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

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

NEW! Revlon Grow Luscious Liners

It seems the quest for Bambi-like lashes continues as Revlon launches the first range of lash-nourishing eye pencils. Applied along the lashline, the pencil's formula conditions with aloe, vitamin E and chamomile for healthier, stronger lashes. The starting line up (hopefully there'll be more colours soon) features a classic black (Onyx), sea green (Emerald) and deep brown (Espresso). The texture is super-creamy so they're as effective at creating a slept-in smoky eye look as they are lining the delicate inner waterline.

Revlon Grow Luscious Liners, £6.29 are available at Boots and Superdrug now. Sx

The pigment is quite strong

Monday, 15 August 2011

Think Pink!

It seems the whole world has gone pastel mad, with a whole host of A-listers dyeing their monotone hair a rainbow of colours, from baby pink and powder blue through to delicate lilac. Last week saw Sienna Miller and Dianna Agron of Glee looking pretty in pink. Sienna's soft pink root stretch (check out the pics here - looks kind of wishy-washy - I'm not sure if that was her intention.

Dianna's, on the other hand, is somewhat brighter ( but this fluoro hue is rumoured to be for an upcoming film role. This is a grungier take on the pastel trend - I can see someone like Pixie Geldof pulling this off. What do you think Best Tressers? Would you dip a toe in the pastel waters? Sx

Stuck for a gift idea?

Okay so this might be slightly premature for the festive season but instead of buying that 'I have no idea what to get them' someone a magazine subscription, why not treat them to a subscription to their favourite face cream or nail polish with Amazon's Subscribe & Save. This free service lets you set up an automatic order on those products you get through quickly (hello mascara!), every one, two, three or six months. Neat huh? If that wasn't enough, Subscribe & Save actually adds a discount of at least 10% and you only pay for the product once it's been dispatched! So if you do fancy giving someone a never-ending supply of shampoo, get on down to Amazon.

Shhhhhh...A few weeks ago I attended the Amazon Christmas Press Day and was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of very familiar and downright awesome beauty brands. The website is now stocking Nails Inc and myface - take a look at my favourites below. S
Coming soon: Nails Inc Collection, £25

Myface Blingtone Eyeshadow in Bellbottom Blues, £9.99

Myface Lil' Bling Nail Polish in Bellbottom Blues, £5.99

Myface Mymix Foundation, £12.99

Myface Bling Tone Eyeshadow in Crystalline Green, £9.99

Myface Lil' Bling Nail Polish in Crystalline Green, £5.99

Myface R&B Rouge in Holiday, £9.99

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Noise from the Boys VI: Dust-bowl Blues

For many men, going bald is a source of great anxiety. I mean you would worry if any part of your body started to fall off, but hair loss rocks the confidence of many a stout fellow. As such, when you find yourself becoming decidedly less hairy than you would like, there are a myriad of treatments to choose from depending upon how much hair you are losing. From thickening shampoo for those starting to look a bit wispy to full on follicle transplants for rich and worried cue-balls. Speaking as a bald gentleman of 25 I personally have no problem with my dome - I find that taking ownership of my baldness, wearing it with pride is the best treatment. Like all of the best minority groups, we take persecution and turn it into strength, but we’ll get into that another time.

The fact is there are many balding men who are still afraid to come out of the closet and let the sun reflect proudly off the tops of their heads. So for these guys (and for a laugh) I tried out Michael diCesare's Thickening Hair Builder, £19.25 (, a powder designed to cling onto your hair and cover up thinning patches. From the off I was sceptical of this product - dusting your head with powder seemed like an unusual approach, surely it would just be a mess. So when I tried it and found that the coloured powder I was sent was an uncanny match for my natural colour, I was impressed. The idea is to sprinkle the product onto areas of thin hair and comb it through to get rid of any excess. But for a full-on chrome dome like me, it ended up looking like I had coloured my head in. However, for somebody with longer hair it may very well work a treat. I did end up actually being able to see where my hairline was though, which was nice. I’m sure this stuff would last at least for an evening as it didn’t come off as readily as I’d expected when you touched it. So if you’ve got a Prince William style thinning crown, or an acceptable comb-over (if such a thing exists) then Thickening Hair Builder would probably be a decent and cost effective solution.

