Monday, May 31, 2010

Pureology Haircare

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article bemoaning the hysterical claims made by beauty product manufacturers in order to increase sales. Usually, I greet extravagant claims with scoffs and tut-tuts; however, some assertions are so outlandish that I can’t resist trying them out and seeing can I prove them wrong.

However, last week, it was I that was proved wrong. I expected codology; instead I got Pureology.

About Pureology

Pureology was developed in California 2001 by hair-care specialist, Jim Markham, for a friend who was going through Chemotherapy and required a gentle organic shampoo. It was only when the product was developed that Markham realized that it helped to prolong colour-treated hair. The reason for this is that unlike most other hair cleansers and conditioners, his products did not contain sulfates which strip colour from the hair. Furthermore the products contain UVA/UVB protection which also helps to prevent colour from fading.

Range of Products

Pureology offers a range of hair-type-specific products, including:

  • HydrateTM System: For dry colour-treated hair
  • Pure VolumeTM System: For fine, colour-treated hair
  • Essential RepairTM System: For distressed, colour-treated hair


Value for Money

The shampoos seem pricey at €20 a pop; however, My Lovely Hairdresser tells me that each bottle should last for 80-100 washes. You must be joking, I thought – I barely get 10 washes out of a bottle. But she assures me that you should only use a pearl-sized amount of product at a time, and shampoo twice for best results. And in fairness to her, despite what I would have considered ‘meagre rations’, my hair has never felt softer or silkier.

Pureology promise_logo

Satisfaction Guaranteed

If my testimonial doesn’t hold true for you, then you’ll be impressed to hear that Pureology offers a money-back guarantee within 4 weeks of purchase if you’re not satisfied with the product. Now there’s confidence eh!

Have you tried any of these products? I would love to hear what you thought of them.

Yours in style,

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Dressed to the Maxi

Reader Stylemma

"Hi Caroline. I bought a gorgeous strapless maxi-dress today. I'm only 5ft and it's so long that's it'll have to be taken up. I'm thinking that a 3/4 length might be best for my frame...any advice??"

Caroline's Answer

Like them or loathe them, it's certainly impossible to ignore them this season; maxi-dresses are everywhere.

Essentially, a 'maxi' is a generic term for a long floaty dress. A fond favourite of lithe supermodels and uber-cool music festival followers, maxi-dresses have long-epitomised romance, freedom and creativity.

It's a pity then that it's so gosh darn hard to find a flattering style! Unfortunately there are a platoon of baggy, ill-fitting and garish styles on the high-street which can make us look short, dumpy or frumpy. Indeed, on one rather embarrassing occasion whilst wearing a maxi-dress I was congratulated by a complete stranger on my pregnancy. I wasn't pregnant - but the hapless stranger assured me that the darned maxi-dress made me look at least 5 months gone! Needless to say the dress was binned as soon as I got home.

So you see, extreme caution is strictly advised! I have devised the following Style By Caroline Maxi-Dress Selection Guide, which will help you in your quest to find a suitable maxi-dress for your frame:

  • Fitted waist: Look out for styles that are fitted around the waist. Avoid loose or billowing styles which will immediately add 20lbs to your frame. Add a belt if necessary to give some shape.
  • Length: If you are petite in height, avoid full-length styles, which will swamp your frame and make you look even shorter. Alter the hem-length of the dress so that it finishes just below the knee.
  • Bust: If you have a large bust, make sure that the dress is supportive around this area, with good straps / shoulder support also. Avoid strapless styles at all costs. If you have a neat bust then you can get away with strapless styles.
  • Arms: Many women are conscious of their upper arms; if you wish to camouflage this areas, then pair your maxi-dress with a light cardigan, fitted jacket or sheer wrap, which will also give you the benefit of additional warmth.
  • Fabric: Avoid styles that have loads of fabric. Firstly, it's a nuisance trying to carry it around (it gets caught in car doors, revolving doors etc.) and secondly it makes your frame look bigger. Choose dresses that have a gentle A-line skirt i.e. that extend slightly outward from the hip.
  • Pattern: Avoid really bold, loud or colourful styles, unless you are very tall. If you want to look taller, choose a vertical pattern/detail.
  • Accessories: Get into the spirit of Summer by pairing your maxi dress with a cute pair of wedges, sunglasses, bangles, beaded necklaces and a medium/large-sized bag.

