Thursday, 24 June 2010

Formspring Questions: Mascaras

"Hey Goddess of Gorgeousness! I'm looking for a mascara that takes its promises. I mean I don't really trust all the mascara ads about lashes looking like they have extensions. But I still have hope: and her name is SBB! I'd like to know what's the best..."

 Flattery will get you everywhere! I feel that I’m always on a quest to find the best mascaras so here’s my rundown of the best (and a couple to avoid), and remember to always use curlers first - it really does make all the difference…

At the moment my absolute fave is Diorshow Iconic (RRP £21.50), gorgeous consistency, it makes lashes uber long and doesn’t clump, flake or smudge – definitely one I tell everyone to get and I’ve never tried anything better than this - which is probably why I’ve stuck with it for so long!

YSL Everlong Mascara (£21.50) is also fab, pretty much all of the above with the consistency etc, it just doesn’t make lashes quite as long as Diorshow, although I do love the classic packaging for the make-up bag!

On the cheaper end of the scale I find Maybelline New York Volum' Express Turbo Boost Mascara really good and this is the one I use on a daily basis, and use the posher ones for important meetings/evenings out etc. This doesn’t clump at all and really gives lashes a boost, it just has a slightly thinner consistency than the above two and doesn’t last as long but still gives the others a good run for their money.

L'Oreal Paris Telescopic False Lash Effect (RRP £9.99) is another slightly cheaper one that works so so well, I just hate the brush! It’s more of a plastic comb that is so hard to get used to, and to start with I always had to make sure I had an eyelash comb to use afterwards, and I also had a tendency to poke myself in the eye with the brush, BUT once you get used to it (and also perhaps when the tube gets emptier as there is less in there) it is absolutely fab and gives an amazing false lash effect.

These are the best I’ve used and tried which cross all budgets but I’m sure the beauty addicts out there will have tried some that I perhaps haven’t and they really like, but personally these are the best out of the millions I’ve tried!

Hope that helps and feel free to chip in with further suggestions beauty babes!

Friday, 18 June 2010

So simple!

A product recently arrived on my desk for consideration for the magazine which I really didn't think could be as good as it claimed, but I was wrong...I'm very impressed!

The product in question is the Poreclens (RRP £9.99), a cleansing mitt that claims to remove all types of make-up using only water. With a claim like that i just had to try it, completely expecting it to do absolutely nothing...basically, you simply wet the mitt and wipe your make-up off with it - and it works!!

I was wearing my trusted Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation, which has the strongest staying power I have ever experienced, as well as waterproof mascara (which I really didn't think would budge) and everything came off so easily! After you have wiped your make-up off, you use the other side to get rid of any traces, and there was hardly anything there! Absolutely amazing and it works as it is made up of Micro fibre, which is apparently the only material to break the surface tension of oils that bond makeup to the skin. 

It does say that you just use that and then can put moisturiser straight on, but because I breakout so easily, I basically just used it in place of my usual make-up remover and then washed my face as normal.
Secret Beauty Verdict: Absolutely amazing and I really wasn't expecting it to be. I won't use it everyday in place of make-up remover, but definitely on holiday, at the gym or when I get back from a night out a little worse for wear and want to get into bed as quickly as possible!
Available at

Blog review part two…

So, the second product I was sent to review was the Cellu-smooth from The Beauty Works Ltd (RRP £49.99) which claims to “melt away cellulite with the latest treatment to help tackle the stubborn orange peel effect using ultrasound waves to break down the fatty deposits, so no more vigorous pummelling or harsh scrubs!”

What they say: “Cellu-Smooth is a unique and painless ‘Anti-Cellulite’ home treatment system, offering a new effective way of removing cellulite. Previously only available through specialist Beauty Clinics this form of treatment involves the use of ‘Ultra Sound’ waves to mobilise the fatty deposits, improving the skin condition and reducing the ‘orange peel’ effect of cellulite. The Cellu-Smooth will improve the body shape by reducing cellulite, firming and improving the skin condition. The fatty deposits are mobilised allowing them to exit the body naturally via the lymphatic system. When used in conjunction with a good diet and exercise Cellu-Smooth will help speed up treatment and improve body shape and will help give your skin a healthier and smoother appearance with visible results after two weeks of daily use.”

