August, 2013

Aug 13

The Beauty Edit: Benefit, Origins & Murad

Do I really need another foundation or lip gloss/balm? Yes, yes I do!

Benefit Hello Flawless Foundation – £25.50
I’d heard a lot about the Benefit Hello Flawless Foundation but didn’t realise it came in a shade dark enough for me to use. I tried ‘nutmeg’ – the darkest shade in the range and it suited me perfectly. It is very lightweight; it almost feels like I’m not wearing anything. It offers light to medium coverage and I think it does a great job covering imperfection and does a great job in brightening and illuminating the face. Although this launched last year, bloggers and beauty editors still rave about it; probably because it contains vitamin C & E derivatives, known to prevent signs of ageing, is oil free and helps boost cellular respiration for a ‘plumping up’ effect.


Origins Drink Up Hydrating Lip Balm – £16
This sweet smelling lip balm contains orange peel wax and wheat germ extract to help boost lip moisture levels and retain hydration for up to 24 hours. While I didn’t wear it for that long it did give a nice hint of juicy colour to my lips thanks to the mineral pigments and mica. Other ingredients include aloe vera to soothe parched, dehydrated lips.

Murad Intensive C Radiance Peel – £49.50
According to Stylist magazine, all women of colour should use this brightening peel to fight against dull skin and hyperpigmentation. Why? Because of the amazing ingredients list:

Glycolic Acid exfoliates to accelerate turnover of dark damaged cells, removing dullness and improving skin texture to make skin glow.
Vitamin C and Indian Fig to protect against free radical damage while enhancing skin clarity and luminosity for an illuminated complexion
Myrtle Extract supports collagen production to boost youthful resilience and elasticity.

It tingles quite a bit on application but after just one use my skin did look brighter and felt incredibly soft.

Aug 13

Moisturising with M&S, Nivea, Biotherm & Ruby Red

In my world, there’s no such thing as too many body moisturisers:

Nivea Q10+ Firming Body Oil – £6.96
This quick absorbing oil is rich in vitamins, A, D and E as well as lecithin and avocado oil so is perfect for those looking for a slightly richer body oil. The Nivea Q10+ plus range contains Co-enzyme Q10 which is found naturally in every cell of the body already where acts as an anti-oxidant and helps boost cell renewal. Simply massage in twice a day (on wet or dry skin) to help alleviate dry skin and if you’re pregnant or have just had the baby, gently rub into stretch marks to help keep the skin supple.

Biotherm Celluli Eraser – £32
In tests, 26% of users saw a reduction in cellulite four weeks after using this when applying it twice and day and after a month’s use, they said their cellulite reduction remained. This isn’t claiming to get rid of cellulite (only good genes, diet, exercise or surgery can do that!) but the combination of pure caffeine and coralline extract encourages fat degradation, while helping to prevent the formation of new fat storage cells. The key here is anti-recurrence; keeping that awful orange peel at bay.


M&S Pure Baby Massage Oil – £7.50
Although my children aren’t babies anymore I like to use products that are as pure and natural as possible and this massage oil from M&S is right up my street. Free from chemical nasties, parabens, mineral oils, artificial fragrances and colours, it contains calming chamomile, starflower and relaxing rosehip and is perfect for moisturising their skin before bed. I like to use it on myself too! If you are going to use it on babies, it’s not suitable for those under 6 weeks.

Ruby Red Soothing Shea Skin Cream – £18
This body cream is delicious; really nourishing and hydrating without leaving your skin slip, slide greasy. Rich in Vitamin A and E, organic lavender and rosemary essential oils, essential fatty acids and organic Shea butter, you only need a tiny amount as once you warm it in your hands, a little goes a long way. The all natural ingredients help improve tone and elasticity as well as moisturising the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines. There are no chemicals, parabens or preservatives so it’s best used within six months. And it’s a small detail but I love that they have filled the pot right to the very tippy top so you are getting 100% value for money.

