Sunscreens, especially for darker skin tones

Whether you’re basking in the UK’s latest heatwave or frolicking on a beach somewhere (not jealous, honest!), applying adequate sun protection is a must. This is not only important for Caucasian skin tones that burn easily but right through to darker Afro-Caribbean skin tones too.

Check out my latest video on sunscreens for darker skin tones where I discuss why you need to wear sunscreen and my favourites.

Enjoy the sun safely!


Brand Focus – Origins


Origins is a staple. If it disappeared from the shelves, it would be sorely missed. However, I also feel it’s a brand that often taken for granted. It’s always there in the back of our minds when it really should be more to the front. They have such an amazing stable of products, that they deserve more shouting out.

Origins was the first brand that I used to zap a zit when I discovered that you could apply Salicylic Acid on a spot and it would dry it up within hours.  Super Spot Remover, £15 is still my go to for effective spot relief for nearly ten years. It’s so fast acting and delivers. Can’t really ask for more.

I can’t start to tell you how much the mattifying  Zero Oil lotion, £14  has saved me from many a make up slide disaster when I used to do a lot of bridal make up work. It was just the right strength anchor to hold a precious look in place. If you suffer from oily skin and dread the lunchtime foundation slide, it’s a worthy investment for your make up bag as it blots up oil on all the tell tale areas – forehead, nose and cheeks. I also find the whiff of camphor also very satisfying.

You get great value for your money, the products are effective.

I always recommend Origins to clients having their first foray into serious skincare be it in adulthood or slightly younger. The ranges are simple to understand and save the complications/confusion that sometimes causes interest to wane thus causing a disinterest in skincare.  Also, they’re  great for teens and young adults – students, early 20’s and broke first jobbers I’m talking to you. I was there once, we may not yet have limitless money to spend on skincare, but we want the best of what we can afford.

In fact they now do a range specifically for early to mid 20’s. It caters specifically for those late study nights and extra cocktails down at the student union bar that play havoc on skin. If this is talking to you, you should specifically look at Original Skin Renewal Serum, £32. It heals, smooths and de-stresses the skin whilst blurring out imperfections using a combination of Persian Silk Tree, Willowherb and Chestnut Seed Extract.

For the slightly older, but equally just as stressed skin, High-Potency Night-A-Mins Skin refining oil, £35 is an excellent option. It improves the condition of the skin overnight using Vitamin C, E and plant oils to exfoliate whilst your sleep. You wake up with skin the looks plumped and rested.

With summer round the corner as well, I’m having a love affair with Clear Improvement Detoxifying Charcoal Body Scrub, £25.  A mix of sea salt, brown sugar and charcoal smoothes and draws out impurities. The result is soft glowing skin ready for shorts and bare shoulders.  You can also apply once you’re in the shower, which save the faff of applying on dry skin and getting grains all over the bathroom floor.

Origins tick all the right boxes with quiet aplomb. The products are  are unpretentious and easy to use. If you like fuss free but proven skincare making full use of nature’s botanicals combined with scientific knowledge, walk this way to your nearest Origins counter.

Product Review: Fillerina – a DIY facial filler

It’s been a while since I did a straight product review so it’s about time I put the review hat back on and tell all about Fillerina.


What is it?

A Swiss made, six type Hyaluronic Acid complex DIY dermo-cosmetic filler for home use. It also has Matrifull which is a protein peptide that promotes growth of the skin and enhances the filling effect of the hyaluronic acid complex. Used as instructed it’s an intensive 14 day treatment.

There are three grades depending on the extent of filling required.

Grade 1: to correct early-onset, fine-to-moderate wrinkles and expression lines.

Grade 2: to correct visible wrinkles and expression lines

Grade 3: to correct deep-set furrows and expression lines

What’s it for & what does it do?

It’s aimed at skin that requires plumping because of volume loss. Also skin (mature or otherwise) with wrinkles, expression lines and fine lines.

As we age, the levels of hyaluronic acid found naturally in the body start to decrease. So Fillerina’s function is to fill in areas of wrinkles and sagging to boost the appearance, feel and texture of the skin. To achieve this the different types of hyaluronic acid penetrate into the deeper layers skin to fill and plump up tissues.

The results are supposed to last two to three months.

What does it come with?

