Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Rescuing Sensitive Skin

Sensitivity is an issue that literally knows no bounds: it discriminates not by skin type, condition, or age, nor does it take into account any delightful impending events in your social calendar! Sensitive skin tends to arrive like an unwanted relative, at a moment’s notice, without so much as a second glance, and skin that was magnificently resilient for years beforehand can find itself befalling sensitivities. In the simplest of terms, sensitivity is an irritation (external), or an inflammation (internal) of the skin. 

The skin’s dermis grows weaker, and its barrier function consequently becomes compromised, allowing sensitivity triggers to burrow deeper within the skin.  Due to the diminished barrier function, the skin finds it tougher to inhibit moisture from escaping, causing dehydration. Every so often, I find my skin erring towards sensitive, and thank to a lot of testing, trying, and experimentation, I finally have my sensitive skin paraphernalia figured out!

La Roche Posay (and French skincare brands in general) really seems to have sensitive skin figured out to an absolute T. The ranges are extensive, and take into account all skin conditions and types, in conjunction with and sensitivity issues. Their Toleriane Fluid is my go-to for soothing comfort – in fact, it is described as a “soothing protective non-oily emulsion” and to be fair, that is a very accurate description. Definitely more of a lotion texture, this is lightweight and cooling on contact with the skin, and takes down any visible signs of sensitivity within a few moments, whilst also delivering the right amount of moisture. The non-oily element also makes it a fantastic base for make-up. 

Serum-wise, I tend to lean towards Botanics Skin Relief Serum Ultra Calm: slightly thicker than the La Roche Posay, but still ever so lightweight, this is calmness in a bottle. Again, this has a cooling element on contact with the skin, and seems to cocoon it in a softness that relaxes the sensitivities – apparently due to the marshmallow extract. This, again, leaves the skin non-greasy and supple. 

In terms of oils, experimentation has led me to the Nude Pro Genius Oil. Now, to be fair, this is an oil that I can use whether my skin is being sensitive or not, but the Omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9 seem to just know what to do for sensitive skin in particular. The ultimate treat for when skin isn’t quite playing ball, I layer this on before bedtime, and wake up to skin that is refreshed, plumped, and less stressed-looking. 

Lastly, a lovely, soft moisturiser – the Vichy Aqualia Thermal: as gentle as water on the skin, and just provides the right amount of weight to lock in all the previous products and goodness into the skin.

I hope you found this useful,
Much love,
Ani x

Twitter: @aasultanas

A big thank you to Ani from 'and laugh at guilded butterflies' for her guest blog post on how she manages her sensitive / sensitised skin. Make sure you check out her blog. If you're new to blogging and would be interested in being featured, please email me at - Andy

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Collagen Boosting 'Ageless' Treatment

As you may be aware, I've been a fan of Collagen Shots for a while now.  Not only do I take them myself but I also recommend them to clients, especially those who are concerned with dry / dehydrated skin and / or lines & wrinkles and loss of structural integrity to the skin i.e. loss of collagen! You can see my original review HERE.

I'm both pleased and proud to announce that I have teamed up with Rejuvenated, the producers of Collagen Shots to bring a new treatment package that supports my philosophy of treating the skin from the inside as well as topically.

I call it the Ageless Package, an intense 28 day system that combines CosMedix Benefit Peel treatments together with a course of Collagen Shots. 

CosMedix Benefit Peel - What is it and how does it work?

The CosMedix Benefit is an acid-free treatment that infuses the skin with Vitamin A + Vitamin C to increased cellular renewal and stimulate collagen production to remodel the dermis. It's great for all skin types and conditions, including Rosacea, Hyper-pigmentation and photo-damage.

Collagen Shots - What are they and how do they work?

An anti-ageing drink that contains 10,000mg of marine collagen with amino acids, Acai Berry, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamins B3, B5, B6 & C plus minerals Zinc & Copper to provide the body all the building blocks it needs to produce collagen and hydrate the skin.

Ageless Package - What is it and how does it work?

By combining both of the above treatments together you're giving the skin all that it needs to increase hydration levels, stimulate collagen production, increase cellular renewal and restore structural integrity, both topically and from within.

Both are fantastic within their own right but by combining the two together you get outstanding results and in as a little as 4 weeks!

This treatment is ideal for anyone concerned with dry / dehydrated skin, lines & wrinkles, loss of firmness, sagging skin / loss of structural integrity.

To find out more or to book this treatment please visit at


Friday, 9 January 2015

John Masters Travel Kit Review

Guest Post by Lucy @ No Mud, No Lotus

Hello! My name is Lucy and I write a green beauty blog over at No Mud, No Lotus. When Andy asked on twitter if anyone was interested in writing a guest post for him, I pretty much took his arm off. I love Andy's blog and to make things even more amazing, we are both Brummies, so it's a huge privilege to write a guest review post for his wonderful blog. 

