Friday, 29 October 2010

Friday Favourites: Body Brushing

As the cold draws in on us and we wrap up tighter, our skin can start to look dull and tired under all those layers of clothes. This is simply because our circulation gets slow and sluggish and the skin finds it harder to get rid of waste.

This is where BODY BRUSHING comes in. It will revive tired, dull skin and help get your circulation going to leave you with glowing results. Although an unusual feeling, the benefits far outweigh the 'strangeness' of how it feels.

Some of the benefits are:

  • Helps combat cellulite on the stubborn areas (I do it for this alone, never mind anything else!)
  • Removes the top most layers of dead skin
  • Gets the circulation going, bringing more oxygen and nutrients into the skin.
  • Stimulates skin renewal for super soft skin
  • Helps the body's natural detoxification process
  • Improves metabolism
For maximum impact, its best to do body brushing before a shower or bath and always brush in the direction of the heart. Obviously if you have any sensitive, broken or sore skin, avoid those areas, otherwise you will be in pain!

What type of brush to use?

A soft natural fibre brush is best. The best I've used is the Elemis Skin Brush which is just under £20 and is made from pure natural cactus bristles. Works a treat!

For a lovely treat, slather yourself in a moisturising body oil after your shower for baby soft skin.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Friday Favourites! Sealing Gel

After a short hiatus, Friday Favourites is back and this products gets a well deserved mention. I've only just discovered it, but I am so loving it, especially for the drama its creates!

The gong goes to Illamasqua's Sealing Gel, which can be used for a variety of purposes to create a quick drying intense colour paste that lasts forever. I mean even need elbow grease to remove when you're washing off your make up.

Being a fan of eyebrows, off course I used it to create some uber sculpted defined brows that will wow any brow fan!
Ignore make up, focus on les brows!

To do, I mixed the sealing gel with a dark navy blue eyeshadow (blue brows are high impact drama) and using the Illamasqua eyebrow brush, I drew on my new brows. If you're going to follow suit, you only need a few drops of the sealing gel and only mix in a small corner section of the eyeshadow pan, so that you can preserve the rest of the eyeshadow for future use.

Illamasqua's Never Eyeshadow

Go ahead, enjoy some high drama brows! Halloween is round the corner, perfect time to let out your alter ego x

Thursday, 21 October 2010

A darn good lipstick from MyFace.Cosmetics

I'm on a real mission this winter to up my stock of red lipsticks. It's my thing at the moment and every beauty hall I go into, you can be guaranteed that I leave with a few red swatches on my hand. But I should have looked closer to home, especially in my MyFace.Cosmetics goody box.

I delved in last Sunday just before nipping out, just to see if there was anything that would take my fancy, and yes there was!  It's called Gigabite: Karmic Kiss. It's not a red that I thought a lot off in the tube. It's a brick red and I usually favour more purple reds, but once on for a few minutes, I really really liked it. In fact, I liked it more as the day went on.

There is a bit of sheen to it, which for me is a good thing. I've not moved into matte territory yet, and not sure if I will, so this was perfect for me. There's great staying power and I didn't have the need to re-apply during the day, apart from after lunch, which I think is norm. It's also very moisturising and my lips didn't dry out all day. The coverage is fabulous and the application is pretty even too, even though I put it on over lip balm and didn't line my lips with a pencil.

You HAVE to give it to MyFace.Cosmetics, they are seriously making some good stuff!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Glitters gonna get me!

My glitter fever is at an all time high, especially after receiving a few polishes from the OPI Burlesque collection. My other half thinks I've gone bonkers seeing as a few months ago you couldn't pay me to wear a glitter nail polish. I always complain that they are murder to take off, but right this moment, I could possibly commit murder to get my hands on a glitter nail polish! Strange.

This past week, I've been sporting my two favourites from the collection.

Extrava-va-ganza, a gorgeous gold and orange glitter combination with hints of blue and pink glitter involved. I got compliments all day with this on and the girls at work were requesting it non-stop.

Sparkle-icious, a beautiful blue bases glitter polish, with yellow, pink, gold and purple glitter in the mix. I really like this one, it so colourful and really perks me up.

Not only are these polishes great on their own, I suspect they'll also be excellent for layering over a similar block colour, just to bring some life to some only polish you already own. Just be aware, you'll need a bit of elbow grease to take them off. Having said that, they are well worth it.

One of my favourite OPI collections so far!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Beauty College Chronicles: Week Eight & Nine

This is a double update as I didn't update about college last week due to life, generally getting in the way!

The last two weeks of college have been very good, lots of hard work trying to juggle work, studying, practicals, exams and home life, so my levels of  perseverance and dedication have been squeezed to no end. So a word of advice for anyone considering going down the beauty route post 16 years old, especially if you're holding down a full time job too - consider it very well, it's a lot of hard work and you feel constantly tired, but the results are well worth it!

I had my major facial, anatomy and physiology exam this past week and I really struggled to get some study time and I was really worried about it. I essentially need to achieve 100% in all major exams, but 70% and over gets you over the hurdle and anything you get wrong after, the teacher sits you down and orally questions you on your incorrect answers. Below 70%, you sit the entire exam again! Pressure's on!  I'm glad and relieved to say that I passed with 80% . I was one of the only two that passed in a class of fifteen therapists, so I'm very grateful for my results. Show's that studying on a packed First Capital Connect train during rush hour does work :-)

We also started microdermabrasion. Yippee! I've been looking forward to this treatment from the start of the course, but I have to say that I didn't enjoy it, when it was done to me. I'm happy to do it on other people, but the grainy feeling from the crystals that remains on the face after, I'm not a fan of. Crystals in my mouth, ears and nose, too much crystal action going on for my liking. Having said that, I think its my partner that didn't clean my face properly after, because when I do the treatment, I don't leave any crystals behind. A smooth, clean facialist, I am!

