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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

New Series – Deeper than Skin

As much as I am interested in healthy and radiant skin, I also realise that our skin is a window to what’s happening on the inside, so it makes sense to spend some time focusing on internal health. This is a developing interest of mine and over the last few months, I’ve been doing a lot of research and speaking to a lot of experts to increase my knowledge.

Over the next few months, I’ll be writing about different methods in which internal health can be improved and how it will have a direct impact on your skin. From daily diet to clever water to naturopathy and everything in between, I uncover how each aspect benefits the skin and how it can be weaved into your life.

Cleansing – don’t forget your neck!

Cleansing in one of the cornerstones of good facial skin care, but over my last few consultations I’ve quickly come to realise that for a lot of people cleansing starts at their hairline and finishes underneath their jaw. Consequently leaving out a major area, that deserves a lot more attention – the neck and décolletage.

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“Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth. You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn’t if it had a neck.” Nora Ephron

This is a grave error because the skin on these areas is a lot thinner than the face and quickly shows up signs of neglect and ageing. It has a lot more unprotected sun exposure and with a lot less oil glands to self moisturise. Therefore, it needs a bit more care and attention than you will normally think.

Going back to cleansing, during the day make up travels south. The amount of times I’ve taken off a top only to see a foundation stained neckline is enough confirmation. Also we tend to blend our make up lower past our jaw line so that we achieve an even shade all over, so it makes sense to wash your neck in the evening too. Sweep a moist cotton pad across your neck and décolletage to see for yourself!

Don’t fall short in the evening by cleaning and moisturising your face only. Go a little further and sweep your cleanser across the décolletage. If you’re having a face mask, throw on a hydrating mask on the neck area as well  – it will work wonders for keeping the skin supple and moisturised. Hydrating serums and moisturisers are great for supporting the delicate skin too.

As an aside….

There are lots of brands that do neck and décolletage creams, charging all sorts of money from £10 right up to £200.  They are usually aimed at mature skin, but don’t let that put you off. If you want to and can afford one, take your pick. Otherwise, a little bit of whatever you’re already using for your face will suffice until such time you really need to invest in one.

Sugar Vs Skin

It’s all over the news! Sugar is bad for your waistline, sugar is addictive, sugar is the devil, sugar makes you fat, sugar gives you diabetes and renal problems. Not to forget sugar also contributes to Alzheimers and gives you cardiovascular diseases. Yes, it’s true, unchecked sugar consumption can set you up for a lifetime of perhaps avoidable health problems. We know all these things, but do you know what sugar does to your skin, the largest organ of your body?

When there is too much sugar in the body, the excess attaches itself to protein cells. Together a sugar protein called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) is created.  The body does not recognise AGEs and treat them as abnormal cells (they are, as they really shouldn’t be there). Therefore antibodies are produced to attack them. All this attacking is hard work and inflames the skin.

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protein + sugar = saggy skin (amongst others)

AGEs also attack collagen and elastin – the skins scaffold. Healthy collagen strands have the ability to slide over each other to keep skin elastic. When AGES attach to collagen it creates stiffness and rigidity, taking away the skin’s ability snap back into its proper form. This damages underlying structures, causes wrinkles, loss of elasticity, dark circles, loss of facial contours, puffiness and compromises the integrity of the acid mantle. Leading to increased pore size, more breakouts including acne, slower healing spots and more inflammation.

However, glycation IS a fact of life. It cannot be avoided and is constantly happening. The only thing that can be done is to slow down the rate and avoid foods that unnecessarily flood the body with excess sugar. It’s not just raw sugar to be aware of, because even carbohydrate based food converts into sugar during the digestive process. The trick is in eating healthy carbs that break down slowly and are less likely to flood the body with glucose.

In a world where a lot of our food is unknowingly laced with sugar how does one avoid consuming excess sugar?

Quite simply it comes down to dietary vigilance. Look at the ratio of processed versus fresh food you are eating. Sometimes processed food is easier, more convenient and more practical depending on what you have going on in your life.  Therefore there will be occasions where sugar is unavoidable. Celebrations would be so boring if we couldn’t have a slice of cake!

To avoid excess gylcation completely food has to be as fresh and unaltered as to the day it was pulled from the ground, brought in from the field or fished from the sea. Again, not always possible or practical but by being more vigilant and paying closer attention to food labels it is possible to avoid over doing sugar. There is no way that sugar can be avoided completely, but if there are more biscuits in your shopping basket than fresh food, then you aren’t doing yourself any favours.

Remember sugar isn’t always called sugar.

As they say, the devil comes in many disguises and so does sugar.  Dextrose, frutose, glucose, invert sugar, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, sorbitol, dextran, honey. There are over 200 variations of sugar that manufactures can use in food production, so it pays to be aware.

When do the effects of glycation show up?

Typically at some point during your 30’s (even earlier depending on bad things are) you will start to notice some of the effects of glycation. This is the point at which years of unknown damage to the deeper layers of skin start revealing themselves. Generally the time where a combination of hormonal changes, environmental stresses, sun damage, free radical oxidisation also in the body show up. Basically it can be a situation, where everything shows up at once and it’s a time to reassess old habits and skincare regimes. Earlier in the summer, I kept getting repeated break outs which I know had something to do with sugar, because when I paid more attention to what I ate, break outs disappeared.

