Monday, 24 September 2012

Make sure you trust who you buy from, skincare as an afterthought? A rant.

So Tom Ford has been around for a while now - I don't have the same obsession for him as some of my fellow bloggers - ultimately because my obsession is skincare - not colour. So when he launched his skincare recently I thought 'YES! Finally I can share the Tom obsession.' 

Except I can get no information about his skincare in detail - anywhere. The e-tailers that are selling it say 'it's loaded with anti-oxidants!' and list no ingredients.

Five visits to his counters - where I was approached by his own people - his OWN counters - FIVE - this is the best I got:

'Hi, can you tell me a little about the skincare please?'

'Yes madam (they are nothing if not polite), they are LOADED with antioxidants.' Maybe this is enough for some people with money to burn.

'Ok - do you know what the active ingredients are?' *smiles*

'Of course!' *Passes the £185.00 box of 'Intensive Infusion Concentrate Extreme' to me*

I read the ingredients list - couldn't see anything ground-breaking and asked again (very politely - I wasn't even TRYING): 'What are the key ingredients in this?' 

'Oh its loaded with anti-oxidants!'


I resisted the urge to say 'SO IS AN ORANGE!' and simply handed it back and said 'Thank you very much.'

At which point every single Sales Assistant immediately offered me either a spray of fragrance/swatch of colour. At least they tried to save the sale. They are clearly more comfortable in the smelly/lippie zone.

Tom Ford does not strike me as someone who does things by halves - fellow bloggers rave about the quality of his lipsticks/foundations etc and my husband and I have spent a small fortune on his aftershaves/perfumes over the recent years. Black Orchid is in my all-time favourites. 

So my question is: Why can no-one tell me what's in his skincare?

Maybe I'm being over the top but I don't think it's too much to expect a fair run-down of something you are asking £185.00 for. 

If you are serious about your skincare Tom you need to train your staff correctly so that even if they are not skin specialists they can talk knowledgeably about key benefits and ingredients. 
Or hire me to do it. If they can handle me. *doubtful*

You are losing money. 

Which brings me back to my basic retail buying guide:

Buy your foundation/concealer from a makeup artist.
Buy your colour and fragrance from a couture house/perfumer.
And buy your skincare from a specialist house/doctor/facialist and you can't go far wrong.

Sadly my experience at TF has not done anything to change my mind.

Do better Tom.


Money not in your bank.

Candle of the Week - Cire Trudon Spiritus Sancti

There are few things I love more than a candle. Especially a candle that smells of Church. 

A full-on Orthodox-incense-waving-everywhere Church. The turn of the weather for the worst last weekend saw me packing away my Summer candles and digging out my Autumn/Winter candles. 
Yes I have a candle wardrobe. I know I'm not alone.

Cire Trudon are simply beautiful to-die-for candles. I mean premium, top-of-their-league candles.

These candles don't use any paraffin waxes or any ingredients on the Greenpeace OSPAR list. No heavy metals or pesticides and they have pure cotton wicks. For the record - I don't actually kick up a huge fuss about paraffin wax in my candles - I just don't want it in my moisturiser. 

Spiritus Sancti in a nutshell, reminds me of going to Mass with my extremely Roman Catholic Nana (the lady in the banner at the top of this blog and one of my favourite people on Earth). It's a memory candle for me - and I always equate Church with the colder seasons hence this showing its face now. This contains incense vapours, lily of the valley, labdanum and benzoin. 

It's essentially pure incense. It couldn't smell more Church-like if you stole the thurible and popped it on a stand in your fireplace.

It is to me, a signal to the start of the school year, the nights closing in, packing away summer clothes and the return of Downton (Mr Bates!). God I love Autumn.

There follows some totally superfluous-to-needs yet altogether-wonderful pictures of the flagship Cire Trudon boutique in Central London - previously reviewed here.

Cire Trudon fragranced candles retail for around £60.00 - bear in mind they are significantly larger than a standard candle, burn evenly and last for around 80 hours.

More info on Cire Trudon can be found here. Sigh.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Current high-end skincare routine (some).

I have a habit of posting my daily skincare regimen on Instagram - the above made my skin feel so lovely I thought it warranted a post of its own.

We had been to Thorpe Park and my skin had that red, windblown, been-thrown-about-on-rides-all-day look about it. Using the above worked wonders, calmed it right down and left it ridiculously soft.

