Sunday, 28 September 2008

Taking off the eyes

One of the great chores of wearing mascara is getting it off at the end of the day. I have tried expensive eye make up removers and am convinced they are no better than the cheaper versions. For quite some time I used Olay's Daily eye make up remover and it was pretty good. A bit gloppy as it is a cream. But it did a relatively good job. But I still sometimes had the panda eye look.

Now, you know the lazy cleansing wipes that every beauty house does a version of? I don't like them very much for my whole face but they are good at removing eye make up. And for a while, I've been thinking why don't they do eye make up versions. Because it felt a bit extravagant to use a whole big wipe for eyes. (I have no idea why I am getting thrifty about this when I think what I spend money on but hey.) And lo, I was in Boots a month or so ago and saw Simple had been reading my mind. So I bought them. What a disappointment. They are teeny. No way one wipe can do both eyes. And using two wipes? I may as well just use one larger wipe.

I also decided when I was in Boots to try a different liquid remover and bought Botanicals. You have to shake the bottle first but it's good - dare I say better than the Olay one? But still none of these remove it in a flash which is what I am after. There is still an element of rubbing going on. Anyone have any recommendations?

Friday, 26 September 2008

Current loves and wants

Cover Mother introduced me to Prada Iris perfume today. Yummy, yum, yum. It smells lovely - quite old fashioned and soft and not heavy at all. Obviously I have enough perfume to last me a lifetime so I resisted the temptation to buy it.

In perfume news, I am loving my Jo Malone Grapefruit at the moment. It's very zingy and is great for getting you going in the morning.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Revlon Flex update

I just had a shower and washed my hair with the Flex stuff. Oh my, the scent transported me back and suddenly it was 1987 again and I was singing Kylie. Amazing how scent can do that. The other shampoo scent that I loved was Vidal Sassoon original almond shampoo scent - that was heavenly.

My hair is still wet but I think you can tell the success of a product from its rinseability and general foaming in the shower. I would say this was quite good. Maybe a 7/10. Not the 9/10 I would give Elvive but not bad. And, I did it a disservice yesterday - it was £1.09! How cheap is that?

Will report back further when it is dry. It promised to condition my hair yet make it shiny and bouncy. Yeah, right, that's what they all say.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

A blast from the past

Today I was in Barnes and went to a pharmacy there. For those of you who don't know, Barnes is proper posh and this pharmacy is like a European pharmacy with deluxe make up and polished wooden floors. It's a joy to browse.

So I was happily browsing, having picked up the dental tape I went in for (look after your gums people!) and came across Revlon Flex shampoo. Now I used to LOVE this back in the day and haven't seen it for ages. In fact, I didn't realise they still made it. It was also 33% extra free and only £1.19! How could I leave it behind? Especially when I saw there was one for coloured hair. So I got the shampoo and conditioner. I hope it lives up to its memories. Also, what is balsam? Anyone know?

I managed to be strong enough to resist a gorgeous Lancome eye shadow in the most divine silvery green. Of course, I am already regretting that decision.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Smooth and soft all over

Body lotions. Some people swear they make no difference, some people swear by them. I am in the swear by them camp. If I don't use body lotion, my skin becomes flaky and itchy. However, I can't stand the ones that make you feel damp for about 10 mins after applying.

I am currently using a Palmers Olive one (green bottle, can't find pic on the net) which I like quite alot. I do believe the Daddy of all body lotions is Lush Dream Cream however. It smells like absolute heaven, it is light yet very moisturising and it's simply yum. BUT, as always with Lush, the packaging lets it down. It comes in a big pot which means taking the lid off everytime you want to use. Call me lazy (and you wouldn't be wrong) but I just cannot be bothered with that. And then you have to dip your fingers in and it all gets under your nails. No, I like a pump dispenser. If Lush made it in a pump dispenser, I would be very happy. As it is, I rarely buy it.

Another good lotion is Korres. I have used the Lemon one (kinda odd scent but nice for summer), Lemon basil one (YUM!) and Fig (nice for winter, too much for summer).

Monday, 15 September 2008

Roses - an obsession

It's interesting, I don't particularly love roses as a flower (although I am a fan of yellow ones - red is so obvious) but I am rather obsessive about rose scent. It's my desert island scent. I've already talked briefly about Jo Malone Red Roses.

