Saturday, 19 April 2014

Bodhi Assemblage Gift Set Giveaway!

It's been absolutely ages since I ran a giveaway and as I've recently returned to / or rather had more time to spend blogging, I thought I'd celebrate by giving away a Bodhi Assemblage Bath & Shower Gift Set worth £40!

Whether you're a die hard Bodhi fan like me and you love the entire range or you've never tried Bodhi before and want to see which fragrance you like best before committing to the full size, Assemblage is the perfect kit for you as it contains a 50ml travel sized Bath & Shower Therapy in each of Bodhi signature fragrances.

Assemblage Bath & Shower Gift Set contains

  • Jasmine Falls Relaxing Bath & Shower Therapy 50ml
  • Ylang-Ylang Incensa Sensual Bath & Shower Therapy 50ml
  • Galangal Spice Vitalising Bath & Shower Therapy 50ml
  • Palmarosa Verde Purifying Bath & Shower Therapy 50ml
  • Mint Thé Refreshing Bath & Shower Therapy 50ml
  • Rosemary Chi Reviving Bath & Shower Therapy 50ml
  • Pep Noir Energising Bath & Shower Therapy 50ml

This giveaway is open to UK readers only and ends at midnight on May 1st. There are multiple ways to enter. See details below;

Good Luck!!


Friday, 18 April 2014

What Age Should You Start Using Anti-Ageing Products?

I was recently asked my opinion over Twitter as to "what age people should start using anti-ageing skin care products?".

I tried to answer, however 140 characters just simply isn't enough. Truth is, there is no straightforward answer (despite them being told mid 30's by beauty counter sales staff *eye roll*).

To understand why it's impossible to pin-point an age to start using anti-ageing skin care, we must first understand a) what is ageing, b) what causes us to age and c) how anti-ageing skin care works.

What is ageing?

Ageing is simply the process where our cells and tissues do not regenerate as quickly or effectively as they once did when we were children.  Although ageing is a fact of life and happens to us all, we do however have some control over the rate and how well we age.

What causes us to age?

As mentioned, ageing is inevitable. Our bodies are designed to have an expiry date. We refer to this as 'intrinsic ageing factor', it's our genetic code for our own natural ageing process, to which we have very little control over. 
Don't get too disheartened though, as there are many factors we do have control over! We refer to these as 'extrinsic ageing factors', these are external factors that cause us to age prematurely i.e. Pro-Ageing! 
Extrinsic ageing factors include;
  • Poor Diet - Food is fuel, therefore not nourishing our bodies enough or eating a diet rich in processed foods, robs our skin of the vital nutrients it needs to produce the building blocks needed to repair and regenerate. Foods that have an inflammatory response on the body in particularly, causes cellular damage, which in-turn makes us age faster. Foods high in sugar also leads to an ageing process known as glycation, where sugar attaches itself to proteins and lipids in the skin and causes a crosshatching effect. The result is sagging and wrinkling of the skin.
  • Sun Exposure - excessive amounts of UV radiation causes inflammation and cellular damage. Which prevents cells from renewing and therefore die. That's if you're lucky, as cellular / DNA damage can also lead to cells mutating and becoming cancerous. Then ageing is the least of your worries!
  • Stress - everyone deals with stress of a daily basis in some form or another. However excessive amounts of stress causes insulin and cortisol spikes within the body. Long-term exposure to these hormones has an inflammatory response of the cells and tissues, which as we've already discussed prevents cells from regenerating properly.
  • Lack of sleep - has a similar response on the body as stress. When we loose sleep our adrenaline and cortisol levels are high, a natural response to help us survive the day. However lack of sleep also prevents the production of human growth hormone, without which our cells and tissues are unable to repair and renew themselves overnight. 

How Anti-Ageing Skin Care Works

I like to the say there are two types of anti-ageing ingredients in skin care and both work very differently. They are 'Preventative' and 'Restorative'. 

Think of Preventative anti-ageing, as ingredients or products that seek to prevent extrinsic ageing factors. These include antioxidants and spin trap to prevent free radical damage and sunscreen to prevent cellular damage from sun exposure. 

The age in which you start using "Preventative" products such as antioxidant serums and a daily sunscreen, is simple. The earlier the better!! Why? You're preventing cellular damage that will show up later in life.

