MoYou nails: Stamp on Nail Art

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At a beauty event in London recently, I watched a nail art demonstration and was completely blown away. In a matter of seconds, plainly polished nails looked delicately hand painted with intricate floral detail. I’d never of known the designs were created using a stamp if I hadn’t just witnessed it. DIY nail art can be so much fun, but the thought of getting brushes and dotting tools out (as well as needing a spare couple of hours!) can be off putting. So, although utterly impressed, at the time I was sceptical. Would I be able to  grasp this new technique and recreate the lovely look?

YES! Having played around with my new MoYou nails sets for a few days, I can honestly say the brand – which successfully launched internationally this year – is beyond amazing. The website has such an wonderful range of adorable nail plates, polishes and sets, each with their own charm and character. This has been one of the most fun at-home beauty reviews I’ve ever done and I’m looking forward to building upon my little collection.

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Premium set & Kitty set from MoYou nails

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Kitty set

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How to use:

Step 1  Choose the design you want from the plate and apply nail polish over the image.

Step 2  Use the MoYou scrapper to remove excess polish. IMPORTANT: Hold at a 45 degree angle with the ‘MoYou’ logo facing up. Be careful not to apply too much pressure (I’m quite heavy handed so this took me a while to realise the gentler the swipe the better the print).

Step 3 Softly roll the MoYou stamp over the image (just once) and it will pick up the design.

Step 4  Roll the stamp thoroughly from side to side.

Step 5  Apply a top coat for a long lasting shiny finish and add rhinestones as you like.

It’s as simple as that!!

Beautiful, easy, quick, long lasting and affordable! MoYou nails is my new beauty hero!
The pictures in this post don’t even do the end results justice. When look down at my nails (even as I write this post) I can’t believe I did them myself. Love ’em!

Premium set is 44.99 Includes; 5 nail polishes, 1 top coat, 6 image plates, 1 stamp, 1 scraper, 1 rhinestones pack and 1 corrector pen.

Kitty set  is £24.99 Includes; 1 nail polish (black, 1 stamp, 2 image plates, 1 stamp, 1 scraper

Nail polishes & Accessories Start from £3.75

All available at www.moyounails.com

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Beauty In-Flight Favourites

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Money, tickets, Passports? Check. Way too many liquid luxuries in your carry on… check! Watching security staff dismembering the contents of our handbags at the airport is a major travel buzz killer for us ladies. I’ve waved goodbye to many of my favourite (expensive) beauty products at the hands of the stingy 100ml restriction. Well, this year I’m determined to get travel savvy. Tons of beauty brands now do mini-me versions of our favourite goodies, making it easier for us to stroll smugly through security. Whether it’s a weekend away, a city break or a long holiday abroad, here are my top picks for in-flight travel essentials that keep me feeling fresh on the flip side…

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Soap & Glory Hand Maid hand cleansing gel £2.50 for 50ml

A good hand sanitizer is way more convenient than queuing for the loo to feel fresher.

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L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream £8 for 30ml

Super creamy and instantly moisturising, this hand cream keeps my hand soft even on long haul flights.

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This Works Deep Sleep Stress Less Roller Ball £12 for 10ml

If, like me, you’re a bit of a nervous flyer, simply roll this onto wrists and behind ears. The aromatherapy scents help to calm and relax. Great for fighting the urge to give the chair kicker behind you a belt with your rolled up copy of Vogue.

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Ren Vita Mineral Lip Balm £9 for 15ml

With Shea butter and vitamin E this deeply replenishing balm protects from UV damage and the annoying air-con systems.

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Neal’s Yard White Tea Facial Mist £11 for 45ml

A gentle mist full of white tea antioxidants to rehydrate and refresh our plain-drained skin before landing.

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Let me know what your travel saviours are!

