This is fab…I just had to share it!


Thank YOU!

Hi Guys!

I hope that you all had a pleaseseant and restful Easter break!  I have been a bit quiet of late as I have been updating my website….so to all my WordPress.com followers…you will now be directed to my new site at www.beautypulselondon.com !!  It should now be easier to navigate, to locate older posts and posts on specific topics that are interest to you.

I just wanted to thank you all for your support over these past few months; for your ‘likes’, your comments, your guest posts and your follows.  Please do re-follow my blog to keep with my latest musings!

Have a great day and keep smiling!

🙂

 

Natalie


Product Review: COVER FX Skinprep FX Nourishing Foundation Primer & Anti-Aging Serum and Cream Foundation SPF 30

One of the newest cosmetic brands  on the market is the Canadian brand COVER FX.

The brand launched in the UK, exclusively in Harvey Nichols and is now also available at House of Fraser.  A friend of mine had a consultation at the Harvey Nick’s counter in London and was VERY impressed with the end result, so I was keen to try out items from the range for myself.

Founded in 2000 by Lee Graff, a Corrective Makeup Specialist with over 25 years of industry expertise.  Lee began the development of COVER FX together with Chemical engineer Jenny Frankel and leading dermatologist Dr. Neil Shear.

COVER FX Skin Care Inc. develops skin care powders and creams for men and women . It provides water-based foundations, mineral powders, bronzers, and lip protection products, as well as application tools for dark under-eye circles, blemishes, and redness.   If you are in need of extra coverage to conceal a skin condition or scars from previous skin traumas, this is a brand that could meet your needs.  It will even cover tattoos!

Lee states on the company website:

“As a camouflage specialist for over 25 years, I’ve taught patients to use makeup to effectively cover rosacea, acne, scars, and many other imperfections. I encourage you to take control of your appearance to enhance your self esteem and confidence to face the world. My dream was to help men & women with skin conditions face the world with confidence by offering them makeup products with therapeutic benefits that would perfectly match their skin tone, be affordable, well tolerated by even the most sensitive skins and achieve a perfectly natural, flawless effect.”

I was sent a selection of products from the lovely people at COVER FX UK – so I will split this review into two, I will be reviewing two of the items in this post: the Skinprep FX Nourishing Foundation Primer & Anti-Aging Serum and the Total Coverage Cream Foundation, SPF 30.

I will then review the remaining products and the marketing support in a post next week!

Something for you to look forward too!

Skinprep FX Nourishing Foundation Primer & Anti-Aging Serum

Primers are an essential part of my daily make up routine.  I find that it really does make a difference to the longevity of my makeup.  I currently use Avon’s Magix Face Perfector, which is brilliant.

The Skinprep FX primer (£22) claims to:

  • Hydrate and smooth the skin to blur the appearance of fine lines and pores, facilitating the  blending and extending the  wear of foundation
  • Be suitable for all skin types, especially Normal to Dry
  • Be suitable for sensitive skins and paraben free, oil free and fragrance free

Avon Magix Skin Perfector (left) vs. Skinprep FX (right)

It is a clear gel formulation, which is very different to the primers that I am used to using, which are a silicone based, creamy texture, however I found that upon application the Skinprep primer dried quickly and did produce a smooth, velvety base upon which my foundation could be applied.   The gel formulation would really work well with all skin tones, as I know that some people can find that the white, silicone based formulations of typical primers can leave a residue on the skin.  I felt that the primer performed well when used in conjunction with the Cover FX Cream foundation, but to be able to give a more objective review I will wear it with my usual foundation and report on the performance in my next post!

Cover FX Creme Foundation

The Cover FX range has an extensive selection of shades for all skin tones which is coded by a letter to denote the tone and a number to denote the shade (a small number of the available shades are shown below).

There is also a handy shade selector online that suggests the right colour based on MAC and Dermablend shades.

Colour Match

I am shade B35.  The creme foundation  comes in a handy compact, not dissimilar to the MAC Studio Fix compact, however for the £37 that the product costs I think the quality of the packaging lacks a premium look and feel.

It is not a compact that I would flaunt at all!

The creme is thick, but  not  at all heavy and it blended well.  I do not suffer from any serious skin concerns, but I do have a few pigmentation marks that I like to cover.

