Friday, 29 January 2010

The other Jessica manicure

Who’s London’s rising nail star? Jessica Hoffman, that’s who. Only she’d rather be known as Jess, to avoid confusion with the Hollywood-based doyenne of nail care. Usually based at John Frieda’s salon on Aldford Street (where we both ‘talent-spotted’ her ourselves way, way back), Beauty Bible also came face-to-face (or rather, mano a mano) with Jess at a Sally Hansen launch yesterday. First, news about the products she demo-ed which you’ll want to know about: Miracle Nail Thickener (a revolutionary product which instantly protects thin nails – like Jo’s – while reinforcing them), and Nail Shine Miracle, another true innovation which is said to be a 10-day top coat. (We’ll report back, but after 24 hours nails are certainly super-glossyy). And while being buffed, we also asked Jess for her best-ever manicure tip – which you can read below.

Shine on, Jess.

Beauty Bible blogtip: ‘To ensure polish adheres and lasts, there mustn’t be a speck of moisture or oil on nails before application. So dry hands thoroughly, use a nail polish remover to swipe nails – and wait a full 30 minutes after the rest of your manicure BEFORE applying hand cream.’

John Frieda, 4 Aldford Street, London W1K 2AE/020-7491 0840; NB Jessica can only see clients who are also having a hair appointment.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Donna Carin’

The beauty industry focuses so much on Pink Ribbon month that it’s good to see other causes getting a look-in on the beauty philanthropy front. So: it might seem like a teensy gesture, but over lunch at Maze Beauty Bible discovered that Donna Karan is sourcing the vanilla for her pretty new pureDKNY fragrance (which launches imminently, on 3rd February) from vanilla bean farmers in Uganda (most are women) - and is working in tandem with CARE, the leading huminatarian organisation which fights global poverty. The reality is that small gestures all add up, in time – and one high-profile act like this inspires others to follow. (Note: the packaging’s more ‘eco’ than most of the industry’s, too.) At Beauty Bible, we’ve always supported the idea of beauty giving back – so here’s to Donna…

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The secret of French (natural) beauty?

Pictured here: Simon Ford, ex-Neal’s Yard Remedies, whose new crusade is to introduce the French botanical skincare brand Melvita to the UK. (Which he proceeded to do in Jo’s greenhouse, pictured here…!) Look out for flagship stores opening in London later this year, showcasing a huge range of products (and a web shop that opens just three days from now). We're on tenterhooks waiting for the opinions of our testers for The Green Beauty Bible about the brand – which was first to be Ecocert-certified organic in France (and whose parent company is lovely L'Occitane) – but meanwhile we’re rather impressed by the eye make-up remover (there are soooooo few decent natural options around) and gently cleansing Micellar Water, in particular. (And what’s with the name? 'Mel’ is from honey, ‘vita’ means life. Voilà!)

Monday, 25 January 2010

Tan-talising hint of summer…

Having pioneered ‘tan’ cosmetics (with good old Teint Doré brush-on bronzer), Guerlain are now synonymous with sunshine. It’s always cheering to the heart on a chilly January day to get a vision of what summer has in store – especially when there are several clever innovations in the collection. First: Four Seasons, a four-shade matte bronzing powder which can be custom-blended for spring/summer/autumn/winter depending how brown you want to appear. Second: an utterly divine, silky-matte tinted moisturiser, Teint d’Ailleurs. Thirdly: the most genius, duh!-why-didn’t-anyone-think-of-it-before product: Terracotta Touch, which is a brush-on concealer for – yes – tanned skin (rather than the usual pale options). Available – like most things in this range – in either Blonde or Brunette. Or, in other words, perfect-for-Jo, and perfect-for-Sarah. Thanks, Guerlain!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Prints charming

Liberty prints are having a ‘moment’, fashion-wise – and now at Bourjois, too. Previewed yesterday: the latest collectible incarnation of their classic Little Round Pot Eyeshadow and Little Round Pot Blush, in Liberty-print livery (shades include a wearable taupe, golden pearlised citrus and sunlit golden pink blusher). Make a date – 10th March – to find the Pretty Paris collection on counter. Also on show: lots of hot corals and tangerines (you’ll be seeing LOADS of these, this summer), which are modelled here on Catriona – the irritatingly gorgeous, cheekbones-you-could-open-envelopes-with model Bourjois had recruited for the day. Perhaps our favourite find of all, though, was new Healthy Mix Foundation: it pulls off the trick of delivering good coverage, but feeling light-as-air. (Our Beauty Bible Assistant Amy and Jo are both happily wearing it already, though it doesn’t actually launch till February.) And - aaaahhhh - we do like a cute little bunny (dressed in Liberty prints or not) at a press launch…

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

A memorable Voyage

Beauty Bible’s Hot Tip for one of the fragrance hits of 2010: yesterday we got to have a preview sniff of – and a play with - the new Voyage d’Hermès fragrance. First off, we’d like to place a small bet that the flacon runs away with the Most Ingenious Bottle of the Year Award – it’s inspired by a stirrup, but the silver case swivels 180˚ so you can access the atomiser. And the fragrance that’s revealed by this elegant gesture is fresh, citrussy, subtly woody once it’s been on the skin for a while – and utterly enchanting. ‘Unisex’ doesn’t do it any favours as a description, but the bottom line is that we’d be as happy to encounter it while nuzzling a male neck as on our own wrists, once it launches later in the spring.

