Friday, 23 December 2016

Skin Laundry

I've waited a while to post about Skin Laundry. It's a 15 minute laser and light facial and I am in love with it.

I discovered it on my recent trip to NYC. My hotel (Parker Meredien) had a salon in the basement and I was duty-bound to give it a shot. The first treatment is free and after that it is £50 a facial but there are deals to make it cheaper.

You sign your life away and then they wipe your face (best to go with no make-up on) and then put a hairband on to stop your hair getting covered in gel. They then laser your face which doesn't hurt but feels slightly odd. You wonder what the smell is - oh, that's just the muck in your skin being vapourised. Then a layer of gel is applied and they apply IPL. Then the gel is scraped off, your skin is toned and they apply a moisturiser and you are on your way.

Read all about it here and don't ask me about the science. It's wonderfully fast, your skin looks fabulous afterwards and you can, if you choose, apply make up immediately.

Now the thing is, your skin really does look noticeably brighter and clear. My sister and I had them done together in NYC and spent the whole day obnoxiously looking in mirrors and admiring ourselves. I liked it so much, I had it done twice while I was there. That's the other thing, you can have this done every day should you be so inclined (and wealthy). They recommend once a week for a month and then once a month as maintenance. If you have troublesome skin, I reckon this would be a life saver. I have fairly well behaved skin and I love it, blackheads are gone and my skin looks even and glowy.

Today I had another one done at Liberty in London. Two days before Christmas. I must be mad. It was so busy in the shop and I was in a rather fractious mood. The treatment room I was led to was very nice and calm. The therapist was competent but lacking in any personality whatsoever. I am not being mean, honestly, she was like a robot. However, she did a good job and talked me into buying a package of five and then walked away in the middle of making my next appointment with no explanation or goodbye!

Liberty is the only place in the UK offering Skin Laundry but surely that will change since it's very popular and booked out weeks in advance. If you are in New York, it's worth investigating and the first one is free. You have nothing to lose!

Now excuse me while I go and gaze in a mirror.

Charlotte Tilbury lipstick

My name is Cover Girl and I have no willpower. But you knew that already. The other day I decided I must have this lipstick in Stoned Rose and so I ordered it online instead if buying it in Peter Jones hours earlier when it is was in my hands.

The online Charlotte Tilbury shopping experience is gold star fantastic. It arrived the next day, beautifully packaged and you get little samples you can choose yourself. I picked more of her perfume which I am fast becoming addicted to. P&P is also free.

I love this lipstick, it's really flattering, easy to wear and doesn't dry my lips out (yet - it's early days). I also like that the name isn't as stupid as her other lipsticks.

My lips are Christmas-ready!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Christmas skin part 2

Yesterday I discussed cleansing, exfoliating, serums and moisturisers as part of your daily routine. Today I am going to discuss the extras that make beauty fun. I think they make it fun, your mileage may vary.

First up, sheet masks! Unpacking one of these babies makes me giggle. Everyone looks like something out of a horror film in them but that's part of the joy. I have a friend who sends me a selfie via What's App whenever she is wearing one and it never fails to amuse me. I love a sheet mask. They are pretty cheap and perfect for jet lag. I always pack one when I am flying to use at the hotel when I land. Slap one on cleansed skin and relax for 15-20 mins. You can relax for longer if you like, no harm will come to you. Then when you're ready gently remove it and massage in the residue. I also wipe the mask over my hands for a hit of moisture and because I can't bear waste.

I've been using these for years and my absolute favourite used to be Oil of Olay but they seem to have stopped making them. Never mind, the market is crowded. Sephora do a fabulous line (and they ship to the UK). My favourite is Rose.

You can find dozens more on their site.

I also like Tony Moly and have used the Rice one. Again, you can see plenty of others to suit your skin type on that site.

When I was in Rome, the hotel was so fancy that the toiletries included a sheet mask! I didn't have time to use it on the trip so it came home with me but A for effort.

I also like eye masks and the Skyn Iceland ones seem to act like scaffolds to eye bags. I often use these when I don't have time for the full face mask. They don't leave residue on your face but tighten and firm which is what we all want, right?

I'm also a fan of the Bliss Triple Oxygen eye masks although they are expensive. These get wheeled out when things are really bad.

Moving on from sheet masks to the old fashioned face masks. I adore these, there is something so satisfying about applying a cool layer of gunk to your face and praying the doorbell doesn't ring.

