The great foundation debate

There's been a lot of chatter recently about mass brands in the UK not offering a good enough range of foundation shades. Unless you go to a premium brand, more often than not you're left with between four and six shades of foundation that aren't exactly universal. Brands are coming under scrutiny, with consumers shouting loudly that the country is made up of more than one tone of skin - especially in big cities. Those with very pale or very dark shades of skin really struggle and have to fork out over £20 for a bottle of foundation, which of course isn't exactly fair. However, having worked in the beauty industry for a fair few years I fully understand the reasons for this... Here's a little bit of knowledge from the other side of the fence to explain why the situation is the way it is.

For mass brands that rely on retailers such as Boots, Superdrug and Tesco to stock and sell their product, they're confined to the space they're given. Beauty brands like L'Oreal, Maybelline, Rimmel and Collection 2000 are given stands to showcase their products by the retailer and the space is dependent on how much money they make for that retailer. As you would imagine, every square centimeter of shelf space needs to be accounted for and be as efficient at making money as possible. Brands are given these stands on the basis that they make them 'X' amount of money over the year - if they don't make this for the retailer then space is taken away from them and given to a better performing brand. This is why you may see your favourite Collection 2000 stand being reduced in size overnight, or a newish brand disappearing altogether. (More often than not it's the Rimmel, Maybelline or L'Oreal stands that increase in size!)

Within the stand space itself the brands have to make them as efficient as possible. Whole teams are hired to work out what products to put where, what shades of eyeshadow sell best, what shades should be 'core' (i.e. on every single stand because they're best sellers) and which should only be on the biggest (or flagship) stands. When it comes to stocking foundation shades there's often only a limited space on the stand to ensure all the ranges are available; unfortunately this means that it's normal for there only to be four or six shades on a stand at any one time. To put one eyeshadow out you have to take another off - it's just as simple as that.

The decision making process of which shades to offer is an extensive one. Brand Managers will spend days upon days swatching, comparing to current shades, looking at sales figures and working out what the best use of space would be. Within the UK the majority of skin tones fall within the 'medium' four shades of foundation, so these will often be the only ones available in your local Boots. For every product there has to be a value attached - for example the top selling shades of foundation may sell 100,000 units in a month, reducing to 20,000 for the much paler or darker shades. For a brand (which is a business) it makes much more sense to put a shade on a shelf that's going to sell five times the amount of another. When deciding which shades to stock and offer cosmetic brands really have to look at the big bucks. They're businesses after all so they have to justify why every single product is taking up space in every single store.

Imagine if HMV dedicated a whole shelf to East 17 when only a few people a year wanted to buy their CDs, just because they felt they should offer variety... In that context it's not very business minded.  I'm sure in an ideal world every brand would like to offer ten different shades to cater for as many skin tones as possible - however, until the retailers enable them to do so by providing more space and placing less focus on the ROI (return on investment) per centimeter of space in their shops, nothing is going to change. The difference for premium brands is that they've got plenty of space to fill, lots of POS to put out and lots of shiny plastic to display; they can afford to put out as many shades as they can because their space probably makes ten times the amount of cash for Boots than Rimmel does. Unfortunately, until the retailers decide to make a stand, we should stop putting pressure on Rimmel and direct that frustration at Boots, Superdrug and Tesco.

I hope that helps to put it into context. It's not ideal and I totally agree that it's crazy we don't have more choice. What are your thoughts on this?



At the Olympics with Benefit

Ooooooh. Look what I saw over on British Beauty Blogger - Benefit are launching an 'Olympics' inspired unique pack of their famous That Gal face primer. I've seen every endorsement going, with athletes putting their names to everything from watches, to trainers, to cars and even being the face of a cosmetics brand. However, this is the first time I've seen a specific product carrying famous images from the London skyline in celebration of the forthcoming 2012 games. I'm interested to see how well this does and if it opens the floodgates for more 'limited edition' products in the future.

Image and info courtesy of BBB - see the original post here with all the details, including availability.

