Beauty Without Fuss

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Max Factor Clump Defy Mascara

By Laurin

My favourite mascara ever is any mascara I’ve been using for about six weeks. The purchase of a new make-up item brings with it a flutter of excitement in my stomach, and yet my heart never fails to sink when I open a new tube of mascara. Why? Because I know I’m about to spend five god-damned minutes that I don’t even have wiping the brush unless I want to arrive in my office looking like the victim of an unfortunate tarantula attack on the Victoria Line. It takes me about a month of jiggery-pokery and wand acrobatics to use up enough product for a perfect application straight from the tube, only to find one morning four weeks later that it’s magically fused into a solid lump of black gunk overnight. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

These are not cheap products. At the time of writing, I estimate that I have at least £100 of unsatisfactory mascaras in my make-up drawer, all paid for with money I earned myself. Current rejects include Bobbi Brown Extreme Party Mascara, Benefit They’re Real! (also: stop using tits to sell me eyelash paint), Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme and yes, Estee Lauder Double Wear, which has singlehandedly ruined many a rocking smoky eye.

And yet, I dream. I dream of a day when I shall open a new tube of mascara, gently wave the wand across my eyes and gaze back in the mirror at my thick, fluttering, perfectly separated lashes. “Darling,” my husband Michael Fassbender calls from the next room, “do come back to bed and – “ Oh, are you still here? Hi!

Anyway. I am pleased to report that my dreams have come true (my mascara-related dreams, that is). I’d never heard of Max Factor Clump Defy until Superdrug re-launched it as part of a limited edition best sellers range to celebrate their 50th anniversary. It is genuinely the best mascara I’ve ever tried, at any price point. The short, tightly-packed bristles (pictured below) means it comes out of the tube with exactly the right amount of product on it, which is to say, not very much at all.

As you can see, the brush is slightly curved, enabling it to cover more lashes in one sweep. Below, you can see my lashes with no mascara at all, and with one coat of Clump Defy (I’ve also used my Shu Uemera Eyelash Curlers before applying). 

I normally apply three coats of mascara, and you can see below the effects of two and three coats of Clump Defy. There isn’t a huge amount of difference, so you could probably skip the third coat.

If you hurry, you can pick up the limited edition dotty pink packaging, which I love because it makes finding this in my make-up bag a cinch. After all, the more time I save on my make-up routine, the longer I can spend in bed with my husband, Michael Fassbender.

Max Factor Clump Defy Mascara is available at Superdrug in limited edition packaging for £7.99 at the time of writing.

The Fine Print - PR Sample

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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Cheap Smells (or how to smell good without breaking the bank ...)

By Laurin

I recently overheard someone dismiss a wonderful early 90’s commercial blockbuster fragrance with a wave of the hand and a dismissive, “It’s a bit…high street for me.” House rules prevent me swearing on this blog, so I am unable to repeat my exact thoughts. However, I would like to offer the following observation: “Your MUM’S a bit high street.”

Nobody wants to be basic, but in the rush to prove their connoisseur credentials with incessant name-dropping of the obscure, expensive and hard-to-find, perfume enthusiasts often wilfully ignore the fact that not everything that smells good is exclusive or requires a second mortgage. There is no shortage of mediocre scents bearing outrageous price tags to fool you into thinking they’re something special, and by the same token, it’s possible to find some great fragrances for very little money at all. 

All the perfumes below can be had for under £30.

Bvlgari Black - £24 for 40ml at

I would consider this a bargain at four times the price. The fact that you can buy two bottles and still have change from a fifty pound note is surely proof that there is a God, and She wants us to smell good. It contains notes of rubber tires screeching on hot asphalt, smoky black tea, vanilla, cedar and bergamot, but to attempt to pin this fragrance down to a mere collection on notes is to ignore its ever-changing complexity and almost human presence in a room. It walks softly, but carries a big stick. Or, as my friend Amy once put it, “This is a fragrance you wear when you need to rescue a vegan from a swamp.”

