If you were to ask me what is the most common question I get asked as a Makeup Artist, it would be very easy for me to answer without hesitation.
“How to can I hide my dark eyes?”
Unfortunately with dark eyes it can be hereditary, it can be your ethnicity (darker skin tones can often have patches of discolouration in the skin) and it can also just be lifestyle stressors such as poor diet and tiredness. In the same way this can also induce puffy eyes.
There are products and makeup tricks that can improve the appearance of your skin, brighten up your eyes and neutralise discolouration… and here are my top recommendations.
BeautyBio Science - Bright Eyes Illuminating Colloidal Silver and Collagen Eye Patches (15 pairs)
I love the Bright Eyes eye patches by BeautyBio. They are a calming way to refresh tired eyes and contain a healing complex of aloe, natural collagen, illuminating pearls and colloidal silver which really brightens up the target area. I like to keep mine in the fridge for a nice cooling effect. This will revitalise your eyes and help to reduce the puffiness. These eye patches can also be used in various places around the face to as well as under the eyes to target crows feet and the fine lines between your nose and mouth (as shown in the video).
Emulsion Eye Cream with Revital Eyes
Avoid using heavy face creams underneath your eyes. The skin is very thin underneath your eye and heavy creams can retain under the eye causing puffy eyes. Eye creams/serums are created specifically to target that delicate area and are formulated with ingredients to brighten, hydrate and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Treat this area with care by applying your cream/serum delicately with your ring finger. If you are looking for a new eye cream to add to your routine, try Emulsion Eye Cream. Rich in firming and nourishing ingredients such as pomegranate, green tea and caffeine which tones and rejuvenates the eye area.
Available from emulsion.co.uk, - £22.00
Lets talk foundations and concealers…
My top tip - do not apply foundation underneath your eyes! Again, as the skin is very thin here products should be used sparingly, particularly with maturing skin. Foundations can be heavy in consistency and the aim is brighten underneath the eyes which we can do using specific under eye concealers. So apply your base (whether its a BB cream, foundation, tinted moisturiser etc) and leave a space under your eyes. Then apply under eye concealer under the eyes and blend between the concealer and foundation. Under eye concealer has light reflecting particles to illuminate the skin. I would recommend 1 shade lighter than your foundation to get a natural brightening effect.
Illamasqua Skin Base Concealer Pen
This pen is really easy to apply and the metal tip provides a cooling effect (which helps to minimise puffiness). As well as providing an amazing full coverage finish it also contains Vitamin E and pro-vitamin B5 - which improves the moisture in the target area as well as fighting free radicals (including the ones that come from UV light). This slimline pen is great addition to your makeup bag.
Available from illamasqua.com - £22.00
While we are talking about concealers, do not get confused with using a blemish concealer for underneath your eyes…
Blemish concealers are amazing for covering spots and mild discolouration in the skin but blemish concealers tend to be a thicker consistency than a watery under eye concealer. They are thicker as they are buildable (to cover those stubborn spots and breakouts). So using this type of concealer underneath your eyes will be far too thick and disastrous if your skin is maturing. You will age yourself by 20 years just by using the wrong concealer product.
So remember, most under eye concealers will be labelled as such and blemish concealers are likely to be in pots, tubs or palettes.
Too Faced Peach Perfect Instant Coverage Concealer
Finding a good concealer is something I have struggled with as much as finding a mascara I absolutely love however this is a really concealer feels really lightweight on the skin. It is buildable though - perfect for covering those stubborn blemishes. The extra bonus to this product is that it is a long-wearing product making it perfect for special occasions and especially brides. It is crease-proof (up to 12 hours) and waterproof which is fabulous and it has a really pleasant fragrance due to being infused with a peach scent and extract. A great size for your handbag too if needed.
For those of you who have discolouration in your skin (such as people who suffer with rosacea can have redness in the skin, or some darker skin tones or maturing skin can become quite blue/purple underneath the eyes) you would need to colour-correct the skin the skin prior to using an under eye concealer or foundation. If your skin is particularly discoloured and you do not neutralise the skin colour first before applying a base/eye brightener, it can result in grey, sallow looking skin.
Colour correction is a big topic all of its own which I will cover separately very soon but the transformation in brightening up the complexion (just by neutralising the colour) can be a significant game changer. I see this so often with my clients and advising clients via my makeup 1:1 tutorial sessions.
