This week I’ve been loving

Biologique Recherche P50

This product was on my toner wish list and I’ve finally lain my hands on it. To get it, I had to go out of my way to EF Medispa in St Johns Wood. I live in Hertfordshire. When I called to find out if they had any in stock, the receptionist said no, they’d finished and she wasn’t sure when they’d get it back in. Then by luck, she found one and phoned me back to come and get it. FATE! It was cold and raining, but I hoped on the train anyway. DEDICATION.

From the first use, I felt the difference in my skin. Its more refined, smoother and brighter. This is a keeper. At £49, I’m using it sparingly though.

Chanel Perfection Lumiere SPF 10 Foundation

I’ve been stuck in a foundation rut for a few months and I finally climbed out of that pit. Stylishly in Chanel too. I love how its feels really light on my skin with its floral smell. It’s a liquid foundation and I buff it in for a smooth flawless finish and it holds up well in my busy days, lasting at least 6 hours before a touch up is needed. The colour match is excellent and a little goes a long way – 2 pumps covers my entire face for medium coverage which is what I need.  At £36 its the top end of my budget, but I believe you get what you pay for and this time I’m getting a great deal.

Magazine Freebies

I read magazines for content, but if a little sweetener is thrown in, even better. Especially if it’s a freebie that I’ll actually use. July editions of Marie Claire and In Style came with a nail polish and Body Shop Kohl Eyeliners. All are welcome additions to my ever-growing make up stash. It’s good to read! lol!

One from the archives

I used to write another blog – BeautyMaze. And I was going through my files the other day and came across this.

This was such a fun day, messing around in the garden with OPI acrylic nails, diamantes and make up. The orange nail polish is OPI’s a Good Mandarin in Hard to Find from the 2010 Hong Kong collection.

The Only Way is Blogging (Beauty)

It’s only TEN days to go and I’m so excited!

Click on image to find out more.

4711: NouvEau Cologne Natural Spray

Colognes are this summer! There are a plethora of brands bringing out signature summer scents in a cologne form which are lighter to wear and much easier on the nose. One fragrance that has grabbed me for this summer is 4711’s unisex NouvEau Cologne.  I feel this is lighter and more refreshing take on the cult original 4711 scent which has been around for years centuries.

I received a bottle of NouvEau Cologne at a recent press event and I have truly appreciated it over the last where the temperatures have soared. When the mercury rises, I prefer a lighter scent. Nothing sweet or heavy or powdery, just fresh and fruity. I’ve had compliments galore. This is why this cologne has had a permanent spot in my handbag. It’s still in there as I write this.

With top notes of blackcurrant and litchi that’s where it packs the fruity punch which soon dissipates to warmer base notes of tonka bean (which I love), musk and sandalwood. This isn’t a fragrance that confuses my senses. I don’t like when I can’t work out what the smell is. This is clean and calming sans confusion. It just coolly washes over you and it feels good and smells good too! This is down to the use of evodia which is a popular in Chinese medicine for its calming effects. I never heard of evodia before but I gather it is a highly fragrant fruit that the Chinese have used since the first century AD. I think its interesting how 4711, a German perfumier, has combined an Eastern element into the fragrance.

One of the things I also like about this fragrance is the price. At £12.95 for 50ml, I can spray freely and not limit myself to a few spritzes. It’s also accessible and can be picked up in Boots and online beauty stores like Beautique. The last thing I’d want to do is be trawling the shops trying to find it. That would put me right off, so I’m pleased I can just nip onto the high street and pick on up when this bottle runs out.

Talking about bottle, I think it’s so pretty in a simple streamlined sort of way. Not cluttered or fancy like a lot of fragrances these days, just clean and fresh with a clever use of colours. Bit like the cologne itself.

Full marks all around in my opinion.

Afro Hair & Beauty Show 2012 – my thoughts

So I attended my first Afro Hair & Beauty Show yesterday at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London. The show has been going for 30 years and is now more a lifestyle show encompassing hair in the main, beauty, fashion and jewellery.

Seeing as its my first time, I have don’t have the liberty of comparing it to previous shows but I can safely conclude it was a pleasant and intriguing experience. So I’m just going to break it down into what I liked and what I didn’t like about it.

