30.9.13

LBQ's Top Three: Foundations

As the sun fades away and leaves crispy autumnal leaves in its place, finding a great foundation to take you through to the next season is essential. You want to create a flawless, natural finish with little effort that lasts all day - not an easy thing to achieve, even though there are hundreds of formulas to choose from. Although I have at least ten different foundations and BB creams in my collection, these three are the ones I turn to without fail to see me through the colder days and chillier nights.

top three foundations

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The Body Shop launch The Foundation Lip Butter

The Body Shop's very first store opened in Brighton in 1978, focusing on creating great products while being ethically minded. Over the last 14 years they’ve donated over £19 million to over 25,000 organisations around the world through their charitable trust, The Body Shop Foundation. Founded in 1989, The Body Shop Foundation supports local grassroots charities in the areas of animal welfare, human rights and environmental protection by donating funds that help innovative projects that target local communities and current issues. Within the last year the Foundation has issued over 92 grants (totaling over £500,000) to charities worldwide - including those in The Body Shop’s Head Office areas of London and Wake Forest, Carolina. As well as via fundraising activities, The Body Shop Foundation is also funded by sales of their charity products; this year it's the £4.00 Dragon Fruit Lip Butter. 100% of the profits from each sale go to three local charities, which is split 50/30/20 according to the voting system; when you a buy the Foundation Lip Butter in store, you'll receive a token that you slot into the box of your chosen charity out of three, which ensures they get your vote to receive the highest level of funding.


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29.9.13

Time For Tea: Løv Organic Herbal Teas

I love a cuppa. English breakfast, green or chai, there's nothing quite like a steaming brew when it's chilly outside. Having an entire work surface in my kitchen dedicated to different herbal teas is pretty self explanatory, but when Løv Organic got in touch about trying some of their own blends I couldn't wait to boil the kettle. In Scandinavian countries 'løv' means 'leaf' - Løv Organic was inspired by this part of the world where a modern lifestyle goes hand-in-hand with respecting the environment. With delicious and innovative organic tea and wellness blends in beautiful eco-friendly packaging, Løv Organic a range of uniquely blended teas that brightens the simplest moments. Each one of their tea bags is made with muslin, containing a hefty amount of their natural blends that produce 2-3 cups of the good stuff. There's no chalky texture, film or greasiness in the tea, just a smooth and tasty cup to enjoy. If you're a fan of herbal blends but don't like the strong taste of a lot of the mint teas, then Løv offers a tasty alternative without a bitter aftertaste. Their loose teas are also delicious, with Lovely Night sending you off to sleep via a hint of chamomile, rooibos, honeybush and pear. These certainly aren't a traditional cup of Twinings, providing a much deeper and invigorating experience for the taste buds. A box of teabags will set you back £8.00, while a huge tin of loose tea can be yours for £9.00. Well worth it if you're a tea lover or wannabe connoisseur, or simply want to expand your tea horizons.

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28.9.13

Inhibitif: Hair-Free Deodorant

Hair removal is a multi-million pound business in the UK, with women (and men) spending a fortune on treatments, products and pampering to rid themselves of unwanted fuzz. Although much time has been spent developing products to reduce the need for shaving, waxing and epilating, little has been invested in the under-arm area. Inhibitif is the new product that claims to innovatively target the glamourous armpit, helping to visibly reduce the hair growth, density and thickness of hair in eight weeks. Administered via a bacteria fighting deodorant, Inhibitif takes a product we already use daily and turns it into a dual-purpose treatment; so many of us fail to maintain routines, so this ingenious launch makes it super easy to slip hair removal into our existing routine. Inhibitif works by targeting the hair follicle directly to slow down the growth rate and density of unwanted hair. The formula helps to prevent stimuli that boost follicle growth, meaning that the body simply doesn't produce hair in the way that it otherwise would.


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MaxFactor Whipped Creme Foundation

The hunt has begun for the mid-season foundation. Gone are the lighter and dewy formulas that are enough on warm summer days, and in come the heavier more matte finishes that help us look healthy without caking up the skin. I've never been particularly fond of cream or mousse foundations, preferring a liquid that I know I can manipulate and layer on the skin; however, MaxFactor's new Whipped Creme foundation provides all the coverage I need without feeling heavy. The whipped non-drying formula is oil and fragrance free, as well as being suitable for sensitive or dry skin - the light-as-air texture doesn't clog pores either, making it perfect for daily wear. It feels extremely light to the touch and works well when applied with either fingers or a foundation brush, moving around the skin easily to leave a refreshed and clear complexion. Unlike a lot of other mousse foundations, MaxFactor's Whipped Creme foundation doesn't cake or flake throughout the day, nor does it struggle to blend with blush or powder when applied over the top. The formula provides an almost airbrushed finish while feeling practically invisible; although the coverage isn't heavy and some will need to layer and add a touch of concealer, it's become a staple for when I want a simple makeup look. Perfect for Autumn and not bad at all for under a tenner.