Using an eye brightener pencil in the waterline of your eye can cheat the way to refreshing tired looking eyes. A good quality waterproof pencil is always advisable and there are so many pencils on the market that advertise themselves as waterproof but the application doesn’t last…
Charlotte Tilbury Rock ’n’ Kohl Eye Cheat pencil
My absolute favourite to date is Charlotte Tilbury “Rock n Kohl Eye Cheat”. It’s a flattering nude brightener which dramatically improves the appearance of tired eyes and it really does stay put.
Available from charlottetilbury.com - £19.00
Last top tip and this is ENTIRELY FREE! Thats right, FREE! Drink lots of water. We all have access to water and the benefits on both health and appearance are huge! If someone told you there was a magic elixir that would make your eyes sparkle, reduce puffiness in the eyes, improve the appearance of the cellulite, assist with weight loss and make you feel more mentally alert you would probably buy it, wouldn’t you? Thats what water does for you… as well as many other benefits. If you have been eating poorly, it can cause eye bags (salt, excessive caffeine) and water is really going to help push out the toxins in your skin, clear your complexion and you will see results as early as 24 hours after… so add those 8 glasses to your well-being routine.
To see the visible results of my top tips, check out my video explaining each of these recommendations in detail. As always during lockdown, let’s just skirt past the bad roots and the unique quarantine hairstyling. We are all in this together, hey?
Lock down has certainly screwed up our beauty maintenance appointments and we are becoming increasingly desperate for a little professional pamper time.
Our roots are way past the point of disguising as “balayage”, our lash extensions are now bald, stumpy and sticking in all directions and let's not even mention the waxing situation. Thank goodness it’s all temporary - and there are so many amazing products on market for doing our own beauty care at home while we are are in lockdown. Check out my “DIY Home Spa Ideas” article for some inspiration and product recommendations.
Meanwhile, let’s address our dry hands and chipped nails… for those of you who enjoy regular manicures I can imagine how sad you feel looking down at your neglected hands. Especially with all of the extra hand washing we are doing right now - our hands are really needing some extra TLC. Luckily, it doesn’t take much to give them a little spruce up at home.
Here are my top tips to “nail” your quarantine manicure.
Firstly, remove any old nail varnish (ok, I know this seems obvious but just saying…) and trim your nails using clippers if required. Then gently shape with a nail file to your desired shape.
£1.99 for a pack of 2
Place your hands in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to soften the cuticles. You can even add your favourite oil, gentle cleanser or shampoo. Do not soak longer than a few minutes - over-soaking can cause damage when pushing back the cuticles.
Using an orange stick (cuticle stick), very gently push the cuticles back from the nail. Be very careful not to lift, rip or force the skin.
£0.99 for a pack of 10
Let’s get some moisture back in the skin. Next apply some nail oil to the cuticles. For those of you who have gotten to know me through social media and my British Bride beauty section, you will already be aware I am a huge fan of a multi use product. Multi-use products fill my eyes with big heart emojis as they save pennies, time AND space… and I am a fan of the Hair, Skin and Nail Oil by SuperfoodLX. Made from 100% plant oils and vitamin E, this oil can be used on the skin to help reduce acne breakouts and the appearance of fine lines, promote hair growth and nourish nails. I used a small drop on each cuticle, gently rub it in and allow to dry.
SuperfoodLx Hair, Skin and Nail Oil
Our hands are one of the first places we show signs of ageing so get yourself in to a positive habit of keeping your hands moisturised with a nice hand cream. I absolutely love the Sencha Verbena hand cream from MOR’s Correspondence collection. While some hand creams take a while to soak in and can often leave hands feeling greasy, this cream soaks in quickly and the super nourishing ingredients of argan and coconut oils means skin feels plump and hydrated and fyi - it smells amazing. There are different scents to choose from in the range but this one smells delicious thanks to the lemongrass, clementine and Verbena Leaf ingredients, amongst others. For those who are a fan of pretty product packaging you will love parchment paper and ink branding.
MOR Correspondence hand cream
Once your hands are completely dry, why not fake your own salon-perfect talons with some falsies? I know the idea of false nails can be terrifying. I have tried so many over the years. Being a Makeup Artist, I keep my own nails short for work but always enjoy a little length on my nails during my down time and holidays, so after a few disastrous attempts and losing a few nails in my prosecco and handbag while I have been digging round for my purse I have been left with a bit of a fear of the falsie. However, KISS have a collection of press-on nails and they are a game-changer for me. I was a bit scared at the prospect of not using glue with the nails but they do have a peel off adhesive on the nail and they do not budge! They have a natural tapered shape and come in several sizes to fit and 15 different designs including a selection of high quality jewels and special effect nails, if you wanted to get creative in your application. One of my clients even told me she applied a full set of imPRESS nails in the back of a car on her journey to a special event once! They are very easy to use but most importantly, they are very secure once applied and look fabulous.
