I’m of the firm opinion that for the money, French pharmacy brands offer some of the best solutions for diffcult skin-types. Escentual.com have long been my online destination for French pharma-brands, the beauty retailer offers shoppers worldwide a range of continental treats that can be difficult to source on the high street.

I’m happy to share the news that from today until the end of March, the online store are once again running their popular French Pharmacy promotion. “What’s this?” I hear you ask… it’s simple, let me break it down for you…

For the next 31-days customers can enjoy a full 1/3 off the price of Vichy, La Roche Posay and Nuxe; 25% off Avene, A-Derma, Klorane, Rene Furterer, and Pierre Fabre Dexeryl; and 10% off Caudalie.

As if that isn’t exciting enough… in celebration of this, I’ve teamed up with the guys at Escentual to offer five lucky Lipglossiping.com readers the chance to win a set of my personal top French Pharmacy picks.

French Pharmacy Skincare

These are the products that I return to time and time again… and from my extensive list of favourites, I’ve narrowed it down to a selection that should suit most skintypes:

A-Derma Epitheliale A.H Repairing Cream is a skin miracle for those of us with combination/make your mind up skin-types. It delivers comfort to my most irritated patches without saturating my t-zone.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar AI is a product that I’ve written about many times before. Got a spot? Zap it with this and watch the “anger” disappear overnight.

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP delivers rich moisture to dry skin. Use allover the body to calm and nourish irritated skin.

Avène Thermal Spring Water Spray remains one of my Summer staples. Cooling, refreshing, and the perfect skin pick-me-up.

Klorane Soothing Makeup Remover Gel can be used with or without water. The cooling gel formula is enriched with soothing cornflower water that never leaves my skin feeling tight yet makes light work of stubborn mascaras

Want to win the above products?

Leave a comment telling me whether you’ve tried anything from a French pharmacy brand and if so, what’s been your favourite?

T&C

1. Start date for this competition is 1st March 2013 at 00.01 GMT
2. Closing date for this competition is 8th March 2013 at 23.59 GMT
3. There are five prizes to be won, a set of five French pharmacy products as listed above. No cash alternative.
4. Lipglossiping.com is the sole promoter of this competition.
5. Only one entry per IP address will be accepted.
6. Personal details will only be used in the context of this competition to inform the winner(s) of their prize status.
7. Five winners will be selected at random from all entries received.
8. Winners will be notified within 7 working days and will be expected to reply to an email sent to the address used to enter your comment within 5 working days or risk forfeiting the prize.


That beautiful moment when makeup does what it’s supposed to…

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 27 - 2013

We wear makeup for many different reasons. Some of us like to experiment with colour, some of us like to improve upon our natural beauty *cough*, and some of us enjoy piling on everything we own just because we can.

At the moment, I’m somewhere between number two and a facefull of slap. Whenever I’m sick (is she still going on about that?), my skin is the first place it shows and the last place it recovers. Flaky, blotchy, purple under the eyes, and spots a-plenty are the order of the day. Which is exactly what one needs when you already feel like shit, of course.

Whilst I’d love to tweak my skincare routine to improve my natural radiance and rebalance my complexion from the inside out… I’d also like to be able to sprout a pair of wings and crap on the EDL headquarters from a great height. Sadly, neither are happening any time soon, and so instead, I turn to my makeup routine for the answers and pray that it won’t fail me.

a skin transformation_01

This isn’t a tutorial as such, I’m no bleedin’ make up artist after all… but I thought I’d go into some real depth about the products that I’m using to work, what is basically, a skin miracle at the moment.

a skin transformation_02

First things first, skin prep. If your skin is suffering, you can’t ignore this step in the routine. It’s imperative that you give your makeup the best possible base upon which to sit. It may be that you’re fighting an oil-slick or something akin to moon craters, or perhaps like me… you’re battling dryness of epic proportions. Take an extra five-minutes to target these concerns before you even go near your face with foundation, the finished result will be worth the effort.

a skin transformation_03

Starting with a cleansed, exfoliated, and moisturised face… I deal with the dryness that has been causing my foundation to cling in patches. Upon Caroline‘s advice, I’m treating my skin to a moisture sandwich of oil and cream, first with an Elemis Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss (£62.00) capsule which delivers an antioxidant-rich hydration boost in the form of moringa oil, followed immediately by a generous layer of La Roche Posay’s Nutritic Intense Riche* (£14.00)

