Sunday, 20 December 2009

Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion

RRP: from £13.99/120ml online; also available with SPF15

--What does the promo say?--
"Skin MD Natural shielding lotion makes a great makeup base, soothes
unwanted skin conditions and gives us smooth, silky skin with no greasy
film. A shielding lotion is unlike any other conventional, artificial moisturizers
because it works with the skin to naturally moisturize and heal. Most
conventional, artificial moisturizers only add moisture to the surface of
the skin, but do little to repair the skin’s natural barrier against
moisture robbing irritants. Continued use of artificial moisturizers can
cause the skin to actually begin producing less of its own natural oils,
thinking that the skin has enough moisture. This can cause skin to form a
dependence on the moisturizer for hydration. Skin MD Natural breaks the dry
skin cycle by working to help restore skin’s natural protective abilities by
bonding to the outer layer of skin, strengthening skins natural barrier
against toxins and irritants that can dry the skin, while locking in the
skin’s natural oils."

A white squeezy bottle with red lid. You definitely get the impression of natural ingredients being used (from the picture of the aloe plant on the bottle), but the idea of this being endorsed medically is not successfully conveyed (and nor, indeed, is it in the usual publicity material: you get the impression more of the photographed human saying "hello, I am an actor dressed up as a doctor" rather than of a competent "hello, I am Doctor Zorg"). The lid of the product consists of a flat disc that you push downwards to reveal the aperture out of which the lotion is released. Easier than it sounds, I promise.

Squeeze out a pea-sized amount of lotion and rub over freshly cleansed face and neck. The beauty of this product is that it is multiuse and will do your whole body good, so feel free to rub any excess into your hands, arms or feet.

Virtually scentless, despite the presence of aloe vera and arnica.

An opaque white gel that leaves no visible residue or shininess on the skin.

As promised, there is no greasy film remaining on the skin after use and the lotion absorbs quickly.

--Effects on the skin--
Immediate softness, although in real problem areas (e.g. the feet) it takes much longer for very dry skin to improve or disappear. I did, however, in conjunction with my use of the Pond's cleanser (also reviewed this month), notice an overall improvement in my acneic skin (soon I'll be able to see how well the lotion works on its own, as one bottle of it lasts much longer than a jar of Pond's cleanser).

--Value for money--
£13.99 might seem a bit steep for something that doesn't exactly display miracle effects, but it's a reasonable price overall for a product that generally maintains a good, healthy skin condition, and I definitely like the fact that it's multi-use.

Pond's Cold Cream Cleanser

RRP: from £2.48/75ml online

--What does the promo say?--
"A regular cleansing routine is one of the key steps to keeping facial skin looking young and healthy. Pond's Cold Cream Cleanser is a rich facial cleanser that deep cleans pores to remove stubborn dirt and make up - even waterproof mascara. The special blend of ingredients softens the skin as it cleanses, to leave it feeling soft, smooth and radiantly clean."

A pleasantly serene-looking and simply designed screw-top glass pot, which also comes in a relatively sturdy white cardboard box with teal-green strips and the Pond's logo. The only drawback is the shape - you have to really bend your fingers to get into the corners of the jar for the last dregs.

Smear liberally onto face, and either wash off immediately or leave on for 2 minutes as a mask before rinsing with a damp flannel.

A very stiff, luxurious-looking cream that bears a resemblance to very well-beaten egg whites. Leaves no visible residue on the face after use.

A very clean, just-hung-out-on-the-washing-line type smell. Very fresh and quite universal (everyone from teens to grans could use this and have no problem with the scent).

Very rich and quite unlike any cleanser I've used before as someone with oily skin. Absorbs quite well, but there is a slight residue left after rinsing. If you have normal to dry skin you can leave this on to sink in; if, however, you're a bit of a toning junkie or have oily skin, rinsing again or toning as normal will get rid of this easily.

--Effects on skin--
Even though you'd think that this would be quite unsuitable for someone with oily skin, I saw a positive effect on my skin in less than 2 weeks: skin felt immediately softer and over the days and weeks skin seemed calmer and with fewer spots. While it unfortunately cannot withstand the monthly hormonal onslaught on my skin caused by the time of the month, as a general everyday product it works well.

--Value for money--
You can't argue with the price of this surprising success; it's arguably the best 'cheap' cleanser I've ever used. Just make sure, if you're female, that you keep something a bit stronger in the cupboard for the runup to your period.

perfect partner
Pond's Light Day Cream, from £2.99 online

Cosmetics & Beauty News December 2009

Jurlique discount just for you
To celebrate the rejuvenation of its website (, Australian natural beauty company Jurlique is offering you a 15% discount on its bestselling Rose Hand Cream (available in both full and travel size) until December 31st. As well as rose, it contains loads of other lovely stuff too, such as calendula, sweet violet and echinacea. Enter the code ROSEHAND15 in order to benefit.

Fragrance news
Luxury lifestyle brand Bottega Veneta is partnering with Coty for an exclusive fragrance, and while it's not coming out until 2011, the brand's director, Tomas Maier, certainly seems to have some good ideas already, calling the project "an exciting challenge", which is sure to incorporate the elegance and sophistication for which the brand is already known.

New year, new faces
Lancôme has signed Julia Roberts to be one of its new faces of the brand as we roll into 2010. Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper will also be crossing the generational divide to front MAC's AIDS Fund campaign, and Diane Kruger has been signed to L'Oréal as its latest spokesperson, to represent hair colour, hair care, and makeup. Limited edition Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper lipsticks will also consequently appear in MAC's range in March.

