Deeper than Skin – Life Infusions

I have to admit, I was thrilled by the idea of having a vitamin infusion, at the same time I had several thoughts of  ‘this is an exercise of expensive pure laziness’ go through my head. This was before I had an extra ordinarily busy month and flu that knocked me out for nearly two weeks. No amount of Floradix or supplements boosted my energy levels sufficiently for me to get through the day. So by the time my appointment at The Elixir Clinic come round, I was completely ready for it and my mind was open to the possibilities about how it would positively improve my current energy slump.

For the uninitiated a Life Infusion which is sometimes also called a Myers’ Infusion is the administration of nutrients by intravenous delivery. It was a technique developed in the 1970’s to help treat a broad spectrum of health conditions and to generally give the proverbial ‘leg up’ to your immune system.  Over the last forty years, our lives have got busier and eating habits have become poorer so it’s gained popularity. Infusions at The Elixir Clinic are designed to perfectly deliver optimum balance of nutrients and vitamins direct to the body through the blood system, bypassing the gut.

Following a thorough consultation, the infusion I received was the VIP ELIXIR Infusion. There are several different types of infusions and intramuscular injections available or they can make a bespoke one depending on your needs.  After a little bit of fiddling around to get a vein – my veins are so deep and difficult to find I was worried they would say I couldn’t have the treatment, but it’s a testament to the fine skill of co founder and super nurse Acaena Amaros – the drip was administered and I sat back and relaxed for thirty minutes. It really was all that simple!

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 07.56.42

I felt some of the effects straight away. It’s very relaxing. I was bouncy and full of pep that I didn’t have when I walked through their door. I felt energised and my sleep was better that night. The following days, my energy levels were still significantly higher and I noticed my skin was brighter and I had a health about my person. The same sort of rosiness that brisk daily walks in fresh open air would achieve.

I’ve not had another infusion since, but I can see it being the sort of thing I would plan into my life if I knew I was going into a hectic period or having a seasonal boost like at the start of spring and autumn. I think the infusions are a good safety net to ensure that body and mind function at their best. When we’re busy and running on empty our skin also suffers as it becomes depleted of necessary vitamins and minerals. It would be very interesting to see the effects after the recommended course of six infusions.

Of course I have talk about the price because it is not cheap. They start from £180 and injections from £50.  Although you could buy several rounds of supplements for the price of one infusion, the question is will you take them and how quickly can you wait for them to take effect? I know a lot of people who have cupboards stocked with pills that never get taken. With infusions, you could say it was the lazy but at least you’ve saved on cupboard space, the deed is done and most importantly the body absorbs a high percentage of the nutrients as it is straight into the blood stream. What it doesn’t need, it expels. Pills go via the gastrointestinal system where absorption rates are sometimes only up to 10%.

I like The Elixir Clinic because it completely supports my inside out beauty ideals whilst going one step further and focussing on health too. It’s also a great service for people recovering from surgery or with serious medical complaints who need extra immune support. It’s a safe, practical and a no fuss service that I predict will be in more demand as life gets busier.

Other clinics to check out around London:

- Drip & Chill Lounge at EF Medispa

- Nosh Infusion Clinic 

Discussing unwanted facial hair with laser specialist Debbie Thomas

Debbie Thomas colourLast month, on I wrote about unwanted facial hair on women and the stigma they sometimes face. I also spoke to Dr Sam Bunting about the causes and solutions available to women and one of the solutions mentioned was laser hair removal. Following that I took some time out to question to the woman dubbed ‘London’s Laser Queen’ – Debbie Thomas – who runs the self titled Debbie Thomas Clinic where all manner of beauty and hi tech skincare happens.

Debbie sees a lot of women with unwanted facial hair, so I am very grateful for her to take the time out to shed a bit more light about what happens in her practice and her experience in treating the condition.


  • Do you treat a lot of women for treatment with unwanted facial hair?


  • With all the services you provide, where does it feature in terms of demand?

It is a very popular treatment. We offer all methods of hair removal including waxing and threading, but the most effective for long term reduction is laser treatments. We have several different types of laser so are able to treat most skin colours and hair types safely and effectively.  

The rise of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome has changed the typical client with unwanted facial hair

  • Over the last five years what has been the trend for the service? 

