Thursday, 28 November 2013

Beautique GWP

I'm quite liking the trend of retailers doing a gift with purchase as opposed to just individual brands - they have more clout, more influence on their big brands - and in the case of recent ones shown here, they all contain good, decent, trial sizes as opposed to sachets and tiny offerings. SCORE.

That, dear readers, is the beautiful Roz from Urban Retreat. 

Beautique - the online store of  the Urban Retreat in Harrods, launch their offering tomorrow - for all clients spending over £150 they will receive the above goods - valued at over £110.

The GWP contains:

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer 30ml
NARS Lip Gloss Gold Digger 3.5ml
Thalgo Cleansing Water 2 in 1 50ml
Delarom Face Cleansing Gel 30ml
Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask 5ml
Valmont Renewing Pack 15ml
Unite 7 Seconds Conditioner 12ml
Pureology Precious Oil 30ml
Guam Cellulite Formula Seaweed Mud 75g
Keraskin Morphologiste Intra Zone 10ml
Cosmetics 27 Plasma 27

The gift is on offer until it sells out. Enjoy!

CODE VLM Mascara

I, like everyone, am on the perpetual search for the ultimate mascara - and whilst I don't think I'll ever stop trying new ones, I do have a few that I think are particularly brilliant. CODE Volumising Lengthening Mascara (VLM) is one of them.

It was made by two women who had tried everything on the market and found them all lacking in one element or another. CODE VLM is the result of their collaboration.

Unlike some mascaras I've tried recently that contain a lot of fibres - or even a separate application of fibres (personally a disaster for me), this is a smooth, creamy consistency that doesn't flake or smudge and almost as importantly to me as the performance, it washes off with ease. It's also paraben free and they don't test on animals. 

CODE VLM premieres on QVC this afternoon at 4pm during Alison Young's show. 
To celebrate CODE Beautiful have offered five mascaras to readers of this blog. Mighty generous from a small start-up.

To enter, simply leave a comment below. Giveaway closes Saturday 30th November in the evening at 11.59pm. UK only. Five winners will be chosen at random.


And good luck to Sarah on QVC! 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Experts. The Brands. Nicola Elliott - NEOM

Nicola Elliott is the Founder of NEOM Luxury Organics - a lifestyle brand that has literally exploded in the last couple of years and has huge fans in the blogging world.

I asked Nicola for some tips on relaxing - don't we all need to relax more? - and her Top 3 Tips for anyone thinking of starting a brand...

Top 3 Tips for relaxation
1. Light a Neom Tranquillity candle, take a Tranquillity bath and spritz pillow mist! DEEP relaxation!
2. Do a little light exercise a few times a week, it massively helps with sleeping. I love swimming because it’s a pleasure rather than a chore... Find your pleasure.
3. Read before bed - the best way to take you out of your world is to enter another. Not too much of a thinking book, definitely not factual. The Great Gatsby is pretty fab. 

Her Top Tips for getting started in the beauty/well-being industry
1. Have a 'can-do' attitude. Business isn't hard as such, it just requires the right attitude, loads of juggling and a real passion so you can enjoy working so hard.
2. Network. There are some great girls out there and that 6 degrees of separation thing is true - someone always knows someone who can help you.
3. Create something really good. Theres a place for brilliant product, brilliant blogs, brilliant spas.
Customers are more savvy than ever but cream always rises to the top.

And Nicola's favourite time of the day?
Kids in bed - and it’s me time; we light a candle and make a nice tea.

NEOM have very kindly offered one of their divine Christmas HARMONISE candles to the lovely readers of this blog 

Simply leave a comment below with some relevant contact detail - either a twitter handle or email address and a winner will be chosen at random on Sunday 1st December - when I am announcing something lovely for December on the blog!

  • Giveaway ends at 11.59pm on Saturday 30th November GIVEAWAY CLOSED
  • Open in the UK only
More info on Nicola and NEOM can be found on their website:


That's a LOT of THREELETTERWORDS in a post title I know - but for fans of HER haircare - just a heads up that the TSV of the above products goes live at Midnight tomorrow evening - 27th.(UK time).

HER has the utter joy of being co-founded and fronted by John Barrowman and the man himself will be on air showcasing their first TSV for QVC. 

The kit contains:

250ml Volumising Shampoo
250ml Volumising Conditioner
20g Volumising Powder 
75ml Trecento Treatment                                                                                             

and will retail for under £30 with a value of £68.

