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So dear readers, it’s time to close the door on this blog.

But fear not, it’s not the end of The Truth About Beauty, no no, not at all. Behind the scenes for some months now, a lovely, technologically adept friend has been building me a brand spanking new standalone site for my blog, which is stronger, better and faster in every way. This, is it’s new home:

www.TheTruthAboutBeauty.co.uk

Please tell me what you think about the new layout, design and ease of navigation, I really welcome your feedback because it can still can be tweaked if necessary.

Thank you all for following my blog and I hope you will continue to do so over at it’s new home.

Over and out, for now.

x

Yours Truly…

Shame they spelled my name wrong!

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I get excited about testing new mascara. As a make up artist I get through a LOT of mascara and I’ve got quite a specific list of requirements, it has to be quite a wet formula, non-clumpy (obviously), flake-proof, smudge-proof and preferably lengthening (but not volumising).

Products that stimulate lash growth are very hot right now and Rimmel have coined in on this by adding a Lash Growth Complex to this mascara that claims to nourish, renew and strengthen lashes over a 30 day period, with results of 117% longer lashes. That’s over double the length. Frankly, I’m sceptical. I could be totally wrong, but I would think that any lash growth formula would need to be applied to the roots, right on the the lash line, in order for it to penetrate the hair follicle and stimulate growth. It’s quite difficult to get mascara that close to the roots. I would be very interested to read the cold, hard science behind these claims.

All that said, I tested this mascara on a shoot recently and was very impressed by it’s formula and performance. It fit my criteria for a good, working mascara really well and I love the small, slim wand which enables you to get right into the tiny corner lashes. This is half the battle in achieving full-looking, fluttery lashes. A second coat went on well without any clumping, and half way through the day, our model’s eyes started watering and the mascara didn’t run or smudge.

My experience in testing mascaras has left me convinced that you don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive brands, in fact if anything, in this category I find the cheaper high street brands can be superior. Superdrug sell this at the offer price of £6.99 at the moment. Great value.

One thing I do object to is the obviously false lashes they have used on Zooey Deschanel in the TV & print advertising for this product. Extremely misleading. Not to mention the fact that she’s been airbrushed to within an inch of her life.

If any of my lovely readers tests Rimmel Lash Accelerator over 30 days and experiences the lash growth promised, I’d be very interested to hear your reports.

Several years ago I was at a dinner party hosted by a friend of a friend. I was struck buy how amazing the host’s skin was, devoid of lines and with a radiant, even tone. I asked her about her skin care regime and she told me that she’d been using Creme de la Mer for some time and felt that it had transformed her skin. It turned out she was in her early 40’s which sealed the deal for me, the next day I went to Selfridges and bought a pot of the so-called ‘miracle’ cream, whilst wincing at the price.

At the time I was in my late twenties and in truth didn’t really have any need for an anti-ageing cream, so once I’d finished the pot I decided not to re-purchase, mainly because of the cost and the very heavy formula of the cream which was a little too dense for my oily skin at that stage.

Creme de la Mer have since added many more products to their range including much lighter lotions than the original cream, which several of my friends use and swear by for it’s anti-ageing and soothing effects. It was with excitement then, that I received a sample of La Mer’s new Radiant Concealer to test. The make up artists on Mad Men use this concealer on Christina Hendricks and Co, and have given it a positively radiant testimonial. After testing this both on myself and on several models, I must say I’m inclined to agree with them. It is highly pigmented, has just the right amount of ‘slip’ making it very easy to blend, and is a very light formula that can be layered if necessary without creating any ‘caking’.

On younger skin, it doesn’t seem to need any powdering over the top to set it, and leaves the skin around the eye area looking quite luminous. This may be down to the technology in the formula which contains gemstones said to capture light energy to camouflage dark circles and blemishes, optically erasing imperfections. For me, I had to powder very lightly over the top to stop the concealer settling in the lines around my eyes, but it still gave me a very ‘wide-awake’ look. Like all La Mer products, it also contains precious marine and plant extracts said to help reduce the appearance of undereye puffiness, lines and wrinkles and minimize pores.

Additionally I love the fact that this has an SPF 25, and stays looking fresh pretty much all day long. The little case comes with it’s own concealer brush which makes application easy for even the most inexperienced, but I tend to use my ring finger to pat the the concealer into the skin for a flawless look.