Chopard Casmir - £12.95 for 30ml at

This was the first grown-up fragrance I bought with my own money. I have a hazy, possibly false memory of billowing red scarves and gold turrets at the Dillard’s department store launch in Mobile, Alabama. The idea of smelling like an Arabian Nights fantasy princess while my peers were showering in squeaky clean CK One absolutely appealed to pretentious 16-year-old me. If I smelled this on a teenage girl today, I wouldn’t know whether to high-five her or order her into the bathroom to scrub that off NOW, young lady. Casmir is a daring overdose of vanilla, musk, benzoin and tonka, just made wearable with baskets of peach, mandarin, blackcurrant and overripe tropical fruit. It’s no surprise to me that it was created by Michel Almairac, the nose behind the outrageously brilliant Gucci Rush. Wear it while wrapped in cashmere and dreaming of ancient souks. Or give it to a teenage girl with a wink and a copy of Delta of Venus.

Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers - £10.00 for 30ml at

I own a small handful of what I like to call “Sunday Evening Perfumes”. They are for spraying medicinally, by the gallon, to dispel anxiety and unease. With its sunny notes of citrus, juicy honeydew, mouth-watering peach and breezy orange blossom, Sunflowers is the closest you can get to a bosomy bear-hug from a long-lost friend without getting on a plane. It’s simple, happy and completely without pretension. Spray with joyful abandon, or when joyful abandon is in short supply.

Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars - £12.00 for 30ml at

Official notes: Pineapple, jasmine, freesia, bergamot, vanilla and musk. Off the record: Like being strangled with a candy necklace by Karl Lagerfeld’s ponytail. Sweet shops and Brylcreem. Only buy this if you’re a collector of perfumes by Sophia Grojsman, or a fondness of mid-nineties “Celestial” themed décor. And if either of those descriptions do apply to you, drop me a line. I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady - £30 for 10ml (well, sort of) at

If, on the other hand, I haven’t convinced you of the delights to be found in purchasing a fragrance in the same shop that’s running a special on Tampax, take heart. There is always the option of pooling your resources with your similarly high-minded friends and splashing out on a travel set of Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady. At £90 for three 10ml travel sprays, this is stretching the concept of a “budget” option, but I find it helps to think of it as investing in your share of a masterpiece of modern perfumery. Dominique Ropion’s instantly recognisable accord of rose, patchouli, incense, cassis and raspberry is the only perfume I’ve ever worn that has caused strangers to chase me down the street, just to find out the name. Would that ever happen with a Jo Malone? I rest my case. BARGAIN.

This post: Cheap Smells (or how to smell good without breaking the bank ...) originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

GOSH Spring Summer 2014

By Tindara

Greetings Get Lippie-ers! I’m back back back. It’s been tough old game but I’ve been sampling lots of new things recently. Not least the new stuff from the GOSH Spring Summer range. I’ve been a GOSH fan for a while, I think their Velvet Touch eyeliners are brilliant and easily as good as my previous staple MAC Powerpoint at double the price. So, I was excited to get stuck into my goody bag.

There are lots of lovely new things in the range, the Lip Lacquers are cute and would make sweet presents for a teen relative. They’re contained in nail polish style bottles with an application wand in the lid. There are a host of pleasing summery colours, including shimmery neutrals, pinks, corals, and reds, with a not-too-glossy sheer shine.

The lipsticks are also really good value, moisturising, and good colours, particularly in the neutrals. They last very well too for a lipstick at this price point. I’m a bright lipstick girl normally but I’ve really taken to the Innocent, Nude and Sweetheart. They’re flattering and go very well with a smudgy smoky eye.

Which leads me onto the new Eyeshadow Forever Pencils. These are a great dupe for the many more expensive eyeshadow pencils on the market like Smashbox and Charlotte Tilbury. They twist up so there’s no need for sharpening, and come in gorgeous blendable metallic shades which are perfect for this season. After a minute or so they set and stay put the whole day. I’ve been using Brown, Grey, and Beige most, the latter being an excellent subtle pearly look particularly good on paler skins.

The real star of the show, however, is the Prime ‘n Set Primer and Mattifying Setting Powder. I had never used a powder as a primer before but this is a revelation. I’ve used lots of primers but none worked as well as using a light touch of this powder before foundation. It felt dry and comfortable all day even on a sweltering London tube journey. It’s also a really good setting powder and very similar to the Nars Light Reflecting Setting Powder at a fraction of the cost. Just saying. Here’s hoping GOSH bring out a pressed version soon.

GOSH Lip Laquer is £5.99. GOSH Velvet Touch Lipstick is £6.49. GOSH Eyeshadow Forever Pencils are £5.99. GOSH Prime ‘n Set Primer and Mattifying Setting Powder is £9.99. They’re all on offer at Superdrug with a few quid off at the moment. No pressure.

