Elizabeth Arden Oxygen Blast Facial is Amazers

I know I say this every time I go to Arnott’s but: there is nothing like the buzz of a beauty hall. I adore the sounds of happy people mooching around looking at lipstick and the sight of all that product. Can’t help it, just love it.

That buzziness, though, is not perfectly ideal for a treatment — or it hasn’t been, until now. The Oxygen Blast Facial from Elizabeth Arden errs on the side of fast rather than pan-pipey zone-out, which is great, because it’s designed to get you in and out of the chair and on your glowy way in 20 minutes or less.

I got one the other day and it was fab. Having gone in barefaced, I nevertheless got a double cleanse, a tone, the blast of the mineral and seaweed extracts that serve to get deep into my cellular layers, and then the follow-up blast of oxygen. The latter two elements were applied with an airbrush, and my aesthetician Lauren made sure that every pore got a good dose of both.
THE AIRBRUSH
Apparently you can get this done over your existing make-up if you’re heading out on the town after work and want to look as though you’ve been lying around at your leisure all day. I kind of get it: after all, we’ve been told for years to use pressurised spa water to set our make-up. Lauren says it totally works, and I believe her.
THE AFTERCARE
Prevage Serum Quotidian and Anti-aging Triple Defense Shield Sunscreen SPF50 were applied after the treatment; I was only sorry I didn’t need to do my face, because my skin felt like new, and like it would be the best make up application ever. My pores felt nice and tight, and the overall glow was impressive indeed.

This is ideal for last-minute revitalising is you’re all made up, and perfect for the day before — even the day of! — a big occasion.

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Elizabeth Arden’s Oxygen Blast Treatment is priced at €20 for approximately 15 minutes, redeemable against any Elizabeth Arden purchase. This is exclusive to Arnotts, and an appointment is necessary. Ring 01 805 0400.

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Your BFF + You + Smashbox = Glamourous Fun

Oh, so much to share about Smashbox this week, but must get this out there: the brand’s UK team, headed by Janine Bird, Smashbox’s National Makeup Coach, are in town at the weekend to do both you and your best pal.

Well, you know what I mean. Complimentary appointments are available now, for either Friday the 7th or Saturday the 8th, in which you and your friend get a full makeover, with helpful tips along the way, and then get to have a go in the super-fantastic photo booth. Now, what makes a photo booth super-fantastic? A perfectly balanced lighting set up, that’s what.

Any excuse:
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Fun! Also fun: hanging out with your bud, and then going out looking gorgeous. And also: quality time with your bestie, and also also, so much is made of, like, doing nice stuff with your significant other, how about doing a nice thing with a friend?

If any of Smashbox’s previous events are anything to go by, maybe go back in time to yesterday and book your appointment then. Failing that, call them now now NOW on {01} 805 0400!

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Next up: another equation that adds up to glam, via Smashbox, later in the week!

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How About A Quickie? Lancôme DreamTone Facial at Arnotts

Is a 20 minute facial enough? It usually takes me a good while to relax into the vibe of a beauty room, but I am willing to train myself to let go faster, if it means enjoying a facial the like of Lancôme’s, on now through September in Arnotts, using DreamTone, the newest skin tone-evening, dark spot-eradicating product on the market. Three tones have been created to suit all skins, which mainly works, as the tone of the product itself isn’t all that overwhemling, which is a good thing. It’s a bit creamy for a serum, in my opinion, but it gives a lovely sheen to the skin while it is doing its complexion enlivening thang.

DREAMTONEThe cost is €40 against purchase, which is great, because I can totally rationalise 50% off the price of the serum {€87}; you can of course, use it against purchase of any of the products. I have to say, I’ve got my eye on the Hydra Zen Neurocalm Moisturiser, as I am very into its gel aspect, and how soothing and cooling it is on my skin.

The protocol packs an awful lot into those 20 minutes, so yeah, it’s plenty of time to do something nice for your skin…
> The facial starts with a double cleanse, using Galatéis Douceur.
> Your skin gets a thorough but gentle scrub with Exfoliance Clarté.
> The Hydra-Intense Masque follow; Sheena, my expert aesthetician, called it a ‘drink of water for your skin.’ {It felt like it.}
> A 10 minute hand massage is administered while the masque is let do its work.
> After the masque is removed, the Dreamtone is applied, also accompanied by a gentle massage.
> The whole biz is sealed with the application of the Hydra Zen Neurocalm Moisturiser.

