Friday, 11 July 2014

Introducing NCN Professional Skin Care!

NCN Professional Skin Care are a brand, which until recently I hadn't heard of but are a brand, I wish I'd heard of sooner!

I had the pleasure of meeting Katy from Treat The Skin You're In, the UK's official distributor of NCN Professional Skin Care. We met at the Anti-Ageing Show, at Kensington Olympia in May.

I was then very lucky to meet Katy again the following week at the Beauty Show UK, at Birmingham's NEC. Katy was lovely enough to have also brought along two products from the NCN Professional Skin Care range for me to try. Two very potent serums from the range, an antioxidant Vitamin C serum for the daytime and a copper peptide plus epidermal growth factor serum for the evening.

NCN Professional Skin Care - Vitamin C+ Serum

I already briefly mentioned this serum in my 'Top 3 Products for Pigmentation' post, but I'll go into the product in a little more detail here.
As the name suggests it's a Vitamin C serum, so primarily it's an antioxidant serum, designed for daytime use to protect from free radical damage during the day. 
Vitamin C is important for so much more than antioxidant protection however. Vitamin C is a precursor for collagen production, it's a fantastic anti-inflammatory and it's great at reducing pigmentation.

The problem with Vitamin C is it's a highly unstable ingredient and oxides very quickly. The other issue with Vitamin C is it can be very irritating on the skin, due to it's low pH. NCN Professional Skin Care Vitamin C+ Serum has combated these two issues by including other ingredients to stabilise the Vitamin C, but to also reduce the irritation, namely Glutathione and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP). Both powerful antioxidants in their own right providing great benefit to the skin, as well as stabilising the main source of Vitamin C which is L-Ascorbic Acid (a whopping 20%).

The serum itself is a fluid liquid which comes in a spray bottle. They recommend 3-4 pumps. Personally I found two pumps was more than enough for face and neck. The only thing to mention, is on the days I'd shaved, the serum did sting my open skin a little. It was absolutely fine on my non-shaving days however and obviously this wouldn't be an issue for my female readers!

It's a fantastic little serum and I highly recommend for anyone wanting a powerful Vitamin C serum, that a) actually contains enough Vitamin C to be effective and b) wants it in a stable form, again so it's effective!

NCN Professional Skin Care - Vitamin C+ Serum retails at £31.99 for 36ml and is available from

NCN Professional Skin Care - GHK-Cu Copper Peptide Serum with EGF

I didn't feature this in my 'Top 3 Products for Pigmentation' blog post, but I really should have! Basically this is a 'Swiss army knife' type product, so has something for every job or rather every skin type and / or concern.

The GHK-Cu Copper Peptide Serum with EGF ingredients list is fairly modest, comprising basically of, well, GHK-Cu Copper Tri-Peptide and EGF or epidermal growth factor (both ingredients are listed in my 'Top 10 Anti-Ageing Ingredients That Really Work' post). Also, some extracts like liquorice, aloe, radish and sea kelp.

GHK-Cu Copper Peptide Serum with EGF is great for increasing cell turn over, stimulating collagen production, firming skin, reducing lines & wrinkles, evening skin tone, evening skin texture, balancing oil production and is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Like I said, Swiss Army Knife Serum!

It's an absolutely dream to use too, it's an almost water-like consistency, which absorbs instantly in to the skin. I use after an acid toner and follow up a facial oil or balm to seal it in and add hydration.
I've really noticed a huge improvement in my skin since using it too. The tone is more even, the lines around my eyes have pretty much disappeared and the deep lines on my forehead are much less prominent. I absolutely love this serum and highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a powerful multi-tasking anti-ageing serum, to use at night. It's also really good value! Not the cheapest serum to buy, however you only use such a tiny amount, 2-3 drops is all that is needed, so the 70ml will last a really long time. I've had mine for over 7 weeks and I've hardly dented it!

There are a few things to note with this product. Firstly, it definitely fits in to my 'Restorative Anti-Ageing' category, so I'd only recommend using this ONCE you're at an age you need it, not an age you think you need it. You're also advised to give your skin one day a week rest from using the product and to ensure you exfoliate while using the product, due to the increased cell turn over.

NCN Professional Skin Care - GHK-Cu Copper Peptide Serum with EGF retails at £52.99 and is available from

If these two products are anything to go by, I'm really looking forward to trying more from the range. I love the almost medical-looking labelling, the cosmeceutical ingredients without the nasty irritants that are often included, but most importantly I love the results. They remind me a little of CosMedix, which is obviously a brand very close to my heart!