MBT xx

Why Try Thai? My First REAL Massage

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For years I’ve enjoyed treating myself to to the occasional stress reliving aromatherapy massage. We all love a good shoulder rub after a long week. But, since my first visit to an authentic Thai massage parlour recently, I will NEVER book a regular massage again. Ever! With the delicate looks of a beautiful Asian doll, and the moves of a relaxation ninja, a Bangkok born beauty took my Thai massage virginity. And, there’s no going back…

What to have?

Looking at the price list, I’m torn. It seems the Thai Massage (the one commonly associated with pain) and the Oil Massage (the one your partner used to give you half-arsedly while you were dating) are two separate treatments. Hmmm. Obviously when money’s involved I want to go for something I know I’m going to enjoy – like choosing from a fancy restaurant menu – but I’m determined to try Thai. The smily receptionist suggests TWO hours. Apparently so my masseur can combine both experiences. Indulgent I know, but to quote Carrie Bradshaw… “Once your in the door, you may as well shop”. My two hour maximum stay parking ticket is now ticking across the street.

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Leaving shoes (and daylight) at the foot of a candlelit staircase, I’m ushered into my single room and left to undress. Moments later, another much younger petite Thai woman (named Anji, as I discover later during the awkward initial face down convo) entered to find me stood in my bra & pants checking my phone. “Bra off too please.” Oops.

The Massage

The wave of embarrassment quickly dissolves as my naked chest finds the bed, and my whole body gets hidden under a massive soft towel. This is the point where it gets a little weird. Why is she massaging me through a towel?? For the next ten minutes (a rough guess) she kneads my legs – ankles to thighs. Then, to my shock, I realise this stranger is now ON the bed with me! I hadn’t even felt her clamber up. Swiftly done. Knees positioned between my thighs, her little hands started massaging my ass, full weight behind them. This chic payed more attention to my butt than my fella has in years… and he’s an ass man! It surprises me just how normal AND great it actually feels. I didn’t realise our asses could be so stressed! Hence the towel to start with. I get it. Now I’m starting to relax.

But not for long…

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Her foot finds it’s way to my lower back and she’s tugging both my wrists back into the air. While in some kind of two person yoga pose, she tells me I’m ‘flexible’. Though I’m flattered, inflexibility didn’t seem to be an option at this point. For nearly two hours Anji maps my entire body with a series of unfamiliar stretching (limbs all over the place!) mixed with oily deep tissue massaging. The session is repeatedly alternated like this, while she teleports up and down (and on) the table. Unlike massages I’m used to, I couldn’t predict where my body would be targeted next. Just when I think she’s all done with my legs and has moved on to tackle the knots in my shoulders, before long, she’s down at my feet again, rubbing and pulling at my toes. My body friggin loves the unexpected joy of it!

My only wince of anxiety since arriving nearly two hours ago, came the moment Anji went to wash her hands before the grand finale, a head massage. Darting my eyes around the room I spotted a tiny clock. 17:05. “Shit!” My parking time was up, NOW. I slam my eyes shut again as I hear the door swing. Without saying a word she unravels my hair from its band and with the tiny woman’s freakish strength, she lifts my shoulders. Giving them one last kneading before firmly circling her fingertips around my face and scalp. I feel myself giving in. This is immense. They could of towed my car away at this point, I wouldn’t of give a fuck.

The Verdict

Instead of leaving with the usual dozy content feeling I get after a massage, my body feels relaxed and free, yet energised. The combination of the Oil and the Thai have relaxed my muscles and got my blood flow going. Driving away I try and decide what to do with the rest of my afternoon. There were only two options equally appealing. Take a nap, or go to the gym. I feel like a new woman…

And, no, I didn’t get a parking ticket! Hurrah! : )

I’ve never been to Thailand, but would encourage anyone thinking of trying a Thai massage to book one now! I’m genuinely converted. Some people might be put off by the idea of a ‘painful massage’, but from my experience, it wasn’t painful at all. Just body challenging at times (in a good way). They stretch & twist you to get at all the kinks and loosen you up while using the oil to soothe muscles you. What a great way to spend an afternoon.

