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

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

How to...Dip-Dye Nails

Step 1. Paint nails with two coats of pastel polish like Rimmel Lycra Pro Nail Polish in Peppermint (Boots)

Step 2. Next take a metallic polish - I used Orly Nail Lacquer in Glitz & Glamour, £8.75 ( - and paint the tip of each nail.

Step 3. Dip a cocktail stick in the polish then carefully apply to the tips and drag down to create a drip effect.

Step 4. Apply a coat of quick dry topcoat to seal.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Is this not the prettiest makeup bag you've ever seen?

Beauty collaborations can be somewhat delicate territory but there was never any doubt in my mind that a Temperley London/Lancome collaboration, having first teamed up in 2010, would again produce something totally lust-worthy. Case in point is this gorgeous gift...yes, that's! Because from 1st June, if you buy two products from the Lancome counter (FYI, one must be skincare), you'll get this makeup bag, complete with five must-have minis totally free

On her new creation with Lancôme, Alice Temperley says, 'I wanted to design a bag that is different yet keeping the same principles – an elegant, timeless design. I have used a printed lace that incorporates a rose design to signify the Lancôme's rose logo. The fold over bag, features leather trims and signature Temperley detailing. The quality is fantastic and a cosmetic bag that can be used for years to come.'

I'll be purchasing my go-to makeup remover, Bi-Facil Instant Cleanser, £19.90, and Hypnose Mascara, £20.45. As for the minis, you'll get 50 ml Galateis Douceur, 50 ml Tonique Douceur, Hypnôse Mascara 2ml, Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate 7ml, Juicy Tubes Mini in Pamplemousse 7ml. The bag alone is worth the spend (I favour makeup bags that could easily be mistaken for clutch bags) and the minis make great holiday must-haves. Sx

Thursday, 26 May 2011

NEW! Collection 2000 Shimmer Shades

I'm a massive fan of shimmer palettes. From Bobbi Brown's Shimmer Brick to the more modestly-priced George Shimmer Me! Palette, they inject your complexion with an instant hit of health. Collection 2000's new Shimmer Shades, £3.99, are no exception. Whether it's a rosy flush you're after (in which case the pink-based Blushalicious is the one for you), or a post-holiday glow (try the bronze Way to Glow palette), the palettes can be applied as an all-over glow, or used individually, the shades flatter eyes and cheekbones.

As Collection 2000 makeup artist, Athena Skouvakis says, 'For a healthy sunkissed look, work product from all four colour cubes into a big bronzing brush and apply to the face and neck, blending thoroughly. To highlight the cheekbones, brow or forehead, sweep a single shade across the area with a blusher brush. Sculpt and contour the face for a look that will take you from dusk to dawn.'

The palettes go on sale from 9th June in Superdrug, Sx.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Review...Lipsy Fragrance

Last night I attended the launch of Pixie Lott's latest collaboration with Lipsy at Chinawhite. The event was packed with celebrities...Pixie (obvs), the Hoff (in metallic suit), Rochelle and Marvin (hot couple alert), Matt Cardle (same hat then Matt?), Aiden Grimshaw (where Matt goes...), that gardener from Desperate Housewives (shorter than you'd think), Parade (new girl band crush) and Emily Attak (that girl, oh, erm, you know, erm, from The Inbetweeners, erm...). On canape watch, well, there were no canapes to be honest, and the drinks were limited to vodka, rose wine and vitamin water but it didn't dampen the atmosphere.

Pixie's hair had been styled into a half up-half down 'do, with black ribbon entwined in braids, by HOB salon's Claire Dawson (

So it seemed particularly apt, sticking with the Lipsy theme, to review the brand's first forray into fragrance, Lipsy EDT, £25 50ml ( I feel a bit bad about it but I have to confess that I wasn't holding out much hope from the fragrance. This probably has something to do with the fact that I'm not a and pop art-bright body-con aren't exactly a match. But I've been pleasantly surprised by the fragrance. For a start, I do like the heart-shaped bottle. I can see it sitting prettily on many a dressing table. As for the fragrance, well it's equally pretty. For the first minute or so, the scent had a whiff of Versace Red Jeans-about it - all fruity and floral, with undertones of jasmine. Officially, Lipsy's perfume is a mix of pear, orange and ginger with floral base notes of rose and violet. The downside? It only lasted a couple of hours on the skin but if you like your perfumes light, fresh and airy, this is for you. Sx

