Ask Dija: Do I really need to wash my face at night? Even if I’ve not had make up on?

ask_dijaThis sounds like a really basic question and I have to admit I was even taken aback a little when one of the mums at the playground asked me. I thought everyone knew they had to wash their face twice a day, make up or no make up. So just to clarify, you do. You have to wash your face twice a day and here’s why:

AM wash: to get rid of dead skin cells, shedding, sweat and sebum secretions from overnight. It also freshens up your face and wakes you up. The AM wash is a gentle single cleanse.

PM wash: For me, this is the most important and the one to spend as much time on as possible. During the day your face has been exposed to bacteria, pollution, dirt and grime in addition to any make up products you’ve been wearing so it’s important to do a thorough double or even triple cleanse. Even without make up on, a face wash in the evening is essential to keep your face clean from all the environmental pollution its been exposed to.

Once you’re taken the day off, all your lovely lotions and potions have a good base to start working from.

A quick way to see what your skin has been exposed to during the day – gently insert a clean cotton bud into your nostril and twist around. Remove.  Do you see all that muck? Some of that is also sitting on your face!

Dry skin relief from Weleda’s Baby Derma Skincare

imageWhite Mallow is one of the dreamiest flowers I know. Extremely soft and velvety with creamy white petals, they remind me of fragile skin that needs the utmost delicate care. The irony is that White Mallow is actually a dichotomy of being a delicate plant, but strong enough to provide soothing relief to babies (and adults) with hyper sensitive and dry skin conditions prone to irritation, bouts of itching, eczema and other sensitivities.

Five years in the making, the Baby Derma White Mallow range is one of the newest addition to Weleda’s exceptional family of skin care products. There is body lotion, face cream and a nappy change cream. It is entirely fragrance free, artificial additive free, essential oils and synthetic perfume free. The range is also certified by NATRUE as being 100% natural, so perfect for caring and nourishing for young and old skin alike.

In addition to the outstanding skin smoothing and soothing properties of White Mallow, Baby Derma is also formulated with extract of a Wild Pansy which traditional herbalists always recommend to ease skin complaints. Coconut, sweet almond and sesame oils make up the organic plant oils in this hydrating formulation. All are rich in nourishing fatty acids and vitamin E which is crucial for good skin health, growth and repair.

My daughter suffers from patches of eczema and for various reasons doctors tend to prescribe a lot of mineral oil based products or even steroids to deal with it. Baby Derma offers a real alternative to parents wanting a more gentle but highly effective approach to relieve the irritation of dry skin and eczema conditions. As a mum, I recommend it highly. As a mum, who regularly pinches the baby’s products for her own use, I recommend even more!

The already award winning range is available exclusively in one of my favourite haunts – Boots – until September when it goes into independent pharmacies and health stores as well. Prices start from £8.95.

In the meantime, the kind bods at Weleda are allowing me to give away one full set of Baby Derma to a lucky reader in the UK. To be in with a chance, just leave a comment below about why need it in your life!

Competition closes Friday at midnight. I’m really old school, so I’ll put all names in a hat over the weekend then pick and announce a winner next Monday morning. Good luck x


Guest Post: Patent Purple Life’s Top Five Body Oils

I am beyond excited about this guest post from Jo, author of the fab blog Patent Purple Life. We met two years ago this month at the inaugural Keziah Connections networking evenings and have been firm friends ever since. Jo loves skincare as much as I do and with both of us suffering from dry skin one of the loves we share is a good body oil.

I can’t thank Jo enough for taking the time to write about about her top oils. I certainly learned a thing or two and I hope you will enjoy reading her delightful edit.

The Best Kept Beauty Secret Oil – Baldwin’s Avocado Oil (Cold Pressed)

About ten years ago I went through a mixologist phase, it coincided with my starting my locs and a new job. My skin (and hair) LOVE avocado oil and the Baldwins’ cold pressed oil is my favourite. It does not have fancy packaging or a sexy smell but it does have a glorious green colour and it is the most skin nourishing oil. I can’t be without it.

The Every Day Luxury Oil – Elemis Camelia Oil

This is a light but nourishing oil that I can use on my hair and face as well as body. It does not have a strong fragrance and it is not as popular as the Frangipani Monoi Melt from the same range but I much prefer this understated product and it is one of my most repurchased products.

The Oil for Grown Ups – Elemental Herbology Botanical Body Oil

If you are under eighteen don’t read this!! I like this oil a lot. It is another oil with a sweet almond oil base so it is light but effective and I really like the smell. It is my mister’s reaction to the oil which surprised me most. He loves it on me , so if I am trying to get out of trouble… or get into trouble (ahem) this is what I use.

The Oil With The Best Smell – ESPA Restorative Body Oil

Love, love love this oil for the citrusy smell that I could slather myself in this all day. As well as the amazing smell and the lovely packaging, it is great on my very dry skin … but did I mention the smell?