I’m sure there are tons of amazing Thai massage shops nationwide. I went to Nuad Thai Massage, Ruislip.

Special thanks to Jack & Lisa (my lovely brother-in-law and his girlfriend) for my birthday gift voucher!

Main image credit: asian-escapes.com

Avon calling!

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Spread the word, Avon is officially hot! Even though Avon brochures have been floating around for 128 years, now is the first time I actually think of Avon as a reputably chic brand. I guess the whole door-to-door beauty buying thing has always had the stigma (to me at least) of a community of older women buying ‘smellies’. Please don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Avon! Getting inexpensive quality makeup, hair products and skincare goodies delivered right to your door? Why the hell have I always considered Avon a guilty pleasure?!… Not anymore. A girl in my building recently became an ‘Avon lady’ and (although she didn’t use the infamous catchphrase) she handed me the latest book. Enter my new Avon addiction. I’d forgotten how fun it is flicking through the pretty pages of (affordable) new cosmetics, and hearing the knock on your door when they arrive. I literally sprinted from my front room. For my first order (since being a pre-teen ordering via my lovely mum) I was surprisingly very… no VERY restrained. I picked up four Gel Finish nail enamels, in Sheer Love, Creme brûlée, Dazzle and Sterling. – This might sound a little odd but I swear whatever outfit I’m wearing when I shop for nail polishes, it sub-consciously influences my decision. It was most definitely a pale sweater when I ordered these.

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So, here’s the verdict…

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Sterling
This one’s by far my favourite. I love cool metal colour,alone and multi mixed with the pink shades. It’s got a slightly dull shine, but in a good way.

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Dazzle

This is a great girlie shade of pink without being too close to the million pink polishes I already have. It’s super shiny even without top coat (as pictured). It took two coats to get the right colour consistency.

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Crème Brûlée

I chose this one as it looks like it would go with pretty much anything (clothes and other nail polishes). The first coat looked pretty uneven and transparent, although the second coat did the trick! It looks quite elegant and simplistic when worn alone.

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Sheer Love

They got the name right! I really adore the soft nude/pale pink hue. Although, like real love, it took loads of effort and time to get it right! The first two coats were far from opaque. But, with a steady hand and a light third and final coat I got the look I wanted!

These generously sized pots are just £3.50 each for 12ml. I can’t wait to order some more colours!
Which one’s (if any) do you like?

Find out more at www.Avon.uk.com

I’d love to hear what you lovely lot think of Avon!

Glitter: Fun or Finished?

 

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Chanel Haute Couture SS14

This glitter-fest of a post may send a shudder down the spines of women who normally wear minimal (or no) makeup. But, backstage at SS14 runway shows makeup artists were busy face-planting super models into barrels of glitter. Well, maybe not literally – but what a fun mental image.

As little girls, brightly coloured pallets of glittery makeup fascinated us – Usually given from a distant Aunt as a girly yet ‘grown up’ gift. During our pre-adolescent first meet with tinsel tat makeup, we fell in love with the fun of putting glitter on our faces. But, over time the glitter faded from our makeup bags, giving way to subtle matte shades of serious eye shadows and perfectionist foundations. Let’s face it; most of us are probably starting to feel by now we’ve reached a kind of makeup maturity. With the exception of the odd Christmas do, how often do we reach for a sparkly shadow or glitter eyeliner? It’s time to let glitter make us smile again, ladies! I say bravo to Peter Phillips (who showed he’s got some big glitter balls) when he slathered models under-eyes with full on silver glitter at the Chanel Haute Couture show. Dior, Jason Wu and Emilio Pucci too showed us how to work glitter back into our lives with a modern mantra. As festival season approaches, we predict glitter will be a main course on the makeup menu.

