Dare to discover Forbidden Rose Borrowing from Viktor & Rolf's and Thierry Mugler's styling, the angular purple bottle topped with black rose houses Avril Lavigne's new fragrance, Forbidden Rose, which is out now in stores across Europe. Available in various eau de parfum sizes, a body lotion and a shower gel, and is supposed to feature notes of red apple, winepeach, black pepper, lotusflower, heliotrope, shellflower, praline agreement, sandalwood, and vanilla. Sounds gothically delicious. Singer Faith Hill is also bringing out a fragrance this summer, entitled Faith, which is touted as an elegant and confident fragrance that is perfect for the season. Affordable and grownup-sounding, it contains a mixture of florals and fruits, ranging from peony and pear to magnolia and musk. With prices starting at just $18, it sounds divine; here's hoping it will hit the UK and Europe soon too! It's all about feet Feet can really suffer in summer, becoming dry and tired, so it's good that there's anew range of products out there from Upper Canada Soap, called All About Feet. Comprising an intriguingly-shaped foot massage bar, a foot butter, a foot cream, a foot spray, and foot files, there's also a warming foot scrub that warms on contact and a cooling leg rub. Prices start from just £2, too, so that you can look after your feet at small prices.
Check this out Burberry has finally lent its distinctive check design to a range of makeup. Amazingly, despite the brand's gross misappropriation by the chav community, the line does not look chavvy at all, but instead radiates stunning elegance and beauty. Available at Harrods now, prices start at £15.
Exclusive suncare advice from Boots Boots' senior suncare advisor Mike Brown has plenty to say about the sun. Even when it becomes overcast, he says, you shouldn't stop being careful - you can still get burnt. You should also still continue to use sun protection once you already have a tan - if you burn while you have a tan, your skin will peel and you'll lose the colour that you've built up. Feel free to reduce the SPF of your suncream once you do have a tan, though, and at Boots, that's made even easier, with all sun protection products (not just their inhouse brand Soltan) being buy one get one free.
Origins ceases distribution in France Origins' ten-year presence in France came to an end on Saturday with distribution being stopped almost completely. While the brand has not completely ruled out the possibility of returning to France in the future, it currently does not feel able to pursue promotion in France. I'm wondering what promotion this is exactly; I've lived in France now for nearly two years and don't think I've ever seen the brand advertised. Nevertheless, the brand will continue to trade in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and the United Kingdom, and the internet is a wonderful thing too.
30 Days of Fashion and Beauty is back! Enjoying popularity in previous years, several big beauty names have clubbed together again for this September. For thirty days straight, you'll be able to enjoy giveaways, events and tips. They've also introduced the Ebay Outlet this year (http://www.ebay.co.uk/outlet) which will allow you to get massive discounts off your favourite brands, such as Kookai, Office, Schuh, and Ted Baker.Go to http://30daysoffashionandbeauty.co.uk to make sure you don't miss out on anything else!
Lie down on a Bed of Nails Revolutionising acupuncture exclusively at Harvey Nichols, the Bed of Nails helps to alleviate a range of conditions including stress, insomnia, muscle pain, and maybe even cellulite. The 'nails' on the mat and pillow help to release endorphins and oxytocin for calmness, relaxation and pain relief. A percentage of every sale goes to the Take Heart India charity, and not only is it affordable at £49 but it's also stylish and unisex (available in green, pink or black). A pretty small price to pay for a more relaxed and feel-good kind of life :)And to add to that spa sensation... If setting up an acupuncture treatment centre in your front room wasn't enough, you can add to the atmosphere with aromatherapy spa jars from Yankee Candle. Consisting of five unique new blends, the spa jars help to diffuse the scents of essential oils and offer specific mood benefits (relaxation - lavender/ylang ylang/geranium; blissfulness - choose from sage/white tea or tangerine/vanilla; and stress relief - choose from shea butter/cedarwood or cinnamon/frankincense). Starting at just £7.99 for a small jar, they're a great way to transform your home into a state of pure zen at recession-busting prices. And if jars of essential oil don't quite float your boat, the company also offers reed diffusers, sprays, pot pourri, and even lamps (and, of course, candles). http://www.yankeecandle.co.uk has all the information you need. Have a relaxing August!
