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.

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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.

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!

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!