The art of the re-purchase

Earlier this week I read an article about owning more beauty products than you would ever use. The reality of only ever using around 10% of the items you own. That the female consumption for products, especially makeup and skincare, was even more prolific in the UK. This resonated with me quite deeply – I actually have multiple beauty bags to categorise my beauty items for this very reason without actually really realising that this is what I had done.
After over 10 years in the beauty industry I have tried and tested a fair few products and I know what works for me on an every day basis. However this knowledge does not ever quench my desire for ‘more’ to buy the latest lip plumping, glossing, pigment rich… The justification list is endless.

I have the ‘pink’ makeup bag, that is my holy grail. The bag that turns me from bed head to beauty gal every day. Items that make it to here are there for good. On the replenish list for sure and that for any beauty product is like reaching nirvana.

With the world, myself included, thirsty for the latest and greatest securing a second and third purchase is harder and harder to achieve. Brands are searching for ways to mean more to the purchaser. Being multi-tasking, emotive or problem solving. The un-slowing generation of BB and CC creams fuel this theory.

So, with this in mind I thought I would take a moment to reveal my ‘go-to products’ the ones I deem re-purchasable. The newest to this line up is the innovative Nivea In Shower Body Moisturiser. Despite working in skincare I find body moisturising laborious. I don’t ever have time to lather my skin in body moisturiser before dressing, it simply takes too much time. I wish I did have the time as I truly believe in keeping your skin hydrated. Skin is the body’s biggest organ which we can all easily neglect. So this simple product has ticked a to-do and made me feel happy in the knowledge I’m now doing what I was failing to before. It’s simple just lotion on as you would a shower cream and rinse off as you would your hair conditioner. Perfect! It comes in 2 types but I have opted for the Dry skin version with Almond Oil. You leave the shower feeling super hydrated and smelling amazing. I bought my second 400ml tube yesterday, taking the last on shelf, the customer next to me taking the penultimate one. We both gave a knowing smile ‘this is an awesome product’.

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Now, back to the pink bag, the item I can’t live without the most has to be Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, this shake-able little guy is my morning go to. I recently thought I would try something ‘new’ because you never know when the next must keep will surface from. As Vitalumiere Aqua replaced my love of DiorForever (sorry Dior), with that in mind I purchased DiorSkin Nude BB Cream. It is good, not great but has a good texture, not amazing colour matching and I found my shade a little on the pale side which for summer left me feeling too washed out. Then I went back to an old favourite MAC face and body makeup. This is a great product and one that lives in and out of the pink bag (its a chunky monkey so gets thrown out when room doesn’t allow). But as much as I try I felt the need to go back to something I simply LOVE there’s no other way to describe it.
The smell – divine, one that never fails to delight and make me smile, the coverage – beautiful, it sinks into your skin leaving a dewy radiance that I simply have been unable to achieve with other products.
Eyeliner! Yes I know that was an exclamation mark. For me, eyeliner is essential. The pink bag is 60% full of them. Now for everyday of course there is no other option than Urban Decay 24/7 pencils. I own every colour (literally) they are fabulous and un moving. I do wish they were automatic – I loathe having to sharpen liners. My favourite of course is Perversion. This blacker than black carbon liner leaves you with amazing definition. Whether using it for a waxy smoky eye to a thin line it simply delivers. I do however have a secret lover when it comes to liners, I do on occasion cheat on them with Bobbi Brown’s Long-wear Gel Eye Liner in black. This is simply the don. It’s texture glides on to skin, it’s precision is divine. The fact you must apply it with a brush allows you the creative edge to create really graphic eye looks. You can build it up and I can not love it more. But for me, it’s not for every day.
No makeup bag is complete without mascara, with this product I have been rather promiscuous, I do love to try something new but for ever dalliance I have come back to one that I covet. That is none other than DiorShow the black to me is slightly brownish this suits me perfectly as with very blonde hair tones the look down for everyday. I have recently been very impressed with Guerlain’s Maxi Lash mascara.
Lips… I love, love, love lip products! They don’t however, always love me. After suffering for all my life with cold sores I like every sufferer try to avoid anything that triggers the disease. With that in mind this product features in every room and handbag I have. CARMEX. This is a little pot of magic. Smoothing, nourishing, healing, medicinal. It delivers. I can not live without this product.