I was over the moon to win a John Masters Travel Kit worth £9.99 in a giveaway from Amber's Beauty Talk - and with all of us starting to turn our dreams towards booking holidays far and near, it seems like the perfect time to tell you about this travel kit. 

The John Masters Travel Kit contains 1oz (approx 30ml) bottles of the following:
  • Lavender Rosemary Shampoo for Normal Hair
  • Citrus & Neroli Detangler
  • Blood Orange & Vanilla Body Wash
  • Blood Orange & Vanilla Body Lotion

The travel kit is neatly presented in a handly little pouch and the products are well chosen to work well for travel. 

John Masters Lavender Rosemary Shampoo for Normal Hair

This pleasant shampoo scores an impressive 2 on the EWG skin deep database (meaning that the available research suggests that the ingredients are fairly safe and clean) and has a fresh herbal aroma. I'm a big fan of both lavender and rosemary for their skin loving, clarifying qualities and the calming yet refreshing effect of their scent. Rosemary is also particularly good for making dark hair shine. 
The shampoo gives a nice lather and leaves my hair feeling clean and my scalp comfortable. I have fine, curly hair that tends to be easily dried out or weighed down, however this worked fine for me and in fact, I found I didn't need conditioner in order to achieve refreshed, manageable hair (this is something I've learned since switching to natural shampoos - without the harsh detergents in conventional shampoos, I don't always need to use conditioner with natural shampoo). 
The clean herby scent doesn't linger on my hair for long. For me, this is a bonus. I like my hair to smell clean, but I don't want an intrusive fragrance lingering and clashing with anything else I choose to wear. 

John Master Citrus Neroli Detangler

This is a lightweight conditioner and detangler which is described as being an excellent leave in conditioner. For my hair, it's a little heavy as a leave in (but then most things are for my fine hair), however my other half has thicker curly hair and it's great for his hair. It smells gentle and mildly sweet - citrus and neroli sounds like it would be an overtly sweet, feminine scent, however I think this is very subtly scented. I have enjoyed using it as a wash out conditioner and find that it rinses out easily and leaves my hair shiny and detangled. The downside is that this makes my super fine curls drop, so it's better for when I plan to wear my hair straight. Again, the EWG score is a respectable 3, with John Master's usual commitment to good quality natural ingredients evident. 

John Masters Blood Orange & Vanilla Body Wash

This was my favourite product in the travel kit - it smells gorgeous - a citrus zing well balanced with vanilla. It reminds me of driving through sun lit hills in Spain or Portugal, with a gentle breeze bringing the scent of orange blossom from the orchards. The formula is gentle and leaves my skin feeling comfortable, not dry or tight. It has a light lather and washes away nicely. The smell doesn't stick around on my skin (again, this is fine by me!) but has enough scent to make for a luxurious and relaxing experience. Again, it has an impressive score of 2 on EWG. This is something I would definitely repurchase. 

John Masters Blood Orange & Vanilla Body Lotion

Now, give me a body oil any day of the week over a lotion! In general I dislike lotions as I find they feel sticky and leave residue on my skin. However, I have enjoyed using this lotion, as it has a light feel and leaves a velvety finish. It has the same subtle, wonderful fragrance as the body wash and obviously, as a lotion, this is more enduring, but I don't find it overpowering. I rather like this lotion, however, in all honesty, I just prefer an oil, which means that it wouldn't be something I would purchase a full size of for myself. If you are a lotion lover, this may well be for you, however. It scores a 4 on EWG, mostly due to the inclusion of retinyl palmitate (a type of vitamin A). Some research has suggested that skin products containing retinyl palmitate may be potentially risky for pregnant women when used extensively and possibly may be damaging to the skin when applied and exposed to sunlight. Neither of these are particular issues for me - I'm not pregnant and not planning to be and I wouldn't be exposing my skin to the sun after applying it as I don't like the feel of lotion of my skin in warm weather and when it's not warm, my body doesn't see the light of day, but it's worth doing your own research and making your own mind up whenever you buy a new product. 

Overall verdict:
This is a lovely little kit - the products are well balanced and I think this would be a nice gift and an excellent introduction to John Masters excellent range of organic products. 

Thanks so much for having me, Pampered Prince!

And thanks for reading all -  have you tried the John Masters range? Tell us what you think about these products in the comments section below, or find me on twitter @NoMud_NoLotus_.


***A big thank you to Lucy to such a great review of the John Masters Travel Kit. Whilst I wouldn't have much for the hair care products, I do like the sound of the Blood Orange & Vanilla Body Wash!
Please be sure to stop by and checkout more of Lucy's amazing blog posts on No Mud, No Lotus! Andy.***

Sunday, 4 January 2015

2015: How Things Are Changing!