The Oil That Is Not Really An Oil – Jao Goe Oil

Strictly speaking this is not really an oil, ie it is not a liquid at room temperature, but Jao classify it as an oil and who am I to argue with them. This blend of 28 oils in a jojoba butter base is amazing. It is one of the most nourishing body oil blends that I have ever used. My skin loves it!

Oxygenetix – letting skin breathe

It’s been a while since I reviewed any foundations, as I have been strictly focused in skincare. Once in a while it’s good to break your own rules, so today I’m talking about a foundation. Not just any foundation, but one with added benefits.

imageOxygenetix has been around in America for a little while and has only just graced our shores. It’s a firm favourite with the Hollywood set since 2008 and in this year’s Oscars it was in high demand from make up artists and A Listers alike! Though, my favourite thing about Oxygenetix is the fact that it can easily be worn post facial treatment or procedure without any adverse effects.

Wearing make up after giving your skin a deep clean is not something I would usually recommend, but sometimes there are clients who won’t be seen dead without any make up and nothing I say convinces them otherwise. This would fit the bill nicely!

It has it’s origins in the cosmetic surgery industry as it was developed to heal and conceal the skin after procedures like lasers and peels. Even though it’s coverage, it allows the skin to breathe so it’s great people who don’t like being seen without make up or don’t like the feel of make up on their skin.

A key ingredient in this process is Ceravitae (patent lending) which is a super charged oxygen peptide complex that promotes collagen cell production and connective tissue growth in ageing and wounded skin.

I like water based foundations as they are very light and easy for me to blend in. This isn’t water based, rather it’s aloe based, but I haven’t had any problems using it. It has anti bacterial properties, soothes and protects compromised skin and because it’s enriched with oxygen it’s super light.

It’s an oil and fragrance free formula infused with Vitamin E, Grape Seed Extract, Green Tea, Hyaluronic Acid, flavonoids, Glycerin and SPF25. So far it’s one of the kindest foundations to skin I know. There are currently 14 shades in the range with an equal amount of yellow based and blue based foundations. I do hope more dark skin tones will be introduced as I am the darkest shade currently.

My verdict – I really like it! It’s been my go to foundation for over a month. I’m a busy mum running helter skelter most days so I need my foundation to put in a strong performance, not rub off or smudge and importantly to not feel like I have a mask on.

Priced at £45 for 15ml (gulp) they are available in the UK from medical grade expert skincare site Beauty is Skin Deep. I do wish they were available in a shop so one doesn’t have to buy blind, but maybe in time that will happen.

Brand Focus: Urban Veda


imageI love great skincare that is easy to use and easy on the purse too. That’s what Urban Veda is. Based on the 5000 year old principles of Ayurvedic ‘doshas’, there for four ranges to suit different skin types. The range is also very comprehensive and it’s very easy to mix and match products to suit different skin conditions.

The Purifying range has been most suited to my combination skin. It’s based on the Ayurvedic favourite ingredient – Neem and is excellent at detoxifying oil prone and congested skin. It is an excellent antibacterial wash and will help to reduce sebum and combat black heads. Spearmint and Eucalyptus botanical actives also make it very refreshing and enjoyable to use, especially for a morning cleanse as it wake up not only your skin, but you as well.

The Radiance range is also equally suited. Celebrated Ayurvedic ingredient, Tumeric is infused with natural brightening botanicals, actives and oils from pomegranate, goji berry and papaya to bring dull skin back to life, address hyper pigmentation and help maintain an all round beautiful glow.

The other two ranges are Reviving, using the principles of the Rose flower to plump and pamper mature skin and Soothing to restore stressed out skin using Sandalwood.

I think it’s great that this new brand has entered the skincare arena with such amazing choice and a full to bursting line up of products. From cleansers to toners to day creams and body washes, all your skincare needs are met using tried and tested ancient principles adapted for 21st century lifestyles.

Urban Veda are exciting skincare to watch out for!

The full scoop on facial steaming

imageFacial steaming is by far one of the most searched items of this blog. This is one of the popular post and as it’s a few years old, I thought it was nigh time for an update. This post will give you the full low down on steaming – the what,  the why, the when, the how and the who.

What is steaming?

This is when you use moist warm air directly on the face for a period of between five to ten minutes. It can be done on its own, but is mainly used in a professional facial treatment after deep cleansing.

Why is steaming necessary?

Everyone loves a steam for a different reasons. I love how much it opens and clears my sinuses and how relaxed I feel, but that’s not all a steam does.

