Tuesday, 30 April 2013

EX1 Cosmetics Giveaway

Straight up from the get-go: EX1 are one of my clients. I wanted to work with them because infuriated by the lack of colour cosmetics for Asian skin tones, Farah decided to make her own. As you do. My kind of woman.

The line contains 5 products - a liquid foundation, mineral powder foundation, compact powder, blusher and concealer with more in the pipeline. There has long been talk about the lack of availability of colour cosmetics for any skin other than white. Hopefully this is a small step in the right direction.

EX1 is specifically designed to work with non-white and asian skintones - something they appear to have done if feedback from customers is anything to go by. 

I've compiled a very rough list of possible shade matches - I know its ridiculously hard to get across tones online but when you have the owner on speed dial you can be pushy. :)

F100 - Kim Kardashian (without makeup!)
F200 - Eva Longoria
F300 - Shriya Saran
F400 - Freida Pinto
F500 - Jada Pinkett Smith

The other reason I'm a fan? Pricing. Farah is adamant that EX1 should be affordable for all - not just 'those that can afford it'. EX1 is essentially a high-end foundation with a mass price. The Invisiwear Liquid Foundation is £10.50. Nice work.

Anyway: being one of my clients I bullied asked Farah nicely if she wanted to offer any to the readers of this blog - and she of course said yes.

EX1 are offering 3 readers any 3 products of their choice from the range.

To enter: 'Like' the EX1 Facebook page and/or leave a comment below letting me know how to contact you - twitter or your FB/email, whatever you prefer.

T & C's:
  • Three sets of 3 products are available (we can help you with colours)
  • Three winners will be chosen at random by other members of the EX1 team - not me
  • Giveaway closes Wednesday 22 May 2013
  • No alternative product or cash alternative will be offered
  • Winners will be given 48 hrs to respond - after that another winner will be chosen

EX1 is available from Look Fantastic, Beauty Expert and HQ Hair.

More information on the brand can be found on EX1 Cosmetics.com

Small print: Ex1 are my client - but I am not receiving any funding for holding this giveaway. No affiliate links.

Clinique City Block Sheer SPF25 and SPF40 Face Cream

It's all about the C word today. Those of you who know me of old will remember that is what I used to call Clinique - the 'C' word. Well, *deep breath* I apologise. 
On some counts. I still think Clarifying Lotion (except the mild one) is akin to nail varnish remover but THAT ASIDE - I've been more impressed with recent offerings. These are two of them.

City Block Sheer 25SPF is an oil-free tinted broad spectrum sunscreen designed for use alone or under makeup. Don't be put off by the tinted part - I've tried both of these on four of us in the office - the tint only highlights your skin with a glow - it's not foundation.

Available in two strengths:

One size:

'UVA' symbol on pack:

Water resistant?:

Perspiration resistant?:

Rub resistant?:
Not stated.

Goes on and feels like a tinted moisturiser

Smells lovely - has the SPF smell but it is not overpowering

Suitability for darker skins:
I tested the SPF25 - that was fine on very pale to darker olive skins. Not tested on black skin but there is no white residue that I think would be problematic.

What else?:
City Block is designed to do just that. Protect from grime, smog, smoke, pollution in general. 
This is a mineral sunscreen - not chemical - so those of you allergic to traditional SPF should be fine.
Acts as a primer - use this instead of a BB/CC/TT (total timewaster) cream. 

Pretty much the perfect SPF for those of you that need/want protection on a daily basis. Not just on a beach. I like this. I will use this myself. Now someone go pick London Makeup Girl up off the floor and give her a gin.

Right. When you leave the city behind and head for the beach - you need the real deal. Clinique Sun has lots of variations and comes in a 35 stick, 30 and 40 for the face.

Available in three strengths:
SPF30 cream
SPF40 cream

One size:
The creams are 50ml

'UVA' symbol on pack:
No - however, the leaflet states 'Formulas comply with EU recommendations for UVA/UVB protection'. I an guessing it doesn't contain the UVA 'circle' symbol to save Clinique having different packaging for different countries?

Water resistant?:

Perspiration resistant?:
Yes - sweat resistant. Score for The Hirons. Does anyone actually 'perspire'? Like a Lady would in Downton Abbey? My entire side of the family sweat like rugby players wearing thermals and uggs near the equator. I digress.

