We live in a world where everything is instant, we have everything at our fingertips to make our lives easier, more efficient and tailor-made to suit us perfectly. There are many devices and services specialising in personalisation available to us now, simply ranging from personalised coffee cups in Starbucks, to more quirky devices such as apps that can check that you locked the house before you left for work this morning. This new custom-made lifestyle is about to extend to our faces. We are already well aware of the many cosmetic and surgical procedures available to us in which to create a new face – the invasive needle-jabbing, slicing, dicing, nipping and tucking that all occurs on an operating table. But now there are services available to us that allow for a completely personalised visage without the intrusion, pain, recovery or expense of invasive cosmetic procedures.

Two years ago, Boots announced a service offering a foundation colour-matching service, exclusively associated with their No7 range of products (they have since extended this service to lipsticks). It was a huge phenomenon on the high street at the time it was launched, however this colour-matching device miss-matched many customers, myself included. This particular colour-matching service only matches customers to products readily available in the No7 range (as a free service this is, of course, to be expected) so wouldn’t it be great if such a service was available that custom blended foundation to your skin’s own requirements?

Lucy McRae, a ‘body architect’ from Australia says, “there are no boundaries with technology relating to the human body, the future is completely wide open and unknown”. Right now, there are companies that strive to create the ultimate bespoke makeup experience. A La Carte London, based in Knightsbridge, offer custom-blended products such as lipsticks, foundations and concealers from £250. This service allows you go back and re-order your exact shade for a further £50. A small price to pay for a truly tailor-made experience. Beauty blogger Thea Malone likes the idea of a customized shade of lipstick, “That’s such a good idea, because if you want a red, it’s quite hard to find one that suits your skin tone so if you can have one specially made then you know it’s definitely going to work for you”. Fellow beauty blogger Katie Brooks agrees, “The lipstick is a great idea – especially as brands are now bringing out more limited editions. With this you can be reassured that you’ll be able to have it again. It’s heartbreaking when your old faithful has been discontinued.”

Bite Beauty are another company, based in NYC, that have expanded their makeup brand into customisable lipstick shades, launching the Bite Lip Lab in SoHo. Beauty blogger and vlogger Amelia Liana has tried and tested the service with glowing positivity, writing on her blog: “Coming in at around £22 a lipstick in total I would say it’s definitely an experience to try. Simply awesome.” The Bathory is a company that offer a personalised bathing experience with a concoction of your chosen salt mix and oils. I have personally used The Bathory to create my own bath salts, I chose the “Detox” salt with oils of eucalyptus, grapefruit and ylang ylang which were supposed to make me feel “revived, inspired and sexy”. I’m not quite sure how much I would vouch for any of those qualities, I personally just smelt nice. But I’m always down for a gimmick (or four).

A recent beauty release is Charlotte Tilbury’s Supermodel range of products, boxes with a full face inside that also provides a handy tutorial video that begins playing as the box is opened. With a choice of “supermodel” looks, Tilbury shows us how simple it really is to create a better version of our faces. And who wouldn’t want to look like a supermodel?

With technology evolving faster than some of us can apply mascara on the way to work in the car whilst eating breakfast (it’s true, some of us can do that…), it’s no wonder that revolutionary services in the beauty industry are being brought to our attention. Experts say that in the not-so-distant future we will have fully customised hair care, skin care and makeup regimes. Now if that is not an example of a 21st century face, then I don’t know what is.


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If you haven’t been highly anticipating Galliano’s return to the fashion week calendar for Maison Martin Margiela after four years, then you don’t belong here. I’m joking. (slightly).

The collection itself was undeniable Galliano’s, albeit with touches of Margiela-minimalism. The set design was quite possibly one of the most pared back in Galliano’s history, with a small audience, white seating and no decorative adornments. With a colour palette of rich ruby reds, palatial golds, deep blacks, creamy camels and hints of animal print, the collection was a world away from your typical Margiela show. Gold voiles, silk taffeta, highly embellished breast plates all adorned the showstoppers, each look complete with two-tone platform shoes and elaborate headpieces. For a Margiela couture show, the fabrics were perhaps more extravagant than typically expected.

The theme of decay offered a haunting washed-at-sea vibe with sea shells and latex evoking a creature of the ocean; hair plastered to the head and face also suggested a sense of a washed up creation.

The show was seemingly a humbling experience for Galliano as he reflected over his fallen star vicariously through the medium of design, appearing very briefly at the end of the show wearing a traditional white lab coat as worn by the Maison Martin Margiela team.

FROWers at the show was basically a who’s who? list of anyone that’s anyone in the fashion industry: Anna Wintour, Alber Elbaz and Nick Knight were just a few to mention. As for the show? Well fashion has recently started to feel repetitive (normcore?), predictable (normcore?) and almost trend-less (normcore?) Galliano has single-handedly, with just one show, made the shows an event again, both in person and online. Never have I seen a more highly anticipated show before on social media; everyone on my timeline, news feed and Instagram home page was tagging #MargielaMonday with abundance.

For me, Galliano’s return says much about the fashion industry as it does Galliano himself as well as the house of Margiela. I personally am beyond glad that those inside the industry as well as those who appear to be outsiders looking in, have now allowed themselves to look past his “scandal” and accept him for the genius that he so clearly is.