Think of Restorative anti-ageing, as 'restoring' or replenishing things that have been lost from the skin, whether it's from intrinsic or extrinsic ageing factors. This is where the age in which you need them will vary from person to person.

Take hyaluronic acid and collagen boosting peptides for example. Wonderful anti-ageing ingredients, but would someone who already has well hydrated skin and a plump collagen layer benefit from adding extra to their skin care? No, of course not. The skin is producing enough naturally and can only hold so much. 
Your skin has receptor cells which instruct the skin as & when to produce certain substances such as collagen & hyaluronic acid. If the skin has enough, it will stop producing anymore. Adding extra via skin care could potentially interrupt your skins own natural function.

Retinol is another fantastic anti-ageing ingredients, which is used for increasing cell turnover and remodelling the dermis to plump out lines & wrinkles. Is it worth giving it to someone who already has a healthy cell turnover and only superficial lines? No, not really.

Simply put, you'd be wasting your money by including certain anti-ageing ingredients that your skin does not yet need. Be aware that may also potentially do more harm than good.

As and when you introduce 'Restorative' anti-ageing ingredients will vary from person to person, so it's best to speak to a skin care professional to analyse your skin properly and prescribe which product they think is best suited to you as an individual. Not just a sales assistant who've been given rough guidelines as to which age group to recommend a particular skin care range to.

Key notes:

  • "Anti-Ageing" doesn't necessarily have to be topical products. Avoiding / limiting exposure to all the "Pro-Ageing" / extrinsic ageing factors is effectively anti-ageing. There are also fantastic anti-ageing supplements such as Collagen Shots you can take to provide the skin with the building blocks it needs to produce more collagen.
  • Be mindful of Anti-Ageing formulations. Many brands within the industry seem to think that ageing skin is also very dry skin, so use formulations that are very rich. Best thing is to choose lightweight serums over heavy creams. Unless of course you are extremely dry, then you can use both.

So although I completely have not answered the original question, I do hope it's given some useful information as to why the question can't be answered!!


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Why Cleansing Is So Important!

In my role as a facialist, I get to hear first hand from clients on their personal cleansing routine. I'd say as little as 15% of people I speak to know how to cleanse their skin properly, prior to coming to seeing me. In my role as a blogger I obviously read a lot of beauty blogs, which is great insight in to a) new products that come to market and b) how people are cleansing their skin at home.

It's safe to say that most people "under-wash and over-moisturise". With one of the troubling things I read time and time again is how great Micellar Water's are for removing makeup and cleansing the skin in one step. Seriously, it sends shivers down my spine every time I read it.

Makeup remover is not a cleanser!

Firstly, lets discuss 'What is a Micellar Water?' for those of you who aren't familiar. A Micellar Water is a water-based solution, with microscopic particles dispersed throughout known as Micelles, which have an ionic charge to attract oil towards them, therefore removing makeup, dirt and oil from the surface of the skin. Sounds very high-tech, however any surfactant cleanser will have the same effect.
The key thing to note is that Micellar Water, although kinder to the skin, is similar to cleansing wipes, in the fact they only remove surface dirt. This is called a 'superficial cleanse', meaning you're removing superficial / surface dirt and oil, and of course makeup. However, it's important to remove the makeup, dirt and oil that resides below the surface, deep within the pores, therefore I always advise following up with a 'deep cleanse', meaning a cleanse that removes makeup, sunscreen, dirt, oil and pollutants from within the pores.
If you're cleansing with a Micellar Water alone, then applying serums, moisturisers etc, then you're applying these on top of the makeup, dirt and oil inside the pores. If done repeatedly, this will lead to blocked pores, which can lead to acne. You're also causing your skin to age prematurely, if you're not removing all traces of makeup and pollutants before bed, it means your skin is unable to regenerate as effectively as it should. It also means your skin is exposed to more free radical damage during the night than it would be otherwise, due to oxidative stress from ingredients in chemical makeup and sunscreens (which is why it's also really important to wear an antioxidant serum during the day to protect from free radical damage, regardless of whether you're exposed to sunlight or not).
So now you understand the damage to your skin by not cleansing properly, lets discuss 'How to cleanse your skin properly'.