My Likes

  • Creativity – especially on the stage. I enjoyed the vibrant and bold use of colours on hair, on skin and on outfits. It was amazing to see young talent being showcased in London. Especially young black talent. They will be the hair artistes of the future, so I lend them my full support.
  • Vibe – friendly and fun. Everyone was talking to each other and a smile was readily available. I had people coming up to me asking about my hair, how I got it curly etc. I love the fact that everyone was trying to learn from each other.
  • Space – overall I think the space was cleverly used. There were a few bottle necks at popular stands, but that’s to be expected. Popular means high demand so I’m pleased for those retailers.
  • I appreciated the ability to get up close in the hair demo’s and be able to touch the hair and quiz the stylist on what they were doing and trying to achieve. I had a good chat with Charlotte Mensah of Hair Lounge, who I found so warm and informative. She was doing a blast from the past hairstyle – threading. I remember some girls at my school used to have them and rumour is they make your hair grow. Not quite sure yet whether I’ll be going down that route, buts its nice to know what one’s options are!
  • Small businesses – I enjoyed meeting small female entrepreneurs who are doing their thing. This I think was by far my highlight. I met Diane Hall who’s just written a book about how she grew her afro hair called ‘How I grew it long….naturally’ and also the lovely lady behind Lipavenu Cosmetics (I was in such a rush I forgot to write her name down – bad blogger!). More on both later.
  • The variety of US brands on show like Miss Jessie’s, Curls and Beautiful Textures – for a while, we’ve looked across the pond and wished we had them over here. Now we do!

My Dislikes

  • By the time I arrived – 3.45pm – a few brands had packed up. I’m going to say that it’s because they were so popular and had sold out. In that case, good on them. However, I still feel even if that was the case, they could have stayed and maybe spoke to any interested potential customers about their products. Awareness is key to sales.
  • The sale of skin brightening products – I was taken aback that brighteners and lighteners were being sold. It’s the Afro (black) Hair and Beauty Show. Lets just celebrate that fact for a minute and not use it as a platform to feed insecurities about skin colour. Hydroquinone which is a usual component of these types of products was banned in the UK in 2001. If these products contained hydroquinone – all I can do right now is shake my head. For some reason I didn’t read the ingredient list (shock, I think), but I’ve compared the pictures I took to that on their website, which states clearly that some products contains hydroquinone. In addition, any skin care product being marketed at a largely black event for a black market called FAIR & WHITE or SO WHITE is questionable. I wonder what the organisers would have to say about this?
  • Retailers openly eating at their stall. I saw at least 4 retailers eating right there in front of customers – sushi, burgers and chicken to name a few. How are you ever going to answer questions about YOUR products with a mouthful of food? That really put me off and is very unprofessional.
  • Supermalt!! Maybe it’s because personally I don’t like the drink. I just felt they were a bit out of place.

If you went to the show as well, I’d love to know your thoughts. Am I being a bit over critical?

The Coiffure Project

There’s a natural hair revolution going on. More and more black women on both sides of the Atlantic are embracing their natural curls for all sorts of reason. Me, being one of them!

So when I spotted this on a the HUFFPOST Black Voices website, I knew it was worthy of a mention.  American photographer Glenford Nunez, is putting together The Coiffure Project, which is and will be a compilation of shots of beautiful black women in a natural curly hair state. The photo’s so far in the collection are nothing short of inspirational and also comforting.

The collection, shot chiefly in black and white is both magnificent and simply paints an awesome portrait of the natural hair movement. Currently 10 fierce women have been photographed and each is amazing in their own right. Nunez is looking to expand the collection and put together a coffee table book. I think it would look absolutely sensational.

Question is – will Nunez be coming over to our shores to photograph our British naturalista’s?

You can read the Huff Post piece and see the photos here.

Find out more about Glenford Nunez here.

The ULTIMATE skincare wishlist: Toners

Toning is a really important part of any beauty regime. I find that it closes my pores and refreshes my skin, whilst providing some balance to my sometimes oily, sometimes combination skin. A common misconception is that toning is to remove the last traces of make up. Lie! If you wipe your face with a toner and you still see make up – wash your face again! It means your skin is still dirty.

With that in mind and my quest to up my regime, I’ve been doing some research on what I have in the bathroom cabinet and what I’d like to add in.

Ole Henriksen – Grease Relief Tonic

This is my current toner and it works really well for me.  It’s for oily or blemish prone skin, which is describes my skin well. I find it doesn’t dry my skin out unnecessarily and works well to balance the oil and moisture content in my skin. The main ingredients are lactic acid which works as a gentle exfoliant and encourages cell renewal and golden seal which balances and helps the skin’s renewal process. Oily skin can tend to get clogged and this helps to strip back over zealous cells and bacteria on the surface of the skin which are the cornerstone of spots.

Verdict – this is a keeper. I’ve gone through a few bottles and the sight of the green bottle on my shelf , always brings me innate comfort.

However, I want to add…..

Biologique Recherche Balancing Exfoliator P50

People who use this product rave about it and I’ve been told that it would work excellently for me. I’ve had my eye on it for a long time. According to their website, it is their most famous and coveted product. I was sold on it before, but this just makes me want it baaaad! It’s a balancing exfoliant which regulates excessive sebum (me), moisturises and regulates the pH balance of the skin (what I want)

Yes, Ole does the same, but I think this will pack a bigger punch. Part of the reason I’ve not bought this before is because it wasn’t easy to get in the UK as it’s from across the channel, but EF Medispa in London now stock it, so I’ll be hot footing it down there to get ‘my precious.’

Until I obtain, use and review – read this review and I know you’ll want it too.

