A Thank You on Mother’s Day : Look Good Feel Better

I’ve worked in the beauty industry for over a decade, striving hard to promote a sense of wellbeing and happiness that comes from feeling your best. A result from the purchase or first wear of a new lippy, a foundation that lasts all day or a lash curling mascara. Even a sultry scent. Somehow however it always seemed an ethereal feeling to try and evoke and conjure. This feeling, almost a self gratification or inner confidence that a bit of war paint seems to bolster in us. For me this is nail polish, if my nails are glossy, chip free I feel I can take on the world. Polished.

The meaning and in fact need for this was solidified for me today.

The reason? Look Good Feel Better, a charity I have worked with and supported in my decade in beauty. However, it isn’t until a charities work is personal to you that it really hits home. I’m sure it can even seem a bit trivial – a charity devoted to bringing beauty and makeup tips to Cancer patients. But it really isn’t.

My mum is undergoing Chemo for Breast Cancer for the second time in her life. The first 20 years ago. This time I’m an adult. I have more knowledge. More feelings. It’s harder. 

My mum is tough, she’s a terrier. One of those amazing women you wouldn’t want to short change as she’ll tear you to pieces. She’s hard working, still working and running an allotment in her sixties. I’m sure she thinks she’s still in her twenties sometimes.

But this evil disease has fought its way back and I know she’s scared. We are all scared. The other week she had to choose a wig, a horrendous reality of what is happening. My mums hair has always been a look don’t touch zone. Always perfect, always cut, coloured and styled. The knowledge of losing it is hitting hard. Suddenly the reasoning of those mothers and daughters who shave in solidarity makes some sort of sense to me. Not a route we will be taking but I suddenly get it. 

However in this gloomy state of affairs, there’s a spot of light. The amazing volunteers at Look Good Feel Better visited her during her Chemo treatment. Totally unbeknownst to me. Along with the nurses they helped her find a wig as near to her current look as possible.

Then today they phoned her. They have arranged some beauty treatments and workshops for her in a spa. I’ve not heard her so excited in months. She’s got appointments other than Cancer treatment appointments she’s looking forward to and think about. Helping her with makeup, such as what to do with her eye brows during treatment. Giving her products and guidance on what to use and how to boost her confidence in her new appearance. This simple charity reach out programme has so much more significance now. It really is true that if you Look Good, you do Feel Better.





No it’s not going to make the cancer go away but it gives a chance of normality. A day, an hour, a feeling of being you again. So this post is dedicated to the amazing work of these volunteers and charity teams. It has redefined the importance of my role in the beauty industry and made my mum feel more confident and like ‘her’ as she tackles this. 

So please, do click here to find out more about Look Good Feel Better.

To donate to this charity click here to go to their just giving site.





Just £5 will find a confidence kit for another Cancer patient like the one shown here, this is the kit my mum received and is over the moon with. She couldn’t wait to show me what she had learnt. 



This is my brave mum, smiling in her new look wig. This lovely charity is helping boost my mum’s confidence and made her feel great today on Mother’s Day. 

Thank you. 

Advertisements

Autumn Beauty Done.

In a world where we are all too busy to sometimes text that friend back, post that birthday card or arrange those drinks with old colleagues. It is getting increasingly harder for brands to convince, engage and spend time with customers. Making in-retail events very hard to succeed at.

Do customers want to give over hours or even half an hour of their day to a brand, a store? What is the excitement for them if they turn up?

What is the magic algorithm to success? I’m sure there is a numbers geek out there that could apply some logic to the psychologies, but without access to this I would say after attending Selfridges recent Autumn Beauty Event they have come close to cracking the code.

A year to the launch of Selfridges Beauty Workshop concept, the store opened up the doors to the beauty set for an evening of education, make-up, fun, sugar and prosecco.

With a £10 coveted ticket price, which you have to apply in advance for. You are adorned with a golden wristband – the access to the fabulousness.

You are transported into Selfridges amazingly unique way of making events a must-attend show. With complimentary branded candy floss, pick-a-mix stalls (this guy had a queue as long as those for a launch of a new Chanel nail varnish!), snow cones (with real vodka toppings), DJ’s, manicurists, make-up artists, skincare gurus… Free gifts, free prosecco – lots of free prosecco. It was no wonder that despite the sheer volume of ladies – it was fun, giggly, girly, purely and unapologetically fun and frivolous. A night to dip in and out of brands you love, or those you want to discover without the pressure sometimes felt by stepping onto a luxury beauty brands counter.

