Friday, 5 November 2010

Salon talons work for me

My nails have always grown fairly long and strong, but I found I was constantly breaking them at work. My job requires me to unpack boxes and root around for stock, as such I would often snag the edges and have to file them all down to 'neat and square'. I hate 'neat and square' - it's just not "me" - but I also hate the thought of nail extensions and damaging my own nails.

I'd heard great things about Bioscupture - a non-chip protective coating for your nails - but I couldn't find anywhere in Brighton. I wanted 'Tanya Turner' talons and decided to enquire at a beauticians near my work.

I was advised to go for fibreglass nails. While acrylic nails are stronger they are also more damaging to the nails. She also advised me that fibreglass nails feel more flexible, so I wouldn't experience the initial 'tightness' that some acrylic nail wearers might be familiar with. I also didn't like the thickness of acrylic nails - they can look a little 'bulbous'?

I watched as she filed all my nails down to an even length - now all 'neat and square' but much shorter than I wanted. Carefully cut out the adhesive strips of fibreglass and sealing the strips with resin. After expert filing, buffing and a subtle french manicure added I was really pleased with how natural looking the result was.

The french manicure did not chip for two weeks and the hard coating protected my nails brilliantly. You can re-paint them between appointments (as long as you use acetone-free nail polish to remove varnish) and if you do break one my salon does quickie repair appointments (£1.75 per nail). "Nail lift off", where the glue weakens and your real nail falls away, occurs between week 3 and week 4.

The first set of fribreglass nails will cost between £30 and £40 and then about £20 thereafter. The cost is definately worth it. My nails are the longest they have ever been and polish stays chip-free for days - rather than hours. Always go to a reputable salon and be prepared to pay a bit more for a quality service that protects your real nails.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Smile though your arm is patchy...

"Poo elbow" is a skin condition I have been afflicted with since my mid-teens when I first discovered L'oreal Sublime Bronze. No matter how much careful exfoliation goes into that patch I still end up with a ten-tale line about 5 shades darker than the rest of my skin. Give a fuck. It's better than a cancerous mole.

I thought I would share some classic fake tan faux pas, because well laughter is the best medicine (even if it's at yourself!). Please find below...
a) Poo finger
b) Cowpat palm
c) Fecal feet
d) Just the worse. I can't believe I afflicted this on myself. Twat.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Thicker, longer eyelashes? Yes please!

We all want to achieve the sexy flutter of lots of long lashes. Cruelly God awarded some girls with little more than a few milimitres of short stumps. False lashes are great, but can look a little obvious if you're not adept at applying liquid eyeliner near-perfectly. And it's a fine line between feline sexiness and bad tranny. There are three creams to solve lash-length woes that any serious beauty addict needs to know about:
  • Latisse - not for the faint-hearted. This prescription-only drug is very hard to get hold of in the UK and while lash lengthening and darkening has been reported in patients, side-effects such as iris darkening have also been reported.
  • Mylash - almost identical to Latisse in composition and results achieved. Mylash is available in the UK, but you will need to have a consultation at a participating UK salon. Apparently 92% of consumers are happy with the results, which might soften the £200 price tag.
  • Talika Eyelash Lipocils - This mixture of natural plant extracts promises to encourage eyelash growth and strengthen existing eyelashes. It can be purchased from trade beauty outlets or from ebay for about £10-£20.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Long live the Pidg

I'm not going to lie I fucking love my new bag.

It's called the Pigeon. It's got a grey moc croc finish with a front covered in soft, pink feathers. It's the sort of thing that one can wear with anything to anything. It's fucking brilliant. I love it. And it comes in a dusky grey (the tit), a sleek black (the crow) and bright mulit-coloured (the parrot).

Available from

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Pore Posh…

If you’re an oily skin sufferer like posh you’ll know that flash photography is not always your friend. It can highlight the greasy film that penetrates past your foundation and even your powder to sit proudly on your T-zone. Oily skin throws up a number of beauty dilemmas and even if you have learnt to combat blemishes, you are likely to suffer from unsightly visible pores – that can look black if left untreated.

