Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Liz Earle The Next Chapter - Haircare

A few weeks ago I was invited to the Liz Earle flagship store to learn about Liz's new venture - Haircare.

Six years in the making, a range of shampoos and conditioners has been their most requested product, and with over 100 variations trialed in three years this is definitely a launch to be excited about. In keeping with Liz Earle's ethos of using natural ingredients wherever possible this range is SLS/SLES free. The premise was to create a shampoo that would foam like any other on the market, but instead of using a harsh detergent to create a lather a gentle natural wash active was used (SLM1- sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate). This haircare is therefore suitable for sensitive, dry and eczema prone skins while being very gentle and promising not to strip colour.

The fragrance in the shampoos and conditioners is 100% natural and smells absolutely beautiful. It is made up of 8 essential oils and 1 pure extract. Cirus, floral, warm and refreshing, this is a scent that really lasts in the hair.

The range consists of the botanical shine shampoo, suitable for all hair types, and three conditioners tailored to dry/damaged, normal or oily hair.

The Botanical Shine shampoo contains Vitamin E, Aloe Vera, Shea Butter, Apple and Orange Extracts (same principle as cider vinegar, to flatten the cuticle and make hair shiny). Honestly, it works better than any other 'sulphate free' shampoo I have previously tried. It lathers pretty well (the key is to keep adding water), rinses clean and doesn't strip my hair of moisture leaving it tangled, as I have found some of the 'Naked' range has in the past. I also love the scent, in keeping with the rest of the Liz Earle range it smells like a spa treatment - refreshing and invigorating yet warm and slightly sweet.

For conditioner I chose the one for dry hair, with meadowfoam and yangu oil. This is a lovely, creamy conditioner that de-tangles and smooths without weighing the hair down. I have been using both for the last two weeks and I really have noticed a difference. My hair definitely feels more silky and light (minus the product build up other shampoos have left on my hair). Although I am in dire need of a haircut this conditioner has definitely helped repair some of the damage and my hair actually feels much smoother!

The Liz Earle Haircare is now available for pre-order on their website here and will be available for purchase on the 2nd of September online (and in LE stores) and in John Lewis Stores on the 6th of September. I was surprised to learn that they are priced at £7.50 each (for 200ml - 29 washes), which I think is pretty reasonable for a higher end hair product. I can wholeheartedly recommend this line and will definitely be stocking up on some more once I have worked through my samples ;).

While we are chatting Liz Earle, I also wanted to share a few photos of the lovely lady herself. I was actually given the chance to meet her last week at the celebration of 15 years of Cleanse and Polish evening.
She really is an inspiration, glowing inside and out. Not only does she look truly radiant in real life, but she is also a fantastic speaker, full of knowledge and enthusiasm about her brand, which is lovely to see!
I have been using the Cleanse and Polish for about 3 months now and I can see why it has become such a cult product, and the number one selling item in John Lewis (followed by their duck pillow... lol)!

A trick I was shown during the Liz Earle skin tutorial (available in their flagship store) is to use one part of the deep cleansing mask to two parts of the Cleanse and Polish when cleansing to help control my oily skin. I also use the deep cleansing mask as a 'spot treatment' and leave it on overnight on any blemishes threatening to come to the surface. It seems to dry them out and prevent their progress without leaving behind that horrible 'crust' that some other spot treatments tend to. The next step in my obsession is to really treat myself and book a Liz Earle facial.. bf if you are reading this take note ;).

Have you tried Liz Earle? Are you tempted? I am currently in the process of converting my friends... Do you have any tips for using the products in your own way? xxx

Work It Out: Installment Dix-Huit

Since the Summer sales have been and gone I am now beginning to run out of new purchases to show you. As a child I was always very restrained, never looking for my presents before Christmas, savouring that cohocolate bar for a week one piece at a time, and now I do the same with clothes and shoes. Now, I do not say this to mislead you, I am a complete shopaholic and if I see something I like I will most probably end up buying it. However, once it is lovingly hung in my wardrobe it can stay there for days, weeks, months and sometimes a year before I find the perfect occasion to wear it. In this way the joy of a shopping spree can outlast the damage to my bank balance ;).

