Category Archives: Favourites

Summer Lovin’: Laura Mercier Translucent Powder

Or “Tranny powder”, as I like to call it, but unless you’re Jodie Harsh you probably shouldn’t follow in my footsteps.

When it’s as hot as London has been this summer, something everybody needs is a good translucent powder, and I’ve been using Laura Mercier’s for oh, about 9 years now. I’ve used it on beach shoots in Sydney , CEOs in the States, and sweaty models in the banlieues of Paris, and even in the hottest conditions it’s stood the sticky potato-face test without looking cakey, floury or as if you’re auditioning for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.Laura Mercier Translucent Powder

Its finely milled French cashmere talc absorbs oil and stops shine without looking over-done, which is understandable when you know its creator – Laura Mercier is one of the greatest session makeup artists ever and a personal fave of mine. Her extensive and lovely line of makeup was created with both makeup artists and consumers in mind, which is why it turns up in both handbags and professional kits alike. And why, dear readers, I use it for work, (and for my sometimes sweaty self), and you can confidently use it on yourselves in these hot summer months!

The secret (like most things) is in the application. Puffs and sponges will deposit too much powder, and I’m not a fan of the big brush either – too 90’s. You aren’t seeking to eradicate your face with powder, just to set your makeup and to dust off shine. So using a small brush (I like Ruby and Millie’s 10mm, available at Boots), just take it over your t-zone – forehead, nose and chin, and what Gisele accurately but un-charmingly calls the “bulldog creases” for those lines that run from nose to chin. (Then again, only Gisele could call them that as there is nothing bulldog about that girl!)

The cheeks are left au naturel as a little bit of shine here is what pulls the look together and makes it modern (if you want to make yourself look 1000 years old, powder all over, I dare you!)

A note for our darker skinned ladies – translucent powder always bills itself as powder that looks good on every skin tone, but on darker skins it can look ashy. Better picks for you are Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Loose Powder in Basic Brown or Golden Orange, which Kay Montano has used on Salma Hayek in the desert and swears it doesn’t over-build or get cakey, no matter how much you use it.

Because even when it’s hot it’s about the glow (not the sweaty potato face).

Summer Lovin’: Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge Calypso Coral

Bobbi Brown Pot RougeGet the steel band going and pour me some Jamaican rum, ‘cause I’m feeling like a dreadlock holiday…
Well it’s more like Sainsbury’s in Putney, but when I dab on a little bit of Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Calypso Coral I can at least imagine that those waving palm trees and daquiris poolside are on their way (even though it could be a while).
Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge is a great, dense cream blush for cheeks and lips that I have (and love) in my kit in Summer Tan, Milk Chocolate, Pale Pink and now Calypso Coral. Just dab on with fingers for the kind of believable blush that makes you look and feel like you’re just back from holidays (even if the closest thing you have to a holiday right now is reading Grazia with a packet of crisps in the park).

Summer Lovin’: Chantecaille Future Skin

Chantecaille Future SkinWhen the weather warms up in a capital city like New York or London, there’s lots to think about – like am I going to asphyxiate under someone’s armpit on the Tube/subway during my commute to work? Have I got time to shave and fake tan my legs before I go out so people don’t think a hairy celery stick is walking down the road if I wear a skirt? Will my massive man-hole sunglasses from last year be acceptable this season, or do they make me look like a tragic Victoria Beckham wanna-be?

What you don’t want to be worrying about is “will my foundation turn into a soupy mess with the heat?” Enter my new favourite for summer, Chantecaille Future Skin.

Chantecaille is a lovely brand created by a French mother and daughter team (unsurprisingly their surname is “Chantecaille”) which is based on plant botanicals. Their skincare is gorgeous as are their blushes, both cream and powder, but they are on the more expensive side of things (as in, ask the price before you pay as you may pass out at the till). However their products are divine and last ages, so it’s up to you whether you’re scrimping or saving on foundation – for me it’s always an item worth spending on, as glowing gorgeous looking skin really is the base of your beauty.

Future Skin is a lovely rich foundation that provides good coverage but as it is gel based and oil free it never looks heavy, even in bright sunlight. For the foundation boffins out there apparently it has 60% charged water (whatever that is), seaweed extracts, and light-reflective pigments to ease flaws. Great, I’m there!