If you are looking for additional help with strengthening your nails you could also consider taking a supplement and using a nail treatment.
A healthy diet will always improve our skin, hair and nails as well as our health but supplements can fill the gaps. The Hair, Skin and Nail Complex supplement by Beautifully Nourished contains nutrients such as MSM, Marine Collagen and Silica which all work together to help with skin elasticity and hydration. Silica is particularly good for strengthening and firming nails. There are lots of benefits from both a beauty and wellbeing perspective when choosing a supplement.
Hair, Skin and Nail Complex Supplements
£20.00 for 60 tablets (2 recommended daily for best results)
Nails can be damaged due to trauma, poor diet, poor care or environmental stressors. There are treatments available to help repair nails for healthier hands and I am loving Xérial 40 Nail Care. This nourishing gel made from Salicylic Acid forms a protective barrier on the nail protecting from the elements and helps to prevent splitting and breakage. Visible results can be seen (as long as correct guidance is followed).
Xérial 40 Nail Care Treatment
www.uk.labo-svr.com www.lookfantastic.com, www.feelunique.com and www.beautyexpert.com
£15.00 for 10ml
Spring is definitely in full bloom… the sky is blue, the birds are singing, the smell of freshly cut lawns fill the air and daffodils are smiling at us as we pass.
It is such a special time - we usually take the opportunity for a spring clean, the evenings are light meaning we know that summer is following behind. We just feel better in Spring - but even more so right now, everything feels so much more vibrant during lockdown. Nature sounds louder, trees look greener and flowers look brighter and bolder than ever before and this has really inspired me to pick my favourite lip colours inspired by the most vivid spring in years!
Even if you don’t have the time to apply a full face application when it comes to makeup, adding a pop of colour on your lip can lift your face and your mood. It’s amazing how wearing a bold colour can send your confidence rocketing sky high. When you think of a red lip, you think powerful, sexy and statement. The same can be said for a fun fuscia, a delicious coral, a playful orange…
A natural look finished with a bold lip can look amazing - you can match your colour to your dress or accessories or even colour-clash for an experimental look. There is no better time to have some fun, try something new and embrace your inner diva.
Here are my top picks of lip products and palettes;
Illamasqua - Antimatter Lipstick in “Glow” - £20.00
Beautiful coral toned and creamy in texture. This lipstick is long wearing so ideal for special occasions without needing to top up regularly. Semi-matte finish, highly-pigmented and the perfect spring makeup companion.
Available from www.illamasqua.com
MAC Cosmetics - Lipstick in “All Fired Up” - £17.50
If you are wanting to make a statement, this is the perfect shade for you. A vivid fuscia with a matte finish. Bold colours can be high maintenance so perfect your outline, fill the colour, blot and repeat for a fabulous application. This lipstick is long-wearing.
Available from www.maccosmetics.co.uk
Dear Dahlia - “Paradise Aurora” Shine Lip Treatment in Bronze Sky - £25.00
Product junkies will love this gorgeous little gem. The beautiful marbled packaging and the dinky size is perfect for a purse or small bag. This high-shine gloss is ideal for those who want a fresh spring look - and the plant-based ingredients are super hydrating so it nourishes your lips as well as looking fabulous. A new favourite for sure.
Available from www.feelunique.com
Urban Decay - Matte Vice Lipstick in “Afterdark” - £18.00
If you are looking for a bold colour with more of a pink/plum tone then this is a great option. The colour is intense and has a creamy but matte finish. It contains conditioning and hydrating ingredients including vitamin C and E.
Available from www.urbandecay.co.uk
Charlotte Tilbury - Hot Lips Lipstick in “Tell Laura” - £25.00
This matte lipstick is a warm red with a fabulous orange undertone. As an avid fan of the Charlotte Tilbury brand, she has yet to disappoint. This lipstick has light diffusing pigments so has a multi dimensional finish and would be beautiful accompanied by a golden/bronze skin tone.
Available from www.charlottetilbury.com
Diego Dalla Palma - Lip Palette in “L’Art De Triomphe” - £29.00
Another goody for the product junkies out there. The black and white stripe packaging is very chic but the goodness certainly doesn’t stop there. This palette contains 4 stunning colours perfect for spring and summer (probably autumn and winter too just for the gorgeous nudes in there). With a range of textures and tones, this is a great palette that will see you through spring and onwards.