London Fashion Weekend

If you've been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks then you won't fail to have noticed that it's been London Fashion Week. This season I went to a few shows, hung around the Toni & Guy Blow Out Bar and ate a lot of canapes... But I won't bore you with that. When the catwalk lights fade, the models are rushed off to Paris and the champagne is put on ice for another season, London Fashion Weekend takes over and it gets even more exciting. I've been asked quite a few times what LFW(end) is about so I thought I'd give you a little overview. Basically for a few days following the main event, Somerset House is turned into one of the best shopping events in London. The house is taken over by designers galore, selling their threads at slightly ridiculous prices.

Although mostly last season, you can pick up some real bargains; I got myself a pair of Jaeger shoes which were reduced from £160 to £35! Interwoven with the amazing fashion are beauty bars including (this season) an Essie nail bar, Benefit brow bar, an Elizabeth Arden beauty school and much more. You can get your brows dyed and shaped at Benefit for only £15, which is much cheaper than in the boutique, as well as having a cup of tea out on the beautiful balcony overlooking the Thames. It's not free to go (tickets start at £12.50) but if you like shopping, love eating cake and have a whale of a time hanging out with your girlfriends then it's well worth popping down to the next one in February. There's also a catwalk show showcasing the highlights of the season, this time being presented by the lovely Caroline Flack. I took two of my mates with me this time for their first experience and they both loved it, if the bags of stuff we left Somerset House with are anything to go by. Did you go to London Fashion Weekend this season?

Check out their website for the full low-down here: www.londonfashionweekend.co.uk



Essie: Power Clutch

You've gotta love a nail polish with the name 'power clutch'... And by the way, I'm totally going for 'clutch bag' over 'some kind of car related mechanical piece of machinery'. This nail polish was sent to me to celebrate the launch of a new designer website (of which I can't remember the name because the link was so tenuous) but I do rather like the shade. It's a light grey colour with a slight green undertone that's really wearable and perfect for this time of year when you don't want to go too overboard with colour. The formula is quite runny - you need at least three coats to get a true colour result - but it does apply really well without glooping. It lasts about two days without chipping, then more fading and rubbing off around the edges rather than flaking off in giant chunks. For the £8.50 price tag I would expect a stronger formula, but the colour more than makes up for it.

Available now priced £8.50 from all good essie stockists and online.


CK One to launch cosmetics

The fragrance, the name and the bottle of CK One evokes so many memories of high school for me. It's what we all wore (or wanted to wear) and we thought we were uber cool. The scent and brand name has proven its timeless attributes can only grow it further, as the announcement that there's going to be a CK One colour cosmetics line launching globally this March hits my inbox.

“With its fragrance roots, expanding into a color cosmetics line was a natural progression for the ck one brand,” said Tom Murry, President & Chief Executive Officer, Calvin Klein, Inc. “This latest extension embodies the energy and free spirit of ck one, offering fresh and unique beauty products that are ideal for today’s youthful, independent consumer.”

I'm really excited to see what this collection brings, especially in the current climate and with a market saturated with all kinds of premium cosmetics. Here's a sneaky shot for now, but I'll bring you the news as and when I get it!


Clinique Lid Smoothies

Creamy eyeshadows can sometimes be a mega pain in the posteria, thanks to their ability to crease worse than a linen pair of trousers. The colour is often stunning, providing a shimmering unique texture, but the creases make your eyelids look tired and worn after a few hours. The new lid smoothies from Clinique are the complete opposite though, offering up to 8hrs wear and a formula that's as smooth as a silk sheet. They're available in 12 different shades and come in these really cute and handy tubes for giving you a little amount of product where you need it most.

The nozzles can be used to either apply directly to the eyelid or just squeeze a little amount of shadow onto the back of the hand to apply with a brush. The angled tip makes it easy to sweep across the lid, although it's better to use a brush or your finger to blend in. The result it a really fab, flawless colour which can be blended to create a great base or a highlight of colour - it doesn't crease or cake and it stays in place all day long. 

