31.3.16

Annoyingly Effective At Reducing Frizz: John Frieda's 10 Day Tamer Pre-Wash Treatment

Frizzy, wavy and unmanageable hair is unsurprisingly one of the top beauty concerns of women in the UK. How many mornings have you spent over the allocated time attempting to tame and style your mane, only to step out into the street and find the rainy British weather creates a frizz halo on the surface of your scalp? I've been battling the elements my entire life, thanks to the curly and frizzy hair I inherited; unfortunately my barnet isn't even the 'nice' kind of curly, preferring to look like I've been pulled through a hedge backwards when left to its own devices. I've perfected my routine over the years, but I'm still always on the look-out for anything that will help me to tame and manage my natural movement in order to create a sleeker look. John Frieda is a brand I have a lot of history with; I used to go through a bottle of their iconic Frizz Ease on an almost monthly basis, and spent my university years stocking up on Brilliant Brunette as if it was the secret to looking like Jennifer Aniston. However, over the last decade my tastes have evolved and my needs have expanded, leaving me turning my nose up at a brand I used to have a lot of love for. Although I'm always a little skeptical when it comes to anything that claims to either tame frizz or last for ten days, I decided to throw caution to the wind and give the new 10 Day Tamer Pre-Wash Treatment from Mr Frieda a try.


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30.3.16

Turn Your Skin Back On: Elemis’ Biotec Energising Skincare Gives An Energy Boost

A staggering 80% of women admit to feeling like they continually lack energy, which is only exacerbated by the ever growing number of tasks we face on a daily basis. If you’ve ever taken the time to notice how feeling tired impacts your skin, then you’ll know that the first place we start to see lethargy is on our face. Dullness, dehydration, texture change and lack of plumpness are usually the result, it taking a turbo boost of goodness and a ten hour sleep to get ourselves back on track. Skin is a living organ and inevitably responds to lifestyle factors and environmental pressures; free radical exposure impacts cell energy as it essentially damages the performance of cells and ‘slows’ them down. The ‘energy cells’ we have in the skin have far few energy pockets than those in other areas of the body, so we see the impact of these stresses sooner; that’s why a bad night’s sleep will appear on our face, rather than on our hands or legs, and it’s also why it takes lot longer to heal spots or rectify dehydration when we’re tired. 


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The 21st Century SkinCare Problem: Do You Actively Guard Against Pollution?

If you’re a resident of a big city, you may already be aware of the toll living amongst a cloud of pollution can take on your overall wellbeing (increased likelihood of picking up a cough, clogged pores, dry skin, those black bogeys when you blow your nose!) But even if you don’t live amongst the bright lights, you could be experiencing a huge number of skincare issues that have their roots in exhaust fumes. We all know the negative impact pollution has on the environment, but lesser known are the adverse effects on our skin: "Pollution can cause uneven skin tone, accelerated aging and even skin cancer,” says Doris Day, Professor of Dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Centre. Slapping on some SPF isn’t the only thing we need to be regularly doing if we want to maintain our healthy looking complexions for longer, as UV rays aren’t the only damaging environmental factors we’re exposed to on a daily basis.


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29.3.16

The Super Effective Cleanser From Niod That Doesn't Look, Feel Or Sound Like A Cleanser

To say I'm obsessed with cleansing is somewhat of an understatement. If there's one kind of product in no short supply within my bathroom cupboards, then it's a huge portfolio of cleansing oils, balms, foams and creams to help leave my skin looking and feeling refreshed. There's nothing worse than not removing your makeup effectively (read my post on the 'truth about sleeping in your makeup' if you want to know why,) so I'm always experimenting with more sensual and pleasurable ways to do so - but this new cleaning ester turns that on its head by making it a functional process yet again. By design, this cleanser doesn't look, feel or sound like a cleanser at all; you could be forgiven for mistaking it for some kind of paintbrush cleaning fluid, or something you're more likely to find in B&Q than Boots. Deciem just keep pulling it out of the bag with their groundbreaking innovations, and their Niod sub-brand has become something of a vocation for their founder Brandon. Almost never intended to see the light of day, the products are simplistic but provide a totally new way of thinking about skin - for even the most passionate and knowledgeable among us. This Low-Viscosity Cleaning Ester showcases that mindset not only because of the rather unappealing name, but because of a design that totally takes the unnecessary pleasure out of the cleansing process. 


I hope you're sitting comfortably, because we're about to get technical. This ground-breaking product provides a skin cleaning system that respects the dermal barriers of skin while regulating visible sebum production, cleaning the surface and removing all traces of makeup in a single step. It contains no cleansing plant oils, no detergents and no water, but instead uses isolated sugar and avocado esters to remove every trace of dirt and makeup - with or without water. What’s even better is that the technologies used within the formula will actually further act as delivery boosters for treatments applied after cleaning; put simply, this won’t only cleanse your skin more effectively than you’ve ever experienced before, but it will help to boost the performance of any night creams or treatments applied afterwards. 

So here's the lowdown on what this transparent liquid includes: the structure of Fatty Alcohol Ethylhexanoic Acid Ester is nearly identical to a vast array of emollients used in makeup and skincare, allowing the formula to breakdown these formulations by being so similar to them. Within seconds of application, this flexible ester is able to dissolve even the most complex forms of silicones, oils, pigments and other topical formulations. Additionally, Alcohol Lauric Acid Ester is able to breakdown even the most persistent forms of UV filters used in sun care products - meaning that all traces of SPF are instantly removed. Catalyzed Avocado Butyl Alcohol Ester helps to balance sebum production while removing traces of dirt, while Gallic Acid Ester helps to remove the last traces of the product itself after it’s bound to surface impurities. The result is an incredibly clean, refreshed and perfected complexion and balanced sebum production - whether you’re a sufferer or dry or oily skin. Wowzer.

As soon as I used this I knew it was totally different to anything I'd used before. It's not a balm, not an oil, not a cream and not even a lotion - it's a transparent water-like liquid that features no water whatsoever. You need only a squirt massaged into your skin to help lift away all traces of makeup (and I mean all traces of makeup) without stinging, feeling tight or overloading the skin. There's no need to pre-cleanse or even really double cleanse, as the ingredients are so blooming effective at delivering an effortless yet thorough result. You can even apply it to a cotton pad and apply with absolutely no water too, meaning ineffective face wipe cleanses when you're at a festival are a thing of the past... Hallelujah! Although this does remove the ritual of cleansing (and the rather nice textures and scents that often accompany it,) I simply can't deny how effective it is and doing the job it promises. If you like your beauty faff free, simple and to the point, then this is definitely one for you; if you like your beauty regime to be bursting with delightful scents and evocative textures, park that temporarily and experience this for yourself. It's worth it.

The Niod Low-Viscosity Cleaning Ester is available online, priced £30.00 for 240ml.

Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  
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Fast & Flawless: Five New Tanning Innovations That Will Leave You Feeling Like A Goddess In Minutes

At last, the days are getting longer and the sun seems to be making a regular appearance. My wardrobe is starting to transition from bursting with warm jumpers, to being filled with cotton dresses and little cover ups - and there's only so long the black opaques can hold on for. As a pasty pale Brit that has less colour than a freshly plucked soon-to-be roast chicken, I've spent years coating myself in brown stuff between the months of April and September. A little touch of tan has always given me the confidence I need to strut down the street with the wind blowing in my hair, but over the years I've become a little complacent and more accepting of my natural tone; although I love the idea of a tan, I've definitely become less likely to invest a significant amount of time in achieving it. (In all honesty I'd rather be taking a long hot bath, catching up on Netflix or sipping on a cup of tea.) Any product that promises a subtle glow with minimal fuss, and with the added bonus of drying super quickly, is definitely more likely to make me sit up and take notice. What's great about this time of year is the pure volume of innovation hitting stores; in an attempt to capitalise on our pale skinned insecurities, brands are launching lightweight, effective, delicately scented and moisturising tans that are easy as pie to apply. Here are five of my current faves, and the bottles I'm going to be relying on this summer. 


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28.3.16

Anti-Ageing Nail Varnish? Nails Inc NEW 'Powered By Collagen' Collection

Most of us are well versed in the importance of collagen within our skin; it's the one buzz word that imparts fear in women universally, as a lack of collagen often means those inevitable signs of ageing are rearing their heads. This essential part of our body's structure plays a key role in providing ‘scaffolding’ for cells, tissues and organs, but it also gives skin strength and durability; it's responsible for the smooth, plump appearance of young, healthy skin. As we age the production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid in the skin gradually decreases (at a rate of around 1.5% a year) which in turn causes dehydration and dullness which only adds to the signs of ageing. The skincare market has made billions around the idea that lotions and potions can help inject collagen into the skin, or help 'kick start' our skin into producing more of the cushiony stuff itself, but now the interest in collagen rich products is expanding beyond the traditional. We now don't think twice about drinking our collagen or applying it to our thighs, but rather unconventionally Nails Inc are launching their very own take on the concept via their 'Powered By Collagen' nail polish. Quite simply the collection aims to target the signs of ageing on our talons, which often gets completely overlooked. Just as our skin changes as we age, nails can also become brittle, discoloured, thinner and full of ridges over time; this five piece 'anti-ageing' nail collection aims to bring a new angle to your beauty regime, helping hands look even more fabulous no matter your age.


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24.3.16

Perfect Pores? Three Great Blurring & Skin Perfecting Products From Deciem

No longer is it enough just to wack on some foundation and a dusting of powder over the surface of skin; now if we want to achieve the ultimate definition of flawless, there's a whole new repertoire of products to introduce into our routines. From contouring and highlighting, blurring and pore refining, there now seems to be a million different ways to achieve a practically airbrushed finish at home. However, from my experience a lot of the products are a bit of a faff to use, leave an uncomfortable film on the skin, don't mix with makeup or simply don't last the whole day. If you like the idea of creating a uniformed finish that looks right out of the pages of the magazine, then these three little products could hold the secret; from the scientific geniuses over at Deciem, together they offer a portfolio of skin perfecting additions that are easy to use, effective and long-lasting. Deciem are known for pushing boundaries, challenging the norm, discovering new ingredients, revolutionizing our routines and creating concoctions that are inevitably copied throughout the beauty industry - and this trio is that idea encapsulated. These could be the secret to perfect pores...


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23.3.16

Ten Calorie Free Chocolately Treats To Give A Loved One This Easter

If aliens were to land on earth this coming bank holiday weekend, we'd be hard pressed to explain how we've turned a religious holiday into a celebration of chocolate. Easter may have its roots in spiritual stories, but the Twenty-First-Century has evolved the festivities into almost a worshiping at the alter of Cadbury's - whether you like it or not. If you're loathe to spend a small fortune on a foil-wrapped egg, know someone that's looking after their waistline, or simply aren't that into chocolate, there are a plethora of treats inspired by the sweet stuff that are guaranteed to put a smile on anyone's face for far longer than a packet of mini eggs. From chocolate box inspired bronzers and eyeshadow palettes, to body perfecting chocolate tinted thrills, here are ten absolutely calorie free ways to celebrate this weekend.


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22.3.16

NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint With SPF30 Protection: The One-Stop-Shop For Fab Skin

A handful of brands are sure to cause downright hysteria amongst the beauty world, and NARS is definitely one of them - if not the most hysteria inducing of them all. There's something about the sleek, simple and addictively soft black packs that just has women going a little bit weak at the knees, almost regardless of what's actually inside. Although I always aim to look at things objectively and test them as thoroughly as I'm able, the majority of the time I come to the same conclusion a month later as I had upon the very first use; with the launch of the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint however, the story was very different. Having loved the All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation they launched this time last year, I had high hopes for this lighter and brighter alternative. Not only is it oil-free, helps to blur imperfections and smooth the appearance of pores and fine lines, but it contains SPF30 to look after our skin simultaneously. (You know how much I'm an ambassador for daily SPF!) It seemed like the only product I was going to need to see me through the spring months, but the first few times I used it I was incredibly disappointed.


Although it initially applied like a dream, within a few hours my base had become patchy and in some areas (namely around my chin) it had worn away completely. I don't have particularly oily or greasy skin, nor do I normally have a problem with the longevity of base products, but I was actually getting negative comments from friends who were usually so complementary about my complexion! I was almost ready to throw in the towel and pass it off as another disappointing addition, until I decided to give it one last chance - without a moisturizer or primer. Oh my word, it was like a different product. Suddenly it transformed from being a slightly watery and temperamental base, into a perfecting treatment that really helped me to look fresh without overdoing the layers. From thinking it was a complete waste of money, now I'm seeing the power it can offer those of us wanting a comfortable and long-wearing velvety-matte texture all year round. The key to this product? You don't need to layer up too much underneath - particularly as it helps to maintain the skin’s natural moisture barrier, while working to control shine throughout the day.

Velvet Matte Skin Tint is infused with powerful optical effects designed to manipulate light, creating an immediate soft-focus effect that helps blur imperfections; it definitely helps to create an effortless glow without completely covering any kind of facial contour, leaving the wearer looking them still looking like them - just better. The addition of rose fruit extract helps to 'visibly tighten the appearance of pores' (although I can't really comment much on this as I'm lucky to have relatively small pores,) while vitamins C, E and broad spectrum SPF30 help provide antioxidant and environmental defense to keep our complexions looking fresher for longer. You need such a small amount to cover your entire face, using a buffing brush and a blender to ensure it's really worked into the surface of skin, before finishing with a very light dusting of powder to fix it in place. Although NARS base products can seem somewhat of a costly addition to any routine, what I do love is that the last for an absolute age as the pigments are so saturated - meaning you need half the amount compared to most other foundations. I love pretty much everything about this and have definitely been reaching for it more and more over the last couple of weeks, especially having decided it was the additional layers that were playing havoc with its performance. Moral or the story? Don't always settle for first impressions; change things up a bit, because you never know what may happen.

The NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint is available in 12 shades, priced £30.00

Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  
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21.3.16

Could Your Towel Be Causing More Hair Damage Than Your Straighteners? (You Need To Switch To Aquis Microfibre!)

You may be surprised to learn that the biggest cause of hair damage isn't the heat associated with blowdryers, curling tongs or straighteners - it's actually the often laborous task of towel-drying. Rubbing a rough towel against wet hair can not only cause excess frizz, but can also break hair and cause irreparable fundamental damage to the shaft. If you're drying your hair using a towel every time you wash your hair, then you could be doing more damage manually than your super-powered electrical tools are causing. I've been using Aquis microfibre towels for a number of years now, and the positive impact on the condition of my hair has been incredible. Considering I use a dryer and straightener almost daily, the condition of my hair is surprisingly good and often commented on when I visit the hairdresser; I attribute this wholeheartedly not only to my dedication to regular conditioning treatments, but to only ever using the soft and lightweight Aquis towels.


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20.3.16

Ten Minutes With: Dr Terry Loong, Integrative Cosmetic & Skin Doctor

Whether we like it or not, our complexions are continually being scrutinised; it’s no surprise there’s such an emotional relationship between a woman and her skin, with conditions such as chronic acne and rosacea being so closely linked to cases of depression. Dr Terry, a well-established Integrative Cosmetic Skin Doctor with over 12 years experience in the trade, says: “A woman’s skin is like her business card; it shows up in the world first.” She helps her patients understand their bodies, hormones and health to fully take charge of how they look, feel and age in the years to come. Having begun her career as a surgeon, specialising in general and plastic surgery, Dr Terry moved into non-surgical, aesthetic procedures in order to ‘put the twinkle back in her patients eyes and a confident step in their walk’. This is a woman who understands that it’s not just about what’s going on outside, but it’s about how we feel inside too. Dr Terry offers a range of advanced skin treatments and aesthetic procedures at her central London clinic - but she was kind enough to take ten minutes out of her busy schedule to tell us a little bit more about what makes her tick.


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19.3.16

Are These The Juicy Tubes Of 2016? Introducing NEW Lancome Juicy Shakers #BanTheBoring

Do you remember the original Juicy Tubes that we all went crazy for about ten years ago? I can recall a rather enthusiastic trip to Selfridges to get my hands on my very own, even though it pained me to spend a near fortune on a lipgloss when I was barely making rent every month. There was something a little bit mystical about those little tubes of sweet scented gloss, that inspired us to have a little bit more fun with our makeup than we may have been having already. A flurry of copycats inevitably followed, but the interesting thing for me was how they managed to turn a simple gloss into something altogether more exciting. Skip forward a decade and Lancome are (literally) shaking things up again with the launch of their new Juicy Shakers which, alongside their strapline of #BanTheBoring, aim to reinvigorate the lip category a little and encourage us once again to be playful with our lip products.


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18.3.16

British Beauty Blogger & Makeup Revolution Team Up: 'Fortune Favours The Brave' Palette

When you know how much time, effort and dedication goes into creating a humble eyeshadow palette, the end result takes on a whole new meaning. Jane Cunningham, aka British Beauty Blogger, has been working on a collaboration with blogger favourite Makeup Revolution since 2015 - but only now, when it was absolutely perfect and up to her own meticulous standards, is it ready to hit stores and help many thousands of women experiment with colour. I've known about this forthcoming collaboration for quite some time and have been absolutely sworn to secrecy, but I'm so pleased to see the end result is absolutely everything I imagined and more. 'Fortune Favours The Brave' is a thirty piece collection that has been created to offer "the most versatile, every-age, every-tone palette yet." There really is every colour for every need, occasion, level of expertise and experimentation, taking you from day to night with absolute ease; it's basically BritishBeautyBlogger.com personified!


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17.3.16

#LetsTalkAboutIt: Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Tummy Troubles

It’s often reported that 21st Century life has caused previously unknown conditions to become increasingly common. It seems working longer days, being constantly attached to technology and juggling multiple roles rapidly increases our overall stress levels - the result of which is detrimental to our health. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is one of those conditions that’s commonly associated with ‘modern life’, but it’s a misconception that it’s directly caused by stress; it isn’t, but stressful situations or moments can exasperate the symptoms and cause even more discomfort than normal. IBS affects between 10 to 15% of the population, making it one of the most common conditions of our times. Although it affects people of all ages, even children, IBS is known to impact twice as many women as men. The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but symptoms may result from a disturbance in the way the gut, brain and nervous system interact; the result of this is changes in bowel movements and the associated discomfort in the tummy area.


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16.3.16

The Big Sanctuary Face Wipe Amnesty (And Their New Foaming Micellar Water)

Although incredibly convenient, the simple face wipe has to be one of my most hated inventions ever. When they first hit stores they were perceived to be something of a revelation, giving women back precious moments and simplifying sometimes over complex skincare routines. I for one stocked up by the packet-load and spent many years using them to remove my makeup before bed... Until I realised they were causing more problems than they were solving. By their very nature, face wipes are saturated with all kinds of chemicals to keep them moist for a long period of time; ironically these can be incredibly drying and sometimes damaging to skin. Furthermore, a face wipe will only remove makeup and dirt that's visible on the surface, rather than helping to lift and clear the build-up that's sitting within the deeper layers of skin, waiting to potentially cause spots, irritation and blocked pores.


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15.3.16

Alexander McQueen Unveils Their New Fragrance (And It's £285 For The Pleasure!)

Designer fragrances are now so common that it's easy to forget that there are still brands yet to dabble their feet in the waters of scent. With the likes of Stella McCartney, Michael Kors and Burberry already translating their clothing collections into perfume so perfectly, I just made the assumption that there was a McQueen incarnation in existence. Twelve years after Lee McQueen debuted his menswear collection on the catwalk, those that have taken over the reins of his brand have been able to finally interpret the elements of its very core and create a scent that perfectly encapsulates them. The moody and exquisitely crafted bottle hides a rich, sensual and timeless fragrance that will definitely appeal to lovers of the brand and fragrance connoisseurs alike. They say: "McQueen Parfum is for the woman who blooms in the dark. Inspired by classic perfumes with strong floral signatures, the fragrance takes a rich, vintage spirit and gives it a stunningly modern architecture. Inspired by the craftsmanship of haute perfumeries, McQueen has created a unique scent made from the precious essence of three night-blooming flowers."