The Fine Print: PR Samples

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Friday, 18 April 2014

Spring Blushers with Clinique, Hourglass and Tarte

By Get Lippie

Spring really has sprung now, the days are lighter and longer, and, whilst I've not actually turned off the central heating yet (we have foot-thick walls, and 8ft ceilings, it takes Lippie Mansions a while to warm up), it's definitely getting warmer.  As a result, I've swapped out my darker winter blushes for some lighter, brighter shades for the longer days ahead.

Clockwise from top left we have Clinique's Cheek Pop in Berry Pop, Hourglass Ambient Blush in Luminous Flush, Hourglass Ambient Blush in Radiant Heat and Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Fearless.  The top two are on the cooler side, and the bottom two have warmer tones.  

Swatched heavily in sunlight, in the same order as above.

The Clinique Berry Pop is hella pigmented - you need the tiniest, tiniest bit of this to get brightly coloured cheeks.  It lasts astonishingly well, too, as do all the colours in the cheek pop range.  Just use a light hand, and an extremely flexible blusher brush when applying.  This is gorgeously pretty packaging too, the gerbera daisy imprint is a delight, and it seems to be lasting well, too.

The Hourglass Ambient Blush in Radiant Flush is a cool pink with beige veining in the pan, and on the skin is much paler than the Berry Pop.  I find it works well if you build up the colour in layers, rather than relying on one thick sweep to last you through the day.  The shades are on the sheer side, but you can build them up.  Ambient Blush in Diffused Heat is a warm coral veined with the yellow Ambient powder in Diffused (which was one of my products of the year in 2013), and is a paler peachy tone when swirled on the skin.  As with Radiant flush, you can build this up to a quite significant shade on the skin.  I've read quite mixed reviews of the Ambient blushes, but I like them a great deal - their rather sheer formula, and built-in highlighter effect make them ideal for the less dextrous amongst us.  Like myself.

 Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Fearless is a more or less straightforward matte coral, with some pinkish undertones.  It's wonderfully flattering on, and lasts quite well.  I'm really happy to see Tarte finally arriving in the UK (even if it is via QVC), and, from what I've seen of the range, I don't think fans will be disappointed.  Having read the ingredients list, however, I'm a little underwhelmed by the formula for this, as it's not that different to practically every other blush on the planet in all honesty, but this is a darn fine blusher, particularly if you want a matte shade.  Currently the shades on offer on QVC are rather limited, but I'm assured that more colours will be available later on in the year.  Personally, I like the foundations more than the blush - which I'm slightly surprised to discover, to be honest - but more about that later.

What changes are you making to your routine for the changes in the weather? 

 The Fine Print: Mixture of PR Samples and purchases.  Hourglass are going to bankrupt me at this rate.

This post: Spring Blushers originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


By Get Lippie

I'm having one of those weeks when all my favourite skin care items run out at the same time, and it's INFURIATING!

Champneys Spa Skin Super Rich Cleansing Balm:

Slightly grainy (and a little exfoliating as a result), I took this pot of balm on my honeymoon with me because I didn't want to use a chemical exfoliator, what with their sun-sensitivity issues and all, and I couldn't be bothered packing two products when only one can do all the work, and I've not looked back since.  A lovely rich balm with excellent cleansing properties, this is a brilliant (cheap!) cleanser, particularly if you totally ignore the instructions on the jar, and remove it properly with warm water and a face cloth, like what you are supposed to do.

Zelens PHA Bio-Peel Resurfacing Facial Pads

God, I love these. Gentler than straight glycolic acid, but still packing a tingly punch of exfoliating goodness, I start to panic every time I get past the halfway point on a jar of these.  Used after cleansing, these pads gently help your skin reset itself, and make you glow.  PHA is also humectant, so it binds moisture to your skin too, as well as resurfacing. Only drawback is the price, which is £65 for 50 pads.  I have been known to cut them in half to eke them out longer ...


My love for Hydraluron is fairly widely known, this is either my third or fourth tube now, and I can't imagine life without it.  Which (bearing in mind that I was totally underwhelmed with it when I first started using it) is going some!  This is one of those products that doesn't really appear to do much whilst you're using it, then, when you've run out, you can really tell the difference - my skin is just more dull when I don't have this in my routine.  I use it to layer extra moisture into my skin, and I apply after my serum/oil, and before my moisturiser.   I panicked the other day when I realised the tube was empty, I don't mind admitting.  Yes, I am a big sad. 

