Omorovicza Refining Facial Polish

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

A few years ago, I fell deeply in love with a cleanser, so deeply in fact, that I hoarded the final few millimetres in the jar for three years, saving it's use for only very, very special occasions.  Recently, I was lucky enough to be reintroduced to the entire Omorovicza range (and that heavenly cleanser) and this product has become a little obsession recently as a result.

A bright emerald green from the algae and the copper in the formula, Refining Facial Polish is both a chemical and physical exfoliant, lava powder provides the physical (grainy) exfoliant, and there is a selection of fruit acids in here too, which provides the chemical exfoliating effect.

To use, you massage (lightly!) over clean, dry skin, taking time to admire how it fades from deep, deep kermit-with-a-suntan green to a pale pistachio as you massage:

You're welcome
Then, once the dark green has completely disappeared and your face is fully covered, you can either leave it as a mask for two minutes (taking selfies at this point is completely optional, I assure you) or simply skip the mask step altogether and rinse off completely and follow with serum and moisturiser as normal.

Once rinsed, your skin will be smooth and soft, and free from any rough patches.  There's a slight tingling sensation on the skin whilst in use, as you will get from most acid-based exfoliants, but it is very slight, and passes as soon as you rinse the product from your skin.  Omorovicza recommend this for all skin-types except the very sensitive, and I'd go along with that.  It hasn't irritated my sensitive skin, but I have spent years accustoming myself to acid peels, so I may not be typical.  I love how velvety soft this polish leaves my skin, and I'm having a hard time rationing myself to using it just once a week.

Omorovicza Refining Facial Polish costs £65, and is available from

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Ultimate Nars Lip Pencil Set

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

This summer's (Selfridges only) limited edition collection from Nars is a godsend for nude-lip lovers!  Billed as the "Ultimate Lip Pencil Set", the bright and lovely box contains three nude lip pencils in Stourhead, (satin formula) a lavender nude which is limited edition to this collection only, Biscayne Pink (satin formula), a browner pink, and Sex Machine (velvet matte formula) which is a more mauve nude:

And you also get a Nars-branded sharpener for the pencils.

Some long-time readers may remember that I'm not much of a nude-lip lover, but this is a cute set for anyone who is, having a range of pale lipshades, two of which aren't too scary.  The lavender pink of Stourhead however, on me, is one of the scariest lip colours ever.

Top to bottom: Stourhead, Biscayne Pink and Sex Machine.

 I do love the NARS Velvet Matte formula, owning quite a few pencils already, and the satin formula  has been a very nice discovery too, being shiny, but not too sheer, and feels quite moisturising in wear:

Top to bottom: bare lips, Stourhead, Biscayne Pink, and Sex Machine
 For my colouring however, both Stourhead and Biscayne Pink contain a bit too much white for me to be entirely comfortable wearing them, but Sex Machine is a pretty good (if pale) "my lips but better" shade.

It's a pretty collection, housed in a great and sturdy box, and if you like nudes, for £29 then this is a difficult collection to beat.  You can see more at: Selfridges Nars Ultimate Lip Pencil Set

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Lipstick Queen Seven Deadly Sins Collection

Monday, 27 July 2015

Such plans I had for the blog in June/early July, but life got in the way, and a holiday plus starting a new job, plus a bunch of weekend plans that had been in place made blogging a logistical impossibility ... anyway, I'm back now, and I'm armed with a new camera! 

Anyhoo, back before all hell broke loose I attended the marvellous launch of the latest Lipstick queen collection. Based on the concept of the Seven Deadly Sins, the range comprises seven full-pigment lipglosses with colours to match each "sin":

picture from press release
The colours as described in the press release are:
Vanity (wine),
Avarice (nude-peach),
Decadence (fuchsia),
Envy (purple),
Anger (red coral),
Indolence (nude-pink) and
Lust (deep red).

I've managed to get my hands on Avarice, Envy and Decadence to show you.

From left to right Avarice is a peachy-caramel tone, Envy is an unusual almost greyed-purple, and Decadence is a cool white-based fuchsia.