The colours are fabulous. A pearlescent undertone catches the light and highlights the white in the eyes, enabling you to look wide awake even when you're not. There are little specks of gold too, creating a depth of colour and fabulous result. There's a colour for every occasion too - everything from neutral creams, to darker berry and bluer shades. I don't have a bad way to say about these; I'm sure they'll be an iconic product for Clinique for years to come. J'adore.

Available nationwide and online for £17 each


Kimberley Walsh has an Elegant Touch?

Hot off the heels of Girls Aloud's eyelash collection (and probably wanting to out-do Cheryl Cole's Stylist Pick collaboration,) the girl currently greening herself up every night for the role of Princess Fiona in Shrek, Kimberley Walsh is about to launch her own body care range with Elegant Touch. I've always loved Kimberley, believing she's the most 'normal' of the girls from the underground - natural, curvaceous and without a marriage breakdown/alcohol problem/stint in rehab to her name. She oozes glamour, timeless sophistication and attainable beauty, so I was expecting to see something quite spectacular from her. Instead I got this...

I'm not gonna lie, I'm incredibly disappointed with the packaging and overall presentation of the range. It looks cheap, tacky and designed on powerpoint. I'm utterly flabbergasted she ever agreed to put her name to this... It's almost got me thinking Cheryl Cole's Stylist Pick collection was ok. (You can see what I thought about that heinous disaster here.) It's screaming to me 'designed under deadline with a bottle we had in the warehouse' and doesn't sum up what Kimberley is about at all. Now I haven't had a chance to try the products themselves so I've no idea what they're like; I'm going purely on bottle impression here. If you're interested though, there's a body lotion, body scrub, body butter and shimmering oil in the collection and prices range from £7.95 to £9.95. Hmmmmmmmm. Thoughts?


STYLED with the new GHD Air hairdryer

This year I've already broken one hairdryer and electrocuted myself with another. I go through hairdryers as often as my grandma goes through knickers, which is saying something.  GHD, the brand that have brought about a revolution in hair straightening, have started expanding into a new hair appliance arena, claiming to offer us good hair days from beginning to end of the styling process. When I was offered the new hairdryer from GHD to have a play with these thoughts went through my head: "Whoop. Oh, £99 for a hairdryer? Really? But it looks pretty..." It's a lot of cash to fork out for something you can buy for twenty quid in Boots, so is it really worth it? Here's what I think...

The new GHD Air is actually designed as a professional tool, for stylists working up a lather in salons. It’s packed with features that make blow-drying quicker and easier, including an extra long power cable for flexibility, two sizes of concentrator nozzle, ionic technology for an effortlessly frizz-free and smoother finish, variable heat and speed settings, plus a cold shot. All in all the aim is to make a salon-style blow-dry achievable every day, without the need for a stylist. The dryer itself is sturdy without being too heavy (don't you hate it when you can't hold the dryer up for the duration it takes to actually dry your hair?) and absolutely beautiful to look at - the detail of the buttons, air gate and logo highlights make this look and feel like a superior tool. The nozzles click into place and don't budge or twirl, the buttons are soft and comfortable to move around and the long cord make it easy to wander around while doing your hair and not get in a tangle that Scooby Doo would be jealous of.

What's most noticeable about this amazing hairdryer though is how quiet it is. Even on full power it produces about half the noise of my previous one, something my sleeping housemate is most grateful for. The power behind the tool is great, targeting hair with a shot of air to smooth and style both quickly and efficiently - since using this my styling time has been cut by at least a third because my hair is a lot smoother and sleeker before the straighteners even go anywhere near it. What's also great about this is that it doesn't use maximum heat to style; in fact when I first starting using it I had to check I had it on the right setting because the air was warm rather than hot. This will not only benefit your hair by reducing the heat (and therefore damage) that it's regularly exposed to, but will help with the life of the dryer by not encouraging it to overheat.

