Thursday, 30 September 2010

Skin, how well do you know and care for YOURS?

The skin on your face to what you present to the world on a daily basis and its the only one you're ever going to have so it make sense to look after it as best you can. You have to get to grips with your correct skin type, use the right skincare products and give your skin due love and attention. 

As one of my favourite skincare experts (Dr Leslie Baumann) says 'if you owned a Porsche, you wouldn't follow the maintenance procedure for a VW Golf.' Meaning, if you had oily skin, it wouldn't make sense to adopt the same skincare routines of someone who had dry skin!

For years, I've been on a mission to uncover my skin type and make sure I'm using the right products. Skin type can change as we mature or go through different things in life, so its important to keep on top of these changes, so your products can be adapted as necessary.

Below are some top tips I follow to make sure I'm keeping my skin in tip top condition.

  • Get up close and personal. By that I mean once a month, get a magnified mirror and look at your skin in front of a bright light. Notice any changes, look at your pore sizes, any dry patches, any lines or deeper lines, sun spots etc. Its good to know what's going on your face so you can tailor your skin care regime.
  • See a dermatologist at least once a year. If you've got any deep seated skin complaints, they would be able to prescribe specific medications and creams, that you can't pick up over a counter.
  • Wear an SPF of between 20 and 30. We may only have a week of summer in the UK, but the harmful rays of the sun can penetrate even on cloudy, wintry days. I have to be honest and admit, when I was younger I purported the idea that because I've got black skin, I can leave off the SPF. Not true, everyone - black, white, pink and blue - needs to wear sunscreen.
  • Follow a good skin care routine of cleansing, toning and moisturising with your skin type products, making sure you use eye cream as well. Your cleanse is most important and forms the basis of a good routine.
  • We don't pamper ourselves enough and always cite cost or being too busy, but visit a facialist at least once a month. Your skin sheds every 28 days and no matter how much you wash and exfoliate at home, it will never compare to the intense clean and work out your face gets from a good facialist. Carline Hirons (a lady who knows a lot about skin) wrote a good piece on facials here. Read it, it will help you make the most of your facials and your skin!
  • And finally....
......Don't believe the hype of expensive products that say things like 'packed with hylauronic acid or will restore collagen to your skin' are not always telling the entire truth. Your skin is actually a protective barrier and will stop of lot of products penetrating in, due to the size of the molecules in them. 

Therefore, to look after your skin well, you have to do it from within. Start by eating lots of fruit and vegetables - they are packed with vitamins and essential nutrients for your skin. 

Drink lots of water, at least eight glasses a day to keep hydrated. 

Exercise, (I know, I hate it too) but it encourages perspiration, which is an excellent way of ridding toxins from the body. 

Take supplements if you have to. I love Functionalab's Hair, Skin and Nails supplements, which has eleven active beauty nutrients. They even have supplements to boost collagen production, which is necessary for plumping up the skin.

Remember, by not knowing your skin type, being receptive to any changes in it and thus not using the right products to care for it, you are essentially damaging it and throwing a lot of money down the drain. Money you may be able to get back, but sometimes, the damage to your skin can be irreversible.  

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Tweezer Talk

Hair Removal Heaven
Did you know that Tweezerman give a lifetime guarantee on their products and offer free sharpening too? I sure didn't and I was quite please to find out.

Don't know about you, but I pretty much lost without my tweezers. Which is what drove me to Boots, I had lost the damn thing!

My eye was drawn to a pretty pink No 17 box of tweezers which had both a slanted tweezer and a pointed one for £12. The little girl in my head was saying 'oh nice, isn't it lovely!' Till I saw the Tweezermans, which at £15 for one pointed implement isn't cheap, but my practical voice was saying 'its excellent craftsmanship, it looks sturdy and with free sharpening and a lifetime guarantee, you're going to have it for a long time!'
Top left hand of image, it says 'free sharpening'

Plus, it won an InStyle Best Beauty Buy 2010! It doesn't get better.

How could I resist? Would you have? What are your fave tweezers and how long have you had them?

Quick Tip - keep a bottle of Barbacide (available from Sally's Salon Services) in the kitchen cupboard. And once a week soak your metal implements- tweezers, scissors, eyelash curlers without rubber bits, nail cutters etc in a solution overnight, to disinfect and keep them clean. If you share implements or have them lolling about in your make up bag, try and soak more often! 