With this in mind, here is a dress I purchased at the beginning of the summer sales (or rather my mama kindly purchased for me.. I can't even pretend to lie as she often mentions I don't call her enough and that she has to read this blog to see that I am 'still alive').

Dress: LK Bennett. Cardigan: M&S. Pearl necklace: Ukranian market. Shoes: Faith (though I only wear these to work on the tube, during the day I wore black patent Mary Janes).

I actually got so many compliments on this dress, and especially it's purple shade. I absolutely adore bright colours, even in the workplace (if you haven't noticed already lol).What is your take on bright blocks of colour? xxx

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Dry Shampoo

Not the most glamorous of subjects, but let's talk dry shampoo ladies. As a girl with little time and a lot of hair dry shampoo is an absolute must have for me. These products are the easiest way to stretch your hair that extra day and still look fabulous and I have tested many in my quest to find the perfect one - lightweight, effective, volume building, transparent (no one enjoys looking prematurely grey!) and affordable. So here is the line up.

Let's begin with the original: Batiste. Batiste comes in many 'flavours' and luckily have tried most of them ;).

The original (as well as blush, tropical and diva) have a very similar formulation, but differ in fragrance. They refresh your hair effectively, but unfortunately leave a white cast which is especially visible on darker hair. I tend to struggle with these as it takes a lot of effort to massage into the roots and brush through the hair to work the powder in and remove that 'grey' look. On the plus side, they are widely available and very affordable at £2.50.
Batiste Coloured Dry Shampoo. To combat the 'grey hair' issue Batiste developed a different formulation for darker hair. This is available in Black and Brunette and works just as effectively. My only gripe with this is that instead of making the spray clear Batiste have simply coloured it. Although when you spray it on it doesn't leave any hint of white, when it comes to washing it out the colour does run out of your hair making the water somewhat murky. It has also stained the bristles of my brush, which doesn't look too pleasant. Despite this minor defect, this is definitely one of my favourites.
One of the new editions to the Batiste line is Nude, which is fragrance free and 100% natural (I assume they are talking about packaging rather than ingredients.. correct me if I'm wrong). The bottle is 100% recyclable and comes with a nozzle applicator, instead of a spray. This works well and despite the powder being white it doesn't leave the hair too dull.

The last in the Batiste line up is their Shimmer dry shampoo (comes in Silver and Gold). This was sent to me in silver for review purposes. It works the same as the others, but if you use enough to absorb some oil you are left with visible streaks of silver at your roots that are difficult to brush out. The silver particles are small, no scary glitter to speak of, so it is quite pretty. The best way of using it is as a light all over spray to add some shimmer to your hair (if you are into that sort of thing?).
Next up is the new Tre Semme Instant Refresh range, which includes a dry shampoo for normal to oily hair and a waterless foam for dry, frizz prone hair. This was also sent to me for review and it was made very clear that both products will not suit me. Even though I have frizzy, dry hair I couldn't make the waterless foam work for me. However, the dry shampoo worked perfectly. As promised it soaks up oil effortlessly, builds up volume and doesn't leave any unwanted residue behind. Although the scent of alcohol is quite prevalent at first the fragrance it leaves behind is clean and pleasant. I will be sure to repurchase once this one runs out!
The Charles Worthington balancing act dry shampoo was wisely recommended to me by a friend. Effective, lightweight, transparent and with a pleasant fragrance this one ticks most of the boxes, however it is a little more pricey at £5.
Last, but not least, is the Big Sexy Hair mineral and clay based dry shampoo. I was sent this to review in the mini size and have kept it in my bag for on the spot touch ups throughout the last couple of weeks. This is perhaps the most potent dry shampoo as a little really does go a long way and it is great for creating volume at the root. However, it does smell very strongly of alcohol and can leave a little bit of residue behind (though if you use a small amount this should not be a problem). The full size (150ml) is about £11.
I hope this mammoth review was useful to some of you! xxx

