Friday, 24 April 2009

Hippy Hippy Chic

This week I will be rocking hippy hair (well, trying to) by going for the chilled out, messy look, kinda like the above pic but with the plaits pulled back and pinned to the side of my head. It works for me as I don’t have to do anything with the rest of my hair but it still looks half groomed by having the smooth plaits pulling some of the messy hair away from my face.

The spring/summer catwalks were full of plaits and messy textures so it really is one trend to keep on top of this season (and how easy?!)

To recreate these looks on dry hair, texture spray is really important. I love Clynol Play with Me Matty texturising hairspray, £10.60, L'Oreal Professionnel Volume Architect
and KMS California Hairplay Makeover Spray, £13.40. Keeping the two front sections free (however big you want your plaits) spray and scrunch the product throughout your hair until you get the desired effect.

Sea Sprays will also work but you’ll need to give it a squirt of hairspray afterwards to keep it in place. I personally think sea/salt sprays are a bit of a waste of time and haven’t really found anything that gives that tousled/beachy look apart from label.m Sea Salt Spray, £10.95, which is the best I’ve tried.

For wet hair I use TIGI’s S-Factor One Curl at a Time serum to smooth and tame frizz and then scrunch in L’Oréal Professionnel Play Ball Texture Tonic, £10.75, to add texture and hold to wet hair. Keep the plaits smooth by slicking on some serum, pin in place (or don’t depending how you’re feeling) et voila! Sexy, hippy, easy hair that takes about 2 minutes. If you want a more groomed version of this, slightly curl your hair using heated tongs instead of scrunching and finish with serum and a light misting of hairspray.

For some inspiration take a look at the next few catwalk shots:

Slightly exreme at Cooperative Designs but you get the picture, lots of plaits and a messy texture everywhere else.

Even more extreme at Inbar Spector but these close-to-the-scalp plaits can be used in a more day-to-day way, just do them around the hairline to keep it off the face in the summer.

Qasimi featured beautiful fishtail plaits taken from both sides of the head and then long and lovely at the back. Fishtails are hard to master but if you have the patience or know someone who can do them, then it's well worth the effort.

Giles Deacon (first image) and Penkov are a great examples of the messy look, best done when you haven't washed your hair for a couple of days, otherwise pile on the texture spray to get the volume and grip.

Another big look on the catwalks for spring/summer ’09 was hair accessories. Bows, ribbons, hair pieces and head bands were everywhere and there is so much on offer in the shops now too. It’s easy enough to make your own though, just use your imagination! A flower corsage usually worn as a broach can be easily attached to a grip and pinned in place.

Avsh Alom Gur:

Betty Jackson:


JoJo and Malou:

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Banish the bumps.

So ladies, it’s getting to that time of year again when we have to start thinking about what we actually look like in a bikini…scary stuff. Apart from manically trying to tone up and get fit for when I go away in 6 weeks’ time, I’m also trying to get rid of the dreaded ‘orange peel’ effect…cellulite. I’ve never tried any of the creams before so when [comfort zone] Body Strategist + Remodeller Cream arrived at the office I thought I might as well give it a go!
At £46.95 it is quite a lot more than I would think to pay for this but after using it I may change my mind! 

Here’s what they say about it: 

"The Body Strategist + professional and retail offering use the same proven active ingredients including escin and seanamin™ that favour a draining action, and black pepper extract that aids a reducing action, also caffeine, carnitine and fucus. However, Body Strategist + now additionally comprises adiposlim™ and adipoless™ to the formulations, which further stimulates lipolysis that also creates a slimming action and helps to maintain body shape in preventing development of new fat cells.”

And I say it’s great. You massage it on after a bath or shower (the harder you massage the stronger the immediate effects apparently) and then let it do its magic. It’s best to do this when you have a bit of time to let it soak in as initially it completely cools the area you’ve put it on, before it then goes hot and red! Make sure you wash your hands immediately afterwards, as I got some on the underside of my forearms and it was a bit too strong for the sensitive skin there. I also tried it on my stomach once but again, I didn’t really like how it felt. I’ve been using it sporadically for about 6 – 8 weeks and really need to start daily as although I haven’t seen a huge change in how the cellulite looks (it is definitely improving though), my legs and bottom definitely feel firmer and even my boyfriend has noticed, that speaks volumes!
Secret Beauty Verdict: If you have the time to put this on everyday and wait for your legs to go back to normal, then I’d definitely recommend it, although it’s pricey, I think you get what you pay for.
Stockists: 01827 280 080

Foundations...the best and the rest.

