17 years ago, Liz Earle launched one of the UK’s most popular cleansing products and the brand haven’t looked back since.

Until now.

For two days only – you’ll be able to purchase the cult Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish at its original launch price of just £9.50, instead of its current retail price, £14.25 – a substantial saving of £4.75.

I anticipate this will be a phenomenally popular offer, so get in fast as soon as it goes live.  The offer is available only online at lizearle.com and via the Customer Centre (01983 813 913) from Wednesday 23rd May.

Will you be purchasing for the first time or restocking?


Just when we should all be tailoring our skincare to lead us into the warmer weather, those pesky chaps at the MET office are happy to remind us that although it may well be almost JUNE, it feels uncannily like February out there.  My skin has been feeling so unbalanced as the year has progressed and finding the solutions to keeping everything under control has felt like applying weights to an old-fashioned pair of scales whilst wearing a blindfold.

Clearly, I needed some expert advice and whilst checking out the new beauty hall at John Lewis, Oxford Street on Tuesday evening, I noticed the Elemis counter looking a bit quiet so I asked if I could jump in the chair for one of their complimentary skin consultations, I was excited!

Until I caught sight of the picture that looked back at me.

“Dude, trim your eyebrows” was my first thought, I almost felt the need to apologise to the therapist for them.  Second thought was “oooh, my skin looks quite clear!” (vanity is never far behind).  To be honest, I didn’t really have a clue what I was talking about but I was guessing that the less blobs on the scanned area, the better.  Turns out, I was mostly right.  You can click the picture above to view a large version… I’ll tell you a bit more about what the equipment can pick up on…

Spots – self explanatory, the facial assessment picks up on any blemishes/congested areas that are on the skin’s surface, lurking just underneath about to erupt, or hiding dormant… waiting for the opportunity (read: important ocassion) before putting in an appearance.  My cheeks are actually where I seem to get the most blemishes, so I was surprised to see such a large number around my nose.  Not really sure why I was surprised when I got home and checked out the blackhead congestion in the mirror…

Wrinkles – I was blindly hoping to score low in this area.  I think I got about average… but the therapist pointed out that the scanner had detected more furrows in the areas where the skin was visually quite dry.  There’s a good reason right there to keep your skin as well-moisturised as possible I think!

Texture – This indicated the areas of my face that would benefit from additional hydration, and also the areas that showed signs of “healthy” oil production.  Unfortunately, because I was wearing makeup at the time of the scanning session, I don’t think this image is as accurate as it could be, but it does show that there aren’t too many clearly defined areas that can be categorized as traditionally dry/oily.  As I’ve always complained, I’m perfectly capable of producing makeup-melting oil in the same areas as I’m experiencing practically, scaly patches of skin.

Pores – Another self-explanatory one, I’m very… err… pore-y.  Great.

Brown Spots – FINALLY.  Something I can smile about!  Apparently, for my age (I told her I was 73)… I have very little sun damage (the yellow areas are ok, it’s the brown ones that aren’t!).  That’ll be all those years spent in my bedroom being an angsty teenager then.  Result.

Red Areas – Well, this I just knew wouldn’t be brilliant.  You can see that I suffer redness in the classic areas across the nose and cheeks.  I’ve mostly (not really) made peace with this as a hereditary condition and frankly, I’m not inclined to give up curries/hot showers/central heating/all that fun stuff in an effort to reduce it.  I’ll just LAZOR the bitches when the capilliaries get too much and hope for the best, job done.

My therapist went over my results and discussed my lifestyle with me, she asked me about my current beauty routine (I nearly bored her to tears), and then she made some suggestions about how I might tackle the classic symptoms of unbalanced skin and get things back on track.  This included:

* drinking more water to ensure I’m not physically dehydrated.

* exfoliating (gently because of redness) more frequently.  I currently only exfoliate once every couple of weeks, she suggested that I up this to twice a week.

* I explained that I’m not using water during my cleansing and that I feel this has helped with sensitivity issues but that I hated using cotton wool pads.  She suggested that I use an extremely well wrung-out face cloth instead, practically dry so I’m not actually splashing water on my face but still benefiting from the warmth, gentle exfoliation and more definite cleanse.

* treating my skin to a moisture-rich mask after an exfoliation and leaving it on overnight, just once a week.