Aromatherapy Associates Soothing Cleansing Balm

For days when I don't really fancy a  slightly scrubby cleanse with the Champneys Balm, this gloriously silky and gently fragranced balm cleanser does the job.  It melts makeup and grime on contact, and never leaves my skin feeling dry or stripped.  There are no bells or whistles to this balm, it is just a good, gentle, and even beautiful product.  Oh, and it's in a tube. I fupping LOVE balms that come in a tube.  Love them! MORE TUBES IN BEAUTY PACKAGING, PLEASE.  Have I mentioned how much I hate sticking my fingers into a jar of runny goop?  Well, I do.  A lot. I actually keep a teaspoon in my bathroom to actively avoid having to dip my fingers in stuff.  It's a bit weird, I know, but we have a million teaspoons for some reason.

I've had a lot of compliments on my skin recently - and I've just got through an entire winter wearing only tinted moisturiser (or the occasional CC cream -more about those soon)  which is entirely unheard of! I'm normally caked in foundation from October to April, every year, so this is massive for me, and it's (almost) entirely down to the products featured here.

What are your most repurchased products?

The Fine Print: Mixture of PR samples and repurchases

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Monday, 14 April 2014

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

 By Get Lippie

To say I don't really "do" fashion would be a mild understatement.  I simply don't "get" fashion.  Part of this is because I'm what is euphemistically known as "plus size", of course, but mostly it's down to the fact that high fashion isn't really useful to those of us who either don't earn millions of pounds or, aren't six feet tall, or have, like, proper jobs and that.  Also, I'm an accountant.  Cutting edge accountancy fashion is making sure you've put the right buttons into the correct holes on your cardigan, frankly.  

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that I'm not really the target market for the current JPG exhibition at the Barbican, I basically only know Jean Paul Gaultier because of Eurotrash. Oh, and his perfume, of course!

But ... this exhibition is absolutely bloody astonishing.  Luke and myself were lucky enough to be invited to the press preview of the show the day before it opened to the public, and I found myself enthralled by the sheer size and scope of the exhibition, and the really amazing detail on the clothes themselves.

Basically, every era of JPG's career is represented, from his iconic work with Madonna's stage oufits, his film costumes, his catwalk haute couture, and, of course, his :ahem: pioneering work on Eurotrash, and there is even his Spitting Image puppet:

Frankly, terrifying.
 There are holographic mannequins, who gurn, giggle, and even sing to themselves, which genuinely have to be seen to be believed as the technology, even close up, is amazing (and much, much better than these next couple of quite frankly shonky photographs make it look):

We only had an hour for our view, and it wasn't, in my opinion, nearly a long enough amount of time, there was a lot of stuff that we simply didn't have time to see properly, and I missed the significance of some of the exhibits, as we were racing around before the main event of the day.

There was also a fragrance symposium after the exhibition, where it was revealed that there will be a new "intense" version of the JPG Classique fragrance released in the UK in July, which is great news for lovers of the original.  We were treated to a tiny sniff of the new formula at the symposium, and it's ... fruity.  Apparently, Francis Kurkdjan has been dying to make a fruity floral for a long time now (my heart sank at those words, I must admit), and he was delighted to be able to bring that to fruition.  I've no idea how the formula will translate on the skin, but I'll keep you posted once I've smelled it properly.

If you get a chance to pop along to the Barbican before the exhibition ends in August, then I recommend that you run to see it.  I'll definitely be going back - did I mention that it's amazing?

Because you can't talk about JPG without mention of THAT corset ...


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Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Art of Male Makeup by David Horne and Mark Bowles

By Luke

The only way I'd be caught without makeup is if my radio fell in the bathtub while I was taking a bath and electrocuted me and I was in between makeup at home. I hope my husband would slap a little lipstick on me before he took me to the morgue.” - Dolly Parton. 

Make up is a funny thing isn’t it? The quote above is the way a lot of women feel about makeup, or more pertinently, how they feel about themselves without it.