There are two 2ml vials –  a Gel Filler (Hyaluronic Acid complex) and a Nourishing Film. Also 2 scary looking precision syringe applicators.

How to use

Fill up syringe with required amount of gel and dispense to identified areas of need on a clean face. Leave to work for ten minutes then apply the Nourishing Film, again using the syringe.

My thoughts

I love geeky products at first sight. This looks so cool, especially with the double syringe and vials, making it look straight out of a medi clinic. If it was all presented on a stainless steel tray then the aesthetics would have been complete. However, when it comes to using the products, I balk at the level of effort that has to go into its use. I prefer things to be so much more straightforward.

The ‘faffage’ level of Fillerina is high, there’s no getting away from that. You have to open, then use syringe to measure and apply, then wait ten minutes and on it goes. But once you get over this, the gel is an absolute dream.  I’m reviewing Grade 3, so as my skin is not mature and I don’t particularly suffer from wrinkles I only use 1ml of the product which I apply on my forehead, cheeks, jawline and chin then I lightly rub in with the pads of my fingers. I can see why they say to use the syringe – you have more control in how and where you apply the product and helps you to be more precise in certain areas – around the eyes and lips for example.

The rebel in my would like to just squirt the syringe into my palm and rub all over my face, but in the interest of being clean, tidy and not wasting the product softening my hands I follow the instructions. Somewhat.

Unfortunaetly I don’t have ten minutes to wait for the filler to fill (I wash my face when my daughter is in the bath and seeing as she’s seems to be on a mission to flood the bathroom the minute my back is turned, washing my face needs to a fast affair).  So I Ieave it about a minute and I move on to the Nourishing Film, a face treatment oil or my night moisturiser.

They also advise to drink two glasses of water before use as it has ingredients that help bind and control the movement of water through the layers of skin.

The gel feels quite wet and there is a lot of slip which I personally like. It drys to a non sticky finish and you can easily apply further products on top if you wish without any annoying rolling and clumping. I think the syringe and vial design could be improved so that you don’t have to dip the entire syringe into the product all the time. At the moment you also have to make sure you give the body of the syringe a wipe to remove the excess product. Not necessarily the most hygienic thing to do repeatedly. The opening should be wide enough so that you can suction without inserting entire syringe into the vial – a bit like a Calpol bottle (if you have kids you will know exactly what I mean)

My skin feels extremely cosseted after use and I love it. It feels and looks plumped, supported and lifted. The other day I described my skin as sitting in a hammock after I used it. It doesn’t look like it would gives you a lot of support, but it honestly does. And even though at 31 I am clearly not the intended consumer of a Grade 3 box but it’s done me a ton of good as I don’t get any tightness in my skin and it feels deeply hydrated. Even more important is the way my skin feels and looks the morning when I’ve used overnight.    Sounds odd, but it feels fuller, smoother and looks more even toned and brighter. I noticed this within three to four days of use, and that’s at half the amount recommended product.

I can only imagine the great benefits it would give to someone with mature skin who is starting to experience sagging, loss of volume and colour or even someone perhaps on high dose medication suffering from severe dry skin. It could be a real game changer for them.

Who should use it?

A varierty of people could use this successfully (so long as you weren’t allergic to ingredients of course). Those with mature dry skin starting to experience the effects of age, those battling dehydration (me!), people scared of needles so they don’t want to go for invasive fillers (this is definitely a good first option),  people on medication that causes dry skin e.g Roaccutane, steroids or on cancer drugs that deplete the skin of moisture.

If you’re using it for preventative measures like I am, then I think 1ml is more that enough. Even in that seemingly small amount you get a lot of product.

How much does it cost?

Prices start from £79 depending on the grade of product you select. Available online from Cult Beauty and Victoria Health.


Voila! C’est bon….that is Fillerina – all broken down in a review :-)

I’m on YouTube


For years, I’ve wanted to start a YouTube channel but one thing or the other got in the way. Now I’m happy to say, I’ve done it and you can check out the channel >>>> HERE!!

What to expect -

Lots of skincare and real honest chit chat – like yes you should be washing your face twice a day, why you should wear sunscreen, why this product here trumps that product there and such like.

Make up – I never talk about make up here because its strictly skincare in the main, but I love love make up, the colourful the better, so head on over if that rocks your world too.

