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Those Three Little Words: Gift With Purchase (Thanks, Elizabeth Arden!)

18 May

Even now, after all these years of beauty journalism/blogging, I never tire of hearing that magical, magical phrase. This one is particularly good.

EA giveawayThe bag! So pretttttty! The content! So impressive! These sample sizes would surely last me an entire Christmas visit back to the States, and would mitigate the usual overloading-of-the-make-up/skincare-bag.

There’s a Beautiful Color Lipstick, the anti-aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser {which is the bomb}, Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum which are also the bomb, two more serums, a moisture cream and a lifting cream.

So, heavy on the serum, which suits me down to the ground — can never get enough serum. I love that the lippy is there, but may have liked a targeted nighttime cream. Whatevs! It is pretty darned perfect, and is yours with purchase of two or more products.

The bag is the work of British designers Preen, and you’d almost be tempted to use it as a clutch, much less as a Product Conveyance Device For Travelling.

Get yours while you can, exclusively at Debenhams, from 21 May to 13 June — while supplies last, naturally.

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Hello, Shiny! You Are Lover-ly: Lancôme Paris Shine Lover

15 May

SHINE LOVER
This is the sort of shine you’d expect from a gloss, but Lancôme Paris have managed to produce this with a lipstick. As boundaries shift and experimentation starts to pay off, the days of heavy, drying lippy may be behind us — plus, there’s no need to sacrifice pigment for comfort.

This is French Sourire, which is the precursor perhaps to the kiss of the same adjective. It’s labelled as 340, if you’re keen on it yourself. One thing that frustrates about this brand is the numbering but not naming of shades; if you are a compulsive Googler makes no odds, but if you’re trying to get posting as soon as poss, it’s one step that feels unnecessary.

Nevertheless, this is a winner: it feels light and moisturising, it looks strong and shiny, and the hues cover the usual range from nude to mulberry-ish. This lasted longer than your average gloss, as well. Lots to love!

***

€26/£21/$25

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Beautyfull News: Elvive, Nuxe, Skinician, He-Shi and Image Skincare

1 May

Beatuyfull new things that are worth knowing about…

BEAUTYFULL NEWS 28 04

L’ORÉAL PARIS ELVIVE Nutri-Gloss Luminiser Miracle Shine Booster, €14.99
Elvive is one of my fave budget brands, and this is a pre-blow dry treatment that sprays in and stays in, and imparts high shine. There is a suite of products that go with this {shampoo and conditioner, 250mls, €5.84}, and depending upon the texture of your hair, you can spritz a bit of it on your dry hair, too. I’m finding the latter to be working well, in my case, by YMMV. It smells gorge. Available at your local pharmacy.

NUXE PARIS Prodigieux Huile de Douche, €12
Speaking of gorge-smelling things: huile de douche, lads! Between this, the body oil which I could not love more if it was my own child, and the perfume, this amazing frgrance now is fully inducted into the layering corps. Drumming my finger on my desk waiting for the shampoo and conditioner…! Available at Arnotts and selected pharmacies.

SKINICIAN Pro-Radiance Enzyme Peel, €31.50
I’ve been acquainted with the Skinician line for a while, and haven’t really become BFFs with it. There was a serum that I tried that I liked well enough, and there’s a cleanser that I like too, that foams up on contact and does a good job. I have high hopes for anything that has ‘radiance’ in the name, so am looking forward to giving it a go. Available in Harvey Nichols and select salons.

HE-SHI Overnight Ageless Tanning Balm, €28
As a fan of the brand, both the self-tanning products and the salon spray tan, I have a lot of time for this. Applied beforebed, this gradually tans your face whilst also giving it a lovely anti-ageing balm. There is hyaluronic acid in it! TheÈ whole blend is eco-friendly, too, created using sustainable methods and full of plant-based ingredients. I’m feeling a bit ambiv about tanning on my face this year — I’m feeling like a flat tan is too ageing — but this might convince me otherwise. Available in selected salons, Harvey Nichols, and McCauley Pharmacies.

IMAGE SKINCARE Intense Brightening Eye Crème, €63.50
The American brand has been residing on our shores from years, but I’ve only had tiny little samples of their work to try in the past. Not terribly helpful when one is getting to grips with a product! Happily, founders Janna and Dr Marc Ronert were in town recently, and generously produced full-sized samples for us journos and bloggers. I’ve been using this eye cream and adore it even after less than a fortnight. I’m using it mainly before bed, and am becoming rather more delighted every morning…

I Used It All Up: Rimmel London Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

27 Apr

There’s something of a mea culpa to this, too.
RIMMEL IUIAU
But only a little one: last year I reviewed this in The Herald and gave it a paltry two stars, as I didn’t find that it did a good job on a full eye of make up. It still doesn’t — and I must be wearing less eyeshadow than I was in 2014 — but it does a super job on an eye adorned simply with mascara and a lick of black liner.

