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

Monday, 31 January 2011

Tried & Tested...Maybelline 24hr LipColor

Plum Seduction

Timeless Brown

Red Passion
I must confess, I rarely wear lipgloss. Aside from the fact that a high-shine finish doesn't sit well with my slept-in eye makeup and purposely unkempt hair, I've never liked that sticky feeling or the inevitable hair-stuck-on-lips look. Then there's the constant topping up to consider...and did I even mention that gloss is a major kissing deterrent? But I'm always on the lookout for a gloss that's going to test my preconceptions...
LipColor immediately after application
I first encountered Maybelline New York 24hr LipColor, £8.99, at the brand's Christmas party. The array of 18 shades was seriously impressive - all bright reds and luscious pinks - but I did wonder, if like other well-known glosses, the colour would come out wishy-washy on application? Not so with Maybelline's gloss. I applied 'Red Passion' and it really is a classic, postbox red. The pictures actually don't do the colour justice. After the colour basecoat, designed to grip to the lips for hours, I applied the conditioning balm topcoat, which adds the glossy finish. The great thing about this for non-gloss wearers is it adds a subtle, healthy-looking shine, rather than all-out glossiness. I can promise you the gloss does not feel remotely sticky, rather your lips feel soft and conditioned, like wearing a lip balm.
The glass test
Immediately after applying I decided to put the gloss to the transfer test with a glass of juice. As you can see from the picture above, the colour transfer was minimal. And shockingly for a gloss-phobe, after less than an hour I totally forgot I was wearing any colour...the postman must have got a shock when I answered the door in pjs and scarlet lips! I will say be careful when applying it. Because the colour basecoat is designed to be adhesive, any mistakes will be difficult to correct without starting again. Removing it, also, is a challenge, but what would you expect for colour this long-lasting? A minute with a makeup wipe will do the job.
Lips 6 hours in, after food
Okay, so after 6 hours, two cranberry juices, 4 green teas, toast and a lunch of pitta breads and hummus, the very centre of my lips has worn off slightly. Not 24 hours but still pretty impressive in my book. I might be a glosser afterall! Sx

The Scentinail

Pink = Bubblegum, Orange = Mad About Mango (the lemon shade isn't a scented polish but a preview of one of their SS11 colours)

My boyfriend quite likes the smell of nail polish but while I don't find it abhorrent, I can't say it's a trip to the perfume counter. Imagine then, a nail polish that doesn't only avoid that chemical-heavy scent but actually smells, erm, nice! Cue Revlon Scents of Summer Nail Enamel, £6.49, a collection of 8 fluoro shades, each with its own fruity fragrance.

On application, you won't notice a difference - the polish still smells quite strong. But once dried, it takes on a subtle fruitiness like Refresher sweets, you know? Aside from the pleasant scents, the colour boasts amazing pigment (the pink and orange shades are the result of a single coat). The limited edition polishes go on sale in March so if you fancy all-out summery nails, get down to Boots quick. Sx

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Best Tressed Beauty Awards

Welcome, welcome, welcome to the first ever Best Tressed Beauty Awards. Here is my pick of the most amazing, can't-live-without-it products, from the foundations that keep my skin glowing to my favourite new launch celebrity fragrance.

As much as I would like to provide a category for every single beauty product on the market, for some there is simply too much choice.

I had hoped to include a Best Sun Protection category. I had chosen a winner (FYI, it was Lancome Soleil DNA Guard SPF 15) but have just found out it's being discontinued but will be replaced by a new exciting line, come April/May, cannot wait.

In the meantime, sit back, make a cup of tea, or heck, have a glass of champagne(these are beauty awards afterall) and read on to discover the hardest-working, most-deserving winners in beauty! Sx

Best Premium Foundation
Winner...Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, £31 (0207 493 3836)
Why? I've been using this foundation for the last two weeks and I'm completeley hooked on its dewy finish and barely-there feel. This is a light coverage foundation so I wouldn't recommend for blemish-prone skin - it won't mask acne - but it's perfect for duller complexions, at any age. The glow comes from the base's light diffusing complex, which creates a radiant finish. Simply shake well before use to mix the formula and apply. But be warned, once you've Chanel'd, you'll never go back.

