30 November 2011

Lumiére Sculptée De Chanel Highlighting Powder: Pictures, Review and Swatches

Tis the season for festive shimmery highlighters, and in my opinion Chanel’s limited edition palette is the cream of the crop. Chanel is, of course, a byword for elegant glamour, so this is a more sophisticated offering than the norm -- think less sparkle, more subtle, luminous glow. The intricate design is modelled on a belt buckle owned by Chanel herself in the 30s, and is absolutely stunning -- making this palette the undisputed star of the brand’s Christmas Collection this year.

From top left: very thinly swatched to demonstrate the subtle sheen that the product imparts, rather than full on shimmer; swatched thickly on my fingers; classic Chanel packaging; gorgeous embossed design, and the high quality brush that comes with the palette.

The powder itself is finely milled, buttery soft and smooth as silk, with the colour described as ‘shades of ivory and pink dusted with tone-on-tone mother-of-pearl’. To me, it looks like a pale rose-gold in the pan, but on my skin, it imparts a subtle, champagne coloured sheen, making my face look almost lit from within. Unusually, the enclosed brush is of exceptional quality which makes the powder a breeze to  apply. The lightest sweep over my cheekbones imparts instant radiance and, unlike other highlighter products in my collection, this is delicate enough for day as well as night.

Lumiére Sculptée De Chanel is €55 and is on counter now (I was sent mine by the brand). Chanel’s Christmas Collection also includes two new lipsticks, four glosses, three shadows and a liquid liner in gold, as well as a new shade of Le Vernis in Rouge Carat (€21.50), a red-pink with gold shimmer.

What do you think, will Chanel be featuring in your letter to Santa this year?

29 November 2011

Review of EO Revitalizing Shower Gel in Grapefruit & Mint, and EO Liquid Hand Soap in Rose, Geranium & Citrus


Edit: The lovely people at EO Ireland have kindly offered a discount of €2 per product off the full price for readers of Fluff and Fripperies; email catherine@eoireland.com with your order and reference the word 'fluffy'. Check out the website to view the full range!

It says something about EO products that five minutes after I'd received a (beautifully presented) bag of them, all of the girls in the office were slathering their hands with my small sample of Grapefruit & Mint body lotion. The scent is  irresistible: the combination of fresh, clean peppermint and zesty, uplifting grapefruit provides an instant pick-me-up, the perfect antidote to the winter blues.

I hadn't heard of this natural, organic range before being contacted by the brand, but I'm behind the curve: Bobbi Brown waxed lyrical about these earth friendly products in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal.

The EO stands for essential oils, and the range of body lotions, shower gels, soaps and hair care products is packed full of 'em. I've been trying out the Grapefruit & Mint Shower Gel along with the Rose, Geranium and Citrus Liquid Hand Soap; other varieties include French Lavender, Peppermint & Tea Tree and Lemon & Eucalyptus. All sound divine, and all are cruelty free as well as being free of parabens, sodium laureth and artificial dyes/fragrances -- so they're suitable for all skin types.

Leaving all that to one side for a moment, how do the products perform? 

Exceptionally well, is the answer. Both products are just a pleasure to use; they're attractively packaged, smell amazing and they both do a tremendous job of cleansing while leaving my skin feeling pampered, hydrated and cared for. Unusually for natural products, both the shower gel and the hand lotion produce quite a rich lather -- the foaming agent is derived from coconut oil so it's gentle and nourishing on the skin. For ease of use, I'm also loving the pump dispenser on the shower gel -- a first for me. And at 360 ml of hand soap and 480 ml of shower gel, the products are really generously sized, too, so I'm not afraid to lash them on liberally.
The Liquid Hand Soap is priced at €14 and the Shower Gels at €16.99; they can be bought online through the EO Ireland website or from the Dublin Food Co-op. The products would make lovely gifts -- there isn't a woman I know who wouldn't love them -- or serve as an indulgent little pick-me-up for yourself. EO Ireland provide complimentary gift wrapping, and delivery in Dublin is free. You can also check them out on Twitter or Facebook for natural tips, special offers and product news.
Let me know if you've any experience with this brand, or if you like what you hear, in the comments! 

28 November 2011

Out and About: Super Thursday at The Morrison Hotel, Dublin

Regular readers of Fluff and Fripperies might recognise that lovely yellow Penneys satchel in the picture above. Way back in April I featured it as my first Fluffy Little Pick Of The Week, and my eagle-eyed friend Laina spotted it immediately when we walked into the West Coast Cooler Super Thursday event at the Morrison last week. We were admiring it all over again and we certainly weren’t alone – TV presenter Laura Woods picked it out as the best accessory of the night, thus netting it’s delighted owner a lovely new digital camera. She wasn’t the only winner on the night, though – Fluff and Fripperies’ prize winner, Claire Kane, scooped the prize for best shoes, for her kickass boots!

