30 second review: L’Oreal Hydra Genius Aloe Water

L'Oreal Hydraphase Aloe Water
L’Oreal Hydraphase Aloe Water

Well this really is a little bit genius if you are currently sweltering in the British heatwave, or heading off to sunny climes this summer.

Don’t get me wrong, I *love* heat – humid, tropical climates are my jam, but when it comes to skincare I don’t want cloying, sticky creams and balms. I want cooling, quenchy gels that really hydrate and don’t irritate my skin (I still stand by this review of Astalift that ticks all these boxes and more).

I’ve used Hydraphase range from La Roche Posay in France for the last few summers. It’s fab, really hydrating, light and non-irritating. I particularly like the light daily moisturiser with broad spectrum SPF20 and the intense serum for a serious of hydration.

But I’m in the UK at the mo and this was on offer in Boots; plus in the heat-haze I was sucked in by the ‘Aloe Water’ quenchy tagline.

The Aloe sap and Hyaluronic Acid are its top billing ingredients. The ‘liquid care’ texture is a hybrid gel/cream that’s a super light-weight water-based formula. I cleanse as normal then when my skin is still damp I slather a pump or two of this on. It’s sucked in super quick, doesn’t leave the skin tacky and I know it’s a skincare cliche, but it does feel like your skin’s had a drink. It smells really good too – a summery, marine fragrance. I then apply my sunscreen over the top (Ultrasun SPF 30) and I’m good to go. I use more targeted skincare in the evening (wrinkles, pigmentation etc), this isn’t going to do much on that front, but for keeping your skin hydrated and peachy during the day – it’s a winner.

There are versions for dry/normal and normal/combination skin. L’Oreal Hydra Genius Aloe Water, Boots.com – currently £6.66 – normal price £9.99

Brunette hair inspiration: aka the mum cut

I’m off this afternoon to get my hair done for the first time in forever. Only mums will truly appreciate what a ‘fist pump’ moment this is. 2 WHOLE hours without someone attached to my boob, wiping anyone’s bum or being asked 1829 questions about volcanoes and pyraclastic flow.

My hair is just coming out of that new mum funk; it fell out in clumps after having my second and no amount of backcombing would give it any oomph. I now have that downy, fluffy regrowth and thanks to the amazing John Frieda volume range, a bit more swish going on.

c0f2293b418f02275067fa37a6c5194480ab06b5-1So, here’s the image I’m taking with me to show my stylist.

2016-05-20 14.45.35Okay, so there is pretty much nothing I don’t want in this pic. The brows, bee-stung lips, that coat’s quite nice too…. but let’s just focus on the hair – the perfect mum cut.

I love the darker roots and lighter whispers around the face, like a good instagram filter it surrounds you with a warming halo, so even if your skin is dog-tired, your hair gives it that back-lit glow. The blunt cut is great if like me you need to add the appearance of volume back to new-mum hair and having a heavy fringe helps me look like I’ve got some semblance of style, even if my hair is 90% dry shampoo and it’s 8am on the school run. See? The perfect mum hair.

Before then, I’ve got a bathroom to paint and to start packing for our France trip next week… just me, the boys and a 15-hour journey. Gulp.

 

CF Beauty: Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope lipstick in Private Party

2014-01-18 16.37.572014-01-18 16.41.27I walked into Space NK in Bristol on Saturday for a quick nose around and walked out 10 minutes later with this glorious new velvety matte lippie from the Lipstick Queen. It comes in a midnight blue velvet box, then a rather glamorous gold casing. The bullet itself has a really silky, mousse-y texture, it’s really lightweight and although it is matte, it goes on smoothly and doesn’t dry out (it does have a rather off-putting minty, tingly smell/feel that I’m not that fond of, would have rathered a rose/floral scent to go with the old-school Hollywood glamour feel). When I swatched it on my hand in the shop it left pigment on my hand for the rest of the day and I’ve been wearing it since 8am this morning and it’s nearly lunch and it’s stayed pretty well I think:

2014-01-19 11.50.31Because of the texture it does have a tendency to bleed slightly (Lipstick Queen does a great invisible lip liner to fix this) and I have found the best way to apply is either with my finger, just blotting it into my lips for more of a ‘wash’, or in a dabbing motion to build up the colour gradually.

