Forever young: Top 10 tips for year round health and beauty, part 7.

So, in episode 6 we looked at hydration from the inside out and I spoke about the use and benefits of liquid chlorophyll as good skin comes from within as well as what is applied to the skin topically.

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Part 7: hydration, from the outside

As the seasons are changing and winter draws near our skin’s needs will change as a result. We will now start to turn on central heating, light fires and maybe use air-conditioning in our cars to heat them up faster. This, plus the harsh change in weather dries out the skin making it feel tight, uncomfortable and begin flaking.

If you can remember from a previous episode, I mentioned that dehydration can lead to premature ageing and wrinkle formation on the skin so it is important to step up our hydration levels over this coming season. 

In this episode I have chosen to make suggestions on what skincare products everyone can use to boost hydration and protect our skin from the effects of dehydration in a simple step-by-step guide.

For this…I have chosen the Néroli (Hydra Floral) range of products by Decléor, Paris. 

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Products courtesy of Decléor, http://www.decleor.co.uk. 

 Daily skincare

After cleansing, using one of Decléor’s cleansers such as the Micellar Oil or Water as seen in an earlier post if you so wish, it’s important to apply the correct product for your skin. Decléor’s Néroli range is perfect for instant hydration but also maintaining it throughout the day and night. It’s perfect for all skins, even mature skin and will leave your skin feeling soft and looking more radiant and youthful.

Start with your serum, an essential part of a sophisticated professional skincare routine. You only need 3 drops applied to your fingertips, this product is powerful and also a multi-award winner, so you only need a small amount. Warm it in the palms of your hands and gently massage into the skin. You can then apply your chosen companion moisturiser as illustrated below in 2 separate options.

Perfect for: ANYONE! This serum has no age limit!

Pro tip: if your skin is super dry you can use this underneath a mask and also underneath a night balm once a week and sleep in it. Pour a small amount into your palms and massage into the skin, apply your mask or balm and sleep tight. Cleanse face as normal in the morning.  

  

Option 1 here is the Hydra Floral Rich version. Perfect for super dry skin and doesn’t sit on the skin. Works in perfect harmony with the Néroli serum and is perfect for keeping the skin hydrated for longer during the harsh winter months.

Perfect for: dry and dehydrated skin, but also anyone needing that extra hydration boost!

  

Option 2 is the light version. This is perfect for a more oily or combination skin where the skin’s natural moisturiser…sebum or oil, is in abundance. Don’t worry about the use of the Aromessence Oil serum though! Even oily skins need hydration and these products are designed to work with the skin, so everyone benefits!

Perfect for: oily and combination skins. It makes a fabulous makeup base too!

  
Weekly skincare

The penultimate product in the line-up is your night time choice. The Néroli night balm is your perfect nighttime companion. This balm is special as you don’t need to use your Aromessence serum beneath it as it has all the wonderful properties built in!

Perfect for: anyone who is concerned with dryness and a poor complexion. Can be used once a week alongside another night balm or moisturiser to boost the complexion and draw out spots and impurities.

Pro tip: for super dry skin, use 3 drops of the Aromessence Néroli beneath it to boost hydration while you sleep!

  
The final product in the lineup here is Decléor’s Masque Expert, also part of the Hydra Floral range for dry and dehydrated skin. This mask is lightweight and creamy but packs a powerful injection of moisture to the skin.

To use: apply 3 drops of your Aromessence to the skin and follow with a small amount of mask over the entire face and neck. Leave for 5-10 minutes and remove. Follow with moisturiser. Use once to twice a week depending on the skin’s needs.

Pro tip: do as described above…and sleep in it! Yes, you can sleep in this…try it and see the benefit the morning after!

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Following the link to the website gives you access to more options for your skin. I have picked this range because I swear by it…and my skin is really dry and tight, especially in winter so it’s a must-have for me!

It’s also great for everyone, and I mean EVERYONE so if you’re stuck or unsure…you can’t go far wrong using this range.

Don’t forget to exfoliate once a week too, otherwise these lovely products won’t be going very far or doing very much to your skin…and what would be the point in that?!