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Work It Out: Installment Dix-Sept

As you may have noticed I am not really a fan of trousers. Since I am tall and have an hourglass figure (with a high waist and wide hips) finding trousers that fit in the right places (read: love handles) is near impossible. I have, however, been loving the recent trend for 'peg-leg' cropped trousers. Sophisticated and chic they are the quintessential 'grown-up' trouser. I have been desperate to find a pair that would work with my shape, but have found most of them to accentuate the hips and flatten the bottom, which is never a good combination. For tailored trousers I tend to stick to wider leg options to try and balance out my hips, but not only are they quite masculine and dull they also limit my shoe choices. Size five stilettos peeping out below a wide trouser is not a flattering way to work proportions.

After seeing these on a friend I decided to put my fears aside and order a pair online, which I never do with trousers. I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised. Although they are not perfect as they are a little too short in the body (and the legs) I decided to keep them before I completely miss out on the trend!
Ruffle shirt: Mango. Cropped Trousers and tan belt: River Island. Cardigan: M&S. Black croc pumps: Faith. They also look great with heels!

I really love the pleating at the front, but because they tend to ride up the pleats can create a little too much volume in the area. I personally think they suit the slimmer figure and create feminine curves for narrower hips. I'm not too sure if I can quite pull them off, they may just be that elusive style that I always think looks beautiful on others...

What do we think of 'grown-up' trousers? Have you been able to make them work for you? Are there any other trends you love on others, but can't quite wear yourself? xxx

Monday, 23 August 2010

Gucci Guilty

In September Gucci are launching a new fragrance - Gucci Guilty.
Gucci has put together a fantastic Hollywood team, including Evan Rachel Wood, who sizzles in the ad campaign, and Sin City director Frank Miller to create a special promotional clip for the launch.


This film will be shown at the MTV VMAs and Gucci are giving you a chance to get involved by giving you the chance to win VIP tickets to the awards!! This fabulous prize includes business class tickets to LA, a luxury shopping experience at the Gucci boutique on Rodeo Drive and a limousine ride to the VMAs where your VIP tickets will give you the opportunity to meet Evan Rachel Wood!

To enter just got to www.facebook.com/Gucci, but hurry as the competition ends on the 27th of August.

There goes the summer sun...

As I write I am hiding under my duvet in a vain attempt to block out the sound of rain against my terrace doors. It seems that Summer has really deserted us, which in a strange way leads me to this post. Just because the days are getting colder, doesn't mean we have to do away with our summer routine. Sunblock is perhaps the most important part of any beauty regimen. No anti-wrinkle cream can unwind years of UV damage, so the best, easiest, most healthy (as well as cheapest) way to keep your skin looking young and fresh is to wear sunblock every day!

Even though now many cosmetic products, be it your moisturiser, foundation or powder, have SPF in them you would have to apply a very thick layer to reach the factor it claims on the bottle. If your foundation is SPF 25 (eg. Dior Forever) 1 or 2 pumps will never provide you with that protection. Therefore, I always recommend you wear a potent sunblock in addition to any other cosmetics.

I have been using the summer months to put various products through their paces to see which ones really work, not just in terms of protection, but ease of use and how well they can fit into a morning routine. As with all cosmetics, for me less is more, except for mascara... where more is always more ;).

Face

The skin on the face is exposed to the sun more than any other part of the body, and it is the area we  are most concerned with protecting, therefore I try to look for the highest factor available. However, these creams tend to be very thick and sticky/oily and often clogg my pores leading to breakouts. I have tried many, but have managed to narrow it down to my two favourites.


Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Sun Defence SPF 50 - I have always loved the EA 8 hour cream and this product is a great addition to the line. I normally use it instead of a moisturiser, as it is very hydrating and keeps my skin soft as well as protecting it from UVA/UVB rays. As it is quite a thick cream it really does last all day and needs minimum reapplication, even if you are swimming/ playing sport etc. This is a fantastic sun block for holidays, as well as every day wear. However, if you have oily skin remember that a little goes a long way, especially if you are wearing makeup! 
MAC SPF 50 - This is a great sunblock if you are intending to wear more makeup because it acts as a fantastic base. It really keeps your foundation put through out the day. I have gone through three tubes of this and can't recommend it highly enough.

 Body

For sunblock on the rest of the skin I look for something that is easy and quick to apply. The last thing you want on the beach, while playing tennis etc. is a thick cream that will make you sticky, hot and make you pespire even more by preventing your skin from 'breathing' (I use this term loosely).

Garnier Ambre Solaire Protection milk - This lotion comes in a range of SPF (I have tried the 15, 30 and 50). What I absolutely love about this is that it is a very thin formulation, which absorbs straight  into the skin and is not at all sticky. It feels much more like a lightweight moisturiser than a sunblock, and has a lovely fragrance. The only downside is that you do end up going through this quite quickly as it doesn't stay on the skin as long as some of the thicker ones, so needs to be reapplied frequently.

Garnier Ambre Solaire Clear Protect - Another great product from the same range. Once again this is a light formulation that you can easily spray on. What makes this one stand out is that it is clear and is absorbed into the skin very rapidly. It takes seconds to apply and will never leave you looking streaky. It feels more like a light oil than a lotion and is not at all sticky. However, as it contains alcohol it has quite a strong smell and is not at all moisturising. If you have sensitive skin (or are applying this to already burnt skin) it can sting a little and it is definitely not a lotion you can ever use on your face!! The bf found this out the painful way, it burns :(.
 Liz Earle Mineral Suncream (SPF 20) - This is my favourite of all the creams I have used this summer. As my skin is very sensitive (especially to the sun and heat) I found that this sunscreen worked wonders as it not only protected, but soothed and hydrated my skin. At first glance this product seems a little strange as the cream is a sandy colour, and like all Liz Earle products, has a light, earthy scent, which is very different to most sunblocks on the market. Being quite thick it does take some time for it to sink in, but once applied it is not at all sticky and the fact that it is darker than most other lotions ensures that you are white-streak free. 

I hope that this was helpful to some of you who are off on holiday soon in the hope of catching the last rays if summer. I, myself, am off in search of Sun for the Bank holiday weekend and have already put the EA 8 hour sun defense and the Liz Earle mineral suncream safely in my bag :). 

What are your favourite sun blocks and will you be keeping up with sun protection over the coming colder months? xxx

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Work It Out: Installment Seize

I have been somewhat uninspired in the fashion stakes lately. Perhaps it is this horrid dull weather, or just the realisation that summer has well and truly run its course, but I seem to have very little energy in the mornings, and my snooze button gets more of a work out each day. Nevertheless, here is another little show and tell of my daily wardrobe debaucle.
Cardigan: French Connection (I also have this in a purple plum colour, so easy to wear and versatile). Black lace cami (just seen): M&S. Fishtail skirt: M&S. Black suede pumps (now retired to the Italian rain) Zara.
For makeup to play up the green in my eyes I used all MAC all that glitters with a little bit of mulch in the crease. Liner as always is L'oreal and I am still loving the Estee Lauder sumptuous volume lifting mascara. Over two months and it is still going strong! For lips I am obsessed with the Clarins instant light glosses, they smell absolutely amazing and give a lovely, sheer natural finish.

I hope you are all well lovelies. Any requests for posts? I need inspiration to get out of the rainy gloom :) xxx

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Shoe Sale

As you guys know I don't really do blog sales, but I wanted to show you guys a couple of pairs of shoes I am sadly letting go of. I just wanted to give you all a first look in case anyone was interested before I resort to ebay. It's sort of sad the way I see my shoes.. I want them to go to a loving home ;).