Finally, ensure that you choose a style that is age appropriate. Generally the younger you are, the more you can get away with. Once you hit 35+, go for timeless styles, quality fabrics and toned-down accessories.

Yours in style,

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Examples from Monsoon SS10 Collection

This "Paradise" maxi-dress (200) in vibrant coral would look gorgeous at a Summer wedding. Its sheer sleeves camouflage upper arms, the gentle draping will support the tummy area and the beautiful beading gives visual interest:

Monsoon Maxi

This Florella maxi-dress (160) is ideal for someone who is quite busty as the thick straps and V-neckline will give flattering and comfortable support.

Monsoon Florella

This Nicole maxi-dress (120) would look as nice at the beach as it would on a lunch date or shopping trip. It is ideal for anyone that has a neat torso, slim shoulders and small bust, plus if you're conscious of your hips, it will camouflage this area beautifully.

Monsoon Nicole

Style Survey

In order to get a picture of the nation's style persuasions, Style By Caroline has put together a very short style survey (only 8 questions!) which we would be delighted for you to contribute. Rest assured, the survey will only take 2 minutes to complete and is 100% anonymous.

iStock_000010155807 (XS) Survey
Yours in style,

Swap til you Drop

You may or may not have heard of the clothes-swapping phenomenon known as “swishing”.

To “swish”, means that you get together with like-minded individuals and exchange any unworn garments that you have in your wardrobe. So, in one swift transaction, you can offload your unloved clothes and gain a whole new exciting wardrobe!

Swishing has been a long-time favourite with Hollywood stars such as Reese Witherspoon, but now a new company called Top Swop is bringing swishing to a much larger and more exciting level here in Ireland!

Every couple of weeks, Top Swop organizes large clothes-swapping events in Limerick, Tipperary and Kilkenny. Its genius lies in its simplicity. Let me tell you how it works:

  1. Arrive at the event with 2-5 garments that you no longer wear.
  2. Check-in your garments between 1.30 – 3.30pm.
  3. Your garments are graded on the basis of quality and style.
  4. Receive a swap card with a valuation for your garments.
  5. You choose as many garments from the selection at the event, up to the value of your swap card.
  6. You go home with a brand new wardrobe!

iStock_00000505909 (L) Woman Shopping Resize

Don’t for a second think that Top Swop events are jumble sales. Quite the contrary in fact. Only items that are on-trend, clean and of high quality will be accepted by the event organizers. Not only can you expect a large selection of clothing sizes, styles and brands, that you can swap for free, the event organisers have some additional treats in store, including brand new jewellery, occasional hats and headpieces, and Italian footwear and bags for sale at discounted prices. There will also be makeovers and cosmetics samples provided by Avon Cosmetics.

Cover charge €10pp. For information on dates, venues and "dos and don'ts" visit Top Swop’s website, Facebook page or ring 087-6942967.

Yours in style,

Win with Voltaire!

I love a good fun competition, nearly as much as I love a dazzling diamond.

"Eh, why the strange comparision?", you might well ask.

Well, Voltaire Diamonds - the online destination for high-quality diamonds at affordable prices - is offering a glittering gift to the person who comes up with a sparkling tag-line for their company.

And that person could be YOU!

Voltaire Logo

Simply visit the Voltaire Facebook Page and input your suggestion. You never know, you could be the lucky winner of a gorgeous Voltaire Diamond!