I’ve had the misfortune of having to try eye make up removers that require more than two passes of product to take away even the littlest amount of macquillage, and this is not one of them. Since I used less every time, this lasted much longer than most, which = great value.

There it is, all gone, and every time I pass a chemists, I mean to go in and get some more…

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RIMMEL LONDON Just Let It Go… Gentle Eye Make Up Remover, €3.99 on feelunique.com

Snap! Judgement: No7 Shimmer Palette in Rose

17 Apr

No7 SHIMMER PALETTER
Love! I gave the back of my hand a quick swipe with a less-than good brush (all I had within reach) and fell into immediate adoration with its shimmery beauty. I tried to take a photo, but it is so subtle, that it didn’t show up well. It’s bit dusty — like, motes all in the air after I loaded up the brush — but otherwise, cannot wait to get this on my face.

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No 7 Shimmer Palette in Rose, €17.50
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This is hypoallergenic, and I gotta say, I haven’t noticed that distinction in ages. A quick Google says that it was first used in cosmetic advertising in 1953. Hmm, maybe that’s why it sounds so old fashioned…
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I Try Before You Buy: Lipgloss

7 Apr

If you want the light texture of a gloss with the deep pigment of a lipstick, then have I got a bunch of reviews for you.

REVLON ColorBurst Lacquer Balm in Demure {€10.99}
****
These pigments are so intense, they seemed too bold to be balms. They are super hydrating, though, and so they remain. Go for a lighter hue like Demure (pictured below), a mauvy pink, if you can’t be bothered with high maintenance. You’ll get good coverage without too much fuss.

MAC COSMETICS Mineralise Glass Lip Gloss in Vibrant Vibe {€22}
*****
I had always wanted to love the brand’s Lip Glasses, but they were sticky, and thick, and you’d never want to find yourself lobbing the gob unexpectedly when wearing it. This new version is basically perfect: light and shiny and full of pigment — snog away!

LIPGLOSSES

YVES SAINT LAURENT Gloss Volupté in Prune Organdi {€25}
****
Well, you’re not going to be putting this on with your eyes closed (this shade is dark), but the innovation as regards the applicator is genius. The doe-foot pad at the end of the wand is bent just enough to perfectly follow the mouth’s contour when your lips are closed over it. It’s made to fit the way we use it. The melon-y scent is lovely, and the texture is weightless.

SMASHBOX Be Legendary Long-wear Lip Lacquer in Legendary {€24}
***
Holy moly! This is like pure lipstick in liquid form, meaning it has the punchy pigment of a lippy, but it glides on like a gloss. You’ll need a steady hand with this one, which is red as red gets. Maybe lay in a lipliner just in case you need help. It’s light as a feather, and is as long-wearing as promised in the name. However, it is the highest of maintenance — you’re really going to have to want this.

BURT’S BEES Lipgloss in Starry Night {€11.95}
****
I have been going-to this for well over a month, so much so that I’ve just about worn off all the copy printed on the tube. This is lush and dark, and yet I’ve managed the tricky business of touching this up with no mirror to hand — but then I cheat and check up in the nearest reflective surface, so I don’t know who I’m fooling. It fades down to a darkish pink, which is okay, but I’d prefer it to stay strong.

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I Try Before You Buy: Comb v Brush Mascara

5 Apr

The battle is on. In my own head, at least. I remember being afraid of the first spiky-ended mascara applicator I encountered, fearing putting said spikes anywhere near my eye balls. Now? They are my favourite mascara-conveying device.

On the other hand, there were a couple of new, and new-to-me mascaras that I wanted to try, but came with brushes at the business end. Would they sway me back to the old fashioned mode of application.

Em: no.

SPIKY applicators
MAYBELLINE NEW YORK Lash Sensation Lash Multiplying Mascara {€12.99} is my fave at ***** and it is to this I turn when I want super spiky, perfectly defined lashes. Everybody asks me if I’ve had extensions when I wear this. Use a primer beneath and just knock it out of the park.

