In addendum to my post a  few weeks ago about beauty shopping online there is another destination that I have only recently discovered that is absolutely amazing for beauty brands. Unexpectedly, it’s It’s usually my number one stop for books – the marketplace for second hand books is excellent – the only place that rivals it is Abebooks for older, rarer titles. Anyway Amazon also happens to stock some fabuloulsy recherche French haircare that you could previously only find in Harrods. I’m talking about Leonor Greyl, which I know Chanel muse Lady Amanda Harlech used to rave about and disappeared from these shores several years ago. But who knew!? Amazon are now stocking it, and they produce some magical oils and treatments that are worth tracking down. They’re also home to another cult French haircare range called Rene Furterer which I discovered years ago in French pharmacies. It’s cheaper than Greyl – their shampoo is about £7.50 – and equally good for treatments and day-to-day haircare. I’m really surprised I didn’t know about Amazon‘s health and beauty department before – they also have French pharamcy staples such as Klorane and Biotherm – another two of my favourite brands – Klorane‘s dry shampoo is unsurpassed. Another shop to bookmark on your browser for competitively priced beauty shopping.

Image courtesy of Michael Flores.

Words by Bethan Cole.

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Cut off point

Twin joined forces with Labour party women this weekend to march against the cuts to government spending. Protestors all dressed in green and purple – the colours of the suffragette campaign. Record numbers turned out at Temple tube station on London’s Embankment (the head count was estimated between 250-500,000) before joining the main march to Hyde Park. Harriet Harman, Yvette Copper and the young Luciana Berger were all showing support in the rally. We even spotted a couple of celebrities including Sienna Miller. It all ties in very well with the theme of the upcoming issue – REBELLION.

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Despite the on-going globalisation of beauty – Estee Lauder is expanding rapidly in India and China – not everything is now American. I still believe that the French and the Japanese are the go-to cultures for skincare. The French for reasonably priced pharmacy brands such as Biotherm, La Roche Posay, Nuxe, Caudalie, Darphin and Decleor –  with these products you really can afford to do as chic French women do and stock up on every item in the range.

The Japanese excel in hi-tech anti-ageing (as they do with technology generally) and in creating ultra-light gossamer textures packed with nutrients and advanced scientific ingredients. Perhaps my favourite Japanese skincare brand of all (and I’m a huge fan of Shiseido, Kanebo and especially Shu Uemura) is SKII, a wonderfully futuristic skincare brand that is heavily used by superstar make up artist Pat McGrath when she’s making up models backstage at the shows. A caveat: these products are expensive and only available online at But they do really work. The narrative of how the brand started is also rather lovely. Some scientists were visiting a Saki brewerey in Japan and noticed that although the workers faces were wrinkled, their hands were incredibly soft, pale and line free. Investigations and experiments followed to identify what was causing the workers to have such youthful hands and the scientists found out it was Pitera, a by product of yeast and the brewing process. Thus is 1980, over 30 years ago, SKII was born, a skincare regime based upon the active ingredient Pitera. It was subsequently bought by the US beauty giant Proctor and Gamble, so it’s perhaps not quite as authentically Japanese as it once was. Best products to sample are the Skin Signature Moisture Cream, an excellent anti-ageing moisturiser with a nice light texture. Out this month are Cellumination Mask-In-Lotion and Brightening Derm Specialist – the former helps lock in moisture and even out skin tone pre-hydration and the latter is a dark spot and pigmentation eraser.

Words by Bethan Cole

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Keep it slick

Hot Oil hair treatments really remind me of the Seventies. Back then Vo5’s Hot Oil was one of those local chemist staples you might occasionally use to give your hair a treat. it seems old fashioned now, a hair product from another era, especially when you consider the gels, waxes mousses and now serums that are the latest formulations for hair. However I have to report, from the cutting edge of hairdressing, oils are back!

The latest hairstyling and treatment phenomenon (from Israel no less) is Morrocanoil, based on the precious Moroccan ingredient Argan oil which is high in antioxidants and incredibly nourishing. I had my hair blow dried with this product the last time I had my hair done in Toni and Guy and the effect was luxuriant, thick shiny hair – and my hair had been quite drastically bleached and colour treated to-boot.