Sometimes you just want a clay mask and the best one for me is by Clarins. It's very gentle and doesn't sting or irritate and it leaves skin feeling very soft and clean.

Other times you want moisture. Sisley Black Rose is the Rolls Royce of masks. I bought mine with reward points. I can't imagine ever shelling out hard cash for this but if you happen to get a sample or ask someone nicely near your birthday, you won't be sorry.

To perk up tired skin, I still like Bliss Triple Oxygen Mask. It has the added bonus of being really easy to wash off.

I could go on and on. I have my eye on the Bobbi Brown masks. I have some mini Caudalie ones that I adore.

At this time of year, I recommend holing yourself up and treating your skin but a tip from me, don't apply a face mask and then sink into a hot bath. I have done this more than once (I never learn) and ended up with a bright red face that took three hours to calm down!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmas skincare

Heating, cold air, too much sugar, too much everything, not enough sleep. It can all send your skin haywire and we don't want that do we? This year I have discovered proper hot cloth cleansing and it's a game changer. I also stopped washing my face with foaming face washes and that's made a difference too.

The fact is, look after your skin properly and everything else is easier. And life being easier is enough of a motivator for me.

Let's start with the cleanser. I love Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cleanser. It's gentle and not overpowering and it is so soothing. I find many cream cleansers try too hard with a ton of active ingredients that irritate my (usually very well behaved) skin. This is the one I keep returning to. You can use it on your eyes too.

I understand that the idea of hot cloth cleansing in the morning may be a bit of an effort. I concur and that's when I use an oil cleanser. I am currently using the Parsley Seed Facial Oil by Aesop which is very nice but the packaging is annoying.

I have Clinique Take The Day Off Oil waiting in the wings. It's half the price and does just as good a job.

That's your clean skin. Now the fun bit. My biggest discovery this year has been exfoliating toners and why did I not know about these before? They slough off dead cells and make your skin ready for the moisture. I adore Zelens face pads and have stockpiled many in various 30% offers. They are expensive, I can't pretend they are not but my skin tone has massively improved since using them. I also like that they come ready to use without having to soak a cotton wool pad. Umm, yes I am really lazy.

If this is too rich for your blood, then the Alpha H Liquid Gold is also good.

Then you need a serum. My endless quest for the perfect and affordable serum continues. I adore Chanel but cannot justify it on a regular basis. I am currently using the Avene serum from Boots. I like this, it has the right texture. I cannot stand those serums that feel like plastic. This seems to be doing me good. I've tried countless others from French brands and Oil of Olay. All are ok but don't knock my socks off.

Now you can moisturise. I have to tell you that having spent a fortune on creams over the years, my current favourite by a country mile is L'Oreal Extraordinary Oil Cream. It's utterly divine, it applies like a dream, soaks in instantly and actually leaves me glowing. Nothing else comes close. And it's £10! I spent a fortune on mine as I reported before but it was worth it. Yes, I am worth it!

Oh, you should add a SPF as well. I don't tend to in darkest winter when I literally seem to be outside for 10 minutes max but I feel duty bound to point it out.

On other moisture fronts, I like an oil for the evening. Clarins Blue Orchid Oil is still a firm favourite and smells heavenly.

My favourite is Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial. This is what you put on when you need heavy duty maintenance. Rolling into bed at 2am? You bring out this baby. I promise you, it turns back time. OK, no it doesn't but it's damn good.

I also throw in facials, face masks and my super duper favourite: sheet masks! More on all of those tomorrow because I have to go and get changed for a trip to Kings Rd and Peter Jones beauty hall followed by champagne with friends. Ciao beauties!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Christmas shopping

If you've not completed your shopping yet or you want a treat for yourself (entirely understandable) then here are my thoughts.

First up, my beloved Bobbi Brown. Someone please buy a city palette. They are beyond divine. I want all of them but if forced to choose, I'd pick London:

I also have loved the Bobbi Luxe lipstick this year. One of the few lippies I've found that don't dry my lips.

Nail polish - always a winner. OPI has a new Breakfast at Tiffany's collection. I admit to not being a fan of the film but it's iconic, no arguments from me there. I especially like this colour: Can't Read Without My Lipstick:

I also want YSL Rouge Pop Art. I've said it before but I like to repeat myself, YSL nail varnish is the easiest to apply for a perfect home manicure.

New perfume? Yes, always. I am taken with Jo Loves in Pomelo. Gorgeous bottle and as delightful as you would expect it to be.

