Monday, 9 November 2015

Holistic Green Beauty - Organic, Handmade & Raw Skincare

It's not often I cover something on my blog based on a press release alone. In fact, it never happens! However since friend and fellow beauty blogger, Danny Stokes, has launched his own organic, handmade and raw skincare brand along with his partner Scott Bentley, I just had to cover it.

Danny and I started blogging roughly around the same time and also met a few times at various blogging events. We were both very passionate about skin care, particularly natural brands (although admittedly Danny's passion obsession for natural & raw ingredients greatly out shone mine).
Over the years we both explored different avenues within the skincare industry, with my route pursuing treatments and training as a facialist and Danny pursuing product development. 

I even treated Danny at Samsara Skin using his own range which was in the development phases. Fast-forward a couple of years, Danny & his partner Scott have recently launched the brand, Holistic Green Beauty.

Holistic Green Beauty is 100% natural skincare brand for the mind and body. Handmade products using raw ingredients to provide a pure, luxurious and effective anti-ageing range. Danny always had a taste for luxury and quality ingredients and his own range is an extension of that passion. No expense has been spared and the range contains only the highest quality natural skincare ingredients, in their purest form to ensure maximum potency.

The range is elegantly concise of capsule pieces, including a Chocolate Cleansing Balm and Rose Radiance Toning Mist plus two facial oils Orchid Cellular Protection Oil and Pink Lotus Cellular Protection Oil.

Every protect within the range is designed to be an anti-ageing treatment. Even the cleansing balm and toning mist at jam packed full of antioxidants and skin nourishing ingredients such as Green Tea, Vitamin C, Marine Collagen Peptides, Resveratrol and Pomegranate Extract.

The range costs between £38-£80, which reflects the luxury and high quality of the ingredients. If you're looking for an effective anti-ageing range that is 100% natural, raw and organic or wild-crafted where possible, then I definitely recommend you trying Holistic Green Beauty.

See for more information.


*Not affiliated in anyway, simply proud to see a friend and fellow blogger pursue his dreams and turn a passion into reality!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Sunday Spa – Rosemary Chi Detox Salt Bath

 I love nothing more than a day at the spa, however due to work commitments, I haven’t been able to do that as much recently!

One thing I have been indulging in though is enjoying a Sunday evening spa ritual. My favourite for the last few weeks has been the Rosemary Chi Detox Salt Bath and turning my bathroom into a mini-home spa experience. Which comprises of an aromatherapy shower, invigorating body scrub and detoxifying salt bath.

I thought I’d share with you the protocol so that you can experience this for yourself.

Things you’ll need:

Bodhi & Birch Rosemary Chi Bath & Shower Therapy.
Bodhi & Birch Rosemary Chi Himalayan Detox Scrub
Westlab Himalayan bath salts (200 – 500g)
Dry body brush
A pint of cold lemon water
Time to yourself

Optional extras:

Scented candle
Relaxing music
A good book

Rosemary Chi Detox Salt Bath – Home Spa Experience

Step 1. – Light your scented candle (if using) and put some place safe within the bathroom so it doesn’t get knocked over. Any will do but for this particular experience, something herbal like Neom Focus The Mind works best. 

Step 2. – Use your dry body brush to gently brush your skin. This helps to boost the circulatory and lymphatic systems, as well as providing a form of exfoliation.

Step 3. – Pre-shower – No one wants to be lying in a bath full of dirty water, so shower using Bodhi & Birch Rosemary Chi Bath &Shower Therapy. Be sure to inhale all of the beautiful aromas to help restore and balance the mind.

Step 4. – If your shower is over the bath (like mine), stay in the tub and put the plug in and add your Himalayan bath salts to the tub (I have been using Westlab) and start filling the tub with warm water.

Step 5. – While the water is filling up, take a large handful of the Bodhi & Birch Rosemary Chi Himalayan Detox Scrub, distribute evenly between your hands and press small amounts all over your body. Do not go back for more product as this will introduce water into the pot and spoil the product, so be sure to take an adequate amount first time.

Step 6. – Gently massage the scrub all over the body (avoiding the face) in circular motions. This will further encourage the circulatory and lymphatic systems to work following the dry body brushing.