There are more options for different skin types out there, including the newer Marjolaine and Mandarin ranges for more mature skin types. All can be used in the same way however, so there’s no need to worry about changing your routine again.

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We’re almost at the end, keep your eyes peeled for episode 8 coming your way in the next 2 weeks…its also Halloween soon and that means it’s my annual pilgrimage to Whitby Goth Festival so I’ll have some interesting stuff to post on here from that!

Happy skin!

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Studio Bleu School of Beauty

So on Monday I began a new venture offering fast-track beauty courses in Nottingham and surrounding areas. 

This has stemmed from the completion of my teaching qualification as I wanted to deliver high-quality courses for individuals who want to improve their skills, add skills to their menus or start a new career in beauty and spa.

All courses are Guild Accredited and insurable through the Guild of Beauty Therapists.

Right now, I’m in the process of building a website to host all of my information, but for now I have a Facebook page where I house everything.

Check out the information on the websites below, I’ll be including information regarding it on here regularly in between skincare posts.

I’m available for individuals, salons, spas and colleges for training so if you or anyone you know is looking for extra-curricular education then please point them in my direction!

Information:

http://www.facebook.com/studiobleusob

http://www.studiobleuschoolofbeauty.freeindex.co.uk

http://www.beautyguild.com

  

Taking beauty by storm: micellar technologies

As a therapist, I know that it is important to properly cleanse the skin and it should be done twice per cleanse, tone and moisturise session to ensure the proper removal of grime and to help with the absorption of products that follow.

There are a variety of types from creams, clay based and foaming skin washes, but what about oils? What about waters?

Skincare companies such as Decleor and Dermalogica have created and widely use a new micellar technology within their products, which means that an unlikely consistency can be used by all skins to remove dirt, grime and makeup.

Micellar technology encapsulates particles of dirt and makeup and quickly loosens and removes it for a smooth, clean finish. They have an oily texture so are incredibly nourishing to the skin, but this does not mean that oily skins are exempt from this.
Oil attracts oil, so any excess oils on the skin are also removed along with the dirt.
Another top benefit of micellar technologies are that they do not strip the skin of it’s vital pH 5.5, which means that toning afterwards is not necessary.
It maintains skin balance and is therefore anti-ageing.

Examples of micellar products are as follows:

Decleor’s micellar oil and micellar water.
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The oil is quick and simple to use, you only need 1 pump so in reality this should last up to 6 months with 1 person using it.
You apply the product to a dry face and massage all over, including the eye area to really loosen the dirt. Once ready, you must then emulsify with water to loosen even further. Finish by removing the dirt with warm clean water, warm flannels or mittens. Apply your serums and moisturisers to finish the treatment.

The waters are also similar in their usage and should last a similar length of time to the oil. Apply to a dry cotton pad and wipe the face, including the eye area to remove all the dirt. No other water is required, just wipe with the pad and you’re done! Once again no toning is required and you can then complete the service with your serum and moisturiser.

The products can be used both morning and night but they are recommended to be used in the the evening before your night treatments and products are applied.

They can be purchased from here, http://www.decleor.co.uk

My experiences have been incredibly positive, I’m in love with the oil and use the waters to quickly cleanse if I have been lazy with my nightly cleanse.
The combination of the 2 work perfectly, the waters in the morning really clean and refresh the skin whilst the oil deeply cleanses and nourishes leaving my skin silky soft and clear.

Try them for yourselves, if you’ve struggled with cleansing then these are the products for you. You can cleanse in confidence knowing your skin will be cared for!

Beauty UK purchase review, NEC Birmingham Sunday 18th May 2014.

So yesterday I was fortunate enough to head on down to Birmingham to check out what the NEC beauty UK show had to offer that was different from the other shows I’d attended in the past.
This was a new one for me, despite it being the closest as I’ve always gone further afield and stayed over at the other shows I’d attended.

I found it quite informative! I managed to get loads of advice and information regarding new treatments from brands such as Elemis and Crystal Clear and also managed to get my hands on some products whilst I was at it!

So what did I buy? Here’s an overview of 2 of my favourites!

Elemis’ stand had lots on offer, on one side they had demonstrations of their new machine-based treatments and on the other, the retail stand.
I only bought one item, as my main focus for going was to obtain information to take back to the college but what I did buy I was more than happy with :).