Created using Sambac Jasmine ('the essence of power and romance',) Tuberose ('the warm, intoxicating heart of seduction') and Ylang Ylang ('the mysterious scent of a perfect morning',) alongside black pepper, pink pepper and clove, the result is a deeply rich and musky scent. Together these three flowers open under the moon to exude a sweet and complex aroma that exists only until the morning; this makes them all the more rare and intriguing, which is for me what the McQueen brand is all about. Have you ever heard of any other brand using only flowers that can be harvested under the moon? It's a little hocus pocus, but I just love it. Although upon first sniff I didn't think the scent was particularly revolutionary (there are a number of fragrances that smell very similar,) I can appreciate it from a brand and longevity point of view: there's very little point in investing time and money into an 'on-trend' scent that needs to be re-formulated a couple of years later. This is classic not only in its design, but in the notes and emotions it evokes.

If the story of the night blooming flowers didn't tickle your fancy, then the craftsmanship of the bottle is surely enough to generate a little lust. A timeless shape, tactile and beautiful in both the hand and upon a dressing table, gold feathers crown the bottle to 'reflect the bespoke craftsmanship that is pure McQueen.' It's beautifully gothic, with just a subtle modern twist. It feels heavy and like a real piece of art that anybody would cherish - even if the juice inside isn't necessarily your thing. Like everything McQueen, the result is something that's incredibly couture and completely pushes the boundaries of our expectation: which is why this little bottle is an incredible £285.00 and you can only pick it up from Harrods. McQueen have definitely kept the brand's ethos at the heart of this scent, rather than creating something accessible to all via our local Boots; I admire them for that, in a world where the bottom line sometimes drives commercial decisions more than the creative director's vision. Although this won't be for everyone's tastes (or budget!) it's well worth testing the scent the next time you pop into Harrods - even just to be temporarily transported into the unique gothic world of McQueen.


The Alexander Mcqueen fragrance is available exclusively from Harrods, priced £285.00 for a 50ml bottle.

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14.3.16

The 'Magical' Essie Retro Revival Collection: celebrating 35 years of nail polish

Thirty five years in the nail business is a seriously big achievement. One of the world's favourite and most iconic nail varnish brands, Essie, are this year celebrating that very achievement - and what better way to do so than with the launch of a capsule collection of 'classics revisited'? This six piece 'Retro Revival' collection includes some of the most iconic polishes from the last three decades, which together help Essie to meet their objective of 'promising a sparkling night of thrills'. Inspired by the big dreams, glitz and glam of Las Vegas, the collection brings back some of the brand's very first shades while celebrating some of the more recent additions that I've no doubt will bring back some teenage memories. Here's the lowdown on the six shades, plus their original year of origin...


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SPF For The Bits We Miss, But Show The Signs Of Ageing Worst: NEW Ultrasun Hand & Eye

Although we've been programmed to associate exotic locations and cocktails with the need to layer up with sun protection, up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can actually penetrate through clouds and fog; that means that stepping outside on a dreary winter's morning can potentially be just as harmful as a sunny spring day. It's important to be mindful of looking after our skin (regardless of the season) not only because of the associated skin cancer risks, but because UV exposure is the number one reason for accelerated ageing; nobody wants to speed up the onset of those fine lines and wrinkles, so integrating an effective and lightweight SPF into your daily routine is the simplest tactic towards prevention. Facial SPF’s were once heavy, greasy and  sticky and prevented makeup from applying well over the surface, but times have changed; formulas are now much lighter, more practical and designed to work in conjunction with other skincare and makeup. However, considering the two parts of our body that are more prone to the first signs of ageing than any other are often left unprotected (I'm talking hands and eyes,) it's about time that someone launched products for the bits we often miss.


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13.3.16

Ten Minutes With: Charlotte Jones, Social Media & Content Manager at L'Oreal Paris

The beauty industry is currently in a huge period of change. The explosion of blogs and digital influencers has lead to not only a huge change in the roles of traditional PRs, but for whole new categories within marketing departments to be established. From my experience it's always the passionate, enthusiastic and embrasive individuals that are able to carve out a niche for themselves and really make waves internally - but no individual best sums that up than one of the loveliest ladies I've ever had the pleasure of working with. I've known Charlotte Jones for a number of years, and she's always believed in the potential of the bloggersphere wholeheartedly; she was one of the first to adopt collaborative influencer campaigns and spent her days gathering a portfolio of evidence to back up her beliefs. If you've ever questioned your ability to carve out a niche or create a job role that you'd be happy to get out of bed for every Monday, then let her inspire you.


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11.3.16

The New Diptyque 'Eau Des Sens' Fragrance Is Like Italy On A Warm Summer's Day

I have such a complex relationship with fragrance. I adore perfume and tend to wear a different scent every day of the week; I spritz on something new and it transforms me into the person I want to be that day; I can catch a whiff of something at it transports me to another time and place. However, if I ever get my scent wrong I get such an intense headache that it's like my body is screaming 'what on earth were you thinking?' Over the years my tastes have evolved from favouring the sweet and sugary perfumes of the first celebrity endorsements, to opting for a more sophisticated and simple scent that's inevitably focused on only one or two main ingredients. On any given day you'll find me more likely to pick up a bottle of Jo Malone, Molton Brown or Miller Harris than Britney's latest number, but Diptyque has always been a brand I probably should love but never really got the hype around. Sure their candles are ah-mazin, and yes they look delightfully pretty on a dresser, but the juice inside never really floated my boat... Until now. Their latest incarnation 'Eau Des Sens' is warm, refreshing, delicately citrus, effervescently green and quite simply like an Italian warm summers day in a bottle.


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10.3.16

When Skincare Brushes Got Interesting: Korean Brand 'Erborian' Launch 4 Innovative Lust-Haves

I can barely remember a time when I didn't use about ten different brushes to apply my makeup. For pretty much a whole decade I used only my digits to smooth foundation, blusher, eyeshadow and highlighter over my skin, but if I ever forget to take any of my favourite brushes away with me it feels like an alien concept to revert back to my teenage tactics. When it comes to makeup, using the right tools can totally revolutionise the way in which products apply, as well as the end result - so why should it be any different in skincare? Although the only pieces of apparatus I've been using in my bathroom up until now have included a stash of flannels and an electronic eye massager (I'm still addicted to this Foreo one,) the up-and-coming Korean brand Eborian have launched a quartet of tools that really do make a positive impact into your routine. Although they won't be for everybody (I know a fair number of you like to keep your routines as swift and fuss free as possible!) I'm definitely a little bit in lust with these passionately red gadgets.