*Gifted Samples

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

H30 Night Repair

As you know, I'm a big believer in treating the skin from the inside, as well as topically. I'm also a huge fan of Collagen Shots from Rejuvenated, which is the absolute best collagen drink in the world!

The clever people at Rejuvenated have recently released a new product called H3O Night Repair, a night time supplement to complement the H3O Hydration Drink which was released earlier this year. The supplement contains all the benefits of the hydration drink, plus lots more which couldn't be added to the drink (because of their taste). The answer, is a convenient supplement which you take at night. Of course, I've been taking mine alongside my nightly Collagen Shot!

Collagen Shots contains hyaluronic acid, so is already hydrating on it's own but H30 Night Repair takes it to a whole new level of skin hydration! Designed to boost cellular hydration and provide vital nutrients to help skin repair and renew overnight, while the skin is at it's most productive.

The key ingredients in H30 Night Repair are Astaxanthin, one of the most powerful antioxidants for protecting the entire cell; Ionic Minerals, allowing optimum absorption of the water you drink, (or Collagen Shots in my case); Astragalus, increases telomere length and stimulates the immune system by increasing blood cell production from the bone marrow; Pine Bark Extract, a powerful anti-inflammatory; Grape Seed Extract, a powerful antioxidant; Hyaluronic Acid, a fantastic water-binder that holds collagen and elastin in place; plus Vitamins A, B, C, D & E!

The results are fantastic! I have oily skin, which is prone to dehydration. Within a couple of days of taking H3O Night Repair I could see the difference. My skin was much more hydrated, the surface epidermal line had gone and my pores were more refined due to having plump and hydrated skin. I definitely recommend it!

Skin Tip: If you're currently considering skin treatments such as medium-to-deep depth peels, laser micro-needling etc, anything that triggers skin repair from the wounding process, then I highly recommend trying H3O Night Repair. Skin hydration is the number one beneficial factor, when it comes to recovery from such treatments. Also, because of the anti-inflammatory benefits of Astaxanthin, Pine Bark Extract and Grape Seed Extract, plus Vitamans A & C, your skin will be able to renew much faster. I'd recommend taking H3O Night Repair prior to your treatment and continuing afterwards.

Retailing at £30 for 30 capsules, so works out at £1 a day. If dehydration is a concern and it doesn't seem to matter how much water you drink (you'll just pee excess out anyway), then I highly recommend giving H3O Night Repair a try.

Available from Rejuvenated.

*Gifted Sample

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

MARSTE Academy

Yesterday saw the launch of the brilliant MARSTE Academy, a specialised post graduate study and practical training academy for beauty and holistic therapists, looking to advance their knowledge in specialised areas.

Founded by the fabulous Marie Reynolds and Stephanie Collins, both extremely experienced therapists and educators within the industry. Their vision;

"MARSTE Academy aims deliver a standard of excellence in training through a series of online courses of study and practical skills workshops and training.  Courses have been created with therapists in mind by a panel of impressive experts from all areas of the beauty and holistic industries.  An innovative virtual learning network allows students to study theoretical courses online at their own pace, at the fraction of what these courses would costs if they were classroom based.  Blending learning options are in place for practical skills courses, whereby the student can study the theoretical side of the course and revise essential A&P applicable to their practical course before they attend the hands on training – ensuring that the trainer spends their time focussing on technique and practical skills – making the most of the students time and ensuring they leave with a full working knowledge that can be introduced to their business."

If you're a therapist reading this, and you're looking to further your career and advanced your knowledge and skills, then I highly recommend taking a look at MARSTE Academy. On their you'll find both online and practical courses in advanced skin care, holistic, body and beauty, plus personal development courses. I already have my eye on a couple of the courses!

"To succeed and stay relevant in the beauty industry, you must embark on a path of continuous learning and development. "

A long side the fabulous training course, MARSTE Academy also has it's own blog, with posts from the industry experts.

Marie invited me to join the team as a MARSTE blogger! Having someone who you admire and aspire to, give such recognition and invite you to be part of such an amazing training academy is a great honour. You can see my first blog post for MARSTE here, along with posts from Marie Reynolds and Pilates and Fitness Expert, Christos Georghiades.

You could look at the blog as snippets of advanced education for free! So I highly recommend adding it to your blogroll / subscribing, so you never miss a post!


