Monday, 31 December 2007

#59 The Good Stuff

So, last time I took a poke at the CRAP TRAP pile. Now, for the GOOD STUFF:

1. First up, apologies are due. I didn't give Stella McCartney's CARE line much of a chance - well, actually I did, I just didn't use it properly. You see, I've never believed the regime nonsense i.e. that using all products from a single line is more beneficial than mixing and matching - but I often overlook the fact that within certain lines, the products are designed to be used together (especially if high in active ingredients). Such is the case with CARE. I added the elixirs and 5 Benefits Cream to my Spiezia/Dermalogica/Liz Earle-rich routine, and well, I was less than blown away. Well, last week, I went back to basics (again) - and started using the CARE cleanser, toner, elixir and moisturiser - morning and night. Well, would you believe it, I've not heard a peep out of my skin in 14 days. It's clear, hydrated, soft, unshiny, comfortable and even has a mid-summer glow to it. I'm converted and, tail between legs, apologetic. From my utterly subjective standpoint, I think I've found my new skin resolution.

2. Jurlique Intense Recovery Mask. Beauty eds are always questing after something - the perfect red lippy, the undereye concealer, the invisible base - but for me, the journey's been rather more specific. I've been searching for a mask that will simultaneously hydrate, purify, calm, clarify and revitalise. I've tried masks that meet all but one essential criterion (Dermalogica Multi-Vitamin Power Recovery Mask e.g. does a lot, but offers no purification/clarification benefits) - but never have I found a tube that multi-masks effectively. Then the lovely Purple PR ladies sent me this baby. Wowzer. It's chocka with everything from Carrot Root and Green Tea extract to Rose Hip and Evening Primrose Oil - but crucially, it's also rich in Green Clay - so while it's hydrating, it's also vaccuuming out pores and tackling imperfections. I had it on for ten minutes yesterday and massaged it off with a warm muslin cloth - skin was rosy, even and plump. Very impressed with this one.

3. Colgate Total Professional Weekly Clean. It looks like a toothpaste, it tastes like a toothpaste, it smells like a toothpaste. But for some reason (and the flashy lettering on the packet gives us a clue - 'with an ingredient that professional dentists use!!!'), a five minute scrub with this concoction leaves my mouth feeling like I've just had a clean and polish, minus the freaky rubber gloves and panic-inducing surroundings. There are no drastic changes in the appearance of the teeth - they just look very clean - but the sensation it produces is really rather good.

So, on this very last day of 2007, that is it from me.
What's coming in 2008 - hey, I'm a beauty editor, what do you think's coming....?
A........ makeover........... of course!

Friday, 28 December 2007

#58 Premature Resolution

Oh lordy it's happening again. First came the spring-cleaning (which began with the last spoonful of Xmas pud & cream being scraped into the dustbin), then came the wardrobe haulage (all unsuitable, unseasonable items are now zipped up in a John Lewis storage bag in the loft) and today, I waged war on the buckling shelves and burgeoning storage units in my study. There's something about the end of the year that sends me off into a bout of relentless navel gazing. I analyse my life, my home, my space, my skin. Then I start clearing out. Chucking bits of paper I've stashed safely all year, ripping apart magazines that have been stood in chronological order since time immemorial (otherwise known as the day I moved into my new flat) and sifting through boxes of beauty bumph that I've not yet had time to try, nor been able to offload on friends and family - trying to work out what on earth I'm supposed to do with it all. Here's an idea - if there is anyone out there who runs a legitimate charity and can make good use of unwanted, unused and unopened beauty products then please, drop me a line and fill me in on your proposal. Ta very much.

Whilst sifting - which took me the best part of 4 hours - I ended up with three distinct piles: The crap that no one would ever want; the stuff that I don't want, but someone else might love and the gems I'm saving for myself, just in case I ever manage to grow myself another face or five, and will thereby find good use for.

Tomorrow I shall regale you with the good stuff.
Tonight, I'll serve up the unsatisfactory:

I have a mate who loves J-Lo's, Paris', Coleen's and Gwen's scents. There's nowt snobby about her - and she always sniffs it like it is. But Alex by OK! Magazine sent her running for the nearest door. Words used? Sweet, cloying, air-freshener, headache-inducing - like one's first sniff of an early 90s incarnation of Impulse. The bottle's about as classy as Jordan on the pull too. Wrinkle-inducing grimaces abound.

The mineral foundation revolution. Anyone would think skincare companies had found a cure for cancer with all the harping on that's been done about these curious pots of powder. The fact is, the vast majority of the mineral formulas out there are sadly lacking in purity. Many of them (including L'Oreal's True Match Mineral Foundation) contain one or more dodgy additions, such as Diazolidinyl Urea (a common irritant) and Bismuth Oxychloride (neither of which are found in nature), so the 'go to sleep in it, wake up with better skin' myth, is in most cases just that - MYTH. Be wary and always check the labels before parting with your hard-earned cash.

My other peeve is that I've not yet tried a mineral powder that looked great on my skin. I'll start by saying that I've never ever worn face powder - hey, if my nose shines, so be it - so I'm not used to seeing a veil of dust on the skin, which tends to gather around my eyebrows and cheeks, where I have a wee bit of peach fuzz. But at least with face powder you can get away with just a swish over the T-Zone, but if you choose a mineral powder foundation, you're supposed to be able to use it everywhere - under eyes, over spots, atop chins - and it's often marketed as being a foundation-and-concealer-in-one too. Problem is, wherever you put it and however well you blend, it's always partially VISIBLE, which as far as I'm concerned, is cardinal base sin #1.

There may be others in the future that I love - I've saved a couple of pots for new year dalliances - but for the timebeing, at this stumped-out, fag-end of 2007, they're in the NOT HOT POT... going, going, gone.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

#57 Beauty Duty

It's late. It's been too long. I've missed this. I'm sorry for the silence.
Here, with no waffle - unheard of for me - is my current hit & miss list:


Uriage Stick Levres. Discovered at a French pharmacy - smells like a mix between Chapstick original and Chapstick Cherry, but with a far more moisturising, long-lasting, pleasing texture. Smiles.

Botanics Organics Jojoba Body Oil & Laidbare Body Oil. I've been putting on three coats a day - which you can, as they're both pleasingly inexpensive - the former has no scent (no essential oils) - just simple, fuss-free, skin-softening power; the latter is yummily-scented with essential oils, but also contains five EFA rich oils including Rosehip and Evening Primrose. This is the softest my skin's been in any winter in living memory.


Not loving the Liz Earle Brightening Mask. It might give an instant perk-up, but I always seem to look oilier the next day. Hmmmm.

Dermalogica Soothing Eye Make-Up Remover
Is it just me, or does this make anyone else's eyes sore? The viscousy gel always gets into my eyes - I prefer liquids - and I'm yet to be left with refreshed, soothed peepers.

And while we're on the subject of Dermalogica, I've also recently had a bad reaction to their Climate Control Lip Therapy. Lips felt more sore and became slightly swollen after repeated use. Uh Oh. This is the second bad reaction I've had to their products - the Body Cream brings me out in the most appalling, bumpy, red, raised angry rash - can't touch the stuff. It smells rather vile too. Despite this, several of their skincare products are eternal favourites (I heart Total Eye Care & Daily Microfoliant) - which has taught me never to expect great results from every product in a promising line.

You win some, you lose some.
You might get a bit messed up along the way (blotchy, rather than pillowy lips did not invite Mr M's late-night attentions), but hey, it's all the line of duty.