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

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Jennifer Aniston Gets the Chop!

Is there any better beauty news than a Jennifer Aniston hair tweak? I don't think so, and her latest 'do is no exception. Jen's long, sun-kissed locks have been lopped off into a razored, shoulder-skimming bob, and her colour has been revved up with icy-blonde highlights. While it is a very similar cut and colour to the jaw-framing bob she experimented with in the seventh series of 'Friends', it's refreshing to see Jen with a more on-trend cut and colour.

Check out her new look here... Sx

Bourjois Limited Edition Blush

Another set of limited edition colours from Bourjois - this time, 6 of their best-selling blushers have been transformed with Parisian-themed artwork by textile designer, Juliete Bure. The shades, £7.49, range from sheer coral to matt pink and are available exclusively at Boots stores and online from today! Better get glowing then! Sx

From top - Ambre d'or, Rose ambre, Lilas d'or, Rose Coup de foudre, Rose de jaspe, Rose d'or

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Bath bombs turn chic

It looks like a cupcake. It smells like a cupcake (sort of). But bite down on it and you'll crack your teeth. Actually this glitter-flecked cake-imposter is a bath bomb, or bath melt, if you will. Designed by aromatherapist, Caroline Rose, the Rose & Co Patisserie de Bain Bath Melts, from £10, have just launched into  House of Fraser's beauty emporium, the Apothecary.

In the name of research I just took a nice bath - it's a hard life - and plopped in my strawberry-flavoured melt. Unlike giant bath bombs, which bubble violently underneath the water's surface, this bath melt's exhalation was more of a gentle fizz and lasted 5 minutes. It left the water slightly cloudy but gladly didn't leave those annoying chunky floral bits that brands have convinced themselves are a nice touch...not when your bath feels chalky for days and you have to scoop them out of the plughole, thank you very much! I couldn't really detect much of a framboise fragrance whilst submerged but once I got out my skin had a subtle strawberry scent. The melts release a hydrating cocktail of shea and cocoa butter with almond oil and I definitely feel the benefits. My skin is super soft and everso slightly greasy-feeling, the type of feeling you get after applying a body oil. Still, I don't quite know what to make of these. At £10 for 3 they're on the dear side and while my skin did feel soft, it's nothing a good slick of moisturiser wouldn't achieve. By the end I was sort of missing that violent fizz...Sx

Revamped L'oreal Eyeshadows

The new L'oreal Paris Color Infallible Eye Shadows, £6.99 (nationwide) claim many reworked, revamped benefits, including enhanced colour intensity, a smoother, velvety feet and long-wearing hold. Since trying two of the new delectable shades yesterday (Burning Black and Endless Chocolate, if you care to know), I can attest to all three claims.

'Burning Black'

Flash off - Endless Chocolate top, Burning Black bottom

Flash on - shimmer
I applied the shadow swatches with my finger and the texture really is a joy to blend. It feels almost foamy-soft - not at all rough or bumpy - and smoothes on to the skin effortlessly. Next, to the pigment. I think the pictures speak for themselves - the end result is impressively intense but it did take a couple of applications to build up the colour to this level. Finally to longevity. I applied the colour in the morning and to be honest, once my long-sleeved Luella jumper was on, completely forgot I was supposed to be testing! When it came to my evening bubble bath I got a shock to see the colour was just as shimmery, just as intense, 10 hours later! It even took a little effort with a flannel to remove so there's no doubt in my mind that this colour will take you through an evening of hardcore S Club 7 dance routines (just your average 'Stephanie' night out), no touch-ups required! Sx

Monday, 21 February 2011

Andrea Maylor...Colour Chameleon

My sister is one of those jammy girls that has mousey enough hair to lighten up, brows that suit deep brunette tresses and a skintone that can even pull off red hues. In the space of 12 months, Andrea has gone from blonde to brunette to a deep copper/auburn shade as of last week. As the shade-swapper says herself,
'Ive always been quite experimental with colour and since going brunette, after a bright blonde shade, my hair's felt a bit dull. Red is the colour of the season so I thought, "why not?" Warren at HOB Salons, Camden ( created this cool terracotta hue. And I just love it!'

Blonde bombshell?

Dark and mysterious?

Red hot?

But, Best Tressers, which do you prefer? Vote in the Best Tressed poll now! Sx

A gift set worth buying...