Yours in style,

ShuGal Special Offer

Irish company ShuGal Shoeclips is running a very special promotion for May and June 2010; they are very kindly donating 25% of the proceeds received from ALL online orders to the Mater Foundation at the Mater Hospital, Dublin.

ShuGal offers a wide range of clip-on decorative brooches, which you can attached to shoes, scarves, handbags etc. for an instantly glamorous and unique look. Whether you're into big, small, flowery or spartkly, ShuGal are guaranteed to have a style to suit you.

This is my current fave - called "Gia"!

Shugal Gia Shoeclips

Yours in style,

Cheryl/Kim Make-up

In my previous post regarding coloured contact lenses, I mentioned that I would do a tutorial on the make-up look that I was wearing for the photos.

Exhibit A:

Style by Caroline - Brown Eyes

This is my interpretation of my clients' most-requested make-up look i.e. how to look like Cheryl Cole / Kim Kardashian.

Now, I’m most certainly no Cheryl Cole / Kim Kardashian; however, there are a few make-up tricks that I use which are inspired by these two beauties.

Before I get into the make-up details, I must tell you that right now it’s the middle of the afternoon and I have yet to venture to the post office, supermarket and bank; so, I went for a TONED DOWN version of the look as I didn’t want to startle the locals. Hence, I’m calling this look Cheryl Cole / Kim Kardashian “Lite”.

Product list:

  • Primer: Laura Mercier Oil-free Primer
  • Foundation: Emporio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (shade 4)
  • Concealer: Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer (“Warm Ivory”)
  • Powder: Rimmel Sheer Loose Powder (“Translucent”)
  • Eye Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • Eye-shadow (base): MAC Eye-shadow (“Vex”)
  • Eye-Shadow (lid): MAC Eye-shadow (“Patina”)
  • Eye-Shadow (crease): MAC Eye-shadow (“Black Tied”)
  • Eye-Liner: MAC Fluidline (“Black Track”) / MAC Kohl Pencil (“Smoulder”)
  • Blush: Nars Multiple (“Orgasm”)…chuckle
  • Bronzer: MAC Powder Bronzer (“Golden”)
  • Contouring: MAC Blush (“Harmony”)
  • Lips: Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss (“Bright pink”)

You will notice that I’ve used mostly designer brands today. You do not need expensive brands to get this look right, just good techniques.

The Face

The key thing to bear in mind with this look is that your skin needs to look 100% flawless.

  • Step 1: Cleanse your face thoroughly and moisturise. Wait for 5 minutes before applying make-up.
  • Step 2: Apply your primer with your fingertips, all over your face.
  • Step 3: Apply foundation to the areas that require coverage, using a foundation brush or your finger tips.
  • Step 4: Apply concealer underneath your eyes and over any blemishes, using a clean concealer brush.
  • Step 5: Buff the skin gently with a clean powder brush or stippling brush.
  • Step 6: Set your foundation with a light dusting of powder, paying particular attention to the forehead, nose and chin.
  • Step 7: Enhance your cheekbones by applying a contouring powder underneath each cheekbone, with a blush brush. Proo trick: suck your cheeks in so that your face looks hollowed – then apply the powder along the hollowed area. Make sure that you blend thoroughly.
  • Step 8: Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks. It helps to smile, as this will make the fleshy apply area more visible.
  • Step 9: Apply a light amount of bronzer to the areas where the sun naturally hits the face (nose, cheekbones, forehead).


Both Cheryl Cole and Kim Kardashian are proponents of the smokey eye look.