A perfect launch platform for brands to start a relationship with new customers. Especially for the likes of Charlotte Tilbury whom was unveiling her new capsule make-up collection exclusively at Selfridges. However, with the economic downturn still pinching our pockets, the FREE aspect is key here, it was very interesting to see that even the big players joined in the fun. With super GWPs for high spending clients, juice bars, international make-up artists. Even Jo Malone had a lady making free felt brooches for those whom spent on counter. It was the apple version of a beauty event. Exquisitely planned, superbly executed. Dynamic and emotive.

This allows customers, myself included feeling more at ease at buying luxury products. We are investing in the quality rather than quantity but we do need to feel we are getting an amazing deal.

So as you can probably tell we had a great time. This may of course be down to the company I was in. However, looking around us all we saw and heard was excitement, giggles, smiles and good times.

Yes this is hard work to achieve, and without being privy to Selfridges bottom line, I dare say its an investment but I truly believe that investment in your key clientele is the best thing you can put your money on these days.

If your customers go away having had an amazing night that’s made them happy, chances are they tweeted about it, blogged about it, put it on facebook, instagrammed it. And even if they don’t pop back though your doors for a week or two the people they shared it with just might.

I have been to events, launch parties, make-up lessons, skincare workshops. You name it. With all of these things sometimes the fundamental element gets forgotten. Fun.

This was about a girly catch up, a bit of competitor snooping but ultimately celebrating what’s great about being a girl, make-up, trying every pinky red lip shade on every counter until we find ‘the one’ scouting out the hottest nail colours from the sea of choice. Daring to try a new look, a vamp goth lip a daring red…

Ultimately a night of escape with girl friends, of rewards with free goodies, a sense of enjoyment, a little chip away at re-claiming your ‘me-time’ away from family, work and other life commitments.

Whilst I think we’d all love it if these evenings happened more often, what is so special and desirable about them is their surprising arrival. Plus the effortless detail that does not go un-missed.

Thank you Selfridges. A pinnacle of light in today’s doom and gloom retail landscape.

Discover Selfridges Beauty Workshop concept in the Oxford Street store.

20130913-195313.jpg

20130913-234359.jpg

20130913-234412.jpg

20130913-234422.jpg

20130913-234443.jpg

20130913-234454.jpg

20130913-234505.jpg

20130913-234519.jpg

20130913-234532.jpg

20130913-234548.jpg

20130913-234608.jpg

20130913-234628.jpg

A day in Dior

What better way to spend a Sunday than to disappear behind the scenes to one of the most renowned couture brands, Dior, following the takeover by CHANEL in 2011, this exhibition embodies Dior London embracing how this brand has styled the very best of British.

20130324-225638.jpg

As you stroll along the Brompton road you are delighted to unique and impeccably created window designs, from the humorous with vast Dior umbrellas (which plays perfectly with our less than Spring weather) to the cute with giant styled Harrods bears to a london we all wish we lived in, with Dior buses travelling alongside Diorified london sights, a Miss Dior London Eye to a London Underground stop I certainly wished existed ‘Lady Dior’

20130324-232410.jpg

20130324-232432.jpg

20130324-232456.jpg

20130324-232517.jpg

Throughout my tour of Harrods you see reminders of what makes Dior so iconic and innovative, taking its heritage in design, modernity and not being afraid to give it an edge. The Harrods colour hall takes centre stage to a studio set up, making you feel more like a film star whilst having a makeover than sitting in a department store. It’s starry, glamorous and filled with limited edition makeup that is beautifully alluring. And even if the idea of sitting for a consultation is a little daunting for some, the wonder of Dior comes to the rescue with an in built video with subtitles within the limited edition makeup display – so you can happily stand, be inspired, learn and discover how to create your own ‘New Look… That is So Dior’

20130324-235326.jpg

20130324-235346.jpg

Captivated as I was with the makeup… I made my way through to the black hall, where their latest ‘Collection Privee’ unveils a new debutant ‘Gris Montaigne’ an ultra feminine exclusif parfum infused with Patchouli, bergamot, rose, amber, cedar, sandalwood and oak moss blended by master nose Francois Demachy. Whilst some Patchouli fragrances can not really be my thing on first scent this is a delightful fragrance not too over whelming, it hasn’t made my to buy list but it is one I urge you to discover. At the moment CHANEL’s last addition to their Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection 1932 remains top of the Perfumes I want to buy list.