And then I wait. A couple of minutes later, I can tell where I need additional hydration, so I work a little more of the LRP into the skin, avoiding the areas that are prone to midday oiliness. That done, I move onto the one product that generally replaces “primer” for me during the colder months.

a skin transformation_04

Maqpro Makeup Mixer (from £8.00) is a makeup artist’s trick taught to me by the wonderful Kenneth Soh who recommended it to me a couple of years ago as a great base for mineral products on drier skins. It’s a tip that continues to save me whenever my skin is behaving badly. Not only is it a wonderful mixer for sheering out heavier foundations, it also does wonders for improving how a product applies over, and sits ontop of dry skin without compromising the moisture levels underneath.

At this point, I use a brush to apply the Maqpro but I don’t work it fully into the skin, preferring instead to dot the product allover with the brush and only lightly blend. This way, it combines easily and increases the glide of the next layer of product.

a skin transformation_05

a skin transformation_06

Before even contemplating foundation, I still want to improve the radiance levels of my skin. A lot of the time, I reach for a liquid illumintor that I can apply allover and then “tone down” with foundation. I’ve been trying something a little different recently in the form of this rather splendid Lyster Cream Bronzer* (£36.00) from Swedish brand Manasi Makeup.

The pot contains far more product (55g) than I could ever see myself using and as such, I do wish they offered a smaller-size for less money but I can’t deny that the product itself is beautiful. Free from mineral oils and parabens, it delivers something inbetween a bronzer and a luminizer that works very nicely against my pale skintone. If you’re blessed with naturally great skin, I could see something like this being your one-pot wonder for sunkissed, healthy-looking skin without fear of looking orange or overdone.

I tap my brush lightly on the top (you don’t need much) and work the bronzer all over my skin using a circular motion, it blends nicely… but even more beautifully with my layer of Maqpro beneath it.

a skin transformation_07

Finally, it’s time for foundation! At the moment, I’m alternating between my Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in shade 4.5 (£34.50) and my beloved tube of Clinique Supermoisture Makeup* (£19.35) which is a better option for when I don’t have the time to do this kind of skin prep. If I am using the Clinique, I skip the Maqpro in this next step as it’s an exceptionally moisture-rich foundation on its own merit.

When I’m using anything other than the Clinique, I reach again for the Maqpro (as shown below). One blob of each and using the same face brush as I’ve been using all along, I give the products a little mix on the back of my hand before working into my skin lightly.

a skin transformation_08

I never apply foundation heavily or in more than one layer when my skin is playing up because it doesn’t matter how much preparation or effort I put into the application, after a few hours… my foundation will clump over the dehydrated patches if it’s too heavy. Which is why, I always reach for concealer as the last step despite usually being a bit of a concealer-phobe when my skin is less fussy.

a skin transformation_09

Bare Minerals SPF 20 Correcting Concealer* (£21.00) is the perfect choice for dry skin-types thanks to a light texture and a lot of slip. It’s very creamy and offers a good amount of coverage, making it a great choice when your aim is to keep your layers as thin as possible. The final step is a little precision highlighting with something like the iconic YSL Touche Eclat (£25.00).

Now, that’s quite a lot of product but use my “how-to” as a guide rather than a manual. The principles are simple and you’ll already have certain products in your collection that you know you can substitute…

1. Make a real effort to get your skin in the best condition possible before you go near it with colour.
2. Work in thin, lightweight layers.
3. Add additional moisture or “slip” as you go.
4. Now isn’t the time for powder, keep things creamy.
5. If you’re nervous about being too heavy-handed with illuminator or bronzer, apply it before your foundation.
6. Leave concealer until the last possible moment, you’ll end up using less product as a result.

How’s your skin behaving at the moment and what trickery are you employing to get the best from your complexion?

* press sample

Alessandro International, new to the UK…

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 19 - 2013

Alessandro International are not a new brand, infact the German company have been around since 1989 but it’s only now, in 2013, that they’ll finally enjoy a UK launch at Professional Beauty next week.  Focusing on the professional market, the nail, hand and foot care brand are renowned for their unique Colour Code philosophy which ensures that all 99 of their shades are available across the three systems that they offer:

NAIL POLISH – For all those who love classics and make new decisions every day: non-permanent Durability up to 1 week.

