Get the inside scoop on the latest makeup, hair and skincare launches

Monday, 21 November 2011

House of RUSH opening

A couple of weeks ago I attended the launch party of uber salon, House of RUSH on Piccadilly. This will be the flagship salon for the ever-growing RUSH chain and my what a salon it is.The aesthetic is super luxe, with gold ventian mirrors and crystal chandeliers. Plus, there's a separate section for beauty treatments, with rooms for Bliss (FYI, it's the first time Bliss have gone outside of their own spas), Rodial and Elemis. It's a real return to an era when getting your hair done was about indulging yourself in 'me' time, rather than a quick nip in and out into a salon that crams in as many clients as possible in one day.  The House of RUSH certainly puts the treat back into hair treatment! Sx

Keisha Buchanan and Liz McLarnon

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Emily Blunt is the new face of YSL Opium

I don't think I've met anyone who doesn't have a nice word to say about Emily Blunt. Not that any of them have met her but she seems to exude a 'let's be BFFs' friendliness that isn't compromised by the fact she's pretty darn beautiful. It is the latter that I'm sure has secured her one of the most coveted roles in beauty - the face and ambassadress for YSL Opium - but the former which makes me think it's quite a surprising union. Let's not forget just how provocative and racy that 90s Opium print campaign was, featuring a naked and then-curvaceous Sophie Dahl. I just can't imagine that same spark from Blunt but I'm ready to be surprised.

Speaking of her latest role, Emily commented, 'I am very honoured to have been chosen to be the face of OPIUM by Yves Saint Laurent. I have huge admiration for the House of Yves Saint Laurent and feel that this House has always truly understood the expression of elegance - its mystique and its indescribable power. It is a really exciting experience to embody this legendary fragrance, which has stood the test of time without its allure ever being diminished. Being a part of this new campaign and being able to tell the story of this very evocative fragrance is a real thrill.'

The campaign, which has been photographed by legend, Patrick Demarchelier, launches soon. What do you think Best Tressers, will she make a good Opium girl? Sx

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

My new do - Autumnal Roots

On Friday, I saw the amazing Christy at HOB Salons, Camden, for a much-needed colour. I'd been wearing my caramel root stretch since February - how time flies when you love you hair colour - but it was time for a change. I really like the root stretch look (pre-stretch my hair definitely looked wig-like) but it was beginning to lighten up a bit too much on the lengths and ends.

Christy suggested we go for something a bit more autumnal and pulled out a Laura Ashley catalogue...yes, you read right. Apparently, HOB work with the same colour chart as Laura Ashley - you won't find a lime green accent pillow on a brown leather suite in their catalogue because it jars the eye, so you don't know what to look at. By picking tones from the same area on the colour wheel, it relaxes the eye, making it much more visually pleasing. I've been to many lovely salons before - perks of the job, eh - but I'm always amazed at the colour techniques at HOB...CASE IN POINT. With this in mind, Christy picked out a lovely deep wood sidetable and soft leather sofa to base my colour on.

Before - summery

After - autumnal
The root stretch has been taking down to the lengths of the hair, which enhances my layers, and the colour really works with my paler, winter complexion. I honestly cannot speak more highly of Christy, and the artistic team at HOB. She totally took on what I liked/didn't like about my 'before' hair and found something that was both on-trend and right for my eye colour and skintone. I wuv it! Sx

P.S Special shout out must go to stylist, Ryan, who gives THE best blow-dries! Book in with him or the colour squad now! 485 7272

Oh my GOSH Nail Glitters

I definitely consider myself a bit of a magpie when it comes to make-up. I might stick to boring smokey eyes or a statement lip for nights out but at the beauty shelves I'm immediately drawn to rainbow eyeshadow dusts and sparkly polishes.

Glitter polishes are big news this season. OPI are launching a Muppet collection this Christmas, with an array of glitter-flecked shades - FYI, Fresh Frog of Bel Air and Gettin' Piggy With It are on my Christmas wish list! And the best thing about these lust-worthy polishes? They're near indestructable. The shards of sparkle seem to build up resistance to chipping, which while fantastic, also means they're pretty arduous to remove. But for nails this good, a price must be paid.