The Agera Microdermabrasion Machine
This is what we use at college
If you don't already know, microdermabrasion is using fine crystals in combination with suction to give the face a deep exfoliation and remove the top most layer of skin (stratum corneum) to reveal fresher, smoother skin underneath. It really tackles unwanted skin conditions such as pigmentation, sun damage, acne and acne scarring. Fine lines, wrinkles and and uneven skin tone issues can also be addresses. It really is a great treatment and I have people lining up to have a course.

On the same note, I seem to be developing quite a following of clients at college requesting me for their facials. I've got friends of friends, calling me or the college up requesting specifically for treatments with Kay. I love it and I'm so chuffed that people want me to look after their skin for them.

This week, my teacher also dropped the bombshell that we are all required to do at least two days of unpaid work experience in a salon other than the one we already work in. Great :-), as if I haven't got enough that I'm juggling, I now have to find a work experience placement. Ideally, I'd love to do work experience in a salon that focuses on facials, so if you're reading this and can offer me something or know of a salon in the London area that can offer me something, please do let me know.

So that's the major happenings for the last two weeks and we've now finished the electrical facial unit. Next we're on to electrolysis. I freeze upon the sight of a needle, so this unit is going to be very interesting!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Jergen's Naturals: Dry Skin Saviours!

In my head, winter has arrived. My heating is already on and my winter coat has been dry cleaned. I've bought two new boots and I've raided Uniqlo for new jumpers. Plus my skin is starting to look dry, and having black skin, dryness also makes me look look grey and ashy. Not a good look! Basically means, I need more moisturiser, which is fine, but I hate the thought of moisturising in the morning and by lunchtime I need to slap some more on. Too time consuming!

This is where Jergens Naturals come in. I've not tried the range before, as I normally swear by Johnson's Baby Lotion, but I have been pleasantly surprised and very happy with using their body moisturisers.

I started off using the Ultra Hydrating a few weeks ago, (picked it up in Tesco's for £2.50, bargain! they are normally about £5). I've found it very effective on my dry skin, more so if I've exfoliated and I don't have to put any more on during the day. With 96% natural ingredients including jojoba, avocado and olive oil, my skin feels hydrated almost instantly. Also, it feels very light on the skin and sinks in quite quickly. I dislike any creams that feel heavy and leave me feeling like I'm covered in grease. Jergen's doesn't, so major gold stars.

I liked the Ultra Hydrating so much, I decided to try a few more of the range and I've now been alternating between the Ultra Moisturising, Cocoa Butter and Total Nourishment. The award winning Cocoa butter formula is also has 96% natural ingredients including vitamin E which works as an anti oxidant. I love using this on a night out, especially if I've got my arms and legs out as it leaves a lovely sheen and smells like chocolate heaven. Though, not overpowering like the Palmers Cocoa Butter range.

My absolute favourite is the Total Nourishment as I feel it delivers on all levels.  Its boosted by 97% natural ingredients, with a heavy super fruit berry content. acai berry which promotes healthy skin, cranberry which is a gentle exfoliant and keeps my skin vibrant, goji berry and mangosteen extract which combat free radicals due to their anti oxidant content. Using this particular one, I feel my skin is very nourished, getting protection and I love the light berry fragrance. If only, they could throw in some SPF, that would complete my enjoyment!

The range is paraben free, cruelty free and dermalogically tested. All plus points for me. That said, I will be keeping the bathroom cabinet stocked with Jergen's Naturals all winter. I feel the range is a keeper!

Now over to you, have you tried Jergen's Natural's before? and what's your opinion on them?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Journey to my alter ego, with Illamasqua

Last Friday, I attended the Night Time Diva at Illamasqua's brand new store. The course itself was brilliant, I couldn't use another word to describe it. It was well structured, clear and taught by two highly respected make up artists - Adam Medusa Sidwell and David Horne. If you're thinking about doing a make up course, I suggest you try one of the Illamasqua ones. I left feeling much more confidence in my use of colours within make up and armed with tips and tricks to make my professional make up life easier.

Seeing as the store was virtually empty, I took the opportunity to shop to my hearts content and came home with a mini haul, which is pictured below. These are all items, I used within the course and felt instantly that I had to have them and I am glad I bought them, without thinking twice as they have made such a difference.

Top left is a cream foundation, just the right combination of matte and luminous. Goes on like a dream and provides very good build-able coverage. I use small foundation brush on the far left to apply it, just by buffing it into the skin.

Top right is the an invisible pressed powder. Its so finely milled and velvety to the touch. Plus it holds my make up in place fabulously.

There is a navy blue eyeshadow in the mix, called Never. Its a matte finish and its great for not just the eyes. More that to come.

Also a liquid metal eyeshadow in green, called Stoic (there is a waiting list for this on their website). Its a a mettalic emerald shade, which pops against my dark skin. You can put a powder eyeshadow on it as well, to create a subtle shimmer.

In the middle is pure pigment in Ore. A fantastic and intense pure colour pigment. I've not used it yet, but when I do, it will probably to add more effect to another shadow, but the possibilities are endless.