LAC SENSATION - For all those who wish for long-lasting colour joy: Semi-permanent durability up to 3 weeks.

COLOUR GEL - For all those who want to be faithful to their favourite colour in the long term: Permanent durability up to 6 weeks.

I have two shades* from the range to show you…

Alessandro International, new to the UK...

Alessandro International, new to the UK...

Toffee Nut is a creamy, mid-toned nude with a well-pigmented formula that feels a little thick but spreads quickly and smoothly across the nail. The colour isn’t quite to my taste but it gives a clean, conservative look.

Berry Red is more my cup of tea, with its blue flashes and delicate shimmer.

Both polishes offer great coverage in only two coats but benefit greatly from the addition of a top coat. My nails are also suffering from a little damage right now and if you suffer from ridged nails, these will require a base coat before they’ll disguise any such thing. Drying time was very impressive, each coat was touch dry within 5 minutes.

If you want to find out more about the Alessandro International, head to stand I22 at Professional Beauty London, taking place at ExCel on 24-25 February 2013

* press sample

Whether or not you celebrate Valentine’s day, it’s an event that’s pretty much unmissable in terms of marketing and hype.  A walk down the high street from mid-January is all you need to be reminded of how much of a little shit Cupid actually is.  He’s not the most endearing figure from Roman mythology is he?  I mean… for one thing, what’s with the nappies?  Does falling in love make you incontinent?  I know it certainly makes some people sprout a load of crap… but that’s from their mouths.

When I was little, my Dad would send me a Valentine’s card each year… but I became pretty high-maintenance about the effort he had to put into deceiving me that my card had actually come from a secret admirer.  It’s no surprise he stopped sending me them when I reached my tween years and discovered that my solitary valentine’s card had been postmarked from his workplace for the last few years.  Having your card sent from a category B men’s lifer prison is enough to make you not want to take it into school to show your friends.

As for now, we don’t really do Valentine’s day.  That is to say… I tell my husband that I think it’s a load of old crap because he does lovely things for me throughout the year.  Then my husband doesn’t do anything for Valentine’s day and I don’t talk to him for the rest of February because he didn’t buy me anything.  It works for us.

Here are some bits and bobs that have been catching my eye in the run up to V-day.  I suggest printing them off and drawing a massive red circle around anything you want (preferably in your partner’s blood) before leaving it taped to the front door (both sides).  Taking such precaution may ensure that you at least end up with some flowers from the local Esso garage.

valentines-for-every-budget-and-taste

01: Ladyshape Intimate Shaping Tool, for err… shaping your “lady”.  The only reason I’d do this would be to see the look of confused WTFery from my husband.  We’ve been together for 12 years, he would not be expecting this.  He would point, I would laugh, we’d all have a nice cup of tea and I’d spend the next seven days scratching. (£12.99, stressnomore.co.uk)

02: Avon Perfect Kiss Lipstick*.  Currently on sale, this well-received range of full-cover lipsticks from Avon offers the full rainbow of Valentine’s appropriate lip shades.  From Berry Smooch to Lovey Dovey Pink, Naughty Nude to Red Embrace, even the shade names are getting in on the act!  (£4.99, avonshop.co.uk)

03: Be Mine Lip Balm Trio.  You don’t usually get much change from a fiver nowadays when picking up gifts but this little trio of lip-smoothing balms should get your pout ready for some kissing action.  (£3.00, asda.com)

04: Saving those pennies from my last selection will ensure that you have plenty left to pick up the ultimate Valentine’s gift.  You can’t beat the iconic Swizzel’s-Matlow Giant Love Hearts when it comes to romancing your beau… apart from maybe a sunrise jaunt in a hot air balloon over Paris, complete with Krug Grand Cuvée but who’s got time for that?!  Seriously though, nothing leaves behind a sweeter taste than saying I Love You with 30g of sugar per roll.  Yum.  (£0.35, everywhere!)

