Beauty: Diptyque Fragrance

I have spoken before about my deep love for beautiful perfumes and fragrances (regular readers may remember this post), but I don’t think the fact can be overstated.

I’m not sure about you, but I find something so wonderfully luxurious about the act of spritzing on a favourite smell as the final flourish when getting dressed (or, for that matter, undressed) each day. A seeminigly small act it may be, but it is, I believe, the one that most imparts the personality of the wearer upon the passerby. Few things are are as sensual and as emotionally evocative as our sense of smell. After all, we attach more feelings and memories to scents than any other sense and thus subconsciously judge strangers by how their smell makes us feel, so it is important that the fragrance you choose to make your own is one which evokes a trail of happy memories in your wake.

Needless to say, it’s important to get this right.

Constantly in pursuit of the perfect bouquet of fragrance (whether for myself or my home), I’m never one to turn down the wisdom of the experts. Diptyque is one of my favourite brands full stop (I wear their perfumes year round, and their divine scented candles are one of my favourite small luxuries for the home), so when I heard about their fragrance fitting service I leapt at the invitation.

Which is how I came to find myself perched on a stool in the charming little Diptyque boutique on Brook Street a little while back. I was meeting with Diptyque’s manager who couldn’t have been more lovely (we ever shared the same Australian-transplanted-to-England accent), and we began with a casual discussion that took in everything from my favourite colours, to the type of clothes I liked, to my favourite memories and the smells they evoked (the smell of orange blossoms in the sun in my childhood backyard, blousy garden roses and tiny violets in my mother’s garden, fresh mint and basil in an English herb garden…).

I then smelt a collection of single-note fragrances (in the form of Diptyque’s candles, each with their labels hidden so that my preference could not be influenced by my perception of the names of each one), grouped into three fragrance families (spicy, green/woody and floral). I already had a very clear idea of what scents I did and did not like, so it was reassuring to have this reaffirmed, with a few I wouldn’t have thought of myself added to the mix. In case you were wondering, I like white florals with a hint of sweetness and perhaps a fresh green undertone (but I can’t bear overpowering spicy, woody smells).

I was then taught how to layer fragrances which, for some reason (and despite already owning several Diptyque fragrances), had never occurred to me. But when you comine two different scents, they somehow elevate each other to become even more beautiful. I’ve been playing with this ever since (with seemingly endless combinations), and people are always stopping me in the street to ask what perfume I’m wearing (a wonderful boost for the ego, I tell you!).

Good combinations to try: start with a woody or a fresh green base and a layer a floral or citrus scent on top. I’ve been favouring Diptyque Neroli (orange blossom) with Olene (jasmine and narcissus and white spring florals) on top which smells heavenly for warmer days (or grey days when I’m craving sunshine) and either Eau Rose (delicate pink rose petals and fresh green notes) under Do Son (a heady tuberose and white floral), or Philosykos (fruity and woody fig tree) under L’Ombre dans L’Eau (blackcurrant leaves and Bulgarian roses) for cold days when something warm and luxurious is required.

I’d love to hear how you layer your favourite fragrances, and how you pair different scents with different seasons or occasions.

Love, Miss B xx

Diptyque offer complimentary fragrance fitting consultations (approximately 30 minutes) at all of their boutiques. I visited the little store located at 37 Brook Street, Mayfair.

Beauty Wednesday: Date Night Beauty

Whether you should find yourself single, in a relationship or just taking a look at the menu, there should always be room for the kind of dates that give you butterflies in your stomach and make you want to put on the most wonderful dress in your wardrobe. Even though I’ve been with the Clever Boyfriend for over seven years (!), every Friday evening we completely clear our schedules, get dressed up and have a weekly date night.