Aug 13

Things I’m Taking On Holiday

I’m off to Cyprus for a week later this month and the following are the products I’m taking with me. I’m packing light but smart:

Kiehl’s Travel Tested Solutions – from £9.50
All under 100ml so hand luggage approved, Kiehl’s ‘Travel Tested Solutions’ includes Purifying Hand Treatment, 24/7 Activated Moisturiser, In-Flight Refreshing Facial Mist and Eucalyptus Lip Relief. Air travel is notorious for sucking the moisture out of your skin so lather up with this hydrating range, formulated with essential oils.


Chantecaille Ultra Sun Protection SPF 50 Primer – £76
It’s a fallacy that dark skin doesn’t need skin protection. In fact, if you suffer from any kind of hyperpigmentation, exposure to the sun can make it worse which is why I’m not taking any chances and calling in the big guns with the Chantecaille Ultra Sun Protection SPF 50 Primer. It works in three ways: it increases the skin’s natural ability to protect itself from UVA and UVB rays 50-fold; ingredients like cherry blossom, lemon balm and white tea extracts deliver powerful anti-inflammatory properties and help protect DNA from internal and external oxidation and finally, carnosine helps protect collagen from degradation. Essential for home and away.


Aveda Three Step Suncare System – from £16.50
Coloured hair, sun, salt and chlorine do not make good bedfellows, which is why I’m going to try really hard to protect my hair this holiday. The Aveda Suncare Hair and Body Cleanser (love a 2-in-1) cleanses hair and body so is perfect for a thorough cleanse after a day in the sea or pool. It has a colour-safe formula containing corn-derived chelator and babassu betaine surfactant system, which won’t strip the hair’s colour while it removes chlorine, salt, and product residue. The cleanser also helps to maintain and boost moisture levels in both the hair and skin, with softening tamanu oil, certified organic coconut oil, certified organic sunflower seed oil, green tea extract and Vitamin E.
Throughout the day, apply liberal amounts of Aveda Suncare Protective Hair Veil with naturally derived UVA/ UVB inhibitors from Wintergreen and Cinnamon Bark oils to help protect the hair from colour fade, dryness and breakage. Comb through damp or dry hair for thorough protection.
Finally, end your day in the sun with Aveda Suncare After-Sun Hair Masque.
This intensive cream masque moisturizes and restores the appearance of sun-exposed hair with morikue protein, a natural antioxidant blend of green tea extract, certified organic sunflower seed oil and vitamin e, which help to protect hair from damage. Tamanu oil, organic shea butter, coconut and palm oils help to restore moisture to the most sun-damaged tresses.


Label M Leave in Conditioner – £12.95
As my hair is coloured, it is even more susceptible to damage so as well as a large floppy sunhat, I’m also taking some leave in conditioner and protein spray from Label M. I don’t see myself blow-drying my hair on holiday so I’ll be wearing my hair au-naturelle and using the leave in conditioner to shield hair against static and UV rays. It contains ginger, ginseng, bergamot, juniper, mandarin orange and vanilla to help control frizz and enhance curls.

Argan + Precious Oil Elixir – £12.99
This multi-purpose elixir contains argan, baobab, kukui, moringa and sachi inci oils and is rich in Vitamins A, D, C and E with high levels of Omega 3, 6 and 9. At only 50ml it’s perfect to take on holiday and it can be used as facial oil (apply direct to skin or add to usual moisturiser) on sun parched hair, on hands and nails (massage into cuticles) or on dry skin patches.


Elemis Skin Nourishing Shower Cream & Papaya Enzyme Peel – from £22
After a day at the beach, nourish your skin with the award winning Elemis shower cream. With camellia, macadamia and jojoba oils, it’s great for skin that has been dried out by the sun. The Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel featured in The Independent’s 50 Best Beauty Buys and is perfect for treating the gentle skin on your face after a day in the sun. Even with SPF50, your face will catch some rays but this rinse-off exfoliating cream contains nourishing milk protein, Vitamin E and marine algae to moisturise, repair, and protect skin.