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27.9.13

Toni & Guy Hair Meet Wardrobe: Limited Edition by Lulu Kennedy

I've always had a fascination with hair, needing at least five different products for any one hair concern, and Toni & Guy have always been part of that journey. When they launched their 'Hair Meet Wardrobe' concept a few seasons ago at London Fashion Week, I had a lightbulb moment and couldn't help thinking 'why has nobody done this before?' Hair styling is as a much part of our fashion decision making as adding a statement necklace, or choosing which shoes to wear; it's a natural progression of accessorising and bringing a look together - something Toni & Guy understand well. This season they've teamed up with Lulu Kennedy, founder of Fashion East (a non-profit initiative that nurtures emerging young designers through the difficult early stages of their career, providing funding, advice and even a complete catwalk show production.) Having worked with the likes of Richard Nicoll, Holly Fulton, Jonathan Saunders, House of Holland, Marios Schwab and Meadham Kirchhoff, Lulu really does know a thing or two about fashion. Lulu has created an exclusive and unique design for four Toni & Guy products to reflect her take on the latest key fashion trends, which includes a cult product from each of the four categories: Classic, Casual, Creative and Glamour.

 
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26.9.13

Models Own: Firework Nails

I'm not quite sure how it happened, but Bonfire Night is practically around the corner. Soon the sky will be filled with extravagant lights, while the audience looking on will be joining in with collective 'oooohs and ahhhhs'. Not a brand to ignore an occasion or buck a trend, Models Own have their very own collection of firework inspired nail varnishes. Shades include the firey Catherine Wheel, bold blue Banger and bright red Rocket, all of which have varying shapes and sizes of glitter held in a transparent polish. These can be worn alone or over a colour polish for depth and drama, but I personally love to wear them over a pale or neutral shade to really make the glitter pop. Unlike a lot of pretty naff glitter polishes, the saturation of glitter is strong; this provides a really strong result in only one or two coats, without the need to place each strand of detail individually. My personal favourite is Catherine Wheel, a golden topcoat with just a hint of firey orange and red, which leaves delicate sprinkles on the nail that look fab over a subtle base colour. Most importantly, these don't flake or peel off easily but are still pretty quick to remove with nail varnish remover... Sparkly nails without the faff? An absolute winner, fireworks night or any night where you need some glitz.

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Bond, James Bond: 007 Quantum Fragrance for Men

Regardless of whether they admit it or not, every man wishes he was James Bond. The slick suits, the incredible cars, the women, the action... What's not to wish for a part of? While there's only ever one James Bond (at a time,) the men in your life can have a little bit of Bond themselves thanks to the newest addition to the 007 fragrance collection. Launched in celebration of the newest franchise, Quantum is the third installment of the 'dangerously sophisticated' James Bond fragrance line. Quantum combines the invigorating scents of Bond's raw masculinity, (including Juniper Berries, Begamot and Sandalwood) with his cool composure (including leather and Violet Leaf,) to leave the wearer feeling tough but cool at the same time. Although you could anticipate that a film franchise launching a fragrance line could result in a sickening and temporarily on-trend scent, this distinguished fragrance has been years in the making and really evokes many emotions and brings to life associations that you would often only expect from a bespoke perfumer. The scent is complex but wearable, bringing to life Bond's love for cars and the iconic Aston Martin thanks to the delicate leather notes. The slick bottle design is perfect for gadget lovers too, making the wearer feel a little bit like an action hero after every spritz.


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Stepping into Autumn with Neutrals

We’re all kindly reminded of on a daily basis that Autumn is fast approaching, but I’m not quite ready to don the berry-tinged, gothic-inspired beauty trends. Now I’ve reached sixth form I’ve finally got the freedom to dress how I want and wear the makeup I like, but like anybody working full time or still studying, strong burgundy tones can be too overpowering for daily duties. So how do we step into next season, without overdoing the purple lipstick?


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25.9.13

Practical Tips: How To Apply Foundation Like A Pro

Foundation is the one item that beauty experts reply on. It can help make skin look perfectly flawless when applied right, but the search for the perfect shade and texture can be difficult. Before you go shopping for the perfect match this new season, keep these beauty tips in mind...


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Bust The Flu-Like Symptoms

As autumn is fast approaching, so are the obligatory sniffles. If you want to attempt to fight against sore throats and a tickly nose by adjusting your skincare routine and diet, then there are a few things you can do to help that need less effort than turning over the telly channel. 


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24.9.13

London Fashion Week: Backstage at Ashish with L'Oreal Hair Chalk

The madness has ended for another season, yet there's one thing that remains in my mind from London Fashion Week: L'Oreal Paris Professionnel's innovative Hair Chalk. The trend for dip-dyes and bold hair colours isn't going anywhere, but if you're not brave enough to take the plunge permanently then Hair Chalk could be for you. Seen backstage at Ashish, where the product was used in various colours to create bold and extravagant hair effects, colourful hair has become a must-have hair accessory. With five patents, this brand new temporary hair colourant harnesses the desire to look different on a daily basis by offering an affordable, quick and temporary hair colour result that lasts for up to two shampoos. Available in eight different colours, including a vibrant green and insatiable tuquoise, Hair Chalk makes changing your look every weekend simple as pie.
  