Rub resistant?
Says 'reapply after rubbing'. 

Really nice. Predictably thicker than the City Block but one comment from a tester was 'WOW. That is REALLY good for a 40.'

Fresh SPF. 

Suitability for darker skins:
Black skins would get a glow. Healthy glow. Not Frankenstein glow.

What else?:
Fragrance free. Allergy tested. Suitable for sensitive skins. Has Clinique patented 'SolarSmart' antioxidant protection that is triggered by sun exposure for extra help. Stick with the SPF info - the jury is very much out on whether antioxidants in creams do anything to protect the skin. Internally, yes. Externally, derms will argue about it for days.

Another one that is coming home with me. Good, solid, SPF - the UVA symbol is missing but it does say 'UVA/UVB high protection'. And yes, I love the yellow packaging.

Clinique suncare is available at all Clinique stockists and on www.Clinique.co.uk. Prices start at £17.00.

*PR samples. But I would buy.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Shiseido Expert Sun Aging Protection SPF30

I thought I'd keep the reviews of the SPF's as user-friendly as possible - i.e. not let the brands overwhelm with the science and marketing blurb and just give the details (I think) you need.

First up is Shiseido's Expert Sun Aging Protection Cream

Available in two strengths:

Two sizes:

'UVA' symbol on pack:

Water resistant?:

Perspiration resistant?:

Rub resistant?:
Not stated.

Lovely - absorbs easily leaving no 'white'residue

Subtle SPF smell, smells like a hybrid of a Shiseido moisturiser and SPF - pleasant

Suitability for darker skins:
I tested the SPF30 - I think it would be fine for dark skins. 

What else?:
Sand proof. (!?)
Has patented SuperVeil UV-360 technology that ensures the coverage over every area of the skin - basically claims to reach the parts other sun creams don't reach! :)
ProfenseCEL defends against UV exposure by limiting enzyme activity.

A lovely cream that absorbs very quickly, leaves no 'white' residue and is EU approved ensuring at least 30% of the protection is towards UVA damage. (See SPF Cheat Sheet)

Shiseido Expert Sun Aging Protection starts from £27.50 and is available next week from House of Fraser.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

SPF - stay safe

Now that the sun is here I am asked more frequently about moisturisers with SPF - and which to use, when - and how much?

I have inadvertently given the impression on this blog that I don't use SPF - absolutely my fault for not being clear.

So to put the record straight: I have olive skin and have Native American Indian in my background. I tan easily, burn rarely and worship the sun. However, my Mother (much paler than me) has suffered with melanoma quite seriously so I have my skin checked under Woods Lamps and keep an eye on my moles. And I absolutely use SPF when sunbathing - and when in hot climates for work - I just don't use daily dedicated SPF in my skincare. 
In the winter I get my SPF from my make-up - and in the summer I get SPF from a specific SPF product. I.E. a dedicated sunscreen that gives both UVA and UVB protection. UVC doesn't penetrate that atmosphere so we don't need to worry on that score. 

My problem with SPF in moisturisers is two-fold: 
  1. It gives you a false sense of security. In the 1920's the incidences of melanoma - with no SPF available - were around 1 in 1500. In 2013 they are 1 in 53 - with years of SPF being available and modern science - 1 in 53. Why? Because we apply it once and move on, thinking we're done.
    If you use a moisturiser containing SPF 15 (for example) at 8am in the morning - assuming you apply it all over your face (most people leave out areas of their face when moisturising) - if you would normally burn in 15 minutes of sun exposure, technically you should be reapplying your SPF at 11.45am. How are you going to do that without removing your full face of makeup? I know no-one that takes their makeup off halfway through the day to reapply sunscreen.
    And if you are sunbathing - to use the recommended amount - you would need to use a bottle of SPF a DAY. A DAY. 
    If you apply your SPF moisturiser religiously every day and think you are protected - you may not be.
  2. A moisturiser containing SPF invariably only protects from UVB - it does not protect you from UVA. So you won't burn, but your collagen will break down and you'll still get wrinkles. Excellent. Also - SPF moisturisers are less likely to be rub-resistant or water-resistant. So if you apply your makeup with fingers or a brush (everyone) or perspire/sweat - it's gone.
If you want proper protection from the sun you need to use a broad spectrum sun protectant cream - a dedicated product that's sole purpose is to protect your skin from the damage the sun does to it. 