I’ve tried quite a few foundations in my time and am extremely fussy. I like a foundation to provide lots of coverage and make my skin appear flawless, but don’t want to look caked. I also have quite a pale skin tone so don’t want too light a colour to make me look ill but equally need one to match my skin tone to avoid the two-tone look! Here is my foundation journey so far…

Benefit You Rebel, £19.50

This one is probably great for someone with a slightly darker skin tone and wants more of a tinted moisturiser, or perfect for when you’re on holiday/have just got back. This goes on quite orange as it has been designed for all skin tones and will adapt to the right colour for you, don’t ask me how but that’s what it does! I find that it doesn’t quite work for me, and I tend to have a slight orange mark around my hairline or eyebrows where I can’t rub it in properly, it also doesn’t give the coverage I’m after and isn’t exactly cheap just to try it out. Saying that though, I don’t like covering up my skin in make up when I’ve returned from holiday as I’m hiding the one time I have a tan, but I also don’t want to go into work without my base on and it works really well for this. Benefit has recently launched a ‘Lite’ version; however, this is too pale for me! How ironic.

Secret Beauty Verdict: Test this first, I’m sure it’s an amazing tinted moisturiser if that’s what you are after.

Max Factor Colour Adapt, £11.70

I love this foundation; I found it as it was on offer and, having the fussy skin that I do, thought Colour Adapt would probably be a good choice. There are 14 shades so you can get pretty close to your true skin tone, and then be sure that this will ‘adapt’ to your colouring exactly. The coverage is perfect – completely flawless yet not too heavy, is a lovely creamy consistency and it lasts for ages, I stuck with this one for a long time until I thought I should maybe branch out and try something new…

Secret Beauty Verdict: Relitavely inexpensive and lasts for ages.

MAC Select SPF 15, £18.60

If you want to buy a MAC product then try and go in store if you can. It’s such a nice experience. I initially went in for a concealer (which is great too BTW, Studio Fix if you’re wondering) and then thought I might as well go the whole hog and get the foundation to match. The make-up artists in there are really helpful, don’t try and push anything on you and try out everything they think will work until they find the right shade. Select is a liquid foundation best applied with a sponge or brush (personally I’m not very good at this so I apply with my hands and then blend with a sponge) and comes in 21 shades so you’ll find one that matches perfectly, which mine does. It can be layered without caking meaning that you can get as sheer or heavy a coverage as you want and it feels lovely on the skin, paired with their concealer my skin looks the best it ever has and completely spot/scar free.

Secret Beauty Verdict: Amazing, worth every penny.

Dermalogica Treatment Foundation, £26.70

I am a huge fan of Dermalogica but had never really considered using their foundation until I went in for a facial and asked what the amazing moisturiser was that was put on at the end as it made my skin feel gorgeous. I was then told it was actually their foundation and when I looked in the mirror I couldn’t believe how great my skin looked. I went away with a sample to try at home thinking that it may have actually been the facial rather than the foundation but no, it looked just as amazing when I did it myself. It's comforting to know that you are putting on a foundation that is actually good for your skin as I do worry about blocking my pores and the coverage is perfect. It leaves a nice healthy glow but I like to put a powder on for more of a matt finish. There are 8 shades to choose from so it’s probably worth asking for a tester first before shelling out and it not looking quite right but the one I use is perfect for me.

Secret Beauty Verdict: I feel great when I wear this but I think it could be one you either love or hate, test it first.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Nice Nails!

I find that there is something therapeutic about painting my nails and almost feel a bit ‘naked’ if I’m out and they are bare, but, I HATE it when the varnish is even slightly chipped, especially if there is nothing you can do about it. So, I thought I’d share my opinions on a range of varnishes I’ve tried so you can avoid the ones that chip after a few hours!

My favourite by far is OPI, O.K so the colours aren’t that amazing or funky but it doesn’t chip and lasts such a long time and they are also constantly bringing out new collections so you always have something to choose from. RRP £9.95
Secret Beauty favourite: The aubergine ‘Lincoln Park at Midnight

Nails Inc may have pretty cool shades, but most of my nails have chipped by the end of the day, and I don’t even ‘do’ working with my hands. It is a shame as I love all the colours and they do regularly bring out new collections so I suppose it depends how long you’ll be wearing the varnish for and if you mind the chipped look. RRP £10.50
Secret Beauty favourite: Festival Pier for summery toes and Kabaret for a sophisticated take on the Goth trend.

