Information & Advice
Read our daily beauty blog for up-to-the-minute news on all things beauty, from make up and hair tips to fragrance and men's product reviews. Find out about new beauty launches and the latest celeb beauty trends here.
Alex, Kirsty and Meena x
We've been waiting patiently for this magical week to come around again. In terms of trendsetting, nobody does it quite like London, in my humble opinion. Here are just a few of the fabulous looks that were on show this week.
It was all glossy lips and navy nail-tips at the House of Holland. I love a matte lipstick as much as the next beauty enthusiast, but this slick lip look has my allegiance. I'm pretty sure I've found my perfect red (Lancome's Rouge Absolu Lip Colour in Caprice), so a careful application of 17's Ultimate Volume Lip Gloss in Crystal over the lipstick is just what I need to get the look for myself.
Over at Roksanda Ilincic, there was a mass outbreak of hair envy. I mean, you really can't ask for more with impeccably glossy curls like that. If you reckon your hair could do with a dose of shine, try an indulgent treatment like Lee Stafford's Hair Rehab Intense Conditioner to get it looking lush and swishable.
As bright and light-hearted as some of the London shows were (hats off to Dame Viv for her models' eccentric look, tartan hair rollers et al), the dark and moody trend clearly isn't over. Christopher Kane models sported eyeshadow in hard, sooty shades that really make an impact when juxtaposed with a nude complexion. I might take a cue from this look now and put my go-to gel eyeliner, Pixi Gel Liner, to work by smudging it out to the crease of my eyelids.
We've still not got our fashion fix; you can see the latest trends to try fresh from Paris and Milan right here on the beauty blog, so be sure to keep checking back – bookmark this page now!
Fairtrade Fortnight kicks off next week (28 February – 13 March) so I thought I'd celebrate by sharing some of my favourite fairtrade finds...
I love this super-luxurious post-shower treat. It smells simply yummy and makes my skin feel silky smooth, plus it's got added feel-good factor because it contains sustainably sourced ingredients. What's not to love?
Let's face it, cotton buds are indispensable. Whether I'm dipping them in nail varnish remover to get rid of manicure mishaps (I'm still not very good at "colouring inside the lines" when it comes to nail polish) or using them to neaten up my eye make up, I've always got a pack handy. These ones are made from ethically sourced organic cotton and are also biodegradable, so I don't even need to feel guilty about the fact that I get through an unspeakable amount each week.
Let's not forget the unofficial mascot product for all things fair trade: cocoa. Everyone loves a good old lip balm, and what better lip treat than one that contains intensely moisturising cocoa butter that's organic, sustainably sourced and fairtrade – extra brownie points, methinks!
Now I've shared my fairtrade favourites it's your turn. Help us celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight by sending us a list of your favourite Fairtrade treats.
This week I've got some exciting James Brown-related news to share with you. Watch the video to find out more...
Now, we know you've all seen these already as they've barely been out of the beauty pages recently, but we thought we'd share the good news that the 17 Limited Edition Vintage Love eyeshadow palettes are now available to buy at Boots and Boots.com!
You may remember me posting about the fact I'm absolutely loving Emma Bunton's ever-changing style on Dancing on Ice at the moment.
Two weeks ago I spotted her sporting a look I recognised from the spring/summer runways, so I asked TRESemmé stylist Matthew Curtis to show me exactly how it was done...
Step one: Put hair in the desired parting.
Step two: Give the hair a workable feel and added volume by spraying dry shampoo into the roots and mid-lengths.
Step three: Slightly backcomb with a small bristle brush, working up the head in two-inch sections for a soft finish.
Step four: Smooth hair over lightly with the bristle brush, working into the nape of the neck, then secure with a hair band.
Step five: To cover the hair band take a large strand from the underside of the ponytail, wrap it around the band and pin with a bobby pin. If your hair is heavy or thick in texture you might need to use a kirby grip.
Step six: If you require more texture, blast the hair with more dry shampoo from a distance and use fingers to lightly loosen the finish.
Step seven: Finish the look with hairspray, ideally one with a dry, matte finish. It's important you mist it over from a distance to ensure there is no tacky or wet finish.
Dry shampoo: TRESemmé Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo
Small bristle brush: Babyliss Ceramic Cushion Brush with Bamboo Bristles
Hair band: Trevor Sorbie Blonde Hair Band
Hair grips: Boots Essentials Blonde Blending Hair Grips
Hairspray: TRESemmé Salon Finish Firm Hold Hairspray
Emma's hair had a bit more body than the model from the Brioni show, which gave it more of an "evening" look, so I reckon I'll be using Umberto Giannini Glam Hair Backcomb In A Bottle when I try the style to give my hair a bit more guts.