Another sumptuous oil treatment that’s new is Kerastase’s Elixir Ultime, a blend of four oils including Argan that you can use in a number of ways. I’ve been using it at home to smooth through just washed hair as a pre-blow drying conditioner – resulting blow dried hair is incredibly silky and malleable. You can also use it pre-shampoo as a  thirty minute treatment or even after blow drying as a finishing product. Other companies that do new generation oils for hair include Leonor Greyl (available on and Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse (availble from

An oil is a lovely oleaginous, old school way of lending hair a lucient glow. But you don’t have to resort to Vo5 any longer.

Words by Bethan Cole

Image courtesy of Japanoids – Wet Hair

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L’amour de votre peau

I am a huge fans of French pharmacy skincare. I used to buy up Biotherm over in France years before it came to the UK. They used to do a really nice perfume oil which they seem to have discontinued. Anyway, the only problem with a lot of French pharmacy skincare was that it wasn’t particularly ethical. Sure it boasted natural ingredients. But that was about it.

Now I have discovered Melvita, an organic and natural French pharmacy brand that is Ecocert approved. It arrived in the UK about a year ago and there is a store in Covent Garden, it is also stocked in Whole Foods and John Lewis and you can buy online at

The brand was founded in 1983 in France by beekeeper and biologist Bernard Chevilliat and it has some lovely products, really well-priced with magical textures. I especially like the Cleansing Jelly (£14), a gentle foaming cleanser with a really nice lemony smell – it contains lemon balm and verbena. I have also been road testing the Foaming Facial Scrub (£15) twice a week – it’s formulated with Bamboo Tears and Silica to exfoliate and deep cleanse the skin. Really good for radiance engendering! There are also some really nice moisturising and anti ageing products in the range, including neat Argan Oil. One to seek out, especially if you are fastidious about organic beauty products.

Words by Bethan Cole

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Just eat it

Admission: I used to hate gourmand fragrances. Not spicy ones but obvious scents that smelt of chocolate and caramel and vanilla. Oh and fruity florals were an absolute bugbear. Why? Well in all honesty I felt they were too obvious, too commercial, too lowest common denominator (yes it was a bit snobbish of me I admit). I felt they were predominantly marketed and aimed at young girls with unsophisticated tastes who wanted to smell good enough to eat. Who would want to smell like something edible? I did at the age of 18 – I used to wear the long defunct Body Shop Mango oil and also the Vanilla and Dewberry oil. With the vanilla I thought I smellled as good as bowl of fresh custard.

How naïve I was! The grown up me found gourmand scents totally unacceptable. But I’ve had something of a damascene conversion. I think this is because some of my favourite indie perfume brands have been making gourmands recently that are a little bit different. They are not your usual fruity florals or toffee caramel concoctions. Byredo’s Pulp does smell of exotic fruit, but it also smells of green leaves and stems and slightly sour but fresh foliage. So it’s a kind of interesting riff on the gourmand genre. Likewise Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille – yes, it smells of vanilla and cocoa beans and other delicious edibles but there’s also a tinge of smoke, a dirty gentleman’s clubby woodyness about it that lends it a sophistication and hauteur that a straight vanilla wouldn’t have. Lastly, Etat Libre d’Orange’s Like This, Tilda Swinton fragrance is equally off-key. It smells of carrots and gingerbread and almonds – not your obvious epicurean fragrance by a long chalk. So, thanks to the niche perfumers gourmand fragrances are changing. I love these new oddball gourmands, if only the blockbuster brands would pay heed.