Now I would like to wax lyrical about Ren please. Specifically their Rose shower gel and bath oil. Man alive, nothing smells better. It's a superior rose scent - deep and gorgeous but not sickly. The bath oil is the stuff of dreams. Had a bad day? Feeling a bit sick? Fed up and tired? Stick this in your bath and be transported to a world of opulence and gorgeousness. Don't even think about putting any perfume or lotion on afterwards. You can smell it on your skin for hours afterwards.

The gel is also divine. Perfect for a grey and cheerless morning. Honestly, this stuff should be available on the NHS, could save us millions.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

The make up of make up artists

As I mentioned earlier, I am currently using Great Lash. But I was using this little baby - Max Factor Masterpiece and then I graduated to Masterpiece Max. When I first started using them, I raved about them and I used the Max for well over a year. What a commitment!

But the one thing that began to annoy me is that it flakes. Flaking is very different to smudging. I believe smudging can be avoided by careful application but I've yet to work out how to avoid flaking. It would happen towards the end of the day and I think it's because the product is quite full on.

I would say this is a mascara for evening wear as it does give you great long lashes but it can't stand the whole day. A sprinter rather than a marathon runner if you will.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Eight hour cream

Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream is always mentioned in Beauty Editors top products. I used to read about it when I was a teenager and think it was the cure for all ills. That's how they talk about it. I was horrified when I realised it was more like vaseline than a cream. Never has a product been so badly named. I mean, seriously can you imagine putting it on your face like you would a cream? Maybe some women do that but it's gloopy.

Anyway, never one to be defeated by a cult product, I kept looking at it. I even bought the tinted lip balm (which broke) a few years ago - very average. This year I actually decided to buy the cream as there was a special offer on at the airport and I was about to get on a 12 hour flight (and beauty editors said it was good for flights!) It was an offer of 2 smaller tubes - cute handbag size. So, what to make of it?

It's the perfect lip balm. Makes your lips soft and shiny and keeps the chappiness (is that a word?) at bay. It's also a pretty good cuticle moisturiser. But I still can't imagine using it on my face. Maybe when I am 85.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Because we're worth it

Over the years I have spent £££ on shampoos and conditioners. And I have come to the conclusion that it is literally money down the drain. I now always end up with either Elvive colour care or Herbal Essences. Yes, I go for the ones with the worst adverts.

I have learnt that with coloured hair, you really do need to use shampoo and conditoner formulated for coloured hair. I know it's tedious but it does make a difference. And the Elvive one really does make my hair soft and shiny. It smells nice too - sort of expensive. I also have the intense mask but I can't ever really be arsed to use it.

Herbal Essences makes a few shampoos for coloured hair. I can't go near the fruit fusions - they smell foul. The floral ones and very heavily scented but again, they do work. They don't work quite as well as Elvive but I still like them. They are great for holidays as they are so cheap, you can just leave the bottles in the hotel on your last night (all the more room and weight for your holiday shopping).

Sunday, 7 September 2008

A little bit about facial washes

I've never got on with cream cleansers. I like to feel I am washing my face. I know, French women would shrink in horror at me. Oh well.

So for a while now I've been using Origins Checks and Balances and I like it. You hardly need any for foam aplenty and it does a good job. But you know, one cannot rest and relax. One must test others to see if there is something better out there. I got the Dr Brandt Poreless cleanser in the SpaceNK sale for half price a few months ago. Mind you, having read an interview with him today in the Observer Women magazine, I am beginning to regret lining his pockets. What a freak. It's very good though - damm that man. First Pore No More and now this. I don't want to like his stuff but I do.

And then last weekend I decided to pay lip service to the credit crunch and got a Garnier cleanser - clean detox. No idea why I got it really as I don't have spotty skin. But I liked the packaging and it was cheap enough to take a gamble on. It is a bit drying for my skin but I put more moisturiser on afterwards. Which means it probably saves me no money at all as the moisturiser is an Origins one! Oh well. It also claims to brighten your skin. Not sure I can see any evidence of this. But if you are looking for a cheap cleanser, you could do worse than this. It's good for getting make up off.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Primping and priming

As we all know, good make up starts with good skin. Boring but true. I remember reading that in Just Seventeen years ago. So we'll talk about skin care another time, for the time being I am going to assume we are all doing that bit. In recent years, the beauty industry has been finding yet more ways to get us to part with our cash by introducing primers. Primers prepare your skin before you put make up on. No, they are not instead of moisturisers, they are an extra layer and a few more minutes in the morning.
Are they worth it? I say yes and no. I have two primers in my life. One is the Laura Mercier eye primer. You put this on your eyelids and then apply your eye make-up. I do recommend it. I find in the summer, my eye make up can slide off by about midday. This really helps prevent that. It gives the eye shadow/eye liner something to adhere to.