1. Complexion Brush (£12.00) 
This super soft and lightweight synthetic brush has been designed to provide a uniform application of BB and CC creams, which can often be slightly thicker and harder to buff into the skin than other bases. The densely packed bristles help to provide precise coverage and a natural finish, with no brush marks on the surface of skin. Although this isn't anything particularly special, the short handle aids movement and is perfectly sized for popping in your bag; you can even use it to buff product back into skin or top-up on the go. Seeing as the BB and CC concept hails from Korean shores, it's no surprise they've been busy developing application tools to get the most out of them.

2. Cleansing Brush (£18.00)
Charcoal is big business right now (read my post on why here,) and this purifying-effect brush is made with bristles containing charcoal powder to help deep cleanse the skin and rid it of impurities. Charcoal is known to chemically bind other substances to its surface and can absorb thousands of times its own weight; when used in beauty it works like a magnet to attract dirt and oil, making it perfect for use in cleansers and masks that work by purifying the skin. This brush builds on that concept, infusing charcoal powder actually into the bristles so it can work over time to 'buff away' dullness and give cleansers a power boost. All you need to do is moisten the brush, add your chosen cleansing product and massage the face in circular motions. Although it's quite tricky to determine whether or not it makes a huge difference, it feels soft on the skin and it definitely makes my nighttime cleansing ritual all the more enjoyable. Even better is the fact the charcoal will stay put for up to six months, so it's the skincare gift that just keeps on giving. 

3. Mask Brush (£16.00)
If you've ever applied a face mask and come away covered in as much product as a kid that's just demolished a chocolate bar, then a face mask brush is a much safer alternative. This 'brush' provides expert way to apply your favourite mask without the faff, thanks to the custom silicone tip; it easily picks up any texture and helps to apply gently, evenly and with precision - particularly around tricky areas such as the nose and brow bone. I've used a face mask brush before and didn't stick with it for very long because of the laborious cleaning process afterwards, but this silicone tip ensures it takes only seconds to clean up after yourself and get on with your day. Not only does it save you money in the long term by ensuring you don't overload the face or waste any product, but it helps to create a much more relaxing and spa-like moment too.

4. Eye Spatula (£8.00)
This super cute mini tool has been designed to remove micro-tension and relax the eye area, thanks to the cooling effect of the metal tip. Although it may look tiny, the impact is positively huge when used correctly and regularly. I've found the best way to use it is with a rich eye cream, massaging it around the eye socket in circular motions that push any excess fluid outwards towards the lymph nodes. Five minutes in the morning will help to perk up the area, cool away any tiredness and minimise puffiness; the small size helps reduce the pressure you're placing on the delicate skin too, while giving you a tool you can slip out of your desk drawer when nobody's looking!

What do you think of these four new tools from Eborian? Do any of them potentially add value to your routine?


The new Eborian skincare accessories are available now online, soon to be via Space NK alongside the rest of the Eborian range, priced from £12.00 to £18.00.

Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  
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9.3.16

Origins New 'Maskimizer' Face Mask Primer: Do We Need Yet Another Step In Our Regimes?

It's not often there's true innovation in the beauty industry; more often than not brands 'borrow' ideas from each other or simply reinvent an existing concept so that it appears brand new. So many times I've thought a new launch was truly exciting, only do do a bit of research and find out that the idea has been around for years - but this time around (as far as I can tell!) Origins have definitely put themselves back on the beauty map with the launch of a concept that genuinely offers innovation. It's one of those products that makes you think 'why has nobody thought of this before', which inevitably means there will be oodles of copycats hitting stores over the next twelve months. So what is this rather delicious looking blue bottle of liquid and what promises does it provide? The 'Maskimizer' simply does what it says on the tin, helping to maximise the impact of your bi-weekly face treat to ensure you're left with a super smooth, clear and radiant complexion. Essentially a face mask primer, you spritz about ten pumps over the face after cleansing and follow with your usual masque formula; thanks to the infusion of a Marine Algae Complex, this extra step helps to boost the performance of the ingredients in your favourite mask while simultaneously hydrating skin to the max.


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8.3.16

A Better Night’s Sleep & Fab Morning Hair? This Works’ Iconic Pillow Spray & NEW Hair Treatment (Exclusive QVC Offer!)

SPONSORED FEATURE 
As a nation we spend millions of pounds every year trying to get a better night’s sleep via teas, apps, specialist alarm clocks and super-dooper mattresses... We’re told to get at least eight hours of shut-eye a night, but often the pressure to sleep well is counter-intuitive and causes more problems than it helps to tackle. Achieving a deep and seriously beneficial sleep is all about getting into the right state of mind, ensuring you’re relaxed and free from external influences. Putting down our phones, writing a to-do list for the next day and reading a book are some of the key ways to ensure you get a better night's kip, but there are little things you can do to boost your emotional wellbeing during this essential period of the day. One of the products I’ve been using for the last couple of years to help me drift off and awake feeling refreshed, is the iconic This Works Pillow Spray. The multi-award winning and clinically proven cult classic contains a unique blend of Lavender, Vetivert and Wild Camomile to soothe the body and mind, helping me to slip off easily and awake feeling refreshed. It's the easy, affordable and effective way to make the most of those hours between the sheets.


Although I’m a pretty good sleeper, I do find the hardest part actually getting to sleep in the first place; This Works Pillow Spray smells delicious without being overpowering or stimulating the senses, helping to relax and comfort my mind simultaneously. It’s been clinically proven to provide a restful and energising slumber (100% felt less restless during the night; 89% woke less often in the night; 97% felt more awake the following day; 89% of ex-sleep prescription medication users would use this in place of medication) meaning it’s not just hocus pocus! This is a formula that really does help in more ways than one. What I love about This Works is that they've managed to maximise the potential of our downtime by creating new products that tackle both beauty and sleep troubles within one multi-effective formula: first we had Sleep Plus Dream Body to hydrate skin overnight, and now we have the brand new Sleep Plus Hair Elixir to tackle hair woes too.

Their classic and award winning Deep Sleep fragrance is encapsulated within each product, which thanks to motion activated technology, is released throughout the night to ensure we awake feeling and looking refreshed. A few spritzes of this beautifully scented formula through the mids and ends of hair before bed will tackle your sleep and beauty issues simultaneously. It’s incredibly lightweight, so you don’t need to worry about washing hair the next day or it weighing down fine hair types - it instantly absorbs to leave a sleep inducing scent and no residue. A unique formula combines Sunflower Extract with Argan, Jojoba and Baobab oils to deeply nourish hair follicles and support healthy hair growth, while the inclusion of Vitamin E ensures hydration even on the driest of ends. Not only does it help to delicately boost hair as I sleep, but it helps to banish bed hair too. (The cause of that morning frizz is the friction between hair and pillow, so this helps to smooth the surface and prevent that horrendous morning mess!)

