Weleda Fashion Week Survival Collection Giveaway

It’s London Fashion Week and there’s a Weleda ‘fashion week survival collection’ up for grabs.

Weleda is the official sponsor of The Model Zone which is the British Fashion Council chill out area for models to take a step back from the catwalk and recharge their batteries away from the glare of the media and press.

As well as relaxing facials and massages, models are also armed with a special collection of pampering Weleda treats to help them survive the hustle and bustle of fashion week. The fashionistas favourite Skin Food is included, along with Citrus Refreshing Body Oil, Lavender Relaxing Bath Milk, Rose Smoothing Facial Masque amongst other treasures.

ModelZoneGiftBag - Feb 2015

It’s a great way to sample the extensive Weleda range and I’ve managed to snag one of these treat bags for a lucky UK reader to win. Just leave a comment below why you need this special ‘fashion week survival collection’ in your life. Giveaway closes on Tuesday 24th February at 9pm and I’ll announce the winner soon after.

Good luck!

Skincare by numbers – in your 40’s

bwahahaha - loved this forty something firecracker

bwahahaha – loved this forty something firecracker

Life begins at forty and it is now you may start to notice the outward evidence of the life you’ve lived so far. Whether your skincare has scored excellent, good or ‘could do better’  your skin will let you know how it wants to be looked after going forward.  Whatever you do now, will also set the scene for your skin in the coming years.

The first things that clients always point out to me is more fine lines and wrinkles, especially around the eyes. Followed by laughter lines, which I find very beautiful. Laughter means joy, so sometimes these lines have to celebrated as they reflect a life lived in happiness. Anyway, I digress.

Hormonal changes can decrease levels of oestrogen in the body. This hormone is partly responsible for keeping skin smooth and plump so you may notice a lose of tone and a change in the texture of your skin. It is common to notice facial hair too.

This is also the time that sun damage and dark spots start showing up. They’ve been developing in the deep recesses of your skin over years, but as the texture changes and becomes thinner they become more noticeable.

What can you do?

After establishing a good low/no sugar diet full of greens and variety, good essential fatty acids and lots of water for hydration, you can look at products and habits that help to keep your skin in good condition.

It is never too late to start with a  skincare regime. The basic building blocks are cleanse, tone and moisturise. But at this point you also need to add exfoliation, masks, serums, old and facial massage to give your skin the best topical support.


This is the point at which you’re looking for performance skin care that delivers results. Naturally expect that some products will now be premium and you will have to pay more.  Products should contain hyaluronic acid, collagen and peptides to keep skin hydrated and full of bounce. Collagen is one half of the scaffolding that holds your skin up. Without it, skin collapses and looses firmness. Peptides help to increase collagen production and even out skin tone.

Try: Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream – using a marine extract Padina Pavonica (yes I know, where do they get these names from?!) it increases hydration and moisture levels to boost the production of collagen.

Algenist Advanced Anti Ageing Repairing Oil - this is a moisture and radiance booster that restores elasticity and firmness using strengthening micro algea oil.


If you’re finding that your skin is feeling just that little bit rough and the texture is changing, it’s because as we get older, metabolic changes means the skins ability to shed dead skin cells slows down, causing a build up that feels rough and dry. It’s time to introduce Alpha/Beta Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s and BHA’s) into your skin care. These are easy  exfoliants that will smooth out the skin by getting rid of dead skin cells.

Try: Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 – (with or without phenol depending where in the world you are) – the original of all the exfoliating lotions out there with lactic acid, usnic acid and ascorbic acid amongst other ingredients. It’s available in threes strengths taking into account different skin types. You’ll notice a difference in your skin within days.


It’s also time to start tackling fine lines and wrinkles using retinol which isn’t half as scary as it sound. When used properly it is a power product that can retexturise and refine the surface of the skin. Put simply Retionol is a clever form of Vitamin A that can attach itself to our skin cells that are badly performing and train them to be healthy again.

Try: REN Bio Rentinoide Anti Ageing Concentrate. A blend of three different types of retinol that’s great for all skin types including sensitive. Also has Omega 6 and 7 to nourish and moisturise in the skin.

Skinceuticals Retinol 1% – it’s an advanced home treatment to even skin tone, fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. Speak to a professional for the best advice on how to use this as skin has to be prepped beforehand.