#TheFoundationLibrary – a catalogue of foundations and brands that cater for Women of Colour – this topic is particularly close to my heart as I have so many friends that struggle to find foundations and think there’s nothing out there for them. They see most make up counters as a sea of beige colours.  I know that’s not the case and it all depends where you go and what you’re looking for. So whether it’s budget or luxury foundations you’re after, check out #TheFoundationLibrary for my insider knowledge.

Now over to you – if there’s anything you want me to go through and discuss on screen, just leave a comment below and I’d be happy to answer.

Hope you enjoy the channel and please do subscribe and  ‘thumbs up’ the videos too!

Happy Sunday xx

Retinol – the anti ageing wonder ingredient

I love one liners and my current favourite skincare one is ‘retinol will save us all’. Well, it will preserve our skins anyway and keep it looking smooth and wrinkle free for a lot longer than if we didn’t include it in our skincare.

So, what is it?

Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative that enables skin cells to function normally, as well as boost the performance and appearance of the skin. It sloughs off dead skin cells quicker, improves the look and feel of scars, bolsters collagen in the deeper layers of skin, minimises the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines as well as tackles hyperpigmentation! Easy to see why it’s the wonder ingredient.

Why didn’t I know about these before?

Retinol has been around in skincare since the 1970’s, mainly used to deal with acne. But it can deal with so much more – conditions such as psoriasis and warts can be successfully treated as well as wrinkles and prematurely ageing skin.

Where can I get it?

It is now more widely available in over the counter preparations which can take between three and six months of use to see the effects on your skin.  The GP can provide much stronger and fast acting types of retinol (Retinoids) for particular skin complaints like severe acne in which the difference in skin can be seen in as little as eight weeks.

How do I use?

Over the counter retinol products are easy to use – a pea sized amount on cleansed skin every other day until skin can tolerate more use. Don’t start using retinol if you have a big event coming up where you want to look your smartest as you may get some irritation – dryness, flakey, tingling, some redness perhaps but all these go within a couple of weeks as your skin gets used to it. For any severe irritations, stop use of the product. GP’s will always advise how to use the product if obtained via prescription.

Although you can use during the day, I prefer and advise to use retinol at night as it does make your skin photo sensitive. You must wear sunscreen of at least SPF30 to protect your delicate skin.

Show them to me!

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 06.36.23

The goods news is twofold – every single age group can use retinol AND they are safe for long term use in your skincare. I’ve compiled a pinterest board of retinol products to make it easy to see whats available for over the counter use. I’ve not tried them all mind, so can’t speak on the effectiveness of every single one, but it’s a good starting point if you are interested in including retinol in your arsenal. I will update regularly.


Bridal Beauty & Skincare

Bridal flowersBeing a bride can be very stressful! I know, I’ve been there. There’s a lot of pressure on you. Let’s face it, it’s really your day and you are the star of the show. You are queen! I mean, have you ever heard anyone say ‘I wonder what the groom will be wearing?’ No, me neither!

The dress, the after party dress, nails, your skin, make up all top the list of bridal worries. Grooming has never been so important!  Not to mention all the other minor details like catering and cakes, the bridal train and transport, music and seating plan, it can all be a recipe for mayhem. OK, I jest, they are not small details. All these things are very important and getting them just right can be very stressful.

Which in turn can take a toll on your skin. As we’ve established the focus is on you, naturally you want to look your absolute best. The festivities might only be a day, but the pictures will last a life time and if your skin didn’t put in a good show, it will taunt you each time you open the wedding album. With summer weddings around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about getting your skin in optimum condition if you’re going to the radiant and glowing bride you want your guests to remember.

For beautiful skin on the big day, here are some things you need to be considering:

  • Are you eating well and having enough exercise?

It’s difficult when you’re running helter skelter, but poor nutritional habits will show up on your skin as drynesss or oiliness, flakes, loss of colour, dehydration and fine lines. None of which form a good basis for bridal make up and gives the make up artist a harder job to achieve your look on the day. Try having a green smoothie with cucumber, broccoli and apple in the morning, sprinkle some berries and almonds on your porridge, eat a few slices of smoked salmon and avocado. These types of food will support your skin with necessary vitamins and minerals to keep it glowing. Avoid additional sugar as that can inflame your skin worsening complaints.