I used the new GOSH Nail Glitter in Green, £3.99, Superdrug, to get this look. I painted the tops of my nails with clear basecoat in a haphazard fashion and gently dipped my nail into the glitter pots and wiped off excess with a concealer brush. It is a tad messy and it's definitely a case of practice makes perfect. I've still got a long way to go. Sx

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 1


I don't know about you, but I'm well into my Christmas shopping. So, it seems, are my friends and family. And if I am, and they are, then you must be, too. So it's about bloomin' time I gave you some lovely gift ideas for Christmas, starting with this Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Swarovski Limited Edition Lip Protection, £19.99. This blinged-up version (above) is available at Harrods, But Boots has their very own, marginally less glitzy Limited Jewel Edition, £19 (below).

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Tried and Tresseded...Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Cream Wash

Natalie Maylor, 19, from Bletchley, reviews Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Cream Wash, £4.49, Boots, in the quest for smooth, clear skin.  

'I'm not usually a fan of sweet, fruit scents but the grapefruit scent was suprisingly pleasant and very refreshing first thing in the morning. The texture, too, is quite luxurious - it comes out of the bottle like a thick creamy foam and feels very smooth over the skin.

I applied the cleanser every day and massaged in for a couple of minutes before rinsing. I did experience a bit of stinging after massaging it in but I always think if you can feel it doing something then it's probably a good thing! The texture didn't alter much during the cleansing process - it didn't foam up or soak in at all.

In terms of an improvement in my acne, well it's very hard to tell. After a week, I noticed my skin was smoother and certainly less spotty, especially inflamed, painful blemishes.  However after three weeks, I broke out again with very painful, very red spots, on which the face wash didn't seem to have any affect. 

I would definitely say that this is a wash for people that suffer from the occasional spot - it is a lovely-feeling cleanser. But for those like me, with relatively bad acne, not so much. Overally I'd give it a 7/10.'

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

NEW! Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips

Since the launch of Nail Rock, the beauty world has gone mad for patterned nail wraps. I'd heard that Sally Hansen had been selling these strips for a little while in the US and now they've finally arrived on our shores. Like Nailease and Rimmel, this is real nail polish on a sticky base so there's no faffing around with a hairdryer. At the moment they come in two patterns - a gold glitter and lacey foral - but both are perfect for the party season. I was lucky enough to have mine applied by celebrity manicurist, Jessica Hoffman, but I can honestly say these have seemed the most simple to apply yet. For a start, most of the nail wraps I've used have been way too big for my nail - who IS the hand model these companies are basing their sizes on?
After finding a strip to fit your nail, peel off the plastic backing and place at the base of the nail (don't go over the cuticle). Gently press down across the nail - the more you do this the more it helps to bind the sticky back to the nail - then file off any excess at the tip of the nail and pull off. The great thing about these strips is they're so malleable so even when the strip was slightly too wide for my nail, rather than trimming it, Jessica simply placed her file parallel to the side of my nail and gently filed to remove the excess.
Nails after 2 days
The only cristicism I have of these strips is they didn't last quite long enough for me. The box says they'll last up to 10 days - I was expecting 7 - but after 3 days I noticed a little chip and by day 5 they looked so worn that I had to remove them. That's still longer than I typically get out of a painted manicure but next time I'll be adding a top coat over the strips. They're also not the easiest things to remove. They come off with nail polish remover but it took me about half an hour to get it all off. Definitely a party season must-have though. I'll be trying the gold glitter next with a top coat! Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips, £5.99, go on sale at Asda this month. Sx

Day 4

gelSPA Luxury Gel Bath

I first saw this product at Kilpatrick's Christmas open day, where a small mixing bowl had been filled with a satifyingly goopy pink gel. I tried it for myself a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed the spa-like treatment. Run your bath then add the first sachet to the water and mix around with your fingers. It will gradually turn into a soft, creamy gel, while the water turns a fuchsia pink. Don't stand there mixing all day though - it's not gel in the viscous, rubbery sense, more of a thick water, with gel beads. And do watch when you're stepping in - it makes the bath VERY slippery.

Once you're in, it really does feel like a spa treatment. The beads that gently buff the body - great if you're feeling stiff or sore - and it left my somewhat weather-worn winter skin feeling much softer. On top of that, it's been proven to maintain the water temperature for up to 4 times longer. When you're ready to get out, you pour in the second sachet and mix to turn the bath back into water.

