belles on style

Welcome to Belles On Style, a fashion and beauty blog written by sisters Amy and Sarah. Living in London & Glasgow.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Dr. Murad skincare event gives my skin a reality check

I was invited to a Murad skincare event on Monday night in the May Fair Hotel. The evening consisted of mango martinis, canapes, cupcakes, beauty bloggers and, most importantly, Murad founder and skincare pioneer Dr. Murad himself.

Murad skincare range infused with pomegranate goodness

Dr Murad presented to the room full of bloggers, educating us on his holistic approach to skincare. Dr Murad explained to achieve great skin we must look to improve our health first. He told us to "eat your water"; it's more nutritional to eat fruit and vegetables containing water rather than simply drink eight glasses a day.

Dr. Murad's team were offering a skin analysis using their skin scanner. The skin scanner takes two images: the first shows a close up view of your face highlighting wrinkles and lines, the second image is a deeper look exposing pigmentation and sun damage. The Murad skincare consultant explained that I'm lucky as my skin is line and wrinkle free. Unfortunately she wasn't as enthusiastic about the next image. She explained that I've got quite a bit of sun damage across my forehead and nose.

 Pigmentation and skin damage... not a pretty picture!

It was a definite wake-up call. Over the past two years I've tried to take better care of my skin by always wearing moisturiser with SPF. However when I was eighteen I was not quite so skin savvy - I burnt my face so badly while sunbathing I had blisters along my forehead; I had to spend a small fortune on products from a dermatologist to rescue my flaking, painful face.

The consultant assured me that there is still hope as I'm 24, a non-smoker and don't drink too much. She prescribed a good skincare regime, lots of SPF and avoiding hours in the sun to reverse the damage. Fingers crossed! The Murad skincare team were amazing and I would recommend you visit one of their spas (across the UK in hotels & salons) or Urban Retreat at Harrods for your very own wake-up call.

 Delicious cupcakes!

At the end of the evening we were given a goody bag with new products including an Eye Lift Illuminator, Skin Perfecting Primer and the brand new Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture cream (featuring Collagen Support Complex), I can't wait to try these out over the next few weeks.... coming to a Bells On Book blog post near you!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Kensington vs ALIBI Leather Chelsea.

Kensington Boot.

Although I appreciate that white is not the most practical colour for winter boots, and at £179.00 from Hobbs, also not the most appealing price, however I can’t help but stop and stare in the window every time I pass them, hoping that they might just jump through the glass window onto my feet.
Sadly though, even on payday these would be an irresponsible buy. So here is a more sensible solution.
ALIBI Leather Chelsea Ankle Boot.
At £50 from Asos and not white, this pair is far more wearable. They will go with everything, from tribal print oversized jumpers, to floral print vintage dresses.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Boscia B.B. Cream SPF 27 PA ++

B.B. - the two letters that have driven the British beauty industry bonkers. Standing for blemish balm, the new skincare & make-up products originate from Asia where they are crazily popular. I resisted the temptation to buy one in the UK and waited until a recent trip to Chicago where I headed straight to Sephora. The sales girl enthused about Boscia B.B. Cream SPF 27 PA ++, available in the US for $38. A few months ago I'd never heard of BB creams but after using Boscia I'm an addict.

In the interest of providing an unbiased beauty review (I might have been swept up in the BB media hype!) I swapped my BB cream for primer (yesterday) and tinted moisturiser (today) to test my true faith in the product. And for me its now clear, primer and tinted moisturiser just can't compare with the level of coverage, hydration and amazing finish the BB cream gives. The texture is rich, creamy and thick - a little goes a very long way. I also love that the BB cream, compared to liquid foundation, is instantly moisturising.

Beauty journalist Claire Coleman explains a little bit more:

"The concept comes from Germany where, in the Fifties, dermatologist Dr Christine Schrammek created an ointment for her patients after they had undergone peel treatments.

The cream not only soothed and protected skin, but also covered redness. Dr Schrammek later commercialised the ointment and sold it as blemish balm."

I've not tried the BB creams on the market in the UK yet but when my Boscia runs out I will waste no time in trying them out.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

A/W Topshop pencil skirts

I have been in Southeast Asia, far away from my daily e-mail updates from Urban Outfitters, Asos, MyWardrobe, Topshop etc. The most fashionable item of clothing that I could easily purchase there, was a pair of hareem pants with elephants on them, and EVERYBODY wore these elephant patterned Hareems.
I almost ran up Buchanan Street to Topshop on Monday at lunch time. Really, how much can I have missed in 5 weeks? Turns out a lot! The new key piece in our A/W wardrobes is apparently pencil skirts … I love it. And I particularly love this one. It will be my first buy come pay day. Perfect with little ankle boots when meeting the girls for lunch, or dressed up with heels for the Christmas party.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Maybelline New York: Volum' Express The Colossal Cat Eyes Mascara

Maybelline's new mascara, Volum' Express, The Colossal Cat Eyes has featured in the press extensively since its launch on 31st August. From Elsa McAlonan's beauty pages in the Daily Mail to British Beauty Blogger to this months InStyle, this new mascara has been everywhere. Putting all my trust in the top beauty journalists I decided to invest and judge for myself.

