Tag Archives: Dior

The benefits of bb creams

One of the perks about working on magazines was the truckloads of beauty products that would arrive each day. These were piled in a cupboard until it reached bursting point, when they’d be sold off for a pound apiece in aid of charity.

When you’ve paid £1 for something, you don’t show it the same reverence you would if you’d spent eighty times that. You can slather it on like Baby Oil and get a truer picture of whether it really works, rather than simply willing it to because you forked out all that cash.

This was how I found out that Crème de la Mer gives me spots, and that posh moisturisers don’t do very much. But you knew that anyway. After all, if they did, no one would have facelifts, would they?

I know this, and yet still I’m a sucker for a marketing campaign. Like the kid waiting at the window for the dad who never shows, I hope that this time, this time, it will be different. Which is how I found myself buying Garnier’s BB Miracle Skin Perfector cream.

BB (or blemish balm) creams are the latest wheeze innovation from the big beauty brands. I’ve read two articles about them and am still no wiser as to what they actually do, but the companies make vague claims about flawless finishes and ‘all-in-one’ qualities. You can buy pricey versions from Dior, Estee Lauder, MAC and Clinique, or the Garnier cream, which is about eight quid from Boots.

And you know what? It works. ‘Miracle’ is overstating it, obviously. That’s annoying bullshit, just as it’s annoying bullshit when supermodels claim their good looks are the result of ‘drinking loads of water’. But after using it my skin definitely looked better – shinier (in a good way), dewier, less knackered. Which isn’t a bad return on eight quid, I think.

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Saturday at Bicester

Yesterday I went to Bicester Village. I love an outlet park – as, judging by the crowds, does the rest of the world. And I mean rest of the world: Did you know that more than a quarter of all Bicester Village’s customers are Chinese, and that over there it’s better known than Harrods or Selfridges? Look, even the signs are translated into Mandarin:

There’s also a prayer room for Muslim customers:

Nothing promotes tolerance and inclusiveness like the whiff of profit.

I like Bicester because, with its faux New-England clapboard buildings and Disneyesque atmosphere, it reminds me of the Grove in LA. Both offer a similar shopping experience, but for me the Grove has the edge because it has a 14-screen cinema and a fountain that dances to Lionel Ritchie. If Bicester’s going to be up there with the world’s greatest malls, I’d suggest it gets itself a dancing fountain.

People get sneery about these places with their manicured lawns and chain names, thinking them bland and sanitised. But living in East London, bland and sanitised is a real treat (yes, I’m sorry, I liked it when they did up Spitalfields.)

In fact, my only objection to Bicester was the range of stuff on offer, which was a) horrible, and b) not very heavily discounted (I think that Tod’s sign was a lie.) I miss the old days when it first opened, when Whistles and DKNY were pretty well the only brands of note, but they were practically giving it to you. Today it’s all £900 Jimmy Choo handbags reduced to £600. Which is still a lot of money for a shiny great vulgar lump of leather.

But you can’t be a brand snob at Bicester. You may think Dolce cheesy and Dior naff, but lurking in the bargain bins at either, you might find a beautifully made, logo-free jumper for 20 quid. It pays to keep an open mind. Which is how I came to find myself going home with a blazer from (cough, splutter) Jack Wills.

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