More info on HER can be found at and on  

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The Experts. The Makeup Artists. Wayne Goss

Ah Mr Goss. Such loveliness.

Wayne Goss is that rare thing in the industry, a true pro who keeps his feet planted firmly on the ground. No airs and graces, just years of hard work and a true appreciation of his clients and readers/subscribers. His 16 years of work have paid off with Wayne launching his beautiful brush range this year - only for it to sell out almost immediately. What you get in the flesh is exactly what you see on screen, Wayne is honest, funny and genuinely passionate about what he does.

I grabbed him by the collar and shoved a microphone into his face to ask him how he came to be where he is...

How did you end up as a MUA? Was it something you always wanted to do and therefore a straightforward path? Or something you discovered you loved almost by accident?

It was both my accident and design. I had a love of makeup from an early age. But it wasn't until I was 20 and covered in acne that it became my full time mission to get clear flawless skin! That kick-started my love of makeup again.

I receive a lot of queries about training – some of them seem to be asking for the quickest route to a qualification. Where did you train and how important do you think the basic level of training is?

I think training is important but not the most essential step. Firstly, there is not a real recognised makeup artistry. It's not regulated. It's not to say it can’t help. It can. The pricing sadly is horrendous. Anything from £3000 to £12,000 depending on where you go (in London). 
I was classically trained in London and self taught. 

Which do you think is more valuable? Experience or training?

Experience. The training is useful but hands on experience is the best way to go. Working behind a counter is very good experience. 

What is your favourite part of what you do?

Just doing something I love. Creating flawless skin. It's joy. 

What would you recommend to anyone trying to break into the industry?

Work hard. You cannot expect it to come to you. I did just about everything wrong!

What are your favourite 3 items of makeup – ever? 

Foundation. Under eye brighteners. Eyeshadow. 

What are you proudest of in your career?

Training with one of the world's best makeup artists. It's been the biggest help to my career to date. And of course the release of my brush line. It was such a personal thing. I funded the entire project myself, so I’m proud of that. 

So he should be. Congrats Wayne - and thanks. :)

Wayne Goss can be found on:
And the brushes are here:

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Beauty Myths No. 4 - Lemon Juice


'Adding lemon juice to your cleanser will exfoliate your skin!'

Eat it. Don't add it to any product. Case in point: anyone remember Sun-In from the 80's? Lots of brunette girls going around with orange hair. Nice.

Go Make yourself a gin & tonic. With a nice bit of lemon.


Monday, 18 November 2013

Space NK Wish List Event

I can't believe I haven't blogged in over a week. I knew I was busy but REALLY - where does the time go?

SO: let's crack on with some loveliness.

Space NK are holding another 'Event' (GWP to the rest of us) on 20th November and its a good one. If you spend over £150 instore or online on the day, you will receive all of the above - and do you see that little green card? It's a £50.00 gift voucher. Yes, they are giving you £50.00 back. There are no ties - it's literally a £50.00 gift card.


The event is being widely supported instore by reps/MUA's/specialists across all the brands - tickets are £15.00 from your local store.

If you can't make it to a Space in person on the day - simply enter BAG20 before you checkout online at and you too can claim your bag.

All purchases must be made on the 20th and the offer is only available while stocks lasts. I wouldn't hang around if I were you.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Give and Makeup Shoebox Campaign and new posting address

I usually keep Give and Makeup separate from the blog but its that time of year again and we have just kicked off our Shoebox Campaign for the children in the refuges/outreach projects.

We also have a new London posting address so below is some text lifted from the original post over on for ease....

All parcels for Give and Makeup can now be sent to:

Give and Makeup
See page on tab above. 

We are asking once again, for shoeboxes containing gifts suitable for children aged from newborn to mid-teens.

They can have anything - pyjamas, clothing, books, crayons, colouring books, suitable dvd's (they will be checked anyway), toys, sweets, chocolate, magazines - pretty much anything that you know a child will appreciate.

Please, please, spread the word and give what you can. I cannot tell you how heartbreaking it is to see these children in the shelters with absolutely nothing. Yes, they are of course safe from harm, warm and fed - which are the most important things - but surely at this time of year we can do more for them?

Please do not send any of the following:

No war related items - guns, knives etc
Nothing of a political or religious nature (books)

Our regional collections in Manchester and Cardiff will also be accepting the boxes.