Above is:

Suti Cleansing Balm - reviewed on here before - incredibly emollient, oily and nourishing without clogging pores. £26

Zelens PHA+ Bio-Peel - latest product from Dr Marko Lens - these are brilliant when used in place of your toner and then followed by a spray toner or a splash of water. The PHA attracts moisture and binds it to the skin whilst the acids in the pads set to work on your face like a gentle pac-man. Does all of this without glycolic so are perfect for people who find glycolic too strong or have allergies. Becoming a little obsessed. £65.00

Sjal Saphir Concentrate Facial Oil - I am just about as in love with this oil as it is possible to be with a product. Loaded with omega 3, 6 and 9 and infused with Blue Sapphire and Aquamarine, it is beautiful for any older skin (not 25) that is dull and revitalised. Unlike some cheaper alternatives, it has the lightest texture and penetrates beautifully. £125.00 (I know - but when you're older you stop caring)

La Prairie Advanced Marine Biology Eye Gel - not actually my usual choice of eye cream but have found it is good for my puffiness - I have been working relentlessly recently and waking not entirely 'refreshed' shall we say. This is light and hydrating.

Hydraluron - my new staple - originally reviewed in detail here. Just go buy it.

Sjal Mineral Kalla Tonic - sprayed on top of Hydraluron this is really hydrating and softening - being Sjal it is very high end and contains gold, silver and rose quartz. You can read all about it here - suffice to say it is my 'go-to' toner when my face is feeling its age. 

SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interruptor - I have been playing around with some of the Skin Ceuticals range for a while and keep meaning to blog about it - I'll be completely honest - I grabbed this because it's anti-glycation and I had eaten a lot of sugar (rubbish) at Thorpe Park. In my head I was merely trying to save my face from the inevitable spots/swollen red lumps to come as punishment from the pic'n'mix. 
The reality is that it was the perfect product to top off my night-time routine with. It's not loaded with silicone so nothing rolled, it penetrated on top of the Hydraluron and Sjal oil and was generally a lovely cream. I'm going to try using it exclusively for a while and watch the results. So far: lovely. Have a read of the science here. £143.00

* A mixture of purchases, PR samples and gifts. Love them all though.

Friday, 21 September 2012

What's in my Handbag? (bathroom shelf)

So last Friday evening the team from What's in My Handbag? raided my house and my shelving - again. Good job they are ridiculously lovely ladies - and also that Mr Hirons doesn't mind 4 women walking in on him when he is hiding in our bedroom.
 The results are now up over on the WIMH site - which if you haven't joined - you absolutely should. Nothing I like more than a good nosy into other people's bags/cupboards!

Not my shelving - but they ARE in the feature - any excuse to get a good picture of blue hydrangeas on the blog.

What's in my Handbag? 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

I'll be back.

I'm currently on Day 9 of the busiest week of the year so far. And around 120 hours in.

I'll be back on here later this week with a Clinic, reviews and the usual randomness.

In the meantime here is a picture of me looking slightly scary and deranged to keep you company.

Seems appropriate.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

French skincare winners!

Morning everyone,

Thank you so much for all of your entries into the French skincare Giveaway - I'm so happy so many of you wanted to try it!

The winners selected at random were:

Jude - @jadlgw
Sylvie - A Lipstick a Day

Huge Congratulations all! Please email or DM me your posting address and I will liaise with Escentual to get your goods to you asap!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Animal Testing, China and pussy footing around.

I received an email from PETA this morning stating the following:

London – Is Revlon paying for tests that poison animals in China? The cosmetics giant has refused to answer this question, despite repeated attempts by PETA US to uncover the truth. Now, Revlon has to contend with PETA US as a stockholder.

The animal rights group has purchased stock in the New York–based company, which will allow PETA US to attend annual meetings and submit resolutions calling for transparency in Revlon's animal testing policies. The company's refusal to state whether it is paying for these deadly tests – which the Chinese government currently requires for almost all cosmetics products marketed in China – means it cannot be endorsed as a non-animal testing company by PETA US or PETA UK.

"Since Revlon won't come clean to consumers, maybe it will answer a shareholder", says PETA UK Associate Director Mimi Bekhechi. "If the company is breaking its 1989 ban on poisoning animals, then PETA US will find out in the boardroom, if necessary, and then shout it from the rooftop."