Since glycation is a constant, how does one improve their odds?

Better food selection

Positive changes to your diet is the best action you can take. Eating more fresh and wholesome food is good not only for your skin, but for your entire body. Foods with a low GI (glycemic index) release sugar slowly and are less like to cause an inflammatory response in the body.  Combined with being more active and good skincare habits and there will be visible differences. Exercise will burn up extra calories which may otherwise be stored as excess sugar and fat in the body.

Step up your supplements

There are supplements you can take that will help ease the effects of gylcation. They work by slowing down the ageing effects of excess dietary sugars.  Studies have shown the inclusion of vitamins B1 (Benfotiamine) and B6 can alleviate some of the damage.  Carnosine is an amino acid that maintains a status of being an excellent anti ageing aid. Alpha Lipoic Acid contributes to the normal working of every cell in the body and reduces the amount of sugar available for AGEs to form. Blueberries and Pomegranates contain high levels of polyphenols which work in as anti oxidants to rid the body of free radical damage. These can also be taken as supplements when they are out of season. It’s important to seek medical advice from your GP before embarking on new medication, including supplements.

 Soothing Skincare

Glycated skin is already compromised skin, therefore it doesn’t need any aggressive treatments. Its fragility means you want to CPRhydrate and cocoon so it can build up strength and rebuild proper barrier function. You need gentle washes and exfoliators that don’t strip or scratch the skin and masks that reinforce skins resilience.

You will find life in chirally correct Cosmedix CPR Skin Recovery Serum. It’s blend of antioxidants and vitamins quickly calms and soothes irritated and inflamed skin. It’s great for any skin type.

SK AGESkinceuticals A.G.E Interrupter is a rich emollient to hydrate extremely dry and compromised skin. Blueberry extract, Proxylane and Phytosphingosine are the key ingredients that make this product pretty powerful!

ARK Skincare have the Antioxidant SkinResponse serum with White Tea, Blue Lotus and Gojiberry which are powerful and proven to slow down the signs of ageing.

It pays to love your skin even more at night with a rich, luxurious and absorbing oil. Spend some time gently massaging the oil into your skin to bring fresh oxygen and nutrients and remove toxins.

SPF is even more important for skin showing signs of glycation because the protective function of the skin is already been compromised. Therefore it is more at risk of sun damage. Be it included in your skincare or a separate sunscreen it pays to put some on.

In the words of the founder of Perricone Skincare –

I am not exaggerating when I say that sugar can rob you of your youth, health, and beauty.’  Dr Nicholas Perricone – Dermatologist, Healthy Ageing Expert and so much more.

I completely agree!

The Model Zone

Unless you’ve been asleep or on Mars for the last week or so, you wouldn’t have failed to miss that it’s fashion season. As I type models, clothes and designers are flying into London from all corners of the globe. Fashion comes to London for five days, starting today!

As glamorous as it is to grace the catwalks and be photographed for countless magazines, it is also a lot of hard work for the models. This is why the moment Weleda asked me to design soothing and pampering facials for The Model Zone I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

The Model Zone is set up by the British Fashion Council and is a relaxing haven from the glare and bright lights of each show. It’s somewhere where the models can rest, shower, change, refuel and chill out. They have access to massages, facials, natural health consultations and skin care advice, all sponsored by Weleda.

They don’t leave empty handed either! A bespoke fashion week survival collection goody bag has been created containing some famous GoodyBag_1backstage beauty items for common skincare complaints. Weleda’s Skin Food is a favourite of many a fashionista so it’s no surprise it makes a welcome appearance. Other treats include new look Aknedoron Purifying Lotion – amazing for oily skin (see review), Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion and Facial Cream, Citrus Creamy Body Wash and Wild Rose Body Lotion (divine!).

Only models are allowed in The Model Zone, but I have managed to snag  a goody bag for one of you lucky readers. It’s simple to win, just leave a comment below saying why you’d like to win.  Competition closes at 6pm on 16th September.  UK only. Winner will be announced soon after.

Good luck!

Post Summer Skin Saviours

After a summer of long hot sunny days, more after work drinks and two weeks laying on the beach, your skin may be looking a little worse for wear. Parched? Rough? Dull? Flaky?

All of the above?

September is a great time of the year to get skin back into balance before the stripping North Atlantic winds make their mark and conversations either start with a mention of how cold it is and why your face gets a thawing sensation as soon as you go indoors. Fun times ahead!

Skincare routines this month should focus on gentle exfoliation, tackling excess hyperpigmentation and delivering maximum hydration. Your skin should be infused with moisture and leave it feeling plump and bouncy in now time. My take is, address the current problems, before we tackle the mini overhaul that will be required in the next few months to get us through winter.