If you are able to help these kids it would be much appreciated.

Thanks everyone!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

AERIN Rose Hand and Body Cream

This is one of those 'had it in mind for ages but never managed to blog about it' posts.

Since I've been doing the skin consultations I've had to wash my hands even more than usual - which can be harsh on them when you're borderline obsessive about it in the first place.

I keep this in my office and reapply about 5 times a day. I don't need to you understand, I want to because I am completely obsessed with it. Completely. Obsessed.

I doubt I'd ever use it on my body, it's honestly never occurred to me. It's mainly about the hands with this one. It's rich but not greasy, it absorbs brilliantly, leaves no residue and the rose scent is very unique. There's no 'old lady' rose going on here, it's elegant and soft. I could not be more in love with this hand cream.

If you're a hand cream addict like me, put it on your Christmas list. 

AERIN Rose Hand and Body Cream is £36.00/$40.00 and available from all usual AERIN retailers including online through Estee Lauder.

*originally a PR sample, then a purchase

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Cheat Sheet - Sudden breakouts - what to do and what to do it with

Last week happened to be half term and coincided with me falling off the 'face' wagon. You know what I mean, you drink things you know you shouldn't (coke), eat things you know you shouldn't (Kettle chips I'm looking at YOU) - and unbeknownst to me, I was also pre-menstrual.
You'd think after having periods for 30+ years I'd see the thing coming. But NO.
I couldn't figure out why I was so tired and craving all the bad things - I even took an energy supplement to see me through - with catastrophic results* - more of which later.

I digress.

Consequently I woke up on Sunday morning with my period and a random attack of zits that would make the most hormonally-challenged teen proud (cry).

I had 3 particularly attractive (what I call) 'throbbing cysts' that perched happily right in the middle of my face - just in time for a week full of appointments with clients. You know, the appointments where I advise people how to have great skin? Yes, those.

I immediately went into my usual plan of action - and as I've been talking about it a lot with clients on appointments I thought it may help some of you who suffer from those extremely irritating red spots/welts/cysts/whiteheads/swellings - anything really that comes on in a hurry and tries to teach you who is Boss. Rude. If the cause is unrelated to food/changes in diet or routine or you simply don't know why your skin is reacting...try this anyway.

First things first - food:

  • Pop an antihistamine (assuming you have no medical contraindications). Antihistamines job is to calm the redness and 'put out the fire'. Chlorphenamine maleate is better for the skin problems than cetirizine. This translates as Piriton over Zyrtec/Clariton - but ask your chemist/read the boxes. Technically of course, antihistamines do the same thing, I just found a slightly better result with the Piriton. To each their own.
  • Be honest about any dietary changes you've had and make adjustments. For me this means no coke or crisps - for a lot of the people I've seen in the office it means the 3 C's. Coffee (the extravagant kind that involves shots/cream/syrup), Coke and Cadbury's. Sadly you need to get rid.
  • Drink water likes it going out of fashion. Still. No fizzy. (Although fizzy is obviously my favourite. It would be.)
  • Ingest fish oil and salmon like you haven't eaten in weeks. My default 'fix my face' eating plan is pretty much anything Dr Perricone mentions in his 3 Day Diet. I tend to go overboard but in all honesty, nothing works as quickly for me as this eating regime. Dr P really is the King of the anti-inflammatory diet. He pioneered it when everyone thought he was crazy and has stuck to his guns to be proven correct. Read all his books. You won't regret it.
  • If you are vegetarian and fish isn't an option you need flax/Udo's oil and should binge on seeds and nuts high in omegas. Flax, walnuts and soy are your friends.
  • No sugar.
  • Minimal dairy - and dairy should always always be organic full fat.
  • Evening cleanse is key. Balm/oil cleanse the skin. Make sure you've rinsed properly.
  • Acid tone. Make sure you go over the spots/cysts really well. If they are bleeding, go over them until the acid quells the bleeding, which it should. Don't be traumatised by a little blood, work your skin normally.
  • Apply something topically to the area - my go-to is Aesop's Control gel. It contains vit c, niacinamide and salicylic acid but its in an aloe base so it calms, gets rid of the redness and hydrates - as opposed to harsher products designed to 'dry-out' spots. They don't need drying out, they need nourishment.
  • Apply a facial oil. One designed for a combi/oily skin is ideal but in all honesty, most oils will do the trick (assuming you personally are not allergic/intolerant to them). My go-to here is Clarins Lotus oil. Put 3-4 drops into your palm, swipe across the other palm, apply to the areas affected first, then elsewhere. Don't saturate your skin. Less is more. Layer. Don't suffocate.
Now you need to monitor the situation. Keep the Control gel to hand, and reapply after you've used the oil. Leave it half an hour or so, check your skin, reapply the oil if its absorbed. I had to reapply 3 times last night over the space of a couple of hours. My skin was drinking it. Alternate: Control gel (your spot treatment)/Oil/Control gel/Oil.
Before you go to bed check your skin. Apply a last hit of Control gel, followed by your oil. I chose to seal the deal with some Kate Somerville moisturiser, in the way you would add an extra blanket to the bed. It was cold, I was just going the extra mile. This routine works best with little or no silicone. Layer upon layer of silicone gives you 'rolling' and gets in the way of absorption of the gel/oil.