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Dior SS14

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Jason Wu SS14

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Emilio Pucci AW14

Tempted to join the glitterati? Try my fave products for stand out eyes…

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MAC Blacktrack Fluidline Mascara £15

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Eye Of Horus Goddess Mascara £17

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Eye Kandy Glitter in Jawbreaker £6.50

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Laura Mercier Sequin Eye Colour, available at John Lewis £18.50

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NYX Eye Pencils Kit available at Next £20

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Urban Decay Heavy Metal Eye Liner, available at House of Fraser £14

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e.l.f Glitter Eyeshadow Applicator £3.95

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NARS Glitter Pencil £18.50

What do you think of the glitter makeup trend??

Happy (look) Good Friday!

 

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No work on any Friday, let alone Good Friday, could only mean one thing for me this morning… grooming!

I’ve gone for teal and gold look for an early dinner with the boyf…

Nails

I actually get excited when I realise I’ve got a nail polish stashed away that perfectly matches an outfit. It’s the first time I’ve worn this marina hued teal polish from a M&S set (they do some really cute sets all year round). I slicked a coat of Rimmel clear top and base coat polish to for shine.

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Hair

This was surprisingly quick and easy! I blow dried it (after using my go to styling products) then used my Andrew Barton I Love Curls curling iron to roll it up and loosely pin with bobby pins. I gave it a light spritz with Superdrug‘s own hairspray and allowed to cool (about 15mins). Then released and ran my fingers, not through it, but over it, then spritzed again with hairspray. Voila!

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Makeup

I mixed Estee Lauder Double Wear in Ivory with Rimmel Lating Finish 25 hour foundation in beige to get the right colour match and coverage (this stuff’s gotta last today!). My favourite concealer when I’m feeling a bit puffy eyes is always Garnier Tinted Eye Roll On. For a rosy cheek I applied Rimmel Stay Blushed in Sunkissed Cherry to the fleshy part of the cheeks. It gives a nice dewy finish that that most powder blushes don’t. I based my lips with a really tiny blob of concealer then used Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Caramel Daisey.

 

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Outfit

This is my bargain buy dress from MissGuided Sweat Deal section. They have some fantastic discounts on allover Easter weekend by the way girls! I love the deep teal colour and comfy yet clingy fabric. I paired it with an asymmetric gold ring and necklace from good old Primani – gotta high five Primark for costume jewellery. With the sun shining I can finally welcome my New Look wedges back into my life (I picked them up last summer but think they’re pretty timeless as far as wedges go).

Perfume

With such a low cost look it’s nice to linger in the sophisticated scent of Jimmy Choo! This stuff smells like class and going the extra mile when used with the Jimmy Choo body lotion. A christmas gift from my lovely fella : )

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Have a fantastic Friday and a lovely Easter weekend beauts!

 

Beauty Best: Eye Creams

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I’ve been using eye care products from the tender age of twenty and now (many many years on) to me the thought of going without the stuff is unthinkable. But why the heck we should bother spending our hard earned cash on buying a separate moisturizer for our eyes? Well, believe it or not the skin around them is actually as thin as an egg shell, therefore extremely delicate. Facial creams are not specifically tailored to meet the nutritional needs of our precious peepers. I’ve been playing eye spy with a a ton of eye care lately and these five are by far THE best I’ve ever tried…

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Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye Cream, £24.50

Packed with essential oils and anti-oxidants, boasting ‘Younger Looking Eyes By Morning’. They really wern’t lying. After just one night with a teeny blob around my eyes my skin felt more supple and looked brighter and well rested.

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Burt’s Bees Radiance Eye Cream, £19.99

Burt’s Bees lovely little pot goes straight to the top of the list for value for money. It illuminated the eye area and felt light and silky. With Royal Jelly as a core ingredient my lids and under-eyes really soft. It even had a sweet tea scent. Nice touch. (Ideal for wearing under makeup.)