* ensure that I apply my moisturiser prior to applying my sunscreen to lessen any potential issues with congestion.

I was really impressed because most of her tips weren’t brand-specific and more about how I conduct my beauty routine than what products I use.  Of course, she did recommend some Elemis products based on the results from the SkinLab Assessment and our discussion on what kind of products I actually liked to use, which was novel.  Usually I can spend 10 minutes talking about how I don’t like foaming cleansers only for the SA to recommend me their foaming cleanser.

Here are her product recommendations to help battle unbalanced/combination skin:

Cleanse, Tone, and Moisturise
Elemis Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser (AM + PM)
Elemis Soothing Apricot Toner (AM + PM + as needed throughout the day)
Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream (AM as day cream)
Elemis Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream (PM as night cream)

Treatments
Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel (2x weekly as exfoliator)
Elemis Exotic Cream Moisturising Mask (1x weekly after one of the exfoliating sessions, sleep in it!)

Supplements
Elemis Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules (when skin needs a pick-me-up or before special events etc.)
Daily Redness Solution (applied topically to the red areas)

Of course, I haven’t just sold one of my kidneys so I couldn’t afford it all but after feeling the beautiful slip and glide of the Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser, I couldn’t leave the counter without it.

I’ve only used it 3 times so far but I’m loving it for complete makeup removal (eyes and all) with a non-drying formula that doesn’t have me rushing to slap on the moisturiser.  I really like the idea of sleeping in the moisturising mask and I’ve just received press samples of the Apricot Toner and Papaya Enzyme Peel (not related to this counter visit) so I’m looking forward to putting some of the products and all of her tips into action!

There was no hard-sell, and the therapist even sent me away with some sachets of the Daily Redness Solution (before I told her I wanted to purchase the cleanser) to see if my skin would tolerate it.

The Elemis SkinLab Skin Assessment is available in many Elemis Spas and on counter at some department stores – John Lewis lists which counters offer treatments at their SpaPod, you can call your local counter to find out if they offer a complimentary SkinLab consultation – it’s the best thing I’ve done for my skin this year!

Deal Alert (London): Elemis Amnesty Tomorrow!

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 4 - 2012

If you’re in central London tomorrow, it’s well worth your while taking a pot of unloved face cream along for the ride.

Say what?

Elemis are doing one of their much-loved Pro Collagen Marine Cream amnesties! Infact, it was one of these sneaky initiatives that got me hooked on the stuff in the first place!

20120504-013054.jpg

The amnesty is only available in John Lewis, Oxford Street and is in celebration of the branch’s re-launched beauty hall! If you want to get your hands on a free 15ml tube of the legendary Pro Collagen Marine Cream (worth £26.60), simply pop along to the new Elemis counter with your current face-cream and make the swap!

Just don’t blame me if you get hooked ok?

The offer starts tomorrow and is available while stocks last. Hurry!

I’m a big fan of homeopathic brand Nelsons, a British institution with over 150 years of history behind it.  As a teen, I relied on their Bach’s Rescue Remedy to get me through my GCSEs and driving test, I keep an Arnica kid’s stick in my handbag for when Leila walks into something/falls over/needs to pretend that she’s a doctor, and I keep forgetting to pick up a tube of Graphites Cream for the little eczema flare ups that I get where my wedding ring sits.  I find the products effective at providing quick relief (almost like a security blanket) without breaking the bank.

I was sent a tube of Calendula Cream*, which is marketed as a multi-purpose cream for rough, dry, flaky or chapped skin.  Oh hai!  That’s me that is!

I’ve spent the past two days rubbing it into my cuticles as a benchmark, simply because I’m so used to nourishing that area I feel that I can judge it’s efficacy better here than by using it on other parts on my body.  I’d describe the Calendula Cream as a good option for those who need a lightweight but nourishing moisturiser.  This isn’t something I’d apply before bed for an intensive treatment, it’s better suited to a daytime environment.  It’s a little too slow to absorb to keep in my handbag (when you’ve literally only got about 30 seconds before you need to be doing stuff/touching things again) but it’s nicely balanced as an option for your desk drawer.

It has been effective at softening the hardest bits of skin around my fingernails even after only a couple of days.  I don’t care for the scent, which I’m struggling to describe as it smells (to me) neither floral, nor herbal.  I don’t know what calendula (the plant) actually smells like, it may be a perfect representation.  The cream doesn’t leave a greasy film behind but does leave a silky sensation that may put you off… you can ‘feel’ it, but it doesn’t hinder at all.