Got a fave look of Emma's? What did you think of her style last Sunday night? I'm putting "Emma-watch" in your hands. Drop us an email and let us know your thoughts!
New York was abuzz with the fashion crowd this week for the autumn/winter 2011/12 shows and I can only wish that I'd been there. While there were a few trends I'm not brave enough to try (ahem, bleached brows), there was more than enough to fill up the beauty lookbook for next season.
For me, Marc Jacobs' collections often epitomise New York fashion: they're classic and helplessly cool but always exquisitely put together. The new collection stayed true to this with a series of polka-dotted separates. Beautywise, the models were kept fresh-faced with crystal clear complexions, set off with doll-like blusher that was applied to the lowest points of the cheeks. Max Factor's Miracle Touch Creamy Blusher in Soft Murano would make a great go of this look.
This show had "colour trend inspiration" written all over it. Just looking at that gorgeous hue is enough to make me want to dig out my Barry M Nail Paint in Cobalt (shade available in store). The transition from spring's matte fuchsia lips to this classic red looks so easy, it's got to be worth a go. Lipstick beginners can swot up using the Bold Lip Masterclass to ensure that you nail this look.
Every stunning gown in this collection was a red carpet success waiting to happen. While we mere mortals might not be able to get our hands on them, the beauty inspiration is up for grabs. If you're not ready to ditch the ballerina bun, you're in good company; the models at this show sported a sleek and oversized version of this spring's go-to look. The candy-pink lips added a little bit of fun to the collection's muted colour palette of mocha, teal and mink. Looks like my tube of Revlon Matte Lipstick in Pink About It won't be retiring at the end of summer, then.
Stay tuned for more news from London Fashion Week – we can hardly wait!
Look what happened when I met Charles Worthington as he prepared for the BAFTAs award ceremony.
Ooh we have been spoiled this week! The beauty fuss from the BAFTAs had barely died down when we were being treated to yet another red carpet event stuffed full of gorgeous celebs, courtesy of Tuesday night's BRIT Awards.
Good old Chezza made sure all eyes were on her when she teamed the classic smoky eye look with a striking black dress. While she got pipped to the post in both of her nominated categories, she never fails to come first in the style and beauty stakes.
The winner of the Critic's Choice Award combined a blunt fringe with a striking matte red lip for cutting-edge glamour. She also gets our (imaginary) gong for Most Influential Style – we've been dying for an excuse to try that "Roxy-from-Chicago" look.
Last year's rising star keeps it fresh and natural on the red carpet with a golden goddess-inspired look. We've already fallen for her voice, now we're well and truly smitten with her sweet style too. All that's missing is a halo...
The princess of pop went for the ultimate in matchy-matchy by teaming her nail varnish with her hair colour. On the night she won the International Female Solo Artist award – and our respect for setting a gorgeous new beauty trend.
Phew! We need a couple of days off from the red carpet action so we can try out all the new looks we've seen. Now, where's that make up mirror?
Once again the red carpet was awash with A-listers groomed to within an inch of their lives on Sunday night for the BAFTAs. While I was tucked up on the sofa getting my weekly Dancing on Ice fix, Hollywood's most idolised were out in force.
Red lips seemed to be the most popular choice of the night, with Jessica Alba, Sarah Harding and Gemma Arterton all opting for the classic lip look. Our spies tell us that Sarah was wearing Lancôme's L'Absolue Rouge lipstick in 150 Rouge Odyssée.
Nicole Kidman was spotted sporting this season's must-have accessory – glowing skin. I'll be digging out my No7 Skin Illuminator in order to recreate the look.
And let's not forget the hair! Thandie Newton opted for sheer sophistication with a slicked-back 'do which has been seen dominating the spring/summer catwalks recently. To perfect this look you'll need a seriously heavy-duty hair product like Charles Worthington Shine Maximum Hold Hairspray.
Can't get enough of the red carpet action? Alex nipped down to London at the weekend to get some behind-the-scenes gossip from the build-up to the BAFTAs – keep checking back on the blog for all the insider info – bookmark this page now!
Last week I nipped down to London for the Boots Summer Press Show and saw some truly exciting stuff. On a grey and drizzly day, it was a little ray of sunshine tucked away in a corner of Piccadilly...