It’s definitely gone up. For many women it is a social thing, we don’t feel its feminine to have facial hair. With conditions like PCOS seeming to be on the rise, more women are getting facial hair, and with more knowledge about lasers, more are coming forward to get it treated. Also the hair growth can aggravate conditions like acne, so laser hair removal has double benefits.

  • Do you treat more of a particular demographic – young? middle aged? White, Black, Asian?

I think this is the biggest change over the last ten years. Once it was more Asian, Arabic and Indian clients having these treatments due to naturally having darker hair and more of it. However, now it is much more mixed. Again I think this is due to conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The age group tends to be 30-50 but I treat teenagers from aged 16 through to ladies in their 50-60’s.

  • Can you treat everyone that comes through your door?

No, not for laser, not all hair can be treated, mainly hair lacking or very low in color (blond, white, grey) will not respond to a laser treatment, also the hair has to be darker than the skin by several shades for the laser to effect the hair without damaging the skin.

Waxing and threading can be used on all hair types, and even though we don’t offer it, electrolysis is still an effective treatment for hair removal of lighter hairs, it is just much slower than laser.

Society has caused some women to be embarrassed and scared to confront a condition that is quite easy to treat

  • What’s the general demeanour of women coming to see you? 

There is a mix, but embarrassed is probably the most common. Women think that they are unusual, unnatural and unfeminine when they have this kind of hair growth so they try and hide it. Talking about it can be very hard. I think that we all need to understand that its not unusual, it is actually very common and nowadays it is easy to treat. Taking that first step of a consultation is both scary but also a big relief, just knowing your not tackling it alone anymore.

  • Do you feel that it is a condition people talk about enough? 

They definitely talk about it more than they used to, but of course if it was discussed more then people would perhaps feel more confident seeking out treatments.

It can take two years for a woman to build up the confidence to talk to a professional

  • In your experience what is a woman’s typical journey before they end up with you? 

I do think many go through home remedies first, then perhaps a beauty salon for waxing or threading, so yes I guess they come to us once they become fed up or overwhelmed with the constant upkeep, we offer effective long term solutions. A study showed that on average a woman will think about it and research it for up to two years before picking up the phone to enquire about the treatment.

  • Do you think women seek help early enough? 

I think more balanced information on treatment options would help women to seek help earlier, it is very confusing knowing where to go for safe treatment and which laser or Intense Pulsed Light is best for results. This confusing information makes women hesitate because they don’t want to risk their face being damaged or paying out for a ineffective treatment.

  • Do you think women know (or know enough) about the treatment options available to them?

No, I think that lasers in the past have gotten a bad name for being aggressive, painful and scary. Modern day lasers are much more controlled and targeted making the treatments very safe and much more comfortable. You still need to go to an experienced laser practitioner to ensure you get the safest treatment.

  •  What are the best solutions for dealing with unwanted facial hair – what course of action do people need to take?

A salon or clinic dealing with hair removal all the time is your best option. If the hair growth is related to a medical condition, occasionally you may get some laser treatments on the NHS but I think only three or four which won’t be enough to completely reduce the hairs.

When choosing a salon or clinic to go to try and go to a recommended one, or if researching yourself look for good online reviews and that they have multiple lasers/IPL as sometimes you get a better result from a mixture of laser wavelengths.

  •  Do you feel GP’s are helpful in dealing with the condition?

In my experience not really, it seems to be considered a cosmetic issue not a medical condition.

Dealing with unwanted facial hair doesn’t have to break the bank

  • What are the costs of treatment?

On the face between £60-£150 per treatment with a package of eight-twelve recommended. Treatments are carried out three to ten weeks apart and 20%-25% saving is made if you purchase a package of treatments.


For more information:

Debbie Thomas Advanced Skin Treatments

2nd Floor, Haris Salon, 305 Brompton Road, London. SW3 2DY

Bookings: 020 7118 9000


Hand Preservation

I know I wax lyrical about facial skincare most of the time and over the last few months I’ve done nothing but talk about winter proofing your skin. However, there is more to skincare than looking after your face, so I’m going to take a minute and talk about winter proofing your hands. After your face and neck, they are the next place that can reveal to the world how old you are, so makes sense to give them some love too.

My hands are drier nowadays. A combination of constant hand washing, doing more facial treatments and exposure to harsh winter elements sometimes leaves my hands feeling and looking like they’ve had a hard life.