Available from www.lookfantastic.com
Dior - Lip Palette in “Backstage” - £39.00
A palette of 9 shades which range from glossy, satin and buildable matte finish. They can be mixed and matched to switch up tones and intensity and there is something in here to suit every skin tone.
Available from www.dior.com
NARS - Audacious Lip Palette in “Wild Thoughts” - £35.00
I simply love this palette of pretty pink shades, from light pink through to berry and plum shades. These lip colours are richly pigmented and can even be mixed and layered to create your own personalised shade. Creamy in texture and other palettes are available in different shades.
Available from www.narscosmetics.co.uk
NYX Cosmetics - Whipped Wonderland Soft Matte Metallic Lip Cream Set - £30.00
And the award for the longest product name goes to…
Don’t let that put you off though. This set of 12 mid-sized lippies is great value and boasts a great range of colours with a matte metallic finish. Ranging from bright pinks, orange and corals to deeper reds and purple undertones (plus a couple of bonus colours that aren’t really every day wear but you could have some fun with them). For the price tag, this is a great selection and nice quality too.
Available from www.nyxcosmetics.co.uk
Have you noticed changes in your skin since lock down? Getting more breakouts? Is your skin feeling drier?
A combination of stress, poor diet and being indoors might be playing havoc with your skin so if you don't already have a skincare routine, now is the time to get one...
Skin can react to any number of changes from what we eat, how we treat our skin and environmental factors amongst many other things and a good skincare routine is one of the most basic steps of good self care. After all, we only get one skin... and it is the first physical sign of aging so treat it well as early as you can and it will pay off as you get older. That said, it is never too late to get product-savvy. I am always amazed by the number of people I speak to that only wash their face with soap and water and don't even own a moisturiser!
The key initially is determine your skin type and then match your products accordingly. Whether you are dry, oily, normal, combination, mature, sensitive... there are plenty of amazing products to help combat your skin issues. For example, if you have dry skin, you might want to use a hydration serum underneath your moisturiser and use a rich facial oil on an evening to hydrate your skin as you sleep.
Skincare is a huge topic to cover on a "generally-speaking" basis so I will chat more on different skin types and recommendations in specific posts but for now I would like to introduce you to a fabulous range of natural skincare that I discovered recently.
Pamoja is a cruelty-free, palm oil-free and vegan friendly range of delicious skin care. Owner Sarah is a certified skin formulator, having trained with an award winning and accredited school or organic cosmetic science. Using high quality natural ingredients she formulated an effective solution to combating her own skin sensitivities which she had struggled with for years. Pamoja has been recognised at the Beauty Shortlist Awards 2020 with some of her products receiving Commended and Editor Choice awards.
I have been using the Reset, Restore and Revive range. The Reset Cleansing Balm is literally the best cleanser I have tried as yet (and I try a lot!). With a small amount of balm which melts in to an oil in your palm, it gently removes any dirt and makeup from your face and Sarah recommends using this product while massaging your face to get maximum results. The fragrance is heaven! Just like the gorgeous smell that hits you when you walk in to an expensive spa...
Ingredients include Moringa oil, organic Safflower oil and organic Sacha Inchi oil which is rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9, Mango and Murumuru butter. Lots of gorgeous essential oils in there too including Chamomile and Lavender to give you an amazing feeling of wellbeing. This balm feels so gentle around the eyes too and removed every bit of eye makeup without any subsequent irritation. £25.00
The Restore Multi-Purpose Beauty Oil feels very light on the skin and soaks in really quickly. The oil is nutrient rich in Omega 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 essential fatty acids, minerals, anti-oxidant vitamin E and vitamin A with natural retinol. This oil is a super addition to your skin care routine and some of the other ingredients (including Sea Buckthorn, Pomegranate and Blackcurrant C02) help to increase resistance against environmental factors which can impact your skin. Scented with some deliciously fragrant essential oils such as Bergamot, Red Mandarin and Geranium Bourbon. It is a multi-use oil so can be used to massage in to nails, hair and any dry patches on your body that need a little TLC. Just a few drops a day and you can expect this bottle to go a long way. £36.00
The Revive Multi-Action Face Cream is a light, soufflé consistency that hydrates the skin instantly and leaves it glowing and bright! This cream provides protection from pollution induced skin damage and environmental stress. I really love how this moisturiser feels on my skin. Plumper and healthy. It contains gorgeous ingredients, just like the other products, including Red Raspberry seed oil, Arctic Blackcurrant CO2 and Hyaluronic Acid and Ylang Ylang essential oil. £45.00
All of these products are suitable for all skin types especially sensitive and allergy-prone skin. I have listed the prices based if bought on an individual basis but you can buy these 3 products as a package for £90. Pamoja offer 10% off the first order, free delivery and a free sample.