Eating balanced meals focusing a lot on proteins and greens will supply your skin with nutrients like Vitamin C and Omega oils. They play a vital role in the correct functioning of skin. Take supplements if your feel you’re not getting enough, especially Omega 3,6, 9, Zinc if you suffer from a lot of breakouts as it helps to heal the skin. You could even go for a vitamin drip a couple of days ahead of the wedding to really boost your system.

Exercise is a great stress reliever and will give an endorphin rush will leave you feeling lighter and happier. It brings on a natural glow and radiance, not to mention opening pores which will help expel toxins from your body.

Insider Tip – Colonic Hydrotherapy is an effective way of cleansing your digestive system and ridding the body of clogging toxins. You’ll be surprised how much bounce you get back and all the compliments on your glowing skin!

  • Do you have a proper skincare routine?

Do you cleanse your skin morning and night? This is the cornerstone of skin that radiates health, so you must stick to it, even if you’re up late trying to balance those spreadsheets and seating plans. The absolute basics would be to cleanse, tone, serum and moisturise, sunscreen during the day.

If you’re completely unsure about what to do and what to use, book a consultation with a skin care specialist for advice.

  • Do you have any advanced treatment products in your skincare arsenal?

If you would like to completely resurface your skin for a more even skin tone, now is the time to consider using a retinol treatment.  This Vitamin A treatment is fantastic as it helps skin cells to function correctly and also turns rogue cells around for smoother, plumper and more radiant skin.  You don’t want to use this in the month leading up to the wedding as there is the possibility of dryness and flakes whilst your skin adjusts.

Exfoliation should also be on a regular basis using an exfoliating toner with Alpha Hydroxy Acids. If you’re oily then particularly look to use something with  a Salicylic Acid base to keep your pores clean and alleviate clogging. Dry skin types can use Lactic and Glycolic Acid which deliver a smoother skin texture.

Top Picks: Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner, Biologique Recherche P50 Balancing Exfoliators

Boosters are also another great tool to include in your skincare right now. They can make all the difference to tired, stressed out skin suffering with hormonal fluctuations. Their job is to turbo boost your skin’s performance and usually very quickly provide relief  and hydration.

Top picks – CosMedix Pure C Mixing Powder, MV Organic Skin Rose Plus Booster

  • What’s your approach to serums?

Most of us suffer from dehydrated skin without realising, so now is a good time to start using hyaluronic acid which deeply hydrate your skin. It’s a  light weight serum you apply before any other product and it will ensure better moisture levels for your skin making it more supple and plump.

But what about other types of skin complaints – hyperpigmentation, blemishes, very fine lines? There are serums available for these too that over time will help to control there appearance on the skin.

Top picks – Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age Advanced Serum, CODAGE Serum No 1, Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment Serum

  • How often do you use oils?

Including a facial treatment oil in your skincare is a great idea. Facial oils are such nowadays that they can refine, smooth, plump brighten and stabilise your skin virtually overnight. A couple of drops are all you need to massage into your skin daily prior to moisturiser to improve the condition leading up to a big day. You can even use an oil as a deep penetrating overnight treatment.

Top Picks – Aurelia Cell Repair Night Oil, Darphin Aromatic Renewing Balm

  • Time for a short course of facial treatments?

These are a great way to deep cleanse the skin and keep your glow on track as you approach the big day. They also give you an hour to yourself to relax, even catch up on sleep if you need it. A professional facialist will ensure you are doing all the right things at home and will be able to perform any advanced treatments you need like peels or lasers. They will also be able to teach you facial massage techniques you can use at home to drain waste and toxins that steal the radiance from  your skin. A five minute facial massage morning and evening will loosen tense facial muscles, smooth and tone the skin allowing your natural glow to come through.

Most Facialists can put together a package of six or three month facial treatments, but if that’s an added expense to far (after all weddings are expensive), why not consider having an in depth consultation where you can ask all the questions you need to and get some detailed advice about your skin and recommendations on techniques and products that will have you looking your best on the big day.

Top Pick – Facials by Dija Skin & Lifestyle Consultations available nationwide 

Getting to know…. Andy Millward – Skincare Expert

PhotoGrid_1430628465283Andy is my skincare soulmate. Though we live in different parts of the country, we share the same passion for skin and how to keep it in its healthiest form. Through this shared love (especially of lactic acid!) and with the help of social media and blogging we’ve become firm friends too. Andy writes the blog Pampered Prince and his advice is second to none. It’s moved on from the old of doing multiple product reviews to more of an advisory service so it’s a great place to go to learn about your skin with no BS.  His Instagram feed is full of skincare inspiration and meal ideas that support good skin health. There’s always something new to learn on it.