I’m fighting back with daily use of these hand creams and slowly winning.

Bodhi & Birch Lime Blossom Protecting Hand Serum

Bodhi & Birch Protecting Hand serum

Light, absorbent and disappears quickly for soft hands and tidy cuticles. Olive Squalene and Rosehip Seed Oil guard against signs of premature ageing and the citrus bouquet of scent makes for an energising lift.

Tip – use it as a protective layer underneath a rich lotion or balm hand cream. Ideal for the kitchen to use straight after the dishes as absorbs better with moist hands.

Weleda Citrus Hand & Nail Cream


Uber rich, hands are enveloped in moisture and feel super soft. Carnuba and Wool Wax also make for beautiful and strong nails.

Tip – Pay special attention to massaging cream into nails and cuticles to keep them nourished and tidy. Best for your commuting hand bag as you can use idle minutes on the train to work the cream into your nails.

Bee Good Honey & Crambe Daily Hand Cream


Absolutely lovely, my current favourite at bedtime due to it soothing and calming scent. British honey and often under celebrated Crambe Oil deeply nourish and soften my hands by morning.

Tip – Make like Michael Jackson and wear white gloves to bed to better the performance for softer hands when you wake.

Pimple, be gone!

I’m the Facialist who tells you to leave a spot well alone and it will pop on it’s own accord. But, I am also human and I know what its like to have an angry red Mount Etna looking pimple on the tip of your nose. You just want to attack it and make it go away, but do it wrong and you could leave it and the surrounding skin in worse state than before.

Last week, reading the Daily Mail I came across Oprah’s Dr Oz’s preferred method of getting rid of a pimple.


Skewer that spot! Errrm, I don’t think so.

In my view, it’s a little extreme and there are other ways to pop a pimple that don’t involve using sharp implements. So if you really must here is my failsafe method.

Firstly, it’s all about timing. The pimple has to be ripe and ready. You may have to go a few days using concealer, whilst you wait for the right time. Secondly, plan to pop the pimple when you have time to spare not when you’re in a hurry to get out of the house. I prefer to tackle a pimple in the evening during bath time as skin has been already been warmed and softened.

– Cleanse your skin thoroughly. Depending on the pimple, I may also dab a deep cleansing mask (Omorovicza, REN, Dr Dennis Gross, Good Things) on top of it to tease it more to the surface. Wait ten minutes, then clean off gently with a wet cotton pad.

– Use a few drops of facial oil and do a finger tip massage around the pimple – this will make it protrude even more and look even whiter as pus rises to the surface – that’s good a thing!

– Now get a two cotton pads spritzed with toner, (I like Biologique Recherche P50 for this, but any acid toner will do) place on either side of the spot and push together firmly. It should pop open with a good squeeze and you can wipe away the offending liquid debris with the pads.

If it hurts, your pushing on and damaging the surround healthy tissue. Stop.

– Wash your hands and pop a Spot Treatment Gel on top. They normally contain salicylic acid or sulphur and are great for speeding up healing, reducing any blemish marks and drying out the area. Well worth having one in your skincare arsenal.


All time favourite

Origins Super Spot Remover

MALIN + GOETZ Acne Treatment Night Time

Murad Blemish Spot Treatment

Merumaya Concentrated Spot Treatment

Movember Skincare Tips for Men

It’s Movember and time for wacky moustaches! For the entire month of November men all over will grow  (or attempt to grow) a tache to raise awareness and money for men’s health. Naturally there will be significant focus on their faces – an area a lot of men don’t give more than a few seconds thought to.

My mantra when it comes to male skincare is ‘keep it simple’ – from products and routine, right through to scents. Where I might enjoy the ritual of layering five or more products, most men really just want one or two things that do a fantastic job.


1.Everyone has to wash their face twice a day to get rid of dead skin cells, pollution and daily grime. Male skin is thicker and more susceptible to oil, thus spots, so clean skin is especially important. Use a moisturising face wash that will protect and not strip the skin.


Clean skin is the first step

Try: Bull Dog Face Original Wash or Neal’s Yard for Men Purifying Face Wash

2. Use a hot flannel during cleanse to exfoliate, open pores and encourage more deep cleaning. Just like they do at the barbers.