05: Fluttering lashes go hand-in-hand with hearts that are all of a flutter no?  What greater excuse do you need to customise your next purchase of YSL’s best-selling False Lash Effect mascara with a Swarovski crystal heart.  Still not convinced you need this extra sparkle in your life?  How about when I tell you that you can get this bespoke addition for no extra cost… available from February.  (£23.50, selected YSL counters at Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Fenwicks, Brown Thomas and Fraser’s)

06: Ahh la rose.  The quintessential flower of love.  The problem with a dozen roses is that it’s not long before the flower’s fresh scent changes from ravishing to rancid once the petals begin to droop.  Prolong the good-feeling with this beautiful limited edition candle from Diptyque.  The Rose Duet, so-called because of its marriage of two wonderful fragrances in one candle (Rose and Baies) will ensure that the scent continues to linger perhaps even longer than the relationship (harsh!) (£42.00, instore and online at diptyqueparis.co.uk)

07: Looking a lot like a pencil tips/gold-dipped Madonna boob hybrids, these From Dusk Til Dawn massage bars* from LUSH offer a convenient excuse for a foot rub.  Or a back rub.  Or a bum rub.  Whatever floats your boat.  They smell delicious in a just-stepped-out-of-the-orange-grove kind of way and leave behind a subtle sheen on the skin.  They melt beautifully and I don’t mind admitting that I prefer to use these solo while I’m still warm from the shower, as Charlie from LadyoftheLane advised me, they’re brilliant for dry shins! (£4.95, lush.co.uk)

08: M&S have released a few makeup cuties just in time for Valentine’s Day.  The Limited Collection Multi Blush* features a variety of pink-hued blush hearts compressed into a single pan to deliver a rose-tinted flush to cheeks.  Sparkle, flush and glow get it (ho ho ho) from your nearest store.  (£6.00, marksandspencer.com)

 

Will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day?  And how much of a diva-strop do you throw if you get nowt?

* press sample

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas!

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 28 - 2012

We live in a 2-bed flat… on the second floor, there’ll be no log fires ablaze this Winter and the only smoky smells will be drifting out of the toaster when I burn my muffins in the morning (not a euphemism).  But I’m cool with that, I hate roasted chestnuts and to be fair, wood-smoke plays havoc with my sinuses… still, it’s not very Christmassy is it?

To make up for this lack of festivity, I plumped for a new Winter candle this weekend: Diptyque’s Feu de Bois.  I was introduced to it just last week – massively behind the times of course – at an event I attended.  It’s not so much that it’s a great rendition of a roaring log fire, but that it reminds me completely and utterly of my parent’s house in La Vendee… a place I have a huge love/hate relationship with.  The house was a wreck in 1987 when my parent’s bought it and I had to spend every school holiday sitting in the ruins of this 500-yr old farmhouse while my friends holidayed on the beaches of Benidorm.  I know, first world problems and all that and I probably got off lightly, really… but still… it kinda sucked for a 12yr old to spend all. bloody. summer. so far away from real civilisation.

Some days, I only had the scare-o-pods to keep me company (don’t click that link, I mean it).

Winter Candle

So anyway, Feu de Bois in all it’s unashamed smokiness (are you over that link yet?) has the most incredible, guttural quality of a good rip-roaring fire.  Not the sedate kind that posh people have in their petite chimineas… we’re talking full-blown inglenook with a pyromaniac 15yr-old (me) chucking on the spitting horse-chestnut logs while everyone else in the room kippers.  Delicious.  And when I’ve got the pennies, I’m going back in for the biggest size they do.  Although, having said that… Baies also made me go a little weak at the knees when I sniffed it… Houston bank manager, we have a problem.

Whilst I’m on the subject of Diptyque, a quick mention for their Christmas “Holiday Collection” which features a beautifully ornate trio of Arabian Nights-inspired candles that capture the festive spirit wonderfully.  I lucked out on the goody bag and took home a mini-version of the one that appealed to me the most on the evening: Sapin Doré – an artful representation of, what is basically, a freshly dug Christmas tree (without the foisty decorations).  It’s so beautifully green, with warming resinous qualities that neither detract from nor soften the freshness – usually, I’d actually want them to, but in the case of Sapin Doré, it needs that prickling camphor to bolster the absolute authenticity that I take from this scent.