A lot of the time with gift sets, brands seem to plonk a load of mismatched products together in a pretty box in the hope that the cutesy packaging and most often, discounted price, will lure you into whipping out your credit card. But finally, I've found a gift set - the Nars Tainted Love Gift Set, £44 ( to be precise - that gets my attention. Yes the packaging is attractive and yes, with full size products, you do make a saving, but this is a gift set with as much substance as there is style. The products seem to have been carefully co-ordinated - the gold-flecked Angelika Lip Gloss flatters the Schiap Nail Polish, without being too matchy-matchy. And any set that includes the multi-tasking hero that is the Nars Multiple has got to be a winner. After the success of the aforementioned Angelika Lip Gloss, comes the Angelika Multiple - a pale pink hue with subtle gold particles - exclusive to the gift set. Sold! Sx

New L'oreal Ambassador!

Following the recent news that Gwen Stefani has joined Team L'oreal, the 'Because You're Worth It' brand have just announced a further addition in Aimee Mullins. Now until today, I'd never heard of the athlete/model/actress but with her enviable locks and dainty features, I'm not surprised she's been signed. I'm really looking forward to seeing the brand's new campaigns...Sx

Friday, 18 February 2011

The Britney Hair Appeal Part III

Britney. I've been waiting for this for a very long time, and aside from the hair (which obviously refuses to be brushed and/or trimmed) you haven't disappointed.

I don't know what all the furore surrounding the alleged body double was about though. If she had the arms of Nicole Richie I might have understood but good old Britters - which it obviously is - still looks like she enjoys the odd frappuccino, or two. Sx

Daisy Train...


To celebrate the start of London Fashion Week today, as well as the launch of the new Daisy Eau So Fresh EDT, £48, a fleet of four black cabs will be kitted out Marc Jacobs-style, covered in grass and daisies. Please, if anybody clocks one of the amazing cabs over the next week, let me know - it's the London equivalent of spotting an Eddie Stobart lorry on the M1.

Now for the fragrance...I'm yet to smell this new variation but as many of you will know, I'm a loyal Daisy-wearer. I can't imagine MJ improving upon the freshness of the original but apparently the new perfume is a fruity-floral that 'radiates with crisp raspberry, sensuous wild rose, and deep and warm plum,' according to the press release. The fragrance is already available exclusively at Harvey Nichols but will launch nationwide on 27th February. Sx

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Get the look...Pixie Lott's Brits 'do

Now, I didn't spot Pixie Lott at the Brits but, by God, she was there alright. Like Ellie Goulding and MTV's Alice Levine, she popped in to her regular hair haunt, HOB Salon Camden, for a pre-Brit spruce-up. To perfectly complement her black lace Dolce & Gabanna maxi dress, Pixie went for a Bardot-inspired 'do, with a trademark Boho twist, courtesy of HOB Salons' Claire Dawson. 'Pixie often opts for the bohemian look, but we wanted to go for something a bit different that incorporated elegant structure. We kept the hair soft around the face creating a dishevelled feel whilst the rest of the hair incorporated sexy volume giving her that extra glam-factor.’


Get the look

Step 1. Working with towel dried hair, begin by smoothing through the mid-lengths and ends of your hair with Velvet Amplifier (£9.65 @ HOB Salons) from the new Wella Professionals Style range. Next, using a large round bristle brush, blow-dry the hair smooth until dry.

Step 2. Place the hair in a centre parting. Next, begin backcombing the hair throughout the crown creating soft volume, then using ghd Classic Stylers (£99.00 @ HOB Salons) construct a soft curl on the ends of the hair giving it a feminine feel.

Step 3. Gather the hair back into a ponytail below the crown and secure in place, leaving the front fringe section and top crown area loose. Using grips, take sections of the ponytail hair and strategically place these pieces around the ponytail base and build up the hair on the crown area. This will gradually build up the shape, but be sure to leave some pieces to fall loose creating a chic, dishevelled feel. To finish, simply place the fringe area into place and gently tease the sides to give softness around the face and finally complete with Sebastian Shaper Fierce Hairspray (£15.95 @ HOB Salons) to give ultimate hold and that red-carpet shine!

Tip from the top...Bring this look to life with a detailed accessory of your choice to compliment your attire.

SHAZAM! Mac's Wonder Woman Collection

Get yourself down to right now for the launch of the brand's new Wonder Woman Collection. This is the sort of makeup - with its pop art-bright packaging and punchy pigment - that you want to leave on show, scattered about your room. I've got my eye on the fuchsia pigment! Sx
Eye Quad - Defiance, £36

Lipglass in Wonder Woman, £17

Opulash Mascara in Themyscira, £14.50

Pigment in Bright Fuchsia, £17

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Brits Nailed

It wasn't just her dulcet tones that were flawless at Tuesday night's Brit Awards - Adele's makeup and nails were spot on too. I've just discovered that she opted for Revlon's Nail enamel in Vixen, £6.49 (Boots), a delicious plummy shade.