3. Hydrate – Use a hydrating serum after cleansing. This will stop your skin feeling tight and uncomfortable.


Serums give deep long lasting hydration

Try: Aesop Oil Free Hydrating Facial Serum 

4. Moisturise with SPF – A light moisturiser will form a final protective barrier for your skin and also provide adequate sun protection.

Try: Clinique for Men SPF 21 Moisturiser or Murad Face Defence SPF 15

5. If you are shaving to keep things tidy – don’t shave against the natural lay of your hair, make sure skin is warmed up and lubricated, choose the correct razor and use a balm after to soothe skin.

Try: Gentlemen’s Tonic Soothing Aftershave Balm

6. Lip balm – don’t let down great looking skin with chapped lips. Rub your flannel gently over your lips to exfoliate.

Try : Kiehl’s Facial Fuel No Shine Moisturising Lip Balm

Skincare gamechanger – Shisiedo Ibuki Softening Concentrate

Shiseido_Ibuki_Softening_Concentrate_75ml_1378377514I test a lot of products and on the whole, I’m usually happy with them and my skin gets along fine. However, from time to time a product makes it into my bathroom and leaves me thinking:

a – How did I not know about this before?

b- This is a game changer not only for me, but for friends, family and clients!

c – I need to stock up big time because if they ever discontinue it I’ll be devastated.

These are all the things that cross my mind on a daily basis about Shisiedo’s Ibuki Softening Concentrate. After using it all summer I CANNOT imagine not using it now. The one occasion I forgot to use it, I felt the difference in my skin straight away. It felt dry, tight and uncomfortable. This is because the Ibuki range is designed to infuse and lock moisture into the skin. Skin feels super hydrated and it stays that way. Miss it out at your peril.

I’m not even sure what generic name I call it. It’s not a toner, even though it looks like one. Neither is it a serum or a moisturiser. I’d say its cross between the two, but it goes on after toner and before serum/moisturiser. At the moment, I just call it a tonic. Happy to be set straight by those in the know.

As the name says, it softens the skin, but most importantly I think, it prepares the skin for further products. So long as you apply to clean skin, it will also help the absorption of the products you put on top.  The consistency is watery, the colour of rice water and on application it disappears into your skin for an all round plump and comfortable feeling.

Sometimes products make very tall claims that I just laugh off, but this is one product I’d recommend for all, even sensitive types. I can’t see it being a bad addition to anyone’s skincare routine. Products like this are very popular in the Asian skincare market and I can see it being a big hit over here too.

Seeing as I like this so much, I’ve also got SUQQU’s – Moisture Repair Essence on my list. I used it when I had a GANKIN facial and it also made my skin feel like bliss. It’s very much in the same vein – fast acting and quickly absorbed to soften skin prior to application of other products.

A point about the ingredients – lots of hi tech science ingredients mentioned all intended to intensively moisturise to a degree and make skin feel smoother. But do check in case you’re intolerant any way. It doesn’t contain any parabens, sulphates or phthalates.

Available from John Lewis and House of Fraser, £23.

Deeper than Skin: What is your face telling you?

The skin is closely linked with your internal organs and is very good at revealing to us what’s happening on the inside. For centuries, Chinese and Ayurvedic traditions have practiced face mapping which is the art of linking different parts of the face to internal organs, therefore being able to pinpoint the origin of a problem and treat at source rather than just deal with outward symptom.

Now, combined with extensive dermatological research, it’s easy for you to look at a face chart, assess you skin, be able to understand more of what is happening on the inside and put measures in place to alleviate any problems.


Zone 1 & 3 – Forehead

This area is linked to the bladder and digestive system. It typically indicates a poor diet and not drinking enough water. The key to turning things around are to increase fruit, vegetable and fibre consumption as well as water to flush out toxins from your body.

A fringe may also be a culprit here – dirty hair laden with product sitting on top of the skin can lead to a multitude of problems. Clip your fringe back and take time to do a thorough cleanse.

Zone 2 – Between the brows

If your liver doesn’t agree with the bottle of wine you had last night, it’s going to scream it at you here. Also the effects food allergies, eating rich foods and dairy show up here in angry looking spots.

