Don't Look Back In Anger: The 90's Makeup Trends We'd Rather Forget

While sorting through my makeup collection recently I came across the first lipstick I ever owned. I was 7 years old and it was a very frosty light-yellow-gold from Rimmel called Galaxy; I can remember vividly that it made me look incredibly washed out and is quite a strange choice for a girl of any age, let alone a 7 year old. With the 1990s grunge trend back on the rise (albeit in a much more updated and wearable style,) I'm taking a look back at the 90s beauty trends that we all hope will stay in the 90s.



LBQ Brand Focus #13: Cover FX

Makeup is designed to cover imperfections and enhance your best features, but what if you need it to do more than that? Established by Corrective Makeup Specialist Lee Graff thirteen years ago, Cover FX creates makeup products that help you look your best while actually improving skin condition over time. While working in a cosmetic clinic at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Lee was unable to find products that could offer her clients therapeutic benefits, environmental protection, irritant free formulas and were suitable for even the most sensitive skins. Put simply, when she couldn't find what she was after Lee started developing it herself - and so Cover FX was born. Their speciality is foundation, making it their mission to provide every woman across the world with their perfect match; with around 25 mixable shades available in three different categories, it's practically impossible not to find a shade that works for you.

Cover FX


A Miracle in a Tube? HealGel Face Plumping & Revitalising Formula

With an incredibly strong reputation preceding it, I was excited to get my hands on HealGel Face and put it to the test. Created and perfected by a group of plastic surgeons and skin specialists, this 'miracle cream' is designed to smooth, firm and replenish skin to leave it feeling and looking visibly plumper, healthier and more rejuvenated. It also aims to kick any scarring or damage into touch and reduce puffiness around the eyes. It's a very busy product! I was initially sceptical; despite reading a number of good reviews, it just seemed like it was just too good to be true. HealGel Face aims to generally improve the all round 'performance' of your skin: collagen boosting, elasticity restoring, rehydrating and tightening in one product? Sounds like a lot for one little cream, but HealGel is really that excellent.



COMPETITION: Velvotan Makes Tanning Easy With Their Tanning Accessories

To get the perfect tan you need more than a good lotion or mousse - you need the perfect tools to help ensure your application technique is flawless. Velvotan are the original tanning mitt specialists, who make easy-to-use self tanning accessories that can help you achieve a professional looking result at home. Their product range includes their iconic Original Tanning Mitt, as well as a teeny version especially for your face - both of which include a waterproof barrier to stop the tan from being absorbed and staining the hands inside. There's also a body polishing sponge to help prepare your skin in advance of tanning, ensuring you have a smooth and prepared base to work with; the smoother the surface, the longer your tan will last. Not only that, but their ingenious double-ended back applicator helps you to reach all those difficult parts without breaking out a sweat.


Fabulous Face? Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Cream Mask

Jurlique are a natural skincare brand with a difference. Hailing from Australia, they grow the majority of their product ingredients on their farm in the Adelaide Hills and do so using a biodynamic farming method. Their growing practices are organic, biodynamic, sustainable and concentrate on enriching the soil rather than depleting it. Biodynamic farming goes further than traditional organic practices and actually uses the cycles of the planets, moon, sun and stars to help plan their farming activities, creating optimal conditions for the plants to thrive. Jurlique’s extensive skincare range has recently launched into fourteen Marks & Spencer beauty halls across the UK, and the Rose Moisture Plus Cream Mask is a firm favourite of mine. The perfect solution for dry or dehydrated skin, the Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Cream Mask is rich in essential fatty acids and contains rosehip, macadamia and avocado oils to help re-hydrate dry skin, making it feel softer and look plumper.



Clean & Clear For Grown-Ups: Advantage Clear & Soothe

When I was a teenager I was lucky enough not to suffer from acne. I still had my little blue bottle of Clean & Clear to wash away the daily dirt and grime, but other than the occasional pimple my skin didn't cause me much jip. Skip forward nearly twenty years and it's another story. As soon as I hit 30 my skin decided to have a tantrum; for the last nine months I've been suffering from the most aggressive breakouts I've ever experienced, battling with horrendous red lumps and numerous ugly whiteheads popping up all over the shop. Nothing I did seemed to make a difference, even though I knew alcohol and lack of sleep didn't exactly help the situation. All of that has changed though since I started testing Clean & Clear's new Advantage Clear & Soothe range, which is both oil free and includes soothing Aloe Vera to be 'tough on spots, but gentle on skin.'