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour looks great on your dressing table, but unfortunately not so great on your nails. Now, I may be slightly fussy or it could be that nothing quite beats OPI for the ‘chip factor’, but Chanel seems to chip quite easily after a day or two, and when removing a dark colour I find it stays around the sides of my nails for days, no matter what I do! Having said that, the colours are classic, very rich and look extremely glossy, again, not necessarily ‘funky’, but definitely very classy. RRP £13.

Secret Beauty favourite: Rouge Noir for a glossy ‘red wine’ colour.

So, time for nails on more of a budget! Rimmel 60 Seconds Nail Polish is great. It does exactly what it says on the tin and lasts for days. A fab range of shades to choose from and at about £3 a pop, you can afford to play around with the colours.

Secret Beauty Favourite? Shocker, for fun, bright fuchsia nails.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream

Ok, so it’s nearly 80 years old, not exactly a new product but Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream is a classic for a reason.

I have hormonal skin breakouts around my chin, generally they never really go away and when one disappears, another pops up in a different place. I’ve tried EVERYTHING, Clearasil when I was younger, toothpaste, Dermalogica adult acne range and then I thought I’d give this a go to see what all the fuss was about.

I put it on instead of my usual nightly moisturiser, woke up in the morning and couldn’t believe what had happened. My skin had practically cleared up completely, one more night and I had clear skin. This was a few months ago and it’s stayed clear – I honestly can’t remember the last time this happened and I am now only using it once or twice a week or when I can feel breakouts coming on.

It can be used for so many other things and the reason for the name is that in 8 hours it has healed whatever you want it to. I mainly want to shout about the skin clearing ability as this doesn’t really seem to get a mention too often. Don’t be fooled by the term ‘cream’ though as it is more of a balm and VERY greasy feeling and looking, hence putting it on at night. However, you don’t need to use too much and by the time my tube runs out, I think it will have lasted me at least 6 months, so £40 a year for clear skin ain’t that bad is it?

Secret Beauty Verdict: Every girl should have this on her shelf.


Kérastase Vernis Nutri-Sculpt

I’ve never really believed that shine sprays work; they either make my hair look in need of a good wash, or at best, just make it smell nice. So, when it came to using Kérastase Vernis Nutri-Sculpt I already knew that it would do absolutely nothing…how wrong I was!

It could be due to the fact that you spray it onto your finished style and then blow dry over it to seal in the shine, or because at £17.20 RRP it is a luxury product, perhaps showing that you do indeed get what you pay for.
To be honest, I’m not sure that I’d pay the full price for it, but if you do have the money to spare and really want to enhance the shine on your hair, then I’d say go for it. Just a fine misting over my straightened style makes a huge difference, and when I blow dry over it, it’s amazing how gorgeous and healthy it looks - and I’m a highlighted blonde with dull, damaged hair!

Secret Beauty Verdict: Amazing but pricey, it depends where your priorities lie.


Monday, 6 April 2009

Dermalogica MultiVitamin Thermafoliant

Being a recent convert to Dermalogica, and a big believer in exfoliation, I was very excited when the latest addition to the AGE Smart range - MultiVitamin Thermafoliant landed on my desk.
The AGE Smart line up has been designed to address the main signs of ageing by helping to minimise wrinkles, alter pigmentation and reverse loss of skin tone and this wonder product brings an extra dimension to the range. Exfoliating the topical accumulation of dead skin cells not only reveals fresher-looking skin, but also makes the exposed surface more receptive to active ingredients allowing them to work more effectively. Dermalogica MultiVitamin Thermafoliant combines the properties of a physical scrub with a chemical exfoliant to help stimulate cell turnover and accelerate cell renewal rates which are a must when trying to combat the signs of ageing.
The thermal technology in this self-heating polisher activates upon contact with water to aid the absorption of nutrients and active ingredients into the skin and really feels as if it is getting deeper than any other exfoliator I have used before. Although I don’t have particularly sensitive skin, the suggested 1-2 minutes of massage is more than enough, as the physical side of the scrub does feel quite rough, however, once rinsed off the results are amazing.
From the first application of this product, my skin felt softer and smoother than it ever has before, and I really had that ‘deep clean’ feeling afterwards. Although pricey at £35 for a 75ml tube, a little goes a long long way and the effects are well worth every penny.
Secret Beauty Verdict: Baby soft skin in a bottle, you need this in your life!