His journey into being a Facialist was a long one – started as an interest in his own skin whilst working as an IT Consultant and snowballed from there on the realisation that through what he had learned he could help others overcome any skin troubles they experienced. Having witnessed Andy’s journey, I know there has ups and downs but he’s diligently stuck to his path and now runs an invaluable skincare consultancy service in Birmingham.

I’ve never met anyone who invests as heavily in professional training either! We laugh that he’s constantly on a course of some kind and that’s an excellent thing because jokes aside if you’re going to trust your face into someones hands, then they need to be experienced and qualified!

Now I’ve whet your appetite about Andy, why don’t you settle down with a cup of White Tea (antioxidant protection, of course!) and have a read of his approach to skincare, his dream potion and the therapist who’s style he most admires.

What’s your all time favourite product?

This is a really difficult question, as I have many favourites to choose from but I’m a big believer in cleansing being the cornerstone to a good skincare routine and the first thing I judge a range on is their cleanser! So my favourite product is CosMedix Purity Clean. If you have oily / congestion-prone skin like mine, this is an absolute lifesaver. It can also be used as a cleansing / exfoliating mask and it even helps to improve hydration levels through increased ceramide production, so I love how multi-tasking it is

What product do you think needs to be made?

I take a “less is more” approach in the sense I don’t believe in layering 10 different products. However, that said, it doesn’t mean I want sacrifice on active ingredients either. I’d love to see an all-in-one serum that contains antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, peptides / amino acids, brightening agents, growth factors etc all in one bottle!

How did you get into blogging?

A friend of mine asked me to write a guest post for her because she knew how obsessed I was with skin. To be honest, I’d never even heard of beauty blogging and hadn’t read them before, so didn’t really know what I was doing, however I found I really enjoyed writing about skin care, so I started my own!

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Another difficult question because despite only being in the industry for a short time, I feel blessed to have so many highlights already. Such as working for a brand I love and also working with lots of highly respected and established professionals within the industry, I couldn’t be more grateful for the fantastic educational opportunities and being able to learn from the best.

Seeing clients skin and their confidence transform has got to be the ultimate highlight though and the reason why I do what I do!

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in beauty industry?

Grab every opportunity for training and continuous professional development. You can never be over qualified or over experienced. Also, do your homework and learn as much as you can on your own, don’t expect to be ‘taught’ everything in a classroom, because ultimately there won’t be anything unique about your skills or knowledge than the other people on your course.

Money no object, what’s your dream product bathroom cabinet?

This is going to sound corny but I already own my dream product bathroom cabinet! I genuinely use all CosMedix or Results Rx on my own skin, as well as my clients. As I don’t really test different product ranges anymore for my blog, I like to stick with a range I know that’s going to perform well and that I can rely on. (I also get to buy at wholesale, so I’d be crazy to buy anything else, ha!).

The only exception is body products, which is all Bodhi & Birch. They cannot be beaten on quality and aromatherapy in my opinion!

Who’s beauty/style do you admire?

There are lots of Facialists / skin therapists that I admire and look up to. Marie Reynolds is my beauty icon though. For me she’s the perfect therapist and goes way beyond skin treatments and the way many therapists view skin treatments. Marie uses a combination of Noetic Science and Oriental Diagnosis to look at the complete physical, mental and emotional state that affects our skin and overall health. She’s also one of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet and beautiful to the core! If I ever get to be half the therapist Marie is, then I’ll be extremely happy.

As an expert, what’s your number one skincare advice?

Don’t over-process your skin! Remember that it’s a living organ and has many functions, which it was designed to do without using hundreds of different beauty products. I see lots of people who over-cleanse, over-exfoliate and over-moisture, all with the aim of making the skin look better, when in fact it has the opposite effect.

Keep things simple and go see a professional for guidance if you’re not sure!

