Marie Claire Prix D’Excellence De La Beauté Awards 2011 winners revealed…

What better way to end a Monday than a glamorous Awards ceremony at the Claridges Ballroom for the annual Marie Claire Beauty Oscars Prix d’excellence de la beauté awards 2011. From champagne and beauty gossip with the beauty pack to the award winners acceptance speeches, hosted by the very glamorous Christine Bleakley from Daybreak and the lovely Trisha Halpin, Editor in Chief Marie Claire UK.

The Awards themselves were split in two categories best International Winners – as voted by both Marie Claire International judges and the creme de la creme of beauty journalists across the globe; from Marie Claire – Lisa Oxenham (UK), Ariane Goldet (France), Ying Chu (US), Ana Serrano (Spain), Antonella Bussi (Italy) and representing the beauty journalists vote: Emmanuelle Demarest, Marie-Francoise Dubillion, Dominique Garnier, Aurelie Lambillon, Emmanuelle Lannes, Genevieve Murat, Brigitte Papin, Marie Pouzol, Alexandra Raillan and Zoe Zhang.

Plus our very own best of the best British winners as voted by a panel of UK beauty journalists: Lisa Oxenham (Marie Claire’s very own award-winning beauty journalist and stylist, Hannah Betts (Writer and columnist for British Broadsheets and magazines) Annabel Jones (who has over 10 years experience as beauty journalist) Sarah Vine (Beauty Editor and columnist for The Times) and Alice Hart-Davis (Award-winning writer and creator of Good Things Skincare)

So the winners for 2011…

International Winners….

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector – this wonder product has been rushing off our high street and online store shelves faster than the Clinique consultants can utter the words ‘miracle serum’ with its clinical proven results of a 53% improvement in dark spots after 12 weeks use this potent skin solution of Vitamin C and Salicylic acid is sure to become a true icon!

Lancome Teint Miracle Foundation – a foundation I have yet to try but is coveted by a number of my friends who swear by its multi tasking properties and barely there effect – it moisturises, gives SPF and long-lasting coverage.

Guerlain Abeille Royale Youth Serum – The power of honey harnessed in this youth serum, every skincare brand on the market has their version of a youth fighting serum and the masters at Guerlain prove to strike gold with this fab product infused with Royal Jelly and honey to help skin self repair, despite it reminding me of buying my grandma Royal Jelly as a child I’ve tried this product and do think it’s really worth the investment!

Roc Sublime Energy range – I am not that familiar with the Roc skincare range but this sounds like science in a tube… the range itself was designed to harness electricity as it passes from cell to cell within our bodies and utilise this power or skin energy to turn back time (time travel for your skin!) with that claim it is one worth trying especially at such an attractive price starting at just £29.99

Garnier Ambre Solaire Golden Protect Oil SPF30 – With all the sunshine today I decided it was time to dare to go bare-legged after months and months of opaque tights, I am not convinced it was quite the right decision but it has got me in the swing of feeling summery so it was fab to see one of my favourite sun protection brands winning an award. Plus it’s fantastic to see an oil with such a high SPF – I have very pale skin (thanks to my very blonde hair and English complexion) so a high SPF is a requirement even in the slightest ray of sunshine!

So on to my favourite part… The British beauty winners!

Best Beauty Care product goes to – Olay Regenerist 3 Point Super Serum, this products predecessor generated a waiting list of over 20,000 women so it’s not surprising its made it to the top spot. However that said I had real problems with this product – I tried it’s predecessor and had the worst reaction to this serum resulting in a month of just using Aqueous cream on my face it was so sensitive after using it…. so unfortunately it doesn’t get my seal of approval – but thousands of others seem to love it!

Highly commended in this category also were: L’Oreal Youthcode, La Prairie White Caviar Illuminating Serum and Skinceuticals Pigment Regulator.

Best Make up product – Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick. I’m a huge lip junkie from glosses to lipsticks and even balms I love trying and using new textures and lip products and this is a fantastic lipstick – the colour pigment is strong on application and truly has a great long-lasting wear – I can highly recommend it!

Highly commended in this category: Garnier Youth Radiance 2 in 1 Tinted Eye Roll on Concealer, Burberry Make Up range, Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick.

Best Ethical product – Clarins Gentle Beauty Soap – I was really pleased to see this product win, Clarins work tirelessly at their ethical responsibilities when using exotic plant ingredients by replanting and supporting local communities without shouting about their green ways, so it’s lovely to see them recognised with this gentle little soap – which itself has an Ecocert organic certification. I am a huge soap fan so very happy to see soap taking centre stage in the beauty elite once more.

Highly Commended – L’Oreal Professionnel Serie Nature Range, Une Make-up Range, Aveda Control Force Firm Hairspray.

That’s it for this year… time for one more quick glass of Champagne to celebrate the winners and a read of Marie Claire on the tube home!

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Great skin just a sleep away

If like me you have all the best intentions of getting gorgeous, radiant, youthful skin but somehow never have the time to invest in a full on skincare pamper fear not… Here are just a few of my top picks to work skincare miracles all while you sleep, so you can wake up to gorgeous glowing skin (if only all problems were that easy to solve!)

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Skin Recovery Complex

I have been using this little brown bottle a couple of years now and I am addicted. This Multi Award Winning repair serum is inspired by DNA research and works to help restore and repair your skin, it is a great anti irritant (which is one of the top reasons I started using it) making it perfect for more sensitive skin too. Best used every night to repair past damage, protect and hydrate skin.