  • Step 1: Apply your primer using a brush you’re your fingertips
  • Step 2: Cover your lid and brow-bone with your “base” colour (light shade), using a clean eye-shadow brush.
  • Step 3: Apply your "lid" colour (medium shade) to each eye-lid using a medium-sized eye-shadow brush (stay under the brow bone).
  • Step 4: Starting at the outer corner, shade the crease of your eye (just underneath the browbone) with your “crease” eye-shadow colour (this is the darkest of the 3 colours that you are putting on your lid). Apply it carefully with a small eye-shadow brush, concentrating the colour on the outer corners. Blend blend blend for a soft, flawless finish. I like to apply a light quantity of this colour under the lower lash-line too for balance.
  • Step 5: Blend away any harsh eye-shadow lines with a clean blending brush.
  • Step 6: Looking downward into a mirror, apply your eyeliner to the upper lash line, as close to the lashes as possible. You can use pencil, gel or liquid (my preference is gel eyeliner, applied with an angled brush). Don’t worry if you make mistakes; I thicken the line slightly to cover up any wobbles.
  • Step 7: Apply a pencil eyeliner to the water-line on the lower eye-lid.
  • Step 8: Apply 2 generous coats of mascara to the top lashes. Apply a light coating to the lower lashes. You can apply false lashes for a fuller effect if you like.


As the focus is on the eyes, keep the lips quite understated. All I do is apply a generous coating of a pale pink lipgloss, which gives a lovely full look. Easy peasy eh!

Voila Smokey Eyes & Hollow Cheekbones

Style by Caroline - Brown Eyes (side)

Yours in style,

Coloured Contact Lenses

I love playing around with my look. Whether it be clothes, hair or make-up, I like to be adventurous and try out different things.

Some ventures are more successful than others (remind me never to lighten my hair again) but often times I’m pleasantly surprised by how a simple change can transform my look.

One of my favourite ways to change my look is by simply wearing coloured contact lenses. My coloured lenses of choice are FreshLook ColorBlends in ‘brown’. As you can see, they make quite a difference:


Style by Caroline - Blue Eyes


Style by Caroline - Brown Eyes

Granted, the transformation is helped by the fact that (a) the first picture was taken VERY EARLY today so I'm looking a tad pale and bleary-eyed, and (b) I'm wearing truckloads of make-up in the second picture (make-up tutorial to follow), but it's still a heck of a difference eh!

Coloured lenses tend to work better for those with naturally light eyes (grey, blue, green, light hazel); they can look unconvincing on those with brown eyes. Once you get used to them, contact lenses are very easy to insert/remove and are very comfortable to wear; however, it is advisable to get your eyes checked by a qualified Optician first before you go messing with any lenses.

Yours in style,

Shop & Win in Limerick

Fancy winning €10,000 worth of prizes?

I'm not kidding. You, and I, and anyone else who shops in Limerick City and reads the Limerick Leader / Limerick Chronicle newspapers, is in with a shot of winning €10,000 of prizes in Buy Up The City 2010.

The brainchild of Limerick City Retailers, this project is designed to bring more business into the Treaty City and to reward Limerick shoppers. Irene Hamilton, MD of the Limerick Leader commented; "We were delighted with the success of last year's promotion and we feel very positively that this year's promotion will be an even bigger success and encourage even more Limerick people to broaden their shopping patterns and enjoy the experience of city centre shopping".

Buy up the City

To be in with a chance of winning, simply collect 3 coupons from participating retailers and return them, with your completed Limerick Leader / Limerick Chronicle Entry Form and return them to the Limerick Leader Office.

Good luck!

Yours in style,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Normal Service to Resume

Sorry for ignoring you Blogspot. I've been wined and dined by (whisper) Wordpress ( for the last few weeks and thoughtlessly forgot about you!

Amends will be made i.e. regular posting to resume forthwith.

Yours in style,

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Perfect Red Lipstick

If I was allowed to have just one lipstick colour in my make-up bag (heaven forbid!), without a shadow of a doubt, I would choose red.

I have long-running love affair with red lipstick; to me, it’s a signature statement that never goes out of style. Epitomized by Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Gwen Stefani and Dita Von Teese, red lipstick evokes confidence, glamour, allure, sexiness and womanliness.

However, many women are scared to try it out; they’re concerned that it may be too bold a colour for them, that they can’t find their perfect colour or that they don’t know how to apply it.