My bath
There are three variants - Revive, Relax and Soothe - each tailored with specific aromatherapy oils. The gelSPA Luxury Bath Soak, £9.99, launches into Boots store this month. Sx

How cute! Japonesque Artisan Slant Tip Tweezer

Tweezers are like jeans. Once you find a good pair, you never want to let them go. I was sent Japonesque's Cow Print Artisan Slant Tip Tweezer, £15.50,, a few months ago and while I'm not sure they're top of my brow plucker list yet (I do like a slanted tip but it seems to take a few gos to whip out the hair with these) the pattern is to die for. Sx

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Saturdays + Fashionista

First there were crackle polishes. Then nail wraps. Now the latest nail effect to hit the masses is magnetic nail polish. Nails Inc and 17 are among the first brands to launch magnetic nail paints but it's Superdrug brand, Fashionista, that have been the most canny by launching 5 colours with The Saturdays. Each Saturday has her own shade - I'm wearing Una and Vanessa below.

To use, paint a single coat over each nail. Go over with a second coat, a nail at a time, and hold the magnet over each one for about 10 seconds. This was my first attempt - I think it will take a little more practice to get that real rippled effect. Fashionista Magnetism Nail Lacquer costs £6, while the Magnetized Nail Magnet, which slots onto the lid, will set you back £3. My one criticism is by having the magnet in the top of the lid it can prove a tad messy when turning upside down to hold over the polish. The polish on the brush then ran up to the lid - no actual spillages mind. I definitely think these will sell incredibly well for the brand, especially with The Saturdays on board. Sx

I Beliebe in a thing called love...

If you're a fellow Belieber, you should like totes head down to Westfield next Monday 7th November between 4 and 5pm to see the sought-after young man switch on the Christmas lights. Even I'm pretty impressed they managed to get the Bieber to turn up and turn on their lights!

On top of that, there's a rather exciting competition launching to win the chance to meet the man-boy himself! You'll also receive a pair of VIP tickets to see his performance in London, a bottle of Someday by Justin Bieber AND a copy of his new album Mistletoe - hey, am I allowed to go in for this?
For your chance to win, log on to (entry code is JBCOMP11) between now and midnight Thursday 3rd November (one entry per person only please). Winners will be selected and notified on Friday 4th November by phone and/or email. You will need to make your own travel arrangements and be able to arrive at Westfield Shopping Centre, White City, London at 3pm on Monday 7th November. Justin will be switching on the lights and performing between 4pm and 5pm. Sx

P.S If any of my friends enter this and win, I'm expecting an invite!

I'm back!

Hello Best Tressers,
Oh how I've missed you. Apologies for the severe lack of posting over the last few months. I've been covering at Woman's Own magazine, which has been fabulous, but not left much time for blogging about the latest launches.

After the sale
Let's begin with some good news. A couple of months ago, I ran another beauty sale and boy was it a big one! So much so, we managed to raise a staggering £300 for the East Africa Food Crisis Red Cross appeal - and with gift aid, that took it up to £370! Massive thanks must go to the lovely Hayley for providing her abode, cake-making skills and some rather fancy carrier bags (yes, we do beauty sales in style!). Thanks also to everyone who came - without you and your unwavering lust for mascara, tan and hairspray, we wouldn't have raised such an incredible amount for such a worthy cause. Final thanks go to all the fabulous PRs who are kind enough to send out samples - I'm so grateful for all your support. Sx

Thursday, 1 September 2011

One to Watch...Carmex Moisture Plus

A couple of months ago, I went to the launch of a new hero of a lip balm, Carmex Moisture Plus Ultra Hydrating Lip Balm, £4.49 (Boots). I don't know about you ladies but my lips have really taken a beating this summer. I'm kind of anti-Vaseline, just because the petroleum jelly tends to dry out the lips after a while, meaning you have to reapply it more often. Needless to say, I've been on the lookout for a lip-nourishing balm that will keep my pout hydrated all day. The new balm comes in three shades: clear, peach and pink, all of which provide a sheer, glossy finish. I've been wearing it for a week and the ultra-hydrating formula of Vitamin E, Aloe, Shea Butter (not forgetting SPF 15) really does keep your pout lip-smackingly hydrated for hours. The colours really are very sheer so if you're wanting more of a stain effect, then this probably isn't for you. The colour variation is so subtle in fact, I've included pictures below to illustrate. Sx