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Top 3 Products For Pigmentation

When it comes to anti-ageing, most people think of 'lines & wrinkles'. However, L&W's aren't the only factor that ages our appearance, but rather a multitude of factors including loss of firmness i.e. sagging, loss of luminosity i.e. dull / lacklustre skin and uneven skin tone i.e. pigmentation!

Focusing on pigmentation, I've put together my Top 3 Products For Pigmentation, both preventing and treating hyper-pigmentation, the darker patches of skin that robs us of the more even tone we once had!

Firstly, lets cover what is hyper-pigmentation and what causes it?

Hyper-pigmentation is effectively a patch or area of skin where the melanocytes, responsible for melanin production, have gone into overdrive and produce too much melanin. Resulting in a darkening of the skin. The causes can include;

  • Excessive exposure to UV radiation
  • Hormonal changes i.e. Melasma
  • Medication
  • Trauma to the skin or use of topical steroid creams i.e. PIH or Post-Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation

They all have one thing in common, UV exposure. As the melanocyte is stimulated by an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is activated by UV exposure. However in the case of hormonal changes, medication and trauma / topical steroid creams, it's not a case of excessive exposure, but rather your skin has been over-sensitised to UV, so even a small amount of exposure could cause pigmentation issues.

With that in mind, lets move on to my top 3 products for treating and preventing pigmentation.

Ultrasun Anti-Pigmentation Face SPF50+

Considering UV exposure if the number 1 factor in hyper-pigmentation, it comes to no surprise that a good, high factor sunscreen is essential. I've also used the Ultrasun Anti-Ageing Face SPF50+ formula before, which includes ECTOIN and Superoxide Dismutase, a free radical scavenger. The new anti-pigmentation formulation contains everything the anti-ageing formulation does, plus additional anti-pigmentation ingredients. It can be used to not only prevent pigmentation from forming but also treat existing superficial pigmentation.
Of course, being Ultrasun it's a once a day, high stable formulation. It's rich but non-greasy, so can replace your antioxidant serum, daily moisturiser + sunscreen in one step (depending on skin type).

Retailing at £32 for 50ml and available from

NCN Professional - Vitamin C+ Serum

Vitamin C is a proven and effective antioxidant in treating pigmentation. The only problem with the ingredient, is it can be very irritating on the skin. The issue with a lot of 'vitamin C' serums on the high street, is they simply don't contain enough vitamin C to be effective. Add in the fact, it's also a highly unstable ingredient and oxidises quickly. 
The NCN Professional Vitamin C+ Serum has a massive 20% vitamin C, in the form of L-Ascorbic Acid but to it, they've added Glutathione to help stabilise it, plus Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a more stable and non-irritating version of vitamin C. Plus sea kelp, hyaluronic acid, vitamin e and beta glucans makes this more than just a Vitamin C serum!
It's very effective. My only caution for men using this, is it can sting on freshly shaved skin.

Retailing at £31.99 for 36ml and available from Treat The Skin You're In.

CosMedix Simply Brilliant

For more advanced pigmentation issues, that are maybe a little deeper. You may want to consider using a tyrosinase inhibitor. As mentioned, tyrosinase is the enzyme within the body which instructs the melanocyte to produce more melanin / pigment. Therefore by inhibiting the tyroinase, it prevents the message from getting through.
There are however some rather dangerous tyrosinase inhibitors out there such as hydroquinone, which essentially is TOO effective. Melanin is what protects our skin from UV radiation, so stripping the skin of it completely is obviously never going to be a good thing. 
CosMedix Simply Brilliant is hydroquinone-free and instead uses safer tyrosinase inhibitors;  Whitonyl, Nonapeptide & Waltheria. I prefer the term 'tyrosinase regulators' i.e. regulating production rather than inhibiting.
Along with 7 other natural skin brightening ingredients and antioxidants such as vitamin C, salicylic acid, green tea, daisy flower extract and liquorice root extract.

Retailing at £45.24 for 15ml and available from Medico Beauty.

If you have deep or severe pigmentation you wish to treat, then I'd definitely visiting your local clinic / skin professional, and enquiring about the options available, such as skin peels or laser treatment. However, as I always recommend, start with the mildest form of treatment and work up!


Thursday, 12 June 2014

6 Bad Sun Care Habits!

Having just returned from 11 days in the sun, I thought I'd share some of my 'bad sun care observations' from around the pool & walks along the beach, because despite ALL the information out there, it seems a lot of you are still getting the basics wrong and have terrible sun care habits. I was genuinely shocked by the amount of sun burn I saw during such a short time. 