Long live John Galliano.



If I had £1 for every time I have stood in front of a mirror and wished there wasn’t such a pale face staring back, or stared at my white, pasty legs in the summer wishing I had nice bronzed limbs, I would be a multi-millionaire. I naturally have very curly hair and always wanted it to be straight. My friends with straight hair say they prefer curly. I used to dream of having a big bust. Those blessed with such often dream of less. It seems to be a case of the grass always being greener in our own minds and in the way we look at ourselves. But if you could permanently change these aspects of your physical self, would you? Changing your body temporarily is one thing, but a permanent change is a much more dramatic and final “improvement”.

When it comes to the colour of your skin, it is generally accepted that a permanent change is dangerous, bad for your health and above all, “vain”. Little is known of the long-term consequences of such products as skin whitening (or bleaching) creams or tanning injections. In September of this year, a controversial cream was released by Dr Organic and is sold in health food chain Holland & Barrett stores nationwide, it’s the Royal Jelly Body Skin Whitening Cream, this questionable product received backlash in the media for “exploiting racism”, with race equality charities campaigning for its removal from the shelves. With such dramatic skin-enhancing properties, these products are deemed as highly dangerous in this country but are still readily available. So why are we striving to be different to how we were originally created?

Having a bronzed “glow” for the summer is, in our part of the world, deemed the desired look. White, pasty legs like mine on the beach are a general no-no. From a glow in a bottle to baking in a tanning bed to getting a professional spray tan, there are many ways in which both men and women achieve this bronzed god/goddess look. But tanning injections are taking this craze to the next level.

“We are warning people not to use this product. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Melanotan offers a shortcut to a safer and more even tan”. That is a statement released by David Carter from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Tanning injections are as medically sinister as they sound, containing the drug Melanotan, a synthetic hormone that works by increasing the levels of melanin, the natural pigment of the skin. Costing around £60 for a month’s supply, this is ultimately a cheaper, albeit dangerous option for an intense tan. So it comes as little surprise that so far, the main market has been teenagers and those looking for a quick fix.

Currently illegal in the UK and most of Europe, these injections can only be bought online and are yet to be officially tested for safety, effectiveness and quality. Some that use them however, generally have positive reviews, despite most experiencing side effects. Olivia Mansson, a fashion student from Sweden says, “I would definitely recommend them if you want a darker skin colour for a longer period of time but not if you don’t like freckles. It took two or three weeks for the best colour to show but before that, I started getting a lot of freckles.”

Freckles aside, the full extent of the side effects caused by the injections are unknown. Users report of experiencing nausea, a loss of appetite and an elevated sex drive at the lower end of the scale, more sinister side effects thought to be linked with the use of the injections include stomach and heart problems as well as blood and eye disorders. Side effects aside, the process also carries major risk of infection due to unhygienic practices and addiction to the drug and its effects have also been reported. Despite such little medical research that has gone into Melanotan as well as the warnings issued by healthcare professionals, Mansson still believes in the product’s efficiency stating, “Obviously injections aren’t good for your skin, so it’s better to not use these products, but if you’re unhappy in your skin then why not try to change it if it makes you happier?” So why not embrace your skin’s natural hue? “I think that I look better in tanned skin, I feel more attractive being tanned. I also think that pale skin is beautiful, it just doesn’t suit me.”

The quest for the “natural glow” is also achieved by some from the other end of the beauty spectrum. Whitening creams have been on the market in Asia for many years with well known European and American brands such as Dior, Olay, No7, Max Factor, Clarins and L’Oreal (to name just a few) creating products for the market targeting skin bleaching. Born and raised in Hong Kong, 43 year-old Kinnie Hung believes white skin reigns supreme, “In my country, we prefer white skin. We have a saying – ‘One white face can hide three ugly faces’”. Niporn Kent from Thailand agrees saying, “I like white skin because I think it looks clean and bright”. Global sales of such whitening products are projected to reach $19.8 billion by 2018 based primarily on the growth in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The highest quality of skin whitening products are produced in Europe, however the ingredients in some of the products are banned from being sold here, such as mercurous chloride and hydroquinone. Hermione Lawson of the British Skin Foundation says, “Unfortunately, many skin-lightening creams contain illegal compounds that can damage your health. The common compounds are high-dose steroids”. With such diverse ideals of beauty across the globe, it is interesting to hear how Kent and Hung view those in the west tanning their skin deliberately, “Actually, I don’t agree to people making their skin darker. I think they have a nice colour of skin already”, says Kent.

The irony in skin tone modification from the tanning injections to the whitening creams is that both are aiming to achieve a “glow”. A white glow, or a bronzed glow – it doesn’t matter how we see it, a glow is something that comes from within. So why does this “faux glow” mean so much to us? Perhaps we need to relax and let our inner glow shine through; after all, a natural glow cannot be bought in a tube, pot, bottle or vial; we are lit from within.

Photo credit: Nicole Jenet


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Better late than never…

A selection of photos from my Vogue Scrapbook layout, as exhibited in the post below. By no means do I consider myself a photographer… The proof is in the pudding. However I did get an A for this assignment so I thought I’d share the fruit of my labour. The model is Maddy, follow her instagram here.

DRESS |  Topshop
TIGHTS | Wolford
BOOTS | Dunlop