Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Dr. Murad says: eat your water...

Long, long ago - before 'dermatologist skincare' was a twinkle in the beauty world's eye - we met Dr. Howard Murad, and were hugely impressed by his skin expertise (he's been working in Hollywood since way-back-when). Like us, this skin doc always espoused a two-way approach to beauty: it's about what you put in your body as well as what you put on your skin. (We also like Dr. Murad's holistic thinking: unlike most skin experts, he understands the impact of stress and lack of sleep on beauty.) He breezed through London to update us on acne (there are three phases, apparently: hormonal-related teen acne, stress-related twenty/thirtysomething acne, and then the possibility of more hormone-related acne at menopause. Or, as a friend commented: 'Great - spots AND wrinkles...') He showed us his new skintype-matched daily sunscreens (a great innovation because too many, in our opinion, are one-size-fits-all products). And Howard also told us about his new book, which we can't wait to get our hands on: called The Water Secret: The Cellular Breakthrough to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger, it's all about the importance of basing our diet on foods that are high in water - especially fruit and veg. According to Dr. Murad's research, 'eating your water' (as he puts it) has a real impact on how 'plump' our skins are (and plumper skins look younger). We'll update you on when it launches here (The Water Secret's published in the US end of August), but meanwhile: another good reason to hit the greengrocer's.

Friday, 21 May 2010

A tantalising encounter...

Spray tans can be scary things. (To be honest, we're usually happier with the one-day wash-off variety, having previously been turned the colour of a mahogany sideboard.) But who could resist the opportunity to expose everything (well, everything but what we could hide in a pair of paper pants) to the celebrity tanner du jour, James Read (a.k.a. The Tantalist), a chap who's pointed his nozzle at everyone from Lady Gaga to Lindsay Lohan? Actually, James did a marvellous job using the He-Shi (say it 'He-shy') range - which we'd rather thought came from the Far East, but turns out to be from Belfast. (Who knew? Although they do love their fake tans, in the misty isle.) From mother-and-daughter duo Hilary and Shelley McMurray, who's pictured here with James (the 'He' is from Hilary's name, the 'Shi' from Shelley's - give or take a letter or two), the products have a fabulous, realistic yellow undertone rather than red (as so many self-tanners do), so you get a golden glow rather than boil-in-the-bag-ham redness. As for the usual biscuit tin smell? Well, it was there, if not as overpoweringly as usual. (Apparently, how much a fake tan smells depends not so much on the formulation as the amino acids in your skin. Of which we clearly have plenty.) But after two days, we're honey-brown and happy, just in time for the belated sunshine. If James can squeeze us in between Mariah Carey and Paris Hilton, we might just be back.

Beauty Bible blogtip: ‘A real dead giveaway for self-tans is the inside of the wrist, and the toes. Moisturise first, and then afterwards use a dry flannel to buff the area – almost as if you were polishing a pair of shoes - to remove any excess self-tan.’ James Read

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Shabby nail chic

We just love discovering somewhere truly different, and Tillie's Nail Lounge is certainly that. Tucked away in Little Venice, it's the nail bar that Tillie - formerly a project manager in construction (no, we can't imagine her in a hard hat either) - always wanted to go to herself. If Rachel 'Shabby Chic' Ashwell had designed the Nail Lounge herself, it couldn't be more welcoming. The soft beige linen comfy sofas and chairs in which to recline while you're pampered. The gold mirrors and demi-lune tables (and all for sale; it used to be an antique shop). The tea and coffee and lemon-iced water, on tap. Plus - importantly - incredibly nice and competent nice nail technicians. (Shreen did a first-class job on Jo's toes with OPI A Good Mandarin Is Hard To Find, but then she did used to work with Leighton Denny.) Prices aren't silly: £35 for a luxury Tillie's Manicure, but just £15 for a 15-minute touch up or £25 for an 'on-the-go' (ideal for weekly maintenance); the Tillie's Pedicure is £39 for 60 minutes. A nicer place to hang out while our polish is 'setting' - with a glossy and a cuppa - we can't imagine. Good luck to Tillie and all who sail in off the streets of Maida Vale!