Step 7. – Once the water has filled to a suitable level, submerge yourself in the water and allow for the salt to rinse of your body and the warmth from the water help the oils melt into your skin and the essential oils release their fragrance into the air.

Step 8. – Relax in the bath water, which is now infused with Himalayan bath salts, plus plant oils and essential oils. Sip the lemon water to help encourage flushing of toxins from within and help replenish lost water (the detoxifying effects of the bath will make you sweat!). Read a book or listen to relaxing music and stay in the bath for a minimum of 20 minutes for the full detoxifying effects of this mineral-rich bath to works its magic.

Be careful when getting out of the bath. You may feel a little light-headed from the detox bath. It’s not as intense an effect as an Epsom Salt bath, but it’s still best to be caution.  You may choose to have another shower to rinse off any salt water, although it is not necessary.


Sunday, 2 August 2015

H3O Hydration - Hypotonic Hydration Drink With Electrolytes

Regular readers will know I'm a huge fan of Rejuvenated products including H3O Night Repair and of course their cult collagen drink product, Collagen Shots! Considering water is essential for many metabolic processes within the body, H30 Hydration drink is the perfect companion to boost the effectiveness of both of these products. 

I have tried their H3O Hydration drink a few times now and loved it, but it wasn't until I took a bag on holiday with me, in 36°C heat and 65% humidity, that I really appreciated exactly how good this product was!

Firstly what is it? H3O Hydration is a hypotonic hydration drink with electrolytes that provides minerals and ions that are key for hydration. This allows cells in the body to utilise water better than drinking plain water. Remember the isotonic drinks that athletes use to keep them hydrated and provide an energy boost (mainly from all the sugar!), well hypotonic drinks are like a superior version to those. All the hydration benefits but without the sugary carbohydrates and it's only 2 calories per serving!

H3O Hydration also contains additional benefits of Hyaluronic Acid and antioxidants trans-resveratrol and Vitamin C, and because it's kept in powder form it means it's completed stable and fresh per serving. Vitamin C kept in liquid form degrades overtime so you're not always getting the benefit you think you're getting.

The hydration drink is slightly pink in colour when added to water and is supposed to have a very mild berry flavour, however this is dependant on how much water you add it too. I was buying  500ml bottles of 'aqua sin gas' (mineral water to you and me) on holiday and adding a scoop to that, giving it a quick shake and then drinking. I couldn't really taste any berry flavour, just a refreshing, fresh taste.

When you're in that kind of heat, hydration is even more important, especially with the humidity. Not just for skin health but overall health! Thanks to the hypotonic benefits of H3O Hydration I felt hydrated all day. Plus despite indulging in a few Gin & Tonics on the evening, I never had a single hangover or headache the whole time I was away (note: I am not advocating this as an excuse to get annihilated! But if you do happen to have a few too many, this is the ultimate hangover cure to restore lost hydration).

If you struggle with drinking enough water to stay hydrated or you're planning on a holiday abroad to somewhere hot, then this is an absolute essential for your suitcase! 

H3O Hydration hypotonic drink retails at £24.95 for 30 servings or is available as a duo for £45 for 60 servings. Available to buy from


Saturday, 1 August 2015

LightStim For Wrinkles - At Home LED Light Therapy

I have been a huge fan of red light therapy for a few years now and it supports my non-ablative ethos to treating the skin. I've use a couple of home use devices in the past, some have been ok and some completely useless. I also had access to an Omnilux at Samsara Skin, which delivered red light therapy for skin rejuvenation and rosacea treatment and used in conjunction with blue light therapy for acne treatment. So I've used LED light therapy devices from both ends of the spectrum, from professional strength to home use devices.

Recently I was sent the LightStim for Wrinkles, a personal LED device for red light therapy for home use. What excited me most about the LightStim was the fact it's the only FDA approved handheld device, that delivers a professional strength red light therapy treatment.

Having tried a few home devices before I know that while some can be effective, you couldn't compare the results to a professional device like Omnilux or Dermalux for example. The problem is being able to deliver enough light to have a therapeutic benefit. Currently working on a mobile basis, I had missed incorporating light therapy into my treatments and had been on the look out for a handheld LED device, that could still deliver professional results. Then along came LightStim!