You’ll be laughing in 20 – 30 years though, as your arid compadres desperately apply moisturiser morning, noon and night to keep their skin looking young - while your face flourishes like a well-watered garden.

Until then here are my top tips for keeping black heads and visible pores at bay…

- Steaming… There’s no need to waste money on a branded steamer: simply fill a bowl with hot water and chuck a towel over your head. This will open up your closed and dirty pores making the ‘removal’ process a lot easier. Put a couple of drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil into the bowl which is antiseptic and wipe your face with a cotton wool ball soaked in Pure Distilled Witch hazel.

- Exfoliate… A harsh exfoliater can actually encourage the sebum glands to produce more oil. A nice gentle one is the aptly named Gentle Exfoliating Scrub from Avene. Use it everyday to dislodge black scum.

- Overnight… When my pores were looking particularly polka-dot print the other night I rubbed this blemish gel by Australian Tea Tree (below) all over the offending area – nose and cheeks – by morning they were much better.

- Cosmetic… Okay so we can’t be perfect all the time with our skincare routine. I often fall asleep in my make-up and wake up a greasy mess. Thank the lord for a new innovation from Benefit – the PoreFessional. I haven’t bought this yet (payday permitting), but did have a fabulous demonstration in Debenhams, Croydon. The tingly menthol cream glides easily on for “translucent pore coverage and smoother-than-smooth skin”. She applied it over my make up on my forehead and ta-da grease patch gone!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

RIP St Tropez

"Farewell to Thee! But not farewell, To all my fondest thoughts of Thee; Within my heart they still shall dwell, And they shall cheer and comfort me.”

It is always a sad day when someone close to us passes into the ether. It may be a relative we have known all our lives or a friendship we have struck up in recent years.

Today St Tropez it is you.

Courtesy of a good friend and fellow tanning addict, I have just discovered shameless rip off (in both name, design and efficacy) St Moritz. The shame and humiliation I felt when queuing in Savers, Worthing High Street with my credit crunch can soon dissipated when I did a practice spray on one arm at my desk. When I saw the deep and streak-free colour developing I knew I was onto something great.

Once home I applied one coat of the ‘light to medium’ colour to my arms face and torso. The colour is amazing: a deep, sandy, Italian brown with significantly less orange hue. One light mist and I look like I’ve been holidaying in the south of France. God alone knows what the ‘medium to dark’ version does. I’d even go as far to say that the monster munch odour is slightly more bearable

I’m off to buy ten cans.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Tooth Fairy

I was inspired to share my dental experiences after reading Simon Crompton's piece in The Times today about cosmetic dentistry - and in particular the horrors of veneers. Simon Cowell and Katie Price are probably the respective Poster-boy and Poster-girl of the big, white holiday smile, but crucially they have the funds to pay for the constant upkeep. On Katie Price's reality TV show one of her veneers falls out on the way to a book signing and her team of publicists are on the phones to private dentists to negotiate an out-of-hours appointment. If that was you or I we would be walking around with a sharp, ugly filed down tooth for days until we could see someone.

Crompton's piece talks about Rachel Fieldhouse, who has been awarded £50k by her dental practice. She had only had them a year when her veneers began to fall off and devastatingly one tooth died, so she now has a dental implant as well. Rachel had just one darkened upper front tooth when she orginally went to her dentist, so why was she advised to get veneers?

I sympathised with this story because I had exactly the same problem as Rachel. One tooth of mine (to the left of my front teeth) was what dentist's would call a 'peg tooth' - a thin, small tooth, not much bigger than a baby tooth. It was darker than my other teeth and I hated my smile from one side. This small tooth did not have a substantial root to support a veneer, so - thankfully - this was never an option.

I got my teeth whitened, but all it did was exagerate how much darker the small tooth was. The small tooth was also a lot more sensitive and when the whitening tray was in place I experienced shooting pains up my gum. I began to worry the tooth might die or fall out if I carried on.