The other primer is the Nars primer for your face. You put it on after moisturising and it mattifies your skin. It is good and I do see a difference. Blusher especially seems to glide on a bit more easily. My reservation with both of these products is who really has time for this in the morning? I can get ready very quickly but this is just a few extra seconds of primping that I can't be bothered with most days. However, for special occasions where you are going to want look good all day (weddings) or dancing the evening away, then I think they are worth it and yes, they do work. Maybe you are not as lazy as me and can be bothered to use them everyday.

If you want your eye make up to stay on a bit longer and can't be bothered to prime, then a light dusting of loose powder works pretty well. And that hint comes straight to you from my mother. Sometimes mother really does know best.

Friday, 5 September 2008

More about hair colour

I am not usually this single-minded but my hair needs colouring so it's on my mind. Another weapon against colour fading is this. John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Colour Glosser (or it's called something like that).

You shampoo and condition your hair as usual. Squeeze it dry (not with a towel or anything) and then apply this. Now it does make your hands a bit brown so work fast! And be careful as it can stain your skin. Honestly, what we go through for perfection...

Leave it on for 3-5 mins. Rinse. I know people have said this makes their hair greasy and non shiny and all sorts. My tip is not to put too much on - you really don't need loads, I put little bits on at a time as this means you don't splash it everywhere and you can control it better. And you don't need to use it every time you wash your hair (who has time to anyway?) I use it when I need to get my hair coloured but am trying to stretch it out a bit longer. Like right now. I will use it tomorrow. I also like the scent of it but it's quite strong, you can smell it on your hair at least 24 hours later.

Works for me!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

The great Lush debate

Ahhhh Lush. The great divider of opinion. The marmite, if you will, of beauty. People love it or scurry past the stinking shops in horror. Well, I used to be on the horror side and then I met Mr CoverGirl who claimed that it was fabulous and their soap and ballistics were second to none. I was slightly bemused to find a man with an appreciation of beauty products but anyone who takes their bathing seriously has my vote.

So I ventured into Lush to buy him presents (we had just met, I was keen) and discovered yes, it does smell overpowering but take those products home away from the others and they smell rather lovely. And Lush Times is quite a fun read when you have raging period pains in the middle of the night and need a distraction.

So began a love affair with Lush which lasted quite some time. I joined the forum, I was running to shops to try new products. It all got a bit obsessive. Unlike me I know. Then, just like that, I fell out of love. I think it was when they stopped most of their shower gels and started selling jellies. What The HELL? And they discontinued one too many of my favourites.So I had a Lush free life for some time. But I yearned for those magic years and the product I missed the most was Flying Saucer bubble bath slices. Some said they smelt like puke but I just smelt ylang ylang and honey. I loved them. Naturally they got discontinued.

Then Lush revamped their website and opened a Retro section. You could order old, favourite products from mail order. And Flying Saucers was there in shower gel format. And Freeze - the tingly, peppermint shower gel. So I ordered them. It's been heaven to have them back. Really, Lush do make great stuff, much better than The Body Shop. Just don't get their ballistics with bits in unless you enjoy cleaning the bath AFTER you've had one.

No rub, rub, rub?

Dear friends of mine bought me an Elemis gift voucher for my birthday. I opted for a facial. During the facial, the therapist used this (Papaya Enzyme Peel) to exfoliate my skin. And it's odd because you don't rub. You smooth it on and all the enzymes in the papaya eat away at your old skin. So you smooth on, lay back for 10 mins and rinse off.

Naturally I was persuaded to buy some and I have to say, it's amazing. Again, you don't want to be using this too much but on that day when the thought of scrubbing is just too much like hard work, why not try this? I use it at weekends when I can smooth it on, lie back in bed and read the Guardian Weekend magazine and then drag myself to the bathroom to rinse off.

