24 November 2010

All of a flutter: M2 Lashes duo

We all want longer, fuller lashes. I'm pretty spoilt; mine are long and quite thick. But I'd still like more! Luckily, there are two new products for me to try.

M2 Beaute has a duo of products that claim to show results after 6-8 weeks.

1) Eyelash Activating Serum
Apply direct to the base of the lash line on the upper eyelids in the evening after cleansing. It comes with a fine brush, so it's easy to get it in the right place.
2) Eyelash Revitalizing Gloss
Apply morning and evening directly onto the lashes - it comes with a mascara wand, so it's simple to apply and only takes a moment to dry before you can apply mascara.

Now it's pricey stuff, the Eyelash Activating Serum is £120, and the Eyelash Revitalizing Gloss is £45. So you would expect to see serious results. So I'll update you as to how I get on. In the meantime, the lovely Cosmetic Candy is also running a trial, complete with very detailed 'before' pics of her lashes. Check it out here.

If you want to try it for yourself, the M2 Beaute range is available from Harrods, or online.

18 November 2010

Organic Surge: beauty with a conscience

I've noticed the Organic Surge range in Waitrose lately, but didn't pay it a huge amount of attention because a) I'm a skincare snob and only use fairly high end skincare products and b) at the time I didn't need any shower gel, hand soap etc. But what I didn't know about the brand, is that they have ethics.

Organic Surge has a mission to create a better life for the most under privileged people in Africa.  Through profits made from sales, Organic Surge has donated funds to help provide accommodation, food, medical services and education for people in genuine need.

Alan MacKenzie (pictured above), Founder of Organic Surge tells us: "We are proud that, in 2009, Organic Surge donations funded the Baby Care Unit in Kenya Children's Home in Nairobi. The Baby Care Unit cares for 48 sick or abandoned children, from newborns to two-year-olds and Organic Surge funded all costs for nursing care, food and staff for the full year."

Now I think that's pretty amazing. But what I'm truly amazed about is that they don't shout this message from the rooftops. I'm more likely to buy products if I genuinely believe that the company making them is trying to make the world a better place, not just line the pockets of their shareholders.

What's more, if you buy any three Organic Surge skincare products from Boots between now and 25th November 2010, you can get £10 back from Organic Surge just by keeping your receipt, filling out a form online, and sending the form and receipt to Organic Surge by the end of this year.

I haven't tried this range yet, but I'm going to. Because if a beauty company can be based on more than superficiality then that's something I want to be a part of.

UPDATE: I have now tried the Tropical Bergamot Hand & Nail Cream - gorgeous, feels like a high end products (& I have been using Creme De La Mer), and Spiced Lily foaming Bath - wonderfully relaxing and left my skin super soft.

Now here's a pic of the products so you know what to look out for when shopping in Boots, Waitrose, John Lewis or Ocado.

17 November 2010

All I want for Christmas...

I'm posting this just in case my husband happens to be reading. Subtle eh? All I want for Christmas are these two gorgeous items.

These Alex Monroe earrings match a necklace I was given for my birthday. I love it, and have been lusting over the earrings ever since.

The bag is from Whistles, a fabulous soft grey leather which will work for everyday use or for evenings.  Nuff said.

So what do you want for Christmas?

16 November 2010

Sisley pre and post party facials

Christmas is hard on your skin. Cold weather, central heating, alcohol, lack of sleep and party make-up all put your skin through it's paces - just at that time of year when we want to be looking great. 

Help is at hand as Sisley have come up with a gem of an idea with their pre and post party facials. These two express facials especially developed with the Christmas party season in mind.

In a nutshell, the Pre Party Preparation facial smooths, refines and plumps up the skin making it perfect for make-up applicaiton. The Post Party Recovery facial gets you back into condition the morning after, rehydrating, adding vitamins and minerals and generally undoing the damage that alcohol and lack of sleep can do to your skin.

Both facials are available at the Sisley counter in Selfridges London. A £35 booking fee applies, but it's redeemable agaist two of more Sisley skincare products if bought on the day.

If you want to be super-organised you can pre-book your facial for before or after your next big party night. Call 020 7318 3475 to make a booking.

15 November 2010

Win a pair of Etre Touchy Gloves!

Want to win some fab gloves? Well look no further! 

You may have seen my post singing the praises of Etre Touchy Gloves. As a long time cold hand sufferer, these gloves have been a revelation to me.

The clever little fellas keep your hands warm and allow you to keep texting, iPading and telephoning to your hearts content. They are made with 100% lambs wool, so they're lovely and soft, and come in a range of nifty colours and designs.

They also allow you to eat cake, go fishing, use chopsticks or take photos, all while keeping your hands toasty! Just think what fun you could have :)

The very lovely people at Etre are giving away three pairs of these fab gloves (worth £19.99 a pair) all you have to do to be in with a chance of winning a pair is follow this blog and add a comment to this post telling me what your favourite handcream is. Easy eh?

Rules: Only one entry person.
You must follow the Beauty Cult  blog to enter
Winners must reply to notification of winning within 48 hours, otherwise we'll pick another winner.
Only open to UK residents (sorry).
Competition closes at Midday (GMT) on 29th November 2010

Elemis Instant Refreshing Gel

I was sent this product a year or so ago by Elemis, and to be honest, didn't really know what to do with it.

Last weekend I was (rather stupidly) running down a steep muddy hill wearing a pair of wedge boots. It's the sort of thing you do when you've got a seven year old (well maybe not the wedge boots, but I don't wear flats). Anyway, I fell and twisted my ankle, ouch. And I felt like a fool.