Honestly? Companies that add SPF to their general 'anti-ageing' moisturisers are throwing it in there as an 'added benefit' and a sales tool. Sun protection is not an 'added benefit'. It's a critical, proven step to protect from ageing.

The EU is on to this and making sweeping changes from this July. The symbol above can only be shown on packaging of a product that has proven to provide at least a third of its protection against UVA. Not just UVB.

In terms of routine?
  • cleanse
  • tone
  • serum (if you use)
  • moisturiser (non-spf!)
  • SPF product
  • makeup
The EU has also reclassified sun protection ratings:
  • Low = 6-14 (God knows what they would call my old preferred SPF 4 oil of the 80's)
  • Medium = 15-29
  • High = 30-50
  • Very high = 50+

If you are fair, white, 'pale' - you should be in the 'High' category. 
If you are any type of ethnicity that tans easily and rarely burns you can use low-medium as long as you use it wisely. 
If you are a redhead however you are strictly in the 'Very high' category. Redheads with freckles have phaeomelanin - opposed to the rest of us that have eumelanin. You'll burn easily, quickly and the damage will be long-lasting. 
If you use an SPF in the low-medium category you will still tan. 
If you don't want any colour at all you need to use 30 and above and reapply frequently.

N.B. - SPF degrades. Buy new each year. 

When I use Woods Lamps or similar technology on clients the main areas that nearly always show damage are the tops of the ears (ALWAYS the top of the ears), the back of the neck and the tip of the nose. Forewarned is forearmed.

Enjoy the sun. I LOVE the sun. Just protect yourself.

Sue Devitt is no more

I don't know how it passed me by but I found out today that Sue Devitt folded in February. Such a shame. Especially after Jemma Kidd also went under recently. If the small guys (girls) go - we're only left with the corporate big guns - and I don't know about you but that thought terrifies me.

There appears to still be Sue Devitt stock in the UK if you are a fan. But I'd get moving if I were you.

Let's hope she comes back bigger and better.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Georgia Louise launching in SpaceNK

Launching this June in SpaceNK is the Georgia Louise skincare range. Initially opening with 4 products - Georgia Louise is a British -born facialist now based in New York and counts Emma Stone and Linda Evangelista as clients.

The four products are Sleeping Beauty Oil, Day & Night Brightening Cream, Hydrating Rose Water and the Cleanse & Heal Duo Balm - which is predictably what I zoned in on.

This is a make-no-apologies oil based balm cleanser. Although it says that you can add a few pumps of the rosewater, for me, there is no emulsifying here - you won't get this off without a hot, wet, flannel - which suits me fine. (If I wanted something to emulsify I'd use a cleansing milk?)

It contains coconut butter, Mango butter, beeswax, castor oil, apricot kernel oil, passion fruit oil, meadow-foam seed oil, papaya oil, vitamin e oil, lavender, ylang-ylang and chamomile. And that's it. it is also 89% organic but that is neither here nor there for me as regular readers will know. 

It says suitable for all skin types - and I'm sure it pretty much is - however, I do think an acne skin could get into trouble if they didn't remove every last trace of it - properly. 

For the rest of us it's a glorious uplifting balm cleanser that gives you a good grip to really get a good massage going. You can usually rely on facialist brands more than any other to 'give good balm'. They base their products around their needs in the treatment room. You can't massage owt with a weak-assed milk. 
GL is clearly good with her hands - until recently she was making all of her products herself. 

Georgia Louise launches in SpaceNK at the beginning of June. Stores and prices to be confirmed. In the meantime, further reading on GL and her work can be found on GeorgiaLouise.co.uk

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Aveda skincare - it's not all about the hair you know!

My recent stint in Liberty reminded me of how much I used to love Aveda skincare and what a gem it is.. The counter is opposite the Queen Mary room (fancy!) and I headed there for at least one item after nearly every consultation. Usually the original line..

The exfoliant is another alternative to the P50, Pixi Glow Tonic and Clarins Exfoliating Toner.

 The hydrating lotion does exactly what it says on the bottle. Light, non-clogging action.

The cream cleanser doesn't dry out the face..

And the spray toners are amazing. 

Here's the thing: It's kind of hard to go wrong with Aveda for good, basic, affordable skincare. I haven't delved too much into the other lines - I'm fond of this original line - I'm not one for faff and this does the job.

