World’s Best Affordable Eye-Makeup Remover

vichy makeup remover topThis is just a quick post to share a recently discovered little gem with you all, especially those girls who (like me) enjoy a smokey eye and struggle to get through the day without a good dose of mascara.

I recently ran out of my usual eye make-up remover and, since it’s not yet available in South Africa, a trip to my local pharmacy was urgently called for. (My eyes weren’t loving me last week when I tried hopelessly, night after night, to remove every trace of my eye makeup with my facial cleanser.)

I must confess, my hopes were slim that I would find a pharmacy-brand eye makeup remover that would do the job, properly and throughly, without irritating my eyes or taking ages. Oh, but how I was mistaken… The lovely assistant on duty recommended I try their pharmacy’s best-sellng Vichy Purete Thermale Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover For Sensitive Eyes: what a dream discovery it turned out to be.

With a quick and gentle swipe of a lightly soaked cotton-pad, this stuff removed every last trace of black mascara (I’m partial to the heavy-duty-waterproof kind) without my eyes batting a lid (pun intended). The best part of all: it’s free of nasty parabens. (Trust the French.) The worst part? If you have to ask, the packaging could probably do with a redesign.

Stockists

SA Bantry Bay Pharmacy, Victoria Road, Cape Town, and all other Vichy-stocking pharmacies.

International Visit www.vichy.com or www.vichy.co.uk for stockist information and online purchasing.

Less Is More At Muji

simple_muji_wallpaper_by_longlong240-d4fazxkAs far as brands go, Japanese lifestyle retailer, Muji, is one of my all-time favourites. Most probably because it so seamlessly brings together the following four things: my obsessive compulsive neat-freak tendencies, my love of minimalist design, stationery and, last but not least, ridiculously good prices (it doesn’t matter how much money you may have, everybody loves a bargain).

But it’s not just me that adores this best-selling brand. Worldwide, Muji has reached a cult following amongst design-lovers, organizers and fans of all things Japanese. It’s easy to see why: they sell everything you never knew you always wanted, beautifully made and at barely there prices, e.g.:

1. a compact hair pin container (so they don’t go flying around inside your toiletry bag when traveling) at a measly £0.85;

2. a fabulously large, light-weight and waterproof zip-up toiletry bag at £5.95 (my boyfriend teased me about buying this for my father at Christmas last year, since it’s so cheap! But, alas, my globe-trotting dad had been so tired of lugging a heavy leather toiletry bag around with him that kept getting soaked in bathrooms and took up so much suitcase space. He was indeed a very happy gift recipient! That’s why I always say the best gifts are those that make someone’s life easier);

3. magnetic acrylic photo frames (they look super expensive but cost a mere £5.95 to £12.95, depending on size);

4. travel-friendly 100ml plastic containers for cosmetic liquids (we all know how pesky those airport security officials can be about liquids!) at £1.95 each;

5. all the coloured pens, pencils and highlighters your little stationery-obsessed heart can dream of.

Store Locations

London I can personally recommend the Muji on King’s Road at 118/118a Kings Road, London, SW3 4TR, United Kingdom (+44-(0)20-7823-8688). The concession in Selfridges, Oxford Street, is small but pretty decent.

New York City There’s a branch in Soho at 455 Broadway between Grand and Howard Streets (+1-212-334-2002). The flagship US store, however, is in the New York Times Building.

Other If you don’t live in London or New York but do live in North America, Asia or Europe, visit Muji’s Store Locator online to find your nearest branch or buy online from Muji USA or Muji UK.

World’s Best Hairdryer

Parlux RedIf you haven’t yet discovered the hairdryer brand, Parlux, prepare to get blown away (silly pun intended). I was introduced to this super powerful and incredibly efficient hairdryer by my hairdresser a few years ago and I’ve never looked back. What’s more, I subsequently started noticing that each and every hair salon I’ve visited (whether in London, New York or Cape Town) uses Parlux, and only Parlux, hairdryers. No wonder it’s seen as the No 1 choice of hair care professionals.

Once you’ve used it, you’ll see what all the fuss is about. A word of warning, though: you’ll probably end up like me, lugging it around with you wherever you go (all other hairdryers, especially the ones in hotels, simply don’t compare). There are various models but the one which has gained the most international awards and media attention is the Parlux 3200 Compact which features a super-powerful 1900 watts motor, yet weighs only 490grams. I call it The Little Hairdryer That Could.

Awards In Style Best Beauty Buys Winner 2012, Your Hair Awards Winner 2012, Hair Awards 2012.

Stockists

SA Try your nearest Partners Hair Design (there’s a branch in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town) that stocks them.

International Buy online at www.parlux.co.uk (if you live in the UK) or www.parluxus.com (if you live in the USA).