While Critic's Choice recipient, and all round style-maker, Jessie J, chose Revlon's Blackest Black, £6.49, as the base for her arty creation by nail technician Jenny Longworth. Sx

Charitable Talons

Is there anything that can make you feel better than perfectly polished nails? Well, yes, actually there is...Perfectly polished nails via a charitable donation. Lush spa brand, Cowshed, has collaborated with nail gurus, Essie, to create their first, limited edition nail varnish, with all the proceeds going to the Starlight Children's Foundation. The charity grants wishes to poorly children - a worthy cause, I'm sure you'll agree.  

Airing tonight on Channel 5, the 'Starlight for Children' series celebrates the charity's 25th anniversary. The Cowshed/Essie collaboration is the result of a wish from a girl called Becky, who wanted a mani-pedi with Holly Willoughby and Fearne Cotton. Going one better, the brands worked together to create this bespoke 'Becky's Wish' nail colour. The heavenly royal blue polish, £10, is available at from today. I can't think of a more glamorous way to give to charity! Sx

Try a Trend...Neon Streaks

I've been longing for a flash of fluoro colour through my locks since seeing Katy Perry's pink and blue streaks. Luckily, Lee Stafford was at hand with his Colour XTreme Colour Sprays in Azure Blue and Passionate Pink, £4.07 (Boots). I decided to use the pink spray one night after a courage-inducing glass of Pinot Grigio. I shook the spray for about 10 seconds until you can hear the metal ball and began spraying. At first I thought my hair was too dark to show up the colour. On closer inspection, I saw that the pink spritz lay on my hair in neon liquid balls and simply brushed out with the stroke of a brush.
Refusing to let this deter me, I then enrolled the help of my sister's tresses. The blue spray worked like a charm (I think I must have been unlucky with the pink). I took a section from underneath the top layer and after shaking, began spritzing in short bursts. The pigment was impressive and the aerosol made precise application easy enough. Be warned though, the colour will transfer so steer clear of white pillowcases. All in all, a great way to update tired tresses. Sx

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Get the look...Ellie Goulding

What a week! First the BAFTAs, then the impossibly hip Elle Style Awards (yes I said 'hip', I'm a middle-aged woman trapped in a 24 year old's body, what of it?) and tonight we have the Brits! Hoorah! To get herself primped and err, pink, for the event, Ellie Goulding, hot-footed it down to HOB Salon, Camden, for a cut and colour.

Current British Colour Technician of the Year and HOB Salons’ Creative Colour Director, Christel Lundqvist, who is the genius behind Ellie's on-trend pastel hue, says ‘Ellie really loved the pale rose blonde shade I created for her last year, so updating her look to work in line with fashion for Spring/Summer 2011, we created an infusion of tones to create a bespoke rose dust effect.’

So if you fancy a similar hue (and why wouldn't you? I just tried to add DIY temporary pink streaks to my hair to no avail, BOO!) Christel advises, ‘This look can be achieved with a creative highlighting service followed by a toner. Mixtures of very light blondes and soft delicate tones were used to create a rose dust effect which is perfectly on trend for Spring/Summer 2011.’

And as for the cut, 2009 British Hairdresser of the Year Akin Konizi says, ‘Ellie is known for her trademark dishevelled locks, so to create more movement I added shorter layers and redefined her fringe area to add texture. With the addition of her undercut, we created an edgier finish to balance with the softness and femininity of her new dusty pink hue.’

It's time to THINK PINK! Sx

Get the look...Thandie Newton

I don't think I've ever seen Thandie Newton with a bad outfit, let alone bad makeup. Hers is the type of classic beauty that could look just as eye-catching with barely a hint of makeup, as with a heavily smoked eye or colour-popping lips. Learn how to get Thandie's BAFTA look of glowing skin and softly-smoky eye, courtesy of makeup maestro, Caroline Barnes.

Step 1. To recreate Thandie’s beautiful complexion, avoid using a heavy or matt foundation, and use a fresh, light reflecting base underneath to make skin look effortlessly healthy but with a modern finish. Olay Total Effects Touch of Foundation, £18.99, is perfect for this look- as it combines both anti-aging moisture, with beautifully flawless coverage. Pump a pea size amount onto your fingers tips and blend outwards from the centre panel of your face.
Tip from the Top: Don’t forget to blend the foundation down your neck as well, especially if you are wearing a strapless dress like Thandie. You want the tone of your face to blend in with the rest of your body; this will ensure your skin looks as natural as possible.
Step 2. Use translucent powder to dust around your nose and chin. You want your skin to look fresh and glowing not oily. So it’s important to mattify your T zone area. Thandie has added warmth to her skin and applied a warm pink across the top of her cheekbones up towards her hairline. Applying your blusher like this gives a very gentle feminine touch to your complexion.

