Tuesday, 29 April 2008


So L'Occitane's always looked very pretty and smelt very rosy - but all those frills and borders and curly letters never really spoke 'serious about skincare' to me. Until a new clean looking range came into the office before Christmas (going way back now) and I gave it a shot. Above is their Ultra Comforting Cream which I have been using all winter. I almost haven't noticed that I am using it which I think is praise indeed on a combination skin. I'm, like, totally balanced. It seems to have protected me from all the evils winter weather can bring, hibernating my epidermis without smothering it in oil. Now the pump yields cream no more, it's spring time and I'm thinking I need something even lighter for summer.

I find myself turning back to L'Occitane. Now my skin needs cosseting no longer and so I am wondering whether this red rice might purify me a little and tighten my pores a lot. Payday tomorrow so I'll give it a go - watch this space.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Hair's the thing...

Even before I began to immerse myself in this whole beauty caper, my hair was close to my heart.

I had my first really great haircut (that wasn't a pathetic trim) when I was about thirteen and pretty much never looked back. Since that time the net movement of my hair has been blonder and shorter with varying degrees of extremity. Fringes have come and gone, I've been highlighted, tinted, painted, panelled and scissored to within an inch of my jaw and loved every second. My last haircut was my shortest and I loved running my hand over the shorn-short back of my head; not because it felt like boy hair, honest. Beauty girls and magazine ladies, though, seem in general to go for long hair (mimicking models?) and now I find myself coveting the same.

Having just watched the pilot of Gossip Girl on a low down the pecking order channel named itv2, my lust for long tresses continues. The things I like about long hair are that it's youthful, feminine, pretty, expensive, smacks of high-maintenance and men like it - all of these reasons suggest why every female character in the (Cruel Intentions meets MySpace in Manhattan) show sports a glossy long mane. The things I don't like about long hair are that it's boring, unimaginative, safe, high maintenance and it freaks some men out. [I speak for men but I don't know men. Meh, I speak for hair but I don't know hair. Natch.]

Even short hair's got boring, though. Aggy D saw to that, and was joined by Michelle Williams and Anja Rubik. Grazia sealed the deal when they named the haircut du jour the 'shop'. Is it the only word in their vocabulary?

Long or short? Classic or kooky? Only one thing's for sure - my blonde ambition.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Some beautiful things I've learnt

1. Posher gels are better. In the shower. Rid yourself of Radox and try Kings and Queens - pretty scrumptious but not extravagant - £5 from John Lewis feels reasonable. Ditch the detergent.

2. It's okay to buy lipstick just because it has a wicked name. My new No 7 number was purchased purely on the merits of its marvellous moniker and it turned out to be the brightest, prettiest most on-trend shade I could imagine. The name's Geranium, Gay Geranium.

3. Liquid liner under the eyes works and not only on the catwalk. I wore it to a house party and my eyes popped and looked pretty and big. Now I just have to figure out how not to let it slide...

4. Nails don't need to breathe. In fact varnish keeps them healthy and strong. I read it somewhere so it must be true and I must be able to happily go on varnishing week in week out. Hurrah.

5. I'm over cleansing with Dermalogica and I miss Eve Lom. Come back ritual, come back balm.

I scents Spring

It's Easter, which is fun all round I suppose. Four days off work works for me, but taking home a new perfume and an easter egg is much more exciting. Gobble some Green & Black's and spritz some feel-good fragrance and the world is right again.

For months I have been working D&G's The One in the ingot-like purse spray format - it's addictive and smells like heaven in the evening. But now I think it's time to lighten up and I'm looking for something that feels right when getting caught in April showers. Rifling through the samples there are a few stand-outs.

Marc Jacobs is on the money. If you thought you weren't into perfume, try the new additions to his Splash range, which Allure's Jessica writes about with aplomb. Layers and notes might seem complicated, so take it down a notch with a scent you can understand, and choose from Basil, Grapefruit or Pear. Pear's my fave, with everything you like about a men's fragrance and nothing you don't, and Basil hits the spot too. I don't like to sugar-coat it, but maybe the Grapefruit's for sweeter ladies than me.

If Agyness Deyn's leggy enthusiasm on the tv promo is anything to go by, Burberry's The Beat is the scent du jour. With a dubious shaped bottle which is more hip flask than hip, even the scent inside is found to be boozy. But some will love it, as it smells pretty and English and minty and faintly reminiscent of Pimm's. The first Pimm's of the season is an event in itself (best enjoyed in a pub by a river), so maybe The Beat's an aperitif?

If you're buying for a boy, head to Banana Republic (recently landed on Regent Street; really, you can't miss it). In fact, you might want to take your muscle man along to the store with you, as this is one heavy bottle, fashioned out of a huge chunk of wood which we can only assume is supposed to make the boys feel less metro, more hunter gatherer. I like the Slate version - nuzzle away, this is no Lynx.

Don't be a big copy, but - Chloe's spanking new Eau de Parfum is purely divine. A little cream card inside tells me it captures the essence of the Chloe spirit - 'effortless chic and femininity.' I've seen a lotta perfume ads and read a lot of releases, but here's a claim to fabulous I finally agree with. The weighty little pleated glass bottle is satisfyingly pretty (not cutesy) and the perfume captured inside keeps me coming back to my wrist for yet another whiff. Thank Coty for Chloe.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Viva Nivea

I have friends that swear by Nivea.

I swear if I can't find one of the little silver Nivea Glam boxes I spied in Feb's Vogue Italia, I'll turn on someone.

Any ideas?

Mother pucker

We're a lip gloss sharing kinda office. Last week's new find was Darphin's pigmented lip balm which went down a treat. This week, a pink tube of goop inscribed Sexy Mother Pucker gets passed to me.
"Here! Try this!" pouts J, an assistant on a glossy mag's site.
"You have to try it, put on lots!" she grinned as I daubed the wand over my pout, layering on the sticky stuff.
"It's really weird, it makes your lips tingle."
Hmm. It did as well. And not just tingle - as the sensation set in my lips felt like they were being eaten alive by hot maggots. To put it mildly.
Sexy Mother Pucker, by Soap and Glory, is one of those bee sting lip plumping glosses that claim to give you an Angelina Jolie mouth in moments. I didn't think I could wait that long and fled to the toilets grabbing a handful of paper towels to scrub the gloss off (in absence of gentle cleanser perfect for said job, of course). I paused in front of the mirror and the most horrifying thing of all became apparent. It had worked a treat. Now, I don't have thin lips. They're full and shapely and lip plumping has never been a priority, but the little lift of the Soap and Glory number - well, it was sexy.
But the maggots - they weren't so hot. Off it came. De-Angelina'd I skip back to Darphin. 'Til next week.

Monday, 25 February 2008

On the double

I'm loving double cleansing. It just feels so ritualistic, so right. The problem that strikes me is once you start doubling up over the sink, where do you stop? Am I meant to lather up in the shower twice too? Shampoo: traditionally two applications, does that now mean four? Should I run my dishwasher twice? Wash my muslin cloths, clothes, knickers, two times in total? Can my skin - can anything - ever REALLY be clean enough?

This isn't cleansing, this is OCD.