So what caught my eye? Amid the usual stunning collections from 17 and No7 (keep peepers peeled for hot pinks and oranges from 17 and Hollywood reds contrasted with barely-there nudes from No7) and some interesting innovations from Soltan (look out for the back tanning aid – yes, really!) the Champneys name was proudly making its Boots press show debut.
Yes, you heard me right; a range of body and facial products from the luxury spa brand will be hitting shelves in time for the first rays of summer (6 April, to be exact). Get set to revel in the ultimate spa-at-home experience!
Want to know what was gracing the goody bags at the end of the show? Think metallic nails from No7, false-lash-effect eyes from 17, a huge bottle of Soltan Once (well, you never know) and some gorgeously indulgent-looking body products from Champneys. Summer, here I come!
I'll be bringing you more on the summer make up collections in a couple of weeks. For now, let's take some time out to choose our dream products from the Champneys spa collection. I'm tempted by the Ultimate 24 Carat Gold Serum from the Age Excellence range (let's face it, who wouldn't want to try that? I've yet to see if it actually contains real gold...), but I think the overall winner for me would have to be Mediterranean Bliss Bubble Heaven from the Spa Indulgence range. I can feel myself relaxing just at the thought of it...
PS While in London I took some time out to catch up on the latest news from ModelCo, a gorgeous beauty brand that will be coming to Boots in a few weeks. They let slip they're currently working on a great new eyelash product with none other than X Factor style and beauty queen Dannii Minogue as the face! Stay tuned to the beauty blog for more insider scoops soon – bookmark this page now!!
Listen up fellas! Forget petrol station posies and those chocolates you always thought were our favourites, here's what we really want this 14 February...
As a certain someone took the hint at Christmas and produced a lovely bottle of Flowerbomb on 25 December, I'm currently very satisfied fragrance-wise. So this Valentine's Day, instead of making any big demands I'll be happy to settle for a quiet night in with a glass of something fizzy and a good film. Oh, and the new DiorShow 360 Mascara.
"My ultimate Valentine's Day present would be a delicious, homemade Mexican feast, my favourite comfort food. If he was no good in the kitchen I'd be more than happy with a (big) bottle of the wonderfully uplifting CHANEL Chance Eau Fraiche instead."
"As I am single (strike up the violins, please!), I'd be grateful for just a card! However, if I weren't so utterly single, a huge bunch of pink stargazer lilies and roses would be nice. If a hot date were on the cards (no such luck this year... violins play louder), a long-lasting lipstick would be a must. The Max Factor Lasting Lip Tint in Royal Plum would do the trick."
Hopefully that gives the boys a bit of inspiration this year. And ladies, if you need a little help dropping those hints then ping us an email explaining what your ideal Valentine's Day would involve.
By now, I'm sure we're all pretty aware it's Valentine's Day on Monday. If you're not expecting to receive any lavish gifts, I think you should take matters into your own hands. Do I mean popping to the local florist to treat yourself to a dozen roses? "To me, lots of love, from me"? Not exactly. I was thinking more along the lines of a treat that will last until well after those flowers would have wilted anyway. Take a look at these five products that have all the loveliness of a blooming great big bouquet:
I know some rose-scented products get a bad rep for seeming a bit old-fashioned, but trust me on this one. This body wash has a fresh and girly scent that's bound to perk you up in the morning.
I've not tried this body butter but I certainly will after reading the praise it's garnered in its reviews. Denise376 called it "an altogether indulgent, pampering experience not to be missed." Sounds good to me!
This fragrance is springtime in a bottle thanks to its simple, fresh uber-floral scent. It's a modern and airy take on a classic aroma and lingers well without being overpowering.
There's nothing like a fresh slick of nail colour to make you feel that little bit more put-together and polished. I've been after a go-to spring colour for a while now and this shade is just what I've been looking for: a rose-petal pink with a hint of peach to it. Two coats of this and you're good to go.
Not only is this product a great Valentine's Day pick-me-up, it's also a brilliant style-updater. Fuchsia-tinged lips are big news for spring (and were seen at the Jil Sander, Diane Von Furstenburg and Marni runway shows), so get acquainted with this ultra-moisturising lippy.
You see? It really doesn't matter if you're single or taken. Either way you can have roses on Valentine's Day!
PS If you've just realised Valentine's Day is nearly here and you've got a significant other who'll be expecting a lovely present, don't worry! Take a look at our Top Ten Valentine's Day Gifts for Him and Her for some great gift ideas.
