It’s time for a break

After a hectic Christmas season at Direct Cosmetics, we’re taking a little break on the Beauty Talk blog to recharge.

If you’d like to connect with us elsewhere, give us a follow on Facebook and Instagram! We’d love to see you there.

Don’t worry – your favourite online beauty store isn’t going anywhere. As always, you can find fantastic deals on top beauty brands over on the Direct Cosmetics website.


Top fragrances for teens

For many of us, our first ‘proper’ perfume was bought for us in our teens.  Before then, our only experience with fragrance were the ubiquitous body sprays that overpowered classrooms after PE lessons!

The fragrances that we wore in our teenage years remain memorable. They remind us of that time in our lives –  and although we might not want to wear those fragrances again, we still smile when we smell them!

Buying fragrances for your teenage son, daughter, niece or nephew is therefore incredibly personal. You want to treat them to something that they’ll enjoy, and that they’ll remember fondly for the rest of their lives.

Learning likes and dislikes

The first few fragrances you try as a teenager help you learn what you like and dislike. While your teenager’s preferences will evolve as they get older, learning them can help guide their future fragrances of choice. One approach is to try starter fragrances in each different perfume family. For example, DKNY’s Be Delicious is known as a bright, sweet, fruity scent, and Dolce and Gabbana’s Light Blue is a fantastic woody citrus scent for beginners. Try to look for mid-range designer fragrances somewhere in the £15-£40 price bracket – there’s no point spending any more on a fragrance they might not even like.

A braver approach is to try ‘marmite’ fragrances that your teenager will either love or hate! These fragrances may be a risky purchase, but they’ll quickly help them establish their fragrance preferences. Thierry Mugler fragrances are known for how divisive they are – try out Alien or Angel.

Top brands for teens

Celebrity fragrances are a fantastic choice for younger teens, who love wearing a fragrance from their favourite celeb. Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Beyonce all have their own perfume ranges. The quality of these fragrances may be a little hit and miss, but there are some fantastic celebrity fragrances out there!

For teenage boys, sports brands tend to be most popular. Aside from David Beckham’s ever-growing line of perfumes, look for brands like Adidas and Superdry. Or, for something a little punchier, check out Ferrari or Lamborghini’s fragrances!

What to avoid

Given that most teens will probably want to wear their new fragrances at school (and let’s admit that most teenagers have a tendency to overspray their perfumes as if they were body mists!), it’s probably best to stick to eau de toilette fragrances rather than eau de parfum. Of course, some EDP fragrances will be lighter than others, so many will still be suitable.

Try to avoid heavier, spicier fragrances and those that are designed to be worn in the winter or in the evening. Look for lighter floral, fresh or citrus fragrances that won’t be so cloying when worn in the daytime.

Steer clear of older, classic fragrances too – these scents are likely to smell old-fashioned to most teens. On the other hand, fragrances that are clearly marketed towards young people are more likely to be a hit.

Your turn

What fragrances do your kids, nieces and nephews love? And what scents did you like when you were a teenager? Give us your recommendations in the comments section below!

This Year’s Top New Beauty Buzzwords: Explained

The beauty industry’s infamous for using head-scratching buzzwords to try and persuade us to buy a brand’s new product line. These buzzwords might be ingredients, processes, or hashtags-in-waiting. Some buzzwords turn into legit beauty products that make it into our routines for good, while others are nothing more than a fad. This year, we’ve seen an upturn in several beauty buzzwords that have sometimes horrified, fascinated, and surprised us. Are these new trends fads or beauty holy grails?

#1 Epigenetics

Epigenetics is a term from biology that describes external factors that influence genes, without any changes to your underlying DNA.  Yikes.


In skincare terms, epigenetic refers to products that ‘switch on’ genes that boost skin elasticity or other desirable factors. These genes would usually have been ‘switched off’ as a result of skin damage, age or stress. In other words, epigenetic products could turn back the clock and nudge your skin to act as if you were in your teens or twenties rather than your forties or fifties.


This sounds like the anti-aging dream, but be aware that epigenetic skincare still has a long way to go. This buzzword’s worth keeping an eye on – it could transform the skincare industry completely.

#2 Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal’s been everywhere this year, and not just in beauty – who could forget the activated charcoal burgers, ice cream, and pizza that were everywhere on Instagram? But what exactly is activated charcoal, and why is it used in skincare?


