Dolores – the new skincare ‘It’ bag

It’s always a little struggle to pack make up for weekends away. Without fail I select too much and end up with limited space in my travelling make up bag and have to do a quick cull at usually the most inopportune time. So for me rather than perhaps take more time selecting my items – I do need 5 different red lipsticks! – I’d rather just find a bag that fits everything nicely.

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All of this went in, with room to spare!

The same goes for my skincare. Plain and simply, I hate being without my bathroom cabinet. I choose skincare according to how I feel and what my skin needs daily and since I have no crystal ball, it’s hard to predict what I’ll need on any given night away.

But, I think I may have found the perfect ‘fits everything’ bag in Dolores (£19.50) from MyShowcase.  It has masses of space for any number of products – be it skincare, toiletries or make up. On testing, I can fit a streamlined skincare kit –  make up remover balm, face wash, exfoliator, hydrator, serum, moisturiser, face oil, cotton pads and flannel. So not bad for size at all.

However you decide to use it, one of the biggest draws is that it has a wipe clean surface. Make up and oil stains can easily be wiped off keeping its chic design in pristine condition for longer. If you get it as a Christmas pressie, I see it being the gift that keeps on giving as it’ll always be in use. Bear in mind, it’s a limited edition so it won’t be around for long!

You’re welcome x

Party Prep with Roloxin Instant Skin Smoothing Mask

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I like a face mask at any time of the day, but I suppose I like one even more when I’m going out for a big night out. I enjoy the whole preparation process from bath time, to make up and dress up. If I’m going to make the effort with my make up and deviate from standard issue mummy slap, then I want my make up to last well until the cab ride home.

I tend to favour a clay mask for a night out because my skin borders on the oily side, so clay helps my prep by eliminating oil for a more matte finish, refining the texture of my skin so that applying my make up is a smoother experience and also unclogging those pores and makes then appear smaller and less visible.. Hate them or not we need them so best to tackle head on.

Which brings me nicely on to my mask of the moment – Roloxin Instant Skin Smoothing Mask. It’s not clay, but it’s still just as good. It claims to instantly improve the appreance of the skin after 10 minutes use and the results last for 24 hours. I have to say their study was quite small though  – 20 people and the results from person to person did vary, but I guess they all felt they had some sort of a positive experience otherwise the brand wouldn’t make sure a claim.

I too have had a positive experience each time I’ve used this mask. My skin looks lifted and brighter, which is why I like it before a night out where there will be photos. What’s a good night without any compromising selfies, eh?! It also claims to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, crows feet and laughter lines. I can’t comment on that as I have none but this also makes it suitable for mature skin.

My make up goes on like a dream when I use this and that is what keeps me coming back. I mean, I don’t even need the customary touch up half way through the night.  And that’s saying something. I always marvel at the pics the next day, make up on fleek!

There is some faffage in its use as it’s not a pot you just dip into. Each application comes in a sachet which you have go activate by squeezing vigorously for 20 seconds before applying to freshly cleansed damp skin.  But there in lies the beauty as well because you can pop a sachet in your overnight bag if you’re planning to use it whilst away – #spacesavermask :-)  I suppose you could also use in the morning after a big night to make you look more together- slight waste of a good product in my opinion to use it that way, but hey ho.

Ingredients wise – Silica is a major component. Silica is a trace mineral naturally found in skin tissue and helps to maintain hydration and very important in the make up of collagen to keep skin plump. In this particular formula there are both water loving and hating silica particles working in opposition to tighten and lift the skin as the mask dries to a fine powder. There is also Retinyl Palmitate which is a form of Vitamin A.  Here, it’s use is as a gentle skin exfoliator to eat up dead skin cells, break the bonds that bind them to reveal more radiant skin.

It’s not skin type specific, so if you’re in the market for a new mask and want to try something different, then give it a go. Personally I don’t reach for it on a regular day, which I suppose keeps it special and what contributes to the wow factor with each use. So you may just find this becomes part of your party prep rather than a staple. It is on the pricey side at £79 for a box of 10 making each use a whooping £7.90, so perhaps it does deserve it’s special big occasion status.

Looking back on summer beauty

Today, feels like the last day of summer – it’s Sunday, sun is shining and it’s October, it’s still warm (ish) – all this things make me think we’re holding on to borrowed blue skies and the cold is coming clock is ticking. So seems perfect to do a run down of some products I’ve enjoyed this summer and more than likely will be showing up in my winter kit.

