The Designers I’d Love To See At My Nearest Beauty Hall

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It’s always been a tradition for my sister and I that whenever we find ourselves in Selfridges or Harrods we absolutely must go to Christian Louboutin and admire that which we unfortunately cannot afford. I’ve always lusted after the classic Pigalle 100 which I consider to be the ultimate wear-with-everything heel, and as Louboutin recently announced his foray into beauty with a collection of nail polishes maybe I can finally experience a little Louboutin magic after all!

Rouge Louboutin, a vibrant red the exact colour of the iconic red Christian Louboutin sole is the designer’s debut product. With a 20.5cm tall cap to match the heel of his highest heel, Ballerina Ultima this nail polish is definitely not a wallflower. For most like myself who find the decision to treat themselves to a pair of Louboutin‘s akin to giving up months of rent money, fragrance and cosmetics are a chance for customers to buy into a designer label but in smaller, more affordable chunks. And now that one of my favourite designers has stepped into the world of beauty there are quite a few more that I’d love to see. I enlisted my sister, Hamda Issa-Salwe a Fashion Merchandise Management student to illustrate and put what I had in mind onto paper:

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Louis Vuitton – Will they or won’t they? There’s been a lot of talk about a Louis Vuitton fragrance in the pipeline for a while now, but we’re unfortunately yet to see those plans come into fruition. If I had it my way I’d dream up a Louis Vuitton fragrance with notes of Madagascan vanilla, musk, amber and of course, heavy leathery notes.

Alexander Wang – Alexander Wang isn’t really a label I see bringing out an extensive cosmetics line, so I think they’d be better matched with a well established brand with a similar aesthetic for a limited edition collection. NARS with its fashion focused brand image would be perfect. I picture a line of nail polishes and top coats with different finishes like rubber, matte, iridescent black and a glossy black topcoat to intensify the colour of your nail polish.

Elie Saab – Watching an Elie Saab show is an absolute treat for my eyes; every single piece has me wondering why I haven’t set up a fund to get some Elie Saab in my wardrobe. With two fragrances to his name already, a makeup line would just be natural. I imagine super-luxe packaging and eyeshadow palettes rivalling Tom Ford! Who does modern Hollywood glamour better than Elie Saab? Absolutely no one hence the palette – something to create a classic smoky eye but with a dusky pink/peach thrown in there for a modern injection to a much loved classic staple in every woman’s make-up repertoire.

The Beauty Business | Alexia Inge – Co-Founder of Cult Beauty

What if you could gather a panel of the beauty industry’s upper echelons such as Ruby HammerDaniel SandlerDr Sam Bunting and Andrea Fulerton, find out the beauty products worthy of their time and then make their favourite products available at the click of a button. Wouldn’t that be genius? Well, that’s exactly what Alexia Inge did six years ago with Cult Beauty thus giving us access to niche brands with bona fide cult status and making it the online destination for products given the insider seal of approval. With Cult Beauty‘s recent sixth birthday, I recently had a chat with Alexia about the cult selection process and what we’d find in her makeup bag should we wish to rummage through it!

Alexia Inge Cult Beauty

Where did the idea for Cult Beauty come from? My business partner Jessica Deluca and I co-founded this site as beauty consumers who were tired of being sold products that didn’t live up to their promises; we had too many half-used cosmetic containers cluttering up the shower and too much money waisted down the drain! Jess was looking through the InStyle Best Beauty Buys when she had the idea to use an expert panel to cherry-pick the best products out there, creating a beauty hall of fame, that one can shop!

Cult Beauty is known for stocking the coolest, niche and independent brands from Sunday Riley to Le Soft Perfume. How do you keep track of the latest beauty launches and know when something is cult enough to be stocked at Cult Beauty? We have the ears and eyes of our expert panel who work all over the world. This is also a company of complete beauty junkies who are perpetually driven to find the next ‘hit’ of beauty cult-ness. Stacia, our buying director is a veritable beauty bloodhound who can sniff out a gem before you’ve even got it out of the box.