NEW! L'oreal Glam Shine Fresh Lip Gloss

From left to right: Aqua Grapefruit, Aqua Lemon Tonic, Aqua Watermelon, Aqua Lychee, Aqua Curacao, Aqua Pomegranate, Aqua Mandarin 

These are the new Glam Shine Fresh, £7.65, and Glam Shine Fresh 6hr, £8.67, glosses from L'oreal Paris, and they look a tad scary. Inspired by summer-bright cocktails, the new shades have undergone a tropical overhaul and are certainly eye-catching. Pinks and corals? Yes, go for it. Blues and yellows? Not so much. But as with most lipglosses, the colour in the tube does not remotely resemble the colour on the lips, particularly in the case of the 7 new Glam Shine Fresh shades, which actually go on sheer. These colours are not going to create a statement lip - rather the range is designed to create 3-D-looking shine, with a hint of a tone from each shade. In the case of the 5 new Glam Shine Fresh 6hr colours, the pigment is much punchier and longer-lasting. So in a sort of one-woman-try-before-you-buy mission, I decided to test out every single colour in the range to show you exactly what they look like on the lip. As a footnote I should say that the glosses feel extremely hydrating on the lip - that will be the Vitamin C and E-enriched formula then. The heart-shaped wand made application precise and I didn't experience that nasty stickiness of traditional glosses. Hoorah! Sx
Aqua Grapefruit

Aqua Lemon Tonic

Aqua Watermelon

Aqua Lychee

Aqua Curacao

Aqua Pomegranate

Aqua Mandarin

From left to right: Fresh Tangerine, Fresh Cassis, Fresh Lemon Tonic, Fresh Fuchsia, Fresh Grenadine 

Fresh Tangerine

Fresh Cassis

Fresh Lemon Tonic

Fresh Fuchsia

Fresh Grenadine

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

NEW! 17 Supreme Shine Nail Polish

Another week, another nail polish to test. This time it's 17's Supreme Shine Nail Polish in Coral Pop, £3.99 (Boots), a colour made for beach-bound toes and picnic-eating fingers. In a word, it's summery. The polish boasts a glossy finish and colour that apparently lasts up to 10 days. Now I always find this rather a vague statement. Of course, if I left my nails for 10 days, some, in fact I'm sure most of the colour would still be present 10 days later, that is if you don't mind large, gaping chips at the tips of your nails. If however, they do mean 10 days-worth of chip-free colour then I'm afraid I can't quite attest to this.

Day 4
I painted my nails on Saturday and although, 4 days in, they are slightly chipped, I must say I'm impressed. It seems that most nail polishes these days are opting in favour of wide-angled brushes, which make manicure-worthy nails much easier to achieve. The formula is highly pigmented. Indeed, I probably could've gotten away with one coat but in the interest of fair testing I opted for the recommended two coats. 17's high-shine claims are not exaggerated in the least - from the first slick to the 4th day, my nails look super healthy and glossy. The colour remained chip-free for about 24 hours but even now, a few days in, I don't feel the need to remove the polish or even touch-up, so slight are the chips. Best-Tressed rating: 4/5 Sx

The Step-by-Step Smokey Eye Kit

One of the questions I get asked the most is how to get the perfect smokey eye. As a brown-eyed brunette, I tend to go heavy on the charcoal shadow but for others, the contrast between a paler, metallic shade on the inner corner and a darker, more intense shade on the outer wing is crucial to that smouldering, smokey look. But, I may hear you ask, "what colours go where?"..."What sort of brush should I use for blending?" Well my little Best Tressers, Models Own have literally made it as easy as 1, 2, 3 with their new Smokey Eye Kit, £8 (Boots). The palette comes in 6 different colour combos (FYI, I used Simmer for my trial below), each with an easy-to-follow guide, and angled and blending brushes. 



There are actually 6 steps in the booklet, but I've compressed them into 3, with corresponding images to illustrate the look. The instructions were succinct and easy to follow, and as for the eyeshadows themselves, well the pigment is suitable dense for a smokey finish. This palette is such a great idea, especially for those are are nervy with makeup brushes and single pots of shadow. This way you know exactly which shades compliment each other, what colours goes where, and which brushes are best to use. A great makeup bag staple. Sx

Step 1

Use your finger to press the lightest shade from the lashline to the brow bone.

