31 May 2011

LCN GUAVA SUMMER HAND CREAM REVIEW

I love hand cream and I'm always more than happy to try something new.  I am constantly washing my hands throughout the day or using one of those antibacterial gel hand washes, which also means I am very regularly applying hand cream.  I was intrigued that LCN had launched 2 seasonal hand creams and was delighted to be given the opportunity to review the Guava one.

What they say......

The fruit of the guava is exceptionally rich in vitamins; the content of vitamin C is six times as high as that of orange. The fruit contains pectin, vitamin A and B-vitamins, iron, calcium and phosphor. These active substances contribute to the skin being provided with moisture and its regeneration. Their anti-oxidative characteristics protect the skin from stress and the free radicals ensuing there from. The fragrance of the cream is fresh and fruity sweet and awakens memories of fruit compositions of pear, peach, guava and maracuja. 

Available in Acai Berry, Guava, Cranberry & Goji Berry, Pomegranate & Sallow Thorn 





What I say......  This is a lovely light cream that is absorbed very quickly.  It smells absolutely delicious, like a bowl of  fresh peaches.  The hand cream is free from parabens and mineral oil and is just perfect for everyday use.  I took this product into work with me and asked my colleagues to try it throughout the week and then let me know what they thought.  10 out of 10 from all of them, they loved the texture and the fact that it didn't leave an oily film on the skin.  All of them absolutely loved the aroma.  For more information about these lovely hand creams please visit www.bcidirect.com


FYI this product was provided by PR


29 May 2011

XEN-TAN PERFECT BLEND REVIEW

You would think that as a trained beauty therapist I would be an expert at applying fake tan wouldn't you?  Well let me tell you something, I trained with St Tropez and several spray tan companies and I can apply a flawless tan to anyone other than myself.  Due to several disastrous attempts at tanning myself I gave up and these days if I want a bit of colour I tend to use the instant tanning gels that wash off at the end of the day.  I was a bit nervous when I was offered this well known brand to review but intrigued at the same time, so I thought why not.







What they say...... Finally a tan that you can blend to the colour that you require, that blends to your skin tone perfectly and blends flawlessly to create a natural olive glow.  No more nervousness about whether it will be too dark for you or not dark enough.  Perfect for self tan beginners and experienced self tanners alike.  Perfect Blend can be customized to match your unique skin tone.  The secret to this state of the art technology is the dual chamber system that holds separate tan perfecting formulas designed to work together, self tan on one side and instant bronzer on the other, simply twist the dial to deliver your steak-free instant tan, which will last up to 7 days.  The shimmer bronze adds depth and long lasting benefits to the colour, and allows you to experiment with contouring by highlighting and giving definition to areas like cheekbones and decollete.  The light sheen enhances the contours of the skin so you can highlight your best feature.  Xen-Tan is renowned  for it's wonderfully natural colour and Perfect Blend makes it easy to achieve the exact degree of tan that you require for different occasions.  It has a quick dry formulation and contains a breakthrough ingredient that neutralizes any self tan odour and provides a delicious fresh fragrance.  Rich in ingredients for soothing and hydrating, the unique paraben-free formula also contains a firming complex that leaves the skin lifted and toned.

What I say...... First of all I just love the choices that you have with this product.  If you haven't got time to do the whole self tan routine you can use the bronzer on it's own for instant colour, if you are tanning through the night you can use the self tan on it's own, or you can use the self tan and the bronzer together so you have the best of both worlds, an instant glow whilst your tan develops underneath.  You can choose to have a weekend away hint of colour or a fortnight in the sun full on tan.  


The Bronzer on it's own.  A little goes a long way.  this can be used for instant colour or for highlighting once the self tan has developed.


The Bronzer and the Self Tan together.  The tan strength I selected was number 3 out of 9 shades on the dial.



This was the lovely subtle colour after 3 hours of developing time.