I have to say I was extremely sceptical about a hairdryer that costs £99, but after using it and putting it thoroughly through its paces I can understand that it's leaps and bounds above any other dryer I've ever used. Would I normally fork out this much cash for a hairdryer? No, probably not. But you know what, it's worth every penny if you have those pennies to spare.

Now I've put this to the test I'm inviting you to too! I have another GHD Air to give away to one lucky reader so you can have good hair days every day of 2012 and beyond. All you have to do is comment below telling me who has the best 'good hair days' and why. It can be anyone from Alexa Chung to Lana Del Rey to your mum. Just make sure you're a follower of this blog and you leave an email/twitter handle so I can get in touch. Good luck and happy hair days!

T&Cs: Open to UK residents only. You must be a follower of this blog and leave a valid email/twitter handle. One entry per person. Competition closes on 1st March 2012. Winner will be chosen at random, contacted and given 24hrs to provide an address, or an alternative winner will be chosen. No alternative prize available. 

Full product info here: www.ghdhair.com/hair-dryers/ghd-air


Chanel: Viva Las Vegas

In celebration of their newest boutique opening in, you've guessed it - Las Vegas, Chanel have released this collection of makeup which is full of sparkles, beaming lights and golden glorious colour. What better way to sum up the famous bright city than this? I'm not gonna babble, I'm just gonna hand it over to them...

"A city arises from the middle of nowhere in a feverish vision, like a mirage. Under the azure blue of a cloudless sky, Las Vegas keeps the desert dust at bay in the hypnotic ballet of neon lights. Along the Strip, the luxury hotels and casinos set the scene for a modern fairytale in which all dreams are possible. Amongst them stands the Bellagio Hotel. Its sumptuous gallery will welcome an entirely remodeled Chanel boutique in November. An elegant stopover in a modern-day treasure hunt... The iconic gold of CHANEL elegance slips into every texture. A silky powder on the skin, sunny lacquer on the nails or a sheer whisper on the lips, it highlights a radiant face that’s on a lucky streak."

Available in Chanel boutiques and most department stores from next week.


The science of hair care: part two

A little while ago I opened up the LBQ hair clinic (I'm not a specialist, so don't think I'm actually qualified for anything!) and started to answer questions that I was getting through on a regular basis. I had loads more questions in response to that post, so this is round two... Hopefully it's going to give you the answer to those burning questions.

Can a shampoo really help slow the fading of a colour?
Shampoos, conditioners and styling products that claim to slow or stop the fading of hair colour are (in a nutshell) talking porkie pies. Once you’ve dyed your hair the only thing that will stop the colour from fading is another round of hair dye. Most of these products claim to ‘help enhance colour’ which basically means they have ingredients to increase shine, which inevitably brings out the colour more by catching the light. With the normality of hair dye comes the need for a new market in hair care, so clever marketing peeps have just sat down and said they should come up with a new way of flogging their products. If you are concerned about protecting your hair colour (particularly if you’re blonde) then you should be looking out for products with sun protection in them – this is where it will actually do some good by protecting hair from the damaging sun rays, just as your skin needs SPF.

Should I be using heat protectant every time I use my hair straighteners?
Yes, absolutely. You should be using heat protectant every time you use an electrical appliance – that includes hair dryers, straighteners, curling wands and tongs. Every time you apply heat to your hair you’re doing damage so you need to create a barrier between the heat and your hair shaft. Even if you’re only using appliances once in a blue moon then you need to get the spray out. We’re all guilty of forgetting or not wanting to use yet another product, but it’s really important. A lot of products now contain heat protection within them, so if you do forget it’s not the end of the world, but I would really recommend investing in a spray you use on a daily basis. This is one area where you shouldn’t scrimp too – I’d recommend Paul Mitchell Heat Seal or Seal and Shine as products that protect without creating a heavy feel on hair.