Step 2
Next, use the angled brush and the medium shade to make a sideway 'U' shape along the crease and upper lashline (the diagram in the booklet makes this easy to understand, trust me!). Blend with the blending brush or your finger and add more of the lightest shade to the middle of your lid if needed. 

Step 3
Finally, use the angled brush again, this time with the darkest shade to draw a line along the upper and lower lashline, along the crease and on the outside corner of the eye. Then blend using the brush and finish with liquid liner and mascara. 

Monday, 23 May 2011

Tried and Tresseded...Simple Kind to Eyes Eye Make-Up Corrector Pen

As a religious devotee of the smoky eye - and the inevitable charcoal smudges and black flecks that accompany it - I was really excited by the launch of Simple's new smudge-correcting pen. Like a felt-tip, the pen has a precise (and might I say, quite a sharp) nib that releases Simple Kind to Eyes Eye Make-Up Remover, so that flaky mascara and slept-in panda eyes can be cleaned up. 

On top of its sensitive formula, the pen even claims to shift waterproof mascara but having tried it on smoky shadow and regular mascara, I'm not sure that claim stands up. To begin, I held the pen upside down for 10 seconds then directed the tip to smudges, but rather than erasing them, it simply moved the smudges across my face, and FYI ladies, the black eye look is not a good one. As per the instructions, I cleaned the tip of the pen with a makeup wipe in between each eye but the same thing happened - small mascara flecks were smudged across my eye area, looking ten times worse than before. I was disappointed to say the least but if you want to give it a go yourself, it costs £4.99 and is available from Sx

Friday, 20 May 2011

The Saturdays + Barry M

Is it me or is branding in music videos getting more and more obvious? Take The Saturdays new video, 'Notorious', in which Mollie and Frankie whip out their Barry M lip glosses in the you do. It looks as if Mollie applies the Barry M Lip Gloss Wand in Toffee, £4.49, while Frankie opts for either Strawberry Milkshake or Bubblegum Pink. If this is more than just video sponsorship and the girls will be taking a more active role in advertising for the make up brand, I have to say it seems like the perfect fit. Sx

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Try a Trend...Workout Hair

So in the pursuit of a semi-presentable bikini body, I've been working out a lot this week. I have my monochrome, matching-make gymwear, my suitably-girly purple weights (to die), but I seem to be missing a decent workout hairstyle. It's a well-known fact that I am a hair-down type gal, so much so that my New Year's resolution this year (my one and only I might add) was to do more with my hair...erm FAIL. So far this week gym styles have included a low ponytail (bleurgh), and err, just down (impractical to say the least). Yes exercising is horrid business - think blotchy skin, no makeup (ARGH) and perspiration - but should our hair have to suffer in the glamour stakes too?

In hoping the answer to this conundrum is a unanimous and resounding 'NO', I have been working on a few exercise 'dos that provide both practicality, and hopefully, a little bit of style. Make the treadmill your catwalk biatches, Sx

The Amy Childs
Time: 30 seconds
Secure rating: 2/5 (the bunches look better a bit looser, not so good for running)
If you're not a fan of TOWIE, then get on that bandwagon now. Do it. Do I say, because otherwise this reference is clearly wasted on you. For Essex fans however, you will be well aware of the Childs's penchant for bunches. Remember the tennis game with Arg? 'Oh yeah, that was a brilliant.' The key to Amy's bunches is wearing them loose and undone-looking, with volume at the root. Perhaps this isn't a style for a hardcore run, but it certainly makes a more interesting 'do for boules, boxing and ping pong.

The CK One
Time: 1 minute
Secure rating: 5/5
Inspired by the hair at Calvin Klein's SS11 show, this is a pony with a textured twist. I pulled the hair into a tight low ponytail (therefore great for keeping hair away from the face), and secured. Next, I gently pulled up hair from the crown to give a messed-up, bouffant feel, then finished by backcombing the pony.

The Cheryl Cole
Time: 10 seconds
Secure rating: 4/5 (as much as a lycra headband can feel secure)

Picture credit: Daily Mail
I just discovered this is a good style for cycling - it keeps the hair off your face, but the loose style works best with a helmet. It took all of 10 seconds to put on a black lycra headband then boost up the roots. Think Cheryl, when she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. The Chezza way to wear it is low on the forehead, which works great as a sweatband too! 

