Blog update: a long time gone but now back in force!

It’s been over a year since my last blog post and much has happened since.

I moved house! From Mansfield to Newark, UK…one of the most stressful things I’ve ever had to do as the house needed a great deal of work doing to it. 

I’ve recently graduated from my PGCE (which has undeniably taken up a vast majority of my time) so now I’m a fully qualified teacher and hope to be doing some freelance teaching work very very soon!

I demoted myself as head therapist at Clumber Park Spa and went to work in management and freelance therapy work up and down the UK. I also maintained close contact with Clumber Park and work closely with them on a regular basis.
With all that said its time to get back to business and I’ve learned so much from my break from writing that I have an array of product reviews, skincare tips and tricks to share with you all.

So watch this space!

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Beauty snips and money saving tips: Sandwiching Vs Mixing.

All of us skincare savvy folk will use several products in our skincare arsenal to help get the best results possible for our skin. These components may include:
– cleanser
– toner
– moisturiser
– exfoliator
– serum or elixir
– eye cream
– lip cream
– mask
Certain products can be either mixed together or sandwiched, depending on preference and tends to be the serum/elixir and moisturiser.

Now, if you’re not sure what I mean, let me explain.

Mixing is a no brainer, you mix your serum with your moisturiser and apply to clean skin. Easy!

Sandwiching is where you apply one first then the other, in this case the serum first then the moisturiser to seal it down.

Contrary to popular belief, moisturiser isn’t responsible for many major skin changes. It moisturises yes, but it’s main job is to provide a 2-way shield for the skin such as, preventing trans epidermal water loss (moisture lost from the skin) and protection from external assaults such as free radicals.

The serum itself is the treatment that gets right down into the deepest layers of the skin and works on giving the promised results, the moisturiser just seals it all in.

So where am I going with this?

We spend lots of money on these products and want to get the most out of them. Now this all depends on how dramatic the results are that you want to achieve and how much cash you have to splash when your jar runs dry.

The most cost effective method is mixing the products together as this creates a richer texture meaning it can go further in one application and you’re not tempted to use too much unnecessarily.
It does however, lower the effectiveness of the treatment serum used, so results may take longer to be seen on the skin.

Sandwiching is great for those who are careful (unlike me) and who want to see results faster. To do this you should apply your serum first, wait at least 5-10 minutes for it to absorb then apply moisturiser. This way, the treatment can penetrate and do it’s job in the the skin and then be sealed in by the moisturiser so it can continue working.

Decleor’s ‘duo concept’ highlights this fantastically as they release lines of skincare with a serum or Aromessence with its partner moisturiser. Now there are so many it would take aaaaaages to put on here and would mean lots of reading for you! So here’s a link for you to look at:
Www.decleor.co.uk

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Nutridivine and Aromessence Angelique, the perfect combination for dry and dehydrated skin.

So the verdict, if you want to save money and make products last longer then go with the mixing method. If you’re not worried about saving so much and want faster results then the sandwich method is your method!

Last tip before I go…apply your serum and moisturiser between the hours of 11-3am. This time period is the optimum time for cell renewal and will make your products work more efficiently!

Enjoy your fabulous skin! Stay tuned for more…soon!

Clear skin: tonight’s routine product guest list.

Just a quick post showing what tonight’s skincare routine will consist of!

I love to have a variety, variety is the spice of life you see!

Ok, so let’s start with my first cleanse to remove the bulk of my makeup and daily grime.

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Liz Earle cleanse and polish, an excellent and award winning cleanser.
To use, apply one pump to dry skin and massage in small, upward circular movements. Remove with a warm, damp muslin cloth and repeat if necessary.

Second cleanse, I always do 2 cleanses to make sure my skin is thoroughly cleaned and I suggest you do too! Even in the morning!

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Elemis melting cleansing gel is a creamy cleanser that is great for melting away daily dirt and grime.
To use, apply to damp skin and massage in whilst emulsified with water to deeply cleanse the skin without drying or stripping.

Toning is the next step of a daily routine. It is important to maintain the skin’s PH balance to prevent blackheads and premature ageing.

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Decleor’s tonifying lotion (on the right) is a lightly fragranced, soothing and moisturising toner that is suitable for all skin types.
To use, apply to dampened cotton wool and lightly brush over the skin to refresh and rebalance. Best used in conjunction with the product to the left, Decleor’s cleansing milk.

Treatment serum, oil or elixir next and as this week I’ve started a new routine with my skin bliss capsules so it’s fitting to continue!

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Elemis’ skin bliss capsules are simple and effective to use, the pink (rose) is used in the daytime and the lavender (purple) is used in the evening.
To use, apply to clean dry skin only by massaging into skin in circular motions to ensure optimum absorption. Be sure to inhale the aroma before you start!

Can you see a pattern? Lots of Elemis and the moisturiser is no exception!

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Elemis’ pro-collagen oxygenating night cream is a light but rich anti-ageing moisturiser. I find this great for my skin even though I’m not too concerned with ageing yet, I find it great for my dry and sensitive skin and always wake up looking well rested.
To use, apply a small amount to the face by gently massaging in circular motions. Unlike the pro-collagen marine cream, this cannot be used as an eye cream so please keep away from the delicate eye area.

Almost there! Eye cream time and it’s something new!

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Flora Mare is a hydrating and anti-ageing eye cream with a light and pleasant aroma, I’m always nervous with creams as I tend to get little milia spots around my eyes but this is great! No milia for me!
To use, apply a small amount to your ring fingers and massage around the eyes out wards over the brows and inwards towards the tear ducts underneath the eye. You can also pat lightly to help with puffy eyes.

The final product most people leave out, lip treatment. Our lips need TLC too and here’s my product of the evening.

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Gale Hayman lip lift is a creamy and light treatment for dry and ageing lips. The fact it looks like a lipstick makes it easy to use and can be carried around for quick application on the go!
To use, apply to the lips as a lipstick to upper and lower lips. Top tip, take it over the lip line to work on lines and wrinkles as well as dryness.

There you go! An insight into my nightly ritual, I do this every night with a variety of products that I love and you should too! Sometimes with an additional product such as an exfoliator or mask as well as my Tresonic cleansing brush for an even deeper clean!
I’m thinking of uploading video demonstrations in the near future, what do you think? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Stay tuned for my next post, I need to update my Tria experiment! ūüôā

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!

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.