Bloom Ultra Cleanse Matcha

I got on the matcha bandwagon a bit late, but I really like it. It’s my naturally powerful fat free boost of energy round about 11am, when I need something to take me through to lunchtime.  Consisting only of three ingredients Matcha Green Tea, Yerba Mate and Milk Thistle, I like the fact that it’s not too prescriptive –  you can add it to just about anything – juice, rice, yoghurt, cereal, ice cream. I can’t do too many instructions – go left, go right, jump over your head,  no thank you.  This is simple enough to use and I just add the required amount to some watered down juice after my run and I float around feeling virtuous, slaying down my emails.

ByTerry Hydradiance Daily Care

I’m not a big fan of face creams at any time of day, I tend to go straight to a face oil, but I’ve loved the light and bouncy texture of this cream. It doesn’t smother my skin, rather it just gives airy coverage. My skin feels comfortably hydrated and fresh, without needing anything else on top. Rose is renowned for its ability to heal and regenerate the skins texture, so it’s an ace moisturiser to have in the cabinet. A lot of people shy away from rose thinking its for mature skin types, but I think works across all age groups very well, so use it! It will also be perfect for cold weather season to balance out any topical seasonal dryness, especially on the cheeks.

Elethea Complete Replenishing Oil

Talking of oils, I adore this one. I first spotted on facialist extraordinaire Nichola Joss’s Instagram page and she said it was a good un’. She was right. Formulated with Abyssinia oil from Ethiopia, Rosehip oil, Blackcurrant seed and Vanilla oils which are potent antioxidants and have skin softening properties. Blackcurrant in particular helps skin to hold on to hydration and plays in important role in helping to regenerate the skin on a topical level. Interestingly, it is sometimes used as a substitute for evening primrose oil due to it’s Omega 6 properties. I enjoy using it for a therapeutic evening facial massage as it has such a featherweight texture.  It absorbs well, with no residue and the sweet and warming scent of vanilla is lovely too.

Deciem Hyalamide SubQ Anti Age Advanced Serum

What did we do before Hyaluronic Acid? Anyway this one is a little gem, like mobile phones, the more versions of hyaluronic acid that get released the more improved they become. I’m going to skip over the incredibly long name and ignore the ‘anti age’ bit. No product is going to stop ageing and there’s no reason to be against it IMO. Anyway, this is third generation, five type hyaluronic acid and simply excellent at deeply hydrating the skin and creating almost invisible support and incredible bounce the entire day. It’s fab for anyone suffering from dehydration (all of us) and dryness. It is not sticky!! Hallelujah. It also gets a special mention because its one of my most recommended products to clients during consultations and they always report back that they’d be lost without it now it’s in their regime. I think the price tag is also great for such a powerful product.

Fresh Soy Face Wash

This is as fresh as they come and great for cleansing whether it’s a single (no make up day) cleanse or a double cleanse. Even though it’s a nice thick gel texture, it’s not too slippery and you’ll still be able to start off your facial massage, getting in the nooks and crannies to dislodge dirt. It’s very gentle and gets skin comfortable clean with no squeak or stripping it bare, which is what you want your cleanser to do really. Cucumber and rosewater make it a soothing pleasure to use and cocoon your skin.  I’m on my third tube, so that’s saying something. Suitable for all skin types and can’t see it causing any problems, though if you do have problematic acneic skin you should probably be using something with a bit more treatment to it.

Yes To Coconut Hydrating Balm

We loved this (my we I mean my entire household!) because we all suffer from dry skin and it certainly kept us moisturised without any ashiness in sight. It’s a thumping tin of moisture and protection –  just look at the first six ingredients – coconut oil, sweet almond oil, shea butter, beeswax, cocoa butter, sunflower oil – Not only will these ingredients moisturise, they will also form a ‘seal’ on the skin, stopping moisture from escaping, which is why it’s best to use soon after a shower when you’re still moist and can trap a layer of moisture in the skin. The scent is a little overpowering, people will smell you. Even when you’ve left the room. Still worth it though and will be worth it during a cold drying winter.

CACI Hydro Mask

I developed a penchant for sheet masks this summer and I enjoyed this one which is for intense moisture and ideal as an after sun mask, to calm an irritation or a reaction. I keep mine in the fridge so it is extra cooling and makes a nice treat. Though its short term and you do have to couple with proper skincare management, my skin felt hydrated after one use as well as smooth and plumped. Key ingredients are very much focused on binding moisture to the skin and providing soothing relief – Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Glyco-saminoglycans which improves the appearance of lines and wrinkles, Biosaccharide Gum-1 to alleviate irritation and collagen to help plump the skin.