Monday, 27 September 2010

Nail Whitening using Leighton Denny Brilliance Treatment Kit

This is a treatment that I love doing and always provides visible results. I always describe it as teeth whitening, but for nails, hence the name!

After wearing dark colours for a while, I always go through a week or two of this treatment, using the Leighton Denny Brilliance range. It gives amazing results and really returns nails their original pinky colour and makes tips look whiter and brighter.

If you want to follow and give your nails a little detox, instructions below:

  • Start by removing your current polish using the Brilliance polish remover, which has active whitening elements and a whooping seven essential oils including ginger oil, which I absolutely love, to nourish and hydrate nails.
  • Apply a coat of the Brilliance Serum for no more than five minutes to each nail.  Its a gel like polish and it will gently lift any staining or yellowing from your nails. It consists of optical brighteners, hydrogen peroxide to to oxidise and remove stains as well as avocado oil to nourish the nail.
  • Wipe each nail down with a moisten cotton pad. I normally follow with a quick wipe of my OPI NAS spray to make sure my nails are completely free from any moisture or oils.
  • Apply two coats of the Brilliance Shield to strengthen and protect your nails, whilst counteracting any discolourations. It won't be a high shine finish like a top coat as the formula is low gloss, but your nails will still look fresh and brighter. It also contains nettle extract which is a a natural nail strengthener.

I would advise following this routine two or three times a week whilst on the 'detox' as this will achieve the best results. If you have really heavy staining on your nails (naughty, you should be wearing a quality base coat!), you could also give your nails a little buff at the start of the treatment after you have removed your polish. Buffing has the effect of also lifting stains, but please remember to be gentle, so as not to over buff and thin your nails.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Beauty College Chronicles: Week Six

A similar machine to what we use at college
As I vowed to to tell all about college, I have to admit that I had a pretty bleurgh week. College was cancelled on Monday because of the class trip to Olympia Beauty Show. I ducked out of that one as I went on Sunday and I've never been on for pairing up, school outings and all that malarky.

Tuesday morning, I was pretty psyched up but my mid morning my mood has sunk. We were learning a new machine - the multi current facial - which tones and firms skin and muscles. Its the same machine used for Caci facials, but of course ours wasn't an actual Caci, just one that did similar things. The Micro-Current treatment is one of the best age prevention treatments out there as it really tones, tightens, lifts and contours the facial muscles underneath the skin, especially if used over a course of treatments.

The cheek muscle (zygomaticus) being lifted
by double sided wands
The lecturer explained the machine and did a demonstration, which I thought was pretty straightforward, but upon me getting to do the treatment on my partner, by hands were going in all different directions and I just couldn't get the hang of using it. There are five phases to the treatment and I couldn't master all the phases, so I got a bit disheartened. I hate when I can't do things properly or don't feel I get how to do it! Also it didn't help that the diagrams with the movements were confusing as they had so much writing on them. Boo!

Anyway, by the end of the day, I got myself some plain diagrams of the face and drew my own movements on and since then I've been using chopsticks to practice on my boyfriend. This has helped quite a bit, but definitely more practice needed, before any exams!

So not any more to tell just yet. I'll let you know how I get on this week and I have another exam which I hope to ace. Wish me luck! (I'm going to need it)

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Perfume Diaries - a must visit exhibition

When I was a little girl, I remember perfume being as something special and magical. The scent my mum put on when she wanted to make an impression when she was going somewhere nice. She always says, 'this will let people know I've arrived.' She's always worked in the tourism industry and for as long as I can remember, her presents from guests always came in the form of perfume, from places all over the world. I can clearly remember curling on on her dressing room chaise lounge as she got ready for almost daily cocktail parties and watched her dot perfume on her wrists, behind her ears, on the crook of the elbow, on shoulders and on the ankle. To this day, I put perfume in all the same places. 

Clearly mum followed Coco Chanel's thinking, ' is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory of fashion.' 

My romanticised view of spraying perfume!
Therefore when the Perfume Diaries rolled into town via Harrods, I knew I couldn't miss it. Perfume Diaries is a must visit for all lovers of perfume. It is all your favourite fragrances in one room set within their historical context and their reasons for being made. An intoxicating fragrance heaven.