--What does the promo say?-- "This sexy fragrance was created by Escada in 2006. Its amazing scent includes a mixture of lime, dried Victoria apple, coconut sorbet, sugar candy, banana flower, Hawaiian salt blossom, sandalwood, powdery musk and amber crystals."
--Packaging-- A delightful pink and blue blend in the bottle which is perfect for summer and should suit everyone. Simple but perfect; really evokes the image of a paradisiacal sea.
--Application-- Spray whereever desired on the body.
--Appearance-- A clear liquid that can become a pale white when oxidised (this is something experienced more with the sample vials where the liquid can be exposed to the air when the lid is opened), although this whiteness does not manifest itself on the skin.
--Texture, consistency, irritation-- No irritation occurred when using this product.
--Scent-- Fruity and sweet initially, without being overbearing. This mellows out into something muskier later and is somehow unusual yet traditional. Tropical fruits are suitably embodied without you smelling like a bumblebee trap or like a six-year-old; the blend is really successful for all women who want a little hint of summer all year round.
--Longevity-- Better than I was expecting and definitely better than the Lolita Lempicka fragrance that I tested earlier; it easily makes it to lunchtime, so you shouldn't need to apply more than once a day (perhaps if you are going out in the evening).
--Value for money-- Excellent. While this can be found cheaper than £31/50ml all over the internet, I think I'd still pay the full price if I had no choice. A lovely summer fragrance that is beautifully set off by its shower gel and body lotion equivalents.
perfect partners Pacific Paradise Bath and Shower Gel, £10.17 from www.perfumecheckout.com Pacific Paradise Body Lotion, £5.95 from www.cheapsmells.com
--What does the promo say?-- "Forbidden Flower Eau de Parfum includes an Absinthe Flower fragrance, which is natural and voluptuous, innocent and stunning, yet emits the occasional crisp while often sensual floral notes. The Absinthe Floral bouquet unveils a cascade of green, bracing and acidic notes from its Strawberry Leaf and Mimosa Stem scents. Not as innocent as it seems... the peony is a radiant, full flower with disturbing sensuality that mixes beautifully with the powdery round character of Violet. Aniseed Flower blends subtly with this mixture of petals, releasing its absinthe aroma that boost our desire for carnal delights. As the blossom then develops into a fruit, its bottom notes unveil a luscious warmth with a fruity sweetness, and a musky scent that is enveloped in a hint of almond and sour cherry with berry accents."
--Packaging-- Glorious. Like Nina Ricci and Viktor and Rolf put together, but x500%. Golden and embellished, the slightly kooky company logo adorns the apple-shaped bottle for even more flourish. Quite clearly no effort or time has been squandered here; the result is magnificent.
--Application-- Spritz onto pulse points for maximum diffusion and impact (behind ears, onto wrists, onto chest).
--Appearance-- A clear liquid with no hue or sparkle.
--Scent-- Really unusual: fruity and musky, with unexpected tones beneath. I wish the absinthe were more detectable, but maybe it's doing more work beneath the surface than I realise. The violet is barely there, and that's probably a good thing: again, it's probably doing its part somewhere, and if it were any more full-on the fragrance would be too sweet and sickly. Excellent for any woman with a sense of fairytale and fun. However, it unfortunately develops into something more conventional, which is a shame.
--Longevity-- Sadly not as good as I had hoped :( Expect to reapply this once or twice a day.
--Value for money-- Good if you shop around but you could easily get your wallet back screaming and crying. Do your research first: it's worth having, but only at the best possible price.
perfect partner Forbidden Flower Beauty Body Lotion, €38,60
--What does the promo say?-- "This revitalising hair cleansing wash is ideal for everyday use. Crammed full of ziao jao extract, hydrolysed keratin and aromatic oils of juniper, artemisia and pepper, it’ll help keep your hair and scalp clean and looking healthy. Ziao jao, also known as Chinese honeylocust fruit, is known to help cleanse and keep the scalp looking healthy and soothed. Suitable for normal hair types."
--Packaging-- The sample size is a good deal simpler than the full-size bottle, which seems to have gone for an even more sophisticated layout style, with nice effective use of yellow. Despite the yellow, the shampoo's not just for blondes. The screwtop lid may be difficult to get used to for some, but fear not: shampoo slides out of the bottle slowly and there's little or no wastage.
--Application-- Lather into wet hair, and rinse after a few minutes. Nothing to worry about there.