The Radiant Concealer currently comes in light, medium and dark, although I only tested the medium shade which was too light for my  olive complexion, so I’m not sure how dark the dark is. Ideally I’d like to see a whole spectrum of shades available to suit all skin tones, maybe this will come in time. As with all La Mer products, it’s a premium price, £45, so this may not be something I would buy for my kit (I get through an awful lot of concealer), however I probably would treat myself to this personally having seen the great results.

Probably the most common questions I am asked by people are ‘How can I conceal my under-eye circles/cover rosacea/cover up spots?’

There is no quick answer to this because it all depends on your skin tone and the tone of the imperfection you are trying to conceal. To help determine the undertone in your skin, look at the veins on the underside of your forearm. If your veins are blue-ish in appearance you are more likely to have pink (or cool) undertones, but if your veins are more green-ish then you will probably have yellow/golden (or warm) undertones.

It is worth remembering that you may need 2 separate products to completely hide the imperfection in question, one to correct and one to conceal. It’s also important to prep the eye area well before applying any concealer and my favourite product for this is Dermalogica’s Multivitamin Power Firm. It provides just the right amount of ‘slip’ and prevents the concealer from looking too heavy or cakey. Here are some guidelines that should help you when choosing corrective foundations and concealers.

Problem: Fair skin with blue-ish under eye circles.

Here you need to choose a corrective concealer with a yellow-ish undertone which will neutralise the blue under the eye. If your circles appear very blue – as is often the case with extremely fair-skinned women – then I would suggest you apply a good, creamy, yellow-toned corrector in a fairly thick layer, blending well, followed by the foundation or tinted moisturiser that perfectly matches the rest of your face. I like Bobbi Brown’s Corrector Concealer for this.

Problem: Black or Asian (Indian) skin with dark grey under eye circles.

This can be the hardest type of imperfection to conceal and it took me many attempts to get the balance right, so don’t be disheartened if your first attempt is not perfect. Most commercial foundations on the market can end up looking very ‘ashy’ on black and asian skin tones so it’s really worth investing in a good brand such as MAC or Bobbi Brown that are specifically formulated for these tones. The best results I’ve had in concealing very dark grey circles in this type of skin is by using an orange or reddish toned corrector, followed by a concealer that is one shade lighter than your natural skin tone, such as Bobbi Brown’s Tinted Eye Brightener in Deep Peach which has an orange undertone as well as a brightening effect. Then, with a foundation that matches your skin tone, blend really well up to the ocular bone with your ring finger or a concealer brush.

Problem: Rosacea, broken veins or rosy cheeks

Rosacea or red broken veins around the nose and cheeks need to be neutralised with a green corrective fluid. You can help things along by starting with an anti-redness moisturiser such as Dermalogica’s Sheer Tint Redness Relief which, used over time, will help reduce the redness. Then, depending on the severity of the problem, you can either blend a green concealer onto the specific areas before applying the foundation that matches your skin tone, or you can mix a small amount of green corrective fluid such as Shu Uemura’s Base Control into your foundation which will add the necessary undertone to counterbalance the redness. Finish with a green-tinted powder to set the make up.

Problem: Asian (Far Eastern) skin that is too sallow/yellow in tone.

Often people with very sallow or yellow undertones try to correct this by applying a foundation with a pink undertone. This simply ends up looking a bit ‘chalky’. One should always accurately match the foundation shade to the skin tone, and if need be, add a corrective fluid to balance the undertone. Again, Shu Uemura, a brand created in Japan by the brilliant Japanese make up artist of the same name, has a very good range of correctors and concealers, and their lavender corrector, mixed with your foundation is brilliant for balancing out too much yellow in the skin.

Problem: A dark tattoo that needs to be covered

Before you can cover a tattoo with a flesh toned foundation you need to completely neutralise the dark pigment of the tattoo ink. Again, this will depend on the colour of the tattoo, but with the most common black or greenish-black tattoos, I have good results by using a strongly pigmented orange or red-ish cream concealer stippled on in a thick layer, followed by a flesh-toned cream stick foundation such as Shu Uemura’s Nobara Cream Cover Stick.

Problem: Red, inflamed pimples

I deal with this by applying a thin layer of Dermalogica’s Special Clearing Booster with a small pointed brush onto the immediate area of the pimple and leave it to dry for a few minutes. This forms a smooth, anti-bacterial layer over the pimple which not only helps to heal it, but also makes it much easier to cover. Again, with the soft, pointed brush, apply a tiny amount of green concealer to the pimple to neutralise the redness, let it settle into the skin, and then apply your skin toned concealer or foundation on top.