You have to wear a high factor sunscreen as a must if you’re using a retinol product as it increase photosentivitiy of the skin. SPF also prevents further damage to the skin and age spots, so really everyone’s a winner!


At some point hyperpigmentation from sun damage starts showing through as an uneven skin tone, leaving you patchy and blotchy. You should introduce a serum or moisturising oil that works to balance and brighten the appearance of your skin. They have a thinner consistency than creams, so are able to work slightly further down in the skin for better results.

Try: Trilogy Rosehip Oil – a simple oil with essential fatty acids Omega 3, 6, 9 that not only moisturises but helps to fade spots, scars and dark marks.

Omorovicza Radiance Renewal Serum – Great your skin always looks a little tired because the White Lupin and watercress revitalise and make you skin glow. Just makes you alive again.

Don’t forget: neck and hands

After your face, they are the next most exposed areas and affected in just the same way. Both can be susceptible to dryness and hyperpigmentation so always moisturise from the neck up and use a good hand cream. Read this here for more advice.

Professional Treatments

Be it monthly, quarterly or bi-annually seeing a professional skincare specialist in a clinic to analyse and assess your skin is important to help guide the choices you make a home with your skincare. They can also perform treatments that will turbo charge your skin and address multiple issues quickly.

See link for further product information.


Deeper than Skin – Tongue Tales

A friend of mine passed this on to me and I think it’s so interesting. Our bodies have funny ways of telling us what’s going on deep inside and this is just one way of loosely pinpointing complaints you may be suffering from.

Remember, if anything bothers you, see your GP.

Now for the fun part:

  • Grab a mirror

  • Pretend you’re five

  • Stick your tongue out

  • Take a look

tongue-diagnosis Dijasworld

What’s your tongue telling you?

What’s the deal with white & black heads?

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 08.10.31

Top picks for blemish elimination

There always seems to be general confusion around whiteheads and blackheads. What are they? Why do I have them? How to get rid? Why don’t they ever go away?

I would say these are amongst the most common blemishes you will get on your face (back, shoulders, chest too!) and the oiler your skin, the more likely you are to suffer from them. They also are no respecter of age, from puberty to menopause, it’s possible to get them. But all is not lost as there several remedies to keep them at bay.

Firstly, whiteheads – they are formed when dead skin cells and oil are trapped in a pore just under the skin’s surface. They can normally be found setting up shop right down the T-Zone covering the forehead, nose and chin.

Blackheads on the other hand are formed when dead skin cells and sebum harden and form a plug in the pore in the upper layers of skin. When exposed to air, they turn black, hence the name. They can be annoyingly persistent and again found mainly on the T -Zone, but also on tops of cheeks.

I suppose one thing to be grateful for is that they are usually free from bacteria so with a good skincare routine, it’s easy to keep them check.

So how do you do that?

– Keep your skin clean, it’s the most basic thing you can do to avoid them. A good routine of cleanse, tone and moisturise is key. Followed by all the other add on’s – masks, exfoliators, peels and professional treatments.

– Use products that are non comedogenic – that is they are designed to not sit in your pores and cause blockages. Even some natural ingredients like Shea Butter can clog pores so be aware.  It’s important to take the time to cleanse properly if using.

– Exfoliate – this gets rid of dead skin cells which are a major culprit. Whether you use a flannel daily, traditional kernels, Alpha/Beta Hydroxy Acids it’s a very important part in making your skin less susceptible to blemishes.

– Focus on key ingredients – Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide

Look for products with salicylic acid, normally shown as the ingredient Willow Bark – this ingredient is your friend and saviour of your skin. It helps skin dead cells shed more easily, breaks down congestion within the pore and prevents further clogging by temporarily restricting pore size. Personally I love salicylic acid and sometimes even swipe it over clients that have dry skin to improve their texture. It’s up there with acid royalty!

Benzoyl Peroxide is another good ingredient to use as it breaks down congestion in pores and tackles bacterial infestation. Rather stronger than salicylic acid  though and if you use it willy nilly it’s akin to using a sledge hammer to crack a nut. I usually reserve recommending this unless there’s quite severe white/black heads in look, quantity and whether there is likelihood of P.acnes bacteria being present.