20130325-001616.jpg

20130325-001629.jpg

My daily spritz at the moment is CHANEL Eau de Cologne from the Les Exclusifs range it’s zingy citrus notes allow me to hope that if I wear it daily the sun will appear in much the same way in the movie Field of Dreams you embrace the theory of ‘If you build it, he will come’. So despite the wind, rain, snow and arctic temperatures, my house is filled with Daffodils, I’m wearing Spring Neons and I am spritz-ing my way to spring.

However I digress, the main event of the Harrods takeover lies on the Fourth floor, where after battling your way through childrenswear and families, a little challenging on a weekend, you are rewarded with the entrance to the ‘So Dior’ exhibition… Within lies a tribute to the world of Dior, from the 1947 New Look – that caused such a stir in post war europe as it heralded a new sense of joy in clothing, style, elegance. To the couturiers links to perfumer – the launch of Miss Dior, created in 1947 and re-embodied today by Natalie Portman it is easy to see how Dior’s style is one that continues to stay chic whatever the decade.

20130325-002707.jpg

As a fashion honours graduate you can imagine my delight at being surrounded by such beautiful atelier craftsmanship, I am very lucky that I was privileged to have been invited by Dior, to the launch of the Dior V&A exhibition back in 2008 ‘The Golden Age of Couture’ which remains today one of my favourite evenings. So it was a delight to see a host of stunning gowns on display. The most mind boggling of all was the sequin dress created for Audrey Hepburn – I stood for a good five minutes trying to work out how small she must have been to fit in the dress… With all this size zero talk I would imagine she was smaller if not at least a zero in today’s standards.

20130325-003822.jpg

20130325-003850.jpg

Of course no Dior exhibition in London is complete without a tribute to Lady Dior herself Diana Princess of Wales. The handbag who’s name pays homage to one of Dior’s most exceptional ambassadors. You can watch in glory on a Lady Dior screen how this icon is created.

20130325-004308.jpg

After your Dior-over what better way than to sit on a Sunday afternoon and take afternoon tea, The Dior Cafe is open to serve clients a stunningly beautiful array of English Afternoon Tea with a little Parisian Chic, the cafe resides to the side of the exhibition and can be full so advanced booking is certainly recommended. And of course a take home, after such a fabulous afternoon the return to reality can not be commenced without something to remind you that it wasn’t an Alice in Wonderland moment…

Enjoy your Day in Dior at Harrods until 14 April.

20130325-005807.jpg
href=”https://secretbeautyinsider.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/20130325-010545.jpg”>20130325-010545.jpg

A new way to cleanse

I’m quite particular about how I cleanse my skin, I am one of those annoying people that will always cleanse my skin before going to bed, even if it ends up being a baby wipe I will always remove the days impurities. Living in london and having a daily underground commute I love nothing more than that skin fresh feeling.

All that said I am a sucker for a one product wonder. I lean towards water based cleansers that will hydrate feel cooling and clean my skin and eye area. For years my ultimate go to was YSL 4-in-1 cleanser (now known as Top Secrets Toning and Cleansing Water) it was a luxurious and soothing way to end the day, knowing that I didn’t need a separate eye makeup remover or toner afterwards..

Then two years ago I discovered Elemis Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser and my attitude towards cleansing took on a new angle. With the most beautiful textures, exquisite spa-like aromas it was a pleasure to massage on to my skin every day. The best of all it was eye makeup remover friendly. Finally a professional deep cleansing product that could be used across the whole face.

What I loved most of all was the soft hydrated feeling it gave my skin, the cream texture formula glides on to your skin, Elemis and indeed I also recommend leaving it your skin for a minute or two, I tend to use this time to brush my teeth, I wear quite thick eye liner so usually removing it can be a struggle as I’m sure most of you reading this have experienced. However this cleanser somehow dissolves it, there is no other way to describe it. It comes packaged with a luxurious 100% cotton cleansing mitt, like a flannel you can slip your hand into. Warmed under the tap or sink the feeling of the hot cloth on the skin is really replenishing. Your cloth will look very dirty however it is easily cleansed under the tap and eventually in the washing machine.

