Saturday, 28 May 2011

Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce

How I discovered it: Looking for mustard at Waitrose, I spotted the adorable, slightly retro bottle, and thought I’d give it a try.

What they say: “TABASCO brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce is made from select smoked red Jalapeno peppers and has a smooth, rich, smoky flavour. And it’s our first pepper sauce that you can sprinkle on like a condiment, or really pour on like a steak sauce or marinade!”

What I say: I have always, ALWAYS loved very spicy food. I think I must have only one taste bud or something. My grandfather used to grow a very special kind of hot yellow pepper used in some eastern European dishes. One of my favourite things to do when I was 8 or 9 years old was to have raw hot-pepper eating contests with my Uncle Alex, who was from the Old Country. I only beat him once – and I was so proud. Beet-red, eyes watering, ears ringing – but proud.

So Tabasco sauce is a staple in our household – but it may be usurped by this smoked chipotle version! It’s milder than original Tabasco, but has a smoky sweetness that is perfect with meat – particularly pork, beef and chicken. It goes very nicely with vegetables too. I haven’t tried it on eggs yet, but I’ll bet that’s a winning combo. (My DH says it’s simply a matter of time before I’m ladling it over ice cream. Cheek!)

It may not be spicy enough for some sensation-seekers, but I think the flavour more than makes up for a lower Scoville rating....

What could be improved: Maybe a larger bottle, for those of us who get through it at a rate of knots? (I understand that in the States you can buy it in gallon jugs – Waitrose, take note!)

The verdict: Lorelei loves it!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Mask

How I discovered it: When I’m in New York, I love going to Ricky’s NYC (if you’ve never been – go!) and stocking up on hair and beauty products. I was looking for a hair masque (of which more anon), and thought I’d give Phyto a try. 

What they say: “Phyto Paris Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Mask is specially designed to instantly moisturise and protect dry hair. Jojoba oil, which is extracted from the jojoba plant seed, was chosen for its gentleness and remarkable compatibility with the hair's natural characteristics. Known for its regenerative, emollient and protective properties, jojoba oil moisturises dry hair leading the way to nourished, healthy hair. With its creamy texture and delicate scent, the mask provides deep conditioning by restructuring the hair's protective film, which helps hair retain moisture. Known for their purifying and toning properties, essential oils of South African sweet orange, angelica seeds and root extracts impart shine and vitality while their soothing action prevents irritation on even the most sensitive scalps. The natural gum derivative in the formula helps to instantly detangle hair without weighing it down while a natural UV filter protects hair from external stresses. With continued use of Phytojoba hair mask, hair becomes revitalised, shiny and more manageable.”

What I say: A few years back, when I was having my hair straightened chemically (via the Yuko method, which was fabulous!), my technician told me that ordinary conditioner wouldn’t really be enough for me anymore and that I should start using a hydrating masque (ordinarily a once-a-week or even once-a-month treat) after every shampoo. Phyto have a couple of hair masques, but I liked the smell of this one the best. It’s easy to use – just put a 10p (or quarter, if you’re in the US) sized blob through your hair after shampooing, concentrating on the ends. Leave for three minutes (or 15 minutes, if you have time) and rinse out. In my opinion, it’s as good as a salon-conditioning treatment. Like most women, I put my hair through a lot of abuse: colour, blow-drying, flat-irons, etc. – but I credit this product with keeping my hair healthy-looking and strong. At £16.30/$27.54 for 200 mls, it’s expensive – but even using it after every shampoo, a pot lasts me at least a month.

What could be improved: For those of us who use it all the time, a larger, more economical pot would be welcome!

The verdict: Lorelei loves it! 

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder

How I discovered it: When I’m in New York, I haunt Sephora like a ghost (I was devastated when the London branch opened and closed like a clam!) – I’m in there nearly every day. In fact, I buy so much I’m always ‘eligible’ for free samples – and a little pot of this powder came my way in November.
What they say: "A universal translucent finishing powder to be applied over foundation or worn alone. Sets the foundation and slightly mattifies skin without changing its natural contours. This 100% mineral silica powder softens the appearance of imperfections. Completely evens out the complexion for a glowing, radiant look. One universal shade for all skin tones. It's talc free formula does not dry the skin. Dermatologically tested."

What I say: In everyday life, I like the look of natural skin – but that doesn’t work so well in front of the camera...and as an actress, HD is my worst nightmare – seriously, formerly perfectly attractive people suddenly look like gargoyles – and I’m always looking for things to soften the blow of ... gulp... reality! So when I saw ‘HD’ on the label, I was keen to try this finishing powder. 

I did – and it’s fabulous. Don’t be put off by the bright, arctic white colour; it’s truly transparent once it’s on, and will suit any skin shade. (And it occurs to me that, for that reason, this would be a great product for men). The trick is to use the tiniest, tiniest amount – I’ve had my baby sample pot for months, and there’s still plenty left. Use a big, fat brush, swirl in into the teensiest pinch of powder, tap, then brush it over your foundation (or moisturiser, if you don’t wear foundation). It will give you a fantastic, velvety look – it doesn’t look super-matte or powdery. It looks like real skin – but better! It feels really light, too. You won’t know you’re wearing it.

What could be improved: Can’t think of a thing! 

The verdict: Lorelei loves it!