In the morning:
  • Light cleanse
  • Acid tone
  • Hydrate tone - Darphin Intral is a bit of a gem for this - brilliant for redness
  • Control gel
  • Couple of drops of facial oil
  • Moisturiser

You should find the redness has subsided a little and the spots have either come to a head or started to go down. 
Keep an eye on your diet, check your skin regularly throughout the day - the Control gel is clear and can be used over makeup etc if you want to - and repeat the process the next evening until you start to see results.

This may not work for everyone - but when you're at the end of your tether it's worth trying!

*The energy drink I had was purely vitamin B6. B6 triggers my skin something shocking. B12 I'm absolutely fine with - but the other B's? - NO. I should have read the label. Never again. This is one of the many reasons I don't advise taking multi-vitamins. Target your supplement needs to your body. Don't just take a one-shot-hits-all pill and think it's doing the job. I promise you it isn't.

*No affiliate links and I've been using/buying these products forever.

The Body Shop Facial Massager

You need this.

£6.00 from The Body Shop. £6.00!

Use it to get the cellulite off your face. Those of you that suffer from cystic lumps and bumps under the jawline, those of you worried about saggy baggy face syndrome...this is a great find. I have one on my desk and I'm buying another one to keep in my handbag to use when I'm stuck in traffic (I live in Central London - that's a LOT of the time) and when I'm relaxing on the sofa watching murder dramas. 

Use it working away from the center of the face towards the lymph areas in front of the ears, along and below the jaw line towards the ears, then down the neck. Think of it as pushing the crap away from your face towards the back of your ears and then down the sides of the neck...

Just to give you an idea have a quick look at the below. Fired it off quickly at my desk - please ignore the 4pm makeup and the unopened parcels! - but you'll get the drift.... :)

The Body Shop Facial Massager is £6.00 (I may have mentioned that), available in all usual Body Shop stockists and online.

*PR Sample
No affiliate links

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Clarins Extra-Comfort Cleansing Cream - discontinued

Friends. Following on from last week's rant about Darphin Purifying Balm being chucked on the bonfire, news reaches me that one of my all-time favourite 'go-to' cleansers is no longer.

From January, Clarins are re-launching our beloved Extra-Comfort cleanser with a new version called 'Extra Comfort Anti Pollution Cleansing Cream'.

I'm sure it will be lovely and delicious etc - but my main beef is that they are doing away with the pot. The new one is tube only.

So, for my fellow ECCC addicts - GO GET YOURS BEFORE ITS TOO LATE.


Friday, 1 November 2013

Discontinuing products. Please discuss with your clients first!

Today, dear readers, I bring news of a grave nature. If this was a telegram, it would be trimmed in black.

It would seem that Darphin have taken the decision to discontinue my beloved Purifying Balm. 

I don't know the reasons (I shall assume it's insanity) nor would I expect them to keep a product just because I love it (how rude). 

It did lead to a conversation with Mum however, about favourite products that have fallen by the wayside courtesy of their manufacturers....

So: what products have YOU loved and lost...?

Here's a few of ours.....

Laura Mercier Sundown
NARS Ipanema brow pencil
Chantecaille Oak Brown brow pencil (old packaging - lead in new one is too soft)
Dior Self Tan for the Face (new one has shimmer - 'Hideous' - Mother)
Lancôme Flash Bronzer for the face (original) - 'new one is just NOT as good, if it's not broke, WHY do they try and fix it??' - Mother
Lancôme Primordiale - Mother will never forgive you