belles on style

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

Beauty Belle

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Stylist Skincare Awards Reader Event & Clarins All About Lips gift set

I’m mad about Stylist. I demonstrate my level of dedication to the free weekly magazine every Wednesday morning when I take a five minute detour on my commute just to pick one up.

 Stylist magazine, one of my favourite covers!

I'm also mad about beauty. So you can imagine how eager I was to purchase the £10 ticket to attend the “Stylist Skincare Awards – Exclusive Reader Event” at Harvey Nicks, Knightsbridge on Thursday evening. At the event I was astounded by the sheer depth of knowledge possessed by beauty editor Joanna McGarry on all things beauty and skincare. During a question and answer session women fervently quizzed Jo on their skin problems:

“I suffer from adult acne, but also have dry skin, what product do you recommend I use?” or, “Sometimes I experience large, uncomfortable spots when I use certain brands. What products do you think are best for my skin?”

Jo provided candid and educated answers sounding at times like a qualified dermatologist. 

One of the highlights of the evening was when, following Jo’s presentation, a few glasses of champagne and a mini chocolate cupcake (or three), I took a leisurely stroll through the glistening, gorgeous aisles of Harvey Nicks beauty department to buy something lovely (the ticket was redeemable against purchases!). 

After sampling almost everything the Clarins All About Lips gift set caught my eye. 

The set contains two Natural Lip Perfectors (one in nude, the other in peachy pink); two Colour Quench Lip Balm (one in gold, the other rich pink); and the cutest gold pencil case make-up bag. This little gem is a limited edition gift set for £17, ideal for Christmas gifts, or in this case, “I-just-couldn’t-resist-and-definitely-deserve-it” present for myself.  

The Natural Lip Protector is a fabulous hybrid product – part lip balm, part lip tint. Infused with shea butter, mango, Vitamin A and E it is moisturising, protective and feels super smooth upon application. The pink or nude give a little pop of long lasting, non drying colour.  

The Colour Quench Lip Balm is more gloss than balm but still works as a lip moisturiser. It’s non sticky, smells fruity and tastes lovely. 

Did you attend the Stylist Skincare event? Or have you tried the All About Lips gift set? Please do let me know.



L'Occitane, Christmas Gift Collections Beauty Blogger event

I was lucky enough to be invited to the L’Occitane (pronouced Lox-ee-tan) beauty blogger event last week to celebrate the launch of their Christmas Gift Collection at the boutique store in Covent Garden.

We were met with champagne and Christmas biscuits in the gorgeously rustic, bright and beautiful basement level of the store. The Christmas Gift Collection sets were displayed appealingly and we were told that we would be allowed to pick our favourite to take home that evening as a little early Christmas present from L’Occitane. You can imagine, we were like kids in a sweet shop with far too many delicious choices.  

L'Occitane Christmas Gift Collections, which one to chose??
I was treated to the most informative and interesting tour around the store, shown each of the product ranges and given an insight into the L’Occitane world by PR manager Simon. L’Occitane is a brand that I’m very new to and having asked around it seems many of my friends and family are as well. But as Simon explained, once customers discover L’Occitane, they remain very loyal. Simon told me on average a skincare and beauty consumer will use a brand for seven years before their tastes and needs change. However, L’Occitane customers will stay for much, much longer. After an evening spent absorbing and learning all things L’Occitane, I can understand why. 

Everyone's favourite... L'Occitane Handcream

Forced with making a decision I chose the Romantic Rose Collection as it contained a perfume and a scented candle (and who can resist a scented candle?!). Floral’s, especially Rose are top notes that I tend to avoid as I find them more suited to someone older however, this perfume is light and one that I couldn’t resist. The packaging is exquisite – a pink gift box with a gold Provençal Christmas Tree, the products inside are carefully wrapped in pink tissue and sealed with a L’Occitane sticker.

 L'Occitane Christmas Gift Collection, Romantic Rose Collection, £46

The L’Occitane experience was captivating and exciting and I urge you to visit the store for yourself.



Saturday, 19 November 2011

Bare Minerals High Shine Eyecolor: Electric and Moonshine

Two gorgeous little gems have added extra glamour to my exhaustingly fun week of working and partying: Bare Minerals High Shine Eyecolor in Electric (a bluey, greeny shade) and Bare Minerals High Shine Eyecolor in Moonshine (a plumy, purple shade).

Bare Minerals High Shine Eyecolor in Moonshine

Moonshine and Electric give a gorgeous, heavily pigmented, glistening, metallic finish - perfect for the impending party season. Conveniently, as described by many of the top journalists in their beauty pages, metallic eyes are the make-up look to work this winter.