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Fixing Your Top Five Beauty Problems

The course of beauty doesn't always run smooth. From irritating pimples to rosy red cheeks at the most inappropriate of times, beauty troubles vary from the slightly bothersome to the downright traumatic - but there's a solution for them all in one way or another. Check out five of the most common beauty concerns and the best ways to combat them.


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23.9.13

COMPETITION: Healthier Hair with Aquis Hair Towels

Wet hair on a cold morning is the worst thing. With the days getting darker and chillier, washing and drying hair in the morning is becoming a necessary evil. The challenge is on to dry and style hair in the minimum amount of time, ensuring that you warm up and put on the layers as soon as possible. With Aquis microfibre hair towels you can help speed that process, as the patented Aquitex microfibre technology makes the towel drying process more efficient and less damaging to the hair shaft. You can read my original review here, but suffice to say these towels are still an absolute daily essential for me. Aquis microfibre towels can significantly reduce the need for blow-drying, whilst absorbing much more moisture from the hair than a regular towel; I can cut down my drying and styling time by at least 50% by using these fabulous pastel sheets of goodness. Want to get your hands on some too?


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Perfect For Winter: Champneys Skin Comforting Miracle Balm

When the weather starts to get colder there are certain areas of my body that really feel it the most; in particular my elbows become rough and knees start to look powdery, crying out for moisture and nourishment. The Champneys Skin Comforting Miracle Balm uses a combination of 100% natural hydrating and healing ingredients to soothe and condition the skin, in a pot that's the perfect size to pop in your handbag for an on-the-go treatment.


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22.9.13

Crabtree & Evelyn Launch Nail Lacquer

Known more traditionally for their delicious hand creams and body pampering treatments, Crabtree & Evelyn have recently been pushing the boat out and launching some fabulously 'current' products. New to their ever expanding collection are 21 shades of nail lacquer, providing every shade from the deepest blue to the brightest orange and everything in-between. Although nail lacquer isn't necessarily their forte, Crabtree & Evelyn do know a lot about hands - so this is a thoroughly natural progression and expansion of their product offering. Formulated without Camphor, Dibutyl Phthalates, Formaldehyde or Toluene, these polishes are safer alternatives to those that suffer allergic reactions or sensitivities from chemicals often found in makeup. The polish is long-lasting and extremely glossy, providing a smooth finish and true colour result in only two coats; even the darker colours look great after only two applications using the perfectly sculpted brush. These are some of the best polishes I've used in quite some time, making their bargainous price of £6.00 even more astonishing. If you're after some new colours to take you into the next season and beyond, I couldn't recommend popping into Marks & Spencer beauty counter or your local Crabtree & Evelyn boutique more.

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The Best Eye Creams: Is It Worth Splashing Out?

Once you’ve removed your make-up, exfoliated, cleansed, toned and moisturised, it’s easy to forget to apply eye cream. We all know eyes are an instant give away to our age and health, with the skin around the eye being the thinnest on our bodies and therefore the most delicate and prone to damage, but sometimes it's just one product too many. However, I love eye creams and always apply a generous layer every night before bed; there is such a huge selection available it’s tricky to know whether it’s worth investing in or if you can get away with a budget buy. In the name of research, I’ve reviewed a budget, mid range and super premium eye cream to find out if it's really worth splashing the cash.

the best eye creams

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21.9.13

My Beauty Lust List: Wishing For A Winning Lottery Ticket

I've often dreamed about what I'd do if I won the lottery. After the inevitable 'buy a house, go traveling and give the family a lump sum' obligations, my mind turns to fashion and beauty. (What I would do with a celebrity sized bank account!) It's then that I start to formulate my beauty lust list, the products I would splash out on if money really were no object. This list hasn't been created overnight (it's carefully formulated and revised any number of times,) but I think it's ready to be shared. Here is my beauty lust list.... Warning: This list is still subject to change at short notice.

beauty lust list

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Reiss Launches NEW Fragrances: Exclusive to Selfridges

When it comes to fashion brands launching fragrances, they're normally bland and boring - completely failing to capture the essence of the brand or to target the women that actually shop there. Reiss have bucked the trend with the launch of their new fragrances Grey Flower and Black Oudh, calling upon the expertise of award winning perfumer Azzi Glasser to create something truly unique. Two years in the making, Azzi has captured something completely new whilst being totally wearable. Grey Flower is not your traditional woman's fragrance; she could have developed something predictable using sickly sweet notes or floral components, but instead she chose to create one of the most intruguing perfumes I've had the pleasure of wearing in years. With notes of Pimento Berry, Patchouli, Frankincense, Amber and Sequoia Wood, 'Grey Flower' is woody and exotic without being too overpowering. I like to keep my fragrance wardrobe expansive, so often struggle to add something new to my collection; with this new fragrance there's simply nothing to compare it to or replace it with.


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20.9.13

Time Bomb: Holiday in A Bottle

Described as 'not a stain, self-tanner or foundation', the Time Bomb Cosmetics Holiday in A Bottle left me wondering: just what is it then? This 'liquid sunshine' aims to give a healthy sun-kissed boost to the skin, containing micro-pigments that burst when touched and turn the cream from a grey-white to it's final pigmented colour. So, is it really a holiday in a bottle?