Night Time Cleansing.

Night time cleansing should always involve a 'double cleanse' of some form or another. Regardless of whether you're wearing makeup or not, as you should always be wearing some form of sun protection. Both makeup and sunscreen are designed to stay on the skin and form a barrier. A single cleanse is not enough to break down this barrier and cleanse the skin underneath effectively in one step. Even if you're not wearing makeup or sunscreen, if you live in a built up area and are exposed to pollutants (which is the majority of the population in the UK), then a single cleanse alone may not be enough.
If you're a fan of Micellar Water, then you would use it as your first cleanse. Think of this as your 'superficial cleanse'. The import part of your first cleanse is to remove all traces of makeup and dirt that is visible on the surface of the skin. You would then follow up with a treatment cleanser, designed for a 'deep cleanse' to remove impurities from the pore. The cleanser you choose will depend on skin type / skin concern and / or preference on texture (the types of cleanser are discussed later on). Ideally, this would involve a warm cloth to help draw impurities from the pore or if you want to get high-tech, I'd recommend a Foreo Luna for an ultrasonic deep cleanse.
Remember, if you have a good quality cleanser then there is no need to have separate products on the go at the same time. You can simply use the same product for your first (superficial) cleanse and second (deep) cleanse.

Morning Cleansing.

Some people argue that if you cleanse properly in the evening, then there is no need to cleanse in the morning and that 'refreshing' the skin with water is enough.
However this is simply not true. It's important to remember what happens to our skin during the night. Our skin sweats and therefore expels toxins, we continue to produce sebum and we continue to shed dead skin cells. We may also still have existing product from the night before. Water alone is not enough to remove these impurities from the skin. A single cleanse is more than enough though. I would personally recommend a water or cream-based cleanser in the morning, however as mentioned, you do not need lots of different products on the go at the same time.

Different types of cleanser.

There are various different types of cleanser. The type you choose will depend on your skin type or concern, and also personal preference on texture.
The difference types of cleanser include;
  • Cleansing Wipes - Suitable for superficial cleansing i.e. makeup removal only (however not recommended, due to the abrasive action on the skin needed to remove makeup).
  • Micellar / Cleansing Water - Suitable for superficial cleansing only (kinder on the skin than cleansing wipes, however only recommended for makeup removal).
  • Cream Cleansers - Suitable for both superficial and deep cleansing (Very gentle, mild cleansing but very effective. Suitable for all skin types) (See my Top 5 Hot Cloth Cleansers)
  • Foaming Cleansers - Suitable for both superficial and deep cleansing, although some not suitable for makeup removal. (Avoid foaming cleansers which contains SLS / sodium lauryl sulphate, as this breaks down skins barrier function. Suitable to most skin types) My favourites being CosMedix Benefit Clean and CosMedix Purity Clean.
  • Oil Cleansers - Suitable for both superficial and deep cleansing. (Very effective at breaking down oil and makeup. Formulations vary depending on skin type. Some contain emulsifying ingredients to aid removal)
  • Balm Cleansers - Suitable for both superficial and deep cleansing.  (Very effective at breaking down oil and makeup. Formulations vary depending on skin type. Some contain emulsifying ingredients to aid removal). I love the Balmology Cleansing Balm and Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm.
Therapists really aren't being spoil-sports when they say "cleansing IS the most important step". Remember, the skin is an organ, not a cosmetic wrapping for the face & body. In order for it to function properly, renew itself and therefore be healthy, it needs to be kept clean. If there is one change you can make in your skin care routine, it's to practice thorough cleansing. Get the basics right and the rest will take care of itself!


NOTE: Originally posted on the Samsara website but as that is soon to be closed down, I'm tweaking and moving some of the content over to here. The good stuff that is relevant at least. After all, I wrote it and it's a shame for it to go to waste!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Ochre Bath & Body Washes

I recently had the pleasure of trailing two body washes from the Ochre range. Ochre for those of you who aren't familiar are a UK based and manufactured hair & body care brand, who combine natural ingredients such as essential oils, sea minerals, plant oils and butters to produce 'functional' but luxurious products. 

All Ochre products are free-from sulphates, PEGs, parabens, animal ingredients, synthetic colours, synthetic fragrances or other potential irritants.