I apply it with a foundation brush (an Armani one to be exact, which I’m loving) and simply applying it to any red areas and patting in with my fingers. It takes five minutes and it stays all day, giving you a lovely glow that has more to do with good genes than heat induced sweatiness. And what I like most? It looks like your skin, only better.

Major LA makeup artist Patti Dubroff loves it and uses it on all her A-list clientele (and if it’s good enough for Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Watts and Kate Bosworth, it’s good enough for me!) One drawback– it’s better for our fairer skin sisters as although it comes in 8 shades, it’s definitely on the lighter side of the spectrum. In an upcoming post I’ll be looking at the best foundations for women of color. So hold on to your makeup sponges girls! There’s lots more makeup fun to come.

Chantecaille Future Skin is available at Space N.K in the UK and Neiman Marcus in the US.

Summer Lovin’: Becca Watermelon Beach Tint

picture-1Well the plan on holidays was that I’d test lots of waterproof makeup, but given that I didn’t swim due to the unheated-ness of our villa’s swimming pool, it was a little difficult. What I did test at the beach and fall in love with on those hot (almost summer) days, was Becca Beach Tint.

 This is a fabulous rose colored waterproof gel that gives the perfect flush of health. It glides over your sunscreen (‘cause you are wearing sunscreen every day aren’t you?) and did last the distance for a whole day at the beach, even through a rather sweat inducing game of Frisbee. I am a fair skinned blonde so it’s perfect on me, and I think would be gorgeous on more olive-y or even black skintones also– no ashiness here. It’s also beyond gorge as a lipstain.

 Although, like all makeup goodness that I love it always seems to find its way into The Kit, so I will be able to update you in future on how it fares at work.

R.I.P Scott Barnes Beauty

It was a sad, sad day when I found out that Scott Barnes Cosmetics was no more. This was such a great range, one of my all time faves across the board.

To understand the range, you have to understand the creator – Scott Barnes is an American makeup artist who is best known for creating J.Lo’s signature glow. Remember Jenny from the Block when everyone was talking about her, the bronzed Latina goddess, and it felt like the whole world was non-stop J.Lo crazy? That was Scott who was making her look like a million dollars, and making every normal woman (even if you were 5 ft 3 with blonde hair, blue eyes and a bum that is flatter than the proverbial pancake, ahem!) feel like you would pay anything, anything to be a lush caramel and honey toned beauty for a day. Then Ms Lopez sacked Scott and spent quite a few months in the beauty wilderness, looking like an aging tranny in various unflattering shades of fuchsia lipstick and not quite right foundation, and then she and Scott made up again and she went back to looking like the fierce pop diva that we all love.

j-lo400

In 2004 he launched his own cosmetics line, which had gorgeous blushes in peaches, pinks and caramels, amazing bronzers (obviously), great brushes and lovely eyeshadows and eyeliner pencils. If you managed to get your paws on some of his fab products, hold ‘em tightly because sadly the line is no more. I believe that he will be re-launching the line sometime this year, including the cult favourite body makeup and shimmer cream, Body Bling.

Until then, I have found where Scott’s secret personal stash of products is going to be sold – it’s the Beauty Closet in LA, and the lovely Shannon who runs this website is fantastic to deal with, and even better! She ships all over the world. But you’ll need to be quick because once they’re gone, there is no more.chic-palette

My Top 5 Scott Barnes Beauty Products

  1. Eye Ices – shimmery little pigment powders of deliciousness for high shine eyes.
  2. Chic Palette blush – in Posh, Samba and Honey – three different shade palettes of trio blush in pink, peach or apricot to make every girl look radiant.
  3. Lip Slick in Provocative – peachy nude gloss, because, well it is J.Lo.
  4. Illumineye Eye Shadows in Chocolate and Maharishi – tawny browns, are you sensing a theme here?
  5. Body Bling – for perfectly bronzed, glowing limbs. Apparently this is the formula Scott cooked up that meant he could instantly bronze Jennifer quickly for a job, and it would wash straight off afterwards, with no waiting around for self-tanner to activate.