I also want to try the Byredo Unnamed. Exactly what it sounds like, it has no name, you make your own up.

I don't think anyone would be disappointed in a Charlotte Tilbury palette. The Rebel makes my heart race with those gorgeous greens.

After all the parties and family get togethers, there is nothing better than a bubble bath and there are no finer oils than Aromatherapy Associates. All of them are wonderful but Relax does the job. Expensive but a little goes a long way.

You'll need a scented candle too. I adore Diptyque, you can't go wrong with this brand and it's always a treat to receive a candle. The Menthe Verte is refreshing and clears the head.

I shall be back with a specific skin care Christmas guide soon.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Party make-up at Bobbi Brown

First of all, an update on my trip to Rome. I am pleased to report I ambled round duty-free and thought to myself, I need nothing. And I bought nada. Delighted with myself I was. Rome was Rome - work, work, pasta, work.

Last night we had our annual drinks shindig at home. As has become tradition (I have done it once before but I am making it a tradition) I visited the Bobbi Brown counter at House of Fraser Richmond and had a makeover. I thoroughly recommend this if you want to look extra special for a night. It costs £30 for a full face but of course, you want to buy something and it's redeemable against purchase.

The lovely Nicola looked after me and she was fabulous. Bobbi Brown counters have the best staff and that's all there is to it. She did my eyes first and then the rest of my face. My request was a green eye. She used this baby as a base.

The Long Wear Cream Shadow stick in Goldstone. This colour is amazing (no, it's not green) and it makes your eyes sparkle effortlessly. Then she put on two different green eyeshadows and the Black Ink gel eyeliner. I never wear black eyeliner considering it too harsh for me but it wasn't yesterday and I felt quite rock and roll. She used the Ivory eyeshadow up to my brow bone.  All of this took her about 90 seconds per eye. I popped on the Smokey Eye mascara as I can't stand having mascara applied by anyone but me. Party eyes = done.

She used the foundation stick as my base but used a brush. Now, this is important. If you have the Hourglass foundation stick I mentioned, you may be struggling with application. I was finding it a little cakey despite all my best efforts. Her advice is do not, under any circumstances, apply a foundation stick to your face. That is, don't stroke it on. Get a decent foundation brush and she literally softly ran it over the stick and buffed it on. It took her about 30 seconds and I was glowing. I replicated this today with my Hourglass and can confirm it is the secret to application. You also MUST have moisturised skin and the stick must be warmed up a bit. In shops, they are always warm which is why they work best there. It is easier than a liquid foundation if you follow these steps. She also used concealer under my eyes as they always do.

She then added blusher and a setting powder. Of course she used a bronzer and as always I was all, whatever about it. I don't find bronzers a must. But I loved the setting powder.

While I like my NARS one, it's a faff as it is loose and it goes everywhere. You swish your brush over this and you're done. Easy peasy.

She used a lipliner and then a nude pink lipstick. I sailed out feeling ultra glam. 

When I rolled into bed at 2am after several glasses of champagne I realised my eye make up was basically all over my face. I put this down to the mascara which was not a tubing one. I simply cannot wear mascara that doesn't tube, it ends up travelling. However, I also think a sign of a good party is having smudged eye make-up! I reread this and it makes it sound like I went to bed with my make-up on. NEVER.  I literally never do this. I'm never too wasted to not remove my make-up!

I bought the Goldstone eye shadow, the lip liner and the finishing powder. Happy days and my delight at myself for resisting duty-free on my way to Rome is somewhat reduced but hey ho.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm

As I am travelling so much, I am going to the airport a lot and as I have explained, I always feel the need to buy something. On my way to India a couple of weeks ago, I bought this after Sali Hughes recommended it. Sali Hughes is going to bankrupt me but at least I'll be glowing as I live under a bridge somewhere.

I am now at the point where there are multi layers going on my face and weirdly, it all seems to work. I start with a serum, I add a moisturiser, then this and then my base. Less dry skins could probably use this instead of a moisturiser. I don't need a primer with this thankfully.

It is wondrous and make up simply glides on over the top of it. It gives you maximum glowiness but not sparkly glowiness. Yes, I am a convert. At this time of year, with central heating blasting out, parties to go to, champagne to drink (darling) and less sleep than one would like, I really think this is a necessity. It's not cheap at £42 (although cheaper at the airport!) but it's damn good stuff.

I am off to Rome tomorrow and I honestly am going to try and resist the lure of duty-free but I doubt I will succeed. Wish me luck.


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