Friday, 26 February 2010

Vichy's spooky machine

There are very few ways to get a true skin diagnosis. You can go by friends' compliments. You can listen to a sales consultant who looks at your complexion, but usually doesn't touch it. Or now, in an increasing number of larger Boots stores on the high street (ultimately it'll be 300), you can submit your skin to a fascinating diagnosis via this Dermo.Analyzer computer, which was developed by dermatologists. A hand-held tool measures hydration. And a special camera looks at your wrinkles. Scarily, it also peers beneath the surface and identify all your sun damage (and if that doesn't make you switch to La Roche-Posay's fantastic new Anthelios XL Extreme Fluid SPF50+, trust us: nothing will). Seen here: Vichy and La Roche-Posay's Training Manager Marion Khera, who assessed Jo's skin with the machine. Which diagnosed that her skin age was EXACTLY the same as her biological age, which the machine didn't know. (Many skins are much 'older', because of sun damage.) Spooky, or what...?

For Dermo.Analyzer locations, visit (just input your postcode to find your local store).

Monday, 22 February 2010

Bobbi gets real

We love Bobbi Brown. She's a longstanding friend and a champion of real-life beauty (not just the kind you see in magazines and on the runway). And so we just want to give her a big pat on the back for deciding to use real women rather than glamorous models in her new 'Pretty Powerful' campaign, which you'll see on-counter (and in magazines) from 1st March, but which we're proud to preview here (before-and-after). We've been bleating on at advertisers that intelligent women don't want to have products sold to them by perfect, airbrushed 18-year-olds (we loved the Dove campaign for that), and we're thrilled Bobbi's taken up the cause with this ground-breaking promo material. 'I think women can gain a lot of confidence by seeing realistic, beautifully natural images in the media,' she tells us. Ain't that the (un-airbrushed) truth.

Friday, 19 February 2010

And up pops Rimmel...

... At Selfridges. You'll have to be quick - they're only there for a month (from yesterday) - but near the door to Miss Selfridge is a fab temporary counter for iconic British brand Rimmel. There are two eat-your-heart-out-Doctor-Who telephone-booth-style makeover areas and a clutch of brush-wielding Rimmel make-up artists waiting to prettify and advise you. (Usually Rimmel, of course, is sold straight off the shelf with nobody to talk you through the products.) We also discovered some rather cute exclusive-to-Selfridges deals like the black metallic Glam Bag and a clutch of other new launches which are being unveiled here, including Colour Show Off Lipstick and The Max Mascara Waterproof - a rain-proof version of their bestselling lash-volumising mascara which was just what the make-up doctor ordered on sodden Oxford Street yesterday!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Oh, if only...

Thought you'd be amused by this. The only thing that comes close to tackling a double chin, in our experience is regular Yoga classes. Slightly more effort, but pretty effective. (Though we're not sure about the glands bit!) Thanks to India Knight for this - her Posterous blog (see top right) is one of our absolute favourites: a round-up of lovely finds of all sorts, from the author of that very marvellous book The Shops.

Monday, 15 February 2010

(Age) spot the difference...

One thing we know from reader feedback is that it isn't so much lines and wrinkles that bother women, with ageing - it's pigmentation. Sun spots. Age spots. Call them what you will, but they are A Big Beauty Woe. So: we're intrigued by the launch for Clinique's new Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, which makes some pretty wowzer claims - for instance, that it's as effective as some of the prescription products which target this problem. We've been assured that all claims have been passed by their legal department - so we'll be fascinated to see what our Beauty Bible panellists say, when they get their hands (or rather, their sun-spotted faces) on this product, which is seen here with Dr. Daniel Yarosh - the very charming boffin who is now head science genius at Estée Lauder Worldwide. (Of course he's got a more technical title, but ours sums up what Daniel actually does.) Amusingly, we had to fight our way through a posse of Spanish journalists puffing on cigarettes on the frozen steps outside the launch venue for this skincare breakthrough. More antioxidants, anyone?

Shops We Love No. 1: Flint, Lewes

Yes, our blog's mostly about beauty. But that doesn't mean we don't love clothes. So this is the first of an occasional series of places we shop in ourselves. (Our criteria: excellent service, attractive surroundings and stock that isn't just the run-of-the-mill stuff you see everywhere.) And frankly, Flint is a store you'd be happy to stumble across in London, let alone Sussex. In the picturesque market town of Lewes, Heidi Frances (who works with her mother Julia Smith) have brought together an eclectic, carefully-edited mix of things they love under one roof - and we love them, too.
Think: pretty and wearable clothes by Velvet, Malene Birger, Saltwater, Marion Foale knitwear, wafty cotton nightwear and their own Flint label linen clothes. Think: affordable delicate jewellery, home accessories, fresh flowers, CDs and books. Think: cosmetics and fragrances by REN and Miller Harris. Lovely, lovely, lovely. (And yes, worth a pilgrimage from Brighton or even the 'big smoke', we'd say - and a short uphill stroll from the station.)