The exhibition tests most sensory organs, eyes, nose and touch especially. With every era the key frangances are available to sniff in scent bottles and there's visual representations as well, like clothing and shoes. You get a hit of the top notes and it stirs your memories. I had a lot of 'ooh mum used to wear that' or 'that  was dad's power meeting smell.'

Talking about bottles, all I can say is bless hoarders and collectors because there were all types of bottles to please the eye. The original Shalimar bottles were fantastic to see, but also the old bottles with stop caps that you'd dab on. Spray bottles now seem so unromantic to me, why did they ever get rid of atomisers or the stop cap bottles? I know they are bygone, but they were so much more luxurious. Seeing bottles designed by Lubin for Napoleon and Queen Victoria was fascinating. The house didn't put its name on it, but instead kept it discreet by only putting in their address.

Notably Chanel No 5 was there in its many forms and its many bottle shapes. It was interesting to see why designers forayed into perfumes. Christian Dior put it that when you open a Dior perfume you see a thousand dresses. The perfume is an extension of the dress and its wondrous how scents plays on our emotions and ability to recall. 

Did you know the Hermes perfume bottle is designed to look like one of its famous scarfs blowing in the wind? What fantastic detail! Ferrangamo designed his perfume bottles after his shoes with stacked heels.  This is really evident in the Attimo perfume bottle. Each designer want your use of the fragrance to be an extension and aspiration to the wearing of their clothes. I loved the visuals of the 1960's, it was all Halston dresses and colourful free love 
outfits. Think Pucci prints too!

'Fragrance is an indispensable complement to a woman's personality, like the finishing touch to a dress.' Christian Dior

Some of the best bits was seeing the original manuscripts and equipment all perfectly preserved. Instructions for mixing or quantities of shipment. Truly fascinating! Sadly (for me) a lot of the documents were in French and in old script, so hard to decipher, given my rusty recall of A Level French. But the original posters were great to see too. You get a feel for the time and era the perfumes were made and the women they were marketed to. You feel transported into the magic and mystic of the fragrance world.

Did you know that eau de toilette stands for water of the morning toilet? Suppose those were the days when cleanliness wasn't all the rage as it is now, so the water was fragranced to give off a pleasant scent.  It was interesting to know that some of the most famous perfumeries like Galimard and Molinard were borne out of the need to mask the smell of softening leather in urine in the town of Grasse in France. Spectacular! Needless to say, Grasse is infamous now in the perfume industry.

To go through every detail on this blog would be a bit much, plus I want to leave you wanting to visit the exhibition. It is a must see, its a unique and engaging journey into the world of perfumery.  The nostalgia hit is high and the excitement of seeing all the world's favourite, ground breaking and most influential smells in one place is too good to miss. 

One for the beauty bookshelf!

If you love beauty products of any kind, you should own this book!

As cosmetic companies go to greater lengths to introduce more science and technology into products, the plethora of ingredient names and their functions can sometimes be mind boggling. Do you know your peptides from your phytosomes? or your ceramides from your ceresins?

See what I mean about confusing words? When is the last time you read the back of a beauty product? You may look at the back of the box to spot now common words like parabens or sulphates, but do you know what all the other ingredients are? Be honest now!

Written by Ruth Winters, its constantly being updated. I think there may even be a 7th edition out, but I'm quite happy with this one at the moment.

You may not read it from cover to cover, but its definitely one to keep in your reference library. Trust me, it will be handy now and in years to come and at a price of approximately £10 on Amazon, its a worthy investment.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Burberry on the lips!

After lusting over Burberry make up on their website for a few weeks, I finally got the chance to go down to their counter and try a few pieces. I was tempted to buy off their very good looking website, but I hate buying blind, so I sat on my hands and hid the bank card till I could see it all in person.

I have to say its an impressive range and their were lots of bits to ooh and aah over. Initially I wanted to purchase a blusher to feed my blush crush, but I actually settled for a lipstick and lip liner instead and I wasn't dissappointed.

First the lip liner, which they call a lip definer. I got it in Bright Plum No 04. It is very pigmented and soft with a slight sheen to it. I think I could actually wear it on its own with a slick of lip balm or lipgloss and it would be fine. Its packed full or nourishing oils, which means it doesn't drag on the lips, even if they are dry. It has great staying power and you need lipstick remover to make it budge. A free sharpener is also thrown in and all for £15.

