Post-Summer SOS

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It isn’t usually like this. We get through to the end of August feeling like we need to add tanning drops to our moisturiser, spritzing BetterYou Vitamin D spray to make up for the sun we didn’t get during our British summer, and lamenting money spent on swimwear not worn.

And then along came ‘The Summer of 2018′ – to go down in history, like ‘The Summer of 1976′ (only this time we weren’t, alas, cruising London streets in the passenger seat of a Triumph Stag with the roof down…)

Hasn’t it been quite extraordinary living in a country where everyone – but everyone – seems to have a tan? Because basically, all the wisdom we preach about shielding skin against UV light went out of the window, along with the intentions not to eat more than one ice cream cone a day. As a nation, most of us have soaked up every ray we could. We’re certainly guilty. (Though we think it’ll be interesting to see whether we all get fewer colds and ‘flu this winter.)

The bottom line is, even if you languished like a heroine from a Victorian novel under a parasol, it has been almost impossible to escape without some collateral damage from the sunshine – not just to skin but to hair. So rest assured: you aren’t the only person whose face, body and hair is suffering from post-summer skin stress, right now. Yes, we all headed into summer knowing full well that UV light’s the enemy, ageing-wise. But short of spending summer in a darkened room, almost everyone’s caught red-nosed/cheeked, this year. The solution? Once you’ve unburned your sunburn, you need to answer some other urgent beauty needs – and here’s how.

First, tackle dryness

When you’re actually enjoying the sun, skin can seem miraculously dewy and gorgeous. Then the minute you get back home – or to the office, where the air-con may be on (and we’re only weeks away from the central heating season) – something hideous happens, and almost everyone starts to look like a snake due to shed at least one skin. So: replenishing moisture and nutrients, top-to-toe, is No. 1 beauty priority – not least because moisture is essential for healthy cell communication and regeneration.

So: start by quenching skin with a boost of hyaluronic acid, the ‘buzz’ molecule which can retain over 1,000 times its weight in water, making it just about the best complexion drink we know. Garden of Wisdom Hyaluronic Serum can be layered under any other serum or moisturiser (and is suitable for all skin types, including oily and sensitive). We also love This Works Light Time Skin Plumper – and both of these can just be slotted, hassle-free, into your existing regime. Alternatively, power up the moisture factor by switching to Derma E Hydrating Night Creme with Hyaluronic Acid, perhaps, or – one of the richest, simplest rich moisturisers we know – good old Weleda Soothing Facial Cream.

Turbo-charge moisturisation with a twice-weekly face mask

They’re a great way to get back some of that dewiness – and we’re always happy to obey the command on the packaging of a face mask to ‘relax for 10 minutes’. We may not do much else we’re told to, but we’ll happily submit to teeny-tiny writing on the back of a sachet of Sarah Chapman Skinesis 3D Moisture Infusion, a jar of Temple Spa Quench or a tube of Aromatherapy Associates Soothing Treatment Mask. (However, avoid mud and clay-based masks just for now; you want moisture, not skin purification.)

Treat your body to some TLC

If you’re anything like us, it isn’t just your face that’s suffering. (Jo noticed ‘shin dandruff’ on her yoga mat the other day, swiftly remedied by a generous application of This Works Skin Deep Dry Leg Oil, which is nothing short of a miracle-worker. We love, love, love a rich body butter for everywhere else – the Soapsmith Butter Melts are gorgeous (and affordable), though requiring a tad more elbow grease to apply than Aromatherapy Associates Enrich Body Butter, which is coming to a desert island with us if we’re ever marooned (or invited by Kirsty Young). For the ultimate indulgence, there is Temple Spa Body Truffle, which rivals Fortnum’s food hall for luxurious ingredients (caviar, truffles, champagne, etc.), and which won a Gold Beauty Bible Award in the Anti-Ageing Body Creams category of our annual awards.

Secondly, tackle pigmentation. 