InStyle beauty writer Malena Harbers explains, "Animal prints stormed the a/w 2011 catwalk and mascara brushes have gone wild too... The latest eye-sculpting mascara brushes are designed to grab lashes - particularly at the outer corners - and stretch them for an elongated effect."

Cat Eyes really does "grab" the lashes. The brush is long, very thin, curved and almost sticky as it paints your lashes a very dark inky black (there is only one shade - black). Instantly I was impressed with this mascara, I can absolutely see it becoming an all time favourite and staple in my make up bag. Over the past week I've worn it everyday - but without eye liner or eye shadow to avoid looking OTT for work. It is definitely strong enough for night as well but teamed with liquid eyeliner and smokey eye shadow for bold feline inspired eyes.

It is available nationwide for £7.99 but as Superdrug are running a special offer, I picked mine up for a bargain £5.99.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Jo Malone, Wild Bluebell Cologne, white chocolate bunnies

I spent a gorgeous afternoon in the Jo Malone store in Chelsea this weekend. To celebrate the launch of the new cologne, Wild Bluebell, the store was treating customers to hand massages, champagne and beautiful white chocolate bunnies.

As a chocolate addict I can't believe I've not devoured this yet... but its just too pretty!

My favourite cologne is Nectarine Blossom and Honey and luckily the store advisor enthused that Wild Bluebell works very well as a combination scent. Wild Bluebell sits within the light floral group, directly next to Nectarine Blossom and Honey.

First I washed my hands using Wild Bluebell Body and Hand Wash - straight away I could smell the floral, light and slightly fruity scents. For the hand massage the store advisor used Red Roses Hand and Body Lotion, the cream felt gorgeous and the smell was quite delicate and light. Red Roses acted as the perfect base to combine a few spritzes of Wild Bluebell cologne on my left arm and Nectarine Blossom Honey on my right. The colognes complimented each other perfectly and I was undecided about which scent I preferred (I gave my friend a blind scent test later that afternoon - interestingly she chose Wild Bluebell). To complete my Jo Malone afternoon I was given a glass of champagne and the loveliest white chocolate bunny.

I'm very much in love with the entire Jo Malone cologne experience; I feel like an apothecarist as I stand in front of the jars, anticipating which ones I will experiment with. The store team members are always knowledgeable and keen to offer advice and ideas for new ways to combine the smells.

I liked Wild Bluebell as its light, sweet and a little bit fruity. Although I find woody, spicier scents distinctive and strong on other people, I always go back to citrus and fruit.

Wild Bluebell is available from Jo Malone, £72 for 100ml.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Yves Saint Laurent: Touche Eclat & Flash Touch Wake-Up Eyecare Limited Offer Duo

Touche Eclat is a luxury product I've admired from afar - the luxury price tag put it out of my beauty budget. However after reading so many positive articles about the fantastic new range of colours I couldn't resist giving my face over for demonstration to the YSL beauty girl who grabbed me as I browsed Selfridges. She insisted that I try the limited edition Touche Eclat & Flash Touch Wake-Up Eyecare Duo. Firstly she applied the Flash Touch Wake-Up Eyecare in small circular movements around my eye socket. Wand shaped with a small silver roller ball, enriched with arnica (which has decongesting and microcirculation activating properties) it feels deliciously cool and soothing. Next she applied Touche Eclat shade no.1 around my eyes and cheekbones. The duo gave great results - my skin looked smooth, even and brighter with just the right level of dewy, iridescence. When the YSL girl explained that the duo is on sale for a limited time only for £44.50, available from Selfridges, I was completely sold.  

Touche Eclat has a special place in the hearts of the beauty buying British - it is in fact the UK's No.1 Luxury Beauty Product; very quickly I realised the reasons for its success. The long gold wand shape makes the product portable and sleek. It can be slipped into a clutch bag, along with lip balm and eye liner - my personal night-out-facebook-photo-ready beauty essentials. I find myself wondering how I managed before as I use it for so many purposes - to cover blemishes, to lighten dark circles, to highlight my cheek bones. I love how it can be applied over make-up for a day to night look. I've also found that sometimes I use it in place of foundation when I'm in a hurry.

I realise I'm preaching to the converted as it is a product that's universally loved. However I would imagine that not everyone has tried Touch Eclat & Top Secrets duo. I love using them together, sometimes I put the Wake-Up Eyecare product in the fridge for an extra cooling, extra soothing sensation.