Salon Nails for Half the Price? Nailene Ultra Quick Brush-On Gel Kit

Gel nail extensions offer a glossy durable finish which can last as long as two weeks, but which often come with a hefty salon price tag. With a full set of gel nails costing upwards of £30 and infills every few weeks at over half that, home gel manicures may be the way forward to achieve salon results without a large dent in your purse. Could the Nailene Ultra Quick Brush-On Gel Kit, priced at just £13.49, supply the long lasting results expected from a professional gel manicure? I was keen to find out.



LBQ Budget Buys: Aveeno Moisturising Creamy Oil

Body lotions aren't exactly few and far between, but finding one that delivers while not costing a small fortune can be somewhat of a challenge. As someone who likes to literally cover themselves in cream before getting into bed, a beautiful tub of sweet smelling lotion is great for half a limb - but not exactly efficient and cost-effective for the entire body. I stumbled across this by accident, having run out of my usual lotions and potions, and didn't expect to use it for more than the two days it would take me to get down to Boots. However, it was love at first touch. This super hydrating lotion 'moisturises like an oil but absorbs like a cream,' providing the best of both worlds. Oils aren't practical for most, but they do offer exceptional moisturising properties; lotions are great, but they can be thick and take ages to absorb. Aveeno's Moisturising Creamy Oil is exceptionally light, absorbing within seconds to leave skin feeling smooth and providing a subtle shine that oozes health. Literally melting into the skin, the Creamy Oil feels like a luxurious premium product but costs less than a fiver. It's perfect for applying before getting dressed in the morning, as there's none of that stickiness that mostly leaves you struggling to put on trousers, as well as before stepping out the door when you want to show off your tan. The best thing for me though is the incredible scent: the sweet almond oil provides a lotion that reminds me of marzipan and bakewell tarts. Although it may not be the choice of scent for all, it leaves me smiling and rushing off to buy another bottle.


COMPETITION: Caudalie Divine Legs

With the weather somewhat unpredictable, it's no surprise that we're all reaching for the wash-off fake tan to give our bodies a little colour. If today is sunny, there's no guarantee that tomorrow won't be a wash-out - what's the point in spending time expertly applying a fake tan when you may not be able to show it off for more than 24hrs? Caudalie have launched their own tinted body lotion which makes it easy to add a touch of colour to legs when in a hurry; I've written about Divine Legs before and I'm still a great fan of this simple product. The tinted golden lotion allows skin to look sunkissed in only a few minutes, drying quickly and enabling you to chuck on a maxi dress before shooting out the door. There's no excessive smell, no flaking and no fake orange tinge that often goes hand-in-hand with temporary tanning, making this super easy to use. When you want to remove it, just jump in the shower and the golden glow is gone for another day. What's even better is that the formula also activates the skin's natural tanning process, meaning that when we do get a bit of sun you'll be looking super sexy in no time at all.

caudalie divine legs



John Frieda Touch-Up Flyaway Tamer

Annoying fly-away hairs can be extremely frustrating when you've spent an hour in front of the mirror attempting to style and tame your tresses. Sometimes hairspray can be too much for a little hair or two, so what do you do when you just wish that odd hair would lay the way you want? John Frieda have a great new product that makes me wonder why nobody has thought of it before. Their Touch-Up Flyaway Tamer is a handy little tube of product that's applied using a mascara wand; the gel-like texture on the brush applies wet and dries to leave hair tamed to perfection. You have to be careful not to use too much or it can leave hair feeling crunchy (just run your fingers through to get rid of excess if you do,) but this is a really effective and simple idea. The texture of the product provides hold without the grease and weight of serums, plus the wand enables you to apply with precision. I love this and it's been extremely handy for on the go, but the price point of £9.99 is a little steep for something so teeny. Thank goodness John Frieda is forever on offer in Boots!


Fabulous Hair with the HotHair Swirled Bun

Bad hair days are more common that good hair days for me right now, so I've been discovering how I can use the magic of kirby grips to transform my hair from drab to fab. I'd had this cute bun attachment from HotHair for a while but hadn't gotten around to using it, until a rather boring Sunday afternoon when I couldn't be bothered to straighten my hair. Not only is it super easy to use, but it really can revolutionise your hair routine in a few easy steps. The swirled bun is available in eleven different colours (from bright blonde right through to chocolate brown,) and contains a little comb to help attach it to your hair. It's so easy to use: you simply tie your own hair into a rough top-knot with a band, pop the bun over the top using the comb to attach it, place the loose ends where you want them and wack in a load of kirby grips to hold it all in place. The bun itself isn't heavy or uncomfortable, blending into your natural hair extremely well to leave this a hair-styling secret. I love the flexibility of the hair and the fact that it can be styled in lots of different ways (my current favourite is a side ballerina bun) in only a few minutes.



