January, 2013

Jan 13

My Favourite Winter Nail Polish Colours

In my mind, winter calls for short dark nails and these are the colours I’ve been wearing recently:

Ted Baker Blue Moon Duo

If you are looking for a good deep blue polish, look no further than this offering from Ted Baker. The darker bluer – Blue Moon – is the perfect midnight colour; I find a lot of dark blues look almost black but this is a very true dark blue. I don’t wear a lot of glitter nail polish but this lighter blue – Space Dust – adds just enough jazz without looking too blingy for the office. I am terrible at wearing gloves when doing housework so polish rarely lasts more than a few days; this stayed intact for three and I had a lot of compliments on the colour.

Ted Baker Blue Moon Duo – £8.50

Max Factor Glossfinity

The premise of this polish is that it will last up to seven days. I didn’t expect it to last even half that as I am forever washing up (glamorous life that I lead). The first shot shows the polish with base coat, two coats of Glossfinity and a top coat. The second shows the polish after six days. I think it’s lasted very well! The shade I’m wearing is called Burgundy Crush and it’s a lovely rich deep red.

Max Factor Glossfinity – £4.99

Jan 13

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask

According to the scientists at Clinique, our ‘skin is programmed to fine tune its rhythm for the next day at night time. During these hours, skin also becomes vulnerable to water loss and a compromised barrier function.’

My face took such a battering from the wind and snow today; walking to London Bridge train station literally made my skin sting! I needed to treat my face to some goodness, so I made sure that tonight I had a good night time skincare routine.

This new Moisture Surge Overnight Mask works like a good night cream (so don’t rinse it off) and it contains ingredients like aloe barbadensis leaf water to hydrate and calm the skin, trehalose and sorbitol to prevent dehydration, sodium hyaluronate; a polymer which helps plump and smooth the skin, shea butter, mango butter and pomegranate sterols to moisturise; and algae and caffeine to smooth and calm the skin.

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask

Depending on your skin type, you might find it too rich in the Summer but for winter, it’s just what you need. I have combination skin and it didn’t make my face feel greasy on application or in the morning.

The Moisture Surge Overnight Mask smells gorgeous and after just one nights wear, I could see the difference in my face. My skin felt ridiculously smooth, fresh and hydrated and even Mr 32 Boroughs remarked that I looked well. Considering my 2 year old woke me up at the crack of dawn, I can’t put it down to a good nights sleep!

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask – £28/100ml

Jan 13

Botanical Hair & Scalp Treatment At Aveda

Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp and both of mine have been feeling the pressure lately.

Coloured hair needs extra TLC, the weather is no one’s friend and although my hair had started to pick up (thanks to the Imedeen Hair & Nails supplements I’m half way though) I needed to call in the big guns; a visit to the Aveda Institute in Covent Garden for a specific hair and scalp treatment.

The session started with a consultation with a stylist (the lovely Jay) where we talked about my hair: coloured and dry, and scalp: dry again. Based on the condition of my hair and scalp she recommended a protein treatment. In my case she explained it’s the difference between my hair breaking or not breaking. Protein treatment please!

Jay explained that unlike the usual deep conditioning treatment you have in a salon (conditioner, hot towel/steamer) an Aveda protein treatment penetrates deep into the hair and strengthens from within while also soothing and nourishing the scalp. The hair may not look any different but the use of oils and massage means the hair is being treated for longer.

I was then handed over to Eugenie who started my treatment by massaging Aveda Scalp Remedy Oil onto my dry scalp (five minutes of pure heaven) before I moved over to the sinks for my hair to be washed with Damage Remedy shampoo. After my protein treatment masque was applied (more head massage) it was left on for 5 minutes before being rinsed off and I was back to Jay for a blow dry.

Aveda Institute

The Aveda Institute, Covent Garden

Now I’ve had my hair blow dried by a lot of people over the years but I have to say I’ve never had a blow dry as good as the one Jay gave me. In fact it was so straight yet bouncy and swishy that she didn’t need to go over it with the hair irons. Now that’s what I call a good blow dry!