I initially used the sponge that comes with the compact to apply the foundation but the product was too dense for the sponge and it dragged my skin, so I decided to use my fingers instead.  This enabled me to blend the product and to build it up where need, but due the consistency of the product it took quite a long time – so this would not be a product to use when you are in rush!!  Once it was blended in, I was happy with the colour match.  The finish was a tad on the shiny side, but I took the shine down with a touch of powder.

Colour Match: 8/10

Coverage and Wear

The foundation is for a full coverage, but it is light and did not look mask like at all…however, the foundation did transfer when touched thus touch ups were required.  I was impressed with the fact that shine was kept at bay –  and I love that fact that the SPF is so high!  Many women of colour fail to take adequate defense against the sun and harmful rays and this is an easy way to make sure you are fully protected.

Coverage and Wear: 7/10

Marketing

I will be covering this in a future blog post so watch this space!!

Have you tried this brand… do let me know what you think!

*pr samples


Guest Post! Where the Beautiful Black Women of Paris Shop!

Hi all!

Here is my 3rd guest post of the week!

 I love the virtual world of social media, the fact that it knows no boundaries and that you can make connections with like-minded people in the far-flung nations of the earth!  Well, you will not be travelling to far today…just to gay Paris!

The fabulous Miss B Beautiful (whom I connected with via Twitter…really, if you are not on Twitter, you are missing a trick!!!), is a Parisian Black woman with a passion for hair and beauty and is the author of the blog  blackandbeautiful.fr  (which she writes in 3 languages!!! Very clever!).

I  asked Miss BB (as she is affectionately known), for the lowdown on where the chic Black woman of Paris shop for their hair and beauty items.   All I can say is that her shopping escapades made me want to book a Eurostar ticket straight away!!

Here is her account:

Hello Black and Beautiful Ladies,

There are many places in Paris to buy beauty products for black women.

Thanks to my blog I have had the opportunity to discover and explore the best of these.

And here they are:

PLACES TO BUY MAKE UP

Make UP For Ever Boutique

Make Up For Ever is a French professional make-up brand that has a range of make up for all skin tones.

I love their eye shadows, which are very iridescent.  They also have a waterproof liquid liner called Aqua Liner, which comes in an array of rainbow colours.

Their cream eye shadows are also among my favourites.  Their boutique in Le Marais is really nice.  If you go there on a Saturday, you can meet a make-up artist that will give you all the advice that you need!

Boutique MAKE UP FOR EVER

5 rue de la Boétie

75008 Paris

MAC Boutique

MAC is my one of my favourite make up brands. I love everything they do!

They have a stunning boutique in Le Marais. Their make up artists are the best!

 

Boutique M.A.C

13 rue des Francs Bourgeois
75004 Paris

PLACES TO BUY HAIR PRODUCTS

 Univers Phyto

Univers Phyto is a hair institute where you can receive intensive hair treatments, and superior styling and they also have a sophisticated machine that analyses your hair, prior to the treatment.

You can also buy all the product from the brands Phytospecific and Phyto.

Phytospecific? C'est magnifique!


Univers Phyto

109, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré

75008 Paris


Nayenka

Nayenka is a boutique that specialises in Black beauty. They opened one year ago.

They have the best haircare products such as Miss Jessies and Kera Care and some good french brands such as TRUE COLORS Paris, a cosmetics  brand for women of colour.

French brand TRUE COLORS Paris

 

Boutique Nayenka

9 rue du Turbigo

75001 Paris

Merci Beaucoup Miss BB!

Follow Miss BB on Twitter

Like Miss BB’s Facebook Page

Follow Miss BB’s Blog


Hair we go again…

Being the First Lady of the most powerful nation on the face of the earth cannot be easy, with the eyes of the world on your every move – but does being the first Black First Lady come with additional pressures?

Illustration by Nicole Fineman for Time (2009)

Like most females that hold positions in public office, Michelle Obama is scrutinised from head to toe on her choice of attire, whether she should bare her arms or not, which designer she was wearing etc etc – but where the similarity ends with her peers in the political class, is with the attention that her hair has garnered since her husband took office, and it shows no sign of abating if the reaction to the image below  is anything to go by.

I am not my hair... no really I am not !!

The image hit my Twitter timeline mid -week and since then the gained momentum and has gone viral – I have seen the image featured on the Twitter and Facebook timelines of friends and followers from America to Africa, Europe to East Asia!!

