Sunday, 31 March 2013

Brand Masterclass - Benefit Cosmetics

It is not often that businesses are started off with a coin toss. Twins Jean and Jane Ford at a crossroads - Heads it was going to be a casserole cafe but thankfully it was tails to open a beauty boutique. In 1976 the Ford twins opened 'The Face Place' in San Francisco. The first product was a lip and blush tint called 'Rose Tint', developed for an exotic dancer who was in need of a nipple tint for shows.

In 1989, the catalogue was developed and this a new focus on department store distribution, The Face Place was rebranded and named Benefit Cosmetics. Their key product also had a make over and was rename what we know it today - Benetint. It still remains the companies top seller at over 10 million bottles sold.

With success in America, they opened in Europe in the Harrods Store in 1997, with the website store soon launching afterwards. Then in 1999 LVMH (Moét Hennessy - Louis Vuitton) brought Benefit. As the company grew so did the Benefit family with Jean's daughters, Maggie and Annie, joining their mother and aunt in 2008.

From the start Benefit to this day keeps to it quirkiness, know for it's unique packaging and product names. The empire has also expanded into it own line of Brow Bars and stand alone stores as well as having a strong presence in department stores and pharmacies.

"Laughter is the best cosmetics, so grin and wear it."

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Invaders Must Die (Yes Spots I Mean You!)

If you follow me on Twitter (@unevenlemming) you will know that over the past two months my work load has increased, I've moved home and have completed (and passed) my BTEC course. This has shown through my skin which has broken out in spots around my jawline.
I put out a plea over Twitter for help as my normal reserve wasn't working, Lipglossiping answered and suggested I try a simple aspirin mask. This involves taking 5 uncoated aspirin tablets (I used soluble ones that are from Tesco's for about 55p) mixed with water and a little honey. You then would put this on the affected area for 10 minutes and wash off.

The Salicylic acid, a form of Beta Hydroxyly Acid, acts as a anti-inflammarty. It is not suitable for people who have allergies to aspirin or dry/sensitive skin. However, it is wonderful when something so simple and cheap really works. It noticeably reduced the redness as well as the pain of the inflamed skin. In between I used my Witch Blemish Stick the best spot treatment I have had (I also love the Anti Blemish Primer).

If they are really inflamed and none of the above had not worked, I go to the extreme - I extract the bugger out! As this is has a risk of leaving scarring behind I only will do this if there is no other choice (and it can really hurt, I have a low pain threshold). I make sure that the skin is clean and warmed, this makes it more acceptable to being played with,  roll the skin using my finger with clean tissues until the white core is out. Keep as clean as possible and leave to heal on it's own.

I've also added a new product to my spot fighting arsenal - Skinetica, a liquid skin treatment that is wiped over clean skin. It's active ingredients reduce developing spots. In the weeks since I've started using it I have seen an improvement in the reduction of them as well as no new breakouts. For 100ml it is £10, it is on the more expensive side so I use it more for when do spot the start of a breakout. They do offer a sample bottle where you just pay the £1 postage.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Bad Apple's Almata Nail Varnish

I got this months ago at the #BbloggersXmas Event from Bad Apple Cosmetics. I have worn this a few times by now and have liked the colours, the formula is the right consistency and goes nearly solid within 2 coats. For me its the duo chrome colour that's inspired by TVR cars (which speaks to my inner petrol head). I got given what I think is the more wearable colour, dark bronze/grey with pink/purple shimmer. The wearing time is good as well, there was very small chips after 5 days (I refresh the top coat as recommended every other day).

I now want to increase my collection with the other duo chromes Arlington and Arkansas. You can buy them from for £9.95.

The top photo is with flash and the bottom is in daylight.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Brand Masterclass - M.A.C. Cosmetics

M.A.C. Cosmetics or Makeup Artist Cosmetics was created in 1984 by Photographer Frank Tostan and Salon chain owner Frank Angelo, seeing a gap in the market for specialised cosmetics for fashion photo shoots. Tostan was the idea and creative mind behind M.A.C. before partnering with Angelo, he experimented with formulas with his brother in law and chemist Victor Casale.  Original product lines were designed for Makeup artists who needed heavy cosmetics, cake makeup ad stage makeup needed for the heavy light of photography.