Get Scandi-lous In London

If you’re into good design (really, really good design) and next find yourself in London, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Skandium on Brompton Road (near the world-famous and utterly fabulous department store, Harrods). Even if you can’t afford anything (prices range from £30.00 for a super-cool kettle to £3,000.00 for a designer chair) do yourself a favour and add this store to your sightseeing itinerary. With only the sleekest in Scandinavian design (including furniture by Fritz Hansen and home accessories by Georg Jensen) on display, your eyes will thank you…even if your wallet won’t.

PS If you happen to live in my home country (South Africa) and don’t have any plans for a London trip in the near future, I suggest visiting Entrepo for a limited but nevertheless covetable selection of Scandinavian home accessories (including items by Menu and Design House Stockholm, both of which are also stocked by Skandium).

Click on any of the images below to view them in a slide show format.

Great Fashion Suits Rachel Zane

From the first time I watched an episode of US legal series, Suits, I was hooked: it must have been a combination of the clever script, the quirky characters (especially the feisty Donna and dork-deluxe Louis), the ongoing dramatic love affair between Rachel & Mike and – of course – dear old Harvey (I have yet to meet a man, fictitious or real, who wears a suit better than him).

Every now and again, a TV show brings us not only a good storyline, but a particularly stylish character who makes us all drool with wardrobe-envy. Suits is one of those shows. Since today is Friday and nobody really feels like reading (or writing:) long blog posts, I decided to select a few fabulous images of the utterly gorgeous, impossibly well-groomed and super stylish Rachel Zane (played by actress Meghan Markle) just for fun.

She kind of makes me miss my corporate lawyer days…and being able to don well-tailored Joseph suits with killer Jimmy Choos on a Monday. (Click on any of the images below to view a slide show of these pics.)

PS If you love the layered gold necklace Rachel often wears to work and would like to get a very similar one, check out the Rachel Zane Diamond Necklace at my online jewellery store Sloane & Madison. You’ll be happy to know we ship worldwide.

World’s Best Self-Tanner

grad_tan_body_US

Despite the known dangers of sun exposure, I refused for many years to use self-tanning products: they were messy, stinky and almost always looked obvious. This includes the big brand-name products whom I won’t name and shame here. At one stage, I would only associate myself with self-tan if I had it done at a professional salon, applied by a professional beautician, for a (VERY) special event. Even then, sprinting out of the salon (post-spray), hoping nobody will catch you in your tracksuit looking like you’ve just lost a mud fight, is not my idea of a relaxing spa treatment. Not to mention the drying time, the no-showering time and the general disruption of your day.

All of this changed when I stumbled across the St Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Body Moisturizer Medium/Dark during time spent in the USA. This product works like a moisturizer, which you simply apply before bedtime, as you would any old moisturizer. It takes about three minutes to dry and won’t stain your sheets. Best of all, you’ll wake up looking ever-so-gently sun-kissed, with no streaky bits and no bad smell (it does have a slight scent, but not one that’s offensive).

Awards Winner of Elle Beauty Awards, Company Beauty Awards and InStyle Best Beauty Buys.

Who is it for? Anyone who wants to slowly build up a golden tan. Note: this product is not for anyone who wants to resemble Miss Hawaiian Tropics or Ross in that Friends episode.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 21.28.54

Application Exfoliate well before massaging this luxurious lotion in from top to toe. Don’t worry if you go over the same area twice, it’s only missed areas that’ll look uneven. Wait for the lotion to be absorbed before getting dressed and remember to wash the palms of your hands and in between your fingers after use. Use daily for a subtle golden boost to winter or sun-tanned skin. Don’t apply to broken, irritated or sensitive skin.

Stockists

SA Most large Clicks outlets stock the St Tropez range.

International You will find this product at all leading department store beauty departments and certain spas across the globe. If you want to have it delivered to your door, visit www.st-tropez.com to place your order.

World’s Best Pore-Minimizer

Throughout my travels, I have found certain beauty products to consistently appear in the personal makeup bags of professional makeup artists. Why? Probably because these products deliver.64b5b4bfa069435e3e5bf46b1d476805

If you’ve been looking for a primer that truly, really and sincerely works when it comes to minimizing the appearance of large pores, you can stop looking and invest in Benefit’s best-selling The Porefessional. You’ll soon wonder how you ever lived without it. And you’ll see why makeup artists choose not to.

How did I discover this miracle balm? I’d read about it one too many times in one too many beauty magazines and I could no longer ignore the possibility that it might actually work! To my astonishment, I watched  – with my first application – as my pores went from in your face (no pun intended) to barely there. While this primer does not eradicate pores completely (what does?), it’s as good as I believe it’s going to get. And, for those evenings when you want to look your absolute best, you won’t want to do without it.

Application Apply a small amount of this silky, lightweight balm alone, under or over makeup. Pat onto problem areas and blend gently with fingertips. The translucent, oil-free formula complements all skin tones and also helps makeup stay put for longer.

Benefit-pore-minimizerStockists Leading department stores across the globe, including Selfridges in London, Benefit Cosmetics Online (UK) or Benefit Cosmetics Online (USA).