As far as self tanning products go this is absolutely idiot proof, you just dial up your colour and glow (see what I did there).  The pre tanning rules are the same as with any other self tan, exfoliate and moisturise any dry areas, elbows, knees, ankles etc.  I didn't use gloves or use a tanning mitt, I was just very careful about washing my hands immediately afterwards, I didn't end up with orange hands either.  There is no funny biscuit smell once the self tan has dried, it actually has quite a subtle fresh smell.  The next time I use this I will definitely be going up a notch or two on the dial now that I know how easy the application is and also that I won't end up looking like a streaky oompah loompah.

You can find out more about this product by visiting http://www.xen-tan.co.uk/






23 May 2011

A SENSITIVE SUBJECT..............

Sensitive as in 'your moustache is frightening the kids' kind of way.

Now let me just stay that until I started training as a beauty therapist facial hair was not a problem for me, but as part of the training you had to have all of the treatments conducted on yourself.  So off came the teeny bit of upper lip hair I had and this one act has led to 10 years of self conciousness.  Once I left the beauty industry I kept my trusty wax pot and every couple of weeks it would be turned on whilst I was safely locked in my bedroom so that I could deal with this never ending problem.  It became a bit of an obsession, to the point where every couple of hours I would be looking in a 10x magnified mirror and plucking out any stray hairs that I had missed.  A couple of months ago disaster struck, my poor old wax pot died on me, I was absolutely horrified initially, then I wondered if it was time for me to try some of the other methods of hair removal available out there.

So I looked at laser treatment but my hair is not dark enough for it to be successful apparently, not dark enough, how dark does my moustache have to be, I could grow a better one than my husband and mine doesn't have any ginger in it!

Hair removal cream, oh dear I really wished I had skipped this one, the smell was up my nose for about a week after I used it, it tingled like mad and whilst it was busy melting the hair it was also melting my skin, despite doing a skin patch test and following the instructions and timings to the letter.  Yes it removed all of the hair but it left me with raw and blistered skin, so I had a 'Ribena Moustache' for a few days, by which time I also had regrowth.

Next up were the little 'ready to use' wax strips that are designed especially for the facial area, what a disaster, it was like trying to wax with bubblegum, luckily the wax on the strips was water soluble so I was able to wash off the residue, the wax seemed to stick to the skin but not to the hairs, I think I managed to get 3 hairs off each side before I gave up and washed it off.

Then I tried a cold wax in a pen like applicator, it stated that the wax should be held in the hands for a minute to warm it up, well after a few minutes I managed to squeeze a blob out of the end of the pen but I just couldn't get that stuff to spread on the skin at all, it was very painful trying to use the applicator to do this, I used a wax spatula in the end.  The product was so thick that when I used the wax strip the only thing that came off was the wax, leaving my moustache firmly in place.

At this point I was running out of ideas, I had been to a couple of local salons but I just wasn't happy with the results, the therapist, the salon, the lack of hygiene (double dipping the spatula is a pet hate of mine) I am VERY fussy when it comes to salon treatments.  Anyway, for the past few weeks whilst I have been walking through shopping centres I have noticed quite a few areas set up with dentist-like-chairs offering threading.  I would find myself just standing and watching in awe at the therapists performing miracles with bits of cotton.  I came very close on a few occasions to sitting in one of those chairs and letting them weave their magic.  What stopped me was the fact that there were people just standing around watching the treatments, myself included, and I thought to myself  'Do I want an audience whilst my moustache is being taken care of', 'Do I really want to take the chance that someone I know may walk past whilst I am mid-treatment', 'Do I want people coming up to me whilst I am lying there and asking me if it hurts',  'NO, NO, NO'.

On Saturday I went in search of a salon that offered threading so I could have a bit of privacy whilst dealing with this sensitive issue.  I was overjoyed to come across a salon 5 minutes away from work that just offers threading, no appointment necessary, no sitting in the middle of the mall for all to see, very friendly therapists, nice clean environment and only £5 for the treatment I wanted and a loyalty scheme.  Now I'm not going to say this treatment is pain free as it certainly isn't, but it's quick and super effective.  The therapist was lovely and explained everything thoroughly, she kept passing me a magnified mirror so that I could see if there were any areas that she had missed, she even managed to remove those tiny hairs around the lip line.  I was absolutely delighted with the results.  I left the salon with a very pale pink 'strawberry milkshake moustache' but within 20 minutes that had faded and I had a perfectly smooth upper lip.  So lovelies in conclusion I think Threading is fab, it's the way to go for facial hair removal and 5 minutes and £5 a month is all it's going to take for me to stop frightening the kids with my moustache.