Pores, Pores, Pores

LargePoresPin pricked, dimpled, orange peel looking skin? Visible to the eye or needing a close up with a backlit mirror? Yes, that’s pores you can see (or rather struggle to see).  Love ‘em or hate ‘em we all have them, we  need them and they play a very important role in the body and in the skin. The come in different shapes and sizes all over the body, except for our palms and soles of  feet which don’t have any pores at all.

Pores play two very important roles. Firstly, they provide a home for our hair follicles, so through them the internal temperature of the body is regulated. Secondly, they also provide an escape route for sebum from the sebaceous glands to flow out to the surface of the skin and keep it lubricated. Without this function, our skin would be dry and just shrivel up like a prune. Like it or not, we need oil on the surface of our skin to keep it supple and smooth. This is why oilier skin types have a delayed onset of lines and wrinkles.

Contrary to popular belief and incorrect marketing of beauty products for decades, pores do not open and closethey are not doors. They are in a permanent state of open, though they can become clogged at times but that is an entirely different matter. It is more the case that they can become larger over time, but you can take steps to minimise their size and appearance on the skin.

The size of your pores are genetically determined (my mum has a lot to answer for!), so to a large extent there’s not much you can do about that. But if your pores do cause you some bother because too little oil flows to the surface of the skin or even too much oil, there are a few things you can do. Understanding that the amount of oil that comes through your pores is directly related to your skincare habits, hormones, stress levels and environmental triggers is important. By paying attention to these factors you are more able to influence the behaviour of your pores.

When a pore gets clogged with trapped sebum and dead skin, it stretches. It’s a bit like an expandable bucket – as it fills up with oil it continues to stretch and become more visible and you slowly get a shiny look. Or it can continue to be clogged, forms a plug and become a blackhead once exposed to air.  To avoid this happening, it’s best to have Salicylic Acid amongst other Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) present somewhere in your skincare. It helps to alleviate the outward appearance of oily skin, decongest pores, exfoliate and smooth rough dry skin. Face cleansers like Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip, Superfacialist Purifying Cleansing Wash (avoid if you prefer not to foam), Origins Zero Oil and exfoliating toners like Biologique Recherché P50, First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads, Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic all do a fantastic job of deep cleansing, decongesting, balancing pores and improving tone/texture of the skin.

Regular at- home deep treatments with a face mask also help alleviate the problem of enlarged pores, especially on oilier skin types. They have a deep cleansing effect and with the right type of clay really draw oil and impurities from deep within the skin to leave it more refreshed and controlled. I really like Fresh Skincare Umbrian Clay Mattifying Mask which neutralises acidic skin, which is what oily skin is. It also purifies the skin and the cherry on top is that it doesn’t dry out the skin completely. Leaving your skin without any oil at all is never a good idea as it only produces more oil to compensate. A long time favourite is also Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask with Hungarian Moor Mud, which I spoke about here.

Sometimes you just have to fake well behaved pores and that’s why primers were invented. They blur imperfections, temporarily improve texture, stop oil from coming through and provide a smooth surface to anchor make up. Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch is a light weight veil that instantly makes skin look flawless. Acacia micro pearls work like sponges that soak up moisture and oil as it is released throughout the day and silicones provide a smoothing base.

You’re never going to get rid of your pores, there’ll never be a magic potion that ‘closes’ them – there shouldn’t be, but with clever home use skincare products and salon treatments that minimise enlarged pores and deep clean, it is possible to keep them under control regardless of your skin type.

*photo – istockphoto

Skincare Routine & Regimes – what goes first?

What order should I apply my skincare products?

This question seems to boggle the minds of many and I can see why. With the plethora of products available, it’s easy to get in a muddle and apply incorrectly; therefore not making the most out of the product. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve picked up a product, then had to take a moment to sit down and calculate when and where I should include it in my regime.

Most people stick to the basic cleanse, tone and moisturise routine as a minimum and that’s great, but what if you want to introduce a few new things. Would you know where to begin?

From the clients I work with, I find that it’s immediately after cleansing, things start to get murky, so here is the order to follow in the main. If you already have something else that works for you, then don’t stop – keep going with it.

Morning Routine

  • Cleanse – with a light facial cleanser – a milk or gel that works for your skin type.
  • Acid tone with an AHA toner – I use and always advice to use an exfoliating toner to balance skin,  unclog pores, sweep of skin debris and prep for more intensive product use.