Already having connections in the industry, they spread the M.A.C. word through these contacts. The quality and durability of the products soon promoted the brand and won endorsements by stars like Pamela Anderson, Debbie Harry, and Boy George. They opened their first store in New York in 1991, with the first European in Paris in 1996. They now have 1,500 locations in 78 countries.

In 1994 the partners sold 51% of the business to Esteé Lauder with the full takeover being completed in 1998 after the passing of Frank Angelo. Esteé Lauder kept the original philosophy of the owners work as well as the continued VIVA Glam campaign that raises funds and awareness of AIDS through limited edition collections.

"All ages, All races, All sexes"

Monday, 18 March 2013

Getting Back My Get Up and Go

As you have read before the past few months have been a real strain on my body. I've have been lacking in energy, feeling constantly tired and relying more on sugar/caffeine drinks more than before. I was exchanging emails with Kerry, one of the founders of Nature's Heathbox,  and mentioned this to her. She recommended that I try these as they have benefitted one of her family, and sent me two months worth to see if they were any use to me.

After doing a little search around on the benefits it sounded like something I really would benefit me: Increases stamina and energy, soothes nerves (recommended with people who suffer anxiety), strengthens immune system and enhanced sexual function (not that I need this but it raised an eyebrow with the husband). Like with any supplement I made sure that it wouldn't affect anything I was already taking, after the all clear I started taking these one day after meals.

After a few days I did notice a energy change, while I was still a little tired I was reaching less for the stimulates. After a week I did fell a increase in my energy levels, I did literally have a spring in my step. I was less stressed and felt I could handle more than before. I am now a month later and I still have the energy levels of before. My immune system has taken a beating, I am currently writing this from being wrapped up in a duvet with a viral infection, however I do feel I will bounce back from this sooner than I would normally (I'm on day two of this and normally I wouldn't be up, dressed and typing).

This for me has worked and as the for the enhance sexual function - you'll need to ask my husband about that one.

Many thanks again to the fabulous team at Nature's Healthbox

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Brand Masterclass - Estée Lauder

Josephine Esther Mentor was born in Queens, New York, daughter to a Hungarian mother and Czech father. Estée was a variation of her nickname Esty. She was in her high school years when her interest in beauty started, her uncle had moved into the family home as well as his skin care preparations created in the family kitchen (which later then transferred into a stable in the back of the house).

Estée initially started showing products to ladies in the local salons while drying their styled hair under dryers. Even from the earliest beginnings, she believed that the customer should be touched, shown the results and have the products explained. This success led to the formation of the Estée Lauder brand, partnering with her husband, with four products: Super-Rich All Purpose Creme, Creme Pack, Cleansing Oil, and Skin Lotion. Within the first year they had their biggest order $800 worth of product to be sold from Saks 5th Avenue, New York.

She never attended college, but drew from her own instincts as a saleswoman, marketeer and consumer. The gift with purchase that we know today was introduced by Lauder, by giving samples of products with purchases to encourage loyalty and further purchases. The first international account was opened in 1960 in Harrods, London, with Hong Kong to follow the year after.

Mrs. Lauder attended the opening of nearly all news accounts, training advisors in sales techniques and merchandise displays. Always smartly dressed, she would travel the country to met with buyers, editors and the public. Even through Lauder was an advocate of mouth-of-mouth (one of her sayings was , "Telephone, Telegraph, Tell a Woman"), when they did start to advertise she was strict that the images used are inspirational and approachable. The original pale turquoise jars were chosen to portray luxury and match with bathroom decor of the time.