Winter Candle

The Holiday Collection, from left to right: Oliban, Amber Oud, Sapin Doré (priced from £25.00, available online)

The other candle that I’ve been burning like a heretic on a stake (and the award for most tasteless simile goes to…) is an outstanding creation from one of my favourite niche brands: Ancienne Ambiance.  Their Phoenicia (cedar) candle bears all the hallmarks of a scented masterpiece.  Funnily enough, my favourite tree (everyone has a favourite tree right?) is the candle’s inspiration, the Cedar of Lebanon, with it’s sprawling umbrella-like branches that used to protect me from the rain as I waited at the school gates for my friends to arrive.  If you don’t know it by name, google it… you’ll be like “ohhhh thoooose trees, yeah – they’re cool!”

Winter Candle

Anyway, back to the candle… Phoenicia is a more aromatic take on the woody genre, less pine and more resin… the kind that you inhale deeply in an attempt to warm your soul as well as your nostrils.  Tempering the richness is a light herbal quality that injects a medicinal characteristic in the manner of an old apothecary.  Phoenicia is the ultimate “I’m warm and cosy in here… while outside, it’s shit” scent and whenever I light it, I come to the conclusion that Winter is no bad thing afterall.  Priced at £36, there’s also a rather striking Limited Edition black glass version currently available for a little more.

p.s. – incase you’re curious – the full lineup of wintery candles on display in the above images are: Ancienne Ambiance Romana, OCCO Raiya No6, Diptyque Feu de Bois, Ancienne Ambiance Phoenicia*, Annick Goutal La Rose, Diptyque Sapin Doré*

* press sample

Aveda Passion Flower Collection: Rare Orchid Smoothing Lip Colour

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 1 - 2012

Aveda have launched the Passion Flower Collection, a limited-edition, petal-inspired makeup collection comprising: three nourish-mint smoothing lip colours, three nourish-mint rehydrating lip glazes, two nourish-mint lip liners, and six petal essence single eye colours.

The shades pack a greater punch than you would expect from the botanically-based formulas, and ultimately deliver a pleasant surprise when it comes to the end result.

I’ve been wearing one of the three nourish-mint smoothing lip colours which promises to smooth the appearance of fine lines and increase moisture.  Sounds good to me…

In the bullet, Rare Orchid is a dark, blackened plum/cherry shade, I’d class it as equidistant between red and plum… but in the swatch and on my unpigmented lips, the plum is far more apparent, with more than just a nod to some violet-infusion which delivers a seasonal, vampy look.

The texture is not quite balmy but definitely softer than the average lipstick, pigmentation is buildable and I went all out for the swatch photo, you won’t build more colour than this – but I doubt you’d need to.

The packaging… is not to my tastes.  I don’t care if it’s environmentally-friendly… well, I do – but c’mon, does it have to be so bloody ugly?  The shades and pigmentation blow my preconceptions out of the water so it’s a shame that the packaging didn’t do the same.  I know it’s not a biggie, but it’s something that detracts from the overall look and feel of the product, for me.

Another thing that I’m sure many won’t be keen on is the taste and scent of the lipstick.  In a word, mint.  It’s a little tingly upon application – there goes those fine lines it promises to smooth – and the taste does linger on your lips for a while.  I actually really like it, but I think opinion would be quite divided and it’s definitely something you need to be aware of before walking away from your nearest Aveda salon clutching it in your hot little hands.

The Passion Flower Collection is available in Aveda salons, spas, stores and on www.aveda.co.uk now, the Rare Orchid Smoothing Lip Colour is priced at £12.50

* press sample

Red Lip Series: Dita Von Teese for Artdeco #615 Muse Red

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 19 - 2012

If there’s one face in the over-populated world of celebdom who should know a thing or two about perfecting a great red lip, it’s Ms. Dita von Teese.  The American burlesque dancer, model and actress has made the red lip look her calling card over the years, always immaculate and always on the pin-up side of glam.  Who else would you trust with a fabulous retro red lip?

Well, that’s obviously what German cosmetics brand Artdeco thought to themselves when they collaborated with the dancer to create the Dita von Teese Classics Art Deco collection.  Of course, my little heart went all a-pitter-patter at the thought of the potential red lipsticks… and I have one to show you today…

This is #615, the Dita Von Teese Art Couture Lipstick in Muse Red.

