Friday, 4 March 2011

Friend Friday: Beauty Products

Friend Friday is run by ModlyChic.  To participate email  This week we are talking about beauty products.

As I am a bit of a make up junkie most of my answers are going to revolve around that!

1. What's your favorite drug store makeup product and your favorite higher-end product?

I can't really name one favourite product so I'll name a couple of favourite brands instead.

I have regularly bought and used products from a range called Ruby and Millie from the pharmacy chain here called Boots.  They have fabulous colours and everything comes in very chic packaging.  The containers are made from clear or cloudy perspex and lids and compacts are made from silver metal, which all make the line look more high end than high street.  They have a clever, much copied packaging system of stackable eyeshadow and blusher palettes, great make up brushes and do lovely gift sets which make great Christmas or birthday presents.

My high end favourite brand which I use almost at the exclusion of all others is MAC.  If you are not Caucasian finding make up colours and shades of foundation that suit your skin colour is an extremely difficult and sometimes costly process!  When I discovered MAC it was almost life changing.  I know I can rely on their shades to work with and flatter my skin tone and I like that their lipsticks are not scented as I find this really offputting.

As far as being totally eco-friendly and blame free on using animal products in their formulations they probably aren't one hundred percent perfect as a company but I like that they don't test on animals and have a recycling programme for their products.  You can take back six empty containers and get a free lipstick.

And while on the subject of eco and animal friendly make up, may I recommend as a guide for those who are interested in learning about great products and innovations in this area to check out the very thoroughly researched blog of my friend Sarah Frasca who is a London based make-up artist passionate about cruelty free and organic products.

2. Is there one type of product that is your go-to, can't live without?

I love Mac's Mineralize range but in particular I rely on MAC's Mineralize SPF 15 Loose Powder foundation.  I am always in rush getting ready and this is a foundation that goes on with a big fluffy brush and makes you look airbrushed in sixty seconds if you haven't got the time for applying liquid foundation.  If they ever discontinue this I am toast!

3. What's the best hair product you've ever used?

I have naturally frizzy hair that has to be coaxed into curls so "best hair product" is a bit of search for the Holy Grail for me and I am always trying lots of different things in my crusade to beat the frizz.  For years I relied on a leave-in, de-frizzing conditioner formulated for naturally curly hair by Sunsilk in a small green plastic bottle.  It was inexpensive, had a lovely scent and made my hair look a million dollars.  They seem to have discontinued it and I haven't found anything that works nearly as well.

4. Fess up, what's the worst beauty look you've tried to rock and look back at now with a little shame or apprehension that you actually did that?

There is no "worst beauty look" I am ashamed of having tried.  I honestly don't think about it in that way.  I love the self expression and theatricality of make up and I really enjoy the experimental side of trying out new looks.  Non! Je ne regrette rien!  If anything I actually regret not taking more risks with make up and trying out crazier looks when I was younger and still hitting the nightclubs regularly.  Make up is not always about looking tasteful and beautiful, sometimes its about fantasy, just having fun or creating a persona.

Robert Smith - Image from The Telegraph
Adam Ant - Image from

Just think - what would Robert Smith and Adam Ant have been without their crazy make up?  Two very nice looking blokes but probably not those larger than life and iconic rock stars they came to be, proud of wearing their creative streaks not just on their sleeves but on their faces too!

Make up looks might go in and out of fashion but if you rocked it at the time it was probably right in the context of that period and what was going on around you.  Fashion and make up are just reactions and ultimately expressions of what is happening in the world at the time.  Why not be proud that you were a part of it?  It is an aesthetic chart of your time growing up.  Remember at some point in the future a generation will no doubt be looking back nostalgically at what we wore in terms of clothes and make up and draw inspiration from it!

And for heaven's sake if you are young, take some advice - enjoy this dewy skinned and wrinkle free time to be adventurous with make up and rock some looks!  Try something high fashion, out of character or extreme for you.  Trust me, nothing will be blander than looking back over old photos of yourself in the future to see a youth spent playing it safe all the time.

5. When it comes to beauty products, we all use the same basic products. What do you use that helps show off your personal flare and personality? 

Even on no make up days I will usually use lipstick or lip gloss as I have very full lips and like to highlight them.  I love red lipstick!

I also love having a signature perfume.  Your choice of perfume speaks volumes about your personality.  I find it very romantic when people associate a certain scent with you.  Mine is Angel by Thierry Mugler.  When Mr V. catches a whiff of someone wearing Angel he says he finds himself automatically looking around to see if it is me.  Even old friends will tell me "I smelt that perfume you always wear the other day on someone else and I immediately thought of you!".

