Information & Advice
Katie Campbell is our resident Boots.com Beauty Editor. Ex-Grazia beauty journalist Katie Campbell will be covering everything beauty – from backstage trends, beauty masterclass features, new brands and exclusive launches to insider tips and tricks from the industry experts.
On my blog I’ll be posting my thoughts, sharing my beauty inspirations, waxing lyrical about products I’ve been trying, giving you the skinny on the ‘coming soon’ launches and revealing some of the advice the experts have been sharing with me. For the benefit of you readers I’m going to try and upscale my beauty routine (I’m embarrassingly, hideously, low maintenance) and report back, so you know I’m practising what I preach.
See you soon!
P.S. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any of your beauty questions.
There's a new foot product in town: FootKiss Callus Removal Kit (available in store). Although it doesn't look very exciting – quite the opposite – if you suffer from hard, tough skin on your heels you'd be crazy not to try it. Why the enthusiastic blog entry from me? Well, Foot Kiss has just undergone the ultimate test: my mother's feet. Initially I planned to pass it on to my Hobbit-footed husband but I knew that to seriously impress me it had to go to work on my mum's notorious leather-like heels. (Painting a pretty picture here, I know – apologies, mum.)
The premise is that it's a 4-step treatment that works in 10 minutes to remove calluses and hard skin using a combination of fruit acids, an exfoliating file and a softening heel balm. It's been garnering rave reviews, with shocked beauty editors noting that it's like 'a podiatrist in a box'.
Initially my mum was a bit scathing about the instructions (which she says are confusing), but once the solution went to work and she used the whole system she was impressed with how soft her heels were – and I can vouch for the improvement.
Intrigued? Hop in store and check it out for yourself. It's a bit pricey at £19.95 for two treatments, but worth it if you want to tackle hard calluses at home yourself.
As we're nearly coming to the end of 2010's first month, I'm doing a round up of what I loved last year (most of which I'm still loving now!), including old classics I've used for aeons. A brief audit of my favourites reveals the following:
I'll post a preview of what to look out for in 2010 at some point soon, so keep your eyes peeled.
The countdown begins. Forget the grey January weather, I'm feeling a little injection of sunshine that can only mean one thing – the new spring make-up collections are on their way. Look out for them as they hit counters any day now. In the meantime, I'll leave you to sigh over this gorgeous Chanel number (known officially as Empreinte de Chanel), a beautiful pearly face powder, which hits counters later this week. Swoon.
Monsieur Gaultier has never been one to sit quietly in the background, so it's no surprise that his latest take on Classique, Classique X (the X being a provocative nod to everything x-rated, if I understand correctly) promises to be his sexiest yet. With bright citrus top notes, followed by orange blossom, sensual notes of vanilla and iris, it could be perfect timing for Valentine's Day. And it's currently exclusive to Boots stores, too.
Familiar with skin/bodycare brand Weleda? It's flown under the radar for several years and used to be found solely in health food stores, which gave the range an alternative vibe – long before the relatively recent fascination with natural, organic and green beauty. However, it's proving to be a hidden gem – last year several of its products racked up an impressive collection of coveted Beauty Bible awards (tested and voted for by a large panel of independent 'real women'). Weleda Birch Cellulite Oil beat stiff competition to come out tops in a recent update of the Green Beauty Bible Awards section on cellulite, with a not to be sniffed at 8.28 out of ten. Meanwhile Weleda's cult skincare product, Skin Food, was awarded 8/10, and its Wild Rose Night Cream 8.25/10.
No wonder Demi Moore is said to be a fan. Get in quick, before everyone else hears!
Exciting beauty launch alert! I've seen my share of temporary wrinkle 'filling' products – and yes, many of them really do provide an immediate cosmetic result – but next week's launch from No7 promises even greater results, if tests are anything to go by. Designed to instantly appear to reduce wrinkles, No7 Instant Illusion Wrinkle Filler (available 27th January) "works by scattering light using a unique combination of plate-like light reflecting and diffusing particles, blurring the appearance of the skin around wrinkles and reducing contrast and shadow," says Boots' Skincare Scientific Advisor, Stewart Long. "Smiling, laughing, frowning, even blinking – over time, all our facial expressions start to leave little tell-tale lines behind. No7 Instant Illusion Wrinkle Filler appears to make lines disappear in an instant," he says. Sounds like my kind of product. Race you to the queue – it launches on Wednesday.
What is the best way to disguise wrinkles on my eyelids? I usually use powdered eye shadow which tends to show up the wrinkles more.
Hey Janet, thanks for your question. Max Factor's celebrity make-up artist Caroline Barnes suggests you ditch your powder eyeshadow in favour of a cream formulation. "These allow the skin to look more natural, they're more reflective and don't age the skin – formulas are much more efficient nowadays and they don't crease or dry up," says Caroline who uses Max Factor Masterpiece Colour Precision range. "The colours are really subtle and very easy to apply. Keep your eyes closed for about 30 seconds after you have applied it to let it dry, and it won't crease."
