Archive | Beauty RSS feed for this section

CEW(UK) Mentoring Event – Freelancers Guide to Flourishing in Beauty

8 Mar

I currently work alongside trade body CEW(UK) which means that I get to attend most of their talks and events geared towards women working in the beauty industry. The latest was the ‘Freelancers Guide to Flourishing in Beauty’ held on Thursday, which saw freelance beauty journalists Beatrice Aidin, Bella Blissett and Sarah-Jane Corfield Smith talk about what it means to be a freelance beauty writer in a competitive and rapidly changing media industry. Here’s what they had to say…

Beatrice Aidin, Bella Blissett, Sarah-Jane Corfield Smith

With the global beauty industry estimated to be worth £378 billion and projected to grow by 29%, the question was raised as to whether the future of beauty is freelance. The numbers of independent professionals has grown in the UK by 63% between 2004-2013 and it seems now more than ever it is essential to differentiate between types of freelancers as well as bloggers.

Each journalist began by providing a brief overview of their career trajectories and identifying the differences between themselves. Financial Times writer Beatrice spent five years in New York before moving back to London and now specialises in ‘intelligent beauty’, luxury and interviews for the FT’s Style pages and How To Spend It. Bella’s foray into beauty writing came during her time at the London College of Fashion where she was encouraged to die her long, brown hair blonde for a feature to be published in the Evening Standard. Now she works from home combining her role as YOU magazine Beauty Columnist with freelance features. Sarah-Jane has had ten years’ experience in the industry and now freelances in various magazine offices for varying lengths of time, getting a unique view of their different functions and processes.

The first discussion revolved around pitching. Sarah-Jane identified that there were no definitive rules when pitching as a freelancer to an editor but that it can help if you demonstrate knowledge of who you are pitching to, any buzzwords or ideas the editor is known to like, the key brands in the title and most importantly, the readership of that title. The best type of pitch was agreed to be ‘short and sweet’ and can always be followed up by a gentle email or a phone call.

Sarah-Jane then moved onto the pitching process for PRs to journalists and recognised that it can be overwhelming for a PR to keep track of all freelancers’ movements. With this in mind, she said that it helps if freelancers are kept on all call-out/media lists and that the small things count, such as getting the name of the freelancer right and being honest in an email if unsure of their work. Again, she agreed that a gentle nudging email from a PR is acceptable but never to hound, as a writer will be sure to be in touch if they find a story interesting.

Bella then discussed the pragmatism of life as a freelance writer, stating that the most important facets are reliability and being able to develop good relationships within the industry. She acknowledged that everyone works differently so it becomes important to design your own structure that works best for you, for example, she works best earlier in the morning and enjoys changing her scenery and location depending on the type of feature she is writing. She also recommended a well-rounded work/life balance in order to keep calm, making sure to separate work and play time as even leisure time can inspire new ideas. She finished by stating that although freelancing can take a lot of energy, the benefits of being released from monotony, working on your own terms and being the master of your own life are worth it.

Beatrice finished the session by discussing the relationships with PR professionals, identifying that the best relationships work when there is integrity, respect, positivity and manners on both sides. Beatrice agreed that each writer works differently and that she herself prefers a phone call and setting up meetings rather than arranging interviews over email. In regards to press launches, she argued that prompt meetings in convenient locations no longer than thirty minutes are ideal, as well as one-to-ones. She believed it is important for a freelancer to notify ahead if they absolutely have to cancel and also to be clear about what coverage is going to be generated, especially with press trips. If an editor rejects a feature, she suggested that best practice is to notify the PR with as much information as possible with a PR respecting the decision. She finished with her maxim: ‘Always apologise, always explain’.


REN Bloggers Evening – The V-Cense Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial

28 Jan

REN blogger evening

Last week I popped along to the REN Bloggers Evening held at the REN Head Office near Edgeware Road. As healthy snacks and a surprisingly nice green tea/apple juice drink were offered around, we were given a (slightly delayed!) presentation all about REN and the latest offerings for 2014.


For those that might not be as familiar, REN is a skincare brand that prides itself on formulas that do not contain parabens/synthetics etc and are still enjoyable and spa-like to use. (One of my favourite REN products is their Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask – you can read my review of that here).

The most exciting product launching this 2014 is the V-Cense Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial, a gel-rinse that is designed to instantly revitalize and rejuvinate the skin after just 1 minute and last for 72 hours! It aims to neutralize ‘urban grey’ (that dull look that city dwellers – especially Londoners! – are faced with), remove blackheads, eliminate dead skin cells, reduce the signs of fatigue, diminish the signs of wrinkles and overall leave skin looking firm, toned and smoothed. This all seems quite impressive and exciting for a product only being used for 1 minute! 

How it is applied: Massage onto dry skin, then add water and continue massaging for 1 minute, then rinse off

How it works: The key ingredients used to make this facial work are a combination of boswellic acid, magnesium and ‘stabilised 10% Vitamin C’ (meaning it avoids oxidation too early). Once water is applied, this activates all the ingredients, thus delivering an intense shot of active, potent Vitamin C. This Vitamin C is responsible for boosting skin radiance, elasticity and evening out skin tone. 