Available from www.pamojaskincare.com
Grab yourself a glass of something fizzy, pop on your robe and let's have a spa day...
With the doors closed on salons and spas across the globe, the prospect of missing out on our much loved beauty treatments and spa days is disappointing. There is a lot to be said for how beautifying can genuinely lift our mental health and boost our confidence and now it feels more of a luxury than ever before. For those of us who are now effectively "unemployed" during Covid19, the days can feel really tough. The mental whirlwind of feeling frustrated, emotionally drained and stressed with financial worries, caring for loved ones and keeping everyone safe can make even brushing your teeth before midday a task. Then on the flip of the coin, we have our amazing key workers going out every day, risking their own health and that of their families at home. Pampering is likely to be low on the list of their priorities. The need for self-care has never been more important than right now.
The need to feel human, normal and even a bit special! We shouldn't feel guilty for wanting some pamper time and if anything, we should allow a little me-time to keep our spirits and confidence up through this crisis.
So you might not be able to go out for your beauty treatments but I can certainly bring them to you. So, here is my round-up of my top products for the ultimate DIY home spa during quarantine.
BEAUTY LAUNDERETTE - Deluxe Bath Soak. Perfect for all skin types, dermatologist approved plus vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. The floral complex of Hibiscus and Cherry Blossom fragrance will make you feel like you are floating in a country garden amongst the flowers. It smells delicious.
£12.00 - available from www.beautylaunderette.com and Superdrug
BEAUTY LAUNDERETTE - Buff, Bubble and Shine exfoliate and wash sponge. Use the sponge side to massage and cleanse your skin and the other side to buff away your blues (and dead skin cells). This will leave your skin feeling brand new. £4.50 - available from www.beautylaunderette.com and Superdrug
AFRICAN EXTRACTS ROOIBOS - Exfoliating Face Scrub with Bio-Active Rooibos. Get the glow back in your face with this award-winning gentle face scrub. This refreshing foaming cleanser gently removes impurities from your skin and ingredients include Vitamin B5, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and bio-active rooibos. The rooibos plant is known for its healing and soothing properties and it also contains ground apricot seeds which remove the dry, layers of aged skin through light massage motion, it has a light, fresh fragrance and is suitable for sensitive skin. £7.99 - available from www.africanextracts.co.uk
MASQUEBAR - Gold Hydro Gel Eye Mask. Are your eyes are feeling fatigued? These 20 minute eye patches are perfect for giving eyes some TLC during a nice bubble bath or a nap on the sofa. The hydrolized collagen and coconut extract help to improve skin elasticity and it will hydrate the skin back to life. Any remaining essence from the patches can be rubbed into your skin. £3.00 - available from www.prettylittlething.com
OLVERUM - The Body Oil. I have previously tried the bath oil and it was incredible. Not the cheapest option for a fragrant bath, but the scent was just divine and turned bath time into a real treat so I was super excited to try the body oil. If you’re missing the smell of your favourite spa you’ll definitely get your kicks from this product. Although this is an oil, it soaks straight in to skin without leaving a greasy residue. Its ingredients are deeply nourishing and is infused with skin superfoods and anti-oxidants including Omega 3,6 and 9 and raspberry seed oil. The delicious mix of aromatherapeutic oils include lavender flower oil (to de-stress), sandalwood and frankincense oil (to soothe) and bergamot and geranium flower oil (to reinvigorate). £40.00 for 100ml - available from www.olverum.com
TINTS OF NATURE - Hydrate Treatment. If your hair is feeling lack-lustre and dry then give this hydrating hair mask a try. Packed with natural ingredients such as almond oil, chamomile and wheat proteins, they will restore your hair back to a glossy mane like Beyoncé. Vegan friendly and cruelty free. £9.99 - available from www.tintsofnature.com
AQUIS - Hair Turban Lisse Luxe Teal. Ok, I'll admit it... I did look at this and wonder why I would pay £30 for a hair turban when I have managed all this time just wrapping my hair in a towel when I get out of the shower. However, this is not a towel - it has real benefits when it comes to looking after your tresses. Firstly, it feels super soft, I mean seriously soft. Also, the fabric is crafted using Aquitex which absorbs the water from your hair, drying it quicker without the risk of damage from rubbing, heat or friction. There are various types of hair towels/turbans in the range and they have become very popular with those who are prone to frizzy hair (it helps to maintain curl definition due to its anti-frizz effect). If you are conscious of using environmentally-friendly products then this ticks all of the boxes. £30.00 - available from www.lookfantastic.com
BIO MIRACLE SKIN THERAPY - Fusion Berry Blast Juice Natural Mask. If you are looking for a skin pick-me-up then this cotton sheet mask is a 20 minute fix for achieving a glowing complexion. This mask is drenched with essence and the blueberries, red wine and egg plant combination was surprisingly dreamy on the fragrance front. The mask ingredients contain plant stem cells, collagen and vitamin E to moisturise and firm the skin and Hyaluronic Acid to help improve the appearance of skin - to look more youthful. Bargain price too! £3.00 - available from www.beautybargainsuk.com
WOODS OF WINDSOR - Lavender Nourishing Hand Cream. Hand cream is definitely high on the lock-down beauty priority list with all of the handwashing we are doing at the moment. With a mixture of shea butter, vitamin E and B5, your hands will be feeling super soft and moisturised and the light lavender fragrance is very soothing (the classic lavender fragrance combines aromatic notes of chamomile, patchouli and musk). As hands are one of the first places signs of aging show, a hand cream is a must-have product to use always, not just during lock down. £9.99 - available from www.woodsofwindsor.co.uk or instore at Daniel's of Windsor Department Store.
