Natural Is Essential

I’m a big fan of using an oil on my skin at night.  When I was young, it was enough that I remembered to take off the day’s make-up. Nowadays, there is a Routine, which involves putting something back in to the skin, after I’ve taken all the crap, u-hum, expensive make-up, off.

 

There are some real miracle creams out there, and I like a few, but for a real glow that is evident the next day, I like to use an oil.  It has hours to sink in, eight if I’m lucky (I’m loving these perimenopausal years).  At least while I toss and turn the night away I know something good is happening and can see it the next day.

 

So, I was delighted to be invited to an open evening at Amphora Aromatics the other week.  In truth, I hadn’t heard of the brand before, but what a little powerhouse of quality products on my doorstep it is.  A family run business in Clifton with a store on Cotham Hill, it is one of the UK’s largest suppliers of essential oils and aromatherapy products.

 

Walking around the store, there’s literally thousands of products to choose from, from skin creams to shampoos and cleansers to candles, but it was the vast range of essential oils that caught my eye and I was delighted when  Clinical Aromatherapist, Zoë Green, asked me if there was a specific treatment that I was looking for.

 

Now, do you remember the other week, when I found out that the centre of my face is quite red (around the nose area)?  The disappointing part of spotting something awry in the beauty department, is that you can’t un-see it, and I’ve found myself not wearing make-up to see if, by some miracle, it’s vanished.  It has not.

 

Now bugging me, I spoke to Zoë about said issue and she said that I should try Amphora Aromatics Chamomoile Matricaria Essential Oil (£3.60).  Highly beneficial for the skin, it has soothing and calming properties that can help me, over time, reduce the redness.  Pre-diluted to 5% in grapeseed oil, I can use this product straight out of the bottle.  I’m giving it a go, but it’s too early to share the results with you.  I’ll keep you posted.

 

Amphora also do my favourite, Rosehip Seed Oil.   I’ve tried other brands, so I was keen to give this one a try. Recognised as a wonder oil, I know that Rosehip is good for your skin – personally I love the glowing soft skin I get when I use it.  Rich in Omega 3 and essential fatty acids, it also contains Vitamins C, E and F and also really helps with scarring, so popular for stretch marks.  I also noticed that you get more for your buck in this store – Amphora Rosehip Seed Oil, 100ml £10.80, unnamed competitor, 20 ml, £19.99.

 

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It was my first forage in the store and I really wanted to focus on the “Red Centre”, but there’s so much good stuff that I want to go back and investigate further.  All the Amphora essential oils are 100% pure, from one botanical source, unless they state otherwise.  The benefits are both physical and psychological and if they’re sourced naturally, from plants and herbs, then that must be good.

 

I do believe in having an arsenal of beauty products to hand.  The is nothing to stop you layering products on as you need them.  You can use a night serum, night cream and essential oil, if you think your skin needs some extra moisture.  Yes, I’ve been reading up!  Did you know that if you are layering, you should put oil on last?  No, well, it’s recommended that you start with water-based products and work up to the oil, so that each product has a chance to do its magic and the oil seals the deal.  I actually just use Rosehip Seed Oil on it’s own at night.  For me, a few drops of this good stuff is all I need.

 

I really like this modern way of looking after your skin.  My mum would probably swear by using a tub of Ponds Cold Cream (some of you may remember this wonder cream of its time), but where’s the fun in that.  I feel like I’m now making more of an effort and you know what they say, if you study hard, you’ll get the results you want.

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Gail xx

 

Brow-sing Into The Future And A New Me (Part 1)

I may have mentioned that I am going to a wedding this summer?  Actually, it is today.  The fact that I am finding it very difficult to write this post, will inform you that I have just left a nail salon with full-on Kardashian-worthy acrylics.

 

So, apologies now for typos.  I will keep this week’s post brief, but I wanted to share with you, that yesterday, out of the blue, I had my eyebrows micro-bladed!!!

 

I booked in for a tint and shape on Wednesday and was asking the brow technician about micro-blading, which I had been interested in for a while, but had only lightly researched.

 

I knew Lisa had a good reputation, people travel from across the South West for this particular treatment.  So when during the conversation, she let on that she had a cancellation for Thursday and the normal price of £250 was reduced to £150, I jumped straight in.

 

Yes, I fretted about my decision.  As soon as I left the salon to be honest. I talked about it to friends in real life and those that I’ve met on Instagram, and by the time I went to bed last night I was 50/50.

 

It wasn’t that I didn’t want it done, the question was, should I have something so drastic, basically two tattoos on my face, done the day before I am going to a wedding?

 

Two very level-headed friends, who’s opinions I value greatly, sent me messages, saying go for it.  So I did.

 

The pic below is of the finished brows.  I have to go back in four weeks for a touch up, when I will take more pics and write up a full description of the procedure.  Needless to say, thus far, I am very happy.