My mother purchased these boots for me as a present when she was in the US and they were over £500 (not sure of the exact price). Unfortunately they just don't fit me at all :(. I have tried and tried but there is no use. As much as I love them, after keeping them in my wardrobe for a month the time has come for us to part.

I am aiming to sell them for half price, so £250, but if you want to make an offer you can leave a comment below this post or e-mail me.
 They are absolutely gorgeous and I am devastated they don't fit me and there is no way for me to exchange or return them. They have never been worn, only tried in vain.
They are a size 39 1/2, I think they would fit a UK size 6-7. Although I am a 5 1/2 they fit me OK with thick socks on (it's just my damn calves that don't quite make it).





The other pair I am selling was purchased last summer. These are from All Saints in a size 39 (UK size 6).
These are online for £115 and you can check them out here for better photos.
I have worn these once (to M&S foods and back lol) so they are as good as new. As much as I love them sadly they are just too big for me :(. I am happy to let these go for £60, but once again it really depends on how many of you guys are interested so do let me know!!


Thanks so much for looking and please leave a comment or e-mail me at filthygorgeousmakeup@gmail.com if you want to adopt a pair. ;) xxx

Lady in red...

Just a quick outfit of the night post from last week :). After work I had to rush home and change before heading out for dinner and drinks. I didn't really think this outfit through as I had just dyed my hair the night before and it was looking very red.. lol! Apologies for the colour overload ;).

The dress is from Topshop about 3 years ago. I love the detail around the bust, the longer length and the tie at the back (see later photos). I have quite a few dresses in this material, as they always have amazing colours that stay vibrant no matter how many times you wash them, and look fantastic in flash photography (as you can see above). However, in reality the fabric is very synthetic and unfortunately shows absolutely every bump.
These amazing patent black shoes are from Etro, a brand not often talked about in the UK. I actually got these in America. I'm not too sure if Etro is really available here, has anyone heard of them? Perhaps I am just out of the loop ;).
 Makeupwise I had a 5 minute turnaround slapping on some Nars Sheer Glow as concealer on top of whatever foundation I was already wearing (make up sin!). I also added some natural(ish) falsies from lash royalty and patted on a hot pink body shop lipstick to create a stain that lasted most of the night.

Though I had no need to worry about my lipstick fading... As you can see by this series of 'action shots' (I love the way he is just pushing my face away lol) Maxie didn't want a kiss anyway. He says he is too old for them now ;(.

Note to self: Do not force your affection on grumpy kitties and do not trust boyfriend with camera! xxx

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Lake Garda

This weekend was very special.. it was my mama's Birthday! To celebrate we went on a little trip to Italy and stayed near Lake Garda, in a lovely little village called Salo. I had been to that area before (around Milan) when I was about 14, but had never visited the lakes. The countryside was absolutely breathtaking, so I thought I would share a few photos with you :). Keep in mind we had torrential rain for three days so the sky looks very gloomy in most of these.
Our hotel (just as we leave the sun came out, typical).
This is the view from the top of a castle on a peninsula.

We also spent a day in Verona and saw the opera Turandot. 
About an hour before we had to get back the clouds disappeared and we were able to sneak in a little bit of lunch by the water. 

I hope you all had a lovely weekend my lovelies! xxx

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Work It Out: Installment Quinze

Just a quickie today as I am feeling very much under the weather. On certain days I have to be a little more smart, but who really wants to wear a stuffy suit and white shirt combo? Instead, I decided to spice up a pretty boring grey suit with a mint blouse to add some texture and feminine colour.
Blouse: Dorothy Perkins. Suit Jacket and pleated skirt: Austin Reed. Black suede ballet pumps: Zara.

What's your favourite way of customising a tired suit? I usually add a coloured, floaty blouse or go for killer heels ;). xxx