I went back to my dentist (an NHS dentist in Worthing) and she said she thought she would be able to make a realistic colour match and also increase the size of this tooth using just cleverly applied white filing to the tooth front. The procedure meant minimal damage to the real tooth.

I couldn't be happier with the result (it is on the left between the front tooth and the fang) The shape and colour is improved, with minimal damage to the real tooth.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Glamorous lady imparts beauty knowledge shocker!

A glamorous friend of mine (please ignore the 'special' man loitoring in the background) shared one of her beauty favourites with me at the weekend which I thought I would have to share with you.

Bobbi Brown Corrector is a top-notch concealer. It comes in a variety of shades, which is great as we know that undereye circles vary from the purplish shades of tiredness to the grey-green of pot smokers. Any beauty consultant at the Bobbi Brown counter can advise on the right shade for you.

Our guest beauty blogger raves: "The delight of it is the creamy consistency that doesnt sink into the fine lines and delicate skin under the eye, plus the Bisque shade has just the right amount of yellow in it - it's brilliant for photos."

Best lip plumper...

A lot of lip plumps on the market are pretty disappointing, merely menthol or peppermint flavoured so your lips feel a bit tingly. Maybe we're supposed to think 'Oooh tingly this is really working', do they take us for FOOLS? We have mirrors!

Well Too Faced Lip Injection does not disappoint and the scary name is well deserved. My friend Kate passed out when she first tested this in Boots (okay so she was really dehydrated, but it's a good story). I also applied this sober the other day and forgot how much it actually hurts. Ouch.

Basically I think it's ingredient is something to do with chilli - extract of chillis? I may have made that up. But anyway that's how it feels. Hot and burny. Oh my.

But the good thing is the more you apply it the less it hurts, until your slapping on it every five minutes with a Lesley Ash for all to admire. There are two important things to bear in mind though...

i) The reaction not only swells the pout but also darkens it in colour - so if you're not a fan of red lips dab some concealer on while applying. Something like Benefit Boi-ing would do.
ii) The reaction does not just occur with lips, but all skin so the skin around your mouth, your friend's cheek as you kiss her hello, your boyfriend's... you get the idea. Use wisely.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Shhh... top bikini tip off post

Okay so we're months away from anything even approaching acceptable bikini weather but this offer is too good to miss.

I must admit I was fairly peed off to see my gorgeous nautically styled red and white striped bikini from French Connection in the asos summer sale (the set is now £18 from £40) until I realised that their other gorgeous designs are also part of the price crash.

I quickly ordered this one which I think is going to look great with metallics, browns, crisp white and denim. Basically MY WARDROBE. I love these bikini tops because they have lined pads which make your tits look a bit bigger. Always good. They also have wider tie straps so they don't dig in as much and 'back fat' bulge is reduced. (Note 'reduced' not 'gone').

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Alex Reid's Fake Tan

God damnit the ONE night I actually go out and do something with my life and I miss Big Brother Gold. Or rather Big Brother Bronze... with a hint of orange? Alex Reid getting his firm, naked buns sprayed. Admittedly the man has the charisma of a tea towel, but it's a great view and one can not deny his commitment to the self-tanning industry is to be admired.

I digress...

I wanted to highlight that if any girls (or guys) out there would like to replicate Alex's tan (and to be honest it is very even and a pretty good tone), that I think he uses Fake Bake Airbrush Spray. Apparently it's very effective on bum creases.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Make-up snobbery

For me foundation is the most crucial item in my beauty bag. I have a mix of dry and greasy patches, uneven skin tone and the occassional spot. I find there's a lot of snobbey when it comes to skincare products and foundation - like it's okay to get your bright lip colours and eye shades from the cheaper stands, but for your 'base' you need to invest.

I was someone who went along with this philosophy - I used to use Max Factor, Estee Lauder double wear, even Chanel when I was airport shopping drunk (unadvisable), but I can honestly day this foundation is better than them all.