Step 3. Groomed eyebrows are very important on the red carpet, as they define and frame your eyes. Try Blink Eyebrow Pencils, £13 ( they do a huge range of shades. The tip is to use a shade that is actually slightly lighter than your own so that the final effect is just definition rather than just darker brows. Extend the shape outwards to make your eyes appear bigger.

Step 4. Thandie wears a very subtle but defined smoky eye. She has used a very delicate browny pink to flatter her skin tones and dress. Apply the shade over your eyelid but don’t take it any higher than your socket. Sweep the colour underneath your lower lashes and blend well so the effect is soft and diffused. Next use a black liquid liner on the top lid and extend out slightly to add definition.

Step 5. With a soft black kohl pencil like Mac Eye Kohl in Smoulder, £13, line the waterline of your eyes. This little trick gives amazing definition without your eyes looking overly made up. Using a cotton bud smudge a small amount of the kohl underneath the lower lashes and blend out towards the liquid liner.

Step 6. Finish off with two coats of mascara but make sure they are not too thick and cloggy just long and elegant. I love Max Factor Lash Extension Effect, £10.99.

Step 7. To create the same beautiful on trend matt lip use Max Factor Lipfinity Lip Tint Pen in Marshamllow 05, £7.99. This product is perfect for the red carpet as once applied it stays and will last all night. The pen applicator makes it very simple for everyone to achieve a beautiful lip shape.

Hidden nail gem

I've never used an Estee Lauder polish before, and boy, what was I missing? Already a fan of their Bronze Goddess bronzer and coconutty fragrance, I applied the Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Pure Red, £14 ( last night as a quick fix for the big V-day. The formula is smooth to paint and the brush is the perfect size for accurate application. The lacquer is quite thin but the pigment is amazing. I only had time to paint one coat before E was returning from work and it couldn't be a truer red. Sx

Monday, 14 February 2011

The new manicure?

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with manicures. I love the filed squoval shape and perfectly-polished finish. I hate putting my coat on and immediately smudging. And despite 20 painstaking minutes of buffing, snipping, filing, base coat, polish and top coat, I'm guaranteed to notice a chip the following day. By day 3, my nails look such a state that I have to remove the polish altogether.

Day 1

So the news of a new stick-on nail colour that claims to last up to 10 days was welcome indeed. Now, as regular Best Tressers will know, I recently trialled a set of leopard print nail wraps. But unlike said Nail Rock strips, which have to be blow-dried to adhere (very faffy and time-consuming), new Nailease, £5.99, simply stick on to the nail, no heat required. The strips are made from real nail polish and top coat, which is then dried, ready to stick on. 
Day 4
This week, I put the black strips to the test. I've filmed a how-to video below but to apply start by buffing the nail to remove any natural oil. Next, peel off the plastic from both sides of the nail strip, holding the silver tab. Place the rounded edge at the base of the nail and gently press down to iron out creases. Finish by filing the excess off. All in all, I found the application process quite easy. It's a little fiddily but you soon get the hang of it. My one criticism is the nail sizes. The middle and index finger strips were too wide for me, albeit I do have quite small fingers, but it wasn't clear whether you should trim them to fit first. I ended up applying as they were then attempted to file off the excess at the sides, which wasn't ideal.

Day 7
The whole thing probably took me half an hour, which I can easily spend manicuring my nails, plus you don't have to worry about drying time, which is a huge plus. My set lasted 7 days before I decided to remove, and I really put them through the mill...hammering on my keyboard every day, glossing furniture, soaking my hands in white spirit, swimming in a chlorine-heavy pool, the list goes on. The final straw was catching my nail with a knife when cooking, which caused a big chip - totally my fault. I was really impressed with the longevity of the strips. Rather than chip, they seem to retreat very slightly, a problem easily solved by a quick nail trim.

To remove, treat like regular nail polish and wipe with a cotton wool pad and nail varnish remover. This works really well and there was no trace of stickiness left on my nails. With 25 single shades, as well as high fashion patterns like leopard print and stripes, each pack comes with 20 nail strips, a nail buffer and cuticle stick, and at £5.99, they're much, MUCH cheaper than a salon manicure. The range launches at Boots on 28th February and I cannot recommend enough. Next on my list? These super-cute pink and grey striped strips, Sx


Get the Look...Louis Vuitton

Step 1. Begin with a wash of gold shadow across the lid and under the brow bone. Try Mac Peacocky Mega Metallic Shadow in Peek At You, £15.50 (

Step 2. Using Bourjois Little Round Pot in No13, £5.99 (Boots), press the colour into the crease of the eye and wing out towards the hairline and finish with black mascara.

