Friday, 27 February 2015

SLEEPCLEAN™ - Anti-Acne Pillowcase

Yes, this is a pillowcase. No, I have not suddenly started wiring about soft furnishings.

This is the SLEEPCLEAN™ Pillowcase with acne fighting + antimicrobial properties to help fight acne while you sleep!

As a blogger and also working in the skin care industry, I'm used to seeing new product releases all the time and generally, in terms of skin care, a lot of the products are always very similar and often very uninspiring. However, when I was contacted to trial the SLEEPCLEAN™ Pillowcase I was actually really intrigued, for the first in a long time! 

It fits well with my holistic approach to treating skin i.e. treatment of the person, not just the symptom and considering all factors that could be contributing to skin problems and addressing them all. Often we focus so much on topical application of serums and creams, so the concept of a pillowcase that can help treat acne was really interesting!

How Does The SLEEPCLEAN™ Pillowcase Work?

As our pillowcases accumulate a build up of dead skins cells and oils, bacteria starts to multiple. The SLEEPCLEAN™Pillowcase contains Silver Ions, which are proven and highly effective at inhibiting the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms that would otherwise go on to our skin while we sleep, thus preventing breakouts!

Silver Ions also have anti-inflammatory properties, so help to reduce inflammation and redness associated with moderate to severe grades of acne. 

Dermatologists recommend changing your pillowcase every 2-3 days. However due to the antimicrobial properties of the Silver Ions, the SLEEPCLEAN™ only requires washing every 7-10 days. Although personally, I have been washing mine more frequently, for no other reason than I like the feel of freshly washed bed linen!

SLEEPCLEAN™ Pillowcase Test Results & Thoughts!

As far as appearance and texture go, it looks and feels like your average good quality 300 thread count pillowcase, it's very soft and comfortable to sleep.

Results wise, it's a little difficult to comment as I don't have acne anymore. Of course, I do still get the occasional spot like any normal person! Particularly when I'm stressed or maybe a little too busy to take care of myself properly. 

What I do find really interesting however is when I do get a breakout, it's nearly always on my temple area, a typical sign of stress spots and overworked adrenals and / or kidneys. In the whole 5 weeks I've been trailing this product, I haven't had a single spot on my temple area...........I'm also a side sleeper, so the areas of my face that have been in contact with the pillowcase have definitely remained spot-free. I did however get one spot, a matter of days before exhibiting at Professional Beauty but it was slap-bang between my eyebrows!

Would I Recommend SLEEPCLEAN™?

Obviously, it's worth mentioning that bacteria alone is not the root cause of acne so an antimicrobial pillowcase alone is not going to cure your acne! SLEEPCLEAN™ even state on their website that it's designed to be used in conjunction with a good skin care routine. I would add to that professional treatments and a dietary review.
However, if like me, when my acne was at it's worst I would have tried absolutely anything and if you're one of those people and your skin care alone just doesn't seem to be helping, then it's definitely worth giving it a try. 

The SLEEPCLEAN™ effectiveness is guaranteed for a year or 50 washes and retails at $34.99 (so around £22). Although there may be an additional charge for shipping from New York to the UK. 


P.S. Something the brand doesn't mention, which I'm guessing is because the trails have been on acne sufferers only, but I would personally be intrigued to see if it also benefited Rosacea sufferers. Technically because of the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, it could help reduce inflammation and Demodex mites associated with Rosacea skins. This is ONLY my theory as a skin therapist however, the company make no claim to helping Rosacea so don't complain to them OR me for that matter, if you try and it doesn't help. It's merely a hypothesis based on the benefits on the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of Silver Ions! 

Monday, 9 February 2015

Bespoke Facial Review: No Mud, No Lotus Blog

Lucy from No Mud, No Lotus blog recently wrote a guest post for me to review the John Master Travel Kit. We also discovered we were also relatively local to one another, and following the review Lucy booked in for a bespoke facial with me.

Lucy was also incredibly kind enough to write a review of my treatment. Read what she had to say about it by clicking on the image below or HERE.