I have to say, that if I have one major disappointment about this line… it’s the packaging.  There’s nothing wrong with it but it just feels a little like a missed opportunity to play up to Dita’s vintage styling, I know that when all is said and done, I’d be moaning far more if the contents of the packaging didn’t align themselves in a Dita-esque manner… but, I fancied a nit-pick.  Think Besame with a modern-twist… now that would have been something no?

But as things stand, the packaging is simple, elegant and understated – the only real nod to the co-collaborator comes in the form of a signature and a cameo-esque etching, it’s cute enough.

You can see from this photo (hopefully) that #415, 1 of 6 dita-inspired lipsticks, is a warm-toned orange red… not my most favourite reds to wear simply because of my uber-cool toned colouring but to my mind, the most authentically retro-looking of the lot.  The lipliner that you see peeking in the background is also part of the collection and is a much cooler-toned red (#10 Dame) – it works “ok” with the lipstick but it isn’t a perfect match and if you were looking to buy the two together, I’d say look elsewhere for a warm-toned lip liner.

Moans aside, the formula of the lipstick is a delight.  It’s firm enough to give you enough confidence that you’re not going to end up with colour transfer over your teeth (and I didn’t, at all – despite my BIG front teeth which always get in the way), but soft enough to apply without dragging too reluctantly over your lips.  It strikes a really good balance for a bold lip colour, and formula really is all important when you’re braving a lip colour with such potential to show you up or let you down.

The lip swatches show the colour with lip-liner underneath to help create sharp-edged definition but in all honesty, I think that this lipstick is “man” enough (last of the great feminists me!) to hold a decent edge by itself.  Obviously, for optimum definition it’s always best to line the contours first but most of the time, if I am using a lip-liner, I actually do it to extend the edge of my lips just at the outer corners where 10 years of smoking contributed to a loss of fullness – maybe I’ll take some photos of how I do that sometime if anyone’s interested?

It’s always hard when writing a red lip series post to perfectly demonstrate the tone of a red lipstick compared to others in the genre, so I’ve decided to start swatching them alongside MAC’s Russian Red, commonly thought of as a pretty good example of a neutral red – meaning that it leans neither too blue, nor too orange.  I hope it will be helpful.  Either way, as you can see – in the swatch below, Dita’s Muse Red is comparatively orange-toned when compared to the MAC neutral (it’s also much less draggy!)

Considering there was much room for disappointment (you don’t put out a “Dita von Teese” red lipstick without expecting it to be scrutinised!), #415 is a lovely, retro red that offers good, nay, great longevity… authentic colour and a lip-friendly formula.  What else do you need?

The Dita von Teese Classics Artdeco collection is out now and available to buy in person at larger Debenhams stores and online at debenhams.com

* press sample

Acqua Di Parma Iris Nobile Sublime EdP

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 15 - 2012

Acqua Di Parma’s Iris Nobile was my first encounter with a high-end perfume and also, my first experience of the brand.  It was love at first sniff after a kindly lady working on the counters at House of Fraser saw me looking with an air of confuzzlement at the range before offering me a tester strip and a spritz.  She explained that it was her favourite from the line, that she hadn’t been working there very long and was still familiarising herself with the range.  That chink of vulnerability was all I needed to feel less of a fragrance-idiot and gave me enough confidence to ask her if she’d mind sharing what she knew, knowing that I was less likely to be overwhelmed with a barrage of information that my under-developed beauty brain would be unable to cope with.

I actually ended up walking away with a bottle of Colonia, because it was summertime and I knew that Mr. L would enjoy wearing it aswell.  Iris Nobile, henceforth became known (to me) as the one that got away.

Roll on a couple of summers and I discover that Acqua di Parma have released a flanker for the original Iris Nobile, Iris Nobile Sublime – well, as if the first one wasn’t sublime enough…

Iris Nobile Sublime takes up where the original left off, oozing refinement and class from the moment you lift the bottle from the packaging.  Despite the promise of mandarin and Italian bergamot, to me, it opens with a resolute hit of warm florals actually quite unlike the fresh, almost icy openings I remember from Prada’s Infusion d’Iris and Narciso Rodriguez’s Essence in Color – two iris scents that I appreciate but cannot quite fall in love with.  Iris Nobile Sublime is simply more inviting, more enticing and more sensual from the off.

