Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Round up Beauty thoughts

I have several ideas but usually they are not enough to justify a post in themselves, so I thought I would try out a round-up post and see how it goes...?

First up, those Chanel ads - how odd to have a man (ok no not "a man", I mean, Brad Pitt) fronting a women's fragrance. It has always been obvious that women could be used in adverts to sell a man's fragrance (or anything else) but it seemed clear that to sell to women we want to be enticed by a woman promising us an equal beauty to hers', if only we were to whip our credit card out for said item. But now, I guess in a classic case of post feminism, we too have the experience of being seduced for our purchase. These clips are the closest most of us will ever get to being chatted up by Brad Pitt, and I have to say I think it's a great ploy. Well worth his reputed $7M fee. It doesn't matter that what he's saying makes no sense, he is mesmerising, who is listening to him anyway?? Chanel No.5 really is legendary (in large part thanks to Marilyn Monroe's famous quip when asked what she wore to bed.) Chanel have made a video, somewhat bombastic and garish but describing its history (watch it here.) Personally I would probably still prefer Chanel's green bottle fragrance but I think it's ingenious to have the tagline "Inevitable" as there are plenty of clueless men buying their women fragrance or even women who don't know what they're supposed to like, so I am pretty sure Chanel No5 will indeed become an inevitable purchase and the campaign is bound to do amazingly well.

Seeing as I mentioned Marilyn Monroe, and seeing as MAC currently has their Marilyn Monroe collection out, I thought I would recommend a biography I just read - highly recommended if you are besotted with Marilyn Monroe as so many are. It is by Sarah Churchwell and called 'The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe.' It is very academically written and examines the various theories surrounding her. It also goes some way to explaining why Marilyn Monroe still to this day, more than half a century after her death, seems so modern and fresh and is still used as the benchmark for confident alluring females from Madonna to Gwen Stefani and various Hollywood actresses in between, who would all hope to be today's equivalent. In her day Marilyn Monroe was a subject for ridicule: her wobbly walk lent itself to comedies and the real seductive actress du jour was Liz Taylor. But when Hugh Hefner launched his career and sealed his future by buying and exposing Marilyn Monroe's nude photographs (she had posed nude whilst still a 'struggling actress') Marilyn Monroe refused to deny they were of her as her studio would have preferred, and instead admitted they were and simply absorbed the extra attention without allowing it to provoke shame. On the other hand, many feminists argue that by adopting the pre-war persona of humble, hapless and doting hourglass woman, she plunged women back into their former place. She had a very bizarre mix of naive openness and cunning wit. To take the Chanel quote above for instance, Marilyn Monroe explained that this was a way to avoid saying naked but that she didn't know why they would be asking her anyway. And the seemingly retrospective attitude of thinking of Marilyn Monroe as a tragic figure was already in place in her lifetime; every authorised biography made sure to reference her childhood in an orphanage and the studio loved her Cinderella tale. But the book is also objective enough to recount her flaws and ultimately it seems more than likely that her drug taking and overdose was all a part of her disorganised state rather than a murder or even a deliberate cry for help let alone suicide. We will never know the truth and that is one part of why her image never tires. Even her mole has become a cypher to her legend. As such, let me say that MAC'S hideous packaging really is an insult! It is good that they found a photograph not gernerally known as it does escape pastiche, but the black and red looks lazy and we all know Marilyn Monroe would never have carried that gaudy packaging around... However the colours did seem pretty accurate. Personally I hardly wear red lipstick (too ageing) so I found it an easy collection to resist. By the way, the unbelievably famous white dress (valued at £3M) from 'The Seven Year itch' film is going to be on show in London for the first time.

And finally in my roundup, do you recall the slave earrings? Well the Guardian and Telegraph  say this time it is an Aunt Jemima looking print dress and earrings at Dolce & Gabbana (spring/summer 2013 collection) causing an outcry. The irony is that if this black image was a black woman with european features, i.e small nose and subtly plump lips, this would probably have gone unremarked. I see countless dresses and earrings featuring white women or ethnic women prints - but apparently having a typical black featured woman is racist. It is very sad that showing a black face and having it modelled by a white model is taken as derogatory. If it were a black model I am not sure if it would be attacked even more, or whether in that context it might be taken as celebratory?
 images:, PHOTO: Vladimir Potop; Rex Features.