Firstly, a BIG Happy New Year to all my readers! I hope 2015 is full of happiness and prosperity.

I thought I'd write a quick blog post to thank you for all the support you've shown over the last 3 years! Wow, I can't believe this blog is now entering it's fourth year!! 

2014 was an extremely busy year for me so I didn't write nearly as much as the two previous years. I'm hoping to be a bit more consistent in 2015! I just wanted to explain how things have changed and will continue to change on the blog and I hope that you continue to show support.

In the beginning

In 2012 Pampered Prince started as a skin care blog, mainly reviewing products and sharing my pampering tips with you all. Like most beauty bloggers, I was obsessed with trying new products. Even if you're happy with a particular regime, you feel you always need to try the latest product because, lets face it, it's content for the blog. And as a beauty blogger you also get to trail a LOT of new products. Some great, some not so great! It can often feel like you're a bit of guinea pig sometimes, testing one product after the next, which can take it's toll on your skin, especially if you have a reactive acne-prone skin like mine!

A lot has changed since 2012, with my career being the most applicable. Working as a skin therapist I can't afford to have bad skin days. You get judged on your skills by the state of your own skin! You wouldn't go to a hairdresser with dodgy hair or a manicurist with dodgy nails? Of course bad skin days can and do still happen, but I have to do everything I can to avoid / reduce the risk. Gambling with my skin health and trailing hundreds of different product is one of the things I've stopped to reduce this risk!

The future

Firstly, my apologies to all my readers who enjoyed reading product reviews but I hope you understand why I've cut back on them. It's not to say I won't ever review a product on here again, it just means they won't be in the volume they were before.

Looking back at my stats I know posts like Top 5 SLS-Free Face Washes, My Opinion On Cleansing Wipes, Foreo Luna VS Clarisonic and Why Cleansing Is So Important have been really popular, so I'm hoping to do more blog posts like these in 2015 that are not solely focused on one product but offer either a collection of products or skin care advice.

I am more than happy to take advice or requests from you too! If there is anything in particular you want me to cover then please do let me know. Equally if you're a beauty blogger who's interested in wiring a blog post / product review on here then please get in touch.

For those of you who like my skin health advice type blog post you can catch up on more of this on my other blog on facials website

Again, thank you for all your support over the last 3 years, I hope 2015 is amazing for you all!


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Exfoliating Powders

Over the weekend I published a blog post on my skin treatments website about the importance of using Skin-Function Friendly Exfoliators i.e. exfoliators that support your skins natural desquamation process rather than anything too harsh or aggressive that would cause irritation or inflame the skin, like apricot scrubs for example *shudders*.

Whilst I'm an acid and enzyme kinda guy, I do appreciate that many people still prefer manual scrubs because some people a) are fearful of anything that contains the word "acid" (you needn't be!) and b) just like the feeling of a manual scrub against the skin.

The key is the type of manual exfoliant and how often. Remember anything too aggressive, coarse or harsh is seriously going to impact the skin barrier function. Which over time will leave the skin unhealthy and unable to protect itself. 

Powder-based exfoliants are a great alternative to traditional scrubs. Not only are they gentler on the skin, they generally contain some form of AHA, BHA or enzymes. So you get the best of both worlds, a hybrid between chemical and manual exfoliation if you will. Plus, because the ingredients are stored in powder form, it means there is generally less need for preservatives and the active ingredients remain active!
Like any exfoliation though, they should still be used in moderation. Around once to three times a week, depending on your skin (despite what the manufacturers may say!).

They can be mixed with water or a cleanser of your choice. They generally have some form of foaming agent for addition cleansing power while they polish.

Here are 3 powder exfoliators you should all be trying (in order of price).

Indeed Labs Facial Powdered Exfoliator 75g - £18.99 

A combination of Bamboo Powder, Rice Bran Powder, Red Algae, Hyaluronic Acid and Bromelain. Provides physical polishing and enzyme exfoliation. The addition of the Red Algae for a natural polysaccharide for barrier function support. They recommend using daily, however I'd limit to 1-3 time a week.

Available from Boots.

CosMedix Purity Detox Scrub 90g - £37.81

This is the one I personally use and also use in my facials. A combination of milled Yellow Corn Meal and Date Seeds, whole Poppy Seeds and Jojoba Beads / Esters plus Salicylic Acid.
The addition of Salicylic Acid makes it a better option for congestion. What's unique about this powdered exfoliator is the different sized grains to add a multi-layered polish and scrub aspect to the treatment.

Available from Medico Beauty.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant 75g - £41.30

The first powdered exfoliator I tried and probably the most well known. Similar ingredients and consistency to the Indeeds Lab version, being mainly Rice Bran based with an enzyme but with the addition of Salicylic Acid. Again, despite the name, I wouldn't recommend using it daily! As with any exfoliator you can over-exfoliate the skin and make it sensitised. 2-3 times a week is plenty.