Changing seasons, changing skincare

seasonalspecials.comHave you put the heating on? I have,  intermittently. Some nights, and days I might add, have been freezing. It’s only September and I find myself flipping the switch far too much for my liking and at this rate, I’ll be giving all the Christmas money to my already over paid energy provider. I need to get on the layering bandwagon!

Anyway, that is not the point of this post, though related. It’s more that the seasons are clearly in flux – golden leaves, cold nights and darker evenings can only mean winter is on its way. I doubt we’ll get much of an autumn, it feels like the cold will just arrive. Boom! With this season change, comes change for skin. If summer is about sheer veils of product, winter is more for your heavy and comforting creams.

Change & Add

It’s time to switch up folks, or at least start thinking about it because summer skincare will not cut it. For starters, we tend to wear more make up in winter (it’s not just me, right?) so you need to invest in a cleansing balm or oil to remove your make up before you go in with your facial wash, gel, milk etc. As a devotee of the double cleanse system, I will always advise to follow this approach to make sure your skin in really clean. Use a flannel as well, if anything it will show up areas where your cleansing isn’t thorough – hairlines, ears, neck. If you don’t mind grubby looking ones, get white flannels as they really reveal all.

Next, a good facial oil. So, so many to choose from, but I like soothing and cosseting formulations this time of the year. These work more to heal and protect the skin, alleviating dry patches. Even people with oily skin can use oils, so don’t be scared. You can use them as a treatment every other night in a facial massage or you can use a few drops everyday underneath your moisturiser. If you still have a lot of summer moisturiser left over, a good way to use it up is to add a couple of drops of oil to it to give it a richer consistency.  Don’t just slap it on either, take the time to really massage your facial oil in so its absorbs well. Warm skin is more receptive to products and will you see the benefit of the oil quickly.

Replenish & Treat

Really increase your water intake. Cold outdoor air and hot radiators have a habit of depleting moisture from your skin so you need to replace it. Tea and coffees also have the same dehydrating effect. My trusted friend and fellow pro facialist Andy Millward loves H3O Hydration drinks from Rejuvenated. It’s a more effective way of drinking water as it contains minerals and nutrients that help the body absorb and retain water more efficiently. It’s also so tempting to come home after a long day and eat a plate full of comforting stodge in various shades of beige. Don’t! Whilst the odd pie won’t do any damage, it’s still important to eat a rainbow diet packed full of skin loving nutrients. This nourishes your skin from the inside to help you maintain the all important glow.

Naturally you spend more time indoors during the cold season, so it’s perfect timing to indulge in skin treatments like masks and at home facials. The sheet mask is one of the great trends of 2015 and they are great for infusing the skin with extra dose of hydration. There are so many to choose from and you can get them with all sorts – hyaluronic acid for deep hydration, niacinamide for brightening skin tone, retinol for smoothing and plumping the skin. Look out for a more in-depth post on sheet masks coming soon.

Winter’s drab as it is already, no point letting your skin go the same way. Remember that as you swap your clothing wardrobe around, then you need you to do the same for your skincare cabinet.

Multi-Masking, what is it?

This is a new name given to what is really a long established way of applying face masks, especially if you’re used to seeing a facialist.

Simply put, you apply different types of masks to match the concerns of different parts of your face. Very few people have ‘normal’ skin all over their face, so this is just a way of tailoring your skincare to get better results.

For example, you may have an oily T-Zone, so you would apply a deep cleansing clay face mask to that area; you may also have dry patches on your cheeks so you would apply a hydrating skin plumping mask; suffer from hyperpigmentation and sun damage on your chin and forehead so you apply a brightening exfoliating mask, so on and so forth.


Mix match masks from my fave French skincare brand, Caudalie.

Clearly, it’s also an exercise in spending, so if it’s not for you due to cost reasons invest in a mask that addresses the majority of your skins overall condition. A lot of brands now have mask wardrobes (another funky name for sets, lol!), so will encourage you to buy the entire collection. You can, but you could also have some fun shopping around and putting together your own mask wardrobe :-)


Beauty Find – Twelve Beauty Ultra Revitalising Elixir

Twelve Beauty ElixirOne of my favourite past times is to perambulate beauty shops and boutiques. I enjoy discovering new stores and products. Most of the time, I get products sent to me for work purposes, so it’s always refreshing and a bit of an eye opener when I actually go to stores, see products myself and experience them the way any beauty fan would.

