Information & Advice
Katie Campbell is our resident Boots.com Beauty Editor. Ex-Grazia beauty journalist Katie Campbell will be covering everything beauty.
Since I wrote the Fight the Bacteria post and read about the everyday nasties lurking on trolley handles, office desks and even cash points key pads, I can't get the grizzly facts out of my head. I've actually used my sample of Wet Ones anti-bacterial hand wipes to clean all my make-up and my make-up bag - which is what the experts suggest doing regularly. Dust, dirt and grime do not a pretty face make. So clean out your make-up bag and keep your tools pristine. If you've got make-up brushes, wash them in a little baby shampoo and leave on the side of your sink to air dry, or use a professional brush cleaner - there are loads out there (Clinique have one; Make-up Brush Cleanser). If you're an avid make-up sponge user, make sure you clean it regularly. Why? Remember that spot you covered up using your make-up sponge... which you later used to apply your foundation with... and then used to touch-up your spot coverage in the evening... I'm sure you get my drift! Clean all tools regularly. Your skin will thank you for it.
Hair looking flat? For a voluminous, glamorous look, it's all about Velcro rollers, hair stylist Lee Stafford tells me. Here's the speeded up how-to:
First, apply some mousse to towel-dried hair and then dry. Once dry, add some large Velcro rollers, blast with a hairdryer and leave for twenty minutes. "Then give your hair a fine mist of hairspray all over, take out the rollers and gently shake your hair out," says Lee. Result: "A beautiful, bouncy finish with lots of volume."
Lee's top tip: "When you've removed the rollers, spray your hands with Lee Stafford Shine Head Serum before shaking out your hair with your fingertips to take away any rogue flyaways."
No doubt you've already read about Westfield, the super-shopping mecca that's just opening in Shepherd's Bush? It's getting lots of press this week. Grazia magazine have de-camped from their Shaftesbury Avenue home to set up a live office there and various newspapers have been writing about the sheer number of brands under one roof.
Anyway, if you're in the vicinity tomorrow, Friday 31st December, hop to it and get yourself to the new Boots Westfield store where the Sugababes will be working the tills between 1.30 and 2.30 for a great cause. They'll be there to lend their support to the White Ribbon Campaign, a charity set up to prevent needless deaths in childbirth (shocking statistic: every minute a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth; it's the single biggest killer of women under 20 worldwide).
Help the charity by making a purchase - for every customer the Sugababes serve on the day, Boots will donate £5 direct to the White Ribbon Alliance.
Hot off the press! I love the news that fake tan brand St Tropez is bringing out a certification for professional (fake) tanning to ensure their salon therapist administered treatments remain top-notch.
'The St Tropez ITEC Diploma will raise the industry standard for tanning treatments and education. A thorough and expert approach ensures that each therapist we train will have all the necessary tools to be able to do the most professional job possible,' says Caroline Young, St Tropez's Artist Relations & Training Director, of the three module ITEC Diploma.
Botch jobs and streaks won't cut the mustard, which is reassuring for those of us who splash out on a professional 'tan' before big events (i.e like the office crimbo party).
If recent A-list outings are anything to go by, there's a new eye obsession making waves in celeb town: the silver smoky eye. J-Lo worked the look at hubby Marc Anthony's birthday recently and here's Charlize Theron rocking it at a recent premiere. 'Silver or pewter eye shadow is a great slick alternative to creating a feline smoky eye,' make-up artist Lee Pycroft told me. 'Its light reflecting properties and metallic texture help create a shamelessly smouldering eye make up effect.'
Want to copy Charlize's silver look at home? It's surprisingly simple, as Lee explains:
'Sweep Rimmel London Cool Mousse Shadow in Pewter onto the eyelid, into the socket line and underneath the eyes. Then, using a soft black kohl pencil, colour in the lash line and into the rim of the eye, sweeping the line outwards to create an upward tilt. Finally, use a sooty black mascara, concentrating on the roots of the lashes for extra volume and sweep through to the tips for a light flattering effect.'
Following my previous post about dry shampoo, I've just tried the James Brown London Hair Reviving Dry Shampoo so can report back.