Hope this helps, Janet.
Got a skincare problem? Check out our online skincare videos. The lovely – and frighteningly knowledgeable – dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe is your host, talking through a variety of skin types and skin conditions with hints, tips, explanations and dos and don'ts. He covers pretty much all the major skincare issues and concerns, from blemishes to facial redness and dry skin. Click here to see him in action now.
This month the generous peeps at Garnier have set up not one, but two, fab competitions to celebrate the launch of their new dark circle correcting product: Garnier Caffeine Anti-dark Circles 2-in-1 Roll-on (currently exclusive to boots.com). Enter to win yourself one by clicking here – if you need any convincing, the nifty roll-on formula is said to be impressive; it's like a treatment concealer that works to cover the dark circle and hydrate eyes at the same time. Snazzy. Next, go forth and enter the competition to win a weekend away in Paris (complete with shopping spending money!) by clicking here. And if you're dying to get your hands on Garnier's new must-have now, order online, or look out for it when it hits stores on the 27th Jan.
You know a product means business when it gets good reviews from more than a few different sources. And that's what Boots.com's Ratings & Reviews system is all about – completely honest feedback, good or bad, direct from customers who've bought and tried the product. So I'm thinking that Max Factor's Lash Extension Effect Mascara must be pretty good, going by all the customers who've inundated the system with glowing reviews (at least 25 five star ratings at the last count). Don't believe me? Click here to read for yourself, I'm off to get myself a sample!
Soap & Glory's new The Fab Pore Hot Cloth Polish Cleanser landed on my desk just in the nick of time recently. My hormonal skin seems more prone to blocked pores and breakouts than ever, so the cleanser's promise to deeply purify was just the ticket. Packed with conditioning oils, essential oils of orange, lavender, clary sage and rose geranium, like most hot cloth cleansers, the premise is to massage the formulation into your skin, soak the muslin cloth in hot water and use to remove the cleanser, along with dirt and skin debris. I've used a number of hot cloth cleansers over the years with varying degrees of success. This one differs in the thickness and texture of the cleanser – lighter and creamier than the thick ones I've tried. Although it's infused with a stack of delicious essential oils, it's slightly less aromatic than other versions – but hey, it is about a third of the price!
So far, my skin is enjoying the experience. It's too early to tell how it rates as far as clogs and blackheads are concerned, but since using it I have had fewer breakouts and my skin is definitely softer and smoother. I'd say that was a result.
P.S Soap & Glory have just launched another skincare addition that I'll be trying out soon – the fabulously named No Clogs Allowed Super Self Heating Deep Pore Detox Mask. Sounds like it was made for overindulged January skin – perfect! Watch this space...
I have just turned 22 and am out of the teenage skin zone, however the rest of facial skincare baffles me... should I already be hitting the anti ageing products or will using them this early on prevent them from working in the years when they are critically needed?
I hope you can help! I want to look after my skin and treat it well but simply don't know where to start.
Hi Hannah, Stewart Long, Boots' Scientific Skincare Adviser is the perfect expert to answer your question, so I'll hand over to him to reply.
"In your early twenties, your skin is at its absolute best. You're pretty much through the spots phase and there are no wrinkles and age spots. You should be looking after your skin so that the signs of ageing are kept at bay for as long as possible. In this way, you can put off buying more expensive anti-ageing products until much later in life. Up to 90% of the signs of ageing that we think of (wrinkles, age spots, saggy skin) are due to sun exposure. If you reduce the amount of exposure to the UV in sunlight, your skin ages much more slowly and wrinkles appear much later.
"For yourself, you should be looking at an SPF15 day cream with antioxidants to protect your skin from the UV in sunlight and keep it moisturised and supple. Something like the No7 Time Resisting range is ideal for your age group as it contains advanced, proven protection against the first signs of ageing. Don't buy anti-ageing products with ingredients like peptides or retinol if you have no wrinkles or age spots, as you won't get the benefits of these products."
Hope this helps, Hannah.
Looking for a little support to help you keep your new year's resolution to lose weight or quit smoking? Sometimes it's just nice to hear that other people are going through similar motivational blips and challenges, so Boots.com has introduced five new 'real life' bloggers whose progress you can follow (and tips you can steal) as they attempt to lose weight and give up the cigarettes. Plus, expert nutritionist Vicky Pennington and pharmacist Angela Chalmers will be offering support and advice to keep you and our bloggers on track.
P.S Look out for the new celebrity blogger...
I've had a crop of questions about flattering eye colours and make-up for more mature blog readers, so to kill several birds with one stone I thought I'd include these anti-ageing make-up tips from top make-up artist Daniel Sandler.
On finding your most flattering eye colour...
"You should never wear an eye shadow that matches your eye colour exactly," says Daniel. "Instead apply a contrasting shade that won't compete with your eye colour. You don't have to apply the chosen shade all over your lid; it can be applied to the root of the upper lash line."