 

 

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Gail xx

 

 

My Kind of Therapy

Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is nothing like a little pampering to pick a girl up.  So imagine how excited I was last week, when I found out that I had won a facial in a competition I entered at EF Medispa in Bristol!

I had visited the Medispa on Whiteladies Road the week prior, when I was lucky enough to be invited to a fantastic event for Bristol bloggers.  Surrounded by cutting-edge technology and innovative face and body treatments, it was hard not to be impressed and curious, so I was delighted to be heading back.

On arrival, I had a consultation with Francesca, a treatment co-ordinator, who took a number of very detailed images of the skin on my face.  So detailed, the images revealed the many layers beneath the surface.  I should have taken pics, instead of a video, but hopefully you get the gist from this image.

From there, Francesca could check for any damage, such as high pigmentation, caused by too much exposure to the sun.  I was fascinated that she could see problems beneath the surface that will, in a year or two, be revealed.  I do have a little pigmentation, but also was quite red on and around my nose, with broken capillaries. Obviously the former is caused by sun damage and the later is a symptom of ageing, where my ageing skin is thinning.

We talked about the different treatments that can help remedy both. I was keen to learn about facial peels (to help remove dead skin cells and rejuvenate my skin), which I’ve been interested in since Samantha had one in Sex in the City, but IPL (Intense Pulsed Light Therapy) is actually more helpful to me, right now.  It will help regenerate collagen, even skin tone and clear up the discolouration around the centre of my face.  Something I will definitely consider.

On to my prize, a Dermaquest Facial, which included Dermalux LED Light Therapy, and my therapist Becca, talked through the procedure and then took off any make-up and grime with a cleanser and exfoliated the skin. We had already discussed the result I  hoped to achieve with a facial.  Tighter skin.  So, the next treat was the brilliantly named Red Carpet Masque.  Produced by Biologique Recherche it has developed with anti-ageing properties and offers tightening and brightening.

After a few minutes, the masque was cleaned off and I then enjoyed 20 minutes of Dermalux LED Light Therapy. This state-of-the-art equipment harnesses the power of pure light to naturally stimulate skin rejuvenation and resolve any skin issues that you have, on your face or body. In my case, the aim was to help the redness, pigmentation and promote skin rejuvenation. However, I learnt that it can help with a whole lot more, from acne and psoriasis to pain management and relaxation.

My experience of it was fantastic.  I could literally feel my skin tightening the longer I was under there.  If I had been going to a party that night, I would have felt as if my skin was tip top ready.  I think because the skin is tightened, you could mistake it for being dry, but my skin was glowing and Becca finished my facial with serum, eye cream, day cream and SPF30.

What an absolute treat and an education. I left my make up off for the rest of the day, for once letting it breath.

I hope to head back soon.  Meanwhile, on my immediate horizon is a week’s holiday.  Woo hoo!  Not leaving the country and what’s the bet the sun will go in?  I do, however, feel the need to turn the computer off for a few days and that’s holiday enough, right?  So, there will not be a post next week.  Hope you enjoy half term and I’ll be back in two weeks.

Have fun!

Gail xxx

Me, I’m High Brow

 

Can we talk about my eyebrows for a minute?  I don’t have much in the way of brow, never have.  I use a pencil to add “soft strokes” of make believe brows, which normally works fine when using my x5 magnifying mirror at home, but I forgot to take the mirror on holiday and couldn’t see a thing.  I ended up looking like that old bint on Annie with the thin drawn lines.  When I mentioned it to SP he laughed and didn’t argue the fact, concurring that I was, indeed, doing a very good impression of Miss Hannigan.

 

My eyebrows have always been fair and patchy, which kind of didn’t matter in the eighties cause everyone was plucking them to a thin line. However, years ago a beauty counter make-up artist told me that I really needed to have brows, “they frame your face”, and so I bought the product that he was trying to sell!  He had a point though, they do split up the rather large open-plan patch between my eyes and hairline.

 

So upon returning from our holiday I started to look at options for outside help.  I have tried tinting at beauty salons before, but haven’t been that satisfied.  It’s too short term.  I don’t have time to visit beauty salons every two weeks.  I remembered a previous conversation with a really good friend of mine, who had tried High Definition Brows and was thrilled with the result.  I had also heard of Microblading, but this was too scary a step for me as its semi-permanent and felt like a bit of a jump.  So I contacted my friend’s eyebrow technician and set up an appointment with Caroline for High Definition Brows.  No kidding, I couldn’t wait.

 

Caroline owns Lovely Nails and Beauty in south Bristol (a home-based salon).  She offers a fantastic range of beauty treatments, from High Definition Brows to Bio Sculpture Gel Nails, and is a qualified CACI Therapist (non-surgical facelifts and anti-aging beauty treatments).  I had already carried out a patch test, but you need to allow 24 hours if you’re thinking of having this treatment to make sure you’re not allergic.  I went through the regular health checks with Caroline during a consultation in which she then asked me what I was looking to achieve and we talked about shape, colour, size and overall look.