CLINIQUE High Lengths Mascara {€21.50} and RIMMEL LONDON Scandaleyes XX-Treme {€8.99} both get ****. The Clinique applicator has a helpful curve, and low-level spikes for those who still have the fear. I find that I need to get as much on in the first round as possible, because the second round gets very, very clumpy. The Rimmel is a close second the Maybelline, but I’m not finding it to be as dependable. It’s the bargain of the lot, though, and if Boots are having a 3-for-1 Rimmel sale (not that I know of, just pondering) then go for it.

BRUSHY applicators
All of these are **, sad to report. CHARLOTTE TILBURY Full Fat Lashes 5 Star Mascara {€29} disappointed me in the extreme because I actually bought it with my own money (gasp!) The counter woman, who applied it over my existing mascara, very generously gave me a flicky eyeliner treatment as well; I suspect this was cover up the fact that the mascara got allll over my eyelids, even though it was professionally applied. Same goes for the ELIZABETH ARDEN Beautiful Color Maximum Volume Mascara {€26} and the YVES SAINT LAURENT Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils {€31}: no matter how slowly I went, nor how far back I tipped my head (really far), the mascara made a mess of my lids.

I will be sticking with the comb, thanks!

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FOTYesterday + The Hair

10 Mar

FOTD 09 03Highlights — not just on The Hair — include:

> essence Long-lasting Lipstick {€2.89} in Come Naturally: really emollient, loving the dark nude, feels like a balm.

> Foundation via Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Perfectly Satin {€38}, which has not let me down in the month or so that I’ve been trialing it. It’s matte, but not so matte that you look like you should be displayed in Madame Tussaud’s — a lovely, natural glow is allowed to illuminate your skin without your face ever looking greasy.

> Sadly a function of the iPhone, the No7 eyeshadow is not showing up as well as it ought. This Mini Palette {€14.25} is fabbbbbbilis, the shadows are light in weight, but deep in pigment. It felt so light, even on the brush, that I loaded it up too much the first time out, and have since pulled back a little.

> Gave The Hair a little treat before shampooing: BC Oil Miracle Barbary Fig Oil {€27} from Schwarzkopf Professional. Soaked it into the lengths and ends and left it for… well over an hour I’m sure, since I was hard at work doing keyboardy stuff. Washed it out with the matching Fig Oil & Keratin Restorative Shampoo. Silky!

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Synaesthesia Treatment at Lush Spa, Chelsea

9 Mar

Life can be hard, and so can London. I’ve never lived there, but I’ve visited often, and even after one day — one happy, varied day wandering around, breakfasting on eggs royale, getting some makeup put on my face at the Charlotte Tilbury counter at Selfridges; taking the Tube; looking for WiFi… even after less than eight hours of it, London was wearing me out. By the time I got to the LUSH Spa in the King’s Road, Chelsea, I was shocked there wasn’t line of people streaming out the door, queuing for pampering.

The level of busyness reminds me of New York, which I mention because I got confused about the way the numbers run on streets. In Manhattan, it’s across, so 19 may be on the left, and 20 on the right. Here, and in Dublin too, the odds are all on one side, the evens all on the other — so when I got to where I thought 123 was, I was surprised at the lack of LUSH branding… and at the thought that it was in a some class of shopping centre. I did that thing where I wandered up and down, undecided, and then decided to wander along the road a bit longer — ah. There was the storefront. That made much more sense.
LUSH Kings Road Spa front

Despite the length and breadth of the city, the Tube makes you get places faster and I was half an hour early. My stupid injury leg was acting up too, but there was nowhere for me to wait, so I went next door to the Starbucks and had a big auld Chai Latte with a helping of some previously elusive WiFi. I almost had my nose removed by an impatient, not-watching-whose-space-she-was-invading, skinny-latte-to-go person who just reached right across me to grab some sugar — GRAB THE SUGAR BEFORE IT ALL GOES AWAY LONDON PERSON! Janie Mac. I am increasingly sounding like auld dear, but you’d want to try that in Dublin!