Iris Nobile Sublime is an unashamedly feminine affair, brimming with smarts and confidence but elegantly keeping it on the down-low because, after all, no-one likes a show off.  She asserts no blousiness or arrogance, just a seemingly everlasting sense of suave, balance and harmony.  Iris Nobile Sublime is not a rollercoaster of a scent, you’ll know whether you’ll love it or leave it from your first impression, and be sure to trust in those impressions because this is a sure cert for many who have outgrown their love affairs with the candy popsicle scents of youth and are looking for a true signature scent.

As to the question that I asked myself when I first heard about the launch… “How does this differ from the original Iris Nobile?”  I still haven’t been able to answer it to my satisfaction… I also haven’t been able to get to a counter to remind myself of the original but if my instincts and memory serve me correctly, I’m feeling more femininity and powder from this one, a little less woods and musk and perhaps a little more respectful deference to the pretty purple floral itself.  My favourite fragrance release of the year so far.

Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile Sublime EdP is available to buy now on counter and online at John Lewis, priced at £82 for 75ml – it’s also currently available online at Escentual.com, priced at a slightly less painful £73.80 for 75ml.

* press sample

The (discontinued) lipstick love-in: Giorgio Armani Sheer Lipstick #18

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 11 - 2012

I know it can be a bit annoying when bloggers feature products that you can’t get your hands on anymore but the thing is, I don’t think I’ve ever told you about one of my favourite lipsticks EVER, have I?  Well, now’s the time to introduce you because I’ve just broken into my backup.

Now, according to Makeup Alley, Giorgio Armani Sheer Lipstick (#18) was a limited edition release for Autumn 2003!  Am I really that old that I was buying grown-up lipsticks THAT long ago?  Really, really?!  I thought it was more recent than that… but I can’t honestly remember.  What I can remember is how I fell in love with the shade in the tube.  And then fell in love even more when I applied it.

You see, I haven’t always loved bright lip colours… I’ve grown to love them, but I used to only wear sheer, slightly glossy shades.  As I twisted up the new, pristine Armani bullet the other day – I decided that I had to pay homage to this one before it went the same way as some of my other previous lipstick loves (YSL Rouge Pure Shine also had one that I used to live in (now long gone *sob*)).

Ain’t she pretty?  She’s much brighter and more popsicle orange in the tube than she is on the lips, I was a little bit intimidated by her at first but we soon became inseperable!   One of the things I liked most about this lipstick was the texture, which isn’t too soft, almost semi-matte without being at all drying on the lips.  Wear isn’t great but it’s such aneasylipstick to topup that it truly doesn’t matter.

Gah, I’ll miss you when you’re gone!

Can you remember your first lipstick love?  Tell me about it!

I’m not the world’s most patriotic type, I’m more into grumbling about our nation than celebrating it, which I realise makes me sound like a bit of a miserable git but it’s not like that – well, not entirely anyway.  However, you can’t help but have been a little soul-stirred into some imaginary flag-waving this Summer with the close of our rather successful ‘limpics.

And judging by Alesha Dixon’s brit-inspired limited edition nail shades for Avon, she felt the same way.

Red Reveal and Inky Blue are the two latest inclusions to the Avon line of nailwear pro+ shades.  The Avon Beauty and Empowement Ambassador said of these two shades:

Everything British is a hot topic for me right now, what with the Jubilee, the Olympics and of course my first year on Britain’s Got Talent! I’ve always been proud to be British, so when hand picking my own fabulous limited edition Nailwear Pro+ colours there was no contest to these gorgeous red and blue shades.

Here they are swatched, with a sprinkling of totally-in-context gold (29 medals baby!) just for good measure.

The gold glitter, incase you’re wondering, is the lovely I Herd That* from China Glaze On Safari (Autumn 2012) collection.

Avon Nailwear Pro+ Alesha’s Limited Edition shades of Inky Blue* and Red Reveal* are available to buy online at Avonshop or from your local representative, currently priced at £3.50 each.

Did your nails get all patriotic this Summer?

* press samples

Sometimes, my FOTDs are semi-interesting…

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 22 - 2012

…but most of the time, I take the photos – write the post, upload the photos, think “job done”, click preview and then wonder why the hell I bothered.  Today is one of those days.