 

I really wanted to add to my natural brows and clearly needed some definition.   It was more build up than tear down and thankfully Caroline said I had something to work with.  She explained to me that it’s not a one visit fixes all treatment.  It’s a “brow journey”, to add more shape and correct wrong doings like over plucking. Over the course of a few treatments she would be able to create the perfect brow.  Caroline also pointed out that I have one eyebrow which has more movement than the other (caused by bells palsy that I suffered back in 2006), but took that as a challenge to fix it.

 

Importantly, we talked about colour and I wanted them to be pretty dark, but Caroline didn’t want to go too far and find I wasn’t happy, so put on a tint, then we had a look and agreed that I could go a little darker; they looked even better.  Interestingly, the technician doesn’t put a barrier like vaseline around the brows, the trick to shaping the brows is to grab more hair.  Caroline explained that this style of treatment gives you better performing eyebrows because it catches all the baby blond and fine hairs to really build up your brow.

 

The tint was taken off after a few minutes and Caroline then waxed and added a soothing oil to the area.  She then threaded my brows, which gives you a fantastic shape.  It’s pain-free, if you haven’t tried it before, and take seconds.  She also mentioned that my “tails” aren’t very long and I could help this by trying to encourage growth.   You can use caster oil to do this and Caroline also mentioned the High Definition Brow and Lash Boost to me, which retails at £39.50 and also helps to grow your lashes.  Importantly, she pointed out that I had a few bare patches, where my “blind” plucking had gone too far!  Thankfully she drew in a few more hairs with some soft strokes of a High Definition Brow Define Pencil (£18 and has been featured in the Daily Mail) and I was finished.

 

It didn’t take more than half an hour and I’m so pleased with my new brows.  Here’s the before and after shots.

 

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Me, before the treatment

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Me, after treatment

 

Since having them done I haven’t touched them.   I don’t need to and the great news is that every time I go back the definition will increase, as they have for Caroline’s other customers in the pics below.

 

Having great eyebrows is something that I’ve wanted for a long time and now I feel I’m on my way to having them.  Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, but my genuine opinion.  It costs £25.00 by the way (prices can vary depending on salon costs) and it’s recommended that you have them re-done every four-six weeks.  No more lines of fury for me!

 

If you’re interested to learn more about Caroline and the services she offers, click here www.lovelynailsbycaroline.co.uk, or follow her on Instagram @lovelynailsandbeautybycaroline.

 

Have you had High Definition Brows or more permanent treatments?  Please share your experience in the comments below.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Gail xx

 

Save On Skin Care

When it comes to skin care I want the best.  I can absolutely crave the most expensive, undisputed world-renowned wonder products like everyone else, but sometimes you got to just pull in the reigns on spending, which is where I found myself last summer when I was experiencing a ‘light’ work load.

 

This coincided with some of my favourite skincare products running out and my skin starting to become parched (read. dry and aged).  Without much in the way of funds I turned to Aldi (hear me out) to see if the rumours were true.  If you don’t know, Aldi is known for having low cost products that produce high quality results.  I decided to try a separate serum and day cream and the results really surprised me, in particular with the serum, which for me was stand out.

 

I purchased Lacura Renew Multi-Intense (Anti-Wrinkle) Serum, priced at just £2.99/50ml bottle.  The blurb: if used regularly it will help improve the facial contours and noticeably reduce the appearance of fine lines.  Skin will appear more radiant, healthier and younger.

 

Taking that last line above, I would absolutely say my skin appeared more radiant.  It does have a healthy shine to it when I use this product.  I’m not going to say younger, because nothing makes your skin younger.  It is what it is, but a well moisturised skin does look healthier, and we’re all simply trying to make the best of what we’ve got, right?

 

More blurb from the makers: The bio peptide Mimox promotes active skin relaxation and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines.  Coenzyme Q10 plays an important role in the stimulation of the skins biological functions.  Aquarich, a deep moisturising complex from black oats, with Provitamin B5 and precious Macadamia Nut Oil, moisturises the skin and helps improve the complexion.

 

Let’s be honest, I’m obviously not a skincare professional, so when it comes to looking at the ingredients list, I don’t know if x is good for y, etc.  However I do know my own skin, very well, and my skin said loudly from the get go that it loved this product.  My head was in agreement about the price and I’ve now been wearing the product for six months. Some of the time, when I use the serum I forget to layer a day cream on top, but I don’t need to head back to the bathroom because it’s given me enough moisture.  That says a lot of me.

 

If you find yourself needing a top up product like I did you might find this product useful.  Have you used this or any other Aldi skin care product?  If so, please share in the comments below.

 

Gail x

P.S.  Following a post on my Instagram feed I’m not the only the one enjoying these products.  Lots are in agreement. Click on the link to see what’s being said.

P.P.S.  If you haven’t read it yet, you might also like my post on an inexpensive, but high quality foundation that I have found in Marks and Spencer, click here to read more.