Flint, 49 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2DD/01273-474166

Friday, 12 February 2010

Aveda get us thinking

These days there are plenty of companies shouting about their green credentials. And at Beauty Bible we applaud even the babiest steps down the eco-path. But a quick catch-up with Aveda reminded us that they've been walking their talk since Horst Rechelbacher founded the company, in 1978. We've since spent a bedtime hour or so leafing through the (recycled) THINK report, detailing all Aveda's green steps: wind-powered factories, packaging that's 80% PCR (Post Consumer Recycled - and recyclable, if you take it back to the counter), making them the only company to achieve a Cradle to Cradle sustainability endorsement. And then there's Earth Month: this year, the chosen charity is WaterAid, which provides clean water to some of the world's poorest communities. (Watch this space for news of a sponsored walk for WaterAid. We'll probably be lacing up our trainers to do it ourselves.) The THINK report's info is mostly available on the UK Aveda website under 'About Aveda', and you can click below to read it. So: three green cheers to them. And a PS We're enjoying the new Damage Remedy leave-in conditioner, too, which can also be smoothed through dry hair almost as a 'moisturiser'. Very welcome in these centrally-heated times. (Though like good green girls, we do pile on the woollies and keep the thermostat as low as poss!)

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Hairdressing's X Factor

John Frieda is the Simon Cowell of hairdressers. (Only much better-looking.) As a talent-spotter, he's unrivalled: Kerry Warn, Serge Normant, Sally Hershberger have all been brought under the John Frieda 'wing', offering creative input to one of the most famous hair brands on the planet. So we thought you'd like to know that the Frizz-Ease king just signed up Luigi Murenu, probably the world's hottest and most versatile session stylist, to join his A-List as Global Creative Consultant. We met Luigi just before the catwalk shows kick off, when he took time out from doing hair for Jennifer Lopez, Drew Barrymore and Cate Blanchett to meet Beauty Bible (oh, OK, and some other journalists) at Lucknam Park. Seen in this (somewhat grainy, shot on Jo's iPhone) photo: Luigi and John. (And we kind of wish this site was scratch 'n' sniff, because we fell a leetle bit in love not just with charming Sardinian Luigi, but his aftershave: Comme des Garcons Series 3: Avignon. Like stepping into the Duomo or San Marco, it's so rich in incense notes. We rather hope to be within sniffing distance of Luigi again, before long.) But forget SuBo. LuMu definitely gets our vote!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The facialist’s facialist

A rare cancellation by one of her stellar clientele opened up an opportunity for Jo to experience a been-meaning-to-get-round-to-this-for-ages customised facial with Sarah Chapman, on Draycott Avenue: 90 minutes of intensive facial massage, a red-spectrum light treatment and Sarah’s own award-winning products. (Which left Jo glowing as never before - in a good way, mind – and had perfect strangers asking her what she uses on her skin). We were therefore SO not surprised to discover that among Sarah’s devotees is our friend, Bliss founder Marcia Kilgore (inventor of the ‘oxygen facial’, Soap & Glory and the fabulous FitFlops), who nowadays nips into Sarah’s clinic for complexion-perfecting. Marcia told us: 'I can't believe I don't feel like correcting anything when she's giving me a facial. And from me, that's pretty damn good. She is spectacular.' Say. No. More.

Sarah Chapman, 106 Draycott Avenue, London SW3 3AE/020-7589 9585

Everything in L’Occitane’s garden…

… is peony-licious, this summer. And – cue drum-roll! – for the first time this French natural brand is moving into make-up, with a capsule collection inspired by the peonies grown by nurseryman Jean-Luc Rivière (whose family have been cultivating them for 160 years). There’s a new, sweetly floral sheer fragrance and bodycare collection launching, too, but what’s got Beauty Bible excited is the maquillage: soft textures and incredibly wearable colours, gorgeous glosses, so-pretty packaging - and the seed-rack-inspired merchandising, coming soon to a L’Occitane boutique near you.