Zone 4 & 10 – Temple

This is your kidney telling you that your water intake is low and your sugar consumption is high. Do you wear glasses? Sometimes the handles hold bacteria and deposit them on your face. As does your phone and headphone leads.

Zone 5 & 9 – Cheeks

This area shows the damage of smoking as cells are being starved of oxygen. Broken capillaries, redness and congestion are usually outward signs of such damage. Sugar and acidic food can be culprits as they can also cause inflammation. It may be time to consider a more alkaline diet.

Do you use the phone a lot? Phones harbour bacteria which we unknowingly transfer to on to our skin during use. Keep antibacterial wipes around to clean your handsets every so often.  Are you sleeping on your front most nights, with your face on the pillow? We shed dead skin cells, sweat and bacteria during sleep, so it’s a good idea to change pillow cases frequently.

Zones 6 & 8 – Eyes

Dark circles around the eyes are a very common problem and can be hereditary. It also points to a sluggish liver and kidney that are not flushing out toxins and waste properly. Up your water intake and you should notice an improvement.

Brightening eye creams and a trusty Touche Éclat also help on the days you need to be bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Zone 7 – Nose

Your heart may be saying your blood pressure is off kilter. You need more vitamin B and fresh air. Less fat and spicy food would help too. Check your make up too as you may have developed an allergy. Is it pore clogging or past its best before date?

Zone 12 – Chin

Breakouts here relate to the stomach and normally point to a lack of fibre in the diet. Time for a detox and more dietary roughage!

Zone 11 & 13 – Sides of chin

For a lot of people, this is where erratic hormones show themselves. Interestingly, breakouts here also tend to coincide with ovulation and even more spooky is that the side of your chin the breakout happens corresponds with the active ovary. Have a bit more iron and up your water to flush out waste quicker.

Zone 14 – Neck

This is not typically an area for breakouts to happen as there are less oil glands, so if you do get a break out here, its your body fighting bacteria to avoid illness. Slow down and look after yourself!

The Model Zone – calm in fashion chaos

Being a model is hard work. I know this not because I’ve been a model before (if only!) but because during London’s AW14 fashion week, I was the Facialist at The Model Zone and I saw first hand all the running around and frenzied energy models expend going from one catwalk to the another. Not to mention the castings in between.

For the last six years Weleda has sponsored a relaxing haven called The Model Zone which is tucked away in a central London hotel. Simply put it’s somewhere cosy models can go to ground themselves and get away from the cameras and high octane flashes on the catwalk.


Weleda bathroom selection including natural toothpastes and deodorants.

Whilst there, they are free to lounge in the sitting room or catch up on some much needed sleep, have a warming shower and grab something healthy to eat. The big bowl noodles and raw food salads, juices, protein shakes and healthy deserts from Juice Baby were the favourites. Making the right food choices can be challenging when you’re always on the go, so advice was on hand from the cooking duo Hemsley & Hemsley.

Provision was also made for mind and body. We’ve all watched enough model based TV series to know that they have to be mentally strong, so Elaine Slater – life coach and psychologist- was there in case anyone needed any guidance. It’s important to remember some models are still teenagers so they are still mapping out their lives. There was also Pilates from Lomax which were great at restoring calm and focussed quiet time.


Ready, Set, Facial!

I think the treat that everyone loved most were the massages and facials.  Weleda therapists (me included) dished out restoring back and shoulder massages that realigned and softened sore muscles. A lot of the models were interested in how to look after their skin properly considering the toll of wearing tons of make up and using wipes to remove as the go from show to show. For this reason facials were deep cleansing with extended facial massage to depuff, remove toxins from the skin and leave a long lasting glow. Weleda’s Head Pharmacist was around to provide advice and tips on how best to use the products. That was a lovely touch and even I learnt a thing or two.

l-r: Citrus, Arnica, Pomegranate, Wild Rose Body Oil. The make good massages greater.


The fashion week survival goody bag, included fashionista's fave - Skin Food lotion.

The fashion week survival goody bag, included fashionista’s fave – Skin Food.

I was really proud to be part of the team providing a holistic home from home for the the soldiers of fashion week. Weleda do both an essential and a fantastic job with The Model Zone, going the extra mile to put a smile on many a weary face. You just have to love them!

