Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Make Mine A Guinness

Make Mine A Guinness..

Throughout his illustrious career, NARS Founder and Creative Director

François Nars has been inspired by iconic beauties whom, he says, “are

larger than life, unforgettable and posses an elegance that’s timeless.”

Whether avant-garde or A-list, the NARS woman is simply irresistible.

Perhaps no one fits that description better than Daphne Guinness, Nars’

mesmerizing muse and inspiration for the NARS Fall 2010 campaign. Sexy,

sultry, daring and decadent, Daphne “is the ideal icon to capture Fall 2010's

old-Hollywood meets futuristic look,”says François.

It was only fitting that Nars chose to name an eyeshadow after his muse,

Daphne, a colour that is as bold and beautiful as the woman for whom it

was named.

To magnify the arresting impact of the magnificent Ms. Guinness, Nars

designed and photographed her in a kaleidoscope of mirrors, creating a

virtual funhouse of reflective images. The result: A whirl of alabaster skin,

hypnotic violet eyes, dazzling diamonds and Clara Bow lips.

Daphne Guinness NARS Makeup Look:

When it comes to describing fashionista Daphne Guinness, François Nars’ passion knows no boundaries. And when it came to designing and photographing this futuristic makeup look for Fall 2010, François created a look worthy of his leading lady.

Central to this ultra-sophisticated, ethereal look: A canvas of impeccably, smooth skin. Under Nars’ direction, Makeup Artist Kabuki primed the skin with line-erasing Skin Smoothing Face Prep, followed by a base of Siberia Sheer Matte Foundation and finally a light application of Snow Loose Powder. To contour Daphne’s complexion, he dusted Douceur Blush to the cheeks and blended it with the Yachiyo Brush.

To create scintillatingly dramatic eyes, Kabuki applied a coat of Smudge-Proof Eyeshadow Base, followed by a wash of Daphne Single Eyeshadow. Using the Wide Contour Brush, he built color and intensity along the outer eye. For brightness in the inner eye, he applied Mangrove Single Eyeshadow and lightly lined the top and bottom lashes with Nuits Blanches Eyeliner Stylo. Brows were defined with Ipanema Eyebrow Pencil. The look was finished off with two coats of Larger Than Life Volumizing Mascara to both the top and bottom lashes.

The pièce de résistance: Daphne’s lips, stained with Rouge Basque Lipstick and highlighted with Scandal Lip Gloss for ultimate shine and fullness.

Douceur Blush: For the first time ever, this soft pink-brown hue is etched with the NARS logo. Douceur. Fr.: Sweet, gentle, delicate. NARS Douceur Blush: A soft pink-brown hue that lightly imparts a honeyed brown kiss of innocence on cheeks. Use to contour from the apple of the cheek upward; warm forehead, jaw line and nose.

Daphne Eyeshadow: Named after Daphne Guinness herself, this eyeshadow is a hypnotizing matte, deep-violet hue.

Mangrove Eyeshadow: A soft mellow yellow laced with lime, inspired by the tropical Mangrove tree.

Coconut Grove Eyeshadow: A dark chocolate-cum-taupe named for Miami’s magical neighborhood on Biscayne Bay.

Rouge Basque Lipstick: Inspired by the inside cover of a book from the famed French countryside, François Nars envisioned the quintessential red from the Basque region.

Strawberry Fields Lip Gloss: Imagine juicy, mouthwatering strawberries, just picked. Then delight in the serious, yet sexy shine of this bright pink confection.

Palladium Soft Touch Shadow Pencil: This sparkling turquoise soft touch shadow pencil rocks with all the vibrancy and sex appeal of its namesake NYC hotspot.

Rajasthan Duo Eyeshadow: An exotic pair of shadows playing glazed almond against cool charcoal.

Tzarine Duo Eyeshadow: Platinum gold infused with silver is paired with a bold, steel grey in this duo.


Why did you cast Daphne Guinness in the Fall 2010 campaign?

I loved working with Daphne Guinness on the 15X15 Project and wanted to work with her again. She is very creative, elegant and so high society. So very decadent with a British background. She is THE NARS woman—we even named an eyeshadow after her this season!

Why did you name an eyeshadow after Daphne?