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19.9.13

COMPETITION: A Sunkissed Tan Made Easy with Sunkissed

Although high tanning season may be over, there's no reason why we have to ditch the tan altogether and spend the colder months looking practically translucent. Sunkissed offer a great range of tanning products that provide a subtle glow with minimal effort, perfect for chucking on when you know you've got a big night out planned or just want to look good in that on-trend winter white dress. The mousse is extremely light and melts into skin in seconds, leaving a subtle guide tint that provides an indication of the colour result. It's practically impossible to go wrong with the application as the mousse doesn't streak or flake; it applies seamlessly to the surface, drying fully within about five minutes and developing into a natural sunkissed glow overnight. I can apply this to my entire body within five minutes - that's how easy it is! It also includes the moisturising ingredients Aloe Vera and Glycerine, to leave skin feeling smooth and hydrated (a result you rarely get after applying fake tan.)

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18.9.13

LBQ Brand Focus #16: Coast

With the party season nearly upon us for another year, the battle for the best frock gets underway. There's nothing more faux pas than turning up wearing the same number as someone else to your office party, so where to go to ensure you look classically elegant while uniquely stylish? In my opinion there's only one stop on my search: Coast. A brand that always delivers, I always know I can rely on them to have something in stock that I'll love. Their designs are always on-trend, without being too 'high street' - when you're investing in a beautiful dress, you want it to last more than the current season. That's where Coast outperforms so many other brands, as they manage to get the balance perfect between seasonal trends mixed with classic cuts and fabrics.

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What Do You See When You Look In The Mirror? The 'What I See' Project

Thanks to this blog I get asked to take part in many campaigns, surveys, research projects and so on, but every so often something comes along that I feel a strong inclination to be part of. A little while ago I was introduced to the What I See Project: a global online platform that recognises and amplifies women’s voices. All over the world, women are answering the question 'What do you see when you look in the mirror?' in order to share their story and feel empowered by relating and understanding others stories too. The brainchild of Edwina Dunn, the What I See Project is a non-profit campaign that has the objective of celebrating women from everyday life whose stories would otherwise go unacknowledged. Edwina wanted to share the real and honest stories from women about their struggles, achievements and inner thoughts, allowing them to express themselves freely through a website that appreciates them for who they really are.


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17.9.13

London Fashion Week: Going Backstage at Burberry

The highlight of London Fashion Week for me is always the Burberry show. Not only does it draw in the crowds (online and in person,) but Christopher Bailey pushes the boundaries of fashion whilst still making every item wearable. This season was no exception, providing a delicate array of tones and textures that were all brought together with some beautiful embellishments and intricate detailing. As always with the Burberry show, makeup was kept simple - a subtle brush of pink eyeshadow over the lid, complemented by a nude face and a pale pink gloss. The focus was very much on the pop of colour on each of the model's nails, bringing the looks together with the smallest of detailing. Burberry also chose to keep hair long and natural, not over-styling or creating a look that's impossible to re-create at home. If the catwalk is anything to go by, then hair tucked into your coat jacket is definitely hot again for 2014 - bonus for an extra ten minutes in bed.

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London Fashion Week: Reporting Backstage at Alessia Prekop

The Alessia Prekop S/S 2014 collection provided an array of elegant and feminine outfits in fairly muted tones. The focus was very much on puffy statement sleeves, contrasting waist-hip ratios, strong angles and a framing of black. Ruffles and frills provided a very feminine carefree twist to an elegant and minimalist collection. Backstage, head make-up artist Kim Brown explained that the skin featured no contouring or blush, in order to highlight a clean and clear skin with summery feel. The main focus was the bright neon eyebrows; each model fashioned a striking bright blue or purple eyebrow, while liquid eyeliner was used to elongate the shape of brows and eyes. Lips were tinted purple to bring the makeup look together, while completely contrasting to the colour and texture in the clothes. Similarly, the hair was really simple and strong; there was absolutely not a hair out of place. The clothing featured a lot of diagonal cuts, so the hair featured a diagonal parting. Hair was tied up in a bun and Label-M Extra Strong Moose was used to give the hair a clean and shiny look, while ensuring it stayed put. Once the models hit the catwalk with their completed looks, the show was incredible. Alessia Prekop's collection will be extremely popular amongst fans of the minimalist trend that want to add a little twist; ruffles, round and diagonal cuts were massively prominent throughout and provide extra dimension to otherwise classic styles.

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London Fashion Week: Backstage at Tabernacle Twins

So far this season we've seen some stunning makeup looks grace the catwalks as the designers show off their latest beautiful collections; The Tabernacle Twins didn't break that pattern. Neutral faces were teamed with neon orange lips, whilst hair was given androgynous structure: one side featured bold corn rows, whilst the other was left softly waved. The contrast between the delicate and the bold was reflected in the clothing too, as we saw structured jackets mixed with delicate lace shirt dresses. The Body Shop makeup team focused the majority of their attention on the lips, layering various colored lipsticks and powders to create a well defined matte look. Faces were lightly contoured, but otherwise left very neutral, with The Body Shop Brow and Lash Gel being applied to add definition without heaviness to the eyes. Although the hair styling on the models was certainly not easy to create, plaits in general seem to be springing up on both on the catwalks and on the High Street. Partnered with bold lips and a matte complexion, could this be the hottest trend for 2014?


