Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Cosmetics and Beauty News - September

Sarah Chapman's Skinesis range released in Space NK
Packed with natural stuff to keep you young and glowing, this energetically-named range should be hitting the shelves in branches of SpaceNK right about now. Each product is available from £38, so this might be one for your Christmas list. However, if you just can't wait until then, check out Sarah Chapman's website ( and find out where you can book one of her patented facials.

New perfume buyer's guide released
Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez have teamed up to provide a thoroughly expert view of what to look for in a perfume and how to buy it via their buyer's guide, Perfumes: The Guide. Only released on September 11, have already shifted over 13,500, and it's easy to see why. As well as being a good-looking, hardcover, coffee-table piece of goodness, more than 1200 fragrances are reviewed within its pages and contain FAQs for the uninitiated.

Sponsor season
With Benefit sponsoring Vauxhall Fashion Scout, and Collection 2000 sponsoring the PPQ 08/09 catwalk show, it's high time that high street brands had an outing, particularly given that cheaper brands like the latter one listed here are of perfectly good quality and yet still don't get enough exposure. Good work.

Touche Eclat for men
Now they can stop stealing ours. And here it is, looking very shiny and masculine too. Designed to provide heavier coverage, as well as being unfragranced, it's the same price as the ladies' variant, £22.50. However, for all those ladies who need heavier coverage and dislike fragranced products, who's to say they won't start stealing the men's one too? Shhhhh...
Speaking of YSL, they've also released a new face primer, containing oat sugars and caffeine, retailing at £34.

MAC collaborates with Emanuel Ungaro
Keeping the oriental theme going (a strong theme this year, with Bourjois also bringing out its oriental-inspired China Collection before the end of the year), MAC is taking a departure from its usual shocking range of vibrant colours to adopt Ungaro's range of sexy, floaty pinks that are sure to suit any complexion. The range covers almost all types of makeup, from lipglosses to mascaras.

New fragrance from Christina Aguilera
With a slight pop-art feel to it, this fragrance screams pop princess while still retaining a cooler edge. It's apparently floral while still being slightly masculine, and as well as coming in the various bottle sizes (30, 50, and 100ml), it also comes in bath bubbles and body milk.

Yes To Carrots, no to parabens
Containing beta-carotene, and NO PARABENS (chemical nasties that are pretty common in beauty products), this could be the new wunderkind of beauty. It's totally organic, and contains carrot oil and Dead Sea mud to improve cell metabolism and stabilise the skin's moisture content. And best of all - it's totally affordable, with most products in the range costing under £10. Available at Boots.

Oooh la la - new fragrance from JP Gaultier

The new fragrance, Madame, is truly for the Pinks of this world. Edgy, slightly androgynous, and with attitude and punch as part of their femininity. From £26, it's an affordable designer fragrance containing grenadine and musk, and with a bright pink and silver bottle, should stand out in the stores.

Porsche goes beyond cars
As well as admiring Porsche's motors, soon men will be able to drench themselves in Porsche too. Their new fragrance for the fellas, The Essence, comes in a James Bond-style bulletesque canister, and promises to be spicy and manly and such. £52 for 80ml.

No7 fights for breast cancer care
In addition to promising prettyful pinkness, No7 also promises something more with this limited edition lipgloss, with 20% of the purchase price going directly to charity. This also acts as a suitable precursor to TotalBeauty's similar campaign, so watch this space.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

W7 Tea Tree Oil Cover Stick

RRP: £4.99
shades available: light/medium, medium/deep

--What does the promo say?--
"In its highly-polished green case, this concealer is perfect for covering those imperfections. It also contains Tea Tree Oil, a natural antiseptic to help skin prone to acne."

Very different to other stick concealers on the market: instead of plumping for a subtle and gentle colour scheme, w7 have gone all out. This is SHINY. The shiny green tube is complemented by the white product information on the lid and by the silvery bar that separates the lid from the rest of the packaging. The lid is one that you just pull off and despite its cheapness it all seems pretty durable too.

Apply to any imperfections you want to cover, using fingers or a brush, and then blend.

There's no immediately discernible scent; however, if you stick your nose in and have a really good sniff then you can definitely pick out the tea tree oil, and it all smells very natural too (rather than chemical).

Despite the fact of there only being two shades available, I found that the light/medium matched my pale skin perfectly. It also blends seamlessly to match your skin tone and/or foundation.

Very good - it blends easily and is not too soft or too hard. It also doesn't irritate spots further.

No better or worse than any other concealer I've tried.

