Friday, 30 November 2012

Cosmetics and Beauty News (November 2012)

 OPI falls through the sky 
In celebration of new Bond release Skyfall, OPI have released a limited nail collection exclusive to shopping channel QVC. Comprising four limited edition shades plus the award-winning Nail Envy treatment, the kit represents excellent value at £28 (or under £6 per product). Perfect for creating bold statements and polished glamour this winter, I can't wait to try out the new shades, which are cleverly named after Bond films. You Only Live Twice is a pink/red concoction, while The Living Daylights allows you to add glitter to any shade. Casino Royale is a classic purple, and On Her Majesty's Secret Service should take you from work to nights out thanks to its cool blue/grey shimmer. A fabulous Christmas gift for the female Bond fan in your life!

Lift your life with Lebanon
If, like me, you're constantly on the look-out for the hottest new perfume on the block, look no further than Reem Acra's Eau de Parfum. Lebanese couturiere and bridal designer Reem has harnessed the powers of perfumer Pierre Negrin to create her signature scent, which includes ginger, peach and orange notes. The beautiful gold bottle is embellished with a dove pattern and would look lovely on any dressing table in 2013.   

On a quest for quality of life
As well as just being fun to use, evidence is emerging that cosmetic products and good physical appearance could even significantly improve your quality of life (or QOL). The authors of the study, which has been published in the Archives of Dermatology, have even developed a new QOL measuring instrument called BeautyQol, which has been tested on more than 3200 subjects across the world. The instrument is said to provide one overall QOL score as well as five sub-scores for social life, self-confidence, mood, energy and attractiveness, and allows the impact of cosmetics on QOL to be scientifically measured. This means that comparisons between populations, products and situations could now be possible, making for interesting developments in marketing and the genesis of new products. Pilot studies have already been carried out in relation to pigmentary disorders and oily skin, among other parameters. By measuring how much cosmetic products improve QOL, BeautyQol allows to evaluate how much they also improve general health, according to the World Health Organization definition of health: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". The BeautyQol instrument is also going to be adapted to more countries in order to better assess cultural differences in the use of cosmetic products. If this gets off the ground it could be fabulous in terms of helping people everywhere to balance their well-being; for the moment it does sound expensive, however.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Details of new Christmas collections have continued to flood my inbox this November. One thing to watch out for is Heyland & Whittle's Orange Spice Collection, which promises to spice up this festive season with all kinds of holiday accessories, including reed diffusers (from £16) and candles (from £12). The zesty orange scent, which contains cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, promises nothing but joy. For gifts for the younger members of your family, try looking to the iconic Pineapple Dance Studios, which have just launched three new fragrance gift set ranges at Boots. Try the Choose Dance scent for something fresh, the fruity and refreshing Studio 79, or the simply-named Pineapple for those who prefer the soft, floral and feminine. Containing 50ml of fragrance, 100ml of body lotion and 100ml of body wash, these are fab value at £13 each. At a similar price, Crabtree and Evelyn's sparkling Christmas choices would be perfect for anyone in their mid-twenties or older: their £9 shimmer lip gloss comes in three shades, and their Golden Petals Body Nectar and Bath & Body Wash start at £12.
And, for really lightning-speed Christmas gifts, the uber-time-pushed can always visit Harvey Nichols' beauty vending machine, which is part of their fourth-floor BeautyMART. With clever kits and quick picks just fingertips away, you can choose from over 100 iconic beauty brands as a gift to your loved ones - or yourself.

If you're looking to pep up your smartphone in preparation for the party season, look no further than Mobile Makeover, which offers access to over 50 step-by-step makeup and hair tutorials, each created by a professional makeup artist or hair stylist. These include photographs, instructions and recommended products, and cover everything from everyday looks to high-impact fashion. You can even search by occasion and skin tone, and check your final look using the mirror function, so that you can be confident in the results. While sadly not yet available for Blackberry (my phone of choice), if it were, I would definitely get one, as for £1.50 it sounds well worth the cash.tylist in your pocket, for less than a price of a lipstick.

Websites to watch
I'm always looking for innovative new beauty retailers, and Mumpreneur has just given its gold award to one that sounds like it fits the bill, with Cocktail Cosmetics being a one-stop shop for organic, natural, vegan, and niche beauty brands. Another one that I like the sound of comes in the form of Lucy Victoria, which specialises in products that aren't widely available in the UK, currently carrying products from Bath and Body Works mainly. However, they have plans to expand to include other popular brands, such as Victoria's Secret and CO Bigelow. I'm just waiting for them to start stocking Helena Rubinstein and Prescriptives: two of my faves that are no longer sold in Britain. However, being a big Bath and Body Works fan means they're already on my watch list - and they should be on yours too.

From spa to you
If you have serious money to burn, you could also consider investing in an Aureus luxury massage couch this season. A bespoke piece of furniture designed to complement the design of your home, but when I say serious money, I mean serious: prices start at £12,000, which I suspect is beyond the reach of most of this blog's readers (not to mention this writer!).