So in no particular order, here are some of the bad sun care habits I observed whilst on holiday and what you really should be doing to protect the health of your skin!

1. Apply sunscreen / sun protection in your hotel room BEFORE going down to the pool / beach. Especially if using chemical sunscreens. It takes between 15-30 minutes (depending on the product) for the active ingredients to settle into the skin and become active. Firstly, if you're applying them in direct sunlight, the effectiveness of the product is dramatically reduced. Furthermore, depending on skin type, you may even burn before your sun protection is active. Physical sunscreens are active instantly, however it's still advisable to apply before going in the sun, as applying in an air conditioned room means you're less likely to be sweating and the sunscreen is able to adhere to the skin better. 

2. Don't forget to reapply! Most sunscreens will need reapplying every 2 hours to keep them effective. Not reapplying regularly enough is the same as not applying any at all. Personally, I use Ultrasun during summer holidays which is once-a-day application, simply because I'm very forgetful and don't want to risk being caught out. If you're like me and likely to forget, invest in a once-a-day application formulation, it will save you time and hassle in the long run.

3. Spray your skin not the air! I'm not a fan of sun protection in a spray formulation, except for my scalp. However, if you are then be aware when reapplying outdoors that the wind is going to blow the product pretty much everywhere except on your skin. Where it matters. Although if you'd listened to my previous 2 points and used a once-a-day and applied indoors, then this wouldn't be applicable!

4. Loose the "I go red then I go brown" mentality! The redness is inflammation, a sign that UV damage has been caused and it's your skins way of trying to repair the damage. It's also your first indicator that you should get out of the sun, quick! Yes your skin will develop a tan over the next coming days, however this would have happened without the pain and damage of burning! The tan comes from UV exposure that triggers melanin production in the skin, not the redness or burning from excessive UV exposure. If you burn, your skin will simply shed / peel, in a last ditch attempt of getting rid of the UV damaged skin cells, which could potentially turn cancerous. You're also likely to loose your tan much more quickly during the process, as your skin is desperately trying to repair the damage.

5. If you do burn, applying a thick layer of sunscreen will not help! (unless using a physical sunscreen). Chemical sunscreens work buy being IN the skin not ON the skin, so any additional product you apply is useless. You just look a white creamy mess! Do your skin a favour, cover up,  stay out the sun and give your skin chance to repair the damage!

6. Don't rely on sunscreen alone! Especially during the hottest times of the day. Depending on your skin type, sunscreen alone may not be enough and good sun protection doesn't necessarily just mean SPF! Consider taking shade under a parasol or covering up with clothing, and always wear a hat to protect delicate scalp and face. I'm also a big believer in diet effecting our skins coping capacity with the sun. I take an astaxanthin & super oxide dismutase supplement from Viridian Nutrition called S.P.F. (Skin Pro Factors) and try to eat a diet rich in antioxidants so lots of bright coloured fruit & vegetables and salmon, all for additional support.

If a tan is your main priority while on holiday, firstly I think you need to check your priorities but secondly, you will achieve a safer, longer lasting tan if you put the health of your skin first and moderate the UV exposure.

Finally, I'm not saying don't enjoy the sun and stay out of it completely. A little bit of sun if beneficial for Vitamin D and Melatonin production (generally 15 minutes daily UV exposure is all that is needed. The amount of time will be increased if wearing sunscreens etc). What I am saying, is enjoy it responsibly and be safe because there is no enjoyment in sun burn, premature ageing or skin cancer! Remember, everything in moderation!!


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Viridian Nutrition - Cherry Night

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen Tweets from me complaining about not sleeping very well. Again. I suffer from chronic insomnia, which comes and goes but is mainly brought on from stress etc.

Viridian Nutrition, of whom I take many of their supplements, kindly sent me a bottle of their Cherry Night powder to see if that could help with my insomnia.

Cherry Night is a blend of Glycine, Morello Cherry, Red Date Extract and Magnesium and is designed to be a natural sleep aid to help boost melatonin (the sleep hormone) production.

It comes in powder form, which you mix with liquid and drink an hour prior to going to bed. As it's predominately dried cherry powder, I was hoping it would taste of cherry, however it doesn't at all. It's quite bitter in taste (admittedly Morello Cherry is a sour cherry!). I mixed this with my nightly Collagen Shots to help mask the taste a little.