ANGELA LANGFORD - Angel Eyes Nourishing Eye Oil. If you are looking for an eye product to add to your skincare regime then this delicious eye oil with a roller ball applicator is a great addition. Argan, rosehip and cooling cucumber are blended together to soothe and smooth the delicate skin around your eyes. This oil is filled to the brim with hydrating and nourishing ingredients to help reduce dark circles under the eyes and skin pigmentations. The fragrance is glorious and very calming. £19.50 - available from www.angelalangford.com
SENSICA - Sensifirm Body Contouring and Cellulite Reduction device. With our honeymoons and trips away being cancelled or postponed a few of us are breathing a sigh of relief that we won't have to squeeze ourselves into a bikini this summer but our British weather so far has come up trumps in the sunny stakes, so that's not to say we won't still have to get more skin out than usual. Dig out those hot pants girls... the garden is the new holiday destination! I was so excited to give the Sensifirm a try. So many women have cellulite and it can be tough to combat given that it can be related to genes, age, diet and hormones. The Sensifirm device is painless and non-invasive and actually very easy to use. When I was getting ready to try this, I imagined a contraction similar to those toning pads strapped to my abs that send you through the roof every time it emits an electronic pulse. If you tried them, I know you understand and you are probably laughing with me. The Sensifirm was gentle on the various settings and can really make a difference to the appearance of your skin in just 10 minutes of use every week. It has been clinically proven to firm and tighten skin and is suitable for all skin types and complexions. It's compact too so does not require a lot of storage space. This is a really cute and effective home-spa gadget. £299.99 (currently on special offer £229.99) - available at www.sensica.com
So there we have it... everything you need to enjoy your own home spa during lockdown. But don’t forget, this time will pass and we will all be able to go back to our favourite salons, spas and support our local businesses again and you will still have a bathroom cabinet stashed with your own goodies for in between your appointments and spa days.
Choosing your favourite signature scent is a very personal journey. We start this process while we are young, heading out to the shops with our friends on a weekend, squirting endless body sprays in to the air and quickly catching an air-sniff before being caught by the sales assistant. At which point we would decide on the chosen scent to spend our hard earned pocked money on and that would become our signature scent until our next pocket money pay day. My favourite was 02 by Impulse, I think that was my go-to all through secondary school until I got my first part time job, at which point I upgraded to Versace Red Jeans (I liked the fragrance but more than that, the Versace label and the fabulous tin packaging is what sold it to me). At 16 years old, that fancy perfume packaging with a designer label on my vanity table was my first taste of luxury.
Sampling new scents can be quite a tricky experience, especially if you are working your way through the various counters in a department store. Even when the fragrance is sprayed on to an individual tester card, suddenly all samples smell like they have merged into one fragrance so it becomes an impossible task to define each scent. The best tip when sampling multiple options is to spray each one on to a tester card then leave the shop. Go outside to allow your nose to reset and allow the tester cards to settle (in separate pockets or compartments of your bag). Then as the day goes on, go back to the tester cards and check them as they evolve. If you decide on a favourite fragrance I would recommend going back to the shop and testing it on your skin. Spritz it on your neck and wrists and let it settle. Quite often a fragrance can smell a little different on your skin than it does straight from the bottle so it is wise to allow it settle on your skin for 30 minutes to make sure it compliments your natural scent.