Metallic and glistening - Bare Minerals High Shine Eyecolor in Electric and Bare Minerals High Shine Eyecolor in Moonshine

I was extra crazy about Moonshine as the deep plum and purple shade is flattering, striking and completely on-trend. In this week’s “Beauty Charts” page in Grazia Angelica Hermon loves the rich and majestic purple shades found in YSL’s Golden Gloss lipgloss and Nars Eyeshadow Palette in Arabian Nights. She writes, “This week’s hottest new beauty buys: purple power.”

The formula is super creamy, velvety soft and, in true Bare Minerals fashion, does not dry or irritate my sometimes-sensitive eye area.The eye shadows come in a small tube; inside the tube is a wand with a cushioned tip. The first time I applied the colour I smoothed the tip of the wand straight into my eyelid. The intensity of the colour was pretty cool but very quickly the pigmentation particles fell onto my cheek bones.  

Two eye make-up remover pads later I decided to take a different approach – I rubbed an eyeshadow brush onto the tip and then applied onto my eyelid. This was much more effective as there was no fall out and I was able to apply the colour as eye liner on my bottom lash line. After experimenting all week my favourite look is to apply Moonshine to my eyelid, moving up to the crease followed by applying Electric on top as liner on the lower and upper lash. 

  £15 for one, available in Bare Minerals store and concessions across the UK and online. 

Have you used these? Do you have another suggestion for application and making the most of these gorgeous colours?




Sunday, 13 November 2011

The power of argan oil: Melvita *New* Argan Oil Roll-On

Over the previous few years argan oil has become a buzz phrase in the beauty industry. The oil’s healing and nourishing properties have led to it being used across a variety of products including facial oils, firming lotions, hair conditioning treatments and cuticle creams. 

Liz Earle is a huge fan of the precious oil and she describes the moment she fell in love with the it, “It was the best facial I’d ever received. I had to know more about the oil called the ‘gold of Morocco’.” Consequently, argan oil is now a key ingredient found in many products in her skincare range. 

In this month’s Elle magazine beauty writer Suzanne Scott tries and tests Superskin Concentrate Facial Oil by Liz Earle. The product contains organic rosehip, neroil, vitamin E and the healing argan oil. Suzanne describes how the oil affects her skin, “After two weeks, my skin is soft and looking clearer. In fact, when I don’t apply the oil for a night I notice I wake up puffy faced.” 

Argan oil has been used by the Moroccan people for hundreds of years in their daily routines.

It is sourced from the nuts of the rare argan tree and can be used in a number of ways including treating eczema, preventing ageing, soothing skin from sunburn and is even used in cooking. It is rich in essential fatty acids and omega-6 so is therefore nourishing, healing and extremely moisturising. 

Over the previous month I have been slipping the new Melvita Argan Oil Roll-On into my handbag. 

I’ve used the elegant glass tube on my lips, face and any areas I’ve felt are in need of some soothing, nourishing attention. My skin can be sensitive, especially in the winter months but Melvita’s Argan Oil Roll-On has proved the perfect antidote to any inflamed or dry patches. As the oil is precious and absolutely lovely to use I have been sparing with my applications – I really don’t want this gorgeous product to come to an end!

Melvita is a skincare brand that I really didn’t know much about however it’s one that I’ve quickly fallen in love with. They are a France’s leading ecological and organic beauty brand and have stores worldwide.

They first launched in the UK in 2010 with a gorgeous store in Covent Garden, amazingly the store has two beehives on the roof with 100,000 worker bees making delicious honey which can be purchased within the store! 

With the home made honey and a promise that at least 95% of ingredients found in all products are completely natural, Melvita is bringing a new meaning to the phrase “natural beauty”. 

For more information take a little look at the Melvita website:

Have you discovered Melvita? Or used argan oil? Please let me know.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Blink Brow Bar Mascara

Blink Brow Bar was an eyebrow threading bar set up in 2004 in Fenwick department store in London by Vanita Parti. Over the past seven years one threading bar has grown into a complete beauty brand - Blink Brow Bar's are now in UK department stores including Selfridges and Harvey Nicks. The brand has also created a cosmetics range including false lashes, eye liner and the brand new Blink Brow Bar Mascara in black, available for £17.

I've been lucky enough to have the pleasure of using this brilliant mascara. The long, straight brush is the perfect applicator and the innovative gel formula ensures glossy, thick and (this is my favourite part) smudge free lashes.

As Blink Brow Bar explains:

"The formulation wraps each lash with a polymeric film which creates tiny elastic tubes around each lash giving optimum length and volume... The gel formula is suitable for rain or shine, hot or cold climates... It's water-proof and smudge-proof."

I love that this product isn't available in all retailers - it feels like a great discovery. If you have a little bit more money to spend on mascara I would absolutely recommend splashing out on this one.


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, 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.


 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.