It is a classic pretty raspberry, but not too cold. I have been wearing Tom Ford’s corally ‘Ginger Fawn’ and pillar box ‘Smoke Red’ pretty consistently this winter, along with my beloved Laura Mercier palette but I think this is going to be my staple spring lippie this year.

Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope lipstick in Private Party, £35

 

CF Christmas: Wonderwood by Comme des Garcons

Following on from my previous review of Jour Pour Femme by Hugo Boss as a great gifting fragrance this Christmas, here’s one for the boys.

I’ve repurchased this for the OH this year as we were talking about scents last week and he mentioned this as ‘one of his favourite fragrances of all time’. Second only to his beloved, and tragically discontinued, Jo Malone Fresh Lime and Cedar which was INCREDIBLE.

Back to Wonderwood. I have worn Comme des Garcon’s ‘2’ fragrance on and off for years, and I don’t think there is one CDG fragrance I haven’t loved. Wonderwood is unisex, like all their fragrances, but I’d say it was pretty masculine in its profile – with a big hit of pepper, cedar and sandal woods, an immediate shot of bergamot and later a neck-nuzzling mix of vetiver and musky oud. I imagine it is what testosterone smells like, it is ‘I can chop down trees and wrestle grizzly bears’ manly.

It’s not a middle of the road ‘safe buy’ (or cheap either), so you’d have to know the person’s fragrance preferences before splurging on it, but if they like a woody, green, peppery scent – this could be a winner.

I bought a 100ml EDP for £60 instead of £75 at www.escentual.com

CF Christmas: Jour pour Femme by Hugo Boss

I have had to delay my post on this fragrance, as for the last two weeks I haven’t been able to smell a thing! GREAT on the nappy changing front, not so good when you want to review a new perfume!

As a teen I was OBSESSED with Hugo Boss Deep Red, so was intrigued when I received a sample of Hugo Boss’ new fragrance, Jour Pour Femme to try. The reason I’ve included it in my CF Christmas series is because I think it would be perfect as a fragrance to gift. Normally I would steer clear of suggesting buying perfume as a present, unless you are told specifically what they like to wear, as it is such a personal thing. However, this would be perfect for a new partner, or perhaps someone you don’t know so well (a mother in law, boss, friend’s partner etc) as it is a great, easy, everyday fragrance.

I am all for the big ballsy fragrances; my dressing table is covered with Tom Ford Black Orchid, Mary Greenwell Lemon and Diptyque Volutes – all punchy, ‘HELLO! SMELL ME’ scents, which I truly adore. But sometimes its nice to have a fragrance to hand that you wear, rather than wears you. You know?

Jour Pour Femme is really light and clean and feminine. All white florals (honeysuckle, freesia, lily of the valley) and citrus bursts (grapefruit and lime). It’s not cloying and very modern in its floral profile and the zestiness keeps it light. To me, it just made me feel like I smelt good, rather than I smelt specifically of ‘something’ and I’ve had loads of ‘oooh, you smell nice’ comments this week to prove it.

The 50ml EDP is current on sale at The Perfume Shop at £39.99 (£10 off)

 

CF Christmas: Luxury candles

As per my rant in the first of my ‘Christmas gift’ themed posts, I am of the school of thought that presents, whether Birthday or Christmas, should be highly indulgent and absolutely something that the recipient wouldn’t buy for themselves, but is either a pimped version of an everyday item or something with no practical use whatsoever but is solely designed for JOY – think bath oil, amazingly bound books, art, handmade chocolates, cashmere in any guise… There is a member of my family who shall remain anonymous, who bought his wife a new grill for her car one Christmas… suffice to say he has been making it up with expensive jewellery every since.

So, something that fits that remit rather nicely is the luxury candle. Decadent and cosy – they are as gorgeous on the Christmas table as they are on those long January nights flickering on the mantle.

Here’s my favourite trio this year:

Neom Organics Comforting Candle – £42

Cedarwood, Vetiver and Star Anise – if you hate all those cloying ‘Christmas Spice’ scents around at this time of year – this is the candle for you. I love the bronzed glass finish.

Mary Katrantzou for Rodial, £35

 

In Mary’s Babelle print, this citrusy number is one to put pride of place on the mantle. When the candle is finished it would make a great container for make-up brushes.