This calls for a very light touch, if you are too heavy handed you will simply wipe the concealer and the Special Clearing Booster off the pimple. Finally, set the concealer in place by gently pressing a green tinted powder onto it with a powder puff. This should keep you looking blemish-free for several hours.

Battersea Millennium Arena – Sunday 19th September 2010

BRUT, the iconic men’s fragrance, is hosting a fund-raising event for Help for Heroes at Battersea Millennium Arena on Sunday 19th September.

In keeping with the military theme of Help for Heroes, BRUT want you, along with your family and friends, to come along and put yourself through a military Personal Fitness Assessment. That’s two minutes of press ups, followed by two minutes of sit ups, and finally a 1.5 mile run…do you have the bottle?

We’ll have qualified military fitness instructors present on the day to put you through your paces and ensure there is no slacking…and you’ll get a feel for what it’s really like to train in the military. While it may sound daunting anyone can take part and do the Assessment, and BRUT want to see you all there.

Help for Heroes represents everything BRUT believes in; determination, courage, hope in the face of adversity and luckily a sense of humour.

Help for Heroes Founder, Bryn Parry, said “Brut’s Race for Recovery is a fantastic idea and we would like to encourage everyone to ‘do their bit’ and join in too. Good luck to those taking part – enjoy the challenge!”

Help for Heroes Patron, injured soldier Ben McBean, explained “I think it’s great that Brut are supporting Help for Heroes and giving people a chance to keep fit and experience exactly what soldiers have to do to get into the military. It’s going to be a great day out and will hopefully raise lots of money for Help for Heroes.”

For a small entry fee of £10, which will go straight to Help for Heroes, come along and do your bit for those who really need it. The best in each timeslot will win a prize and the fittest of the day will win a fully paid place on a Help for Heroes trip to the Base Camp of Mount Everest in Nepal*, joining wounded soldiers and others to help raise further money for Help for Heroes.

So do you think you’re fit enough? Have you got what it takes?

Come along and find out on Sunday 19th September and do your bit to help those who really need it. Remember to bring your mates along too, BRUT loves a bit of healthy competition as much as you do!

For more information or to register see http://www.brutformen.co.uk or to donate please go to https://www.bmycharity.com/V2/brut

Liz Earle Hair Care

Cult natural beauty brand Liz Earle has expanded into hair care with four new products. In line with the brand’s ethos of keeping ingredients simple, natural and active, they have created a Botanical Shine Shampoo which works on all hair types. Then to complement the shampoo, there are three high-performance conditioners, packed with botanicals to give just the right amount of hydration for your hair type – normal, dry or damaged and oily.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting a great deal from these hair products. I have spent years testing natural and organic shampoos and am consistently disappointed, mainly because of the lack of lather. The reason for this is that natural/organic shampoos avoid using the nasty foaming agents that most high street brands are made with, because they are harmful to the environment. However, this does render them a bit ‘stiff’ and unworkable if that makes sense. I find I end up using 2 or 3 times the amount of product just to work up enough of a lather to get my hair feeling clean, and that ends up being very expensive, especially as organic shampoos cost a fair bit more than high street ones anyway.

Liz Earle’s Botanical Shampoo (£7.50 for 200ml) on the other hand, is a fantastic formula that lathers really well with a small amount of product, smells wonderful and rinses out easily. And this has been achieved without the dreaded sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate. Ingredients include West African shea butter, natural source vitamin E, shine-boosting apple and orange extracts plus naturally derived cleansers, to gently clean hair without stripping it. I am really, really pleased with this, it’s guilt-free shampoo that does the job beautifully.

I chose the Botanical Shine Conditioner (£7.50 for 200ml) for dry/damaged hair because my hair has been coloured for many years, but I do have oily roots so I always make sure I use conditioner from mid length to the ends. It is a colour safe conditioner, a rich formula with shea butter and yangu oil, and claims to leave dry or damaged hair hydrated, under control, soft and smooth. It has a good cream consistency (I hate runny conditioner, I end up losing most of it down the plug hole) and was very easy to comb through after rinsing. My hair certainly is soft and shiny after use, but most importantly it doesn’t feel limp or heavy like some conditioners for dry hair seem to leave it.