--Appearance-- Lather is white and very ordinary-looking. No visible residue is left in hair after rinsing.
--Scent-- Unusual; floral/botanical but not sickly in any way. The fragrance is one that lingers in the hair and attracts compliments.
--Texture and consistency-- The shampoo itself is quite viscous (hence the lack of wastage mentioned in the packaging comments), but it's easy to work through the hair and easy to rinse out as well. A smooth lather is instantly created on contact with water.
--Effects on the hair-- Hair is tamed, smoothed and straightened, but frizz is not 100% reduced and there's no increase in shine either. Shame.
--Value for money-- I know it's a luxury brand, and a little goes a long way and everything, but really. This is pretty darned expensive for something that only delivers OK/normal results. If there were a matching conditioner (there isn't), you'd be talking about paying £34 for a shampoo and conditioner. Buy the travel versions for your holidays, since they are just unbeatably convenient, but then go for full-size salon brands for everyday, such as John Frieda or Trevor Sorbie (which, perhaps ironically, are considerably less expensive).
--What does the promo say?-- "Medicated concealer helps clear and prevent blemishes. Gentle, soothing formula provides natural-looking coverage as blemishes heal. In three skin tone shades including a green tint to visually correct redness. Oil free."
--Packaging-- The pale green packaging is, on the one hand, not very original, as it fails to distinguish the anti-blemish concealer product from others on the market. On the other hand, one can see why Clinique has kept this colour scheme, as it already falls in with the rest of this skincare range in these terms. The band of concealer shade chosen, which wraps around the squeezy tube near the screw-top lid, is a nice touch.
--Application-- Squeeze out a tiny amount, smaller than a pea, and dot onto the blemish that you wish to cover. Blend it in immediately rather than dotting everywhere required and then rubbing in, as the concealer dries quickly and can be too difficult to blend if left to rest.
--Scent-- None really.
--Appearance-- The palest shade is really quite pale indeed: most people would be better off going for the darker one. If you have especially red skin you could try the green one. However, this very limited range of shades (especially for such a high-end brand) means that most people will probably not be satisfied. My 'acid test' of a concealer is that you should be able to wear it on its own; you shouldn't need any other product to prop it up and make it look good. This concealer does not pass that test: it looks patchy and, as mentioned, due to the limited range of colours, will not look good on everyone. Once foundation or tinted moisturiser has been applied over the top, however, it looks fine: it is a heavy duty product that really does cover blemish, but this is at the expense of making the surrounding healthy skin look unnatural.
--Texture and consistency-- Very difficult to blend as it dries so quickly, which is something belied by its initial creamy consistency.
--Longevity-- Excellent. No problems here.
--Effects on the skin-- Sadly, I didn't find that this helped to really diminish acne or chase it away any more quickly. This surprised me greatly given the overall efficacy of the rest of the Anti-Blemish Solutions range.
--Value for money-- While the price isn't bad, I probably wouldn't buy this product again. Even though it lasts a long time on the skin and covers blemishes well, the number of shades available is frankly terrible, it really is a struggle to blend, and it ultimately doesn't do what it sets out to (improve skin condition). For an alternative in the same price bracket, perhaps instead try something more specialised that still hits the spot, such as concealers by Vichy or Guinot.
--What does the promo say?-- "For feet which emit toxic gases! This thick effective mask has clays to draw out deep-down-dirt, fresh papaya and lemon for cleansing, deodorising tomatoes, astringent herbal decoctions and anti-fungal essential oils."
--Packaging-- Standard Lush style giving the effect of chalk on a blackboard. Pot fully recyclable.
--Application-- Smother your feet in this stuff, wrap them in cling film, leave for 10 minutes, and then massage into your feet before rinsing off. This is pretty easy - some others who have used this product have mentioned to me that they've found it difficult to rinse it all off, but I have never found this. I've also found the cling film to be an optional step, as the product seems to work perfectly well without it, but I can imagine that it would optimise the product's effectiveness if you did use it (plus I guess that would mean you could still walk around the house if you wanted or needed to while it was doing its thing).
--Appearance-- Slightly resembles porridge, mixed with clay. A grey-brown, very thick, cream-meets-Plasticine kind of foot mask. Once it is on your feet, it looks like you've been walking around in clay. I find it washes off fine afetr use.