Firstly, it gave me the shock of my life; a rather unnerving glimpse at what the future holds - me with grey roots. The formula sprays a powdery white-grey when it hits the hair, so be prepared for a similar granny-like vision (obviously more apparent for those with dark hair). But take heart, it's only temporary!
The directions: Hold it around 20cm away from your hair and spray over, concentrating at the roots. Leave for up to two minutes and then brush out until all traces of powder are removed.
Once my composure had been regained, and two minutes had passed, I brushed out the powder as directed. (Keep at it for a bit, until the white has completely vanished.) The verdict: It's definitely soaked up the grease, so yes, good for those times when you find yourself sans shower/bath. The secret is the cornstarch in the ultra-fine powder which soaks up oil. And am I noticing a little more guts to my roots? I think I am, actually. My hair certainly smells clean too.
This is just a little post, but a useful one. If you're not too steady of hand, impatient or just a bit of a crazy person who shouldn't be let loose with a bottle of nail varnish, this one's for you, if you haven't already heard it. Paint your toes the evening before your big event and don't worry about getting the perfect paint job. The next morning when you jump in the shower the warmth from the water will soften any colour splodges that may have veered off the nail onto your toes. Gently rub off and you're left with a neat, who'd-have-known-it pedicure.
I'm trying to stick to a new rule with my hair: if in doubt, wash it. I don't know if you're the same, but if I find washing/drying my hair so tedious. If I have a chance to get away without washing my hair I'll take it. Because my hair's so long, the whole washing process is laborious. My hair gets caught in the towel I wrap around my chest, blah blah blah. Consequently, I'm often asking my boyfriend this question just before we go to bed: Does My Hair Look Greasy? Do You Think I Should Wash It? He says it looks fine. I go to bed. Then I wake up and - ugh - I should have washed it.
My new resolution: wash it. But for those occasions when it's a little too late, there's no time, or it's the morning after, there's always dry shampoo. Unbelievably, I've never tried dry shampoo (I say unbelievably because I've written about it enough times), but I know it's super-popular with stylists on shoots. It's not just about soaking up the grease; they use it to give hair a bit of oomph and texture.
Now it seems dry shampoo has filtered down from shoots and is tumbling onto the high street. Nearly every modern styling range has one. Bumble & bumble, James Brown London, Lee Stafford.
I have my paws on James Brown's dry shampoo, so I'll test it and report back.
If you've ever looked on enviously at the red carpet faces of Liz Hurley, Kate Hudson, Demi Moore, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Moss (and pretty much every other A-lister to come to think of it), there's a good chance make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury had a hand in perfecting them. When she's not making up A-listers, setting trends on all the cool fashion week shows or working on the big fashion ads, she's creating jaw-droppingly beautiful/edgy make-up for covers of the likes of Vogue and V magazine.
So the news that she's the creative force behind a brand new make-up line is pretty exciting. I popped along to the launch of the new range -myface- a few weeks ago and was so enthralled I stayed for three hours. I haven't been this excited about a new make-up line since...since I can't remember. Basically the range is organised completely by skintone and divided into colouring: fair, medium, medium-dark. This removes the 'which blush would suit me'? guess work. Discover your colouring and the rest slots into place, blush, powder, foundation (3 variants per skin colour), concealer (ditto), lipgloss, lipstick, lip pencil; Charlotte's handpicked all the shades to work perfectly with each skintone. Meanwhile the eyeshadow trios and 'blingtones' -wow- have been designed to enhance every eye colour and the shades are Charlotte's signature groupings.
I do have a picture of me from the launch sporting the Morococo bling tones shades but I've suddenly come over all shy, so you'll just have to trust me when I say the shades are stunning.
The best news? The range is hitting Boots today! Keep those eyes peeled...
Every time I have an overnight trip planned I try to pack light. I hate lugging a big bag on the tube so I condense everything. And every time I pack I have the same dilemma; take my favourite, but heavy, beauty items (shower gel, shampoo/cond et al) or pack a less-loved but lighter mini option? I go for the lighter option every time, albeit through gritted teeth.