A big thank you to Lucy for such lovely feedback on her results and experience. It's comments like these that make me love what I do so much!


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Retinol: Ingredient Focus

Best Retinol Skincare Products Anti Ageing Acne Pigmentation

Being the right side of the 30 (ain't nothing wrong with being over 30), concerned with the early signs of ageing but having oily / problematic skin means that most anti-ageing creams are out of the question because of being too rich to tolerate.

Retinol however, is a fantastic ingredient no matter what your skin type or secondary skin concerns. In fact, Retinol isn't just about lines and wrinkles, it has the ability to correct all sorts of skin conditions and concerns including acne, eczema, pigmentation, photo-damage, enlarged pores, excess oil etc.

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a form of Vitamin A and part of a family of ingredients known as Retinoids. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant which has the ability to protect cells from free radical damage thus preventing collagen breakdown, plus stimulates new collagen production.

I won't go into too much detail but if you want to learn more about Retinol click HERE.

Who Is Retinol For?

Pretty much anyone concerned with lines & wrinkles, pigmentation, acne, enlarged pores, sun damaged skin, excess oil. In fact, there aren't many skin conditions that Retinol wouldn't help with!

How To Use - Retinol 101

How to use Retinol and key things to remember when choosing a product;

  1. Retinol is sensitive to light & air so degrades easily when exposed to oxygen & UV.
  2. It's best to Retinol products at night to protect the vulnerable ingredient from UV exposure.
  3. Vitamin A is a stimulating ingredient so it's essential to use a sunscreen during the day.
  4. Retinol can be irritating so start slowly and build up gently.
  5. It takes 3 days for Retinol to be 'digested' fully by the skin.
  6. If the skin shows any signs of over-stimulation, give the skin a rest day.
  7. Retinol is converted to Retinoic Aicd before it can be utilised by the skin.
  8. Studies show the use of AHA's along side Retinol have been shown to boost the effects [1]

Read more about Retinol to Retinoic Acid conversion in skin.

Best Retinol Skin Care Products

Due to the fact Retinol is such a vulnerable and irritating ingredient, in order to use it in an effective percentage in skin care, it's best to best to choose a product that uses an encapsulated form of Retinol.

This ensure that not only is the ingredient protected but it also helps to deliver it to the deeper layers of skin without causing surface irritation.

All CosMedix Vitamin A product incorporate encapsulation and in my opinion offer superior results without the irritation.

CosMedix Define 

A cream based product that contains 2% encapsulated Retinol plus a combination of 3x AHA's (L-Lactic Acid, L-Malic Acid and L-Tartaric Acid) so it's a remodelling and resurfacing treatment in one.

This is a fantastic product for anyone new to Retinol to start with due to the lower percentage. It also helps to repair skin barrier due to the contents of AHA's and great for preparing the skin to tolerate higher percentage of Retinol.

Define retails at £63.66 for 30ml and is available HERE.

CosMedix Refine

A serum that contains 4% encapsulated Retinol plus amino acids and antioxidants and is extremely effective at increasing cell turnover and stimulating the skin.

This is great for anyone concerned with signs of ageing and / or a more oily / acne skin. Due to it's potency, it's highly recommend to either start on Define first and build up tolerance or start by using once or twice a week and build up slowly.

Refine retails at £54.58 for 15ml and is available HERE.

CosMedix Serum 16

A rich-serum that contains 16% LG-Retinex which is a blend of Retinol, Retinaldehyde and GAG's and is a super-charged anti-ageing serum.

Despite the much higher percentage of Vitamin A, this is actually much easier to tolerate than Refine because the encapsulation process uses a lipid (fat) instead of a protein, so it's slower release. This is best for more dry and ageing skins.

Interesting Fact: studies have shown that 0.5% Retinaldehyde is just as effective as 0.5% Retinoic Acid (Retin-A), except Retinaldehyde is more easily tolerated by the skin and without the localised irritation of Retinoic Acid. [2]

Serum 16 retails at £67.86 for 30ml and is available HERE.