I don’t know when it was exactly that women or society more likely hijacked makeup as being an almost exclusively female activity, but until fairly recently, certainly in my short lifetime *ahem* men with makeup on has always been viewed as a bit of a freakshow. This is with the exception of drag per se, that has little ambiguity about what is going on.

More often than I care to mention, when I explain to someone what I do for a living, it is quite often, and rather ignorantly, met with questions about whether I wear makeup, or even if I ‘do drag’ myself. The assumption being I suppose that if I am a dab hand at a bit of lipstick, and a brush, and I love a bit of glitter, that I must covet the most feminine of all things that is makeup, and want to decorate my face with it, ironically in a female parody sort of way.

But makeup and men do have a very long lineage. There have always been men, who still wishing to look like men, have worn makeup. I am not talking about those possibly too vain men that pop on a (very lightly) tinted moisturiser, or slick a little Touch Eclat under their eyes after a heavy night, and god forbid it should look like you are ACTUALLY wearing makeup for fear of ridicule.
Men who wear makeup, but to all the world don’t fit into this little box of drag, or camp, or androgyny, or feminine or all the other rather emasculating vocabulary you can throw at them because they are wearing something other than sweat on their faces.

Makeup, for me is a gender neutral product. Out of the pot onto a face, be it male or female, it’s the same.  In this respect, there is a subculture of men that do wear makeup because quite simply it pleases them to do so.  But, when looking at male makeup, there are few reference points.  Until now. This week, I was invited to the launch of a new book The Art of Male Makeup. Its creators are the two prolific and frankly fabulous David Horne and Mark Bowles.Both makeup artists, and both incredibly clever.

The book was born from this lack of reference to makeup from a male perspective, or worn by men that wasn’t as I said earlier draggy, or trans, or feminine. Far from detracting anything from these particular styles, the book seeks to demonstrate that male make up is an art form all on its own.
An important and rather insightful analysis took place as to what exactly *is* feminine about makeup? A very particular eye was cast over the various techniques that we are all so familiar with and examined to see what exactly feminised them.

An example of this would be eyeliner (guyliner *shudders* I loathe that term). A straight, unbroken line is feminine; a flick for example is also feminising the eye. Matte, for example, is deemed more masculine than a shimmer, or a shine. Glamour is not the goal here. Any ‘traditional’ cosmetic tricks are pulled right back so as not to overdo, and become about the makeup, and not the face.

And fundamentally, what is masculine makeup? It’s not about decoration, so much as it is enhancement. It’s less about correction, and more about character. The Art of Male Makeup presents 28 characters to us, that are all familiar male types, and shows us with these rules how makeup emphasises the masculine traits of the face and body. There is not one that isn’t intriguing, and doesn’t drag you into the story of that particular character, and some will even surprise you. It is beautifully photographed by the extremely charming Daniel Ellyot Moore. 
Flicking through, not one of these men has been feminised by the makeup, or the hair. And each time I go looking at a different page, I notice something new in the picture. They are all very beautiful indeed.  A true collaboration of creative talent, there were a number of artists who worked on this book including the amazing Julia Townend (on body makeup this time), and Spob O’Brien on hair duty. 

So what does it mean?

Well for me it’s a welcome relief on many levels. Not only is it a perfect reference for the way maleness is perceived by Mark and David, but it also signifies a new perspective in the world of makeup, and artistry as a whole. We are seeing a lot of the same type of thing all the time. Another smoky eye, another cut crease, another contoured face that we’re all supposed to mimic and get excited about, when actually, these are not new concepts but just lazy populist re hashes of the same thing over and over.  The Art of Male Makeup articulates a whole new world of possibilities for you to look at, and equally for me as an artist.

 A stunning book, and an incredible body of work. I leave you with some beautiful illustrations of the looks by Achraf Amiri.  If you are at all serious about makeup, you need to own this. 

The Art of Male Makeup is available by emailing and is £25.

