Review: Lierac Diopticerne Teinté

posted on: June 30, 2014

CM Diopticerne Teinte concealer 2

I feel like I did you a disservice the other week. I simply casually mentioned, in my post about the best pharmacie in Paris, that the Lierac Diopticerne Teinté Dark Circle Correcting Cream Eye Contour was good. As in, a good product to buy. Which is basically like saying that the baguettes in Paris are just ok, and the Turing test is just, you know, a doddle.

This is technically, I suppose, a concealer. However, this is the tinted version of Lierac’s Diopticerne eye cream for dark circles, and as such behaves far more like an eye cream than a concealer. It has sheer to medium coverage, which is great for days when you kind of did have enough sleep, but if you use it just like that, you’re kind of missing the point.

CM Diopticerne Teinte concealer 1

CM Diopticerne Teinte concealer 3

The point, dear people, is that the seriously creamy formula sinks into the skin almost immediately, hydrating your skin marvellously, but drying down to a completely non-greasy finish which is simply perfect for a more pigmented concealer to be applied on top. The formula holds anything that is placed on top of it, even the greasiest of concealers, for hours. Alone, it makes you look more awake and lively, and as a seriously hydrating primer, means that even the darkest of dark circles are hidden until you go to bed again.

Even better, this is most definitely not a purely cosmetic formula. The actives, rich with arnica and vitamins, start to work in only a few applications to decrease puffiness, enliven the skin, and actually diminish that pesky under-eye darkness.

CM Diopticerne Teinte concealer 4


And you don’t have to go to Paris to get it. You can find Lierac in any good drugstore in the US (try the fancier ones though) and on Amazon. In the UK, you can go to Amazon, or a good chemist. And in Hong Kong, any good Watsons has Lierac.

Serious Pre-Party Primping

posted on: June 30, 2014



There are a few rituals I like to go through before big events, for my skin and hair. Not just any old event, I’m not talking about meeting your best friend for a movie, but those ones where there are real invitations, and you might possibly have a new dress, and are carrying a real “evening” bag.

Those events which you know are coming for months, and for which you have actually put aside time to get ready, instead of needing to use my 2-minute going-out routine. Obviously makeup is inherently part of the whole getting-ready palaver, but I wanted to tell you about this little combo of products, which work together to make your hair and skin look amazing immediately, for that night. The key words are pre-shampoo, and radiant skin.


I’m a huge fan of pre-shampoo treatments. They moisturise the hair and scalp, working wonders, without having to pile products on the hair afterwards, which always makes it look lank and greasy. Philip Kingsley’s Hair Elasticizer makes your hair unutterably shiny, smooth and bouncy, basically as soon as it is dry. It’s been an industry favourite for 40 years, and works for everyone – with thick hair, thin hair, curly, straight, coloured, everything. I slather great handfuls of it all over (the great thing about pre-shampoo treatments is that you can put it all over the hair, instead of just the ends). I find that its effects last through two shampoos, but start immediately. Combine this with Aesop’s Sage & Cedar Scalp Treatment, which is a lovely, not-too-fragranced oil that I massage in as well as I can, and wrap it all up in a towel or shower cap for as long as you have time for, but not less than 20 minutes.



Shampoo it all out, then use your regular conditioner and your normal hair-drying routine. You will be shocked at how soft your hair is, and you didn’t even have to get it blow-dried.

Next step, post-shower, is a radiance mask. These handy little 3-5 minute treatments are designed to moisturise, plump and oxygenate your skin, so that it quite literally radiates a healthy glow. I absolutely love the Radiant Glow Mask with Red Clay from Sisley, but it is #@$#%-ing expensive. I discovered this one from Decleor recently, the Flash Radiance Mask, and it is fantastic as well. Follow this with some Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, and you might not even need makeup. (If that’s the case, good on you. I think the last time I went to a party without makeup it was a pre-teen all-girls outing to Laser Tag.)


At the very least, your skin will be perfectly prepped for makeup, and your bouncy, healthy hair will catch the light, so you will only have to worry about not dropping your glass of champagne while reaching for another canapé. Just me?

Textures: Let’s Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

posted on: June 27, 2014

CM Textures 1 All Hail

I have to admit, I am a pretty big geek about products. I will ooh and ah much more over a new technology or texture than the latest wrinkle-fighting, spot-busting peptide. The processes of product design, engineering, and creative chemical thinking that go into a well-executed texture are phenomenal, and yet most people have no idea that they ever took place.

But believe me, inventing a new way to bind ingredients together, so that they are not only pretty but also effective on the skin, is difficult. Especially since you are only allowed a certain number of ingredients; those that can be applied to the skin. Factor in the trouble of making tens of thousands of these pieces on an industrial level, all of them exactly the same as each other, in a form that doesn’t fall apart in four minutes, and you might be pulling your hair out by the end of the day, unless you start to be clever about it.

Why am I rambling on about this? I suppose I just want to point out the trouble that goes into a new product form. Even though a jelly blush might only have the same end result effect on the face as a regular, boring powder blush, i.e. it makes your cheeks pink, it is exciting, intriguing, tactile, and most of all, cool.