The lipstick (Lip Cover in Burberry speak) is very luxurious and I got one in the shade, Hibiscus No. 20 which I think suits me to a t. There is a slight shine to it as again its packed with nourishing oils, which means it doesn't dry out the lips and due to the gel technology in it, its very long lasting. I found that on a night out, my colour stayed put and I didn't need to reapply at all. Not that I need it, but it also contains anti ageing ceramides, which provide fuller lip definition.

The packaging is quite swish too. The holder is designed in the trademark Burberry checked print and there is a magnet technology in it to firmly close it. The magnets have to line up before the the lipstick will close, which is quite good as if its rolling around in your bag it won't leave marks everywhere.

I've used it for my FOTD, so I hope you like.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Product Review: Olivina Hand Cream

T'is the season of hand creams and there's nothing I like better than slathering my hands in a good coating as the weather gets colder. I find my hands drink up moisture in cold weather.

I read about this hand cream on BeautyMouth and thought I'd give it a go when my current hand cream finished. I have to say, I haven't been disappointed and its truly lush and smells brilliant too!

I picked it up a few weeks ago in Liberty's for £13.95 and so far its worth every penny. Its a good size for the price and I was sold on the traditional packaging and black screw cap. Just beautiful presentation.

I bought one in lavender and its ultra hydrating and really softens my hands, coating them in a beautifully rich scent. I always make sure I put some on before bed, as the scent is so calming and kind of old worldly. There's different scents as well: fig, honeysuckle rose, olive and meyer lemon, so one to suit all palettes. It absorbs quickly and there's no residue, which is a bonus.

The cream itself contains so many moisturising properties: olive oil, grape seed oil, algae, sea kelp and Shea butter. There's vitamin E as well which helps skin look younger by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Not to mention the soothing chamomile, aloe vera and lavender. For 75mls of cream in a tube, its really packing a punch of complete goodness!

Not tested on animals and paraben free, this hand cream has earned a well deserved place in my hand bag (and heart).

Apart from Liberty's, they can also be purchased at:

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Beauty College Chronicles: Week Five

This post is one huge pat on the back, because nothing much interesting has happened at college apart from exams, more exams and exams. We didn't learn any new machines or techniques, we just did exams! I'm not complaining though as I think its good to have your knowledge and technique tested as it challenges you to achieve more and you can brush up on any areas found lacking.

So I had four exams in the space of two days.  Three practicals and one online exams. They weren't necessarily difficult, but I guess that's because I actually like what I'm doing and really enjoy it. Some of the girls asked for extensions as they didn't yet feel confident.

On Monday, I did my galvanic facial exam, using the desincrustation method. Now this is really good for oily skin as it breaks down sebum on the face, cleans out pores and allows products to penetrate into the skin.  Tuesday was the turn of the faradic facial, which as I mentioned last week, is to tone and firm up facial muscles. No problems with either, no one pinched my products out of my trolley and I passed with flying colours. My lecturer commended my massage techniques, later telling me 'Your massage looked impressive.' Yay me!

Just after I fell asleep on the couch after one of the girls did their practical on me, the lecturer disturbed my peace (lol) by informing me, that I had to do another galvanic facial exam - this time Iontophoresis. That wasn't on the original schedule of exams.  This type of galvanic is excellent for dry skin, it rejuvenates and stimulates the skin to create a more balanced sebum level. Iontophoresis can also be used for other skin types, but I won't bore you with those. Again, I passed, sending my partner into deep slumber, with some snoring. Always a sign of a good facial I say.

Now on to the online exam which was all about health and safety in the salon. Not having studied much due to work and generally feeling very tired the week before, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Happy to say, I passed with 97% (highest score in the class) and only got one question wrong. I am now officially class swot.

So that's it for another week at college. Next week, we'll be moving on to micro-current and lymphatic drainage facials, so more to come!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Polish Parade reaches its final stop

I do like a bit of purple, so for the final day of the polish parade, shades of purple take centre stage.

China Glaze's First Class Ticket - beautiful royal purple with blue glitter (in the right light)
OPI's DS Mystery - blackened purple with gold/greeny glitter
OPI's The Color to Watch - a soft shimmering lavender

Have you enjoyed the Polish Parade? 