Well, activated charcoal is charcoal that’s been been treated with oxygen. This creates a substance with loads of pores so it’s great at absorbing things. When used in a skincare product, activated charcoal helps to soak up oils and impurities from the skin, clearing out your pores and tackling oily skin. Surprisingly, it can also be used as a teeth whitener! Applying a jet-black beauty product can be a little daunting, but it seems that activated charcoal could hold real benefits in the beauty department.


#3 Facial microflora

We’re all accustomed to the idea of ‘friendly bacteria’ in our gut, but on our face? Not so much. When the foundation of our skincare routine is cleansing, we try to remove all the bacteria from our skin. Increasingly, experts believe that instead we should be encouraging the right kind of bacteria to live on our skin.


In skincare marketing terms, look for probiotics and prebiotics. The former contain the good bacteria, while the latter provide them with nutrients.  Probiotics can be particularly useful for those of us with sensitive skin or eczema, who are all too aware of the effects that over-cleaning can have on our complexions.


#4 DNA-derived skincare

Several brands now ask consumers to take a DNA sample, send it off to their lab (or someone else’s lab), and receive a DNA-derived breakdown of their skin complaints and how to ease them.  These brands call these DNA-based products and routines the ultimate in personalised skincare.


Sounds, good, right? Well, the recommended products are likely to be extremely costly. If you’re on a budget, it’s likely that the benefits of an ultra-personalised skincare routine are likely to be outweighed by the costs. In all likelihood, the skincare routine you’ve refined over the course of many years is likely to be just as suitable for your skin.


What do you think?

Which of these products and processes do you think are here to stay? Are you convinced by any of these new buzzwords? Let us know in the comments below!

How to: Reduce Beauty Product Waste

There’s been a renewed push in recent months for companies to reduce plastic used in their products and shops, in favour of compostable, recyclable or biodegradable alternatives. The beauty products you use every day might be cased in plastic tubes or bottles – or the packaging that surrounded them when you bought them might have been made of plastic.  As consumers, we can also play our part in reducing plastic waste.

Reducing beauty product waste can be done in two ways:

  1. Buy products with less packaging, or recyclable packaging.
  2. Buy fewer products, or make full use out of products you buy before throwing them away.

The first method requires no explanation – but we know it can also be really tough to ditch favourite beauty products in favour of one that doesn’t work so well for you, just because it has recyclable packaging.

Going down the second route is more realistic for most of us – and the good news is that a few small tweaks can reduce significant amounts of product waste.

#1 Buy products that would otherwise be binned

Buying products in clearance sales isn’t just a handy money-saver – it also means that products that would otherwise be headed for landfill aren’t wasted. Look for off-season products that are heavily discounted, and buy tester perfumes that are the same quality as brand new perfumes, but without some of the packaging.

Remember: it’s expensive for both high-street stores and online retailers to hold onto old stock that’s slow to sell. Always look for clearance and end-of-season sales to grab products that might have ended up in the bin.

#2 Understand makeup expiry dates

You might be surprised that many makeup products ‘expire’ within a matter of months after opening. In other words, after this time there’s a risk they could actually harm your skin or eyes – or just not work quite so well as before. If you find that you struggle to use products before they expire, have a rethink about the products you buy. Make sure you only have a couple of types of mascara on the go at once, or try to cut down on lipstick shades (if at all possible!). Overall, don’t buy (and open) more products that you can get through.

#3 Fix broken or mismatched products

First of all, learn how to fix broken powder makeup like eyeshadow and setting powder! All you need is surgical spirit (aka rubbing alcohol) and a little patience.

And what if you buy a foundation shade that isn’t quite right, but you can’t return it? Try mixing it with other products. If it’s too dark, mix in moisturiser or primer – or use it for contouring or as a bronzer. If it’s too light, add bronzer or a darker foundation. You might also find that the shade’s a better match when the seasons change and your skin tone shifts.

#4 Cut into ‘empty’ products

When you can’t get any more product out of its container, transferring it to another pot can help you use every last bit of the product. ‘De-pot’ lipstick ends, warm up your mascara to declump it, and run dried out eyeliner pens under water for a few seconds. You can also cut into any products within soft tubes (like lotions, toothpaste, and even sunscreen), and you’ll find there’s plenty of product remaining that you couldn’t squirt out the usual way!  Just be careful that the container you decant the leftover product into is clean (and preferably sterile), otherwise it won’t be safe to use for long.