The other items are concealer (bottom right) with an intensely creamy finish, a lip brush and and eyebrow brush. The little bottles are called Sealing Gel, which can be mixed with eye shadow, pure pigment or cake eye liners for a long lasting finish.

I have fallen more in love with Illamasqua and I'm sure that I will be purchasing a few more products as time goes by. Are you a fan?

Monday, 11 October 2010

Nars's best green so far!

I've been pining over this nail polish for a little while and I knew I'd love it the minute I laid eyes on it. I tried a lot of Nars counters and none had it, even Liberty's didn't have it. Tut tut! Till I was finally told only Space NK was stocking it. Then every Space NK I tried in London, didn't have it.  Was I not destined to have this polish? Finally, I found it in Brighton, ninety miles away from home!

Anyway, without further ado, here it is gracing my fingers! and I have to say I love it very much. Its the perfect shade of green for me. Dark, glossy and mossy looking and it looks like jelly on nails. What's there not to love? The high shine is amazing, even without a top coat.

I just had to dress it up with some pearls!

Quite a few people said to me that they needed three coats to get full coverage on it, but I found it went on like a dream and I only have the standard two coats on, plus a top coat. It had me from the first stroke, so well done Nars, you now have a piece of my heart!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Product Review: MyFace Cosmetics

I was sent some MyFace.Cosmetics for review and I've decided to do it in separate posts of eyes and lips.

So first for the eyes.

Left to right: Sp'ice'y, Bellbottom Blues, Black Ice

I was sent the eyeshadows from the Blingtone collection (£9.99) on on first glance I really liked them. I'm a sucker for blue eyeshadow so I was sold from the start. But on the day I tried them, the only place I was going to was my local Tesco's so I thought the blue was best left at home.

The pans are really sturdy, which I liked. Felt the shadows were safe and secure. The eyeshadow itself has an almost cream, satin feeling, which I think is lovely. And the glitter isn't too big. I'm always worried about glitter eyeshadow falling on my cheeks during application, but I'm happy to say that I didn't get any fall out with this.

I liked the application and coverage I got on my eyes, but I'm really dissappointed it didn't show through on camera when the flash was on.. It's really twinkly, but I think it's fine for day time use.  The base of my eye shadow closely matched my skin tone, so for more 'umph', I think next time I will use over a cream based eyeshadow and pat it in for maximum bling! or mix with MAC's mixing medium for a full metallic foil effect.

The blue and black eye shadows, will definitely come out on a dance floor night out, again over a cream base though. Overall verdict, I like!

The mascara I've got on is also from MyFace.Cosmetics and although you can't usually part me from my DiorShow, I was quite impressed with this one called Upload Mascara (£9.99). I felt it both separated and lengthened my lashes and also left me with denser looking lashes as well. I can't complain about that.  Just touching my lashes as I type a few hours later and they don't feel dry or brittle, which is a great plus point. I won't be putting this one to one side, it'll be a keeper in my make up bag.

And because I have a major blush crush, I couldn't resist trying the blusher as well. Its called Her Name is Rio (£9.99) and I really like the soft orange/peach colour in the pan and there's a golden hue underneath the orange. This too felt creamy to the touch and not to drying. On its own on my skin, I didn't feel I got my usual does of blush. Then again, I am used to wearing much darker colours. I did resort to a touch of MAC Fever and then Rio on top for a golden highlight.

Overall, I was impressed with MyFace.Cosmetics and felt it of good quality, which it should be as make up maestro Charlotte Tilbury was involved in its creation. The presentation is excellent, especially with the blusher, which comes with a soft enough brush and an internal mirror so you can use it on the move. It didn't irritate or dry out my skin, so a thumbs up from me!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Eye Cream Review: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronised Complex

I'm pretty new to the whole eye cream issue and have only been using it for the last 3 months. In the last six weeks in particular I've been using Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronised Complex and I'm absolutely loving it.

Although, you can use it am and pm, I prefer to just use it in the evenings only, after washing my face and since using it the major thing I've noticed is the smoothness of my eyelids and general eye area.

I like the fact that it has a light gel like consistency and it always feels so cool and silky against my skin. Very refreshing. It has a light pleasant smell that doesn't overwhelm and I appreciate that, as I'm not a fan of frangranced products around my eyes.

There's no residue to it and it sinks in very quickly. Its very nourishing too and I do feel my eye area has become softer over the time I've been using it. When I wake up in the morning, my eyes are brighter and feel more rested.  I don't have any fine lines or wrinkles around my eyes, but here's hoping that by continuous use, I can keep any lines at bay for a long time. Prevention is better than cure as they say!

Although, the tub is quite small and its a hefty £40, it has lasted quite well and I fully expect it to last another 6 weeks if not more. This is helped by the fact it comes with a nifty little applicator which you use to apply three dots of the cream to the eye area. This is a really clever tool, if only I didn't drop it down the plughole! Now I just use a cotton bud to dot around my eye, but it sure does help minimise wastage.

There is a lot of science behind the product and I won't attempt to baffle anyone, but if you are interested you can read it here. That said, if you're on the search for a new eye cream, the Advanced Night Repair Eye is a must try.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Current Skin Care Loves

I'm always refining the products I use as my skin changes and below are my current loves!

  • Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil
I really like this cleansing oil. I find it breaks down sebum, grime and make up effectively and its always the first thing I use in my cleansing routine if I've got make up up. I usually decant it into a small spray bottle and use three sprays to keep it cost effective.