It's made me want to try that fish pedicure where you put your feet in and all the fish nibble away at your dead bits. Anyone tried that? I am totally tempted.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Rub, rub, rub

Exfoliation. Do you remember the 80s? Did anyone exfoliate then? All I can recall is that apricot scrub that every chemist had. I don't recall the slew of products we now have to keep bumpy skin at bay. How on earth we got through it I shall never know but I did have the blackheads from hell - maybe if they had invented Modern Friction, clear and perfect skin could have been mine.

So this scrub is rather excellent. You put it on damp skin and rub and scrub away, adding a spot of water as you go. And it rather miraculously does make your skin smoother. I can't imagine sensitive skins getting on with it - it's quite robust and I go easy on my cheeks but give it more welly on my nose (where those damm blackheads still lurk).

Once a week is fine for me - it would be easy to get carried away with it and have rather red skin. But it works a treat and I find it very good for holidays when you've had sun protection on your skin and are feeling a bit oily. The packaging is plain stupid but Dear Sister got me a tube of it as part of an Origins gift pack (love ya Discopants) for my birthday - FAR better to have a tube. I am saving tube for holidays and using the pot at home. It lasts for ages but they are not giving it away - I think it's about £30.

They do a version for your body - not tried that although am very tempted. Anyone got reviews of it?

A current obsession

It's important in the world of cosmetics to have current obsessions. This is actually true in almost every area of life - especially TV programs - but I digress.

My current obsession in make-up is with Bourjois eye liners of the sparkly variety. I came across them while browsing in Boots of a Saturday. Eye liner for me is all about texture. I cannot stand ones that feel like a heavy lead pencil with barely any colour coming out of them. And I don't like big thick ones that end up being more of an eye shadow but kind of gloopy. No, it is important that they are soft yet fine. And this is hard to find. I have been using MAC powerpoints (named after a Microsoft program - weird) for some time but even they didn't quite fit the bill.

Now the Bourjois ones are soft, fine and last all day! Yippee. It's like finding the holy grail. And they are cheap - less than £5 I believe. So cheap I bought two. One in an aquamarine and one in a lovely mid brown but with sparkle. Several people (ok, two) have commented on my eyes since I have been wearing them.

Run, don't walk, and get some and don't forget to thank me for the tip.

Bobbi Brown blusher

This was introduced to me by an OFL (Orange Faced Lady) at a Bobbi Brown counter. I went one lunchtime for a little looksie and ended up having a full makeover. As you do. I went back to the office most glam. Anyway, I am always on the look out for a good blusher and this is very good. It's great for making you look healthy without that obvious 'I have blusher on'. It's a cream blusher - I can't get on with powder blusher - I think because my skin is quite dry. And you hardly need any as it's so highly pigmented. It's excellent for those grey, sallow faced mornings - I think you know what I am talking about.

By the way, application of blusher is critical as OFL taught me. Most women put it on the wrong part of their cheeks. So smile and put it where your cheeks turn into apples and not too high. Makes all the difference. And another word of advice, get makeovers once a year. Bobbi Brown is excellent as is Space NK and NARs. It costs nothing (if you are able to resist buying all the fab stuff they use) and you get fresh ideas for make up. Some of my wonder products are direct results of makeovers.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

May I introduce you to Sandy and Danny?

I know you think I named this blog after the Grease characters. Not true. I named it after a lip gloss. Two lip glosses actually. Called Sandy and Danny. You can see why I had to have them.

They are made by a company I'd previously never heard of called Tarte. One shopping day in Manhattan, dear sister and I came across this line in Sephora and we were smitten. What actually happened is she ran over to me squealing 'Sue Ellen and JR! Look!' And a happy hour was spent going through every name. And there are some corkers: Wesley and Buttercup, Rhett and Scarlett, Bogey and Bacall, Ferris and Sloane, Baby and Johnny...

We were in heaven. So we bought a few. And she got me Sandy and Danny as a present. And it's still my fave one (and trust me, I have many 'couples'). I started a craze at work and anyone going to NY was instructed to bring back more.

So what's the gloss like? It's excellent - not too sticky but good staying power. But really, with names and packaging like this, who the hell cares?

Phytologie - PhytoMist

The curse of coloured hair. You pay a fortune (well, I do) to get it just that perfect colour and then along comes the sun (if you are lucky) and over zealous shampoos and chlorine in swimming pools and before you know, you have orange hair.