Let’s bring the admiration to the engineers, developers and chemists behind these products – those that can make a powder eyeshadow form a high, flowing wave without crumbling into dust, create a BB cream that returns to the same shape even after use, or make a swirl of pearlised serum  or coloured primer stay suspended in a clear gel. These are not easy things to do. Next time you go into Sephora, or take your daily stroll through Selfridges’ beauty department, just look around. Think of the team that had to work out how to put two different powders together in an intricate mosaic, with an incredibly detailed engraved surface. They are busting themselves to make it for you.

In this spirit, I present to you several products that you might not have known are super difficult to make:

Estee Lauder Pure Nuance Blush

CM Textures 3

Do you see that colour shift? That is not from the photo – that is a shifting shade of powder. The right is a blue-based, vibrant pink, and the left is an ultra-pale highlighter. You know what that means? At some point, this powder was liquid, and was blended together to make an ombre effect. Then vacuumed to take out the liquid, then baked. Yes, that’s right. Difficult.

Christian Dior Transat Mono Eyeshadow in Cabine

CM Textures 4

CM Textures 5

There is serious skill in making a design in pressed powder that not only looks textural and detailed, but also doesn’t crumble. It’s easier in formulas with high oil content, but the pressure at which to press the carved metal (or plastic) mould depends on each and every shade of powder, depending on the pigments, glitter, and design. All so when you walk past the beauty counter, you stop and go “ooooooohh prettttyyyyy”. Literally no other reason. (Don’t think I am being disparaging about this. Makeup should be beautiful as it makes you beautiful, in my opinion.) This Dior eyeshadow from their new summer Transat collection is just a good example of a design that is clear but also heavily detailed.

Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Intense Eyeshadow

CM Textures 6

This incredibly long-lasting eyeshadow, Eyes to Kill, is one of the most interesting formulas out there. Of course, it has been replicated a million times on the market since it came out a couple of years ago, but when it first launched, it was revolutionary. It is a very loosely pressed, highly oily powder, with high pearl levels which look metallic on the skin. It comes with a little lid that sits inside the pot, as the powder is so loosely packed that it crumbles to a dust without something in there to hold it down.

“Yes, but what is so difficult about this?” I can hear you ask “It’s just a new formula?”. Well, the difficulty here is the industrial production of such a variable product; making tens of thousand of pieces that are all the same in every way. Especially the shades which have two different colours of powder pressed together, such as Blast of Blue or Lust Red. The levels of difficulty to making this product on an industrial scale, very lightly pressing a loose powder into a jar instead of a metal pan, are mind-boggling.


CM Textures 2 Mascara

Yes, I do mean all mascara. These little products, tiny thin little tubes, are so bloody difficult to create successfully that I know some people have paled at the thought of developing a new one. You never, ever, develop a mascara without knowing exactly which packaging you are going to use. The combination of the formula with the brush, stem, wiper (the little plastic ring inside the vial of mascaras and lip glosses that literally wipes the excess goop off, leaving just the right amount on the applicator for you to apply) is the trickiest thing to get right.

Invariably, you have to go through eight hundred iterations to get it to work. The wiper is too tight for the stem, leaving practically no formula on the brush, or the brush with your overly sticky formula pushes the lashes together instead of apart, or the formula is too thin for the moulded rubber brush. Everything needs tweaking, everything needs intensive testing. Plus, mascara is intensely subjective, and whenever you test out your new creation on the closest people you can grab, it is a guarantee that the very thing you just worked so hard to get rid of, such as spideriness, is exactly what that pool of people like. Stressball time, for sure.

And finally…

I present the simplest product on my little list, but possibly the one with the most joy. From Lush, the Shower Jelly is essentially an extremely jellified bar of soap, or alternatively, an extremely tough block of Jell-O.

Textures Lush Shower Jelly 1

Textures Lush Shower Jelly 2

You tap it out from its little pot, then rub it under water for the soap. It has the most amazing bouncy texture, which is more resilient if you give it a few minutes in the fridge. If you freeze it, it gets an almost chewy feeling (not that I ate it, I am guessing). The soapy formula is held together by carrageenan gel, which gives it the seaweed-y slimy texture. Only problem with it – my showers now take much longer, as I bounce it around and splat it against the walls for far longer than I should.

SJ4 on Make A Gif

(OK maybe this one isn’t so hard to make, but it is damn cool and I want to talk about it so I shall).

Tiny Tip: Wipe That Mascara

posted on: June 24, 2014

Have you ever noticed that your mascara gets a little glumpy well before its three month expiry date? By glumpy I mean dried out, overflowing its wiper, with residue all over the place, and far too much dried gunk on the actual brush. Lovely picture I’m painting, right? One tiny trick that absolutely [...]

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Complexion Perfection: Air Cushions

posted on: June 24, 2014

Air cushions are a new type of face makeup which are quite unlike any traditional application forms, and are now best-selling in Korea, from where they originated, and much of Asia. Supposedly, an IOPE Air Cushion is sold every 30 seconds. They manage to [...]

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Les Pharmacies

Le Shopping: The Best Spot To Buy All That French Skincare

posted on: June 20, 2014

As I’m sure you are aware, French skincare is an awfully hot topic these days. Almost every one has their own particular cream or miracle cure which can only be found behind the counter in a honest-to-goodness pharmacie. Myself included – Embryolisse, Madecassol and SVR are my people. There is something about the French skincare brands which inspire confidence in people, perhaps because they are not afraid to [...]

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