As with all Liz Earle products, these are extremely good value for money combined with excellent quality. A huge thumbs up from me. Buy online from Liz Earle.

High Tech Moisturisers

This post is going to be quite long and extremely detailed as I feel is befitting to the topic of high-tech – and therefore expensive – moisturisers. If one is to fork out serious wads of cash on a pot of cream, I feel one should be really well-informed.

This is a slightly sticky topic for someone like me who has always strongly believed in the benefits of natural and organic skincare. I intuitively feel that the less chemicals we put in and on our bodies, the healthier and happier we will be in the long term. However, anti-ageing is an issue growing ever closer to my heart as the years creep by, and at 37, I now feel that my skin needs all the additional help it can get.

In this high-tech age, there are a bewildering amount of anti-ageing ingredients in use in skin care, supported by some equally bewildering claims being made by the beauty industry. But it is worth remembering that much of what is topically applied on the skin will never make it past the top dermal layers, and therefore it’s unlikely that all the miracles promised will be delivered. For example, in order for peptides to actually have a benefit they have to be stabilized or they can continue to break down in a formula. Also, they need to be in a formula that allows them to penetrate the skin rather than sit on the surface, only to be eventually washed off, without any benefit. As consumers, it’s virtually impossible for us to know whether these optimal factors are all in place for any given product, and it’s this that I find frustrating about the beauty industry.

The best I can do is to test products as throughly as possible, and try to give you the benefit of my experiences. This brings me onto the first moisturiser in my high-tech category: M-Lab. This company has been formulating innovative skin care in the medical market for Dermatologists and Plastic Surgeons for over 25 years. They challenged their scientists to create the most efficacious and luxurious anti-aging formulations in the world to bring to the consumer market.

M-Lab’s Anti-Ageing Treatment Cream (£225) is formulated with 68% active ingredients. The blurb states that a matrix of peptides (which stimulate your skin to make more collagen), anti-oxidants (antioxidants help prevent wrinkles by soaking up harmful free radicals that damage your collagen) and hydration factors provide skin firming, retained softness, dermal elasticity, and the reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

I have been testing this cream daily for over a month now. I should mention that my skin does feel slightly sensitised for about a minute after applying it, it’s only very subtle, but I can feel a definite tingling sensation that can only be a reaction to the product. This does concern me slightly, but after seeing such a noticable effect on my skin I confess that I put up with it. There has been a marked improvement in the texture of my skin, especially in the last few weeks. The pores around my nose have reduced, as have the tiny lines between my brows, and the fine, crepey lines at the side of my eyes seem less pronounced. Additionally, my skin feels very smooth and I have noticed that the occasional spot seems to clear up much more quickly.

However, I’m also approx. 2 months in to taking a daily skin supplement, and I’m really curious to know what percentage of my skin’s improvement can be attributed to the cream, and what percentage to the supplement. I think this can be a bit of a problem for beauty bloggers, we are often testing several products at a time and as such our results are not exactly clinical. My advice would be to read up on other bloggers anecdotal experiences of this cream to see whether you think it’s a product worth investing in.

I like the consistency of this moisturiser, it’s medium-weight but non-greasy, with a very subtle scent. It sits well under make up, and my skin feels comfortable all day after application. You may find that you experience some ‘pilling’ of your foundation, depending on it’s formula. This is down to the exfoliating properties of the cream. I use a tinted moisturiser and to avoid pilling, I pat it into my skin, avoiding any rubbing or dragging motion. For the same reason, it is advised not to use this product close to the eye area, M-Lab have a separate eye cream in the range for this purpose.

I do feel that this cream above probably every other anti-ageing cream I’ve tried before, has made a significant difference to the overall appearance and texture of my skin.

The downside? Obviously, the price. This is the luxury end of skin care, and it’s a shame that it will prohibit many normal, working women from buying it, but I imagine that’s part of their marketing plan to retain it’s exclusivity. I also don’t like the fact that such an expensive face cream comes in a glass jar that is continually exposed to air, fingers and therefore bacteria. It would have been far better to contain it in an air-tight bottle with a pump. Will I buy it again when it runs out? Yes I think I will, despite it’s £225 price tag. Anti-ageing comes at a price.