Elemis’ hand wash and hand cream duo in lavender was a sure purchase. The RRP was £17.50 but I was lucky to get it at £14 only for the set of 2 at 195ml size, which was a complete bargain!
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The duo is a luxurious collection for your hands and is perfect to show off to your friends in the bathroom when they come to visit!
The main ingredient is lavender and is apparent by the strong but not overpowering aroma, which is great for relaxing the senses. Perfect to use at night just before bedtime!
The hand wash alone does not leave your skin dry and flaky. It contains skin softening ingredients such as soy, wheat and milk proteins and when combined with the hydrating ingredients of jojoba and gold of pleasure oil in the hand cream you’re sure to achieve great hands for get summer and beyond!
I’m not sure if I really want to put it out for my friends to use though…it’s far to nice for them so I will most likely end up saving it all for myself!

So I also managed to find these little treasures after many many times searching my local stores but finally we got some! The sleep-in rollers usually RRP at around £30-35 in most highstreet shops, but here I managed to snap them up for a mere £10, and with extras included in the package!

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The sleep-in rollers seem to have taken the market by storm! Almost everybody I saw at the show was carrying a bag of them and I wanted in on the action. You get 20 rollers in the kit plus a large carry bag, small carry bag, instructions on a DVD, hair grips and a small bag to keep the grips safe.

I’ve slept in rollers before when I used to compete with my dancing and can say that in previous years they kept me awake most of night just because they’re so uncomfortable!
These, however are perfectly named…you do indeed sleep! The soft foam cushion inside the rollers provide a layer of comfort and with that fabulous sparkle you’re sure to look (almost) like a movie star on awakening!
The results are great too, you get great root lift for longer hair and natural curls if your hair is shorter, like my mother’s.
I’d definitely pay the full price if I couldn’t get them any cheaper and they come in a choice of 2 colours, pink with silver sparkle and black with gold sparkle.

Grab them and more by checking out the websites:
http://www.elemis.co.uk
http://www.sleepinrollers.com

Forever young: Top 10 tips for year round health and beauty, part 4.

So, it’s been a while hasn’t it? Well I’m back so let’s get right on to another post on how to maintain a youthful you all year round!

So this post looks primarily at a certain health concern rather than the aesthetic issue of beauty, but surely a heathy individual leads to happiness and all round beauty does it not? I know so!

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Number 4: stress

Yep, that’s it. Stress! and in this world of busy busy busy lifestyles and careers it’s an increasing problem and a major cause of premature ageing.

So what stresses us out? Well it all depends on what we do and how we are able to handle certain situations.

In my job as an assessor and lecturer I put up with stressful situations on a daily basis and experience has taught me to cope with them better. However, there are some circumstances that cause me a great deal of stress and anxiety, and as a result, they can often make me feel nauseous, tired or dizzy and even give me migraines in extreme cases.

Stress can be caused from a whole host of issues and causes an imbalance in our body’s equilibrium, which suppresses our body’s immune system, leaving us more prone to illness and infection.

So how does stress age us and why is it a beauty/skincare issue?
Well, here is a list of a few symptoms of stress and a few I’ve picked out that are the most interesting…and relevant to explore a little further.

1. Indigestion
2. Lack of sleep
3. Diarrhoea
4. Eating more or eating less
5. Using drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes to relax

In part 2 we looked at how cigarettes age the skin by slowly suffocating it by replacing the oxygen in the red blood cells with carbon monoxide.
In a later episode, we can explore the effects of alcohol on our body and skin.

By not having enough sleep, the body cannot heal and repair itself properly. This includes the skin. Over time our skin will become lack lustre and sallow, bags will start to appear under the eye area and elasticity will diminish.

Food has an effect on our bodies and the look of our skin too. If we eat the wrong food or not enough of the right food our skin and bodies will become malnourished and age faster.

So what can we do about it?

RELAX!
Watch a movie, go for a run or walk have a warm bath or shower, listen to your favourite songs and sing along. Meditate, have a laugh with friends or head to your nearest spa or salon for a massage!
The solutions are simple but not always easy to do when you feel worked up about something.