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Natura Bissé The Cure Sheer Eye, £91

I almost heard the sound of you just gasping just now! Yes, that is the price. But, hear me out… If you’ve tried Natura Bisse skincare before than you’ll understand the hefty price tag. The brand originated in super luxury UK spas and now retails for home use in stores like Harrods and more recently Liberty’s. The Cure Sheer Eye contains self-adapting pigment matching, so the instant I smoothed it on my dark circles appeared to naturally fade away with a feather light consistency. After just a couple of days use my eyes feel nourished. Although accidental over pumping of this pricy potion nearly brought on a heart attack.

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Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector, £29

Designed for all skin types the refreshing cool applicator tip feels great in the morning and de-puffed my unsightly bags while the subtle colour tint eased dark circles.

 

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Neal’s Yard White Tea Toning Eye Gel, £23.25

The white tea formulae and blend of natural antioxidants not only cares for the eye area but protects it from damaging pollutants. The cool gel texture helped wake up my eyes and soothed under eye bags and skin felt tighter.

 

Application: Dab evenly around eye contour using ring finger (we’re less likely to apply pressure and drag the skin if we use our ring finger).

Beauty Trick… A little goes a long way so with any eye care product you only need to use an amount the size of a grain of rice for each eye.

What’s your favourite eye care product? We’d love to hear from you…

Burt’s Bees NEW Lip Colour Review

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This week, the full range of Burt’s Bees new Lip Colour Collection finally hit stores. After tons of testing, and a top lippie tutorial from celeb makeup artist, Katey Denno, here’s the buzz (lame pun totally intended!) on new Burt’s Bees lippies…

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“Natural Beauty products are the future, but also a look back to our past. Our grandmother’s would only ever of used natural makeup.” Katey Denno.

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An assortment of ‘nature inspired’ colours, the new range is created using 100% naturally nourishing elements, such as botanical oils, Shea butter, and Burt’s Bees signature ingredient, bees wax. Promising to bring a new dimension of colour, sheen and care to our parched pouts, new products in the spring range are tinted lip balms, Lip Shimmers, Lip Shines and Lip Glosses. So, what’s verdict?…

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Us ladies usually fall under two lip categories. Gloss lovers, or gloss loathers. To be honest, this season I’m drawn to the shine like a magpie – having been over exposed to the dominating matte trend of the past few years. From the first glide of this wand my lips felt moisture fed, and a sweet vanilla scent lasted for ages. Only downside to this one was the need to reapply throughout the day. But, all in all the Burt’s Bees Lip Glosses are perfect if you like a subtle shine without too much of a sticky pout.

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A new spin on traditional Burt’s Bees lip balms, taking the brands passion to another level. With a hint of sheer modern hues and sweet flavour, the Tinted Lip Colour leaves even chapped lips instantly softer. With a shade for every skin-tone, this little lip hero got a resounding thumbs-up from my posse of testers (aka all my female friends and rellies). Denno advises, “Stick to a shade that enhances your natural lip colour, or take a chance with a shade you don’t normally wear”.

 

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Infused with peppermint oil and antioxidant-rich fruit seed oils Lip Shimmers are slender tubes of goodness, with a stronger colour pop. When applied, the Lip Shimmer has the look of a moisture rich lipstick, with a surprising and long lasting plumping tingle. So if you like a little more definition from a lippie but don’t like the usual tight matte feel, go for a Lip Shimmer. The sharp Rhubarb shade gets my vote!

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These deliver a super shiny high gloss finish and sharp glassy colour, WITHOUT becoming a hair magnet at every slight breeze. Success! A Lip Shine in Whisper shade has secured a place in my makeup bag. Katey’s tip for choosing a shade is simply, “Don’t sweat it – all shades are natural enough to suit almost anyone.”

MUA Katey Denno’s Top Tips:

TIP #1 Layering

As a MUA, I do a lot of layering to get the right look. For a super balmy, dewy look with just the right amount of colour – drench lips in your favourite Tinted Lip Balm shade and the cover with corresponding shade of Lip Shine.

