Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Sensitive scalp? New colour range launched for you...

Igora Senea (by Schwarzkopf) is the first hair permanent colour to be recommended by independent dermatologists. It has been tested and approved by the highly respected ProDerm Institute for Applied Dermatoligical Research, who confirm that the range is, "exceptionally mild on the skin and suitable for individuals with delicate scalps." It was also tested on 30 women who suffer from sensitve scalps, 95% confirmed it was absolutely comfortable.

As many as one in three women report scalp sensitivity, and anyone familiar with colouring their hair has at some point no doubt suffered the burning irritation for themselves! Igora Senea has been specifically tailored and developed for those with a delicate scalp. The range comes in 36 shades and two developers, so there needn't be any compromise on your favourite shade. It can even be used on hair which is up to 90% white.

There's also a range of take home products - Senea Colour Shampoo, Senea Conditioning Cream and Senea Post Colour Balm, to look after your new hair.

It sounds like a brilliant idea, and surprisingly overdue. If you have given up the idea of colouring your hair due to the discomfort, this is the ideal solution. Check out your local Schwarzkopf hairdresser and watch the short video clip which explains all.

(*Don't forget my last post about the John Carne free blowdry if you are in London!)

Special offer - Blowdry at John Carne Hairdresser!

A very kind special offer for my readers who are in or can get to the Knightsbridge area: get a free blow-dry when you come in for any cut/colour or treatment! They are very expert, and as I mentioned in my review, the hairwash alone will be an experience not to be missed.

Quote ooglemakeup when booking.

[*image from the John Carne website]

Brighton up your day

Over the weekend I went to Brighton and visited their Museum and Art Gallery. I wanted to draw attention to this little museum as it is offers a palpable sense of modern architecture, art and fashion - it even has a display of Biba makeup! If you are in the area, don't overlook this place - I had only gone in there for the CafĂ©, but soon realised what a fun place it was. I must have been before, but it has had a £10m overhaul since then. Good tea and scones too!

Pictured above, the famous Dali "Mae West lips" sofa - the only one in a public collection.

(*Free entrance, like many museums in UK.)

Monday, 16 May 2011

New Hair : My experience at John Carne (Knightsbridge)

Last week I was getting my hair done at the elegant John Carne salon in Knightsbridge. Just a few paces from Harrods, it is very easy to find - and despite being in a bustling part of town it feels remarkably tranquil. The gleaming floors and mirrored walls, with FashionTV on in the background, instantly imparts a very modern and professional atmosphere. I was lucky to have my hair coloured by Ellie and my hair cut and styled by Sean. Both were so friendly, and I was thrilled with the result.

I came in with a rather drab and grown out bob. The highlights had faded so much that my hair was almost blonde, so I asked Ellie to give me an overall more brown base. I asked for a cool toned shade but Ellie gently advised that a more warm undertone would blend in nicely with my natural hair and make root growth far less high maintenance. Ellie was beyond patient as I laboriously considered all the brunette options! Having a Masters from Schwarzkopf evidently helps - Ellie appreciates every angle. The decision was made: an all-over brown with just a few scattered highlights for a very natural feel.

I then spoke to Sean, a charming Australian who carefully looked at the photo I had brought in. It was a very advanced cut, longer in the front and with a complex undercut at the back. He clearly enjoyed the challenge though, and gave me a very sleek and feminine little bob.

Special mention must be made of the room downstairs...

Although I have been to salons with a massage chair, this massage chair has a personal control so you can decide how (and if) you'd like it, and relaxing music plays as you settle in. Nothing can compare to the delicate light display that unfolds above and around you. I felt like I was in a James Bond film, there was something so very decadent and sci-fi about having my hair washed and massaged while the colourful lights and plush chair eased me in and seemed to detach all stress away. The hair products used were from the Seah range by Schwarzkopf, and after using the Cherry Blossom conditioner I have literally abandoned all my old ones. I thought Bed Head Moisture Maniac was good - but this is just brilliant, and it smells so wonderful too!

Not only was I very pleased with the final effect, I was also reminded of how it felt to be pampered. I have been going to Rush for a while and although I love my hairdresser, it must be said that the utilitarian atmosphere is nothing short of unpleasant. John Carne so far has just 3 salons, the others are in Wimbledon and Guilford. It certainly is a far more personal and boutique style option, and yet the prices are very much in line with (admittedly painful) London salon prices. A ladies haircut and blowdry starts from £55 and half head highlights start at £95.

The combination of a smooth inverted bob and natural hair colour looked very sophisticated. The best thing is, Sean has cut my hair so precisely that even a novice like me can blowdry it and it simply falls into place effortlessly! The true test of a good haircut is what happens once you wash it at home. I did notice that the salon offers a "Style School" hour-long lesson for £55 which sounds like a great idea. The salon also hosts a range of manicure and pedicure treatments. My visit was an absolute treat and it really is a perfect place to go and indulge.

John Carne Knightsbridge
3 Montpelier Street
0207 225 2242

- Check out my little video to see the before and after...


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Make Up Designory MUD "Beauty Makeup": Book Review

Another Beauty book, but this one is strictly a practical guide to applying makeup. Although, the introduction does give a succinct rundown of beauty through the ages. This is a vital book for anyone who wants to perfect their makeup skills.

I heartily recommend this book - so many makeup guides fail to adequately explain the essential rules. This is elegantly presented, and academically set out. Hand-drawn illustrations accompany the text and every chapter fully examines the process. Chapters focus on every aspect: foundation application, eyeshadow, eyebrows, contouring, lips, and more. This is a deceptively simple book, which will teach even the most ardent makeup enthusiast a thing or two. I have learnt an immeasurable amount, and now that I understand countouring I will never miss it out.