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London Fashion Week: Backstage at Krystof Strozyna

If there's one thing that dominated Krystof Strozyna's amazing show at London Fashion Week, it was the sharp, blunt, androgynous crop cuts and the glamourous talons. With a collection taking inspiration from iconic POP culture and colours drawn from early summer mornings, Krystof created his SS14 collection for women who love art and especially love wearing it. There was also a massive focus on lips in the collection, with pockets, collars and sleeves all in an abstract lip-shape, but the model's lips themselves were significantly less defined, letting the do's dominate the hair and beauty conversation. The wigs, created by Jaga Hupalo, were sleek, almost lacquered but without being plastered to the skull. Though blunt fringes and crop cuts are set to be massive in SS14, it's a strong look that's perfect for strong features – but not so much for the rest of us. That's not to say elements can't be taken into every day life; blunt bangs and choppy layers are an ideal way to take high fashion onto the high street. The awesome nails, by Zaida Ibrahim-Gani, may be unreasonably long for the rest of us to consider, but the two main colours – canary yellow and opulent white are an easy look to rock when SS14 rolls around.

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16.9.13

London Fashion Week: Backstage at Yong Kyun Shin

Yong Kyun Shin's reputation certainly precedes him: with a degree from Central Saint Martins and a wealth of experience with Victor & Rolf and Alexander McQueen, there's no stopping him. The palette of grey, black and dusky pink of his designs bring together the delicate deconstruction of fabric, resulting in fashion for the empowered, strong modern woman. Drawing beauty from 'the broken', Yong has managed to couple weak and strong with his mixture of daring textures and patterns. This was a big day, with the backstage busy with bodies rushing from one model to the next to astounding effect. To pull off the the edgy, optical prints Yong is known for, the makeup inspiration drew from a 'broken' theme with shockingly bright pinks and white to further draw out the wonderful composition of the designs. Layering the pink is the key, blending it out so there are no harsh lines and finishing with a white accent on the bottom lid. A striking mixture of pink blush paired with a pearlescent pale pink across the cheeks adds intense reflection and natural contouring. This is when Toni & Guy step in, seemingly effortlessly creating a sculptural up-do to complete the look, complimenting Yong's own lines.

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London Fashion Week: Backstage at Kiev Fashion Days

The atmosphere backstage was palpable; all the Ukranian designers were waiting to showcase their efforts to a judging, yet receptive, audience. Models were buzzing around the small space with only three minutes spare to apply their makeup. The wonderful Lan Nguyen-Grealis created a look for the vast amount of models, fresh and vibrant for Spring/Summer 2014. A hint of BB cream was used for an even base, clear gel applied heavily for clumped lashes, barely there colour with balm on the lips and a radiant highlighter to create an instant 'face-lift' effect.  A final spritz of Vitamin E spray at the runway door and a subtle sheen was added under the intense studio lighting. For the hair, Bill Watson and the Toni & Guy Artistic Team used masses of Label.M mousse to bring a sleek sophistication to the catwalk. Poker straight tresses were the order of the day, centre parted and smooth as silk. The astounding thing about the look is the versatility, working for all skin types in the most minimal, yet striking, way. The ability to recreate this style at home with the bare minimum of products is wonderful transition from catwalk to vanity dresser.

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London Fashion Week: Reporting Backstage at Eugene Lin

Taking a dramatic turn from his previous A/W line (gone are the digital prints and military styling,) A/W 2014 heralds in a tailored and impeccably immaculate line. Eugene Lin has delivered on a flattering collection of dresses, trousers and jackets all painted in a feminine, elegant palette. Using the Valkyrie as inspiration, Lin has successfully integrated mythological lore into his latest designs with subtle touches that are easily overlooked but beautiful once noticed. The cross detailing is akin to the Valkyrie wings across the body, seen on many of the dresses, and becomes a fascinating addition for carrying a clutch bag. The show introduced colour gradually, from whites through to orange and then onto black. We begin to see a play on texture and coating for a wet look and finally, the addition of feather prints in varying tones for an elaborate, yet unique style. To bring the look together, Lan Nguyen-Grealis styled makeup for a fierce and bold female, using a single sharp line created with lipstick for undiluted colour. An intense highlight was created for the inner corner to make the eyes 'pop' and create the illusion of a halo, while lips were matte with coral lipstick and washed out with foundation. The hair draws from a warrior vibe, slicked back at the top, through the sides and ending in a ponytail with plenty of hairspray and gel between for a wet finish.

