Monday, 22 August 2011

Product of the Week - Collin Regenerating Collagen Gel

One of the things I enjoy most about facials is the opportunity to have new products tried out on my skin. This of course, can go both ways - but a few months ago I had a Collin facial and as soon as this product was applied I 'knew'.

Collin was established in 1957 but has remained largely off the radar because of their exclusivity to salons.
The Collagen Gel is their star product - unbeknownst to yours truly at the time - but after having it applied during the facial I can see why.

'Vectorised Micro Collagen' is a Collin exclusively patented ingredient and is a recurring theme throughout their range along with hyaluronic acid and AHA's. The good thing about Collin is that unlike most brands with patented ingredients - no names (Skin Bleach/Crash Diet anyone?) - they have carried out in vitro testing and backed up their claims scientifically.

The gel itself is a lovely light jelly-like consistency and spreads really nicely with a little going a long way.

I use it probably once a week at the moment after a clay mask to counteract any possible dryness and to rehydrate and smooth. I imagine I'll step it up more in the winter - it really does what it says on the box - namely smooth, plump, hydrate, tone and repair. It's something I would recommend for all skin types - I see no problems here with sensitivity and it's brilliant for both dry and combination skins.


Collin were so pleased to be POTW that they wanted to share the love. They are offering 3 - yes 3 - Limited Edition Holiday Collagen Gel worth £19.95 each to 3 lucky BM readers.

Simply leave your email address in the comment section below and winners will be chosen at random next Sunday. It's a really lovely product - you should definitely have a go.

Good Luck!

Collin Regenerating Collagen Gel normally retails for around £47.25 (I reckon one pot should last you at least 6 months with regular use)
Collin stockists/salons are available here.
If you want to stay first in the know about all things COLLIN RESULTIME, you can join their VIP Club (it's free) by clicking here.

Small print: 
*once again - no affiliated links or sponsored posts here - I love this product
*original pot and facial were PR sample/gift
*giveaways are from Collin PR
*any emails entered may be passed over to Collin for future promotions
*winners will be picked Sunday 28th August

Product of the Week - Giveaway Winner

The winner of last week's POTW -  Sue Devitt's Microquatic Illuminating Concealer SPF20 is Tiptoe Shortbread (great name BTW).
  Congratulations! We'll be in touch. Thank you to everyone who entered.

Friday, 19 August 2011

FOUR London - Review

Aah my hair. My over-processed-refuses-to-get-it-cut hair. My grey-since-the-age-of-19 hair.

Over the last year or so people had stopped saying 'oh your hair looks nice..' and started saying 'have you done something to your hair?' for which read: 'You hair looks odd/hideous/strange?'
My husband took to calling me a badger. Tres charmant.

My regular hairdresser of the last few years does his best bless him (love you Paul) - but he's faced with me every month saying 'No. that's not what I want - do this.' 'No. It doesn't need cutting.' 'No, you don't understand - I WANT it dark at the front and stripey on top.' I know he utterly despairs of me.

So when FOUR London offered to take me in hand I figured I would stop channelling Daphne Guinness on crack and go and see some colour professionals.

You know when someone really wants to say something like 'JESUS!' but they just say 'Okaaayyyyyy. Let's take a look.' That would be the lovely Charlie from FOUR.

The four Ladies from FOUR. Charlie on the right. Don't be fooled by the pretty face. She takes no prisoners.
Despite being booked in for highlights and a quick blow dry I ended up having a complete colour change. A total stripped-back-to-basics colour change. A five-hours-in-the-chair colour change. Numb bum anyone?

SO worth a numb bum. Have a look for yourself:

Much calmer, less two-toned, the colour is now more fluid throughout.

FOUR London is the brainchild of four friends who all met when they worked at Jo Hansford.They have over 40 years experience between them and it shows. During their career at Jo Hansford, as ambassadors for the salon, they travelled worldwide educating other hairdressers in the art of colour correction and highlight placement techniques.
They are basically - Specialists. Hardcore Specialists.