A pretty bold move for PETA and one which I'm sure will be applauded by their supporters. But honestly? What will it change in reality? Revlon are not about to pull out of China. It was announced today that they are cutting 250 jobs. They need the money.

To be clear, I don't support animal testing and support PETA's cause - always have, I am by no means radical, I just know from working with brands over the last 15 years that it is completely unnecessary in 2012 to test any product on an animal. 
Why make animals suffer when all products can safely be tested on real people? - which at the end of the day is your end consumer. A rat has no need for a red lipstick or anti-ageing cream. This message however, is still to be heard loud and clear in Beijing.

Cosmetic companies though, don't answer to me, or you. They answer to shareholders. And even then it is in a trickle down basis. If PETA owned 51% of Revlon stock they could in all reality, call the shots. But to my knowledge, they don't. Mr Perelman is still the dude at the top.

So I wonder: Where do you draw the line? I regularly see on twitter and other blogs the fury that comes with knowing that a brand tests on animals or plans to sell to China. 
Avon, L'Oreal and Estee Lauder all sell in China - and that means the Estee Lauder Group - not just the original house. 
So has it stopped you buying Tom Ford? Will it stop you buying Aerin? MAC?
Has it stopped you buying Mitchum deodorant (same group as Revlon)? Chanel? Caudalie? YSL? Garnier? Christian Dior?
Wal-Mart has been in China for years. Wal-Mart own Asda. Do you shop at Asda?

If Stella McCartney (from one of the possibly most widely known and respected vegan families) clothes are sold in China - are her fragrances sold in her stores? I don't know. I'm just showing how easy it is to take it further and further.

Urban Decay? Gave in to pressure from their fans and PETA? Or made a very quick turnaround in light of the fact that they sold their company within the same month and the controversy would have affected the price? Call me cynical...

Avon is China's no.2 brand (L'Oreal predictably No.1) - they had 6000 stores (they have outlets rather than door-to-door) in China 8 years ago. 8 years ago! Avon own Liz Earle. How long before the inevitable happens?
Proctor & Gamble have been in China for nearly 25 years. Do you use Fairy washing up liquid? Use Pampers on your baby? Gillette on your legs? Head and Shoulders? Aussie? Frederic Fekkai???? 

All I know is this: China is going nowhere and neither are shareholders and corporate money.
  • China has 100 million urban (beauty buying) women. 100 MILLION. And that's less than a quarter of the estimated total of women living on the mainland.
  • China is the largest internet beauty market in the world with sales of over $8 billion last year. That's the tip of the iceberg. 
  • The Chinese online beauty market did nine times more last year than the USA online market.
I am not trying to justify anything or anyone - I have merely been wondering recently how far we genuinely, if we are being really honest, care enough to change our ways? And how often we knowingly turn a blind eye while giving a beautifully-applied-Chanel lip service to the opposite effect in public?


Some source and  further info if you're interested... 

Saturday, 1 September 2012

French Giveaway in association with - GIVEAWAY CLOSED!!!!!!!!!!!

The first place I head to when I get off the Eurostar is my favourite pharmacy in Paris. I've even blogged about it. You always find something new that you didn't know existed/you needed.

So when the lovely chaps at offered to give five lucky readers my Top 10 choices from their current French pharmacy selection I jumped at the chance.

Yes - five of you will win my TOP TEN products as listed below in no particular order:

I'm nothing if not predictable - all of the above are designed in some way to help maintain the acid mantle, hydrate, repair and basically give you a clear, calm skin.

To win simply be a follower of the blog via email or over on GFC ---->
and leave a comment below with your contact details (twitter id or email).


That's it.

And while you're at it - have a look for yourself at Escentual's site - all of their French pharmacy brands are currently available for 1/3 off. Bargainous.

Many thanks to Escentual for their generosity!

T & C's:
Open internationally.
One entry per person.
Giveaway ends at 23.59pm on Thursday 6th September.
Winners will be chosen by and notified via this blog and twitter. 
If winners do not come forward within 24 hours, new winners will be chosen. reserve the right to send a similar product should the listed product be unavailable for any reason.

My Small Print.
No affiliate links - just being helpful.
Not a Sponsored Post. Just thought you'd like to try!