This shift in cleansing rituals made me re think my use of toners, despite working in the industry for years I had never really given toners the time they deserve. So why tone? Well toners help rebalance your skin, close your pores, restore your PH level and aid the absorption of your moisturiser and if used in the morning your foundation – think of it as a primer!

So why the need to discuss this now? Well my routine has been given a super boost! The launch of Elemis’s Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm has added a deeper spa treatment inspired boost to my skin. You can use this cleansing balm daily however I intend to use it once a week as a more intense cleansing treatment mask.

Just unscrewing the beautifully simple but luxurious jar gives out the most beautiful aroma, like a spa in a jar, you instantly go on a sensorial journey by the British botanical actives, geranium, lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, ho wood, orange, menthol and clove, blended into wheat germ, oat, starflower, elderberry oils and mimosa and rose wax.

As you can imagine it has a waxy oil texture but one that feels more silky than greasy. It’s texture and formulation apparently make it perfect for oily or blemish prone skin, I don’t suffer from those skin issues but felt that the texture was very exquisite. You can simply massage on to skin and instantly remove with the cleansing cloth or leave on the skin up to ten minutes as a treatment mask, perfect for when you’re relaxing in the bath. The cleansing cloth that comes with the product is large enough to cover the entire face and is designed to hold the warm heat from water to give a hot cloth style mask.

A little goes a long way and if like me you intend to use weekly the £39.50 investment will be easily justified. I follow with Apricot Soothing Toner and Pro-Collagen Marine Cream and Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Makeup SPF 15 Continue reading

Bare Minerals Skincare Range

The skincare foundation you wear to bed!

For those in the know you will already have seen and quite possibly even used the New Bare Minerals Skincare range, it is already available in Selfridges and set to hit the rest of the UK high street later this year in September. I met with the Bare Minerals team a couple of months ago and have been trying the new skincare range since then.

My favourite of the range and the IT product has to be the Pure Transformation Night Treatment– this genius product thinks like a foundation and works like an intensive skin spa treatment, in essence my new best friend in a pot. My favourite thing about this product – it allows you to have a radiantly glowing flawless complexion even post cleansing (so no more running to the bathroom to hide that bare faced look) at first I was worried that this tinted powder would rub off on my pillow and sheets but once buffed on to the skin using the super soft natural brush that sits attached to the lid it stays put on your skin until morning.

The formula is created to work in harmony with your skins natural rhythm to restore, replenish and rejuvenate whilst you sleep – you can use the treatment as a last step in any skincare routine, after your moisturiser or night cream you simply shake, twist the lid off and buff on to your skin. It’s available in 4 shades starting at Clear (which is great for guys too).

I have been using it every night for the last month and I am very pleased with the results so far, I love the even toned look it gives you, but what I also like is the fact that my skin seems to have improved generally – it looks brighter, it is less sensitive and less prone to redness and my pores look more refined too. If this is what it can visibly do in just a month I am excited to see it’s lasting longer term effects from continual use. The product is £45 so an investment for most, but with such quick visible results and unique application I think I am converted! The product also comes in a decent size jar so the powder will last you months and months as you don’t need a lot to apply all over the face.

The product itself is filled to bursting with Rare Minerals, Vitamins A, C and E, Emblica Fruit and Ectoin extract – creating an active soil complex that is derived from the purest of mineral soils, so much so they put it into liquid and let me drink it!

In addition I have also been using the coordinating Purifying Facial Cleanser – with an easy to use pump application this is super simple and delivers a fresh scent, skincare benefits whilst dissolving your makeup (including eye makeup) it does need to be washed off but I am already a facial wash cleansing advocate this didn’t bother me. Its ingredients reads more like a fruit smoothie than a skincare product – filled with Pineapple, Lychee, Guava Fruit Enzymes, Avocado oils and Pomegranate extracts – as you can imagine it smells gorgeous too! The texture is very light and fluid.

I still have the moisturiser and eye cream to try so I will report back if any of the other range makes my ‘need to blog’ list!

You can buy and try the new Bare Minerals skincare range from Selfridges stores or Selfridges website.