Another top tip for all brides-to-be when it comes to bridal fragrance is for the full bridal party to wear the same fragrance as the bride. This would enhance the bride's chosen special fragrance for her big day, especially as she walks down the aisle with her party. It is a very beautiful touch and the perfect way to fragrance a wedding. More helpful tips on how to scent your wedding are available here.
One of my current favourite fragrances right now is Ted Baker Esmila Ets. '88. For me, the Ted Baker brand is a personal favourite of mine and as a product junkie, the pink and gold packaging definitely has that luxury feel and beautifully feminine vibe. The unique scent has notes of mandarin, petitgrain and cardamom. Other base notes include lily, rose, neroli, soft woods and amber. I think this is a perfect bridal scent and would make a beautiful gift for a bride or her bridesmaids.
30ml perfume - £30 available from www.tedbaker.com, Fragrance Direct and The Perfume Shop
There are not many things that we are able to control during quarantine but keeping our brows looking fabulous is definitely something we can do...
When it comes to creating the perfect brow, Benefit Cosmetics have been leading the way for decades. They offer a huge range of brow products whether you want a defined natural brow, a textured brow or a full on Instagram brow, as well as the tools to tidy them. From gels, pencils and powders there are so many different products to create your wow brow and it can be difficult to know where to start. However, choosing your product can be determined by the brow result you want to achieve.
Previously in British Bride magazine, I shared my love for the Benefit Cosmetics "Precisely, My Brow" eyebrow pencil which is great for creating natural hair strokes. However there is a new brow product on the block and its a goodie!
You can now sculpt and define your own brows like a pro with the Benefit Brow Zings Pro Palette. This slim handbag size palette is perfect for brows-on-the-go and contains 4 long-wearing brow powders to fill in the brows and 3 waxes (2 highly pigmented and 1 clear) to define and sculpt the brow. There is also a dual-ended brush and a blending spoolie to help create the shape and precision of the brow. The palette is available in 2 shades - light to medium and medium to deep. I love this palette because it's really useful having the wax in there too, especially if you have unruly brows and need to give them a quick spruce up on the run. PS - plus if you're really stuck for space in your handbag and need to glam up your look in a hurry, you can use the brow powder to create a super quick smoky eye... win win! You're welcome.
Available from www.benefitcosmetics.com for £33.50
So we are another week in to lockdown and I have been spending it testing lots of new beauty products. I found myself focussing on creating some gorgeous fresh, spring skin and using 3 products in particular I now have a go-to complexion look that I absolutely love! Using a nourishing moisturising oil and mineral makeup, this base feels so light so I don't even feel like I am wearing makeup, which is perfect for a minimal makeup wearer like myself. With most products, I like to try them out several times to feel confident in recommending these to my clients and readers and I have worn this base 3 days in a row - just because it has really freshened up my complexion and made me feel so much better whilst working from home.
You can see how I used these products in this short video. If you could just skirt past the fact my roots are desperately in need of some TLC - I feel better knowing I am not alone in styling out the quarantine chic.
Douvall's Organic Argan Oil Moisturiser - £25.00 for 50ml - www.douvalls.com
Douvall's cold pressed multi-tasking 100% pure eco-certified organic oil is non-greasy, super nourishing and age-defying, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with regular use thanks to the Vitamin E, essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants. This can also be used to moisturise the body, dropped in the bath for some skin TLC, nourish cuticles to strengthen nails and applied as a hair treatment for dried/split ends.
PUR 4 in 1 Mineral Tinted Moisturiser - £25.00 available from www.purcosmetics.co.uk
PUR 4 In 1 Mineral Tinted Moisturizer SPF20 is an all-purpose skin hydrator, primer, light coverage foundation and SPF protection for all skin types. I used this product as my base as I like a natural, dewy look but if you prefer a fuller coverage it can be used as a primer for a mineral foundation.
Dr Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint - £29.50 available from www.drhauschka.co.uk
Dr Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint can be mixed with your moisturiser for a subtle warmth or added over the top of your base in same way you would apply a powder or cream bronzer. It will soften the appearance of blemishes and imperfections and it blends beautifully.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, many of us are making some crucial lifestyle decision… do we over indulge while working from home because normality is out of the window or jump aboard the trend for online workouts? Do we go makeup free because we are not leaving the house or do we still make the effort to get dressed and do our hair and makeup simply because it makes it feel better? Do we stop our hair removal methods because nobody will see your hairy legs during lockdown or carry on with our grooming regime to avoid coming out of quarantine looking like a yeti?
It was the first time I had tried sugar wax of any type, having used traditional wax for twenty years on and off – instant wax strips at home and heated wax treatments in salons. I was curious to try sugar wax as I had heard it was less painful, and as I try to use as many cruelty-free products as possible, Sugar Coated was a good option.
The kit contains a small pot of sugar wax, 2 application sticks, a stirrer and 15 re-usable, washable cloth strips. I used about a third of the pot to wax my legs to the knee, so I presume you could get 2-3 treatments from this kit.
It was very easy to get started – just 40 seconds was enough to heat the sugar wax in the microwave. The product has a subtle but lovely smell – like toffee apple. As this was the first time using this product I was a little apprehensive about testing my first strip, but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to apply the wax. I struggled a little bit with how much product I should use and applying it at an equal consistency at first, but improved as I went on. Best of all, it was definitely less painful than using traditional wax. I am an experienced waxer and also appreciate that people have different pain thresholds, but I definitely found this the most pain free waxing method I have personally tried, especially on sensitive areas like round the ankle and the back of the knee.
Tip - I would recommend taking painkillers such as paracetamol about half an hour before waxing, as well as dusting the area to be waxed with talcum powder, as this helps.
The sugar wax took all the hair away, leaving behind only a few missed hairs each time and I often find that normal wax strips don’t grip all the hair first time and the skin can become sore if you repeat on the same area. I was able to deal with these quickly by reapplying a tiny bit of extra wax, and removing any leftover hairs, without damaging my skin.
The whole process, including washing the strips at the end, took only 35 minutes – and I think I would improve on time with practice if used regularly. I got a lovely, smooth and even result, with minimal pain and no mess.
My only suggestion for improvement is that I would like to see a sachet of balm included in the kit, to apply at the end. I had leftover balm from a previous waxing kit that I was able to apply, and I can see that soothing products are available to buy from Sugar Coated. It would be a really nice touch to add a small sachet of a suitable moisturiser to the kit for convenience. But other than that, a fabulous product and one I will definitely use again in future.
Sugar Coated sugar waxing formula is 100% recyclable and both the wax strips and applicators are recyclable and washable. On a final note, Sugar Coated are vegan friendly and cruelty-free and have donated 20 litres of sugar syrup to beekeepers in Northamptonshire since 2018 and the bees are using the sugar syrup as food during the winter months. Fab-bee-lous!
Sugar Coated is available from www.feelunique.com and www.sugarcoatedhairremoval.com from £9.99
And what a glorious day it is too! Today, I went for a local run as I have been doing routinely during lock down to prevent my waistline from growing and to keep my mental health in a positive place and I am extremely grateful during this time to live in the midst of the beautiful northern coast and countryside. Less than 5 minutes walk from my house takes me straight to the North Yorkshire Moors and although I always appreciate my surroundings, now more than ever everything looks, feels and smells even more amazing.
On today's run, the paths were empty, the sun was warm on my face and the smell of the greenery (is that the right word?) transported me back to a holiday in 1988, being sat on my dads shoulders, walking up the leafy road back towards the campsite we were staying on. A lovely memory and I love how smells can transport us back to a moment in time...
So to celebrate World Earth Day I wanted to share an amazing initiative led by beauty brand InStyler, who design state of the art electronic hair products. Shockingly, electronic waste is one of the fastest growing wastage sectors in the world, with an estimated 50 million tonnes of e-waste generated globally in 2019.
With more of us now needing to stay at home, there has been a decline in air pollution so choosing environmentally friendly products contributes to us all doing our bit and giving back to our beautiful planet.
InStyler tools use less heat than traditional tools and offer a range of hair styling solutions from smoothing, curling and travel products so they are planet-friendly and there is something for all of your needs.
InStyler have created an amazing recycling scheme that allows you to recycle your working and non-working hair tools for free, regardless of the brand and where you bought them from. Once your tools are received, InStyler will email you a 35% OFF coupon to use towards your next InStyler.co.uk tool purchase!
CERASILK Styling Iron £99.99
TURBO Ionic Hair Dryer £89.99
MAX PRIME Revolving Styler £89.99
If this wasn't enough of a fabulous incentive to do something good for the planet, InStyler are also offering you the discount code ELOVE which will give you 30% purchases made during April and May - with free shipping.
Available from https://www.instyler.co.uk
It is brilliant to see beauty brands doing their bit for the planet, not just on World Earth Day but every day. Together we can all make the ethical choices that will make our world a better place.