{Spritz – I like to keep skin moist as I go on to apply further product. Not everyone likes this; wants to do it; has time to do it or can afford an additional product in their regime. Whatever your reason – its not compulsory so don’t get hung up over it.}

  • Targeted Treatment Product – e.g. for acne, rosacea, hyperpigmentation

This needs to go on to bare skin (not necessarily bone dry, moist is ok) to have the desired effect on the areas affected. If you’re blessed to not need this step as your skin is happy, move on to the next step.

  • Eye Cream – this needs a chance to penetrate the thin skin around the eyes, if you put any other cream or lotion on first and it would be too heavy and also form a barrier which would stop your  eye cream from having any beneficial effect.
  • Serums including light facial oils – usually the thinnest consistency and water based, goes on next to treat the face. They  are designed to be work horses that provide all over treatment to your skin be it for dryness, hydration, brightening or oil balancing, so you want them to get as close to your bare skin as possible to make them more effective.

If using an oil at this point, a couple of drops are really all you need.

  • Moisturiser

You’re all over coat, sealing and protecting everything underneath. In the morning, you would follow with an SPF on top. I’m a big fan of separate SPF, but if your moisturiser already has it, as a lot do nowadays and you find that adequate, then go get dressed and get one with your day.

Night Routine

  • Double cleanse – especially if you’ve been wearing sunscreen and make up, you need to take all of that off with a cleansing oil or balm and flannel, before using your lovely face cleanser to give your skin a proper clean. Micellar water (or wipes!) doesn’t count, I’m afraid.
  • Acid tone (some people prefer to do this every other night), spritz (optional), targeted treatment, eye cream, serum – all as above.
  • Treatment

This is when most people have the extra five/ten minutes to spend on their skin so use that extra time for a facial treatment oil and massage.  An oil packed with regenerative healing properties would be good and also an anti ageing oil to prevent hyperpigmentation, fine lines, dryness – so something with Vitamin A aka Retinol to help . After serum, lightly layer your products and work them into your skin with a firm massage. Remind yourself how beautiful you are and go to bed.

Do you need to apply moisturiser after this? – you shouldn’t, this should be enough before bed, especially as oil forms a barrier and would stop any other water based moisturiser from affecting the skin in any real way.

Don’t like oil?  If your night moisturiser contains a lot of oils in the formulation, then you can use that as your treatment if you prefer.

Some people (ME) skip out the moisturiser and go straight for face oil. I prefer the feel of a light fast sinking treatment oil to a moisturiser, so it’s just a matter of personal preference. Plus after having a few skin issues over Christmas, I cut out moisturiser completely and went straight for oil. The difference in my skin is clear, showing it’s important to listen to your skin and follow what it’s telling you.

Be aware of products that contain silicone as they will form a barrier on the skin, inhibiting further products from having any tangible effect. Silicone based products are not bad in themselves, but should be applied later in your skincare routine.

When it comes to the order of skincare, the rule of thumb is the product with the lightest feeling and thinnest consistency goes on first and everything else is then layered on top according to feel and weight.

I am my sister’s keeper – Ovarian Cancer

This week Angelina Jolie revealed that she’d made the brave, but sensible decision to have her ovaries removed after tests revealed she had a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer. She’d already gone through the process of a double masectomy two years ago. Her mother, aunt and grandmother all died from cancer so I can only imagine the level of anxiety she may sometimes feel about her health. I salute her for doing everything in her power and taking preventative steps to rid herself of the chance of developing cancer.

The bitter sweet fact is even though she has taken all the measures she can, there is still sadly a very real possibility of her developing the disease. Just like any of us. This is why it is important to constantly raise aware about female cancers and fundraise to allow important research work to be done.

Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynaecological cancer and fifth most common female cancer in the UK – Cancer Research UK

The beauty of research

Amazing things happen when beauty is used as a platform to promote health and for the second year in a row Laura Mercier is donating 100% of all the profit from the sales of Bonne Mine Healthy Glow for Face & Cheeks Crème Colour Palette, £37 and Peach Hope Lip Glacé, £19.50 to the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund. So far, the fund has donated £48,000 to the Ovarian Cancer Trust to support the UK’s first and only dedicated research centre into this disease.

So come on ladies, t’is the season to blush and pucker so support this important work with your beauty and your cash!

Would you be able to spot the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?

Take a look at the video below to see what the most common signs are.