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15.9.13

London Fashion Week: Reporting Backstage at Lug Von Siga

This season it's all about the strong woman; feminism is well and truly back! (If it ever went away.) The Body Shop created androgynous inspired make up at Lug Von Siga: the eyebrows were pushed up and filled in to create a very strong look. The makeup was extremely angular, with shapes being created using a lot of highlighter and colour contouring. A slightly cheating technique was used with the eyebrow pallet, creating shading around the winged eye with the brow colour rather than with eyeshadow. The main eyeshadow colours used were The Body Shop's 'Coconuts About You' and 'Caramel Flirt' mixed in together to create depth. Lips were kept nude, but with a darker tone using Dare To Bare lipstick, to ensure the focus was on the dark eyes and simple hair. Overall the tones used were very muted grey, blacks and off whites - all very 'soft monochrome.' This is a perfect look for recreating off the catwalk, moving it onto the dance floor for a glamorous night out.

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London Fashion Week: Reporting Backstage at Pinghe

Black and white have eternally served as a timeless classic in fashion. The power, opulence and grace of the monochrome trend was exhibited perfectly by Chinese designer Pinghe in her SS14 collection. Pinghe’s use of rounded elaborate shoulders, straight cut dresses and 18th Century inspired jackets was somewhat reminiscent of a gothic horror. However, the collection consisted of pieces that celebrated modern femininity such as the peplum top, pencil skirts and figure hugging dresses. This made Pinghe’s collection wearable and gave the gothic tale an air of modernity. The mixture of textures in each piece worked to create a better silhouette and additional dimension. Pinghe’s combination of cotton and organza was creative, added dimension and enabled models to show some skin without having to show some skin. The combination of organza and cotton is a match made in heaven. This dynamic duo is currently trending in the high street, however, its beauty and magnificence may enable the trend to reign mightily, and we may see the duo return in the SS14 season. With the combination of monochrome designs, high seated beehives, pale foundation and dark lipstick, fashion’s bride of Frankenstein was ultimately brought back to life. Hair and beauty was taken by storm with Toni & Guy’s elaborate take on the beehive; this high seated hairstyle combined with the streaks of coloured hair spray created a powerful look, encouraging us fashion and beauty lovers to take a walk on the deep dark wild side.

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London Fashion Week: Backstage at Jean Pierre Braganza

The experience of being backstage at Jean Pierre Braganza was complete energising, with the buzzing atmosphere packed with an array of models, stylists and make-up artists. I was able to capture the fabulous hairstyle creations from Toni & Guy for the Jean Pierre Braganza Spring/Summer collection. The inspiration behind the hair celebrated feminism in a very simple way; it represents a girl who has just stepped out of bed, but she doesn't really need to make any effort because she's beautiful. From a hairstylist's point of view, a simple style is the most difficult to create. The heavy textured effect was created using the Blow Out spray, which can also be used as a setting lotion, blow died flat with a very loose braid, or with hot tongs for an irregular curl. As some models had a lot more hair to work with, it had to sit more away from the face in order to ensure consistency; to achieve this look you simply apply two little scull braids at the back of the ear, pinning the hair for a desirable flat effect. A simple look that can easily be re-created at home, bringing some simple elegance to Spring 2014.

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London Fashion Week: Backstage at Swedish School of Textiles

There lies different challenges in creating one universal makeup look to suit multiple designer collections. On day two of London Fashion Week, The Body Shop took on that huge task with The Swedish School of Textiles show at Fashion Scout. The head make-up artist, Lan Nguyen, explained that the inspiration came from a wide awakening, almost like coming from a winter dull. The end product needed to be the right blend of soft and warm, but equally cold without being too deep and heavy. Inevitably the look still needed to be young and fresh, to reflect the new upcoming talent of the showcasing designers, whilst still representing the spring summer season to come. Her hero product was the white kohl eye pencil, which lined the bottom of the eye for a frosted look, whilst the Clementine Amber all-in-one base colour brought the warmth to the skin; it was also used for the eyes and on the cheeks for contouring, ensuring the look was brought together easily. Interestingly, Vitamin E spray was lightly sprtized on the face to refresh the skin - a trick we could definitely all do at home. Again we're seeing simple slicked back hair: the designers are letting the beauty take centre stage. Oh yeah, and the clothes.

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London Fashion Week: Backstage at Hellen van Rees

For her SS14 collection, Dutch designer Hellen van Rees sourced her inspiration from US drama 'Boardwalk Empire' - delivering 1920's silhouettes and hand-woven tweeds in monochrome shades, with occasional splashes of colour. To complement van Rees' presentation of 'Fuzzlayerglossbox' at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, The Body Shop team, headed up by Lan Nguyen, created smokey eyes in metallic hues and bold lips in bright, luscious colours. Hair was pulled back into simple low buns with a somewhat untamed and unkempt movement around the crown, for a dreamy and ethereal feel. With her designs seen on the likes of Lady GaGa and Shingai Shoniwa of the Noisettes, van Rees likes to make a statement, but the softer hair and beauty toned down harsh geometric shapes, while their simplicity reflected the 1920's theme.