When you’re dabbling in a little flirtation, you want to look your best (of course); as though you’ve gone to a little effort (it’s only polite, after all), but like you didn’t really have to try very hard (because you’re just naturally that pretty and radiant). Here’s how to master date night pretty via a few of my favourite beauty tricks:

1. Perfect: Keep skin fresh and clean. I like a BB cream (I’m currently obsessed with Estee Lauder’s excellent version) or a tinted moisturiser with concealer just where it’s needed. Avoid heavy foundation (you don’t want to look like you’re wearing a mask) and too far from your own skin tone.

2. Glow: For a little extra glow, I use a subtle tan such as Institut Esthederm Self-Tanning Face Cream (applied the day before so there is no telltale smell) which means you need less makeup, and an illuminator blended invisibly around the cheekbones, brow bone, down the bridge of the nose and on the cupid’s bow (to highlight the lips). Avoid anything glittery; you want to look naturally radiant. Benefit’s High Beam or Moon Beam of Clarins Instant Light Skin Perfector give the best natural glow.

3. Colour: Add a pop of colour to your cheeks and lips for a pretty flush. Avoid obvious bronzer or lipstick and stick to tinted lipbalms (bright lipstick can seem scary to the gents) and a pink, peachy or rosy blush or cheekstain (as a guide, a shade close to the colour you naturally blush will always be flattering).

4. Eyes: Make sure your eyes are worthy of longing gazes and emphasise your lashes. Apply a wash of neautral shadow in a pale champagne or taupe to subtly draw attention to the eyes (I like Mac paint pot in Bare Study followed by shadow in Koi for contouring the socket line). Follow with a flirty flick of liquid liner (Stila’s Stay All Day felt tip marker is the easiest to apply and will literally last all night) and a coat of lengthening mascara and finish by grooming your brows to frame the face (I like Suqqu’s brow palette or Benefit’s waxy brow pencil for filling in any gaps).

5. Finish. Finish with a mist of setting face spray to keep everything flawless and budge proof (you don’t want a smudge of makeup all over his collar when you kiss goodnight, after all). I love Jurlique Rosewater Mist (which makes your face smell like rose petals) or Urban Decay’s All Nighter setting spray. Paint your nails a pretty nude colour for sweet hand holding. Squirt a favourite perfume (Marc Jacobs Daisy is always a man-pleaser) wherever you want to be kissed.

Just add a gorgeous outfit and a flirty smile and you’re ready to hit the town on the arm of your dashing date.And because I treasure you all, I’ve pulled together a date night beauty kit filled with all my favourites (pictured above) thanks to the nice people at eHarmony for one of you to win. The prize (worth £135) contains: Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume (to smell gorgeous), Benefit Bad Gal mascara (for fluttery lashes), Mac blush in a pretty petal pink (for a flirty flush), Essie pastel pink polish in Muchi Muchi (for the prettiest hand-holding manicure), Benefit Moon Beam highlighter (for a radiant glow) and Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector (for kissable lips).

To win, leave me a comment telling me why you want to win (and if you have any special dating or beauty tips I should know about). For bonus brownie points, follow A Girl, A Style on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram (@agirlastyle) or Bloglovin‘ (make sure you let me know which of these you’ve done in your comments).

Fine print: I’ll select the winner on September 10th, so please be sure to include your email address so that I can contact you to post your prize. Entry is open to UK residents.

Do you still make time for date night? I’d love to hear your favourite flirty beauty tips!

Love, Miss B xx

* Edit: This competition is now closed. Congratulations to Becky on winning!


Japanese Beauty

Regular readers will already know of my love for all things Japanese, and their beauty products are special favourites. Japanese women take their beauty ritual very seriously, so brands there always seem years ahead of the West in terms of innovative beauty technologies, potions and lotions. By way of example, they were using brightening treatments, serums and BB creams for ten years before they arrived here, and there are still entire product categories that are yet to penetrate the Western market (softening lotions, essences, washing powders, moisture foams…). And it shows. Japanese girls have skin so luminous it’s as though they have their own candlelit glow. In short, for a product to perform in the crowded Japanese beauty market, it must be good.