19 May 2011

CLEARASIL ULTRA REVIEW


I am very lucky in that I never suffer from spots, I think over the years my skin has become very resilient to all the products I slap on it on a day to day basis.  Unfortunately not the same can be said for my husband, he suffers from spots regularly.  The other thing is he's an incurable picker, so his spots look worse and last longer.  After a recent outbreak on his neck he was a more than willing volunteer to try the 2 new products from Clearasil, the Ultra All in 1 Wash & Mask and the Ultra Rapid Action Treatment Cream.

What they say...... Combining superior skincare ingredients at an extremely affordable price, Clearasil Ultra’s New All in 1 Wash & Mask has two spot fighting modes. For use as an everyday ten second cleanser- simply lather onto the skin and then rinse. The salicylic acid based formula unblocks pores and increases skin turnover, whilst the anti inflammatory properties calm redness and swelling leaving your skin looking instantly clearer. For a more intense cleanse, smooth the creamy formula over your skin and leave for one minute before rinsing. The formula penetrates deep into your pores to give a deeper cleanse without over-drying your skin.

Dermatologically tested with proven results, the formulation utilises a blend of marine plant extracts called Areaumats that calm and soothe the skin, working in conjunction with the salicylic acid to help reduce spot size and redness. Detergents remove excess oil, whilst glycerine is rapidly absorbed into the deepest layers of the skin throughout the process attracting moisture. It’s a simple result - tough on spots while being kind to your skin - a complete All in One solution to your skincare problems.


The fact that hubby is now on his second tube of this face wash is testament itself to how much he rates this product.  Normally he will use a product until it runs out and then move onto something new, but not with this one.  He said it was one of the best face washes he had ever used and he plans to keep on using it.  He likes the idea that it can be left on as a mask and he does this several times a week, I can always tell when he does this as he is glowing when he leaves the bathroom.  Although this wash has not prevented him getting spots, when he gets them this helps them to clear up quicker (even after he has picked them).




What they say...... If you already have a breakout or a skin emergency before an important event such as a party or date, then help is at hand with Ultra Rapid Action Treatment Cream. Clearasil’s Ultra Rapid Action Treatment Cream is Clearasil’s fastest treatment yet! The unique Acceladerm™ technology gets to work instantly and is clinically proven to visibly reduce spot size and redness in just 4 hours!

Hubby is not too keen on this product, the reason being is because it actually works, which means that he doesn't get the satisfaction of having a pick!  He applied this onto a couple of his spots before going to bed, when he got up the next morning you could tell which spots he had applied the cream to.  They were less red and they never actually developed any further.  There was a bit of dryness around the area of the spot, so I would suggest using a moisturiser over the top.

So overall he gave the wash 10/10 and the treatment cream 8/10 (purely because it ruined his opportunity to pick!)


Clearasil’s Ultra Range is available within all major pharmacists and retailers including Boots and Superdrug. For further information and skincare tips log onto www.clearasil.co.uk






FYI these products were provided by PR

THE EFFECTS OF FLYING ON THE BODY

Well it's that time of year when we are all thinking about flying off somewhere for a well deserved holiday, I thought I would do a post about the effects of flying and give you a few tips on how to take care of yourself during a flight.

As some of you know I worked as cabin crew for the 'world's favourite airline' for 5 years and during that time I got to know first hand the effects that flying can have on the body, I also picked up loads of tips for taking care of yourself and I thought I would share some of them with you today.

Firstly a bit of scientific research and some facts and figures.

Us mere mortals find a humidity rate of 50% most comfortable, but even 25% is tolerable in places such as The Sahara, humidity in flight drops to 10% or less.  The physiological effects of such low humidity are rapid dehydration, dry skin, dry eyes and the rest of the body reacts to the lack of moisture by adjusting it's biochemical levels, which can throw your entire system out of sync.  Our body consists of over 50% water, so when we lose that water every organ in the body will be affected.