Check out my top product picks below.

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 08.00.36


Ask Dija: Banishing Breakouts


Are breakouts the bane of your life?

Believe it or not, a Facialist can and does have breakouts and I hate it because my face is my business. You’d think with an arsenal of products, I’d be able to stave off a particular bad breakout that started just before Christmas. The worst breakout in my memory. It was literally one painful under-the-skin pimple after another. Even my husband noticed and that’s never a good thing.

Clearly it was time to practice what I preach, so now that I’m on the other side of it and I hope to God I haven’t spoken too soon, here’s a run down of what to do in the unfortunate event of a breakout.

Think & Trace

Think back to when the breakout started and what was going on in your life. For me, we had building work, one too many takeaways, pre-Christmas stress followed by the obligatory Christmas indulgence and one too many Heston Blumenthal mince pies. By working backwards, you can pinpoint where things went wrong and that makes the job of fixing your skin that bit easier.

Keep it Simple

At this point, strip back your routine. I went for a  simple cleanse and moisturise twice a day regime. No toners or floral waters either. I religiously used my Aurelia Miracle Cleanser because of its probiotics to help balance the bacteria on my skin. Breakouts are caused by bacteria and sebum mixing on the skin so anything that provides some balance is a good thing. For moisturiser, I stuck to a simple oil that I rustled up myself using avocado oil as a base with chamomile and lavender essential oils to soothe.

Diet & Supplements

I really believe on healing from the inside so I increased my supplements especially my Omega 3, 6, 9, zinc and starflower as they boost cell performance. I snacked on salmon and avocado for their healthy fatty acids content and feasted on berries for their anti oxidant properties. I also cut out sugar and refined products and replaced my beloved builders brew with green tea and water, again for anti oxidant protection.

I also made fresh green juices using the principles of the alkaline diet to neutralise toxins and acidity in the body. Spinach, broccoli, cucumber, kale and carrots made delicious and refreshing drinks.

Treat & Heal

Instead of jack of all trades serums and treatments, I pared back to tried and tested masks and serums that have never let me down - Avene Antirougeurs, I absolutely love and thankfully never have plenty of occasions to use. It’s soothing and calmed down the heat sensations I was experiencing after one session. Indeed Labs Hydraluron for all over moisture. This product is a little gem. Source 5 Cosmeceuticals Calm Serum treats irritated and sensitive skin with Desert Glycoproteins and Purity Serum tackles breakout areas with Epilobium Fleisheri, an Alpine herb that reduces oil production – I find I turn to these treatment serums time and time again. Together they work so well for me.

Now, all that remains is to deal with the post breakout scarring!

Illustration by Brianna Harden

Time out with… The Skincare Obsessive

I’ve made it my mission to get under the skin (excuse the pun!) of as many people as possible in the beauty industry this year – from bloggers and skin care experts right through to the brains behind my favourite brands. I’m making it my business to find out their favourite face cream, I’m digging deep to find out their inspirations and taking notes of any pearls of wisdom they have for anyone who wants to follow in their footsteps.

Snapshots of Simon

Kicking of the year is the lovely Simon, who blogs over at The Skincare Obsessive all in way in sunny Sydney. Simon really is all about skincare and then some. Just take a look at his Instagram feed! I’m always gawping at it and I always love the selection of products he has on rotation.

Apart from generally loving life, the one thing that also comes across is his absolute dedication to skincare and finding out what’s new. I hope you enjoy as much as I did delving into his thoughts.

Thank you Simon!


  • What’s your all time favourite product?

It would have to be Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant, it’s a mask containing lactic acid that you leave on for fifteen minutes and rinse off.  It gets rid off all the dead skin and you really do have a new face after using it. Skin is brighter, smoother and less blemished.

  • What 5 words would you friends/family use to describe you?

Determined, Confident, Informative, Obsessive, Organised.

  • What’s your dream bathroom cabinet?

My dream bathroom cabinet would probably have every Dermalogica and Ultraceuticals product in it.

  •  Describe the Australian attitude to skincare and beauty.

