The Beauty of Sleep

One of the best things we can do for our bodies and our skin is to regularly get a minimum of eight hours kip, give or take a hour depending on your personal needs. It is in deep sleep that your body rests and repairs itself. Without adequate sleep, we literally fall apart. I know I do!

– You struggle with simply daily tasks.

– Rely on caffeinated drinks or sugar to keep you going – these will inflame the skin and cause premature ageing.

– You’re forgetful, not to mention irritable!

– Tired and lethargic. Everything takes twice as long, because you just can’t get it together.

– Your skin is aged – it looks sallow and grey. You get more fine lines and dark circles. Your body releases an extra helping of the stress hormone Cortisol to help you fight through the day. Too much Cortisol breaks down collagen, which is exactly what we need to keep skin smooth and supple.

I am writing this post in in regards to my recent lack of sleep. You may have seen my latest Spell Magazine column on how I tackle the outward appearance on my sleep deprivation. You can read it here. All self inflicted I might add – working on multiple projects, toddler and busy household can do that to you. You start sitting at your desk imaging (and praying) for either an extra pair of hands or extra hours on the clock! Enough digression, so apart from trying to fake that I slept, I’m actually also trying to make sure I sleep and get some quality shut eye too.

I start by pulling away from my desk about 9.30pm for a shower to wash the day away. It surprisingly helps as it focuses me on shutting down for the night. The aim is to be in bed by 10.30pm. I use Bodhi & Birch Camomile Sky, £18 as it super calming and zen like. I don’t have a bath as the idea is I want to get to bed fairly fast. A bath will take longer and chances are I’ll fall asleep and wake up freezing judging from past experience.

Following the shower, I moisturise with a lavender and coconut oil infusion I make myself. But there are many relaxing body oils you can use. NEOM, one of my favourite candle brands do some amazing sleep encouraging oils.  For Christmas this year, you can buy the gift of sleep. More on that later. I have my eye on the Real Luxury Body Oil with lavender, jasmine and rosewood. This Works have a Deep Sleep range, Aromatherapy Associates Relax range is all about getting you to a more ‘chilled’ state. These are all brands I’ve used at some point and I wouldn’t hesitate to turn back to.  A fairly new outfit, Kiss the Moon have facial oils with sleep benefits.

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My bedtime treble! Including lip balm.

OK, by this point, I’m super relaxed and looking forward to bed. So once, I’m in bed ensuring phones and iPads are switched off (this is really hard to do!), I apply my Vichy Idealia Skin Sleep Balm, £26.50. An intensive super night treatment that hydrates, renews, plumps and protect the skin whilst you sleep.  It good to go for all skin types. With hyaluronic acid, glycyrrhizic acid and caffeine, it’s actually designed to help the skin look and feel like its had a full rest quota. I feel it works even better for your skin, if you DO get a full night’s sleep. Pleasantly it’s a gel texture (though it’s a balm) so lovely and cooling to massage into your skin before bed. It feels sticky as soon as you apply, but that feeling disappears within seconds. My skin feel comfortable hydrated and vibrant in the morning.

I’m also using 1001 Remedies Sleep Relaxing Balm, £29. It’s a pure plant oil balm formulation to help you unwind, soothe insomnia, stress less and sleep better. Amongst the ten essential oils are the powerhouses of Melissa, renowned for calming the nervous system as well as Neroli to fight stress and anxiety. The result is a deep sweet smelling balm that encourages the deepest sleep. It’s heady and does help to knock you out, so even if you don’t get a full eight hours sleep, what you do get will be quality sleep.

I also dump my thoughts in the notebook on my night stand, sometimes light a candle Feuille de Lavande from Diptyque is a night time favourite and read a life affirming magazine – Psychologies, Marie Claire, Sunday Times Magazines, staying away from anything stimulating like fashion and oddly beauty!

This is how I do it, over to you….any tips would be much appreciated.

Pro Facial Tip – Hydration Masks

Regularly head straight for a clay base face mask?