However I've stumbled across what looks like a potential solution (I'm road-testing it next trip): Mister Mascara's Travelling Beauty Cabin Bag. It's one of the brand's Christmas gift sets and it is brilliant. The bag itself has a hook for hotel hanging and a mesh pocket for storing (the main body of the bag has ample room - enough for toothpaste/brush, cleanser etc - whilst the bag is nice and compact), but best of all it includes two 50ml plastic bottles (good for shower gel/body moisturiser/shampoo/anything) and a small pot that's perfect for a cleanser or moisturiser, PLUS a spatula and a mini funnel to save messy decanting. Genius.
Oh and did I mention the comb with mirror and soft padded sleeping mask?
This gem's actually designed to sail through hand-luggage airport security, hence its 'Cabin Bag' moniker (although there's still no getting through without those re-sealable clear plastic bags, sadly), but really I think it makes for a pretty nifty travel companion whatever mode of transport you're using.
I've just written a feature on 'busy girl beauty' (or lazy girl beauty, depending on your view point), going live in a few weeks, and have got some great 'short on time' gems from Urban Retreat make-up artist Daniel Sandler. Here's a sneaky snippet - this is Daniel's answer to achieving a maximum impact evening look double quick:
'First disguise dark circles and imperfections, then sweep bronzer over the face and neck to add a flush of warmth. Sweep a little peach blush into cheeks for a fresh glow and then add a slick of black kohl close to the top lash line. Apply 2 coats of glossy black mascara and finish with a sexy lipstick or gloss.'
Fashion Week has wrapped for another season, I suspect to the secret relief of the fashion press and PRs involved who work their socks off during the four-week long event. How they remain upbeat, energetic and look chic in the process is a mystery. I couldn't do it. Fashion Week buzzes with trends and gossip though, so here are the interesting beauty snippets I sniffed out.
Finding a good hairdresser is like finding a fantastic beauty product - a joy. I play pretty safe with my hair which, being long, dye job free and side-parted, is about as low maintenance as you can get. But it's still the best cut I've had. Luckily I trust my hairdresser, Luke Hersheson of Daniel Hersheson, who has been cutting my hair for nearly eight years. I asked Luke for some tips getting your best ever hair cut. Here's what he said:
"It's really important that you feel you can communicate with your stylist. Make sure you pick one that doesn't use technical jargon and that you understand what they are saying in plain English. If you don't understand, ask them to show you exactly what they mean. I always ask clients to tell me what they love and hate about their hair and what they expect to do with it when they wash it or wake up - this gives me a very good understanding of what people want. These are the most important things that you can share with your hairdresser, so make sure you tell them!"Bring in pictures.
"Bringing in pictures is a good thing to do as it helps convey to a stylist what you want, but it's always good to put your thumb over the person's face to help you really decide if this is the style and cut that you really want."Get what you pay for:
'If you are going to a expensive stylist my motto is that you are going for their expertise and their guidance - so you should feel comfortable in putting yourself in their hands and expect lots of suggestions and advice. However it's still important to mention what you like and what you don't like and what your pet hates are - this gives stylists boundaries, which is good! But also be prepared to listen to their advice, as this is surely why you are paying a large amount of money for your haircut.'
Yesterday I absent-mindedly left an exfoliating mask on for a tad longer than the recommended 3 minutes. It wasn't until I clocked my face in the mirror - and the sunburn-like rage of redness creeping across it - that I realised my mistake. Oops.
I'm not usually blasé about the instructions, but apparently I'm in the minority; according to the experts, ignoring the manufacturer's instructions for time and dosage is a skincare mistake consumers regularly, and knowingly, make - especially when it comes to anti-ageing skincare. There's a part of us that seems to think that adding more than the recommended amount and leaving on for longer than suggested will budge that wrinkle faster or nuke a spot that little bit quicker. Not so. My face is proof!
If that isn't convincing enough, many experts believe over-exfoliating and stressing the skin can, over time, actually accelerate premature ageing.
Incidentally, after my angry skin episode I reached for the cooling aloe vera aftersun from Clinique that happened to be nearby. Thank god I'd popped it in the fridge months ago during the mini heatwave. A light layer of this and the angry redness quickly mellowed.
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