I am looking for some advice on skin care. I am 27 and have noticed the start of some wrinkles on my forehead. I was wondering what skin care regime you could recommend that would be appropriate for my age. I don't want to try a moisturiser that is too heavy for my skin. I would appreciate any recommendations you could give me.
This is a really good question Fiona, I'm sure there are lots of people out there facing exactly the same dilemma.
I've had a word with one of our inside experts here at Boots.com and they've suggested a range that might work for you:
"The Time Delay range has been specially formulated to help fight the first signs of fine lines and wrinkles. Try the Wrinkle Prevention Day Moisturiser – if you get on with it then you should check out the other products in the range too. There's a Night Cream and Eye Cream, and for around a tenner each you're not breaking the bank."
I'm in my 20s and I really like to use Dr Nick Lowe Super Charged SPF15 Day Cream in the morning. It's from his anti-ageing range, which may sound a little premature, but it's a really light-feeling moisturiser and has the benefit of SPF, which is always useful in the fight against fine lines and wrinkles! I scoop a little out of the pot with my finger and then rub between my palms before applying to my face, to make sure it's not too heavy.
If you're still feeling stuck when it comes to skin care, pop in store and ask one of our skin care consultants who will be more than happy to point you in the direction of a regime that's right for you!
I don't mind admitting that when I was younger I wanted to be Baby Spice. Well who didn't? She had the longest, blondest hair you've ever seen, a wardrobe full of cute dresses and skyscraper platform shoes (remember those?!) and a well-deserved place in one of the most influential girl groups of the time.
In time, however, the inevitable happened and I got over it. Until now that is...
Much to my boyfriend's despair I've been religiously tuning into Dancing On Ice every Sunday night for the past month, and Ms Bunton has well and truly grabbed my attention.
In week three of the show Emma sported co-ordinating statement red lipstick and nail varnish that really caught my eye. Last week, however, she switched it all around and let her hair do the talking, teaming a cute fishtail side plait with pared-down, nude make up and a simple-yet-elegant black one-shoulder dress to offset the plait.
Now, I may be completely unlike Emma in almost every aspect (my patently brunette locks and non-involvement in a phenomenally successful girl group are just two of the things not working in my favour here) but I have resolved to give the fishtail side plait a go. To help me in my quest, I'll be following these instructions from celebrity hairdresser, Jamie Stevens:
"A fishtail plait looks harder than it actually it is, and it also looks great when slightly dishevelled, so it's a great style to be able to do."
Step one: part the hair into two sections.
Step two: take a small section from behind one side and pull it over the top section.
Step three: take a small section from behind the other side and pull it over that top section. Basically, it's similar to the way you'd do a normal plait, but you're working with two main sections, and the small piece you take from the back each time becomes part of the main section each time.
Step four: secure with a band at the bottom. If you want a tidy plait, wet the hair or run some mousse through first. You can also finish by rubbing wax in the palms and smoothing down the plait.
After being blown away the last couple of weeks, I can't wait to see what the Ice-judge-formerly-known-as-Baby-Spice pulls out of the bag this weekend – "Emma-watch" has officially started!
There's a lot to be learned in beauty. There are nice lessons: bold lips can work perfectly with full-on eye make up (such as Dior spring/summer 2011). Then there are the not-so-nice lessons: some foundations don't photograph well and can look 10 shades too light under flash photography (such as me on my 22nd birthday). Today, I thought I'd give you all the heads-up on a few personal beauty truths in the hope that they might be of use to you. I expect a few of yours in return, mind...
Brow powder makes more of a difference than you can imagine. I used to think that brow powder and pencils were for sparse or fair brows ie. Not really meant for my brows, which are dark and unruly (yay for me). Now, I won't go without a bit of brow pencil to define my arch and overall brow shape. Rimmel's Professional Eye Brow Pencil is great but I've found that a medium-brown matte eyeshadow works just as well when applied with the Ruby & Millie i-Define Brush.
A good hairdryer equals good hair days. Before I switched to Babyliss Bellissimo Hairdryer, I'd have to blowdry for at least 15 minutes and then run my straighteners through my hair to make it look half decent. Now, I just need 10 minutes with the Bellissimo to tame frizz and make my hair more manageable.
A well-made kabuki brush can work wonders for powder foundation and blush application. Thanks to its super-soft synthetic fibres, the Teddy Bear Hair Kabuki Brush (available in larger Boots stores) by Too Faced made it a cinch to get a flawless finish, whereas with my old brush I struggled to get adequate and even coverage. It seems as if the Une Kabuki Brush is a good choice too, judging by the glowing reviews that it's earned.