Sure if you like a tide mark round your neck and coverage so thick it gets stuck in your eye creases then go for a brand that comes in a glass bottle and costs a score. This foundation is light, easy to apply and gives your skin a glow through the day rather than a flat powder-y finish. And check out the glowing reviews on comparison website Ciao!

I have just bought a mineral pressed powder from the same range which I'm trying out so I'll keep you posted on that.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

When bad fake tan happens to good people...

There's nothing worse than preening and pampering for a big event only to realise at the last minute you have gone seriously OTT on the fake tan. You've gone past Wilhelmina Slater, way past Jodie Marsh, even further than David Dickinson - you are now Ronseal Woodstain... in walnut.

What to do in such a crisis? Just grin and bear it. Pose for photos with pride. Perhaps even wear a whitey pink lipstick or stand next to pale people to show just how unbothered you are. Then share your humilation with genius facebook group "I'd rather be a little orange than deathly pale" and remember no matter how bad you look, at least you don't have skin cancer.

Friday, 8 January 2010

£2.39 for clear skin

Zindoclin, clindamycin, benxoyl peroxide, Minocin... when it comes to Acne preparations I have tried them all - and experienced all of the horrible side effects. Dry, itchy, bleached skin? I think I'd rather have acne!

The best product I found - and I would recommend it to anyone - is Distilled With Hazel. It is usually located with the first aid products, rather than skincare and is often sold out. I usually buy a couple at a time from the Boots website.

Use the clear liquid as you would a toner. Pour some onto a cotton wool pad and wipe over your face. Some people may find this too drying and may prefer to dab onto problem areas.

Even now my skin has improved I still do this a couple of times a week to keep my pores squeaky clean.

The best thing about this product? It's total natural - made purely from the witch hazel tree with no artificial perfumes, fragrances or additives.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Pastel nails

When you buy a pastel coloured nail varnish it never looks the same on your nail as it does in the bottle. Even if you apply 4 or 5 coats you will still be left with an uneven finish.

In particular if your nails are all slightly different lengths like mine your white tips will also vary in length. I also have a penchant for fake tan so my white tips are stained brown and even with pink nail varnish still look yellow-y.

If you want nail varnish to look truly even and professional you need to approach it like you would a wall and give it a base coat. The white colour that you would use for your tips in a French Manicure is perfect as it opaque and matte. Apply one coat of the white to the entire nail thinly to start. After that you can apply your pastel shade - pale pink like here or beige for a camel-coloured shade I like. I like to apply this coat when the white is still slightly tacky so it almost 'picks up' the white colour. Allow this to dry thoroughly before applying one final coat of the colour to finish. A chip resistant clear top coat too if you can be bothered.

Another way to create this effect is to pour a little of the white into your coloured nail varnish. I love Boots' natural collection because they are just so cheap - less than £2 - and have really good brushes to apply with. Also I don't know if it's because they are in a smaller bottle, but they don't tend to go as thick and lumpy as some more expensive brands. I'll upload my top tips for the perfect French Manicure soon.

Welcome to my Little Black Book...

I decided to start this blog because I often find myself being asked beauty questions. How do you make curls with straighteners? How did you get that much volume on top? Are they acrylic nails? (they're not).

That probably sounds a bit up myself, but in fact the reason why I'm such a fan of the beauty industry is because I would be nothing without it - a real plain jane.

My love with make-up began when adolescent acne kicked in. I perfected the techniques to cover up spots and disguise greasy patches, even now I have never met anyone able to apply foundation more flawlessly than I.

Eye shadow techniques were something I learnt on my first girl's holiday. A friend of mine who worked on cruise ships performing in the shows explained to me about eye shadow palettes and colours to suit my eye colour. Don't worry I don't trowel it on like a drag queen - an important thing about learning to apply make up is learning to keep it minimal.

I am now a beauty PR executive who moonlights at weekends as a podium dancer. So by day I'm learning about skin conditions and product ingredients and at weekends I'm applying experimenting with wild and dramatic - almost theatrical - looks.

I also want this blog to be a fun space all about incredible clothes I've seen or celebrities I'm currently in awe of.