--Scent-- A strong cinnamon smell is apparent, which can also quite cling to your hands if you don't wash them properly with soap after rinsing the mask from your feet.
--Texture and consistency-- Very thick but still spreadable. If you needed to revive it at all or make it more pliable, a spot of water should do the trick.
--Effects on the skin-- Skin is smoothened and less hard and feet are less stinky. WONDER.
--Value for money-- I got a bit done over on the price of this as I bought it in France, where it's jacked up to nearly €8. However, I'd say you'll easily get 10+ uses from one pot as you don't need to apply an especially thick layer each time, so the value for money is actually pretty good (even at €8 a pot). The effects on the feet are also tangible - there's something pretty nice about spending money on a product that works. Would recommend this by a country mile; it's a long time since I've been this pleased with a Lush product.
perfect partners T for Toes Foot Powder, £6.10 Fair Trade Foot Lotion, £7.95 Pied de Pepper Foot Lotion, £6.55
RRP: £22/200ml available in: Pear Tree Corner, Coriander, Grapefruit, Lavender
--What does the promo say?-- "Our creamy and highly effective body scrub gently exfoliates to remove dead surface skin cells without over-drying, leaving skin feeling silky-soft, refreshed and primed for moisturisation."
--Packaging-- In typical Kiehl's style, it looks like it's stepped straight off the shelf of a nineteenth-century pharmacy. The label looks crowded, but it's simpler than it initially appears, and I like how they haven't wasted time on gimmicky images. The company has also really improved the robustness of its packaging in recent years and the flip-top lids are much stronger than they used to be.
--Application-- Visitors to the Kiehl's website are counselled as follows: "Apply a small amount to wet skin and lightly massage in an upward, circular motion. Rinse or remove with a washcloth for further exfoliation. For optimal skin effect after shower pat skin dry and immediately apply the Kiehl's body moisturizer of your choice. if contact with eyes occurs rinse immediately with water." I'd say that the body moisturising (even if not with a Kiehl's product) afterwards is necessary on some parts of the body, especially the feet, for reasons that I'll talk more about in a moment. Application and usage of this product is easy with no problems.
--Scent-- Very sweet and definitely pear-like; some might think it's a bit sickly, so it may not be for everyone. However, there are other scents available, and they're all faithful to the scents they're supposed to represent, meaning that you always get what you expect.
--Appearance-- A white cream in which the exfoliating grains are definitely visible. Doesn't lather up much on the body but leaves nothing visible once you're done.
--Texture and consistency-- Appropriately scrubby while still remaining creamy, non-irritating, and luxurious.
--Effects on the skin-- As I alluded to above, moisturisation may still be necessary after use of this scrub on especially dry areas, since it doesn't hydrate as much as the creamy texture might lead you to believe. On these really very dry areas, the scrub manages to smoothen out the dry skin without getting rid of it completely. However, on areas of the body where the skin is more 'normally' hydrated to start with, it does well in leaving skin smooth and soft.
--Value for money-- This is a good day-to-day maintenance product which is even gentle enough to use around the bikini line and under the arms to prevent ingrown hairs, but I wouldn't use it as a stand-alone treatment. If you have dry skin that really needs eliminating fast, go for something more hardcore (perhaps such as Lush's Ocean Salt) along with any top-quality moisturiser. It also won't have escaped your attention that this stuff is pretty expensive, but then again most Kiehl's stuff is. I was lucky enough to get mine in the sale at nearly 50% off, so it's worth shopping around for.
perfect partners Pear Tree Liquid Hand Soap, £16.50 Pear Essence Oil, £21.00
RRP: £21.50 at www.trinitydivinity.co.uk contains: High Beam (2.5ml), Benetint (2.5ml), Dallas (3 grams), I'm With The Band (2.5ml), Lady's Choice (1.2 grams), No Competition (1.2 grams), Leggy (1.2 grams), Dandy Brandy (1.2 grams), 1 fluff shadow/talent brush, 1 powder brush
--What does the promo say?-- "Benefit Celebutante kit is packed with everything you need to look like a Hollywood celebutante. This stylish Benefit Celebutante set is a must-have gift for every lady. With all your faves in a glam clutch-style case and a step-by-step make-up lesson...it's the perfect accessory! Get one for all the celebutantes in your life...like YOU!"
