GRACE NOTES : DECEMBER 2016
Better late then never - and here's to a 2017 in which I [hopefully] never have to type those words again on the pages of this blog...
To celebrate its 10th anniversary [which makes the brand 4 years older than Instagram, believe it or not], Byredo have released Unnamed; a familiar, but unlabelled Byredo bottle accompanied by sheet of transfers with which to name the fragrance within as you choose. Some might consider it a gimmick [yet another brand jumping upon the current trend for personalisation that’s taken over the beauty and fashion worlds], but there’s something about fragrance - perhaps its subjectivity and intimacy - that makes it so personal, that it seems to me a more than appropriate idea. And really quite a genius one, because in true whip-smart and savvy Byredo style, the ‘mystery’ element translates into the scent itself. Rather than featuring a main or easily identifiable note, it’s almost impossible to pinpoint exactly what the fragrance smells like. It comes off initially powdery - more subtle and secretive than the likes of Gypsy Water and Bal d’Afrique, it’s a delicate floral with just a hint of fresh green, sweet fruit, and woody musk. The marketing campaign featured the hashtag #smellslike, and as you can see I couldn't resist the play on words…
It’d be hard to have missed the launch of Beauty Pie, a brand that exploded onto the beauty scene earlier in the month, sparking attention on the groundbreaking premise that it allows consumers to purchase products at cost price. If you’ve ever worked in the beauty industry you’ll be well aware that the mark up on beauty products is really quite insane - if you haven’t then you’ll have happily carried on paying £30+ for foundations that cost a 10th of the price to make. But things are changing, and thanks to Beauty Pie you can now pay £3.68 for a pressed powder that would ordinarily cost £23 - at the additional [but really quite minimal] cost of £10 for a membership subscription. Of the products I’ve tried so far this has fast become a firm favourite. It’s hard to find a powder that prevents shine and lasts well, but doesn’t make foundation look cakey or compromise glow. This does just that - a quick dust over my T-zone in the morning and I don’t even find myself needing a 3pm touchup.
I spend most of my evenings in face masks, and although I do try to mix things up, favouritism over-ruled any need/desire for variety last month, and saw use of this mask become an almost daily occurence. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s the best face mask I’ve ever used - and coming from a self-confessed mask-addict, that really means something. It has a light clay formula that on the surface clears up blemishes, calms redness, and gives my skin an instant brightening boost - behind the scenes, it clears pores and packs on the antioxidants. What's more, it washes off easily and doesnt leave my skin looking red or feeling stripped like some masks do. Highly recommended if you need a deep cleanse, it’s exactly what stressed city skin needs at this time of the year.
Partly due to my determination not to give into the hype, and also as a long-term fan of Nars’ other blogger-famous-in-2006 but now discontinued Douceur, I’m admittedly very late to the bandwagon on this one. I’ve never been a big blush wearer, but in hindsight I can now confidently put this down to never having found quite the right shade… Orgasm is that shade. It’s the perfect recreation of the natural flush that feels good, looks beautiful, and instantly brightens both eyes and skin. Tawny and peach, nestled high on the cheekbones, and blended out softly, it instantly makes my skin look healthier - and who doesn’t want that in the dead of winter?
THE OUAI Wave Spray
Most sprays are laden with salt - which dries out hair in the process of creating that washed-out fresh-from-the-beach look, but Ouai founder Jen Atkin is adamant in promoting this less as a ‘surf spray’ and more as a ‘wave spray’. It’s easy to see why - admittedly this won’t give you the kind of surfer girl waves you’ll be used to if you’re a fan of Bumble & Bumble’s Surf Spray range, but it will add a gentle wave and a piecey shape to otherwise straight hair. What’s more, the formula commendably leaves hair soft and silky, no matter how much you apply. I spritz it through semi-dry hair just before blow-drying for subtle shape and texture that lasts for days.