I would blame the camera, the lighting, the mis-calibration of your monitor… but the truth is, my face absorbs colour.  Unless of course, I wear a shade from one of my Sleek palettes which seem to encourage my chemistry to saturate the colour to the max, turning me into some kind of deformed caricature of myself.

Grumbles aside, and seeing as this was intended to be a FOTD post, I’d better get on and list the products just as I would for any other FOTD post… who cares if you can’t actually see them right?

Face

Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer #2
MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation in NW15
Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer in SX03

Cheeks

Trish McEvoy Golden Bronzer*

Eyes

Trish McEvoy Glaze Eyeshadow in Rose Quartz
Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Mascara
Estee Lauder Intense Kajal Eye Crayon in 01 Dramatic Black*

Lips

Clinique Chubby Stick in Oversized Orange*

I’m liking the MAC Studio Fix more than I thought.  It’s a little drying and perhaps a touch too matte for me but I mix in some Fluid Sheer to give it a boost of luminescence and I’m quite enjoying it.  The Kevyn Aucoin SSE is starting to work for me now that I’m using it to conceal rather than as a fuller-coverage foundation – though I am still determined to work out how to get full-face coverage from it.  I received the Trish McEvoy Golden Bronzer last year and it’s a sheerer formula which is quite forgiving despite my pale skintone, it has a subtle sparkle and is quite buildable.  I’m not the best at applying/blending bronzer though… consider me still a bit of a bronzer noob.

The eyes were the most disappointing aspect of today’s look.  The Trish McEvoy shadow I bought for my palette, although a beautiful colour didn’t create much impact – which to be honest, is fair enough – it is intended to be a sheer wash of beautiful rosy taupe… nothing too dramatic, it’s my fault for not bothering with a contour.  I’m sitting on the fence when it comes to the MUFE Smoky Lash mascara, I know that many of you swear by it and although it’s certainly quite impressive at creating some drama, I feel that it’s a little prone to clumping and I don’t like the way it makes my lashes feel.  Finally, the Estee Lauder Intense Kajal Eye Crayon in 01 Dramatic Black seemed to look more ‘dramatic plum’ on my waterline… perhaps it’s those sleepless nights finally showing through!

The one component of today’s FOTD that I thought I’d be indifferent about (sheer lip colours – “meh”), I ended up really liking.  The Clinique Chubby Stick is such a nice formula to wear and for me to reach for it, well… perhaps I was feeling more ‘subtle’ than I was letting-on!  You won’t see a huge amount of colour with this range but the Oversized Orange gives my lips a nice polish and a hint of warmth.

What’s your favourite product that you’re sporting today?

* indicates press samples

An Armani FOTN courtesy of Cesar Santos

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 13 - 2012

You’re gonna have to excuse the late-night point & shoot pictures, these were taken at around 11pm and I’d just dragged my tired bum through the door after spending an evening at Selfridges enjoying an Armani masterclass with Cesar Santos, one of Armani’s International Face Designers.  I’d already managed to eat my lipstick and gloss off whilst on the train home, so what remains in the photo below is a five-hour old base which my dry skin instantly fell in love with (Luminous Silk 4.5), some phenomenal mascara (Eyes to Kill (VexInTheCity, you were right)), and one of the new Eyes To Kill eyeshadows (#24 – RougeDeluxe has more info on them here).

There was also a blush (blushing fabric #1) which the camera has failed to capture.  I’m sad that I ate the lipstick off, it was probably the best warm pink I’ve ever worn for not looking clashy against my skin.  Don’t comment on my brows, I would say that I’m “growing them out” or something bloggery like that, but I’m not… I’m just too idle to phone my threading lady and my fringe does a great job at hiding them.  Usually.

How about that mascara huh?

Cesar Santos usually resides on the Giorgio Armani counter at Harvey Nichols, London.  You need to track down this man, seriously.  He’s ridiculously easy to talk to, completely non-judgemental when admitting your makeup crimes, and did not put a single foot wrong when selecting shades that complemented both my skintone AND my hair.  Basically, if ever there were a case for human cloning (especially if we could turn them into our makeup minions)… Cesar is it.

I shall be blogging more about the evening soon!

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