The Erdem
Time: 3 minutes
Secure rating: 4/5 (mainly because there are enough kirby grips in this to prop up a drunken Maylor)
Again, this catwalk-inspired look injects gym hair with a little intrigue. This took a few minutes to achieve and to save time I simply divided the hair in two bunches, then plaited each side. I then pulled up each plait over the head and secured with grips. It might be slightly impractical for the treadmill but I finished by pulling out a few wispy pieces around the hairline for a windswept look.

NEW! Cowshed and Whistles Collaboration Launches Today

What happens when two powerhouse brands collide? Well in the case of Whistles and Cowshed, something rather lovely. The brands' first collaborative effort, Whistling Cow, honours Whistles's first swimwear collection, and includes 4 iconic products from the Cowshed line.

'Love' print swimsuit

From the Freshening Hand Wash, £14, and Moisturising Hand Cream, £16, to the Relaxing Bath & Shower Gel, £16, and Relaxing Body Lotion, £18, all Cowshed products are plant-based and made from pure essential oils. As for the packaging (isn't this what we all care about?) Cowshed is almost as renowned for its monochrome cow-print bottles, as it is for its heavenly bodycare, and this latest collection is no exception. The Whistling Cow range is inspired by one of Whistles's new swimsuits (below) - all red and flecked with white. Yet again it's a range that you want to leave on show, rather than hide away in your bathroom cupboard.

Speaking of the collaboration, Christina Russillo, Managing Director of Cowshed says, ‘When Whistles approached us regarding a collaboration we fell in love with their High Summer ‘Love’ print and couldn’t resist combining it with our signature wild-crafted products to create Whistling Cow. Featuring our four top selling products – Hand Cream, Hand Wash, Body Lotion and Shower Gel – this limited edition partnership is a first for Cowshed and we are very excited to be working alongside the team at Whistles!'

The new range is available at Whistles nationwide and Cowshed shops, Cowshed Spas and online at from today! And if you're looking for an extra special swimsuit for your hols, Whistles swimwear, from £35, is available in stores and online at The ‘Love’ print swimwear is also available to buy at in a limited edition Cowshed Travel Wash Bag. Sx

Who Run the World? Beyonce!

Packed to the brim with copy-worthy looks (Beyonce stop it, you're making me want to go blonde), my favourite look has to be B's homage to Brigitte Bardot for 2011 - think thrown up French pleat, bleached brows and a heavy smokey eye. Sx

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Nation's Favourite Celebrity Smiles

What with it being National Smile Month 'n' all, Oral B have conducted a survey amongst the British public, rating the best smiles in showbiz. And while it might seem a tad surprising to see that King of the veneers, Simon Cowell actually received an equal share of the vote with toothy Alan Carr, I'm actually more taken aback by the girls' list. Where are the Cheryls, the Julias and the Scarletts? And more importantly, ou est la K-Mid? Her monarch-like mouth surely outshines VB's non-existant grin, or should that be pout? Check out the results for yourself and vote below on your favourite A-list grins. Sx


The girls...
No.1 Holly Willoughby – 24%
No.2 Kelly Brook – 18%
No.3 Christine Bleakley – 14%
No.4 Lisa Snowdon – 3%
No.5 Victoria Beckham – 1%

The boys...
No.1 David Beckham/Prince William – 11%
No.2 Colin Firth – 8%
No.3 Simon Cowell/Alan Carr – 4%
No.4 Prince Harry – 3%

American Dream Quick Fix Clip In Extensions

I've always been a bit wary of clip-in extensions. My sister wears them most days and you wouldn't know it wasn't her real hair, but there are those girls that refuse to trim their extensions so that they end up with a waist-length mullet look...hence the stigma. But last week at Boudoir PR's press day, I decided to dip a toe into the clip-in waters.

American Dream extensions have just started working with super stylist, Claire Rothstein (she styled the hair with clip in extensions in these fabulous campaign images for the brand) who was on hand to style my hair, extensions 'n all. Claire backcombed the roots of my hair and added 18" Quick Fix Clip In Extensions, £15 ( in a brown-to-bleach blonde root stretch at ear level, clipping in all the way round. She added a second set of brunette-to-pink root stretch extensions (Katy Perry eat your heart out!) about an inch higher. Once secured, Claire trimmed the extensions then set about waving them to sit better with my curled hair (FYI, because these clip-ins are made from 100% human hair, you don't have to worry about damaging them with heat styling).