Here's the best thing: the pricing and the sizes. All of the products shown in Aveda's 'botanical kinetics' line start at £17.00 for 150ml.

Them's crazy prices. I forgot about you Aveda skincare. I'm sorry. Remedied. Go try it. 

Available at all Aveda stockists and online at www.aveda.co.uk 

*Purchases - no affiliates.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Jo Malone Limited Edition Red Roses - going going...almost gone...

I readily admit, when I first heard that Charlotte Stockdale was going to be Jo Malone's 'Style Editor' I raised my eyebrow (For a change? How rude.). 

Now? Now I get it. Jo Malone needed a fresh pair of eyes and it would appear MS Stockdale has done just that. I've been a customer of Jo Malone since Walton Street. I wasn't particularly 'in the know' back then - I just happen to be a West London girl. Lime, Basil and Mandarin has been on my shelf since those days - although I now favour the stronger Cologne Intense range - especially Velvet Rose & Oud and Rose Water & Vanilla. *bliss*

I've completely digressed.

Charlotte's Corner debuted at Selfridges last week and is a one-off installation featuring must-have Jo Malone London pieces mixed with vintage finds and textiles. Says Stockdale, "I wanted to add a modern twist to the iconic packaging of Jo Malone London. I love neon, especially on a neutral background, so the classic cream and black set against shocking pink is a brilliant combination. It's fashion graffiti. Playful, cool and alive."

The Collection contains scatter cushions and scented sachets - but the main attraction is undoubtedly the Limited Edition dipped bottles of Red Roses of which there are 300 available. Well, there were. I just called the counter in London and they have none at the moment but are expecting the very last of them on a delivery tomorrow. Get yours while you can. 

Jo Malone in Selfridges London is on 0207 318 3998. The Limited Edition Red Roses Cologne is £120.00.

Now they just need to BRING BACK VINTAGE GARDENIA and all will be well with the world.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Kai - too much gorgeousness for one post.

If you haven't smelt Kai yet, just imagine being smacked upside the nostrils with a large bouquet of white florals - the main component being gardenia. Gardenia on crack. Kai smells like gardenia on crack. 
(And you thought I couldn't do fragrance reviews! Pah!) 

Kai is in all seriousness one of those perfect little niche brands that seem to tick all the boxes both in their product offering and in relationship to their customers. They have some innovative products - including this beautiful body buffer - it's riddled with product, you just wet and go....

If you prefer just lounging in a hot bath and dreaming of sunnier climes the Bathing Bubbles are beyond.

And if you just want to basically smell it 24/7 they have beautiful, fragrant candles.

They have a lovely, simple website and actually update their blog regularly. And don't get me started on the Pinterest or Instagram. Too many gorgeous pictures of gorgeous things.

Kai is available from Beauty Works WestLiberty Bath Shop and Cult Beauty. I've bought from all three.

*No affiliate links. I don't work for Kai. But I TOTALLY WOULD if they wanted to pay me in product. Alrighty then.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Michael Kors Beauty

Happy Friday People. I cannot TAKE this rain any more. So here, let's look at the new Michael Kors beauty coming in August.......

Containing 3 new scents - Sporty, Sexy and Glam. Each one has a fragrance, along with 2 Lip Lacquer shades, 2 Lip Luster gloss products and 2 nail polishes apiece. Three Bronze Powders along with a Bronze Powder Brush (HE-LLO!). Sun and body products include Indulgent Body Creme, Liquid Shimmer Dry Oil and Shimmer Bath Beads. And finally, three sun basics: Liquid Self Tanner, After Sun Gelee, and After Sun Lip Balm. 

Sigh. There. That's better isn't it?........ ROLL ON SUMMER.

No word on which stores yet.

*all visuals courtesy WWD. 

What's in my Handbag?

I'm over on the 'What's in my Handbag' site again with skincare must-have's. To see what made the cut go have a look..What's in my Handbag/Caroline Hirons

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Zelens Z Matrix and Giveaway

So as promised - I'm talking about some of my clients for a change and completely abusing my position to make them give me things for you introducing you to some of their products that you may not have seen/tried.

First up is Zelens - created by Dr Marko Lens - who is literally the most knowledgeable person I have ever met when it comes to the skin and all things skin-related. He is a consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon but his specialty is skin cancer and skin ageing. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and holds a Master of Science from Harvard and a Phd from Oxford in the field of skin cancer.