So there we have it, the next steps in my quest for healthy skin!

Product Review: Nars Concealer

I swore by my Make Up Forever Camouflage Cream palette in no. 5 for dark skin tones. It was perfect in every RESPECT and came with 5 cream colours each with a different use depending on the highlighting/shading effect I wanted to create. However, there was one colour which I used religiously and suffice to say t’was a sad day when I hit the pan.  I’ve not used the palette again, which is very wasteful and lazy on my part I have to say.

I’m going to Paris in a few weeks, so I’m sure I’ll stop by MUFE and pick up a new palette or see if they do my favourite on its own. I know there are a few places I can pick it up in London, but I’ve always wanted to go to the Paris store, so as they say ‘ good things come to those who wait’. I’ll keep you posted.

Moving on to the main proceedings.

In the meantime, I’ve had to get a new concealer and on impulse decided to give Nars a go. I bought Cacao – the darkest shade in the range. To be honest, it’s not been too bad. I like it because it comes in a cute little finger size stick. Which helps keep things tidy as if you’re heavy-handed or a bit slap dash, you will get concealer over the top and things can then get very messy. As the surface area is so small, I apply with my MAC 194 concealer brush.

Consistency wise, it’s quite creamy and very malleable, so you can really work it better as it gets warmer. It works better by dabbing it on the skin, then smoothing and blending out the edges. Blending is easy and a little goes a long way.

My one minor gripe with this product, is that is a teensy bit off colour for me. You wouldn’t notice if I didn’t point it out to you, but to my make up artist trained eyes, I can see that it could do with being a touch darker. What disappoints me slightly is that this is the darkest shade in the Nars concealing range.  If I go according to their website, the range has been increased to 10 to ‘achieve Nars Immaculate Collection.’ I really hope this is a work in progress, as considering my skin tone is medium and its a touch light for me, I think Nars can and should go further down the spectrum, all the way down to Alek Wek’s rich and beautiful shade of black.

So would I recommend this concealer. Yes. So long as you’re not darker than me 🙂

I still have maaad love for Nars though.  I mean they made Taj Mahal and Orgasm blushers and Zulu nail polish! The products are excellent, quality excellent, packaging excellent. Just need to go that bit further, that’s all.


ps – didn’t do the usual swatch on back of my hand, as it matched perfectly. My face is slightly darker than my hand.

my TeenyWeenyAfro

So, my hair has reached that in between stage where it’s not short enough to be cute without any help, but also not long enough to do much with. Meh! The most I can do with it at the moment is keep it clean and curly whilst praying for supper fast growth.

Because I can’t do much with it, I’m constantly dreaming up new ways to dress it up and make it work for me a bit more.  You can check out my mood board here.

So here are my top 5 things to do:

  1. Keeping it clean – this is the least I can do, but it makes me feel really good knowing that my hair is clean, healthy, moisturised and looking lustrous.
  2. Accessories, mainly earrings – I find that these really make a difference to my look. The more statement the better and they draw attention away from the fact my hair is saying ‘nada’ at the moment. So you can focus more at my face (and ears) whilst I talk to you.
  3. Colour – this can really lift your entire look, so its time to bite the bullet and be brave. I plan to colour this summer. I’ll keep you posted. Pray for me to have courage.
  4. Brows and lashes – brows especially are now more on show as there is nothing to hide them underneath. They should be clean and defined. Lashes just add more to my look and the love affair continues – I’ll tell you all about it in the next few weeks.
  5. Lipstick – brings colour and life to face. Long or short hair, natural or straight, lipstick is like magic.

Are you rocking a TWA?

Please tell me what you’re doing to bring some funk to it.

Brides – this one’s for you!

When I was getting married, I didn’t so much as want to be a blushing bride, I wanted to be a glowing bride. One of the things I knew would help, was having good clear skin that I wouldn’t have to worry about. Lord knows, there are a million other things to be worried about!

It’s key to follow a good beauty regime as the day approach as stress and worry can take its toll on the skin. So if you’re getting married this summer, this little nugget will be right up your street.

Dermalogica are holding a Big Day Masterclass at Liberty’s in central London. Both the brand and the store have dear places in my heart, so I’m hoping this will be an excellent event for anyone wanting to know how to take care of their skin better as ‘the day’ approaches.

It’s a 45 minute interactive workshop, led by an expert Dermalogica educator that should leave you armed with the knowledge and tools you need to achieve a glow on your special day and I hope for many days and months after. There’s a chance to get Face Mapping done, which breaks up your skin into zones and analyses each one to tell you about the condition and how you can look after it better. And of course, you get to play and experiment with Dermalogica products.

When: 6pm – Wednesday 30th May 2012

Where: Heritage Suite – Liberty London

Cost: £30, which as they do nowadays is redeemable against any purchases you make on the day.

Extras: Yes! A VIP goody bag 🙂

Booking is required – 0207 734 1234 EXT 2125

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