Available from MUD website, $39.95

Review and Appreciation: 100,000 Years of Beauty (Gallimard)

The fact that this review has come so late is a measure of just how much enjoyment it has given me. To pore over it, re-read segments, go to museums to follow up aspects, and now to digest my thoughts. I have mentioned it numerous times in passing; indeed it has inspired several posts. But now I shall review it, and give it the spotlight it deserves.

With 1,500 pages and a wealth of full-colour photographs, this beautifully presented pyramid of a book collection is truly a gift to treasure.

Comissioned by L'Oreal to celebrate their 100th anniversary, the books are organised into 5 volumes - each represents not only a time period but also a theme. The pattern is shaped by, "Prehistory - Origins"; "Antiquity - Civilisations"; "The Classical Age - Confrontations"; "Modernity - Globalisation," and "The Future - Predictions."

Collecting contributions from 300 writers of 35 different nationalities ranging from renowned academics, philosophers and artists, the reading experience is challenging and enlightening. At its heart, "100, 000 Years of Beauty" strives to illuminate just how universal "Beauty" is. Symmetry for instance, a common route to Beauty, acts even in animals to eliminate any suspicion of genetic abnormalities or deficiencies.

Speculating that even our earliest forebears decorated themselves with feathers, natural dyes, and teeth ornaments, Neolithic period paintings actually depict decorated bodies which could either represent makeup or scarification. Stones of manganese dioxide show signs of use on a supple surface and indicate the first instance of cosmetics could well date back at least 45,000 years ago, to the Neanderthals. Hundreds of fragments of red dye pigment was found in archaelogical sites in South Africa, dating back at least 200,000 years to the Middle Stone Age. A skull buried 25,000 years ago is painstakingly adorned with shells and yellow ochre. Decorations in death were for social status, not just beauty.

The word "Cosmetics" is said to be derived from "Cosmos", heavenly stars and planets; and accordingly the earliest forms of makeup and perfumes were equally as appreciated for their supernatural healing powers - acting as antibacterial for eyes, or preventing infection on the skin. In Ancient Egypt, the word for makeup derived from "sesh", to engrave, as the same level of skill was needed - and Kohl was buried with the body for use in the Afterlife. As early as Ancient Greek times, Beauty began to be depicted as dangerous and powerful (Helen of Troy; Nymphs) - and blonde hair became a vital ingredient, e.g Helen, Achilles, Aphrodite and Eros, all described as "xanthos", blonde or tawny. It is odd to see modern images of Beauty unfold so easily.

The careful attention to embellishment was eventually attacked by the Christian church during Roman times: it was seen as an insult to God's handiwork. This is of course why Monks shave their hair and thereby renounce their vanity. Again, this straining between whether makeup enhances or distorts, is an endlessly constant theme.

The different cultures and countries described are truly fascinating. The Ancient Chinese notions of male dominance, characterised by the "Three Follows" - young girl follows her father, young woman her husband, elderly widow her eldest son - possibly explains the distinctively feminine elegance, where even well shaped eyebrows were designed to resemble moths or butterflies. In Japanese Geisha makeup, "a white ethereal face, somewhere between beauty and sorrowfulness, sensuality and expressionless, was the mark of supreme elegance." By contrast, the Ancient African understanding of Beauty embraced many features, even the hunchback - though the head was always decorated and revered the most as it was believed to hold the Spirit.

Famously, it was Simone de Beavoir who finally dispelled the belief that cultivated Beauty and intellect could not be compatible. The woman who does not conform to the social pressure to look her best "devalues herself sexually and hence socially." Suffragettes had been depicted by the media as mannish and wearing glasses, but in truth The Women's Movement as early as 1906 had used Fashion and uniform: silk banners, hats, sashes, but it was not remotely designed to prevent women from looking attractive while demanding their rights. Rosie the Riveter, the poster which defined a generation, presented a new form of Beauty. There was now "nothing passive about beauty." Women's progress, illustrated by their clothes which had formerly been reserved for labourers or soldiers: turtleneck sweater, duffle coat, trenchcoat, beret, and ultimately jeans and T-Shirt - was contrasted by Nazism, which glorified the housewife and encouraged a baby boom. Even Christian Dior's "New Look" collection after the war represented a lapse to the past. Far more enlightened was the iconic Chanel suit.

Meanwhile technology changed the face of the Beauty industry. Perfume, for instance, for so many centuries the preserve of the elite and distilled from natural ingredients, now stands for a huge mass market. Typically, 98% of costs are for publicity, and raw ingredients are limited. Mascara, another iconic Beauty staple, was the brainchild of a certain Maybel's brother, who mixed soot and vaseline and legend has it that consequently Maybel got the man of her dreams. Hence the name "Maybelline" was formed. We have Helena Rubenstein to thank for introducing what we now recognise as a mascara wand.

Ancient forms of beauty, such as an Indian implanted jewel embedded in the forehead, make modern body modification seem nothing too revolutionary after all. And with the advent of Plastic Surgery, Beauty is now not only admired and desired, but actually achievable, for a price. The appetite for makeover shows encourages the depressing result that "transcending social critique is only possible after one has submitted to that critique."

Whether Beauty is timeless and organic, or whether it is a social pressure - is open to debate. 100,000 Years of Beauty has a variety of voices, but the conclusions will be your own.