When I saw her wearing the bright purple hue at the campaign shoot, I immediately knew it should be named after her. The eyeshadow looked like it was made for her—so mesmerizing and regal, like Daphne herself. I’m always inspired by so many different things when it comes to naming products—art, people, fashion, travel, music and nature.

Why did you build a set of mirrors to photograph Daphne?

Daphne herself was the inspiration for the campaign. She is so amazing to look at that we thought, why not have more of her! So we used the mirrors to multiple her image 5, 10 times.

What did you want to achieve with this collection?

I wanted a collection that was Old Hollywood meets futuristic, which is also very much Daphne’s style. I love the bold hues—the deep red in Rouge Basque, the intense brown in Coconut Grove, and of course the regal purple in Daphne.

How should women update their makeup look for the Fall?

I hope women aren’t confined to trends and take the change of seasons as a chance to experiment! This season, there are so many great bold hues for women to try—vibrant reds, deep brown, fresh blues. Mix the shades and textures and don’t forget to have fun!


Douceur Blush - £19.50

Rouge Basque Lipstick (Limited Edition) - £17.00

Strawberry Fields Lip Gloss (Limited Edition) - £17.00

Daphne Eyeshadow - £16.00

Coconut Grove Eyeshadow - £16.00

Mangrove Eyeshadow (Limited Edition) - £16.00

Tzarine Eyeshadow Duo - £23.00

Rajasthan Eyeshadow Duo (Limited Edition) - £23.00

Palladium Soft Touch Shadow Pencil (Limited Edition) - £15.00

NARS Fall 2010 Collection is available from:


Sunday, 18 July 2010

The Immaculate Complexion

The Immaculate Complexion..

A clear, pore-less complexion and smooth plump skin are not only indicative of good health, fortuitous genes (or regular visits to a certain Dr. Sebagh). Combined, they are the hallmarks of "the immaculate complexion", the elusive holy grail of all "natural beauty" enthusiasts. Any make-up artist worth their salt will agree that the key to beautiful make-up is a flawless canvas. In reality, few of us are in possession of "Photoshop-perfect" skin. Though most adults are likely to have experienced the traumatic and often embarrassing effects of adolescent acne, for some, these bouts of hormone, diet or stress-induced breakouts linger on into adulthood.

Whether it's breakouts, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, redness or sensitivity, if we're honest, few of us could claim to be immune to the perils of personal vanity. When the average consumer is constantly bombarded with computer-enhanced images portraying an impossible industry standard of aesthetic perfection and perpetual youth - it would be impossible not to succumb to the pressures of wanting to look one's best 24/7.

When it comes to achieving and maintaining a flawless complexion, the harsh reality is that there are no quick fixes. A healthy diet, rich in oily fish (mackerel / salmon), fresh fruit, leafy green vegetables, seeds, pulses, unrefined sugars and flour, plenty of water (6 tall glasses a day) combined with regular exercise will all go a long way to boosting your overall well being for the long term. Sufficient rest is also core to healthy looking skin as the body repairs itself while you sleep. If you regularly clock up less than the suggested eight hours of sleep a night, you're likely to see signs of your sleep debt quite literally etched all over your face (dull skin, lines, sagging, puffiness, dark circles, blemishes).

Moderation in all things is also essential. Excessive alcohol, smoking, drugs, a poor diet, insufficient exercise and pollution will all take their toll on your skin. I'm a great believer in the old adage "beauty on the outside starts on the inside". You can slap all manner of lotions and potions onto your skin in the vain hope of somehow halting the onset of time - but if your core health is not as it should be, then buying into a "wonder product" will be as aesthetically successful as giving a derelict car a new lick of paint. It may look shiny on the outside - but on the inside it's still a mess.

So, with positive lifestyle choices in place, it's time to maintain your new-and-improved skin with the right skin care for you. Many beauty brands extol the virtues of a "3 step" skincare program. In modern beauty, the "3 step" skincare regime probably owes more to marketing wizardry and need creation than it does to dermatological fact. Many cosmetic toners contain alcohol. Rather than "removing all traces of cleanser, make-up and grime", they're more likely to strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to skin sensitivity and overactive sebaceous glands as the skin goes into overdrive to replenish its natural moisture level. If you must use a toner, look for a botanical formula devoid of alcohol - Kiehl's do a great selection for a variety of skin types.