Friday, 19 August 2011

Noise from the Boys VII: BANGtidy

I’m not exactly an expert on the matter but as far as I can tell, the folks at Marc Jacobs know cool. An obvious point perhaps when discussing a big-hitting designer brand, but I feel it is a point I must emphasise in discussing BANG BANG for men, here’s why… There are lots of cool things about designer fragrances. Aside from the glaringly obvious ones like they make you smell nice, the brands carry the same prestige as they would if you were wearing their clothing, they make girls like you more, etc. But ultimately what is cool about fragrances is the range of subtleties and artfulness that form the whole package. There is no single definition of what is cool, it is a nebulous and flexible concept. What is cool changes depending on who you ask, what era you grow up in, where you’re from and any number of other variables. Similarly, fragrances that are cool vary in many ways; there are subtle, sophisticated scents that come in heavy, minimalist bottles; vibrant energetic scents that come in streamlined, metallic containers. And then there are the off-the-wall scents that just seduce you and you can’t explain why, as well as everything in between. BANG BANG, somehow manages to be sophisticated, vibrant and enigmatic in one, and a frankly sensational package.

Looking at the bottle - an aggressive, sharp, metallic blue sculpture - you could be forgiven for thinking that BANG BANG was going to smell brutal. The design concept is instantly engaging - a simple shape made exciting with a bold twist. This perfectly complements the fragrance itself. Think sophistication and elegance shot through with something fresh and invigorating. BANG BANG is a striking combination of fresh citrus notes riding on top of a smooth musky base. Like an enigmatic stranger in a classy bar, the zesty elements grab your attention and the softer, woody follow-through keeps you engaged for the rest of the evening, and before you know it you’ve been banged (sorry I had to do it sometime). This fragrance plays with the ideas that make up the cool spectrum - it has the balls to be overstated and bold in its presentation, and then confounds expectations with a complex and dynamic final product that is both subtle and striking. Since I picked this up I haven’t used another fragrance. BANG BANG is many things - a man for all seasons, a one night stand - but it is certainly cool.

Marc Jacobs Bang Bang EDT, £51 100ml, launches next week (stockist 0800 652 7661). E

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Are you a Belieber? Try Justin Bieber 'SOMEDAY'

I am not afraid to admit that I am a Justin Bieber fan - perhaps somewhat ironically though - I have an 'I heart JB' keyring - but I can still be found singing 'and I was like, babaaaaay, babaaaaay, babaaaaay, ohhhhhhh' in the bathroom and like to check-in every week or so and see how the Bieber and Selena (or Selieber) are getting on in their latest holiday snaps (thank you Daily Mail website). But would I wear his debut fragrance for women, 'SOMEDAY'? Erm well maybe...someday.

If someone asked me 'what are you wearing' there is absolutely no way I would tell them 'Justin Bieber - SOMEDAY'. But then again, I am a 25 year old woman with a semi-serious job (beauty product testing IS important I tell you!). Roll back 10 years and I would've lapped that scent up like my sister's dog around Aldi's Specially Selected Onion and Chive Butter Twists. Funnily enough, I got my mum to smell the fragrance yesterday - she is 54 and very knowledgable on her perfumes - and she loved it. She admitted she would definitely wear it but if asked what she was wearing she would conveniently forget. Hmmm.

So what has the Bieber got to say on his debut fragrance? “SOMEDAY is the idea that we can change the world, make our dreams come true, and even be with the one person that means everything,” he says. “Giving back has always been incredibly important to me, but let’s be honest... I wanted to create a fragrance for my female fans that I can’t get enough of... that I want to get next to and I can’t stay away from.” Clever, Bieber, very clever.

The reason I would maybe, someday, wear this fragrance - and it's not to get close to you Master Bieber - is because actually this fruity-floral smells quite nice. After my first spritz, though, it was a different story. Top notes of mandarin, pear and wild berries made me think this was going to veer into sickly-sweet territory - a personal fragrance turn off - but after 30 seconds or so this mellows into a deep floral heart of jasmine, water lily and coconut orchid. The base includes sandalwood, vanilla and soft musk and I must admit as an EDP, it lasts on the skin well. It doesn't smell young either, in case you were wondering. You only have to witness my mum's 'I'd wear that' reaction to realise that. Did my boyfriend like it? Well he was indifferent. But I'm impressed. This is a very admirable first fragrance attempt - although I'm not sure how involved JB was in the process - and so far it has won over 2 out of 2 Maylor girls...and we're a tough crowd. 

Before we leave this scent review, we must touch upon 'that' bottle. Does it remind you of something? It should do. It's pretty darn similar to Marc Jacobs Lola. Tactile rubber lid? Check. Pink-hued top? Check. According to reports, MJ (erm Marc Jacobs, not 'heeeeee-heeeee-owwwww' Jackson) is totally aware of JB's perfume bottle but has chosen not to take the matter further. I'm also surprised that Harrods are currently selling the fragrance exclusively - it will launch nationwide on 10th September. Are teeny-boppers even allowed into Harrods?