For those not familiar with this technology, simply put light therapy uses a number LED bulbs (light emitting diode) to deliver optimised light at a specific wavelength to stimulate a change within the skin. In the case of red light therapy, that means stimulating collagen and elastin production plus reducing inflammation. No skin care ingredients and no wounding needed. Learn more about the skin benefits of LED light therapy.

LightStim For Wrinkles uses a combination of Amber, Light Red, Dark Red and Infrared (invisible to naked eye) LED bulbs to deliver a therapeutic dose of optimised light energy to the skin. This means compared to other home devices I've used which only deliver light at one wavelength, LightStim delivers light at 4 different wavelengths, each having a different therapeutic benefit to the skin.

In comparison to other home devices I've used, LightStim is also a lot bigger, with a total of 72 LED bulbs. Home devices are usually much smaller, with around 16 LED bulbs. The larger head allows for a larger area of skin to be treated, so reduces the total treatment time.

I also preferred the fact that LightStim is mains operated. Other handhelds I've used have been battery operated / rechargeable, which seems really convenient at first, until you have to recharge it every second day! Due to how powerful LightStim is, the fact it's mains operated makes it much less frustrating to use and no risk of it running out of juice when you've only done half your face.

Another hand feature that I like is the fact it has a timer, so beeps after 3 minutes to indicate you need to move it to another area of your face.

Results wise it definitely delivers! They state for optimum results to use 5 times a week for 6-8 weeks before moving on to a maintenance programme. Personally I noticed results in on my frown lines even after the first few uses, so it's not a case of having to wait 6 weeks before you notice an improvement, but the results are accumulative and continue to improve over long time use.

The best piece of proof that LightStim worked for me was when I got a rather large pimple on my forehead about 4 days before my holiday. I used my LightStim device on the area every evening for 4 days. By the time I went on holiday there was barely no trace that I'd even had a spot in that area. Amazing!

The only downside, but this goes for all handheld LED devices not just this one, is it involves a time investment. Whether you use it as part of your nightly skin care routine OR just sat watching TV, you have to remember to use it. Personally I have 3 problem areas, my forehead / frown lines and eye / temple area, so a treatment session for me is 9 minutes in total (3 x 3 minutes). To do the whole face, it will obviously take a little longer. As long as you get into the habit of using it regularly though, I definitely think it's worth the investment!

LightStim For Wrinkles retails at £249 and comes with a 30ml Collagen Peptide Serum (which I didn't really test because I wanted to test the effectiveness of the device only) and is available from

*PR Sample

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Brush On Block SPF30 - Mineral Powder Sunscreen

Recently I've discovered a new mineral sunscreen called Brush On Block SPF30, that I've been using myself and also been recommending it to my clients.

Everyone knows the importance of wearing sunscreen on a daily basis to protect their skin from UV damage.  However from speaking to clients, it seems there are still a number of people who don't wear sunscreen daily. Not because they haven't heard the messages about how important it is, but rather it comes down to compliance. Simply put, sunscreen formulations in the past have been fairly problematic for the majority of people. If a product feels sticky or greasy on the skin or it interrupts the way makeup looks or alters the colour of our skin, it simply won't be used! This has left an unpleasant association with sunscreens in some peoples minds.

However thankfully today we have access to many different formulations of sunscreen available to us, in both physical or chemical format, ranging from creams, lotions, oils, sprays and powders, and thanks to advances in science it means sunscreens are a lot more 'user friendly' than before.

I am personally a fan on physical / mineral sunscreens rather the chemical sun filters. There are definitely pros and cons to both, but overall I think the pros of physical sunscreens outweigh the chemical filters. Having an oilier complexion, the idea of the powder-based sunscreens has also been appealing to me. I originally tried the BareMinerals Natural Sunscreen SPF30 around 3 years ago and whilst I loved the concept, the colours were a little bit off. So much so that even the lightest shade left me looking a bit orange!

Thankfully I now have Brush On Block SPF30. This is completely translucent, so doesn't give any colour or coverage to the skin. Meaning it's great for all skin types and leaves no white cast.

It's a blend of both Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide in powder format, so it's non-greasy and provides broad spectrum SPF30 protection against UVA and UVB. It also contains additional skin benefits including anti-inflammatory Chamomile Extract and antioxidant Green Tea Extract.