So on my last trip to Tokyo, I performed my usual tradition of heading for the beauty hall of Isetan (my favourite Japanese department store) and collecting as many old favourites and entirely new and novel products as I could carry. (Handily, the Clever Boyfriend has ‘fluent in Japanese’ amongst his many talents, so I wheeled him around to every counter to translate the strange new descriptions for me in exchange for sushi afterwards).

Here are the hero brands that I can’t leave Japan without (though all are now available in most countries):

SKII: The ultimate Japanese cult brand, promising unrivalled brightening and luminosity. Favourite products: Treatment Essence, Cleansing Oil, Cloth Masks.

RMK: I am very enthusiastic about this brand. Great skincare and adorable makeup (theirs is the most perfect pink blush). Favourite products: Cleansers (balm, oil or mousse), Brightening Skintuner, Rose herbal face mist, blush, eyeshadows.

Shu Uemura (pronounced ‘shoe oo-eh-moora’): The Japanese are masters of eyelashes, and Shu Uemura are the best (when something works this well on naturally straight Asian lashes, you know it’s good). Favourite products: Eyelash curler (the best in the world), false lashes, Cleansing Oil, UV Under Base primer mousse.
Suqqu: As with lashes, the Japanese really care about eyebrows. Though Suqqu do a whole range of beauty products, their brow products are the best there is. Favourite products: Felt tip eyebrow pen (a teeny tiny tip to fill in any gaps), eyebrow powder palette, cloth face treatment masks.
Astalift: A relative newcomer, but already a bestseller in Japan for it’s innovative antioxidant properties. Favourite products: Jelly Aquarysta is the hero product, but the whitening cream is also good for lightening sun damage and pigmentation.
Shiseido: The bestselling beauty brand in Japan; great for brightening/whitening treatments and makeup suited to pale skins. Favourite products: White Lucency brightening serum, felt tip eyeliner, SPF.
Pharmacy buys: for fun bargains when in Japan, head to a pharmacy and stock up on individual sachets of bath salts in just about every scent you can imagine (I love the milk and sakura blossom varieties), little packets of nail art crystals to make your manicure twinkly, exfoliating powders, rose chewing gum and Hello Kitty lipgloss.
I’d love to know of any beauty products you love that might not be mainstream where you live!
Love, Miss B xx

June Loves

Just a few of my favourite things this month:

1. Play: Living out my own Great Gatsby fantasies and going to an opulent Cambridge May Ball (in typical Oxbridge eccentric style, May Week actually takes place over two weeks in June). Fireworks, champagne, a live band, dancing until dawn, and everyone dressed in their sparkliest refinery.
2. Sparkle: I have been in love with this Lei Van Kash rose ring for about two years, so it’s probably about time I actually buy it.
3. Buying: It feels like every item of clothing I’m buying this month is either floral print or white lace. I especially love this dress by Whistles that is just made for a garden party.
4. Wearing: I’ve rediscovered my beloved collection of Marc Jacobs Stam bags (I have three!) and have been slinging my putty-coloured version over almost everything. Casual and chic all at once!
5. Beauty note: Annick Goutal Petite Cherie perfume, which smells of juicy pears and vanilla and freshly mown grass in the morning (I like to pretend I’m lying in a sun-drenched orchard in the south of France when I spritz it on)
6. On my wish list: Charlotte Olympia Pomeline sandals (blush pink + pom poms!)
7: Listening to: Vampire Weekend (the preppy soundtrack to so many Cambridge May Week parties)
8. Watching: Tennis at Wimbledon (accompanied by champagne, strawberries and cream and a spot of people-watching).
9. Gourmand pleasures: Elderflower cordial is the flavour of summer in a bottle.
10. Small luxuries: Fresh garden roses and pink peonies from the farmer’s market.

Which pleasures are currently making you smile this month?

Love, Miss B xx