Clinique Moisture Favourites: A Must-Have for Summer Flights

The best thing about going on holiday is the pre-flight entertainment in the Duty Free shops. You can find so many bargains and unique product combinations, but what if you don't have a summer getaway planned in time for you to stock up? Harrods stock a great range of skincare and makeup gifts that enable you to try a little bit of this (and a little bit of that,) without forking out a fortune. This cute Moisture Favourites collection from Clinique includes a full size Moisture Surge face cream, with a fabulous gel-like texture that's easily absorbed into skin to leave it feeling and looking radiant, as well as a cute mini Chubby Stick and cooling All About Eyes Serum. Not only will the Chubby Stick help to hydrate lips while providing a pop of colour, but the roll-on eye massage will leave your peepers looking and feeling wide awake when they need it most. All packaged in a cute pink makeup bag, this is the perfect package to take in your hand luggage in order for you to step off the plane looking fabulous. To prevent skin looking dull and dehydrated after a long flight, apply a layer of Moisture Surge to the face and let it work its magic while you relax. Just before you land, roll the serum across your under eyes to instantly relieve and revitalise the delicate skin area; for a finishing touch add a pop of this suitable-for-any-skintone Chubby Stick and you're ready for the paps. Nobody will ever know you've been wishing you'd booked extra leg room while eating peanuts for the last six hours.



Simple Skincare Introduces NEW Range: 'Kind To Skin+'

I'm pretty sure that everyone has owned an item of Simple skincare at some point in their lives. At one moment in time it was the 'go-to' brand for anyone looking for fuss-free and affordably priced products, their claims being unique on the high street at the time of launch. They prized themselves on being free from colours and fragrances for many years, but the brand also became a bit stagnant. Their boring bottles of cleansers and face creams did little for the imagination, nor did they take into consideration the emerging trends and new technologies that have become so prominent. All of that is set to change, however, with the launch of their new skincare range: Kind To Skin+. Not only does it contain an updated Light Moisturiser, but also a Perfecting BB Cream, Protecting Moisture Cream with SPF30 and an Illuminating Radiance Cream.


Top Five Celeb Fragrances

I wear perfume everyday and really believe it’s the final flourish to my outfit. It may sound dramatic, but I treat fragrance as an accessory and without it I feel something’s missing. Although fragrances are very personal, I think we’re all after pretty much the same basic qualities – a clean, not too sickly or girly, sophisticated scent... But can celeb fragrances ever fit the bill? When recently complimenting a friend on her subtle fragrance, she admitted she was too embarrassed to declare who had put their name to it; eventually I managed to find out it was Lady Gaga's debut fragrance! Even though perception of celebrity fragrances may be cheap, tacky and sickly scents, the situation inspired me to track down the top five actually-wearable-celeb-fragrances...



Oral B Trizone 5000 Electric Toothbrush

Brushing your teeth isn't very glamorous and it certainly isn't very exciting, but it is an essential part of your daily routine. I have to admit it's the part I dread most about getting ready or getting into bed, because I tend to half fall asleep during the process and end up getting covered in toothpaste. Oral B are well known as dentistry experts, but could they step up to the challenge of making brushing your teeth fun? Their new Trizone 5000 Electric Toothbrush aims to help you get your teeth exceptionally clean, thanks to their in-built sensors and handy Smart Guide. Not only does the toothbrush itself include a moving bristle tip to get deep between teeth and hard to reach areas, as well as helping to remove plaque and gently whiten, but it flashes red and stops vibrating when you're applying too much pressure. I didn't understand how aggressive I was being until I started using this, realising I needed to be a lot gentler on my teeth to get best results.


Top Tips: Disguising Imperfections

A lucky few are blessed with flawless, radiant skin. For those not quite so lucky, there's redness, scarring, blemishes, discolouration and everything between. It's not just makeup that we can turn to in troubled times, but skincare products that can really force our beauty products to go that extra mile. Putting together a decent skincare routine is not only beneficial for the short term, but will have you looking younger in the long term. Here are my top tips for disguising imperfections.



Spitalfields Market: Pop-Up Vintage

Ever since I was little I've made a habit of collecting little nick-naks, sentimental bits and bobs, vintage finds and collectables. There's nothing quite like finding something unique and special that nobody else has, or a little token that makes you smile. Although there aren't many vintage stores and antique shops still left, Spitalfields Market in East London is definitely the home of the vintage trinket. They invited me down last weekend to their monthly 'Pop-Up Vintage' event, which takes place on the third Saturday of every month, to explore what the amazing stalls had to offer. Suffice to say I bought a lot of stuff and spent a lot of time wandering around finding hidden gems. Unlike a lot of 'vintage' markets in London (which actually just have vintage inspired clothing or mass produced jewellery,) this really is the good stuff. Rows upon rows of teacups, glass holders, magazines, glasses, trinkets and clothes, topped off with an array of homemade goodies.