Little Me Organics Shhh Sleepy Head Body Cream – £4.65
All the excitement of being on holidays can make bed times worse (who wants to go to sleep when there are new adventures to be had) so I’m hoping this body cream with dill and organic lavender will not only nourish and soften their skin but will help put them to sleep too!

thisworks In Transit First Aid – £16

Travelling with children means cuts, scrapes and bites are pretty much guaranteed. Along with some colourful plasters, I’m taking this works multi-purpose antiseptic. This natural rescue remedy helps with anything and everything – spots, itches, bites, burns and, knowing my children, all 10ml will be done before I get home!


Baby Bee Getting Started Kit – £12.99
If you’re travelling with a very little one, everything you need for seven days in the sun is in this little kit. Baby Bee Nourishing Lotion, Shampoo & Body Wash, Diaper Ointment, Nourishing Oil and Buttermilk Soap and as they’re all sulfate, paraben, phthalate and petrochemical free, you know they’re gentle enough for even newborns.










Little Me Organics Shhh Sleepy Head Body Cream – £4.65
All the excitement of being on holidays can make bed times worse (who wants to go to sleep when there are new adventures to be had) so I’m hoping this body cream with dill and organic lavender will not only nourish and soften their skin but will help put them to sleep too!

Aug 13

Hair Loves From Bumble, Ojon & Caribbean Essentials

Products for curling, straightening and treating your tresses:

Bumble & Bumble Curl Conscious Range – from £18.50
Whatever your curl type, Bumble has a product for you. The range is made up of:
smoothing shampoo and conditioner, nourishing masque, defining crème for fine curls, calming crème for tight curls, holding foam and reactivating mist.


I use the shampoo, conditioner and nourishing masque when I’m going to wear my hair curly and simply wash condition and treat; comb through my wet hair with a tangle teezer and then apply generous amounts of the calming crème for tight curls. I then let it air dry and I’m on my way. If my hair starts to frizz or droop I apply a little reactivating mist to spring them back to life. The holding foam is like a lightweight mousse; it won’t leave your hair tough and crispy but it will make your curls frizz free and defined. Like all Bumble products they leave your hair looking, smelling and feeling wonderful. I think Bumble is my new favourite hair care range.


Ojon Rare Blend Protecting Treatment – £23
Ojon Rare Blend Protecting Treatment is a two phase, pre-heat styling spray for protection against styling-induced damage. It contains honey, ginseng and lemongrass to nourish dry hair and seven multi-benefit oils. Hopefully you can see in the picture that the treatment has separated; the bottom phase helps condition, detangle and nourish making hair more manageable and easier to style while the top phase help prevent breakage that can occur from heat styling. Both phases work together to protect and restore hair.


When I first applied to freshly washed and towel dried hair it felt like I was just spraying water but when I had finished blow-drying and heat styling, my hair looked, felt and smelled so sleek and soft. I’m a huge fan of the Ojon Rare Blend Oil and this pre-heat styling treatment is just as good.

Caribbean Essentials Intensive Replenishing Scalp Oil – £18 
Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. This blend of basil, bay laurel, castor, rosemary, clove and coconut oils will help refresh, clarify and stimulate the scalp. If you (or better yet, someone else) can massage the scalp oil direct onto the scalp and leave overnight you will be stimulating blood flow to the scalp, helping heal the surface of the scalp which can minimise dandruff, itching and flakes and condition the hair. The oil contains bay rum which when inhaled (not drank!) helps improve memory and relieve headaches. Use it the night before you wash your hair and over time, the condition and health of your scalp and hair will improve.


Aug 13

Gucci Made To Measure

If anyone knows how to make a man look good it’s Gucci. A tour de force in the luxury fashion industry, Gucci has dressed the best for over nice decades with luxuriant materials; impeccably cut and tailored to perfection. Not content with having you look good, Gucci now wish to have you smell good with their new men’s fragrance Made To Measure.


The bottle is every bit as striking as their bespoke couture, following the same vein as Gucci Première, and Gucci sport. Its opulence extends to the signature Horsebit brushed gold cap; its crowning glory.