Apart from eating a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, good fats and water; giving your skin a boost with Hyaluronic Acid will also improve skin hydration on a topical level. Hyaluronic Acid is a key ingredient now present in almost all hydrating skincare products. As a biological agent it can retain over 1000 times its weight in water and as a result increase the smoothness and softness of your skin. Also, it decreases the skins ability to wrinkle. Hyaluronic Acid is fantastic at removing waste and toxins from the skin. This makes it an important IndeedLabs_hydraluron moisture jelly (RRP £24.99)lowpart of everyone’s skincare routine, regardless of skin type.

Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Jelly(£24.99)  – the newest member of the Hydraluron family, this moisturiser will lock in long term moisture into the skin and help balance to keep it at the optimum levels. Along with five key actives, Hyaluronic Acid is one of its building blocks to keep skin looking plump and radiant. Even better when you precede with Hydraluron Serum for a double dose of hydration.

Rajeunir Moisture Serum (£42) – Grape Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera and Hyaluronic Acid, all will hydrate skin cells effectively. This was one my favourite serums this summer. Went on smoothly and left skin feeling flexible and moisturised.

Skin for Life Moisture Booster Serum (£39.60) -This will seriously boost moisture levels leaving it feeling comfortable, soothed and supple. If you’re having a late beach holiday, I’d definitely include this in the old beach bag as an aftersun product. With Vitamin C and Bearberry it also works towards preventing hyperpigmentation of the skin. Word of warning, the packaging may deceive you, but don’t judge until you try the product.

How to use?

Your Hyaluronic Acid product has to go on before your moisturiser. You will find it usually comes in a serum formulation. So the order for a simple routine is:  cleanse >> tone >> Hyaluronic Acid/Serum >>Moisturise

 

 

 

 

Fenwick’s shines the spotlight on beauty

4BeautyWeekQd16286a_4star_p1Today marks the start of Fenwick of Bond Street’s Beauty Week – Spotlight on Services! Ten days of celebrating beauty in a new season and focusing on the services provided by the beauty hall.  The store has lined up fantastic indulgent packages and events that will revive, refresh and rejuvenate you for the autumnal days ahead.

There’s so much going on and after seeing the line up, here’s my pick of what not to miss:

OSKIA Skincare  –  The founder Georgie Cleeve will be in store TODAY doing one to one consultations. She’s founded a great luxury British brand making skincare and supplements that puts the focus on internal and topical skin nutrition for optimum health and vitality. Alternatively, brand experts are on hand on the 3rd, 5th and 8th for mini hand treatments and skin consultations.

111 Skin, developed by plastic surgeon Dr Yannis Alexandrides launches on 5th September and they will be having an event between 3pm – 5pm. This line was developed to tackle the signs of ageing skin using space age technology.

– Literally get under your skin with both Yllume and Murad skincare. Both will be offering technical complimentary skin analysis during the period to determine the level of free radical and oxidative stress damage within the skin. Well worth it, so you know what you’re up against and can get even more tailored solutions for your skincare.

– Susie Rogers, founder of the London based clinic – Beauty Works West will be in store on 4th and 11th September to talk all things about the ageing process and most importantly, prevention. She will be discussing products and her latest book. Well worth a listen!

– Finally, don’t miss out on any of the four luxury experience packages (starting from £25) that have been put together showcasing the best treatments that some of the brands in the beauty hall offer. Facials from Suqqu and Chantacaille, mani’s from Nails Inc, brow rejuvenation from Blink and swishy blow-dries from Gielly Green.

You also get double points on the new Fenwick Beauty Loyalty Card. Hurrah!

To get the full low down on the events over the next ten days, just call the store on 020 7629 9161 and they can give you the full run down.

A* for Aurelia’s Refine & Polish Miracle Balm

refine_polish_2What’s not to love about a dual duty beauty product? It is everything and more to someone who has a serious lack of time to devote to skincare on a daily basis but yet wants healthy radiant skin.  This is why Aurelia’s Refine and Polish Miracle Balm is a real godsend.

Using a unique enzyme base, BioOrganic Oils, probiotics and peptides that Aurelia is now renewed for it takes dull, tired flaky skin to radiant and smooth in no time.  It uses gentle rice bran to exfoliate and dislodge dead skin cells as you rub gently in circular motions. The resulting effect is that skin is not only smoother, but also brighter due to the flow of fresh oxygenated blood to the face. Key actives include Kigelia Africana which has a smoothing and firming action, Sugar Maple Sap which boosts the skin’s ability to self rid of dead skin cells and Hibiscus which naturally tightens the skin.

If you have ten minutes spare or are taking a bath, put it on as a mask. It will act as a deep exfoliating mask and the heady mix of Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Rosemary and Bergamot will relax you nicely before bed or uplift you for a busy day. I prefer the former. It is definitely worth every drop of its £57 price tag.

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A few other things I love about Aurelia:

  • Award winning – they slay at the award games. They are clearly doing something right!
  • They’ve just moved to their very own counter at Liberty’s. Now you can stay, hang around, talk and sample the goodies. Even better!
  • The founder Claire Vero was recently listed by the Sunday Times as one of the 35 women under 35 contributing to lead the British economy to green pastures. The sisterhood gets stronger!
  • They are currently giving away a sample of the luxury Firm & Revitalise Dry Body Oil with any purchase on their website. I’ve tried it and loved it. The offer ends today (31st August), so don’t delay!