I swap between this cleansing oil and Dermalogica's Pre Cleanse on a regular basis.
  • Dermalogica Dermal Clay Cleanser
I love this cleanser and have been using it for about six months and I find it really effective on my sometimes oily, mainly combination skin. It contains kaolin and green clay, which are used in face masques to draw out oil from the face. Sometimes I put it on thickly, then wait five to ten minutes before jumping into the shower and it acts like a mini face masque.
  • Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
I don't know anyone who doesn't like this product and I for one love it. Its gentle enough to be used everyday and its really smooths out my skin and leaves it looking brighter. Again, this has been a favourite for around six months.
  • Aesop Bitter Orange Astringent Toner
The word astringent makes this toner sounds quite harsh, but its not at all. I've only been using it for a few weeks, but I really like how it mattifies my skin after use and absorbs excess serum.
  • Alpha H Liquid Gold Smooth & Perfecting Mask
I tend to use this mask on a night time, especially if I'm going to have a long soak. The lavender smell is really relaxing and it leaves my skin very fresh. For extra polishing, I always remove with a muslin cloth. Word of warning, it does contain glycolic acid, so sensitive types be aware.
  • Dermalogica Skin Refining Masque
This is my go to face masque as I find it gentle on my skin and it revives the appearance. I apply it on the t zone and on my cheeks where my pores are larger to really draw out impurities and sebum. It contains my favourite mask ingredient kaolin, so I know it refines as well.

  • Dermalogica Oil Control Lotion
I use this as my daily daytime moisturiser most especially because it has oil absorbing micro sponges and helps keep my skin matte. There's 1% salysilic acid in it, which prevents clogging of pores and follicles and is important for oily skin types like me.
  • Alpha H Liquid Gold Intensive Night Repair Serum
I find this really helps with any pigmentation issues that flair up from time to time. It contains glycolic acid again and niacinamide which gives my skin a much needed vitality boost. I use it about twice a week as my night time moisturiser.
  • Trilogy Organic RoseHip Oil
I became convinced of the benefits of rosehip oil after a friend with severe acne cleared up her scarring using it. I add two - three drops of it to my Alpha H Liquid Gold Intensive Night Repair serum and not only does the who thing smell divine, it has really helped in reducing the appearance dark spots on my face as a result of the odd breakout

  • Alpha H Liquid Gold & White Gold
The former is an intensive skin refiner and I absolutely love it. During winter, my skin can get really dull and it really recharges it. I apply it after cleansing at night and go straight to bed, using it as an overnight treatment. The latter has a more brightening effect on my skin and I tend to use it as a toner in the morning before moisturising.

  • Eye Creams - Origins GinZing & Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum
The former is my daytime eye cream and it 'zushes' up my tired eyes in the morning and provides a really lift, making me look wide awake. The latter is my night eye cream and its gently, soothing and smoothing on my eye area. I'll be doing a review on it soon.

  • Balm Balm Lip Balm 
This is ultra moisturising and I always put it on after washing my face. Its very soothing and contains tea tree oil, so I can use it not only on lips but on small cuts and grazes.

I know this seems like a lot of products (my boyfriend would agree!) but I don't use them all everyday, apart from certain key ones. Usually I mix and match according to how I feel and what I think my skin needs. No doubt, in time, I'll add a few more to the mix and off course, take a few out too!

Now over to you, pray tell what your current favourites or must have products are?

ps - excuse the mess of images with the Alpha H, I forget to include them in my own pictures, so had to source images from the net and quite clearly they've messed up my layout!

Monday, 4 October 2010

It's all in the nose

Came across this on a site and thought it would be quite fun to post.

Your nose is a thing of beauty and apparent says a lot about you. I've been told I have a short nose. I agree that I am hard working, but not sure about the rest of my supposed characteristics yet!

What does your nose say about you?

Bulbous tip: You have a preoccupation with saving

Small tip: You do not consider money important
Flared nostrils: You are a big spender and an adventurous risk-taker

Long nose: Routine work is not your speciality
Short nose: You have a talent for old-fashioned, hard work, but you crave emotional stability
Broad nose: You have stability and a purposeful nature and a powerful sex drive
Long and narrow nose: You are intelligent, witty and engaging
Long and broad nose: You have lots of staying power and concentration
Fat nose: You are optimistic and are usually good in business
Ski-jump nose: You are intuitive
Arched: You are elegant and creative

I'm looking forward to your comments as to what your nose says about your personality!


Image anddescription obtained sourced from Cosmetic Beauty Directory

The Perfect Skin Type Solution

This week, I've been reading The Skin Type Solution by Dr. Leslie Baumman. This book was a recommendation from lipstickmamma, and I am so glad I came across it on her blog as I have thorough enjoyed reading it.

I'm finding that I am increasingly more interested in skincare and I am actively seeking out sources of information on it to sharpen my knowledge, especially as I'm going through a facial overload at college.

The great thing about this book is that it really allows you to get to grips with your skin type (dry, oily etc) and ALSO with your specific skin condition (pigmented, wrinkled etc) and by combining the two factors, you get an indepth look into your skin care concerns and can tailor and use the most appropriate products for the most successful results.