These are very understandable concerns. For starters, you’ve heard of the 40 shades of green - well there must be 400 shades of red! And there’s no doubting that wearing red lipstick makes a statement.

Rest assured however, that with the following Style By Caroline tips you will learn how to choose and apply your perfect shade of red, which will hopefully help you to carry it off with ease and confidence!

Choosing the Perfect Colour:

  • The good news is that there is a shade of red to suit everyone.
  • The main consideration to bear in mind is the tone of your skin.
  • If you have cool-toned skin (generally pale, with pink undertones), go for reds with a blue or pink tint i.e. scarlet-red, blood-red, fuchsia red etc.
  • If you have warm-toned skin (sallow / freckles / tanned, or tans easily), go for orange or brown tinted reds i.e. tomato red, coral-red etc.
  • If you’re teeth are in any way ‘yellowy’, avoid warm-toned lipsticks as they will emphasise teeth discolouration. Conversely, blue-tinted shades will make your teeth look whiter.
  • If you're anxious about wearing a bold red, opt for a sheer lipstick, which will give you a more subtle hint of colour.
  • Most cosmetic counters have trained make-up artists on hand to help you choose your perfect colour.

Rules for Wearing Red Lipstick:

  • As red is such a statement colour, I strongly advise that you keep your eye make-up and blush understated.
  • Red lipstick is perfectly complimented with lashings of mascara. If you have black or brown hair, opt for black mascara. If you have blonde or red hair, I suggest that you go for brown.
  • Personally, I prefer a matte finish when wearing red lipstick so I avoid lip-gloss; however, see step 10 below for the exception to this rule.

Applying Red Lipstick:

  • Step 1: Make sure that your lips are in perfect condition before applying red lipstick. Exfoliate them with a lip balm on a damp facecloth/soft toothbrush and allow the lip balm to soak into your lips before applying make-up.
  • Step 2 (optional): You may wish to apply a lip primer underneath your lipstick.
  • Step 3: Apply a light coating of foundation over your lips.
  • Step 4: Dust the foundation-covered lips with a light dusting of powder
  • Step 5: Outline your lips with a lip liner that matches your lipstick, and then blend the liner over your lips with a lip brush. If you want your lips to look larger, apply the lips liner marginally over the natural lip line.
  • Step 6: Apply your lipstick carefully with a lip brush.
  • Step 7: Blot the lips with tissue.
  • Step 8: Apply your lipstick again.
  • Step 9: Avoid the dreaded ‘lipstick on your teeth’ scenario by inserting your index finger into your mouth, close your lips tightly and then slowly remove your finger. It may look extremely daft but at least the lipstick residue will be on your finger instead of your teeth!
  • Step 10: If you want your lips to look more plump, apply a dot of lip-gloss right on the centre of your upper and lower lips (just under the cupid’s bow) and smudge your lips together. This will give the illusion of fuller lips.

    Yours in style,

Beauty Therapy @ Pery Square

I mentioned in my Maybelline 24-Hour Foundation review last week that I’ve noticed a change in my skin of late. Curiously, it seems to have transformed from ‘nice and normal’ to ‘combination contrary’. I suspect that this change has something to do with the current ‘all work and no play’ mantra at Style By Caroline HQ (due to a few exciting style projects in the pipeline!); so, as a treat to myself, I decided to take some time out of the office this week for some beauty therapy.

And what could be more therapeutic than an indulgent Aromathérapie facial at my beloved Spa @ No.1 Pery Square! Aromathérapie is a range of gentle, natural skincare products, developed by a Limerick Lady, Moira Geary. These hand-blended oils not only cleanse, soothe and smooth the skin, they also have delicious scents with therapeutic properties.

Today was the first time that I’ve experienced Aromathérapie products and I must say I’m impressed. My skin feels great and has that elusive ‘healthy glow’ that it certainly didn’t have beforehand. I’m particularly taken by the fact that it’s a local brand, using 100% natural ingredients and that the products are not tested on animals. I will definitely purchase some products for use at home and I have already booked in for my next facial in a month’s time.