Step 3. Apply myface Lipstick in Cherry Bomb, £7.99 (Boots) and add a layer of clear gloss.

Step 4. Sleek hair over the eye on a deep side parting and sprtiz with shine spray until glossy. Sx

Friday, 11 February 2011

A work of nail art...

Sometimes, it's just nice to ogle something pretty. Ed Westwick is taken and I've spent too many hours on this week, so a red sparkly nail polish it is. Deborah Lippmann's aptly-named 'Ruby Red Slippers' nail polish, £14, ( is available now. Sx

Fragrance Friday

As a little pre-weekend treat, here's a couple of new fragrance adverts from Rihanna (see earlier post for a heads-up on the new scent) and Khloe Kardashian and husband, Lamar Odom. The latter's perfume is a unisex offering of velvety tones. And if the campaign is anything to go by, it will be steamy, rated 18 and uncomfortable to look at.

Rihanna seems to be continuing the light, fluffy and pink theme from her 'Only Girl in the World' video, and of course, her hair, in the advert to her first fragrance, Reb'l Fleur - a departure from the hard lines and 80s power shoulders of her last album's attire. This advert - all alluring and mysterious - makes me want to fly to America to smell the scent just a little sooner. Sx

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Beauty Q&As...

Hi Best Tressers,

Remember if you have any beauty queries, from makeup tips to skincare advice, you can email me at and I will endeavour to help, with expert advice from top makeup artists, dermatologists and beauty gurus.

Have a super Thursday,

Topsy Tail Hairstyling Tool Tutorial

Bizarrely, this little hair twiddling tool arrived at my door last week. I say bizarrely because there was no press release or note included in the package. After a little research, I found the Scunci Topsy Tail Hairstyling Tool online at for a measley £3.99. Great start! The pack contains the original topsytail, as well as a small version, aka the topsytail jr.  For a quick tutorial, please see the video below.

Now, it must be said that this was just one of the many styles available, according to the instruction leaflet. Perhaps the hair band wasn't as tight as it should have been. And yes, using a mannequin head probably wasn't the best idea. But I'm kind of underwhelmed. I used to topsy-tail my own hair by simply styling in a low ponytail, creating a small gap behind the band, then feeding the pony over and through said gap. Easy.

And is it me or is this sort of hairstyling tool a little outdated in a world of bed-head waves and loosely tousled updos? We want our 'dos to look more like don'ts, as if we've spent 20 seconds tying it up in a perfectly dishevelled style. Sadly, this Topsy Tail tool is just too twee for me. Sx

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Leona gets a va-va-voom-over

Wowza! Leona Lewis is near unrecognisable at the premiere of Justin Bieber's new film, 'Never Say Never'. Gone are the quaint curls and honey-highlighted locks, in favour of poker straight brunette tresses and eye-skimming bangs. Check out the pictures here -

It seems LA has gone to Leona's head, literally. In fact, she wouldn't look out of place alongside the Kardashian sisters. Call me nostaligic, but I kind of miss Leona-lite.  As I'm sure many of you will agree, Leona has the sort of feline eyes you'd give your right arm, or at least your right eye, for. But while fringes are usually a great tool for drawing attention to peepers, Leona's heavy, blunt fringe is simply too long to flatter. This new look just seems a little contrived to me(that Gaga-esque dress doesn't help perhaps). What do you think Best Tressers? Share your thoughts on Leona's new 'do in the Tress Factor poll. Sx

Rihanna's Secret 'S&M' Weapon

Photo courtesy of; Not for reprint)
I've just got the inside scoop on the secret behind Rihanna's flirty feline eyes...Ardell Lashes, £4.95 ( On the set of new video, 'S&M', celebrity makeup artist Sharon Gault and assistant Priscilla Ono applied Ardell Fashion, Runway and Wild style lashes on the singer for an ultra-glam, wide-eyed look.

But when it comes to makeup, Ri-Ri doesn't do things by halves, so her lash look was customised by layering sets and adding gems. For long-lasting wear, Rihanna's lashes were applied with DUO Eyelash Adhesive in dark, £7.95 (

Now, I've never used Ardell's lashes before - apparently they're the number one seller of false lashes, adhesives and eyelash conditioners - but if there's an eyelash-icon to tempt me, it's certainly Rihanna. Sx