You can use this on any dry bits, I’m currently suffering around my hairline… so I’ll be giving it a go on my face, albeit a little concerned that it may be too rich… we shall see!  I’ve posted a picture of the ingredient’s list above, the cream is described as being free from: artificial colourings, fragrances, parabens, PEGs, lanolin, silicones and mineral oils.  So basically, it’s a good option for anyone that has experienced (or feels they have experienced) any problems with the above ingredients in the past.  I also really like the Weleda Calendula Weather Protection Cream which is more of an intensive treatment (and doesn’t sink in so well) for very dry skin.

Priced at £6.35, Nelsons Calendula Cream is available to buy instore and online at Boots

* press sample

Deal Alert: ESPA’s “Try Me… Love Me” GWP

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 20 - 2012

You know how I love a good gift with purchase and I’ve got another one to share with you today.

Until 31st May, all customers who purchase one or more full-sized ESPA products will be offered a uniquely personalised GWP with a set of four trial-sized products.  Take your pick from a selection of ten carefully-chosen products that hail from British brand ESPA’s most-loved ranges.

The gift with purchase Try Me… Love Me collection takes inspiration from Alice in Wonderland and each set also contains a unique code which can be entered online to uncover the chance to win £500 worth of ESPA skincare or one of five runner-up prizes.

Currently, the offer is only available in spas, salons and stores nationwide but will be rolling out on the ESPA website shortly.  Search online to find your nearest stockist.

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

The BIG Skincare Mystery, revealed!

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 2 - 2012

Remember this post?  The mystery brand conducted a huge facebook-driven campaign involving over 500,000 secret samples being sent out to households across the UK.  Feedback on the mystery product has been pretty positive with 91% of testers saying that they would recommend the product to a friend.

Well, I can finally reveal the brand behind The Big Skincare Mystery (and some of you guessed it!) as Clearasil!

The new Clearasil Vitamins & Extracts range has been packed with superfruits known for their antioxidant properties and soothing plant extracts, and the flagship product in the range is the new Clearasil PerfectaWash.  A face wash dispenser that automatically dispenses the perfect dose of cleanser to ensure effective cleansing without over-drying.  This is available in two variants: superfruits or soothing plant extract.

In addition to the PerfectaWash, Clearasil’s new range includes the  2 in 1 Vitamins & Extracts Wash and Mask (the one we’ve all been trialling), Vitamins & Extracts Scrub and Vitamins & Extracts Cleansing Wipes.

As for how I got on with the 2 in 1 Vitamins & Extracts Wash and Mask*?  Well pretty good actually.  I didn’t experience any of the dryness that I would normally associate with using a product aimed at problem skin-types.  Literally, none at all but I wasn’t keen on the scent and as a result, didn’t enjoy using this as a mask – I prefer something that feels and smells a little more luxurious on my skin!  Having said that, I will be repurchasing this to use as a daily wash (used after oil cleansing) simply because it left my skin feeling freshly cleansed without being stripped and it’s cheaper than my Bare Minerals cleanser.  If it goes on to do effective battle with my blemishes and breakouts, then even better!  I think combination skintypes are going to really enjoy this product.

The new range is already available to buy instore and online at Boots.com with prices starting from £3.49

* press sample

Clarisonic Deep Pore Brush Head

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 24 - 2012

Clarisonic have released a new deep pore cleansing brush head, designed to be used on oily skin to target large pores or hard to reach areas of the face, such as around the nose.  I recently visited a dermatologist who prescribed me retin-a for dilated pores but as I’m currently trialling the Philips Reaura, there’s no way I can use something like retin-a at the same time and I’m looking for an alternative.  So, how is this new brush head going to help with large pores?  Well, if you’ve genetically inherited enlarged pores… it’s not.  But if your pores are dilated because they’re clogged with deep-seated blackheads and other such gunk, then this could help clear the debris more effectively than traditional cleansing methods, or indeed the other brushes available for the device.