In my professional opinion, a high quality cleanser is the corner stone of great skin care - as is the appropriate application technique. The combination of the two will garner optimum results from your products. Just as spending an hour in the gym three times a week is likely to have a more tangible effect on your physique than exercising for a paltry five minutes, it's worth noting that setting aside five minutes to gently massage your face and neck every morning and evening will do far more for your complexion and skin elasticity than simply slapping on a face wash, rinsing and running out the door.

Having tested some of the most sought-after cleansers on the market, I've settled on my top three award-winners. Each product has been rigourously tested by yours truly, with marks awarded for efficacy, value for money and product design. Prices have been broken down into three categories; "Cash", "Cheque" and "Credit".


Liz Earle For Men Cleanse & Polish - £13, 100ml

Once the closely guarded secret of beauty journalists, Liz Earle's significant column inches and strong presence on QVC have ensured that her award-winning range of naturally inspired skin care products have achieved global recognition. The "must have" cult product from her range is the best-selling Cleanse & Polish. This rich cleansing balm is packed with skin-soothing Rosemary and Eucalyptus essential oils to decongest the skin. Gently massage the balm all over the face and neck, upwards in circular motions until all traces of surface make-up and dirt have been emulsified. Place the accompanying muslin wash cloth in hand-hot water, ring out then press over the face and neck. Inhaling the steam vapour deeply will promote relaxation as well as opening up pores for a thorough clean. Gently remove all traces of the cleanser then rinse the face and neck with cold water to close the pores, tone the skin and boost circulation. This product gets top points for efficacy. My oily skin can lead to sporadic breakouts but after a month of cleansing religiously with this product, morning and night, my skin has never looked as healthy or blemish free. While I would award this product 10 points for efficacy and ten points for outstanding value, its sole failing is the uninspired packaging, which would earn it a relatively modest 6 points. Total - 26 / 30


Emma Hardie Natural Lift Cleansing & Exfoliating Cream - £39

Leading British facialist Emma Hardie has capitalised on her strong profile and holistic approach to anti-ageing skin care with this sumptuously scented, multi-purpose botanical balm. Packed full of age defying and skin soothing ingredients such as moringa seed oil, sea fennel, vitamin e and essential oils of orange, neroli, mandarin, rose and jasmine, this product's rich formulation is particularly effective for mature or especially dry / jet-lagged skin types. I recommend this product for flying as you can apply a thin layer as a deeply nourishing in-flight mask to soothe flair ups and boost cell hydration. The additional rosehip seeds have a potent anti-ageing effect and may be mixed into the balm, with the mixture doubling as a superb bi-weekly scrub to boost cell turnover and smooth the skin. The packaging is simple but visually pleasing - a welcome addition to the most luxurious of bathrooms. I awarded this product 8 points for efficacy as it is particularly good for mature skins rather than all skin types. The sleek packaging and high-quality, double-sided face cloth warranted 9 points while the £39 price tag meant that this product lost out on the value-for-money category with a disappointing 6 points. At that price, no matter how good the ingredients, it would only be accessible to a select few. In today's financial climate, I'd imagine most people would question the viability of spending nearly £40 on a product that essentially cleans your skin. Total - 23 / 30


Rodial A-List Cleanser - £48, 100ml

This high-end cleanser boasts Rodial's signature super-antioxidant active ingredient - anti-ageing pomegranate ellagic tannin to repair and restore the skin. Waterlilly extract reduces redness and inflammation while collagen plumps, vitamin c smoothes fine lines and amino acids boost radiance. Though pleasantly scented and with a pleasant texture, the price of this product is prohibitive. The lack of an additional face cloth seems somewhat mean, given that the other two award-winning products came with a complimentary wash cloth - resulting in a disappointing 5 points for value. The easily absorbed texture and noticeably hydrating effect of the cleanser earns it an 8 for efficacy, while the deluxe packaging befits its A-List name, earning it a glorious 10 points for design. Total - 23 / 30


Liz Earle - uk.lizearle.com

Emma Hardie - www.spacenk.co.uk

Rodial - www.spacenk.co.uk

A Life Less Ordinary

A Life Less Ordinary..