I was dubious to see if a hair treatment would have the same impact on my slumber as the original pillow spray, but the concentration of essential oils smells the same and has the same positive impact. Seeing as most of us sleep with our hair covering our faces anyway, it seems like a natural progression! If I've tickled your fancy then this Wednesday This Works are offering QVC customers a very special offer: when you buy the new Sleep Plus Hair Elixir for £25.00 you'll receive a luxury mini of the iconic Sleep Plus Pillow Spray absolutely free - so you can boost the impact of the clinically proven scent, or simply have a mini bottle to take away with you. I've got lots of these mini bottles for taking to hotels, when I know I have a restless night's sleep (what is it about not sleeping in your own bed that disturbs us so much?) and they last for such a long time. The original Pillow Spray is something I really can't be without, and I've got a feeling this new Hair Elixir is going to be a long-term addition to my routine too. Anything that gets to work as I sleep is a must-have in my book. Thankfully shinier, smoother and softer hair is just a spritz away.

Have you tried the original This Works Pillow Spray? Do you have trouble sleeping and need a little helping hand? What do you think of the new Hair Elixir treatment?


The new This Works Sleep Plus Hair Elixir is available now priced £25.00. Get the special offer exclusively at QVC this Wednesday 9th March.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of This Works and QVC; all opinions are my own. I genuinely use the Pillow Spray every single night!

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7.3.16

Trust Me: I'm A Beauty Blogger.

Our self-named bloggersphere has never been adverse to a little controversy, but over the last couple of weeks an increasing amount of debate has erupted and once again put our little corners of the internet back in the spotlight. A thread on Mumsnet started the discussion, but the question at the root of the issue has been floating around for some time: are bloggers really still the impartial experts and 'real people' we can trust for unbiased opinions, or have they evolved into just another marketing platform that brands are using to fool us? Before I start to wade into the debate, it's important to understand that the main difference between a beauty blogger and a beauty editor is the driving force behind them: beauty bloggers are (mostly) motivated by a passion and need to connect with likeminded individuals, whereas beauty editors are driven by their boss breathing down their neck ahead of a deadline. Their roles are incredibly different, but equally complementary. Nothing illustrates more our desire for an alternative perspective and new way of thinking than the growth of blogs over the past five years, but that's not to say there isn't still a huge role to play for magazines. 


Interestingly, beauty editors don't ever come under the same scrutiny as bloggers when it comes to trust, transparency and integrity. Whether it's because we've become accustomed to seeing a very specific type of product on a page, or because we simply don't have the same level of expectation of someone who's under pressure from advertisers, those sitting behind a desk of a magazine are somewhat exempt from critique. However, from my experience, 99% of bloggers have completely different motivations and always strive to bring their readers genuine recommendations - rather than feature products that have also spent £20k of their advertising budget with them this quarter. On the whole, blogging has always been about connecting with 'real people' with 'real opinions' that are presented in an incredibly raw and unedited fashion; even though our platforms have evolved to be almost as glossy as the glossy magazines they were established to compete with, there's still a single person that's writing from an individual perspective and opinion. It seems to be this fact that jars with the commercialisation of blogs, and what readers are increasingly beginning to question.

As someone who read blogs (and still does) way before writing her own, I glow with pride of what we've achieved collectively and adore the way in which we've made beauty and fashion (in particular) far more accessible than it ever was before. Blogs may have started as a way to document what we were buying and loving, but like with everything in this world, they evolved over time to feature branded collaborations and heavily include press samples - but that's something to be proud of. Brands want to be in these spaces, rather than on the pages of a magazine; they're embracing this form of media and are willing to take a chance to reach a potential audience in a whole new way. We can make a difference to small businesses that wouldn't have had the budget to reach a wide audience previously, while being able to counteract the million pound marketing campaigns and get to grips with whether or not you should be parting with your cash. That's something to be celebrated; we shouldn't be critiquing men and women making a career out of something they love, and (more importantly) something that gives us pleasure too.

Unfortunately a small minority of bloggers are in it for the wrong reasons, and these 'bad eggs' make it increasingly difficult for the rest of us. I spend a lot of my time trying to overcome misconceptions, re-educate brands and champion good practices in the bloggersphere, but when I'm up against demanding agents, bought Instagram followers and undisclosed sponsored content, it's increasingly difficult to prove we really are a good bunch that just want to help our readers make the right decisions for them. Hugely inflammatory threads and accusations on forums may actually start with a genuine concern or question, but they end up so inaccurate because of the lack of real understanding about how it all works. So in the interests of transparency, clarity and integrity, let me break it down a little for you...

PR SAMPLES FACILITATE MY JOB; THEY'RE NOT BRIBES 
One of the most frustrating parts of my job is battling against the perception that product samples are either 'gifts' or 'bribes'. Any products that land on my desk do so with an air of assumption, so it's my job to filter through the good, the bad and the downright ugly in order to pick an edit of things that I genuinely love - and think you will too. Samples are not bribes, in the same way a free product never guarantees a feature of any kind; just because I'm sent a product to try doesn't mean that I'm in any way more inclined to speak positively about it than if I bought it myself... That's simply not how I work. I, like the majority of other well established bloggers, would not be able to bring you the fresh, frequent and interesting content I do without samples. I would be broke, bored and probably repeat myself every other week trying to find something to say. It's about time these 'samples' were looked at a little differently and understood to be part of the job; in the same way that film editors get complementary tickets to the latest release, or food critics eat out with zero charge, beauty and fashion bloggers see these 'freebies' as just a way for them to do their job effectively.

IT'S IN MY INTEREST TO BUILD TRUST WITH YOU
There's absolutely no logic in actively encouraging my readers to buy a product that's simply naff, because the integrity I've worked so hard to build will evaporate quicker than a lolly on a hot summer's day. It's 100% in my interest to work in an ethical and transparent manner, providing honest and thorough insight that helps every single reader make a well informed decision. If I recommend something that's really quite rubbish, you'll only come back and tell me - and then never buy anything I suggest again. In order to continue building this site and working with brands in a commercial capacity, it's absolutely in my interest to have a positive and fruitful relationship with my readers on a day to day basis. There are many sites that sing the praises of products by brands they want to continue working with, like there are bloggers who are scared of ever saying anything negative for fear of backlash; however, this is a place where I tell it like it is - even if that means a rather cringeworthy next meeting with a PR.

TO PROVIDE FREE CONTENT, I HAVE TO MAKE AN INCOME
In my opinion, one of the main sources of negativity is the lack of understanding about free vs paid for content. In order for me to keep bringing you free content on a daily basis, occasionally I need to take a sponsored feature; the key is keeping the balance and ensuring those paid for features are relevant and of interest to readers. I run this site full time, alongside freelance and consultancy projects, and am only able to do so because I work with brands to bring you 'sponsored features'. These are very clearly signposted not only because it's the rules (the Advertising Standards Authority have created a set of guidelines that as bloggers we're obliged to adhere to,) but because I'm a champion for clarity and a stickler for the rules. Over the years I have made my declarations even clearer, more obvious and easier to find - because that's what you've asked for. It's important to remember that in order for you to enjoy that (absolutely free) site, the blogger needs to generate an income in some way to keep it coming. Don't begrudge them for making a living, or discount any blogger that works commercially, because it's like refusing to watch anything on ITV because there are adverts.

