Thursday, 22 April 2010

Le Metiér de Beauté Crème Fresh Tint in "Poppy": FOTD

I was at a lovely Handpicked Media event at Liberty this evening where we were shown the new Le Métier de Beauté Spring 2010 collection.

The whole collection was fab, but there was one standout product that I just had to get my wallet out for, which was the Crème Fresh Tint for Lip and Cheek in the shade "Poppy" (£22).  This multi tasker is the most beauteous peachy pink colour, and when I applied it on my cheeks and saw how much healthier and fresher I looked with it on, I had to have it.

Here's how Le Metiér de Beauté describe the Crème Fresh Tint:

A new introduction to the Le Métier de Beauté color family, Crème Fresh Tints for Lip and Cheek create a sheer wash of color to brighten cheeks and lips for a radiant glow. Blended over makeup or on fresh, clean cheeks, Crème Fresh Tints can be worn alone or together for a completely customized look. Dab on lips for a fresh stain; add Clearly Brilliant to add brilliant shine.

- Two beautiful, universal shades
- Adjustable coverage for delicate to intense color
- Safe for all skin types including sensitive skin

Here's a close-up photo I took of the shade "Poppy".  It looks almost shimmery in this photo even though it was taken without flash.  But in real life, you don't see shimmer particles at all - it's just a "gleam".

Le Metier de Beaute Creme Fresh Tint Poppy

The consistency of the Crème Fresh Tint keeps catching me out.  I keep thinking it's going to be a solid product like a cream blush I have from Clarins that this colour reminds me of, but it's actually more like a thick lipgloss.  Three times now (twice in the store, and once just now), I have dunked a finger in and ended up scooping up a massive blob, like this:

Le Metier de Beaute Creme Fresh Tint Poppy swatch

Anyway, here's what it looks like on the cheeks - there's no shimmer, just a peachy gleam.  This is quite literally the beauty product I've been searching for my entire life.  And it can be applied over powder products without turning funny.

Le Metier de Beaute Creme Fresh Tint Poppy FOTD

I'm too lazy to type out the full list of ingredients right now, but if you're interested, the first ingredient is "Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil", and there are no mineral oils in there.

The Crème Fresh Tint comes in another shade called "Tenné" which is a neutral, pinky brown colour... which I imagine would be great for creating a very natural, tawny look.  There are great swatches of both shades on this post at The Beauty Look Book.

I also tried using these Crème Fresh Tints on my lips, which worked well because the consistency is already so much like a lipgloss and the tints are completely unscented.  "Tenné" gave an ultra beige nude look on my lips, and "Poppy" gave a pale, rosy lip.  Man, I love this product.

In the UK, you can currently only buy Le Metiér de Beauté from Liberty in London or from where there is a limited range available.  See here for where you can find the brand in other countries.

Disclaimer:  I was given some products from the Le Métier de Beauté collection to take home free of charge, but I paid for this particular shade of Crème Fresh Tint with my own, hard-earned cash, because I just love it.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer: Review

I picked up the new Rimmel Match Perfection Skin Tone Adapting Concealer (£5.99) from Boots last weekend as a filler so I could make use of a Boots Advantage bonus points voucher.  So far, I'm really impressed by this concealer when used on my undereyes.

Here's the product description:

"Skin Tone adapting concealer. 2 in 1 concealer and highlighter. Banish signs of fatigue and illuminate the eye area. With an oxygen complex. Lets skin breathe."

I'm not exaggerating when I say I've bought and tried virtually every single "wand" concealer on the high street.  I find most of them either too watery (and thus rubbish at concealing dark circles) or too chalky, making my undereyes look dehydrated and lined.

The concealer comes in three shades.  I bought the one in the middle, "030 Classic Beige".  It's the perfect beige - no overriding yellow or pink tones... just beige.  Here's a swatch on my hand:

Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer Classic Beige

The tube is flexible and squeezy rather than the "twist and click" type that you get on most wand concealers.  It makes it a little difficult controlling the amount that comes out of the brush head, but there's something nice about the packaging - it's very... umm... playful..?

The Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer really knocks the socks off any other high street wand concealer I've ever used.  It's just the right consistency for under the eyes... it's not so thin that it just disappears when you try to blend it out, nor is it so thick that it pulls on the skin and dries before you get a chance to blend it.

And I'm not sure how it does it, but this concealer really does seem to "adapt" to my skin tone.  It takes no time to apply because it becomes invisible as soon as I start to spread it out under my eyes.  And at the same time, my dark circles suddenly look less visible with just one quick layer.

This concealer is meant to be a 2 in 1 concealer and highlighter, in the sense that it brightens up the eyes.   But it only does this by concealing any darkness - not by reflecting any light.  There's no mica or any other reflective particles in the formula.

In terms of staying power, I find it lasts much longer than most liquid concealers I've tried - I don't get the usual situation where I catch myself in the mirror after lunch and realise that my dark circles are on show loud and proud.  There is a tiny bit of settling into lines by the end of the day - but it's really not too bad (I've had much, much worse from Max Factor Mastertouch Concealer for example).  The creasing is more noticeable if I've used multiple layers of the concealer in the morning.

This concealer contains talc, so it can be a little drying if too much is used, but it really only needs to be used sparingly to cover up moderate dark circles.

The full ingredients of Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer are:


So if you're looking for a cheap undereye concealer that is quick and easy to apply in the mornings, this stuff is worth a go.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Philips Lumea vs. Boots Smooth Skin iPulse vs. Remington i-Light

[Update (9th May 2011):  Remember to also read my latest post on the new iPulse PLUS, Boots Smooth Skin iPulse PLUS: New and improved!]

It's been a while since I last blogged about my experience with Boots Smooth Skin iPulse IPL, and with the recent arrival of Philips Lumea and Remington i-Light on the home IPL hair reduction market, I thought it was about time I did a quick follow-up, as well as a comparison of the three products for those of you who are interested in buying one. There are a few other brands in the market (e.g. Silk'n and Tria), but these three are currently the most high profile in the UK. Much of the science-y bits in the comparisons are based on some very helpful information I asked for from the iPulse team.

Here are some quick stats on the three home IPL systems (my Boots Smooth Skin follow-up is afterwards):

Boots Smooth Skin iPulse

[Update (9th May 2011):  This information is for the original Boots Smooth Skin. You can read details and FAQs for the new Boots Smooth Skin iPulse PLUS here: Boots Smooth Skin iPulse PLUS: New and improved!]

Website: and

Price:  £324.99

Description:  "Boots Smooth Skin gives permanent hair reduction in just 6-12 weeks, it is an easy to use hair removal solution at home."

Can be used on face?:  Yes

Can be used by men?:  Yes

Light energy level:  7 - 10 joules, depending on setting used (some studies say 7+ joules are required to be effective at disabling the hair follicle).

No. of settings:  3

Application window (size of treatment area):  3cm²

Pulse repetition rate:  6 seconds, manual trigger

Permanent?:  Yes, if you've caught hairs in their active growth (Anagen) phase, the hair follicles will be disabled.

Gel required?:  Yes, first tube of Activator Gel is included. Further tubes are £2.99 from Boots.

Estimated lamp lifetime:  10,000 flashes. Replacement handset costs £159.99.

Pros:  iPulse Premium IPL technology has been created using unique, patented "square pulse" technology, which gives a controlled, even flash of light energy. This prevents overlapping of treatment or missing spots completely.

Cons:  Hair can still grow from follicles that have been disabled if your body's hormones change. Therefore, iPulse still advise to keep the unit for top-ups every few months. No multi flash mode, so treatment sessions can be quite slow while waiting for the lamp to recharge between flashes.

Buy original model: product page
Buy new iPulse PLUS model (released 9th May 2011): product page

Philips Lumea (SC2001)

Philips Lumea

Price:  £399.99

Description:  "Philips Lumea IPL hair removal system uses gentle pulses of light to stimulate the hair root into a resting phase. Hair sheds naturally and regrowth is inhibited. Using it every two weeks enables you to enjoy smooth skin everyday."