There is a lot of hair on my head so it took over an hour to dry but I was treated to a wonderful hand and arm massage (thanks again Eugenie) and although my hair looks pretty much the same (with added shine), it feels softer and yet stronger and my scalp is much less dry or flaky.

It’s not often that I go to salon just to nourish my hair; it’s usually for a cut and/or colour but I am a firm believer in looking after the health as well as the style of your hair and I think the Botanical Hair & Scalp treatment is a must have for those who want long, strong and healthy hair. I’ll definitely be going back!

Botanical Hair & Scalp Treatment at the Aveda Institute – £50/60 minutes

Jan 13

Liz Earle ‘Colour’ Range

As a huge fan of Liz Earle’s cult product Cleanse and Polish, I was very pleased to be invited to try some products from the new and improved Liz Earle ‘Colour’ range.


The whole collection has been designed to cater for the skin tones of Asian, mixed raced and black women so there should be something to suit everyone. I tried the following products:

Signature Foundation in Mocha 09
Perfect Fix Concealer in Deep 07
Sheer Lip Gloss in Fuchsia 04

The darkest foundation Liz Earle offers is just about dark enough for me and I think that’s because it’s winter and I’m a little paler than usual. The foundation itself is lovely, very natural looking and it sits nicely on the skin. It gives sheer to medium coverage and has great staying power. If you are mixed race, Asian or black (up to the colour of say Naomi Campbell) you will love the colours offered by Liz Earle.

The concealer was actually my favourite product; it was just the right shade, hid everything that needed hiding (dark patches/under eye circles) without leaving my skin looking caked in makeup. The concealer comes in one shade darker than I tried so the range should suit most skin tones.

Liz Earle Signature Gloss offers sheer, non-sticky colour for the lips. If you like understated hints of colour on the lips the range is for you but colour wise, they aren’t offering anything different from most other brands.

Have you tried the Liz Earle Colour range yet; how did you find it?

Jan 13

Benefit Cosmetics Partner with UK Tennis #1 Heather Watson

20 year old Heather Watson is a British female tennis player and the current British No 1.

Benefit Cosmetics say Heather is one of the UK’s rising stars and have decided to partner with her in 2013. Their partnership began at the Australian Open where she made it through to the second round.

As well as being a professional athlete and hardworking sports star, Heather is also a massive beauty fan. On the court she’ll be wearing Benefit’s ‘they’re real’ the UKs number one bestselling mascara.

Heather said: “I am so excited about my new partnership with Benefit Cosmetics. They are a really cool, fun brand and I have been a fan of their products for a long time. I have been a using a number of their products for years.”

Heather is of mixed heritage; her mother is from Papua New Guinea and her father is English so we’re interested to see the colours and styles of makeup she wears as she has access to Benefit’s impressive collection.

Sponsorship is very important to athletes; most don’t have another job so rely on winnings and sponsors to thrive financially. Heather is sponsored by K Swiss and Dunlop so nabbing a company as large and international as Benefit is something of a coup.

Well done Heather!

Jan 13

January Skincare Resolutions

If you’ve eaten your own weight in cheese and chocolate over the last few weeks, your hair, nails and general wellbeing have probably taken a turn for the worse.

I’m using the following products to help me get back on track:

Proskins leggings – from £45
I want to say I’m going to re-join the gym and work out 3-4 times a week but I know that I’m not. Instead I’m going to try and commit to twice weekly workout sessions with my beloved Mari Winsor Pilates DVD and I’m going to wear these Proskins leggings while doing it. These anti-cellulite leggings are made from patented microencapsulated yarn containing Caffeine, Retinol Ceramides, Aloe Vera, Fatty Acids and Vitamin E which help tackle the three major causes of cellulite – blood circulation, fluid retention and lymphatic drainage. Melanie C and Danni Minogue are fans.