If you like the sound of this scent/want the possiblity of getting close to Bieber prices start at a very reasonable £23 for 30ml. Sx

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Over to you...

Hi Best Tressers,
How are you?

I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome the new followers and thank you regular Best Tressers for all your ongoing support. I also wanted to pick your beauty brains on what you wanted to see more of on the blog, from catwalk trend shots and make-up tips to simple reviews and E's grooming features. Post your comments below and I'll do my best to take in the changes.

Thanks a million,

One to Watch...Collection 2000 Colour Match Foundation

Adaptive makeup has been around for a few years now and judging by the still-persistant influx of skin-matching products, it doesn't show any sign of waning. Take the new Collection 2000 Colour Match Foundation, £5.99. It comes in 5 shades - Ivory, Light, Fair, Natural and Medium - but neglect those with darker skintones. Considering this is adaptive makeup we're talking about, I'm surprised there are so many shades covering such a small spectrum of skintones. It leads me to wonder, exactly how adaptive is it? The press release says it contains 'a unique skin tone technology'. Pretty vague, no? So I decided to perform a little experiment. I applied three blobs of three different shades on my hand then blended each in a straight, vertical line. I was shocked to see that the end result was so monotone. The three shades had 'adapted' to my skin tone so well that I could see no difference in each of the three areas. I will say though, that all of the three shades I tried were too pinky for my olive complexion so this is something to consider when you're testing it out.
Left to right: Ivory, Fair, Natural
Another plus side for a foundation, especially one that costs just £5.99, is it contains SPF20 and a hydrating cocktail of ingredients to keep skin plump throughout the day. And I must say, it feels lovely on the skin and masks blemishes well.
Each blended in their lines
Colour Match Foundation goes on sale at Superdrug from 31st August and Boots from 7th September. Sx

Artistic Colour Gloss Manicure The Review II

So my second round of the Artistic Colour Gloss Manicure went a lot better than the first. For those of you that are new to the blog, I trialled this long-lasting manicure back in March and was disappointed that the colour, said to last up to 3 weeks, chipped after 7 days. By the 10th day, the polish looked so worn I had to paint over it.

A few weeks ago I went to Urban Retreat, Harrods, where the manicure is now available and chose a gorgeous hot pink shade. I haven't had so many compliments on a nail colour since Essie's Disco Pink. They say a picture speaks 1000 words so I've been keeping a photo diary of my mani for you. As you can see, the colour stays pretty pristine until day 13, when my thumb chips. This nail breaks a couple of days later so I definitely think that the strength of your natural nail has a lot to do with the longevity of this manicure. If you have peeling, breakable nails like I do, no gel manicure is going to last as long. I started to notice the colour growing out around day 12 but not so a passer-by would notice. Even now (day 22) the colour is as glossy and healthy-looking as the first.

I'm now 3 weeks in and 4 of the nails are still perfect. The others are either slightly chipped or half-removed. I've been covering at Woman's Own this last couple of weeks (hence the lack of blog posts, sorry Best Tressers) and it's been a total joy not having to worry about removing chipped polish and repainting for work. I also want to point out that because the Artistic Colour Gloss gel is thinner than other long-lasting manicures, my nails haven't been as badly damaged. This mani has definitely won me over. Sx

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13 - first chip

Now day 21

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara

It's been out for a while now but I only just got my hands on a sample of Clinique's Bottom Lash Mascara, £10. To those of you - myself included - who have, up until now, just about managed to coat those pesky lower lashes with regular mascara, I'd urge you to give this a go. A couple of coats of Bottom Lash Mascara gives that wide-eyed 60s look that's proving popular at the moment.

The brush is about the size of erm, a baked bean (why is that the only comparison I could think of?). Actually probably a little bit smaller and it really does reach into the very inner corner of the eye and helps untangle those criss-cross lashes at the outer corner. The 24 hour, long wear formula is waterproof in cold water (great for those teary moments) and is best removed sans eye makeup remover (weird I know), but just with warm water instead. What I really liked about it was its ability to build up gradually into a really thick, Bambi-like result. And because the wand is nice and short, you end up with more control so that mascara smudges and flecks on the skin are a lot easier to avoid. If you're still not convinced you need an extra product clogging up your makeup bag, go to a Clinique counter and try it for yourself. Sx

Lower lashes coated with Bottom Lash Mascara