What's a normal amount of hair to lose a day?
Around 100 hairs per day is absolutely normal. It’s easy to panic when you see your brush full of hairs, but this is totally normal and keeps your head of hair healthy and strong. Every strand of hair (of which there are around 100,000 on your head) has a life cycle – once the life cycle ends the hair naturally falls out to make room for the new one to grow. If you rinse with high water pressure or brush your hair a lot, all it will do is aid the natural malting process rather than making it worse. I malt all over the place and I always have done; there’s nothing to worry about unless your hair doesn’t grow back and you end up with visibly thinning patches. Then it’s time to go to the doctor.

How should I be using hair conditioner?
Hair conditioner should be used every time you wash your hair. The shampoo will remove dirt and grease but that’s about it. Your conditioner will add essential nutrients and ingredients to help hair look and feel in better condition, as well as tackling any problems you may have, i.e. frizzy or unruly hair that’s hard to style. When you apply you should ensure you’re using no more than a 50p-sized amount of product, focusing on the ends of hair and avoiding the roots. If you overload hair, or put conditioner on the root, you’ll only cause it to look and feel weighed down. This is often when problems occur and you feel like you’re not getting on with a product – because it’s not being used properly. You have to remember that hair is dead and the conditioner is attempting to get it back to the condition it was in when it first popped through the top of your head; the new stuff up top doesn’t need the helping hand that the stuff a foot beneath does. (Oh, and if you’ve got short hair just bung the conditioner on… You probably don’t need it as much, but it will do you a little bit of good regardless.)

Hope that answers a few more questions! As always, if you have others then  just shoot them to me in the comments box below.


LFW according to my Pinterest

If you've not discovered the newest craze in the social media world, then you need to tootle on over to Pinterest.com and get involved. In the simplest terms it's a site that allows you to create a virtual pinboard or scrapbook to keep all your fab images stored in one place, also giving you the opportunity to pinch pictures from others too. I've fallen a little bit in love with it and have been pinning my London Fashion Week journey all weekend long, as well as putting up images from the twitter accounts of some of the celebs, magazine editors and bloggers I follow. If you want to take a look at my summary of what it's really like at LFW (and not just the version you see in Vogue) then here are a few of my visual highlights.

Follow me on Pinterest here or why not drop me a comment below with your Pinterest account so I can follow you too?

MUA Love Hearts: polished nails

The new 'love hearts' collection from MUA seems to have gone down an absolute storm. I've told you about the fab lip pots, but now it's the turn of the nail varnish. Available in six sweet-appropriate shades, from luscious lemon to perfect pink, they're absolutely good enough to eat. Each shade is kind of unique, taking a twist on the normal colour you'd expect to give a great looking nail. Although it's not quite sunny enough to justify the yellow, I've been loving the fab pink and purple shades which seem to brighten up any outfit.

The colours come out pretty true to the bottle in one coat. The formula is surprisingly thick considering these only cost £2.00, meaning they're perfect if you're in a hurry and need to slap on a coat of polish and run out the door. Two coats give a great colour result that lasts a good few days without chipping; with a top coat it lasted around five days, without around two. A great way to spend a couple of quid if you've had enough skinny, soy, hazelnut lattes over the course of London Fashion Week.

Available now from the MUA website, soon to launch in Superdrug, priced £2.00 each.


Cherry picked with Batiste

If you want your hair looking tip top and can't be bothered to apply the effort required, Batiste is an absolute must have product. I won't preach to you about the benefits of the cult dry shampoo (because if you don't know already I'll make you stand in the corner with your back against the wall,) I'll just tell you that it's now available in cherry! Possibly one of my favourite scents, I squealed with excitement when the little kitch bottle arrived in the post. I was really looking forward to a rich smelling, fruity cherry heaven upon spritzing, so I was a little bit disappointed that it doesn't smell anything like cherry to me at all. Boooo. It's still a nice scent though and looks cool on the shelf, so we'll forgive them for that. A little tip for you if you're using Batiste but the white powder scares the bejeezus out of you, apply it to the root, ruffle it about a bit and then set your blowdryer on it as if you were drying from scratch. The air will not only add volume, but the heat will help to even out any kinks while blowing away any excess white dust. Et voila!

