About Victoria Hall

Posts by Victoria Hall

The Facial Massage Debate

Beauty Jade Tool

Facial massage has been heralded as the one stop shop for plumping, firming and smoothing skin, as well as leaving it with a radiant glow. Unsurprisingly, plenty  of skincare experts advocate the use of massage in some way to improve the quality of your skin.

Most facials incorporate some form of massage too, be it a dedicated section of the treatment or an accompanying technique when the therapist is cleansing or moisturising your skin. The reason is that massaging the skin boosts your circulation and lymphatic drainage, which in turn reduces inflammation and puffiness.

Over the years, massage has evolved into a full workout for your face with some experts claiming that facial exercises could take years off of you. The vigorous massage techniques and pummeling are believed to tone and sculpt your facial muscles, as well as boost that fresh glow. Not everyone is on board though. There are some experts who stress that strong massage can actually breakdown your skin’s collagen and cause more damage than good.

In their book You: Being Beautiful, both Dr Oz and Dr Michael F. Roizen argue that: “Exercising the facial muscles is a sure way to increase wrinkles. The repetitive movements of the skin, over the years, combined with the normal thinning of the collagen and elastin of the dermis, will eventually crack the skin, causing wrinkles.”

So, how should you approach facial massage?

While you want it to supercharge your circulation and get the blood flowing, you don’t want to be too rough with your skin. Hayo’u founder and Chinese medicine expert Katie Brindle developed the Beauty Restorer tool with this in mind. To work in harmony with traditional Chinese massage technique, the jade tool is perfectly shaped to fit into the natural curves of your face and helps you to gently but effectively increase circulation. Jade is renowned for its soothing, cooling powers as well.

How long should you massage your skin for?

It can be for as long or as short as you need. The Hayo’u method promotes one minute and longer 10 minute rituals depending on how much time you have to spare. Plenty of experts recommend using your hands and incorporating massage into simple tasks, such as cleansing. A cleansing oil or balm is the best texture to use as it encourages you to really work the formula into your skin.

Do you have to use tools?

Plenty of therapists use their hands rather than tools to massage their clients skin, so there’s no reason for you to invest in one in order to reap the benefits. However, if you’re not sure how to approach facial massage or want the cooling powers of jade, then we recommend looking into the Beauty Restorer.

Takeaway Tips From Shabir and Trinny’s Facebook Live on Summer Ailments

Trinny Woodall and Shabir

Whether you’ve suffered with prickly heat as the temperatures soared or you continuously struggle with tired, heavy legs, the solution to your summer concern could have been discussed in Shabir and Trinny Woodall’s latest Facebook Live on the most common summer ailments. Read More…

Is Aftersun Worth The Investment?

aftersun

We’re all more than aware of the importance of wearing SPF and most of us are pretty good at slathering it on when we’re relaxing on a sun lounger on holiday. It’s the day-to-day application that some of us fall short with. Yet, with the UK experiencing one of the hottest summers in years and the record heatwave showing no sign of abating, wearing SPF every day has never been more essential.

If you’ve been caught out you’ll be well associated with that scorched, tight feeling too much sun can have on your skin. Enter your trusted bottle of aftersun. Brands often tout the cooling, soothing benefits of their aftersun, but is there any difference between them and your regular body lotion?

In a nutshell, yes. “Often traditional body lotions contain oil which create a barrier on the skin and trap the heat, causing prolonged burning,” says Dr Maryam Zamani, Oculoplastic Surgeon and Aesthetic Doctor.  “Aftersun on the other hand is a lighter cream or gel, which does not create a barrier and keeps the area underneath hydrated.”

Most aftersun formulas, including Coola Ecocert Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion, £30, are also packed full of aloe vera, which is renowned for its cooling and soothing powers. While there isn’t a huge amount of scientific data to show that aloe vera is one of the best soothers for sun burn, almost every skin expert recommends using the ingredient for this purpose. Although, as Dr Zamani says, it’s better to opt for light lotions or gel formulas to allow the heat to escape as the aloe soothes your skin.

What if you’re allergic or sensitive to aloe vera? Fear not, social media has the answer and it’s an unusual one. This summer one Instagram user’s post went viral after she revealed her trick of using a menthol based shaving foam to help alleviate her husband’s sun burnt back. While it’s not a technique we’ve tried and tested, it’s worth exploring if you’re unable to use aloe vera as it’s likely the menthol will cool your skin and the foam will be incredibly lightweight.

Whichever approach you take, remember it’s a good sign when your skin starts to itch as it means it’s repairing itself. But, make sure you wear plenty of sun cream the next day and seek shade where possible.

How To Soothe And Prevent Insect Bites

Insect Bites

We thought it was coming to an end, but the heatwave is set to last through until August. Water companies have put a proposed hosepipe ban in place for next month and the sales of fans has gone through the roof. While most of us have been enjoying the warmer climate, it has come with some downsides. This week, the NHS revealed that they have received twice the amount of 111 calls regarding insect bites compared to this time last year. Why? The warm, sticky weather is the perfect breeding ground for horse flies, midges, ants, you name it.

“Horseflies like hot weather in general, so they may become more active around breeding sites and farms in hot weather,” Dr Daniel Whitmore of the Natural History Museum’s insect division told the BBC. “Obviously, by wearing fewer clothes in hot weather we expose ourselves to bites more and become more attractive to the flies.”

Usually you feel a bite before you see it. Give an itchy patch 15 to 20 minutes and a hard, red lump tends to develop. Most bites tend to be nothing more than incredibly itchy, unsightly and irritating, but experts have warned that horsefly bites can become infected if not looked after properly.