I also love Victor and Rolf's Flowerbomb and Ginger Rush by Origins for a change.  When I was younger I was always in the Body Shop's Dewberry and Tea Rose perfumes.  I've also tried a coffee scented one by Jo Malone and for a while loved White Tea by L'Occitane until they discontinued it.  Vanilla, chocolate, coffee tea, spices and flowers.  Now what does that say about me?


  1. I love hearing about your perfume preferences. That Jo Malone coffee scent is very good! And I'm a fan of Angel still--I have a mini I sniff from time to time. It was the first fragrance I bought in Paris, back in the early 90s, so it warms my heart.

    I love red lipstick, too!

  2. Ouch! I feel bad so many of your favorite products have been discontinued!

    I wish I could wear red lipstick, but it comes off as harsh on my face (I'm NC15 in MAC foundation, so that should give you some idea of how white I am! LOL).

    Great picks.

  3. I've heard of Boots but I never tried them! I might have to check them out! I'm such a product junkie too so it was hard to narrow down specific products. My best friend used MAC makeup for my wedding and she made me a believer!

  4. Always good to see Robert Smith and Adam Ant.
    One of my friends picked up a new Mac eyeshadow from a car boot sale and I must say it's gorgeous. xxx

  5. Gah! I didn't even think about signature scent! That's what I get for staying up so late, sleeping in, and writing my answers in an under-caffeinated state.

  6. V. Have you tried Frizz-Ease?? I swear by it. My hair is in fact a big frizzy mess with out it. No lie, my boyfriend often jokes he could use my head as a pot scrub or a mop.. nice isnt he?? Im so lucky..

  7. Found you on twitter. You have a beautiful site!

  8. recently mr. e got some bumble & bumble shampoo and moroccan oil for me - it's made a world of difference in my frizzy, wavycurly hair! worth a try if you haven't already. i find the main thing is to only shampoo once or twice a week, just do a water rinse/scalp massage on the other days.

    that's fun, i would have pegged you for an 'angel' girl...such a pretty, yummy scent! i love habanita, omnia crystalline, tabac blond, bandit (leather scents).

    other than my 'blotto' concealers (dermablend, NYX concealer in a pot, Laura Mercier Secret Camo) my 'can't live without' is tubing mascara. changed my life (well, makeup wise). i realize this has not much to do with your post, but all this talk of makeup is getting me worked up and i can't help i'm going over to Sarah Frasca's site - thank you for the tip ;) steph

  9. I loved the Body Shop's Dewberry, too! I had the perfume, and a huge bottle of the shampoo. I remember it taking so much room in my little shower tote basket at the university dorm. I've read that Lalique's Amethyste perfume is similar to Dewberry. Alas, I don't think the sweet dark berries are "me" anymore, and I'm in search of something more floral and complicated.

    I very much enjoy your thoughts on not regretting past looks (as long as one rocked them, within their time), and indulging and experimenting while one still has the skin to do it. I'd say the same holds true for clothing -- and that's partly why I'm trying more to wear good, flattering clothes, while I enjoy my thirtysomething figure. Because no matter how carefully I eat and how much physical activity I add to my life, I know I *will* get shorter and droopier eventually!

  10. I really want to try out some MAC products now (I think I've got their white loose powder, gotta check, I use it every day, but don't know which company it's from... Duh.) Did you ever try beer in your hair, or sugar water to make it stay up? All sins of my youth :)
    Me tip for everyone with brown eyes: Purple eyeshadow!

  11. my favorite hair product for silky-not-frizzy-wavey-rather-than-curly (especially in london's super humidity and constant rain) is actually only available in the uk (broke my heart coming back to the us and must have brought something like four bottles that i use sparingly because i'm going to be devastated when i run out) is from pantene - i discovered it in the offer basket in my local waitrose - it's the repair and protect serum and runs something like £4. it didn't make my (somewhat fine) hair greasy, regardless of how much i put in, and it really helped me stretch the time between cuts by keeping my hair healthy - such that i didn't even have to brush it out of the shower and could go to bed with a wet head and wake up unfrizzy and tangle-free. better than anything else i've tried, from the frizz-ease end of the spectrum all the way to kerastase.

    ok. that's my rave. now a question: what are the colors of those lovely red lipsticks pictured up top? i'm always looking for new shades and would love to hear your picks!



  12. @twofortheclothes - thanks for the Pantene tip off - will have to try it out. The lipstick colours above include: Burnin', Diva, Carnal, Ruby Woo, Dubonnet and So Chaud


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