Don’t worry about going out into the rest of the store, much less the world, with a naked face: you’ll be offered the chance to have some foundation applied, if you wish. Me, I was happy enough to go forth, glowing.

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Ring 01 404 0400 {ext 371} to book.

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Smashbox ‘Click You’re It’: Do This Thing, Whenever/Wherever You Are Able

The vibe in a good beauty hall is always one of great excitement to me. When I first moved to NYC and walked into Macy’s, well… words can’t express. The sights, the sounds, the scents — it’s heaven, basically, plus Your Bonus! With Purchase.

The vibe in Arnotts beauty hall was especially incandescent when Smashbox and their Click You’re It event came to town. I Q&A’d photographer Mike Blackett in this post, and was lucky to get a spot on the first of the two day event. There was a massive waiting list, such was the interest; full of gratitude, I took myself and my naked face into town.

CLICK YOU'RE IT naked faceSaid naked face. I am happy enough to be makeup free, and in general — shock! horror! — I tend *not* to do the face everyday. I am wondering what was up with The Hair… oh! I had taken delivery just that week of a BaByliss Big Hair hair dryer, and I had used it and tied The Hair up to add extra wave.

I also remember that I was counting the seconds until I could take it down again {Would there be too much wave? Not enough?} and I did so as soon as I crossed the Arnotts threshold, half-desperate to see what shape it was in, half-pretending to be in an ep of Sex and The City.

It felt as glam as that: the buzz off the counter was palpable from half a store away, and the sheer number of make up artists and clients was far more than I had expected, even with the extreme interest that engendered the waiting list. There were pairs of friends, of sisters, there was a mum-and-daughter combo, and everybody looked their most gorgeous selves.

Now, I have to admit to feeling nervous! I, who take pictures of myself at least three times a week? Yes, indeedy! It’s one thing being able to angle and engineer and retake an image of yourself — and one other thing to use the brand’s super fun photo booth: in both instances, it’s up to myself how I look. Handing that over, albeit to talented professionals, gave me pause.

As did the part about being in the middle of one of Dublin’s largest stores on a busy Friday evening. How could this be a good idea?

First of all, the platoon of make up artists were, as a group, lovely, welcoming, and affirmative. I was lucky enough to be under the expert brushes of Smashbox Cosmetics National Make Up Artist, Janine Bird. She loves the Click You’re It ethos, which she says ‘endorses in such a positive way why I do what I do. Making someone feel beautiful, and helping them to see their beauty objectively through my eyes, makes it all worthwhile. I honestly believe every woman deserves to feel pretty, and that is my job.’

We went with the smokey eye, because any chance to get the eyes smoked up by a pro is not a chance to be wasted. She used a navy eyeshadow, which I would never try at home in a million years — although now, maybe I might. We decided to go for pop on the lips as well, despite my tendency to dial down the brightness when emphasizing the eyes.

The actual shooting went by in a blink: the set-up is a byword for ‘professional-casual’, so you’ll feel like a bit of a star, but not at all intimidated. Mike sets the tone perfectly, putting one at one’s ease, with easily followed directions gently suggested. ‘I’m used to working with models, so shooting the public helps me to think more about the process of how to make people feel comfortable and confident whilst in front of the camera,’ he explains.

A gig like this ends up informing his other work. ‘I have to be clearer in my direction with the person I’m photographing, and this all feeds back into my fashion work to get the right shots faster.’

The result?

CLICK YOU'RE IT collage

That is a a mere selection of the 75 {75!} jpgs I received, on the spot, on a USB, to take home with me. I am a tough edit, and would probably even winnow the above down by two more. But the range of choice!

CLICK YOU'RE IT the itThis is my final select. Cropped, it’s now in pride of place in the header of this blog, and I only went in and brushed my teeth in Photoshop. Otherwise, this is it, the face as it was on the evening.

Oh, okay, I also smoothed out the pouches under my eyes. But that was it! I swear.

As someone who has had a number of headshot-y photo shoots, I count this as one of the best. Every single element — the quality of both the make up itself, the professional application, and the stress-free and professional shoot — combined to make this an experience I would sign up for again. Next time, I reckon I’ll go get the hair did, just to add that extra fabbalissness.

All that for a tenner against the purchase of product? Oh, yeah. It’s the best beauty deal I’ve ever come across, and that is sayin’ something.

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Follow Smashbox @smashboxuk.

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B&B! Q&A: Mike Blackett and Smashbox Click You’re It

‘I think the main challenges in the fashion world are the same as all across photography,’ says Mike Blackett, Smashbox Cosmetics Click You’re It Photographer for the UK and Ireland. ‘It’s gotten very competitive, and is now saturated with good photographers. I guess from the outside fashion photography looks quite glamorous, so it draws a lot of people in, wanting to be a part of that.’