 Coverage on swatching for both Avarice and Decadence was definitely full-pigment, leading to an unexpectedly opaque coverage.  Envy, however, despite being darker is slightly more sheer on the skin.  Coverage on lips is similar:

Top to bottom: bare lips, Avarice, Envy and Decadence
 Avarice and Decadence cover lips fully, but because Envy is both sheer and so dark, it leads to patchiness on application, unless you want to apply several coats.  Of these three shades, Decadence would be my pick - Envy is just too patchy (and makes me look cyanotic, to boot!), and Avarice is just that little bit too brown for my skintone, which would make wearing it a challenge for me.

Wear, however, is lovely.  The glosses are non-sticky and unfragranced, and leave the lips feeling soft and hydrated, I have had no issues with dry lips, or even getting my hair stuck on these glosses!  Wear time is actually better than you'd expect from a normal gloss, owing to the high amount of pigment in the formula, and I actually (unexpectedly) found that they faded very evenly even through eating and drinking - Decadence in particular wears down to a lovely soft stain on the lips, which I liked very much.  I didn't wear Envy long enough to discover how that wears, however, sorry!

I wish I'd had some of the redder shades to look at, hopefully the formula of those is nearer to Decadence than Envy ... I'll keep you posted.

The Seven Deadly Sins collection will be available in SpaceNK from September, and will cost approximately £22 each.

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Skincare of the week ...

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Or, my week on Instagram, basically.  I've been doing a project and messing about with a new camera, so my instagram has been full of pictures of skincare.  I thought you might like to see them too - although, if you don't already follow me there, whyever not?

Skin has been a bit parched lately, so I've been doubling up on the hyaluronic acid serums recently.  Loving the First Aid Beauty pads (very mild, so good for stressed skin), and the moisturising RMK toner.

Another parched day, so more doubling up of serums, this time hylamide with Vichy, and bringing back my beloved Zelens cleansing balm.

Nighttime treats, the rosy goodness of the Oskia Cleansing Gel, coupled with Good Genes for brightening, and I finally remembered my eye cream ... I'm horrific for forgetting my eyecream.

Another morning routine on a less parched (rainy) day.  Old favourites abound.  The chantecaille will be released in October, and a full review will be coming soon.

A simple nighttime routine, the Omorovicza facial polish will be on the blog on Wednesday.

Yeah, sorry.  I just like this picture, and Artemis is a BIG favourite.

A simple but effective routine for a lazy Saturday around the flat ...

I like this routine so much, featuring a couple of really old favourites - the May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon and Omorovicza  thermal cleansing balm, and something I'm developing a real crush on, the Sunday Riley blogger favourite (which I bought, btw, it's not a sample) Luna oil.

Any questions?  You know where the comments are ... how was your week in skincare?

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Jil Sander - Sun

Friday, 19 June 2015

There are always a bunch of people discussing Jil Sander's Sun on my Twitter timeline, and I've wanted to smell it for the longest time, so when I found a bottle at a bargain price at Vienna airport recently I snapped one up without even the slightest hesitation!

It's an odd one, the name conjures up suntan lotion and coconut, maybe jasmine and tiare in line with other "sunny" smells, something tropical at least.  But no! It's actually a benzoin-heavy, warm and slightly powdery fragrance, practically an oriental (it has hints of vanilla and spice) to my nose.  Not what sprang to mind, and, slightly the better for it, to be honest.  It is definitely a warm scent, but warm like a hug rather than a sunny day.  

There are no tropical flowers here, just heliotrope, which gives it that powdery-almond effect, which, coupled with the balsamic-woods scent of the benzoin makes this a very snuggleable (totally a word) fragrance.  There's also a slightly "clean" facet to how the fragrance smells, which is, I think, down to a combination of bergamot and blackcurrant in the opening, but it's neither fruity, nor floral, weirdly, it's a warm, ambery, slightly spice slice of "Sun", rather than the suntan lotion you'd expect from the name.

If you're travelling this summer, you can pick up Sun for around £12-15 at Duty Free, for some reason, it's impossible to find in stores in the UK.

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Madame La La West Coast Face Bronzing Serum

Thursday, 18 June 2015


I am almost as violently opposed to fake tanning as I am to contouring, but occasionally a product will pop up that sounds interesting enough to make me try it again, and Madame La La's West Coast Bronzing Serum really made me take notice when I first read about it.