At home that evening it was really hurting, and a couple of paracetamol didn't really help. Then I remembered this product. It contains arnica, witch hazel and birch and Elemis say 'it is perfect for tired legs and muscle tension'. I applied a thin layer and it really helped. It cooled down the whole area AND helped the pain. I used it morning and night for a few more days and I'm sure it really helped my sore ankle get better faster.

Now at £27 it's a little pricey to have in your first aid kit. But it has many others uses including cooling your legs on long haul flights, to soothe aching muscles after exercise, or to help relax at bedtime.

Instant Refreshing Gel is available online at Time to Spa, or from your usual Elemis counters.

11 November 2010

Etre Touchy Gloves

I get very cold hands. (actually hands and feet, but we'll save feet for a future post). And I do LOVE my iPhone. I own lots of gloves, some cheap, some expensive, some with fingers, some without. The fundamental problem with gloves is that in order to keep your hands really warm (surely their main purpose?) they need fingers, and gloved fingers can't do all the stuff that fingers are supposed to do. Therein lies the problem.

Enter Etre's Touchy Gloves; they're normal woolly gloves, with the ends of the thumb and digit finger missing. Simple idea, yet it makes such a difference. Not only can use my iPhone and iPad (I know, I'm such an Apple girl) with these babies on, but I can also rummage in the bottom of my bag, find my keys and open my front door in them - result.

Yes the ends of my thumb and finger get a little chilly, but I scrunch my hands up when I'm not texting or whatever. It's a small price to pay. On the tube today a woman opposite me could not stop staring at my gloves, either she wants some, or she's some sort of hand freak.

They come in many nifty colour combinations, but the lovely PR people for Etre sent me the black with grey tips, which I love. In fact they're just like the ones in this picture of someone using an iPad, which isn't me as my nails are purple today and my hands are much smaller than those.

They're £19.99 which isn't cheap for gloves, but at least you'll get lots of wear out of them, if like me, you usually buy gloves that end up living in the bottom of your handbag.

You can see the whole range on the Etre shop site.

10 November 2010

Beautyuk Metallic Sparks

I'm going through a green phase. Green eye shadows and liners are my current favs, but it's great to find a cheap and cheerful version that does what it says and doesn't irritate my eyes.

Beautyuk's Metallic Eye Sparks are fat, soft eye pencils which you can use as liner or as shadow. I've got the green (no surprise there) I applied a quick line on my lids, and it looks like a cross between the two - with just enough colour and definition to highlight my eyes in a daytime kind of way.

It costs £2.49, in fact the whole Beautyuk range is cheap as chips, with most items averaging at a few quid and the most expensive around £5. You can find them online at www.beautyukcosmetics.com, or in Superdrug.

Watch out for a BeautyUK and Beauty Cult competition in the new year for your chance to win some of these goodies.

9 November 2010

The Beauty Cult guide to surviving flu

I've had flu. I'm not a hypochondriac, and I'm not prone to exaggeration. This was actual flu. A friend shared her definition of flu: If you are lying on the sofa feeling terrible and you see a £50 note blowing about in your garden, do you get up and get it. And the answer was no, because I was just too ill.

Flu, or even a bad cold, takes its toll on your entire body. My skin and hair really suffered, so what beauty products (when I could be arsed to apply them) did step up to the mark?

Kamillosan Ointment
My number one flu saviour is one of my favourite products of all time. And also one of the cheapest I own. Best known as a nipple cream for breastfeeding mums, I first bought this as a nappy rash cream for my daughter, but she's a grown-up seven year old now, and I still buy this cream for as it has infinite uses.

Blowing your nose (repeatedly) makes the skin on your nose dry, red and sore, we all know that. Kamillosan Ointment, applied in copious amounts at night time, and thinly throughout the day when you've got the sniffles, works wonders to avoid Rudolph syndrome.

I have also used this cream for: eczema, dry skin, those weird rashes kids get and no one can explain, on scabby knees etc to stop my daughter picking them, on the random dry skin she gets behind her ears and on my face after a VI Peel (ouch). Seriously, this stuff rocks. And it's got no nasties in it and costs around £4 from any chemist.

Karin Herzog Oxygen Body 3%
This cream actually pushes oxygen into the skin, and oxygen is anti bacterial, anti viral and generally a fantastic thing for the body. I applied this to my neck (I had a very sore and swollen throat) during my flu, and definitely felt the benefit. It's £35 from KarinHerzog.co.uk, lasts ages and has a multitide of other uses including detoxing, getting rid of stretch marks and scars, acne, sun damage and sun burn.

Jan Marini Anti Oxidants Recover E
However crap you feel, apply a night cream. Colds and flu your skin really dehydrate your skin, and this cream puts the moisture back in like nothing else I've ever tried. It's around £40 for a small pot, but a little goes a long way. I don't use this evey night, just when my skin feels like it needs some extra tlc.

Macadamia Healing Oil Hair Treatment
I raved about this stuff before, and with good reason. My already dry, knackered hair really suffered last week. I was too ill to wash my hair every day, but when I did an application of this stuff put lots of moisture back into my sorry looking locks. It's getting harder to track this product down, I've just ordered some from Luxuryhaircare.com, great site - ordered on Sunday, they're delivering on Tuesday.

So, what else did I learn during my week of flu?
  • Loose Women is best when Kate Thornton is presenting.
  • No medicine helps, so don't waste your money, you just need to sweat it out (nice).
  • Not wearing make-up for five days makes wearing it again more fun.
  • My husband is not a natural nurse.