The fragrance itself is gorgeous with exotic overtones such as Sri Lankan nutmeg and Indonesian patchouli as seen in many of the Gucci scents; it denotes a ‘tailor made’ aesthetic that complements any well-dressed man. In fact it works with the warmth of the skin to lengthen its layers and heighten its masculinity. Mr 32 Boroughs says it’s a wonderful fragrance to wear during the great British summer but not so light it won’t also work later in the year.

Prices start from £49. Available exclusively at Harrods and

Aug 13

The Beauty Edit: August

Royal Apothic Hand Crème – £18 
When Queen Victoria (Beckham) tweets about a product, expect mass hysteria as her legions of fans clamour to purchase something she personally uses. In October of last year she tweeted this:


Until recently you could only get the cream from the US. Well wait no more, as you can now buy Royal Apothic from Anthropologie in the UK too. Royal Apothic products include hand cremes, personal and home fragrances, candles and bath and body products for both men and women and all products are inspired by founder Sean O’Mara’s worldly travels. Victoria’s personal favourite is ‘Holland Park’ which leaves your hands ever so slightly fragranced and as soft as a baby’s bottom.

Shu Uemura Gloss Unlimited Lip Gloss – £18.50 
Gloss Unlimited is the new super shiny lip gloss from Shu Uemura. It contains 3D shape-memory gel technology to maintain the shine; botanical oils for nourishment and hydration and its rounded applicator ensures even coverage.


The shade names are rather odd; I tried BR 10 s – a shimmery bronze that looks almost nude against my skin tone. It is very moisturising on the lips and completely non sticky so gives none of the dreaded lip lash.

So Eco Tools Eye Brush Set – £12.50
ecotools-eyeI have to confess that I’m only just getting to the makeup brushes. For years I’ve only ever used my fingers but try as I may, there are certain looks that call for proper tools. So Eco produce a range of quality make up tools but their USP is that all their products are eco-friendly. When I say eco-friendly; I mean eco-friendly! The packaging is made with sustainable/bio degradable materials from FSC or PEFC sources and printed with vegetable inks, the windows on the packaging are biodegradable and compostable (made from corn starch) and stuck on using solvent free water based adhesives and the brush handles and bristles are both made from sustainable/recycled sources. I don’t wear make up every day but when I do I usually try and make my eyes the main feature and the So Eco Tools Eye Brush Kit contains everything I need to make that happen: concealer brush, eye shading brush, angled eyeliner brush, mascara comb and lash & brow comb. And if you’re a total novice (like I am) the handles of each brush tell you what they’re for so you can make sure you’re always using the correct one!

InStyler 32mm Hair Tool – £79 
The InStyler is multi-tasking hairstyling tool that can straighten, curl and add volume and shine to your hair. The styler has rotating heated polishing cylinder and precision-aligned bristles to help dry and straighten your hair at the same time. The first set of bristles glide over, sort and separate the hair and the second set of bristles puts the finishing touch to the hair, leaving it volumised, shiny and silky.


As I have a lot of hair on my head, I find it best to get rid of excess water with the hairdryer before going over it with the InStyler. I don’t try and straighten with the hairdryer; just dry. If your hair is very fine you can probably skip the blow dryer and gently towel dry before going over with the InStyler. I add some heat protection spray and then brush my hair with the InStyler. It leaves my hair super soft and shiny and because it’s brushes and plates in one, my whole head is done in 20 minutes as opposed to the usual 45. It’s safe for use on weaves too and at £79.99 not unreasonably priced.

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector – £17
Why use lip balm when you can use these gorgeous Instant Light Lip Perfectors from one of my favourite skin care brands, Clarins? It feels like a lip balm in that it leaves your lips moisturised and hydrated but it looks like a lip gloss as it leaves behind a completely non sticky sheen. The Lip Perfectors aren’t new (they’ve already won awards) but they are now available in three new shades; 04 Petal Shimmer (light pink) 05 Candy Shimmer (dusky pink) and 06 Rosewood Shimmer (beige pink) which is my favourite. They are perfect on their own or under/over your favourite lip stick.



Featuring WPMU Bloglist Widget by YD WordPress Developer