The image is courtesy of the powers of Photoshop, and it seems that the originator has yet to be identified….

Before and After (well sort of...)

…and the plot thickened when the photo in question came to the attention of blogger Maeling Tapp, author of Natural ChicaEssence.com reported that Tapp’s Twitter followers began sending her messages saying that Obama’s hair looked a lot like her own…and upon further inspection it does seem to be the case.

Tapp states in the Essence piece:

“A lot of people who follow my blog said, ‘I had a feeling that was your hair,… It’s kind of surprising that other people recognize my hair so well.” 

Hair today, gone tomorrow! Mrs O wears the blogger, Maeling Tapp's hair well.

Like Mrs Obama, I can relate to my hair being of extreme interest, especially in the professional and corporate environment.   This Time.com photo essay is a case in point – an international current affairs magazine painstakingly documenting the evolution of a First Lady’s hairstyle??!!  This is crazy!

My issue is not whether Mrs. Obama wears her hair curly or straight,  but that, in my opinion, her hair garners so much attention due to the fact that Black women in a prominent position is still a novelty.

In one sense, you can understand the fascination that people of other ethnicities have with our hair – I am currently working on a project that is addressing this particular issue, and  it has become apparent that our hair is a complete enigma – and  most questions and queries, to which one could take offense, are really asked out of sheer curiosity.

I have worked in the fashion and beauty industry for some of the world’s leading brands, and even here in London, one of  the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, I was often the only Black person, and almost certainly was the only Black woman working in the head offices of these brands.  Even within the beauty industry – which I expected be more enlightened – I was always being asked about my ‘ever-changing’ hairstyles, if my hair could be touched and how is it  that my hair grew so long over night!  

The long and short of it is (no pun intended)  that I and women like myself are still all too absent in many sections and areas of society.

We have no presence in countless offices  across the city, thus when we do make an appearance it can take our colleagues and peers a while to adjust to our normal hair and beauty routines…but in most parts adjust they do, and they come to the realisation that we have much more in common than that which makes us different.

Judge, Baroness, Entrepreneur...will you be next?

As more and more Black women secure positions of leadership, face the media and take their place in mainstream society, I am looking forward to the  focus being on what is in our heads as well as what in on it.


It’s Me! Black beauty & hair magazine’s Blogger of the Month!

The latest issue of the UK’s ‘best selling Black magazine’ , Black beauty & hair, hit the shelves today…..

….. and yours truly is the blogger of the month!

How cool is that??!!

🙂

Thanks to all of my followers, both of my blog and on Twitter!  I love writing my blog and I love interacting with you all!

Do grab a copy of the magazine and let me know what you think….

…and if you are thinking of starting a blog, but are stuck as how to begin, my advice to you  is to JUST DO IT (you know – like  the Nike ads)!

You do have something to say, a unique point of view,  a valued opinion – so share it with the world!


Afro’s & headline fashion shows AW12

Afro’s & headline fashion shows AW12.

 

A great follow up to my post Afro-tising! If you are not following Afroblush, you should be!

 

Enjoy!


It Matters…Because You Matter

 I have just started to listen to a new audiobook called ‘ Start Something that Matters’  by 34 year old entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie.

In 2006, Blake founded TOMS – a company that would match every pair purchased with a new pair given to a child in need, an idea that was sparked on his holiday to Argentina the previous year.

The company grew rapidly and in September 2010, Blake returned to Argentina, where he was first inspired to start  TOMS, to celebrate the one-millionth pair of new shoes given to a child in need.

His story is inspirational and it has certainly encouraged me to aim for higher ideals and to stay focused in the midst of adversity – as I have had a challenging couple of weeks – because if you have the passion, the dedication and are able to persevere you can create something that will fulfill your dreams and change the life of another person in an indelible way.

Many successful people in the beauty industry have  persevered through trying times to become incredible successful.  One of my business icons is Lisa Price, the founder and President of Carol’s Daughter.

Lisa Price (image:www.inc.com)

Bankrupt at the age of 30, Lisa Price has gone on to create the fragrance and skin care empire Carol’s Daughter, which she started in 1994 and the Huffington Post suggested that the brand turned over $50 million last year, but she had to overcome many challenges to get to where she is today.   After her first marriage fell apart, she left the religiously conservative environment she found herself in and pursued a singing career with the vocal group Fedora. Expenses accumulated, and, after some shady dealings by her manager, Price found herself saddled with tens of thousands in debt before the age of 30. She eventually filed for bankruptcy and began the long process of recovery.