Monday, 18 January 2010

And lest you think we are unforgivably shallow...

We have joined the following group, made a donation to Haiti and encourage you to do the same... But we have never found that being a caring person and wanting insider beauty news have to be imcompatible.

An afternoon at the Spatisserie…

Cakes and beauty have always seemed to us (and to most beauty PRs!) to go together like – well, like a facial cleansing balm and a muslin cloth. How savvy of the Dorchester Spa to combine them in the ‘Spatisserie’, a corner of their outstanding new spa where you can enjoy cakes, pastries, mouthwatering savouries (or, for the disciplined, a lemon tea) in surroundings so Hollywood-esque you half expect Marilyn Monroe to come sashaying down the staircase, ooh-ing and aah-ing over the vast pearl chandelier. Trust us: the spa is beyond divine, a perfect destination for a Very Special Treat. (With VST prices, we’ll concede.) Jo enjoyed an über-relaxing Lavender Crush body treatment from Scandinavian skincare brand Kierstin Florian: an hour and 25 minutes will set you back £130, but what she liked especially was that the lack-of-faff factor (not too many products or too much fussing, just a good, effective super-lavender-y scrub, followed by a deep, soothing massage with some hot stones). We also look forward at some point to a manicure in what has to be the sexiest-looking nail bar on the planet, with its glass wall of Essie bottles. In beauty terms, definitely a destination where you can have your cake – and eat it too, in the most elegant setting imaginable…

The Dorchester Spa, The Dorchester, Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA/020-7319 7109

Friday, 15 January 2010

Revlon nails spring shades

It isn't every day (though we wish it was) that we get our nails done by Andria Fulerton, twice voted British Nail Technician of the Year (and whose celebrity devotees include Nigella, Sharon Stone, Annie Lennox and Daisy Lowe). But at Browns Hotel to demo Revlon's pretty spring shades - which include a soft shimmery mauve (Lilac Pastel) and a pretty pale green (Minted) - Andria shared some of her top nail tips (apologies for pun) with us. Number one: everything you do for your face, do for your hands. (That means: moisturiser, sunscreen, even masks.) Two: rubber gloves are a must - 'it's old advice, but it really works.' And three - which we've always found - always try to wear a nail varnish; 'some is better than none for both strengthening and protecting nails.' We've long been fans of Revlon's offering, among the most chip-proof on the market and true beauty steals. (Though they don't usually come with matching mauve and green cupcakes, so we made the most of those, too...)

(PS Sorry about less-than-fabulous photo quality here - which doesn't do Andria justice; Jo's Leica's on the blink so this is phone pic.)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Primer time!

Just when a beauty editor thinks she’s seen it all, ironed the t-shirt, etc. along comes innovation. (That’s why we love this job. Keeps the juices flowing.) Case in point: Hourglass’s Solar Tan self-tanning primer: a double-duty, silicone-rich primer that blends into skin to create the perfect base for make-up – and then subtly ups your ‘glow factor’, too, as the colour develops. Hourglass founder and beauty dynamo Carisa Janes demo-ed this to Beauty Bible (and other lustable-after items from the range) at The Charlotte Street Hotel. (Where – as an aside - we also had confirmation of something we’ve always suspected: that the mascara industry acknowledges there aren’t just HAIR types, but LASH types – which is why so many mascaras just don’t do what they’re meant to. Case in point: any wand looking like a dead bee basically skims over Jo’s lashes without gripping.) We’re also loving Hourglass’s Tinted Moisturiser (with an SPF15), and the Mineral Primer (again, SPF15) – definitively better than a regular moisturiser under mineral base, we’ve found. And their Illume Crème-to-Powder Bronzer Duo also kicks off a whole new category of products: a blendable golden matte bronzer that melts into skin and stays put. We fantasise about warm weather or at least The Big Melt, so we can put this through its paces properly - and rather look forward to what else Carisa has up her elegant sleeve for us next time.

Find Hourglass at

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Eco-clothing you might actually want to wear

Something we hope is up the boulevard of our Green Beauty Bible readers: Ascension, a new Fairtrade and eco-friendly clothing boutique tucked away behind the craziness of Oxford Street. If you’ve ever been put off buying eco brands on-line because you can’t touch/feel/try them on, this is the answer: ranges like Black Noir, Edun, People Tree (we have fallen for their so-soft tees), plus Ascension’s own range of comfy basics, are all there for you to try (on) before you buy. Also check out the odd paraben-free beauty treat, organic bedlinen plus vegetable-tanned leather goods. Trust us: the future of green fashion is now looking much rosier.

Ascension, 28/32 St. Christopher’s Place, W1U 1NZ (020-4787 2588 or