I could go on and on… However, I will do this for my skincare musts one day.

What products make it to your daily use makeup bag?

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A walk through ‘The world of CHANEL’ at Harrods

Ever wondered what it would be like to live inside a brand? If you could pick any brand why not the ultimate brand (in my opinion) CHANEL – well of course if any store could make this happen it would of course be Harrods…

Yesterday I took a walk through ‘The world of CHANEL’ in Harrods. It is a takeover of such immense scale it is amazing how it has been so cleverly kept secret until now.

Even from the walk along Brompton road you get a sense of what lays ahead as the Harrods flags have turned monochrome with just CHANEL fluttering away along the iconic building’s length, all it’s 23 windows along the stores front have been utterly transformed into Karl’s AW ready to wear catwalk show, suddenly walking along the pavement you can be front row of the ultimate fashion show. Take in the fantasy ethereal forest dream – where animals meet haute couture! I wasn’t even inside yet and it had taken my breath away!

Entering through Door 6 and into the stores Colour Hall (formerly the Lifestyle room) I discover a new pop up neighbour for MAC a PINK, yes you read correctly, CHANEL beauty boutique offers itself like a grown up sweetie shop – that you just have to discover! From giant 900ml bottles of No5, which yes you can buy money permitting, to a gorgeous EXCLUSIVE Collection created by the master, Peter Philips – Creative Director of CHANEL Makeup just for this installation and named ‘The Harrods Collection’ the star of the collection, none other than a pretty pink powder blush compact ‘Brompton Road‘ for £46, this is a great way to own a little limited edition piece of this fantastic take over.

But if that is not all, the space plays host to a whole 3 weeks of celebrity makeover events, I was lucky to spot Mary Greenwell and Sophy Robson who were giving expert makeovers and manicures respectively using the CHANEL new AW collection. Once made over I could not resist indulging in some CHANEL photobooth fun (not only is there an in-built wind machine, so you can create that hollywood glamour pose, but the miraculous booth even airbrushes you so your photos arrive picture perfect in a lovely CHANEL folder) now if only all my passport photo posing experiences where that good!!

A stroll along the ground floor and suddenly I feel and see tweed underfoot and I know I have entered something special. If like me you have ever felt a bit too intimidated to enter a CHANEL boutique now is your chance to experience the absolute wonder and awe of it. Another pop up boutique this one on a grand scale for the Ready to Wear Collection, Handbags, Accessories and Les Exclusif CHANEL fragrances. It is a little CHANEL curiosity shop – there is no other explanation for the dream you will feel you have entered. You will indulge your eyes in some of the ultimate visual merchandising you will ever witness as well as being able to touch, see and feel iconic CHANEL products. As well as some EXCLUSIVE products that you may recognise….

The iconic Harrods tote has been pimped up CHANEL stylee with a uber luxe chain, golden CHANEL logo and quilting effect. CHANEL’s biker boots have been given a wash with Harrods green as well as their classic overnight holdall. For those with slightly more disposable income there are also limited edition Classic handbags too!

The pure attention to every detail is brought to your attention at every turn, and no more so as you take in the mural wall and ceiling hand drawn in chalk to create a CHANEL forest backdrop to the latest AW fashion pieces.

With my eyes already starry and feeling like I am in the best luxe dream I went further into the world of CHANEL….. up another 2 floors to the 3rd Floor in Harrods, past illustrated maps of the world, to the entrance to ‘Une Promenade’ the most stellar installation and creation of a brand yet.

Through a wall of pearls you disappear and enter another world (I can only imagine that this is what stepping through those fur coats in Narnia would have been like – had it been real) but thanks to Karl & the CHANEL team sometimes fiction and dreams obviously do come true!

You move through the promenade with a CHANEL guide or alone if you prefer, through the making of 2.55 handbag – watching a multitude of screens as the Ateliers work their magic to create the dream handbag for girls worldwide.

My favourite room has to be Karl’s CHANEL doll house, hosting CHANEL Bearbricks – which if you follow the cult of Bearbrick life you will instantly want to own but alas they are not for sale! They stand over Harrods bears in their hand-made CHANEL suits (and boots) and you just wish that Karl Lagerfeld had designed your childhood bedroom.