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14.9.13

London Fashion Week: Reporting Backstage at Yifang Wan

Yifang Wan’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection gave us four colours: emerald, black, silver and cream. Following the monochrome trend that took over last year, the designer seems to have added a twist to the bland colour palette. The colour green, or emerald as everyone backstage described it, seemed to be the main aspect in the collection, with garments containing a variety of dramatic clean cuts, asymmetrics, tailoring, layering and draping. Eye wear was a very prominent accessory, with each model wearing sunglasses that would have left them almost blinded if it wasn’t for the well-lit catwalk. Walking in a straight line was way more challenging than usual here.

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London Fashion Week: Reporting Backstage at Heohman Simulation

This season we saw a glorious array of pieces from Korean designer Hwan Heo as he incorporated intricate beadwork, bold prints and over sized separates into his latest collection for Spring/Summer 2014. Working backstage alongside him was a large team of The Body Shop make-up artists and Label. M hair stylists as they prepped and primed the youthful group of models.


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London Fashion Week: Reporting Backstage at Felder Felder

The wet-look and 'just got out of the shower' hair was revamped and revived for Felder Felder SS14. L'Oreal Professionel Paris carefully deconstructed perfect tresses into slicked back, damp looking tendrils with pops of colour at the tips: from orange to dark green. The L'Oreal gloss control was working overtime, providing the necessary sheen to the hair, as well as helping to seal the look. The style definitely feeds in to the punk revival that is the zeitgeist of the moment, but I don't think it will actually be a look adopted when Spring-Summer 2014 does actually rolls around. Makeup was kept minimal to complement the simple hair, with 'naked' skin being the hero; a slick of lipgloss and a tiny amount of mascara was all that was needed to get the models catwalk ready.

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London Fashion Week: Reporting Backstage at J. JS Lee

Central Saint Martins graduate J. JS Lee has made a name for herself with her super-chic, minimal collections – and once again, this season she didn’t disappoint. As the Korean designer showcased her Spring/Summer 2014 offerings at London Fashion Week yesterday, I headed backstage to chat to the hair and makeup teams and find out more about the looks they created.

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13.9.13

Now Available At Neal's Yard: Superfoods!

Earlier on this year Neal's Yard released their fabulous Healthy Foods book, which provided an education on the benefits of certain ingredients to our lifestyle. What better way to bring this to life even further than with the introduction of Superfoods to their boutiques and shops? Available now in their Covent Garden boutique (and hopefully more soon,) you can get your hands on all kinds of fabulous supplements and ingredients that will have you bouncing off the walls with energy and bursting with radiance. Here are some of the great things you can get your hands on...


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NEW: Nails Inc Gel Effect Polish

I love having perfectly manicured hands, but it doesn't half get expensive if you continually take a trip to the nail salon. So many nail polishes and at-home solutions don't really cut the mustard, chipping and flaking within a day or so to leave your hands looking a mess. Nails Inc are aiming to bring a little of their salon solutions into your home with the launch of their new Gel Effect Polishes. Currently available in four classic shades, the polish provides a high shine and super glossy finish without the need for a UV lamp or soaking off - they apply and are removed in the same way as traditional polish, but just provide a superior result. The polish contains the same plumping technology as a salon gel manicure, evening out any imperfections in the nail to leave a seamless finish that you'd otherwise need four or five coats to achieve. Also containing a very high level of colour pigments, application is super easy and leaves no streaking or dragging, whist the super chunky brush makes applying the polish even easier. A strong and beautiful result is possible in only two coats (and a matter of minutes,) making these perfect for big occasions or for when you're in a bit of a hurry. Although these polishes are not an alternative to a full-on gel manicure (that lasts a number of weeks,) these do last one or two days longer than a normal polish and provide the salon finish we all love so much. I'm a huge fan of the grey shade and have been wearing it pretty much every day for a week, but I can't wait for Nails Inc to release even more colours for flawless nails every day of the year.

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Super Glossy Hair: BiOrganics Salon Secret Elixir

BiOrganics produce a range of organic hair care products that are free from SLS, parabens, perfume and artificial colours. They were founded back in 1991 and aim to offer professional quality products that use natural and organic ingredients wherever possible, as well as being a cruelty free brand and being firmly against animal testing. The Salon Secret Elixir is a transparent hair oil which offers a salon finish to hair, smoothing and adding shine. It helps to keep hair frizz-free for up to 48 hours, and used over time will help your hair to grow stronger and healthier.

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12.9.13

Combatting Teenage Skin with Lush Cosmetics Skincare

Lush skincare: I'm obsessed! Since beginning using Lush skincare products around a year ago, I've learned that natural skincare is the way forward for me. I can always rely on this trio to help tame my teenage, blemish-prone skin and I in a way enjoy doing so. ‘Skincare? A chore?’ No longer is that the case. Let’s start with the Mask of Magnaminty; my gosh this stuff is truly minty, yet there's nothing artificial about the smell or texture, which I find refreshing. There's definitely a sense of upgrade when thinking about the quality of face mask you can buy in 99p sachets on the high street. Don’t get me wrong, they're perfect for girly sleepovers, but this face mask means business. Invigorating and textured, Magnaminty feels cool and clay-like at first, and then dries on the skin within five minutes or so. I wouldn’t recommend leaving this on too long if you try it though: not only do you have to thoroughly scrub it off using a bit of elbow grease, your flannel and sink will temporarily turn seafoam green. Upon washing this off, my face feels significantly smoother and my forehead (where a vast majority of my blemishes locate themselves) feels cooler and cleansed.  The pot contains 125g of face mask, which would last around eight uses, depending on how thickly it's applied.