Not only was she a skin care pioneer, Estée also had a perfumers nose for fragrance. Her earliest success was with Youth Dew and is still one of their best sellers today. She also pioneered fragrance as an everyday need rather than a luxury by originally selling this as a bath oil to make it, "Guiltless journey to their own fragrance buying adventure."
Mrs Lauder also oversaw the creation of Aramis, Clinique, Prescriptions, Lab Series for Men, and Origins with the emphasis on the highest quality of ingredients. Now a global leader in beauty, Mrs Lauder retired in 1995 with her sad passing in April 2004. The reins have now been handed over to the Lauder family, but the values are the embodiment of Estée Lauder herself like the first day she was on counter herself.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

I Used to be a Dirty Smoker

13th March is No Smoking Day.

When I was younger, I hated going to my aunt's house because he smoked 20-30 cigarettes a day. The place was yellow with nicotine stains, smells and always made me cough. As I grew up I was completely anti-smoking, to the point I refused to go anywhere I knew people were smoking.

I then hit my early twenties and started my rebel phase - I got engaged at 18 to the man who introduced me to Mayfair Menthol's, with the saying of, 'If you've never tried it - how would you know?'.  I'd now make excuses to go out and smoke, I'd go out for walks to the local shops - enough were I could have one there and one back. I thought I was in control at this phase and looking back I clearly know I was not, I was constantly thinking of ways of sneaking out for one.

After that relationship came to an end I came to the point of nearly stopping, this is when I met another man who mentally abused me. Smoking then was my one finger salute to him, he hated me doing it but yet again it was always when I wasn't with him. Thankfully the relationship ended but by this time I was hooked.

I always said I was a 'social' smoker so I'd smoke more on a night out with friends and in a group to be social. My hair, clothes, breath - everything smelled of smoke. My handovers were worse because I was starving my body of any nutrients and oxygen, I was placed on an inhaler because my hay fever was so bad as well as constantly having colds.

I smoked for 7 years before my and families health pushed me towards giving up, my heavy smoking aunt had just started treatment for lung cancer caused by the heavy smoking. We were told that any member of the family was now at a higher risk now it was in the family history. My own health was failing, It also was the time that smoking was banned in enclosed public places like pubs - It just seemed the right time.

One night I smoked my last one and didn't buy any more, going cold turkey was really hard and if I did it again I get the aids to help. I would of happily killed anyone for one cigarette during the first month, made harder being a retail customer service assistant. Gradually I got my taste and appetite back so I wanted to eat everything in sight and ended up putting nearly a stone in weight on. However, I could breath and cut down on my inhaler to nearly nothing, I smelt so much and felt healthier.

Since the 3 years since I officially gave up (after 5 attempts) I have had two puffs on a cigarette since and each time they've made me feel really sick. I still get cravings for the nicotine which is the chemical which triggers the addition releasing endorphins when smoked. I cannot seem to shake off spotting other smokers, I can smell and spot them straight away.

My own experiences have also motivate me to help others quit and have finished my phrase one of being a Stop Smoking Practitioner. This means I can offer advice and support to anyone who has made the step towards quitting as well as offer advice on what they use to help them through the cravings. If you do chose to make that step towards quitting then I wish you every success towards your goal. It's going to be tough at first but the support is out there, you can get free support on the NHS though your doctor and local pharmacy where can give you support and advice by your own Stop Smoking person.
I always happy to lend a ear, remember I've been there and done that...

You can get more information here

This is not a sponsored post - This is something I have been through and wanted to share to let other quitters they CAN do it.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

How My Mum Influenced My Own Beauty Routine

My mum is now in mature years, but I tell you to look at her she doesn't look it.

She is loyal to her skincare, for as long as I could remember she has always used Boots No.7 skincare care for her dry skin. She always one to promote the cleanse, tone and moisturiser routine. I've tried to give her more premium skincare, I was given Estee Lauder's Resilience Lift Extreme and she never touched it. I remember when they changed the cleansing products and I made sure I gave my mum good enough warning, she stocked up before it went.