SUPPORT & CELEBRATE VS COMPLAIN & CRITICIZE
As Brits we're collectively a bit rubbish at being positive and supporting others; it's really easy for us to moan, complain and pick apart anyone who's successful as if it was a national hobby. Although it can be difficult to stomach someone making multiple thousands of pounds for an Instagram post, it hasn't happened overnight. These influencers have worked their backsides off over a number of years to get to where they are, often single-handedly; the bloggersphere has now produced hundreds of young entrepreneurs who have changed the face of business - that is something to be ruddy proud of. If we walk into anything with a negative attitude and are ready to pick it apart, we're only ever going to see the downsides. Blogs provide an incredible way to connect with people and discover new brands; they help make purchasing decisions, inspire and influence, raise awareness of important causes and change lives for the better. I'm a bit sick and tired of people forgetting that there are individuals behind the HTML - and that their words can hurt. So instead of complaining and criticizing, I think we could all benefit from a little more support and celebration.

MY WORDS OF ADVICE? Find bloggers you trust and simply stop reading those you don't.

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5.3.16

Ten Minutes With: Yoga Instructor & body positive advocate Jessamyn Stanley

The practice of yoga is often seen to be one only open to the tall, slim, blonde and tanned twenty-somethings that saturate our Instagram feeds on a daily basis. However, the reality is very different - it's a form of exercise that can suit every age, body shape, need and desire, but the trick is to find an instructor that can really help you on a positive body journey. As a rather chunky girl myself (we're talking boobs, bum, tum and thighs that are about as wide as the waists of many other enthusiasts,) that's taken up yoga this year, I feel passionate about encouraging others to at least try the practice no matter their body shape. I may not be able to get into all the positions and often look like a total loon when I'm trying, but the key thing is that *I'm trying*; after only a couple of months I'm noticing a difference in my flexibility and mental well-being, so I'm a complete advocate of the art. So is Jessamyn Stanley. As a 'body positive' yoga instructor she's really breaking down barriers when it comes to looking or feeling a certain way - and her passion is infectious. In an effort to illustrate that yoga is for everyone, I spent ten minutes getting to know what makes her tick.


TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF…
I'm a yoga teacher, body positive advocate and writer based in Durham, North Carolina USA. I use high energy vinyasa flow as a way to move past mental and emotional barriers. My classes provide a body positive approach to yoga which celebrates students’ bodies and encourages them to ask "how do I feel?" rather than "how do I look?" when practicing yoga.

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR JOB?
I became a teacher in response to the insane wave of people from all over the globe who desperately asked me to come and teach them. If left to my own devices, I may have never become a teacher. It wasn’t until after I underwent training, however, that I began to understand just how important it is to have a wide variety of yoga teachers in order to respond to the endlessly varied lifestyles that exist on the planet. There is no singular yoga teacher who is perfect for everyone, and therefore it’s important to have a large group to draw from.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE A 'TYPICAL' DAY?
My days are rarely 'typical' - because I’m a yoga teacher AND writer AND blogger, I’m constantly working on different projects and juggling different kinds of tasks. However, there are definitely some things that never change. For example, I always start my day with a glass of water with lemon, and I usually follow that up with espresso (because I’m a caffeine addict, one of my vices.) I usually spend 1-2 hours answering emails and checking in on my various social media channels before jumping into the day’s main activities. This can vary depending on a wide range of factors: I might be writing a freelance piece, or shooting/editing/posting an Instagram campaign, or preparing to teach a class or workshop. Regardless, I always try to sneak in yoga at some point during the day. I don’t keep a set schedule; I get bored easily and I like to make my practice fit my day. I usually try to practice for at least 30 mins, and (if the universe is generous) I can find ways to practice for 2-3hrs. Those days are rare, though; I feel like everyone just has to fit it in where they can. The main thing I’ve also prioritized is sleep. I realize that my body is worthless without rest, and I try to close my eyes before midnight every night so I can at least attempt to get seven hours of sleep.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU FACE?
I think it’s hard to stand by your values - even when they are unpopular or misunderstood. The more time I spend within the yoga community, the more I realize that it’s crowded with a lot of inauthentic people: narcissism and body shame are totally normalized, and those two elements are the exact opposite of my values. It’s a challenge for me to hold on to who I am and what I really care about because there are constantly people who want me to alter aspects of myself to fit this traditional yoga community. But I think our current yoga community is faulty for a reason, and it’s important to maintain sight of the things which actually matter.

CAN YOU PINPOINT ONE PARTICULAR HIGHLIGHT TO DATE?
The greatest moments for me are when I get to practice with my students. Not on camera. Not with any light on us at all. The moments when I get to see people change their own lives through movement, breath, and internal sight are highlights which could never be overstated. I am so grateful for the ability to interact with other human beings in this way. It’s truly the gift of my life.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
I love being able to wake up and do something I love every day. I was raised by people who were not given that luxury, and my life has not always been like this so I really value being able to go to work every day and actually like what I do. It’s a luxury like none other.

WHAT'S THE BEST PIECE OF CAREER ADVICE YOU'VE BEEN GIVEN?
Take what you need from each experience, but don’t let your job define you. Be fluid, be innovative, and always look to the horizon. The moment you stand and stare in place or start imitating the work of other people, you’re finished.

IF YOU WERE TO GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Don’t imitate other people - spend time looking within yourself and tell that story. That’s the story that’s never been told before. You are unique, you’re not a carbon copy. Don’t build a mold and follow directions, but break the mould. Break the rules. Be your own person.

HOW DO YOU UNWIND AFTER A LONG DAY?
Meditation, THC therapy, and Epsom salt baths. I also like to binge watch soapy Netflix dramas like Revenge.

CAN YOU LET US IN ON YOUR FIVE BEAUTY MUST-HAVES?
I value basic beauty regimens - daily facial cleansing, consumption of water, regular sleep, etc. To that end, I swear by Dr. Bronner’s soap and my spin brush for facial cleansing, plentiful lemons and raw honey for daily internal cleansing, Epsom salts for soaking my sore muscles, and essential oils for balancing my energy.

This weekend Jessamyn is in London to take part in Hot Yoga Society's Big Weekender. Find out more here hotyogasociety.com and here jessamynstanley.com

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4.3.16

The Power Of Charcoal: The New Must-Have Skincare Ingredient For Clear & Healthy Skin?