While we're all familiar with amnesties on everything from firearms to weapons and used syringes, amnesties on make-up are as far as I'm aware, previously uncharted territory within the world of contemporary beauty. Granted, it's unlikely that the use of every-day cosmetics could lead to fatalities in the same way as the aforementioned weapons or drugs paraphernalia (with extreme allergies being a notable exception). On the contrary - we've come a long way since the ancient Egyptians applied mercury-derived powder to their faces. Furthermore, the fashion for arsenic face powder (thankfully) died with the Elizabethans. So with all this in mind, who would want to call for an amnesty on make-up and for what purpose? Illamasqua, the cutting-edge contemporary make-up brand "for your alter ego" is about to send seismic waves through the beauty world with their inspired "Make-Up Amnesty". Running from the 17th-31st July 2010, the brand are calling on all beauty consumers to "ditch the make-up drudgery and embrace the extraordinary". Take your old make-up products to any of the participating Illamasqua counters and invest in some of their signature densely pigmented products, available in shades and textures as vivid as the wildest of imaginations. It doesn't matter whether your old mascara has dried up, or if your blusher compact is crumbling beyond recognition - take your make-up "mistakes" to the participating Illamasqua counters and their artists will not only assist you in replacing them with superior (and infinitely more exciting) products, but you'll also receive a complimentary 25% discount on your new purchases. So whether you want to trade in your lackluster "beauty don'ts" for dramatic false lashes, a photo-perfect foundation, a cult liquid metal, vibrant nail colour or hyper-pigmented product for the eyes, lips or face, now is your chance to clear out those make-up bags of all things dull and invest in the products that will help to unleash the "real you". So whether your alter ego is a goth, vamp, rock star, punk, cyborg or fairy, start trading in the dull and invest in something daring. After all, who dares wins.

The Illamasqua Make-Up Amnesty runs from 17th-31st July 2010 and is available at:

Selfridges Oxford Street, Trafford Centre, Birmingham Bullring, Fenwick Newcastle, BT2 Grafton Street Dublin, Debenhams Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff.

(This amnesty does not apply to the Illamasqua online shop)


Going To The Chapel

Going To The Chapel..

I was delighted to make it into the June/July 2010 issue of Blackhair Magazine this month (on the contributors page no less). For those of you who are unfamiliar with the publication, its target demographic is women of colour. If I'm honest, I've always felt that magazines targeted at the black women's market have lacked the fashion credibility and slick production values offered by mainstream style bibles such as Elle and Vogue. Statistically speaking, women of colour tend to spend far more on their hair, skin, make-up and nails than their Caucasian sisters. You'd think that more hair and beauty advertisers within the UK would have cottoned on to this by now? The models used in large-scale American beauty advertising are culturally diverse - and therefore representative of the broad spectrum of ethnicity within the US. Revlon boasts Jessica Alba and Halle Berry as celebrity spokesmodels, while L'Oreal boasts Beyonce, Eva Longoria and Aishwarya Rai. Look at beauty advertising in the UK however and you'd be hard-pressed to see such variety. The only notable exceptions would be brands such as Clarins and Nars who have featured the Sudanese supermodel Alek Wek in previous campaigns. In addition, Estee Lauder broke some serious ground by signing up Ethiopian supermodel Liyah Kebede to join Carolyn Murphy and Elizabeth Hurley as a spokesmodel / ambassador for the brand. Thankfully, Blackhair Magazine is an up-to-date publication with slick fashion and beauty content in addition to its main focus of black / afro hair. It is without doubt a market-leader and has set an enviable benchmark to its competitors within the Afro / Caribbean beauty sector, proving that yes, black is beautiful and yes, it can be contemporary too. So naturally, when the magazine called to ask if I'd be willing to contribute some expert tips for their bridal supplement, I was more than happy to oblige. Snap up your copy of the June/July 2010 issue of Blackhair Magazine at newsagents nation wide to read all my essential tips for looking camera-ready on your special day - without breaking the bank. Pictured above are my four pages of Press, as featured in the June/July 2010 issue of the magazine. To enlarge, simply click on the images.