Can be used on face?:  No

Can be used by men?:  No

Light energy level:  2 - 6.5 joules, depending on setting used

No. of settings:  5

Application window (size of treatment area):  3cm²

Pulse repetition rate:  3-5 seconds, manual trigger

Permanent?:  No, Philips Lumea is simply "photo epilation" where it heats up the hair and follicle, enough for the hair to fall out and the follicle to go into resting phase. The light energy is not intended to be strong enough to disable the hair follicle completely.

Gel required?:  No

Estimated lamp lifetime:  40,000 flashes, after which the total unit would need to be replaced.

Pros:  Cordless. No gel required. While hair reduction is not permanent, treated areas remain hair-free as long as treatments are performed every 2 weeks before follicles have a chance to become active again. Also, compared to shaving/waxing/epilating, you don't need to wait for hair to grow back before treating (thus no stubble and no ingrown hairs).

Cons:  Light energy is only strong enough to put hair follicles into resting phase, and not to disable them completely, which is why treatment need to be repeated every 2 weeks to prevent hair regrowth.

Buy: product page or Amazon product page

Remington i-Light (IPL5000)

Remington i-Light


Price:  £349.99

Description:  "i-LIGHT safely removes hair for an ultra silky smooth feeling that can last for up to 12 weeks. Plus it’s the first home IPL with a multi-flash mode, making it one of the fastest IPL methods of long lasting hair removal."

Can be used on face?:  No

Can be used by men?:  Yes

Light energy level:  Up to 6 joules.

No. of settings:  5

Application window (size of treatment area):  2cm²

Pulse repetition rate:  2 seconds, continuous multi-flash for larger areas, or single-flash manual trigger for spot treatment

Permanent?:  No, Remington i-Light does not claim to achieve permanent hair reduction, but rather that it "stuns" follicles and thus suppresses hair regrowth for up to 3 months.

Gel required?:  No

Estimated lamp lifetime:  1,500 flashes. 3 replacement bulbs are included. Further bulbs cost £24.45.

Pros:  No gel required. Multi flash mode allows for continuous movement and thus faster treatment sessions. Significant results can be expected after a single session, but treatments should be repeated every 1-3 weeks until desired result is achieved (usually around 6-12 weeks). Hair is likely to grow back less dense, lighter and finer.

Cons:  Slightly smaller application window (2cm²) than other devices. Once desired results are achieved, treatments are still required every 3 months whenever hair starts to reappear again. Extremely short lamp lifetime (but comes with 3 replacement bulbs and further bulbs are relatively cheap). Remington i-Light does not have the same "square pulse" technology as Boots Smooth Skin iPulse, so it has "hot spots" which means zaps are not fully even - so you end up overlapping some areas and missing others.

Buy: product page or Amazon product page

My follow-up review on Boots Smooth Skin

If you haven't already read it, or need a refresher, you can read my previous Boots Smooth Skin review (after 48 weeks) here.

It's been 4 months since I wrote that review, and I've only used Boots Smooth Skin a couple of times since to achieve hair-free status on my underarms and bikini line. I can definitely go a few months before noticing that enough sparse hairs have grown back to warrant doing something about them. And once I've done a quick zap on those hairs, they're gone again.

The only area I still haven't noticed very significant results, is on my upper lip (sorry to any men I have troubled by writing this - but it's only the luckiest of women who don't need to do anything with their upper lip). I still try to use Boots Smooth Skin once a week on my upper lip. Fortunately it takes less than 5 minutes to cover the area. It's been well over the suggested time (6-12 weeks) to achieve permanent hair reduction, but I'm sure at least 60% of the hair is still growing back and I can't even tell whether the hairs are coming back finer because they were already fine. But those hairs being fine is probably why IPL isn't working so well on them.

Something I've noticed is that the hair reduction has been the most successful and long-lasting where I've used a stronger setting. I've never been able to use the highest strength setting because it generates too much heat on my mid-toned skin, but I can manage the medium setting on most areas. On sensitive areas where I have only used the lowest setting, the regrowth is greater than on areas where I have used the medium setting.

I still haven't needed to get a replacement handset, and I still have a third of the activator gel left. So I seem to be getting a lot of mileage. However, the bulb might have gone now if I'd been using the system on my legs too.