I think that Australian’s have a really laid back approach to beauty, it’s more about enhancing what you already have, women (and men in my case) don’t tend to wear much makeup but will focus on having a good base, everyone seems to wear mascara. A nude lip or sometimes a bold lip and that’s it. We don’t seem to do much eyeshadow or cheek stuff like other countries it’s a lot more natural.

In regards to skincare Australians are normally taught by their elders to always wash your face and moisturise. Sunscreen is really important to us as we live in such a harsh climate.

  • What skincare advice would you give your teenage self?

I had a bit of acne growing up and I would use harsh cleansers and oil free moisturisers. So I would probably tell myself to use a gentle cleanser and that oil is actually good for your skin as it stops you from reproducing more oil, but to be honest I was always good with skincare. It was something I was born with, I don’t think a day has gone by since I was twelve when I haven’t used some sort of skincare.

  • How did you get into blogging?

Skincare has always been a passion of mine and I already followed a lot of beauty blogs and thought ‘hey! I could do this’, and at this time there are not many if not any male bloggers just focusing on skincare in Australia.

  • What do you think has been the biggest beauty innovation in the last decade?

I think that chemical exfoliation is a big one, because it contains acid to get rid of dead skin without the use of harsh beads which can lead to irritation and broken capillaries.  Also I think that the sunscreen formulations have come along way, they are not that sticky white paste that we used to apply. The formulas are much better to use now.

  • What is your favourite phrase?

‘Work hard, stay humble’ is my favourite because to be on top of the beauty industry you need to work hard but also be nice because being nasty won’t get you anywhere.

Another one I kind of made up is ‘I don’t believe in luck, I believe in hard work and determination.’ That was made because I started my blog with absolutely no connections to the beauty world and now I have built relationships with brands and PR companies all through hard work and never giving up.


London Beauty Events

As a beauty writer, one of the best things about living in London is that there’s always someone somewhere with an event happening that satiates my appetite to discover and experience new products.

‘Here I Am’ by Fenwick of Bond Street

The haven that always rescues me from the madness of Oxford Street and the touring parties of Bond Street is going back to its roots and framing 2015 with the same statement the founder made when he arrived at that spot back in 1891.


Words – JJ ‘Jim’ Fenwick, 1891/ Image – Andrei Robu, 2015

As part of the launch, there is a rather lush  ‘Here I Am’ complimentary beauty bag worth £250 with over 24 products that will help anyone announce their arrival in 2015.  The bag and its many contents echo the excitement and adventure that I imagine Jim felt when he made his London debut.

When you spend £200 in the beauty hall, you get ALL THIS >>>>>>

111 Skin mask, Cane & Austin glycolic acid pads, Caudalie Divine Oil, Chantecaille deluxe mascara, Christophe Robin shampoo and conditioner, Clarins Instant Eye Makeup remover, Darphin Hydraskin Light, DHC cleansing oil, Eve Lom cleanser, IPD Alyssa Ashley, Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, Lipstick Queen Chinatown Catalina & Chinatown Chase, MOA, NUBO, Phillip Kingsley Elasticizer , Phyto citrus shampoo, Racinne Ultimate Youth Powder Neck Emulsion, Radical mask, Sachajuan hair repair, Shiseido Gentle Cleanser & Perfect Rouges, Suqqu Moisture Mask Scrub, When-Mask facial mask, Xen Tan & Glam Glow and Youth H2O Youth Activating Concentrate.

*picks jaw up from the floor*

Liberty Meet The Experts

As part of it’s Restore & Revitalise series of well being events, you can drop in on the evening 0f 29th January from 6pm to ‘Meet the Experts’.  It’s the perfect time to quiz the owners of your favourite brands and pick up valuable hints and tips. Expect to bump into Plenish founder Kara Rosen, Beauty Writer Kate Shapland, yoga expert Chris James, Get The Gloss’ Susannah Taylor and Aurelia Probiotic Skincare founder Claire Vero.

Make it as one of the first 250 through those historical doors and you get a goody bag. If you’re in town, it’s worth going.

Skincare by numbers – in your 30’s

Whatever happened to this group of flirty thirty somethings?

Whatever happened Girlfriends? I loved this group of flirty thirty somethings.