Brand Focus – Yours Truly Organics

Yours Truly Organics_013

I was instantly drawn to Kelita Bignall when I met her at Supply & Buy earlier this year. I loved her gumption and as a fellow business woman I wholeheartedly support her and her skincare endeavours. She has specifically created products and built a brand out of pure passion. With a background in accountancy, Kelita has managed to successfully navigate the skincare world and produce an initial offering specifically suited to oily and acne prone skin.

After suffering from hormonal acne for many years and using heavy prescription based products to keep it under control, she realised that she couldn’t continue in that vein. That forced her into the kitchen to start mixing her own natural products. Along with doing skin care courses and also going on a natural hair journey, Yours Truly Organics was born.

Yours Truly Organics although being a natural ingredient brand is formulated in a lab to strict guidelines to ensure efficacy. Earlier in the year I tried Take it Away Cleanser and it’s one of the cleansers that I can actually say – I finished the bottle!  You can read my review >> here.

Other stand out products include the Fix Me Repairing Serum (currently shortlisted for Best New Organic Product at the Pure Beauty 2014 Awards – all my fingers crossed) which is formulated with oat kernel extract, sesame seed extract and saw palmetto to soothe, repair and reduce inflammation. It’s a targeted solution for oiliness and hyperpigmentation as it detoxes and balances skin. The award winning Face Base Face Balm is also a must have that will moisturise and create a good canvas for make up application.

As someone who has successfully overcome acne, I asked Kelita for her top 3 tips:

  1. Don’t pick spots – it will leave scarring that’s difficult to get rid of.
  2. Diet – healthy, balanced meals with lots of water make all the difference to skin
  3. Cleansing – singularly the best thing you can do for your skin. Double cleanse to remove all impurities.

With such great progress in only one year, I think Yours Truly Organics is one to keep an eye on. With plans to extend the current range and also to make products for other skin types, there’ll soon be something for everyone.

Breast Cancer – are you your sister’s keeper?

I truly believe that I am my sister’s keeper. Maybe it stems from me being an only child but I love my fellow woman (and man of course!). When there is a issue that affects one of the sisterhood, I believe it affects us all and we have to pull together in our own little ways to make a difference.

I have never been touched by breast cancer, but I have friends who have lost family members to the disease and I have seen first hand the devastating effects. In my make up artist days, I did a few sessions for the charity Look Good, Feel Better and I saw how good beauty products made cancer sufferers feels. For a few hours, there were smiles and sounds of laughter as they rediscovered pampering and self indulgence.  I enjoyed helping them remember what it felt like to involuntarily pout after you put on your lippy. G’on girl, blow yourself a kiss!

What I would love most is for smiles to return permanently. That is why I will always support the work of breast cancer charities because hopefully one day the disease can be tackled (wrestled to the ground even!) so no more smiles are robbed from my sister’s faces.

Every October, the beauty industry comes together for Breast Cancer Awareness Month with special edition products. A percentage of sales gets given to charity to propel research and bring us closer to eradicating the disease. This year, some of my favourite brands are involved and here are my top 5 picks.

Bodhi & Birch Rosa Rosa

ALL profits from the sale of this beautiful rose based collection goes to the charity Breast Cancer Care. Perfectly suited to drier skin types it makes a great gift for someone suffering from cancer.*

Bodhi and Birch


Elemis Pro-Marine Collagen Cream

Elemis has made a pledge of £10,000 to Breast Cancer Care and one of my favourite face cocooning moisturisers goes pink in support.


Jo Malone Red Rose Cologne

Jo Malone perfumes are on many a wish list. Each sale of the Red Rose 100ml Cologne during October in the UK will net The Breast Cancer Research Foundation UK £20.

Jo Malone

Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength Candle

During turbulent times, there’s nothing I love most than taking time out with a book and a powerful candle. Inner Strength fits that bill with the warming and uplifting scents of Frankincense and Cardamon. 10% of proceeds will be donated to the charity, Defence Against Cancer.


Unite Pink Lady 7 Second Detangler Brush

I wouldn’t normally go for a hair tool, but I’ve been wearing my hair in its curlier state more often and I’m always in need of a entangling brush. So while I brush my hair, I’m pleased to know that a percentage of the sales will be donated to US charity, Keep a Breast Foundation, who is a global, youth-focussed nonprofit organisation.

UNITE- Pink Detangler


*provided they can tolerate essential oils.