Low pressure in the cabin causes the Nitrogen Gas in our body to expand, this is what causes your ankles and joints to swell.

The air that you breathe during a flight is the air that is outside your window, although the air is modified before being pumped into the cabin.  Whatever pollutants or ozone levels exist out there are pumped inside for all to inhale.  This is mainly what causes fatigue, light headedness, lack of concentration etc.

Others factors that can have an effect on the body whilst flying are cosmic radiation and magnetic fields, although this risk factor mainly affects cabin/flight crew.

So, the most important thing you can do for your body whilst flying is keep yourself well hydrated, if you think that during a 3 hour flight your body can lose up to 1.5 litres of water, then you can do the maths on how much water to drink by the length of your flight.  Use saline eye drops during the flight to prevent dry eyes and use a saline nasal spray too.   (I will do a separate post in the near future on tips for looking after your facial skin during a flight).  I know that for most people the holiday starts at the airport but do try and limit the amount of alcohol you drink until you arrive at your destination.  Alcohol, tea and coffee will dehydrate you even more.

An aircraft is a very unhygienic vessel, it is the perfect breeding ground for germs and that is why most people either arrive or return from holiday with some sort of bug.  Prior to you boarding your flight cleaners will have been on board and emptied the bins, replenished the stock in the toilets and run round with the hoover.   Aircraft are not deep cleaned after every flight.  Can you imagine the amount of germs on an aircraft?  Everything you touch on an aircraft will have been touched by thousands of people before you, so you need to be scrupulous about hygiene, it's a bit like putting your hand on the handrail of an escalator on the London Underground and then putting your hand in your mouth, now you'd never do that would you, so apply the same rules on an aircraft.  Use an Anti-bacterial hand wash as often as you can, use Anti-bacterial tissues, apply a balm to your nostrils, this may help to trap any bacteria that are in the air, if travelling with a baby take sachets of Milton to clean the baby changing area in the bathroom, use Milton to clean any items dropped by children.  I know that this can seem a bit OCD but believe me public toilets are cleaner than an aircraft.

I hope you have found this post useful, I could've rambled on for hours.  If you have any questions regarding this post then please leave me a comment.


17 May 2011

TESCO SKIN WISDOM DAY SPA RANGE

Tesco have recently launched a new bathing range Skin Wisdom Day Spa Range, created using the expertise of award winning therapists from 3 of the UK's most successful Spas, PURE, Glasgow & Edinburgh, CUPCAKE MUM, London and GLOW, Cheshire.

Bharti Vyas commented; “Skin Wisdom Day Spa is a wonderful opportunity for women to elevate their bathing routine to a beneficial therapy by simply adapting their application technique, incorporating different breathing methods or focusing on specific pressure points. This next generation of hand picked spas is passionate that the simple act of bathing can be developed into creating a holistic experience, regardless of time constraints. Collectively, we are dedicated to sharing our knowledge and expertise and for this to be transported into the bathing experience in the home.”


There are 4 choices from the Skin Wisdom Day Spa Range,Pure De-Stress, Gentle Revive, Truly Relaxing and Very Enriched.

I tried the Gentle Revive range as these days I am constantly needing to be revived in some way or another and I'm willing to take all the help I can get.


Gingerlilly & Orange


I really like this body scrub, it's a very scrubby scrub, which is just how I like it, I really dislike wimpy scrubs. This smells gorgeous and leaves the skin really smooth and well moisturised, fantastic before self tanning.


I haven't used this is the shower but in the bath it's lovely, great big bubbles and a lovely smell, it's very similar to Molton Brown but a fraction of the cost.


This is a very nice body lotion, although it is very light, so for someone like me with very dry skin this is just not rich enough.  As it's a hand and body lotion I have been using it as a hand lotion and it's perfect, it sinks in quickly and leaves a lovely light fragrance on the skin.