Containing real skincare ingredients such as vitamins A, C & E, aloe vera and CQ10, West Coast Face bronzing serum promises a natural looking tan, adapted to your own skintone, which also contains "blurring technology" (similar to primers) so you won't need to wear foundation whilst waiting for your tan to develop.

To use, you apply a pea-sized blob over clean, dry skin (I applied all my usual serums and moisturisers beforehand), and blend all over your face (you'll need to work quickly), and the guide colour will leave you with a subtle golden glow.  The tan itself takes around three hours to develop fully, and lasts for three to four days even with a full twice-a-day double-cleansing routine. You can wear gloves whilst applying if you like, but I found that excess tan on hands and fingertips washes off quite easily with just soap and water.  Of course, you need to make sure that you take the product all the way up to the hairline, and all the way down to the d├ęcolletage, if you want to avoid tidemarks.

This is why you need to work quickly, whilst I was taking swatch pictures, it stained!
I found I was left with a very natural looking tan, good enough so that some people were fooled into thinking it was my normal skin-tone. Colourwise, I've been very impressed.  I've found that it has faded smoothly too, no patchiness or flaking, just slightly less tanned, day on day.  I was very happy that there was no streakiness either in application, or when the tan developed - the guide colour really helps. Whilst it wasn't quite the colour I naturally tan to, it was very close indeed.  For me, it added just enough colour to hide my high-colouring, and even out my skintone, and make it look like I'd had a week away somewhere sunny.  Impressive!

Skincare-wise I was impressed too,  the serum applied smoothly, and I was happy to go foundation-less whilst it developed. I didn't find (as I have done with some other similar products) that it caused any zits, either.  My skin just felt moisturised and cared for.  Oh, and no smell of biscuits! Overall, I really, really liked this. I think, come winter, it'll be a godsend.

You can buy Madame La La's West Coast Face Bronzing Serum direct from their site, or from LookFantastic who currently have a multi-buy offer. (NOT affiliate links).  It costs £28 for 100mls, which should last you quite a while.

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Phytoplage Sun Protectant Hair Oil and Recovery Mask

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Sharp-eyed readers might have noticed there's a bit of a theme this week ... holidays!  This is because I'm preparing to head off into the sunshine for a while, and, in typical "me" fashion, I'm concentrating on the products I'll be packing instead of the clothes ... (I hate summer clothes generally, it's always a problem when you basically dress in black all year round!).

I actually trialled both of these during my honeymoon in 2013, and thought they were so marvellous that I'm taking them along with me during this year's holiday too.  I have coloured hair, and it is also rather curly, so hot climes and saltwater tend to do a lot of damage to what I laughingly call "my hair" when I'm away.  The oil spray protects from pool chemicals and UV rays from the sun during the day, meaning you can both swim and sunbathe without worrying about your hair frying, and the hair mask (which I use as a normal conditioner when abroad) helps soothe frazzled strands after a hard day in the sunshine.

They smell delicious too. There's a matching shampoo, but I don't bother with that, usually just taking whatever I normally use, but it's hard to beat these two for hair protection in the sun.

It's that or a hat. And I look like an idiot in a hat ... Phyto haircare is available now, and these two products will set you back £16 each.

The Fine Print: PR Samples

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Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Shower Oil

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

 Last year Nuxe released a perfume version of their cult Huile Prodigieuse, which I liked a great deal (and reviewed it here), and this year they're releasing a Shower Oil version, which, I'm not going to lie, I like a great deal.

Smelling identical to both the oil and the perfume versions of Huile Prodigieuse, it's a creamy floral, suntan-lotion scented shower oil in a slightly balmy-texture. It has a slight golden shimmer (similar to the Huile Prodigieuse d'Or version) throughout, which will leave your skin with a slight gleam, but not looking like you've showered with a drag queen.  It lathers up nicely with a shower puff, and leaves skin feeling clean and moisturised, without drying or dragging.

All in all a very nice product, I'll be packing this one to take away with me this year.  After all, if you can't smell like you're on your holidays when you're actually on your holidays, when can you?

It'll be instore soon.