Elemis Pro Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream

Oxygen for your skin? Yes we don’t just need to breathe it we need it to help our skin glow and aid regeneration. This fab cream also speeds up night time skin recovery to counter the effect of sleep debt and daytime stress, its a true multi tasker as it also helps to plump the skins natural collagen for younger looking skin too – perfect!

Guerlain Midnight secret

The lifesaver… if you’ve been out the night before and you know you need a proper sleep to have a fresh faced, no bags look…think again! This is eight hours sleep in a jar! Yes girls this is the answer to those cheeky nights out. Sssshhh it’s our little secret

Dior Capture Totale Multi Perfection Nighttime Soft Peel

This is a little gem of a product, put simply it’s a face peel you can sleep in to gently renew your skin, it brings a whole new meaning to beauty sleep. Its no rinse formula makes it super easy and you can apply your usual night cream on top!

Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Night Health Bedtime Face Cream

I’ve never been a big advocate of the Dr Andrew Weil for Origins range purely as I wasn’t taken by the aroma of the first collections – however I like to think of this as a hidden gem because as you drift off to sleep, this magic cream with St Paul’s Wort simply eases away tense skin and visible lines. It really seems to clear your dead skin cells plus, one of my favoutite things about it is that it’s filled with 100% natural camomile & lavender oils to relax your mind and body for a great night sleep too!

Bliss Fat Girl Sleep

Night time skincare is not just for your face – Fat girl sleep from the spa guru’s Bliss creates a sleep-friendly environment with lavender whilst sacred lotus flower gets to work on the four causes of cellulite: fat storage, fat burning, water retention and slackened skin. Anything that blasts cellulite while I sleep gets my vote!

The Body Shop Deep Sleep Dreamy Pillow and Body Mist

This is my little secret wonder spritz, this is a heady aromatic mix of Jujube date extract, camomile and essential oils – literally 1 spray on your pillow or Pj’s and your eyes get heavy – it’s brilliant for when you fall out of a sleep pattern or find yourself unable to sleep easily. Keep it by your bed for easy spray and sleep! Don’t be tempted to use more than 1 spray its potent stuff and 1 spray is really all it takes!

Top wake up tip…

After all that replenishing sleep wake up your skin with Clarins Super restorative Wake Up Lotion – the skincare step for beautiful skin even first thing in the morning. It eliminates puffiness and sleep marks, no need to wash off just apply to a clean face and follow with your usual moisturiser and make up!

Can Benefit revolutionise our skincare routines?

Earlier this year I was invited to the EXCLUSIVE reveal of Benefit’s hush-hush new skincare launch, held in the stylishly hidden away boutique Hempel hotel in London. Until now we have been under the secrets act to not spread the word… but now the word is out – B-Right is soon to be the word on every Bene Babes lips…

So what’s it all about? Can the cute fix-its brand do what it has to make-up and start a skincare revolution?

Well one thing is clear from the off – this is serious skincare, with over 4 years research and development from the clever bods at the LVMH laboratories Benefit have developed and patented their very own dullness erasing skincare ingredient (in Benefit language this is Tri-Radiance Complex)

I took time to talk directly to LVMH senior vice president of R&D Eric Perrier, a man who has spent his career finding the best of the best skincare ingredients and formulas to bring us the products we covet so dearly today (and I have to say I have never been so taken with science before – or maybe it was the french accent that gave it a whole new spin)

“Benefit’s exclusive tri-radiance complex includes several vegetable-based sugar and glycol derivatives plus a perfectly selected set of different sizes of hyaluronic acid, to boost hydration in the skin as much as 73 percent within two hours after application (measured in triple performing facial emulsion SPF 15 PA++), an incredible result in an SPF 15 PA++ emulsion!” Eric Perrier

From creating a skin care texture that sounds & feels the same as silk, to a feeling of clean (which apparently feels and smells differently globally) to testing thousands of different application techniques – I realise that this is not just some cute, fun products to brighten our bathrooms this has serious technology that will like all Benefit’s fix its – deliver.

Benefit founders Jean & Jane Ford asked him for the solution to every woman’s skincare wish – not to rid them of wrinkles (as much as we’d love that) but to simply Brighten, awaken their skin from looking dull and give it that perky lift that is just soo Benefit! So B-right!

The collection is cute, on first looks you may well be surprised – it isn’t overtly colourful or quirky. It smacks of old school pharmacy bottles, with a wash of light aqua’s and greens – it looks and indeed smells fresh and I’m surprised at how taken I am with the range.

I’m an avid fan of Chanel Hydramax Serum by day and Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair by night both times coupled with Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream so I don’t sway from my usual routine that far (and I get to try and test a fair few products) but I really liked the fresh take on skincare that this collection is taking and think this is going to cause just a little ripple in the beauty waters…

My favourite of the range and my tip as the one to watch out for is the Triple Performing Facial Emulsion SPF15 – this literally felt like no other product I have put on my skin, no residue, no oil just my skin only a bit less thirsty!

The range is hitting Debenhams counters exclusively in the UK from 2nd April as well as on Benefit’s own UK website and in the Benefit Boutiques, it has just launched online in the US so you can check it out Benefit’s YouTube Channel for a sneaky peek