This ought to straighten things out...
VO5 has just released a new and affordable new set of straighteners, with ceramic plates that heat to 230°. At a mere £30, this sounds like a sure competitor against other popular straighteners. REF's Get It Straight styling cream, £12.25, will also protect your hair from heat damage.
Cupid & Grace ( also offers a wide variety of straighteners and straightening-related brands and products this Christmas, including its £85 Christmas Gift Box for straightening, which contains the FHI Platform Straightener, a heat mat, a paddle brush, and a thermal protector for your hair. For curls, they even have a £49 Gift Box For Curls, containing the Babyliss Pro Conical Wand, heat mat, Pink Head Jog 79 Brush, and Indola Curl Spritz to keep that hair in place.

Mixing it up
While the Christmas offers from Bond No 9 and companies like them are simply oozing with style and sparkle, their jaw-dropping price tags mean that many are excluded. Melange Perfume (, however, offers a still beautiful and yet affordable option, with its solid perfumes retailing at $15 and its roll-on perfumes selling for $18. The website is stacked full of personalisable options, making this a truly creative gift at any time of year.

The best-kept beauty secret
Most makeup moguls love preening in front of the mirror or camera lens (ahem). But the Casio EX-S12 seems set to take this to a whole new level: it's not only small enough to fit into your pocket, but also has a special 'makeup mode' to make you look flawless every time, adding a professional finish to your photographs. Retailing at £200, it's not exactly cheap, but if it eliminates all embarrassing photo moments, maybe it's a small price to pay...!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

giveaway winner

The winner of the Skin MD Naturals Giveaway is

Sarah Leslie
of Glasgow, Scotland

Well done Sarah :)

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Clinique Deep Comfort Hand and Cuticle Cream

RRP: £14/75ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Rich, restorative cream improves moisture barrier in the skin and the condition of cuticles and nails. Keep hands moisture rich all day long."

Not quite as it is in the picture - the Clinique 'C' is silvery, for instance, and the rest of the writing is orange. The lid opens well and closes securely, though, and you don't get cream collecting in the lid like in some flip-top tubes. I do definitely like the orange writing, as it serves to enliven the yellow of the lotion and make the tube stand out.

Rub into hands as needed, or use as part of an at-home manicure.

A pure, soft-looking pale yellow lotion that leaves no visible residue on the hands after use.

The camomile in this cream is certainly detectable, but subtle. However, this cream also contains lots of obscure ingredients, such as gentian root, birch, barley and meadowfoam, which probably also contribute to the overall high-quality and generally pleasing effect.

Perfectly soft, without being stiff, runny or lumpy; rubs in easily and is not greasy or oily.

Has the same miracle effects as my usual choice of Atrixo, banishing dry skin patches with astonishing speed. Equally, so little is needed each time that one tube could last you a couple of winters, even with everyday use.

--Value for money--
This is definitely a great way to add a touch of luxury to your winter routine at a relatively affordable price. While plenty of other everyday hand creams, such as Atrixo, will do the job just as well, sometimes it's just nice to be able to throw a little bit of indulgence into your bag of winter essentials.

perfect partners
Deep Comfort Body Wash, £12.50
Deep Comfort Body Lotion, £25

Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow Duo

RRP: £18
# of shades available: 11

--What does the promo say?--
"Creamy, intense colour in one stroke. Surprisingly lightweight. Ophthalmologist tested for even the most sensitive eyes. Blendable duos bring day/dusk/evening drama. The end of the quiet eye."

All very pleasing: the silver case, with embossed Clinique logo, is not too heavy and as well as featuring multiple application options, also comes with a plastic tray for protecting the shadows and mixing colours, in addition to a small mirror.

The Clinique website counsels as follows: "Apply lighter shade to eyelids, from lash line to brow bone. Use deeper shade in crease, as liner, or all over lids. Blend up and outward to desired intensity level. Clean applicator frequently for smoothest application, coverage. Remove with your favourite Clinique Makeup Remover." No problems here: the shadows are certainly blendable and the colours in the duo are well matched (I have the Blackberry Frost version).

--Texture and consistency--
As previously mentioned, there are no problems blending, and in the box at least, the shadows seem fairly durable (do not crumble or break easily, for example).

All is as promised in the brief: the shades are easy to build up in order to create a subtle daytime look or a more intense night-time one. There are also colours in the range to suit about everyone while still looking natural, with peaches, pinks, browns and purples available just for starters, to create a sophisticated look for every need.

This, for me, was the big downside with this product. Despite the lovely looks you are able to create, despite the compliant consistency and despite the convenient box, by lunchtime this creases and needs completely redoing, even with the use of a primer underneath. This may just be due to the oily tendency of my skin, but nevertheless, it was a disappointment in this regard.

--Value for money--
The little time that this lasts on your eyes completely blows the credibility of the £18 price tag, which is a shame, since the rest of the product stands up well and fulfils its brief. My experience of this eyeshadow coincides with my experience of Clinique products so far: while skin and body care products are generally excellent, the makeup products are usually promising but with some fatal flaw. Happily, this hasn't put me off other Clinique products yet, but nevertheless, in this case, for this price, I'd recommend eyeshadows by MAC or Guerlain instead.

perfect partners
Quickliner for Eyes, £12
High Impact Mascara, £14.50