Best Budget Foundation
Winner...Max Factor Xperience Weightless Foundation, £9.99 (Boots)
Why? As Best Tressed followers will know, I've spoken of the virtues of this light-as-a-feather foundation before. No other budget foundation that I've tried this year has left my skin looking so luminous. It even fakes that enviable see-through quality of perfect, alabastre complexions. What's remarkable is how weightless it feels on the skin so it's a must if you hate wearing foundation.

Best Lipstick
Winner...Revlon Matte Lipstick, £7.29 (Boots)
Why? Aside from the fact that matte is where it's at, Revlon's colour range and creamy textures mean it's always first on my lip-list. Once blotted, the colour won't transfer too much and lasts all night. My fave shades are the vampy Wine Not and classic Really Red.

Best Mascara

Winner...L'oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes Mascara, £10.99(Boots)
Why? This mascara is unbeatable in terms of lash separation. That's the main event, I guess. But as a much-welcome bonus, it also delivers coal-black colour, serious length and all-out curl. This mascara shows you really don't need to spend £30 when the results are this good for £10.99!

Best Smoky Eye
Winner...Bourjois Effet Smoky Pencil in Ultra Black, £5.49 (0800 269 836)
Why? As a devout wearer of the smoky eye, I cannot believe it's taken me so long to discover this gem. The double-ended pencil has creamy charcoal colour one end, and a brush the other. Now the reason this is such an effective pencil is because, rather than a typical sponge smudger (which just seems to buff colour away) it uses a super soft brush. Simply outline your eye (I love this worn under my lashes for a Daisy Lowe-esque look) and smudge with the brush.

Best Makeup Accessory
Winner...Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers, £20 (
Why? I'd heard makeup artists, journalists and friends bang on about these curlers for years but it wasn't until I tried them that I totally got it. Yes, I've been through my fair share of cheaper lash curlers, from plastic to heated, but nothing does the job like these lightweight lash curlers.

Best Nail Polish
Winner...OPI Nail Lacquer in Over the Taupe, £10.50 (
Why? Look at it. Just look at it! Do I really need to justify my choice any further? Oh well, if you must know, the brushes are the perfect size (3 strokes will cover the nail perfectly) and the formulas are easy to apply. Two coats of OPI and, as long as you're not gardening or redecorating, your mani will stay flawless for a good few days.  

Best Cleanser
Winner...Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, £13.25 100ml and two cloths (
Why? I've been using this cleanser for a couple of years now and I'm pretty sure I always will. Yes, other cleansers may come and go - a change is as good as a rest for skin, I suppose - but the thick, luxurious texture (it's like cleansing with your fave moisturiser), gentle, skin-sloughing muslin cloths and soft, smooth finish will always lure me back. As a footnote, this has proven a great cleanser for blemish-prone, oily skin. My complexion has never been as clear since swapping to this.

Best Facial-in-a-Bottle
Winner...Clinique Turnaround Instant Facial, £31 (
Why? This mask/scrub hybrid is satisfyingly abrasive, leaving skin facial-fresh. Chestnut extract works to buff the skin physically, while salicylic acid encourages the skin to shed dead skin and boost cell turnover for more even-toned, radiant skin. I always use this before a night out for a glowing complexion.

Best No Fuss Moisturiser

Winner...Johnson's Hydrating 24Hour Day Cream with SPF 15, £3.99 (Boots) 
Why? I've been brought up with the idea that as long as you hydrate your skin, it doesn't matter if you use a £5 or a £50 moisturiser, and if I'm really honest, I still believe that today. With that in mind, Johnson's creamy moisturiser does exactly what it needs to. Some thick formulas cause my skin to breakout but since using this, my skin has been clear, soft and glowing. Even better, it has SPF 15 so you know you're covered. 

Best Glow-Getter
Winner...Liz Earle Superskin Rollerball, £18.40 (
Why? The thought of putting oil on my combination skin never appealed to me. I took this rollerball home one night to try and instantly fell in love with it. I'm not going to lie - for those not used to applying facial oils, it will feel greasy - but no moisturiser has left my skin so glowing and plumped-looking come morning. It's my winter skin saviour!