Uh, hello, ‘looks’? Totally is! Okay, we know what he means, but there have had to have been some super glam moments. Mike is bringing his steeze to the beauty hall in Arnotts on 8 and 9 March, for Dublin’s Click You’re It event. It’s not to be missed, and even if you say you hate to get your picture taken, you may want to rethink that stance. ‘What’s not to love about a free makeover, free photo shoot, USB stick to take away with all the pictures, and all for just a €10 deposit?’ he justly queries. ‘It’s worth trying something new for all the fun and enjoyment you will get from the event.’

Mike spoke to Bright & Beautyfull! about life as a high fashion photog, and the what to expect on the day.

Had you always wanted to be a photographer? What’s the first picture you remember taking that made you think, Hmmm I might like to do this as a career?
I remember taking a shot of a punk kid with a tattoo saying ‘way of life’ on his neck, for a spoof ad campaign I set myself for a local brand called Criminal Clothing. That was the first shot that made me think I’d love to do this for a living.

I originally studied art, then discovered photography as a module and fell in love with it. I then applied to the University in England at Bournemouth, the best for photography at the time, and got a place.

I know it was a bit late in the day to be thinking of a career path, but until then I’d just been enjoying being young. I’m glad I chose to wait for the thing that really made me happy.

How did you get into fashion photography?
My dad worked for Kodak, and my Grandad was a tailor, I think that subliminally those two ideas got together somewhere in my childhood and implanted an idea which didn’t materialise until later in life!

On a serious note, I do think that the direction I have taken with photography has probably had more to do with the opportunities that have come my way in fashion — for example working with some great photographers when I was still very early into my career.

Fashion gives you a good platform to explore ideas as a photographer, whether it’s telling a story, dealing with issues around stereotypes, or purely on an aesthetic level — there’s lots to play with. I’m also really enjoying exploring working in the beauty industry as well, so working with Smashbox Cosmetics on their Click You’re It events is a real pleasure.

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Artist’s impression of the Smashbox counter. Go see it live for the full impact!

How did you get involved with the brand?
I got involved following a recommendation from a Beauty Director that I had worked with. She put my name forward to the powers that be, and we went from there. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to work with a cosmetic brand and be consumer-facing. It is a really rewarding part of the job to meet new people at each event, and create lovely pictures for them, with the help of the Smashbox makeup crews.

Do you enjoy being ‘on the spot’, in beauty halls?
It was definitely a change of scene for me and I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out, as all my work is usually in a studio, photographing professionals, so the customer-facing side of it was new to me. I am really enjoying the challenge of the different setting and subject and I find it really rewarding when a customer goes away happy. We get a lot of people coming back and saying they loved the experience, which is so nice to hear.

It also helps that the Smashbox crew on counter are so friendly and always very welcoming. They make everyone feel so comfortable having their makeup done, so when they get to me they are having a great time and they feel very relaxed on the whole.

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The results of my amazing make up session at Smashbox in Arnotts. Photo is via their booth — imagine how well you will look after Mike gets done with ye?!?

What are some tips and tricks you’d tell someone who is thinking of coming to get her pictures done?
I think my top tip would be to wear something simple. We’re mainly shooting quite tight in as it’s all about the makeup and the person, so don’t worry too much about what you wear, as it’ll mostly be cropped out. The majority of photos are head and shoulders.

We get quite a lot of people that are apprehensive at first, but there’s really nothing to worry about because you’re surrounded by professionals — from Smashbox to the photography team. My whole team go out of their way to make everyone feel comfortable; it’s not as scary as it might seem initially.

I look forward to meeting all your brightandbeautyfull readers on counter for the Click You’re It event in Arnotts Henry Street!

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Ring Arnotts on  01 805 0400 and ask for the Smashbox counter to book a place; rumour has it that there’s a waiting list, but you can still avail of the makeup session at any time, for the same booking price.

Two days only! Friday 8th and Saturday 9th March. The tenner is redeemable against Smashbox purchases on the day.

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Amazing Face: How Sweet!

Emma Hardie is UK-based facialist and and skincare specialist, and those of us who haven’t got the dosh to fly over and get a session from the woman herself {and one of those would be me} can dig into this: her Amazing Face Professional Cleansing System is a fantastic treatment-in-a-box, and even though it comes across as complicated, it really isn’t. Continue reading