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


Kitties and Cats

Regular readers will know that despite my very serious day job, I never like to take my wardrobe too seriously. While my daily outfits are mostly a steady rotation of breton stripes, silk blouses and pretty dresses, I love and injection of wit and whimsy that serves only to make me smile when practicality just won’t do. (Yes England, I am talking about you and your seemingly perpetually rainy skies this month…)So when this package of goodies from Paul and Joe’s absurdly cute anniversary cat collection arrived on my doorstep the other day (thank you!), I practically squealed with glee! While they’re all the most wearable and pretty colours in their own right, the adorable packaging (the cutest I have ever seen) makes me smile the whole time I’m using it. I mean, blush sticks shaped like gentemanly cats in hats and paw print lipsticks? In my opinion, makeup should more commonly be shaped like small furry creatures…!

And while it wasn’t strictly necessary to team it with my favourite Charlotte Olympia Kitty heels and golden cat ring from Whistles, I couldn’t resist throwing all semblence of restraint out the window and embracing Cat Lady-chic with wild abandon. I’d love to know how you’re currently injecting a little fun into your wardrobe? All this rain surely calls for something to make our wardrobe smile!

Love, Miss B xx