Suncare With a Difference: La Roche Posay Tinted Cream

With summer in full swing it can be tricky to find a product that offers a high level of SPF, but that also helps even skin tone and provide a bit of coverage.  There are lots of tinted moisturisers on the market that contain SPFs, but sometimes you need something that little bit stronger to help protect you from burning. French skincare brand La Roche Posay have come up with the perfect solution with their Anthelios Tinted Cream SPF 50. The Tinted Cream is a light and easily absorbed suntan lotion, with a hint of colour to help mask imperfections, but without the full coverage of a foundation. You apply in the same way as a regular SPF – use your fingers, rubbing gently into the skin and allow a few minutes for it to absorb.



LBQ's Top Three: Long-Lasting Nail Varnishes

Although I love to coordinate my nail colour with my outfit, sometimes I simply don't have the time to be changing my polish every other day. During busy periods or long weekends, I have to find a polish that not only goes with every outfit (day and night,) but also will last the distance and remain chip-free. Having the confidence to paint your nails and know the colour will remain for a good few days, cuts off at least one thing from our every growing 'worry list'. Here are my top three brands that really do deliver on ease of application and longevity of colour; the brands I rely on again and again to keep my nails looking cool and collected.

long lasting nail varnishes


Poolside Perfect: Picking the Best Water Resistant Makeup

Whether you're spending your holiday by the poolside or just heading to the seaside, heat and splashes can play havoc with your makeup. Panda eyes and smeared cheeks needn't be a worry when you've got the perfect water resistant products in your arsenal to keep your make up in place, even after a cooling dip. Here's my rundown of favourite products with underwater staying power.



LBQ Budget Buys: Montagne Jeunesse 99p Face Masks

When blogs started up many moons ago, content was very much driven by beauty bargains, beauty gems and using products in unusual ways. Over the course of LBQ's history I've somewhat been pulled into the idea that it's ok to spend £20 on a lipbalm (if it genuinely adds benefit,) forgetting that for a heck of a lot of people that's a lot of money to spend frivolously. With my new series 'LBQ Budget Buys' I intend to bring things a little bit back to reality, featuring brands and products that are fab - but importantly, don't cost more than a fiver. First up on the list is the face mask brand Montagne Jeunesse who got me through many a teenage sleepover in the 90's. Although in the past their 99p face mask packs were filled with bright pink gooey messes that smelt like Willy Wonka's factory, they've progressed somewhat in 2013 to produce some interesting concoctions that contain ingredients such as honey, coconut, nut oil and super fruits.



Velvotan: The Original Tanning Mitt

Seeing as our summer has once again disappeared, there's no hope of anyone achieving a natural sunkissed look whatsoever - we need to turn back to the fake tan, stat, to get the last few wears out of our summer dresses. Although applying tan can be messy and fiddly, if you're armed with the right tools it can be a quick and simple process that leaves you looking naturally golden. My top tip for anyone attempting to tan at home is to ensure you have an effective mitt, which not only aids application and prevents streaks, but will stop you from having that orange-palmed look which can be seen a lot on TOWIE cast members. Velvotan are a tanning mitt specialist who make easy-to-use self tanning accessories that can help you achieve a professional looking result at home.


Fruity Luxury: ESPA Mandarin Lip Balm

Lip balms can either be a blessing or a curse. Some formuals are so full of nasty ingredients that they do more damage than they actually repair, so it's essential to look out for good quality products that will really help you achieve soft, kissable lips. The new Mandarin Lip Balm from ESPA is the perfect example of when spending a little more makes a big difference. The rich texture offers a little bit of everyday luxury to soften, smooth and protect the delicate lip area, while providing a delicate mandarin scent. Featuring a 100% natural formulation (including essential oils, mango butter to condition, soften and smooth, pomegranate to increase hydration and rosemary to protect against environmental damage,) this delicate balm provides instant soothing to tired or dry lips, while not overloading with grease. The cute package even includes a little mirror, perfect for popping in your handbag, and an intricate swirl design. I love the simplicity of the balm, but the extravagance of the compact pack - the contrast works exceptionally well to leave a product we all want to get our hands (and lips) on.