Surprisingly, it's also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes (of course you do need to reapply after water exposure, this is the same advice for all sunscreens!).

It's great for both men and women, because it's translucent and can't be seen on the skin it can be used under, over or instead of makeup.

It's really easy to apply and convenient to carry in your pocket for top-ups throughout the day as and when needed. The great thing I've found with Brush On Block compared to other mineral sunscreen powders I've come across, is that it's refillable! You can buy refills which are half the price of the original, so it makes it a really economical product long-term.

Below is a video I film on how to apply physical sunscreens. I mention two that I use and recommend to clients, including CosMedix Reflect SPF30 spray and of course, Brush On Block SPF30.

I can't recommend this enough. In fact, because I found myself recommending it to all of my clients, it only made sense that I should start stocking it myself! Therefore if you have treatment with me, Brush On Block SPF30 mineral sunscreen is now available to buy at the end of treatment. The full size 3.4g retails at £22 and the refills retail at £11. 

Appointments available at


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Fillerina - Derma-Cosmetic Filler Treatment

It's rare lately that a new skincare product will catch my eye enough to tempt me into trying it. The majority of 'new innovations' are simply old products, slightly tweaked but with a new marketing team behind it!

However, I agreed to review the Fillerina Dermo-Cosmetic Filler Treatment because it intrigued me! It's a hyaluronic acid based at-home system that is used as an alternative to injectable fillers to help plump out lines & wrinkles plus add volume to cheeks and lips. Fillerina is available in 3 grades depending on depth of lines etc. I was given Grade 3 to review.

In all honesty, injectable filler is something that has never really appealed to me. Even with the more natural fillers and administered by the best practitioners in the business, there are still a lot of risks involved and I've seen far too many horror stories that have put me off having it done. That's not to say I'm against it if people choose to have filler, it's just not for me personally. Fillerina is simply an alternative for those, like me, who do no wish to go down the injectable route.

Although with all 'injectable-alternatives', I think it's important to have realistic expectations and anything applied topically is not going to achieve the same result as something injected. Equally, this is also true for the many topical ingredients that claim to have a 'Botox-like' effect.

Having said that, what impressed me with Fillerina and peaked my interest to review it, was the very extensive double-blind clinical trail carried out and published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. Whilst many products have claims, they don't all have scientific studies to back them up!

Let me start by saying whilst many products boast about containing hyaluronic acid which is found naturally in the dermis layer of skin, the truth is most products use it as a topical hydrator. The molecular size of hyaluronic acid is simply too large to penetrate to the deeper layers, therefore it's more about adding hydration to the stratum corneum. What's interesting about Fillerina however, is they use 6 different forms of hyaluronic acid, all with a different molecular weight that enables hydration to the deeper layers of the epidermis.

The kit itself is a 2-step system that you use daily for 14 days consecutively but promises results for 2-3 months! It comprises of a hyaluronic Gel Filler and a Nourishing Film, to help lock everything in. It also comes supplied with two precision applicators which look like needles. They are not designed to pierce the skin, but rather ensure the gel goes exactly where needed. As well as add a little bit of theatre no doubt!

To use, you draw 2ml of the Gel Filler using the precision application then apply to areas of concern i.e. lines and wrinkles, cheeks and lips. Then you wait 10 minutes and gently massage in any residue. You then apply 2ml of the Nourishing Film and massage in. See the video below to get the idea!

Applying the Gel Filler with the precision applicator is really smart and helps to get the maximum product into deep lines and also on the lips etc. However with the Nourishing Film it was a bit of faff to be honest! Firstly, the product is a little too thick to withdraw it from the bottle using the applicator and secondly, there really isn't any need because you apply it evenly everywhere. The Nourishing Film would have been much better in a tube in my opinion.

There was also a slight problem with pilling / rolling of the product on the skin, which I believe is down to the silicone-based Nourishing Film. Hyaluronic acid itself is a film-forming ingredient and is great to use after a peel or dermal needling to create a film over the skin and prevent water loss. So if you try to apply another film-forming ingredient like silicone over the top, it rolls up on the skin. This makes it a problematic product to use in the daytime, because no one wants to go out with bits all over their face. Instead I'd recommend using it at night.