What I say: The claim is pretty accurate. I used this in the couple of weeks before I went on holiday and have been using it since I got back and really love it. Before this I had been using a cream from Comfort Zone which had great results, but is a bit annoying as it heats the leg up, then cools it down and takes a while to sink in and calm down before you can get dressed. What’s great about this is that apart from the gel you apply, there’s no mess or discomfort at all, you just apply the gel to the area you want to target, and rub the machine in circular motions all over for 15 minutes. The one downside to this is that the first few times I did it in the bathroom for 15 minutes on each leg, which is extremely boring and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep it up for the 2 weeks before I went away, but then realised that it’s much better to do it in front of the TV or something! It still is quite a commitment to do this everyday for that long, so may not be the best for some people, but as I mentioned before, any creams you use take about that long before you can get dressed anyway, and only have a temporary effect whereas because of the technology used with this, the results do last and because I put up with it initially, I only need to use it once or twice every two weeks to keep it up!

Secret Beauty Verdict: Initially a bit of a slog, but once you’ve got through the first couple of weeks and only need to top up, it’s well worth it. The price is actually cheaper than most creams on the market too – bargain!

Available at

Blog review part one…

Hi bloggettes, I’ve recently been sent a few bits to try out to review specifically for the blog, and it’s taken me a while to put these reviews up as usually I just review products that come into me via the magazine to test and write those posts whenever I have time so am going to make sure I get these up as soon as I can which is why this is part one! I wanted to be completely honest with you about where these came from, as I’d hate you to think I’d lost my integrity.

So, the first bits I got sent were from Malaysian based skincare company, Cellnique. They asked for my skin type and any concerns I have (can be dehydrated and prone to spots) and then sent me the following products…

Advanced Bio Renewal Masque (RRP $51).

What they say: “This unparalleled scrub masque is formulated with bio-captured fresh fruit enzymes and acids complex. It works effectively in exfoliating dead cells, optimizing cellular renewal performance and deep pore cleansing, thus revealing a softer, fresher and healthier skin.”

What I say: “I really, really loved this masque. It has quite a strong pineapple scent which may not be to everyone’s taste, but the results are amazing – I’ve honestly never tried a product with such incredible, instant results. You use this masque once or twice a week, applying it to dry skin and then after 10 minutes, massaging it into the skin for a few minutes with wet hands which turns it into more of a facial scrub, before washing it off. It may not be great for sensitive skins as initially when you apply it, it does sting slightly, but then this sensation goes away very quickly, and is also supposed to happen! After the very first use my skin felt softer than it ever had afterwards (which is where the stinging comes in I guess as it is a mild, home version of the chemical peel), and the couple of red spots I had on my chin had calmed down, and then almost disappeared the next day! I hadn’t heard of the company before so was slightly sceptical, but I’m so glad I was sent this product and would definitely buy it once mine runs out.

Secret Beauty Verdict: Unless you have sensitive skin, this is really worth trying to get rid of spots, dead skin cells and help with cell renewal.

Intensive Hydrating Complex (RRP $61).

What they say: “A lightweight formulation with high concentration of Hyaluronic Acid and Essential Amino Acids. Helps bind moisture to restore elasticity of the skin. It thereby minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and helps deliver an instant supple and smooth skin.”

What I say: When I first tried this out a couple of times, I wasn’t that impressed to be honest, but then I literally just tried it when I remembered to – so what did I expect? I then started using it properly as part of a skin regime and I have to say I was really impressed. I applied this feather-light serum after cleansing, but before facial oil (which is before moisturiser) and my skin has felt great since. I’m not sure how different this is to other serums out there, but it has definitely helped to hydrate it (more so than before I used it), and when it goes on it does tighten the skin instantly, which automatically feels like it’s plumping any lines! Another good thing with this is that you can use it around the eye area which you generally can’t do with serums, and the tightening effect around there is lovely.

Secret Beauty Verdict: Really nice serum which does work well, although I’m not sure how different it is to similar (perhaps cheaper) products out there.