Sleek and Healthy Hair: Panasonic Nanoe Hairdryer

I remember when the sole purpose of a hairdryer was to literally dry your hair. There were no fancy buttons or different nozzle fittings, just a simple hairdryer that probably took an hour to dry your barnet thoroughly. Now a hairdryer costs as much as a designer handbag and claims to do everything apart from clean your bathroom; the new Panasonic Nanoe Hairdryer is no different. Focusing on the health of your hair and scalp, this new gadget uses nanoe technology to help retain 1000 times more moisture than the average hairdryer. Although we want a hairdryer to dry our hair thoroughly, the inevitable result of the process is the loss of moisture and goodness that we'd really rather keep - that's where Panasonic step in to help combat the damage caused by styling, colouring and sun exposure. The healthy look of our hair is dependent on the health of our scalp: where it starts its journey and where it's determined what the hair will look and feel like when it pops out of the top. Right now, this is the only electrical product I know of that is directly addressing the issue of scalp health.



LBQ Brand Focus #12: Balance Me

There are a lot of skincare brands out there, with many more sneaking into my routine every week. A lot of them have similar packaging, similar claims, similar products and similar manufacturers, so it's always refreshing to come across a brand that has something slightly unique about them. Sisters Rebecca and Clare Hopkins founded the skincare brand Balance Me in 2005 after they left their careers and retrained in the holistic field of skincare. After starting off producing products in their kitchen, within a year they'd been spotted by a leading retailer and were selling in stores throughout the UK. Balance Me is a brand that uses cutting-edge, hi-tech natural formulations and chemistry to create sophisticated textures, exquisite active aromas, award-winning results at affordable prices. It's developed a loyal following (including bloggers and beauty editors,) and has even won numerous awards - so Balance Me is definitely a brand to be reckoned with.

balance me beauty


Healthier Hair Drying: Aquis Microfibre Hair Towels

The biggest cause of hair damage isn't blowdryers, curling tongs or straighteners - it's towel-drying. Rubbing a rough towel against wet hair can not only cause excess frizz, it can also break hair and cause irreparable fundamental damage to the shaft. I hate towel-drying my hair, preferring to blot the excess moisture away and leave it to air dry for a little while before putting the electrical styling tools to work. With Aquis microfibre towels the problem is completely removed, thanks to their patented Aquitex microfibre technology. Hair is most delicate when wet because the cuticle is open, making it stretchy and prone to snapping and tangling; by towel-drying more efficiently you can minimise the use of heat appliances and exposure to heat, resulting in fewer split ends and heat damage. If you can make the towel drying process more efficient and less damaging too, you're on to a winner. Aquis microfibre towels can significantly reduce the need for blow-drying, whilst absorbing much more moisture from the hair than a regular towel.


Must-have Makeup: Achieving a Glowing Complexion on a Budget

The best time to shine is during the summer months. Achieving that subtle glow, without looking like you've been out running in 30-degree heat, is no easy feat. Light reflecting products are essential for that fresh-faced, vibrant look that can really knock back the years and the time spent at the mirror. Here are my top tips for looking glowing, without going OTT.



Illamasqua Sacred Hour Collection

Illamasqua are never a brand to shy away from creating statement products that leave the beauty world gasping, but sometimes I rather wished they'd create something a bit more wearable for us boring neutrally-adorned folk. With their latest collection 'The Sacred Hour' they've managed to do just that, capturing the more neutral and wearable tones we've been begging for, whilst still remaining a little bit quirky and different. The collection consists of an eyeshadow palette, cream-to-powder blush, berry lipstick and two nail varnish colours, but the stand-out items for me have to be the Reflection eyeshadow palette and the Facet nail polish. Remaining true to their creative roots, the new collection celebrates the sacred hours of dawn and dusk, where the day turns into night (and back again.) With this new collection they've created two completely different makeup looks from the very same range of cosmetics, illustrating that it's not just about what's in your makeup bag - it's about how you wear it.


How to Apply Hair Oils (Without the Dreaded Grease...)

If used incorrectly, hair oils have a tendency to make hair look greasy. However, in my opinion nothing can replace them for their nourishing and heat protecting properties – sprays don’t give enough coverage and creams can make hair heavy. I’ve rounded up my personal favourite products that provide all the hydrating and strengthening properties you expect from oils, with no grease.

hair oils


Introducing 'The Science Bit'

Over a year ago, I made a promise to myself - I would turn this blog into a book. I've always wanted to write one but I'm not very down with chick lit and I couldn't write Sci-Fi to save my life. Seeing as I write this blog every day and have become extremely passionate about the world of beauty, it seemed like a natural progression to make it the topic of my first e-book. Today I launched 'The Science Bit' - a book that aims to delve deeper into the world of beauty and skincare by breaking down barriers and attempting to explain what things actually mean. It's been a long old process and at some points I thought I'd give up, but I kept with it and I'm really proud of the fact that it's now available to download exclusively via Amazon.