Available from Dermalogica.

Friday, 12 December 2014

As Featured In The Stourbridge News....

Today was an exciting day for me and my new facials business! As I have been featured in the Stourbridge News, which is a local newspaper where I live and part of the Stourbridge, Dudley and Halesowen News Group.

The story focuses on my transition from IT into the skin care industry and how, with my facials business, hope to help people within the Black Country with their skin issues. Something I hope I've been doing for many others online since starting this blog!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the feature! I'm absolutely over the moon for being featured and it's really nice to read something in the news that isn't all doom and gloom for once (and the fact it's about me obviously makes it that bit better too).

Read the full feature HERE.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle!

Image Source

So the latest innovation to hit the beauty industry is DNA Microchip Technology from GENEU utilising gene therapy. Promising tailor-made and truly bespoke anti-ageing skin care based on your genetic makeup / DNA. Hailed in the Daily Mail and Telegraph as "The most advanced anti-ageing serum in the world".

The 'procedure' involves a doctor taking a swab of your cheek before isolating individual strands of DNA and injecting them on to a microchip. From which they can identify your genetic predisposition to collagen degradation and also your natural antioxidant levels that protect from free radical damage.
Thus determining your intrinsic ageing rate. In other words your genetic predisposition to ageing.

Based on the results your two personalised GENEU serums are produced. An antioxidant serum and a collagen serum (I presume this contains collagen promoting ingredients as collagen fibres are too large to absorbed to the dermal layer). All this for a measly £600 for the initial test and 2 weeks worth of serum, plus £300 thereafter for a months supply. Bargain right?

While I find the science behind the concept absolutely fascinating (and there is no doubt that's exactly what you're money is paying for), I can't help but feel that the application of the technology is nothing but of a bit of the old Razzle Dazzle! A rather extravagant and theatrical gimmick that divert your eyes and blind you by science to lure you in to thinking that you've got tailor made products, designed only for you and that it will some how turn off your genetic code to ageing.

From the location and futuristic decor on Bond Street, to the doctor who swabs your cheek (why they need a doctor to swab your cheek when the results are probably analysed by a computer programme I do not know!), to futuristic NASA inspired packaging. It's showmanship at it's finest!
It's also the ultimate in exclusivity. While some department stores can boast having exclusive rights over particular skin care brands, these guys have taken then one step further in that only you have exclusive rights over your serums.

Image Source
GENEU say "It's not about the serum, it's about the science", however if we were to just take the test out of the equation for a minute. Ultimately it IS the serums that are going to provide benefit to the skin. 
The science is giving you knowledge about your genetics and predisposition to ageing. However having knowledge about something alone is not enough. It's the actions based on the knowledge that makes the difference.

Now, I can't comment on the actual product itself because a) I haven't use them and b) the only ingredients I know of are antioxidants, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Tripeptides and amino acids. Nothing out of the ordinary there, however I'm guessing it's the percentages of each ingredient that makes it bespoke to you.

What I do find interesting however is the results that GENEU have reported. A reduction in lines & wrinkles by up to one third in 12 weeks. Considering the groundbreaking science and the hefty price tag I think those claims are rubbish! Considering you could easily get the same result by using a good quality Retinol serum for a fraction of the price. 

It's worth mentioning that only a very small percentage of how much we age is actually down to our genetics anyway (known as intrinsic ageing). The majority is down to external factors such as UV radiation, our diet and lifestyle habits. I'd say if you really wanted to slow the biological clock and prevent premature ageing then addressing the extrinsic ageing factors would be your first point of call!

However if it's the test that you're interested in and want an understanding on how well you'll age there is a FREE test that we can all do. No cheek swab required. 
Take a look at your parents and their parents, see how well they aged. After all you inherited your genetics from them.
Now that's your intrinsic ageing sorted, the next step would be to address the extrinsic ageing factors. So protect yourself from excessive sun exposure, follow a anti-inflammatory diet, eating plenty of antioxidant rich foods and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Last step invest in a good cleanser, an antioxidant serum, a retinol serum and a mineral / physical sunscreen. 

Now if the DNA Microchip was put to bespoke nutritional usage instead of topical skin care, then I think I'd be much more interested in giving it a try. However £600 for a test and then £300 a month for serums that could only give me a third of a reduction in my lines & wrinkles, is just not justifiable for me I'm afraid.
As with most things in the beauty industry I'm sure it won't be long until it's been commercialised by L'Oreal and we see DIY DNA tester kits in Boots, with a "prescription" 3-Step regime.

What are your thoughts? Have you tried GENEU Skin Care? Are you tempted?

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