Cellnique also have offered Secret Beauty Blogger readers a sample of their Skin Action Sebum Gel (3ml) to the first 50 readers that email their full name and shipping address to with the subject The T&Cs for this offer are as follows: Valid 1 week after this product review has been posted (so send before the 25th June) and the sample delivery will be within 4 – 6 weeks.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Quench thirsty skin

It’s been a long time coming but I’m finally answering Dana’s question...!

“I have really sensitive skin, quite dehydrated in winter with red and dry spots around my nose and mouth. Is there a moisturizer out there you would recommend? Maybe the specific line of products? I've already tried Vichy and Avene but wasn't impressed with the result...”

I find Dermalogica products great for this type of thing and it may be worth going in to get a free ‘skin mapping’ consultation which will really look at your skin with their recommended products but they’re not pushy and will happily send you away with samples. Something I’d really recommend of theirs is the Skin Hydrating Booster (RRP £47) on the driest areas...

...followed by Skin Smoothing Cream (RRP £40). 

I know this seems quite expensive but I find the products really do work and last for such a long time.

If you’re looking for natural products (which would also be really good for your skin if it is sensitive) then look out for anything with rose in it as this is great for dry skin. A night cream would also work well and I’ve mentioned Weleda's Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream (RRP £9.50) before but this is such an excellent product, and I’m pretty sure their day cream would be fab too. Weleda products are also much cheaper than other products mentioned in this post and definitely work well.

A couple of other rose-based products that work wonders are Aromatherapy Associates Renew Rose Hydrating Mask (RRP £28.50) which is a lovely gel mask that can either be used as a treatment a couple of times a week, or applied before bed and left on to really hydrate overnight.

Their Renew Rose and Sandalwood Facial Oil (RRP £34) deserves its own review as it has completely changed my skin. I’m using a couple of drops both morning and evening after a hydrating serum and before moisturiser and it’s even gotten rid of my spots! It is absolutely amazing and if there is one product out of everything I’ve mentioned then I’d say it should be this! 

 I realise this is quite a big list and you may want to stick with one range, so if you do then I’d say Weleda is excellent and is also really reasonably priced, although I’d still say get the Aromatherapy Associates Oil if you can, and if you’re happy to spend a bit more money (which if you can then is really worth it) then go for the whole Aromatherapy Associates Rose range. Do pop into a Dermalogica place for a free skin mapping anyway just to see what your skin is doing!

Hopefully that helps and obviously this is just my preference, but I can’t see how these products couldn’t work on everyone else’s skin with amazing results!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Chanel for less

This is just a quick post in a similar vein to my previous one about Chanel’s colour of the moment ‘Particulière’, as their latest must-have, sold-out-everywhere shade is 'Nouvelle Vague', a gorgeous, turquoise, summery shade. Unfortunately for my bank balance, I’m not sensible enough to feel that £16.50 is a bit much to spend on nail varnish, but thankfully this limited edition is sold out everywhere, so I had to look elsewhere – and I’m so glad that I did!

‘For Audrey’ from China Glaze (RRP around £6.50) is named as such because it is based on Tiffany’s signature colour (the link there if you can’t work it out is Audrey Hepburn – Breakfast at Tiffany’s) and the colour is almost identical! The only difference, and I do prefer the Chanel for this reason, is that For Audrey doesn’t have the same subtle metallic shimmer to it as Nouvelle Vague does, but the colour is pretty much identical and the quality of the lacquer is lovely to apply.

Secret Beauty verdict: Almost identical colour and for a fraction of the price, although the shimmer of Chanel’s does win slightly!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Making a splash...

I don't normally do this but I just recevied this press release so I thought I'd shre it with you...not sure I've got the stomach to handle this therapy - what do you guys think??

"The ultimate pedicure has arrived in time for summer with London’s first ever fish therapy concept spa, Aqua Sheko, opening it doors in Kensington, on Monday 7th June. A popular beauty treatment in Asia, fish therapy is a relaxing way to remove dead skin from your feet as tiny fish gently suck and nibble away the dead skin, leaving your feet smooth and revitalised.