Best Anti-Aging
Winner...Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Concentrate, £29.99 for 6 5ml Ampoules (Boots)
Why? While, I have tried this on my skin (FYI, it's a non-greasy, silky-feeling serum that leaves skin ultra soft) I can't yet comment on its anti-aging benefits. My mum, however, loved this product. The filler uses Saponin, which has been found to boost the skin's own production of wrinkle-filling Hyaluronic Acid by 256%. The technology is really interesting - dermal fillers use special long-chain Hyaluronic Acid molecules to plump-out deep lines. However, when applied topically in creams these long-chain molecules stay on the surface of the skin and therefore have little effect on wrinkles. Having shortened the molecule chains, this clever serum is able to penetrate deeper into the skin. The Hyaluronic Acid molecules then bind water within the skin to provide an instant plumping effect. My mum's skin was definitely softer and smooth-looking.  

Best Shower Cream
Winner...Rituals Mousse au Hammam Shower Mousse, £7.90 (
Why? The thick, indulgent mousse changes to a creamy foam on contact with the skin, while nourishing Argan oil ensures skin stays soft post-shower. But the real seller is the fig scent. Even hours after my shower, E always comments on the smell of my skin.

Best Body Buffer
Winner...Darphin Nourishing Smoothing Body Scrub, £36 (0870 034 2566)
Why? If any product can make you feel as if you've been instantly transported to a spa, it's this one. Not only is the aromatic scent to-die-for, it's a scrub that actually feels like it's doing something to the skin, without being clumsily-abrasive. Most importantly, the exfoliators are supported by nourishing, hydrating ingredients to leave the skin smooth, luminous and silky-feeling.

Best Fake Tan
Winner...St Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Body, £14.30 (
Why? Is it a moisturiser? Is it a tan? Well the answer is both. After many self tan mistakes, I much prefer the safety cushion-feeling of a gradual tan. Not only will this allow you to build up gorgeous, golden colour but the aloe vera formula leaves skin super-smooth.

Best Shampoo

Winner...James Brown London Richly Moisturising Shampoo, £6.12 (
Why? I always come back to this shampoo. It doesn't produce a great deal of lather but don't let that fool you. This shampoo is seriously deep-cleansing and the fresh scent whisks you straight to a Spring morning. 

Best Conditioner
Winner...Kerastase Masque Chroma Reflect, £25.30 (
Why? For a start, it smells like perfume (specifically, like Ralph Lauren Ralph EDT, which I used to wear at 16). The texture is thick and luxurious - you can almost feel it nourishing your hair. I have thick hair that tends to knot easily (perhaps because I prefer that unkempt, unbrushed look) but 5 minutes with this conditioner/masque and my hair is smooth and tangle-free.

Best Hair Colourant
Winner...John Frieda Precision Foam Colour, £9.99 (Boots)
Why? If you haven't switched to a foam colourant, then why not? The mess-free application makes colouring a much less stressful task. And if you had to pick one, I'd choose JF everytime. Call me a snob but there's something so much more luxurious and high-end about latex gloves in black. Aside from the aesthetics, the permanent colourant comes in 20 luscious shades and promises 100% grey coverage. Simply mix the developer and colourant then tilt (that's TILT, not shake) to mix and squeeze to dispense the foam. I chose 5R Medium Red Brown and I've never had so many compliments on my colour!

Best Hair Treatment

Winner...Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment, £6.99 (Boots)
Why? I cut my hair into a bob last year and while I loved the style, I never intended to keep it (long hair is just 'me'). When it reached this annoying mid-length, too long to be cute, too short to do anything interesting with, I started to use this treatment. That was 4 weeks ago and my hair must be at half an inch longer. Not that much, you might say but it is when you consider my hair has been trimmed in those 4 weeks! Full of hair-nourishing proteins, it encourages healthy hair from the root for thicker, quicker growth. FYI, it smells divine too!