The topics covered include: dealing with adult acne, the truth about anti-ageing, picking the best foundation shade, using the right makeup tools, the truth about lip balms, the science of hair dye, protecting your hair from damage, understanding sun care and asking 'how does my fake tan work?' There are four sections (skin, hair, body and makeup) and twenty chapters that each address an issue or question in-turn. If you all love it, the plan is to add to the book with a load more chapters... As well as releasing it in paperback! Please do go and give it a cheeky download and let me know what you think. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

Buy 'The Science Bit' here on Kindle, iPad, iPhone or any other e-reader for only £2.05. 

You can follow the book on Twitter here: @TheScienceBit_

Light 'Em Up: Jewel Candle

I love candles almost as much as I love Hollyoaks. I currently have nine in my house, in various rooms and ornamental positions, which are ceremoniously lit as soon as the sun goes down. Candles can really enhance the ambiance of a room, as well as changing the aroma to something mood enhancing and uplifting. Jewel Candle are a company that take candle burning to the next level, by including a precious jewel in every product worth between £10 and £250... That means you get to burn the candle and reveal your special prize, whilst making your room smell beautifully uplifting or relaxing. Available in various scents (including Pina Colada, Lemongrass, Hawaiian Coconut, Watermelon Wedge and Happy Birthday,) the candles also come in two sizes - the larger one contains a ring, while the smaller contains a pair of precious earrings.


L’Oreal launch 'Nails a Porter'

Painted nails can be the final flourish to an outfit, or an easy way to update your look. But we’ve all been there when time is tight and you can’t hang around waiting for them to dry - or even worse, you break a nail before a big event. L’Oreal have come up with the perfect solution to these problems with their new 'Nails a Porter' range. 'Nails a Porter' are easy to use, stick-on nails that will last up to five days. There are 24 nails in each packet in 12 different sizes, adhesive stickers that match to each size of nail, plus a mini nail file to help get an even and professional finish.



LBQ's Top Three: BB Creams

With BB Creams slowly taking over the world, it's quite daunting attempting to find one that will actually deliver on promises. With the majority of High Street brands actually offering tinted moisturisers disguised as BB Creams, it's even more important to ensure you're investing in a product that will deliver above and beyond expectations. BB Creams should provide all the skincare benefits of a moisturiser, paired with the makeup benefits of a great foundation, primer and highlighter. With so many on offer, how do you know what to ignore and what to pick up? You need my top three picks...

Skin Doctors: Hair No More hair growth inhibitor spray

For me hair removal is not only tedious, but also quite irritating, with razor bumps, shaving rash and ingrown hairs being a weekly battle. When I came across Skin Doctors Hair No More hair growth inhibitor spray I thought I'd found the perfect answer, as the spray aims to minimise regrowth and make the hair thinner and lighter. But can a product containing largely natural extracts really help to slow hair growth? I must admit I was pretty sceptical.



When 'BB' Claims Went Too Far

When BB Creams launched in the UK, there was justifyably a big buzz in the beauty industry about this new concept. Although well established in Asian markets, the BB Cream (or Beauty Balm Cream) claimed to offer multiple benefits in one formula - it works not only as a foundation and moisturiser, but as a concealer, highlighter, primer and brightening treatment. I love a good BB Cream, using my Dr Jart formula on days when I just don't have the patience (or need) to spend a significant amount of time preparing my face. However, as with anything in the beauty industry, as BB became the buzz word there started to be all kinds of BB products popping up and making nonsense claims. BB lipgloss, BB foot cream, BB nail varnish... And now a BB Powder from GOSH adding to the mixing pot. Is this when BB claims went too far?



Hair Fragrance: An indulgence too much, or must have?

I’ve been told several times that the key to making a perfume scent stick around, is to apply it to the roots of your hair and massage into the scalp. Apparently the oils that your scalp naturally secretes enhance the scent of your fragrance and make it ‘stick’ to the hair shaft. I often experiment with perfume application and never go for the typical pulse points – I like to apply it behind my ears, the backs of my knees and even on the soles of my feet so the room smells nice when I take my shoes off! I’ve never noticed much of a difference applying fragrances directly to my hair, but was intrigued by how effective hair perfumes could be....

hair fragrance


LOOK Beauty: Mini Makeover Palette

Carrying around a sack load of makeup in your handbag can be rather tiresome. When you need to touch-up after a long day (and sweaty tube journey,) pulling out a massive bag of slap can make you feel a little bit self conscious. LOOK Beauty, the cosmetics line behind the nationwide magazine, have launched a range of cute little palettes that provide everything you need and more in one little case. Containing 8 eyeshadows, 4 lip colours and a blusher, the shades are defined by eye colour - Baby Blue Eyes, Pretty Green Eyes and Brown Eyed Girl - so you know what shades will suit your complexion and colourings.