This is all to say that I really needed my 80 minutes of massagey goodness by the time I was lead down to the spa, in the lower ground floor of the shop.
Kitchen Table
The waiting space is small, and the essence of the LUSH treatments are so personal, that I saw why you wouldn’t want anyone hanging round while you were being taken through your preparation. I was to receive the Synaesthesia, the brand’s first, and signature, treatment.  
Massage bars in kitchen
The event is organised around a word that one chooses from the phrase written on the wall, and the bottle chosen {very Alice in Wonderland} from a nearby shelf. I chose my word and my bottle, and was talked through the use of the music, a bespoke symphony that mirrors a day from dawn to dusk in the Dorset countryside. I was advised that it would be played at sound level, which is: not as a subliminal element. There were moments when the transitions between movements were jarring, but in general, it was lovely, and was an unusually big part of the experience.
Synaesthesia
I was greeted at the door of the room with a dry-iced infusion of the scent I had chosen: it was theatrical, but fragrant. The room actually had a chair for me to sit on when I disrobed, and I can’t stress enough how much sense this makes, and how few rooms actually supply this basic piece of furniture. Particularly when you’ve got a stupid injury leg and don’t need to be hopping all over the place trying to get your knicks off.

{You have the choice of hot stones, as shown, or an abdominal massage. I went for the belly rub despite being dead ticklish.}

The massage was thorough, from face to toes. I had been invited to remove my make up beforehand, and there was some confusion as to what was going to happen. I had other stuff to do following and didn’t really want to cleanse. I was assured this was okay, but it really wasn’t, as the treatment kicked off with a face massage. Now, I have long longed for the face to be included in many a full-body massage I’ve enjoyed; I was somewhat distracted by the use of product on my face over my foundation and wished I’d asked what was specifically going to happen. I think that the LUSH ethos comes down so heavily on the side of ‘whatever suits you’ — which is normally great — but in this case, it would have been preferable to have cleansed.

It took some time to cop, but the movements of the massage flowed with the movements of the music. The breaks in the score were timed with the breaks in the massage, and the whole thing felt like the perfect gestalt of sound, touch, and scent. I didn’t find myself as floaty as I might get during a treatment, due to the sound level of the toons, but otherwise, I felt utterly relaxed.

A lovely cup of tea awaited, as well as a massage bar emblazoned with my word, and bath bar that unlike many of LUSH’s offerings, is reusable — just hold underneath the flowing water and let dry when you feel your bath is properly bubble-fied.

I left, to the easy-going goodbyes of the staff and a decision to give the number 11 bus a go. I just couldn’t face the Underground and the stressy crowds. The journey from King’s Road to the East End took basically forever, and the conductor was a fussy young fella who was unhappy with the way the side doors were closing and made a big production out of his feeling — I called him ‘Stan Shunpike’ in my head to preserve my good mood. Otherwise, the bus was the perfect tour of the sights, from the fancy window displays in Chelsea, through Trafalgar Square, past St Paul’s, and I did ultimately reach my destination.

Any my stupid injury leg? All the better for the attention to it, and to my entire body. As ever, I resolve to have more massage in my life, for both physical and mental wellbeing — we’ll see how that goes…

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In the mood to splash out? This is super splashy: £125 for 80 minutes, plus your complimentary products.

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LUSH Spa
123 King’s Road, London SW3 4PL, United Kingdom
+44 20 7376 8348

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The Thing About Samples: Sisley Paris All Day All Year

19 Jan

The thing is, samples can make you want something.

Want this:
SISLEY ALL DAY ALL NIGHT

I am not a comprehensive Sisley fan. That Black Rose Cream Mask is beast, but I found the Global Perfect Pore Minimizer to be no use a’tall. I’ve had more time for their makeup, in fact — Phyto-Ombre Glow Luminous Eyeshadow, and Mascara So Intense, yes and yes — and generally tend to choose between either skincare or face paint when I’m thinking about a brand. {Do I? Will have to give that a serious think.}

I had a facial ages ago in the Brown Thomas beauty rooms, and of course the products show to their best effect when used by a pro. I got some wee samples, hence the above, and they’ve been languishing in one of my organisational units. I went on my usual New Year Clearing Out Tear, and it was either pitch it or give it a go, so I reckoned, just use it — why let even .13 ounces of something really expensive got to waste.

Well, this stuff is terrific. Which is bad news because: spendy — ruinously so. At €250 for 50 mls, I guess I have about €3 worth of this stuff in that wee pack. The thing is, my skin felt both tightened and moisturised simultaneously, which sounds impossible, but in practice, feels exactly correct and what you want out of an anti-aging product. I felt like I was fighting dryness and gravity — and! my foundation looked amazing even after a full day out and about. This promises that after 28 days of use, you’ll look more youthful, and I gotta say, I’d love to give that a try…

Is it worth €250/£236/$410? Will I wait for your answer until you pick yourself up off the floor?

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It may be worth cruising by your local Sisley counter to see will they give you a little sample of this extreme goodness…

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