Yes, it’s easier said than done but trust me it helps and there are some products that can assist with stress. So I’d like to draw your attention to my personal favourite, from Decleor.

Decleor’s aromessence de Bain is a calming, replenishing and nourishing bath oil that not only has the most gorgeous aroma that fills the whole house with fragrance but nourishes the skin leaving it silky smooth and soft.

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To use: add 20-30 pumps into a still bath of water and relax for at least 20 minutes.
It can be purchased from the Decleor website for £50, click here: http://www.decleor.co.uk

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So that’s part 4 over! Thanks again for reading!

Remember, with this episode especially we’re only scratching the surface.
So should you need any more information regarding stress management and causes please check it out online or visit your GP.

Please, stay tuned for part 5 and then we’ll be half way through the series!

Forever young: tip 10 tips for year round health and beauty, part 2.

Welcome back youth hunter for episode 2 of my guide to a more youthful you!

Episode 1 covered the sun and how overexposure can damage the skin short and long term, it also suggested ways of protection in terms of product use and provided 2 options.

So after sun damage, what is the number 2 cause of ageing of the skin, according to the International Dermal Institute?

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Number 2 – the effects of smoking.

Back in the old days smoking was the height of fashion, it was seen as something very sophisticated and honestly, with those fabulous cigarette holders in your hand I’m inclined to agree! According to my mother, back in 1957 the hospital would give my grandfather cigarettes to calm his nerves even though he had a heart condition! Amazing how times change and knowledge is gained.

We all know that the typical cigarette contains tar and various harmful chemicals that damage us inside, including blackening of the lungs; but it can also have a damaging effect on our skin, leading to a variety of ageing issues.

One of the chemicals found in cigarettes is called carbon monoxide, commonly known as ‘the silent killer’ a    tasteless and odourless gas that replaces the oxygen in our blood and slowly suffocates us from the inside. The small amount of carbon monoxide inside the cigarette is doing exactly that but on a small scale and constantly; starving the skin of oxygen and vital nutrients to maintain a youthful appearance. This lack of oxygen is also having an effect on our collagen levels, destroying them and causing the facial contours to sag due to a loss of elasticity.

Oh, and one more thing; we all know that we gain expression lines on our face from, well, using facial expressions but the constant action of inhaling the fumes from a cigarette causes vertical lines around the mouth and hollows the cheeks giving a skeletal appearance to the face.

So what’s the solution? The most obvious is to quit smoking altogether but in most cases it is easier said than done, so we need an alternative.

With regards to skincare, we must ensure that we are getting blood to the surface of our skin. This can be done in 2 main ways.

1. Exfoliation – depending on our skin types, this should be done at least once a week to remove dead skin cells, reveal new ones and promote blood flow to the skin’s surface. Exfoliating products can come in 2 forms, chemical (usually enzyme peels and fruit acids, perfect for sensitive and dry skins) and physical (your typical seeded scrubs, these are better for oily, combination and male skins).

2. Massage – gentle massage stimulates the blood and can assist in desquamation, the skin’s natural exfoliation. This can be done as part of a cleansing routine or when applying moisturiser.

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OK, so product time! Here are 2 of my picks of exfoliation products with one being chemical and the other physical. 

* A chemical product, Gatineau’s gommage gentle exfoliator. Effective and gentle, perfect for even the most sensitive of skins. Contains essential and botanical mint, boasting an anti-ageing and moisturising formula. Can be purchased here: http://www.qvcuk.com. 

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* A physical product, Liz Earle’s gentle face exfoliator. Containing natural jojoba seeds to gently remove dead skin, eucalyptus and cocoa butter. Not suitable if you suffer with sensitive skin or rosacea so would be better suited to oily, combination and make skins. Can be purchased here: http://www.uklizearle.com. 

Liz Earle facial exfoliator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, the above products should be used weekly, but with you being a smoker or suffering from sallow, dull skin is it possible to exfoliate gently daily? Yes it is!

Dermalogica offer a product called Daily Microfoliant, a gentle chemical based exfoliator that can be used daily on any skin type. Perfect for use in the morning to brighten and awaken tired and dull skin. You can purchase it here: http://www.dermalogica.co.uk. 