The most angst-inducing legacy of summer exposure isn’t flaky skin, however (even if it is a harbinger of lines and wrinkles to come). It’s the longer-term, tougher-to-tackle challenge of pigmentation, which women find so very distressing. In the Garden of Wisdom (GoW) range, you’ll find various products to target dark spots/sun spots/whatever you like to call them. GoW 100% Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil, for instance, is charged up with super antioxidants, alongside vitamin K to help brighten age spots and hyperpigmentation. The most potent product in the range, however, is GoW Alpha Arbutin 2% and Kojic Acid 1% Serum, containing two ingredients considered to be a gentle but effective alternative to hydroquinone, alongside paper mulberry and vitamin B3, also known to help correct uneven skintone. As the name suggests, iS Clinical White Lightening Serum also targets hyperpigmentation. Invest as your budget allows, is our advice – but be aware that if you’re using a product to tackle pigmentation, you also absolutely 100% have to wear an SPF30 over the top, a) to give the product the best chance of effectiveness, and b) to shield vulnerable skin against future damage.

Whack on a hair mask

Absolutely the best way to get hair back in good nick – although we also prescribe a salon appointment, to snip off ends that are probably beyond repair. Unless you have the very finest hair, more is more when it comes to hair treatments. More product, more generously worked through from roots to ends after shampooing, and left on for more time than you’d imagine. Overnight, ideally (we cover a pillow with a towel when we do that, to avoid trashing a pillowcase). Alternatively, again shampoo first, smooth on your chosen product, wrap your hair in clingfilm, and let it work its magic while you devour your latest chosen boxset. (‘Big Little Lies’, anyone? Eighth, albeit Meghan-less, series of ‘Suits’? Just don’t bother with Matt Groening’s ‘Disenchanted’, is our advice. You’re welcome.)

You’ll find some great hair-boosting options on VH: we’d point you in the direction of Peter Lamas Youth Revival 5 Oil Hair Treatment Mask, or 72 Hair Intense Replenishing Mask. Then simply invest some time over the next few weeks in putting back what ‘The Summer of 2018′ took out.

And if you follow this advice, your skin (and straw thatch) may just forgive you.

Fast Fixes For Winter Skin

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This is a time of year when skin can look a tad washed out and you feel all ‘blah’. So we thought this month we would share with you some of our top tips for instant sparkle – and beyond that, some of our favourite quick-fix products.

  • Start by breathing – it’s the foundation of everything. It calms you down, peps you up – oh, and keeps you living. So if you want to be more alive, practice this simple, quick technique at least twice a day for five cycles – more is better. Unfold your arms and legs, sit, lie or stand loosely and close your eyes (if possible). With your tongue just behind your top teeth, inhale to a count of four down to your belly, hold for seven (without letting your shoulders rise), exhale through rounded lips for eight. Brilliant for stress control (and one of the basics of Tantric sex, you might also like to know!)
  • If you can, go for a 20-minute walk in the fresh air. If you’re stuck indoors, march on the spot, arms swinging, knees coming up, then speed up and downstairs. Try jumping up and down – or even some star jumps…

Read More…

February Newsletter

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Welcome to the February newsletter where we launch the latest NIOD product (start getting very excited), a new product from Ameliorate, which I really, really love and we celebrate the second birthday of a life-changing product. We also take a look at an Italian brand which was created in 1821, I have news on Phylia and then we do health in the shape of some rather common health concerns. Before any of this I am going to begin with a touch of sadness:

Many of you are avid users of the fabulous products from Aromatherapy Associates. The brand was co-created by Geraldine Howard in 1985 and their first product launch, Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil, remains their bestselling product, which is a testimony to the brilliance of the blends she formulated and their therapeutic benefits. Read More…

Must-Have Masks

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Ancient Egyptians simply smeared mud all over their faces – an effective beauty ritual – but hey, what did they really know about fighting pollution and sun damage…? These days, the ingredients in masks are targeted at specific skin types and all manner of skin woes – from clogged pores to dryness, fine lines to dullness – that your regular daily regime may not address. They’re ‘fast fixes’: good for putting back radiance when skin’s got the ‘blahs’, and personally, I can’t live without them. Read More…