The Powder Room

The latest lotions, most perfect potions, hottest hairdos and salon secrets from The Lady magazine's beauty bloggers

Average woman spends £500 a year on hair styling products

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The powder room
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on Monday, 26 November 2012
Almost a quarter of British women spend more than £2,000 each year in a bid to get luscious locks, a new survey has revealed.

A poll of 600 women by professional hair care retailer found Cheryl Cole and Holly Willoughby were the celebrities we most want to look like.

Our biggest expense is on a salon cut and colour and pricey hair extensions. Of those polled, 82% visited the salon at least every eight weeks, expecting to shell out around £100 for every visit. But 24% admitted to forking out more than £2,000 a year for treatments including hair extensions every three months.

On average, women spent more than £500 in a year on styling products including shampoo and conditioner, oils and serums, heat protectors, hair sprays, waxes and mousses. Those polled claimed these were essential tools in their hair armoury and that scrimping on these could turn their hair from being healthy and glamorous to dull and tired.

Electricals were another big outgoing with those polled prepared to shell out over £100 for a pair of straighteners and £50 on a hairdryer. Hot brushes and curling tongs were another must have.

Spokeswoman for, Francesca Davies said: “We’re surrounded by photos of celebrities with amazing looking hair all the time, so it’s no surprise that women try to copy their look.

“It’s certainly not a cheap thing to do. A decent cut and colour can be costly but is an essential if you want to keep your hair in good condition. Extensions are more of a luxury, however if you have short hair and can’t wait for it to grow out.

“Great styling products and shampoo aren’t as costly as you may think. Cheap high street brands run out very quickly. The professional products last a lot longer so represent great value for money.

“It is worth remembering that the celebs we hair envy have an army of stylists at their beck and call so their hair should look amazing. The rest of us don’t have that luxury. We can all be forgiven for the odd bad hair day.”

Chip-free manicures nailed

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on Monday, 12 November 2012
When it went on sale in America, the Nailene manicure kit SensatioNail sold out in over 7,000 stores including WalMart and CVS, becoming the number one home gel kit in the country in its first 24 hours.

It arrived on the UK earlier this year to a huge fanfare – with the hype reaching almost hysteria levels when a Dancing on Ice make-up artist revealed she was using it. A home-manicure with Nailene SensatioNail Invincible Gel Polish promises you a super high gloss, long-lasting manicure – that won’t chip for two weeks.


Having sworn off manicures as I seem pathologically unable to go more than 20 minutes without chipping them (I didn’t even wear nail varnish on my wedding day for this very reason) this seemed a promise too good to be true.

So, on Saturday evening I plotted up in front of the TV and put the Nailene SensatioNail Invincible Gel Polish Starter Kit to the test. At a cost of £85 this kit seemed quite a high outlay for a manicure set – but as I delved into the box it became clear there was literally everything you need to create a salon-finish manicure. Out came a primer, a special base and top coat, a colour, nail files, wipes and of course the LED UV lamp – which sets the polish.

The actual process seemed a little laborious – there were lots of stages (well using all those products takes time). However I couldn’t help but be amazed at the final result. My nails were rock solid, glossy and, yep, totally chip free.

I went to bed feeling incredibly smug. Of course the next day I woke up to realise that mice (or perhaps rats) had invaded our garden shed. Usually this would be the end of any manicure. Pulling out one’s entire shed (though at least we’ve now found the Christmas tree stand) and boarding up the floor, is not conducive to keeping nails pretty and perfect.

But, and this is a massive but, while the rest of my hands were not looking their best by the time we had finished, my nails were STILL chip free.

Someone has clearly sold their soul to the devil to harness this power in a nail varnish. But I’m a convert.

This kit saves the hassle of getting one’s self to a beauticians, is cheaper than getting a professional to take control (the cost per manicure is just £5.77 – as you get 10 manicures out of your starter kit) and, as I might have already mentioned, your manicure actually stays chip free!

What’s not to love?

SensatioNail Invincible Gel Polish Starker Kits are available from Boots nationwide.

Words by Katy Pearson

Break the rules

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The powder room
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on Monday, 12 November 2012
We're always being told there are certain ‘beauty rules’ that you simply can’t break – but is that true?