Are you partial to a bit of purple?

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Polish Parade marches on.......

Matching the colour of London's sky today, the polish parade takes a grey and steely tone. Perfect wintery colours!

Inglot's 965 from the Grey Collection
Essie's Chinchilly

So what do you think? Are you enjoying the polish parade so far?

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

More Polish Parade

I don't tend to like gold nail polishes of any kind, but I do like this one. Its very festive and I suspect I'll have this on my toes for Christmas day. It's also got glitter and I'm clearly going through a glitter phase.

OPI Swiss Collection - Glitzerland

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Nail Polish Parade continued....

And the nail polish parade moves forward at full steam. Today, OPI's Cuckoo for this Colour, again from the Swiss Collection. This has to be one of my favourite greens. I love the fact its black based with a shimmer as well.

You like?

Monday, 13 September 2010

The Nail Polish Parade

Over the past few weeks, I've managed to stack up so many nail polishes and I've not had a chance to try all of them out. So this week, I've set myself the task to wear all of my favourites in the bunch and parade them here on the blog for all to see! So here goes. You actually get 3 for 1 on Monday, because I'm throwing in Saturday and Sunday's polish, because I'm nice :-)

I'm not going into longevity or anything like that, this is just strictly about showcasing the colour of the polish.
OPI's Yodel me on my Cell from Swiss Collection

Pop Beauty from Pixi Make Up aptly named Xmas!
Inglot's 973 from the Brown Collection

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Beauty College Chronicles: Week Four

I stood at a bus stop for nearly an hour, similar to this. GETTY Images
College was a bit all over the place this week with the tube drivers going on strike. Our timetable was completely sent to pieces as a result. Monday we had to finish early so that we could manage to catch the last trains home and on Tuesday, only half the class came in and of those some were over two hours late. I was thirty minutes late and I have to say a big thank you to make up ledge Kenneth Soh for guiding me on to the right bus via Twitter messages!

Monday was not a good day at all. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I didn't pass my direct high frequency facial exam. I got a big fat NOT COMPETENT across my treatment sheet and I was not a happy bunny. I didn't pass because someone pinched a few products from my trolley AFTER I'd set up and during my treatment when I realised this, I had to ask another student to get me some products.  According to lecturer if it was a real treatment room, I would look unprofessional asking a colleague to get me products half way during a treatment. Point taken, but seeing as it wasn't a real treatment room and the facial itself was perfect, including use of the machine, maybe the fact that I asked for help from another student should have been overlooked. I don't know......

Its very important to pass in class exams, because without it, you're not allowed into the college salon to work on paying clients. Usually it would be a few weeks before you're allowed to do a re-take, but seeing as the timetable was already all over the place, I managed to convince my lecturer to let me do it again on Tuesday and I'm happy to say I passed with flying colours!  Again, thanks for all the congratulations I received via Twitter. I was so pleased with myself, I slipped out at lunchtime and bought myself some nail polish.

Our health and safety exam also got postponed, because not every one was in. I did feel a little put out as I had managed to study for it and wanted to get it out of the way. Oh well, I hope we do it this week, so we don't get exams piling up.

In the afternoon, I practiced my galvanic facials in time for our exam this coming week. I think I should ace those too, so long as I make sure I double check my trolley before I actually start my treatment and no one pinches my products. I'll be keeping my beady eye on everyone!
Exactly like the one we use in college, but there are much posher ones on the market

The lecturer also took some time to demonstrate the faradic facial machine. The faradic is used for tightening the facial muscles to provide more lift and tone to the face. It can also be used all over the body - more of that to come. I didn't get a chance to practice using it, but my partner did on me. It was hilarious! She placed the black block on different parts of my face and I could feel my muscles tensing underneath with each pulse and you could actually see the muscles tense and release underneath the skin as well. Felt and looked like I had a nervous twitch.

I can see the faradic being a treatment I like, because my face felt very lifted afterwards, like a mini face lift.

So that's it for another week at beauty college. Next week, more on the faradic and test results!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Friday Favourites: Hot Cream Wraps

As the weather moves into autumn,  a much loved past time of mine becomes Friday Favourite. I have long practiced the hot cream wrap in colder weather because of its cocoon'y' feeling that leaves you feeling all warm and relaxed after. Also its something I always suggest to my clients who can't keep up with regular pedicures because they are short of feet loving time.