Right, that's your lot! Now it's your turn, so send your beauty lessons to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My skin's been suffering with breakouts recently so I thought I'd do a quick inventory of the spot-fighting products that help restore my complexion to its former glory...
Sometimes after a long day at work my face just feels greasy and grimy, so I love the thought of these handy wipes for a swift skin refresh. Bye bye spot-causing grime and bacteria!
Being a bit too old to shop in the "teenage skin" section these days, I'm embracing this pink-coloured anti-blemish scrub – no bright blue or green formulas here!
Having a couple of close friends who struggle with a combination of sensitive skin and regular breakouts, I'm liking the idea of a product that contains natural ingredients for those who want to fight blemishes without having to subject their skin to something quite harsh.
We've all encountered that one particular spot that's just promising to erupt overnight into something even a huge dose of concealer can't disguise. For those times I champion this spot gel, which forms a layer over the blemish and gets to work shrinking it back down to size.
Also known as my new best friend, this foundation combines great coverage and clever blemish-fighting ingredients, so I never again have to feel guilty about using make up to cover a spot!
Now I know I'm being a little vain here by complaining about my "more frequent than usual" breakouts when some people struggle with their complexion on a daily basis. With that in mind, I've had a little dig around and discovered a great product that's designed to help.
Lumie Clear is a little lamp that's been created to help relieve the symptoms of mild-to-moderate acne. I've not yet met anyone who's tried this product, but there's a great review on the product page that certainly sounds promising!
If you've tried any of the above, or simply have your own "spot-busting" favourites, drop us a line to let us know your thoughts.
The spring make up collections have arrived! Here's my pick of the crop this season...
Lévres Scintillantes Lip Gloss in Nakkar.
A gorgeous nude shade with a hint of golden sparkle, this luscious gloss could put a spring in anyone's step.
Limited Edition Rouge Hydra Nude Cream Lipstick in Nude Rose.
A creamy formula, skin-loving ingredients and delicious, delicate colour – what's not to love?
Milly For Clinique Limited Edition Pretty in Prints Compact (coming soon).
Clinique have done it again! Yet another compact with a quad of oh-so-wearable eye shades plus a flattering blush.
Dior Vernis in Gris Montaigne.
Dior's signature grey shade, now in a matte nail polish. Simply sophisticated.
Double Wear Stay-in-Place Eye Pencil in Untamed Violet.
A fresh take on eyeliner, this daring colour is perfect for anyone wanting a make up refresh this spring.
Ombre Magnétique Eyeshadow in Ultra-Lavande.
Great for those who want to make a statement, eyes will be awash with shimmering violet hues. Not for the faint-hearted!
Limited Edition Gel Eyeliner in Turquoise.
Ideal for creating subtle colour in the sweep of a brush, the latest addition to the gel eyeliner market takes a bow.
Limited Edition Pink Celebration Face Highlighter (coming soon).
What complexion would be complete without a hint of radiance this spring? This palette is perfect for creating a delicate seasonal glow.
Lasting Fix Nail Polish in Sweet Kisses.
Everything about this collection oozes romance and this sweet, subtle pink polish is the perfect complement to any vintage look this spring.
Eyes with a shot of colour; sophisticated nails; voluptuous, bitten lips; a glowing complexion. Hello spring!
You may remember a few weeks ago Meena enlisted a group of testers from around the office to give the new John Frieda Precision Foam Colour hair dye a whirl.
Afterwards I challenged one of our lovely testers, Katy (also known as 3N Deep Brown Black), to keep her freshly-coloured locks in tip top condition with the help of the new Pantene Colour Protect hair care range. Here's how it went...
"I really liked this range," Katy says. "My hair felt soft, it looked shiny and I found it easier to style. Usually after a few washes the colour starts to fade, but using these products gave my hair a boost, making it look healthy and shiny. I especially like the 2-minute Intensive Mask (coming soon) – after using this it looks like my hair has been newly coloured!
"I used Pantene Colour Protect this morning and already two people have asked if I had my hair done yesterday!"
However, Katy also had a word of warning "One thing I have found is you need to watch how much of each product you use," she says. "Using too much of the shampoo or conditioner made my hair greasy very quickly, so remember a little goes a long way!"
I can personally vouch for the fact Katy's locks kept their post-dye sparkle for a fair few weeks afterwards, so Pantene have obviously got something right with this range! Check it out for yourselves and let us know whether it works for you.
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