Liberty for Diptyque’s Insolite candle, £45

A luxury candle gift guide wouldn’t be complete without something from Diptyque. In winter I love feu de bois, pomander and cannelle. This Insolite scent is another citrusy one – with orange and lime, then spicy clove, cardamon and ginger and lingering cypress and white thyme.

 

Treasured possessions: Laura Mercier lip palette

Could this be the most loved Laura Mercier lip palette?!

It was a press gift many moons ago and didn’t even make it to the beauty cupboard when I got back to the office, it was a firm staple in my handbag from first sight and, as you can see, has been well used ever since.

The larger pan on the far left was a lip conditioner that you applied pre-lippie, it was brilliant for ensuring the colour went on smoothly and gave it a great, glossy finish.

As is rarely the case, all the colours are fab (bar the sludgy brown, bottom left). I particularly like the two coral-y shades along the bottom, but the hot fuschia pink on the top row is fab too. Unexpectedly, the almost flesh-tone shade at the top is brilliant for toning down the bold shades into a more pastel, natural look.

I love the massive mirror (before it broke) and I often used the pinkier shades as a cheek tint for touch-ups on the go.

So, my plan is to take my rather beloved palette to the Laura Mercier counter next week and see if they can match up a couple of the shades with their traditional bullet-style lippies. Unfortunately the label on the base has worn-off long ago, but it should be do-able? From the website the Tangerine and Sunrise look promising…

On a separate Laura Mercier note – I *seriously* hope I’ve been good enough this year to find this creme de pistache souffle body creme in my stocking on Christmas morning. A-MAZING.

CF Christmas: The Elemis Beauty Treasures Collection

I’m not going to edit a complete Christmas gift guide this year, but I thought I’d do quick posts on lovely, covetable things as/when I came across them. I know that’s a bit haphazard but that’s the way I do my Christmas shopping, throughout November and December I simply keep my eyes peeled for decadent, luxurious treats (because surely that’s the point of a present?) for my loved ones and pick them up as I go.

I am very much of the school of gift-giving that believes presents should be something you absolutely wouldn’t buy yourself. Ideally something that is just too frivolous or indulgent to warrant spending your own cash on, but makes the happiest of gifts to receive. I particularly like to buy people a ‘pimped’ version of something they use everyday. My mother in law walks the dog everyday, come rain or shine, so we bought her gorgeous cashmere-lined leather gloves from Burlington Arcade last year. Similarly, as a freelance editor I spend a rather large proportion of my day in pyjamas, so she indulged me with a cashmere tracksuit that has made my working life immeasurably happier. If you know someone who loves taking baths, why not indulge this with the most gorgeous bath oils you can find? It will make their daily soak all the more special. Or if they man in your life likes a morning cup of java, why not splurge on a coffee machine so he can ditch his morning Costa addiction and make his own? Cheaper in the long-run and something he will use well past New Year’s Day.

So, in that spirit, my first ‘find’ is the Elemis Beauty Treasures Collection. Elemis are doing various size/price point gift sets this year, but they all represent a saving on their individual prices. I hate it when companies put a premium on a ‘gift set’, basically charging you a couple of extra quid for some cardboard.

So, here it is in all its glory:

Firstly, all the products are full size – which I love, too. Nothing worse than half a dozen teeny tiny bottles that do one bath or a couple of hair washes. As I scanned the contents list I realised Elemis had managed to collate all my favourite ‘hero’ products into one metallic vanity case:

Skin Nourish Bath Milk (I extolled its virtues here)
Pro-Radiance cream cleanser (perfect as a kind-to-skin, nourishing winter cleanser)
Frangipani Monoi Body Oil (hands down my favourite scent from Elemis and my summer body staple)
Pro-Collagen Marine Cream (I haven’t used this for years but seem to remember it being a real face-plumper)
Papaya Enzyme Peel (the perfect way to combat grey winter skin as this enzyme peel is a much more gentle way to lift dead cells than a physical exfoliant – it leaves my face gleaming)

See? A great mix of face and body and all best-selling Elemis formulas.

Husband, if you’re out there – this is definitely one I’d love to find under the tree.

£135 (containing £211 worth of products!!!!) – www.timetospa.co.uk

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