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Don't Forget Your Ears: Earigate's Ear Cleaning System

It may not be glamourous like a lipgloss, or sexy like a smokey eyeshadow, but cleaning your ears properly is just as important as ensuring you look great on the outside. I've always been a little bit obsessed with cleaning my ears nearly every day; I absolutely hate the feeling of blocked ears, wax build-up or simply not being able to hear effectively. (Apparently Victoria Beckham religiously cleans her ears out as she used to spend so much time with an earpiece in.) Until now I thought my only option was a bumper pack of Johnson's Baby Cotton Buds, (apparently cotton buds can actually make the problem worse by forcing wax down the ear canal and potentially causing damage to the drum if pushed down too far,) but thanks to Earigate my routine has effectively been revolutionised. Earwax is produced in the outer part of the ear canal to help keep the ear clean, lubricated and protected against infection. Earwax can become a problem when too much builds up and blocks the ear canal, potentially causing hearing loss, pain, ringing, dizziness and infections - not nice.

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11.9.13

Bare Minerals READY Eyeshadow: The Power Neutrals

I just don't get bored of neutral eyeshadow palettes, nor do I get bored of Bare Minerals. This palette of beauty has been a long time coming, especially since the launch of their incredible READY eyeshadows around a year ago. Featuring eight different shades of blendable colour, The Power Neutrals palette contains everything you need to go from day to night. The texture is silky smooth and the pigment is quite strong, allowing you to build colour and blend for a more intense smokey result. I love the fact that there are four lighter shades and four darker, as you normally only get one or two 'base shades' that soon get used up and leave the palette in the has-been pile. The flexibility of the colours allows you to create so many different looks, as well as using the lighter and reflective shades to contour. My only critisism is that there's not a really deep grey colour in the palette for super smokey eyes, but it is possible to create the look by building the lighter grey shade and buffing the colour. The packaging itself is sleek and light, making it perfect for use on the go or for travelling, while the brush applicator includes is really rather useful (unlike the majority of foam thingies that just go straight into the bin.) At £35.00, you're paying around £4.00 per eyeshadow - which isn't bad at all. Definitely an investment purchase this Autumn that will keep you going until at least next Spring.

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Alexa Chung: Hair Chameleon

When she appeared on our TV's for the first time, I'm not sure Alexa Chung had any idea of the scale of a fashion and beauty icon she would become. If there's one thing the TV presenter-come-model and journalist is famous for, aside from her quirky style and pretty face, it's her lustrous locks. From popularising the ombre dip dye to bringing back the bob and becoming the face of Inoa Professional in-salon hair colour, I'm take a look back over Alexa Chung's flawless hair style.

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10.9.13

Buying Makeup From Discount Retailers: Do You Really Know What You're Getting?

I've worked in the cosmetics industry for many years, working on everything from a premium salon haircare brand to budget buys in Savers. During that time I amassed a huge amount of knowledge about retailers, budgets, product quality and generating revenue - something that the general public are mostly oblivious to, often to their detriment. A conversation started on Twitter recently about 'bargains' some people had been finding in Poundland; recommendations were flying all over the place and my heart nearly stopped. Did people seriously think they were onto a trick paying a quid for a product that's probably been sitting in a damp stockroom for the past three years? Here are my reasons (and hopefully a thorough explanation) of why you should stay away from buying cosmetics in discount retailers.


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Zerona: The Laser Treatment That Melts Your Fat Away

Like most girls, I have lumps and bumps I rather weren't there. I hate the gym, I love cake and I'd rather spend an evening watching Hollyoaks than in a spinning class. When I do manage to get my backside into gear and start eating healthy, exercising more and generally trying to be fitter, there are certain areas that just don't seem to shrink. For you it may be your upper thighs, that last little podge of post-baby belly or even the dreaded back fat that hangs over your bra looking unsightly. For me it was the upper outer thigh area, which just seemed to be bumpy and frustratingly wobbly. Sometimes there's nothing a diet, bit of exercise or lifestyle change can do to help - which is where the revolutionary treatment from Zerona comes in.


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Teeth Whitening With Dr Oliver White Smile Whitening Wands

The Dr Oliver White Smile range is a collection of smile enhancing products created by Dr Joe Oliver. One of London’s leading cosmetic dentists, whose treatments have appeared on television programmes such as Ten Years Younger, Dr Oliver continues to practice as dentist for many celebrities and high profile clients. The range contains various cosmeceutical products (from whitening toothpaste to upper lip treatment,) as Dr Oliver believes that to achieve a young and healthy looking smile, all areas of the mouth should be targeted. My teeth tend to stain easily and become dull in colour, so I was interested to find out how much difference the Dr Oliver Whitening Wands and Whitening Toothpaste could make to my smile.

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