Tillie's Nail Lounge, 5 Formosa Street, London W9 1EE/020-7266 2620
Open Tuesday to Sunday

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The art of Clinique

Sometimes, just sometimes, this job is a touch depressing. No sooner have we stashed our opaques for the season than the autumn/winter colours start to be unveiled. However, Clinique's collection - 'Bigger, Brighter Eyes In An Instant' - features some fabulous products that nearly, nearly, nearly have us looking forward to fall already. Showcased in a sort of 'artist's studio' (that'll be because of all the pencils they showed us), we especially liked the great-for-blue-eyes-like-Jo's Intense Plum Quickliner for Eyes (a limited edition, so you'll have to be quick when it hits the counters August 1st) and Vitamin C Lip Smoothie in Running Latte, a really wearable, suits-all-liptones rich neutral. The clever Instant Lift for Brows delivers on its promises, too, with a touch of brow-bone highlighter. What we found most interesting of all was the High Impact Mascara in brightening black: with extra pigments, it's created to make eyes appear three times brighter, by contrasting against the whites. (Also a limited edition, though the smart money says this will become an instant Clinique classic.) Meanwhile, before we get back to deep blackberries and plum shades and to our Wolford Velvet Deluxes, can we have some sunshine, pretty-please...?

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Coming this autumn - the bright stuff

We'll confess: we're a little scared of 'colour-blocking' (using really intensely-coloured make-up). But as slavish devotees of Lisa Eldridge, the savvy make-up pro pictured here (who's a consultant to No 7) we're prepared to give it a go. On Friday, at the vertigo-inducing Paramount venue (21st floor of Centrepoint - not for the faint-hearted), Lisa unveiled her creations for this autumn (as well as letting us in on a hush-hush top secret project that we'll share with you just as soon as she let us). We adored the smoky eyeliner so much we 'tweeted' about it live (you can follow us @Beauty_Bible). We are in raptures over the Exceptional Definition mascara, with its lash-gripping wand. And actually, even the purple shadow pictured here looks smokily pretty, if used on its own. We have a sneaking suspicion that this autumn's make-up watchwords might be: Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway. (Our advice: just use a light touch.)

Thursday, 13 May 2010

The Hair God

We swear that’s what he’s known as – in the Middle East anyway. (Though we’ve always thought of Philip B as ‘the King of Shiny Hair’, ourselves, jetting as he does between A-list clients like Sharon Stone, Kate Hudson… oh, and us!) Catching up with him at Blakes Hotel, fresh from Berlin where he now lives, Philip was effervescing (as usual) – this time, about an extraordinary, Iranian new-but-actually-thousands-of-years-old ingredient he was introduced to on trips to Kuwait, Dubai etc. He calls it ‘katira’ (say it ‘kah-teee-rah’), and apparently this is a word to put Arabic women in an instant swoon, so legendary is it for its hair-boosting powers. A botanical ingredient, katira looks like dried toenail clippings, but swells to literally hundreds of times its size, holding that moisture – and is about the most amazing hair-conditioning ingredient on the planet. How do we know? Because Philip used his new Katira™ Hair Masque (available at Space NK) on our hair, then dried it with a drier. At that stage, it’s crisp and scrunchy. But when shampooed out (with Philip B Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo – which just happens to be the world’s first £100 shampoo, and smells d-i-v-i-n-e), the results were extraordinary. All the straw-like ill-effects of a centrally-heated, windblown winter vanished, leaving extraordinary gloss, zero flyaways and total manageability, and he promises that it’ll last a month before we need another katira booster. With Philip, we never know quite what he’s going to have up his sleeve next. But one thing we always do know: it’ll be worth a pilgrimage to The Hair God, to hear him give the gospel on it.

Philip B is available at John Lewis and Space NK

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Make-Up treats in store

Early adopters of this blog might remember a posting from Stockholm where an over-excited Jo had stumbled across Make-Up Store, an emporium packed floor-to-ceiling with fabulous shades of lipstick, eyeshadow, blush, fabulous textures of foundation in every skintone known to woman, great tools - and so much more. (She's still using the sparkly make-up bag she found there.) Well, we thought you'd be as pleased as we are to know that this Swedish make-up line now has a foothold in London, on Carnaby Street - and 'playtime' is actively encouraged by the very welcoming staff. (There's also a store at Westfield, though we haven't inspected it ourselves yet.) The UK is the 22nd international location for this brand and we are - well, made up with the fact that Make Up Store is now here too. What's more, the £35 three-hour make-up lesson is one of the best deals in town - just call for more info, and to book.

Make Up Store, 32 Carnaby Street, London W1F 7DN
0207-287 4769