We're often told that there's one ingredient above all others that is 'on trend' and 'of the moment', but mostly it's an excuse to get us to buy more things we don't really need. However, when that ingredient has genuine skincare benefits and has been used for generations to help clear and refine problematic skin, it's worth ignoring the hype and trying to get to the bottom of why it's deemed so newsworthy. Charcoal is an ingredient that has long been used in skin care treatments, thanks to its chemical properties that allow the substances to draw out impurities. Although it's no glamorous superfood or deliciously scented fruity boost, it's definitely having a moment and popping up in all kinds of skin treatments and face masks. So is it really a new must-have skincare ingredient that helps achieve clear and healthy skin, and what products should you be giving a whirl to see if it works for you?


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3.3.16

NEW L’Oreal Paris Color Riche L’Huile Nail Varnish (Plus My Top Five Colour Picks)

Thank goodness for L'Oreal, because for a moment there I thought I was going to fall asleep waiting for some decent launches in the nail care market. We had so many innovations for such a long time to keep out appetites whetted, but it seems brands ran out of steam, passion and ideas to keep the nail varnish shelves topped up with newness over the last 12-18 months. All that is about to change, thanks to the launch of L’Oreal Paris' new Color Riche L’Huile Nail Varnish that's available in 22 on-trend and wearable shades. Not only is the packaging truly different (it must be hard to come up with a new idea for a rectangular glass bottle, but the cuboid and quilted finish really does look innovative) but inside is a formula that I really am loving. A unique blend of precious oils and intense colour pigments makes this a rich formula that glides over nails to provide a true-to-bottle shade in only one coat, leaving nails looking and feeling fabulous. Although the inclusion of oil slightly baffles me (I can only assume it's there to hydrate in very small quantities,) the polish leaves a pretty spectacular finish that more than justifies the £4.99 price.


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2.3.16

#LetsTalkAboutit: Thrush, Yeast and Vaginal Infections Affect 3 in 4 Women

I hope you’re sitting comfortably, because today we’re going to talk about yeast infections… Yep, those annoying itchy bouts of thrush that are incredibly common but also incredibly irritating. 75% of women will suffer from thrush at least once in their lives, making it one of the most common infections you can get. You’re more prone to thrush if you’re pregnant, just finished a course of antibiotics, take birth control pills, are on your period or have diabetes (so that’s the majority of us a lot of the time then) and it can cause itching, irritation, swelling of the vagina and surrounding area, and sometimes a creamy white cottage cheese-like discharge. Vaginal thrush is fairly harmless, but it can be uncomfortable; it can also keep returning if you’re a) unlucky or b) don’t sort your symptoms out properly. 


So what exactly is thrush, how can it be treated and (maybe more importantly) how can it be avoided? This incredibly common vaginal yeast infection is a type of vaginitis (an inflammation of your vagina.) Both fungus and bacteria naturally live in your noo-nah, but when the fungus Candida Albicans increases it can cause irritation that results in thrush. This fungus may increase when your immune system is weak or when good bacteria (called lactobacilli) can’t keep the fungus under control, but either way the result is symptoms that can include irritation, discharge and swelling. Considering this infection is likely to effect 75% of us at one point or another, it's crazy that it's one of the things as women we don't seem to talk about - at all. It's nothing to be embarrassed about and it's not a sign of having a bit too much fun in the sack, so thrush makes the perfect topic for my #LetsTalkAboutIt series. (It’s important to note that vaginal thrush isn't an STI, but it can be passed on during sex; it's best to avoid doing the deed until you've completed a course of treatment and the infection has cleared up, both for your benefit and his!)

So how can you best avoid picking up a case of thrush? The easiest way is to avoid using perfumed products around your lady garden, as these can upset the pH balance of your intimate area and cause all sorts of problems. There are lots of products including SASS, FemFresh and Vagisil that help to look after your vagina in the best way possible - thanks to their pH neutral and delicate, non-irritating ingredients that won't overload your bits with the scent of candyfloss and meadow flower. Avoiding very hot baths, changing your sanitary products frequently and ensuring you swap your sweaty post-workout underwear for a fresh pair of knickers will also help. There’s also a lot of advice online about avoiding stress, reducing intake of sugary snacks and wiping post-loo from front to back (sorry, but we’re all friends here!) if you suffer from recurring symptoms that are impacting your quality of life. The important thing is to remember to look after your vagina properly, in the same way that you'd look after your eyes if you were prone to conjunctivitis.

It's incredibly easy to tackle the symptoms of thrush, but it's always adviseable that you visit a doctor the first time you think you may be suffering from the condition. (It's easy to mistake the signs of another kind of infection or STI for thrush, so it's better to be safe than sorry; after the initial diagnosis it's easy to treat the symptoms at home yourself.) You may have seen the adverts on telly for things like Canesten, which treats the infection both internally and externally; these work by using the active ingredient clotrimazole or fluconazole to reduce the level of harmful bacteria and restore balance, while an external cream reduces itching. There are many options available, including an oral pill, pessary (a device inserted into the vagina) and internal gel or cream - so the choice is completely up to you and your preference. These are affordable, easy to pick up and get to work incredibly quickly to relieve symptoms in often a matter of hours. I've been lucky enough to only have suffered from thrush once in my life, a long time ago, but I know it's a condition that affects many women on a regular basis. Although I don't expect anyone to openly itch their bits in public and admit they're undergoing a course of Canesten, thrush is incredibly normal and it's about time we stopped the stigma.

Have you suffered from thrush and have any advice on how best to overcome the symptoms, or prevent it re-occuring? Have you ever worried about itching and been too embarrassed to do anything about it? I'd love to hear your stories, opinions and thoughts.

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1.3.16

It's All About That Lace: Burberry's Spring Runway Palette Is Something Of Beauty

Some brands I love because they're truly effective, affordable or innovative; others I love simply because they create lustworthy products that are oh-so-pretty. Burberry is one of those brands. Their makeup may be eye-wateringly expensive, but sometimes a girl has just got to treat herself! As soon as I set eyes on this new Spring-Summer 'Runway Palette' I couldn't resist the purity of the tone and the elegance of the design; it's so beautiful that I've barely managed to bring myself to swatch it, let alone use it. This lace pattern embossed on the surface was inspired by the fabrics of the SS16 clothing collections, which are equally as stunning (I've got my eye on a coffee coloured lace trench coat, in case you were wondering.) It's great to see the fashion brand ensuring there's a genuine fashion link between their catwalk garments and their beauty collection; the outer pack even features a slip-on plastic lace protective cover, just to make this highlighting powder stand out even more in store! Like all of Burberry's highlighters and powders, this is super-lightweight and glides over skin effortlessly to add a touch of light to skin - that is, if you can bring yourself to use it rather than just stare at it. It's buildable too, so you can create a much more intense 'strobing' effect if that's your thing. My thing? Keeping this in an air-tight drawer so I can bring it out when I need to remember there are beautiful things in the world worth cherishing.


The Burberry Spring Runway Palette is available now, priced £45.00. Also available in a rose gold tone.

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