Available now.


Bronze your rocks off

Right now I'm in desperate need of some colour and skin love. Over a week full of mucas and feeling as rough as a badger's behind has left my skin looking dull, drained and in need of a holiday. Well, instead of a holiday what I can offer you is this fab little pot of bronzing rocks from 17 Cosmetics. Taking inspiration from a product St Tropez launched about 18mths ago, this pot of bronzer permits the same application as bronzing balls without them running all over the place and making a mess. They're chunky, pigmented, soft and give you a really delicate colour that isn't too scary for the pre-summer season.

The pot allows you to swish around your brush to get a delicate sweep of colour on cheeks, protecting the contents and allowing you to chuck it in your bag without the fear that your purse will end up with a bronzed glow too. The colour can be built up too so it's perfect for adding sheen to the decollatage or front of legs (if you're mental enough to go bare legged at the moment.) The colour is very shimmery and catches the light though, so if you're more of a matte bronzed goddess this may not be for you. For less than a fiver though this is getting me through London Fashion Week and beyond.

Available now from Boots priced £4.99


In Love Again with YSL

Yves Saint Laurent is celebrating half a century in perfume creation - that's fifty years of unforgettable scents and delicious smelling ladies across the globe. Many of their fragrances have become iconic in their own way, telling stories and evoking memories of times gone by. In celebration of this, YSL are giving four celebrated scents a new lease of life by re-launching them all shiny and new: for the ladies Y, Yvresse, In Love Again and Nu, while the gents get Pour Homme, Jazz, M7 Oud Absolu and Rive Gauche Pour Homme. I love the idea of this, reinvigorating older and sentimental perfumes for a completely new audience to love and cherish. I know that certain scents remind me of my teenage years (I'm talking Tommy Girl and John Paul Gaultier) so I can only imagine what a sniff of one of these brings back for old lovers of YSL!

I was kindly sent a sample of the newly re-launched In Love Again just in time for Valentines day, all fresh and shiny in its chess-inspired box. The logo has a nod towards the old design of 1998 (google it and you'll understand what I mean!) but uses the colours in a much more subtle and modern way. The scents itself is proof that certain fragrances never go out of style - fresh, fruity and delicately sweet. It contains notes of blackcurrant, mandarin, grape, peony, rose and blackberry to create something that slips within my fragrance collection with ease. This perfume was dedicated to women who love colour and love life upon its initial launch in the late 1990's... something that hasn't changed two decades later. I've fallen in love again with In Love Again.

For the gents there's also a whole range of scents to choose from, including this amazing (almost uni-sex) scent M7 Oud Absolu. It contains hints of mandarin, oud wood, myrrh and cistus and sounds like something out of Doctor Who - the important thing is though is that it smells flipping amazing. It reminds me of one of the Molton Brown scents I own and love, providing a woody and unique scent that's extremely recogniseable and different. I would totally wear this myself, buying into the trend to wear men's fragrances and matching them to my brogues. Launched back in 2002, I don't know why more men don't wear this and cling on to dear life for the last few drops in the bottle.

I love this whole story and concept, making fragrance a starting point for memories and celebrations. You can find out about all the fragrances on their website, as well as how all eight fit together like a chessboard, but for the time being I'm off to continue sniffing my wrist and dreaming of 1998. Steps were still cool then too.


Collection 2000 rebrands!

What better way to celebrate your 25th birthday than with a bit of a makeover? Out with the old, in with the new and all that. Who knew Collection 2000 had been around that long - it was probably a really futuristic name when it was launched in the 1980s! Changing with the times and the demands of their customer, the whole brand is being relaunched simply as 'COLLECTION'. The range has been upping their game of late, launching fabulous products and high quality collections to rival brands that are over double the price, so I can't wait to see what it has in store for us this year. As always, you'll be the first to know as soon as I know anything, but what do you think of the new logo? Work it...