Who is the ideal Cult Beauty customer? Many of our customers come to us in a confused and fed up state with the beauty industry, just wanting to buy something that does what it says on the tin. Then we have the cult hunters, the people who want to discover the latest underground thing so they can show off to their mates online when it gets big. We also have a lot of professional women who simply don’t have time to search for hours and just need to find something they trust quickly. Our ideal customer is a happy one because they will not only come back, but they also tell their friends.

What has your biggest achievement been since opening the store? I look around at the team and feel a huge sense of pride in what we have achieved in 6 years. That we continue to grow even though we launched small using Jess’ and my savings, just as the world economy was melting. We’ve won many best beauty website awards, which are amazing, but meeting someone random at a party and hearing them say that they love the site is probably the thing that makes me smile most like a Cheshire cat.

Many women enjoy the experience of visiting a department store and trying out the products they’re about to buy. As an online retailer that experience doesn’t exist for Cult Beauty customers, but judging by its huge success that doesn’t seem to be a problem. How have you overcome that? I think it’s a mix of the fact that they know everything on the site is expert selected by a panel that we don’t allow to recommend anything they are financially tied to so the hard filtering work has already been done. I think the brilliant product descriptions written by Verity Douglas definitely help. All other sites tend to blindly regurgitate the brand’s marketing materials, but Verity researches each product before writing it. Also, so many women simply don’t have the time to go into town to buy beauty, parking and travel are expensive and stressful and this is an uncrushed, unhassled experience within a chic and simply-designed site.

Which Cult Beauty products can we find in your own makeup bag and beauty cabinet? Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint is the best tinted moisturiser in the world I wear it daily with the Studio 10 Visible Lift Face Definer, it’s the simplest way to look pretty without looking like you are wearing make up. I then finish the look with Magnetic Lash Mascara and a spritz of Molecule 01 or 02. Lait-Crème Concentre by Embryolisse is a must-have staple because it is so versatile, MV Organic Skincare is my fall back when too much product testing makes my skin sensitive and I adore Oskia masks and cleansers. Now that the sun is coming out I’m all over the Zelens Daily Defence SPF 30 and UltraSun for my body. If you have any issues with your lips Pommade Divine is a 200 year old British recipe that beats the pants off everything else I’ve tried. The packaging isn’t that chic so I sometimes stray to newer, sexier models, but I always come back! Oh and if you are ever feeling stressed or have trouble sleeping have a bath with the Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts – I’ve recommended this to many people and they are all now addicts… It’s magical.

Cult Beauty Alexia Inge Edit

Most important beauty tip that you’d shout from the virtual/online rooftops? Look after your skin in your twenties. One tends to think that naughty things you are doing are not affecting your skin because you can’t see a difference then. They are, and you notice the effects the day you hit 35, then you start to see the effects of sunbathing, smoking, eating badly, stress and pollution. My other one is smile, especially at old ladies in the street. The smile you get back from them is generally so bright and unexpected that it puts a swing in your step.

Any words of advice for budding entrepreneurs, particularly those keen to enter the beauty industry? You need to start off with a lot of passion for whatever you are trying to do because the entrepreneurial process will make you question why you ever wanted to do it in the first place. Make sure there is a market for it, ask a lot of people and not just people in your social group, all ages, all backgrounds. Don’t let no’s get you down or stop you, when you start 90% of the answers you get will be no, or even worse “maybe” then ignored. Be tenacious and dogged. Don’t copy what other people are doing, it’s much harder to succeed that way. Be original, then your idea will shine.

Parfum Du Jour | Salvatore Ferragamo Signorina Eleganza

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While I usually tend to gravitate towards fragrances of the woodier persuasion, summer is the time to put them to one side and go in search for fragrances loaded with the fruity floral notes typical of this wonderful season. A few such as Dolce & Gabbana’s Dolce and Si by Armani have caught my eye, but not quite like the latest addition to Salvatore Ferragamo’s offering, Signorina Eleganza*. Salvatore Ferragamo presents Signorina Eleganza as a tribute to sophistication, feminine grace and seduction; with notes such as almond powder, pear and patchouli, this perfume definitely evokes what’s intended.