All in all it was a great evening and a fitting finale for the Thursday Club events, which I think were a really clever initiative from the brand. The fusion of fashion, beauty and, of course, West Coast Cooler, was one that really worked and I think the series was a fantastic piece of marketing that served to really raise the brand’s profile with its target audience.

And don't worry if you didn't make it along to any of the nights; the Thursday Club will be back in 2012 so keep an eye on the Facebook page to find out what’s coming our way in the New Year.

Welcome back to the airwaves, Christmas FM

From top left - the delicious menu at The Alexander Hotel, who put on an amazing night; snowflake decorations; Walter Hegarty, Christmas FM Director, at the podium; Fluff and Fripperies in the festive spirit; Christmas decor.

There will be 5000 homeless people in Ireland this Christmas - 1 in 7 of whom will be children.

That was the sobering statistic we heard at The Alexander Hotel in Dublin on Friday, at the launch of Christmas FM.  

This year the all-volunteer station are working to raise awareness and funds for homeless charity Focus Ireland. One really easy way to show your support is by liking the Facebook page of sponsor O'Callaghan Hotels, who will donate 50c* per person to the charity. EBS and the Irish Daily Mail are also sponsoring the station.

Over the past three years, Christmas FM has raised more than €200,000 for its charity partners. This year they will broadcast from The Alexander Hotel on Merrion Square in Dublin. You can listen online or by tuning into Dublin-94.3 FM, Kildare-88.1, Limerick-105.5, Cork-106.7, Galway-89.5, or South East Region-103.8.  You can also follow the station on Facebook to keep up with all the news.

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

*Apologies, my original post said €2 per person but this was an error in the speech on the night.

Concealers: does my spot look big in this?

After reading this post on quick fixes for the party season, reader Caren commented that her party essential is concealer, and lots of it. She’s right: concealer is a makeup bag essential, especially at this time of year. I’ve rummaged through my makeup bag(s) to show you what’s currently in my stash...

Best Concealers From Rimmel, Benefit, Smashbox, Bourjois, Barbara Daly, Bobbi Brown and The Balm

ONE Rimmel Match Perfection concealer: For years, I though YSL’s Touche Eclat was the only highlighting concealer for me. But one of the brilliant benefits of writing a beauty blog is that it encourages you to branch out and try a rake of different products at different pricepoints. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. And sometimes, like with this Rimmel concealer, I’m delighted. I read about this on the Skinni Peach and picked it up at my local chemist; I think it cost me €7/8. It’s perfect for dark circles; not too heavy, not too light. I use it alone if I’m wearing a lighter base, and on top of a cream concealer if I need more help.
TWO Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer and Corrector: Basically, the bomb. The only thing I don’t like about these products is the price. There’s a full review here so I won’t ramble on, but this combo is pretty much my HG of concealers; the only reason I still shop around is because I’m hoping to find something equally good, but less spendy. And 'cause I'm fickle like that.

THREE Benefit Erase Paste: This product has legions of fans but for some reason I just can’t get on with it. It’s very thick, and I find it trickier to smooth across my eye area than I’d like. I feel like I’m dragging the skin a little, which is never good. It’s quite pink, too, and I prefer a more yellow toned concealer. It’s about €25-€30, so pricey, too.

FOUR The Balm TimeBalm: I hear mixed reviews about this one, but I’m a fan. It’s less creamy and a touch more drying than either the Bobbi Brown or Barbara Daly products, but it does a decent job on my dark circles and on any blemishes.  I picked this up in A-Wear and think it was around the €15 mark. There are 6 shades, and the product comes with a little sponge, which I binned, preferring to use a brush or, more often, my fingers.  

FIVE Barbara Daly Concealer: When the lovely Rachelle from DollyRouge heard that my local Tesco didn’t stock the Barbara Daly range, she very kindly sent me this to try out. And I love it! It’s a thicker consistency than Bobbi’s, but if you want a creamy concealer that won’t break the bank, this is a fab alternative. Works well for undereye circles and on blemishes. Oddly, I find it melts off the sides of my nose, so perhaps not good for oilier areas. Comes in at around a fiver.

SIX Smashbox Photo Op Under-Eye Brightener: Light reflective, shimmery peach liquid for use under concealer; similar to the Bobbi Brown corrector, but designed specifically to work well in photos. I like this product but I don’t reach for it that often: I’m too lazy to add a step to my day-to-day routine, and for special occasions or when the big guns are required, I usually reach for the Bobbi Brown product. Which is sad, because this deserves more love.

