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

Dry Skin? Putting a cold weather skincare plan into action…

Posted by Lipglossiping On January - 24 - 2013

My skin has been coping with winter far better these last few months than it has in previous years… that is, right up until about 5 days ago when the mercury plumetted and the heavens started to rain that ‘orrible/lovely (delete as appropriate) white stuff down upon us.  Since then I’ve been battling dry patches that make the Sahara look like Centerparcs.

Not one to take this sort of nonsense lying down (unless it comes with a cup of tea and two chocolate digestives), I’ve raided my bathroom cabinet for some products that I hope, when combined, will prove to be my winter saviours.

dry skin, cold weather, skincare

I’ve always suspected that I may overdo things a little when it comes to cleansing, I’m certainly no skincare guru (you need Mrs. Hirons for that) but cleansing is a proper little joy in my daily routine.  So much so that I’m not averse to the double-cleanse method, once to remove my makeup and then again, to clean my bare skin.  Of course, there may be nothing wrong with this and I know that many of you enjoy a similar ritual without issue… but perhaps, when my skin is at it’s driest, it might be wise to cut back on the cleansing.  Just a little.

To this end, I’ve enlisted the help of Lancome’s Galatée Confort Comforting Cleansing Milk, especially formulated for dry skin.  I used this when I first went waterless with my cleansing last year… something that I seemed to have great success with.  I’m not going completely waterless again but I will be using as dry-a-cloth as I can get away with to remove my cleanser.  And then leaving it at that.  I know my fingers will itch to dunk my face in the sink but I’ll just have to strengthen my resolve.  The Lancome cleansing milk has a wonderfully creamy formula that defeats my makeup admirably without leaving any residue, a definited repurchase later in the year.  £21, lancome.co.uk

I’ll be putting aside my serums for a few weeks as I reach for something a little richer, Bare Minerals Purely Nourishing Moisturizer for Normal to Dry skin*.  Free from parabens, synthetic fragrances, and artificial oils, this moisturiser ticks all my boxes for a lightweight (it’s very lightweight) yet hydrating moisturiser that’s perfect for use in the daytime.  It doesn’t contain SPF which seems like a bit of an oversight but I generally wear a separate sun protection lotion anyway.  £27, bareminerals.co.uk

I’m still as much in love with toners now as I was back when I wrote a post for Carmine (remember them?) on how I use and wear toner.  It’s a daily essential for me, although I know that many find them superfluous.  Balance Me is a great brand who seem to be going from strength-to-strength at the moment.  I recently received a sample of their Skin Bright Hydrating Face Mist* with hyaluronic acid, suitable for all skin types, and it’s a gem.  It smells incredible, dries to a non-tacky finish and delivers an instant surge of hydration to my skin.  £20, balanceme.co.uk

Daytime taken care of, it’s in the evening that I’ll be focusing some extra attention on slathering my skin (though probably not my t-zone) in something a little more heavy duty.  I still use my Elemis Exotic Cream Moisturising Mask once a week (which I mentioned in my favourite products of 2012 post) but I’ll be swapping out my regular night-time moisturiser for a new product from a brand that hasn’t let me down so far.  A new introduction to the brand’s lineup is La Roche Posay Nutritic Intense Rich*, a cream which I believe succeeds their original Nutritic Intense and promises to intensely reconstitute superior layers of the epidermis. Oh rly?  I know I could do with some intense reconstitution.  Or some intense anything to be fair.  Also available in the original formula in a convenient 50ml tube.  £13.15, escentual.com

When it comes to intense nourishment from a moisturiser-type product, I’m still firmly in the yay Selexir camp, you may remember my review from a little while ago… it’s ah-mazing.  There’s one problem with it though… I made true on my word and gave my press sample to my father.  He loves it.  But he hoards it like a mutha, as soon as I told him how much it cost to buy/repurchase, I watched the blood drain out of his face and I swear the man now only uses enough product to cover half a flea.  Frustrating.

dry skin, cold weather, skincare

Seeing as I’m turning over a new skincare leaf, I thought that I might aswell indulge my over-processed hair with a little bit of pampering.  Touché By Flavien* is an intensive hair treatment containing: goji berry extract, olive fruit oil, hydrolyzed silk protein, rosemary oil, and shea butter and is designed to be used in place of conditioner.  This suits me well… because no matter how great my intentions, I always forget that I’m supposed to be treatment-masking my hair until the moment that I step into the shower and get it wet, at which point… well, it’s a bit bloody late isn’t it.  I have utmost respect for you ladies that sleep in hair oils, I call that being organised.  £17, urbanretreat.co.uk

dry skin, cold weather, skincare

My lips are infact, the only real part of me that isn’t suffering from this cold snap.  There’ll be no surprises when I tell you that this down to a nightly dose of the lovely Lanolips 101 Ointment, there’s no more to say… it’s still a holy grail product and possibly the only one that gives me mini palpitations as I near the end of a tube!  £11.22, boots.com

My last cold-weather “resolution” (if you will) is to regularly indulge in one of those moisturising face sheet masks, partially because I’m just a bit curious about them, and partially because I’ll have fun freaking my daughter out with them.  I’ve pulled this Wei White Lotus Hydrating Face Treatment Pad out of my things that came free with shit that I bought drawer, and it’ll do for starters.  If anyone has any favourite sheet masks that they use, do let me know!  £??, thinkitsdiscontinued.com

 

How is your skin holding up since the snow put in an appearance?  Hope you’re all keeping warm out there!