--Packaging-- Pretty, pink, and finished off with plenty of chain drawings and gold lettering...a bit chavvy? Maybe, but inside it redeems itself, being all very compact and complete with two decent brushes for travelling and a mirror of goodly size. Can't complain :)
--Application-- A full step-by-step makeup lesson booklet is included in the pack to help you along, and it successfully takes you through everything from how to apply the highlighter through to which lip colour to choose (there are three).
--Scents-- Nothing has any scent really to speak of, which is good for those of you who are funny about that sort of thing.
--Appearance-- The contents of this palette assume by default that you have perfect skin, with not even so much as a concealer being included. This means that you do need to pack your own when travelling if you require it. Once you've applied any prerequisite base, however, the looks that this palette provides range from subtle and downplayed to more dramatic. Leave out the eyeliner, and choose Lady's Choice lipstick or I'm With The Band gloss for more of a daytime look, but add in the eyeliner and choose No Competition lipstick for something more vampish. You could also up the Benetint at this point if you wanted to. The selection of products works well for anyone, especially those with pale skin.
--Textures and consistencies-- The eyeshadows and Dallas can be a bit too powdery at times, but not much (if any) is wasted as it's still very easily controllable thanks to the dexterity of the brushes provided. No problems with any of the other products - Benetint and High Beam blend well, the two lipsticks are not drying, and the lip gloss is hard-wearing without being sticky.
--Longevity-- Benefit probably does best out of this, although everything else is exceptional in how long it lasts. Lipstick only needs to be reapplied once or twice a day at most; lip gloss does its best and holds its own in its price bracket.
--Value for money-- Excellent, as the Benefit palettes always are. It would be nice if there was a concealer and a mascara included, even though I know that the former is fraught with risk; however, they probably wouldn't be able to do this without making the palette quite a bit bigger. You can also get this for a lower price if you search around, particularly on ebay - you won't find this in the shops now, in any case, as it was their Christmas special edition for 2009 and it's now gone from the high street for good. It's worth looking around to see if you can get hold of one, though - the Celebutante is great for travel and provides near enough everything that you need to make it through your holidays.
--What does the promo say?-- "Lip Gloss with the power to light up your face. True Vision™ technology transforms ordinary colour and makes it extraordinary. Imagine what it will do for your lips. In a wide range of wearable shades with lasting shine for a lasting impression. You’ll want them all. True Vision™ Colour maximises colour impact, magnifies vibrancy, clarity and dimension, and amplifies brilliance. Three high impact finishes offer mirror shine, luminous shimmer or dimensional sparkle, all with sheer-to-medium coverage. Feels light and luscious, never sticky. Drenched with conditioners, it smooths on precisely and stays on perfectly. The ergonomic wand hugs every curve of your lips."
--Packaging-- The see-through plastic tube allows you to see the colour in all its glory, which is gently and elegantly completed by the gold-coloured lid and close-up of an area of the Estee Lauder logo. Très bien.
--Application-- Sweep over lips; only one dunk of the wand into the tube is required.
--Scent-- A slightly sweet smell can be detected, but it's not horrible.
--Appearance-- I was very kindly sent several shades by Estée Lauder's PR, so can comment on this from several angles. Passion Fruit was the one I liked least of the five that I was sent; it's just a bit too red for my skin tone and complexion. It would probably work better on someone who wasn't so pale. Mod Poppy is a lovely purple colour that's not too rich, but it's quite unusual and might not suit everyone's taste. The other three shades I was sent - Electric Ginger, Praline Paradise, and Pink Kiss - are probably more universal, offering attractive colours that would suit any skin tone. The available palette of 24 colours means this product offers optimal choice for people of any hair, skin or eye colour - there's bound to be something that suits you. My only negative comment would be that I couldn't really notice any difference between the three finishes that are allegedly offered: of the five shades that I received, all three finishes were apparently covered, but I didn't notice them (and apparently Estee Lauder itself doesn't either, since which shades are available in which finish is not distinguished on their website). Nevertheless, high-quality shine and colour is assured.
--Texture and consistency-- Lives up to the promise; not sticky at all and very pleasant to wear (although what conditioners exactly are contained in it is beyond me; again, the website decides this information is not important to us).
--Longevity-- It will put up a good fight through a long meal but ultimately will not make it. As for eating anything messy, such as a croissant, you can forget it. Will need reapplying 1-3 times during the day.
