Everyday sheer cover-ups

Having used a variety of tinted moisturisers for many years, I’m always on the lookout for the perfect one.  I like the texture and cover of most but have trouble finding the right shade.  There was a Dior – Hydraquench, I think – which had a great feel but one shade was too tan, the next too light.  I mixed them in a little pot but it was messy, and expensive buying two in quick succession.

Tops recently for me are:

  • Diorskin Nude BB Creme (Shade 003)
  • Chanel Les Beiges Tinted Moisturiser (30)
  • Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser (Warm Radiance).

I love the glow from the LM, but this shade is a touch golden in the UK in May with me still pale after winter – so I’m putting it by for summer.

I tried to buy Les Beiges when passing through my local airport a few days ago and found that Chanel had withdrawn it – but it’s being reintroduced shortly, presumably after customer outcry.

fullsizeoutput_668eInstead, I was introduced to Chanel Ultra Light Skin Perfecting Makeup.  Compared with moisturisers, this is more liquid (you have to shake before use). Though I’ve not used ‘foundation’ as such for decades, this has a lovely light feel with a silky, sheer finish and was available in ‘my’ shade, 30.  Plus it was a bargain (!) at £24 in the tax free shop.




Clarins own goal

I wish beauty product manufacturers wouldn’t fiddle with formulae.

screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-16-25-30Most recent off my list of preferred moisturisers is Clarins Multi-Active Day Cream SPF20.  The revamp has the bonus of a decent SPF but it has a heavier texture than the former and is minus the delicate rose scent.  I like my beauty products to smell nice and this is neutral which takes away so much of the pleasure of using it.

Worse still, Clarins has discontinued my adored Multi Active Serum.  The very first serum I used was the famous Boots Protect and Perfect which did me well for several years.  Then a Clarins holiday kit introduced me to their beautifully scented serum which I use to this day.


Last year I was persuaded to try their Double Serum (a whopping £70+) but was not impressed.  I finished it, went to restock on Multi Active and found it was going out of production.  I managed to get some 10ml tubes online – then a huge 100ml salon size at a knock down price – all of which will last me many months.  It’s still around online – but at double the price.


New peel off gel online

Spotted on ebay.co.uk is a budget priced peel off UV gel from Bluesky, the copycat brand.  Not bought any yet because I have too many colours already but would be interested to hear from anyone who has tried them.  Before I transferred my allegiance to peel off gels two years ago, I purchased a lot of Bluesky soak off products and thought them just as good as, sometimes better than, the premium brands.

There are 24 colours, plus a dual base/top coat, from the seller I found, priced from just £5.50 with free P&P.


Street party chic

Our Queen is 90 this year and there are nationwide celebrations this weekend.  Our avenue is having a street party and I’m getting into the spirit of things with a new manicure.

In the absence of a white gel in my repertoire, I’ve done a duo of blue and red.

I’ll be wearing a white dress, blue shoes, a red cardi if it’s cool and, of course, a tiara!


Secret Red from Alessandro Striplac

Something Blue by Sensationail *

* Although this is a soak off product, not a peel off, I find a base and topping of Striplac Twin Coat enables it to be peeled off easily; same for other soak off gels.  It’s so much kinder on your nails than soaking in acetone.


Took off my gel nails last night in readiness to redo them, slathered my hands in hand cream before sleep then washed and prepped them before my manicure this morning.  I used a recent Alessandro Striplac shade – Blackberry – which isn’t the easiest to apply as it shrinks away from the nail edges and was horrified to find the gels popping off my nails within an hour.

I think I have to blame myself because I used this colour on a friend who got three weeks wear.  I’m suspecting that my handwash and prep (non acetone nail polish remover) wasn’t thorough enough because my last few applications with other colours have had good staying power.  Most times I remove one shade and straightaway put on another (because my nails are weak and peel when naked).

So, I’ll not forgo my hand lotion (Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream*), but I will make sure I give my nails a good brush and cleanse with soap and water before starting again tomorrow.

Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream   Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 20.59.40

This is my all time favourite hand cream.  Originally I had a small size in one of those travel kits you buy on planes but fell in love when I realised it healed, then prevented, the skin under my nail tips from splitting in winter.  It’s not cheap but I’d tried all sorts of balms to deal with my tender fingertips and this is the only thing that has worked.  It also claims to reduce age spots – see me in 10 years time to see if this is true!  The 30ml size sells online for about £7.50, the 100ml from £15 and sometimes you can find the bumper 200ml tube in duty free shops for around £25 (otherwise £30+).

Desert island musts

If ever I was marooned on a desert island, there are two cosmetic products I would grab before the boat sank – Clarins Instant Concealer and Jane Iredale Lash Extender and Conditioner.  I’ve used the lash product for several years but the concealer is a recent discovery (thank you Emma on the Clarins counter at Fenwick, Newcastle) and the first concealer which does not make me look like a reverse panda.

Clarins Instant ConcealerIMG_2571

In various shades to match your complexion, this is easy to apply (fingertip or brush) but has great staying power.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have dark shadows under my eyes and I’ve tried lots of concealers, including the much lauded Touche Eclat (the one which made me look like a panda…), before giving up and hoping I didn’t look too much of a ghoul.

If I’m in a rush I use it alone, over moisturiser, to cover the dark bits under my eyes and any random blemishes.  If I’m doing a full make up, I add tinted moisturiser to the rest of my face and finish with a brush of illuminating powder.

The 15ml tube lasts months as you need only a tiny smear for coverage.  It’s not billed as waterproof but it does withstand the teary eyes you encounter with chill or wind.  Costs around £20 and worth every penny.

Application tip: apply in a ‘V’ under eyes, not a curve, so that the product touches the cheekbones and reflects away from dark circles.

Jane Iredale Lash Extender and Conditioner

Let me say straight away that I think the notion of conditioning eyelashes is a load of tosh.  This, however, is a secret support for mascara or for anyone who wants a curl but cannot wear make up at work.  It comes out of the tube white but dries transparent.  When partly dry (60 seconds), top it with one or two coats of mascara.  While not itself waterproof, it does not affect the properties of a waterproof mascara used on top.  At about £12, it can reduce the overall cost of eye make up if you use an expensive mascara as you use less of the coloured product to get the same effect.


Secret support

Diorshow Waterproof Mascara

IMG_2558 IMG_2556

I’m always on the lookout for effective waterproof mascara (WPM) which does what it says on the tube without smudging onto make-up, flaking or clogging my lashes.  Good ones are few and far between.  My all-time favourite is Lancome Definicils Waterproof (sadly not available in the UK) and the runner up a cheapy from Maybelline in a lurid yellow tube (Colossal Volum’ Express WPM).

Now I’ve added a third to the list – Diorshow Waterproof.    It’s an 11.5ml offering in a big tube with the most enormous mascara brush I have ever seen!  It goes on finely, so you may need extra coats, but even first time out the brush wasn’t overloaded with product.

I found it easy to apply, it curled my lashes and stayed put all evening.  For reasons of research (honest), I removed the rest of my make-up but left it on overnight.  Next morning there was a bit of smudge under each eye but no hard bits or flaking on my pillow.  It came off easily with my ‘patent’ WPM remover – Johnson’s baby oil on a cotton wool pad.  I know make-up gurus frown upon this but I have had painful experiences with dedicated removers,  which have stung my eyes and skin.  So it’s baby oil always.

Only drawback of Diorshow is that it comes at a premium price – up to £25 in the UK.  I tried it because it was on offer at £17 from Secret Sales (subscriber company which offers designer gear at greatly reduced prices).

  • The nails are Alessandro Striplac ‘Blue Lagoon’

UPDATE June 2018

Grr, Dior has discontinued this waterproof version of Diorshow, saying the other version is ‘smudgeproof’ and that’s all that’s needed.  Rubbish!  Persuaded to buy but it wasn’t smudgeproof on me.  They were good enough to exchange for Iconic waterproof.  It has a very different brush (brushes are interchangeable) but is an effective alternative.