Now, I’m going to preface this by saying that I’ve only tried it once (because I’m hyper-aware of over-exfoliating whilst using the Philips Reaura) and I’m not commenting on it’s efficacy, because with only one use, I’m in no position to judge.  I will say that it’s remarkably gentle on my skin, I was expecting something far more abrasive-feeling considering I was previously used to the ‘sensitive’ brush head.  I think this is going to be fine… infact, it feels softer than the ‘normal’ brush head that I originally swapped out when I first used my Clarisonic.

When I’m finished with the Reaura trial, I’ll be putting this to the test before going down the retin-a route, so you can be sure that I’ll be back with a full review in a couple of months time.  Until then, check out this fantastic Clarisonic Mia review from Product Pixie, she who inspired me to pull the Clarisonic out of the cupboard again in the first place!

Also, just a quick brush head tip for you – I mostly use my Clarisonic after removing my makeup but not always, which means that my brush head isn’t as white as it used to be despite regular cleaning.  I tried soaking one overnight in a dilute mixture of Napisan and hot water, it came out sparkling.  Obviously, if you try this… make sure that you’ve rinsed, rinsed, and rinsed again – you don’t want Napisan on your face.

The Clarisonic Deep Pore Brush Head is currently available from Space NK instore and online, priced at £21 before a nationwide release next month.

* press sample

Lanolips Herbal Treatment Body Oil? Oil have some of that fnarr fnarr!

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 17 - 2012

Having spent the afternoon skirting around the possibility of knuckling down and doing some actual work, I was indulging in one of my favourite evening procrastination activities (online shopping), when looksee what I spotted!

Lanolips Herbal Treatment Body Oil.  Holy mother of all things oily and lanoliny.

If like me, you’re a fan of body oils  – you’ll be delighted to hear that this one is completely free from mineral oil.  It’s a super-concentrate of Ultra Pure Grade Lanolin Oil with extracts of Pine and Eucalyptus thus needing no petro-chemical fillers, note the 60ml sizing which I’m guessing means that a little is destined to go a very long way.  There’s just one thing… where’s Lady Lamb gone?!

Ok, now I’ve got that off my chest, back to the oil…

I personally apply my body oils whilst still in the shower over skin that has been wiped with a flannel (not dried) to lock in the maximum amount of moisture.  It’s the quickest, least messy way I know of giving my skin a suppleness boost in this icy weather.

Lanolips Herbal Treatment Body Oil is priced at £9.99 and available online now from Victoria Health (who may or may not be harbouring one lady lamb)

Do you use body oils or creams?  Miss Lady Lamb too?

Luxurious lips that cost a pretty penny with Lubatti

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 8 - 2012

Luxury skincare brand Lubatti have released their latest skincare product in the form of Anti-age Wonderlip which has been specifically designed to help increase lip volume whilst reducing fine lines and wrinkles.  I was sent a tube a few weeks ago and have been putting it through its paces thanks to the recent cold snap.

The tiny 10ml tube is filled with a deliciously-light, gently scented balm that promises to nourish lips whilst providing a plumped up pout with less of those pesky fine lines and lip wrinkles.  First things first, it works… really, really well but not in the stinging, lip-irritating way that lip volumisers usually plump.  This is a silicone-heavy lip primer that fills the furrows and smoothes the lip texture, creating the illusion of a prettier pout.  That’s not to say that there are no long-term skincare benefits to help promote lip volume, but first and foremost – think of this as a non-drying lip primer.

And the term non-drying is key here, as most lip primers I’ve tried in the past leave my lips looking good but feeling tight.  The Lubatti Anti-age Wonderlip* manages to prime without any unwanted side-effects.  Except for one.  A great, big dent in your wallet.  Priced at £29, it’s a costly addition to your skincare routine but seeing as it offers a tangible difference – I have visions of this becoming a bit of a cult product among those who can afford such luxuries.

If you suffer from dry lips, I think you’ll probably still need the support of something a little more heavy duty on the moisturisation front and paired with a nightly application of Lanolips 101, this has become a bit of a dream team lip-combo.  Not one that I can afford to sustain… but it’s very, very lovely while it lasts.

Ingredients: Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Isododecane, Cera Alba, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Aluminium Starch Octenylsuccinate, C 18-21 Alkane, Vp/hexadecene Copolymer, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Tribehenin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Aroma, Sorbitan Isostearate, Butylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Nicotinate, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol.

Lubatti Anti-age Wonderlip is priced at £29 and available online from lubatti.co.uk

* press sample

The BIG skincare mystery!