 This post: The Art of Male Makeup by David Horne and Mark Bowles originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Big Hair Round-Up: Eco Tools Hairbrushes, Josh Wood for M&S and Her Volumising Powder

By Laurin

We have a saying in my homeland: “The higher the hair, the closer to Jesus.” From her hair alone, I think that we can deduce that my grandmother and her poodle were both very close to Jesus in 1979. My relationship with the Holy Spirit is on decidedly shakier ground, so I have to rely on modern artifice to give me the volume I crave. Here are a few products I’ve rated recently:

Eco Tools Hairbrushes

Eco Tools, who already have a high quality range of affordable make-up brushes, are launching their first collection of hairbrushes next month. They're made using repurposed aluminium and renewable bamboo, which is great if you care about your carbon footprint, but you should still check them out if you don't. The range contains five different types of brush, so there is something to suit everyone. I'm loving the Quick Volume Styler for adding volume to my shoulder-length fine hair in the mornings, and the Sleek + Shine Finisher is great for blow-drying a fringe, as the tightly packed bristles hold the hair firm beneath a hot air blast. The cream and blonde wood finish means they’re stylish enough to display on your dressing table, and they're well-priced at £10.99 each. Advantage cards at the ready.

Eco Tools Hairbrushes are £10.99 each and available in Boots from April 2014

Josh Wood for M&S

In case you haven’t noticed, M&S have been seriously pulling their socks up when it comes to beauty. What was once merely a reliable place to buy rose-scented foam bath for your nan is now a spot to pick up everything from hard-working French pharmacy brands to cutting-edge Icelandic skincare to damned fine collaborations with British beauty experts. The latest collection to hit the shelves is colourist Josh Wood’s range of shampoos and conditioners for coloured hair. There are three pairs: one for dry hair, one for frizzy hair and one for fine hair. I’ve been testing the range for fine hair and while I can confirm that it has indeed added volume and stopped my ash blonde hair from turning brassy, what I really want to tell you about is the smell. This is without a doubt the best-smelling shampoo and conditioner I’ve ever used, knocking Herbal Essences off its sixteen year run in the top spot. Instead of the generic fruit cocktail I’ve come to expect from most shampoos, we have instead a warm, spicy ginger. It smells like pressing your face into the bare neck of someone you love deeply. Sexy. As. Hell. 

Josh Wood Full-Bodied Shampoo and Conditioner are £9.50 for 250ml and are available at Marks & 

 And, speaking of things I love deeply, I’ve developed a serious crush on the volumising powder from the pseudo-Italian haircare brand Her, fronted by that well-known haircare guru John Barrowman*. This one isn’t for everyone. If your hair is already thick, curly or prone to frizz, you should probably give it a miss. But if your hair is fine and flat, try using it to live out your Amy Winehouse backcombing fantasies (we all have those, right?). It instantly makes your roots into a slightly tacky web that you can then scrunch and comb into skyscraper hair that won’t come down until you wash it out. I realise that won’t appeal to everyone, but I reckon I could trap both flies AND men in my hair when I use it. My only complaint is that you have to shake rather than spray it on, so make sure you have good aim. Use it sparingly: a little goes a very, very long way. 

In the picture above, on the left, you can see my hair blow-dried without any product at all (and my make-up free face, while we’re at it). On the right, I’ve added three shakes of the powder around the roots at the top of my head and backcombed ever so slightly. I’m not sure the picture does it full justice, but this is a lot more volume for a very little effort.

Her Volumising Powder is £14 for 7g and is available at

Finally, on a completely different note, it’s officially spring! Any day now I’m expecting to catch sight of my first rage-inducing article on how NOT to induce mass cardiac arrest on the beach this summer with my hairy, wobbly flesh. For no reason whatsoever, I’ve spent the last fortnight slapping Nivea Firming Good-bye Cellulite Serum on my cottage-cheese thighs so that you don’t have to waste your money on it when June rolls around. It promises to work WITH my skin “to improve its firmness and reduce the appearance of cellulite in 10 days.” Did it? What do you think? It mostly made the skin on my bum squeak when I touched it and caused my thighs to stick together like slices of sweaty cheese. This is the part where I’m supposed to tell you that cellulite creams don’t work, and I’ve decided to just drink more water and sod what everyone thinks of my “bikini body”. Except that I have no immediate plans for beach-based frolicking, so what I’ve actually decided to do is eat more toast and sod what everyone thinks of me spending my summer holidays in my darkened bedroom, watching Gossip Girl on Netflix while I sit on my well-cushioned bum. Problem solved.
Nivea Firming Good-bye Cellulite Serum is £5.59 for 75ml and is available at Boots. Toast is free and available in your kitchen.