I also found that 2ml was far too much for my skin. My skin is actually quite hydrated already, therefore it wouldn't absorb the entire 2ml. Cutting back to 1ml helped but still didn't stop the product rolling completely. I may have possibly been better if I'd used Grade 1.

Results wise thought I was quite impressed, within a week I definitely saw an improvement in the appearance of my lines on forehead and in between my eye brows, plus my lips were much more hydrated and therefore slightly more plump (I have very thin lips, so any improvement here is very noticeable). 
Sadly however, I had to stop the trail after a week because I started to come out in spots, in areas where I wouldn't normally breakout such as in between my eyebrows, the nasolabial fold and cheeks. This could be a combination of factors. Firstly, my skin may have been over-hydrated and the water / lipid balance had been upset. Secondly, my skin generally doesn't respond well to silicone-heavy products, so the Nourishing Film could have been an issue for me. Lastly, due to using the product at night, I had replaced my usually nightly routine consisting of a retinol serum, which really helps to keep my skin clear.

In summary, I think it's an interesting product which definitely gives results and is a good alternative for anyone who thinks they need filler but doesn't want to go down the injectable route. It's also a good price point if the results last as long as they claim! However, be mindful that if you're prone to acne, that this may cause you to breakout.

Fillerina ranges from £79 to £95 (depending on the grade) and is available Cult Beauty, Beauty Is Skin Deep & Victoria Health.

*PR Sample

Saturday, 18 April 2015

I Haven’t Worn Moisturiser For 18 months!

I’ve delayed writing this blog post for quite some time, mainly because I didn’t want it to come across as one of those “I haven’t washed my face for 30 days” type news stories that drive me nuts! This isn’t something I’ve ‘trialled’ for a month and gone back to using moisturiser. This is something I’ve been practicing for 18 months and my skin has never been in better condition (admittedly I have made other diet and lifestyle changes, as well having different treatments over the 18 month period, it’s not just a result of ditching the creams!).

The other reason I’ve held off writing this post is because I understand it goes against what we’ve become conditioned to believe about basic skincare, in that “regardless of skin type, everyone needs to moisturise”. It’s a message that has been given out by the retail skincare industry for as long as I can remember and we, well, just went along with it. BUT is it right?

There will be some of you who after reading this will think I’m talking absolute rubbish and could loose faith in my knowledge as a skin therapist. However there will be some of you who it will make absolute sense, and may even change your perspective.

A Different Approach

19 months ago I trained with Medico Beauty (and now have the pleasure of working with them). I was introduced to a different methodology, one that is supported by many doctors and dermatologists. I say ‘different’ because with a little research you’ll find it isn’t a new concept, it’s simply not a common one, but once you understand the physiology of skin, it actually makes a lot more sense than applying moisturising creams blindly.

My suspicions were already rooted way before I was introduced to this way of thinking. I’m sure we’ve all got a friend who boasts about never using moisturiser in their life YET they have flawless skin. Even during my skin therapy training, it was always the clients that didn’t wear moisturiser (in fact did very little to their skin) that had the better skin.

So it got me to ask the question, if moisturiser is such an important part of keeping skin healthy, how is it that people who don’t wear moisturiser have such healthy skin?

Moisturiser VS Physiology

Firstly, let’s understand the role of a moisturiser. A moisturiser is designed to restrict / slow down Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL). Our skin loses water all the time. This is natural and isn’t the problem. The problem begins when the rate of TEWL is too fast i.e. the skin allows water to be lost too quickly. The result is that skin becomes dry and dehydrated. As water is the catalyst for enzyme activity, it means many metabolic processes within the skin are unable to be performed optimally, with exfoliation (desquamation) being just one of them to consider. If cellular turnover slows down, skin can become dry and unhealthy.

However our skin has an in-built mechanism to prevent TEWL; it’s call barrier function that comprises of a lipid bilayers. Imagine the structure of a brick wall. In skin terms, the bricks would be skin cells and the mortar holding the bricks together, would be the lipids / fats.

Apart from keeping water in (or at least slowing movement), barrier function is also responsible for keeping bacteria / pathogens and other undesirable substances like irritants out, so it’s easy to see how it’s an integral part of maintaining skin health.

In simple terms, healthy skin with it’s barrier function intact can prevent TEWL perfectly well on it’s own, maintaining hydration levels to keep skin functioning correctly. When barrier function has been compromised, then skin becomes dry and dehydrated, unable to function correctly and skin becomes unhealthy.