Best Fragrance
Winner...Balenciaga Paris EDP, from £44 (
Why? Classic. Chic. Timeless. This is a light, almost minimalist fragrance, with violet top notes and a pure, woody base. I haven't experienced a scent like this in a while, where from the first spritz, it smacks of a future classic. It also transcends age - I would wear it, only my mum's whipped it.

Best Celebrity Fragrance

Winner...Beyonce Heat EDP, £29 50ml (Boots)
Why? I'm not afraid to say that I'm a bit of a celeb fragrance snob. Even SJP's lovely 'Lovely' wouldn't induce me to swap my Chanel 'Coco Mademoiselle' for a celebrity-endorsed fragrance. But I was VERY pleasantly surprised by B's debut perfume. It's unusual but familiar at the same time, with floral top notes of magnolia, neroli and red vanilla orchid, with a sensuous base of tonka bean and amber. I've worn it a few times now, and E's complimented me on it every single time. A winner with boys and girls alike!

Best Innovation
Winner...Barry M Instant Nail Effects, £3.99 (
Why? Because no other product has caused such a buzz this year. This is the product I'm asked most about, and with good reason. Nail art is big news but not all of us are dexterously-adept enough to fiddle around with nail pens. A quick slick of Barry M's top coat and you have an instantly chic look for less than a fiver.

Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to all the fabulous PRs who send me such amazing products to paint, scrub and spritz - you've all made it incredibly difficult to pick just one winner for each category. I'd like to thank you all for your continued support of Best Tressed and I look forward to a new year of blog-worthy products! See you for next year's awards Best Tressers, Sx

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Rotate, don't shake, says Bourjois!

That's certainly the message of the new Bourjois Volume Fast & Perfect Mascara, £11.99 (Boots), which has a spinning wand. Now, I've tried vibrating mascaras (the vibrating action is supposed to mimic the makeup artist technique of wiggling the wand up the lashes for an even coat) but I've got to say I haven't been convinced. If anything the constant 'brrrring' is kind of off-putting and you can't seem to get right into the corners of your lashes without smudging. Needless to say, I was slightly sceptical about this new mascara from Bourjois. Yes it spins, rather than vibrates, but is this just another gimmick, designed to cause a stir in the beauty industry so that you the consumer will buy into the hype and go out in your droves to purchase?

I think not. Because, actually when you really think about it, a rotating wand does make complete sense. By spinning in both a clockwise and anticlockwise direction, it lifts the lashes and coats from the very base to the tip evenly. It is a little odd at first but after one eye, you'll feel as if you've always used a rotating mascara. You even have the option to switch off too, so if you'd rather coat your bottom lashes normally, you can! The press release does say you'll only need one coat, and I'm sure for most people this would be true. I like my lashes to be thick-looking so did opt for a second coat. Where I found this mascara to be especially helpful is coating and curling those pesky outer eye lashes. Mine are straight and stick out to the sides, but this mascara managed to curl them upwards.

I am very fussy when it comes to mascaras - I like my lashes to look less natural, more Cheryl Cole - but I'm really impressed with the result. So much so, I've chucked out my current mascara in favour of this one. The mascara goes on sale in May...on your marks, get set, go! Sx

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Check out a sneak preview of Angellica Bell's NTA 'do

In preparation for tonight's National Television Awards, presenter Angellica Bell hopped down to HOB Salon Camden for a glam updo courtesy of Mary Roberton.

The slick side sweep is bang on trend for SS11 - think Gucci and Prada's power partings. The extra height is perfect for rounder faces and it's the sort of style that even short tresses can attempt. Just slick back the hair in a pony and add a clip-in ponytail extension to curl. 

I wonder if tonight will be a war of glam updos vs laidback 'n loose? Sx

You massive winker!

Have you ever caught yourself winking in the mirror, or on camera, and thought to yourself, "God, I have a great wink!"? If the answer is yes, shame on you, you arrogant so and so! But perhaps you should put such a wink to good use and enter No7's search. To mark today's launch of No7 Exquisite Curl Mascara, £13.50, the Boots brand are scouring the UK for amazing lashes and gorgeous eyes.