Just remember it is only a short-term solution, you can’t season your head with hair pepper for the rest of your life. Like any baldness treatment short of hair-plugs or voodoo magic, this is just like the story of the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke, valiant but only temporary. E

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Luxe or Less...Crackle Polishes

OPI Silver Shatter Top Coat, £10.50 (

MUA Pro Nail Quakes in Silver, £2.50 (Superdrug)
Crackled nails show no sign of fading into the background so if you're new to the trend or fancy trying a different on-trend silver hue, MUA's bargain version makes for a cheap way to invest in the look. I'm yet to try their cracking version but as soon as I do, I shall share my results with you all. Either way, for £2.50 you can't really go wrong! Sx

The Nail Pro Quakes Collection is available now

Monday, 8 August 2011

Johnson's Baby bottle, so many uses

As part of my job, I have to test the latest launches in the world of beauty, from hot new dream creams to long-lasting nail polishes. Because of this, I receive a steady stream of beauty-laden parcels through my door. Lucky? Yes. Space saving? Not so much. So when the opportunity arose to put the multi-tasking Johnson's Baby Oil, from £1.85 (Boots) to the test, I jumped at the chance to save a little bit of space, not to mention time. Johnson's have launched the 'I heart Johnson's Baby Oil' challenge, a blogger-based competition to win a trip to Milan Fashion Week. Yes please! The challenge? To come up with some new on-trend, 'I never thought of that!' ideas for the cult classic.
The 70-year old beauty hero is revered for its moisture-locking properties, leaving skin silky-soft and uber hydrated. In fact, applied to damp, post-shower skin, it's said to lock in up to 10 times more moisture than other creams and lotions applied to dry skin. Fancy that! As regular Best Tressers will know, I'm a massive fan of body oils, but most of the ones I test are pretty steep in terms of price. Johnson's bargain oil really stood up in comparison - it's powdery scent is instantly calming and comforting, and after trying out the following looks, my skin hasn't felt this soft in a good few months. Check out the trends I created below.

Did you know? 1000 bottles of the cult classic are sold in the UK every day

Look 1: Beach Hair
Beach hair
Love that moment when you step out of the sea with your hair all sleek and mermaid-like - think Ursula Andress in that Bond film? Well I don't know about you, but within 20 minutes my beachy, slicked-back hair turns into a frizzy, matted mess. Wet-look is a massive trend this season so I decided to douse my tresses in baby oil and I was really happy with the result. After a look like this, you will need to wash your hair thoroughly - a double shampoo is wise. It's worth mentioning that after drying my hair following its oiling up, it felt softer. Bonus.

Get the look: First, I sprinkled on a generous amount of oil from root to tip and brushed through with a Tangle Teazer to ensure even, thorough coverage. I finished by combing my hairline backwards for a just-stepped-out-of-the-sea look.

Look 2: Gleaming Cheeks
Glossy cheekbones
 I cannot live with my pearlescent highlighter but yesterday I discovered the high-shine finish of Johnson's Baby Oil makes a totally acceptable susbtitute. Applied to the tops of the cheekbones, it catches the light to define the face and give a healthy, dewy glow.

Get the look: It's vital to take this look slowly. Too much oil on the cheeks will undo all your hard make-up work and just make you look greasy. Remember, you can always add more but it's harder to go back once you've applied too much. Add a droplet or two of oil to the tops of the cheeks with your middle or index finger and blend.

Look 3: Shiny, Happy Peepers
Shiny, happy peepers

A high-gloss eye is so editorial darling but there's no reason why this high fashion trend can't make it into the mainstream, especially when it's such a quick, easy and cheap look to achieve. Talk about shiny, happy, peepers.