Dermalogica daily microfoliant

Dermalogica daily microfoliant

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So now we know that smoking is bad for outside of us as well as the inside and if we can’t quit altogether we can at least help our skin by exfoliating, helping to maintain a youthful appearance.

Remember, it is incredibly important we moisturise straight after any exfoliation, otherwise we risk drying the skin out and causing more damage!

Stay tuned for episode 3!

Forever young: top 10 tips for year round health and beauty, part 1.

Welcome to episode 1 of my guide on how to maintain a youthful you all year round!

This 10 part series will highlight the main factors that cause us to age faster and prematurely but most importantly, how we can fight back without breaking the bank balance and how it can fit it into our busy lifestyle routines.

Please note, I think it’s important to remember that despite how many lotions and potions we use we will never stop ageing in its tracks. Unfortunately, we’re all destined to age but it’s how we choose to do it that we can control…if you catch my drift!

So let’s kick off with, according to the International Dermal Institute, is the number 1 cause of premature ageing and how you can control it.

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Number 1 – overexposure to the sun and harmful UV rays.

How deep do they go?

How deep do they go?

In the UK, we don’t tend to see much sun throughout the year, so when it does make an appearance we flock outside and make the most of it!

But do we ever think about the harm it can do to our skin and the long-term damage it can cause?

So how does the sun age us? Well there are 3 types of UV rays; UVA, UVB, and UVC, which are each responsible for different things.

Let’s start with the one that is least familiar, UVC. UVC rays are unheard of because they don’t pose a huge threat to us, if any threat at all. The vast majority don’t even penetrate the earth’s atmosphere so don’t reach us to cause us any harm. That’s one ticked off the list!

The next ones on the list are UVB waves. Here we start to see some damage to the skin as these generally are responsible for tanning, or if you’re like me, burning of the skin but they also age us too. It is important to think about protection before during and after sun exposure as, believe it or not, a simple burn can cause internal problems that cause us to age prematurely!

I thought I’d save the worst until last, the UVA rays. These rays do the worst damage, damage you can’t always see straight away, this damage can take effect over time and lead to serious problems. These waves go deep into our skin releasing free radicals and changing the structure of our DNA! This can create moles and tags and potentially lead to skin cancers.

(A good way of remembering what each type does is this: UVCan’t catch me rays, UVBurning rays and UVAgeing rays. Works for my students!)

Visual depiction of the UV rays.

Visual depiction of the UV rays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what can we do about it?

An example of an SPF product by Dermalogica.

An example of an SPF product by Dermalogica.

We must ensure we include an SPF or sun protection factor in our skincare routines, this can be in a foundation, concealer or moisturiser and can be either mechanical (UV reflecting) or chemical (UV absorbing). Dermalogica’s range of skincare offers a variety of multifunctional products with SPF included and accompanying after sun products to help soothe the skin after exposure.

Though if you’re like me and can’t remember or are too lazy to reapply every 30 minutes or so then try Ultrasun. Their unique single-application formulas are great for those on the go as you apply once for the whole day! This depends on climate and you may need to reapply if you’re abroad but for everyday it’s a no brainer

Ultrasun single-use sun protection.

Ultrasun single-use sun protection.

Other tips include keeping covered by wearing hats, sunglasses, appropriate shawls and even driving gloves! You have no idea how much damage is done to you by the sun when you’re driving! The car does not protect you!

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One final note: don’t be afraid of the sun, we need it after all for vitamin D because without it, it can lead to brittle bones and Ricketts, which has been on the rise in recent years. The idea is to create awareness, not fear and that a little in moderation never hurt anyone.

Stay safe in the sun and stay tuned for episode 2!

Flora Mare – premium skincare from Germany; initial thoughts

Flora Mare is a new skincare brand to me that was brought to my attention whilst watching the premier show on QVC.