Overall these products are fabulous.  As I said the formulation and the packaging is very similar to Molton Brown but without the hefty price tag.  I recommend that you pop a few in your trolley next time you are in Tesco, you will not be disappointed.



FYI these products were provided by PR



11 May 2011

COSMOPOLITAN BEAUTY ACCESSORIES

Cosmopolitan now have a huge range of beauty tools on offer and I chose the following 3 items to review.




So first of up is the Perfect Finish Blush Brush.

What they say......      Designed specifically for optimum blush application.  With a slanted head it allows you to sweep the blush onto the apples of your cheeks to achieve a healthy glow without overdoing it.

What I say......      Well as I own loads of brushes but not one angled blush brush I was happy to give this one a work out.  The brush has a nice sturdy, short handle, I do prefer a shorter handle on my brushes, I just find that I get more control that way.  The bristles are nice and soft and as yet I have had no shedding from this brush, even after several washes.  I have been using this brush for applying my blusher and highlighter and I have to say it's a damn good little brush.




Next up is the Tweezer Trio.

What they say......      Professional standard tweezers are the the answer to any hair removal needs.  With slanted and straight tipped tweezers for all purpose use and a pointed head for fine or stubborn hair.

What I say......      Now as a self confessed pluckaholic I cannot be without my tweezers, I use them at least twice a day, I have several pairs of tweezers but my favourite ones are my Tweezerman pointed tweezers.  I haven't used straight or slanted tipped tweezers for many years so I was happy to give this trio a little try.  I like the little storage pouch they come in, absolutely perfect for keeping in your handbag for plucking on the go, I'm not kidding, when I used to commute to Gatwick my favourite thing to do if I got stuck in a traffic jam on the M25was to have a little pluck!   Anyway, back to the review, these tweezers are of good quality and do a great job, whilst they will never replace by beloved favourites these are going to be a perfect little back up set.




Finally it's the Blend Perfect Sponge.

What they say......      Renowned make-up sponge that helps to blend foundation with a seamless finish to create an airbrushed look.  Unique ergonomic shape helps to apply make-up around those hard to reach areas, like the eyes and nose.

What I say......      Okay let's just get the girly sniggers out of the way shall we.  I have to confess the first time I saw a picture of this on another blog I thought it was a review for something you might purchase in an Anne Summers Store, not that I would know what they sell in those kind of shops ( embarrassed cough).  

Anyhow I have read some Marmite reviews on this product, some bloggers love it and some bloggers hate it. So here's my take on it.  First of all I tried to apply my foundation with the sponge, total fail, it just wiped everything off.  So I applied my foundation in the usual way, I applied my concealer and then I used the sponge to gently blend everything, I have to say I was very impressed, I also use a cream blusher during the day, so I put that on as usual and then used the sponge to gently blend this, perfect, no hard lines, just perfectly blended make-up.



Cosmopolitan Beauty Accessories have been created by a team of beauty experts from the world's number one glossy magazine.  The range includes 26 products covering make-up brushes, false nails, make-up sponges and beauty essentials.


FYI these products were provided by PR



10 May 2011

SKIN SCIENCE BIO ACTIVE RENEWAL COMPLEX CREAM

You know when you wish you had taken a before and after photograph, this is one of those posts.

What they say......

Skin Science is a new skincare brand from Norway which is inspired by the marine life found along the country's Arctic coastline.  Containing 5 key ingredients clinically proven to have a radical effect on the skin.

1.  Spermine  -  Found in every living organism where it protects vital organs from free radical damage.

2.  Omegatri  -  Omega-3 from Atlantic Salmon, which is very similar to the Omega-3 found naturally in the human body.

3.  Zonase X  -  A natural and gentle exfolliant that is produced by salmon embryos to help them beak down the eggshell that protects them.

4.  LEX  -         Derived from salmon roe that is rich in antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins.

5.  Quicklift  -    Non-sticky compound creates an invisible network of sugars that tightens the skin.

Protect  -  Potent antioxidants like Spermine help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals, while SPF filters shield the skin from damaging UV rays.