Results wise, I can't say it made any effect on my sleep to be honest. However I'm not surprised. Even medication has a hard job putting me to sleep, my mind is just far too active at night to switch off!

That said, I am grateful of the extra antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and even anti-ageing boost! Although not sold on those benefits, cherries contain very powerful antioxidants called Anthocyanians and can also reduce inflammation. Plus, Glycine is an amino acid used for tissue repair and collagen production. Bonus!

It may not have worked for me, but if you're more of a light sleeper than a chronic insomniac like me, then it may work better for you.

Viridian Nutrition Cherry Night retails at £24.95 for a 150g bottle and is available from

*PR Sample

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

WrinkleMD Hyaluronic Acid Deep Infusion System

If you didn't know already, I love a good gadget when it comes to advanced skin care, whether they're to replace or boost the effects of topical skin care products.

One of the latest "beauty gadgets" to hit the market is the WrinkleMD Hyaluronic Acid Deep Infusion System. Available in two kits; one for 'Brows' targeting the frown-lines on the forehead and lines between the brows and 'Eyes' which targets the crows-feet lines around the eyes.

I was sent the 'Brow' kit, as deep-set wrinkles on my forehead and definitely the line between my brows, are a concern of mine.

First a little bit about the WrinkleMD Hyaluronic Acid Deep Infusion System. It's been designed by dermatologists, scientists and aestheticians and uses Ion-Infusion Technology (positive & negative charges) to enable a concentrated boost of hyaluronic acid to penetrate deeper that creams or serums alone.

Note: Hyaluronic acid is produced naturally in the dermis, along with collagen and elastin. Although hyaluronic acid is added to a lot of skin care products for topical hydration (as it's a fantastic water binder), it's molecules are too big to penetrate through the epidermis, so therefore can't be replaced what is lost in the dermis, unless it's injected.

Although hyaluronic acid can't penetrate the skin down to the dermis, the idea behind the WrinkleMD Hyaluronic Acid Deep Infusion System is that using positive & negative ions (similar to micro-current or nano-current treatments found in salons / clinics), the hyaluronic acid and other ingredients such as peptides, are drawn deeper into the epidermis, compared to topically application alone. Therefore giving a plumping / filling effect of the line from underneath.

Note: A line, is a superficial 'crease' in the epidermis and can be corrected and plumped out with hydration / water. A wrinkle, however is loss of structure in the dermis, the 'mattress' that supports our skins outer layer. Much more difficult to treat without injectables.

So, what do you get in the kit? The WrinkleMD Hyaluronic Acid Deep Infusion System includes;
  • 5 Hyaluronic Acid Infusion Brow Patches (single use)
  • 1 Activator Pod with Protective Pouch
  • 30ml Youth Serum.

The kit is effectively a 4 week programme, as you use two of the patches the first week, then maintain the results with one patch a week. Using the Youth Serum directly after the patch and then twice a day thereafter.

To use, you simply attach the Connecter Buds on the Activator Pod to one of the Infusion Patches, remove from the plastic lining and stick it to the skin (they're self adhesive so easy to do). The Activator Pod starts automatically when in contact with the skin, with a tiny green flashing light to notify you. You simply hook the wires around the ears and wear for 30 minutes, when the Activator Pod automatically switches off. 

Personally I would have liked some sort of beep or sound to notify me, as unless you're watching the green light, it's very easy to loose track of time and wear for longer than is needed.
Particularly as you don't really feel anything while wearing it. Apart from an occasional tingle or flash of light in your eyes, but it's very occasional, the majority of the time you hardly know it's on. (The tingle and flash of light is perfectly normal. I also experienced this with nano-current facials).

As for results and whether I think it's worth the money. Results wise, I do think it works well on plumping out lines and even reduces the appearance of wrinkles. For me personally, I don't think I would purchase the kit to use again. Lines aren't really an issue for me, it's more the deep-set 'expression' wrinkles that are a problem and although it has improved their appearance, I don't think it's done it enough to justify the expense.

Which brings me on to the cost. The WrinkleMD Hyaluronic Acid Deep Infusion System retails at £189. Which considering it's a months supply, I think is rather a lot of money. Especially as you'd need to buy replacement Infusion Patches (£139 for 2 months) and Youth Serum (£79) if you wanted to maintain the results. 

In summary, I think it's a great concept and it works well on lines. Just not well enough to justify the high price tag. Maybe if they could manufacture it for cheaper, it would be more appealing.

Available at

*PR Sample

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