So what is the hot cream wrap? 

Well, its usually for cosy, 'me' time nights in front of the telly. 

What do you need?
Foot cream here is Body Shop's Peppermint Intensive Foot Rescue
  • a rich luxurious foot cream
  • cling film
  • three hand towels
  • warm chocolate fudge cake and a glass of milk (optional)
I usually recommend this after a nice hot bath as well so your all warm and snuggly. 

What to do?
  • snuggle up in your favourite PJ's  
  • lay one hand towel on the floor to place your feet on
  • slather each foot in the foot cream paying good attention to any dry areas
  • wrap each foot in cling film, as this will create heat which will soften the feet, skin and cuticles and allow the cream to penetrate and really moisturise
  • wrap each foot in the remaining hand towels to keep the warmth in.
  • sit back and relax for 30 minutes or more
  • eat cake!
Feet should be wrapped snuggly like so!
When you're ready, remove wraps and feet should be lovely and soft. At this point, you can also use a hoof stick and push back your cuticles for extra perfection. If there is any remaining cream on your feet, massage in and put on some fluffy cotton socks. Voila - there you have it, a hot cream wrap!

PS - really good for wintry dry hands as well!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Inglot's 973 Nail polish Vs Chanel's Khaki Rose

Walking around Inglot the other day, this little bottle of nail polish in the Brown Collection caught my eye. I thought it was very similar to another nail polish I had seen advertised, Chanel's Khaki Rose. The two colours are extremely similar and I'm wondering whether I have a dupe (said very quietly) on my hands?

Khaki Rose by the way is not due for release until mid September.

Both colours look very similar and without having a bottle of Khaki Rose in my hand, the only difference I can say is Inglot's 973 might be just a touch darker.

Both are pretty colours and remind me of a steaming mug of milky hot chocolate. Inglot is priced round about £7, whereas Chanel will be more than twice as much, so it may make a handy alternative.

I tried the polish on and I can say that there were no problems in application. The first coat was a little streaky, but the second coat sorted that out. And it was extremely quick drying, I didn't even have to on put my trusted OPI Rapidry Spray.

What do you think? Do you agree they look similar?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

So Paradoxal? Whats it all about?

So I've jumped on the Paradoxal bandwagon and yes I know I'm a few weeks late, but I just have to put in my two pence worth as well. I don't normally follow hype and this was another impulse purchase for me in Selfridges (I need to stay away from that place, too many impulse purchases!). I saw it, swatched it and thought 'ooh nice, but do I want it?' Knowing that they had sold out of it within hours, I asked the sales assistant if they had any, fully expecting her to say no. That would have been the end of it for me. But she said yes, so without thinking I said 'ok then I'll have it!'

Its been sitting around for a few weeks and it finally came out of the box today and on looking at it again, my heart literally skipped a bit and the five year old in whispered 'its so magical.'  I mean, come on, its a nail polish and I am three times older! I slapped it on quickly, but of course with due respect to make sure I didn't flood my cuticles or side walls. A colour like this HAS to be respected!

And ooh how I love it! I love the purple dredgeyness (yes this is a word, MY word) of it. I love its murky brownish greyish tones, reminding me of a dirty river. I love the shimmer in it, that you can only catch in certain lights. Its like the Chelsea Harbour lights bouncing off the Thames at night. It had me running around the house trying to see how much shimmer I could catch. I can't believe a polish is making me run as I NEVER run, not even if I'm late for work. The risk of falling on my tush is too high, but here I am running up and down stairs for the sake of Paradoxal.

Ahem, back to the polish. Its £16.50 and for me, it was well worth the money and it has made me extremely happy. And for something I wasn't too bothered about, I certainly have fell for it big time! I don't care if it only lasts one day, or chips or peels, applying it is where all the fun is at and even if I only get one day out of it, its one day of me being EXTREMELY happy!

ps: please do not begrudge me the amount of pictures I put on this post. It's just love!

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Make Up Store: A quick visit

Grumpy with tired feet and sore arms from a day of shopping, I made a last stop at The Make Up store in Westfield, not expecting to be wowed in anyway. I had heard of them before but not tried their products and so I wasn't expecting much. Well now I'll eat my words, because I was wowed with a lot of what they had. 