Launching: March 2014, RRP: £30.00

My thoughts: We were given a couple of little sachets of the facial (apparently there were delays on the finished product) so I decided to test one out at the weekend. The formula came out in a blue gel that felt like an exfoliator, which I massaged onto my face before adding water and continuing to massage. After rinsing off, I could definitely tell that my skin seemed brighter and fresher! As I don’t really have any wrinkles yet, I can’t really comment on this aspect of it but I could definitely see this being an ideal pick-me-up before (and after!) a night out.

Guests were also given the day and night creams of the V-Cense range (previously known as the ‘Frankincense’ range) – I will test out and report back on these asap!

vcense collection1 minute facial

V-Cense range by REN

Have you got a favourite REN product? 

Vita Liberata Deep Face Untinted Self Tan Gel

26 Jan

Last summer I popped along to the lovely Vita Liberata press day held on the sunny Sanctum Soho rooftop (read more about that event here). One of the products that guests were kindly given in their goodybags was the Deep Face Untinted Self Tan Gel (RRP aprox £17.50). I’ve been making my way through my cupboard full of fake tans and finally got onto this one – and I’m glad I did!

Vita Liberata Deep Face Self Tan

As with all of the Vita Liberata tanning range, the product is said to have the following benefits:

  • Non-toxic & Organic
  • 100% free from parabens, perfume and alcohol
  • Unique moisture-lock© system
  • 80% organic extracts that are kind to skin and produce a natural fade

As someone who has moderately sensitive skin, these claims made me feel better about applying this on my face. I used about two pumps which came out white with a texture that reminded me of a hair conditioner! I swept over my face like I would a moisturiser and left it to develop overnight. I was a little worried that as there was no guide colour, I might be left with streaks or an uneven tan but thankfully this was not the case at all! I woke up with a lovely natural, light golden glow and my skin still felt lovely and soft. Plus, the smell was really minimal – my boyfriend hates it when I wear fake tan to bed and always says I’m too sticky and smelly but he couldn’t even tell I had any on! The colour lasted for about 2-3 days – I would describe it as stronger than a tinted moisturiser but lighter than a full-on fake tan.

Overall, I think this is a lovely product to use for the face if you are after a really natural, golden glow without any skin aggravation or strong smell. For my body, I still prefer tans that are slightly darker than what Vita Liberata seem to offer, so tend to steer towards the St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse.

Have you tried Vita Liberata? Do you have any favourite fake tan brands?

Some Autumn/Winter pictures 2013

29 Dec
Me and Laura cropped

Laura Whitmore and I at the Pond’s Institute event

Entrance to Pearl's event with Laura Whitmore

At Micky Flannagan's comedy show, Wembley

Autumn Walks in Greenwich

Autumn Walks in Greenwich

I always love Covent Garden at Christmas

I always love Covent Garden at Christmas

Visiting the Bath Christmas Markets

Visiting the Bath Christmas Markets

Bath sunrise from our hotel room

Bath sunrise from our hotel room

My brother and moi

My brother and moi

A selection of Christmas gifts

A selection of Christmas gifts

As I was clearing some memory space on my laptop and looking back across 2013, I came across some Autumn/Winter photos that I had completely forgotten to pop up! (New  Years Resolution Number 1: Be more efficient)! Anyhows, if anyone is interested, here goes:

Pond’s Institute Pearl Exhibition event at the V&A with Laura WhitmoreIn my current job role I help to PR the classic skincare brand Pond’s Institute (as well as other skincare/cosmetic brands). In October we held an event at the Pearl Exhibition being shown in the fantastic Victoria & Albert Museum; TV presenter and PI Brand Ambassador Laura Whitmore helped to host the evening and was completely lovely to meet. She even came over for a chat when I was packing away boxes and products at the very end! 

Christmas in London: London is so fabulous during Christmas time – from the amazing store Christmas window displays (see the Harrods 2013 display here) to outdoor ice rinks (I recommend the one by the Natural History Museum in South Kensington), to buzzing German markets and Covent Garden’s huge decorations, it is definitely worth a festive wander around. 

Bath: The boyfriend and I visited Bath for a weekend break in the run up to Christmas and I loved it! The German Christmas market there was amazing and had loads of really unique stalls, although this also meant that it was really popular and busy. I imagined the city to be quite old-fashioned, small and quiet, so I was pleasantly surprised that it not only had this old charm but was also completely packed with shops, restaurants, pubs and bars. We (stupidly) hadn’t booked anywhere to eat on Saturday night but managed to get a seat at the new Miller and Carter steakhouse restaurant which I can definitely recommend. Of course, on Sunday morning we couldn’t pass on visiting the Thermae Bath Spa, home to Bath’s natural hot springs. The top of the spa hosts an outdoor heated pool overlooking the city, whilst the middle has steam room pods infused with different scents (like eucalyptus etc) and the bottom has another warm pool and jacuzzi. There are also bespoke spa treatments on offer, though we were happy enough with 2 hours running from the cold air into the lovely warm pools.