4 months on from my last review, my experience and routine is pretty much still the same, except that I can go for much, much longer before I get any regrowth. In my previous review, I observed that some regrowth would appear after four weeks, but now I would say that the hair-free time period is at least double now, and the regrowth again is sparser, finer and much less noticeable.

I now try to use the highest setting I can where possible. I'm suspicious that the lowest setting isn't strong enough to kill the hairs permanently... or that it's just going to do it too slowly for my liking. The problem with using the stronger settings is that the glass window overheats incredibly quickly, meaning that the zapping session takes longer because I keep needing to rest the handset to let it cool down before I dare use it again. I really wish something could be done to stop the handset overheating so quickly - it's pretty much the only thing I have a problem with, and the zaps do get quite painful if the bulb is hot.

All in all, I'm still very pleased with my Boots Smooth Skin purchase last year. I've been able to completely ditch my waxing kits and epilator, and the only time I need a razor is for the prep before a zapping top-up. Any time a friend mentions the chore of hair removal, I realise that I completely take being hair-free for granted - I could never go back to that! I'd recommend the iPulse hair reduction system to anyone. Well, as long as you're light-medium skinned with dark hair, and can spare quite a lot of time to use it diligently during the first few months.

Update (20th April 2010):  The girls at The London Beauty Review have been trialling both Boots Smooth Skin and Philips Lumea. Read all about their experiences on their latest post here - it's a really useful read written from a user perspective!

Update (12th June 2010):  I don't know how but I'm now managing to use Boots Smooth Skin on the highest setting (for "fair" skin). I tried using this setting for the first time and it doesn't seem to smart any more than the middle setting. So I'm going to continue using it! I still have fine hairs growing through on my upper lip and a few on my underarms, so maybe the stronger setting will finally get rid of those. If you're currently using the middle setting comfortably, definitely try the stronger setting... you never know, it might be ok for you.

Update (9th May 2011):  iPulse have brought out a new, improved model of Boots Smooth Skin, which you can read full details of on my post, Boots Smooth Skin iPulse PLUS: New and improved!

If you found this post useful, feel free to "like" the Beauty Scribbler Facebook page to be updated whenever I write a new blog post. It's the first "like" button below :-)

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Bliss Pore-fector: A beauty gadget I want... and I want now!

Bliss Pore-Fector Gadget Kit

Have you ever cursed at an area of persistent blocked pores wistfully wishing you had some kind of device that could vacuum out the gunk and then scrape it off, leaving tidy, clean pores?  Well, a new gadget from Bliss may be the answer to our prayers.  I found out about the Bliss Pore-fector Gadget Kit from the current Vogue magazine and have been yearning for it ever since.  It's going to cost £125/$185 but I am so going to buy it when it comes out here in (I believe) May.

In a nutshell, the Bliss Pore-fector is used on clean skin which has had a water-based toner applied, and generates high-frequency, sonic vibrations through a metal (non-invasive) palette blade, loosening debris and dead skin cells, and thus lifting clogged up gunk out of pores.  I was sold when the author of the Vogue article said the technology is supposedly the same as used in ultrasonic salon facials (non-Bliss facials I should mention), from which she has seen blackheads visibly lifting out of the skin while the metal blade is passing over her skin.

After pore cleansing, the gadget can also be used to help massage moisturisers and serums deeper into the skin to make them more effective.

Here's the Bliss Pore-fector Gadget Kit product info from the Sephora website:

What it is:
An innovative complexion-improving set featuring pore-clearing technology and formulas.

What it is formulated to do:
Let go of the lancet and forget about using your fingers; this ensemble is the next-best thing to an at-home esthetician. The 'pore'fector gadget is a safe and sanitary new 'wave' in complexion clearing. Often, impurities get trapped on the skin and result in plugged pores. Like a bionic spa facialist, this tool generates sonic vibrations, which works with Bliss Daily Detoxifying Facial Toner to create micro-jets to extract impurities and deeply clean clogged skin.