Bare Minerals launch customisable 'Get Started' mineral makeup kits

Bare Minerals is probably the most well known mineral cosmetics company in the UK. They have a wide range of makeup, including everything from foundations to lipsticks, and can be found in department stores and stand-alone stores across the country. Bare Minerals has been my favourite foundation for a long time; I love it because it doesn't slide off my face in the warm weather like liquids do, can be built up to the coverage you want and most importantly, when applied well, it looks like you aren't wearing any make up at all. It's also great for all ages as it doesn't seem to settle into any fine lines: I've used Bare Minerals on my mum (who is a total foundation-phobe) and even she likes the subtle finish.



LBQ Brand Focus #11: Diptyque

The story of Diptyque began at 34 boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris, the address that still adorns the label of the products today. Three friends who were driven by creative passion (a painter, interior designer and theater director,) established the brand after collaborating on various design products for iconic stores such as Liberty London. Opening their first shop in Paris, they unusually brought the English fragrances that were relatively unknown in the 1960's to a French market, composing and launching their very own first eau de toilette in 1968. Inspired by a 16th-century potpourri recipe and the scent of pomanders, further scents quickly followed and Diptyque became known as a fragrance house that developed a sophisticated collection of unique signature scents.

Over 40 years later, Diptyque are still launching beautiful scents and innovative concepts that take home fragrance to a new level. Their candle designs have become iconic, instantly becoming the focus of any room and helping to diffuse delicate perfumes into the surrounding area. With the launch of their two latest scents this September (Genevrier and Noisetier - Juniper and Hazlenut Tree) they continue this journey, bringing simple yet unusual products to market. Unlike some other candle brands, who can make a room feel sickly sweet with an overpowering fragrance, Diptyque focus on delicate and subtle plants that make a statement without being too much. These certainly aren't cheap, with a candle setting you back £40.00, but if you're after a statement for your home (or even an unusual and extravagant wedding gift) then having a sniff at Diptyque's offering will leave you inspired.
Diptyque candles and fragrances are available in their flagship London stores, as well as Space NK, John Lewis and Selfridges. Check out their website here: www.diptyqueparis.co.uk

The Pick of the Primers

Primer; love or hate it, at this time of year anything that prolongs your makeups staying power has to have a permanent place in your makeup bag. These days, with so many products available and claims being made, a primer has to work harder for it's money - but do they really do you any good? Here's my rundown of pocket friendly primers to help keep skin looking flawless.



Paul Mitchell Super Strong Haircare

Searching for the ultimate product that helps your hair to look fabulous, feel fabulous and smell fabulous can often be a fruitless mission. However, often it's the products you've used and loved in the past that need to be brought to the forefront once more. Paul Mitchell Super Strong Daily Shampoo and Conditioner used to be my most loved hair product, sitting on my bathroom shelf for the best part of three years. Having a heat damaged barnet that's also been dyed more times than I've had Sunday roasts, I constantly struggle with keeping it in a good condition. The Super Strong range really helps to inject a bit of goodness into my hair, providing it with the nutrients it needs to look and feel healthy with exceptional shine.


The Super Facialist by Una Brennan: Vitamin C+ Gentle Daily Micro Polish

I enjoy a good facial scrub, but for the most part I don't expect them to do much more than lightly cleanse and smooth the skin: they're only applied for a few minutes at most, then rinsed thoroughly away. However, the Super Facialist by Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Gentle Daily Micro Polish Wash (not easy to say!) from the new Vitamin C+ Brighten range interested me; it contains high performance Pro-Collagen Vitamin C that aims to reveal a vibrant radiant complexion, while retexturising the skin. I had my doubts that this product would deliver its claims - can something that only stays on your face for a few minutes really make much difference to your complexion? And is applying Vitamin C to the skin more effective than just eating lots of fruit? But after trialling the product for four weeks, I've been surprised by the results.



Urban Decay launches Naked Skin Finishing Powder

Pressed powder may not be for everyone, but it's been a staple within my makeup bag for as long as I can remember. A little dusting of powder over the face can not only help to set makeup, but can create a flawlessly matte finish and really help your foundation to create a uniformed glow. However, using too much can make you look cakey, while flat shades can remove all definition and radiance from the complexion - it's essential to get the mix right. Urban Decay expanded their Naked range of cosmetics with the launch of their Naked foundation, but now their extending their mini-brand even further with the launch of the fabulously decedent Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder. But what's so unique about this new launch?