If you can get over the harsh alcohol upon spraying Signorina Eleganza, there are vibrant notes of grapefruit and pear, the latter of which I absolutely love in a fragrance. The scent then softens down to a beautiful blend of almond powder, golden osmanthus petals and patchouli. There’s also white leather at Signorina Eleganza‘s base, and instead of it being masculine it rounds the fragrance off perfectly giving it a more grown up, sophisticated feel. I tend to steer clear of fragrances that are too fruity unless there’s hint of depth to them, and the leather does just that.

Although I’ve come across some gems in not so pretty bottles, packaging and design ties into my decision to purchase a fragrance… there’s nothing quite like a beautiful bottle sitting proudly on your dresser table! The grosgrain bow, cute lid and gold engraved Salvatore Ferragamo logo at the bottom of the bottle make it a fragrance you’d be proud to own.

Additions to the Skincare Cabinet | SkinCeuticals

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No matter my attempts at streamlining my skincare cabinet, I always find it full to the point that products become weapons – a bottle of Gunjeoir Neroli Face Elixir dropping on your head upon opening the cabinet is not fun! Each and every product in my cabinet has a status; some are an absolute daily necessity, others go untouched for months and there are some that have just joined the skincare cabinet family and are destined to be part of the former, and seeing as I’m of the philosophy that you can never have too many serums (I’m all about layering them up), these three superb serums from the doyens of skincare SkinCeuticals are a welcome addition.

First up we have my first dip into the sea of antioxidant/vitamin C serums – Serum 10*. With just 0.2% ferulic acid and 10% l-ascorbic acid, it’s a serum suitable for you sensitive skinned ladies out there and for those like me who are only just getting into antioxidant serums and want to gradually move onto stronger concentrations. Serum 10 is a great product to enlist in the fight against the impact of environmental aggressors such as pollution, UV rays, smog and smoke on your skin; perfect for those in big cities like London. It’s been almost two months since I’ve added Serum 10 into my skincare routine, and my skin has been significantly brighter which a few friends have picked up on. I’ve also noticed that the general tone of my skin is evening out which is amazing news because breakouts in the past have stamped their mark, and left my skin littered with hyperpigmentation.

Who do you know with breakout prone, sometimes oily and partially dry skin? It’s an affliction to to leave you eternally confused. Looking for something to keep my skin moisturised but also appeases the other factions of my skin is tricky, and apart from Olay’s Regenerist Night Renewal Elixir, the Retexturing Activatoris the only other product that can keep my skin truly moisturised without breaking me out. SkinCeuticals claim that using the Retexturing Activator is akin to a daily 20% glycolic acid treatment, and it’s a rather big claim for two reasons – firstly, glycolic acid is one of the finest, unrivalled chemical exfoliants in the market, and secondly my skin would never be able to tolerate glycolic acid of 20% strength on a daily basis without the harsh effects so my expectations of the Retexturing Activator were quite high when I first tried it. As usual SkinCeuticals doesn’t disappoint and within the first week of using the serum my skin was soft, supple, hydrated and I needed very little make-up; I hadn’t felt this good about my skin in an incredibly long time!

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The final SkinCeuticals addition to my cabinet is their new Resveratrol B E, another antixoidant serum but revolutionary in that it’s intended for night-time use and combats internal aggressors unlike Serum 10 which deals with the external free radicals. What’s also revolutionary is that it mostly contains antioxidant ingredient of the moment, resveratrol (which Refinery29 explain pretty well), found usually in grapes and knotweed and is complemented by 0.5% baicalin and 1% vitamin E. Coupled with Serum 10 I have high hopes for my skin, but I’ve only been using this for a few weeks and SkinCeuticals recommend a minimum of 12 weeks to notice a difference in density, elasticity, smoothness and firmness. Stay tuned…

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