Last month I celebrated my birthday by hanging out with my sister in Marylebone and we stumbled into Being Content, one of the foremost natural and organic beauty dens in the country. Whether or not you’re a fan of natural beauty products, it’s still worth a visit because they have so much to offer that would compliment any skincare regime. I promise you will not be disappointed. A visit there will only enhance your beauty life and admittedly your purse would feel a lot lighter too!

Anyway, waxing lyrical about Being Content is not the draw of this post. It’s more to tell you about Twelve Beauty Ultra Revitalising Elixir, £16 which is tonic you apply on to cleansed skin. It’s designed to calm and protect the skin so I apply after using an acid toner. Helps to bring own the fleeting sting I sometimes experience. I just decant onto my palm and press onto my skin, the same way cologne is applied.

Skin is left supple and hydrated so when you go on to apply a heavier product a layer of moisture is locked into your skin.  It’s full of otherworldly ingredients offering anti oxidant and soothing protection – White Genepi extract, Butterfly Bush lead extract, Imperatoria leaf extract and Mallow Flower extract. All work in synergy guarding the skin from environmental trauma. It’s also free from nasties and undesirables.

Granted it is another step in an already busy skincare routine, when most people are look at ways to streamline. However, if you’re an outdoorsy type, thinned skin, dry skin prone, suffer from skin sensitivies or perhaps work in an environment where the temperature fluctuates a lot between hot and cold air conditioning then you may want to consider making the investment. In my opinion it’s also a better spend than mineral water hydration sprays because this contains more beneficial ingredients for the skin.

It’s a very Far East concept to apply a tonic to your skin, remember how I raved about Shisheido Ibuki Skin Softener?  Like a lot of eastern skincare habits we adopt, there is always a good reason and this one serves a proper skin enhancing function.

Changes afoot

Phew! I’ve managed to find some interrupted time to dedicate to my skincare spaces on the world wide web today. I feel like I must say something about my sporadic posts of late. It’s not that there’s not a lot to say, the skincare world is always on the move so there’s always something new happening and I’ll always have my two pence to throw in.

Rather, it’s more the case that I’m working on a large project at the moment. In fact have been for the last two years, but it’s all coming to a head now, demanding more and more time to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Coupled with facials, consultations, freelance writing, family and the domestics of a busy household, the one thing that has suffered most is Dija’s World.

That said, I’m nearly there with this project and I’ll be back to talking about skincare again. Talking plenty. There’ll also be a few exciting changes happening on here as well, so until then thanks for bearing with me popping up randomly here and there.

Hope you’re having a fantastic summer and please keep applying sunscreen. It really is the best thing since sliced bread!

love & light x


A word about consistency


This situation crops up repeatedly. A client will tell me they’ve been using a new product but it doesn’t seem to have done anything for them. I normally then ask the usual questions – why did they start using it? how long have they been using it? how often? what time of day? in what format? to get a full picture. A lot of the time it turns out that usage has been great for a week or two, then become more sporadic as they get disillusioned with the lack of visible physical results. Before you know it, another pricey product has been discarded and sometimes negative feedback circling around about how ineffective the product/brand is.

Achieving healthy skin that is in the best condition it can be, is like anything else in life you are striving for, you have to be consistent. It’s simple but it’s true folks, a diligent and consistent attitude to caring for your skin is the only way that you will keep it in tip top condition. It’s also the only way that you will be able to keep a watchful eye over it, so you can spot minor changes before they become a big deal.

Whether it be a new product, a new regime, routine or a new treatment you have to stick at it to get your desired results. On average it takes about 21 to 28 days for new skin cells to come through to the surface, so loosely you have to give anything new you’re using or doing a month before you start to analyse performance. I normally advice five to six weeks before a first review as sometimes the results can take a lot longer. It doesn’t mean the product is not working, but over the counter preparations have lower levels of active ingredients, so naturally it will take a little longer to make a difference. A product prescribed by a dermatologist or GP will be of higher strength and work faster meaning you use for a shorter time frame. However, you still have to remain consistent!

It goes without saying that if a product or ingredient gives you a poor reaction straight away, even if you have used as instructed then clearly it’s not for you and you have to stop using immediately.

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.