Founder of Aqua Sheko, Karen Ho, is very excited to bring fish therapy to London and believes it is important for everyone to look after their feet. “Winter can be very punishing on our feet. It is easy to forget about your feet when you are hiding them away in boots but it’s essential that we look after them. Fish therapy is an enjoyable and relaxing way to remove a build up of dead skin and maintain smooth, good looking feet all year round.”

Fish therapy is a unique beauty therapy treatment that uses Garra Rufa fish, a form of carp, to gently remove dead skin. The fish have no teeth and use a sucking motion to painlessly lift away dead skin without damaging the new health cells underneath, leaving you with a pleasant tingling sensation similar to a light massage.

While fish therapy might be new to London, these miniature pedicurists have been perfecting the feet of bathers for centuries. Found naturally in hot springs near Kangal, Turkey, it is believed that Garra Rufa fish secrete an enzyme - diathanol - that improves skin regeneration. Fish therapy has been used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and is suitable for anyone suffering from dry skin.

Upon arriving at Aqua Sheko you’ll feel as if you stepped into an exotic paradise with its sleek and dark oriental inspired décor creating a restful, tranquil retreat where you can escape the chaos of city life. It’s the perfect place to go with friends or a mini pamper session in your lunch break, as you do not have to remove any clothing to enjoy the benefits of fish therapy.

One 45 minute treatment is £35 and includes:
• Washing/cleaning of feet prior to treatment
• Thirty minutes of fish therapy
• Relaxing massage after treatment

Once you have taken the plunge into fishy water you’ll be a definite convert. Luckily Aqua Sheko offers one free fish therapy session, after the first three sessions booked so you can keep your feet perfectly polished all the time.

Aqua Sheko has eight state-of-the-art pools, allowing one client per pool, which are filtered and fed by a constant oxygen supply to ensure clean water and a healthy environment for the fish. In addition, the pools are sterilized using ultra-violet lights.

Ms Ho was inspired to bring fish therapy to London after receiving the treatment herself whilst on holiday in Macau. “Fish therapy was so effective it was like a mask had been removed from my feet, the results were instant.”

Aqua Sheko is located at 14 Holland Street, High Street Kensington, London W8 4LT. To indulge your feet in a fish therapy session and prepare them for sexy summer sandals email Fancy a nibble?"

That's one reason why I have a slight fear of going in the sea - i don't want to be bitten by anything! But actively letting this happen? Not sure I could do it!!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Formspring question: natural make-up

 "When I put makeup on it doesn't look natural How can I make it look natural?"

First thing would be that if you wear foundation, it may be worth getting a slightly more expensive one from a beauty counter so you can get the perfect shade for you - Clarins have a great range which look really natural and match to your skin tone exactly. Apply all over as if it is a moisturiser, including almost down to the top of your chest, then blend around hairline, nose, and eyebrows and underneath the chin with a sponge. Then if you need concealer, ask for the recommendations when you buy your foundation, as this will match perfectly. It may seem a lot of money when you pay out for these instead of buying a cheaper brand, but it really makes so much difference and then you don’t need to shell out on anything else once the base is right!  These usually last so much longer as are more concentrated, so in the long run of things you may not be spending too much more.

The next key thing to do is when using blusher or bronzer is to almost put on too little an amount and layer depending how dark you want to go, and always blow the brush before you apply. I find Benefit Dallas is a really natural bronzer as it’s not too dark, and Miners have just brought out a great bronzer/blusher and bronzer/highlighter duo which are really natural too. Use a big brush to sweep in the hollow of the cheek and up to the temple, then using a smaller blusher brush, apply a natural blusher very lightly on the apples of your cheeks – check out my blog here for tips on this.

For eyes, line the inside with a white pencil liner for a summery look, or black for a more defined look. If you prefer to have definition on the lash line, then using an eyeliner brush (I love MAC’s 209 Eye Liner Brush) use whichever shadow colour you like, although I tend to line the lashes for more of an evening or made up look. If you want to wear eyeshadow, then go with a nude colour for a natural look. I always use black mascara but if you want it to be slightly more toned down, then go for brown. A slick of lip-gloss or balm and you’re ready to go!

I hope that that helps, it’s really all in the application and go along the less is more route – as well always apply in natural light!