- It softens the skin and dead skin cells for easier exfoliation
- Softens any plugs and comedones of oily deposits under the skin or in follicles. This will make them easier to extract
- Warms the skin, bringing more blood to the surface, resulting in better oxygenation of the skin
- Opens pores for better cleansing and improved product absorption later in the treatment
- Stimulates the sebaceous glands to lubricate the skin more
- Increases circulation to bring more nutrients to the skin and speeds up removal of waste and toxins

When to steam?

It is recommended to get facial once a month, so typically most people will have a full professional steam once a month. However, there’s nothing wrong with running the shower on hot before you step in the bathroom for a mini steam experience every evening. Once or twice a week, I use the steam room at the gym. It’s pure bliss and I stick on a face mask after whilst I do my hair. It’s a facial without even thinking about it!

How to steam?

In a salon, a professional stand alone steamer is used. These are lovely and the facialist can easily position it so it wafts warm steam in the direction of your face for anything from a few minutes to up to ten minutes. In a mobile treatment, the therapist will use a very warm towel and wrap it around your face for a few minutes before it cools down. The effects are similar and it opens the pores for deeper cleansing and more effective extractions.

At home you can use a flannel during cleansing. Run the warmest water you can tolerate over the flannel, wring it out and place over your face for a minute or two. Be careful not to scald yourself.

Who can have steaming?

Most people can have a steam treatment, even those with sensitive skin. It’s all in the positioning of the steam flow and the timing.

If I have a client with really sensitive skin or Rosasea on the cheeks, I soak some gauze or cotton wool in a soothing toner and cover the area with that so it’s not exposed to the direct heat from the steam.

You also have to be careful with acneic skin. The moist heat can aggravate the skin in some people, so caution needs to be exercised.

Honey – skincare sweetest ingredient

imageThere are fossils of honey bees dating back 150 million years, making honey one of the oldest skincare ingredients. Apparently Egyptian royalty Cleopatra and Nefertiti used to bathe in donkey milk and honey every day to preserve their youthful looks. The Greeks used it to heal wounds in battle due to its antibacterial properties, French aristocracy prepared face masks with it to keep their skin supple and Chinese Empresses of the Ming Dynasty used honey to keep their skin fresh and blemish free.

Clearly honey has a long and esteemed history in skincare, mostly because it has so many uses. Primarily it is a humectant so it will help draw and trap moisture into the skin. This makes it excellent for deep hydration and relieving the effects of dry skin. Skin feels smoother, plumper and evened out. I love a honey mask after a long hot day. I know by default I won’t have drunk enough water and my skin would be parched. Honey is just the right tonic.

Honey also has great antibacterial properties making it good for wound healing and topical applications on the skin. Studies have also shown that honey can seal wounds to prevent further trauma to skin. This makes it an excellent preparation for spots and acne as it will not only prevent the spread of bacteria but also seal any lesions on the skin to prevent further damage.

I prefer to use honey in a mask preparation as you get more of its benefits that way so these are some of my faves:

imageFresh Creme Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask £97

A whooping 40% of the formula is high grade honey! Great for keep skin soft, supple and hydrated over a long period (6+ hours depending in skin type) so great for hot summer holidays where skin loses water quicker. The other star in the jar is Echinacea which is an anti oxidant and helps to maintain a healthy glow. Sea buckthorn Oil and Meadow Foam Oil nourish and moisturise the skin. I am a massive fan, even though the price makes me gulp!

(Fresh has a lovely store on Marylebone High St, well worth a visit a you’re in the area)

Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask £21.99

This is a beautiful mask fragranced with sweet vanilla and mandarin. It uses a lot of Manuka honey prized for it antibacterial properties and it delivers a thorough cleanse and moisturising boost to skin with avocado and carrot seed oil too. Great for lazy Sunday evening skincare.

Good Things Manuka Honey Radiance Mask £5.99

This is relatively new to me and by far the most wallet friendly of the bunch, but it holds its own. I like this particularly because of the white clay. It will draw out impurities, while the added Manuka honey will moisturise. My skin genuinely felt soft and velvety after use,

**One I’m lusting over**

I’ve been looking at May Lindstrom for a while and I can’t wait to delve deeper, but I’m trying to show some self restraint as I’m completely overrun with products at the moment. They have a new honey mask – ‘The Honey Mud‘ described as velveteen, lush and cozy. Honey is the first ingredient which means there’s loads of it, followed by White Halloysite Clay. This is too much for me! And… I spotted it on Caroline Hirons Instagram page. I know it’s good! *faints*


Bite-sized Skincare from Murad

What did we do before travel sized cosmetics where introduced? I know, go through the faff of decanting your favourite products into small unnamed jars only to arrive at your destination and not remember what’s what.

Thank God Murad have stepped up their game and now also have mini’s of some of their best products, including SPF moisturisers too. This means you can slip them into your travel bags without the above fuss! They can even go into hand luggage without breaking the 100ml rule. Murad have thought of it all!