The one thing I have taken from my mum is her bath routine, which I've now adapted to a shower routine. After a shower I run a flannel over the skin so it's damp rather than wet, use oil over the skin (my mum uses baby oil, but I use my Weleda Pomegranate Body Oil) and then moisturise. Recently, I have been complaining of itchy skin because of the dryness and my mum gave me Nivea's lotion for very dry skin (£3.79 in Boots). It is thick enough to give good moisturise but light enough to sink in without trace.

I still like the fact that even now I'm older and married, she never stops mothering.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, mothers-to-be and the mothers-in-waiting.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Sorry Balance Me, You Are Just Not For Me

And believe me, I've tried...

Over the past few months I have collection numerous samples of Balance Me products after seeing other beauty bloggers talk about how they like this range of natural skin care. I got balancing face moisturiser in my Latest In Beauty Editor's box. Being stuck one night after losing my regular moisturiser I dug into my sample bag and grab this.

After the normal cleanse I put this one, the smell was Rosy (and this is for someone who likes rose as a scent). It just seemed to sit on my skin and leave a film on it, now considering I have combination skin I found it strange that my dryer parts didn't drink this up as normal. I tried this a few times to see if  it was a one off and every time it was the same - In the bin that went.

The next I tried was radiance face mask which I cannot remember where this came from except it was in my sample bag. I really like a good mask one that general gives the skin a good clear out. This was good, it has exfoliation crushed walnut shells and sebum wiping kaolin. To me it didn't have that wow factor to it, I feel that the mask wasn't thick enough to cover and so I didn't feel 'clean' as normal. I did however, finish the whole sample tube.

And lastly, I got the Rose Otto lip balm in the Glamour magazine offer last year. I really like a lip balm, I have a small bag of them (but never have one on me when I need one) so i was excited to add another one to it. I hated this, I tried and failed to try this 6 times. I dislike the smell, to me it's not of delicate roses but of the main ingredient - Lanolin. For also this ingredient also makes it taste disgusting, and as soon as I put it on I am wiping it off. This is now in the bin.

So Balance Me I'm leaving you to your fan base, but for me it wasn't meant to be.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Professional Beauty 2013

Inbetween the long hours of work and moving into my new place I went to the beauty junkiwe heaven that is Professional Beauty at ExCel Centre. Previous years it was closed off to non-trade professionals, but tthis was the first time that they let 'Beauty Lovers' into the show. This provided a little more deversity to the crowd rather than previous years where trade people like myself have been going.

As we were heading towards the Spring season a lot of ranges where doing their launch shows here, this included Essie's Spring 2013 collection that I had previously mentioned in My Essie Collection post. I went, I saw and left with nothing. The same was also for OPI's Euro Central Collection, looking at the swatches I think I would of worn them once or maybe twice and decided against it.

I did however go away with OPI's Nail Envy set in Orginal and Matt (that a 2 for 1 pack) as well as Everymonth is Oktoberfest that I have been drbbling over for months after changing my mind from Germani-cure.

In the dark depths of the other stalls I did come across early on a stall that was selling old collections of OPI for £4 each (where at trade price it is £6). I elbowed my way and hunted through the boxes and ended up with 5 polishes in my hands in minutes.

From left to right is the line up in it's entirity - Every Month Is Oktoberfest, Number One Nemisis, My Very First Knockwurst, Just Spotted The Lizard, There She Rose, Casino Royale.

I do come away with one grumble, as a now newly qualified MUA I wanted to speak to a few brands about their products. It was packed so I couldn't get close, I quened for 30 mins to get face mapped with Dermalogica which wasn't bad as I got chatting to the therapists about working with the brand. They also was demostrating their amazing new primer that illuminates, mattifies but also had anti aging skincare propeties bur more on that another time.

By the time I got my face mapped I was sold I wanted in, and as introduced to the sales people. They ask you about your business, however the moment I mentioned 'mobile' they were, "We don't do mobile". They gave me a pack anyway, a handshake and a "We'll be in touch". I am sorely disappointed, but I understand that they are a therapist based range and they know that a mobile will only invest a smaller amount than a salon.

I am buying that primer the moment it is out (£37.50 it's going to be a dent), ironically Beauty Swot wrote a review for it the moment I got home.