To get the maximum benefits you need to wear them 8 hours a day (why not wear them to bed?) for at least 28 days. Tests have shown they leave thighs smoother, firmer and with a reduction of up to 2cm of fat. Yes please.

Dr Murad Pure Skin Clarifying Dietary Supplement – £50 for 30 day supply
Good skin starts from the inside; did you know that topical products reach 20% of your skin, while internal products, like supplements, reach the other 80%? These tablets contain:
Vitamin A – A powerful antioxidant which encourages cell renewal
Yellow Dock and Burdock Root – Boosts immunity and removes blemish-producing toxins
Zinc – Soothes skin and builds up resistance to irritation, making skin look calmer and feel more comfortable.
Take two in the morning and two in the evening for clearer skin.

Aubrey Organics Soap Bars – £5.90
With news of Chanel launching a traditional soap bar version of their iconic Number 5 fragrance it’s not an exaggeration to say the good old bar of soap is having something of resurgence. With two little ones in the house I try and keep their personal hygiene products as natural as possible so I am now using Aubrey Organics Rosa Mosqueta luxurious bath bar. Containing 100% natural ingredients like rosa mosqueta oil to moisturise and improve skin texture and borage oil to nourish soothe and protect, the bar is very moisturising and leaves the skin clean without stripping away natural oils.

InnOrbit ‘Slim & Fit’ Ayurvedic Herb and Spice Infusion – £7.99
I can’t exclude coffee from my diet completely but I’m trying to alternate between coffee and this herbal tea. This Ayurvedic Herb and Spice Infusion contains Garcinia to help suppress appetite the natural way, and Caralluma to burn fat and increase the body’s metabolism naturally. Drink three to four cups a day for at least a week to help your weight loss regime. The tea is 100% fair trade and the makers InnOrbit sponsor the education of daughters from the farming families, guaranteeing their education for ten years.

Bobbi Brown Extra Soothing Balm – £40
This multi-purpose dense balm contains extracts of avocado, geranium and rosemary oils and can be used anywhere extra hydration is needed. I’ve used it on my lips, cuticles and even my heels. It can also be worn on the face; apply lightly over makeup to give cheeks a dewy, healthy glow. Think of it as a less sticky and less fragranced Eight Hour Cream.

Jardins D’EDEN ‘Indulge’ Bath truffles – £15
These bath truffles look and smell good enough to eat (don’t) and contain Rose, Geranium and Palma Rosa essential oils to give you a heavenly bathing experience. Simply drop into running water and let them dissolve to leave your skin silky and moisturised.

REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask – £18
Late nights and rich food play havoc with your skin. This detoxifying French Kaolin clay mask helps reduce the appearance of pore size and leave the skin purified smooth and toned. The clay draws out impurities and absorbs excess sebum from the skin which helps reduce the appearance of pore size and blackheads. The mask is free from parabens, SLS, mineral oil, glycols and synthetic colours and fragrances.

What’s in your January beauty bag?

Jan 13

Givenchy’s New HÔTEL PRIVÉ Collection

Givenchy’s new ‘HÔTEL PRIVÉ make up collection for Spring/Summer 2013 was described as “a collection that conveys a subtle, natural elegance. Colours that express gentle pleasure and cosy intimacy. Textures that are easy to use, the very definition of refined, low-key luxury” by Nicolas Degennes, Givenchy’s International Artistic Director.

Givenchy Hotel Prive collection

Givenchy Hotel Prive collection

The entire collection includes:

• ÉCRIN PRIVÉ Limited Edition Eye shadows in taupe, grey, natural beige and rose milk pink

• ROUGE INTERDIT Limited Edition in 59 Private Peach

• GLOSS INTERDIT Limited Edition lip gloss in 35 Private Rose and 36 Private Fuchsia

• VERNIS PLEASE! Limited Editions nail polish in 183 Private Grey and 184 Private Taupe

Givenchy Hotel Prive collection

Givenchy Hotel Prive collection

I was lucky enough to try the ROUGE INTERDIT Limited Edition lipstick in 59 Private Peach and the Limited Editions nail polish in 184 Private Taupe.