**Yes, THAT John Barrowman. I'm not even slightly joking. Get Lippie had breakfast with him and everything. There are photos, which I'm legally bound** not to share here.
**She'll kill me, and besides, we've run out of brain bleach.  
This post: Big Hair Round-Up: Eco Tools Hairbrushes, Josh Wood for M&S and Her Volumising Powder originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Sampar 3 Day Weekend

With the imminent good weather and sunshine - it is coming, it HAS to be! - and me being an OCD freak about not letting ANY sun on my skin WHATSOEVER (I can’t afford the wrinkles), practically everything I put on my face has SPF.

Sampar, if you haven’t heard of them (and I certainly hadn’t until recently) are a French skincare company. They're available in the mid range end of the French department stores, and they cater for pretty much everything with their range, which is so typically French, it’s not even funny. Bust crème anyone?

Sampar’s 3 Day Weekend is the best selling product in their range in this country. The 3 Day Week End Creme is designed to provide the skin with the utmost protection from ‘urban’ and UV damage by acting as a sort of shield for the skin cells, to protect them at that level. It also works with your natural melanin production to boost that, and thus protect from the harmful (ageing) rays of the sun. Or UVA to you and me. 

So this product was a challenge for me, but I have heard the ‘science’ before from another French skincare range which is INCREDIBLE so this product definitely appealed. Despite using a high SPF normally, my face is the normally first part of my body to tan. Years and years of avoiding sunbathing have rendered my trunk pasty white, and no amount of lounging in the sun will alter that sadly. But hey, from time to time I receive that oh so British compliment of ‘oh, you’ve caught the sun a little on your face ‘ so the promise of ‘increased melanin production after just one week of use’ and ‘a natural hint of a tan’ was a bit of a draw for me. Especially as we hadn’t really had that much sunshine.

Well three weeks odd into using this, I have yet to notice this melanin production increase.
My face is still the same colour it ever was. A light shade of blue. The panic of having to leave the house without a conventional SPF on frankly sends me into a bit of spin, and is beginning to make me question the efficacy of this particular product.

Whilst brands like Instituit Esthederm (similar principle, albeit slightly pricier) which I have used previously, and therefore I know they work, this one has left me a little cold. I am also slightly concerned at the sheer quantity needed to cover, as they recommend, the face, and neck, and top part of chest, as t is only a 50ml pot.

On the plus side, it smells rather nice, doesn’t leave my skin feeling it needs more moisturiser (I have extremely dry skin) and is a light texture. Sadly, I don’t think I shall ever truly know if I am receiving the maximum benefits of this cream, particularly in regards to sun protection, but it has made me curious as to the rest of the range. 

Sampar 3 Day Weekend, available at Marks & Spencer Beauty. £34

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Monday, 7 April 2014

The Reluctant Lippie - Part One: Nudes

 By Laurin

Despite being born during the Carter Administration, I've never really considered myself a grown-up. Grown-ups don't buy their jewellery from H&M. They make well thought-out grocery lists on Saturday morning, and they have buildings insurance. They don't anguish over maudlin 90’s music about what they want to BE when they grow up, because that's what they already are.

I, on the other hand, have tried my hand at four different careers in the last ten years. Last week, I cried at work twice and played hopscotch on the carpet tiles too many times to count. I have no mortgage, no kids, no pets and no husband. And up until last year, I mostly made do with a slick of Benetint lip balm hastily applied as I rushed out of the house 15 minutes later than I'd planned. Did I mention that I'm 35?

One of my colleagues is a proper grown-up. She wears well-chosen pieces from Cos and Whistles and she compliments them with chunky, interesting accessories that she's often made herself. She wears lipstick. Real lipstick. I watch her reapply it before meetings and after lunch with the help of a MAC compact. I began to be taken with this small, public-yet-private ritual and the idea of a tangible and instant confidence boost. So I made a resolution that despite my serious lack of credentials in the Adult department, lipstick is something I can manage.