From what I remember the store was well laid out, with eye products and blushers on one side and foundations, powders, lipsticks and pencils on the other. Even though it wasn't the largest of stores, there was enough space for me to manoeuvre, without thinking I was going to knock something down with my bags.

The sales assistant was refreshing. She knew about all the products in the store and seemed to have a genuine interest in make up. You could tell she paid attention during training. She was very helpful and answered all my testing questions, obviously not knowing that I'm a make up artist myself.

I didn't have enough time to delve into all the products, but the ones I tried I really liked and in my eyes it was all on the same price point as MAC (eyeshadows £11, liquid foundation £21). I sense some competition there. So if you're bored of MAC and want to try something else along the same lines and price point, try the Make Up Store. There were a lot of similar products and quite a bit that are especially catered to a working make up artist e.g. Mixing Medium,  skin neutralisers, multi use high shine cream bases, false eyelashes and crystals.

There were lots of cutesy products too, make up bags, tweezers, sharpeners, nail polish, eyelash curlers....the list is endless. The place to be if you like bits and bobs. According to their booklet, they also offer make up courses, which I think would be quite interesting to try out.

I will be making a special visit to the store in the next couple of weeks and taking my time to look through all their products. I really think they are worth it.  I bought a blusher and an eyeshadow that I really liked when I swatched, and a review will soon be coming up on them. 

I cannot finish this post without a mention of their candles. They simply smelt divine and wouldn't look out of place in any bedroom or lounge. So if there's a Make Up Store near you, don't dismiss it, you'll be surprised what you could find in there!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Beauty College Chronicles: Week Three

Only one day at college this week, due to the Monday bank holiday.

I was very excited because I missed the direct high frequency facial practical the week before. Excitement stopped when I realised that I also had a galvanic facial at the end of the day. So two electrical facials in one day. I was not impressed. For one, a facial is recommended every four weeks, so to have two electrical facials in one day, was bordering on slight madness as for as I was concerned. Plus I remember the damage done when I did my Level 2 beauty therapy and had facials every other day for six weeks.

Lucky for me, I pipped first to carry out the facial on my partner and as I set up the machine, it looked very ominous with its different types of glass tubes and mushroom heads. Felt like I was setting up for some kind of electrocution. So partner on couch, I did a regular facial, but cut the massage down by ten minutes, so I could use the rest of the time to apply the direct high frequency.

Boy was I scared...I was going to apply electricity to someones face to cleanse it and the fear of shocking her meant I forgot to breathe.  In the end, I just went for it, I put the mushroom head on her face, turned on the machine and whacked the current up. The electricity shot through the glass tubing in a purple glow and whirred, quite loudly might I add. For a facial it didn't sound relaxing. It was all very Doctor Who'esque'.

Glass Mushroom Heads, Zapper at the top of image
I also had to use the Zapper (yes its called a Zapper) to dehydrate her spots. This helps to dry out the spot and cleanse bacteria from the area. The Zapper is a long thin glass tube that has an electric current flowing through it. Again, it looked like a torture device so I was apprehensive. Very gingerly, I hoovered the Zapper over the spot and the current flowed out and zapped it. Literally. You can actually see the purple spark when the current hits the spot. I could see my partner wincing, so I stopped after two zaps. But I'm glad to say, I didn't once shock her during her treatment. Unlike her, who shocked me and left me sitting bolt upright, saying things I really shouldn't say in a learning environment.

Lunch was a welcome relief and I went for a stroll on Oxford Street to entertain myself (i.e. shop!) and get myself all relaxed and ready for the galvanic facial. Due to the 'shockgate' incident, I arranged to change partners as the galvanic facial doesn't only electrocute if used incorrectly, it can also burn the skin quite deeply, like a cigarette burn.

A Galvanic Machine
For those of you who don't know a galvanic machine in its simplest form, it increases the absorption of products into the skin and generally increases the efficiency of any treatment. There are two versions for oily skin or dry skin to either cleanse or help rehydrate skin and then allow products to penetrate into the inner most layers of the skin. It is used with various gels to either cleanse, calm, rehydrate or firm skin. There are many more types of gel as well, depending on what you want to achieve.