#5 Repurpose empty products

Finally, once your products are all used up, you may be able to repurpose them! Try using old perfume bottles as vases or candle holders, or use skincare containers as plant pots!

Overall, reducing beauty product waste can be incredibly satisfying – and save you money. We’d love to hear your tips for cutting back on plastic waste in your beauty routine.

Here at Direct Cosmetics, we sell a range of luxury unboxed products at great prices, helping you cut back on waste while grabbing a bargain.

(Pssst – if you’re looking for some fab deals on top brand beauty products, check out our clearance sale.)

Budget cosmetic tips: a fragrance for every occasion

While everyone likes to have that one signature scent that sums up their personality perfectly, these days it isn’t enough to simply own one perfume. Our lives are often busy and varied, meaning that we need a range of different fragrances suitable for every conceivable occasion. I know what you’re thinking – buying a variety of distinct perfumes is bound to be a pricey enterprise. Fortunately, with the help of our budget cosmetic expertise, you’ll be able to equip yourself with a versatile range of fragrances suitable for any scenario you care to mention. Just take a look and see for yourself!

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Cosmetic trendwatch: ditching the clown paint with subtle pink blush

Blush has long been a makeup bag regular that some women reach for with gusto, but others still tend to view it with something approaching trepidation. A subtle, considered application of blush is an excellent way to add a warm, healthy glow to your cheeks but we’ve all seen those women sporting garish red circles more suited to the a circus big top than the high street. Not all cosmetic trends are particularly user-friendly, but this summer’s pink blush trend is one we can all wear with pride – here’s how you can capture that perfect pink blush look at home!

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How to: recover from sunburn

We all know we should apply sunscreen.

And most of the time, we do – but occasionally, we’re all guilty of forgetting to top up after several hours in the sun, we fail to reapply after a long swim at the pool, or we don’t have time to lather it on because we’re already late for work.

Sunburn usually only lasts for a week, but when that week takes up a good chunk of your summer holiday, it can feel like it lasts forever!

It’s not easy to speed up sunburn recovery, but there’s plenty you can do to a) reduce the pain, b) limit redness, and c) prevent nasty infections that hold back the recovery process.

Here’s how it’s done.


Much like burns you get in the kitchen, the sooner you can take action to soothe your sunburn, the better. As soon as you realise you’ve got sunburnt, get out of the sun, reapply sunscreen and cover up. This’ll prevent your sunburn from getting any worse, and start the recovery process.

You could also take some anti-inflammatory medication (like ibuprofen) to reduce redness – be sure to check the leaflet that comes with the medication first.

Keep it cool

As soon as you can, head back inside and take a cold bath or shower. Alternatively, use a sponge or cold flannel to soothe the worst of the sunburn and reduce pain! Aim to cool down your skin as much as possible, particularly in the initial 24 hours after the sunburn occurs.

Drink more water than you usually do to avoid dehydration and help rejuvenate your skin.

Moisturise – but be careful…

Moisturising sunburnt skin prevents it from drying out further, and strengthens damaged skin so that you’re less prone to infections, redness, and more irritation. Apply moisturiser frequently! Always use a gentle, unscented moisturiser  – fragrances and the like can aggravate your skin further and hold back the healing process.

Keep applying gentle moisturiser when your skin starts to flake and peel, as it’s still vulnerable.

The NHS recommends using aloe vera based lotions when you’re sunburnt. You can also grab hydrocortisone cream from the pharmacist to further reduce inflammation.

What to avoid

Sand, chlorine, and salt water are all going to aggravate your sunburn and increase the chance your damaged skin gets infected (look out for red streaks and pus – yuck! – as telltale signs you have an infection). Try to wear loose clothing so that blood flow to your skin is unrestricted. This’ll speed up the healing process and also reduce redness.  Also, remember that hot water can make sunburn worse – so avoid hot showers until your skin has almost completely recovered.

It’s also a good idea to scale back your usual skincare and makeup routines as these products may irritate your skin.

Finally, avoid popping any blisters that appear! They’re there to protect your skin from further damage – let them do their job.

See your GP

If you have a fever, chills, or feel dizzy when you get sunburnt, contact your GP. They’ll help you get the dressings and medication you need to recover from your severe sunburn.

There’s no doubt that sunburn can be serious – but preventing it is easier (and less painful!) than the recovery process. Stock up on sunscreen and other SPF products before heading the beach to stay protected!