Its a very easy read and the questionnaire is very thorough, but straightforward. Every question is awarded a score and you total up your scores at the end to reveal your skin type. I was an ORNT - meaning I have oily, resistant, non pigmented, tight skin. The best to have, apparently, as its the 'goddess skin type' . The oil and tightness protects my skin from showing visible signs of ageing, my skin cells reproduce quickly enough for me to avoid developing dark spots after inflammation and my skin is resistant enough to not get irritated by products. I am quite pleased with this analysis and feel from my experience it pretty much is true. Though, I do think that I am sometimes prone to dark spots after having a pimple, but they fade over time.

So if you are interested in skin care or are confused and overwhelmed by the amount of skincare products out there and what exactly you should be using, give the questionnaire a go. Once you have completed it, there is a whole chapter dedicated to your skin type, which an extensive list of suitable products for you to try. 

You can also take the questionnaire via the Dr Baumann's website, but I find the one in the book is more in depth, therefore revealing a lot more. The best advice is to make the book your starting point and use the website as a back up for further reading. 

Give it a go and you may just find out some suprising facts about your skin!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Beauty College Chronicles: Week Seven

Firstly, I can't believe I've been on my course for nearly two months already. It seems to be flying by! We also nearly at the end of the electrical facial unit as well and will be moving on to epilation in the next week. I predict that will be a toughie!

Anyway, back to talking about this week. Monday was a good, but surprising day. I had my Multi Current facial exam (henceforth known as the chopsticks facial) and I was dead nervous, because I didn't feel competent in it yet. I was getting there but thought that more practice was needed. My lecturer on the other hand who has copious amounts of faith in all of us, insisted I would be fine, to get on with it and she wasn't going to let me go home if I didn't do it, so I rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in. Happy and shocked to say that it was all OK and I passed. But I didn't want 'just ok', I wanted it to be excellent! So I guess, I'll be working on this particular facial a lot during free practice session to make sure its absolutely PERFECT.

Monday seemed to be the day of demos and we had one demo on the brand new microdermabrasion machines, which looked very exiting and good fun. Can't wait to get my hands on them! And we also had a demo on the lymphatic drainage facial machine. I love this machine and I think its one of my favourite to to do. Its a great pick me up facial for those with minimal skin complaints as it just revives and brightens the complexion by using glass ventouses to move waste products and toxins away from the normal areas they clog up the skin, i.e under eyes, chin. Its great for circulation too!

At the end of the day, I did a practice on my class partner and it was amazing the results were quite visible straight away. Clearer, rosy and more glow to her skin.

Tuesday was full of theory work and more practicals. My partner did her multi current exam on me and managed to get my hair wet with the steamer. I walked around all do looking dishevelled with nappy hair.  Had to avoid the Liberty's at lunch for fear of being thrown out (lol). I just kept thanking God, I had a hair appointment scheduled for Saturday to redo my extensions.

The highlight of Tuesday, was our first evening salon session, which meant that we would be working on real paying clients, just like in a regular salon. I was excited and nervous, but I held it all in and put my confident therapist face on and went for it. My client was a lovely mature lady, who'd never had a facial in her life, so I was determined to make sure she enjoyed it. She booked in for a Prescriptive Facial, which meant I could tailor it more for her skin type. So after an in depth consultation of her skin, habits and lifestyle, we settle on a galvanic facial, which would stimulate her dry skin and allow it to absorb more products for maximum moisture and hydration.

I always say the sign of a good facialist is if they can get you totally relaxed and put you to sleep. I'm glad I did just that and by the time of her massage, she had fell into a deep relaxed state and was sleeping peacefully. Her feedback was ' great facial and Kay has wonderful hands and will make a fantastic facialist.' That so made the 12.5 hour day at college worth it and although I was exhausted, there was a big grin on my face the entire way home!

So that's it for another week it will be more facial exams and getting used to the microdermabrasion machine and getting the anatomy and physiology exam out of the way. Yikes! must hit the books now.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Friday Favourites: Hand Exfoliators

Whenever someone says to me, 'I don't like hand cream, I never use it, it makes my hands feel greasy', the first thing I say to them is, 'when was the last time you exfoliated your hands?

Nine times out of ten they respond that they don't or haven't in a long time. Well, how can you expect products to penetrate into your skin, if there's a load of dead skin cells in there way acting like a barrier? After the face, the next body part  that can show age is the hands, so by not exfoliating and allowing dead skin cells to build up; dull and lacklustre and aged hands are on the cards.

The key to helping any product absorb into the skin, is to remove any unnecessary barriers and one of the easiest ways to do this on the hands is to use an exfoliator.

So for this reason, especially as we enter the winter season where constant changes our environment - cold, rain, radiator heat, gloves are all going to play havoc on our skin, including hands, HAND EXFOLIATION has been nominated as FRIDAY FAVOURITE. Its going to be necessary to get rid of the dead, dry skin that will be building up!

I'm not going to specify which exfoliator to use as there are loads of brands that do hand exfoliators, but I tend to favour any hand exfoliator that has sugar crystals or AHA's as they easily melt away and leave no residue, apart from super soft hands that allow hand cream to penetrate and moisturise!

Quick Tip - Keep your exfoliator by the kitchen or bathroom sink, next to your hand cream. You're much more likely to remember to use it that way!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Skin, how well do you know and care for YOURS?

The skin on your face to what you present to the world on a daily basis and its the only one you're ever going to have so it make sense to look after it as best you can. You have to get to grips with your correct skin type, use the right skincare products and give your skin due love and attention. 