* press sample

La Roche Posay Hydreane BB Creme

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 16 - 2012

La Roche Posay Hydreane BB Creme.  Yes, it’s pretty much as awesome as I hoped it would be.  If only it had just a little higher SPF rating, we’d be best of buds all year round.  Well, at least until my new favourite base product comes out – a girl can’t be too loyal when it comes to foundations can she?

After suffering a major, practically heartbreaking disappointment over the much lusted-after Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation (which did nothing for me other than accentuate my dry bits and make me look blotchy), along comes La Roche-Posay to stroke my hair and tell me I’m not a troll.  No, really – bad makeup positively upsets me.

Paraben-free and suitable for all skin types (allegedly), Hydreane BB Creme is a rich, tinted base with an emolliating formula.  It’s perfect for the upcoming colder months but some may feel that the lower coverage levels are more suited to Summer months when we break out our tinted moisturisers.  The difference for me is that I don’t generally achieve much coverage across my nose with tinted moisturisers, with this – it provides just about enough redness-calming to make me feel a little more secure in my skin – and that, along with the great hydration, is why I’m happy to grant this BB Cream status.

Hygenically packaged in a travel-friendly squeezy tube, the cream that dispenses is a little thinner in texture than most traditional BB Creams.  It spreads across my skin with ease and almost provides enough moisture alone to go without any additional hydration underneath.  Almost.  I find that I still need to give my skin a little hydration boost around my nose (but not on it) and between my brows.

Once worked into the skin with the warmth of my fingers aiding the process, I stepped away from the mirror.  Five minutes later, I returned and was pleased to see a great skintone match, sheer coverage and skin that looked more refined and even.  Blemishes will need spot concealing and under-eye darkness will need brightening but this is a brilliant base for anyone who needs a quick, daily product to tone down redness without looking like you’re wearing a face of makeup.  It’s a skin confidence booster rather than a full-on face-fixer and that suits my tastes perfectly.  I also have no issues to report re: longevity, though I’m afraid that I can’t speak for oilier skin types.

I’m so pleased that this one lived up to the hype that I’d managed to build up for myself around it – my favourite Western BB Cream so far.

La Roche-Posay Hydreane BB Creme is available to buy instore and online at boots.com, priced at £15.00 for 40ml

* press sample

Zitsagogo!

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 15 - 2012

It’s like Kajagoogoo (oh children of the 70s/80s) but pusier.  Why does the word pusier never translate to text very well?  Pus. i. er.  as in yellow stuff, not… oh, nevermind.  Look, I’m talking zits.  Spots, pustules, pimples, blind boils, are you eating?  Sorry.

I’m talking about the ones that grow their own head (arms, torso and a pair of legs) overnight.  You can often feel them brewing in advance… and of course, knowing that the last thing you should do in. the. world. is touch it, you spend all day picking at it, poking around it and generally coaxing it to come out and sing too shy, shy, hush, hush, eye to eye.

So what are your options?  Don’t say toothpaste or I will mock you.

Well, you could cover it with a big granny-tights coloured plaster and just pretend it’s not there.  This is fine if it’s somewhere discreet, like on the soles of your feet but not so good if you can a). see it or b). reach it.  Basically, it’s a rubbish option because you know that within five minutes, you’ll have that plaster off and will be digging around with it again until you get the skin-picking guilts.

How about some topical treatments?  Some people swear by Sudocrem but the only tub I have in the house has actually been used for it’s intended purpose and I just don’t fancy it.

Then you’ve got your topical treatments.  In all manner of guises…

The ones that I’m dabbling in at the minute are The Sanctuary’s Blemish Serum* which helps to calm the redness and general rage that accompanies the facial intrusion.  BareMinerals Blemish Remedy* which comes in a powder form and contains sulphur to draw the bugger out more quickly and finally, La Roche Posay’s Effaclar A.I which keeps making me think of that film with Jude Law in it which works both as an anti-bacterial and exfoliator to promote faster healing.  It feels hugely comforting to have a dedicated blemish-buster to tote around in your handbag.

And finally, you’ve got the ever-faithful aspirin mask.  I actually put quite a lot of stock in the value of this remedy, especially as a way to get the blighter to look a little less inflamed before an evening out.

But I wanna know, what do you do when you feel a particularly unholy zit brewing?

* press samples

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