Whether your hair needs help, you're thinking of going into colour for the first time or are looking for a change - I can highly recommend FOUR. The salon is remarkably calm and relaxing, the teams are all at the top of their game and the results - for me - were exactly what I needed.

FOUR London is at:
62 Conduit Street, London W1S 2GB
For appointments call 0207 297 9600

*small print -  I was invited as a guest of FOUR London.

Monday, 15 August 2011

New Feature: Product of the Week - Sue Devitt Microquatic Illuminating Concealer SPF20

I have so many products that I love and have so little time to review and post about them all that I thought it would be nice to start championing them on a regular basis.

If you look over there -----------> on the sidebar you'll see Product of the Week.

For the inaugural week I've chosen Sue Devitt's Microquatic Illuminating Concealer SPF20 or 'that Sue Devitt concealer/thing' as I prefer to call it.

There's a lot to like about this product - I personally love the twist-pen applicator, the texture is perfect and it DOES NOT CREASE.


I use the shade Great Sandy Desert (well they were hardly going to be called shades 1,2,3 or 4 with a title like that were they?). I think it's the 2nd one up out of 4. It's fine for my eyes and I even think I could go one darker in the Summer months. I use it under the eye and over the lid to brighten my black holes. Bliss.

The folks at Sue Devitt were so thrilled to be POTW that they have offered one lucky BM reader the opportunity of trying it for themselves.
Simply leave your email/twitter id in the comments section and they will pick one the winner next Monday 22nd August.

Read more about Sue here.
Sue Devitt is available in Harvey Nichols and Fenwick and on QVC and the concealer is £21.00

Small Print:
  • My original concealer was a PR sample
  • The Giveaway is a gift from PR
  • Product of the Week is not an affiliated link OR a sponsored post - it's just stuff I REALLY like
  • Alrighty then

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Cheat Sheet - Milia

Stubborn, unsightly and annoyingly hard to get rid of, milia are found in all ages.
Babies (over 50% of them), kids and adults can all be affected. All races. Both sexes.
They don't discriminate. They generally affect the thin skin around the eyes and upper parts of the cheeks in adults.
They are basically a mini cyst. A cyst full of keratin. We like keratin - we need it. Its what gives our skin, hair and nails structure. You just don't want it trapped under your skin and trying to get out.

The important things to remember are:
  • they're NOT spots 
  • they have nothing to do with your pores - they are under your epidermis
  • they're not harmful
  • they're not infectious
  • they're not caused by germs/bacteria
  • you can't get rid of them by taking an antibiotic/the pill
    If you have a lot of them - and if your family also suffer with them - you're probably genetically predisposed to them. If you just get the odd one here and there you probably just need to up the ante on your skincare routine.  

    How do you get rid of them?

    First of all - don't bother trying to pick at it. You're setting yourself up for a whole heap of trouble. Essentially what you are trying to do is pick a hole in your skin.
    • Get a professional to do it. Phone your nearest salon. Ask them specifically if they remove milia. Double check. Say 'do you physically remove milia?' We're talking manually - no microdermabrasion, no laser - just your therapist, her steady hand and a suitable needle. If they hesitate don't go. You don't want someone who's not confident/trained poking around your eye with a needle? Not a lot of salons offer the service - in some councils you're not allowed to 'pierce the skin' in a salon - old legislation relating to sex clubs in city centres - not facials.
    • Go see a dermatologist - let them deal with them.
    • Have a go yourself. Not recommended - but I know some of you are as stubborn and pig-headed as me and I also recognise you may not be able to afford a facial/don't have a decent therapist near you so I thought it best to address the issue. I can do some of mine near the eye area but I get a pro for the ones on the cheeks - the area is too fat/chubby for me to get a comfortable grip. I've decided against a 'how-to physically remove by yourself' post - I'm not being responsible for someone going at their face with a needle! I will however, answer questions in the comments to help if you are absolutely determined to attack your face.

    How can I help shift them?

    Well to start with you need to get into a routine every day to make your skin work for itself.
    • Keep your skin cleansed - using flannels/hot water etc
    • Exfoliate every day - gently - don't go tearing at your skin OR the area - and DO NOT - repeat after me - DO NOT use any of those apricot scrubs you can get for a quid in the chemist. EVER. End. Of. Ideally you need a topical glycolic toner/lotion.
    • Alternate between a toner for acne skin and a hydrating toner. These you can comfortably buy cheaper in the chemist. Toners/lotions are to my mind, essential for controlling milia. The acne one needs an acid in it - the hydrating one needs a glycerin base. The acne toner - used on the area affected by the milia only - will help the surface layers of the skin shift quicker  - the hydrating one will make sure you don't dry your face out at the same time. It takes 2 seconds - don't complain about time taken to take care of your face. It's your face. Acne first/hydrating second.
    • Moisturise them with a NON mineral oil moisturiser (see below)
    • Use a clay mask on the alternate days you don't exfoliate. Just do your nightly cleanse, whack it on the area and go have dinner/watch telly/whatever - remove, tone, moisturise.
    You should find that some of the smaller ones shift themselves anyway doing this.

    Some general guidelines...

    • Use products containing mineral oil or lanolin (ever, regardless) 
    • Pick at them with needles - if you don't know what you're doing you'll scar your face
    • Use a topical glycolic on the area
    • Exfoliate regularly
    • Moisturise them normally
    • Use good clay masks on the area regularly
    • Get them removed safely by a pro 

    Friday, 5 August 2011

    Cheat Sheet - Spots


    Oh Spots.

    So many of the emails I receive asking for skin advice start with 'Can you help me with my spots...?' - and there are so many different types I figured it was cheat sheet time.

    So without further ado:
    1. What kind of spot is it?
      Don't start poking about at your face if you don't know what you're dealing with. You'll end up scarred, bleeding and all manner of annoyed.
    2. Blackheads - not typically a spot, but No.1 on your emails for 'what can I do??'
      Blackheads do not mean you are dirty or unclean and they are not caused by germs - so no antibiotic is going to help (I hate antiobiotics for skin 'care' - more of which later). Blackheads are the result of your DNA. Blame your parents. I'm nice like that.
      I'm not a fan of trying to remove blackheads on your own. I've seen more scarring from people trying to remove blackheads than from poking at huge red spots. Obviously there are exceptions, but the best thing you can do for blackheads is to have a brilliantly, amazing cleansed skin - every day, use the right products, which do help somewhat (below) and go for a targeted facial to get them removed gently and professionally. Not all facialists are good at extraction by the way - some of them frankly, are horrendous - ask specifically when you make your appointment - 'I need extractions - who is brilliant at them?' If they umm and ahh, go somewhere else.
    3. Whiteheads - the easiest spot to deal with. Typically appear ovenight, fully formed - and have a very noticeable 'white head'. If you don't usually get them it could be the result of a too-heavy night cream, sweating while you sleep, or a big night out that involved greasy food/booze etc Or all of the above..
      Feel around the spot - whiteheads are usually not sore. If it's not sore, and you can see a large amount of sebum (the white gunk), cleanse your face as normal - sometimes - if you're doing it PROPERLY - the flannel will take care of it. If not, finish your cleanse and hold the warm flannel over the spot for a minute. Now take clean hands, split two bits of loo roll and wrap them around your forefingers and gently squeeze in from the outside. It should come away easily. If it does, great - make sure the area is clean, tone, moisturise and go on your way. If it doesn't come away, it's not ready and it's a .....
    4. Pimple (pastule) - a pimple is deciding what it wants to do - its small, red and has no head. Leave it alone. Cleanse, tone, moisturise (yes, moisturise the pimple too), conceal and be on your way. It may go away on its own, if not - and it decides it's going to grow, it's a.....
    5. Large pimple (pustule) - this one is angry and wants you to know it. Sore, red, inflamed and infuriatingly nearly always without a head. So it doesn't want you to pick.
      Do not pick.
      Step away from the spot.
      If you suffer from acne or acne rosacea this is your common irritant. Keep it clean, keep it moisturised, keep an eye on it. It will go away. It just wants to do it on its own timetable. Sometimes you can see a teeny weeny whitehead forming at the top. Normal cleansing (BM style) will remove what your skin wants you to remove. If your skin is not offering up that sebum to you - back off. Your skin will win. And you'll get a bleeding, angry spot that is ten times the size as when you started. Or maybe even a scar. Back off. For it may be a.....
    6. Cyst - deep, painful, really painful. Doesn't always look like a spot - just an angry red lump. These you do not want to play with. These are caused by all manner of things but usually hormones. No amount of picking, playing, poking will do anything to this spot. It will laugh at you. And you WILL scar if you start attempting to do anything with it. You need to take a look at your diet, your lifestyle and you need a...
    7. Dermatologist - I'm going to make a sweeping generalisation here but GP's are generally CRAP at skin issues. They'll look at you knowingly and prescribe antibiotics. Months and months of antibiotics. Antibiotics prescribed for the skin make you sun sensitive like you would not believe and completely mess with your stomach. I highly, strongly, urge you to come off them (in a controlled manner) if you are on them. Antibiotics - one of the most brilliant life-saving inventions - ever - over prescribed and given out like sweets by GP's - when there are other ways.....Ditto the Pill. Yes, you can have success treating your skin by taking the pill. Although if it works? You probably have high testosterone levels in your body - the pill has balanced you out by increasing your oestrogen. Stop taking the pill, stop eating dairy (see below).
      If you have a problem with your vajayjay you'll be told to visit a gynaecologist. If it's your throat - it's an ENT specialist. If you have a problem with your skin - go to a dermatologist. It's what they DO. Our American sisters get this. They have no reservations about going to a specialist, unfortunately our brilliant (and I do mean brilliant) NHS system means that we resent paying for professional medical services. And some of you ladies that ask me for advice? And don't want to spend money on a derm? I see that £200 handbag honey. Your life, your skin, your priorities.
      But remember this: you only get ONE SKIN. You can always buy that handbag later.
    A little list of do's and don'ts. If these don't work - make that appointment.

    • Keep your skin clean. Cleanse properly and use good skincare.
    • You want products that contain acids. Nice acids, Salicylic, Lactic, Glycolic - all brilliant for helping your skin and they don't have to be ££££ to work.
    • Take supplements. Lots of companies now do ranges for problem skin. As a minimum take omega oils - either in fish or flax form - and quercetin (cheat sheet about supplements coming I think).
    • Eat well. Your outer is a reflection of your inner. Stay clear of white products - think flour, sugar, pasta etc. Eat a LOT of salad. Even if its just green leaves. That's a start. Don't cover them with a dressing though - they are loaded with sugar
    • Eat too much sugar. And yes that includes chocolate. It's not an old wives tale....
    • The type of chocolate that affected people usually prefer is milk chocolate. Milk contains androgen hormones - and they basically increase your testosterone levels. And thus make your skin oilier and more prone to problems. Lay off the dairy. All dairy (that doesn't include eggs - why does everyone think the chicken is dairy?!) these days contains androgen hormones.
    • Use those strip things to rip out your blackheads. First of all they RIP your skin, NICE. Secondly - they're just nasty.
    • Drink too much alcohol. Booze is loaded with sugar - see above - also raises your body temperature (hot flush anyone?) and thus raises inflammation. And massively dehydrates you. Which makes your skin look like you've just been dug up.
    • Smoke. Need I say more?
    *addition - someone just tweeted me about milia. They are not spots. So I'll do them next.