As one of my favourite skincare experts (Dr Leslie Baumann) says 'if you owned a Porsche, you wouldn't follow the maintenance procedure for a VW Golf.' Meaning, if you had oily skin, it wouldn't make sense to adopt the same skincare routines of someone who had dry skin!

For years, I've been on a mission to uncover my skin type and make sure I'm using the right products. Skin type can change as we mature or go through different things in life, so its important to keep on top of these changes, so your products can be adapted as necessary.

Below are some top tips I follow to make sure I'm keeping my skin in tip top condition.

  • Get up close and personal. By that I mean once a month, get a magnified mirror and look at your skin in front of a bright light. Notice any changes, look at your pore sizes, any dry patches, any lines or deeper lines, sun spots etc. Its good to know what's going on your face so you can tailor your skin care regime.
  • See a dermatologist at least once a year. If you've got any deep seated skin complaints, they would be able to prescribe specific medications and creams, that you can't pick up over a counter.
  • Wear an SPF of between 20 and 30. We may only have a week of summer in the UK, but the harmful rays of the sun can penetrate even on cloudy, wintry days. I have to be honest and admit, when I was younger I purported the idea that because I've got black skin, I can leave off the SPF. Not true, everyone - black, white, pink and blue - needs to wear sunscreen.
  • Follow a good skin care routine of cleansing, toning and moisturising with your skin type products, making sure you use eye cream as well. Your cleanse is most important and forms the basis of a good routine.
  • We don't pamper ourselves enough and always cite cost or being too busy, but visit a facialist at least once a month. Your skin sheds every 28 days and no matter how much you wash and exfoliate at home, it will never compare to the intense clean and work out your face gets from a good facialist. Carline Hirons (a lady who knows a lot about skin) wrote a good piece on facials here. Read it, it will help you make the most of your facials and your skin!
  • And finally....
......Don't believe the hype of expensive products that say things like 'packed with hylauronic acid or will restore collagen to your skin' are not always telling the entire truth. Your skin is actually a protective barrier and will stop of lot of products penetrating in, due to the size of the molecules in them. 

Therefore, to look after your skin well, you have to do it from within. Start by eating lots of fruit and vegetables - they are packed with vitamins and essential nutrients for your skin. 

Drink lots of water, at least eight glasses a day to keep hydrated. 

Exercise, (I know, I hate it too) but it encourages perspiration, which is an excellent way of ridding toxins from the body. 

Take supplements if you have to. I love Functionalab's Hair, Skin and Nails supplements, which has eleven active beauty nutrients. They even have supplements to boost collagen production, which is necessary for plumping up the skin.

Remember, by not knowing your skin type, being receptive to any changes in it and thus not using the right products to care for it, you are essentially damaging it and throwing a lot of money down the drain. Money you may be able to get back, but sometimes, the damage to your skin can be irreversible.  

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Tweezer Talk

Hair Removal Heaven
Did you know that Tweezerman give a lifetime guarantee on their products and offer free sharpening too? I sure didn't and I was quite please to find out.

Don't know about you, but I pretty much lost without my tweezers. Which is what drove me to Boots, I had lost the damn thing!

My eye was drawn to a pretty pink No 17 box of tweezers which had both a slanted tweezer and a pointed one for £12. The little girl in my head was saying 'oh nice, isn't it lovely!' Till I saw the Tweezermans, which at £15 for one pointed implement isn't cheap, but my practical voice was saying 'its excellent craftsmanship, it looks sturdy and with free sharpening and a lifetime guarantee, you're going to have it for a long time!'
Top left hand of image, it says 'free sharpening'

Plus, it won an InStyle Best Beauty Buy 2010! It doesn't get better.

How could I resist? Would you have? What are your fave tweezers and how long have you had them?

Quick Tip - keep a bottle of Barbacide (available from Sally's Salon Services) in the kitchen cupboard. And once a week soak your metal implements- tweezers, scissors, eyelash curlers without rubber bits, nail cutters etc in a solution overnight, to disinfect and keep them clean. If you share implements or have them lolling about in your make up bag, try and soak more often! 

Monday, 27 September 2010

Nail Whitening using Leighton Denny Brilliance Treatment Kit

This is a treatment that I love doing and always provides visible results. I always describe it as teeth whitening, but for nails, hence the name!

After wearing dark colours for a while, I always go through a week or two of this treatment, using the Leighton Denny Brilliance range. It gives amazing results and really returns nails their original pinky colour and makes tips look whiter and brighter.

If you want to follow and give your nails a little detox, instructions below:

  • Start by removing your current polish using the Brilliance polish remover, which has active whitening elements and a whooping seven essential oils including ginger oil, which I absolutely love, to nourish and hydrate nails.
  • Apply a coat of the Brilliance Serum for no more than five minutes to each nail.  Its a gel like polish and it will gently lift any staining or yellowing from your nails. It consists of optical brighteners, hydrogen peroxide to to oxidise and remove stains as well as avocado oil to nourish the nail.
  • Wipe each nail down with a moisten cotton pad. I normally follow with a quick wipe of my OPI NAS spray to make sure my nails are completely free from any moisture or oils.
  • Apply two coats of the Brilliance Shield to strengthen and protect your nails, whilst counteracting any discolourations. It won't be a high shine finish like a top coat as the formula is low gloss, but your nails will still look fresh and brighter. It also contains nettle extract which is a a natural nail strengthener.