This is an exciting age for skincare because you get to ramp things up and get the big players out. It’s the time when life start etching it’s presence on your face – stress, pregnancy, hormones, prior sun damage amongst over things and unless you want it to continue in that vein you need to start putting preventative measures in place. Skincare routines should consist of double cleansing, toner, serum, eye cream, moisturiser at a basic level. Exfoliating liquids toners and masks can be included a few times a week.

Remove & Replenish

For starters, your metabolism and cell turnover starts to slow down, so the texture, feel and look of your skin starts to change. It can become rougher, dull and patchy with more visible pores. The best thing you can start doing is using exfoliating acids (glycolic, lactic, salicylic) which look like traditional toner liquids or come in pads. They have the power to make a huge difference to your skin. Some are gentle enough for every day use and some every other day, but they will dissolve rogue cells and over time, your skin will become smoother, more even toned and pores more refined. Use after cleansing.

For exfoliators take a pick from Biologique Recherché, Alpha H, First Aid Beauty, Zelens, Nip & Fab, Peter Thomas Roth, Dr. Dennis Gross, Goldfaden MD.  When it comes to masks, typically you’re going for deep cleansing which contains clay (oily skin) or hydrating which contains glycerin and moisturisers (dry skin). The result will be more balance in the feel and texture of your skin.

Eye Creams and Serums

The eye area has the thinest skin, so needs a more delicate and dedicated approach. It can easily get dry and it’s first for lines and wrinkles meaning you need to use eye cream. The texture is very different to face cream, easier to penetrate the skin for better hydration and moisture. I like all rounders that tighten, hydrate, depuff and brighten at the same time. There is a reason why Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair wins so many awards – it’s good and addresses all areas of eye aging simultaneously. Choose from the cream or the serum but you don’t need both in my opinion.

Serums will be invaluable to you. Their thin consistency means they penetrate the surface of the skin deep enough to effect a change. You can choose according to need – uneven skin tone, dryness, visible pores, lines and wrinkles – or a good all rounder which in that case Sunday Riley’s Good Genes is a good choice. If dryness and dehydration is your issue go for a serum loaded with hyaluronic acid like Hydraluron by Indeed Labs.

Supplements and Sunscreens

Now is also a good time to get serious about taking supplements and generally eating well. Supplements come in all forms – liquid oils, powders you can sprinkle on food or mix with water, tablets, capsules and injections. You need to choose one that is suitable for your lifestyle and budget. Boots do a great selection, as well as Victoria Health online. I particularly like David Kirsch Vitamin Mineral Powders – one sachet in a glass of water gives you a boost of vitamins, minerals and anti oxidants.

Sunscreen is even more important so don’t think you can get away with not using it. I know that there is sometimes the impression of too many lotions and steps in the routine, but you can now find sunscreen included in skin care and make up, so there’s no excuse.

Professional Treatments and Advice

Acne breakouts can still happen. If they do, take it easy and remember to treat the area of the breakout and not your entire face. If the breakouts are persistent, then see a skin care professional who will advise the best course of action. Just don’t wallow in it or worse pick at the spots.

Talking about professionals, now is also the time to invest in a twice yearly consultation. Skin changes over time and you need to adapt your regime accordingly. An expert will give you tailored advice and professional treatments that will set you on the right path to glowing healthy skin.

Be prepared to spend that little bit more in time and money on your skin going forward as it will pay dividends in years to come.


Next Sunday – thinking ahead for the majestic 40’s.

Ask Dija – Face wipes, yay or nay?

To wipe or not to wipe?

To wipe or not to wipe?

99% of the time I am in the nay camp. I don’t generally advocate using face wipes, chiefly because it never really cleans your face or gives you that feeling of being clean. There will always be a layer of dirt, grime or make up left behind because wipes are non rinse.  So what’s the point of using them daily in place of a cleanser?

I’ve seen a couple that are of decent quality, but expect to fork out a sizeable amount for the packet which when used will fundamentally only move dirt from one side of your face to the other. In my opinion, add a couple extra quid and buy a face wash that will be more beneficial to your skin.

Also I’ve seen people ‘attack’ their faces with wipes.  Literally scrubbing away so much that my internal ouch factor for their skin goes into overdrive.  I just want to reach out and grab the wipes away from them. All that rubbing and pulling does your skin no favours apart from leave it sore and irritated.