Christmas! Christmas was spent at home in the midlands, breathing in fresh countryside air and relaxing with the family for a week. I got some fabulous presents, including the Real Techniques Core Collection Kit, Enrapture Heated Rollers, Neom Candle and new GHDs, amongst others – separate review posts on these coming soon!

Freixenet’s Little Black Bottle

11 Dec

The Little Black Dress is that fail-safe, go-to dress that every girl has hanging in their wardrobe and now Freixenet have come up with their Little Black Bottle – a stylish (and reasonably priced!) bottle of cava designed to be as equally fabulous at festive parties! After sponsoring the Motel blogger event a few weeks ago, Freixenet got in touch with me about their Christmas challenge where I was asked to style up their Little Black Bottle in the same way that I would a dress. Want to see how I got on? 

Freixenet 2

1 – ASOS Leather Pony Paint Clutch Bag

2 – River Island Spiked Necklace 

3 – Freixenet Little Black Bottle 

4 – Motel Fur Jacket

5 – River Island Stiletto Sandals

I love fur jackets for a party so included this fabulous black one from Motel, paired with sleek, barely-there stiletto sandals from River Island for a chic contrast. So as not to be too dark, I included a splattered clutch from ASOS and a gold spiked necklace from River Island for a bit of edge!

What do you think of Freixenet and their Little Black Bottle? How would you dress yours?

John Frieda Full Repair Hydrate & Rescue Deep Conditioner

9 Dec

John Frieda

My first experience of John Frieda was sharing bottles of Frizz Ease with my mum when I was a teenager and in love with straightening my hair. As much as I loved Frizz Ease, as soon as I started experimenting with other brands, I never went back to John Freida. Until now!

I received a sample of the new John Frieda Full Repair Hydrate & Rescue Deep Conditioner in a goodybag recently and am so very impressed with it. It promises to do the below: 

Reverse the look and feel of damage revealing 90% smoother hair in just one use.
This revolutionary deep conditioner infuses hair with intense moisture to instantly improve the look and feel of damage with just one use. The lightweight, non-greasy formula, with Inca Inchi Oil rich in omega-3, quenches dry, damaged hair for the ultimate in softness and shine without weighing it down.
Safe for colour-treated and chemically-treated hair

I have fine, colour-treated hair which is always knotting and feeling quite dry so I am always on the hunt for conditioners which can tame the beast. This conditioner managed it straight away; I used one golf-ball sized amount which was lovely and creamy and it left my hair feeling genuinely silky soft and gleaming afterwards. Usually when I come to comb through my hair after a shower I am armed with plenty of serum and my Tangle Teezer but after using this conditioner I was able to comb through pretty easily without needing any other products. After blowdrying, my hair was gorgeously silky and shiny and so easy to comb through – 5 out of 5 for me!

Verdict: an effective conditioner at a bargain price of just £6.99 from Boots! I just wish it came in a bigger bottle!

Foxy Hair Extensions

24 Nov


I was kindly sent some 16″ clip-in Foxy hair extensions to try recently and even though my hair is quite a nice long length now, I still enjoy using clip-in extensions to add a bit of thickness and glamour for a night out. I usually use Beauty Works extensions (read my review of those here) and used to use cheaper Halo hair extensions when I was a student (you can find that review here) so was really keen to see how Foxy would fare. 

When the hair extensions arrived, they came in clear packaging which is great for instantly seeing if the colour will match your own; I was sent #16 Medium Golden blonde which matched perfectly! There were 8 pieces included in my 16″ set, including one big section with 4 clips, 2 x medium sections with 3 clips, 3 x smaller sections with 2 clips and finally 2 x small sections with 1 clip:

Foxy packaging

The packaging, with flash

Foxy hair extensions

The whole set, no flash

These extensions are Grade 4A quality and made from 100% Remy Hair (human hair) and you can definitely feel the lovely soft quality. Best of all, they are nice and light and the clips are comfortable; this is perfect for me as I have quite fine hair so it means they didn’t feel too heavy, pull my hair or look too big and obvious when clipped in. I was very impressed with how they both felt and looked:

No flash

Before and after, no flash

Before and after, with flash

Before and after, with flash

Before and after, from the front

Before and after, from the front

I was really impressed with these Foxy hair extensions and would absolutely recommend them. They feel light and soft whilst still adding indiscreet thickness and length to your hair. Even better, prices for the clip-ins start from just £59.99 which is one of the best prices I have seen around for good quality human hair clip-ins. 

As Foxy are one of the UK’s leading suppliers, there is a great amount of choice to choose from on their website, from human clip-in extensions in 16″ and 20″, to pre-bonded hair extensions, hair wefts, hair pieces (including Frankie Essex hair accessories), and tools/aftercare/accessories (including Sleep In Rollers!). The website is super helpful, with how-to videos and information about getting free  testers and their colour chart is amazing too, covering most shades and tones, even bright colour pop hair! Word on the street is that there will be an ombre collection arriving soon…

Some Foxy hair colours