Price’s work in cosmetics began as a hobby which she maintained by selling her creations on the side while working a number of other jobs, including a stint as a writer’s assistant. but with growing demand for Carol’s Daughter products, Price decided to devote her time to her business full time. The road ahead wasn’t easy, with her options for loans restricted by her financial history, but she opened her first store in 1999.  In 2002 she received a call from the Oprah Winfrey show….

The rest, as they say, is history.

I also recently read a tweet posted by the Hairdressers Journal with a link to an interview with  celebrity stylist, Junior Green – documenting his win at last years British Hairdresser of the Year awards.  You can read the interview here.



He was awarded the prestigious title of Afro Stylist of the Year (all images are from the winning collection).

Green had finally won the accolade after entering  the category 11 times!

That is true dedication.

Thank you Junior for demonstrating that one should NEVER give up one’s dream despite the setbacks, trials or challenges.


Product Review: Teint Idole Ultra 24H by Lancôme

A few posts ago I was enthusing about the newest foundation launches with shades for dark skin!

I will reviewing some of these new offerings over the course of the next few weeks, letting you know my thoughts based upon 3 criteria:

  • Colour Match – is it detectable?
  • Coverage and Wear – how does it perform during the day?
  • Marketing Support –   many woman of colour bemoan the fact that they are        underrepresented in the marketing and advertising of beauty products, and as a result conclude that these products are ‘not for them’.   I will assess the marketing support for each product to see how well each brand represents the markets that they are targeting.

I am a loyal MAC Studio Fix user and I have been wearing shade NW45 for years.  It  is a good match for me…just so you know what I am benchmarking the trial foundations against.

First up…

…Teint Idole Utra 24H by Lancôme

As I mentioned in my previous post, Skin Deep, Lancôme offered customers a 7 day trial of their newest  foundation.  From the adverts in the press I suspected that I would be shade 13 (Sienne)…and what do you know…I was right!

Lancôme describes the foundation as “an exceptional longwear formula featuring a unique heart-shaped flexible polymer for comfort…. in 18 shades to suit all skin tones from very pale to very dark.”

Interestingly, it was back in 2005 that Lancôme identified a need to extend its foundation colour palette.  Employees of the USA laboratories noticed they were not all able to find the right shade among those available on the market.  Too red, not dark enough, overly ash, not vibrant enough, too orangey…

Thus L’Oreal  (the parent company Lancôme belongs to) created what was dubbed the “Women of Color” association, and  these women decided to blend a shade range perfectly tailored to their specific needs with shades for every skin tone.

Lancôme soon committed to support “Women of Color” with the launch of an international study.  Using colorimetric measurements, 15,000 complexion colour points were observed on around 1,000 women. This international study gave rise to the shades unveiled in the Teint Idole Ultra 24H  range!

The new shades suitable for a darker skin tone include:

Shades 10 (Praline), 11 (Muscade), 12 (Ambre), 13 (Sienne), 14 (Brownie) range from sandy to more intense tones and these shades been developed for every mixed-race, South-American, Afro-American, Indian-American, Antillean or North-African complexion.  Shade 15 (Acajou), the darkest shade is designed for ebony-toned skin.

So that was the science…but what do I think??

Colour Match

Although Lancôme professes to have a shade for all, with only 6 shades for women with a darker skin tone,  I am not 100% convinced.

Sienne is a rich toffee colour with deep yellow undertones.

It did blend well to match my skin tone…however upon application to my face (with my fabulous BECCA foundation brush), it was slightly to dark…but I know that shade 12 would be to light, so unfortunately it was a mismatch for me.

Colour Match Score: 6/10

Coverage and Wear

The foundation provided a medium coverage, and was easy to apply.  If you do have any imperfections that require extra coverage (as I do!) you may need to use a concealer too.  The foundation has a subtle floral fragrance, which was surprising – but it was pleasant to inhale the fragrance as I applied the makeup.

It dries to give a velvety matte finish.  My skin tends to get shiny throughout the day, thus I was concerned that the liquid formulation would begin to slide, but I found that it wore well although I did need a little powder to take down the shine.  All in all I was very impressed!