Byredo’s Pulp is available at

Words by Bethan Cole

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The eyes have it

It is with great sadness that we must report that the prevailing trend at the Spring/Summer 2011 shows was for bare eyelids. No eyeshadow. No eyeliner. Just bare eyes, sometimes not even with a  lick of mascara to define them. This was nigh on tragic for us because for decades now we have been virtually wedded to liquid eyeliner. Although not especially loyal to one particular brand, we’ve used everything from Lancome and Chanel’s smart eyeliner pens, to £1.50 e.l.f ( which is not at all bad if you are on a tight budget. However a number of signs tell us that the flick of liquid eyeliner on the upper eyelid is not completely dead and buried, and one of these was the Bettie Page look Pat McGrath evoked at the Dior SS11 Ready To Wear show AND the look she created at the recent couture. Both featured liquid eyeliner in a feline flick extending from the corner of the eye right out to the end of the eyebrow. It’s still, along with red lipstick, an uber signifier of all things Fifties and retro, or even early Sixties actually. The Mad Men era was still working liquid eyeliner. The other thing that makes us want to cling onto it in adversity is the appointment of Gwen Stefani as ambassador to L’Oreal. Stefani is a big one for black liquid eyeliner, along with red lips it’s her signature look – a noughties rockabilly girl. So we are going to keep on wearing it, despite what other beauty pundits might be preaching.

Image by Boo George for Twin issue one. Words by Bethan Cole.

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Aesop’s fables

Aesop is the cultiest of cult beauty brands. Resolutely highbrow, their products are emblazoned with quotes from the likes of Genet, Jung and Gertrude Stein. Interesting architects are co-opted to design all their stores – Rodney Eggleston of March Projects was enlisted for the recent Rue St Honore boutique in Paris. And all three of the London stores – Westbourne, Shoreditch and Mount St are worth visiting to peruse their bijou range of products.

If you’re feeling particularly indulgent Aesop’s Saint Honore skin care kit is especially investment worthy. At £167 it doesn’t come cheap, but inside are a trove of delights for cleansing, toning and moisturising – all including their wonderful Parsley Seed formulation which is high in environmentally protective antioxidants. Aesop tend to use a fusion of hi-tech and natural ingredients in their products making them very au courant: hi-tech naturals and organics are currently the hottest things in skincare.

If you’re on a budget start with something like their Fabulous Face Cleanser with Aloe Leaf, Bergamot rind and Green tea, its mild gently foaming and suitable for most skin types. Or try their Violet Leaf Hair Balm a floral smelling ointment to groom smooth and soften difficult hair. The Aesop website – is also great for tips on where to eat, places to visit, books to read and art too see. Is this the most cultured beauty brand in the world?


Words by Bethan Cole

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It’s all too beautiful

After high profile fashion pairings such as Lanvin for H&M and Valentino for Gap, perhaps it was only natural that beauty companies too should want a piece of the collaborative action. Cult and cultured Aussie beauty brand Aesop were one of the first – teaming up with clothing brand A.P.C to create a special hand washing detergent earlier in 2010. Then came Marchesa and Le Metier De Beaute who produced a capsule collection of palettes and lipglosses; subtle and subliminal, the perfect accompaniment to a Marchesa evening gown.

Now, there’s Marcel Wanders for MAC, a capsule collection, only available online ( that takes make up packaging design to the next level. The beautiful baroque curvilinear packaging stands in marked contrast to the minimalist Nineties design of regular MAC products. These items look like glossy black chess pieces rather than an aesthetes’ make up arsenal.

Wanders claims he was inspired by Vermeer and, Girl With a Pearl Earring and as a result some of the colours are curiously naturalistic. For example there are light gold and golden nude lipglosses that add very lucent party season sparkle to your face. “Designing beauty packaging immediately made me think of the painterly connection,” says Wanders of his work. Indeed the suitably artistic brush roll (£60) is one of the standout items.

Whilst we love Wanders for MAC – it’s doing something truly innovative with product design, more collaborations are on their way. February 1st sees Milly for Clinique hit counters (a palette designed by the cutesy floral NYC brand), and later in spring there’s Tibi for Bobbi Brown, another niche fashion brand allied to a beauty monolith. For now, December, it’s all about Marcel Wanders for us.

Words by Bethan Cole

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Beauty by the book

The interface between literature and perfume has never been exploited fully by perfumers until very recently. Perhaps it was only natural that Frederic Malle, who has always described himself as a perfume ‘publisher’ and his noses as authors, would be one of the first to exploit the connection. His latest fragrance ‘Portrait of a Lady’ (nose: Dominique Ropion) is just the sort of elevated, elegant and cultivated oriental that the heroine of Henry James’ 1881 novel, Isabel Archer, might have worn as she undertook her grand tour of Paris, Florence and Rome. Malle describes the smell, a composition including rose essence, cinnamon, clove, patchouli and incense as, ‘aristocratic’. And it certainly has an archness, a transcendence, a haute couture poise about it.