Writing exclusively for The Powder Room blog,’s Beauty Editor Emma Leslie says it’s time to throw off the shackles with five beauty rules you CAN break. So why not experiment?

Emma says: “Rule No. 1 – you have to match your nail colour with your lips. It sounds sensible but, despite what you’ve been told, it’s not written in any beauty manual. Contrast your colours to your heart’s content.

No. 2 – only use one colour of lippy. Again, this is one of those rules that is there to be broken. Work the ‘ombre’/two-tone trend by applying one all over colour before accenting the middle of the lips with a contrasting shade. I’d favour Daniel Sandler Luxury Lipstick in Impulse with a touch of the Daniel Sandler Super Gloss in Copper in the centre, but feel free to experiment.

No. 3 – nail colour. You don’t need me to tell you this but nail art is one of the hottest trends of the past couple of years. And we’ve all seen the Olympians with their multi-coloured nails. The sky’s the limit with this one.

No. 4 – Mess you hair up. Sleek hair looks and feels great but slightly tousled hair for that boho look is sexy and just-so this autumn. Just ask Sienna Miller or Kate Moss.

No. 5 – Impeccably groomed brows are a must. Not so. Ease up on the tweezering and enjoy some au-naturel. You might be surprised at how good it looks.” is one of Britain’s biggest retailers of make up, perfumes and grooming products.

Sweet Smell of Success!

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on Wednesday, 07 November 2012
This Christmas is expected to be a boom year for the fragrance industry with sales of perfume up 6% on last year and a total of £790m to be spent in the UK over the festive season, say experts.

Leading UK beauty and fragrance website is already experiencing a significant increase on 2011 sales figures and anticipates that on average every adult in England and Wales will spend £17.59 each on fragrance gifts this Christmas.

CEO Rakesh Aggarwal said: “This Christmas market for perfume is already shaping up to be the best for since 2008. Early indications have been very positive and we are predicting a 6% increase on last year, and have similar indications from other key players in the market.”

Perfume and luxury goods sales in general are a major indicator for consumer confidence, especially over the Christmas period when the fragrances sold account for over half the total annual sales. Traditionally a massive 54% of the total annual expenditure on perfume is on Christmas presents for loved ones (from October to December). This year it is estimated that £789.9m will be spent on festive gifts, which will bring the total annual spend on perfume in 2012 to £1.46 billion.

Rakesh Aggarwal added: “Part of the reason of the boost to the market has been that there have been some exciting new releases in the perfume market. The James Bond after-shave has been a huge seller and has already made it into the top 10 men’s fragrances and is already outselling big brands like Paco Rabanne, Prada, and Armani. Also the Lady Gaga perfume has sold well and has already broken into the top 10 women’s fragrances this Christmas.” Beauty Editor Emma Leslie has compiled the top ten best selling fragrances for men and women in the UK, which are expected to be the most popular Christmas fragrances this year.

Top 10 Fragrances For Her

1) J’Adore
2) Lady Gaga
3) Marc Jacobs Dot
4) Jean Paul Gaultier Classique
5) Gucci Premiere
6) Armani Code Pour Femme
7) Thierry Mugler Angel
8) Jimmy Choo
9) Narciso Rodriguez For Her
10) Hugo Boss Nuit Pour Femme

Top 10 Fragrances For Him

1) James Bond
2) Paco Rabanne 1 Million
3) Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male
4) Prada Luna Rossa
5) Acqua Di Parma Colonia
6) Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey
7) Armani Code
8) Dior Homme
9) Aramis Classic
10) Diesel Only The Brave

Words by Katy Pearson

3 of the best… hand creams for gardeners

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The powder room
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on Monday, 05 November 2012
Colder weather means chapped hands and split fingers – painful but preventable with the right cream…

Three of the best hand creams for gardening

1 Citrus Hand Softener is a restorative blend of avocado, blackcurrant seed and coconut oils combined with shea butter. £15:

2 Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme is made with almond oil and vitamin E to moisturise and beeswax for protection. £9.99:

3 Hemp Hand Protector is a best-selling product that restores moisture and suppleness. £10:

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