Lucky for me, again I pipped up first, so I performed the galvanic to my partner, thus avoiding it having it done to me. Yippee! Happy to report, nothing extraordinary happen, no shocks or electrocutions. It'll be my turn next week to lay on the couch.

And that was the end of all the fun and games for the day! Next week, more tales from practicals and two exams to talk about!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Friday Favourites: Eye Primer

This week, it was a unanimous vote that a make up item should win Friday Favourites. After thinking long and hard, looking through make up bags, the one product that turned up in every girlies bag in Bella Queen headquarters was EYE PRIMER.

Often overlooked and underused, eye primer is important to every girl worthy of her eyeshadow. It is the glue that holds your eye make up together and keeps it looking fresh and uncreased all day. It neutralises the colour of your eyelids and allows the true colour of your eyeshadow to show through. It can even improve the vibrancy of your eyeshadow colour. 

It is usually presented in a small compact or pot like eyeshadow and is typically of a creamy consistency. The best way to use is to apply directly on the eyelid after eye cream or moisturiser. A small amount goes a long way, so after applying with a small synthetic brush, blend in well before applying eyeshadow on top in your normal fashion.

Our top three eye primers are:

MAC Paint Pots - these come in a variety of colours including neutrals in small clear pots and you can get them in a matt or pearlescent finish.

Urban Decay Primer Potion - a favourite of many that comes in a bottle with a wand applicator. It dries instantly and you can put on your eyeshadow straight away. Beware that its packed full with silicones,which is what creates the silky finish. Available in neutral colours.

Shiseido Hydro-Powder Eyeshadow - these are cream eyeshadows that transform into long wearing powder finishes, therefore ideal to wear in combination with a powder eyeshadow. There aren't really any neautrals in the range, but you can match your eyeshadow colour to them to create an explosion of long lasting colour.

Do you wear eye primer? Are any of our top three in your make up bag? Let us know your favourite!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

A/W 2010: Lipstick Rules!

Statement lips are back! and we at Bella Queen headquarters are VERY happy about that. The beauty counters are screaming with different shades of autumn reds and you'd be hard pushed not to find one you like. For the brave and bold, there are classic bright reds and for you who are just testing the waters, you can try out some deeper reds in plum, raspberry, aubergine or blackcurrant.

A precise lip application is best to make sure you're bang on trend. This means arming yourself with a lip pencil, lip brush and sharpener in addition YOUR signature red.

You can play with texture and tone, but make sure you are neat in application. Use the lip pencil to define your lips and draw on a deep cupid bow. It's hot and it's sexy. You can draw more attention to your lips by dabbing some highlighter on your cupid bow. Next use the lip brush to apply lipstick, blotting in between applications for a long lasting finish.

Matte or gloss finish, it's really up to you!

Quick Tip - make sure your lips are well moisturised before attempting the red lipstick look. Dry, flaked and cracked lips are a no-no!

Some images from &

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

A/W 2010: New Season Eyes

Excitement is building up here at Bella Queen headquarters as we move into the Autumn winter season. The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are changing colours and the kids are about to go back to school for the autumn term! and in the make up world, a new term has also started. So we thought, we take a look at what will be adorning our eyes this season.

Some images from
  • Eyeliner is big this season. Whether your rocking the Kohl pencil or a liquid eyeliner, the key is to make it work for you. Grungy or super sleek, just let YOUR personality shine through. Wings, flicks or straight lines, it up to you.
  • If you know us well, you'll know that we are very brow focused, so its great relief that the fashionistas are appreciating big and bold brows this season. Having said that, make sure they are also tamed and groomed. Fill in gaps with a brow powder palette or pencil and brush through with eyebrow gel to keep them in shape and place.
  • Contoured eyes in a natural palette is going to be huge, so check out Edward Bess or Burberry make up for sophisticated neutrals. This season is not about Christmas lights colours, but sticking to a basic palette of browns - rich and luxury shades like mocha, caramel, latte, toffee. Use these to define eye sockets and define underneath eyes as well.
  • Beauty editors are whispering about a 'no mascara' trend but unfortunately we disagree. If you want to follow the pack, go without (or maybe clear mascara) but for us, we'll still be coating our lashes in at least one coat of black for definition.   
Are you liking any of the make up trends for autumn/winter 2010? We'd love to hear from you.
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