He knows his stuff.  He's also completely hysterical to work with and literally takes pleasure in driving me insane. On a daily basis. In the best way. :)
He once greeted me by poking me in the eye and saying 'That mole has altered, lie down, we must remove it' and proceeded to remove a mole that I had on my eyelid since birth in less time than it takes for me to cleanse before we proceeded with our meeting. As you do....

What set Zelens apart for me and made them an enticing prospect to work with is the amount of research and clinical trials that go into every product. The proof is literally in the pudding - as they say.

Zelens' Triple Action Eye Cream is probably the best known product in the range and has been a bestseller since launch. My personal favourite is the Z Matrix pictured above. It's the go-to for when my skin is tired, dehydrated and just lost its 'oomph'. The entire line is paraben and mineral oil free and suitable for all skin types.

So I asked the Doc if I could have some to give to the lovely readers of this blog and completely stole them off the shelf  he offered up 5.

To win one of the lovely Z Matrix's on offer simply follow Zelens on Facebook and leave a comment below telling me you have done so including either your twitter name or contact details.

That's it. Just to be completely clear: Dr Lens is my client, but I won't be picking the winners - that'll be up to his office and PR.

T & C's:

  • Five Z Matrix are available
  • Five winners will be chosen at random by the Zelens team - not me
  • Giveaway closes Wednesday 24th April at 12pm
  • No alternative product or cash alternative will be offered
  • Winners will be given 48 hrs to respond - after that another winner will be chosen

Zelens Facebook page

Zelens is available from Zelens.com, Space NK, Beauty Bay, Salon Skincare, Beauty Mart and QVC (from April 18th)

Small print:
Zelens are my client but I am not being paid anything to hold this giveaway, wasn't asked to hold the giveaway and there are no affiliate links.

Monday, 8 April 2013

A nice combination. Una Brennan Rose Hydrate Oil and Aurelia Miracle Cleanser

So I'm using the Una Brennan Superfacialist Rose Hydrate Miracle Makeover Facial Oil (!!) pretty much every evening. What's not clear with her two oils, despite the inordinately overlong name, is that they are designed as a pre-cleanse. I've been asked if they are suitable as a facial oil - I can't see any reason why not - although I only use it as pre-cleanse. I prefer my treatment facial oils to be slightly thicker - better massage.

It's a strange one the Una Brennan range, I suspect the line is a joint venture with Boots - it's still the only place you can buy it and there is little from Una herself directly online. No website, just reviews from mags/blogs. Having said that - it's a good priced range and the products are for the most part, good.
This oil is great for loosening all makeup before your actual cleanse. 

The Aurelia Miracle Cleanse is a really good follow up cleanser. It has the smell and kick of Cleanse & Polish but leaves the skin much softer and hydrated. It's the product I've used the most whilst trialing Aurelia and I previously reviewed it here.

A lovely twosome.

Stop the press: I was just sent this link by a lovely reader: http://www.superfacialist.co.uk/ Apologies Una!

Una Brennan is available here.

Aurelia is available here.

*press samples, no affiliates, not clients! :)

Well I wasn't away THAT long....

I was up and wearing a bra by Tuesday - promise. I was just slammed last week in work which has led to a bit of a change in thinking.

I've previously withheld from discussing too much about my work or clients on here for various reasons - usually not wanting to appear to have 'favourites' and also because I'm not backward in coming forward with my opinions (I know, I know).

But work, my clients and day-to-day shenanigans in the beauty industry are such a huge part of my life - a life that I love - that it now seems odd to not share that on here. I think the readership is such that you trust me to give my honest opinion - client or not. And I will always disclose.

In all honesty the only way I can keep this blog going is if I integrate it more with my day-to-day. No sob story here - it just is what it is.. There's a reason I haven't posted for 10 days - no time. I'm not a pro blogger. I'm a hobby blogger. My actual 'work' is more than full time.

I had clients visiting from overseas last week and was playing chaperone all over London and the South Coast.
That, coupled with a major change in strategy for another client and the launch of another... left little time for anything else other than family.

So: I'll plod on - BUT - I will be hitting up my contacts in the industry for insider info, interviews and giveaways. I may as well use my address book to my (and your) advantage eh?

Thank you for sticking with me. And thank you for the emails and tweets saying 'Where ARE you?'.

I'm here.