1. Pharmacology of RALGA, a mixture of retinaldehyde and glycolic acid. Tran C1, Kasraee B, Grand D, Carraux P, Didierjean L, Sorg O, Saurat JH. Dermatol. 2005; 210 Suppl 1:6-13.

2. Profilometric evaluation of photodamage after topical retinaldehyde and retinoic acid treatment. Creidi P, Vienne MP, Ochonisky S, Lauze C, Turlier V, Lagarde JM, Dupuy P, J Am Acad. Dermatol. 1998 Dec; 39(6):960-5.

Friday, 6 February 2015

The Best Oil Cleansers

Best Oil Cleansers

To the uninitiated of skin cleansing addicts, cleansing with an oil can be a mind-boggling concept. Especially if you're programmed to think that suds = clean. However, ever since my first experiment with the Oil Cleansing Method, many years ago when my acne was at it's peak, I have been an avid fan of cleansing with oil, they're great for breaking down sunscreens / excess oil / makeup etc so ideal for your evening cleanse or the first step in a 2-step cleansing routine.

Whilst I haven't done the Oil Cleansing Method (or OCM) for many years, I do regularly cleanse my skin with oil. I'm also a bit wary of recommending the OCM simply because there is a lot of trial and error involved and it's best (in my opinion) to buy a read made (and product tested) product. In particular when it comes to cleansing with oils, a product that emulsifies i.e. changes from an oil to a milk when it comes into contact with water. Why? Because they're easier to use and don't require excessive heat or tugging at the skin to remove the oil, so providing the emulsifying agent doesn't irritate the skin (there are many to choose from!), they're much kinder to use overall.

My Top 3 Emulsifying Cleansing Oils

Ranging from around £10 - £40 per 100ml, in order of cost.

DHC - Deep Cleansing Oil

First up is DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. I received a sample of this a couple of years ago in a blogger goodie bag. I actually didn't like it as it broke me out, however I know loads of people absolutely love it, so I wouldn't want to let my personal experience with the product put you off! I have oily, reactive and acne-prone skin so it's not uncommon for me to breakout.

Its a basic Olive Oil based cleansing oil with a herbal scent but it does the job of cleansing and makeup remover really well. Retailing at £21.50 for a huge 200ml it's also affordable and economical.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil is available from DHC.

CosMedix Purity Solution

Not surprisingly this is the one I use personally and it's also the one I use in my treatments (as I use CosMedix in my treatments, obviously!). CosMedix Purity Solution is a new addition to the range and one of the latest cleansing oils to hit the market. This has a similar base to the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil but with the addition of Moringa Seed Oil, Kukui Seed Oil, Argan Oil, Safflower Oil, Sesame Seed Oil, D-Tocopherol, Melia Azadirachta Extract, Eggplant Extract and Turmeric Extract, so has a little more oomph to it when it comes to treating the skin as well as cleansing it! 

complex blend of oils with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant plant extracts with a subtle citrus scent. Fantastic for all skin types including sensitive but particularly good for oily & problematic skins. Retails at £28.36 for 100ml.

CosMedix Purity Solution is available from Medico Beauty.

Antonia Burrell Natural Glow Cleansing Oil 

I had the great pleasure of meeting Holistic Facialist Antonia Burrell for brunch in London one morning and she gave me a sample bottle of her Natural Glow Cleansing Oil to try. This was the first 100% natural cleansing oil to emulsify (without using synthetic emulsifying agents). This uses a base of Castor Oil, Sesame Oil and Wheat Germ Oil, plus Tocopherol and a complex blend of 7 essential oils. 

This can only be described as a pleasure to use and it smells fantastic! Retailing at £39.50 for 100ml, it's definitely not the cheapest out of the 3, but it smells and feels very luxurious, like an indulgent treat when you use it.
I can only imagine how lovely it would be to experience this cleanser during one of Antonia's facials! 

Antonia Burrell Natural Glow Cleansing Oil is available from Antonia Burrell.

Now go fourth and enjoy the benefits of washing your face with oil! You'll be surprised at how clean and non-oily it feels!

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.***
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