If you want to enter, upload your wink pic to their Facebook page, from 26th January - 16th February. The entries will be judged by No7 creative consultant, Lisa Eldridge and ambassador Keeley Hawes, who gives her own wink a go above. Sx
Here's one I made earlier


A Soiree with Remington

Last Thursday I went to a lovely bloggers evening with Remington, which began on the top floor of the Royal Festival Hall, overlooking the Thames (the evening continued with a trip to saucy magic show, La Soiree). Aside from the fabulous location, the drinks (champagne, of course), canapes (on the menu were mini mushroom risotto, honeyed chorizo and Teriyaki beef), and products (a showcase of Remington's male grooming, depilation and hair tools) were even more so.

Me and my Plus-Mum
 The lovely Cirkle PRs were on hand to guide everyone through the products, while super stylist, Chris Appleton (FYI, so super he's jetting out to style the Chanel models at the couture shows this week!) was there to demonstrate Remington's styling tools and jzeush our hair at the same time. I really wanted to pick Chris's brain on the best way to achieve long-lasting volume. He began by backcombing the roots of the tops two layers of hair, spritzing each section with hairspray. Next, smooth irons over this backcombed section back and forth for a few seconds to create volume memory. Chris used the Remington Peal Straightener, £84.99, which have moving plates so your hair won't snag and temperature control so you won't burn your scalp. He then brushed the hair back and teased into place.

Chris then used the Protect & Shine Tongs, £22.99, to create loosely tousled locks. Now, I've always found tongs kind of difficult to get to grips with - I seem to end up with a mass of tightly-wound poodle curls - but Chris suggested wrapping the hair around the barrel by hand (rather than clipping hair in place with the tong), keeping the last inch or so away from the barrel to create a more dishevelled, relaxed look. After working through the hair, he brushed out the curls with his fingers and sprinkled the roots with dry shampoo for extra bounce.

Three people commented that my hair was like Cheryl Cole's. Even after 3 days, my hair was STILL as bouncy - creating that locked in volume with the irons really worked. I'm looking forward to trying this myself, and as soon as possible. I don't want to go back to my boring old 'Steph' hair...Cheryl is so much more fun! Sx

A day of launches...

Yesterday was a busy day in the beauty calendar, with not 1, not 2, but 3 exciting launches. The day started off in the Soho Hotel with the lovely Dermalogica. I'm a devout fan of their skincare (their Microfoliant is my pick for gentle, daily buffing) and for those of you who are also followers their new range for sensistive skin is a must. The range, which launches in May, will include a reformulated cleanser and barrier repair, facial mist, masque and serum (the hero product, apparently) but more to follow on this.

Next was a quick dash to the Bourjois Spring/Summer press day, where celebrity makeup artist, Cassie Lomas, was on hand to expertly guide me through the new products. The signature look is inspired by ballet - think pearlescent skin, silver eyes and rosy lips. Most exciting is their new rotating mascara, Volume Fast & Perfect Mascara, which spins to open up the lashes and coat evenly. I saw the end result on one of the lovely PR girls and its curling prowess is seriously exciting! Cannot wait to try. I was lucky enough to squeeze in a quick manicure with Marina Sandoval, manicurist to Elle McPherson and Claudia Schiffer. I chose the new So Laque Ultra Shine in Bleu Asphalte, £7.99 (available mid April), a gorgeous denimy-blue.

Finally, it was to Tresemme's pop up salon for a lowdown on their new products. It seems they don't do things by halves, launching a whopping 11 new products on shelf this April. We were given a demo and you'll be glad to know, as with most of Tresemme's products, pro results are easy to achieve. I'm particularly excited about the new Sky High Plumping Powder, £5.99, the first dust dry shampoo available on the hight street! FYI, it's great for priming hair for updos too! Sx

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Victoria's Pregnancy Secret

It's a mystery to my why some women go through multiple pregnancies without a single stretch mark in sight (my mum is one of them and having had three large babies at 8lbs11, 9lbs1 and 9lbs6, she was lucky to escape) and others are prone.

It seems Victoria Beckham is taking no chances in her fourth pregnancy with Rodial Stretch MX, £59 ( The gel is said to boost cell renewal so that skin can stretch without marking. Posh has apparently stocked up her bathroom with the anti-stretch mark must-have, ready for the next 6 months.