Regular readers will know SLS or other harsh foaming agents are a big no-no in my regime. Similar to cleansing my face, I don't believe in breaking down skins barrier function, to then replenish it with a moisturiser. It's just counter-productive. Nor do I have time to moisturise my body on a daily basis. Cleansing the skin correctly, with hydrating products that don't disrupt barrier function is vital for skin health. Which is why I chose body washes that are free-from SLS. Simply put, it saves time, money and skin health in the long-term.

I was sent the Ochre Awaken Body Wash which is scented with Black Pepper & Lemon essential oils and also the Ochre Cherish Body Wash which is scented with Cedarwood & Patchouli essential oils.

Both products do exactly what they say on the bottle. They foam really well and leave the skin feeling clean, soft and hydrated. They're really concentrated too. In the shower, only a tiny amount is needed on a sponge or scrunchie to produce a really nice lather. They also work great in the bath, for a luxurious foam bath.

Both smell great. I found the lemon essential oil in Awaken a lot stronger than the Black Pepper, so it's more citrusy than spice. I found Cherish a little more balanced. Neither are too over powering though, so you don't need to worry about them interfering with any fragrance you use afterwards. I personally didn't need to follow with a body lotion or cream after using these products, but if you have drier skin than me, Ochre also make body lotions and creams in matching fragrances.

Each retailing at £14 for 250ml, I think they're definitely worth the money. They smell great, last ages and most importantly, clean without stripping! 

Available from

*PR Samples

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Foreo Luna VS Foreo Luna Professional

I've been asked by lots of people, both via social media and email, what is the difference between the Foreo Luna and Foreo Luna Pro?
I use the Foreo Luna for Normal / Combination skin myself at home and I've used the Foreo Luna Professional Set on my clients, so I feel I'm in a good position to answer the question but with so many people asking the same question, we thought it would be best to provide the answer in the form of a blog post.

The benefits of Foreo Luna!

Firstly, let's start with the similarities. Both models, the Foreo Luna and the Foreo Luna Professional, delivers innovative 'T-Sonic" pulsations (meaning trans-dermal sonic pulses) and are made from soft rounded silicone, which is gentle, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial.
The "T-Sonic" technology, allows for a gentle, yet deeper more effective cleanse, removing more makeup, dirt and oil than manual cleansing alone. The "T-Sonic" pulsations are able to penetrate deep down to the dermal layer of the skin, stimulating the skins natural function and encouraging micro-circulation and aiding the cells ability to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste.
Unlike similar sonic cleansing tools, that use nylon brush heads. The soft silicone touch-points on the Foreo Luna and Foreo Luna Pro, means that it's nonabrasive and gentle enough for the most sensitive of skins. Plus, because both models are nonporous, completely waterproof, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, it means that bacteria or fungus is unable to grow on the surface. So you never have to worry about cross-contamination or changing brush heads.
Both models also come with an anti-ageing mode, the ridged-side on the reverse of the Foreo, is able to push your serums, oils and other skin treatments, deeper in to the epidermis, delivering those vital antioxidants, vitamins, peptides and other anti-ageing ingredients to the living layers of your skin.
Finally, both models come with an outstanding 2-Year Limited Warranty and a 10-Year Quality Guarantee, making the Foreo Luna AND Foreo Luna Professional a true investment for your skins health.

The Differences Between Foreo Luna & Foreo Luna Pro.

  1. The Foreo Luna has a single motor, therefore able to deliver the "T-Sonic" pulsations at one frequency only. The Foreo Luna Professional has a dual-motor and is able to deliver the 'T-Sonic" pulsations are different frequencies. Therefore while the Luna Professional feels as gentle as the Luna, it's double the strength and able to deliver twice the results.
  2. The Foreo Luna is skin type specific, therefore you select one of three models, tailored to your skin type. The Foreo Luna Professional is built for clinical use and therefore able to treat all skin types. The benefit to you, means as your skin type changes, the Foreo Luna Professional will grow with you and adapt to you skin type. You simply hold the device on varying angles to activate the desired silicone touch-points for your skin type.
  3. The Foreo Luna is available in retail stores. The Foreo Luna Professional is available through licenced clinics only.