Its founder, Axel Ruth, a well renound writer and beauty expert helped to develop and design the brand to what we now know as Flora Mare.  The brand is founded on the use of maritime plants from the bed of the Atlantic Ocean.  This marine based brand claims to address the following 5  important aspects of anti-ageing:

“Visible smoothing of the skin
Antioxidant protection
Moisturizing effect
Vitalizing & regenerating
Reduction of wrinkle depth”

This post will focus on the good “all rounder” product from the illustrated collection, the Flora Mare day and night cream.

For more information about the founder and the brand itself please visit their website at: http://www.floramare.com

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Initial thoughts on the day and night cream were good when I first had it in my hand;  it is a fine lightweight cream with a subtle pleasant smell that is rich enough to benefit even the driest of skins. It’s fast penetrating and non-greasy properties make it good for oily to combination skins also. It works as both a day and night cream due to this fine texture, especially when combined with a serum or elixir via sandwiching the products or mixing them together.  Despite the anti-ageing properties of the cream it is also suitable for use for those of all ages and sits great under makeup. A disadvantage  of this product that with it being a day and night cream is contains no SPF, so use of sun protection in combination with this product is essential during the day.

The packaging is very simple but attractive. It’s signature metallic blue is uniform across the range and is most fitting for a marine based skincare brand. On a personal note, I find it incredibly clever that the logo, a starfish, is used with the number 5 on the packaging to highlight that this is premium skincare in a tasteful fashion as illustrated in figure A. The cream comes in a small blue box with application instructions in various languages including English and the native German on the side. Usually with skincare the company includes a separate instruction leaflet with more detailed information provided, sadly this does not which to me is a shame as I feel it is always better to have as much information as possible. The product did not come with an applicator or spatula as was seen in the live QVC demonstration, which again disappointed me.

The application of the product is very simple and similar to that of your everyday moisturiser. After cleansing and toning, simply  take around a 10p sized piece and place on the back of the hand to measure. It is important not to overload your skin with product as you will not only waste product it will not absorb correctly and your skin will be left with a residue that can clog the pores. Warm the product in the palms of your hands and apply in upward circular motions over the skin, making sure to cover the neck and chest, not just the face.  If you happen to have used too much product, try taking it down and over the breast area or rubbing it into the hands and lower arms. This is a top tip that any professional will give you to help get the most out of your products and reduce waste. Please see figure B for an illustration of how much you need.

In terms of price, the entire collection is incredibly reasonable and is currently available to purchase from the QVC website. I must add that the launch shows were very popular so some products will be unavailable to purchase at this time.

To buy the day and night cream 100ml you would be looking to pay £23.64 with UK p&p at £3.95, though I would recommend trying the discovery collection currently priced at £24.96, which contains the moisturiser at 30ml, elixir 10ml, eye cream 7.5ml and hand cream 50ml with accompanying cosmetic bag to keep it all together.

Can be purchased here: http://www.qvcuk.com

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The customer reviews speak volumes with the majority being 5*, including my own.  I found it quite hard to believe that a product line with such a reasonable price point could be as effective as it is but I am pleasantly surprised and will be a returning customer of this brand.

It really ticks all the boxes for me and my skin concerns as with having quite dry/sensitive skin I have found it difficult in the past to find something that targets my dryness but doesn’t cause sensitivity; this line has done the job.

If I were to nit-pick I would like to see some SPF integrated, even at a low level as with my skin being naturally pale it is something I must wear on a day to day basis.

In short, this brand is perfect for those with all skin types with ageing concerns or concerns with hydration levels that do not want to cause a flare up of sensitivity. It is multi-functional product that is easy to apply and quick to absorb, sitting perfectly underneath your makeup.  The price is reasonable, making it good for those who do not wish to spend a fortune on skincare but want their skin to look, feel and be healthy all year round.

A great collection for those new to skincare or who wish to try something new!

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Images.

Image to show 5* use of logo

Figure A. Image to show 5* use of logo

The amount needed to apply to the facial area.

Figure B. The amount needed to apply to the facial area.

Flora Mare applied to hand after absorption, notice the dewy look. Image taken with flash.

Flora Mare applied to hand after absorption, notice the dewy look. Image taken with flash.

Flora Mare not applied to hand, notice the lack of luminosity. Image taken with flash.

Flora Mare not applied to hand, notice the lack of luminosity. Image taken with flash.