Posted by Lipglossiping On January - 22 - 2012

Like Miss Marple, Jessica Fletcher Jane Tennison (sexier)… I’m taking on a cryptic challenge to uncover the secret behind The BIG Skincare Mystery.  Unlike my Prime Suspect role model, they’ll be no dead bodies (only dead skin), and hopefully no issues with institutionalised sexism.

A suspect package containing an unbranded, unmarked bottle of lotion dropped through my letter box* yesterday morning with the curious label you see above attached.  I shall call it… Exhibit A.  A milky, pale green hue with a creamy formula that smells fresh and a little bit like cucumber(?).  Curiouser and curiouser!

Let’s look at the evidence.

All I know about it (thanks to a purposefully vague press release) is that it’s a new multi-purpose daily cleanser which promises to tackle common skin issues like oiliness without leaving skin feeling tight or dehydrated.  Well, it’s picked a tough tester here because my skin tightens at the mere sight of anything targeted toward oilier skins thanks to my typical combination/unbalanced skin type.

Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Betonite, Kaolin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Coco-Glucoside, Salicylic Acid, Xantham Gum, Parfum, Sodium Chloride, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Sulfate, Propylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Benzyl Salicylate, Persea Gratissima Leaf Extract, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Sorbic Acid, CI 77891, CI 42090, CI 19140

In my non-expert opinion, the ingredients suggest that it’s something we’ll find on the high street *strokes chin thoughtfully* and I see clay and salicylic acid to help degunk those pores.  I’m told that it’s multi-use and as well as a daily face wash, it can be employed as a face mask up to 3x weekly, leaving on for up to three minutes before rinsing clear.

Dermatologist Susan Mayou from the Cadogan Clinic, London says: “When it comes to facial cleansing, many products, especialy thouse designed for problem skin, can cause drying if used every day.  The impressive thing about this mystery new range is that each product has been specially balanced with ingredients that clear blemishes effectively but are also gentle enough to be used as part of an everyday cleansing regime”.

So.

Who wants to be Watson to my Sherlock? (I know, the comparisons are getting bolder)

If you want to join in with the fun, head over to the facebook page for The Big Skincare Mystery and request a mystery sample to try for yourself – by doing so, you also stand the chance at winning your share of £1000 in Topshop vouchers.  The BIG reveal will take place on March 1st 2012.  The game is afoot!

* press sample

Jo Malone Vitamin E Moisturising Day Crème

Posted by Lipglossiping On January - 18 - 2012

New out this month is Jo Malone’s Vitamin E Moisturising Day Crème which expands on the original Vitamin E lineup, the brand’s signature skincare collection.  Packaged in a monochrome, heavy glass jar – it displays the sophisticated elements you’d expect from the British brand who have just appointed Charlotte Stockdale, as their new Style Editor.

It’s perfect for this time of year with a thick, emoliating formula which feels unusually light on the skin considering such a rich texture, basically it sinks right in – although, perhaps that says more about the current condition of my dry skin.  I wouldn’t describe this as a heavy-duty moisturiser, though I feel this is about as heavy-duty as ‘normal’ moisturisers get (does that make sense?).  I’d recommend for normal > normal/dry skin types as I’m not sure oily skins would need this much moisture – although because of the light, spreadable formula – it may just mean you only need to use a tiny amount to cover your face.

The cream delivers instant skin-soothing relief, with a cooling after-effect when applied to post-shower, dehydrated skin and gives me no issues with makeup application a few moments later.  It promises to guard against fine lines and wrinkles with the addition of barley extracts, wheat germ, rosemary leaf and grape seed extract – helping to combat free radical damage and strengthen the skin’s barrier to reduce water loss.  The cream also features broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection rated to SPF15, helping to shield skin from harmful UV rays.

I was surprised to find no discernible scent to the cream, I feel there’s something there but it’s so light my nose can’t really detect it that well and although I haven’t been using this for long enough to notice the effects of any anti-aging properties, I’ve been pleased with what is a high quality, luxurious addition to the Jo Malone lineup.  Priced for the high-end market, it fits well with the existing Jo Malone business model and will undoubtedly appeal to JM fans across the globe.

Jo Malone Vitamin E Moisturising Day Crème is priced at £50 for 50ml and available online and instore at Jo Malone.

* press sample

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