Delivered to your door: The Fragrance Shop 'Discovery Box'

Beauty box subscriptions have been becoming increasingly popular over recent months, with the likes of Glossybox, Birch Box and She Said Beauty all trying their hand at the service. High street retailer The Fragrance Shop recently joined the ranks, with a fragrance box designed for those keen to discover new perfumes. The concept is as simple as all other boxes of the same type: for a small fee of £5.00, subscribers receive a box of treats through their letterbox. The Fragrance Shop provide samples of six perfumes, along with details of the latest fragrance launches and a book of discounts, every quarter so scent enthusiasts can always be in the know.



LBQ's Top Three: Lipsticks

A touch of lipstick can instantly brighten the face, change the feel of a look or enable you to step out the door wearing pretty much nothing else. I'm a huge lipstick fan, believing it can give anyone the confidence to strut their stuff - even on an off day. However, wearing lipstick regularly can leave lips looking and feeling dry, as the pigment can often increase the speed at which moisture leaves the surface. If you want to regularly pack a punch with your makeup, you need to invest in a great lipstick that offers not only fabulous pigment, but a creamy and long-lasting texture. Here are my top three lipsticks I'd now never be without.

top three lipsticks

Rimmel Scandaleyes: Retro Glam Extreme Black Mascara

Big lashes are set to become even bigger this Summer, thanks to Rimmel London's cheekily named Scandaleyes Retro Glam mascara. They're bringing the Twiggy-esque bold lash look, that so defined the 1960's, back to a younger and fresher audience in 2013. Big and bold lashes have been all over the catwalks and magazine spreads this season, pushing the previous natural makeup look to one side to make way for the party looks that we'll start to see come Autumn. Rimmel's Scandaleyes mascara provides the perfect tools to make a real statement with your lashes, thanks to the hourglass brush that's shaped to match the lash line and plump out lashes to the max.



The Body Shop: Camomile Cleansers

Known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, camomile is experiencing something of a resurgence in beauty products. It's subtle scent and lack of irritant compounds make it the perfect ingredient to add to cleansers and makeup removers - which exactly what The Body Shop have done. Their camomile range now includes a gentle eye makeup remover, waterproof eye makeup remover, silky cleansing oil and an unusual cleansing butter. Although makeup removal isn't exactly sexy, it's an essential part of a routine so it's vital to get the products you use right; with these camomile cleansers and removers, you can be confident in the knowledge that dirt and grime will melt away from the face to leave your complexion looking and feeling fresh.



Crown Brush: The Ultimate 120 Colour Eyeshadow Palette

A girl can never have too many eyeshadow colours to choose from. Well, not according to Crown Brush anyway. Known more for their amazing brushes that deliver professional quality at affordable price points, the online-based brand are now expanding into professional standard makeup. This amazingly colourful eyeshadow palette landed on my doorstep this week, bringing 120 new shades of colour into my life - I felt like Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat for a minute, albeit in makeup form. Within the palette there's practically every colour you can think of on the colour spectrum, including your traditional blacks, greys and beige, right through to a pop of purple, blue, green and yellow. If you're an eyeshadow enthusiast but can never quite lay your hands on the right shade o perfectly match your outfit, then this incredible kit provides you with the tools you need to even blend your own colour.



Out There Interiors: Making Your Home Look Beautiful

Home is definitely where the heart is, and for me my heart is well and truly in my new apartment. It's the first time I've lived completely alone, with no housemates to drive me crazy with their piles of washing up or boyfriends visiting late at night. It's the first time I've been able to pick my own decor and start from scratch, ensuring that every room and every piece of furniture is well and truly in my own style. Out There Interiors are a unique home furniture specialist that bring fabulous pieces to the UK, ensuring homes nationwide are kitted out in modern and eclectic furnishings. Not only do they have a huge range of quality French furniture that is often hard to find, but some incredible modern pieces like my new fabulous plastic statement lamp.


Cover FX Illuminating Setting Powder

Cover FX are a makeup brand that are a little bit different.  If you go to one of their counters, you won’t see the usual riot of colourful shadows and bright lippies, but what you will find is a whole range of high quality foundations, powders and concealers, with shades in everything from pure porcelain, to chocolate brown. Originally hailing from California, Cover FX landed in the UK a few years ago. The base-focused brand has a bit of a celeb following and one of their foundations has even been used on Angelina Jolie to cover her tattoos for a movie! I've been using their Illuminating Setting Powder, a finely-milled loose powder designed to help set make up and illuminate the skin at the same time.

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