On what to avoid...
What you can get away with depends on your skin tone, says Daniel. "Mature, fair skins can't wear dark colours such as a hard, black eye liner, but dark skin tones can. So the rule here is to use shades that look don't stand out too much but look natural and pretty. Frosty eye shadows are a big no-no if they're applied into the socket area and winged out. This is because frosty shadows highlight sagginess and over-hanging eyelids."
A few secrets for younger-looking eyes:
So there you have it. The perfect opportunity for a make-up bag reshuffle!
Cowshed's lovely mum-to-be range, Udderly Gorgeous, snuck quietly onto Boots.com at the end of last year, but really is worth highlighting. Check out the range, which includes (amongst other goodies) Stretch Mark Oil, a Cooling Leg & Foot treatment and Stretch Mark Balm – great gifts for pampering mums-to-be.
As my bump has really blossomed over Christmas (unaided by Chocolate Orange segments, honest), I'm keen to give it some TLC, so along with my daily application of Balance Me Oil, I'm planning to try out Cowshed's Udderly Gorgeous Bath Salts. The only problem? I still don't have a bath here at home, so I'll so I'll be scooting over to visit my parents just to take a soak (it's a tough job, this testing, but someone has to do it). Look out for my review in the next few weeks.
I've been to the salon and have dyed my hair from its natural brown to a bright blonde and now everywhere I go I keep seeing girls with dyed blonde hair that's dull/ in very poor condition, and I'm petrified of becoming one of them. I've heard shampoo that's blue or purple is good for keeping dyed blonde hair bright – any recommendations?
Hi Stephanie, thanks for your question. The fabulous Lee Stafford has stepped in with some great advice for keeping your hair looking tip top whilst maximising its colour:
"Changing or highlighting your natural hair colour can make a fabulous change to your look but only so long as you keep your hair in the pristine condition it was before you coloured it!" says Lee. "To keep your hair in the best possible condition after going blonder, and to avoid your salon fresh colour turning dull and brassy, make sure that you are regularly using a colour care regime of shampoo, treatment and conditioner. My Lee Stafford Bleach Blonde range is specially formulated with a Pro-Blonde PigmentTM complex of pathenol, chamomile and moringa seed extract to moisturise brittle, damaged hair and at the same time remove brassy, canary yellow shades," says Lee.
In terms of shampoos with purple pigments, although they're not vital, they can indeed help counteract yellowness and brassiness (they're handy for brightening grey and silver-toned hair too). Lee's intensive Hot Shots 4Blondes treatments actually contain purple pigments, plus vitamins and proteins to keep your blonde hydrated and fresh. Plus they're self-heating – a real treat during winter. Hope this helps!
Gloomy January mornings getting you down? Take a leaf out of This Works and Good Works founder Kathy Philips' book and energise with a morning bath – yes, a bath. "I like a bath in the morning, which means I wake up earlier in order to have time to enjoy it," says Kathy. "I use In the Zone Bath & Shower Oil in the morning because it sets me up with an anti-germ boost from the eucalyptus as well as the calming, focussing effect of frankincense. So I take time to soak up the aroma in order to feel strong and energised to start the day, which is far better than rushing out in a panic because you over-slept." And for when you find it hard to wind down in the evenings? "Deep Calm Bath & Shower Oil is the same in reverse – really slows you right down so that you can sleep," says Kathy.
January is often a time when the term 'new you' is banded around in a fashion associated with drastic makeovers and radical changes, but sometimes it really is the small tweaks that have you looking better. So give it some thought before you go for the big dye job. "Go for natural shades, not extreme shades," says session stylist and backstage hair guru Duffy, who has just signed as Clairol Nice 'n' Easy brand ambassador. "If you're blonde, maybe nudge yourself one or two shades lighter; if you're brunette, go warmer. Something as simple as adding warmth to your hair can make all the difference; you want someone to say, 'god, you look good' without being able to put their finger on why."
Launch news: look out for the five soft new shades launching from Nice 'n' Easy Perfect 10 this month.
It's about this time of year that gym membership peaks. All those good intentions and new year's resolutions; the panic that sets in after totting up your festive season mince pie quota. So how about the offer of a free session with a personal trainer, no gym membership required? Amazingly, you can bag yourself just that, thanks to Mitchum. The rather genius offer runs in-store until the 26th January. Until then, just buy any Mitchum Anti-perspirant Deodorant (men's or women's) at a Boots store (sorry peeps, the offer isn't online), keep your receipt and claim your personal training session worth £40. As with all offers, terms and conditions apply, so nip into your local Boots store to check them out.
It's the perfect way to get motivated!
Happy New Year to all you beauty fans! I trust you all had a lovely Christmas break. Although no doubt you're feeling a bit like me this week – like work is a slight shock to the system! Therefore I'll regroup my beauty thoughts and will be back in the swing of things with blog posts from tomorrow.