As above. I find it stays on fine when used with foundation and powder, but puts up a poor performance on its own.

--Effects on the skin--
It doesn't make spots worse, and while it's not magic, it does seem to shorten the life of the spot a little.

--Value for money--
While the RRP is £4.99, I have seen this online for as little as 99p. Go for it - it's a good concealer that's a vital staple for anyone suffering with acneic skin, and at that price, you can't lose.

--Other comments--
Often available in discount shops such as Ethel Austin, but it's even more readily available online, including on ebay, at, at, at, at and at .

Maybelline Express Finish Diamonds

RRP: not found, though I gather it retails at between £3.99 and £6.99
no. of shades available: 6

--What does the promo say?--
"Wet to set, now in 40 seconds! Chip-resistant nail colour. Shock-control technology. Ultra-precise Control-flow™ brush for 1 coat application."

It's a slim square bottle, but it has some curve and extra dimension to it from the curved thicker glass layer at the bottom of the bottle and from the slightly rounded silver lid. The 40 second aspect is emphasised by way of a silver 'timer' motif on the front of the bottle and the concept of the product is expressed concisely, with the 'express' word leaning forwards to denote this and with little stars decorating the bottle to show off the 'diamond' shine. All of this is in silver, and actually looks simpler than it sounds. Opens and closes easily, and yet doesn't leak. The flat brush is nice too, though it's nothing new now.

After preparing your nails, carefully apply the colour. Sadly it takes a bit longer than 40 seconds to dry (probably more like 60-100 seconds), but once it has dried, complete with a top coat and you'll be all set.

No problems here: it's not sticky or runny, and goes onto the nails very well.

One coat will allow a softer, more natural look, with a second coat making things slightly more disco.

--Does it do what it promises?--
To an extent, yes. From a company that isn't a specialist in nail care, I found it really impressive that it lasted nearly a week before it began to chip. However, they shouldn't promise that it will dry in 40 seconds if it actually doesn't (and I timed it so I know it doesn't...).

--Value for money--
Even though for some reason I couldn't find an exact price, it's still pretty reasonable whichever way you look at it. The fact that the varnish lasts for so long without chipping means that one bottle certainly lasts a long time, and it assures continuity of high standards in Maybelline's products. Good work.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Bourjois Ombre Stretch

RRP: £5.95
# of shades available: 8

--What does the promo say?--
"Ultra Stretchable eyeshadow, ultra adaptable result. Eyeshadow that can be stretched and blended infinitely, thanks to its remarkable formula enriched with nylon microspheres. It can be used to create looks that range from subtle to intense - you can have fun experimenting! Contained within a gorgeous compact case, with panoramic mirror and expert brush - it'll look great in your handbag."

In keeping with the young disco queen theme that Bourjois has been using recently, particularly popularised by their Volume Clubbing Mascara. The hinge looks stronger on this than on their Little Round Pot eyeshadows, thank goodness, and it's sleek and compact. Basic plastic with flip top lid, and includes a mirror and brush, which is always nice.

Open to experimentation - you can layer it over the whole eyelid just using the brush, just line the top lashes, line the top lashes and then blend outwards...the possibilities are endless.

Quite a matte colour, though for all I know the others may be more shimmery or glittery. It blends well and can look subtle or more vamped up.

Sadly, useless. Creases worse than any eyeshadow I've tried for a loooooong time.

--Value for money--
While this product has versatility on its side, you can get far better results with MAC's Pigments or Prescriptives' Moonbeam Eyeshadow (both of which actually stay the distance).

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Avon MagiX Face Perfector

RRP: £10 for 30ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Introducing Avon's secret weapon. This colourless perfector is a magical way to get super-natural, flawless skin. The colourless formula suits everyone, and evens skin tone with SPF20. Reduce the look of pores and banish shine for up to 10 hours. The velvety soft formula visibly smooths fine lines. Illuminate with exclusive Optix light-diffusing technology. Wear alone or under foundation. Available to order from the 9th September 2008."

Fits in well with the Avon brand, and particularly with their tinted moisturiser. Black shiny plastic lid, matte skin-coloured squeezy tube, with their usual classic minimalist logo and general design, jazzed up only by a calligraphed-style rainbow metallic 'MagiX' embellishment.

Squeeze out a 10p-sized amount and rub all over face, being careful around the eye area.

The gel itself is white, and somewhat pearlescent. After application the skin seems softer and more matte, with the complexion appearing less raw, more even, and with the appearance of pores minimised. However, it in no way comes close to achieving the perfection that Avon promises, especially if you have acneic skin. Spots etc are obviously still visible.