--Value for money-- This gloss competes in its price bracket with Clarins, Benefit and Too Faced; however, it seems safe to say that this gloss is holding its own in the current market, due to its (relatively) longwearing formula, its amazing range of available colours, and the conditioning elements that it contains (even if the company doesn't want to tell us what these are). To increase its value further, an added SPF would be nice, but even without that, this remains a lovely present for any beauty-conscious woman and a great treat for yourself.
--What does the promo say?-- "Tinted moisturiser delivers sun protection and natural-looking coverage while restoring and maintaining optimal moisture balance."
--Packaging-- The slate-grey packaging is perfectly in line with the rest of Arbonne's cosmetic range. The screw-top lid travels well, closing securely when you want it to and opening easily when you need it.
--Application-- Apply onto clean dry face, after a primer if desired. Then go out and enjoy the sun! Simple.
--Texture and consistency-- A little bit runny perhaps, but it's overall quite a controllable product that presents no problems in this regard. Feels very light on the skin.
--Appearance-- Excellent quality coverage. A matte and natural look is provided with little or no effort. Personally, I wouldn't bother buying the foundation given that the quality of this is so high, especially for those of us needing extra coverage.
--Longevity-- Again, extremely good; lasts all day. Does not get greasy or slide off your face.
--Value for money-- What's not to like? The price is maybe a bit high but you're getting such a high-quality product for the money that not only allows your skin the space it needs to breathe but also gives it sun protection and a 'finished' look in instants. On a par with Clarins and Lancôme in terms of price, and probably exceeds them in quality, but delivers an individual, away-from-the-high-street quality that these brands do not.
--What does the promo say?-- "Sexy, jasmine-scented, two-in-one Shampoo (and conditioner) Bar. Shea and cocoa butters moisturise dehydrated hair. Smoothing, shine-inducing camellia oil makes hair manageable."
--Packaging-- Comes wrapped in paper, but you can buy a tin to transport it in for when you start to use it. I understand that the bar shapes and sizes vary marginally, but mine didn't fit in the solid shampoo tin, so I used an old Lush tin that was bigger and squarer. You may be luckier though.
--Application and usage-- Rub the bar in wet hands until a lather builds up and then spread this lather onto your wet hair. Massage into hair and then rinse out.
--Appearance-- While the bar is a honey yellow colour, the lather itself is white and no visible residue is left on the hair after use. There are also a few jasmine flowers in there, and sometimes there are a few yellow lumps visible as well.
--Scent-- Not sure if I could really smell the jasmine - a few times, though, my fiancé has commented that my hair smells like petrol after I've used it (!)...not a good sign...
--Texture and consistency-- Disregarding the jasmine flowers and occasional yellow crystals/lumps that are present in the bar (which sort of fall away anyway rather than getting stuck in your hair), the lather is smooth and easy to rinse and the bar is easy to lather and manipulate. The bar holds its shape quite well before beginning to go a bit mushy. However, when this happens, the paste that is left behind is easy to massage through hair and to create a lather with, and for any especially stubborn lumps that are left in the tin, a dash of water turns it into said paste and makes it usable again (in fact, quite a few Lush products can be rescued in this way).
--Effects on hair-- The scent, as noted, is perhaps not always positive; I also can't say I saw any increase in shine. However, hair was made smoother and more manageable (albeit not 100%; it lacked the wow-factor I was looking for). Ultimately, though, hair is clean and easy to style after use.
--Value for money-- Excellent - I bought this for use on holidays to try to weasel out of the baggage restrictions on liquids that are imposed by airlines, and it's got me through about a year's worth of holidays (I holiday for about 12 weeks a year). The fact that it's a shampoo and conditioner in one means that this is also a favourable aspect of the product, helping you to cut down on your packing. Unfortunately, it's the only hard 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner available, meaning that if you don't like Godiva, you have to either have a hard shampoo + an extra liquid conditioner, a hard shampoo + the only hard conditioner available (Jungle), or ditch the conditioner altogether. If you do like Godiva, however, then life's pretty sweet - it's perfect for travel.
RRP: £1.95 at www.thecosmetichouse.co.uk # of shades available: 8
--What does the promo say?-- "Sally Hansen Diamond Lip Treatment is a gorgeous lip gloss which deeply conditions and moisturises your lips while providing a beautiful, luminous diamond shine. With Aloe, Shea Butter and Vitamin A it provides instant hydration and improves lip texture."