The Problem With Moisturisers

There are a couple of issues with applying moisturiser on a daily basis when your skin doesn’t need it. There are lots of scientific studies to support this, so please don’t take my word for it.

Firstly, many moisturisers contain ingredients that actually disrupt skin barrier function, making skin less able to retain moisture naturally i.e. the more you use the moisturiser, the more you’ll need it.

Emulsifiers for example are used to bind water and oil together to form a cream emulsion, however they can also react with the oils in your skin and disrupt the lipid bilayers and degrade barrier function.

Humectants commonly found in moisturiser are used to ‘attract’ moisture from the atmosphere towards the stratum corneum. However in low humidity, some humectants can also ‘attract’ moisture from the dermis, actually increasing the rate TEWL!

The other main problem with moisturiser is they’re not actually treating the root cause of dry skin but rather masking the problem and temporarily relieving the symptoms.

Applying a moisturiser to treat dry skin is the equivalent of treating a reoccurring headache with Paracetamol to numb the pain, when the cause of the headache was chronic stress. You’re simply plastering over the cracks in the wall.

The best way to treat dry skin would be to repair the barrier function and use ingredients that can stimulate the skin to produce it’s own Natural Moisture Factors (NMF’s) and retain moisture, thus behaving the way it did when we were children, so that skin ‘IS’ healthy and hydrated instead of just ‘feels’ healthy and hydrated.

Should You Stop Using Moisturiser?

Let me make it clear, I’m not saying that everyone should throw away their moisturising creams this second. I personally don’t use a moisturiser because my skin doesn’t need a moisturiser. Instead I just use an antioxidant serum and a sunscreen for protection during the day and a Retinol serum and hydrating mist at night. My skin not only ‘looks’ healthier than ever, but ‘behaves’ healthier than ever. However, I had conditioned my skin over a certain period of time. I also ensure I eat a diet that is rich in good fats and try to lead an anti-inflammatory lifestyle (as much as possible at least).

Instead what I’m saying is you shouldn’t be applying something on a daily basis that your skin does not necessarily need!

Firstly it’s important to address all the factors that could cause barrier function disruption that lead to dry skin in the first place. Aside from topical irritants these include poor diets lacking in essential fatty acids, smoking, sun damage and chronic stress.

If you have dry skin (or your skin has become dry over time), then moisturiser should be used a temporary aid to relieve the symptoms of dry skin whilst you work on repairing skin barrier function and correct the cause of the dry skin, to encourage skin to hydrate itself. It shouldn’t be used a permanent crutch.

If you have oily skin, then I’d reconsider using a moisturiser altogether, especially considering how they can actually cause further barrier function disruption. Providing the barrier function is intact, the skin is more than capable of retaining moisture by itself.

Sensitive skin is the only skin type I’d recommend using a moisturiser because it lacks it’s own natural barrier function, however I’m talking about sensitive skin in the true meaning of the term! Read more about the difference - Sensitive VS Sensitised Skin.

Regardless of skin type, if you choose to use a moisturiser on a daily basis, I’d highly recommend choosing a one that is free-from emulsifiers such as Polyethylene Glycol or PEGs and be careful when using humectants like Butylene Glycol or Glycerine that they don’t appear too high up on the ingredients list, especially in humid dry weather conditions. Instead choose something that contains Shea butter or Jojoba oil for example.

If you choose to ‘give up’ moisturiser, just be aware that it’s not an over-night process and that skin needs time to adjust from relying on an external moisture source and works on repairing barrier function. It’s also important to address what you’re cleansing the skin with because if your skin feels it needs extra moisture, it may be because you’re stripped too much away during the cleansing process.

For some there is also a massive psychological aspect to get over too. In other words, the act of applying a moisturiser is so deeply rooted in their brain that they ‘feel’ like their skin needs it when in fact it doesn’t.

Ask yourself this, do you actually know what dry skin feels like OR is it a case that you've applied moisturiser for so long that you can't reminder what your skin feels like without it?

I hope this has given a different perspective to the traditional 'cleanse, tone, moisture' method of skincare. I’m sure it's triggered a lot of questions, so please feel free to leave a comment in the box below!

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