Maintain  -  Hydrating and smoothing ingredients such as Omegatri, Zonase and Quicklift are crucial to help maintain the barrier function of the skin and keep it performing at its best.

Renew  -  Ingredients such as LEX that promote collagen production are combined with vitamins and lipids to help renew and rebuild the skin.

Skin Science Bio Active Renewal Complex Cream.

Older skin that lacks elasticity will benefit from this nourishing moisturiser, which contains LEX, a compound shown to increase collagen production by 600% in just 8 days.  It also contains Spermine for powerful protection against oxidative stress and UV damage.

Wow are you suitably blinded by the science of this product?

What I say......

I will start with the things that I like about this product.  First of all the packaging, I love the idea that this a tube with a pump, so much more hygienic.



I like the effect that this product has had on my skin.  Now this is where I wish I had taken a before and after photograph, let me explain..........

Have my wrinkles disappeared? NO, but when I look in the mirror they are not so obvious.

Does my face look a crumpled mess in the morning? YES, but instead of taking until late afternoon for my sleep creases to disappear by lunchtime my skin looks a lot smoother.

I just wish that I had taken a photograph at the beginning so that I could see for myself the ACTUAL improvements in my skin, all I know is that when I look in the mirror today compared to 4 weeks ago everything just looks better.

Now for the things that I don't like about this product.  The smell is awful, so awful in fact that after the first time of using it I considered sending it back in case it had gone off, I just wasn't prepared for that smell coming from such a sleek looking tube.  I'm happy to say that within a few moments of being on the skin the smell disappears.

This is a very rich cream and I found that I had to wait a good 10 minutes before I could apply make-up without it slipping off, not great when you are in a rush in the morning.

There are 5 other products available in this range and it is exclusive to Harvey Nichols




FYI this product was provided by PR

8 May 2011

WIN 50 BEAUTY PRODUCTS FROM TESCO YOUR BEAUTY AWARDS 2011

Well imagine my surprise when I was asked to be on the panel of judges for the Tesco Your Beauty Awards 2011.  I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled and proud I was to be asked.  Judge Jude, who'd have thought it.  The judges are made up of a hair guru, a skin specialist, a beauty expert and 3 bloggers, one of whom is moi.  If you pick up this months Tesco Magazine in your local store you will see pictures of the judges along with all the nominated products.



The judges chose 5 of their favourite products for each of the categories and then commented about what they liked about the product.  Between now and 31 August 2011 you can vote for your favourite beauty products from the nominations, the winners will be announced in the November/December issue of the magazine.

Now for the exciting part.  If you  visit HERE and vote, every week for the next 16 weeks one lucky winner will win a treasure chest of goodies containing all 50 of the shortlisted products.  Now that is one hell of a prize and if you look at the shortlist you'll see that there are some gorgeous products up for grabs.

So go on girls, what are you waiting for, it takes a few minutes to vote and you could soon be taking delivery of all those fabulous beauty products.


3 May 2011

TUTTI FRUTTI TOMA NAIL POLISH COLLECTION


So here is my first ever nail post and I am delighted that it features 2 polishes from the new Tutti Frutti Collection from Toma.  These lovely colours just scream summer.  They are available in Mango Sorbet, Pistachio Cream, Tutti Frutti, Strawberries & Cream, Blueberry Sorbet and Grape Sorbet.



I was sent Pistachio Cream and Blueberry Sorbet.  The actual polish is quite a thin varnish, which makes the first coat difficult to apply, it looks streaky and because it's quite runny if you're not careful you will flood the cuticle.  However, the second and third coats go on like a dream.  Now I know most of you will be used to just putting one or two coats of polish on but believe me these are much better with three thin coats.




The finish is very highly polished and in the photographs I have not applied a top coat.  They are quite hard wearing and I got three days out of them before there was any visible wear.  Out of the two that I tried I loved the Blueberry Sorbet, I think the Pistachio Cream would look lovely on someone with a darker skin tone.

The full range of Toma polishes are available to purchase at http://www.madbeauty.com/ and the RRP is £7.25 each.


FYI these products were provided by PR.