I would advise following this routine two or three times a week whilst on the 'detox' as this will achieve the best results. If you have really heavy staining on your nails (naughty, you should be wearing a quality base coat!), you could also give your nails a little buff at the start of the treatment after you have removed your polish. Buffing has the effect of also lifting stains, but please remember to be gentle, so as not to over buff and thin your nails.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Beauty College Chronicles: Week Six

A similar machine to what we use at college
As I vowed to to tell all about college, I have to admit that I had a pretty bleurgh week. College was cancelled on Monday because of the class trip to Olympia Beauty Show. I ducked out of that one as I went on Sunday and I've never been on for pairing up, school outings and all that malarky.

Tuesday morning, I was pretty psyched up but my mid morning my mood has sunk. We were learning a new machine - the multi current facial - which tones and firms skin and muscles. Its the same machine used for Caci facials, but of course ours wasn't an actual Caci, just one that did similar things. The Micro-Current treatment is one of the best age prevention treatments out there as it really tones, tightens, lifts and contours the facial muscles underneath the skin, especially if used over a course of treatments.

The cheek muscle (zygomaticus) being lifted
by double sided wands
The lecturer explained the machine and did a demonstration, which I thought was pretty straightforward, but upon me getting to do the treatment on my partner, by hands were going in all different directions and I just couldn't get the hang of using it. There are five phases to the treatment and I couldn't master all the phases, so I got a bit disheartened. I hate when I can't do things properly or don't feel I get how to do it! Also it didn't help that the diagrams with the movements were confusing as they had so much writing on them. Boo!

Anyway, by the end of the day, I got myself some plain diagrams of the face and drew my own movements on and since then I've been using chopsticks to practice on my boyfriend. This has helped quite a bit, but definitely more practice needed, before any exams!

So not any more to tell just yet. I'll let you know how I get on this week and I have another exam which I hope to ace. Wish me luck! (I'm going to need it)

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Perfume Diaries - a must visit exhibition

When I was a little girl, I remember perfume being as something special and magical. The scent my mum put on when she wanted to make an impression when she was going somewhere nice. She always says, 'this will let people know I've arrived.' She's always worked in the tourism industry and for as long as I can remember, her presents from guests always came in the form of perfume, from places all over the world. I can clearly remember curling on on her dressing room chaise lounge as she got ready for almost daily cocktail parties and watched her dot perfume on her wrists, behind her ears, on the crook of the elbow, on shoulders and on the ankle. To this day, I put perfume in all the same places. 

Clearly mum followed Coco Chanel's thinking, ' is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory of fashion.' 

My romanticised view of spraying perfume!
Therefore when the Perfume Diaries rolled into town via Harrods, I knew I couldn't miss it. Perfume Diaries is a must visit for all lovers of perfume. It is all your favourite fragrances in one room set within their historical context and their reasons for being made. An intoxicating fragrance heaven.

The exhibition tests most sensory organs, eyes, nose and touch especially. With every era the key frangances are available to sniff in scent bottles and there's visual representations as well, like clothing and shoes. You get a hit of the top notes and it stirs your memories. I had a lot of 'ooh mum used to wear that' or 'that  was dad's power meeting smell.'

Talking about bottles, all I can say is bless hoarders and collectors because there were all types of bottles to please the eye. The original Shalimar bottles were fantastic to see, but also the old bottles with stop caps that you'd dab on. Spray bottles now seem so unromantic to me, why did they ever get rid of atomisers or the stop cap bottles? I know they are bygone, but they were so much more luxurious. Seeing bottles designed by Lubin for Napoleon and Queen Victoria was fascinating. The house didn't put its name on it, but instead kept it discreet by only putting in their address.

Notably Chanel No 5 was there in its many forms and its many bottle shapes. It was interesting to see why designers forayed into perfumes. Christian Dior put it that when you open a Dior perfume you see a thousand dresses. The perfume is an extension of the dress and its wondrous how scents plays on our emotions and ability to recall. 

Did you know the Hermes perfume bottle is designed to look like one of its famous scarfs blowing in the wind? What fantastic detail! Ferrangamo designed his perfume bottles after his shoes with stacked heels.  This is really evident in the Attimo perfume bottle. Each designer want your use of the fragrance to be an extension and aspiration to the wearing of their clothes. I loved the visuals of the 1960's, it was all Halston dresses and colourful free love 
outfits. Think Pucci prints too!

'Fragrance is an indispensable complement to a woman's personality, like the finishing touch to a dress.' Christian Dior

Some of the best bits was seeing the original manuscripts and equipment all perfectly preserved. Instructions for mixing or quantities of shipment. Truly fascinating! Sadly (for me) a lot of the documents were in French and in old script, so hard to decipher, given my rusty recall of A Level French. But the original posters were great to see too. You get a feel for the time and era the perfumes were made and the women they were marketed to. You feel transported into the magic and mystic of the fragrance world.

Did you know that eau de toilette stands for water of the morning toilet? Suppose those were the days when cleanliness wasn't all the rage as it is now, so the water was fragranced to give off a pleasant scent.  It was interesting to know that some of the most famous perfumeries like Galimard and Molinard were borne out of the need to mask the smell of softening leather in urine in the town of Grasse in France. Spectacular! Needless to say, Grasse is infamous now in the perfume industry.

To go through every detail on this blog would be a bit much, plus I want to leave you wanting to visit the exhibition. It is a must see, its a unique and engaging journey into the world of perfumery.  The nostalgia hit is high and the excitement of seeing all the world's favourite, ground breaking and most influential smells in one place is too good to miss. 

One for the beauty bookshelf!