Set contains:
- Pore'-fector Gadget Tool
- Recharge Base Unit
- Power Adapter
- 6.7 oz Daily Detoxifying Facial Toner
- 2 x Samples of Steep Clean 15-Minute Facial Mask

What else you need to know:
Sonic waves are vibrational sound waves with super-high frequencies that can help to improve skin's appearance. With the gentle power of sonic waves, the 'pore'fector gadget helps to loosen up debris and make skin more receptive to the rest of your regime. Vibrations help to remove the bad stuff (debris, dirt, grime) and help revitalize the appearance of skin, helping to massage products onto the skin's surface for seriously smooth results.

The instructions (also from are:

- Apply Daily Detoxifying Facial Toner (or the water-based toner of your choice) onto clean skin with a cotton pad.
- Press the red ON button; a red light will appear signifying high vibrations (this setting is ideal for cleansing).
- Note: If your skin is sensitive, press the intermittent button on the right; this adds a pulsating vibration, which lessens the intensity of the wave.
- Flip the head of the tool up so that you can use it in a scooping motion; begin gently applying pressure to help cleanse and exfoliate the skin.
- Use an alcohol or sanitizer-saturated cotton pad to wipe the tool clean.
- Apply your moisturizer or serum.
- Flip the head of the tool over so it lays flush against your skin.
- Press the ON button again and a green light will appear indicating slower vibration.
- Instead of massaging your moisturizer or serum onto your skin with your fingers, gently apply the head of the tool onto the surface of the skin and glide it along the skin's surface in a downward motion.

Recommended use:
- Oily skin: use for 3-5 minutes, 1-2 times daily.
- Dry/sensitive skin: use for 2-3 minutes, once daily.
- Combination skin: use 1-2 minutes, once every other day.

The Sephora Q&A section also has some informative answers on how Bliss Porefector is different to Clarisonic - if you're wondering!

So there you go.  Apparently there is a waiting list for the Bliss Pore-fector Gadget Kit, but I want to try it so much!  I am having visions of myself also attacking my fiancé's nose with it too... oooh I can't wait!

Update (12th May 2010):  I'm not going to buy this product.  I was in Sephora last week in New York and was so close to buying the Bliss Pore-Fector but I hesitated because it looked a bit crap in the box... like the kind of thing I would end up tossing aside very quickly.  And later when I got back to the UK, I read this review from British Beauty Blogger which made me glad that I passed on it... sounds like it doesn't do any miraculous pore scooping or extraction like I thought it would.  Ah well, I will need to find something else to yearn for!

Highlights at Aveda Institute... my new hair colour (kind of)!

After about five years of not having my hair coloured (sensitive scalp and laziness of getting roots touched up), I finally caved and got a half head of highlights yesterday at the Aveda Institute salon in Covent Garden.  My hair is normally a dark brown (with lighter ends), but due to lack of sunshine, it was looking pretty much jet black and a little harsh against my equally sun-starved skin.  I had my hair cut recently at a little Japanese salon in Soho called B:ZAR but it needed a lift that a cut alone just can't achieve.

The Aveda colourist, Carl was soooo nice, and really knew what he was doing.  I told him I wanted to take the edge off the black in my hair, and warm it up a bit.  But I definitely didn't want too much red or orange - which is where my hair usually ends up due to the high levels of red pigment in black hair.  I've had awful, awful highlights before where I've ended up with thick, ginger streaks... ohhh... so bad... sooo bad.  Of course, I only realised how bad the "highlights" years later when looking at photos.  <cringe> Why did no-one tell me??

I made sure Carl knew I was going to be super lazy with the upkeep of the highlights (I'm a wash 'n' go person, and a "recent" hair cut for me is anything within the last five months).  This was the reason he suggested subtle highlights in the first place rather than a flat colour.  I think we went a little too subtle though because my hair still looks quite dark unless there is light or sun shining on it.  Well, I guess he did say it was safer to start dark and go lighter next time.  My fiancé couldn't tell the difference <sigh>.

This was the first time I'd ever paid so much for anything done on my hair (£115 for a Master Technician) ... but the service was worth it.  When you look closely, you can see very intricately-created chocolate highlights against the black.  Overall, it looks ultra natural.  No dodgy streaks in sight.