Both the Foreo Luna and Foreo Luna Pro are outstanding and innovative skin health management tools, for superior cleansing plus stimulating and rejuvenating the skin. As a skin health aesthetician who uses the Foreo Luna Professional Set my skin treatments, I believe the Foreo Luna Pro is the superior model for achieving clinical results at home, in-between professional treatments.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Elemis QVC TSV April 2014

SPOILER ALERT! For those of you who like the surprise, look away now (although, sorry, the image has probably already given it away). 

For those of you, like me, who just love to know in advance what's coming in the Elemis TSV's on QVC, then read on!

It's called the Elemis 8-Piece Top to Toe Gorgeous Skin Collection and launches on Sunday 13th April. Tipped to be the second biggest TSV of the year with a saving of over £116!

As well as favourites for the face and body, a Navy Tote bag is also included, so would make a great set if you're planning a spring / summer holiday away.

The collection includes;
  • Tan Accelerator 125ml RRP £22.00 Full Size
  • Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream 30ml RRP £60.00
  • Skin Nourishing Shower Cream 300ml RRP £23.00 Full Size
  • Skin Nourishing Body Scrub 50ml RRP £8.50
  • Pro-Collagen Marine Cream 15ml RRP £24.00
  • Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm 20g RRP £7.60
  • Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Caps 14 Caps RRP £17.00
  • Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm 15ml RRP £11.50
  • Navy Tote Bag

Total value of £173.60. QVC Price £57. Better still, it's available on 4 EasyPay of £14.25 a month!

Watch QVC on Sky Digital Channel 640, Freeview Channel 16 Virgin Channel 740 and Freesat Channel 800. Also available on

Show times  - Sunday  13th Midnight, 1am, 4am, 7am, 8am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 8pm and 10pm.

Who's got their eye on it already?


Sunday, 23 March 2014

King Of Shaves Hyperglide

While I'm on the subject of shaving (see my recent blog post on the Balmology Triple Action Post-Shave Balm), let me introduce the new 5 blade razor from King Of Shaves, called Hyperglide, which I recently bought from Boots after reading a review on Andrew James Blog.

While it's really important to calm and soothe the skin after shaving, I also thinks it's really important to use a great razor that's designed to reduce irritation during shaving. Prevention is always better than cure!

For years I've been a Gillette Fusion user, so the concept of a 5 blade razor is certainly not new to me. However, what makes the King Of Shaves Hyperglide so unique if the patented "HydroGel" ring around the blades, instead of the usual single 'lube' strip. The "HydroGel" is designed to not only support lubrication (and therefore minimise resistance and surface irritation) but actually removes the need for prep (i.e. shave oil, gel etc) entirely. You merely, wet your skin and the razor and then shave!

Let me start by saying, I have incredibly shave-rash prone skin. So when I bought this I had ZERO intention of using it without any prep at all. To reduce the inflammation caused to my skin, I've even dropped down to almost bi-daily shaving now (unless I need to be clean shaven for whatever reason). So the first time I used the Hyperglide, it had two days hair growth to get through. Again, ZERO intention of using it without shaving cream. 

After using the first time WITH a shaving cream and seeing how effortlessly it glided through my bristles, it gave me the confidence (and curiosity) to try it the next day WITHOUT shaving cream. Admittedly, it only had 1 days growth to get through this time, but I was pretty amazed at how close yet comfortable shave it gave, without any prep whatsoever.

It's a pretty slick looking design too, which is really functional. Instead of a 'hinge', the shaving cartridge is molded on to the handle with flexible rubber, which means the shaving head flexes against the shape of the skin much better (it has a more accurate range of movement, compared to a hinge). The result is a really smooth but really comfortable shave. Also, a nice little touch that I like is the little suction cup that it comes with, so you can hang it up on the bathroom tiles. 

Between the Hyperglide razor and my Balmology Triple Action Post-Shave Balm, for the first time in my life, seriously, I'm experiencing what a smooth and irritation-free shave feels like!!

The only downside, is the replacement cartridges work out a little bit more expensive than my previous razor, at £9.99 for 3. But in all honesty, I'd rather pay that little bit more, knowing that I'm getting a better shave.

The King Of Shaves Hyperglide retails at £9.99, which include one shaving cartridge and is available from Boots.

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