If you want to prevent insect bites altogether, plan ahead and buy some vitamin B1 supplements. Studies have shown that this particular vitamin acts as a natural repellent by encouraging your skin to produce an odour that puts insects off. Don’t worry though, this smell isn’t detectable by humans. It’s also a non-toxic option to deet sprays. Shabir recommends taking one Vitamin B1 500mg, £21.99 by Solgar Vitamins, every day two weeks before your holiday and while you’re away.

For those who haven’t been as organised and are fed up of being bitten by the pesky insects, look to Mrs White’s Unstung Hero Mosquito Repellent, £20. It’s a non-toxic spray that offers instant protection from midges. To soothe and de-itch existing bites, invest in Thyme Out, £18. This insanely talented tonic helps to soothe insect bites and stings, as well as ease prickly heat and sunburn. It’s a summer essential and belongs in every bathroom cabinet. Plus, it also comes with a complimentary travel spray, so you can put it in your handbag or hand luggage.

Unsurprisingly, the heatwave has also seen a rise in cases of sunburn across the UK. To help ease your sunburn and other issues that arise in the hot weather, read Shabir’s guide to The Most Common Holiday Concerns Solved.

Is Sophrology The New Mindfulness?

Sophrology

Mindfulness is a term that has been thrown around for the past few years. While some are well-equipped to meditate for ten minutes a day in a bid to be more present, others struggle to employ rigorous self control after a long day at the office and a yoga class feels more like 60 minutes of torture rather than much needed relaxation. For the latter there is a new approach making waves in the UK and it’s called Sophrology.

While Sophrology might be relatively new to the UK, it has been around for years and is popular across the continent. For some, the mix of visualisation, positive thinking and breathing techniques might still feel a bit too similar to mindfulness practices, but if you’re au fait with a yoga class but haven’t quite mastered the art of meditating this could be worth looking into.

What is Sophrology?

The word Sophrology means the science of consciousness in harmony. Essentially it’s still about connecting with yourself, but it takes a more practical approach with gentle stretches and movement (both sitting and standing), as well as breathing and visualisation techniques. If you nail the philosophy you should find managing your stress levels easier, see an improvement in your sleep patterns and generally feel more confident and self-assured.

How does it differ from traditional mindfulness?

While both methods encourage you to be more in-tune with yourself, Sophrology goes one step further to ensure that your body keeps up with your mind and is just as well maintained. It’s for this reason that people employ the Sophrology method before an important meeting or competition. In Switzerland, senior students are offered sessions in the lead up to their exams to keep anxiety, stress and nerves at bay.

What should you expect from a Sophrology session?

‘Sophrology can be practised in groups or in an individual session with a Sophrologist. After a brief discussion with the clients about what they want to achieve during the session, the Sophrologist will use his or her voice to guide them through a sequence of simple exercises including relaxation, breathing, visualisation and gentle movement,’ explains Dominique Antiglio, author and founder of BeSophro.

Where to start…

First and foremost, you have to work out which issue you want to tackle, be it overcoming nerves for an up-coming work event or generally just lowering your stress levels. There are Sophrology sessions available, but if you’d rather start at-home BeSophro offers online classes and if you can wait until September, Antiglio will be releasing her book to guide you through her 12-step method.

Middle-Aged Brits Are The Most Miserable People In The UK

unhappy_vh

Its been quite a week. What with England failing to make the final of the World Cup after being defeated by Croatia on Wednesday; the unexpected but much appreciated lengthy heatwave beginning to cool off; and the various political tussles that we’re not even going to touch on. It’s not surprising that some of us are feeling a little blue. If you’re aged between 45 and 59 years, this week might have hit you harder than most.

A new survey has revealed that middle-aged Brits are the most miserable, unfulfilled people in the UK. Health is the most common reason for unhappiness among this age group. Those who believe their health is bad are 14 times more likely to be unhappy than those in good health. However, being separated, divorced, unemployed or unhappy in their job and renting rather than owning their home can also play a role.

On the other end of the spectrum, students and those in early retirement are likely to be the most content and if you’re young, educated and married you might just be living your best life.

For the rest of us, here’s a few tips on how to boost your happiness levels…

Move more

Plenty of studies have proved that regular exercise not only improves our health, but also increases our endorphin (happy hormone) levels. This doesn’t mean you have to sign-up to a gruelling, sweaty spin class or hit the gym five times a week, instead find an activity you like and schedule it into your week where you can. Walking, running, swimming, you name it. It could even be a lifestyle change, such as walking to the train station rather than jumping on a bus, or walking up the stairs rather than taking the lift. As long as it raises your heart rate, you’re doing alright.

Look after your gut

Researchers are still exploring the impact our gut has on the rest of our body, but some studies have indicated a link between a healthy functioning gut and our emotional wellbeing. While any good quality probiotic should help promote good bacteria, Florassist Mood by Life Extensions has been specially formulated to help not only rebalance the bacteria in our gut, but also to improve the signalling between our gut and our nervous system.

Make a list

This is particularly useful if you’re feeling unhappy or unfulfilled at work. Making a list of what you like and don’t like, as well as where you’d like to be in the future can help give negative thoughts a constructive twist.

Take time out

For some this might be meditating or partaking in a yoga class, for others it’s binging on trashy TV or reading a book. Taking time for yourself doesn’t have to be virtuous, you just need to switch off from the tensions and dramas of day-to-day life and relax. We recommend investing in Soul Medicine’s Inner Smile Mist to set the tone. Admittedly, this is no mean feat if you have young children, but where possible having a little me-time and checking out can help you relax.

Have a clean-up

There’s the saying ‘tidy home, tidy mind’ and having a good deep clean of your home, desk or car could really help make space in your mind. If you need any more encouragement, it’s also been proven that you sleep better in a tidy bedroom.