Then onwards to Gabrielle’s apartment, featuring printed Coromandel screen walls, Haute Couture dresses, replica furniture from Gabrielle’s original apartment – you can feel like you are in 31, rue Cambon, PARIS.

No CHANEL world is complete until you see and even feel a bit of TWEED, and this world does not disappoint – enter the 54 room (named for 1954 – the year of Gabrielle’s return post war and the entrance of the tweed CHANEL jacket) stand and take in the hand drawn jacket designs on floor to ceiling scale on none other than tweed canvas by Karl himself. I never in a million years thought I would come face to face and touch one of his hand drawn designs.

A CHANEL world also naturally must pay homage to the world’s most iconic fragrance – that of course is none other than No5. A fragrance that is a brand in itself, step inside Andy Warhol’s famous prints of the mystery bottle. Watch the No5 films played on none other an immense No5 bottle.

There is of course lots more – such as a 2.55 handbag the size of your double bed (you could literally live in it and to be honest I would be more than happy to do so)…

Why not enter the world of CHANEL at Harrods too… explore from 5 – 24 September at Harrods, Brompton Road, London. I think I need to go again just to check I have not dreamt it!

Hot on the High Street….

Girls (and guys) it’s time to get out your diaries and make some room for some all important beauty perk up time! Whether you’re a 5 minute lunchtime treat shopper, a sneaky online buyer at work or simply love a weekend trip around the beauty and fragrance aisles

Here’s my top pick of what not to miss…

Find your Mr Bright at Benefit – 19 March

Benefit Finding Mr Bright

This spring is dominated by hot brights as seen on the catwalk and now hitting the high street but the thought of really living this trend can be a bit daunting especially for those of us like me still clinging to their safe dark (aka black) winter wardrobe, now there is an answer! Thanks to Benefit you can give your make-up bag a spring over with their latest offering Finding Mr Bright.

My photo does not do the dayglo palette justice,  the oh so cutely named ‘brightening MANual’ comes with all your Benefit faves:

Girl Meets Pearl (which I love to twin with Nars Orgasm Blush – the two in combination give you a gorgeous pink flush with a pearly luminous glow!)

Posietint – I prefer this version than the original Benetint its shade is far more wearable and I find much easier to blend too, again you can easily mix this with Girl Meets Pearl for a similar effect as above.

Erase Paste – I like to think of this as industrial strength concealer, I tend to save this concealer for those post work drinks or nights out you know you need that bit extra coverage or brightening! Can be a god send on those mornings after the night before too….

High Beam – this product is the one that is in my most memorable make-up line up, it was THE thing to own when I was buying premium make-up for the first time.

It is a very cute palette and has a great dating make-up lesson that comes with it too, however I do have a few negatives namely that the palette isn’t that portable, it’s not huge don’t get me wrong, but for it to be a carry around palette I would have substituted High Beam for an Ultra Shine Lip Gloss – maybe even California Kissin’ to cover all your needs on the go – however this is just my opinion and does not distract from the fact this is a fab & fun little kit!

If you have time do check out the really fun dating video on Benefit UK’s YouTube Channel

(I picked James from Finance for Gabbi… you’ll understand when you watch it!)

Step into the world of CHANEL exclusively at Selfridges Oxford Street – 22 March

Keira Knightley for Chanel

I am always in awe of the truly amazing Chanel installations and creative design and to bring every beauty gals dream to life from 22 – 30 March you can step inside a supersized bottle of CHANEL’s Coco Mademoiselle – where you will find Chanel’s very own cinema!

You’ll be able to be one of the first to see the new Keira Knightley Chanel film for Coco Mademoiselle and take part in their interactive journey for your chance to take away samples of this coveted fragrance.  For Coco Mademoiselle lovers you can also get your hands on the limited edition 200ml bottle exclusive to Selfridges

I saw the amazing new film last month in a private CHANEL boutique courtesy of Chanel UK HQ and enjoyed being transported on a Parisian adventure… if you can’t wait till the 22nd you can also find a mini preview on Chanel.com and Chanel’s YouTube Channel

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