Get the look: I made my eyes up as normal, starting with Mac Eyeshadow in Carbon, £11.50, and built up the colour. After applying a couple of coats of Stila mascara, I poured a few drops of Baby Oil into its trademark pink lid and gently dabbed it on to my eye with my middle finger, starting in the centre of the eye and working outwards. As you can see from the picture above, it does tend to crease quite easily so keep a cotton bud handy to blend in lines.

Look 4: Sexy Sheen
Sexy sheen
It's no secret that my party must-have is high-shine skin. In fact, forgetting to apply my body oil would be as traumatising as skipping foundation or mascara. I love the look of gleaming, light-catching skin and the great news is it's an instant way to slim legs.

Get the look: For an instant slimming trick, apply a few drops down the centre of each leg and massage in. I also applied a few drops of oil to the decolletage (FYI, the oil catches the light to create the illusion of a smoothed chest -great for older skins!), arms and shoulders.

And there's more...

* Bath oil
As I was getting ready on Saturday, I added a few drops of oil to my bath. Once I was dry, my skin didn't feel greasy os slimy at all, but soft to the touch and hydrated, which is a rare thing for my skin in these drying summer months. Plus, that baby-like smell permeating the bathroom was so relaxing.

* Face cleanser
This was perhaps my least favourite of the uses I attempted. I applied a few drops on to a cotton wool pad and gently wiped over my face to remove my makeup. It left my combination skin feeling a little greasy but did remove stubborn mascara more efficiently than my regular cleanser.

* Brow tamer
As someone with quite dark, big-ish brows, it's vital I keep on top of grooming...this means tweezing (no strays allowed), brow pencil (fill in the gaps) and brow gel (to tame unruly hairs). The great thing about the latter brow step is the healthy shine it imparts - an instant youth-boosting look. Instead of using my regular brow gel, I dipped a generic brow comb into a lid-full of Baby Oil and brushed over each brow. No it doesn't have the firm hold of a brow gel but it did leave my brows looking neater with a lovely shine.
“I have been asked to work with the makers of JOHNSON’S® Baby Oil to try their product and blog about it.  They have sent me a free sample and the winner of the best blog as determined by a panel of judges will win a trip to Milan during Fashion Week.”

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Rihanna ditches the red

There's something a bit different about Rihanna. No it's not the latest barely-there ensemble (though I do admit, it's hard to miss), rather her trademark fiery locks have vanished in favour of a near black-to-warm brown root stretch. You can see the pictures here -

It occurred to me a little while ago that Rihanna seems to coordinate her tresses with her latest album - during the 'Good girl Gone Bad' era, RiRi sported a raven-coloured, poker-straight bob, 'Rated R' was all about the hard, edgy blonde crop, whilst 'Loud' has seen a switch to a softer, warmer look (my personal fave). Could this new hue be a clue as to the style of her next album? Answers on a postcard please. Sx

Monday, 1 August 2011

Pixie Lott: Top of the Crops

If you haven't seen Pixie Lott's new choppy bob, then where have you been? Her long locks (or extensions) were snipped into shape by HOB Salon's Akin Konizi, 2008 & 2009 British Hairdresser of the Year. I really like the new style. It's a lot edgier and befitting of her short-clad, legs-out style. For this jaw-length, textured 'do, straight hair just won't cut it. Akin Konizi gives the lowdown on how to get Pixie's brushed-back, volumised texture.

Step 1: Begin with towel dried hair and smooth through Sebastian Mousse Forte, £18.95 @ HOB Salons using a Denman brush, brushing the hair away from the face.

Step 2: Blast dry the hair using a paddle brush in a backwards motion, and once dry, brush the hair into place and spray with Wella Professionals Stay Brilliant, £11.50 @ HOB Salons giving the hair a matte, rustic hold.

Step 3: Once the hair is in your desired shape, using a wide tooth comb focus on the front and sides and brush backwards to loosen the finish, letting the hair fall naturally, then use Alterna Modelling Clay, £18.00 @ HOB Salons to rub through your fingers and lightly apply to the ends of your hair giving a textured finish.
If you fancy a Pixie-esque choppy bob, book in at HOB Salons at or call 0207 485 7272 Sx