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Guerlain Reissues Terracotta le Parfum for 2015

Monday, 15 June 2015

Last year, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their iconic bronzing range, Terracotta, Guerlain released a limited edition tiare-inspired fragrance Terracotta Le Parfum, and to say it was a hit would be a mild understatement.  It sold out in what seemed like moments, and I kicked myself hugely for not hunting down a bottle as soon as I saw the press release. So this year, when I discovered it was being re-released, I wasted no time and literally had a bottle in my hands the day after I found out it was back ....

On first spray, you're enveloped in a cloud of white flowers and sunshine. Tiare always smells tropical to me. Waxy and fat, it's an ingredient I used to have trouble with after overdosing on LouLou in the eighties, but it is something I'm slowly re-learning to love, and love it I do, now.  Anyway, here the tiare is surrounded by jasmine, ylang-ylang coconut and vanilla, and the effect is like expensive suntan lotion on hot skin initially, bringing to mind beaches and cocktails, and sun-warmed sand.  Once the tiare flowers wear off a little, there's a creamy and milky musk with hints of orange blossom left behind that wears close to the skin, and reminds you of holidays in warmer climes than the UK.

It's a lovely bottle too, a flat gold-embossed flask with a wooden top.  I'm actually taking this away with me on my summer holidays this year, but if you can't afford a holiday away, the bottled sunshine of Terracotta le Parfum might just be an acceptable substitute ... 

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Juliette Has A Gun - Gentlewoman

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

At a lunch last week with Romano Ricci, the creator of Juliette Has A Gun, I was surprised that he thinks Gentlewoman is all about almonds, because to me, Gentlewoman is green, all the way down, and when it is not green, it is citrus.

Conceived as a masculine-style fragrance for women (and as a woman who used to wear aftershave, because I couldn't stand the sugary-sweet confections the high-street called perfumes for years, I totally get where that impulse has come from), JHaG Gentlewoman is a real treat if you like cologne-style fragrances with lasting power, and without that particular "sporty man smell" that some cheaper aftershaves specialise in.

Opening with bittersweet neroli and bergamot with wafts of deeply green petitgrain, Gentlewoman is sharp and exhilarating at first sniff, threatening to become totally heady and off-balance, but this is soon offset by an almost soapy orange blossom scent (soapiness in a perfume being something I happen to adore, but your mileage might vary), and there is just a hint of a marzipan accord which adds a little sweetness to take the edge off the headiness. It's not overly nutty, or sweet, but it just takes the scent in a slightly different direction to how you would expect after the almost straight-forward cologne-style opening, adding a little creamy depth to the ode to orange in all its forms in the upper notes of the fragrance.  In the dry-down there are musks and woods, but the marzipan and orange-blossom stay all the way to the end, and it lasts incredibly well on the skin.

It's rather discreet, staying close to the skin, and yet it is subtly sexy, reminding me of hot, soapy skin after a long and steamy shower (rugby player optional).  It reminds me, in the best possible way, of Jean Paul Gaultier's classic Fleur Du Male, which attempted to play with gender roles in a similar way albeit from the opposite end, creating a feminine fragrance that men wouldn't be afraid to wear (only they were terrified, and JPG FdM was discontinued a couple of years ago), but whereas Fleur du Male's take on orange blossom was very much of the soapy barber-shop shaving-cream variety, Gentlewoman does have a slightly lighter and fresher, in spite of the unusual nutty creaminess, take on the note.

Romano mentioned that the marzipan note was inspired by the French version of PVA glue, scented as it is with almonds, and, for him, this accord is the one that he smells most of all.  Having worn it a few times now (for, since this turned up, this has been the only fragrance I've wanted to wear, despite only having had it a week), the marzipan note definitely gets more apparent the longer you wear it.  I'm genuinely slightly in love with Gentlewoman, and I never expected that. Is it original?  Not particularly.  But it is bloody, bloody lovely.   I lack the vocabulary to tell you how much I HATE the damn box though.  It's cheap and nasty foam, and it takes up three times the space it needs to, for no reason whatsoever. So, there's that.

Gentlewoman, for when you want to smell like a hot sexy man, but can't be bothered nicking his aftershave.  Currently a Selfridges exclusive, for £75.

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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