TIP #2 Finding Balance

Balance is key for illuminating your face. Try this look: Press Rhubarb Lip Shimmer into your lips and finish with a light coat of Spring Slender Lip Gloss.”

TIP #3 Subtle Red-Carpet Lip

To recreate my red-carpet lip on yourself, start with three coats of Red Dahlia Tinted Lip Balm and then take Rhubarb Lip Shimmer and lightly sweep itover your cupids bow, then press a light amount into the centre of your bottom lip.

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Burt’s Bees Lip Colour Collection is available now at John Lewis and other leading stockists. Lip Glosses £8.99, Lip Shimmers £5.99, Lip Shines £6.99 and Tinted Lip Balms £5.99. Visit http://www.burtsbees.co.uk for more info.

Brow Arch March

So March is quickly disappearing, but it’s not too late to get involved…

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Become an official Arch Angel by getting your eyebrows waxed and shaped, while supporting wonderful cancer charity Look Good Feel Better. This March, Benefit cosmetics have teamed up with Debenhams to offer the whole nation a chance to become Arch Angels for Brow Arch March. Benefit’s experienced beauty therapist promise to wax, tweeze, primp and de-fuzz brows with their specialist treatment (worth £11.50) for a suggested £5 donation.

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The Benefit Cosmetics beauty team tackled my unsightly brows at the Debenhams Oxford Street store in London this week – Where (shock horror!) they took my brow wax virginity. Even though the brave Benefit beautician was very friendly and sweet, I felt a heavy wave of shame wash over me as I confessed to being a long-term plucker. (Apparently, one mistake with the tweezers and we could lose our brows forever).

Benefit Cosmetics will be offering the Brow Arch March treatment every year (our answer to Movember) in support of Look Good Feel Better campaign- The only international cancer support charity represented in 26 countries, which focuses on the visual side effects of cancer treatments.

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While at the Brow Bar, Benefit can also offer treatments like brow tinting, fake bake tanning and their signature Lash Lovelies strip lashes, on top of an extensive range of makeup and skin care treats.

For more information on Brow Arch March and how to get involved visit www.browarchmarch.com

To book an appointment at Debenhams Oxford Street call 0207 518 7552

Available until March 31 in over 50 Debenhams stores nationwide

Face Lace Embrace

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Ever since I first laid eyes on Face Lace at the Liz Black AW14 show (below) during London Fashion Week, I’ve been fascinated by these beautifully bespoke make up designs.

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There’s something quite sexy and mysterious about confident eyes peeping through lace. Combine that with Avant Garde style, and gorgeously ornate designs by Phyllis Cohen (designer and founder) and, voila! Face Lace is born. The range includes, eye and brow lace accessories, and designs range from floral, renaissance and hearts.

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As a Face Lace virgin, and self confessed ‘girlie girl’, I was drawn to the delicate swirls of the Face Lace Frou Frou design (above).  My exquisite little sample arrived in lovey slick packaging along with a really handy step by step guide on how to apply the Face Lace (and precisely where around my eyes to place each piece).

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The application took about 60 seconds, and I feel like I’ve reemerged from my dressing table as new ‘edgy Rach’.

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Cohen designed the range with the aim to to enhance eyes in an instant, whenever we want to feel spectacular – But I swear, if I could wear these to work on Monday morning, I soooo would!

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At first, I thought it might feel a bit weird, but they’re totally comfortable and didn’t budge until I took them off. My Frou Frous peeled away easily – without taking my makeup and brows off with them!

If you hadn’t guessed by now, I’ve fallen in love with these things. And, because Face Lace makeup art is reusable, I’m now trying to convince everyone I know with an upcoming birthday or hen do, that they should have a Mascaraed Ball… just so I can lace up my face!

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Having tested the waters with the Frou Frou design, I can’t wait to try out one of the more extravagant Face Lace masks.

Fancy a little Face Lace in your life? The non-smudge, non fade designs are available at www.face-lace.com. Prices start from less than £10.