--Packaging-- Some might think the faux diamond on the front of the tube is tacky, but I quite like it: it makes it stand out from other products when it might otherwise be passed by. The company name doesn't feature at all on the tube; whether this is a good or bad thing is up to you.
--Application-- Sweep a thin layer across your lips and you are good to go. Super easy.
--Scent-- Almost slightly floral; it has a perfumey quality to it that I had not expected and does not smell cheap or chemical like many other lip glosses in this bracket.
--Texture and consistency-- Not at all sticky; it feels solid, hardwearing and dependable, but comfortable and smooth, while the glitter particles don't grate or irritate at all. Feels as light as a feather on the lips, but not at all weak or watery in application.
--Appearance-- Finally to the most important aspect! I possess the now-defunct Pink Bouquet shade, which is a delightful inbetween pinky-red colour, studded with tiny particles of glitter. However, despite the deep shade, it is a natural match for my lips, delivering a rosy sheen that shimmers beautifully. The range of shades available, though, leads me to believe that there would be a shade out there for just about everyone, from the transparent Diamonds to the red Royal Romance, with several pink, orange and brown shades in between.
--Longevity-- It is unfortunately not perfect; expect to reapply throughout the day. It will last a couple of hours but not much more, and definitely doesn't survive a meal.
--Value for money-- As already mentioned, this gloss doesn't quite tick all the boxes, so if it's an all-day and all-night gloss you want, then you may wish to look elsewhere. However, I sincerely believe that at this price, it's the best 'cheap' lip gloss around, especially given that it contains such fabulous caring natural ingredients that are normally limited to glosses whose prices are out of this one's league (normally for under £2 you're restricted to 17 and Collection 2000). A sparkling summer essential.
perfect partners Cornsilk Zero Shine Powder and Concealer in One, £4.95 @ www.thecosmetichouse.co.uk The Original Cornsilk Shineless Matt Powder, £5.95 @ www.thecosmetichouse.co.uk Healong Beauty Professional Brow Kit, £4.25 @ www.thecosmetichouse.co.uk
So they say that diamonds are a girl's best friend? Fine - until your jaw hits the floor at what are normally stratospheric prices. You're very often looking at three figures before you even begin - and that's often for a diamond that you need a magnifying glass to look at. But as with most things these days, if you shop around a bit (thank you, Google Shopping) you can often get what you want closer to the price you want.
Another way to get diamonds more cheaply than having a socking great rock on one finger is to think smaller: diamond earrings, for instance, will be cheaper than a diamond ring. One such website bringing you the sparkly stuff for less is MyJewelryBox.com, and you can also look around for sales at the major retailers such as H Samuel and Ernest Jones. If the prices at MyJewelryBox.com are too good to refuse, but you balk in the UK at the $50 shipping charge, it's equally easy to go in with friends or to take the chance to buy some dazzling gifts in order to get maximum value out of your order.
If you're not really into jewellery, though (after all, this is a beauty website), there are still plenty of other ways to inject some sparkle into your summer, both on the high street and off. Starting with the body, you can find lots of glitter on your local high street, whether this is with Body Shop's Brilliance Powder (which has slightly flawed packaging but still does a good job) or with the ethical competitor, Lush's Iridescent Glitterbug or their Shimmy Shimmy glitter bar (which you just rub over your body until the desired effect is achieved). If you set your sights a little higher in the sophistication stakes, though, you could always try Cacharel's Noa Perfumed Body Lotion, which starts at just over £20 online and provides a divine glow as well as smelling gorgeous.
There are also seemingly infinite numbers of options for adding some sparkle to your face. For the eyes, try Avon's Colour Sparkle Lash and Line, which incorporates a glitter liner and a mascara all into one handy tube, or for a more full-on look, try MAC Pigments for wow-factor and easily achievable fairy princess looks (or their less expensive cousin, Stargazer Eye Dusts). Even the nails can carry off a Dorothy-style look as you paint your nails with Barry M Nail Paints, whose sparkly variants can make you feel like you've stepped straight out of The Wizard of Oz.
