days now and it is amazing. Worth getting when you are feeling a little flush! xx
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