Pink and bleach blonde root stretch extensions
Sadly the picture above doesn't show them very well but you can just about make out the pink and very light blonde pieces at the bottom of my hair. The two sets gave a subtle shot of colour but if you're looking for length and thickness, you'll probably need around 4 sets. I've got a feeling I'll be using these clip-ins alot! Sx

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts (drinks)

I first heard about the wonders of coconut water a few years back, when celebrities were sipping the juice in their droves, supposedly for its slimming capabilities. Rihanna is the latest celebrity to endorse the miracle water, specifically Vita Coco, the UK's best-selling coconut water brand, but this time it's for its health-boosting benefits. From what I can gather, it helps to re-energise and replenish the body's nutrients in the same way a sports drink does, only Vita Coco is much more potent. In fact, the coconut water contains 20 times more potassium than a sports drink (this mineral is found naturally within the body and gets used during exercise) and one drink is all you need to reach your daily intake of Vitamin C.

Joining ardent coconut-fan, Madonna, Rihanna said of her latest venture, “I love Vita Coco. It’s real coconut water from hand-picked coconuts. It’s delicious and so good for you!” Thank you Ri-Ri. Vita Coco starts from £2.05 for 330ml to £4.65 for 1 litre, so it is expensive - I'm not sure I could justify it, but I'm yet to try it. And let's face it, if Rihanna's healthy glow and healthy-looking body are anything to go by, I could be persuaded. If you fancy it, it's available at Holland & Barrett stores nationwide. Sx  

Oo na na, what's my bevvy?

The Review...Sienna Spray Tan

Bad tan no.1
My relationship with the spray tan has been somewhat off and on again. Being bronzed for the first time before my Year 13 ball, was like being in the first flush of love. I'd never been so golden; my face looked 'done' with no makeup on; I looked well. Now, I look back at pictures and think, 'what the tan-hell was I thinking?' Stood next to my vampire-chic, pale-skinned boyfriend, the words 'milky, milky, coco-puff' spring to mind.

Bad tan no.2

A couple of years ago, I was invited to try another brand of spray tan. After having my tan-heart broken before, I was apprehensive about trying it again. Stupidly on my part, I had also lightened my hair that day with beachy highlights so the combination of newly-golden hair and an equally golden tan made me look rather monotone. I remember thinking how dirty my hands looked with this tan, too. Not a good look.

My faith in bronze-love well and truly quashed, I thought I'd never go back to a life of faux golden skin. Until last week when I was kindly asked to try another spray tan by bronzing experts, Sienna X. I was left in the pro hands of Sophie Gordon, Sienna X Spray Tan Expert, who studied my natural hair colouring and skin tone first. She also asked me what sort of colour I wanted to go for (a first in my tanning history), to which I answered, 'a natural, just-been-away look.' Encouragingly, Sophie chose to go with the second lightest colour as it was my first time using Sienna X. The process was quick and painless. Sophie explained that loose clothing would help keep the tan nice and even and I had to wait between 8 and 10 hours before showering. The guide colour (the initial shade) though a little dark at first, faded into a gorgeous honey bronze after showering. With the help of the non-tan-stripping Sienna Exotically Rich Face & Body Wash and Exceptional Raidance Moisturising Balm, my tan is still there but crucially, is fading evenly. My faith in the spray tan has been well and truly restored. Sx

Sophie's Tan Tips!

• Your face and hands will be the first to fade as you wash these more often, use the express yourself tanning mist to touch up

• If you have fair skin, try opting for a second application within 3 days to lengthen and deepen the tan

• When going for a spray tan, try to make sure you are wearing nail varnish before the treatment to avoid the DHA staining your natural nail colour

• The skin on your hands is different to the rest of your body so tend to look darker. Apply tan sparingly to the hands and face. You can always add more but you can't go back once you've applied too much.

• Spray Tanning works best on skin that is not freshly shaven, if you can, leave shaving/waxing your legs until a couple of days after you have been tanned. This will enable pores to close fully before the lotion is applied.

• If you’re having a spray tan you can moisturise on the day before, but not on the day of the tan as it creates a barrier between skin and tanning solution.

• Nothing is more aging than a dark matte tan, so opt for a shade of tan only two shades darker than your own skin tone for a youthful glowing complexion.