For those who already suffer from stretch marks, sadly this product won't minimise existing marks, only inhibit the formation of new ones. For red marks use a green concealer, like ELF Studio Complexion Perfection, £3.50 ( to neutralise redness and keep skin well hydrated with a body oil. Sx

Monday, 24 January 2011

Golden Globes = Natural Nails

Apologies for droning on about those Golden Globes again but I felt it necessary to flag up a serious SS11 trend with natural nails. Yes the dresses might have been an array of emerald, poppy and royal blue colour, but nails were kept nude and minimal, as worn by Angelina Jolie, Lea Michelle and January Jones. Now this look might seem as easy as 1, 2, file but a look this chic, this healthy-looking takes a little work. Cue expert nail technician, Michelle Class, who gives her top tips for natural nails.

* 'Ditch the statement polish. Who wants a gorgeous natural nail, stained with the remnants of last season’s berry red? To avoid nasty post-polish stain, press lightly on the nail for a few seconds with cotton wool pads soaked in a high-quality remover. Allow the remover to soften the polish and then wipe away from the cuticle to the tip. Repeat until nails have been restored to their former glory. Use a professional polish remover such as Seche Erase, £1.95, infused with tea tree, lavender and essential oils for a thorough clean.'

* 'To create an even, rounded edge always sweep from side to centre when filing nails. For A-list nail treatment, upgrade your emery board to a crystal file which will seal the nail edge as it files, preventing splitting. Only file back and forth if using a crystal file.'

BEAUTY TIP: I use Leighton Denny's Crystal Nail File, £15 ( for super smooth, kind-to-the-nail filing.

* 'Cuticles need love and attention on a weekly basis. Don’t cut cuticles as this will damage them and can lead to infection. Use a good cuticle cream with exfoliating AHAs, which gently remove excess skin and moisturise at the same time. You need your cuticles to have long and luscious nails, so treat them with respect! Use a super moisturising cuticle softener such as Seche Soft, £5.95, enriched with vitamins and AHAs to penetrate and softens cuticles.'

* 'Exfoliating is essential in any gorgeous girl’s skin routine, and the nail is no different! Buffing the nail is like exfoliating the skin and will stimulate circulation, smoothe ridges and remove stains to give you glowing fingertips. Michelle recommends the Tropical Shine Large 4 Way Buffer, £5.95. Use to bring back the shine every few days but be careful not to over-buff as this can thin the nail.

* 'For the finishing touches, start with a base coat such as Seche Clear, £7.95, specially formulated to provide a clear base coat for nail polish that will not yellow. Follow with a natural shade like Seche Rose Nail Lacquer, £8.95, which has a creamy consistency and contrasts perfectly with the natural pigment of the nail, giving a glossy and beautiful finish. Always finish with an award winning top coat like Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat, £8.95. Leaving the nail silky soft, it creates the highest gloss of any product on the market today, and will not drag or streak the underlying manicure.'

FYI...I've long-loved Seche Vite's Fast Dry Top Coat. It adds serious longevity to polish and dries in a flash. All Seche products are available from Sx

Thanks Katy Perry!

Shatter Top Coat

'Not Like the Movies'
I have a lot of gratitude towards KP right now...I finally got my hands on some samples of her new range for OPI and it's like all my 'Teenage Dreams' have come true! As per all OPI lacquers, the formulas are just right, i.e. not too thin, not too thick, and the pigment is pretty good - you will need at least two coats of 'Not Like the Movies', £9.95 (01923 240 010) though. The colour looks like a metallic grey from the bottle but on nails it's more of a shimmering silver (see picture).

'Not Like the Movies' after two coats
After the second coat had dried I applied the co-ordinating Shatter Top Coat, £9.95, a black polish that cracks as it dries. And it certainly dries quickly. You'll need to practice painting on exactly the right amount - too little and the shards of black are too small and too much creates a thick pattern, more prone to chipping. Visually though, it looks amazing. Definitely one to experiment pass 'The One That Got Away' (FYI, it's Katy's ruby-pink shade and it's next on my hitlist!). Sx