This series is my attempt to find my place in the world of lipstick that seems to come so easily to some of you, but has baffled me for the better part of 20 years. Please note that although the events that take place here are absolutely true, I have altered the order somewhat so that they follow some kind of logical progression. Just because I live my life on a wing and a prayer doesn’t mean you have to as well.
L-R: Laura Mercier Baby Lips, Revlon Just Bitten in Honey, Rimmel Apocalips in Celestial, Tom Ford Lip Colour in Pink Dusk
 Chapter 1: Nudes
L-R: Laura Mercier Baby Lips, Revlon Just Bitten in Honey, Rimmel Apocalips in Celestial, Tom Ford Lip Colour in Pink Dusk
The Lipsticks

Baby Lips
Laura Mercier Baby Lips Sheer Lip Colour, £17.50 at John Lewis

After making the decision to pull my socks up, I solicited the advice of my own hive-mind in the form of the Sali Hughes Beauty forum. Several of the women there recommended Laura Mercier’s Baby Lips and I dutifully purchased it during a lunch break. This turns out to be what is essentially a very grown-up lip gloss, albeit with more pigment and less gloopy shine. But it’s an excellent first foray into the world of real lip colour: the texture is soft, glossy and easy to apply without a lip brush, and the packaging dutifully obliges you in pretending that it’s a proper lipstick. It’s just a shade darker than my actual lips, so it’s great for giving my make-up a polished finished if I’m wearing heavy eye make-up. You’ll have to reapply it every couple of hours, but that’s a doddle.

 Revlon Just Bitten Kissable in Honey, £7.99 at Boots
The Boots website describes this Clinique Chubby Stick dupe as “a pampering balm fused with a lightweight lipstain”. Honestly, the word “pampering” is one of my least favourite in the English language (on the Galdis-Taylor Sick In My Mouth scale I just made up, it sits somewhere between “making love” and “gourmet” as a word I’d like to ban from use forever more) and I briefly consider stabbing myself in the eye with it instead of putting it on my mouth. The packaging also makes me a little sad. What’s the point of deciding to be a grown-up then raiding a toddler’s art supply box? On the other hand, if you can’t see the point of spending £20 on a level-up lipgloss, it’s a decent alternative to Baby Lips. It’s a touch sheerer and starts to fade the minute you even think about having a cup of tea, but so it goes. The pointy crayon tip makes it a cinch to apply, even without a mirror. As a bonus, Revlon have also infused the formula with a touch of mint flavour, so it quite literally feels like a breath of fresh air, especially if you’ve been snacking on chorizo at 2pm. Still, my feelings for this product have never risen above lukewarm, and it’s mostly been relegated to my over-the-door organiser with the rest of my rarely used cosmetics.

 Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer in Celestial, £6.49 at Superdrug

To infinity and beyond, this time with a quick stop at Superdrug to stock up on intergalactic cosmetic essentials. Apocalips is the halfway house between the easy application of gloss and the heavily pigmented coverage of real lipstick. Everyone I know went mad for these when they launched last year, and why not? They’re cheap and cheerful and a perfect treat to cheer you up on a drab Wednesday afternoon. I’m not in love, though. Although the coverage is great and the wand makes precision application pretty easy, the fluidity of the formula means it strays more than I’d like. And I cannot deny that when I see my ultra-shiny nude lips in the mirror, I immediately think of Katie Price and feel an urge to drape myself over the nearest Ferrari. Blotting solves the glamour model issue somewhat. The nicest thing about this is that it fades quite evenly, so avoiding the mid-morning “ring around the mouth” look. I think that this formula might be better suited to bolder colours, and my tube of Celestial mostly sits with my Just Bitten in the “Eh” pile.
Pink Dusk
Tom Ford Lip Colour in Pink Dusk, £36 at Selfridges

Oh, Tom Ford. We don’t always get along. I like your fragrances, but I think they’re derivative and over-priced. Your habit of appearing in your own marketing looking stern and disapproving has more than once made me back away from your counter, lest you spit on my mid-priced shoes. And I’m pretty sure Thom Yorke was referring to your army of swooning superfans when he sang, “When I am king, you will be first against the wall.” Or if he wasn’t, he should have been. But I’ll hold up my hands and say that you do make a bloody good lipstick.  But, at last, a proper lipstick. Aside from the eye-watering price tag, I love this. It’s non-drying, goes on like a dream, gives great coverage and smells like the inside of your grandmother’s handbag. It’s satisfyingly grown-up and I’d be pleased to apply this at my desk between meetings.
The Verdict:

 Laura Mercier Baby Lips wins by a hair. It’s a brilliant product to bridge the gap between gloss and a full-coverage lipstick, and it won’t break the bank.
The Fine Print: I bought these products with my own money, aside from the Tom Ford, which was nicked from Lippie Mansions.

This post: The Reluctant Lippie - Part One originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper
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