Hayden Panettiere: Neutrogena Girl

Although we haven't seen her face on our screens for sometime in the UK, (can you believe how long it's been since she was The Cheerleader?) Hayden Panettiere is soon to appear on our tellybox and in our glossy magazines as the face of Neutrogena Visibly Clear. I'm a huge fan of the grapefruit face wash, even voting it to be one of my products of the year in 2011, so the new campaigns are surely preeching to the converted. I hear on the grapevine (pun intended) that there are some more exciting launches up Hayden's sleeve over the next few months, so I'm sure this is the beginning of a comeback for both her and Neutrogena as a whole. She's already a high profile ambassador in the States, so what do you think of her move to us Europeans?



Nice n Easy foam colour

The colour market has exploded lately, with every brand under the sun offering their own version of a hair colour that works as a light and fluffy foam. I've tried John Frieda's Precision Colour (initially impressed until the colour faded dramatically after two weeks) and L'Oreal's Sublime Mousse (pretty good colour result, easy to use and long lasting) so when I was given a box of Clairol's Nice and Easy Colour Blend Foam I was keen to see how it compared. The foam is supposed to make application easier, faff free and less messy, while still providing a great colour result and healthy, shiny hair. The Clairol mousse was actually the first to market, but was somewhat overshadowed by other brands; now it's back with both force and eighteen shades to choose from. I gave 'Darkest Brown' a whirl and this is how I got on...

The pack comes with all the usual tools you'd expect, as well as one of the applicator squeezy bottles that help generate the foam you use to dye your hair. The main difference between a foam and a traditional hair dye, if you haven't used them before, is that you don't shake to mix the formula - you simply tip the bottle a few times to delicately mix. To get the foam out of the bottle you squeeze the middle and the foam pops out of the top nozzle, ready to be applied. The Clairol formula is a very light and airy foam, much lighter than the previous brands I've used. When you apply to the hair it sinks in very quickly and is absorbed into the hair shaft, rather than sitting on your head like a Mr Whippy mixed with Sideshow Bob (which is what a lot of the other foams do.) This quick absorption into the hair is intentional and provides a more superior colour result when compared to other brands and formulas. Although this has been an area of complaint for many, I felt it was easier to ensure my full head was coloured and that I used the entire bottle well.

Once the formula is on your head there's nothing to do but wait. Although this foam isn't as 'sturdy' as others and still needs clipping back, it doesn't smell excessive or feel uncomfortable. It does dye the skin quite easily though, so try to ensure you have a trusty friend on hand (I did - thanks JimJams!) to mop up around your neck, ears and forehead or you'll be rocking a rather strange half-dyed-head look. When the dye washes away I'm happy to report you're left with a very rich, shiny colour result that competes with every other hair dye I've ever tried. Although the colour I used was much darker than expected (I wanted a sexy chocolate brown; I got an almost-black-Adams-Family shade) I still love it, especially because it's super shiny and rich. I wanted to wait a few weeks to see how the colour faired too, particularly as I've been burnt by other foam colours in the past, and it's still going strong two weeks later without a single change in shade.

I would totally use this again (albeit in a lighter shade) if only for the super rich colour and lack of fading. What's even better is that they've really gone to town to help you understand the product and how to use it on their website. There's videos, printable instructions, shade charts and loads more... Plenty to keep you occupied while the footballs on then.

Available in 18 shades for £6.99

Spread a little Dove

If you're in London Town this week and just so happen to be passing Victoria station, then make sure you pop in to help Dove spread a little love. In the week of Valentines Dove have erected a big screen to ask questions and provoke thoughts around the beautiful women in peoples lives. They'll be asking questions like 'who is the most beautiful women in your life?' and 'what puts a smile on your face?', encouraging passers by to tweet or text in their answers, which will also appear on the big screen. There will also be little tokens of kindness and cute gifts, as well as single white tulips, being given out to brighten up commuters mornings while trudging to work in the dark, cold weather. Will you be getting involved? Let me know if you do!

Tweet #dovelove or text 'dovelove' to 60002
The big screen will be up in Victoria, London 13th-19th Feb 2012
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