More affordable is the £60 Dream On massage, as recently launched by Spa & Massage to promote healthy sleep patterns. Integrating reflexology, Swedish massage and head massage, with the use of organic lavender oil, it promises to combat some of the most common contributors to a troubled night's sleep. Massage is proven to increase the body's production of serotonin, which in turn helps to stabilise melatonin levels and restore circadian rhythms to improve the length and quality of sleep. With just five clinics in the UK, though - and all of them in London - this will also only reach a fairly limited audience. However, as someone who regularly has trouble with sleep, just about anything appeals: even if I have to travel and/or spend in order to get it.

But even this is not always necessary to help calm anxiety and relax the muscles: sometimes all you need is a bottle of Palmer's, a willing helper, and one of these - a combination which really helped to relieve my twisted shoulder just the other night, and all for a darn sight less than £60.

We got retro style
Perhaps what the above shows is that sometimes the most traditional methods can be best, and it appears that this is something also espoused by Along Came Betty, which takes its inspiration from 1950s Hollywood stars. With luxurious ingredients that promise high-performance benefits, the recently-expanded range of products is sure to have something to help every starlet this season. I've personally got my eye on their Pore.fectly Clean range (from a mere £3.99), which would be perfect in helping me banish excess oil from my perpetually clogged skin. Another big plus is this range's antioxidant content: amazing for those who, like me, are trying to combat spots and ageing simultaneously. I also fancy testing their B Brilliant BB Cream (£5.99) and comparing it to the battalions of blemish balms that I've already tested this year. Given that it's available at Tesco, you can even pop it in with your weekly shop.

In an equally fun retro twist, Betty Boop has been chosen as the face of Lancôme's newest mascara, Hypnôse Star, which should make for some eye-catching ads on my commute. Build up the layers so that you can go from fresh and luminous in the daytime to glamorous and intense at night; Betty even shows you how to do it here. 

For your pre-tox
In the run-up to Christmas I try to "pre-tox", as a means of limiting the damage that the season will surely bring my way. This covers my diet, but also extends to my skin. One thing that could help is Aduna's baobab, brought from rural Africa to the shelves of Britain’s most prestigious department store, Harrods, as well as Planet Organic, Revital and Nutricentre. Baobab is a 100% natural, nutrient-dense raw wholefood with one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any fruit in the world - and Aduna has made this pure, nutritious supplement available in three different formats with its Feel Good Fruit range. As I'm feeling a little rough around the edges at the moment thanks to a sore throat, it sounds like it could be a welcome addition to my day on several fronts - and the African women who've used it to boost well-being and general health for centuries surely can't be wrong. With prices from £17.99, it's not cheap, but it's still affordable, and definitely not prohibitively out of reach for most.

Valentine's Day at Tesco
You wouldn't believe that the big firms are already dropping Valentine's Day press releases into my inbox, but they are. Tesco is already working on its range of beauty gifts for two months' time, releasing beautiful images of its Calcot Manor bath and body care ranges. With hand and body lotions promising the perfect day, and with prices from just £3.99, there's plenty to love about this Valentine's collection.

Boosting business in 2013
Also to look forward to in the new year is the opening of L'Oréal's largest factory to date. No matter what people say about L'Oréal, you can't accuse them of not boosing the economy with their 66000m² building in West Java, Indonesia. Having already invested €100m in the project, I hope that the high standards of investment will continue with L'Oréal paying their new employees correctly. The company's executive vice-president of operations hopes that it will be a new production hub for South-East Asia and to supply the region with "products with superior quality and value.”  The new facility means there are now 43 L'Oréal factories worldwide, with the Java factory alone set to produce 200 million units, with the hope of eventually producing 500 million units per year. The entire factory has been built according to US standards of excellence, sustainability, and safety, and will employ 450 people. The levels of poverty that exist in some areas of Indonesia are appalling - and I hope that L'Oréal's business projects in the country will also prompt other companies to invest, as this can be the first step in lifting poor countries to a better future.

Tis the season to be pale
The negative effects of sunbed use are already well-known, and a GP from the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors is now publicly supporting a ban on young people using them, following the publication of a new report that suggests that hundreds of thousands of skin cancer cases are caused by them every year. The review, entitled 'Indoor tanning and non-melanoma skin cancer' and published in the British Medical Journal, claims that each tanning session increases skin cancer risk by 1.8%, and adds that the risk increases for under-25s. The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers the process "carcinogenic to humans", and Dr John Tanqueray agrees, stating that over recent years he has "noticed more skin cancers occurring at a younger age than before," and that "sunbeds are contributing to this." At least three of his patients have asked for laser treatment to remove a mark, which he has then had the unpleasant task of diagnosing as skin cancer. He goes on to state that anyone with concerns should visit their GP for a professional assessment. I say don't let the desire for a tan ruin your Christmas - or your life. Get yourself to the doctor if needed, and reduce your UV exposure from today in any event. Stay safe and enjoy December :)

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