Here's how the colour turned out (an indoors photo last thing yesterday night, and a photo from this afternoon walking on windy Hampstead Heath):

And here's me looking cool while waiting for the highlights to do their stuff:

I was expecting my hair to feel a little dry and damaged post-processing but it really doesn't at all.  And the rich brown tones make my hair look glossier with more movement.  Apart from wishing I hadn't gone so subtle, I'm really impressed with the experience and result from Aveda.  Now that I've seen for myself that it is possible to have highlights in my hair which are not orange streaks, I'm definitely going to try going lighter next time.

Update (6th August 2010): I went back to Aveda to get my roots done, and went a bit lighter! See the photos of my lighter brown highlights here.

Friday, 2 April 2010

e.l.f. Mineral Blemish Kit: Review

ELF Mineral Blemish Kit

I bought the e.l.f. Mineral Blemish Kit (powder + concealer brush) (£6) a while ago after deciding I wanted to try a spot treatment containing sulfur/sulphur to see if it really does flatten or "draw out" spots like some products claim it does.

I liked the sound of the Mineral Blemish Powder because it sounded like mineral foundation (with healing zinc) but with additional spot-fighting ingredients like sulfur and tea tree.  When I get the occasional spot, I like to feel that I am at least trying to do something positive to get rid of it rather than just covering it up.  So this blemish powder from e.l.f. sounded pretty convenient - treat and cover at the same time.

Here's the official product blurb and directions:

"Heal and disguise blemishes with the all natural Mineral Blemish Kit. This translucent powder has active acne fighting ingredients like natural Sulfur, Tea Tree and Willow Bark to treat acne and prevent future breakouts while penetrating deep into the pores to control blackheads.

Take the concealer brush and dab into the powder. Apply formula on areas that need spot treatment. Use nightly and or daily to treat and prevent future breakouts."

The powder itself turns out to not be like mineral foundation at all.  It has a slight crystalline/sugary appearance and texture from the sulfur.  It's also noticeably glittery from the mica and bismuth oxychloride... which seems a bit weird for a concealer.  If I have a spot, I don't really want to draw attention to it by dabbing glitter on it!  Here's a photo of how it looks in the pot:

ELF Mineral Blemish Kit pot

The brush that comes in the kit is next to useless.  I don't know if it's the brush itself, or the powder being so "crystalline", but the bristles just don't pick up any of the powder!  So I use my finger to apply it instead.

Applying the Mineral Blemish Powder is a bit like trying to stick a mixture of corn powder and sugar to my face.  It doesn't meld onto the skin like mineral foundation.  Rather, it just sits there white and powdery on the skin (definitely not suitable for darker skins!).  Then if I try to blend it out, the powder just falls off of my face completely.  So nil points as a concealer.  Here's a photo of how the powder looks on my hand before being "blended" (i.e. pushed off the skin):

ELF Mineral Blemish Kit swatch

When this kit arrived in the post, I "fortunately" had a couple of under-the-skin spots / blocked pores to test it out on (the only time I've ever been pleased to have a spot).  I used the Mineral Blemish Powder on the offending areas morning and night for several days and unfortunately saw no improvement whatsoever.  So, nil points as a spot treatment too.  Poo.

So there you go.  Probably the least effective beauty product of any kind that I've used in the last five years I reckon.

The full ingredients of e.l.f. Mineral Blemish Powder are:

Active Ingredient: Sulfur 3.0%.
Inactive Ingredients: Zinc Stearate, Barium Sulfate, Silica, Kaolin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Corn Starch Modified, Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Dextrin, Magnesium Myristate, Calcium Sodium Phosphosilicate, Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides(CI 77891, CI 77892, CI 77899).

The e.l.f. Mineral Blemish Kit is a copy of Bare Escentuals RareMinerals Blemish Therapy which I haven't tried.

Despite my disappointing experience with the e.l.f. Mineral Blemish Powder, I'm still keen to try a spot treatment with sulfur as one of the active ingredients.  There are quite a few products on the market, but these stand out as products I'd like to try one day (the links go to the respective product info pages):

Peter Thomas Roth Acne Spot And Area Treatment
Murad Blemish Spot Treatment
MD Skincare Correct & Perfect Spot Treatment
Dermalogica MediBac Clearing Concealing Spot Treatment

Any others that I've missed that you think I should put on my list of spot treatments containing sulfur to try?
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