Some wipes are laden with alcohol and chemicals. The no rinse use of them makes me shudder because you are putting all that on your face and more than likely going to be bed. As let’s face it, it usually at night people use wipes when they are too tired lazy  to stand over the sink. In fact, it’s likely you’re already under the duvet when you reach for the wipes.

Now I’ve said all that, the 1% of me that can tolerate a face wipes is only in dire emergency situations, when access to water is restricted e.g if you are flying or at festivals. In my latter years it’s made more sense to do both these things without make up on full stop. Ever since I experienced the full physical sensation of cabin air pressure literally sucking moisture out of my pores the same way a vacuum cleaner gobbles up dirt, I figured it wasn’t worth the hassle of putting on slap to go up 30,000 feet. Likewise at a festival – just go, have a good time and forget the make up. Then if you do use a wipe in the evening it’s not in a pointless attempt to deep cleanse your face.

I have also been a teenager, so I know what it’s like to roll in at 3am slightly worse for wear with bed being the only thing on your mind. Looking back, I’d use at least five wipes to take my make up off so I may as well have stood over the sink. Hindsight is a beautiful thing!

So, should you use wipes? No if you can avoid it and usually that is very possible. On the odd occasion (and I stress odd) you use it, it won’t kill you but make sure they are alcohol and perfume free and you go back to your sensible routine as soon as possible.

Skincare by numbers – in your 20’s

My current favourite group of girls! Their shenanigans keep me laughing for hours.

My current favourite group of girls! Their shenanigans leave me stitches.

Now is the time to set up a good skincare regime and form good habits – not sleeping in make up, getting some sleep, cleansing twice a day, using a flannel and not picking at spots. Your regime should mainly include cleanse, tone, serum, moisturise. Other steps and products can be included when necessary.

You also want to be using  sunscreen – all year round I might add. There’s nothing wrong with exposing bare skin to the sun for up to 20 minutes a day, but that’s really about it. If you’re anything like I was, this will be the decade of Alia and Ayai Napa (do people still go there?!!). Enjoy, I sure did, but don’t forget the sunscreen for face and body. It is one of the best things you will do for your skin that will pay dividends throughout your life.

Also smoking – don’t start or give up. The health implications are there for all to see and it reeks havoc on your skin with dryness and making it look sallow. That’s just for starters, trust me I know from experience.

Watch out for excessive drinking – of the cocktail kind especially. They are loaded with sugar, which again is fun, but kills collagen and elastin in your skin.  Read this. My advice would be to stick to wine. Granted it doesn’t sound as fun as a large Sex on the Beach, but by the time you’re 30 you can pass yourself of as some sort on connoisseur and be the posh one in your circle, with good skin!

Eat as well as you can. Good skin and beauty really start from within. Products are boosters. If you’re still at home appreciate mums home cooking. I can bet it’s fresh and balanced so take advantage.  If you’ve cut the apron strings, shop smart. I’m not talking getting an Abel & Cole delivery every week as I know healthier food is slightly more expensive, but if you plan your week and batch cook it works out cheaper. Better for your skin and health all round.

Keep skin hydrated. I’ve had a few 20 somethings on my couch complaining about fine lines and it’s usually the case of dehydrated skin rather than actual onset of wrinkles. Drink your 2 litres and add hyaluronic acid serum into your routine.  Vichy Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Serum never fails to get good reviews for quality, efficacy and price.

If you’re experiencing oily skin, tread carefully and don’t attack it all guns blazing. The fallout is not pretty. Instead include salicylic acid based treatment in your routine. Be it a mask a couple of times a week like Una Brennan’s Super Facialist Pore Purifying Clay Mask or a gentle daily use toner. REN Clarifying Toner gets a thumbs up from me and I still use it in my 30’s.

A word about acne – even with all the best routines, diets and products in the world, acne can still flare up. In my opinion it needs a multi pronged approach including looking at your diet, sometimes drugs and the help of a dermatologist. Seek professional help early; save yourself unnecessary misery.

You’ll notice I haven’t recommended expensive products.  I’m assuming that most people in this bracket are probably just settling into a job or finishing uni and disposable income isn’t high. You don’t always need skincare that costs the earth, you just need them to be effective.

Next Sunday – Skincare for us in our 30’s.