I have listed the ingredients below so that you can get some idea of what you are getting for your money:

  • Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate: A form of Vitamin C that penetrates skin effectively and promotes firmness
  • Squalane, Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10): an anti-oxidant that strengthens the natural moisture barrier by delivering essential fatty acids to the skin
  • Sodium PCA and Hyaluronate, Urea, Trehalose, Polyquaternium-51: Hydrating materials that help maintain water content to soften and smooth skin
  • Avena Sativa Kernal Extract protects skin from the effects of environmental exposure
  • Epilobium Angustifolium Extract (Willowherb): an antioxidant that soothes and calms stressed skin conditions
  • Phytic acid: an antioxidant that exfoliates through mild keratolytic activity, protects from free radicals and helps to even skin discoloration
  • Aminobutyric acid, Portulaca Oleracea, Panax Ginseng and Centella Asiatica extract: rapidly reduce the appearance of age lines resulting from repetitive muscle movements
  • Glucosamine HCL, Bambusa Vulgaris and Pisum Sativum extracts increase firmness and reduce the appearance of wrinkles
  • Saccharomyces Lysate extract provides soothing and calming effects, stimulates cell renewal, aids in smoothing and moisturizing, and rejuvenates skin to improve clarity
  • Arbutin improves skin tone and protects skin from free radical damage
  • Xylinum Black Tea Ferment helps to smooth skin texture and reduce the effects of sugars on collagen that weaken the skin structure
  • Evodia Rutaecarpa Fruit Extract: Soothing and calming agent
  • Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate: An anti-wrinkle compound for rapid reduction in the appearance of expression lines
  • Superoxide Dismutase: An anti-oxidant that protects skin from oxidative stress, helps to delay signs of aging, and promotes firmness

I’m going to add updates to this post because I have several readers testing other high-tech creams for me at the moment, so as soon as the results are in you can read them here. Brands include Creme de la Mer, Dr Lewinn’s and Sisley.

This week I surrendered to the fact that Chanel have discontinued my favourite shade of loose powder. Their Poudre Universelle Libre in Peche (or Peach) was the perfect shade for a wide range of skin tones, it was subtly warm with the merest hint of a shimmer, and brightened up the complexions of most I applied it to, leaving a gorgeous veil of sheer colour. I am SOOOO disappointed! As are many of my girlfriends, having bought this on my recommendation, they now face it’s loss too.

I realise this may seem a little over the top, to mourn a face powder, but those in know will understand how difficult it is to find the perfect, light, silky formula – one that doesn’t cake, look heavy on the skin, collect in the creases, alter the shade of foundation etc etc. I REALLY loved that product, in that perfect peachy shade.

I am now on the look out for something to replace this kit essential. Suggestions welcome.

To cheer me up, Chanel kindly sent me their Petit Pinceau (Touch Up Brush) which comes in a little velvet case. It’s small but perfectly formed with a dense but very soft brush head made of natural hair, perfect for applying loose powder all over the face, and bronzer in a very precise, targeted way. I confess I have kept this brush for my personal make up kit, impressed as I was. I’m just checking on the price of this and will update the post later.

Thank you Chanel. But PLEASE bring back Peche, peachy please!

If you’ve ever mourned the loss of a beloved make up item and can remember it, I would love to hear about it.

Ciaté Paint Pots

Ciaté was created by salon owner Charlotte Straughan. Along with her wish to create a range of products without the usual harmful chemicals, her aim was to bring to market a trend-led, quality product that met the needs of both consumers and salon technicians alike.

Ciaté Paint Pots are free from the highly toxic chemicals formaldehyde and toluene. They’re also paraben free and are not tested on animals. They come in an impressively huge array of seasonal colours and are an affordable £9 each. There are also top coats, base coats, cuticle oils and hand nourishing products available in the range. For those of you with dressing table lust, the packaging is also very cute, with a little black bow around the neck of each product.

I’ve had 2 coats of ‘Mines a Mocha’ on for a week now and it’s still in great shape, no chipping. The pigment is very dense so if you were in a rush you could definitely get away with one coat, and it’s also very quick drying with a super glossy finish. I’m impressed.

The Ciaté glass nail file is an interesting product, for a start it does not blunt, you simply wash it in warm soapy water to keep it in condition. Secondly, glass files are much better for keeping your nails strong and healthy, they do not weaken the nail tip by filing and you can use them in a back-and-forth motion rather than filing in one direction as with normal emery boards. Chipping, splitting and peeling are greatly reduced as a result. I think £16.50 is a pretty good price to pay for a lifetime product.

Buy online at http://www.ciate.co.uk