Compare and contrast with Byredo’s ‘Baudelaire’, inspired directly by the olfactive ambience of Les Fleurs Du Mal, which has juniper berry, black pepper, incense, leather, patchouli and black amber in its saturnine pasticcio. Like Malle, Byredo’s Ben Gorham comes across as something of a bibliophile – he has a scented candle in his collection called ‘Bibliotheque’ with peach plum, violet, leather and vanilla numbered in its accord. A gorgeous scent to waft around in the environs of your old books.

Frederic Malle ‘Portrait Of A Lady’ is £115.00/50ml from Les Senteurs (020 7730 2322), and Byredo ‘Baudelaire’ is £115.00/100ml from Liberty (020 7734 1234),

Words by Bethan Cole.

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Love rules

WAITING by Raymond Carver

Left off the highway and
down the hill. At the
bottom, hang another left.
Keep bearing left. The road
will make a Y. Left again.
There’s a creek on the left.
Keep going. Just before
the road ends, there’ll be
another road. Take it
and no other. Otherwise,
your life will be ruined
forever. There’s a log house
with a shake roof, on the left.
It’s not that house. It’s
the next house, just over
a rise. The house
where trees are laden with
fruit. Where phlox, forsythia,
and marigold grow. It’s
the house where the woman
stands in the doorway
wearing sun in her hair. The one
who’s been waiting
all this time.
The woman who loves you.
The one who can say,
“What’s kept you?”

Published by Knopf


chat room

Forget everything your parents told you about not talking to strangers. Just one click in the world of ‘Chatroulette’ spins you through a virtual roulette of strangers ready for a webcam chat with you. Of course, we participated for research purposes only. Among the 5426 people on-line at the time we met a gang of four rowdy college students from New York, three over-friendly guys from Tunisia and a guy called Ryan who serenaded us on his guitar. And this could be a virtual fantasy, but we swear we also saw a mid-spin flash of the Jonas Brothers. The people we engaged with were less weird than expected, but that said – there was rather a high proportion of over enthusiastic men with a penchant for exhibitionism. ‘Chatroulette’ is a chancers’ game. Approach with caution.


do you read me?

We’re super happy to announce that Twin is now available at Berlin’s best magazine store – Do You Read Me? Situated in the heart of the Mitte district, it’s home to all the world’s coolest and most covetable reads. We’d just like to say – thank you for having us!

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Art house

Twin’s art editor Francesca Gavin has been busy working alongside artist Jonathan Yeo co-curating a permanent collection of artworks for the Dean Street Townhouse, the latest addition to the Soho House Group, which opens tomorrow.

In the style of Colmbe D’Or artists Tracey Emin, Sam Griffin, Fiona Banner, Tim Noble and Gavin Turk – to name just a few – were all given credit at the hotel, which was once the notorious Gargoyle Club, in exchange for their artworks. So visitors know they will certainly be in good cultural company.

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When in Covent Garden stop off at Crazy Pig Designs. Oddball name aside, we love their mind-blowingly detailed jewellery – take the miniscule spinning bullet cylinder on their trademark revolver earrings. Popular with the great and the good of the rock world, their work has been worn by Ozzy Osbourne, ZZ Top and Metallica. Oh, and Alexa Chung. This solid gold skull ring is top of our Christmas wish lists.

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Just got back from the Matches press day…My belly is full from the delicious tea and biscuits… However I also spotted this AMAZING little number! Yes 60s-70’s vintage Chanel.. There are a few special pieces in there… Get them fast!! This one is in the 87 Marylebone high street branch now!!!


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Food of the gods

This week we went to Wahaca in Covent Garden to sample some ‘Mexican market’ food in honour of The Day of the Dead. The restaurant was in all-out festive mode with brightly coloured ‘papel picados’, hand-painted masks and energetic environmental art as far as the eye could see.

As I left – after masses of freshly cooked Mexican loveliness (and countless tequilas) – I grabbed a handful of what I thought were matches. They were in fact ‘grow your own Serrano chillies’. Sweet touch.

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