I have many weapons up my sleeve to slay the dreaded orange hair scenario. Orange hair is fine if you chose orange. Not if you chose shiny conker thank you very much.

One of my weapons is this little baby. A hairdresser recommended it to me years ago and I have kept using it. That's real loyalty for me - I usually move on. I did from the hairdresser.

Anyway, you spray it on after you've washed and conditioned - not too much mind - and style as usual. In my case, leave wet as usual and wonder why it has annoying kinks in it.

It just helps 'lock' that colour in. It costs £15 and lasts ages. I wash my hair every other day. A can lasts me at least 6 months. I have thick hair - this probably isn't great for fine hair.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Nars Multiple - desert island product?

If I could only have one make up product, this would come close to being it (but don't make me do that please!)

I love it in so many ways. Yes it is expensive (£32 I believe) but I bought mine so long ago I can hardly remember and it is still going strong. It glides on a dream, looks natural, you can use it with clear gloss on your lips too. It's fabulous.

I have Malibu and I recently bought Orgasm (which they say suits everyone and who could disagree?) and it is sparkly and very flattering. A great summer blusher but not sure about winter. I may go back to my Bobbi Brown one but that's another story.

The best tinted moisturiser

Estee Lauder Daywear Tinted Plus Moisturiser.

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I wax lyrical about this little baby. I am not a fan of foundation but in the deep mid winter, don't we all need a little extra help to keep the white/grey skin at bay? This is your saviour. It adapts to your skin tone - you don't have to buy a shade to match. Genius. you just pop it on and radiant, glowing skin will be yours. You hardly need any so it lasts a fair amount of time (3-4 months with daily use).

I do have one complaint - it is in stupid packaging. You can never get the last bits out and that annoys me. It's £28. Again, cheaper in the States.

Smelling like roses

My love affair with perfume knows no bounds. From Body Shop White Musk, YSL Rive Gauche, Dior Dune, Armani Elle (I think it was called that) through to Jo Malone. I have always loved perfume. And I am lucky in that most perfume smells nice on me so it means I can buy more of it. Right?
If you are not familiar with Jo Malone - may I suggest you acquaint yourself. Her perfumes are truly lovely and never fail to cheer me up. Red Roses is my favourite but I have about 10 bottles in total. Lime, Basil and Mandarin is her classic fresh scent and I've not met anyone who doesn't smell good in it.
So, I thought Jo Malone and me were set for a lifelong affair until one day last year when Cover Boy brought me home two bottles of perfume from this place:
Well! It was like entering another world. This is perfume for the serious perfume lover. It's not necessarily perfume to wear everyday but when you want to feel sexy or you want people to notice you, splash on this stuff and sally forth! Mimosa is my favourite but having been in the shop, I can safely say, most of them are divine. They are also very good with samples. I got my mum a bottle of perfume from here for Christmas and the woman gave me 5 samples of other perfumes.
I have over 20 bottles of perfume and I wear about 6 of them regularly. And yet, I still want more.

Cheap and cheerful

I am not afraid to spend money in the journey towards perfection. But some products can't be beat and they are often the cheap as chips ones. Hurrah!

Here is a favourite of mine. More will follow.

Maybelline Great Lash.

Yes, it's a classic. Everyone was talking about this round about 10 years ago. I was there, I was meh. But recently I was in the US and in one of their wonderful drug stores and it caught my eye. And really, they practically gave it away. So I bought it. And really, it is an excellent bargain mascara. Easy to apply, nice thick lashes, little smudging. But I can't find it in anything but Blackest Black over here in the UK. I got brown/black in the US which is the perfect shade. I shall have to stock up when I next go.

Pore No More

Dr Brandt's Pore No More is quite simply a wonder product. It's a magical little liquid that you use to put on any oily patches on your face. Instantly you have matte skin. Pores seem smaller. How does it do it? Not sure but it contains Tea Tree oil. You can ever put it on before you got to bed (not done this yet) but the woman in SpaceNK told me you could.

It is a bit expensive - £33 for a little tube (of course it is cheaper in the States - $45) but it does last ages. And no summer is complete without it. Even a rubbish London summer. I don't need it much in the winter.

If you have blackheads on your nose - this is the business.


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