If you love beauty products of any kind, you should own this book!

As cosmetic companies go to greater lengths to introduce more science and technology into products, the plethora of ingredient names and their functions can sometimes be mind boggling. Do you know your peptides from your phytosomes? or your ceramides from your ceresins?

See what I mean about confusing words? When is the last time you read the back of a beauty product? You may look at the back of the box to spot now common words like parabens or sulphates, but do you know what all the other ingredients are? Be honest now!

Written by Ruth Winters, its constantly being updated. I think there may even be a 7th edition out, but I'm quite happy with this one at the moment.

You may not read it from cover to cover, but its definitely one to keep in your reference library. Trust me, it will be handy now and in years to come and at a price of approximately £10 on Amazon, its a worthy investment.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Burberry on the lips!

After lusting over Burberry make up on their website for a few weeks, I finally got the chance to go down to their counter and try a few pieces. I was tempted to buy off their very good looking website, but I hate buying blind, so I sat on my hands and hid the bank card till I could see it all in person.

I have to say its an impressive range and their were lots of bits to ooh and aah over. Initially I wanted to purchase a blusher to feed my blush crush, but I actually settled for a lipstick and lip liner instead and I wasn't dissappointed.

First the lip liner, which they call a lip definer. I got it in Bright Plum No 04. It is very pigmented and soft with a slight sheen to it. I think I could actually wear it on its own with a slick of lip balm or lipgloss and it would be fine. Its packed full or nourishing oils, which means it doesn't drag on the lips, even if they are dry. It has great staying power and you need lipstick remover to make it budge. A free sharpener is also thrown in and all for £15.

The lipstick (Lip Cover in Burberry speak) is very luxurious and I got one in the shade, Hibiscus No. 20 which I think suits me to a t. There is a slight shine to it as again its packed with nourishing oils, which means it doesn't dry out the lips and due to the gel technology in it, its very long lasting. I found that on a night out, my colour stayed put and I didn't need to reapply at all. Not that I need it, but it also contains anti ageing ceramides, which provide fuller lip definition.

The packaging is quite swish too. The holder is designed in the trademark Burberry checked print and there is a magnet technology in it to firmly close it. The magnets have to line up before the the lipstick will close, which is quite good as if its rolling around in your bag it won't leave marks everywhere.

I've used it for my FOTD, so I hope you like.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Product Review: Olivina Hand Cream

T'is the season of hand creams and there's nothing I like better than slathering my hands in a good coating as the weather gets colder. I find my hands drink up moisture in cold weather.

I read about this hand cream on BeautyMouth and thought I'd give it a go when my current hand cream finished. I have to say, I haven't been disappointed and its truly lush and smells brilliant too!

I picked it up a few weeks ago in Liberty's for £13.95 and so far its worth every penny. Its a good size for the price and I was sold on the traditional packaging and black screw cap. Just beautiful presentation.

I bought one in lavender and its ultra hydrating and really softens my hands, coating them in a beautifully rich scent. I always make sure I put some on before bed, as the scent is so calming and kind of old worldly. There's different scents as well: fig, honeysuckle rose, olive and meyer lemon, so one to suit all palettes. It absorbs quickly and there's no residue, which is a bonus.

The cream itself contains so many moisturising properties: olive oil, grape seed oil, algae, sea kelp and Shea butter. There's vitamin E as well which helps skin look younger by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Not to mention the soothing chamomile, aloe vera and lavender. For 75mls of cream in a tube, its really packing a punch of complete goodness!

Not tested on animals and paraben free, this hand cream has earned a well deserved place in my hand bag (and heart).

Apart from Liberty's, they can also be purchased at:

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Beauty College Chronicles: Week Five

This post is one huge pat on the back, because nothing much interesting has happened at college apart from exams, more exams and exams. We didn't learn any new machines or techniques, we just did exams! I'm not complaining though as I think its good to have your knowledge and technique tested as it challenges you to achieve more and you can brush up on any areas found lacking.

So I had four exams in the space of two days.  Three practicals and one online exams. They weren't necessarily difficult, but I guess that's because I actually like what I'm doing and really enjoy it. Some of the girls asked for extensions as they didn't yet feel confident.

On Monday, I did my galvanic facial exam, using the desincrustation method. Now this is really good for oily skin as it breaks down sebum on the face, cleans out pores and allows products to penetrate into the skin.  Tuesday was the turn of the faradic facial, which as I mentioned last week, is to tone and firm up facial muscles. No problems with either, no one pinched my products out of my trolley and I passed with flying colours. My lecturer commended my massage techniques, later telling me 'Your massage looked impressive.' Yay me!

Just after I fell asleep on the couch after one of the girls did their practical on me, the lecturer disturbed my peace (lol) by informing me, that I had to do another galvanic facial exam - this time Iontophoresis. That wasn't on the original schedule of exams.  This type of galvanic is excellent for dry skin, it rejuvenates and stimulates the skin to create a more balanced sebum level. Iontophoresis can also be used for other skin types, but I won't bore you with those. Again, I passed, sending my partner into deep slumber, with some snoring. Always a sign of a good facial I say.

Now on to the online exam which was all about health and safety in the salon. Not having studied much due to work and generally feeling very tired the week before, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Happy to say, I passed with 97% (highest score in the class) and only got one question wrong. I am now officially class swot.

So that's it for another week at college. Next week, we'll be moving on to micro-current and lymphatic drainage facials, so more to come!
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