Anne Sémonin becomes a Liberty belle

Once upon a time, long, long ago, we two Beauty Bible-ettes enjoyed a world-class facial from Anne Sémonin at their Rue des Petits-Champs salon in Paris – and we rather fell in love. Now, the skincare brand that was once a teensy Best Kept Secret has gone global – and the good news for beauty-hounds is there’ll soon be an outpost in London, with a counter opening at the end of March at lovely Liberty (currently our v. v. favourite department store). The philosophy: everything is ‘sur mesure’ (or made-to-measure) so that products can be customised to create the perfect regime. At the heart of the range are the fab facial oils, which (thanks to nifty packaging design) can even be dropped into a toner to ‘personalise’ it (as demo-ed here by Anne Sémonin’s Jennifer Cox. Note stonking engagement ring.) There’ll even be a petite cabine just off the Liberty where you can experience mini-treatments. You may spot us emerging. (Separately!)

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Do you want to know a Secret...?

Beauty Bible this week caught up with our old friend and now-so-famous make-up pro Laura Mercier over tea (she is the only make-up artist we know whose passion for patisserie rivals our own), on a rare visit to London. (Laura’s now based mostly in Paris and Provence, having given up the jet-setting.) Regular Beauty Bible readers will know: when steering women to make-up counters, we unfailingly recommend Laura Mercier’s in-store make-up consultants - where soon there’ll be even more to swoon over. A Beauty Bible Blog exclusive: this autumn, Laura revealed she will launch ‘Palette Bonne Mine’, a trio of creamy consistencies which make for quick, foolproof results when blended into skin with fingers. (She’s a big fan of fingers, believing that nothing rivals them for a seamless finish.) ‘Bonne Mine’ translates as ‘healthy glow’ – so the palette will feature a soft, creamy blusher, bronzer and highlighter to deliver just that. Oh – and watch this space: Laura also let slip that Secret Camouflage – her most iconic product, and one of the best concealers ever created – is also being subtly reformulated, to blend even more easily into the skin. And while we wait excitedly for those launches, this summer we’re planning to shield our complexions from damage with fab new Laura Mercier Daily Face Shield SPF40: a weightless, sheer, sinks-in-fast formulation which we’re confident will keep us un-sun-damaged, and which works as a brilliant primer, packing an impressively high SPF punch (and comes in a handbag-friendly mini-tube). Zut alors, Laura - so much news! And à bientôt, we hope.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The (Centre)point of makeovers...

... is to make women feel fabulous. We know from years of beauty experience that a great hairdo and fabulous make-up do wonders for a woman's self-esteem. And so for the past 10 years, Jo (together with Sharron Lowe, a beauty industry 'success coach', and a very active committee) have been putting on Make A Difference Makeovers for Centrepoint's young homeless women. The gorgeous girls pictured here are among the 14 who were glammed up by award-winning hairdresser Errol Douglas (pictured here) and his team alongside with a trio of Maybelline make-up artists, at L'Oréal's fabulous Academy. And tonight, the Centrepoint girls will be back for the second part of the programme that we run - the all-important 'mind makeover', where they learn how to work on self-confidence and self-esteem from within. We are thrilled to be able to do this, tapping into the beauty industry's generosity - and big thanks to L'Oréal and the gang from last night...

Why not join our Make A Difference Makeover fan page on Facebook? And to support Centrepoint's fantastic work, visit

Monday, 1 February 2010

The new ice age

Having sniffed our way through a dozen or so summer scents in the pipeline from Coty we can confidently predict that the fragrance world is about to come over all cool and fruitsome. Lots of lush notes like watermelon, citrus, raspberry, pineapple etc. feature in some very pretty scents indeed, and there's an 'ice' theme going on, too. We especially liked Davidoff Cool Water Ice Fresh, with a twist of mint (alongside sweeter notes of orris and waterlily), and the Marc Jacobs Splash Patisserie Collection, which has Apple, Pomegranate and Biscotti options. (Actually, the Biscotti is fabulous: sweet without being sickly. And the Apple's crisp and wearable, too; we are consistently impressed with the wearability of Marc Jacobs' fragrances and suspect what this reflects is a Control Freak At Work. No bad thing, if you're going to put your name on a perfume - but alas, not always the case.) Last but not least, for men, we were extremely taken with the David Beckham offering: David Beckham Instant Ice, which has black pepper, geranium, rosemary, birch leaves and sandalwood - and which gives us the excuse to put a picture of him on our blog. They'll all start to hit the fragrance counters as the temperature rises. (Ours already has - only to be expected when getting that close to Mr. Beckham, even in cardboard form.)