Coverage and Wear score: 8/10

Marketing Support

Lancôme has backed the launch of  Teint Idole 24H with a heavyweight campaign which has been highly visible in store, outdoor, online and in the press.

 

Lancôme’s global HQ has done a fantastic job in communicating that this range is indeed for all women…and I was commenting to a friend just last week (yes…I am always talking about beauty!!), that I believe that this is the first major Lancôme campaign that DOES NOT feature a Caucasian woman!!  It is fronted by Tunisian beauty, Hanaa Ben Abdesslem and the stunning Arenis Sosa.

A fabulous campaign!

Marketing Support score: 10/10

So there you have it!  All in all, if you can find your colour match, I would highly recommend this foundation!


InStyle Best Beauty Buys – Just for You

I am always in eager anticipation of the InStyle Best Beauty Buys supplement.  Now in its 12th year it has served as a bible to beauty enthusiasts like myself!

You Beauty!!

The winning products are selected by the great and the good of the British and international  hair and beauty industries, including eyebrow queen Vaishaly Patel, fragrance king Roja Dove, makeup mavens Mary Greenwell and Ruby Hammer and hair connoisseurs Philip Kinglsey and Daniel Hersheson.

Many of the winning products have stood the test of time and have made multiple appearences on the hallowed pages of the supplement  – yet every year there are a number of new products and brands to tantilise and excite!

This year I thought that I would give my opinion on the winning products that I think are the best buys for dark skin.

Best Under-Eye Concealer

Touche Elcat, YSL.

Now that the one of the most coveted premium   beauty produts is available in 7 shades, it can be enjoyed by women of all (or most) skin tones.

Best Flat Iron.

GHDs

Topping  the poll once again,  GHDs are great for smoothing out kinks in relaxed hair or  your weave! Make sure you use a heat protecting product too! I LOVE Frizz Ease Thermal Serum – it is not too greasy and  perfect for my hair extensions!  GHD also make a  flat iron for thicker hair, with wider plates. These work well with natural hair.

Best Lipgloss and Best Compact

Lipglass and Studio Fix by MAC

When I first moved to London some 12 years ago, I discovered the MAC counter in Selfridges and a long standing relationship was formed.

Return of the MAC

I am a gloss junkie!  The glossier, the sticker, the better!   I have tried umpteen brands – both mass and premium – and none really come close to the Lipglass collection …although Stila Lipglazes are a close second :-).

My top shades are ‘Wet, Wild, Wonderful’ and ‘Oh Baby’.  Last year, MAC USA collaborated with several leading US beauty bloggers to create a limited edition collection of glosses.  Afrobella (who is dubbed the ‘godmother’ of brown beauty blogging) created the most incredible purple Lipglass for women of colour called ‘All of My Purple Life’.

Oh My, Oh My! All Of My Purple Life. Afrobella for MAC USA

The shade was so popular that it sold out one week after the launch!!  Unfortunately the collection was not launched internationally….

And what can I say about Studio Fix??  Studio Fix NW45... it been a part of my life for oh so long!!  MAC dosen’t work for every woman of colour -so I am really pleased to see that more and more brands are launching products for dark skin – but Studio Fix has been a staple in my makeup bag…and will continue to be so!

Best for Pigmentation

Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Remover

For many people of colour , hyper pigmentation is a real challenge.  The over production of menalin as a result of trauma to the skin leave dark marks and an uneven skintone that can be quite distressing.    I did try this product when it first launched, but to be honest, I didn’t really give it a chance…products such as these really need time for you to see a result.

Even Better  has won many awards and was even voted as  the best ‘Prestige Hyperpigmentation Treatment’ by readers of the US African American women’s magazine, Essence. 

Remember! SPF is critical when treating pigmentation – so use a moisturiser with additional sun and UVA protection! 


Best Powder Blusher

Blush in Orgasm – NARS

This blusher is a cult beauty classic and it really does suit everyone.  If you are more of a caramel skintone it will look deligtful on you.

Personally I think NARS have THE best blusher range in the industry! The shades that  I own that are just sublime on my skin tone are Exhibit A , Angelica, Cactus Flower and Taj Mahal. 

So there you have it!  My round up of the Best Beauty Buys for Dark Skin!