Want something more subtle? No problem. There's a plethora of glittery products out there for even the most shrinking of violets, including Bourjois' Little Round Pot Blusher, which has colours carrying the tiniest glitter particles you ever saw, and Sally Hansen's Diamond Lip Treatment, which looks natural while still making you sparkle. It's good for your lips, is hard-wearing, and is even decorated with a small faux diamond on the front of the tube. However, that's not to say that perhaps a real diamond would not be better.
--What does the promo say?-- "Tea tree is extremely soothing and can work wonders on troubled or oily skin. We've also added juniper berry and grapefruit waters to refresh and tone with natural oils."
--Packaging-- The black recyclable spray-top bottle with chalkboard-style writing is very typical of Lush, keeping things simple while still making the product stand out on the shelf. Only problem is that sometimes the pump can stop or get stuck, meaning you either have to just keep pumping or wait a bit for it to revive itself, which can get a bit annoying.
--Application-- After cleansing, spray directly onto clean dry face (close your eyes now!) just as a quick summer refresher (and then wipe it away with a cotton pad if you want). Orrrr you can spray it onto a cotton pad (4-5 pumps will do it) and wipe over your face. Then moisturise as normal. No problems here.
--Appearance-- It's a completely clear liquid.
--Scent-- You can smell the tea tree, but it doesn't pack as much punch as other tea tree products I've used in the past, which might be good if you normally find the tea tree smell to be a bit overbearing.
--Texture, consistency, and sensation-- The sensation provided by this toner is lovely and cooling, with no irritation occurring at all.
--Effects on the skin-- It does seem to lift off a little bit of grime when you look back at the cotton pad, but perhaps the lack of any really strong smell also proves a signal of its performance: I did not see any significant long or short-term improvement in my skin as a result of using this toner. Shame.
--Value for money-- While very travel-friendly, this product just didn't do it for me. The full-size bottle being about £6, if you're on a similar budget I'd perhaps plump instead for Elizabeth Arden Oil Control Clarifying Toner, Black Opal Purifying Astringent, or Lavera Mint Facial Toner - all of which look promising for those of us with oily skin.
In the third of my series on the fragrance wheel, I'll be throwing a bone to all the real girly girls out there who love flowery, truly romantic fragrances.
This doesn't mean that such fragrances are always superficial, trite or cheap-smelling; quite to the contrary, many floral fragrances are classics that have been adored by women for many years.
One such classic ladies' perfume is Cacharel's Anaïs Anaïs, which combines rose and lily with some of the woodier and more oriental scents previously discussed, such as sandalwood and amber, to make one of the beauty world's most-loved perfumes. Cacharel hit the spot again with Noa and Noa Perle, using a similar blend to capture the essence of forest flowers on women's wrists the world over.
Another cult favourite came to the world of floral perfume in the form of Yves Saint Laurent's Paris, which also nods to the woods with its sandalwood and amber notes alongside its dominant mimosa flower, orange and rose. Originally released in 1983, it's also packed with jasmine and violet, and has inspired many spinoffs from YSL, including the more recently released Parisienne, which is more heavily dominated by violets and is more sugary.
However, floral fragrances are not just stuck in the seventies and eighties, with many more modern floral perfumes having taken the world by storm in recent years. Daisy by Marc Jacobs, for instance, captured the world with its dreamy and dazzling gold bottle, adorned with daisies. It not only uses the popular violet scent but also utilises jasmine and gardenia along with some fruitier undertones and muskier, more vanilla-like overtones. This captivating combination has held the public's attention ever since it first hit the shelves (although it is perhaps not purely floral due to its reliance on other members of the fragrance wheel, perhaps making it more of a Fougère fragrance - more on this soon!).
Other, perhaps more obvious, examples of floral fragrances that have arrived on the scene this century include Valentino's Rock 'n' Rose. Categorised as a floral oriental perfume, it blends orange flower and rose to create an edgy, unique new scent for modern young women. Lastly for today, there's Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb, which almost speaks for itself. It contains everything you could think of for a floral scent: jasmine, rose, orchid, freesia, and a hint of patchouli just to mix things up a bit. This last one is one of my favourites, although I'd also recommend Anaïs Anaïs (mentioned before) - though I'm sure there's a myriad of floral fragrances out there just waiting for me to discover them.
As a teacher, blogger, freelance translator, sometime student of Italian, onetime NaNoWriMo contestant and generally obsessive reader and writer, I think it's safe to say that language is my life. My side interests include documentaries, not tidying, and Double Stuf Oreos.