Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Do the twist

Currently taking the US by storm, new Twist-n-Roll Tweezers are the first easy-to-master alternative to facial threading that you can use at home. You simply hold onto the coil’s handles, bend them downwards to form a ‘U’ shape, place the top of the coil on the offending hair-ridden area and then twist the handles in an outwards motion. The process pulls out the unwanted hairs effectively at the root, doesn’t cause any redness and can even be used without a mirror. But yes, it does hurt a fair bit. Available for UK via Facialwork.com for $14.99 

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Lounge lover

I don't come across many luxury salons that are dedicated to nails alone, so Tillie's Nail Lounge in London's Little Venice is a real find. Owned by nail lover Tillie Fredericks and managed by nail pro Shreen Gayle who's worked for some of the industry's finest, the salon has only been open four months but is already a staunch for its loyal clientele. Inside, the French country-inspired d├ęcor provides a relaxing backdrop for its services with antique furniture, whitewashed floorboards and fresh lilies. The menu includes a variety of treatments including luxe manicures and pedicures as well as enhancements; I went for a Shellac Manicure which offers flawless nail colour that stays chip-free for two whole weeks. Best of all though, after you've finished, you can help your nails dry with a walk along the canal which boasts some of the capital's most beautiful waterside views. Bliss. 

Tillie's is open from Tues to sunday with late appointments on Tues, Weds and Thursdays. Prices start at £15 for a hand shape and paint. Tilliesnaillounge.com    

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Easy DIY nail art

If you want to try out creating some easy nail art, I can’t recommend US brand Precision’s stripers enough. They come in a range of rainbow colours and have an ultra thin brush so you can create neat shapes. I had a go at the stripes above (using OPI’s What’s With The Catitude? as a base and Precision’s Your Royal Highness for the lines). It took about five minutes to add the extra stripes, and while they’re not that neat, I’m sure after a second and third attempt I’ll get the hang of it! Try it for yourself: Parksideprecision.com 

Friday, 9 July 2010

Product news: Evo haircare

I've just received this box of super cute hair goodies by Aussie brand Evo. In the process of launching on our shores, its creator promises to have cut the usual product marketing bullshit to create a innovative haircare line that's fresh, edgy and actually works.  I love the quirky product descriptions and 'Poorganic' line. Look out for it cropping up in every cool consumer magazine and East End salon very soon - this is definitely a brand to watch.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Sunbeds: not as bad as you might think?

Just when you thought the sunbed industry had almost reached its demise after being blighted over the years by extremely bad press, it seems that basking under artificial UV rays (and sunbathing) might not be as bad as was once thought. 

To recap – Cancer Research UK and The Sunbed Association (TSA) have long been at loggerheads about the health benefits and dangers of sunbeds (the first has always been forthright in issuing warnings that overuse increases the danger of melanoma, while the latter has always stood its ground about the benefits of ‘sunshine nutrient’ Vitamin D).

Now however it looks as though the positive aspects of UV exposure have come to light for both parties following news that Cancer Research UK plans to change its advice from telling people to 'cover up completely' to 'wait several minutes in the sun before applying protective cream.'  

It’s been predicted that vitamin D deficiency costs the UK more then £27billion each year – while smoking costs £6billion - with an estimated six out of ten adults affected. TSA reckons that the sun in the UK isn’t strong enough to enable us to manufacture vitamin D sufficiently for seven months out of the year, and that “responsible sunbed use could be the answer.”

Meanwhile, Oliver Gillie of the Health Research Forum agrees has issued a new peer report that reads: “It’s very difficult for anyone living in the UK to get enough vitamin D from the sun to provide them with the optimum blood level that will last through the winter. To do so you may need to expose as much of your body as possible to the sun for at least 40 minutes six days a week, but, given the number of sunless days each summer, this is not possible.”

His advice is: “Start by sunbathing without suncream to get your vitamin D and when you’ve had enough it is best to put on some clothes and a hat or move into the shade.”

Personally, while I have always sunbathed with care, I stopped using sunbeds immediately after seeing the horrified face of a dermatologist I once met to discuss my skin. I was always led to believe that the body could generate enough vitamin D from British sunshine, even on a cloudy winter day. But with so many people thought to be deficient, it’s clear that this cannot be the case. It’ll be interesting to hear Cancer Research UK’s new sun care advice along with other expert recommendations.   

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

LCN Summer Hand Cream

This Summer Hand Cream from German hand and foot specialist LCN has become a favourite of mine for relieving crepey skin. It’s small enough to fit in a handbag and comes in two gorgeous berry scents, Pomegranate and Sallow Thorn or Goji Berry and Cranberry, that really evoke summer beach holidays. Unfortunately it doesn’t contain an SPF so it can’t be used alone outside in the hot weather; but for sitting at a desk for hours on end, it’s the ideal skin treat.  

£10.30 each available at salons at Bcidirect.com 

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Hot off the press treatment review: Lava Shells Thermal Facial

I was the first journalist on the scene today to try out the new Lava Shells Thermal Facial at Harrods' Urban Retreat.

For those of you who haven't heard of Lava Shells yet, they are a relatively new alternative to hot stones used for massage and are made from recycled clamshells filled with a self heating gel. I wont go into detail now, but they are very eco-friendly and have been met by high acclaim from the beauty industry; in fact they are already used in over 500 salons and spas across the UK which is quite a feat for a product that only launched 14 months ago.

So, having seen such a success with body massage, the company has now branched out into the skincare arena. The new facial is the creation of Alison Gibbs, the co-founder of the company that heads the brand in the UK. She has over 30 years' experience as a therapist, both here and in Indonesia, and has created a treatment that's been distinctively influenced by Asian therapies. The company decided to work with little known Brit brand Spa Find whose products draw on the powers of Dead Sea minerals. And the result is a facial that‘s relaxing and pampering as well as being results-driven.

The journey begins with a shoulder massage to calm the body, progressing onto a cleanse, tone and mask. The neck and shoulders are then stimulated using the warm shells - which are smaller than the body versions and made from porcelain and crushed seashells (you can even buy a set for yourself to take home). The therapist then moves onto lymphatic drainage techniques across the face to remove toxins and then uses the power of massage to lift the skin. Finally, the procedure finishes with a scalp massage that focuses on pressure points connected to the body's most vital organs. The skin is then wiped clean with hot towels, spritzed with toner and swathed with mineral-enriched moisturiser.

Its creator says the benefits of Dead Sea minerals on the skin are quite phenomenal: there are seven key minerals in all Spa Find products so the body can take what it needs to make it brighter and revitalised.

Immediately after the facial I felt completely lifted. I'd arrived at the treatment room feeling sluggish - but despite the procedure being almost sleep-inducing, I left feeling re-energised. My skin now looks a picture of heath; the dry and uneven patches around my nose are now smooth, while my skin has a notably new all-round glow. So much so, that I've decided to go make-up free for the rest of the day.

The facial will be available from August at selected spas nationwide. Contact Shared Beauty Secrets for your nearest venue at www.sharedbeautysecrets.com