Actually sort of chocolatey, but not in an overbearing way. Delicious.

Thick and luxurious, but you somehow don't get the feeling that it'll clog your pores. It also feels really smooth on the skin.

While it certainly seems to keep shine at bay for the day, the pore-minimising effect is extremely short-lived. When used as a primer, it isn't any better or worse than my usual No7 primer in terms of making sure makeup stays put.

--Value for money--
Seeing as my No7 primer is cheaper (marginally) and doesn't make outlandish claims about attaining perfection and flawlessness, I think I'll stick with my usual brand. If you've got pretty perfect skin already, however, I should think this would be a valuable addition to your makeup bag.

Garnier Body Sensitive Soothing Restorative Balm

RRP: £5.99 for 200ml @

--What does the promo say?--
"This balm can be used all over the body to give very dry, very sensitive skin that extra special attention it needs. It is non-greasy, and is quickly absorbed by the skin, leaving it feeling nourished with moisture and less tight. Enriched with Maple Sap & Allantoin extract, the Garnier experts have created this formula to intensely moisturise and soothe skin, to help restore comfort & suppleness."

Very similar to the famous Neutrogena Norwegian Cream as used by Darcey Bussell (now retired British prima ballerina), but still with the famous Garnier 'leaf' motif and usual brand name logo. It's pretty comprehensive, with the main ingredients (maple sap and allantoin), main function (to relieve dry skin), target audience (those with dry and/or sensitive skin) and the British Skin Foundation endorsement all clearly marked. And yet despite all this information crammed onto the front of the white tube, it doesn't look 'busy' or confusing. It's a substantial tube, with a simple flip-top lid made from opaque white plastic. Quite unisex too.

Rub a little into any part of your suffering body (although perhaps obviously, not including the face) in order to banish dry skin. You really don't need much, which is good.

White cream, which leaves no residue on the skin.

It's of perfect consistency: not too stiff and not too runny. It's also somehow both everyday and luxurious, though I'd say it's greasier than they claim and doesn't absorb too well, taking its time on this score.

Smells pretty fragrance free to me - Garnier certainly keeps its promise here.

--Short-term effects--
I only really suffer with dry skin on my feet, but here it works just as well as its competitors, sending dry skin packing.

--Long-term effects--
While the cream does have to be used regularly, there is undoubtedly noticeable improvement over time. There is a definite reduction of dry skin, with no adverse effects such as itching or redness.

--Value for money--
At £7.99, it's a little more expensive than I thought it would be, but I would certainly buy it at Mistrys' price. This versatile and effective cream is worth adding to anyone's bathroom cabinet.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Bath and Body Works Black Amethyst Eau de Toilette

RRP: $26.50 for 2.5 fl.oz.

--What does the promo say?--
"Master perfumers have seductively layered a sophisticated blend of Italian bergamot and rare camellias with exotic sandalwood and a surprising twist of vetiver in this hypnotic fine fragrance, inspired by chic, sensual and confident women.

* Fragrance Top Notes: Bergamot Italian Oprur, Juicy Mandarin, Sparkling Tangerine, Zesty Orange, Waterfruits, Crisp Melon
* Fragrance Mid Notes: Lily of the Valley, Magnolia Blossom, Sheer Gardenia, Tuberose, Freesia, Peony Petals, Camellia
* Fragrance Base Notes: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Vanilla, Musk"

A substantial-looking and sophisticated clear square bottle revealing the purple liquid within, without being so heavy as to put you off taking it on holiday with you. Spray-top with matte silver lid. Easy to use, and looks nice on your dressing table too.

Spritz wherever desired.

Really very sexy: it's got so much depth, from the lighter floral scents, to the deeper, muskier sandalwood and patchouli. It's not overpowering, however, and it's not trying too hard to be clever or unusual: it all fuses together so naturally, and yet is somehow still unique. It's feminine, but not girly or babyish, and not too 'old' in the way that some fragrances are guilty of.

Unfortunately, not as long as I'd like (needs reapplying by lunchtime), but seeing as it is an eau de toilette (rather than an eau de parfum), I think I can forgive them for this.

--Value for money--
It's a very reasonable price for such a high-quality, pleasant scent. I just wish it lasted for longer on the skin and didn't need to be reapplied as often.

perfect partners
Shower Gel, Bubble Bath, Body Lotion, Body Cream, Body Splash, Body Wash, Body Butter, Hand Cream, Antibacterial Soap, Home Fragrance, Home Fragrance Oil, Room Spray, and Scented Candle, ranging from $4.50 to $17