My current favourite makeup purchase! Estee Lauder Violet Underground palette

As soon as I saw these beautiful jewel tones I knew resistance was futile. The limited edition Violet Underground palette has been out a little while - indeed, it is currently sold out on the Estee Lauder website. However, plenty of counters near me still had the odd one left, but hurry if you need this in your life! (Clue: you do.) Thankfully my EL counter girl knows me well and agreed to unofficially hold it for me until the gift with purchase at Boots (currently on, until 20th) so it is finally mine.

From the blue lid to the punk 80s lightning bolt and name, to the cool tone perfect shades - this really is spectacular. Very wearable - even the pink is surprisingly demure! I think this will be perfect for the winter months. And, I appreciate the unique consistency of the 'cyber' texture. It really resists creasing, and has a depth of colour that flat shadow falls short of. These can be used wet, but I prefer them dry. Swatches I took did not capture the vivid multi dimension that it achieves on the eyelid - but in person, these are very special indeed. There are also 2 limited edition lipsticks but I have MAC Candy Yum Yum (incidentally, another current fave) and the Estee Lauder Violet Crush seemed somewhat similar but less unique, i.e less blue toned more pink but same idea. Anyway I will let the pictures do the talking...

 Only one swatch (dry) so I know it looks a little underwhelming... but on the eye this is all you need and it transforms. These can be built up to be very intense but I prefer to use them more subtle. Here is the pink alone, just a light wash looks so pretty:

£40, Available at Estee Lauder counters where stocks last! I can't wait to see the Christmas sets coming up, as Estee Lauder really know how to impress. I know that I will be using this palette a lot, and unlike most palettes there isn't even one dud shade!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Bare Minerals NEW Concealers: REVIEW! Correcting concealer; Stroke of Light eye brightener

Well well well. The days of Bare Minerals solely coming in loose pigments and pots is slowly being pushed aside. Although no brands can beat their AMAZING loose blushers (fave shade: 'Flowers) and AMAZING loose bronzers (I adore Warmth and Faux Tan equally) - so I am not suggesting the brand turns its back on all that swirl tap and buff business. And yet, this is exciting news indeed. Two new concealer formulations are out. These launched in September 2012.

Firstly, the rather Bobbi Brownish pot concealer, SPF Correcting Concealer (£21.) I have shade Light 2. Now perhaps before I even begin my review I must extoll the magic virtues of the Bare Escentuals Maximum Coverage concealer brush (£14.) I have 2 of these and have loved it for years. In fact even when using my HG concealer Lancome Effacernes, it is not the same AT ALL without that brush. It is a must-have!!! So, oops a spolier there as my HG has not quite been trumped. But, this is an excellent concealer. I use this concealer for face as opposed to undereye and in fact today I went with no foundation, I just applied this to my blotchy problem areas and powdered on top. You get 3g and a little goes a long way. It is very blendable and covers very well. The shade is a great match for me but the real beauty of this is that it comes in 8 different shades so you can pick your undertone. For instance, Light 2 is yellow toned whereas Light 1 is pink toned. Apparently these concealers contain lemon peel extracts and botanicals, which promise to "decrease dark spots and discolouration over time"! I will update on that as that would definitely warrant HG status! Well worth checking out and I love the sleek packaging (matte black but not rubbery like NARS - it's like a more modern version of the Bobbi Brown pot really.) I set this as advised, with the Bare Minerals Well-Rested SPF Eye Brightener. (£19.) This combination was a little too yellowy for my liking - but, it didn't crease at all. My favourite powder to set concealer with though, is the Guerlain perles Meteorites in Mythic I must admit...

Stroke of Light Eye Brightener (£22) is a stroke of genius I love it!!!! It is like YSL Touche Eclat "on steroids". I have it in shade Luminous 1. It comes in 4 shades and they all appear to lean pink or apricot (as opposed to yellow) and are specifically designed to brighten the undereye. It is a bit like Clinique's version of Touche Eclat but unlike that and Maybelline Dream Lumi and all the other imitating 'concealing' light reflectors, this can never go thick and cakey: it has the same very very thin and light YSL Touche Eclat consistency. In other words this is not so much a concealer as a real light reflector - it makes me look beaming and joyful and yes, younger. YAY!!!! And again, this claims to treat the skin:"Enriched with Mineral Jade Powder to disguise imperfections[...]Amethyst enhances the appearance of skin for a flawless look, whilst finely milled Freshwater Pearls help to keep skin soft and supple. Saccharomyces Cerevisiae helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines, dark circles and under eye puffiness for a more youthful appearance." I am tentatively calling this a new found fave and who knows maybe in time will replace my beloved Touche Eclat. I even love the applicator, WAY better than that YSL stinky brush. Check out my 'tutorial' to see it in action. (around 13.43) Check out the images below to see the shades. As explained, my Correcting Concealer is thicker and more yellow toned, and the Stroke of Light is more pink and has a thinner consistency.