Elsewhere, the service at The Spa @ Pery Square was, as always, superb. Despite the fact that I’m sure I must be the worst kind of client – all talk, and worse still, all questions - The Lovely Therapist happily indulged my chatter and shared many beauty tips with me. In fact, her advice was so prudent that I think it must be shared:
  • Drink 2 litres of water EVERY day.
  • Cleanse, tone and moisturise every morning and evening.
  • Remove your cleanser with a muslin cloth (available from The Body Shop) soaked in warm water.
  • Massage your face every day, paying particular attention to accupressure points where the body can store tension (in between the eyebrows, underneath the cheekbones).
  • Protect your face daily with a minimum SPF15.
  • Avoid treating spots with the likes of Sudocreme or toothpaste. Instead, dab spots and blemishes with a blend of 1-part tea-tree oil and 1-part lavender essential oil.
  • Use appropriate mask twice a week (in my case a clay mask as I have combination skin. If you have drier skin, choose a hydrating mask).
  • Use an exfoliating product twice a week.
  • Go for a facial every 4 weeks.
  • Try and get a minimum of 8 hours sleep every night.
  • Ensure that you take time out every day to relax.

Hope this information is of benefit. Don’t be shy in sharing your skincare tips in the comment box below and, as always, if you have any queries, don’t hesitate to ask!

Yours in style,

Stylemma: Sunglasses for Small Faces

Following up on last week’s post regarding sunglasses, I received a great question from a reader:


"Hello Caroline, just wondering have you any advice for people with small faces trying to find sunglasses?! I just find it impossible to find a pair that fit me and that I feel comfortable with, because my face is small and narrow – usually glasses just look super big on me and are too wide for my face. When the over-sized sunglasses were fashionable, I felt kind of ok with that because it was fairly easy for me to fall in with it! But I’d really like a nice pair that fit me properly. Can you recommend any brands that maybe cater for those of us who are a bit challenged in that area, or is there any particular style I should look out for that won’t dwarf my face in a ridiculous way? Or do I just need to check out the children’s section? ;)"


Dear Reader,

Thank you for your great question! Indeed, 2009’s ‘oversized’ trend was a Godsend for those with smaller faces; however, fashion is a fickle mistress and she is now courting neat-fitting ‘aviators’ for 2010; thus leaving those with petite faces in a right quandary!

It can be a challenge to find frames to suit those with petite faces, especially on the high street as most shops carry only standard fits and widths. That said, I hope these Style By Caroline suggestions will help you out:
  • As obvious as it sounds, choose frames that are proportionate in size to your face i.e. small! I notice that small rectangular frames suit small faces beautifully.
  • Width-wise, the frame should only be as wide as your face.
  • Avoid really thick frames which will overpower you. Similarly, make sure that the ‘arms’ aren’t too heavy looking.
  • Similarly, avoid loud embellishments that will swamp your petite features.
  • Avoid frame and lense colours that are too dark as they might overpower your features.
  • Patience is key. Try on as many styles as you can. Remember, it may take a bit of time before you find your perfect pair.
  • Keep an eye out for French, Spanish and some Italian brands, which are geared toward a smaller fit. I find that US/UK brands are quite large.
  • Designer brands tend to offer a greater diversity of fits than the high street.
  • Your local Optician’s will be able to help you out too as they not only stock a wide range of fits and sizes, they also have professional fitters.
  • All jokes aside, avoid the temptation to try children’s sunglasses! Frames are designed differently for children and you will inevitably find that they will sit very high on your nose.
  • As always, ensure that you choose glasses with 100% UV protection.

I hope this information helps you. Good luck in your quest!

If anyone else has suggestions/recommendations to help out this reader – don’t be shy in posting them here!

Yours in style,