SEVEN Bourjois Brush Concealer: Another resounding ‘meh’. This is too lightweight for me: the formula is much thinner than the Rimmel product and it doesn’t conceal my dark circles or illuminate the area very well. Comes in two shades and was, I think, around a tenner.

What concealer is in your makeup bag right now? And as my Bobbi Brown products are running dangerously low, do you have any recommendations to knock it off its throne?!

26 November 2011

Sharing is caring: The Guardian's beauty expert on the perfect red lip

Like The Guardian's beauty expert, Sali Hughes, I love a red lip. Unlike her, I often make a right holy show of it and end up looking more Courtney Love (circa 1994) than Courtney Cox (ok, so she's not famous for a red lip, but she is quite polished. Work with me!). So I enjoyed this little video on how to achieve a perfectly polished red pout (you can also read the accompanying article, here). There are a few surprising tips in there, too, that I'm planning to try out this weekend.

Enjoy - and if  you pick up a thing or two, let me know in the comments! 

25 November 2011

Dove Nourishing Oil Care

I read recently in Stellar magazine that Kim Kardashian has something like 16 varieties of shampoo and conditioner on rotation. Apparently she attributes her shiny hair to switching things up on a regular basis. Now while I don’t have anywhere near that amount, I do enjoy trying new products and I generally have a few different bottles on the go. But Dove is one brand that has pretty much been a constant in my shower for the past few years.

It started with the Intense Damage Therapy range, the ones that used to come in the dark blue bottles. I recommended these products to anyone who would listen. When they were reformulated as the Damage Therapy range, I fell for that too. Now they’ve got my attention all over again with their new Nourising Oil Care products.

I was sent the new shampoo, conditioner and express treatment conditioner to try out, and I am liking them very much indeed. With almond and coconut oils, these products are intended to nourish and soften the hair, without weighing it down. They control my frizz and give my hair a healthy shine. My favourite product of the three is the express treatment, which, true to its name, provides a deep conditioning treatment in the time of my usual conditioner.

And you can’t beat the prices, either: Dove Nourishing Oil Care Shampoo and Smoothing Conditioner are  €3.47 each, while the Express Treatment Conditioner comes in at €4.69.

What do you think, will you give these a whirl? What's your go-to shampoo and conditioner?

Bargains at The Body Shop: 30% off sale, today only!

Psst! If you, like me, are counting the pennies until December 25th, here's a wee piece of news you might be interested to hear. Today, and today only, The Body Shop is having a one-time only 30% off sale. Get yourself down to your closest shop to snap up seasonal goodies like the Candied Ginger, Cranberry Joy or Spiced Vanilla ranges, to pick up a few Christmas presents or stocking stuffers, or to treat yourself to your favourite makeup, body or skincare items. With 30% off everything in store, you’d be crazy not to! Well, that's what I tell myself, anyway...

Will you be picking up any Body Shop bargains today?

24 November 2011

Modern Metallics: Estée Lauder Cyber Eyes Collection; Review + Swatches

Pure Color Cyber Eyes Gelée Powder shadows in (l-r) Cyber Teal, Cyber Green and Cyber Lilac

When Tom Pecheux joined Estée Lauder as Creative Makeup Director in November ’09, it was with the stated intention of bringing “a new energy, style and fashion edge” to the brand. From the revamped packaging to the high impact colour collections, Pecheux has consistently delivered on that promise, and never more so than with this latest limited edition collection, hitting shelves next month.

The Cyber Eyes Collection focuses on the eyes because, according to Pecheux, "A lot of drama on the eyes creates sensuality, a sexiness. Smokey eyes are sexy and playful and I wanted to give women different ways to wear the look, anytime." It's a small edit of 6 stunning shadows, 6 matching kajal liners and 3 new mascaras, in bold, modern metallics. 

That's the campaign shot to the bottom left, isn't it stunning? And it's surrounded by my shots of the pieces I was sent out by the brand.

So why is this so interesting? Well, it's the texture. Using the same technology as that gorgeous highlighter from last season’s Modern Mercury collection, the Pure Color Cyber Eyes Gelée Powder shadows are a hybrid -- the brand calls it a 'tribid' -- formulation of liquid, powder and gel. In the pan, they look like powder -- just super-shiny, high intensity, metallic, futuristic powder -- but they glide on like gel, stay put all day and, when used wet, they have the intensity of a liquid.

The shadows are available in Cyber Teal, Cyber Copper, Cyber Pink, Cyber Lilac, Cyber Silver and Cyber Green, and can be yours for €24. Stand-outs for me are the teal, which is the main shade used in the campaign imagery, and the green -- which is actually more of a blackened olive, shot through with gold. I love these kinds of colours, and to me, this shadow is something very special indeed. Used wet or dry, it's a thing of beauty to behold. Here, have a look for yourself:

The Pure Color Intense Kajal eyeliners will be €24.50 and come in shades Blackened Black, Blackened Plum, Blackened Sapphire, Blackened Cocoa, Blackened Olive (limited edition), and Electric Teal (that's the boy-o in the picture above, and it's limited edition, too).  3 new shades of Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara, in teal, violet and copper, round out the collection. These will be €27 each and again, that's Extreme Teal in the shots above.  

I was sent the pieces pictured to have a play with, but the collection will be available at Estée Lauder counters nationwide and online from 26th December. If you can't wait that long, it will be previewing at Brown Thomas from 28th November.

What's calling your name from the Cyber Eyes collection?

23 November 2011

WIN! Christmas in a million, with Clerys!

Clerys are spreading the festive cheer with tomorrow’s launch of the Christmas in a Million competition, offering one family in Ireland the chance to win a Christmas to remember – to the tune of €25,000! The winner will be whisked off for a mini-break while their home is transformed by a team of decorators. There’ll also be a new wardrobe for all the family, a deluxe home entertainment system to watch all the Christmas movies, panto tickets to the hottest Chrimbo shows, a top notch family Christmas dinner, two nights at Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel plus tickets to their New Year’s Eve ball AND, my favourite part, a luxury holiday after Christmas to beat the January blues. I’m dizzy just thinking about it.

From tomorrow, entry forms are available inside and outside the store or from the Clerys' Facebook page. The winner will be announced at an in-store event in the O'Connell Street store on Friday 16th December. Good luck!

Trade Secrets: Christmas Party Looks

I met makeup artist Clare Hogan at a recent West Coast Cooler event, where she glammed me up for the night ahead! Having seen her skills first-hand, I was delighted when she agreed to share some of her makeup tips with you guys as part of the Trade Secrets series (you can read the other posts here, here and here!). A graduate of the Zoe Clark Make-Up School & LA Make-Up Academy, Clare is available for weddings, parties, special occasions and fashion shoots. You can see more of her work at www.clarehogan.ie.

“I love everything about Christmas! The music, the shopping, the gifts, the fashion and the fact that you can be a little bit more adventurous with your make-up for those Christmas night outs! Here are two looks I'll definitely be trying this party season.

The first look is for those of you who want to embrace the strong lip. Not everyone will feel confident enough to try this but if you ever wanted to, then Christmas is the perfect excuse. Your base needs to be completely flawless for both these looks but in particular this first one because the features are so defined. The skin is nicely powdered and you only really need some contouring high on the cheeks, use little or no blush.

The eyes have soft shading in the sockets to give depth so use a soft brown or grey and then bring a small amount of black shadow under the eye, but only 3 quarters of the way across. You can use a lighter shade or even a little shimmery shadow on the other quarter to make your eyes look bigger and really sparkle. Now add a strong liquid or gel liner along your top lash line bringing it out to a flick. Make sure your liner is brought right into the inner corner of your eye so it looks perfect.

Clare at work on a shoot
The finishing touch is the lip colour. To make sure your lip colour lasts use a lipliner, either the same colour as your lipstick or a nude shade. Line your lips well and fill them in so that you avoid that awful line when the lipstick fades. Then use a brush to apply your lipstick. This will help you build up the colour better and you'll be able to get that strong defined line around the lips. You don't want your lip colour bleeding. You don't have to stick to just red either, there are fabulous plums and purples that look amazing too, so have fun experimenting.

The second look is for those of you who want to have some fun with eye colour. A frosty colour like the one in the pic is really festive and paired with lashings of black kohl eyeliner and mascara, your eyes will look amazing! Brown eyes can pretty much carry off any shade. Green eyes will look their strongest with purples, pinks, golds, plums and mossy greens whereas blue eyes will look bluest with golds, bronze, silver and plums but don't be afraid to experiment: there are no hard and fast rules, it's all about having fun so enjoy! With both looks use lashings of mascara and even some false lashes for that extra wow.

 Happy Partying!

Clare xox”

If you have any questions or comments for Clare, leave 'em below! What party looks will you be rocking this year?

22 November 2011

5 Festive Fixes, to take you from Desk to Dancefloor!

In an ideal world we’d have plenty of time to beautify ourselves for a big night out. Sadly, life doesn't always work out that way. But with party season right around the corner there's no need to panic: try these quick-fixes to take you from desk to dancefloor in a jiffy.

ONE Preparation is key. Primer and powder are the key to keeping your base in place all day – and all night – long, so spend time on these steps in the morning. Clarins Beauty Flash Balm is one of the original primer products and, in my eyes, still one of the best. For a budget version, try Rimmel’s new Fix & Perfect Pro. Bring your powder for touch-ups -- the stunning new Passion palette from Clarins is one you’ll want to be seen with!

TWO Freshen up! Try spritzing your face with a mineral water spray to refresh and revive your makeup for the night ahead. French brands are great at these: La Roche Posay, Vichy and Avène all have versions that can be picked up at your local chemist.  

THREE Refresh your tresses: dry shampoos or hair powders can add volume and texture to your look in seconds. Try: Ojon Rub Out Dry Cleansing spray for a fuss-free fix – the invisible formula means it suits all hair colours, with no chalky residue. Ojon can be found in Arnotts, Dublin.

FOUR Wing it! A slick of winged eyeliner is the quickest way to change your look from day to night. For the season that’s in it, try metallics or glitters – MUA and NYC are both great budget beauty brands that do lovely glitter liners in a range of colours. You'll find MUA in  Superdrug and NYC in chemists or selected Penneys branches.

FIVE  Add a touch of sparkle! Try a spritz of The Sparkler in Enchanting Gold, from The Body Shop: this boudoir-chic atomiser releases a fine golden shimmer that highlights the face, décolletage, and even the hair. New Lustre Dust from  LUSH is similar; dust on for a subtle golden bronzed look. Ramp up the glitz factor by adding a glitter accent nail to your mani (I love Ruby Pumps by China Glaze over Sally Hansen's All Fired Up) and you’re good to go!

What's your favourite quick-fix party look? Share it in the comments!

21 November 2011

Shiny Silvers: Ciate Fit For A Queen and Avon Mercury Metal

Metallics are having a moment so I wanted to show you these two stunning silvers that recently landed on the desk at Fluff and Fripperies.

First up we have the gorgeous Fit For A Queen, one of four new shades from Ciate’s latest Heritage collection. I’ve painted one entire hand with this, so you can get the full benefit of its sparkly, shimmery ways. There’s a touch of warmth to this, and a creaminess, and more than a hint of Chanel’s Graphite, too.

On my other hand, I’ve alternated this with Mercury Metal from the Avon nailwear pro enamel range (€8), released as part of the brand’s Holiday Sequins & Shine collection. You can see that this is a really cool-toned, steely shade of silver – it’s a true metallic, super shiny and with none of the shimmer of Fit For A Queen.

Both polishes were three-coaters, but worth it for the end result:  perfect party nails! Fit For A Queen is priced at €10.50 and can be ordered here; Mercury Metal can be yours for €8 from your local Avon representative (find yours here).

Are you feeling the metallic trend this winter?

18 November 2011

Review of White Witch Bright Eyes Eye Bags and Chocolate Milk Bath

Eye bags to the left and right of the packaging; chocolate milk sachet rolled in paper below.

I’ve been feeling under the weather and very sorry for myself so I dipped into my stack of goodies from new Irish online store, Opoko. The White Witch products particularly appealed: 100% Irish, 100% natural, 100% organic and 100% biodegradable; there’s a lot to like. But how do the products work, and did I fall under their spell?

Happily, both products were easy to use. I popped a sachet of the Chocolate Milk Bath into the tub and, while waiting for it to diffuse and release its antioxidant-y goodness, I made a cup of tea. Except I used my Bright Eyes Eye Bags, which look very much like extra-large teabags, but filled solely with eyebright -- a herb used in traditional folk medicine to treat tired or irritated eyes and other eye conditions. 

I left the mug cooling beside the bath while I wallowed in my Chocolate Milk. Like the eye bags, you get two tea-bag like sachets, individually wrapped up in paper, and filled with pure milk powder, fair trade dark cocoa powder, fine organic oatmeal and bicarbonate of soda.  The sachet had a Coco-Pops effect on the bathwater, and scented the room with the mouthwatering scent of real chocolate. No synthetic nasties here! It felt absurdly indulgent; even more so when I covered my eyes with the cooled down eye sachets. I emerged feeling relaxed, refreshed and thoroughly pampered. 

Opoko stock a wide range of White Witch products, from bath products to body lotions and balms, hair tonics and cleansers.  I also spotted these steamers on the brand’s own website, which have piqued my interest – they remind me of the LUSH Steamer tabs that I’ve recently fallen for.

Do you like using natural and organic products? Will you be trying anything from White Witch for yourself?

17 November 2011

Winter Skin: 6 Products to Care and Repair

We all know what winter does to our skin, and we don’t like it. It’s time to bring out the big guns -– and by guns, of course I mean beauty products. Here are six skin savers I’ve been using and loving to combat dryness, dehydration and rogue breakouts this winter:

ONE Clarins Vital Light Serum: Targets dark spots, prevents a dull looking complexion, hydrates the skin and enhances surface radiance. I haven’t used it for long enough to comment on its other claims but thanks to inclusion of hyaluronic acid, this is hands down the most hydrating serum I’ve ever used -- perfect for this time of year. Feels lovely on the skin and comes in a pretty, sparkly 30ml glass bottle.
€68, from all major department stores and selected chemists nationwide.

TWO Origins Drink Up Intensive
: This overnight replenishing mask works as you sleep to replace moisture lost to cold weather, central heating or other wintery perils. Use once or twice a week, in place of your usual nightcream, to combat dehydration and leave skin soothed and refreshed. Another product with that wonder ingredient, hyaluronic acid, this also contains avocado, mango butters and apricot kernel oil, which create a deliciously fruity scent and don't feel too rich or heavy on the skin. €30, from Arnotts Dublin, Boot Liffey Valley, House of Fraser Dundrum and Belfast, and Debenhams in Cork and Belfast.

Liz Earle Brightening Treatment Mask: Fast-acting (leave on from 30 seconds to 2 minutes), this is a great morning pick-me-up for tired or dull looking skin. Noticeably improves my complexion and causes a mild, pleasant tingling sensation thanks to the naturally active ingredients: camphor oil, witch hazel, aloe vera and purifying white clay. A great wee product to have on hand for the oncoming party season! €14.50 for 50ml from the Liz Earle website.

LUSH Pow Wow Lip Scrub: Treat dry winter lips with this edible exfoliating and moisturising lip scrub from LUSH. Use as a treatment as needed, or to prep lips under lipstick or gloss -- either way, use over a sink to capture the fallout. There's all sorts of goodness packed into this little glass jar: popping candy to exfoliate, argan, jojoba and rosehip oils to moisturise and, since this is a limited edition for the festive season, there's also goji berry and caffeine powder to energise. €6.75 from LUSH stores nationwide; can also be purchased online.

LUSH Steamer Tabs: Another LUSH offering that I'm particularly taken with, these tablets dissolve in boiling water to create a therapeutic steam that's infused with essential oil, to clean your face, relax your body and calm your mind! Perfect for an at-home facial to decongest problem winter skin. €3.15 for 2, from LUSH stores nationwide; can also be purchased online.

SIX One Minute Manicure Scrub: A really lovely product to soothe dry winter hands; this exfoliates and moisturises thanks to a combination of essential oils and Dead Sea salts, for super soft skin. Follow with your favourite handcream and you're good to go!
€20; for a list of stockists see the BAAM Cosmetics Facebook page.

What are you relying on to save your skin this winter?

16 November 2011

Christmas Gift Guide #2: L'Occitane

L'Occitane Delice des Fruits collection
New Délice des Fruits range

This post series may not be relevant to all of my readers, so on days when I publish a new Gift Guide I’ll also publish a second post that you can skip straight to, if you’d prefer. Oh and these posts aren't sponsored, they're just a selection of gift ideas that might inspire you as you're planning your Christmas shopping!

I was strolling down Wicklow Street on the way to dinner with my friend Joanne on Friday, when the Christmas display in the L'Occitane window caught our eye.

If you're looking for a gift set or some stocking stuffers, then definitely pop in for a looksee: the brand has an impressive array of gift ideas which are beautifully presented in L'Occitane's tasteful and colourful gift boxes. From candles to shower gels, handcreams to soap, there's bound to be a little somethin' somethin' here to suit all tastes.

Délice des Fleur range

And along with popular year-round ranges like Relaxing Lavender, Romantic Rose and, my personal favourite, Verbena, the brand has introduced two mouth-watering new collections for the festive season, inspired by the traditional candy factories of Provence.

Délice des Fleur is inspired by the powdery scent of sugared rose and violet petals. The star of this collection is the Eau de Toilette, a delicious parma-violet-esqe scent that I spritzed all over me. This comes as a solid perfume too, in a pretty round tin. The range also includes rose and violet lip glosses, hand cream, shower jelly and body milk.

Délice des Fruits is inspired by one of the most famous Provencal sweets: calissons. With lemon and clementine essential oils, this range is quite extensive and includes a shower jelly, body cream, bath balls, soap, hand cream, candle and the loveliest, creamiest looking lip balm in the world.

Prices range from €3.50 for a bath ball, €9.95 for a handcream, €21.95 for the candle or €39.95 for the Eau de Toilette.

Both Christmas collections launched this month and are available from shops nationwide. L’Occitane provide complimentary gift wrapping with every purchase.

Three reasons to love Lancôme’s new Golden Hat Powder in Goldenescent Glow

Billed as an ‘illuminating smooth powder’, there are three main reasons why Lancôme’s pretty, pale-pink-and-gold beauty powder is just perfect for the party season. 

  1. Guilt free glamour: The very likeable Kate Winslett has created this collection in aid of her Golden Hat Foundation for children with autism; Lancôme have pledged €150,000 to the cause.
  1. Objet d’art: Quite apart from any philanthropical considerations, this is a gorgeous piece of makeup. Like Lancôme's recent Maison Lancôme powder, this is beautifully designed; Kate’s signature in gold adorns the limited edition black packaging.
  1. Just the right amount of glitz and glam: This is a well thought through product; the glittery overspray adds the required sparkle for the festive season (best kept for the tops of cheekbones), but come January it will have vanished with the other excesses of the season to leave a pretty blush (if you're pale skinned) or an all-over finishing powder, if you're warmer toned. Genius! 

These pics don't really capture the sparkle but if you look to the left of the bottom left image, you can see the glittery overspray.

The Golden Hat collection is available from Lancôme counters nationwide and also includes five shades of L’Absolu Rouge lipstick (€25) and Le Vernis nailpolish at €20.50.  The powder, which I was sent by the brand, comes in at €45.

15 November 2011

Trade Secrets: 5 minutes with celebrity makeup artist, Jackie Tyson

Celebrity makeup artist Jackie Tyson was in town to launch Avon’s gorgeous new lipstick and foundation ranges. I couldn’t pass up the chance to ask her to share some of her top tips with you: Jackie works with stars including Sienna Miller, Katy Perry and Lily Allen, and bands from Snow Patrol and Coldplay to Blur, Oasis and Radiohead.

Jackie has been working with Avon for the past 4 years. She was also Chief Make-Up Artist for The X Factor live shows for 6 years before taking a break with the current series, to concentrate on her makeup school. Here’s what she had to tell us:

“It’s great fun attending the fashion shows and observing the key makeup trends for the next season. I like helping women to interpret the catwalk looks for their day-to-day lives. For Spring, bold eyes and lips featured in lots of the shows. My advice is to be as brave with your look as you can, but most women will be more comfortable playing up one or the other. Pick your best feature and go wild with it!

For me the most important part of any makeup look is skin preparation. Don’t put makeup on skin that’s not cleansed and moisturised. Good moisturiser means you don’t need a separate primer unless you’re going for a full-on look, which most of us aren’t, day-to-day, or you need your makeup to last an exceptionally long time.

People tend to forget their brows. It looks peculiar to see people with a full face of makeup who have missed this important step. Eyebrows really do frame your face – whether you want a thin or a bold brow shape, always finish your look by brushing a little bit of eyeshadow through the gaps.

My five minute face is moisturiser, concealer, mascara and something on my lips – even if it’s just a slick of balm, having something on your lips makes a big difference to how you feel about yourself, which is the whole point of makeup.

My favourite trend is that technology is galloping on in leaps and bounds. The best cosmetic products today (like the two Avon products Jackie was in Dublin to launch) also include skincare benefits. It’s great to see SPF included in so many products. I always look for an added SPF in my foundation -- anything that saves us time is a winner in my book.”

14 November 2011

Christmas Gift Guide #1: The Marvel Room at Brown Thomas Dublin

The Marvel Room at Brown Thomas Dublin

This new post series may not be relevant to all of my readers, so on days when I publish a new Gift Guide I’ll also publish a second post that you can skip straight to, if you’d prefer. These posts aren't sponsored, they're just a selection of gift ideas that might inspire you as you're planning your Christmas shopping!

Fluff and Fripperies was recently invited to the opening of The Marvel Room, an appropriately named luxury Christmas gift emporium that can be found on the first floor of Brown Thomas Dublin until Saturday 24th December.          

Exploring The Marvel Room is a really lovely experience. It’s chock full of beautiful, covetable pieces and it’s a pleasure to wander around the space, which includes an Alexander McQueen installation curated by Sarah Burton for Brown Thomas. Many items are exclusive to the store and have been created in partnership with a range of top international and Irish design houses, including Hermès, Chanel, Alexander Mc Queen, Pauric Sweeney and Tiffany & Co. 

But not everything comes with a hefty designer price-tag: what impressed me most was the great selection of unusual and original items to suit any budget. Here’s a selection that caught my eye:

The Marvel Room at Brown Thomas Dublin

  1.  Limited edition Alexander McQueen Fil Coupe scarf, exclusive to BTs, €295
  2. Chanel purses and cardholders, from €260
  3. The Perfectly Dressed Gentleman by Robert O'Byrne, €12
  4. Hope and Greenwood sweet filled Letter to Santa, €10
  5. Cire Trudon Nazareth Christmas Candle, €60
  6. Selection of Pauric Sweeney purses, all €70
  7. Hope and Greenwood large tuck jars, €20
  8. Celine Nappa and Shearling wristlets, €290
  9. Beyonce Paper Doll book, €10
Do you like the look of anything you see here, for you or for anyone else?!? Will you be checking out the Marvel Room this Christmas?

Meet my makeup brushes!

There was a great reaction to this guest post on brushes by Pretty Easy's Sarah Lanagan, so I thought I’d show you my own motley little collection! I’d like to expand this, so if you have any suggestions on the types or brands of brushes I should be investing in to round out what I currently own, I would really love to hear them.

I keep my brushes in this cotton wool/cotton bud holder on the bathroom shelf. They’ve just been washed here with Johnson’s baby shampoo, ready for their close-up, so some of them are still a little damp! I have a few from Ruby and Millie and The Body Shop –-  including that big Body Shop eye brush with the wooden handle below, which is about 10 years old and still going strong! -- and one each from Benefit, MAC and Boots No 7. Oh and an eyeliner brush from Catrice, too, which is the skinny black one with the angled head in the 'group shot' below.

I use my fingers to apply my foundation and I mostly use a cream blush these days, so I don’t have too many face brushes. Those three brush heads you can see in the shot above are the Body Shop Face and Body Brush, the Body Shop blusher brush (which I use to contour my face) and a duo fibre mineral brush which again I use for contouring or for mineral powders. The name has actually worn away on this so I have no idea where it came from! 

The MAC 194 brush is for concealer, I use a Ruby and Millie angled brush on my brows and a selection from Boots, The Body Shop and Ruby and Millie on my eyes, along with that one in the bottom right corner there, which is Benefit's 'The Talent' brush -- and my personal favourite, because you can use it for lining, shading and contouring.

What’s in your collection? Do you have a favourite? And do you have any tips for me to help me build mine up?

13 November 2011

Words of Wisdom for World Kindness Day

Image source: World Kindness Movement.

"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone." 
 Beauty advice from Audrey Hepburn

Today is World Kindness Day. It sometimes feels like kindness is disappearing in our busy, modern world. Don’t let that happen.  You probably don’t need suggestions on how to be kind, but if you do, there are some here and here. Just don’t overdo it.

12 November 2011

Sharing is caring: How to work The Body Shop Winter Trend collection (plus WINNER of recent Body Shop giveaway!)

I recently told you all about The Body Shop's Winter Trend collection, which was launched at a lovely festive themed event by international makeup artist, and genuine sweetheart, Karim Sattar. (If you missed that post, you can have a look at it here.)

Now you can watch Karim in action, as well as seeing what went down at the launch event, by checking out this great little video from the brand. Learn from Karim's makeup tips and tricks as he uses products from the new Smoke & Sparkle collection on the lovely Dee (winner of Rosemary's competition on the excellent Fash Mob).

Happy viewing!

Oh, and the winner of my recent giveaway of products from The Body Shop? July Girl! Well done, an email should be pinging into your inbox right about now. 

11 November 2011

Fluffy Little Pick Of The Week: LUSH Rose Jam Bubbleroon

LUSH have extended their patented bubble bar range with these gorgeous macaroon inspired treats, complete with a coconut cream oil filling. One of three available ‘flavours’ (the others being Yuzu & Cocoa, and, um, Green), this pale pink Bubbleroon is fragranced with rose absolute and rose oil, with a hint of lemon and geranium oil.  It smells surprisingly elegant and sophisticated, creating soft mounds of gentle bubbles when crumbled under the running tap. Thanks to the cocoa and shea butters, it also left my skin feeling soft and smooth. Altogether heavenly.

I was sent this one to try out but bubbleroons are priced at €4.50 each and are available online or from LUSH stores nationwide.

10 November 2011

Karen Millen 30th Anniversary Party: we’re all invited!

Karen Millen celebrates its 30th anniversary this year with the launch of a limited-edition anniversary collection, comprising 30 covetable accessories that include that gorgeous ponyskin i-Pad case I showed you in a recent post. 

The full collection will be unveiled at a special anniversary party this evening at the Dublin Grafton Street store, and the best news is – we’re all invited!

Incoming from Avon: Shine Attract Lipstick and Ideal Flawless Liquid Foundation

One of the great things about writing a beauty blog is the opportunity to discover new products and brands you might previously have overlooked: Avon are the perfect example. Over the past year I have gone from rarely giving this brand a thought to being a complete convert to many of its products, like the Super Shock Max mascara, gel eyeliner pencil and what is now one of my favourite lip colours, Avon’s Colordisiac in Flirty Fuchsia.

I was delighted to be introduced to new products due for release early next year, which I predict will also become firm favourites in my makeup bag: Shine Attract lipstick, and Ideal Flawless Liquid Foundation.