Let me know if you have tried these, or what your favourite concealers are? I find concealers are definitely something worth hunting down, and investing in! Arguably the most important bit of makeup in your kit!!!

Bare Minerals available from all Bare Minerals boutiques,, selected retailers, spas & salons and QVC.

InStyle Magazine: Benefit FREEBIES!

Just a quick heads-up! In case any UK readers don't know, the November issue of InStyle (out from 4th October) featuring Naomie Harris on the cover wearing a gorgeous Acne leather dress, has a selection of 4ml versions of Benefit Sun Beam, Cha Cha tint (love this now and must get more magazines asap but grrrr sold out already?!) and of course their trailblazer Benetint.

£3.80 a copy although in Tesco stores only £2.50. Far be it for me to trumpet the high street murderers but oh well consumer is king and I ain't sniffing at saving £1.30! But in any case it's a great deal and I'll be picking up more - you know my record...

Olympia Beauty 2012: Reporting back!

Apparently 23,479 people visited over the course of the two days the Olympia Beauty exhibition was on to check out the latest products, treatments and services in beauty, make up and nails. I attend every year and have seen it go from more of a niche professional show to more of a populist free for all... OK I will admit I miss the days when the Olympia Beauty and Professional Beauty exhibitions were more a hidden thing only beauty insiders knew about... especially before Professional Beauty was run by a magazine... in the old days I recall Make Up Forever exhibiting there with foundations £6 a pop and lipglosses £4. [mournful sigh]

Anyway, all this is not to say it wasn't worthwhile. I bought a load of wax and waxing accoutrements; some false eyelashes (the famous Ardell 'wispies'), some Duo eyelash glue (around £4 at the exhibition), some Royal & Langnickel brushes, some backups of my fave Clynol Look at Me smoothing serum (2 for £5!!) some nail polishes by OPI (around a fiver each) and some Seche Vite of course, and a base coat... etc... All just rather dreary basic stuff. There was not the buzz that earlier years' exhibitions have had, and I was rather disappointed by the supposed discounts - e.g New CID cosmetics were showing there, with a 5% discount - please!

Probably the most interesting aspect of the show was the talk I attended by Dr Jain (you might have seen my interview video with him afterwords, here.) The talk highlighted the crossover between the beauty industry and the medical one. Dr Jain very much sees cosmetic surgery as treating real problems: wrinkles, discolourations and sagging: all are as tangible as any other flawed organ of the body. The most interesting picture he showed was of a patient who had been given Botox to treat excessive teeth grinding. The constant clenching literally enlarged her jaw muscles and created a rather masculine square jaw - but post treatment her whole face shape had changed. He also revealed that if a patient's eyelids are drooping to the point where frowning occurs in order to actively open the eyes to see properly, then Botox can be prescribed on the NHS. He mentioned a treatment I'd not heard much about, Sculptra, which lasts around 3 years. He also spoke about his speciality, body contouring. Intriguingly, Dr Jain suggests that the more costly and invasive a treatment, the more seriously a patient will take it, and the more lifestyle changes they will make to maintain it. He seemed very wary of today's disposable pop fame society where cosmetic treatments are trivialised too far. However, he is not denying that modern technology and the prevalence of cosmetic treatments has helped business - he revealed that through Twitter alone he has generated an extra £50,000! As far as celebrity poster girls he chose the notorious Nicole Kidman. I spoke to another cosmetic surgeon recently who opined that Nicole Kidman is now more famous for being the cosmetic surgery warning than anything else! How sad. By contrast, a photo of Brigitte Bardot was shown. As mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, she is one of the very few celebrities who has said adieu to her youth and not fought tooth and claw to resurrect it. I think she should be applauded for that but Dr Jain did suggest several treatments she could have; it would admittedly be tempting to imagine her able to recapture her intense beauty to the fullest that she could... But, as my interview with Dr Jain revealed, he understands that primarily, these 'unnecessary' treatments are in the first place, for psychological reasons.

As in my previous post, I had this old version of the 'intelligent' camera on and it snapped indiscriminately. It's funny as no one has a clue you are taking pictures so I could have included a few with sales peoples' intense and nauseatingly sycophantic 'sales pitch face' but I won't. Instead, here's a brief idea of the show itself: