Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Hall of Fame - Neutrogena T/Gel

Bit of an odd one for me I know, but bear with.

Ever since son no.2 was born, he's suffered from scalp problems. When he was a baby it was cradle cap, that went all the way through almost to school when it was clear it was seborrheic dermatitis, and that it was here to stay. He's now 20 and has suffered from it in one way or another his entire life. Not to the extremes that you see if you google 'images' (don't) but it was always present on his head in one way or another - his entire life.

I tried everything. Literally every single thing you can think of - usually depending where I was working if I'm honest - everything from Aveda, every hair product in SpaceNK, all beauty brands, everything from the doctor, creams, lotions, potions, tablets, even homeopathy (I know I know).

Last month I was a Judge for the Johnson & Johnson Skincare Awards and there was a bottle of T/Gel in the goodie bag. I passed it to Dan almost nonchalantly - kind of 'May as well try this love..'

To say that the difference in his scalp has been life-changing is no understatement. His scalp is completely clear. Completely. Clear. His hair is shiny in a way that it has never been - he's wearing it longer after years of keeping it short for ease of maintenance. 

When it ran out he went out and bought his own bottle. A large one. If you're the mother of boys you'll know the significance of that alone. 

I now have major guilt that I never tried it on him years ago. One thing's for sure. We absolutely will never be without it again. T/Gel - I salute you. Thank you for fixing my baby's head. 

*Yes, he's 20 and 6'4. Still my baby.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Beauty Myths No.15 - Celebs don't wash their faces/Caveman Regime

Here's the thing: if you don't want to use anything on your skin, don't. If you want to only use manuka honey on your skin, do. If you don't want to wash your face ever, that's up to you (filth).

The 'caveman' regime is the latest thing to hit the press - aided and abetted by reports of certain celebrities who swear they 'only ever use soap and water' on their skin and are 'horrified' at the thought of washing their faces in the mornings.

Firstly, let's be clear. Celebrities saying they don't wash their faces and saying they only use soap and water is not new, some have always said that.
It was utter bollocks then and it is now.

The 'average' woman (you and me) have enough pressure on them to be perfect without xyz celeb saying they don't work out (lies), they eat 'everything in sight!' (lies) and now that they don't wash their face at all? Bollocks don't you.

*literal eyebrow explosion*
Give me a motherflannel-loving break.

If it was just celebs being arses it wouldn't be that big of a deal - but there is a whole industry behind this caveman crapola. You can spend $200 of your hard-earned dollars to be shown how not to use any products on your skin.


Yes. You PAY to be shown how NOT to use products. Jesus H is it THAT hard to understand? I did the math based on the cost of the Caveman regime and how many people they claim have tried and tested their 'protocols'. Not all the extras they sell, just the basics. $3 million dollars. 3 MILLION DOLLARS from telling people how 'not' to use product. I wish I was joking.

Yes, of course you can use too much stuff on your face. I've always said do what you have to do for you - whatever that is. But please don't think that these people have perfect skin without skincare and/or without medical intervention (or huge lips - Kylie Jenner I am looking at you). The jig is up people. Enough.

Now go wash your faces. Filth.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Pregnancy Rambling Beauty Chat with Ruth

Well the intention was to chat all things pregnancy beauty, but then we kind of went off on a tangent. As we do.

Hope you enjoy! Please do leave any requests/questions in the comments - we plan to do it again before the baby arrives. :)

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap (extra mild!)

What is it?
'All the benefits of Clinique’s famous dermatologist-developed facial soap in a new liquid formula. Cleanses without stripping protective lipids.'

Who is it for?
Ok it says 'very dry to dry' but personally I would say all skin types except really dry. Sorry Clinique. 
Oilier skins will love this as a 'milk' cleanser option - especially in the hot months/climates.
And boys. Definitely one for the boys to check out.

What’s in it?
Water Purified, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Butylene Glycol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Dimethicone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Cholesterol, Sucrose Stearate, Sucrose, Caffeine, PPG-20 Methyl Glucose Ether, Urea, Sodium PCA, Linoleic Acid, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria), Pentylene Glycol, Polyquaternium-51, Trehalose, Caprylyl Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol

Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?
(but they're both fine if you ask me)

Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?
Man made

Tested on animals/sold in China?

What's not in it?
Foaming Detergents/SLS
Mineral Oil

How do you use it?
Apply to skin, massage through, remove with flannel 

What’s good about it?
So here's the thing. This is another product that does itself no favours with its name. I would never normally even look at something called 'liquid soap'. It gives me shivers.
This, however, intrigued me because it said 'extra mild' - and I wondered how a 'soap' could ever be considered extra mild - so I grabbed it.
Well, it's extra mild because it doesn't contain any of the usual foaming/detergent/salt ingredients that cause me the aforementioned shivers.
It's a milk texture with ever-so-slight of a nod towards something more gel-ish.

What’s not so good about it?
I wouldn't give this to someone with really dry/rosacea skin, I think it would prove too drying - especially if used the recommended twice a day.

Where to use in your routine?
As always, although it says it removes makeup, this is a skin cleanser for me. Second cleanse or morning cleanse. I'll use it more in the hot weather - it's quite refreshing. And by 'refreshing' I in no way mean 'stripping'.

Similar products?
Hard to say.
Milk cleansers such as Clarins Gentian perhaps?

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap (extra mild) is £16.00 for 200ml and available at all stockists/counters including www.clinique.co.uk make sure you state/pick 'extra mild' though.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Michael Kors Into the Glow Collection

Well if anyone was going to do a 'Glow' collection it would be this man. King of Glam and handbags/accessories to boot, Michael Kors has made me even more desperate for some warmth than I was before - if that was possible.

The Limited Edition Into The Glow Collection features the usual suspects of lips, nails and bronzer but this is what has excited me the most. 

The Hydrating Bronze Gel Creme comes in two colours, both of which work well on most caucasian skin tones, neither of which is just 'glitter'. Although a darker skin would get the hydrating benefits of this, I don't think the colour would show in any way so not much point. Definitely don't buy before you try.
Permanent Vacation (sidebar: also the name of my favourite Aerosmith album), above, is peachier and on a pale skin gives a 'healthy' glow - and Sun Chaser, below - is more my kind of tone - it tells everyone you've been lying around in the sun and 'yes-don't-I-look-fabulous-thanking-you-kindly'. It can be worn alone or under foundation.

More inclusive colour-wise are the glosses and polishes. The Lip Lusters include gorgeous pops of coral and fiery pink in the usual MK packaging.

Both the glosses and nail lacquers come in semi-matching nudes, pinks and orange/corals - that do work on all tones.

The Michael Kors Into the Glow Collection is available nationwide from April. Prices start at £15.00.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Jo Malone London Lace Bottle Collection

Jo Malone has long offered a brides service - a complimentary appointment to find your own bespoke fragrance for the big day. As my own 'big' day was 21 years ago (OMG) there's not much joy in that for me. I can, however, indulge in the new Lace Bottle Collection, which hits counters in May. 

Available in three different designs, two ivory and one black - the fragrances can be ordered in ten of the most popular scents: Peony & Blush Suede, Orange Blossom, Red Roses, English Pear & Freesia, Lime Basil & Mandarin, Nectarine Blossom & Honey, Wild Bluebell, Pomegranate Noir and my two personal favourites, Velvet Rose & Oud and Dark Amber & Ginger Lily.

The go-to scent for a lot of brides seems to be Orange Blossom mixed with a complimenting fragrance. I've never been a big fan of citrus fragrances, I've always gone down the white floral or heavier amber roads.

The Dark Amber & Ginger Lily is a perfect blend of two of my favourite scents in one - so it's a pretty obvious choice for me. I know it's the same product wrapped up in different packaging, in essence that's what most new design/limited editions are - The only problem I have with limited editions is actually using them - I know you can always keep the bottles when they're empty but just like with the Charlotte Tilbury Limited Editions from last week, part of me feels like they should be 'saved'. Although God only knows for what, if I don't use them, Ava will - or the kids will just flog my Limited Editions when I'm dead...*gives up, sprays self to death, opens all the compacts*

However, the Jo Malone London Lace Bottle Collection is not limited edition - it's a permanent addition to the range - and it goes on sale in May, priced £86 for 100ml or £105 for the Cologne Intense Bottles and is available in all of the free standing boutiques. www.jomalone.co.uk

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Sugar Detox - Week 2 and Amelia Freer

Actually week 2.5/3? Wow - it gets SO much easier. Seriously. No cravings, no cheating. Any kind of craving - gone.

Since my last update I've (TMI klaxon) had a period, my first without any chocolate or fizzy drinks, probably in 30+ years - and yesterday I had a rogue bug that included vomiting and dehydration - for which I did have a can of coke at tea time - and it settled my stomach perfectly. I could've lied, but I've spoken to so many of you recently that are in your own sugar detoxes and I'd feel like a complete fraud by pretending otherwise. BUT - it tasted really sweet and certainly didn't trigger any 'cravings'. I'm rather chuffed to be honest.
I'm pretty much aware of the sugar content in everything now, and it has stopped me mindlessly picking up food that I would previously have just bought and eaten. I've cut back on fruit - which was my personal addiction, and am now choosing fruits lower in sugar. I will never give up fruit, it's too good. And in the right picks, good for you.

The key for me has been attacking one thing at a time - a tip I picked up from this book.....

Fortunately, I managed to get my hands on Amelia Freer's book before Sam Smith posted his picture on Instagram and sold it out worldwide (it's back now) - but I understand the phenomenon. It's simple, easy to read, sensible and doesn't use the word 'diet'.

If you are at all interested in nutrition, check it out here. It's not faddy, it's sensible nutrition advice.

Those of you doing your own sugar detoxes, how are you getting on?

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Beauty Myths No.14 - Antibiotics work for acne

Copyright Geof Kirby
Acne. Apparently the second most searched word on the internet, after porn (obvs).

It's easily the topic of my most-asked questions and the lead search on this site.

I know I've already said this over on the cheat sheets for acne ---> and it won't be anything new to regular readers, but please, please think carefully before taking antibiotics for your acne.

Whilst there are a few forms of oral antibiotics that may kill off bacteria in your oil glands, what if your acne is hormonal? Food allergy related? Have you had it for years? Antibiotics are pointless in those situations. You may get some relief initially but as soon as you stop taking them - and in most cases before, the spots are back. Why?
Because they're not bacterial - and you may already be resistant to the antibiotics prescribed.

Prescribing long-term antibiotic use is tantamount to abuse in my eyes. Antibiotics are without doubt a wonder drug. For treating the right illness.
Strep throat? Bacterial - get a prescription for it. Sore throat? Virus. Antibiotics don't work for that. It goes without saying that if you are required to take antibiotics long-term for chronic illness, then I am not talking about your situation.
Meningitis or pneumonia? Antibiotics will save your life. Literally. I'm not bashing the drug. I'm bashing the over-prescribing of them by doctors who should know better.

And in the case of acne, especially in the UK, an antibiotic prescription is the first port of call from nearly every GP. Rather than refer you to a dermatologist or look at topical creams themselves, they write the PrX for tetracycline or erythromycin and send you on your way.

It's your body. In your desperation for answers you may want to take anything thrown at you. But I would urge you to do a lot of research, make serious adjustments to your diet and lifestyle, ask about all the other options and most importantly, think of the side effects.

Long-term antibiotic use can:

  • wreak havoc with your digestive system
  • make you incredibly sensitive to the sun
  • destroy tooth enamel
  • make you resistant to antibiotic usage for severe infections
  • give you thrush on a continuous basis - which you then also need to medicate..

  • That's just for starters. 

    I know what it's like to have bad skin, do what you have to do to make yourself look and most importantly, feel better.
    But please arm yourself with as many facts as you can before you start down this path. And if you've been taking them for months (or years) and you still have acne, listen to your body, stop taking them.

    Monday, 23 March 2015

    Cheat Sheet - Why I don't like 'battery operated cleansing brushes'

    Well if ever there was a gentle way of saying the word that you're all saying in your head now, that was my attempt. Assuming we all know the type of thing I'm talking about, I'll carry on.

    I have recently been asked a lot more frequently about said cleansing brushes, usually by newcomers to this site who may have missed previous posts and/or comments.

    Why don't I like them?

    • Because your skin is delicate, it does not need a sandblaster to cleanse it, you have two hands, use them.
      (As I've said previously, if you are not fully able-bodied, obviously do whatever you have to do - ignore this.)
    • Because they are capable of basically destroying your acid mantle.
      That skin 'purging'? It's not purging, it's inflamed. It's shouting at you, begging you to stop whatever it is you're doing to it. Stop it. If you were using a moisturiser that broke your face out into acne you'd be horrified, utterly horrified. And you would, in all likelihood, stop using it immediately. And return it. Especially if that cream cost you upwards of £150. But don't worry! In the case of 'purging', they have a brilliant idea! Buy another head! You must just need something a bit more delicate. Note how they've made it your fault. Your problem. And the solution? Spend more money. It's genius if you think about it. 
    • Acne. The fact that these are aimed at people with acne is enough to make me scream blue murder. 'Hey you know what's great for acne? Using a power brush to really make sure the skin is as sore as possible! Brilliant! Let's do that.'
      No. Please do not.
    • Lack of training when the item is sold. You can buy the most famous version of this online. Just get it delivered to you with no human contact from a trained pro advising you how to use it. Which leads to..
    • People using them incorrectly. This is without doubt the 'tool' that is used incorrectly by the majority of people that discuss it with me. 
    • The dirty head. How many of you wash the brush head properly? Don't tell me 'it dries out and therefore the bacteria dies'. Imagine using the same flannel for 2 weeks and never washing it. You can by all means let it 'dry out' between uses if that image makes you feel better, but imagine it. Filth.
    • The cleansers that the original version of these are sold with are 100% horrific. Horrific. I cannot stress enough how much these should be avoided. I promise you the thought behind this was 'How can we make more money?' Oh, I know! Let's make our own product! We'll say that they're the only thing people should use with them. OMG that's genius!'.
      This was not a decision made for the benefit of your skin. I promise you. A foaming, SLS-laden soap, with a rotating (oscillating - whatever) power-blaster?? In some cases with grit? REALLY? It's like they sat together around a table and said 'What could we possibly make that could irritate the skin more than say, oh I don't know, a Brillo pad and Fairy liquid?'.

    Why are they so popular?
    Numerous reasons:
    • Because of the timer system, in some cases it will be the first time that some people have thoroughly cleansed their face. If you massaged your skin with your hands for a full minute and removed a cleansing balm with a flannel after years of splashing off regular milks/gels your skin would feel the same way.
    • If you've never used flannels and acid toners these brushes will without doubt exfoliate your skin. The first time you use it you will feel like your skin can 'breathe' properly. That's nothing you can't get with product and hands and without sanding your face.
    • Marketing. AKA Keeping Up With the Jones'. Your mate has one, it's all over the press, you WANT it. Oh LOOK A PINK ONE! *man voice* OH LOOK! A black one!
    • And why is is all over the press? Because they make money. BIG BIG BIG money for the companies that sell them. Not just the brands, the retailers. If you go into a store and someone tries to sell you this, I promise you they are trying to make their target for the day. They may not have even asked you what skin type you have before they've said 'Oh you know what YOU need?!'
    BUT: you don't have to listen to me, I know some of you swear by them. Good for you. As I always say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And don't stop something you love using on my accord.
    If however, you have one sitting in your cupboard that you shelved because it didn't agree with your skin, dig it out. Use it on your feet. Or your bum. Lovely.

    Personally, I think in years to come we will see an increase in broken capillaries, stubborn 'bumps' that don't come to a head and rosacea and I don't think they will be unrelated to the use of these 'brushes'. On that note, if you do suffer from eczema, acne or rosacea, for the love of ALL THAT IS SANITY you have no business blasting your face to kingdom come with these things. No matter what any sales person says.

    Addition: in the name of full disclosure, I have held giveaways on the blog for similar 'cleansing brushes' in the past. This was over 3 years ago, well before they became the money-making-trend/craze that they are now. I've deleted those posts and it won't happen again. Sorry all.

    Alpha-H Liquid Laser Cleansing Oil

    What is it?
    'Liquid Laser Cleansing Oil has been painstakingly developed to hydrate, soften and restore radiance to dulled or lacklustre complexions.
    Rebuilding and hydrating.
    Addresses the concerns of a changing skin.
    Replaces essential lipids.
    Targets irregular hyperpigmentation.'

    Who is it for?
    Essentially a cleanser for either a dull skin of any age or an ageing skin (45 plus) that is lacking in the 'glow' department. Equally aimed at skins suffering from pigmentation issues.
    Any skin type.

    What’s in it?

    Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?
    Essential oils

    Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?
    Alpha-H make no claims to be organic/natural but they are animal friendly.

    Tested on animals/sold in China?

    What's not in it?
    Mineral oil

    How do you use it?
    'Apply 2-3 pumps to a dry face and gently massage.'
    Exactly as above. I remove with a flannel - obviously - but if you are into emulsifying, this is one of the best I have seen on the market for rinsing clean away.

    What’s good about it?
    A lot. Great for ageing skins to help them retain the moisture in the skin and leaves the skin really soft as opposed to tight and 'OW'.
    There are obviously questions about the efficacy of a cleanser aimed at pigmentation - if it's not staying on the skin, how can it work? Well in the case of this particular product, you have to massage it in to get it to work/spread and if you're doing that for a few minutes twice a day, it's certainly better than using a plain traditional milk in my book. The texture is gel, the massage movement converts it into an oil, then it's up to you whether you emulsify or not. 

    What’s not so good about it?
    Nothing after my trials.

    Where to use in your routine?
    Although this will remove makeup, because of the ingredients, this is in the second PM cleanse or morning cleanse for me.

    Similar products?
    Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Melting Cleanser - for the texture
    OSKIA Renaissance Cleansing Gel

    Alpha-H Liquid Laser Cleansing Oil is £35.95 for 100ml and I'm linking to Cult Beauty because they list all the ingredients! 
    *stays calm, does not go off on one*

    Sunday, 22 March 2015

    What's New? with Ruth from A Model Recommends

    Finally! We managed to take time and do some filming. It's a long one but frankly we could have gone on for hours. Thank you for both your patience and for watching. 

    Ruth's channel has our 'Favourites' video and is in the description box below this video (click 'watch on You Tube in the bottom right corner) along with all the products mentioned.

    Next week is all things pregnancy. Ruth - not me! :)

    Inspiring Women

    During the latter half of last year, I signed up to volunteer for the Inspiring Women campaign.
    This week I gave my first talk at a secondary state school for special needs young adults in London. To say I left feeling humbled and inspired would be a massive understatement.
    Inspiring Women is a national campaign launched a year ago that has 12,500 women ready to talk with girls in state schools about the ‘job they do’ and the route they took. Their ambition is to see 15,000 women from a wide range of occupations going into state schools, by summer 2015, talking to 250,000 young women.

    If you are interested in volunteering your time, I can't recommend the experience highly enough. More information on the Inspiring Women Campaign can be found on the website here and in the video below.

    Saturday, 21 March 2015

    Bella Freud 'Loving' Candle

    Regular readers of the blog will know of my obsession penchant for all things white flowers. Gardenia and tuberose are easily my favourites.

    The Loving candle from Bella Freud is Tuberose and Sandalwood, which I would not have expected to be as subtle as it is.

    It's much softer that you would expect, with amber resting between the tuberose and sandalwood - making it perfect for the bedroom, the living room or your desk, which is where mine has taken root.

    Once it's all gone, the packaging will remain where it is, full of one of my other loves: PENS. ;) Given how many of you share my stationery obsession, maybe it's time to blog more of that on here too?

    Meanwhile, if you're a lover of all things white and floral this will be right up your street.

    I got mine from CultBeauty.co.uk for £38.00.

    A surprise from Charlotte Tilbury

    This was in the bottom of my goodie bag from the Charlotte Tilbury event last week. Any clue what it is? I'm genuinely asking, this isn't me holding out! :)
    It's the texture of a tinted moisturiser.

    I guess we'll have to wait and see.

    Friday, 20 March 2015

    Zelens Z Pure Cleansing Liquid Balm

    What is it?
    'A Shiso-infused cleansing liquid balm formulated to thoroughly cleanse the skin and help remove impurities and make-up.'

    Who is it for?
    All skin types.

    What’s in it?

    Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?

    Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?

    Tested on animals/sold in China?

    What's not in it?
    Mineral oil

    How do you use it?
    You can either apply to dry/damp skin and massage through - then remove with a flannel as per usual or you can apply, massage, emulsify and rinse. 
    As always I am in the former camp, but this does emulsify brilliantly for those of you that like sort of thing. 
    Although this does remove makeup, because of the quality of the ingredients and the price point, this is going firmly in the 'skin cleansing' category for me. Either a second cleanse in the evening or a lovely single cleanse in the morning. 

    What’s good about it?
    A lovely skin cleanser, this contains perilla seed oil, the same oil in Dr Lens' Shiso capsules. Perilla oil is higher in omegas than fish oil and is a massive anti-inflammatory. The consistency is beautiful, light yet obviously nourishing.
    This removes all makeup (obviously I tried it despite preferring it for skin cleansing!) including eye makeup. I didn't test on waterproof, but my advice re waterproof is to always remove with a dedicated eye makeup remover if you can, it's gentler on the eye.
    The freshness and ease of use of this has made it a firm favourite with the men in the house - all of whom cleanse in the shower ('wash their face'), none of whom read this blog. :)

    What’s not so good about it?
    Nothing to be honest. It does exactly what it says on the bottle, my skin likes it.
    As always, Zelens is not the cheapest of brands, but you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. :)

    Where to use in your routine?
    Depending on your preference, either first or second cleanse. My preference is in the morning, because the Zelens scent is perfect for a minty wake-me-up. Nothing floral here.

    Similar products?
    This is a hybrid between a gel and an oil for me - so nothing quite sits in the same category - but if I had to pick similar..
    OSKIA Renaissance Cleansing Gel
    NUDE Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly 
    Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Melting Cleanser
    would be in the ballpark

    Brand Website?
    The website is full of information on both the Doctor, the brand, the products and clinical trials. Whilst it has a beautiful section entitled 'Zelens Garden' which lists all of the botanical ingredients in detail, it only lists the 'active' ingredients and doesn't give a full ingredients list.

    Zelens Z Pure Cleansing Liquid Balm is £50.00 for 125ml and available at Spacenk.com and BeautyBay.com - who ship worldwide for free.

    Thursday, 19 March 2015

    Charlotte Tilbury Norman Parkinson Collection

    Last week I went along to the launch of the latest collection from Charlotte Tilbury - which was as brilliant as we have come to expect from the biggest brand to launch in the UK in recent years. (I'm not blowing smoke, that's pretty much a fact money-wise)

    The Norman Parkinson Collection is beautiful, glamorous and extremely limited in quantities so if this is your kind of thing, get in there early when it launches in the Summer.

    The Collection contains a makeup bag, toiletry/beach bag (NEED), a new take on the Filmstar Bronze & Glow, Dreamy Glow Highlighter, Colour of Youth Lip & Cheek Glow, two new lipstick additions to the Matte Revolution line and four of them all together in this beautiful Collector's Edition Box available exclusively online at CharlotteTilbury.com and Selfridges.

    Using some of Parkinson's most famous images, the entire line is inspired by everything from Jerry Hall's iconic 1975 Vogue cover to legendary model Carmen Dell'Orefice and her lifelong working partnership with Parkinson.

    The Charlotte Tilbury x Norman Parkinson Collection is available from  Selfridges and CharlotteTilbury.com in July and all other Charlotte Tilbury stockists in August.

    Wednesday, 18 March 2015

    The Five Minute Makeup Challenge

    A little over a month ago Ruth challenged me to the Five Minute Makeup Challenge. Lord help us.

    Enjoy.....*covers dayglo face with hands*

    All information is in the description box on You Tube.

    Tuesday, 17 March 2015

    How to use Liquid Gold with Tom Ogden from Alpha-H

    When a picture tells a thousand words....

    Settle down and listen to Tom and I harp on for hours discuss the best way to use Alpha-H's iconic Liquid Gold. Stay tuned for the end. :)

    Monday, 16 March 2015

    Sugar Detox - Week 1

    How's it going? Have any of you achieved any success on the sugar front?

    Personally, I'm going stage by stage. Maybe the word 'detox' isn't entirely appropriate?! 
    For my first week I decided to give up sauces. Ketchup, brown sauce, some hot sauces. Not all thank god...and I kept mayo in moderation. I know mayo isn't loaded with sugar but it is overloaded with fat so I didn't want to go crazy and be all 'ooh I can have ALLTHEMAYO.'

    It was easy. Much easier than I expected to be honest. I know. This from the northerner. Mind-boggling.

    This week its chocolate. Chocolate is out the window. I wouldn't normally worry about this at all but (TMI klaxon) my period is due any second now and this usually brings with it the desire for a Reese's Nutrageous and a can of Coke. I'm not looking forward to it but I'm determined. 

    I bought the obvious book - 

    but unless you really want to bake alternatives to sugar-laden goods it's not ground-breaking to be honest, although it's on offer from Amazon at the moment for a steal if you are a baker.

     I'm just enjoying trying to avoid it. Treating it as a sport rather than a punishment. :)

    Always open to your tips!

    The Sarah Wilson book is here for £4.99.

    Sunday, 15 March 2015

    Saturday, 14 March 2015

    The BEST things about working in the Beauty Industry.

    Yesterday was fun - but there's obviously a reason we all keep doing what we do - so below are the best things about working in retail - especially beauty retail...

    The customers who become friends
    Regular customers that you have known for years are always a joy. You experience people getting married, babies being born, and their children growing up before your eyes. Lovely.

    The customers that are genuinely helped by your advice and expertise.
    It's wonderful when people's lives are changed by something you have recommended/advised. People feeling empowered because they learned how to make the most of their features with makeup, brides that you have prepped on their entire journey, helping people find the right gift for a loved one - and people who say you have changed their life because you listened to them, made them feel welcome and comfortable, and fixed their skin. All of the above.

    The knowledge you gain
    Constant on the job experience, constant self-improvement (for those who want it), constant availability of training - from people who have done it before and experts in their field.

    The workmates that become friends for life - and in some cases Godparents to your children
    People who work together always have that thing in common - especially that shared camaraderie of what retail life is like. Obviously you're not always going to get on with everyone you work with, but when you do, you really do.

    The Girls
    Lady. The generic name for most of the fabulous girls I've worked with. Still saved in my phone as Lady XX or XXX Lady or just 'Lady'.
    And you know when you both know which 'Lady' you're talking about? That.

    The Boys
    When you hear a male makeup artist in full drag tell a woman that he can't make her look like the model in the picture because 'honey ain't no surgeon got them skills', it makes the day go so much quicker....

    The Shop Floor
    Never have I laughed as much as I have on the shop floor. Never. When it's quiet, when it's busy, just funny, funny, hysterical times. People be cray yo. Nothing is funnier than trying not to laugh when you know it's inappropriate.

    The Product
    Most people don't end up in the beauty industry by accident, there is usually passion involved. Whether it's skincare or makeup - most of us are still genuinely in love with the product - especially....

    The New Product
    Seeing new products before everyone else is still as exciting as it always was. The only thing more exciting than NEW product is...

    Free Product 
    Aka gratis, aka allocation, aka the freebies. The rumours are true. Work in the right place and the product is free-flowing. It's not why we do it, well, none of my FB crew anyway, but no-one's gonna lie and say they don't love the freebies. When you're as obsessed as the most obsessed of us, you still spend your own hard-earned money, but still: GRATIS.

    I think I need to open my own shop.

    Friday, 13 March 2015

    The worst things about working in retail - alternate working title 'Kill me Now'

    Don’t get me wrong, I love LOVE working in retail. This is my 30th year doing it (in some form or another). And I know we’re not doctors, nurses or teachers – but we are a huge workforce that work/have worked long hours and unforgiving shifts for very little thanks. This is for you lovely people!
    As with all jobs, there are times, and situations, that leave you at best, uninspired, and at worst, wanting to kill. The ‘Best Things about working in the Beauty Industry’ – is coming tomorrow, first a little fun trip through our pain… J


    Personally, I cannot walk past a Claire’s Accessories without thinking ‘Those poor people, STOCKTAKE HELL’. I’ve never worked there, I just feel their pain.
    Counting, re-counting. Adjusting. *stabs self in eye with pen*

    The Hours

    If you work in a ‘normal’ store it’s not so bad. If you work in a shopping centre or a major City Centre store – especially the living hell that IS Oxford Street and Knightsbridge: May the Force be with You. 9-9 opening hours, extended during the summer for overseas visitors – sometimes 8am – 10/11pm and its longer during…


    Or as retail peeps call it: ‘The first week of November onwards’. The hours, the busy shop floors, the thieves (God the THIEVES). Personally this was the best and worst of time for me. I love being busy, I love helping people buy gifts, I hate wrapping, I hated never having time for a break….and working Christmas Eve? No thank you.


    The reason anyone who works/worked in retail never touches anything in Jo Malone.  You know someone just dusted it, lined it up and is ready to pounce with a replacement as soon as you touch it. Have you ever done that in Jo Malone? Picked something up, walked around with it, changed your mind, gone to put it back and THERE IS NO SPACE FOR IT WHERE DO I PUT IT NOW GOD HELP ME I’M GOING TO MESS UP THEIR DISPLAY!!!

    But inevitably the best and worst thing about most jobs is the people. In this case, the customers. I asked my friends privately – all of whom are ex/current retail – for their ‘feedback’ on the people they have served over the years. To say I was inundated is an understatement. I present to you, the edited, PC version.

    • People who blatantly return something they've used a shitload of times. 
    • People who think that because you work in a shop you have never read a book or had an intelligent thought in your head. 
    • "I read in XXXX that this contains XXXXX"
      "It doesn't"
      "It does"
      *continue ad infinitum* 
    • ‘I need the gel version of this.’
      ‘There isn't one.’
      ‘ Yes there is.’
      ‘ I'm really sorry, there isn't.’
      ‘Let me speak to your Boss. Where is he?’ (HE!)
      ‘I AM the boss and you're shit out of luck.’
    • "I have an iPhone app that says I'm this (twelve shades too dark) foundation."
    • "Paula says..."
    • 6pm on a Saturday: ‘I'm looking for a lipstick - but obviously I'll need my whole makeup doing.’
    • "I'm just going to find my husband because he has my purse".  (never seen again)
    • "I read online the other day that you shouldn't use a powder brush with pressed powder because you have to press down hard and it ruins the brush."
    • "Oh I love it" *looking in the mirror* "Can you write it all down; I'm going to get it in duty free.’ (<---Special recognition award for most mentioned customer, the 'going-to-Duty Free person'.)
    • "I want someone to do my makeup because I'm going out but they need to be really good at it".
    • The Jealous Friend! Friend looks beautiful, asks friend, "What do you think"... "mmm...I'm not sure" *snidey side eye*
    • *Standing on counter/behind till, wearing a brush belt.* "Excuse me, do you work here?"
    • Me: "I'm really sorry, that product is out of stock."
      Customer: ‘Can you check out the back...’
      *Checks out the back*
      Me: "Sorry it really is out of stock."
      Customer: "Check again."
    • Whilst mid-cleansing a customer.....
      'So, what is your current cleansing routine?'
      ‘‘Well, I use a cream cleanser......blah blah blah......then I tone using my own fresh urine......it's wonderful.” *sneaky need to wash hands urgently*
    • The best ever was the lady who needed her 'personal (Lady Garden area) deodorant' from me at Clinique.
      ‘Well we do a roll on or stick but they're for underarms.’ My poor baffled 20-year old self not wanting to consider what she wanted it for...
      "Look here you silly girl, it says ‘push up bottom’..."
    • "What's your current cleansing routine?" Translation: "just wondering if you've ever washed your face?’
    • My favourite was observing my friend on another counter. He is a professional make-up artist and had spent an hour with this woman. She had pre-booked as well. She looked amazing. She turns around and says 'I’m unsure.’  So he then wipes it ALL off and says ' I wouldn't want you walking around town feeling unsure'. 
    • After spending an hour with them, "that's great, I want it all, but I'm gonna go buy it online"
    • On a Saturday late shift "Can you do my make up for me?" ”Sure, tell me what you want to buy and I will put in on you.”
    • I like it when people want to try on eight separate blushers. *face*
    • "I want a natural red lipstick." 
    • "Which one of your 90 lipsticks is my perfect colour?"
    • *applies under eye concealer* "Ooh yeah, it's really nice" *rubs with index finger until it disappears entirely* 
    • "I've used it for years and I don't remember the colour." 
    • "Can I have another A478954368 lipstick please?"
      "That's not the colour, that's the batch number.”
    • “Do you have a tester of this eyeshadow?” “No, because that would be the eyeshadow, wouldn't it. Then it's free.”
    • “Oooh, I might come in every morning and get my makeup done before work. “
    • "Can you come and live with me and do my makeup every morning?"
    • The ‘Oh so virtuous’ ladies with children. God forbid you recommend something like a primer. "I don't have time for that! I have children!"
      Of course. Wouldn't want to take that 5 seconds away from you running the UN either.
    • Customer tries on two identical nude lipglosses.
      "Which one is your favourite on me?”
      "I like the first one"
      "Why do you say that?"
      "It looks nice"
      "Yes but why didn't you say the second one?"
    • "Do you have a cotton bud?"
      *cleans ears*
    • "Is it in stock online?"
      I don't know.
    • When gift wrapping at Christmas, “Oh would you like to come & do all my others?!”
    • I'm allergic....
    • “I want a mascara that stays on all day and possibly through heavy rain and a marathon run, but comes off with water. “
    • "Is this hypoallergenic?"
      *rage face*
    • Highlight of my day, every day at XXXX store:
      6:30pm *Locks door, gets schematics out, starts cleaning*
      6:35 person knocks on door.
      All staff ignores persistent knocking for at least 2 minutes.
      6:37 weakest member of staff 'breaks' and acknowledges idiot at door.
      Idiot: "Please, I know what I need/ I only need a lipstick" *begging tone*
      Staff: "Sorry the tills are closed, you'll have to go to Selfridges.”
    • The Sunday afternoon 6pm/Christmas Eve 5pm/New Years Eve 6pm/ shopper that clearly doesn't have plans or a list.
    • Having to offer the store card at every opportunity in fear of being mystery shopped.
    • Returns without a receipt - 'but I bought it here!!! What do you mean there are 300 other Clinique counters in the UK?!!!' 
    • 'Allergic reaction' returns that were a quarter full or even better, completely used and then replaced with mustard.
    • Following you to a stock cupboard out the back.
    • "I would like the Diptyque baby's candle"
      "Do you mean Baies?"
      "No, not that one, the one that smells of fresh babies.”
      Customer wanted Baies.
    • "I'm 50 years old and never washed my face, why do I need to now?"
      "Because everyone has to remove the dirt from their face."
      "I don't have dirt on my face I live in the countryside."
    • When the customer picks up a cotton bud, licks it, wipes something off their face, puts it back in the pot of clean cotton buds. 
    • A certain brand I know of has customers that bite off the lipstick from the bullet and leave the store with it in their mouth to depot at home. FILTH.
    • 1 minute before store closing... “Hi, can you do a make-over? I don't know what I am looking for. You need to do it in 7 minutes because I am going to the theatre.”
    • “Your body is the same as my husband, do you think he will like this?” Dunno love BECAUSE #imnotyourhusband
    • And my personal fave: 

    “When the customer knows more than you because they read Caroline Hirons' blog.”

    Thursday, 12 March 2015

    Dr Sam Bunting on Rosacea

    The final instalment of my first batch of videos with Dr Sam is now live. Rosacea it is!

    Sam and I are filming again next month and will try and collate as many of your questions as we can for the next series.

    Any questions on this video do please leave them in the comments and I'll respond as quickly as I can.


    Wednesday, 11 March 2015

    Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment

    What is it?
    'Sun damage that won't go away? Wrinkles keeping you up at night? Don't get mad, get powerful.'

    or in other words - an overnight retinol anti-ageing treatment.

    Who is it for?
    'Acne, Anti-Ageing, Breakouts, Brown Spots, Wrinkles'      

    Anyone looking for a proven anti-ageing treatment.

    What’s in it?
    (What isn't in it!?!! --->)
    Aqua, Dimethicone (silicone slip agent), Glycerin (skin-repairing ingredient), Butylene Glycol (slip agent/penetration enhancer), Isononyl Isononanoate (emollient), Castor Isostearate Succinate (skin conditioning agent), Glyceryl Stearate (emulsifier), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (thickener), Dimethicone Crosspolymer (silicone thickener/texture enhancer), PEG-33 (binding agent), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), Behenyl Alcohol (fatty alcohol thickener), Retinol (cell-communicating ingredient), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Ceramide 2 (skin-repairing ingredient), Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (cell-communicating ingredient), Palmitoyl Oligopeptide (cell-communicating ingredient), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin-repairing ingredient), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernal Extract (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Salix Alba (Willow) Root Extract (antioxidant plant extract/anti-irritant), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols (antioxidants/skin-conditioning agent), Lecithin (cell-communicating ingredient), Allantoin (anti-irritant), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Hydrolized Soy Protein (antioxidant), sorbitan Laurate (emulsifier), Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester (anti-irritant), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Hydroxyethylcellulose (thickener), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Tribehenin (emollient), Caprylyl Glycol (skin-conditioning agent), Ethylhexylglycerin (skin conditioning agent), Pentylene Glycol (slip agent), PEG-100 Stearate (thickener), PEG-75 Shea Butter Glycerides (emollient), PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer (film-forming agent), PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol (fatty acid-based thickener), PEG-8 Dimethicone (sillicon-based skin-conditioning agent), PEG-14 (thickener), Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate (binding agent), Polymethylsilsesquioxane (sillicone-based opacyfying agent), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate (slip agent), Arachidyl Glycoside (emulsifier), Sclerotium Gum (thickener), Arachidyl Alcohol (thickener), Benzoic Acid (preservative), Sodium Carbomer (gel based thickener), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

    Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?
    Silicones (I don't mind silicones at all but I know some of you do)

    Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?
    Man made, vegan as far as I can see.

    Tested on animals/sold in China?

    What's not in it?
    Mineral oil (odd considering the brand champions it, but also sensible considering this ingredient needs to penetrate and it won't do that if it's in a mineral oil base)

    How do you use it?
    'Apply a pea-sized amount after cleansing and toning, and then follow with your Paula's Choice serum and/or nighttime moisturizer. When first using the Clinical 1% Retinol, start with no more than three evenings per week, then gradually increase frequency to every other night and, finally, every evening as tolerated (measure how your skin responds). Avoid the lips, direct contact with the eye, and corners of the eyes. You may apply up to the orbital bone of the eye area.'

    Good, sensible instructions except for the 'follow with PC serum and/or moisturiser'. You could perfectly well follow this with a serum or moisturiser from one of Paula's competition - just try and avoid using one that contains a lot of retinol/vitamin A!

    What’s good about it?
    This is a good product. If you read the website you'd think it was the second coming of Jesus (can't blame them for that - it IS their brand after all) - but nonetheless, it is indeed a good product. 
    It is not, as they claim, the strongest retinol on the market without prescription, brands like Skinceutcals have been doing 1% retinol treatments for years.
    This moisturises nicely, gives me no 'burn' or irritated feeling and is fragrance-free, which I know will please a lot of you!
    Results for me were good, no peeling or redness at all, but then my skin may be more acclimatised to retinols than yours, so always take heed from the tips on the website.
    If you aren't using vitamin A products at the moment, and you are in your 20's or have acne scarring, try this.
    If you aren't using vitamin A products at the moment and you are the other side of 30, you need to get with the programme because your face will fall off by the time you're 70. 
    Slight exaggeration, but you get my point. Vitamin A takes your face to the gym. It needs the exercise. Embrace it. Even if you do it while lying on the sofa watching Corrie.

    What’s not so good about it?
    It's not that it's 'not good', but that ingredient list tells you everything you need to know about most US brands. They take a 'throw everything at it and something will work approach' - it's like a buffet in an all-you-can-eat-restaurant. Offer everything, there will be something for everyone. Or in this case, offer everything, something will give results. 
    That being said, retinol/proper anti-ageing creams will always be more complicated formulas than most natural ones. Which is fine by me. You get to a certain age, if you really want results, you need to embrace the chemical. Sorry but it's true. I'm all for natural and organic cleansers and moisturisers, but nothing is more anti-ageing than proper clinical vitamin A. You don't get that from bloody rosehips IMO. This retinol actually works.

    Where to use in your routine?
    After toning, before serum and/or moisturiser.

    Similar products? (Similar, not same)
    Skinceuticals 1% Retinol
    Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution 

    Brand Website - very good:
    Incidentally, everything I hate about bad websites (too numerous to mention) is the exact opposite of the website for Paula's Choice. It has ingredients, explanations, great product information and good advice. If I was marking websites, hers is hard to beat. Cult Beauty is another one that comes to mind for a retailer, but brand-wise, this is the dog's gonads.

    Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Treatment is £51.50 for 30ml and only available online at said website..