I had reservation about the lipstick as I thought it might be too light for me but it is a lovely nude/beige pink that I think will suit a variety of skin tones. It is lovely to wear, smells great and has good staying power.


Givenchy Private Peach

I received quite a few compliments wearing the nail polish. It appears somewhat nude against my skin (do I have taupe undertones?) and the colour is quite rich so you can get away with just one coat.


Givenchy Private Taupe

I love the two products I did try and now I can’t wait to get my hands on the eye shadow palette and the nail polish in Private Grey.

The HÔTEL PRIVÉ collection will be available from January 21st.

Jan 13

RapidShield Daily Eyelash Conditioner

Here’s something I never knew I needed – eyelash conditioner! We condition and look after most of the other hair we have, why not the eyelashes?

Simply apply the RapidShield Eyelash Daily Conditioner like you would mascara and allow the Hexatein 3 Complex to look after and protect your lashes.


Ingredients include silk amino acid to moisturise and protect, apple fruit cell extract to rejuvenate and a vitamin cocktail of B5, B7 and H to nourish and seal in the moisture in your lashes.

I’ve been wearing it on days I wear no make up to help separate the lashes and on days I need to look half decent, I’ve been using it as a primer for my lashes and applying it before and/or after mascara. Under mascara it helps to give the appearance of fuller, longer lashes and rather strangely, a slightly shinier lash if that’s possible!


It’s gentle enough for contact lens wearers and it’s perfect to make your expensive mascara work that bit better.

RapidShield Daily Eyelash Conditioner – £28/4ml

Jan 13

Cosmetics a la Carte

If you’ve ever found it hard to find the exact shade to suit your skin, Cosmetics a la Carte might be just what you need. It’s not uncommon to buy two shades of foundation then mix them at home in order to get that exact match.

Cosmetics a la Carte are rare in that, along with their extensive ready to wear collection of face bases and minerals powders, if required they will custom blend a prescription to perfectly match your skin colour and composition. They can even take a makeup old favourite and recreate the colour so that discontinued product can come back to life.


Cosmetics a la Carte provide a wide range of products beyond foundation; I tried the Custom Blend Foundation in Expresso (a 100% perfect match); the Rose Dew Moisturiser and Primer (a perfect two in one product) and the Maxi Lip Primer (simply add before lipstick to the lips and lip line to smooth fine lines and prevent lipstick bleeding).

For me the real hero products are the custom blend foundations; whether you are ebony, ivory or somewhere in between Cosmetics a la Carte can create the perfect colour for you.


Custom Blend Foundation – from £36
Maxi Lip Primer – £20/5g
Rose Dew Moisturiser and Primer – £33/50ml

Jan 13

Organic Surge Gentle Meadow Body Lotion

Every woman of colour appreciates the importance of moisturising the skin after a bath or shower.

From birth onwards, we’ve been slathering ourselves in a variety of lotions and potions. A good body moisturiser has to soak into the skin easily, not be greasy and smell pleasant.

All Organic Surge products are 100% free from parabens, SLS, artificial fragrances and colours. I find the Organic Surge Gentle Meadow Body Lotion perfect for use after the night time bath/shower. It contains organic lavender and geranium essential oils which help to relax you before you drift off to sleep.

It also contains natural glycerine – a humectant which attracts moisture to the skin, helping it to remain hydrated and soft; sweet almond oil – a rapidly absorbed, lightweight skin moisturiser and vitamin E which reduces skin irritation and provides natural anti-oxidant properties.

At £5.99 for 200ml it’s at a great price point and is gentle enough to use on all the family.

Organic Surge Gentle Meadow Body Lotion – £5.99/200 ml



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