They are handy not only for travel, but for festivals and beach days too. And if like me, you’re going nowhere this summer, then they are a great way to try Murad without breaking the bank.


Youthful You Travel Kit – to firming and radiance

Smooth & Soften Travel Kit – addresses fine lines and wrinkles


Balance & Protect Travel Kit – a balancing act for oily, blemish prone skin. Where possible, please wash your face after wipes. Your skin will thank you :-)

Priced at £10 each, they are available exclusively from Marks and Spencer from this Sunday – 15th June.

My Summer Edit

Every summer I create a small beauty and skincare arsenal that keeps me going on hot and busy days. With this edited kit I know I can breeze through the stickiest of summer situations.

Erb Up in Arms Underarm Detox Mask (£17) & Toner (£16)

One of the best bits about summer is wearing less clothing and baring more skin. We defuzz, exfoliate and moisturise like there’s no tomorrow, but do we ever stop and think about the state of our pits? Barely getting an outing all winter, then the moment summer hits, it’s a frantic shave and they’re out there for all to see. This summer I’m loving this ‘Up in Arms’ duo from Erb. It includes a white clay and tamarind mask to draw out impurities, toxins and ingrained dirt from the pores.. The toner with guava leaf, cucumber and liquorice soothes, refreshes and brightens. It does tingle lightly but I love it. Now you can throw your hands up in the air like you don’t care!

imageMurad Essential-C Sun Balm (£19.50)

I love this little gem of a product. It’s such a handy way of carrying SPF about your person. It dispenses straight from the bullet and has a turn dial to make sure you get the right amount of product out. It has a base of Tangerine Butter helping it to glide and absorb very quickly into your skin. Also broccoli extract and vitamins A,C and E. The best thing about it is that it contains Murasol which is an innovative way to limit the damage caused by UVA/UVB rays, free radicals and dehydration. The Murasol technology is groundbreaking because it’s a cocktail of antioxidants which protect the skin from further damage which normal sunscreens cannot do AND it leaves residual sun protection on the dermis. An absolute must for topping up your sun protection while you’re out and about.

Rajeunir Lip Serum (£12)

On the same sun protective vein, this lip serum is a handy keeper. It protects against UVA and UVB rays with SPF 15 and is formulated with plant extracts.. We remember to apply sun protection to other parts of our body but lips often get forgotten. You can apply on its own and it’s gives both protection and a bit of shine or over lipstick. Either way your lips look good and are protected. Win on both sides.

Bodhi Mint Thè Temple Balm (£15)

I am a busy mum with an extremely packed life. Sometimes it does run away with me and I can get a but stressed. I imagerub this balm on my wrists and I sniff it often to revive and sharpen my mind. The beautiful blend of camphor, eucalyptus and frankincense It clears my mind and helps me focus. A very powerful relaxation aid!

Superdrug Coconut Oil (£2.29)

This is super handy to keep either by the front door or in the car. The amount of times I’ve been about to head out of the door only to looked down and see ashy ankles is beyond me. It’s always the case that I’ve put on something high and strappy so negotiating the stairs again is out of the question. On those occasions this little tub of coconut oil has proved a useful ally. It quickly melts in your hands, absorbs well and although it says fragranced, it nothing off putting and the scent dissipates in no time. A real beauty bargain!

Caudalie – Accessibility & Affordability


imageCaudalie is one of those quiet French skincare brands that has been making waves for years but it somehow still remains quite cult and undiscovered. Those who know about Caudalie never appear to make a lot of noise about it, but always speak of it with quiet grace and recommend it strongly. The products are built on using grape derived polyphenols, resveratrol and viniferine to prevent damage from free radicals, boost collagen and elastin, prevent glycation and support the skin at source.

I regularly stocked up when on trips to Paris and would quietly bask in the lushness of using amazing products like Divine Body Oil, Radiance Serum or the Beauty Elixir. A trip to Paris is great on any day, but I now celebrate the fact that Caudalie is on our very own doorstep in Covent Garden. Therefore, our access to great skincare is increased.

What I also love about Caudalie is the price point. I hold the brand up as a luxury outfit and comparable to some of my favourite luxe brands, but I am always pleasantly taken aback by frankly how less expensive the majority of the products are, whilst at the same time maintaining a similar level of efficacy and up market’ness’.

Speaking to a Caudalie insider at the event last month, the reason for this is affordability. The brand founders want Caudalie to be available to everyone who wants great skincare and not to be barred by price.

I think that is a great philosophy. For me and a lot of women accessibility and affordability are very important tenets in good skincare. These two factors alone make a big difference to the types and quality of skincare products one chooses. I speak to so many people, men and women who sometimes feel priced out and would love the opportunity to try more advanced skincare brands. I think this is where brands like Caudalie trump others.