Add a hydration mask too!

Clay masks will deep cleanse your skin and draw out impurities and grime, which is all well and good as that’s what you want them to do, but they won’t feed the skin any much needed moisture. Believe it or not, a lot of oily skin types can suffer from dehydration and sometimes the excess oil is a way of skin telling you it’s lacking moisture.

So after you’ve removed your clay mask, spend another ten or fifteen minutes with a hydration mask to replenish and rehydrate your skin? It’ll give it some much needed bounce and in hot weather it’s very cooling.

There are so many hydration masks to choose from, but I tend to favour anything that’s gel based, infused with hyaluronic acid/collagen and comes in a sheet. Single use ones are great because they are so easy to travel with – use and bin. There’s even overnight ones if you need a more concentrated boost.

Product suggestions coming up soon.

Alternative Retinol?

It’s no secret that I absolutely love using retinol and I believe it’s the STAR skincare ingredient that everyone should be incorporating somewhere in their skincare life. For years, it was a product available only via a dermatologist, but it’s now available en masse as it’s strength and power has been harnessed and in effect toned down so that you no longer need a prescription for low impact daily use. Whilst this has made it safer for a lot of people to use, there are still people who will react and suffer sensitivities to it. So what’s girl (or boy) to do?

In the last year or so, there’s been excitement at what is billed as nature’s retinol equivalent - Bakuchiol – an extract from Babchi Seeds native to India. India has long been at the forefront of natural skincare and for centuries they’ve been using Bakuchiol to heal, soothe and calm skin complaints.  It also stimulates and boost collagen, diminishes fine lines and wrinkles, increases elasticity and firmness of the skin. Basically mimicking the benefits effects of retinol.

I don’t think anything can beat the speed and efficacy of retinol. For me, that’s key and when you’re in the throes of impending full on acne you want whatever you’re using to deliver results quickly. It’s not the time that you start thinking ‘I’ll use a product that will take three months to start showing results’. From my experience, most people want something that works as quickly and early as yesterday. Herein lies the beauty of retinol.

That said, I do accept that it is possible to develop sensitivities towards retinol even if you have used it fine in the past, some people can’t tolerate it from the onset and some people don’t like the idea of putting a chemical on their skin, so having an alternative is always a great idea. It may also be the case that you just want to engage in preventative skincare early, so rather than wait till you actually need retinol, you could use Bakuchiol to negate environmental and external skin damage. You know what they say, prevention is better than cure!

Currently there are two standout products that contain Bakuchiol:

Oskia Serum 16, £80 which you guessed it!, has sixteen active ingredients in the form of nutrients and bioactives including the Oskia Super16aforementioned star ingredient as well as vitamins A, C, and E which act as calming agents and anti oxidants. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which does make it very cosseting on the skin as it provides good hydration. I can comfortably use this without using a moisturiser on top, going straight to a couple of drops of facial oil. If you suffer from skin sensitivities and react to a lot of serums, give this a try as on the whole it’s designed to reduce inflammation and irritation with the inclusion of Oskia’s moisturising complex which hydrates and softens the skin with long term use.

- NUDE Skincare ProGenius Omega Treatment Rescue Oil, £58 also contains Bakuchiol is well loved in the beauty circles. I’ve not personally tried it, but trusted sources tell me from their experience this serum is more about refining, clarifying and smoothing out the texture of the skin, as opposed to the above which does a lot for hydration. Sounds great for drier skin types who experience sandpapery and crepey  skin. Key ingredients include rose hip, coleus and rosemary extract to exfoliate, fight free radicals and improve radiancy. It’s also a completely vegan product, so that’s major brownie points from some quarters.

I’ve used a lot of NUDE skincare and their moisturisers are amongst some of my favourites, so when I get round to needing to replace any of my oils, this one is next on my list. If you have tried it, I’d love to know your thoughts.

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

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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.

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.

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

I’m on YouTube

Finally!

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!

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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!